Chapter Fifty Three
I woke in Conalls arms, he was rocking me. “Conall.” I looked up to his beautiful eyes looking concerned. “Are you ok?”
“Am I ok? Yer the one that was hurt.”
“I was?” I had no memory of being hurt. Oh wait, the pain in the back of my head before everything went black. “What happened?”
Aoife. That’s what happened.” Aunt said as she crouched down and put her hand to my head. “Seems your fine now. Conall let your wife go so we can all go home.”
Silver slurped his tongue across my face. “Urk wolf, enough.”
You better now. Silver asked in his mind speak.
Yes, it would seem so.
Dougall shuffled closer. “We’ve bin waiting o’er two hours fer ye too wake.” Dougall sounded a little put out about it.
I pushed up from Conall’s hold. “Well I’m sorry to have kept you waiting, Duggie.” I retorted with some sarcasm.
Dougall startled to a stop. “I didnae mean….”
“Bráithar.” Conall warned.
Getting to my feet and looking around there was only Conall, Sloane, Dougall, aunt and me here, and Silver.
“Where’s the girl and who was the other female in the round cairn?”
Conall got to his feet putting his arm around my shoulder. “The other was the Cailleach. Agnes and Ula got rid of Aoife, then she took the lass back to her mother.”
“Aye.” Sloane said. “Aoife had her in the round cairn, and it was Andrew this time that fell into Aoife’s clutches.”
“That’s who she got her extra power from.” Aunt added.
“Nay lass, from Agnes.” Conall answered. “She took it back though just as Ula caught her in a tornado.”
“So where is she now?” I couldn’t help but think this business with Aoife wasn’t finished by a long shot.
Conall wrapped his arms around me and kissed my forehead. “Agnes sent her to prehistoric time and seeing as she has limited power now, it will take quite a while for her to be any further trouble.”
I wasn’t convinced but very happy she was gone, for the time being. This could have all turned out much worse. I let myself be taken by her when my intention was to finish her. How quickly things change.
Dougall coughed into his hand.
“Ok, we can go now.” I said to the relief on his face.
Arriving back at Sutherland castle and after washing and dressing in clean clothes we were ushered to the dining room by Mrs MacLeish. Bowls of stew, baskets of fresh baked bread or as Conall called them bannocks, and trays of fresh fruit adorned the long table.
I didn’t think I could stomach the stew, content to just nibble on fresh bread. I need to talk with aunt this stomach sickness must be a bug, the last thing I wanted was for anyone to get sick. If it was I could have picked it up in Milan.
“Morgan are you feeling alright?” Aunt asked concern in her voice.
“Yes, I’m fine just a little tired.” I did want to tell her but not in the front of everyone else, Conall has stressed enough in the past few months for a life time. I’ll tell her when we have a quiet minute together.
“Ye are looking a bit peeked lass.” Sloane added.
“I’m fine stop fussing.” I said a little more abruptly than I meant to.
Conall turned from his discussion with Haig to me, a worried look on his face. “Morgan would ye like me tae take ye up tae bed, so ye can rest. Ye’ve had a long day lass.”
I was feeling tired I must have used more energy than I thought. “Ok.” The thought of snuggling in his arms sounded wonderful.
Before Conall could move aunt got up waving her hand at him. “You stay I will take her, alright love?”
Right aunt it was, I’ll snuggle later. “Yes, stay Conall, aunt will come with me. “Goodnight da and thank you Mrs MacLeish.”
“If your sure lass?” Conall asked. I didn’t want to pull him away from the discussion he was having with had father, it wasn’t as if they saw each other all the time. “I’ll be ok you stay and talk with your da.”
“Goodnight Morgan, rest easy.” Haig called out as I left the room with aunt in tow.
Going up the stair’s aunt linked my arm with hers. “Are you still feeling sick in the tummy?”
I nodded pressing my lips together. “It’s probably just the stress of everything…maybe I used too much energy today. I could have picked up a bug in Milan.” I breathed, thoughts crossed my mind of being the nucleus spreading a disease that could wipe out a whole city or country, I shook my head now I was just being negative. No, it had to be stress.
“Could be anything.” Aunt murmured.
I lay down on the bed, she brought a damp cloth to wipe my face and neck.
“I meant to tell you I had a long chat with the Cailleach. Well one thing that came up and I know you have been worried about it, was the loss of human lives being turned into Brollachans.”
“You don’t have to worry most were dying on battlefields throughout the centuries. Only a few where people not dying from injuries, were turned.”
That should have made me feel better, but it didn’t, not really, they were still people whether they were dying or not. “Hang on was Joe one of those from the battle field?” Aunt shook her head.
“No, he wasn’t. He was actually a police officer.” My mouth dropped open. “Don’t worry he was on the take, he was a really bad man, hurt a lot of good people, no one will miss him.” She said placidly unrepentant.
I understood what she was saying, I hated Joe with a vengeance, but he was still a person bad or good before being changed into a Brollachan.
“Can I ask you a question?”
“Of course, you can ask me anything aunt.”
She put the cloth on the side cupboard and took hold of my hand. Her question must be serious by the look on her face.
“How long as it been since you had your courses, your periods?”
Of all the questions I expected her to ask me that wasn’t one of them. It made me think though, when was the last time. “I’m not sure.”
“Did you have one while you were in Milan?”
I shook my head. “My periods have never run like clockwork, they could be a week ahead or late. Now that I think about it, I haven’t had once since before Conall and I were married.”
“And how many days have you been sick?”
“A few.” Could I be pregnant? My eyes grew wide gaping at aunt Ula, a smile etching across her face. “You don’t think…”
“That’s exactly what I think, Morgan. I believe you are pregnant.”
She went to the door opening it and shouted at a servant nearby. A young girl rushed to her curtseying unsteadily.
“Martha go and fetch Agina as quick as you can, and bring her here to this room.”
“Yes ma lady.” A squeak of a voice came from the girl as she scurried off.
I had heard of Agina, she dealt in herbs, working as a local doctor of sorts. “Why have you sent for her?”
Aunt left the door open half way and sat on the bed. “Trust me Agina is the best at knowing if someone is pregnant, she’s never had a miss yet. I trust her. I’m fairly certain you are, but would like to get a second opinion. That’s if you don’t mine?”
“Ok.” Pregnant, I’ll admit it wasn’t one of the things I had thought about, stress, disease yes. Pregnancy no.
It wasn’t long before an old woman trudged to the door, knocking even though it was part open. Aunt bade her to come in. Agina was old her grey almost white hair held in a bun. She had though the kindest wrinkly face just what you would imagine a grandma would look like, her brown eyes gentle, soft and loving.
“Ye called fer me Ula?” It surprised me that the old woman had used aunts first name and not the customary, ma’am or lady.
As if she had read my mind aunt said. “Oh, don’t worry about Agina, Morgan, we have been friends for a very long time. That right Agina?”
“Aye, it’s been a long time since I have seen ye lass. Now tell me why ye have called me?”
“Agina, this is my niece, Morgan. I am fairly certain she is pregnant, and I just wanted your opinion.”
The old woman took a breath and eyed me, her glance running down my form as if she could see straight through me. “I’ve seen ye in the castle, are ye no married to Connie?” I nodded my head. “Right then I’ll ask ye to lay down fer me child.” I did as she asked, while aunt closed and locked the door.
“Do ye mind if ye could remove ye breeches.” She asked. I looked to aunt, she nodded. Ok so this was going to be a little more than simply placing her hands on my stomach. I took a deep breath.
Agina placed a hand on my leg. “Don ye worry lass I will no hurt ye but I need to feel to be sure.”
Aunt came to stand beside her. “Agina has done this hundreds of times, love. You’re in the best hands.” Agina huffed.
Scrunching my eyes, I undid my belt and laces of my pants, pushing them down over my hips and bum.
“Any tha rest lass.” Agina said in a hushed tone. Damn she meant my underwear as well. With a few deep breaths I did as she asked. “Right now, pull ye knees up.” Oh lord this was so embarrassing. I pulled my knees up, Agina rubbed her hands vigorously together.
I lay there my lady bits bared to the room. I know only my aunt and Agina were here, but it didn’t resolve the reddening of my face. Turning my head I focused on a blank spot on the wall.
Before I could think anymore about it one of her wrinkly warmed hands lay flat against my stomach while a finger of the other hand penetrated me. I pulled a quick breath in at the intrusion.
“Hush now lass, it’ll take but a minute, try tae relax.” Agina said still probing my insides. It wouldn’t have mattered if it was her or a doctor in my own time, I still would have felt the same mortifying awkwardness.
Agina pulled her hands away from me accepting a wet cloth to wipe her hands. Aunt handed me a second one to wipe myself.
“Ye can dress now lass, I’m done.” Agina muttered handing her cloth back to Ula.
“So, what do you think?” Aunt pressed.
“Aye, tha lass is pregnant.” Agina answered patting my leg as I moved to sit on the edge of the bed. “With twin bairns.”
Both aunt’s and my mouth dropped open. “How do you know?” How would she know if I was carrying twins or one child? Holy smokes two babies, I hadn’t been sure if I wanted one child never mind two.
Agina raised an eyebrow at me. “I ken that’s all ye need, I’m nay wrong.” Aunt still with her mouth hanging, eyes wide nodded at me. “If that be all Ula I’ve a lad wi a broken arm tae mend.”
Ula finally snapped her mouth back, me, I was still in shock. “Yes, sorry Agina, thank you for coming so quickly.” Agina huffed again and headed for the door. Aunt stumbled to get there first, unlock it and let her out. “Thank you again.” Agina back waved, not saying anything further as she shuffled away.
Ula closed the door and pushed her back up against it. “Twins.” She muttered more to herself than me. A steady smile began to cross her face turning into a full blown grin. Turning her eyes to me, they were full of love, happiness and pride. “Morgan you’re having twins?”
She rushed to the bed and flung her arms around me. “Do you know how much I love you?” As much as I love you. I never asked her why she and Sloane had never had children, the time just never seemed to be right, and I certainly wasn’t going to ask her now.
I jumped up off the bed pacing and wringing my hands. “What if…what if Conall doesn’t want a child? We haven’t exactly spent a lot of time together, with me getting shipped off to Milan.”
Ula sprang from the bed and grabbed me by the shoulders. “Now you listen to me child. Conall will be ecstatic, like everyone else. Especially Haig, with him becoming a grandfather, and don’t get me started with Sloane. He’ll be like a blasted mother hen.”
Tears erupted in my eyes running down my face, there was no way to stop them. Hers were just as bad as we clung to each other and howled loud enough to wake the dead.
The door to the bedroom suddenly flew open smashing into the wall, and there in the doorway stood my husband ready to battle what ever he though was attacking us. Pulling up the rear was Sloane, Haig and Dougall, and Mrs MacLeish with a frying pan in hand waving it like a banshee.
Conall raced into the room. “What is it, what’s wrong?” He scanned the room as he asked. There was my husband, strong, determined, jealous and protective.
Ula and I looked at each other’s wet faces then broke out in a fit of laughter still clutched together.