so many things to be grateful for in gotham

A Port in the Storm

Ok; I’m just going to leave this here because @gotham-ruaidh (being all kinds of amazing, as she is) and me had a late night (for this Brit anyway…) conversation where she was inspiring and generous with her time and many more things besides. From it I wrote a little something and sent it to her…and she was so supportive and, well, every nice word in the dictionary I will now attribute to her. So Gotham, this is for you. THANK YOU. I’m so incredibly grateful to know you. Hugs.

———————-

She was perched on the windowsill staring across the now empty fields.

“Where’s yer heid lass…?”

“It was the storm…I…we were stuck out there”

The goosebumps raised on her arms as she spoke.

“…we were stuck, and the light…the light was going…gone, the rain…I hid in the barn to wait it out. I didn’t know he was there, at first. And then he was…there. Close, like static.”

“…and ye what, Claire?”

“It was my fault. I’d u-undone my laces, I was soaked…cold…”

Her cheeks flamed red; her eyes watered,

“Did ye lie together, Claire?”

“Yes.”

She returned; a whisper. A fresh tear slid down her cheek.

“The light came and went with the flash of the storm. We k-kissed. I don’t much remember losing my clothes…but I did.”

She took a jagged breath.

“I couldn’t stop. Didn’t want too.”

She lifted her chin in defiance.

“The sky was alive; every touch…his touch…his mouth on mine…I felt alive.”

She clenched her arms tighter around herself and swallowed before continuing.

“W-we were on the floor, surrounding each other. Every inch of my skin was on fire…and then, then i-it happened.”

Her eyes closed.

“His hips were against mine…”

The words nearly ran together, she spoke so quickly.

“…he…I…w-we…”

Her legs rose; closer towards her as her toes curled at the memory.

“…we were so close. It hurt at first, but then it didn’t anymore and I-I don’t understand it all…what it was between us, why…why I couldn’t think properly. I felt like my soul had risen from my body.”

It didn’t seem possible, but her voice dipped lower still.

“A-and then I was flying and shaking, and h-he was shaking too. Not from the cold or rain…it wasn’t much rain anymore, anyway. We were clutching at each other, he…his mouth was on my neck, his stomach against mine, my legs…”

Her eyes opened, clouded with the high of reliving the experience,

“…anchoring him to me.”

She turned to meet her visitor, eye to eye.

“I’m not sorry it happened.”

She spoke confidently, but her eyes betrayed her worry.

“Aye, I see that lass. Well, neither is he.”

The breath she didn’t realise she was holding came out all in a rush from her lungs, as a smile tugged at the corner of her lips.

“Jamie isna sorry either.”

A Port in the Storm. Part 6.

I think I need more than a thank you to @gotham-ruaidh for this chapter! I’m so lucky and grateful and many other things besides, thank you name twin, for being extra awesome <3 

…and to @londonerbecky and @writtenthroughtime who are nurturing my angst side, thank you ladies!

When all else fails, keep reading. I promise it goes no more angsty than this, the only way is up my friends!

Thank you for your never-ending support and your AWESOME words and love hearts…looking at you @tara-58 and @iwanttodriveyouthroughthenight ;). 

——

Prologue: http://mybeautifuldecay.tumblr.com/post/138159244122/a-port-in-the-storm-prologue

Part 1: http://mybeautifuldecay.tumblr.com/post/137056483302/a-port-in-the-storm

Part 2: http://mybeautifuldecay.tumblr.com/post/137432977792/a-port-in-the-storm-part-2

Part 3: http://mybeautifuldecay.tumblr.com/post/137889441132/a-port-in-the-storm-part-3

Part 4: http://mybeautifuldecay.tumblr.com/post/138343840852/a-port-in-the-storm-part-4

Part 5: http://mybeautifuldecay.tumblr.com/post/138607690716/a-port-in-the-storm-part-5

——

They’d been trying to conceive for months, Claire felt like it’d been forever. What was supposed to be special between a man and wife had now become perfunctory. She had tried to enjoy it from the beginning, thinking that if she had to do it, it might as well be fun. But she had been unable to. Now, when Frank was expecting her to be with child, it was even worse. Bound by obligation, she could only lie back and pray for it to be over quickly.

 With every failure, Claire became despondent. She had been sitting darning his socks when he’d arrived home, red faced.

 "Are you listening to me, Claire?“

 Frank had become increasingly more frustrated with her, he could no longer contain his ire.

 "You are to go to Scotland, maybe Jack can make some good out of this situation. I can’t have you around here at the moment.”

 Her head snapped up.

 "Scotland? But…it isn’t my fault!“

 "So whose do you suggest it is? Mine? I don’t think so. It’s your job to provide the children, MY heirs! Do you understand?”

 She jumped at his raised voice. In times like these, she was glad they had no children. This wasn’t a world in which she wanted to raise any.

 "And what am I to do in Scotland, Frank?“

 She no longer had any fire in her tone, just acceptance.

 "You’ll assist in the healing and aid of any of my cousins’ soldiers, and you’ll keep yourself out of trouble! Do you hear?”

 She nodded, her eyes now fixed on her intertwined hands, his socks, now forgotten, had fallen at her feet. It was too late for arguments, for the ‘what if’s’, she’d made her choice not a year ago.

 "I’ll make arrangements for your passage. Once you are acquainted with your duties there, I expect you’ll have no problems.“

 "And if I do?”

 "Then you’ll see Jack about them, you can answer to him now. You’ll be provided for, Claire. But I want to hear no nonsense from you. You’ll go there, and you’ll do as needed for as long as is necessary.“

 It didn’t seem there was anything more to say, so she picked herself up off the chaise and retired to her room. She wouldn’t cry, she wasn’t going to let him see her weak.

 —

 Fortunately, they’d been residing in London whilst Frank renewed his contract with the Universitè so she had only a carriage ride to Fort William. She busied herself by watching England pass by from the window, then Scotland as they rode on through the lowlands and upwards.

 When they finally reached their destination, tired and sore from sitting for so long through the day, Claire was ready to simply curl up. She had no idea what awaited her in Scotland, and yet she had no desire to ask.

 Captain Randall met her at the entrance. He was just as she remembered him. He and Frank were similar in looks, tall and dark with handsome features. But where Frank had once been kind, Jack was harsh. There was no kindness in his eyes and his face seemed permanently fitted with a dark look. He shot her an icy glance that sent a cold shiver down her spine.

 "Mrs Randall, I assume Frank has informed you as to what you are to do here?”

 She held her head high as she replied.

 "Yes, he said I was to assist you with healing.“

 "Good. Then we’ve no need to discuss it any further, I’ll have Hawkins here..”

 He pointed to a shy young fellow, who was skulking behind in his shadow and looking rather gaunt.

 "…take you to your quarters. I’m afraid we don’t have anything spare befitting…a lady. You’ll have to make do.“

 With that he turned and left, leaving Claire to herself.

 She was led through the fort, which was a depressing place even in the daylight, up past the quarters that held the soldiers and into a dank, cold wing.

 As they rounded another corner, in silence, she was beginning to realise where they were headed. Not into even a small room off the barracks, but down to the cells, which held the few prisoners kept onsite.

 Still, she said nothing, simply followed Hawkins. Had he turned around, he would have seen her scared look. This was to be her fate? Locked away until she was needed, she hadn’t thought Frank could be so cruel. Surely he hadn’t known this would befall her? Her heart clenched as she remembered the cold look Frank had given her as she’d left London, yes, he certainly may have known what was awaiting her here, the words 'as long as necessary’ and 'you’ll do as needed’ floated into her mind. The thought made her eyes well, but she managed to hold back her anguish.

 As they finally reached, what appeared to be their destination, Hawkins turned to Claire.

 "S-sorry madam, this is to be your quarters.”

 He stuttered as he pointed to the cold, dank cell in front of them. There was no window and only a tiny cot pushed up against the wall, covered in filthy blankets, possibly left by the last inhabitant.

 "The Captain says you are to be kept down here and only called for when needed.“

 Claire had no words, she simply nodded. She couldn’t even find the strength to step forward, if she just stayed where she was, surely, he would laugh, call it a joke and re-route to a more suitable location.

 As it was, Hawkins just stared wide eyed at her, waiting for her to accept her fate and her new quarters.

 "Please; don’t leave me here…” She managed to cough out, her small voice echoing through the empty corridors.

 "So sorry, madam…but…this is w-what’s been set…“

 He seemed genuinely afraid, and she certainly didn’t want him to get into bother because of her.

 She hugged herself tightly as she nodded and walked forward, slowly, into the cell. She didn’t even turn as the door closed and locked with a solid clunk behind her.

 Only once she heard Hawkins’ footsteps fade away did she allow herself to let go of the tears she’d been holding.

 As quietly as she could, she allowed the wracking sobs to overtake her, as she slid to the ground beside her cot. Punishment; that’s what this was, her punishment for not providing Frank with a suitable heir.

 It wasn’t long before the cold began to seep into her bones and she was forced to curl herself up in the spoiled blanket. Still on the floor, she allowed herself to fall into a stunted sleep.

 —-

 A pounding on the cell door awoke her some hours later, she jumped awake, her heart beating a similar rhythm to the impatient guest at her door. Her fists clenched around the, now seemingly softer, coverlet she had wrapped around her. Claire opened her eyes and blinked in shock.

 No longer was she locked away in a Scottish fort, she was back in her uncle’s rooms at the Universitè. Her heart was still beating furiously as she allowed herself to catch her breath.

 "Oh God…”

 She was sweaty, panicked and shaky, but she let out a nervous laugh in relief. It was just a dream.

 In a flash she was up, the sun was just rising outside. She couldn’t remember if Murtagh had set a specific time for their leaving Paris, but she fervently hoped she still had time.

 Ignoring the knocking at her door, she threw together the few things she had left and grabbed her cape before rushing through the door.

 The intern who stood on the other side gasped and fell back, as Claire darted past him, a flurry of skirts, he didn’t even get chance to deliver his memo before she had vanished round the corner.

 The corridors were flushed with the orange glow of the morning light, it made the place seem almost heavenly. Claire smiled as she darted out and across the small grassy patch at the entrance to the residences, the sun now bright, hovering delightfully above her with the promise of a new future.