persian poster

anonymous asked: Will there be more of Our Story? love the writing.

Read Chapter One here.

Our Story

[December 24th, 1990]

Their home is a modest one – a studio clinging to edges of the city, not far from where they first met. It’s an older building, mid-19th century, with pipes that freeze in the winter, burst like Scottish primrose in the summer. There is a single window on its western side, which welcomes the December-white sun at each day’s end. And it is here, lined along this sill, that Claire’s plants reach hungry towards the sky, try to trap this silver sliver of heat inside their veins. (Claire and Jamie, hungrier still, will take the rest once Night sings Day her lullaby.)

Save for the flowers, theirs is an ascetic sort of décor - sparse like a monk’s quarters. But Jamie and Claire hardly mind. They decorate the empty corners with their future, hatched in whispers during the night.

One day, Jamie promises, they’ll have Persian rugs and a four-poster bed. One day, they’ll own a leather sofa, its cushions like butter against Claire’s bare thighs. “And a vase!” she adds. “All fancy people have vases.”

But for now, they sleep on a musty twin cot, their belongings stored in the trunk at its foot. Jamie’s manuscripts are stacked inside, their pages marked in ballpoint scribbles and soil-dusted fingerprints. (“I canna read what this says anymore!” Jamie yells. “S’okay,” Claire says. “That paragraph was rubbish anyways.”) He’s an editorial assistant, the paltry salary worth the power of the red pen, which reshapes the written world to his liking. (One with Persian rugs, four-poster beds, leather sofas. Claire’s vase.) It buys food and rent, and covers what med school tuition Claire’s scholarship does not.

It’s a quiet life, but a happy life.

Claire yawns. “Did you know that every Christmas Eve my uncle told me a story? Made it up himself, right on the spot.” 

“Are ye trying to tell me ye want a story?”

“I may be hinting at that, yes.”

Ach,” Jamie says. Her favorite sound, every inch of him encapsulated in this strange, Scottish scoff. “Your subtly always turns me on.” 

“Oh, hush. C’mon.”

He runs a hand through his hair, auburn and cinnabar limned in moonbeam.

“A good story on the spot? That’s no small amount of pressure, Sassenach.”

“How about a request then?” she offers, and Jamie raises a brow. “How about my favorite?”

“Yer favorite?” 

“Don’t play coy. You know, the one you always start incorrectly? She is wearing a holiday sweater, a confection of silver bells and sequined penguins…”

“Weel, it’s a much better beginning than the ‘curl of my lips’…”

“Debatable,” Claire replies, tongue tracing the valley of his cupid’s bow.

But Jamie nods, chooses a different beginning, this time: “It was immediate…” 

He twists one of Claire’s curls around his finger and inhales. She still smells like the springtime, earthy and ripe, and perhaps there’s a hint of his own musk now, too. He likes it this way, enjoys finding proof of his existence somewhere beneath her skin. Permanent.

“Immediate!” Claire echoes, a one-woman Greek choir. She is pressed into him, feeling his chest curve around her spine. It always surprises her how their bodies fit so perfectly, their limbs folding and molding to fill all their negative spaces. (And she has so many, our Claire, between her toes and between her ribs. Vacant rooms where her mother, her father, and her uncle once lived.)

“Aye, from the minute I saw ye, I ken you belonged wi’ me.” 

“Mmm,” she hums, not saying, “Of course I felt the same thing” or “Of course I loved you from the very first.” Because, of course, Jamie knows this already. (Strange, they both think, how the heart can move faster than the speed of light.)

“Speaking of which…” she says.

“Ye don’t want to hear the rest?”

“In a sec,” she replies. “But your friends seem to think we should get married. Dougal especially.”

“They do,” Jamie says softly. “And Dougal does – to him, maybe.” He brings Claire’s hand to his lips, smiles into the Christmas present he’s wrapped around her finger. A ring – one mounted pearl, taken from his mother’s necklace. (“No’ an engagement ring, mind,” though they both knew it meant forever.) 

“Do you, though? Think we should get married?” 

“I’ll do anything that means I can call ye mine.”

“You already can.”

“Aye, but I dinna think the law agrees wi’ you.”

“Devil take the law.” 

Jamie laughs. “I reckon the Devil doesna want the law either, Sassenach. He hates the law.”

“You’re avoiding my question.”

“Which is?”

Claire turns towards him, remembers this past year together: their first date (Italian restaurant, 9PM showing of Pretty Woman), their first fight (broken coffee mugs, a noise complaint). She remembers the first time they made love in this small, crooked flat: middle of the floor, surrounded by packing boxes and crumpled newspaper. The bubble wrap had crackled beneath them – pop-pop-pop! – as if they were dancing on fireworks. (“I never want to leave this place,” she’d told him. He thought she’d meant the flat, but she’d meant his arms.) 

“Which is…Well. Do you want to marry me, James Fraser?”

He squints. “Is that a proposal?”

“Yes.” 

“Then why aren’t ye on your knees?”

“You bloody – ”

Claire’s elbow swings towards his face, but Jamie catches it, stretches her arm back so that her palm lies flat against the wall. He rolls on top of her, leans down and lets her heart beat against his lips. Wills it into him until his blood thrums with it. The sound of their story. 

“Yes,” Jamie says. “I want to marry you, Claire Beauchamp.” 

“You mean Claire Fraser?” 

He laughs; she smiles (they are both winners on this day). 

“Aye – Beauchamp, Sassenach, Fraser.” His voice drops, a whisper: “My wife.”