Chapter Seven – I'm With You
He couldn't take it.
Wasn't she going to tell him that she wanted to come? Wasn't she going to ask him what he wanted? Or had she already assumed?
That was probably it. Since he hadn't said anything, she probably jumped to the conclusion that he didn't want her anymore.
God. That was the furthest thing from the truth. He wanted nothing but her. He didn't know when it happened but now, he couldn't picture his life without her. He needed her. If he didn't have her, he had no idea what he would do or what would become of her.
Violet was the most important thing in his life. She had become his life.
Jamie squeezed his arms around her as she continued to cry. He had to tell her. He had to tell her that he honestly didn't think that he couldn't live if she wasn't there with him. He didn't even know if he would want to live if he had to go through his life without her.
He slipped one hand up her back and held the back of her neck while the other arm tightened around her waist. She was crying almost hysterically and certainly uncontrollably. He had to calm her down. He began planting kisses on her head, moving towards her soaking wet cheek.
"Violet?" He spoke softly but she shook her head, refusing to look him in the eyes.
He could only imagine how her violet eyes looked at that moment- bloodshot and absolutely drowning in her tears. He could never stand to see her with such a look. It felt as if he was ripping apart inside whenever she was upset, particularly with him.
"I'm sorry." He kissed her cheek. "I'm sorry."
"Oh!" She exclaimed, practically wailing. "You don't even know why you're apologizing to me, Jamie!"
"You don't want me to go," Jamie assumed and was slightly surprised when she shook her head.
He had been almost certain that that was what it was about. It didn't matter that she said she wouldn't ask him to stay. Not asking him to stay and actually not wanting him to go were two entirely different things.
She wasn't going to hold him back. He knew her well enough to know that she asking him to stay was never actually something she would do. She might have suggested it in the midst of her crying but she wouldn't mean it. She knew how important this would be to him.
She knew, better than everyone except maybe Dr. Kirkland, of how much he sometimes really hated his job. He was sick of having to be careful with what he said or where he stepped or even what he wrote just in case he had the chance of upsetting or insulting someone with more prestige and power within the department of him.
He was sick of it. He was twenty-six and he was exhausted by the sheer will power it took to bite his tongue everyday. If he said half of the things he wanted to say to someone in his department, he would never have had the chance to work with Dr. Kirkland for five years.
And Violet understood all of this. He didn't doubt her understanding either of what a huge opportunity this job in London for him was.
"Violet, you know I love you."
She stared at him, growing quiet so fast, it was almost unsettling. Tears still streamed down her cheeks and he wiped them away.
He remembered reading somewhere, and he found that it was rather strange that he couldn't remember where, that love is letting someone use you as a Kleenex. He wasn't about to deny Violet that.
She touched his face, her chin beginning to tremble.
"Then why haven't you asked me to come with you?"
The worst possible reaction to that question was to laugh and that was exactly what Jamie did.
He burst out laughing and he shook his head slightly.
He couldn't believe it. She wanted to come with him. She wanted to be picking up her entire life and start it somewhere else with him. With him! Jamie could have jumped up and done a dance if it, at all, was in his nature to do such a thing.
He remained sitting on the bed with her sitting in his lap and he laughed. He realized his mistake though when Violet began to cry again.
"If you don't want me to come with you..." she practically blubbered but didn't get any other words out for Jamie had grabbed her head and kissed her, fusing their lips together.
He kissed her so hungrily and frenzied, it was as if he sucking the very air from her lungs.
"Are you crazy?" He asked her. "Of course I want you to come with me."
Violet's mouth fell open and all she could do for a moment was stare at him. "But... why... you didn't," she sputtered then paused to collect herself. "But you didn't ask me."
Jamie smiled faintly, brushing the hair plastered on her face from her tears behind her ears and wiping at her cheeks. "You have a life here, Violet."
She shook her head slightly, her body still reeling from it all. "Not if you're somewhere else," she whispered before kissing him again, circling her arms around his neck tightly.
He wanted her to come to London with him. He didn't want to let her go. Oh, how could she have thought such a thing, if even for a moment? Of course Jamie didn't want her out of his life. He had declared her loved her but just a breath before telling her of his move.
And as they kissed, she smiled against his lips as he brought them back down to lying on the bed then immediately rolling her onto her back. He loved her and he wanted her to share a life with her. Her heart soared in her chest, it feeling as if it was threatening to escape from beneath her ribcage.
She knew why he hadn't asked her though as she thought it over. He hadn't wanted to ask her to give her entire life up in Chicago for him. Goodness, she loved him. Did he honestly think that he wasn't worth such a decision? She would have done anything for him. If he had been assigned to move to Siberia, she would be right there with him, buying several extra thick winter coats.
She could have strangled him. Jamie was so brilliant and yet, he couldn't realize that she didn't care what happened as long as she had him? Men.
She giggled into his mouth and Jamie pulled his head back to look down into her eyes. He raised his eyebrows at her and couldn't help but smile when she tried to somber to no avail for she began giggling again.
"Not exactly what me kissing you is supposed to get out of you," Jamie teased.
Violet shook her head, smiling broadly. "I was just thinking how much of an idiot you actually are despite being a genius."
Jamie smirked, rolling off of her and laying down beside her. "Aw. Pillow talk," he joked and Violet shook her head, smiling.
He rested his forehead against her temple and draped an arm across her stomach. Most of his body was still on top of her but he shifted more onto his side so she wasn't dealt with the full force of his weight.
"Violet?" He asked softly, staring at her, and she turned her head to look at him. She was still smiling and the sight of it made his heart thump with a rabbit's pace. "What do you want?"
"You," she answered immediately then smiled, making him laugh a little.
"Who wouldn't?" He grinned and she smiled, lifting a hand to his cheek. "I mean, what do you want out of life?"
"It's silly," she confessed but he squeezed his arm around her, letting her know that he thought it was anything but. She sighed softly. "I've always wanted to get married."
She didn't look at him as she spoke, as if she was afraid that one look from him would be her undoing. It usually only took one look from Jamie for her to do anything and say anything. This was hard enough for her to reveal without she having to do so while staring into his eyes.
"And we would have a dog. We would live in a small house or cottage somewhere, out in the countryside. I never wanted to raise a family living in the city."
Jamie's eyes slid closed and as he listened to her words, he began to envision the same thing for them. Selby would like living in the country. The small apartment sometimes drove the dog crazy and Jamie would have to take him to the park so he could stretch his legs without barking and chewing all of his furniture in a fit.
He wouldn't mind the country either. It was peaceful and quiet and he would be sure to have a study just like Dr. Kirkland had so he could sit, reading and writing, with a soft breeze blowing through the open window.
He sighed with Violet's dream that was quickly becoming his own as well. Anything she wanted, he wanted, too. And he wanted to be the one to give all of it to her.
"I've always wanted a garden. My parents used to have half of our backyard as a flower garden and ever since I was a little girl, I wanted one too at the house I would live in. My parents loved flowers and taught me everything about them. They tried to teach Vic but it didn't really interest him which was fine by me. My dad and I used to spend hours in that garden and I promised him that I would have one just like his." Violet grew quiet for a moment as memories of her father flooded her mind. Jamie waited patiently. "And, I know that it sounds very 1950ish of me, but I've always just wanted to have kids and take care of them."
"How is it 1950ish to have kids and love them?" Jamie asked, frowning slightly with his perplexity.
He knew Violet would make an amazing mom and this job in London would ensure them enough security so if she wanted to be a stay-at-home mom, she could do it. Violet was one of those people that had so much love to give, it seemed as if it radiated off of her body in endless amounts. She only deserved to be surrounded by such powerful love as well. Jamie swore that a day wouldn't pass where she would doubt if someone loved her. She would love him and their children and they would love her more than anyone in return.
"Just that women are supposed to do everything nowadays," Violet said with a shrug. "I shouldn't want to be content to stay at home, popping out kids and tending to my flowers."
"But..." he trailed off, lifting his head to look at her. "That's what you want?"
"It's what I've always wanted." She paused. "Even before I knew you, I wanted it all."
Jamie smiled at that, making her smile in return. He dipped his head down and captured her lips with his for a brief, yet heated, kiss.
"I do need to ask you properly."
"What?" She asked, her breathing hitching in her throat.
"Violet, will you come to London with me?" He asked solemnly then laughed when she narrowed her eyes at him and swatted at his arm. "I know what you thought," he laughed.
"Oh, you!" Violet exclaimed, pushing him away. "I thought you were going to ask me to marry you!"
"I know," he chuckled, nodding his head. He put his hands on her cheeks and captured her lips again in another kiss. "I will just not now," he swore quietly. "I want to ask you to spend the rest of your life with me and love me more than anything or anyone when you least expect it. And when I have a ring," he added.
Violet smiled faintly, running her fingers through his hair before resting her hands on the back of his head. "I don't need a ring, Jamie. Or a breathtakingly romantic proposal. And I already have volunteered to spend my life with you. And I DO love you more than anything or anyone."
Jamie grinned, nodding his head. "I know. I just... asking you will make it official and I want to do it right. I want to do everything with you right. You always deserve everything to be perfect."
Violet kissed him chastely. "Will you be with me?" He gave her a confused look but then nodded his head. "Then everything is already perfect."
* * *
"Hey, man. You okay?" Ben asked, coming up beside him at the bar and resting a hand on his shoulder.
Jamie nodded his head, keeping his eyes down into his beer glass. He actually was okay, considering what he already had to do that day.
The phone call had come two days ago and since then, it felt almost as if he was having an out of body experience. It was as if he was watching himself do everything from the outside looking in.
Rose Kirkland had called him and even before she told him anything, he had known. He had suspected something had happened. He had felt it and nothing had to be said. He had simply told her that he would be over and then he had gone with her to the funeral home to make sure that everything was ready.
It had been surreal. Dr. Kirkland hadn't even looked like himself and after the wake hours were over and he had spoken to more people than he could remember, he had been left alone in the parlor with him one last time. He wasn't sure how long he had kneeled down in front of the casket but it had a good deal of time later when Rose came back in and said that it was time to go to the church for the funeral mass.
Violet hadn't left his side for most of the day. She held his hand during the mass and then at the cemetery. He hadn't said anything but he didn't have to. Violet didn't force him to say anything and she would never know how grateful he was for that. He didn't want to talk and she had understood that.
He had been more worried about Rose but he had known that that had been in vain. Kirkland had been getting increasingly sicker over the years and his wife had had more than ample time to prepare for his death.
She continuously hugged Jamie throughout the day but that was only because she seemed to know that he was handling it worse than her. He hadn't coped at all in the five years that he had known him and he had been sick that entire time.
Jamie hadn't wanted to face it and now, that day, he wished he had before it actually happened so he wouldn't feel as if he was falling apart, both on the inside and out.
After the last prayer was said at the cemetery and the crowd began to disperse, Rose had told Ben that it was his duty to take Jamie somewhere for a bit of fun. Ben had readily agreed and quickly planned a quick trip to Humpy's.
Violet had accompanied them along with her friends, who had all become Jamie's friends as well over the past few months. Jamie had finally met Anne Potter though he hadn't wanted to meet her under such circumstances and he also met hers and Harry's two-year-old son, Danny. Toby and Olivia were both there as well, making sure that everyone had plenty of food and beer.
They were all sitting at a large table near the back of the bar which doubled as a tavern during the day and they had all ordered vast amounts of food to get their minds off things. Half-way through the meal though, Jaime had gotten up to get more beer at the bar and after almost fifteen minutes away, Ben came to get him.
"I'm okay," Jamie said truthfully. "I'm just thinking about some stuff."
"Have I ever told you that you think entirely way too much?" Ben asked then lit a cigarette. He offered it to Jamie, who, despite quitting – again – took a puff.
"From time to time," Jamie said, a small smile threatening to break through. "Do you... I mean," he sighed, rubbing a hand through his hair then loosening his tie from around his neck. "I'm just thinking about all the things I'll miss," he confessed.
Ben nodded his head in understanding but then shrugged.
"But think of all that you'll have," he said.
Both looked over their shoulders back at their table. Violet was laughing at something Toby was saying while holding Danny in her lap. The scene caught Jamie's heart in his throat. He wanted that with her. He knew that. He wanted to give her children, no matter how many she wanted, and he wanted to see them grow up, running in and out of their house in the country as they played with Selby chasing after them and her smiling every time he gave her a fresh flower from their garden.
He could picture everything perfectly. They would have children with his dark brown hair and her purple eyes and they would all be spoiled rotten from their parents smothering them with love. Violet would kiss their boo-boos when they hurt themselves then send them outside to play. Jamie would read to them, using different voices for each character and then at night, while all the children were asleep, he would sit with Violet and wonder how in the hell he got to be so lucky.
"Besides," Ben said with a shrug. "You living in jolly old London will give me an excuse to visit and go back to Scotland more than three times a year. Violet was telling me that she wanted to see every single castle that there was to see and we have some nice dilapidated ones of our own. Quite nice ones."
"And haunted ones," Jamie added, a faint smile finally making an appearance on his face.
"Naturally," Ben grinned before taking a chug from Jamie's beer, draining the bottle. He slapped a hand on Jamie's back. "Come on, you punce. Let's get you back to your love."
They got two more pitchers of beer and went back to the table. Violet smiled brilliantly up at Jamie and he couldn't help but give her a small one, bending down and pecking her on the lips.
"Oi! James!" Ben exclaimed, sitting back down in his chair and grabbing the basket of onion rings. "How 'bout a toast? For Kirkland."
Jamie nodded his head and everyone grabbed their glasses of beer. He cleared his throat and remained standing at the head of the table by Violet.
He held up his glass.
"Do not stand at my grave and forever weep.
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn's rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and forever cry.
I am not there. I did not die."
Jamie paused for a moment after reciting the poem. "To Kirkland," he finally decided on.
Simple. Just like Kirkland would have liked it.
"To Kirkland," everyone said in unison before clinking their glasses together and taking drinks of their beers.
Violet smiled at him as he sat down next to her. Conversation resumed and there was laughter and eating and slight sparring between Ben and Olivia. Violet continued looking at him then kissed his cheek.
"One more week," she told him softly. "I am so excited."
Just thinking about her apartment crowded with moving boxes made her heart and stomach flutter. She couldn't wait. She hadn't looked forward to something as much, not even her wedding to Mike.
Jamie stared at her then gently rubbed his knuckles across her cheek.
"Marry me?" He asked barely above a whisper but she had heard him perfectly.
He had wanted to wait. He had wanted to give her a proposal that everyone would hear about and envy. But instead, he had asked in her a seedy tavern with no ring in sight. But to him, he just couldn't wait anymore and he didn't understand why he had been waiting.
And thinking about it for a moment, Humpy's was the perfect place.
It was, after all, the first place he had looked into her beautiful violet eyes.
Violet didn't say anything but then again, she didn't have to.
Instead, she just smiled and kissed him, resting her hands on his cheeks and cupping his face gently. She kissed him and in that kiss, she gave him her answer hundreds of times over.
She pulled away, but not without one more kiss, and then, smiling at him, she leaned back in her chair, one arm draped over the back of his.
He watched as she ate some of her fries and listened to a story Harry was telling. She laughed and Jamie loved how her face seemed to glow whenever she laughed.
He would now have the rest of his life to watch her as she laughed.
"Eat your own rings!" Ben suddenly exclaimed and pushed at Olivia's hand as she made a play for some of his onion rings.
"You drank my beer!" Olivia fired back.
"I'm Scottish. Of course I drank your beer!"
Jamie watched the scene playing out in front of him with content. He would miss it all but, as he gripped Violet's hand in his, he knew that it could, and would, only get better from then on.
He sighed softly with a faint smile.
The next time he saw Kirkland, he would have to thank him for the shove in the right direction.
A/N: Just a simple, sweet love story – something I think all of us need from time to time. Thank you to everyone who has read and left me reviews. I am glad so many of you seemed to love Jamie and Violet as much as I do. And yes. Ben and Olivia will be getting their own story as well so be on the lookout for that.