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datatime: 2022-12-02 04:08:30 Author:qIqCADkN

Her labor had been long and hard, but no longer and no harder than that of many other young ladies she had seen, the midwife declared. It was only after midnight, an hour after Geoffrey had ridden into the gathering storm to try and fetch the doctor, that the midwife had grown alarmed. That was when the bleeding had started.

"Not on purpose, Mrs. Ramage," Ian said.

Geoffrey was right, of course - dear old Geoffrey was rarely wrong - but sometimes when he was alone, the Gearless of Misery's escape from the Grim Reaper came forcibly home to him, and it was nearly impossible to hold the tears back. He loved her so much; without her he would die. Without Misery, there would simply be no life left for him, or in him.

"Dear old Geoffrey" He spoke it aloud this time as he stepped into the huge and stuporously warm West Country kitchen.

"Not on purpose, Mrs. Ramage," Ian said.

"Yes." He actually had needed to urinate quite badly - in all the excitement he hadn't had time to think of such things.

"Yes." He actually had needed to urinate quite badly - in all the excitement he hadn't had time to think of such things.

"To let the medication work?" she asked, and he nodded gratefully.

Geoffrey was right, of course - dear old Geoffrey was rarely wrong - but sometimes when he was alone, the Gearless of Misery's escape from the Grim Reaper came forcibly home to him, and it was nearly impossible to hold the tears back. He loved her so much; without her he would die. Without Misery, there would simply be no life left for him, or in him.

Writing does not cause misery, it is born of misery.

Get them as far under as you can, he thought blindly. Make sure you do that so if she changes the bed she won't pull them out with the ground sheet. Get them as far under as you . . . you . . .

"To let the medication work?" she asked, and he nodded gratefully.

"Annie, could you wait five minutes?" he managed. She looked at him, gaze narrowing slightly. "I thought you were in a lot of pain, buster."

"Yes." He actually had needed to urinate quite badly - in all the excitement he hadn't had time to think of such things.

Distantly, from the parlor, he could hear the rippling strains of Chopin, and he paused with the strip of towel still in his left hand, listening.

"Not on purpose, Mrs. Ramage," Ian said.

"All done?" she asked a few moments later.

"By the sound o" ye coat a-drippin" out there in the entry, ye nairly drowned between the sheds and the hoose"

She got him over to the side of the bed.

He shoved the last under the mattress, then leaned back and looked up at the ceiling, where the W's danced drunkenly across the plaster.

"All done?" she asked a few moments later.

"Not on purpose, Mrs. Ramage," Ian said.

"I am," he said. "It hurts . . . too much. My knee, mostly. Where you . . . uh, where you lost your temper. I'm not ready to be picked up. Could I have five minutes to . . . to . . . " He knew what he wanted to say but it was drifting away from him. Drifting away and into the gray. He looked at her helplessly, knowing he was going to be caught after all.

Get them as far under as you can, he thought blindly. Make sure you do that so if she changes the bed she won't pull them out with the ground sheet. Get them as far under as you . . . you . . .

There was an old strip of towelling hung from a hook in the entryway, and after hanging up his dripping coat and removing his boots, he used it to towel his dark-blonde hair dry.

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