A Life Unseen, Chapter 4
Here is my post for my own personal 25 Days of Outlander/25 Days of Fanfiction that I meant to post yesterday. So sorry, but I was visiting some friends and well, life happens.
I’m overwhelmed by the response of Fraser’s Ridge and only hope all of my stories will continue to live up to expectation. To @tara-58, @gotham-ruaidh, @di-elle and many many more readers (that would take an entire post to name off) who are always there liking/reblogging/giving feedback on my work endless cyber hugs and kisses!
Please enjoy a little more of Claire’s first day at Lallybroch.
Walking down the stairs, I felt completely out of place. The dress, which fit well, was not me— the lack of my undergarments made me squirm and want to shield myself even though I am completely covered. Jamie was waiting at the bottom of the stairs— pacing. Looking up when he heard us, a small smile lit up his face.
“Well what do ye think brother? Mam’s old homespun fits yer Claire quite nice.”
My eyes widened, their mother’s dress! That’s what I was wearing. My hands touched to the bindings of the corset, I don’t deserve their kindness.
“She looks bonnie. Thank you, Jenny.” He leaned over and kissed his sister on the cheek, causing a brilliant smile to bloom on her face.
“Thank you for your kindness, both of you. I-”
“If ye think about saying ye canna wear the dresses I’ve already left for ye in yer room think again. Mam would have wanted them to be of use, not stored in a trunk just waiting around. I’ll ne’re fit into them, no tall enough unlike you Claire. Besides the la—”
Jamie’s eyes were the size of saucers and his head moved back and forth swiftly cutting off whatever it is that Jenny was about to say next.
“Fine ye coward. They suit ye, Claire and I’ll hear no more of it! Come on I want to introduce the three of ye to my wee Jamie.”
Puzzled from the siblings interaction, I followed Jenny to the dooryard where the adorable little boy was playing earlier.
“Ach! Ian! What are you doin’ to wee Jamie?” Jenny yelled at the man holding the giggling little boy upside down.
“Ah, Jenny he’s fine. Aren’t you my lad?” Giggles were his response. Infectious giggles that made me smile and ache even more for the family I may never have.
“Ian.” Jamie’s voice was a happy shout.
“Jamie Fraser, back from the dead I see!” The man hobbled over to Jamie and pulled him into an embrace.
“Da! Da quit!” The small voice of wee Jamie shrieked through giggles.
Laughing, Ian pulled away from Jamie and righted wee Jamie, “Jamie I’d like you to meet your namesake, Jamie Fraser. Your uncle mo chridhe.”
Relief swept over Jamie’s face and the smaller Jamie looked up at the towering form of his uncle in awe. The little boy attached himself to his uncle’s legs, a small smile on his face. Jamie tentatively placed his hand on wee Jamie’s head and a smile of his own crossed his face. His smile was breathtaking.
Hefting the smaller Jamie up, Jamie held the boy close and whispered something to him that caused the younger Jamie to cackle in delight. The sight of this tall, by no means unattractive man, holding this small fragile child close sent chills down my spine. He looked good with a child, his wife will be a lucky woman to give him beautiful children he will clearly adore— if his reaction to his nephew is anything to go off of.
The love surrounding me was palpable and I felt like an unwelcome intruder.
I could feel my breathing become labored and short, my head was spinning, and my eyes burned with the unshed tears I was vainly attempting to keep at bay.
Love. Will I ever feel it again? Was what I had with Frank actually love? I no longer trust the feelings I once felt.
Muttering a faint “excuse me,” I ran back into the house and found an empty room with a ledge by a window. Holding onto the window I let my emotions take over. Tears created rivers down my cheeks and the hollow unwanted feeling I had been ignoring consumed me.
This beautiful family had so much more love in one interaction, one touch, and in one smile than I believe I have ever experienced. I ached to feel that love. To feel something other than the overwhelmingly crushing feeling of being unwanted.
My hands tightened on the ledge causing my fingers to ache and knuckles to whiten.
Why was I unwanted? Why did Frank bring another woman to his bed? Why didn’t he at least feign being sorrowful and try to explain? All he did was smirk and hasten his actions with a vigor he had never shown me.
Jamie’s voice startled me. Sniffing as discreetly as possible I turned to look at him, face most likely red and tear stained, eyes puffy.
“Why do you cry, mo nighean donn?” He whispered the last part, as though it was a secret he did not realize he was vocalizing.
“No, no reason.” I sniffled again.
“If it were for no reason, ye would no be crying again. Please, will ye trust me enough to tell me?” The concern and hopefulness on his face caused another round of shuddering sobs. Why does he care?
Nodding slightly I decided to open up.
“Your family is so beautiful and seeing the love—I cannot fully say what it has done to me, other than give me hope that I may find love as yours…I mean your family’s.” My cheeks pinked, a slip of the tongue but no less meaningful. The look of love he has for his sister, nephew, brother-in-law and the surly Murtagh could bring me to my knees. This was a man unafraid of his emotions— emotions that I so desperately craved.
“Have ye no one we can send word to? I ken ye mentioned yer parents died from an overturned carriage and your uncle killed in a battle, but is there no one else, Claire?”
“No. There isn’t.”
“What of yer husband?” Iced flooded my veins and struck me like lightning. How did he know?
“What did you say?”
“I said what of your husband? Surely after riding together for nigh on four days you think I wouldna notice the slight line from the ring you bore on yer left hand?”
Shaking my head, I fisted the hand in question and took a shuddering breath.
“No. There is no husband.”
“Is he no alive?”
“Oh, no he is no longer alive, but the bastard decided to take other women to his bed and he broke his vows. He is no husband of mine any longer, dead or alive. I will not be mourning him.”
Nodding Jamie looked down.
“Please dinna find me as impertinent, but how did ye come to find this and end yer marriage?”
Squaring my shoulders, looking at Jamie I vowed I would not shed a single tear for Frank or the lost marriage, my tears are for the love I may never have and that will be all.
“I walked in on him in our bed fucking another woman. When he saw me, he looked up smirked and continued with more enthusiasm that I had ever experienced with him. In that moment I left never to see him again. I had broken a vase,” a vase the color of the man who stood before me’s eyes, “I hope a shard pierced him.”
“I see, so ye didna get a divorce through the church?”
“Ah, weel as I can tell then ye are still married unless the bastard is dead.”
Thinking of the year I was currently in, and the fact that we came across his six or seven times great grandfather I believe saying Frank is dead would be accurate.
“He is. I’m no longer bound by any vow.”
“Do ye still keep his name? Are ye Mistress Beauchamp?”
“No. His name will stay in the ground with him. My maiden name was Beauchamp and that will be the name I proudly wear.”
Smiling for the first time during our conversation Jamie extended a hand and did a small bow, “Well then Miss Beauchamp it is a pleasure to make your acquaintance, my name is James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser, Laird of Broch Tuarach, and your humble servant.”
Smiling I grabbed his still extended hand and shook it, “The pleasure is all mine, Laird Broch Tuarach.”
Jenny found us hand in hand and laughing a short while later. The small smile on her face proved to me that we will overcome any differences between us.
“Mrs. Crook has dinner ready. The two of ye are to come to the dining room and join us.”
“I suppose we should eat, it has been a while since I’ve had something decent to eat, let alone you. When was the last time you had a filling meal?”
“Dinna fash, Sassenach. I’ll be eating alongside ye tonight and we’ll both have full bellies.”
I heard a voice, so soft I wasn’t sure I really heard anything, speak, “I’ll eat better, sleep better knowing ye are safe. Safe and mine.”
A sigh came from Jamie as he led me to the dining room, hand on my back and smile still in place. Perhaps being stranded in an unknown time won’t be so bad.