MacDougal Snippet, Chrismas 1871, Part 4
Amelia and Ross MacDougal have just realized she is carrying twins. Exhausted, she sleeps while Ross watches over her.
The window rattled. Ross looked up. He didn’t know how long the raven had sat on the ledge outside, but only now did it tap the glass. He carried Amelia to their bed and settled her. She carried their future nestled inside, a precious burden. He kissed her cheek. She smiled in her sleep then snuggled, raising her knees and resting her hand over their children. Children. Not just one, but two! He covered her and went to the window.
Raven walked into the room using the tree limb Ross had installed when it got too cold to keep the window open.
“It is good to see you, my friend.”
Ross projected calm energy as he scratched the bird’s head and neck, working his way down the body. When he was done the raven climbed on his shoulder. Ross stood and walked over to the bed. Raven hopped onto the top rail at the head of the bed. He turned regarded Amelia.
“You want to see my chicks in their egg?”
When the bird nodded, Ross peeled off the light blanket. Amelia was warm a lot of the time now, and often kicked off the covers. He used to cover her up when he checked her at night, until Auntie told him that women used a lot of energy to grow their babies, and gave it off as heat.
Together they watched her belly move. Amelia moaned and rolled over, then back again. Raven crooned, a low sound that vibrated deep inside him. It felt as if someone had plucked the sinews of his body like the longest harp string. As the sound diminished, he relaxed, though he hadn’t realized he’d been tense.
The ripples slowed, fading away to nothing. Amelia’s breathing deepened. He covered her lightly once more. They moved to the rocking chair, the raven on the back. When he rocked, the bird made a disgusted sound and flew to the ladderback chair. They sat there, watching Amelia sleep. Downstairs, family and friends talked and laughed. He heard the clinking of plates and glasses as well. He’d not eaten much that day, though insisted it was not nerves as he’d been legally married since June. His stomach grumbles grew increasingly loud.
The raven huffed and flew to the window. He knocked to get out and then turned to face Ross once more.
Amelia’s eyes opened at the noise. She blinked, slowly, as if not yet awake. “I dreamed about a raven,” she murmured. “A black-haired boy who turned into a bird and flew up in the mountains, tumbling and rolling in the air. He landed and became the brother of the brown-haired boy who had watched. They raced home, tripping each other and laughing.”
The bird fluffed up his feathers and inspected one foot. Ross let her words sink into him. Before he even thought about what it might mean, he would visit his grandfather and speak with him.
Amelia stretched, carefully, and sat up. Her eyes widened and she scurried to the chamber pot behind the corner screen. A few moments later she washed her hands and, white belly first, walked toward. She held out her arms for a hug. Seeing her walk toward him, smiling with life after weeks of worry, made him realize how long it had been since they made love. He gave her a hug as well as a sensuous kiss. His rumbling belly made her laugh, breaking the mood.
“I can tell you’re hungry,” she said. “But it is our wedding night again, and…”