“What do we think of the wee fox cub?”
Claire whips around, medical chart in hand, to face Geillis. The smirk on her friend’s face is a little too much; Claire rolls her eyes and goes back to jotting notes. They’re halfway through the night shift, and she needs to focus on her patients, not on James Fraser.
“He’s alright, I suppose. Don’t think I’ll meet him again.”
“Ye didna exchange numbers? What is wrong wi’ ye, woman?”
Claire shrugs. “He was fine. Handsome of course, polite, attentive. But the ink is barely dry on the papers, G, and my work hours are intense. So are his, from what I could gather. I don’t want a new relationship that’s doomed to fail from the start.”
“Who says it has to be a relationship, love? Why couldn’t ye just have some fun with the lad? I’m sure he’d be all for it.”
What she doesn’t say is how the mere thought of Jamie’s blue eyes makes her head spin and recalling the coppery red waves of his hair brings a smile to her face. He had been charming and eloquent and seemed just so bloody normal, after everything she’d gone through with Frank. It had felt good to know she was desirable, even if just for one night.
“G, no offense, but I’m not like you. I can’t have a one-night stand to scratch an itch, no matter how attractive he is.”
“None taken.” Geillis grins wickedly. “Ye ken how much I enjoy it, just thought ye might consider it as well.”
Claire says nothing. Finishing with the chart, she deposits it at the nurses’ station before moving on to her rounds; Geillis is on her tail and unwilling to drop the subject.
“Meetin’ for a coffee is not a crime. Ye should look him up. Ye said he works for Leoch?”
“He’s nephew to the owners. Big family business. I’m sure he wouldn’t have time.”
“Ye didna even ask—”
“Well, neither did he! So, I suppose he wasn’t that into me after all.” Claire will not admit how much she had hoped Jamie would ask for her contact information; she had been too proud to offer it herself. A small part of her wonders if he’s the sort who will look her up online. She has almost no social media presence, however, and remembers that all her accounts are under her former husband’s name, Randall.
Geillis’s phone chirps with a text. She huffs, harried, and walks away from Claire. “It’s like ye dinna trust the eyes in yer heid, ye dolt. Anyone could see he wanted ye.” She turns and waves at her. “Rawlings wants me to assist. Talk to ye later, Beauchamp.”
Claire knows she is right. She can’t trust her eyes or any part of herself after what Frank did to her. It has been a year since she found him kissing his executive assistant in his office, but being deceived and betrayed still hurts.
She doesn’t know how much time it will take for her to trust again.
Geillis bursts into the doctors’ locker room, startling a half-dressed Claire.
“C, promise ye willna be angry wi’ me.”
“Why, what did you do?” Claire pushes her mad curls away from her face and tugs her shirt into place.
“I can’t promise to something I know nothing about.” Claire pulls her hair into a messy bun on top of her head. She’s familiar with Geillis’s dramatics and is willing to wait her out.
“I’ll have ye remember that ye did say ye didna want anything to do wi’ him, so I wasna doing anything wrong—”
“Jesus H, Geillis Edgars, out with it!” So much for patience.
“I called James Fraser and gave him yer number.”
“What?!” Claire shakes her head, sure she heard G wrong. “What on earth possessed you to do that?”
Geillis removes her own scrubs, talking as she heads for the showers. “Well, I thought I might have a go at the wee fox cub, given as how ye didna want him yerself. Am I still correct in assuming this?”
“Get on with it, G, before I strangle you. Keep talking or I’ll follow you into the shower stall.”
“I searched online for the Leoch company number, which sent me to an operator. I asked her to connect me to a James Fraser, and that was it. Quite easy, actually.” The steady pounding of the water almost drowns her out, but Claire needs more information.
“Did you ask him out, for a coffee or dinner or drinks?” And why does she care so much?
“Drinks, aye. He politely said no and asked for yer mobile number instead.” Geillis flips the shower off and wraps herself in a towel Claire hands her. “If ye weren’t my dear, dear friend I’d be offended.”
“Would you?” Claire laughs outright. “What else did he say?”
“He wanted to know if ye’d be agreeable to going out. If he could call ye.”
“And what did you say?”
Their conversation is cut short by the shrill notes of Claire’s ringtone. She digs it out of her jeans pocket and glances at the unknown number. Urged by Geillis, she taps the green icon and answers with a breathy, “Hello?”
“Claire? It’s Jamie. Jamie Fraser.”