“It’s been two days, Geillis.” I shook my head as I shoved the burger into my mouth. “He hasn’t called or said a damn thing.”
My favorite nurse sat across from me and laughed. “Dinna be speakin’ wi’ yer mouthful!”
“Mmphmm.” I mumbled continuing to chew on my lunch.
“It’s nearing the end of the year, ye’ve been on call almost nonstop-” She started, but I narrowed my eyes at her. “And there’s the new quarter comin’ up, ye both are in a busy season. Tis also the holidays…”
Swallowing and taking a sip of my water, I relished in my drunken choices from the night.
“Ye regret it then?” I could see the raise of her brow.
“No.” The words escaped my mouth faster than I could realize and my stomach dropped. I had yet to willingly admit to myself, let alone another human.
“Ye really like him, then?” I could see the devilish grin appear on her face.
I rolled my eyes and leaned back in my chair. “He’s not so bad, if you can see past the ego, the hair, and his overly melodramatic approach to marketing.”
“So, if he were to ask ye on a date, say today sometime, what would ye say?”
“I think I’d say yes…..” I nearly whispered. “I think.”
“Well, if anyone can warm that cold heart of yers, Dr. Beauchamp, I think it would be Jamie Fraser.” She stood and strut off into the distance.
“Me too…” I could feel my cheeks rising as I spoke to no one but myself, “Truth is he already has.”
The best perk to being the marketing department’s heartthrob? Knowing people in the right places. He had never intended to become the heartthrob- but selling the hospital to donors and politicians, the wining and dining, the galas, the meetings- it just sort of happened.
He quickly smiled at Mrs. Fitzgibbons and thanked her for checking the on-call list for the next three days, making a mental note to order her a bouquet of flowers as thank you.
“I’m rooting for ye, laddie.” She winked at him, “I’m rooting for ye! She’s the best doctor in this hospital, and my favorite. Dinna be spreading that rumor around, ye ken?”
“I ken.” His Scottish accent thick on the words, “But I am rooting for me too.”
“Also James, dinna break her heart. Ye break her heart and she surely will break yers.”
Jamie nodded and buttoned his suit jacket. “I heed yer warning, Mrs. Fitzgibbons.”
“Now, if ye’ll excuse me, I have to finish the instrument orders for next month.”
“And I have a doctor to track down.”
“A large hematoma…” I spoke into the dictation machine after I had finished rounding on my last patient for the night- then I was homeward bound. I was standing outside of the patient’s room and could feel the ache in my feet.
“Sassenach,” I could feel his breath on my neck and my mind registered the voice instantly, “Do ye have a minute?”
“Yes, Mr. Fraser…” I started in my professional voice as I did a quick scan of the hallway. Our eyes met and I knew my cheeks would flare up at any second, that damn delicate English skin. His eyes were warm and welcoming, the smile on his face wide and filled with nothing but dare I say hope. He had come a man on a mission- and I had a feeling I knew just what he wanted.
“Tis no one here, but you and me. And the patients, but Mr. Jones seems rather sedated.” He poked his head into the small crack of the door and I laughed. He smiled at my response and closed the door.
“What can I do for you, Jamie?” I felt my doctor facade fall away and leaned against the wall. I stashed my dictation machine in my pocket.
“I was wonderin’...” I could see the tips of his ears go red.I could feel the butterflies in my stomach, my heartbeat in my ears and my palms starting to sweat. “I ken ye’re not on-call for the next two nights….”
“You stalked my schedule?” All of my nerves were right, he had come here to ask me exactly what I thought.
“No.” His cheeks flushed hot pink. “I inquired with a resource because every time I triedta find ye, ye were either in the A&E or the OR….”
“I’m a busy woman.”
“Exactly, but I was wondering..” He stopped and squinted his eyes, narrowing his cat like brow at me, making me weak in the knees with nerves. One of us had to be brave here, and I had a feeling it was going to be me.
“You were wondering if I might want to spend one of my off nights with you? Presumably a dinner date?” I raised my own brow at him and smiled, cocking my head to the side.
“Your presumption is correct. Say, tomorrow night? Eight o’clock?”
I took my pen out of my pocket and reached for his hand. I wrote my address on his palm. Somehow I thought my hands would have been shaking, my handwriting illegible, yet my surgeon’s hands remained at bay- steady and firm, writing in the neatest text I had ever had since grade school. What was making me so brave I didn’t know- this wasn’t something I usually did- but the small feeling of whatever it was between us bubbled in the atmosphere. Whatever it was, I never wanted it go away,
“See you then,” I flashed a warm smile and sauntered down the hallway.
He had butterflies in his stomach the entire way to the restaurant.
Somehow she had known- she had seen through the bravado, the rumors, the facade he put up at work. Somehow she knew without even knowing him outside the confines of the hospital- somehow she knew just who he was. She had known that first night- the way her hands had caressed his back, the way she had moved with him- it hadn’t been just a one night stand. It had been the meshing of two souls, and they had both felt the earth tilt on its axis that night.
She had worn jeans and a simple black v-neck, accompanied with a grey cardigan. He had worn something very similar and let out a small laugh when she joked at him, “We’re already looking like an old married couple.”
Her joke had minutely eased his nerves, but still, Jamie Fraser was on a date with the Dr. Beauchamp.
The small Italian place he had taken her to was perfect. The food was delicious. The company, beyond compare.
He watched her take the last bite of lasagna and chuckled.
“Wot?” Her voice was clipped and properly, utterly British.
“Ye eat with gusto,” He said softly, “I like watchin’ ye eat.”
“Food has been one of the only constants in my life. There when everyone else has left me.” He heard the double meaning in that sentence and felt a pang in his stomach. She’s a lonely lass.
“I ken how ye feel, after my Mam and brother died… It was just my sister and my Da… Then my Da died…”
He saw her wipe a tear from her eye.
“I had no idea,” the meek English voice admitted.
“I was but a lad, dinna fash. It made me who I was today, ye ken?” He tried to cover the heartache over with a bit of strength and bravado in his tone.
“I get it.” She nearly whispered, and by the sad look in her eyes, he knew in his gut she knew exactly what he was talking bout.
“My parents died when I was five. I was raised by my Uncle Lambert until he passed away while I was in medical school…” She swirled the wine in her glass and he saw her take a breath. The hesitation radiating from her made his heart tear into two.“Then Frank… But he cheated on me with his student. It’s been me through medical school and residency…”
Frank, he thought to himself. What a bastard.
So she had definitely had her heart broken, more than once. He knew her even being willing to come to dinner was a large feat. Deep down, he too, knew the hurt of being alone. “My sister lives at the family home, in Lallybroch, near Inverness. I moved here to get away from all the memories. I couldna be in the place where all the hurt seemed to be.”
“We’re quite alike, aren’t we?” She looked up with whisky eyes to meet his blue.
“More so than either one of us cared to admit, before.”
He felt her hand under the table as she placed it on his thigh.
“I never believed what I heard. The rumors from the nurses… They are nurses, they like to talk.” She let out a small laugh and shook her head. “You’re not that kind of guy…” She took a breath and rested her head on her other hand that was on the table, “Appearances for marketing. Look a certain way, act a certain way, you have to sell a product. It doesn’t mean it’s who you are.”
“Ye saw right through it.”
“I did. I might not like the fact you chose to put up a show for the sake of business- but it’s not who you are at your core, Jamie Fraser.” His stomach dropped at the words that she admitted to him. He didn’t even have to try and fight to change his reputation in her eyes- he was just Jamie.
“Who am I then?” He asked.
“I’m figuring it out as I go.” She squeezed his thigh one more time- he could feel the warmth in his stomach well at the depth of emotions he was starting to feel for the woman in front of him.
“What it is between us, is it normal?” He placed his hand on hers.
“No… It isn’t usual.” She answered as he intertwined their fingers, hoping to God he’d never have to let go.