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First Time Here?

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Present Day

 

“How did it go today?” Jamie asked, grinning up at me from his place on the sofa.

I smiled back, though I could feel that it was a little strained. Jamie, using that incredible innate perception of his, picked up on it immediately and got as quickly to his feet as he could given the large walking boot he was wearing. “Ye alright?”

“I’m…” I started to say that I was fine, but caught myself. Honesty...I needed to be honest about how I felt. “I just never could have imagined how tired I would feel after therapy.”

Jamie grimaced in sympathy. “Come sit down, mo cridhe , let me get ye something. Is this a tea or wine sort of feeling?”

My grateful smile was a lot more genuine. “Thank you, darling, but you should really take it easy since you had PT today. I’ll get it.”

Jamie started to sit back down, but then stopped. “No, I feel fine. You’ve been running yourself ragged between takin’ care o’ me and going back tae work. You’re clearly exhausted, why can’t I take care o’ you for a change?”

Once Jamie was well enough for me to return to work, I’d made good on my promise and started seeing a therapist. That day had been my third visit, and only the first time I’d really been able to start opening up about the effect on me from losing my parents at such a young age, and later my uncle. We hadn’t even touched on my issues surrounding my love life prior to Jamie. 

Jamie was still busy with recovering physically - attending doctor’s appointments and physical therapy, but soon he was going to start going with me. As it was, we’d both been reading some of the books my therapist had recommended to us and were trying hard to be more open with each other, as well as listening more to what the other had to say without just making assumptions.

I let my shoulders drop. I was worn out, physically and emotionally, and Jamie was getting around quite well in his boot. 

It took giving myself a little mental talking to, but I allowed myself to be bundled up in my favorite fuzzy blanket with my feet propped up on the sofa, giving a shy request for one of his hot toddies that were so good. When Jamie returned with two drinks, he situated himself behind me with his arms around me; my favorite comfort spot.

“How was PT?” I asked him.

Normally, I talked about my therapy appointment as soon as I came home, but that day I wasn’t really in the mood, and Jamie, bless him, didn’t ask.

“A pain in th’ arse,” he snorted. “Or, leg, I suppose. But he said I’m comin’ along well. Jenny, she…”

“What? I prodded, tilting my head up to look at him.

“She uh...she asked me when I’m planning on moving back...now that I’m on th’ mend.”

“Oh…” I leaned back against his chest again. “Well um...what did you tell her?”

I felt him chuckle. “Weel, guess ye’re probably ready tae get your space back, eh? Canna blame ye.”

“And I suppose you’re probably ready to go home,” I said, then I smiled and craned back to look at him. “We’re doing it again, aren’t we?”

Jamie laughed. “Seems we are. Sassenach, I verra much like living w’ ye. I love waking up and seeing your face every morning. I enjoy being here wi’ ye, having privacy and space of our own even though I do miss Lallybroch. Even though I have tae wade through fields of your hair that ye shed everywhere like wee poodle.”

I laughed as well, and butted him in the chest with the back of my head.

“I dinna want tae move out, but I completely understand if ye’re no’ ready tae take this step permanently, and ye willn’a hurt me, or upset me, if ye tell me so.”

“I sort of feel like I should tell you so,” I admitted. “After everything I went through with Frank I feel like I should want my space and independence for a while,” I looked at him. “But I don’t. I’d be sad if you left, Jamie. Even though you sometimes make this place smell like a locker room after you exercise.”

Jamie grinned and hummed happily, then kissed the bridge of my nose. “Suppose that’s that, then. We’re uh...living together.”

I chuckled. “Not that I could ever be glad about your accident, but it sure made this process seamless didn’t it?”

He shrugged. “I canna say I’m not glad about th’ accident. It made us both think about things in a different way...plus I had weeks of your undivided attention. Canna complain about that . But now...now it’s your turn.”

I whined when he slid out from behind me, but he made it better by moving to where my feet were, and started rubbing them.

“Oh, I can definitely get used to this , my lad.”

“That’s th’ plan, Sassenach. That’s th’ plan.”

“So we have to make sure we stay honest with each other. No holding things in, no missed communication. And…”

“And what?” he asked, making me laugh and twitch by running a finger lightly up the sole of my foot.

I met his eyes, and made sure to hold his gaze so that he knew I was serious. “When I didn’t know where you were...it was the most terrified I’ve ever been in my life...and that’s saying something. But even more than the fear was the cutting regret about the way we’d left things. Even though I was only little when my parents died, there were still things I wished I could have said to them, you know?”

He nodded. “Aye, I understand what he mean perfectly,” he looked away, no doubt thinking of his own parents.

“We can’t control what happens to us,” I continued. “But we can control what we say and how we leave things, say, after an argument or whatever.”

“Ye mean, even if we’re no’ happy wi’ one another, we shouldn’t part on hateful words.”

I sighed, glad I was making sense to him. “Right. And...I know I’m not great at actually saying the words…”

He smiled. “I get it. I’m not that used to that, either. But we could work on it, aye? I love ye, Sassenach.”

Grinning, I leaned over, getting a handful of his hair in order to pull him close enough for a kiss. “I love you, too,” I said, finding it much easier to say than it ever had for anyone else in my life.

Jamie deepened the kiss, and before I knew it, I found myself pressed back against the couch cushions, Jamie’s weight atop me. 

“You are feeling good,” I whispered teasingly.

Jamie pulled back. “I’m sorry, Sassenach, are ye too tired? We dinna…”

I cut him off by lifting my hips, grinding against him and making him groan. “Hush, you. You know, you haven’t been on top since the accident…”

Jamie grinned wolfishly, propping his good foot on the ground for traction and wedging his booted one between the cushions to keep it out of the way. “Oh, I know. And I’ve already worked out the best way to go about it. Been thinkin’ on it while you were at work.”

I looped my arms around his neck, pulling him back down to me. “And to think not long ago at all you were a virgin.”

“Glad I was able tae give my virtue to you , Sassenach.”

“You and me, both. Now get back down here, James Fraser.”

 

~~~

 

Some Time Later…

 

Jamie set down the glass in front of her, giving her a charming smile. Christ, but she was a bonny lass. “First time here?”

She giggled and put her chin on her hands, and he knew that with nothing but a wee bat of her lashes, he would be putty in her hands.

Da ...why do you always ask me that?!”

Jamie chuckled again, sliding the tumbler of chocolate milk closer. “Long story, a leannan, long story. But remind me tae tell ye of it, someday.”

“Hmm...yes, someday , but not today,” Claire said, sidling up behind the lass. “Bree, honey, go get your backpack, time to go.”

Brianna threw the chocolate milk back in one shot like a champ, then skipped off to gather her things. Jamie beamed in pride, but his dear wife gave him an unamused look.

“It’s one thing that our eight year old daughter spends her afternoons after school at a pub , but do we have to start conditioning her so early for her college drinking days?”

“Ah, come on, Sassenach, those were some of th’ best days of our lives!”

Claire rolled her eyes, but he could see the grin threatening the edges of her mouth. That mouth that he’d yet to kiss.

Reading his mind, she leaned over the bar, getting hold of the back of his neck and pulling him toward her.

“Ew, Mama!”

Claire pulled back, and eyed Brianna. “What? I can’t kiss your Da hello after a long day at work?”

Brianna wrinkled her nose. “I guess.”

Claire hopped down from the bar and smoothed down her blouse. “Alright then. Let’s get you home. Tell Da goodnight, since he’ll be home late.”

Brianna ran around the bar, and Jamie met her halfway, scooping her up into his arms. “Ah, I love ye, my wee lass. I’ll see in th’ mornin’, aye?”

“Aye,” she agreed, squeezing his neck hard enough to cut off his air supply. “Night, Da!”

Jamie set her on her feet, gave her bum an affectionate swat, and she was off again, getting caught near the door by Murtagh and swung into the air with a squeal.

“Are Jenny and Ian still keeping Bree this weekend?” Claire asked.

Jamie nodded with a grin. “Oh aye, Jenny says Katie has been speaking of nothing else but their big slumber party all week. Says we can expect an exhausted and sugar-drunk lass when she’s returned tae us on Sunday.”

“Good,” Claire said with a smirk. “It’s been a while since we’ve had the house to ourselves.”

Jamie grinned in return, his mind running through all the possible ways they can spend their Saturday night. At least now that Brianna was older, they hopefully wouldn’t just fall asleep like they did the first time Jenny kept Brianna overnight when she was a toddler. No, there’d be very little sleep indeed, if he had anything to say about it. 

“Canna wait,” Jamie murmured. “Dinna forget tae give Bree an extra goodnight kiss tonight for me.”

“I never do,” she said, and Jamie watched the way she swung her hips as she walked away. “Love you.”

He smiled softly, even though she was no longer looking. Christ, but he was happy. How could someone be so lucky as to find the one person in all the world who was made for him? He watched as she and their daughter joined hands and headed out into the brisk spring day. Sometimes he still felt a pang of fear when they left, knowing, as he did, that nothing was ever certain. Claire admitted that she often felt the same way, but that was why they made sure never to take each other or their lives as a family for granted.

To that end, Jamie realized he’d been so absorbed in looking at his beautiful lasses, he’d let his wife slip away without answering her. Grinning, he called her up on her cell, and he could hear the smile in her voice when she picked up. “And I love you, Sassenach.”



“Can we have hot dogs for dinner, Mama?” Brianna asked, swinging our joined hands as we walked home. 

I rolled my eyes fondly at her while I was grinning indulgently at my silly, yet wonderful husband who’d just called me seconds after we’d left the pub just because he’d forgotten to say “I love you” back to me. 

“Hot Dogs?” I echoed. Ever since our recent vacation to the United States, Brianna had been obsessed with hot dogs, even though I could never make them quite the same as from those hot dog carts. “I don’t think we have any of those at the house. But how about homemade pizza?”

“Okay!”

I grinned down at her, enjoying the way the late afternoon sun shone on her bright red curls. Just like her Da.

As much as I knew I’d miss her when she went to Jenny and Ian’s, I was looking forward to spending the weekend alone with Jamie. I was planning on all manner of x-rated activity, but also thought it would be the perfect time to break it to him that our nights of good sleep were about to be interrupted again by a second wee Fraser.

I touched my stomach, nearly bubbling over with nerves and excitement, much as I had back when I’d learned I was pregnant with Brianna, (which happened to be a week before Jamie’s and my wedding. We’d tried valiantly to keep it under wraps until after, but the fact that I didn’t have a drop of alcohol at the reception was a dead giveaway to anyone who knew me.)

Jamie had been incredible all through the pregnancy, taking care of me with more tenderness and love than I could have thought possible, even when I felt disgusting with morning sickness, enormous and fat, or just plain irritable. I had no reason to doubt that he’d be no different this time, and I bet he would be looking forward to the other things that come along with it - namely enlarged breasts and increased libido.

“Mama, can I stay up until Da gets home?”

“‘Fraid not, my darling. But I’ll tell you what, I’ll tell Da to peek in at you, and if you happen to be awake, you’ll see him. Deal?”

“Deal.”

I didn’t bother to tell her that Jamie peeked in on her every time he worked late, ever since she was born. I rather hoped our next would be a little boy, and I hoped he was just like Jamie in every way. And I hoped that they both would grow up and find someone the way Jamie and I did. By making a best friend, and falling madly in love with them.

“Does your stomach hurt?” Bree asked, eyeing the way I was still cupping my belly.

I chuckled and moved my hand away. “No, I’m fine. Just thinking.”

“So why does Da do that thing where he asks me if I’ve ever been to th’ pub?”

“It’s just kind of an inside joke, hon. He does it to me, too.”

“But why ?”

“Because he wants us to know he loves us, just as much as he has since the first.”

 

The End