Archives for the Date June 23rd, 2020

Adjustment: Part 6

lallybrochloser:

image

Synopsis: After a car accident, Claire Beauchamp, registered
emergency room nurse and Scotland’s newest resident, is referred to a
chiropractor for treatment. It’s too bad that her chiropractor, Dr.
James A. Fraser, is the most handsome man she’d ever laid eyes on. Or is
it?

Claire feels like her blooming relationship with Jamie is a mistake. Most of her peers assure her she’s wrong, and that it’s fine. Keyword, most.

Another part? So soon?! Why yes! Yes it is :D BTW, there’s probably some utter garbage nonsense about medical shit in the UK. For the purpose of this series, it’s totally legit, alright? Lol. Enjoy, thanks for stopping by and let me know what you think ^_^

Previously: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5

Also on AO3

——————————————————–

It was becoming troublesome for Jamie to focus on his work as a chiropractor. No matter how many patients he saw, treated, and helped regain their previous semblance of living, Jamie couldn’t deny the developing feelings for one Claire Beauchamp.

His Sassenach. His Sorcha.

The night she came to him and shared his bed was where it all changed. Sure, in his mind, she was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. She was quirky, funny, yet extremely professional. He never would have pegged her as someone who would cross the very fine line that separated doctor and patient from friends, or even lovers.

Yet that did not stop her from calling for him in her desperate time of need. And the lust that drove them to his bed…

Keep reading

李振盛:48年前,他在地板裏藏下兩萬張文革底片|端傳媒 Initium Media 2020-06-22T13:47:58.000Z

「就是因為她自己本身出身不好,自卑,她想表現得革命。」 //比如我在報社革命委員會掌權的時候,我是常委兼辦公室主任。我們報社有一個老編輯,有一天他的妻子跑到我辦公室,揭發他的丈夫。揭發什麼呢?每家每戶都有報社發的舊報紙,丈夫用舊報紙給小孩兒接大便。她把報紙打開給我看,大便就在毛主席像上。她說她揭發丈夫。 聽着這個事,我說,好像家家戶戶都有這個情況。用報紙接糞便,用報紙擦地,這事我知道就行了。她看我不重視這事,拿着報紙就去解放軍宣傳隊的軍代表去了。軍代表一看,這個事情嚴重啊,這是反革命!立即報告公安,就把他抓起來了。批鬥。批鬥完了以後,判刑十八年。 告丈夫,她有什麼好處呢?大義滅親,人家就能表揚你啊。就是因為她自己本身出身不好,自卑,她想表現得革命。// from Facebook https://ift.tt/2V87nJ2 via IFTTT

Shielded. Chapter Three

imagineclaireandjamie:

Anonymous said to imagineclaireandjamie:

Trojan horse.

Week 1(War and Peace)i: 

Monday came around quickly. The amount of sleep she had managed to achieve felt like something of an accomplishment considering what little else there was for her to do.

Feeling brave she gathered herself up and began an exploration of her new home. She recalled the features that Jamie had detailed to her on the Saturday morning before she’d fallen into a light coma for the next 30 odd hours. First, she started with the basement. Recalling the moment in Home Alone where Kevin had been forced to face his own below-ground nemesis, she took the steps carefully, the popular scene repeating over and over in her head until she actually came face to face with a harmless looking space.

As described, there was a washing machine and a dryer -the funnel used to expel the warm air from the back leading up and out of a tiny window near the ceiling- as well as several boxes stacked high in the corner. With not much else to view, she noted the cupboard which contained all the powders and conditioners she’d need and returned to the kitchen.

She’d never really been into cooking before, but despite this she thought the massive aga with its shiny maroon front looked extremely professional. It was, however, so clean she didn’t think it had been used much before. With Jamie working odd and long hours, she presumed it was more likely that he lived on cold snacks and microwave meals.

Looking in the large American-style fridge, she found an assortment of basic produce. What looked like a bottle of unpasteurised milk (most likely bought in himself) and some homemade butter lay in the door alongside a batch of freshly laid eggs. It all seemed fairly self-replacing and she smiled at the idea that one could live completely unaided in the middle of the Highlands if you knew how (or lived with someone else who did).

The freezer, as she expected from inspecting the contents of the fridge, contained a whole host of bagged and sealed meats – enough protein to keep a whole family afloat for months.

Closing the door, she pulled a stack of post-it notes from her pocket and penned a reminder. Seeing all the produce he’d got neatly tucked away reminded her of her teenage years.

Having lost her parents young, she had grown up travelling the world with her uncle and along the way she had gathered herself some producing and growing skills, mainly vegetables and greens, but useful nonetheless. Aiming to reinvigorate her knowledge of horticulture, she wrote:

“Ask about potential vegetable patch/greenhouse…CB”

Placing it on the front of the fridge, she admired the initials she’d signed off with. It hadn’t clicked until she’d come to the end that she could no longer refer to herself with her maiden name and she had hovered over the ‘C’ for longer than normal before sighing and signing with her new pseudonym instead.

Mentally exhausted from overthinking two small letters, she poured herself a glass of water from the tap and continued through into the lounge where she’d sat only hours before with her initial guardians.

It seemed larger and brighter now she actually had the time and a little more energy to view it.

The fireplace was extensive and contained a series of photographs in expressive frames. They must, she thought, have been set up there by someone else.

The first was of a group of young children. Ashamed, she felt badly that she couldn’t pick her host out of the line up. His face and features were still hazy, the only signifier she could recall was the mop of bright red hair that sat atop his head and possibly blue eyes…though she could have been mistaken.

Looking harder, she tried to squint, hoping that might clue her in as to which of the children was Jamie. Giving up, she carried on along the line, smiling as the young girl turned into a young woman. It must be his sister, she pondered, touching the tip of the frame as she looked over the wedding photos. The dress was stunning, the groom looking favourably over at his new bride whilst the crew in the background threw confetti in the air above them.

Picking out Jamie, she noticed his tight smile and high cheekbones. She felt relieved, having not been able to determine who he was in the earlier line-up had made her instantly abashed but at least somewhere in the back of her mind she’d had the forethought to note his defining features in her tired haze.

Towards the back of the ground floor she found a small sitting room. It contained the TV and some rather large overfilled bookcases and looked out over the small garden to the rear. Although she knew she wasn’t supposed to leave the house, she enjoyed -for a moment- sitting on the arm of the chair and looking out across the fields. The sun was still low in the sky and the wind was blowing the long grass gently whilst clouds occasionally masked the sun from view.

The space was enclosed with a waist high stonewall along the top which ran from an outhouse building, to a gate and then on to a covered open-shed arrangement. To the right and behind the shed was a row of rather tall trees. These captured her attention for several minutes as she watched the branches sway and the birds flit in and out of the woodland area. She could almost smell the scent of the spring day and taste the pollen on her tongue as she leaned closer to the window.

It was there she sat for several hours before her stomach growled angrily, reminding her of how little she’d eaten over the weekend.

Making herself a quick sandwich, she wrote out a ‘thank you’ post-it before returning back to her room. She knew Jamie probably wouldn’t be home for a while but the chime of the clock as she’d cleaned up her plate had made her suddenly nervous, as if she couldn’t quite bring herself to make idle conversation yet, and she’d escaped just in case he came home out of the blue to check she was alright.

As it stood, though, he hadn’t and didn’t arrive home until well into the evening. The sun had already begun to set as she put down her kindle at the sound of the door opening and closing.

She knew it was dinner time and the afternoon had passed so quickly that she had barely looked up since she’d returned to her room. Glancing out of the window, she watched the birds fly across the inky blue sky, the orange hue slowly fading as late afternoon turned into evening. Warring with herself, she argued over going down, her mind compromised by her unwillingness to seek out company. She would, after all, have to succumb at some point – it would be rude not to.

Having some form of sixth sense on the matter, Jamie appeared to understand her a little more than she did herself, and for the next few days he allowed her time to adjust and settle.

He would come home at a normal time and, instead of crowding her, he prepared supper, placed hers in the microwave, and then placed himself in the study until bedtime. By the middle of the week she had become accustomed to this routine and would often wait for him to close himself in his own quarters before sneaking back downstairs to eat herself.

As this progressed, her post-it notes become more frequent and she would often add small doodles with large smiley-face stickman on them. Jamie found these endearing, it had been a long time since he’d had anyone else living in the family home and it was a nice surprise to find that he enjoyed it – even if it was only the small noises of Claire moving about that clued him in as to her presence. Stashing the notes in the back of his jeans pocket, he began to collect them, placing them on the pin-board in his small office as he did so.

By the end of the day on Friday he had managed to arrange them into ‘thank you’ notes and ‘question’ notes and had created a set of his own which he aimed to place on the fridge for the following morning. All of these were answers to her queries. Intrigued by her idea for a vegetable patch in the yard, he had returned that specific ask with a list of items he’d ordered from locals and friends which he aimed to have ready for the weekend – this was the one he was most proud of.

“Wire and mesh for coverings, 4 X wooden planks for a raised surround, fertile soil, seeds, glass sheeting to be cut in prep for greenhouse, assorted spring veg selection…JF”

That had been left on Wednesday and he was chuffed to return home in the evening to find a rather large spaghetti bolognaise aside his newest ‘thank you’ note.

Having made the bolognaise she had shyly returned to her room, the message hidden away in her pocket as she’d sat at the desk for the evening to research plant and vegetable growth extensively. There hadn’t been many evenings in her old life where she’d had the time to process alone, and so even though she knew her hobiting away time was coming to an end, she was grateful to have been allowed the week to relax.

Through the use of notes, she had built herself a mental picture of Jamie and his personality. He, at the beginning of the week, had left her meals and then absconded so that she could eat alone, but by the end of Friday their roles had been reversed as she felt he shouldn’t have to take care of her when he’d been out at work all day. She didn’t have a large cooking repertoire, but there were plenty of cookery books hidden in one of the cupboards and she’d taken to reading them to pick out the easier looking recipes to trial.

There had been some mistakes. Some burned pasta (which she hadn’t known to be a possibility until she’d achieved it) but overall it hadn’t been too traumatic.

Peeling open her book, she pulled the post-it -which had now lost most of its stickiness- and ran her fingers over the text. She couldn’t deny how excited she was over the prospect of a garden of her own. The overwhelming thoughtfulness of it was helping to coax her out of her bedroom and she resolved to use the weekend to thank him in person.

As much as she was revelling in their silent, written communications, there was little chance she was (or should be) able to avoid total human interaction for the next 11 weeks. He was going above and beyond for her, changing his own habits whilst she reassessed her life -something few others, she thought, would do for a complete stranger.

With her decision made, resolved to be more social in the morning, she curled up under her duvet with her newest book. Before she knew it, the words were bleeding together, her eyes struggling to remain open as she fell into a dreamless sleep.  

Shielded. Chapter Two.

imagineclaireandjamie:

Anonymous said to

imagineclaireandjamie:

We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails. [Dolly Parton]

Happy Sunday all – Chapter Two is up and ready, I hope you enjoy. You can find Chapter One HERE. MBD

War and Peace:


It was sunny outside, she could see the clear blue sky through the thick white netting. Having let themselves in to the property with a key in one of the officers back pockets, they were waiting in the small lounge for John’s mystery friend to appear. With the long winding roads down to the house they had taken longer than originally planned to arrive and the gentleman, one James Fraser, had been forced to leave and attend to his milking duties before he’d actively met his new house guest.

Not that any of them minded. In her own head she was still rolling her new name, saying it over and over again as if to make herself believe it. At least when she was introduced she’d be able to return the greeting gesture with some authenticity.

“You can leave you know.” She had said this to the officers on several occasions. Knowing little about milking, she did assume it wasn’t a quick job and had been quick to allude to the face that Mr Fraser might be out for some time. Shaking their heads, though, they had pointed out that they were required to do handover and were not going to simply leave her without properly passing off to Mr Fraser.

Her living with another person brought about its own complications. For a start they both needed to be briefed on the situation, they both needed to know the implications and outcomes of anyone learning her existence (which they were bound to do at some point) and the severity of anyone learning her real name or her reason for being here.

She suspected that there was more of a backstory to come, but had waited patiently to be informed of it rather than asking. It was unlikely that John had sent her here with little more than a new name and she was ready and keen to adapt to this new situation.

He’d have the letter, she thought as she held the coke bottle tightly between her fingers. In the twenty-four hours she’d had to prepare her exit, she had written a letter to be delivered to her husband this morning so that he didn’t attempt to register her as a missing person. Though some of the force knew of her plan, naturally only a small few knew intimate details and most knew nothing at all. The last thing she needed was a group of policemen and women tracking her down and ruining the whole operation.

The sound of the key in the lock brought her attention away from her worries and she tried to relax herself so that she looked less like a deer in headlights and more like she was happy to be there. She was, of course, more than content to be far away from her old life but the trip had left her hollow and fatigued and she didn’t want to appear ungrateful the very first moment she met her unwitting host.

Smoothing down the thin material of her leggings, she surreptitiously wiped the sweat from her palms as she caught a glance of John’s friend.  Her mind, however, was torn between the present and the future and she found it almost impossible to keep herself grounded in the moment.

It wasn’t until they were all sitting in the lounge with a cup of tea did she even notice the tall stranger stood in front of her. They must have been talking for a good ten minutes, she noted internally, as the steam was still freshly piping off the brewed tea.

“So, Mr Fraser,” the officer stated, bringing her attention fully back to the room, “we’ve got a long drive home so we’ll leave you and Claire to get acquainted. The number in the envelope is the contact should you have any emergency concerns but it should only be used when really necessary. Alright?”

“Aye.” Mr Fraser responded quietly, shaking both her driver’s hands before ushering them out.

Once alone, she picked up her tea and blew across the top. The front room was tall and airy, certainly quite old, probably built around the early 18th century. She took note of the engraved sconces, the plain wallpaper and the large fireplace as she waited to be joined again. Enthralled by the rather encompassing oil painting, she jumped a little as Fraser entered the room.

“That’s a great-aunt of some description, if I remember correctly. Painted sometime in the 1890’s before the turn of the century. She was keen on highland dancing, hence the flashy tartans surrounding her. A lost art, I fear.”

A small smile pulled at his lips, he seemed calm but not yet used to human companionship.

“I’m so sorry, I don’t think I caught your name.”

“Jamie,” he replied, holding his hand out to meet hers, “Jamie Fraser.”

“And you live here alone?”

Clearly he did, she had been told as much but her mind had gone blank. Between leaving Oxford, the long drive and transforming into someone new in a few short hours, her brain was looking for conversation starters and coming up blank.

“Aye, have done for a good few years now. The farm takes a lot of work, I have a few helpers from nearby plots that come and help when needed, but I mostly dinna notice.”

“Long hours then?”

“From dawn to dusk most days, though I have been known to take a day off.”

His joke made her smile and she sipped her tea to stop it from becoming a full on fatigued laugh.

Seeing the glazed look pass over her eyes, Jamie cocked his head and pointed to the staircase at the back of the room. “Would you like me to show you to your room? I’m sure you’ve already had a long weekend. It has an ensuite so you can just rest in there until you feel human again?”

Nodding she felt grateful that he hadn’t used her new name yet. In her own head she’d had trouble making herself believe it and she wasn’t sure it was familiar enough yet for her to answer to it. As they walked, her filled suitcase in his hands whilst she hoisted her rucksack onto her back, she tried to repeat it to herself over and over. It felt strange that she could no longer think of herself as Elizabeth. Luckily, she wouldn’t have to worry about strangers calling out in public and her answering them.

It stung, though, to remember that she was locked down and unable to investigate her new home.

“This is it.” Opening the door, Jamie took a step inside.

The room was vast. Another great fireplace centred the room and there were doors either side of it.

“To the left is a closet for your clothes, I’ve emptied it aside from a couple of shoe boxes of old photos, I hope you don’t mind. To the right is the bathroom. It has a wetroom-type shower and a toilet. There is a bath, but it’s in the main bathroom down the hall, feel free to use it any time.”

Getting clean and into fresh clothes was at the top of her agenda and a calm washed over her as she saw the solid four-poster bed, all made up with light blue sheets and pre-fluffed pillows.

“Thanks, Jamie, for everything.”

Having missed her chance to thank John, she felt like all she would be able to say to Jamie for weeks was thank you.

“Nay bother. Just…” he paused for a moment, his hand resting tightly over the door handle as he moved to leave, “everything here is yours too, aye? Make yerself at home. I work a lot, long hours and long weeks, so I’ll be here there and everywhere. There’s food in the kitchen, a TV in the living area at the back of the house as well as books and more creative things.” He was talking fast, his nervousness becoming clearer as he tried to give a verbal account of the facilities without forgetting anything important. “Through the kitchen there is a door, it leads down into the cellar. That’s where the washing machine and dryer are if you want to wash yer clothes…anything else…?”

He had placed her suitcase down by the door and was running his hands through his hair as he tried to think whether he needed to mention anything else.

“Thank you.” She said again, giving him a free pass to leave now he seemed settled that he’d bought her attention to the most important appliances. “It really is extremely kind of you to open your home at such short notice.”

“It’s a pleasure,” returning her gesture, he held out his hand and took hers, shaking it lightly as she backed towards the bed and he moved back into the doorway, “Claire.”

It felt strange to hear him finally say it and the sound of his deep scottish accent stayed with her long after he’d closed the door and disappeared back downstairs. As she wandered slowly around her suite she opened and closed her right hand, the warmth of his palm still echoed in her flesh. Having had tender relationships before, it was almost as if her flesh knew the touch of someone gentle before the rest of her did.

Whatever it had been dissipated as she caught sight of the brown envelope sticking out of her purse and she took a seat on the bed before pulling a series of pieces of paper from it.

Jamie must have been introduced whilst she’d been in her haze as she didn’t remember anything prior to noticing the cup of tea and, with tired eyes, she pushed the notes aside, eager to get some rest before reading on further.

The clock on the mantel ticked, the click of the hands signalling another hour gone by and before she knew it, darkness surrounded her.

Having fallen asleep between the mass of her new life story, she rubbed her closed lids, yawned and then rose. Her limbs felt heavy, her joints stiff from being in the same position for hours. Stumbling across the room, she felt around for the light switch before investigating the small bathroom attached to her living space.

It was new, that was certain, the porcelain and white tiles sparkling with a sheen that only occurred right before they were sullied with condensation. She pulled the extractor fan cable, switched the shower on and turned up the heat before shedding her clothes and standing beneath the spray. Fortunately there was a towel neatly arranged on the heated handrail, she noticed, as she washed the journey from her skin with some nice lemon scented shower gel.

Clean and dry, she tucked herself between the sheets, carefully stacking and placing the paper back in the envelope before she did so.

That can wait, she thought, her eyes closing before her head even hit the pillow. Once more, sleep found her easily, the swirls of pixelated colour appearing behind her closed eyelids as she began to dream. Silence surrounded her, not like the hum of the city that buzzed in her ears whilst she slept in Oxford, but the blissful nothingness that remote country living afforded those who inhabited it. For that she was grateful.

Kind, blue eyes invaded the deep black nothingness and she felt warm and safe. Snuggling further down into the duvet, she let the warmth encase her as she finally allowed herself to relax.

Shielded. Chapter One

imagineclaireandjamie:

ANON: Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway. [John Wayne]

Since the beginning of lockdown here in the UK, I’ve been making little notes here and there and I’ve finally put something together that is hopefully interesting. It’s set from the start of our isolation back on Friday 20th March and will work its way forwards in time <3 enjoy! Mod MBD.

– — –

The Daily Briefing:

She left under the cover of darkness, the atmospheric sheet rain appearing out of nowhere to conceal her as she hid the doorway of a boarded up shop. The ‘closed’ signs that littered the windows of each and every shop on the highstreet illuminated as the lights flickered on, the daylight fading as night enveloped the south of England. It should have been a regular Friday evening, but it wasn’t. And despite the shock of the rest of the nation, she was more than happy for the lockdown to take immediate effect.

A couple of the pubs were still open, the last of their punters being ushered out by groups of policemen and women as the 9pm curfew approached, and though there was still some footfall through the small village, it wasn’t enough to worry her greatly.

She remembered reading YA fiction that started in a similar way and the idea that the whole population might be reduced to some dystopian teen nightmare seemed more than plausible. But at least she’d be far away from society by the time it did. Wondering whether Suzanne Collins and Veronica Roth were somewhere together, raising a glass to their literary insight into such things, she pulled her jacket tighter around her neck to stop the droplets of water running down her chest.

The honk of a horn brought her out of her thoughts as she grabbed her meagre belongings and hid her face from the rain. Getting herself settled in the back of the blacked out van, there was a part of her that scoffed at the idea of danger lurking within as the plain-clothed officers escorting her smiled softly, passing her a towel to wipe the stray drips of moisture from her face. As a child she had, of course, been warned about strangers in vehicles. Now though there were more monsters lurking in her own home than there were anywhere else in the country.

“You might want to get some sleep, if you can, miss.” One of the younger officers said, breaking the silence even with his moderately quiet statement. “It’s a long drive, we’re aiming for eight hours if we can, but it will all depend on the roads.”

Nodding, she pulled a woolen blanket from one of her bags, removed her coat and curled herself against the window. Though she thought sleep impossible, she did manage to doze a little as the car made its way towards the motorway. Her mind went blank as they sped up, she’d spent weeks agonising over this choice, the solid notion of it taking root in her subconscious as the country seemed to spin towards chaos and confusion.

The virus, however, had not been her primary concern. Only her mental and physical survival had taken precedent. It was the prime minister’s announcement yesterday that schools and pubs would close the following week that spurred her onwards, and she’d (rather rapidly) responded to the offer she had been levelled with.

If she wanted to disappear, now was her chance.

“John wants you to know that he’s processed the documents you’re going to need and included a shielding letter with that. This should take you until the end of June as well as the furlough payments. He also says you did the right thing.”

Making incomplete thumps against her chest, her heart stopped for a moment as the police officer spoke. She’d been warring with herself for weeks, uncertain of the best course of action. She had, of course, lived with the increasing threat for years before it had finally erupted. John had seen the outcome and had begged her to reconsider his previous offer of assistance having watched her descend into a less than perfect relationship. But she had been convinced that she’d be able to manage.

She hadn’t. An obvious change had taken hold of her husband. He wasn’t the man she married, not by a long shot, and as 2019 came to a close, so did any of his positive attributes. He was a professor, a professional man with many books to his name and he refused to believe his actions had become that of a less than ideal partner.

The first stay in hospital, however, stated otherwise.

“Will I be able to speak to him?”

The officer shook his head sadly. “No, if this is to work, you have to sever all contact with anyone you previously knew, even John. Anything that puts you at risk or could enlighten the wrong people into knowing your whereabouts would jeopardize all of the work we’ve all put in to assure your safety.”

Having had the mood suitably dulled, she lay her head against the window and let several hundred miles pass her by.  

As they crossed the border around midnight, the rain finally began to ease and she smiled at the irony. She hadn’t spent much time in Scotland, but she knew it wasn’t famous for its notoriously glorious weather. Part of her was desperate for some coffee but the further they travelled up the country, the less likely it was that the service stations were 24 hours – nor did she think her drivers would be willing to stop until they’d reached their destination.

Once off the motorway and onto the single track roads that led them further into the highlands, she started to guess at where their final destination might be. When the proposition had first been offered to her, John had given her a number of options of a safe haven – one being a flight away (by that point he had started to take her safety quite seriously). As the grey scenery passed them by, a slight pinking of the sky signalling that dawn was close, she was trying to recall the names of the places he’d suggested though her mind was as much of a blur as the greenery whooshing by the back window.

“I don’t suppose you have anything caffeinated to drink?” She asked. 

Reaching forward, she took the unopened bottle of coke from one of her escorts and relaxed back into her seat.

“Not far away now. There aren’t any toilets, though.”

Fatigue was running deep, she could tell by the tiredness in his voice as he spoke and she nodded as she took a sip. The warning was clear; drink it all quickly and there would be no stopping for a break. But she was too thirsty to worry too much.

“Can I ask where we’re going?”

“Just north-west of Inverness. It’s a farm so it’s as remote as they come. It’s single occupancy, the guy who lives there runs his family business. He’s an old contact of John’s, so although there is to be no contact between you, he trusts you’re in safe hands. All shopping is pre organised and will be delivered once every two weeks to ensure neither of you are put at risk leaving the property for supplies.”

“Should I leave the house at all?” At this point she couldn’t tell whether she was being sarcastic or not but there was an honesty to her question that made the officers answer her quickly.

“No. You have your letter, not that there is anyone around to ask for it, but for the next 12 weeks you should remain inside at all times. No matter how far we take you away from civilization there is always the risk – even during a national pandemic and lockdown – of someone being around, seeing you and passing it on. Where we’re taking you, the owner hasn’t had another friend or family on the property for a number of years. Small communities talk so you should stay inside and out of the view of any members of the local village.”

“Noted.” Replying sadly, she replaced the cap on the half finished bottle of cola and ran her fingers along the inside of her leg. The scar there was still fresh, the heat of it making the hairs on her arms stand on end. She knew that if she wanted this to work, if she wanted to remain hidden, then she would have to obey the rules set.

They drove through Inverness just as 5am hit and the sun rose across the extensive lochs and mountains.

“It might seem far-fetched, the idea that you’ll be located, but we can’t take the risk. We did look through your file, though, and found a name we hope has some resonance to you.” *but nobody else* he thought, but did not say.

“Thank you, I really appreciate it. Please pass that on to John, I didn’t even get the chance to tell him how grateful I am. For everything.” Her intrigue had been piqued about her new identity but once she knew who she was going to be for the next few weeks, it would all become real. Whilst they still hadn’t arrived, she could sit and pretend to be existing in an in between – half way between fantasy and reality.

As they pulled off one side-road and onto another her driver passed her an envelope. She could see a small smile lift the side of his mouth as an archway came into view in front of them. “Of course I will, Claire.”

“Claire?”

“Yes,” he returned, bringing his arm up and pointing his finger at the brown packet in her hands, “it’s all in there…the rest of it. Read it, keep the ID documentation and then burn anything you don’t need to use later.”

“Claire.” She whispered to herself.

And in one breath, as a rather large white brick farm house appeared beneath the now large ivy coated arch, Elizabeth Randall died and she instantly became Claire Beauchamp.

AWSOM Powered