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Downhill on Ao3 by WickedGoodBooks

Chapter 36 - Da

The days after Jamie and Brian’s revelations passed in a blur, and before Claire knew it, the morning of Willie’s birthday had dawned bright and clear.

William’s birthday.

Her precious, tiny boy was six years old. Well, not so tiny anymore. He’d been growing like a weed lately—the top of his curly head reaching almost to her chest—but she could still remember the day he was born as if it had been yesterday. The downy tuft of copper hair on the crown of his head, slanted eyes impossibly blue as his pudgy little fist had clasped around her thumb.

Wondering where all that time had gone, Claire stood, gentle rays of early spring light flooding the kitchen and warming her skin as she stared out over the lip of her mug. Reminiscing about birthdays past and the ones yet to come, she was jerked out of her reverie by a sharp tapping against the kitchen window.

Her mouth dropped in an ungainly manner at the unexpected, but most welcome sight.

Geillis, in all her nearly-translucent-pale-skinned glory, was grinning at her through the glass panes, gesticulating to meet at the door.

Claire ran towards the entrance, yanking the door open with her mouth split into ridiculously fat grin.

“Gee!” she squealed, excited to have her best friend close enough to wrap her in a tight embrace. “You’re here!”

“Hen!” Geillis replied with similar bouncy excitement as she returned the bear hug.

“It’s so good to see you.” Amber eyes were glowing with warmth above a wide smile. “But why are you not ringing the doorbe—” she broke off, mouth hanging slightly open as she registered her friend’s appearance.

“What have you done with your hair?”

Geillis strode past Claire into the cottage, a small smirk accompanying her turn back over her shoulder as the sing-song voice explained, “It’s a verra novel thing they do these days, hen. It’s called dyeing.”

Claire rolled her eyes good-naturedly. She’d missed the easy banter.

“D’ye like it? I think it suits me verra well.”

“Yes, it does. It looks amazing.” She closed the door and took Geillis’ jacket as the other woman slipped out of her heeled boots. “But, it’s…quite a change.”

“Weel, that was the plan,” Geillis declared with a smug edge to her tone, gathering her now strawberry blonde mane into a high ponytail. “I wanted tae blend in wi’ yer new crowd, but I wasnae daring enough tae go full ginger.”

Claire snorted, grabbing her abandoned coffee and taking a sip as Geillis helped herself to a mug full of the invigorating brew.

“Bloody hell, you even did your eyebrows?”

“Aye, o’ course,” her friend replied, casually leaning against the kitchen counter. “I did the drapes, carpet, and the kitchen towels as well.”

Spluttering slightly, Claire coughed as a few drops of coffee had gone down the wrong way. “Too much information, Duncan.”

Geillis’s lips curved into a mischievous smile. “There’s nae such thing as too much information, hen.”

[read the whole chapter…]

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as always my gratitude to those who support me to make Downhill what it is: @happytoobserve, @isitgintimeyet, and @lcbeauchampoftarth

and to all of you readers who stick by this story and show your appreciation in your own unique way. I can’t possibly say how much your kindness means to me.

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well, it does feel amazing to be back with this story.
Your support means the world to me! 35k hits, incredible!! <3

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