When Claire Beauchamp returned from her shift, all she wanted to do was lay on the couch with a microwave meal and her PJs on. But she knew that wasn’t possible since her evening class was starting in about two hours and she needed to freshen up before leaving.
She had just ended her shift at the garden center. Not a job she loved, but it paid the bills. But all she really wanted was to be a writer. So she finally decided to apply to an evening writing class which began today and would last for the next four years.
She regretted applying at the moment, as her muscles ached and her body begged her for sleep. She didn’t know the last time she had actually rested. Just keep going and don’t complain, Beauchamp.
Claire took a shower and ultimately put on clothes that looked presentable yet also weren’t too uncomfortable. It would have to do, after all, she was there for herself and not to impress anyone.
Looking at the clock, she had exactly ten minutes to eat something before she would have to sit in school for three hours. She decided to quickly eat a microwave meal on her couch and then depart.
She had to admit that she was rather nervous. Claire was always anxious to meet new people and she cared a lot about others' opinions of her. She only wanted to be her best self.
Claire quickly typed in the address onto her navigation.
15 minute drive.
35 minute walk.
“I’ll walk.”, she muttered to herself as she set out on foot with a bag holding her laptop and notebooks. She was well prepared and proud of it.
Claire had moved to Scotland just a year ago to be with her boyfriend, Frank Randall.
The moment her mind switched to Frank she shook her head to quickly forget about him. Now was not the time to let Frank haunt her memory. This evening was huge for her and one step closer to achieving her goal of doing what she loves. Fuck Frank.
The walk didn’t seem like thirty-five minutes and she was surprised to find herself in front of a beautiful building. The archway was made of beige granite with beautiful engravings covering the stone. Light shone through the windows and it made the building look like a monument. Breathtaking.
She walked inside, moving slowly as every footstep echoed through the hallways. For a school the building seemed rather empty, but then Claire remembered that it was past the usual school time and not many people would choose for an evening class.
In front of a door she saw a woman with beautiful long strawberry-blonde hair. She looked just as lost as Claire did when her big eyes met Claire’s. The both of them didn’t have to say a word to know that they have been looking for the same class, but to be sure and to start a conversation, Claire still asked.
“Are you also looking for classroom 2B?”
“Aye.”, the woman said, surprised and Claire knew that she would hear another comment about her british heritage but the woman only looked at her with her big beautiful eyes.
“Where are my manners, I’m Geillis, Geillis Duncan, and ye are?”
“Claire. Claire Beauchamp.”
“A sassenach. What brings ye here tae the beautiful Scotland?”, she giggled and Claire looked at her confused, but ignored the rude remark of being called sassenach . After all it just means English woman. She handled far worse insults.
“‘Tis verra nice tae meet ye, Claire.”
“Likewise.”, she smiled shyly at her. This woman had a mysterious air about her, yet Claire liked her already and had a feeling that they would make great friends.
A few more people joined and waited with Geillis and Claire in front of the door. Their introductions were only short, with no more than a “Hi” and their names, and Claire was suddenly more than happy to have at least Geillis to help make her feel less nervous.
Class was about to start and Claire started to wonder where their teacher was. A few decided to enter the class room already.
“Shall we?”, she asked Geillis who nodded. Claire knew that her new classmate was just as happy as her to not be alone amongst the others who didn’t seem to have interest in getting to know one another.
Geillis sat herself next to Claire and they chose a table in the front as both of them seemed determined to learn a lot from this class.
“What got ye into writing, Claire?”
Claire looked up at Geillis, who now was smiling genuinely. No one had ever asked her this question. And she seemed to be truly interested.
“Well, writing has always been a sort of escape for me. A world beyond my imagination. Tales that deserve to be told or come alive. The human mind can create a world filled with fiction and make it truthful. The thought of someone getting hooked onto my words is breathtaking and I would love to publish my own novel one day. But I am no more than a beginner which is why I’m here. I want to know everything before getting into it. I’m kind of a perfectionist”, she grimaced at her own words “and you?”
Geillis smiled and nodded.
“Beautifully said, Claire. Fer me ‘tis almost the same. I’ve some trouble coming up wi’ the tales ye just talked about. I’m here tae freshen up my mind a bit and tae find out where my passion can go.”, her gaze fell towards her notebook in front of her. “Ye ken, I would love tae be an author for children books. Writing about faeries making little kids smile at the words I have written for them.”
Claire just smiled as genuinely back at her and laid a hand on top of hers.
“And you will.”
A sudden creak of the classroom door which certainly needed some oil made Claire look up and she laid eyes on a man as beautiful as a field full of her favorite flowers. His copper red hair looked like flames entangling with each other, as parts of it were darker than others. He wasn’t completely shaved which left some stubble on his chin, and his eyes, oh his eyes, as blue as the ocean and for a second Claire forgot how to swim.
Get it together, Beauchamp.
“Good evenin’ everyone, my name is Jamie Fraser and I am yer teacher for this class.”
“Good evenin’, Mr. Fraser”, the class echoed in almost synchronic voices.
Claire’s voice was almost a whisper, her throat went dry just from hearing the low Scottish purr the beautiful man in front of her released from his chest.
He’s your teacher. Stop.
“Tonight we will start off wi’ a quick introduction round and after go straight ahead wi’ the eight basics of creative writing by Kurt Vonnegut.”
“Let’s start wi’ the front.”
Claire swallowed as the pair of ocean blue eyes set on her whisky gaze and something in the air changed the moment their eyes met. The air had some sort of electric tension to it and Claire felt her throat going dry and her heart hammering against her chest, while her blood started to heat up.
She swallowed thickly before getting a soft side kick from Geillis.
“Uhm, hello everyone, my name is Claire Beauchamp and I moved from Oxfordshire to Scotland around a year ago. I am 27 years old and have wished to be a writer ever since I read my first book.”
“Thank ye, Mrs. Beauchamp.”
“Uhm… it’s Ms, I’m not married.”, she felt awkward correcting him, but she knew it needed to be done.
Geillis went on with the introduction round and Claire felt her face turning red, leading her to stare down at her notebook until the heat of her face cooled as much as possible.
After they learned about the basics Mr. Fraser spoke of, Claire had a hard time focusing on the actual topic. The man who taught her was far more interesting to study.
Stop. it. Beauchamp.
Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ.
The last thing she needed was to feel this way towards her teacher. She just ended things with Frank a few months ago. She can’t and won’t dedicate her heart to love once again.
Claire knew that she needed to do this for herself, to follow her dreams and to forget about the darkness lingering inside of her. She couldn’t open up the freshly stitched wounds inside of her. She couldn’t open her freshly mended heart. She just couldn’t.
So she decided to focus on her dream, rather than on the red-haired Scot who would turn her life upside down.