Chapter 15 - Dating
Though they didn’t have much in common in the normal sense, him spending his days writing while Claire spent her days cutting, they shared core values and wanted the same things out of life. Top of the list was a committed, monogamous relationship. They were both looking for a partner to share their life with. The ups and downs, the everyday mundane things, new experiences, and children, they both wanted children.
Their first dinner date, was a marathon not a sprint, not unlike their initial courtship. Lasting into the wee full moon lit hours of the morning, it culminated with Jamie carrying Claire to her bed after she fell asleep mid-sentence on her couch.
The night air was tinged with warmth and the freshness of it enveloped them as Jamie suggested a digestive walk. Miles and hours later, they had walked a significant portion of the city and ended up on the Salisbury crags, guided only by the moonlight.
With all their walls finally crumbled beneath their feet, crunching into dust with every word and step, the conversation was easy and fluid. Claire asked Jamie how he became a writer, while praising him and his talent. He narrated his experience of becoming a writer a only a writer could, with deep descriptive language, writing her a story out loud in the process. He remembered scribbling words a lot as a child. Whenever he was in nature, or out riding a horse in his early teen years, he always carried a small pad of paper and a writing utensil. But around 15 or so, he said, he stopped for some reason, giving his focus more to his schooling and sports. Writing didn’t show up again until he was in the hospital and he needed a way to process his internal experience. Writing was the natural fit for him and the words reappeared as if they had never left. It wasn’t a hidden talent so much as a forgotten one, like so many people’s creative talents.
Jamie asked Claire every question that came to his mind without a filter. Deep laughter erupted when Jamie asked how many boyfriends she had had. “A measly two,” she said, as if they didn’t count at all. By way of explanation she launched into the deepest description of her medical life that she had ever given to another soul. The hours, the sleep deprivation, the healing, the self doubt, the deep internal work she had to do in order to overcome her childhood demons to be able to practice the craft of surgery. She released it all to his eager ears and heart.
Sitting on the slope of the crags in the moonlight, Jamie pulled Claire into his side, hugging her tight as she expressed her excitement and fears of their budding relationship. With so little experience, she started to doubt her ability to stay at the heightened deep level of their connection. She doubted her ability to keep giving and be vulnerable. Jamie kissed her temple, then turned towards her, brushing her wild free hair off of her face, tilting her chin up when she tried to look down after her confession.
“Claire, I’ll never ask ye for anything ye dinna want te or canna give. We’re in this together now. All I ask is that there is an honesty between us, a truth. Do ye agree?” he asked already knowing that he would do anything for her, give her anything she ever asked for.
“I agree, Jamie. Secrets but not lies,” she said interpreting his words into a vow between them, the first of many.
Jamie pressed his lips to hers to seal the promise in a gentle, sensual, heart stopping kiss.
On their second date, two weeks later, Jamie surprised her by taking her to a gallery to see his mother’s new show. It was entitled Love: The truth between us. He was surprised to see the title given what he and Claire had talked about during their first date, then realized it must be something he had heard growing up. It was baked into his bloodlines, that is why it came out so easily with Claire.
The show was dedicated to Brian and the life he and Ellen had built together. Each piece was related in some way to their life and the support he gave Ellen along the way. Knowing how much Claire loved Ellen and her talent, Jamie thought it the perfect place to spend some time with her. Little did he know it was in the same exact gallery where Claire and Ellen had first met, Circles.
“Jamie, you’re kidding me right?” Claire asked with both eyebrows at her hairline.
“What?” Jamie asked, clueless, as he held the door to the gallery open for her.
“This is where I met your mother. Did you not know?”
“Nay, Sassenach, I had no idea,” he shrugged, “I just figured ye like her work, ye ken, and I thought we could see it together.”
Claire stopped him, and simply kissed him for his thoughtfulness. A trait, which when she first “met” him at The Empty Tin, she never imagined he possessed. In the last two weeks, he had shown her it was an innate part of his character. This second date was further proof. In the time between their first and second dates, two weeks due to her schedule, he had brought her coffee in the middle of the night at the hospital, popped by after a she had a hard day with take out and flowers, lent her a book after she expressed interest in knowing who influenced his writing, and wrote her a short story about their first date from his perspective. They had talked on the phone or texted everyday between the dates, and it wasn’t uncommon in the span of that time for one of them to fall asleep late into the night on speaker phone. The other only hanging up when they could hear the heavy breathing of sleep on the other end.
Jamie it turned out was just as good of an art guide as his mother had been. They toured the space hand in hand while he interpreted some of the pieces from the view of his childhood. Claire was watched him tell the stories almost as intently as she looked at Ellen’s paintings. Jamie was a natural born storyteller and she couldn’t imagine a time when he wasn’t. Though his accident was horrible, he may have never reignited his passion for writing and storytelling without it. In an odd way, she was grateful for each shattering experience they had each survived because it made them who they were now. It allowed them to find each other again, at the exact right moment. Watching him, made her grateful for the grit they each possessed to overcome and integrate their experiences, making them more wise, more fully human, and in the end, more fully each other’s.
Claire couldn’t imagine a better second date than watching her man in his element, gushing over his mother’s talent, telling stories, and letting each word he spoke drip with love for his whole family.
One Month Later
Jamie and Claire’s first month of dating had surpassed all expectations, fears, and fortress walls. There was an understanding between them, an ease, and a comfort that neither had known before. Their connection grew with each word, touch, giggle, and kiss. Each walk they took around the city, each morning they woke up together engendered the strengthening tether between them.
Though they slept together on their third “official date,” unable to resist each other anymore, there was much they hadn’t explored sexually. A month into their relationship, standing before his bed, immediately after furiously stripping each other, they stood naked and silent, just looking at each other, taking in every contour of each others body when Jamie spoke.
“Claire...I want to put my mouth on ye…” he said low, accent deepening, lust seeping from his lips.
“You put your mouth on my all the time? Why are you asking permission?” she asked confused and shrugged her shoulders.
Jamie realized she had no idea what he was talking about. He stepped forward, placed his hand over her mound, and slipped a finger inside her and said, “here, I want to put my mouth on ye here.”
She looked him directly in the eye, as his finger made small ministrations, “OH,” she gasped out.
“No one has ever done that to me before…” she whispered to him, trying to keep her composure as he continued to touch her.
“No, no one I’ve been with has cared much about my pleasure...except you. ”
He kissed her then, slow, sweet, loving, and in apology for every man who had come before him.
“I’m asking for yer permission because it makes some women uncomfortable and they arena able to enjoy it when they are uncomfortable. I didna want te assume it was something ye wanted or liked,” he said with the confidence of a much more experienced man than he was.
“I’ve not thought about it much to be honest, since it was never offered…I never thought to want it,” she paused, letting herself think and relish the man before her who continued to give her the slow movements that drove her mad with desire for him. “I trust you, I’m willing to try,” she said trying to steel her nerves. The truth was she wanted everything with him. She trusted him with her entire essence.
Jamie picked her up and delicately laid her on his bed. He let her body guide him since he had not performed the act before. He had never wanted to with anyone else, but with Claire, he wanted to give her everything. He deeply wanted to please her. Though inexperienced in this matter, somehow he just knew what to do with her. His mouth found it’s way to every inch of her flesh before he made his way down to her navel. Lifting his head slightly to catch her eyes, asking for consent once more. She nodded and bit her lip. It was all the confirmation he needed. Moving down, his mouth enveloped her and she shivered at the first contact. It was unlike anything she had ever experienced and she found herself squirming with pleasure through the entire experience.
Jamie seemed to be enjoying it almost as much as she was. Though his mouth was in vigorous use, his voice box was getting just as much of a workout with each moaning groan he released. She would never be able to listen to him savor food again in the same way without getting aroused. Overwhelmed with sensation she was unaware of her impending release. She shattered and splintered without warning. The sound she made was something she never knew she was capable of. Riding the waves of her release, she melted into a boneless stew, immobile on the bed.
Clearly pleased with himself, Jamie nipped her thigh and up her torso. He stopped on his side, propped up on his arm to get a good look at her. Her face was more beautiful than he had ever seen it before. She glowed with an ecstasy externally that he hoped was mirrored internally. He didn’t touch her, just watched, took her in. He wanted to remember her like this always, completely his.
Claire was unable to find her words for several minutes, but when she did, she made no sense anyhow. A string of adjectives fell out of her mouth in no particular order. Jamie just smiled at her. Internally he still couldn’t believe the turn of events that led him to be in bed with his favorite person in the world. The invisible cord between them now a strong rope, he fell more in love with her everyday. He hadn’t said it yet, not wanting to scare her off, but he knew there would never been anyone else for him again. Jamie knew it from the first time he saw her in the wee hours of the morning, clad only in his navy blue ratty Uni hoodie, sipping coffee as she hummed around his kitchen. The early morning light, streaming into his flat, bounced off her pale skin, back-lighting her curls, and made her glow like an ethereal being, like a fae of the stones, his fae.
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