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Ceci Giltenan(92)

By:Highland Solution

“The pains only just started a little while ago,” said Katherine.

“Ye’ve had no other pain?” asked Effie, looking worried.

“Well, I wouldn’t say I’ve had no other pain,” snapped Katherine. “My back has hurt since last night, but I have only had a few birthing pains.”

Effie relaxed and smiled. “My lady, it is likely ye have been in labor since last night. Birthing pains for some women begin as a back ache.”

Even well into labor, several hours passed before the bairn made her appearance. When she did, Katherine suspected the whole castle could hear her lusty cries. Effie allowed Niall in the room after she had bathed Katherine and tucked her into a clean bed, holding her sleeping baby in her arms. Clearly in awe of his tiny daughter, Niall looked almost frightened.

“Would ye like to hold her,” asked Katherine, lifting the swaddled bundle to him.

“Nay, I might break her.”

“Nonsense,” said Katherine. “Take her.”

He gingerly took the bairn in his huge hands. She nearly fit in the palm of one hand and he cradled her head in the other. She squirmed and fussed a little. He jiggled her gently. “Wheesht, lass.” She settled and Niall grinned, looking overly pleased with himself.

He still held her some time later when a quiet knock came at the door. Katherine called, “Come in,” and Tomas slipped into the room.

“Come see your new sister,” Niall said. Tomas came cautiously forward and stood by Niall.

“She’s just a wee thing,” said Tomas, sounding surprised. “By the noise she was making, I thought she’d be bigger.”

Katherine chuckled and Niall winked at her. “It’s the wee ones ye have to be careful of, lad.”

Tomas wasn’t sure what his parents were laughing at, so he ignored it and asked, “Does she have a name?”

“Not yet,” said Katherine.

“Can we name her Mab?”

“Mab is your pony’s name,” said Niall.

“I know,” said Tomas, “I like that name.”

“Well, maybe since ye have already given it to your pony, we can pick another name for your sister,” said Katherine gently. “What do ye think about the name Beitris? It was your grandmother’s name.”

Tomas said the name a couple of times, then announced, “Well, it isn’t as nice as Mab, but since Mab is taken, Beitris is pretty good.”

“Beitris it is, then,” said Niall, smiling. He leaned over and kissed Katherine on the cheek. He whispered, “I love ye verra much. Ye will never know how happy I am ye chose me instead of the convent.”