A whirlwind romance was a thing Claire Beauchamp had never expected to happen to her. Even less on her 200th year on earth and with a man who was simply put, a mortal.
It all started four months ago — on a brisk September day, in her adoptive city of Boston, where she had been living for the past five years.
Like most mornings of the week, Claire took the familiar path from her home towards the university where she taught history. Of course, it was easier to talk about the past when you had live through it.
She had been everywhere.
Yet, her skin had not one wrinkle and she barely looked a day older than twenty-five.
The perks of being a witch.
That morning, she had bumped into a tall, red-haired giant, who had sent her flying off her feet.
Once. At the corner of her street.
Twice. In the park.
Three times. Right in front of the university’s library.
“I think it’d be safer to have a coffee and talk about ways to avoid hurtin’ each other, Sassenach. If we keep bumptin’ into one another like that, we might truly have an accident.”
His Scottish accent melted off his tongue in a lyrical manner. In a bewitching way, almost. His lip twitched up into a tender smile while his ocean eyes observed her attentively. For the first time in her very long life, Claire Beauchamp felt all fuzzy in her stomach.
Knees wobbling. Heart hammering.
Claire remembered vaguely collecting herself and answering something cocky and pretentious, pretending not to be under this man’s spell. But she was in deep. So deep that after sharing a coffee together, they met for lunch. And after lunch, they reunited for dinner that evening, before ending up at the local cinema to see My Fair Lady.
They barely saw anything of the movie — both too occupied to kiss to pay attention.
Since then, Claire and Jamie barely spent a minute apart unless they really had to be adults and go to work. He worked in a prestigious advertising agency, which was also the reason why he moved from Glasgow to Boston in the first place.
Another morning — one slightly colder than the one in September — Jamie had popped the question at the breakfast table. Claire was reading the newspapers, sipping her cup of tea when he had slipped a diamond ring in front of her and asked if she wanted to be his wife.
She said yes without hesitation and then, they let the pancakes burn on the stove.
She had no relatives left, apart from her Uncle Lambert — who was flying around the Middle East, somewhere. And since Jamie’s only sister lived in Scotland, they decided to buy some rings, go down to the registry office and become Mr and Mrs Fraser without much fuss.
Now, they found themselves in a hotel, determined to spend the next few days tangled between the sheets.
Honeymoon, they called it.
Claire wasn’t nervous per se. She had been with Jamie before. But as she sat by the vanity, trying to make her mess of curls resemble something decent, she couldn’t help but feel nervous about what she was about to say to her new husband.
How does one go about to tell your husband you are a witch?
She decided she would stop using her powers and live as normally as possible, yet, she couldn’t hide something such as this from him. She could hear Jamie in the other room pouring whisky in glasses.
Was he nervous?
However, she had no time to dwell on the question when lightning struck outside the window and Lambert Beauchamp appeared inside the room — dressed in his usual fancy attire: a green velvet suit, golden round glasses and purple socks.
“Uncle!” She turned around to look at him. “What are you doing here?”
“What am I doing here?” He retorted in his posh British accent. “What are you doing here?!”
“I’m married,” she held up her hand, proudly showing off her rings.
“I know,” her uncle rolled his eyes, walking over to her, “I let you out of my sight for one moment and now look. Come on, hold onto me and we’ll be out of here in a moment.”
“I’m not going anywhere,” she watched him, crossing her arms.
“I was afraid of that…” Lamb stroked his chin, observing her attentively. “He has you under a spell, eh? These warlocks are the worst kind —”
“He’s not a warlock,” Claire said simply, smirking at the look forming on her uncle’s face.
“Jamie happens to be, if you’ll excuse the expression, a normal mortal human being.”
“Ah, well that’s easy! I just have him trip over a rug and break an arm.”
“Uncle!” Claire got up, shaking her head. “You’ll leave him alone, yes? He’s a perfectly sweet marvellous man!”
“Oh my poor baby,” he sighed, making a disgusting face. Claire knew her uncle’s aversion to mortals.
He found them so...usual. Mediocre, he often used to describe them.
“He sounds simply horrible. I’ll get you out of here, darling —”
“Good luck because I’m not going.”
“Oh really? How would you like to spend your wedding night with a frog, then?” He grinned, tilting his head.
“Good lord, can you leave it? I’m perfectly happy with him, can’t you understand that?”
“Don”t talk to your uncle like that,” he moved his finger in front of her face and she felt five all over again. “I’ll tell you when you’re happy.”
Claire turned her head as she heard the doorknob turning, “You need to go, he’s coming!”
“I’ll take care of that,” Lamb smirked, and with a swift move of his hand, send Jamie back to the lobby downstairs.
“Where did you send him? You can’t keep him away all night, it’s our honeymoon!”
“Why do you always have to go against me, sweetheart? What have I done to you to have you marry a mortal?” He sighed exaggeratedly, laying on the bed.
“Uncle Lamb, you’ll need to leave now. Jamie will be back in a minute!”
“Oh no, I’m not going anywhere,” he grinned.
“Oh yes you are,” she walked over to him and twitched her nose — something she always did whenever she cast spells. She moved her hands towards him, mumbling words that seemed to make no sense to the untrained ear.
Sadly, when she was finished, her uncle had not moved. He simply watched her with an amused expression. “You naughty naughty little witch.”
Sighting, Claire sat down, “Uncle Lamb...please.”
“No, darling.” He snapped his fingers the second he heard a knock at the door, sending a confused Jamie flying back to the lobby, yet again.
“You are way too young and inexperienced. You know mortals! They think witches only work one day a year, on Halloween,” he made a disgusting face, getting up.
“That we all wear those big ugly hats and fly around on brooms,” he moved his arms to show off his explanation. “What will happen when he finds out you are a witch?”
A smirk splatter on Claire’s face, “I’m going to tell him.”
“You are?” Lamb’s eyes widened and she nodded.
“ I don’t think married people should have secrets with one another.”
“And when exactly are you going to tell him?”
“As soon as you leave,” she sat down at the vanity again.
“Well, that should solve everything! You’ll have this wedding cancelled before you know it.” Without another word, Lamb disappeared as quickly as he had arrived.
“Good riddance,” she grinned, shaking her head.
“I’ve heard that!” His voice echoed inside the room.
Claire was about to laugh when she heard the knock at the bedroom door again. Quickly, she checked herself into the mirror one last time and brushed off some lines on her pink nightdress. She walked over to the door and slowly opened it, revealing behind it her gorgeous husband in his own nightwear — who seemed a bit confused.
“Hello there,” she said softly, smiling.
“Sassenach, the strangest thing happened to me,” he frowned, walking over to her, “I took one glass of whisky and suddenly I found myself…” Jamie let his sentence die at the sight of her, his face illuminating.
“Nevermind,” he said softly, leaning down to kiss her.
“Sweetheart,” Claire stopped him, putting her hands on his chest. With a swift move of her feet, she closed the bedroom door.
“Let’s sit down and talk.”
“Ye’re a what?” He asked for the third time, eyes wide.
They were both sitting on one of the velvet sofas of the room, facing one another.
“I’m a witch,” Claire repeated casually. As if she was only announcing him she liked poached eggs.
“That’s wonderful,” Jamie kissed her forehead, taking her hand. “We’ll talk about it tomorrow.”
“No. Now.” She crossed her arms. “I am a witch, Jamie. A real, house hunting, broom riding, cauldron stirring witch.”
“I dinna ken what was in that whisky but remind me not to have another drink. Ever. And ‘tis been a busy day for both of us. Gettin” married isna as easy as it looks —”
“Why would I be telling you this if it wasn’t true?” She asked, raising her eyebrows in question.
Jamie sighed, getting up, “I dinna ken. I have an aunt back in Scotland who thinks she’s a lighthouse. Whenever it rains, she insists on climbing on the roof to warn the sailors.”
“How do you know she isn’t a lighthouse?” Claire got up in turn. “Or maybe you’re the one looking at a lighthouse and thinking you’re seeing an old lady on a garage roof.”
“Fine, Sassenach. My aunt is a lighthouse,” Jamie cupped her cheeks, kissing the tip of her nose. “And ye’re a witch.”
“You don’t believe me,” she sighed, looking up at him. “Of course you don’t.”
“If ye’re a witch, where’s yer hat and yer broom and how come ye’re out when ‘tis no’ even Halloween?”
Rolling her eyes, Claire sat down again, “My uncle was right, you’re prejudiced.”
“Ye told me yer uncle was in the Middle East,” Jamie said confused, a frown forming.
“He is! But he popped in this evening to see me.”
Jamie froze, looking around, “Here?”
“Yes here, who do you think send you back to the lobby twice? That was Lambert, not the whisky.”
“...is he here now?”
“Good,” Jamie smirked, taking her hand to pull her up. “I dinna care for some invisible relative spying on us on our honeymoon.”
“I guess I’ll just have to prove to you I’m a witch,” she turned around to look at him. “Though I swore I wouldn’t do any more witchcraft for your sake.”
“I’m from Scotland, do ye ken what that means, Sassenach?”
“Show me.” Jamie sat down and crossed his arms.
“Any particular request?” She looked down at her husband who had just taken out a cigarette from his packet.
“Surprise me,” he said nonchalantly, putting the cigarette in his mouth and tried to light up the table lighter. “I’ve yet to see a table lighter that works. Just once, I’d like to see —”
Jamie had no time to finish that the lighter in question turned on. Shutting him up immediately.
Slowly, the scot turned his head to look at his wife who was smirking. Jamie stayed silent and took a drag on his cigarette. When he looked down at the table again, an ashtray had appeared in front of him. Claire made it move away from him with just one look, whenever he tried to reach for it.
She kept doing it for a good minute before he grabbed it and crushed his cigarette in it. She tried her best to not laugh.
“Ah Dhia,” Jamie got up and walked towards the window to open it. Something he had no time to do because his wife had just done it from afar.
The scot stopped, staring at the now opened window. Turning around, he revealed a slightly pale face and mumbled: “I wish I had a drink.”
“Your wish is my command, darling,” Claire said simply, making a whisky appear in his hand.
“Make it an old fashioned,” he asked, staring at the glass in his hand.
A glass that switched to an old fashion the second he asked for it.
“Oh, I forgot the straw,” Claire added before making one appear.
“Christ, ye’re a witch!” Jamie put the glass on the table and felt his head turn. His knees gave up but Claire made sure the velvet chair was there to catch it.
“That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you!” Claire walked over to him, exasperated. “Darling, are you alright?”
“No I’m no’ alright,” he looked at her, fears floating in his eyes.
Sitting on his lap, Claire felt incredibly guilty. She should have told him this before they got married. “I supposed I should have never married you but...I love you so much, Jamie.”
“I love ye too, Sassenach,” Jamie cupped her cheek. “I just... need to figure this out. ‘Tis is no’ somethin’ like somebody who just pretends to be a lighthouse.”
“Oh Jamie,” Claire couldn’t help but smile, wrapping her arms around his neck. She captured his lips with her and whatever opposition he might have disappeared in a moment. No spell would be strong enough to compare to whatever was going on between them. No spell at all.
“We’ve got to figure this out…” he whispered against her lips, reluctantly parting from her lips.
Nodding, Claire kissed him again. Over and over again.
“Later…” he mumbled, pulling her down with him.
“I’ve been goin’ over it and over it in my mind, Sassenach,” Jamie said solemnly, resting against the fireplace, in a house, they were now sharing. They had ignored the topic for the entire honeymoon but it had to come up, eventually.
Claire, who sat on the sofa, watched him and waited for whatever he was going to tell her next. She didn’t know what’d she do if he told her to take her things and leave.
“And I’ve come to the conclusion that I love ye and I canna give ye up,” his face illuminated with a warm smile.
“Oh, darling!” Claire got up and wrapped her arms around his neck. “I’ll be the most normal wife I can be.”
“We’re gonna have a nice and perfectly happy life, mo graidh, I know it, Jamie kissed the tip of her nose, holding her close. “I’m sure of it but no more…” he moved his fingers around.
“No more,” she promised, kissing his lips tenderly. “I promise you.”
“But I guess I’ll have to learn to cook now,” she made a face before laughing.
“Ye can leave the cookin’ up to me, Sassenach,” he grinned, kissing her again. “Dinna fash about that.”
“That’s a relief,” she chuckled, cupping his cheeks.
“Talkin’ about dinner, we’ve been invited to my boss house tonight. I hope it’s alright wi’ ye? Just a wee gathering wi’ the people of the agency. I can’t wait to introduce them to my wife.”
“It’s alright,” she smiled, holding his hand. “But what should I wear?”
“Nothin’ fancy, Claire and ye look good in everythin’,” Jamie brought her hand to his lips, winking. Whatever that wink was supposed to be, anyway. If there was one thing to know about James Alexander Malcolm Mackenzie Fraser, it was that he couldn’t wink to save his life. And the sight was too endearing to his wife.
Nothing fancy, he had said.
However, at the sight of the mansion in one of Boston’s most expensive neighbourhood, Claire started to feel slightly uneasy. She was dressed in a simple white shirt and a pencil skirt, her teaching uniform. She didn’t bother with a pair of heels, instead opting for her favourite pair of shoes: brown oxfords. She even took her old woollen coat instead of her mink.
“Are you sure I’m not underdressed?” She asked, looking at Jamie who had just rung the doorbell.
“Sassenach ye look perfect,” he reassured her, kissing her lips. “‘Tis a very relaxed evening, verra pot luck, sittin’ on the floor kind of thing.”
“If you say so,” she smiled and turned her head once the door opened.
“Good evening.” A man, most certainly the butler, said politely, letting them inside the extremely luxurious house.
Pot luck, my arse.
Claire had not time to dwell on things and to stop to admire the expensive pieces of furniture.
“James!” A very high pitched voice called her husband. The voice in question belonged to a very tall and very blonde woman — who was dressed in a sequin cocktail dress that hit the floor. Her hair was impeccably slicked back, full of volume, and whoever had doubts on the size of her breast would be instantly notified of it upon further look at her outfit. Her arms wrapped around Jamie and her lips stamped his cheek, very near his mouth.
“Sheila,” Jamie answered politely, stiff as a board.
“And is this your little wife?” The Sheila in question looked at Claire, smirking.
“How do you do?” Claire smiled, grabbing his hand.
“Aw, she is sweet! I’m glad you both could make it to papa’s little party tonight.”
“I should have maybe dressed more appropriately if I had known this was so posh,” Claire removed her coat, looking at the other woman. Jamie had omitted to say that his boss’ daughter had bedroom eyes towards him.
“You do look just fine!” The American accent was as annoying as the pitch. “I bet you are the perfect housewife type. Capable of cooking, taking care of the house, playing golf and so on. All the things lil’ old me can’t do! How I envy you, dear.”
“You’d never guess,” Claire smirked, watching her.
“Enough talking, you two come in,” Sheila grabbed Jamie’s hand and lead him towards the living room, leaving Claire to follow them.
Jamie quickly looked behind him to her, a helpless look on his face. One that didn’t improve as his wife's eyes met his.
The introductions were briefs but plenty. Jamie’s boss, his colleagues, their respective wives. When it came time to eat, Claire found herself seated at the end of the table, far away from Jamie who had been dragged to sit next to Sheila. He was too polite to say anything but the exasperated look on his face was enough to amuse Claire.
That, and the way Sheila looked like a dog in heat next to him. Truthfully, she couldn’t blame her. Jamie was too gorgeous for words, she had been guilty of it herself. But the way the other woman acted, when his wife was barely meters away was ridiculously entertaining for Claire.
Mostly because she knew just how much her husband worshipped her and that competition — if it could even be called that — was nothing to her.
She ate slowly and made small talks with the people next to her. Mrs Abernathy and her husband, who was an associated at the advertising agency. They seemed to be around their age and were great company.
From time to time, Claire caught her husband’s eyes who seemed to be screaming for help.
“Don’t worry about Claire, dear,” Sheila said, touching his arm. “We’re all here to make her feel welcome! Right, everyone? Now Claire,” she turned toward her, talking loudly for everyone to hear since she was so far away.
“We need to find you a good dressmaker and then I’ll introduce you to Pierre. He does wonders with hard demanding hair —”
“Oh trust me, there’s nothing to be done about my hair,” Claire grinned, taking a bite of roast beef. “Untamed it is and untamed it’ll remain.”
“But I have been wondering...Have we met somewhere before?” Sheila asked and continued before she could answer.
“I’m afraid not,” Claire smiled, not mentioning she had visited both these places a couple of times.
Laughing, Sheila touched Jamie’s arm again, “Speaking of...do you remember the time we were both in Paris and —”
Her tone disappeared behind the others’ and she couldn’t hear what she was now basically whispering into Jamie’s ear.
“Ah, Sheila always looks so beautiful,” Gail Abernathy sighed. “Never a hair out of place. I think you both would go along quite well, she’s wonderful and there’s nothing she can’t do. Do you know that she owns her own plane?!”
“Oh?” Claire pretended to be interested.
“Do you fly, dear?” Gail asked.
“Yes, I love flying,” she smiled, sipping some wine. “I do it all the time. It’s my preferred way of transportation.”
Claire ignored Gail’s confused expression and took another bite of meat. Now Sheila was practically on Jamie’s knees and Claire had had it. She swore she would stop. She promised she wouldn’t do it anymore but it was stronger than herself. And the party was terribly boring, anyway.
Might as well bring in some animations.
With a twitch of her nose, Claire made Sheila’s sneeze into her soup. Once. Twice. Three times. Splashing her expensive dress with the thick mixture in the plate, by the same occasion. She heard some apologies coming from the woman who had just grabbed her towel to wipe the garment.
It wouldn’t be fun to stop now, she thought.
With another nose twitch, Claire made the front door burst open — bringing with it a heavy wind that swept most of the things from the hall.
“Oh dear god,” Sheila got up at once to go close it but the wind was too powerful against her. The dress flew, her hair extensions along with it. And in no time, the young lady had disappeared up the stairs to hide. She was mortified and Claire was well pleased with herself.
“Remind me not to ask for Pierre’s hair tips anytime soon,” Claire said nonchalantly, making everyone at the dinner table burst into a fit of laughter. Guess she wasn’t the only one who found Sheilla Addams terribly pretentious.
The ride home had been mostly silent. It wasn’t until they step foot inside the house that Jamie made his displeasure known.
“Claire, I’m no’ sayin’ were entirely wrong, Sheila had it comin’ but —”
“But for a moment there it was kind of hard to tell which witch was which,” Claire smirked, looking up at her husband who, she was starting to learn, couldn’t stay mad at her for very long.
“Just a wee play on words, my darling,” she wrapped her arms around his neck.
“Ye broke yer promise, Sassenach. Ye gave me yer word, no more…” he wiggled his fingers.
“Stuff,” she grinned, kissing the tip of his nose.
“It’s a little harder to break the habit than I thought! And to be fair, it was too tempting not to give in.”
“Aye, I noticed that,” his eyebrow rose but he smiled.
“She was practically on your knees and you said nothing so I had to take care of it myself,” she booped his nose. “I do not like it when women are all over my husband. Not that I can blame her for trying but still. Plus, did I turn her into a cow?”
“See, it could have been much worse,” Claire kept grinning, making her husband chuckle softly.
“I wouldna mess wi’ ye if I was her, Sassenach,” Jamie pulled her closer, kissing her lips. “And ‘tis true, ‘twas funny. I’m glad ye came to my rescue.”
“Anytime,” Claire whispered against his lips before kissed him again. “Jamie...Can I ask you something?”
“Anything,” his thumb stroked her cheeks, his eyes crashing against hers.
“You don’t believe I’ve put a spell on you, do you?” Jamie had not said a word about this since she had announced him she was a witch, however, she couldn’t help but worry.
The scot grinned, tightening his grip on her. “I doubt any magic spell ye might have put on me would have worked just as good as me simply bumping into ye and seein’ ye for the first time, Sassenach. Nay, I dinna believe ye put a spell on me, Claire. Though I do feel slightly spell bounded by ye, I dinna think it has anythin’ to do wi’ the fact that you are a witch.”
“Good,” she smiled, feeling relieved. “I’ll stop the whole magic thing, now. I promise.”
“Ye know what Sassenach?” Jamie stroked a curl behind her ear, resting his forehead against hers.
“I wouldna change ye to save the world.”