Hey. If it hasn't already be done could somebody write an insert from "La Dame Blanche" from Jamie's perspective involving the poisoning/bitter cascar (spelling?) incident. I don't know which book it's in because, unfortunately, I haven't been able to read any of them yet.
It didn’t matter that he could see Claire’s chest gently rising and falling in a shallow sleep.
Or that the poncy court physician dripping with lace had assured him that *le madame Brock Tuarack* would be just fine, in between sneezes from the rancid powder of his wig.
Or that they finally had a quiet space to themselves, after shooing away the well-intentioned but nosy Minister of Finance and three aides who had materialized out of the walls – no doubt spies for the King.
For today he had come perilously close to losing her – to losing the bairn – to losing *everything*.
Quickly he had peeled the damn contraption of a dress off of her heaving frame – desperate for her to breathe easily. To be stunned – frozen – in disbelief at the growing swell of her belly.
Christ. When was the last time he had just *looked* at her? Admired her, as a man adores and worships his wife?
As a real man would shower affection on his lover – a real man not debilitated by an intimate touch? Who felt not his wife’s healing touch, but a monster’s rough fingers?
But there was no time for reflection – or regret – when he had to focus on keeping Claire comfortable. Keeping his heart alive.
Holding her as she was violently ill – body wracked with spasms. Delirious.
Whatever it was had quickly passed from her body – and he knew that, had she been more lucid, she would have been absolutely mortified at how sick she had been in front of a stranger.
He had to rely on the squinty-eyed physician – for he was powerless to help her himself.
He didn’t know what her body needed.
He didn’t know what her heart needed.
What a damn failure of a husband he was.
She stirred under his hand – limbs flailing, mid-dream.
It was a fine room to be ill in – endless drapes of silk and muslin, a bed that could have fit his whole family growing up, chairs so decadent that he felt himself sinking several inches into the rich cushions.
Longing for the sharp scents of the Highlands – the warm tones of brown and green – the solitude of the peaks and glens – pierced his heart.
What had he brought upon her? What kind of life was he giving her?
Flash – sunlight frosting the blades of grass with gold, as she held their marriage contract and he joked about being unsuitable husband material. All while his belly formed immeasurable knots in joy and fear.
How could he survive here – at court – in Paris – without her?
“Jamie,” she whispered.
“I’m here,” he breathed. “I’m right here.”
But where are ye, Claire? Why am I so far from you, even now?
One deep inhale – then exhale – and her beautiful eyes cracked open.
“Where – ”
“It’s all right. You are well. We’re still at the palace.”
“Are ye ready to go home?”
Softly, carefully she rose up on her elbow – testing her endurance.
A small smile. Voice confident.
Flash – Claire crouching by a Highland stream. Wrapped in his plaid. So beautiful his chest burst with love – keeping his dying heart alive.
She really would do anything for him.
Christ almighty, he didn’t deserve her.
And as he helped her into the loose dress that had been procured by a faceless chambermaid – then slipped her swollen feet into those terribly uncomfortable shoes – then settled her weak body (despite her protests) into his arms for the journey back to their carriage, just one thought circled around and around in his mind.
How do I make this right between us?
And then –
Lord – oh Lord – was it too late?