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The Surrogate

Chapter Text

I dinna ken why, but I’m sure this is the right decision. This is what is going to make me happy. Put some meaning back into my life.

For so long I have been so distant. So alone.

Yes, I have a wonderful sister, a fantastic brother in law, and their four amazing bairns. I have a thriving business and a pretty decent flat in the West End of Glasgow.

From the outside looking in, my life would seem like the perfect life. So why do I feel so lost? Stuck? Like I’m only just existing, but not actually living?

I’ve had a couple of relationships in the past, but they weren’t serious. No to me anyway.

My da told me when I was a lad, that as soon as he saw my mother, he kent she was the one for him. He told me it would be the same for me. I would just ken the woman for me, as soon as I see her. I kent it was true for my parents, but it isna something I ever believed would happen for myself. Most people I was at school with are all settled down and married with bairns of their own. I havna even been in a proper relationship yet.

When I was sixteen, I started seeing a lass from school names Geneva. She was a pretty lass, but we didna really have that much in common. She had moved up to Scotland from England the year a’fore. She lived next door to my pal Geillis, so it wasna long before Geneva was hanging around with our group of friends. She was a nice enough lass, but I was still struggling after the death of my mother and brother when I was fourteen.

I ended things with Geneva after about three months into the “relationship”. I told her that things werena working out between us and we wanted different things in life.

After only being together a month or so, Geneva started to plan out the rest of our lives the gether. She wanted to move back to her family’s estate, Hellwater, in England, after we finished secondary school.

Geneva, kennin’ how much I loved working and being around horses, wanted me to run the stable at Hellwater. She also said it would be better for us to marry before we move to Hellwater, so that all our family and friends wouldna have to travel down to England for the wedding.

I couldna really take in all she was saying. I was just so distant from everyone and everything. When I realised how serious she was, I had to tell her that I didna want any of that. I didna want to leave Scotland. I didna think she and I were working out.

I couldna see a future for myself at the time, never mind see myself sharing a life with someone else.

I wasna myself after Ma and Willie Died. It might have been two years since the accident, but it was all still so raw to me. I was really struggling.

Geneva didna take the rejection well. And I was too focused on myself and trying to sort my life out to even notice how she was. To be honest, I didna really care how she was. I was done.

I have finally managed to move forward and make something of my life. I have a good relationship with my older sister Jenny and her wee family. I have built, with my brother in law Ian, a good business. We run a very successful whisky distillery.

I dinna think I’ll find “the one”. And I’m okay with that. I would love a family of my own though. A wee bairn of my own.

I did look in to adoption. I was fairly certain that was the way to go, but then I spoke to my pal John and his partner Joe. When they decided it was time to start their family, the decided on surrogacy.

I spoke with them in great detail about their journey and I did some research of my own.

So yes. I think this is the right choice for me. Surrogacy.

Chapter Text

I honestly don’t know how I’m going to do this. How am I going to get Lamb back home to the UK? It scares me that I don’t know what to do or where to turn. I wish I could just jump on a plane, fly to Egypt, scoop him up and bring him back to Glasgow with me. Unfortunately, it’s no where near that simple.

Even though I have been nursing since I finished secondary school at seventeen. I wouldn’t be able to take proper care of Lamb’s needs on the flight back home. He will need more than just me, and it’s not going to be cheap. I need to come up with a way to raise some money to get Lamb back home as soon and as safe as possible.

Now that Lamb is unfit to work, I’ve had to send some money over for him to live on. Lamb has some really amazing friends around him, and I thank god every day they are there for him. But, Lamb needs to be here, in Glasgow, where I can take care of him properly. He would have better access to the kind of health care he needs.

When I was only five years old, my parents died in a car accident. To this day, I have no idea how or why I managed to survive the accident. I don’t even remember how it happened. It’s like I’ve blocked the whole experience from my memory.

I remember being over in Belfast for a long weekend away with my parents. Mum and Dad had decided to treat me to a day at Belfast Zoo. I remember how excited I was to see all the animals.

We left the zoo around four o’clock to go in to the city for dinner. I remember the restaurant quite well. There was a play park outside near the main entrance with some swings, a slide and a roundabout. Inside the restaurant was very light and airy. The decor was simple, but nice. I remember thinking how clean it looked. There was also an indoor soft play area for children near the family area. Dad told me I could go and play in the soft play after we ordered and before the food came. I was really excited to play with the other children.

I don’t remember leaving the restaurant, never mind getting in the car to leave. I don’t even remember my stay in hospital. My next memory was flying over to France with Uncle Lamb so he could figure out what we should do next.

Lamb is an archaeologist and he travels all over the world with his work. Lamb had decided to enrol me in a boarding school back home in England. I fought so hard with him on that subject. I was five years old, and I didn’t know much, but I did know that my parents were both gone and never coming back. Lamb was the only person I had left in the entire world.

Lamb eventually gave in and decided to take up a teaching position at Oxford instead. As I grew older, I realised that he only did that for me. He missed his old life and his old career of travelling the world going on digs.

When I was about eleven years old and about to start secondary school, I suggested to Lamb that during the school holidays, we should go travel and he could take me on some archeological digs. He was so excited that I was interested in doing that. So, every summer, that’s what we did. Traveled the world and went to some amazing archeology sites.

When I finished school, I went on to study nursing at the University of London. I was just about to turn eighteen and so I decided that it was time for me to take care of myself and time for Uncle Lamb to get his old life back. He took some convincing, but in the end, he agreed. I will always be grateful to him for taking me in as his own daughter and changing his entire life to make me feel secure and loved. It was time for him to get his own life back.

Now, it’s time for me to take care of him, the way he took care of me.

I just need to find a way to raise the funds to get him home. Safe.

Chapter Text

How am I supposed to choose a surrogate? Some random lass I’ve never met will be carrying my bairn. It’s no that I’m havin’ second thoughts or that, but it’s just a big thing to get my heid around.

I’ve decided to no tell Jenny and Ian about my plans to find a surrogate. I ken for a fact that Jenny just wilna understand. She’s quite a traditional lass is oor Janet. She is a strong believer in finding your soulmate, getting married and THEN start a family.

Jenny and Ian have kent each other forever. Ian and I have actually been best pals since we were wee bairns ourselves. It was a shock when I found out that they had been seein’ each other secretly for quite some time a’fore I found out. It took a wee bit of getting used to, but Jenny deserves all the happiness in the world, and Ian certainly makes her happy. I couldna wish for a better husband for my sister, or a better da to their bairns. They’re the perfect wee family, and I am truly blessed to be a part of it.

I canna even begin to explain how happy it makes me to think that one day, I could have a wee bairn of my own, playing with their older cousins at oor family home in the highlands, Lallybroch.

I think I need to take a wee break from looking for a surrogate. I knew the process would be overwhelming, but it’s such a huge decision.

Some of these lassies have been surrogates a’fore. Sometimes I think it’s a good idea to choose a lass that’s been on this journey a’fore. But then, sometimes I think it would be better to choose someone else. There are so many suitable lassies on paper, but none that I can tell would be a good match.

Maybe I could talk to John about it? See what advice he can offer me. But our situations are completely different. John and Joe are a married couple. Been together for years. They were starting this journey the gether. Starting their family the gether.

I am a single man. Embarking on this new phase of my life alone.

Chapter Text

Sitting in the locker room at the end of my shift, and yet again, I’m wondering how on earth I’m going to raise enough money to bring Lamb home? I had been pulling a few double shifts and taking on as much overtime as possible. The director of nursing came to see me earlier today to tell me that I am burning myself out and it’s not safe for me or the patients to keep on going as I am. She has decided that I should take a week off to rest and she is refusing me anymore overtime. Could this come at a worse time? I know I’ve been working a lot, but I would never put my patients in any danger.

I know I should be getting changed to go home and climb straight in to bed, but I can’t seem to move. My brain is absolutely fried.

“You know, you could always sell your body?”

I look up to find Louise stood in the the doorway, not caring who hears her.

I jump up and pull her in to the locker room and close the door behind her. “Would you be quiet?! Anyone could hear you!”

Louise is my best friend. We met at University in London. Louise moved to London from Paris for university. After we graduated, we both ended up accepting positions and moving to Scotland. Me to Glasgow, and Louise to Inverness. She got a job working in Raigmore hospital. Two years ago, Louise surprised me when she called to say she and her husband Charlie were moving to Glasgow and she was taking a position at the Jubilee.

Louise is the only person who knows how desperate I am for money.

“Relax, I wasn’t talking about prostitution anyway dear.” She casually throws out.

“Hmmm, that would be a first.” I reply as I roll my eyes.

That seemed to be Louise’s favourite suggestion. Prostitution. I can’t think of a day where she hasn’t casually tried to slip it into conversation lately.

“Sorry, that didn’t come out right.” Louise says as she takes a deep breath. “What about hiring out your body.”

“I beg your pardon?!” I shout at her, crossing the room to stand directly in front of her.

She can tell I’m more than just a little pissed off at her suggestion. She moves around me to go and sit on the bench. I turn around with my arms folded across my chest, glaring at her waiting on an explanation. Or an apology.

“I’m sorry Claire. I promise I have an idea to try and help, but I don’t think you will like it. It’s just, there’s not many options that are legal. This is though, and it’s probably the only thing you could do.” Louise explains as she grabs my arms to pull me down to sit beside her.

 

I decide to go for a walk by myself for a bit before heading home. Louise and I usually travel to and from work together when we work the same shifts. Today it was Louise’s day to drive us in.

After our discussion in the locker room, I just need to be on my own to think. I need time to myself.

After a while, I’m not sure how much later, Joe passes me in his car. He pulls over and offers me a ride home as he’s going that way anyway. Joe Abernathy is one of the Dr’s on my ward. He is one of the best cardio thoracic surgeons in the country.

He gives me a concerned look. “What’s up Lady Jane? You haven’t been yourself in weeks. What’s the matter?”

I’m too busy looking out the window, not really wanting to speak much. “Hm? Oh nothing. Just work. You know how it can get.”

“Well, if you ever want to talk, you know where I am.” Joe says with a huge smile on his face.

I just smile back and turn to look out my window again.

It isn’t long before we pull up to my building. I remove my seatbelt and thank Joe for the lift before opening my door to climb out. He grabs me by the arm to pull me back in to the passenger seat. He invites me round to his house for Sunday Dinner with him and his husband John. I say thank you, but decline the invitation and say I have other plans. I thank him again for the lift and ask him to say hi to John for me.

Once I get into my flat, I head over to the kitchen and pour my self a large glass of red wine. I head over to the couch and turn on the television. There’s nothing on. But then, I wouldn’t be able to concentrate on watching anything anyway. My head is still trying to register what Louise had suggested.

Surrogacy?!

Why would Louise suggest surrogacy?

Chapter Text

Today has been a really strange day. I am delivering a few crates of the Lallybroch whisky to my Uncle Dougal’s house in Edinburgh. He’s having a party tomorrow night to celebrate the return of his sister, my aunt Jocasta from North Carolina. She and her late husband moved over to the States when I was a wee lad. She returned back to Scotland last month after the passing of her husband last year. She decided to come home and stay with her family.

Dougal and I have a pretty weird relationship. One minute he treats me like the son he never had, and then the next, I’m like something rotten on the bottom of his shoe. There’s no in between. He never really got on with my da. Tried everything he could to stop my mother and father from being together. Ma soon put Dougal in his place though and he had no choice but to accept their relationship.

Dougal has had me running around the place doing everything but what I’m actually here to do. I leave Murtagh, my god father, in charge of unloading the van whilst I go around checking off the list of jobs Dougal can’t be arsed doin’ himself.

After I have finished Dougal’s list of jobs that “urgently needed attention”, I head out to the van to see how Murtagh is getting on with the crates. He isn’t anywhere to be seen. I have a sneaky suspicion I ken where he went though. He and Jocasta have been spending quite a bit of time together since her return. And I’m pretty sure it’s a wee bit more than just old friends reconnecting.

I take a couple of bottles of whisky in to the store cupboard next to the kitchen. When I turn around, I wasn’t expecting to see Jocasta and Murtagh sat at the island in the kitchen sipping tea and eating biscuits.

“Jamie love, why don’t you come and sit down and have yerself a wee cuppa? Ye can fill me in on what’s new in that quiet wee life of yers. And dinna bother saying it’s nowt lad, because anyone can see that yer carryin’ an awfy weight on yer shoulders.” Jocasta always felt guilty about no returning to me and Jenny after my Ma and Willie died. She’s certainly trying to make it up to us now though. She reminds me so much of my Ma sometimes.

“Come on lad, yer aunts right. I made a promise to yer parents that I’d always be here to look oot for ye, but I canny dae that if ye keep freezin’ me oot.”

I pull a stool over to the other side of the island so that I’m facing them both. I pour myself a cuppa and begin to tell them about my plans to start a family of my own and how I want to use a surrogate.

I can tell they’re both shocked. They’re completely speechless. Ye would of thought I confessed to a murder or somethin’. I get up to leave when Jocasta comes over to wrap her arms around my neck and pull me down for a hug.

“Well son, you ken I will support ye the whole way. It’ll be tough being a single father, but I just ken ye’ll dae a braw job. Both yer parents would be so proud of ye. I ken I am.”

Murtagh comes over and rests his hand firmly on my shoulder. “I’m proud of ye tae lad. And I’m here to support ye in whatever ye need. Anytime.”

I canny stop the smile growing on my face. It’s such a relief to finally tell some family, and having their support means everything to me. I ask them no to tell anyone as I’m still at the beginning of the process. They agree and we sit down for another cuppa.

When I eventually get hame, I decide I should have another look through some of the files of potential surrogates. Another two new files came this morning a’fore I left for work.

As soon as I open the first one, I ken straight away that this is the lass that is gonna carry my future bairn.

I just ken it.

Chapter Text

I just came off my fourth night shift. I am more than ready to just drive home and jump in to bed. Last nights shift wasn’t a bad one, in fact, the ward was really quiet. We are down to skeleton staff at the moment as there is a nasty virus going around and a few hospital staff have reluctantly had to take time off. I have the next three days off, but I know that will just give me time to sit around and worry. Worry about Lamb. Worry about the fact that I decided to take Louise’s advice and become a surrogate.

It’s early days and I haven’t matched with a couple yet. In some ways I’m glad because it’s a very odd situation to put myself in. Then again, I wish I could get started so I can bring Lamb home soon.

On the way home, I decide to stop in at my favourite little bakery to pick up a hot chocolate, a haggis and potato scone roll for my breakfast and a slice of millionaire shortbread for later. I always treat myself to a hot roll and a traybake after my last night shift. It’s just something I’ve always done since moving to Glasgow.

As soon as I get home to my flat, I lock the door, kick off my shoes and head over to the kitchen table to have my breakfast.

It isn’t long after 9.30am, and that’s me heading to bed. As this is me now on my days off, I will probably nap for not much more than an hour or two so I will be ready to sleep tonight and get myself into a routine.

I hear my phone ringing. I know I have slept, but I’m not sure how long for. I reach over to my bedside table to pick up my phone. It’s a number I don’t recognise. “Hello, Claire Beauchamp speaking..”

This is it. This is the call I have been hoping for, but dreading at the same time.

Apparently a couple have read my file and are eager to contact me. I give the go ahead for the lady at the office to pass along my personal details for the couple to get in contact with me.

This is all starting to become a bit more real now. I have never been more nervous in my life, but if it means I can bring Lamb back to Glasgow, it will be more than worth it.

I realise that it’s only coming up to 10.30am. I haven’t slept long, but I doubt I will be able to sleep now. I decide to go for a shower.

After my shower, I towel dry my hair and add some hair products specifically for curly hair like mine. I gave up long ago trying to make it look any good. After I add the products, I twist my hair back in to the towel. I head over and sit at my dressing table with the bath towel still wrapped around me as I do my skincare routine. I’ll sort my hair out after I’m dressed.

Since that’s me now on my days off, I don’t need to worry about making myself look presentable. I have zero make up on. I chucked my hair up in to a messy bun on top of my head with a few stray curls coming around to frame my face. I threw on a pair of dark blue denim jeggings, a simple plain white t shirt, and because it’s a chilly day, I put on my lovely cream woolly jumper and my matching cream fluffy socks. It’s not like I have anywhere to be.

I sit down on the couch and turn on the television. It’s more for background noise whilst I email Lamb to see how he’s doing and tell him about my days. We email each other at least twice a week. Before he got sick, I was lucky if I heard from him once a month.

After I send my email off to Lamb, I see that I have a new email from an address I don’t recognise.

Jesus H Rosevelt Christ.

It’s the couple that may possibly want me to carry a child for them. They want to know if I’m available today if possible, to meet with them to discuss things properly.

I reply to their email, agreeing to meet in person today. They ask if I’m available around two o’clock and send me an address.

I guess if they like me, I could be carrying their child sometime soon.

Oh god.

Am I doing the right thing?

Yes Beauchamp, you’re doing this for Lamb!

Chapter Text

JAMIE

Okay, everythin’ is gonna be fine. Her file was the best one I looked at. As soon as I opened it and started to read, I just had this feelin’ in my bones that this lass was gonna be the one to help me. Have my wee bairn.

She said she would be here about two o’clock. It was me that suggested two, but now I’m anxious that I’m gonna be pacing the flat for the next couple of hours or so.

Maybe I could get Mrs Fitz to go over the flat again. Just make sure it’s as clean and tidy as possible. I’ll head out to the supermarket and get some more shoppin’ in. That should keep me occupied for a bit.

I start to panic that my flat doesn’t seem child friendly enough. But that’s because I’m a single man living on my own. Nah, I’m sure it will be fine. Hopefully the lass will see it’s a braw place to raise a bairn. And I’m only a short walk from Kelvingrove park.

Mrs Fitz is more than happy to help me today whilst I go shoppin’. Mrs Fitz was oor housekeeper at Lallybroch ever since I was a wee lad of about four or five. Since Jenny and Ian moved to Edinburgh and I moved here to Glasgow, I asked her to come and work for me three days a week. She doesna need the work, but she likes the company and to keep herself busy. Mrs Fitz goes back to Lallybroch once a week and stays overnight just to check things are okay. Jenny, Ian and the bairns go up to Lallybroch every second weekend. I dinna go as much anymore. It’s no the same without Ma, Da and Willie. I enjoy being with Jenny and her family there, but sometimes I just feel lonely. I would love to be able to take my own wee bairn to Lallybroch though.

When I get to Asda, my mind goes totally blank. I canna mind what I need to get. I head straight in and decide I canna have too many fruit and vegetables. Maybe Mrs Fitz could make a pot of soup? Or a stew? It’s no that I canna cook, it’s just Mrs Fitz insists on it when she’s around.

I ken I definitely need bottles of water. Maybe some Diet Coke? I ken I have plenty tea bags and coffee, but I need sugar. And milk. I should maybe get some fresh eggs and a loaf of bread too.

Now then, what should I get for the lass? A nice wee sponge cake? Some nice wee biscuits? But what kinda biscuits? Oh god. What can I offer the lass with her cuppa? What if she doesna like tea or coffee? What if water or Diet Coke isna enough o’ a choice? What if she canna take dairy?

God. I need to stop with the overthinking and get myself hame and get ready.

When I get hame, Mrs Fitz ushers me to sit down at the island in the kitchen. She had made me a tuna salad sandwich and left me out a wee glass of milk for my lunch. Mrs Fitz really does look after me. As I sat and ate my lovely lunch, she verra kindly unpacked and stored away the shoppin’ for me. She kens I have someone coming at two, but I didna tell her who.

After I finish my lunch, Mrs Fitz tidies always my dishes and then heads hame. I thank her verra much for everything she did to help me today before she left.

 

*Knock Knock.

Oh god. She’s here.

I take a quick look in the mirror beside the door and fix my collar.

When I open the door, I freeze. I’m drowning. Her eyes. The most beautiful whisky colour I have ever seen in my life. And I’ve seen my fair share of shades of whisky.

“Hello, Mr Fraser?”

Fuck, she’s speaking. Pull yerself the gether man!

“Eh, aye. Hello. James Alexander Malcom MacKenzie Fraser.” Why the fuck did I just say that? “Jamie, please.”

“Jamie, I’m Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp. Claire.”

Sorcha.

A Sassenach.

“Sorry, please do come in Claire. Have a wee seat over here.” I guide her in to the living room. “Can I get ye anything to drink Claire?”

“Thank you. A cup of tea would be nice if you have any?”

“Of course, what do you take?”

As I head over to the kitchen to make the tea, I can see her sittin’ on the couch. I can barely tear my eyes away from her.

It’s as if I stepped outside on a cloudy day, and suddenly the sun came up.

Claire.

Sorcha.

The most beautiful woman I have ever seen.

Chapter Text

CLAIRE

Jesus H Roosevelt Christ.

This is where they live?

They must be bloody millionaires to be able to afford to live in a building like this. I’ve never seen a building of flats more beautiful in my life.

I get out of the car and walk across the street to their building. I press their flat number on the intercom and they buzz me up without speaking. Well, they are expecting me I suppose.

I walk in to the building and discover there is a lift to the right. Thank god. Their flat is away up on the fifteenth floor.

*Knock Knock.

Oh god. Too late to run now.

The door opens.

Jesus H Rosevelt Christ. He’s gorgeous.

He’s not saying anything. Why isn’t he saying anything? He’s just staring at me. Am I not what they were expecting? Do I have the wrong flat?

“Hello, Mr Fraser?”

“Eh, aye. James Alexander Malcom MacKenzie Fraser.”

Wow. What is it with Scots and all the names?

“Jamie.”

“Jamie, I’m Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp. Claire.”

We’re just standing here looking at one and other. He is so tall. Like a Viking. He is wearing a navy blue suit that brings out the colour of his beautiful blue eyes. He is a red head. The most gorgeous locks of red I have ever seen. He is a very dashing young man.

Isn’t he going to invite me in and introduce me to his wife or partner?

“Sorry, please do come in Claire. Have a wee seat over here.” He leads me in to the most beautiful flat I have ever seen. He takes me in to the living room and it has such a modern look to it with a twist of some vintage and antique furniture. I sit down on the couch. It’s a small grey two seater, but it is really firm. So much comfier than my old, scruffy blue one at home. It’s so old, I sink right in to the back of it every time I sit down. I should really see about getting a new one. I wonder where they got this couch from? It’s probably way out of my budget though.

“Can I get ye anything to drink Claire?”

“Thank you. A cup of tea would be nice if you have any?”

“Of course, what do you take?”

“Em, one sugar and just a spot of milk please.”

This flat really is so beautiful. It’s very plain and simple, but still, very beautiful. He brings over our tea and sets mine down on a coaster on the white coffee table in front of me. Still no sign of a wife or partner.

“So, will your wife be joining us for this chat today?” I say looking around waiting for someone else to join us in the living room.

“Eh, no lass. Just you and I. I’m no marrit. I’m a single man, looking to start my own wee family.”

“Oh. I see.” Why didn’t the agency tell me this?

“You didna ken lass? Is this gonna be a problem for ye?”

“No, I’m sorry, the agency never told me. It isn’t necessarily a problem, but since it is just you, I would assume that you need an egg. One of my eggs?” My hands are suddenly sweating. I realise he’s staring at me with the most beautiful ocean blue eyes I’ve ever seen.

“Aye lass. I’m sorry lass, I thought you kent. I ken this a lot to process, so if you need time to think on the matter, that’s a’right.”

“It’s only —“ I glance down at my hands resting on my lap and then straighten myself on the couch and look at him. “I was okay with this because the baby wasn’t going to be biologically mine. I was only going to be carrying a child for someone. Have nothing to do with it apart from keeping it protected and safe for nine months. But if you use one of my eggs, then it would be part of me. My blood. I know it must sound stupid, but it’s a big thing to get my head around.”

“I ken it is lass.” He looks down at the ground for a few moments and then raises his head to look at me again. “Why is it you wanted to do this lass? Be a surrogate?”

Oh god. How do I answer this? I don’t need to answer this. I don’t know him. He’s a stranger. “I don’t want to do this.” I say no louder than a whisper. “That’s probably not what I should say, but it’s the truth.”

“You are doing this for the money.” He says as he sits back in his chair.

The way he says it, makes me feel like I’m a terrible person. And I’m not. He doesn’t know me. He doesn’t know why I would consider this. The way he’s looking at me now is as if I were looking to sell my body. Does this make me a whore? Am I really such a bad person for doing this? I just want to help Lamb, and this is my only option.

“My uncle, he’s sick. After my parents died when I was a child, Lamb took me in as his own. He’s over in Egypt and I need to raise the money to bring him home. Nursing’s a good job, but my salary doesn’t leave enough spare to fly him back to Glasgow with the care and support he will need.” I place my mug down on the coaster and stand up. “I thought this was the answer, but I’m not so sure. I’m sorry.” I turn around and head for the door.

“I’ll pay ye double.” He calls from the living room.

I turn to look at him staying still in front of the door. “I’m sorry, what?”

“Ye heard. I’ll pay ye double.” He starts to walk over to me so that he is standing directly in front of me. “I ken this is gonna sound verra strange, but ye are exactly the kinda lass I want to carry my bairn. Ye are perfect.” He stares at me for a moment. “I have the money Claire, so it’s no a problem. If ye agree to help me, I’ll help ye.”

I honestly don’t know what to say. I’m in shock. He seems like a nice enough chap, but he is like this really rich business man who only uses his flat as somewhere to sleep. It’s too neat and perfect for someone to actually live here. Why does he want a child? Why does he want me to give him a child? He is obviously very wealthy, and he is offering me more than enough to bring Lamb home and get him the proper help and support he needs.

“Okay, I’ll think about it and let you know.” I finally answer.

He reaches into his suit jacket pocket and hands me his card. “Call me when ye decide.”

I nod and reach for the door to let myself out.

“Claire?”

I turn around and look at Jamie.

“Dinna take too long lass. I’m no a verra patient man.”

I nod and then leave the flat. Now I feel even more confused than I did when I first arrived at Jamie’s flat.

It’s a long drive home with all this running around my mind.

Chapter Text

Jamie’s POV

It’s been a week now, and I still havena heard from Claire. I ken it’s a lot to take in, I mean she was expecting to carry a wee bairn for a couple, no a single man like myself. She wasna expecting that she would need to use an egg of her own either.

She’s no gonna call. I ken it. Maybe I should get back to looking through some of these files.

But she was perfect though. She’s obviously a smart lass, she went to uni and became a nurse. And her beauty, wow. I ken we only spoke a short while, but I can tell her beauty starts on the inside and just flows to the outside. I can just see a wee bairn running around with my curly red locks and her stunningly beautiful whisky coloured eyes.

I canna think like that. It’s been a week and she hasna called. She’s no wanting to do this. I need to get out of the flat. I need to make myself busy. I havena been able to stop thinking about Claire since we met. I need to go out for a drive somewhere. Clear my head a bit. Maybe I could go see Jenny and the bairns in Edinburgh. Nah, she would ken straight away something was up and she wouldna let it go till I telt her everything. That would just start a whole big argument I’m no interested in havin’ right now. Maybe I could go visit Jocasta? But Dougal and Callum would be about and I’m no ready for their opinions on the matter.

As I drive around Glasgow, I find myself at Braehead. I suppose I could head over to Ikea and have a wee browse. I’m needing to buy some new mugs and cutlery anyway and I suppose trailing around Ikea will kill some time and take my mind aff things.

On my way round the store, there are so many parents going around with their young bairns. It warms my heart to see families like this. I just wish that could be me.

As I get round past the bedroom furniture, I come to the childrens department. Children’s beds, children’s wardrobes. Even children’s toys and books. My mind starts to wonder back to Claire and how she would look carrying my wee bairn.

I need to get out of here.

I head downstairs and go straight to where the mugs and cutlery are. I pick up a couple of simple grey/blue mugs and a twenty four piece cutlery set. I originally planned on a simple silver set, but the black is something different. I pick up a new cutlery tray as well.

On my way home, I end up in Pollokshields. I don’t know why. I pull over and park across the street from a block of flats. I sit in the car for a good fifteen minutes just staring at the flats before getting out of the car. I don’t know why I’m here, or what I’m gonna dae, but I’m here.

I ring the buzzer to Claire’s flat, but there is nae answer. After a few minutes I try again. Still nae answer.

I just stand outside the door watching random people walking up and down the street for a good half an hour or so. That’s when I see her coming towards me.

Sorcha.

“Mr Fraser?” She asks me with a nervous look on her face.

“Ye ken, I’ve been outside yer building for almost an hour lass.”

“Why are you here? How did you get my address?” She asks me as she opens the door to the building.

“The agency gave me it along with your full name, email address and phone number.”

She steps in through the door and waves me in. We walk up to the third floor, where her flat is. No lift in the building though? It seems like a very large building to only have stairs. When we get to her flat, she opens the door and invites me in. It’s quite a small flat. Her entire flat is probably the size of my lounge and kitchen. It’s a really nice flat though. Doesn’t look big enough for a family though. She leads me into the small living room. It’s nicely decorated, but the furniture doesna exactly match.

“So why are you here?” She asks looking a bit annoyed with me.

“Your husband and bairns no around today, no?”

“Excuse me?” She seems a bit taken aback by my question. “Not that it’s any of your business, but I am not married and I live alone.”

“Sorry lass, I didna mean to offend ye, it’s just, well —“

“Well what? Spit it out. And, my name is Claire, not lass.”

“Sorry, la— Claire. Well, em, it’s just, to be a surrogate, you have to have had bairns before.” Why did I say that? It’s none of my business.

“Why are you here Mr Fraser?”

God. She looks beyond annoyed and irritated now. Well done Jamie. “It’s Jamie, please. And it’s been a week now and ye didna call.”

“I’m sorry Mr Fraser, but my answer is no.”

“Can I ask ye why?”

“I’m sorry, but I wasn’t expecting to have to basically donate one of my own eggs as well as carry the child. It’s a big deal. If I wanted one of my eggs out there in the world to be used like this, I would of just donated them instead of going through all this. It’s a baby, a child. A part of you and a part of me. I’m sorry, but I can’t help you. I’m sorry. You should look for someone else.”

I hear what she’s saying, but there is no one else. “How much do you want? I can arrange to have your uncle brought to Glasgow, it isna a problem.”

“Mr Fraser, I don’t understand why you would be willing to do all this for me. Pay more for me to do this when you could have another woman do it for way less.”

“I told you money isna an issue. I dinna want any lass carrying my bairn. I want some one decent, kind and caring to carry my child. I want ye Claire.”

She takes a deep breath and goes to sit down on an old blue sofa that looks quite done in next to the windae.

“Ye wouldna need to worry about a thing Claire. Like I said, money isna an issue. Ye can stop work, I can bring yer uncle back tae Glasgow and I will be there for all the appointments. Ye wouldna be on yer own.” I’m practically pleading with her, but she’s just staring oot the windae.

“Why do you want a child so desperately? You don’t seem like the kind of man who would want a new born baby ruining your perfect bachelor life.”

“My life’s no perfect, far fae it, but I have always wanted a family of my own. This is the only way that makes since for me to dae it. I ken we just met and that, but I’m serious about wanting a bairn, and I’m serious about wanting ye to carry it for me. Please. I’m begging ye for yer help, and I promise I’ll help ye.”

She stands up from the couch and walks over tae me so we’re face to face. “If, and IF I say yes —“

“If ye say yes lass, ye’d make me the happiest man in Scotland. If ye say yes, we start the process as soon as possible, and we see about getting yer Uncle back to Glasgow.” I explain with a huge grin on my face. I canna help it.

“Fine. I’ll do it. But I need you to understand that this is a huge decision, one that I haven’t taken lightly. This is all I thought about for the past week. I’ll help you start a family of your own and you help me bring my Uncle home. No more of this turning up to my flat unannounced though, you said you have my number and I know you have my email address. And I refuse to stop work.”

I canna stop the smile on my face. “Thank ye Claire. Thank ye. Ye’ve nae idea how happy yer making me. I’ll dae anything ye say.”

 

Claire’s POV

What on earth have I agreed to? Seriously Beauchamp? How on earth are you going to carry a child. YOUR child for nine months and then just hand it over as if it means nothing to you?

I can do this. For Lamb.

I’m doing this for Lamb.

Jamie has organised for a nurse, a Neurologist AND a Cardiologist to fly over to Egypt to bring Lamb back to Glasgow. I honestly don’t know how well or how bad Lamb is doing these days. His emails have been getting less and less regular. He has been cleared for the flight home though, but only because of the medical team Jamie has put in place to bring him home safely. Lamb should be here in about a weeks time.

As well as getting ready to be inseminated later today, I have to look for a place for Lamb and I to live. After his stroke, his mobility isn’t very good and I know my flat just isn’t practical for him. Jamie owns a two bedroom bungalow near his flat and has offered us that, but I said no. The man has already gone above and beyond for me, I wouldn’t feel right accepting this as well.

Jamie is coming by in an hour to pick me up to take me to the hospital. I’m really nervous. I’m sure once the procedure is done, I will be fine. Louise and Charlie are the only people I have told about the surrogacy. It wasn’t an easy decision to make and they have been fantastic sounding boards for me. Both of them.

Jamie texts me to say he’s parked outside. I head down stairs to meet him.

“Good morning lass, how are ye?” He asks as he opens the car door for me.

“Hmmm, it’s Claire, remember? I’m alright I suppose, but I didn’t sleep much last night and I haven’t had my morning coffee.”

“No a mornin’ person then, eh?” He closes the car door and walks round to get in the driver side.

It’s a really nice car, not that I know much about cars, but it looks expensive. Of course it is. He lives in a really nice, expensive flat, with expensive furniture. AND, he drops THOUSANDS of pounds in to my lap as if it’s loose change.

“Not until I have my morning coffee, no.” I say trying to close my eyes so he won’t want to have a full conversation.

The last few weeks since I agreed to be his surrogate have been a little weird. He is more than happy to ask me about my life, career, family, yet, when I ask him about his life, he clams up and says he doesn’t like to answer questions about himself or his life. It can be really frustrating at times. He can blow hot and cold like nobody’s business. You never know what kind of mood he’s going to be in. It’s mainly when I ask questions or say something he doesn’t agree with that he goes quiet and cold. Hopefully he doesn’t want to talk much today on the way to the hospital.

When I went for my screening appointment for all the tests, Jamie came with me, obviously. Once we got there and I was called through, I felt a bit strange having him come in to the room with me. He insisted he wanted to be there, and I could understand, but it just made me feel a little self conscious and uncomfortable. We agreed that if he stayed outside during that appointment, he could come in to all the others.

After I got the go ahead at the screening to start the process, Jamie was over the moon. He called his solicitor Ned Gowan right away and had him draw up a contract. Two days later, I was over at Jamie’s flat, sat at the dining room table reading over the contract. He made me nervous as he hovered around me as I read. So much so, I barely took any of the information in and I just signed it to get him to back off a bit.

In the procedure room at the hospital, I begin to feel dizzy. I’m laying on the bed with my legs open and wearing one of them nasty hospital gowns. Oh, and Jamie is standing right next to me. It’s such a weird experience. I start to panic. I can’t do this. He should have got some other woman to do this. He’s an attractive man, I’m sure any woman would be happy to do this for him.

“Claire, are ye a’right lass?” I can tell he’s worried about me, but he seems frustrated with me too.

Oh god, this would of probably been over and done with now if I just slept with him.

Wait, what?

Why did I just think that? Come on Beauchamp, the doctor has already talked through the procedure with you, it’s too late to back out now. Lamb will be home next week. Come on, focus.

“Claire?” He seems a bit more frustrated with me now.

“I’m sorry, I’m just a bit nervous. It’s a lot Jamie. And you standing over me like this and getting frustrated and impatient with me isn’t helping one bit.”

He backs off and turns to face the wall. “I’m verra sorry Claire, truly.”

“It is a lot to process dear, and it is normal to be nervous. Have a wee sip of water and we’ll begin whenever you’re ready.” The doctor says with a reassuring smile.

I turn to Jamie, “I’m sorry.”

“Ye dinna have tae apologise. I canna imagine what all ye are goin’ through. I am verra grateful though. Look, I promise I’ll no look at ye, I’ll just keep my eyes on the screen there.”

“It’s just the thought of a needle —“

Jamie reaches out for my hand. “Dinna worry Claire, I’m right here.”

Okay Beauchamp, just lay back, close your eyes, think of what to have for dinner tonight and it will be all done and you can go home and have the evening to yourself. Watch a bad made for TV movie, listen to music. You can even have a cry if you want to. This is an emotional experience you’re going through.

“Okay, lets make you a baby.”

On the way back to my flat, I realise he takes a wrong turn. Apparently he has decided that he wants to take care of me tonight, so he’s taking me to his flat. The car journey back to his flat is relatively quiet.

“Thank ye Claire. I ken it wasna easy for ye.”

Wow, he’s actually smiling now.

“It wasn’t, but seeing you smile like that, makes it worth while. I know they say that the first time doesn’t always work, but I really hope it does Jamie. You really deserve to be happy with a baby of your own.”

When we get into the flat, he leads me down to the end of the hallway to a bedroom on the left hand side.

“This is yer room. Have a rest Sassenach, and I’ll call ye when lunch is ready. There is an en suite, just over to the right, near the windae.”

“Sass a what?” What is he rabbiting on about now?

“Ah, sorry Claire. It’s just something I’ve been calling ye in my heid. It’s no offensive or that, it just means Englishman or outlander in the Gaelic ye ken?”

“Okay, I’ll just—“ I turn around to head in to the bedroom. I honestly have no idea how to take that comment. It seems like it should be an offensive word, but it didn’t sound too bad when Jamie said it. Anything’s got to be better than “lass” though, right?!

After lunch, Jamie and I are both sitting in the living room. He’s catching up on some work for his business and I’m reading a few blog posts from other surrogate mothers. When Jamie finishes what work he was seeing to, he comes over to join me on the couch. We sit in silence for a while. It’s not an uncomfortable silence though. I can see him staring at me from the corner of my eye. I know what he wants to talk about, but I just don’t think I’m quite there yet.

He wants to know about my daughter.

He wants to know about Faith.

Chapter Text

Jamie’s POV

I canna believe it. She did it. She actually did it.

I took Claire to the hospital this morning and she had the procedure done. There were times when I thought she would back out, but she didna. All that’s left to dae now is wait to take the test to find out if it worked or no. The doctor said that sometimes it doesna work the first time, but Claire has already agreed to try once more, if it doesna take. I pray that it does. No only because I want to be a da, but because I dinna think I could watch Claire go through all that again. It was tough for the lass.

As well as all this, she has the worry of her sick uncle. He should arrive in Glasgow next week. I canna thank the lass enough for what she’s doin’ for me.

I brought her hame to my flat after the hospital so I could keep an eye on her for the next few hours. Ideally, I would like her to stay a few days, but I ken she’ll only say no. The doctor said she was to rest the next few days and I thought I could keep a better eye on her here. She’s in bed having a wee rest the now. Mrs Fitz was here earlier and made a pot of lentil soup. I’ll heat that up in a wee while and butter us a wee roll each.

I learned last week that Claire’s quite partial tae a wee hot chocolate now and again, so I went out this morning and got some so I could make us some later on. I just want to make sure she’s okay and not doing anything too strenuous. I ken I’m probably bein’ a bit overprotective, but I canna help it. I need her to ken I’m here.

I went to call her for lunch around 1.30. She seemed to enjoy the soup. After lunch we went through to the living room. Claire was laying on the couch scrolling through her phone. She seemed quite comfortable, so I turned on my laptop and started finishing aff some work.

After I sent aff my last email to Ian about next weeks meeting schedule, I turned aff the laptop and went to sit next to Claire on the couch. We sat in silence, but it was a comfortable silence. I couldna help but look at her. This beautiful, strong woman who had obviously been through so much. She had been more open about her life than I have. But I could tell she was still holding stuff back. She told me about her parents dying in a car accident when she was five. She told me how her sick uncle was the one who raised her afterwards. She told me about uni in London and her move to Scotland. She even mentioned her friend Louise.

To be a surrogate, you have to have given birth. That’s a fact.

Claire lives alone in a tiny wee flat in Pollokshields. She works insane shifts as a nurse over in Clydebank.

So what happened? What happened to her bairn?

“Do ye fancy a wee cuppa Sassenach?”

“Em, no thank you. Could I trouble you for some water instead?” She says looking at me with a slight smile.

“Of course, wait right there.” I stand to head over to the kitchen.

“Well, it’s not like you would let me go anywhere now is it?” She said with slight smirk.

I ken she was only teasing, but something just snapped in my heid and I dinna ken what came over me. “Look, I’m no keepin’ ye here against yer will, I’m only trynna look after ye. Ye could be carrying my bairn Claire, I just wanna make sure yer safe.”

She snatched the bottle of water from my hand and thumped it down on the coffee table. “It was a joke. Calm down Jamie. What the hell is wrong with you? One moment you are sweet and caring and the next, you just snap over nothing. This isn’t the first time, and it’s times like these I realise I don’t even know you. I don’t know you because you refuse to talk about yourself. I might be carrying your child. It’s just not right Jamie. I thought it was supposed to be me having all these mood swings? I think you’re having enough for us both!”

I sit down on the couch next to her. I can tell she’s wary of me. I suppose she’s right. I have been a bit hot and cold and up and down with her, and it’s no fair. The lass is doing the most incredible thing for me, possibly carrying my bairn, and I just keep snapping at her for no good reason.

“My mother and my older brother Willie died in a plane crash when I was fourteen.” She turns her head to look at me and places her phone down next to her. She’s listening. I can tell she wants me to continue. “My da really struggled after that. It was basically my older sister Janet, Jenny, who took care of me after that. I was struggling tae. I couldna cope. I was falling behind in school. Keepin’ my distance fae my pals. I just wasna myself for a long time.”

I tell her about my struggles with anxiety and depression after Ma and Willie’s deaths. I tell her about Geneva and how after I broke up with her, I started to try and heal myself. I tell her about my da’s death when I was seventeen, and how angry I was with the world. I tell her that it wasna until I was nineteen and Ian and I took over my uncle Callum’s whisky business. It was a decent wee earner, but wasna as successful as it is now. I tell her about the fight I got in to one night at a pub in Aberdeen when a group of lads started harassing the barmaid. They pulled me outside and gave me a good beating. I was half conscious when one of the lads removed my shirt and started whacking me with his leather belt. I’m no sure how many times, but it left quite a mess of scars on my back.

“Naebody kens the last part. About the fight. About my back. Well, naebody except the doctors and nurses that treated me that night and, well, now ye.” I say without looking at her. I dinna want her sympathy. I dinna ken why I told her all this.

“Jamie, you have been through so much. Of course you’re going to have struggles. Everyone does. But, you’re here, and you’re trying to move on and build a life for yourself. That’s an achievement on its own.” She reaches a hand out to place lightly on my shoulder and flashes me that beautiful smile of hers. Every time we touch, it’s like a bolt of electricity runs through my entire body.

“Thank ye Sassenach. It’s just hard, ye ken? Tae talk about. But, it was good. Talking to ye, it’s easy.”

“Thank you for telling me Jamie. I’m glad you did.”

We go back to silence. But it’s that comfortable silence again.

She’s so easy to talk to and be around. I dinna want to have to take her hame after dinner.

We spend the rest of the afternoon just relaxing around the flat. We watch a couple of episodes of Still Game on Netflix. I canna believe the lass has lived here for the past five years or so and she’s never seen an episode of Still Game. I think she enjoyed it though. She was laughing so much, I could listen to that laugh forever and it wouldn’t be long enough. I hope the bairn has her laugh. It’s so sweet and infectious. It just makes me smile. SHE, just makes me smile.

Mrs Fitz also prepared a lasagne earlier before she left and put it in the fridge. Again, I didna ask her to, she just likes to look after me. I leave Claire on the couch reading one of my books from my book case. It’s a book on travelling. I’ve no done much travelling myself out with the UK, but I’m sure she finds it fascinating with all the travelling she did with her uncle as a teenager. Whilst she’s reading that, I head down the street to my local store to get some garlic bread to go with the lasagne and a wee box of chocolates for her.

After dinner, it’s time to take Claire hame. It’s a quiet journey to her flat, and only a little awkward the closer we get. I feel like the awkwardness comes from my part as I dinna want to leave her at her place all alone. I want her to stay with me where I can look after her, but she’s a fiercely independent lass, and I ken she’ll only say no.

When I pull up outside her building, I get out of the car and go round and open her car door for her to help her out. Ma and Da raised me to be a proper gentleman. I walk her all the way up to her flat to make sure she gets in safely. She invites me in for a cuppa.

“Thanks lass, but I better no.”

“You mean Claire, not lass right?” She says with a huge smile that reaches all the way to her beautiful eyes.

“Eh, aye. Sorry. Em, look, I canna thank ye enough Sassenach for what ye’ve done for me. Truly, I’m so verra grateful.”

“It’s okay Jamie, we just need to wait and see if it’s worked now. I want to thank you too, for seeing to getting Lamb home. I can’t even begin to thank you enough for that. He’s the only family I have.”

“I’m just verra glad I could help Sassenach.” I decide I’m just gonna ask her. If she says no, she says no. “Look Sassenach, I was wondering if ye wanted to move in to the flat with me, just until yer uncle gets here and we find somewhere suitable for ye both. I dinna like the idea of ye being here on yer own.”

Oh god, she looks annoyed.

She lets out a deep breath. “Look Jamie, thank you for the offer, but I’m honestly fine here. If I begin to feel unwell or anything, I will let you know straight away. I will see you next week when we go to collect Lamb from the airport and then I’ll be seeing you the week after when we go to do the test. You don’t need to worry about me, I’m fine. Honestly.”

“Verra well then, I’ll be seeing ye next week then.” I nod my head and turn to walk away.

I can get from Claire’s to mine in about fifteen/twenty minutes, but it’s the longest drive home tonight.

I miss her.

 

Claire’s POV

It’s Tuesday, which means that Lamb comes home today. Jamie is coming to pick me up in an hour or so and take me to the airport to see Lamb. I got a call late last night from the Cardiologist that Jamie sent over to bring Lamb home. It doesn’t sound good. Apparently his heart isn’t as strong as it should be and they have decided to take him in to hospital as soon as they land. They plan to do a proper work up on Lamb and run some tests. It just pains me so much that I can’t do anything to help, not until he gets here anyway.

I have been unsuccessful in finding a suitable place for Lamb and I to live. We need somewhere that is on the flat due to Lamb’s mobility issues and if I am pregnant, I really don’t want to be dealing with stairs when I’m eight months along. Due to my unsuccessful search, I have reluctantly agreed to move in to Jamie’s bungalow. I don’t want to be taking so much from the man, he has been more than generous enough already.

I’m too anxious to eat anything this morning. I know I should, but I don’t think I would be able to keep anything down. I had a cup of green tea with honey earlier. That will do until after I’ve seen Lamb.

*Knock Knock.

Who the bloody hell is that? I’m not expecting Jamie for at least another half an hour and I’ve barely moved in to the house, so I’m not expecting any visitors. Did I order something and forget about it?

I head over to the door and open it slightly to see who’s there.

Jamie.

“Come on Sassenach and let me in, it’s absolutely baltic oot here.”

“Sorry, I wasn’t expecting you yet.” I open the door fully to let him through.

“It’s a’right, I brought ye breakfast. I ken ye wouldna be up to feedin’ yerself this morning. A wee haggis and tattie scone roll for ye.” He gives me his version of a wink. It’s absolutely terrible, and every time he attempts to wink, I have to try and stop myself from laughing at him.

He hands me the roll in the little paper bag and a take away hot chocolate and shuts the door behind him.

I lead him through to the kitchen and we sit at the island. He asks me how I’m settling in to the house. It’s amazing how quickly I feel at home here. I only moved in a couple of days ago. I wanted to get things set up for Lamb before he got here. Jamie truly has been a great help. He hired a truck to go over to my flat to bring all my things across. Not that there was much to bring, the bungalow was already furnished.

I wanted to keep the lease on my flat over in Pollokshields, but Jamie wanted me to get out of it. He even offered to pay for me to get out of the lease. But, where would this leave me if and when I have the baby? No, I need to be sensible about this. I can’t just leave my whole life behind for the better part of a year. I need keep my eye out on the retail sites for anything coming up that would suit Lamb and myself.

Jamie has also been trying to convince me to stop working too. I’ve already dropped my hours quite a bit so that I can take care of lamb. I’m only going to be doing two day shifts a week. I have been able to put a care service in place for Lamb during them two days. If I’m pregnant, and when I become further along, I will increase his Carers so I’m not doing so much.

After I finish my lovely breakfast roll that Jamie kindly brought me, I get a phone call from the nurse who is with Lamb. She tells me that Lamb doesn’t want to see me at the airport. He doesn’t want to see me at all. I start to cry uncontrollably. Why doesn’t he want to see me? Why is he shutting me out? The nurse thinks he’s just overwhelmed and suggests I go to the hospital instead and he may change his mind there. I suppose it would be overwhelming to see each other again at the airport under these circumstances. It just breaks my heart that he said this.

Jamie gives me a hug and he takes me by the hand out to the car. He opens the car door for me and closes it behind me. When he gets in to the drivers seat, he places his hand on my knee gently and tells me everything will be okay. The drive to the hospital is pretty quiet. Well, apart from my gentle sobbing as I look out the window feeling embarrassed and confused.

When we get to the hospital, we give the staff some time to get Lamb settled. After about an hour, I ask if I can see him. Lamb refuses. Says he doesn’t want me to see him like this. He told the nurse to thank me for getting him to Glasgow, but he’s just not ready for me to see him like this yet. It breaks my heart even more, I don’t know what to do. I want to respect his wishes, but it’s Lamb. My Lamb. The only family I have left in the world. He needs me, but he doesn’t want me here.

I reluctantly let Jamie take me home. Again, it’s a quiet journey home. I don’t have the words to speak. He doesn’t mind though, I don’t think. He seems to understand. At least, I hope he does.

When we get home, Jamie takes me inside and leaves me in the living room whilst he goes to make us some tea. I want him to stay, but I feel like such a fool asking him to. Lucky for me, by the looks of it, I don’t think he’s going anywhere anytime soon. I just wish I could say something. Anything.

I must have fallen asleep on the couch because when I open my eyes, I smell food. Jamie must be cooking. He’s still here. I pick up my phone from the coffee table next to the couch to check the time.

Jesus H Rosevelt Christ!

It’s almost 5.30pm. How long have I been asleep for? Has Jamie been here all this time? I don’t understand anything right now.

“Sassenach, that ye awake?” Jamie calls over from the kitchen. The house is open planned, you walk in the front door and there’s the kitchen and dining room to the left, and the living room to the right. It’s very nice. Actually, it’s a similar lay out to his flat.

“Em, yes. What happened? How long was I asleep? Have you been here all day? Are you cooking something?” I get up from the couch and walk over to sit at the island as I notice he is indeed cooking.

“Any more questions for me?” He teases with a cheeky smile. “Ye were exhausted, fell asleep on the couch there. I didna want to disturb ye. Ye fell asleep about half one. I assume ye didna sleep much last night. Aye, I’ve been here all day. It’s been quite a day for ye, so I didna want to leave ye. And I’ve got a quiche in the oven and some tattles boiling. Just about to start on the salad. That sound okay to ye Sassenach?”

“Sounds wonderful. Thank you Jamie.”

After dinner, I ring the hospital to see how Lamb is. Thankfully he has given them permission to update me. All they seem to tell me though is that he’s comfortable. That doesn’t tell me anything. I need to see him. This isn’t fair. Why is he shutting me out?

“Ye ken ye can talk to me about anything Sassenach.” Jamie explains to me as we head over to sit on the couch after clearing away the dinner dishes.

“I know, I just don’t have the words. I don’t know why he’s shutting me out.”

“I’m no just talking about your uncle Claire. I’m no just talking about the day.”

No, he’s talking about Faith.

I start crying again. He slides over to me on the couch and takes me in his arms and mutters some things in my ear. I assume it’s Gaelic since I can’t understand a word.

After a few minutes, I calm down and Jamie goes to fetch me a bottle of water from the fridge.

“Faith. My daughters name is Faith.”

“Ye dinna need to tell me anything ye dinna want to Claire. I just want ye to ken I’m here if ye dae want to talk.”

“Just let me tell you at my own pace. Leave any questions you have to the end.” He nods and sits back on the couch.

Apart from Lamb, Joe and Louise, no one else knows this part of my life. They might know some details, but not everything. I can’t believe I’m about to tell Jamie any of this. I can’t believe I just told him her name. I haven’t said her name out loud in two years.

“After I started university, Lamb was off. Away. I was in London on my own. I don’t mind being on my own. I actually quite like it. Anyway, in my last year of university, I met a man, Frank. Three months after we met, we were married. I was young, just about to turn twenty two. I was also naive when it came to men. I had never been in a relationship before. Hadn’t even been with a man before. Frank was my first. It became clear soon after the wedding that he wanted to control me. He wanted me to drop out of university. He wanted a wife to stay at home all day, cook, clean and birth him children. I stayed at university though and graduated and became a nurse. Frank accepted a job as a history professor here in Glasgow, that’s why I applied to hospitals here. When I was offered the position at the Jubilee, he argued with me for weeks to turn it down. When we moved to Glasgow and I started working, he tried to talk me in to quitting my job. Said he made enough money for the both of us. But I didn’t, I love my job. Helping people, healing people. It took a while for us to conceive. We had been married for a little over three years before I fell pregnant. During the three years before I fell pregnant, Frank would beat me or rape me or both every month if I hadn’t fell pregnant. He had a string of mistresses. By this point, I had lost so much of myself that I couldn’t leave him or confront him. I was alone. Faith actually came to be after he raped me one night. It breaks my heart that that’s how I fell pregnant with her. My husband raped me. We were happy for a month or so after she was born. I genuinely thought that things would go back to how they were before we married. They didn’t. Frank wanted a boy. He loves Faith. I know he does. He just wanted a boy to carry on his family name. When he found out that I was secretly taking the pill when Faith was four months old, he got rid of them. He beat me so badly that I was in hospital for almost a week. He told the police that our house had been burgled and I was attacked. I decided then that I couldn’t do this anymore. It wasn’t just me now, I had to think of my daughter. I know Frank loves Faith, and I strongly doubt he would do anything to hurt her, but I couldn’t take the chance. There was a time where I didn’t think he would hurt me. But he did—“

“Claire, I’m—“ Jamie began to speak but I put my hand up to stop him. Now that I’ve started, I need to finish.

“I reported him to the police. Frank wasn’t aware, but every time he beat me, I went to the hospital. I didn’t come out and say what had happened, but at least there was a record of my injuries. He’s been in prison for almost two years now. Another woman came forward and said that he had raped her twice. She had reported the rape, but didn’t mention his name at the time. Other crimes he has committed came to light as well. It was like he was a stranger to the man I had met and thought I fell in love with. He will be in prison for at least another three years. After Frank was sent down, I realised that I was struggling. Trying to re build my life after all that had happened was tough. Lamb flew over from Africa as soon as he heard I was in the hospital. He stayed with me until, well, until I told him it was okay for him to go back to his life. He was a great support. My friend Joe from work was a great support too, still is. And Louise, well, she hasn’t said, but I’m pretty sure that’s why she and Charlie moved to Glasgow from Inverness two years ago. The move just came out of the blue.”

We sat in silence for a few moments. I took a big drink from my bottle of water. I can see Jamie just staring at me. He has tears in his eyes. I’ve never seen him with tears before. Not even when he opened up to me about his life and struggles after the deaths of his brother and parents.

Finally, it’s Jamie who breaks the silence. “Claire, Faith? What happened to Faith?”

Chapter Text

Jamie’s POV

“I couldn’t cope Jamie. I tried, I really did, but I was broken. Faith has been in foster care since just after Frank went to prison. She has been with a really nice foster family for a little over a year now. They send me letters with regular updates on how she is doing. I haven’t opened any for about eight months though. I keep them in a box under my bed. I don’t feel like I have the right to know anything about her. I failed her. I gave her away. She’ll be turning three in a few months. There isn’t a day where I don’t think about her Jamie. I had the option to see her, still have a relationship with her, but I couldn’t. I wasn’t coping and I didn’t think it would be fair on her. It is one of the biggest regrets of my life, giving her up. Abandoning her when she needed me most.”

God. My beautiful Sorcha. How could anyone treat her this badly? Be such a vile human being? To do such things to yer own wife? If the bastard wasna in prison, I’d kill him with my own bare hands.

“Christ Claire, I’m so sorry he did all that to ye. I’m so verra sorry.” She’s starting to cry again. I slide over to her on the couch to be lose enough to gather her in to my arms. We sit like this for a while. Her crying her wee heart out and me just holding her. Showing her I’m here to protect her.

I go and run her a bath, let her relax for a while and then she has an early night. She hasna asked me to stay, but I’m no goin’ anywhere. I canna leave the lass after all this.

The next mornin’ I’m awake a’fore Claire. I ring Ian to tell him I won’t be in to work today, but I can finish off some paperwork at hame. Ian’s fine with this as he hates the paperwork side of things. He’s always more than happy to leave the paperwork business side of things to me.

I get started on a few emails and make a couple of calls to some customers when I here Claire up and about. I put the laptop and my phone away and head over to the kitchen to begin making us some poached eggs and toast for breakfast. She dannars through to the kitchen to sit at the island, watching me cook as she’s on the phone. She’s obviously talking to the hospital to see how Lamb is.

“— Okay, thank you. Tell him I called and tell him I can be there any time he wants me.” She disconnects the call and leaves her phone sittin’ in front of her on the island.

“Any news on yer uncle this mornin’ Sassenach?”

“He’s comfortable. Apparently. You’re still here then?” She seems annoyed, but I canna tell if it’s frustration at no being able to see or speak to her uncle, or if she wants me to leave.

“I didna want to leave ye last night. I stayed in the spare room. Dinna worry, I stripped the bed and put the bed clothes in to wash. I put fresh beddin’ on the bed too.”

“I know you stayed Jamie, thank you. And thank you for making the bed, but you really didn’t have to. I just wasn’t expecting you to be here when I got up. Much less you cooking for me, again.” She said with a soft smile. Phew, she must just be frustrated with the Uncle no wantin’ to see her situation.

I dish up the eggs and toast and hand the plate over to her. I walk round the island with my own plate and sit on the stool beside her.

She looks absolutely breathtaking first thing in the morning. Her hair all wild and free coming around her face. She really is the most beautiful lass I’ve ever seen.

When we finish breakfast, I put the dishes in the dishwasher. Claire heads back to her room to get ready for the day.

Just as she comes back through to the living room, my phone begins to ring. I almost dinna hear it because I’m too busy looking at Claire. “Hello, Mrs Fitz, what can I dae for ye?”

Ah shit!

The flat above me has flooded and quite a bit of water has gotten in to my flat. The furniture in my bedroom and home office are ruined. I need to have workmen come in now and do some work. Apparently it could take a few weeks. The water has caused quite a bit of damage in my flat. Mrs Fitz has offered me her guest room, which I’m grateful for. I turn her offer down though as I still haven’t told her about Claire and the surrogacy. I dinna want her asking too many questions I’m no quite ready to answer yet. We don’t even know if the procedure has worked yet or no. We still have five days before we find out if Claire’s pregnant or no.

I pull out my laptop to see if I can find any decent hotels close by. I don’t want to be in some hotel at the other side of the city from Claire. Not now. She’s went through so much. She’s going through so much.

“What on earth are you doing?” She asks as she stands behind me, looking over my shoulder at the screen.

“Looking for a hotel. By the sounds of it, the work could take a few weeks.”

“Yes, you said. Jamie, this is your house. Why should you go to a hotel when you have a perfectly nice house here? I can go and stay with Louise and Charlie until I find somewhere else, it’s not a problem.”

“Ye’ll dae no such thing Sassenach! This, this is yer home now. I’ll no make ye leave it. I’ll be fine in a hotel. It’s fine.” I say as I continue looking through hotels in the area.

“I have an idea. It may be a bit strange, but—“

“What is it Sassenach?”

“Well, this is your home. Why don’t I move in to the spare room and you have the master room. We won’t see each other much as we will both be working. And now that Lamb won’t see me, I’ve been able to sign up for a couple more shifts.”

“More shifts? But Sassenach—“ she puts up her hand to stop me. I realise I shouldn’t try to stop her from working, that’s exactly what that bastard Frank tried to dae.

“Jamie, I enjoy working. I intend to work right up until I can’t. I’ll be fine. It will keep me busy and my mind off Lamb and the baby. What do you say? Will you stay here?”

“Aye la—“ I have to stop myself calling her lass. She doesna like it for some reason. “Thank ye Claire, but yer no moving bedrooms. I’ll be fine in the spare. I’ll just head over to the flat and see if I can salvage any of my stuff and see how much damage there is. I’ll try no to be too long.” I say as I head towards the door.

“Okay, good luck. I’ll make dinner tonight. And by make, I mean I’ll get something delivered.” She says with the biggest smile on her face.

When I get over to the flat, Mrs Fitz is still there speaking to some of the workmen she was able to call out straight away. Normally it’s a nightmare to try and get workmen out these days, but if they ken ye have money, there no long in jumping at the chance for the work. And in all honesty, I dinna care how much it costs and how much work needs done, I’ll pay whatever to get the flat fixed.

Luckily, the water damage hasna affected the clothes in my wardrobe and some of my drawers. Some clothes however, will need to be thrown out. My suitcase is soaked through so I have to pack the clothes in to shopping bags. No ideal, I ken, but luckily I’m only five minutes away fae the bungalow. I go to the bathroom and start packing some toiletries into a bag. I pick up my phone charger from the kitchen on the way out.

As I’m heading to the car, Mrs Fitz comes running over for a quick chat before she heads hame. “Ye sure ye dinna want to come and stay with me lad? Ye ken yer verra welcome, anytime lad.”

“Thank ye Mrs Fitz, but honestly, I’ll be fine. I might pop over on Friday night on my way hame fae work though and ye can feed me, Eh?” I suggest with a cheeky wink. I ken she likes the company more than anything.

“That would be braw lad. Come over on Sunday tae, and I’ll make us a nice Sunday roast. John and Joe are coming over then tae. They’re gan up tae stay at Lallybroch on the Monday ye ken, so they’re coming to get the keys from me.”

John and Joe love goin’ up to stay at Lallybroch now and again. Joe’s a heart surgeon. It’s no verra often they get to spend much time together as a family, so when they get the chance, they like to head to Lallybroch for some peace and quiet for a couple of days.

“Aye, I’ll dae that Mrs Fitz, thank ye. It’ll be good to see the lads again.” This might be the perfect time to tell them all about Claire and the surrogacy. I ken I wilna ken if she’s pregnant or no until Monday, but there’s nae harm in telling them that this is what I’m doin’. I’m sure they will all be verra supportive.

When I get back to the bungalow, I knock on the door. I ken it’s my house, and I’m gonna be staying here, but out of respect for Claire, I thought I would knock.

Claire comes to open the door. “For goodness sake Jamie! It’s your house. You have a key. Let yourself in. Come and go as you please.” I think I may have annoyed her.

“Sorry Sassenach, I just didna want to intrude.”

“It’s your house Jamie. Anyway, how’s the flat?”

As she makes her way over to the kitchen to make us some tea, I tell her about all the areas affected with the water and what is needing to be done. I tell her it could take a few weeks for all the work to be done, but she seems fine with me staying.

Claire’s working tomorrow. She’s doing a day shift. I ken that. But I dinna ken what time her shift starts and I dinna ken what time her shift ends. I want to ask her, but I ken it’s no my place. It’s no my business. I’m really trying no to smother her, but the past couple of days we’ve spent the gether have been verra nice. I’ve been able to comfort her when she needed it. I’ve been able to keep an eye on her. I canna dae that if I’m at work and so is she.

Ian and I have a few meetings the morra, but I’ll no be goin’ till about 9.30, and I should be hame by 3pm. I’m sure Claire’s shift will be longer than that, but I dinna ken how much longer.

“I can hear you thinking from over here Jamie. I’m sure your flat will be sorted soon. At least they are able to start work more or less straight away. Everything will be fine.”

“Aye, yer right lass.” I take my mug from Claire and go and sit down at the dining room table.

I thought she was gonna join me, but she takes her mug and starts to walk down the corridor. “I have some things to sort out before work tomorrow, please, this is your home more than mine, do what ever you want. Come and go as you want. I’ll order some dinner around six, and hopefully it will be here for seven if that suits?”

“Aye, that’s perfect Sassenach.”

Claire ordered us a chippy tea the night. It’s been a long time since I ate fish and chips fae the chippy. Think I might of been about eighteen or nineteen. It was verra nice. I had some mushy peas with mine. Again, a long time since I had mushy peas, but they were verra nice indeed. Claire on the other hand had gravy with her fish and chips. Gravy? Seriously? Who has gravy with fish? Claire Beauchamp obviously. But she enjoyed it, and it was nice to spend some more time gettin’ to ken her better.

She decided to go to bed early as she has to be up at 6 the morrow for work. I still dinna ken what time she’ll leave for work, or when she’ll be hame. But I’ll be here when she gets in and ready to cook her a nice meal.

 

Claire’s POV

 

Damn!

Why did I have to sleep in today of all days? I’m going to be late for work, I know I am. Damn!

*Knock Knock.

“Is everything a’right Sassenach? I heard something smash.”

I open up my bedroom door a little to answer Jamie, “Yes I’m fine thanks Jamie. I just slept in a little and now I’m in a hurry and I dropped some things off my bedside table. Sorry if I woke you.”

“Nah, yer fine Claire, I was awake anyway. Dae ye want me to make ye some breakfast?”

“You really don’t have to Jamie, honestly. I can pick up a banana or something on my way to the ward.”

“Claire, ye need to eat. I’ll make ye something proper that ye can eat on the way. I’ll give ye a lift in. I actually have a meetin’ with Ian and one of our customers out in Clydebank this morning, so it’s no oot of the way.”

“Thank you Jamie, but you really don’t have to go to so much trouble.”

“I’m goin’ that way anyway. Ye just get yerself ready and I’ll make ye some breakfast, aye?” I nod and close the door as Jamie heads to the kitchen.

When I finally get myself organised, I head out to the kitchen. Jamie hands me a travel cup with some tea. Up until I started the whole Surrogacy, I would have a coffee every morning before work, but I love tea, and I’m slowly getting used to not having coffee in the morning.

We head out to the car and as always, Jamie opens my car door for me to let me in before he goes around to jump in the drivers side. When he jumps in, he hands me a porridge bowl with some banana and raspberries. You would never think that this was the man who was blowing hot and cold with me up until a few days ago. Since we opened up to one and other about our pasts, the situation has shifted slightly. We get on really well, and I am honestly glad because it would be extremely weird to carry a child for nine months for someone you don’t get on with. But then other times I think we may be becoming too close. He is a very attractive man, and I adore spending time with him, but, he is possibly about to become a father. I can’t be a mother. Not now. Not again. I think when I get home from work tonight, I should speak to him about me moving out and we only see each other for appointments. We can call, text if need be, but I think we should both take a step back and keep things professional. This is basically a business deal anyway.

When we arrive at the hospital, I’m surprisingly early for my shift at 8. I thank Jamie very much for the lift and tell him I’ll be home between six and seven, depending when I can get away. I’m doing a ten hour shift, but that doesn’t always mean I get away on time. Louise had kindly offered to give me a lift home when I text her to say I may be a tad late for my shift.

As I get out of the car and start to walk towards the entrance to the hospital, I can tell he’s still sitting there. Watching me. Maybe he’s getting close to me as well? That might explain why he hasn’t blew his top lately with me?

Don’t be silly Beauchamp, the only thing Jamie Fraser wants from you is the baby you may be carrying for him. The sooner we find out if I’m pregnant or not, the better. This living in limbo is no good for either of us.

My shift actually goes by very quickly. I’m in and out of theatre for most of the day with various patients for different surgeries. I don’t manage to get a lunch break until around three, and it’s just a quick few bites of a sandwich from one of the machines in the staff room today as I don’t have time to head to the canteen for a proper lunch and a proper rest. I’m doing another day shift tomorrow, but I won’t be in theatre. Tomorrow I will be on the ward keeping an eye on the patients that are post op.

That’s six o’clock and I am finally finished my shift. I can’t wait to get home and eat something. Anything. And just relax with my feet up.

Sitting in the staff room waiting for Louise to arrive, I see Stephen coming towards me, “Hey Claire, Louise asked me to come and find you to tell you she’s stuck with a patient so she won’t be able to give you a ride home unless you want to wait another hour or so? I don’t mind giving you a lift though if you want?”

I always got on well with Stephen. He’s one of the volunteers at the hospital. His mother was treated here after her heart attack, and as a thank you for saving his mum, Stephen now comes to volunteer twice a week at the hospital. Some of the other nurses have thought him to be a creep, but I think they just don’t know how to take his Irish charm sometimes.

“Oh, that’s fine. Thanks for letting me know Bonnet. Em, yes a lift would be much appreciated, thank you. As long as I’m not putting you to too much trouble?”

“Of course not Claire. Are you ready to go?”

We start walking to the lift after I leave a message for Louise to tell her that I was going home and I would see her tomorrow. Bonnet and I had a pleasant conversation on our way outside. He made a joke about one of the doctors in Orthopaedics. I couldn’t help but laugh. He started doing impressions of some of the other staff in the hospital as we continued to walk over to the car park. I couldn’t stop laughing. I don’t think I’ve laughed so much in my life. He’s a really funny guy.

“Wow Claire, I don’t think I’ve ever heard you laugh before.” He tells me as he stops and pulls me closer to him and tucks a stray curl behind my ear.

“Well, I suppose it has been a while. I do work in a hospital, it isn’t really the kind of place for me to be laughing my head off every few minutes.” I can feel myself starting to blush.

He smiles at me as I smile back. He puts his hand on the small of my back as we start walk again.

As we get closer to the car park, I see it. I see him. Jamie. Leaning against his car door. Watching me. Watching Stephen and I.

What on earth is he doing here? As far as he knew, Louise was taking me home. Surely his meeting here in Clydebank didn’t last all this time?

I turn to Stephen and explain to him that I forgot someone else was coming to collect me from work tonight as I had somewhere to be. I thank him very much for the offer of a lift and watch as he heads off to his car. I can tell he’s disappointed. Well, so am I.

What is Jamie doing here?!

After I see Stephen drive off, I walk over to Jamie’s car. As he sees me coming, he jumps in to the drivers seat. He looks well and truly annoyed with me. He didn’t open my door for me. Not that I’m complaining about that, but that just shows me even more how annoyed he is with me right now. I don’t even know what I’ve done wrong?

I jump in to the passenger seat and he starts the engine straight away, without saying a word he starts to drive home. After about ten minutes of silence, Jamie asks me one of the many questions on his mind;

“I thought Louise was gonna drive ye hame?”

“Well, yes. She was. She got held up with a patient so someone else offered me a lift instead. Why did you come for me?”

“Who?”

“Who? Who what?” I really don’t like his tone. He is obviously fuming with me right now. I thought we were over all the weird mood swings?!

“Who was the man Claire?” He snaps at me while hitting the steering wheel.

“I’m not speaking to you when you’re like this!” I snap back. “I’ll speak to you at home, but only if and when you calm the fuck down.”

He doesn’t say anything the rest of the way home. Either do I. This time it isn’t a comfortable silence. You could cut the atmosphere with a knife. It’s when he acts like this, I really hope I’m not going to have a child for him. How can I bring a child in to the world for them to be raised by a father who behaves like this?

When we get home, I’m the first one to enter the house. I leave the front door open for him, but he sits in the car. After a few minutes, I go back to close the door. I don’t want the draft coming in whilst he’s sat moping around in his car. Well, I’m not sitting around here waiting for him, so I go and jump in the shower.

After my shower, I order some take away to be delivered. For myself. I get changed in to my pyjamas, tie my hair up in to a messy bun, grab my book off the bed and make my way out down to the living room. As I reach the open planned part of the house, I see Jamie in the kitchen dishing out what looks like a steak pie and vegetables on to two plates. He doesn’t say anything, so I just head over to the couch and pull the blanket from the couch over me as I lay down to read my book. I can see him place the two plates on the dining room table and filling two glasses with water from the fridge. I can see him looking at me, but he still doesn’t say anything. I just start to read my book.

A few moments later, Jamie slowly walks over to me and kneels down in front of me. I just ignore him and continue to read.

“Claire, will ye come and have yer dinner, please?”

I turn around to look at him, “My dinner hasn’t arrived yet, but it shouldn’t be too long, but don’t worry, if you’re having a guest over, I’ll take my food to my room.”

I move to stand up and walk away, but he grabs me by the arm and turns me to face him. I pull myself away as I yell him to let go of me.

“Claire, I made dinner for ye. I’m no waiting on anyone else. I cooked dinner for ye since ye had a long shift. Please, come and sit down.” He takes me by the hand and leads me over to the table. He pulls out a seat for me to sit at the table.

*Ding Dong.

“Who the hell is that?” He asks.

“I told you I was waiting for my dinner.” I got up and walked to the door to collect my food. I thanked the delivery driver and gave him a tip. I walked back over to the island and placed my bag of food on to the island.

Jamie starts to walk off down to his room, but he freezes on the spot when I begin to speak;

“Thank you for cooking dinner for me. I didn’t expect you to. I had already ordered my food by the time I realised. I’m sorry.” He turns around to look at me, but doesn’t say anything. “If you promise we can talk about all this calmly without you going off in a huff, I will sit and have dinner with you. It looks delicious and it would be a shame to waste it.”

“What aboot the dinner ye ordered?” He asks as he steps forward towards the table.

“I’ll put it in the fridge, it will keep till tomorrow, I’m sure.”

I sit back down on the chair Jamie had pulled out for me before and take a sip of water. Jamie then comes round and sits at the other side of the table to eat dinner with me.

We don’t speak though. It’s just silence.

Chapter Text

Jamie’s POV

*Ding Dong.

“Who the hell is that?”

“I told you I was waiting for my dinner.”

She ordered in?! I guess this was a mistake then. I dinna wanna argue with her again. And if she’s gonna sit here and ignore me all night, I’d rather no look at her. Does she no realise what she’s daeing to me?

Claire takes her food fae the delivery guy and turns to come back in to the kitchen and stands at the island. I can tell by the look on her face she’s mad at me, so I decide to take myself off to my room.

She begins to speak to me, so I stop on the spot.

“Thank you for cooking dinner for me. I didn’t expect you to. I had already ordered my food by the time I realised. I’m sorry.”

I turn round to look at her. Trying to read her usual glass face. I think she’s calmed down, but I canny quite read her just now.

“If you promise we can talk about all this calmly without you going off in a huff, I will sit and have dinner with you. It looks delicious and it would be a shame to waste it.”

I slowly step towards the table, “What aboot the dinner ye ordered?”

“I’ll put it in the fridge, it will keep till tomorrow, I’m sure.”

She sits down at the table and I watch her as she takes a sip of her water. I take a deep breath and walk round to sit at the other end of the table. We eat in silence.

When we both finish dinner, I get up to clear the dishes away in to the dishwasher. Claire re fills both our glasses with water and then she heads on over to the couch. We still havena spoken since before we ate dinner. I pick up my glass of water and start to head to my room.

“I think we should talk before you disappear to your room for the night, don’t you?” She’s no even looking at me, but I can tell she’s mad. Again.

I walk on over and I sit on the other end of the couch from Claire. Maybe I should of sat on the other couch, or even the arm chair, but I didna think. The lass just draws me to her. All I wanna do is apologise for all of today and gather her in to my arms and hold her all night. I ken a canna do that though, so I just sit there. Wondering what I could possibly say to make things right. The past few days had been so good. I feel like we were becoming so much closer.

Before I can begin to speak, Claire starts the conversation;

“Jamie, why did you come to the hospital tonight after my shift ended? You knew Louise was going to drive me home.”

“I was in the area, and thought I would come and get ye to save yer wee pal goin’ out of her way to bring ye hame.” Christ, even I dinna believe that one.

Fuck. I feel like such an idiot. I roll my eyes at myself.

She’s still no lookin’ at me. She’s got her wee eyes focused purely on her wee glass as the runs her index finger around the rim of the glass. “Why didn’t you text me?”

“It was a last minute thing. Ye ken?” She’s still no lifted her eyes from the glass. She’s making me feel really uneasy now. I honestly dinna ken what to dae or even say. What the hell is the matter with me?

“Well, Louise got held up with a patient, so Bonnet. Em, Stephen, offered to bring me home.”

As soon as she mentions that mans name, my blood starts to boil. “Stephen. Right. I thought ye dinna have a boyfriend?” Who the fuck is this Stephen Bonnet and why hasna she mentioned him before?

“You know I don’t.” She says very coldly. I can tell I’m annoying her even more now.

“Ye seemed like a happy couple coming out of the hospital. Laughing away, him pulling ye close. His arm wrapped around yer wee waist.” I snapped at her as I stood up and walked towards the windae. I couldna look at her anymore.

“Jealous, are we?” She scoffed as she downed her water and slammed her glass down on the coffee table. I could see her reflection in the windae.

“It’s in the contract Claire. Yer canna to be seeing anyone. Yer focus is to be the bairn.” I said barely louder than a whisper.

“I know damn well what’s in that contract, and I told you I’m not seeing anyone. Stephen is just my friend.” She’s seething. She stood up and came and stood directly behind me. I could feel her breath on my neck as she stood on her tip toes to scream in my ear, “I DON’T KNOW WHAT YOUR FUCKING PROBLEM IS JAMIE FRASER!”

She then shoved me and stormed off to her room. I wanted to go after her, but she was clearly really pissed off with me, so I thought I would leave things till morning.

When I wake up the next morning, she’s gone. She didn’t even have anything for breakfast that I could see. There was no dishes. No even a mug for her tea. I ken her shift doesna start for another hour yet, so I try to call her, but she doesna answer. I send her a text, but no reply.

I go for a shower and get myself ready for work. Ian and I have another couple of meetings later with customers. One in Edinburgh and the other in Falkirk. I would really like to clear the air with Claire before I have to leave.

I try calling another twice, but she’s turned her phone off. Why would she dae that? Even at work, her phone is always on in her locker and she checks it when she can.

This isna sittin’ right with me at all. I decide to head over to the hospital to see if she’s there. She maybe decided to go in early to avoid me and have breakfast in the canteen. I get my stuff together and get ready to go to the hospital. I send Ian a quick text to tell him that I’ll meet him at the meeting instead of going to his place first. Seeing Jenny and the bairns could wait, this talk with Claire canna.

I get to the hospital, but I dinna see her car in the car park. I go inside and have a look at the canteen. Nae sign of her. I head up to her ward, but the staff say she has took the day off.

Took the day off? No answerin’ her phone? What the hell’s goin’ on? She’s really starting to scare me now. Where is she?

Lamb. Maybe she went to see her Uncle? I ken he won’t let her in to see him, but the nurses have barely told her anything over the phone. She was in such a state last night, and presumably, she’s in a similar state the day. Aye, maybe she’s gone to see if she can see Lamb? I head on down to the lift and go to the floor Lamb’s ward is on. It’s such a big hospital, but I think I ken where I’m goin’.

I find Lamb’s ward, but it’s no visiting time, so I canna get in. I can see Claire sat on a chair at the nurses station and she’s crying. Uncontrollably crying. The doors are locked, I canna get to her. I ring the bell, but no one comes. I knock the door, but again, no one comes. I keep ringing the bell until she looks up and she see’s me. She stands up and I think she’s gonna come and let me in, but she walks in another direction.

I decide to give her some space, so I turn around and walk towards the lift. That’s when I see her getting in one of them. I don’t shout on her, but I run and manage to slip in to the lift behind her before the doors close. She’s annoyed with me, I can see that, but she doesna say anything because of the other two people in the lift. We stand there in silence until we leave the lift on the ground floor. I follow her out of the hospital and she turns to me and tells me that we’ll speak in the car. The walk to my car is very uncomfortable. She’s still sobbing, but she won’t let me touch her. She won’t speak. It’s killing me seeing her like this.

We get inside the car and she starts hysterically crying. There is nothing I can do for her. There’s nothing she will let me do for her. I know I hurt her, but this, I dinna ken what I’m supposed to dae?!

After a wee while, she calms down. There’s still tears rolling down her face, but she’s able to speak now;

“Why, are you here?” She asks me verra slowly. Like she had to carefully consider every word in that sentence.

“Well, when I got up, ye were gone. And ye didna answer yer phone.” I answer with concern.

“I got called in to work early.” She lied.

“Yer lying to me Claire.” I raised my brow at her.

“How dare you say that to me.” She snaps at me like she wants to rip my heid off.

I lean in close to her so she’s looking in my eyes, “Ye were gone. Ye didna answer yer phone. Ye turned it off. I came to look for ye in yer ward and they said ye were takin’ the day off.”

“Am I not allowed to not answer to you?” She says looking at her hands in her lap.

“No Claire, yer no.”

“Says who? I can’t be available to answer you all the time Mr Fraser!” She shouts at me.

“It’s in the contract. And ye ken fine well. Ye signed it.”

We sit in silence for a good twenty minutes. She shows no sign of getting out the car and I dinna wanna push her. There’s obviously something else going on here that she’s no tellin’ me.

“How’s your uncle? Did he let ye in to see him?”

Claire brings her feet up on to her seat and wraps her arms around her legs. She drops her head to her knees and starts crying again.

 

Claire’s POV

Early Friday Morning. 4.45am

*Claire’s mobile rings on her bedside table.

What the hell?

“Hello.” I answer my phone reluctantly. After my fight with Jamie last night, it took me quite some time to calm down enough to actually fall asleep. And now I’m being woken in the middle of the night with a phone call.

Shit. It’s Lamb’s doctor from the hospital. Lamb wants to see me. Now. This can’t be good. The hospital is very strict with visiting hours on certain wards, this being one of them. I know I’m a nurse in the hospital, but I don’t think that’s the reason they’re allowing this visit. Surely they would just tell Lamb to wait until later?

This is it. He wants to see me because he knows this is it. The doctor is calling me at this ungodly hour to ask me to come in to see Lamb because he knows this is it.

I disconnect the call and quickly get changed. I gather up my phone, my purse and my keys and I get on my way to the hospital. On the way, my car decides to pack up and break down. I don’t have time for this today! I wave down a passing taxi to take me to the hospital. I wasn’t too far away, but the taxi would be quicker than walking.

When I get to the hospital, I go straight up to see Lamb. He’s asleep. He looks so small and frail lying on his bed. I had only seen him five months ago, yet so much had changed. The stroke affected his mobility and speech. His brain wouldn’t function properly and sometimes when I would be lucky enough to get to speak to him on a phone, it was like speaking to a little boy. I wanted to go out and visit him in Egypt, but he didn’t want me to. I think he knew that if I did go over, I would probably stay, and he wouldn’t of wanted that for me. His heart started to give him trouble a couple of months ago. That’s when I decided that he had to come back to Glasgow. I wish I did it sooner. I wish we had more time.

One of the nurses comes in and explains that he was very unsettled yesterday and during the night. He wouldn’t sleep. He eventually called for me so the doctor rang me straight away. Apparently after the doctor told Lamb that I was on my way, he felt calm and fell asleep. Since he was so unsettled, I didn’t want to wake him. I mean, I did, but that would be for my own selfish reasons, so I decided to let him sleep.

I’d seen the nurse around the hospital before, but I didn’t really know her that well. I just knew her to say hello to really. Nurse Hawkins. Mary Hawkins, I think. She’s very nice. She went to the staff room and made me some tea and brought it to me in Lamb’s room. She offered to make me something to eat, but I kindly declined her offer since it was still the middle of the night. She told me to call her if I needed anything and she left Lamb and I alone. I just watched him as he slept.

Just before 6am, Lamb awoke. His eyes look very sunken in to his face. He’s lost a lot of weight since I last saw him. He looks like a completely different person. He’s fading away to nothing. Why on earth did I listen to him and not go over to him when he needed me? This man. This beautiful human being, took me in as his own daughter after my parents died. He changed his entire life so that he could raise me. When I married Frank, he was a little concerned, but he supported me in my choice. He came home for my graduation. He came home when I had Faith. He was so excited about having a granddaughter. When Frank beat me that last time and I stayed in hospital for a week, he flew over to make sure I was okay. It was him that helped me find the courage to report Frank. He didn’t even leave me until he knew I was ready for him to go. He knew how difficult it was to hand my sweet baby girl over to social services, but he knew why I was doing it, and he supported me.

I don’t recall much about my parents, apart from what Lamb has told me over the years. Lamb isn’t just my uncle. He is the only parent I have ever known. The only family I have left. I honestly don’t know what I’ll do when he goes.

I have failed him more these past few months than I have have failed at anything in my life before. I actually feel sick. This man gave up everything to be a father to me, and I have proven to be the worst daughter in the world.

I will never be able to forgive myself for this. Never.

“And how is my little lamb today?” He’s struggling to speak.

“I’m fine Lamb. I just wish you would of seen me sooner. I have been calling the ward at least five times a day, but all they told me was that you were comfortable.” I reach out to hold his hand as I sit beside his bed.

“I’m sorry my little lamb—“

“Shhh, don’t speak. There is so much time I have missed with you. There is so much I haven’t said yet, and I need to. There are things I need you to know.” I tell him as I stroke his forehead.

He adjusts himself slowly on the bed so that he can see me properly. I get up to find him an extra cushion and place it at his back to make him more comfortable. His lips are so dry, so I pour him a glass of water and assist him as he takes a few small sips. I remember him doing this for me when I was sick when I was a child, and again when Frank put me in the hospital.

“I just need you to know how grateful I am to you for taking me on as your own. I know that was a difficult time for you. For both of us really, but I don’t really recall much of that time.” He tries to speak, but he can’t get the words out. I can tell he’s frustrated at himself.

“I love you so much Lamb. You have been the most wonderful father to me and I couldn’t of asked for a better dad. I am just so sorry that I haven’t been the daughter you deserve. You deserve a daughter that was here to look after you and support you when you needed it. I will never forgive myself for not being there for you Lamb. I’m so very sorry.” My eyes fill with tears, and as much as I try, I can’t stop them from falling.

Lamb tries to reach over to wipe my tears away, but his body is so weak, he doesn’t have the strength. This makes him even more frustrated. Seeing him like this is really breaking my heart. I climb on to his bed beside him. I know you’re not supposed to, but I can’t help it. I need to be as close to him as possible. I hold his small, frail body in my arms.

He looks to me, searching for my eyes. All of a sudden, it’s like he gets a burst of energy, “You are my daughter. The best daughter I could of wished for. Don’t you for a second feel like you have let me down because you haven’t. I didn’t want a family of my own. I never wanted children. But then your parents died, and there was no way I was going to lose you too. You are the single best thing that has happened to me Claire bear. I don’t regret for a single moment the life we shared together, but it was I that failed you. I shouldn’t have left you when you started university. I should of put a stop to that wedding before it happened. If I did, if I was there for you like I should of been, then maybe you wouldn’t of had to go through anymore heartache. I’m sorry I let you down love.”

“You didn’t let me down. You gave me a life. A home. A family. Love. You gave me opportunities that not many other children did. I just need you to know how much I love you and how much I appreciate everything you have done for me.”

He gives me a smile, “I love you too.”

We just lay in silence. I’m still holding him, like I’m cradling a small child.

Just after 6.30am, I feel Lamb slip away.

He’s gone. He’s dead.

He wasn’t in any pain. He was peaceful and he was in my arms. I was with him at the end, and I got to tell him how much I loved him.

It wasn’t enough, for me. There was so much more I should have told him, but there wasn’t time.

I don’t know what to do with myself. I can’t go home. I can’t face Jamie. I don’t have the strength to argue with him again. I should call Louise, or Joe. I can’t. They will be starting their shifts soon and it wouldn’t be fair of me to burden myself on them like this.

Nurse Hawkins says I can take all the time I need, but I just need to get out of this room. I don’t know where to go or what to do, so I just sit myself down at the nurses station. Mary is very kind and keeps coming over to check in me. She brings me plenty of water and even an apple. I can’t face eating, but I know I should. I suppose it’s only something small, so I should at least try.

I don’t know how long I sit at the nurses station, but I soon here someone buzzing at the ward door. Since it isn’t visiting hours, the ward is locked. I just ignore it since this isn’t my ward and I’m not here as staff. Whoever it is though, they are quite persistent. They start knocking at the the door trying to get someone’s attention. I’m too busy sobbing to see if anyone’s available to answer the door. The buzzer goes again and that’s when I glance up. It’s Jamie. He’s here, and he’s looking straight at me. I can’t deal with him now.

I stand up from the desk and walk round to the other side of the ward to leave through the other door without him seeing me. I never thought for a second that he would catch up with me in the lift.

Thankfully there are other people in the lift, so he can’t pick a fight with me now. As the lift gets to the ground floor, I exit with Jamie following me. He follows me all the way outside. I turn to him and tell him we will speak in the car. As we walk, he tries to take hold of my hand, but I pull myself away from him. We walk in silence to his car.

When we get to the car, I start crying again and I can’t help it. I can’t stop. Jamie tries to comfort me, but I won’t let him. After I manage to calm down a bit, we start to talk. I ask him why he came here. He asks me why I never answered his calls. We argue a bit more. Not as much as last night, but still, we’re both frustrated with each other.

We sit in silence for a while. I’m not sure how long, but it feels like a lifetime. The next thing I know;

“How’s your uncle? Did he let ye in to see him?”

I bring my knees up to my chest on the seat and I start crying gain. This time when Jamie tries to comfort me by putting his arm round me, I let him.

When I eventually stop crying, I push Jamie away and I turn to stare out the car window. “He’s gone. I told him I loved him, and then he was gone. At least I got to see him one last time.”

Jamie reaches over to pull me towards him, but I push him off.

His phone starts to ring. I just open the car door without saying a word and start walking through the car park to leave the hospital grounds. I don’t know where I’m going, but I can’t set foot in that hospital. Not today.

Chapter Text

Jamie’s POV

*Ring Ring.

My phone starts ringing. It’s probably Ian wonderin’ where I’ve got to. Claire opens the car door and just gets out and walks away. I can see she needs to be alone right now, so I leave her. I pull my phone out and see that aye, it’s Ian.

“Aye, a’fore ye start Ian, I ken I’m no there. I’m still in Glasgow.”

“Glasgow? Christ Jamie, Mr Thompson is gonna be here any minute now. What am I supposed tae tell him?”

I’m watching Claire and I realise she isna heading back in to the hospital, she’s walking up the back of the car park as if she’s leavin’. What is she doin’?

“Look Ian, I canna go in to details, but just ken that somethin’ verra important has come up and I’ll no be able to dae any meetings the day.”

“Jamie—“

“Ian, please. Look, I trust ye to cut the best deal. If I didna, I wouldna be in business with ye. I just need the day off and I promise that I’ll take over some of your work load next week. Look, I really need to go, but I’ll ring ye the night and ye can tell me all about it aye? Right, bye.” I disconnect the call and start the engine. Where the hell is she disappearin’ to?

I drive out of the car park and I’m now out on the main road. I canna see her though. Where did she go? She canna have just disappeared in to thin air?

As I pass a bus shelter, I see her. Arms wrapped around some mans waist. Her head tucked in to the crook of his neck. It’s definitely her. And that, that man, he’s the one from last night.

Bonnet. Stephen fucking Bonnet.

I feel my temper rising. I ken it shouldna, but I want to be the one taking care of her.

I pull the car over just beyond the bus stop and get out the car and start walking towards them. As I get closer, I realise that she’s no longer crying. Whatever this guy was daein’, it was workin’.

I dinna care though, I want to make sure she’s okay, so I continue to walk towards them. “Claire, come on lass and I’ll take ye hame.”

She pulls her head away fae this Bonnet guy to turn and look at me. Her arms are still wrapped around his waist though, and his arms are placed lightly on her shoulders. I dinna like this picture I’m seein’ at all.

“And who are you pal?” This Bonnet asks me.

I look him straight in the eye and say, “None of yer damn business.” I drop my eyes to look at Claire and reach out my hand, “Come on lass. Let’s go hame aye?”

“Claire’s coming with me today. She needs a friend right now. Don’t worry, I’ll take care of her, and when she’s ready to go home, I’ll take her there myself.”

“No, she’s coming with me! Claire, get in the car, now!” I snap. I shouldna, I ken I shouldna.

She looks annoyed. And to be honest, I dinna blame her. I’m annoyed at myself. What was I thinking? Her uncle who was basically her da has just passed away, and here I am acting like a bloody arsehole.

She turns her head to look up at this Bonnet guy. “Thank you Bonnet, but I should go home. Thank you for everything though. Truly.” She leans up on her tip toes, rests her hands on his chest and gives him a peck on the cheek. He gives her a smile and asks if she’s sure. When she says yes, he tells her to call him anytime. She thanks him again and then starts to walk past me to get to the car.

I watch as Bonnet walks towards the hospital and then I turn to catch up with Claire. I go to rest my hand on the small of her back but she pulls herself away; “Don’t you dare touch me.” She seethes through gritted teeth.

I really dinna ken what to do. I dinna want to come over all possessive and stuff. I dinna want her to feel like am anything like that mad bastard Frank, but I wasna gonna leave her with that man. Somethin’ about him just.. god, I just dinna like him. And a, sure it’s no just jealousy on my part. There’s something off about that guy.

When we pull up at hame, we both get out of the car and walk over to the front door. She stands there with her arms crossing over her stomach. She’s still angry at me. I go to unlock the door and open it, and she pushes me out of the way to get in to the house and storms off to her room. I go to check on her and I hear her crying again through her door. I decide it’s maybe best to leave her for a little while.

I go and run her a bath and light some candles in the bathroom. I need to do something, anything to make her relax.

I knock on her door, but she doesna answer. I tell her I’m coming in, but she still doesna answer. I open the door slowly and stand at the doorway. She’s sat at the end of the bed staring at a photo of her and Lamb.

“Claire, I ran ye a wee bath. I ken it’s no gonna fix anything, but maybe it will help ye relax a little. I ken yer goin’ through a lot, and I ken I’m no yer favourite person at the moment, but please Claire, go and have a bath and then we can sit and talk after. Calmly. If ye dinna wanna talk, that’s fine too. Just please dinna sit in here on yer own.”

“Thank you for the bath Jamie. I think I could do with it. I can’t promise I want to speak with you after though. But that isn’t just you Jamie, I don’t think I could speak to anyone.” She gets up and walks towards the bathroom.

Whilst she’s in the bath, I realise I dinna ken if she’s managed to eat yet or no. It’s only 9.30, quite a bit early for lunch, but I need to make her something. Just in case.

As I’m sorting through cupboards, trying to decide what to make, I remember I’m supposed to be at Mrs Fitz’ the night for my dinner.

Even if Claire doesna wanna speak, I canna leave her here alone. I need to call Mrs Fitz and tell her somethings come up and I canna make dinner the night. I’m sure she’ll understand. I’m no in the habit of breaking plans with the woman. She’ll ken whatever’s came up is important.

The rest of the day went by verra slowly. Claire enjoyed her bath and came through to sit with me in the living room. She didna speak, apart from to thank me for any food or drinks I brought to her.

After dinner, we are sat in silence in the kitchen. Claire’s sitting at the table looking at and old photo album. She has tears in her eyes. I’m sat at the Island watching her. Ready to scoop her in to my arms if she needs me to. I’m so focused on Claire, I dinna hear a car pulling up outside. I dinna here anyone at the door, and I certainly dinna here John and Joe coming in to the house.

“James Fraser, you better start explaining to me right now what’s going on! I’ve had Jenny and Ian on the phone to me most of today wanting to know what’s happening and then Mrs Fitz rang to say you cancelled dinner with her tonight.” John’s annoyed with me too apparently.

I turn and jump off my stool to usher them both towards the front door again when John looks over my shoulder and begins to speak again; “Claire?”

Wait, how does John know Claire? Before I can ask anything, Joe is rushing past me to pull her from her chair and give her a hug.

“Lady Jane, I heard about Lamb. Are you okay? Louise and I have been trying to call you all day.”

“Sorry Joe, I must of forgotten to turn my phone back on this morning.”

“Why was your phone off in the first place LJ?”

She pulls away from Joe and glances over at me before answering. “That doesn’t matter now. How did you know I was here?”

John walks over to where Claire and Joe are standing and puts his arm around Claire’s shoulder. “We didn’t Claire, we’re here to see Jamie. How do you two know each other?”

Claire just looks at me, horrified. Her glass face says it all. She’s no ready for anyone to ken about the surrogacy arrangement.

 

Claire’s POV

“How did you know I was here?”

“We didn’t Claire, we’re here to see Jamie. How do you two know each other?”

Oh fuck. The surrogacy. How on earth could I forget the fact that the only reason Jamie and I know each other, is because I’m his surrogate and we are currently waiting to see if it’s actually worked?!

How on earth am I supposed to explain to Joe and John that I’m a surrogate? Jamie’s surrogate? Wait, how do THEY know Jamie?

“Well, um. Well, it’s a long story, but I promise we will tell you everything, but could you just excuse us for a moment please? Just help yourself to a drink and go and sit in the living room. We will be back in a moment.”

They politely nod and make their way over to the kettle. I can tell they are both confused. Joe offers to make Jamie and I a brew, but we refuse saying we’re fine with our water.

I take Jamie by the arm and drag him down the hallway to my bedroom. Jamie closes the door behind him after he enters.

“Ye ken the lads then?”

“Ah, yes actually. Joe is one of the consultants on my ward. He and John have become really good friends over the past couple of years. How do you know them?”

“I’ve kent John for a good few years now. He was put in my class at school after he and his family moved to Scotland. We lost touch for a wee while after school, but we got re acquainted again a few years ago when he came to the distillery wanting to place a huge order for a party he and his husband were throwing. They’ve become really good friends as well as customers. They’re close to my sister and her husband too.”

“Okay, so what do we tell them about, well, us?” I realise that this is actually the first proper conversation I have had with Jamie in more than twenty four hours. I go to sit at the bottom of my bed and he follows me to sit down beside me and takes my hands in his.

“Well, that’s up to ye Sassenach. I’ll no force ye to say more than yer ready for.”

“Thank you, but I think it will be easier if we tell them the truth, if you’re alright with that?”

“Aye, of course. John and Joe are actually two of the few folk that ken I was interested in going down the surrogacy route. I’m sure they will be happy for us Sassenach.” He says with a wide grin on his face.

“Jamie, we still don’t know if I’m pregnant yet though.” Jamie gets up and walks out of my room. He leaves the door open. I don’t know if he wants me to follow him out or if he’s coming back. I get up to see where he went and he comes back from his room and hands me a carrier bag. Inside is one of them early pregnancy tests.

“I ken it’s still a bit early, but will ye just try it? Please?”

I look at him and then look at the test in my hand. “Fine, but Jamie, please don’t get your hopes up. We should really wait, and remember that sometimes it doesn’t work the first time.”

“Aye, I ken Sassenach. But if we dae this. Well, if ye dae this, we might have a better idea of what to say, ye ken?”

“Okay, wait here. Really I should be doing this in the morning.” He just smiles at me as I head in to my en-suite.

I take the test and come back through to my room to sit with Jamie on my bed as he waits for the results. It’s the longest two minutes of my life. I start to get restless and stand up to look out my window. It’s dark, there’s nothing much to see, but I feel like this should be a private moment for Jamie, but I need to know the result too.

Finally, I feel Jamie coming to stand behind me, his arms wrapping around my waist from behind. “We’re having a wee bairn Sassenach.” He whispers in my ear.

I turn around to face him. “No Jamie, you are having a baby. Congratulations though, I am so happy for you.” I give him a small smile.

His face drops. Now that we know I’m pregnant, we really do need to start communicating better, but right now, Joe and John are out there waiting on us. I tell Jamie that we should head through. I move to leave my room and go through to the living room, but it takes Jamie a few minutes to follow me.

“Sorry about that lads, can I get either of you another coffee?” I realise then that they don’t know that I am now living here.

“No thanks Claire. Where is Jamie?” John asks, trying to look around me to see if he can see Jamie.

“Aye, I’m here bud.” Jamie comes in to the living room and on the other couch, facing Joe and John.

I go to sit on the chair next to the window, but Jamie grabs my hand and pulls me to sit down next to him on the sofa.

I can see Joe’s eyebrow raise at this little scene. “So, uh, LJ, you didn’t tell me you were seeing someone. I thought if you did, you would of at least told me, or Louise. I also thought that if you were to start seeing someone, it would be a certain charming Irishman?”

I can see Jamie tense up from the corner of my eye. This isn’t helping in our current situation. I am his surrogate. I can’t be anything more. “Joe, I haven’t been with anyone since, well, you know. If I was to start seeing someone, of course you and Louise would be the first to know, but no, Jamie and I are not together. We’re just, well—“

“Acquaintances.” Jamie finished my sentence for me. I have to admit that him using that phrase to describe our relationship did sting a bit. Well, quite a lot actually. I know it shouldn’t because technically, I am only his surrogate. I am only carrying this child for him. We’re nothing more. We can’t be anything more.

“Ah, yes. I am currently living here, well, because of Lamb, but as you know, he won’t be coming home now.” I feel a pain in my chest and I look down to my hands on my lap.

Jamie reaches over to squeeze my knee for me to know he’s there. I really wish he wouldn’t do things like this. It just makes our situation all the more difficult.

“Well, I spoke to ye both about me wanting to have a wee bairn of my own. Ye ken I looked in to adoption and that, but after speaking in great detail with ye both, I decided on surrogacy instead. That is how I met Claire. Claire is my surrogate. She is carrying my wee bairn.” Jamie says with a broad smile on his face. I don’t think anything could wipe it from him, and it shouldn’t. This is an amazing moment for him.

I can feel both Joe and John’s eyes on me. It’s John that speaks first, “Well, congratulations Jamie, you’re going to be a wonderful father.” He gets up to come over and shake Jamie’s hand and give him a hug.

Joe is still staring at me. He doesn’t say a word. John goes to sit back down next to Joe, but he looks over at me, “Claire, this is a wonderful thing you are doing, but I had no idea you were interested in surrogacy.”

Before I can answer, Joe stands up. He looks extremely cross. He comes over to me and pulls me up from the couch and looks directly in to my eye. He really isn’t happy. Why isn’t he happy? I thought he and Jamie were good friends?

“She isn’t interested in surrogacy. There is no way she would decide to do this. Not after what she went through before.”

“Joe, please don’t go there.” I plead with him, I can tell where he’s going with this. He turns to look at Jamie.

“You brought Lamb back from Egypt, didn’t you? You paid for the private medical team to fly out there and bring him to Glasgow, didn’t you?”

John comes over to pull Joe back from me slightly, “Joe, what’s going on?”

“There was no way for Lamb to get back to the UK without a specialist team travelling with him. A specialist team that cost thousands and thousands of pounds. Probably about what Claire makes in a year, if not more. You agreed to this to bring Lamb home, didn’t you?” He looks at me, he doesn’t look angry anymore, but disappointed. Disappointed in me.

“I didn’t have much of a choice Joe. I needed Lamb home. I needed to be there for him and take care of him.” Joe pulls me in to his arms to hold me.

“Claire, you are going to give birth to a child. A child that you are going to have to give away. Again. It almost broke you last time.” I understood what he was saying, but this is Jamie’s baby. Not mine. Faith is my baby.

“This isn’t my child Joe, it’s Jamie’s. Not mine.”

“Kinda is yer bairn though too Sassenach.” Joe and John turn to look at Jamie. Wondering what he meant by that comment.

Joe turns to look at me again, crouching down a bit so he is eye level with me. His hands are placed firmly on my shoulders. “And what does he mean by that?”

I don’t answer, I can’t. I put my head down to look at the floor. I know he’s going to get angry again when he learns that I used my own egg. Why couldn’t Jamie just shut the fuck up?! I can feel the tears start to run down my cheeks. Joe gives me a gentle shake to get me to answer him or at least look him in the eye. Jamie jumps up and pushes him off me.

“I-I, I used my own egg for Jamie to have this baby.” I collapse down on to the couch behind me. Joe takes a few steps back and shakes his head. He really isn’t happy with my decisions. “I didn’t have a choice Joe. Even though Lamb’s gone, I would do it again in a heartbeat just to see him one last time.”

John walks over to the kitchen to get me water and a box of tissues. Joe comes to sit beside me on the couch and holds me close. “I know you would LJ. And I know this must of been the most difficult decision you have ever made in your life but, I wouldn’t be a very good friend if I didn’t have my concerns.”

Jamie walks over to stand in front of Joe and I. His hands are on his hips and he’s seething with rage. “So, let me get this straight Joe. Ye and John obviously canna have a child without some help. Ye both chose surrogacy. Ye have yer child. But, ye grudge me trying to have my own child?”

“Look Jamie, it’s not like that. I am truly happy you are going to be a father, I just don’t know that Claire is the right person to be doing this. As far as I can see, you were desperate for a child, and you found out how desperately Claire needed the money, so you just threw as much at her as you could. It just doesn’t look good Jamie. I expected better from you.” I can understand Joe’s concern, but it’s my body, my choice. He turns to look at Me and then back to Jamie, “Jamie, I don’t know how much you know about Claire’s—“

“I told him everything Joe. I had to. This wasn’t a decision I made lightly. It’s one thing carrying a child for someone who desperately wants a child of their own but can’t and another to use my own egg as well as carry the child. I had to tell Jamie so he knew why I wasn’t rushing in to anything. In the end I decided to do it because I wanted to help Jamie, and I needed to get Lamb here as soon as possible. And after this morning, I’m glad. I got to see him one last time. I got tell him I loved him, and I got to hold on to him as he slipped away.” Joe planted a kiss on the top of my head before turning back to Jamie.

“Then you know why I’m concerned Jamie. What happened with Faith, it almost broke her. I was there. I saw how much it affected her. I see how much it still affects her.”

“Joe, I’m fine. Honestly. But this pregnancy is still very early days, and I mean very early. The only reason we told you is because you turned up here and it turns out you both know me AND Jamie.”

Jamie looks down to Joe and I sitting on the couch, “Look Joe, I swear to ye that I am daeing everything I can to look out for Claire and the bairn. I’ll no let her struggle. I’m here if she needs me. Anytime.”

Joe gives Jamie a small nod and turns to give me another kiss on top of my head. He still doesn’t understand the situation, and I don’t expect him to, but at least it feels like he will still support me.

Jamie turns to face John, “So, ye said Jenny and Ian were on the phone? Just tell them I’m fine. Just please dinna tell them any of this. As Claire says, it’s still early days and I ken Jenny wilna approve anyway.”

“Of course I won’t say anything. Joe and I will leave you to it. Are you still coming to dinner at Mrs Fitz on Sunday? Claire, you should come too, I’m sure she won’t mind another person to talk to.”

“I’ll let ye ken John.” Jamie answers as quickly as possible.

Joe stands up from the couch and pulls me up with him. He brings me in to a long and comforting hug. “Go and turn your phone back on. Call me anytime you need to talk. Anytime at all. If you want to talk about Lamb, or the surrogacy, or the past, I’m here for you LJ, anytime.”

“Thank you Joe.”

Jamie leads the men out to their car. I head over to the kitchen to make a cup of tea for myself and Jamie. I know we really need to talk, but it’s been a really long day and I just want to drink my tea, read a little and go to bed and sleep.

My head is so full, I almost didn’t hear Jamie coming back in to the house.

“I think we need to talk Claire.”

Chapter Text

Jamie’s POV

When I come back inside from showing the lads out to their car, I see Claire standing in the kitchen making us some tea. I can tell she’s lost in her thoughts in a wee world of her own.

Christ, she really is the most beautiful lass I’ve ever seen in my life. I don’t ken how many times a day I think that to myself, but it’s true.

“I think we need to talk Claire.”

I walk over to her and wait as she finishes making the tea. I grab both our mugs and take them over to the living room and leave them on the coffee table. This could be a long conversation, I want her to be at least sitting in a comfortable seat.

Claire follows me through and sits down on the sofa and picks up her mug to take a sip of her tea. I sit down beside her, but I’m obviously too close as she moves over slightly so I canna touch her.

“Claire, I know today has been a verra trying day for ye. Ye lost yer uncle, our words last night, the lads showing up like that, finding out yer pregnant with our wee bairn—“

“Please Jamie, you have to stop this. This isn’t OUR baby, this is YOUR baby. You hired me as a surrogate. I had the procedure, it’s obviously worked, now I have to concentrate on keeping this child safe for the next nine months. After that, it’s up to you. This is your child to love and protect.”

“Claire, I have loved this child since the moment I looked at that stick and saw that it was positive. This IS our bairn Claire. Part of me, and part of ye. Tell me yer no in love with our child already Sassenach.” I try to search her face so that I can make eye contact with her, but she turns to stare at the floor down beside her.

“It’s your child Jamie, and I am so happy for you, really. But no, this isn’t my child.”

“Sassa—“

“Jamie don’t push me on this.” She turns to look at the wall in front of us. I can see there are tears in her eyes, but they are yet to fall. I can tell she’s trynna stop them from running down her beautiful face.

I move along the couch to be closer to her and take her free hand in mine and hold it tight so she can’t pull away from me. “Claire, this, what it is between us, ye canna tell me it’s normal. I ken I dinna have much experience with women, but I ken that this isna usual. Ye ken it too Claire.”

She puts her mug back down on the coffee table and places her other hand over mine. “It isn’t. Usual, I mean. It’s different. But Jamie, we cant do anything with whatever this is between us. Aside from the fact that all we seem to do is argue and hurt each other, you are going to become a father in nine months time.”

She pulls both her hands away and moves to stand up. She walks over to the front door and heads outside.

I go to her room to fetch her coat, hat, scarf and gloves. It’s the middle of winter, and she’ll freeze out there in just a light jumper and some jeans.

I run after her, she’s heading round the back of the house to where the fields are. As I catch up to her, she’s crying. I try to put my arms around her, but she pushes me away.

“At least put on yer coat and things that I brought for ye.” She takes her hat and scarf first, then her coat and then her gloves.

She continues to walk further away when she realises that I’m no leaving her. She turns around to face me. She opens her mouth to say something, but the words dinna come out.

She starts to head back to the house again. I ken she wants time to herself, but we canna just leave things here. When we get back to the house, she stands staring at the front door. She ran out without her keys, so she has to wait for me to open the door. When I do, I wave her inside, but she doesna move.

“Claire, come on inside. It’s freezin’ out here.”

“I think I should move out.”

“Claire, it’s been a rough day, yer no thinkin’ straight.”

“This isn’t working Jamie. I’m your surrogate, we need to keep things professional!” She just spits that out and then walks straight in to the house and collapses on to the chair beside the windae.

“Claire, we are gonna become parents in nine months—“

“No Jamie, WE are not. YOU are. This is NOT my child. I have a child. This is not her!” She’s raising her voice slightly now.

“Claire, this child—“

“It isn’t a child Jamie, it’s just a bunch of cells. I don’t feel anything, okay?”

I decide it’s best to leave her calm down, so I head down the hallway to the bathroom for a shower. Hopefully when I come back, we can have a calmer discussion about things.

When I come back from my shower, she’s asleep on the couch. I dinna really wanna move her, but I’m worrit she’ll fall off the couch. I gently gather her in to my arms, and slowly carry her down to her room. I place her in her bed and remove her shoes. I pull the covers over her and place a soft kiss on her forehead. She looks so beautiful.

It must be a good two hours or so since I carried Claire to bed. I’m sat in the living room, catching up with some work emails and listening to some music in the background when I think I hear a noise. I turn the music off and realise it’s coming from down the hallway.

“Sassenach?” No answer. “Claire?” Still no answer.

I get up and walk down the corridor. As I get closer, I hear her screams. She’s having a nightmare. I quietly let myself in to her room and try not to disturb her too much as I dinna want to scare her more. She wakes herself. She looks terrified. I climb on to the bed beside her and hold her as she calms down. I hand her the bottle of water sitting next to her bed.

She calms down after a wee while and tells me she’s okay.

“Sorry if I disturbed you. I haven’t had a nightmare in, gosh, must be about a year.”

“It’s fine Sassenach, but I was worrit. Can ye tell me what it was about? Ye dinna have to if ye dinna want to though.”

“Frank. Rape. Faith. I don’t need to talk about it though.” She realises she’s still in her clothes. “Em, did you bring me to bed?”

“Aye lass. When I came back from my shower, ye were asleep on the couch and I dinna want ye to fall off, so I brought ye through. The only thing I removed though was yer wee shoes there.”

“Thank you Jamie. I’ll just go and get changed.”

I head towards the door to leave and she comes towards me and grabs my arm. “I know I have no right to ask, especially after what we talked about earlier, but will you stay with me tonight? I don’t think I can sleep alone.”

“Of course Sassenach. But, only if yer sure?”

“I am.”

I give her forehead a kiss and she goes in to her en-suite to get changed. When she comes back out, she climbs in to bed and pats the space beside her for me to join her. I slide in beside her and put my arm around her as she cuddles in to my chest. I swear nothing has ever felt this right before in my life. I’m lying in bed with my own little family. Claire, and she’s carrying our bairn. Nothing could be more perfect.

 

Claire’s POV

I wake myself up screaming.

It was a dream. Only a dream.

I see Jamie walking over to the bed from the door. He pulls me close to him and holds me whilst I try and calm calm down. I always have bottles of water in my room. There must of been one left on my bedside table as Jamie reaches over to get it and hands it to me to take a drink.

I apologise for disturbing him. He obviously heard me screaming and that’s why he came. He assured me it was fine but he was worried about me.

God, this is so embarrassing. This is all I need right now. Jamie must think I’m absolutely pathetic. I really am.

I realise that I don’t remember coming to bed. Jamie must have brought me through. I’m still fully clothed though which is good.

Jamie tells my I fell asleep on the couch and he didn’t want to disturb me so he brought me to bed. I tell him I’m just going to change and he gets up to leave.

I don’t want him to leave.

Before I know what I’m doing, I grab his arm and tell him I can’t sleep alone tonight and ask him to stay.

What am I doing? After the conversation we had earlier, and now I’m what? Leading him on? Giving him false hope? I should really be calling Joe, or Louise, but, I don’t want anyone else. I just want to sleep and feel safe.

Right now, for some reason, Jamie makes me feel safe.

He agrees to stay if I’m sure. I tell him I am. He kisses my forehead and I know everything is going to be okay. I then go to the en-suite to get changed in to my Pyjamas. When I come back out, I climb in to bed and pat the space beside me for him to join me. He gets in beside me and puts his arm around me, making me feel safe once again. I rest my head on his chest and I fall asleep almost instantly.

It’s the next morning and I awake to find Jamie staring down at me. It makes me so happy to be waking up with him. It feels right.

This isn’t supposed to be happening though.

“Mornin’ Sassenach. Did he sleep well?” He has the biggest smile on his face.

“I did. Thank you Jamie. And thank you for staying with me last night. I just couldn’t be alone.”

“It’s fine Sassenach. I’m here for ye anytime ye need me. You and our wee bairn are my priority.”

“Jamie, let me go shower and I’ll meet you in the kitchen. I’ll order us some breakfast and we can talk. Properly this time. No arguing, and I promise I won’t run away from you.”

He knows what I’m going to say. The poor man looks devastated. I knew it. I knew asking him to stay would be wrong, but I couldn’t help it. And now we have to have this awful conversation.

Why am I putting this man through all this? Why am I putting myself through this? He is the kindest, sweetest, most caring man I think I have ever met. Don’t get me wrong, he has an attitude problem and a temper, but he’s been through so much in his life. Even with all his flaws, he still makes me feel safer than Frank ever did. I know that Jamie can be overprotective, but I truly believe that’s because he genuinely cares about me. I think I could really be falling for him. I can’t though. He is about to become a father in a few months. He deserves to be happy with someone who wants the same things he does. This isn’t my child. This is Jamie’s child. I already have a child of my own that I have already failed.

“Ye go for yer wee shower Sassenach, and I’ll go make some breakfast, aye? Plenty food in the cupboards, no need to order in. I’ll see ye in a wee while.” He gives me a small smile and then leaves my room closing the door softly behind him.

After I’m ready, I know I should head down to the kitchen, but I can’t face it. I can’t face Jamie. What could I possibly say to him that won’t sound like I’ve just been picking him up and dropping him like a child’s play toy?

These feelings I have for him are so strong and I know he has some feeling towards me. But, us starting anything between us can’t happen. It wouldn’t be fair to Jamie, and it definitely wouldn’t be fair to his baby.

I slowly open my bedroom door to find Jamie standing there ready to knock;

“Sorry Sassenach. Just wondered if ye were okay, ye’ve been quite a while.”

“Yes, sorry. I’m fine. I just got lost in my thoughts, that’s all.” He takes my hand and brings it up to his moth and kisses it. He then leads me down to the kitchen table, still holding my hand, our fingers interlocked.

He has made us some poached eggs with tomato and broccoli. Jamie has some whole meal flatbread with his and I have a normal slice of toast and butter.

Jamie tries to be careful with what he eats when he’s cooking for himself. He’s very in shape. The building where his flat is has a 24 hour gym. I’m sure by the look of him, he goes there quite often. You can tell he’s the kind of man who likes to look after himself.

“Jamie, this looks wonderful, but you really don’t need to prepare meals for me as well you know?”

“It’s no a big deal Sassenach. I just hope you enjoy it.”

We eat in silence, and since Jamie was the one to make breakfast, I clear all the dishes away in to the dishwasher and turn it on. I make myself a hot chocolate and Jamie a cup of tea.

I bring our mugs over to the kitchen table as Jamie stands to make his way over to the couch. I sit back down on my seat at the table though. If we sit here and talk, it will be easier. It will be harder for him to touch me or hold me whilst we have this awkward discussion.

“Claire, what is it? Dinna tell me ye regret asking me to stay with ye last night?” He walks back over towards me and stands beside me looking down at me.

I look into his eyes as I feel the tears starting to fill mine. “Jamie, please sit.”

He takes his seat back at the opposite side of the table. He tries to reach over to hold my hand, but I drop it from the table to my lap.

“Jamie, I don’t even know where to begin...”

It’s a long and awkward conversation. I admit to Jamie the feeling that I have for him. The kind of feelings I never thought I would have for another man after Frank and what he put me through. I never thought I would be able to trust men again. But I did. I do. We haven’t known each other long, but I’d trust Jamie with my life. I explain that we are in different stages of our lives. It wouldn’t be fair on either of us to try and merge our lives in to one when we want different things. I tell Jamie I agreed to carry this child for him, and I agreed to use my own egg because he needed me to. I remind him it wasn’t an easy decision to make, but I did it so I could get Lamb home. That was the only reason I agreed to any of this.

After a difficult two hour discussion, both trying our best not to turn it in to an argument, we agree to keep our relationships strictly professional. I am his surrogate. Yes we are living under the same roof, but it’s only for a few weeks and until then, Jamie and I are both going to keep out of each other’s way. It shouldn’t be too difficult. Jamie said he could be working to 6 or 7pm some nights and I decide that it might be best for me to switch to night shifts whilst he’s here. Jamie will come to all the appointments with me, obviously, but apart from that, we shouldn’t see much of each other.

This should work, right?

We don’t have a choice.

Chapter Text

Jamie’s POV

The past couple of months have been tough. Excruciating actually. Claire and I have barely been in each other’s presence since the day after her Uncle passed. She wouldn’t even let me support her at the funeral down in Oxfordshire.

That was difficult.

She did at least let Joe go with her. That was a relief fo me.

She was really struggling, but I couldn’t be there to help or support her. Luckily she had Joe and her friend Louise. They have been a brilliant support to Claire. I have only met Louise once. Seemed like a decent enough lass, a bit forward though, but she seems to care a lot about Claire.

At least I know Joe quite well. He would keep me updated on how Claire was doing. He was slowly coming around to the idea of the surrogacy arrangement. I could see why he was annoyed with me and why he was concerned about Claire’s decision to do this in the first place, but he was becoming more and more supportive to the both us. It really put my mind at ease that Claire at least had Joe to turn to if she needed someone. He’s a decent bloke and a truly wonderful friend to both Claire and I.

The work in my flat still hasna been completed yet, but hopefully it won’t be too long. The last thing I want to do is stress Claire out with me being in the house still. I mean honestly, I could go and stay with Mrs Fitz or even a hotel, but I really dinna want to leave Claire. Even if we are like ships passing in the night sometimes.

When we are in the house at the same time, we don’t speak unless it’s about the pregnancy or upcoming appointments. Even then she’s verra withdrawn and disinterested. We don’t sit together, we don’t eat together. We don’t watch tv together. Nothing. It’s heart breaking. For me anyway. I canna say what it’s like for Claire. She barely even looks at me anymore.

Claire’s just came off her last night shift this week. She’s been in bed for about an hour. I expect she’ll be up in the next hour or two as she doesna like to sleep too much on her first day off. She likes to make herself tired so she’ll sleep at night.

It’s pretty lonely when I ken she’s in the house but I canna speak to her. It’s the times when she’s in the house with me that I canna concentrate on anything but her.

She’s in bed sleeping off a night shift and I’m sat in the living room with a cuppa tea just thinking about her constantly. I need to get out of here.

I leave Claire a note saying I’m goin’ to the gym. I ken she doesna care, but I’ll leave it anyway. Hopefully a good hour or two at the gym will clear my head a bit.

When I get hame from the gym, I can sense somethin’ isna right as soon as I walk in the front door. I walk down the hallway to my room to leave my gym bag. As I pass Claire’s room, I hear her crying. By now I ken better than to try and help. I get to my room and start emptying my bag and putting my gym clothes in to the washing basket. I had a shower at the gym to keep me out of the house a bit longer.

As I come out of my room to head back to the kitchen to make a post work out drink, I hear Claire calling my name.

She canna be? Is she really wantin’ to speak to me?

I knock on her door and quietly enter. She’s sat up in bed clutching her stomach and apologising to me over and over again.

“Claire, what is it? What’s wrong?” As I walk closer to the bed, she pulls the covers off of her. There’s blood. Not a lot, but it’s there on the bed sheet.

“I’m so sorry Jamie. I know how much you wanted this baby.”

“Claire, we don’t ken what’s happened okay? Let’s just get ye to the clinic and we’ll see what’s what.” I try to reach for her hand, but she pulls back.

“The cramps. They’re really bad Jamie. And my back is sore. There’s blood too Jamie. I know what this is!”

“Let’s just get ye to the clinic and have the doctor check ye over, okay? Ye canna just stay here like this Claire. Even if the bairn is—“

“IT’S GONE JAMIE!” She screams at me. She’s obviously in a lot of pain. Physically and emotionally.

“Claire, sweetheart, we need to make sure YOU are okay.” I realise that she’s so weak, she can barely move. I gently pull her in to my arms and carry her out to the car.

I put a blanket round her to cover her, but also to keep her warm as we drive to the clinic. I call ahead from the car and tell them we are on our way. She’s still sobbing. She keeps apologising. I hate seeing her like this. I wish there was something, anything I could do to take the pain away.

She doesna deserve this.

 

Claire’s POV

I don’t know how long I was asleep for, but when I open my eyes, everything is blurry. My eyes are burning. I try to clear my vision by rubbing my eyes gently. I look around the room, totally confused as to where I am and why I’m here.

Jamie is sat next to my bed. His elbows are resting on his knees and his head is resting in his hands.

I look around the room again and realise I’m not at home, I’m in a patient room at the clinic. My hands go down to my stomach. It wasn’t a dream, it wasn’t a nightmare. It was real. I miscarried. I lost Jamie’s baby.

Jamie suddenly looks up. “Claire, ye’re awake. Are ye okay lass?” He gets up to stand next to my bed a rub his thumb gently across my forehead.

“I’m so sorry Jamie.” How did this happen? Why did this happen?

“Claire, please dinna apologise again, okay. These things happen. It’s no yer fault. I just need to know that YOU are okay?”

I can’t stop apologising though. I feel sick and upset for Jamie. I feel guilty. I can see in his eyes how upset he is. There is nothing I can do or say to make this better for him. I am responsible for Jamie not having his baby.

They kept me overnight in the clinic, which I was grateful for. When I got discharged, I told Jamie not to come and collect me, I would have Louise come for me instead. He wasn’t happy about this, but I just needed some space. He eventually respected my decision.

I didn’t however expect Stephen to appear to take me home;

“Claire, how are you? Louise got dragged in to a surgery last minute and asked me to come and collect you and take you home. Is everything alright? Why are you here?”

The clinic isn’t just for maternity, there are other specialties run from this clinic. Louise had thankfully not told Bonnet what had happened and there was no way I was going to be telling him either.

“I’m fine. Just been overdoing it with work is all. Just really tired. Thank you for taking me home. I really appreciate it.” I get out of my chair and he helps me to his car which is parked right at the door. Thankfully.

On the way home, I start to think. What on earth am I going to do now? I have no home, I don’t want to go back to work anytime soon. I should have taken more time off after Lamb passed, but I didn’t. How the hell am I going to pay back Jamie? Fuck! He paid me. He brought Lamb home. Put a roof over my head and I lost his baby. There was so much running through my head that I didn’t even think to text Jamie to warn him about Bonnet bringing me home instead of Louise.

At least with Bonnet taking me back to Jamie’s, he could help me pack up some of my things. I’m sure Louise and Charlie won’t mind me staying till I find somewhere. Hopefully Jamie won’t mind me keeping some of my bigger things at the house until I get settled somewhere.

That might be a bit of a cheek though Beauchamp. Asking him to keep some of your furniture after you miscarry his child?!

As we pull up to the house, Bonnet helps me out of the car and walks me to the front door. I ring the door bell.

“Claire ye dinna have to...” he stops mid sentence when he realise Bonnet is standing next to me with his arm around my back.

“Stephen kindly brought me back after Louise got called in to theatre. He’s going to help me pack some of my things and take me over to Louise’s. Louise should be home in an hour or so.” Jamie moves aside to let us in.

“Claire, can ye sit down on the couch. Ye need to rest.”

“I will rest later, but I should get some of my things packed now.”

“Claire, what are ye goin’ on about? Ye canna just leave.” He turns to Bonnet to say something to him, “And ye, can leave now. Thanks for bringing Claire hame, but I’ll take it from here. She and I have got some things to discuss.”

“I’m not leaving her with you again. She is clearly upset and going through something. She wants me to help her and take her to Louise’s.” Bonnet responds, clearly not happy with Jamie’s attitude.

Jamie turns back to me, “Please Claire, ye dinna have to go. We really do need to talk, and I’d rather we do so in private.”

Bonnet wasn’t happy about Jamie pushing him out of the way again. But before he left, he gave me a hug and told me to call or text him anytime I needed him. I thanked him very much for everything. He and I had become a bit closer these past couple of months. He’s been a really good friend to me and supported me after Lamb died. He even came down South to support me at Lamb’s funeral. Obviously he doesn’t know about the surrogacy. I wasn’t ready for people to know yet. Thank god I hadn’t said anything.

Jamie lead me down to my bedroom. As I walked in, everything was clean. Fresh bedding. It was like nothing had happened.

“Slide in to bed Claire and rest. I’ll go get ye some tea. Or, would ye prefer hot chocolate?”

“Tea please, if it’s not too much trouble?”

“Of course not Sassenach. When I come back, we’ll have that chat, aye?”

Jamie came back with the tea a few minutes later. He left it down on a coaster on my bedside table. He pulled the chair from my dressing table over to sit next to the bed.

Before I get a chance to say anything, Jamie starts to speak.

“Claire, look, we knew from the beginning that it doesna always work out the first time. Ye agreed to give it one more try if it didn’t, but we dinna need to discuss that the now. Right now, we need to make sure ye are okay.”

“Jamie I-“ he raises his hand to stop me saying any more.

“Claire, I canna thank ye enough for what ye did. But ye need to take this time to rest and take care of yerself. Ye’ve been through a lot, and no just the past couple of months. I’m here if ye need or want me, anytime. Ye have Louise and Charlie, and John and Joe. We’re all here.”

“Jamie, why are you being so nice to me? You lost your baby because of me.”

“Claire, things happen. It wasna your fault. It just wasna the right time. I’m gonna go and watch a wee film on the tv, dae ye want to join me? Nothing heavy, just two friends relaxing after a stressful time.”

“Yes please, that sounds wonderful Jamie.” I move to get out of bed and Jamie helps me up.

“And another thing Sassenach, yer no moving anywhere. This is yer home as long as ye need it. As long as ye want it. I’m no gonna kick ye out on to the streets.”

I look up to him with a relieved smile on my face, “thank you Jamie.”

We slowly walk through to the living room. I sit down on the couch facing the tv. Jamie places a blanket round me to keep me warm and hands me my cup of tea and then sits down next to me.

I think we’re going to be okay.

Chapter Text

Jamie’s POV

It’s been three months since Claire miscarried the bairn. My bairn.

It was tough, but we got through it. Together. As friends.

Claire decided to take time off work and focus on herself. With the pregnancy and the strain of us arguing all the time, she didn’t get the chance to grieve for her uncle properly before the miscarriage.

She only went back to work a couple of weeks ago and she’s only workin’ three days, or nights a week. She started seein’ a therapist as well. Someone she could speak to in detail about her parents, her childhood with her uncle, her marriage to Frank, the abuse, her daughter Faith, the surrogacy, the death of her uncle and the miscarriage. It seems to be workin’ for her. She hasna had any nightmares in over a month now.

We agreed after the miscarriage to try and build a friendship. I know Claire said she didna feel like the child was hers, but I wanted her to know that she had the right to grieve too. It was her that went through all the physical and emotional pain of the loss. We grieved together. I think it brought us closer, as friends.

I would rather have Claire in my life as a friend than not be in it at all.

The work on my flat was completed about a week after Claire suffered the miscarriage. I was all set to move back when Claire asked if I would stay. She felt more comfortable knowin’ that I would be around if she needed me. We had a lengthy discussion about our friendship and we put some boundaries in place so there were no blurred lines. Things were actually working out verra well.

About a month ago though, we both agreed that it was time for me to move back to my flat. Since then, we havena seen each other all that much, but I have seen her a two or three times and we keep in contact. She kens I’m here if she ever needs me.

Seein’ how calmer and more together Claire was after starting therapy, I decided to give it a go myself. I definitely needed some kind of help to see where all my issues were coming from. I feel like it’s really helping me too. And I think this is another reason why Claire and I’s relationship is so much better now.

I tried therapy before, after the death of my father. It didna quite work though. I felt like the therapist was judging me over the slightest wee thing. This therapist though seems to be helping me quite a bit.

I ken Claire’s been hanging’ around with that Bonnet guy. He’s been to the house a few times and out of respect for Claire, I havena said anything to Claire about the guy. I ken he likes her. I think it may even be possible that he loves her. I dinna think she kens that though and I wilna be the one to point it out to her.

As happy as I am bein’ her friend, I’m no gonna be the one to push her in to Bonnet’s arms.

Tonight is a rare night where we both will be free and we agreed to catch up. I offered to cook at my flat, but Claire insisted she would pick up a pizza after her therapy session.

When she comes in the door, she looks like she’s carrying the wait of the world on her shoulders.

“Ye okay lass? Did something happen?”

“Sorry, everything is fine. Just a lot to think on after the appointment. And what have I told you about calling me lass Jamie? I’m twenty fucking seven years old, not five!” She snaps. She hasna snapped at me for while. Somethings happened.

“Claire, what’s happened?” I walk over to her and take the pizzas from her hands and take them over to the kitchen table. I then go over and hand her a glass of water.

“Sorry Jamie, I didn’t mean to snap. Thank you for the water. Can we sit down and eat? There is something I need to discuss with you. I need your help.”

We head over to the table and begin to eat. Whatever she has to say, it’s obviously a verra heavy topic.

“I got a letter this morning. From Frank.”

What the fuck did that mad bastard want? She’s no seen or heard from him since he went to prison.

“And what did it say Claire? If ye dinna mind me asking?”

“He wants to see me. I think I’m going to go. I talked it over at therapy and I think it might be a good way to get closure.”

“Christ Claire, are ye sure? After all he put ye through?”

“Yes, I’m sure. There’s one thing that I can’t figure out though Jamie. How did he know my address?”

 

Claire’s POV

How did he get my address? Our divorce was finalised three weeks before he went to prison. He didn’t even have my address for the flat in Pollokshields, as far as I’m aware. How did he get my current address? Why does he want to see me now?

These are all reasons why I think it’s important so see Frank. He needs to answer these questions. He is the only person who can.

I can tell Jamie is uneasy about me doing this, but I’m sure he’ll come round to the idea. Hopefully.

There is another thing I have to do and I think it’s going to be a lot harder than seeing Frank. I think I may need Jamie’s help and support for this.

“Jamie, do you remember when I first told you about Faith, and how her foster parents send me letters with updates on how she is doing, but I haven’t opened them in a while?”

“Aye, ye said ye kept them safe. Ye couldna bring yerself to read them.”

“Yes. Well, I started reading them last week. It was difficult, but I’m glad I did. They even sent me some photographs. The latest one was her at their third birthday party a couple of months ago.” I take the picture of Faith out of my diary and pass it over the table to Jamie.

“Christ Claire, she’s a bonny wee thing. She looks just like ye. Same eyes, same nose, same smile. Same wild and wonderful brown curly hair Sassenach.” He said with a cheeky grin.

It feels really good to have this kind of friendship with Jamie. He’s one of the few people in the world I trust. I’m really glad we are getting along much better now and able to communicate properly. I expect therapy has done us both the world of good.

“Thank you. She really is a gorgeous little thing. I can’t believe how much she’s grown. She’s like a proper little person now.” I can’t stop smiling as I talk about my little girl.

“So Sassenach, ye said ye wanted my help? What with?”

“It’s quite a big request Jamie, so I understand if you want to say no.”

“Claire, ye ken I’d dae anythin’ for ye. What is it?”

“I have an appointment with social services on Monday to discuss visitation to see Faith. I wondered if you would maybe come to the appointment with me. And also, if I get the chance to see Faith, would you come with me?”

“Of course I will Claire. Are ye sure ye wouldna rather have Louise there instead?”

I let out a small laugh, “Oh god no. I love Louise, but she can be very inappropriate at times. I want you to be with me Jamie, if that’s okay?”

“Of course Claire. As I said, I’d dae anythin’ for ye.”

We finish our pizzas and then I go and get all the letters and photos I have from Faith’s foster parents in my handbag to show Jamie. We spend the next three hours just reading about and looking at the pictures of Faith.

I can’t believe how big she’s getting. I still can’t believe she’s three years old.

I can’t believe I may get the chance to see her again.

To hold her in my arms again.

My baby.

Chapter Text

Jamie’s POV

Christ. I canna believe after all this time, Claire is gonna come face to face with her wee lass. Today.

It’s no been easy for her, but she got here. I canny even put in to words how proud of her I am.

Everything she’s been through. Christ. It would be enough to send someone over the edge and no be able to find a way back. But, Claire did. I dinna ken how, but I’m glad.

I’ve never seen her so happy. She’s nervous. Understandably so, but still, verra happy.

The plan today is for me to finish off some work at the distillery, hopefully it won’t take more than another couple of hours, and then I’ll go back to my flat to shower and change. I’ll pick Claire up on the way.

The fact that Faith won’t remember Claire doesn’t worry her as such. She knows that’s a fact and she understands it. She just canna wait to see her wee lass again. Claire has already come to an agreement with Social services that if today’s meeting doesn’t go well, or if it’s too much for Faith, she won’t try and force the lass in to more contact. It broke my heart when I heard that this is what she had decided. As much as I tried to persuade her to not give up, she said she didn’t want to confuse Faith. I can understand. Truly. But, I really do hope that there is some way for Claire and Faith to build a proper relationship. They both deserve it.

Just as I am about to leave the distillery, Ian calls me in to the office. I ken that whatever it is, it canna be good. I saw my uncle Callum hanging around across the street earlier. I bet anythin’ that whatever Ian has to say involves Callum.

“Ian, what can I do ye for? Ye ken I have an appointment later and I canna miss it.”

“Jamie, Callum was here earlier.” Ian sits back in his desk chair waving to the seat across from his desk inviting me to sit down too. I dinna like the look on his face, so I think I’ll just stand.

“And what? Seriously Ian, I dinna have the time to sit around tryin’ to read yer mind.”

“He wants to buy back in to the business. He’s decided he wants to start making Gin and possibly Vodka. He wants to do it with us. He wants to buy in and expand the business.”

“And what did ye tell him?”

“I said ye and I had tae discuss it. I asked him to give us time to think it through properly. He says we have a week.”

“Ian, honestly brother, I canna think about this the now. I really have to go. I promise I’ll think on it tonight and I can come over to Edinburgh tomorrow night after work and we can discuss it properly?”

Ian nods as I head towards the door.

Where the hell did that come from? I thought Callum was done with this kind of business. Where is he gettin’ the money to buy in to the business.

Dougal.

This has got Dougal written all over it.

He wasna happy when Callum decided to retire from the whisky business and asked me to step up and take over. Dougal certainly has the money to buy in and the know how to start creating a new line of Gin and Vodka. No that Dougal will dae much work. He’ll stand back and watch other people whilst he reaps in all the success.

So, what’s Dougal got over Callum then to get him involved in this?

I dinna have the time to work all this out the now. I need to get hame and ready and get goin’ with Claire to meet Faith.

 

I get back to my flat and the doors already open. I walk slowly inside, trying not to disturb whoever has gotten inside.

To my relief it’s only Claire. She must of used the hidden key and forgot to shut the door properly.

She’s pacing the new flooring I had put down. She’s nervous. She’s making herself anxious.

“Claire, calm down. It’s all goin’ to be fine. Yer goin’ to see yer daughter. Everythin’ is gonna be okay.” I pull her in for a gentle hug to try and calm her down.

Claire pulls away to look up at me. Her eyes are full with unfallen tears.

“Claire? What’s happened?”

“Frank. He, he’s dead. He overdosed.”

“Wait, what? How do ye ken this? What happened?”

“Charlie rang me about an hour ago. One of the secretaries in his office worked at the university with Frank. Someone had rung her and told her. Charlie is currently trying to find out what happened.” She’s shaking.

I dinna ken what to dae to help.

I lead her over to the couch and get her to sit down. I go and pour her a glass of water. The poor lass is shaking so much, she canna hold the glass. I hold the glass for her and slightly tip it up at her moth so she can take a few sips. She’s starting to calm down a bit.

I kneel down in front of her so we are eye level. “Claire, what do ye want me to do? What do ye need Sassenach?”

“How can this be happening Jamie? I am supposed to be going to visit him on Thursday afternoon. I have so many questions only Frank has the answers to, and now he, he’s gone?!”

“Claire, it’s okay. It will be okay.”

“Jamie, you don’t understand. As part of my recovery for all that beast put me through over the years, I need to know why he did what he did. How he could do what he did. How can I move on fully if I never got the chance to ask?”

“Claire—“

“It’s not just that Jamie, it doesn’t make any sense. Why would he send me a letter and when I agree to go and visit him, kill himself before we have the chance to speak?”

“Ye think he overdosed on purpose then?”

“I honestly don’t know Jamie. Frank was always anti drugs, so I really can’t see why he would take them unless he was desperate to end his life that way. But why? See, so many questions only Frank can answer, and the bloody bastards not here anymore!” She starts crying so I get up to sit on the couch next to her and cradle her in my arms.

“Do ye want me to phone social services Claire and re arrange—“

“Indeed I do not! Nothing. NOTHING is going to stop me from seeing my little girl today. Please go and get ready. I’ll be fine. Promise.” She smiles at me and pushes me up off the couch to go and get myself ready.

 

Claire’s POV

As Jamie drives us to the contact centre to meet with social services and my little girl Faith, I can’t help but think about Frank.

I suppose it could of been an accident, but I don’t think Frank would be so stupid. But then, he would never take drugs on purpose. I suppose it has been over two years since we last saw each other, but still, I don’t think he could of changed that much. Prison or not, something doesn’t add up. Especially with everything in place for me to go visit him on Thursday.

I need to try and stop thinking about Frank and what might have happened to him. I need to focus on my daughter. My beautiful little girl who I haven’t held in my arms in over two years.

Faith is the only good thing to come out of my marriage to Frank. I abandoned her when she needed me most. I know I had to get myself better but, it really shouldn’t of taken this long. What must she think about it all?

Faith had only turned three a just over a couple of months ago. She won’t understand what’s going on. Social services have told me that she is aware that she is seeing mummy today. I honestly don’t know what to expect. I hope it goes well and we can be part of each other’s lives. But, if it’s too much for her, I don’t want to push it. I don’t want to make her any more confused than she must be already.

As we get to the contact centre, Jamie parks up just along from the entrance. The white and red building is a lot smaller than I imagined.

Jamie gets out of the car first and comes around to open my door for me. I freeze, I can’t move.

“Claire, come on. It will be fine. I’m right her with ye. Come on Sassenach, Faith’s waiting on ye.”

I take Jamie’s hand and he pulls me from the car. I take a deep breath and we walk inside the the building. We are greeted by Faith’s social worker Mary MacNab.

Mary takes Jamie and I in to a small room filled with children’s books and toys. We have a seat and we discuss myself and how I’m feeling and we talk about Faith and how she’s doing.

A little while later, Mary brings Faith in to the room. She is absolutely beautiful. I can’t believe this is my little girl. I can tell she’s shy, and I don’t blame her. She’s half hiding behind Mary’s leg, but she’s smiling at me.

“Faith, this is your mummy. Remember we said that mummy was coming to see you today and you were going to play and have some fun?” Mary had crouched down to be eye level with Faith and explain to her. Faith looked at her and nodded her little head and then looked over at me again.

I crouch down to be eye level with Faith myself. I don’t know if I’m saying the right things or doing the right things, but it feels right to me. I hope I’m not overwhelming my daughter too much. I just can’t believe she is standing right in front of me and actually looking at me.

“Hello Faith, how are you today? I’m you mummy.” She walks over to me with a big smile on her face and jumps right in to my arms.

Oh my god. I can’t believe it. After over two years, I have my daughter in my arms and she actually wants to be here.

After holding Faith for a good five minutes, she wriggles out of my arms and walks over to the table in front of the window. She picks up a baby dolly and brings it over to me. After she hands me the doll, she turns to stare up at Jamie.

“Faith sweetheart, this is a friend of mine. This is Jamie. Jamie, this is my daughter. Faith.”

Jamie crouches down to Faith. “Hello lass. Yer Mam’s been telling me a lot about ye.”

Faith takes Jamie by the hand and tries to pull him in to the direction of the couch sitting next to the door. Obviously with Faith being so little and Jamie being so big, she doesn’t get very far. It is a very adorable sight though. I can’t
help but smile at the image in front of me. Jamie pulls himself up and takes himself over to the couch. She then comes over to me once Jamie is seated and takes me by the hand to take me over to sit down next to Jamie.

Faith hasn’t actually said anything yet, but her behaviour seems very positive. She seems to have responded well to not just myself, but Jamie too.

Faith then walks over to the bookshelf in the corner and takes a book from the bottom shelf.

“We’re going on a bear hunt”

She turns around to Jamie and I and starts to giggle.

It’s the first sound I have heard her make since she came in to the room. It is the cutest little sound I have ever heard in my life. I can’t help but smile at her. She is the most precious little thing. I can’t believe she’s mine. I can’t believe I made something so perfect.

Faith comes running over to Jamie and I with the book and passes it to Jamie. “Can you weed me dis pweese?”

Oh my goodness, she is actually speaking.

“Of course I can Faith. Do ye want to come up and sit on the couch beside me here?”

She turns her head slightly to look at me. “I want to sit wi Mummy.” When she says that, my heart could almost burst.

I pick her up and sit her on my lap. She cuddles in to my chest as Jamie starts to read the story she picked out. I don’t think I have ever been so happy in my entire life apart from the day she was born and I held her in my arms for the first time. My baby girl.

After Jamie finishes the story, she climbs down to the floor and goes over to a toy box and starts looking for some toys to play with. I want to get down on the floor and join her, but I can’t help but cry. Happy tears of course.

I finally have my beautiful little girl back in my life. I just wish Lamb were here to see her. She meant the absolute world to him. He never said it at the time, but I knew he was devastated when I handed her over to social services. He knew and understood why I did it, but it still broke his heart as much as it did mine.

God I wish he was here now.

After an hour of holding, reading to and playing with my daughter, it’s time to say goodbye. It’s tough. Really tough, but I know I will be seeing her soon. Faith isn’t happy that she’s going home. She’s screaming her little head off. It breaks my heart to see her like this. She wants to stay with me and Jamie, but she can’t. It’s the most horrible thing to witness. Your child in so much pain and there’s nothing you can do to take it away. Not yet anyway.

 

On the way home to the house, Jamie can’t stop talking about Faith, it really warms my heart to hear him speak about her. I’ve never actually seen Jamie interact with children before. I know his sister has children, but I’ve never met his family and I haven’t seen him with his nieces and nephews. After watching him with Faith today, I can see he’s a natural. He really would make a wonderful father one day.

As we pull up to the drive, my phone rings. It’s Charlie.

“Hi Charlie, listen can I ring you back later, I’m only just home—“

“Claire, I’m sorry to bother you, really. But, I have some news about Frank. I think it’s best we speak in person. May I come over?”

Chapter Text

Jamie’s POV

I haven’t seen or heard from Claire since last week after I dropped her off hame after we saw Faith.

I ken that Charlie had to speak with her about some things he found out from the prison about Frank and what had happened to him. I offered to stay, but she asked me to go ha,e and she would speak to me later that night. I did as asked, but it killed me to leave her like that.

She never called that night. Or the next. I went round to see her, at the weekend, but she wasna in. She’s no one for gan out much unless it’s to work. Because we hadn’t spoke, so it was possible she was working. I gave Joe a ring to see if he’d seen her and asked how she was. He said he hadn’t been on shift with her this week and hadn’t seen or heard from her since before she went to see Faith. He was pretty sure that she was actually supposed to be on days off for the weekend. Joe didn’t even know about Franks death.

I called Louise who had just finished her shift and she said similar to Joe. Claire was on days off and she hadn’t seen or heard from her since the evening she and Charlie went round to talk about Frank. She knew that Charlie had spoken to her a couple of times though and she seemed to be doing okay, she just didn’t want to see or speak to anyone. Louise didn’t offer up any information on what Charlie had found out about Frank. I wanted to ask, but I don’t think Louise would of told me anything. We still don’t really know each other that well.

It’s been eight days now since I’ve seen her. I wouldna normally do such a thing, but Claire is really worrying me at the moment. She has worked so hard to heal herself and try to move on from her past. Not only for her, but for Faith too. I couldna bare it of all this business with Frank and his death has forced her to go backwards again. So, I have no option but to try the house again and if there’s no answer, I’ll let myself in with my key.

I need to ken she’s okay.

The only person she has contacted the last eight days has been Charlie, and all she has told him is she’s fine and she is still going to her therapy sessions. Apart from that, we dinna ken anything.

When I get to the house, the kitchen light is on so I ken she must be at hame.

That’s something at least.

I ring the door bell, but she doesna answer. I ring again, but still no answer.

I let myself in to the house slowly and call to her. “Claire? Claire, it’s me, Jamie. I just wanna make sure yer okay? Ye havena called.”

“Sorry Jamie, I’ve just had a lot going on. Em, could we maybe catch up tomorrow evening? I finish work around six. You could come round and we could watch a film and have a catch up then if you like?” She says to me as she comes out of her bedroom. She looks well. Really well in fact.

“Are ye goin’ somewhere? Can we no talk now? I think it’s verra important that we do Claire.”

Just as she goes to answer, the front door opens behind me. “Sorry Claire, I couldn’t find the gin you wanted so I had to go that wee shop at the other side of the park. Oh hi Jamie. What are you doing here?”

Bonnet.

Bonnet has just walked in the door.

What the hell is he doing here?

“Obviously I’m disturbing ye. Sassenach, I shall be seeing ye tomorrow night.” I give her a serious look. She just nods her head.

I turn to walk out the door and Bonnet walks over to Claire to give her a hug.

That bastard!

Out of all the people she could turn to, why did she choose him?

 

When I get hame, I canna stop thinking about how this guy has managed to worm his way in to Claire’s life like this.

Something doesna add up with that guy.

I dindna want to leave the house and leave them two alone there, but if I insisted on staying, Claire wouldna be happy and it would cause another argument. We have been so good lately, I dinna want to rock the boat.

Ned. I need to call Ned.

I give Ned a call and ask him if it’s possible to find some information on Bonnet. I wouldna normally interfere like this, but with everything Claire has been through already, I dinna want something else to happen to her. All Claire needs right now is her true friends, her job, continuing to heal herself and get her daughter back. She doesna need Bonnet anywhere near her.

Ned agrees to get his PI on the case. I give him as much information on Stephen Bonnet as I can. It isna much, but it’s enough to be the PI started. I just hope it won’t take too long to get any information on the guy.

 

As well as all this with Claire, I had to think about Callum’s offer to buy in to the distillery again and to expand the business in to making Gin and Vodka too.

With all the worry of Claire this week, and with her being my priority, I decided to turn down Callum’s offer. I’m sure in some round about way Dougal is involved and I have enough going on with Claire and the actual business to be worrying about what agenda my uncle may have for wanting in on the business. The whole thing didna make sense, and I certainly wasna gonna be spending any time worrying about it.

No, Lallybroch Whisky is daeing extremely well. It’s never been so successful. There’s no need to expand and definitely no need to bring in any investors. Including family.

Ian was fine with my decision and agreed. I left it with him to let Callum ken what we decided. Ian said that Callum didna seem that bothered by the decision which only makes me even more sure that Dougal was somehow involved.

Chapter Text

Claire’s POV

Today has been the most unbelievable day.

I finally got to see my baby girl after over two years apart.

She is the most beautiful little girl I have ever seen.

I honestly thought that today would be too much for her and she probably wouldn’t interact with me at all, but she seemed very happy and comfortable with the situation. She smiled at me, jumped in to my arms and gave me a hug, spoke to me and even climbed on to my lap and cuddled in to me as Jamie read her a story she picked out and gave to him. It melted my heart to see how she took to Jamie too.

Unfortunately it was only an hour visit today, but it went better than any of us expected. I really do hope I can see her again soon. It broke my heart having to say goodbye to her today, especially when she seemed equally as upset as me. She wouldn’t stop crying as they tried to take her home. It was an awful thing to witness knowing there was nothing I could do.

I’m glad I seen her though and got to spend time with her.

She has the sweetest little Scottish accent. When I was pregnant, I always imagined she would grow up with an English accent until she started nursery as both Frank and I are English. It suits her though and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

As much fun as I had with Faith today, I can’t help but think about Frank. To be honest, I’m not quite sure if it’s because of the news of his death, or the fact I was with Faith today. Everything is just a mess in my head right now. So many questions are now left unanswered.

Anyway, Jamie just dropped me off home about ten minutes ago. He offered to stay until Charlie got here, but I know that even when Charlie did get here, Jamie would find some excuse to hang around.

I appreciate Jamie so much. Especially supporting me by coming with me to my meetings with social services and again today by coming with me to see Faith. I honestly don’t know how I would have managed any of this without him.

Jamie never knew Frank. And even though Jamie knows what happened between us, I still think I would prefer speaking to Charlie about Frank on my own. I’m sure Louise will be coming with Charlie anyway, so everything should be fine. I just, I don’t understand how Frank managed to overdose? And I’m supposed to visit him in prison on Thursday, so why didn’t the prison get in touch with me to tell me what happened?

Hopefully Charlie has some answers for me. One of my main questions will never be answered now, and it scares me. How did Frank know where to post his letter? There is literally no one that I know that would tell him. And I don’t have any contact with anyone who stayed loyal to Frank after he went to prison. It isn’t like I have a lot of people around me either. It’s only the hospital and a small group of friends that know I’m living here now. It’s quite scary.

I hear the car pull up on the drive, so I head over to put the kettle on and then go to open the front door to let Louise and Charles in.

“Good afternoon Claire, how are you?” Louise asks as she walks in to the house with Charlie following behind her.

“Well, it’s been a strange day, but hopefully Charlie can fill me in on a few things?” I asked as I showed them in to the living room.

I went back over to the kitchen and made us all a cuppa.

When I came back over to the living room, Charlie was sat in the arm chair and Louise patted on the space beside her on the couch for me to go and sit down beside her.

“Okay Claire, so I managed to speak to someone over at the prison. Frank died on Sunday night in his cell of an overdose. It was heroin.” Charlie sat forward in his chair to explain to me what he found out.

“That, that can’t be right? Frank was very anti drugs, he would never—“

“Claire, I know this is hard to take in, but that’s what happened. He’s gone.” Charlie continued.

I sat back on the couch. Running my hand over my forehead. This just doesn’t make any since to what so ever.

“Claire, the prison tried to contact you yesterday to let you know. They said they tried a few times. The police had also been at the hospital to find you to let you know.”

“Charlie, this doesn’t make any sense. No one rang me, no one came to find me—“

“Claire, the police were at the hospital yesterday. I saw them outside the ward waiting to get in as I left to take a patient down to X Ray. I heard your name being mentioned, but I figured it was to do with a patient or something. I’m sorry Claire.” Louise explained to me as she took my right hand in hers.

“Claire, the police said they spoke to a man on the ward. One of the volunteers. They gave him a card and asked him to ask you to ring them as soon as you were out of theatre.” Charlie said as he picked up his mug from the coffee table to take a sip.

“What volunteer? I wasn’t even in bloody theatre yesterday. What the hell?”

“I honestly don’t know Claire. There were three male volunteers working on the ward during our shift yesterday. Archie, John and Duncan. Do you want me to ask them who spoke to the police?” Louise asked as she leaned in to put an arm around my shoulders.

“Ah, no. Thank you. I’ll speak to them. I’m sure they just forgot or something. Em, Charlie, who knows about the heroin?”

“Hardly anyone. It was like drawing teeth to get anyone to tell me. People are aware he died of an overdose, but most people are assuming it was accidental with prescribed medication. Claire, the needle he used was found next to him on the floor in his cell. I have only told you and Louise, no one else. I will do my best to find more information. I promise, but Claire, I think you should speak to the police, they may be able to give you more information than I could get?”

“Thank you so much Charlie. Honestly, I really appreciate everything you have done. It’s just, a lot to take in. I guess a lot has changed in two years, huh?”

 

We finished the conversation about Frank and I told Charlie and Louise all about my time with Faith today. I couldn’t help the smile on my face as I spoke about her and filled them in on what all we did.

 

Before Louise and Charlie left, Louise offered to stay with me tonight, but I insisted I would be fine. I guess I’ll never really understand what happened with Frank and his death, but he was my past anyway. I’m more focused on my future and hopefully being well enough to get custody of my daughter and bringing her home one day.

 

It’s been ten minutes since Louise and Charlie left and there’s a knock at the door. Louise must have forgotten something. I swear that woman would forget her head sometimes. I go to the door to answer and I’m surprised that it isn’t Louise or Charlie;

“Bonnet? What are you doing here?”

“Sorry Claire, I was just in the area and thought I would pop over and see how today went with Faith?”

“Oh, well, em yes. It went rather well actually. Em, listen Stephen, it’s been a long day and I just want to go to bed. Would you mind if we caught up tomorrow instead please?”

“Of course, not a problem. I just hope you get plenty rest. It must of been a weird couple of days with your ex husband Frank’s, death and then seeing Faith again. Rest up, and I’ll come back tomorrow. Goodnight Claire.”

“Goodnight Bonnet. And thank you.”

As I closed the door and locked it for the night and headed over to the couch, I realise something. How did Stephen know about Frank’s death? I never said anything. In fact I have never mentioned Frank to him before. Even his name. How did he know he was my husband?

Maybe I’m overthinking? It’s just strange that he would make that sort of comment though.

Oh god, I think all the thoughts and speaking of Frank again is making me paranoid.

All I want to do is call Jamie, he would be able to calm me down and make me feel safe.

But, I can’t. I know he would be here in a heartbeat, but I can’t keep running to Jamie every time I’m scared or worried about something. It wouldn’t be fair. He has already done so much for me.

I think I just need some sleep.

 

The next morning, Stephen appears at my door to offer me a lift to work. It was very unexpected. I was expecting to call or text him after work to see if he was free.

On our way to the hospital, he starts asking about Frank. I very quickly realise that Stephen seems to know a lot about Frank and our life together. I try not to react at the small comments he’s making.

Finally getting to work is a very welcome distraction. As I walk on to the ward, I see Dunacn and John, two of the volunteers on the ward yesterday. I walk over to them and ask if either of them had spoken to any police yesterday. Neither of them did, but they saw them on the ward. They weren’t sure who it was they spoke to. It must of been Archie. He was the only other male volunteer on the ward yesterday. Archie isn’t working at the hospital today, so I’m unable to speak to him about it to ask.

As I head over to the nurses station, I pull out the card for the police that Charlie left me last night and give them a ring. There isn’t much they are prepared to tell me over the phone, so I agree to go down to the station after my shift.

“Claire, may I have a word with you? It’s about the police coming yesterday. I think we should go to the staff room.” Louise suggests as she takes me by the arm.

“Louise, what’s going on? I rang the police and I’m going to see them after my shift. I’ve also spoke to to Duncan and John this morning. They didn’t speak to the police yesterday so it must have been Archie.”

“It wasn’t Archie Claire. I just spoke to him on the phone. I got his number from Duncan. He says he didn’t speak to the police. He said he saw Stephen speaking with an officer yesterday though. He thought it was strange because Stephen wasn’t even supposed to at the hospital yesterday, yet he was on our ward briefly wearing his uniform.”

“Bonnet? He came to see me last night after you and Charlie left. He didn’t say anything. He brought me in to work this morning and he never mentioned speaking with the police. He does seem to know quite a bit about my life with Frank.”

“What are you saying Claire?”

“I honestly don’t know. He knows more about my life than I’ve ever told him. It’s true we have become really good friends over the past few months, but there is so much I haven’t told him about my life, and yet, speaking with him this morning, I realise he knows a lot more than he should. Louise, he knew Frank died from a heroin overdose on Sunday night in prison. He knew Frank was a history professor at the University of Glasgow. I don’t know how he knows any of this.”

“Claire, Charlie and I will come with you to the police later, okay? The police wouldn’t have told Stephen why they wanted to speak with you. They simply would have asked for you and handed him their card.”

“If he wasn’t meant to be here, why was he? Why was he in his uniform? Why did he tell the officer that I was in theatre when I wasn’t?”

“I don’t know Claire, but if he knows more than you have ever told him, I think you should be careful.”

Chapter Text

Jamie’s POV

Work today is going so slow. My last two meetings for the day have been cancelled and everything is ticking over quite nicely at the distillery.

Ian and I are planning an open evening next month for people to come and see what it is we actually do in the distillery and see how the whisky is made. It also gives people a chance to try the whisky if they havena already. It would also be a good wee night out for regular customers. A nice way to celebrate how the business is going from strength to strength.

If that’s my last two meetings cancelled, then hopefully I might be able to leave a bit earlier than expected today. It would give me time to head over to Asda before going over to Claire’s.

Claire finishes work at six the night, so I’m gonna head around about half five and start preparing dinner for us. We really need to talk about what happened to Frank. I need to ken that she’s managing and coping okay. And I need to ken what’s goin’ on with her and that bastard Bonnet.

I ken technically it’s no my business and I dinna have the right to ask her about him, but I care about her. Deeply. She’s all I think about all the time. I just need to ken that she’s okay. That she’s safe.

I’m thinking about making us a wee chicken korma. Claire’s no the best cook so she tends to order in quite a bit when she’s working. I think a lot of it is to do with no wanting to cook for only herself as well. I think she’ll be glad of a home cooked meal the night after a long shift.

 

I manage to get away from work at four. That gives me plenty of time to get to the supermarket and get all the ingredients I need for the korma.

 

When I get to the house, it’s about five o’clock. Plenty of time to get the dinner ready for Claire coming home. As I’m washing some dishes at the sink, I glance out the window and notice someone standing in amongst the trees across the road. They’re watching the house. I canna quite tell if it is a male or female though. They’re too far away and I’m sure their face is covered.

As I head to the door to go out to the front garden to see who it could be, they disappear. It’s strange. Who would want to keep watch on the house? Claire’s house? But Claire isna here. Is it me they’re watching? I need to keep an eye on this.

 

It’s just after half six and Claire arrives home from work. For some reason she is still in her scrubs.

“Jamie, you didn’t need to cook. We could have ordered something.” She said as she locked the door behind her and dumped her bag next to the coat stand next to the door.

She doesna normally lock the door when she comes in. She normally locks it before she heads to bed. I wonder what’s goin’ on? Was that person here before for Claire? Why has she no said anything?

“It’s fine Sassenach. It’s only chicken korma. Nowt that special. Did ye have a good day at work then? I see yer still in yer scrubs.”

“Jamie, you know you can ring the Indian takeaway down the street and they can make us korma and, they even deliver it straight to the door. You can even go and collect it if you want. You didn’t have to cook, but I am grateful, thank you.” She said with a smile taking over her face. “Work was work, nothing much else to say really. Do you mind if I just go and have a quick shower and get changed?”

“Of course, I’ll keep the food warm the now and I’ll plate it up for us when yer ready.”

“Thank you Jamie.”

 

When Claire comes back through to after her shower, she comes over to close all the blinds and curtains at the front of the house. Somethings happened. I ken it. She’s showing nae signs of telling me what’s goin’ on though.

She sits down at the kitchen table as I dish up dinner and bring it over. Claire pours us each a glass of Diet Coke. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her drink fizzy juice before, it’s always been tea, coffee or water.

“I’m sorry I haven’t been in contact lately Jamie. Things have just been so hectic at work, I’ve barely been home.” She doesna look at me as she explains this. I already knew it was a lie, but the fact she didna look at me just confirmed it.

“Claire, I’ve been so worrit about ye. I’ve been calling, texting, even came to the house a few times but ye werena here. And dinna say ye were working cause I ken that was a lie. Well, ye’ve no been working as much as yer tryin’ to let on ye are.”

She doesna say anything. She doesna even look up. She just continues to eat and sip at her coke.

“That was absolutely delicious Jamie, thank you. Are you staying a while longer, or do you have to leave?” She asks as she gets up to clear the dishes away.

I sit back in my chair with my arms crossed against my chest and look straight at her. “I’m no goin’ anywhere Claire until ye tell me what’s goin’ on. I’m no the only one whose worrit. Both Joe and John have been tryin’ to get in touch with ye too.”

“Jamie, I really want to tell you. You have no idea how much I want to, NEED to talk to you about what’s going on, but trust me when I say it’s for your own good that I don’t.”

“Claire, you’re seriously worrying me now. Please, trust me.”

“It isn’t a case of not trusting you Jamie. I trust you with my life. We’ve only known each other a matter of months, but you James Fraser are one of the few people in the world that I trust. I’m just asking you to trust me.”

We sit in silence for a bit. I eventually get up and walk over to the couch. If we’re goin’ to be sat in silence most of the evening, I might as well get comfortable.

Claire walks over to lean against the wall to look at me. She still isna speaking, but I can tell from the corner of my eye that she wants to. Badly.

“Can I just ask ye Claire, why are the doors locked and all the blinds and curtains in the house shut? It’s no normal of ye to dae such things before ye go to bed.” She just looks at me, but doesna answer me.

“I only ask Claire, because whilst I was cooking dinner earlier, a’fore ye got hame, I’m certain there was someone over in the trees watching the house. I thought they were waitin’ on ye, but then I thought if someone was watchin’ ye, or harassing ye, ye would tell me.”

Claire walks over to me and takes me by the hand and leads her down to her bedroom. She sits down at the bottom of the bed and asks me to sit down beside her. Apparently this is the only place in the house she can speak openly to me.

She’s got hidden cameras fitted all around the house. Inside and outside. The only place there are no cameras are in her bedroom, en suite bathroom and the main bathroom.

“Did you see who it was? In the trees?” She asks me quietly whilst looking down at the floor. It’s like she’s embarrassed.

“No Sassenach. When I went out the front door to see, they were gone. Dae ye ken who it was?” I answer trying to gain eye contact with her.

She stands up from the bed and starts pacing the floor.

I stand up to try and gently hold her still, “Claire? I canna help if ye dinna tell me.”

“I can’t tell you Jamie. I need to handle this my way. Just please trust me okay?” She pulls away and goes to sit on the bed again.

“Claire, please. There is someone watching’ the house. Ye’ve locked the doors and closed all the blinds and curtains in the house. Claire, look at me!” I turn her head gently to look at me. “Christ Claire, ye’ve got hidden cameras all over yer house. This isna normal or fine.”

“If I tell you everything I know, I need you to promise to stay out of it.”

I nod. I canna promise her anything of the sort. Whatever is goin’ on isna good. I’ll no promise her to stay out of it if I can help.

“I don’t have any proof Jamie, that’s why the police are reluctant to do anything. I think the man watching the house may have been Stephen.”

“Bonnet? Stephen fuckin’ Bonnet has been watchin’ ye Claire? Why did ye no tell me? How long? Claire, Christ, he was here last night. I left ye with him. Alone.”

“Jamie, I think it’s more than just watching me.”

She gets up again and walks over to sit at her dressing table. She begins to tell me that for the past week, she has suspected that Bonnet kens more about her life, before, during and after Frank, than she has spoke about. She is sure she hasna told him anything about her marriage, or Frank. Never mentioned his name. Never mentioned he was in prison. Never mentioned him at all to Bonnet, but he seems to ken a hell of a lot.

She says that when she thinks back, she had told him about going to visit Faith because she was so excited to see the wee lass again. She only mentioned she had a baby that was being looked after by another family. She never said it was a daughter. Never mentioned her age. And she definitely didn’t use Faith’s name. Some how though, Bonnet knew a lot about Faith and her being in foster care after Frank went to prison.

This past week, Bonnet has been turning up to the house unannounced and practically pushing his way in. All he wants to do is talk about Frank. Claire has tried to change the subject to other things. The man is clearly obsessed with Frank. She doesna ken why though.

Charlie and Louise apparently know all this, and whilst I have been asking Louise how and where Claire is, she has been pretending not to know too much at Claire’s request.

It was Charlie and Louise that had helped Claire get all the hidden cameras in the house. Louise and Charlie have the feed hooked up to their computer and phones. Claire also has it hooked up to her phone.

“Claire, why the fuck are ye still here? Why dae ye go to work? Why dae ye let him in to the house? Claire, when I was here last night, why did ye no say anything? Claire, I dinna want ye here on yer own. Pack a bag, yer coming to stay at the flat.”

“Jamie I can’t. I need to know what he knows and how he knows it. I need to know why he’s doing this? It doesn’t make any sense.”

“Pack a bag Claire. We’ll go see Ned Gown tomorrow. I rang him last night after I left here. I wasna happy that you had a contacted me in a week, but Bonnet was here last night. I’ve never liked the guy. Ye ken that. But ye were so certain about him, saying what a support he was to ye and a good friend, I didna want to argue with ye over him again. Anyway, Ned has got his PI on to him to see if he can find anything on the guy. We’ll tell Ned all that ye told me tonight. It might give the PI more information to go on. Please Claire, just pack a bag and come back to the flat with me. Please.”

“I can’t leave Jamie. At least with the cameras here, if he is around, it picks him up. There’s also sound, so all our conversations are being recorded. If he slips up, hopefully it will be on camera and hopefully the police will take it seriously. There’s something not right, but I don’t know what. Just please let me do this my way Jamie.”

“Claire—“

“If you really want to help me, we’ll go back to your place, pack some of your things and you can stay here with me.”

“Ye sure? Cause ye ken I will.”

“I’m sure. We’ll speak to your solicitor tomorrow, but I’m not leaving the house tomorrow. We can phone him.”

“Okay. Whatever ye feel comfortable with.”

Christ. What is she daein’ tryin’ to sort all this her way? I ken she has Louise and Charlie, and I’m grateful. But this canna be safe. No way.

 

After we get back from my flat, we have another discussion. She agrees to take some time off work and I’m daein’ the same. There will be a couple of things I’ll need to oversee at the distillery, but she can come with me. I’m no leavin’ her alone with that mad nutter goin’ about keepin’ an eye on her.

Seriously though, what is wrong with that man?

What is he gettin’ out of this?

In my opinion, he’s nae better than that mad bastard Randall.

Whether he’s laid a finger on Claire or no, he’s gonna end up daein’ just as much damage to her as Frank.

Chapter Text

Three days later...

Claire’s POV

I have to admit that it’s a relief having Jamie stay at the house with me. I just feel bad that he’s missing work because of me and my screwed up life. He doesn’t complain though. Never.

This morning when I woke up, I went for my shower and got ready. By the time I came through to the kitchen, Jamie had prepared breakfast for us both. He really does take the whole looking after me very seriously. It’s nice. He makes me feel safer than I’ve been in a really long time.

I just don’t want our friendship to get complicated again. It took us a long time to get to a comfortable place with each other.

We haven’t spoken about Surrogacy and trying again. When I agreed the first time, I also agreed that if it didn’t work, I would try one more time. I will try again for Jamie. He has done so much for me ever since we met. The least I can do is give him a child. His child. He truly deserves to be happy and I believe him becoming a father will do just that.

We haven’t mentioned it so far because we were both struggling a bit after the miscarriage. I don’t think any of us really wanted to rush in to going through it all again. Surrogacy is a really big thing. It isn’t something you just decide to do on a whim. We both have to be ready and in the right frame of mind to be able to go there again.

My main priority lately has been seeing my own daughter, Faith. Trying to build a relationship with her. Jamie has been very supportive. I have decided though to not see her until this situation with Bonnet is resolved. It breaks my heart that I won’t be seeing her again any time soon, but it’s for her own good and her own protection. I have no idea what Stephen is capable of. It’s scary. I’m not prepared to take the risk of involving my three year old daughter in this mess.

 

A little while after lunch time, Ned Gowan, Jamie’s solicitor calls with news from his Private Investigator on Stephen.

We agreed with Ned to do all correspondence over the phone as we didn’t want to spook Stephen with the appearance of a solicitor either coming to the house, or us going to his office.

Stephen had taken to working more at the hospital when he knew I was on shift. Now that I had taken time off, he was parked up the street during the day or driving up and down the street. He even came to the house a couple of times yesterday. He wanted to know why Jamie was staying here. Jamie didn’t let him in to the house though which seemed to really annoy Stephen. Jamie had called the police, but they didn’t take it very seriously. By the time the police had actually arrived, Stephen was gone. They said they would go round to his house and speak to him. Apparently he told the police that he just came to check on me and was worried that Jamie was keeping me locked in the house.

“Claire, Jamie, I have some information on your Mr Bonnet. Claire, I’m sorry to say, but Mr Bonnet actually knew your ex husband Frank.” Ned began to explain over the phone as Jamie and I sat with it on speaker so we could both hear.

Stephen had been a student of Frank’s at the university. Apparently they both got on really well and became quite friendly. Frank used to confide in Stephen about our marriage. I don’t believe that Frank would have admitted to Stephen about the abuse, but Stephen certainly seemed to know quite a bit about my life with Frank.

None of this really explains why Stephen is so focused on me? What does any of this have to do with Franks death?

I am absolutely positive of the fact that Frank would never touch drugs. Especially heroin. Especially using a needle. Frank hated needles. It just didn’t make sense. None of it.

“Claire, Mr Bonnet went to visit Frank in prison a couple of weeks ago. He has visited Frank at the prison many a times over the past couple of years.” Jamie and I just looked at each other. Neither of us can think of anything to say in response. “That’s not all Claire, Mr Bonnet had visited the prison again in the days leading up to Frank’s death, but it wasn’t to see him. Mr Bonnet had been to visit Frank’s cell mate at least three times before he passed. The PI is currently trying to find out some more information. As soon as I ken, I will phone you’s straight away. You’d have my word.”

Jamie finally found the words to speak, “Thank ye Ned, truly,”

“No bother Jamie. Just take good care of Claire. Hopefully we can start to piece together some things and get the police to actually pull their fingers out their arse’s and actually do their job!”

 

Jamie and I have been very quiet the rest of the day. Everything is still so confusing and such a mess, I honestly don’t even know what to say or how to process any of it.

Jamie is currently sat in front of the tv watching some Scottish comedy, Still Game. Even though he has seen every single episode like a million and one times, he always laughs his head off at all the joke. Not tonight though.

I go over with a mug of coffee for him and a glass of milk for myself and sit down beside him on the couch. I put my mug down on the coffee table and hand him his mug. He smiles at me in thanks. I lean over him to retrieve the remote control for the television from his arm rest on his side of the couch and pause the episode.

“Jamie, I think I have an idea. You’re not going to like it, I know, but I can’t keep living like this Jamie. I need to be back to work and I need to see my daughter. We need to decide when to try again for your baby. I can’t do any of that with all this going on so can you please just hear me out?”

“I ken it’s hard Claire, but I’m no willing’ to put ye in danger. Let Ned handle it. Hopefully it will be over soon.” He leans over and kissed the top of my head.

“I need you to go over to John and Joe’s tomorrow night for dinner. I’m inviting Stephen over and I’m going to get him to open up about what his deal is.”

“Sassenach, dinna be ridiculous. Ye really thing I’d leave ye here alone with that mad creep? Claire, we dinna ken what the guy is capable of. He’s clearly obsessed with ye and yer life for some reason. He was pals with that mad bastard Randall and visited him in prison. AND, he also went to visit Frank’s cell mate. Claire, the guy is obviously dangerous, we just dinna ken how dangerous. No. The answers no. I will not leave ye alone in this house with that nutter!” He grabs the remote from my hand, but before he presses play, he turns to me again, “I will no let ye put yerself in any form of danger. Please, just let Ned handle it. Please.”

I let out a huge sigh and storm off to my room and slam the door shut. I can see where Jamie is coming from. I really do. But, I hate feeling trapped like this. Stuck in the house, afraid to leave in case Stephen gets to me out on the street. Jamie’s right, we have no idea what he’s capable of, but at least here in the house, I have the security cameras.

 

I haven’t left my room since I came here after speaking with Jamie. That was about three hours ago.

I know he’s right, but I can’t face him just now. I just wish there was a way to fix everything so I could get on with my life. I should be thinking about going to the clinic and seeing about Jamie starting his family. I should be spending time with my daughter and getting to know her.

*Knock Knock

“Claire, please, can I come in?” Jamie asks softly. I could barely make out what he asked.

I get up from my bed and go over to open the door and let him in. I don’t want to be out in the open talking tonight.

Charlie and Louise only really watch the outside feed, but now and again they check in on the inside feed to see how I am. Whatever Jamie wants to discuss, I want it to be private.

“Sorry I stormed off like that earlier. I know you mean well. It’s just so frustrating Jamie.” He pulls me in to his arms for a hug.

“It’s okay Sassenach. I just, I couldna bear it if somethin’ happened to ye and I wasna here to protect ye. Yer one of the strongest people I ken, but I dinna want ye to go through all this alone okay? We’ll get through this together. It’s the two of us now.”

Chapter Text

Jamie’s POV

Claire’s locked herself in her room for about three hours now. I ken she’s no asleep because I can hear her getting up and pacing about her room every twenty minutes or so.

I ken where she’s coming from. I ken it’s frustrating for her, but there is no way I can let her put herself in danger like that. I just wish there was something I could do to make her feel better. Take her mind off all things Stephen Bonnet related, even for a wee while. I hate seeing her like this. I hate that she’s practically staying in the house.

I just need to ken she’s safe.

She’s got her counselling session tomorrow afternoon. She wanted to cancel it, but I persuaded her to keep it. It will be good to talk to her therapist about what’s going on. Maybe her therapist could suggest somethin’ to help Claire?

I think I need to go and speak to her again. She’s overthinking everything again and it’s no good for her.

 

*Knock Knock

“Claire, please, can I come in?”

I can hear her getting off the bed and walking over to the door. She opens it slowly.

“Sorry I stormed off like that earlier. I know you mean well. It’s just so frustrating Jamie.” I pull her in for a hug. She needs to ken I’m here for her, for whatever she needs.

“It’s okay Sassenach. I just, I couldna bear it if somethin’ happened to ye and I wasna here to protect ye. Yer one of the strongest people I ken, but I dinna want ye to go through all this alone okay? We’ll get through this together. It’s the two of us now.”

“Thank you Jamie. There’s something else I need to speak to you about. Will you come in please? We need privacy.” She takes my hand and leads me over to sit on the bed beside her.

“What is it Claire? Is it about Bonnet? I dinna think I can talk about him again the night. I ken it’s hard, but I think we both need to try and concentrate on other things. Leave Ned to deal with Bonnet.”

“I know. It isn’t easy Jamie, but that’s what I’ve been trying to do in here this evening. I should be concentrating on building a relationship with Faith. And you need to decide when you want to try again for a child of your own.” I just stare at her.

I ken she agreed to trying one more time, but with everything goin’ on, I would never of dreamed about bringing it up with her. With her uncles death, the miscarriage, Frank, Faith, Bonnet, I could never ask her to go through somethin’ as big as the surrogacy.

“Claire, that can wait. I dinna want to force ye in to daein’ anythin’ yer no ready for or comfortable with. There’s so much that has happened and so much that is still happenin’. I wilna ask ye to dae this for me now. No.”

“You’re not asking Jamie. I’m offering to do this for you. We need to try and keep our life going as normal as possible, and for us, this is normal. I agreed to be your surrogate, and I will. There is no use hanging around. The sooner we try again, the better.”

“Are ye sure Claire? Ye’ve already been through so much. If ye arna ready, that’s okay.”

“I am ready Jamie. I wasn’t before, after the miscarriage. That was tough. I don’t think you were either. I think this is something we both need to do. Move on.”

“Only if yer sure Claire. I hope ye ken I would never force ye in to it if yer no ready. If ye want to change yer mind completely and not do the surrogacy, that’s okay too.”

“Jamie, you have helped me so much over the last few months. I will never be able to thank you enough, but if I can give you a child, that’s something.”

I reach over and put my arm around her shoulder. “Thank ye Claire. Truly.”

 

We decide to get comfy on the bed and watch some tv. Claire doesna want to be alone, but she doesna want to go through to the living room either. We decide to watch, well Claire decided we would watch “An affair to remember”. It’s actually an okay film. My sister Jenny likes all the old romantic classic films too so I’m used to watchin’ them. Even though I would of much preferred a drama or a comedy.

But tonight is all about tryin’ to help Claire relax. It’s no gonna be easy, but if she’s watchin’ Deborah Kerr and Cary Grant start a romance on a ship on its way to New York, she might just forget about the last couple of weeks.

 

After the films finished, I get up to leave, but she pulls me back to the bed. She sits up to face me properly.

“I think we should discuss the surrogacy plans.”

“We dinna have to dae that the night Claire. It’s gettin’ late. We can discuss it tomorrow, or even next week, there’s nae rush. I’ll go and make ye a wee hot chocolate and bring it through to ye, aye?”

“No, I don’t want a hot chocolate. And I don’t want to wait. We need to talk about this now. It’s all I have been able to think about.”

“Okay, do ye want me to make an appointment for the clinic tomorrow and we can go in and have a wee chat with them and get things rolling again?”

“No Jamie. I don’t want to go back to the clinic. Not yet anyway.” She looks down to the floor. She canna make eye contact with me now for some reason.

“What is it Claire? I told ye there was nae rush. Honestly, we’ll wait till yer ready.”

At this point she looks up at me and looks straight in to my eyes, “I want to sleep with you Jamie.”

“Wait, what?”

Did she really just say that?

“I want to have sex with you.”

Chapter Text

Claire’s POV

I glance up from the floor to look Jamie Straight in the eye and blurt out, “I want to have sex with you.”

“Claire—“

I put my hand up to stop him from speaking any further. “Jamie please? There is no way I can go through all that again. As a nurse, yes I know I should be fine, but Jamie, the procedure really freaked me out the last time. I don’t want any more needles being stuck inside me.”

“No. I’m no goin’ to sleep with ye Claire.” He says very firmly.

I think my heart just broke.

Why is he rejecting this?

Rejecting me?

I know it’s a weird suggestion, but we’re friends now. We trust each other. Why is he saying no? I’m offering to have sex with him to give him a child.

“Can I ask why not?” Speaking barely louder than a whisper.

“I didna pay to sleep with ye Claire.”

“No, you paid for a child and I lost that child. I am offering you another chance. You helped me, now I want to help you. I thought you wanted a baby of your own more than anything?”

“No Claire. Ye will regret it straight after and our friendship means too much to me to just let it get weird and complicated again.”

“I won’t Jamie, I promise.” I walk around the bed to stand in front of him and hold his hands in mine. “Please Jamie. I can’t do it any other way.”

He leans in and kisses my forehead, “No.”

“Why? Am I THAT unattractive that you can’t even bear to be with me like that just once?” Again, speaking barely louder than a whisper. I can’t believe how embarrassing this is.

He runs left hand through his hair and then rubs the back of his neck.

“I’ll take that as a yes then, shall I?” I turn to head for the en suite, but he turns me back to face him. His hands are on either side of my face.

God, the slightest touch of him just makes me want to melt.

“Claire, it’s no that. I just dinna want ye to regret anythin’. I ken ye. I ken that maybe no tonight, maybe no tomorrow, maybe no even next week or next month, but one day, ye will regret it and our friendship will be changed forever. I canna lose ye Sassenach. I wilna lose ye.”

I take his hands from my face and take a step back. I can’t bear to look him in the eye.

“Claire, dae ye ken how it feels for me to turn down yer offer? It’s killin’ me.”

“Then don’t turn it down.” I step towards him again and place my hands on his chest. “I want to do this.”

I slide both my hands slowly over his chest and wrap my arms around his neck. I lean up on my tip toes bringing my face closer to Jamie’s. “Please Jamie.”

He reaches up and pulls my arms away from behind his neck and turns me to push me on to the bed. I can’t help the smile creeping up on my face.

This is it.

Jamie and I are actually going to have sex.

Tonight.

Right now.

He sits at the bottom of the bed and turns to look at me. “I said NO Claire.”

What the—?!

I get up from the bed and walk in to my en-suite and slam the door shut and lock it. I can’t stop the tears from running down my face. I try to be quiet so he can’t hear me, but it doesn’t work. I know he’s still in my room. I can hear him walking over to the en suite door.

“Claire, please. Just let me explain.”

“Go away Jamie. I don’t want to hear it.”

“Claire, please let me in.”

“Leave me alone Jamie!”

“Claire, there is another reason I said no. I dinna want to tell ye though a door. Can ye please either come out or let me in?”

I reluctantly open the door to walk back in to the bedroom. I still can’t stop sobbing though.

“Claire, please sit down.”

I walk over to my dresser and sit there. He sits at the bottom of the bed just looking at me.

“Spit it out Jamie, I’m tired and want to sleep.”

“Claire, ye havena been with anyone since Frank. In fact, he is the only man ye’ve been with.”

“I don’t see what that has to do with anything. You either want me to give you a child or you don’t.” I huffed.

“The last time ye were with Frank, he raped ye Claire. He raped ye more times than he made love to ye. Dae ye really think that this is a good idea? Me being the first man yer intimate with after what Frank put ye through? Would ye no rather it be with someone ye trust. Someone ye care about and who cares about you?”

“Why do you think I suggested it Jamie if I wasn’t sure? You’re right. Frank put me through hell and back, but I survived! I’m not the type of woman who would just jump in to bed with anyone Jamie. I trust you and I thought you trusted me too? I care about you, and I thought you cared about me too? I made you a deal to give you a child. This is the only way I am prepared to do that. I can’t go through what we did before. No way. This way is easier and quicker. If you don’t want to be with me like that, not even once, then fine. Just at least think about it.”

He stands up from the bed and comes over to pull me from the chair at my dresser. His hands go around my waist and pull me closer to him. “Can ye no tell how much I want ye Claire?”

I can tell.

I can feel his hardness press against my lower stomach through his jogging bottoms. “Yes. Yes I can.”

I lean up on my tip toes again and bring my arms around the back of his neck. Jamie leans down and I can feel his breath on my lips. “Are ye sure about this Claire? There’s no going back after we do.”

“Yes, I’m sure.”

I let out a moan as soon as Jamie’s lips met mine. Jamie parts my lips with his tongue. In no time, we aren’t just kissing with our mouths. It’s everything. I have never been kissed like this before. It’s nice and slow. The sexiest thing to ever happen to me.

It just feels right.

We pause for a second and smile at each other as we try to catch out breaths.

It isn’t long before we connect our mouths again and Jamie walks us back and pushes me against the wall. When we run out of breath again, he starts to kiss down my jaw and down my neck. My head falls back hitting the wall behind me and Jamie gains more access.

He comes back to my mouth and after a while, he pulls back to look at me. His beautiful ocean blue eyes are turning darker. “I’ll ask one more time Claire, are ye sure about this?”

I nod my head and then crash my lips on to his. I pull his t shirt off and look at him. REALLY look at him.

This man is like a god.

I have seen plenty of men’s bodies in my line of work, but never one as perfect as his.

“Ye done lookin’ Sassenach?” He asks with a cheeky grin.

Oh god.

He pulls me close to kiss me again and starts to pull down and kick off his jogging bottoms. He is now only in his boxers. He’s still kissing me, so I can’t see much.

Jamie starts to pull my nightshirt up and over my head. I changed in to my night shirt earlier before he came in. I haven’t worn a bra all day as I was just staying in the house. He seems pleased by this.

He starts to kiss down my neck again and down my chest. “Ye are so beautiful Claire.”

He moves us over to the bed and the next thing I know, I’m lying beneath him. We are both completely naked. Jamie is on top of me with his hands on either side of my head supporting his weight so he doesn’t crush me.

Every time his mouth touches my skin, I want to explode.

Is this what it’s supposed to feel like?

I let out a moan when I feel him go inside me slowly.

Our bodies move together.

Like we just fit together.

Perfectly.

Chapter Text

Jamie’s POV

I wake up and it’s the middle of the night.

I’m not in my own bed.

I’m in Claire’s.

She’s fast asleep.

She looks so beautiful.

I just want to stay here and hold her in my arms until she wakes up, but I ken I probably shouldn’t. I should go back to my room and sleep in my own bed.

It’s difficult though. I dinna want to leave her.

I need to go though.

It was just sex.

Nothing more.

She doesna want anything more.

I slowly climb out of the bed, tryin’ to no wake Claire. I grab my clothes off the floor and quietly open the door to creep out.

 

When I wake up the next morning, I have nae idea how long I spend staring at the ceiling.

Was it real?

Did we really have sex last night?

No.

What happened between Claire and I last night wasna just sex.

We made love.

 

I get up and go for a shower before heading through to make some breakfast. Claire is still in her room.

Whilst I’m making breakfast, I hear Claire coming out of her room. Her door slams shut. I think it was an accident. I can hear her coming down the corridor to the kitchen.

“Shit!” I hear her say and then she runs back down the corridor and shuts herself in her room.

“Claire?”

She doesna answer, so I go down to her door and give it a knock.

“Claire, can ye open the door please?”

She doesna answer me.

“Claire, please open the door.”

“Okay. Okay.” She whispers.

She slowly opens the door, but makes no sign of coming out of her room.

“Are ye okay?

“Yup.”

“Okay. Why ye no lookin’ at me then? Why ye avoiding me?”

She lifts her head slowly. I can tell she’s uncomfortable. I knew she would regret it. Why did I do it?

“I’m fine. Honestly.”

“Are ye sure?” Claire nods her head as she looks down to the floor again.

“Dae ye regret it?”

She snaps her head straight up to look at me, “No Jamie. I don’t regret it. Do you?”

“No.” I smile hoping it will make her feel better.

“Well, if you’ll excuse me, I’m just going to jump in the shower and cry.”

“What? Claire—“

“Relax, I’m joking Jamie.” She gives me a flash of that beautiful smile of hers. “Could you please make me some eggs for breakfast? I promise I’ll make us some lunch.”

“Dinna worry Sassenach, I was already preparing yer breakfast along with mine.”

“Thank you Jamie. I’ll be out soon.”

 

When Claire finally makes her appearance for breakfast. She’s back to not looking me in the eye. I canna stand this. I knew she would regret it. I knew it would change our friendship. Why the hell did I agree?

She sits up at the island to eat her breakfast instead of at the kitchen table with me. We sit in silence until after we’ve both finished. Claire clears all the dishes away in to the dishwasher before coming to sit at the table across from me.

“Jamie, last night, it was just sex, right? Nothing more. It was just me keeping up my end of the bargain. Nothing else. It won’t ever happen again. Are we both agreed?” This time she is looking me in the eye.

“Agreed Sassenach. I dinna want things to be weird between us. This, what we have. This friendship, means more to me than anything else in this world. I dinna want to lose it, or ye.”

“You won’t ever lose me Jamie. You’re one of my best friends.”

 

After watching tv for a wee while, we decide we should get some housework done. Claire see’s to some ironing after she puts a load of washing in the washing machine. I do the hoovering and the dusting. It doesna take that long to be honest because since we’ve both been at hame all day the past few days, the housework has been kept on top of.

 

Claire has offered to make lunch. I dinna mind her makin’ lunch. It’s usually sandwiches she makes, and they arna that difficult to make. Today she’s makin’ cheese sandwiches. She’s no the best cook, so sandwiches are usually verra safe.

 

After lunch, Claire gets ready for her therapy session. Louise and Charlie are coming to pick her up and take her over. I really wish it was me goin’ with her, but she doesna want me smothering her. Fair enough. It means I can head on over to the distillery for a wee while and see how things are goin’. Even though I’ve been at hame the past few days, Ian has sent me more than enough work through to complete at hame. I dinna mind though. Keeps my mind aff other things.

 

No long before Claire is due to be back from her session, the door bell goes. I’m no expecting anyone, and I doubt Claire is either.

As I open the door, my blood begins to boil as I see Bonnet at the other side.

“Where’s Claire? She never turned up for her shift again today. I need to see her to make sure she’s okay.” He barges his way past me to get in to the house.

“She’s no here Bonnet, so why don’t ye just leave, aye?”

“I’m not going anywhere until I know Claire is safe. Why are you even living here anyway? Claire doesn’t need you Jamie. She doesn’t want you either, so why don’t you just leave her alone.”

“This is MY house Bonnet. Claire is staying with me. She isn’t going anywhere either. Certainly not with you. Now, I won’t ask again, please leave.”

“Not until I see Claire. You’ve been stopping her from speaking to me. From seeing me. We were fine until you decided to move in here and keep her away from everyone and everything.”

“Ye ken nothing Bonnet. Now, get out, and dinna show yer face around here again. Ye hear me?” I grab him by his shirt collar and drag him back to the door and through him out.

I can see him walking back to his car, but he isna leavin’ anytime soon. I canna have Claire comin’ back hame to that creep sat outside waiting on her. The only thing I can dae is call Charlie and Louise.

“Charlie, Bonnet’s just been round to see Claire. He’s sat outside in his car, I dinna think he’ll leave until he sees her. Can ye take her to Joe’s please. I’ll ring him and let him ken ye’re taking her over.”

“Of course Jamie, but he knows Joe is one of her closest friends. He knows Joe’s address. He would eventually turn up there.”

“Aye, I ken that. She’s no staying’ at Joe’s. it’s just somewhere to go whilst I get things sorted here, trust me. She’ll be safe soon. Text me when he’s get to Joe’s aye?”

“Of course. She still isn’t out yet, but she shouldn’t be too long.”

“Thank ye Charlie.”

After I hang up from Charlie, I ring the police to tell them what happened. Again, they dinna think it’s anythin’ serious.

I’ll tell ye, my faith in the police forces have went incredibly low since it became Police Scotland. If the person ye speak to doesna ken yer area, yer fucked. Ye spend more time tryin’ to explain yer location than actually talkin’ through what the issue is.

I text Joe and let him ken Claire will be on her way and I’m packing some things for us. I ask him to get John to come and pick me up from the field that backs on to the back of the house.

Bonnet shouldna see me leave out the back and heading for the field.

 

When John and I get to Claire, she’s visibly shaken. Joe is tryin’ to calm her down, but it won’t work.

“Claire, it’s okay. I’m here. I brought some things and ye and I are gonna go away for a few days, aye?”

“Don’t worry Claire, no one will harm you as long as Jamie is with you.” John explained to her.

“And when he’s not with me?” She starts to cry.

Joe crouches down and gives her a long and comforting hug.

 

It isna long before we get Claire in to John’s second car. It’s just a wee corsa. It was the first car he ever bought and he’s never been able to get rid of it. It’s a decent wee run around. It will do Claire and I perfectly to get us up to Lallybroch. Naebody will ken the car on the road. John usually keeps it in the garage.

I havena outright said that Lallybroch is where we’re going, but I’m sure the lads can guess. The less we say out loud the better. If anyone asks them where we are, they canna lie because I havena told them where we’re goin’.

 

About an hour in to the journey, Claire falls asleep beside me. I dinna want to disturb her, so I let her rest.

When we finally get to Lallybroch, I quietly and slowly get out of the car and go around to Claire’s side and gently lift her out of the car and carry her in to the house. The door was unlocked as I called ahead and had someone come and make some beds for us. Mrs Fitz hasn’t managed up this week.

I took Claire over to lay on the couch in the family room as I went outside to collect our things. When I came back in, I see Maggie, one of the women from Broch Mordha, coming out of the kitchen.

“Hello Mr Fraser. I’ve made a pot of soup and made up your bedroom and the guest room at the end of the corridor upstairs. I hope that will be okay for ye?”

“Aye, thank ye verra much Maggie. How much dae I owe ye?”

“Dinna worry about it sir. I’m just glad I could help. I hope you and yer friend have a lovely time. Bye Mr Fraser.”

When Maggie left, I went to take our things up to our rooms. When I came back down, I decided to take Claire up to her room where she would hopefully be more comfortable.

As I lay her down on the bed, I couldna help but stare at this beautiful woman. Wondering how any man could possibly want to hurt her? What had she ever done to anyone to deserve such horrific things in her life?

Chapter Text

Claire’s POV

Jamie and I have been staying at Lallybroch for three weeks now. It’s a really nice estate. Jamie and I have enjoyed going out for walks in the fresh air. There are stables with a couple of horses. Jamie has offered to teach me how to ride, but I’m not so sure it’s my kind of thing. He took me on a ride the other day and we had a picnic up on the hill looking down to the village. We shared a horse and it felt nice to be so close to him. I have honestly never felt so safe.

We need to leave the estate this weekend though as Jamie’s sister Jenny and her family are coming up to spend the weekend. I haven’t met them yet and it would be better if we didn’t meet here like this.

Jamie has booked us in to a hotel in Inverness for a couple of nights.

Before we left to come to Lallybroch, Jamie left his mobile phone in the house turned off. He gave my phone to John to go and place back in the house. Jamie didn’t want to risk bringing our phones with us in case we spent too much time watching them waiting on news.

Ned is the only person that Jamie told we were coming to Lallybroch. He contacted Ned the other day to inform him that we’re going to Inverness this weekend and said he will pass on our hotel details when we get there. Jamie says it’s safer that way.

I just wish this would all end. I feel terrible that this has all happened and I’ve gotten poor Jamie involved. It’s not even just Jamie, it’s everyone I care about. Louise, Charlie, Joe and John.

I wish I could sit down with Stephen and just ask him what’s going on. None of this makes any sense. And as grateful as I am to everyone for getting me away safely, if I don’t get home soon, I can see me about to lose my mind.

Ned told Jamie that he would only contact us at Lallybroch if something happens and we should stay put.

 

“Sassenach, are ye almost ready to leave? Sooner we leave the better. I dinna want to be meetin’ Jenny, Ian and the bairns coming up the drive.”

“Yes. That’s me ready.”

Jamie takes my bags out to the car. He really has been such a support to me. I honestly don’t know what I would do without him.

 

These past few weeks has definitely brought us closer together. I don’t think there is a single thing in my life that Jamie doesn’t know about now. That’s what happens when you spend so much time with someone. We’ve done quite a lot of talking and listening lately. It’s been good. Jamie even opened up to me about a few things too which was nice. Sometimes I feel like I burden him with all my problems all the time, and he never really opens up all that much about himself.

I already knew about how lost and depressed he became after the deaths of his parents and his older brother. He had also told me about his first girlfriend and how in the end she made him feel like he couldn’t trust anyone. He hadn’t gone in to details, but whatever happened, it must of been bad.

He told me the other day during our picnic that he had only ever had sex once before our night together a few weeks ago. It was when he was going with that Geneva girl. They only slept together the once and because he knew the relationship wouldn’t work, he never slept with her again.

I was shocked by this admission. Jamie is one of the most handsome men I have ever seen. I honestly don’t know how some nice girl hadn’t snapped him up. As well as being easy on the eye, he is one of the most caring and considerate men I’ve met. Whatever Geneva did after he ended things with her must have been awful to put him off women and relationships all this time.

 

That one night Jamie and I spent together, it was so perfect, I can’t believe how inexperienced he was. I know I don’t have much to compare it to, but Jamie certainly knew what he was doing. I’ve never been taken like that before. I honestly doubt I ever will again.

There is this pull between Jamie and I. I can’t even begin to explain it. I know he feels it too. It can make things awkward sometimes, but we both know we can’t go there. Whatever it is between us, it can’t happen. We both want different things in life. I think we’re both agreed that we would rather stay in each other’s lives as friends than nothing at all.

 

When we get to Inverness, we head over to Tesco to get some groceries for the hotel. Just some milk and snacks and things.

Unfortunately the hotel doesn’t do room service, so we will need to go to the restaurant next door for our meals and things. The good thing is that Inverness is over three hours from our home in Glasgow, so hopefully no one will recognise us this weekend.

 

When we get to the hotel to check in, there has been a misunderstanding with the booking, apparently Jamie thought he booked two double rooms, but he only booked one. There are no other rooms available, but the young girl on reception informs us that the sofa in the room pulls out in to a bed.

“I dinna ken lass, are ye sure there’s no even a wee single room available?”

“I’m very sorry sir, but we’re fully booked. I can ring round some of our other hotels in Inverness and see if they have a room or two available?”

“No, that’s okay thank you. We will just take the room here, won’t we Jamie?”

Jamie looks really shocked at my suggestion.

“It’s for two nights Jamie, I’ll even sleep on the couch and you can have the bed.”

Jamie turns to face the receptionist, “Fine, we’ll take it lass. But I’ll take the couch Sassenach, ye need yer rest.”

 

As we head up to our room on the second floor, Jamie doesn’t speak much. In fact, he barely makes eye contact with me. It’s actually kind of adorable. We’re only staying here two nights. I’m sure it will be fine.

“What time should we head over for dinner then?” I ask as a way to break the silence.

“Eh, just whenever ye want Sassenach. I’ll just go down to the car and bring in the rest of the bags and then I’ll give Ned a ring.”

Before I knew it, Jamie was out the door.

 

“Hi Ned, it’s Jamie. Just to let ye ken that we’re at the Premier Inn at Inverness East. We will head back to Lallybroch on Sunday afternoon. Jenny and Ian should be leaving Sunday morning.”

 

When Jamie came off the phone from Ned, his face was pure white. It was like he’d seen a ghost or something.

“Jamie, what’s happened?” I walk over to him at the desk as he puts the phone back on the receiver.

“He um, Bonnet has been arrested Claire.”

“What?..How?..When?” I need to sit down on the bed before I lose my balance.

“I dinna ken the details Sassenach. All I ken is that he’s been arrested. Ned says we’re to stay here and head back to Lallybroch as planned on Sunday until he sends for us.”

“Please tell me this is finally over Jamie.”

Jamie comes over to sit next to me on the bed and gathers me in to his arms and holds me close.

“I canna tell ye that Claire cause we dinna ken what’s actually happened, or what is happening. But Claire, I promise ye, no one will ever try and hurt ye again.”

Chapter Text

Jamie’s POV

The two nights spent in Inverness was tough for both Claire and I. We were both cooped up in the same hotel room due to a misunderstanding with the booking. I don’t think it woulda been so bad if it wasna for the conversation I had with Ned on the phone no longer after we arrived at the hotel on the Friday afternoon.

Ned informed me of Bonnet’s arrest. He didna want to go in to too much detail over the phone. He didna want us coming back to Glasgow either until he knew what was happenin’ with Bonnet.

It was the longest forty eight hours I’ve ever experienced. The only time Claire and I left the hotel was to go out for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And well, after a certain ridiculous argument on the Saturday night.

On the Saturday night after we got back to the hotel room after dinner, Claire and I got in to an argument. It wasna a serious one. I think it was just spending all that time together, things were building up and we just snapped at each other. As much as I love spending time with her, it was a lot. I mean, the only time we weren’t in each other’s company was when one of us went to the bathroom.

 

Hotel in Inverness Saturday Evening;

“Jamie, can you turn that bloody volume down on that damn tv?! I’m trying to read my book.”

“It’s no that loud Sassenach. Anyway, ye no finished that book already? I feel like ye’ve been readin’ the same book since we met.”

“Its one of my favourites. I’ve read it many times. Now will you please turn the volume down? I can’t concentrate with that blaring! Why do you need it so loud anyway? You’re sat directly in front of the screen. That can’t be good for your ears OR your eyes.”

“Christ Sassenach, can ye just give me some peace to watch this? Please.”

Well, she wasna long slammin’ her book down on the bedside table and moving fae the bed to walk towards me at the desk. She picked up the remote and turned the tv off.

“What dae ye think yer daein’ woman?!”

“I beg your pardon? Don’t you dare speak to me like that again James Fraser! I asked you twice to turn the volume down and you didn’t.”

“It wasna that loud Sassenach. Anyway, if ye’ve read yer wee book there many a times, why dae ye need to concentrate so hard on it?” I turned myself back tot the tv and turned it on again.

Next thing I here was the hotel door slam shut. She’d taken her wee handbag with her.

I turned the tv off and grabbed my wallet with the key card in it and my jacket and went after her. There was nae available lifts, so I ended up running down the stairs. We were only on the second floor, so it wasna that bad. I managed to catch up with Claire outside the hotel. By Christ she wasna happy with me. Didna matter what I tried to say, she refused to come back.

She decided to take a walk along the street. I could tell she needed to be on her own, but she wasna too familiar with the place and after everythin’ she’s been through, I didna feel comfortable just abandoning her. I let her walk on a bit in front and I followed on behind her keepin’ a respectful difference. She knew I was there and I’m pretty sure she was okay with it. Am sure if she wasna, she woulda turned round and told me to piss off, but she never.

We walked down the street and past the Eastgate Shopping Centre. It was after eight at night so the streets and roads were verra quiet. Hardly a soul about. We walked down the High Street and then down by the River Ness. I had still kept my distance, but as she stopped to look down the river, I noticed she was cold. Well, of course she was, the stubborn woman ran out with out her jacket. I walked over to her slowly and wrapped my jacket around her shoulders. She didn’t say anything, but she put her arms in to the sleeves. I pulled her close and out my arms around her to give her that wee bit extra heat. We stayed like that for a good wee while before we headed back to the hotel.

“Thank you for the jacket Jamie, but aren’t you cold? I was the one stupid enough to run out without a jacket, you shouldn’t be freezing to death.”

“It’s fine Sassenach. I’m fine. How about I make us a wee hot chocolate when we get back to the hotel?”

“That would be nice. Thank you Jamie.”

The rest of the walk back to the hotel was nice. We walked side by side and she had her arm linked with mine. We didn’t talk much the rest of the way, but it was great.

 

When we got back to the hotel, I made us both a hot chocolate. Claire prefers hers made with milk, but since we’re in a hotel with no cooker or microwave, I had to make them with water. She drank it all the same though and seemed to enjoy it enough.

“I’m sorry about before. I don’t know what came over me.”

“It’s fine Sassenach, it’s no easy all this, being shut in the hotel like this with each other and no space or privacy. But, we’ll be back at Lallybroch tomorrow and fingers crossed, we can go home to Glasgow soon.”

“Oh god I hope so. I miss the house. I miss my bed. I miss my friends. I miss work. God, I just miss my life. I can’t wait to be able to see Faith again and hold her in my arms. I know she’s safe, but I just wish she was with us, you know?”

“Och, I ken Sassenach, but hopefully ye’ll get yer answers soon enough and ye can start to get yer life back on track. Ye’ll see Faith again soon. I promise ye that. I wish she was here with us too Sassenach, but at least we ken she’s safe. I’ll always be here for ye. No matter what.”

“Thank you Jamie. I honestly don’t know why you put up with me. I bet you wish you’d never met me. Your life would be so much simpler if I wasn’t hanging around.”

“Stop that. Dinna say such things. You Claire Beauchamp are the one thing that’s kept me going, ye are the one that put some meanin’ into my life again. I was a shell of a man for so long. Ye made me realise that I couldna keep goin’ the way I was. Startin’ therapy again, that would never of happened if it wasna for ye Claire. I ken I’ve a long way to go yet, but I think I’ve come quite a bit in the last few months. That’s down to yer help and support Claire. I’ll never forget it.”

 

We sat on the bed and watched a film together. I must of fell asleep on the bed because I woke up the next morning on top of Claire’s bed and her arm wrapped around my waist.

I tried to move her arm gently so I could slide out of the bed, but she gripped my waist tighter.

“No. Don’t move Jamie.”

She was awake.

Chapter Text

Claire’s POV

When I woke up on Sunday morning. Jamie was lying on the bed next to me. We must of fell asleep with the tv on.

I turned to look at the clock beside the bed. It was 7am. Jamie and I didn’t need to check out until noon. The plan was to go to the restaurant next door for breakfast around 9am and then come back to relax in the room before checking out at noon. We would then walk down the road to the shopping centre to browse one of the book stores to kill some time. We would have lunch around 1pm and then do a bit of sight seeing. Jamie didn’t want to risk running in to his sister at Lallybroch, so there was no hurry for us to get back there.

I couldn’t help but stare at Jamie lying next to me on the bed. Since it was still early, I snuggled up beside him and rested my arm around him. I couldn’t help it. I didn’t fall asleep again, I just lay there watching as his chest raised and fell. He had this little smile on his face as he slept. I’m not sure if this is something he does often, or if it’s because he knew I was next to him.

I’m not sure how long I was staring at him, but then I saw his eyes slowly open. He realised my arm was around him and he tried to gently move it out of the way, but I held on tighter.

“No. Don’t move Jamie.”

He slowly turned over on his side so we were facing each other. He moved his arm up and under my neck as I cuddled in closer beside him.

We just lay there in silence for a while.

 

It was quarter past eight when I eventually removed myself from his arms and got up to go for a shower.

“Where are ye goin’ Sassenach?”

“Shower. Would you like to join me?” I asked as I headed towards the bathroom.

“Is that a trick question?”

I peaked my head out from the door frame and flashed him a smile, “No. it would save water after all. And time. We’re supposed to be at breakfast in forty five minutes, remember?”

At that, it wasn’t long before Jamie was up off the bed and stripping from his royal blue cotton pyjamas bottoms. He was in the bathroom with me in no time. He was hesitant to get in the shower with me though and he was still wearing his pyjama top.

“Jamie, you coming in or what?” He was just standing there staring at me with his wide ocean like eyes.

“No Sassenach. I’ll wait till yer done.” He turned to walk back to the room.

I jumped out of the shower and pulled him back to me. I reached down to the hem of his top to pull it up, but he backed away from me.

“Jamie, what’s wrong? You know you can talk to me.”

“It’s nothin’ Sassenach. I’ll jump in when yer done.”

“Jamie, please—“

“I dinna want ye to see my back. There’s a difference between kennin’ about what happened and really seein’ it with yer own eyes.”

I reached down again and pulled off his top. I practically had to pull him in to the shower with me.

I turned him to face the back tiles so I could see his back. It was like nothing I have ever seen before. I couldn’t believe someone could actually do this to someone.

I traced his scars lightly with my finger and I could feel Jamie tense up at my touch. I leaned in and kissed some of his scars to show that they are an important part of him. They prove he is a survivor.

I pushed Jamie under the shower faucet and picked up some of the hotels shower gel and started rubbing it on his chest, stomach and arms. I picked up his sponge, but he took it from my hands and threw it down. Jamie turned us around so I was now under the faucet to get my hair more wet. He turned us again so he was now under the faucet and I had my back to him. I wanted to face him. I wanted to see him, but he wouldn’t let me turn. Next thing I knew, he was massaging my shampoo for curly and unruly hair into my scalp. It felt so good. I didn’t want him to stop. He turned us again so the water would rinse off the shampoo. I rung out my hair as much as possible and ran a small amount of conditioner through the lengths and ends of my hair whilst Jamie quickly washed the rest of himself and shampooed his own hair. As I let the conditioner sit on my hair for a few minutes, I reached for the shower gel. Jamie took it from my hand and squeezed some out of the bottle on to my loofah and started to run it up and down my upper body. He turned me round so he could do the same again to my back.

Just as Jamie went down on his knees to see to the bottom half of my body, he started to gently kiss up and down the inside of my thigh.

Oh god. What this man does to me.

Before he could do anything else, the phone started to ring in our room. The only person it’s could be was Ned. Jamie jumped out of the shower as quickly as possible and with out covering himself with a towel, he went to answer the phone beside the bed.

After I finished showering, I grabbed a towel and headed through to the room to see what the news was. Jamie was still on the phone. I tried to listen to the other end of the conversation, but Ned was so quiet, I couldn’t quite hear properly.

Eventually Jamie hung up the phone. “Em, that was Ned.”

“Yes Jamie, I kind of assumed it would be. Any news?”

“Aye. Em, he doesna want to go in to details over the phone, but as soon as we can, instead of going back to Lallybroch, we are to go straight back to Glasgow. The police want to speak to us both about Bonnet. Seems they are finally taking all the complaints seriously. Ned says he will meet us there. I said I would call him from Perth so he knows we arna too far away.”

“Okay. Does this mean everything is going to be okay then?” I walked over to stand right in front of Jamie. His left hand came up to tuck some of my hair behind my right ear. His fingers brushed against my cheek and I leaned in to his hand.

“I honestly dinna ken Claire. We wilna ken until we get back to Glasgow. But I promise ye Claire, I’ll no let that nut job near ye ever again. Okay?” I nodded as he brought me in to his arms and held me. He gave me a kiss on the top of my head. He always makes me feel safe.

We quickly got changed and headed to the restaurant next door for breakfast. We both had ordered the cooked breakfast, but after Ned’s call this morning, we both decided to have the continental breakfast instead as it would be quicker.

As soon as we finished, we headed back to our room to tidy up a bit and collect all our bags. We checked out and then left Inverness, starting the three hour journey back down to Glasgow.

The journey home was pretty quiet to begin with. We hadn’t really spoke much over breakfast either. There was definitely a lot we should have been talking about but, I think we were both anxious about getting back to Glasgow unaware of what we were going back to.

Due to the phone call from Ned, our minds were all over the place. Sitting overthinking everything about what could be happening in Glasgow, we forgot to pick up some water or juice and snacks for the journey home. Jamie decided to pull in to Aviemore so we could pick up some supplies in Tesco. Well, that turned out to be a huge mistake. The place was absolutely packed with tourists. I’d never been to Aviemore before. I don’t think I would be in a rush to go back any time soon. We couldn’t find a parking space in Tesco car park, so we had to park up the street and across the road in one of them car parks you have to pay. It was ridiculous. We only wanted some bottles of water, some juice and fruit boxes. When we got in to Tesco, we could barely move in the aisles because the place was so packed. Jamie took a hold of my hand so that we wouldn’t get separated in the crowds of people just slowly dittering around the shop. It was a case of getting in and out as soon as possible.

As we walked back up the street, Jamie was still holding my hand. I spotted a chemist to my right next to a take away coffee shop as we walked back to the car. I told Jamie I was just going to get us some teas and I would meet him back at the car. He tried to insist on staying with me, but I managed to persuade him to go on ahead. I ran in to the chemist and purchased one of them early response pregnancy tests and threw it straight in to my handbag so Jamie wouldn’t see. Before I went back to the car, I stopped at the coffee shop and picked up a couple of teas for me and Jamie.

My feelings towards Jamie were definitely creeping back up on me. I mean, how could they not? We were literally spending every single minute together.

I can’t help the way I feel about him, but at the same time, I can’t be in a relationship with him if he’s going to become a father. I can’t become a mother again. I can’t even call myself a mother to the daughter I already have. Faith has to be my priority right now.

I did agree to only try one more time to have Jamie’s child. Maybe if I’m not pregnant, Jamie and I could really make a go of things. But, that isn’t fair on Jamie is it? He wants to be a father. How could I stop him from trying to follow his dream of becoming a parent.

The sooner I take this test, the sooner we will know.

 

On our way to Perth, it was Jamie who started the conversation.

“Ye okay Sassenach? I ken it’s easier said than done, but try no to worry, aye?
I’ll no let anythin’ happen to ye. I swear it.” He reached his left hand over and rest it on my thigh.

“I know that Jamie. That isn’t what’s worrying me. Well, it is, but—“

“Ye regret what happened or, was about to happen’ this mornin’ in the shower? Before Ned rang?”

“Honestly Jamie, the only thing I regret is the fact that Ned rang and we were interrupted. But, I guess it was a good job he did phone when he did. Saved us from going too far.”

“Claire, I hope ye ken I would never intentionally dae somethin’ to make ye feel uncomfortable.” He moved his hand away to change gear and then brought it back to rest again on my knee.

“Oh god Jamie, of course I know that. And that’s partly why this is all so difficult. You are the kindest, most generous and caring man I think I have ever met in my life. I don’t think anyone could ever make me feel as safe and secure as you do.”

“Then how long are ye gonna keep fighting this pull between us then Claire? It’s there. I ken it, ye ken it. Christ even our friends ken it.”

I honestly couldn’t answer him at that point. He was driving and this conversation was a very serious one. It wasn’t the time or the place to have it. We would discuss things at a later time.

Chapter Text

Stephen Bonnet’s POV

“Let me out of here!” I yell at the so called custody sergeant who is on duty.

“Be quiet Bonnet or we wilna bring ye any lunch. Once yer solicitor arrives, we’ll take ye through to be interviewed.”

“Ring Claire. Get Claire Beauchamp down here and she’ll explain that I was only trying to protect her. I haven’t done anything wrong.”

“Quiet Bonnet! I’ll no tell ye again.”

They’ve had me locked in this bloody cell for over an hour now. If they would just call Claire, she will tell them they have this all wrong. We’re friends. Close friends. She trusts me. She confides in me. Why would she do all that if we weren’t close?

After everything Frank put her and Faith through, she needs someone she can trust and rely on. She needs me.

As if being controlled by Frank wasn’t bad enough, now she’s going through the same thing with that Fraser guy. Who the hell does he think he is? Claire has made it perfectly clear on more than one occasion she didn’t feel comfortable around him. When her uncle passed, she turned to me. Fraser turned up and practically dragged her away from me. When she went down south to burry her uncle, she asked me to go with her. Fraser was no where to be seen. As far as I’m aware, she didn’t want him anywhere near her. She didn’t want to see or speak to him. She had me though to love and support her. She was coping.

I don’t know what’s happened the past couple of weeks, but Fraser has all of a sudden moved in to her house and has been doing everything he can to keep Claire away from me.

 

The custody sergeant is soon taking me out of my cell and walking me down the corridor to one of the small interview rooms. I’m given no more than five minutes with my solicitor before the detectives come in to speak with me.

Detectives.

Hm. Must be something serious.

I don’t know why they think I’m involved in whatever.

The only thing I am guilty of, is trying to protect Claire.

 

“Mr Bonnet, do you know why we have brought you in today and placed you under arrest?” DS Christie asks.

“Not really understanding it all to be honest, but I’m sure you’ll come up with some cock and bull story to try and explain your actions.”

“Mr Bonnet, you were arrested earlier today on the suspicion of the kidnap of Louise de la Tour. We have some strong evidence on this Mr Bonnet, as well as some further evidence coming to light involving you in the death of a Mr Frank Randell.”

“Pffft. Louise and I are friends. We work together at the hospital. We were just spending some time together and catching up. Ask her, she’ll explain that to you. As for Mr Randell, I don’t know what to tell you DS Christie but, wasn’t Frank Randell serving time in prison? How could I possibly be involved with the mans death?” I flashed the DS a quick smile.

 

 

Two days earlier...

Louise and Joe had just came off a twelve hour day shift. It had been a pretty horrific day. Both of them had been in and out of theatre all day with various patients after and emergency came in to the A&E department and four different cases were sent up to their ward. All scheduled electives had to be postponed so there were a lot of disappointed and angry patients and family members on the ward.

As they were walking out the front door, Joe had asked Louise if she was sure she didn’t want a lift home. She thanked Joe for his offer, but assured him that Charlie would be picking her up any minute.

Joe had offered to stay with her a few minutes, but she insisted he went home and got some well deserved rest after the difficult day they both had. Joe reluctantly agreed and left Louise sat on one of the benches at the front entrance of the hospital.

A few minutes had passed since Louise saw Joe drive away out of the car park. She pulled out her phone to call Charlie to see if he would be much longer. She knew there was a chance he could of been distracted with something at the office.

“Hi sweetheart. I’m so sorry, but I will be there really soon okay. I’m about five minutes away. I got held up with some paperwork.”

“It’s okay baby. I’m sat at the front door so you don’t need to park in the car park, just come to the door for me.”

“Okay sweetheart, I’ll see you soon.”

Louise smiled as she put her phone back in her bag.

The smile didn’t last long though as she felt someone come up behind her and tie a rag around the bottom of her head and pulling the front of it in to her mouth to stop her from speaking. A blind fold was then placed over her eyes and she was pulled up by her arms and walked over to what she assumed was the direction of the car park.

As she was walked over to the car, Louises hands were tied with what she assumed were cable ties, or something similar. Whatever it was, it was definitely plastic and it was easy enough to be kept secure.

Louise heard the sound of a car unlocking and a car door being open. It wasn’t until she was placed inside laying down and the door was closed that she realised she was in a car boot.

She tried to pay attention as to what direction they were going in, but it was no use. She wasn’t even aware of where the car was parked in the first place. Louise started to kick her feet against the car, hoping if they stopped at lights or something, someone would hear something. After tiring herself out trying to make herself heard, she decided to try and stay calm and see if she could hear anything outside to tell her where she might be and where she could be headed.

After what felt like a lifetime, the car eventually came to a stop. She heard the driver getting out of the car and locking it as they seemed to walk away. She tried kicking the inside of the boot again, but it was no use. No one was coming to her rescue.

Who would possibly want to take her like this?

Why was Charlie late in going to collect her from work?

Why didn’t she just get a ride with Joe?

Louise soon heard the car unlock again and the boot opened. She was lifted from the car and carried in to what could of been a warehouse for all she knew.

Her kidnapper had sat her on a chair and tied her ankles to the feet of the chair and her hands around the back of the chair. He lifted the blindfold off her and she was shocked to see Stephen Bonnet stood right in front of her. She glanced around and realised where she was.

Claire’s bungalow.

Stephen moved in to the kitchen area, not far from where Louise was sat near the kitchen table, and he poured two glasses of water and brought the, over to the table.

He removed the rag from Louise’s mouth and lifted the glass up to her and told her to sip slowly.

Louise was in utter shock, but she knew she needed to keep her strength up and if he was offering water, she wasn’t about to refuse it.

“Stephen, what the hell is going on? Why are you doing this to me? I thought we were friends? Why are we here?”

He crouched down in front of Louise to look at her at eye level. “I’m sorry Louise, really, but this was the only way I knew I could get you to talk to me without other people sticking their nose in.”

He got back up and walked over to the table to pick up his own glass of water to take a drink.

“I need you to tell me where Fraser has taken Claire Louise. I need to make sure she’s safe.”

Chapter Text

Two weeks later...

Claire’s POV

It’s been two weeks now.

Two weeks since Jamie and I almost did something incredibly stupid.

Two weeks since Jamie and I left Inverness to come back to Glasgow.

Two weeks since Bonnet had let himself into my house and held Louise hostage trying to get information out of her as to where Jamie had taken me and about our relationship.

Two weeks since I found out that Bonnet was in fact responsible for organising my ex husbands death.

Two weeks since I decided that I couldn’t go back to the house and decided to stay with Joe and John.

Two weeks since I last saw or spoke to Jamie.

 

I know I’ll have to go home at some point and I know I will have to face Jamie eventually. There has just been so much going on and I didn’t think it was fair to burden myself on him yet again. I overheard Joe and John speaking the other night and it turns out that Jamie has moved back in to his flat. Maybe I should pack up my things here and go back to the house. Now that I know Bonnet is safely behind bars, I’m sure I will be alright.

The lads haven’t questioned me about why I have decided to stay with them for a while, but I think I should tell them what’s been going on. I really need to talk to someone about the whole Jamie and I situation and I know I have my therapist, but I think I need to discuss it with people who actually know both Jamie and I.

“You never!”

I don’t think I’ve ever seen John’s eyes go so wide before. “Yes. We did. And now it’s all a big mess.”

“Oh my god LJ, I can’t believe you told Jamie you wanted to have sex with him.”

“Hey, she did more than that Joe, she actually DID have sex with him.”

“Lads please. Tell me what to do because I honestly don’t know anymore.”

“Claire, it’s not up to us to tell you what to do. That has to come from you and Jamie. But, if you want my opinion, I think you and Jamie would make a wonderful couple and fantastic parents.”

“Have you done a pregnancy test yet LJ? That was the whole point of you two, you know. Right?”

“Not yet. I have one, but with everything that’s happened the last couple of weeks, I couldn’t bring myself to do it. Jamie should be with me as well. I just don’t think I can face him whilst my head is all over the place. Anyway, the issue isn’t that I don’t feel anything for Jamie, because I do. I really do. He’s the first person I think about in the morning when I wake and the last person I think about before sleep. He’s on my mind almost 24/7. It isn’t healthy.”

“Claire, I’ve seen the way Jamie looks at you. The way he’s been trying to protect you. I honestly don’t see what the issue is.”

“I don’t want another child. If I am pregnant, this is Jamie’s child. Not mine. I’m only the surrogate. I can’t be a mother to another child whilst I barely have a relationship with the daughter I do have.”

“LJ, sweetie, you and little Faith are starting to rebuild your relationship. She loves you. She knows you are her mummy. It will take some time, but there is no reason why, if you and Jamie both feel the same, then, this could be your chance to build the family that both you and Faith deserve. She’s met Jamie right? She got on well with him?”

“She loves him. When I went to see her yesterday, she asked where Jamie was. She was really disappointed he wasn’t there. We still had a good time together though, but he was really missed.”

 

I could see where the lads were coming from but Jamie and I are just on different paths. He wants a baby. I don’t. Why did I have to start to have feelings for him? Why did I let us get too friendly?

 

As I head to the guest room to pack up my things, my phone rings. It’s Jamie. I don’t answer though. What would I possibly say to him? He calls again ten minutes later and again, I don’t answer. I decide to call him when I get back to the house. That way there is no worries of John trying to eavesdrop on the tough conversation Jamie and I need to have.

 

 

When I get to the house, it’s around ten thirty at night. I wanted to just come in and go straight to bed without thinking too much as to what had happened here only a couple of weeks ago.

The house looks so normal. You wouldn’t think that one of my best friends had been held hostage here for almost twenty four hours. Jamie had obviously sent his housekeeper Mrs Fitz over to keep on top of the housework the past couple of weeks.

I decide that maybe a cup of tea before bed might actually be a good idea. As I start to fill the kettle with water, I freeze when I here someone walking towards me from down the hallway.

“Claire.”

I finish filling the kettle and turn it on to boil. When I go to reach for a mug from the cupboard, Jamie has beaten me to it. He’s also produced a mug for himself. I turn around to face him and he’s standing there smiling at me.

“Hello Jamie. I thought you went back to the flat now that Bonnet’s, we’ll you know.”

“I did, but I came over last week to give the house a good clean and tidy and opened some of the windows to let some air in as well. I did the same tonight after John text me to say he thought you were coming hame in the next few days. I only just finished changing your bedsheets not too long ago. It’s pretty dark and I thought I could stay here in the guest room tonight, but since your hame, I’ll leave ye to it, if that’s what you want.”

“Thank you Jamie. You really didn’t have to do all this for me. I appreciate it though, thank you. You can stay if you want. I was actually going to text you and ask you to come round first thing in the morning anyway.”

“Really? How come? Has something happened Claire?” He has a look of panic on his face all of a sudden.

“No Jamie, everything’s fine. I um, I have a test but I didn’t think it was right to take it without you. I was going to do it in the morning. I think it’s only right that your here. It should be you who see’s the result first.”

He starts to smile at me again and tells me to go over and take a seat on the couch whilst he makes us some tea.

 

 

“Sorry I didn’t answer you calls earlier. I was busy trying to get all my things organised to come home.”

“It’s fine Sassenach. I was only ringing to see how things went with wee Faith yesterday?”

“You remembered I was going for another visit?”

“Of course.”

“She um, she was very disappointed you weren’t there. She um, kept asking me where “Jay” was. It was a good visit though. We had a lot of fun. She had another melt down when the visit was over though. Her social worker said it took her a week to calm down after the last visit. I’m not sure if I should be happy or sad that my little baby girl has to go through all this. She’s so young, but yet, she is extremely aware that I am her mother. It feels good to me that she knows and understands that, but at the same time it pains me that my daughter keeps having meltdowns when I leave her again.”

“It will get better Sassenach. Trust me. When are you next seeing her?”

“Next week. The social worker has suggested weekly visits if possible and then that will get Faith in to a routine. If we see each other weekly, hopefully she won’t have as big a melt down when it’s time to say goodbye.”

“Sounds wonderful Sassenach. I’m truly happy for ye. Have ye thought any more on bringing her home?”

“I really want that more than anything. I think it’s important to build a proper relationship between us first. I still need to find somewhere to live. And, it all depends on what we find out tomorrow morning.”

“This is your home Claire. I’ll never make ye leave it. It would be perfect for you and Faith. She would have her own room. There’s gardens at both the front and the back of the house, so plenty space for the lass to play. I dinna want the surrogacy to put a stop to ye gettin’ yer daughter hame Claire. Faith belongs her, with you.”

“Thank you Jamie. I um, I think mai should head to bed. I shall see you in the morning?”

“Aye Claire. Good night. I’ll see ye in the mornin’.”

 

 

I’m tossing and turning all night. I can’t get what Joe said earlier out of my mind. And Jamie saying that this house would be perfect for Faith and I doesn’t help.

If it was just a case of Jamie and I becoming a couple and bringing Faith home and trying to build a family life with the three of us, that would be perfect. It would be more than I could ever dream of. Jamie was such a natural with Faith, and she clearly took a shine to him too.

I can’t and shouldn’t be thinking about any of this. Faith has to be my priority. Not starting a new relationship. And definitely not one that involves a newborn baby in a few months.

Chapter Text

Jamie’s POV

I can hear her tossing and turning. She’s been doing it most of the night. She’s very unsettled. I even heard her up and pacing around her room a wee while ago. I really wish there was something I could say or do to calm her down. Reassure her in some way that her life will soon be better. For her and Faith.

I completely understand why she doesn’t want a relationship with me. I didn’t exactly treat her very well in the beginning. Claire needs to focus on building a life again for her and her daughter. Do I wish I could be part of that life? Of course. But, Claire needs to do what’s right for her, and I respect that. I would much rather have her in my life as a friend than nothing at all. I can’t imagine my life without her. The past two weeks without seeing her or being able to speak to her almost drove me insane. I’ve never missed someone so much in my life.

 

My alarm goes off. It’s 7.30am. I can hear Claire up and about so I quickly jump up and get ready. This is it. I’m about to find out if I’m going to finally become a father.

As I walk out of my room, I can hear Claire in the Kitchen.

“Mornin’ Sassenach. Did ye sleep okay?” I knew she didn’t, but I didna want Claire to ken I was listening to her through the night.

“Not really no. I guess I’m just a bit nervous to be honest.”

“Claire, if yer no ready to take the test, we can do it another day.”

“Thank you Jamie, but honestly, as soon as we know, the better it will be for both of us. Anyway, it’s been five, almost six weeks since we... well, you know. We need to see if it was worth it.”

“Claire, before ye take the test, I need to.... em well, Claire, if the result is negative, then I suppose it’s no meant to be. I’ll no blame ye for it. All I can dae is thank ye. Thank ye for goin’ through with the insemination the first time, I ken how difficult that was for ye. And also thank ye for tryin’ again. I ken the decision to dae it how we did wasna an easy one for ye to make. I just, I need ye to ken how grateful I am Claire. No matter the outcome.”

“I told you I would try twice. That’s what I’ve done. Now come on, I really need to pee. Let’s see if we made you a baby.” Claire smiles at me as she takes my hand and leads me in to her bedroom whilst she heads on through to the En Suite.

 

A few moments later, Claire comes out of her bathroom and hands me the stick. It feels just like the last time. She’s very quiet and just stares out the window. It feels like the longest two minutes of my life. I should be feeling some sort of excitement, but I can’t help but think that if this test turns out to be negative, then maybe Claire and I could make a proper go at a relationship.

 

“It’s positive Claire.” I walk over to stand beside her to show her the test.

“That’s wonderful Jamie. I’m so very happy for you. Congratulations.” She isn’t smiling. I canna tell if it’s because she doesna want to have my child for me or if it’s because now we both ken nothing can happen between us.

Claire’s no ready to be a mother again. She’s told me time and time again and I need to respect that. This is my child. I’m goin’ to be a single father. That’s fine. I mean, that was the plan all along.

“I canna thank ye enough Claire. Truly. Why don’t ye go for yer shower and that and I’ll get a start on some breakfast for ye. I’ll be workin’ in Edinburgh today. I was gonna stay at Jenny and Ian’s tonight so I could spend some time with the bairns, but I can come back to Glasgow if ye want to have dinner and hang out or something?” I dinna want to crowd her, but I want her to ken that I can be here whenever she needs me to be. I’ll give her as much company or as much space as she needs.

“No that’s okay Jamie. I’m meeting Joe for dinner tonight anyway. Go and have some time with your family and I’ll see you in a few days. Okay?”

“Of course. But, if ye need anythin’ Sassenach, anythin’ at all, ye just ring me or send me a wee text. Aye?”

“Aye.” She tries to mimic my accent.

 

The day goes by verra slowly. I ken I should be the happiest man alive. I’m gonna become a father in a few months. This is what I wanted. I just hate the fact that this poor innocent child is probably the reason Claire and I canna make it as a proper couple.

I ken that I will love this child with all my heart and soul. A part of me. And, a part of Claire. I just wish she would be able to feel something for the bairn. I wish that she was comfortable enough to just consider what our little family could be like. Claire, myself, little Faith and our new wee bairn. It would be perfect. Claire’s no ready for that though, and I respect that. It doesna half break my heart though.

Maybe if we waited a wee while longer before trying again for the bairn. Maybe if she sorted her relationship with Faith first. Brought her hame. Maybe then she would feel worthy of opening up to a new relationship.

Maybe after the miscarriage I should have told her we didn’t have to try again. Maybe I should have told her that I love her and I want to be with her. Help her rebuild her life and held her get her daughter back.

None of that matters now though. She is carryin’ my wee bairn.

In a few months, I’m gonna be a da.

At least something good has come out of all this.

If Claire isn’t ready for us to be a family, at least I will still have our child.

Chapter Text

Four Months Later...

 

Claire’s POV

The last four months has been mainly the same kind of routine for me. I’m working three days a week at the hospital. I see my daughter twice a week now. One day a week, she comes over to my house and we spend a few hours together. I want her to get used to the house as hopefully I will be bringing her home soon. Permanently. The other day we usually go out somewhere fun. Sometimes we eat out for lunch or have a picnic. Do a bit of shopping or go swimming or the soft play area.

I don’t really see Jamie all that much. He comes to all my appointments with me and he pops in now and again to see Faith when she’s here, which she absolutely loves. I barely get a look in when her “Jay” is here. It just melts my heart to see them together. I know he’s going to be a wonderful father to his own child in a few short months. We had the twelve week scan a few weeks ago. The baby seems to be doing very well. Jamie was over the moon to look at the screen and see his baby and hear it’s little heart beat. I couldn’t be happier for him. He deserves to be happy and have a child of his own.

Today is the day of Stephen Bonnet’s sentencing. Jamie, Louise, Charlie, Joe and I all had to stand up in court and testify against him. It was awful, but I was glad I wasn’t having to go through it on my own.

As far as I’m aware, everyone is going to the court today to see what sentence he gets. I’ve decided not to go. I never want to look at that man again for as long as I live. I’m sure Joe or Louise will ring me and let me know what happens. It’s a Wednesday, so that means I get to spend the day with my daughter. Nothing is more important to me than that.

 

Faith’s social worker Mary should be here any minute to drop Faith off. For today, Faith and I decided to spend the day at home and read some books, play some games and maybe watch some television. A few weeks ago I made a pot of home made vegetable soup. Faith seemed to enjoy it quite a bit, so I made another pot last night. We can have some of that and some bread and butter for lunch. I had to run out to the store this morning to buy some apples to slice and a jar of smooth peanut butter for Faith’s snack time. Not something I would of introduced her to, that was Fergus.

Faith’s foster family had also fostered a boy of around ten years old, Fergus. Faith’s taken quite a shine to him. She can’t quite get her tongue around “Fergus” yet, so she refers to the boy as “Gus”. They really are very sweet together. They are like a proper little brother and sister. I can tell that he loves Faith just as much as she loves him. I think that is going to be the most difficult thing about finally bringing her home to me. She and Fergus are very close. I wonder how they will cope without each other.

 

When Faith finally arrives, the first thing she wants to do is just snuggle up on the couch, just the two of us. It’s moments like this that make me realise how lucky I am to have her in my life again. I honestly don’t know how I managed to survive two years without her in my life.

“Mummy, is Jay coming today?”

“No sweetheart. Jamie has his own things to do today, but I’m sure he will be glad to come and visit you another day.”

“I miss him mummy.”

“I know you do darling. I know he misses you too, but he has his job and other things he has to do. Why don’t I phone him later on and you can speak to him? You can even invite him over for lunch next week if you want?”

“Weally mummy?”

“Of course. Now, what would you like to do today? Do you want to hear a story? Watch a film?”

“No yet mummy. I just want to sit wi you.”

“That’s perfectly fine lovey.”

 

*Knock knock

“Who dat mummy?”

“I’m not sure sweetheart. Come on, let’s go find out.” I lift Faith up and carry her over to the door to open it and see who’s there.

Jamie.

“Jay! Mummy say you no come today.”

“Well Faith, something happened today and if yer mam thinks I wasna gonna come over and stay with her a while, then she doesna ken me verra well does she?” He explained giving Faith one of his famous smiles.

“Wha happed Jay? Oh, Mummy say you come for lunch.”

“I said you could phone Jamie and invite him to lunch next week.” I put Faith down and she wanted picked straight back up by Jamie who gladly placed her on top of his shoulders after I stepped aside to let him in the house.

“Lunch next week sounds grand Faith, thank ye. But, since I’m here, could I stay for lunch today too?”

“Ah ha. Mummy, I wat to see Snow White.”

“Okay sweetheart. I’ll tell you what, I’ll put on Snow White if you let Jamie and I speak for a few minutes in the kitchen? We won’t be long and we’ll bring lunch through and eat it in here today whilst we watch the film. That okay?”

“Yes mummy.”

“Good girl.”

I sit Faith down on the couch and put the blu ray on for her. I don’t know what it is about this film, but when I was a child, it was the only film that would keep me calm. I wore the tape out with watching it constantly. Uncle Lamb had to replace the video tape more than once. Faith seems to share this with me. Every time I suggest a film, she always wants Snow White. One of these days I will have her watching something different. I swear I must of drove my parents and Lamb nuts with this one film.

As I head on over to the kitchen, Jamie is making us both a cup of tea. He tells me to sit at the table. He must be here to tell me about Bonnet. I can’t think why else he would be here.

“Here ye go Sassenach.” He places my mug down in front of me and pulls a chair up beside me instead of sitting across from me. “There’s no news as of yet. I kent ye werna goin’ to court as ye have Faith the day, so I thought I would come and spend the day with ye’s. I hope ye dinna mind Sassenach, but I just didna want ye here on yer own. I ken ye have wee Faith here, but it’s no the same.”

“It’s fine Jamie. Thank you. You have no idea how happy I am you are here.”

“It’s fine Sassenach. John said he would ring me as soon as he could. You just spend the day focussing on that wee lass of yers. Aye?”

“Thank you Jamie.” I get up to walk over to the cooker and he comes to stand beside me as I turn in the soup to heat it up. “Claire, ye look—“

“Ha, it’s like it just came out of no where. I feel like I went to bed last night all normal and then woke up this morning with a bump. I couldn’t get in to my jeans this morning, hence the leggings. I’ll have to go shopping tomorrow for some maternity clothes.”

“Ye look beautiful Claire. I can come with ye if ye want? I’ll get ye anythin’ ye need.”

“That’s okay Jamie, I can buy my own clothes. Thanks anyway.”

“I just want ye to ken I’m here to help.”

“I know Jamie. Thank you. You can start by buttering some bread for the soup please.” I give Jamie a small smile as I point towards the fridge. Jamie smiles back and starts on his task.

“Oh, em—“

“Faith doesna like butter on her bread. I ken Sassenach. Me and the lass ken each other pretty well.”

“Of course.” I cant help the smile on my face because it’s right enough, Jamie and Faith have become so close over the last few months. They’re like best friends when they get together.

After the soup is ready, Jamie carries over his and Faith’s bowls and leaves them on the coffee table. I take over my own bowl and the plate with the bread. The three of us sit on the floor around the coffee table and quietly eat our lunch as the film plays.

When we all finish our soup, I stack up the dishes and take them over to the kitchen to wash them. There aren’t many dishes, so I think it’s better just to wash them, dry them and put them straight away rather than leaving them in the dishwasher until after dinner. When I walk back over to the living room to collect Faith’s tumbler, she and Jamie are now snuggled up on the couch watching the film. If people didn’t know any better, they would think that they were father and daughter rested up watching tv like that. Jamie is the sort of father that Faith deserves. His baby really is going to be very lucky to have a father like Jamie.

After I’m done with the dishes, I walk on over to the couch to see Jamie leaning back in the couch fast asleep and Faith practically laying on his chest asleep. It’s the cutest image I have ever seen. I can’t help but pull my phone out and snap a couple of pictures. I pull the throw from behind the couch over the two of them and then turn the film off. They look so peaceful, somI do t want to waken either of them. I know I can’t leave Faith too long as she won’t sleep much tonight if she naps too long today, but there’s no harm in leaving her a little while longer.

Chapter Text

Jamie’s POV

I must have fallen asleep on the couch with Faith. I wake to find her practically laying on top of me. Her wee hand is curled up into a fist and resting just to the side of my mouth. She’s so peaceful, I dinna want to move for fear of waking her.

“Sorry Jamie, I can move her. I just didn’t want to disturb either of you.”

“Nah, it’s fine Sassenach. She’s fine here with me. Have I been out long?”

“I don’t think so. I went to do the dishes and when I came back, you were both spark out. It’s not like Faith to nap at this time so I think she may have just tried to sleep as you were.”

I dinna think I’ve ever seen Claire look this happy. It warms my heart to see her so happy. I just hope whatever the news we get later will be good enough. That nut job Bonnet is gettin’ sentenced today and he deserves a good long while behind them bars for what he did to Claire and poor Louise.

“Do you want a coffee or anything? I don’t suppose your comfortable laying there with Faith sprawled over you like that.”

“She’s fine Sassenach. But I’ll no say no to a wee cup of tea if there’s one going. I’ll take Faith through to yer bed and tuck her in for a wee while longer and then I’ll see if I can get through to John.”

“Thank you Jamie. I’ll stick the kettle on.”

I lift Faith up gently tryin’ no to wake the wee lass. She starts to stir a wee bit as we walk down the hall, she opens her eyes slightly and reaches up and wraps her wee arms around my neck. When I tuck her in to bed, I tell her quietly that she can rest there for a wee while longer, but she canna be sleepin’ all day for she’ll no sleep the night. She seems to understand and gives me a nod and closes her eyes. As I get up to leave the room, she grabs my sleeve.

“I love you Jay.” You could of knocked me over with a feather. I wasna expectin’ the lass to come out with that. It feels nice though.

“I love ye too lass.”

“Mary said at one day mummy ill bwing me home.”

“Aye, that’s right lass. Yer mam’s been waitin’ a really long time to finally have you back home with her. Do ye want to come and live with yer mam?”

“Ah ha. ill you be here too? ill you be my daddy?”

“Och lass. I really wish I could be some kind of father to ye. Lord kens ye deserve a father to love ye so, but no. I canna be yer da. I’ll always be here for ye though. No matter what. Get some rest and I’ll come and get ye in a wee while and we can play some of yer wee games, aye?” She nods her wee head and cuddles in.

As I move towards the bedroom door, Claire’s standin’ at the door frame peakin’ in to the room.

“Sorry Sassenach, I shouldna have said any of that to the wee lass.”

“Sorry for what Jamie? Telling my daughter you love her when I know more than anything that it’s true? Telling her that she deserves a father who will love her? Jamie, you have no idea how it melts my heart that you and Faith have become so close. If I could choose any man to be a father to my daughter, it would be you Jamie.”

I take Claire by the hand and lead her through to the living room and sit her down on the couch. We each take a sip of our tea that Claire left on the coffee table.

“Claire, I ken ye’ve been through so much these past few years and especially the past few months, but Claire, I’m beggin’ ye to try and see that ye deserve to be happy. Ye deserve to move on with yer life. Ye deserve yer happy ever after. If that’s no with me Claire, that’s fine. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, yer one of my best friends Claire. I would rather have ye and the lass in my life as friends than nothin’ at all.”

“Jamie, for so long, I thought I didn’t deserve any kind of relationship. Not with a man. Not even with friends. And certainly not with my own daughter.”

“Claire—“

“Jamie, please let me finish. That all changed when you came in to my life. You made me realise I had a lot of issues that I needed to work through. You made me realise that I do deserve my friends and I do deserve to move on. Most importantly, you helped me to find the courage to get my daughter back. Thanks to you Jamie, Faith is coming home with me permanently next week.”

“Seriously Sassenach? I kent it was happening, but I didna ken it was this soon. Christ, I’m so happy for ye Claire. Ye deserve this, ye both do.” I reach over and give her a big hug. This is what she’s wanted for so long, I’m just so happy for her. She’s finally getting the life she truly deserves.

“I always knew that I could bring Faith home whenever, but I wanted to make sure that she would feel happy and safe with me. That’s why I decided on visitation first, to re build our relationship.”

“Och Claire, I canna tell ye how happy I am for ye. How proud I am of ye.”

“But, I don’t deserve YOU Jamie.”

“Claire—“

“Jamie, I’ve fallen in love with you. Deeply. Very deeply and I shouldn’t have, but I couldn’t help it. I love you Jamie.”

“Claire, ye’ve nae idea how happy it makes me to hear ye say that. I love you too Claire. Since the first moment I saw ye Claire—“

“Jamie, nothing’s changed though, you’re about to become a father in the next few months.”

“Yes, to OUR child Claire. I ken ye say ye dinna want another child, and honestly it broke my heart that ye could practically ignore our child, but I understood.” I take both her hands in mine and move closer beside her. “Claire, this could be it for the both of us. Our verra own happy ever after. You, me, Faith and the bairn. I love ye Claire, and ye just told me ye feel the same. Why are ye tryin’ to fight it. It’s no doin’ either of us any good.”

“Jamie, in an ideal world, there is nothing I would love more than to have a family with you. But I’m scared.” She lowers her head to avoid lookin’ at me.

“Claire, please. Dinna push me away. No again. I dinna think I could bare it.”

She finally looks up at me with tears in her eyes. “If I wasn’t pregnant with the baby, would you still love me.”

“Of course I would. Claire, did ye no hear me just say how much I’ve loved ye since the first time I laid eyes on ye? Ask John, or Joe they’d tell ye. Christ, I bet even Charlie and Louise could tell ye that. Claire, I love you. I always have, and I always will. That wee lass layin’ through there, I love her with all my heart too. I couldna love that wee lass anymore if she was my own flesh and blood. We could have it all Claire, ye just need to figure out what it is that YOU want.”

I lean in and kiss her. I half expect her to push me away, but she doesna. As we are running out of breath and Claire pulls away. She picks up her cup of tea and heads down the hallway to her bedroom.

I’ve blown it. I pushed it. I pushed it way to far. She’s no ready for them kind of decelerations. I suppose everythin’s out there now. It’s up to Claire to decide. I wish I could say that I wilna wait around forever, but if I had to, I’d wait two hundred years for that woman to be safely in my arms.

 

“Jaaaaay!” Wee Faith comes running down the hallway from her mam’s bedroom and jumps straight in to my arms. God how I love this wee lass. “Mummy say you need to talk.” Claire’s following behind her with a smile on her face. She still has some tears in her eyes though that haven’t fell.

“Yes, sweetheart. Jamie and I need to talk to you about something. It concerns you as well, so it’s only fair that we discuss things with you too, okay? You sit there with Jamie and I’ll go and get you some juice.” Claire walks on over to the kitchen to pour some of Faith’s apple and black current juice in to her wee tumbler.

I leave Faith sat on the couch with a couple of her wee dolls to play with whilst I speak to Claire in the kitchen.

“Claire—“

“If we are going to do this Jamie, really do this, we have to explain things to Faith. I know she’s only three and probably won’t take any of this in, but I think if we explain to her, it might help us as well.”

“What dae ye want to tell her?”

“I want to ask her how she would feel if you and I were a couple. We need to explain that in a few short months, there will be a baby around too. I need to know she will be okay with being in a family of four instead of just her and I.”

“I agree Claire, although, I dinna think the lass will have any issues.” I give her a smile and wrap my arms around her waist from behind.

“About you and I being together and providing her a safe and happy family, no. The baby on the other hand... Jamie, I can’t start this relationship with you unless Faith is okay about the baby.”

“She’s three years old Sassenach. I dinna think she’ll understand until the bairn actually arrives.”

“I know Jamie, I just want to make sure that she’s as comfortable as possible. These last few months have been about she and I re building our relationship together and bringing her home with me so we can be like a proper mother and daughter again. Inviting a man in to the equation is a big thing. But to add a baby—“

“Let’s just go over and speak to her. See how she responds. We’ll figure this out Sassenach. The three of us. I love ye both so much Claire.”

“And WE love you too Jamie.”

Chapter Text

Claire’s POV

I finally opened up to Jamie about my true feelings for him. God how I have loved that man for so long. I know we got off to a rocky start, but he’s the most kindest and caring man I think I’ve ever met. Then lengths he will go to to show me how much he wants to keep me safe.

Now it’s time to speak to Faith. If it was just a case of me bringing Faith home officially next week and Jamie and I began dating, that would be okay, I think. Faith loves Jamie, I even overheard her telling him earlier that she loves him and wondered if he would be living here with us and if he was going to be her daddy. If it wasn’t for the love between Faith and Jamie, I don’t think I could of opened up to him about my own feelings. The truth is though, it isn’t just the three of us involved. There is going to be a baby. Jamie’s baby. Mine and Jamie’s baby. I have to tell Faith about the baby. I don’t know how she will take the news. She is only three, so I doubt she will process what it actually means until the baby’s born. I just don’t want Faith to think that we are pushing her out or replacing her in any way so soon after her coming home. I have to put my daughter first. If Faith isn’t keen on the idea of the four of us as a family, I can’t start anything with Jamie. I couldn’t do that to my daughter. Faith has and always will be my priority.

 

 

After my chat and kiss with Jamie, I pull away to go and wake up Faith. We need to speak with her before anything else can happen.

“Faith sweetheart, it’s time to wake up or you won’t get much sleep tonight.”

“Where Jay mummy?”

“Jamie’s in the living room darling. Shall we go through? Jamie and I need to speak with you about something. After that, we can play some games and then maybe decide on what colour you want to decorate your room?”

“Back!”

“We’re not painting your room black Faith. Come on, let’s go find Jamie.”

Faith isn’t long climbing in to my arms for me to lift her from the bed. As we leave my room, I place her on the ground so I can close the door properly. She’s no sooner on the ground and she’s running down the hallway to the living room shouting for Jamie and jumping in to his arms.

I tell her to sit on the couch with Jamie while I pour her some of her juice. Next thing I know, Jamie is in the kitchen with me. I explain to him that before we go any further, we need to make sure that Faith is okay with out situation. Well, as okay as a three year old can be.

 

Jamie and I head back over to the living room to sit on the couch with Faith. We each sit on either side of her as I pass her her tumbler. I go to pull her over to sit on my lap, but she bats my hand away gently and says she wants to sit with Jamie. She takes a couple of sips of her juice and then passes me her tumbler so she can climb on to Jamie’s lap. Once she’s settled, she sticks her little hands out asking for her juice. She is the cutest little thing. Sometimes I can’t believe she is mine. She just makes me melt.

“Alright sweetheart. There’s something Jamie and I need to explain to you. I’m not sure if you will understand though, your still a baby.”

“No. I a big giwl.”

“Ah Faith, ye’ll always be yer Mam’s wee bairn.” She turns to face Jamie and I swear I just seen her roll her eyes at him. She’s three years old, I thought that was a teenage thing.

“You are a big girl my darling. You’re growing up way too fast. But, no matter how old you are, you will always be my baby girl. Okay?” She starts to giggle a little.

“Mummy, can I pay wi baby abel?”

“Yes sweetheart, you can play with baby Annabel after Jamie and I have spoken to you, okay?” She nods her little head. I can tell she’s bored with me, but I just don’t know where to begin. Luckily, Jamie’s here, and he just jumps right in.

“The thing is Faith, yer mother and I have been really good friends for a wee while now, and well, we’ve both grown to love each other. Now, when two adults love one another, sometimes they begin what’s called a relationship. I ken ye probably dinna have a clue what I’m tryin’ to say here, but... Faith, I love yer mother so much, and I love ye too. I was hoping that maybe ye would be okay with me and yer mam bein’ a couple?” Faith just looks at Jamie like he has horns stuck on the side of his head.

“Jamie—“

“I ken Sassenach. She’s three, she’s no gonna understand.”

“Faith, darling, you know how next week you are going to be moving here with me?” She smiles at me and starts nodding her head like she’s really excited. “Well, how would you feel if Jamie was staying here with us...sometimes?”

“Yaaaaay! Jay can seep wi me mummy.”

“Ah, no darling, Jamie would be sleeping with me. In my room.”

“At’s no air mummy! Jay an me in my woom wi buck beds.”

“For the last time Faith, you’re NOT getting bunk beds. And when Jamie stays, he will be in my room with me, okay? We just need to know that you are okay with Jamie being here sometimes?” She nods her head. She’s upset though, I can’t tell if it’s because I said no to the bunk beds for the hundredth time, or the fact Jamie won’t be her room mate.

“Ok. Can I pay wi Jay and baby Abel now?”

“In a moment lovey. There is one more thing we need to discuss with you.” She takes another long drink and passes me the empty tumbler and climbs down from Jamie’s lap to come across to sit on mine.

“The thing is Faith, yer Mam is goin’ to have another wee bairn soon. Yer goin’ to have a wee baby brother or sister.” She turns her head from Jamie to me.

“How do you feel about that sweetheart? A new baby in the family. It won’t just be me and you anymore, it will soon be me, you, Jamie and the new baby. Is that okay?” I wasn’t expecting the big smile to come over her face. She seems really excited by the news.

“A baby? I be big sisder?”

“Yes you will my darling. And I’m sure you will be the best big sister this baby could ever want.”

 

I never dreamed that she would be able to take any of this in, but she seems very content and happy. I think she won’t fully understand about the baby until it arrives, but at least she is aware that it’s happening and hopefully that will help her prepare for the readjusting we will all have to do once the baby comes.

 

 

For the past hour or so, Faith has had Jamie held prisoner in the living room playing with her toys. Every time I go over, she tells me to go away. I’m not upset or mad about it though because it gives me time to just sit and watch the pair of them and fall even more in love with them and the bond they have with each other.

 

With everything happening with Faith and Jamie today, I’ve barely had time to think about what’s happening at the court. Surely it should have been dealt with by now. Now that I’m thinking about it, I’m tempted to send Joe a message and ask, but then I don’t know if I want to ruin the moment with Jamie and Faith. My own little family. My life.

 

As I’m stood in the kitchen looking through the cupboards trying to decide what to make Jamie and I for dinner, Faith sneaks up behind me and makes me jump.

“Mummy, can you wead me a stowy pease?”

“I promise I will read you a story later, but first, I need to make some dinner. Do you want to help me?” Just as she goes to answer me, Jamie appears at the other side of the island.

“Dinna be silly Sassenach, today has been such a wonderful day, why don’t we go out for dinner tonight and then we can drop Little Miss off after?”

“Mummy, pease?”

“Okay, fine. We better get all your things together then my darling.”

Whilst Faith runs off to tidy all her toys away and pack her little bag with the things she needs to take home with her tonight, Jamie comes over to my side of the island and pushes me up against the sink. His hands start at my waist and then go around to rest on my bottom. He leans down to kiss me. I try to push him off of fear of Faith witnessing this, but then Jamie tells me that most of her belongings have been dropped around the other end of the house. I slide my hands up over his chest and out to rest on his shoulders before I wrap my arms around his neck and bring his head down as I reach up on my tip toes to kiss him. This is the first kiss we have shared since deciding to move forward together. I open my mouth slightly so Jamie can gain more access with his tongue. This is probably even better than our first kiss, which I didn’t think would be possible, but here we are.

“Eeeeeeew.”

Neither of us heard Faith sneaking back down the hallway. We really need to keep an eye on that in the future. We both giggle as we tear ourselves apart and look down at Faith.

“Jay, don’t eat mummy. We goin out for tea.”

“Aye, we are lass. Ye got all yer things? I’m ravenous.”

“Hm, you don’t say Mr Fraser.”

 

Jamie let Faith decide on where to go for dinner tonight. She chose her favourite soft play area near her foster home. It does really nice meals and snacks and things for kids. Not much on the menu for adults though. Faith decided she wanted chicken nuggets and potato wedges. Jamie and I just shared a sandwich and decided to pick up a Chinese or something after dropping Faith off.

The whole day together was just perfect. The three of us. It felt wonderful. I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy. Even after Faith was born and there was the odd time that Frank and I were getting on, it never felt as good or as natural as this.

Whilst Faith and Jamie are deep in debate over what the best area of the park is, I felt the baby move. It isn’t the first time I’ve felt it move. I hadn’t said anything to Jamie and I’m glad I haven’t because even now, after today, I still can’t bring myself to be excited about this baby. I’m pregnant with Jamie’s child. The man I love more than anything in the world. Well, besides Faith obviously. We are now finally together. I can feel the baby moving. This is supposed to be an exciting moment, but I feel nothing. This is supposed to be the time where a mother bonds with her child. I just feel empty when it comes to this child. How on earth am I going to cope when it’s born?

 

After a wonderful day spent with Faith, it’s time for Jamie and I to take her home.

When we pull up to the house, her foster mum comes out and waits at the door. I get Faith’s bag from the back and take her out of her car seat when she tells me she wants Jamie to meet her foster mum.

Jamie gets out of the car and Faith asks him to carry her to the door.

“Hello Faith, did ye have a good day with yer mammy?”

“Ah ha. Dis is Jay.”

“Rachael, this Jamie, my partner. Jamie, this is Rachael. Faith’s foster mum.”

“Pleasure to meet ye Rachael.”

“Nice to meet ye too Jamie. Faith has told us all about ye.”

Faith spots Fergus hovering around behind Rachael so she asks Jamie to put her down. She reaches over behind Rachael for Fergus’ hand and pulls him out to meet Jamie as well.

“Dis is Jay. Jay dis is my bover Gus.”

“Well, it’s nice to meet ye Gus.”

“You too sir. My name is Fergus, but Faith can’t quite say that yet.” Fergus says with a soft smile.

“Well, she canna quite say my own name either yet. My real names Jamie.”

I pull Faith in to my arms for a big cuddle and give her a kiss as Fergus heads back inside. Faith then turns to Jamie who crouches down to give her a a kiss on her forehead and and a cuddle.

“I love you sweetheart. More than anything in the world.”

“Love you too Mummy.

“I’ll see ye next week Faith. Ye behave yerself ye hear me? I love ye lass.”

“Love ye too da.”

Chapter Text

Jamie’s POV

When Claire and I go to take Faith back to her foster home, she insists that I take her to the door with Claire so I can meet her foster mum, Rachael. Faith canna wait to introduce me to Rachael, and some wee lad named Fergus. I think this is the wee lad that Rachael and her husband fostered around the same time they took in Faith. The lad and Faith are verra close. Wee Faith refers to him as her big brother. Most lads his age would find toddlers fallowing them around all the time annoyin’ but no Fergus. I can tell he and Faith have a verra special relationship.

Before Claire and I leave, we each bend down to give the lass a wee kiss and a hug.

“I love you sweetheart. More than anything in the world.”

“Love you too Mummy.

“I’ll see ye next week Faith. Ye behave yerself ye hear me? I love ye lass.”

“Love ye too da.”

I dinna even get a chance to respond as the lass just turns and runs in to the house to play with Fergus.

I look at Claire and she just smiles and says her goodbyes to Rachael.

 

As we’re on our way hame, I canna get what the lass said out of my head. Where did that come from? Did I give her the wrong impression with all the time we spent together whilst she was gettin’ to ken Claire? Did I confuse the lass when she and I were talkin’ about the bairn when we were playin’ with her wee dolls? Christ, Claire must be jumpin’ with madness about this. As much as I love the lass, I dinna want Claire to think that I’m tryin’ to take Franks place. As much of a bastard that vile man was, he was still Faith’s father. And as Claire said, he never did any ill by the lass. Well, apart from mistreating her mother.

“Claire, about what Faith said—“

“It was very unexpected, I must say.”

“Aye, it was. Look Claire, I swear I never said anythin’ to the lass about me being her father or that she should call me da—“

“Jamie I know. It’s alright.” She turns to smile at me. Is she really no mad?

“Alright? Claire, I dinna want ye thinkin’ that I’m tryin’ to take the place of her father. I love that lass with all my heart, but I’d never try and take her own fathers place.”

“Jamie, Faith called you da because it felt natural to her. You have been more of a father to her these last few months than Frank had been my entire pregnancy and the few short months he had with her after she was born. She loves you, she wants you to be her da. If you would prefer to just be Jay, that’s fine. I’ll speak to her about it.”

“Claire, when she called me da, Christ, it was the best sound I think I’ve ever heard. I would love to be the lass’ da, more than anythin’. But, yer her mother Claire, it’s up to you. If ye think it’s best for the lass to just call me Jamie, then that’s fine.”

“It should be up to you and Faith. Whatever you two feel comfortable with. And, as far as I can see, you’re already her daddy and she is already your daughter. Why shouldn’t you name each other as such? I meant what I said earlier Jamie, if I could choose any man to be my daughters father, it would be you. Seems Faith has chosen the same.”

“Ye sure Sassenach? Nothin’ would make me happier.”

“Good. Then it’s decided. Congratulations James Fraser, you have a wee lass.”

Aw god, I feel like my heart is fit to burst.

Finally Claire and I are truly tryin’ to make a go of a proper relationship. I expect things may get a tad weird. Neither of us have much experience with this kind of thing, but we love each other. We want to be together. We are a family now. It will all work out.

 

“You okay? You’re staring. It’s kind of distracting whilst I’m trying to drive Jamie.” God she’s beautiful. And she’s mine.

“Sorry Sassenach. I just... god I love ye.”

“Good to know, but can you please decide where we are picking up dinner because I am starving.”

“Just head to the Chinese at the bottom of the road. Really in the mood for some beef and mushroom. And fried rice. Maybe some noodles. Could start with a soup. But the spring rolls are delicious from there.”

“Jamie will you shut the fuck up?! I swear if you don’t I’ll be eating you instead!”

“Now Sassenach, there’s a thought. I was hoping I could have ye for afters?” I give her a wee wink, but she just rolls her eyes at me as she focuses back on the road.

 

As pull in to the street, we see a police car and an unmarked car sat outside the house. John is waiting on the doorstep. Somethin’ has obviously happened.

“Why haven’t either of you been answering you phones? We’ve all been trying to get in touch with you for nearly three hours now.” John doesna look happy. He looks kinda shaken up as well.

Claire unlocks the door and lets us in as well as the two police officers and DS Christie.

If the DS is here, it must be serious.

“Sorry guys, we went out for part of the afternoon before we took Faith hame. Both Claire and I left our phones behind. Faith was in a hurry to get to the soft play area. What’s happened?”

“Ms Beauchamp, I think you should take a seat.” DS Christie gestures to the chairs at the dining room table.

Both Claire and I sit across from one of the police officers and DS Christie. The other police officer stands off to the side whilst John stands behind Claire and I.

“Ms Beauchamp, as you know, today was supposed to be the sentencing of a Mr Stephen Bonnet today in court.”

“What do you mean supposed? What’s happened?” Claire’s voice barely comes out more than a whisper. I take her hand in mine on top of the table and I can feel her shake.

“On the way to the court, there was an accident involving the prison van. We haven’t quite gotten to the bottom as to how it happened yet—“

“How bad?”

“Excuse me madam?”

“How bad are his injuries?”

“We aren’t sure madam.”

“What dae ye mean ye arna sure?!”

“We don’t know how, but Mr Bonnet managed to escape the wreckage after the crash. We have as many people out searching for him as possible.”

I dinna hear much of the details after that. My main concern is Claire. Makin’ sure she is okay.

The police leave soon after and have assured us that there will be a police officer sat out the front of the house. Luckily we still have the cameras in the house. They havena been used since he was arrested, but better to be safe than sorry.

The police dinna think he will come to the house or even come near Claire, but the mans a nut job. We dinna ken what he’ll dae. He had poor Louise locked up in here just so that she could tell him where Claire was. The mans deranged. He admitted to Louise that he was one of Frank’s students at the university. They became really good friends. Apparently, after Frank was locked up, Bonnet didna believe what Claire had said about Frank. He could a see his pal bein’ the vile monster that he was. Well, one day whilst Bonnet was visitin’ Frank, Frank had asked Bonnet to watch over Claire, see how she and Faith were gettin’ on. It wasn’t until Bonnet reported back to Frank about how Claire had fell apart and had Faith taken in to foster care that Frank started to show his true colours to Bonnet. Frank was furious that Claire could do such a thing to his child. That Claire could let him be locked up like that and then just abandon their daughter. After that, Bonnet decided to keep watchin’ over Claire at a distance to make sure she was okay. He couldna believe what Frank had done to the woman. Claire was so emotionally and mentally unstable.

The longer Bonnet looked over Claire, the more intrigued he became. He got a job volunteering at the hospital to be closer to her. That was a great way of gettin’ to ken her better and strike up a friendship. The closer he got to Claire, he claims he fell in love with her. He was obsessed.

Then, a few months ago, Bonnet went to visit Frank in prison and told him he wasna gonna speak to him about Claire anymore. He didna deserve to ken anythin’ about her. He was so disgusted at what Frank had out her through.

Some how, Bonnet managed to smuggle heroin and a needle in to the prison. The exact stuff that was used to kill Frank.

Bonnet had promised to pay off Frank’s cell mates debts, if he would inject Frank with enough heroin to make him overdose, but make it look like he had done so himself. The cellmate was obviously desperate as he didna take much persuasion.

Before Bonnet was arrested, the cellmate had come forward and admitted what he did and Bonnet’s involvement. Bonnet had found out the jig was up, so he wanted to find Claire and explain to her first. He wanted her to ken that he did it all for her because he loves her. That was why he took Louise that night after her shift.

Louise was devastated. She thought she kent Bonnet. She thought they were pals. She feels really guilty about pushing Claire and Bonnet to spend so much time together. It’s no Louise’s fault though. The guy did have a certain charm about him. Even Joe thought he was a stand up guy. There are a few folk in the hospital that didna quite take to the guy, but there was still quite a few that got on really well with him. Hardly anyone can believe that he was capable of all this.

When the police searched his house, they found a room filled with pictures of Claire. There must of been about three hundred or so. The entire room was dedicated to Claire and “life they could have shared”.

 

“Claire, do you want to come and stay with me for a few nights? Joe is on nights now, but I’ll be there.”

“No it’s okay. Thank you John, but I’ll be fine here with Jamie. There is an officer outside here as well and I have the camera system.”

“Of course. If you need anything Claire, you know where I am.” She canna take her eyes away from the floor so she just gives John a small nod.

“Thank ye John. I’ll take care of her. I promise. I’ll give ye a wee ring the morrow aye?”

“Please. I’ll see you both soon. Take care.”

 

All of a sudden it’s just Claire and I.

Ye wouldna believe that just over an hour ago we were droppin’ Faith off after the best day ever. It doesna feel real.

“Claire, I’ll heat up some of this food and we’ll eat, aye?”

“I can’t eat Jamie. I just want you to hold me and never let me go. I need you to tell me everything is going to be okay.” She breaks down in to floods of tears. I havena seen her cry so much since she had the miscarriage.

I run over to her right away and wrap my arms around her. “I’m here Sassenach. He’ll no touch ye. Yer safe with me.”

It doesna calm her a bit. She starts cryin’ all the more.

“Claire, listen to me, everythin’ will be fine. They’ll catch him and he’ll be put away for a long long time. In the meantime, I ken ye say ye canna eat, but ye need to keep yer strength up. What if I heat up the soup and ye try and eat that? Please Claire. If no for yersel, dae it for the bairn.” She just nods her head.

I walk over to the island and take all the food out of the bags. I place all the food in the fridge and then I go over to the cooker to start re heating our soups. Claire comes over to stand behind me and wraps her arms around my waist and places her head to my back.

“I honestly don’t know how I would get through any of this without you Jamie.”

I turn around to face her and cup her cheeks in both my hands. “Luckily, ye’ll never have to find out Sassenach. I’m here. I’ll always be here for ye Mo Ghràidh. Always.” I kiss her forehead and bring her head in to my chest and I just hold her like that until the soup is ready.

 

We ate our soup at the dining table in silence. Claire wasna in the mood to talk and I didna want to push her. She has a tendency to run off if I say something she doesna agree with or she doesna want to hear. I canna have her runnin’ off anywhere. No whilst that mad eejit is out and about god knows where.

After dinner, we came to bed. She still hasna spoken. I can tell she’s no gonna get much sleep, and I canna blame her. I dinna want to tell her to try and sleep because that will probably cause and argument or somethin’.

“Dae ye want me to bring yer wee book through fae the living room? Readin’ a wee bit might help he—“

“What? Take my mind of things? No thanks.”

I turn my body on my side to look at her. “Claire—“

“I don’t want to talk. I don’t want to read. I don’t want to sleep.” She turns herself over too and slides her left leg over mine and pulls her self up to straddle me. She began to pull my t shirt off and kiss from my jaw down my neck.

“Claire, stop. Please.”

“What? I thought this is what you wanted? I thought you wanted us to be together?”

“Of course I do Claire, but no like this. Yer in shock. Yer heads a mess and understandably so. Just please lie back down and let me hold ye while ye try to sleep.”

“Jamie, I love you. I want to be with you. Please. Don’t make me beg again.”

“No sassenach. No the night. Please, just try and get some rest.”

She eventually does as I ask and she she starts to cry again. I gather her in to my arms and hold her close and try to reassure her that I love her and everythin’ will work out. We just need to focus on us and the bairns. Our wee family. That is all that matters. Nothin’ else.

Chapter Text

Claire’s POV

It’s today. The day that Faith is finally coming home. Jamie had me move in to his flat for a few days while he had the decorators in to do Faith’s room for her. I insisted I would be fine at the house, but he didn’t want me there with all the paint fumes. I have to admit, it was nice to get away for a few days to a different set of four walls.

Bonnet still hasn’t been found. There were sightings of him in Ireland a couple of days ago, but he hasn’t been found yet. I don’t think he would be stupid enough to come near me again, but it’s always good to be careful. The camera system is still on at the house just in case. There is usually always someone in the house with me. Everyone including Jamie is at work today so Mrs Fitz will be popping in every so often to check on me. I told her and Jamie it was t necessary, but they both insisted. Jamie should be home in a few hours in time for dinner tonight,

Mary McNab, Faith’s social worker is dropping Faith off here in just a short while. I can’t wait for her to see her new room. She wanted black walls and I obviously said no. Then she decided she wanted purple and brown after Jamie made the mistake of telling her she didn’t need to have only one colour. We eventually settled on a Lilac carpet and Magnolia walls. Jamie and I have hung some photos around her room of her and us and some of her and her foster family. Especially a few of her and Fergus. I do worry how the pair of them will cope without the other. He’s such a sweet boy. The photo frames are all Lilac to match her carpet. On one of the walls, Jamie painted a Snow White and the seven dwarfs mural. I never knew he was so artistic. It’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. I just know Faith is going to love it. Even more so when she learns that Jamie did it just for her.

 

*Ring Ring

“Good afternoon Mr Fraser, how are you?”

“Well, I wish I was at hame with ye and the bairns. Faith hame yet? Can I speak to her?”

“Not yet darling. She won’t be too far away though. I’ll ring you when she gets here and you can speak with her, okay?”

“Aye Sassenach. God, I should be at hame with ye.”

“It’s fine babe, honestly. You need to be at work. You’ve taken more than enough time off since we’ve met. Ian must be really frustrated with you.”

“Aye, well. Ye come first. You and the bairns.”

“And I’m sure a family man like Ian would understand if you told him about this little family of yours. Jamie, really... you can’t start building a life with me, Faith and the new baby and your family don’t have a clue.”

“Em, some of my family ken. Aunt Jocasta. Murtagh, my godfather. They canna wait to meet ye by the way. Ye and wee Faith. Mrs Fitz is practically family as well and John and Joe.”

“Yes Jamie, but they aren’t your sister and her husband though are they? Ian isn’t just your brother in law, he’s your best friend, your business partner. Why haven’t you told him yet? Are you waiting till both kids have left home and moved away for university?”

“Verra funny Sassenach. I just, I want to tell Jenny in my own time in my own way. She’ll probably have a lot to say on the matter and I just want to enjoy us and Faith in our own wee bubble before Jenny starts her interfering. Trust me Claire, it’ll no be forever.”

“Okay, well you better get back to work Mr Fraser. I’ll phone you in a short while and then I will see you home for dinner.”

 

 

When Faith eventually comes home, it’s the most natural thing. She comes running in to the house and dumps her little back pack on her bedroom floor without taking much notice of how her room had been newly decorated. She runs back through to the living room and jumps right in to my arms.

By the time Mary leaves, Faith is still in my arms. She wouldn’t let me put her down the whole time Mary was here. Faith already had her lunch earlier, so we have the house and the rest of the afternoon to ourselves until Jamie comes home. I had bought some new toys and things for Faith that I thought she might like, but she is just happy laying in my arms on the couch.

“Would you like a snack or a juice or something my darling?”

“No mummy, just wat to be wi you. When ill da be home?”

“You sure sweetheart? If you change your mind, just let me know, okay? And your da is still at work, but I expect he will be home in the next couple of hours. That reminds me, I told him I would phone home when you came home. Would you like to speak to him?”

“Yes pease mummy.”

It makes my heart swell so much every time she is with or speaks about Jamie. The love she has for this man is something I never expected. I know Jamie feels the same.

I walk over to the kitchen island and pick up my mobile. Of course, I have to carry Faith with me as she won’t let me go. I don’t mind though. Soon enough she will be all over Jamie, so I’ll take what I can get now.

“Sassenach, she hame?”

“Hello to you too Jamie. Yes she is. She got home about an hour ago. Mary left a little while ago and Faith and I have just been chilling on the couch. Haven’t we sweetheart?”

“Yes mummy. Da, when ill you be home? I miss you.”

“Aw Faith, I miss ye too mo leanbh. I already left the office. I’ll be hame in ten minutes. I couldna wait any longer to see ye Faith. Tell yer mam to put the kettle on and I’ll let ye dunk some of them wee fancy biscuits in to my tea aye?”

“Aye. Mummy, da says—“

“Yes I heard sweetheart. The phone is on loudspeaker. I can hear what you can hear. Although why daddy had to leave work early, I have no idea. Ian won’t be impressed Jamie.”

“Dinna fash Sassenach. Ian is working down in London the now and I practically finished all I needed to do. Anyway, I would much rather be at hame with my two favourite lasses. I’ll see ye’s both soon.”

 

It doesn’t take long before Jamie walks through the door and Faith wants out of my arms so she can run in to his. Jamie catches her and lifts her up and gives her a kiss on the cheek and carries her in to the living room where I’m sat on one of the arm chairs. He bends down to give me a kiss.

As I get up to go and pit out his cup of tea, he takes hold of my arm and pulls me to sit with him and Faith on the couch.

“This. This is all I have ever wanted. Thank ye Claire for providing me with the most beautiful family. I’ve never been so happy.” He has tears in his eyes. I don’t think either of us have ever been so happy.

“I love you Jamie.”

“I love ye too Claire.”

“Do ye’s love me too da?”

“Of course we do Faith. Yer mother and I love ye more than anythin’ in the world. Never doubt that for a second. Ye are our whole world.” Faith let’s out a little giggle and berries her head in to Jamie’s chest.

 

*Knock knock

“Ye expectin’ someone Sassenach?”

I get up to answer the door knowing exactly who it will be. “It will be Mrs Fitz. This will be her fifth visit today. Really Jamie, there’s no need.”

“There is every need Claire. I dinna like the though of ye and Faith here on yer own.”

I unlock the door and allow Mrs Fitz to come in. I offer her a coffee, but she spots Jamie and Faith laughing over on the couch and decides she doesn’t want to intrude. I try to insist that she stay for a while. She’s been so good to me, but she kindly declines and tells me to enjoy having some family time with Jamie and Faith. Especially with this being Faith’s first day at home.

“Ye be good to yer parents lass, but dinna be scarrit tae have them runnin’ around after ye aye? I’ll see ye’s all in a few days. Ye just enjoy all this quality time together. Ye’s deserve it.”

We thank Mrs Fitz for all she has done as she walks back towards the door. She turns around to call over to Jamie, “and Jamie lad, I’m so proud of ye. Ye’ve come a long way these past few months. Now yer in a relationship with the love of yer life, ye have yerself a wee lass here, and another wee bairn on the way. Yer parents would be proud as punch as well.”

“Thank ye Mrs Fitz. Truly.”

 

The rest of the day was spent just nice and calmly. We played some games with Faith. Faith used her baby Annabel to show Jamie and I how we should hold the baby when she’s born. She’s insisting it’s a little sister because she already has a brother.

When she eventually went back in to her room, she was so happy when she saw all the work that Jamie had out in to the mural. She loved all the pictures in her room, she loved the carpet and the furniture. But, her favourite part was the painting of Snow White Jamie had done. She must of sat in front of it for almost an hour just staring at it. Jamie and I were just content sitting there watching her look at the wall.

Faith wanted Spaghetti Bolognese for dinner tonight. Jamie normally puts mushrooms, onions and garlic in his bolognese sauce, but Faith hates them. He made a smaller pot of sauce just for Faith and added in the extra ingredients to ours.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen her eat as quickly as she did earlier. When I’ve cooked her dinner in the past, she was quite picky with what was on her plate. I guess she’s not really THAT picky, she takes after Jamie and doesn’t quite understand my cooking.

I just haven’t been able to stop smiling all day. How right it feels for the three of us to be here like this. It’s like Jamie was supposed to be Faith’s father all along.

 

When we go to put Faith to bed, that’s when the trouble starts. She’s insisting that Jamie stays with her tonight. We tell her no, but Jamie and I will be right across the hall in my room.

“Fine. Da seep here and I seep wi mummy.”

“No, Faith sleeps here, and daddy sleeps with mummy.” I try to be as calmly as possible with her. I know she can sleep on her own as she has before when she stayed over a few times and she had her own room at her foster families home.

“Da, tell mummy you are seeping here and I seep wi mummy.”

“Faith, I dinna think I’d fit in yer wee bed lass. I’m quite a large man. I’d be feart that I broke it before ye had a chance to sleep in it yerself. Anyway lass, this is yer room. It’s been all done up especially for ye. Dae ye no like it lass?”

“I do da.”

“Okay my darling, come on, jump in to bed. I’ll tuck you in and your daddy will read us a story. Does that sound like a good idea?”

She climbs in to her bed eventually and I climb in beside her. The bed is actually a lot sturdier than I initially thought. Hopefully it will continue to hold both Faith and my weight whilst Jamie reads the story she picked out.

It isn’t long before she’s fast asleep and Jamie and I both gently kiss her forehead and sneak out of her room as quietly as possible and head down to lay cuddled up on the sofa.

We haven’t been intimate with each other since we got together. I think we are both wary about doing anything tonight as this is Faith’s first night home. We don’t know how settled she will be throughout the night. It’s just nice to have his arms around me though.

After a while, I feel the need to be straddling Jamie on the couch and kissing him as much and as deep as possible. When we both break apart for some air, Jamie’s hands slide down from behind my head to the bottom of my back and then around to sit on the bump that had literally appeared out of nowhere. The baby had been moving quite a bit today. And just as Jamie places his hands on the bump, it’s moved again.

“Christ, Sassenach, was that the bairn?”

“Em yes. It does that. It’s just moving about.”

“Is that the first time ye felt it move Claire?”

“Em, no. It’s been doing it for a couple of weeks now I think.” I climb off Jamie and head over to the kitchen to pour myself a glass of water. I should have guessed Jamie would follow me over.

“Christ Claire, why did ye no tell me?”

“Sorry.” He can tell something’s wrong. He keeps on walking towards me. I can’t move back anymore, there’s no where to go. I’m up against the worktop.

“What’s wrong Claire. Ye ken ye can talk to me about anythin’. Is it the bairn?”

“Honestly, it’s nothing Jamie. Come on, let’s watch a film or something and then go to bed.” I try to get past him to walk back to the living room, but he hasn’t left any room to pass him.

“Ye dinna want the bairn do ye?”

Chapter Text

Jamie’s POV

Well, today Claire and I go for the twenty week scan of the bairn.

Twenty weeks!

I can hardly believe it.

When the child was just going to be raised by myself, I decided I didna want to ken the gender. I wanted it to be a wee surprise. Now that Claire and I are officially together, I’ve decided that we should find out the gender. Claire hasna said much about the bairn. In fact, the only time she half mentions the bairn is when either Faith or I bring them up. I can tell she’s struggling. I try to talk to her about it, but she just shuts down.

I ken she talks to her therapist about “the situation” as Claire calls it. God, she actually refers to OUR child as a “situation”. I hope that finding out the gender of the bairn will help her relax and enjoy the pregnancy a bit more.

The only real, proper conversation that Claire has been slightly open about was when I told her that I had a few house viewings booked in. Both the flat and the house are two bedrooms. I ken the bairn will be in a cot in our room for the first couple of months, but after that, it’s no fair to put the bairn in with Faith. They each need their own rooms. Claire was shocked by this idea. She genuinely believed that she and Faith would continue livin’ in the house and me and the bairn would be livin’ in the flat. I dinna want to push her for somethin’ she’s no ready for, but she’s going to be having our child in four months time. We’re supposed to be a family. How could it possibly work if she won’t even live in the same house as the bairn? Faith wouldna take that verra well either. I’m tellin’ ye. The lass is so excited about the bairn comin’.

Claire has reluctantly agreed to view some of the houses, but I can tell her hearts no in it. I’m actually at a loss as to what to try next. I just hope and pray that learnin the bairns gender might help her bond a bit.

Mrs Fitz should be here shortly to take care of Faith whilst Claire and I go on over to the clinic. Wee Faith is desperate to come too, but I promised her that she could see all the scan photos when we get hame.

 

On the way to clinic, Claire doesna speak. She can barely even look at me. I hate seeing her like this, especially when I ken there is nothin I can say or do to make her feel better.

I reach over for her hand that’s rested on her lap and I give it a squeeze. “I love you Sassenach.”

“I love you too.” She still doesna look at me though.

I give her hand another squeeze and then place my hand back on the steering wheel.

It’s a quiet and lonely walk from the car park up to the clinic. Claire still wilna look at me or speak and she shys away from my touch. This is supposed to be a happy day, but it’s not.

Unusually, the clinic are runnin’ a wee bit behind which makes Claire even more anxious and causes an even longer awkward silence between us both.

I turn to face her and lower my forehead to the side of her head so I can speak in to her ear.

“Please Claire, it breaks my heart seein’ ye like this. Yer no yerself whenever we come to these appointments or whenever Faith or I mention the bairn. I think once the appointments done, we should go somewhere just the two of us and have a wee talk.”

“About what?” She asks softly.

“About us. About the bairn. Faith. We canna keep goin’ like this. It’s no fair to either of us and it’s no fair to Faith either. The lass is sufferin’ with all this too Claire. And the bairn. The bairn is a wee innocent in all this.”

“I can’t lose you Jamie. Please don’t leave me. Don’t leave us. I don’t know how I would cope without you.”

“I dinna want to leave ye Claire. I love ye. Ye ken that. I’m never gonna leave ye, but... we canna keep goin like this. Ye say ye canna cope without me, as far as I can see Claire, ye canna cope that well with me either.”

Just as I say that, we get called through for the scan.

 

“Congratulations Claire, Jamie, you’re having a baby girl.”

“Aw sassenach, dae ye hear that? We’re havin’ another wee lass. Faith was right, she’s gonna have a wee sister. God Claire, I love ye so much.” I lean over and give her a quick kiss. I canny keep the smile off my face. Another wee lass.

“I’m really happy for you Jamie.”

When Claire said that, the midwife just shot me a look as if to ask what the hell is goin’ on. The midwife new that Claire was originally carryin’ my child as a surrogate, but when we became involved, we had told her everythin’. That we were together and we were going to raise this child together, along with our other daughter Faith.

For Claire to come out with something like this is just heartbreaking. I genuinely thought that findin’ out the gender would help.

 

Before we leave, the midwife asks if she could speak to me for a few minutes. Claire didn’t want to wait in the clinic, so I gave her the keys and she went down to the car to wait on me there. Bonnet still hasna been arrested and Claire is certain he won’t show his face around here again. I’m still nervous about it all and leavin’ Claire in her own, but she’s a strong woman. I canna tell her to do somethin’ she doesna want. I asked her to stay in the waitin’ area, but she refused. Thankfully I dinna think I’ll be that long.

The midwife mentions Claire’s comment in the room and asks if there is anything she could maybe help with. I tell her all I can. I tell the lass that Claire has a therapist and she sees her twice a week now and I ken she talks to her about the bairn, although I dinna ken the particulars. The midwife makes a point of saying’ that Claire’s issue might have somethin’ to do with the miscarriage and also all this Bonnet business. I didna even think of that. I just assumed it was because she always maintained this was my child, not hers. It was the same before the miscarriage.

The midwife has very kindly agreed to come round and have a wee chat with Claire one day at the house. Maybe Claire will open up to her that’s somewhere familiar to her. I thank the lass verra much and head on down to the car.

 

“I don’t want to go anywhere Jamie, I just want to go home and see Faith.”

“Okay, that’s fine Sassenach. What time does yer shift start, ye havena said.”

She turns to me and looks at me as if I asked her a confusing question. “What? Oh, em I resigned last week. Effective immediately. I want to be at home with Faith. And you. I was due to go off on maternity in a while anyway, so I just decided to leave now.”

“Ye didna think to talk to me about this?”

“I thought I did. Baby brain I suppose. Anyway, I thought you would be happy? It’s not like you enjoy me being out at work anyway whilst I’m pregnant.”

“It’s no that Claire. If ye want to work, ye should. I was just worried about—“

“The baby. Yes I know Jamie.”

“No Claire. I was worried about YOU. I AM worried about you. I think ye did the right thing. Ye need a break. I think we all do. Why don’t I see if I can book us a wee break away next week, aye?”

“Suit yourself.” She turns to look at me. She can see how much she’s hurtin’ me. “Sorry, I’m sure Faith would love that.”

“And you Claire? It’s you that needs this break more than any of us.” She just nods her head.

 

When we get hame, Faith canna wait to hear whether she is havin’ a baby brother or a baby sister. When I tell her it’s a sister, she’s over the moon. She jumps up and down and starts cheerin’. God, the look on her wee face. Even Claire’s findin’ it hard not to melt.

Mrs Fitz leaves soon after to give us some time together. The three of us sit on the couch. Faith in between Claire and I as I show her the scan pictures we got today. I’ve never seen a wean more excited.

The rest of the day, Faith canna stop talkin’ about her wee sister. She even asked if she could phone Fergus to tell him the news.

Whilst Faith was on the phone to Rachael and Fergus, I went over to sit with Claire on the couch. I sat at the other side to give her plenty of space. I ken today has been overwhelming for her, I dinna want to overcrowd her.

She slides across to set next to me and buries her head into my chest. I wasna expectin’ that at all.

“I’m sorry Jamie. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I love you so much and I know I should love our child, but for some reason I don’t feel anything.” She starts to cry and I can see Faith lookin’ over to see what’s wrong.

I pick Claire up from the couch and take her through to our bedroom and lay her on the bed. I text Joe to come and get Faith and look after her for tonight so I can focus on Claire. The woman’s no coping and I refuse to let her suffer any more. I leave Claire on the bed and I go out to tell Faith that mummy isn’t well and ask her to go and pack some toys and things as uncle Joe will be over to pick her up for a sleepover. I pack some pyjamas and clothes for the lass before popping my head back in on Claire. She seems calmer now, but there’s somethin’ no right.

 

When Joe arrives to pick up Faith, he tells me that he and John both have the week off, so if I want to take Claire away for a few days, they would be more than happy to take care of Faith for us. As much as I dinna want to leave the lass so soon, I think Claire needs time to process all the changes. I ken Faith will be safe with the lads, and if she’s no with us, I’m happy to leave her in their care. Before Faith leaves, I crouch down and give her a kiss and a cuddle and tell her that she may need to stay with Uncle Joe for a few days. She doesna mind. She enjoys spendin’ time with him.

 

After Joe and Faith leave, I lock the door again. It’s always locked. And I pour some water in to a glass for Claire and take it through to her. She’s lyin’ in the bed curled up in to a ball. She looks like a poor defenceless child.

I climb in behind her and pull her closer to me. I stroke the hair out of her face and give her a kiss on the cheek. When my hand reaches her bump, I can feel the baby movin’ again.

“I love you Jamie. I love Faith. I want to love this child too, but I don’t. I feel nothing for it. You deserve better than me. You all do. I don’t know what I can do to make any of this okay. The more I feel it move, the more I realise I don’t want it.”

“SHE Claire. The bairn is a wee lass, no an it. And she is OURS. Maybe in time ye will come to love the lass. Maybe ye wilna know until ye hold her in yer arms for the first time. And that’s okay Sassenach.”

“No it isn’t Jamie. It deserves a mother who loves her no matter what. I don’t know why I don’t. We made this child together. And not like how we made the other baby, this baby was made with love Jamie. It wasn’t just sex, we made love. Why don’t I love this child? Why do I keep calling her an it? Why do I cringe when you talk about MY bump? It doesn’t feel like MY bump. Nothing about this feels like how it was when I was pregnant with Faith. My beautiful daughter Faith was conceived by my husband raping me, and I felt nothing but love for her since the day I found out I was carrying her. This child was conceived in love Jamie, but I don’t feel anything.”

“Claire, I honestly dinna ken what to say. I dinna ken what to do anymore. I love ye. More than anythin’, but I dinna ken how to help ye. I ken ye’ve been speakin’ to yer therapist, but obviously it’s no helpin. Joe is keepin’ Faith for a few days. Why don’t you and I go on up to Lallybroch for a few days, aye? Maybe some time just the two of us will help. I dinna ken, but de ye think it’s worth a try?”

“Yes please.” She turns herself over to face me and I kiss her forehead.

“There’s one thing I ask of ye Claire. I’m no askin’ for me, or even the bairns, I’m askin’ for yer own sake, Claire, will ye please go and see yer GP? Maybe she might be able to help?”

Chapter Text

Claire’s POV

 

Depression.

My GP has diagnosed me with pre natal depression.

How the hell do I come out of this?

I have the most amazing and supportive partner in Jamie. I have my beautiful little girl back in my life. I am carrying mine and Jamie’s child. I have the best group of friends. Up until last week, I was in a job I loved so deeply.

Yes a lot of bad things have happened in my life. My parents dying. Everything Frank put me through. Feeling like I had no option than to hand over my child to social services. Bonnet. The miscarriage.

The miscarriage.

Out of all the bad things that has happened in my life, the miscarriage was probably the worst thing that I went through.

Giving up Faith was terrible. It took me a long time to forgive myself for that, but I had to do what was best for her. She’s back in my life now. Part of mine and Jamie’s family. She now has two parents to love and cherish her the way she always deserved.

When I became pregnant with Jamie’s child the first time. I was so excited and happy for him. I had to force myself not to get attached because it wasn’t my child. I was a surrogate. I was only going to be carrying the child and handing it over to Jamie. As much as I told Jamie it wasn’t my child, I couldn’t help but love it. Love the fact it was a part of Jamie and a part of me. I knew I shouldn’t have, but I began to wonder what he or she would be like as they grew older. Would they be a red head like Jamie, or a brunette like myself? Would they have Jamie’s ocean like blue eyes or awful dull eyes like me? So much was happening during that pregnancy, I was falling in love with Jamie and I had to push him away for fear of falling too hard. Lamb had passed away and I didn’t get to spend the time with him to care for him as planned.

And then I miscarried.

I lost Jamie’s child.

A child that I loved from the second I knew I was carrying them. Just as I felt with Faith.

Why is this pregnancy so different? I don’t understand. And the more I try to, the more angry and frustrated I get and I feel like a failure. Like I’m not good enough for this baby, or Jamie and Faith.

I see my therapist twice a week for two hour appointments. That’s four hours of therapy a week and I don’t feel any better. As a nurse, I know there is no quick fix for depression, but I honestly thought that the therapy would help to some extent.

As I’m pregnant, both my GP and I agreed to no medication. She has suggested some specialised therapy for pregnant mothers and a support group in my local area, again for pregnant mothers with mental illness.

Jamie explained to the doctor that he wanted to bring me to Lallybroch for a few days. The doctor agreed that it may be a good idea to get away just us two and there would be plenty of fresh air and time to relax.

As soon as we left the health centre, Jamie drove us back home and we packed our bags for a few days up at Lallybroch.

Depression.

I know I shouldn’t feel embarrassed, but I do. Jamie must think I’m some sort of monster feeling the way I do. Or, NOT feeling as the case is. He has been so supportive and so understanding and I cannot begin to understand why. He says and does all the right things and I just can’t seem to form a sentence to speak to him properly. I tell him I love him almost every ten minutes. It’s like I need him to know so he won’t leave me. Of course he won’t leave me, he loves me.

But, I’m scared.

 

The entire drive to Lallybroch was quiet and peaceful. As much as Jamie was in a hurry to get us to Lallybroch, he did pull over and stop a couple of times for us to get a snack and a cuppa and stretch our legs a bit. There wasn’t much conversation. But we didn’t need it. Not really. There was a calmness to the whole journey. Like all of a sudden I was able to breathe normally. It was nice.

 

When we got to Lallybroch, god, it was just as beautiful as I remembered. It was actually dry for a change. Very unusual weather for Scotland. Especially in the Highlands.

Jamie got out of the car first and as he took the bags from the back seat, he told me to wait in the car. Jamie went and unlocked the house and took the bags inside. He came back out to the car and helped me out. It reminded me of when we first met each other and he would do absolutely everything for me. He took me by the hand and lead me up to the house and in to the kitchen to sit at the island. He ran the water in the sink for a while and put the kettle on to make us some tea.

We didn’t arrive at Lallybroch until just after seven in the evening, so we decided to order in from a nice little restaurant down in the village. Jamie ordered the chickpea and sweet potato curry and chips and I ordered the baked potato with tuna mayo. They were delicious. I noticed they had a very good menu for children too. I think Faith would love it. And once this little one is able to eat her solids, she might like it too. I noticed there was a child’s play area inside. It reminded me a bit of the restaurant my parents and I ate at in Belfast before the accident. Obviously this place was more modern and seemed extremely popular with locals and visitors alike.

After dinner Jamie and I lay on the couch together in our room and watched a film. I didn’t take in most of the film as I was just so happy and content being there with Jamie. His arms never left me the whole time we lay there. I’m sure it must of been uncomfortable for him, but he never complained.

 

“Ye ready for bed Sassenach? It’s been a long couple of days. We should have some rest.”

“Isn’t that what we’ve been doing all evening?”

“Well aye, but ye need to sleep Sassenach. I’ve got a lot planned for us the morn, so ye need a decent nights sleep.” He flashed me that cheeky smile of his and gave me his version of a wink. He’s just adorable.

“Are you coming to bed too? I don’t want to go on my own.”

“Of course, just let me go and make sure all the doors and windows are locked, aye?” He gets off the couch and heads towards the door.

“Wait! I’ll come with you.” I follow him out of the room and he takes my hand as we go around the house checking everything is secure and locked.

 

When I wake up in the morning, it’s from the best nights sleep I think I’ve had in a while. I turn over on my other side and Jamie is laying next to me fast asleep with his little smile on his face.

God, could I love this man anymore? I don’t think so.

I get up and go for a shower and let Jamie rest a little longer. After I’m showered and ready, I go down stairs to make some tea and some breakfast for Jamie and I. We haven’t been shopping yet, so we only have what we brought with us. Porridge. Jamie makes it so much better than me, but at least I try, and it’s edible. As I dish out the porridge in to the bowls, the baby starts to kick. A lot. Think she’s practicing for the next World Cup.

“There ye are Sassenach! I woke up and ye were gone.”

“We may be away for a few days MR Fraser, but that’s no excuse for laziness. I am up, showered, dressed and I even made breakfast.” I walk over to him at the other side of the island and give him a kiss.

“Hm, if ye were hungry, ye shoulda just woke me and I would of gladly came and made ye some porridge.”

“My porridge isn’t THAT bad Jamie. Honestly, between you and Faith, you are both going to give me a complex about my cooking.”

“Sorry Mo Ghràidh. Ye ken we’re just teasin’ ye. I’m sure this will be delicious.” He gives me a kiss and sits down at the island to dig in to his breakfast.

I sit down beside him. “What does that mean? Mo...”

“Mo Ghràidh. It means my love.” I can’t help but smile at that. He calls me that a lot, but I never thought to ask him what it means. He says a lot of things to Faith and I in Gaelic. I wish I could understand it more, but French is about the only other language I could attempt. I could listen to Jamie speaking Gaelic all day.

 

After breakfast and after Jamie is ready, we go for a walk out on the estate. Again, it’s a sunny and dry day. Quite warm as well. An unusual heatwave of 21 degrees outside. Not at all handy when your used to the weather being around three to five degrees and your five months pregnant with the next Lucy Bronze.

We stop for a rest on one of the hills looking over the estate. We discuss how wonderful it will be to be here with Faith. Jamie mentions being here, the four of us and I just freeze. What the hell is wrong with me? The first mention of this child and I just start to panic. Everything had been going so well up until this point.

“Claire, I need ye to talk to me. I need to ken how ye feel. I think the only way we can move forward and for you to feel better is to talk open and honestly. I need ye to tell me everythin’ ye have felt and everythin’ ye do feel.”

“Jamie, I don’t even know where to begin because I don’t even know HOW I feel. All I know is I love you and I love Faith and we are about to have a child together that I don’t think I can be a good enough mother to. Jamie, if I was strong enough and we didn’t have Faith, I would have this child and hand it over to you and walk away. That isn’t right. I don’t know why I don’t feel anything. Jamie, it’s scary and there is nothing I can say or do to make any of this better.” I burst out crying and Jamie wraps his arm around my shoulder and pulls me close to him.

I’m not sure how long we sit there, but it feels like a really long time. Jamie eventually speaks as I still sob in to his chest. His shirt must be soaking wet with all my tears.

“Yer tearin’ my guts out Claire. I love ye so much and it kills me to see ye like this. It’s no yer fault Sassenach, yer ill. Depression is a horrible illness. I ken that all too well after what happened with my family. All I can really do to support ye is be here and love ye, but I need ye to talk. Even if ye dinna think it’s important or relevant. Claire, ye obviously feel something, otherwise ye wouldna keep getting yerself in such a state. I can tell just by lookin’ at ye that yer mind is workin overtime to try and work all this out on yer own. Ye arna on yer own Claire, ye never will be. Please trust me enough to talk about everythin’. Even if it makes no sense to ye, we can maybe start to make sense of things together. I would do absolutely anythin’ to make you feel better, but I canna help if ye shut me out Claire.”

We sit on that hill for almost two hours whilst I open up about absolutely everything. Mainly the miscarriage and how I truly felt about the baby. Jamie had always told me that I had a right to grieve too. And I was so grateful for that, and I did. But, because of the fight I tried to put up and the distance I tried to put up from Jamie, I don’t think I ever really grieved properly for the loss of that child.

“The bairn was ours Claire. I told ye that. There was already something between us when we found out ye were pregnant.”

“And I felt that too Jamie, but I was meant to be a surrogate. I wasn’t meant to grow attached to the baby, to you.”

“Ye were the same at the start of this pregnancy too.”

“I’m your surrogate Jamie. And with this child, it really does feel like that’s all I am.”

“This child was created out of love Claire, ye said it yerself. I ken that night, sex was all it was supposed to be. A way for ye to give me a child without having to go through all the injections and things again, but it wasn’t sex Claire. Far from it. We made love and we created the most precious little girl that’s growing inside of ye. This wee lass is a part of both of us.” He reaches down to put his hands on my bump.

“I know all that Jamie, that’s why I’m finding it all so hard to understand.”

Jamie walks me back down to the house and we have a cheese and ham sandwich before Jamie goes out on his horse. He gives me a big kiss and a cuddle and kisses my bump before he leaves. He said he should be back within an hour.

 

Whilst Jamie was out riding, I sat in the living room and read one of the books from the library. The baby started to kick again. She had been doing that all day. I think she was as fed up with me as everyone else. My hand started to mindlessly rest on my bump.

I finished the entire book, not that it was a big book, but it had been well over an hour and Jamie wasn’t home yet. I went out to the stables, but there was no sign of him or his horse. I couldn’t see him around anywhere, so I went back in to the house to start preparing something for dinner.

It was getting later and later and still no sign of Jamie. It was getting dark and I was sure I could hear a crash of thunder outside. As I went back to the front door, it started to rain down heavily. I tried calling Jamie, but the signal wasn’t too reliable out on certain parts of the estate.

“It’s alright sweetheart. I’m sure daddy is fine. He can’t of gone too far.”

I go through to sit on the chair next to the window to watch for Jamie coming back, but there was still no sign. I sent him a few texts and tried calling him again.

“Don’t worry darling. Everything is going to be alright.”

 

Eventually I got a text from Jamie saying that he was staying in a shed for some cover. He would be back once the rain died down a bit. It was extremely heavy, I was just glad he was okay.

“Daddy will be home soon and then we can sit down to dinner and watch some television, huh?”

 

 

“Hm, why don’t we give your sister a ring and see what she’s been up to today? I haven’t spoken to her since we arrived here last night.”

I tried calling both John and Joe, but there was no answer. They did say they were taking the children to the cinema today. Maybe they’re still there.

 

 

Jamie eventually comes through the door. God, I’ve never been more relieved in my life. I run over to home and wrap my arms around his neck as tight as I can.

“Christ Sassenach, ye okay? Ye’ll get drenched if ye dinna let me go.”

“Sorry, we were just so worried.”

“We? Someone here Sassenach?”

“Oh, no. Never mind. You go on up and take a shower and I’ll make us some dinner. And don’t worry, I decided on the Chicken Kiev’s and Potatoes you brought with us. Surely I can’t screw up throwing the Kiev’s in the oven and boiling some potatoes and peas?!”

“Well, I would be surprised if ye did Sassenach.” He kissed my forehead and gave me a cheeky grin. “I’ll no be too long.”

 

We’ve had these Kiev’s before and they are really tasty. Jamie prefers cooking from scratch as much as possible, but with me working shifts at the hospital
and Jamie in and out of meetings all over Scotland some days, sometimes it’s easier just to throw something in the oven quickly. Now I’m no longer working, I could make more of an effort with dinners, but I’m not the best cook in the first place. I suppose I could take the time to learn to cook properly? Take a class or something now that I’m not working? Nah, this time is to be spent with me and my girls.

 

MY girls.

 

I looked down and I was holding my bump.

 

MY bump.

 

When Jamie came down from his shower, he saw me with both my hands over my bump. He thought something was wrong.

“Claire, what’s wrong? Is it the bairn? Are ye okay?”

“It’s a girl.”

“I ken Claire. We found out the other day. Remember? We were at the clinic and they told us.”

“We’re having another daughter Jamie.” I don’t know why, but I can’t stop the tears from filling my eyes and running down my cheeks.

Jamie moves over to hold me. “Claire, come and sit down lass. What’s the matter? Ye’re worryin’ me. Do I need to send for a doctor?”

“No Jamie. I’m fine. We’re fine. I don’t know what happened, but when I was preparing dinner, I was thinking about taking a cooking class, but then I thought no. I want to spend the time I’m not working with the girls. OUR girls. When I looked down Jamie, my hand was rested on my bump. MY bump Jamie, OUR daughter. I then realised that I’ve been holding her most of today when you were out riding. I read my book out loud to her. I talked to her when you weren’t here. Jamie, I’ve never done any of that before now.”

“Aw Claire, c’mere. I love you so much. I promise that I will always love ye and our wee family.”

“We love you too.”

 

We sat and ate dinner and when our daughter began to kick a while later, I let Jamie feel. We decided to head home tomorrow before the weather got any worse. We both just wanted to get home as soon as possible and see Faith.

I don’t know what happened or what changed on this trip, but something did and it was for the better. I can’t wait for our little lady to be born and see how she grows in to a little person.

I’m not 100% back to normal, but this is a huge step for me. Really huge. I don’t know if maybe the miscarriage and bottling my feelings about it had something to do with me blocking out this pregnancy, but it’s something to speak to my therapist about. The one that specialises with pregnant mums. I will definitely still be going to the support groups as well. My mental health is really important. I need to be as healthy as possible for my family.

God, can this really be happening?

It’s been such a horrific year with losing Uncle Lamb and then the miscarriage but, so much good has happened as well. I met Jamie and fell in love. I got my eldest daughter back home with me. And, Jamie and I are about to have another child in a few months.

I have a LOT of work to do. Not just for myself, but for my family.

That is what I need to focus on.

Jamie and our girls.

Chapter Text

Two months later...

Jamie’s POV

Today is the day I go to pick up the keys to the new house. It’s a very big five bedroom detached house. There is a very large closed off back garden and a smaller garden at the front of the house. The best part about it, is that the new house is in a gated community. There is a gate with a security guard. No one can get to the house without our permission. I have already explained to the security detail about the Bonnet. They ken to look out for the guy.

Bonnet is yet to be caught, but there have been a few sightings of him. Mainly in Ireland. I think Claire is coping alright, she doesna seem worried that he should come back now. She doesna think he would be so stupid. I have my family to protect, so I’ll no be backing off anytime soon. At the end of the day, Ireland is only a ferry ride away or a short fight. As far as I’m concerned, he could return at any time.

 

Claire and I decided not to move in to the new house straight away. She’s seven months pregnant and moving house is a very stressful thing. It wouldna do any good for her or the bairn and Claire’s been through more than enough this year.

The plan is to let all the workmen in to do what work we want done. Get the painters and decorators in and get at least the lounge and the girls’ bedrooms done. The rest of the house can be done over time.

It’ll be quite a big house for the four of us, but the girls will each have their own rooms, Claire and I will have the master bedroom, one of the bedrooms will be for guests and the last bedroom is going to be divided in to two with a wall so I will have a decent sized office and Claire will have a wee meditation room.

Claire’s been doing’ a lot of meditation recently. Every single mornin’. It see,so to be helpin’ her quite a bit. She still has a lot of issues to work through, but it’s understandable. The woman has been through a life time of pain and instead of dealing with it properly, she let it all build up over the years. She sees her therapists twice a week. Her usual therapist she had before and also a new therapist who specialises in mental health for pregnant mothers. She was suggested by Claire’s GP. And Claire also goes to a support group for expectant mothers. That gets her out of the house for a couple of hours a week too and she’s able to take Faith with her. Faith loves going along as she gets to play with all the other kids.

Claire had found it tough to begin with, opening up to complete strangers, but now she can see how it’s helped her and how far she’s come. She’s met some good friends now that can understand what she’s going through in ways that I can’t.

I’ve battled with depression myself in the past. It’s a horrible thing to go through. But, everybody who suffers depression, or any form of mental health, they all experience it differently. Not everybody’s mind is the same. All I could do and all I can do is be here to love and support her and listen to her when she wants to talk. Thankfully, she’s more open to talking about her feelings with me these days.

Aye, Claire’s doin’ grand. I’m so proud of her and what she’s managed to achieve these past couple of months. She’s slowly but surely turnin’ back in to that wee fire cracker I first met. It’s no been an quick a journey, and it’s certainly no been easy, I mean Claire still has a lot to work through, but she’s genuinely happy. And that’s all I’ve ever wanted for her.

When I came hame from work the other day, Claire and Faith were both sat at the kitchen table colouring in some colouring books. This is another thing that seems to have helped Claire the past few weeks. Whenever she feels stressed or doesn’t know what to do with herself, she likes to relax herself by colouring in. Usually Faith sits with her and does the same. It’s nice when I see them like that. Anyway, the other day, Claire and Faith had been out shoppin’ at one of the shoppin’ centres with Louise and Charlie. Claire had went overboard and bought a whole dose of new clothes for the new bairn. There was some beautiful pieces, but I dinna think the bairn will get round to wearing all this stuff because we had already bought plenty. Obviously Claire thought otherwise. She had stood and washed all the clothes and got them dried and ironed them all and put them away in to the clothing unit we bought for the bairn. As we’re no officially moving to the new house until after the bairn is born, some of the bairns things are being kept in the living room and Faiths room. There isna much space in our room for all our stuff and the bairns. We have room for the cot, but I’m hoping that when it comes to bringin’ Claire and the bairn hame from the hospital, we will be goin’ straight to the new house instead of here. Fingers crossed everythin’ goes to plan.

 

 

After I collected the keys for the new house, I went over just to have another wee look at the place before all the work gets started tomorrow. I canny believe that this is my new home. A big house like this in a gated community. And best of all, a wonderful family to share it with. It’s all I’ve ever wanted. A good job, a nice house, the love of my life and some kids. I never dreamed I would of gotten half of this. To find Claire in the most unusual way. To fall in love with her and start a family with her. It was definitely unexpected, but somethin’ I thank the lord for every day.

Claire had one of her therapy sessions this afternoon, so I went hame and picked up her and Faith and dropped Claire at her appointment. Faith wanted to go to one of her favourite parks for some ice cream. I’m such a softy when it comes to the lass, I couldna refuse. Claire decided that she would get a taxi hame and she would see us there later. Before I let her go, I pulled her in for a kiss and told her I loved her and said that I would bring hame some dinner instead of cooking. It was lookin’ like neither of us would be hame in time to start preparing anythin’ ourselves and manage to stick to Faith’s dinner time.

Faith and I had a wonderful afternoon in the city centre picking up some ice cream and then wondered down to Glasgow Green and took a nice wee stroll before I took her to the play park.

Time was getting on, so I told Faith we had to go. She wasna happy. She had a complete meltdown in the middle of Glasgow Green. Thankfully it was pretty quiet and there was only a couple of people going about walking their dogs.

“Faith, come on, please. We need to go and pick somethin’ up for dinner and then get hame to yer mam. We need to see how she is after her appointment today.”

“No da, I want to pay on the slide.”

“I promise I’ll bring ye back again at the weekend mo leannan. Please, yer mam will want to see ye. And she’ll be hungry waitin’ for her dinner. Are ye no hungry?”

“Fine.” She stomps off in front of me with her arms folded over her wee chest. Christ, she reminds me so much of Claire when she has her wee moods.

I canna even begin to say how proud I am to be this wee lass’ da. Even when she’s in a mood, she just melts me.

 

On the way hame, we stopped in to pick up some pizzas and chips and some salad bowls. No that Faith will touch the salad, but Claire and I like some with our pizza and I doubt either of us will get any where near the chips if Faith has her way.

As we pulled in to the street, I saw a car parked in the drive. It wasna until I got closer and I realised who’s the car belonged to.

Jenny.

Fuck!

I really hoped Faith and I managed to get hame before Claire.

I let Faith out from the car and asked her to carry the bags with the chips and salad bowls whilst I had the pizza boxes. We walked over and I opened the door to let Faith and I in. We barely get in the front door and I see Claire and Jenny standing face to face. When Jenny heard us coming in, she turned to face me and gave me a disapproving look. Exactly what I was expectin’.

“Da, who dat?”

“Da? Ye got somethin’ to tell me brother?”

 

God, I would of welcomed the ground to swallow me whole right about now.

Chapter Text

Claire’s POV

Well, that session certainly went better than expected. I’ve been an emotional mess all day and I genuinely thought that I was going backwards in my recovery. I know my head and my mind are never going to be “normal” but I’ve found ways to keep me occupied, calm and relaxed. It hasn’t been easy and there has been a lot of trial and error, but I feel like I’ve finally gotten myself in to a routine that has really helped with my mental state.

 

Today has been a rollercoaster of emotions. Jamie was up earlier than usual to leave for a meeting over in Edinburgh so Faith and I didn’t see him before he left. He did leave me a sweet note beside the bed this morning saying that her loves me and he’s proud of me. Jamie also had to go and collect the keys for the new house on the way home. I just knew that he would end up visiting the house before he came home, and I was right. Faith had spent the morning over at Rachael’s to spend time with Fergus, so it was just me at home with bump. Not that I minded. It gave me some time to get the house organised. Well, as organised as possible with a three year olds toys and things around the place and the new baby’s furniture. Some parts of the day, I would just come over all emotional out of nowhere and I did wonder if I did something wrong and I was going to end up back where I was.

When Faith came home and I felt myself welling up, I excused myself to my room so she wouldn’t see me upset. I was relieved when Jamie got home to take me to my therapy session. Faith had decided that whilst I was at my appointment, she and her da would go to the park. I told Jamie I would get a taxi home after my appointment and he agreed to pick up dinner. God I hope he brings home pizza.

The session went very well. I explained how I have been feeling this past week and opened up about today’s events and how worried I was that I could be heading backwards. My therapist explained that it was all perfectly normal. I’ll have some good days and some bad days and my emotions are heightened because of the pregnancy. Really I should of already guessed that. I guess when it’s you going through all this, you sometimes forget things and need someone else to point them out. I feel really good after that session and I can’t wait to get home and see my two favourite people.

The taxi doesn’t take long to arrive and it only takes about twenty minutes to get home which isn’t bad considering it’s rush hour.

Great. Jamie and Faith are still not home. I was really looking forward to having my dinner and having a bath with Faith before I put her to bed. Hopefully they won’t be too long. Jamie hasn’t text me so I assume they are on their way.
In the meantime though, I suppose I could just relax with a nice cup of tea and read until they come home.

Whilst in my room to collect my book, I hear the front door opening so I head back through.

“Thank god guys, I am so ready to eat.”

“Em, who the hell are you?” This short woman with long brown hair asks ,e as if I was the one who intruded in to her house.

“I was just about to ask you the same thing!”

“Jenny Murray. Jamie’s sister. He didna tell me he was rentin’ out the spare room.”

“He isn’t.”

“So what ye daeing here then? I ken he sold his flat and is now living here. If yer no rent... oh lord, yer pregnant!”

Just as she states that, Jamie and Faith walk in the door. Jenny turns herself round to glare at her brother.

“Da, who dat?”

“Da? Ye got somethin’ to tell me brother?”

Jamie is absolutely speechless. So am I to be honest. I knew he was taking his time in telling his family about us, but Jesus H Christ, I am seven months pregnant. He is a dad to my daughter. What the hell has he been waiting on? I made a joke a while ago about him waiting till the girls had both gone off to university, maybe I wasn’t far off?!

“Faith sweetheart, why don’t you and I go down to the bedroom and eat some dinner.”

“No mummy, I want to say wi da.”

“Faith lass, please go with yer mam aye? I’ll be down in a wee while and I’ll read ye story and tuck ye in.”

“No da.” Faith started having one of her meltdowns when she doesn’t get her own way. Sometimes she can be very clingy with me. Other times it’s Jamie. Sometimes she is quite happy being independent and telling us to leave her. Tonight, tonight she is being a proper little daddy’s girl and not wanting to leave his side.

Jamie puts the pizza boxes down on the island and takes the bags from Faith and sits them next to the pizzas. He turns to lift Faith in to his arms and walks towards Jenny and I.

“Jenny, I see ye’ve already met Claire. Claire, this is my sister Janet. Or Jenny. Jenny, this is our daughter, Faith. Faith mo leannin, this is yer auntie Jenny, my sister.”

“Yer daughter? Ye have a daughter brother and ye havena mentioned her before. I take it that yin is yers as well then?”

“Stay here Janet. Claire, come on, I’ll take ye and Faith down the hall and Faith, I need ye to stay with yer mam and eat yer dinner okay? I need to speak to yer auntie. I promise I’ll come and read to ye and tuck ye in.”

Faith doesn’t say anything, she just wraps her arms around Jamie’s neck. She isn’t happy. Not one bit, but she knows now isn’t the time for an argument with her dad.

Jamie carries her down to our room and she and I sit on the bed and eat our pizza whilst Jamie goes back through to speak with his sister. It was a very awkward situation. I hope he manages to sort things because I don’t want the stress of his family issues whilst I’m heavily pregnant. Selfish or not, I don’t care.

I managed to grab a few chips, but Faith got the majority of them. That’s just the usual though. I don’t know why Jamie doesn’t order two portions of chips. You don’t get that many in a portion anyway, but it would be enough for Jamie and I to share.

Faith and I become full and are unable to eat anymore pizza. I don’t want my room smelling of food anymore than it already does, but what would I be walking in to if I took the food back through to the kitchen?

Tough! This is my house too. Why should I be locked away? Jamie is the one in the wrong, not me. If Jenny has an issue with me for whatever reason, that’s on her. I’m not going to be made to feel uncomfortable in my own home.

I take Faith over to her own room so she can play with her toys for a while.

As I walk towards the kitchen with the food that’s left over, I can’t hear anything. It’s just silence. I round the corner to place the pizza in the fridge. I see the bag sitting on the island with salad boxes inside. I take them out of the bag and place them in the fridge as well.

I stand at the other side of the island facing over in to the living room. Jenny is sat on the arm chair facing the window and Jamie is staring out the window. They aren’t speaking though. It’s just silence.

“Does anyone want some tea? Coffee?”

No one answers me.

“Any food? Jamie, you haven’t had dinner yet. I put the pizza and salad in the fridge. Faith ate all the chips of course.”

Still no response.

“Well, if you two don’t mind, I’m going to lay on the couch and read my book. Faith is in her room playing and I don’t fancy sitting in my room all night when it smells of pizza and chips.” I grab my book off the table and walk straight over to the couch.

Jenny eventually starts to speak. “It’s nice tae meet ye Claire. Finally.” She gives a horrible glare over to the back of her brothers head. “He didna say he was involved wi anyone. And he certainly didna say he was takin’ on another mans child or he fathered one of his own outta wedlock.”

This got Jamie’s back right up. He turned around and stormed over to where Jenny was sat. I’ve never seen him so annoyed before. “Faith is MY daughter. In every way that counts. I love that lass more than life itself and she loves me. I’m the one who plays with her. Takes her on days out. Gives her a bath. Reads her stories. Tucks her in to bed. Holds her when she cries. All of that and more. The lass may no be my blood Janet, but she is my whole heart. Her and her mother. And the child Claire is carryin’, she was planned Janet. She wasna a mistake. I wanted a child and that’s exactly what Claire gave me. She’s given me two daughters. I’ll no apologise for falling in love with Claire and building a family with her.”

“I dinna have a problem wi any o’ that Jamie. Yer my brother and I love ye, but I dinna understand why ye didna tell me. Ian and I ken ye’ve been actin’ strange for months now, and now it all makes sense. But Jamie, I have a wee niece down that hall that ye never told me about. I have a sister in law ye never mentioned. And a new niece on the way. Ye’re obviously happy Jamie, and I’m glad. The lord Ken’s ye deserve to be happy. Just please dinna shut me out aye?” Jenny gets up from her chair and walks over to me. “Ian and I are goin’ up to Lallybroch this weekend wi the bairns. If ye dinna have plans, it would be nice if ye could all join us. After all this time Claire, I think it’s time ye were introduced to the family.”

“That would be wonderful Jenny, thank you. Jamie?”

“I promised Faith I’d take her to the park this weekend.”

“Okay. Is there no parks near Lallybroch? We’re going Jamie. And that’s that. Your sister has been kind enough to invite us, you could at least be gracious enough to accept.”

“She’s a fierce yin is she no? I like her brother.”

Jamie let out a soft chuckle and I couldn’t help but smile.

“Aye, she is that. I kent ye’d like her. We would love to come and spend time with you all at Lallybroch. Thank ye Janet.”

“Before I go, I ken the lass must be near ready for bed, but could I maybe see her before I go. I dinna make a verra good first impression.”

“It was fine. She’s just very clingy to Her daddy today. I think she was just curious about you too though. I’ll go and fetch her.”

 

“Faith sweetheart, your Auntie Jenny is about to leave, but she would like to see you before she goes. Come on, let’s go say goodbye.” I reach my hand out to Faith but she doesn’t take it.

“No.”

“No? What do you mean by no darling?”

“She was bad to da. She was cross mummy.”

“She wasn’t cross sweetheart, she was just shocked to see us here, that’s all.”

I didn’t hear Jamie coming, but all of a sudden he was there and scooping Faith up in to his arms. “Come on lass. Yer auntie just wants to see ye. She’ll no bite. I promise.”

 

“Hello Faith. I’m yer auntie Jenny. How are you? Did ye enjoy yer pizza?”

“Aye. Why you mad at da?”

“Och, I’m no mad at yer da. I just wasna expecting to see you and yer mam here. But it was a lovely surprise. I’m really glad to meet ye Faith. Yer dad hasna stopped talkin’ about ye all night.”

Jamie put Faith down on her feet and she ran over to Jenny wanting a hug. Jenny crouched down to Faiths level and wrapped her arms tight around her.

“I’m so verra happy to finally meet ye sweetheart. Me, yer uncle Ian and all yer cousins are goin’ up to our family home at the weekend. Lallybroch. Would ye like to come up with yer ma and da and meet everyone. I’m sure they will all be excited to meet ye. And I’m sure ye and my bairns will have just as much fun as me and yer da did when we were growing up.”

“Okay, but da, ye said we would go to park.”

“Dinna fash mo leannan, I’ll take ye and yer cousins to one of the parks me and yer auntie Jenny used to play at when we were bairns.”

“Okay, we ill go.”

“That’s brilliant Faith. I look forward to seeing you all soon then, aye? I’ll better away and let yer da have his dinner and ye away tae yer bed. Sweet dreams love, and I’ll see ye soon.”

“Bye auntie Jen.” Faith gives Jenny another hug and then takes herself down to her bedroom waiting on either Jamie or I to play some more with her dolls.

“Dinna be pullin’ anymore toys out Faith, he’ll just be goin’ for yer bath.” Jamie shouts down to her.

“Okay da!”

“She’s a wee superstar. I am so happy for ye brother. And ye too Claire. I’ll see he’s at the weekend then?”

“Aye, ye will. Thanks Jenny. And I’m sorry again, it’s just...”

“I ken Jamie. And I’m sorry if I ever made ye feel like ye couldna tell me any of this. Yer my wee brother. I love ye. I just want ye to be happy, and I can see that after so many years, ye finally are.”

 

After Jenny leaves, I want to ask Jamie about why he never told her, but he still hadn’t had any dinner and Faith needed her bath. I suppose we could discuss it later on when Faith is asleep.

I give Faith her bath whilst Jamie eats his dinner. When Faith is ready for bed, Jamie comes through to read her a story. She doesn’t mind who reads to her, but I think she prefers Jamie as he tries to do the voices for some of the characters, but they don’t come out properly. Faith just sits and laughs at him.

We each give her a kiss as she falls asleep in Jamie’s arms and we sneak out of her room quietly. I could really do with a bath myself, but the thought of climbing in and out at seven months pregnant is just appealing tonight. It’s been a long day.

“Come on Sassenach, how about you and I jump in the shower and rinse the day away?”

“If this is you just trying to avoid talking about your sister—“

“No. This is me wanting to spend some quality time with my love whilst our daughter is asleep.” He leans down and kisses me passionately. I lay my hands on his chest and gently push him away.

“Fine, but we still need to discuss your family Jamie.”

“Of course, just no the night aye? I’ve missed ye sassenach and I just want to be in yer arms.”

I take hold of both his hands and lead him in to our en-suite. “Well, Mr Fraser, what are you waiting for? I could do with those magic fingers of yours shampooing my hair.”

 

After a nice and relaxing shower, we both collapse in to the bed and fall asleep in each other’s arms. This is my favourite part of the day. Just me and Jamie laying in bed together holding each other.

“Have I told you today that I love you?”

“I’m sure ye may have mentioned it a time or two, but I’ll no take any offence at hearing it again.”

We both smile at each other.

“I love you James Fraser.”

“And I you.”

Chapter Text

Jamie’s POV

“Da, are we there yet?”

“Christ Faith, we only left the house ten minutes ago. We need to stop in at the supermarket on the way and get some snacks for the journey.”

“Don’t worry sweetie, we’ll try and make it a fun journey for you.”

The last few days I had been showing Claire and Faith pictures of me and Jenny growin’ up at Lallybroch. Pictures of the house, the stables, the old mill, the beautiful landscape. Faith was really takin’ it all in. She loved it. She loved seeing where her da and her auntie grew up. I also found an old family album. I hadn’t looked at it in so many years. In fact, I think it was before da passed that I last looked at it. I always found it tough looking at photos of us all after mam and Willie died. Jenny had continued to put photos in the album right up until da passed. I thought it was important to show Claire and Faith the family photos as well. Faith loves seein’ them. She loved how much I looked like my Ma.

I so wish my parents were here to to see me be a da to wee Faith. To see me have another wee lass on the way. To see my finally settled with the only woman I have ever loved. How much I wish that my own wee family had the chance to meet my parents and my brother.

That was when I realised that none of my children have grandparents. They never will. It broke my heart. My daughters missing out on some of the most important relationships in children’s lives. The love my parents would of had for my girls would be too much to even explain.

Well, if my parents and Willie and Claire’s parents and her uncle aren’t with us in life, I’m verra sure they are all lookin’ down on us and helpin’ to support us and protect us.

 

Faith has been so excited about this trip to Lallybroch, she hasn’t been able to settle in her own bed. She always ends up in our bed between me and Claire. No that I mind, but I think Claire is glad that the day finally arrived and we are on our way to Lallybroch. The bed was a bit of a squeeze with practically four of us in it. Hopefully she will settle in her room at Lallybroch so she can get a good nights sleep and let Claire do the same.

Now that the end of the pregnancy is getting closer and closer, Claire is getting more and more tired. She doesna have her usual burst of energy. She’s still my beautiful Sassenach and she’s definitely come a long way these past few months. I think this weekend at Lallybroch will do her the world of good before the bairn arrives. I just wish it wasn’t such a long journey. It canna be comfortable for poor Claire, and wee Faith, lord that lass is so hyper with excitement. I dinna think she’ll be a pleasant passenger on today’s journey.

 

“So, what time is Jenny and Ian arriving?” Claire asks me as she scrolls through the music on her phone looking for a half decent playlist that has something for all of us.

“Eh, no till the night, so that gives us the whole afternoon.”

“Good, because we need to talk and discuss what it is exactly we are going to tell your family. I understand that you didn’t and still don’t want to tell them about the surrogacy Jamie, but what if they ask how we met? Or how long we have been together?”

“Aye, yer right.” Obviously I’m aware of little ears sittin’ in the back of the car. She might be wee, but she observes everythin’. She’s like a wee sponge. Just like her ma. “Just... we’ll discuss it when we get there and put Faith down for her nap. I promise.”

“I’ll hold you to that James Fraser.”

“We there yet da?”

“Aye. The supermarket. No Lallybroch. Now come on leannan, let’s go get ye some of yer wee apple slices, aye?” I’ve never seen a wean light up so much over eatin’ fruit and veg. Makes me proud though. She’s a braw lass our daughter.

 

Shopping done. Snacks and drinks for the journey all organises. Now it’s time to get to Lallybroch.

Lord, please let this weekend go okay. I ken my sister. She said that she’s happy that I’m happy, and I’m sure she is, but that woman is like a dog with a bone and she’ll no stop houndin’ Claire for answers about her life until she kens the lass inside out. That’s partly why I didna tell Jenny about Claire. Claire has struggled more than enough during this pregnancy, I dinna want her having a setback. Jenny can quiz me till she’s blue in the face about my relationship with Claire, but I’ll no let her put Claire down. Claire, Faith and bump are my family now. They are my priority.

Hopefully with Ian there, he’ll be able to reign Jenny in a bit if she goes a bit far. I am hoping it will be a nice and peaceful family weekend, but I’ll no hold my breath.

 

I really hope that with Jenny and Ian coming with the bairns, they could maybe take Faith out for a wee while around the estate or take her to village for a wee while so Claire and I can have some alone time. Apart from the last time we came to Lallybroch a couple of months ago, we haven’t had any time with just our two selves. As much as I love our daughter and I love spending as much time with her as possible, I think it’s important for Claire and I to take some time for ourselves before the bairn comes.

 

“And what are you thinking about Mr Fraser? I do hope your concentrating on the road.”

“Always mo ghraidh. And what are ye thinking about?” Claire turns her head to see how closely Faith is listening, but the lass has fell asleep. I suppose it’s a long journey for anyone, never mind a three year old.

“Well, I was thinking how nice it would be for Faith to spend some quality time with her cousins and her aunt and uncle.” Claire slides her wee hand over to rest on my knee. “And I was also thinking how nice it would be for you and I to spend some quality time together.” She starts to gently slide her hand up my thigh.

“Claire, dinna dae that when am drivin’ will ye no?!”

“Sorry, but do you know how hard it is to keep my hands from you?”

“Of course I ken. Dae ye no think I want to be daein’ the same to you. Holdin’ ye, kissing ye, showin’ ye how much I love ye.”

“Well then, I guess I’ll just have to wait till we get there and we can put Faith down for a nap. THEN James Fraser, I want you to show me EXACTLY how much you love me.”

“Oh I verra much plan on that Sassenach.”

 

After a while, we’re almost there. I stop in to a wee corner shop in Broch Mordha to get some bread, milk and other groceries we will need for over the weekend. No doubt Jenny will go and do a big shop tomorrow mornin’ but we still need things for today. Since it’s our first night here and Jenny and Ian won’t be arriving till later, Ian suggested that he and Jenny will pick up some take away for quickness.

“Mummy, are we there yet?”

“Almost sweetheart. We are about five minutes away now. When we get there, you and I will go inside and put all the groceries away whilst daddy brings in our bags. Then my darling, we will have some lunch and then show you around the house and the estate. Does that sound good?”

“Aye. Da?”

“What leannan?”

“Can I seep wi you?”

“Sorry mo bhana-phrionnsa, but like at hame, ye have yer own wee room here. If ye want though, we could maybe see if ye can share with one of yer cousins?”

“No da, I want to seep wi you!”

“Faith, you can’t be sleeping with your daddy and I. We let you stay with us the last few nights because you were excited about the trip, but you really need to be in your own bed.”

“But dats no fair mummy! The bairn gets to seep wi you. I want to seep wi da!”

“Faith, please dinna start. When the bairn comes, she will be sleepin’ in her own wee cot. And ye have yer own bed leannan because yer a big girl. Remember? Yer no a wee bairn anymore. When yer sister comes, she will need to get in to a routine of sleepin’ on her own like you. Dae ye think ye could show her how it’s done?”

“Fine.” She crosses her wee arms over her chest. She’s in a verra grumpy mood the day then.

“That’s a good lass. Oh look Faith, that’s us here. Isn’t it beautiful?”

“Hmmm.” Aye, she’s definitely got her mothers attitude, that’s for sure. I canna help but smile though.

 

After we arrived, Claire and Faith unpacked the groceries and saw to making some sandwiches for lunch whilst I brought all the bags in and took them to our rooms.

Claire and I showed Faith around the house, but she was still in a mood over the sleepin’ arrangements. She did however start to come out of it when I showed her some of the paintings in the library that my mother had created when I was a lad. She was fascinated with all the colours and how life like some of the portraits were.

We left Claire to rest in the library with a book and some tea while I took Faith out to the estate. I didna want to stray too far though as I didna like leavin’ Claire on her own for too long. I took Faith to the stables and introduced her to some of the horses. There arna as many as there used to be, but with us not actually livin’ in the house permanently, it wouldna be fair to have too many animals. The three horses we do have are well taken care of by one of the lads down in the village.

 

I take Faith back up to the house and insist it’s time for her nap. She’s no too keen on the idea, but then quickly gives in as sleep begins to take a hold of her. It’s been a long day. A long journey, and aye, she slept in the car for all of ten or fifteen minutes, but the dannar round the house and the stables has worn her out too. This is perfect timing as it will give Claire and I some much needed alone time before the Murray clan arrive and the house is thrown in to chaos.

 

“Well Ms Beauchamp, I think it’s about time I showed ye how much I love ye.” I walk over to Claire and take her hands to help her up from her chair.

“Well, it’s about time Mr Fraser, although, I think I already have a good idea.”

I pull her close and give her a quick kiss before leadin’ her out of the library and in to our room. We havena been properly intimate in such a long time. Christ, have we even made love since we got together officially? I dinna think we have. I ken we’ve done stuff, but our lives have been so consumed, and rightly so, with gettin’ Claire the help and support she needs and takin’ care of Faith.

Claire leads me over towards the bed and starts to kiss me. Her lips are on my mouth, my jaw, my neck and her hands... god her hands are everywhere. She starts to unbutton my shirt and slide it off. She removes her mouth from mine as she takes a second to take in what’s about to happen.

“Claire, we dinna have to if ye dinna want to.”

“I want to, more than anything Jamie. You have no idea how much I want you right now.”

I dinna have time to respond, her lips are on mine again with such a force, such a need. I open my mouth and she hers and I find her tongue with my own. She lets out a moan. Her arms are wrapped around my neck whilst mine are wrapped around her waist. I can feel my need for her growing and growing. I’m sure she can feel it too. I pull away and start to remove her wee dress. She starts to unbutton my trousers and I slide them off and kick them to the side. I reach my hands behind her back to unclasp her bra. And then bend down in front of her to recover her panties. On my way back up, I trail kisses on her right ankle, her leg and all the way up whilst I take film hold of her other leg. Her hands are in my hair as she lets out another moan or two. God, how I love this woman. I stand up to kiss her mouth again. Moving us just slightly so I can deepen the kiss. Christ, the noises she makes with just the slightest touch. I take one of her breasts in hand as I lick and suck on the other.

“Jamie, I need you now. I don’t think I can hold on much longer.” She pulls my head away from her and she tells me to take off my boxers.

We are stood next to the bed, completely naked. Claire turns us around and pushes me on to the bed and climbs on top of me to straddle me. Her bump is quite big so I suppose this would be the most comfortable position for her. My god she looks so beautiful carryin’ our child. I always knew she would.

She takes my cock in her hand and just as she is about to take me inside of her...

“Jamie? Claire? We’re here. We brought dinner. Where are ye’s?”

Fuuuuuck!

“You said they wouldn’t be here for at least another hour!” Claire slaps my arm. Does she think I’m no as annoyed as her?

“That’s what they told me Sassenach. Stay here, go for a shower. I’ll join ye in five minutes. I’ll tell the, that Faith needs a few minutes more rest and ye and I need to shower after a walk on the estate. It will be fine.” I give her a kiss and then throw a robe over me and head downstairs. God I hope they canna tell what we were just about to do.

 

“Hello everyone.” All the kids smile and wave and greet me as I come down the stairs. “Look guys, Faith is still nappin’. I’ll wake her up in five minutes, it’s just we were out a walk and Claire and I havena had a chance to get cleaned up yet. I was just about to jump in the shower. Can ye give us ten and we’ll all be down ready for dinner?”

“Aye, take yer time. We’re earlier than expected anyway.” Ian states as he brings in some more of their bags.

 

When I get back upstairs, Claire is just getting out of the shower.

“Sassenach, I thought we could of showered together?”

“No, it’s fine. I’ll go see to Faith. Don’t be too long. We’ll see you downstairs.” She gives me a quick kiss and heads out the door.

Fuck!

How is this even happenin’?

Chapter Text

Claire’s POV

Finally, after all these months Jamie and I finally have some time to ourselves. As much as I love Faith and I am so happy to have her back in my life, I feel like Jamie and I haven’t had the opportunity to enjoy being together. It’s just, so much has happened this year. Before AND after falling pregnant with this little one. Of course Faith comes before any man in my life. That’s why I was unsure about acting on my feelings for Jamie because I have to put my daughter first. It just got to a point though where I was just unable to fight it any more. I love Jamie and he loves me. And most importantly, he loves and adores my daughter. Our daughter.

But, Faith is having a nap and I’m pretty sure she will be asleep for quite some time after the long journey here to the highlands and her adventure around the estate with her daddy. This is the time for Jamie and I to finally be together properly. Especially since this little one will be making an appearance soon enough and if it’s this difficult to be intimate with a three year old, it’s going to be even more difficult with a new born.

We need to make the most of this weekend. Jenny and her husband and their family will be arriving in an hour or so. Hopefully they will be kind enough to take Faith at some point during the weekend so Jamie and I can have a little more time together. I’m sure they will. I’m sure they will want to spend time and get to know Faith.

Right now though, I am about to make love to my love for the first time in... shit. When was the last time we actually....? No. It can’t of been seven months ago. Can it? I mean I know we’ve had some fun the last few months, but oh god. Jamie and I haven’t been this intimate since the night I begged him to sleep with me to conceive our child.

Oh god. What if he doesn’t like my body. What if he doesn’t find me any good? What if the bump puts him off?

Stop thinking like that Beauchamp.

Jamie loves you and he wants to be with you.

Right.

 

We are standing next to the bed. Completely naked. His eyes keep running up and down my body. He’s smiling. The bump obviously isn’t putting him off. Thank god. I turn us around and sit him on the bed.

Oh god, how are we going to do this with my huge bump in between us?

I move straddle him on the bed and look him straight in his beautiful blue eyes. They’re a few shades darker than normal. He wants this. He wants me. I take a hold of him and just as I’m about to guide him home, I hear Jenny’s voice shouting from downstairs.

“Jamie? Claire? We’re here. We brought dinner. Where are ye’s?”

Are you actually kidding me?

“You said they wouldn’t be here for at least another house!” I see the at Jamie as I slap his upper arm.

“That’s what they told me Sassenach. Stay here, go for a shower. I’ll join ye in five minutes. I’ll tell the, that Faith needs a few minutes more rest and ye and I need to shower after a walk on the estate. It will be fine.” He gives me a kiss and I stand to let him up off the bed. He throws a robe on and walks out the door.

What the hell?

We were so close.

For the first time in months we actually get time to ourselves and Jamie’s sister comes home and ruins the moment. I suppose I should be glad she was downstairs and were in our room.

 

I go for a quick shower and I’m out just as Jamie returns. I can tell he’s frustrated that I showered without him, but how does he expect me to shower with him quickly whilst his family are waiting down stairs? I can’t be near his naked god like physique right now.

“Sassenach, I thought we could of showered together?”

“No, it’s fine. I’ll go see to Faith. Don’t be too long. We’ll see you downstairs.” I give him a quick kiss and leave our room to go and wake our daughter.

 

Faith wasn’t overly enthusiastic about me waking her so soon in to her nap. I couldn’t blame her. Jamie and I were just as frustrated. “Mummy, I want to seep.”

“You’ve had a nap sweetheart, now it’s time for some dinner. Look, Auntie Jenny’s here and she brought us some food.”

“Auntie Jen!” Faith shouted as she caught sight of Jenny standing in the kitchen.

“Hello my love, how are ye?” Jenny asks as she crouches down to scoop Faith in to her arms.

That’s one thing I have noticed about my daughter. How quickly she takes to people. Well, some people. She was the same the first time Jamie and I went to visit with her at the contact centre. She had been quiet to begin with, but then she opened up and it was like she had known us forever. The way she took to Jamie. God, I will treasure that day forever. Asking him to read her a story as she cuddled in to me. One of the best days of my life. Our first memory as our own little family.

“Good. Where’s da?”

“Och, I dinna ken lass. He said somethin’ about needin’ tae shower after a walk.” Jenny glanced over and gave me a look. I could tell that she hadn’t bought Jamie’s story. Luckily, Faith stepped in.

“We did go walk. Da took me to see the horses and den he made me go to seep.”

“Did ye have a good wee nap then?”

“No. Mummy got me up for tea fore I could seep. Da ha just tucked me in too.”

Hopefully that will put a stop to any of Jenny’s sneaky suspicions as to what we were up to when they arrived.

“Sorry my darling, but it just means that we can all have some dinner together and we can meet the rest of daddy’s family. It also means you should get a pretty decent nights sleep tonight.”

Jenny gave Faith a kiss on her cheek and then let her down to finish dishing out the rest of the food. There was no sign of her husband or her children. They must be taking there things to their rooms.

Just as I was about to help Jenny, Faith had wondered towards the stairs.

“And where do you think you’re going little miss?”

“I want Da.”

“I’m coming, I’m coming.” Jamie runs down the stairs and scoops Faith up in his arms and places her on top of his shoulders. “Ye miss me that much? I only seem ye a wee while ago.”

“Hmmm. Ma woke me.”

“Och did she leannan? What did ye dae that for Sassenach?” Jamie smiles as we walk back in to the kitchen. “Janet. Yer here early.”

“Well, we thought we might as well leave after we got the weans fae school since you would already be here. No a problem is it?”

“Course no.” Jamie bends down to kiss the top of his sisters head. “Just a nice surprise is all. This yin was in her bed, weren’t ye?”

“No now.” Faith crossed her arms over her she’s and pouted her lips. I swear our daughter is three going on thirteen.

I hope her little sister doesn’t develop the same attitude. Jamie is very quick to point out how much Faith is like me, but even though she isn’t biologically Jamie’s, I do see a lot of Jamie’s traits in her. When Jamie and I first met, he was always going in and out of moods like nobody’s business. A little bit like our Faith here.

God how I just adore her.

And him.

Both of them.

Mine.

 

After Ian and the children came back down stairs, we all retreated to the dining room and took our places at the table. Faith insisted she sit with her daddy at the top of the table. She didn’t want to sit with me as I was the devil who didn’t let her sleep. She was kind pleasant with everyone else around the table and was extremely happy to meet her uncle Ian and her new cousins.

Faith and Kitty hit it off straight away. There is only two months between them in age which is wonderful. Wee Jamie, who was named after my Jamie is seven years old. Then there’s Maggie, she’s five. Kitty was next and then wee Ian who is only eighteen months.

How Jenny and Ian manage with four young children is beyond me. Not that Jamie and I struggle with Faith, but taking care of one child is tough. It will be more difficult when the new baby comes along. Luckily, Faith is really excited about her little sister so I’m sure she will be a great help.

 

“Are ye lookin’ forward to bein’ a big sister then Faith?” Ian asks her as Faith keeps glancing over to my bump. She is t speaking to me, but she still likes to know her sister is doing okay.

“Aye. Happy she’s a girl. I have a bother.”

“Ye have a brother?” Jenny chips in.

“Aye. Gus.”

Jamie, obviously not keen on his sisters question steps in before she can ask any more.

“Aye. Wee Fergus. I telt ye how wee Faith here was stayin’ with a foster family for a wee while. Well, the family also fostered Fergus. He’s a cracking wee lad, ain’t he Claire? Him and Faith are verra close. Like a proper we brother and sister. He comes round to the house sometimes and Faith goes over to play with him.”

“Dae ye think that’s wise? I mean keepin’ that relationship goin’? Would it no be better for the lass to just focus on her real family? Try and help her forget about her time in foster care?”

I don’t know if Jenny meant it to sound like that, but she makes me feel like I should be ashamed for leaving my daughter with another family.

“No Janet. Faith and Fergus are close. He really looks out for her and protects her. They have a bond. We’re no gonna interfere with that. I think it’s good she has a healthy relationship with another child. And no, how could we possibly try and keep her away from the family who took her in and cared for her all that time? It’s none of yer business how we raise our daughter. I dinna sit and tell ye how to raise yer bairns.”

I reach my hand over to cover Jamie’s to try and get him to calm down. “Jamie please.”

“Thanks for dinner, but if ye will excuse us, my family and I are goin’ out.” Jamie stands and lifts Faith in to his arms to carry her out of the room. I collect our empty dishes and take them to the kitchen to put in the dishwasher. When I come out of the kitchen, Jamie has already took Faith out to the car and he’s standing at the door with my jacket and my handbag.

“Come on Sassenach.”

“Where are we going. Jamie?” I ask him as we walk towards the car.

“The village. Let’s go get some dessert, shall we Faith?” Faiths little face lights up at the thought of cake or ice cream.

 

Jamie takes us to this little dessert shop in the middle of the village. It’s very beautiful inside. Very traditional and has an old fashioned feel to the place. The tables are all hand carved in the highlands. Same with the matching wooden chairs. There is a freezer on display with about twenty different ice cream flavours and then a Mr Whippy machine to the side. Shelves and shelves filled with different toppings. Then, THEN, I spotted the fridges with all the beautiful cakes, pie and tarts. How the hell am I supposed to choose? I feel like a kid in a toy story coming up to Christmas.

“See something ye fancy Sassenach?” Jamie asks with the biggest grin on his face. Oh he knows what he’s doing.

“The banoffee pie looks delicious, but so does the strawberry tart. It all looks wonderful. How do you expect me to choose?! What are you having?”

“I want a shake ma.” Jamie and I look at each other and giggle. At least she’s speaking to me now.

“What kind of milkshake my darling?”

“Choc.”

“Chocolate. Hm, dae ye want to add some peanut butter to it Faith?”

“Jamie! Seriously? Do you want her awake all night?”

“Dinna fash Sassenach. She’s only getting the weeist size cup.” He pulls me close and kisses my cheek. I swear I just seen out three year old roll her eyes.

Definitely going on thirteen.

 

We sit in the corner of the shop as Faith drinks her little milkshake happily. Jamie and I decided to split a chocolate brownie with some squishy cream and chocolate sauce. It’s probably the most beautiful brownie I’ve ever tasted in my life.

 

Before we make our way home, Jamie decides to take us on a little drive around the village and point out places he knew as a child. It was getting pretty dark, so there wasn’t much to see, but Faith and I enjoyed it none the less.

When we eventually get home, Faith wants to see the horses again before bed. Jamie asks me to stay in the car as he doesn’t want me speaking with Jenny until tomorrow. I don’t argue as I honestly don’t know what I could possibly say to the woman. She doesn’t know me and she doesn’t know my life. She’s Jamie’s sister, so obviously I want to open up SOME parts of my history with her, but not everything. As Jamie says, it’s none of her business. Especially the way Jamie and I choose to raise Faith.

Jamie and I may not have the experience in raising children that Jenny and Ian do, but I think we do a pretty good job. Faith is well loved and well looked after. Why shouldn’t she continue to have a relationship and a friendship with the family who raised her when I couldn’t?

 

When Jamie and Faith come back towards the car, Faith is asleep in her daddy’s arms. She looks so tiny next to him. I can’t get over how lucky both Faith and I are to have this wonderful man in our lives.

Jamie opens the car door for me and gives me a hand to help me get out. Always the gentleman.

We walk in to the house and Jenny and Ian are sat in the living room. Just as we approach the stairs, Jenny appears.

“How was yer night?” When Jamie didn’t respond, Jenny asked if she could speak to us both to apologise for herself.

“We need to put the lass to bed and then Claire needs the same rest. I’m sure ye can appreciate that. We’ll talk tomorrow.” And just like that, Jenny turned and walked away.

Jamie and I continued up the stairs and lay Faith in her bed. She was exhausted the poor little angel. I left her little teddy bear beside her head on the pillow and then Jamie and I went to our own room.

“Now Ms Beauchamp, let me help ye with that wee dress of yers.”

“Isn’t it a little early for bed Jamie? I am tired, but not enough to sleep. Can we just relax for a little while. Read a little maybe? Watch some television?”

“We’re no readin’ Sassenach. And we’re no watchin’ tele either. But, ye will be relaxin’. I promise ye that.”

“Hmmm? And how do you suggest we do that Mr Fraser?” I ask as wrap my arms around his neck and he pulls me closer for a kiss.

 

Jamie reaches around to unzip my dress and slide it off of me. He then proceeds to remove my bra. I kick off my shoes and Jamie starts to pull down my underwear.

God is this really happening?

“Lie down on the bed Sassenach and close yer wee eyes.”

“Jamie, we can’t like that. Not with my bump.”

“Do as I say, please. Just trust me.” Jamie kisses my nose and then goes over to lock our bedroom door.

I climb on to the bed and lie on my back with my eyes closed. I can feel Jamie hovering around the bed, but I have no idea what he’s doing.

I feel something cold dripping on my chest and down over both my breasts. “What the fuck Jamie?” I open my eyes and Jamie is sitting beside me with a bottle of chocolate sauce. “Where the hell did you get that?”

“At the wee dessert shop when I went to pay and ye and Faith went back to the car. Ye said ye liked the sauce and so did I. I just wondered what it would taste like on ye.” He lowered his head and started to lick the chocolate off my body.

When he got to my breasts, he licked and sucked all the sauce from my right breast first and then used his hand to play with my nipple whilst he saw to ,y other breast.

Oh my god.

I can’t help the noises coming out of me. I can’t seem to stop moaning.

Jamie slowly makes his way back up to my mouth using his tongue. His hand is still working on my right breast. His kiss is very gentle, but firm at the same time. His tongue is crushing in to mine and I can taste the sauce on his tongue.

I feel his hand sliding down off my breast and over my bump.

“Open yer legs for me Sassenach.” He whispers in to my ear.

“Jamie. We can’t like this.”

“Trust me Sassenach, am no gonna hurt the bairn. Open yer legs just a wee bit. Please?”

I do as he asks and I feel his hand dropping down between my legs.

Oh my god.

How I need him.

My eyes closed as I felt him slide two fingers inside of me. He doesn’t move. His fingers are just there. He lowers his head again to kiss me. His fingers press forward and once again I am moaning. I can’t help myself but rock against his hand.

Does he know what he does to me?

When he removes his lips from mine to kiss down my jaw and my neck, I died myself trying to speak.

“Ja...Jamie. Oh god. I....I need you.”

“I have ye Sassenach. I’ve got ye.”

“No...” Shit! He thinks I mean I don’t want to do this. He lifts his head in confusion. “I don’t want to stop Jamie. But I need you inside me. Like now.”

He smiles at me and and kisses my mouth again before saying, “no tonight Sassenach. Tonight is about me showing ye how much I love ye. I promised ye I would.”

He continues to move his fingers inside of me and then he starts rubbing his thumb against my clit.

Oh my god.

This is it.

I start moaning again and Jamie brings his mouth up to mine again as if to catch my screams with his own mouth. I just hope the entire house doesn’t hear me.

I could feel myself clamping around him.

Jamie brings his lips to my ear and whispers to me in Gaelic. I have no clue what he’s saying but I just lose myself and start to scream, but no noise comes out. Thank god.

I close my eyes and I can feel Jamie kissing my forehead. I open my eyes and he smiles down at me. I lick my lips. My chest is moving up and down so fast, I feel like my heart just may explode.

Frank never made me feel like that.

“Wow. That was...”

“Ye’re so beautiful mo nighean donn.” He kissed my lips again just before I sat up.

I reached over to the bedside table for the tissues so Jamie could wipe his fingers, but instead he took his fingers in his mouth and sucked off my juices. I have never seen anything like that before.

“Wha.. what did you do that for?”

“I wanted to taste ye Sassench. Verra sweet.” He leaned in and kissed my forehead again before taking a tissue and wiping the rest of his hand. “Fancy another shower Sassenach? Then I’ll let ye get some sleep.”

I take his hands as he helps me up from the bed. God, I can barely stand. Jamie helps me through to our en suite for our shower.

I can’t believe he wanted to see to me and my needs and never asked for anything in return.

It was never like that with Frank. It was always either just sex to try for a baby or he raped me. There was no love. Nothing.

Jamie really is the perfect man. I can’t ever let him go. I want to spend the rest of my life with this man. Grow old with him and die in each other’s arms when we’re old and grey.

I love him and he loves me just as much.

Chapter Text

Jamie’s POV

“Jamie. Jamie wake up. Jamie.”

“What is it Sassenach? The bairn okay?” I wake up in a panic. Claire never wakens me during the night.

“No, she’s fine. As am I.”

“What is it then Sassenach?” I sit up in the bed next to Claire.

“We haven’t discussed what you want to tell your family about us.”

I pick up my phone from the bedside table and look at the time. “Claire, it’s twenty past three in the flippin’ mornin’. Dinna tell me ye’ve been up all this time overthinkin’ everythin’. Go back to sleep Sassenach and we can discuss it at a reasonable hour in the mornin’ aye?” I put my phone back and turn over to go back to sleep.

I feel Claire slippin’ outta the bed. “Where ye goin’ Sassenach?”

“To get a glass of water and then I’m going to sleep with Faith.”

“God sake Claire, what have I done now?”

“Seriously? Are you seriously asking me that Jamie? YOU were the one that neglected to tell your family about your plans to start a family. YOU were the one that neglected to tell them about me and my daughter. YOU are the one that neglected to tell them about this child on the way. YOU were the one keeping all the secrets and now we are here with your family and you refuse to tell them the truth, which I do completely understand by the way. Especially giving our relationship now. But Jamie, I don’t think you realise how awkward it is for me to be here knowing that your sister is extremely suspicious of me, my past and our relationship. This needs sorting now Jamie. Obviously I shouldn’t have woken you. Sorry to be such a bother.” She picks up her robe from the couch and walks towards the door.

I leap off of the bed and runs towards the door before she can leave. I try to pull her to me, but she just keeps pushing me off. “Claire, I’m sorry. I’m so verra sorry I have ye feelin’ like this. Yer right, we should talk about it. I’m so sorry we didna discuss it before. Please, just come back to bed and we’ll talk, aye?”

“I still need a drink. I’ll be back up shortly.”

“Ye away back to bed Sassenach, keep yerself and the bairn warm aye? I’ll go and get us some tea. That sound good?”

“Okay. Jamie I’m sorry.” She starts cryin’. I take her in my arms and just hold her.

“Claire, ye have NOTHING to apologise for. It’s me that’s been the idiot. Me that thought, Christ Claire, I dinna even ken what I thought. This is all on me aye? And whatever Jenny’s opinions may be, they don’t matter. This is OUR family. Mine and yers. You, me Faith and the bairn. We are the only ones that matter. Jenny should focus on her own family and let me live my own life with mine.”

I take Claire back over to the bed when I manage to calm her a bit. I turn on the two heaters in the room. Lord knows how long this conversation will go and I’m no prepared to sleep afterwards if Claire is still wide awake. I hate that my actions, or lack of have forced her to feel so bad. I have my reasons for no tellin’ Jenny about the surrogacy. It’s none of her damn business and I knew she wouldna approve. But, I should of told her somethin’ long before now. Now it’s all just a big mess and it’s caused so much pain to Claire.

 

When I come back up from the kitchen, I hear screams coming from Faith’s room. Claire obviously heard it too as she’s came runnin’ out of our bedroom. I place the tea tray down on one of the tables next to the stair case and Claire and I rush in to see to Faith.

“Faith, what is it sweetheart?”

Faith climbs out from under her duvet and climbs on to my lap after I sit on the bed. She cuddles her wee head into me. “Leannan, we canna help if ye dinna tell us what’s wrong.”

“Nufin. I woke up and I got a fright.”

“What gave you a fright sweetheart?” Claire sits down beside me and runs her hand up and down Faith’s back to soothe her.

“Granny. She was over there.” Faith points to the armchair sitting in the corner of her bedroom. It used to belong to my mam and after she passed, we brought it in to this room as it was her favourite room for doing her art.

“What do you mean darling?” Claire asks.

“Granny was here. I fink I scared her away.”

Claire and I just look at each other not knowing what to say. Faith lifts her head from me and pushes her self up to kiss me and then she turns to kiss Claire before she jumps back in under her covers.

“Pease put the light off when ye go.”

I think it’s clear from the look on Claire’s face that she feels the same as me, there is NO way Faith is stayin’ in this room tonight on her own.

“Right you, come on, yer sleepin’ in our room tonight. Ye can sleep with yer mam and I’ll sleep on the couch.” I reach to pick Faith up, but she pushes me away.

“No da. I stay wi Granny.”

What the hell is goin’ on here? I ken she kens what my mother looked like as I’ve shown her plenty of pictures, but why does she think my mam is in the room? It’s really spooky. Nothing seems odd or out of place to Claire or I, but there is this eerie feelin’ to the room now after what Faith has said.

 

We eventually get Faith out of her bed and in to ours. She no sooner jumps in and she falls asleep. Claire and I sit on the couch in front of one of the heaters. I put a wee blanket around Claire to make sure she and the bairn are warm enough.

“Claire, I told ye a while ago why I decided no to tell Jenny and Ian about the surrogacy plan. I kent that Jenny wouldna approve. My plan was to tell her after the bairn was born. I kent she would go mad, that’s why I wanted to leave it as long as possible. When I started this whole process, I never dreamed that I would end up fallin’ in love with anyone, never mind the lass I paid to carry my bairn for me. Then, when the lass was conceived... our child’s was conceived with love Claire. I ken it took ye a while to understand that yerself, but it was always the case for me. You and me fallin’ in love and creating our child the way we did wasn’t in the plan. But it happened, and I couldna be happier. How am I supposed to explain any of this to Jenny? She would go mad at the surrogacy plan alone, never mind thinkin’ me a fool for what happened between us. It’s OUR story Claire. I want my sister to get to know you as the love of my life and no some random lass I paid to have my bairn. I’m no ashamed of it, or us Claire, I just dinna need to hear Jenny actin’ all holier than thou.”

“I know my darling. And I completely understand all of that. Especially now that I’ve met your sister. I can see what you mean. That isn’t my issue Jamie. I just need to know what you plan on saying about how we met and how we got together. I have a feeling that Jenny thinks that I was just using you to get Faith home.”

I take Claire’s hands in mine and kiss each of them. “I told Jenny that something happened between ye and yer ex and ye thought it best to give Faith to a family who could take care of her until ye we’re ready to bring her hame. I didna mention anythin else as it has nowt to do with her. I think she’s concerned about how quickly Faith has took to referin’ to me as da. But again Claire, this is OUR family and it’s none of her business. All Jenny needs to know is you and I love each other. We have a daughter together and another little princess on the way. As for how we met and how long we’ve been together, I’ll let ye decide.”

“Well, I know it would mean getting the lads involved, but I don’t think they would mind considering everything, but since we were both friends with Joe and John before you and I even met, why don’t we say that we met one night through them and we hit it off. We weren’t expecting anything to happen, but something just felt right?”

I lean in and kiss her. “Sounds like an idea Sassenach. We’ll just say we were both invited to a dinner party last year and we hit it off. Then, we say that the lads only found out about our relationship when we told them ye were pregnant. I ken Jenny will no be happy at them kennin’ a’fore her, but tough. It’s kinda the truth anyway. Ye were pregnant when we told them we were together, aye?” I give her a wee smile. I can see she’s starting to calm a wee bit now.

“Okay, so you and I met at a dinner party hosted by Joe and John last year. We began dating, but didn’t really tell anyone. Then when we found out we were pregnant, we told the lads and thanked them for introducing us. Before I brought Faith home, you and she had already built a beautiful relationship, that isn’t a lie. And on our last visit with her before we brought her home, she called you da. That isn’t a lie either.” She gives me the biggest smile. “And we have been and continue to be extremely happy and very in love and we can’t wait for our second child to arrive.”

“Couldn’t of said it better myself Sassenach.”

She moves herself on the couch so that she is leaning in against me. Her head resting on my chest and my chin resting on the top of her head.

“I’ll ring John in the morning and let him know. It’ll be fine. He kens Jenny and what she’s like. He’ll only be too happy to help.”

“Thank you Jamie. There was em, one other thing I wanted to discuss with you. I mean, you can say no if you want, I just thought it might be nice.”

“What’s that Sassenach?”

“I’ve been thinking about this for a little while now. Well, since I’ve been bonding with this little one more.” She moved her left hand to rest on her bump. “This child is going to be a Fraser, obviously. I wondered how you would feel about maybe either adopting Faith or maybe changing her last name from Randall to Fraser? I just think it would be nice for both our daughters to have the same last name. The same last name as their daddy. It was just a thought, you don’t have to agree Jamie.”

My god. How could she think I would turn down the opportunity to legally have Faith as my own?

“Claire, I would be honoured to officially be Faith’s dad. Christ, I couldna love that lass any more if she were my verra own, ye ken that Sassenach. I dinna need a piece of paper to ken she is and always will be my daughter, but it would be verra nice and mean the world to me. Are ye sure though?” I can feel the tears in my eyes.

Claire lifts her head from my chest and says, “Yes I’m sure Jamie. She is OURS. I want to make it official.”

“Sounds good to me Sassenach. I only have one condition.”

“What’s that?”

“That ye do me the great honour of marryin’ me and becoming my wife. My name, my clan, they’re yers as well Sassenach. If our daughters are both Frasers, it’s only right their mother is too.”

Claire’s absolutely speechless. Tears start rolling down her cheeks and she covers her mouth with her hand.

“Aye? No? Christ sassenach, give me something?” I ask her with a wee chuckle.

She throws her arms around me and whispers in to my ear, “Yes. Yes. A thousand times yes James Fraser. I will marry you.”

“I love ye som much Sassenach. I dinna even think ye ken how much.”

“I love you too Jamie. I can’t wait to be your wife.”

We spend the rest of the night, (early hours of the mornin’), asleep in each other’s arms on the couch.

Chapter Text

Claire’s POV

I awake in the morning laying next to Jamie on the couch. We must of fell asleep here. Faith is climbing up to sit on Jamie’s knee.

“Shhhh sweetheart. It’s still really early. Why don’t you and I cuddle in the bed and let daddy rest a while longer?”

“Okay ma. Why did ye and da seep here?”

“We were talking and we must of just drifted off. Come on my darling. Let daddy sleep.”

I gently lift her off Jamie and put her on the ground and take her by the hand over to the bed. It isn’t easy carrying Faith around when I’m seven months pregnant. Luckily she understands and that’s why she’s always climbing over Jamie. She doesn’t want to “hurt the bairn”. It makes me smile to think of all the phrases she’s picked up from Jamie these last few months. I might be English, but my daughter is well and truly a Scot. Her little accent is just delicious. Actually, that reminds me...

“Faith sweetheart—“

“Aye?”

“Why have you stopped calling me mummy? You’ve called me “Ma” a few times now.”

“Dinna ken. Da called granny ma.”

“It’s alright, don’t worry about it. Ma sounds good to me.”

I pull her close to me and we lay and talk amongst ourselves quietly until Jamie wakes up.

When he eventually does, he goes in to our en-suite to make a quick call to John to ask him to play along with our story. Whilst Jamie is seeing to that, I take Faith back over to her room to get her ready for the day.

Faith has taken to picking out her own clothes to wear. Jamie thinks it’s a wonderful idea to encourage her creativity. I don’t usually mind if we’re having a day in the house, but as much as I love my daughter, she likes to go for the colour clash look. Jamie thinks it’s adorable, which it is, but it’s embarrassing when people look at her and think her parents don’t know how to dress her properly.

Today she has picked out a plain white t shirt, a pair of bright pink trousers and a bottle green hoodie. To top it off, she is admiring her new orange trainers Jamie bought her the other day.

“Faith sweetheart, why don’t we find you something more... comfortable to wear today since I think daddy is taking you round the rest of the estate.” She just looks at me as if I’m mad. “And remember daddy said he would take you to the park? You want to be comfortable for that, don’t you?”

She just shrugs her shoulders at me and dumps the clothes she picked out back in her drawers. NOT folded neatly I might add.

In the end I picked out a pair of black jeggings, her white t shirt and a little black and white cardigan. They were all pretty old clothes, so if she ruined them in the mud and dirt, it wouldn’t matter.

“Daddy packed your wellies too, so you can wear them when you go around the estate.”

“Okay ma.”

Ma. God. It’s not that I mind being called Ma, it’s just since we reconnected, I’ve always been “mummy”. It’s just going to take a bit of getting used to that’s all.

“And how are my three favourite girls this morning?” Jamie appears through Faiths door and plants a kiss on Faiths head and then on my mouth.

“We are not too bad thank you. And how are you? What did John say?”

“Dinna fash Sassenach. Apparently Jenny already spoke to him yesterday wonderin’ if he knew about ye and the bairns.”

“Oh god. What did he say?”

“He told her that ye were a nurse at the hospital and are verra friendly with him and Joe. They introduced us and we started dating. Aye they knew about the pregnancy but they figured it was up to me to tell anyone I wanted to ken.”

“How did she take it?”

“She wasna very happy, but hey, it’s our life sassenach. Nothing to do with Jenny Murray. Okay?”

 

With the three of us were ready, we head downstairs for breakfast. Faith spies Kitty and Maggie in the living room so she runs off to play with her cousins before breakfast. It’s really nice to see how they all get on.

As Jamie and I approach the kitchen, we overhear the conversation between Jenny and her husband Ian.

“Look Jenny, it’s Jamie’s life. Just let him get on with it. Come on, ye said it yerself, whenever ye seen him these past few months, he’s been a lot happier. A lot like he was when he was younger. It’s been years since the man’s been himself Jenny. Any normal sister would be happy for her brother.”

“No one is more happy than me at the fact Jamie is finally back to his old self. It just doesn’t make any sense why he wouldna tell us about Claire and the bairns. I’m his sister. Yer his best mate. Christ Ian, ye work wi the man. How did we no ken what was gan on? I’ll tell ye somethin’ else, he’s still no tellin’ the truth about somethin’. I plan on findin’ out exactly who that woman is and what she’s daein’ wi my brother.”

“Jenny—“

“No Ian. He told me THAT bairn was planned. Yet, I kinda got the impression when I spoke to John yesterday that they started dating and BAM, she was pregnant. Who’s to say the bairn is actually Jamie’s? I mean Faith isna, but she was quite happy to encourage her child to believe that he is—“

“Don’t you EVER speak about my family like that again Janet. Claire and I are together whether ye like it or no. The bairn Claire is carryin IS mine and as for Faith, she IS my daughter.”

“Jamie, I—“

“Spare it. I’m takin’ my girls out for breakfast. We will be home later. We will talk then. I just, I canna look at ye right now Janet.”

With that, Jamie took my hand and lead me in to the living room to collect Faith and we leave the house without him even looking back.

 

It’s a very quiet car journey in to Inverness. Why we’re heading to Inverness and not just in to the village, I have no idea. I don’t want to ask as I can see he needs to process things. I give his knee a gentle squeeze and tell him everything will be alright. He turns and gives me a flash of his beautiful smile.

 

When we get to Inverness, Jamie drives us to a little cafe on the river front. It’s so quiet and peaceful. It’s quite small, but there is still plenty of space between tables so we’re not too close to anyone else.

Jamie decides on a bacon, egg and tattie scone roll for breakfast. I was half expecting him to go for a more healthier option, but not today apparently. Faith had decided on her usual porridge and asked for a banana too. This girl really loves her fruit. Since Jamie decided on an unhealthy breakfast roll, I thought I would just do the same. It’s been a while since I’ve had a haggis and tattie scone roll. Both Jamie and Faith think it’s disgusting, but it’s not like I’m forcing them to eat it. The only time Jamie has Haggis, is when it’s Burns Night or he’s attending burns suppers. He does like haggis, just not in a breakfast roll. Oh well, to each is own.

 

After breakfast, Jamie takes us a walk along the river before heading over to the high street. Jamie encourages me to go for a browse through one of the bookstore in the shopping centre whilst he takes Faith to one of the toy stores.

We regroup outside the shopping centre almost an hour later. I don’t know what they had done, but Faith couldn’t stop giggling.

“And what would be so amusing little miss?”

“Nowt. Da, can we go pay at the park now?”

“Aye, why no? I think it will do yer mam a bit of good to sit down for a wee while. I might even buy her a wee cuppa tea and a biscuit.” Jamie blinks at me. His version of a wink.

“It’s like you read my mind.”

Jamie kisses me and then takes Faith’s left hand whilst I take her right and we walk the short distance back to the car.

 

The park isn’t as big as the ones we usually take her to In Glasgow, but that’s fine. It means that hopefully she won’t need to stay too long. Time is getting on and I know Jamie really needs to sort things with his sister.

Maybe I should tell her about my past with Frank? But I’m not sure if I want to. It’s extremely personal and takes a lot for me to be able to talk about it. Especially with someone I barely know. Someone who would rather believe the worst in me than try to get to know me for me.

I don’t want me and my children to be the reason Jamie doesn’t have a good relationship with his sister. I don’t have any siblings, but I know what it’s like to have no family around. I don’t want Jamie to go through that when his sister lives only forty minutes away in Edinburgh. They need each other.

I sit on one of the benches drinking my tea as I watch Jamie pushing Faith on the swing. I can’t apologise for allowing them to become so close because it truly does feel like Jamie is supposed to be her father. I was never one for believing everything happens for a reason when I was younger, especially with everything I went through in my life, but this truly feels like it’s meant to be.

There was no way Frank could of been the father Faith deserved. He loved her. I know that’s true, but that isn’t enough. My daughter deserves to grow up with a dad that won’t hurt or abuse her mum. She deserves a dad that would go to the end of the world to love and protect her from anything and everything. That’s Jamie.

It was clear early on that there was something between Jamie and I. I can’t even begin to explain it, but it was there. I never expected him to be willing to take on my child as his own, but he did. He fell in love with her as she did him. Faith saw Jamie as her daddy and Jamie saw Faith as his daughter. Their relationship is one of the most purest and natural things I have ever witnessed.

I am proud to call Jamie mine. And I am proud to say he is my children’s father. Both of them.

Jamie said last night he didn’t need a piece of paper to tell him Faith is his, and I agree. It’s what they feel for each other that counts. But it warms my heart that we are going to make it official. And I am so proud that one day I will get to call him my husband.

Faith will no longer be Faith Randall. I will no longer be Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp. There won’t be three different surnames in our one family. We will ALL be Frasers. Jamie, me and our two daughters. Nothing makes me happier than that.

 

The journey back to Lallybroch is a bit more relaxed and fun. Jamie put a playlist on his phone specifically for Faith. It’s a children’s musical group that Jamie had grew up watching and listening to when he was a child. “The Singing Kettle”. I have to admit, they were pretty good. Although, I think Jamie is enjoying it a little bit too much. I don’t think there is a single lyric or hand action the guy doesn’t know. It’s good to see him so happy though. Lord knows what we will be walking in to at Lallybroch. Hopefully Jenny will be calm and willing to hear us out.

I just don’t understand the woman. That night she turned up at our house, yes she was shocked and annoyed and I could completely understand why, but them she and Jamie spoke and she was kind enough to invite us all to Lallybroch with her family this weekend. She even commented on how good I was for Jamie. She spoke to my daughter and held her in her arms. What has went through her head between then and now. She is so against the idea of me and Jamie and she definitely doesn’t agree with Jamie being Faith’s daddy. I honestly don’t know what I could possibly say or do to make her want to get to know me properly. I don’t plan on going anywhere. Jamie is the only man I have ever truly loved. What I had with Frank wasn’t love. I might of thought it was back in the early days, but this relationship with Jamie, this is real. This is love. I don’t plan on walking away. We have overcome so much in both our personal lives to finally get to this point. Together. A family. I can’t let Jenny Murray tear that apart. I won’t.

 

 

When we arrive back at Lallybroch, Jamie leads Faith and I on a little walk. Not too far away from the house as he knows how tired I get. We sit on one of the hills looking over the village. When we turn around the other way, we have the perfect view of the house and the rest of the estate. It’s beautiful.

I hear Faith giggling and when I turn to look at her to see what’s funny, I see her standing next to Jamie as he is down on one knee.

“Jamie, you already asked me to be your wife and I said yes.” I smile at him warmly and run my hand through his beautiful auburn hair.

“I ken, but I didna have a ring. Well, I did actually, but I thought since this was a new start for all of us, ye deserved a new ring. Just for ye. So Sassenach, whilst ye were away looking in yer wee bookstore earlier, Faith and I went to a jewellers to pick out yer engagement ring.”

Jamie opens this little blue box to show off this wonderful engagement ring with a stunning sapphire in the middle of two tiny diamond stones.

“Jamie—“

“I ken how much ye like yer white gold Sassenach. Anyway, Claire, ye have gave me the great honour of making me a father twice over now. I was wondering if ye would do me the honour of becoming my wife?”

I can’t stop crying and I can’t get any words out. I just nod my head as Jamie and Faith both slide the ring onto my ring finger on my left hand. It’s the most beautiful ring I have ever seen.

“I love ye so much Claire.” He gets up and kisses me.

“I love you too.” He kisses me again.

Jamie then bends down to Faiths level again and produces her with a little bracelet that matches my ring.

“Jamie, you cant give her that. You shouldn’t of even—“

“It’s fine Sassenach. It fits her, see. It wilna slide off. And yer gonna look after it, aren’t ye?” Faith smiles and nods her little head.

“Well, at least there aren’t any stones in it. That’s at least something.”

“She’ll get the same stones from yer ring put on the bracelet when she’s older Sassenach. I bought another bracelet for the bairn. She’ll get hers when she’s around Faith’s age. And again, the stones will be put on her bracelet when she’s a lot older.”

“Jamie, I don’t know what to say. The ring, the bracelets, they’re beautiful.”

“Aye, just like my girls.”

Jamie kisses me again before Faith tries to pull is apart.

“Dinna skish the bairn Da.” She scolds Jamie.

“I’m no squishin’ the bairn leannan. Come on, let’s go back to the house aye?” It’ll be lunch time soon.”

 

As we walk slowly back to the house. Jamie and I hand in hand and Faith a top of Jamie’s shoulders. We see three other cars parked outside the house. Jamie tenses up. I turn to look at him. He looks annoyed.

“What the hell has that woman done noo?”

Chapter Text

Jamie’s POV

So, Claire and I had a wonderful talk last night. She asked me to adopt Faith and I asked her to be my wife. I feel like we are already a happy wee family. We just need the wee one to make her appearance in the world. But, I canna deny how happy it makes me that Faith will also have my last name and I will officially become her father. And Claire... God. Claire is goin’ to become my wife.

Even overhearin’ Jenny’s wee discussion with Ian this mornin’ canna get me down the day. Well, no entirely. She had no right speakin’ of my future wife or my bairns like that. How dare she?

None of that matters. Not at this moment. What’s important now is me spendin’ quality time with my three girls. Claire, Faith and bump. That’s a thing, Claire and I really need to start discussin’ names for the bairn. She’ll be here in the next couple of months.

 

Claire, Faith and I had a very lovely day together in Inverness. I took them to a wee cafe down by the river for breakfast. We had a wee dannar round the high street. Claire went for a wee browse in a book shop in the shopping centre. I telt her that I was takin’ Faith to a toy store, but instead, the lass and I went in search of one of the best jewellers in the city.

I had Faith help me pick out an engagement ring for Claire. I probably would of been quicker daein’ it myself, but I wanted Faith to be a part of it. I dinna ken if she quite understands it or no, but she had fun lookin’ at all the rings anyway. Claire has an obsession with white gold. I dinna ken why, but whenever she looks at jewellery, it’s always white gold. So, I got her a white gold engagement ring with a sapphire in between two smaller diamonds.

 

We spent a wee bit of time at a play park with Faith as I promised her I would take her to one this weekend. It wasna a big park, but she enjoyed it all the same. I pushed her on the swings for a wee while. She went down the wee slide. She had a wee go on the smaller climbing frame and I pushed her round on the wee round a bout thingy. Seein’ her laughin’ away and havin’ so much fun just makes my heart melt. Hell, anything that lass does just melts my heart. Same with her mam. And then there’s another yin on the way. These Beauchamp lassies definitely keep me goin’.

 

When we pulled up to the house, I told Claire and Faith we’re goin’ for a wee walk. I told Claire no to worry, we’re no goin’ far. She gets tired verra easily these days.

I lead my girls up to one of the hills on the estate where ye can see right down to the village, but also a clear view of the house and most of the estate. It’s a really beautiful spot. Not the best spot on the land, but as I say, I dinna want Claire goin’ too far. This spot would do just nicely.

I got down on one knee and when Claire turned to look at me, I told her how when she was away to the bookstore, Faith and I went to buy her an engagement ring. I asked her again to be my wife. She started crying tears of joy... I assume, and she nodded. She was speechless.

I took the ring out of it wee box and Faith and I both slid the ring on to Claire’s ring finger. I got up and told her I loved her and gave her a kiss. She told me she loved me to and I gave her another kiss.

I crouched back down to Faith to put the wee bracelet I got her on her wee wrist. It’s the same design as her mam’s engagement ring. I got one for the bairn as well for when she’s older. They look like plain white gold bracelets, but when the lassies are old enough, I have a couple of diamonds to be put on to their bracelets.

As the girls grow, I will need to have the sizes adjusted, but I think they’ll be grand. I just wanted somethin’ for the lassies as well. I ken Claire will think it’s too much, but I just wanted them to have somethin’ special too.

 

As the three of us walk back over to the house. We take our time. I have Claire’s hand in mine and to stop Faith from trying to break us apart, I put her on my shoulders. I think the lass gets a wee bit jealous when her Ma and Da are holdin’ hands. At first I thought it was cute when she tried to break me and Claire apart, now it’s just really frustrating. I still love her though.

When we get closer to the house, I realise that another three cars have arrived. I can feel my temper rising. I think I must have gripped Claire’s hand too tight as she turns to look at me.

“What the hell has that woman done noo?”

“Who? Jamie, what’s wrong?”

“Jenny. She’s obviously invited more than us here this weekend. That’s my uncle Callum’s car. My uncle Dougal’s and Murtagh’s. Callum and Dougal NEVER come here. Why would they be here now if SHE hadna invited them?!”

We walk in to the house and they’re all sat in the living room. Jenny and Ian, Callum, Dougal, Murtagh and my aunt Jocasta. No sign of the kids. They must be upstairs.

They all turn to look at us and I can tell my Aunt Jocasta is upset. Jenny steps forward with a face like thunder. Just they usual Jenny Murray.

“She’s yer bloody surrogate?!”

Jocasta comes runnin’ over time Claire and I. “I’m so sorry Jamie, Jenny made out that she knew everythin’ and so I was talkin’ about the surrogacy. Jamie, I am so sorry. Please forgive me.” Poor aunt Jocasta. It isna her fault. I put my arm around her and tell her so.

“Okay, ye want the truth Jenny, I’ll tell ye the truth. But before ye start yer shoutin’ and yellin’ and wonderin’ how Jocasta, Murtagh and even John and Joe knew, have a wee think about yer attitude and behaviour towards Claire and my child.”

“Faith is NOT your daughter Jamie. The other one may be, but Jamie, this isna just some instant family ye can just buy and believe is real.”

“Let the lad speak woman. It’s his life Jenny. His story tae tell. Any issues ye have hen, they’re all yer own.” I’m so glad Murtagh’s here. He’s yin of the few that can make Jenny actually shut up for five minutes.

I tell everyone to take a seat. Callum and Dougal are on the smaller couch. Ian is sat in his favourite armchair with Jenny stood behind him. Murtagh is in the other armchair and Jocasta is sat on the bigger sofa.

“Now, if ye will excuse us for five minutes, after Jenny’s little outburst there, I dinna want my daughter hearin’ anymore. Claire and I will be back shortly.” I put Faith on the ground and take her wee hand in mine to take her upstairs.

“But da, I want to say.”

“Ye can go and play with Kitty, aye? Ye can come back down in a wee while. I promise.”

“Ma, I want to say wi you.”

“It’s alright my darling. Daddy and I won’t be long and we’ll come straight back up to get you once we’ve spoken to daddy’s family.”

 

After Claire and I leave Faith with her cousins, we go in to our own room for a couple of minutes privacy.

“Jamie—“

“Dinna worry Sassenach. ALL we are goin to say is that yes, ye started off as a surrogate. I’m afraid I’ll have to say about the miscarriage Claire. I’m so sorry, but I need them to know so I can then tell them that when this child was conceived, it was made out of the love of its two parents.”

“Jamie, maybe we should just tell them everything. Wouldn’t it be easier.”

“It’s none of their business. Our business is exactly that Sassenach. Ours. We admit about the surrogacy but tell them that we fell in love and we are a happy wee family. We’re no openin’ up about our personal struggles Claire. That’s no gonna do anyone any good. Especially us. We are healin’ and we are happy and healthier than we have been in a long time. I won’t let this thing with Jenny cause us to go backwards. All that matters to me is you and the bairns.”

“I love you so much Jamie. I’m just sorry to have caused you so much heartache with your family.”

“Ye havena Sassenach. This is all on Jenny. She’ll come round though. I ken it. I love ye too Claire. More than I could ever explain.” I give her a kiss and we head back downstairs. Hand in hand with our heads held high. We have nothing to be ashamed about.

 

When Claire and I come back down stairs, we both sit down next to my Aunt Jocasta on the bigger couch. Jenny is still standin’.

“It started about two years ago. Ye ken what I was like. A shell of a man. Verra down. Verra depressed. Been that way for years. Aye I have a verra successful business. A nice house or two. Nice cars. I think it was verra obvious that I resigned myself from ever trying to start any kind of relationship with anyone new. I was so closed off to the rest of the world. That wasna gonna change. I’ve always wanted a family. Always wanted a child. Me and my life being the way it was, I knew that my family wouldn’t come from the usual love and marriage. I looked in to adoption. I thought that was the best route for me to take, but at the time, it was the only route I looked in to. After a discussion with John one night, I started to think about surrogacy. With surrogacy, the child would be biologically mine. Not that that was or is important, but the more I looked in to it and the more I spoke to John and Joe about it all, I was certain this was the way to go. I didna tell the lads straight away. I did open up to Murtagh and Jocasta though and they were verra supportive.”

Everyone’s eyes turned to both of them to glare before turnin’ back to me.

“I was sent file upon file of different surrogates and none of them seemed right. They all sounded lovely, but none of them jumped out at me. It got to a point where I thought maybe I should reconsider adoption. Then one day, over a year ago, Claire’s file arrived. It came with another, but as soon as I opened Claire’s file, I just knew this was the woman who was to carry my child. I didn’t even look at the other file. Claire was the perfect fit. I got her details and emailed her and asked her to meet me. She came to the flat, and the moment I opened the door to her, I was instantly attracted to her. And then she opened her mouth to speak, I just instantly fell in love with her. It took us a wee while to actually agree and sign the contract, but we did and we started the process.”

“So, yer bairn that she’s carryin’ WAS planned, but ye paid for it. And the child is basically a scientific experiment. Jamie Fraser, why—“

“Be quiet Jenny and let me finish!”

I knew this next part would be tough for both Claire and I, so I slid closer to Claire and put one arm around her waist and I let her hold my other hand on her lap.

“We found out Claire was pregnant. I was so happy. I thought that my life was finally coming together. Anyway, a couple of months later, Claire suffered a miscarriage.” I could feel Claire tensing up and trying not to cry. I kiss her forehead and tell her it’s okay.

After a few moments silence, Ian speaks first. “Christ Jamie. I’m so sorry Claire. That must of been difficult.”

“Jamie, I’m so sorry you and Claire had to go through that. Tell me ye didna struggle alone?” Callum then adds.

“Thanks. Em, no. We had each other and we got through it. As Claire was my surrogate, she didna feel like she had the right to grieve as well. I told her she did. We helped each other. Anyway, when we first drew up the contract, Claire had agreed to try one more time is the procedure didn’t work. It doesn’t always work first time. It did work for us. There was a child growing for two months. It just wasna meant to be. Anyway, I didna want to push Claire in to tryin again. We had both been through so much. We grew closer and closer and it was obvious that Claire had the same feelings for me as I did for her. Anyway, one night, we just gave in. That was the night this little princess was conceived.” I moved my hand from Claire’s and rested it on her bump.

“I could go on and tell ye’s more, but I think that’s all ye really need to ken. This is Claire, the love of my life. My love who I intend to make my wife. Upstairs is Claire’s daughter Faith, who has also become my daughter. I may not be her biological father, but that makes no odds to me, Claire or the lass. I plan on adopting Faith so she will be mine legally. And our other daughter should be making her grand appearance in the next couple of months and I couldn’t be happier. I was a shell of a man before I met Claire. She helped me become the man I am supposed to be. I helped her too. We helped each other, fell in love and created a family. Now tell me, what is so wrong with that?”

 

Dougal and Callum come over to shake my hand and welcome Claire in to the family. Jenny excuses herself from the room, but hasna said or even made much eye contact with either Claire or I. Murtagh and Jocasta welcome Claire to the family too before going to the kitchen to make some tea for everyone. I leave Claire speaking with Callum whilst I speak to Ian and Dougal. Christ, everyone seems so happy for us. Well, except Jenny. The fact she’s quiet means that she’s taken everythin’ in.

“Ma, Da. Aunt Jen took me away fae granny.”

I look over to see Jenny stood in the door way with Faith in her arms.

“I thought it was only right that the bairns were all here to welcome yer family properly brother. When I went to get Faith, she—“

“We ken. She woke up with a scream durin’ the night. Apparently she seen mam.” I walk over and take Faith from Jenny.

“Em, well she maybe no be wrong.”

“What ye haverin’ aboot no Jenny?”

Before Jenny gets a chance to speak, wee Jamie and Maggie both explain to us all how they’ve seen my mother in that room and they like to play with her when they come.

“She plays games with us and speaks to us. Tells us stories about ye and mam when ye were bairns yerself.” Wee Jamie explained to me.

 

We tell the kids to change the subject, and that we are all there to celebrate Claire and I’s engagement. Everybody is so happy for us and excited for the birth of the bairn and the next family wedding and christening. It warms my heart to see how they have all taken to Claire and Faith and how they have taken to the family.

With everyone admiring Claire’s ring and Faiths wee bracelet, Jenny and I head in to kitchen to have a wee chat ourselves.

“I canna apologise enough for my behaviour Jamie. I am truly sorry. It’s just I knew ye were hiding something. I really like Claire and I do believe she is the best thing to ever happen to ye. Her and the bairns. I just wanted to ken ye were okay. I’m sorry for all that I’ve said these past two days.”

“I ken ye are. And I’m sorry I didna tell ye about the surrogacy, but I kent ye wouldna approve and when Claire and I’s relationship changed, I didna ken how to explain any of it.”

“This why ye been taken so much time off work? All the appointments for the surrogacy and that and then.. oh god Jamie, the miscarriage of been awful for ye both.”

“It was. But, it dead pull us closer together. From the first moment I set eyes on Claire, I knew she was the lass for me. Da always said I would ken, and he was right. I ken it wasna the normal way to meet someone, but I canna say I mind. I canna even begin to tell ye how happy I am Jenny.”

“Ye dinna need to. It’s all over yer face. Now get back in there to her fiancé and her wean. I promise Jamie I will make things right with both ye and Claire. I promise.”

“I ken ye will Jenny. And I ken ye and Claire will become the best of pals. Yes have a lot in common ye ken. Both as stubborn as hell. Same crap taste in films.” We both let out a wee laugh. “We’ll get there Jenny, we all will.” I give her a wee kiss on top of her head and I walk back through to just look at my girls havin’ fun in my family home with my extended family.

Chapter Text

Two months later

Claire’s POV

 

“Jamie. Jamie wake up. Jamie.”

For god sakes. This man could sleep through a flipping air raid.

“Jamie!”

Nothing left for it. I’ll have to pour water over his head.

I climb out of bed slowly and go to the en suite to fill one of the glasses with cold water. It’s three in the morning so the water will be extremely cold. Excellent.

I walk back through to our bedroom and I try to wake Jamie again by calling his name, but there’s no answer. I pour the water slowly over his face.

“What the hell... Sassenach? What ye playin’ at?”

“Good sleep was it? My water broke about ten minutes ago. I couldn’t wake you so I had no choice. This better not be what it’s like once your daughter arrives. I’m not being left with ALL the night feeds thank you very much!”

I turn and start to get changed in to a plain black t shirt and a pair of jogging bottoms. I don’t get these women that insist on making sure their hair and nails are all done nice and dress up for the occasion. No, my hair hasn’t been brushed in I don’t know how long. My skin is all tired and dull. I am throwing on the first piece of clothing I can grab.

“Claire, I’m sorry. I didna hear ye. What do ye want me to do? Are ye in pain? Dae ye want some tea? Water?”

“What do I want you to do? For god sakes Jamie! Do I really have to carry your child, give birth to her AND do everything else in between? Ring the clinic and tell them it’s time and we’ll be in soon and I’ll ring Joe and tell him we will drop Faith off on the way. Honestly Jamie, show some initiative!”

“Okay. Is that a no to the water or tea then?”

I reach over and grab my pillow and throw it at him as he leaves the bedroom. We have been over the plan as to what to do for at least a month now. I am the one about to give birth. It should be my brain all over the place, not his.

I pick up my hospital bag with things for myself and for our newborn daughter as well. I still have the same baby grow I brought Faith home in. It’s still in very good condition. Faith had only worn it that one day when I brought her home. I discussed it with Jamie and I asked if he would mind if that’s what we dressed the new baby in too. He loved the idea. I showed him pictures of Faith as a baby and he loves the idea of this tiny little piece of clothing being passed down from Faith to her little sister.

The baby grow is also special to me as it was Uncle Lamb who bought it for Faith. It’s just a simple little knitted cream baby grow with five little popper buttons down the front. Lamb had one of his professor friends from Oxford make it especially for Faith.

God how I wish he was here to see how happy I am with Jamie. With Faith. And soon another little baby girl. I know he will be looking down on us all, but it isn’t the same. At least I have my amazing friends and Jamie’s wonderful family. Jenny and I seem to be getting on a lot better these days. Which is good for Jamie, and also Faith. Faith loves spending time with her cousins and her aunt and uncle. I just wish we got off to a better start. I guess she was just looking out for her brother. I can’t blame her for that.

 

As I’m about to leave my room with the hospital bag, Faith appears at the door rubbing her little eyes. She’s obviously just woken up.

“Are you alright sweetheart?”

“Pease say the bairns coming. Da just woke me up wi his loud talkin’ on the phone.”

“Yes my darling, the bairn is coming. I was just about to phone uncle Joe and tell him we will drop you off at his and Uncle John’s on the way. Is that okay?”

“Can I no come wi you and da? I seep wi da.”

“Oh, I wish you could sweetheart, but you need a good nights sleep and I doubt daddy will be sleeping at all tonight. Uncle joe will take good care of you and hopefully we will see you tomorrow if the bairn arrives.”

“Okay. Can I seep in the car?”

“Of course you can my love. Come on, let’s go get your bag and I’ll phone uncle Joe.”

 

When Faith and I make it through to the kitchen with both our bags, Jamie has just hung up from Joe.

“Alright then my angels, I have phoned the clinic and I phoned uncle Joe. I told them we will be there soon. I’ll go take the bags to the car, Faith ye stay here with yer mam and I’ll be back in a flash.”

Jamie gives me a quick kiss, takes both bags and heads out the door.

I pour Faith a glass of some apple and black current juice and hand her a bag of her little apple slices she loves so much.

“When will the bairn be here?”

“Hopefully soon my darling. Although, sometimes it can take days. I was in labour with you for 36hours.”

She doesn’t have a clue what I’m talking about.

“Even though I knew you were on your way, it took another day and a half for you to arrive.” I brushed my hand over her head as Jamie came back in.

“Are ye’s all set?”

Faith and I nod and we make our way out to the car. The pains don’t get too bad until just after we drop Faith off with the lads.

 

When we get to the clinic, I get taken down to my own private room. The midwives keep popping in to check on me and the baby, but I can tell it’s just an excuse to come in and fawn over Jamie.

He’s a very attractive man, but how inappropriate?! I am laying here having contractions whilst they keep flirting with my fiancé. I don’t like it. I don’t like it one bit. Whenever they leave the room, I point it out to Jamie, but he doesn’t see it which only agitates me more. How can he NOT see?

 

Our newborn baby daughter is born the next day, 23rd November 2019 at 13.22pm. She weighs a very healthy 6lbs 11oz.

She is the most beautiful baby I have ever seen. Equal to Faith of course. She looks a lot like Faith. Same shape of the eyes, same nose. Just like me Jamie says. The baby has Jamie’s beautiful red hair and his gorgeous blue eyes.

I can’t believe she is finally here.

I can’t believe how much love I have for her.

I can’t believe I even considered for a second giving birth to her and walking away.

What the hell was I thinking?

“Sassenach, what’s wrong?”

“Nothing. Honestly. I just, can’t believe she is finally here. Our little girl.”

“I kept meaning to bring it up, but we always ended up talkin’ about somethin’ else or doin somethin’ else, but Claire, we need to come up wi a name for the lass. Canny just keep callin’ her “Baby Fraser”. Jamie chuckled to himself.

“What are you talking about? You picked a name months ago. You picked out a boys name and a girls name. You wanted to name her after you parents. Brian for a lad and Ellen for a lass.”

“Aye, but that was before ye and I got together. That was when the bairn was just goin’ to be mine. Claire, this is OUR daughter and we need to choose a name together.”

“You sure Jamie?”

“Of course I’m sure Sassenach. Why would ye think I would name our child without yer permission on the name?”

“Well, how about Brianna Ellen Fraser?”

“What?”

“Brianna. Ellen. Fraser. After BOTH your parents. And, IF we decide on any more, we can name them after my parents?”

“I love that idea Sassenach. Brianna. Ellen. Fraser. It’s perfect Sassenach, thank ye.” He plants a kiss on my mouth and then leans down to kiss the top of Brianna’s head.

“Thank you for giving me Brianna Jamie.”

“No, thank ye Claire for agreeing to do this. I ken it has a been easy on ye, but we got here in the end. I love ye so much Sassenach. You and out two beautiful daughters.”

“We love you too Jamie.” He leans down and we share another kiss.

 

After we spend some quality time together the three of us, Jamie goes over to Joe’s to collect Faith to bring her in to meet her new little sister. Jamie and I agreed no visitors at the clinic as we wanted Faith to meet her sister first. Friends and family will be more than welcome at the house when we get home. Everyone was super understand supportive when we told them.

 

Jamie isn’t even gone five minutes and there’s a knock at my door. Who the hell could it be? I’m not due another check up for another while yet and Jamie and I asked all our friends and family not to come.

“Come in.”

When the door opens, I can’t believe my eyes. Stephen. Fucking. Bonnet.

“What the HELL are you doing here? How did you get in? Jamie will be back any minute so you better leave now.”

“I just saw the man leave to go and get Faith. Is she excited about being a big sister?”

“Leave, or I will get them to escort you straight to a police cell.”

“Don’t worry Claire, I’m not here to harm you. I just needed to see you. Explain everything. I’ve been in Ireland the past few months. Keeping a low profile. Claire, I am willing to accept any punishment coming my way, but I could t let them send me down without speaking with you first.”

“Anything you have to say, I don’t want to hear it.”

“Please Claire. Five minutes is all I ask and then I will call the police myself and hand myself in.”

“Fine. But wait till I have someone take the baby. I don’t want you near her.”

“Of course.”

I ring my buzzer and ask the nurse to take the baby to the nursery whilst Bonnet and I talk. Obviously I don’t give her his name though. Lord knows what he would do to us or the baby. I’ll give him his five minutes and then he’ll be gone. I don’t for a second think he’ll hand himself in, but as long as he leaves me and my family alone, I will be happy.

I motion my hand as an invitation for him to start explaining.

“ I was a student of Franks at the university. We became quite friendly. We would meet up for coffees and discuss texts and things from archives or history books. We both had a very keen interest in the Jacobite rebellion and the battle of Culloden. Anyway, Frank never struck me as the kinda guy that would abuse his wife the way he did. When he was sent down, I went to visit him. He kept denying it of course and I stupidly believed him. He asked me to keep an eye on you and report to him as to how you were. He said that even though you sent him away, he still loved you and hoped you could make your marriage work again. One day, I went to visit him and he slipped up. He mentioned something about how Faith came from an unnatural place and he hoped that your next child wouldn’t come the same way. He said some other things and that’s when I realised that he meant that he had raped you. It made me so angry. To trust someone, to believe in someone and then find out that they are capable of such monsterous behaviour. I felt awful for what he did to you. I stopped reporting to him about how you were. I kept volunteering at the hospital because I really enjoyed it. And I enjoyed seeing you. The more time we spent together, the more I fell in love with you. One day, I went to visit Frank and he told me he was maybe going to be getting parole. I couldn’t stand it Claire. The possibility of him getting out of prison early and trying to get you and Faith back. He didn’t deserve you. Either of you. I knew I had to stop him.”

“You didn’t have to kill him.”

“I didn’t kill him Claire.”

“You supplies the heroin. You got it into the prison and you paid someone to inject that poison in to Frank. You did kill him. Maybe not directly, but you are still responsible for his death.”

“I did it for you Claire.”

“ I thought we were friends. I trusted you. I relied on you. All the time you were... I have no words. You scared me Stephen!”

“And I am so sorry Claire. I know what I did was wrong, but I did it because I loved you so much, I couldn’t bear that man hurting you or Faith again.”

“No. But then YOU did. You hurt me when I thought I needed you more than anyone else. You weren’t a friend to me. You weren’t in love with me. If you were, you wouldn’t of done what you did. As far as I’m concerned, your just as bad as Frank.”

A silence falls between us and Stephen sits on the patients chair beside my bed. He pulls out his phone and calls 999.

I don’t believe it. He’s handing himself in. He has given them the clinic address and my room number.

 

“I am sorry Claire. I will never forgive myself for what I put you through. But, you have Jamie. I’m glad you were finally able to move on from Frank. You deserve to be happy. You and Faith.”

I can’t answer him. I can barely look at him. We will just sit here in silence until the police arrive. Hopefully they arrive before Jamie and Faith.

 

The police arrive less than ten minutes later and take Stephen away in handcuffs. As he is being dragged away, he keeps saying he’s sorry over and over again. The next thing I know Jamie and Faith are here.

“Sassenach, I just—“

“I know. He came to speak to me.”

“Claire—“

“Jamie, it’s fine. He said what he had to say, I listened and then he rang the police himself to come and get him.”

“Really?”

“Yes. Now it’s over. I don’t want to talk about it. Can you please go and ask the nurse to bring us our daughter so she can meet her big sister?” I reach out my arms and lift Faith on to the bed beside me. She cuddles in to me as we wait for Jamie to come back with Brianna.

 

Jamie comes back with our new little bundle of joy in his arms and passes her over to me before he sits on the chair next to my bed that Stephen had previously been occupying.

“Faith sweetheart, this is your baby sister Brianna.”

“Biyanna?”

“Bree Anna darling.”

“Bree.” She says with a smile to her little sister.

“Yes darling, Bree sounds good to me too.”

Jamie clears his throat. “I dinna ken Sassenach.”

“Why not? Bree IS short for Brianna.”

“Aye I ken that, it’s just...”

“Just what?”

“A Bree means a disturbance in Gaelic is all.”

“Well, if she’s anything like her father, the name will suit her quite well.”

“Oh really? I was more thinking the opposite. I think it would be more if she takes after ye Sassenach.”

“Oh really? Well, we’ll just have to wait and see then, won’t we?” I give him a smile and he reaches over and kisses me before kissing our two girls on their foreheads.

Faith can’t take her eyes of her little sister. She is so in love. Just like Jamie and I.

“I’m sorry about everything I said when I was in labour by the way. Especially referring to Bree as YOUR daughter, I didn’t mean it.”

“I ken Sassenach. But, it’ll no be the last time the lass will just be MY daughter.”

“What’s that’s supposed to mean?”

“Ye dae it with Faith too. Every time the lass does somethin’ ye dinna agree with, she’s MY daughter. I’m sure it will be the same with this wee yin tae.”

“Sorry, I didn’t realise.”

“Dinna fash Sassenach, my mother was the same with us lot. We were always da’s weans when it suited her.” We can’t help but laugh.

We just sit in the room for a while. Just the four of us. Taking in our new family before Jamie has to take Faith back to Joe’s. Bree and I aren’t getting discharged until tomorrow. The clinic has a bed that can be pulled in to my room for Jamie to sleep on. I guess this is the perks of going private.

I can’t believe we did it. Now we just need to plan Bree’s christening in a few months and also mine and Jamie’s wedding.

It’s going to be wonderful.