gooseberry fall

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Untitled by Maya Beano

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Modern Claire and Jamie take a road trip to the beach where J has never been. Of course Claire has plans to make the most of it. Romance, feels galore.

“What did ye say this place was called?” Jamie asked from the shore, his back to me.

I came up behind him and nuzzled my face between his shoulder blades. “Gooseberry Falls.”

My job at the hospital required me to attend a yearly conference at the Mayo Clinic. This year, however, Jamie and I thought we’d make a sort of get-away out of it. We had left Bree at her aunt and uncle’s for the week, something she absolutely loved, and planned a road-trip along Lake Superior’s North Shore. We had quite a few recommendations from friends and this was our first stop.

He craned his neck to look back at me over his shoulder, giving me that silly grin of his. “I havena seen any gooseberries, have ye, Sassenach?”

“Mmm, now that you mention it…” I murmured, “I’m not sure I’ve been paying attention to the native flora.”

“Oh, aye? And ye a regular botanist most days.” His eye brows rose in mock surprise.

My hands traveled around him and fiddled with his belt, imitating his Scottish burr, “Oh, aye, but no’ on this bonnie day.”

I was rewarded with an ear splitting grin from my husband. “Bonnie is it? The only thing bonnier than this day is my wife.”

A small, polite cough sounded from the other side of Jamie and his head snapped forward again. He took my hands in his, quickly removing them from his belt buckle and bringing me along side him.

The disgruntled hiker sent me a look of mild annoyance mixed with slight offense as he passed by us, continuing on his way down the shoreline. His eyes met Jamie’s, however, and he quickly picked up his pace.

I couldn’t help but giggle, it had been a while since we’d been interrupted like that. It reminded me of our walks along Boston Harbor when we were dating.

Jamie glanced between the shore and the tree line, turning something over in his mind, then looked down at me with eyes aflame. “Water or forest, Sassenach?”

“Jamie! Have you felt the water? It’s freezing!” With a cry of outrage I poked him in the ribs.

“Aye, weel, no I havena,” he admitted, smiling. “But ‘tis August, surely even in Minnesota the lochs are warm by now.”

Shoving him towards the water, I responded “Go try it and tell me what you think.”

He dipped his fingers into the frigid waters and reeled back as if stung. Grinning, he grabbed my hand and pulled me towards the forest. “No’ a word, Sassenach.”

“And just where are we going?” I asked. “We’re in a national park!”

“‘Tis a state park, mo nighean donn.”

“Oh, pardon me, I’ll make sure to cross the correct item off on my bucket list.” I responded sarcastically as tried to keep my footing on the slippery stones of the beach.

He tipped his head back and laughed, scaring no small number of birds and tourists. The hiking paths were full of adventuring families this time of year. How was he going to find a place secluded enough that we wouldn’t be arrested for public indecency, or at the very least, permanently scar small children for life?

Winking at me, he led us off the path and over a small ridge. The trees and underbrush began to thicken as we left the trail behind. Jamie let go of my hand then, pushing aside a pine bough and motioning for me to go ahead of him.

I stepped into a small clearing and turned around to face him.

“Tell me, James Fraser,” I demanded playfully, “Just how you manage to find places like these.”

He shrugged dismissivley, “The trip was your idea, Sassenach.”

“That’s not what I meant,” I tugged his shirt loose from his jeans.

“Mmhmm,” Jamie made a definitively Scottish sound at the back of his throat before he slid the hair binder off the end of my braid, setting the rambunctious curls free. “‘Tis a forest, there is always places like these.”

TO BE CONTINUED

2

Yennefer of Vengerberg 
Born on Belleteyn of the year 1173, the Lady of Vengerberg was famous for her beauty and incredible power. Yennefer had locks of curly, raven black hair fragrant with lilac and gooseberry perfume, falling in a cascade of curls on her shapely shoulders. Her face was very pale, triangular in shape. Her eyes were cold and sparkling with remarkable violet of a penetrating gaze, in anger blazing with livid, blue-gray fire. Those very eyes also concealed wisdom and imperiousness. On a long and slender neck hung a star made of obsidian sparkling with a multitude of tiny diamonds embedded in it. Even in high-heeled shoes she wasn’t tall, was beautiful but threatening, having an incredibly thin and slender waist and slender legs. She always dressed in black and white, at times wore stockings but never wore trivialities with underwire, she didn’t need to.