Can you please do a story where Claire does a house exchange with perhaps Jenny and Ian and Jamie lands drunk on the front porch and meets Claire
Baby; It’s 3am I Must Be Lonely:
A heavy knock at the door pulled Claire from a deep sleep. As she rolled over, the clock blinked 3am, it’s bright red digits almost blinding her as she squinted and hid herself under her quilt.
The banging continued, the sound of it echoing through the hall and up the stairs. Closing her eyes, Claire buried her head under the pillow, gripping it tight around her ears as she forced herself to try and ignore the racket coming from downstairs.
Nobody knew she was here, so it couldn’t possibly be for her.
“Jenny!!” came the dim voice, as her early morning gentleman caller slid her letterbox open and called into the empty hall. “Jenny, Ian…please, let me in. It’s cold as balls out here!!”
Slapping her palm against the soft, warm duvet, Claire dragged herself out of bed and into the corridor, taking her dressing gown and wrapping it tightly around her shoulders as she perched on the top step, looking down into the dark at the back of the closed front door.
Jenny was another trainee doctor. She and Claire had been asked to swap homes and hospitals for the last part of their course so that they were both able to witness another side to life in the Highlands. Jenny had taken Claire’s busy A&E in central Inverness, and Claire had taken Jenny’s quiet, tiny, offshoot hospital internship in the quiet of Beauly on the edge of the village, close to Glen Affrick.
“She left me, Jenny. I’m sae s-” he paused, hiccuping in the middle of his sentence as he choked out the words, “sorry t’ bother ye…but she left me…”
Pulling herself from the floor, Claire sighed, a heavy gust of air leaving her lungs as her heart ached for the poor, heartbroken drunk on her doorstep.
Obviously, he didn’t know of Jenny’s move. That, or his inebriated state had rendered the memory of that particular conversation null and void.
Either way, she couldn’t leave him out there, sobbing on her stoop, especially as the winter storms ripped through the highlands.
“Dinna be mad, Jenny. I ken it’s late…and I amne–” another hiccup, intertwined with a coughing and spluttering fit, had the poor man stumbling over his words once more as he let the letterbox slide shut, the clicking sound reverberating through the tiny entranceway as Claire silently crept down the stairs.
Opening the door, Claire found herself tentatively looking through the slit between the wood and the small chain that connected the door to the frame.
No longer facing the door, the strange man was sitting with his back to the house, his legs dangling onto the pavement of the wee drive as he gazed, solemnly, at the stars.
“I’m sorry…” she broached, a cautious lilt to her tone, as if she thought he might turn violent at any moment, “ for…your break up, but do you not remember?”
Turning, she saw his face for the first time. Large blue eyes sat high on very prominent cheek bones, his beautiful red hair curling at the tips as the light sleet dampened it. The sight of him almost caused Claire to choke on her words as she continued.
“J-Jenny and Ian moved to Inverness for six months, only a couple of weeks back.”
“Ach,” he began, his lips twitching into a sad smile as he pushed himself up from the stoop, his knees wobbling as he did. “So she did. I’m even more sorry, then.” Brushing a stray lock from his eye, he tipped his head forwards before meeting Claire’s eyes once more. “I didna mean to wake ye. I’m Jamie, by the way, Jenny’s younger brother.”
Taking one large step backwards, he began to sober up, a look of sheer embarrassment covering his face. “But ye dinna need to ken that…I’ll just go. Sorry, again.”
Turning on his heel, he walked away, his head dipped forwards as he inched towards the end of the drive, meandering shakily as he weaved this way and that nearly taking out Jenny’s well maintained pot plants.
Pulling the dressing gown more firmly around her chest, Claire opened her mouth to speak, her brain not considering –even for a moment– that this could be a bad idea. “No!” she started, her words coming out louder than intended, causing Jamie to swivel back to face her, a shocked look on his face. “Don’t go, it’s cold out. Come in, please.”
When he didn’t make a move to venture forwards, Claire unhooked the latch, using her finger to beckon him forwards.
“Honestly, Jamie, please. I have tea…and whisky.”
Tilting his head to the side, Jamie’s eyes clouded for a moment and he swayed where he stood, contemplating her –very kind– offer.
“Whisky, ye say? The good stuff?”
“Single Malt, fifteen years old. I’d say it’ll hit the spot,” Claire replied, flashing her teeth as she smiled at her visitor.
“That’s verra kind of ye, *Sassenach*,” he returned, quirking a brow, a lazy move that saw his shoulders rise with it in his half-cocked state. “I c-canna say I know any English lassies that ken their whisky as weel as ye seem to, miss….”
“Claire,” she finished for him, the door fully open now as he sauntered in out of the cold. “Claire Beauchamp; Sassenach and whisky connoisseur…at your service –apparently.”
Chuckling, Jamie took Claire’s hand and kissed it softly, a hazy smile lighting up his face. “Putting the ‘sass’ in sassenach, I see, Claire,” he joked, toeing off his shoes as he made himself comfortable on the small sofa in the lounge.
Closing the door behind him, Claire shook her head and turned towards Jamie, a light pink tint to her cheeks as she laid her back against the cool painted wood. “You’ll watch your tongue, mister,” she quipped as she replaced the chain on the door, “or I shall consume the whisky all by myself.”
Jamie’s eyes went wide as Claire reached for a new bottle, a softness behind her eyes as she swirled the amber liquid around the glass, causing a wee whirlpool to form in the centre.
“Now that,” he returned, a sense of awe in his voice, “I would pay to see…”