15 hours ago
I had worn that gold ring for nearly thirty years; token of vows taken, forsaken, renewed, and at last absolved. A token of marriage, of family; of a large part of my life. And the last trace of Frank — whom, in spite of everything, I had loved.
Jamie didn’t say anything, but he took my left hand in his own and held it, lightly stroking my knuckles with his thumb. I didn’t speak either. I sighed deeply and turned my face toward the stern; the trees along the shore were shivering in a rising wind of anticipation, leaves rustling loudly enough to drown the sound of the vessel’s passage.
A small drop struck my cheek, but I didn’t move. My hand lay limp and white in his, looking unaccustomedly frail; it was something of a shock to see it that way.
I was used to paying a great deal of attention to my hands, one way or another. They were my tools, my channel of touch, mingling the delicacy by which I healed. They had a certain beauty, which I admired in a detached sort of way, but it was the beauty of strength and competence, the assurance of power that made its for admirable.
It was the same hand now, pale and long-fingered, the knuckles slightly bony — oddly bare without my ring, but recognizably my hand. Yet it lay in a hand so much larger and rougher that it seemed small, and fragile by comparison.
His other hand squeezed tighter, pressing the metal of the silver ring into my flesh, reminding me of what remained. I lifted his fist and pressed it hard against my heart in answer. The rain began to fall, in large, wet drops, but neither of us moved.
It came in a rush, dropping a veil over boat and shore, pattering noisily on leaves and deck and water, lending a temporary illusion of concealment. It washed cool and soft across my skin, momentary balm on the wounds of fear and loss.
I felt at once horribly vulnerable and yet completely safe. But then — I had always felt that way with Jamie Fraser.
Diana Gabaldon, DOA, Ch 9
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