The Break Up. Part Five.
Find the last part: HERE.
“Just leave it the hell alone, Jenny!” Jamie grumped, his irate tone rising as the nurse helped him back into bed. “You always have to have the last word and it’s getting on my nerves.”
Jamie’s physio sessions were going as expected, slow but with steady progress. Jenny had, as Murtagh and Claire had summerised, taken full control turning up early to prepare her brother, attending the sessions and taking notes on his continued improvements. But her constant presence had kept Claire away which annoyed Jamie no end. His mood had taken a nose dive in the last few days as the pain in his hip had increased. The doctors were steadily weaning him off the stronger medications in preparation for his release and the combination of that and his sisters persistent nagging had him irritable and on edge.
“Watch yer tone, James Fraser,” Jenny snapped back crossing her arms over her chest after throwing her notebook on his bedside table.
“Dinna sass me!” He threw back losing his rag with her completely. “Yer being an arse and a pain in the backside. It doesna help when you bark orders at the doctors let alone when ye harass the physiotherapists. I bet they canna wait to be rid of us,” he sighed, turning over to face away from his sister.
Listening carefully, he waited until Jenny’s heavy footsteps had disappeared down the corridor before huffing and sitting back up. If he were honest with himself, he’d admit that it wasn’t really Jenny - though her attitude was somewhat troublesome - but rather the lack of Claire that had his usually sunny disposition in tatters. He knew that Murtagh was still in contact with her and that she was still in Glasgow but he hadn’t seen her for a few weeks and it was beginning to worry him.
“What have you done?” Murtagh whistled, strolling into the hospital room and closing the door behind him. “I saw Jenny on her way out, she didna seem happy.”
Jamie glanced across at his godfather, a little disappointed that he was alone. “Ach, I havena done anything. It’s all her and her bothersome meddling.”
“Ye dinna mean that, lad,” Murtagh replied, patting Jamie on the shoulder before dragging a chair from by the window so that he could sit beside Jamie in bed. “We all ken how Jenny gets. She’s a strange volatile creature, but she’s just making sure that you’re alright. She worries about you.”
Giving Murtagh a stern stare, Jamie shuffled beneath the sheets. “Volatile is about right, a bit too much if you ask me. All I want is to go to my sessions and come back wi’out having to apologise to Dr Mhor the entire time. The puir man is just trying to do his job and Jenny willna leave him alone.”
“That and she’s keeping Claire away, aye?” Murtagh added with a quirk of his bushy brow revealing the real reason for Jamie’s irritation.
“She’ll go back soon, won’t she?” Jamie said without preamble.
“I dinna think the lass knows what she’s going to do. She’s confused,” Murtagh confessed having spent numerous hours trying to coax Claire’s plans from her. He’d stayed the night before, keeping her company as she’d worked through some of her insecurities but he’d been no closer to understanding her position by the time he’d left that morning. “But she came all this way wi’out really knowing what awaited her, and, even though she hasna been here, she hasn’t stopped thinking about you.”
“Four years is a long time,” Jamie added thoughtfully, “I never expected to see her again but now she’s here, so close to me, I dinna want her to leave. Is that daft?”
“Aye, lad, of course it is,” Murtagh said with some humour, “but that’s love, Jamie. I dinna think there is much sense to be made of it. Have you told her this?”
“No,” Jamie replied quickly. “How would I even begin, eh?”
“I ken she was the one who left, Jamie, but don’t you think that you should throw her a bone?” Murtagh muttered, worried about how Jamie might take that piece of advice after spending so many full on days with Jenny’s bad opinions floating around him. “She’s here, she flew all the way back and stayed even though she knew she’d have to face the wrath of Janet Fraser Murray. And although she hasna been back since, she’s still here waiting. Doesn’t that say something to ye?”
“Maybe,” Jamie whispered, “but maybe it’s just guilt too.”
“Aye, well you’ll never know if ye dinna speak of it, will ye?” Murtagh finished, patting Jamie on the leg before taking his hung coat from the back of the chair. “How about I bring her round tomorrow, you make sure Jenny stays away - though with yer current mood I dinna think that will be hard,” he chuckled, “and I’ll make sure Claire gets here for visiting hours. Then ye’ll ken whether it’s guilt or not, won’t ye.”
Pursing his lips, Jamie nodded, his chest tightening at the prospect of finally seeing Claire again. Murtagh could see the light return to his eyes as Jamie tried to tamper his growing excitement.
— – —
True to his word, by visiting hours the next day Murtagh had Claire safely transported from her hotel to the hospital. He felt her discomfort as they drove the short distance across the city. She had her hands clenched tightly in her lap, her head bent downwards in a solemn pose.
“What has you in a tizz?” Murtagh asked calmly as they parked the car in the almost empty car park.
“Nothing,” Claire lied, closing the door and walking slowly behind Murtagh.
Not wanting to press her any further, Murtagh simply led her towards Jamie’s room. She’d been melancholy ever since their heart to heart but he was hoping that Jamie’s company would brighten her temperament somewhat.
On entering, Jamie’s face lightened immediately upon seeing Claire following Murtagh studiously. Her cheeks were flushed a delightful shade of pink, probably from the the fresh Glaswegian weather she’d just walked through. She looked a little off centre, but he thought nothing of it as she came and settled herself by his side.
“I’ll go and entertain myself in the canteen, aye?” Murtagh said. “I’ll be back in a while, Claire.”
With the door shut behind them, Claire exhaled, her shoulders flopping slightly as she leaned forwards and finally made eye contact with Jamie. “How are you feeling?” She asked quietly, her fingers itching to reach out and run along the exposed expanse of his forehead as she watched him turn towards her.
“As good as can be expected,” he returned, “but I’ll be much improved the moment I get out of this place, ken? I’m going stir crazy trapped in here by myself most of the day.”
“So Jenny isn’t with you all the time then?” She asked curiously.
“Aye, she is. But I dinna think she’s too pleased with me at the moment. She’s been moaning and whinging up a storm and yesterday I shouted at her, safe to say she hasna been back since and I dinna want her to come back yet either.” Licking his lips, Jamie finished his diatribe and smirked across at Claire. “Though I’m sure she’s at home working up to coming back in so that she can punish me some more.”
“She just cares for you, that’s all.” Claire returned unable to find it in her to condemn Jenny’s hyperactive behaviour. Even with her less than favourable attitude towards her, Claire knew that she loved Jamie deeply.
“Weel, enough of Jenny. What about you?” He asked. “What have you been up to whilst you’ve been here…”
‘…I missed you,” he wanted to add - but didn’t.
“Not much really,” she began, “other than a few walks along the Clyde and into the city centre, I’ve basically just loitered around the hotel.”
“Ach, shame. No more day trips then?” He was stalling for time, the thought of addressing their unspoken issues suddenly seeming like a mammoth task now Claire was actually here in front of him. He could tell she felt the same from the tilt of her chin as she watched him speak, the way she couldn’t hold eye contact for too long before having to look away again. They both needed to begin the healing process but neither knew where it might lead which made it difficult to start.
“Nah, no more day trips. I’ve seen everything I need to see really, I was just waiting…”
Her sentence hung in the air with an unspoken ending. Jamie knew immediately what she would have said had she the strength to say it. She had been waiting for any and every opportunity to come and see him - but only when he would be alone, and for the longest time he hadn’t.
Catching his wistful stare, Claire shifted forward pushing her hand into his and rubbing his fingers gently with her own. They were close now, Claire knees grazing the bed as she leaned in closer. Captured in the moment, both Jamie and Claire had eyes only for one another. There was still a lot to be discussed but the energy had changed from one of nerves to something altogether more pleasing and both of them basked in the glow of it.
Before either could ruin it with words that might break the spell their lips had touched rendering them incapable of speech. With Claire moving forwards, Jamie had bent his head in towards her too bringing their noses level. Sighing happily. Claire moaned lowly as Jamie’s tongue swept along the length of her lips as their kiss intensified. It was heaven, the taste of him enchanting her once more. The butterflies fluttered about in her stomach, the feelings he elicited within her the same as they always were.
The sound of the door opening brought them both back down to earth with a bang and Claire pulled away, holding her hand up to her swollen lips as Jenny started wide eyed at the bashful pair. Saying nothing, she side-eyed Jamie and gave Claire a hard look before turning on her heel and leaving once more.
“Shit,” Claire cursed under her breath, her cheeks flooding with warmth as embarrassment filled her. Jamie was sure to get an earful for that little slip later on.
“The hospital back in Boston called earlier,” she confessed, pacing up and down the small room, “they asked when I was coming back, the implication was clear in my bosses tone…”
“You have a life back there,” Jamie interjected, Jenny’s clear disapproval colouring his previous intentions now as Claire’s words penetrated his perfect view of their new future tearing it apart. He wasn’t listening to her tone, his mind flooded with their painful separation instead of their wonderful kiss. “If they need you home, ye have to go aye?”
Claire’s heart almost stopped dead in her chest, but instead of fighting him she simply nodded - agreeing.
“Home,” she whispered experimentally. “I suppose s-so.” Though the word ‘home’ still felt foreign on her tongue in relation to Boston.
Taking in a deep breath, Claire turned back to Jamie with her jaw clenched and her hands clasped solidly at her sides. “You knew where I was though,” she said as the tears began to swim in her eyes, “how else did they know where to call in case of an emergency? H-how did you know?”
“Murtagh,” Jamie answered stoically, “he found ye for me. I wanted to, Claire, you have to believe me, I very nearly did contact you but then I didna ken what to say and time seemed to pass so fast and then it felt like it had been too long to just drop into your life once more wi’ no warning.”
Fate, it seemed, had played its part - keeping them apart rather than bringing them back together. Sensing the finality of his decision, Claire nodded, pursing her lips to stop the tears from falling whilst she was still trapped within the hospital walls. Fate could go and fuck itself, she thought angrily. She should have called and broken the ice instead of leaving it to him and now it was too late to fix it. Despite what she’d thought on her way over here.
“I’m glad you’re alright, Jamie,” Claire sighed, keeping her voice low to stop it from shaking, “it was good to see you again. Look after yourself, yes?”
“Aye,” he whispered in return, taking one last look at her before focusing his attention on the boring bedding that covered him.