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For You

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“I’m not wearing that on a first date” Claire said, shaking her head at her best friend and roommate who was holding up a little black dress that she knew would feel like a second skin and leave little to the imagination. “Hell, I don’t think I would wear that on any date” she intoned as she continued to look through her closet for a suitable outfit. What does someone wear on a blind date?

“If ye did, ye would be guaranteed a second date” Geillis said with a smirk on her face. “Ye have a fine body Claire. Show it off. Ye’re always in scrubs. Nothing wrong with letting yer feminine side show” Geillis said winking at Claire as she pulled a three quarter length sleeved black blazer out of her closet and laid it on the bed next to a pair of dark wash skinny jeans and white top.

“We are meeting at a pub right?” Claire asked rhetorically. “I would rather wear something more casual and not have sex be the first impression I give him.” She rolled her eyes at Geillis’ offended expression.

“I’ll have ye know I wore this on my first date with Dougal and we are still going strong” Geillis said putting the dress up against her own slender frame as if to show Claire how great it looks.

“And if I recall correctly you wore that dress home the next day when you did the ‘walk of shame’” Claire retorted holding back a smile. “I will not have sex on the first date, especially with someone I have never met.”

After days of nagging on Geillis’ part, Claire had finally relented and agreed to go on a blind date with the nephew of Dougal, Geillis’ current flame. All Geillis told her about the guy was that his name was Jamie, he owned his own business and he was ‘verra good looking’. Geillis arranged for them to meet at The Thistle, a pub that was not too far from their flat. Claire had asked how she would know who she was looking for and Geillis informed her to look for a man with red hair that was big and beautiful.

Claire showered and dressed, deciding to leave her hair down, adding a touch of curl cream to her curls to keep them soft and fizz free. The white cotton shirt she chose had a scoop neckline that was modest but showed off her silver scalpel necklace that Joe, her best friend from medical school, gave her when they graduated.

She walked out into the sitting room where Geillis was now lounging on the couch scrolling through her phone. Claire narrowed her eyes thinking about how she knew that Geillis was sure to be following this guy’s social media but refused to even show Claire a picture, saying that that would defeat the purpose of a ‘blind date’.

“Can I borrow those peep toe high heel ankle boots you have?” she asked her friend. Geillis’ face lit up a bit at the request.

“Those will definitely help to accentuate that arse of yers!” she exclaimed as she hurried to get the shoes for Claire.

Claire paced in the living room, as she was starting to feel a bit nervous. She hadn’t been on a date in ages. In fact the last date she went on was with her ex, who she hasn’t even seen in over a year. The mess with her ex was actually the reason she hadn’t gone on any dates, not that the opportunity didn’t present itself. She thought of the new orthopedic surgeon at the hospital that had taken an interest in her and finally asked her out just a couple of weeks ago. She had politely turned him down. She had a strict rule against dating colleagues, especially those who were her superiors. She had never dated anyone at work and she didn’t need to be distracted while at her job or for others to think she was getting special privileges.

She had another reason for putting off dating. She was also going through a divorce, which her ex was dragging out. Claire didn’t understand his reluctance to just sign the papers. It’s not like she was asking for anything. There was nothing to hash out. Claire brought little to the marriage, having not really ever had a home before getting married. She didn’t want the house or even alimony. She just wanted out.

Claire went to Oxford with Geillis where she met a charming history professor who happened to be working with her Uncle Lamb….. Frank. They started dating her second year of University. In her final year she thought her whole relationship was serendipitous. She found out that she got accepted to Harvard for the medical program and at the same time Frank was also offered a position in the history department at Harvard. That was when he proposed that they get married. They had a quick courthouse wedding days before they moved across the ocean to Boston, calling it all fate.

Claire thought everything was fine in her marriage. She never had a reason to doubt it. When she thinks back on it now, she can see the things she had been blind to. At the time she had been too wrapped up in her studies to notice. How Frank often came home late at night claiming he had to stay at the office to work on lectures for his class. How he suddenly claimed to have classes on the weekends even though he told her when they first got together that it was a waste of time to hold weekend classes because students rarely turned up for them. How he seemed to be less interested in being intimate with her. It all fell apart a month and a half before her graduation.

Over a year earlier

She texted Frank to let him know that she would be late because she was going to go to the library with Joe to cram in one last study session to prepare for her last final she would be taking next week. Frank had replied that it was fine because he was going to stay late in his office to work on his final lecture for the semester.

About an hour into studying, Joe got a text requesting food. Gail, Joe’s wife, was expecting their first child. “Happy wife, happy life Lady Jane” he said to Claire as he packed up his things to head home early.

Claire figured she would head out also. Without Joe to quiz her, there was no reason to stay at the library. She could study at home. She thought she would go by Frank’s office to see if she could talk him into heading home with her. It had been a while since they had had any alone time together . They had both been so busy with the semester coming to an end. It had also been ages since they had even made love and she figured it would be a good way for both of them to relieve some stress.

She made her way across campus toward the history department, stopping at the coffee shop that was just across the street to grab Frank and herself a little pick-me-up. As she walked down the long corridor towards Frank’s office, she thought of ways she could talk him into calling it a night and heading home with her. She wasn’t opposed to using her feminine charms to bend his will. She smirked as she approached his office door, thinking maybe she could convince him to have a quickie on his desk. She held the drink holder in one hand and turned the nob of his office door with the other, not bothering to knock since it was too late for any meetings and he said he was just working on his lecture.

The smile dropped off her face as she took in the sight in front of her. Frank was sitting in his desk chair with his head tipped back, eyes closed and mouth dropped open in obvious pleasure with a blond head bobbing in his lap. She dropped the cup holder with the coffees as she gasped in shock. The noise of the crashing beverages caught their attention and the blond stood quickly, wiping her mouth with the back of her hand. Claire noticed that she was young. Younger than her. More than likely one of his students. Frank covered himself as he stood, shock written clearly on his face.

Claire” he croaked. “It’s not...” Claire’s hand flew up to silence him. She could feel the flush of anger and betrayal course through her body.

Don’t you dare try to tell me it’s not what it looks like” she said through gritted teeth, her hands fisted tightly at her sides. “Because it seems to me that while you said you would be working on your lecture, you are instead entertaining an ‘oral exam’ after hours!”

Frank, having managed to get his fly done up, shot a look at the young lady, who looked mortified at being caught giving the history professor a blow job. Frank’s mouth opened and closed a few times, trying to find words to dig himself out of the mess he is in.

Sandy, will you excuse us for a moment” Frank said calmly.

No. That is quite alright. I’m leaving” Claire said, emphasizing the last two words hoping he caught the double meaning. Claire turned and stepped out of the office, leaving the coffee mess for Frank to clean up, it being the least of his problems right now.

As she was leaving she heard Sandy ask incredulously “I thought you were getting a divorce?” Well that said a lot. She made her way home and wondered if Frank had the balls to come home himself. He did.

She was still up when he arrived home later that night. She had already called Joe and explained what had happened and made arrangements to leave. She knew herself and knew she couldn’t stay in a relationship where she couldn’t trust him. She did however want answers.

So how long has this been going on?” she asked, sitting on the couch with a drink in her hand. She heard him exhale as if this interrogation was unnecessary. Claire however didn’t rise to him. She was determined to stay calm.

I met her about a month ago when she interviewed me for a paper she was writing” he said in a tone that made her believe that he felt it wasn’t any of her business. He moved and sat in the chair adjacent to the couch she was sitting on.

Is she the first or have there been others?” was her next question. Frank ran his hand down across his face in resigned frustration.

Claire, do you honestly want to know?” he said, dropping his head into his hand.

Not particularly, but I am a doctor and my concern now is to find out if there is a possibility I have been exposed to anything” she said finally looking over at him. Her face set like stone, unreadable for the first time. “The more students you have been with the higher the risk of contracting an STD if you didn’t use protection and with your aversion to condoms….” She left her statement open ended. Frank didn’t say anything for several long minutes.

I used protection……. most of the time” Frank mumbled.

Jesus H. Roosevelt fucking Christ” Claire exclaimed, her resolve cracking just a little. She knew she would have to get tested just to be on the safe side.

How long has this been going on?” she couldn’t keep the disdain out of her tone.

Christ Claire! Must you beat a dead horse?” Frank said standing. “Look, you were so caught up in becoming a doctor. You were always at the library or doing those bloody clinicals...”

Stop!” Claire cut him off. “You do not get to make your infidelity my fault. I was home every night! I can’t believe I was so blind. I should have know something was going on when you were the one getting home late. I should have known when you were too tired to make love.” she huffed, her temper rising. “It wasn’t because you were too tired, it was because you had already made your quota of orgasms for the day.” She took a deep breath to reign her temper back in. She all of the sudden felt drained and did not want to argue with him when the truth was so plainly there in front of her.

That night she left and stayed at Joe’s. He offered her his guest house. In the six weeks leading up to graduation, Claire searched for internships outside of the Boston area. Opportunity presented itself pretty quickly when chatting on the phone with Geillis who informed her that they were accepting new interns at the hospital where she herself was interning and Claire jumped at the opportunity to apply. She was accepted in the program at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh and moved to Scotland when she graduated.

That was over a year ago. Claire had just started her residency a couple of months ago at the same hospital and Geillis has been on her to get back out in the dating world for the last six months. Finally she relented thinking if this date tanked she could hold it over her friends head and Geillis would stop with all the nagging.

“Here ye are love” Geillis said bringing her back from her thoughts as she walked back into the sitting room, handing her the shoes. Claire sat and pulled on the heels then stood, now a few inches taller than her already tall height. She did a slow turn to show off her look for her roommate.

“So how do I look?” she asked. Geillis smiled, appraising her friend.

“Casual, but sneaky hot. Those jeans are workin’ for ye” she gave Claire a wink and plopped back down on the couch. Claire just shook her head with a smile as she picked up her phone and dropped it into the clutch she chose to match the shoes.

“Okay well I’m ready. So I just have to find a hot red headed Scot. That shouldn’t be too hard” she said sarcastically.

“Aye. If he gets there before ye he will be at the bar, but if ye get there before him he will look for ye at the bar” Geillis informed her. Claire nodded her understanding. She stepped over to the mirror hanging above the small table in the entry way and checked her hair and makeup once more. “I know ye’re nervous but ye look amazing. There is no way he wouldn’t like ye” Geillis said encouragingly. “But if things dinna go well and ye need an out just text me an S.O.S. and I will come up with a fake emergency needing yer immediate assistance” she said winking at her friend in the mirror before ushering her to the door. “Now go have fun. Get laid. Ye could use a good shag” Geillis laughed as Claire stepped out the door.

“Not going to happen” Claire tossed over her shoulder with a laugh as she made her way out and headed off to The Thistle that was three blocks away.

***************

She stepped into the pub, scanning the patrons sitting at the bar. A group of three young girls who looked to still be in Uni sat closest to the door. A bit further down was a middle aged couple deep in conversation and at the far end of the bar was a couple of guys about her own age, their eyes on the trio of girls as they held a conversation she was certain revolved around ways to get one or more of the girls to leave with them. She noticed their eyes drift from the girls to her as she made her way to a seat between the group of girls and the couple, not wanting to have to dodge pick up lines from them herself.

With no red headed men in sight, Claire figured she must have beat him here. She pulled out her phone and checked the time. She was only about ten minutes early. The bartender stepped up asking her what she would like. She ordered a white wine, not wanting to start with anything too strong but figured the wine would assist with calming her nerves well enough. She sat and browsed her phone, avoiding looking around too much, not wanting to send any signals to the guys at the end of the bar. Her avoidance tactic didn’t work though. It wasn’t too long before one of the guys approached her.

“Hey there. Can I get ye yer next drink?” he offered, leaning on the bar to her left, between her and the couple.

“Um….hello. No thank you. I’m actually waiting for someone” she said turning him down politely, smiling in a way she hoped wasn’t encouraging.

“A friend?” he asked in a hopeful tone, sending his friend a look like they were about to win the jackpot.

“A date” she heard a familiar voice say in a deep Scottish accent. She turned her head towards the voice and looked up into a pair of familiar blue eyes.

“It’s you” she said in astonishment.

 

Chapter Text

Jamie stepped into the pub looking along the bar for a ‘bonnie lass with a mass of curly dark brown hair’ as Dougal and Geillis had described her. He noticed a group of girls and it was obvious that they noticed him as well. None of them fit the description. Then he spotted her a few seats down just as a guy approached her from the other end of the bar. He watched as her posture stiffened slightly. He was certain this must be Geillis’ friend. He made his way toward her, ignoring the girls who were now trying to get his attention, and caught the end of what she was saying.

“…..I’m actually waiting for someone” he heard her say in a familiar British accent and froze in shock. Of all the people who he could have been set up with, he was thrilled it was her.

“A friend?” He heard the man ask. He knew that tone and thought it was time to make his presence known.

“A date” he said confidently. He enjoyed the look on the guys face for a few seconds before his eyes drifted to the face of his blind date when she turned to face him. It was the face that had been running through his mind for weeks.

Six weeks ago

Jamie owed his sister a favor which she called in this weekend. She asked him if he would keep wee Jamie for the weekend. Maggie was spending the weekend with Ian’s parents and Jenny and Ian thought it would be a great opportunity to have a ‘babymoon’ before their third child came and made plans to go to Glencoe for the weekend.

Jamie thought it would be fun to take his nephew to the park and maybe kick around a ball. His nephew was a braw football player with quite the leg on him. Wee Jamie kicked the ball back to his uncle across the open field and the ball went flying towards the path where people were strolling along, pushing strollers or walking dogs. Jamie saw it fly into the air towards him but knew it was going over his head and would hit someone if he didn’t stop it. He started to run backwards, keeping his eye on the ball as it was making its decent back towards the earth.

He caught it just as his backside collided with something hard and stationary. His legs flew up as he tumbling backwards over whatever it was and he landed with a hard thud on his backside in the middle of the path, knocking all the wind out of him.

Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ” Jamie heard a woman’s voice proclaim.

Claire had come to the park that was near the hospital to enjoy the rare fine weather. She was on call so she didn’t want to go too far. She brought a book and thought it would be nice to sit in the park and read for a bit. Suddenly a very large man came flying over the back of the bench she was sitting on, narrowly missing hitting her. She heard him hit the ground rather hard.

Are you alright?” Claire asked him as he just laid there holding a ball with his eyes closed. She hoped he hadn’t hit his head and been knocked unconscious.

Jamie opened his eyes to see a beautiful women standing over him. She was wearing scrubs and had her hair piled on top of her head. It took him a moment to realize she was talking to him.

Aye” Jamie said trying to suck air back into his lungs after having it all knocked out of him in the fall. He lifted his head and saw that it was a park bench that he had tumbled over. He began to sit up and found that the woman was pushing him back down.

Don’t move. You could be injured.” she said in the tone of a medical professional that she was. “Did you hit your head?” she asked, her hands going to his head, her fingers running through his hair on the back of his head.

Nae. I think my arse and back took the brunt of the fall, though even if I had whacked my heid, my sister says it is sae hard that ye should feel more sorry for what it collided with” Jamie said smiling at her. She smiled back and Jamie thought he would like to see her smile more.

Claire stopped her exploration of his head and looked at his face. He was gorgeous. His hair was an array of reds ranging from auburn to copper and he had striking blue eyes that seemed to radiate kindness and humor.

Do you hurt anywhere?” she asked him trying not to get lost in those beautiful eyes.

Just a bruised backside I’m sure. I’ll do” he said sitting up with a hiss. She reach out her hand to help him back to his feet. He didn’t immediately release her hand, taking her in, feeling a buzz creep up his hand and into his arm from her touch. She was taller than average with skin that looked so smooth he almost reached out to touch it. Her eyes were golden. Almost the exact color of his new line of whisky. She was slim but her scrubs and white medical coat hid her figure. “Are ye a doctor then?” he asked her, finally releasing her hand but the buzz remained and he clenched his fist not wanting to loose it.

Yes” Claire said, unable to articulate all of the sudden. Her hand tingled a bit where he had held it. A little boy ran up breaking her out of her daze.

Are ye alright” the little boy asked him.

Aye, fine. Just embarrassed to have fallen in front of such a bonnie lass” Jamie said still smiling at her as he ruffled wee Jamie’s hair.

Claire felt heat rise to her face at the complement though she was doused in the feeling of disappointment upon seeing the child with the man. He had a child. The boy favored him somewhat. He had dark hair but his high cheek bones and slanted eyes were exactly the same as the mans. Before she had time to see if he had a wedding ring her phone alerted her to a page from the hospital. She pulled it out of her pocket seeing the urgent call.

I’m sorry. I have to go” she began, grabbing her bag and book from the bench. “Are you sure you’re alright?” she asked again quickly, shoving her book in her bag.

Fine. Thank ye” he said with an honest smile. Claire just smiled and with a nod headed quickly down the path toward the hospital.

Unbeknownst to either of them, they had both thought of that meeting often over the last six weeks. Both hoping to run into the other again. Both kicking themselves for not even asking the other their name. Jamie had figured that she worked at the Royal Infirmary, but knew he would look like a total fool if he went looking for her there. He couldn’t ask for her by name and besides, what if she had a boyfriend or husband for that matter?

Claire thought the likelihood that he was single was slim considering he had a child and a face like that. It didn’t stop her head from turning every time she passed a red headed man and felt the disappointment when it wasn’t him.

Claire never mentioned the run in with the very attractive Scotsman to Geillis, knowing she would make it her life’s mission to track down the poor man. She knew Geillis would harass every man that came close to the description she would have no doubt weaseled out of Claire. She was shocked to see that very Scotsman standing next to her. A large, very good looking, red headed Scotsman indeed.

“It’s you” she said for lack of articulate words to put together.

“Tis me” he said with a breathtaking smile before he lifted his eyes back to the guy, giving him the sort of smile that Claire knew would intimidate anyone. She turned to soften the blow of rejection with her own smile but the guy was already moving back to his end of the bar. Claire turned back to Jamie and was met with his intense blue eyes staring at her.

“James Alexander Malcolm Mackenzie Fraser” he said with a little side smile. “But my friends call me Jamie. Ye may as well” he held his hand out to her.

“Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp” she said, sliding her hand into his. The sensation that was there the first time they met was there again. He lifted her hand to his lips, placing a gentle kiss on the back, causing a warm shiver to run through her at the contact. She hoped he didn’t notice, if he did he made no mention of it and just sat on the stool next to her. She watched him as he motioned to the bartender.

“Would ye like another?” he asked, nodding his head toward her nearly empty wine glass.

“Please” she said sending him a shy smile. She wasn’t usually at a loss for words but this is the second time she has been in his presence and the second time she felt like she couldn’t form a sentence. She felt an odd connection with him and she didn’t even know him. She took a deep cleansing breath as he ordered their drinks.

“Another glass for the lass and I’ll take a dram of Donas neat” he told the bartender. She looked at his hands sitting on the bar top. No ring and no tan line from a ring either.....so he wasn’t married. Then she looked at her own bare hands. Just because you aren’t wearing a ring doesn’t mean you aren’t married. She knew if this was going to go anywhere she would have to tell him that she is still legally married.

“So you’re not married then?” she blurted out. She could have kicked herself for such word vomit. He looked at her, his brows knit in confusion but a small smile was tugging up the side of his mouth.

“Nae. What made ye think I was?” he asked, amused by her assumption. She wished the floor would open up and swallow her.

“It’s just… at the park….. after I left I thought you must be married, having a young son and all” she said feeling a flush creep up her neck. The smile dropped off his face then and his brows nearly touched one another in confusion.

“Son?” he had no idea what she was talking about at first, then it hit him. “Oh…. wee Jamie ye mean” he said when he realized what she was talking about. She must have thought his nephew was his son. Wee Jamie had strong Fraser features, so he could see how she could think he belonged to him.

Claire’s eyebrows went up when he said the boys name. He was obviously named after his father. She wasn’t opposed to dating someone with a child, though she had never really thought about it before. She figured it could make a relationship a touch more complicated. If they got serious then she would be a part of his son’s life and with said son came his mother also. That was a whole can of worms she would have to consider.

“Weel I have never been marrit and wee Jamie is no’ my son” he said turning his body towards hers so he could see her better. He found the look of confusion on her face adorable. She wasn’t the first person to assume that his nephew was his. It happened often when he took care of him and they went out. “Wee Jamie is my nephew” he informed her. He saw a smile pull at her lips.

“Ahh” she said feeling a bit embarrassed for her assumption. “So you have siblings then?”

“Aye. I am the youngest of three, though my older brother, Willie, died when I was eight” he revealed to her.

“Oh Jamie, I’m so sorry” she said sympathetically.

“Och, dinna fash. It was a long time ago and I still had my sister, Jenny, to drive me crazy” he said, waving her off. “Wee Jamie is Jenny’s son. Jenny is marrit to my childhood best friend, Ian, and they just had their third bairn last week. What about ye? I am going to assume ye aren’t marrit considering you agreed to a blind date” he said with that half smile again. “Do ye have any bairns though?” He took a sip of his whiskey and Claire thought she may need something stronger after all, now that she is faced with telling him that she is technically still married. She downed her wine, hoping for liquid courage and then raised her hand for the bartender.

“Can I have what he’s having?” she requested pointing at Jamie’s drink. Jamie just looked at her suspiciously as the bartender slid a dram of the whisky to her. She took a cautious draw, finding it went down very smooth. She took another sip before she brought her eyes back up to Jamie’s face.

“Ye dinna have to tell me anything ye do not wish Claire, but I like to have honesty in all relationships…… even friendships” he said, his tone light but serious. She nodded her head in understanding.

“I do not have any children and as for being married that’s a bit more complicated” she said, her eyes dropping to her glass.

“So ye’re marrit?” he asked making sure he was understanding what she said correctly.

“Legally yes” she chanced a glance at his face and he looked perplexed. She took a deep breath and another sip of her whisky before she went into the whole sordid story of her cheating bastard of a husband and how she came to be in Scotland.

“That was over a year ago. I don’t know why he won’t sign the bloody papers” she said in exasperation. “It’s the reason I have avoided dating all this time. I didn’t want to have to explain it.” Jamie nodded his head in understanding. She couldn’t read his expression however, so she wasn’t all that sure where he stood.

“So what made ye come on this date? If ye were put off of dating altogether, why agree to a blind date?” he asked.

“Geillis, my roommate and best friend who happens to be dating your uncle, set this up. She has been on my back about dating again. I figured if this date didn’t go well, she would stop nagging and I would have something to hold over her head” she shrugged one shoulder and gave him a little smile, knowing full well now that she would never hold this date against her best friend.

“Did ye expect it to no’ go well then?” he asked

“I honestly didn’t know what to expect. It’s been years since I’ve been on a date” she said honestly. She took another long sip of her whisky. “Wow that’s good. What is it called again?” she asked.

“Donas. It’s our new brand” he answered finishing off his own.

“Your new brand?” she questioned, her eyebrows flying up toward her hairline.

“Aye. I’m part owner of Fraser’s Fine Wine and Whisky, with my Uncle Jared. He runs the wine distribution in France” he said with a smile.

Claire’s jaw dropped. She had heard of it. It was one of the fastest growing distilleries in Scotland. It was common knowledge that they distributed to nearly every pub in Edinburgh, Inverness, and Glasgow. Jamie must be well off. She hoped that he would never get the impression that she would ever date him for his money.

“And if I remember right ye’re a doctor aye?” His eyes traveled up and down her body, taking in her appearance. Last time he saw her she was dressed in scrubs and a white doctors lab coat, her hair pulled up. He noticed her hair now, soft dark chocolate curls, and wanted badly to touch it. Mo nighean donn he thought to himself.

“Yes. I’m a first year resident at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh” she said, smiling that he had remembered.

“Weel I guess if ye are going to take a fall in front of a pretty lass, best to do it in front of a doctor, aye” he said lifting his glass to her. She giggled and Jamie thought he may like to spend the rest of his life making her giggle.

“I was glad you only suffered from coccydynia” she said.

“Huh?” he looked at her like she just spoke another language that he didn’t understand and he was fluent in a number of languages. She laughed again.

“A bruised arse” she translated the medical term with a grin and he chuckled. There is probably a medical term for everything he thought.

“Oh aye. I had a hard time sitting for about a week and my backside was a lovely shade of aubergine” he informed her.

“Nothing a little arnica wouldn’t take care of” she said giving her professional prescription. Her mind went straight to imagining rubbing the ointment on his arse. She took the final sip of her whiskey as the thought brought a rush of heat to her face.

“Aye but I dinna have anyone to put it on for me” he said flirtatiously, with his attempt at a wink which made her giggle again. “So tell me more about yerself.”

“So you still want to get to know me even though I’m technically still married?” she asked smiling at him. She was finding it easy to talk to him now that her brain to mouth function was working again.

“Ye seem to be victim of an unfortunate circumstance. I dinna hold it against ye and find no harm in getting to know a bonnie lass such as yerself. It isna like I plan on proposing to ye any time soon” he said flippantly with a smirk.

What did he mean by anytime soon? Of course her mind would stick to that comment. She couldn’t help it. There she was, feeling a strange yet very strong pull toward him and without even knowing him she felt like she wouldn’t mind spending a lifetime looking into those clear blue eyes.

They spent an hour at the bar discussing everything from Jamie growing up in the highlands and the entertaining stories of the antics his sister, Jenny, and he got up to as children along with Ian, to the time he spent in France. He told her that he went to University in France, where he started working with his Uncle who is now his business partner. Then he revealed how he lost his mother to cancer as a teenager then his father to a heart attack. That was something they sadly had in common.

Claire told him about how she had lost both her parents as well, in a car accident when she was only five and that she was then raised by her Uncle Lamb. How her uncle was an architect and traveled all over the world and how they found out at a young age she wasn’t suited for boarding school so her uncle didn’t push her into it. He hired a tutor to travel with them and she got to travel the world. That she took a shining to medicine at nine years old while traveling when she met Dr. Hildegarde, a doctor who traveled the word tending to those who could not otherwise get medical care. From then on she knew she wanted to be a doctor.

“Would ye like to go get something to eat?” Jamie asked as he signaled to the bartender to pay their tab. Waving Claire away as she reached for her wallet.

“That sounds lovely. There is a little Italian place a few doors down that’s really good” she suggested.

“After you then” he said, holding his hand out to help her up from her stool, feeling the electricity run between their skin again.

They stood and made their way out of the bar. Jamie allowed her to walk in front of him, giving him a chance to check her out better. He remembered that she was tall but she had a couple more inches with the shoes she had on. He liked the idea of her height because he was so tall himself and he usually towered over the women he had dated in the past. His eyes skimmed down the back of her, lingering on her arse in her fitted jeans. He suppressed a groan of appreciation.

Jamie, ever the gentleman, reached around her and held the door for her, inhaling the scent of her. Something sweet and flowery but not overwhelming. Claire was met with a cold breeze of evening air. She involuntarily shivered and stepped closer to him. He radiated heat.

“Are ye cold Sassenach?” he asked, ready to strip off his jacket and give it to her.

“I’m fine. I was just hit by a cold wind” she said with a smile. He smiled back holding out his arm for her to take which she did gladly. She knew she would stay warm if she was touching him.

“So which way?” he asked and she tilted her head indicating the direction of the restaurant.

“What does Sassenach mean? I’ve heard it said before and it never sounded quite as nice as when you say it.”

“Och, it just means outlander or English person. I suppose it wasn’t the nicest word once upon a time but I mean no offense by it” he said looking down to see if she looked offended. Her face was easy to read and he found he really liked that about her. “Just a wee nickname.” He noted how pleased she looked with the fact that he had given her a nickname.

They stepped into the very cozy restaurant and were seated at a small table close to the windows. They placed their order and ate feeling completely at ease. They laughed and chatted, just getting to know each other and finding that they were very comfortable talking to each other.

“Twenty questions” Claire said, looking across the table at him. He gave her a perplexed look. “Let’s play twenty questions. We covered growing up and how we chose our careers but I want to know more about you. The simple things you know. We each ask each other a question we would like to know about the other. It’s a great first date game. The only rule is we have to answer the question” she said looking at him and smiled hoping he would agree.

“Aye, alright. Anything off limits?” he asked with a mischievous smirk. She smirked back and shook her head.

“Not unless there is anything that is off limits for you. You already know I’m technically married” she rolled her eyes, frustrated just thinking about it when she found herself very much liking the company she was with, but having no idea where it could go due to her situation. “I’m an open book.” She watched as he nodded his head.

“Ye go first then” he looked at her. She seemed to be thinking about what she wanted to ask, or maybe just sorting out what she wanted to ask first.

“Hmm, what is your favorite color?” He gave her a look as if to say ‘that’s the best you can do’. “What? I did say the simple things. The questions may change as we go on” she said in suggestive way. He hummed in acknowledgment.

“Green. But no’ just any green. The green of the hills in the highlands in the summer” he answered her question. His answer more complete than she thought she would get. She found she couldn’t stop smiling at him. “My turn, so what is yer favorite color?”

“Yellow, but like that creamy light colored yellow like butter.” She tried to be as specific as he had been. He chuckled at the absurdity of his anticipation of her answer to such a simple question, finding he did want to know these simple, meaningless things about her.

Little did they know that from a table in the back corner, they were being watched. The person seethed anytime one of them would reach out and touch the other, however innocently, as they talked. How dare they lay their hands on what didn’t belong to them. Boiling with rage seeing them exchange phones after they were seated so that they could get the others number. They whipped out their own phone shooting off a text.

When the waiter placed the check on the table, Claire was quick to swipe it. She giggled at the look Jamie gave her.

“You picked up our drinks so dinner’s on me.” she sent him a look that told him arguing would be pointless.

“Shall I call for a car?” Jamie asked pulling out his phone to order a car service for her.

“No. I don’t live far. Just up the street a couple of blocks. I can walk” she informed him.

“Well then, it would be my honor if ye would let me walk ye home” he inquired wanting to spend as much time with her as he could. He couldn’t explain the way he felt when he was with her and this was only the second time they had even been in each others presence. He had to restrain himself from reaching out and touching her, though throughout the evening he would casually grip her arm when he found himself deep into a story he was recounting to her. He felt a shock of electricity shoot through him every time she would unconsciously slap his knee at the bar when he would say something she found funny or reach across the table and touch his hand while they ate.

“I would like that very much” she said with a smile. She also didn’t want the night to end. She still didn’t know how he felt about the whole married situation. Would he want to date her or would he just want to be friends? She wasn’t sure how she would feel about the latter of the two. She was already finding herself wanting him and not in a friends only sort of way. “We can continue the game on the way.”

“Aye, we haven’t gotten to favorite foods yet and I dinna think I could end the evening without knowing that fact Sassenach” he joked and once again heard that giggle he was growing to love. She grabbed his arm again as they stepped out onto the sidewalk, steering him toward her flat, neither one of them realizing that they were being followed.

“So, since you brought it up, what is your favorite food?” she asked next.

“Breakfast food, preferably eggs…..with ketchup” he said, waiting for her reaction to that tidbit of information. She wrinkled her nose but didn’t comment. “Now I must know yer favorite food” he said dramatically making her giggle once again.

“I would say potatoes.” She shrugged her shoulders when he didn’t comment, thinking an explanation was needed. “I mean you can have potatoes in so many different ways, all quite delicious I might add. You will never get bored.”

“Aye. I like potatoes well enough myself. Next question then.” He looked at her expectantly, he was waiting for this game to get interesting. Not that he wasn’t already interested, but you know.

“Last place you went on vacation?” she asked him.

“I travel a bit for work and the last place I went was to Paris about three weeks ago, but that was work and no’ a vacation. So I suppose the last vacation was at Christmas time. I went to Lallybroch. Tis’ our family home just outside of Broch Mordha. Tis’ the most beautiful place at Yuletide. The hills covered in snow and the house covered in garlands. Jenny goes all out. She and her family live at Lallybroch ye ken.” Claire could see the love he had for the place on his face and in the way he spoke about it.

“Sounds lovely.” They walked along in silence for a bit. She figured he was lost in thoughts of his home or that he was trying to come up with a question. She found herself leaning into him a bit more as the wind picked up.

“When was the last time ye were kissed?” he finally asked, surprising her a bit.

“So we are moving on to those questions then” she smirked at him. “Um like a real kiss or like a friendly kiss?” she countered. He raised his eyebrows as if he didn’t know the difference.

“Well Geillis kissed me on the cheek last week when I agreed to go on this date but I have a feeling that isn’t what you were asking.” She looked at him for affirmation. He nodded his head at her. “Okay well do you want to know the last time someone kissed me or the last time I kissed someone? And before you say anything, yes there is a difference.”

“Both I suppose” he said shrugging his shoulders.

“Well the last time I was really kissed, not counting the little pecks here and there, was probably a month or more before I caught Frank cheating on me and the last time I really kissed someone was about a week before then as well.”

“So let me get this straight. Ye havnae been kissed or kissed anyone in more than a year?” he asked incredulously.

“Is that one of your questions, because if so it wasn’t your turn” she teased and laughed.

“Nah. I’m just surprised is all” he chuckled. “There was never a girls night out with Geillis where you had a few too many and made out with a random good looking stranger?” He wagged his eyebrows at her and she laughed again. She remembered that he was acquainted with Geillis and knew her character apparently.

“I will have you know that unlike Geillis, I’m a good girl. I am not about random hook ups or one night stands” she said with conviction.

“Tis’ a fine quality to have Sassenach.” She looked at him and wondered about his personal feelings on hooking up which inspired her next question.

“Have you ever had a one night stand?”

“Aye I have and I felt guilty as hell afterward. It isna something I am proud to say I’ve done. I dinna believe in leading a lass on” he said in a completely serious tone. They walked on quietly for a few more minutes before he stopped suddenly causing her to turn into him slightly as she wasn’t prepared for it. He was looking at her in a way that made her breath hitch slightly.

“I would like to kiss ye Claire...... May I?” he asked. His voice was low but his words were clear. Her eyes dropped from his to his lips for just a moment before bringing them back up to meet his gaze once again.

“Yes.” It came out in a breathy whisper.

Jamie slid his hands along her waist pulling her fully in front of him. Her hands automatically went to rest against his chest. He brought one hand up to cup her cheek and guide her face to his. Her eyes drifted closed as he moved in closer to her. His lips were warm against hers. Was everything about him warm? She didn’t know but as he moved his lips expertly against hers, she knew he could set her on fire and she was oh so willing to burn for him. Her hands clutch at his shirt which only encouraged him. He ran his tongue along her bottom lip, asking for entrance which she didn’t hesitate to give. He tasted of the pasta he ordered and lightly of the whisky they had at the bar, finding it tasted so much better on his lips. Her hand released his shirt sliding up to his neck and into his hair. Jamie felt himself loosing control and knew she was lost in the kiss as well. He needed to slow it down. He stroked her cheek softly and pulled back slowly.

“Where did you learn to kiss like that?” Claire asked breathlessly. Jamie’s lips lifted up on one side in a smug grin.

“Is that one of yer questions Sassenach?” He rubbed his noes along hers, letting his fingers trace along her jaw. He was having a hard time breaking contact all together.

Little did they know they had an audience to their first kiss. One that wasn’t at all happy about what they were witnessing.

Chapter Text

Claire did not invite Jamie in when they made it to her flat. She had a feeling Geillis would be up and ready to pounce and she refuse to subject Jamie to that if she didn’t have to.

Geillis quietly scrutinized Claire the second she stepped through the door. Claire knew even if her face didn’t give her away, Geillis would still be able to read her. She had a talent for reading anyone, not just Claire.

“If ye were no’ down for a good shag I guess a nice snogging has done ye some good aye” she said with a grin.

Claire didn’t say anything and just slipped off her heels by the door glancing at herself in the mirror to see if she looked different. The kiss she shared with Jamie was not particularly aggressive or very long, so there were no telltale signs of that magical kiss. It’s not like Geillis could feel the tingling in her lips left by Jamie’s mouth. It must be the grin she couldn’t seem to reign in. She bit the inside of her cheek to keep it from turning into a full blown beaming smile.

“Sooo........ I take it it went well then?” Geillis inquired. Dammit. There was no way around the gloating that she was bound to do.

“It did” Claire said as she tried to avoid her eyes and made a beeline for her room.

“Come on Claire!” Geillis whined, standing to follow her. “Ye canna leave me hanging. I need some details.” Claire knew she had to throw her friend a bone or else she will whine at the door all night. She did owe her after all.

“Well it wasn’t exactly a blind date” Claire watched as Geillis’ eyes widened and her mouth opened. She held up her hand to stop the questions that she knew were coming. She explained how they had met at the park and her wrong assumption about his nephew and marital status. Even thinking about it now she couldn’t believe that a man like Jamie was single but she was glad that he was. “We had a couple of drinks at the bar and then went to dinner. It was lovely” she finished hoping Geillis would leave it at that.

“Yer leavin’ out the best part lass” Geillis said with a twinkle in her eye. “Sae is he a good kisser?”
“How do you even know we kissed hmmm?” Claire countered. Geillis just rolled her eyes. “Fine! Yes, he’s a good kisser.”

“I knew it! I willna tell ye I told ye so” Geillis said triumphantly. “Now then, when are ye going on a second date?” she asked plopping down on the bed as Claire pulled pajamas out of her chest of drawers to get ready for bed.

“We didn’t actually discuss a second date” Claire said knitting her brow, just now realizing that neither of them even mentioned going out again..

“Did ye tell him that yer still marrit then?” Geillis raised her eyebrows at Claire inquisitively.

“I did….” Claire suddenly felt nervous. “Do you think I’ve ruined any chance for a second date by being honest with him?” she asked wringing her t-shirt she wore to bed in her hands as she sat on the bed next to Geillis. Her friend thought about it for a minute.

“Did he kiss ye before or after ye told him?”

“After” Claire said feeling hopeful with that fact.

“Nae, I dinna think ye ruined anything then. Ye exchanged numbers aye?” Claire nodded. “Then just wait for him to reach out to ye and don’t call or text him first. It looks desperate ye ken.”

***************

Claire didn’t have to wait and worry too long. Jamie texted her the next day

Jamie: Good morning beautiful. I had a really nice time last night. Tell Geillis thank you for me 😉

Claire felt a thrill roll through her at the compliment.

Claire: Good morning. I had a nice time as well. Geillis is already in full on gloat mode after her inquisition last night when I got home 🤦 I don’t think she needs any more encouragement.

Jamie: So you kiss and tell?

Claire was pretty sure he was teasing and decided to play along.

Claire: Is that one of your questions?

Jamie: So we are still playing?

Claire: We haven’t gotten to twenty yet and no I don’t usually kiss and tell but if you haven’t notice everything I feel shows on my face.

Claire laid on her bed, unable to wipe the grin off her face. She was enjoying this easy banter they have going.

Jamie: Well since we are still playing…..what are you wearing? 😉

Jamie was at his office, having had to go in due to a distributing issue that popped up. He leaned back in his desk chair waiting for her response to that with a grin on his face. He spent the whole night thinking about her. He knew he wanted her but he knew he couldn’t fully have her due to the fact that she was still legally bound to another. He still wanted to see where things could go with her but decided there were lines that wouldn’t be crossed until her divorce was final. He replayed that kiss in his head over and over again. He knew it was going to be a challenge to have her without having her.

Claire: Are you flirting with me Mr. Fraser?…..or is this just an attempt to sext?

His eyes got big at her reply. He was trying to flirt and never even thought that she would think he was sexting her. He didn’t even expect her to answer the question, he just wanted to make her giggle even though he couldn’t hear her. Her giggle was on replay in his mind. The soundtrack to the kiss they shared. But reply she did. As he was thinking about what to say, her message came through.

Claire: I’m wearing an old Oxford tee that I wore to bed. No work means a lazy day and getting dressed is optional right???

Claire wondered what he would think of that answer. She had purposely been evasive, not wanting to say she was in a t-shirt and panties. Let him think what he wanted.

Jamie, on the other hand, now could not get the image of Claire in a t-shirt and not much else out of his head.

Jamie: I will have you know that I have never “sexted” in my life. Aye I was just flirting with you. I didn’t expect you to answer.

Claire: lol well fair is fair…..what are you wearing?

Jamie: Grey suit white shirt with a grey tie. I don’t think it would have been appropriate to come into the office in pajamas

Claire conjured up an image of Jamie in a suit thinking she wouldn’t mind one bit seeing him in one in real life. He had worn a long sleeve cotton shirt, jeans and a jacket last night. Then she realized he was at work and she should probably let him get back to it.

Claire: Well I should let you get back to work then.

Jamie: I’m the boss so there is no one to tell me that I can not text at work 😉

Claire: Okay then next question boss man.

Jamie had been wondering how to ask her out again and this gave him the perfect opportunity.

Jamie: Would you like to go out with me again?

“Who are ye texting?” Geillis asked startling her. Claire looked up to see her friend leaning against her door frame with a cup of coffee in each hand. “By the way ye’ve been giggling in here, my guess would be that fine wee fox cub ye were snogging last night aye” Geillis teased her, coming into the room and handing Claire her coffee when she sat up.

“He just asked me out again!” Claire couldn’t keep the excitement out of her voice. She looked back down at her phone and began typing a reply.

Claire: I would love to! When is good for you ?

Jamie: Well since you’re off today do you want to get lunch?

“Ooooh he wants to see ye that soon. I think yer wee fox cub is smitten” Geillis teased, reading over her shoulder. Claire shrugged her away before she responded.

“It works out perfectly considering my work schedule is bound to be hectic this week” Claire said texting back. “Now help me find something to wear.”

***************

There was a knock on Jamie’s office door as he was waiting for Claire’s reply.

“Come in” he called out but didn’t look up from his phone as he felt it buzz in his hand.

Claire: That sounds lovely

He smiled thinking he was going to get to see her in just hours.

“What has ye grinning like a bairn on Christmas?” He looked up to see his assistant, Laoghaire, smiling at him.

“Just received good news is all” he replied. He knew the girl had a crush on him but he tried to keep everything professional and not lead the lass on or pull her into his personal life too much. She was distantly related to him somehow on his mother’s side. “What news have ye?”

“I just wanted to give ye a few messages that were left for ye” she said looking down at the tablet in her hand, tapping to find his messages. He looked at her to continue.

“Mr. Dunsany’s office called requesting a meeting and yer sister called saying she has been trying to get a hold of ye and to not make her come the Edinburgh just to check in or she will have ye by the bollocks aye” Laoghaire said reading the message word for word, a flush creeping up her face. “Sorry that is just what she said” Laoghaire stammered feeling, she needed to explain.

Jamie sighed. He had meant to call his sister back that morning but his mind had been preoccupied.

“Check my schedule for next week and see if ye can set the meeting up with Dunsany.” She nodded and started to tap and swipe the tablet, checking his schedule.

“Next week is pretty full but yer free the following Wednesday” Laoghaire told him looking back up for confirmation.

“That works if Dunsany is available” he told her as he scrolled through lunch options on his laptop.

“I will call his office and arrange it then” she said still looking at him, waiting for him to look up.

“Thank ye. I will get back to my sister” he informed her, his tone dismissal.

“Aye” she said making note of it on her tablet. “Do ye want me to order lunch for ye?” she asked looking up at him expectantly.

“Nae. I will be out of the office for lunch. In fact ye are free for the rest of the day. I settled the distributing issue so ye can take the rest of the day off.” He looked back at his phone. Claire hadn’t texted anything after accepting his lunch invitation. He figured he would call his sister back and then text her about lunch.

“Aye thank ye sir” Laoghaire said smiling at him before turning to leave. She lingered slightly but he refused to look up so that he didn’t encourage her.

***************

“Claire?” She was putting the finishing touches on her make-up when Geillis came into her room.

“In here” she called out from her en suite bathroom. When she and Geillis decided on this place they had compromised that Claire could have the master with the bathroom as long as Geillis could have the third bedroom to use as a very large dressing room. This suited Claire just fine, seeing as she didn’t have a quarter of the wardrobe her best friend did.

“Yer man is here” Geillis said in a sing song voice. Claire smiled thinking that Geillis must have been watching for him and opened the door before he had time to ring. Jamie had texted and told her he would meet her at her flat so that he could be a gentleman and pick her up for a proper date.

“He is not my man” she said, recapping her lipstick…...just a tint that didn’t smudge. Better to be prepared. She didn’t want to have lipstick smudged all over him if kissing ensued. A girl could only hope.

“Aye but ye want him to be” Geillis teased. Claire gave herself a once over in the mirror turning this way and that, tucking a stray curl that had come loose from her bun that she managed to make look like it could pass for an elegant up-do. “Ye look bonnie, but wait till ye get a keek at him” she said to her with a wink before turning to leave. She heard Geillis say something to Jamie as she grabbed her phone off the bed and slid it into the clutch she used the night before.

She stepped out of her bedroom and saw him standing at the end of the hall in the foyer talking to Geillis. He looked like a dream come to life in that suit she thought and she stood frozen just staring. She looked him up and down and thought that that suit must have been made just for him. She wondered what it would feel like to run her hands along his chest over his crisp white button up and slide his jacket off as she did so. They looked over at her when she let out a little gasp. It took several heartbeats for her to come back to herself....that and Geillis chuckling at her. Get a grip Beauchamp, she thought to herself and took a deep breath before she made her way toward them.

“Hey” she said stepping up to them, her eyes only on Jamie. She lifted up on her toes slightly and pressed a kiss to his cheek. She suppressed a shutter of longing that ran through her as his hand raised to her waist when her lips met his cheek. The kiss was brief but she savored the tingle that was still buzzing in her lips from the scrape of his stubble.

“Ready” he asked smiling at her. She nodded and couldn’t help but grin at him. His hand slid to the small of her back as he steered her toward the door.

“Dinna do anything I wouldna do” Geillis teased from the door as they stepped out.

“Doesn’t leave much” Claire said to her friend over her shoulder with a teasing smile. She looked back at Jamie and saw the amusement on his face.

Jamie drove them to a little café near Holyrood Park. Their conversation flowed just as easily as it did the night before. They had just finished eating when Claire's phone went off.

“I’m sorry. I have to take this” she said to Jamie as she stood and walked outside. Jamie watched her through the window. He didn’t know what to think about her taking a call during their date but he didn’t think she would have if she didn’t think it was important. She was a doctor after all. He watched her glass face to tell him how she was feeling and maybe get a clue about who was on the other side of the call. At first she just looked serious, then upset and then by the time she hung up she looked extremely frustrated. He watched her close her eyes as if she was counting to calm herself. It made him want to go to her and run his hands along her arms and shoulders, up her back.… anything to release the tension he could see had its grip on her. Her shoulders eventually dropped as she forced herself to relax. She walked back in with an apologetic look on her face.

“Sorry. That was my lawyer” she said dropping back into her seat with a sigh.

“Everything alright?” he asked not wanting to pry too much. She just shook her head in a defeated way and sighed.

“Turns out my ex has moved back to England. His lawyer told Ned that he got a job at Cambridge and….”

“Ned Gowan?” Jamie asked, interrupting her.

“Yes. He’s my lawyer. I was told he was the best when I moved to Scotland” she said looking at him confused. Did he have a problem with the lawyer?

“Aye, tis’ why he is also my lawyer” he said with that side smirk of his. Well it’s a small damn world she thought. “Continue please” he said.

“Anyhow, Frank is now in England and has still not signed the papers according to his lawyer from Boston who is no longer handling Frank’s affairs. Ned said he will look into getting a hold of whoever his new representation is and then we will have to refile with them.” She was becoming angry as she thought about the entire situation. Jamie could see it on her face and reached over and placed his hand over hers in support. She instantly relaxed and smiled at him.

“Good news is that things could move faster now that we are on the same content…….that is if he will just sign the bloody papers. I honestly don’t know why he won’t sign. It’s like he doesn’t want me to live a life that isn’t attached to his.” Jamie stroked her fingers as she started to tense. His touch seemed to be a balm for her and he loved that.

“When was the last time ye spoke to him?” Jamie asked her, keeping his tone light.

“About six months ago. I called him to ask why he hadn’t signed yet. He just said that he hadn’t had an opportunity to read through them, which is honestly a crock of shite. Who can’t take fifteen minutes out of a day to read over and sign divorce papers. I mean he was served them six months before I called!” Jamie stood as he felt her temper rising.

“Come, walk with me” he said holding out his hand to her and left money on the table to pay for their lunch. She placed her hand in his and let him lead her out of the cafe.

They began to walk down the street towards the Palace of Holyroodhouse. She loved the architecture in this city. She just breathed in the cool air and took in her surroundings. He didn’t let go of her hand. He just let his thumb rub back and forth along the back of hers. He didn’t say anything either. Not pressuring her to talk. Just being there for her. Where did he come from she thought and how on earth can she keep him because she very much wanted to keep him.

“Sorry” she finally breathed out.

“Tis’ okay” he said squeezing her hand. She couldn’t read him and knew she would have to ask him what she wanted to know.

“What are you thinking?” she asked, squeezing his hand back.

“Honestly?” He looked down at her face, she turned her head, looking at him so earnestly. She nodded. “I dinna like seeing ye feel this way Sassenach. Especially when there is no’ I can do about it.”

“This helps” she said smiling at him and squeezing his hand again so he knew what she was referring to. They walked across the street and Jamie lead her into a whisky shop. He spoke to the proprietor for a moment.

“I know tis’ a bit early but would ye like a sample or two Sassenach?” he asked her.

“Why not” she replied. She could use a drink after the news she had received. As it turned out this place had the full collection of whisky that Jamie produced. She only sampled a few not wanting to get tipsy.

He held her hand again as they walked back to his car. She felt much lighter from the whisky and his touch. He had managed to drive the negative thoughts out of her head for now. She thought again about how he felt about her whole situation. She wondered if he felt the same pull toward her as she she was feeling toward him.

Claire noticed that Jamie turned nearly every woman’s head, and a couple men as well if she were completely honest, as they walked along. She looked up at Jamie and it seemed as if he was oblivious to the attention, making her smile. He must have felt her eyes on him and looked over at her with a small smile and gave her hand a light squeeze again. She grinned feeling a bit of pride at being the one whose hand he was holding. She wanted to always be the one holding his hand.

“Sooo…..” she began, their clasped hands swinging slightly between them. He looked at her expectantly. “What does this mean?” she asked holding their linked hands up.

“What do ye want it to mean?” he asked, smirking at her. She shook her head.

“You can’t do that…...answer a question with a question. You can read me so well but I have no idea what you are thinking.” She looked at him as they approached his Audi Q5. She released his hand and leaned her back up against the rear passenger door and looked at him. “I need to know what you are thinking.”

He didn’t say anything. She didn’t push him for an answer, just watched his face for any change. Any flash of doubt or promise. Anything that would clue her in.

He reached down and grabbed her wrist, pulling her hand up as he took a step closer to her. He held her hand up with her palm facing him and traced her fingers with his own. She would have thought that since he held her hand for a large portion of this date that she wouldn’t still feel the sparks shoot through her at his touch. That she would be desensitized to it, but she wasn’t. He watched her face and she knew that he knew what he was doing to her and she was caught in his gaze, unable to look away and hide it from him.

“Do ye feel that?” His voice was low but firm.

She thought the question was rhetorical, given her face, but she answered anyway with a breathy “Yes”.

“I feel it too” he said. “Something so unusual.”

He placed her hand over his heart but didn’t say anything. She could feel the steady beat of his heart against her palm. His other hand came to rest on the car next to her as he moved in closer. Before she knew what was happening his lips were on hers. The kiss was slow, unhurried in a way that made her think that he thought he had all the time in the world to kiss her and that made her heart soar. She brought her other hand up to his neck, holding him against her. He moved closer, pressing his body into hers, trapping her between the car and himself. His hand stayed against her own on his chest and the other on the car. He didn’t touch her while she clung to him. The hand over his heart fisting into his shirt, while her other hand slipped into his hair at the back of his head, just long enough to grip. Heat poured through her starting at her lips and moving outward. She wanted more and took it upon herself to deepen the kiss. She nipped his bottom lip and ran her tongue along it, wanting to taste him. He opened to her and she let out a moan of pleasure as his tongue stroked her own.

Suddenly Jamie pulled away from her. He couldn’t get carried away with her. They were standing on the side of the road in the center of the Royal Mile for heavens sake. But her mouth is oh so sweet and all he wanted to do was kiss her again as he looked at her. Her lips a touch darker and slightly kiss swollen, her breathing heavy. She was so responsive and he knew this was going to be hard.

“I’m sorry” she gasped out, looking down. Her tongue sweeping out just barely to lick her lips as if collecting what remained of the taste of his kiss.

He chuckled and she lifted her head to look at him.

“Nothing to be sorry for. I was the one who kissed ye after all” he said with a small smile. “It’s just that we are standing on the busiest street in the city with god knows how many tourists and University students all around us” he stated the obvious, stepping back from her. He reached beside her and pulled open the front door of the car for her to get in before walking around and getting in himself.

They were quiet for a little while as he drove. Claire trying to wrap her mind around that kiss and Jamie trying to figure out how to tell her he wanted something with her. He reached over the console and grabbed her hand.

“I would like this to mean something. That we could maybe give it a go and see where this goes because…….tis’ something, but I think we may need some boundaries. Until yer divorce is final that is” he said to her, giving her hand a squeeze. “What do ye say?”

“I think I would like to give it a go also” she said unable to keep the smile from spreading across her face. “What boundaries do you have in mind?”

“Well…. I was raised with a strong sense of honor” he informed her. He took a deep breath and continued. “I think that we should withhold from having sex until yer divorce is final.”

“Um okay” she responded, feeling herself blush slightly. “But kissing is okay? It doesn’t disparage your honor?” She was teasing, but she also wanted to be sure. She didn’t know if she could handle not kissing him anymore after the kisses that they have already shared.

“Nah. I’m no’ a saint Sassenach” he said with a smirk, relieved by her response and brought her hand up to kiss the back of it.

Chapter Text

“I know you are weary about a partnership due to the past” Mr. Dunsany was saying to Jamie during the meeting they had scheduled.

William Dunsany owned a brewing company. They were not competition for Jamie because they specialized in beers, ales, and lagers. Mr. Dunsany had been trying to get Jamie and his uncle to partner with his own company for quite some time, saying that together they would cover all the basics of whisky, wines, and brews. They would be a marketing dream team.

The only thing standing in the way was Jamie’s past dealings with this particular family. To be more specific a one Geneva Dunsany. He and Geneva had been quite the couple for a while. The relationship had not ended on the best terms. Their relationship had started out like most do with mutual attraction and affection. They had their fair share of fun and there was even a point when Jamie thought he loved her. Though when things got tough her true colors started to show.

While her father was genuinely interested in a partnership with Jamie’s company, Jamie came to learn that Gen was only in it for his money. She grew up quite spoiled, never wanting for anything. He didn’t know it at the time, but just before they got together, Geneva’s father had cut her off, wanting to teach her the value of money and inspire a good work ethic. The end of their relationship left him a bit jaded and bitter when it came to Geneva. She used his honor and good name in the worst way she could and Jamie found he had a hard time trusting the women he dated after that.

“This meeting isn’t about that though. I wanted to see if perhaps you wanted to be one of our sponsors at the annual Children In Need Charity Ball we have at Helwater every year” Mr. Dunsany went on. “It will be held four weeks from this Saturday. You are welcome to stay at the house of course.” Helwater was their ancestral home located in the Lake District of England near Helvellyn mountain. It was large and reeked of old money, but would have the finest accommodations if he agreed.

“Oh Jamie you must!” cried Geneva from the seat next to him. As it turns out, she was now working with her father while she worked to get her business degree. Her theater degree not having taken her where she wanted it to but not really caring because she had money at the time. She would have been a great actress Jamie thought. She sure fooled him. If only she had been willing to work at the time.

“Aye. I have been wanting to get my foot in with a few charities. What all would this entail?” Mr. Dunsany was more than happy to tell him how things went and what would be expected of him and his company. By the end of the meeting he had agreed to be a sponsor and attend the ball.

Jamie’s phone pinged with a message as he made it back to his office.

Claire: Hope your meeting went well. I am not on call this evening …...do you maybe want to come over and have dinner? I could make something and we could find a movie to watch???

It had been nearly two weeks since their lunch date and finding time to see one another had been a struggle. They managed to fit in a few early morning coffee dates at the coffee shop near the hospital, just across the street from the park they met at. Claire would be getting off a night shift and Jamie would be heading into the office.

He texted back quickly, jumping at the opportunity to get to spend quality time with her.

Jamie: Sounds like a perfect plan. What time should I be over?

Claire: I get off at 5 so 7 should be fine.

Jamie: Should I bring some whisky for Geillis so she will leave us alone?

Claire: You can bring whisky but G is going out with your uncle tonight….. so it will just be you and me 😉

Jamie: I can’t wait to have you all to myself

Claire: Oh yeah?? And what do you plan to do with me when you have me all to yourself?

Jamie: sounds like you’re the one trying to sext now

Claire: just curious is all…

Claire was enjoying her banter with Jamie and was truly curious to see how far he would take it. He wants them to refrain from sex until her divorce is final but he didn’t say they couldn’t send each other dirty texts messages. She smiled as she hit send on her last text. She was standing next to the nurses station when she got a page for an incoming emergency. Well looks like the she is going to have to rain check the sexting. Her fingers moved quickly, sending him a quick text so that he didn’t think she was ignoring him.

Claire: Gotta run….emergency coming in. See you tonight 😘

***************

Jamie stepped up to Claire’s door just as Geillis was coming out of it.

“Hey! Are ye headed out now?” he asked her with a friendly smile.

“Aye. Are ye here to get laid? If so ye should know that Claire isnae home yet” she said smirking at him. Just then his phone buzzed with a text message. “That is probably her. She just messaged me a wee bit ago.” Jamie looked at his phone and sure enough it was a message from Claire.

Claire: Hey I’m running late….last minute appy. If you’re close Geillis hasn’t left yet and can let you in. Grabbing take out for us. I will cook for you next time I promise.

Jamie: It’s fine. I caught Geillis at the door. See you soon.

“Flowers and wine…..ye are lookin to get laid” Geillis teased, noticing the bouquet of flowers and bottle of wine Jamie was holding.

“Sex isnae everything” Jamie told her.

“Aye but it’s sae fun” she gave him a wink before turning to open the door for him.

“Miss Duncan” Jamie and Geillis turned toward the voice calling out to her.

“Jesus Christ” Geillis murmured under her breath but loud enough for Jamie to catch. Was this an ex of hers he wondered. “Professor Randall, tis’ a surprise to see ye here” she said in a false, overly friendly way. Randall…..the name set off an alarm in Jamie’s head. Claire’s soon-to-be ex husband.

“Yes. I was just at the hospital, but they said that Claire had already left for the day. I thought I would find her here” he said cordially.

“Well I suppose the two of ye can wait for Claire inside aye” Geillis said looking from one man to the other before turning back to the door once again. They all stepped into the sitting room.

“James Fraser this is Frank Randall, Claire’s husband. Frank this is Jamie, Claire’s….well I dinna ken. Friend I suppose” Geillis made the awkward introduction, which she made even more awkward, in true Geillis fashion, by trying to put a label on what Jamie was to Claire. They both just nodded. Neither one reaching out to shake the others hand.

“Come on fox cub and I will grab ye a vase before I leave.” Jamie followed Geillis through the wide double doors that stood open to the kitchen, giving it a more open floor plan to the sitting room. She grabbed a vase out of the cabinet handing it to him.

“I canna wait to hear how this goes” she murmured to him as she patted him on the shoulder and walked out of the kitchen. “I’m off to meet Dougal. Ye lads play nice. Claire should be home soon.” She grabbed her purse and made a beeline for the door.

Jamie set the flowers and wine down on the island and turned to fill the vase with water. He heard Frank’s steps and when he turned to put the flowers in the vase of fresh water, Frank was in the kitchen. Jamie looked up trying to keep a friendly expression on his face. Frank wasn’t all that concerned with being friendly it seemed. He looked Jamie up and down for a moment, as if sizing up the competition. It didn’t intimidate Jamie in the least. He had a couple inches on him and quite a bit more muscle.

“So you’re the man who is fucking my wife” he said in a very cold tone.

Jamie just chuckled. The audacity of the man. He had no clue what the relationship between him and Claire was, but jumped to his own conclusion. Jamie refused to let this man bait him, even though he held him in contempt for what he did to Claire. Now he stood there trying to put him and Claire in the same box he himself dwells in.

“Nae. Ye see I have chosen to be honorable. Claire is still marrit to ye and marriage is a sacrament. I will not have her lower herself by stepping out on her marriage” Jamie said without a hint of the animosity he felt towards the man.

“Are you trying to imply that I am not honorable?” Frank said with disdain.

“I am not implying anything. I dinna even ken ye. I only speak of myself” Jamie said as he continued to arrange the flowers, hoping that Claire would get there soon. Just then they heard the door open.

“Jamie” Claire’s voice called out. “I’m sorry. I didn’t expect to be….” she stopped short as she walked into the sitting room and saw both Jamie and Frank standing in the kitchen. It took a moment for Claire’s body to shake off the shock of seeing her soon to be ex-husband standing in the same room as her….was Jamie her boyfriend? She wasn’t sure but he was her something, and a very important something at that.

“Frank” she said as she made her way into the kitchen. “What are you doing here?” she asked as she set a bag of take out food on the island next to where Jamie was arranging flowers.

“I came to talk to you. I stopped by the hospital but they told me you had already left for the day” Frank said repeating what he already told Geillis and Jamie.

“How did you get this address?” she asked still in a bit of shock.

“It is on the papers” he said with a shrug.

“Right” she mumbled. Ned had informed her that Frank had been served the new papers. She hoped that was the reason he was there.

She finally turned to Jamie to see his reaction to all this. His face was blank but his mouth turned up in a genuine smile when their eyes met.

“Hey” she said in a breathy voice, smiling up at him and to his surprise she moved in closer lifting on her toes and pressed a kiss to his cheek. “I’m sorry about this” she whispered in his ear. His body warmed as her breath tickled over his skin. “Are you alright?” she asked. He nodded and smiled at her for good measure.

He honestly wanted to pull her in and kiss her with everything he had. Lay claim to her in front of the man who thought it a good idea to discard her heart like it didn’t matter. To show him he is willing to pick up the pieces that Frank scattered without a thought.

Claire looked at the bouquet of flowers that Jamie still had a hand on. She smiled at how sweet he was. She tried to remember the last time Frank gave her flowers. It was the first Valentines day they had been married. That was over five years ago. Jamie noticed her looking at the flowers.

“I brought some wine also. A ‘97 Cabernet from my uncles cellar” he said. Claire giggled and his heart fluttered from the sound.

“I don’t know much about wine. You’re the expert so I trust your judgment, but the flowers are lovely.” She reached up and ran her hand along his arm in thanks.

“Are you in the wine business then?” Frank asked, reminding them that he was there. He had been standing there watching them. They didn’t do or say anything that was outside the boundaries of friendship, but he felt very uncomfortable with the way they were looking at each other. He doesn’t think Claire ever looked at him quite like that. It made him feel angry and territorial.

“Aye” is all Jamie said in way of answer.

“Jamie owns Fraser’s Fine Wine and Whisky. It is the fastest growing distillery in Scotland” Claire said, giving accolades where they were due. Jamie just smiled.

“Quite the accomplishment” Franks muttered. “I myself just got the position as head of the history department at Cambridge.” Frank always did like to drop the name of the Universities he worked for, having now worked at three of the most prestigious schools in the world. Always one for a pissing contest Claire thought. She looked back up at Jamie, who just nodded at Frank with a small smile. Jamie was above such things it seemed. It endeared him to her even more.

“Well if you two don’t mind, I would like to take ten minutes to take a quick shower and change.” She stepped around Jamie and pulled a few wine glasses from the cabinet and placed them next to the bottle of wine. She looked back and forth between the two men. Frank just shoved his hands in his pocket and sighed like she was wasting his time. She raised her eyebrows at him. It’s not like she invited him over. He saw her look and gave a sharp nod. She turned to Jamie and he smiled.

“Tis’ fine Sassenach. I’ll pour the wine” he said smiling at her. She pulled out the drawer right next to him, grabbing the wine opener and handed it to him. She place her hand on his chest after he took it.

“I won’t be long” she said in what could only be described as a flirty tone. She let her hand drag across his chest as she moved to make her way to her room. She didn’t even spare another glance for her husband. It was almost like she was trying to tell Frank that Jamie was her choice now. Jamie liked that she seemed to be marking her territory.

Jamie took his time opening the wine bottle after Claire left. He could just make out the sound of the shower turning on when he finally pulled the cork out of the bottle.

“Wine?” he asked Frank cordially as he poured the dark liquid into a wine glass.

“No thank you. I am not here to wine and dine” he responded. “Is that how all Scots pick up married women?” he asked coldly. Another dig to try to get to Jamie.

“Nae, considering I only brought the wine. Claire brought the food” he shot back calmly.

“Did she tell you she was married?” Frank asked him.

“Aye she did” Jamie knew this man wanted him to incriminate himself or Claire. He was what Jamie referred to as a picker. Someone who liked to pick fights but wanted to come across as the calm and rational one in the end.

“And yet you are still pursuing her. Are single lasses not your thing?” Frank continued with his snide questions. Jamie’s mouth twitched at his horrible go at a Scottish accent.

“Ye should no’ presume to know me” Jamie said, taking a drink of the wine. “Ye cast Claire aside for another did ye no’?”

“I did not leave my wife” Frank said through gritted teeth, emphasizing the word ‘wife’. “She left me.” It seemed that Frank was the one losing his cool.

“Oh aye. Why would yer wife want to leave ye? A fine English professor such as yerself?” Jamie asked leaning his backside against the island, crossing his feet and sipping his wine like they were only talking about the latest rugby match.

“You know nothing of my marriage with Claire” Frank stated, going red around the ears.

“Tis’ true. I only know what she has told me” Jamie said casually.

Claire picked that moment to to come back, freshly showered with her hair piled on top of her head, wearing a pair of leggings and a large, loose sweater that drooped off one shoulder. Jamie thought she looked beautiful and couldn’t help but let his eyes roam up and down her body. She moved around her flat comfortably, reaching to grab plates for their food.

“So Frank... what are you doing here?” she asked bluntly, setting the plates on the island and leaning on her hands looking at him. “Did you sign the papers?”

Frank took a frustrated breath. She didn’t understand why he was acting as if she was forcing him to be there. If anyone should be frustrated with the situation it should be her. Frank was cutting into her time with Jamie and more than likely making him uncomfortable.

“I was just…..” he began but stopped when his phone chimed. He pulled his phone out and looked at his message. “Seems my flight has been moved up and I’m needed back in Cambridge by morning, so I have to go. I came to talk to you and see where we stood after we discuss things like adults and not through lawyers. It is our marriage after all” he emphasizing the word ‘our’ and his eyes darted to Jamie when he said it. “We should get together another time when you aren’t entertaining ….. uh…. friends?”

He stepped over to Claire and leaned in as if to kiss her cheek but Claire dodged him with a “Please don’t touch me.” Frank looked slightly embarrassed to have been denied even a simple show of affection.

“I’ll walk you to the door” Claire said.

“Have you signed yet?” she asked him again as they made their way to the front door. That was the only reason she would want to have any contact with him. Frank looked over her shoulder and could see Jamie moving around the kitchen, dishing their take out onto the plates Claire got out for them.

“We will discuss everything soon” he said, avoiding the question again. She opened the door for him to leave without saying anything. He stood and looked at her up and down for a moment. “You look very lovely tonight” he said in a tone that once upon a time would have made her blush and they would flirt and tease until they fell into bed together. Now it just made her skin crawl and not in a good way.

“Thank you…….Well goodnight” she said in a clipped tone, dismissing him. All she wanted to do is get back to Jamie and start their night together.

“Goodnight Claire.”

She shut the door and made her way back towards the kitchen. She leaned against the door frame and just watched Jamie as he dished out their food. He had removed his jacket and was in a cream colored long sleeve shirt with the sleeves pulled up and dark jeans that fit him just right. He took a bite of the sesame chicken from one of the plates then looked up and noticed her staring.

“Like what ye see Sassenach?” he teased.

“Hmm” she responded with a smile walking over to him. She tipped her face up to his and he brought his lip down over hers. She tasted lightly of the mouth wash she had used and he tasted like the sesame chicken he just ate. It reminded her that they still needed to eat and that she was ravenous and not just for him. “I wanted to do that from the moment I walked in” she breathed as she pulled away. Jamie let out a breathy chuckle, his fingers playing with the ribbed pattern of her sweater along her waist. 

“I could tell, though I don’t think kissing another man in front of yer husband would have gone over well.”

“I don’t particularly care what Frank thinks. I do care about him making things awkward for you however” she informed him. “I’m sorry. I truly didn’t know he would show up out of the blue like that.”

“Och dinna fash. I know ye dinna have any control over what he does and tis’ the reason for yer stress.” He brought his hands up to her shoulders, kneading them a bit. “Come lets eat and relax. I’m even okay with watching one of those girly rom-com movies if ye want.” he said grinning at her.

They stayed at the island to eat their food and Jamie poured Claire some wine.

“Mmm this is good” she said licking the wine from her lips. Jamie felt himself stir as he watched her tongue just barely peek out and run across her lips, collecting the taste of the wine.

“That’s what she said” he chuckled, trying to ease his current predicament. Claire just gave him an amused look, reaching over and shoving his shoulder.

“So what did Frank have to say to you? I hope he wasn’t an arse.” She was interested in Jamie’s opinion of Frank. They were very different men.

“He just really wanted to remind me that ye’re his wife mostly” he stated before taking another bite of his food. “The first thing he said to me was ‘so yer the man who’s fucking my wife’. He would not say yer name. Always said my wife.”

“Funny how me being his wife didn’t seem all that important to him when he had another woman’s mouth wrapped around his cock” she stated bitterly.

“Aye well I can tell ye that a man is not thinking of much when in that position” he teased. “But in all honesty I probably would have acted the same way. Tried to claim ye in front of a man I thought was interested in ye.” Claire scoffed.

“He has no claim to me in any way other than on paper” she said and took a long sip of her wine again.

“For a moment I thought he might whip it out and piss on ye to mark his territory.” They both laughed at that statement.

“Frank has always had an inflated ego and I think he may have felt threatened by you.” Claire stated.

“How so?”

“Well you’re successful...” she started.

“So is he” Jamie countered. Jamie was the opposite of Frank and never wanted to brag about himself. Claire found that the more time she spent with him, getting to know the type of person he is, the more she wondered what she could have possibly seen in Frank. Though she soon realized that it was just Jamie. He wasn’t like any other man out there and she knew she was falling for him.

“It doesn’t hurt that you are insanely handsome also” she said winking at him. He just smirked. She stood and moved to rinse her plate in the sink. “Are you finished?” she asked.

“Aye” he said bringing his dish over. She reached for it but he pulled it away, rinsing it himself. They moved into the sitting room, bringing the wine with them.

“Let’s see what girly movies we can find” she teased, grabbing the remote and scrolling through Netflix. Jamie just grinned, making himself comfortable on the couch. He just watched quietly as she browsed through the movies. “Okay I’ve narrowed it down to two, Titanic or When Harry Met Sally?” She looked at him inquiringly as she plopped down in the corner of the couch next to him.

“Ye ken…...I just canna get over that Jack did not get on that bit of wood with Rose. He dinna have to die. There was plenty of room!” Jamie said in mock outrage making Claire giggle.

“So When Harry Met Sally it is” she said scrolling to the selection.

“I have never seen it” he admitted to her.

“It’s older but it’s good” she said.

Claire started the movie and settled in to her spot on the couch. She found that she couldn’t concentrate on the movie. She had seen it multiple times so she wasn’t missing anything. She just wanted to see how he reacted to it.

Claire turned, leaning her back against the arm of the couch, pulling the throw off the back of the couch and covering herself with it. This position made it easier to watch him. She slid her feet toward him, letting her toes tuck under the edge of his thigh.

“Are ye cold Sassenach?” he asked reaching his hand down and rubbing her cold feet.

“A little” she replied. He pulled her feet into his lap and began massaging warmth back into them without a thought, his attention back on the movie. She sighed in contentment.

Jamie was not a movie talker and didn’t ask questions, but the movie was approaching the scene that is most talked about and Claire was quite curious to see if he would say anything about it. Soon Harry and Sally were sitting in the Katz’s Deli discussing how Harry knew that the women he had been with really enjoyed being with him. Claire watch Jamie as he watch Meg Ryan act out a fake orgasm in the middle of the deli. He reached out and grabbed the remote, pausing the movie, before turning to her.

“Have ye ever faked it Sassenach?” he asked. His voice was low and he wasn’t trying to sound that sexy she knew. She watched his face for a moment wondering if she should answer honestly.

“Yes.” She went with honesty wanting to know how he would react. He looked intrigued.

“And he never knew it was fake?” he asked baffled.

“I don’t think so. I faked it a few times with Frank over the course of our marriage and he never said anything so I’m guessing he believed it” she said with a shrug.

“He is an eejit if he canna tell” Jamie stated.

“Are you saying that you can tell if a woman is having a real orgasm?” Jamie shrugged and nodded. “How can you tell?” she asked.

“Watching that scene kinda answers it for ye. She was sitting in a deli with no one touching her but everyone believed she was gettin’ off. Now if he had been touching her in almost any way he should know the difference” he explained.

“Well Frank was touching me and he didn’t know” Claire countered. She knew how a woman physically responded during an orgasm obviously, but she wanted to know what Jamie thought.

“Well we already established that he is an eejit. All it takes is for a man to pay attention to his woman when he is making love to her” he stated as if that was the answer. “Frank gave me the impression that he is more concerned about himself than he is about anyone else.”

“That is true but you still didn’t tell me how you know a woman isn’t faking it. Like you said she had the whole deli thinking she was having an orgasm. Any woman can do that” she said pulling her feet off his lap. She tucked her feet under herself and leaned her arm across the back of the couch.

“It’s no’ about the sounds ye make, though they can be a huge turn on and are verra encouraging” he said with a small grin before continuing. “A man can feel it. Can feel his woman squeezing around his cock.” Claire was a little surprised by his admission.

“That can be faked you know. The vagina is made up of muscles that we can contract like any other. It’s not hard to squeeze around a man. It’s all part of faking it well” she said as if that was that and there is no way he could really tell.

“Aye I suppose that’s so and I guess ye could fool a man that way, but like I said it is all about paying attention to yer woman.” He leaned forward and grabbed his wine to take a sip.

“Enlighten me then on how you think you can tell real from fake.” she challenged. He lifted a brow and leaned closer to her slightly.

“It’s that moment when ye are making love and her breathing changes, she begins to breath faster or pants, sometimes she may hold her breath all together for a moment. Her body begins to tense up and then spasm and not just in her quim, but all over. And sometimes it feels like she is caught between getting closer to ye and pulling away. Some women moan or scream and others may just gasp and ye can see the pleasure on her face. I will tell ye it is the most amazing feeling as a man to see yer woman like that. To feel her shutter in yer arms.” Claire just watched him as he took another sip of his wine. Her breathing had actually picked up at his perfect description of an orgasm and she found that she was very turned on.

“It is much easier for a man to fake it” Jamie told her. That stopped Claire in her tracks of imaging him naked and hovering over her.

“How can a man possibly fake it?” she asked him. She was fairly certain she had never been with a man who had. “Have you ever faked it?”

“Aye I have. Remember that one night stand I mentioned….” he looked over at her and she nodded her head. “I guess faking it only really works if the lad is wearing a condom. If ye arenae into it and ye know ye are losing yer cockstand ye can just fake it then with a few sharp thrusts and a groan and she is none the wiser since ye are already going soft just like ye do after really having an orgasm. I havnae done it very much but the times I did the women never asked to see the condom” he answered her questions.

“Why did you fake it?’ she asked.

“Well with the one night stand I was pretty trashed and just couldna manage and the other times I think I was just too much in my head because it was during make-up sex but we really hadn’t made up” he said with a shrug. “Why did ye do it?” he asked her.

“Mostly because I was tired and he just wasn’t putting in the effort to get me there.” They sat quietly for a bit. Jamie pressed play, his attention back on the movie though she didn’t really think he was paying attention to it because he had also leaned his arm across the back of the couch and his hand was stroking hers. “Do you think you would ever fake it with me?” she asked.

“Weel since ye know my secret now, probably no’” he teased with his little side smirk. She wanted to kiss that smirk off his face. She leaned toward him bringing her face close to his before responding.

“Good” she said before pressing her lips to his, coming up on her knees to get closer to him. She reached around his neck, running her fingers through his hair as their tongues slid against each other. He tasted of the tart wine. From Claire’s position on her knees she was much higher up than Jamie, causing him to tilt his head back uncomfortably. She pulled back and looked at him trying to decide the best way to make this more comfortable for both of them. Claire wanted to be closer to him so she placed her hands on his shoulders to steady herself and lifted her left knee over his legs, straddling his lap. “Is this okay?” she breathed out.

“Aye” he said sounding a little breathless himself. She pressed her lips back to his and he sucked her bottom lip lightly. He let his mouth drop from hers to place kisses along her neck. His hands slid up her thighs to her hips just under the edge of the her sweater. Claire tipped her head back giving him more access to her neck, pushing her chest into his. Jamie pulled her more firmly into him. “Would ye try to fake it with me?” he asked, his hands sliding up the back of her sweater to feel her bare skin, nipping at the spot where her shoulder meets her neck. She couldn’t help but roll her hips against him.

“Mmmhh” she moaned lightly. “I don’t think I would have to” she finally answered. She gripped his hair pulling to bring his mouth to hers. Letting her hips roll against him again, feeling his arousal. Jamie groaned. The feeling of her moving against him was amazing, but they couldn’t get carried away. He lowered his hands back to her hips, stilling her movements and pulled back a bit.

“Claire we canna” he gasped.

“Why? It’s not like he is being celibate” she murmured as she continued to nip at his lips then moved her mouth along his cheek nipping and sucking lightly just under the edge of his jaw.

“Aye but ye are better than that. Better than him.” he breathed out trying to control his reactions to her.

“I’m not. I’m really really not” she breathed against the skin of his neck and Jamie just laughed. Claire pulled back then to look at him, letting her hands fall to his chest. “God I want you” she said looking him straight in the eyes. “Don’t you want me?” she asked her eyes dropping shyly. Jamie brought his hand up to cup her face, tipping her face to look at him again.

“Aye” he said pushing his arousal into her slightly in demonstration, savoring her gasp. “It seems my cock doesna know that ye are still marrit” he joked. “I dinna want us to give him any ammunition against ye. That is something he seemed to be after. A way to place the blame on ye.”

“Bloody, fucking, cockblocking bastard” Claire groaned letting her head drop to his shoulder. They both laughed pulling away from each other. Claire settled against him and they finished the movie, keeping their hands mostly to themselves.

Chapter Text


It had been over a week since Frank had stopped by unannounced. Claire thought that he would have contacted her in some way by now, but she hadn’t heard from him at all. She figured she was going to have to be the one to make a move. Maybe look into flights and meet with him in Cambridge.

“Are ye excited to have a night out?” Geillis asked as she leaned over the nurses station where Claire was working on a patient’s chart. Jamie had asked if she would like to get their friends together for a night out. It was his chance to introduce her to some of his friends, who all happened to work for him. She had agreed and invited Geillis who invited Louise who invited Mary. Louise was a first year obstetrics/gynecology resident and Mary was the most reliable nurse in the hospital.

“I am” Claire said. She was mostly just excited to see Jamie. They had been exchanging flirty, though fairly innocent texts over the last few days and after the hot encounter they had at her place she was craving him, even if he was keeping it PG 13.

“I canna believe yer fox cub has donned a chastity belt” Geillis said incredulously. Claire had told her about Jamie’s decision to wait until her divorce was final before they went all the way when Geillis was hounding her about it after Jamie was over the other night.

“It’s not like that. He isn’t trying to protect his virtue or anything, he is just being honorable” Claire defended.

“Aye well his honor is not gonna get ye off lass” she said in true Geillis fashion. “Unless he’s willing to give ye a hand” she said holding up her hand and wiggling her fingers in a suggestive way. Claire just shook her head and laughed at her friend.

“Anyhow the ladies are going to meet us at our flat around seven and we can do shots before we meet up with the lads at The Thistle” Geillis informed her.

“I’m glad I’m off tomorrow” Claire said with a chuckle. “I have the feeling that things might get crazy tonight.”

“Ye bet yer arse they are” Geillis declared happily.

***************

Claire grabbed her phone off the bed when it chimed with a text message.

Jamie: I can’t wait to see you 😉

Claire: I can’t wait either 😙

Jamie: The lads and I are about to head out. How long before you get there?

Claire: Still waiting on Louise and Mary to get here and then G wants to do shots before we leave.

Jamie: So are you going to be tipsy by the time I see you?

Claire: I will have you know I can hold my liquor with the best of them.

Jamie: 😄 I don’t doubt you Sassenach. See you soon.

“Claire! They’re here!” Geillis called out, so Claire pulled out a pair of knee high boots to go with the black sweater dress she purchased a few years back but never wore. It was a long sleeve, fitted button down dress that hugged her curves just right but the ribbing kept it from being overly constricting. During one of their flirty bouts of twenty questions, Jamie had asked what her favorite part of his body was. She had been cliché and said his eyes while he admitted it was definitely her arse for him. She looked at her backside in the mirror and thought maybe this dress might encourage him to take things further.

“Eat your heart out James Fraser” she said looking at her refection once more before gabbing her purse and walking out to meet her friends.

“If that isnae the key to that chastity belt, I dinna ken what is” Geillis said looking her up and down approvingly. “Let’s do shots!” she declared, switching to party mode and turned to head into the kitchen.

***************

All four ladies were giggling from a story Louise had told them about the last guy she dated back in France as they made their way into The Thistle. Claire’s eyes scanned the pub for Jamie as she stepped through the door. Her laughter stopped short when she saw him. She could only see the back of him but there was no mistaking him. He was standing at a high-top table with a woman pressed against his side, her hands clinging to his arm. Claire felt her stomach knot. She took a calming breath. It’s not like she had any true claim to him right? She was still technically married for heavens sake! She pulled herself together quickly and turned to the group.

“You guys go ahead and head over. I’m going to get a drink” she said faking a smile. She saw that Geillis was about to say something, but she was already feeling awkward and didn’t want to make a scene. “Looks like Dougal is waiting for you” she said giving her a push in that direction before Geillis could say anything. She then moved quickly to make her way to the bar.

She ordered a gin and tonic and took a large swallow. She was glad that it was crowded in here and knew that Geillis had probably already had a few choice words for Jamie. She thought about how she could escape the whole situation. Claire paid for her drink and made her way to the bathroom. She would text Geillis and let her know she was just going to use the loo and head out. She didn’t want to deal with this mess.

When Claire stepped into the restroom she saw the girl who had been with Jamie. She had thick long wavy brown hair and bright blue eyes. She was with another girl who had blond hair and they were fixing their make-up and chatting like girls tend to do when going to the restroom together. Their eyes met in the mirror briefly before her friend started talking.

“So how do ye ken Jamie?” Claire heard the blond ask as she stepped into a stall.

“Oh Jamie and I have been a thing for years” she answered in a posh British accent. Claire’s stomach flipped again. She pulled out her phone to text Geillis as she heard the girls leaving.

Claire: Going to the loo then I think I’m just going to head back home. I’m not feeling very well. You guys have fun.

Geillis didn’t say anything to Jamie when she arrived. He noticed that Claire wasn’t with them and asked where she was when he was finally able to shrug Geneva off of him. Geillis had just shrugged her shoulders and gave him a look like it wasn’t any of his business where she was. He knew then that they had gotten the wrong impression with Geneva hanging all over him. He took a long draw of his whisky and let his eyes scan the bar for Claire but he didn’t see her. Geillis’ phone chimed as he saw Geneva and Laoghaire making their way back to table from the restroom.

“Claire’s using the loo then heading home. She says she isnna feeling weel” Jamie heard Geillis tell the woman next to her.

Geneva heard it too and couldn’t help the grin that spread across her face, silently thanking Laoghaire for her perfectly timed question. She knew Claire had heard her and got the message she was trying to send. Jamie was hers.

Jamie’s eye darted to the hall that lead to the restrooms. Claire must still be in there as he didn’t see her making her way out. He moved quickly and stood outside the women’s restroom door waiting for her.

Claire’s heart and feet skidded to a halt when she stepped out of the loo. Jamie stood leaning against the wall opposite the restroom door. He looked amazing, as usual, in black jeans and a dark blue button down shirt that made his eyes even brighter.

“Hey” she mumbled. She was hoping not to have to talk to him and just sneak away. She just wanted to leave.

“Ye’re leaving?” he asked her. He sounded almost hurt. She blinked at him not understanding what difference it made to him. Did he think she would just be okay with the situation? But then she thought about her own situation. She couldn’t expect monogamy from him when she was still tied to another     not that she wanted to be. Still, Claire knew she didn’t want an open relationship regardless and she couldn’t ask him to wait for her either. Better to bow out now even though she knew she already had feelings for him. She figured she should make a clean break now.

“Look Jamie, I don’t want an open relationship and I know I can’t put restrictions on you considering my own situation. So I think it might be best if we were just friends” she tried to smile but she knew he could see through it. He didn’t say anything, just had a look of shock on his face. “I’m just going to head home. You guys enjoy your evening” she said when he still hadn’t said anything, then turned and made her way to the exit.

Claire stepped out of the bar before she felt a hand grab her arm. She turned knowing it was Jamie. His hand was so warm even through the sleeve of her dress.

“Claire wait” he said with the sound of desperation in his voice.

“I don’t think there is much left to say Jamie.” She wasn’t able to meet his eye.

“Aye there is” he said firmly. “I dinna want an open relationship either.”

“Well I’m glad we cleared that up” she stated sarcastically, shaking off his grip, feeling herself getting angry and not even caring to hide it. He had said he wanted them to be something even though they never put a title on their relationship and then she finds him with another woman. “You better get back into your date then, before she gets the wrong impression, because I refuse to be the other woman. I already have to deal with one cheating bastard and I don’t want to deal with another one” she said harshly and turned to leave again.

“Claire!” She stopped at the sound of his voice but refused to turn around. “The only date I have is trying to leave right now. Geneva is not my date. She is working with me for a charity sponsorship and nothing else.” His voice was deadly serious, making her turn her head to look at him. He reached out and grabbed her hand pulling her to face him. Jamie brought his hand up to cup her face “Ye are the only woman I want to be with Sassenach.” Claire let out a breath she didn’t know she had been holding and searched his face for any signs that he wasn’t being honest.

“She seems to think you guys are an item of some sort” she told him, still watching his face. He just knit his brow in question. “She was talking about you with another girl in the bathroom. She said the two of you were a thing.”

“Nae. We arnae a thing. We arnae anything except business associates” he said stroking her cheek.

Claire took a deep breath, trying to let go of the tension that had built up in her since she walked into the bar. Jamie’s hand was still stroking her cheek and she leaned her face into his touch.

“It’s not like I’m your girlfriend and can ask you to be monogamous. I know that” Claire said to him looking into his eyes.

“Ye should never have to ask the man yer with to be true to ye mo nighean donn” he said softly. She smiled at his use of gaelic.

“Are you going to tell me what that means?” she asked smiling up at him, lacing her fingers with the hand he had wrapped around hers.

“It means my brown haired lass” he told her as he pushed a stray curl behind her ear.

“It sounds better in gaelic.” she said with a chuckle. “I’m sorry I jumped to conclusions” she began moving closer to him. “It just looked bad and with my past with Frank I…….”

“Dinna fash. I can imagine how it looked. Trying to shake Geneva has been an undertaking this evening. I was hoping ye would get here soon to stake yer claim” he said grinning at her and she just grinned back. “I dinna think Geillis is too happy with me either” Jamie said with a chuckle. “So do ye want to come in and meet my mates or are ye truly feeling poorly?”

Claire reached up and slid her free hand around his neck and pulled his lips to hers for a brief kiss. She inhaled the scent of him as she pulled away letting it intoxicate her senses.

“I think I’m feeling better now” she answered with a small smile.

Jamie lead her back into the bar, never letting go of her hand. Gathered around a couple of high-top tables were Dougal, Geillis, Louise, and Mary along with four gentlemen she didn’t know and the two women. She now knew that the brunette was named Geneva.

“Everyone this is my girlfriend, Claire Beauchamp. Claire this is John Grey, my best mate and marketing advisor. Rupert Mackenzie, my cousin and head of security” Claire nodded to each of them as they were introduce. “Angus Mhor, who the lot of us havnae been able to shake since we were bairns...”

“Hey! I’m offended! I have been yer friend longer than Grey. I think I should have the title of best mate aye” the small man named Angus said. Jamie just rolled his eyes and moved on to the young man who had been talking to Mary. “Then we have Willie Buchanan, he is Dougal’s assistant. That’s Laoghaire Mackenzie, my assistant” he continued pointing out the blond girl who’s lips twitch in what Claire was going to take as a smile. “And Geneva Dunsany. Her father owns Helwater Brewery and they head up the charity ball I am one of the sponsors for.” Jamie finished introductions. Geneva just stood there, her face never changing from the indifferent look she wore.

The guys were all welcoming, some giving Jamie a hard time for “keeping such a bonnie lass” to himself. Geneva looked at Claire as if she was competition or something and maybe in her mind she was but Claire decided she was going to trust Jamie. She didn’t want what Frank had done to her to taint her relationship with him. She didn’t want to second guess this.

“So I’m your girlfriend am I?” Claire leaned over and murmured in Jamie’s ear.

“Aye ye are” he responded with that half smile she loved. Before she knew it, he leaned in pressing his lips to hers in a sweet kiss.

“Och no snogging at the table unless there is enough to go around” Angus called out throwing a peanut at Jamie’s head then making a kissy face at Claire making her giggle.

“Want a drink Sassenach?” Jamie asked her, running his hand up and down her back. She was enjoying the fact that he was obviously laying claim to her in front of his friends. She nodded and he headed to the bar.

“So Claire….” she looked at the man standing across from her. He had an English accent and a kind face. “How did you and Jamie meet?”

“Dougal and I will take all the credit for the match” Geillis said from the other end of the tables and Claire laughed shaking her head.

“Well I will definitely give you guys a bit of credit. I actually met Jamie when he went flying over a park bench I was sitting on while playing with his nephew. I didn’t actually get his name or anything at the time because I was called to an emergency at the hospital. Then six weeks later Geillis brow beat me into going on a blind date and it just happened to be the strapping lad that literally fell for me at the park.” Claire said laughing at her own joke.

“Who fell for ye?” Jamie asked coming up behind her. He reached around her setting down two whiskys. She felt a shiver run through her as his front pressed up against the back of her, his hands coming to rest on her hips.

“I was just telling John how we met and your tumble over the park bench” she said grinning at him.

“Aye. I couldna sit down for nearly a week” he said with a grimace. Just then Claire felt her phone buzz with a message.

Geillis: What the hell happened???

Claire looked over at her friend who looked back pointedly with her eyebrows raised.

“Geillis is already questioning what happened” Claire said, turning her head toward Jamie and holding up her phone for him to see. He let out a breathy laugh that stirred the hair on the back of her neck.

“Ye should probably tell her” he said grabbing his whisky and taking a sip. Claire just nodded, grabbing her whisky and moved to head over to her friend. As she slid away from him, Claire felt his hand side across her backside. She didn’t know if he did it on purpose or if it was a happy accident but she couldn’t help throwing him a smirk and letting her hips sway just a bit more as she made her way to the other end of the row of tables where Geillis was.

Jamie watched as Claire squeezed in between Geillis and her French friend whose name he already forgot. He let his eyes drift over their combined group of friends. Willie was chatting up Claire’s other friend who seemed to be really shy. Rupert and Angus were busy eyeing a group of University girls in a booth close by. His eyes then moved to Geneva. She was talking to Laoghaire but every now and then she would look over at Claire as if she was a problem that needed to be solved. He hoped she wouldn’t cause any trouble with Claire and wondered if what Claire heard in the loo was to send a message to Laoghaire or to Claire. He can’t see how she would have said what she did to deter Claire because she didn’t know who she was at the time.

His eyes fell back on Claire. She looked beautiful tonight. Classy and incredibly sexy at the same time and the complete opposite of both Geneva and Laoghaire who both thought it best to show as much skin as possible. Her arse looks incredible in that dress and he couldn’t help sliding his hand across it. He couldn’t stop the grin spreading on his face thinking that she may have worn that dress just for that reason.

“Well well…..It seems someone is smitten” Jamie turned to John who was smirking at him as he settled in beside him.

“Aye” is all Jamie said still unable to control the smile on his face.

“What does she do?” John asked looking over at Claire.

“She’s a doctor at the Royal Infirmary” Jamie answered.

“Ah so she has her own career. That’s good. Less chance that she is after your money like most of the women who throw themselves at you” John commented taking a sip of his own drink.

“Claire isnae like that” Jamie said with certainty. “She’s different….she makes me feel different.” His eyes were glued to Claire so he didn’t see his best friend eyeing him.

“Well in that case, you may want to tell her about Geneva. Especially if you are going to be working with her. From what I witnessed tonight, it seems that Gen may want to get her claws into you again.” John told him. Jamie scoffed.

“Och that isnae going to happen. Even if I wasna with Claire, I wouldna make that mistake again.” He looked back over at Claire as her head turned away from Geillis, her eyes meeting his and she smiled.

“Are ye listening to me lass?” Geillis asked elbowing Claire.

“What?” Claire asked pulling her gaze away from Jamie’s and looking back at her friend.

“I said ye may have to keep yer eyes open when it comes to that lass. Mebbe even both of them” she said eyeing Geneva and Laoghaire. Claire’s eyes drifted to them as well and she noticed Geneva on her phone but Laoghaire was openly staring at Jamie who was talking to John. Claire was determined to not let this bother her.

“Jamie didn’t seem to hold either of them in any regard outside of work mates” Claire replied, finishing her whisky. She caught Jamie’s eye and held up her empty glass. He nodded with a smile and she watched him and John head to the bar.

“Aye well it isnae Jamie I think ye have to worry about. That English lass obviously has intentions toward yer man. She even told that other lass as much, though she may have just been tryin’ to scare her off. That wee blond lassie isnae even trying to hide her crush on yer man even though ye’re right here” Geillis said with a laugh.

Jamie walked up to Claire taking the spot that Louise had left open when she went to the bar to flirt with some Italian guy.

“Have I told ye how beautiful ye look tonight Sassenach?” Jamie flirted, whispering in her ear, stroking the small of her back just barely with his fingers. He set her drink down as she turned her body towards him ready to flirt back before Geneva called to him.

“So Jamie, do you have your tux for the ball?” she asked smiling at him.

“Oooohhh a ball. That sounds fancy. It is only for the upper class I’m sure” Angus teased trying his best at a British accent, making everyone laugh.

“Aye I have a tux” Jamie answered still laughing at Angus who was now imitating a waltz.

“You do look so dashing in a tux” Geneva commented flirtatiously, looking at Jamie in a way that screamed familiarity and made Claire quite uncomfortable. Was there actually something between them that Jamie wasn’t telling her? She shook the thought away. He was making it clear that he was with her.

“Speaking of the ball….” Jamie began, turning toward Claire. “I was wondering if ye would go with me Sassenach?” he asked her. “It will be held three weeks from tomorrow in the Lake District in England.” Claire was shocked. Did that mean he would want to spend a whole weekend with her? She didn’t know if she could be with him that long and keep her hands to herself. She needed to get those papers signed.

“Umm I would love to. I will have to put in for time off at work. How long would we be gone?” she asked, still a little stunned by the invitation.

“We can leave early Saturday morning and drive in so that we make it to Helwater by lunch. The ball will take place that evening. We will stay there and leave Sunday afternoon.”

“Helwater?” Claire asked looking confused. Was this a hotel venue?

“Helwater is the Dunsany’s ancestral home. The Dunsany’s hold the ball there every year” he told her taking a sip of his whisky.

“And we will be staying the night there?” she asked, her eyes darting to Geneva then back to Jamie.

“Aye. Mr. Dunsany extended the invitation at the meeting when I agreed to sponsor. Dinna fash Claire. Helwater is better than most five star hotels” he said to her with his version of a wink, which made her giggle like he knew it would.

“So….does this mean I have to get an evening gown?” she asked cheekily.

“Aye and I canna wait to see ye in it” he flirted back.

“Looks like we are going shopping” Geillis said before taking a shot Dougal just gave her.

Claire really liked Jamie’s guy friends and as the evening wore on she found that she was enjoying herself more than she had in a long time. It probably had more to do with Jamie than anything else…..oh and probably the fact that she was a bit tipsy. Neither Laoghaire or Geneva spoke to her. They also didn’t speak to Jamie, but that was probably do to the fact that Jamie didn’t leave Claire’s side. Always touching her in some way.

She was giggling with Geillis as they watched Louise dance drunkenly with the Italian guy. Jamie’s hands began rubbing slow circles along her sides and hips, sending tingles through her body to settle in her core. Jamie seemed to be oblivious to the affect he was having on her. He just continued to talk to Dougal about business or something, Claire wasn’t really paying attention. She picked up her drink and drained the last of it before she turned to him, her back now to the table. She gripped his shirt along his sides as she lifted on her toes to whisper in his ear.

“You have no idea what you are doing to me and you shouldn’t start things you have no intention of finishing” she said before nipping at his earlobe causing him to chuckle. She released his shirt, turning back to the table letting her backside slide against his front and smirked when he groaned. Two could play at this game.

***************

They both spent the rest of the evening teasing each other with a caress here and a touch there. By the time that they stumbled through Claire’s front door she was buzzing with need and giggling uncontrollably at a story about Angus and Rupert that Jamie had just told her.

“Seems like ye're a happy drunk” Jamie said, closing the door behind them, as Claire pulled off her boots and dropped her purse on the foyer table.

“First things first….I….. am not drunk” she said trying to contain her laughter. “You can’t be drunk if you’re standing up” she said reaching out and grabbing the front of his shirt and pulling him toward her. The momentum causing her to stumble backwards into the wall.

“Ye are hardly standing up” Jamie chuckled before pressing a quick kiss to her lips.

“Second, I am not a happy drunk” she nipped his bottom lip and smiled against his mouth. “You just make me happy.”

“Aye…. what kind of drunk are ye then?” he asked, amused by her. Claire let her hands slide along his chest then up around his neck and into his hair, pulling his mouth back to hers kissing him passionately. She pressed her body into his the best she could, moving her lips along his cheek to his ear.

“I’m a horny drunk” she whispered seductively to him. “And you are not helping matters” she breathed out, letting her head fall back against the wall when Jamie started nipping at the skin along her neck.

“OH YES...DINNA STOP!” Jamie and Claire both froze at the sound of Geillis wanton demand. Geillis and Dougal had left the pub about thirty minutes before them and Claire had assumed they had gone to his place, but it sounds like she was wrong. She began giggling uncontrollably. Jamie just chuckled and shook his head.

“It seems your uncle knows what he’s doing…...Does it run in the family?” Claire flirted.

“Ye wanna find out?” His voice was husky and sent a delicious tingle through Claire. She grabbed his hand and pulled him passed Geillis’s closed door, where the sounds of heavy panting and grunting were being emitted, to her own room at the end of the hall. Jamie removed his jacket when Claire closed the door, effectively blocking out the sounds of the two lovers down the hall.

“Well that’s promising” he said as he toed off his shoes and moved toward her. The question showed on Claire’s face. “They willna hear ye when I make ye come.” Claire raised a single eyebrow and smiled in a challenging way before Jamie’s lips were on hers. His hands roamed along her back drifting lower until he was cupping her backside causing Claire to moan into his mouth. All Claire could do was hold on as he began to steer them to the bed, where they fell in a tangle of limbs with Jamie on top of her.

“We have far too many clothes on” Claire breath against his mouth as they continued to kiss. Her hands reaching for the buttons of his shirt to rid him of it.

“Nae” Jamie said grabbing her hands and pinning them above her head. Jamie lifted up to look at her beneath him. He was on his knees, straddling her left leg. He grinned down at the very confused look on her flushed face.

“Jamie?” Claire practically whined out, trying to pull her hands free.

“Shhh, I’ve got ye Sassenach” he said before leaning down to connected their lips again. Jamie shifted to hold both her hands with his right hand and let his left drag down her arm. He pulled back to watch her face as his hand slid down, his touch feather light as he moved his fingers to trace around her right breast. Her breath hitched and he could see her nipple harden under the thin ribbing of her dress. He smirked at her before he palmed her breast, giving her nipple a light pinch through her clothes. Claire let out a breath moan and pushed her chest more firmly into his touch, needing more.

“God I want you” she gasped out, wishing she could touch him back. She was so turned on and they were both still fully clothed. What was he waiting for?

Jamie didn’t say anything. He just kissed her softly once again. He moved his lips down her neck slowly as his hand began to move down her body. He nipped her collar bone as his hand squeezed her hip. Jamie looked at her face once again when his hand made it to the hem of her dress. He let his finger graze the skin of her thigh and looked to her for confirmation to continue.

“Please Jamie” she panted, lifting her hips begging for his touch where she needed it most.

Jamie slowly slid his hand up along her thigh, sliding up under her dress until he reached her center. She gasped as his finger stroked her over her now wet panties.

“Christ” Jamie groaned, sliding her panties to the side and letting his fingers slide through her slick heat. “Mmm yer sae wet” he murmured, collecting her moisture and circling her clit teasingly. He lowered his lips to hers as he continued to build her pleasure. He let one of her hands go threading his fingers through the other. Her free hand gripped his shirt tightly trying to pull him even closer to her as she moaned into his mouth.

“I want you inside me” she breathed when he pulled back.

“No……..no mo nighean donn. I want to watch ye” he said to her, pushing two fingers inside her causing her to gasp, feeding her craving. He could feel the pleasure coursing through her as he worked her body. Her soft moans were like music to his ears.

“Oh...mmhh” Claire’s hips moved in time with his hand, seeking the completion that he was driving her to. He used his thumb to lightly stroke her bundle of nerves as he curled his fingers inside her just right. “Oh god” she cried out as the first sparks of climax bloomed inside her.

“That’s it come for me Claire” Jamie coaxed. He felt her flutter around his fingers as his voice sent her flying. She pulled his mouth to hers, letting him swallow her moan as her back arched and her hips uncontrollably writhed against his hand, riding out her orgasm as long as possible. Her hand squeezing his so tightly her nails were digging into the back of his hand.

Jamie watched her, wanting to savor the look of her falling apart in his hands. Her eyes were closed, her chest rising and falling quickly with each gasping breath through her lips that were slightly parted and tinged red from his kisses. He thought he had never seen a more beautiful sight in his life and leaned down to kiss her once again.

Claire gasped and Jamie felt her body tremble slightly as he withdrew his fingers from her. She slowly opened her eyes to look at him when she finally came down from her high. She felt heavy as her body began to relaxed.

“Feeling better?” Jamie asked smirking at her as his hand rubbed up and down her right thigh from knee to hip to soothe her.

“Yes” she said still a little breathless.

“I dinna know how any man could be fooled by a fake orgasm when the real thing is sae amazing” he said smiling down at her. She smiled back and let her hand drag down his chest toward his fly, ready to reciprocate. Jamie caught her hand, stopping her.

“Nae. Tonight was just about ye” he said kissing her again.

“But I still want you” she stated honestly.

“I ken. I want ye too... sae bad, but we must be patient aye.”

Chapter Text

“Sae…. I heard some pleasant sounds coming from yer room on the way to loo last night” Geillis teased as they grabbed some coffee before starting their search for an evening gown for Claire. It was rare that both of them had a day off together so Geillis insisted that they go shopping, telling Claire that with her help they would find the perfect dress. “Did ye break through that chastity belt?” Claire rolled her eyes at her friend wishing she would drop the whole chastity belt thing. It wasn’t like Jamie was a virgin and he definitely knows how to please a woman, even without having intercourse.

“Nope” Claire replied not able to keep the smile off her face. Geillis was staring at Claire in that way she did but Claire refused to meet her eye.

“Weel from the sounds ye were making and how relaxed ye seem today he must know what he’s about... even if he’s not giving ye the main course” Geillis stated.

“I will say he is very generous” Claire said with a smirk. “But speaking of hearing noise...” Claire turned the tables on her best friend. “From the way you were carrying on, Dougal must know what he is about also.”

“Aye, but he was serving up the main course” Geillis said with a wink. “Awright, enough pillow talk. Lets find ye a dress that will turn every mans heid and give yer red heided giant a push in the right direction shall we.”

They spent Saturday afternoon going to a number of boutiques and bridal shops looking for the perfect dress. Geillis insisted it must be sexy because ‘ye know that Geneva lass has eyes for yer man’. They did eventually find a dress with the perfect amount of sex appeal and class and the color was perfect with Claire’s skin tone.

“Dinna let Jamie damage it tryin’ to get to the goods. I may want to borrow it one day” Geillis said as they left the shop.

“I really need to find a way to move this divorce along” Claire said with a frustrated sigh.

***************

It was now Monday morning at the hospital and things were slow after Claire completed her rounds. She put in for two personal days the weekend of the ball and was scheduled off Monday and Tuesday of the next week so she was sitting at the nurses station looking up flights to make a trip to Cambridge. She was done with the games and just wanted to have the papers signed. After Friday night with Jamie she wanted to get it done as soon as possible and figured she could catch a direct flight from Edinburgh to London and then take the train to Cambridge.

Finding a few round trip flights, she picked up her phone to text Frank. If he wanted to talk they were going to talk.

Claire: I have free time next Monday and can travel to Cambridge. Are you free?

He texted back almost instantly.

Frank: I am free after noon on Mondays. Would you like to have lunch at my office?

Claire: That’s fine.

Frank gave her the directions to his office at Cambridge and Claire went ahead and booked a round trip flight to London. Without delays, she would be in London by ten in the morning and home by the same time the next morning. Hopefully with the signed papers. She pulled out her phone to text Jamie and let him know.

Claire: Hey I wanted to let you know that I am making a trip to Cambridge on Monday to hopefully get things resolved.

Jamie: That would be good. I was just about to text you and let you know that I am going to Paris next week. I’m not sure how long I will be away. Jared wants me to go to the vineyards with him and we have a few meetings with his head of marketing in France and getting things settled with the charity sponsorship on his side.

Claire: Sounds like you will be busy.

Jamie: Aye but John is going with me so I will have some entertainment.

Claire: I will miss you 🙁

Jamie: I will miss you too…...I can’t stop thinking about you Sassenach. Are we still on for dinner Friday?

Claire smiled thinking that maybe he was feeling just as frustrated as she was even though he eased it quite a bit Friday night. They planned to have a date night in at his place this Friday night. She looked at the time and knew she had to get back to her patients.

Claire: I can’t get you off my mind either. I can’t wait to see you Friday but I have to get back to my patients. I will call you tonight 😘

***************

Claire’s flight was right on time. She was flying into London City Airport because there were no flights from Edinburgh to Cambridge. She had reserved a rental car and would make the drive from the airport to Cambridge. She decided to save herself about an hour of travel time by driving herself because it would take nearly an hour to uber from the airport to the train station then another hour by train to Cambridge and then another uber to Frank’s office. She found that if she rented a car it would only take her just about an hour to get from the airport to Frank’s office.

Claire powered her phone back on as she was making her way to the rental car kiosk.

Jamie: Text me when you land

She smiled when she saw the text. Jamie was worried about her traveling alone. He flew out the day before while she was at the hospital so she didn’t get to see him off.

Claire: You do realize that I flew from the US to Scotland all by myself right??? 😏

Claire: I landed. Heading to get the rental car.

Jamie: Aye. I still wish I didn’t have a meeting this afternoon or I would have waited and got a connecting flight from London and could have flown out with you

Claire: Awwww. Good luck with your meeting! I will call you tonight and let you know how things go with Frank. I should be back in London around 6 if I can.

Jamie: We should be back at Jared’s by then. Good luck with Frank……...Is it awful that I am feeling mighty jealous of the bastard?

Claire smiled. So Jamie was jealous of Frank. She knew he had nothing to be jealous about. Absolutely nothing was going to happen between her and Frank, except hopefully he will sign the papers and this whole bloody mess can be done with and she can be happy with Jamie without this hanging between them.

Claire: lol jealous are you?

Jamie: Aye

Claire: Although I am finding it sweet that you are jealous, you have nothing to worry about.

Jamie: He is your husband. I can’t really tell you what to do. All I can tell you is how I feel and right now I hate him to the very marrow of his bones.

Claire: Just know that I have had a taste of what you have to offer and it is better than anything Frank has ever offered. I’m looking forward to the full meal 😉

Claire hopes that she could make him feel a bit better by flirting with him. It was making her feel better about having to spend her free time dealing with her ex.

Jamie: Are you now? Well I’m looking forward to serving you 😛

They flirted back and forth as Claire waited in the rental car line. Soon it was her turn and she stepped up to the counter giving the young man her information and collected the keys to her rental car and continued to text Jamie.

Claire: Just got the rental. I should be in Cambridge in about an hour.

Jamie: Drive safe. What kind of ride did you get?

Claire: Just a little Fiat….not the kind of ride I want though 🍆 😙

Jamie: I should probably let you know that John’s now reading over my shoulder lol

Claire: I’m sure he’s used that emoji himself 😂

Claire: Gotta run I need to use the GPS on my phone. Miss you.

Jamie: Miss you too. I mean it….. drive safe.

***************

Claire arrived on campus ten minutes before noon. She didn’t want to seem eager to see Frank, though she was more than eager to have this divorce behind her, so she decided to walk around campus for a bit. It was a lovely day and it almost made her miss her time in Uni........almost.

She made her way to Franks office thanks to a student pointing the way when she got lost wandering around. She looked at her phone before she knocked on the door that had a name plate baring his name. Twenty two minutes after. That will do she thought as she rapped on the door with her knuckles. A moment later Frank opened the door. She found that peculiar since he would always call ‘come in” before and he should be expecting her. Maybe after that fiasco with her walking in on him and a student, he had taken to locking the door.

“Claire, it’s lovely to see you” he said with an overly friendly smile. Claire bit her tongue to keep from spitting out the petty words of ‘wish I could say the same’ that was sitting on the tip of her tongue. Instead she gave him a tight smile and nodded.

“Thanks for meeting with me” she said when she swallowed the retort. She stepped into his office as he held the door open wide for her. His office was large. It had a sitting area with a leather sofa and two wingback chairs surrounding a coffee table, where Frank had already had lunch delivered.

“I ordered your favorite, chicken carbonara” he said, reaching up to take her jacket off her. Claire allowed him to take it and made her way around the sofa to sit down. “There is an Italian place near campus that is quite good and they deliver.”

It was true that chicken carbonara was one of her favorite Italian meals but it made her wonder if he actually knew what her favorite food was. She honestly didn’t know if they ever even discussed things like favorite foods. She did however know his favorite food, so she would assume that he would know hers.

“Do you know what my favorite food is?” she blurted out, looking up at him as she sat in one of the chairs. He knit his brows, obviously confused by the question. “I know that yours is a good Cornish pasty, but do you know what mine is?” His mouth opened and closed a couple of times as he sat on the couch across from her.

“Well I always thought that chicken carbonara…..well Italian food in general was you favorite. Is it not?” he asked, now looking a bit put out that he may be wrong.

“I like Italian food well enough, but it’s not my favorite food” Claire stated simply. “Do you know my favorite color?” she asked just out of curiosity. Frank still wore a perplexed expression as he leaned forward and handed Claire a dish of the pasta and began to clear his throat several times. He tended to do that when he felt uncomfortable in a situation. He took a sip of water before he looked back at her.

“I don’t believe I do” he finally answered. “Do you know mine?” he asked in a challenging way as if to say that because he didn’t know hers he was sure she didn’t know his.

“Red” she answered definitively. Franks eyes widened momentarily with shock. “You mention it every Christmas when the color red is everywhere. The same way I mentioned mine every spring.” She knew she had told him many times what her favorite color was but it seemed he didn’t pay it any mind. It must have been one of those facts that he found trivial, kind of like their relationship she thought and almost chuckled.

Frank didn’t say anything to that and they managed to make small talk as they ate. He asked her how her flight had been and she asked about Cambridge though she wasn’t really all that interested in what he had to say but she knew if she set him on the path to talking about himself she wouldn’t have to say anything. Just give a nod here and there and she could just quietly finish her lunch so that they could get down to the real reason she was there.

When they finished lunch and Frank had finished telling her how even though he was new, he was the highest paid professor at Cambridge, he cleared away the leftovers and trash and she decided it was time to just jump right into it.

“So you came to Edinburgh because you wanted to discuss things but I haven’t heard from you since” she stated bluntly.

“I apologize. Things have been very busy since I started here and….” She cut him off with a wave of her hand, not wanting him to go into whatever elaborate excuse he was going to use.

“What is it that you think we need to discuss? I don’t want anything from you except the papers signed. I am not asking for alimony or a split of assets. We have no children, so I don’t know what it is we need to talk about” she stated looking at him directly in the eye.

“Is a divorce truly what you want Claire?” he asked, leaning forward in anticipation of her answer. Claire knew her face showed how baffled she was by his question. For more than a year she has had no contact with him outside of trying to get him to sign these damn divorce papers and now he is asking her if it’s what she wants? Is he really that thick?

“We were good together. We can be that way again” he said with a hopeful tone of voice. Claire couldn’t hold in the incredulous laugh that bubble out of her.

“Were we now?” she questioned sarcastically. “We were so good together that you decided to seek out other women!”

She couldn’t believe that he actually thought she would stay with him after he was caught being unfaithful to her and admitted that there had been others.

“Just from the bits of conversation we have had today it is clear that you don’t know me as well as I thought you did, but to think I would just accept your infidelity…….are you mad?”

“Claire, I admit that I have made mistakes but I love you and I just don’t want you to regret throwing away our marriage because of them. I know I will have to earn your trust and I am ready to do it. I am ready to fight for us” he declared.

“Are you serious?” she asked. This had to be some kind of farce she thought. Just then there was a tap on the door before it opened.

“Frank love, I just got a text from our wedding planner and she has arranged for us….” Claire was a bit shocked to see the blond woman who she had caught Frank with coming into the office looking at her phone. What was her name again? Brandy? No Sandy, that’s it. Sandy stopped short when she looked up and saw Claire sitting there. Claire almost laughed again and not because she thought anything was funny.

Looks like he had brought his mistress with him, and from the sound of it they were planning a wedding. Why on earth was he entertaining the hope of them getting back together if he was planning on marrying another woman?

“Oh, um, I didn’t realize your ex-wife was here. I thought you said she lived in Scotland?” Sandy said, squaring her shoulders as if to let Claire know she wasn’t going anywhere.

“I do” Claire said giving her a sweet but oh so fake smile.

“I suppose you want him back now that he is head of the history department here at Cambridge?” Sandy said snidely, crossing her arms over her chest.

“Sandy darling, can we discuss things later?” Frank said, standing and moving around the couch to where she stood and placing his hands on her upper arms, trying to placate her obviously.

“Oh no, do stay Sandy. I believe you will find our conversation very interesting” Claire interjected.

Sandy’s chin raised slightly as if she were prepared to fight for her man and Frank looked stricken because he knew that things were about to blow up in his face.

“Please come sit” Claire said motioning to the couch. Frank let his hands drop in defeat and Sandy moved to sit on the couch. “So you are planning a wedding?” Claire asked in false interest.

“Yes. Frank proposed four months ago after my graduation” Sandy said smiling and held up her hand that held a glittering diamond. Frank never got her an engagement ring, just a simple wedding band and Claire had never thought anything of it until this moment. Frank was very tight lipped as he sat back down on the couch next to her and Sandy leaned into him, placing her hand on his thigh. It was obvious that she was trying to say that Frank was hers now. She can have him Claire thought.

“Well congratulations to you both” Claire said smiling at them. No one spoke for a moment trying to figure a way around this awkward situation. Claire broke the silence.

“Wait….. isn’t polygamy illegal?” Claire asked, knitting her brow as if in thought.

“Excuse me?” Sandy exclaimed.

“Polygamy. That is when a man has more than one wife and I’m almost one hundred percent sure it is illegal in the US and the UK” Claire said to the blond as if she were daft.

“I know what polygamy is! I’m not sure how that applies to us though” Sandy said indignantly, looking at Frank then back to Claire.

“Oh my! I would have thought your fiancé would have informed you that he is still quite legally married” Claire said as if she was shocked that Frank hadn’t told Sandy about his marital status, but with all he has said to her today, she wasn’t surprised at all. “You see I have spent the last year trying to get Frank here to sign our divorce papers, which he still hasn’t done.” Sandy’s mouth dropped open, clearly shocked by this news. “Trust me, I would not be here if our divorce was already finalized. It has been like pulling teeth trying to get him to sign the papers.” Claire informed her.

“Is this true?” Sandy asked Frank. For his part, Frank looked like a fish out of water, floundering on how he could redeem himself. Claire now found no redeeming qualities in his character however and hoped Sandy was smart enough to see through him. With Sandy in the picture letting Claire know that Frank and her were clearly in, what Sandy thought was a serious relationship, maybe Frank would just sign the papers. There was no way he could possibly think she would take him back now. Even he couldn’t be that thick.

Claire decided to keep her mouth shut about what Frank had said to her. It wasn’t her business to break them up. It was obvious what type of person Frank was now and if Sandy couldn’t see it then that was her problem. Claire was just happy she was getting out of this mess.

“Uh well…... Claire and I were just tying up loose ends darling” Frank said reaching over and grabbing her hand. “Why don’t you head home and I will talk to you about whatever the wedding planner said when I get home hmm? I don’t have anymore classes today so I shouldn’t be too long.” Frank stood pulling Sandy up to stand also.

“Alright but we will be discussing more than the wedding this evening” she said with a raised eyebrow, in a tone that she obviously thought was authoritative. Frank nodded and led her to the door placing a quick kiss on her cheek.

“It was lovely to see you again” Claire called out with false sincerity.

Sandy didn’t respond and just walked out the door in a huff. Frank closed the door behind her and gave a sigh of relief. He must think he dodged a bullet with that one. Claire didn’t much care what happened between the two of them as long as he signed the papers so that she could put him firmly behind her and never look back. She had never been more grateful for her ambition in becoming a doctor which firmly put having children on the back burner so she didn’t have that particular tie to him.

“Not the brightest is she” Claire stated. “No matter. I really should send her flowers or a fruit basket for showing me the type of person you are. Sad to think in a few years she may find herself in my position but we all live and learn” Claire said flippantly.

“I will have you know that Sandy has a Ph.D. fellowship in historical linguistics” he said defending her intelligence.

“Well a degree doesn’t make someone all that bright when it comes to you, trust me I know” she said. “Now can you please sign the papers so that I can leave and you can get back to your fiancé.” Claire reached into her bag that was on the floor and pulled out a copy of the divorce papers. She looked up at him as he stared at her blankly.

“What? You don’t think there is any way I would actually want to stay with you do you?” she asked rhetorically “Even without you being engaged to another woman I wouldn’t take you back. I have no tolerance for infidelity. I have finally moved on and want to close this chapter of my life.”

“Oh right, the Scottish lad you were making eyes at right in front of me” Frank said spitefully, sitting back down on the couch. What right did he have to say anything about her and Jamie. He was engaged to another woman while still married!

“That jealous of seeing me look at a man the way you wish I would look at you?” Claire inquired tilting her head to the side. “It’s not like you walked in and caught us having oral sex or anything” she smiled sweetly as she hinted at how she had actually walked in on him receiving a blow job. She slid the papers across the table toward him “Do you have a pen?”

“You honestly don’t want to fight for what we had?” Frank tried again. Claire couldn’t even believe he was still on that after what just happened.

“Really? You think I would stay and be……. well to be honest I’m not sure which one of us would be the other woman.” Claire began. “You are a cheating bastard with no intentions of changing your ways. If you truly wanted to fight for our marriage you would have done it over a year ago and you wouldn’t have proposed to another woman!” Claire was starting to get angry. She took a deep calming breath.

“Now would you like to sign the papers and be done with this or shall I take the matter to the Chancellor?” she questioned, lifting her eyebrows.

Lord Sainsbury of Turville was the Chancellor here at Cambridge. There are usually events before the start of the new semester. Being the new head of the history department would make Frank’s arrival a big deal and she was sure he would have brought his new ‘fiancé’ to any events. They would all know about Sandy but would not know that Frank is already married. Oh the scandal it would cause and Frank prided himself on having a clean reputation.

Claire saw Frank’s face visibly blanch before he stood and made his way to the desk to grab a pen. He sat back down and pulled the papers to him and signed without saying a word. He slid them back to her and Claire flipped through them making sure he signed in all the right spots.

“Thank you for lunch” she said standing and pushing the papers back into her bag. “I will have my lawyer send these to the judge and that’s that.” She put her bag over her shoulder and made her way to the door, grabbing her jacket off the coat rack by the door. She stopped for a moment and looked back at him.

“I hope you and Sandy are very happy together.” she said with a genuine smile. He just nodded his head.

“Goodbye Frank” she said.

“Goodbye Claire” he replied back and she left his office closing the door behind her.

Chapter Text

Claire was almost giddy with how the day turned out. She called her lawyer when she left Frank’s office and agreed to meet with him the next day. The end was finally in sight. She knew, even with a nisi period, she wouldn’t change her mind and Frank wouldn’t want to stir the pot and look bad by trying to stop the divorce, especially since he is engaged to another woman.

She made it back to London by three thirty and checked into her hotel for the evening. She hadn’t texted or called Jamie since she left Frank’s because she was unsure if he was still in his meeting. It had been five hours since she last spoke to him so she thought it might be safe to send a short text and if he texted back great, but if he didn’t she would know he was working.

Claire: Mission accomplished!

It was still early and her hotel was in Soho, so Claire decided she would do a bit of shopping before she grabbed some dinner. Jamie hadn’t answered her text so she figured he was still in his meeting. She wanted to get back by six since she told him she would call him around then so she grabbed her purse and headed out.

She really hoped that Jamie would see the divorce as a done deal and stop pumping the brakes. She couldn’t get his touch out of her head, thinking of the last time they were together. She spotted a lingerie shop and thought maybe she would pick something up to wear just for him.

***************

Jamie made his way to the conference room at his uncles office. They were going to discuss the charity sponsorship and how this could possibly open the door for them to work with other charities. Jamie felt very strongly about children’s charities obviously, but he also wanted to support some cancer charities, mainly in Scotland.

He heard her voice before he stepped into the room. Geneva was talking to his uncle when he entered. He looked around the table to see if her father was there like he expected, but he didn’t see Mr. Dunsany anywhere at the large table. Everyone looked up when he came in.

“Oh Jamie!” Geneva beckoned him over. “I saved you a seat” she said smiling at him. She looked all business with her hair pulled back in a sleek low ponytail. She wore a white button down shirt and a black pencil skirt, looking far more classy than she did the last time he saw her. Thinking of that night made his mind shift straight to thoughts of Claire and he smiled just thinking about her as he made his way to the empty seat Geneva was motioning to.

One glance at Geneva’s face informed him that she thought that he was smiling at her. He reigned in his thoughts of Claire and the amazing noises she made and brought his mind back to the present.

“Miss Dunsany” Jamie said to her, all business now. “What brings ye here? Is yer father not attending?” he asked.

“Oh daddy had to deal with a situation out at one of the hops fields. It’s harvesting season for the hops as well and apparently it isn’t going well at all. Dreadful business harvesting.” She was trying to sound as if she knew first hand how hops harvesting went, but Jamie knew she had never even seen a single grain be harvested. “I was able to rearrange my classes and come in his place. I mean I am partnering with him this year to arrange the charity ball after all.” she said to him smugly as if she was proving her worth to him now.

Jamie sat, pulling out his phone to check the time. It was nearly two thirty. He wondered how things were going with Claire. Was she still with Frank? Geneva kept talking about all the ways she was contributing to this years ball and Jamie just pretended to be interested. He only cared about his part in donating and sponsoring the event. They were there to talk numbers, not about everything she was doing to enhance the ball.

The meeting started and dragged on. Jamie and his uncle along with their financial advisor agreed on the donation amount that was separate from the sponsorship. They arranged that as part of the sponsorship they would provide the wine and whisky at the ball as already discussed. Geneva revealed that a number of her father’s investors were also sponsoring the ball so that eliminated any monetary needs on Jamie and his uncle’s part in the sponsorship.

They moved on to the marketing aspect and Jamie let John do all the talking. He did however put his foot down when Geneva brought up Fraser’s Fine Wine and Whisky partnering with Helwater Brewery once again. He reminded them that it was a major conflict of interest given his past with Geneva. Geneva leaned over the arm of her chair in his direction, more than she already had been, and whispered in his ear.

“It doesn’t have to be a conflict of interest” she said running her hand down his arm before gripping his hand. His phone had perfect timing as it buzzed on the table and he was able to pull away from her without it looking hostile to everyone around them. He pulled his hand away and grabbed his phone. It was a message from Claire. He read it quickly ready to reply when he heard Geneva whisper vehemently to him.

“It is rude to be on your phone” her accent grating on his nerves as she sounded so hoity toity. Claire never sounded like that he thought. Jamie made a show of silencing his phone and placing it back on the table and letting her see how annoyed he was.

He clasped his hands together on the table leaning forward to deter her from touching him again. Looks like John had been right last weekend and Geneva was looking to get back together with him. There was no way he wanted to get involved with her again, outside of this charity ball that is. He would have to figure out how to let her know that without ruining their work ties. This was the whole reason he didn’t want to have a partnership with her father.

His mind fell back on Claire’s text as they droned on about advertising. It seemed she had done what she set out to do. He couldn’t wait to talk to her. He couldn’t wait to get back to Scotland and see her. He wanted to grab his phone and check the time but he could actually feel Geneva’s eyes on him so he resisted and just let his mind wander on the last time he was with Claire.

Three days ago

Claire arrived at Jamie’s flat right on time. He only lived about ten minutes from her, but in a more expensive part of the city. Her first thought when she walked into his flat was that it was very manly. He had an open floor plan with the sitting room, kitchen and dining room all in one open space, though it seemed he used what should be the dining room as an office. The walls were a very light gray color that off set his dark gray leather couch and black tables. The couch was large and looked extremely comfortable and her mind went straight to the thought of having sex on it, though she was sure she wound stick to it.

What are ye thinking about Sassenach?” Jamie asked her from the kitchen, pulling her from thoughts of what they could do on his couch.

I was just admiring your couch” she said, moving over to sit on said couch. “Oh, it’s very comfy” she said, letting herself sink into it.

Jamie made his way over to her, placing two glasses of wine he just poured on the coffee table. He casually leaned over her placing a hand on the back of the couch so he didn’t fall on her and kissed her softly on the lips. He moved his mouth slowly over hers until he heard her moan into his mouth and then pulled back. He smirked down at her.

Yer inappropriate thoughts were written all over yer face mo chridhe” he murmured with a grin. Again with the gaelic that she didn’t understand but she didn’t think on it too much as her head was still clouded from his kiss. God did the man know how to kiss she thought.“What were ye really thinking about?” he asked her again. She took a deep breath but she wasn’t sure if it was to clear her head or breath him in.

Honestly I was thinking about the couch and....” she stopped short looking at him unsure if she should tell him or not.

Aye and?” he coaxed with a grin.

I was just thinking that if we ever had sex on it how I would likely stick to the leather” she blurted out quickly. Jamie just laughed as he dropped onto the couch to the right of her. He leaned over as if he was about to impart a secret to her

Weel if we do ever decide to christen this couch” he began, his breath tickling the skin of her neck. “I’ll let ye be on top.” He then promptly reached around grabbing her left thigh and pulling her around until she straddled his lap with his lips pressed to the side of her neck. He smiled against her skin as he heard her squeak in surprise. It wasn’t but a second before she let her weight settle on him with a pleasured sigh and her hands slid into his hair at he base of his head letting her own fall back to give him access. He nipped and sucked at the spot just below her ear, along her hairline that he knew she liked.

God Jamie” she breathed out pulling his hair to break his exploration of her skin. “Do you have any idea how you make me feel?” she asked, her mouth only an inch from his. It was way more than just physical for her but she didn’t know how to tell him that.

I feel it too” he said before closing the distance between their lips. His hands moved down her back until he was cupping her backside pulling her as close as he could. “Christ Sassenach!” he said pulling back to look at her. “I’ve thought of nothing but how it felt to feel ye falling apart in my arms” he said letting his hands move from her arse to rub along her bare thighs under the hem of her dress. Claire stopped him when his hand were making the journey back up her thighs toward her center by placing her hands on top of his. She leaned in and pecked his lips when she saw his confused look.

As much as I want you to touch me again, we can’t today” she said to him. She leaned back to look at him better and to take a breath. She couldn’t help but look down between them where the evidence of his arousal was very apparent in the joggers he was wearing and couldn’t help the moan that escaped her.

But last Friday...” Jamie began confused by her denial. Claire cut him off by placing a finger over his lips.

It’s not that I don’t want to” she began, giggling when Jamie stuck his tongue out slightly licking her fingers. She dropped her hand from his mouth and continued. “It’s just an inconvenient time of the month” she told him, watching his face to see if he understood what she was talking about.

Ahh. I dinna care about yer period Claire. It’s natural and there is no reason ye canna fool around during yer time” Jamie said shocking her a bit by how open and nonchalant he was about it.

I know that. I am a doctor. It’s just that we haven’t even had sex yet so I just feel…..” she stopped talking trying to figure out exactly how to put her feelings into words. Jamie just rubbed her thighs... not in a sexual way, but more to soothe her. “I have never been intimate with anyone while on my period. It completely grossed Frank out so it was never anything we explored.”

Well if it makes ye feel any better, I have never done anything with a woman during her time either. I have only had one long term relationship and it was not something she was open to either. I just want ye to know that it dosena bother me or gross me out. Remember I have an older sister who isnna shy about anything” he said with his little lopsided smile. She couldn’t help but lean in and kiss him. She let her lips drift toward his ear.

Maybe it is something we can explore in the future. Probably in the shower” she said smiling against his skin, causing him to chuckle. She nipped at his earlobe then whispered in his ear. “I get really horny while on my period.” He groaned at that.

Ye’re horny when ye’re drunk, now ye say ye’re horny when ye’re on yer menses….I’m starting to think that maybe ye are just always horny” Jamie said as she was kissing along his neck the same way he had done to hers.

Only when I’m with you” she breathed out against his skin. “Or thinking about you…..touching me….” Jamie moved his hands up and down her back and around her backside to illustrate her words. “…..kissing me” He cut her off by pulling his head back and pressing his lips eagerly to hers. Jamie brought his hands to her hips encouraging her to move against him. Claire didn’t hesitate to slide herself along his hard member causing them both to moan into each others mouths. Though Claire would rather feel his skin against hers, the friction their clothes was causing felt wonderful as she continued to grind against him. Jamie’s hands slid under her dress and around to cup the round cheeks of her backside.

Ye have the roundest arse I’ve ever seen” he groaned as he fondled her.

Claire looked down but all she could see was the skirt of her dress between them. She reached down to pull it to the side and noticed that every time she moved against him, the friction was actually pulling down the front of his pants and the tip of his manhood was peeking out now. It was a complete turn on and sent Claire right to the edge of orgasm. She threw her head back and rode against him firmly. The sounds he was making was driving her even closer and she couldn’t stop the moans that escaped her. When she looked down again his whole head was exposed and that did it for her.

Oh Jamie” she moaned out as she came, her hips stuttering to a halt, her breath quick and ragged. Jamie just cradled her as she slumped against him. He groaned when he felt her reach down and stroke him. He hadn’t realized that he was exposed until her warm hand wrapped around the bare skin of his shaft.

Your turn” she said as she began stroking him up and down, determined to satisfy him also. He moaned as he leaned his head back on the back of the couch with his eyes closed. Claire watched his face as she worked him. She could feel the muscles in his thighs tensing under her and dropped her eyes back down. She saw a bead of moisture collect on his tip and swiped her thumb over it spreading the moisture. He hissed as her thumb stroked over his sensitive head.

Christ Claire” he panted out as she worked him. She took delight in the fact that he had used her name rather than one of the gaelic nicknames he often called her and pressed her lips to his. She nipped and sucked at his bottom lip, savoring the way he kept groaning into her mouth. He pulled back from her lips and reaching down to pull his t-shirt up his chest. She saw his abs contract and felt him pulse in her hand. She kept her hand steady on his cock while she ran her other hand along his torso and up around his nipples, smiling when they hardened under her fingers. She leaned forward and pressed her lips to his again in a slow seductive kiss. He pulled away again gasping. “Uhhh I’m gonna come” he told her. Claire looked down as he began to come all over his belly and her hand.

Claire had never given much thought to her partners orgasms, only that they had them whether she did or not, but she found that Jamie was right and watching him come in her hand made her feel amazing and she wondered why she never felt this way before. This wasn’t the first hand job she had ever given but something about it was different. He was different.

I thought this would be a mess free way tae make ye feel good but I was definitely wrong” he said with a breathless chuckle, making her giggle as well. “Can ye grab the hand towel off the kitchen counter Sassenach?” he asked her. Claire slid off his lap on shaky legs, careful not to spread the mess they had made. She quickly washed her hands and grabbed the towel before making her way back to him. She dropped the towel on his belly and leaned over him the way he had leaned over her, bracing her hands on the back of the couch on either side of his head.

I kinda feel like I’m back in uni, but that was amazing” she said with a grin before kissing him sweetly.

 

“Jamie……. Earth to Jamie” Jamie was pulled out of his thoughts of the other night by John’s voice calling him. He shifted in his seat when he realized his daydreaming had started to arouse him.

“Sorry, I was wool-gathering” Jamie said and realized that the only people who remained at the table were John, Geneva, his uncle Jared and Jared’s head of marketing and best friend Magnus.

“We could tell” John said goading his friend. ”We were just discussing going out to dinner and setting the itinerary for visiting the vineyards.”

“Aye alright” he agreed thinking that maybe he could sneak away to talk to Claire.

Jamie hadn’t realized that Geneva was coming with them and Jamie’s luck didn’t improve when he excused himself to the restroom when they got to the restaurant and came back out to find that the only available seat at the table they had been shown to was next to her. He reached into his pocket for his phone so that he could ignore her without seeming too rude. He could always say he was sending emails. His eyes grew wide when he realized he didn’t have his phone. He must have left it at his uncles office. He hoped it wouldn’t piss Claire off.

***************

Claire returned to her hotel just after six and decided to call Jamie before she jumped in the shower. No answer. Maybe he was in the shower she thought. She instead decided to send him a text. All she texted him was a picture of the Agent Provocateur bag with a bit of the lace from her purchase hanging out slightly. She smiled wondering what he would think of that and went to climb in the shower.

She checked her phone after her shower but still nothing. Where was he? Just then her phone chimed and she looked down thinking it was him but found it was only a Facebook request. She clicked to see who it was and saw that is said Laoghaire MacKenzie, Jamie’s assistant. She thought about it for a minute wondering why a woman who had a crush on her boyfriend wanted to be Facebook friends. Then she thought that if her and Jamie lasted then it might be advantageous to have her as a friend. She may have to deal with her in regards to getting a hold of Jamie during working hours or scheduling things. She hit accept and then started scrolling through her feed. It wasn’t long before she came across a picture that was taken when they were all at the pub last week. It was actually a picture that Laoghaire was tagged in by none other than Geneva Dunsany.

Claire was curious so she clicked on the picture. It directed her to Geneva’s page. The latest post on her page was a picture posted about thirty minutes ago. It was a selfie of Geneva at some restaurant which seemed normal except for the man that she saw sitting next to her. Jamie. He wasn’t looking at the camera, in fact he seemed completely unaware as he slouched in his chair. She scrolled a little further and saw that Geneva had posted that she was about to fly out to Paris. That was yesterday but not at the same time as Jamie’s flight had been so they hadn’t flown out together.

Claire took a deep breath and tried to convince herself not to jump to conclusions. Jamie had said that they were having a meeting to discuss the charity thing that Geneva was a part of. It must just be a work thing. But why wasn’t he answering her calls or texts? Why hadn’t he told her that she was going?

She spent the whole evening talking down her anger. Trying to tell herself that just because Frank cheated on her doesn’t mean that Jamie was cheating on her also. She hated that she felt this suspicious and down right jealous and she despised Frank for turning her into this type of person.

By ten she had gone though an entire bottle of wine and became more angry as the hours ticked by without a word from Jamie. She decided she really needed to go to sleep because she had her flight back home in the morning. Just as she plugged her phone in to charge it began to ring. It was Jamie. By this point she was just too angry to talk to him. He spent the night out with another woman and couldn’t bother to even text her. If it had just been a business dinner why couldn’t he have just texted her to let her know? She silenced her phone and climbed into bed. She would talk to him in the morning when she wasn’t so angry.

**********

Claire woke up to find several text messages from Jamie.

10:40

Jamie: Hey we went to dinner and I left my phone at Jared’s office. I’m SO sorry.

10:45

Jamie: Are you asleep? I hope you’re not mad. I swear I just got my phone back

11:02

Jamie: I guess you’re asleep. Call me in the morning please

She sighed feeling a little calmer now. That did explain why he didn’t answer her call or texts. She decided she would get ready for her flight back home before she called him.

“Hey!” he said sounding anxious when he answered her call.

“Hey” she said back.

“I’m so sorry about last night. I can’t believe I forgot my phone and Jared, John and Magnus just kept drinking and going on about the vineyard tours at dinner and I…..” He stopped rambling when Claire interrupted him.

“Jamie! It’s fine, really” she said. “So how was your meeting?” she asked. She wondered if he was going to tell her that Geneva was there.

“It was long but it went well” he said. “It turns out that the Dunsany’s have several investors who are sponsoring so we aren’t shelling out as much for the ball and were able to put that money into the charity.”

“That’s good right?” she responded.

“Aye tis. But then Geneva went into trying to get us to partner with her father again.” he said sounding exasperated.

“So Geneva was there?” she asked innocently.

“Aye. Mr. Dunsany couldn’t make it due to some harvesting problem and sent her instead.” He didn’t sound at all happy about that fact so Claire decided to drop it all together and just trust him. He really hadn’t done anything wrong and she couldn’t hold what Frank had done to her against him.

“So....” he began. “He signed?” Claire smiled at the hope in his voice.

“He did and you won’t believe what happened.” She told him the whole story about how Frank was trying to convince her to stay with him and how she found out that Frank was in fact engaged to another woman but was still trying to talk her out of the divorce. How she finally said she would take it to the Chancellor to see what he had to say about his prized history professor.

“After ye threatened him he signed without anymore to say?” Jamie inquired.

“He really couldn’t say anything else. Frank is a very proud man and would never want his name involved in anything scandalous like being engaged to one woman while still married to another” Claire said with a chuckle.

“So ye are officially divorced then?” he asked her.

“Well mostly. I’m meeting with Ned this afternoon and thankfully he is good friends with the Judge and can get him to sign off either today or tomorrow but there is still the nisi period. That will make it about six weeks before it is truly final” she informed him.

“What is this nisi thing and why six weeks?” he asked confused.

“The nisi period is the time the judge has to set in case either of us decide we don’t want the divorce and can submit to dismiss the divorce, which I know there is no way in hell that that would happen so it’s moot but mandatory” she explained. “And like I said Frank wouldn’t do anything to make himself look bad like filing a dismissal because then I would stir the pot and he knows it so it’s a done deal on my end.”

“As long as he signed that’s good enough for me Sassenach” he said.

“Is it?” she asked a bit flirty trying not to sound too relieved.

“Aye tis” he said. “Now…... tell me about this picture ye sent me. It seems ye dropped a bit of quid on something that will probably be on the floor longer than yer body” he flirted.

“Mmm is that so?” she said as tingles ran through her at his implication.

Claire stayed on the phone with him until she made it to the airport and had to board her flight. He told her that he more than likely would not make it home until the day before they were going to leave for England. They were going to travel to the south of France to check in on the harvesting at the vineyards. Jamie said it was good to show interest to the growers.

She met with Ned and he let her know that he would have the Judge sign off that day and that in six weeks, she would be legally free of Frank Randall. She had dreaded telling Jamie about the nisi period because she didn’t know if she could handle not progressing their physical relationship for another six weeks, but he said Frank’s signature made it final enough for him.

***************

Claire and Jamie carved out some time to FaceTime each other Sunday night.

“I will be working over night on Friday so I won’t be able to see you until you pick me up Saturday morning and then I will probably sleep the whole car ride there” Claire pouted to him.

“Dinna fash Sassenach. We will have the whole weekend together” he said trying to wink at her, making her giggle.

“I can’t wait. I miss you”

“I miss ye too mo nighean donn. What are yer plans for the rest of the week?” he asked wanting to take her mind off missing him even though he was missing her just as much. The texts and calls were fine but he wanted to hold her.

“Just work. I have a doctors appointment on Monday, but other than that I won’t have much time for anything with work, so I guess it’s good you aren’t here” she told him.

“Is everything okay? What do ye need to see the doctor for?” he asked, concern clearly in his voice and on his face.

“Oh umm” Claire began. “I have an appointment with Louise to get a new IUD.” She wasn’t sure how he would feel about that revelation. They had already talked about previous sexual partners and the last time they had both been tested for STDs. Frank was the last person she slept with and upon finding out about his infidelity she was tested. Jamie informed her that he was also recently test as part of a routine check-up and hadn’t had sex since then. They were both clean so the only thing they had to worry about before being together was birth control. Jamie had told her that he always used condoms unless he was in a committed, long term relationship and his partner was on birth control.

“I just figured it would be easier than having to worry about condoms” she said when he didn’t say anything.

“Are ye sure?” he asked.

“I’m sure. We are both clean. It is a bit more reliable than condoms. We have waited so long and I…..” she started but stopped feeling like maybe she was being too forward.

“Aye. I understand. It will be nice to just feel ye and not have anything between us” he said his voice a bit husky.

“Besides I won’t have to worry about a pill and we can be spontaneous without having to worry about always having condoms with us” Claire intoned.

Jamie felt his heart flip a bit thinking about how thoughtful Claire was and how she took it upon herself to make plans to safeguard their budding sexual relationship. He bit his lip when he realized the words ‘I love you” were on the tip of his tongue. He didn’t want to scare her with the depth of his feelings for her.

"Thank ye mo ghaol.” He figured he could use the words he wanted in gaelic since she no longer asked for translation, just accepting that they were terms of endearment.

***************

Claire wasn’t feeling the best as she sat in the doctors lounge after her appointment with Louise.

“Are ye awright lass?” Geillis asked looking up from her phone.

“Fine. Just cramping” Claire said scrunching her nose.

“That time of the month is it?” Geillis said standing and pulling some advil out of her bag. Claire shook her head.

“I just took some thanks. I got an IUD today” she said explaining her predicament to her friend.

“Ahh. Preparing to pounce on yer man then?” Geillis teased.

“Something like that. He won’t be back until Friday evening though” Claire said as the door opened and Louise and Mary walked in.

“Who won’t be back until Friday?” Louise asked, only having caught the end of what was being said.

“Jamie” Claire informed her.

“Oh that reminds me” Louise pulled out her phone and started texting. “There I just texted Madeline at the spa to see if she can fit you in. She is très bon and can clean you up nicely” Louise told Claire.

“Am I missing something?” Geillis asked looking between Claire and Louise.

“Louise says that I need to be groomed if I’m planning a tryst with a new lover and said that she would see if her waxing girl had an opening” Claire explained to Geillis.

“Aye I agree. Always good to put yer best foot forward… or in this case yer lady bits. Ye’ve been waiting long enough tae get in his pants” Geillis said as Louise’s phone chimed.

“She said she can fit you in after your shift tomorrow” Louise said looking up at Claire.

“Fine” she relented. “Though I don’t think Jamie would care one way or the other.”

“In Paris, a hairless mount is de rigueur and the men find it absolutely irresistible” Louise said waving Claire’s words away looking back at her phone to set up her appointment for the next day.

Chapter Text

Claire rushed into her flat. Jamie would be there in about an hour to pick her up and she still hadn’t packed and needed to throw her laundry in the dryer before she even could. She rushed into her room to see her laundry already dried and folded neatly on her bed with a little note.

You owe me!

         -G

 

She smiled thinking she really did owe Geillis and not just for the laundry. Maybe she could talk Jamie into giving her a bottle of his best whisky. She sighed happily and pulled a bag out of her closet to pack. She laid out some leggings and a sweater tunic dress to throw on after her shower. She wanted to be comfortable on the drive down considering she knew she would probably be sleeping for most of the car ride. She figured she would wear her black ballet flats to make it look more casual and less like lounge wear. Claire jumped in the shower and was even more grateful that Louise had talked her into getting waxed. Having everything done, including her legs, cut her shower in half.

She heard the doorbell ring as she was packing her toiletries. She looked in the mirror and sighed in resignation. She still had a towel on her head as she made her way down the hall toward the door. She opened the door to find Jamie in all his beautiful glory. He wore a black leather zip-up jacket a dark gray t-shirt and jeans. She reached out grabbing his shirt and pulling him to her, her lips crashing into his. Like always a shiver ran through her body when his hands wrapped around her.

“Hey” she said smiling against his lips, not wanting to break contact.

“Hey” he said back chuckling. “Are we just going to stand in yer doorway making out?” he teased. Claire stepped back with a giggle and let him in.

“Weel that’s a look” he teased her looking at the towel on her head.

“Hey! I just got out of the shower!”

“Looks like I’m a bit late then” he flirted as he used his body to push her against the foyer wall. He reached up and pulled the towel from her hair letting her wet hair fall in a mess onto her shoulders. “I like seeing ye like this…. all fresh and damp from yer shower.” He ran his fingers through her hair, the tangles giving way easily thanks to her very expensive conditioner. He brought his face towards her neck and inhaled. “Ye smell like heaven Sassenach.”

“Jamie” Claire breathed out. It was all she could say as she found herself completely seduced just by his nearness and husky voice. He brought his lips to hers then and kissed her slowly. Claire gripped his jacket and ran her tongue over his lips wanting to deepen the kiss. Jamie obliged and their tongues slid against each others, tasting each other after being apart for so long. Jamie cupped her face, slowing the kiss down before pulling back from her all together.

“Are ye packed then?” he asked her. He grinned when he noticed her eyes were still closed and she was panting slightly. She opened her eyes nodded her head, unconsciously licking her lips as if she was trying to taste what was left of their kiss. He stepped back so that she could move. “We best get a move on then. It looks like ye still have to do yer hair.” He smiled at the incredulous look on her face. She would have gladly delayed getting on the road to spend some alone time with him.

“Do we have to leave right away?” she asked in a way that left no doubt as to what she hoped to do.

“Aye. They are expecting us for lunch and I want to take my time for what ye have in mind mo ghaol” he said with that cute side grin. He stepped back from her and she sighed in resignation, grabbing the towel off the floor where he dropped it and made her way toward her room. She’s waited this long, she could wait a bit longer she thought with another resigned sigh.

She went to the bathroom and combed out her hair, putting curl cream in it and deciding to let it air dry. She came out and threw her hair care products in her bag, eyeing Jamie as he sat on her bed. Thoughts of trying to seduce him flying through her head. Instead she grabbed the garment bag containing her dress and turned back to him.

“Okay, I’m ready” she said sliding on her shoes. Jamie stood and grabbed the bags from her. “No peeking at my dress. It’s a surprise” she said when she relinquished the garment bag to him. He held his hand up crossing his heart. He lead the way out and loaded her things into the car, careful not to wrinkle the garment bag as Claire locked the door.

“So how was your flight back?” she asked as Jamie started the car and they set off on their three hour journey to England. Jamie had flown back from France the evening before and Claire hadn’t talked to him since before he left France.

“Great…. knowing I was going to be that much closer to ye Sassenach” he said, reaching over the console to grab her hand and bring it to his lips. She smiled at him and then a yawn escaped her. She brought her hand to her mouth.

“Sorry. I’m worn out. I worked a fifteen hour shift last night” she informed him.

“Get some sleep mo nighean donn. I’ll wake ye when we get there.” He kissed her hand again before trying to release it. She held tight to him and smiled.

“I missed you” she said squeezing his hand. What she really wanted to say was I love you, but she thought that maybe it was too soon to say that.

“I missed ye too. Now sleep.”

***************

Jamie parked his car and looked around for a bit. He had to get his wits about him so that he could talk to Claire before they arrived at Helwater. He hadn’t given this conversation much thought until recently. How would she react he wondered.

He looked over at Claire’s sleeping form. He almost didn’t want to wake her. This was the first time he had ever seen her asleep. She had gripped his hand for the first hour of the trip as she dozed, her grip finally slackening when she fell into a sound sleep. He found that she didn’t snore but she did mumble quite a bit. He couldn’t make out what she was saying even though he turned off the radio to listen to her. He found himself conjuring up different scenarios of things she could be dreaming about and all of them included him. She obviously wasn’t having a sex dream because he knew the kind of sounds she made when in the throws of passion. She didn’t seem to be having bad dreams either. He smiled as he saw the corner of her mouth pull up slightly. She was definitely having a nice dream. He pulled out his phone and snapped a quick photo.

He reached out and traced his fingers along her face, drifting from her temple along her cheek, letting his fingers slide under the curve of her jaw as his thumb traced across her lips. She stirred but didn’t wake up. He ran his fingers lightly down the side of her neck across her collar bone. Her breathing had picked up and he leaned in and brushed his lips lightly over hers. Her eyes fluttered open as he pulled back to look at her.

“Having sweet dreams?” he asked her with a smirk.

“It was getting to the good part when you woke me, but I must say it’s nice to wake up to the real thing” she admitted with a grin, her voice low from sleep.

“So ye were dreaming about me then” he replied smugly.

“Hmm.” Claire reached up and slid her hand along his neck pulling his lips back to hers. They shared a slow sweet kiss before breaking apart. Claire looked around when she realized they were parked. “Where are we?” she asked.

“Come, walk with me Sassenach” is all he said as he climbed out of the car and moved quickly to her side opening her door. Claire was a bit confused as she looked around. They were in a car park but it wasn’t at an estate. “This is Thirlmere. It has amazing trails and the sites are beautiful. If ye look to the east ye can see Mount Helvellyn” he said pointing it out. He grabbed her hand and they began to walk. Claire was still a little disoriented from her nap and didn’t quite know what was going on.

“What’s going on? I thought we were expected at Helwater for lunch” Claire asked, looking up at Jamie’s face, noticing how pensive he now looked as he stared off over the water. He didn’t answer for a moment and Claire didn’t push him as they continued to walk.

“There’s something I need to tell ye and to be honest I’m a bit fearful of how ye may react” Jamie finally said.

Claire felt the blood drain from her face. What on earth could he possibly need to tell her that would make him fearful of her reaction? She could think of nothing but betrayal and she felt her belly roll at the thought. She said nothing. She couldn’t even encourage him to just say what he needed to say because she wasn’t even sure if she wanted to hear it. She could feel him look over at her but she couldn’t look up at him. She heard him take a deep breath before he began to speak.

“I was in an accident in late spring just after my eighteenth birthday. I had just finished secondary school and was looking forward to uni. My plan was to stay at Lallybroch through the summer and help my father with training some horses he had just got ye ken” Claire looked up at him but he just stared off, lost in a time from long ago. She let herself relax slightly. “I had been working with a verra difficult horse for a while. He was verra wild but he was improving bit by bit. We had bonded but he still wasnae at the point where he could be ridden or even saddled. We were out in the paddock near the drive doing some ground work when there was a terrible noise that sounded almost like a gun shot. Needless to say it spooked Donas…….”

“Donas? Like your whisky?” Claire asked interrupting him. The side of Jamie’s mouth pulled up slightly and he gave a quick nod.

“Aye. My whisky is often named after something that has impacted my life” he informed her.

“Ahh….... Go on” she said giving his hand a squeeze to encourage him to continue.

“Well Donas reared of course, I dropped the lead but still managed to calm him and then the sound cracked again making him bolt this time. The lead rope that I had dropped got tangled about my foot and when Donas bolted he took me with him.”

“Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ” Claire exclaimed. “What happened next?” She thought it couldn’t have been too awful. He was here with her, whole and well. No signs of lasting injury or any type of paralysis.

“He went right through the paddock fence and down the gravel drive towards the open fields. My T-shirt disintegrated in seconds leaving no barrier between the sharp gravel stones of the drive and my skin.” He heard Claire gasp but took a deep breath and continued. “Donas finally slowed when he made it to the open grassy fields and I was able to get my foot free of the rope. After that I couldna move from the pain. Ian must have heard me because he came running up and was the one to call for help.” Jamie let out a small chuckle. “Turns out the noise was Ian’s classic car back firing while he was working on it.”

“Jamie…..” Claire began but couldn’t quite find the right words to say next.

“I passed out from the pain and blood loss before I was rushed to the hospital and into surgery. They did a debridement but there wasn’t much more they could do beyond that. It was all about watching out for infection after that. My back was shredded too much to stitch so it was bandaged and cleaned daily and left to heal on its own. Even with the doctor’s vigilance infection set in. The pain was something terrible. I spent weeks in the hospital on antibiotics. That is when my Da had his heart attack and I wasna there.” he finished in a rush.

“Jamie I….” Claire began again but stopped. He said he feared her reaction and now she feared giving one. She was glad he wasn’t looking at her face. She gripped his hand tighter before she spoke. “You aren’t to blame for your father’s death. You know that right?” Claire implored.

“Aye” he said. He still wasn’t looking at her.

“Did you think I would think that his death was your fault? Because of what happened to you?” Claire asked him. Was that the reason he was worried about her reaction?

“I’m scarred Claire” he said in a clipped tone. As if that was the nail in the coffin. “My father has nothing to do with why I’m telling ye this. Whether or not my accident brought on his heart attack is irrelevant. My back is covered in terrible scars that havnae faded in ten years.” He sounded almost angry. Did he really think that she would leave him just because he’s scarred? She was a doctor. She saw worse than scarring on a daily basis. She stopped, pulling him to a halt as well which forced him to look at her. She released his hand and crossed her arms over her chest.

“Do you not want to be with me?” she asked, starting to think that maybe he was using his scars to push her away now.

“What? Claire…...No!. All I want is to be with you!” Jamie exclaimed. “It’s just that ye havnae seen them” he said running a hand through his hair. Claire let out a sigh of relief.

“Jamie your scars do not change the man you are. The man that I wake up thinking about every day. I may not have seen them, but seeing them isn’t going to change my mind about you any more than you wearing an ugly shirt would. You’re still you” she said reaching up to cup his face in her hand. He placed his hand over hers on his face, turning his head and kissing her palm.

“Women I have dated in the past have always been disgusted by them is all. They never really said it out right but I could tell. They wouldna even touch my back if I wasna wearing a shirt.” he said. Claire stepped closer to him, bringing her free hand to his waist before sliding it around his side under his jacket. She slid her hand around to his back, stroking up the center of his back to his shoulder blade and back down to the small of his back and felt him tense. She could just feel the ridges of the extensive scarring through his T-shirt.

“Do you have feeling in your back?” she asked pulling him closer to her until they stood toe to toe, her face only inches from his.

“Aye. In most of it” he said in almost a whisper, as they looked into each others eyes.

“That’s all that matters….. That you can feel me when I touch you” she murmured, leaning in and pressing her lips to his. Jamie’s hands dropped to her waist while Claire brought her other hand down under his arm and around to his back, pulling him more firmly into her until they were touching from chest to thighs. She kissed him slowly but passionately, trying to pour the feelings that she couldn’t say yet into the kiss. She felt a shiver run through her when Jamie groaned into her mouth. The need for air broke them apart and they just looked at each other.

“So ye still want me then? The scars will not disgust ye?” Jamie asked.

“God you have no idea how much I want you” she said nipping at his bottom lip, craving more. “And as for being disgusted, you have to remember I’m a doctor. I’ve seen some pretty gruesome things. Besides there is no part of your body I could ever find disgusting just because it’s you” she told him.

“Aye well ye may want to reserve yer judgment until ye’ve actually seen them Sassenach” he said with a small grin, feeling much better now that she knew and wasn’t rejecting him out right.

“Well I hope to see a lot more than just your back very soon” she flirted pulling her arms up around his neck.

“Is that so?” he murmured against her lips.

“Uh-huh” she said before their lips merged together once again. She pulled back with a sigh.

“You scared me for a moment” she said, her fingers playing with his hair at the nape of his neck. He looked into her eyes, silently encouraging her to continue. “When you said you had to tell me something and were afraid of how I would react, my mind jumped straight to betrayal.” She stepped back from him crossing her arms and turning to look out at the water.

“I just hate that Frank has turned me into this person” she said as frustration crept into her.

“And what person is that Sassenach?” Jamie asked.

“A person who’s first thought when something isn’t right is betrayal. Someone who is letting what happened in her previous relationship dictate what she thinks” she answered.

“We all have baggage. We just can’t let it drive a wedge in our relationship” he said moving behind her and pulling her back against him and wrapping his arms around her. “I promise I will never step out on ye Claire” he said in her ear before pressing a kiss to her neck below her ear. She turned her head and kissed his cheek.

“Thank you” she said in almost a whisper. “So don’t we have somewhere to be?” Claire questioned, not wanting to dwell on her insecurities.

“Aye, we should head out. Helwater is only about ten minutes from here. We were running a little early and I kent I needed to tell ye about my back before...” He trailed off as he felt a flush creep up his neck.

“Before I stripped you bare and had my way with you?” she teased stepping away from him. Jamie just smiled at her as she turned to make her way back towards the car park. “I should probably inform you that that is still my plan, scars or no scars” she said teasingly, sending him a wink over her shoulder. Jamie groaned at her words and set off to follow her up the path with a smile, thinking he couldn’t wait until she had her way with him.

Chapter Text

Jamie pulled his car up the long driveway and parked out in front of Helwater Estate. He looked up at the old ancestral home of the Dunsany family. It had been over a year since he had been there. He hoped this visit would be better than the last.

“It’s so big” Claire said, taking in the estate through the car window as they came to a stop.

“That’s what she said” he teased with a smile, seeing her roll her eyes before turning and climbing out of the car. He saw the front door open as he stepped around the car to open Claire’s door. John, Isobel, and Geneva all stepped out to greet them along with a few staff members to collect their luggage.

“I honestly expected you two to be very late considering it has been two weeks since you have seen each other” John teased winking at Claire. John and Claire had struck up a friendship, mostly via text, but they found that they had become easy friends.

“Ha ha” Claire said accepting a hug from John. “It wasn’t for lack of trying” she whispered in his ear, making him chuckle.

“I like to be on time aye” Jamie said in his defense as he handed the bags to the footman. “Please be careful with the dress” he said handing over the garment bag along with his own. The footman nodded his understanding. Jamie stepped over and grabbed Claire’s hand, lacing their fingers together and pulled her towards the women who were still standing on the steps to the house.

“Claire you remember Geneva” Jamie said and Claire nodded with a smile and gave a small wave. Geneva just bobbed her head in recognition. “This is her sister, Isobel Dunsany. Isobel this is my girlfriend Claire Beauchamp” Jamie introduced them. Isobel gave her a friendly smile as she stepped down extending her hand to Claire.

“It’s lovely to meet you Claire” she said in a friendly English accent as she gripped Claire’s hand. She was obviously not as cold as her sister. “Jamie, it has been far too long” she said leaning in and kissing each of his cheeks. “The food is nearly ready. Shall we?” she motioned to the front of the house and they all moved to make their way inside.

“So Claire, John says you’re a doctor” Isobel said as she linked her arm through Claire’s, making conversation as they made there way up the many steps that lead up to the front door of the estate.

“I am a first year resident at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh” Claire answered with a smile.

“I myself am a midwife. Do you have a specialty yet?” Isobel asked. Claire immediately thought that she was going to like Isobel Dunsany.

“I am a surgical resident but as far as which surgical specialty, I think I am leaning toward general surgery” Claire told her as they stepped into the house. It was large and exactly what you would see on television Claire thought. With portraits on the walls, a large ornate chandelier hanging from the very high ceiling and oriental carpets on the floor and running up the staircase. A staff member stepped out of nowhere announcing that lunch is now being set in the informal dining room.

“Thank you Martha” Isobel said. “Is it alright if we show you to your rooms after luncheon?” Isobel asked directing her question to Jamie and Claire.

“Um that’s fine” Claire said not missing the fact that she said rooms…… as in more than one. As in it didn’t look like she would be sharing a room with Jamie. She looked over at him to see if he caught on, but she couldn’t tell by the look on his face.

They entered the dinning room where an older couple were already seated. The gentleman stood up as they made their way into the room.

“Jamie my boy! It’s good to see you” William Dunsany said approaching them and shaking Jamie’s hand enthusiastically. “And this must be Claire. John told us about you my dear” he said looking at her with a friendly smile.

“Aye, this is my girlfriend Dr. Claire Beauchamp. Claire this is William Dunsany. He owns Helwater Brewery and is responsible for the charity ball this evening” Jamie introduce them. Mr. Dunsany took her hand and placed a light kiss on the back of it.

“It’s a pleasure to meet you Mr. Dunsany. Thank you for having us” Claire said.

“Ahh an English woman” Mr. Dunsany commented. “It seems Jamie has a type” he said with a teasing smile. Claire smiled tightly not really understanding what he was talking about. “Come, lets sit and have luncheon.” Claire looked at Jamie to see if he was going to elaborate on that comment but he just pursed his lips and pulled out the chair for her.

“Claire this is my wife Louisa Dunsany” Mr. Dunsany introduced the older woman sitting at the table as he sat at the head of the table across from her.

“Lovely to meet you. Thank you for your hospitality” Claire said politely to their hostess.

“You’re welcome” she said in not an unfriendly tone, but she she wasn’t all that warm either. Geneva must take after her Claire thought, and Isobel must take after her father with their friendly nature.

They were served lunch that was just as fancy as the home they were in. Claire couldn’t even imagine how dinner would be that evening. The fanciest events Claire had ever been too were hospital events and galas thrown by the University Frank worked for, and those were more like semi-formal dinner parties.

It seemed the Dunsany’s knew Jamie pretty well, as they shared a round of ‘remember the time’ type stories. Claire would have felt awkward and fairly uncomfortable if it wasn’t for Isobel who sat to her left and engaged her in conversation about work when the gentlemen began talking business and Geneva and her mother were discussing the ball and what time they should begin to get ready. “My glam squad will be here by four” Claire heard Geneva say in a loud tone so that she made sure everyone at the table could hear her even though she was only talking to her mother. Claire held back a smile when she noticed Isobel roll her eyes and turned to ask Claire if her hospital supported water births.

“So Jamie, how about a rousing game of chess?” John asked Jamie when their plates were being cleared away. “I think I may have found a way to beat you.” Jamie chuckled and tipped his head to the side.

“Do ye really think ye can beat me?” Jamie asked teasingly.

“Hey! There is a first time for everything” John said with a wide smile before he finished his drink in one gulp. “What do you say?”

“I’ll play the winner” Mr. Dunsany put in joyfully.

“Well…. Isobel and I are going to run to the seamstress to pick up my dress. We will see you all this evening” Mrs. Dunsany announced and she and Isobel made their way out of the dining room.

“Claire, would ye like to play some chess?” Jamie asked turning to her with a smile. Jamie had mentioned his fondness for the game before and from what she gathered from Jamie and John’s banter he was apparently a very good player.

“I’m not very good at chess” she told him. “I think I may go have another nap before it’s time to get ready for the evening if that’s alright?”

“Of course Sassenach. I’ll go with ye then” he said as they all rose from the table.

“Aww come on… we haven’t played in ages” John encouraged, trying to convince Jamie to play.

“Come on Jamie. I just got a new set that needs breaking in” Mr. Dunsany added.

“I’ll be fine. You go, enjoy your game” she said. “I’m dead on my feet and need to sleep if I’m going to be presentable this evening” she said as they entered the main hall once again.

“Are ye sure mo nighean donn?” Jamie asked reaching out to grab her hand and pulled her to face him, giving her a knowing look. She leaned in and up on her toes so that only he heard her.

“We have the rest of the weekend and then some” she said, dropping back down and giving him a flirty smile.

“I’ll wake ye when it’s time to get ready then” he told her lifting her hand to his lips and placing a soft kiss on the back. Claire just stared into his eyes as the all too familiar tingles ran through her at his touch. She suddenly wondered why on earth she was encouraging him to play chess when he offered to go upstairs with her.

“I think I would like to play some chess as well” Geneva stated, breaking Claire out of the figurative spell Jamie had on her. “Martha” she called out and the petite maid came out of nowhere. Claire looked around wondering where the staff must hide to be able to show up in a moments notice. “Will you show Dr. Beauchamp to her room in the east wing.” The maid bobbed a curtsy and stepped over to the stairs to wait for Claire. “Jamie you will be in your usual room just down the hall” Geneva said smiling sweetly at him in a way Claire didn’t like one bit. It didn’t escape her notice that Geneva’s statement implied that Jamie has stayed at Helwater in the past. Multiple times in fact, if he had a ‘usual’ room. She felt Jamie stiffen beside her and looked up at his face.

“Why separate rooms?” he asked her tightly.

“You know how old fashioned mother is” Geneva said waving off his question nonchalantly. The fact is he didn’t know how old fashioned Mrs. Dunsany was, considering that the room Jamie use to stay in had a connecting door to Geneva’s room and she never saw a problem with it the whole time they were together. At one time it was a convenient set up but now it was over stepping. Why would they think he would want to stay in that room? He didn’t want to cause a scene however and so he said nothing. He would just take it upon himself to stay in Claire’s room. He looked at Claire and could clearly read the disappointment on her face. He would let her know when he came up to wake her of his plans to stay with her.

“What time do ye want me to wake ye Sassenach?” he asked looking down at Claire.

“No later than four I would say” she responded, moving to step toward the stairs. Jamie still had a grip on her hand and abruptly pulled her back to him, surprising Claire.

“Four it is then” he said before pressing his lips to hers in a soft kiss, laying claim to her in front of everyone.

***************

“Why don’t you two set up the chess board while Jamie and I go fix us some drinks” John suggested to Geneva and her father after they entered the lush entertainment room. The room was akin to an old fashioned game room from a gentleman’s club with a billiards table, poker table and a few strategically placed smaller tables for other card games or chess matches. There was a bar on the back wall to service those who sought entertainment here.

“I’ll just have some white wine if you don’t mind” Geneva said without even looking at him.

“Brandy for me if you will John” Mr. Dunsany said. John nodded and motioned for Jamie to head to the bar with him.

“Can ye not handle making a few drinks on yer own” Jamie teased him.

“I can but I just needed an excuse to talk to you alone for a minute” John said smiling at his friend.

“Aye, what about?” Jamie asked.

“Have you told Claire about your past with Geneva?” John asked deciding to not beat around the bush too much.

“Not yet” Jamie finally admitted with a sigh. John knew that he had been right in thinking that Claire was still in the dark about Jamie and Geneva. He could tell by her face during lunch. She just seemed so confused on how well they all seemed to know each other.

“And here I was thinking you were a smart man” John said sarcastically.

“What’s that suppose to mean?” Jamie asked a little defensive.

“You bring your current girlfriend, who I know you have feelings for, to your ex fiancé’s family home without informing her that she is indeed your ex fiancé and you don’t see the problem here?” John whisper-shouted to him. Jamie sighed running his hand through his hair as they stepped around the bar to start making drinks. He poured himself a whisky and took a quick gulp before answering.

“I just havnae found the right time to tell Claire about my past with Geneva that’s all” he answered.

“Well you better tell her soon before she finds out from someone else. You're lucky Geneva hasn’t rubbed it in her face that the two of you have a past and one that involves a ring at that” John said as he finished pouring brandy into a crystal tumbler.

“Aye. I think you were right about Gen’s intentions. She practically asked to get back together in Paris. Now she puts Claire and I in separate rooms and goes so far as to put me in the room that connects to hers. I dinnae want anything to do with her outside of business but she doesna seem to be getting the hint” Jamie said.

“You don’t think she will try to sabotage your relationship with Claire do you?” John asked, glancing at Geneva across the room.

“I dinna ken. I honestly think she thinks she can convince me to come back to her” Jamie said shaking his head in distaste.

“That does seem like the thing that would fit Geneva’s narrative better. She would tell anyone who would listen that you came crawling back to her, begging her to take you back” John said with a chuckle.

“Aye well tisn’t going to happen” Jamie said finishing the whisky in his glass.

“You lads gonna come play or just do rounds at the bar? We’re all set up” Mr. Dunsany called out to them. John quickly poured the wine for Geneva and Jamie refilled his glass before grabbing the brandy to head back to the chess table.

“Tell Claire!” John said sternly under his breath as the walked back.

***************

It had been nearly three hours since they started playing chess. Jamie found that John was better than the last time they had played together, but in the end he still could not pull out the win. He was now waiting patiently for Mr. Dunsany to make his next move even though Jamie knew he had nothing. Mr. Dunsany studied the board for quite some time before laying his king over in resignation.

“You win again Jamie my boy” he said with good humor. “Remind me to always bet on you if ever there are stakes when you play”

“I guess it’s my turn” Geneva said with a grin as she stood up and ran her hand over Jamie’s shoulders while passing him to take the seat across from him. Jamie pulled out his phone to check the time and then started to rise.

“Sorry I can’t. It’s almost four and I told Claire I would wake her up” he told her, giving her a curt nod.

“But….” Geneva began trying to come up with a way to make him stay.

“Geneva, didn’t you say your…...what did you call it?? …your glam squad was it?…. is going to be arriving at four also?” John interrupted her just as Martha stepped into the room to announce the arrival of said ‘squad’.

“Oh yes” she said standing quickly, having forgotten in her pursuit of Jamie. “Well I will see you gentlemen this evening then.” Geneva hurried out of the room and Jamie let out a sigh of relief before he exited as well.

The maid showed him which room Claire was in and he made his way to her door. He paused a moment, wondering if he should knock in case Claire was already awake. In the end he rapped his knuckles lightly on the door and said her name softly as he opened it. He peeked his head in and saw that Claire was still sound asleep. He stepped into the room closing the door softly behind him. As he made his way toward the bed he heard Claire make a noise that sounded like a low moan and stopped abruptly. Was that that kind of moan he wondered. He knew from the ride over that she mumbled a bit in her sleep. He wondered if she was always a vocal sleeper.

Jamie listened intently as he began to move toward the bed once again. He noticed that she was breathing faster than one usually does when sleeping. As he made it to the foot of the bed he heard her make a low hum as she shifted her legs slowly. She was laying on her side so Jamie made his way to the side of the bed she was facing. He saw that she was gripping the sheet with one hand and her pillow with the other. He knew she must be dreaming and was once again intrigued and wanted to listen and watch her for a little bit, even if he did look like some sort of creep standing next to her bed just staring at her.

It didn’t take long for him to conclude that she must be having that kind of dream when she continued to shift her legs and let out a few more breathy moans. The sight of her having a sex dream was very arousing. He hoped she was dreaming about him but then again he also didn’t want her imagination to make dream him better than the real him. He stood there thinking about that for a minute before shaking his head at what a stupid thought that actually was.

“Oh Jamie” he heard her breath out in a very satisfied way. The sound of her murmuring his name sent all his blood rushing south. He was suddenly envious of dream him and decided it was time to break up this dream party. He sat on the side of her bed, turning to his left to face her and placing his left hand over her body, behind her back. He looked at her face. Her lips were just barely parted as she breathed deeply. His eyes drifted down to the side of her exposed neck and an idea came to him and he knew then how he was going to wake her. Leaning in slowly he lightly ran the tip of his nose along the side of her face before pressing his lips to the side of her neck just under her ear. He sucked slightly on her silky skin then ran his tongue over the spot. She let out another low hum of pleasure and Jamie pulled back slightly to see if she was waking up. She let out a sigh, at the loss of contact no doubt, but she was still asleep. He moved back in and lavished her throat with soft nips, relishing the taste of her skin on his tongue. He moved his mouth to her ear.

“Sassenach” he murmured in her ear.

Claire shifted slowly. She was having the most pleasant dream about Jamie. She felt herself starting to wake up but she didn’t want to let go of the dream she was having. It felt so real. It was as if she could really hear him whispering in her ear, really feel his mouth on her. She moved to roll over hoping to continue her dream, but her back hit something solid and the mouth she had been dreaming about moved away. She groaned and managed to shift onto her back and tried to relax back into sleep.

Jamie smiled at her fighting to stay asleep. He leaned back down dragging his lips along her jaw to once again try to wake her.

“Sassenach……. Mo ghràdh. Tis time to wake up” he mumbled in her ear, nipping at her earlobe.

The words he spoke suddenly registered with Claire and her eyes flew open. His lips really were on her, moving along her neck and face. She turned her face toward his and caught his lips with hers, her hands coming up to cup his face.

“Finally” Jamie said through a grin when he pulled back from her. “For a moment there I thought I was going to have to bite ye to get ye to wake up” he teased.

“I was dreaming and it felt so real” she said her voice low with sleep. “I guess I know why” she said smiling up at him before sliding her hand to the back of his neck and pulling him back down to kiss him once again.

Claire squirmed, pushing the covers down and off of her. Jamie let his hand run down her right side to her hip, finding it bare. He pulled out of the kiss and smirked at her.

“Hmmm ye arnae wearing any pants” he breathed out.

“It was more comfortable to sleep without them” she said nipping at the skin along his jaw.

“How long will it take ye to get ready for the ball?” he asked, his fingers rubbing circles on the skin of her outer thigh.

“Not long. Less than two hours I would say” she replied reaching down and tugging at his shirt. “That’s why I asked you to wake me at four. So we would have a couple of hours to ourselves.” She smiled seductively, yanking his shirt until he was forced to lift his arms and she pulled it off of him over his head. Jamie chuckled at her forcefulness.

“Aye...so I guess we have reached the part were ye’re going to strip me bare and have yer way with me then?” he teased through a smile.

“Aye” she said mimicking him making him laugh. She ran her hands along his bare chest reveling in the way his abs tensed under her touch. She slid her fingers up through the sprinkle of hair on his chest. She never thought she would find chest hair so sexy. “Come here” she said as she pulled at his shoulders to bring his lips back to hers.

Their kiss was heated and Jamie let his hands move under her shirt, skimming his fingers along the bare skin of her sides. Claire arched into him trying to bring their bodies closer together, but Jamie was in an awkward position, still sitting next to her with his torso twisted, hovering over her. Jamie pulled away then, turning to sit up, lifting a foot to take his shoes off so that he could climb on the bed properly. He frozen when he heard her sharp intake of breath. In the heat of the moment he forgot that his back was exposed and Claire was getting her first look at it. He sat still when he felt her move behind him.

Claire pulled herself into a sitting position when she notice Jamie become uncomfortable. The momentary shock of seeing his scars disappeared when she saw how tense he had become. Now all she wanted to do was comfort him. Let him know that she wasn’t bothered by his back and that she definitely still wanted him. She reached out and placed her hand on his back, then leaned forward and pressed her lips to the marred skin between his shoulder blades. She felt him shiver and smiled against his skin before moving to place tiny kissed along his back.

Jamie sighed in relief at her response to his scars and continued to pull off his shoes. He felt her pull away as he was removing his sock. Suddenly he saw her sweater come flying over his shoulder and land on the floor with his discarded shirt and shoes. Then he could feel her warm skin against his back and couldn’t help but hum in pleasure. Claire kissed the top of his shoulder moving up the side of his neck.

“I want you” she whispered in his ear. He turned suddenly, clashing his lips into hers as he pushed her back down, bringing his knees up on the bed. He used his knees to nudged her legs apart so that he could settle between them. Claire gasped into his mouth at the sensation of his chest hair skimming her nipples causing them to bead up.

“Ye have no idea how much I want ye Sassenach” he said pulling out of the kiss and looking at her beautiful face.

“Oh I have some idea” she said, biting down on her bottom lip to fight her smile as she rolled her hips against the bulge of his erection through his jeans. They both moaned at the contact and Jamie leaned in to kiss her again. Claire moved against him again and Jamie reached down and gripped her hip to still her.

“Slow down mo nighean donn” he gasped against her lips. Jamie realized that she was practically naked beneath him and he hadn’t even looked at her yet. He pulled back letting his eyes fall to her bare breasts. He brought a hand up and lightly traced circles around one of her hardened nipples, making her moan, before palming her breast. She fit perfectly in his hand. He leaned back down until his nose barely grazed hers. “It’s time to see if I can live up to yer dreams” he said in a husky seductive voice, sending tingles to her core. He kissed her lips softly but didn’t linger. Instead he dragged his lips down her neck, nipping at her collarbone as he continued to move down. His mouth was soon hovering over one rosy nipple, hardened in anticipation. Claire’s chest was rising and falling as her breathing increased. Jamie slowly swiped his tongue across her nipple before pulling back and raising his eyes to her face as he blew across the newly moistened bud.

“Oh” she breathed out at the sensation and lifted her hips under him again, arching her back and bringing her chest closer to his face. Jamie decided to have mercy and dropped his mouth to her chest sucking her nipple into his mouth and swirling his tongue around the hardened tip. She pushed her fingers into his hair not wanting him to stop what he was doing. He lightly nipped her hardened bud, tugging it before letting it go, relishing the breathy noises she was making. He moved to give her other breast equal attention before sliding his lips down her torso to the edge of her panties.

“I like these” she said tugging at the edge of her white cotton thong with his teeth briefly before leaning up and sitting back on his heels. He slid his finger into the sides of her panties to pull them down. “But they are in the way right now.” Claire lifted her hips up and he pulled her panties over the curve of her arse and down her legs, tossing them to join the clothes on the floor.

“Yer sae beautiful” he breathed as he looked her up and down, naked before him. He moved to crawl back over her and kissed her, needing a moment to savor her. He took one hand and brought it to her center feeling how wet she already was. He smiled thinking dream him already did all the foreplay. She moaned into his mouth and reached to undo his pants. She managed to get them loose in record time and used her feet to push them all the way down his legs. Her urgency was not lost on Jamie, making him chuckle as he kicked his pants off completely. She moved her hands back between them reaching down for him but Jamie caught her hands with his pushing them above her head.

“Slow down” he said again. “I dinna want this to be over too soon” he said with a smirk. Claire could feel his member hard and warm against her center and cried out as Jame slowly rubbed himself against her, coating himself in her wetness. “Are ye sure we dinna need a condom?” he asked. Claire shook her head.

“I need you” she gasped. “I need you now” she said squirming beneath him to get him to move. Jamie grinned and reached down and lined himself up with her entrance. He pushed into her slowly, watching her face as he did. Claire moaned in pleasure. She reached her hands around his back pulling him closer to her. Jamie held still as soon as he was completely sheathed by her. He dropped his head into her neck, overwhelmed by the feeling of her.

“Christ yer sae tight” he groaned, his accent thick with arousal.

“It’s been so long” she breathed out enjoying the way he stretched and filled her. “God you feel good” she said, running her hands along his sides and back.

Jamie lifted his head to look at her face. He loved the flush of arousal he saw on her cheeks. Their eyes locked as he began to move. His thrusts slow and sure, making her pant out on his every move. Claire rolled her hips in perfect synchronization with his. Jamie reached down and grabbed her thigh, hitching it over his hip. This tilted her pelvis just right causing him to hit her sweet spot on every thrust.

“Ohhhh god” she moaned out. Jamie felt her squeeze once around him, signaling her imminent release. He picked up his speed, lifting up on his arms to better see her. He wanted to see her face when she fell over the edge. She had her eyes closed and her head pushed back into the pillow. He reached a hand up to cup the side of her face.

“Give me yer mouth Sassenach.” Claire opened her eyes and looked at him before lifting her head and meeting his lips. The kiss was more of a brief touching of lips as they were both gasping for air and found it difficult to maintain contact. Jamie rotated his hips against her and felt her quiver around him again. “That’s it. Come for me Claire” he encouraged, pushing into her firmly. He felt his release fast approaching but wanted to get her there first. “Come…. Let me feel ye.”

Claire’s orgasm hit her like a tidal wave at the sound of his coaxing words. Her legs locking around his, her nails digging into his back and his name falling from her lips in raspy release. Jamie thrust a few more times, dragging out her orgasm as long as he could before he too fell over the edge.

“Oh god Claire” he groaned, halting his movements as he spilled inside her. Her body milking him of all he had to offer.

Jamie looked into her eyes and was once again overwhelmed with his feelings for her. He leaned down and kissed her to keep the words of love from tumbling out of his mouth. He didn’t want the first time he spoke the words to be cheapened by sex. He didn’t want her to think that he said them only because they slept together. So he kissed her tenderly pouring out his love into the kiss. He pulled back and just looked at her, trying to read her glass face.

Claire smiled at him and reached up to stroke his face. She felt like she had fallen irrevocably in love with him. She already realized that she was falling for him weeks ago, but in that moment she knew there was no going back. No letting him go without losing her heart. It was a powerful emotion. It made her heart soar but also scared the crap out of her. What if he didn’t feel the same? What if he never felt the same?

Jamie dropped his head into the crook of her neck before he tried to roll off of her. She pressed her hands into his back holding him still, needing the contact.

“Not yet” she breathed into his ear. Jamie felt his strength slipping away with the after shocks of his orgasm.

“I dinna want to crush ye” he said rolling to his left, hearing her let out a breathy hiss as he slipped from her body. He pulled her with him as he rolled onto his back. They were both quiet, trying to get their breathing back to normal. Both letting their hand stroke the others skin and basking in the afterglow of intimacy.

“So was that better than yer dreams Sassenach?” Jamie asked looking down at her. Claire tipped her head back on his chest to look at him and smiled.

“Yes. Definitely worth the wait” she teased kissing his chest. He smiled then leaned down and kissed her head.

“Let me get ye a wet cloth” he said making to rise. She smiled broadly. Never had a man been concerned about her comfort after sex. She placed her hand in the center of his chest pushing him back down.

“Stay. I am going to jump in the shower soon anyways” she said to him. Jamie settle back down content to just hold her for a while before they both had to get up and start getting ready for the ball.

Chapter Text

Claire and Jamie parted ways to get ready for the ball. Jamie had informed her that after the ball he would quietly move into her room for the night. Claire smiled thinking about how she would get to sleep in his arms as she got into the shower. She felt a twinge of sadness as she washed the smell of Jamie off her skin, but for the most part she felt blissfully happy. She relished the heady feeling of new love as she got ready for the evening.

She did her own hair and make up……. no glam squad for her she thought with an audacious chuckle. Pulling her dress out of the garment bag, she was happy to see that it remained uncreased. She was also relieved that she would be able to get into it on her own and wouldn’t have to ask anyone for help.

The dress was a red trumpet fit halter top evening gown that hugged her in all the right places. It had a deep v-neckline that dropped to just below her breasts. There were two straps that dropped from where the dress hooked at the top of her back down along each of her shoulder blades and coming to criss cross under her breasts and around to her lower back where the dress zipped, making the dress backless. It had a sweep train that just barely dragged the floor behind her.

Claire moved to the ornate full length mirror that stood in the corner of the room. She smiled at her reflection knowing that Jamie would definitely appreciate this dress and the fact that she had to forgo knickers to avoid unsightly lines. She looked at the clock and noticed it was a quarter to eight. Jamie told her he would meet her at the bottom of the stairs at ten till. She added diamond drop earrings and a diamond tennis bracelet she got from her Uncle Lamb on her eighteenth birthday and strapped on a pair of peep toe ankle strap stiletto heels in the same shade of red as her dress.

***************

Jamie was stepping out of Mr. Dunsany’s downstairs study. They were just going over what to expect during the evening. He pulled his phone out of his pocket to check the time. He had just under ten minutes until the time he told Claire he would meet her so he headed for the stairs to wait for her.

Geneva was making her way down the stairs as he stepped up to them. She wore a full length light blue ball gown that had off the shoulder sleeves and a slit all the way to her upper thigh. Even Jamie couldn’t deny that she looked lovely.

“Jamie!” she exclaimed. “You look dashing. I don’t think I have ever seen you in a kilt before” she remarked giving him a flirtatious smile. Jamie was dressed in full formal Scottish attire with a Prince Charlie jacket, waist coat and bow tie, a leather sporran and kilt.

“Ah……. You look nice as well” he said trying not to encourage her. “The blue suits ye.” He felt a little awkward trying not to say anything she would interpret as flirting.

“The color reminded me of your eyes” she said smiling at him. Jamie was saved from commenting by John making his way down the stairs.

“I thought the kilt was only for weddings?” John said to him as he stepped off the stairs.

“Good evening John. I thought I would go a bit more traditional for the evening and represent my country and heritage” he said. “Guest’s will be drinking Scottish whisky after all.”

John leaned in to whisper in Jamie’s ear, “Did you tell Claire?” Jamie shook his head.

“I will tell her after the ball. I dinna want her to feel awkward all evening.”

“Oh Jamie…... did I tell you that Abigail is here? She will be sitting with us this evening. She is going to be thrilled to see you again” Geneva exclaimed, interrupting them.

Abigail was Geneva’s best friend and they were two peas in a pod. She was the daughter of Mr. Dunsany’s best mate from university, who owns several of the hops fields that Mr. Dunsany does business with. Both girls grew up spoiled and very self centered making them quite compatible. Jamie often wonders what he ever saw in Geneva. Of coursed she is beautiful but he now realizes all her charm was fake and just a way to get what she wanted.

“Care to escort me into the ballroom?” Geneva asked Jamie, holding her hand out to him.

“Nay. I’m…..” Jamie was interrupted by John’s sudden intake of breath and looked over at him.

John’s eyes were focused on the top of the stairs making Jamie turn to see what he was reacting to. His eyes fell on a vision in red. He almost felt like the wind had been knocked from him as he took in the sight of Claire standing at the top of the staircase. He couldn’t seem to get his feet to move as she started to make her way down the steps slowly. She looked like she was trying to hold in a laugh as she looked at him. The expression on his face must be comical he thought as sense was coming back to him. He managed to make it up three steps before she made it to him. He reached out to take her hand and lead her down the last few steps. She smiled realizing that words must be failing him.

“You look stunning Claire” John said smiling at her. “It seems Jamie is speechless” he teased, laughing at his friend who hadn’t taken his eyes off Claire.

“Thank you John. You clean up quite well yourself” she said grinning at him before shifting her eyes to the other woman in the group. “You look lovely Geneva” she complimented her.

“Thank you” Geneva said coolly. “We really should make our way into the ballroom” she announced.

“John would ye escort Geneva in? We will be right behind ye” Jamie said, finally finding his voice. He still hadn’t taken his eyes off Claire. John mumble a humorous ‘of course’ and lead Geneva in the direction of the ballroom.

“Jamie we...” Claire started but was interrupted by Jamie’s lips on hers. The kiss was sudden but soft and was over before she had a chance to even respond.

“Ye look incredible Sassenach” he told her as his brain registered that his finger were touching bare skin. “Turn for me” he asked her taking a step back. Claire smiled, lifted the hem of her dress and turned slowly so that Jamie got the full effect of her dress. He let out a low whistle. He pulled her back to him. “Tisn’t very far from here….” he whispered in her ear as he skimmed his fingers along the skin of her lower back just above her dress “….to here” he moved his hand down a few inches and cupped her backside and Claire gasped lightly at his touch. “I hope I dinna have to hit anyone this evening cause the gents are going to be all over ye mo ghaol.” He kissed her forehead as he stepped back from her.

“I should find a gaelic translation app on my phone so I can find out what you are saying to me” she said with a teasing smile. Jamie just gave her that adorable side smile and held out his arm for her to take, without offering to translate.

They stepped into the ballroom and Claire looked around in amazement and suddenly felt like she stepped into a scene from a historical romance novel. The ballroom was enormous with a large number of round dinning tables surrounding a huge dance floor on three sides and a stage on the forth. A member of the wait staff showed them to their assigned table.

Each table sat eight people and was set formally like you would find in a five star fine dining establishment. Claire had already assumed it would be fancier than anything she had ever attended after their ‘informal’ lunch that afternoon.

They were shown to a table where the Dunsany’s were sitting along with John and a woman Claire did not know. They were the last to arrive and the only empty seats were between Isobel and Geneva and John and Mr. Dusnany. Claire moved to the seat the waiter was indicating for her between the men, a little put off by not getting to sit next to Jamie but at least both John and Mr. Dunsany were delightful company.

“Oh Claire I will trade with you” Isobel stood up before Claire had a chance to sit down.

“That goes against the seating arrangements Isobel” Geneva bit out.

“It isn’t going to hurt anything if we switch seats Gen. Claire should obviously sit next to Jamie” Isobel told her sister as she moved to the other side of John and sat down. Jamie held the now vacant seat on John’s left out for Claire. Jamie then took his spot between Claire and Geneva.

“How nice to see you Jamie. Gen told me you were going to be here” the woman sitting next to Geneva addressed Jamie. Jamie smile tightly at her before making introductions.

“Good to see ye too Abby. Claire this is Abigail Taylor, Geneva’s best friend. Abigail this is my girlfriend Dr. Claire Beauchamp” Jamie introduced them. “Abigail’s father is a close friend of Mr. Dunsany’s” Jamie expanded.

“Well you have yourself quite the catch here Doc. I never knew Jamie had such great legs” Abigail teased sarcastically.

“It seems ye haven’t changed much. Are ye still with that one fellow? What was his name? Harry?” Jamie asked as if he already knew the answer.

“Henry, and no. He didn’t last too terribly long past the one month mark” she said taking a rather large sip of her wine. And just like lunch Claire was once again wondering how they all seemed to know each other so well. “Too bad John plays for the other team” she teased winking at John.

“That and blonds aren’t really my type” John quipped. He leaned over to whisper in Claire’s ear “I’ve never been happier to be gay in my whole life.” Making Claire giggle.

“So Doctor, are you sponsoring the ball tonight as well?” Abigail asked.

“No. I am only a first year resident. I don’t run my own practice” Claire answered. Hoping she understood that Claire didn’t have the kind of clout needed to sponsor an event like this without saying so outright.

“Oh” Abigail said curtly.

Jamie, unsure why Abby would ask something like that put in “I invited Claire as my date”. He sounded a bit short as he said it and Claire looked from his face to hers and back, wondering how on earth they knew each other. They obviously knew each other fairly well but it seemed that perhaps they didn’t always get along or found enjoyment picking at each other. She would have to ask him but she figured it could wait until after the ball.

It wasn’t long before the tables in the ballroom filled up. Many people stopped to speak to Mr. Dunsany with some also greeting John and Jamie as well. Soon dinner was served by an astounding number of wait staff. Claire could only fathom how much an event like this cost to put together. No wonder Mr. Dunsany needed sponsors for the event. It must have saved quite a bit of quid just having Jamie’s company provide the whisky and wine.

The dinner of roast beef and traditional sides was quite delicious and John and Isobel kept Claire in conversation throughout the meal. They had obviously been friends for a long time and had many entertaining stories to tell. Claire would stroke Jamie’s hand, that he kept place firmly on her left thigh, to let him know that she wasn’t completely ignoring him. If there wasn’t someone coming up to the table to speak to Jamie, Geneva and Abigail kept up conversation with him.

Soon the band started playing and dancing had begun. Desert orders were taken for those who wanted any. Claire had declined, simply enjoying the lovely red wine that her glass seemed to be in infinite supply of thanks to the efficient staff. Claire usually wasn’t one for dry wine but she found she really like this one.

“What is this?” she asked Jamie, motioning to the wine before taking another sip.

“Bordeaux. It pairs well with the roast” he told her with a smile.

“Did you inquire about the menu ahead of time or something?” Claire asked with a smile.

“Of course. Ye didna think I would just put out any type of wine now did ye?” he replied taking a sip of his own wine. “Though there is a selection on hand for anyone who wants something different.” He smiled at her as if his statement had a different meaning entirely. He put his arm around the back of her chair and moved in closer to her to whisper in her ear. “Do ye like the wine Sassenach?” His breath was warm on the skin of her neck and a shiver moved through her. She wanted more than anything to feel his lips on her in that moment.

“Mmhmm” was the only reply she could make at the moment. She faintly heard Abigail ask John to dance before she heard him respond.

“I actually promised the first dance to Claire” he said pulling Claire out of Jamie’s trance quite suddenly when John turned to her. “Claire?” he held his hand out to her and gave her a pleading look, asking her quite clearly to play along.

“Of course” she said with a smile. She stood, giving Jamie a quick wink before letting John lead her to the dance floor. John was quite the dancer and she found that she didn’t have to concentrate on her feet as he lead her though the dance and she was able to converse easily.

“Not a fan of Abigail’s I take it” she commented smiling up at him with humor.

“She is just very spoiled and is relentless when it comes to getting what she wants. Her and Geneva are alike in that way. Abigail has it in her head that one day I will wake up and see the light that I am actually in love with her.” John explained. Claire chuckled at his disgusted expression.

“Ah. So how do you and the Dunsany’s know each other so well?” Claire questioned, hoping that his answer would shed some light on Jamie’s relationship with the family.

“My family lived next door to their main residence in London. Isobel and I pretty much grew up together. She was the first person to know I was gay and I didn't even have to tell her” he said with a smile. She guessed that John must be the link between Jamie and the family and now it has extended to business. Makes sense she thought.

“Isobel does seem very different from Geneva. Were you friends with her also?” she asked as her eyes were drawn over John’s shoulder to where Jamie was in conversation with a group of people.

“No. She is eighteen months older than Isobel so she always acted more superior when friends were around, though Izzy always said they were really close.” John gave a little shrug. “And like I said Geneva always acted like a spoiled brat. I don’t know how two sisters could be so different.”

“May I?” Claire suddenly heard Jamie’s voice as he stepped up to cut in just has the song ended and a new one began.

“Of course” John took a step back from her, lifting her hand and placing a kiss on the back of it. “Thank you for being my hero” he said to Claire with a smile.

Jamie took Claire into his arms, pulling her close. Claire smiled up at him contentedly as they began to sway slowly to the music.

“I noticed there were quite a few people talking to you. Are you making business connections?” she inquired. Jamie let out a breathy chuckle.

“They were actually men asking about ye” he informed her. “They all thought ye were here with John and wanted to know just how serious the two of ye were.”

“And did you set them straight?” she asked, entertained by his amusement with the situation rather than him being jealous.

“I simply said it was serious enough” he grinned. “Let them think what they want.”

***************

Meanwhile Geneva watched the pair from the side of the dance floor. Watched as they smiled sickeningly at each other. Watched as his hands sat a little too low on her back. Watched as Claire’s eyes said how much she wanted him to kiss her and watched as Jamie’s said how much he wanted to kiss her. She was going to have to up her game. It was obvious that Claire didn’t know about her past relationship with Jamie. She couldn’t imagine the fine doctor would be so friendly to her if she did. Maybe she could use that to her advantage.

She moved along the outside of the dance floor in search of a fresh drink. Vowing to keep her eyes on the duo and strike when the timing was right.

***************

Claire was introduced to a number of people she would never remember. Jamie was trying to secure connections for charities rooted in Scotland as well as working toward the expansion of the distillery. She didn’t understand most of what was being discussed but stood firmly at his side in support. She got a bit of a respite when Mr. Dunsany asked her to dance, telling her she looked as if she was in need of rescuing before she perished of boredom. He spent their dance asking about her family and where she grew up. Claire’s eyes often drifted to Jamie who was now dancing with Geneva. They were talking and he neither looked happy or bothered.

Mr. Dunsany escorted Claire back to their table when their dance ended. A moment later Jamie walked up alone.

“Jamie it is nearly time for the sponsors to speak. We should make our way to the stage” Mr. Dunsany said slapping him on the back. Jamie smiled and turned to Claire.

“I will return shortly” he told her leaning in and kissing her cheek before moving off in the direction of the stage with Mr. Dunsany.

Claire thought this would be the best time to escape to the loo. She made her way out of the ballroom in the direction of where she was told the ladies room was. Jamie told her that an actual multi-stall bathroom had been constructed down the hall just for large events like this. She stepped into a lush powder room that held four stalls and four sinks. There were two large floor to ceiling mirrors at each end of the room along with well lit mirrors hanging above each sink. The restroom was empty so Claire chose the closest stall to do her business. As she sat she heard someone come in.

“So what is up with Jamie and that doctor” Claire’s ears perked up at Jamie’s name.

“If the time I spent in Paris with him recently says anything it won’t last” Claire heard a voice she knew to be Geneva’s say. The women laughed and continued the conversation.

“I know at the time I was hung up on Henry, but you never did tell me why Jamie broke off your engagement” the woman who Claire now realized was Abigail mumbled. She must be reapplying her lipstick. Claire’s stomach dropped when she mentioned engagement. So Jamie had been engaged to Geneva? Claire suddenly felt like the lavish dinner along with all the wine she drank was going to come up. Why hadn’t Jamie ever told her he had been engaged and to Geneva to boot. She breathe in slowly willing herself to stay quiet and the contents of her stomach to stay down.

“I think he just needed time. The distillery was already doing quite well before we got together but as it expanded to multiple cities, work started to eat up a lot of his time” Geneva said nonchalantly as if she thought Jamie breaking off their engagement was no big deal or perhaps she thought that it really wasn’t the end and eventually they would get back together. Was she still in love with him? Claire never really paid attention to how Geneva reacted to Jamie. Any time she even got the slightest feeling about it, like seeing the picture from Paris, she put it down to her reading too much into it because of what happened with Frank.

“So you were with Jamie in Paris?” Abigail asked in a voice full of insinuation.

“Yes. I mean we went for business but you know what they say…….Paris is the city of love” Geneva told her friend.

“So you’re just biding your time while he has his fun with this doctor?” Abigail asked.

“Pretty much. Jamie and I have history and if Paris was any indication I know he still has feelings for me and I’m still crazy about him.”

“So I guess it’s a good thing I never got rid of my maid of honor dress” Abigail giggled. “Do you think he will wear a kilt when the two of you do get married?”

“Oh I hope so. I know for a fact that he is a true Scotsman” Geneva said her voice dripping with innuendo.

Claire felt like she had heard enough but she was stuck until they left if she wanted to avoid the embarrassment she would have to endure by exiting and letting them know that she heard everything. She literally felt her heart shattering in that moment. So something did happen between them in Paris and Geneva was convinced that not only would she and Jamie get back together but that they would marry someday. Claire knew she should have listened to her gut. This is how the Dunsany family knew Jamie so well. This is why he had a regular room here.

“Well we need to get back out before daddy speaks. It wouldn’t look good if I wasn’t there. I’m so happy I was able to talk daddy out of making me say anything” Claire heard the sounds of things being tossed back into a bag and soon the duo exited still making happy chatter.

Claire’s only thought now was to leave but she didn’t know how. They were way too far out in the country. It would take a car service forever and cost a fortune. Then it hit her. She pulled out her phone and held it in her hand as she quickly made her way back to the ballroom.

Geneva notice the second Claire walked back into the ballroom. She looked slightly panicked and like she was in a hurry. She smiled to herself for a job well done. She knew the conclusions that anyone listening would jump to when she said what she had in the bathroom. She couldn’t believe that this trick worked twice. She was never more grateful to have a nosy best friend who just so happened to say all the right things.

Claire looked around the stage and spotted Jamie with a group of gentlemen on the far side as Mr. Dunsany was coming off the stage on the opposite side closest to her. She made her way over to him.

“Mr. Dunsany can I trouble you for a moment?” she asked trying to keep her tone even.

“How can I help you” he responded smiling at her brightly.

“Could I trouble you for a ride into town. An emergency has come up at the hospital, a multi-casualty incident” she held up her phone in her hand. “They need all hands on deck so I need to catch the earliest train back to Edinburgh.”

“Of course my dear. I will call my driver and have him meet you out front as soon as possible.” Claire nodded her thanks giving him a tight smile and made to leave. “Should I get Jamie for you?” Claire stopped and turned back to him quickly shaking her head.

“No I already texted him and I know how important these charity connections are to him. I will see him when he gets back to Scotland” she lied, swallowing the lump that was forming in her throat. She knew she had no plans to see Jamie anytime soon past that evening….or ever again really. Mr. Dunsany nodded and Claire made her escape.

She rushed up to her room and hastily threw her belongings back in her bag. She looked at the bed that only hours ago she and Jamie had made love in. She could no longer hold in her tears and she didn’t care to. No one besides the driver was going to see her anyhow and she didn’t have to explain herself to him.

She didn’t waste time with changing. She would get a hotel room for the night and change there, then she would catch a train back to Edinburgh in the morning, making a bit of the story she told Mr. Dunsany semi-true. She did however switch her heels for her flats before grabbing the garment bag, folding it and shoving it into her bag.

Claire stopped at the door taking a deep breath and wiping away stray tears before making her way out and down the stairs. She made it to the front door before she heard Jamie’s voice calling her name. She didn’t turn around to see if he had spotted her, rushing out into the cool night and cursing the number of steps she had to navigate in her dress to make it down to the drive. She felt panic rise in her when she once again heard Jamie call out to her, his voice sounding worried and desperate. She refused to turn around and prayed that the car would pull up any second.

Suddenly Claire heard Jamie let out a startled cry followed by several grunts and the thumping sound of a body hitting something solid several times. Her blood ran cold at the sounds and she immediately turned to see Jamie land in a heap at the bottom of the steps. It seemed he had lost his footing and tumbled down the stairs. Claire gasped, the shock wiping away her need to flee as she dropped her bag and rushed to him.

“Jamie” she said kneeling down to assess if he had any injuries. Jamie grunted in pain as he rolled onto his back. “Be still” she said in a no nonsense voice.

“Claire...” Jame gasped out. He was in so much pain that his breaths were coming out in pants.

“Ssshhh” Claire shushed him running her hands over his head getting a sudden sense of déjà vu. She moved her hands down his neck and along his shoulders. “Jesus H Roosevelt Christ!” she exclaimed feeling that he had significantly dislocated his right shoulder. “Jamie” she called out to him. He had closed his eyes and she hoped he was still conscious. He opened his eyes to look at her and she sighed with relief. “You have a dislocated shoulder. Can you tell me if you hurt anywhere else?” She had to find out whether it was safe for him to be moved without being stabilized.

“Mostly my hand” he grunted and she noticed that he was cradling his right hand with his left. She pulled his left hand away to examine his other hand. He had some obvious broken fingers but luckily none that were compound. She could probably set them if he were sedated. She groped at the front of his belt trying to get to his sporan.

“I dinna think this is the best time tae be feeling me up Sassenach” Jamie teased his accent thick with pain.

“I’m looking for your phone” she stated sternly, touching him sexually being the farthest thing from her mind at the moment.

“Inside pocket of my jacket if…. I dinna lose it when I fell.”

“How far up were you when you fell?” Claire asked looking back up the stairs before reaching into his jacket to find his phone. It was still tucked into his pocket thankfully.

“I only made it down a few steps before I fell…..ahhh….christ I hurt” he groaned.

“I’m sure you do.” She was trying to remain calm and not let her feelings cloud her judgment of his care. She swiped his phone only stopping for a second when she saw his wallpaper was a picture of her that he must have snapped in the car earlier that day. She was asleep but she had a smile on her face. How quickly things change she thought. She opened his contacts and scrolled to John’s name and swiped to call him. “Hey I need you to come out to the front steps. Hurry, Jamie’s taken a fall” she told John on the phone. She hung up the phone “John is on his way out. Can you move your feet?” He wiggled his feet. “Can you lift your legs?” Jamie lifted one leg and then the other. “Good. I don’t think you have any spinal injuries. Do you think you can walk if John and I helped you or do I need to have John round up some more men to carry you?”

“Nay I think I can make it” he said as he tried to sit up which was hard and very painful with a dislocated shoulder. Claire winced a bit at his obvious pain.

“Goodness what happened?” They both turned their heads to see John making his way quickly down the steps.

“I thought I would see if I could fly” Jamie joked. “I cannae” he said with a pained smile.

“His right shoulder is dislocated along with two broken fingers that I know of. Can you help me get him inside?” she asked John. He nodded and moved to Jamie’s uninjured side to slide his arm under Jamie’s to hoist him up. Claire was on his injured side. “Hold your right hand to your chest. It is the only way to stabilize it at the moment. It is going to hurt to move.”

Jamie nodded. “I already hurt.” Claire reached down with her right hand and slid her fingers into the waistband of his kilt, gripping his belt, relieved to find that it fit snugly.

“Jamie I want you to bend your right knee up so that you can stand with that foot and lean the bulk of your weight toward John.” She looked at John to see if he was ready and he gave her a sharp nod. “Okay on the count of three…….one…...two…….three.” John did most of the heavy lifting, while Claire helped by pulling Jamie up by his belt and keeping her left hand on his lower back to avoid any backwards momentum. Claire looked at Jamie’s face to see how he was. He was breathing hard and his face had drained of color. Claire knew what was going to happen before the words came out of his mouth.

“I’m gonna be sick” he said as he leaned forward and vomited.

“Bloody hell” John exclaimed, as he gripped Jamie’s arm and shoulder so he wouldn’t fall forward.

“It’s from shock and pain. Completely normal” Claire said. She gave Jamie a moment to be sure he wasn’t going to be sick again before they began to help him back up the steps and into the house.

They got him to a front sitting room. Claire carefully removed his jacket and waistcoat to better assess the extent of his injuries.

“John can you go get a bottle of the strongest whisky they have on hand?” He looked at her quizzically. “I need to set his shoulder and fingers and it is going to be extremely painful. Better he be blind drunk and if he doesn’t pass out from the pain maybe the whisky will do it” she explained.

“Got it” he said before leaving the room quickly. Jamie sat on the sofa and Claire began untying his tie without saying a word. Once it was removed she started on the buttons of his shirt, pulling it free from his kilt when she made it to the bottom.

“I have dreamed of ye removing my clothes so many times over the last month” he flirted, reaching out with his uninjured hand, placing it on her hip, letting his fingers caress her. Claire stiffened, his touch affecting her like it always does but her mind telling her it was wrong. She reached down and removed his hand from her without say anything and continued what she was doing, pulling the top of his shirt back to expose the back of his injured shoulder.

“Claire...what is going on? Why were ye leaving?” he asked his voice pained in an entirely different way.

Claire sighed not ready to talk about it. “It’s not important right now” she said pushing her fingers along his trapezius and deltoid muscles trying to feel for any significant damage, making him hiss in pain.

“Like hell it’s not important” he said not letting it drop. Claire was saved from having to talk about it by John coming back in followed by Mr. Dunsany.

“Should I call for an ambulance?” Mr. Dunsany inquired looking at Jamie and then at Claire.

“I don’t think that will be necessary. I can set the bones but then he will need to go to the closest A&E for proper x-rays” Claire told them, taking the bottle from John and handing it to Jamie. “You’ll need this.” She handed him the whisky and started to leave the room.

“Claire dinnae leave me” Jamie called out and Claire turned to look at him, her resolve nearly crumbling with the pleading look on his face.

“I’ll be right back. Just fetching my phone” she said. “Mr. Dunsany you can return to the ball. We have this well in hand and I will be sure that you are kept appraised of his condition” she told the older gentleman and motioned to the door.

“Of course. Thank you dear” he said walking toward her. “Ladies first” he said and Claire exited the room ahead of him.

“What the hell is going on?” John asked Jamie.

“I dinna ken. Claire was leaving and I was following her and I just lost my feet and went down the front steps.”

“Leaving? Why was she leaving”

“Like I said... I dinna ken” he winced when he tried to shrug his shoulders out of habit and took a long swig of whisky straight from the bottle.

****************

Claire went outside and collected her bag that she left at the foot of the stairs. She noticed Mr. Dunsany’s driver was parked in the drive and told him that she would be a while but still needed a ride. He nodded and said he would wait right there.

Jamie was quite tipsy when she returned. Good. Hopefully he wouldn’t remember the pain he was about to endure.

“I’m going to set the shoulder first” she announced to the two men. She reached down and unbuckled Jamie’s belt, pulling it free from his kilt. “John I will need you to hold him as still as possible.” She handed Jamie his belt. “You will need to bite down on this.” She grabbed his wrist, being sure not to jostle his hand. She pushed his elbow into his side and rotated his arm outward and then lifted up and felt when his shoulder reduced. Jamie didn’t make a sound through the process and she pulled the belt from between his teeth and wrapped it around his body to use as a sling when she finished with his fingers. She looked at his face and noticed he had gone white again. She moved to the side in case he decided to give up the whisky he drank. Instead he sat back slowly and promptly passed out. Well that should make setting his fingers a bit easier she thought.

She got to work on his hand aligning his two broken fingers. She informed John that he needed to use the belt as a sling until they got to the hospital and told him she already called the hospital and let them know they would need an ortho specialist on stand by. Jamie still hadn’t regained consciousness by the time she finished but he was breathing deep and even and his pulse was steady so she wasn’t too worried.

“Can you take him to the A&E?” she asked.

“Of course” he said looking at her. “Claire what’s going on?” Claire felt tears suddenly sting the back of her eyes at his gentle inquiry. She pinched the bridge of her nose to hold them in.

“I can’t” is all she said. Just then Geneva and her father entered the room.

“Daddy said Jamie had been hurt” she said looking around the room before her eyes fell on him. “Oh my god Jamie!” She rushed to him her hands cupping his face. Claire felt her inside clench in revulsion and knew she had to get away now.

“Well I will leave him in your care” she said to no one in particular and left.

She left the house and then the next morning she left England and worse yet, she left her heart.


So I figured out how to embed a picture so this is Claire's dress 🙂👗

Chapter Text

It had been ten days since Claire returned from England. Ten days of thinking too much. Ten days of text messages and denied calls. She even refused to answer John’s calls in case it was Jamie calling from John’s phone. She did however text John a simple ‘thank you’.

Between John and Jamie’s text and from what Geillis would tell her, she was kept apprised of Jamie’s condition. He was referred to the ortho surgeon at her hospital. Turns out Jamie had to have a surgery to put in tiny screws and plates to hold his fracture fingers in place. Geillis got to assist on the surgery and came home going on about how his fingers being properly set made it so much easier to repair the two shaft fractures. “Tis amazing how well ye were able to align em without having any scans” she said in aw when she came home after the surgery last week.

She was grateful she was working the opposite shift the day of his surgery so he was sent home before she had to go in. That didn’t keep him from texting her though. He texted her before he left home to go to the hospital. He texted her when he got there. He texted her before he went in the OR and he even texted when he first woke up from anesthesia. That text was rather amusing after she was able to figure out what it even said. Something about having a robotic hand. Every other text was asking her what happened and begging her to talk to him.

The texts and calls slowed down around the one week post-ball mark. Claire didn’t know if she was relieved by that or sad. Sad….that was definitely her primary emotion over the last ten days. She was confused by Jamie’s persistence with calling and texting after she left. He was now free to go back to Geneva without any baggage from her. A clean break so to speak.

She had the day off and was just lounging on the couch trying to find something on the television to watch that didn’t remind her of her current situation. She had managed not to cry at all that day and wanted to keep it that way. Maybe a comedy would keep her spirits up. And that is how Geillis found her.

“Hey” she said walking in and plopping down on the couch. Claire had to pull her feet back quickly to keep from being sat on. “Sae are ye going to tell me what’s goin’ on now? And before ye say nothing just ken that I ken that’s a lie. Yer man is desperate to talk to ye” Geillis pried.

“He is not my man” Claire mumble.

“Oh aye? Out with it then” Geillis reached up and nudged her friends knees that were drawn up, as if that would help get the words out of Claire’s mouth. “Was he that bad in the sack?” she said in true Geillis fashion. Claire rolled her eyes and took a deep breath to ready herself to talk about it for the first time.

“I found out he was engaged to Geneva and apparently there is still something there” she said slowly, not wanting to have to repeat it.

“He told ye this?” Geillis asked with wide eyes as she pulled her feet under her and turned towards Claire in interest.

“No and that is part of the issue. I actually overheard Geneva and her friend talking about it in the ladies room and according to her something happened in Paris between her and Jamie a couple weeks ago.” Claire then went on to tell her everything she had heard, all the way down to Geneva knowing what Jamie wears under his kilt. “If there was nothing between them then why wouldn’t Jamie tell me about his past with her?” Claire hated that she felt tears beginning to sting her eyes again. Geillis didn’t comment right away which was unlike her. She just reached over and grabbed Claire’s hand, stroking her thumb over her knuckles.

“I ken this isnna what ye want to hear, but I think ye need to talk to Jamie. Get the truth of it and some closure. Ye need to do something other than work and mope. Then maybe Jamie will quit calling and texting me to find out what’s going on because obviously he dosena ken ye know all this” she said sounding a bit exasperated. Geillis looked at her and Claire shook her head, trying her damnedest to keep the tears at bay. Geillis knit her brows reading Claire like a book. “Ye fell in love with him didn’t ye?” she prodded softly. Claire didn’t answer just covering her face with her hands.

Claire’s phone buzzed from it’s spot on the coffee table and Geillis reached for it before Claire could. “Well here’s yer chance” she said with a sigh. “Get it over with. Just rip the plaster off already.” She tossed the phone in Claire’s lap. Claire looked at it seeing it was a text from Jamie.

Jamie: Claire please talk to me. I miss you.

Claire stared at her phone for a while. Did she even want to hear what he had to say for himself? Would it make her feel any better? She didn’t think so but maybe it would end the limbo they were in and they could both move on. “Fine” she said more to herself than her friend and began to reply for the first time in ten days.

Claire: Fine let’s talk

She started to type I miss you too but quickly deleted and hit send. She immediately saw the three dots flashing that he was replying.

Jamie: Thank Christ! Can you come have lunch with me at my office?

“He asked if I can come have lunch with him” she told Geillis who was trying to peer over her knees to see Claire’s phone. Claire quickly typed her agreement.

Claire: See you in an hour then.

“Well get up off yer arse and get dressed” Geillis said pushing Claire’s feet off the couch. They both stood and Gellis gave her another little shove. “Something sexy so he kens what he’s losing.”

Claire didn’t care all that much about being sexy. She dressed in a pair of skinny jeans and a sweater. Comfort is what she needed, especially when she knew she was going to be an emotional wreck. She put on some light make-up and spritzed her hair to freshen her curls and tame the frizz. She thought she looked fine, if not the look Geillis would want her to have.

She walked back into the sitting room to grab her phone that she left on the couch. Geillis just shook her head at her. “When will the day come that ye take my advice?” she said sarcastically.

“Well I did agree to the blind date that started all this didn’t I” Claire retorted and snatched her phone off the couch. Geillis stood and pulled her friend in for a hug.

“I’m here if ye need me” she gave her a quick squeeze before pulling back. Claire felt herself begin to tear up again. She doesn’t know what she did to deserve such an amazing best friend. “And if ye need me tae off him just ken I can make it look like an accident” she put in making Claire smile which was her goal.

***************

“Claire!” Laoghaire said seemingly surprised to see her as Claire stepped into the lobby of Jamie’s office. Laoghaire sat behind a high reception desk making Claire wondered how many people actually came to the office to see Jamie in a day.

“Hi Laoghaire. Is Jamie available?” she asked, not quite sure what Jamie’s work protocol was. Did he inform Laoghaire that she was coming? It didn’t seem like he had.

“He is on a business call. Does he ken ye were coming?” she asked, proving that Jamie most definitely didn’t tell her.

“Yes” she said simply, giving the girl a small smile. Laoghaire looked down at her computer and started typing. It was a moment before she looked back up at Claire.

“I messaged him to let him know ye’re here and he said he will only be a moment. Ye can have a seat” Laoghaire said gesturing to a group of chairs.

Claire sat down in one of the dark gray leather chairs trying not the think about how they reminded her of Jamie’s couch and how he had made her feel like a teenager fooling around on it. Right now she felt nervous and just really wanted to get this all over with. This whole situation was so much different then how she felt when her relationship ended with Frank. She felt mostly angry then. Not quite as heartbroken as you would think someone would feel when ending their marriage. She did feel sadness. Mostly mourning what she thought she had. Things were different this time though. It seemed anger was the lesser emotion with heartbreak and sadness taking over. Probably because she didn’t actually catch Jamie betraying her. Now she was mourning what could have been.

Claire was only sitting there for a few minutes, scrolling through her email, when someone else walked in. She didn’t look up from her phone until she heard the person speak to Laoghaire.

“Hey Laoghaire. I’m here to have lunch with Jamie” Geneva’s cheerful voice reached her ears and Claire’s head jerked up to see the back of Geneva standing at the desk. She was dressed in business attire, with black slacks and a blood red blouse, the same color Claire’s dress had been, and a pair of black patent leather Louboutin pumps.

“Umm…..Was he expecting ye?” Laoghaire asked nervously, her eyes darting to Claire. Geneva turned to see who she was looking at. Her eyes widened only for a moment when she saw Claire.

“Claire” she said with false cheerfulness, as if she was happy to see her there. Her act faltered a bit when she asked “What are you doing here?” Claire didn’t know what was going on. Why would Jamie ask her to come have lunch at his office if Geneva was also having lunch with him? Did he really think she would want to have lunch with him and Geneva? She never would have thought him to be that daft.

“You know, I honestly don’t know” she answered Geneva, putting on a fake smile of her own. She stood and pulled the strap of her purse over her shoulder before turning to leave the office.

“Claire” she froze with her hand on the door handle upon hearing his voice. The sound of it slicing through her straight to her heart making her gasp. She stood still, debating whether to just walk out or turn and face the music. She counted her heartbeats pounding in her ears and finally turned when she reached ten. She didn’t want to be a coward.

She should have prepared herself for the sight of him. He stood just outside his office door looking like him…. but not. He wore a suit with no jacket. His tie was pulled loose, as if he had been tugging on it. The sleeve on his injured arm was rolled up to his elbow to accommodate the soft cast he wore cradled in a sling. He looked tired...very tired, and his hair was a bit disheveled, like he had been running his hand through it all morning. His eyes were intent on her and once her eyes met his she couldn’t look away.

“Laoghaire, will ye please clear my schedule for the rest of the day. I recently order lunch so after it arrives ye may take the rest of the day off” Jamie said without taking his eyes off of Claire. Laoghaire gave a small ‘aye’ and started typing again. He didn’t even seem to register that Geneva was there yet. She took a deep breath to prepare herself to bow out gracefully.

“I...ah…” She was finding that words felt thick on her tongue and she was having trouble formulating what she wanted to say. “I um…….I think it would be best if I didn’t join you on your lunch date” she finally got the words out. Jamie’s brow knit in confusion. She just shifted her eyes to Geneva and gave her a tight smile. “It was good to see you again Geneva” she managed before turning once more to leave then stopped again at Jamie calling out to her. Why couldn’t she just leave? Why did he have this pull on her?

“Claire wait...please.” His voice was pleading. She felt her heart squeeze again, wishing that she could just be angry. If she was angry it would be so much easier to walk away. “I dinna ken why ye are cutting me off like this. Talk to me please.” The desperation rang clear in his voice. Claire took a deep breath. Buck up Beauchamp. A clean break remember….closure she thought to herself and turned back to him.

“Look, I don’t know what happened between the two of you in Paris and quite frankly I don’t want to know.” She shook her head and took another breath in through her nose before continuing. “I do know I don’t want to be your play thing when you have feelings for someone else. If you feel like you need to sow your oats before settling down that is your prerogative, but it won’t be with me” she said digging up a bit of that anger she wanted to begin with to say all of this.

Jamie was confused. He had no idea where she got the idea that he was just using her to ‘sow his oats’ as she put it. And he most definitely didn’t have feelings for someone else. He had been struggling for nearly two months just trying to contain his feelings for her. He looked over at Geneva for the first time wondering what the hell she was even doing there. She was picking at her cuticles as if nothing of interest to her was being discussed. That’s when it hit him. Geneva had obviously said something to Claire.

“What did ye tell her?” he practically roared at Geneva, making her jump.

“Jamie darling, I have no idea what you are talking about. The last time I talked to Claire was at the charity dinner and you were sitting right next to her” she said giving him an innocent look. His past experience with Geneva told him not to believe her. He turned to Claire.

“Claire, I dinna ken what ye are talking about. Why do ye think I’m playin’ ye false?” he asked her. Geneva just wore a sly grin. Now Claire would have to admit that she had eavesdropped and Jamie wouldn’t think too highly of that. She of course would say Claire misunderstood what she heard.

Claire didn’t really care at this point if either of them knew how she knew what she did. “I went to the ladies room at the ball, while I was using the loo Geneva came in with her friend and told her she knew you still had feelings for her because of what happened between the two of you in Paris” Claire informed him, crossing her arms over her chest. She had never seen Jamie angry, but there was no mistaking that he was becoming very very angry. “She truly didn’t say anything to me and I wasn’t trying to eavesdrop. I mean I was on the toilet…..what can you do?” she muttered trying to calm his anger. He turned to Geneva seething.

“What games are ye playin’ now?” he asked in such a cold, deadly serious tone that even Claire took a step back.

“I…… I’m sure I don’t know what you mean” she said with an attempt to seem innocently befuddled. “Why don’t you and I step into your office so we can talk alone” she suggested, reaching out and gripping his upper arm. Quite a brave move in Claire’s opinion if his clenching jaw was any indication.

“Liar!” his voice came out low and hard and a bit scarier than if he had shouted the word. He jerked his arm from her grip, turning towards her. “Nothing happened between us in Paris!” his voice was raising now. “Why are ye spreading falsehoods?” he said glowering at her now.

“Jamie!” she beseeched. “It wasn’t like that.”

Claire wasn’t sure what was happening but someone was lying and she just wanted to know the truth of it. She didn’t dare say anything though. It seemed Jamie was in a right strop.

“There is nothing between us!” he spat out. “As I made ye well aware of when we were in Paris. What part of I dinna want anything tae do with ye outside of work did ye not comprehend?” his accent thick with anger but he was sounding more exasperated now. Geneva said nothing. Her mouth opening and closing like a fish out of water.

Jamie turned to Claire and said in a much softer tone, “The only feelings I have had for Geneva for more than a year now has been anger and rage. I dinna even think she’s worth that most of the time but once again she has proven me wrong” he stated seriously.

“Jamie! You can not mean that!” Geneva exclaimed.

“Stop talking” he nearly shouted at her. “It was one thing tae hurt me with yer lies all those months ago but it is quite another to hurt Claire with yer wicked tongue whether ye were telling her to her face or not. Ye know Abigail cannae hold her tongue for anything. Ye wanted yer lies tae get to her. Ye wanted tae break us up so that there was nothing standing in yer way. Tis why yer here now isn’t it? Ye knew Claire heard yer lies and left. Ye thought I would just crawl back to ye, did ye?” He gave a humorless chuckle, shaking his head.

“Even if I had never met Claire I wouldna take ye back. Even if ye were the last lass on earth” he told her.

“Well! I don’t have to stand here and take this!” she said indignantly. She started to make her way towards where Claire was still standing by the door. She stopped just short of the door and turned back to Jamie. “All your new connections are thanks to me. I never should have texted daddy that night I saw you out at that Italian restaurant and insisted you be apart of the charity ball.” she said righteously. Jamie thought about what she said.

“Ye mean when I was out with Claire? Is that when this scheme of yers started?” Jamie asked.

“I’m in line to inherit daddy’s company now. We would have been perfect together…... Your loss. You will never partner with Helwater Brewery. I will make sure of it” she said egotistically.

“I have refused to partner with the company for a year now so tis’ inconsequential” Jamie said shrugging his good shoulder. “Yer lucky I have great respect for yer father because it would be only to easy to keep other distilleries from partnering with Helwater. My refusal was personal but now ye are actually meddling with yer father’s business for yer own selfish reasons. I dinna think that yer father will be to pleased to hear about it. Do ye still think ye will inherit once he finds out?” Geneva let out a huff before she turned and brushed past Claire, shoving her way through the door.

Claire was in a bit of shock as she stood there unmoving. She looked over to the desk, remembering that she wasn’t the only witness to what had just happened. Laoghaire sat as still as stone, her wide eyes darting from Jamie to her and back again. Claire looked back over at him and watched his shoulders sag in weariness and then he flinched slightly in pain, which spurred her next words.

“You should take something for the pain” she said softly.

“Probably, but those wee pills they gave me make me a bit off kilter. I need to have my heid for work” he told her.

“You know you really should be home resting” she admonished.

“Aye, weel I needed a distraction” his words came out softly. “Will ye come talk to me Sassenach?” he asked her with imploring eyes as he held his hand out toward his office. She gave a nod and moved towards him and the door to his office. She could smell him as she drew closer. The fact that his scent was still so arousing to her was not lost on her. It was a smell she would never be able to describe with words.

Just as they were about to enter his office the delivery man with their food came in. Jamie didn’t know if he would consider it perfect timing or not, but he supposed they could talk while they ate. The smell of the food he was handed, over powered the smell of her that had just filled his senses and he frowned. He placed his hand on the small of her back to guide her into his office and felt her shiver slightly.

Claire had never been to Jamie’s office before. It was situated on Princes St. There were floor to ceiling windows that made up one wall of the office with a spectacular view of Edinburgh Castle. It wasn’t as posh or modern as she expected it to be. It had a similar feel to his flat, with lots of books on shelves along one of the walls. There were plush armchairs situated near the windows with a small table between them. It looked... to put it simply… comfortable.

Jamie placed the food on the table and gestured for her to take a seat in one of the chairs while he sat in the chair adjacent to her and began pulling the food out.

“I ordered fish and chips with extra vinegar on the side” he said placing the paper wrapped food on a plate that vendor included in the bag and handing it over to her. She still wasn’t use to being with someone who actually listens to her and remembers the small things like the fact that she loves her fish and chips with extra vinegar.

“Thank you. This smells amazing” she said with genuine smile. They were both quite as they began to eat their food. Claire grabbed one of the bottled waters Jamie place on the table for them and took a sip, looking over at him picking at his food one handed. “Twenty questions” she said. He looked up at her, the corner of his mouth pulling up in that adorable way of his.

“Go on then” he said setting his food aside having only eaten a few bites.

“Were you really engaged to Geneva?” She figured she may as well be the one to start the conversation they needed to have and now she wasn’t all that sure if any of what she had heard Geneva say was true.

“Aye” he said simply. She didn’t expect to feel so gutted by the admission, after all she had known about it for the last ten days. Jamie noticed her reaction and watched as she pushed her food away. He needed to explain before she withdrew from him any more. “It wasn’t like a normal engagement. I didn’t have this moment where I just kent I had to spend the rest of my life with her. There was no agonizing over the selection of the perfect ring to live forever on her finger. I dinna propose with a grand gesture or any of the things that most people picture when ye get engaged to be merrit.”

Claire knew her confusion must show on her face. Frank didn’t make any grand gestures either when he had asked her marry him. It doesn’t always have to be like it is in movies or whatever. It also didn’t mean that he didn’t love Geneva. He was planning on spending the rest of his life with her for christ sakes. She took another sip of her water. There was obviously more to the story or she wouldn’t be here. “Go on” she encouraged.

“Well we met through John. We were having a celebratory party after the distillery expanded to Glasgow and John had invited Isobel who brought Geneva. Our relationship progress normally from there, or so I thought. She was charming and fun and I fell for it all.” He shook his head at his own naivete. He took a deep breath knowing he was getting to the meat of the story.

“About a year and a half ago, just before our one year anniversary, Geneva told me she was with child.” Jamie saw Claire’s eyes widen in shock but she said nothing so he continued. “It was the worst possible timing as the success of the distillery was increasing rapidly and I was swamped with work. Don’t get me wrong the growth of the distillery was amazing but now I was going to have to step back and reevaluate my life. I had already been thinking of breaking things off with Geneva because I just wasn’t able to devote as much time as I would want to a relationship and we just werena getting along.” Jamie ran his good hand through his hair. “At first I was angry because she had told me she was on birth control, but I kent I would not turn my back on her or my child.”

“So you proposed out of honor?“ she asked, figuring out how they came to be engaged. He nodded. “What happened to the baby?” Claire asked. He said he didn’t have any children on their first date. Did she lose the baby? Is that what tore them apart?

“There never was a bairn” he said simply and she could see the hurt in his eyes. She remained quiet to let him tell the story at his own pace. “She lied to me. Turns out her father cut her off financially before we got together. She was always with me for my money.” He stood suddenly and moved over to a shelf that held a variety of whiskys and pour himself a dram and swallowed it down quickly and then poured another. He walked over to the window and leaned his good hand against it, looking out sightlessly. “I proposed a week after she told me. It was summer so she was staying out at Helwater while I was here, swamped with work. It was the perfect set up to keep up the ruse. With her sister being a midwife she said that all her check-ups were handled at the estate with Isobel. I thought nothing of it.” He went quiet after that.

“How did you find out she wasn’t pregnant?” Claire asked, the suspense getting to her. Jamie shook his head as if he had been a million miles away and her voice brought him back.

“It was her favorite hobby that brought her down” he said turning slightly to look at her. “I decided to surprise her with a visit. When I got to Helwater she wasn’t home. Eventually I found Isobel and asked where she was.

Eighteen months ago

Jamie! What are you doing here?” Isobel exclaimed pulling him into a hug in the front foyer.

Came to surprise Gen” he said smiling at her. “Do ye ken where she is?”

Oh. There is a new riding camp that opened up near by and she volunteered to give a jumping demonstration for the kids.

Is that not dangerous in her condition?” Jamie asked in concern. He knew he didn’t know much about pregnancy but he didn’t think jumping horses was something that would be considered a safe activity for someone who is eighteen weeks pregnant.

Condition?” Isobel asked.

Aye. Wouldn’t jumping jostle the bairn” Jamie knit his brow. Why wasn’t she as concerned as he was. “What if she was thrown? That surely couldna be good for the pregnancy.”

Pregnancy? What on earth are you talking about?” Isobel asked looking at him as if he had gone mad.

Gen is eighteen weeks along. Aren’t ye the one seeing to her?” Jamie asked now as confused as Isobel seemed to be.

What!?” Isobel exclaimed. “I can assure you that Geneva isn’t pregnant. I’m sure I would know if she were even if she hadn’t ask me to grab her personal items when I went into town yesterday.… and I know Geneva can be what one would consider self-centered, but I don’t think she would put her own child in danger by going jumping.” Isobel said.

I dinna understand. She told me nearly three months ago that she was with child.” Jamie said trying to find out what was going on. “She said that ye were seein’ to her care. She even texted me an ultrasound picture.” Jamie pulled up the picture on his phone and showed it to her. She looked at the ultrasound picture, enlarging it slightly.

Ah Jamie…… I don’t know how to tell you this, but this isn’t an ultrasound from Geneva” she informed him. “See the date right here?” She pointed to a set of numbers at the top of the scan. “This is a scan from over two years ago and Gen has never been pregnant….. looks like the name of the patient has been cropped out of this picture but this isn’t hers”

I dinna ken that that was a date. There are so many numbers on it.” He stared at the ultrasound that he had looked at every day since she sent it to him. Thinking that he was seeing the first bit of evidence of his child. It suddenly hit him that she had been lying to him.

Why would she lie to me about something like this?” Jamie said out loud to no one in particular.

Do you want to know what I think?” Isobel asked. Jamie looked at her and nodded, still trying to wrap his head around this discovery. “I think she did it to keep you.” She saw the uncertainty on his face and continued. “I mean it was obvious that the two of you were growing apart” she explained.

“Geneva walked in and I confronted her. She said she knew that I already had one foot out the door and had to think of a way to make me stay. That we were perfect together. That I could provide for her and keep up with her lifestyle. That is when I kent it was all about the quid” he said in disgust. “I told John what had happened and that is when I found out about her father cutting her off. He felt guilty that he ever introduced us. He did warn me that she was self absorbed but he dinna ken that she was a gold digging bitch.”

Claire could hear the anger in his voice and saw his jaw and fist clench simultaneously. She stood and walked over to him, lacing her fingers through his on his good hand to comfort him. He clung to her hand as if this was the last time he would get to touch her.

“Dinnae leave me Claire” he implored, looking down at her. She didn’t say anything and Jamie figure he had nothing to lose at this point and decided to tell her just how he feels. “I love ye and I canna lose ye.”

Chapter Text

Claire knew that he needed her to say something but she was sure anything she said right at that moment would come out a jumbled mess because she wasn’t sure if she wanted to laugh, cry or jump for joy. She did the only thing she could think of. She leaned into his good side and pushed up on her toes, cupping the right side of his face with her hand and pressed her lips to his. She kissed him slow, sweeping her tongue against the seam of his lips wanting to taste him. He kissed her back greedily, like a starved animal who just found food. She smiled against his lips when he moaned into her mouth. He tasted of whisky and she almost felt drunk. Drunk on him, drunk on this feeling of love she thought she was losing.

Jamie wished he had the use of both of his hands. He wanted badly to to wrap his arms around her and pull her body flush against his but with his right hand injured and bound against his body and her hand clasped tightly to his left hand, he wasn’t quite able to. Instead he reveled in her hand siding from the side of his face into his hair, gripping it slightly. He groaned and nipped at her bottom lip. He could kiss her for the rest of his life and that is how he knew for certain that he loved her. Loved her more than any other woman he had ever been with. He knew he would never tire of talking to her, or holding her hand, or making her laugh. Touching and kissing her would never get old. He could love her forever and wanted to. If only she would let him.

Claire started the kiss and it seemed she would have to be the one to end it. She pulled back slowly and giggled when Jamie’s lips chased hers, not wanting to break contact. She looked into his eyes and saw nothing but truth and promise staring back at her. She released his hand and brought hers up to his face, stroking the stubble that had accumulated over the several days he had gone without shaving. “I love you too” she said, her voice soft with emotion.

Jamie’s eyes misted over as his heart leapt with joy. He pushed his good hand into her hair and guided her lips back to his. He had a hard time kissing her properly through his smile and soon just leaned his forehead against hers, needing to be close.

“Ye dinna ken how happy that makes me. I thought I had lost ye and I dinna even ken why” he said as a lone tear streaked down his face as a result of his overpowering emotions. Claire swiped her thumb across his cheek, brushing it away as she felt her own tears building.

“I’m so sorry” she apologized. She should have talked to him, even if it lead to a huge row. It was her fault they had both suffered since the ball. She cut him out to protect herself but all she was doing was breaking both of their hearts.

“Ye have nothing to be sorry for. Ye dinna ken the truth of it” he countered.

“We should probably talk about that” she said, reminded that there was something that was still bothering her. She took a deep breath and pulled back letting her hands fall to his chest before stepping out of his embrace altogether.

“So….. why didn’t you tell me about your past with Geneva?” she asked, crossing her arms and leaning her shoulder against the window.

“We were just getting to ken each other and that is not really something to dump on someone right away and I dinna really think about it at all because I dinna ken I would be working with her. I didna want to have anything to do with her ever. Tis why I won’t partner with Helwater Brewery. I agreed to sponsor the ball because it was a great opportunity to get charity connections and I thought I would be working with her father not her. I kent she was working with her father but I dinna ken she would be working with me and I dinna ken she would be at the pub. Now I think she just talked her Da into letting her handle all the business that I was involved in. All she had to do was call Laoghaire to find out about the pub. Her father would have let her know about Paris.” He knit his brow wondering if there ever was an issue at the hops field now or if that was part of Geneva’s lie to insert herself in Jamie’s business. “I did noticed none of the other sponsors and investors even spoke to her at the ball and now I know why.” Claire could see him getting frustrated as he put more of Geneva’s scheming together.

“What actually happened in Paris?” Claire inquired.

“Nothing I swear! She went on about partnering with her father’s company again and I again said it would be a conflict of interest. She made some remark about it but I just tried to ignore her because she was already grating on my nerves. She brought it up again at dinner and that was when I told her it would never happen. That a partnership couldn’t work when there was so much animosity on one side. Geneva always was one that canna take no for an answer.”

“So why didn’t you tell me when you figured out it was Geneva you were working with?” Claire asked.

“Honestly…… I was a coward. I dinna think ye would take too kindly to me working with my ex. We were just starting out and knowing what yer ex did to ye…...the longer I put it off the more it just seemed better if I dinna say anything yet.” Jamie explained rubbing his hand across the back of his neck nervously.

“So you didn’t trust that I wouldn’t walk away? That I would be too jealous, is that it?” she snipped feeling herself getting peeved.

“It isna about not trusting ye and ye did try to walk away from me if ye recall.” Jamie felt himself getting frustrated. His emotions seemed to be running high. Moving from confusion to complete rage at Geneva, to fear that Claire was still going to leave him, to relief and the overwhelming feeling of love. He took a calming breath. “After what happened at the pub, I thought I was protecting ye. Ye were dealing with gettin’ yer divorce papers signed and I dinna want to dump my baggage on ye. I was going to tell ye after the ball when I could go back to pretending she didn’t exist again and ye wouldn’t feel so threatened by her. I’m sorry I dinna tell ye, truly I am, but I was just scared of losing ye. I kent how what Frank did made ye feel and I didna want to give ye cause to feel that way. I dinna intend to hurt ye.” Jamie was sure he was screwing this up but it was the truth.

Claire said nothing. She walked over to the shelves that lined the wall behind his desk. She was quite clearly thinking, so Jamie waited and didn’t say anything else. He had books, but there were also pictures and other memorabilia on display. She picked up an antique wooden toy car, spinning one of the wheels gently before placing it back in it’s spot. She then noticed the framed picture that sat next to it. She remembered he had a couple of pictures in his flat but she didn’t really look at them, being too preoccupied with him at the time.

“Is this your family?” she asked. The question suddenly made Jamie realize just how new their relationship still was.

“Aye” he said walking over to stand next to her. The picture she was looking at was taken last summer, just after he learned of Geneva’s deception and Jamie took time off to sort himself, deciding that spending time with his family at Lallybroch was what he needed. He was holding Maggie in one arm, with his other around his sister Jenny and Ian on her other side. Wee Jamie was in front of them looking a bit put out for having to stand still for a picture. Ian’s hand was on the boys shoulder, not because they were posed that way, but simply to keep Wee Jamie still. Jamie loved that picture. “That is my sister Jenny and her husband Ian” he pointed them out as he spoke. “Those are their bairns, Wee Jamie and Maggie. This was taken a couple of months before Jenny found out she was carrying again.”

Claire traced the image of the little girl in Jamie’s arms with her finger. Jamie had told her all about them of course, but now she had faces to go with the names. It was obvious to her, even before seeing the photo, that Jamie adored his family, but seeing him look so relaxed and happy holding a small child in his arms said even more about the man she had fallen in love with.

“You’re right” she said still looking at the picture. Jamie didn’t say anything and she finally turned to look at him. He wasn’t that easy to read but she could tell he wasn’t sure what she was talking about. “I probably wouldn’t have handled it well.” She turned back to the shelves looking at the other pictures there. There was a picture of him and John and another of him and his sister in front of the Eiffel Tower that looked to be taken when he was still in uni. She took a deep breath before posing her next question. “Did you love her?” She couldn’t bring herself to look at him.

“I thought I did” he began and she finally turned to meet his eye. “I had never really been in love so it wasna like I had anything to compare it to. I think I loved her in some way but it is nothing like how I feel for ye.” He trailed off knowing he probably wasn’t explaining it well.

“I honestly don’t want to be the jealous type. I never was before.” Claire said feeling herself getting emotional.

“Everyone can be jealous sometimes” he assure her with a small smile. “I was mad with jealousy when ye went to Cambridge.” Claire smiled and rolled her eyes at his ridiculousness. “After what happened with Frank, I dinna blame ye for feeling like that Sassenach.” He reached out and stroked the side of her face, his lips pulling up when he felt her lean into his touch. “We have both been betrayed. We both ken what it feels like and I love ye too much to ever want ye to feel that way again.” The sincerity in his voice finally had her tears spilling over and he brushed them away with his thumb. “Please dinna cry mo ghaol.”

Claire sniffed and smiled at his use of what she believed to be a term of endearment in gaelic. “What does that mean?” she asked. He had called her that before on several occasions.

“It means my love” Jamie said with a smile, still stroking her face. It was so nice to be able to admit his feelings freely now.

“How long have you known?” she asked him.

“That I’m in love with ye?” he inquired and she gave a nod. “Almost from the beginning. I kent it was something the first time I touched ye. It only got stronger until I couldn’t hold it in. I figured if I used gaelic I wouldna scare ye off by letting my feelings known so early” he admitted to her. “Geneva hated when I spoke in gaelic. I love that ye don’t seem to mind it and I can be myself with ye. Tis’ one of the things that makes me love ye so.”

Claire closed the distance between them and kissed him softly. “It was the same for me” she breathed against his mouth. “I held it in thinking it was too soon to say the words.” Jamie slid his good hand around her waist and pushed his lips back to hers to kiss her deeply. He grunted in pain when he automatically pulled her body into his, crushing his injured hand between them. Claire stepped back as if she had been burned.

“Christ Jamie! Are you alright?” Claire declared. Jamie still had his eyes closed and his lips pulled tight in pain. “I’m so sorry” she said.

“S’all right” he mumbled as the pain began to recede. “It was my fault. I just want to hold ye but these busted fingers are quite a nuisance.”

“Let’s get you home. You need to take something for the pain and rest.” She saw that he was about to protest and held up her hand. “Doctors orders” she said in a no nonsense tone.

“So ye’re my doctor now are ye?” he said in a flirty tone. “I think I can get behind playin’ doctor with ye Sassenach.” He moved closer and wrapped his hand around her, careful not to pull her into his bound hand again. He slid his hand down to cup her backside, giving it a gentle squeeze. “Ye can give me an anatomy lesson.”

“Stop. I’m being serious” she said swatting his chest, though she couldn’t help but smile. “I feel awful that I haven’t been there for you.”

“Ye’re here now and that’s all that matters mo chridhe” he said with a smile.

“What does that one mean?” she asked grinning up at him. He leaned in and trailed his lips along her jawline to her ear.

“My heart” he whispered to her.

“You, Mr. Fraser, have a way with words” Claire giggled as Jamie nipped her earlobe before pulling back slightly to kiss her.

“So I’m forgiven?” he asked pulling away.

“Forgiven. I guess this was a learning experience for both of us in communication. You should have told me about Geneva and I should have talked to you instead of shutting you out. Do you forgive me?” Claire looked at him earnestly.

“I’d forgive ye anything Sassenach even though there is nothing to be forgiven.” The conviction in his voice kept Claire from arguing with him. She just smiled and kissed his lips again

“Lets go home” she said breathlessly when the kiss finally broke.

***************

They had decided that Jamie would take the next day off and rest. After a bit of persisting on Jamie’s part, Claire relented and agreed to stay with him until she had to return to work the following evening. They stopped by Claire’s flat so that she could grab some things. Claire was grateful that Geillis wasn’t home to interrogate her. She would text her later. She collected everything she thought she would need, even making sure to grab the little shopping bag that she had stuffed in the back of her closet when she returned from England, not getting used like she thought it would.

Soon they made it back to Jamie’s flat where Claire insisted that Jamie take a dose of his prescribed pain killers and rest.

“These will have me knocked out in less than half an hour” he whined taking the pills from her hand.

“Well that would be the resting part then, now wouldn’t it” she put in holding out a glass of water. He huffed as he pulled the sling off over his head and tossed it on the kitchen counter. He popped the medicine in his mouth and took the water from her to swallow it down.

“Happy now?” he asked rhetorically, sounding down right irritable.

Claire just smiled at him and watched him as he began toeing off off his shoes. Next he pulled on his tie until it came undone and unbuttoned the top three buttons of his shirt. She bit into her bottom lip when he began pulling his shirt free from his trousers. She knew he wasn’t trying to seduce her but watching him undress was very arousing. Her eyes were trained on the skin of his upper chest when he broke her out of her trance.

“I ken that look” he smirked at her. “As much as I would like to have my way with ye Sassenach...” he reached out and used his thumb to pull her lip free from her teeth “….. it willna be long before those wee pills kick in, so ye’ll have to wait for any of that and ye only have yerself to blame for the wait.”

“Mind reader are you?” she murmured lifting her chin in a defiant way.

“I dinna have to be a mind reader to ken where yer mind is. It’s written all over yer face.” He leaned in and pecked her lips but didn’t linger.

“Your comfort is more important than mine right now. I’m sure I can wait” she said, taking it as a sort of challenge. “I will catch up on some surgical research while you nap.”

“Oh aye?” He raised his eyebrows at her and she gave a nod. “Alright then. I’m just gonna go change and lay down for a bit.” He smirked as he stepped back from her, the fingers of his good hand deftly releasing the last remaining buttons on his shirt. Claire bit the inside of her cheek to keep from making a sound as his toned chest and abdomin were revealed to her. He tried to wink at her before turning and making his way down the hall towards his bedroom. Claire couldn’t help but laugh when he turned and threw his shirt at her.

Claire rifled through the kitchen before deciding to make herself a drink. ….Jamie had a wide selection to choose from after all…. then went to check on Jamie. She found him fast asleep in bed. He looked like a small child sleeping on his back with his injured hand resting on the pillow next to him and his other resting on his belly. He was shirtless in just a pair of pajama bottoms. She had never seen him asleep and he looked so relaxed, though that may just be from the drugs. The only noise he made was his even breathing. She had the urged to go and curl up with him, but didn’t want to disturb his rest. She instead made her way back to the sitting room and pulled out her phone sending a quick text to Geillis.

Claire: Staying with Jamie tonight so you have the flat to yourself

Claire knew Geillis was going start a barrage of questions.

She walked around the sitting room taking in Jamie’s décor. He had an industrial style bookshelf behind the couch that housed a collection of leather bound books on one shelf. On the top shelf was a row of whisky bottles, all empty, and upon closer inspection she noticed that they were all the first bottle of each kind in production. She didn’t know all of the whisky’s but the ones she did recognize she knew where ones he produced.

She moved to kneel on the couch so that she could look closer at the pictures that were sitting framed on some of the shelves. There was a picture of an older couple that Claire guessed to be Jamie’s parents. The man was large like Jamie with dark, nearly black hair. His eyes looked to be hazel in color but they were the same exact shape as Jamie’s. The woman had a long mane of red hair just like Jamie’s, with perfect pale skin and eyes, though Claire couldn’t quite make out the color. They looked to be either gray or blue. Jamie favored both of his parents very much.

The next photo was of a chestnut colored horse standing alone in a grassy field. “Are you the horse responsible for the scars and good whisky?” Claire asked out loud wondering if this was in fact Donas. She was brought out of her reverie by her phone buzzing in her hand.

G: That’s all you have to say?????

G: What happened?

G: I take it you kissed and made up?

G: Did you have hot make-up sex on his desk?

Claire giggled as the messages came one after the other and progressed in pure Gelillis fashion.

Claire: Yes we made up. Long story short Geneva is a lying bitch but Jamie handled her well.

G: Handled her well????

Claire: She also showed up at Jamie’s office thinking that Jamie would automatically want her back. Like I said it’s a long story. I will tell you about it next time I see you.

G: How are you?

Claire: Really good 🙂

G: Make-up sex must be good for you 🍆

Claire: Is sex all you think about?

G: Well? I'm guessing he didn’t give you a poke with his hand being out of order and all.

Claire: He’s left handed so he’s quite capable.

Claire laughed thinking she would let her friend make of that what she would before shooting off an actual answer

Claire: We haven’t had make-up sex……..yet 😉

G: I need the full scoop but I gotta run. Scrubbing in in 10. Coming home before your shift tomorrow?

Claire: lol I’ll see you tomorrow

***************

After a couple of hours of researching surgery…. Jamie’s surgery in particular, Claire decided she would jump in the shower before waking Jamie to decide on dinner. She grabbed her bag and made her way back to the bedroom. Jamie was still lying in bed but he was awake, dragging his hand down his face.

“Hey you. How are you feeling?” she inquired, leaning against the door frame. He lifted his head and looked surprised to see her.

“I dinna ken where I was for a minute. Then I thought I had dreamt everything and ye still werena talking to me.” He dropped his head back down and ran his hand through his hair, still trying to get a grasp on reality.

“Not a dream” she replied with a small smile. “Hows your hand feeling? I was doing some research on the surgery you had. The only orthopedic case that I have ever really had a hand in was a hip replacement. Very different than repairing fingers.”

“Tis fine. Just a dull ache. I’m getting use to it.”

“I’m going to grab you an ice pack then I’m going to jump in the shower. We can decide on take-away when I’m done” she told him, dropping her bag by the bed and heading back out to the kitchen to grab the ice.

She left a pouting Jamie with his hand propped up on an ice pack and the remote in hand, promising to cuddle after her shower. As she showered she thought about all the forms of pain relief that had been brought up in medical school. A wicked idea hit her and she knew what she was going to do to make both of them feel better. She began rushing her shower still grateful for her waxing from a few weeks ago.

She took her time drying her entire body. She pulled the clip from her hair that she had used to keep it up and dry during her shower and smoothed it out the best she could before pulling her Agent Provocateur purchase out of her bag. She slipped the lace trimmed silk over her body. It had been years since she put any effort into being sexy for a man. Jamie had a way of making her feel sexy all the time though. Just the way he looks at her. She knew he probably didn’t feel the least bit sexy at the moment with his injured hand. Her shutting him out probably didn’t help much either.

Jamie had sat up in bed and was channel surfing as he waited for Claire to finish showering. It felt very domestic in a way that made him blissfully happy……. his girlfriend making herself at home in his flat and taking care of him. He smiled as he listened to the water running in his en-suite bathroom, overjoyed that she was there with him.

He was scrolling through his phone when he heard the bathroom door open and looked up. His phone slipped from his hand, barely missing his groin before sliding to the bed.

“Christ! I have surely died and gone to heaven” he declared. Claire stood in the doorway to the bathroom in a white silk chemise that was trimmed in lace and fell to mid thigh.

Claire smirked and made her way toward the bed, crawling up on the mattress in a way she thought must be sexy. It felt sexy anyway. “Is this how you imagine the angels to look?” she teased crawling over his body, careful not to jostle his arm.

“Mmm” he hummed as she straddled his hips and pushed her lips to his. His hands rose automatically to her hips and she quickly, but gently pushed his bound hand away. “I need to touch ye Sassenach” he mumbled against her mouth, his voice husky with arousal.

She leaned back a bit, sitting up on him and grabbed his good hand. She kissed his palm before placing his hand on her waist. “You can touch me with this hand.” She let her hands wander along his skin as she leaned in to kiss him again, her center rubbing against the proof of his need for her, making them both moan into the kiss. She pulled back and breathlessly said “Did you know that sex releases pain relieving endorphins?”

“Is that so? Well then... I willna be needin’ to take any more of those wee pills then” he replied, sliding his hand around her body, up her torso to tease her breast. Her nipples showed stark through the silk and he drug his thumb back and forth across it, making her gasp in pleasure. He watched her face as he switched to fondle the other breast, keeping his touch light and teasing. Her eyes dropped shut and she cried out when he leaned forward and closed his mouth over the silk cover bud, nipping it gently with his teeth. The feel of her through the soft fabric was very arousing but it wasn’t enough for Jamie.

“I must see ye” he said reaching for the bottom of her chemise with both hands. He had it bunched at her waist before Claire once again pushed his injured hand out of the way.

“I’ll do the work” she told him as she grabbed the bottom of the silk and slowly pulled it up and over her head, tossing it to the floor. She dropped her hands back down to wander along his chest and belly and began to kiss him again. He also let his hand move over her. Goosebumps sprang up along her skin as he slid his hand lightly down her back to cup her backside.

“Not enough quid to get the matching knickers?” he teased as he squeezed one round cheek.

“Didn’t think I would need them” She gasped as she felt his fingers slide in and brush her sensitive center.

“Smart lass” he chuckled. “Yer sae ready for me, slick with need.” She loved how thick his accent got when he was aroused.

“God Jamie I need you” she gasped out, grinding her hips down on his hand before hungrily pushing her lips to his. “I need you” she repeated as she lifted up and began pawing at his pants trying to get them down. Jamie pushed them down just enough. He was so hard and he groaned out as she slid slowly down on him, sheathing him in her wet heat.

She didn’t move, savoring the exquisite stretching feeling of taking him to the hilt, her eyes never leaving his. They dropped shut when he pushed his hips up into her making her gasp. She gripped his shoulders and began rolling her hips against his. “That’s it mo ghaol” he encouraged. He brought his mouth back to her breast sucking in her nipple and nipping it lightly with his teeth. Claire’s head dropped back in pleasure and she leaned a hand back on his thigh to push more firmly into him while her other hand slid through his hair.

He couldn’t get enough of the taste and smell of her surrounding him. The silky slide of her against his body proof of her need for him. He wanted to give her everything. He wanted to make love to her like this forever. The words bubbled up just as they had the last time they made love but this time he didn’t hold them in.

“I love ye” he told her. Pleasure coursed through her body at every touch of his hand, lick of his tongue or scrap of his teeth but there wasn’t a word to describe how his confession made her feel. She cupped his face and kissed him slowly.

“I love you” she murmured against his lips, smiling at how good it felt to say it unguarded.

Her movements quickened with her need for him and she wrapped her arms around his shoulders needing to feel as much of him as possible. Jamie kissed along the front of her throat and guided her hips with his good hand. Claire was so caught up in her pleasure she didn’t even realize he had wrapped his casted arm around her, holding her to him.

“I’m going to come” she moaned into his ear.

“Come for me mo chridhe” he breathed into her ear.

“Oohhhh mmhhmm” she moaned out, throwing her head back as her climax hit with the force of a wave crashing to the shore. Her fingers clutching his hair.

“God Claire” he grunted, his good hand squeezing her hip hard enough to leave fingerprints on her skin in the coming days. His lips and teeth scraping down the front of her throat. Her orgasm triggered his own, milking his seed as he spilled deep inside her.

He held her trembling body to his, needing this moment to stay connected to her. She clung to him needing it too. She pulled back slightly lifting her hand up to touch his face. She has never felt this way with anyone else. She felt like she would be happy if she could just sink into his skin and live there forever. Instead she simply kissed him and whispered those three little words that somehow seemed like they weren’t nearly enough compared to how he made her feel but they would do for now.

“I love you.”

Chapter Text

One year later

Claire was leaving the hospital when she heard her phone chime with a message.

Jamie: Go to the park where we first met.

She was confused by the text. Jamie had left the day before yesterday to meet with his uncle in Paris. He wasn’t due back until the next day if things went smoothly he had told her.

Claire: Why? What is going on?

Jamie: Just a wee surprise 🙂

Claire had no idea how he could have a surprise at the park for her when he wasn’t even in the same country. Maybe he set it up with Geillis. She hoped that Geillis was keeping her mouth shut about the surprise she was planning for Jamie for their one year anniversary in just over a month.

Claire: Not much of a surprise if you aren’t here to see my reaction.

Claire’s imagination was running away with her as she made her way to the park.

Claire: Oh god you don’t have someone hiding in the bushes to record my reaction do you?

She was walking down the sidewalk in the direction of the park bench she had been sitting on that day as she texted him. Her head jerked up when she heard a phone chime that sounded just like Jamie’s.

And there he was, standing next to the bench he had fallen over, smiling as he read the text.

“Jamie” she called out and he looked up at her. He was holding a bouquet of flowers and held open his arms for her. She picked up her pace as a smile broke out on her face. She rushed into his arms. “Hey” she said before he crashed his lips into hers. “You’re back early” she said as they pulled away for a breath. “What’s all this about?”

“One year ago on this day I fell over this bench and opened my eyes to see the most beautiful woman staring down at me. I spent weeks thinking about her until fate brought her back to me.” He reached his hand up and stroked her cheek with affection. “I wanted to surprise ye” he said grinning at her. “I packed us a wee picnic and have a gift for ye” he nodded at the basket and gift bag sitting on the bench.

“Jamie….” Claire didn’t know what to say. She hadn’t even thought about celebrating the actual day they met. They hadn’t even gotten each others names that day. “I didn’t…..” she began but Jamie silenced her with a finger to her lips.

“Tis just something special I wanted to do for ye Sassenach.” Claire just nodded and tried to keep herself from crying. Jamie had a way of making her fall in love with him all over again from time to time and this was one of those times.

He kissed her softly again before they both sat down on the bench with the picnic basket between them. “What’s this?” she asked motioning to the gift bag sitting next to her.

“Just a wee anniversary gift. Open it” he said with that crooked grin that made her want to kiss him or kick him depending on the circumstances. She resisted the urge to throw herself at him in a public park and just smiled as she began pulling tissue paper out of the bag. She reached in and pulled an unmarked black box out. It was kind of heavy but she had no clue what it could be. “I wasna sure it would be ready on time” Jamie said to her. Claire was very intrigued. She opened the box and pulled out a lovely bottle of whisky. She read the bottle and gasped.

“Jamie…..” she breathed but couldn’t articulate any other words as tears formed in her eyes. She thought back to when Jamie had told her that his whisky’s were named after things that impacted his life as she held the bottle with the name Sassenach printed on the label in gold. Jamie reached up and brushed away a tear that she hadn’t even realized was sliding down her cheek.

“We have been working on it for months. Do ye like it?” His voice was soft, almost like he was afraid she wouldn’t. Claire sniffled out a laugh and pulled her eyes from the label to look at him.

“Well….I don’t know. I haven’t tried it yet” she teased with a smile. Jamie just shook his head at her sarcastic reply. “Jamie this is the most thoughtful thing anyone has ever done for me.” She reached out and cupped his face, needing to touch him. “Thank you.”

Jamie smiled, thrilled that she liked it.... well the thought of it anyway. He reached in and pulled two whisky glasses out of the basket. Claire looked at the label again. “Is this the first bottle?” she asked not seeing a number.

“Aye. Do ye mind if I put the bottle on my shelf when we finish with it?” he asked. Jamie kept the first bottle of all the whiskys he produced. She smiled and nodded with the hope that one day she would look at that very bottle every day.

Six weeks later

Claire fumbled with the keys, trying to unlock the door to her flat as Jamie pressed into the back of her, his hands skimming along her hips and his lips gliding along the skin on the side of her neck. Her eyes dropped shut as lust filled her at his touch. The keys slipped from her fingers.

“Do ye need some help with that mo chridhe?” he teased with a chuckle. She didn’t answer, just turned her head and caught his lips with her own. She turned toward him and gripped the lapels of his blazer, pulling him as close as she could. After a year, the feeling of not being close enough hadn’t faded. She wanted him as much now as she had then, if not more so. Jamie backed her into the door and kissed her deeply. He felt her body melt into his as one of her hands moved into his hair. She nipped at his bottom lip and he pulled back with his lopsided grin.

“We should get inside Sassenach” he murmured to her and leaned down grabbing the forgotten keys. He easily slid the key in the lock and turned the knob to open the door. He maintained a hold on her waist with his other hand to keep her from falling back as the door opened.

Claire pulled his lips back to hers as she walked backwards through the door into her flat pulling him along with her. “God I want you” she gasped. She pushed his jacket off his shoulders as she continued to kiss him. Her fingers began working to undo the buttons of his shirt before tugging it free from his jeans.

Jamie was caught up in the moment but snapped out of it as Claire hands began to fumble with his belt. He grabbed her hands to stop her.

“Slow down Sassenach. Ye canna have yer way with me in the front hall” he said, smiling at her eagerness.

“Take me to bed then” she said seductively. Jamie wrapped his arms around her and lifted her off the floor. Claire let her lips nip at the skin of his neck as he moved toward her bedroom. Geillis had walked in on them once before and he didn’t want a repeat of that sort of embarrassment for all of them.

Jamie placed her feet back on the floor as soon as the door was closed and pressed his lips back to hers trying to keep it slow. She shoved his shirt off his shoulders and he let it slip to the floor before he reached around and began pulling the zipper down the back of her dress. Claire managed to unbuckle his belt and pop the button of his fly. She let out a low moan when he moved his lips to the side of her throat as his fingers pulled her dress down her shoulders and arms until her bare breasts were exposed. She was forced to release her hold on him as her dress slid down her arms, trapping them to her sides. Jamie pulled back and smiled at her when he realized she was immobilized by her dress. He was going to take full advantage of the situation. He moved her until her back was against the closed door. She was already panting in anticipation as he lowered his mouth to her breast sucking in one pert nipple.

“Jamie” she breathed. She was delirious with wanting and a bit frustrated at his slow pace.

“Tell me what ye want mo ghràdh” he murmured into her skin. He didn’t wait for her to answer as he began to lower his body. His lips traced down each inch of newly exposed skin as he continued to pull her dress down until it was bunched at her waist and Claire was able to free her arms. “I ken what I want” he whispered, his breath warm against the skin of her lower belly making her quiver with need as he pulled her dress over her hip and arse until she was able to step out of it.

She now stood before him clad in nothing but a pair of black lace panties. He tipped his head to look up at her. Claire had her bottom lip trapped tightly between her teeth. She was looking down at Jamie, kneeling in front of her in only jeans that were unbuttoned showing he was a true Scotsman and sexy as hell.

“Looks like my gift is perfectly wrapped” he said, his voice husky with need as he traced the lace edging with his fingers. “Shall I open it?” he asked as he pressed a kiss to the skin just above her lace covered center. Jamie felt Claire’s hands tangle in his hair and heard her sigh.

He smiled knowing his slow pace was frustrating her. He had been out of town the last ten days meeting with distributors in the United States. He knew she had missed him just as much as he missed her. He made it a point to make it back in time for their one year anniversary. They just got back to her flat after having a romantic dinner at the same Italian restaurant they went to on their first date.

He slid his fingers in the edge of her panties and slowly pulled them down her legs. Claire stepped out of them, pushing them over to be forgotten with her dress. Jamie leaned in running his nose through the small, perfectly groom strip of hair. Claire gripped his hair and gasped when he swiped his tongue against her. His hands moved to the back of her thighs, parting them slightly, as he began to work his tongue against her hungrily. He moaned in satisfaction at the taste of her.

Claire loved when Jamie did this to her, the man really was an expert with his mouth, but right now she wanted more. She used her hands that were still clutching his hair to pull him up to her. She kissed him fiercely. The sexual tension had built throughout the evening with knowing looks and a touch here and there, but now they had reach a boiling point and she needed him now.

“I want you” she breathed against his lips. "All of you." Jamie wrapped an arm around her waist and grabbed the back of her thigh, lifting her and turned to lay her on the bed. He pushed his lips back to her as he dropped between her legs. Claire reached down and frantically pushed at his jeans to rid him of them. Jamie broke the kiss to pull his jeans off his feet and tossed them to the floor. He lowered himself back down to her, running his left hand up the outside of her thigh, pulling her firmly against him as he kissed her again.

Jamie trailed his lips down her neck, sucking and licking the sensitive spots. Claire felt his hard member pressing against her. She rolled her hips against him, needing the friction. She felt like she would go mad if he didn’t just take her. “Please” she begged rubbing herself against him again, anything to relieve the pressure. “Please Jamie please.” He lifted up on one arm and gripped her hip with the other hand, pulling his hips back slightly then pushing himself into her. “Oh god yesss” she cried out at the feel of him filling her so completely after so long apart.

“Christ ye feel like heaven” he said as he began to move slowly. It was exquisite and Claire knew she would never get enough of this. Of feeling him do this to her body. Jamie sat up and held her hips as he continued his slow pace. Claire loved to watch him watch as he made love to her. He lifted her hips to hit that sweet spot inside her. She clutched the pillow her head was on, her eyes dropping closed as she moaned out. She planted her feet so that she could roll her hip against him, needing more. Though every move he made felt incredible, he was still moving too slow for her. She wanted him to take her harder. She sat up, pulling away slightly and turned over. Jamie hardly ever took her from behind because he loved to see her face while he made love to her, but she just really needed him to loose control a bit. She looked over her shoulder and smirked at him.

“Take me” she said in a sultry voice, backing up a bit. Jamie reached out and grabbed her arse with both hands. Squeezing before lining himself up and pushing into her firmly. “YES” she cried out. He was so deep and she felt his fingers pressing firmly into her hips as he set a quick and steady pace. He leaned over her body, placing kisses along her back and shoulders. His hands came around to grasp her breasts. He pulled her upright, sitting back, so that she was sitting on him, slowing them back down as his lips found her neck where he nipped at the sensitive skin.

“I never want to stop making love to ye.” His voice was husky in her ear, causing her to hum in pleasure. He was cupping both of her breasts and she brought her hand up to run her fingers through his hair and turned her head to press her lips to his briefly. Even though they weren’t facing each other, this position felt so sensual. “I’m gonna make ye come now” he said to her, sliding his hand down her torso, to the apex of her thighs and began stroking her sensitive bundle. It didn’t take long for her climax to build.

“Oh god Jamie I’m coming” she gasped out as waves of pleasure began to course through her. He held her to him as her body jerked with the force of her orgasm. He gently pushed her forward to lie on the bed, then guided her onto her back. Hovering between her legs, he kissed her passionately, his tongue dipping past her lips to taste her as he slowly slid back into her, still hard and wanting. He made slow, sweet love to her and soon she felt the burning for release build back up in her.

Jamie grabbed her hands, lacing their fingers together and Claire could feel him swell inside her. He was close. He looked down at her face and noticed her lip once again caught between her teeth as she fought to control her orgasm that she knew was coming. “Let go mo chridhe. Come for me again” he whispered to her. He watched as her second orgasm hit her and her mouth fell open as she moaned out in pleasure, her head pushed back and her body arching into him. He dropped his face into the crook of her neck chanting her name as he came in pulsing waves inside her.

She wrapped her arms around him not wanting him to move. Needing to feel his weight surrounding her. After a few minutes he rolled to the side, pulling her with him like he always does, afraid that she can’t take his weight for too long. He loved the sound she made when he pulled free from her. He compared it to a cross between a moan and the whine of a puppy.

“I missed you” she mumbled against his chest for what seemed like the thousandth time that night. He smiled and looked down at her face. She felt heavy and limp against him and he noticed her eyes slowly drooping closed.

“Are ye just gonna fall asleep on me?” he chuckled. She simply lifted her hand and let fall back to his chest in answer. Jamie kissed her head and smiled in amusement. “I love ye mo chridhe, more than anything” he told her even though she was already asleep.

***************

Claire looked at Jamie and couldn’t believe he was hers. Just a year ago a spark was lit and fate brought them together when Claire wasn’t even looking. This man dropped into her life, literally, and changed everything. She thought she knew what love was but she had been wrong. She had never felt so completely loved as she does with Jamie……... and to think she had been married. She now has moments of being extremely grateful to Frank for his infidelity. She would have been content in her marriage with Frank. She would never had met Jamie and would have remained oblivious to the true feeling of being complete with someone. Oblivious to what it really feels like to be truly loved.

Claire moved slowly to extract herself from the bed to use the restroom. It was rare that she woke up before him on days she doesn’t have to work. She was quick in the bathroom, cleaning herself up from the previous night activities since he wore her out and she drifted to sleep almost immediately.

She was quite as she made her way back to the bed. Jamie looks so peaceful when he sleeps, just like a child. She always has the urge to touch him when he’s asleep. She has the urge to touch him nearly all the time, but there was something about touching him when he is asleep that pulls her toward him. Maybe it was because it was the only time he was completely unguarded.

Claire looked at him still sound asleep on his back. He had his left arm up over his head, his face pressed against his bicep. His right hand rested on his torso just above his belly button. The blanket was only covering him from the waist down and she let her eyes wander over the parts of him that were exposed. She thought about their love making the night before and got an idea she knew he would like.

“Time to even the score Mr. Fraser” she said softly not trying to wake him just yet. She moved down the bed as gently as she could, pushing the covers off of him to expose his manhood. She moved between his spread legs and sat on her knees to keep herself balanced for the task she was going to undertake. She kept her eyes on his face as she reached out and gently grabbed his semi erect member and began stroking it steadily. He groaned and turned his head but didn’t actually wake up. It wasn’t long for him to be hard as stone and that was Claire’s cue to begin her wake up call.

She lowered her head and ran her tongue slowly up the underside of his shaft. She swirled her tongue around the sensitive head before enveloping him in her mouth. She dropped down as far as she could and sucked firmly as she pulled back up, using her hand to stroke the bottom where her mouth couldn’t reach. She heard Jamie groan again and then felt his hand in her hair. She pulled him from her mouth with a pop and looked over his hard-on to see his face. He looked as if he was concentrating hard on something.

“Good morning” she said with a smirk as her hand stroked his cock steadily.

“Tis’ a verra good morning. Please dinna let me stop ye” he said lifting his hips a fraction of an inch towards her. She smiled and got back to her goal of making him come. Jamie was often loquacious when they made love which Claire found was a huge turn on since most of the time he was trying to make her come with his words. But when he was receiving oral he was always reduced to unintelligible grunts, groans, and moans, though he always managed to tell her when he was going to come.

Claire pulled out all of her fellatio skills, using her hands to cup him and dragging her fingernails down the flesh of his inner thighs. A drop of precum beaded on his tip and she swiped it clean with her tongue, savoring the flavor of him as she teased around the sensitive ridge of his cock. She looked up at him and relished the intense look of pleasure on his face. She felt him throb against her tongue.

“A Diha...I’m gonna come” he warned her. She wanted all he had to offer and covered him with her mouth as came, swallowing quickly. Jamie was panting from the power of his orgasm as Claire crawled back up his body.

“Now we are even” she said grinning at him before kissing his smiling lips. Claire shifted to snuggle into Jamie’s side with her head on his chest.

“I dinna need it to be even” he said playing with her hair. “I would be content with just gettin’ ye off for the rest of my life but I willna ever turn down a jobby.” Claire giggled before sighing in complete contentment. “I love waking up in this bed with ye” he commented lazily, as he continued to run his fingers through her curls. Claire leaned up to look at his face.

“What if I told you you could wake up in this bed every day” she said smiling at him. Jamie just knit his brows not catching on. Claire place a quick kiss on his chest before expanding. “I was going to bring this up last night but I was far too distracted.” Jamie wagged his eyebrows at her, making her giggle again. “Geillis is moving in with Dougal. That’s why she hasn’t been here lately.”

“So that’s why ye were fine with gettin’ me naked in the hall!” he teased as if it was a revelation. Claire swatted his chest but couldn’t help but smile.

“I’m trying to be serious here” she said. Jamie mimicked zipping his lips closed and let his hand stroke up and down the bare skin of her back. “So now I will have the place to myself and thought as a sort of anniversary gift I would ask if you might want to move in with me.” She rushed the words out feeling nervous about what he would say. What if he didn’t want to live with her?

“I mean I can’t really promise that you would actually wake up with me every day. You know how my schedule can be and….” Claire was cut off by Jamie’s lips on hers. He rolled them over as he continued to kiss her. He pulled back and just let his eyes sweep her face. To get to see this face every day would be a blessing he thought. Claire didn’t say anything as she reached her hand up to stroke his face and just looked at him looking at her. She didn’t want to pressure him or try to convince him but she wanted him with her every day.

“What do you say?” she whispered. Jamie just leaned down and brushed his lips against hers gently. He began dragging his lip across her jaw and down the side of her throat before he nipped at her earlobe.

“When?” he breathed in her ear.

“When what?” she sighed, completely distracted by the feel of his mouth on her and his hand skimming her side. Jamie pulled back and chuckled a bit.

“When can I move in?” he asked. A huge smile broke out on Claire’s face.

“Now” she answered, trying to contain her giddy happiness.

“Nah. I’m too busy right now” he told her.

“Busy doing what exactly?” she inquired knowing they both had the day off.

“Busy making love to the woman of my dreams” he said nudging her legs apart with his knees.

Jamie made slow sweet love to Claire knowing that there was nothing in life that would compare to how he felt when he was with her. The knowledge that she wanted to begin to really share a life with him made their joining that much sweeter. He already knew he wanted her forever and thought that maybe she wanted that too. This was her little nudge in that direction and he would take it.

 

The End