Chapter 1: The Holiday Party
“Bloody hell!” I stammered as a flash of papers scattered into view.
“IFFFFRIN.” A loud Scottish voice echoed in anger.
Reaching down to the ground to gather my chart the voice registered in my brain.
“Fraser,” I muttered in dismay as I clutched the files to my chest. “What are you doing on the ICU floor?”
“I was droppin’ off some new flyers for the New Year’s Gala…” His voice was thick and properly, Scottish.
“Oh.” I shook my head and finished grabbing the last of my papers. “I see.”
“What are ye doing on the floor? Isn’t it the annual staff party?”
That earned him a laugh despite my best efforts-- I hated parties, I despised large groups of people- I truly loathedputting the both of those things together.
“Not really my scene.”
“Hm. Well then, I guess I won’t have to fight ye over the last glass or two of spiked eggnog then.” He raised his brow and took stock of my appearance. I was in scrubs from yesterday and my three day old hair that was miraculously saved by dry shampoo.
“No, I don’t think you will. I didn’t even know that the marketing department was allowed at the party.” I put forth my most prompt British accent trying to put up my professional facade back up. “Goodnight Mr. Fraser. ”
“Night, Sassenach.” He gave a thick Scottish back at me.
I hate that bloody, arrogant, know it all Scot!
“Take care, lass. Dinna drink too much, I dinna want to have to take care of ye.”
“In your dreams,” I said, sashaying away to finish my dictations.
She had already gotten me into the lift- there was no stopping her now. “Fine,” I hissed. “Just one drink at the staff party- then it’s off to bed for this doctor.”
I gave my best attempt at a smile and let my hair out from it’s curly updo.
“See,” She smiled as she hit floor six, “Even the Resident Grinch can enjoy a Christmas party.”
The doors opened and my vision filled with Christmas lights and smelled of cinnamon.
“Just ONE drink.” I said firmly crossing my arms.
“Och! Alright,” She nodded at stepped out of the lift, “Just a drink.”
I refilled what would most definitely be my last glass and took a sip, swaying somewhat drunkenly from side to side as Wham’s ‘Last Christmas’ filled my ears.
I might have been singing, though I thought I was humming, when a firm hand on my shoulder brought my attention back to reality.
“Steady yerself there, lass.” His voice was warm and breath smelled of whisky, “Dinna want ye to get into trouble.”
The familiar Scottish voice rang in my ears as his hands found their way to my waist and stopped my swaying.
“Mister Frassser,” I could feel the world starting to spin, “What can I do for you?”
I looked up and pushed a stray curl out of my face and saw a smirk across the bastard’s face.
“Ye are bonnie when ye let yer hair down, Dr. Beauchamp.”
His hands were still on my waist and our faces just inches apart. “You aren’t so bad yourself. Half the residents fantasize over banging you in the on-call room.” My gaze traveled from his arms down to his hands as they were still on my waist. I could feel his gaze intently on me causing the temperature to rise in my cheeks.“I just always pictured how I would tell you I love you.”
He was quiet for a minute. My mouth had moved faster than my brain could register and I was hoping he didn’t catch what I had admitted to him in my bourbon induced haze.
“Hmmphm.” His finger traced the outline of my cheek. “Do the residents really talk about me like that?” He smiled quietly tilting my face up towards his, a glimmer of hope filled his eyes.
“Uhm…”I tried to find the words but nothing came out. “Yes. There’s also a bet as to if you have six abs or eight, and which one might be the lucky lady to take the shirt off to find out.”
Good god, I was drunk, and the words were just coming out of me.
“What if there was only one doctor in this place I might take up on that offer?”
“She’d be a lucky lady,” I could feel the bourbon in my belly giving me liquid courage, “Because even I am dying to know what’s under that shirt.”
“Are ye then?”
“Aye,” I gave my best attempt at a Scottish accent and his hand moved around the small of my back. “I am.”
“Well let’s find out, lass.”
“Let’s.” I grabbed his hand and led him towards the lift.
Chapter 2: A Plan
On the first chapter I forgot to mention the date as "December 15th". This takes places about two weeks prior to the holiday staff party, so we're going back in time a bit for just a minute to get some more background on these two!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Two Weeks Ago
“Dr. Beauchamp to the nurses station.” The charge nurse’s voice bellowed through my ears as I finished typing my notes into the computer.
“Coming.” I muttered to myself, scribbling my electronic signature and logging out of the computer.
I stuck my dictation machine into my pocket and rounded the corner to see a flash of familiar red hair standing behind the desk, and charge nurse Geillis Duncan flashing her million dollar smile, charming the ICU’s visitor.
“And speak o’ the devil,” Geillis laughed as I came to their vicinity near the desk. “Here she is.”
“Sorry, I was finishing my notes from rounds,” I looked towards Geillis, eyeing her sharply. “What is it you need?”
She laughed at me and gestured across the counter to the marketing manager of the hospital, Jamie Fraser. “It’s not what I want, it’s what Mr. Fraser wants.”
“And what might that be?” I turned my attention to the mass of red hair and crossed my arms.
“Direct and to the point, as always, Claire.” His use of my first name sent a fire raging through my body, he knew how to get to me better than anyone I had ever met.
“It’s Dr. Beauchamp when the white coat is on,” I said professionally trying to keep my mind sharp. “What can I do for you?”
“Ah, yes… Weel,” Jamie turned to Geillis and gave her a smile, “This is hospital business, is there a place I can talk to Dr. Beauchamp, alone?”
Geillis nearly choked on her coffee but nodded, “Aye, conference room number three over there.”
I tilted my head in the direction of the room, gesturing for Jamie to follow me. “This way.”
We walked in silent awkward tandem to the conference room. Bloody hell was he attractive, but that ego, we were two fuses waiting to be ignited. Walking into the conference room, I shut the door the loud clink of the latch echoed through small room.
“Mr. Fraser,” I said curtly, I did not have time to deal with this egotistical maniac of a man, “My time is precious, especially when I am on call, I will ask you once more, what can I do for you?”
“Are ye always so direct, Sassenach?” He shook his head as if he were talking to himself and sat down in one of the chairs.
“No. Only when I deal with bureaucratic white collar men who insist on telling me how to do my job better. Productivity over quality, things of that nature. I know we are paid on the amount of surgeries we preform, how rapid the patients recover, but it’s not supposed to be like that. It’s the quality of the treatment, the longevity of how the patient recovers- how the surgery goes. I would rather do four surgeries a week with proper patient care than do the ten that I am averaging right now!”
“Ah,” He smiled to himself, “Is that what ye think of me? A bureaucratic white collar man?”
“More or less- you work for marketing. It’s your job to sell the hospital to donors, businesses, and possible patients. The hospital is a business transaction for you. For me, it’s a place to change lives. To fix them, make them better, to heal.” I took a seat across from him and placed my arms on the table. “It’s not a business transaction- the people here, they are something to someone and it’s my job to make sure they get better, so they can keep being something to someone.”
“I ken, ye see?” He nodded at me and pulled a pen and paper out of a folder. It startled me, I had no thought he was here for serious business- but damn, I guess I was wrong.
“No, Mr. Fraser, I don’t ken what you are referring too.”
“You know of Dougal, the CEO of the board?” He raised an inquisitive brow at me.
“Yes,” I admitted, of course I did. Dougal Mackenzie, head of the Royal Infirmary, also Jamie’s uncle. Dougal was a man known for his ostentatious approach to medicine- making the infirmary the premiere hospital for technology in surgery, doctors, even nurses. “If I am not mistaken, he is also your uncle?”
“He is. But that’s beside the point, he is my boss.”
“And a hard man to say no to.” Jamie smiled at a distant memory, his eyes unfocused on mine for just a moment, a hint of grey clouding the blue.
“I’m inclined to disagree,” I curtly pointed out, “I have said no to him on a few different occasions.”
“Ye have, Sassenach, which is why I am here.” He pulled out a piece of paper and slid it over the oak table. “Ye have refused a few of his different appeals for how to market the hospital, he’s hoping this one will change yer mind.”
“Mr. Fraser,” I could feel the anger boiling in my body. “I told him to go fuck himself not just but a few weeks ago, I am not sure if I am the proper doctor to be having this conversation wi-”
“Dr. Beauchamp,” His voice went cold, “I ken ye know my reputation between the nurses and the other marketing fellows. I also know how ye feel about it, and putting that aside, you are the best doctor at this hospital, and I am the manager of the marketing department. I beg of you, please hear me out.”
“Fine.” I spewed at him, though it was my natural inclination to fight him on almost anything, there was a small part of me that believed him, he was here to try and get my attention over something.
“Dougal wants to approach a new campaign in the eyes of how you see the hospital. From a human point of view. He wants ye to be the face of it.”
“Excuse me.” I said, stunned. This was the last thing I had expected from the marketing department, being as I had said no for their last three attempts to get to to do anything, including just a voiceover for a commercial.
“Ye said it yerself- it’s all about the people not the medicine, not the technology. It’s bedside care, it’s interacting with the families, the patients, it’s the people that make the hospital. The people- the staff- they are the heart and soul of what makes the operation work. Dougal wants to use that.”
“And what does that have to do with me?”
“Ye see, Dr. Beauchamp, yer the only doctor who refused a spotlight in the magazine. Ye’re the only doctor who refuses to do any local news segments, and ye are also the only doctor who didn’t want to be in the commercial.” His voice softened a bit in his honesty here and I could admit to myself, he understood part of my personality, even from afar.
“So?” I sat back in my chair and crossed my arms again.
“Ye’re the only one to say no to any sort of press- ye’re also the only doctor to say no to the infamous Dougal MacKenzie. But you are the highest rated physician in the place. It’s because of yer approach to medicine, patients and people want to work wi’ ye.”
“I’m still at a loss here,” I admitted because all of what he said was true- I just wasn’t piecing it together.
“Dougal- we, him and I, want to market the hospital the way you see it. The way you approach your patients and practice of medicine…. But now we want you to be the face. The articles, the billboards, the commercials, we want your voice, Claire. Not some manufactured marketing slogan. We want real, we want honest, we want raw.”
“I…” The words processed in my mind. “Mr. Fraser, I appreciate the honesty and the time it took you to come down here, but no.”
“Dr. Beauchamp, ye canna say no to this.”
“I’m sorry- wot?”
“I told him ye would do it- I….”
I stood, my cheeks flaring bright red in anger. “Mr. Fraser. I am not sure what you told Mr. Mackenzie, but like I told him to the last attempt to get anything out of me, you can go fuck yourself.” I took a breath and squared my shoulders. “I am a doctor- not a marketing tool. I do not want to be the face, nor do I want the kickbacks. Which I am assuming you do, since you’re the one here asking me and laying out the entire new plan. This is a place where the sick come to heal, people come for hope, people come to have a chance at a future, a better tomorrow.”
“I ken it’s not a business transaction.”
“Exactly. And while I am somewhat flattered you all somehow, eventually, decided to listen to me. I am not your lass or whatever it is the Scots call women these days.”
His mouth gaped open and about to speak, but I stormed off in anger. The last thing I heard was his voice in the conference room. “Dr. Beauchamp, please.”
As always, thank YOU for reading.
Chapter 3: The On-Call Room
I felt the world swaying on its axis. My eyes lids filled with stars, his mouth hot on my neck.
In any other moment, I was as professional as they came around these parts. But James Fraser had a knack for sliding under my skin in the most maddening of ways. The way his blue eyes sparkled as he charmed his way with the nurses or kept those broad shoulders square as he delivered a speech to all the employees of the hospital- it frustrated me, made my blood boil. Never once did I allow myself to imagine this very moment. Or that Jamie Fraser could actually be mine.
“Claire,” He breathed lightly as he kissed the base of my neck. “I canna, we canna…”
I took his face between my hands and scanned his eyes searching for a hint of something, anything.
“What do you mean?” I kissed him softly, tracing his bottom lip with my tongue.
“Of all the times I have burned for ye to ask me to her bed, I never thought the day would come…”
“And now that it’s here?” I reached for the hem of his shirt as he pushed my body against the back of the door.
“I just want to make sure you are sure…”
I laughed at that and bit his neck. “I’m here, aren’t I?”
He let out a husky, breathless chuckle that only ignited the fire deep in my belly more. “I watch you come through the hospital, flashing that smile with the nurses, the elderly patients, even that one female anesthesiologist… You’re a bloody charmer, Mr. Fraser.”
“And?” He smiled down at me with a devilish grin.
“And it made me jealous.” I pressed a kiss to the bottom of his jaw. “But I have been too proud to admit it.”
“Mmmphm.” I heard the noise emerge from his throat and felt his hands cupping my jaw, his eyes searching my face for any sense of hesitation. We were drowning in the heat of the moment and it was either sink or swim.
“Do you want me?” I finally asked, carte blanche, it was now or never- no turning back.
“Yes,” Jamie moaned as his hands pushed my scrub top up. His thumbs drew circles on my hips. “Yes, I do want you.”
I pulled his shirt up, just above his torso as his hands suddenly took control and he rapidly stripped it off, flinging it on the tile floor behind us.
“Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ,” I breathed scanning his bare body, “That’s definitely an 8 pack.”
“Fair’s fair.” He gawked at me. His hands were hot on my skin as my scrub top left my body and ended somewhere in the depths of the on-call room.
Suddenly feeling vulnerable and exposed, I could sense the temperature rise in my cheeks. My sports bra was grey and I knew the panties I wore under my scrubs did not scream ‘I want to get laid.’
As if he could feel my embarrassment, he ran his hands down my arms, whispering something in Gaelic. Something I couldn’t understand.
“I want to see you.” His voice was reassuring and warm as he trailed kisses across the bottom of my neck.
I arched my back into the alignment of his body, still pinned against the back of the door. “Ah, Dhia.”
“Well, it’s not much to see, Jamie…” My voice was meek and quiet, barely audible in the already silent room. “But whatever it is, it’s yours- if you want it.”
His hands were warm as they slid up my back and under my sports bra.
“If I want it,” He scoffed, “Christ ye really are daft, are ye no’?”
I shook my head in dismay as he pushed the bra off my petite frame.
“Of course I want ye…” I felt a cold rush across my breasts as the cotton fabric ended somewhere in the vicinity of our feet.
I heard an audible gulp come from him as he took a step back, eyeing me from head to toe.
“Christ, Claire, you’re the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen.”
I took a step closer towards him, my hands on the waistband of his pants. “I want to see you.”
Slowly I unbuttoned and pushed his trousers down to his ankles. He kicked them under the bunks, leaving the remnants of our encounter scattered throughout the on-call room.
Now it was my turn to take in his appearance- well-defined everywhere- I thought to myself in amusement. A smile must have formed on my face because I saw a flicker of eagerness cross his face.
“Come here.” He reached for my hand and pulled us towards the bottom bunk beds. He sat on the edge of the mattress and grabbed my hips straightening my frame between his legs. “Ye still have yer pants on.”
“I kn-…” I started to untie the strings holding my scrubs up when I felt his hands grab my ass firmly.
“My god, ye have the roundest arse I’ve ever seen,” I laughed as his left hand finagled what was in my back pocket. “What’s that you have in there?”
“A candy cane, I was seeing some of the children in the PICU earlier…”
I heard a Scottish noise of amusement come from his chest as he reached in my pocket and took the piece of candy out. “I have half a mind to unwrap this and see what tastes better.”
“What might taste better” I smiled coyly, “We have to find out.”
I undid the strings and let the scrub bottoms fall to the floor. “Don’t make fun of my underwear- I didn’t think we’d be here…”
I heard the crinkling of the plastic as I shimmied my cotton panties down my legs.
Thank god I had half a mind to shave this morning.
I looked up bringing my face down to his level, sticking my mouth over the hooked portion of the candy.
“Mmmm.” I hummed, “Pepperminty.” I took one more lick of the sweet treat and then tilted Jamie’s face up towards mine.
I kissed him, slowly, delicately, tracing his bottom lip with my tongue.
“And the verdict is?”
“It tastes,” He mumbled between kisses. “Much better off yer lips.”
I took his mouth and claimed him with mine. The lines of my body molded to his and the weight of our bodies fell backwards onto the stiff mattress.
“You’re the one who still has clothing on.” I smirked with my hands on his waist.
In a rapid fury he discard the remnants of his boxers and we were laid bare before each other, our faces just inches apart. With great admiration, he took my face between his hands and kissed me once. His blue eyes searing into mine, waiting for a moment. Then he kissed me senseless- with an eagerness, ferocity, and longing I had only read about in books.
Our legs were intertwined, my feet running up and down the back of his calves as his whispered terms of adoration in Gaelic.
His kisses trailed down my neck, to my chest all the way to my navel. He kissed with a delicate touch- as if I were a piece of fine China he was scared to shatter. We had only just begun, but I felt the most treasured I had in my entire life.
Rendered breathless, he cupped my face between his hands. “I canna wait but I dinna have…”
“It’s ok. I have an IUD.” I opened my eyes and saw a small sense of panic cross his face that grew into acceptance at our unsaid decision.
“Do it now,” I demanded not wanting to wait myself, “And don’t be gentle.”
Despite my admonition, he filled me gently, fulfilling a need I had not ever realized I had and leaving me completely at his mercy. Not that I cared or that it mattered, I was rendered helpless and was more than alright with it.
It was an odd sensation to be so full, to bare one’s soul to another and feel at home. My hands clawed at his back.
I arched my hips into his, urging him to move, just a little faster. The fire deep in my belly was raging and I wanted to feel the combustion I was close to.
He moved then, slow at first, our legs tangled together. Gradually, he picked up the pace and I closed my eyes, burrowing my head into the crook of his neck. I heard the soft ‘thump’ of the metal bed frame as it hit the wall.
His breath became ragged and erratic as our hips moved in unison and he had me seeing stars, saying his name- a prayer against my lips.
I could feel his muscles contracting as he was starting to unravel and I came back down to reality. The grip on his intensity slowly slipping, leaving us nothing more than a collection of heartbeats and flesh mingling together.
“Ye taste so much better than that candy cane, Sassenach.” He held me tenderly to his chest, his voice as soft as snow falling outside the window.
“Mmmm.” I said, closing my eyes and drifting off to sleep.
“Ye’re all I want for Christmas,” I thought I heard him mutter or it might have only been in my dreams.
When I woke up the next morning I was alone with an unopened candy cane next the pillow.
Chapter 4: The Uncle
(Day after the staff party)
My morning was chaotic. Between rounding on six patients I had in-house already and admitting two new patients from the A&E, I barely had time to even try and track him down.
I felt my phone buzz in my lab coat and pressed the pocket with my palm, hearing the crinkle of an unopened candy-cane as I finished typing my notes from the last patient.
So it had not all been a dream? Had it?
Grabbing my phone and checking the caller ID, I noticed Joe’s number and pressed decline.
“You can wait.” I mumbled to myself, knowing all too well Geillis had dished on who I had left the party with last night and he wanted to know what happened.
‘Dr. Beauchamp to the ICU nurse’s station,’ the charge nurse bellowed from the speakers.
Stashing my phone back into my coat, I rounded the corner to the nurse’s station.
“What is it, Mrs. Fitzgibbons?” I plopped myself down into a chair and spun around to face her designated spot on the counter.
“I heard ye admitted two new patients last night,” Her voice was soft and warm as she furiously typed away on the computer.
“I did…One of them was admitted to the CVICU and one of them was admitted to the PICU.” I reached into my pocket and grabbed the candy cane, opening it slowly.
“Och, so they werena admitted to the ICU then?” She tilted her head from just behind her computer screen and smiled at me.
“No. The 34 year old male came in with a cardiac issue, so he was placed in the cardiovascular intensive care…” I licked the hooked end of the candy.
“And the second was an infant around 18 months of age. Scissors in the head. Neuro signs were intact. Once he was stabilized I transferred him to the pediatric intensive care unit…”
“Yer a good one, lass.” She finished typing and stood from behind the screen. “Ye put the patients where they are supposed to go- I just wanted tae double check. Dr. Mackenzie said he hadna seen anyone in the PICU yet….”
“Well Dr. Mackenzie is not aware what is going on then. Thomas was properly admitted an hour ago and has stable vital signs. The neurosurgery team will be checking in on him in a few hours.” I fumbled with the candy cane in my hand as Mrs. Fitzgibbons nodded at me in approval.
“Thank ye…” She went to start another sentence but the phone on her desk rang causing her attention to scatter. “Nurse Fitzgibbons…”
I took another lick of the sweet treat as I reached into my coat to call Joe back- finally having a moment to catch by breath- when I heard a familiar sound come from behind me,
“Mmmphmm,”a Scottish voice nearly whispered, “How does it taste, Sassenach?”
I turned around so quickly in the chair that I sent the candy cane flying down onto the floor. I looked down to the broken candy and then back up at him, rendered speechless.
“Och, dinna be eating now!” He walked around the counter and picked up the broken pieces, tossing them into the waste bin under the counter.
“I…” I couldn’t find the words. He looked, well, I didn’t know quite how he looked. He had a smile from ear to ear, smelled of fresh woodsmoke, and was carrying his broad shoulders in a way I had never seen before. “Thanks for making me break my candy.”
“There are surely other ways to enjoy that candy, Dr. Beauchamp.” He smiled at me and gave me the worst attempt at a wink I had ever seen.
“Well…” I started but was stopped by the ringing of his phone.
“James Fraser,” His voice went to business mode almost immediately. After a few seconds of clipped ‘yes’ and ‘no’s’, he covered the bottom end of his mobile phone and whispered to me, “We’ll talk later, Claire.”
He strode off into the lift leaving me weak in the knees.
Maybe I hadn’t dreamt it after all.
His day had not gone how he had planned at all.
After being rudely awakened by his boss to show up for an ‘emergency’ meeting and trying to clean up the intern-Charles Stuart- mess, he had not had any time to talk to Claire. He had seen her for merely thirty seconds this morning- looking well sated and with a new blush on those cheeks- but he hadn’t had time to gather how she felt about the given situation.
Did she regret it? God, he hoped not.
Reaching into his suit pocket he grabbed his phone taking stock of the time. 5:38 PM. Surely she was done for the day.
Leaning against the wall, he unlocked the phone and dialed.
“Dr. Abernathy,” The surgeon answered warmly.
“It’s James Fraser, from Marketing..” Jamie started, but the surgeon let out a small laugh and interrupted him.
“Ah, yes! Jamie! I know who you are, man! What can I do for you?”
“I was wondering if ye might ken where Dr. Beauchamp might be?”
“Ah,” Joe said and held his breath for a moment. “She finished an appendectomy about an hour ago….”
“So she went home then, aye?”
He heard Joe release another breath and let out a small grunt. “You didn’t hear it from me man. But she spends Thursday afternoons in the playroom on the peds unit. She brings in some toys saying they are from Santa and babysits the kids while the nurses get to eat a little bit of dinner. It’s her way thanking the nurses.”
Jamie smiled and nodded to himself, clutching his phone a bit tighter in his hand. “Why are ye telling me this then?”
“You’re different.” He could almost hear Joe’s smile through the phone. “Be careful, Fraser. She’s not the meek or obedient type.”
“Thank ye, kindly. Dr. Abernathy. I will heed your advice with great heart.”
Hanging up the phone he walked to the lift, pressing floor eleven.
As the lift took him six stories higher, for the first time in his adult life he felt the butterflies in his stomach like he was a love struck child again.
So this is what ye meant Mam? A woman can make me feel this way?
The ding echoed in his ears as he unbuttoned the jacket and squared his shoulders. He smiled and nodded to the nurses at the station and pretended to be involved with a matter on his phone as he walked through the corridors to the patient playroom.
His heart nearly stopped when he saw her sitting on the floor-criss crossed legs, hair a disheveled mess, and kids all around her.
He pressed the snap button capturing the moment on his phone before a voice spoke behind him.
“Jamie,” Dougal said, “We have to talk.”
Locking his phone he turned and nodded. She’d have to wait- at least another night.
“Uncle, let’s walk and talk, shall we?”
“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.
As always, thank YOU for reading!