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Illicit Affairs

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The door slams shut, and his hands are all over me, his mouth on mine. He grabs me by the neck and kisses me hungrily. I can feel his smell. It’s intoxicating, so familiar and so him, so home, it drives me absolutely insane. 

 

He dragged me here, to an unknown place, and said he wanted to talk . But who are we kidding? How am I supposed to even think when his fingers run through my curls, sending shivers down my spine and he is sucking my lips.

 

“We can’t keep doing this anymore, Jamie,” I say. I try. But he’s not listening. He starts unbuttoning my shirt, takes it off me in one quick movement and throws it onto the floor. I’m exposed. His lips travel down my neck to my chest, and he pushes me against the wall. The wall of a cheap hotel room in the middle of nowhere. Where no one knows us; where no one will see us. 

 

His tongue is leaving wet traces over the area between my breasts and I start shivering, running my hands through his red hair, encouraging him against my own will, against my brain. 

 

“Ye want this just as much as I do, Sassenach,” he breathes out and starts licking my already hardened nipples. “I canna stop this and neither can ye”.

 

I lose my mind. Every time I feel his mouth on my skin, I black out and nothing else matters anymore. He’s grinding against me and I feel my back hit the rough wall. And then, his mouth is going down, his lips find my stomach, his tongue begins doing circles around my navel. “Oh god,” I let out, my knees trembling.

 

“I can smell how aroused ye are, Sassenach,” he says as he falls on his knees and his hands start unzipping my jeans, pulling them down my shaking legs. “Ye must be so wet. I’m losing every piece of my fucking mind. Canna wait to taste ye… I missed ye so much.” 

 

He speaks and I feel like I’m drunk. Each time is like the first time. My head is dizzy, and I’m lost all over again. It’s like I’m under his power, the power of his hands, and his mouth. This desire is blinding me. The air gets heavy, hot, and suffocating.

 

“Just...fuck me. Fuck me, Jamie…” I mumble and the next moment he yanks down my underwear, spreads my legs and digs his mouth into my hot flesh. “Oh god. Yes...” I breathe out and bite my bottom lip.

 

“Yer so fucking hot... So wet for me,” he licks me vigorously and holds my thighs to keep me steady. 

 

I place one of my legs on his shoulder to give him a better access to my burning core, to let him in deeper. 

 

“Jamie I’m close, I’m… I’m gonna come...” I whimper, amazed as ever by his ability to drive me to orgasm within seconds, using just his tongue and lips. He sucks, and licks and bites, and I can’t take it anymore, the heat is rising inside me. And then, he stops. 

 

“What the hell, why did you stop?” I protest, and he gets up to give me a kiss. I know that he wants me to taste myself, and I moan into his mouth in pleasure. I give up. I'm gone.

 

“Bed. Now.” He hisses and grabs my hand to take me to the room. To take me fully. I can barely walk and when my legs touch the edge of the bed, he whispers, “On your knees.”

 

My brain is no longer functioning. I obey as I crawl onto the bed and stand on my knees. I’m using my arms to support myself, ass in the air. He's undressing and within seconds I feel him position himself behind me, and his hardness touches my buttocks as he starts fondling my arse. I’m sweating and dripping wet and ready to beg as his fingers travel across my flesh. 

 

“Jamie, please….”

 

He leans and whispers into my ear, “I’m gonna fuck ye senseless.”

 

“Please, just---” 

 

He won’t let me finish, he enters me roughly and starts moving right away, roaring like a hungry beast. My heart is pounding in my ears, and all I want to do is scream. Sweet, sweet and delicious pain. He pulls out and then rides back in. His right hand goes under me, and he grabs my boob and pinches my nipple. Then, his left hand travels between my legs and his thumb finds my clit. He wants to bring pleasure to every part of my body and I know that I don’t mind.

 

“Yer so tight, so wet, Christ!” He exclaims, breathing heavily.

 

The room is filled with nothing but the sounds of our sins as he takes me. Deep in my mind I know this had to end a long time ago, but not now, not when it’s him deep inside me and my body shakes and, oh-

 

“Fuck, oh god, fuck,” I gasp out when he starts rubbing my clit to drive me closer to the edge.

 

“Scream for me, come for me, come on my cock, let me feel ye,” he groans and quickens his movements.

 

I know that I don’t have to tell him that I am close, he can feel it himself. He knows my body better than I know it, and so I clench around him, and I lose it, and I come hard. It takes everything in me not to scream out loud, and I feel him follow right after me, his breathing hitches.

 

He pulls out and turns me over, I fall onto the pillow, and he leans down to kiss me. I’m powerless. I can’t respond to the kiss, I can’t breathe, can’t move and can’t even open my eyes. 

 

“Look at me, Claire, look at me,” he demands as he keeps kissing my swollen lips, massaging my right breast, and my eyes fly open. I stare at him and just want to cry. He is so good and feels so good. I feel hot and wanted with him and have the best sex in my life with him. 

 

He makes me feel alive. He makes me feel me. But I know that I can’t do this anymore.

 

“Jamie, we can’t… we can’t keep doing this.” I whisper, touching his cheek.

 

“Please, sassenach...” He rolls over, falls on his back and stares at the ceiling. “Why do ye have to bring this up again?”

 

I take his left hand and trace my fingers along the golden band on his ring finger. “That’s why,” I say feeling pain in my chest, a huge lump forming in my throat.

 

“You’re still married. It has to stop.”

 

 

 

+++

Chapter Text

 

 

One year earlier.

 

I never liked going to bars. They are always too crowded and too noisy. Sometimes dirty, and not even safe. The unnecessary acquaintances here and there. But somehow, on this Friday night, I find myself in a bar and watch the barman make me a third cocktail. 

 

“Having a bad day?” He asks me with a sympathetic smile, obviously trying to start a conversation which I’m absolutely not eager to participate in. 

 

“A bad life.” I reply, sarcastically, and look around. The barman smirks and puts a glass of Tequila Sunrise in front of me. I take a gulp and immediately feel it run through my blood. I close my eyes and take a breath. Suddenly, a stranger appears out of nowhere. He sits down next to me and orders whisky on ice.  

 

“How bad?” I hear him say, and, judging by the fact that another seat next to him is empty, that question was meant for me

 

“Excuse me?” I ask and look at the man. His smile gets me drunker than the actual alcohol I’ve taken during the last hour. In the dim light of the bar I can see his hair has a red shade and his face traits are pretty attractive. 

 

“Ye said ye had a bad life. Got me curious... How can such a bonny lass say that?” 

 

I think he is flirting, and I know I have to stop this before it goes any further. 

 

“You think beauty is the key to everything?” I ask him, slightly annoyed.

 

“Sorry, I didna mean to offend ye.” He apologizes, and places his right hand above mine. Who does he think he is? I should get even more annoyed, but instead I feel warmth start running through my body at the touch.

 

“It’s fine.” I say. “Sorry, I snapped. I’m just having a terrible day...” I add and feel my lips start quivering. His hand is still on mine, squeezing it gently.

 

“Can I do anything to help?”

 

“Help with what? Why would you suddenly want to help me? You don’t even know me. I don’t even know your name.”

 

“James Fraser,” he introduces himself and reaches out his left hand. “But, everyone just calls me Jamie,” he adds, and I could swear his smile is the most dazzling I’ve ever seen. 

 

“Claire,” I say and shake his hand, not breaking eye contact. His eyes are so blue I can’t stop looking into them, and my heart starts beating faster.

 

“Just Claire?” He laughs and squeezes my hand tighter. 

 

“Claire Beauchamp.” I can tell my ears are starting to burn red. 

 

“Well, nice to meet ye, Claire.” He lets go of my hand, and I immediately miss the soft feeling. “So, what’s yer story?”

 

“I don’t have a story. I’m just a woman in a bar.” I say and continue with my drink.

 

“I mean, what happened to ye? It’s okay if ye dinna want to talk, but ye seem very upset. If ye need a shoulder, I can offer ye one.”

 

I finish my cocktail and put the glass on the table. “It’s nothing. I just, well, I broke up with someone today, that’s all.” I finally say and look away from Jamie. I’m not the kind of person who can easily cry in front of a stranger. And right now, I feel like bursting into tears. Suddenly, I want to leave this place.

 

“Oh… I’m sorry,” he says and puts his empty glass next to mine. 

 

“He is a jerk. I found him in our bedroom with another woman. He kissed me in the morning before I went to work. I came back home earlier than usual… And they just were there… I kicked him out. See, nothing interesting here.” I don’t know why I’m telling him this embarrassing story. Whatever. I grab my purse to pay for the drinks. Leaving money on the counter, I get up from the chair. “It was nice to meet you, Jamie.”

 

“Wait, yer leaving already?” His voice sounds surprised. “Are ye gonna catch a cab? Maybe ye let me follow ye home?”

 

I stare at him. “Jamie, you seem like a really nice guy, but you don’t have to do that. I’m fine .” I’m lying. I’m not fine. I’m upset, tipsy, and my head is spinning. Not to mention having a broken heart. I quickly turn on my heels and leave the bar.  

 

Outside, the wind is cold, and my dress is too short and delicate for this kind of weather. I shiver and wrap my arms around my waist, when I feel someone put a jacket around my trembling shoulders. I turn around and face the same dazzling smile. 

 

“I wanted to do at least something for ye.” Jamie explains and studies my face.

 

“Why? Look, I don’t need your pity, and I certainly don’t need a babysitter.”

 

“I’m not babysitting ye, Claire. I saw ye when you walked into the bar. I was sitting at a table, in the corner. Ye looked so sad and...lost. And then ye were ordering one drink after another. I felt something was wrong.”

 

“Who are you, a medium?” I get back to my sarcastic tone and immediately regret it. What if he really cares? I’m not used to that.

 

“No, I’m just a financier.” He says softly.

 

“A financier who traces women in bars on Friday nights.” I’m trying to be funny, but, apparently, I fail miserably. We stay silent for a couple of moments, and I examine his face. God, he is ridiculously attractive.

 

“Where do ye live?” Jamie asks me.

 

“Not far away, actually.” I answer, mentally trying to recall the road home.

 

“Good. Care for a walk, then?” He insists, and his voice is soft and friendly. “I don’t want ye to walk alone. It’s late.”

 

I slightly nod and give him a genuine smile. He really cares. Can’t believe I finally gave up.

 

We walk along the street, and I bite the insides of my cheek, nervously. 

 

“Jamie, how do I know you’re not a serial killer, and not planning to drag me into some dark, quiet place and kill me? I mean---”

 

“I’m not a serial killer,” he laughs as he interrupts me, and then his face gets serious.

 

“Yeah, you’re just a financier.” I laugh back at him as I start to realize that three drinks today were more than enough.

 

“Yer English?” He suddenly asks me.

 

“Yes.” I say. “What, my accent is too obvious? I moved to Edinburgh just a couple of years ago, though.”

 

“Aye. I thought so, Sassenach.” He chuckles.

 

“What’s that word?” I ask him.

 

“It means an English person. Dinna get offended.” 

 

“I’m not offended. It’s just, no one has called me that before. It’s cute.” 

 

“Do ye mind if I always call you like that?”

 

Always ?” I raise my eyebrows. You mean to say that this is not the first and the last time we see each other?”

 

“I can only hope,” he says. “At least, I ken where ye live now.”

 

“Well, that’s true. Thank you, Jamie.” I take off his leather jacket and give it back to him, instantly feeling cold again. “Thank you for walking me home, and for the jacket.”

 

“Yer welcome, Sassenach,” he says as he puts the jacket on.

 

I smile and open my mouth, ready to say goodbye, when he takes my face in his hands and kisses me. All of a sudden, his lips are on mine, and he presses me against the fence. My knees go weak, but I don’t push him away. I don’t want this to stop. I moan into his mouth and let his tongue in, as I realize I’m enjoying this. I’m shivering against his body and his fingers run through my hair as he keeps kissing me. I feel my nipples harden, and it’s not from the low temperature. 

 

He unexpectedly pulls away and stares at me. I wish I knew what was in his head at this very moment.

 

My heart is beating like a drum. “What was that?” I ask, breathless.

 

“I just didna want yer last kiss to be with a jerk that didna deserve ye.” He says and takes a step back. “Good night, Sassenach.”

 

With that, he turns around and walks away. I raise my hand and touch my lips with trembling fingers. 

 

“Good night, Jamie.”



 

+++

Chapter Text

 

 

They say people come into our lives for a reason. Sometimes I wish I knew what that reason was. 

 

I’m still standing right where Jamie left me, and watch him walk away. Suddenly he stops, turns around and goes back to me. 

 

“Did you forget something?” I ask him, quietly, my lips are still burning from the kiss.

 

“Aye,” he says and takes a small card out of his pocket. “My number. Let’s make it easier to find each other next time, Sassenach. Ye just call me, whenever ye want. Or need .”

 

And with that he’s gone. 

 

I finally get home. It’s empty. My ex packed his shit and left. I don’t want to spend any more time thinking about him. He’s not worth it. It’s not worth it. Hope I never see him again. Yes, it hurts. But I’ve been there before. I’ll get over it. I always do. He cheated on me, he lied to me, he betrayed our relationship and my trust. I should have known. They say, a woman always knows, she just feels. But how could I be this stupid? 



Twenty-four hours ago I was in a relationship, but now, everything is gone, and I am single again.



We can’t really control who stays in our life and who leaves, either. I believe my ex came into my life to teach me how to let go quickly.

 

I undress and go straight to the shower. While I stand under the hot water and let it ease my muscles, I think about Jamie. His ocean blue eyes. His smell. His dazzling smile. And his lips. His lips on my lips. 

 

I want to see Jamie again. I have to see him again. I need to see him.

 

Suddenly, I feel warm, and the hot water is not the cause. I close my eyes and bring my fingers to my lips to recall the kiss that happened less than fifteen minutes ago. I don’t know what it is - a stressful day or a mere wish to pleasure myself, but I’m dangerously horny and need to get off quickly. 

 

My hand travels down my neck to my left breast, gently pinching the nipple, massaging and caressing it, while I use my other hand to lean on the wall and support myself. And then my hand goes lower between my legs, finds the most sensitive spot...until I can no longer control myself, until the tension is released and pulses through my whole body, tingling ecstasy washes me from head to toes.



I walk into the bedroom and a sudden wave of anger overtakes me. My ex was fucking his blondie in our bed. This is disgusting, I need to burn this bed like right now. I can’t sleep here anymore, I just can’t. I don’t know if putting clean sheets will help, because nothing will change the fact that it happened here. Looks like I’m gonna be sleeping on the couch today. And then, think about where I’ll be sleeping tomorrow. 



My friend Geillis Duncan is a Public Relations professional, she knows literally everything about everyone in this city. I was lucky to befriend her one day - she helped me to publish and promote my first book. I hope it’s okay if I ask her to help me again, I hope she knows something about Jamie. I grab my phone and make a call; she picks up immediately.



“Claire? Hi darling, what’s up?” I hear her sonorous voice.



“Hi, Gee… Well, where to begin? First, you were right, he was cheating on me, I came home earlier today, and he was just there, with her, with his head between her legs.”



“Eww, that’s disgusting! What did you do?”



“I was so tired, I couldn’t even throw a scandal, so I politely asked him to leave my apartment. He packed his belongings and left. Oh, you should have seen her face, too. But that’s not what I wanted to talk about.” 



“I’m sorry, Claire. What can I do for ye?”



“I need a favor.” I say, shyly.



“Anything.”



“I met someone today. A man.” I started, but she wouldn’t let me finish.



“Wait, wait a second… Ye broke up with one man and found another one the same day? How do ye do that?”



I let out a laugh. “It’s a coincidence! In fact, I was just curious, maybe you know something about him? His name is James Fraser.”



“Jamie Fraser?! The Red Fox Jamie?”



“Wait… What’s that? A nickname?”



“Stay away from him, Claire.”



“Why?” 



“He’s got quite a... reputation ,” Geillis said and paused. “Be careful.”



“A reputation? What do you mean?”



“Every month he’s with a different girl. People say he screws anything that moves.”

 


“Really?” I sit on the couch and press my knees to my chest. “But, he was so nice to me. Sweet. I would’ve never thought...”



“Stay away from him, C. I warned ye. If you want a serious relationship, he’s not an option.”



“Who said I want a serious relationship? I just finished one. What if I just look for someone to have fun with? And maybe it’s just what people say about him. It doesn’t mean it’s true!”



“I dinna understand ye sometimes, girl.”



I couldn’t see it, but I bet Geillis rolled her eyes so hard she almost fell off her bed.

 


"You don't have to understand me. Just be my friend, okay?" 



“Okay. Sorry, I have to go now. Please, take care of yerself, love. And remember what I told ye!”  



With that, Geillis hung up. Thanks for your information. She left me wishing she was talking about another Jamie Fraser. But, the worst thing is that even if that was really about him, what she told me - didn’t push me away.

 

 

I couldn't understand myself either.



I take Jamie’s card and call him. 

 

“Jamie? It’s me, Claire.”



“That was fast, Sassenach,” I heard him laugh on the other side of the line. “Miss me already?”



“Yes,” I blurt and punch myself in the face, but it’s too late. “I was just thinking… Maybe you want to meet tomorrow?”



***



For some reason, we agreed to meet at the same bar where we met yesterday. Suddenly, this place is not that disgusting and dirty anymore, quite the opposite; and every drink that we take is delicious and awakening.



I don’t know what it is with me, but the way Jamie speaks, the way he moves and looks at me, the way he breathes, it’s driving me crazy. I’m having hard times holding back from touching his hand that rests on the table, so close to mine. This is ridiculous - he kissed me and I'm scared to touch his hand. There’s something special in everything he does. He makes everything look sexy. My mind goes back to the conversation I had with Geillis last night. She told me Jamie was some sort of playboy, but as we sit here together, I look at him so intently, and I still hardly believe that.



“I’m glad ye called me, Sassenach.” Jamie suddenly says and gingerly touches my hand.



“Really?” I ask and feel my knees begin to tremble under the table.



“Aye. I couldna stop thinking about ye since the moment I left ye standing near your house.”



My heart is beating faster. “I was thinking about you, too. That’s why I called you.” I admit and move on my chair, so my knee could touch his. He feels it and immediately squeezes my hand tighter.

 

“Is it ok if I ask ye to dance with me?”



“Of course.” I agree right away, hoping my knees will not betray me.



We get up and go to the dance floor, where we sway to the music, and it feels like the whole world stops. His hands are on my hips, moving up and down, and his eyes are glued to mine. His eyes are so blue he’s so beautiful, the whole sight of him takes my breath away. His face is so close to mine it drives me mad. What am I doing ? I don’t know, but my hands are on his neck, fingers playing with the curls around the nape of his neck, and I don’t want to let him go. 



“Jamie...” I lean in and whisper into his ear. “I want to leave this place.”



He stares back at me with a questioning face. “Where did ye learn to read minds, Sassenach?”



I chuckle, and my heart is fluttering in my chest. “I have to go to the ladies room first then, if you don’t mind.” I excuse myself and give him my most charming smile. 



In the bathroom, I sprinkle cold water onto my face and fix my hair. What are you doing ? I ask myself again as I stare at my reflection in the mirror. 



I get outside, and see Jamie wait for me. He caught the cab and as soon as I showed up, he helped me inside. We occupy the backseat, I don’t even ask where we are going. I want him and I blindly trust him. 



“Claire…” Jamie says as soon as the car starts to move, and he pauses to swallow. I can see the vein pulsating on his neck. It must be something that always happens when he is nervous. “Do ye even realize how much ye turn me on? Ye make me need ye.” He adds and breathes on my face, taking my hand in his.



My heart is jumping in my ears and my own breathing quickens. 

 

 

“Jamie…” I say, barely able to form any word. “If you keep talking to me like this, I swear I’m not responsible for what happens next.” 



He squeezes my hand tighter. “I have to make things clear, Sassenach… I know, you just ended your previous relationship, are you sure ye want to start a new one?” Jamie says in a serious tone, but I interrupt him before he can say anything else. I swallow and clear my throat. 



“Who said I want to jump into a new relationship?”



He grabs me by the waist. He pulls me closer to himself and I know that even if every single part of his body would be pressed against mine, I'd still ask him to hold me tighter. He looks into my eyes, then on my lips, while biting his own. Our gazes meet again. 



“You are such a mystery to solve, Sassenach.”



I get impatient, and my palms are starting to sweat. I pray for the car to reach the destination fast, no matter what this destination is.



“Shut up and kiss me,” I utter and grab his neck and smash our lips together. I moan at the feeling right away. As we kiss, I realize I want him to kiss every part of my body, not missing a single inch. His lips are so sweet, tasty, his natural sweetness mixed with the drinks we had in the bar. I could kiss him all night, every night. I sense his hardness graze my thighs as he’s grinding against me, and his hands are fondling my arse. The desire is so intense it makes me want to rip his clothes off and urge him to take me right there on a back seat.

 

Finally, the car stops. I look out of the window and see the two floor building, not huge but not small. 



“Is this where you live?” I ask as I look around. 

 

 

“Aye. This is my…house.”

 

 

“Your house? Wow. It’s impressive.” I turn my head to Jamie. “I have to ask you again.”

 

 

“What is it, Claire?”

 

 

“You’re not a killer and you’re not gonna kill me and you’re not going to dismember me, correct?”



Jamie lets out a guttural laugh, but then his face gets serious. He walks up at me and takes my hand, staring deep into my soul. 



“I’m not a serial killer. I am not going to kill ye. I’m going to fuck yer brains out.”

 

 





+++

Chapter Text

 

 

Jamie and I, we barely know each other. But as soon as I look into his blue eyes, I know that he has already gained my trust.

 

The front-door of his house closes behind our backs with a soft snap sound. He takes me by the hand without saying a word and leads me to the room that must be his bedroom. We walk in, and he gestures at the green velvet couch standing in the corner of the room. He must be having his own plans if he doesn’t take me to bed straight away. I leave my purse on the table, take off my heels and sit on the soft surface.

 

“Do ye want to drink? Whisky, maybe?” He asks as he opens his minibar and grabs a bottle and two glasses.

 

“I wouldn’t mind, but just...a little,” I say as I discreetly unbutton the top button on my blouse. I don’t want to get drunk, I want to stay conscious for the whole night, I want to remember every detail.

 

We drink in awkward silence. Jamie and I stare into each other’s eyes, and I still wish I knew what thoughts are running through his pretty head.

 

There’s a big chance that he thinks that I’m some whore, who sleeps around with men. But it was him who approached me first at the bar, who kissed me unapologetically and gave me the card with his number. The one who agreed to meet as soon as I offered, who invited me to his house. Looks like Geillis was right about Jamie, he does it all the time. She was also right about me - I am hard to understand, and I am unpredictable.

 

Jamie has no idea that I know “things” about him. And I’m not planning to reveal that anytime soon. 

 

Some people say that sex is something that happens between two people who love each other. Others believe it is something that happens between two people who love sex. Apparently, Jamie and I don’t fall under the first category. Apparently, we just want to have fun.

 

It's just sex.

 

I finish my drink and put the glass on the table. 

 

“So,” I start and lock my warm gaze with his iceberg one. Jamie puts his glass on the table next to mine before gets off the couch and stands in front of me. Our eyes are still locked as I watch him fall on his knees and unbutton my blouse.

 

"May I?"

 

"Yes. Do whatever you want to me." My chest rises up and down when he takes it off me and his hands start to cup my breasts; the feeling throws jolts of electricity all over my body. 

 

He removes my bra and takes one nipple into his mouth, while his hand massages and pinches the other one. He flicks the tip of my nipple with his soft tongue, then sucks harder and gently pulls it with his teeth.

 

“Your breasts are so soft like velvet,” he murmurs as he moves his mouth to another nipple, repeating the ministrations.

 

Watching Jamie suck my boobs alone could send me into outer Space. I move closer to the edge of the couch. He releases my boobs, and puts his hands on my skirt, pulling it up slowly. Then his hands roam up and down my bare legs, slowly going for my already soaked panties. 

 

I raise my eyes at him, scared to say a word, scared to move, to breathe. I watch him bite his lower lip in anticipation, and I do the same. He smiles more widely at me, knowing exactly how much I need what he’s about to do to me. I am getting utterly impatient, and horny, and wet, and desperate to be touched. 

 

“Jamie…” I finally manage out of breath, feeling my heartbeat in my chest and between my legs. “Jamie, please.”

 

“Shhh… A little more patience, Sassenach.” The way he utters this word drives me mad, absolutely insane. He wants to go slowly, alright. I nod. I will let him go slowly. I will let him do anything he wants to me.

 

When my skirt is high enough, his hands find my panties, and he tugs them down my legs, agonizingly slow, before throwing them aside. I want him closer, so I lay my hands on his shoulders, but he pushes them away, reminding me who is the boss here. I moan in frustration.

 

“Relax, Claire.” He whispers.

 

I don’t know what is sexier - when he says my name or when he says that stupid nickname he had given me. What I know is that his voice is tender and his touch is gentle, his hands are soft and his lips on my inner thighs are light as feathers. I’m ready to come, and he hasn’t even touched me yet. He is so quiet and concentrated it makes me want to weep. I move my thighs as he leaves wet kisses on my skin.

 

He hisses as he parts my legs and stares at the glistening area he finds there, and I see the vein on his neck appear again. He swallows and his Adam’s apple bops. 

 

“Yer so fucking beautiful, so wet, it’s dripping...” 

 

My heart skips a beat. “What are you waiting for, then? Come here, it won’t lick itself,” I say in the most seductive voice I can produce. And then finally, oh finally his mouth rests on my burning entrance. I jump slightly in surprise and throw my head back, whimpering softly at the long-awaited feeling. 

 

“Oh my god...” is all I manage to say. I can’t see Jamie, but I know he is smiling against my pussy. And then he grabs my ass, his mouth begins to move, and I’m losing my fucking mind. He is licking, and lapping, and doing circles with his skilled tongue all over my clit, and I’m trying my best to hold back my orgasm. I don’t want it to end, I want it to last for as long as possible. I love the way his mouth feels against my folds. So warm. So slippery. 

 

“Let it out, Sassenach...” he mumbles between my legs. His tongue is now furious against my aching nub, moving strongly and rapidly, wanting to bring me over the edge. “Ye can let it out and come for me.” 

 

And with that I realize that I can’t hold it anymore, I come hard and cry out, and my hips are bucking against his head as my hands grip his luscious curls. 

 

After I have calmed down, Jamie looks up at me and I give him a smile, showing my appreciation. “It was amazing.” I breathe out and kiss him passionately, tasting myself on his lips. 

 

“I’m not done with ye yet, Sassenach,” he breaks the kiss and gets up from the floor. He grabs me and carries me to the bed. He undresses me fully with a couple of swift movements, and I’m completely bare, laying on his large bed, literally dying from anticipation and need.

 

“I watched ye come, and it was the most beautiful thing. Now, I want to see ye come with me inside ye.” 

 

“Oh god.”

 

With that he pulls his t-shirt over his head and takes off his pants along with the boxers. He’s big, and long and beautiful, and I can’t wait to feel it bury deep inside me.

 

“You have no idea how much I want you to fuck me.” I say simply as if I’m drunk, but I’m absolutely sober, and I want him and I can’t stop looking at him. It's just sex.

 

Jamie crawls into the bed and positions himself on top of me. He gently caresses my face, his thumbs trace along my jawline, and he stares into my eyes. 

 

“How do ye want it?”

 

“Hard. I want you to fuck me hard.” I say impatiently as I grab his cock and guide him to my still wet and wanting entrance. "You were the one who promised to fuck my brains out, remember?"

 

“What about protection?” He asks.

 

“It’s okay, I’m on the pill.” I blurt. “Please.”

 

Jamie takes these words as an invitation and plunges into me, inch by inch. I find it hard to resist and grab his buttocks and impale myself on his length. I lift my lower body off the bed to engulf him fully, and god it feels amazing.

 

For the first time tonight, we both find ourselves in ecstasy, feeling the joy and undeniable connection. He bounces over me, pulling in and out with full force, urging me to rub myself over him. We are both panting and moaning, slowly reaching our climax.

 

“Ye feel so good, Christ.” Jamie mutters, fucking me with his full length, worshipping my body. “So tight, so warm.”

 

“Yes, don’t stop!” I encourage him, wrapping my legs around his back to press him closer, take him in deeper.

 

Suddenly he changes his position and sits in the middle of the bed, making me sit over him with my legs wrapped around his waist. He doesn’t say anything, just puts his arms around my back, holding me closer to himself, without breaking eye contact. My nipples rub against his chest and this feeling is so pure and so magnificent. Then, he starts moving inside me again. I hold his face with my hands and look into his eyes; I know I’m close, my breathing hitches.

 

“Jamie...”

 

“Don’t say anything. Just...come.”

 

I nod and my whole body shakes, I’m spasming around his cock and this pleasure is glorious and delightful. He watches me so intensely and the sight clearly triggers his own release, and he groans and jerks against me. Our cries and moans for each other fill the room as we are falling into epic orgasms. Jamie pulls out and lays me back to the pillows. He leans to me, kissing me softly, and I can feel his warm breathing on my face.

 

“Claire...” He says. “Will ye stay for the night? I… dinna want ye to go.”

 

I swallow and tense as I give him a questioning look, then my face softens. “Of course. I didn’t think you would let me go in the middle of a night wandering the areas I’ve never been to.”

 

“Good.” Jamie says and I can sense the sudden change in his tone as if something bothered him.

 

“Do you want me to sleep...in your bed?” I ask shyly.

 

“Aye. Please.” He answers and unfolds the blankets, putting them over our bodies. 

 

“Alright. Thank you.” I say, and the next moment Jamie grabs me with his arm and pulls me closer to himself. I'm surprised by this unexpected act of gentleness. I slowly curl into a ball in his arms and put my hand on his chest, drawing invisible patterns with my index finger. 

 

In ten minutes he’s fallen asleep. I watched moonlight from the window play on his face and eyelashes and smiled at that sight.

 

Suddenly, I’m happy I don’t have to sleep in my own bed this night.

 

Exhausted and worn out, I didn't even notice how I fell asleep in Jamie’s arms.

 




 

 

+++

 

Chapter Text

 

 

 

The next morning my eyes open to the bright sun shining through the thin curtains of Jamie’s bedroom. I blink several times to adjust my sight, before I turn my head and see him stare at me. I can’t help but think about how many other women occupied this bed before me. I brush it off, I know it shouldn’t bother me. I know what I signed up for.  

 

“How long have you been awake?” I ask him, yawning.

 

“For twenty minutes or something,” he says and brushes the lock of hair from my face. “I was just watching ye...”

 

“I noticed.” I say quietly and purse my lips. His occasional acts of tenderness towards me… I’m not sure if I can interpret them correctly. “What time is it?”

 

“Almost 8.” Jamie says, smiling.

 

“Good.”

 

“Ye arena going to be late for work or something?”

 

“I don’t go to work.”

 

“Oh, really?” Jamie chuckles. “What do ye do for a living then?”

 

“Well, I’m a writer. My last book had quite a good income, now I can allow myself not to work for a while. Or work when I want.”

 

“That’s nice. What kind of books are ye writing? I’ve never seen yer name in the bookshops.”

 

He goes to bookshops? “Because I’m writing under a pseudonym.” I answer as I sit on the bed. “Look, Jamie… Last night was...remarkable, truly. But, I guess I should leave now? I’m hungry and I need to have breakfast. Or at least, a cup of coffee, if possible.”

 

“I will make ye coffee, Sassenach, but later.” Jamie says before he grabs my face and presses his lips to mine, kissing me passionately. He releases my face and his fingers begin to run through my curls, sending shivers down my spine. I moan into his mouth and feel his tongue demand entrance, and I let him in, but not for long as I have to pull back and gasp for air.

 

“Where did you learn to kiss like that?” I finally ask him, breathing heavily, licking my lips.

 

“Let’s say, I was born with that skill,” he laughs and places a kiss at the tip of my nose. I swear I could melt from all these cute little things he does to me.

 

“Okay, I will accept this as an actual answer, Jamie.” I say as I wrap the blanket around my naked body and get up from the bed. “Do you mind if I also take a shower?”

 

“Aye, of course.” He says and gets up from the bed, demonstrating his full glory. 

 

Last night I wasn’t able to appreciate the beauty of his perfectly sculpted body, but I am clearly rewarded with it now. I swallow at the sight and feel the pulsing throb of desire between my thighs. I unwrap the blanket and let it fall on the floor. “Mind joining me?”

 

Jamie approaches me and smiles at me with his stupid dazzling smile. “Why do ye have to ask?”

 

We walk into the bathroom and step into the shower. He turns on the water and gently pushes me against the wall, pulling me into a deep kiss again. I shiver in anticipation for what’s to come. The warm water starts to stream over our bodies, washing away the sweat and sins from last night. 

 

“Jamie,” I breathe out between the kisses, when I feel his right hand slide between my inner thighs. His thumb reaches up and quickly finds my throbbing clit and begins to rub it softly, soothing the need. 

 

“Ye drive me fucking crazy, I canna stop wanting ye,” Jamie utters through the teeth and pushes two fingers deep inside me without any warning. I almost scream in surprise as he starts to move his fingers in and out, caressing the insides, keeping rubbing my clit. “Yer so fucking hot,” he groans.

 

“Don’t fucking stop then, don’t fucking stop.” I moan, praying I won’t fall on the slippery floor. My breathing quickens as the movements of his fingers increase. Our gazes are locked, his eyes already went from sky blue to almost black. 

 

When my whole body starts to shake, and I spasm around his fingers, Jamie doesn’t let go, he keeps me coming, gently cupping my wet and pulsing entrance. We kiss again, the bathroom gets filled with the sounds of my moans, and that’s when I know I must return the favor. I feel his stiff cock press against my belly and I quickly swap positions so that he is the one standing against the tiles now.

 

“What are ye doing?” Jamie asks in surprise.

 

“Stay still.” I murmur as I slowly fall on my knees, not breaking eye contact. “I want you in my mouth.” 

 

I need him in my mouth.

 

I see his eyes widen at my words, but he is not moving, not protesting; just smirks and nods. His cock is twitching in anticipation and the tip of his head is begging to be touched. I grab it with my hand and give it a wet and warm kiss. 

 

“Christ...” Jamie groans when I start to stroke him with my tongue.

 

“Does it feel good?” I ask with a coy smile.

 

“It’s paradise.” He gasps out.

 

“It’s about to get even better,” I say right before giving his cock a long and wet lick from the tip to the base. I feel like I’m making out with the head, wrapping my lips around it. I suck it tenderly, swirling my tongue around it, cupping his balls with my hand. I take my time as I pleasure every part, every inch of his glorious manhood.

 

Suddenly, I feel Jamie’s hand gently caress the top of my head, pressing me closer to him, urging me to take him fully. He is groaning and trembling with need, and I smile as I wrap my lips around him, before engulfing his full length. 

 

My god, he feels amazing in my mouth and I can’t stop enjoying the taste and the feeling, and everything. He is soft and warm and I suck hard like it’s the first and the last time, feeling my pussy tighten again. For a moment I lose myself in this feeling, and the whole world stops to exist outside his cock in my throat.

 

He’s catching his breath and repeatedly utters my name. I can feel he’s close by the way his hand tenses on my head, and I begin to suck faster, softly scratching his balls with my fingernails.

 

“Wait, Claire, wait...” Jamie says all of a sudden, and I stop my ministrations and look at him with a frustrated face.

 

“What is it? What’s wrong?”

 

“Come up here, I have to come inside ye,” Jamie says and lifts me up from the shower floor, and here I am again - pressed against the wall, and his hungry eyes are locked with mine. He grasps my left leg and wraps it around his waist. He enters me with one quick movement and starts pulling in and out, moaning and groaning like an animal. 

 

The sounds of our chests slapping against one another under the water are coming with his every thrust. I moan louder and louder as he is pounding into me. He is stretching and filling me in the best way imaginable, pulling out just to shove all the way in again. The muscles at the bottom of my stomach start to spasm as Jamie hits that special spot inside me. 

 

"Oh fuck, oh god, yes right there, don’t stop, don’t stop!” I cry out and gasp between every word. He is thrusting hard and fast until I start shaking, my orgasm rips through my body, literally breaking me in half. He follows right after me, drowns in his pleasure, his breathing is shallow and fast as he comes inside me.

 

When he pulls out, I feel empty. Empty, exhausted but satisfied in all possible ways.

 

“Ye are incredible...” He whispers into my mouth and kisses me again.

 

“So are you.” I blurt, kissing him back. “Now, can we actually shower?”

 

He grins as he grabs the shower gel and hands it to me. “Of course.”

 

On wobbly legs I walk out of the bathroom and return to the bedroom to pick up my clothes from the floor. I quickly dress up and find the kitchen where Jamie, with his lower body wrapped in a towel, makes me a promised cup of coffee.

 

“How do ye like it?” He asks, spinning around the coffee machine. “Milk, sugar?”

 

“Milk and sugar,” I say, “I don’t like it too strong, you know?”

 

“Aye, I’m the same.” Jamie says and puts the cup on the table. “Here ye go.”

 

“Thank you,” I grab the cup and start drinking. “It’s fantastic.”

 

“Yer welcome, Sassenach.”

 

“So, what about you? Don’t you have to go to work?”

 

“Well, I can allow myself some days off too from time to time,” Jamie says and pauses to look at me.

 

“What?”

 

“Nothing. Just, you are beautiful.”

 

“Thank you,” I whisper, feeling my cheeks blush, feeling weird and slightly uncomfortable. “And thank you for the coffee. But I have to go.” I add and get off the chair.

 

“Will I see ye again?” Jamie asks with hope in his voice, when I put on my shoes and head to the front door.

 

I look at him and my heart is jumping in my chest. My knees go weak, and suddenly I don’t want to go anywhere, I don’t want to leave him. He is the weirdest encounter I ever had, he is already the biggest mystery of my life. But along with that he is the most amazing lover and the most handsome man I ever met.

 

I smile as I come closer to him and touch his chin with my fingers. “Only if you want to see me again.”

 

On my way home I grab my phone and text Geillis. I need to tell her everything, I need to share what happened to me. God, she is not gonna believe it. She’s probably going to judge me or yell at me, too.

 

We decided to meet around 2pm and have lunch together. I greet her with a hand wave as she walks into our favorite cafe. We order food and I see the anticipation in her eyes. I know that look, she needs all the detail.

 

“So, yer really doing it. Well, tell me, how is he?” She asks when our meal arrived.

 

I blush again. “Well, he’s a God. He is just...amazing. He is so attentive, gentle, and sensual, sometimes rough.” I talk about how good Jamie is in bed and my heartbeat quickens.

 

“Mhmmhm,” Geillis mumbles, drinking her orange juice.

 

“He asked If I wanted to meet again, and I didn’t say no. He promised to call.”

 

“So, ye two are gonna keep dating now?” Geillis raises her eyebrow at me, piercing me with her big green eyes.

 

“We are not dating. We are fucking.” I correct her, leaning back in my chair. “It’s two different things.”

 

“What kind of relationship is that, then? I’ve told ye not to jump into this black hole, but here ye are!”

 

“And I told you that this is not a relationship. It’s just sex. I love sex! Apparently, he does too. You know what? I feel like I had more orgasms with Jamie than I had with my ex during those five months that we knew each other!” I snap and grab my sandwich.

 

“Nah, I knew that idiot was a lost cause,” Geillis blurts before she finishes her drink and orders another one.

 

“Jamie… He is different. It’s like a new adventure to me, you know? He tells me that he can’t stop wanting me, and I feel the same. I feel wanted . I mean, everytime we finish I want to do it all over again. From the first day we met there was some connection. I never felt anything like that before with anyone. And we can’t get enough of each other. I can’t explain. Have you ever had anything like that?”

 

“No,” my friend says honestly. 

 

“There’s something I can’t get out of my head, though...”

 

“Tell me?”

 

“Sometimes he is too…soft? The way he looks at me during...well, when I...”

 

“When ye are coming.”

 

“Yes, thank you very much.” I narrow my eyes on her. “He looks so concentrated, then suddenly sad. And when he asked me to stay in his bed for the night, I mean, the way he asked me that, like he didn’t want to be alone. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me, but he doesn’t really seem like those manwhores who fuck around and the next morning pretend like they don’t know the girl. He cares. And he makes excellent coffee.”

 

“He made ye coffee?” Geillis raises her eyebrows at me again.

 

“Yep.”

 

“Maybe yer more than just a fuck for him, then. Maybe he is trying to win your heart, offer ye something more…”

 

“What? No way. He told me he doesn’t do relationships. And I’m on a break from the relationship too. We are young and free. It’s just sex.”

 

“Well, sometimes people change, Claire.” 

 

 

+++

Chapter Text

Jamie’s POV

 

Her name is Claire.

 

She is beautiful. Even if she thinks beauty is not important, she is the most beautiful woman I have ever seen. And I want to tell her that she is beautiful even when she thinks she is not. She caught my gaze the moment she walked into that bar on a Friday night. Short thin dress, high heels and messy curls that cascaded over her shoulders. She was alone and looked heartbroken; ordering drinks one after another. I knew I had to approach her. 

 

Eyes the color of whisky, littered with the colors of coffee and chocolate. Her hair is smooth, silky, wavy and so touchable. And when my fingers trail across her jawline and dance on her neck, when she throws her head back and her mouth is half open, I can’t get enough of the sight. 

 

Her skin is soft. It’s warm and flushed against my lips and I love to feel her tremble under my touch. Every time I kiss her, she softly whimpers at first, then gives in and moans into my mouth. It is the most wonderful sound, music to my ears. 

 

I didn’t know how things would go when I first met her.

 

I was not planning to hit on another girl. I thought I was done with hitting on the girls after everything they’ve done to me. It always ended the same - they needed nothing but my money and the position in society and it was driving me mad. I was losing interest in them pretty quick. I don’t know why I kept doing this for almost a year and gained quite a reputation which I’m not proud of. But Claire, she clearly didn’t know who I was, and I took a chance. 

 

I want things to be different with her. I haven’t told her who I really am. I told her I’m a financier, which is half true - I work with money.  It’s just that the money is a bit bigger than she thinks.

 

My father died four years ago, and I inherited his bank's shares. That was when my life changed. I had to grow up fast. I had to drop college in the middle of my graduation year; I didn’t like it anyway. I was excited to take control of this business, I was the only heir. My cousin is always ready to help me, but he lives in Paris.

 

Last week I caught myself thinking that whatever I’m doing - my mind goes back to Claire. I will never forget the first time I kissed her. So unapologetically, so unceremoniously, so sure of myself. I couldn’t stop myself. Her lips were soft, sweet honey, and she liked me kissing her. She liked it so much she wanted more, and I couldn’t say no to her. Seems like we are drawn to each other like a magnet, and our energies match and are aligned with each other. 

 

I could never get enough of her, I don’t know if it is even possible.

 

Sometimes I don’t understand myself what’s going on.

 

I can recall and list every mole on her body, I know her every curve. But I don’t even know how old she is, what books she writes, what her favorite music is or the ice-cream flavor. For some reason, she won’t let me get to know her better. Our conversations mostly consist of discussing the ways we are fucking. Each time I make an attempt to bring up something personal, she brushes it off. She is ready to explore everything the art of lovemaking has to offer, but she is not ready to open her heart.  

 

But despite everything, Claire is the most remarkable and maddening woman I’ve ever met. She makes me want to fuck her senseless and make her coffee in the morning at the same time. It’s been almost two months since we met. Funny, but this is the longest encounter I ever had in the past couple of years. And I don’t know how much more of this I can handle. 

 

Yesterday, I called Claire and invited her to my house again. She said she’d be wearing a sexy dress, and I am excited. Finally, I hear the doorbell ring and I jump off the bed, like a teenager, which I sometimes think I still am.

 

“Hi...” She greets me with a smile as she walks in and throws her bag on the table.

 

“Hi, Sassenach,” I welcome her. I don’t even have to guide her to my bedroom anymore, she knows the way and heads straight there, taking off the shoes on her way.

 

“How do you like the dress?” She asks as she turns around and strikes a pose, smiling at me.

 

I’m mesmerized. She is stunning. The dress is stunning, and I can’t wait to rip it off her and have her. “It’s bonny. Yer taking my breath away, Sassenach.”

 

“I want you to take it off me.”

 

I smirk and get closer to her, take her face in my hands and kiss her first. She softly whimpers and then moans into my mouth, and I will never get over this.

 

My hands roam up and down her back and find the zipper; I pull it down and the dress falls on the floor, creating a pool around her feet. Today she is wearing only black lace panties, and my gaze falls on her bare chest. It’s not like I see something I’ve never seen before, but her breasts still take my breath away. Her nipples are like ripe cherries, begging to be touched. She puts her hands on my neck and draws my head downward… I bend to take one nipple in my mouth, and another soft moan escapes her throat when I start sucking it.

 

“Oh God yes… Keep going, yes right there, I missed this so much,” she mumbles and throws her head back.

 

“It’s been only four days, Sassenach,” I say as I take another nipple into my mouth, swirling my tongue around it, thinking those four days felt like an eternity.

 

“Seemed like forever,” she gasps out, and I smile at how similar our minds are sometimes.

 

I release her nipple with a pop and my mouth finds hers again. We keep kissing, exploring each other’s mouths with our tongues, when her fingers reach the hem of my t-shirt, and she breaks the kiss to pull it over my head. The t-shirt falls on the floor next to her dress, and the next moment she unzips my pants, and they join the pile of clothes on the floor.

 

I fall on my knees to pull down her underwear, kissing her stomach and inner thighs all the way. I can smell how aroused she is, and I’m ready to lose my mind all over again. When she is completely naked, and I get up, she pushes me to the bed and settles above me. This is something new, Claire never ceases to amaze me. She kisses me again and her curls tickle my face while her erect nipples brush over my chest. I want whatever she is going to do to me, and I want it now. I need it.

 

Claire removes my briefs and releases my cock. She looks at it and licks her lips, but she doesn’t touch it. Instead, she positions herself on top of me and penetrates herself with it. She is so wet, she slides down with ease and I enter her slowly inch by inch. I lift my lower body to meet her and we both groan with pleasure. 

 

“Christ...” I utter and put my hands on her ass, urging her to start moving. Sometimes I think we read each other's minds. She starts riding me, slow at first, adjusting, and then her pace quickens. We move in a steady rhythm, losing ourselves in each other. I feel her tremble and wrap my arms around her, keeping thrusting into her. She works her hips, moves up and down. Her eyes are closed, her boobs are bouncing in front of my face, and she is squealing with joy as she keeps doing wonders with her thighs.

 

“I’m so going to come,” she exhales and her breathing becomes erratic. She doesn’t have to announce it, I know it by the way her inner muscles tighten around my cock. I know her body so well and the thought of her exploding all over me makes me reach my release faster than expected. 

 

In a few minutes we give into the pleasure built up within us, and the long-awaited orgasm takes over our bodies, we come hard, panting heavily. Claire falls on my chest and buries her face into my neck, giving it gentle bites. 

 

“It was fucking amazing,” she says, laughing softly before she lifts her face and kisses me. All sorts of thoughts scatter through my clouded mind - wondering if it’s the right time to try to push things further and ask her out.

 

“Aye, it was,” I murmur and sit on the bed, and her head rests on my chest. “Do ye want to go somewhere, maybe? There’s a new bar opening in two days, we can go together, it should be fun.”

 

“Why should we go somewhere, if we can stay here and have even more fun?” She quickly brushes it off, throwing my offer out the window.

 

“Do ye mean ye dinna want to go out with me? Are ye, like, ashamed of me?” 

 

She stiffens. “Of course not!” 

 

“Then what is it? Tell me. Let me know what’s inside this little head of yours,” I softly tap her head and brush a lock of hair from her face with my index finger. “Do ye want to keep things like this? Just sex?”

 

Claire pulls away from me and sits on the opposite side of the bed. “Jamie, you said you don’t do relationships. And neither do I. We’re just having fun!”

 

“Oh,” comes out of my mouth as a whisper, and my face falls. "I'm just fun for ye."

 

“Wait a minute…” She blinks quickly and raises her eyebrows at me. “So this is how you break up with girls? Ask them for something and if they can’t or don’t want to give it to you, you dump them and look for the next one?”

 

“What the hell are ye talking about?” I blurt and feel my blood start to freeze in my veins.

 

“I know things about you, Jamie,” Claire says, looking straight into my eyes. “I know that you have a new girl every month. I’m surprised it is longer than a month already with me! You know, the other day I was thinking about, like, when will my time come? What should happen? When will I have to leave, so you find a new lass to stick your cock in!?”

 

I’m startled, and my heart is pounding in my ears. I feel like the earth is moving under my feet, I can’t believe the things she says.

 

“I wanted us to have time with each other, but instead, you’re destroying it!” She brings me back to reality as she keeps shouting at me.

 

Those whisky eyes pierce right through me and I can no longer hide the beat of my heart. Desperate to break this gaze, I quickly get off the bed and start dressing up. 

 

She gets off the bed and starts getting dressed too, picking up her clothes from the floor. “You were just waiting for a reason to get rid of me!”

 

“Stop putting words into my mouth, Claire!” I angrily snap back. “I didna want to get rid of ye! I had no idea ye would decline my offer. All I wanted was to get to know ye better!”

 

“But why?” She asks, and her voice is confused, desperate.

 

“I wanted… I wanted to get closer to ye, I didn’t want it to be just about sex.” 

 

“Then why did you tell me that you didn’t do the relationship? Why did you lie to me?”

 

“I didna lie! I said that because I didna ken that I would like ye so much and have...feelings for ye! But looks like ye arena capable of feelings!”

 

I know it sounded harsh, and by the way her face goes blank and tears begin to sparkle in the corners of her eyes, I knew I hit the weak spot. I regret it immediately when a tear falls from her eye. 

 

“I can... I’m able to have feelings,” she whispers. “I used to have feelings. But every fucking time I have fucking feelings I fucking end up getting hurt. I told myself I should never get attached again.” 

 

And with that, she cries. She sits on the edge of my bed, buries her face into her hands and her shoulders shake. I’m an idiot. I can’t handle it, I want to hug her and take back everything I just said.

 

“I’m sorry, Sassenach, I didna want to hurt ye.” I say as I kneel beside her and touch her knee, but she flinches and moves away.

 

“Don’t touch me.” She says firmly and her voice breaks. She gets up from the bed and hastily walks out of the room. On her way she grabs her shoes, not putting them on, and heads towards the door.

 

“Claire, wait!” I panic, but it’s late, I hear her open and then shut the front door.

 

She’s gone.



+++

Chapter Text

 

 

“I just can’t stop thinking about this! I should have known. I should have guessed! Why am I so stupid?” I pace around my room with my hands thrown in the air. Geillis barely manages to catch what I’m saying as she follows me behind, trying to calm me down. 

 

“Claire...”

 

“Those little gestures, and sweet moments, and cute touches, and the way he looked at me, the way he spoke. I should have known that it wasn’t just sex for him. He started to have...feelings, and I… I acted like a whore who needed nothing but his dick. And this is so stupid, I’m so stupid, and then I just left, you know? I left his damn house without looking back!”

 

“Claire, please, ye need to breathe, calm down lass, shhh, just breathe.” Geillis tries to calm me down, putting her hands on my shoulders.

 

“It’s been almost two weeks since I last saw him, Gee, he doesn’t call me anymore, I don’t know if he will! He already found someone else, right?”

 

"Why don't ye call him?"

 

"What? No. I don't know."

 

“Do ye want him to call ye?”

 

“I don’t know!” I almost break down and sit on the couch, wrapping my arms around my knees.



“Hold on, I’m going to bring ye some water.” Geillis tapped my shoulder and disappeared into the kitchen. She came back with a glass of water and handed it to me. “I dinna understand ye Claire. First ye keep saying it’s just sex, and then he tells you he likes ye but ye run away. What is wrong with ye?”

 

“Why did you tell me he wasn’t looking for a relationship? I bought it and jumped into his bed, because I wasn’t looking for a relationship either.”

 

“I also told ye that people could change, what if he is, in fact, looking for a steady relationship now?”

 

“Then he could have told me!” I say angrily and drop the empty glass on the table. “I’m not the right choice for that!”

 

“Why are ye mad? Wait a minute… Do ye like him too?” Geillis asks me carefully and searches my face, looking for an answer.

 

“I don’t know!” I snap, looking down on the floor.

 

“Aye, Claire, it’s still better than just yes or no .” She twitches her eyebrow and leans on the back of the couch.

 

“He told me I was incapable of feelings,” I say and feel the tears well up in my eyes. “That hurt...so much.”

 

“He just doesna ken what ye have been through… There’s so much misunderstanding and simply lack of a dialogue between the two of ye, ye should meet and talk it out. If ye still want Jamie in yer life. If ye dinna want to keep using sex as a coping mechanism for yer issues, avoiding something that is emotionally distressing ye. This can turn into a vicious cycle.”

 

I hate Geillis sometimes, because she is right, and I know that. I nod as I listen to her, pursing my lips, fighting back the tears. “Thank you,” I say and put my head on her shoulder. “You are such a good friend. Don’t leave on vacation again when I need you.”

 

She laughs at me as she knows I’m kidding. “Aye, lass, I just want ye to be happy. I think ye need to sort out yer feelings. Jamie is wrong, ye are capable of feelings. Ye just have to tell him that, prove him wrong. But only if ye want, only when yer ready.”

 

“I hate you,” I whisper and wrap my arm around her shoulder, chuckling.

 

“Ye love me. And I love yer new bed, by the way,” she smirks peeking into my bedroom.

 

“Yes, me too,” I reply when I hear the soft knock on the door. I turn to Geillis. “Do you hear that?”

 

“Aye, someone’s knocking on the door.” She says. “Are ye waiting for another guest?”

 

“No. Who could that be?” I utter as I get off the couch and rush to the front door.

 

I look through the peephole and my heart stops. I turn the key with my trembling hands and slowly open the door.

 

“What are you doing here?”

 

“Claire…" His voice is low and raspy. "I needed to see ye. Will ye, please, let me in?” 

 

“I’m not alone.” I blurt and take a step back, looking behind myself.

 

“Oh,” he scoffs, and then his face goes blank. “Sorry.”

 

“That’s not what you think. I’m with a friend, she’s in the room and---”

 

“---and she is already leaving.” Geillis shows up behind my back and starts to put on her shoes, throwing glances at my visitor. “Call me, Claire,” she winks and kisses my cheek before passing by Jamie, and walks away.

 

“You can come in now,” I whisper, taking another step back, wrapping my arms around my waist.

 

Jamie gets in and slowly shuts the door behind himself. He comes closer to me and my knees immediately go weak. 

 

“Claire...”

 

“Jamie, I’m sorry,” I won’t let him finish. “I didn’t mean to leave like that, I shouldn’t have reacted the way I did, I’m sorry, you didn’t deserve this, but I’m mad and also angry...” I realize I’m rambling, but he just looks at me as he comes closer and grabs my face in his hands.

 

“Shut up, Sassenach.” He groans and kisses me. A desperate and longing kiss, and his hands quickly reach behind my back to hold me close. 

 

“What the hell are you doing?” I ask as I break the kiss and push him away, but he grasps my wrists and pins them above my head. And then, he kisses me again with passion, roughly and hungrily, almost bruising my lips.

 

I struggle, but feel how my anger turns into desire, and I kiss him back against my brain. I’m arching my body into his, seeking for more connection, trying to get my wrists free from his grip at the same time.

 

I give up and find myself enjoying it, whimpering and moaning into his mouth. I think Jamie loves it when I do that. He starts caressing my face with the back of his hand and then his hand goes down, he’s brushing it against my flushed neck, never breaking the kiss. His fingertips trail along my collarbone, making me shiver. Then his mouth moves to my neck where he just touched me with his soft hand. His kisses always leave me weak and powerless. I’m trapped and lost under his power.

   

“I’m going to take yer clothes off.”

 

“Mhhmh,” I mumble and I can barely hear myself, can barely breathe. Everything we’ve talked about with Geillis less than an hour ago flies out the window and I'm drowning in a pool of lust and desire all over again.

 

And then, Jamie finally releases my wrists.

 

His hands reach the buttons of my shirt, and he tears it apart, so rough it makes some buttons fall and clatter across the floor. I wear a top underneath my shirt, and he gets frustrated.

 

“Yer kidding me,” he hisses and grabs the hem of my top and pulls it over my head, throwing it on the floor, making me tremble with need.

 

I am nothing but a quivering mess standing in front of him, silently begging him to remove the rest of my clothes and touch me. When we only started our encounters, I couldn’t help but think that we can read each other’s minds. In one quick movement Jamie takes off my pants along with my lacy black underwear, and throws them away. 



I’m completely naked now, and he is so close to me now that I can feel the heat radiating from his body, but I refrain from reaching out my hand and touching it. 

 

“What are you waiting for?” I ask instead, breathing heavily, scared to look into his eyes. Jamie lets out a soft smirk and touches my left breast, fingers playing with a hardened nipple. Then his hand moves lower and slips between my thighs. He finds my wet and burning entrance, and I gasp out as he starts slowly cupping it with his warm and soft palm.

 

“Claire… Yer so...” And he doesn’t finish, he removes his hand from between my legs, and takes off his t-shirt and unfastens his jeans. When they reach the floor I help him get rid of his boxers, before he presses me against the wall again. He grasps both my legs and wraps them around his back. He adjusts himself, so his cock slides up and down against my throbbing pussy, and damn it feels good.

 

“Don’t fucking tease me,” I tell him, “I need you now.”

 

And then, he plunges into me in one swift movement. I’m wet, yet it hurt, but it was a sweet, delicious sort of pain. The feeling of his warm naked body against mine makes me shiver, drives me absolutely insane.

 

We fall into a fast, hard rhythm and I feel myself getting close in less than a minute. He doesn’t say anything and I’m also silent. My back hits the cold, rough surface, my hands run all over his back, feeling his skin. I’m digging my fingernails into his bare flesh as he thrusts into me again and again and again.

 

“Ye feel good,” Jamie whispers into my ear, causing a shiver to run through my whole body. 

 

“You too.” God, you feel so fucking good, too.

 

He quickens his pace, driving into me with fast and hard strokes. I can’t hold it anymore, I come around his cock, but I don’t scream. I just wrap my arms tighter around his neck, pressing myself closer to his body, when I hear him groan as he jerks inside me.

 

When we return from our bliss, I slowly slide down to the floor, and he takes my face into his hands and kisses me softly, doing circles on my cheeks with his thumbs. We remain like this for a few seconds, while he’s just holding me, kissing me, and then…

 

“Are ye crying? Christ, Claire… What’s wrong?”

 

I look into his blue eyes and my lips are trembling. My heart is crashing in my chest, and I’m suddenly scared. Scared that I’m going to have to break the walls that I built around myself, and say something that people put under the category ‘feelings’.

 

“I… I missed you,” I say and break down. For the first time I break down in front of Jamie, and I’m not ashamed. If he wants to get to know me better he has to see the real me - vulnerable and with all my imperfections. Without saying anything, he lifts me in his arms, and I cry into his neck as I wrap my arms around it. Jamie carries me to my bedroom and puts me onto my bed. He covers me with a blanket as I keep weeping.

 

“Don’t go.” I say as I realize it’s me asking him to stay with me now. I wipe away the tears and look at him, hoping he wouldn’t say no .

 

“Okay.” Jamie simply says, grabbing another blanket and wrapping it around himself, before he sits on the edge of the bed next to me. “Are ye better now?”

 

“Yes. Thank you,” I whisper as I tuck the blanket underneath me. “So, why did you come here? Why didn’t you call first?” I ask him, carefully.

 

He smirks softly and looks out the window. The silver moonlight enters through the curtains and lights up his beautiful face. Then his look returns to me and his face gets serious. He frowns and clears his throat. 

 

“Apart from what we just did,” Jamie says, and I know that it doesn’t even bother me. At least, not now.

 

“Yes?” 

 

"I needed to see ye, Claire. There’s something I need to tell ye.”

 

 

 

+++

 

Chapter Text

 


 

 

 

It’s almost midnight and my room is cold and dark. The only source of light is the silver moon shining through the thin curtains.

 

I watch Jamie as he is sitting on my bed close to me, collecting his thoughts. His chest is rising up and down as he breathes, face concentrated, mouth half open. I don't have the slightest idea what he is going to tell me now, but the look on his face is telling me this is going to be serious.

 

“Claire...” he finally starts speaking. “I ken that what I’m going to say may seem like I lied to ye, but I didna lie. I just didna want to say the truth right away.”

 

“Okay,” I say quietly and feel my heart begin racing in my chest.

 

“I’m not a financier,” he says and looks at me, waiting for my reaction.

 

“Well, who are you, then?” I ask calmly as I press my knees to my chest, settling comfortably on the bed. "A serial killer?"

 

For the first time he doesn't laugh at this stupid joke and I'm becoming frustrated.

 

“Four years ago I lost my father, he died from a heart attack,” Jamie continued. “It was a big, unexpected loss for our family. It deeply affected me, I was only twenty-two, and we were very close. But then, it turned out I inherited his business, the bank shares. I had to drop out of college and learn to manage all this stuff.”

 

“Okay,” I say again, not quite understanding why he’s telling me this, except making it clear that he's Richie Rich. “Why didn’t you tell me that right away?”

 

He hesitated a little before answering my question. “It’s a long story.”

 

“Well, we have plenty of time, don’t we?” I insist as I’m becoming more curious now.

 

“Claire… Yes, but this is not what I wanted to talk about now.”

 

“Fine, we can talk about it next time. What is it you wanted to tell me?”

 

“So, my uncle Jared lives in France, he helps me with this business from time to time. Part of the shares belong to him and the French Bank where he is working. I know, it’s complicated to understand. Last week he called me with an offer to expand our business and open another commercial bank in Paris to operate a general-banking and foreign-exchange business.”

 

Jamie is right, this is very complicated for me to understand, and my head starts to spin. “I’m sorry about your father. But...why are you telling me all this?” I decide to ask him directly as it is getting more and more confusing.

 

“I have to go to Paris, Sassenach. I leave in four days. And… I just wanted to let ye ken that.” He says and searches my face again.

 

Here it is, the big news, the reason he’s really here. To tell me he is leaving. My hands start to tremble, and my insides turn into tight knots. 

 

“So, you came here for a goodbye fuck?” I ask, startled.

 

He doesn’t answer my question. He is just being silent. He keeps staring at me as if he’s trying to burn a hole. The silence hanging in the room starts to suffocate me.

 

“Jamie?”

 

“Come with me.” His voice is firm and serious, making my blood freeze, and his eyes keep piercing mine, making me shiver. He takes my hand and I feel warmth begin to spread throughout my body. “Come with me to Paris,” he says again to make sure I’ve heard him. 

 

“What?!” I gasp as I involuntarily take my hand away from his. I don’t know what shocks me more - the fact that he is leaving or the fact that he is asking me to go with him . “Jamie, no, wait, I can’t just...leave… This is crazy. When are you planning to come back?”

 

“I dinna ken. Maybe in two or three months, maybe more. It depends on how fast and good the business goes. Please, will ye go with me?”

 

“No.” I quickly decline his tempting offer again. “Why are you even asking me that? In what role do you see me there? I can’t just drop everything and go to Paris with someone I barely know!” I blurt and regret it right away, realizing how strange that may have sounded considering our history.

 

Jamie smirks, slowly shakes his head and gets off my bed.

 

“Forget what I said.”

 

“Jamie...”

 

“I’m an idiot. I shouldn’t have come here. I should have known.” He walks out of my bedroom and disappears into the hallway. I hear him start dressing up and mumbling something in Gaelic. 

 

I get up from the bed and follow him. “Jamie, wait, this is not what I meant.”

 

“What did ye mean, then? Why do ye always push me away? Why don’t you want to have anything between us…except sex? Why is it so difficult for ye to even factor me into yer life?”

 

“Excuse me? You unceremoniously show up at my doorstep out of nowhere after two weeks of silence, fuck me, then ask me to go to another country with you for several months and then blame me for not wanting to be a part of your life?! I have a life and a job here, I have to write new books, and...”

 

“What kind of life do ye have here, Claire? Ye can write yer books anywhere, aye?” He cuts me off.

 

“What about my friends?” I say as I realize my only friend here is Geillis. “No, this is a serious commitment. I can’t. I’m not ready, you are putting me in a difficult position and acting very selfish...” 

 

“Aye. Ye ken what… Ye dinna have to say anything anymore, I heard ye.” Jamie hisses and heads to the front-door.

 

I watch him walk away and everything inside me squeezes and causes actual physical pain. Anger mixed with confusion start to get the best of me. 

 

“Jamie, wait!” I run after him. 

 

“I’m going to ask ye one last time.” He says as he turns to face me. “Will ye go to Paris with me or not?”

 

I feel like I’m floating in space, my knees are going jelly. I know that if I say ‘ no’ I may never see him again and things will never be the same even if I do see him again. And if I say ‘ yes’ , I am condemning myself to a relationship that I am not ready for. I swallow, clear my throat and finally give him an answer.

 

“No.”

 

“Ye said ye missed me,” Jamie says quietly, his words coming out as a whisper. “Dinna pretend like it didna mean anything. Dinna make it look like ye didna mean what ye said,” he adds, and his cold gaze meets mine. I look away as if I’m scared he is able to read my mind or something. 

 

“Forget what I said.” I say, and my voice starts to shake. I feel like my heart is about to crack in my chest if he doesn’t disappear out of my sight right fucking now.

 

I close my eyes as I’m not sure if I can look at him right now. I hear him breathing heavily, standing just a few inches away from me, and the next thing I hear is the key turning in the keyhole and the door slams shut making me shudder.

 

I open my eyes and see that Jamie is gone. My gaze falls on the table where he left what seems to be the plane tickets. I grab the tickets and feel a lump form in my throat: Edinburgh -> Paris; Saturday, May 22, Time 12:20 PM

 

Slowly, using the wall to support myself, I return to my bedroom. I throw the tickets on the drawer, fall onto my bed and let out a silent sob.

 

***

 

Edinburgh Airport
Saturday, 11:40am



“Claire, ye sure this is yer final decision?” Geillis asks me as we sit in her car not far from the Airport entrance, and she holds my hand, while I hold the plane ticket that Jamie left for me the last time we saw each other.

 

“Yes,” I say quietly. “Yes, I’m sure. I've given it a lot of thought.”

 

“Alright,” my friend says and taps my shoulder. “It’s going to be alright. Go. He is waiting for ye. And, dinna forget to call me and tell the details.”

 

I give Geillis a small smile as I get out of the car and head to the main entrance. Everything inside me is turning into tight knots as I pass the security and go to the airport lounge. It hasn’t taken me long to find the familiar silhouette standing near the window. I take a deep breath and walk towards him.

 

“Jamie,” I call him quietly, standing three feet away from him.

 

He slowly turns around and our gazes meet. “Sassenach… Yer here.” His eyes are shining, and I feel like I might pass out looking into them.

 

Suddenly, I don’t know what to say. I had been playing this scene in my head over and over for three days. And now, as I’m standing in front of the man whose face is full of hope and a smile as dazzling as ever, I’m lost for words and I want to run away.

 

“Jamie…” I realize I fail this whole thing before I even start. ”Fuck. I...”

 

His smile slowly fades away as the realization hits him.

 

“Yer not going,” he says calmly and his voice breaks. 

 

So does my heart.

 

“I’m sorry,” I whisper as I take the plane ticket out of my bag and pass it to him with my trembling hand. “I can’t do this.”

 

He sniffles and his face goes blank, suddenly not expressing any emotion. 

 

“I understand.”

 

Does he?

 

“Well then,” I pause to swallow the lump in my throat. “Goodbye, Jamie.” I say as I realize I can't handle being here anymore. I need to leave this place immediately before things get overly dramatic, before my heart beats out of my chest. 

 

I turn on my heels and start to walk off, when Jamie grabs my hand and turns me to himself, our faces are just inches apart.

 

“I asked ye to come with me because I canna stand the idea of being so far away from ye and not being able to see ye and...touch ye, and…” 

 

He doesn’t finish, he takes my face in his hands and kisses me, softly and gently at first, then he starts sucking and biting my lips, his tongue desperately demanding entrance. I part my lips and let him in, whimpering into his mouth. I’m trembling the same way I did when he kissed me for the first time. We keep savoring each other’s mouths, not caring about all those people who are probably looking at us right now. Suddenly, Jamie pulls away and stares at me, catching his breath.

 

“I just wanted to remember.” He utters as he takes a step back, and throws my ticket into the bin. “Goodbye, Claire.”

 

And then, he picks up his bag from the floor and walks away, leaving me in the middle of the lounge. I feel empty and alone. My head is spinning.

 

The lounge is full of people, but, just at this moment, I’m sure that no one feels as lonely as me. People are running around, hurrying, talking, and I just stand there with the salt rolling down my face. 

 

I can still taste the kiss that he left on my lips. I will remember it, too.

 

Eventually, there is nothing left to do but wipe away the tears and go home. 

 

And so I do.

 

 

 

+++

Chapter Text

 

 

I didn’t want to start a new relationship because I was afraid I would get hurt. 

 

My first crush from high school never liked me back. That was when I realized they call it “First love” for a reason. Like, there’s supposed to be the second love and the third, meaning the first one would always end bad. 

 

My first ‘official’ boyfriend was obsessed with me. He stalked me and literally wouldn’t let me breathe without his permission. The one I had after him, was so scary and abusive that I actually had to leave London and move to Scotland, so I would never see his face again. 

 

Here, at my book release party, I met my last boyfriend who couldn’t stop telling me how talented and beautiful I was, before I found him with another girl.

 

Then, I met Jamie. And then, I lost him. 

 

Now, my mind keeps going from I miss him so much to I wish I’ve never known him

 

I didn’t want to get hurt, but ended up being hurt anyway.

 

“Claire, lass, ye canna keep living like this…” Geillis’ voice brings me back to reality. “Ye need some distraction in yer life, ye canna spend the rest of yer days mourning yer wee fox.”

 

“A distraction like what?” I blurt as I sip on my coffee. “And I’m not mourning him.”

 

It’s been four months since Jamie left for Paris, and I’ve never felt more miserable in my whole life.

 

“A new bar opens in three days.” Geillis says. “I’ll text ye the details. We should go! Trust me, ye need this distraction. I dinna remember the last time we went out and had fun together.”

 

I stiffen as I really cannot remember it myself either. “Well, at least I was busy writing…” I say.

 

“That’s good. And a good writer needs a good rest! Please, I dinna want ye to sit in yer little corner all by yerself, crying over a selfish boy that couldna wait and take no as an answer.”

 

“It’s not that, Gee…” I stop her, trying to protect Jamie. “Now that several months have passed, I know that it’s me, I should have given it a try, give him a chance. But there at the airport…he was so… I don’t know how to say it.”

 

“Ye have to stop thinking about him, I’m worried about ye. I canna see ye hurting like this. Ye need distraction and ye need to start seeing men again. When was the last time you had sex?” She asks and raises her eyebrows at me. “Yer toys dinna count.”

 

“Fine,” I blush as I agree without any enthusiasm. She is right, it’s been months since I had a man laying on top of me. Actually, since Jamie left I haven’t slept with anyone. “Maybe you are right.” 

 

Maybe I will manage to forget about Jamie, even if it will be for a couple of hours.

 

Saturday has come quickly and we find ourselves in this new bar, which, to my senses, isn’t anything special, and resembles any other bar I’ve been to. Another noisy and dark place, loud music and lots of people I don’t know and not sure if I want to know.

 

“That guy near the counter, he’s been looking at ye all evening,” Geillis says as she points her little finger at the man in a suit who’s sitting in the corner by himself. “I havena seen him before.”

 

I put my glass on the table and my gaze catches the solid man with dark hair and brown eyes. Seeing me looking at him, he gives me a small smile and winks.

 

“Nah. He is too old for me,” I sigh. “And that tie he is wearing? It is stupid. Who is he? You sure you’ve never seen him before?”

 

“Yer right, I would probably remember this tie,” Geillis laughs, ordering another drink. “I definitely dinna remember seeing him at any event in this city before. But it doesna mean ye canna give a guy a chance. Maybe he is new here. Go, make a new acquaintance and try to have fun. Besides, I heard older men are better in bed. More…experienced. If ye ken what I mean, aye?”

 

I let out a small laugh and roll my eyes at her. “We’ll see about that!” I say as I get up from the chair and walk towards the man in a stupid tie. Not quite understanding what I’m doing, I fix my hair as I go, and smile as I stare at him, hoping to catch his gaze again.

 

“Hello there,” I say smiling as I sit next to him. “Want to order me a drink?”

 

Judging by the look he got on his face, he didn’t quite expect me to approach him, let alone to be the one to start a conversation with him.

 

“Sure,” he says, a bit confused, “what would the lady want?”

 

“Tequila Sunrise,” I say without breaking eye contact. “My name is Claire, by the way.”

 

“Frank Randall,” the man says as he takes my hand that I reached out for him to shake, and kisses the back of my palm, our eyes still locked.

 

What a nice gesture of a true gentleman, I think to myself, and get slightly uncomfortable. “Nice to meet you, Frank. How do you like it here?”

 

He smirks before answering, and loosens the knot on his tie. “I don’t usually go to bars and other places like that, it’s too noisy and dirty. But the owner is a son of my old friend, he invited me to the opening, that’s why I’m here.”

 

“Nice...” I say as I start my drink. “What places can you be found at, then?”

 

“Well, I’m a professor. So, either the university or the library would be it.” Frank says. “What about you, Claire?”

 

“Well, I’m a writer. And I can be found literally anywhere.”

 

“A writer? Wow. And what are you writing?”

 

“Books.” I say and giggle, finishing my drink. I think I’ve had enough for today.

 

Frank lets out a laugh. “Amazing.”

 

This conversation gets boring as hell, and I’m not sure if I even want to continue it. I put my hand on Frank’s hand, stroking it. “I don’t like noisy bars either. Maybe, we can go to a quieter place and keep enjoying each other’s company in private?”

 

Judging by the way his Adam’s apple is bobbing at my words, I can tell he finds my offer unexpected and fascinating at the same time.

 

“I sure don’t mind leaving and enjoying your company somewhere else, Claire.” 

 

Frank pays for the drinks and, hand in hand, we head to the exit. I throw a glance at Geillis who rolls her eyes at me and whispers ‘call me’. “Of course,” I whisper back, and together with my new acquaintance we leave the bar. It’s windy outside, and I start to shiver. Frank puts his blazer on my shoulders, and we start walking. 

 

Suddenly, he stops and turns around the corner of a building and presses me against the brick wall. I start to shiver even more when he closes the distance between us and our lips touch. I wait for a few seconds, but it feels like a whole minute has passed and there has been no movement. Confused, I start moving my lips, and he finally responds, slowly and too gently. 

 

Lack of passion from his side starts to disturb me, and I decide to take everything in my own hands. If his tongue just lays there, what is his dick gonna do? I think to myself, roaming my hands up and down his chest, urging him to start some action.

 

“I knew I wanted to kiss you the moment you walked into that bar,” he mumbles into my mouth. “You are so beautiful, and you smell amazing.”

 

“Only to kiss?” I murmur, opening my mouth, letting his lazy tongue in.

 

“No, definitely not.” Frank answers and his left hand goes under my dress, while his right one is resting on the nape of my neck, holding me close.

 

My legs start to shake as he runs his fingers up and down my inner thighs, his lips still on mine. “Frank, just take me now.” I whisper as I break the kiss before my hands find his belt and I work his buckle. 

 

Within minutes, we’ve finally got his pants pulled down, and my panties put aside. I grab his dick and guide him to my entrance, wrapping my leg around his waist.

 

“Fuck,” he groans as soon as he’s inside me. I’m quite surprised hearing such words from a so-called professor, but this is not what should be on my mind at this very moment. He starts moving, kissing my lips and pressing my body closer to himself. But, less than a minute passes before I feel him getting soft.

 

“Are you…okay?” I ask, startled. That has never happened to me before with any man, and I’m not sure what to do or say in such situations. “Can I do anything?”

 

Frank slips out of me and panic overtakes him. “No, just give me a minute. It has nothing to do with you, Claire, you are amazing, and hot, and I want you, I do. I don’t know what happened.”

 

“Of course,” I utter, trying not to show my frustration. This evening couldn’t get any worse, and suddenly I want nothing but to go home. 

 

Frank turns his back on me, and I’m grateful I don’t get to see him do what he starts doing. “Just one minute, Claire.”

 

“I think I should go,” I say quietly. “I’m sorry, Frank, the moment is gone.” 

 

“I’m sorry too, Claire, I really don’t know what happened.”

 

I take off Frank’s blazer and hand it to him. “You don’t have to explain anything to me. Goodbye.”

 

Tears start to well up in my eyes as I think about how miserable my life is now. What have I become? I rush back to the bar, I need to find Geillis and tell her I want to leave. Fast enough I find her smile in the crowd, and as soon as she sees me, that smile fades away. She quickly approaches me, and puts her hands on my shoulders, searching my face.

 

“Christ, what happened? Are ye crying? Where is that man? Did he hurt ye?” Her ringing voice hits my eardrums, and she starts to examine me. “Yer shaking and yer scaring me.”

 

I put my head on her shoulder and start to weep. “He didn’t hurt me, Gee. Please, can we go home?”

 

I break down as soon as we get into the cab. Geillis wraps her arms around me and strokes my back while I cry. 

 

“Claire, what happened there? Will ye tell me?” She asks me again in a few minutes.

 

“Nothing.” I say. “Nothing happened there,” I repeat and suddenly an intense fit of laughter overtakes me and I start laughing like a drain.

 

“What the hell?” I hear Geillis’ voice. “Girl, how many drinks have you had?”

 

“He couldn’t get it up!” I blurt as I keep laughing hysterically, choking on my own tears. “We went around the corner, and he took his pants off, and then he couldn’t keep his dick up!”

 

Geillis looks at me like I’m some crazy maniac, but, as soon as she lets it sink in, she starts laughing with me. “Ye canna be serious!”

 

“I am serious! You should have seen him! He was terrified! God, I can’t laugh anymore, my face hurts!”

 

We kept howling together as I told Gee everything in detail. When my story was over, sadness overtook me and tears appeared in the corners my eyes again.

 

“Hey, what is it now?” My friend asks, rubbing my back.

 

“I can’t do this anymore, Gee.”

 

“What do ye mean?”

 

“See... I can’t start dating, I don’t want to get to know new men. And it’s not because of…Frank. It’s everything. I’m not interested in anything, in anyone.” I say as I wipe away the tears.

 

“Claire, what are ye trying to say?”

 

“I miss Jamie. I need to see him. He said he would be away for a couple of months, but he left in May, and it’s August already. He doesn’t call and doesn’t come back. He hates me, I know it. But I miss him… I miss him so much. Fuck.”

 

“Oh, dear...” Geillis whispers and takes my hand, stroking it gently. “What are ye gonna do?”

 

It takes me about five seconds to collect my thoughts and say out loud what has been on my mind for quite some time. I squeeze her hand back and take a deep breath.

 

“I’m going to Paris.”




 

+++

Chapter Text


 

The next morning when I wake up with a headache and a little hangover, I realize that my idea to go to Paris was nothing but a thoughtless decision of a drunk, lonely and desperate woman. 

 

I walk out of my bedroom and see Geillis sleeping peacefully on the couch. Yesterday she offered to stay with me for the night, and I eagerly agreed as I didn’t want to be alone. We talked till the clock hit 3am, and then drifted off to sleep. Smiling, I cautiously walk past her and head to the bathroom to take a shower.

 

When hot water starts to warm my body, washing away the remnants of the previous night, my thoughts return to Paris. I've never been to this city, and I have no idea how to find Jamie there. I don’t know where he’s staying, what his Paris phone number is, and what’s most important - I don’t even know if he will be happy to see me, too. 

 

Four months have passed since we last saw each other. I still remember the look on his face when I said I was not going to go to Paris with him, and he threw my ticket into the bin. I’ve never seen him being so sad. And I’ve never felt myself so confused, stupid and lost.

 

Later in the kitchen, when Geillis and I are having our breakfast, I share my thoughts and fears with her.

 

“That is right, Claire, ye dinna ken where he is staying and how to find him. To be honest, I wouldna be sure if he was still in Paris.”

 

“Do you think he has already come back? Do you think he would call me if he got back to Edinburgh?” I ask desperately, sipping on my hot tea.

 

Geillis gives me a sympathetic look and squeezes my hand. “I’m not going to lie to ye, Claire, I dinna ken, I’m sorry. But, we can go to Paris together, and try to find him, what do ye think? Even if we dinna find yer wee fox, we will have fun on our own! It’s Paris!”

 

My eyes begin to sparkle at the thought of spending a week with my best friend in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. It’s just a two hours flight after all, and I’m not losing anything.

 

“Yes!” I say immediately. “Yes, let’s go together!”

 

“Deal, then! I will book the tickets and hotel for us, and we will go this weekend. We will do everything to find him, I promise!” Geillis squeals, planting seeds of hope in my desperate heart.

 

I spend the next day packing my suitcase and making a list of the places I want to visit, including expensive boutiques, malls, restaurants, museums and La famous Tour Eiffel. It’s easy. What’s not easy is to figure out what I will tell Jamie when we meet. If we meet. Should I prepare any speech? Should I throw myself into his arms? Should I even approach him? 

 

In Paris, Geillis and I are looking for Jamie in every store we go to, checking every corner of every café and restaurant we visit. We're shopping, visiting museums, and taking hundreds of pictures with our phones. I’m searching for the red hair I so desperately want to run my fingers through, losing hope with every day passing.

 

Before I know it, six days have passed, but there has been no sign of Jamie Fraser. I realize I’m not even enjoying this spontaneous little trip as all my thoughts are constantly occupied with him

 

“We will never find Jamie here. It’s just...impossible. It’s like looking for a needle in a haystack. We shouldn’t have come here. What was I even thinking?” I ramble as I fall onto the bed of our suit in the Four Seasons. “It’s a waste of time! And money,” I add, glancing at the pile of bags with clothes and accessories that I brought from Dior and Chanel. I realize I don’t really need any of that. All I need is to see Jamie. I need to be close to him again. To touch him again. I need him to touch me.

 

Tears start to well up in my eyes and I roll on my side, so they won’t flow into my ears. I grab the pillow to cry into it when I feel Geillis sit on the bed in front of me. I lift my eyes and rest my head on her chest as she hugs me.

 

“Well, I think it’s time to admit it Claire, ye have feelings for Jamie, aye?” She asks me, playing with my hair.

 

I nod silently. I feel as if my vocal cords have been removed, and I’ve lost the ability to speak. Despite the fact that Jamie was the one who told me I was incapable of feelings, he is the one who makes me feel...everything.

 

“Look, ye said he went to Paris to open a new bank or something, right?” Geillis asks me while I sob into her chest.

 

“Yes,” I say sniffling. “But I don’t know the name! I don’t know anything!” I snap as angry tears roll down my cheeks. “He told me his cousin’s name, but I wasn’t paying attention, and now, of course, I can’t remember it!”

 

“Calm down, Claire, take it easy...” Geillis soothes me, rubbing my back. “It’s our last day in Paris. Let’s have dinner together and then go back here and sleep. We have an early flight.”

 

I nod again and wipe the tears with the back of my hand. “Okay. I’m sorry I ruined this Paris experience for you. I know how much you wanted to go here.”

 

“Nonsense. I get it, it’s not yer fault. I’m good! Now, let’s find ye something fancy to wear!” My friend jumps off the bed and starts opening my Chanel bags.

 

After spending almost a week in Paris I can say that I’m definitely not a fan of French cuisine. I check the menu and nothing, literally nothing grabs my attention. Suddenly, I feel like I’m not even hungry. Geillis, on the other hand, keeps trying literally every meal she has never heard about before.

 

I turn my head and look around myself, watching Parisians being all dressed up as if every single one of them either has come here for a special occasion, or probably it is their last day in Paris, too.

 

 And then, I see him

 

I know I can recognize these copper curls in any crowd, in any city at any time of the day. My heart starts pounding between my ribs and my hands start sweating. I gasp and my mouth falls open, Geillis immediately gives me a worried look.

 

“What is it, Claire? Are ye alright? Ye look like ye have seen a ghost.” She says quietly.

 

“He’s here,” I mumble, and my lips are quivering. I don’t know if I should cry or squeal with joy. “Jamie is here. Look,” I say pointing with my chin at the table in the corner. “It’s him. I found him,” I whisper as I understand that such coincidence can happen only in a stupid cheesy movie, a main character of which I feel myself right now.

 

“Aye,” Geillis confirms. “Tis him. What are ye going to do?”

 

I don’t answer, just keep staring at Jamie. He looks content, enjoying the company of men and women sitting next to him. I watch him and fight my desire to drop everything and run to him, not paying attention to anything, anyone around me. Please, turn your head, please, turn your head, please, find me, Jamie, please see me. I mumble to myself instead, hopelessly expecting him to hear me, begging for him to look away from his friends and meet my gaze. It seems like there’s an abyss between us, as if we’re standing on the opposite sides of the ocean, on the opposite sides of the world and I’m screaming but he can’t hear me.

 

Finally, he turns his head and our eyes meet. Fire meets ice and my heart stops. The wide and dazzling smile Jamie has fades away as soon as he recognizes me. His facial expression goes from content to confused to puzzled. 

 

My breathing hitches as I see him mouth “excuse me” to his friends, before he gets up from the chair and walks towards me. “Oh my god, he’s coming over here. What should I do?” I ask my friend, panicking. 

 

“Oh dhia… okay, Claire, just be yerself. I’ll be right there, watching ye.” Geillis says tapping my shoulder before she gets up and moves to the bar counter.

 

“Claire…” Jamie starts and swallows as he stares at me, clearly in shock. “What are ye doing here?” 

 

I get up and stare back at him. He is as beautiful as I remember him, except his hair has grown longer, but his eyes are still as blue as the summer sky. I haven’t prepared any speech, and now, I stand in front of him, lost for words, and my knees are trembling. His smell hits my nostrils and I want nothing but to inhale him entirely, feel him close to me.

 

“I came here to Paris... Because I wanted to see you,” I finally say. “You said you would be gone for a couple of months, but it’s been four months, I’ve been worrying about you…you haven’t  called...” My last words come out as a whisper as I realize how weird they must have sounded. Not a single muscle in Jamie’s body moves as he listens to me, all tense, piercing me with his blue eyes. “I just really wanted to see you, that’s all,” I add and let out a nervous laugh feeling stupid as never before.

 

Suddenly, a beautiful and tiny girl with long hair appears beside Jamie. “Mon chèr!” She greets him and places a quick kiss on his cheek. “Pardon, I’m late. Where is our table?” She asks Jamie, paying zero attention to me.

 

“It’s...there,” Jamie answers and blindly gestures with his right hand at the table in the corner. “I already made an order for ye, as ye asked.”

 

“C’est magnifique!” The girl exclaims and briefly glances at me. Her dark eyes meet mine and I feel my heart start to sink into my stomach. 

 

“It’s Claire,” Jamie breaks the awkward silence. “She is my… umm….my old friend from Scotland, aye. And this is Annalise.”

 

“Nice to meet you, Claire!” She says and stretches her tiny hand. “Oh-la-la, the world is so little, you never know who you’re going to meet around the corner!”

 

I fake a smile and hesitantly shake her hand, not quite understanding what’s going on here. “It’s nice to meet you, too.” I utter.

 

“I’ll be there in a minute,” Jamie says, rubbing Annalise’s back. 

 

She gives him and then me a quick smile, and walks away.

 

“Who is this?” I ask with a taste of disgust in my voice. I feel like I'm gonna be sick. I can’t breathe as if all air has been sucked out of my lungs. I need to leave this place.

 

“It’s a girl I met here three months ago,” Jamie answers quietly. I notice the vein start pulsating on his neck, and small beads of sweat appear on his forehead.

 

“Mhm… I see, well, it’s been really nice to finally see you, Jamie. Sorry, I have to go,” I say quickly and turn on my heels.

 

“Claire, wait, where are you staying?” Jamie asks as he runs after me and grabs me by the elbow.

 

I give him a questioning look. “What? Why do you need to know that?”

 

“Claire, I just… I will explain. Can we meet tomorrow?”

 

“Tomorrow I’m leaving. And what do you want to explain? Jamie, please, you don’t have to explain anything to me. It’s fine, really. You met another girl, I’m sure she is amazing, and it’s okay, I get it. Go and have fun with her. It’s probably nothing serious anyway,” I brush it off.

 

“Claire… It is serious,” Jamie says and pauses. “We’re...engaged.”

 

As soon as I hear him say these words to me, I feel like my heart has been ripped out of my chest and my soul has been shattered into a thousand little pieces. Any words would fail to express the feeling I have inside me. My whole world seems to be drowning with that one short sentence.

 

“Oh,” I finally manage. “Congratulations, then. Sorry, I really have to go now, I forgot I have things to do… Goodbye, Jamie.”

 

With that, not giving Jamie a tiny chance to say anything else to me, I storm out of the restaurant, hoping he won’t follow me. Gasping for air, I’m trying to fill my lungs with as much fresh air as possible. I couldn’t look into his eyes any longer, I just couldn’t. I know that if I stayed there for at least ten more seconds, I would have vomited right on his face. 

 

I sit down at the nearest bench, shivering and choking on my own tears. I feel nothing but pain and don’t notice how Geillis appears in front of me and starts to shake me by the shoulders. 

 

“Claire, what the f happened there? What did he do? What did he say to you?” She bombards me with questions I don’t know the answers to. “Are ye alright, lass? Christ, yer scaring me.”

 

“We shouldn’t have come here, we shouldn’t, I'm so stupid...” I keep mumbling, and my voice is breaking. “Please, let’s leave this place. And this city.”



 

 

 

 

Chapter Text


 

 

“I am such an idiot!” I say as soon as we return to our hotel room and I kick off my shoes. “He was just standing there, telling me about being engaged… And she was just…all smiling, and beautiful, and stylish, and... How long have they known each other? Three months? And he is gonna...marry her!? After three months! Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ!”

 

My pain that has turned into shock now turns into anger as I quickly pull off my dress, throwing it on the bed. I grab my towel and head straight to the bathroom, when I hear Geillis’ voice.

 

“Claire, wait...” She runs after me. “Are ye going to be okay? I worry about ye.”

 

I smile at her. “Gee, please, I am not going to slit my wrists.”

 

“I ken, I just thought ye might need some company,” she says, still with a worried look on her face.

 

“In the shower?” I let out a small laugh. “Hey, you don’t have to worry about me. I’ll be quick.” 

 

Once I close the bathroom door behind myself, turn on the water and step into the shower cabin, a fresh wave of pain overtakes me. I know that what Geillis told me when we were sitting in a cab on our way home was true - Jamie had all rights to do what he had done. It’s not like we were a couple or something. I rejected him. I declined his offer. I told him I was not interested in a relationship. And, apparently, he found someone who was. 

 

But, it doesn’t mean that I’m okay with that, and it doesn’t mean that I can’t feel hurt. 

 

Tears start to fall down my face and I don’t fight them. I know it all too well. I know exactly how it feels to cry in the shower so no one can hear you, so you can fall apart and cry and cry for everything to hurt so bad you just want it to end. And when your eyes are red and puffy, you can blame it on the shampoo. And then, you walk out like nothing happened.

 

Refreshed, clean and almost calm, I open the door and see Geillis sit on my bed with her knees pressed to her chest. 

 

“I heard ye cry,” she says quietly. “Claire, are ye fine? Tis okay to hurt and be mad and call him names, if ye want.”

 

“You know what I think?” I say as I pace around the room. “It was very stupid of me to think that he will be just sitting here alone all these months waiting for me to pop up. I should accept the fact that he moved on and had all rights for that. You told me the same! So, I will be fine.”

 

“Are ye sure?” She looks at me like she doesn’t believe anything I say. “Dinna shut down yer feelings.”

 

“I don’t shut my feelings.” I say firmly. “I think I’m tired. We should go to sleep now, because tomorrow we fly back home, and I will have to finish my book. My editor gave me only eight weeks before we can launch. And then, you will help me organize another party, and maybe we can even turn it into a book signing party! What do you think?” 

 

Geillis watches me narrowing her eyes as I speak with such genuine enthusiasm I can hardly believe in it myself.

 

“Aye,” she says. “Alright. If ye say so.”

 

“Come on, Gee, life hasn’t stopped, okay?” I say as I sit next to her. “It’s time to move on.”

 

She nods silently and hugs me before disappearing into her room. 

 

Weeks passed quickly, one after another. I barely thought about Jamie. I really tried not to think about him. I got fully immersed into writing and then, eight weeks later, as planned, I received a call from my editor who told me they were ready to publish my new book. Everything seemed to be getting back to normal.

 

It’s when I open the weekly newspaper Edinburgh News, and see the headline “ Wedding bells for James and Annalise Fraser ”, I realize I didn’t fully let go because it shakes me to the core and makes me want to scream into the void. Who was I kidding when I said I was okay and ready to move on?

 

“Isn’t it supposed to be something private? I can’t believe people still invite journalists to their weddings, so they can put it all over the news. Who would care about someone else’s wedding, huh? Especially if it took place in Paris, and not here!” I speak to Geillis as we drink coffee in our favorite café on a not so sunny Saturday morning.

 

“He’s a famous figure here.” Geillis tries to find an explanation. “And who is the bride? Maybe it was her idea. We dinna ken and we never will.”

 

I silently shake my head and take a coffee cup with my trembling hand. It’s official. He is married. It’s over. It’s all over. And I don’t want to know a single thing about the bride. 

 

“Are ye alright?” She looks at me with sympathy, taking the newspaper away from me and putting it on the other side of our table. She asks me this question every time a name ‘Jamie Fraser’ pops up in our conversation.

 

“I’m absolutely fine!” I lie. “I mean, it was obvious… First, the engagement, then the perfect wedding. What’s next? We will read the news about their perfect babies?” To be honest my first thought was they were getting married because she was pregnant, but well… I drink my coffee and wash down the lump formed in my throat. No matter how hard I try not to think about this Scot, there’s always something that would remind me of him.

 

“I suggest we talk about something else…which is yer book signing party!” Geillis’ voice brings me back to reality.

 

“Right!” I reply and mentally thank her for changing the subject.

 

We spent the next forty minutes discussing the place and the decorations and the list of special guests for the party. We agreed that the main event would last two hours: thirty to forty-five minutes for the reading, fifteen to thirty minutes for questions, and about an hour to sign the books. 

 

“Remember, Claire, ye are supposed not only to sell yer new book, but also to connect with yer current and potential readers. Ye have to create a following of people who will continue to buy yer works, so be nice, smile, dinna refuse to answer even the trickiest questions. Understood?”

 

 I love how professionally Geillis sounds. I made the right choice hiring her for my first book. “Understood,” I say and give her a genuine smile.

 

“Soooo, next Friday is the big day!” She concludes, closing her notebook with a loud clap and putting it in her bag. “ And, congratulations, Claire. This one is going to be a hit!”

 

“Thank you!” 

 

“Oh, and before I forget, we’re going to use a copy of yer book as a guest book, aye? Isna this brilliant?!”

 

“It is, but for what?”

 

“What do ye mean for what?” She rolls her big green eyes at me. “All the guests can leave their love messages for ye, and compliment ye on the paper, if, for what ever reason, they wouldna be able to catch ye at the party and thank ye personally. And then, when the party's over, ye will sit and read all the beautiful messages.”

 

“Alright, okay,” I nod, pursing my lips. “That idea is really great.”

 

“This party is in good hands, honey, trust me.”

 

We say our goodbyes and I head home where I will do my best not to cry again over a boy who seems to have settled and living perfectly fine without me with the love of his life. Mr. Perfectly fine. He clearly moved on with his life and doesn’t remember me anymore. I have to let go, I keep telling myself. But why is it that every time I see or hear his name, I feel my heart start beating like a drum and I involuntarily squeeze my thighs?

 

Friday came quickly. The number of guests at my party has clearly exceeded the expected amount. I would never have thought that there are so many Fantasy lovers in Edinburgh. People have been coming to interview me, take pictures, express admiration for my talent, and wish me further success. Some even have asked when the next book will come out. It really has been a success at all points.

 

During the party I have been haunted by a strange feeling of the presence of an unusual guest. As if something shuddered in the air every time another stranger walked past me. But, nobody has seemed suspicious to me.

 

At the end of the party, when it was time to go home, Geillis, all beaming and slightly tipsy, came up to me with a guest book in her hand.

 

“Congratulations! Here is yer new favorite book. Go home, lass, and read it, and cry, and smile and dinna think about anything bad, aye?”

 

I smile and give her a warm hug. “Thank you. This event wouldn’t have taken place without you and your professionalism.”

 

“Dinna thank me, lass, yer talent is what’s made this whole thing special.” She says, rubbing my shoulder. “I have to tell ye something... Ye ken, actually, I met someone here,” she adds almost whispering, “And we go home together. Will ye be okay? Should I call the cab for ye?”

 

“No, don’t worry about me. I’ll be fine.” I chuckle as I notice a handsome, tall dark-haired man standing not far from us. “Good for you. Don’t make him wait. Be careful. I love you.”

 

“I love ye too.” Geillis kisses me on the cheek before she walks away hand in hand with her new man.

 

I look after her and tears begin to fill my eyes as I realize that at the end of a day this success is nothing if you have no one special to share it with. Exhausted, I try not to fall apart as I walk out of the building the party has been held at, squeezing the guest book in my hands. I catch the cab to go home and as soon as I get into the car and clarify with the driver my home address, I begin to flip through the pages. 

 

Smiling, I read the heartwarming messages and words of gratitude. I almost laugh at the funny compliment when my gaze falls on the short note at the bottom of the page.

 

 

I need to see you.

 

-J.

 

 

 

I shut the book with a loud noise as I read the note, which immediately draws the driver’s attention.

 

“Is everything okay, miss?” He asks me, concerned.

 

“Yes,” I answer and my voice shakes. “I’m sorry, I didn’t want to...”

 

We keep driving, and I’m grateful the man isn’t asking any more questions. A casual chat with a stranger is the last thing I need right now.

 

It’s almost 9pm when I finally get home. Suddenly, I panic and realize I’m scared to stay alone. I can’t even ask Geillis to come over because she’s got a date, and I can’t ruin it. Breathing in and out I quickly undress, take a shower and put on my home clothes - an old t-shirt and loose short skirt. My eyes fall upon the guest-book that I’ve left on the table. I grab it and frantically flip through the pages until I find the damn message that has been clearly left by him, and I read it again. 

 

My heart hasn’t stopped racing since I’ve read it for the first time and now as I absorb it again, my fingers tremble as I slowly brush over these five words that he scribbled for me. I feel a lump forming in my throat and,-

 

And then, I hear a soft knock on my front door.

 

 

 

+++

Chapter Text




 

 

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” I gasp as I slightly open the door, and see Jamie stand in front of me, leaning his arm against the wall. “What the hell?”

 

He grunts and makes an attempt to get inside, but I block the way and don’t let him in.

 

“Jamie, no! Go home to your wife!” I say, desperately pushing him away. How dares he come here.

 

“Can ye give me just five minutes? I want to talk. I ken ye read my note in that book...” Jamie says quietly, and his voice is raspy, eyes wild, red and pleading. “Please.”

 

“Are you following me? Wait, are you...drunk?” I ask as I smell whisky on his breath. I stare at his breathtakingly beautiful face and accidentally loosen my grip on the door.

 

“I’m no drunk.”

 

“Then what is your excuse?”

 

“We need to talk, I need ye to listen to me,” he says as he pushes the door open, walks in, demonstrating a lack of courtesy, and heads straight to my kitchen. 

 

“What is it? What is it that you have to say?” I ask as I close the door and follow him. “I told you, you don’t have to explain anything to me!”

 

He pours himself a glass of cold water and sits at the table. 

 

“I’m so fucked up.”

 

“Poor boy!” I say sarcastically and let out a laugh. “You shouldn’t be here, Jamie. You need to leave. Please.” 

 

“I miss ye, Sassenach.”

 

“Too bad!” I blurt insensibly like I don’t give a damn, and wrap my arms around my waist as if it would help stop my body from shaking.

 

Suddenly, Jamie jumps off the chair and takes a quick step towards me.

 

“I know ye feel what I feel, Claire,” he hisses through the clenched teeth, his eyes piercing mine. “I saw that look on yer face in Paris… I ken that ye can feel...”

 

We are standing so close to each other that I can sense the heat radiating from his body, the body that I love and miss so much. Along with alcohol I smell his cologne that never fails to intoxicate me. My knees go weak, and my mind goes in the wrong direction.

 

“It doesn’t matter anymore what I feel! It’s over. You moved on, I need to move on, too. And I need you to leave me alone!” I raise my voice, feeling stinging tears form. I didn’t realize how angry I actually was until I finally looked into his eyes after such a long time.

 

“No.”

 

“Well, then I shall leave!” I say shakily as I turn on my heels and quickly head to the front door. 

 

“Claire, please, dinna go!” Jamie’s anguished voice echoes in my ears. Ignoring him, I turn the doorknob, opening the door. He catches me quick enough to slam the damn door shut in front of my face, making me jump. “Yer not going anywhere.”

 

“Let me go, Jamie,” I almost cry, trying to open the door again. 

 

“No...no, please stay. Claire, dinna make me beg,” he whispers right into my ear, keeping the door closed, while caging me with his other arm. “Why are ye so scared of being around me, so yer always running away?”



“What?” I gasp, astonished. 

 

“I want ye to give me another chance," he keeps whispering as he moves forward to take me in his arms and hold me.

 

“A chance? For what? You have a wife now. We’re over. What do you want from me? What do you---”

 

Not letting me finish, Jamie grabs my face and smashes our lips together in a fervent kiss.

 

I push him away and take a step back. “Fuck you!”

 

“I miss ye.” He utters and kisses me again.

 

“I said fuck you!” I scream into his face as I’m trying to pull away from his grasp, but he quickly turns me around and pushes me against the wall. 

 

“I made a terrible mistake,” He mumbles into my mouth as he keeps kissing me, bruising my lips, and his hands go under my t-shirt. 

 

“What are you trying to say?" I don’t realize I’m crying as I speak, trying to make him take his hands away from me, but fail. 

 

“You ken," he stares into my eyes, “I want you , Claire.”

 

My breathing becomes shaky and I stop moving. 

 

“Are you out of your mind? Jamie, no...” I weep, shaking my head. “You are married, you can’t say these things to me.”

 

"Aye, I can. And I will.”  He rests his forehead against mine, while his hands remain on my waist to keep me close. "I ken I’m marrit…” He pauses. “Ye dinna have to remind me of that.” 

 

“Jamie…”

 

“Do ye want to know why I did that?” He asks, looking at the floor. “Engaged after three months for everyone to question, to doubt, for everyone to mock me?”

 

At some point I think that I don’t give a single damn but at the same time I’m curious as hell. He continues without getting my approval, before I can even say anything.

 

“After you refused to come with me… I felt broken, lonely, lost… I arrived to Paris and worked twelve hours per day, rarely going out. Until one day I went to my colleague's birthday party, and...she was there. I wanted to forget about ye. I thought I would forget ye. I thought she would be the one I’d have settled with because…believe it or not, I always kent I would get married at a young age. And it really happened so fast. She was…all charming and sweet, and hot, and when we met there was a spark… I… Christ! But guess what? It didna help, it never worked out.” Jamie pauses again to clear his throat. “I canna forget ye.”

 

I can’t help but think how much time he must have spent preparing the speech I’m not impressed by. I can't believe he just stands here, rambling, saying things that barely make sense, telling me his love story and how perfect his wife is. So easily and so unapologetically. 

 

  “Why didn’t you come earlier?” I suddenly ask him and this question makes him flinch, and he looks me straight in the eyes.

 

 “I dinna ken… I was so caught up in forgetting you. I didn’t dare. And then I saw you and…”

 

“And what?!” I scream at him again, puzzled about how he even ended up at my party.

 

“I’m so miserable. I need you , Claire.”

 

“You could have canceled the wedding…” I blurt.

 

“I couldna...it was too late for us after we already announced it among the relatives, and calling off the marriage would have meant a matter of dishonor to her family. We couldna cancel it. But it doesna matter Claire, nothing does, because… Because she’s not you.”

 

“No, you can’t say that… We can’t do this, you have to leave. It’s too late for us, too.” I say what my brain tells me to, but my heart screams the opposite. I can’t look at him. “We can’t...”

 

He stares at my tear-stained face and his own eyes start to water. I’ve never seen him cry, and my soul is breaking at the sight. He brushes the back of his hand across my flushed cheek, before he straightens and takes a step back, giving me room to breathe. 

 

“I’m going to ask ye something, and if ye say no , I promise that I will walk out this door, and ye will never hear from me again.”

 

“Okay.” I sniffle and take a deep breath. “Go ahead.”

 

“Did ye miss me?”

 

Shit

 

I let out a sharp breath and moisten my chapped lips. There’s no point in lying. I came to Paris to find him… Isn’t it fucking obvious? 

 

“Yes.” My voice comes out as a hoarse whisper and I close my eyes.

 

Jamie runs his hand through my hair and places a soft kiss on my forehead and the side of my face. I turn away from his kisses, weeping, fighting back the tears.

 

“Why are ye crying?"

 

I open my eyes and look at him, my lips are quivering. “Because… I’m scared that…you will walk out this door and I will never hear from you again." 

 

Before I can say anything else, he catches my mouth in a deep kiss and I lose my breath. The familiar, warm feeling starts to build up inside me, and the next moment I know I’ve completely lost my mind.

 

“Jamie… Oh Jamie.” I whimper into his mouth as I wrap my arms around his shoulders, and he’s trapping me between his body and the wall. 

 

“I want ye, Claire. I want ye so much I can scarcely breathe,” he mumbles, and my whole body shakes just hearing these words. “Please, will ye have me?”

 

My hands start to sweat as I put them on his face, caressing his cheeks with my thumbs. I miss him, I want him, I need him so badly I can barely stand on the ground. I crave proximity, I crave his touch and the feeling of him on me, inside me, filling me, having me, possessing me until I can’t remember my own name. He is here, he is close, and he wants me, too. I know that I will end up in hell for saying what I’m going to say, but I don’t care. My brain left me the moment I let Jamie touch me again. 

 

“Yes,” I whisper and bid farewell to the rest of my sanity. “I will have you.”

 

The sound that comes from Jamie’s throat makes me go wild, and I start kissing him furiously, tasting, inhaling. He turns and backs me up to the table until my ass hits the edge. He sweeps everything off the table and lifts me up, so I’m sitting on the hard surface. Our kisses are never stopping, not for a single second. After a few moments, his lips work their way down onto my neck, where he starts to suck roughly, making me squirm.

 

I don’t care where we are going to commit our sin. So far, we have tried all the possible places - his bed, my bed, his green velvet couch, his shower and my kitchen floor. The fact that we are about to do it on the table that stands in the hallway as a simple piece of furniture I barely use, turns me on to eternity. Until now, it has been an untested territory, and I know that I’m ready to try everything with him .

 

“I can smell how wet ye are...” Jamie groans into my neck as his hand slips under my skirt, and in one swift movement he pulls off my underwear. This immediately sends a wave of shock through my whole body and down between my legs.

 

“It’s all for you, it’s all because of you…” I say, spreading my legs, breathing heavily, losing every piece of my fucked up mind. 

 

I close my eyes shut and throw my head back when I hear Jamie unfasten his belt and unzip his jeans. That specific sound of a belt hitting the floor makes me tremble with need even more. And then he comes closer, I sense his hardness brush against my inner thigh. His fingers travel across my wet and burning entrance, before he grabs my ass and forces himself into me without warning. 

 

The feeling of having Jamie inside me again after all these months makes me want to scream at the top of my lungs. He’s the only man with whom I feel whole, like I find a missing puzzle piece every time our bodies collide and become one. He feels like home I never want to leave. 

 

He holds me with his right hand and his left goes up under my t-shirt which he didn’t even bother to take off me. He starts caressing and squeezing my breasts, while his lips caress my neck, my pulse, and then he sucks my earlobe. I feel like weeping, his touches are so soft, but his pace is hard and ruthless as he starts thrusting into me. 

 

With each thrust, I push my lower body closer to his, seeking more connection, moaning uncontrollably. He fucks me harder and harder, the pleasure is insane, and I can feel every single inch of him inside me. I no longer can feel anything but him . He moves his hands back to my thighs, pounding hard before he squeezes my thighs tighter, digging his fingers into my bare flesh. I know I will have bruises tomorrow.

 

“Christ, Claire…” Jamie gasps, but I quickly put a finger on his mouth and stare into his darkened eyes.

 

“No, don’t say anything.” I say, before my inner muscles stiffen beyond my control. I come so hard I can see the stars, and my toes curl as I’m trembling underneath him. I don’t think I’ve ever come this hard in my whole life. My walls grip him and I sense him shudder out his release, throbbing inside me.

 

I let him stay in me for a moment while we’re catching our breaths. And then he slips out, and I use whatever strength I have left in me to slide to the cold floor.

 

“This is never going to happen again.” I say firmly, staring at the wall, my body still shaking from his touch.

 

“But ye said...” 

 

“Shut up. I mean it. It was a moment of weakness. You have a wife and, apparently, commitment issues. And I am not that woman.”

 

“Dinna talk to me about commitment issues, Sassenach.” He scoffs as he starts dressing up. “What just happened between us here only proves that we’re far from over.”

 

 

 

+++

Chapter Text


 

I haven’t had a proper sleep since last Friday. 

 

That Friday.

 

It’s been four days.

 

Every night when I turn off the lights and my head touches the pillow, I close my eyes and process over and over everything that happened when Jamie came to me. And...we did what we did. 

 

We crossed the line.

 

I’m not proud of it. We all have things we are not proud of. But, I believe that sleeping with a married man doesn’t automatically make me an amoral person. Especially if that happened just once. It just makes me a flawed person who made a bad decision. It’s bad and wrong, I know that. 

 

Even if it felt good.

 

Three days later Geillis and I decided to meet at the Waverley Mall. I still didn’t tell her about Jamie and that night, and it was tearing me apart. After spending three hours shopping, trying on the clothes personally I didn’t know what I needed for, we stopped at the small café to have lunch.

 

“Claire, did something happen? Ye look...strange, and you barely said any word today. This doesna look like ye at all. Are ye alright?” She asks as we study the menu. 

 

I look at her and take a deep breath. “I’m going to tell you something. And believe me, it’s not gonna be easy for me to say that.”

 

“Alriiiight,” she says slowly, putting a white napkin on her lap. “What is it?”

 

Another deep breath. Okay. I just need to say it out loud.

 

“I slept with Jamie.” 

 

Suddenly, Geillis freezes and stares into my eyes. She looks like she’s fallen into a trance, absorbing what I just told her, which makes me feel awfully uncomfortable.

 

“God, please, say something.” I plead, not knowing what to do with myself and with my hands. Her reaction is quite unexpected, and I’m not sure if I even want to continue. But she is my only friend, and I no longer can hide it from her and keep it all inside me.

 

“Ye did...what? Claire, are ye having an affair with a marrit man?” Geillis asks with a shock and disappointment in her voice. “When did it happen?”

 

“Last week. But, it’s never going to happen again. He came to my apartment after the book party, and we talked… And then… I don’t know, it was bigger than me, and it just… happened.” I finish and realize my voice is shaking, and my heart is getting ready to jump out my throat.

 

“It just happened ? So ye two were like two animals that reacted to each other’s smell?!” Geillis snaps at me.

 

“Please don’t say that, please don’t judge me. I already feel awful enough.”

“Good. Ye should feel that way.” Geillis says, and her voice is calmer now. “How could ye do that? Did ye think about her? His wife. What will happen if she finds out?”

 

“I did think about it, of course. I think about it all the time!”

 

“No, ye don’t. Ye think only about yerself and yer needs!”

 

“Look, it was not supposed to happen, okay? It’s just… Jamie and I, we have this... thing . He came to talk and---”

 

“Since when do the two of you talk?” She asks, sarcastically.

 

“Excuse me? What does that mean?” I gasp, feeling blood start boiling in my veins. “Please, Gee, you know how I felt about Jamie. You were there for me, you saw me, I thought… I thought you were on my side.”

 

“And I thought that ye moved on. I was on yer side, Claire! But it was before he got marrit! What is the matter with ye? Ye jump into a guy’s bed after knowing him for twenty seconds but when he wants more from this relationship ye reject him and when he gets marrit ye realize - what? Ye canna live without him!”

 

“I can live without him! That’s not what you think! Jesus, Geillis, I told you my secret because you’re my friend. Who was I supposed to tell about that? My hairdresser? I expected some support and understanding from you!” I don’t realize I speak loud enough to attract other people’s attention as they start to turn their heads to our table. 

 

“Well, yer not getting my support this time. I’m sorry, Claire. I’m not holding yer hand through this.”

 

“I’m not asking you to hold my anything. And why are you so pissed, Gee? It’s not like… It’s not like you are Jamie’s wife and I betrayed you !”

 

“I am not his wife. But... I was that wife once, Claire.” Geillis says quietly, and I manage to complete the puzzle with the last little piece. Before I could say anything else, my friend throws the napkin on the table and gets up.

 

“Ye ken what, I’m not hungry anymore.” 

 

“Geillis, please… I’m sorry, I didn’t think it would reopen some old wounds of yours. I wanted to--- I’m sorry.”

 

“Of course, ye are. I’m sorry too. I’m leaving.” She says and walks away.

 

“Wait, please!” I run after her, making one hell of a scene in the middle of the café. “All I wanted from you was to be the friend I needed. You know that I don’t have anybody else here!” I say and don’t notice the tears start falling from my eyes. 

 

Geillis takes a step back, giving me her best artificial smile, “Ye have him.”



Later that day I’ve been sitting on the bed in my apartment with a phone squeezed in my hand, waiting for a miracle to happen aka Geillis calling me and apologizing for her behavior. But, it didn’t happen. Pissed that I have possibly lost the only friend I have because of him , I decide to make another call.

 

“Hello?” I hear on the other end of the phone line three seconds later.

 

“It’s Claire.”

 

“Christ. Claire, how are ye?”

 

“Listen, we need to talk about what happened between us last week.” I say, ignoring his stupid question.

 

“Aye, do ye want to meet? I can come to ye.” 

 

“No!” I protest immediately. No way I’m letting him into my apartment again. “No. Let’s meet on neutral territory. Some park or something, or a coffee shop?”

 

“Claire… Lass, I canna meet in a public place. What if someone sees us?” His voice gets lower, and I hear the notes of guilt and fear in it.

 

Perfect. Here it is. I’m becoming that woman. Squeezing the phone tighter in my hand, I say quietly, “Well, what do you suggest, then?”

 

“I’ll text ye the address. Be there at 6. Alright?”

 

“Fine.” I say as I hung up, throwing my phone on the other side of the bed. As soon as I do, it rings again, and I receive a text as expected. I grab the phone and read it.

 

Haymarket Hotel, 1-5 Coates Gardens, 6pm, room 219

 

The time is 4, and I realize it will take me almost an hour to get there, so I better hurry, take a quick shower and head to the said location.



“I’m glad ye came,” Jamie says to me as soon as I walk in, and he closes the door behind my back.

 

“Don’t make it all about yourself. It’s me , I wanted to meet and have a conversation. Not you.”

 

“Claire, I ken that--”

 

“Could you please not interrupt me?” 

 

“Yes,” he says quietly and sits on the edge of the large bed, defeated.

 

I settle in a chair in the opposite corner of the room, and look at him. Suddenly, I recall our first night together eight months ago. This room reminds me of his bedroom and my mind is spiraling. After what felt like hours, I finally remember I came here to talk.

 

“So… ” I begin, suddenly lost for words, “What happened between us last week, was just... We gave in to our basic human instincts, and it’s never going to happen again.”

 

I fiddle with the edges of my dress as I speak, and then I notice him stifle a laugh. “What the hell? What are you laughing at?”

 

“Ye came here to tell me this? Yer so cute, Sassenach. Ye sound like a biology professor.”

 

“Yes! Because what happened was nothing but a physical thing. It was wrong.”

 

That, apparently, happens to be the final straw, and he bursts into a fit of laughter. “But it was pretty amazing, wasn’t it?”

 

Unbelievable. 

 

“That is not the damn point!” I become irritated as I get off the chair and take a quick step towards him. I stop when I see his face get serious and an awkward silence hangs in the air. What was I even thinking when I agreed to come to a hotel room to meet with Jamie Fraser?

 

“Is that what ye wanted to say, Claire?” He asks quietly, piercing me with his big blue orbs.

 

“Yes.” I blurt and bite my lower lip feeling stupid as never before. “I have nothing else to say to you, Jamie.”

 

He smirks and the corners of his lips curve into a tiny smile. “And that’s all? What now, yer gonna leave? Why did ye really call me Claire?”

 

My heart starts beating faster as I stand there looking at him. I realize I want to run away but at the same time all I want to do is stay. 

 

“Jamie… You’re married. What do you want from me? Oh my god, this is so fucked up.” I say desperately, starting to pace around the room, with my hands wrapped around my waist.

 

“Will ye let me say something, too?” He asks, and his voice is sad and quiet.

 

I throw a glance at him. “Whatever.”

 

“I should have told you that a long time ago,” he starts, and I feel how my heart begins to jump between my ribs. “I love you.”

 

I turn to him and my eyes widen. “You love me, but you married another girl...” 

 

“Because I wanted to forget about ye. I was mad at ye!” He raises his voice, making me shudder. 

 

“You were mad because I didn’t throw my life away and didn’t go to Paris with you?”

 

“No! Because I told ye I didna want to be without ye, but it meant nothing to ye!”

 

“So you quickly fell in love and married someone else because of...that?”

 

“I dinna love her and I never did! I need you !”

 

“We had this conversation a week ago! This is just a stupid excuse!”

 

“I told ye I made a mistake!”

 

“God, Jamie!” I scream at him. “Can you hear yourself? This is horrible. She’s an innocent woman who thought you had real feelings for her. You both took vows, and you broke them, and now she’s just an idiot wife! Where’s she now? What does she think you’re doing? You lied to her and you keep lying to her. You cheated on her, for Gods sake! I was cheated on, too. And, believe me, I’ve never felt more disgusted and betrayed in my whole life. This is just… I can’t believe I am a part of this mess!”

 

I catch my breath and watch Jamie stare at me. His hands form into fists so tight his knuckles become white. I wish I could read his mind. I wish I could just drop it all and disappear.

 

“Do ye want me to call her now? Because I will!” He screams as he grabs his phone. 

 

“Don’t do this!” I jump to him and hit his hand. He drops the phone, and it falls on the floor. “What do you intend to do? Call her and tell her that you love someone else? Are you insane?”

 

“What if I am?” His voice gets louder. “And ye dinna want me to end this, so we could be together, because yer still afraid of commitment. Yer scared of being with me even though ye know ye love me, too!”

 

“What?” I gasp again, in complete shock. “I don’t! I don’t want...to be with you. You’re crazy.”

 

“Aye, you do. That look on yer face in Paris. Ye cried at the airport when I left. Ye cried and told me ye missed me after our first fight, remember? And that night last week at your apartment… Dinna pretend it meant nothing to ye, again. Because I ken that it did. But yer fighting it for a damn unknown reason!”

 

We are screaming at each other in a hotel in the middle of nowhere, and each word that comes out of his mouth punches me in the stomach. I regret that I even made a call and came to him. 

 

“I told you it doesn’t matter anymore! I can’t do this, okay. I shouldn’t have called you and shouldn’t have come here!” Taking my purse, I turn on my heels and head to the door.

 

“Aye, sure, leave! Yer just running away like ye always do! Yer a quitter!”

 

This hits me like a pile of bricks, makes me mad. I stop walking,  take a deep breath and turn around to face him, raging. “And you… you….you are…. You’re a total ass, James Fraser! Bastard! You hurt me, and you will hurt your wife, too, and I… I hate you!”

 

As I stand there, I expect him to fight back, to scream at me, tell me to leave. Anything. But instead, he takes a step towards me, stretches his hand and touches my cheek. So soft and gentle it makes me want to cry. Paralyzed, I stare back at him, feeling my heartbeat in my ears. Feeling him . He leans closer and suddenly his lips find mine, stroking, brushing, light as feathers’ touch.

 

“I’m sorry. I’m sorry I hurt ye...” he whispers against my lips and his fingers run through my hair. “I hurt me, too.”

 

“Jamie, no...” I whimper before I involuntarily part my lips and our kiss deepens. I just can’t resist him. I never could. We kiss, and I feel tears form in the corners of my eyes. Two more seconds and I may start crying into his mouth. “This is wrong, and we have to end this.”

 

“Yer not going to give it a chance?” His voice is desperate, and it breaks my heart all over.

 

“What chance?” I press my forehead against his, my eyes are closed. “Even if we were meant to be something, it shouldn’t have started with you cheating on your wife.” I say, firmly, swallowing a huge lump in my throat.

 

“Claire…” He whispers, and I feel his hot breath on my face. “I will get out of this marriage, I promise.”

 

“No. It’s over. It really is.” I whisper back and open my eyes, staring into his, and it feels like the whole world is going to end, too.

 

Jamie shakes his head and his hand is still in my curls, brushing them gently. I don’t know how much time has passed before I heard him speak again. “Why are ye really here, Claire?”

 

I’m shaking as I mentally count to ten before answering.

 

“I wanted to see you.”

 

I hear his breathing hitches as soon as I say these five words.

 

“And what if…” He says and pauses to swallow, voice low. “What if this is the last time we see each other?” 

 

Realization stabs me like a sharp knife. My heart is cracking in my chest, and my knees are trembling.

 

“Jamie... Please… What do you want me to do?”



“Take off yer clothes.”

 

 

 

 

+++

Chapter Text


We are standing in the middle of the hotel room, and he helps me unzip my dress. We watch it slide down my shaking legs and fall on the floor creating a pool around my bare feet. I step out of it and take a small step closer to him. He places his hands on my shoulders and leans in to plant another kiss on my lips.

 

“I dinna want to rush things...” He mumbles between kisses. Our tongues entwine in a slow but passionate dance, lips sucking, nibbling, bruising.

 

I slightly nod. If this is going to be our very last time together, we have to do it slowly so we can savor every moment, every second, every part of each other’s body. 

 

“I don’t want to rush things, either.”

 

My hands reach behind my back and I unclasp my bra, letting it drop to the floor next to the dress. As soon as my breasts are freed, Jamie places his hand on a gentle spot between them, slowly tracing lines up and down with his delicate fingers. His eyes are hungry with lust and need as they take in my skin now covered in goosebumps. My chest rises with every breath that I take, and my nipples start to ache, beg to be touched, caressed, sucked.

 

“Ye have no idea what ye do to me,” he hisses, before he bends and his mouth captures one of my nipples. I moan in pleasure and bite my lower lip, throwing my head back. While his lips do wonders on my right breast, his hand caresses the left one, sending shivers down my spine. Trembling underneath his touch I find myself wanting more.

 

“Jamie...”

 

“I ken...” He keeps whispering, moving his mouth lower, leaving wet traces on my stomach, around my navel and my waistline. He drops to his knees and his hands slid up my thighs. His fingers start to travel around the waistband of my panties. He keeps kissing my stomach before he pulls them down and inhales me

 

I’m standing completely bare in front of him. “Taste me,” I say and part my legs.

 

Groaning, he buries his face between my thighs. The first brush of his hot lips against my wet folds is almost electric, and I jerk as if I have been shocked. I’m staring down at him, and he looks up at me, his blue eyes almost black. 

 

“Yer shaking,” he says softly. “Everything okay?”

 

I can’t speak. None of this is okay. 

 

“Just keep going,” I blurt, placing my hands on his shoulders while his lips travel between my legs. “Fuck me. Make me come.” I want to come so badly I can barely think. The strokes of his tongue against my clit are urgent, delicate, and wild at the same time. 

 

Jamie lifts his head, placing his thumb on the spot where his mouth just has been working its magic. “Are ye going to come for me?” he asks, doing circles over my swollen nub with his thumb, while his other two fingers curl deep inside my pussy.

 

“Oh god, yes.” I don't know if I can wait for my release any longer, I can feel how wet and turned on I am. That tingle that's building inside me is driving me crazy and everything inside me squeezes. “Yes, I’m gonna come,” I cry out, spasming around his fingers, feeling like I’m falling apart. He stands up, and I’m clinging onto him, calling out his name and wishing for it to never end.

 

Still fully clothed, Jamie holds me with both his hands as I tremble against him, whimper and catch my breath. 

 

He lifts me in his strong arms and carries me to the large bed with soft sheets, puts me down and quickly kisses me again. With a serious face he starts to remove his own clothes, piece by piece, and I'm dazed. He does it slowly. I know he wants to take it all slow. He wants to make it last for as long as possible. He knows this is going to be our last time.

 

But… I'm finding myself in such a state of desire for him that I'm not even sure what I should be doing at this very moment. I stare at his naked body in its full glory, and the next moment I know I want it. I want it on top of me, inside me, all over me. My own body is on fire.

 

“I need you.” 

 

He grabs my legs and pushes my knees up my chest and his mouth finds mine once again. I feel his hard cock sliding over my wet core, resting teasingly on my still aching and swollen clit. 

 

“Fuck, Jamie, I need you inside me right now!” I cry out and try to pull his body onto mine.

 

“I ken that,” he says, and an evil grin appears on his face. His hands are still on my knees to keep my legs wide open. He leans and kisses me again so deeply and passionately, while slowly guiding himself into me.

 

“Oh god yes...” I moan and hold my breath when I finally feel him smoothly sliding into me. We watch his cock disappear into my pussy inch by inch and suddenly nothing matters anymore. I wrap my legs around his back and urge him to start moving. His pace is slow and soft at first, before he increases it, and I press him tighter to my shape. “Please don't stop.” I keep moaning. “Fuck me hard, oh god, Jamie, don’t be gentle!”

 

My skin and hair are dampened with my sweat that’s mixed with his own, and my fingernails dig into the muscles on his bare back. The pleasure is overwhelming, and I feel the beginning of another orgasm building up within me. 

 

“Look at me, Sassenach,” Jamie suddenly says. “I want to see your face as I make ye come…” he adds, and a wave of sadness washes over me. I know that he doesn't say these words out of lust. He says them because he truly wants to remember.

 

This is our last time

 

“Okay.”

 

I stare into his blue eyes and tears begin to well up in my own. I want to blink them away, but Jamie catches them with his lips as he keeps pushing into me, hard, then slow and then fast again. 

 

He breathes into my mouth, his hand brushes the damp curls off my eyes to meet my gaze, while he brings me closer to the edge. 

 

“Ye make me forget everything.”

 

“You make me feel everything.”

 

“Come with me. Come with me, Claire,” he begs, and his eyes are glued with mine.

 

I nod as I squeeze him tight inside me, and before he gives one last deep push into me, the ecstasy takes over my whole body. I cry out his name again and bury my face into his neck. I feel him shake as he comes inside me before collapsing on top of me. 

 

I don’t want it to end, even though I know it has to. I hold him close and our hearts are beating against one another. At this moment I’m not sure if I can distinguish his heartbeat and my own, if I can perceive the difference between his breathing and mine. 

 

“Please dinna go yet,” I hear Jamie whisper into my ear, hugging me close.

 

He’s still inside me, still hard. 

 

“I’m not going anywhere yet,” I whisper back. “Will you please...” I add before removing myself from his embrace. He slips out of me as I lay down on my stomach and bend my left knee.

 

“Christ,” he blurts and positions himself on top of me. “Yer the most maddening woman I’ve ever met.”

 

I close my eyes and squeeze the pillow under my head with my fist. 

 

“Shut up and make me come again.”

 

At this moment there’s only two of us in the whole world and I want nothing more than to get back to the days when there were no fights, no Paris, no engagement, no wedding, no cheating, no pain.

 

Jamie slowly enters me from behind and interrupts my thoughts. His left hand goes under my body, softly caressing my skin with his fingertips. He starts moving inside me and at the same time his hand finds my left breast. He is cupping it, squeezing, rolling my hardened nipple between his fingers, adding it to the pleasure. 

 

“Ye feel so good,” he coos into my ear, nibbling at my earlobe, before moving his mouth down my neck, kissing it, while thrusting deep inside me, hitting all the right spots that I didn’t know existed.

 

“Mhmmhm,” I moan, feeling another release approaching. I don’t know if my body will still exist after we finish. “God, I’m...close.”

 

“Let it go, Sassenach,” he says and his voice breaks. “Let it go for one last time.”

 

And I come again, panting heavily, falling apart under the weight of Jamie’s body, trembling under his touch. I can hear my name being cried out in the darkness of the hotel room. Jamie holds me close with all the strength he can muster as he spills himself inside me. He is holding me so tightly, so gently as our tired bodies surrender to our feelings and unite in our release for one last time.



 

 

I left before dawn.

 

I didn’t want to let him know I was awake, I didn’t want to wake him up. I thought it would be easier for both of us. 

 

I knew that if I looked into his eyes again, I would never be able to leave him. 

 

“Goodbye, Jamie,” I whisper before closing the door behind myself.

 

It is really over now.

 

 

+++

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text


 

Jamie’s POV

 

The next morning I wake up alone to an empty and cold side of the bed. 

 

She is gone. 

 

Claire is gone, and I don’t know how I am going to keep living this life without her in it. Without seeing her face. Without hearing her voice. Without kissing her lips. Without touching her soft skin. How could I be so naive and think that I would be able to let go of her just like that, easy. Nothing about this is easy.

 

I told her I loved her, but she didn’t react. She didn’t say anything, but I know, deep in my heart I knew she feels something, too. She gave me the sweetest, most incredible and unforgettable night which I would keep in my memory forever. It was everything to me.

 

We already had to say goodbye to each other once. There, at the Edinburgh airport, when she told me she wasn’t going with me, and my heart broke. I still remember that cracking feeling in my chest when she returned the plane ticket I bought for her, and threw it away. I got on a plane and thought, maybe, we were not meant to be.

 

I lived with that belief for four months, until I saw her beautiful face again in Paris, and my stomach twisted into tight knots. It was when I saw that look on her face I realized we were not done. Not yet. But it was too late.

 

I quickly get dressed and leave the hotel. I will take a shower at home. I just want to wear her scent for a bit longer.

 

“You didn’t come home last night, I was worried. Did something happen? Was it work again?” I hear my wife’s voice as soon as I get home. I take off my shoes and outerwear, feeling her gaze on me.

 

“Aye, I had a lot of work to do, and I stayed at my office for the night. Sorry,” I brush it off, and throw a quick glance at her, faking a smile. “I need a shower”, I add and head straight to the bathroom.

 

“You could have called...” I hear her voice again before closing the bathroom door behind myself. I take off my clothes throwing them on the floor, and get in the shower cabin, pressing my forehead against the cold tiles. I close my eyes and think about the woman that is not my wife, while hot water warms my skin, washing away her last touch. 

 

“I prepared breakfast for you, mon cher,” Annalise welcomes me in the kitchen.

 

“I’m no hungry.”

 

“Is everything alright, Jamie? You’ve been acting weird since...” she pauses and fiddles with the sleeves of her sweater. “Since last Friday.”

 

“Nothing happened. Just...tired. Just busy with work, that’s all. Ye dinna have to worry.” I reply and fake another smile. I don’t know for how long I will be able to do this.

 

“I didn’t move to another country for you to be at work all the time, Jamie,” she says, pouting her lips. “I miss you, mon petit renard.”

 

My wee fox. That’s how she calls me sometimes. And I never found it annoying until now. An awkward silence is hanging in the kitchen, and it feels like the air is electrified. I slowly sit in a chair in front of her, taking her warm hands in mine. 

 

“Anna,” I say and look into her big brown eyes, brushing my thumb over the wedding ring on her finger. “I willna stay late at work anymore. I promise. What about we have dinner tonight? Just ye and me. Let’s go to some new restaurant, aye?”

 

Her face lights up as soon as she hears my offer, and she gives me her brightest smile. “Bien sur,” she murmurs and leans in to plant a kiss on my lips. 

 

I return the kiss and feel pain and guilt literally burning me alive from the inside. Claire was right, I hurt my own wife. And I hate myself for this. I really do.

 

“I love you,” she whispers between kisses.

 

“Aye, me too.”

 

At 7pm Annalise and I arrived at the Boathouse restaurant with a magnificent view, and settled at the best table that I booked for the two of us in advance. After having chosen our meals and drinks, we leaned in our chairs and stared at each other. 

 

“Are ye still upset with me?” I ask her, carefully.

 

“Non, I can’t be upset with you for long, Jamie,” Anna says and places her hand above mine, smiling.

 

“Good,” I swallow nervously and return the smile.

 

“I was thinking…yesterday, that we still didn’t go to our honeymoon. You always work and we have to postpone it. I get it, you’re a busy garçon. But, I just thought...”

 

“What did ye think?” 

 

“I thought that we could… That we could go to some new place together and enjoy each other, without your work and your...business. Just you and I. Like all normal couples.”

 

“Aye,” I blurt. I know she is right, and I feel nothing but guilt, again. “Of course. Where would ye like to go?”

 

Her answer is interrupted by a waiter bringing food and drinks to our table. We thank him and as soon as he disappears, Annalise opens her mouth to answer my question, but I cut her off raising a glass and proposing a toast.

 

“For tonight!”

 

She smiles and grabs her glass. “For tonight.”

 

We clink and drink, and then we proceed to our meal. As I eat my salad, my thoughts drift away to the events of the last night and I can barely hold my fork.

 

“So, about the honeymoon...” Annalise carefully gets back to the interrupted conversation. “I’ve been thinking, what if---”

 

She talks and smiles, and her eyes are sparkling, but my mind is not here. It’s there, in the darkness of a hotel room. I keep playing with a fork in my hand, when my wife suddenly touches my arm.

 

“Jamie? Darling, are you even listening to me?”

 

“Aye, I do, yes!” I shake off my thoughts and meet her eyes that suddenly lost their spark.

 

“What did I say?”

 

“You talked about our honeymoon...” I say and get nervous.

 

“Yes. And then?”

 

I stiffen as I realize I have not been really listening to her. The feeling of guilt now gets mixed with shame. “I’m sorry, Anna. My mind got carried away...”

 

“Jamie, what is going on?” She asks me, softly, her hand is still on my shoulder. “Do you want to talk about this? Because I do not understand. I’ve been trying to figure out what causes all this… Lately, you have been so...distant. Did I do something? Is this my fault?”

 

She is rambling, and I know I simply can’t handle this. She looks like she is about to cry, and I quickly grab her hand and kiss her knuckles. “Shh, ma chérie, it’s alright, you did nothing wrong. Absolutely nothing.”  

 

And it’s true. None of this is her fault. She has done nothing wrong. It’s me. Me, and my fucked up mind that still lingers in the woman whose fingers I wish I was kissing at this very moment.

 

We spent the rest of our dinner barely exchanging words and looks. When the time for picking the dessert came, Annalise put her hand on mine again and whispered, stroking my fingers. 

 

“What about we go home and have our desserts there?”

 

I tense and squeeze her little hand in return. “Aye, sounds like a great idea.”

 

Later, in our house, we made love all night, and I did my level best to please my wife until we were both left breathless. 

 

As we lay in our bed, her head rests on my chest, I can’t help but imagine running my fingers through the soft curls of the woman I love, instead of the straight and coarse hair of my wife. What am I doing? I ask myself. Not what men have not been doing for centuries. I just never thought I would be one of those men.

 

“Jamie.” Annalise suddenly says my name.

 

“What, ma chère?”

 

She hesitates for a second, drawing circles on my chest with her index finger. “I really, really love you.”

 

“Me too,” I reply quickly and kiss her on the forehead.

 

She breathes in and out heavily, and I sense something is wrong here.

 

“Why can’t you say it?”

 

“Say what?”

 

“That you love me.” 

 

“But… I just said it,” I blurt, puzzled.

 

“Non, you said ‘ me too’, you don’t say the world love. Not anymore...”

 

‘It doesna mean anything,“ I reassure her while everything inside me squeezes.

 

“Then why can’t you say it?” She asks again as she sits on the bed, searching my face. “Jamie?”

 

“Why do ye have to ruin such a perfect evening?” I reply to her question with my own question as I get slightly irritated.

 

“Was it really perfect?” Another question, and this time Annalise is the one whose voice catches the notes of irritation and frustration in it. 

 

With that, she turns away from me and grabs a good half of our blanket, leaving me almost naked on the other side of the bed.

 

Confused, I roll back to her side and whisper into her ear. “I love ye, Anna. I do.” I gently brush away the lock of her hair from her face and kiss the spot behind her ear. “Good night.”

 

She giggles and turns to face me again, smiling, kisses me before curling into a tiny ball and nuzzles her nose into my neck.

 

“Bonne nuit.”





+++





 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text


 

It's been a week since I last left my apartment. 

 

And since I last saw him.

 

I started to look for the positive about this situation. For the hundredth time I was thanking myself I dropped college and didn’t get a job and now I don’t have to go to work. I never got that degree in journalism and dedicated my life to writing what I really wanted to write. Fantasy Romance novels. I followed my heart and chose my own path. 

 

I always try to follow my heart. Maybe that is the reason why my brain and I are not best friends when it comes to being in a relationship with men. 

 

Especially, with him.

 

Days pass by, and I realize I’m probably never going to leave my house again. I’m minimizing my chances of suddenly bumping into him and his wife on a street. Because I don’t know if I will be able to handle this. 

 

It’s a rainy Sunday, and I’m laying in bed with no intention to go out and socialize. Suddenly, my peace and silence are interrupted by my phone ringing, and I reach my bedside table to get it, and almost drop it right away, when I see the name on the screen.

 

“Hello...” I say and realize how weak my voice sounds after not using it for a week. 

 

“Hello, Claire. Hope I didna wake ye up. I have some news for ye.” 

 

I’ve missed her voice so much.

 

“You didn’t,” I say, calmly. “How are you, Geillis?”

 

“I’m… Claire… I’m not calling ye as yer...friend. I’m calling ye as yer PR agent. I have news for you about yer books. Can we meet today at 2pm at the Wellington Coffee?”

 

I let out a heavy sigh and sit on my bed, pressing my knees to my chest. “I’m sorry, I don’t think I can go out today.”

 

“What about tomorrow, then?” 

 

“Tomorrow, too. I don’t feel well...” I say, and it’s nothing but the truth.

 

“Wait, why? Did something happen? Are ye alright?” I can hear her voice goes from serious and professional to soft and genuinely worried.

 

It takes everything in me not to burst into tears while holding my phone. “No. I’m not,” I say and let out a silent sob. “I miss you, and I really need to talk.”

 

There’s nothing but silence on the other side of the phone line, and I feel like throwing this stupid device against the wall. 

 

“Claire...” She starts, but I cut her off.

 

“I know, I know you hate me and all the women who sleep with married men. I get it now, I’m one of them, and I hate myself, too. But... I don’t know what I’m doing, I don’t know if I can do this alone and for how long. I don’t have anyone, and I need you. I need my friend, Geillis.”

 

She sighs, I bet she probably narrows her eyes or bites the insides of her cheek, before speaking. “I dinna hate ye, Claire.” 

 

I let out a sigh of relief.

 

“Please, Gee. Can you come over?”

 

“I’ll be there in an hour.” She says before hanging up.

 

In fifty-five minutes I hear the knock on the door and slowly getting out of bed, walk to the door. Slowly opening it, I see Geillis stand at my doorstep, holding a big plastic bag with one of her hands. She examines me from head to toe and shakes her head.

 

“Ye look horrible,” she says before walking into my apartment, taking off her coat and heading straight to my kitchen.

 

“Thank you. I feel like that, too.” I say quietly and close the door.

 

In the kitchen I see her unpack her plastic bags and take out two bottles of red wine, a box of chocolate sweets and fresh fruits. I narrow my eyes, but don’t say anything, except, "Thank you. You didn’t have to".

 

“Ye dinna have to thank me, lass,” Geillis says and grabs two glasses from my cupboard. “I’m hungry and didna have my lunch today yet. And judging by the way ye look, neither did ye.” She pauses and looks at me again. “Christ, yer so pale and thin...”

 

“I haven’t been eating much lately...” I say quietly, feeling my lips start to quiver.

 

“Well, let’s fix that, then!” She tries to sound enthusiastic, grabbing everything from the table and pointing at my living room with her chin. “Go!”

 

I sit on the couch and watch Geillis pour the glasses. My stomach is hurling in protest, reminding me about its emptiness. The sound must have been so loud that it attracted Geillis’ attention, and she grabbed the box of chocolate.

 

“Ye have to eat something first before you can start pouring alcohol into yerself.”

 

I nod as I start eating, and she just keeps staring at me. I know that I don’t have the best look right now. My eyes are red and puffy, so is my face. I don’t remember the last time I was holding a hairbrush. Not that I loved to brush my bird nest anyway. 

 

“Thank you,” I say again, avoiding her gaze, putting another candy into my mouth.

 

“So. Ye said ye wanted to see me and now yer hiding yer eyes from me. What happened? Or, let me guess, it’s about him. It’s about Jamie Fraser, again. Am I right, Claire?”

 

I put the box with candies on the coffee table. “Can we have our drinks, first?”

 

“Aye.” She says and we quickly empty our glasses. 

 

“That day when you and I had a fight, I called him.” I begin, feeling my heart start to beat faster at the memories of that day. “And we met. And we spent the night together.”

 

“Claire! What the---”

 

“I know. Please, I do not want you to judge me again or explain what morals are. I know what I did was wrong. But I had to. I had to... feel him, one last time, before I could let go and say goodbye.” I don’t realize I cry as I speak, and my tears roll down my cheeks. “I came home the next morning and… I felt like the whole world just stopped.”

 

“Come here,” Geillis simply says and opens her arms for me.

 

I press my head against her chest and sob, trembling and gasping for air, realizing I obviously haven’t cried all the tears yet during the past week. Geillis rubs my back, whispering something in my hair as I hold onto her, crying in pain.

 

“I know you don’t understand me. I don’t understand me. I came to him and… And he said it was gonna be the last time we see each other, and I gave up, and gave myself to him, all of me. And then I just...left.”

 

“How was it?”

 

“It was perfect,” I say and break down completely.

 

“Shh, Claire,” Geillis keeps whispering. “I’m not going to say it’s okay, because, well, it's not.”

 

“I know that!” I interrupt her in frustration. “And I hate myself, and I’m sorry, and if you had to deal with that in the past, too, I had no idea.”

 

“Aye,” Geillis blurts, pouring herself another glass of wine. “I was married for five years. And during the two of them my husband had been screwing another woman. Two years! I had no idea, too.”

 

“How did you find out?” I carefully ask her, wiping away my tears. 

 

“One day he just came home and told me. He said, ‘I’m sorry, we canna be together anymore. I found someone else, blah blah.”

 

“Oh my god Gee, this is just horrible.” I say with sympathy, thinking about what will happen if Annalise finds out.

 

“I ken. It is. I mean, it was. But I got over it. That’s what we do, Claire, after men hurt us. We get up and move on with our lives. And ye should too. Dinna let him ruin ye.”

 

“I know that you are right, Gee… But...”

 

“But what?” She asks and I feel her tense again.

 

“He said he loved me. Before we...you know… I can't even tell what I felt at that moment. Panic, fear, regret...”

 

“It doesna mean anything if he’s wearing his wedding ring and shares a bed with his wife every night, Claire. Look at ye. Look what he turned ye into. Dinna let him near ye anymore because every time ye do he turns ye into a weak puddle. And we ken that this is not who ye are. Especially with the news that I’ve brought with me for ye.”

 

I have totally forgotten Geillis had news for me when she called. I grab a green apple from the table and sit comfortably on the couch. “Right. I’m sorry. What is it?”

 

“Sooo… I contacted two foreign agencies a couple of days after the book party, asking them if they would be interested in getting your books translated into foreign languages, so we could sell them all over the world. And I got an answer from one of them two days ago. The answer was positive. They are interested. We are bringing ye to the next level, baby.”

 

I stop chewing on my apple and start to absorb the news. My books will be selling across the Europe? And maybe across the world? I can’t believe.

“Oh my God...” I gasp, and my mouth falls open. “You did this...for me?” I ask and feel like I might start crying again. But this time these will be tears of joy.

 

“Yes,” she says and gives me a smile so friendly and sincere, so I want nothing but to jump at her and hug her tight. 

 

“Thank you, Gee.” I lean to her to give her a hug, burying my nose into her soft strawberry curls.

 

“Yer welcome.” She says, hugging me back. “The first two languages are going to be Spanish and French, by the way.”

 

“This is amazing.”

 

When we finished both bottles of wine and the box of chocolate was empty, Geillis checked the time, it was almost 6pm.

 

“I was very happy to see you, Gee,” I say, sensing she may start getting ready to go home already. “And thank you again. For everything.”

 

“Me too, Claire. Please, take care, lass.” She says with a big smile and hugs me before we say our goodbyes. “I love ye.”

 

“I love you too.”

 

As soon as I close the door, I realize how much I needed this good news to buck myself up, to shake it off, to have a reason to wake up in the morning. It’s a new step in my career and my life. And that is definitely something I should be looking forward to.



+++

 

 

Chapter Text


 

 

 

Jamie’s POV

 

I always knew I would marry at a young age. But I never thought I would regret it one month later. I wake up every day realizing it was the most spontaneous and stupid decision I made in my life. And the worst thing is that I became a coward who is not able to put an end to it. 

 

I remember how Annalise and I met at my business partner’s Birthday event, and the sparks flew instantly between us. I approached her and there was an immediate connection, like a lighting strike. She was beautiful, mesmerizing even, she laughed a lot, had a perfect sense of humor, and my brain got fogged. We talked all night and left the party together. 

 

We started seeing each other, dated for almost three months, and then we moved in together. Everything was happening pretty quickly but none of us minded. Anna recently got out of her previous relationship, and I felt like I had to protect her and be the man she deserved. I’m not that man anymore.

 

I remember how I asked her to marry me. We were walking in a park not far from the Eiffel Tower, the sight was magical, she was wearing a white dress, and I was wearing a dark suit. I stopped, took her by the hand and said, Let’s get married . She looked into my eyes, the smile she had just a second ago faded away, but then it lit up her face again, and she said yes

 

The next day we told the news to her parents. They passed it to all their relatives who then told all their friends. It was so exciting and overwhelming for all of us. And…there was no way back. I knew that Annalise wasn’t chasing my heritage, she’s a daughter of one of the most famous Parisian doctors; last year she also graduated from the Paris Medical School. 

 

I thought I finally moved on with my life.

 

During those three weeks after our engagement I was happy as I thought I found the one. She helped me, even if for a short period of time, to forget about my previous life, about Claire. 

 

I thought I was over her . And then she showed up in Paris, popped up literally out of nowhere, fell from the damn blue sky. And my mind turned upside down all over again. For days, I felt numb, and then I felt mad, and then when I was looking at Annalise… I think that back then I knew that someday I would break her heart. 

 

Because I was not over her

 

Claire and I, we were not over. Not done. That night I read it in her  whisky eyes, and I knew it from my stupid heart. 

 

Annalise and I got married and moved to my house here in Edinburgh. Days passed by, and I thought I moved on, until my work partner brought me to the book signing party of an author I didn’t even know, because his girlfriend couldn’t go with him. As soon as we arrived, and I saw her, I thought my life couldn’t get any more absurd. It was nothing but a series of unfortunate events. I saw Claire and realized it was still there. It didn’t go away. I got overwhelmed, so I scribbled a note in her guestbook and left the event. 

 

Sitting in my car near her house I hoped she would call me. Or text me. But she didn’t do anything. I saw her come home with that guest book in her hand, but the whole hour passed, and she didn’t do anything. Everything inside me was burning, twisting into knots. I was in agony, I was losing my mind, anger mixed with lust and desire for her. And just like that, I jumped out of my car and knocked on her door. 

 

And we did what we did. 

 

I crossed the line. But that was when I knew it was still there. And she felt it too. I might be an idiot, but I felt she wanted that, she wanted me just as much as I wanted her. And she liked that. And I was convinced of that once again when she called me a week later, and we crossed the line again. 

 

Things seemed to be getting back to normal after Annalise and I finally went on our long awaited honeymoon. I managed to take my mind off everything I had with Claire. Or so I thought. We spent sixteen beautiful days traveling around Europe. Just me, my wife, the expensive hotel rooms, hundreds of pictures and new memories. 

 

No more memories of her .

 

I thought I was over her , until last week I walked into the local bookshop to find a present for my friend. I saw a picture of her face on the stand with the new bestsellers. My heart skipped a beat or two, and then everything was in slow motion. I approached the bookshelf and grabbed one. The next minute I knew I had to buy it. Two minutes later I walked out of the bookstore with her book in my hands.

 

Fantasy was not my genre, but I found myself enjoying it. I didn’t know what it was - a captivating storyline, mind-blowing plot twists, the escape from reality I didn’t know I needed, or a mere fact that this book was written by her .

 

“What are you reading?” Annalise asks as she sits on a bed next to me and puts her head on my shoulder, drawing my mind out of the mystical universe I got immersed in.

 

“A book,” I reply casually without taking my eyes off the pages.

 

“Does the book have a title?” 

 

I hand her the book revealing its cover. “Here ye go.”

 

Annalise studies the book, the front and then the back cover until she sees a picture of an author and a short author’s note. “I know this face,” she suddenly says, making my heart beat faster. “It’s that woman we met in Paris!”

 

“Right,” I blurt, scratching my chin as if it means absolutely nothing to me. 

 

“Why is there another name? Linda Fields. I thought her name was Claire or something.” Anna asks and seems to be genuinely curious. Pure female curiosity.

 

“Because she is writing under a pseudonym,” I say, faking a smile, and taking the book from her hands. “Please, darling, I’m tired, and I want to relax a bit and read the book before I sleep.”

 

“How well do you know her?”

 

“I told ye she was just a friend.” I say and feel the tension building up in our bedroom.

 

“Sur,” Anna whispers.

 

I throw a glance at her and see her purse her lips as she gets off the bed and walks towards the window. Leaning on the windowsill she stares at the road, narrowing her eyes. “Are you two still seeing each other?” 

 

“What?” I gasp. “No, we arena seeing each other,” I add, and feel my heart crack.

 

“But you were. In the past.” She turns to face me and crosses her arms over her chest. “Am I right? Did she give you this book?” 

 

Suddenly I don’t know what to say. I feel nothing but guilt eating me alive, a lump forming in my throat and my heart beating in my ears. For a moment I thought it was very unthoughtful of me to bring this book home. I could have left it in my office and read it during lunch.

 

“Jamie?”

 

“I bought it in the book store two days ago. Why so many questions? It’s just a book.”

 

“If it’s just a book why are you so nervous?” Another punch in the gut.

 

“I am not nervous. But ye seem to be pretty nervous all of a sudden. Why?”

 

“Because I’m still thinking about that day when you didn’t introduce me to her as your fiancée. Back then I didn’t pay much attention, I was too excited after finally having decided on my wedding dress, and I just couldn’t wait to see you. But, you were there with her, and you didn’t say you and I were going to get married. If she was a friend you would have told her so she would be happy for you. But you didn’t. Why?”

 

“Anna, please, I said I’m tired. And… I dinna ken, okay? I just didna think about that back then. I dinna ken why. I’m sorry. Come on, let’s go to bed and sleep. Please,  come here.” I say and tap her side of the bed.

 

She shakes her head and walks out of the bedroom with sadness and disappointment written all over her face. I know that face. I know she needs some time to cool down, and she doesn’t like to be touched at those moments. That’s something I think I know well about her. 

 

I close my eyes and take a deep breath in frustration. Opening my eyes I see Claire’s book laying next to me. I carefully put it under the pillow, put a blanket on and turn off the light.

 

I thought things went back to normal. But I don’t know what is normal anymore. 

 

All I know now is that I want to end this marriage. If not for my love for Claire, then for my own sake. And for the sake of Anna’s life. Even if I don’t get Claire back, at least I won’t keep hurting my wife who is nothing but a victim in this heart-wrenching situation. 

 

 

+++

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text


 

 

It’s another Saturday morning and I wake up to the phone ringing under my pillow. I thought today would be the day when I would finally have enough sleep as a reward after the busy week. Yawning, barely catching what's going on around me and what time it is, I grab the phone and see an unknown number on the screen. 

 

“Hello,” I manage, lazily, sitting in my bed.

 

“Good morning! Flowers delivery!” I hear the loud female voice on the other side of the phone line.

 

I don’t remember ordering flowers. I don’t remember anything from the past week as I was fully immersed into the process of my books going international. I spent almost every day at my Literary agency talking to my publisher, then meeting with Geillis, then going back to the office and signing some papers, and coming home dead tired.

 

“I’m sorry? Are you sure this is for me?” I ask, still not fully awake.

 

“Are you Ms. Claire Beauchamp?” The voice gets louder, ringing in my ears.

 

“Yes, that’s me...” I reply instantly.

 

“Good then! The courier is on his way and will be there within 30 minutes. Have a great day, miss!”

 

With that, the lady hangs up, leaving me lost and puzzled. I get out of the bed and head to the bathroom to do my usual morning routine which I have only 30 minutes for.

 

Today is October 20th, and the only person who would remember my birthday is my best friend Geillis. And I’m one hundred percent positive the present is not from her. If the birthday is even the occasion for sending me flowers at 9am on a Saturday morning. Who else could that be, then? I hope it’s not one of my exes, because in that case the flowers will go straight to the trash bin. That could be my publisher, or a secret admirer, or… 

 

My stream of thoughts is interrupted by the loud knock on the door. Suddenly I realize I should make myself a birthday present and finally buy a proper doorbell.

 

As soon as I open the door, all my insides drop into my stomach. I don’t even see the guy who brought the flowers because the flowers are all I see. I can swear there’s a hundred red roses, if not more, wrapped in a pretty vintage styled paper. The smell is so intoxicating, and my head starts to spin.

 

“Please, leave your signature here,” I hear the male baritone and the next moment a piece of paper appears in front of my nose. I take the pen from my table and sign the acknowledgement receipt. The next moment the man hands me the bouquet and closes the door. 

 

I am left in the middle of the hallway with a good half of Queen Mary’s Gardens in my hands, and my forehead starts to sweat. What am I supposed to do with all these? I don’t even have a vase.

 

I go to the kitchen and put the bouquet on the table. As soon as I do, a little envelope, what must be the sender’s note, falls onto the floor. I look at it and swallow the lump in my throat, scared to read the note as I think I finally know from whom the present might be. 

 

Picking up the note from the floor, I open it and realize that my guesses were right. My heart starts beating erratically in my chest and my knees go weak. I feel like I’m gonna be sick, and I haven’t even had my morning coffee yet. I don’t even know whether I should laugh, or cry. All I want to do is scream.

 

The noise of the phone vibrating on my bedside table brings me back to reality. I shake my head, go to the bedroom and answer the call. 

 

“Birthday lass! Hope I didna wake ye up on yer special day!” I hear Geillis’ happy voice.

 

“Morning, Gee,” I say and feel my own voice shake. I need to sit down.

 

“Good morning, Claire! Happy Birthday to ye! And no, I am not going to make any age-related jokes this time, because I kind of genuinely feel bad about how old ye are. Welcome to the 30 plus club, darling, yer going to love it! How are ye this morning?”

 

“I… I don’t know.” I say and shrug.

 

“What do ye mean don’t know . Claire what happened? I dinna like yer voice. Are ye...crying?”

 

“Oh no, I’m not crying!” I lie as a single tear rolls down my cheek. “I’m fine, thank you for calling me! And thank you for your words!”

 

“Are ye sure? Ye sound upset. Is there something that ye dinna want to tell me? Are our plans for the evening still valid?” She asks carefully. 

 

For a moment I totally forgot that Geillis and I were supposed to go to the new pub opening, which magically coincides with my Birthday. Since I moved to Edinburgh I managed to visit about five new bars and pubs. I can barely keep track of all the new public places.

 

“Yes. Yes, it is.” I reply quickly.

 

“I’ll pick ye up at 7 then? Dinna forget to make a wish today!”

 

“Yes, yes I will. See you at 7. Bye.” 

 

I end the call and throw my phone on the bed. The heart is still beating like crazy, and I can’t see my own room because the tears blur my eyes. I return to the kitchen and take the note in my hands to read it again.

 

Happy Birthday, Sassenach.

 

*

 

It’s almost 7, and I’m standing in front of the mirror in my best dress, red lipstick, and my curls fall down my bare shoulders. The flowers are still on the kitchen table. I haven’t touched them since. Geillis shouldn’t know about them. 

 

I grab my purse, put on the highest heels I could find while shopping today, and open the front door. A cold wind blows in my face as soon as I get outside. In less than a minute I see the black cab approach the building. Okay. I need to act as if nothing happened. Smiling widely, I walk up to the car and get inside. 

 

“I ken ye didna want to go out and celebrate today, I remember that.” Geillis says as soon as the car starts moving. “And ye told me ye didna want me to give ye any presents, but… Yer my friend, Claire, and yer so special, and so crazy talented, and just amazing bonny lass that when I saw this in a store it made me think of ye. I hope yer gonna like it.”

 

Everything is fluttering inside my chest and I just want to cry as I listen to what Geillis is saying to me. I am so lucky to have her as a friend, she’s done so much for me. And thanks to her, I’m not alone on my birthday. She stops talking before pulling me into a big and warm hug. When we pull from our deep embrace, she gives me a smile and a small box.

 

“What is it?”

 

“Open it and ye will see.” Geillis lets out a small laugh, tucking her red hair behind her years. "Just a silly little thing."

 

I chuckle and unwrap the box. As soon as I see what’s inside I feel like I could burst into tears. There’s a little Silver book-shaped pendant with a chain that is both cute and exquisite, and for sure has a lot of meaning to me as a writer.

 

“Thank you. This is amazing. So beautiful.” I say and hug her again.

 

“I’m glad ye love it. It’s okay if ye willna wear it...”

 

“I will! I promise, I will,” I reassure her and put the box into my purse, smiling. “How soon till we arrive?”

 

“Soon.” She answers briefly and taps my shoulder.

 

Another noisy and crowded place. What else can I say? If not for Geillis, I don’t think I would ever go here. But she said the owner is a relative of her new boyfriend who couldn’t come. That’s why I am here. But, I can’t complain, it’s still better than to be alone on your own birthday.

 

“Okay, that’s actually a nice place,” I tell my friend when she finally brings us the drinks.

 

“Aye, it is! And today is yer day, baby, drink as much as ye want! I even asked if ye could dance on a table, and they said yes!”

 

I laugh in surprise. “You’re so insane. I’m not going to dance on a table!”

 

“I ken, but...just in case!” Geillis winks at me and we clink our glasses. “Slainte!”

 

Four drinks later I eventually find myself getting bored. I still don’t know what people do in pubs and bars all night. Every time I go to such a place I feel like leaving in an hour. 

 

“I think it’s time to call it a night,” I say to Geillis.

 

She looks at me, confused, and checks the time. “Claire, it isna even 10 yet, ye sure ye turned thirty-one today and not sixty-eight?”

 

I laugh at her joke again and get off my chair. “Yes, I’m sure.” As soon as I say it, my gaze falls on a tall man with copper curls and my heart stops. No way. Suddenly he turns his head and our eyes meet.

 

“We really need to leave, please,” I return to Geillis. “I’m going to the bathroom, and then we are going home, okay? But… You know what… If you want to stay, then stay. I will go home alone. I’ll be fine.” I say quickly, not letting Geillis add a single word, and look away before mine and Jamie’s eyes could lock again.

 

In the bathroom I do my best not to fall apart as I feel my heart sink and my hands start shaking. How much more time should pass before I stop reacting to him like this? He is probably laughing at me right now because I ran away as soon as I saw him. Again. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. I clench my hands into fists, so hard it almost hurts, I know my nails will leave deep bloody marks on my palms. 

 

Four strong drinks running through my blood make me feel dizzy. And then I sense the moment he walks into the bathroom, even though he hasn’t made a single sound. My pulse quickens at the scent of his cologne, and when I lift my head the first thing I see in the mirror is his reflection.

 

He walks up to me and stands behind my back, breathing on my neck and my bare shoulders, making me shiver. He’s not even touching me, but it already feels like a very intimate contact. 

 

“It's really ye,” he says, quietly.

 

Instead of answering I lower my eyes and stare at the floor. I thought we ended everything that night in a hotel room a month ago. I thought we were done. I can’t do this again.

 

“My friend is waiting for me.” I say firmly, still avoiding any eye contact. “I should go.”

 

“Claire… I thought we could talk...” Jamie whispers and gently takes me by the shoulder. I flinch.

 

I slowly turn my head to face him, breathe in and out, barely breathing at all because he is so goddamn breathtaking. “Fine. But not here,” I say. “Someone may walk in.”

 

He nods.

 

I walk out of the bathroom on shaking legs and head straight to the exit. Jamie is following me behind. I see Geillis in the crowd. I know she will not understand. She sees me and the person I am leaving with; her eyes widen, and her mouth falls open. I know what she thinks and she is right. I’m ruining myself.

 

“I’m sorry,” I whisper as I look at her before looking away. She only shakes her head. I hope she forgives me.

 

“Did ye like the flowers?” Jamie asks as soon as we’re outside, and I try to fill my lungs with as much fresh air as possible, as we start walking.

 

“Is that what you wanted to talk about?” I scoff. 

 

“No, but it would be nice to ken.”

 

I stop and stare at him. Maybe it’s just me, but his eyes seem to have lost their spark and his face looks tired and sad. 

 

Suddenly, I’m soft. “Yes, Jamie. They are beautiful. Thank you. You didn’t have to.” I say as I start to believe a small conversation won’t hurt anybody.

 

“I wanted to. It’s yer birthday.” Jamie simply says. “I’m sorry if I offended ye.”

 

“How did you even know about my birthday? I don’t remember telling you.”

 

“I have my ways, Sassenach.” He smirks.

 

“Of course.”

 

We keep walking, and I feel safe near him no matter how weird and ridiculous this may sound, considering our history and what he did. What we both did. I don’t know if it’s the alcohol still running through my veins, or a mere wish to feel protected, but I find myself wanting to be in his arms. Even if only for a couple of moments.

 

“Jamie...” I say as I stop again in the middle of the street.

 

“What?” He asks and searches my face.

 

I look at him and the day we saw each other for the first time in a bar flashes in front of my eyes. I remember how he offered to walk me home. It was windy, and he gave me his jacket. I shiver at the memories, and history repeats itself.

 

“I’m cold.”

 

Jamie immediately takes off his jacket and wraps it around my trembling shoulders. I could melt from the small touch of his finger on my skin.

 

“Better?”

 

“Much better. Thank you.” I say and give him a smile.

 

“Aye. So, how are ye, Claire?” He asks again as we resume our road.

 

“I’m fine.” I blurt, staring at the pitch dark sky. “I’ve been busy with my books, they’re selling well, actually I already started thinking about the third part of the series. So…”

 

“That’s amazing. I’m happy for ye.”

 

“Thank you.”

 

At this moment I can't help but think that for the first time since we met we are having a decent conversation. Our story started and ended with sex, and there was nothing but sex in between. I didn’t ever give us a chance to have a simple talk.

 

We walk down the streets in silence when he suddenly asks, “What are ye thinking about?”

 

“About the first day we met.” I give him the most honest answer.

 

“Me too.” Jamie says quietly and his hand slightly brushes against mine.

 

“Really?”

 

“Aye.”

 

I stop and look at him again. The moonlight lights up his beautiful face and the next moment I know I want to kiss him. I want to feel his lips on mine, to feel him. To feel something.

 

“Actually, I was thinking about the first time you kissed me.” I say and swallow. My lips are quivering and my heart is hammering in my chest. "Jamie---"

 

“Do ye want me to kiss ye again?”

 

“No. Because I am going to kiss you first.” 

 

Fearless.

 

And I do. I take one more step closer, look into his confused blue eyes, gently pull him to myself by the collar of his t-shirt and let our lips lock in a light kiss. He is hesitant at first, but to my delight, he returns the kiss. Crazy, passionate, delicious kissing that makes my knees go weak and my bones shake. He is moaning and pushing into me as I do the same, softly whimpering into his mouth. It really does feel like the first time.

 

A second later Jamie turns me around, presses me against the wall, and I absolutely lose my head. I don’t remember ever kissing like that, even with him. He is grabbing the back of my neck, touching my flushed face, pulling me in as close as possible. My whole body feels like it’s going to explode and my thighs squeeze uncontrollably. 

 

We kissed for a good five minutes before slowly pulling away. 

 

“Christ...” He lets out, and his hot breathing tickles my skin. “Ye drive me absolutely insane.”

 

His hand is still on my neck, moving down my bare shoulders, sneaking under the jacket. I don’t even know if I should stop him or just enjoy it. My brain returns to me and I pull away. He is married.

 

“I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have…” I mumble, fixing my hair.

 

“No, Claire, it’s alright.” He reassures me right away.

 

“No it’s not. I have to go. Please, let me catch the cab. I wanna go home.” I say as I take off his jacket and return it to him, before walking away. 

 

“Claire, wait.”

 

“Jamie, please, I shouldn't have done this. I can’t keep crossing this line.”

 

“We cross this line together.” He says in a serious tone. 

 

"Don't say anything." I shake my head and look away when I see the car approaching me.

 

"Claire, I still... "

 

“No. Goodbye, Jamie.” I whisper as I open the door.

 

Before I get inside, I hear him call me again.

 

“Sassenach?”

 

“What?” I turn to him.

 

“I would cross this line again.”




+++

 

 

Chapter Text


 

I told myself I would never let Jamie Fraser into my apartment again. But as soon as I hear the knock on the door, I jump off the bed. I rush to open it, like a teenage girl whose parents are gone for the weekend, and she can finally invite her boyfriend over. 

 

I push the door open and our eyes meet. A small smile appears in the corners of his mouth. Tenderness shines in his big blue eyes as they start roaming my face.

 

I take a step back, and he walks in. Unceremoniously closing the door with his foot, he pulls me into a warm hug and I feel home again. I relax and hold onto him, nuzzling into his neck, feeling so vulnerable and so small next to him.

 

So small and so stupid. 

 

I want to say something, to thank him for coming, for dropping everything, for being here. But I feel like I’ve lost the ability to speak, so I just hug him tight, as tight as I can to express my gratitude.

 

“I was on my way home when ye called me…” He whispers into my ear, breathing me in, and his light stubble tickles my cheek.

 

“Jamie…” I whisper back, still not knowing what to say, and my body starts to tremble against his. 

 

 “Why?”

 

Why ? He wants to know why I have called him in the middle of the night to tell him I need him? Why does my brain turn off as soon as I lay my eyes on him, and my heart just stops beating? Why do I keep ruining myself for him over and over? It’s simple. It’s easy. It’s as certain as the sun rising in the east.

 

“I’m still not over you.”

 

He pulls out of the embrace and stares into my eyes, piercing my soul with his sky blue orbs. He slightly shakes his head before he licks his lips and presses them to mine. I whimper as his tongue starts rolling over my lips, pushing its way into my mouth. I close my eyes and part my lips as I run my fingers through his soft hair, holding him to me, trying to get as much connection as possible. 

 

Soon our kissing gets more intense as our tongues swirl in a passionate dance, and everything inside me begins to flutter. My breasts crush against his chest as we wrap our arms around each other, roaming, touching, pressing. I can feel his heartbeat through his shirt, strong and steady against my own, and I shiver at the thought of what’s going to happen next. 

 

“Claire...” Jamie suddenly breaks the kiss, catching his breath. I put my fingers on his lips, tracing lines over his mouth and chin with my fingertips. I sense his hot breath on them and everything inside me tightens as he kisses my fingers.

 

“Shhh.” I whisper.

 

“Sassenach...”

 

“Just say you want this.”

 

 “This is all I want.”

 

I let out a sharp breath and the next thing I know we are tearing each other’s clothes off, tossing them on the floor, before stumbling our way to my bedroom. Jamie pushes me onto the pillows and lies on top of me, claiming my mouth again, caressing my every curve with his hands. Our need for each other starts rising as our bodies are slamming against one another in a frenzy.

 

I roll and climb on top of him as we keep savoring each other’s mouths, panting heavily. My hair tickles his face and I can feel him smile into the kiss.  His hands slide down my back into my panties, and he grasps my buttocks. Fondling my arse, he’s pressing my body to his, making me feel how hard and ready he is for me. And then, he’s on top of me again.

 

“Jamie…” I breathe out, gasping for air. “It’s…not enough. Take me. Oh god, take me…now,” I beg, lifting my lower body to help him take off my already soaked panties, losing myself, sprawling before him, impatient for more.

 

“I’m going to take ye, and I’m going to have ye and make ye scream so loud all yer neighbors will ken my name,” he says before ripping off my underwear and throwing them across the room. The next moment I watch him take off his briefs before they join our clothes on the floor.

 

He leans to my chest, his lips capture my hardened nipple, and he starts sucking on it with all the passion he has in him. His right hand cups and squeezes my other breast, rolling the nipple between his fingers. Every flick of his tongue over my breast is making me shake, and I’m arching my back off the bed. 

 

‘Oh my god...it feels so good.“ I mumble, uncontrollably grabbing the sheets with my fists. “More, I need more. Don’t stop.”

 

His mouth keeps traveling down my body, caressing my flushed skin, until he finally reaches the area between my legs. Groaning, Jamie pushes my knees apart and moves to settle between them. Placing my legs on his shoulders, he starts kissing my inner thighs, making me squirm with joy and anticipation. 

 

“I missed yer smell,” Jamie whispers, making my entrance wetter than it already is. “And yer taste…,” he adds before his tongue finally touches my burning core. Light little flicks all over the sensitive skin as he licks his way up to my aching nub. “I wouldna be able to stop even if I wanted to. Ye taste like heaven.”

 

“Fuck...” is all I can manage, moving my thighs in a rhythm with his licks.

 

“Aye, that’s exactly what I am going to do to ye, Sassenach,” he groans again before adding his fingers, sliding them through my slick folds, stroking, reaching the glory spot. His thumb massages my clit, circling and teasing, driving me closer to the peak.

 

“It. Feels. So. Good.” I utter, barely able to keep my eyes open.

 

“Dinna close yer eyes, lass,” he commands, “I’m going to make ye come, and I want ye to watch me do that. And then, I will slide my cock inside ye and make ye come again.”

 

The way he speaks, the sound of his voice and the look in his eyes as they lock with mine make it impossible for me to hold back the release any longer. 

 

“Ohhhh... goddd, Jamie...” I cry out and squeeze his head with my thighs, jerking against it as I’m coming hard and my heart beats so fast it could jump out my throat.

 

Throwing my head back, I moan loudly, making an attempt to free my legs from his delicious attack before I could pass out, because the pleasure is too unbearable. 

 

“Not yet, mo nighean donn,” Jamie protests. And this is when I realize he is not going to stop. I stare at him almost in shock as he keeps pushing his fingers inside my pussy, licking my wet lips. And then I come again, flooding his hand and mouth with my juices dripping out of me and down his chin. He smiles and buries his tongue into my tight wet hole as he takes it all.

 

Realizing what happened, I finally manage to sit on the bed and press my knees to my chest, embarrassed. “I’mmm sorry,” I mumble, avoiding eye contact. Did I just do that ? The power of the orgasm was so strong and intense, stronger than anything I have ever experienced in my whole life.

 

“What are ye sorry for?” Jamie asks, startled. “Christ… I’ve never…seen ye come like that before, Sassenach. Ye dinna have to be sorry for anything.”

 

I feel my cheeks burn red and emotions overwhelm me. I look aside, not recognizing myself anymore.

 

“It’s never been like that.”

 

Jamie touches my chin with his hand, turning my head, so I face him. “Hey, it’s alright. Yer…so damn hot, delicious, amazing, the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen.” 

 

He runs his thumb over my lower lip as he speaks, and listening to him makes me want to burst into tears.

 

“I should hate you for making me cry,” I let out a small laugh and brush away one treacherous tear from my cheek.

 

“But… Ye dinna hate me.”

 

“No. I don’t.” I take his face in my hands and kiss him hard, tasting him, myself, our sins. “I don’t hate you. I want you. And I want you inside me, now,” I say between kisses. “I want you to fuck me with your cock and come inside me, make me feel you as you throb and spill yourself into me. I want this, I want you. I want you. I want you.”

 

With that, I lay back and pull his body on top of mine, spread my legs, take and stroke his hard cock before guiding him to my still wet pulsating entrance. 

 

“Fuck me,” I demand and lose my mind all over again.

 

Jamie lets out a guttural growl as he slowly plunges into me. Our heavy breaths and moans fill the room as soon as he starts thrusting deep. He kisses the tip of my nose, my forehead, my lips, while stretching me, filling me with his cock again and again before slowing down and then resuming his pace.

 

“Since our last time… I’ve been burning for ye, Sassenach.” He says, and his breath is shaking. “I imagined it so many times…being with ye again, holding ye in my arms, feeling yer skin against mine, having ye and watching ye having me. Christ, this is all I wanted, all I need.”

 

“Jamie… Do you think I didn’t feel the same way about you?” I ask, madly biting his lips, drawing blood. “Do you expect that it’s somehow different to me?”

 

My whole body is on fire. I feel like we’re swimming  in the ocean or floating in space, and there’s nothing around us, there’s nothing but us. I slide my hands down his back and grip his firm ass, pushing him closer to my center. As close as possible but never close enough. 

 

Jamie presses his forehead against mine, our breaths mingling as he slams into me again and again. All of a sudden he slips out and grabs me with his arms before rolling onto his back and pulling me on top of him. I feel his hardness against my ass, and he lifts me slightly, driving back inside my pussy.

 

 I sit back and start riding him, feeling the length of his shaft in me, feeling the third orgasm approach. The sensation is electrifying, it feels like the world is spinning, and it takes only one gentle flick of his finger over my clit to send me over the edge. 

 

He’s following right after me as we let our release wash over us, crying out each other's names, forgetting everything. I collapse on top of him, and we catch our breaths, staring into each other’s eyes.

 

It’s madness and I know it.

 

But I don’t regret anything. 

 

And, suddenly, I smile.



“What did you want to say?” I ask as we lay in bed all spent. My legs rest on his lap, and he caresses my knees.

 

“When?”

 

“Today. You said ‘I still’, but... I stopped you.” I whisper looking at him.

 

Jamie looks back at me and I see the vein start pulsating on his neck. 

 

“Aye. I wanted to say that I still love ye, Sassenach. I love you and only you. And I canna stop thinking how blind and stupid I was to marry her, and didna wait for ye. I hate myself for this. I wake up every day, miserable, thinking things will change, hoping they’ll get better, but they don’t. It’s not working. Because I love you.”

 

I shudder. 

 

“Jamie...”

 

“What?”

 

I swallow hard, my voice starts to shake again. 

 

“I love you too. I think you need to talk to your wife.”







+++

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 


 

“Are ye awake, Sassenach?” I hear Jamie’s voice in the darkness of my room, where the only source of light is the sun rays breaking through the thick curtains. I lazily open my eyes and throw a glance at the wall clock. It’s almost 10 am.

 

“Hmhhmm,” I mumble, still half asleep.

 

We are laying in each other’s arms, naked, limbs entwined, my head rests on his chest. I can hear his heartbeat against my ear, steady and calm. His fingers run through my messy curls, massaging my scalp, making me shiver.

 

Last night was amazing, remarkable. We lost count of how many times we made each other come, and now my whole body is sore, all my muscles hurt. But this is pain I don’t mind bearing. It’s always been like this with Jamie; whenever we finish, we are tempted to start all over again.

 

“Can ye say it again?” I hear him whisper.

 

“Say what?” I tease, pretending I don’t know what he’s talking about.

 

“Ye ken what.” He says, and I can feel his heart start to beat faster.

 

“I love you." I lift my head and look into his deep blue eyes. "Is that what you wanted to hear?”

 

“Aye.” He smiles and kisses my forehead. “I just wanted to make sure I didna dream it.”

 

“You didn’t.” I reply quietly, before kissing him softly. He kisses me back and I pull his lower lip, feeling him smile into the kiss. Never getting enough.

 

“It feels so good to just be able to kiss ye, Sassenach,” he murmurs, caressing my bare back with his soft fingers.

 

“Jamie,” I break the kiss, pretending I need to catch some air, pull away and lean on the headboard.

 

“What is it, Sassenach?” He sits up in front of me, and caresses my shoulder. “Tell me.”

 

I collect my strength and take a deep breath. “When are you going to talk to your...wife?” 

 

I swear, each time I utter this word everything inside me turns into knots. I swallow and remove his hand from my shoulder. I can see how his face changes instantly. 

 

“She is in Paris now. Something happened to her father, she left two days ago.”

 

I raise my eyebrow. “She didn’t ask you to come with her?”

 

Jamie swallows. “I said I couldna go because I had to work.”

 

“I see.” Seems like things don’t go well in the Frasers’ residence. “When will she come back?” 

 

“Wednesday.”

 

Suddenly, I feel amused by this rather convenient coincidence. His wife leaving, us meeting two days later as if fate itself is tempting us, playing with us. Or is it trying to tell us something? I let out a smirk.

 

“Okay.”

 

“I will talk to her, I promise. I will put an end to this marriage. Ye have my word, Sassenach.”

 

“Okay.” I say again and give him a quick smile, before getting out of bed, and wrap a blanket around my naked shape.

 

“There’s something else, but ye dinna wish to tell me...”

 

I turn my head and look at him. “How do you always know?”

 

“Ye canna lie. It’s written all over yer face. So what is it?”

 

I swallow and sit back on the edge of the bed. “When are you going to talk to her? Promise me you will talk to her once she is back.” I say as I expect Jamie to give me an affirmative response, but instead his eyes lower and he bites the insides of his cheek.

 

“Look… I said I will talk to her. But I canna promise I will do it...fast.”

 

Unbelievable. My heart clenches, causing actual pain in my chest.

 

“What?”

 

“Claire… She’s…my wife.”

 

“Who am I then?” I scoff and jump off. “You want it all, don’t you? You’ve got a woman to fuck - me, and you’ve got a woman to go home to - her! But you can’t have everything, Jamie! You can’t ha---!”

 

“Yer not just a fuck for me, Claire! And ye ken that!” He interrupts me as he quickly gets off the bed, wrapping a blanket around himself, and the next second he’s standing in front of me. Breathing heavily he stares into my eyes, so intensely he could have burnt a hole if he intended to. “Yer more than just a fuck. I love you! Damn it, lass! Ye dinna ken what I have been through these past months…thinking I lost ye forever after what I had done! Thinking about someone else claiming ye, touching ye!”

 

“No one touches me, Jamie!” I scream back at him. “You don’t know what I have been through all these months! And every time I thought I was done with you - you appeared out of nowhere, and ruined everything!”

 

“I appear out of nowhere?” He screams, making me shudder. “Do ye think that I havena been trying to get over ye, aye? I'm here now because you called and asked me to come. And your face is everywhere! And that day ye called me and asked to meet... And yesterday? Do ye think I came to that pub to meet with ye? I was there with my friends, I had no idea, but then you appeared out of nowhere!”

 

“But you followed me to the bathroom. Why? Oh, wait, you just can’t control yourself. You can’t keep your hands to yourself!”

 

“But what about ye? Can ye? Can you keep yer hands to yerself, Claire?” He snaps.

 

I can’t. He knows that I can’t. He knows I can’t think straight when he is near me and I know that, too. I know that so damn well.

 

“Jamie...”

 

Not letting me say any other word, this bloody Scot grabs my face with both his hands and smashes our mouths together in a steamy kiss. Before I can withdraw my mind from the argument I’m not even sure we’ve ended, his hands are all over me, touching, caressing, claiming

 

I gasp as his tongue invades my mouth, while one of his hands rips the blanket off me, throwing it aside. His blanket joins mine on the floor and the next moment we’re sliding down onto the soft carpet. Jamie settles on top of me and pushes my legs apart with his knee. 

 

“Yer so hot when yer mad, Sassenach,” he teases me with a mischievous grin, planting soft kisses all over my face.

 

“Fuck me then,” I let out a breath and wrap my legs around his back, feeling his hardness twitch and brush against my entrance. I don’t want to let another minute pass without him being inside me, consuming my body. “Please,” I add and pull Jamie closer to kiss him again. 

 

Soon I feel his hand travel between my thighs, gently cupping my burning entrance, as if he’s making sure I am wet enough to penetrate me. Doesn’t he know that I am always ready and dripping wet for him ? Getting the approval he needed, Jamie swiftly pushes into me and we both moan into each other’s mouths at the feeling. I squeeze my inner walls around him and he groans loudly, thrusting in and out of my warmth, building up the speed. I can tell I’m already close, and we have only just started.

 

“I’m close,” I stop the kiss and whisper into his ear, “I’m gonna come, oh God, Jamie...”

 

“Come for me, let me feel ye,” he encourages me before he slides his hand between our bodies again and reaches my engorged clit, making me squirm. “Ye dinna even ken how fucking hot ye are, I’m losing every piece of my damn mind, burning, dying with want for ye every minute of every day.”

 

I cry out when he starts rubbing my delicate nub with his fingers, and the next moment I explode underneath him. I come hard and a body-shaking orgasm rips through me. I wrap my arms around his shoulders and hug him tight as I feel him throb and release the flood of his warm seed into my depths. 

 

Rolling off me, Jamie looks at my flushed face and I look back at him. He slowly strokes my cheek as I catch my breath, and I can finally see his sparkling eyes and his breathtaking smile, now visible in the morning light. In silence, I feel his hand slide down my chest and cover my beating heart.

 

“Jamie, I’m sorry I shouted at you,” I say.

 

“I’m sorry too, Sassenach,” he whispers, gently kissing my shoulder. “I didna want to, didna mean it.”

 

“I ken,” I mimic his Scottish accent, and he bursts into a fit of laughter. “I just…want to be with you, Jamie. And I want to be able to go out with you without...hiding.” And sleep with you without feeling guilt and shame. “You say that you hate yourself for not waiting for me, and I hate myself for not realizing it all sooner, for fighting it, for running away. We wasted so much time, so many opportunities.”

 

“Aye, I guess we were both just...stupid.” Jamie says softly, cupping my cheek, before kissing me.

 

I kiss him back and butterflies in my stomach do a happy dance. We break the kiss and I make an attempt to get off the floor when I feel a stabbing pain in my lower back. “Oouuchh,” I let out a small cry.

 

“Christ, what is it?” Jamie asks immediately, worried. “Are ye alright?”

 

“Shit. I think I overstretched my muscles last night,” I reply, trying to sit up, throwing glances at him. “It’s your fault!”

 

Jamie lets out another laugh. “Aye, ye were there too, remember?” He smiles, caressing my hair and kissing the tip of my nose. “Let me help ye get up. I think I have something in mind.”

 

He lifts me in his arms and puts me onto the bed, before walking out of my bedroom. I could have gotten up myself, but I forgot how nice it felt to be taken care of by the man you love. Two days ago I felt so lonely, unwanted, heartbroken as I realized I was turning thirty-one and I didn’t have anyone special in my life. Anyone special to surprise me and wish me a happy birthday, take care of me, want me and love me. I seem to have it now. I have it all except one big ‘but’ ....

 

My thoughts are being interrupted by the loud sound of the turned on water coming from the bathroom.

 

“What are you doing in there?” I ask, wondering if Jamie decided to take a bath in my apartment on his own. 

 

Suddenly, he appears in the doorway and his face lights up with a dazzling smile. He comes up to me and lifts me in his arms again, not saying anything. He slowly walks towards my bathroom and pushes the door open with his foot. My gaze immediately falls on the bathtub with a bubble bath. 

 

“Is this...for me?” I ask as I get both confused and overwhelmed, not believing my own eyes. 

 

“Aye. It should help ye relax and ease the pain in yer muscles, Sassenach.”

 

With that, Jamie carefully plunges me into the tub and I feel the water enveloping me with its warmth. He squats next to me and scoops a handful of hot water to pour it down the back of my neck. I sigh as I turn my head to him and place my face into his warm hand. He caresses the back of my neck and the tops of my shoulders. I lean slightly forward so that his hands can slide down my spine and the sides of my back. And then he slides his hand back and forth across my cleavage, not daring to go lower.

 

"That feels heavenly." I murmur as I encourage him, feeling eternally grateful.

 

He suddenly stops and gets up. “Wait, I forgot something.”

 

“Okay,” I say and lean on the back of the bathtub, closing my eyes, hoping this ‘something’ is joining me.

 

Jamie walks out but returns quickly with two red roses in his hand. “Saw these on the kitchen table. The thorns are so sharp!” 

 

“And what are you doing again?” I ask as he sits on the edge of the tub and begins to tear off the petals one by one, throwing them into the water.

 

“Bathing you in soft rose petals, Sassenach.”

 

And this is when I realize Jamie Fraser is a fucking romantic. I smile and look at him, speechless. And then I realize he’s already dressed up.

 

“Wait, you’re not going to join me here?” Frustrated, I pull my leg out of the water, teasing him.

 

“I wish.” He sounds serious, but I can tell his eyes have sparkled with lust. “But I have to go. I have things to do.”

 

“But it’s 11am. And it’s Sunday!”

 

“Sorry, Claire. With my job the weekends have lost their meaning.” He says, and leans to place a soft kiss on my lips, caressing my bare knee popping out of the bubbles.

 

“Okay.” I say quietly, not wanting our time with each other to end. It feels like a dream you have to wake up from and face the ugly reality. “When will I see you again?”

 

“What are you doing tomorrow evening?”

 

“Seeing you?” I smile, twitching my eyebrows.

 

Jamie smirks. “Smart lass. I’ll call ye, aye?”

 

“Aye.”

 

After spending almost an hour in the bathtub until the water got cold, I returned to my bedroom and grabbed my phone. I saw two missed calls and one text message from my publisher. Frowning, I read the text and my blood started freezing in my veins.

 

Get your bags packed. 🧳 You’re going on a book tour on Thursday.



+++

Chapter Text


 

Jamie’s POV

 

“So, is that her?”

 

“Sorry?” I lift my head and see my colleague that also happens to be my best friend, John Grey, leaning on my table with both his hands. We just finished our unplanned Sunday meeting with the new investor, and returned to my office. “I dinna understand what yer talking about, John.” I say, avoiding looking him in the eye.

 

“Come on, Fraser,” John teases as he sits into a chair in front of me. “I saw  your face when the two of you left the pub last night. So, is that her? The woman you talked to me about back in spring. Her name is Claire, right?”

 

Suddenly, I flinch. Is it really that obvious? John knows some things about Claire, but not much. I told him about her when Claire and I only started seeing each other. He is my best friend. We’ve been friends since high school, and, unlike me, he actually graduated from college, and ironically we work together now.

 

The fact that I’m keeping secrets from John, keeping everything inside myself, is eating me alive. I feel bad enough already as I’m not being able to talk about Claire to anyone, even to him. And now, I’m feeling like I’m not only betraying my wife, but my friend as well. 

 

I sigh as I close my laptop, and lean back on my chair, still avoiding his gaze. 

 

“John… I’m going to tell ye something. And the last thing I expect from ye is judgement, aye?” I say as I finally look at him.

 

“Of course.” John says, curiosity written all over his face.

 

I take a deep breath. “I’m…sleeping with her. With Claire. I’m...cheating on my wife, and… well, that’s all. I ken it’s wrong and I shouldna be doing that—“

 

“How long?” My friend interrupts me.

 

“I dinna ken… Two months? But, it doesna happen often, we’re just…”

 

“Two months?!” John cuts me off again, raising his eyebrows. “Jamie, you’ve been married for two months. Do you mean to say you started seeing Claire like the next day after your wedding with Anna?”

 

“No.” I reply instantly and feel my insides squeeze as I hear John say my wife’s name. “It’s more complicated than ye think it is. I fought it. I didna want to do it. I wanted to stop. I tried. But she is… I love her, John. I love Claire.”

 

“But… What about Annalise?”

 

“Exactly! What about her?” I snap as I jump off the chair and start pacing around the office. “I canna even look into her eyes anymore without feeling tortured in hiding this from her, living in constant fear. I’m riddled with guilt and… I have to put an end to this. I have to. I have to stop hurting my wife. And I promised Claire I would, so we could be together…”

 

“Then you should talk to your wife, Jamie. Sooner or later she will find out, and it’s better if she finds out from you.” John says as he faces me. “Remember my father’s friend Paul? Turned out he was cheating on his wife for years, until his mistress came to his wife and told her everything because she wanted him to leave his wife and be with her. In the end, he lost them both.”

 

“I canna lose Claire. Not again. Not after she’s told me she loves me too, and I promised her to talk to Annalise as soon as she comes back from Paris.”

 

“Alright.” John nods and gives me a smile. “You know, I’m glad you told me. It explains a lot. You’ve been a bit off lately. Now, I know why.”

 

“Yer not going to judge me?”

 

“Of course not.” He says as he smiles at me again. “Not my style.”

 

On my way home, when my car almost reached its destination, I felt the vibration of my phone in my side pocket. I picked up immediately and heard my wife’s shaking voice.

 

“Jamie? Oh, Jamie...”

 

“Anna, what’s wrong? Are ye crying?” 

 

“You have to come here.” She mumbles and I can tell it’s very difficult for her to speak.

 

“To come? Where?” I ask, startled, not quite understanding what’s going on.

 

“Here. To Paris. Mon papa died this morning.” 

 

“What? Christ… I’m so sorry. Can ye calm down and tell me what happened?” I say as I stop the car and walk into the house. 

 

“He didn’t feel well for five days and…and he had a stroke last night, and this morning he died. Jamie, please, I need you here, can you come tomorrow? Or today?” She keeps mumbling and crying.

 

I feel like my blood starts to freeze in my veins and my own heart's about to stop beating, too. I sit on the kitchen chair and hold my face with one hand while the other holds the phone with my wife crying on the other side of the line.

 

“Anna… I dinna think I can---”

 

“What? Are you going to tell me about your work again? For God’s sake Jamie, can you, please, forget about work just for once, and be here for me when I really need you?” Her voice has gone from anxious to angry in a blink of an eye.

 

“Aye. I’m sorry. Yes, of course. I will be there. I’m sorry, I will take the next flight. I’ll be there. Wait for me.”

 

I end the call and throw my phone on the table. Panic, fear, frustration, regret and anger are all mixed inside me. I feel like hitting the wall with my fists and screaming at the top of my lungs. I can’t believe what I have gotten myself into, this seems to be a nightmare and I can’t wake up.

 

Claire.

 

How will I tell her about this? How will I tell her I’m leaving today , and how will I tell her that I can’t talk to my wife about divorce after she just lost her beloved father?

 

I stare at my phone again and grab it from the table to make a call to Claire. But, as soon as I unlock the screen, my phone starts ringing again. It’s her. 

 

It’s Claire.

 

“Claire?” I immediately answer the call.

 

“Jamie.” I can hear her voice breaking. “I’m sorry for calling, I’m sorry if I disturb you, I just… I don’t know what to do. I need to tell you something.”

 

“What happened?” I ask impatiently, thinking how much more of this I can handle.

 

“I’m sorry for throwing all this at you, but soon after you left I got a text from my publisher. I have to go on a book tour next week. For a whole month ! They didn’t even tell me in advance, and now I have to drop everything and travel around the cities alone , and my friend and agent Geillis doesn’t even pick up her phone, I’ve been calling her all morning. She probably hates me again for leaving yesterday with you , and, and...” She stops rambling and I let out a sigh. “Jamie, are you still there?”

 

“Aye, I am, I’m here. Claire, listen, this tour is gonna be a great possibility for ye to connect with yer readers all over the country and maybe beyond, you will meet people who love yer books, aye? This is amazing. Yer amazing and ye deserve it. Ye deserve to be happy, Sassenach...” My last words come out as a whisper, and I can barely hear them myself.

 

“Jamie… Are you alright?” She asks with worry in her voice. “You sound upset.”

 

“Claire… I...” I begin, and suddenly feel as if I’ve lost the ability to speak and all the words left me. 

 

“What is it?” She says quietly. “Jamie, talk to me.”

 

“I have to go to Paris.” I say firmly and face a long pause.

 

“You...what? When?” I hear her voice again after what’s felt like an hour. 

 

“Today. It isna my will Sassenach, it isna my fault.”

 

“Today? Jamie, why do you have to leave?”

 

“Anna’s father died. I have to be there with her. I dinna ken for how long, I dinna ken when I will come back… And...” I pause to swallow and take another deep breath. “I dinna ken when I will talk to her about... us. I’m sorry, Sassenach.”

 

“Oh...” Escapes her mouth and my stomach flips again at the realization of how much I’m hurting her. 

 

“Sassenach...”

 

“It’s fine, Jamie. You don’t have to apologize. I get it. You have to be with your wife. And, I have to go on this tour. We’re just going to do what we have to.” 

 

“I’m sorry I keep causing ye pain, Claire. Ye dinna deserve it.” I say, and my own voice starts to shake. “But, I just want ye to ken one thing. I love ye more than anything. I love ye and none of the rest of it matters. Do ye hear me?”

 

“Yes. Yes, I hear you. I have to go now, and try to call Geillis again.”

 

“Claire, wait... I will miss ye. I already miss ye,” I say, on the verge of tears. 

 

“I know. Bye.”

 

She hangs up and I know, I feel it with my entire being that she’s mad, hurt and disappointed. I could hear it in her voice. I know she has every reason to be. What I also know is that I’m that reason.

 

When we first met, I thought I would be the man she deserved. I’m not that man anymore. 

 

I get off the chair and rush to my bedroom where I grab my laptop and quickly book the ticket to Paris online. My flight is going to be in four hours. As I start to pack my travel bag, throwing things in it one by one, I realize that this morning was the last time I saw Claire. And I don’t know when I will see her again. I sit on the bed and take my phone to call her. She answers after long four beeps.

 

“Sassenach...” I start when I hear her sniffle. 

 

“What, Jamie?”

 

She’s crying. I hate myself.

 

“I need to see ye. Before I leave. Please. Can we meet?”

 

Claire lets out a deep breath. “You said you can’t be with me in public because people may see us.” She says quietly.

 

“Yes. But… I dinna care. My flight is in four hours. If I had time to get back to ye, I would, but I dinna have time.”

 

“What do you suggest, then?”

 

After a long pause I blurt unthoughtfully. “Come to see me at the airport.”

 

“Are you serious? Do you really want me to stand there and watch you leave for Paris, again?” I can hear the notes of pain and sarcasm in her voice. 

 

“Claire, please...we dinna have another choice.”

 

She’s silent again. My hands start to sweat, and my heart is beating in my throat.

 

“Fine.” She finally gives up. “I’ll be there.” 

 

When I arrive at the Edinburgh airport, I see her in the lounge, sitting in a chair with her arms crossed across her chest. She looks so tiny, vulnerable and lost. I want to throw my entire life away just to be with her, hold her and never let her go. I quickly approach her and drop my bag onto the floor. She stands up and without wasting any more time I pull her close to myself.

 

“I’m so sorry, Sassenach.” I whisper into her hair when I feel her tear roll down my neck.

 

“No. Don’t say anything.”

 

“Okay.”

 

We stand like this for a good ten minutes, before slowly pulling away. I look at her and my heart breaks all over again. My lass, mo nighean donn, mo ghraidh, my everything.

 

“You have to go. Boarding was just announced...” She says, looking at me with her red, puffy eyes.

 

“I hate doing this to ye… But, I will call ye, aye?” I ask as I hold her face in my hands.

 

“Aye. Now go.”

 

I sigh and cup her soft cheek. I know I want to kiss her. I lean to her and press our lips together. She’s hesitant at first, but then opens her mouth and returns the kiss. As we’re standing with our mouths locked, with people watching and my flight being announced over the intercom again and again, ringing in my ears, I realize how damaged we both are. And it’s my duty to fix it. To fix us both. No matter the cost.

 

 

+++

Chapter Text


 

Two candles on a table. Two bodies crashing against one another in the darkness. Incoherent words escaping their mouths; a smell of passion and sex filling the air. 

 

“Touch me, please touch me.” I’m almost pleading, taking off my shirt, pulling up my skirt, giving myself to him. He pushes me onto the soft couch and lies on top of me. I let out a deep moan as he starts planting hot and open-mouthed kisses on my flushed neck and bare shoulders. 

 

“I was ready to touch ye the moment ye walked into the room, Sassenach. I couldna stop thinking about yer lips on mine and your body pressed against my own.”

 

His hand quickly goes between my shaking legs and he slides it into my soaked panties. His fingers part me and touch me where I’m so warm and sensitive already. I shiver and gasp and throw my head back in ecstasy. “Oh my God...”

 

“It’s been so long,” he whispers into my ear, nibbling at my earlobe. “If only ye kent how much I wanted to-”

 

“I know, I know…please. Just…hold me like you won’t let go, and don’t stop. Don’t stop until I’m shaking.” I mumble, before turning my head and kissing him on the mouth.

 

It’s passionate, it’s maddening, it’s beyond my control and my comprehension. I’m losing myself with him, loving him reckless, wanting, needing, craving more and more with each day passing, with every breath that I take. This is bigger than me and I don’t ever want it to end. His eyes set fire to my soul and his hands set fire to my body. Every part of me is burning for him and I’m in agony, quivering, shattering, begging for more.

 

"Tell me I'm yours."

 

"Yer mine. Ye belong with me."

 

I keep moaning while he’s stroking me gently, and I’m so wet and weak under his hands as he plays this very familiar game with me. His fingers slip in and out, rubbing circles around the most aching spots, fast and firm and I’m so gonna lose it.

 

“Come for me, Claire, I can feel yer close…”

 

“I want you inside me.” 

 

“No. I want to watch ye.” He says, brushing away the curls from my forehead. “Let it go, come for me, Claire, oh Claire….”

 

“Claire!”

 

My eyes fly open and I immediately feel like bursting into tears. Geillis is standing next to me with her arms crossed over her chest. 

 

“What’s happening? What time is it?” I ask, still half asleep, wishing I could go back to my dream into Jamie’s arms. These dreams are uncontrollable and I can't do anything to stop them. Not that I want to. But waking up each time and realizing it was just a dream is driving me crazy. I miss him like hell. 

 

“It’s almost 11!” Her voice is ringing in my ears. “Wake up! Yer gonna be late! The reading is at 12!”

 

If someone told me a year ago that I would go on a book tour to promote something I had written out of boredom, I would have never believed them. If someone told me I wouldn’t care about this tour, I would have laughed at them. If someone told me I wouldn’t care about this tour because of a man, I would have totally slapped the person in the face. 

 

“Fuck.” I utter, getting out of bed. “Do I have time for a shower?”

 

“I’m no sure ye even have time for breakfast, lass,” my friend slaps my butt and throws my clothes at me.

 

“Can I, at least, wash my face and brush my hair, thank you very much?” I say as I throw the clothes onto the bed. “And for your information, I’d rather not having breakfast at all. Food here is horrible!” 

 

“Yer so picky!”

 

“I’m not! That fresh juice yesterday was far from being fresh, and those bananas looked like they were pulled out of someone’s ass!”

 

Geillis bursts into fits of laughter. “I didna pick this hotel, Claire. Ye did.”

 

“I didn’t know!” I shout from the bathroom, brushing my teeth. Just thinking about food is making me feel nauseous. 

 

When I walk out, I see my friend hold a plate with fresh fruits and a glass of juice. “Ye have to eat something before leaving.”

 

I sigh as I drink the juice and put two slices of a green apple into my mouth. “Okay, today it’s better. But still, not perfect!”

 

Geillis rolls her eyes and puts the plate on the table. “I eat the same food here and I’m feeling just fine. Hurry! l’ll be waiting for ye at the lobby!”

 

I lean on the windowsill, chewing on my apple. We are in London now, this is our third stop after Glasgow and Manchester. London didn’t change much since I left it three years ago. It was my home for nearly ten years before I made a decision to move to Edinburgh and start over. 

 

As I finish my apple and start putting on my clothes, I get an uneasy feeling in my stomach and rush to the bathroom to throw up. Wonderful. I shouldn’t have eaten anything here again. I get up from the floor and brush my teeth again, before quickly dressing up and putting on make-up.

 

“What took ye so long?” Geillis asks me as soon as we meet at the lobby and head to the exit where the car is already waiting for us. “Ye look weird, are ye alright?”

 

“I’m fine,” I blurt, getting into the car. “Let’s go, we’re gonna be late.”

 

As we drive to the Waterstones, where the presentation is going to take place, Geillis gently squeezes my hand. “Claire... I havena told ye that but I’m so proud of ye.”

 

I squeeze her hand in return and give her a genuine smile. “Thank you. I would never be able to do it without you, I hope you know that. I’m grateful you didn’t drop me after all. Thank you for doing this with me.”

 

The day Jamie left, I finally managed to get Geillis to answer my call. We met and I told her everything. About the flowers, about kissing Jamie and calling him in the middle of the night and asking him to come because I was a wreck, about telling him I loved him, about him leaving for Paris again. I cried in her arms until I couldn’t breathe anymore. And she didn’t leave me. She was there for me and promised to always be there for me.

 

Having a deep and honest conversation about my feelings with my only friend made us closer to each other. Without judgement, without complaints, without being upset with each other for whatever stupid reason.

 

“What part are ye going to read today?” Geillis asks.

 

I let out a sigh. “Well.... Maybe that one in chapter twenty-two, the last one, where my heroine finally says to her man how she truly feels about him?”

 

“I love that one. Readers will be excited!” Geillis exclaims and pauses. “Claire… Has Jamie called?”

 

“No.” I answer quickly and lower my eyes. “It’s been a week since we last spoke. And he didn’t answer my text.”

 

“I’m sorry, lass. Ye ken that things havena been going well with his wife and her family.”

 

“I know. I know that… He told me that she barely talks since the funeral. It’s…tragic. I can’t even imagine. Also, he said he doesn’t leave her side, and it’s hard for them both. That was the last thing I heard from him. And I didn’t even tell him how hard it all was and still is for me. But, I don’t want to think about this now.”

 

The reading program is pretty much the same as the two previous ones, except the audience is almost two times bigger and I’m getting two times more anxious. Public speaking has never been my thing, but at some point I’m grateful for this opportunity to overcome my hidden fears and get a new experience.

 

As I read the last paragraph, sitting in front of the audience, I realize it’s time for the members to ask their questions. During moments like that my only hope is to be able to answer even the trickiest ones.

 

When I think the questions are over, I hear a voice and flinch at the accent. Am I sleeping again? I lift my head and my gaze meets with two light blue sapphires, shining from the last row. 

 

“I hope ye dinna mind one more question, if that’s alright?”

 

“Yes?” I say, and my voice starts to shake.

 

“If ye could meet the main character of yer book, what would ye say to her? Do ye think the two of ye would come along?”

 

Brilliant. How did he even come up with this? I swallow and let out a small laugh. “Well, we certainly would come along, I think. We have a lot in common.”

 

“Would you say that you write her from yourself?” Another question from the audience.

 

“No, I don’t think so. She’s braver than I. Thank you everyone for coming!”

 

With that, panicking, I storm out of the audience and bump into Geillis.

 

“Is that him? What is he doing here?” She hisses, and her eyes are bigger than the tea saucers.

 

“I don’t know? Why are you asking me that?” I hiss back, still in panic. “I’m as shocked as you are, and I have no idea what’s going on, either.”

 

“He is coming over here!”

 

“What?”

 

“Sassenach.”

 

“Jamie… What are...you doing here?” I gasp and turn around to see Geillis’ already disappeared out of sight.

 

“I wanted to surprise ye. I missed ye so much.” He says, softly. 

 

We look into each other’s eyes, breathing heavily, and when his loving gaze lingers on my parted lips my heart skips a beat or two.

 

“Meet me behind the mall,” I whisper as I walk pass him and our shoulders brush. 

 

Five minutes later I’m trapped between the wall and his body. His hands go under my coat and his lips cover my pulsing neck with hungry kisses.

 

“I missed ye all these days since we last talked, I missed the taste of yer skin since the last time we were together.” He groans, pressing himself closer to me.

 

“How did you know I would be here?” I ask, and feel my knees start to tremble. “And please don’t tell me you have your ways.”

 

“Aye, I read about it on Facebook,” Jamie whispers, smiling, before smashing our lips together, making me moan, making me lose my mind for the hundredth time.

 

Of course.

 

“Wait… You’re crushing me...” I try to stop him and breathe in some air.

 

He presses his forehead against mine and his hot breath burns my skin. “Sassenach, what hotel are ye staying at?”

 

“I’m… Wait, Jamie...” I say hesitantly. “Have you spoken to her...about us?”

 

He takes a step back. “I didna have a chance yet… We had a fight and...”

 

“Does she know that you’re here?”

 

“No, I told her I was going back to Edinburgh. She is still in Paris. But I came here to ye, Claire, I love ye. I wanted to see ye so much and… Yer not happy to see me?”

 

I am. But I don’t know how long I will be able to keep doing this. I deserve better than to be someone’s dirty secret. Before I can say anything, he kisses me again.

 

“No, Jamie, stop!” I push him away.

 

“What is wrong with ye?”

 

“With me?! What’s wrong with me ? For Christ's sake... You have no idea what I’m going through, Jamie. Everyday I’m waiting for you to call me and tell me it’s over. This tour is stressing me out. And I can't even have a normal food here anymore. I’m so bloody stupid it’s embarrassing... I can’t believe this is my life!”

 

“I’m sorry, lass, I promised I would talk to her. I just dinna ken when... Ye ken that I love ye!”

 

“Stop saying it and do something to prove it!” I raise my voice when another wave of nausea overcomes me. “Oh no, not again, not now...”

 

“What is it?” Jamie asks as he takes me by the shoulder.

 

“No, don’t touch me!” I push him away again before the remnants of my breakfast fall onto the ground next to his feet.

 

“Christ, Sassenach...” Jamie blurts, making an attempt to hold me. “Are ye alright?”

 

“I’m not alright! Can’t you see it? Look at this fucking mess that you made me!” I scream at him, fighting back the angry tears, wiping my mouth with my sleeve. “I can’t... I don't want to see you anymore.”

 

“Claire wait...”

 

“Please, don’t follow me. I’m so tired of this. I think I need a break.”

 

“Are ye breaking up with me?” He asks with shock in his glazed eyes. "Claire, no."

 

“Call it what you want,” I utter before turning on my heels and walking away.

 

 

 

+++

 

 

 

Chapter Text


 

I texted Geillis asking her to apologize to my readers for me, and tell them I was not coming to the book signing which was supposed to take place in thirty minutes after the reading. I sent the text and turned off my phone, not even intending to receive the reply. I knew that if I went back there, I would either throw up again or just cry. And I hated to cry in front of people.

 

I threw my phone on the bottom of my bag, when what I really wanted was to throw it in the nearest bin, then crossed the street and went in the unknown direction. As I walked away from Jamie, I prayed he wouldn’t run after me, wouldn’t grab my hand and look into my eyes, because if he did, I would have lost my mind again. And I couldn’t do this anymore. Something clicked and I knew this time it had to stop. 

 

I was so naive hinking it was gonna be easy. That he would just tell his wife that he wanted to divorce, so we could be together. How stupid of me. Life is not like the movies. I never thought I would be that woman. I never thought my life would revolve around a man, who, I sometimes thought, married another girl just to hurt me and make me feel guilty, make me feel as if everything that happened was my fault. 

 

But why did it always feel right when it was nothing but wrong? When he held my hands it felt home, it was a place I never wanted to leave, not realizing I was in a cage. Each time he was near me, I was overwhelmed with a storm of emotions and forgot that I had to put myself first. I shouldn’t let myself be anyone’s second choice, let them love me half way. Let him.

 

With a tightening feeling in my chest I walked and walked down the London streets, until my feet started to hurt. Everything inside me was turning upside down, hurting, cracking, boiling. I reached the park that was surprisingly empty at this time of the day, and sat on the bench. I stared at the gray ducks swimming in the pond, then looked at the bright blue sky, then glanced around myself. My lips curled into a smile. Everything was golden, clear, simply beautiful. Peaceful.

 

Fall always reminded me of how important it was to let things go before better things could come into our lives. Yellow leafs demonstrated us the process of changing, renewing, and that was something we couldn’t stop from happening. It was inevitable, unavoidable. And it was never for nothing.

 

Suddenly, my lips trembled as I felt the treacherous tears form and I didn’t stop them from falling. I closed my eyes and felt the drops of clear salty liquid roll down my cheeks. The wind almost dried them immediately, and I shivered as the cold breeze sneaked under my coat. Just right there, where his warm hands were touching and holding me just an hour ago. And suddenly, all I wanted to do was scream off the top of my lungs, hoping it might ease the pain. Pain that completely immobilized me.

 

My messy curls fluttered in the wind, patting my cheeks, but I didn’t care. I just kept staring at the frisky ducks in the pond. This situation must have been extremely ridiculous and even slightly dramatic. A lonely woman sitting on a park bench crying, paying no attention to anything or anyone, hoping that no one would pay attention to her, either.

 

I wasn’t sure how much time had passed while I sat there, when the sudden pain in my stomach reminded me of the fact that I haven't had a proper meal since yesterday evening. I took the clean tissue out of my bag, and wiped away the remnants of my tears, before getting off the bench and heading to the nearest coffee shop to have some food and a cup of hot brew.

 

It was almost 6pm when I came back to the hotel. As soon as I closed the door and took off my boots, Geillis jumped at me, shaking me by the shoulders, bombarding me with the questions I had zero energy to answer. 

 

“What do ye think yer doing, lass? Vanishing like that...without a trace, turning off yer phone, making us all worry...”

 

“I needed to be alone,” I simply reply, taking off my coat and throwing it on the chair.

 

“Darling, are ye alright? Ye seem...wiped out. What happened? Yer scaring me...” She keeps pacing around me, trying to drag out any response from me.

 

“Please, Gee, I can’t do this right now. I’m cold and tired, and I want nothing but a hot shower and sleep. Please, can you leave me alone?” I say, not looking at her.

 

“Wait… Were ye with him? She asks as if knowing that I was with Jamie would make any difference.

 

“No. I just said I was alone.”

 

“But ye left with him...”

 

“It’s over.” I say firmly and reach out for my bag. Opening it, I take out a pair of scissors I’ve bought at the local store, and walk towards the bathroom.

 

“What the fuck are ye going to do with that thing?!” Geillis screeches and makes an attempt to grab me by the shoulder. Her eyes are wide and frightened.

 

“Please, I said leave me alone, Geillis,” I hiss at her, before disappearing into the bathroom and slamming the door behind my back.

 

“Claire!”

 

But I don’t answer. I slowly take off my clothes, throwing them on the floor, and turn on the water in the shower. Standing in front of the mirror in my top and shorts, staring at my own reflection, I grab the scissors with my trembling hand. One, two, three. I take a deep breath and the next thing I know my curls fall into the white bathroom sink, like black ugly snakes crawling in the sand. Tears start to blur my vision, but I cut and cut without thinking, without hesitating. Stiffing sobs in my chest I bit my bottom lip as I keep chopping.

 

When I think I’m done and my hair barely covers my neck, I drop the scissors on the floor and slide down the wall, sobbing, finally letting all the pain out. Sobbing so hard I almost can’t breathe, feeling like my bones could break inside me. What did I do?

 

“Please open the door...” I hear my friend’s loud voice. “Open the door or I will smash it!”

 

I blindly reach out and turn the doorknob. The door opens. Geillis storms in and freezes the moment she sees me sit on the floor crying, with my hair lying around in the sink and on the floor.

 

“What did ye do to yerself?” She asks softly as she turns off the water and kneels beside me, gently touching my shoulder. “Yer hair...”

 

“I’m so hurt,” I cry, wiping away the tears. “And I’m so tired, I can’t do this anymore, I want to go home. Fuck this tour. Just cancel it. Cancel everything. I’m… I...”

 

“Shh, lass, it’s okay, it’s okay to feel tired, they shouldna have thrown ye onto this tour without asking ye and giving ye time to prepare,” my friend soothes me, rubbing my shoulder. “But… it isna the reason yer sitting on the floor right now? What happened....with Jamie?”

 

“I dumped him...” I reply, blankly, staring at the white wall in front of me.

 

“What?”

 

“I’m so done with him.”

 

“Claire...”

 

 “I shouldn’t have let any of this happen. Everything should have ended that night in Paris, when he told me he found someone else.” I say, crying. “I should have moved on and forget him. I’m so weak, and so stupid. I changed who I was for him . And put him first, and... I don’t even know who I am anymore. Everything seems like a bad dream and I can’t wake up. And every time I think things are getting back to normal, something happens and I have to get up, put myself back together, do it all over again. I just want to disappear.”

 

“Hey… Dinna say that. Yer not weak. Ye are strong, and brave, and confident and… Ye are everything, Claire. Dinna dare to forget how strong ye were in the past. And yer still here, still standing.”

 

“I don’t know what I’m doing. I don’t know what I want to do with my life. And don’t tell me that I’m a bestselling author and should be happy with that. What if I never write again? Being this popular… it’s a responsibility, isn't it? And this was never my goal in life. Never!” 

 

“What was it, then?”

 

I don’t know what to answer. Suddenly, I realize that I never actually knew what I wanted to do with my life. I dropped college thinking that being a journalist was not my destiny. I started writing books because I wanted to create a beautiful, imaginary world, where everything would be the way I wanted it to. It took me almost four years until someone found it worthy of publishing. If I didn’t have my uncle’s heritage, I’d probably be homeless and dead by then.

 

Every man I had in my life hurt me, and I stopped to believe in love, until I fell in love with Jamie. But it was too late and I got hurt again. I fell in love with him just to become his lover, to be someone he would be hiding.

 

“I don’t know.” I finally say.

 

“It’s okay. Ye just need time to figure it out.”

 

“I’m not sure.”

 

“What do ye mean?”

 

“There’s something else.” I say quietly, wrapping my arms around my waist, shaking. “And I’m so scared.”

 

“Ah Dhia, what is it?”

 

I take a deep breath and look at my friend. She’s searching my face, waiting for me to say something I don’t even know how to say out loud. My insides squeeze and I feel my heart pounding in my ears. Another tear falls from my eye and slowly rolls down my cheek.

 

“I think I’m pregnant.”



 

 

 

+++

 

 

 

Chapter Text


 

 

Tell me something, girl.



I couldn’t remember how I got up from the cold bathroom floor of the hotel room. I remembered Geillis helping me undress and take a warm shower, because I was practically unable to move myself. She helped me dry off, put on fresh clothes and led me to the bed. I was sitting on the edge of the bed and she brushed my now short curls, singing something quietly in a language that must have been Gaelic.

 

“What’s this song?” I ask my friend when she’s done with brushing and puts the hairbrush on my bedside table.

 

“Ye’ve been living in Scotland for, how long, almost three years? And ye never heard this song? It’s called The Skye Boat Song.” Geillis said proudly, changing position and sitting next to me.

 

“It’s beautiful. What is it about?” I ask, becoming very curious, ignoring her mocking me.

 

“Well, it tells a story about Bonnie Prince Charles who escaped from the English troops, in a small boat, dressed like a serving maid, following his defeat at the Battle of Culloden in 1746.” 

 

“Amazing,” I whisper, settling on the pillows and putting a blanket over myself. “I wish I could have escaped like that, too. Get on a boat and disappear.”

 

Geillis purses her lips and lets out a sigh, before getting up from my bed. “Well, hope ye at least tell me if ye really decide to escape, aye? Should I turn off the lights? Ye need to sleep,” she adds.

 

I quickly grab her by the hand. “No. I thought… Maybe...you can stay with me? I don’t want to sleep alone today.”

 

“Of course. But let me change my clothes first,” Geillis says with a smile and disappears into her room.

 

In less than ten minutes my friend joins me in my bed and we lay in silence for another ten minutes.

 

“Ye awake?”

 

“Yes.”

 

“Ye scared me today, Claire.”

 

“I’m sorry.”

 

“When ye turned off yer phone and disappeared for the entire day. And then ye locked yerself in the bathroom with the scissors, and everything ye did and said later... I was so scared and didna ken what to do. I was afraid I was gonna lose ye.”

 

“I’m really sorry, Geillis,” I whisper and turn in the bed to face her. She looks back at me. “I felt so confused and scared, too. And you know, you were so right. From day one.”

 

“I love to hear that. But, when was I right exactly?”

 

“When you said I shouldn’t fall into this black hole called Jamie Fraser. I don’t even recognize myself anymore, and it’s because of him. I don’t know what to do. For the first time in my life I really don’t know what to do. What will I do with the baby if I’m really pregnant? How will I live? I was not ready for that...getting pregnant from a married man. What a reputation!” 

 

I feel hot tears well up in my eyes as I speak, and I’m wiping them away with my blanket.

 

“Is it alright if I ask what makes ye think you’re pregnant?” Geillis asks, carefully, and everything inside me turns into knots. “I mean… ye said ye think, so yer not sure?”

 

“I’m three days late on my period, and I’ve thrown up twice this morning...” I reply as I remember one of those two times happened in front of Jamie. Mentally, I slap myself into the face.

 

“Ye should take a test to be sure. And then, go to see a doctor. It could be just stress, bad food, change of climate and so on. Do ye want me to buy ye a test tomorrow?”

 

“No, I have to do it myself. And, I know. I know all these things...” I say firmly. “I’m just so scared, you can’t even imagine. I didn’t think it would happen to me. Christ, what was I even thinking when I stopped taking my pills?”

 

“What? Ye stopped taking pills? Claire… I canna believe!”

 

“Please, Gee, no judgement, remember? I just didn’t think I would...”

 

“I’m sorry... When do ye think it happened?”

 

Suddenly, my lips curve into a smile. “I think, that night after my birthday… We fucked like animals, we just couldn’t stop...”

 

“Oh, please, lass, keep the details to yerself,” Geillis softly interrupts me, with a smirk.

 

I smile and playfully smack her on the shoulder, before my face gets serious again, and my lips start to quiver. “I’m just so...lost. And so mad. Yes, I am mad at him! For everything he has done to me. And, I’m mad at myself for allowing that for so long. Because now I face nothing but the consequences.” 

 

“Listen, Claire…” Geillis starts as she sits up in the bed and leans on the headboard. “I ken ye feel lost right now, ye dinna ken what direction to go next. Ye feel like ye gave yer love to someone who destroyed ye. Ye feel that the universe throws the lessons at ye instead of...blessings. And ye feel like giving up because the more ye give, the more pain ye end up in, am I right?”

 

I’m blown away. “Yes,” I blurt, and wipe away the tears with the back of my hand as I sit up myself. “Yes, all of this.”

 

Geillis smiles at me. “I ken that ye feel a lot of things at this moment, but ye are strong, and brave, and ye will overcome them all, do ye hear me? This universe is fucked up and it’s taking ye through all this shite just to help ye find yer true worth, and realize how special ye are.”

 

Utterly speechless I stare at my best friend who just turned out to be the therapist I didn’t know I needed. 

 

“I just want to kiss you right now!” I gasp.

 

“Nah, no, that’s not necessary,” she brushes it off, grinning. “I was in a dark place too once, Claire. I ken what it is like. But I pulled meself back together.”

 

“I just want to be happy…” I say.

 

“Ye will be, lass.”

 

I don’t realize I’m crying again and tears are burning my eyes as they roll down my cheeks. I close my eyes and the next moment I feel Geillis’ hands wrap around my trembling shoulders, she’s holding me, whispering sweet and soothing words into my hair. 

 

“I wish I could let him go. I wish I could let it all go.” I say and pause, staring at the ceiling. “You know what? When we come back, I will move out from my old apartment, and buy a new one. Thank you for reminding me that I’ve lived there for three years already. I can’t rent that place anymore, I should own my place. So… Oh, and I will buy a car.”

 

“A car? I didna ken ye had a driver license!” 

 

“Imagine that I have!” I let out a laugh. “I will need to get used to driving again, though, but… fine, that decides it!”

 

“I love yer enthusiasm. This is the Claire I love. Dinna get me wrong, I will always love ye what ever ye are. It’s just…seeing ye suffer breaks my own heart.”

 

I bit my lower lip. “I’m sorry again, for making you worry.”

 

“It’s okay.”

 

I give Geillis a small smile and lay back on my pillows. “There’s one thing...”

 

“What thing again?”

 

My voice starts to shake. “I can’t just let him go, because I love him. I can’t just turn it off, you know? I can't stop thinking about him. I can’t help it. I can’t help the dreams I have about him. I can’t snap my fingers and make it all stop. I yelled at him today because I love him, but he hurts me, again and again. And now he thinks that I hate him. After I told him I loved him. After it took me so long to get brave enough and tell someone I love them, after everything I’ve been through.”

 

My voice gets angrier with every word that I utter, and I feel Geillis hold me tighter. 

 

“You know, when you asked me today what I wanted from life… I think that I just want to have someone who will always be there for me. Simply be there for me, you know? Who will wait for me when I come home, and hug me, and ask me how my day has been while caressing my hair. Someone who will make me feel safe, who will tell me everything will be alright when I’m feeling like shit. Someone I can rely on, someone I can trust. Someone who loves me, wants me and accepts me the way I am. And I don’t think I want it to be someone who is not Jamie. I just want Jamie.”

 

It was past midnight.

 

Exhausted, I didn’t notice how I drifted off to sleep. 

 

 

 

 

+++

 

Chapter Text


 

Tell me something, boy.

 

 

Jamie’s POV

 

Utterly disappointed, with a heavy heart and a taste of guilt in my mouth, I came back home to Edinburgh two days earlier than planned. My plans to spend two days in London with Claire didn’t pan out. Things don’t always go the way we expect them to, and everything inside me is shattering into tiny little pieces.

 

As soon as I get home, I unpack my bag, take a quick shower, make myself a cup of hot coffee, and head to work. I have a lot of things to do, though, my head is full of her. 

 

Claire.

 

“So, how was it?” My friend John asks me as soon as I walk into our office on a Tuesday morning. “How is Anna?”

 

“I dinna ken, we had a fight and I left Paris last week.” I reply hastily, realizing I will have to tell him everything anyway, and there will be no way to avoid that.

 

“Where have you been all this time, then, huh?” He asks and twitches his perfect eyebrow, sitting up comfortably in his chair.

 

“Aye, I was in London. I wanted to see Claire.” I answer, avoiding looking him in the eye.

 

“Really, Fraser? How are things with Claire, then?” Another question from my friend.

 

“She said she doesna want to see me,” I blurt and throw myself into the chair, nervously opening my laptop, when I hear John let out a soft laugh.

 

“What are you going to do now?”

 

“I have no idea!” I snap again, trying to remember the damn password to enter my laptop. “I have to talk to Annalise, but we had a fight and she doesna want to come back home. I canna talk to her about the divorce over a phone!”

 

“What was the fight about, if I may ask?”

 

Finally getting into the system, I lean back in my chair and take a deep breath. “We spent almost two weeks in Paris because she was mourning her father and couldna leave her mother alone. She also needed me around, I was there to support her all the way. And when I said it was time to go back home because I couldna stay there any longer, she simply said she didn’t want to come back, and that if I wanted I could go alone.”

 

“And, what did you do?”

 

“I went to London to meet with Claire because she had her book presentation there. I read about that on her Facebook page. I wanted to surprise her...” I say, still feeling upset about that entire situation. “Look, I ken it’s a mess, and I’m not proud of it, but I love her. And she said she loved me too... And I feel that. But that day... Once I said that I hadna talked to my wife about us yet, she blew up, screamed at me and ran away. I didna run after her. I couldna… not this time.” I finish my story and breathe out, heavily.

 

All this time as I’ve been speaking, John has listened to me with a serious look on his face, processing, absorbing what I’ve been telling him. 

 

“If you love each other so much, the only way for the two of you to be together is your divorce with Anna. There’s no other way.” He finally says. “Also, I don’t think Claire ran away because she doesn’t love you anymore or...hates you. She’s just pissed, I think. She doesn’t want to be just, I don’t know, a mistress for you.”

 

“My heart squeezes in my chest every time I think about how much I hurt her. I can literally feel her pain inside myself,” I say, quietly.

 

“Then you need to have a serious talk with your wife, and you need to do it as soon as possible. I hate to see you suffer, Fraser.”

 

“Thank ye, friend.” I say, with a small smile. “I’m just so disgusted with myself. No wonder, Claire threw up when she saw me in London. She is disgusted with me as well,” I add, slowly shaking my head.

 

“What?”

 

“Aye, she did.”

 

“She threw up in front of you and then screamed at you and ran away?” 

 

“What are ye implying?” I ask, not quite understanding why my friend would suddenly draw my attention to that incident.

 

“I don’t know, you tell me. Or, soon, she may have something to tell you herself.”



Suddenly, an awkward silence hangs in the air.

 

“Christ, no… No, it isna possible. It canna be that...” I mumble and swallow hard, the memories of our night at Claire’s house after her birthday flash in the back of my mind. And then, I hear my phone vibrate in my pocket. I take it out and look at the screen and see a text message from my wife.

 

“I’m coming back tomorrow. Je t’aime, and miss you.”

 

“Shite!” I blurt, and throw the innocent device on the desk as I read the text.

 

“What happened?”

 

“Anna comes home tomorrow.”



The next day after my lunch I rushed to the airport to meet my wife. As I was sitting in the lounge, waiting for her plane to land, I scrolled through the news on my Facebook page, when I saw a short post by Claire’s publishing agency. It said that she canceled her book tour due to feeling unwell. She apologized to her readers and mentioned the possibility of the tour resuming in the beginning of next year.

 

Everything inside me turns into knots as I absorb the news I just read. ‘Feeling unwell’ what the hell is that supposed to mean?

 

“Jamie! Mon cher!” 

 

I lift my head and see Anna run towards me. Putting my phone in my pocket, I quickly get off the chair and the next moment her arms are wrapped around my neck, and she presses herself closer to me. I automatically hug her.

 

“I’m glad yer back,” I say as I feel her nuzzle into my neck.

 

“I missed you so much, I’m so sorry for everything,” she says as she pulls back and looks into my eyes. “I’m sorry I yelled at you that day, I promise it won’t happen again. I love you. I love you, Jamie.” And then she kisses me, her fingers run through my hair as she deepens the kiss, looking for more connection.

 

I kiss her back as I stand there, completely immobilized, taken aback by her sudden wave of love and tenderness. Why is that every time I’m about to bring up the serious talk, she turns into a soft and loving wife, making me hate myself even more? Why is she making it harder for me than it already is?

 

“Let’s go home,” I say, forcing a smile, looking into her big sparkling eyes, as I take her bag in one hand and her hand in the other, and we head to the exit.



“You are being so silent and distant again, mon amour. Did something happen?” Anna asks as soon as we get home. We take off our outerwear and go to the kitchen, where I open the minibar and pour myself a glass of whiskey.

 

“Do ye want to eat? I can cook, or we can order everything ye want.” I say, ignoring her question as I drink.

 

“Jamie, I’m not hungry.” Walking up to me, she takes the glass from my hand and puts it on the table. She wraps her hands around my waist, searching my face. “If you are still mad at me for everything I said that day, please, forgive me. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it.”

 

“I’m not mad at ye, Anna.” I simply say, cupping her cheek, forcing another smile.

 

She gives me a quick kiss. “Okay, I’m going to take a shower, okay?”

 

“Of course.”

 

As soon as she disappears into the bathroom, I grab my phone and text Claire.

 

“I’m going to talk to Anna today.”

 

I press send , but the next thing I see is the red exclamation point next to the message. Not delivered.

 

What the hell?

 

I send another message and face the same problem. I make an attempt to call Claire and hear six long beeps before I hear the voice of a robot, “This number is no longer available. Please, contact the operator. ” 

 

My heart is beating in my ears and my hands get sweaty. I don’t know what to do with myself as I pace around the kitchen, feeling my blood boil in my veins. Panic mixed with anger gets the best of me, and I grab the glass with whiskey from the table and pour it down my throat in one gulp. 

 

Fraser, you need to calm down. Maybe she just lost her phone. But how will I know her new number, then? I know where she lives. I will go to her. But first, I have to talk to Anna. 

 

And break her innocent heart.

 

 

+++

 

 

Chapter Text


 

“Claire, sweetie, are you alright in there? It’s been twenty minutes, please, give any sign of life. We have to go soon, otherwise we will be late for our plane!”

 

“I know!” I shout from the bathroom, where I sit on the edge of the bathtub, squeezing two little plastic sticks in my hand. Two are better than one, just to make it certain.

 

Scared is an understatement of what I’m feeling at this very moment. Scared of looking at the result, scared of what will happen if it’s positive, scared I may break down if it’s not. Because, somehow, I managed to convince myself I could do it. I want it, I will keep it, even if I’m not ready.

 

“Ye ken that I worry about ye, aye?”

 

“I just need some more time.”

 

I spent the past 24 hours imagining myself being pregnant, carrying a child of the man I love like no other, holding and feeding it for the first time, giving it a name… Being a mother. I imagined the big blue eyes and curly red hair my son or my daughter will have. 

 

A small smile appears on my own face as I look at the reflection in the mirror. I’m still not used to the way my hair looks now. I’m going to be a mother . Or not. Taking a deep breath, I look at the tests. I stared at the sticks for what felt like an eternity, before throwing them into the trash can. I wash my hands and walk out of the bathroom.

 

“Let’s go to the airport.” I say quietly as I put on my coat and grab my bags. “I wanna go home.”

 

“Hey, hey...” Geillis gently touches my shoulder, making me flinch. “Come here. Yer not going to tell me anything?”

 

I put the bags back on the floor and bite my lower lip, feeling tickles in my nose as the tears start approaching. “I’m not pregnant.”

 

“Ohhh…. I’m sorry, Claire,” my friend says sympathetically and hugs me. “Ye tried both tests, right?”

 

“Of course. And there’s nothing to be sorry about,” I whisper, and my voice breaks. “Absolutely nothing. Please, let’s not ever talk about it again, okay?”

 

“Sure. Whatever ye want.” She whispers. “Now, let’s go. Let’s take ye back home.”



As soon as we board the plane and take our seats, I turn my head to Geillis and gently grab her hand. 

 

“Thank you for helping me cancel this tour. I definitely was not ready for it. I wouldn’t be able to keep doing it under all these...circumstances.”

 

“Dinna thank me, Claire.” She says and pauses. “There’s something else I have to tell ye.”

 

“What is it?” I tense.

 

“It will cost ye some significant amount of money. Yer publisher was pissed. They intend to deprive ye of a part of yer income. Sorry I didna tell ye earlier.”

 

“Really? Unbelievable. Well, you know what? It’s okay. I just… I don’t care. Even without that, I still will have a lot. Enough to buy a new house, a car, and start a new life.” I say, and even though I can’t see them, I know my eyes are sparkling with enthusiasm. I really need to move on with my life. Realizing I’m not pregnant was some kind of push I didn’t know I needed.

 

“Wait, wait… So, ye werena kidding when ye said ye wanted to buy...a house?” Geillis asks me, raising her perfect eyebrows.

 

“Why would I be kidding?” I let out a soft laugh. “I’ve never been more serious in my life. I mean, I’m thirty-one years old, I’m a famous writer, next year my books will go international, and I have nothing of my own. I still live in this tiny rented apartment that keeps only bad memories. I use taxis and public transport. Don’t you think that I deserve better?”

 

“Well, ye have a point here, lass. After my husband left me for another woman, I changed all the furniture in my apartment. I didna really want to move out, I loved that place. But I kent that I had to change something. Ye deserve the whole world, Claire. And remember that whatever decision ye make, I will be on yer side.” 

 

“Thank you. This is why as soon as we come back to Edinburgh, you will help me look for a house, and then pack and unpack my stuff. I hope I can count on you, aye?” I ask with a glimpse of hope in my voice, mimicking the Scottish accent. “Pretty please?”

 

“Aye, absolutely. Wow, we’re going to have so much fun!” My friend exclaims, squeezing my hand, suddenly all excited. “I canna freaking wait!”

 

My period returned the next morning. Looks like the delay was, indeed, due to stress, and I was throwing up because the food in that five-star hotel was simply awful. 

 

I was sitting at the windowsill in my kitchen, drinking coffee, missing something I didn’t even get a chance to experience. I didn’t want to cry in front of Geillis that day, she’d already seen enough of my tears. But now, as I revisit the emotions I packed away in that hotel room, I let myself feel everything. I feel the pain of the what if’s and the loss of the future I had begun to carve out for myself.

 

Two days later, I became the owner of a three-bedroom house on Gilmerton Station Road. To my surprise, finding a property in Edinburgh turned out to be easier and faster than I imagined. What surprised, and even slightly insulted me, was the lady responsible for the deal asking me why I would need such a huge property if I would be living there alone. 

 

“I’m an author. I need more space for my creativity, you know? And if I live alone now, it doesn’t mean I always will.” I said, proudly.

 

Pursing her lips, the lady in a woolen suit handed me the keys to my house, and wished me good luck.

 

I did it!

 

I always knew what car I wanted to have, so when I walked into a car dealership and my eyes fell on the dark blue Jaguar XJ, it was love at first sight. I called Geillis and offered to pick her up after work.

 

“Claire… Is that ye?...” She begins, and her mouth falls open when I open the door, and she sees me at the driver’s seat. “And is this yer new car? Jesus Christ!”

 

“It is! I told you I only had to find my driver’s license, and I played hell finding it. And here I am. Look at this work of art, isn't it amazing?”

 

“It is… And so are ye, Claire. Congratulations on yer new purchase!”

 

We drove to my old apartment to pack up the boxes with my things. As we packed, I couldn’t help but think how little stuff I actually owned. I realized that I never lived in any place long enough to justify having simple things like a vase or picture frames. And that way I hadn’t developed a habit of buying unnecessary items.

 

That’s when I knew that as soon as I moved into a new place, I would decorate it the way I wanted, and buy as many cute little things as possible. 

 

“Are you tired?” I ask Geillis when the last pile of clothes is packed, and we stand in the middle of the hall, looking at all the boxes.

 

“Yes, and no,” my friend says, climbing onto the couch. “It’s a pleasant tiredness, if ye ken what I mean, aye?”

 

“Of course! But, the good news is that we finally finished, and the other good news is that I have two bottles of red wine in the fridge, and the---”

 

“And ye’ve been silent about that, lass? All this time! Give me all the wine ye have!” 

 

The next day I went back to my old place to return the keys to the proprietor, a nice and friendly lady, Mrs. Graham. Despite the fact that there were still two weeks left until the end of the month, she was not upset with me for leaving in such a hurry. I paid for the remainder of the month’s rent and threw in a bit extra for her understanding.

 

When I was about to leave, she called out for me.

 

“Claire, dear, I almost forgot to tell ye, a young man has been looking for ye today”, she says. “He was here just two hours ago, he seemed so upset.”

 

“Wwhhat? What man?” I ask quietly, voice trembling.

 

“Tall, light red hair, expensive suit. He almost fainted when I told him ye dinna live here anymore.”

 

“Mrs. Graham, did you tell him anything else?” I ask, doing my best to stay calm while everything inside me is turning into knots.

 

“No, he only asked if I kent where ye live now, and I said no, so he excused himself and left. A very polite and handsome gentleman. Is that someone ye ken, lass?”

 

“No. I mean, yes. Just… It doesn’t matter anymore, Mrs. Graham.” I shake it off, forcing a smile. “Thank you for telling me. Thank you for everything.” I squeeze her always warm hands when her face gets serious.

 

“Let me look at yer hand,” she says softly.

 

“Why?” I ask, confused, but automatically give her my right hand.

 

She puts on her glasses and takes my hand. She carefully studies it, mumbling something under her breath, looks closely at the lines, and then lifts her head and looks at me. I begin to feel slightly uncomfortable as Mrs. Graham squeezes my hand tighter and a small smile appears in the corners of her mouth.

 

“Mhhmmh.”

 

“What is it?” I ask, impatient. “What do you see?”

 

“Nothing,” she whispers.

 

“Nothing?!” My frustration is becoming palpable. “But---”

 

“Everything will be alright, Claire, dinna fash.” Mrs. Graham says and puts her palm above my hand. “What is meant for ye, will be yers.”

 

What?...

 

Confused, I leave the building and get into my car. My heart is beating in my chest like a jungle drum. It was Jamie, no doubt, it was him, he was looking for me. I changed my phone number, and then I changed the place where I lived. He wouldn’t be able to find me anymore. 

 

What did I do again?

 

Why is everything so complicated? Am I actually ready to let go of him like that? Just say goodbye to this old life and that’s it? I ask myself and hit the steering wheel, and then I hit it again and again. Damn it, Beauchamp! What are you doing? Is that really what you want?  Is this really the end of it all?

 

 

+++

 

 

Chapter Text


 

 

Annalise’s POV

 

Jamie and I have been married for less than three months. It was my dream come true. Since I was a little girl, I imagined that my husband would look like Prince Charming and make me feel like a princess.

 

I didn’t think twice when he proposed, and said ‘yes’ immediately, even though we had only known each other for four months. To me, it was love at first sight. And he indeed made me feel as if I were a princess. 

 

Little did I know, soon he would be the one to make me feel insecure, vulnerable, uncomfortable.

 

Lonely.

 

It’s been less than three months since our wedding, and I already know what an unhappy marriage feels like. I know it all too well. I know how it feels when your man stops calling you cute names, when he is not excited to see you anymore, when he is avoiding you. Not only that, but I know how it feels when he physically pulls away, and I am literally starving for a simple hug he used to give me every now and then.

 

I see him drift away from me, as he prefers to go to the gym in the early morning instead of taking an awakening shower together; he prefers to hang out with his friends after work instead of coming home early; he sits at his computer by himself instead of cuddling on the sofa watching romantic movies with me.

 

I see it all, and it hurts. It hurts, because to me, it looks like it is the end of a relationship. It makes me feel as if I am the problem, like I’m doing something wrong, and he doesn’t love me anymore. 

 

My maman says it is normal for a man to drift away sometimes, but for the first time I feel like I have to disagree with her. Nothing is normal in feeling bad, lonely and unwanted in a marriage I had so many hopes for.

 

What I tend to believe in is what my papa told me after Jamie and I announced our engagement. He took me by the hand and asked with his soft and soothing voice, “Are you sure this is what you want? Don’t you think it’s too early? I don’t want you to get hurt,” he said as he squeezed my hands. “I love you, ma petite chou, and all I want for you is to be happy.”

 

I reassured him, I told him that Jamie was the love of my life, that he was exactly what I imagined my husband to be. My papa smiled, his eyes watered, and he pulled me into his warm embrace, before giving me his blessings. 

 

I sit on the edge of the bed in a house I still can’t call home. I want to cry as I realize that not only is my papa not with me anymore, but that I’m not happy either. I didn’t fulfill his hopes. Furthermore, I feel like I let him down. And, perhaps, he was right - this marriage happened too soon.

 

It’s been six days since I came back from Paris, and Jamie has been distant like never before. Not to mention that there has not been any kind of intimacy between us, either. Slowly, I get off the bed and head to the bathroom to take a shower. As soon as I finish, I put on fresh clothes and walk down the stairs to get breakfast, when I hear his roaring voice, coming from the kitchen.

 

Listen here, I dinna care how much money or time ye need. I’m paying ye for results. I will flip the entire Scotland Yard upside down if I’ll need to. Just find her! Do ye hear me ?!’ He hisses through the teeth and I feel a shiver sent down my spine.

 

And then, he throws his phone on the kitchen counter, making me shudder.

 

“Good morning,” I say, casually, as I walk towards him and kiss him on the cheek. He turns his head and his eyes immediately go from darkened to crystal blue and his facial expression softens. 

 

“Aye,” he smiles at me. “Morning.”

 

“Is everything okay? Who have you been talking to?” I ask carefully, turning on the coffee machine.

 

“It’s just work, never mind,” Jamie brushes it off and puts his phone into the pocket, giving me another smile.

 

“Jamie,” I start when my coffee is ready, and I sit at the table. “I need to tell you something.”

 

“What is it?” He asks and the vein on his neck starts pulsating.

 

“I think I need to find a job.”

 

“Why? Ye dinna have to work if ye dinna want to.”

 

“I know, but… The thing is, I want to. I am tired of sitting home alone all day long. You know, I’m a doctor, and this is not something you study for so long if you don’t plan to practice it later. I need a job. Maybe I will even make new friends.” I say to him, but he looks like he is not even listening. “Jamie?”

 

“Aye, yes, I’m sorry, of course, yer right. I dinna ken what’s gotten into me. Sure, do ye need any help?” He shows off his sudden interest.

 

“Non, I will do it myself,” I say. “You don’t have to worry.”

 

“But ye ken that ye can always count on me? Just ask, alright? No matter what happens, I will never leave ye on yer own without any help.”

 

I tense. “What do you mean? What can happen?”

 

“Anna...” Jamie starts, when the phone starts ringing in his pocket. “Shite! Sorry,” he excuses himself and quickly walks out the kitchen. 

 

I grab our cups and throw them into the sink, when I realize my hands are shaking. I hear Jamie rush upstairs and scream something on his phone. The last thing I hear is ‘ send me her number right now’, and without a shadow of a doubt I know it’s not about work.



 

Jamie’s POV

 

I pace around the bedroom as I try to make a call to Geillis Duncan. I know nothing about her except that she’s Claire’s PR agent and best friend. She doesn’t pick up, and I’m getting desperate. I panic, I am being irrational, and I know that. But since the moment Claire disappeared, I have known no peace. I can’t sleep, I can’t function, I can’t think about anything else. She changed her number and the place she lived, and I don’t know where she is.

 

After the third attempt, Geillis finally answers, and I let out a sigh of relief.

 

“Hello?”

 

“Mrs. Duncan? Geillis, this is Jamie Fraser. I need to talk to ye.” I blurt in one breath.

 

After a long pause, she finally replies, “Jamie, hello. Where did ye get my number?”

 

“Geillis, I’m sorry for calling ye so early, but, please, this is important. Can we meet today? Any place, any time.”

 

“What do ye want to talk about, Jamie? If it’s about Claire, she doesna want to see ye.”

 

My heart clenches in my chest and I feel as if the ground starts to fall out from beneath my feet. “What are ye saying?”

 

“Ye have to leave her alone, Jamie. She’s moved on. She started a new life, without ye in it.” Her last words cut me like a knife.

 

I can’t believe that. No. I fall silent. As I sit on the bed, I feel my head start to split and my heart is beating fast. I squeeze the phone in my hand so tight it starts to hurt.

 

“Jamie, are ye still there?” Geillis’ voice snaps me back into reality.

 

“Aye, I am. I… I wanted to know that she’s doing alright.”

 

“She is doing great!” Geillis replies quickly. “I’m sorry Jamie, I have to go, or I will be late for work. Stay safe. Goodbye.”

 

“Thank ye,” I mumble quietly, with a huge lump formed in my throat, before ending the call. My mind is blank, and my room is spinning in front of my eyes. I feel like either blacking out or hitting the wall with my fists, screaming. This can’t be the end.

 

Suddenly, I hear Annalise cry downstairs. 

 

“Anna, what happened, are ye alright?” I ask when I walk into the kitchen and see her sit on the floor. “Shhh, what is it?” I kneel beside her and carefully touch her chin.

 

“I broke one of the cups,” she says, sniffling, holding the broken pieces in her hands. “I’m sorry, Jamie.”

 

“A dhia, it’s alright,” I say softly, removing the pieces from her hands to prevent the cuts. “It’s nothing, just a stupid cup, I’ll get the new one, okay? Just please dinna cry.”

 

“You...sure?” She asks, staring at me with her big puppy eyes. “I just feel like nothing is going right in this life anymore,” she adds, and everything inside me squeezes.

 

“Aye. Come here.” 

 

I brush away the tears from her cheeks with my thumbs, cupping her face. Anna rests her head on my shoulder and I gently rub her back, inhaling the almond aroma of her freshly washed hair. We remain like this for a couple of minutes, before I pull away and look her in the eyes.

 

“Anna... I have to leave for work in an hour or so...” I say.

 

“What? What do you mean?” 

 

I grab her face and press our mouths together. The next thing I know, we’re laying on the floor, and I’m on top of her, taking her clothes off.



 

 

 

+++

Chapter Text


 

It’s 2am and I’m wide awake. I know that my insomnia has nothing to do with the fact that I’ve had a long nap after spending all morning and afternoon driving around the city, shopping for the last pieces of decorations for my new house. It’s been almost three weeks since I’ve moved in here, and I can finally say this place is ready for living.

 

It’s the same dream that makes me wake up every damn night. And It’s about him . As I sit on the bed with my knees pressed against my chest and my arms wrapped around them, I can’t help but overthink it over and over, until I drive myself crazy. Who said it was easy to let go anyways?

 

Was I right when I ran away from him that day in London and then changed my phone number, so he wouldn’t be able to reach me? When I moved out from my old apartment, did I do the right thing, not leaving any sign of my current location? Did I do the right thing buying this house at all? 

 

My bedroom has turned into a perfect place to cry, and so I do. Suddenly, the air gets hot and heavy, so I get up to open the window to let in some fresh air. As I look out the window, I notice the thin layer of the first snow, glistening as it falls, and suddenly it occurs to me, it’s already winter. December has come unexpectedly.

 

I get back to bed and close my eyes, hoping I would fall asleep, hoping I wouldn’t dream about him again. But who am I kidding? I can’t control that. I wish I could stop torturing myself, guessing if he still thinks about me. Or trying to convince myself that he gave up and found peace and happiness with his wife. 

 

The next day, Geillis picked me up at 1pm, and we went to have lunch. She sounded so excited on the phone, and I couldn’t wait to hear the news she got for me this time. I could use some distraction and positive thoughts after another sleepless night.

 

“I got us tickets to the Annual Masquerade Ball!” My friend squeals as soon as we have made our orders, and I begin to put the blanket on my lap. “It’s next Saturday, we are going together. And I’m not taking ‘ no’ as an answer, aye?”

 

I look at Geillis and my lips curve into a smile. Her big green eyes shine with excitement as she’s searching my face, waiting for reaction. We missed the ball last year, and she knew how much I wanted to go. Turns out, when she said there was no way we would miss it the next year, she wasn’t lying.

 

“Come on, lass, say something. I ken how much ye wanted to go last year. I played hell getting those tickets for the two of us. Are ye happy?”

 

“I am!” I blurt, blinking. “Thank you, Geillis. I’m very happy, and I really can’t wait to go,” I add, trying to sound as enthusiastic as possible. A lot has changed over the past year. I’m not the same person anymore.

 

“Alright, I believe ye, Claire,” my friend says quietly, narrowing her eyes at me. “I see something is bothering ye again. Another sleepless night?” She asks, carefully.

 

I nod and purse my lips. “Yes. And the same dreams again… About him. I wake up covered in cold sweat and my pillow is soaked wet with my tears. I don’t know how to stop this. Maybe I need help.”

 

“Aye, maybe...” Geillis mumbles, vaguely. “But, yer moving on, right?” She suddenly asks me when our meal arrives, and we start eating. “Ye said ye didna want to see him anymore, right?”

 

“Yes, right. And I’m trying not to want to see him anymore. I am trying to move on. But… Every night I wake up and feel so lonely in my own house, I start doubting and asking myself if I did the right thing buying it, you know?”

 

“Do ye mean ye want to return to yer old apartment?” Geillis raises her eyebrows, chewing on her sandwich. 

 

“No, of course not.”

 

“Do ye mean to say it was a spontaneous purchase?” Another question.

 

“I don’t know. No. No, it wasn’t. I needed a place of my own, so...”

 

“And now ye have it! So, dinna question yerself or any of yer decisions anymore. Ye did the right thing.”

 

I nod again, emotionlessly, poking a fork into the pasta. “Tell me more about the ball,” I decided to change the subject.

 

“Well, since it’s a masquerade, ye have to be in a mask. It will take place at the Principal Hotel, and is promised to be the most elegant ball of the year. All the elite of the city will gather there.” Geillis answers with a profound excitement shining in her emerald eyes.

 

“That’s...lovely,” I say, genuinely smiling. At this point, I don’t even know if I am really excited about that event, or I simply want to escape reality, and feel something else beside pain and constant regrets.

 

“Ye will love it there, trust me.”

 

We keep eating when I notice Geillis become distant, lost in her thoughts, and she avoids looking me in the eyes. I tense. 

 

“Fine, now, you tell me what it is that you are keeping from me.”

 

“I’m not keeping anything from ye.” She replies quickly and hides behind her big coffee cup.

 

“Hey, you can talk to me, too. You know, sometimes I think that I’m the only one talking about my problems here, but we’re each other's best friends, and I want you to trust me the same way I trust you, alright?”

 

Geillis puts the cup on the table and takes a deep breath. “I saw him last week. My ex-husband and the woman he left me for. With a kid.”

 

“Oh, Geillis,” I whisper. My heart aches for her. “What...what did you do?”

 

“Nothing. I just crossed the street? But I keep thinking about it. I mean, they looked so happy. Made me realize that…,” she pauses and takes another sip of coffee. “Aye, nevermind. Thank ye for listening.”

 

“Of course. I’m sorry, Gee.” I gently squeeze her hand. I know how hard it is for her to talk to me about this heartbreaking experience in her life, knowing I was that woman, too. But I’m glad she told me. I don’t ask any more questions, and we continue with our meals. 

 

The next day, it occurred to me that I no longer notice how fast the days pass. I wake up and do my usual morning routine, make myself breakfast, then read or go shopping. Some days, when Geillis is not with her boyfriend, I pick her up after work, and we go to movies, expositions, restaurants and so on. Each time there’s a different activity. 

 

I know that some people may think I’m happy and free, and such a way of living may seem carefree and nonchalant. But, little do they know that when I come home where no one is waiting for me, I get this tightening pain in my chest that makes me want to run and hide in a corner where I won’t have to feel. 

 

Saturday came quickly. And, here I am, standing in front of the mirror in a new bare-back black velvet dress and dark red lipstick. My hair is put into a small and cute bun, with a single curl framing each side of my face. When I put on my coat, I hear the sound of the car approaching the house. I grab my purse, the keys and get out of the house. I hope Geillis didn’t forget our masks.

 

The hotel where the ball is taking place is big and simply gorgeous, I’ve never been here before. There’s already a queue of guests gathering near the entrance, and the host bows and motions for everyone to come in. I’m slightly nervous. The atmosphere feels magical, I can hear the sounds of laughter and chatter coming from the main hall. 

 

“I don’t even know what people usually do at such events,” I admit, looking at Geillis through my black mask decorated with golden sequins.

 

“They just have fun, drink and eat, dance, talk to each other. If ye want, we can take pictures in a photo-booth. Relax, Claire. It’s a charity ball, not a Vanity Fair Oscar after party, aye?”

 

“Aye,” I nod and smile widely, finally relaxing and immersing myself in this festive atmosphere. The ballroom is so magical and captivating, I’ve almost forgotten I didn’t want to be here in the first place. 

 

“The fire show starts in twenty minutes. We dinna want to miss it!” My friend exclaims and takes my hand. “Let’s go take the best seats!”

 

I quickly grab the glass of champagne from the waiter, and follow my friend into the special room. We listen to the opening speech made by the main host, before the show starts. The artists perform an extremely dangerous but also absolutely exciting and thrilling show. 

 

It lasts for forty minutes, and as soon as it ends I realize I need to visit the ladies room. I get up from my chair, when I notice a familiar figure standing near the entrance. A tall man with red hair and a petite woman, with long curls, hand in hand, are smiling and posing for the photographers.

 

Suddenly, the blood rushes to my head. I take Geillis by the elbow. “Did you know that he would be here?” I ask, my voice shaking.

 

“What? Who?”

 

“You know, who. Jamie. He is here. With his wife. What the hell, Geillis?” I ask, losing my temper.

 

“Claire… He’s...he’s one of the main sponsors,” she finally says. “Look, I kent that if I told ye he would probably be there, ye wouldna want to come! I thought that ye wouldna even meet or recognize each other if we all wore masks…”

 

“And I’m supposed to buy this?” I gasp, my hand still holding her arm.

 

“Ye hurt me, Claire, please dinna be mad and let go of my arm. And why does it bother ye so much? Ye said yer moving on, aren’t ye?”

 

I take a step back, shaking my head. “Yes. Sorry, I didn’t mean to...”

 

“Good. Now, please, can I go? I need to have some sort of casual conversation with that lady...” She says and motions with her chin to the woman in a red dress, standing near the tables with snacks.

 

“Sure.” I say and excuse myself, before disappearing into the crowd. Quickly I find the bathroom where I try to collect myself. I don’t know what’s gotten into me. I’m mad at Geillis, but more than that I’m mad at myself for acting like that, for snapping at her, for being so ungrateful. 

 

In ten minutes I return to the main hall and stand near the table, taking a glass of champagne, and before I know it, I feel a tight grip on my elbow, and a low, thick voice hisses into my ear.

 

“What do ye think yer doing?” 

 

A shiver runs down my spine. I flinch and drop the glass with my drink on the floor. Thank god, no one pays attention as the music is too loud and everybody is busy laughing, dancing and talking to each other. My knees buckle and for a moment I think I might faint. Suddenly, the thought of going back home becomes very appealing. 

 

“What do you think you are doing?” I hiss back, looking over my shoulder. “Your wife is here. Take your hands off me, Jamie.”

 

He hesitates a little before loosening his grip, but his fingers still rest on my skin now covered with goosebumps. I let out a sharp breath, terrified to turn around and meet his ocean blue gaze.

 

“Please, Sassenach, can we talk? I---”

 

I scoff. “About what?”

 

“Please, can we have just five minutes? I just wanted to ken how ye are… Christ, to hear yer voice again, I thought I would never...”

 

“I am great, Jamie. What else do you want to hear? Where is your wife? What if she sees us? How will you explain this to her?” I keep asking questions incoherently, fiddling with the edges of my short dress. My knees are still trembling, I want to scream. Put yourself back together, Beauchamp.

 

I grab another glass of champagne and pour it down my throat in one go, when I hear his voice behind my back again. 

 

“Please, Claire.”

 

I can feel his hot breath in my ear, and it immediately takes me back to our hot nights.

 

“I really don’t know what you want to talk about again after everything that happened!” With this, I quickly turn around and see him. His face, his lips are now less than five inches away from my own, and my breathing hitches. Geillis was wrong when she said I wouldn’t recognize Jamie Fraser if we wore the masks. I would have recognized this man even if he had a plastic bag on his head. 

 

“You have to leave me alone, do you hear me? Don’t make me scream.” I try to step back and push him aside. 

 

“Leave ye? Leave ye alone?” Jamie raises his voice, and before I know it, he grabs my arm again and drags me around the corner and down the long hallway.

 

“What the hell are you doing? Let go off me, you fucking bastard!” I scream at him, as finally there are no people around us. But he is not listening, he lifts me up and throws me over his shoulder, as he keeps walking, not saying a word. And then, he finally stops and opens the door with his foot and puts me onto the floor. In one swift movement, he pushes me inside the dark room and closes the door behind our backs.

 

I take off my mask and try to look around myself to get any glimpse of the place we are at now. Jamie begins to pace back and forth while I catch my breath and my heart feels like it’s about to beat right out of my chest. 

 

“Why did ye leave like that, Claire?” Jamie finally asks, taking off his black mask. “I was looking for ye… I hired a detective, because ye vanished without a trace, I couldna sleep for weeks because I couldna stop worrying about ye!”

 

“You are still with your wife, Jamie, still married,” I mumble, throwing a quick glance at his ring finger. “And she is here, she is probably looking for you right now.” I add, my voice is shaking again.

 

“Why did ye leave, Sassenach? Did ye really move on and forget everything we had?”

 

"You have to stop following me and leave me alone,” I ignore his question, and turn around to reach out for the doorknob and run away, but he grabs me by the shoulder. 

 

"Where do ye live now?

 

“That’s not your bloody business!"

 

“What the hell happened that day in London? Why did ye drop everything in the blink of an eye?” He asks again, and his hand touches my flushed cheek. “Christ, a nighean...”

 

I force his hand away and wrap my arms around my waist. I’m shaking, finding it hard to pick up the words that could explain at least a half of what I feel. Finally, I realize that this room is a storage for old furniture and other useless stuff. There are two broken chairs, a table with three legs and a big old couch, covered in dust. 

 

“That day, in London...” I begin as I stop pacing and stare at the wall. “That day when we last saw each other… I was standing there, looking at you, when suddenly I realized that I had enough. I was so done with you, Jamie. I was so stressed, tired and angry. When you told me you still didn’t talk to her about us, but wanted to continue this affair with me…so unapologetically. And it just clicked. It occurred to me that this turned into a vicious circle, but I deserved better than that. And then... I just asked myself what the fuck am I doing?”

 

I don’t even know if I should tell him that I thought he got me pregnant. I’m not even sure if there’s a point in it now. I take a deep breath.

 

“That was when ye realized ye didna love me anymore, lass?” His voice makes me shudder. I turn to him and our eyes meet again in the darkness. “Ye decided for both of us that we were over. But I didna decide that!”

 

“Jamie… You’re still married.” 

 

“Ye ken, I was looking for ye, Claire, I was desperate, I didna ken if ye were even alive. And then yer friend told me ye didna want to see me anymore, and---”

 

“What?” I gasp. “Wait a minute. What are you saying? You talked to Geillis? When?”

 

“Two weeks ago or something, she didna tell ye?”

 

“No...” I whisper and shake my head. I can’t believe she would do that to me. I’ll deal with her later.

 

“And then I...” Jamie continues.

 

“You what? You gave up?” I whisper as I try to finish the sentence for him, feeling my lips tremble and tears start to form in my eyes. I am such an idiot. If I didn’t push him away like that, things could have been so different by now.

 

“I realized ye didna want me anymore. And then I realized that ye had all rights for that, I broke yer heart. I am a coward. And I’m sorry. Ye left, and I deserved it.” His last words come out as a silent whisper. He runs his fingers through his hair and his eyes start to water.

 

“And what did you do, then?” I whisper, too.

 

“I realized I had to try to make my marriage work!” Jamie raises his voice again, making me jump. “Anna is a good lass. But, she doesna drive me crazy, she doesna make my stomach flip when I look at her, she doesna take my breath away. She isna ye, Claire, and never will be. I try to make this marriage work, but deep inside I ken that ye and I canna be done like that. I ken that ye still love me.”

 

“Why are you always so bloody sure of yourself? Why are you always taking advantage of the fact that you know how to get me? Just a touch, a smile, or another sorry and my world starts to revolve around you again! Damn it, I am a smart woman, but every time it comes to you... I don’t know why I become so stupid and forget that there will always be the consequences if I get back to you!”

 

“What are ye trying to say?” His voice gets lower.

 

“I’m not trying to say anything. Let me go, Jamie.” I beg. “Please.”

 

“Aye. Ye can go. But first, look me in the eye, Claire. Look me in the eye and tell me ye dinna love me anymore. Look me in the eye and tell me ye forgot everything we had together. Tell me how ye forgot the night we met. Or that night after yer birthday when ye called me at 2am, crying, asking me to come to ye, and we fucked till dawn, because ye kent that I would do everything for ye.”

 

“Jamie...”

 

 “Tell me ye forgot how I kissed ye all the time because I couldna help myself, and ye always kissed me back. How you laughed at my jokes. How I took care of ye. Tell me ye forgot how I always made ye come and ye screamed out my name because ye couldna take it anymore.”

 

“Please, stop,” I keep begging. Bloody Scot.

 

“I’m no stupid, I ken that beside all that you will never forget how I hurt ye, how I jumped into a marriage because I was an idiot, and it broke yer heart. But, Claire, look me in the eye and tell me ye dinna want me anymore. And… And ye dinna lay in yer bed every night and touch yerself thinking about me.”

 

My head starts to spin, and I lean on the wall to support myself. I freeze, unable to say a word. One part of me wants to jump at him and get lost in his embrace. And the other part wants to punch him in the face, make him suffer. He walks closer to me and his body is right next to mine. The heat coming from it is driving me insane. Looking down, I just want to cry. Hot, angry, stinging tears.

 

I didn’t forget anything. I didn’t forget how he always made me feel like I was coming home, how I always felt wanted and hot with him. How wild he was and how wild he made me. I still think about the time we spent together, how we loved to make each other scream. But now, there is nothing but silence. And he is bloody right, it’s his name I moan every night when I touch myself. 

 

“I hate you.” I utter and my cheeks flush pink.

 

“Why? Because I am right?”

 

I don’t know what’s right and what’s wrong anymore. The next moment I know I push him with my hands until the back of his knees touch the dusty couch, and he falls onto it, not quite understanding what’s going on. I look at him, biting my lower lip. Slowly, my hands start to trail over the curves of my shape, before I pull my dress up to my waist, and my fingers hook underneath the fabric of my panties. The sensation creates a tingling feeling between my legs, and the need to touch myself right in front of him and make him watch becomes overwhelming.

 

Gathering my courage, I slowly tug my underwear down my legs until it eventually hits the floor. I kick my panties aside and  walk to Jamie, my breath shortens and my pulse quickens. I climb over him, hovering each side of his thighs with my legs spread wide. He swallows hard and his Adam’s apple bops, eyes glued to mine. I lean closer and the next thing I feel is his hardness pressing against my inner thigh. 

 

“Yer a mad woman,” he groans. And before he could say anything else, I hover his mouth with my left palm. He freezes and swallows again. My right hand starts to travel down my body, over my breasts and to my stomach. And then it finally reaches its destination.

 

I resist the urge to moan out loud when the tips of my fingers graze over my already aching clit. I feel the wetness immediately cover my fingers as I start to move them up and down, my eyes never leaving his. Jamie seems to have forgotten how to breathe and move as he silently watches me pleasure myself. I can only tell he is enjoying the scene. 

 

The scent of my arousal fills the room as I start rubbing and massaging my swollen nub, increasing pressure with my fingers, thrusting my hips against his. Finally, I find and hit that sensitive spot as I plunge two fingers inside me. So warm, so wet, so right. And I’m getting close. So close. Imagining his fingers do wonders to my depths, I start to whimper and bite my bottom lip. And then his hands fall on my hips, and he gently strokes them back and forth, adding it to the pleasure.

 

And here it goes, I arch my back as my orgasm rips through me. I don’t stop my fingers while my body jerks and I moan loudly, gasping for air, as I ride my climax until the very end. My face contorts in pleasure, but I keep my eyes open to look at Jamie as I come. And then, I unconsciously fall onto his warm chest, breathing heavily. I’ve never done this before with anybody in my whole life. I don’t even know how I should feel at this very moment - ashamed or pleased with myself.

 

I take my hand off his mouth, and a quiet “Christ ” immediately escapes his throat. At the same time I remove my other hand from between my legs. My orgasm is still ringing in my ears and I can see the stars. I don’t remember ever coming this hard from fingering myself. Before I start to move, Jamie grabs me by the wrist, and his next words make me lose my mind all over again. 

 

“Let me taste.”

 

I could come once more just from hearing him say that. He pulls my hand up to his mouth and lets his lips linger over my wet fingers for a short moment, before he parts his lips and pushes my fingers inside his mouth. I feel his tongue swirl around my fingers, taking in the taste of me. His darkened eyes never leave mine as he holds my hand, leaving me absolutely speechless.

 

As soon as he releases my hand with a satisfied look, I get off his lap and start to look for my panties. I realize I left my purse on the table in the ballroom, before Jamie dragged me here. 

 

“Oh...shit!” I cry out, desperately.

 

“What happened?” He asks as he walks towards me, fixing his suit.

 

“I left my purse on the table. And I can’t find my panties! For Christ’s sake, why do you always have to appear out of nowhere and cause me problems?”

 

Jamie scoffs. “What just happened here doesna look like it was a problem , Sassenach,” he says, swallowing hard again. 

 

I shake my head and slowly walk to the door, when I hear Jamie speak again.

 

“So what, Claire?”

 

“What do you mean?” I ask, not looking at him.

 

“Yer gonna leave without answering me?” I feel him come up closer to me, but my hand is already turning the doorknob.

 

I take a deep breath and turn around. 

 

“Even if my heart will be shattered in pieces, I will still love you with every single piece.”

 

With that, I walk out and slam the door shut.

 

On shaking legs, fighting back the tears, I come back to the ballroom and look around to find my friend. At one of the tables I get myself another glass of champagne, wishing it was something stronger. Finally, I see Geillis talking to someone and holding my purse. She notices me and walks up to me.

 

“Here ye are! I was calling ye, and then I found yer purse on the table. Where the heck have ye been?” She asks, staring at me. “Yer cheeks are red. Where’s yer mask? Have ye been crying? Are ye alright?”

 

“I… Umm...can we go home?” I ask and take my purse from her hands.

 

“I’m not done with this night yet, lass, I stay til the end, and---” she begins, but I interrupt her.

 

“Fine, then I’m going alone. No problem, please enjoy your night. Thank you for everything.” 

 

I turn on my heels and rush to the exit, bumping into a tiny girl with long dark curls.

 

Later on my way back home, I realized I bumped into Jamie’s wife.

 

 

 

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