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MacDougal snippet, Christmas 1871, Part 7

 

Amelia gave a hint of smile at Ross calling her Kestrel, a type of small, noisy falcon.

“My heart was too full of vengeance and pain to let anyone in,” he said. “I believed my mother abandoned me, in favor of supporting my father’s choice. I thought I had no right to love, that Antelope Girl’s family would hate me. When I returned to what I thought was my home, they sent me to the Elliotts to be ‘civilized’. I was nothing to them, a worthless savage, I thought.”

She sifted her fingers through his hair, letting the loose strands fall as they may.

“I now know my mother wanted to keep me alive, and sending me far from Finan and Hugh was the only way. She could not deny her husband’s heirs. She gave me a love of her people, of the land and how to survive in it and be strong. Louisa Elliott taught me how to fit into my father’s society, in a way he never could.”

“When I found out you’d been captured by the men who had done atrocious things to a small child, my heart beat so hard I thought I was dying. I knew if you died, I could not live without you. It scared me, to depend on someone for my life.”

She blinked hard, biting her lip and looking down at him.

“What I’m trying to say, is that I love you. All I knew of love, was that meant pain. I forgot that there is joy in it, too. I love you, Amelia Esther Smathers MacDougal. Gillis and Nevin love you as well, but you are mine, first and always.”

His little Kestrel gazed at him. He suddenly felt embarrassed, that no warrior would be seen on his knees professing love to his wife. She must have understood for she pulled on his hair to get him to stand.

“I know you do,” she said. “I don’t need the words, for your actions tell me.” She kissed his chest. “But I would like to hear them now and then.”

“Every time I look at you, or touch you, I say it loud and clear.” He had a sudden need to make slow, careful love to her.

“Do you think Sophie brought any of her berry tarts?”

Ross laughed, hard and long. Amelia frowned at him.

“Ah, my falcon and her chicks are hungry. The only way to find out about the tarts is to go downstairs.”

“They’ll think we were in bed the whole time we were gone.”

Ross kissed her frowning forehead. “I don’t have a problem with that.”

She swatted his arm and turned, too quickly. He caught her and set her on the path to the stairs, keeping close behind. When they got to the bottom, they were surrounded by knowing winks and nudges.

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