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Faith flat out said it, PRICK.

 

No hesitation. No mispronunciation. No stutter. No misunderstanding between parties (well except for Faith). And it was plain as day, where she learned the foul word from.

 

Me.

 

Is it possible someone could die from embarrassment? Because that’s what it feels like can happen any moment now. As the kids say these days, this is such a facepalm moment.

 

God, why do children absorb information, they shouldn’t be absorbing so easily? And when we do need them to absorb certain things, it takes thirty times more the effort to get it engraved into their brains. Out of all the bloody times to actually listen to me she chooses that time, and that word. I’m not at all frustrated with Faith. I’m beyond frustrated and embarrassed with myself.

 

I spun the wheel of fortune, and hit the bankrupt card. I can hear Pat Sajak loud and clear.

 

“Aw sorry Beauchamp, better luck next time! Faith deserves a more responsible mother than you, HA!” The crowd howls with laughter at me.

 

Fuck you Pat, and an enormous fuck you to the crowd.

 

I shrink at the very thought, not being able to be the mother Faith deserves and needs. I try to push aside my insecurities, not wanting to reveal this part of myself to anyone.

 

Heat rushes to the apples of my cheeks, as I slowly turn around, removing my hand from Faith’s mouth. He’s standing at the threshold, leaning against the doorframe still chuckling, like he’s never heard a joke before.

 

Well here goes, what feels like my hundredth apology to this ginger Scotsman, I scarcely know.

 

“I’m so sorry, she clearly didn’t mean that. She doesn’t even know what that means.” As each word left my mouth, I felt my face turn scarlet red by the second, at the idea of a certain anatomy.

 

His chuckles come to an ease, “Honestly, there’s no need to apologize. She’s just a bairn, and I thought it was funny.” Approaching us with his hands stuffed in the front pockets of his jeans.

 

I offer a warm and subtle smile, for understanding.

 

It went silent for a moment as we stood there, and I felt a sudden urge to flee from the awkward silence. Just as I made the motion to do so he spoke again.

 

“James Fraser.”

 

“Sorry, what?”

 

He wears a lopsided grin with a twinkle in his ocean blue eyes, I know many women would swoon over, but not me. I don’t need any of that in my life right now, maybe not ever.

 

“I’m James Fraser, but ye can call me Jamie.” Stretching his hand out to me politely awaiting my response.

 

“Oh right, I’m Claire Beauchamp.” I extend my own free hand to respectfully shake his.

 

“Tis nice to meet ye Mrs. Beauchamp.”

 

I clear my throat uncomfortably, “It’s actually just Miss Beauchamp, but you can call me Claire. It’s nice to meet you as well.” Releasing my hand from his large callous grip.

 

Nodding his head in acceptance, reading the atmosphere, he focuses the attention on Faith.

 

“I didn't get the chance to get yer name, who might ye be?” Smiling at the cub wrapped in my embrace.

 

“I’m Faith, and you can call me Faith.” Bouncing gleefully.

 

“Well, tis a pleasure to meet ye wee Faith.”

 

Stopping her joyful movements, she counters, “I’m not wee, mama says I’m a big girl. Right mama?” Her golden brown orbs bore into me, seeking my approval.

 

“Lovey, I’m sure Jamie didn’t mean it that way, and yes you're such a big girl.” Her small body relaxes at my response.

 

A sudden rush runs through my bones, I realize this was actually my first time I refer to the kind but unusual stranger by name.

 

“Och I’m sorry lass. Yer mam is right, I dinna mean it like that. I’m just a big ol’ daftie and sometimes I dinna ken what I’m sayin’.”

 

Faith giggles at his comment about being a daftie, and he grins satisfied to see that he’s made up for his wee comment.

 

“Mkay.” Faith smiles brightly.

 

He puts the spotlight on the both of us now, “I dinna mean to be so forward, but I’ve never seen neither of ye around the area. Are ye visiting?”

 

He doesn’t mean to be so forward? Well this is pretty damn forward.

 

Don’t be snide, Beauchamp. Just try to be polite.

 

“We’ve actually just moved here, and only arrived today.”

 

There was something in the way this piece of news changed his demeanor, and I couldn’t quite pinpoint what it was.

 

“That’s braw to hear! Ermmm… tis not really that much of an exciting city, but there are a lot of fun things to do here.” He was nervously fumbling over his words, I don’t know why. It wasn’t like we were some big time celebrities.

 

“Thank you, I’ll have to keep that in mind.”

 

Faith chimes in, “Mama?”

 

“Yes, lovey?”

 

“Where’s the-the man with the big truck?”

 

Big truck? What in the world is this child talking about? Holy LOADS OF BULLOCKS, THE MOVERS!

 

Alarmingly my eyes widen, immediately retrieving my phone out from my back pocket of my jeans. Discovering seven missed calls. Three missed calls from the movers, and four other missed calls from my best friend, Geillis. I don’t even recall putting my phone on silent.

 

 Crap she's going to pissed.

 

“I don’t mean to be rude, but we really got to go.” Wincing apologetically at him.

 

“Dinna be worrit, on my account. Ye two get home safely.”

 

I nod appreciatively, and begin walking away. I press the call back button to the movers’ phone number. Before I knew it, someone answers right away, speaking on the other side of the line.

 

“Boston movers, ready to move when you’re ready. This is David, how can I help you?”

 

“Claire!” I hear Jamie’s voice again, from a good distance away from us. I feel the sudden rush once again, hitting the very marrow of my bones, but this time it was from him using my name.

 

“Sorry, can you give me one moment please?” I speak into the speaker, and place my phone on my shoulder, trying to conceal whatever Jamie has to tell me from the movers. I pivot my body halfway, to put him into view again.

 

Christ, this guy must really have a thing for interrupting people.

 

“I almost forgot... Welcome to Seaside!” He smiles and attempts to wave nonchalantly goodbye.

 

I wave back, “Thank you!” Faith mimics me, doing her own little farewell. Thankfully this time she got the memo, and didn’t utter the same foul word twice.

 


 

Returning to our journey back to the house, I had notified the movers of our estimated time of arrival. They were irritable, but there wasn’t really anything I could do, except get there as soon as possible.

 

By the time we arrive back to the house, the movers had already started maneuvering the larger furniture onto the porch. Getting a head start on things, so everybody could put an end to this over-exhausting day we’ve all had. I unlock the door, allowing them to start bringing in our belongings, and instruct them where to place each piece of furniture in which room.

 

While the movers were doing their thing, I enter the empty kitchen with Faith still attached to my hip. My body sorely is begging for a bit of a break, the amount of traveling and caring for Faith at the same time is starting to catch up with me. I place my little cub on the kitchen countertop, while I dig into my pockets in search of my cell phone. Finding both my cell phone and the coloring book with the crayons Faith received from Glenna, at the ice cream parlor earlier today.

 

“Lovey, do you want to color while we wait?”

 

Bobbing her head up and down eagerly. The idea of her just sitting down not doing anything, I knew that wouldn’t sound too appealing to her. I hand the blue, red, and yellow crayons along with the coloring book over to her. She begins flipping through the pages, until she finally lands on a page she decides she wants to start her masterpiece on.

 

Two movers enter the the room, each carrying boxes labeled in big black letters, KITCHEN.

 

“Where would you like these ma’am?” One of them says a bit too friendly for my liking, and I catch his eyes traveling places they shouldn’t be. The feeling of disgust churns my stomach.

 

“By the sink is fine.” I say coldly, keeping a sharp eye on the creep.

 

They do as they were instructed, and return to the rest of the group outside, resuming their duties. Since they haven’t brought the kitchen table or any of the chairs in yet, I move Faith towards the center of the counter, to prevent any mishap. I bring the two boxes from the sink over next to her, making sure she still has enough room to be the best artist she can be.

 

I open one of the boxes, to begin the process of sorting the kitchen essentials. Before I continue any further, I remember to give Geillis a ring back. Instead of a regular phone call, I facetime her. Moving the unopened box a little further away to use as a stand, making sure it captures both myself and Faith. My phone rings three times, before we’re greeted by a pair of familiar emerald eyes, and long beautiful strawberry hair wrapped in a low ponytail draped over her shoulder.

 

“Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp!” Yelling my full name as if I was Faith’s age. I pause what I’m doing, to find out what has made her so upset.

 

“Ye had me worrying sick about ye and Faith! Just because yer now a Californian does not give ye the right to ghost me like that. I’ve been calling ye, and ten years later I’m finally hearin’ back from ye. Who do ye think ye are? Angelina Jolie?” Her hands were flying in the air with exasperation.

 

I couldn’t resist myself, I respond in a teasing manner, “Gee, I don’t believe you can become an official Californian in less than three hours, and no I don’t think I’m Angelina Jolie. But a run with my flat iron through this bush, and get me some green eye contacts. I swear, I can give all the Angelina Jolie impersonators a run for their money.” My lip twitches, trying to contain a snort from escaping.

 

“Tis not funny Claire.”

 

Rolling my eyes so far back, it felt as if they might get stuck in the back of my head. I know she was worried, but this is in fact our tenth time talking today. She was definitely overreacting.

 

“Dinna roll yer eyes at me. I told ye to call me as soon as ye got there.” She snaps.

 

Faith stops coloring, glancing between myself and her aunt. “Ohhhh mama in twouble, Aunty Gee mad at you.” Shaking her head disapprovingly, she picks up the red crayon continuing on her project.

 

Thanks Faith, way to show your aunt whose side you’re on. Traitor.

 

“See even yer own daughter is takin’ this serious.”

 

She has a point, I was the one at fault here. She was only worried about our well-being, yet here I was fooling around.

 

Raising my hands, surrendering, “Okay I hear you Gee, and I’m sorry I didn’t call you as soon as we arrived. I just needed a moment to gather my bearings, I’m still trying to accept the fact that you’re not next door anymore. I miss you Gee.” Attempting to recreate Faith’s cute puppy dog face. I didn’t need to put much effort, because I really did miss her.

 

“Ugh I hate when ye do that, ye ken damn well that always get me.” Huffing out all her frustration.

 

Her eyes pools with tears as she continues, “I miss ye too, and yer stupid remarks. But I mostly miss my best friend, Faithie.”

 

I start to feel my own tears forming, desperately wanting to break free, but I won’t allow them to. “Excuse me? I thought I was your best friend.” I place a hand over my chest, acting as if my heart had just been punctured.

 

“Nope, ye lost that position when ye ignored my calls.” Shrugging her shoulders, trying to act as if it didn’t affect her. But I knew her all too well.

 

“Gee truly I’m really sorry, by the time we got here I let Faith take a nap, and then we went downtown for some ice cream.” Not wanting to reveal the rest of the story, because I know she’ll have more questions that I’m unable, and unwilling to answer.

 

“Tis fine, I’m just givin’ ye a hard time. As long as both of ye are safe that’s all I really care about.” She spoke sincerely, and I knew she wasn’t upset anymore.

 

We continue discussing my future plans for the upcoming week, and Geillis had her own input of course. Advising me to take things slow, give myself and Faith some time to adjust to our new surroundings, she's right.

 

There are multiple times when I’m so focused on moving forward, but I don’t take the time to pace myself. Eventually this backfires, leading to bigger consequences that I can’t handle on my own.

 

All I want is to forget the past, and start a new beginning, for the both of us.

 

“Aunty Gee! Aunty Gee!” Faith chirps.

 

“Aye, best friend.”

 

“Do you want to see my drawing?”

 

“Ye ken, I would verra much like to see it.” A broad smile stretches amongst Geillis' face.

 

“Mkay you gotta close your eyes first, and don’t peek.” Faith wiggles her index finger at Geillis.

 

“Alright. Jesus, I forgot how bossy ye can be.” A small laugh of disbelief escapes her lips, as she closes her eyes.

 

Faith held the coloring book against her stomach, so my eyes couldn’t take a peek either. She lifts the coloring book from her plump tummy, and places it directly in front of the camera’s view.

 

“You can open your eyes now, Aunty Gee.”

 

Following Faith’s instructions, Geillis instantly opens her eyes. The look of astonishment overwhelms Geillis’ face.

 

“Faithie! That is so beautiful, yer so talented!” Geillis gushes.

 

“You like it?”

 

“No. I LOVE IT!” Geillis responds.

 

Faith bounces up and down on her knees with pure happiness, it radiates right off of her, and straight to me. I can’t help but adore her.

 

Her happiness is truly contagious.

 

Faith and Geillis continue talking amongst themselves, as I space out, taking out the last few glassware pieces from the box I had opened. I faintly hear their conversation through my loud thoughts, but not entirely in tune with what they’re saying.

 

“The blue ones are mama and me.” Faith points to her coloring book.

 

“Och does that mean the red one is me?”

 

“No Aunty Gee, you don’t have blue eyes.” Faith states.

 

She continues, “That’s the nice man me and mama met today.”

 

Geillis asks suspiciously, but calm enough not to alarm Faith, “Aw that’s verra sweet of ye to draw him Faith, and who is this nice man?”

 

Faith stops to think, trying to dig into her memories, but fails to put a name to the red figure she had drawn.

 

“I don’t remember his name… but he said he’s going to get me ice cream.” Faith adds enthusiastically.

 

“Hen?” Geillis’ troubled voice pulls me away from my thoughts.

 

“Hmmm.” I meet her gaze.

 

“Who is Faith talkin’ about?” Raising her eyebrows, with the intention of getting the tea out of me.

 

“I didn’t catch what she said, what are we talking about?” I join back into the conversation, leaving behind the dishware.

 

“The lad Faith drew in her coloring book.” Geillis eyes the coloring book in Faith’s grasp.

 

I still had no idea who Geillis was referring to, or who Faith had drawn, because I still haven’t gotten the chance to see the masterpiece myself.

 

“Him mama.” Faith puts the coloring book in front of me, pointing to a red stick figure with squiggles popping out of it's head, blue eyes, and a big yellow smile.

 

It was him, indeed.

 

It was Jamie.