Away in Wick
George fidgeted with the errant pleat in his kilt. What had possessed Jessie to ask him to wear this thing anyway? Like any good Scotsman, he wore the kilt for special occasions without grumbling, but to just randomly wear it for no reason?
“Ugh,” he grunted as he slapped the pleat into place.
“George?” Jessica asked as she came into the room. “Are you alright?”
He turned around, a disgruntled look on his face. “Lass, explain to me why ye asked me to,” but he stopped when he noticed what she was wearing. “Seasaidh,” he breathed.
Jessica shivered as she always did when he slipped into his brogue, shivering a little more when he called her his special nickname. “You like it?”
Swallowing to gather his wits, George spanned the distance between them, his hands reaching up to gently grasp her arms. “Seasaidh, like doesn’t even begin to come close.”
She smiled and moved closer to him. “I don’t think you have to tell me,” she whispered as she moved against him.
“Jessie, if ye d’na stop,” he growled.
Stepping back, she twirled. “Is it really alright?”
George let his eyes move over her, admiring the plaid ankle length skirt cinched at her waist, the snow white blouse with its scooped neckline covered in a black corset style vest that set off her breasts, and the large shawl over her shoulder, he assumed would be placed over her head when they left. “It’s perfect, Lass.” He pulled her to him again and smiled down at her. “You’re perfect.”
Jessica hummed into his kiss, her hands snaking around his neck. “Mmm, that was some kiss, but we haven’t time for that.”
“And just why don’t we?”
“Because we’ve been invited to a party.”
George sighed, “Is that why I’m dressed in this blasted thing?”
“I thought it would be fun. Don’t be angry.” She blinked at him.
Caressing her face, he shook his head. “I’m not angry, Lass. It’s just that I don’t fancy wearing a kilt in this kind of weather.”
Jessica couldn’t help but giggle as she leaned into him. “I’m sorry.”
“No need to apologize, Lass. What time do we have to be at this party?”
“If we leave now we’ll be there on time.” She smiled up at him, her eyes filled with mischief.
George narrowed his eyes. “Jessie, what are ye thinking?”
She looked down, her finger tracing around the waistband of his kilt. “Well,” she started. “I was wondering if you were wearing this traditionally.”
“Jessie MacGill Fletcher!” George sputtered and shook his head. She’d been surprising him like this ever since they’d come to Wick the first part of December. Pulling her close, he held her tightly and pressed a kiss to her head. “Ye’ll have to wait and see.”
Chuckling, Jessica squeezed him then pulled back. “We’d better go, George. We don’t want to be late.”
He shook his head. “No, we don’t. I’ll enjoy showing off me bonnie lassie.”
Jessica sighed as she snuggled closer to George. They’d been the talk of the party, as she’d known they would be, but that hadn’t bothered her. She’d heard George grumble a time or two, but when the dancing had started, they’d spent the rest of the time on the floor enjoying themselves. She smiled as she thought about the fun she’d had discovering if he’d worn his kilt traditionally when they’d arrived back home.
She blinked and started a bit at the last thought.
Could she really think of Wick as home?
Caressing the bare chest under her cheek, she realized that, yes, she could think of Wick as home…she already did.
George made it home.
Moving so that she could look at his face, she studied him. How had it happened? How had he made her think of somewhere other than Cabot Cove as home?
Only one answer came to mind. An answer that made her eyes water even as her lips turned up in a small smile.
He loved her.
“Lass?” George whispered when he opened his eyes and saw her looking at him with tears on her cheeks. Sitting up a bit, he caressed her hair. “What is it? What’s wrong?”
Shaking her head, she sniffed. “Nothing is wrong. Everything is right.”
Frowning in confusion, George caught a tear on his fingertip and held it out for her to see. “What is this then?”
Wiping the tear from his finger, she smiled at him. “It’s a happy tear.”
“Happy tear?” he questioned.
She nodded. “Yes, a happy tear. You see, I just realized something.”
“Oh? And what would that be, Jessie?”
“I was thinking about us and what happened when we got home last night.”
George blinked. Home? “Home?” he repeated the question out loud.
“Home,” she echoed softly. “That’s what I realized. In my remembering the events of last night, I called this home.”
“I still don’t think I understand, Jessie.”
“I asked myself how it had happened. How had you made me think of somewhere other than Cabot Cove as home?” She smiled and caressed his face. “Do you know what the answer was?”
George shook his head. “No. What was it?”
Cupping his face in her hands, she stared into his confused green eyes. “You love me.”
George closed his eyes and took a deep breath. “Yes, Seasaidh, I do. Very much.”
Pressing a tender kiss to his lips, she smiled when his eyes opened again. “Then ask me again,” she whispered.
Eyes widening in shock, George stared at her a moment before pulling back and turning to his nightstand. Opening the drawer, he fingered the small velvet box he’d kept there for several years. Taking it out, he took a deep breath before turning back to face her. “Jessie,” he whispered. “Seasaidh,” he started again. “I’ve had this for a long time, hoping that one day I could give it to you. I wasn’t sure that day would ever come.” Opening the box, he smiled at her gasp of surprise. “I know it’s not the ordinary ring to give, but ours is not an ordinary love.” Taking the ring from it’s nest, he held it out to her, the brilliant sapphire looking as though it were glowing in the dim light of the fire. “It reminded me of your beautiful eyes and your beautiful sea. Will you marry me, Seasaidh?”
Swallowing back her tears, Jessica held out her left hand, the ring finger bare. “Oh George,” she murmured.
“When did you take off your ring?” he asked as he realized her finger was missing the normal band of gold.
“I took it off last night before we fell asleep,” she whispered as she looked up at him. “Yes.”
She nodded. “Yes.”
George grinned at her as he slid the ring on her finger. “Is this really happening?” he asked as he kissed her hand.
Jessica nodded. “Yes, it is.” She wrapped her arms around him. “We have a lot to work out. I still won’t leave Cabot Cove permanently.”
“We’ll work it all out, Seasaidh,” he whispered just before kissing her. “For now, we have some celebrating to do.”
“More celebrating you mean,” she chuckled then caught her breath when he nipped at her neck. “George.”
George looked up at her. “Yes, Lass?”
Narrowing her eyes, she pushed at him making him fall back against the pillows. Moving to look down at him, she traced his lips. “No teasing.”
Reaching up, George caressed her hair behind her ear and gave her a smile. “Whatever my lady love wishes.”
Jessica studied the ring on her finger and marveled again that she’d said yes. She sighed. How were they going to do this? She couldn’t leave Cabot Cove. She had her apartment in New York. What had she been thinking? He lived in London and here. How were they going to split their time between four different places? It would be hard enough with just two.
“We’ll figure it all out, Jessie.” George whispered as he came up behind her, resting his hands on her shoulders.
“How, George?” she asked on a sigh. “How can we divide our time between four places?”
“Jessie, I’m not here in Wick that much. Only holidays, really. I won’t have to be in London much now that I’m semi-retired. We’ll spend as much time in Cabot Cove and New York as needed.”
“Oh George,” she sighed as she turned to look up at him. “I can’t take you away from your homes. It isn’t fair for you to concede everything to me.”
Caressing her face, he pulled her to him. “Seasaidh,” he whispered gently. “I love you. Nothing else matters.”
“I don’t want you to grow to resent me.”
George shook his head. “I won’t, Lass. I won’t.”
“Well, we won’t have to worry about New York. I won’t be teaching there this next semester. I really think I should give the apartment up.”
“Don’t do it because you think I want you to, Jessie.”
She shook her head. “I’m not. I’m doing it for us. If one of us has to go to New York City we can stay in a hotel. There’s no need for me to pay rent on a place I don’t intend to spend much time in.”
George nodded. “Would you like a house in London? Or is my flat okay?”
“Don’t you think one house to look after is enough?” she asked with a chuckle.
Wrapping his arms tight around her, George cradled her head in his hand. “One house or twenty, I don’t care. All I care about is you beside me in my bed, or just simply sitting by the fire. Just so long as it’s ye beautiful face I see first thing in the morning and last thing at night.”
Turning her face so that she could kiss his neck, Jessica sighed, “I love you, George Sutherland.”
“I love you, Lass,” he whispered into her hair. “Do you want to call Seth?”
“I should,” she sighed. “But I need to call my brothers first.”
“Yes,” he was quick to agree making her chuckle.
“You won’t have to worry about any of that nonsense anymore.” She smiled up at him. “You won them both over at Thanksgiving.”
“I’m glad. I wouldn’t want to cause problems with your family.”
“Oh George,” she murmured. “Is this really happening?”
“Yes, Jessie. It is.” He cupped her cheek. “Are you okay?”
She nodded. “I’m fine, just,” she paused then smiled. “I’m just a bit overwhelmed.”
He arched an eyebrow. “My Jessie? Overwhelmed?”
Smacking his chest, Jessica huffed at him. “Yes, Mr. Sutherland. This is a big step for this lady.”
Tucking the hair behind her ear, he winked at her. “Tis a big step for this man, too.”
Caressing his face, she nodded. “I know it is.”
“Marry me tomorrow?”
George nodded. “On Christmas.”
“Just you and me?”
He chuckled, “Well, and the local justice or minister.”
Jessica laughed. “Oh George!”
George laughed with her when she threw her arms around his neck. “Is this a yes?”
“It’s a yes. But,” she hedged.
George frowned. “But?”
“What will I wear?”
George shook his head and laughed. “Jessie. Jessie!” Swiftly kissing her, he squeezed her. “You’ll wear that beautiful gown you brought for the party tonight. It’s perfect for a Christmas wedding.”
She shook her head. “It’s too much. Maybe I could go into Wick this afternoon?”
“We’ll do whatever ye like.”
“I’d better make those phone calls.”
“I’ll see if I can get Seth here on time.”
She smiled at him. “How did you know?”
“He’s your best friend and you won’t be taking him away from family. And,” he kissed her nose. “He is the reason you and I patched things up.”
She nodded. “Thank you.”
“Go on then. Call your brothers on the house phone. I’ll use my mobile.”
“George?” she asked before he could get all of the way out of the room.
“I’m looking forward to being Mrs. Sutherland.”
“I couldn’t reach Seth, Jessie.” George told her a half hour later. “Did you reach your brothers?”
Jessica nodded. “They were both surprised but happy. We have invitations from both brothers to visit as soon as possible. Helen wants to throw us a party.”
George smiled. “Sweet Helen. Did you tell them we’ll be there as soon as we can get our affairs situated?”
“I did.” She bit her lip and stared off out the window. “I wonder where Seth is.”
George heard the sadness in her voice and moved to stand behind her. “I know how much his being here means to you, Jessie. I’m sorry I couldn’t reach him. I did leave a message on his machine, but,” he left the rest unsaid.
Patting his hands, Jessica leaned back against him. “It’s alright. It can’t be helped. Now,” she said as she turned to face him. “We need to go into town. And, I thought of something while making my phone calls.”
“Yes, we do. And what was it you thought of?”
“The license. Doesn’t it take a few days for that?”
George smiled and nodded. “Aye, it does, Lass. But ye forget who I am.”
Jessica rolled her eyes. “Oh brother. I thought you didn’t like to use your status as an Inspector for special privileges?”
“Who says I’m using my status as an Inspector?”
Narrowing her eyes, she glared at him. “What are you up to, George Sutherland?”
“Where are we, Jessie?”
Jessica frowned. “Wick.”
“Not the town.”
“Sutherland,” she started then titled her head back and laughed. “Oh George!”
“It’s all about me name, Lassie. All about me name.” He winked at her. “And maybe a bit about the woman I’m going to marry.”
“I’m teasin’ ye, Jessie.” He caressed her face. “It really is because of who I am to Wick. Just one question.”
“Minister or justice?”
“Whichever you can get.”
George shook his head and chuckled. “Anxious, Lass?”
“Now that I’ve agreed to marry you, yes, I am.”
“Then we should get started. We need to get to town before noon. It’s Christmas eve, everything that’s open will close at lunch time.”
“Just let me go fix my hair and makeup. I won’t be but a minute.”
“I’ll get your coat and boots.”
“You spoil me so,” she teased and winked as she left the room.
“Now who could that be?” George wondered as he made his way to answer the door. Grinning when he saw who it was, he held his finger to his lips and helped the surprise guest in out of the cold.
“What are ya shushin’ me for?” Seth whispered as he looked around.
“I want to surprise Jessie.” George answered.
“That was the whole point of me showing up without telling the two of you.” Seth grumbled.
George shook his head. “Come on. Let me show you to a room and I’ll explain.”
Seth frowned. “Where’s Jess?”
“She’s taking a nap.”
“Has she been behaving? Not doing too much?”
George chuckled softly. “No,” he whispered. “She hasn’t been doing too much. My people won’t let her.”
Seth grinned and chuckled. “Bet she’s grumbled a time or two about that.”
George cleared his throat. “Well,”
Holding up his hand, Seth shook his head. “Not another word about that.”
George nodded and coughed to hide a chuckle. “I’m going to put you in a room that’s a bit out of the way so that Jessie doesn’t run into you. I don’t want her to see you until tomorrow night.”
“But I came all this way to spend Christmas with the two of you. If I’m to stay hidden,” he huffed. “What in blazes is going on here?”
Opening the door to the room George had decided to put Seth in, he turned and smiled widely at his friend. “She said yes, Seth.”
The grey haired doctor frowned a moment then smiled broadly. “Well. Well. Well. You’ve been busy, Inspector Sutherland.” He slapped George on the back. “I’m happy for you, George.”
“You had a hand in it, Seth. I don’t know what would have happened if you hadn’t called me last month. She’s stubborn. I’m stubborn.” He shrugged. “We probably wouldn’t have fixed things between us if not for you. Thank you.” George squeezed Seth’s shoulder. “I want this to be special for her, Seth. She was so disappointed when I couldn’t reach you this morning to tell you the news and ask you to fly out. She tried not to let me see it, but there were tears in her eyes. She was fine with her brothers not being here, but you, she wanted you here.” George studied the man. “What made you come?”
Seth shrugged. “I just felt like she needed me.” He shrugged again and stared out the window. “I’m all she’s had for years, George. I’ve always had this sense when it comes to her.”
George smiled and nodded. “She’s told me about that,” he chuckled. “I’ve heard about the times you’ve just shown up, knowing that something was wrong.”
“Except this time, something isn’t wrong.” Seth smiled. “I’m happy that I’m here, and I’ll be happy to stay hidden.”
“Thank you, Seth. I’ll have dinner sent up to you and anything else you need.”
“Dinner’s good. And maybe something to warm these old bones. I thought I was use to winter, but the cold here,” he shivered. “How do you stand it, man?”
George laughed. “I’m very seldom here without company.” He winked when Seth sputtered then laughed.
“I asked for that.”
George nodded and grinned. “I’ll send up something for you to drink to warm you up. The fire’s ready to be lit and there’s plenty of wood.”
Seth nodded. “Thanks. I’ll be fine.”
“I’ll come up later to tell you more about the plans for tomorrow.”
“Just be careful about doing too much sneakin’ around. You know Jessie.”
George chuckled. “Yes, I do, and I will.”
“Nollaig chridheil huibh.” George whispered against Jessica’s ear early the next morning.
Jessica, reacting as she always did to his brogue, shivered and hummed her pleasure at the familiar custom George had started their first Christmas together as more than mere friends. Taking his hand in hers, she lifted it from her waist to her lips. “Merry Christmas,” she whispered the greeting in English before placing a kiss to the palm of his hand, another Christmas morning tradition.
“I have something for ye, Lass.” George told her, his voice still soft.
Jessica grumbled at the loss of his warmth when he rolled away but smiled as she turned over and watched him. “Have I told you how much I love our traditions?”
George, his gift in hand, turned back to her and smiled. “You have, but I love hearing ye tell me again and again.”
Jessica looked down at the velvet case, an eyebrow arching as she took it. “George?”
“Open it, Lass.”
Lifting the lid, she gasped at the necklace nestled inside. “It’s perfect for my dress.”
“Aye, that it is.”
“But, George, how?”
“Ye weren’t the only one shopping yesterday morning, Lass,” he chuckled when she stuck her tongue out at him. “Now, Lass, that tongue has,”
“George!” she scolded as she swatted at him.
Shrugging and giving her a mischievous grin, he kissed her. “I love ye, Jessie.”
“Mmm,” she hummed into his kisses. “I love you, too, my dear Inspector.” She smiled and caressed his cheek.
“Are you sure about us not keeping to the tradition of not seeing each other before the wedding?” he asked as they settled back against their pillows.
Jessica nodded as she played with his fingers. “I’m positive. I’m not superstitious, neither are you. And this isn’t the first marriage for either of us. We’ll keep the tradition of you not seeing me in my dress before the wedding, I believe that will suffice.”
Cuddling her closer, George kissed her tenderly. “I feel like I’m dreaming, Seasaidh.”
Resting her forehead against his, Jessica sighed. “I feel that way too. I’m also very nervous.”
“And third, and fourth,” she whispered. “It’s been a lot of years since I shared my life with someone, George. I was very much in love with Frank. I just feel,” she sighed.
“It’s alright, Seasaidh,” he whispered as he caressed her hair. “You feel like you’re betraying that love, right? That’s the real reason you’ve put me off all these years.”
Her blue eyes met his green ones and she nodded. “It is. How did you know?”
“Seth had a little talk with me after he realized I was in love with you. He explained how in love you and Frank were, how devastated you were when you lost him. He explained that it was your writing that finally brought you back to life, back to the woman you had been. Although he told me that there was a part of you still missing.”
“A part that you brought back.”
“That’s what Seth said. He told me to be patient and let you get used to having that part of you again.”
“Good ol’ Seth. Always looking out for me.”
“He loves you, Jessie. And if I were to hazard a guess, your Frank probably asked him to look out for you.”
Jessica’s eyes welled as she nodded. “He did,” she whispered and sniffed.
Wiping at the tear that escaped down her cheek, George smiled at her. “He loved you very much, Lass. As do I.”
“No more doubts, George, but I’m still nervous,” she chuckled.
George grinned. “I can take your mind off your nerves for a while, Lass.”
“Oh really? Do tell, Inspector,” she teased.
“I’d rather show. I was always better at the show than the tell.”
“Now, George!” Jessica called out when a knock sounded on the closed bedroom door. “You know that we agreed you wouldn’t see me in my dress.” She frowned when the knock persisted. “George Sutherland!” she scolded as she gave in and opened the door only to find a grinning Seth on the other side.
Jessica’s mouth opened but no words came out. She smiled, then her eyes welled with tears before she threw her arms around her best friend’s neck. “Seth!”
“A’yuh. It’s me.”
“But George told me he couldn’t reach you.”
Seth patted her cheek when she pulled back. “That’s because I was already on my way here.”
Jessica frowned. “Wait a minute,” she started, stopping when Seth chuckled.
“Yes, Jessie. He had me hidden away since late yesterday afternoon. I believe you were napping when I arrived.”
Hugging Seth again, she sighed, “I’m so glad you’re here. It just wouldn’t have been the same.”
“I wasn’t at your first wedding, Jess.”
“But we didn’t even know each other then.”
Seth chuckled. “True.” Taking a good look at her, he whistled. “Beautiful. Need some help with your necklace?” he asked when he noticed it dangling from her fingers.
Jessica nodded. “Yes, please.” Turning around, she bent a bit so that Seth could easily put the necklace over her head and around her neck. “I can’t believe I’m doing this, Seth,” she whispered.
Seth could feel her trembling and squeezed her shoulders when he was through with the clasp of her necklace. “I’m sure you’re scared, Jess, but you’ll be fine. I know you’ve been alone and your own woman now for a long time, but Jess, the man loves you. I don’t think adjusting is going to be as hard as you think.”
“But Seth, we live in two completely different worlds.”
“Oh?” Seth asked. “I didn’t realize Europe was a different world.”
Jessica huffed. “Seth Hazlitt! You know perfectly well what I meant.”
“Just because you live in America and George lives in Europe doesn’t mean this won’t work. You’ve spent your time the last several years living between two places and traveling all over the world. How do you figure this will be different?”
“I,” she started then sighed, “I’m just nervous and a bit scared, Seth.”
Seth nodded. “George said that you were.” He squeezed her hands and made her look at him. “Jessie, weren’t you nervous and scared the first time?”
She frowned. “What?”
“Weren’t you scared when you married Frank?”
Jessica bit her lip and thought back then nodded. “I was terrified.”
“If you were terrified, why did you go through with it?”
Staring at him, Jessica smiled. “Because I loved Frank and knew that our love and friendship would see us through anything.”
“And so it did.” Seth smiled at her. “Now, don’t you think the same will happen with George?”
Throwing her arms around Seth’s neck, she squeezed him. “Seth Hazlitt, I love you. Thank you.”
Pulling back, Seth patted her cheek. “I promised to look after you, Jess. We’ve been through a lot together. Now, I don’t have to look after you, but I’m still your friend.”
“Best friend,” she corrected, her eyes watering.
“Ah! None of that!” he scolded and handed her his handkerchief. “You don’t want to meet your groom with red, puffy eyes.”
Jessica sniffed and dabbed at her eyes, careful to not mess up her makeup. “I suppose we should be going. George will come looking for us if we’re late.”
Seth chuckled. “He is a bit anxious.”
Taking one last look at herself in the mirror, Jessica took a deep breath. “Let’s go.”
Holding out his arm, Seth patted her hand. “Ready to become Mrs. Sutherland, Jess?”
“As ready as I’ll ever be.”
“I believe George and Jessica have decided to quote a Robbie Burns poem as part of their vows,” the minister told Seth and the staff that had gathered as witnesses.
George smiled as he turned to Jessica, his hands taking hers. “O my luve is like a red, red rose that’s newly sprung in June. O my luve is like the melodie, that’s sweetly played in tune. As fair art thou, my bonie lass, so deep in luve am I. And I will luve thee still, my dear, till a’ the seas gang dry.”
Jessica returned the smile and squeezed his hands, a little shiver going down her spine at the sound of his brogue. She’d always loved when he read her the poems of Robert Burns because he always read them to her as they’d been written. “Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear, and the rocks melt wi’ the sun. And I will love thee still my dear, while the sands o’ life shall run.” She bit her lip to keep it from trembling then continued. “I’ve heard that poem a thousand times, but never has it affected me the way it did the first time you read it to me. I love you, George. Thank you for being patient with me and not giving up on a woman set in her ways and very stubborn.”
George chuckled. “Set in her ways and definitely stubborn, but very beautiful.” He reached up and caressed her cheek. “I love you, Jessie. Even when you were a suspect in the murder I was investigating, I was captured by your beautiful eyes. I saw something there that reminded me of me. The more I got to know you, the more I realized I’d fallen in love with you.” He smiled softly at her. “I would have waited until the end of time for ye, Lass. Thank you for finally saying yes.”
Seth smiled from his place behind the couple. Watching as the ceremony moved into the exchanging of rings and the more traditional vows, he marveled at how alike yet unlike it was to its American counterpart. He didn’t understand some of the words, and wondered at how well Jessica said them. Shaking his head, he chuckled. Her Irish kin were going to be a bit peevish if they ever learned of this since he couldn’t ever recall a time when he’d heard Jessica using an Irish accent or speaking the Irish Gaelic.
Jessica closed her eyes when George’s lips met hers. For the first time in years, she was someone’s wife. Opening her eyes, she stared up into his bright green ones.
“We’ve done it, Mrs. Sutherland.” George whispered, loving the way her cheeks tinged pink.
“Yes, we have,” she whispered back, a smile lighting her face. “Now what?”
George chuckled. “Now we have dinner.”
“Oh you,” she huffed and wrapped her arms around him. “I love you, Mr. Sutherland.”
George smiled at Jessica as she came into their room. The red robe she wore, he knew, concealed the present she’d bought for him. This was the way they’d ended their Christmases ever since their relationship had become more than platonic.
Of course this Christmas was completely different than any other had been. Tonight he wouldn’t be making love to just his friend. He sighed. No, this Christmas night he would be making love to his wife.
“George? Is everything alright?” Jessica asked when she noticed the way he was staring at her. Moving next to him, she caressed his chest. “George?”
George shook his head then smiled down at Jessica as he wrapped his arms around her waist. “Seasaidh,” he breathed the name. “It’s nothing. Just thinking back over our years together.”
“Very happy thoughts,” he assured her. “I was thinking of our Christmases together, of how this one would be different.”
He nodded. “This time I won’t be making love to just my friend.” He lifted a hand and drew his fingers down her cheek. “Tonight I’ll be making love to my wife.”
Jessica closed her eyes, a lone tear rolling down her cheek, a sigh escaping her lips. “And I’ll be making love to my husband,” she whispered as she opened her eyes and looked up at him. “Are you going to unwrap your present, George?”
With fingers that were suddenly trembling, George reached out and tugged at the knot in the sash of her robe. As the soft material fell away, his breath caught. “Seasaidh.”
“You approve then?” she asked, a twinkle in her eyes.
Narrowing his eyes, George looked up at her, catching the twinkle he loved to see in the blue eyes he so adored. “Don’t I always approve?”
She nodded and smiled. “You do,” she answered.
“And don’t I always appreciate you in red?”
She hummed when his nose nuzzled her neck. “Oh most definitely.”
Skimming his hands up her arms, George pushed the robe from her shoulders, the red satin pooling behind her. Staring down at her, he saw her shiver. Easily lifting her in his arms, he carried her to their bed. “Tuck yourself in, Lass. I’ll stoke the fire.”
Jessica smirked at him. “I thought the fire was already stoked.”
“Jessica Sutherland!” George laughed as he bent over her and kissed her. “Behave until I can join ye, Lass.”
Sighing, she gave him a lopsided smile. “I shall try.”
Lying in his arms, her head resting on his chest, his heart beating steadily under her ear, Jessica sighed in perfect contentment. The fire had been stoked and had wood added to it once more just a few short minutes ago, or so she thought. She wasn’t sure about time. Somehow being with George always seemed to make time stand still.
She supposed she could look at the beside clock, but doing that would require her to move from her spot and disturb the warmth that cocooned them beneath the blankets and heavy down comforter. Besides, if she moved, she’d wake George, and he needed his rest.
“I’m awake, Love,” he whispered, his arm tightening around her. Turning his head, he looked at the clock. “It’s nearly one.”
Jessica chuckled. “Now how did you know that’s what I was thinking?”
George gave his own chuckle. “Because it’s a habit ye have.” He looked down at her, the firelight making her blonde hair glow. “Besides, I do the same. Ye make me lose track of everything but ye, Lass. I never know what time it is when we’ve been together.”
“It scared me at first,” she admitted.
Caressing her back, he took her hand in his. “It did me too, Seasaidh.”
She snuggled closer and sighed, “I’m glad we’ve had all this time away in Wick.”
“Just me and my Jessie,” he whispered. “Do you want Seth to stay longer? You didn’t argue much with him when he said he was going back.”
“Maybe we can talk him into just going to London and waiting for us there. We could all celebrate the new year together.”
“We can do that. And that will give us time alone for a wee honeymoon.”
“Wee honeymoon?” she chuckled.
“Yes. We’re going to take a long honeymoon later, but we have a few things we need to settle first.”
“I’ve decided you’re right about taking on another house. If you are truly okay with my flat in London, I’ll just hire a housekeeper for when we’re away. She can make sure everything is working properly, pay the bills and the like.”
“And Seth will continue to look after my house in Cabot Cove.” She shook her head. “Listen to us,” she mumbled. “My house, your flat.”
George squeezed her. “Our house, our flat.”
“Our,” she whispered then yawned and settled back against him. “I like that.”
“So do I, Seasaidh. So do I.” He pressed a kiss to her head. “Sleep now, Lass.”
“Whisper it to me, George,” she murmured.
George smiling in the dimly lit room, closed his eyes. “*Flow gently, sweet Afton, among thy green braes. Flow gently, I’ll sing thee a song in thy praise. My Jessie’s asleep by the murmuring stream. Flow gently, sweet Afton, disturb not her dream.”
*Sweet Afton by Robbie Burns - with Jessie substituted for Mary