Three Years Later
“We are going to be late!” Claire shouted as she slipped her coat on. In her own rush to get ready, Claire had lost Jamie and his nephew. But they had to be somewhere in the apartment and Claire’s voice carried, “I am going to leave you!”
“Dinna fash,” Jamie said as he appeared from the spare bedroom where wee Jamie had taken up residence the past several days. The boy was in Jamie’s arms and, mercifully, both of them were dressed, “Ye might leave me, but ye willna leave the wee one.”
“No,” Claire said as she accepted her godson from Jamie’s arms, “I wouldn’t. Lucky for both of you.”
“Auntie!” wee Jamie cried as he plunged his hands into Claire’s riotous curls, one of his favorite past times. Claire gave him an indulgent smile and tried not to wince. They were definitely going to be late to Jenny’s baby shower, but Claire thought they’d be forgiven. Wee Jamie was a handful, and Jenny had been at her wit’s end when Claire and Jamie volunteered to take the boy for a few days. Jenny tried not to let it show, but this pregnancy was much harder than her first. She was constantly sick and exhausted and Ian couldn’t look after wee Jamie and the tavern at the same time by himself. With Geillis handling the shower and Jamie and Claire watching wee Jamie, hopefully Jenny had gotten some much needed rest.
“I hope the wee gomeral wasna too much for ye,” Jenny said when they finally got to Broch Tuarach.
“Not at all,” Claire said. In fact, the boy seemed to prefer the company of his godmother to his mother at the moment, something Jenny seemed profoundly grateful for. Claire didn’t even pretend she wasn’t pleased by it. She was unused to small children other than the occasional patient, but she loved her godson with a fierceness she didn’t understand. Jenny once told her that feeling would be even stronger with her own child. Once, a statement like that would have sent her spiraling. But now…
She and Jamie had been dating for three years now, and there was no doubt that was where they were heading. But a family would require a wedding, which would first require a proposal. In the beginning, Claire and Jamie had been in agreement to take things slow. He was in Glasgow most of the time and Claire was as busy as ever at the hospital. But when Jamie graduated a few months ago, there hadn’t even been a question that he and Claire would move in together. It was only a matter of time before there was a ring on her finger. Claire couldn’t wait.
“We’re gonna name her Margaret Claire,” Jenny said sometime later when they caught a moment alone. Most of the guests had left and Jamie was entertaining his nephew while Ian cleaned up.
“Oh,” Claire said with pleasure, “I don’t suppose I’m also this one’s godmother?”
“I think Geillis would kill me,” Jenny smiled, “Ye can have the next one.”
“Christ, Jenny,” Claire laughed.
“Well,” Jenny said slyly, “Maybe if someone else would get on with it, I could take a break.”
“We’re almost there,” Claire said with certainty even though she had no idea when or how Jamie was going to propose. There was no ‘if’. Jamie had made it very clear when they got back together that it was for good. They were moving towards their future with the same finish line in mind.
But children were another matter entirely, and one they had a tender history with. There were still times Claire felt pangs for the baby she had lost, and she knew Jamie felt the same. In the years since, they had only talked about the miscarriage a handful of times. Unwilling to be hurt again, they were very careful. Claire knew there wouldn’t be another baby until they were both ready. But Claire finally felt ready. She wanted a baby. And seeing Jamie with his nephew this week… it was clear that Jamie wanted it too.
“Good,” Jenny said as a hand settled on her stomach, “My bairns need cousins.”
“Jenny was quite adamant we give wee Jamie a cousin soon,” Claire said as they made their way home. Her tone was light, but Jamie could hear the legitimate question in her voice. It was a fair one. Jenny and Ian had been pestering Jamie with questions about when he’d be proposing since his graduation. Joe had given his (unprompted) blessing months ago when they moved in together. There was nothing to do now but wait for the right moment. And that moment wasn’t now when they were both exhausted after taking care of their nephew for five days.
“Jenny just wants everyone to be as exhausted as she is all the time,” Jamie laughed. Claire didn’t.
“Jamie,” Claire said seriously, “I know we haven’t talked about it in a while. But if you wanted to try again-”
“I think we’re getting a little ahead of ourselves,” Jamie said, “We’re not even married yet.”
“Yet?” Claire said with a quirk of her eyebrow.
“Aye. Yet.” Jamie said as he drew her close, “I have a plan, ye ken.”
“Do you now?”
“Aye,” Jamie repeated, “And a ring. Ye dinna ken everything, Sassenach.”
“Well, you better not keep me waiting much longer,” Claire laughed, but Jamie could see the mix of nerves and pleasure making her blush even in the dark.
“I dinna intend to,” Jamie said with a soft smile and a kiss. If he was being honest, having wee Jamie in their house had sped his plan up. After several days of having a child’s life and laughter in their home, Jamie wanted nothing more than to have a baby of their own. The miscarriage was still a sore subject, and Jamie didn’t want to broach the question of having a baby until he was sure Claire was entirely ready. But it was clear she loved wee Jamie with a fierceness that took Jamie’s breath away. He wondered how she’d be with their own child. And now that Claire had told him she wanted a baby…
Jamie thought of the ring he had tucked away where Claire would never think to look. He thought of all the places he could pull it out and make Claire his for the rest of their lives. Jamie’s grin was so wide that it almost hurt. He couldn’t wait.