Chapter 24

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"You need to sleep if you're leaving in the morning," I whisper softly, staring down at his head, rested comfortably on my thighs. He shakes it slowly, glancing up at me.

"I'll sleep when I'm dead. I've got this time with ye, I willnae waste it." He turns onto his side and rests his cheek against my thigh, placing his hand onto my hip. "I want to hear about what life has been for ye since we last spoke."

"I thought you didn't want to know," I murmur gently, pushing his hair back from his eyes.

"Aye, I do... It may kill me but I must hear it."

"Well, I've told you everything significant, really... I was- pregnant half the time we've been apart."

His eyes flicker to my stomach, to the battle wounds of labor, the wounds I acquired with no reward. I smile softly when he rests his hand against the flat area, pressing his lips together.

"Ye didn't deserve more pain, mo ghràidh."

"I'm living with it," I whisper, striving for positivity. "I'm doing alright."

"Are ye?"

I nod. "Right now, I'm wonderful."

"Aye, as am I." His lips curve in the corners, creasing his cheeks with dimples. I look down as his fingers curl around the ends of my crimson hair, rested against my stomach.

"Your hair has grown. It looks bonny on ye."

"Yours too." I touch it lightly, relishing the feel. "The color is remarkable... It's so dark... if you're in the light, there's a kind of blue undertone. Indigo blue."

"Indigo?"

I smile softly and nod. "Yes. It's the name for a dark kind of blue."

"They made that up in your time?"

I chuckle, shaking my head. "I'm not really sure when they made up that one."

"Tell me more about it... About where you're from."

I think back, a small curve to my lips in remembrance. "Well... it was very hot where I lived. Usually in the nineties. You'd walk outside and start sweating." I chuckle when he makes a dubious face. "Yeah, it wasn't like Scotland at all. There are millions and millions of people- so many that the faces blur together. The entire state was surrounded by ocean. Warm water."

"Ocean with warm water?"

"Yes, sometimes too warm."

"Wow, that must have been something."

A small smile of remembrance lights my face. "It was."

He rubs my hip gently, humming. "Do ye miss it?"

"Certain things, yes."

"Like what?"

"It was so easy to live then... compared to here. There were showers, warm baths, restaurants everywhere that would serve any type of food you wanted. Cars, airplanes, trains... ways you could get around the world in a matter of hours, days... Women were regarded as more than wives, or mothers then. I could work to secure my own living. I was free to choose who I wanted to marry. I went to school. University. I left my family and traveled alone to Scotland- I was free to do that."

He stares at me, obviously absorbing what I'm telling him with caution. I smile and tuck a strand of hair behind my ear. "I don't know... it was just easier for me there."

"Aye, I understand... But ye seem to- ye don't understand either... what kind of role ye have in a man's life as well."

I stare at him, blinking. "I have no role as Lachlan's wife, Callan."

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