Sorry the chapters have been so short, but I'm in the process of moving, so I've been short on time. I'll try to make the next chapter longer, and hopefully I'll have it posted soon. Thanks for reading!
The luggage was prepared. The tickets had been bought. Their clothes were laid out in preparation for the trip. All was set. And yet, Henry could not remember a time when he was so unready for a journey.
He lay in bed, unable to rest, even though his eyes were closed. All he could think of was Grace, and how quiet she had been all evening. She had been writing all afternoon, scribbling endlessly into her journal. What she was writing, she wouldn’t say, and he didn’t question her. But he was certain she was jotting down her thoughts and feelings. That was her way of dealing with her troubles, and if it gave her peace of mind, so be it. He only wished she would change her mind about seeing her father.
Father, he said to himself, his temper rising at the very thought of John Langdon. Father, indeed. More like miserable old bastard.
But there would be no changing her mind. Like her brother, she was bound and determined to have a final farewell, no matter what the cost to her heart and soul. So, he could only do what he was meant to do. He would stand by her side, and when the worst came, he would be there to save her from the fall.
In the meantime, the idea of comforting her was a most appealing thought. She wasn’t one to drone on about her feelings in conversation, but she’d rarely turned him away when he offered physical contact. Reaching out for her, he found her side of the bed empty, and it confused him for a moment.
Until he heard the sound of retching, coming from the bathroom.
Worried, he threw back the covers and hurried to the door, where he could see the light beneath it. Without pause, he opened the door to find her with her head hanging over the sink.
“Oh my God,” he said. “You’re ill. Should I call a doctor?”
As she shook her head, he found a washcloth and handed it to her. Gently, he pulled the hair back from her face as she lifted her head.
“The baby doesn’t think it’s necessary,” she replied.
He suddenly felt like a fool as he realized what she meant. Filling a glass with water, he made her sip it and rinse her mouth. For several moments she hung her head over the sink, waiting to see if her stomach had settled, and when it seemed that it had, Henry put his arm around her and led her back to bed. He muttered to her as he went.
“Don’t I feel like a stupid ass? I should know enough to realize that pregnant women get sick sometimes.”
She sighed. “It’s all right, Henry. After all, how many pregnant wives have you had…or do I want to know?”
Her humor, even at the worst of times, always made him smile.
“Very funny, Miss Smarty Pants. Now sit down and behave yourself.”
She didn’t need any encouragement to sit down. She fell to the bed more quickly that he expected, and the smile quickly faded from his lips. “Is there something I can get for you? I hate to see you like this.”
Her reply was a shake of the head. “There’s not much you can do. Although, there’s an old wives tale that says that lemons can ease a sick stomach.”
“I’ll go and get some first thing in the morning,” he said. As he helped her into bed, he found himself growing angry at the thought of her stubbornness. “Whether it’s from the baby or not, you’re sick. And I don’t see why you won’t stay home.”
Her response was firm, despite the sleepiness that was starting to take hold of her. “I have to go, Henry.”
As he moved into bed beside her, he couldn’t help but scold her. “Damn your bullheadedness. I should tie you to a chair or something.”
She mumbled in reply. “No good. My brothers used to hog tie me to a tree to keep me from going places with them. I could wiggle out of any old ropes they bound me with, so I’m sorry, honey. I’m going back if I have to walk every step of the way.”
Reaching out, he rubbed her back, trying to offer some means of comfort. And despite himself, he found a smile turning up at the corner of his mouth.
“And I believe you would,” he said softly. “Stubborn thing that you are.”
They slept…if only for a while. She was up twice more during the night, and despite his own need for sleep, he remained at her side. Each time she fell sick, she insisted that he go to bed and not fuss over her. But he replied with mock anger, wiping her face with a damp washcloth after she’d emptied her stomach again.