JULY FIFTEEN, 1953. SUMMER. SCOTLAND .
( six years ago )
Filming two movies into one could be quite exhausting not only for the cast, but also the directors and support crew. Everyone was excited about the one week break after another day of filming the movie came to an end, she heard the conversations of the crew and other cast members, making plans to go out dancing and drinking to celebrate later, with an extended invitation to her that was kindly put on hold.
After going through a long divorce that was concluded at the beginning of the month, having peace of mind after weeks without a break sounded exactly like heaven. There was a french poetry book laying on her hotel room vanity for more than three weeks now and Claire was looking forward to finishing it tonight with a good drink on hand. The simple thought made her smile, lord she was really free . No husband controlling her every move, forcing her to go to parties and play the damned children’s doll.
The slight thought of Frank Randall made her desire to puke. The man was at least twice her age when they got married; she was young and foolish, thinking she had fallen in love with the man she spent most of her time with. At the moment the golden ring was on her finger, she had no control over her life whatsoever. What she said, what she wore, the jobs she would accept… Lord, she should have listened to her uncle Lambert first, instead of believing the foolish fairy tale of true love.
“True love” … the thought made her laugh. It wouldn’t take long for her ex-husband to find another young girl, perhaps even younger than she was when they first got married, and shape her at his own specifications.
As soon as she was safe inside her comfortable hotel suite a proper bath was prepared with all the required pampering, her poetry book in one hand and a final glass of wine on the other. She lost track of time spent relaxing in the bathtub, but she was able to finish a bottle of wine and her book as she previously desired. Staring at the clock over the wall, it was still rather early to go to bed and rather dull to stay locked inside her room. After putting a comfortable beach dress on and grabbing her purse, Claire left the room and locked the door, deciding to walk through the hotel garden towards the large pool.
Of course, she did not expect any sort of company yet… What a sight for sore eyes, one could say.
Tall. An unforgettable mop of red hair. No shirt on and a pair of dark blue eyes.
Claire met him three weeks ago, during the first table read of the movie. Even though it was the first time they had met in person and the first time they would ever work together, you’d have to be living under a rock if you didn’t know who Jamie Fraser was; the Scottish actor taking Hollywood by storm since the previous year. She’d heard a ton about him through common acquaintances, like her personal friend and stylist, Geillis Duncan, who couldn’t spare words about the man and how proud she was to work as many times as she had with someone from her country. But she didn’t have an opinion about the man yet; sure, he was simple and charming, educated but humble, seemed to be an open book but was mysterious at the same time.
Overall, Jamie Fraser looked, sounded and smelled like trouble.
A grunt brought her back to reality, finding herself standing by the flower arch over the entrance of the pool area, for lord knows how long, with said pair of dark blue eyes watching her curiously and an eyebrow arched in her direction.
“Are ye feeling alright, Sassenach ?”
She simply shook her head, walking towards one of the chairs with a certain distance from the man in question. Then it hit her, that burn going from her neck down her back, knowing she was being watched by his vigilante orbs. “What’s a Sassenach, anyway? You have addressed me as such before.” Turning her head to the side to face him, Claire found a rather amusing look on his face, something that amused her in a way.
Jamie held his glass of what apparently seemed like whiskey half way to his mouth, as if he was pondering how to explain the nickname to her. “It basically means an outlander, ye ken, mostly used to address English folk, but it serves ye well.”
“Well, my mother is an English woman, so I think it applies to my case.”
Then he smiled again, wide and amused. Damn him for being so easily likeable.
“I see.” He seemed to analyze her more than what seemed normal, as if he was looking for permission to continue their conversation. “Are ye a whiskey drinker or nae?” His eyes stared at the bottle in the middle of the table, holding up an empty glass as an invitation.
She smiled back now, that was precisely what she was in need of. “I’ve known to hold my liquor since I was twelve, let’s say my uncle has his own takes on parenting and whiskey would solve anything.”
He poured her half a glass, handing it to her slowly; their fingers brushed for seconds, the softness of her pale skin and the rough of his. Before she’d allow a blush to take her cheeks, she was again distracted by his voice starting to tell her about the whiskey they were sharing, made by his family personal distillery, a speciality of his father and older brother.
Claire felt like she could listen to his tales for hours and she realized she had when the sun was starting to rise as they bid their goodbyes, walking through the corridors leading to each of their suites. He was a born a great storyteller, like most Scots she had met before, but there was something unique and special about him, once that he expressed such unique joy when telling her numerous tales about failed jobs from the beginning of his career (to which she reciprocated by telling him some of her own), the complexity to understand his strong accent from the highlands to nonsense complains about how red his hair was besides him being taller than the average actors. It was her first actual contact with Jamie Fraser outside the reading table and the fewer scenes they had filmed together so far, yet leading to the romance of their characters, Taylor and Joe.
At the end of the night, near the beginning of the morning, she could say she happily fell asleep.
APRIL TWENTY, 1959. SPRING.
( nowadays )
Waking up alone in bed. It might have been seven years now, but the feeling that something was missing didn’t change and he couldn’t say he didn’t know why, that’d be a lie, one more to his account. His penitence was waking up alone, knowing he lost it all by making the wrong choice, by believing the wrong woman and getting himself trapped into another lie.
He hadn’t changed much, but he liked to think he was more mature now at thirty years old than back when he was three and twenty. What had mostly applied to a change was the height of solo fatherhood, having the certainty he wanted his son to have a good example despite whatever was said about his father’s work line. And besides him and his family living in Scotland, his son had no other family to rely on, once his mother’s family renegated him since his birth, what took their daughter’s life. But he and his family were and would always be enough to William, even though he wasn’t truly his blood.
Jamie Fraser regretted a lot through the last few years, putting his heart aside and choosing through what seemed to be the rightful thing to do, but letting the love of his life, his whole heart, escape from his hands would always be the major regret. When Geneva approached him, very much ahead on her pregnancy a week before the release of Wildest Dreams in theaters, he had to choose between head or heart. Choosing that woman instead of Claire Beauchump was a big mistake, a huge one.
Yet, how would he know Geneva was playing him a fool by claiming the child was his when it was actually none but his own uncle?
Besides blaming himself, her and his uncle, Jamie loved William as if he was his since the first second he was put in his arms. Willie was his in name and at heart, an easy lad to love and live with, even though he sometimes tended to fireback around like his mother. He lived most of the year in Lallybroch with his grandparents, Brian and Ellen, which was decided to be the best than growing up in the spotlight, despite how much he missed having him around.
He moved his head to the side, facing the stone laying on his nightstand. A weak smile hitting the corner of his lips, recalling when they found that stone; dragonfly in amber, exactly how her eyes looked when the sun was shining over them. Even when he was sober, he would always find himself drunk in those beautiful eyes. Drunk in everything that meant her . Claire. Sorcha .
His bed without her warmth was beyond lonely, waking up without her body rapped around his like a sloth, her heavy chestnut curls all over his broad chest, wee hands on his waist and head resting peacefully as he used to watch her carefree in her sleep. Perfect. His.
Well, not his anymore.