Original prompt: What happens when Claire and Jamie leave the plane, and decides to move into his/Murtagh´s flat ?
This was crazy. She was crazy, pouring her heart out to a stranger and soliciting his help to move her things from Frank’s flat. He’d convinced her to wait until the morning, when he and his godfather could both help. And she didn’t want him exerting himself too much, and give the burn enough time to heal.
Right. Keep telling yourself that, Beauchamp. Convince yourself he’s a patient, when he’s something else entirely.
She glanced at Jamie, beside her in the back seat of a cab. The dark, rain-slickened streets of Glasgow glided by. Her hand hadn’t left his since the airplane, not even in customs or immigration, when they’d gone through together. As a couple.
Jamie’s thumb gently traced the backs of her fingers. Her left hand felt naked, but free. Liberated. But at the same time she felt the invisible weight of another band – the one Jamie could give her. He was an amazing, selfless man – but still very boyish in some ways.
Idly Claire wondered just how old he really was. Not that it mattered – but she was curious. Frank was ten years older than her, and Jamie was clearly younger.
“It’s just a wee bit up the street,” the cab driver said over the roar of the rain.
“I feel terrible intruding on you and your godfather – you haven’t seen each other in ages,” she said softly.
Jamie squeezed her fingers. “Dinna fash yourself. He’ll be delighted to meet you.”
Claire wasn’t so sure. She’d taken such a big risk with Jamie – but he’d proven to her in their short acquaintance that he could hold her heart – and her feelings – with such gentleness and thoughtfulness. And respect.
The cab eased to a stop. “Here we are.”
Jamie reluctantly released Claire’s hand. “Here are your bags – wait for me just under that alcove.”
She opened the door and darted through the raindrops to a small covered entryway. Beside the glass door were six doorbells, glowing in the dark.
The door slammed, and Jamie hurried to the alcove, pressing tightly against her. Her heart surged.
He pressed one button and settled an arm around her shoulders as they waited.
“Come on…” he said under his breath.
“Aye?” A deep voice scratched over the intercom.
“It’s me,” Jamie yelled over the din of the rain. “Fer the love of God, man, let us up!”
The door buzzed, and Jamie turned the doorknob. Claire gathered their bags and followed him into the hallway and up a flight of stairs.
The door at the end of the landing was already open, a bearded man in a navy dressing gown waiting in the doorway. She hung back as Jamie rushed to greet his godfather.
They embraced, and the older man held Jamie for a long time. They spoke Gaelic in excited tones. Jamie’s voice saying those strange words…she wondered again just what exactly he had murmured to her on the airplane.
Murtagh looked up over Jamie’s shoulder and noticed Claire. “Jamie?” he asked, switching to English. “What’s this? Have ye something to tell me?”
Jamie turned and extended an arm to Claire. She stepped forward and gripped his hand tightly.
“This is Claire. She sat next to me on the plane ride home. She’s in need of a place to stay tonight.”
Murtagh looked her up and down in frank appraisal. “Ah. Weel. And here I thought – weel.” Belatedly Claire realized that Murtagh was a bit flustered.
Seeking to break the tension, Claire stepped forward, hand extended. “Claire Beauchamp,” she said softly. “Jamie told me quite a bit about you.”
Murtagh stared at her hand before gripping it and giving two hard pumps. “Mmphm,” he said warily. “She’s English, Jamie?”
Murtagh shook his head. “Of course. Anyway. I suppose I’ll be making up the extra bed for ye, lad. No way this lass will sleep on the couch.”
“Really, I’m fine – I’m quite comfortable. Thank you.”
“Truly? I know it’s no’ much, but…” Jamie glanced around the small bedroom, lit only with the glow of a single bedside lamp. There had been no question that she’d get the bed and he would make do with the pull-out mattress of Murtagh’s battered living room couch. Though truth be told, he’d prefer to slide in next to her and just hold her through the night…He shook his head to clear it of those thoughts. Better save them for later – not with her standing right in front of him, so bonny in the dim light.
She gently rested a hand on his chest. Only now when they stood, face to face, did she realize just how bloody tall he was.
He closed his eyes. Dimly she realized that his heart was racing under her palm.
So he was as affected as she was.
“Thank you, Jamie. You’ve been so kind – offering me help, a place to stay.”
He swallowed. “It’s nothing. I hope you know I’d do anything for you, Claire.”
His voice was so eager – open, and honest. And the way he said her name – so gently, and with that burr – warmed her insides. Her breath quickened.
“I’ll take you to the pharmacy in the morning to get more of that aloe cream. You don’t want that burn worsening.”
He nodded, and opened his eyes. His blue gaze burned into hers.
Heady. Intense. What was this between them?
His hand gently rested on top of hers. He licked his lips and kissed her knuckles, so gently.
“Good night,” he said, voice husky. He stepped quietly toward the door.
She smiled widely. “Good night.”
He nodded and shut the door. She rested against it and let out a deep sigh.