“Cowards Need Not Apply”
Summary: Claire was annoyed with the rascally rabbits. Roger made his return. He performed a blood vow upon the baby. Jamie declared Roger and Brianna husband and wife by handfast. Brianna was timid around Roger. Claire tended Roger’s wounded foot. Roger convalesced at the partially completed big house. Brianna visited Roger daily. Claire released Roger from rest. Claire cautioned Roger to be careful. Jamie cautioned Roger not to be cowardly. Roger went to see Brianna. They talked and began to make their way back to each other.
Inside the Chapters:
Child of My Blood
Claire was in the vegetable garden decrying the work of hungry and destructive rabbits. She found herself missing Young Ian and his dog. She was trying to get the new planting in before the weather turned cold. She needed a way to keep the rabbits from the nutrient dense and flavorful cabbages. She decided Jamie should urinate, like a mountain lion, around the garden would keep the hungry bunnies away. She headed toward the herb shed and noticed movement. She thought it was Jamie, but it was a man dark of hair and beard, in tattered clothing looking worse for wear. It was Roger MacKenzie Wakefield. He was happy Claire was the person he met first (p1019, Nook). The others were in the cabin. Jamie and Brianna worked on the house plans, while the baby slept nearby. Lizzie was busy spinning by the window. With the opening of the door, Jamie swiftly and loudly reacted before recognizing who it was who had entered. Brianna looked around wildly as she soothed the woken baby.
Jamie stood with the stillness of battle readiness next to Brianna as she nursed the baby. Roger’s own countenance echoed that of Jamie. They appeared to mirror each other to Claire’s shock. They were Vikings, the pair of them with Brianna rounding out the trio with flames in her eyes. Roger asked Jamie to cut his wrist (1021, Nook). In that one act, Roger adopted the baby as his. He asked what the baby was named, but none was given yet. Claire saw how different Brianna and Roger were to each other. It had been nine-plus months since they became handfast. Roger wanted to know if Brianna was his wife (p1022, Nook). Brianna wanted to know why he came back. Maybe for obligation and wanting, but he couldn’t tell her exactly. She asked him about the stone circle. It took him a long time to find it again. She explained to Roger what she wanted from a marriage (p1023, Nook). They were handfasted on September 2 of the prior year, for two and a half more months they would remain so then they could choose to stay together or not (p1023, Nook). The last remark or rather a threat caused a row between the two men after they went outside (p1024, Nook). As ever Claire attributed it to testosterone poisoning (p1024, Nook). Claire if it were only so easy to take care of testosterone poisoning.
Life on the Ridge was uncomfortable with the personalities and situations at play. The baby’s nightly colic caused Jamie to work on the new house with fervor. Roger helped with the other chores though his injured foot made it difficult. He refused treatment, but Claire insisted he must allow her to assess it. There were no signs of blood infection or gangrene. There were pockets of infection that built up and had been partially draining when he walked. She decided what to do and needed Bree’s help. Lizzie offered in her place out of remorsefulness and trying to make amends any way she could for her part in Roger’s trial. Claire bid Lizzie the task of taking the baby outside for some fresh air. Claire explained the procedure of draining, disinfecting, and debridement to Roger. She had Brianna hold onto his hands tightly. By the time she had disinfected the wound, Roger’s head was in Brianna’s lap, and her arms were tight around his shoulders. Claire went to the shed for a minute to get the rotting meat she had prepped a couple of days before. She placed the maggots into the wounds to eat away any dead tissue that remained. Claire had learned this type of debridement from her friend Nayawenne. She wrapped his foot and assured him the work of the maggots might tickle, but they wouldn’t hurt. If you would like to know more about Maggot Therapy, click here.
Claire went outside to wash the bowl. She met Jamie who was holding the baby. He had taken him from a crying Lizzie who was mourning the loss of Young Ian. This girl is gonna get #boycrazy soon. Jamie took Claire to show her of his progress on the big house. He thought Roger staying at the big house temporarily would be the best bet since beds were in short supply. They talked, and Claire told Jamie Brianna and Roger are getting to know each other again, and things seemed well between them.
Clever Claire had Brianna help her with Roger’s procedure. Brianna had to touch Roger and be near him. Why oh why did Jamie still think poorly of Roger? I haven’t puzzled that one out yet. Lizzie, damn that girl should feel all sorts of remorsefulness, though Jamie going full tilt “Operation Wakefield is a Rapist,” is all on his shoulders 100%.
The Toss of a Coin
Roger was staying in the partially built big house while recovering from having Claire perform minor surgery on his foot. Brianna came to see him every day to bring food, water, and such. She had come without the baby and thought it was wonderful to have the rare alone time with her; she didn’t stay long because of the baby’s absence. Roger’s appetite had come back with ferocity. He gratefully ate what she had brought him in the basket. As he ate, Roger looked out over the land understanding and approving of Jamie selecting this site for the house (p1030, Nook). Roger pondered why he told her he didn’t know why he returned. He hadn’t known then (p1031, Nook). The jig was up. He figured out and appreciated Claire’s tactic in getting Brianna in proximity to and touching him when performing the wound surgery.
At the end of the week, Claire released him from recovery and cautioned him to not step on anything sharp. The baby had been crying all night, so no one got any sleep. Jamie planned on moving into the partially built house with Claire immediately. Roger took this moment to ask Claire’s advice about what to do based on Brianna’s behavior when he tried to touch her. Claire indelicately approached the subject (p1033, Nook). She told him to be careful. After Claire left, Jamie came bearing gifts of a razor and hot water. Roger was thankful as the beard itched terribly. Roger tried to make small talk as Jamie watched him shave. There was little use for a historian with a talent as a folk singer on an 18th-century mountain farm (p1035, Nook). Jamie lacked all subtlety in telling Roger Brianna, and the baby would be alone for the night. (Insert staring blue cat-like laser beams at Roger). Without being prompted, he gave Roger relationship advice (p1036, Nook). That one sentence said it all, Brianna didn’t need a cowardly man. Jamie told him to go for it, tonight, there was no time like the present to convince her.
Roger initially heeded Jamie’s advice and went down to the cabin. He worked out ways to get her attention without scaring her. Then he thought to give up and to try again in the morning. Jamie and Claire thus even in the advice taking. He stayed and walked around the cabin a couple of more times. As if divine intervention, Brianna left the cabin to use the privy. He scared her saying her name. She was annoyed and told him to go away. He waited for her to return from the privy. At first, she chided him for walking on the foot before she told him to go back to bed (p1037, Nook). They are finally talking. #OnTheTrainToCommuncationStation She invited him into the cabin after the baby began to cry. She laid down to nurse and Roger sat on the nursing chair in front of the fire. The room was warm and had homey scents.
He watched and apologized for it. She didn’t care. To her surprise, Roger began to undress (p1039, Nook). She asked about the marks on his back. The scars had come from the Indians. He turned around. It had been dark when they were together the many months back, so this was the first time she was seeing him in the light. Which of them had changed more since that first and only night together? He sat down and wanted to know what it felt like to have the baby nurse. To show him what happened when the baby nursed, she popped the baby off and sprayed him with the fine streams of letdown milk. Yes, Roger like a squirt gun! Roger told her he wants her; she wanted him too. Roger took the sleeping baby into his arms and looked him over. Brianna thought he was trying to see the resemblance; he wasn’t. He wanted to have a proper look at the baby. Brianna brushed her hair while Roger examined the baby. He noticed how the foot reacted to his finger stroke. She explained the “Eau de baby” scent that babies have. It is intoxicating and helps keep parents from killing them. She’s not wrong. Babies are tough work. Brianna placed the baby back in the cradle.
Roger asked why Brianna stayed once she found out she was pregnant. She couldn’t leave without him. She allowed her gown to fall to the floor. He saw her in full nakedness. He delighted at seeing the colors upon her nether region. He wanted her. She wanted to know what Roger found holy. Their little family, nothing more.
What’s Coming up? Chapters 68-71 Drums of Autumn (DOA).
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