“Promise me that you will take care of yourself and the child until I can return to you both.”
“I promise, Simon. I—”
“I . . . I cannot say good-bye!” His voice broke as he pulled away from her embrace and ran across the deck, stopping only to pick up his valise before running down the gangplank and disappearing quickly through the crowd on the wharf below.
Leigha understood the way he had left and knew that there had been no other way, for they could never truly say good-bye to each other. The future seemed dismal and dark. Though she tried to hope that they would be together again one day, there were too many things that stood in their way. Watching him go, she raised her hand to sadly wave at him, only to lower it again. She felt empty, wasted, and terribly, terribly alone as she watched him leave, and stood silently immobile for several minutes after he had disappeared from her sight.
Unable to stand her pain any longer, Leigha turned and ran to her cabin to throw herself on her bunk. Wrapping her arms about herself, she rocked with her grief as she wept bitterly. She thought of the life she had shared with Simon and of their shattered dreams. Theirs was a love greater than any she had ever hoped for and she feared that she would never see him again. She must return to Scotland and to a life without him that seemed to hold nothing for her now but cold emptiness. Her child kicked sharply and rolled as if to remind her that she was not so all alone. She took comfort from the feeling of new life within her and rubbed her stomach. Then her heart broke again as her mind turned to thoughts of Robert. This child would carry on his blood even as his life was surely being extinguished. Stephen had completed his last evil work well, and though he now lay dead, Robert too was dying. Her mind circled back again from one agony to another. Despite hoping otherwise, she feared that Simon would die on the hangman’s noose. She shook herself at the horrible thought and knew that she must not let go of her last ray of hope for Simon’s life to be spared. She must make herself move through the endless days and nights ahead, and keep looking forward to the coming birth of her child. She sobbed as she prayed that God would show her favor again someday and give her happiness in whatever way that He felt best. With her heart breaking so, her tears did not stop until she fell into an exhausted sleep, unaware of the movement of the Harrington as it left its berth and headed out to sea for home.