Actions

Work Header

Finding my way

Chapter Text

It was the first Thursday of May when Brian Fraser received the last call.

“Alright, I promise we will manage, do not worry yourself miss Beauchamp. I will see you tomorrow then. Don’t hesitate to call if you need any directions and drive safely.” He wrote down her information and hung up the phone.

He turned to his son. “We have our last worker for the season! I’m relieved. She arrives tomorrow and you’ll have to train her, because she doesn’t know a thing about horses nor camps.”

His son rolled his eyes. “Then why the hell would you recruit her dad? Don’t you think we’ll have enough work as it is?”

“Yes. But she’ll work hard Jamie she really needs this; everyone deserves a chance. Please be flexible.”

Jamie sighed and nodded. “Alright, you’re right... I just hope she’ll learn fast.”

“I’m going to go and set up the last cabin then.” He smiled to his father and left the main building.

 

Jamie Fraser had had a peculiar upbringing. Instead of being raised in a house in the city, going to school and going out with his friends, he and his siblings had grown up in Tennessee, on a ranch turned into a summer camp during the summer season. They’d learn to care for horses, to garden, as well as managing a business with their mother and father. Taking reservations, setting up the place, helping with organizing the activities and obviously enjoying them as well when they were little... It was their parents’ dream, to live on a big land, work with the animals they loved, and open this land to the kids who didn’t have anywhere else to go during their vacation, trying to bring them some happiness and good memories.

Jamie’s brother and sister had eventually moved on, gone to university, got married and had created their own professional paths. But Jamie had returned after university, he loved this place and couldn’t imagine doing anything else than working there and taking the reins once the time came.

Throughout the years, the ranch had expended. At the beginning the kids would sleep in tents, but then they had created the dormitories, little cabins spread all over the land. Then they had created the main building, where there was the cafeteria, the lounge spaces where the kids would watch movies, play boardgames, and hold other indoor activities. And in time when they had grown even more, they had created the master cabins in order to hire workers for the season, they usually started to arrive during May, to get trained, acquainted and to prepare the camp that would start in late June.

Jamie was now living full time in one of the master cabins, which he had worked on all year to turn it into his house. He went to set up the last cabin for the lady arriving tomorrow. He made the bed, left fresh towels, and turned on the AC to make sure that it would be running without weird smells once she got there. It was already painfully hot, and he thought she would gladly welcome the attention. He couldn’t have been more right.

 


 

The next morning, miss Beauchamp pulled up in the beautiful Fraser Family Ranch. She had been driving all night but tried to take in all the beauty in front of her. This would be their home for the next five months. Five months to figure out what to do next, and where to go. She turned off her car and turned toward the backseats. She smiled fondly at her adorable little girl, who was still in a deep sleep. It was just 9 in the morning after all, and she had been fussy most of the night. She needed the rest, and so did she herself.  

She took out her cellphone and dialed Brian Fraser’s number.

 

“Hello Mister Fraser? It’s Claire Beauchamp. I just parked in front of your house I believe. Where should I go?”

“Oh hi Claire! You’re there early, I wasn’t expecting you until this afternoon. Please wait for me I’ll be there in a second.”

She didn’t have time to reply, he had already hung up. She breathed out heavily and got out of her car. Finally stretching her legs was a blessing after all this driving.

The front door of the house opened and a man in his late fifties came out. Tall and very fit, with beautiful piercing blue eyes. He was a handsome man she thought.

 

“Hi Claire, it’s very nice to meet you.” He greeted her with a big smile and extended his hand for her to shake.

“Very nice to meet you as well. I’m so sorry I’m here so early, my daughter kept waking up every time I stopped to rest, so I just ended up driving all night.”

“It’s absolutely fine Claire, your cabin is ready for you to get settled in, I’m glad you’ve arrived safe and sound. We were just in the middle of breakfast with my family, you must be starving. Would you care to join us before I show you to your cabin?”

Just at the mention of food, Claire’s stomach growled. Her cheeks flushed with embarrassment, she nodded yes and opened the backseat door.

“Please let me, you must be exhausted.” Brian said while gently pushing her on the side to get the baby’s car seat out, which he did like a pro without waking her up.

“Thank you so much.”

 

She was indeed exhausted, not just from the ride, but from her life. She was really hoping that this would be a new start for them.

She followed Brian into the house and to the terrasse where his family was having breakfast. The woman stood up as soon as she spotted them.

 

“Hello Claire, it’s very nice to meet you. I’m Ellen. And this is my son, James. Please take a seat.”

James turned around and gave her a nod with a sweet smile to which she replied shyly “Thank you. It’s nice to meet you both”.

 

Claire was instantly struck by the beauty of this man. He was wearing a simple T-shirt that left nothing to the imagination, she could see the well-defined muscles of his torso and his arms and was sure his legs were as toned as the rest of his body. But really, it was his eyes that struck her, an intense ocean blue that surely anyone could get lost in for hours.

Claire sat down at the table, and Brian put the car seat on the chair next to her. She reached out to caress her baby’s cheek and looked back at the family.

 

“Thank you so much for hiring me this way, it’s so last minute, you really are life savers.”

“It’s totally alright. We’re happy to have you. And who do we have here?” Ellen asked with enthusiasm.

“This is Maisie, my daughter.” She smiled to them but lost it quickly when she saw the look on James’ face. She didn’t know if he wasn’t aware of her child, or if he didn’t like children, but it was clear that he wasn’t happy to see her.

“I’m sorry, you’re here to work the season and you have a baby?” He asked, emphasizing the word baby.

“Well yes Jamie and this is not a problem, as I already told her yesterday. We’ll manage perfectly. Now mind your manners.” Brian dismissed him and Jamie didn’t say anything else, but she could see in his eyes he was thinking a lot of things anyway. “Claire what would you like to eat? Everything is fresh.”

 

The sound of voices started to wake Maisie up quietly.

 

“Hi sweet pea. Did you sleep well?” Claire said to her while getting her out of the car seat. She gave her a long kiss and brought her to her chest to rock her until she was fully awake.

“I’d like anything you have really. Some toast with jam and a coffee sounds perfect.”

“Coming right up!” Brian winked at her and served her what she’d asked.

“She’s adorable Claire. How old is she?”

 

It was evident that Ellen loved babies and Claire felt herself relax a little bit, Maisie was everything to her and she had the feeling that she wouldn’t be a problem. Of course, Brian had already told her so, but now that she was there and could see it for herself, she felt much better. Obviously, James wasn’t happy about it, but he wasn’t the one who had hired her after all.

 

“She is nine months old. I promise she’s a very quiet baby, she rarely cries. She won’t be a bother.” Her gaze was directed to James when she spoke, and she could see he felt embarrassed. He nodded.

“I’m sorry, I don’t mind your baby really. It’s just we have so much work to do, we’ve never had workers with children before. But we’ll adapt.”

 

Claire smiled shyly at him but didn’t respond. She took a bite of her toast while holding Maisie on her lap.

 

“She’s beautiful. Do you want me to hold her while you have your breakfast?” Ellen replied.

“That’s very nice of you. Are you sure you don’t mind?” She fought the urge to say no as she felt Ellen wanted to hold her.

“I really don’t” She reached out and took the little girl “it takes a village. I would know, I’ve raised three.” She grinned at her and started bouncing the little girl gently. “Hello beautiful. My name is Ellen.” The baby smiled at her and reached for the sunglasses that were sitting on Ellen’s t-shirt. “You want to play with the sunglasses? Here you go my darling.” She handed Maisie the sunglasses and the little girl made a delighted sound.

 

Claire was watching the scene silently, her heart warm. Maisie wasn’t really used to strangers, but Ellen seemed to have won her over in an instant. She sighed as she didn’t have this “village” that everyone talked about. But she could already tell that at least for the next few months, she would have Ellen.

 

“Do you have everything you need Claire? For you and for Maisie? I can take you into town to do some shopping if you wish.” Brian asked, still a big smile on his face.

These people are awfully nice – she thought.

“No, I’ve only got the bare minimum really. First and foremost, I need to find a crib for this little one. And to buy baby food and things like that. For me, I’ll manage.”

“Don’t bother, I’ll set up a crib in your cabin. We’ve got several grandchildren, so we have enough here.”

“Oh. Thank you so much, that would be great.” She was more than grateful indeed. That was a good hundred dollars she wouldn’t have to spend, and that made a huge difference. “And don’t worry I’ll go into town later this morning, I crossed it earlier to come here so I should find my way around.” She didn’t want to take advantage of their kindness. Brian smiled and nodded.

“And for the baby food, we have a garden here where we grow our own fruits and vegetables, all organic. As Brian said we have grandchildren and the babycook is in our garage waiting to be used. If you want, we can lend it to you while you’re here? And as Brian must have explained it to you, you are allowed to help yourself as much as you want with all the products we grow at the ranch, so you’ve got everything you need to cook this little lady fancy meals if you wish. You can also help yourself in our garage for all the baby things, the grandkids are more toddlers now, so we really don’t have a use for a lot of things. We keep them around though, for when Jamie will have his own.” Jamie rolled his eyes which made Claire smile.

“I really don’t know how to thank you.” She didn’t know what else to say. It had been a long time since she had felt this welcomed and supported, and she hadn’t been there ten minutes.

James stood up “I’m going to set up the crib in the cabin. Do you also want a changing table?”

Claire nodded “That would be fantastic. I don’t know what to say. Thank you, all of you.”

 

She ate her breakfast in silence, watching Brian and Ellen playing with her daughter and feeding her breakfast like two doting grandparents. Their grandkids are very lucky to have them – she thought. And by the time she was finished, James had come back.

 

Brian handed her Maisie back “Jamie will show you around Claire and take you to your cabin. You are free to do as you like today and this weekend, just relax, rest, and get settled in alright? We will start working on Monday. Maybe come back for dinner tonight? This way we can tell you a little bit more about the ranch and get to know you? The other workers won’t start arriving before the mid-May.”

“That sounds perfect. Thank you Brian, thank you Ellen.”

“You’re very welcome my dear. Don’t hesitate if you need anything.” Ellen gave her a genuine smile.

 

James took the car seat as Claire had Maisie in her arms, and they went back to her car.

“We’ll drive to the cabin so you can get all your things out more easily. But you can park right in front of the house the rest of the time if you’d prefer.” He explained. “It’s just a minute away, you can keep her in your arms if you want, I’ll drive.”

 

She handed him the keys and they drove to the cabin in a comfortable silence. She was taking in her surroundings, that place was so beautiful. She followed Jamie into the cabin number nine. He gave her a quick tour of it.

 

“So here is the living room and kitchen, there you have the bathroom, and up the stairs you have the bedroom. Not very spacious but should be enough for the two of you. I’ve already got the AC running and the remote is right there, works in both the living room and bedroom. And I’ve set up the crib in your bedroom, and the changing table in the bathroom. You’ve got free wifi all over the ranch. And… that’s about it.”

He smiled at her, a true genuine smile, for the first time. And she felt her knees go weak a little, that man was incredibly handsome. But as soon as the thought reached her mind, she felt ashamed of herself.

“If it works for you, I’ll let you get settled in and you can go shop this morning? This way I can give you a tour of the ranch this afternoon after lunch?”

“Works for me.”

“Great. I live in cabin ten, well as you’ll see it more a house than a cabin now as I’ve literally spent the entire year re-building it. But feel free to reach out if you need anything ok? I’ll come get you around 3pm.”

“Alright then, I’ll see you later. Thank you, James.”

“Please, call me Jamie.”

He gave her that sweet smile of his again and left.

 

She closed the door and collapsed on the sofa, whispering into her baby’s ear.

“Welcome home, Maise.”