The whole Scene (after Laoghaire shot at Jamie)
Jamie had had neither warning nor choice about my reappearance in his life; no time to make decisions or resolve conflicts. And he was not one to abandon his responsibilities, even for the sake of love.
Yes, he’d lied to me. Hadn’t trusted me to recognize his responsibilities, to stand by him—or to leave him—as his circumstances demanded. He’d been afraid. So had I; afraid that he wouldn’t choose me, confronted with the struggle between a twenty-year-old love and a present-day family. So I’d run away.“Who you jiving, L.J.?” I heard Joe Abernathy’s voice say, derisive and affectionate. I had fled toward Craigh na Dun with all the speed and decision of a condemned felon approaching the steps of the gallows. Nothing had slowed my journey but the hope that Jamie would come after me.True, the pangs of conscience and wounded pride had spurred me on, but the one moment when Young Ian had said, “He’s dying,” had shown those up for the flimsy things they were.
My marriage to Jamie had been for me like the turning of a great key, each small turn setting in play the intricate fall of tumblers within me. Bree had been able to turn that key as well, edging closer to the unlocking of the door of myself. But the final turn of the lock was frozen—until I had walked into the printshop in Edinburgh, and the mechanism had sprung free with a final, decisive click. The door now was ajar, the light of an unknown future shining through its crack. But it would take more strength than I had alone to push it open.
I watched the rise and fall of his breath, and the play of light and shadow on the strong, clean lines of his face, and knew that nothing truly mattered between us but the fact that we both still lived. So here I was. Again. And whatever the cost of it might be to him or me, here I stayed.