Taking a look around, Geillis Duncan took stock of her surroundings. Dark, dank, musty, and filled with rats large enough to own their own croft. Sighing, she mentally chastised herself for allowing herself to end up in this predicament. Given her knowledge of witch trials, she should have known better to cover her tracks. Nevertheless, she would find a way out of this situation. This was just another obstacle in her overall mission. Nothing that could keep Geillis Duncan down.
Especially since she knew that there was someone outside of the hole that would come looking for her. She knew deep down in her soul that Dougal would come for her. There was nothing that man wouldn’t do for her. Add to the mix the fact that she was carrying his bairn, Geillis’ was sure he would be coming. As she watched the sunset in the distance, she was sure that they would be released come first light.
“We’ll no be here long, Claire,” Geillis said matter of factly. “Dougal will come for us.”
“No, he won’t.” came Claire’s response.
“Yes, he will.” Geillis retorted, standing her ground. Dougal would come for them.
“Jamie said that Dougal told Colum all about your affair and the baby. Colum banished him. Sent him to his wife’s funeral and commanded that he stay away. And sent Jamie with him. No one is coming, Geillis.”
Crossing her arms, Claire glared at Geillis. It was all her fault after all that she had been caught up in this witch hunt. She had merely attempted to warn her before the wardens arrived. Jamie had been right. She should have stayed clear of Geillis Duncan.
She could tell that Geillis truly believed that she would be saved by her lover. It was evident by the sudden loss of color in her face when Claire told her of Dougal’s sudden departure. Claire couldn’t help but feel for her. The world as Geillis knew it was falling down around her. She watched as Geillis wrapped her arms around herself, sinking until she came into contact with a cleft in the rocks. Without saying a word, Claire joined her, hoping to give her some sense of solace as her mind tried to make sense of her reality. As Claire shivered beside her, Geillis broke herself from her thoughts, placing a hand on Claire’s leg.
“There’s no use worrying anymore tonight, Claire.” Geillis began to busy herself with finding a suitable place to rest her head. Once she found a spot large enough for not only herself, but Claire as well, she reached a hand towards the other woman.
“Lie near me. It’ll be warmer.”
Taking the offered hand in her own, Claire made the move to position herself next to Geillis. Glad for the added warmth that another human body would provide on this cold night. She was beginning to wonder if burning at the stake wouldn’t be a better way to go, as opposed to freezing to death.
Wrapping her arm around Claire’s slender waist, Geillis pulled her closer.
“I willna bite ye, Claire. But ye need to move closer if ye want to keep warm.”
It helped to ease Geillis’ mind that she wasn’t alone in all this. For the first time since being thrown into the thieves hold, Geillis was happy to have Claire there with her. There was something about the other woman, something she couldn’t quite put her finger on. They had become fast friends when Claire arrived at Castle Leoch, but it went deeper than that. Geillis has always admired Claire’s porcelain skin, the way her hair had a life all its own.
There were many things that you could blame it on. Pregnancy hormones, the threat of death, the need for a human connection. That is if you wanted to something to blame. Maybe she wasn’t looking for an excuse, but rather just a moment to forget the reality she currently found herself in. To feel that connection once more before the inevitability of her death at the stake. That rush of emotion you only get from another person.
Grabbing Claire by the shoulders, she turned her body, so that they now faced one another. She smiled to herself when Claire snuggled deeper into her embrace. Now that she was holding the woman in her arms, she didn’t want to let her go. They laid there accepting the comfort that each other was offering. And just before surrendering to the peacefulness of sleep, Geillis’ lips found Claire’s. The kiss was chaste, one of exploring, of seeking. In that simple kiss, both found the compassion they would need to make it through the night.