that he can barely focus on giving orders

Social Anxiety (Cake/4)

Requested ? Yes
Summary: You have social anxiety and he tries to help.

A/N: I hope this is okay, the other 2/4 will hopefully be posted sometime this week or this weekend, depending on whether I can get internet at the place I’m staying for NCS. Let me know what you think :)

Calum:
Clammy hands and rising fear. Too many people; too much noise. You couldn’t handle it; you wanted to get out, to escape the chaotic mess of bodies and booming music. Parties had never been your favourite thing, and this one was bigger, more exaggerated, than any you had ever seen.

A gentle touch on your waist startled you and your heart rate spiked with fear, dreading the thought of having to fend off some lech who was looking for a drunken girl and a good time; it wouldn’t be the first time. But turning your head cautiously, your heart fell into its previous, yet still unusually fast rhythm, as your eyes landed on Calum, who had never been far from your side all night. If there was anyone you felt safe with it was Calum, but in this hazy environment, with music and fear clouding your senses, not even he could make you feel alright again.
“How are you doing?” he asked, because he knew. Without you telling him, he knew how you were feeling; how anxious you were getting and how there was a rising feeling of panic within you, coursing through your body, in both your stomach and your mind. The mere shrug of your shoulders which you offered up in response told him that you weren’t okay, that you weren’t coping, and when he took hold of your hands to comfort you and felt how clammy they’d become, he knew that he needed to do something. You had gone to that party for him, to make him happy and be there to support him, and now he needed to be there for you; he needed to support you.
“Let’s go home, eh?” he smiled, pulling you closer to him, wrapping an arm around your waist, and guiding you to the nearest exit.
“And thank you for coming tonight, I know how hard it must have been.”
It was as if the fog was lifting, and you could feel your heart rate returning to normal with every step you took away from the club, and with Calum by your side, guiding you home, you felt safe and calm once more.

Luke:
Things are fine when it’s just the two of you, huddled in the corner of the coffee shop, laughing and chatting away with each other. With nobody else that you have to talk to it’s easy to relax and tune out the rest of the world, but then comes the noise and the chatter and the cheers; the unfamiliar sounds of Luke’s bandmates as they stroll their way towards you. Of course you recognise them, despite having never met or been introduced until this point, you would be a fool not to recognise them, if not from the photos in magazines then from Luke’s almost perfect descriptions of the three boys he spent his days with.
“Hey guys!” Luke beams, beckoning them over, momentarily forgetting about the anxiety that he should know would be bubbling in your stomach. Your face flushes almost immediately as they approach your table, and their gaze flickers across to you.
“Hey, you must be Y/N!” Ashton grins, and you nod, trying to act a normal as you possibly can, but visibly tensing up anyway.
“Nice to meet you,” you mutter quietly, giving a little wave to the guys though your arm remains stiff. Your actions earn you a curious look, but you dismiss it; it’s something that you’re used to with unfamiliar people; people who don’t know about your anxiety. After that, you sit back as Luke chats, or rather shouts, excitedly with his friends, hoping desperately that they won’t speak to you again so the focus won’t be put on you. You’re so consumed with worry and anxiety that you barely notice Luke’s eyes drifting to you, taking in your rosy cheeks and stiff posture.
“Can you just give us a minute actually, guys?” Luke asks, and without question the boys nod their heads, marching over to the counter to order the coffee that they had originally entered the shop for.

“Do you want us to leave?” Luke asks, his voice soft and his hands reaching out for yours.
“No it’s fine, talk to your friends.”
He eyes you suspiciously, taking in your still stiff and clearly nervous body. With a shaking head and a soft smile on his face, he stands up, signalling for you to wait for just a moment as he makes his way to the boys. Out of earshot he explains to them in the simplest way, with the kindest words, about how you’re feeling, and how you’re maybe not the best around new people, and the boys understand; they get it completely. And so Luke returns to you, and the two of go to say goodbye to the others, with Luke rubbing soft, soothing circles on the skin of your arm to comfort you.
“Bye Y/N!”
“See you later!”
“Maybe we’ll see you again soon?”
The chorus of kind goodbyes makes you smile despite the knot in your stomach.
“Yeah, it was nice to meet you guys,” you grin, trying to fight back the nervousness and let your speech flow clearly. With that Luke guides you out of the door, assuring you that the guys loved you, and speaking words of how proud he is, how grateful that you had tried so hard with his friends, and how that is all he could ever ask of you.

Too Little, Too Late - Chapter 2

Before we begin:

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO HAS LIKED AND/OR REBLOGGED MY WORK.

You all give me LIFE and MOTIVATION to keep taking my word-vomit and editing it into a semi-coherent form.

This is Chapter 2 of my 3-part series around the prompt for more about the photographs of Brianna. Please go HERE for Chapter 1 of this series.

(I might be able to put together a chapter 1B if anyone wanted a more direct continuation of Chapter 1 - just message, reply, ask, etc.)

As I mentioned in part 1, I’ll be making artwork to go with each of these and reposting it all together.

Anyone have suggestions as to good places to put these more permanently? Perhaps Archive of our Own Or AO3 (not familiar with either- or are they the same thing)?

—————–

Spoilers for Voyager.

The following takes place within Voyager after Jamie, Claire, Fergus and Marsali are all aboard The Artemis.

—————–

Too Little, Too Late - Chapter 2

The Artemis - Day 10 of the voyage

Feeling appropriately frustrated, Claire found her errant Supercargo on deck in the shadow of the mainmast, looking down at his left palm as if it held the secrets of the universe.

“Jamie, there’s a Mister McFinney that is looking for you. I can barely understand his Irish Gaelic, but I think he might be looking for a barrel of squid?”

“Aye. He likely means the squid INK I keep in the Captain’s quarters. McAllen is helping me with inventory.”

Claire sidled up to her raggedy husband, hoping to see what was in his hand. He had seemed distracted earlier when giving out orders for the day to the crew and she was determined to stick her nose in and find out why. He put his hand back in his pocket before she could see what had his focus.

Neither of them had fully bathed in quite a while, and with all the work with rope, tackle and steering, not to mention writing, she was convinced that Jamie had at least a few blisters on his hands that he was trying to hide from her, possibly burst and infected ones. That simply wouldn’t do.

“What have you got there?”, she said as she snatched at his hand. She missed it and grabbed him by the wrist and dragged it forcibly out of his pocket with a glare at him.

Instead of finding a furtive open wound however, Claire suppressed a smile at seeing one of Brianna’s photographs in Jamie’s hand, curled up there like a student’s cheat sheet. It was the one of her by the fire, with the wind fanning her hair out echoing the flames she looked upon, the colors vivid on the paper in his palm. She leaned in to his ear and whispered, “Is there any particular reason you’ve got that out and about on deck where anyone could see it?”

“Oh, aye. I was thinking about where on earth I might be able to find a priest once we get to land. The last thing I want is to have to keep those two separate for months when it’s just the four of us again.” She followed Jamie’s gaze towards the starboard side to see Marsali and Fergus side by side, looking out at the rising and falling horizon, hands clasped on the railing.

“Enforcing separate berthing is simple enough with doors and witnesses on board. But once we hit the islands and jungles… Well, I dinna expect you’d want to continue that arrangement for too much longer, Sassenach,” he said with a sly grin.

“It seems strange to have my foster son wishing to marry my… stepdaughter. I intend to walk her down the aisle, as I should, but it got me to thinking. What about Brianna?” He looked down at Claire with a squint against the sun and yet behind the squint was a deeper sadness she hadn’t expected to see on his face in this context.

She paused for a second, unsure of where he was going with this. “What do you mean? What about Brianna?”

“Well… I’m here.”

“Yes?”

“And she’s… out there,” he gestured at the open sea beyond the deck. “You said she’ll decide on her own when and even IF she marries,” he said with a chuckle. “But I canna be there to walk her down the aisle.”

Claire realized with a shock that the same applied to her as well. Unless some catastrophe occurred, to which she made a hasty sign of the cross in her mind, she would remain in the past with Jamie. Where she belonged. But she would never see her daughter marry and the fact that she hadn’t even thought of that before leaving the 1960s suddenly infuriated her.

Too bloody little, too bloody late, Beauchamp.

“And so, I’ve been carrying that fool picture with me all day trying to… to see her. As she would be on her wedding day. To paint on the years that I dinna get to be there for.”

Claire cleared her throat to sweep away the lump and the angry tears that threatened to begin. She could cry in private later, but the ache for her daughter flowed through her veins.

“Well, if it’s purely a visual you’re looking for, I might be able to help with that. You see, in…,” she did some quick calculations, “…eighty years or so, it became very fashionable, and not too much later it was actually expected that the bride wear specifically a white dress for her wedding.”

“White? All white?”

She nodded.

“Well that’s hardly very practical,” he scoffed.

“Yes, and a veil to cover her face, too, but usually made of a thin tulle so you can see through it. The white of the dress was to symbolize innocence and purity… and virginity.”

Jamie grinned at this and bent to whisper in her ear.

“So it should ha’ been me wearing all white on our wedding day, eh Sassenach?”

Claire had to clap her hand over her mouth to stifle a guffaw at the mental image of her proud Highland warrior husband with a fistful of daisies, wearing a white, lacy, shift dress, which had been the latest fashion when she left Boston in 1968.

After taking a moment to get herself under control, she whispered back between fits of giggles, “Oh, no one cared whether the MEN were virgins or not.” She stopped to take a deeper breath to calm her clenched diaphragm. “Not that they do now, either, come to that.”

Jamie continued to squint down at his wife, unsure of what exactly she thought was so funny about a man leaving himself unsullied for his bride. After all, Claire certainly didn’t seem amused at the prospect when they wed years earlier.

“So… a white dress.”

“Yes,” she said, taking a final deep breath in and out.

“And a veil.”

“Yes.”

“Thank you, Mo Ghraid.”

He bent to kiss her quickly before tucking the photo back in his coat pocket, then headed towards the bridge to intercept Mister McAllen and his search for squid.