A Far Away Infinity
This fic idea was just floating around in my head for a while and I finally wrote it. It will probably be around four or five parts. Let me know what you think!
Part 1 // Maybe it’s You and Me? //
The museum was busy for a weekday, Claire thought. She would know as she visited the museum at least once a month one her days off from the hospital. People bustled around her in hushed whispers around the gallery, gazing at the art hanging on the walls.
Claire stood back from the cluster of people, readjusting her sunglasses on the top of her head and squinting as the small text box next to the painting instructed to do. Art was one of her favorite things, though she had no creative ability whatsoever. Science was more her style, but that didn’t mean she couldn’t spend her days admiring others’ labor of love.
Museums were quiet and evoked a sort of peace in her, she had found. In contrast to the hectic ER, the museum juxtaposed the energy in her professional life. She would get lost in a gallery, tracing the footsteps of others and observing the other guests as much as the art on display.
Having been through all galleries three times, she decided it was time for coffee. Black and strong. It was a treat she always looked forward to at the end of her visit. A nice place in the museum café, looking out at the streets with a book for the next few hours.
She walked down the corridor leading to the main lobby of the museum, pulling out her phone and glancing at the lock screen.
Just landed. Talk to you tonight.
She typed out a quick response and pocketed the phone again. Frank was on a trip to London for the weekend. He usually came along to museums with her, though he preferred the historical museums more than the modern.
They had been dating for the past three years, and a little part of Claire loathed to admit that she preferred going to the museum without him.
She loved Frank. She really did. He took care of her and loved her, but Claire couldn’t help but feel like something was missing. Or was she being unrealistic? They had a solid love, a comfortable partnership. Dependable. Frank had mentioned marriage more than once, he being eight years older than her 28 years. He was ready, but she wasn’t.
Sighing, she glanced around the small café at the seats available and sighed again when there was a man in a beanie sitting in her usual spot. She shrugged her jacket tight around her in frustration and moved to grab her coffee, all the while glaring at the face hidden in their laptop.
Grumbling to herself, she sat her purse on the table behind her usual, hoping the man would leave soon so she could snag it. Her spot had the perfect natural lighting for reading and the one she currently sat at was uncomfortably close to the rubbish bin.
Cracking open her book, she began to lose herself once more in “Wuthering Heights” and sipped her hot coffee.
Immersed in the world of Catherine and Heathcliff, she neglected to notice her phone buzzing until it rang for probably the third time.
JAMIE FRASER flashed on her screen with the photo of them together on the estate of his family’s home. She loved that picture. Faces pressed together, smiles on their faces from the crazy wind whipping their hair around, and the green valley in the background.
Quickly, she tapped the screen and held the phone up to her ear.
“I was beginning to think ye were ignoring me.”
The sound of his voice made a ridiculous smile spread on her face and her toes curl.
“No, not ignoring you. I was reading and didn’t hear the phone,” she laughed. “What’s up?”
“Can’t a guy call his best friend?”
“Oh, I’m your best friend? I thought that was Ian?”
He laughed. She missed his laugh. “Ian’s my brother-in-law. It doesn’t count.” He paused for a moment, “What are you doing?”
She glanced up and noticed the the man had left and her table was vacant. Scrambling, she put the phone into the crook of her neck and gathering her purse, coffee and book. “Just reading a little. Boring, you know me.”
Triumphantly, she deposited her stuff on the table and sighed as she sat down, settling in for another long haul. “What, are you coming home from the gym?”
He liked to call her on his way home after a work out to pass the time and chat. Though, it was usually a lot earlier where he was. Time differences were a bitch.
“No. I’m rather annoyed though,” despite the statement, she could hear him smiling.
“Oh, about what?” She inquired, taking a sip of her now cold coffee.
“This girl just stole my table,” he said with a huff.
She almost dropped her cup. Without being obvious, she tried to scan the room. He’s not here, you’re being ridiculous, she thought to herself, but still, her eyes searched.
“Well, go steal it back,” she said, a little breathless. She hoped he didn’t hear it.
“Alright,” he laughed and simultaneously, she felt two hands clamp onto her shoulders. The familiar feel of them meant she didn’t need to check, so she turned and threw herself into his arms.
He hummed into her hair, “Well, hello there,” he chucked, wrapping his arms around her tight. She remembered how they felt when he held her against his chest and when he carried her in his arms, and when he pinned her down to the be–
“Happy to see me?” He interrupted her memories while stepping back to look at her.
“Of course, but why aren’t you in America?”
She took a step back from his embrace with regret. His denim jacket smelled like heaven and she wanted to breath in the scent all day until she got drunk off it.
“I just came for a visit. I’m heading to Lallybroch in a few days, but I wanted to see you.”
An ear-to-ear smile spread on her face and she felt it flush. He smirked and wrapped an arm around her, grabbing her stuff off the table and leading her towards the exit.
“Let’s go,” he said, his nose accidentally grazing her temple.
Gathering her thoughts, she made a few inches of space between their bodies, shrugging out of his arm. Don’t get close, her brain warned. Not again. You won’t recover a second time.
~Five Years Earlier~
Tonight, the sky was lit with a smattering of stars that illuminated the walk to the pub. The inside glowed like a snow globe, a little bubble from the harsh Scottish weather. It would be cozy inside with multiple fires burning and some good company.
It was Jamie’s 23rd birthday tonight and she was here was to help him ring in the new year of life, along with a few other close friends from uni. It was also a premature goodbye party as graduation was approaching fast and soon they would go their separate ways into the real world.
As she walked in, rubbing her gloved hands together and sighing from the sudden embrace of warmth, she immediately felt eyes on her. She didn’t need to look around from hanging her scarf and coat up to know that it was Jamie’s eyes looking at her. She always knew what his gaze felt like. A spark of adrenaline, warmth and awareness was the recipe and she found it intoxicating.
They had met as freshman and were close ever since. There had been an attraction since the beginning, but nothing ever happened between them. He was her best friend and vise versa, but he had had a high school sweetheart, Laoghaire, and he had dated her the first two years of uni. When they broke up –which everyone saw coming– Claire had already been dating André, a transfer student from Spain. Their relationship was rocky at best and lasted the better part of last year, but quickly ended after he moved back to Spain.
But now, since the first time they had met, they were both single. Though, Claire felt sure that friends was all they were destined to be.
“Ah, there she is! And late, who would have thought?”
Smiling, she shook her head and butted her shoulder against Jamie as she took the vacant stool next to him. “You’re lucky I came at all, bastard. I do have an exam in two days.”
His eyes crinkled as he smiled at her, which made her heart skip, and wrapped an arm tight around her. He poured her a beer from the pitcher the table had been sharing and raised a glass towards her. “Now, WE DRINK!”
“Ayes” were exclaimed around the table, from Rupert, who had already looked drunk to Gellis, who looked more than annoyed with him, to Angus, Willie and a few other faces ready to get pissed as Rupert was putting it.
“Cheers, birthday boy,” she clicked her glass against his.
“Cheers,” he murmured, not taking his piercing blue eyes off hers as he took a sip.
Warmth pooled in her belly, but she fought it away with a gulp of cold beer and enjoyed the rest of the night without any feelings complicating things.
“SHE WANTED ME, MAN! BERDAAAAA! COME TO ME!” Rupert stumbled drunkenly while Jamie and Angus tried to shuffle his huge body into a cab.
“She didna want ye, Rup,” Jamie struggle to say under his weight. “She just wanted ye to leave her be. Yer drunk, man. You’re going home.”
Rupert glared at him while Angus got in the cab and pulled on him with all his might. Between Jamie’s shoving and Angus’ pulling, Rupert finally managed to get himself in.
Right before Jamie shut the door, Rupert pulled on his collar while looking at me with a cocked eyebrow and whispered something to Jamie that made him turn bright red.
Glancing away nervously, she pulled out her phone and pretended to type something out while the door closed and started to drive away.
“Do ye want me to call you one, Sassenach?”
“Um,” she glanced up at him as he looked down at her. Damn that poker face. She could never tell what he was thinking, but she hoped that he couldn’t see through her glass face at that moment.
The wind whipped around them, chilly for May. She didn’t want the night to end, to not see him again until next week after finals were over. And then what? Where would they be?
Time seemed to be slipping away too fast for her to catch it and it made her palms sweaty and her heart race.
He moved a step closer to her to block the wind while she decided what to do next. She wasn’t drunk enough to say anything rash, but maybe had just enough buzz to do something daring.
He rubbed a hand down her sweater to warm her. A friendly gesture. Did he only see her as a friend?
Well, if he rejected her, she could just joke it off as her having to much to drink tomorrow. Or she felt bad he had no one to kiss on his birthday.
“Claire, do you want me to –”
She cut off his question with her lips.
He jumped slightly as if the feel of her kiss was the last thing he ever expected, ever imagined in that moment. He was motionless underneath her hands. Still as a statue.
Gently, she released his top lip with the upmost reluctance, stepping down and looking at his unreadable face.
She knew he could read her own face in that moment. Her eyes were wide and lips parted still. She licked her bottom lip and his eyes watched the motion like a hawk.
Taking a step back even further, she pushed the hair from her face and looked down at her feet.
“You don’t have to say anything, Jamie. I’m sorry,” she stuttered and fumbled for her phone in her pocket while he still gawked at her.
“I’ll just,” she motioned back to the bar. “I’ll call a cab.”
She turned sharply and wondered if she should stumble to make it seem like she was drunk for her alibi tomorrow.
“Oh my god,” she muttered under her breath, watching it form a cloud in front of her. Caught up in her own humiliation, she didn’t hear his footsteps until she felt his touch.
Before she realized what had happened, she found herself against the cold brick of the bar, out of sight, in the dark with Jamie’s lips pressed urgently against hers.
Gasping into his mouth, she did nothing as one arm snaked around her waist to pull her body tight against his. She felt his other hand weave into her hair, pushing her beanie off and gripped her hard. Her own hands dangled at her side as his lips and tongue urged her mouth open to him.
He pulled back to look at her, gasping for breath as if he had just run a marathon. His lips were red and swollen from her kisses, a curl of red dangled in front of his face and his eyes were heartbreakingly blue. The earlier mask was gone and all she saw was urgent hope. She had never seen him more beautiful.
“Are you drunk?” He asked, looking carefully into her eyes.
“No, are you?”
“No,” he whispered, brushing a strand of hair away from her face, then cupping her cheek in his palm.
They starred at each other for a long beat, both unaware of what to do next.
It’s time to be brave, Beauchamp.
She licked her lips again and took a deep breath. “Maybe you can call that cab?”
He stared at her for a moment and then his eyes flickered away from her as he shuffled his feet.
“Ok,” he cleared his throat and patted his pocket for his phone, eyebrows drawn together in either confusion or disappointment. Maybe both.
She smiled a little and snagged a finger into one of his belt loops, pulling him back against her. He jerked in surprise and look at her like she was a puzzle he couldn’t find the missing piece to.
“But how about it only goes to your place?”