Fuck, what do we do now.
I’m a terrible liar, they’ll be able to see straight through me. Everyone I’ve ever known has always picked up on the fact that everything I think appears on my face. My ‘glass face’ as Geillis likes to call it.
Willie and Jamie had come back into the room and were now having a conversation about some kind of boat they were planning on buying for the island.
Thankfully, they hadn’t thought to ‘wake’ us yet. We still had the covers pulled right up to our heads and I was facing away from both of the men so they couldn’t get a good look at my face. Thank God.
There wouldn’t be anything really wrong with us revealing we aren’t actually sleeping if they hadn’t said anything, but Willie’s comment and Jamie’s reaction would make it a bit awkward. Geillis seemed to be having the same thoughts as me as she hadn’t attempted to fake wake up yet.
I could feel Geillis shifting around under the covers beside me, likely becoming impatient at having to sit silently for more than a minute.
Geillis is the type of person who prefers to be out a run for 6am rather than lazing around in bed ‘til noon doing nothing. Unlike me, who very much enjoys her beauty sleep.
She would probably give up the sleeping act if she kept up her fidgeting, the covers were beginning to rustle quite a bit now.
I would also need to move about a bit soon, the angle I was lying at meant the wound on the left side of my head was pushed right up against the pillow, which was causing more than a bit of discomfort now.
I heard Willie’s shoes against the floor again, as he announced he was going to wake Geillis.
But before the footsteps had ceased, I heard Geillis groan and the mattress shifted slightly as she sat up.
“Shite.” She started. “Did we fall asleep?”
“Aye, seems so.” Willie answered her.
“What time we on?” She asked as I heard her placing her feet on the floor and getting fully out of the bed now.
I shifted around on the pillow, slightly moving my face a bit to the right so the pressure was off of the left side, making it more bearable.
“Comin’ up for nine now.” I heard Willie say. “We’re headin’ round to breakfast the now an’ thought we’d come an’ make sure ye’s were still comin’, good thing we did it seems.”
“Aye, we’ll be there, jus’ need tae wake her up first. I’d advise ye make yersel’ scarce, she’s a right moany get when she wakes up.” She told them.
Can’t say she’s wrong, waking up has never been my strong suit.
“Right, get ye round there then?” Willie asked.
“Mhhmm” She replied as she kissed him.
Willie and Jamie murmured a quick goodbye before I heard their footsteps trailing off down the path.
“They’re gone.” Geillis announced.
I opened my eyes and cautiously sat up, looking out over the path to be sure they were away.
“Well, that could’ve been awkward.” I said, shimmying up from under the covers.
“Aye, awkward right enough.” She sat back down on the bed beside me. “So, your Jamie seemed to be awful concerned aboot no’ lettin’ ye hear the answer tae that question, didn’t he?”
She was right to be fair to her, he had walked out of the room before even answering him – and I’m not even sure if he did actually answer him.
I slowly nodded my head. “Yip.” I stated, before turning my head to face her and pointing a finger in her direction. “And don’t bother asking me what that means, because I don’t know either.”
She held up her hands, palms facing to me, in surrender. “Right, right. I willna, but it did seem a bit suspicious, no?”
“Maybe a little.” I replied, smiling.
I wasn’t sure if him not wanting me to hear thing was a good thing or a bad thing. It’s more likely the latter, but a girl can hope.
Geillis and I sat for another few minutes before deciding to get out of the bed and attempt to manoeuvre me into some decent clothes.
Geillis was already dressed for the day in a blue milkmaid dress that stopped just under mid thing, which she had paired with a pair of platform white wedges, that I was almost positive belonged to me at some point.
She wheeled in a large purple suitcase, that I hadn’t noticed was sitting outside, full with clothes I had left back home.
Thankfully I hadn’t brought much of my clothes with me when I came here, it was just the essentials, so Geillis had brought pretty much every remaining item in my wardrobe with her.
We made our way through the suitcase, trying to find something suitable. She pulled a lacy blue lingerie set out that she had deemed absolutely essential to pack, Geillis had the firm belief that if you had a good set on, you’d have a good day.
We eventually settled on a dark blue, strappy, midi-dress with a split from hem to mid-thigh on the left side, so my bandages were still covered on the right. Geillis laid it out on the bed and said she’d give it a quick iron, as there were a few creases from travel, while I went for a shower.
Showering didn’t really go amazingly.
My right arm was completely motionless, so that wasn’t much help, and I couldn’t get my right leg wet without disturbing the bandages. So I ended up half in half out the shower, not really getting a great wash on my right side.
I eyed up the bath in the corner of the room and decided I’d try have a soak in there later tonight.
I was going to put on the blue lingerie set that had been thrown at me earlier, but then remembered it wasn’t exactly the comfiest to wear.
Geillis came in as I was finishing up, with the dress we had picked out earlier and helped me into it. The dress thankfully wasn’t skin-tight, so I managed to slide it over my injured areas with ease and had it on fairly quickly.
Geillis handed me a pair of sunglasses and a large, black sun hat – insisting I keep both items on at all times – before we locked up and headed out.
The golf buggy that Geillis had come round in earlier was still sitting on a narrow road around the back of the hut, so we got into it and followed the signs for the restaurant.
The island was well signed, every split in the road had a signpost with several bits of wood poking out in different directions with places around the island written on them. Near the bottom, there was a post labelled ‘Main Restaurant’ which pointed down the road of the right, so we followed it.
On our way round the island I spotted a large building that seemed to be a hotel, a golf course, and stables. I wasn’t really expecting to see the last one, to be perfectly honest, I wasn’t aware horse riding was a popular activity in Maldives resorts.
Geillis seemed quite capable behind the wheel of the buggy and before long we were pulling up to the restaurant.
There was a small car park at the front with a few golf buggy’s, similar to ours, filing up the spaces.
We were greeted at the entrance by a short women, who walked us over to our table.
The restaurant was entirely outside apart from a kitchen I could make out through tinted windows to the right. There were many tables dotted around the restaurant, with a wooden lattice canopy covering the entire seating area.
I spotted Jamie sitting across from Willie at a long table with a few other adults and a swarm of kids sitting at a table beside that.
Jamie noticed us first and tapped Willie’s head with a nod to us. He turned round with a beaming smile to us and both him and Jamie stood up.
“Ah, ye made it then.” Willie exclaimed while walking towards us.
“Wouldna miss it, love.” Geillis gave him a chaste kiss on the cheek.
“Nice tae see ye up, Claire.” Jamie nodded to me. He had on a tight fitting Under Armour top, in a colour similar to my dress, that left little to the imagination.
“Nice to be up.” I replied. A few of the other people at the table had now turned round to get a look at us and I noticed Jenny was among then, sitting next to a large man with dirty blonde hair, who was smiling at us.
“Come, we’ll introduce the both of ye tae everyone.” Willie stated, as he took Geillis’ hand and began walking over to the table.
Jamie and I followed behind and I could feel his eyes burning into me from the side. I worried that he could somehow tell I was actually awake earlier and was going to say something, but when I looked at him he just gave me a smile.
Geillis sat down in an empty seat next to Willie and I sat across from her, in the seat next to Jamie.
“Everyone, this is Claire Beauchamp, the women who’s plane unfortunately went down as I’m sure you’ve all heard.” Jamie told the table. I got a few sympathetic smiles from around me, and I caught a few people staring at the sling.
“Lovely to meet you all.” I greeted the group. “Thank you all so much for your hospitality, it’s very much appreciated, and I promise to be out of your hair as soon as I can.”
I felt Jamie stiffen slightly beside me and an older women, with hair the same fiery orange as Jamie’s spoke up. “Och, dinna be daft, dear.” She smiled at me. “Yer welcome as long as ye need, plus we love hosting guests anyway, don’t we?”
“Aye, right on, ma’.” Wille responded. He cleared his throat briefly before speaking again. “And, I’m sure ye’ve all heard by now that I’ve went an’ fell in love, so I’d like to introduce you to the most extraordinary woman I’ve ever met, Geillis Duncan.”
Even though he was talking to the rest of the table, his eyes were locked with Geillis’ the entire time, both staring intently into each other’s eyes with the sweetest smiles I had ever seen.
It warmed me to the bone to see Geillis this way with someone, this was never something she had ever experienced, and it looked good on her. I remembered the feeling of loving someone like that all too well, and silently prayed that she would have him forever.
A chorus of ‘awww’ travelled round the area, Willie leaned over a kissed the tip of Geillis’ nose before they pulled away from each other.
“Okay, so to my right we have Jenny Murray, Jamie and I’s sister, and her husband Ian Murray.” Geillis and I both gave them a smile, which they both reciprocated with a small wave. “Next to them we have our Godfather, Murtagh Fitzgibbons – who also responds to ‘old coot’.”
A few snickers came from around the table, but none from the supposed ‘old coot’ himself. “Oi, I’ve been tellin’ ye fir years tae stop callin’ me that, ye wee bugger.” He cocked his head round and pointed an angry finger in his direction, Willie just laughed and I felt Jamie chuckling slightly from beside me. He looked between Geillis and I and the anger left his eyes. “Nice tae meet ye, lasses.”
“Across them ye have the creators of the best wains on earth, our parents Brian and Ellen Fraser.” Jamie took over the introductions at this point and nodded to the women who spoke earlier and an older man with jet black hair who looked a lot like Willie.
Geillis greeted them and before I had a chance to say anything, another man spoke up who was sitting right next to Jamie, and I honestly felt as if I was looking at twins. “Leavin’ the best fir last are ye?” Jamie’s doppelganger asked smugly.
He had the exact same hair, same bone structure, same crooked smile, but his eyes were not as catlike as Jamie’s, the man’s were more rounded, like a circle.
“Another sibling?” I nudged Jamie.
“Aye, wee Rabbie, the youngest of the lot. Still in uni, aren’t ye?” He asked him with a teasing glint in his eyes.
“Last year, mind you.” Rabbie snapped. “Claire, is it?” He reached over Jamie and stuck his arm out in my direction with a lopsided grin.
“Um, yes.” I stopped myself before I reached my hand out to shake his, finally adjusting to the sling. “Lovely to meet you.” I awkwardly nodded at him.
“Put yer hand away, ye eejit. She canna shake it.” Jamie jumped in, firmly pushing away Rabbie’s hand.
He muttered a quick ‘oh’ before he settled back into his seat and was blocked out of view by Jamie’s wide shoulders as he rested his arms on the table.
“So Geillis, is our Willie treatin’ ye well?” Brian asked her. “If he’s no’, ye’ve only tae say the word an’ we’ll sort him out fir ye.”
She chuckled before answering. “Yer son’s been the perfect gentleman, Mr Fraser. And don’t worry, if he’s no, I’ll be givin’ ye a hand in sortin’ him out.”
The table all laughed and Willie playfully swatted Geillis on the arm.
“Call me Brian, lass. You too, Claire.” He told us. “No need for formalities here, aye?”
We both nodded to him and then questions began piling in for Willie and Geillis; How did ye meet? When did he tell ye he loves ye? Are ye gonna move in together?
I sat quietly listening to the answers to all the questions I had already asked her just an hour ago, and just watching how in love they looked.
I came to the realisation while watching them, that I wanted them to live together and for Geillis to have a happy life with him. I could just be the fun wine aunt their kids came to when they needed a place to stay for the night when they grew up, or if they needed someone to talk to that wouldn’t berate them for their actions.
She’d probably kill me if she could hear my thoughts right now, kids have never really been in the picture for her. Always saying that she would be the fun wine aunt to my kids when the time came, but it was looking more and more likely that the time never would come for me.
I haven’t been on a date in 3 years now. Either no one took much of an interest in me, or if they did, I would end up having to stay late at the hospital and miss the date altogether. So it wasn’t from lack of trying on my part, it just never seemed to work out for me.
I used to hope that the right man would just pop out one day, and we’d fall madly in love with each other. But over time the dream has faded and I realised the reality of the situation. I had my chance, I didn’t take it, and I’ll never have it again.
But back to Geillis. I could live with it. I’d probably still see her all the time anyway, as I told her, I was always in Scotland for conferences, and she would probably end up down in London from time to time. If not for her job, then maybe for me.
I could feel Jamie eyeing me once again and quickly turned my head to meet his gaze.
I forgot about the large hat I was still wearing, to keep the sun away, and I accidentally hit him with the front of it. “Shit, sorry. I forgot about this stupid thing.” I pointed to the hat.
“Ach, it’s nae bother, just wasna expectin’ ye tae turn round sae fast.” He answered. “Ye were away wi’ the fairies there, what were ye thinkin’ of?”
“Nothing exciting.” I assured him. “Just life in general.”
“Aye? I’m sure ye’ve got quite the exciting life, Sassenach.” He regarded me with curiosity.
I laughed softly. “I definitely wouldn’t describe my life as ‘exciting’, it’s just the usual life of a doctor; working long hours, no time for fun or a social life I’m afraid.” I told him.
The most exciting part of my life most of the time was probably Geillis and I’s daily lunches. No matter what we were doing, we always made time to sit down for lunch and a chat. Whether it was in the break room, cafeteria, or the little café a few minutes away from the hospital that we absolutely loved. We always done it. It was a good way to break up the day a bit and keep ourselves going, through whatever was going on in our lives at the time.
“Well, ye came over here by yerself, that seems pretty exciting to me.” He reasoned, angling his body so he was facing more towards me than the rest of the table. “Definitely not just the usual life of a doctor, what prompted that?”
I wasn’t too sure how to answer this question. ‘The only relative I had left died and I couldn’t take it without him’ sounded a bit too grim, I had only just met the man for Christ’s sake.
I didn’t really want to get into the details around a group of people either. If Dr Abernathy were here, he’d probably be encouraging me to answer honestly, open up to someone. But I couldn’t do it.
“Just wanted a change of scenery.” I lied, looking down at my lap. “London becomes a bit drab after a while.”
He nodded. “Aye, I’d have tae agree wi’ ye there. I’ve never been overly fond of the place myself, too many grey walls and tall buildings for my likin’.” He told me truthfully. “Only ever stayed there for work or a layover for a flight, but it didna really leave me longin’ tae return.”
“I can understand that, it’s not exactly the homeliest place to live, but it does the job.” I replied. “Where do you call home anyway?”
“Edinburgh, most of the time. I own an estate not too far from the city, but far enough away that we still get the illusion of being out in the countryside.” He revealed.
“Is it just you that lives there, or is it a family house?” I enquired.
“Just me an’ Fergus for the most part, sometimes we get a family member at the door, wantin’ a place tae lay their heads for a few nights, but no one else lives wi’ us permanently.” He told me, then cocked his head over to the table with many kids sitting around it. “Speakin’ ae Fergus, let me introduce ye.” He left the table and walked off in the direction of his son.
“Alright.” I fixed my dress and took off my sunglasses for a moment. I would probably look a bit scary to a 9 year old, bruises all over and the dark hat and ominous sunglasses definitely wouldn’t help.
Jamie was walking back to the table, with a lanky little boy bouncing along next to him. The boy stopped just before me and stared directly at me.
He didn’t look exactly like Jamie did. The boy had dark brown curly locks that bobbed on his head when he walked, the cutest little smile that I could see a hint of Jamie in, and his eyes had a completely different shape to Jamie’s but the same light blue shone out within them.
“Fergus, this is Miss Claire Beauchamp.” He spoke to his son, before turning to me with a beaming smile across his face. “Claire, this is my wee lad, Fergus Fraser.”
“I’m no’ wee, Da.” He turned to face his father, with a look of outrage at being called ‘wee’.
Jamie just stared back at him and reminded him of his manners. “Is that how ye greet someone, Fergus?”
Fergus shook his head, causing his curls to fly wildly about his face, and turned to me. “It is verra nice to meet ye, Miss Beauchamp. You have pretty eyes.” He said seriously.
A smile broke out on my face and I raised an arm to pat his arm. “It is a pleasure to meet you, Fergus. Please, call me Claire, if your father doesn’t mind?” I asked with a glance to Jamie.
“Fine by me.” He nodded.
“What’s wrong wi’ your arm?” Fergus questioned, staring inquisitively at my cast.
“I was in an accident and it got hurt.” I explained to him. “But, your father came to my rescue and your aunt Jenny and uncle Willie fixed it up for me.”
“Da saved ye?” He asked, intrigued.
“Yes, he came out on his boat and brought me to safety.” I looked up at Jamie and locked eyes with him. “Saved my life he did, your father’s a very brave man.”
He stood up straight and I saw pride beaming through his blue eyes. “Aye, I ken, he always knows what to do whenever I need help wi’ something.” He leaned forward and cupped a hand round my left ear before whispering into it. “He’s my hero.” Fergus admitted.
“Mine too.” I whispered back, completely truthful.
The smile still hadn’t left Jamie’s face since he had walked over with Fergus, only grew in size if that were possible.
“Right, away back tae yer table then.” He patted him on his back. “Give me a shout if ye need anythin’, aye?”
“Aye.” Fergus called back as he ran towards the table filled with kids.
Jamie returned to his seat next to me and fiddled with his hands in his lap.
“Sweet boy you have there.” I told him and he looked up and nodded. “Seems to adore you.”
“Aye, and I him.” He answered solemnly.
Jamie and I re-joined the conversation at the table, which was currently on the last summer the Fraser family had spent here.
I heard stories of the famous Fraser Olympics held on the island every year. Any child over the age of 5 was permitted to compete and the tradition had ran for 24 years now. The games were reportedly coming up again in the next few weeks with the main activities for the children including a sack race, bean bag toss, egg and spoon race and a gruelling 200m sprint across the beach.
The adult version was a little harder including all variety of strenuous activities. There were variations of the kid’s games like shotput and balancing a book on your head while running 100m, but the main event was the Fraser’s take on a triathlon.
200m swim in either the pool or - weather depending - out and back to a floating platform placed in the water, especially for the occasion.
Run round one half of the island on foot until you reached the stables.
Saddle up a horse, mount it, and take off along the edge of the water, riding round the other half of the island.
This should then lead back to the starting point for the swimming, and the first one to run up and kiss the judge on the cheek was declared winner of the round.
There was a whole points system explained to me as well, but most of it went straight over my head when they started to argue with each other about the points awarded last year.
Every year it was a different winner, no one had ever won it two years in a row, and it always came as a surprise to the rest of the family who would actually win the games.
Last year it was Jamie who had bested everyone and was awarded with the golden plaque, which had the names and dates of every winner in the past years.
Since this year was to be the 25th anniversary, the plaque only had one place left on it, and whoever won this year, got to keep it. A new plaque would be made for the next year, but whoever won this year got to keep this with them for life.
This made the family all that more determined to win, and get the bragging rights for life.
I was sad to realise that I probably wouldn’t still be here for the games, so would never actually get to witness the win, but hopefully Geillis would fill me in after.
I wasn’t sure if she had plans to stay with Willie for the summer, now that the rest of his family knew about the two of them, but I imagined she’d at least be staying for a while.
The argument about the points eventually died down and everyone put in their breakfast orders.
I was going to order a crepe, but then remembered my predicament trying to cut it up last night, and went for a bowl of fruit instead.
There wasn’t really much more conversation over breakfast, the group of children were becoming quite irritable and Jenny and Ian had to take them home straight after they had finished their breakfast.
Fergus also joined them, pleading with Jamie that he wanted to spend the day with his cousins.
Jamie allowed it and promised to peek in on him at lunch.
Brian, Ellen and Murtagh left not long after, they were going to meet up with Murtagh’s wife and Ellen’s sister, Jocasta, for a day out on the yacht.
Rabbie snuck off with a waitress at the restaurant, without anyone noticing, and soon it was just Geillis, Jamie, Willie and I left.
“So, any plans for the day?” I asked the group. We had moved down to some rattan couches on a patio with a fire pit that wasn’t currently on.
“Takin’ care ae you.” Geillis quickly replied. “Speakin’ ae that, get yer shades back on or I’ll drag ye back tae the room the now.”
Knowing she would follow through on her threat if I didn’t comply, I slipped the discarded sunglasses back over my eyes.
“Happy?” I asked her.
“Very.” She replied, cuddling up to Willie.
“You do realise that I don’t need you to take care of me every single second of the day, I want you to go out and enjoy yourself.” I raised my eyebrows at her and Willie.
“I’ll be enjoyin’ myself right enough.” She replied, giggling. “But that’ll be later, when yer tucked up in yer bed.”
“Geillis, seriously, I’m fine spending the day by myself.” I told her. “If I really need you, I’ll phone you.” I patted the phone that had been given to me earlier.
“No, I’ll maybe leave ye an hour or so, but I’m certainly no’ leavin’ ye yerself all day. Something could happen tae ye an’ no one would realise.” She reasoned.
She did present a fair point, I did still have a concussion, but I wasn’t experiencing as intense symptoms as yesterday. A natural sleep seemed to do wonders.
I was about to open my mouth to tell her I felt better when Jamie began talking.
“I’d be fine sitting wi’ ye fir the day, not got anythin’ else to do anyway.” He offered.
“Jamie, I can’t ask you to do that.” I replied. “Your on holiday, I’m sure you want to relax a bit.”
Willie chuckled at this. “Him? Relax? Don’t think I’ve ever seen him relaxed in all my life.”
Jamie shot him a look before turning to Geillis. “Seriously though, I’d be happy to relieve ye of yer duties fir the day, I’ll even text wi’ an hourly update if ye wish.” He told her.
“Well, if yer sure yer alright wi’ it, I wouldna mind a bit of time wi’ this one.” She nudged Willie. “Claire?”
“I don’t want to be a bother, really I’m fine with my own company for the day if you don’t want to.” I looked at him.
“Claire, I wouldna have offered if I didna want to do it.” He informed me. “I want to.”
I stared into his sky blue eyes for a moment, trying to decide if he was being genuine or not. Upon evaluation, I found no evidence of lying and nodded my head to him in agreement.
He gave me a lopsided grin. “I’m sure we’ll have a great day together, Sassenach.”