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Valentine's Day on The Ridge

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“Grandda, Grandda!” Mandy’s voice echoed through the house. He could hear her elephant like steps as she made her way down the hallway.

“In here, a nighean,” Jamie shouted. He dropped his quill on the desk and raised his eyebrow over to Claire- across the room in the armchair. “What is it ye think the lass wants?”

After all these years together he could still read her like a book. He felt the same butterflies in his stomach as he caught the sunlight accentuating the grey streaks in her hair and those whisky eyes staring back at him- just as he did the first time he had ever laid eyes on Claire Beauchamp.

Her cheeks burning red and he smiled to himself – 36 years of marriage and somehow, she still made him feel like a lad again.

“I promised I wouldn’t tell you!” She flipped a page of her book and tried to hide her face. “Jamie, please don’t ruin it for her by making me tell you… She worked so hard on it!”

Mmmphmmm. He let out a Scottish noise of disgruntlement and sat back in his chair.

“Grandda, Grandda!” His granddaughter’s voice reached the office. Her curls were as loose and messy as ever, her smile warmer than ever and her cheeks just a wee bit chapped from the mountain’s frigid air. “GRANDDA!”

The door swung open in a toddler like fury.

“Christ, lassie!” Mandy ran to his side. He picked her up, placing her on his knee. “What is it that has ye runnin’ like a fairie through the fields?”

“I made ye sumfin.” She pushed a curl out of her face.

“Ye made me something?” He tilted his head as he looked down at his granddaughter.

“Aye, I did.” She smiled heartily at him. Acutely, he was aware Claire had closed her book leaving it on the chair and made her way over to his vicinity.

“She did.” Claire agreed placing a hand on his shoulder.

“Happy Vaentine’s Day!” Mandy took a piece of parchment and nearly shoved it in his face. He heard his wife chuckle behind him.

“Mandy,” He took his free hand and reached for the paper. “Ye haveta let me read the present then.”

Carefully he took the contents from her hands and laid it on the table, eyeing it questioningly.

Claire kissed the side of his head whispering to him, “Read it out loud will you?” Her voice was honey in ears, making him wish they were alone.

“Sassenach, ye ken…” He started quietly but by the firm grasp on his neck with her hand he knew better than to finish that sentence.

“There’s time for that later. Read what your granddaughter made you.”

“Aye.” He looked down at the note and read the familiar doctor like script. “Roses are red, violets are blue, Happy Valentine’s Day, we love you!”

“I maded it!” Mandy smiled.

“She did.” Claire rounded to the front of the desk.

“Grannie wroted da note. I colored da note!”

“Valentine’s Day, lass?” Jamie raised an inquisitive brown down to Mandy but he knew Claire got his double meaning.

“Aye,” Mandy took a breath. “Itsa day fer love. Mama told me.”

“It is,” Claire leaned forward on the desk. “It’s a holiday, later.”

“I see.” Jamie rolled his eyes at his wife.

“They celebrated while they were away. You celebrate those you love- husbands, wives, mothers, children, even friendships. Bree had to take some in for Jem’s class. Apparently, he was asking what Bree and Roger were doing to celebrate this year….”

“I go now.” Mandy announced, jumping off his knee. “I have card for Daddy!”

“Careful now,” He reached down and kissed her forehead, “Dinna be getting yerself dirty before dinna or ye Mam and Grannie will have my heid.”

“Yes Grandda. Bye!” And just as fast as she had graced them with her appearance she had left.

This time a familiar form sat on his knee and aligned herself to his frame just right.

“A day of love then, ye say?” Claire burrowed her head in the crook of his neck.

“Mmm.” She mumbled as she placed a kiss to the base of his jaw.

“Ye never said anything before.”

“I forgot about it, really.” He felt the trail of kisses up and down his skin. “I never wanted to celebrate it while I was raising Bree and being here with you in this time, well, you forget certain social holidays like that.”

“Aye.”

“But then Jem asked about Bree and Roger- I figured you would enjoy a Valentine’s treat, too.” She nearly purred. He felt her hands on his waistband making her intentions clear.

“Thirty years later and ye still make me feel like I did when I first wed ye.”

“Happy Valentine’s day, my love.” She reached for his hand.

“Happy Valentine’s Day, Sorcha.