FIRST PLACE WINNER! LADY MINLYN:
Two years. I had been saving for this trip for two years. It was a crazy idea, but one that I loved. I was wild about going to Scotland to find my own gorgeous highlander to fall in love with, maybe even to marry and to have a few pretty, red-heided bairns with, if I was lucky. But still no luck. I spent three days in Edinburgh, doing all the routine touristy stuff. My bags were loaded with plaids of all kinds and stuff I know my new friends at Ladies of Lallybroch would love. No new love in my life yet, but hey, I still had four days until my long plane ride back home.
However, today, I was inspired to take a trip to the Highlands, to see what I imagined in the beautiful imagery in Diana Gabaldon's books. I had drank in Scotland's beauty through picture books for years and I wouldn't leave Scotland without seeing it all for myself. So, rented car keys in hand, I made my way down to the street.
Driving was difficult because I couldn't keep my eyes on the road in front of me. I was looking all around me at the beautiful heather and crags. It was so different from anyplace I had ever been and I felt as though I was dreaming.
After one too many near misses, I decided to turn the car off of the road and hike around and soak this all in. I had no idea where I was, but I was pretty sure I'd be able to find my way back to the hotel somehow. After all, Scotland isn't too big is it??
I had hiked for nearly two hours and decided it was well past time for some lunch and a little rest. After all, I was on vacation, I shouldn't push myself too hard. I sat snacking on something that tasted somewhat like shortbread and staring off into the distance, thinking about highland men. In my peripheral vision, I saw someone in a kilt running across the heather like he was being chased by wild dogs. "Now, what is this?" I thought dismally.
I called out to the man, "Helloooo!" and he turned my way and stared directly into my eyes. He was sweaty, his red hair pasted to his scalp. As he made his way closer, I could see his chest heaving, he was trying to catch his breath. He had been running for a very long distance, it was easy to see. He looked as though he were going to drop dead from exertion. Warily, he came and stood in front of me, his hands down at his sides, but each muscle tensed, ready for battle or flight. He took me in, from my hiking boots to my blue jeans to my blonde braid, in one intense blue gaze.
Feeling self-conscious, I looked away and said, " What's going on?" to his knee.
He just stood there and stared. I was feeling awkward from the lack of conversation at his end and stood up. "What," I said, "Are you running from the law or something? You can trust me, I won't turn you in." I gave him a wink and suspicion grew in his eyes. I drank him in, who cares if he isn't a conversationalist, he sure was a beefcake!! He was put together very, very nicely. He had the most beautiful blue eyes I had ever seen, with a long, straight nose, full lips that just made me ache to nibble on them. His shoulders were broad and his arms were ripped with muscle. His stomach, from what I could tell through his shirt, was flat as a board. His waist was slim and his hips beautifully tapered into legs that made you melt just to look at them. I couldn't wait to get a look at his backside!
"Are you hungry? I have enough of this cornbread, or whatever this is, to share. Would you like some?" I wasn't betting on an answer anytime soon, though.
I guess he figured I wasn't all bad because he sat down beside me. I broke my ration in two pieces, giving him the larger half. He sat munching, watching me through the corner of his eye, probably debating whether or not he thought I was good enough to speak to, I mused.
I sat there for a few minutes, watching him watch me and I finally had enough. "What is your name and why aren't you speaking to me?" I exclaimed. "I gave you my lunch, the least you can do is tell me who you are."
He took a long look at me and asked if I had any water. "Not until you tell me your name." Maybe I could bribe him.
"Malcolm Mackenzie, at your service. If you dinna mind, the water?" Well, I'll be damned, he wasn't a mute. I handed him my canteen. It wasn't cold, but it was wet.
He leaned his head back to take a swallow and I watched the long expanse of neck and chest as he drank. Malcolm Mackenzie was a very attractive man. I was naming our third baby when he finished.
"I thank ye for the water, now lass, do you mind telling me a few things?" He was a little breathless, but he had a deep, sexy voice.
"No, not at all." I was hoping he'd want my phone number.
"What day is it?"
Okay, a strange question, but hey, I was game. "Tuesday."
"No lass, the date. The day, the month, the year." He said.
"Tuesday, November second, nineteen ninety seven." All right, there was something real strange about this guy. I was beginning to think of ways to get out of this situation quick. He turned pale as a sheet and put his head between his knees.
"Jesus Christ!" he said weakly. I thought he was going to pass out and I was worried about what I would do if he were unconscious, not all of my thoughts honorable.
"Hey, are you all right. What is wrong with you?" I was having visions of mental hospitals when he grabbed my hand and stared intensely into my face. His grip was blazing hot to the touch, almost feverish, and strong. His hands were smoothly callused and as I looked down at them, I noticed that his right ring finger stuck out stiffly. Now I felt like I was the one who was going to faint.
"I know, Jamie. I know who you are, where you're from, what I don't know is how you got here and that you were real. " I felt sick. And elated.
He held my hand tightly and asked if he could trust me. He didn't look like he thought he could.
"Of course you can trust me. Just tell me how you got here." I was dying to know what had happened and just how in blazes Diana Gabaldon knew about Mr. James Fraser.
"I dinna ken. I was there and then I woke up and I was here." He was muttering curses and oaths under his breath.
"Well, we gotta find a way to get you back there." What was I saying??? I came to Scotland looking for someone like Jamie and I ended up with the real article. Send him back? Highly unlikely!
"Come with me." I said. "We'll get you something hot to eat and then we'll figure out a way to send you back." He came along, but then again, how many people were going to believe what this was all about??
Walking back to the car, I couldn't tear my eyes off of him. He certainly was a big, beautiful man. I wouldn't mind having him around for a while.
He seemed terrified riding in the car. I had to remember that he had never had anything like this in his entire life and I was hoping he would get used to it and maybe even enjoy it after a few stints. He loved hot showers after I showed him how to use it, and he refused to use my soap. He didn't like lavender, I had forgotten. So, I bought him some manly smelling soap. I ran to the nearest store and bought him some clothes, so he would fit in better while he was stuck here. After all, modern day Scots don't run around in kilts all the time anymore, unfortunately.
Upon my return, I found him curled up on the couch, watching television. He was amazed and I got a real kick out of seeing him watch "The Price is Right." He also loved Tom Selleck in Magnum PI, I think he liked checking out the latest weapons.
As he went into the next room to change, he was asking me about the twentieth century. How do you sum up a century in a few words?? I did my best to explain everything to him, he was briefed a little on technology and the like. He came out of the bedroom and I nearly fell out of my chair. His hair was drying down over his shoulders and he was trying to tie it up, but I asked him to leave it down. With a "Mmmphm." he quit fooling with it.
"Now, lass, how do I get back?" he asked.
I was irritated and upset that he even wanted to go back, but I tried to hide it from him. He would take off if the thought I was falling for him. He just looked so good in the Levis and the T-shirt I got him, I wanted to keep him.
"I don't think you can go back until MayDay." I said, "I guess I'll watch over you until then."
"MayDay?! That's over six months away! Are ye daft? I canna wait that long to go back. Claire needs me. I willna wait, I'll go now." He was screaming at me like this was my fault and my temper was boiling.
"So, you fat-headed idiot, you'll try to go back and you'll get yourself killed, is that it? You'll be a great help to her that way, won't you? You have a whole lot of sense, Jamie Fraser, and I will not
let you out of my sight because you'll get ran over by a car or something, you moron. So, plan on sitting tight because I will NOT LET YOU GO, DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME?" I was shaking and crying, I felt like my insides were on my outside. Jamie might not understand this, but I loved him, even when I thought he wasn't real. But now he was real and I wouldn't let any harm come to him. I would send him back to his own time with Claire or I would kill myself trying. But if he wanted to stay, then I would make him verra glad he did.
"Lassie, dinna cry. I need to go back where I belong, ye understand that, don't you? I didna mean to make ye angry. If I have to wait until then, then I'll find something to do until then and somewhere to live. You dinna need to worry for me, lassie. Ye've been good to me, but I canna let you take care of me. I've a wife for that." He was looking down into my face, his eyes pleading for understanding, but I felt inconsolable. I wanted him to stay. I wanted him. Period.
Somehow, after many arguments and near bloodshed, I convinced him to fly to see America. I said that he could stay with me, it was commonplace in this time and I would not try anything indecent.
Of course, it never occurred to me that he would get airsick. His face was buried in a barf-bag the whole flight. I thought I would die from sympathy, but later he admitted that flying was preferable to sailing because although he got just as sick, at least he was sick for a shorter period of time. Thank God he was so sick, though, because he would have gotten into a fight with a group of male cheerleaders on the plane. They were admiring his physique as much as the ladies everywhere were, but they were being much more vocal about it. Jamie was a trooper, though.
Jamie seemed to enjoy America. I think he was amazed to see the land and time Brianna grew up in. He was scandalized part of the time, but he learned to shrug off the practices that didn't suit him. He also learned to use most of the technology around him.
Living with Jamie was interesting, fun and exciting. We soon became thick as thieves and spent hours talking and laughing, but sometimes he would grow quiet and pensive and I would hear him pacing the floors at night. He told me that he often dreamt of Claire and he was sometimes afraid that he wouldn't be able to make it back. I would do my best to keep him busy and happy, but nights were hard for him. The time went by so quickly and I dreaded the day when I would have to send him back, but the day finally came.
We decided to go back to Scotland a little early, to spend some time together before we would have to say good-bye. I was sick at the thought that I would never see him again and I was really frightened that I would be the last person to ever see him alive. We spent most of our time going on long walks through Edinburgh and hiking through the countryside. And we had a good time up until the day before I knew I would leave him at the stones and walk away, never to know his fate. I grew depressed and even desperate, I felt like I was on a deathwatch. I could barely get out of bed that morning. I wanted to tell him how I felt about him but I didn't dare.
At nine o'clock, there was a knock on my door. I knew who it was, but I pulled the covers over my head and pretended like I didn't hear him.
"Hello in there. Are ye going to sleep all morning, lassie??" He was bellowing through the door. I clenched my teeth and walked to the door and threw it open. Jamie quickly looked away and cleared his throat. "Well? Get dressed and we'll go." he said, "I want to go out today. It's my last day."
"All right." My stomach lurched just as he said "last day". So, I got dressed and met him out on the street. He looked like a large child as he looked at me and asked me where I wanted to go. I felt my heart twist. God, I would miss him. We went down to the pub at the end of the street and got breakfast. I was munching on my toast while he told me how grateful he was for my hospitality and kindness and he pulled out a small black box. "Open it." he smiled at me.
Inside was a oval-shaped silver locket with flowers engraved around the outside. On the back, there was an engraving. It said, WAS LOST BUT NOW I'M FOUND. GRATEFUL, JAMMF. The outlines blurred as the tears filled my eyes and trickled down my cheeks. It was going to take more than I had to send him back. He said, " Do ye like it?" with a look that melted my heart. And he reached across the table and took it out of my hand. He walked around behind me and fastened it around my neck. It rested perfectly just below my collarbones.
We spent the day just going into stores and pubs that got our attention and by six o'clock, I was a little drunk. I was warm from whiskey and I was thinking that just maybe I would get my courage from a bottle tomorrow. Jamie wanted to have dinner at the hotel so we were walking back when I slipped and nearly fell on my face. Jamie caught me before I fell and while his arms were around me, I looked up into his face. "What will I do when you're not there to catch me??" I asked him and I was getting real weepy. He wiped the tear off my cheek and his hand lingered just a moment longer than necessary. He had never laid a hand on me the whole time he had been with me and his touch made me tingle.
He half carried me to the hotel and I felt like swooning. He was so close and I found it hard to believe that I would never see him again after tomorrow. He took me to my room, put me to bed, fully clothed and went downstairs to have his dinner. I passed out.
I awoke some time in the night to hear his voice. I thought maybe I was dreaming, so I laid there and as I listened, I began to make out what he was saying.
"Bonnie lassie," he said. "I will be a little sad to go. I canna tell you this except when you are sleeping. I am a marrit man, but I love you just a little. I willna break my vow to Claire, yet I would like to touch you." I felt a large, warm hand on my cheek. "I will miss you, my lassie, but I canna stay." The hand left my cheek and I heard him stand up to leave.
"Jamie!" I called out and he turned. I stood up and crossed the room. I slid my hand up and across his chest. He looked in my eyes and wrapped his arms around my waist. I felt tiny and very feminine in his grasp and I also felt like my knees were going to buckle. He bent to kiss me. His mouth was hot and sweet and it tasted as though he had whiskey with his food. His breath was warm on my face and as his tongue tickled my own, I felt my body begin to react to him. I was ready for him and my clothes felt like an unnecessary barrier. I wanted to feel his skin against mine. He removed my shirt somewhere in between kisses and I removed my bra. I didn't have time to explain the wonders of the modern brazier to him! He then wrapped his arms tightly around me and lifted me up and carried me over to the bed, never breaking his stride for a moment. It seemed as if our clothes just melted away because I never remembered removing the rest of them and he was lying naked by side. I think he stroked every inch of my skin. He was passionate and gentle at the same time and I was satisfied again and again before he finally surrendered to his own needs. He was an amazing man. He fell asleep with his arms around me and his head pillowed on my breast. He woke me some time just before dawn and made love to me again, this time he was slow and sweet.
We left the hotel at around six. We walked to the stones and I felt a cold chill run up my spine at the sight of them. I felt a sense of dread, as though I were about to witness a train wreck that I was powerless to stop. We walked up the hill to the center of the stones and he was distracted, as though he could almost hear somebody whispering to him. He wrapped his arms around me and kissed me deeply. Then he leaned down and whispered in my ear, "I dinna want you to watch this. Turn and go and dinna look back. I willna forget you. Now, go." He turned me around and gave me shove. I turned just as he began to walk toward a huge stone, rent in half. He paused for a moment and looked at me as though memorizing my face and disappeared.