I always see people appreciating women of color, but seem to exclude Asians from this. Asian women are poc as well and are beautiful, intelligent, strong women. So here are 10 of my favorite Asian actresses. Feel free to add to the list.
I wonder how faithful Supergirl will be with Maggie Sawyer’s story. I don’t know if you guys know about it, but in comics Maggie has a daughter named Jamie, I would love for Supergirl to explore her past more and maybe even bring Jamie to the show.
Hey!!!! Here’s a super short list of some absolutely amazing Asian actresses that DESERVE more roles in movie and television.
And they all kick ass.
1. Maggie Q. (best known for Nikita) 2. Jamie Chung (best known for playing Mulan in OUAT) 3. Constance Wu (best known for starring in Fresh Off The Boat) 4. Lucy Liu (best known for Charlie’s Angels 1 & 2 and Elementary) 5. Chloe Bennett (best known for playing Skye/Daisy in Agents of Shield) 6. Ming-Na Wen (best known for playing May in Agents of Shield)
7. Sandra Oh (best known for starring in Grey’s anatomy)
The rolling green dominated the landscape. The Range Rover came to a halt in front of a sprawling stone house, somehow managing to look older than the hills it stood upon.
“Lallybroch.” Jamie swept his hand, encompassing the house and the land and seemingly everything around them.
Claire gazed out of the windshield, entranced by the ancient feel of the very stones. “This is not a manor house, Jamie. This is a castle.”
“Ach, no,” he said, ducking his head modestly. “Truly, ‘tis only a farm. There’s a broch, but it’s old and crumbling now. We can visit it later, if ye like.”
“What’s a broch?” Claire unbuckled her seat belt and stepped out of the car.
“A tower, of sorts. The auld lairds of Lallybroch would be called Lords Broch Tuarach, after the north-facing tower.” Jamie reached for their bags in the backseat and joined Claire, taking her hand as they approached the massive front door.
“A tower doesn’t really have a face, you know,” Claire teased.
“Weel, the door faces north. That’ll do.” Jamie smiled, and made to open the door.
“Shouldn’t we knock?” Claire felt nerves and trepidation, about to meet the famous Jenny and the rest of the Jamie’s family. She knew how much they all meant to him, and how big a step this was for them.
“’Tis my home. No need.” He stole a quick, soft kiss to quell her obvious nerves and then called out, “Hello the house!” He dumped the bags by the staircase. Claire stood next to him, taking in her surroundings.
Everything looked antique, but not in a museum-like way. Everything, from the furniture to the paneled walls, looked loved, cared for. Carved tables and tapestries mingled with a modern cordless phone and lamps. Uncle Lamb would have a field day, she thought.
Thundering footsteps broke into her reverie, and a tall gangly teenager came tumbling down the stairs. “Uncle Jamie!” In a blur, Jamie was rocked back in a fierce hug.
“Ian, lad!” Jamie squeezed and lifted the boy straight off the ground. They slapped each other on the back in a great show of affection before Jamie let him go, and slid an arm around Claire’s waist.
“Ian, this is Claire. Sassenach, this is Young Ian, my nephew and godson.”
“Nice to meet you,” Claire said sincerely. “I’ve heard a lot about you.”
“Is that so?” Young Ian grinned easily. “Welcome!” He picked up their bags and shot up the stairs two at a time. “I’ll just put these in yer room! Mam’s in the kitchen!”
Jamie and Claire held hands as they walked down the hallway towards the kitchen. They were assailed by the aromas of fresh baked bread and something delicious and steamy bubbling away on a stove. Claire half expected it to be an ancient cast-iron affair, but it was quite modern, by the rest of Lallybroch’s standards.
Jenny’s back was to them as she washed dishes at the sink. Jamie put his finger to his lips and blinked at Claire. He tiptoed (as much as a man his size might) and prepared to scare Jenny by tickling her ribs. His hands reached out but were stopped by a sudden, “Don’t even think about it, James Alexander Malcolm Mackenzie Fraser.”
Jenny craned her neck over her shoulder and gave them a wicked smile. “Hey there, little brother.” Her hands never stopped working, even as Jamie smiled abashedly and gave her a peck on the cheek. She turned off the water and wiped her hands on the apron she wore, engulfing Jamie in a warm embrace. “It’s been too long,” Jenny said, pushing back and smiling. She looked over his shoulder at Claire, who witnessed the encounter wistfully longing for family.
“And this is Claire, I presume.” Jenny stepped around Jamie, giving her a quick appraising glance—cordial, but guarded. Claire extended her hand, which was enveloped in Jenny’s cool grasp.
“It’s great to meet you. Jamie’s missed Lallybroch terribly, and all your children.”
Jenny’s eyebrows rose like dark wings. Her eyes had that slanted look identical to Jamie’s, resting on high cheekbones reminiscent of Viking royalty. “I’m sure he did. Weel, dinner is stew. ‘Tis something I can leave on the stove and no’ worry, since I’ve been tending the goats and sheep, and cooking for Hogmanay with Mrs. Crook.”
“She’s the housekeeper slash cook, but she’ll be off wi’ her own family for Christmas,” Jamie interjected.
“We can sit down to eat, now ye’re here.” Jenny squeezed Jamie’s hand and turned to the stove. “Young Ian, Jamie, Maggie, Kitty! Dinner! Come wash up!” She glanced at Jamie. “Could ye get Ian from the barn? He’s been tending to the hay now Rabbie’s gone home fer the holidays.”
There was a meowing at the kitchen door as Jamie approached it. He opened it to let a grey cat in, who pranced inside as though he owned Lallybroch. From the way Jenny bent down to coddle it, Claire suspected it might be the case.
“I see Adso of Melch is still alive, Jenny,” Jamie said, an eyebrow raised in amusement.
“He is.” Jenny stood and toed the cat away from the stove. “Ye wee fiend, get on wi’ ye.”
Adso stopped in the middle of the kitchen, as soon as it spotted Claire. Jenny looked appraisingly at the cat, as though almost willing the cat to respond in some way. Claire decided to follow Jenny’s example and squatted, staring into its green eyes.
The cat slowly walked over to her, sniffing about her knees. It purred softly; Adso located her hand and pressed against it, enticing Claire to rub its ears. She obliged, marveling at the soft fur and turned to Jamie, who smiled down at her. “He likes ye, Sassenach.”
Jenny let out a contained breath, and the first truly welcoming smile bloomed on her face. “Never mind my bonny cheetie. Go fetch Ian, if ye please. And shut the door, before we freeze. Claire, we’re so glad to have ye.”
“Let me get this straight. If Adso didn’t like me, Jenny wouldn’t either?”
“Adso is held in very high regard around here, Sassenach. He’s an excellent judge of character. He led Jenny onto a nanny who would steal from her purse and a drunken horse handler.”
They trudged up the stairs after bidding the family good night. Dinner had been superb, Jenny and Ian and their children all gathered at the table. The babble and laughter of a large family tugged at Claire’s heartstrings, making her long for one of her own. The children’s ages ranged from Jamie’s namesake at 18 who attended uni at Glasgow, and Young Ian at 14; the girls Maggie and Kitty who were 12 and 9 respectively. Ian (the elder) had presided over dinner in his role of father—a far cry from the rock star life he led on tour with The Clan.
“And what is that Melch in his name?” Claire took Jamie’s hand as he led her around the dark upstairs hallway.
“Our mam always had a cheetie. They were all named the same, after a German saint. Adso of Melch, Adso of Milk, ye ken,” Jamie said with a smile.
They walked up to a solid wooden door. Jamie pushed it open, to reveal a bright fire set in the grate, and both their bags in the room. Claire swallowed nervously and glanced at Jamie.
They hadn’t slept together thus far, though they had participated in some hot and heavy (emphasis on the hot) make out sessions at Claire’s and at Jamie’s flat. Hands roving, breath panting, Jamie had given her space and time to express what she wanted and when she wanted it. Young Ian had plainly made some assumptions of his own.
And why not? They were both consenting adults in a relationship and what they did (or didn’t do) in bed was entirely their own business. Space and time—the continuum of which was grinding to a halt, as there was nothing Claire wanted more right then and there than to feel Jamie’s arms around her and—
“Claire. I can sleep elsewhere.” Jamie squeezed her hand in reassurance. “Or on the floor if I can have the quilt. Ye don’t have to—”
Claire stopped his words with a kiss her hands tangled in the ruddy mess of his hair. His hands gripped her waist as he walked her back towards the bed, kicking the door shut behind them. They tumbled together onto the carved wooden bedstead, the frame creaking slightly.
“Won’t they hear?” Claire asked breathlessly.
“The walls are made of solid stone,” Jamie mumbled, his lips on her neck. “We can be as loud as we like.”
His hand crept under her sweater; higher and higher, until she could feel it caressing the underside of her breast. It was only then that she opened her eyes and met his own, whiskey and azure, everything bathed in the light of the slowly burning fire laid in the hearth.
Jamie’s hand stilled, and he brought his forehead to hers. “Claire, I want you so much I can scarcely breathe. Will ye have me?”
She almost didn’t recognize voice as her own, so high and gasping, “Yes. Yes, I’ll have you.” Permission granted, his hands were all over her body all at once. Skimming down her back, leaving tingling desire in their wake, gliding over her navel. Their clothes came off in a flurry of wool and jeans.
Slowly and reverently Jamie helped her shed her bra and underwear, his boxer briefs following suit. Completely exposed to each other, Jamie laid his hand on her bare hip, staring at her flush curves gilded by firelight.
“Ye are so beautiful, mo nighean donn.”
Claire felt suddenly shy and made to cover herself, but Jamie stopped her. “No, Sassenach. I want to look at you.” Claire blushed but let him gaze, slowly growing bold enough to return it.
His body came closer to hers, with his own muted fiery glow. He kissed down her neck, licking here and there. His large hands, calloused from playing guitar, teased and nipped at her breasts. Claire’s hands drifted down his back, pressing and urging him ever closer.
As his touch strayed lower, his intentions became clear. Claire raised herself on her elbows, effectively dislodging Jamie’s head from her stomach. His eyes held a question even as they seared with want.
“Jamie… no one’s ever—I mean—” Her cheeks burned red as she gestured with meaning.
He smiled and stretched up to kiss her gently. “Do ye want me to?”
“I don’t know. Won’t it… will it—”
“Let me taste ye.” Jamie trailed fingers up her leg. “Tell me if I’m too rough, or tell me to stop altogether if ye wish.” He brushed his lips over her belly, eyes blazing up at her.
Claire surrendered, falling back on the pillows and putting her arm over her eyes. Her knees trembled as he settled between them, parting them open and his arms locked around her thighs. She felt a brief kiss (right there! she thought incoherently) before she was flooded with pleasure, his tongue working magic on her most secret of places. She gasped as Jamie anchored her body to the bed with his arms, desire shooting through her veins. There were sounds coming from her lips she had never made before. Fleetingly she thought of covering her mouth before the feeling climbed higher and higher until it broke over her, making her shudder in release.
“Oh Jamie…” Her hand traced his jawline, as he smiled at her and kissed the inside of her thigh. Jamie moved and rose over her, kissing her deeply. She could taste herself and found it arousing.
He ground his pelvis gently into hers, swallowing her moans as her legs wrapped around him. Claire could feel the length of him sliding against her, and she urged him to her, hands on the small of his back.
Jamie braced himself on his forearms, and aligned himself at her slippery cleft. With a final nod from Claire, he eased himself inside her, slowly but inexorably moving forward as she dug her fingers into his back. The sensation was intense as he withdrew and pushed inside, again and again. Jamie held Claire close, the hair on his chest tickling her as they panted and he groaned and she whimpered with pleasure.
Their bodies rocked together as though they had known each other for years, simply waiting for the chance to join. Claire lost herself in pure sensation; the weight of his body perfect on hers, the spicy scent of him mingling with the smokiness of the fire, the mixture of Gaelic and English words he poured into her ear as he thrust faster and faster.
Feeling surged as they both chased the illusive spark of completion. Jamie’s hand splayed on her hip, and hitched her leg higher along his body. Her back arched instinctively. As he shifted, he hit a spot deep within her from a new angle, and in a few quick motions Claire shattered, crying out against his shoulder.
Jamie followed soon after, the tension breaking free as every muscle quivered, his mouth a wide O of relief and wonder. Their eyes met, half-lidded with satisfaction. Claire smiled languidly, running her hands through Jamie’s red curls. He withdrew gently, kissing Claire over and over, his lips at the hollow of her neck where perspiration shone and her pulse raced.
The heady feeling gradually dissipated, and the winter chill stole back into the room, making Jamie and Claire shiver with something more than spent desire. Still smiling, they crawled beneath the covers; Jamie pulled Claire close to him, her back to his front as he settled behind her, his arm holding her tightly.
“Oh, Claire… tha gaol agam ort,” he breathed against her skin.
“What does that mean?” she asked drowsily.
“I’ll tell ye tomorrow,” he said, nuzzling the nape of her neck. “We have time. I want to show you the loch, and the village, and take ye on a tour of the farm. I think ye’ll like the wee beasties and…”
She drifted off to sleep, his voice murmuring in the dark, safe in the knowledge of love and safety in Jamie’s arms and in her heart.
“I swore ye my oath, Jamie Fraser, when ye were no more than a week old, and a bonny lad at your mother’s breast. I knelt at Ellen’s feet, as I kneel now by yours. And I swore to her by the name o’ the threefold God, that I would follow ye always, to do your bidding, and guard your back, when ye became a man grown, and needing such service.”
Jamie was jittery about his first date with his nephew’s teacher, Miss Beauchamp. He had been standing in front of his open closet attempting to choose the perfect clothing combination for over an hour. It made no sense why he was so flustered with such an incredibly simple task. A few exasperated sighs later the penny finally dropped. He remembered his late father had discussed the feeling he’d get when he found the right person.
A spark. A pull. An urge to be with them. Do you understand what I say? You’ll ken if they’re the one, boy.
When Jenny had first asked him to help out with the morning school run he had balked, saying he needed to be at the office. He was in charge of the family’s distillery business while she and her husband were running the award winning farm. They had several heated arguments on the subject until she pulled rank as the older sister. She loudly reminded him that they were a family who supported each other and that he didn’t get to choose when. He didn’t argue a bit anymore.
A scream from downstairs snapped him back to reality. He dashed downstairs to see Ian cradling Kitty as she red faced bawled louder and louder.
“She tried to get a biscuit in the pantry and fell.” Ian confirmed. “We’re taking her to A&E and need you to stay with Jamie and Maggie.”
The moment he said it, his sister smacked the back of his head as she scowled at him. He returned the glare but decided against verbal retaliation, considering the situation.
“ Jesus, Mary and Bride! I know!” he replied with a wince. “I shouldn’t say such things in front of the wee’uns.”
“Why did you then?” Jenny demanded. “If you know you shouldn’t and you should be smart enough to know you shouldn’t then you should not do it!”
“What?” Jamie shook his head. “Nevermind. Just go. I’ll text Miss Beauchamp to cancel. Go.”
His sister gave him a peck on the cheek as he pushed her towards the front door.
“Take care of Kitty, mo piuthar. We will be okay here, I promise.”
Supper with two rambunctious children left with their young uncle went as well as he expected, although the gravy hitting him square in the face was unforeseen. As they did the washing up his mobile began to buzz in his back pocket.
Both children pointed at him then gave him a smack rather reminiscent of their mother’s. He would have to apologize to her in front of them and a long speech on why swearing wasn’t a good idea would have to be worked on as well.
He flicked his mobile open to answer it when he saw it was his date, well, who he would be dating if he wasn’t trying to wrangle children who were currently hellbent on flooding the room.
“Miss Beauchamp! I am so sorry!” he babbled. “My sister and brother-in-law had to take the youngest to A & E. I can’t apologize enough for not calling you!”
“I was hoping it was something.. No. Erm. I’m glad it wasn’t me.” she sputtered.
“Dinna fash! I do have to get these two hooligans tucked in bed. D’ye think you could help me do that?” he laughed.
Both children decided it was time to be as loud as possible since the adult in charge wasn’t paying enough attention to them. Jamie was sure it was something their mother had taught them just to be extra aggravating
“Certainly, Mr. Fraser. I am a professional, after all.” she yelled over the din. “I’ll be there in about twenty minutes.”
By the time she arrived Jamie had the children in pyjamas, teeth brushed, and done toileting. He was honestly proud of himself until they were greeting her at the door. She mentioned Maggie’s top was on inside out and Wee Jamie had put an old pair on that was entirely too small.
“Weel, I did leave it up to them.”
Another half hour later, six drinks of water, two trips to the bathroom and about a hundred questions from a confused little boy who still didn’t understand why his teacher was at his house, the children were asleep.
Claire and Jamie chose the settee in the front room just to make sure they could hear any curious noises from upstairs. They didn’t even have enough time to get comfortable when they heard gales of laughter along with some rather loud splashing. It didn’t take long for them to find out what had happened.
“Why did you put your animals in the toilet, Maggie?” Jamie demanded. “Now it’s made a flood and there’s a massive mess…”
Claire put her hand up to let him know he needn’t continue, she could handle it.
“Okay, you two!” she enthused. “Go get an armful of towels from the linen closet and we’ll get this cleaned so you can get back in bed, alright?”
The young pair nodded their heads and followed everything she asked of them. Everything was cleaned up, returned to order, and might have even looked a bit cleaner when they completed the task set before them. Both Maggie and Wee Jamie yawned as they were tucked in bed for the umpteenth time.
“Night Uncle Jamie. Night Aunt Miss Beauchamp.” they chimed sleepily.
Claire laughed. Jamie blushed red all the way up to his ears.
When they were completely sure the children were asleep they walked downstairs to the kitchen to put the kettle on, tea was much needed after an ordeal it was agreed. But before the water had time to boil, the missing Murray family arrived back home with Kitty sporting a purple plaster cast on her arm.
This would be remembered by Claire to be their first date, but their worst date ever by Jamie. Thankfully, there were more dates. And thankfully for both of them, there was kissing.
Eu me preocupava muito com o que eu queria ser quando crescer. Quanto ganharia ou se e tornaria alguém importante. Às vezes as coisas que você mais quer, não acontecem. E às vezes, as coisas que jamais esperaria acontecem. (…) Você encontra milhares de pessoas e nenhuma delas te tocam. E então encontra uma pessoa e a sua vida muda. Para sempre.
This is the fourth chapter of A Penny’s Worth of Affections, my Claire / Jamie AU that takes place during WWI! I’ve had this chapter written for a little over a week now and it’s been sitting in my queue, mocking me and begging me to post it. And I thought I’d post it a bit early this week, since I’m having a relatively shitty day today. Might as well make you guys happy; it’ll probably make me feel better as well. 💛
Let me know your thoughts! This chapter may or may not blow your minds. (Although I really hope it does!) ✨
Jamie Fraser and Claire Beauchamp had seen each other a grand total of four times by this day.
The first was their outlandish introduction, when Jamie stumbled into the World’s End tavern with a bullet lodged in his dislocated left shoulder, of which Claire had bandaged up effortlessly. Here, Claire had learned not just his name, but of his gallant nature, which she instantly fell for. When he had bowed before her, hand held over his heart as he swept downward in the most fluid of motions, she knew that her own heart ignited a flame that would never dim.
The second time was the day after, when Claire came back to the World’s End in search of him, a basket of clean linens and an expertly prepared lunch tucked under her forearm. Upon arrival, she declared that the purpose of her presence was to “change his bandages” and make sure there was “no drainage from the entry wound”, but even blind individuals were able to discern truth from falsehood. The fact of the matter was: they were drawn to each other. And following her medical examination, the pair had deepened their attraction as they strolled through the market, talking until the sun fell past the horizon. When Jamie had escorted her back to the Baird’s Inn and kissed the back of her hand fervently in parting, she suspected that his heart had kindled a similar blaze.
Their third sighting had been just a brief glance, almost unnoticeable to untrained eyes. Claire (with her arm encircled in Gillian’s as they sauntered past the small shops that Edinburgh had to offer) had noticed the specific mop of red from a far distance, maneuvering their walking route so that they would pass him inconspicuously. Their eyes met his across the crowds of people almost instantly; his good-humored face, usually covered in a stoic mask of composure, had seemingly been replaced with a frame of glass. So transparent was this look, in fact, that the excitement seemed to radiate from him, like a cloud of electric energy. Nobody else saw it—the luminous glow that seemed to encompass James Fraser every time she was near—but she did. And it was in this moment of retrospection that Claire Beauchamp realized that James Fraser had truly ignited the same spark in his heart as she had hers.
The final time they met was on this day: the first of May, 1914—or, as Claire liked to call it: Jamie Fraser Day. It was on this day, twenty years heretofore*, that James Fraser was brought into the world by his parents, Ellen and Brian Fraser. He was born on a property entitled Lallybroch, which Jamie had described as his family’s estate, located on the outskirts of the small city of Broch Mordha. According to Jamie, the name Lallybroch meant north-facing tower in the old Scottish Gaelic.
“Although, Sassenach,” he confided, “The auld tower itself doesna have a face, but the door faces North.”
Unable to help herself, she raised a quizzical eyebrow. Instead of acknowledging the odd namesake of such an establishment, she instead asked, “What does that word mean, Jamie? Sassenach?”
He made one of his Scottish noises before he answered. “It’s what we call the English folk who live up in the Highlands. Dinna fash,” he noted as he saw a look of anxiety creep its way onto her soft features, “It just means Englishman, or, at worst, outlander.”
“Ah. Well, then,” Claire smiled, “Sassenach I am.” She leaned further into his side, wrapping her arm around his elbow. “Tell me more about your sister.”
She took note of how his face lit up when he talked about her, one Janet Flora Arabella Fraser Murray. Janet—or Jenny, as Jamie affectionately coined her—was four years his senior; she ran their ancestral home with her husband, Ian, and their two children. The eldest Murray child shared the same name as his uncle; the younger, named Margaret, of whom went by a most affectionate nickname: Maggie. Jamie was also pleased to mention that they were expecting their third.
“Both sides of my family, the Frasers and the MacKenzies, have all had rather large families, ye ken,” He had explained, in response to the look Claire was giving him then, her eyebrows raised almost to her hairline. “Except for my uncle, Colum MacKenzie, I dinna ken there ever being less than three children from any of my relatives, on either side.”
Claire’s eyebrows rose ever higher on her alabaster face, if that was even possible. Jamie couldn’t help but smile at the bright crimson flush that gradually colored the apples of her cheeks. She cleared her throat, attempting to compose herself. Her subconcious clicked forcefully, making a connection with the last name he had stated: MacKenzie. She had heard that name somewhere, but couldn’t quite place where.
Instead of dwelling on it, she dared to ask instead, “How many children would you like one day?”
Turning his head towards her with a cheeky grin admonishing his handsome face, he replied instantly with, “Twelve. One for each of the Apostles.”
She figured the look on her face must’ve been one of complete and utter shock, for Jamie laughed wholeheartedly in response. They didn’t dwell on the subject for much longer; instead, they moved the conversation to her travels in America with her Uncle Lamb.
The thought of children had never crossed Claire’s mind before that day; she had never given much thought to the prospects of husbands or children, given the fact that she hasn’t yet been in the position to do so. Upon meeting Jamie, however, she couldn’t help but ponder what their life together would entail.
That night, curled up in her bed, she imagined the pair of them on their wedding day. What the two of them cooing over their first born would look like—a girl, she was, with hair as vivid as a flame and eyes as blue as forget-me-nots. What it would be like to have twelve children, all playing together in the family room of Lallybroch, each of them reflecting a different aspect of their parents. What Jamie would look like with graying hair. How beautiful an image it would be as they sat on the front steps of Lallybroch, half a century gone, holding their tenth grandchild for the first time.
Every time she thought of all of the possibilities of their future together, she had to take a step back—to remind herself that with only knowing him a mere four days, the feeling was more ethereal. It felt like she had known him her entire life: the passion and devotion that coursed between them gave her a feeling that transcended over that of all of those prior to him. Every infatuation—every lover, every person she had known before—was now trivial as compared to the affections she had for this man.
There was no way for her to describe in words how she felt about him.
As she stared at the ceiling of her temporary lodgings, she couldn’t help but imagine what it would feel like if he was in the bed with her, their bodies wrapped around each other in a web of limbs and bedclothes, warming the bed with his ever-burning flame.
She could feel it when she was near him: the heat that seemed to radiate naturally off of his body. Whenever she looked into the deep oceans of his eyes, she noticed the spark, just above his pupil, where the flames of affection had decided to reside. Seeing this flicker, she had always thought of a passage she had read once in a scientific journal of some sort: The burning of a flame with a higher blue saturation is bound to be more intense than that of the average red. And that then caused her to realize that James Fraser had both: the red flames of his hair and the blue flames of his irises. And, she always reminded herself, this meant that he was twice as dangerous.
She knew that she was inexplicably attracted to him. It was like she was a moth, drawn to the vivacity of a cerulean flame; and she knew that if she got too close, she would be engulfed in the inferno.
But it was then that Claire Beauchamp knew: she was more than willing to burn.
The Jamie Fraser Day festivities began with a venture to the art museum. Claire, far more excited about this escapade than her counterpart, pulled on his hand as she led him through the busy streets of Edinburgh, making sure to voice her apologies to the people she bumped into as they passed.
“Why are you buzzing about like some frenzied bee, Sassenach? Can we no’ walk at an average pace?”
Claire laughed but said nothing in response as she continued to pull her companion up the large marble steps of the museum.
For the first time ever, Claire’s uncle had let her spend the entire day in the company of a man unchaperoned. She smiled even wider as she remembered when Jamie had introduced this notion to her uncle.
She had been standing in the doorway of her quarters as they talked, the two of them seated at the small wooden table in the dining room. Jamie had sat facing her (she was thankful for this; if he had been facing the other way, she couldn’t have mimed gestures to let him know how he was doing), and she could see the anxious bile rising in his throat as his Adam’s apple bobbed up and down awkwardly when he swallowed. But, despite his nerves, the rest of him remained as amiable as ever.
Claire had explained to Jamie before that although her uncle was “a complete and utter softie with less of a conform to the social norms shared between even the most liberal men” (in her own words), he was also very protective of his only niece.
“I’m the only family he has left,” she had confided in him during their second meeting. “My grandparents died a long while back, and with my parents gone, I was all that was left.”
Jamie’s lips turned upward slightly as he said, “Well, what a blessing ye are, then, Sassenach.”
All-in-all, his endeavors had succeeded, which led Jamie and Claire to the art museum where they currently stood. Claire glanced at Jamie through the corner of her eyes, smiling as he leaned forward, squinting at the painting before them: an intricately designed vase of brightly-colored flowers.
“I see what this technique was striving to convey,” Jamie whispered to her, so as to not disturb the other patrons surrounding them. “But I feel it falls rather flat, as compared to other works of this creator. What is your assessment, Miss Beauchamp?”
“I can’t help but agree with your astute observation, Mister Fraser,” Claire chimed, turning to face him. “I say we should endeavor to find a piece that conveys a technique with more finesse, don’t you agree?”
He nodded, the corner of his mouth turned upwards in a smirk. He motioned towards the next painting, murmuring, “Lead the way, my lady.”
They continued this approach for the next few paintings: Jamie, leading the way, would state the obvious facts—that one man’s eye was off or that the subject matter leaves “much to be desired”, to which Claire would either agree or disagree. Upon reaching a consensus, the pair would then go to the next picture in the sequence, and continue the cycle. It went on like this for the next hour or so until Claire stopped dead in the middle of the gallery.
Jamie, not noticing Claire’s sudden stupor, continued walking towards the last section of the gallery. It took him a moment to realize that the hand that was previously tucked into the pit of his elbow just a mere moments before was no longer present. He turned, finding Claire staring intently at a painting on the far left wall from where they stood. The closer he got to her, the paler her face appeared to be.
Making his way to her side, her overall appearance resembled that of a ghost: pale, still, and emotionless.
“Claire,” He murmured, reaching for her hand. He noticed that it was cooler than usual, if that was even possible. Her hands were always cold against the heated flesh of his own palm, but never so much so that gooseflesh would rise; now was the exception.
Worry coated his face as he took a step closer to her. Placing a cautious hand on her shoulder, he asked, “Claire, what’s amiss?”
She didn’t even flinch at his touch; her eyes were still locked on the piece. Jamie, a bit miffed, turned to stand shoulder-to-shoulder beside her, his hand still resting near the crook of her neck.
A pair of bright amber eyes stared back at him. He blinked once, transfixed, and then, he saw it.
He looked from the painted figure back to the woman standing beside him and noted their similarities. Both had the same dark hair, surrounding their heads in the same riotous cloud of chestnut, cocoa, and auburn-colored ringlets. They both had very becoming forms, as if they had been carved out of the smoothest marble. The main differences, he noted, were that although the flesh-and-blood Claire Beauchamp was properly dressed, the painting version of her wore nothing from the waist up.
The woman’s body was facing away from them, her head peering over her left shoulder. The elegant curve of her spine was visible all the way to her tailbone, which was covered with a blanket of plaid. In her left hand, twirled around her left index finger, was a string of cream-colored pearls.
Mesmerized, Jamie leaned forward to look at the metal plaque below, reading aloud, “A Lady, with Hair Curling Luxuriantly About Her Shoulders. Undated. Artist unknown.”
Claire remained stoic, staring at the intricacies of the painting as if she were staring into a mirror. Transfixed as she was, she was also horrified—she had never felt so exposed in all her life. Especially with Jamie on her arm.
How strange it felt: for her to be so vulnerable, that all the emotions swirling throughout her mind stemmed from a single painting of a woman who wasn’t—couldn’t—be her. But they were unmistakably identical to one another. How on God’s Good Earth…?
The look on Jamie’s face was all Claire needed to know that his reaction to the painting was the same as her own. She also knew that the longer she stared at the painting, the more questions would form in her brain.
Who was this woman, with hair curling luxuriantly about her shoulders? What was her life like? Was it similar to her own? Did she lose her parents, too? Did she have the same knack for medicines that she, herself, possessed? How had she gotten to where she was, when this painting was commissioned? What was its significance? What was her story?
Undated. Unknown. But once…
Once, she was real.
Or was she?
Following the strange events in the art museum, Claire brought Jamie back to the Inn for her next surprise for Jamie Fraser Day. They walked together in mutual contentment, only making light conversation as they went about the streets. Every so often, Claire could feel his eyes lingering on her, and her cheeks flushed a deeper shade of pink. She felt strange, like one of the lovesick girls from her youth that she used to make light of.
Is this how they had felt? She had wondered. Did they feel the fire burning inside of them then, as I do now?
Her mind continually wandered back to the painting of her likeness she had seen in the gallery. It haunted her still, the exposed slope of her back facing the viewer, a peek of an unclad breast exposed under the gentle curve of her bicep. She wondered what Jamie’s conjecture was on the portrait. Had he liked what he had seen?
She shook the thought away, trying not to dwell on it any longer. The moment has passed, she reminded herself, as they reached the outer steps of the Baird Inn. They made their way inside, exchanging pleasantries with the innkeeper and signing the guestbook before making their way up the stairs and into the Beauchamp’s temporary living space.
Claire turned towards her companion and placed a hand on his chest, halting his advancing steps. His eyebrows furrowed together, but Claire interrupted his impending question with a murmured, Wait here.
He nodded, planting his feet to the spot as she withdrew into a small room at the back of the apartment. His mind wandered aimlessly to subjects of a most arbitrary nature, but when she emerged all thoughts were tossed out of the window.
“Don’t get too excited,” She said, her back facing him as she backed carefully out of the room, her right hand pressed against the door to keep it open, the other holding something indiscriminate from the angle Jamie stood. “It’s probably not as thrilling as you’re thinking it will be. It might end up disappointing you.”
Jamie shook his head, scoffing at her notion, using another one of his Scottish noises that she loved so much. “I don’t think anything you could ever do would disappoint me, Sassenach.”
He couldn’t see her face, but he knew that she was smiling.
She turned around then, a round mass placed delicately on the plate she held in her hands. A mass of light blue frosting coated the mound, with small decorative white flowers all around it.
“It’s supposed to be a cake,” Claire sighed, taking a couple of steps towards him. She looked down at the cake, the space between her eyebrows creased. “I tried to make the frosting the same color as your eyes but, as you can see, I’m not a pâtissière extraordinaire.”
Jamie, noticing the look of defeat on her face, reached for her chin, forcing her to look at him. “It’s beautiful, Claire.”
She smiled weakly in reply. They shared a moment of mutual contentment before a light of remembrance shined in Claire’s golden irises.
“Oh wait, I almost forgot!” She thrust the plate into Jamie’s hands as she turned back towards her quarters, rushing into the room in a flash of beige skirts. Unsure of what to do with the pastry bestowed upon him, he decidedly placed it on the small dinner table to his right. By the time he had sat the plate down, she was at his side once more, arms crossed behind her back.
The corner of his mouth twitched upwards into a smirk, “What’s that yer hiding, Sassenach?”
“It’s your other present,” She smiled broadly. Pulling her hands from behind her back, she extended her arms and presented Jamie with a small wrapped package. Delicately taking the gift from her hands, he unwrapped the tiny box and lifted its lid.
Inside the box sat a small embroidered forget-me-not, a pin attached to the back of it.
“I don’t know if you know the origins of the name,” Claire started, voice soft, “But apparently in medieval Germany, women would wear them as signs of adoration for their loved ones as they journeyed abroad for war.”
Jamie’s breathing became heavier as he stared at the pin; he didn’t think he had seen anything like it before.
She cleared her throat nervously, “I was hoping that you would wear it… when we’re apart.”
At a loss for words, he looked up from the pin to the woman standing before him.
“Do you think,” Claire started, but paused suddenly. The thought she was about to articulate caused her heart to clench nervously, for she was afraid of what the response to the ludicrous question might be. She cleared her throat once more, then tried again. “Do you think that you’ll ever forget me, Jamie? After I’m… gone?”
He understood the implication of her words. They had both boarded a train set for an unknown destination: neither of them would know where or when they would get off, lest their ride be cut short. Would they get off the train together? No one could say.
Unable to find the words, he set the box on the table behind him and crossed the room to her in three short strides. Unable to restrain himself, he reached for her face, cupping both cheeks in his palms. Her hands went immediately to his wrists as she peered up at him through long lashes. All she could see in his eyes was the ardent devotion that she had seen there so many times before.
“How could I ever forget you, my Sassenach?”
And it was then that she gave in to the intensity of the flame.