I’m finally posting a new chapter for “Love in Between,” a story about Jamie and Claire traveling through the stones together and ending up in 1845, in the era of Queen Victoria.
Setting Up Shop
Claire’s back was aching and her leg was asleep. She tried to turn over in the bed, but couldn’t. A very large Scot was sprawled over her, sound asleep. She tried raising her head, but her tousled curls were trapped beneath his outstretched arm. Normally, waking up with Jamie lying on her was a good thing. Today, it was bloody inconvenient.
She finally managed to pull her hair out from under his arm and raised her head just enough to look around the room. She hadn’t really seen it much the night before, since their train had arrived late into Edinburgh. They had practically fallen into bed in a sleepy stupor, exhausted by their travels.
The room was quite small and plain, with a small chest of drawers, a table and one chair. The morning sunlight shone through the window, giving the room a golden glow. The small bed that they lay upon was barely big enough to fit one person, let alone two. Somehow, they managed it, though.
Sensing her movements, Jamie stirred. One eye opened slightly to look at her, then he smiled.
“It’s about bloody time you woke up,” she said.
He moved to turn onto his back, but ended up rolling off the bed and landing with a huge thump on the hard floor. “Ifrinn!!”
Claire couldn’t help but smile at the tableau. There was Jamie, buck naked, thrashing on the floor, feet tangled in the quilt. After a moment, he finally disentangled himself and looked up at her. By this time, she was giggling like a schoolgirl.
“Och, ye find it funny, do ye?” he said, slightly flustered.
“Yes, I do. I’m sorry, Jamie. You just look so…”
Suddenly, Jamie lunged at her, grabbed her around the waist, and brought her down to the floor with him. He rolled over on top of her, pinning her underneath him.
“Weel, Sassenach, I dinna find it so amusing to be hurled off the bed.” He tried to look stern, but the corner of his mouth turned up slightly as he tried to suppress a grin. Looking down at her, he saw that she was still wheezing with mirth.
“Ye know, Sassenach, ye look very bonny when ye laugh. When ye get all flushed like that, it reminds me of how you look when I take ye. God, Sassenach, I canna help it. I want ye so.”
He bent down to kiss her, gently exploring her mouth. He ran his tongue over her lower lip before tugging at it with his teeth. He growled playfully.
Between kisses, Claire said, breathless, “Jamie…don’t you have to…ahhhhh…don’t you have to meet with…Jesus Christ! She said the last as his fingers snaked between her legs.
“Weel, Sassenach,” he said, grinning, “I dinna think Jesus takes appointments.”
“Jamie! You know what I mean…Mr. Fletcher’s associate…don’t you have a meeting this morning?”
Ignoring her, Jamie continued his efforts down below and bit down on her nipple through her thin shift.
“Jesus!” she said, reveling in the feel of his teeth on the sensitive tip.
“Not Jesus, Claire, I told ye, his name is Mr. Morrison, the printer.”
She gasped as he bit the other nipple and slid a finger into her at the same time.
“Jamie! You’ll be late!”
He pulled back, looking at her wryly. “Do ye think, at this moment, Claire, that I care at all about seeing Mr. Morrison? Christ, Sassenach, just lay back and enjoy it!”
She did. As he pulled up her shift and entered her, they heard the bell ring in the shop downstairs.
“Jamie! I think Mr. Morrison is here.”
“He can wait.” With that, he silenced her with a long, deep kiss, exploring her mouth as he thrust inside her.
She let out a muffled cry as he took her quickly and thoroughly. It didn’t take long before they had both reached climax, trembling together in spasms of pure sensation. When it was over, he lay to the side, still panting from his efforts.
“Good morning, Sassenach.” He leaned to kiss her sweetly. “It’s going to be a wonderful day.”
Jamie got dressed quickly and went downstairs to meet Mr. Morrison. Claire knew he’d be gone for a while, so she took her time. She fumbled to her feet, stiff from lying on the hard floor, and sat on the bed, looking at her new surroundings. They would definitely have to find a bigger place soon. She didn’t know how long she could sleep in the tiny bed with her huge husband.
About an hour later, Jamie came back upstairs to find Claire dressed.
“Thank God, I’m starving!” Claire said, standing up. “You can’t let a pregnant woman starve to death.”
He walked up to her, putting his arms around her and kissing the top of her head. “Aye, I’m sorry, my love. With coming in late last night, we didna have time to get food for the morning. There’s a small eatery just down the street. Let’s go get some food, then we can stock up on things we need.”
Jamie led Claire out of the building and they strolled companionably down the street until they came upon an establishment that both Jamie and Claire had seen before…The World’s End.
“I didna ken it was still here,” Jamie said, astonished.
“Not only that, but it is still around even in my time.”
His eyes got even wider. “Ye have ‘The World’s End’ in your time? Amazing.”
She smiled and gestured toward the doorway. “Shall we?”
They had a wonderful meal and Jamie told her about his meeting with Mr. Morrison.
“He seems a decent man, very knowledgeable about the printing business.”
“Why isn’t he going to run the shop then?”
“He’s got on in years and wants to retire. He is going to finance the shop, and will be a third partner in the business, but it is me who will run it.”
“Third partner? You mean…” Claire said, hopefully.
“Aye. I’m officially a partner in this venture, Sassenach. I’ll earn my share as I go, but my voice has equal weight in the decisions of the business.”
“Oh Jamie, that’s wonderful!” She hugged him and gave him a kiss on the cheek.
Jamie smiled, pleased that he had made her happy. Now, it would be up to him to make the business a success. He hoped that soon he would be able to buy a real house for them to live in and, together, they would make it a home where they would raise their bairn.
After they ate, they returned to the shop to begin taking stock of the supplies that would need to be ordered. Mr. Morrison had already acquired a printing press and had delivered it that morning when he met with Jamie. The press was large and took up the entire back corner of the shop.
“We’re having a carpenter come by this afternoon to measure for a counter to run the length of this room. What do ye think, Sassenach?”
“I think it’s a good plan. Sounds like you have it all worked out.”
“Aye.” He looked at her speculatively. “Would ye have any suggestions to make it better?”
“No, I think you’ve thought it out quite well.”
“Aye, I suppose so. Although…” He took her hand and led her toward a doorway on the other side of the room. The doorway led to a small chamber, big enough for an office or storeroom. It had large windows facing the front of the building and its own entry from the street.
“Jamie, what are you going to do with this room, then? Will it be your office?”
Jamie smiled broadly and put his arm around her. “No, love, it is going to be yours.”
Claire’s eyes widened in surprise. “Mine? Why would I need an office, Jamie?”
His smile got even wider. “I thought physicians generally preferred to practice medicine in an office. But if you’d rather not…”
Claire launched herself into his arms, squealing excitedly. “Jamie! Oh, Jamie, is it true?” She kissed him thoroughly before continuing to squeal. “Is it really mine? Oh my God, Jamie!” She hugged him so tight he could barely breathe.
“I take it ye like the idea then?” He chuckled, sharing her joy in this moment, delighted that he could make her so happy.
“Oh, Jamie. You amazing, wonderful man. You don’t know how much it means to me that you believe in me and my gifts.”
“Claire, ye are a healer. It was what you were born to do. It’s yer calling, love, and I will support you in any way I can.”
She kissed him again, this time with great tenderness and love. They held each other close, framed in the sunlight coming through the window. Outside, there was a small sign that read: CLAIRE FRASER, PHYSICIAN.
26.10.16 I finally finished why nations fail! Okay so towards the end I was ready to ascend, b7t it was very interesting. I finished it sitting in the Wills Mem under the big windows, and as a celebration we went for a look on the Christmas Steps. I love that Street I think it’s a landmark of Bristol. There’s a video shop that has cats and you can stroke them and look at dvds, and there’s also a board game cafe! It’s amazing and so feels so dickensian even though I’m not in London any more. Last night we went to a really cozy pub, and walked around the gardens talking about shooting stars. I’ve never seen one and a guy I know from the flat above me has seen a few and I’m very jealous. We drank hot chocolate and talked until 2am, which we do sometimes. It’s really nice. Anyway, I have to go and do some reading for an assignment! Xxxx emily
Set in the shadow of St Paul’s Cathedral is a small park called Postman’s Park, it is the home of a very special Victorian memorial which was built in 1900 by George Frederic Watts, a famous Victorian artist who not only wanted to memorialise the heroic self-sacrifice of ordinary men, women and children who’d died performing selfless acts of bravery for others. But to also make sure that these people had a place of recognition and were not forgotten.
“A lot of these tragedies that Watts became, I think, it’s fair to say, obsessed with involved water. Canals, rivers, the River Thames of course, the sea, there seemed to be so many accidents often involving children and then somebody would jump in, try and save them and sadly of course as we know if you jump into a canal with all your clothes on, no matter how brave and strong you are, you’re not going to make it.
So an awful lot of these are double tragedies, the person who was trying to be saved dies but all too often the person trying to do the saving dies as well. So it’s really, really heart wrenching stuff. It’s a kind of an extreme version of heroism, almost actually more extreme than you might find in kind of military or imperial endeavours and I guess that that’s what Watts was trying to show, that there were feats of heroism, feats of extreme endurance and suffering that took place in Kentish Town that were just as extreme as anything you might encounter in the battle fields of that period…”
Nicholas Tromans, Curator, Watts Gallery - Artists’ Village