Jamie Fraser still did not believe he was actually standing at the altar, on the grounds of his childhood home on this early summer day in June. Waiting for the love of his life to appear and join him, Jamie wasn’t nervous. Instead, a sense of calm surrounded him. Standing amidst the rolling green lands dotted with the first blooms of heather and the unmistakable smell of impending summer rain, hearing the soft chatter of birds in the trees, Jamie was overcome with a sense of rightness. This was always meant to be.
His da had always told him that he would know when he met the right person. And he had known; the moment she walked into the pub and he saw her, he knew. She was the one his heart had been waiting for.
The pub had been packed that evening, full of patrons ready to unwind and start their weekend off right with their friends. Jamie and the guys had been fortunate enough to find a table, and they were on their second round of drinks when the door opened, a soft chime and a chill from the winter wind outside announcing the arrival of more people in search of drinks to warm their insides.
Jamie looked up just in time to see a mass of brown curly hair shaking out the flakes of snow that had gathered atop her head. Suddenly, the woman stopped laughing with her friends and looked over, meeting his eye, as if she had been pulled to him. Whisky meeting the ocean for the first time.
Jamie surfaces from his reverie, the swelling music bringing his attention back to the present. The guests are turning to look back towards the house, watching the groomsmen and bridesmaids file out. Louise and Willie followed by Geillis and Rupert. Geillis winks at Jamie before taking her place, and whispers under her breath as she pauses in front of him, “Wait until you see her, Fraser.”
Ian and Jenny make their way towards him to take their places as best man and maid of honor. They smile brightly at Jamie and giggle with each other, memories of their wedding day fresh in their mind, and bubbling with obvious excitement for their brother and his bride. Jenny wraps him in a quick, tight hug.
“I am sae happy for ye bràthair,” she says as she gives him a kiss on the cheek.
Ian slaps him on the back and takes his place beside him, leaning over and whispering in his ear, “Let’s get ye married now, aye?”
“Aye,” Jamie replies with a smile, standing a bit straighter, adjusting his shirt and vest.
The music changes, and everyone looks back towards the end of the aisle. Wee Jamie and Maggie are making their way towards their uncle and their parents. Jamie outfitted in his kilt, dress shirt and vest, matching the rest of the men, held tight to the pillow the rings were tied to, taking the job of ring bearer very seriously. Wee Maggie toddles along next to him in a fluffy white dress, carrying a small basket of flowers. Jamie smiles widely and lets out a small chuckle as he watches his niece and nephew make their way down the aisle towards him, Maggie dropping large handfuls of flower petals sporadically along the way. Looking up at the sky, Jamie sends up a silent prayer that the rain holds off until after the ceremony.
The back door of the house opens up, and there she is. Jamie feels all his breath leave his body.
As she makes her way down the steps, the clouds clear away and the sun comes out. Jamie can not look away. The sun is shining off her hair, reflecting the bits of auburn that are hidden among her dark curls, and as she looks up and meets his eyes, a wide smile spreads across her face, matching his.
It seems like an eternity before she finally reaches him. He takes her hands in his and lifts them slowly. Jamie kisses her knuckles before placing their joined hands back down in between their bodies, both of their eyes brimming with tears as they stare at one another.
Sliding the ring onto Claire’s finger, Jamie starts to speak and then stops, clears his throat, and tries again, nervous to say in front of everyone what is in his heart, how he feels about this woman in front of him, and all that she means to him.
“Claire. I knew from the moment that ye walked into the pub that ye were going to change my life. That nothing would ever be the same again, that I would never be the same again. It was your beauty that caught my attention, but it was your kindness that made me stay. But for all my growing affections, it was your soul I fell in love with that night, and it is your soul that I am still in love with to this day. Ye are everything I have ever dreamt of and more, the one that my heart had been waiting for. I thank God every day for putting ye in my path. Thank ye for trusting me wi’ yer heart, thank ye for loving me, for choosing me. I will love, support, and cherish ye always. There is nothing i wouldna do for ye, Sorcha, and I canna wait to spend the rest of our lives together.”
Swallowing the lump in her throat, Claire looks up at the man she loves, the tears streaming freely down her face. She slides the ring onto Jamie’s finger as she tries to find the strength to speak what’s in her heart.
“Jamie. You've seen the me that I've hated, and I have seen the you that you're not. But our rope is one that is braided and has stood the test of time. You take my breath away. Every day I am blown away by how much you love me. It feels like we are lost inside a dream, just you and me, and I don’t ever want to leave. I think– no, I know that you were the one my heart has been waiting for, as well. Forever you are mine, and I am yours. There’s nothing I would change, nothing I wouldn’t do, because everything led me here to you.”
“There’s one more thing that Claire and I would like to do today, to proclaim our love and commitment to one another. It’s an ancient Highland tradition, a blood vow.” As Jamie finishes his speech, Ian comes around to stand in front of them, producing a small dirk from his belt. Jamie recognizes it as one that used to belong to his father.
Claire’s eyes widen just a bit, and she whispers, “You DID remember to sterilize that properly, correct?”
Ian and Jamie both chuckle quietly as Jamie reassures her, “Aye, lass, I took proper measures, dinna fash. Are ye ready now?”
She looks at Jamie and nods her head.
Jamie holds out his right arm, Ian draws the dirk across his wrist, and blood swells to the surface. Claire presents her right arm for Ian to do the same to her. They lay their wrists one over the other, gripping each other’s forearms as Ian ties a piece of clean cloth around them, binding them together as their blood mixes.
Never taking his eyes off Claire, Jamie begins to recite the oath in Gaelic. “Is tu fuil ‘o mo chuislean, is tu cnaimh de mo chnaimh. Is leatsa mo bhodhaig, chum gum bi sinn ‘n ar n-aon. Is leatsa m’anam gus an criochnaich ar saoghal.”
“You are blood of my blood, and bone of my bone. I give you my body, that we two might be one. I give you my spirit, ‘til our life shall be done.” Claire repeats after him in English, eyes never leaving his. Whisky meeting the ocean in eternity.
Tears streaming down both of their faces, and with matching smiles, they share their first kiss as husband and wife, amidst loud cheers and whistles from their boisterous guests. Breaking apart and laughing, they turn to face their guests, join hands, and run down the aisle just as the clouds open up and summer rain begins to fall.
Late in the evening, after the guests have gone, Jamie leads his bride upstairs, and into the Laird’s room. Shutting the door quietly behind him, he takes in the sight of his wife slipping out of her simple wedding gown.
Turning to him in only her white slip, she holds out her hand and says, “Come here to me, my love.”
And he goes.