Jamie smiled and touched his arm, urging him toward a big stone at what Roger assumed would be the front of the house. Two pegged strings ran out at ninety-degree angles from the stone, outlining two sides of the house’s footprint. It was going to be a sizable house—maybe even bigger than the original Big House.
“Come walk the foundation with me, aye?”
Roger bobbed his head and followed his father-in-law to the big stone, and was surprised to see that the word “FRASER” had been chiseled into it, and below that, “1779.”
“My cornerstone,” Jamie said. “I thought if the house was to burn down again, at least folk would ken we’d been here, aye?”
“Ah…mm,” Roger managed. He cleared his throat hard, coughed, and found enough air for a few words. “Lallybroch… y-your da…” He pointed upward, as though to a lintel. “He put—the date.” Jamie’s face lighted.
“He did,” he said. “The place is still standing, then?”
“It was last time I… saw it.” His throat had loosened as the grip of emotion left it. “Though… come to think—” He stopped, recalling just when he’d last seen Lallybroch.
“I wondered, ken.” Jamie had turned his back and was leading the way down what would be the side of the house. A smell like roast chicken was wafting from the fire; it must be the pigeons. “Brianna told me about the men who came.” He glanced back briefly at Roger, his face careful. “Ye were gone then, of course, lookin’ for Jem.”
“Yes.” And Bree had been forced to leave the house—their house—abandoned to the hands of thieves and kidnappers. It felt like the rock had dropped from his throat into his chest. No use thinking of that just now, though, and he shoved the vision of people shooting at his wife and children down into the bottom of his brain—for the moment.
“As it is,” he said, catching up with Jamie. “The last time I saw Lallybroch was… a bit earlier than that.”
Jamie paused, one eyebrow raised, and Roger cleared his throat. It was what he’d come back here to say; no better time to say it.
“When I went to find Jem, I started by going to Lallybroch. He knew it, it was his home—I thought, if he somehow got away from Cameron, he’d maybe go there.”
Jamie looked at him for a moment, then drew breath and nodded. “The lass said… 1739?”
“You would have been eighteen. Away at university in Paris. Your family was very proud of you,” Roger added softly. Jamie turned his head sharply away, and stood quite still; Roger could hear the catch in his breath.
“Jenny,” he said. “Ye met Jenny. Then.”
“Aye, I did. She was maybe twenty. Then.” And then, for him, was no more than six months in the past. And Jenny now was what, sixty? “I thought—I thought I should maybe say something to ye, before I met her again.”
This Daily Lines excerpt was also posted on my official Facebook page on October 11, 2018. Thanks to Haylie Stanhope for the lovely bee in Australian Lillypilly blossoms!
This page was last updated on Thursday, October 25, 2018 at 2:07 a.m. by Diana’s Webmistress.