Plume et parchemin

Plume et parchemin

Dragon fly in Amber ( Whisky)

I spent the afternoon in reading one of the herbals that my friend Brother Ambrose had pressed upon me as a parting gift, then in necessary repairs with needle and thread. Neither of us owned many clothes, and while there were advantages in traveling light, it meant that holey socks and undone hems demanded immediate attention. My needlecase was nearly as precious to me as the small chest in which I carried herbs and medicines.

The needle dipped in and out of the fabric, winking in the light from the window. I wondered how Jamie’s visit with Jared was going. I wondered still more what Prince Charles would be like. He would be the first historically famous person I had met, and while I knew better than to believe all the legends that had (not had, would, I reminded myself) sprung up around him, the reality of the man was a mystery. The Rising of the ’45 would depend almost entirely on the personality of this one young man—its failure or success. Whether it took place at all might depend upon the efforts of another young man—Jamie Fraser. And me.

I was still absorbed in my mending and my thoughts, when heavy footsteps in the corridor aroused me to the realization that it was late in the day; the drip of water from the eaves had slowed as the temperature dropped, and the flames of the sinking sun glowed in the ice spears hanging from the roof. The door opened, and Jamie came in.

He smiled vaguely in my direction, then stopped dead by the table, face absorbed as though he were trying to remember something. He took his cloak off, folded it, and hung it neatly over the foot of the bed, straightened, marched over to the other stool, sat down on it with great precision, and closed his eyes.

I sat still, my mending forgotten in my lap, watching this performance with considerable interest. After a moment, he opened his eyes and smiled at me, but didn’t say anything. He leaned forward, studying my face with great attention, as though he hadn’t seen me in weeks. At last, an expression of profound revelation passed over his face, and he relaxed, shoulders slumping as he rested his elbows on his knees.

“Whisky,” he said, with immense satisfaction.
“I see,” I said cautiously. “A lot of it?”
He shook his head slowly from side to side, as though it were very heavy. I could almost hear the contents sloshing.
“Not me,” he said, very distinctly. “You.”
“Me?” I said indignantly.
“Your eyes,” he said. He smiled beatifically. His own eyes were soft and dreamy, cloudy as a trout pool in the rain.

“My eyes? What have my eyes got to do with . . .”
“They’re the color of verra fine whisky, wi’ the sun shining through them from behind. I thought this morning they looked like sherry, but I was wrong. Not sherry. Not brandy. It’s whisky. That’s what it is.” He looked so gratified as he said this that I couldn’t help laughing.
“Jamie, you’re terribly drunk. What have you been doing?”
His expression altered to a slight frown.
“I’m not drunk.”
“Oh, no?” I laid the mending aside and came over to lay a hand on his forehead. It was cool and damp, though his face was flushed. He at once put his arms about my waist and pulled me close, nuzzling affectionately at my bosom. The smell of mingled spirits rose from him like a fog, so thick as almost to be visible.

“Come here to me, Sassenach,” he murmured. “My whisky-eyed lass, my love. Let me take ye to bed.”
I thought it a debatable point as to who was likely to be taking whom to bed, but didn’t argue. It didn’t matter why he thought he was going to bed, after all, provided he got there. I bent and got a shoulder under his armpit to help him up, but he leaned away, rising slowly and majestically under his own power.
I dinna need help,” he said, reaching for the cord at the neck of his shirt. “I told ye, I’m not drunk.”

“You’re right,” I said. ” ‘Drunk’ isn’t anywhere near sufficient to describe your current state. Jamie, you’re completely pissed.” His eyes traveled down the front of his kilt, across the floor, and up the front of my gown.
“No, I’m not,” he said, with great dignity. “I did that outside.” He took a step toward me, glowing with ardor. “Come here to me, Sassenach; I’m ready.”

I thought “ready” was a bit of an overstatement in one regard; he’d gotten his buttons half undone, and his shirt hung askew on his shoulders, but that was as far as he was likely to make it unaided.

In other respects, though . . . the broad expanse of his chest was exposed, showing the small hollow in the center where I was accustomed to rest my chin, and the small curly hairs sprang up joyous around his nipples. He saw me looking at him, and reached for one of my hands, clasping it to his breast. He was startlingly warm, and I moved instinctively toward him. The other arm swept round me and he bent to kiss me. He made such a thorough job of it that I felt mildly intoxicated, merely from sharing his breath.
“All right,” I said, laughing. “If you’re ready, so am I. Let me undress you first, though—I’ve had enough mending today.”

He stood still as I stripped him, scarcely moving. He didn’t move, either, as I attended to my own clothes and turned down the bed.

I climbed in and turned to look at him, ruddy and magnificent in the sunset glow. He was finely made as a Greek statue, long-nosed and high-cheeked as a profile on a Roman coin. The wide, soft mouth was set in a dreamy smile, and the slanted eyes looked far away. He was perfectly immobile.
I viewed him with some concern.
“Jamie,” I said, “how, exactly, do you decide whether you’re drunk?”
Aroused by my voice, he swayed alarmingly to one side, but caught himself on the edge of the mantelpiece. His eyes drifted around the room, then fixed on my face. For an instant, they blazed clear and pellucid with intelligence.

“Och, easy, Sassenach. If ye can stand up, you’re not drunk.” He let go of the mantelpiece, took a step toward me, and crumpled slowly onto the hearth, eyes blank, and a wide, sweet smile on his dreaming face.
“Oh,” I said.

0 Poster un commentaire
Ces blogs de Littérature & Poésie pourraient vous intéresser

Inscrivez-vous au blog

Soyez prévenu par email des prochaines mises à jour

Rejoignez les 5 autres membres