Highland Echoes:Fated Hearts 02(124)

By: Ceci Giltenan


“I didn’t know gwamma had a brover.”

Grace smiled. “Neither did I, pet.”

Kristen whispered loudly, “I don’t fink I can say Waiwd Sincwaiw.”

Laird Sinclair laughed. “Well, ye needn’t then, sweetling. Ye can call me Uncle Ranulf.”

“Uncoe Wanuff.”

“Grandmother, this is Laird Sinclair’s wife and mother and his daughter Annice.” Grace turned to the Sinclairs. “My ladies, this is my father’s mother, Innes Murray.”

Innes curtsied to the noblewomen. “My ladies.”

“It is a pleasure to meet ye, Innes,” said Lady Lara Sinclair.

To Kristen, Grace said, “This is Aunt Lara.”

“Aunt Wawa,” echoed Kristen.

Lady Sinclair came to where Bram stood, still holding Kristen, and touched her cheek. “Oh, my precious child. It is lovely to meet ye.”

“I know,” said Kristen, nodding.

Grace laughed. “Kristen, ye should either say thank ye, or it’s lovely to meet ye too.”

“It’s wovewy to meet ye too.”

Lady Sinclair smiled.

Annice came around the table and introduced herself to Kristen. “I’m Annice and ye can just call me Annice. I’m yer mama’s cousin.”

“Annice,” said Kristen. “That name’s easy.”

Annice laughed. “I guess it is. Can I have a wee hug, poppet?” Kristen reached her arms to Annice who took her from Bram. Annice gave her a squeeze and a kiss on the cheek before putting Kristen down to stand next to Grace.

Grace reached out and took the elder Lady Sinclair’s hand. “Kristen, this dear lady is my grandmother.”

“I fought Gwanny was yer gwammuver.”

“Granny is my grandmother. She is Grandda’s mama. This is Gramma’s mama.”

“I miss Gwamma,” said Kristen somberly.

Bram was reminded poignantly of the day he found Grace and Kristen playing with kittens in the hayloft.

Tears stood in Malina Sinclair eye’s as she reached out and stroked Kristen’s hair. “I do too, Kristen.”

Without preamble, Kristen climbed into the old woman’s lap and touched a tear that spilled down her cheek. “But we aren’t going to cwy anymore. Do ye wanna know why?”

“Aye, tell me, sweetling.”

“Becuz, they are in heaven wiff God and the angels and heaven is a wuvwy pwace.”

Bram remembered this was exactly what Grace had told Kristen in the loft.

Malina kissed Kristen’s cheek. “Aye, that’s a very good reason not to cry.”

Kristen settled into her lap as if she had done it many times before. “My mama told me that.”

“Yer mama is right. Has yer mama ever told ye what matters most?”

“Aye. Kindness matters most.”

Malina smiled. “And what never helps?”

“Panicking never helps. My mama says that to me.”

Malina hugged her close. “My mama said that to me too.”

*

At one point in the afternoon, Michael entered the hall and approached Bram.

Bram smiled. “Michael, ye’re looking much better.”

“I can’t say the same for ye. Rough few days?”

“Indeed.”

“Bram, I—”

“I know Michael, I’m sorry for what my father did.”

“Ah, well, he meant well and he was right, I would have cared for Grace. We are friends, and as she told me, marriages have been built on less. But Bram, I need ye to know, I don’t love her. What I mean is, I do love her but not romantically. I would protect her with my life, but I am thrilled that ye married her, because she loves ye without reserve.”

“Thank ye, Michael. Thank ye too for trying to help her when the Morrisons came.”

“Like I said, I will protect her with my life. And while it seems she has a few more people on her side now, I just need ye to know my friend”—Michael gave him a huge grin—“if ye ever hurt her, I will kill ye.”

Bram laughed. “Aye, I’m afraid ye might have to get in line behind her uncle, and once they meet her, her cousins, but I do love her and I swear, I will do my best to see that no one ever hurts her again.”

“See that ye do, because I am serious.”