The drive to Loch Lomond in Murtagh’s beaten up old pickup was supposed to take a little over an hour, but between the rickety pickup and Jamie’s constant remonstrations and his overly cautious driving, it felt much longer.
“How have ye never been?!” he asked for the umpteenth time. He couldn’t quite understand how Claire, having lived in Scotland for close to seven years now, had never once visited Loch Lomond. “Ye live on 1744 LOMOND Drive! Have ye never been curious about the place it’s named for?”
“I haven’t been much of anywhere, really. It’s just never been something I’ve had the time to do, honestly. Being so busy at school and work, it just never came up.” she said, amused by his earnest indignation.
“‘It just never came up,’ she says. Well its beautiful, ye wee savage!” He teased.
All Claire cared about was getting to their room at the bed and breakfast Jamie had booked. She knew though, how important a weekend it was for the both of them and she was more than happy to let Jamie engineer the trip - and all they were to do on it. Provided of course, it didn’t require them to actually leave their room all that much.
“I can’t wait to see this magnificence of yours. Does the loch have a ‘wee beastie’ in it?” she asked mimicking his accent, making him laugh.
“That was terrible! Is tha’ what ye think I sound like? And no, no beasties, but it does have a song,” he said enthusiastically.
Never one to turn down an opportunity to hear him sing, Claire tucked her legs up in her seat, turned to him and waited expectantly. Giving her what she could only describe as a thoroughly exasperated side-eye, he began reciting rather than singing what turned out to be a rather sorrowful verse.
O ye’ll tak’ the high road, and I’ll tak’ the low road,
And I’ll be in Scotland afore ye,
But me and my true love will never meet again,
On the bonnie, bonnie banks o’ Loch Lomond.
“Some say it’s about the failed Jacobite rebellion in ‘45. Others say the low road’s to do wi’ faeries and little people who transported the souls of Scotsman who died in foreign lands…” Claire wasn’t much of a history buff, but had soon found that Jamie quite loved history. All-things-Scotland, to be exact - and he was a master story teller. They spent nights in the cool darkness, exchanging small touches as best they could without crossing the line to more, with his voice in her ear whispering about ghouls and old people, of witches and standing stones. She loved his folklore tales - of which Scotland had a rich history.
“Oooh! Tell me more about the faeries and all. You know I love a good faerie story.”
He was right, she thought, it was incredibly beautiful. It was like stepping back in time. The cozy little cottage suite Jamie had booked sat right by the waterfront, a complimentary tray of whisky stood waiting in the tiny, rustic room and a fire already lit, crackled gently. They could have been the only two left in the world.
They shucked off their shoes, settling in, and as Jamie went to put their bags down by the bed, Claire stood by the open doors that led out onto a small terrace overlooking the loch, the air crisp and fresh, watching as storm clouds rolled in over the mountains on the far side, the afternoon light catching her like a halo. Jamie came up behind her, slipping his arms round her waist. She’d taken the bulky bandage off his hand, but kept the broken fingers splintered, the stitches lightly bound - it still made things clumsy and awkward, yet she never once made him feel so.
“D’ye like it?” He asked.
“Like? I love it! You were right, it’s perfect,” Claire said, leaning back into him.
He pulled the shawl she wore aside and kissed her shoulder, pleased. “There’s lots to do. Hikin-”
“I don’t want to hike.”
“Well, we can-”
Claire turned around and kissed him, letting her shawl fall to the floor, her hands peeling off his jacket and watched as it joined her shawl at their feet. She ran her hands along his now bare arms and felt his body ripple at her touch. He burned just as much as she did, and the thought made her suddenly nervous, a constant tremor running through her body. She’d thought about having him a million different ways, yet in the moment, the need to have him in a frenzied daze, disappeared entirely.
Jamie could feel her tremor - from fear or an unaccustomed shyness, he wasn’t sure. He’d quickly become attuned to her body sharing her bed, and as much as he wanted to fling her bodily onto the inviting covers behind him and having her hard and quick after so long imagining - he knew for her (and him) now, in the quiet of Loch Lomond, he’d have to go slow.
“What are you thinking, Jamie?” she asked nervously, wrapping her arms about his neck.
“That I’ve never been more scared in my life,” his breath was ragged and voice husky. “That I want nothing more than to take yer dress off ye and taste every inch of ye…”
Jamie’s lips found hers then, and he kissed her long and deep, slowly walking back toward the bed, his hands light on her hips, he gently pulled her with him; she moved forward readily. When his legs eventually hit the foot of the bed, Jamie couldn’t stop his fingers from slipping beneath the straps of her dress and deftly skimming them off her shoulders. The thin dress wafted to the floor seemingly in slow motion. Time had surely slowed down Jamie thought, as he looked properly upon her naked form for the first time. She stood bare from the waist up; he couldn’t resist running his hands lightly up along her ribs and back, feeling her skin erupt with goosebumps in the wake of his touch. He sat down on the edge of the bed and she came to stand between his knees.
“God,” he breathed against the skin between her breasts. His hands went up and down the length of her body, he could feel her breath come in short gasps as his lips brushed across her soft skin. His lips found her nipple which stiffened promptly in response to his attentions. He took his time - taking it between his teeth, flicking his tongue, before taking her fully into his mouth - savouring the feel and ripple of her body, giving both breasts equal and thorough tending. She moaned and shuddered under his touch, her legs suddenly giving way. He grabbed her by the waist, lifting her so she straddled him.
Claire’s hands burrowed into his hair and grabbing a handful, she jerked his head back so his lips met hers, tongues meeting in fiery combat. She began to unconsciously rock her hips and could feel him firm beneath her, his hips slowly keeping in rhythm with hers. Her hands left his hair, ran down his back and rucked up his shirt over his head. She pulled back slightly so she could look at him. Her hand moved as if of its own volition, tracing the flare of his collarbone, the hollow of his chest - where the coarse hairs pleasantly rasped against her fingertips. She ran the back of her fingers down the flat slope of his stomach. Then lower. She drew her nail all along just where the waist of his jeans met his skin. Damn… “Stand up.”
Obligingly, he stood. Claire unbuttoned his jeans - her fingers trembling almost uncontrollably - her hands finding their way behind and beneath his boxers, sliding both jeans and boxers to the floor - Jamie’s own thumbs hooking themselves in the waistband of her last remaining piece of clothing, which swiftly joined his discarded clothes.
Finally leaning back against the pillows, their bodies meeting flesh to flesh all along their lengths, began molding to each other, both taut as the strings of a bow, quivering with a wanting so powerful it took their breath away. With no boundaries whatever between them now, their hands explored freely. His deft fingers finding her slick centre, her legs parting to better accommodate his touch. She pressed herself against his hand, seeking friction. Their breathless kisses stealing what ounce of control they had left. Her hand found its way down, her thumb languidly kneading him, till she felt his thigh muscles twitching with the effort not to lose control entirely.
“I need ye, Claire. God, I need ye so,” Jamie gasped against her lips, fingers lightly flicking. She rolled on to her back then, inexorably drawing him with her in answer. Jamie braced his elbows on either side of her, as Claire’s hand slowly made its way down the large, welted sweep of his back, gently taking hold of one firm buttock, and steered him home. All sense of being, emotion, feeling, were erased in an instant, as both were lost to an oblivion of pure sensation.
Having left the terrace doors open, they lay entwined under the heavy covers, still joined, hips gently rolling in a dreamy rhythm, watching the rain batter the loch’s surface in the dull half-light of early evening, the smell of rain mingling with their own musk and floral scents that filled their senses with a euphoric headiness.
They simply could not stop touching each other. Their hands and lips leisurely roamed, committing to memory every nook and hollow, the smooth expanse of skin and calloused knuckle. Jamie buried his nose in her hair, inhaling deep and long, his hand coming to cup her breast, as Claire wrapped her leg over his hip. He sensed an odd kind of tension in her body though, that he couldn’t quite explain.
“What are ye thinking, Sassenach?” He asked, drowsily. She was quiet for a while, her breathing calm. Then she sighed.
“Being here with you,” she began slowly, “alone, as if the world itself has fallen away. Feeling your heart beat against me, steady and strong. I’ve never felt more at peace than I do right now. You’re my life now, Jamie Fraser… and I’m scared to bloody death of losing you.” Her voice was barely above a whisper.
He raised himself so he could look her in the eye, his hand cupping the nape of her neck. “Ye willna lose me,” he said softly. “Not ever, Claire.” He sealed his promise with a lingering kiss, and felt the tension she carried seep from her completely.
He shifted them both, careful not to break their connection, so he could rest his head upon her shoulder, nestling his forehead into the curve of her neck. She gently stroked back the damp curls from his forehead and he turned slightly, pressing his lips into her palm.
They were quiet for a long while, each absorbed in melting into the other. She would have been freezing, she observed, had it not been for his inexplicable warmth pulsing through her. She slid her arms round his shoulders and tightened her hold. “Mmmm,” he hummed, tightening his hold about her waist in return.
“Marry me, Claire.” he said.
She tilted his head up to her then, looking him in the eye, a smile in hers. “Absolutely,” she replied, and sealed her promise with a kiss of her own.
sexuality and female empowerment being treated as a given, instead of being ignored or poorly represented as much of popular media currently does
the whole cast swearing like sailors
the music (hello, percussion!), choreography, and costume/set/puppet design
“all hail emberly, the fire shitter”
Brian Holden’s lone nipple
the new cast members: Lauren Walker (Molag) being absolutely hilarious & having an amazing stage presence; Jamie Burns (Chorn) having the voice of a goddess; and Tiffany Williams (Tiblyn) being the cutest human being ever
“i don’t really want to do any work today” - same, Zazzalil, same
clark baxtresser blessing us with his presence since prehistoric times
rachael spanking joey
the shadowpuppets during “the night belongs to snarl”
schwoopsie inventing stand-up comedy
privileged fucks becoming the starkid slogan of 2k17
Claire had always loved the night shift. There was something magical about walking the halls in the dead of night, being there to comfort those who found neither solace nor peace in darkness. But now she fully understood why so many of her colleagues scrambled to switch their shifts around. Why they fought tooth and nail to get the day shifts. Now that she had Jamie.
“Joe, please. Just switch a couple of nights with me. You know I wouldn’t ask if it wasn’t important.” Claire pleaded. She knew of all her colleagues, Joe Abernathy was the only one she had a shot convincing. He was her only real friend among all the residents - or in Scotland for that matter. And had been supportive and understanding ever since she told him she was splitting from Frank - and why.
“LJ,” he said in that distinct Boston lilt of his. “In all the time I’ve been here, you’ve basically been this hospital’s Florence Nightingale. Why the sudden change? Finally found yersel’ the courage to ask yer wee laddie fer a nigh’ oot, d’ye noo?” He tried and failed to put on a Scottish accent - which he knew he was absolute rubbish at, but that never stopped him having a go. She could see he was just messing with her - it was one of the things she loved about him, his dumbass sense of humor.
“Joe, come on! Will you switch with me or not?” she put her palms together and mouthed ‘pleasepleaseplease’.
Feigning exasperation, he replied, “Fine. Here’s what we’re gonna do. Barring any major emergencies or juicy surgeries, I’ll take your Wednesday and Thursday night shifts from next week, then we’ll just go from there. Would that work?” She almost knocked him over as she hugged him. She knew it was still going to be tough finding time to spend with Jamie, but any time was better than none.
Jamie sat at the foot of Claire’s bed watching her get ready for work, he knew it was inevitable, but that didn’t make him like it. His apartment was nearly done, “A day or two, yet,” the contractor had said, making him want to wring the man’s neck for his efficiency. Plus Murtagh had called, they’d been some problems at the Printshop he had to attend to soon. All these things, seemingly pulling him further away from her.
“It’ll be fine,” she’s said, seeing the look on his face and came to sit beside him. “We’ll find a way. I’ll rearrange a few things at the hospital. We’ll make it work.” She took his face in her hands and kissed him. “Besides,” she added, teasing, “distance may do us some good. I can’t keep my hands from you, Jamie Fraser, and if you really want to wait…” She sighed, kissing his temple and made to get up, but he grabbed her hand and pulled her onto his lap. He swallowed her moan as he kissed her more deeply. “If ye think for one second that I can keep my hands from ye any more than ye, Claire Randall-soon-to-be-Beauchamp, ye are dead-” he nipped at her lower lip, ”-bloody-” then her neck, “-wrong.”
“It isna so much that we canna do without ye, lad, it’s only as ye have the most patience of us all - hot-heided as ye are -” his godfather was saying, “- to deal with some of these people!” Jamie sat going over the papers Murtagh’d shoved in front of him, and set about setting meetings up with those “irrational writer-types” Murtagh and all hadn’t the energy to deal with.
As Jamie headed for the door an hour and a half later, taking leave of his godfather with the promise of grabbing beers soon and having a much needed chat, Rupert caught up with him, breathless and by the look on his face, Jamie knew whatever Rupert wanted to talk to him about, it wasn’t going to be pleasant.
“Why haven’t ye called her back?” Rupert asked, without preamble.
“Laoghaire? Aye, I’ve been meaning to, but I’ve other things on my mind just now,” Jamie replied. He hadn’t thought of the lass since telling Claire about her at the hospital.
“She came by here the other day, looking for ye, said she tried calling, only ye never picked up. I told her you’d been hurt.” Rupert said, looking annoyed.
Jamie shrugged, what could he say, he knew he didn’t want to see the lass again - let alone talk to her - but knew he couldn’t have Rupert do what he needed to do either. “Dinna look at me like that, I’ll talk to her,” he said a little rougher than he intended, but Rupert was giving him a harder look than necessary. What had the wee besom told him? he wondered.
As it was, a few days past and Jamie still hadn’t spoken to Laoghaire. In truth, he found it hard to think of anything other than Claire and the necessities of his day.
The repairs to his apartment had been finished, but Jamie had taken to sleeping at Claire’s. The first night he’d spent in her apartment, she’d given him a key (he’d given her his the next day) so he could come and go as and when he liked - and now he loathed to be parted from her. He found himself restless and uncomfortable in his own bed and - if he couldn’t have her in his arms - only the scent of her around him could relax him enough to sleep.
Claire too loved coming home in the wee hours of the morning to find him in her bed (and when he wasn’t, she knew it was because he couldn’t), curls tousled about from sleep, the bed invitingly warm. There was no better feeling than curling up against him after a tough day, inhaling his sleepy scent and falling gratefully to sleep with his arms securely about her.
They’d just finished dinner on one of the few nights Claire had freed up. She’d been going on all night about his singing, how she could never decipher what song he’d be belting out, and needed to further investigate his tone-deafness.
“Seriously, we have to go for karaoke one of these nights,” she said, lightly teasing, as she did the last couple of dishes they’d used. “Please, Jamie, It’ll be like an experiment! See if th-EEEKKK!” He’d heard enough, and took a piece of melting ice from his whisky glass, stood up, walked up behind her and slipped the piece of ice down the back of her neck and shirt. She squealed and hit him.
“OW! Ye dinna know your own strength, woman!” he said, feigning indignation and rubbing his arm. She was shivering, yet seeing the affronted look on his face, couldn’t help but laugh. “Serve you right, you idiot,” she replied as she lifted his shirt sleeve a little and kissed the offended bicep. He put his hands on either side of her against the counter and leaned into her, his hips - and lips - meeting hers. They were interrupted suddenly by an increasingly insistent knocking - not on Claire’s door, but Jamie’s. Then his cellphone rang.
“Jamie! I know yer home. I hear yer phone!” came Laoghaire’s high-pitched voice from the hallway.
Claire’s eyebrows shot up, a shocked grin spread across her face. “Is that…?” she whispered.
Jamie groaned, his forehead falling onto her shoulder. “Uh-huh.” he replied, then said something very rude in Gaelic.
“Well then, you better go out there and sort out your drunken misadventure-”
“-before she smashes your door to bits.”
With a silent oath, he stepped out into the hallway like a man headed for the gallows and shut the door behind him.
“Good evening to ye, Laoghaire,” he said politely.
“‘Good evening’? I’ve been callin’ ye and callin’. Where have ye been? I heard ye’d been hurt, why didn’t ye call?” She sounded quite angry rather than concerned to Claire.
“Aye, weel, it’s been… things have been - I didna know how to -that is…” Claire could hear how uncomfortable he sounded and wanted nothing more than to go out there and take his hand in hers, but knew it was something he had to deal with on his own.
“That night was mistake,” he finally said firmly, his voice clear and precise. “It wasna right for me to agree to it in the first place, let alone let it get as far as it did and I’m truly sorry for it - for all of it.”
Claire heard Laoghaire snort unpleasantly. “It wasna right, was it? That didna seem to slow you down any, did it?”
“It’s -it wasna- it’s complicated. I wasna thinking right. And the drink didna help!”
“‘Complicated’ is it?” she shrieked. “So yer the kind of man to just use a woman-”
“I didn’t use ye!” his voice was steadily rising.
“No? What d’ye call kissing me the way ye did, or being naked and roused in bed wi’ a lass ye just met, then?” she countered, bitterly cold.
“It wasna you I burned for. It wasna you I wanted to bed, aye,” he said, equally as cold and with a simple finality. “And I didna bed ye at all, as ye may recall.”
Claire heard what sounded like the crack of thunder as palm met cheek, in a slap that echoed through the hall and stairwell, making her wince. “Yer a coward and an arsehole, Jamie Fraser. May ye and yers fecking rot!” Laoghaire hissed, with the sound of her receding footsteps down the stairs soon following.
Jamie quietly walked back into Claire’s flat and straight into her arms, eager for the only comfort he wanted - that only she could give him. Claire gently kissed his reddening cheek and held him tight to her. After a while, she brushed his hair behind his ear.
“So,” she whispered seriously in his ear. “About the karaoke.”
A couple of weeks past, Claire and Jamie found themselves falling into a routine of their own. Finding Jamie in her bed - in his customary white tank and plaid board shorts - Claire would fall asleep in his arms, at least for a couple of hours before he woke for work. Jamie would have lunch with Claire (and sometimes work from home in the afternoons, if he could) before she headed for the hospital - taking his former morning jogs in the early evenings.
When Claire’s nights were free, they’d plan small nights out, or stay home and binge-watch shows they knew the other hadn’t seen before - the latter proving tricky with Jamie’s ‘we wait’ policy. It was one thing going out for dinner or a movie, it was a whole other challenge sitting next to him, feeling the heat radiating from his skin after a run or shower, the twist and flex of muscle of his body against hers as he settled them more comfortably on the sofa. She knew it was taking a toll on him too - there wasn’t much he could hide while wearing those bloody board shorts of his - after fervent (and quite handsy) makeout sessions, that always resulted in him retreating back into his flat.
In fact they’d come close on a few occasions, but Jamie being the stubborn Scot that he was, had somehow always managed to stop it just before…
She’d persistently called Ned everyday, asking for an update, but from Frank’s end they’d heard nothing. According to Ned, there was nothing left but for him to sign the papers. For whatever reason though, Frank Randall was yet to make things official. This set both her and Jamie on edge.
Seeing her agitation, Jamie knew he’d do just about anything to get her mind - and his - off Randall. And so, after she’d had yet another fruitless conversation with her lawyer, he had no choice. He set his jaw and said, “Tonight, you and me. And karaoke.”
“We are young. Heartache to heartache, we staaaand! No promises, no demands! Love is a battlefield… Whoooo-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh…”
She was phenomenal. Of course Jamie already knew that, but seeing her, completely carefree, curls exploding about her as she belted out one tune after another, he realized it was indeed possible to fall more in love with her each day. He’d heard her sing at home, but never like this.
“We are strong! No one can tell us we’re wrooong! Searching our hearts for so looong! Both of us knowing LOVE is a BATTLEFIELD!!!”
Her voice was beautifully powerful and delicate all at the same time. The crowd too, loved her - how could they not, he thought - and gave her rousing rounds of applause whenever she’d finish a song.
She came back to their table flushed with excitement - and not a little buzzed - he raised his hand which she obligingly high-fived heartily, as she sat down. “You were incredible,” he said every time she’d done a song, and leaned over to kiss her.
“You always say that!”
“Because it’s the God’s honest truth.”
“Your turn?” she asked, hopeful.
“Not nearly drunk enough yet.” was his standard reply. To which she ordered another round of drinks. Jamie had agreed to go, but hadn’t yet got up the courage to try his hand at a song, he’d been reluctant, she knew, but he’d promised her at least one song.
Finally, after a little more encouragement - and a lot more drink - he got up a little unsteadily and said, “For you, my Sassenach, I’ll do anything. Even make an utter arse of mysel’,” kissing her hand formally, he determinedly headed toward the little stage, beer in hand.
Claire watched as he picked his song, then stood waiting for the music to start up - he solemnly blinked at her and she winked back. The music began and it wasn’t at all what she was expecting. Is that…? Is he doing... Sure enough,
“Just a small town girl, livin’ in a lonely world. She took the midnight train goin’ A-NY-WHERE!”
His voice was terrible. The song fluctuated high, then higher still, then low and deep. There was no melody or rhythm. His voice cracked and rumbled, leaving the audience cringing in feigned agony.
“It goes on and on, and on, AND OOON! Strangers waiting, up and down buuulevaAAard! Their shadows searching in the niiight. Streetlight people, livin’ just to find emotion, hidin’ somewhere in the NIIiiiIIGHT!”
She realized his eyes were closed as he “sang”, mic held up against his chest, he knew all the words without having to look at the monitor and was leaning back, feeling the music, playing his air guitar, as if he stood alone in the world.
“DON’T. STOP. BEEELiEVIN’!!! HOLD ON TO THAT FEEEeeLINnNN’!!!!!”
And as he croaked his way to the end, Claire knew beyond anything, it was the most beautiful thing she’d ever heard.
Claire was still humming it as the arrived back home, Jamie steadied her hand so she could get the key into the door. “You can’t sing for shite, love, but you were just incredible tonight!” she said, completely sincere, her blood still fizzing with energy. He laughed.
“Worth every minute to see ye had fun!”
He turned her round then and held her against the door, wedging his thigh between hers and kissed her for what seemed an age and at once, no time at all.
“Let’s get inside, shall we?” Claire said as her hips swayed against his, her lips pleasantly tingling - like they always did - from the rasp of his scruff.
“Mmm, I want to, mo nighean donn. Badly. Perhaps its best I go to mine tonight,” he sounded thoroughly unwilling. Jamie felt her grip on his arms tighten automatically.
“Jamie, this is ridiculous! We’re both going to explode if we keep this up,” she said, shaking him gently.
“Aye, I know! Soon, Claire, I promise ye. If I have to go down to Oxford and get that wee bugger to sign those bloody papers myself.”
Before his resolve could waver, he gave her one last kiss, opened her door and closed it behind her. And made for his apartment.
Claire felt dazed, the night’s adrenaline still pumping through her. She stood a moment by her kitchen table, listening. Hearing Jamie’s door open and shut, she smiled to herself and said a trifle louder than necessary, “Good night!”
After a pause, Jamie’s clear voice came through the wall, “Good night!”
Claire came home the next night, tired from her day shift, but looking forward to curling up next to Jamie. When she entered her apartment however, it was dark and empty but for a chicken stew she’d immediately smelled when she walked in, waiting in her oven.
Her balcony doors were open and she could see light spilling out from Jamie’s flat. She knew he’d opened them. Claire moved quietly toward them and saw Jamie leaning against his railing, looking out into the night. He looked faraway.
“There you are,” she said in greeting, stepping out onto her own balcony.
“Feasgar math, mo nighean donn,” he said, his eyes focusing, coming back to her, face splitting into a dazzling smile that made her heart give a sharp, pleasant jolt.
“What’s the matter, Jamie?” She asked, even though she already knew the answer. He’d greeted her in Gaelic - a sign he’d been deep within himself. It hadn’t been the first time they’d stood, separated, on their balconies. When the wanting got too much, reaching an inevitable peak (it always did), Jamie would keep to his flat, and so would she. There were nights they’d spent countless hours just talking about everything and anything, in the solitude of their own divides.
He stood mere inches from her, but didn’t move to take her hand that rested on his rail. Instead he shoved his balled-up fists in his pockets.
“I’ve been thinking about ye. I always think about ye,” he said with a rueful laugh, moving to face her. “All last night - and today - I thought about your body against me, your breath on my neck, you fingers digging into my back… I willna be able to keep my hands from ye,” He finished quietly.
‘Then don’t,’ Claire wanted so badly to say, but instead replied, “I understand,” taking hold of his shirt and pulling him closer. The only thing separating them was the railings. He came without much reluctance. “Can I at least get a good night kiss?”
Jamie moaned helplessly as she gently pulled him down the last bit of space between them to her, till her lips met his. She wanted to be slow, to make it last, but knew it would be torture for him - and her. Instead, she peppered his lips with butterfly-light kisses, then cupped his face between her hands and pulled him down a little more, kissing his forehead.
“I’ll see you tomorrow?” she asked hopefully. At his nod, her hands slid down to his chest and shoved him playfully. “Tomorrow, then.”
Jamie watched her disappear back into her flat, his blood buzzing. He stayed outside longer than he intended, letting the fresh, chilly air cool him down.
Damn ye, ye bloody Englishman.
Jamie didn’t, however, have to go down to Oxford himself after all. A couple of days later, he got home late - having missed lunch with Claire for the meetings he had all day - to find Mrs. Bug hovering about her door, thick brown envelope in hand.
“Och finally, laddie!” she exclaimed when she saw him. “A Mister Ned Gowan came by, said he had a package for Claire, that she’d given instruction should anything urgent arise or papers to be delivered - and should she not be home - the papers be left wi’ you or me. He said he knew how important this was for her, that he felt only right bringing them himsel’, wished he could have given them to her directly, had even gone to the hospital, but she’d been in surgery or somesuch.” She handed him the package, and a jolt went right through him. He grabbed the old lady in a bear hug that lifted her straight off her feet.
Claire came home that morning and found Jamie exactly where she knew he’d be. He woke as soon as she’d come in, but didn’t move or put on the light, only watched her dark silhouette as she stripped off her clothes - her back turned to him (his breath catching in his throat as it always did when she took off her bra), and put on one of his oversized shirts, then slid into bed as he lifted the covers for her.
He’d texted her soon as Mrs. Bug gave him the bulging envelope, asking if he could open it. Frank had finally signed the papers. Ned hadn’t given an explanation for the delay, only that there was a letter addressed to Claire among the divorce papers; she saw a number of envelopes and documents strewn on the kitchen table, but didn’t bother looking. She didn’t care, he’d signed them was all that mattered now.
“Free up your weekend, Sassenach. We’re going away,” he whispered into her hair when she’d finally nestled up against him.