Fanfiction - Stealing Tomorrow (Epilogue)
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Epilogue – Tomorrow is Now
Edinburgh, 13 years ago
“Close your eyes.” Jamie insisted, whispering in her ear. “Dinna be a wee cheater, Sassenach. You’ll spoil the surprise.”
“I’m not cheating!” Claire declared, irritated. “I’m just worried I’ll fall on my face, that’s all.”
“Don’t ye worry.” She could hear the obvious smile in his voice. “I’d still love ye - even with a crocked nose.”
“How magnanimous of you.” She puffed, walking slowly with the guidance of his hand on her arm. “Are we there yet?”
“Yes.” Jamie surprised her by kissing her lips and then removing the blockage of her hands from her eyes. “Tell me what ye think.”
They were standing in an empty apartment, the big windows harnessing enough of the afternoon light to make the wood boards on the floor look like decadent fields of gold.
“It’s very…” Claire licked her lips, looking for an appropriate word to say, noticing his expectant demeanour. “Empty.”
“Ach.” He clicked his tongue and opened his arms, a big grin forming on his lips. “That is only a matter of buying the right furniture for it. But do ye like it?”
“I – yes.” She looked around, noticing the wide kitchen bench and the freshly painted walls. “It’s lovely, really. But why are we here?”
“Well,” Jamie hugged her by the waist and pressed his forehead against hers, his voice sounding like the sheltering roar of the earth underneath her feet. “I was hoping you could make it my home, if you married me.”
Edinburgh, 1 year in the future
“Lady Jane!” Joe thundered, as he saw her striding next to a patient’s gurney, accompanying him to the recovery ward after a long surgery. “I barely recognized you, girl! You look all tanned and sparkly. How was Jamaica?”
“Hot.” Claire laughed, watching the corners of his mouth twitch in a devilish grin. “I meant the weather was very warm, you naughty man.” Noticing that his smile didn’t fade away, but was only enhanced by significant movements of his eyebrows that made him look like a crazy cartoon, she smiled and conceded. “Well, that too.”
“I had no doubt!” Her friend laughed openly, sounding like an amused bear. “I have seen you with your Scot enough to know that, any tropical storm in the area, was probably caused by you two going at it.”
“Oh, stop!” She playfully smacked him in the arm, her cheeks throbbing with heat. “How is everything here?”
“Same old, same old.” Joe replied with a sudden strange attempt at nonchalance. “You haven’t been at the nurses’ desk yet, have you?”
“No.” Claire furrowed her brows. “I was a bit late this morning because of…reasons,” She ignored his smirk. “And went straight to the OR to the kidney transplant. Shall I go there now?”
“No!” The man said vehemently, grabbing her elbow and steering her towards the cafeteria. “I’m that hungry. Shall we go for some dinner?”
“It’s three o’clock in the afternoon, Joe.” Claire gave him a questioning look. “What are you trying to hide?”
“Nothing, LJ.” He shook his head, patting her shoulder in a reassuring manner. “You know my stomach didn’t come with a built-in clock. I’m more of a “eat whenever you’re hungry” type of guy.”
“What is in the nurses’ desk that you don’t want me to see?” She halted and crossed her arms, offering him a disarming look, suitable for young children misbehaving with their soup. “Spill it, Joe. We both know I’ll find out soon enough.”
“Fine!” Joe threw his hands in the air in a gesture of surrender. “I was just trying to spare you. But please, Lady Jane, you need to keep it cool. I’m sure he had the best possible intentions…”
Before Joe was able to complete his sentence, Claire was already sliding past him and marching in the direction of the nurses’ area. As soon as she became visible making a turn on the corridor, two nurses jumped from their seats – they had been whispering with their heads together, looking at something – and stood like two soldiers on a parade, their hands hidden behind their backs, blushing madly.
“So,” Claire smiled pleasantly, taking off her surgical cap and brushing the mad riot of curls, eager to finally be wild and free after so much time in confinement, like eels on a barrel. “What is going on here?”
“Doctor Fraser.” The younger nurse saluted her, looking slightly out of breath. “So good to see you. How was your honeymoon?”
“Fine, Nurse Hawkins.” She nodded, tapping her fingers on the counter in an evident display of impatience. Both nurses looked at her hand like disciplined cats, fascinated by the repeated movement. “There seems to be some kind of disturbance taking place here. I want to know what is going on.”
“LJ…” Joe started, trying to block her vision from the nurses. She gave him a look so dark and dangerous that he immediately retroceded to her side.
“Let’s hear it.” Claire repeated, glancing at the nurses under her lashes and placing all her imaginary coins on the beat of Mary Hawkins breaking in seconds under pressure – too bad it was only the casino of her mind, because it was a smashing jackpot.
“We were just looking at it, Doctor Fraser.” Mary explained in a high pitched voice, slightly stammering. “We meant no disrespect. It’s a beautiful work and such a good cause.”
“Give it to me!” She demanded, reaching out with her open palm. Slowly but surely, Mary Hawkins delivered her the source of all the ruckus.
It was a calendar commissioned by the Fire Department, sold to raise funds for a new Burn Centre and to support the widows and children of fallen firefighters. The calendar was illustrated with photographs of gorgeous men in the corporation – and front and centre, occupying almost two thirds of the cover, was James Fraser. He had been photographed sitting in a chair of the headquarters, naked from the waist up, the suspenders of his loose equipment trousers falling along his hips. His hair was tousled and he looked like he had just arrived from a massive fire, finally relaxed and at ease – except his eyes were playing with the camera, teasing of his secrets, undoubtedly igniting other flames on the belly of any woman looking at it.
“Oh.” Claire said in excitement, her finger absentmindedly caressing his exposed chest. “It’s finally out!”
“You knew about this?” Joe asked, gobsmacked. “That your husband is featuring in a steamy calendar, which probably will be the erotic fantasy of every female in the Edinburgh area?”
“Of course.” She raised a brow. “Who do you think took the photo?”
“Hmmm. Don’t stop!” Claire moaned, her toes curling in pleasure. “That is definitely the spot, Jamie. Keep going!”
“Hmpf.” Jamie snorted from the other extremity of the bed, skilfully massaging the sole of her foot. “Yer wee noises are making my cock ache, Sassenach. If it’s really yer foot ye want me to massage, best ye stop.”
“Again?” She smiled lazily, watching as his knuckles applied pressure on her battered points. “We did it this morning, already. And twice last night.”
“It’s fortunate there’s not a limit to it, then.” He bit her big toe making her yelp, as his hands went on to rub her calf. “Even when I’m still inside ye, I’m already missing ye.”
“How many love letters did you receive today?” Claire asked, nudging him with her free foot. “I’m expecting the mailman already knows your name by heart.”
“They are more lust letters.” Jamie sighed, letting go of her leg and stretching next to her in bed, playing with her curls. “About a dozen or so. Apparently there is another man called James Fraser in this area who has been receiving some by mistake – he is sixty and dinna understand why all of the sudden so many women were sending him photos in their undergarments and making indignant advances on him by mail.”
“Lucky man.” Claire laughed. “May your success serve him well.”
“Ye ken what day is it today?” He stroked her small, pointy, ear and temple, gluing their bodies together.
“I do.” She kissed the tip of his jaw, feeling the small stubble prickling her lips like fresh grass. “Fourteen years ago we were married for the first time.”
“Aye.” He kissed her mouth, tasting her lower lip, the pressure of his teeth just enough to make her moan against him. “I have a wee present for ye.”
He retrieved a small package from his nightstand and she unwrapped it, kissing him amidst the confusion of paper and ribbon. It was a custom made blue surgical cap, clearly designed for her, with a forget-me-not embroidered on the side and underneath it, printed after his own handwriting, the words “Da mi basia mille”.
“It’s beautiful, Jamie.” She said in a husky voice, a knot forming on her throat – it was always disarming to realize how much he knew her and appreciated her. “I - I have something for you too.” Claire added slowly.
“Aye?” He smiled, so tender and alight that her body was immediately blazing just to see it. His eyes shone blue and knowing, with a hint of mischief hidden in the deepest pools of blue sea.
“You know, don’t you?” Claire realized, their noses almost touching - their eyes so close they could plunge into each other without taking another breath. Slowly, like a dance learnt in another life and scripted into their DNA for permanent remembrance, their hands entwined - silver wedding rings meeting like titans clashing together.
“I know, mo nighean donn.” Jamie nodded and his hand came to rest solid and sure on her stomach - cradling the tomorrow they had lost, fought to earn again and hoped for with all their hearts.