As he sat across from Claire she couldn’t help but think how much she looked like Jamie, his hair, his eyes, his height. And now he wanted to know about him. This was Claire’s dream come true.
“So. what was my dad like?” she frowned, not knowing where to start. “What did he look like? Did he look like me?”
Claire nods, happy to have a starting point, “he did, my love. Especially now, with your hair, height, eyes. You are the mirror image of Jamie at that age.”
“Jamie…” he drifted off. “That was his name?”
“James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser. And I was proud to wear the name ‘Fraser’. It felt right to me.” her heart swelled to see her son smile, God. He really was Jamie’s double.
“When I met him I was lost...I’d been in Scotland with Frank and then suddenly found myself in a hut just outside Inverness and your father was there.” she smiled at the memory. “You look just like him at that age, when I first met him. He had a dislocated shoulder and his friends were about to force it back in place...until I stepped in…” Brian laughed.
“I always knew you couldn’t resist a man injured. And you couldn’t resist an opportunity to help someone.” he looked at her, asking for more.
“After I helped him he and his friends took me to his uncle’s castle...that was where we fell in love...truly. He married me about 2 months after that and we returned back to his home, with his sister and her husband and her children…”
“I have cousins?” Brian grinned. “Never had cousins before. That’ll be new.” Claire looked down.
“We eventually went to Paris to help his cousin with a wine business...it’s there that your sister is buried…” Tears pricked at Claire’s eyes and Brian grabbed her hands. “After that I couldn’t stay there...so we came home…and then came the battle of Culloden…”
“Mom, be serious!” Brian smirked.
“I am, your father died in the battle of Culloden in 1745...he sent me back to Frank so you’d have a better life...and a father…” Brian scoffed.
“I didn’t have a father. He treated me like I was an inconvenience, not a joy.” Brian was furious at Jamie now.
“Jamie didn’t know that. Please don’t be angry with him...he did what he thought was best…”
“The best? That would’ve been to let you go back to his sister and let me grow up with family...a real family!” Claire sighed. “Mama, I’m just saying...maybe that would have been easier…” He put his head in his hands. ”I don’t want to hear anymore... I don’t want to know anything more about him.”
Claire sighed and started to cry again. Brian stood up and walked out of the kitchen. The last thing Claire heard was the door as her son closed the door behind him.
It had been two weeks since Frank’s funeral, boy that had been an...interesting affair.
Claire sat in the family row of Frank’s funeral, Brian had a hand on hers and was holding it tight.
“Frank would hate all of this...all this fuss…” An American voice behind them noted. Caire turned in her seat and saw Sandy glaring at her pointedly.
“Friend of Frank’s?” Brian shook his head at Sandy, not wanting a scene but also not wanting to let this go on. Sandy moved to sit at the empty seat next to Claire.
“You should’ve let him go...from when I first saw you at the house I wanted you to kick him out...send him to me...but you held on. And now I can’t have him ever again, and it’s all your fault!” Sandy’s eyes had started welling up.
“If you must know, I gave Frank the option to go when I first saw you...but he said he wouldn’t give me the satisfaction...so he had the option and didn’t choose you…” Brian squeezed his mother’s hand to keep her calm.
“Go back to your seat Sandy. You’re making a fool of yourself.” He addressed the woman who had loved Frank. She did as she was told but not without starting to sob.
A Scottish brogue broke through the sea of English and American accents. “Claire, I’m verra sorry to hear about Frank.”
“Reverend Wakefield, and Roger. How lovely of you to attend. I know Frank would have appreciated it.” She said that last part a bit too loud, obviously hoping Sandy would hear her. Brian sighed and looked up.
He saw a white-haired gentleman in a dog collar and then he saw the most beautiful brown eyes he’s ever seen and they were attached to an even more handsome face. His breath hitched a little and he saw the other man’s breath hitch as well. “You must be Roger.” Roger nodded and then looked down, trying to control his smile. Good, Brian wouldn’t be beat up if he made a move. “It’s nice to finally meet the Wakefields. Frank was always talking about you.” The reverend was a little shocked to hear Brian refer to Frank by his given name but he didn’t show it too much.
Brian hadn’t been able to get Roger out of his head, they’d kissed at the wake: in the kitchen and with no one else around, and he could still feel the softness of his lips on his. He could still feel the tiny scratches his beard made on his chin and upper lip.
Of course Claire noticed his dreamy look and grinned. He looked exactly like Jamie had on their wedding day and Claire was ecstatic that he was in love. “I was thinking we could go to Scotland on holiday, darling. What do you think?” Brian’s heart leaped in his chest at the prospect of seeing Roger again. “You should know where you come from really.”
“I’d love it. We should go and see the Wakefields again…” he tried not to look too excited but eventually looked at his mother. “Is this how My father felt when he met you?”
Claire nods. “Yes, in fact, he looked just like you do now on our wedding day. He was so full of love.” Brian sighed.
“Tell me more about my sister...how old was she when she died? What was her name? What did she look like?” Roger was a good influence and he wasn’t as angry at Jamie anymore.
“Faith...Faith Fraser. She was born dead.” Claire’s heart ached. “She had red hair, same as you, though we don’t know if it would’ve stayed that way.” Claire wiped her eyes. “Her lungs couldn’t cope with being out of the womb but apart from that she was perfect...ten toes, ten fingers, two eyes, two ears, a nose, and a mouth...she was beautiful...I miss her all the time…”
Brian pulled his mother close. “I’m sorry mama, I’ve been hurting you a lot recently haven’t I?”
Claire shook her head, “No, Brian. Don’t you dare say that. I don’t think I could’ve gotten through the last few weeks if not for you.” The tiny family sat like that for a few hours.
“Do you think I could travel? Like you did?” Claire looked at Brian. “I know you said my father died at Culloden but…” he took a deep breath. “I’d like to see if I could find my other family. My aunt and uncle and cousins...some connection other than you.” he smiled sadly.
“I don’t know.” she answered his sincere question with absolute honesty. “It’s possible, and your auntie Jenny and uncle Ian would be delighted to know about you, God knows I couldn’t tell them about you, although with your resemblance to your father Jenny might just faint on impact…” she laughed a little.
“I want to try. Is that okay mama?” he looked at her, worried she’ll think he doesn’t appreciate all she had done for him in his life.
“It’s fine. You’re 18 anyway, you don’t need mummy’s permission.” She laughed.
“No, but I wanna ask you to show you some respect.” He grinned at her. “I’m excited for Scotland now, and now it’s not just because of Roger.” They both laughed and started to plan their Scotland trip.