Flood my Mornings: Thanks
Anon said: If the stable chapter was in October doesn’t Bree have a birthday coming up? how is she going to do with the terrible twos ?
Notes from Mod Bonnie:
- This story takes place in an AU in which Jamie travels through the stones two years after Culloden and finds Claire and his child in 1950 Boston.
- See all past installments via Bonnie’s Master List
- Previous installment: Eggs (Attack of the Pregnancy Brain!)
November 23rd, 1950
“Happy Thanksgiving, Frasers!” Marian Harper sang out as she opened the door.
“Happy Thanksgiving,” we chorused in return, arms full of Bree and wine and basket of lemon meringue pie.
“Oof, come in out of the rain,” she clucked, ushering us into the warmth of her cozy foyer. “Though I guess we should thank our lucky stars it’s only rain, not the blizzard they’re getting down south!”
“Oh, aye,” Jamie agreed, deftly extricating Bree from her raincoat while still holding her. “Made it a bit slow-going on the drive over, but much preferable to snow.”
“And the rain’s good luck for Miss Bree! Happy BIRTHDAY, sweet pea!”
Thus addressed, Bree giggled and lurched forward into Marian’s arms, surprising all of us.
“Glad to see she’s finally getting less intent on clinging only to Mama and Da,” I laughed.
Jamie helped me out of my coat and sweetly kissed my cheek as we followed Marian into the living room. “I suppose being properly two years of age makes a difference, after all!”
Earlier that day
“Our wee lass doesna appear to be verra sensible of the grand occasion, Sassenach.”
I wiped my hands and turned quickly from the stove (which YES, I’d managed to turn on, thank you very much), beaming. Sure enough, Bree seemed about as interested in festivities as the average boulder. She had both arms around Jamie’s neck and was making it quite clear she was not in the mood to be up and about.
“Well, I suppose she doesn’t remember her last one, little as she was,” I conceded, coming close to tickle Bree lightly in the side. “Guess what, lovey-dove? It’s your BIRTHDAY!”
The dramatic excitement in my tone made her bolt upright at once, hair wild: curlywig to end all curlywigs. “S’bird-day?” she demanded.
“Yes, baby, it’s your birthday!”
“What-is ‘at, Mama? Mama?” She continued to screw her face up at me in concentration as Jamie buckled her in to the high chair. “What-IS ‘at, bird-day? Mama? Mama, what?”
“It means ,” Jamie offered, settling next to her and putting out one of his hands for hers, “the day you were *born,* a leannan.”
“What-is-it, ‘borrnd,’ Daddy?”
“It means the day God gave ye to Mama and me,” he said patiently, “So, it’s a verra special day, aye?”
“What-is-’at?” she said immediately, lacing her fingers together and flapping them about. “Daddy, dinna kennit. What is-’at ‘spedchill’?”
Jamie sighed, love and exasperation so perfectly mingled in that way unique to parents. “’Special’ means…the verra best. Just like you, sweet wee cub.”
“See my-dese jammies?” she chirped, changing direction with lightning speed. “Dey’re porpoor, Daddy, see’um?”
“Aye,” he laughed, “I see, a leannan.”
She pulled at the fabric of her top. “Dey’re spedchill?”
“Aye, those are verra SPECIAL purple Jammies,” he said, meeting my eye and trying not to laugh.
“Your birthday,” I said significantly, walking over to them with Bree’s breakfast held high, “is the day where Mama and Daddy talk about how JUST how much we LOVE our Bree.” I bent and latched onto her sweet, dimpled cheek in a huge, long mmmmmm-ing kiss and Jamie came in to do the same on the other. Bree, caught between us in a smooch sandwich, was giggling so hard she was fit to choke.
“Those are your first presents,” I said pulling back. “Two kisses for your second birthday. And here’s the next!” I slid the plate onto the tray in front of her for inspection.
“Sassenach….That is…” Jamie looked up at me with the queerest expression on his face. “…the *Cutest* thing I’ve ever seen.”
It was little more than a circle with two lopsided ears, but I’d embellished a snout with banana slices and chocolate chips for nose and eyes, and powdered sugar to top things off.
Yes, it was fairly bloody adorable.
Bree squealed. “Issa—Lookint-’im-that-wee BEAR, Daddy!” She hooted in delight and then began promptly to demolish said wee bear.
“You’d best slow down, mo chridhe!” Jamie laughed. “He’s going to roar in your tummy for gobbling him up so fast!”
Bree’s mouth was so full she couldn’t reply, but there came a happy, muffled *mmphurr!?!* that signified her excitement to see this play out as soon as humanly (bearly?) possible.
“So neither of you have ever had Thanksgiving before?” Tom asked as he poured Jamie a glass of wine in the sitting room.
“No, indeed!” I settled back onto the sofa with a cup of tea. “A singularly American holiday, this one.”
Tom furrowed his brows. “But you were here stateside last year too, weren’t you, Claire?”
“Oh, yes, well….Yes, but I wasn’t in the going-out frame of mind, to be honest.”
“It was a different life, before you came back, Jamie,” Marian said knowingly, beaming from the floor, where Bree was sitting on her lap playing with her birthday present from the Harpers. “We’re glad you did.”
“As am I, a nighean,” he said warmly to her, then met eyes with me. Glad doesna even begin to express it.
It would have been a thoroughly lovely moment, except morning sickness had come a-calling with a VENGEANCE today, and I had to close my eyes while yet another urge to vomit abated.
Jamie noticed and made as if to come to me, but just then, the doorbell rang, followed almost immediately thereafter by Della O’Malley running head-on into Jamie and nearly spilling his wine as she barreled around the corner. He managed to catch her with his free hand, and she looked as though he’d hung the bloody moon. “Hi, Mr. Fraser,” she said breathlessly, gazing up into his face.
“Happy Thanksgiving to ye, Miss Della.” He kissed her hand, which sent her into paroxysms. Jesus H. Christ, the girl needed a cold shower, pronto.
Thankfully, though, it seemed her glow wasn’t *entirely* due to infatuation with Jamie. “Claire! Claire, guess what?” she said, bouncing in my direction.
“Peter asked you to go steady?” She’d been talking about this boy for weeks, it was about time he made a move.
“YES!!!” she squealed, thudding into a chair next to me. “Can you BELIEVE IT!??!”
“Wine, Claire?” Tom said, coming over with a glass.
“Oh, no, thank you.”
“No, thank you, Tom, I’m all—” Good Heavens, I nearly burped in the poor man’s face, but managed to choke back the wave of acute nausea and croak, “—
all set with my tea.”
I could have sworn Marian gave me a suspicious look, but thankfully, Jamie came to my aid. “So, from what I gather, the festivity centers around coming together and eating in a spirit of gratitude. But that’s about all I ken of it. Is there more?”
I had told him the story earlier that morning, in fact, but I was grateful for the diversion while Tom gave the Proud Son of Massachusetts recitation of the Thanksgiving tale.
Jamie nodded in approval. “Thanks be to God for the kindness of the native folk, then. I must say, I enjoy hearing tales of anyone that managed to fly in the face of the English crown—Sorry Sassenach,” he added with a grin.
“Does Scotland not belong to England?” Della asked, bewildered.
“Depends on who ye ask,” Jamie laughed. “Suffice it to say, there’s a reason the marriage between Claire and me raised no small number of eyebrows.”
“But you married anyway,” Della swooned, “how roMANTIC!!”
Jamie grinned and sat down next to me. “Verra romantic indeed.” He saw my pallor and squeezed my hand, speaking low so only I could hear. “Are ye feeling alright, Sassenach?”
“Bit queasy,” I admitted, resisting the urge to clutch my abdomen.
“Can I get ye anything?”
“No,” I whispered, squeezing his hand. “But thank you. Just have to wait for young Fraser here to settle down.”
He smiled and ducked his head, trying not to let the others see the direction of his tender gaze.
We had agreed not to announce the pregnancy until the three-month mark, as was customary. We knew better than anyone that tragedy could still strike after the first trimester, but had decided that for Brianna’s sake, at least, it was best to wait until the highest risk of miscarriage was past….even though acknowledging the possibility of losing another child sent claws of fear tearing at my heart.
But I’d carried one child safely; Lord willing, I could do so again.
Please, Lord, keep this little one safe.
Jamie wrapped one arm around my waist and pulled me closer. “I am thankful, today, ye ken?” he whispered.
“Oh?” I murmured back, looking into his eyes, curious, but already smiling from the tone in his voice. “Whatever for?”
“For our daughter. For you carrying her. Giving her life, this day two years ago. For—” His voice caught, just barely. “—For how ye went on living when ye didna wish to…” He gently touched my face. “For working as hard as ye do, at home and at the hospital….For being my wife. For….well…” He very discreetly touched my belly. “For our children. And for taking care of us in this new world”
I ran my hand down the side of his face, unable to speak as I kissed him. Come what might in 1951, never had I had a year in which there was so much for which to give thanks as 1950.
“I’m going to shrivel up and DIE from how much you love each other,” came Della’s tremulous threat. “Just you WAIT.”