It’s been exactly one week since Claire started class. Jamie Fraser’s class. She hasn’t figured out how to keep thoughts of him at bay. Visions of her instructor haunted her mind daily and crept into her dreams at night.
To keep herself busy on her weekends, Claire decided to study, rather than spending time daydreaming about the Scotish voice that had requested she write about the 5 Techniques for Good Craftsmanship by Annie Proulx for Monday. Or how she noticed that he would hold his gaze a few seconds longer on hers before moving on to the actual student that he was addressing.
She was smitten.
But Claire knew that she couldn’t be. Too many demons still haunted the depths of her mind while darkness still lingered on the beating heart she felt was broken. There was no love left in her and Claire knew there would probably never be anyone who would awaken it in her again.
And she was broken.
Claire knew in order to focus on what’s really important, she would need absolute distractions like concentrating on completing her homework as well as cleaning her apartment which looked as if a bomb had exploded in it. She couldn’t remember the last time it had a proper clean up. Now was the perfect time.
After being busy for a while with Annie Proulx her mind went back to Jamie Fraser.
Stop it, Beauchamp.
Clean your pig-sty.
So that’s what she did. She cleaned her apartment until day turned to night and her body longed for rest. Muscles aching and sweat shining on her forehead, she wiped it away with the sleeve she had rolled up almost to her elbow.
“Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ.”, a breath of exhaustion escaped her chest.
Longing for hot water blasting over her skin, Claire chose a hot shower and planned to stay in it longer than usual. She needed it.
Turning on the water to the perfect temperature, she finally let her wild curls be subdued by the warm wetness that now also covered the rest of her. Claire closed her eyes while applying the delicious foamy shower gel.
While her hands covered her body and the water relaxed her muscles, her mind gave her an image of the man she’d tried to get out of her head. Her teacher.
“And married!”, she popped open her eyes as her own subconsciousness reminded her of the ring that shone on his finger.
Indeed Claire had seen the golden circle that fitted so well onto that man’s hand.
“He is married. So stop it, Beauchamp.”
She had lost her fucking mind.
And so she decided to finish her shower and try to get her teacher of her mind again. She did not really succeed in that.
Jamie Fraser was a man of word, and so he promised to look over the assignment Miss Beauchamp had given him. Miss not Mrs. as she had corrected him a week ago. She wasn’t married. But ye are, ye clotheid.
He shook his head while making some notes on Claire’s paper. He couldn’t think about a student this way, ever. He would risk his career as well as his private life he shared with his wife Annalise Fraser.
Jamie had been married to Annalise for almost five years and their marriage was nothing like he had thought it would be.
He’d always imagined marriage would be caring for each other and being there for one another through dark and bright times, but as soon as darkness surrounded him he found himself lonelier than ever. He had no intention of burdening his wife with his inner battles and he knew the reason why.
He found it rather sad that he had this perfect image of him laying the world at his wife’s feet, bringing wonderful and beautiful children into this world that would bear his name and call him Da. But he was sterile.
Annalise just didn’t get pregnant. It was his fault.
He looked around, sighing, as he stood up to leave the classroom and go home where he knew the next storm was waiting for him.
“Jamie! It’s negative again!”, she croaked in a slightly french accent.
Annalise had moved to Scotland when she and Jamie started dating. He had always admired her for taking the leap and moving to his country as he could have never felt completely at home in France. He was grateful for her and he had told her so a thousand times.
He put his bag in its usual place as he heard her croaky voice coming from the living room.
It had been one of those days.
“I’m sorry.”, was all he managed to say as this had been a repeated scenario for almost...well for a while.
“You are sorry?! Jamie, you know how much I want children. You can’t just be sorry as it is you that is the reason!”
“Ye canna know that An, and ye ken that!”
A scoff escaped her chest.
“ I am for sure not the problem. It is you, Jamie!”
Another deep breath.
“We can always adopt a child.”
“Not this nonsense again, I want my child.”
“ Yer child? No ours?”
Jamie watched her distress increase as she swung her arms around her tiny body and let her blonde hair swing around her shoulder. She had blamed him for a while now, without knowing for sure if he was the actual problem. He had to admit that he started to believe it himself.
“You can’t have children, Jamie. Maybe we should just find a donor.”
He nodded, having no energy left as this discussion had come up way more often than Jamie wished. He growled a low apology as he made his way towards the kitchen to prepare himself and Annalise supper, as she of course was too busy with herself.
Jamie loved to cook. It was like therapy to him. Annalise mostly left him alone so he could reflect on the day he had and once again, as it had over the rest of the week, his mind brought up the beautiful brown haired lass who sat in the front row and held the name Claire.
He set the table, shaking away the thoughts of Claire once again as he found it inappropriate to think of a student while he was cooking a meal for his wife. God, he was even planning on a family with her. He couldn’t think of another woman, let alone one so beautiful as Claire Beauchamp.
Get it together, Fraser.
“An, food is done!”
And so they savoured the meal in peace while not daring to look at one another. Jamie focused on his meal to be distracted from thoughts of a pair of gleaming whisky eyes and brown curls, rather than being haunted by them. Annalise didn’t dare to say one word about the matter of Jamie not being able to give her a child.
Just a usual evening in the Fraser household.
Jamie was used to evenings like this, as the majority of them played out in the same manner. But nothing had prepared him for the future. His soul was carrying more darkness than he would like to admit but he saw a light. A light that could propel him out of the black surroundings he seemed to find himself in every single day.
Stop. It. Jamie.
He tried. He really did.
Claire must have fallen asleep on the couch with her study book opened to an unknown page, fallen to the floor.
She grunted and pushed the curls that dangled in her face behind her ear and picked up her book.
Claire was surrounded by the white noise of the water pipes as one of her neighbors likely had decided to take a shower.
After freshening herself up, Claire decided to check her phone and found a missed call from Geillis. The next second all Claire heard was the happy voice of the friend she had made a week ago. She was grateful.
“How’s my fav’rite English lassie?” of course.
“Good evening to you too, Geillis.”, Claire couldn’t resist a giggle.
“I was wonderin’ if ye’re up for a wee dram in the pub?”
Claire looked down at herself, feeling far from ready to head out to a pub. But it was the weekend and she clearly was so bored that she just slept through her studies so the next second she found herself agreeing to meet Geillis in half an hour and pulling out her favorite dress and her heels.
Judging what she had found to be decent enough, she ordered an Uber that delivered her just in time to the Pub Geillis had suggested.
The World's End.
She walked inside. She could hardly miss her friend as she sat at the centre of the bar, her strawberry-blonde mane put up in a bun.
Claire decided to approach the seat next to her and before she could seat herself, Geillis must have already sensed her presence.
“Ye made it!”
“Of course, I am very famous for being on time.”
The both of them laughed as Claire ordered a whisky to loosen herself up, as she had always been nervous amongst people.
“So how’s life goin?”
“It’s alright. You caught me studying. But to be honest, I fell asleep.”
She sipped on her glass while viewing a smirk on Geillis’ face.
“Och”, she waved off with a grin. “I think ye just want tae impress our wee teacher.”
“Ja- Mr. Fraser?”
“Aye.”, she decided to ignore the little slip up. “It seems tae me that ye both have found a liking for each other.”
Claire almost spilled her drink.
“Geillis! He’s my teacher for god’s sake!”
“That doesna mean anything. Ye both are of age and we’re no in High School any longer.”
“I think you’re seeing things.”
“I think I do.”, she grinned and decided to drink from her cocktail.
Claire focussed on her whisky and turned her head down as she felt heat creeping up her cheeks.
Was she so readable?
This needed to stop.
She can’t under any circumstance like James Fraser and she would do anything in her power to keep it this way.