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The Oath

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2 years later…

August 3rd, 2022

Claire rushed through the door, setting her keys and umbrella down on the front table. It had been raining for a week straight with no end in sight — everything was wet, and Claire was growing tired of her hair being an unmanageable mess. 

“I’m home!” She shouted to the house and then a moment later, two high pitched shrieks came from the other room.

Madeline came running towards her, hands outstretched and Claire caught her, twirling her in the air. The little girl laughed and threw her head back, her red pigtails flying behind her. As Claire set her back down, Julietta came stumbling around the corner.

A month after their honeymoon in Greece, two years ago, Claire had realized one morning that her period was late. Eight months later… enter Julietta.

“Are ye absolutely sure that the two wee pink lines means yer pregnant, Sassenach?” Jamie asked Claire as he picked up the home pregnancy box to read the direction once again.

“Yes, I am,” Claire repeated. “It’s the same brand as the last time, and it’s showing the same pink lines.” She peered over into his hands as he held the stick, her heart hammering. They both hadn’t expected to conceive so soon; they wanted to wait until Madeline was at least two years old. But life had other plans it seemed.

“When ye go into work tomorrow, I’ll come wi’ ye,” Jamie said, placing the stick down on the counter. “Then ye can have another test done just to confirm, aye?”

“Sounds good,” Claire smiled and wrapped her hands around his neck, leaning up to place a kiss on his lips. “So, this is good news right?”

Jamie’s face twisted with confusion as he looked down at her, and then he pushed a few curls behind her ear, his other hand resting on her hip. “Of course it’s good news, mo chridhe. Tis the best news I could ever get! I ken that we planned on somethin’ different, but we’ve never been verra good at planning these sorts of things.”

Claire snorted and buried her head against his chest, momentarily listening to the sound of his erratic beating heart.

“Are you scared at all? To have another child?” She asked, saying all of this to his chest.

“I wouldna say scared, Sassenach,” Jamie stroked her head lightly, calming her. “But I’m nervous, aye. Worrit that I’ll no be good at givin’ my attention to two bairns and to ye, to balance it all. But mostly,” he looked down and placed his hand under her chin, lifting her gaze to his. “I’m happy. That this time, I get to be there from the beginning, to feel every kick and to hold yer hair when ye have morning sickness.”

Tears sprang to Claire’s eyes as she thought back to her first pregnancy and how the first five months she had done it alone — by choice of course, but alone nonetheless. Now, she would have Jamie with her every step of the way.

“I dinna begrudge ye for no’ havin’ me there the first time, but Christ,” he grinned, lifting her slightly in the air. “I’m sae happy! Ye are so beautiful, Claire when yer wi’ child, and to ken that Madeline will soon have a wee brother or sister…” he trailed off, thinking of the future.

“We’ll take it one day at a time,” Claire smiled and ran her thumb over his cheek. “And I’m glad that you get to be here from the beginning too, Jamie. I wanted to tell you so badly when I found out last time.”

Jamie kissed her, and rested his forehead against hers. “It was bound to happen,” he chuckled, a deep hum in his chest. “We must’ve had sex near on thirty times when we were in Greece.”

Claire playfully hit his chest, laughing. “You were the one that wanted a nice round number.”

“What can I say?” He slid his hands down over her arse, squeezing firmly to lift her legs around his waist. “I love my wife verra much.”

On March 17th, 2021, Julietta Elena Fraser came into the world. They had decided to wait until the child was born to find out the sex, and were delightfully surprised to welcome another girl.

The first few months were the hardest — adjusting to life with two small children. Julietta needed so much attention, and Madeline was hitting milestone after milestone. Learning to walk, beginning to say her first real words that weren’t gibberish. At times, Jamie and Claire felt they were stretched in too many directions, but at night when both children were asleep, and they could find solace in each other’s arms, they knew it was all worth it.

“Hello my sweetie,” Claire bent down to hug Julietta as she fell into her arms. At seventeen months, she was eager to always be on her feet which caused only a slight headache for Jamie and Claire. “Mummy missed you and your sister while she was gone today, did you have fun with daddy?”

Julietta nodded, placing her hand on Claire’s cheek and then Madeline was tugging on Claire’s arm. Holding Julietta’s hand, Claire walked with her daughters into the kitchen where Jamie was laying the table with the most delicious smelling pasta carbonara.

“Hello, Sassenach,” Jamie’s face lit up at the sight of his girls. “We’re glad that yer home.”

“Go and play with your sister until dinner, little miss,” Claire instructed Mads who led her younger sister over into the den where all their toys were strewn around the carpet.

Walking around the counter, Claire sighed and laid her head against Jamie’s chest. “Hi,” she said said softly and closed her eyes, enjoying the feeling of her solid husband beneath her.

“Are ye alright?” He asked, setting aside his spoon to wrap his arms around her.

“I’m better than I thought I would be,” Claire replied.

“I still think ye should’ve let me come wi’ ye to see him,” Jamie said, resting his chin on the top of her head. “I hate that ye had to face him alone.”

One arm tightened around her, and Claire nodded. “I wish you were there too, but I know I needed to do this on my own. It was important to say what I did and put it all behind me.”

“So how did he look?” Jamie asked, glancing down at Claire.

“He’s seen better days,” Claire shrugged. “Frank’s in prison, has been for over two years now — he looks bloody awful.”

“Now I really wish I came wi’ ye,” Jamie said and Claire smirked, hitting his side lightly with her hand. “But yer okay, really?”

“Yeah,” Claire said. “I think I’ll be alright. We’ll be alright.”

It had been Jamie’s idea for Clare to visit Frank while he was in prison. The conversation came up almost a year ago, and Claire was hesitant at first, but came around to the idea. It was only now, five months before his release that she finally felt that she could face him.

Claire had never been inside a prison before, and she didn’t have any idea what to expect. She was led through security, where she had to check her phone and other personal belongings at the front desk. Then a security guard took her to the visitors room where she waited to see him.

A few minutes later, a buzzer sounded and a door across the room opened. Prisoners dressed in orange jumpsuits filed in one by one. Some looked completely normal while others gave Claire chills. She knew she would be safe though — prisoners weren’t allowed in the visitors room unless they had been cleared.

Finally, she saw him. Frank.

What once was a handsome, fine chiseled face was now haggard and worn. When he saw her, he smiled. Not the same chilling smile he had given her at the courthouse, but one of an old friend.

“Hello, Claire,” he said as he approached her. “It’s nice to see a familiar face.”

“Don’t get many visitors?” Claire asked, watching him as he sat down across the table from her.

He shrugged, and Claire noticed he looked thinner, but life inside four walls day after day with strict food regulations would do that to a person.

“Alex comes to visit me once a month, and my mother and father have come up a few times over the years,” he said.

“That’s good that they came,” Claire said, suddenly feeling like this was a mistake.

“I must ask,” Frank said. “Just why are you here, Claire? I ruined your life, surely you wouldn’t want to ever see me again?”

“You attempted to ruin my life,” Claire corrected. “You didn’t, however.”

“I’m glad to hear it,” Frank said and he sounded sincere.

There was no point in wasting time, Claire only was allowed to see him for ten minutes. Last night she’d been wracking her brain trying to think of what to say to him. Her first emotion was anger and betrayal. Followed by hurt and then more anger. She told herself that the first thing she would do when she saw him was slap him straight across the face, but that thought had left her mind the moment she saw the state he was in.

“I hated you,” she said and he looked up at her, meeting her eyes. “For a very long time, I hated you for what you tried to do. For causing my family so much trouble and heartache. It wasn’t right, Frank, it wasn’t,” she shook her head. “And I never understood why you would want another man’s daughter so badly to lie like that. It still doesn’t make sense.”

“You want answers,” Frank said, nodding. He had been a professor, a good one at that, and Claire had loved sitting in on his lectures, watching as he commanded the room. Now he sat before her, small and weak and that man she once knew was long gone, replaced by a man that had lost himself.

“I do,” she said.

“Honestly, Claire, I couldn’t begin to tell you why I did the things I did back then,” he hung his head, looking at his hands on the table. “It was a cowardly thing to do and I realize that now — I didn’t at the time. When you left me,” he said, his voice sounding strained. “I realized how badly I needed you in my life, and I went mad with trying to think of a way to win you back. No woman I had after you compared to you, Claire Beauchamp.”

“Fraser,” she corrected, making sure her left hand with her ring was on display.

“That’s right,” he swallowed as he caught sight of Jamie’s mother’s ring. “What I did was foolish and I understand how wrong I was. I know that you can never forgive me for what I did, Claire.”

Forgiveness. It was such a lovely sounding word, but in reality it was one of the hardest to put into practice. For so long, Claire had felt nothing but bitterness towards the man she once thought she loved. He had ripped her world apart and together with Jamie, they had mended it and made it into something even better. Could she forgive the man that had caused her so much pain?

As Claire looked at him, really looked at Frank, she realized that she only felt peace. Of course she could forgive him and she already had.

“I do forgive you, Frank,” she said and he looked shocked at this. “I forgive you and I want you to make a good life for yourself once you get out of here. I truly hope that you’ve learned from your mistakes and that you don’t inflict that kind of pain onto someone else.”

“I won’t, I promise,” he agreed.

“Don’t promise,” Claire said and reached for something in her purse. “You might break your promise, but learn from this, from all of this and try and become someone good.”

With a shaky breath, Claire slid a picture of her family across the table. Frank looked down and picked it up, his eyes scanning the image. It was one of their most recent family pictures, taken at a carnival held in the nearby town last month. Julietta had fallen asleep in Jamie’s arms after one ride, and Madeline had eaten too much popcorn and gotten sick on the car ride home.

“That’s Madeline, she’s almost three. Clearly she takes after Jamie, where Julietta our youngest has dark hair like me,” Claire said, studying Frank’s facial expression.

“Anyone that sees her would know she’s his,” he said softly. “How foolish I was.”

After staring at the picture for another minute, Frank slid the picture back to Claire and she tucked it safely into her purse.

“I came here for me,” Claire said. “For Jamie, Madeline and Julietta. So that their mother and wife could be free from you. I forgive you, and I know that this will be the last time we speak.”

“Thank you for seeing me,” he said and the guards were already coming around to tell them their time was up. “I’m sorry for everything I’ve done. Your family… they’re beautiful and I’m glad that I didn’t mess it up too terribly.”

“Goodbye, Frank,” Claire smiled sadly and then left, not pausing or taking a look back at him. She had said her peace and her heart felt lighter in the process. Gathering her things from the front desk, Claire climbed into her car and made her way home to her family for dinner.

++++++

Later that evening, Claire brought the girls up for bath time. They had tried bathing them separately, but one time when Jamie was giving Julietta her bath, Madeline had gotten jealous and climbed in to join, clothes and all. Since then, it was a joint bath and everyone was happier.

“What did you ladies get up to while you were with daddy today?” Claire asked Madeline as she massaged shampoo into her curly red hair.

“Coloured pictures,” Madeline smiled. “Ate sammiches and a moooovie,” she said the “o” like a cow and Claire laughed.

“A rather fun day,” Claire grinned. “Close your eyes and hold your breath!” Picking up a small cup, Claire scooped up water and poured it over the top of her daughter’s head. The little girl shook her head, splashing water around the bath and onto Claire.

“Watch it, little miss,” Claire laughed and splashed a bit of water back. “Or I’ll have to get daddy to come in and pour a big bucket of water over your head! He would lift it high and splash!”

“No!” Madeline giggled and covered her face with her hands.

Moving on to wash Julietta’s small bit of dark hair, Madeline began to play with a small rubber ducky. It had been a gift Jamie had gotten her on her first birthday and every birthday and Christmas since, he had added another to her collection. She had given each a name — Mr. Quacks, Lucy, Blue, Wiggles and Ducky.

When Claire was pregnant with Julietta, Madeline had been so excited. Once they told her she would have a new baby brother or sister, she would kiss Claire’s stomach goodnight and make sure to say hello to it every morning. And when Julietta was born, she wouldn’t leave her side, always asking to hold her or help feed her. She took her job of being a big sister very seriously.

Once both little girls were scrubbed and squeaky clean, Claire called Jamie over from the other room to come and help dry them off.

“Which one shall I take?” Jamie said, and Madeline raised her small hand, flailing it in her air.

“Me, Da!” She squealed.

Grabbing a big pink towel, he picked her up and wrapped her like a cocoon, and held her close to him. He loved his daughters dearly, and being a father was one of the greatest things that had ever happened to him.

“You next wee fish,” Claire lifted Julietta out of the bath and wrapped her in the towel, drying her off.

“Read a story?” Madeline asked as Jamie wiped her face with the corner of the towel.

“Aye, I’ll read ye a story. Any of yer choosin’,” he smiled.

Jamie and Claire carried both girls into their shared room to get dressed in pajamas. After Julietta turned one, they had moved her into Madeline’s room. Claire could just see it now when they were a little bit older — the late night giggles she would hear, the dress up parties, all the fun they would have.

Claire always wanted a sister growing up, and she was happy that her daughters had that companion in each other now.

Both girls were tucked in their beds and Jamie opened the book that Madeline had chosen. Not surprisingly, it was the one that Jamie had written for her and had finally had published. Since then, he’d been working on another story, but this time not a children’s novel. It was a story of a man and a woman and he told Claire that she might recognize a few similarities here and there.

Meanwhile, Claire spent her days at the hospital. She longed to be home and to be there for her girls, but her other passion was medicine. It was a part of her she knew she couldn’t abandon, a skill that ran through her very bones. And it was rewarding to help people and be there for them. Just as it was rewarding to come home to her children and to a husband she loved.

Life was far from perfect, but it was the life she loved.

Stepping out of the room to get herself ready for bed, Claire smiled as she saw her two girls paying close attention to every word from Jamie. He was the perfect father to two young girls. Always telling them how beautiful, kind, smart and strong they were. Claire knew that Jamie would love a son, and who knows? Maybe one day.

Stripping off her clothes, Claire grabbed one of Jamie’s old shirts and slid it on, loving the way it hung off one shoulder. As she began to wash her face and cleanse herself from the day she had, her mind drifted back to her earlier conversation with Frank.

She never thought she would be able to face him again, let alone speak to him. But it was needed to move on, something she thought she had done years ago. Frank was like a ghost, creeping up at the most unexpected times. Often, she woke from nightmares, and couldn’t fall back asleep until she checked that both her children were tucked safely in bed. Someone had tried to take what was most precious to her, and there was nothing she wouldn’t do to protect them.

Splashing warm water over her face, she hadn’t seen when Jamie had come into the bathroom and jumped when she opened her eyes.

“Och, tis just me, Sassenach,” he laughed and ran his hand over the back of her neck.

“Didn’t hear you come in,” she smiled and wiped her face on a cloth. “Did the girls get to sleep alright?”

“Aye, Mads did ask for another story, but I promised two tomorrow,” he said and picked up his toothbrush. Glancing over at his wife, he noticed she was wearing one of his shirts again. He had commented on how sexy she looked in it the first time she had thrown it on and ever since, she preferred to sleep in his clothes.

Catching him looking at her, Claire blushed and turned her body towards him. “What are you looking at? Did I not get everything off my face?” She looked back into the mirror to check.

“I was lookin’ at my beautiful wife,” Jamie said, sticking his foot out to touch her bare leg.

Making a guffawing sound, Claire rolled her eyes. “Your wife has bags under her eyes and hasn’t felt beautiful in quite some time.”

“Sassenach,” Jamie said softly and rinsed and spit before putting his toothbrush down. “Have I no’ told ye how lovely I think ye look every day since we’ve been together?”

Claire could only nod because it was true, he did tell her every day, but sometimes she didn’t feel like those words described her. After two children, her body had changed and it wasn’t what it was before. Always being on her feet at the hospital helped to keep her in shape somewhat, as did running after two kids at home. But her hair was always a mess, she didn’t get much sleep while being on call and she couldn’t even remember the last time she looked in the mirror and thought she was attractive — probably on her wedding day.

“Did ye ken the other day while we were at the store, I saw a young man starin’ at yer arse?” Jamie said as he wrapped his arms around her waist, pulling her body to his. “I had half the mind to go over to him and gouge his eyes out.”

“He was probably thinking how big it looked,” Claire smirked.

“Some men like that,” he moved one hand over said arse, giving it a firm squeeze. “Ye’ve the roundest arse I’ve ever seen, Clarie, my God.”

“I’m almost twenty-nine years old and I found a grey hair the other day,” she said, moving her hand up to her scalp.

“Oh hush, mo nighean donn,” Jamie kissed her forehead. “Dinna start talkin’ like yer on yer death bed. Yer a successful doctor, wi’ two young bairns, one grey hair comes wi’ the territory.”

“But you don’t look a day over twenty,” Claire sighed, reaching up to cup his cheek.

“I’m only twenty-seven Claire,” he snorted. “What’s all this talk of our ages? Did ye find out somethin’ ye need to tell me?”

“No, no,” Claire shook her head. “I suppose I just feel a bit older than I really am. I know that you think I’m beautiful.” At that, Jamie gave another light squeeze to her bum. “And,” she laughed, “that you find me as desirable as I find you. But, sometimes I look in the mirror and I don’t see a beautiful woman.”

“Then ye dinna need to look into a mirror, mo chridhe. Ye once told me that I had a beautiful heart,” he cupped her cheek, his thumb lightly tracing her full bottom lip. “That is was kind and how ye admired my strength. Well, Sasseanch, your face is my heart, and therefore tis beautiful.”

“If you say so,” Claire said softly.

“Do ye no’ believe me? Have I ever lied to ye?” Jamie asked, his brows furrowing.

Shaking her head, Claire laid both hands on his chest. “No, that’s not what I mean. I mean — if you say it, then it’s true. You make it true.”

Leaning down, Jamie pressed his lips to hers. When she was in his arms, it was like he was holding the whole universe and he had all the power at his fingertips. Loving Claire had made Jamie a better man in every aspect.

“Can ye no’ feel what the sight of ye does to me?” He asked, pressing his hips against her. “Ye may have born two bairns, Sassenach, but they were my bairns and yer body is a miracle to me.”

Claire sighed, her eyelids fluttering as she felt his arousal pressing against her belly. Through his sweatpants, there was only a thin barrier between his hard flesh, and Claire held on tightly to him. While it was true that most days she didn’t feel pretty enough or worth taking a second look at — when she was here in Jamie’s arms, she felt like the most beautiful and sexy woman to ever exist. He ignited something inside of her, a key that only he held.

“I do feel it,” she admitted and finally looked up at him. Slowly, she moved one hand in between their bodies and cupped his length. His mouth parted and his eyes turned to dark slits. One by one, her fingers moved into the waistband of his sweats and she felt the raspy hairs as her fingers moved down.

“I meant it when I said you make it true, Jamie,” Claire said and took hold of him. “I feel almost invincible when I have you in my arms, and especially,” she twisted her hand and rubbed her thumb over the head of his cock. “When I do that.”

“A Dhia,” Jamie groaned and couldn’t help but jerk up into her hand. “I dinna understand myself sometimes,” he shook his head as he looked down at her hand moving in his sweats — long strokes and quick squeezes. “I want to put ye in my pocket like a wee kitten, and then other times I want to spread yer legs and ride ye like a rottin’ bull and have ye screamin’ my name.”

“That’s marriage for you,” Claire chuckled and pumped his length in her hand again, making sure to give just enough pressure to leave him making those little whimpering sounds she loved so much.

“Jesus, fuck, Claire,” Jamie muttered through gritted teeth. He was trying not to jerk his hips or grip her too tightly, but he was losing all of his other senses. Her hand moved over him, fingers lightly touching his scrotum and his knees buckled. “I canna take much more of yer teasing, Sassenach.”

Claire could only bite her lip, watching as her husband’s head fell backwards. With one hand she pulled his sweatpants down over his arse, and his cock and her hand were exposed to the open air. Chills raked his body, and Jamie tightened his grip on her hip before finally looking down. Running her finger down his cock, she pumped him so the head was exposed and pressed her thumb against the bit of pre-cum. Jamie was close to spending, his hip movements becoming erratic.

“I dinna want to come in yer hand, a nighean,” Jamie nearly growled and picked her up by her waist and set her down on the bathroom counter. The t-shirt she was wearing was riding up on her thighs and Jamie could just see her pussy, peeking out under the material. His mouth watered and he ran one slender hand over her thigh while gripping his cock and pumping it slowly.

“Yer so goddamn sexy, Claire,” he looked at her, back pressed against the mirror, legs parted for him and one hand trailing over her breast. “I wanted ye from the first moment I saw ye, and nothin’s changed.”

“Please,” Claire begged and leaned forward, scooting to the edge of the counter. Jamie pressed one hand against her chest before she could kiss him and put both hands on the hem of her shirt, lifting it off and over her head. Gently, he cupped her breasts, weighing them appreciatively in his hands. Her nipples perked up at his touch, wanting to be stroked and flicked. Briefly bending over to suck on them, he then moved in between her thighs.

“I want ye to watch as I take ye, mo ghràidh,” Jamie said with one hand gripping her thigh. “To know that yer mine and ye belong to me.”

A small whimper left Claire’s mouth as both his hands parted her legs. The marble was cool against her skin, and she leaned back as Jamie positioned his cock at her entrance. She watched, captivated and aroused as he pushed into her inch by inch. And when he was fully inside of her, he slid one hand around her back and pressed his lips to hers.

Since he had the leverage of standing up, Jamie began to slowly move his hips, thrusting forward and then moving in a circular motion to feel her pulse around him. Claire came to life under his hands, and he kissed down her jaw and neck, holding her up. She slipped one hand into his, intertwining their fingers.

“And you belong to me,” she breathed heavily, flexing her hips and gripped with one hand onto the back of his neck.

Their lovemaking was always a risk and promise — for he held her life in his hands when they lay together, and she held his soul.

Jamie pulled her hips flush against him, pushing even deeper and held one leg around his waist. His thrust were steady and strong, his hands sure and every touch was deliberate.

“I love ye, a nighean,” Jamie said softly, cupping her cheek.

“I love you,” she managed to speak — her voice was shaky and she felt overcome with emotion as she looked into the eyes of her whole world.

Running a hand between their bodies, his fingers slid over her lips and pressed firmly at the place of their joining. Claire cried out, her body curving up and into his. A few more thrusts and Jamie watched as her mouth formed the perfect “O” shape and her body fell back against the mirror. Jamie felt the aftershock of her walls clenching around him and came, pressing forward as she gripped her hand in his hair.

He placed one sweaty hand on the mirror, no doubt leaving a streak. His head rested against Claire’s chest, gently rising and falling.

“Get me off this damn counter,” Claire pleaded and Jamie laughed, leaning back to pick her up. Still joined, he wrapped her legs around his waist and carried her into the bedroom where he carefully laid her down.

“Let’s go to sleep, aye?” He asked as he moved his body over hers.

“To sleep? Or to bed?” Claire’s brow quirked up and she laughed, moving one leg over his hip to roll them both over until she was on top. “We’re not old yet, Fraser. We’ve life in us.”

“If ye say so, Sassenach,” Jamie grinned and pulled his wife down to him, sealing their lips in a kiss.

++++++

The next morning, as Claire was preparing breakfast, she did something she once told herself she would never do. Julietta was sitting on the floor, near her feet, playing with the soft fuzzy part on Claire’s slippers. A moment later when Claire looked down at her, she had disappeared and when she looked over near the wall, she saw her daughter reaching her little fingers towards the electrical outlet.

“No no no no!” Claire dropped her spatula and raced towards her daughter, her hand swiftly coming to smack Julietta’s bottom. The little girl’s hand fell away from the socket and she turned to look up at Claire.

Freezing, and realizing what she had just done, Claire just stared down at her daughter. Julietta’s bottom lip started to wobble and Claire sank to her knees, enveloping her in an embrace that had to be too tight.

“Oh God,” Claire mumbled. “I’m so sorry, darling. Mummy didn’t want you to hurt yourself,” she ran her hand down her daughter’s back and over her little bottom. She hadn’t smacked it too hard, but it was her first instinct — anything to get her from touching her small fingers into the outlet.

A coughing noise came from above and Claire looked up to see Jamie with his arms crossed and a smug expression plastered all over his face.

“Don’t you dare…” Claire said.

Julietta wiggled in her mother’s arms and then Claire finally released her.

“Pway,” her daughter said and walked away, as if nothing had happened.

Rising to her knees, Clarie avoided Jamie’s eyes and returned to the eggs on the stovetop. Jamie came to stand beside her, that sly grin still on his face and Claire elbowed him in the ribs.

“Did I see what I think I just did?” He asked.

“No,” she shook her head. “No, she was about to electrocute herself!”

“I recall a certain conversation a few years back about what ye would and would no’ do to our child,” he cleared his throat. “And I recall that ye took the opposite stance from me, givin’ me a swift kick to the curb.”

“Look,” Claire turned to him, finally meeting his eyes. “Perhaps when I said all those things, I didn’t really know what I was talking about.”

“And ye thought when I said spankin’ our child, ye assumed I’d beat them?” He raised his brows. “Just a wee tap I think it was.”

“Would you wipe that look off your face?” Claire huffed and bit the inside of her cheek to stop herself from laughing.

“What look? Is it the look of a man who’s wife is admitting he was right?” He slid one hand around her waist. “Cause I dinna think I can.”

“I never said you were right,” Claire said towards the eggs.

“But twas implied,” Jamie kissed her temple. “I best leave ye to the eggs, Sassenach. I need to go and check on our daughter, she may be permanently scarred for the rest of her life.”

“You’re never going to shut up about this are you?” Claire did grin now, grabbing his cheeks with one hand. “If you ever want your wife to invite you to her bed again, you’ll forget this ever happened.”

Jamie clicked his tongue and reached out to lick at her finger. “I can go w’out yer bed, Sassenach, but are ye really tellin’ me ye can go w’out this?” He asked, all while taking her hand that was on her mouth and dragging it down his incredibly lean body.

“You lie,” she chuckled. “Last month you were gone for two days meeting a new client and you told me your balls were blue the whole time.”

“Fine,” Jamie sighed, defeated. “I hereby forget that Claire Elizabeth Fraser spanked our child even though she said she wouldna ever do it and caused me, James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser weeks of distress and heartache. Was that sufficient, m’lady?”

“It’ll do, soldier,” Claire laughed and leaned up on her toes to kiss him. “Now, can you actually go and check on Julietta? I do feel horrible.”

“Oh, I ken ye do, a nighean. I was only teasin’ ye,” he kissed her forehead before walking over to their children in the other room.

Claire had done something she told herself she never would. But she had changed, as everyone does over time. She did things she would never have done years ago, eaten foods she used to hate and even had a one night stand with a stranger — but that stranger ended up being the love of her life. So perhaps, change was a good thing. Claire told herself she would never spank her child again, but she also told herself that Jamie was right, as he often was many times — not that she would tell him that to his face.

Jamie had made an oath to Claire — to love and protect her and their children, to always be there for her no matter what. An oath is a promise, one that isn’t kept lightly. Over the last few years, Claire had made a few promises of her own. And she promised to love Jamie Fraser, the love of her life, the father of her beautiful daughters until her last dying breath.