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I'll Bare My Soul To You

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Caitríona is no blushing virgin when it comes to dropping trou in front of a room of people, her entire body up for display. She’s been there before, standing stock still and letting others scrutinise every line and curve, not unlike an object offered up for sale. There’s a certain vulnerability that comes with baring oneself; though she has learned that even without a stitch of clothing, she can still conceal all that is within her mind.

 

She had known long before tossing her hat into the ring that the role of Claire Beauchamp meant occasional violence, nudity and a fair amount of explicit scenes. While she was fairly new in the world of film and television, acting had always been a part of her, as cheesy as that was to say. The discussion about what she was comfortable with had taken place in a room full of production members, and her co-stars, who had to answer the same questions. It had almost been clinical; touching, squeezing, kissing, licking, biting, sucking were all on the table, with the body parts these actions were to be performed on to be confirmed prior to rehearsals for particular scenes. 

 

There had been nerves of course, in the lead up to it all; it wasn’t like she could practice the intimate parts by herself, as she did with the rest of her scenes, running lines in front of the bathroom mirror and imagining she was watching her character come to life in her reflection. 

 

She had bitten the bullet and gotten her first sex scene over and done with in the early days of shooting; There had been a little awkwardness, but that was to be expected, and all in all, she hadn’t hated the experience. It was all for the show. There were boundaries in place, and she had slipped straight into character, even before they were told to move into position. Acting, as an artform in its purest state. Tobias had been a real gentleman throughout the entire process, having far more experience than her in their shared profession, and they had made crude jokes together about it afterwards. 

 

The pressure she had felt then was not unlike a gentle gust of wind, and the slightest shower of raindrops upon her skin. 

 

The thought of filming with Sam, was like standing, frozen, in the eye of a hurricane, waiting to be swept away.

 

They had first met, what feels like a lifetime ago now; Los Angeles, in a dingy office meeting room. She had looked him up beforehand of course, scrolling through countless articles and photos, wanting to get a glimpse of the man who had so quickly won a lead role, as was her ambition to. The casting calls for the main characters had come out at the same time; she remembers her agent coming to her and telling her about the opportunity then. Less than a month later, before she had come to a decision about whether or not she should even try, she had seen the announcement that he had been cast.

 

She had sent in a tape then, wondering if she had once again ruined things for herself by waiting too long, as was her habit. There had been weeks of radio silence from her agent afterwards, and in that time Caitríona had fallen into a bit of a slump. It hadn't yet reached the 'walking around her apartment in only her knickers, eating ice-cream straight from the container' stage, but most evenings had found her curled up on the sofa, reading through countless articles about Sam Heughan and desperately waiting for her phone to ring. He was tall, which was saying something considering her own height, and he was a looker; no surprise there. 

 

Of course she had ceased all forms of online stalking once the call came in that she had been given a chance to audition. A preconception of the man who could end up as a permanent fixture in her life for quite some time had already begun to form at that point, and it wouldn't be fair to him and a future working relationship if she continued. As things stood, he already seemed to fit the stereotype that came with being a marginally successful actor and a good looking man to boot; never lacking in female companionship and a smirk that spelled overconfidence and swagger.

 

God, how she had prayed he wouldn't be a complete arsehole.

 

She hadn't learned that her audition would be a chemistry test until three days before, when the scripts had finally come in. The casting team clearly wanted to put the pressure on each and every candidate, though she had known no amount of time could have prepared her for what she would face during that audition. 

 

And so she had walked (ran) into that room, ten minutes late and almost entirely out of breath and he had just been standing there, leaning casually against the table where the show's producers were gathered, chatting to them with the ease and nonchalance of a man who already had his future secured and laid out in front of him. 

 

He'd turned in her direction, and everything else around them faded away. 

 

In that moment, she had been overwhelmed, with a feeling so foreign she couldn't find the right words to describe it. Their gazes had locked for what felt like an eternity, and despite the confusion in her mind she had noticed it, the strange look that flashed in his eyes, lasting for only a single heartbeat but apparent all the same. It felt as though she had been taken apart and put back together, the pieces fitting together differently than before. But then her name had been called and the moment had ended, as all things do.

 

She had poured every ounce of emotion in her body into that audition, but the truth of the matter was that it had come easily to her, and not because acting was what she was born for. The casting director had commented on her performance, complimented her on her skills, told her that they could really feel the attraction, that it had felt authentic. 

 

Caitríona had smiled, and thanked them.

 

In her mind she had whispered; 

 

It felt real because I wasn't pretending.

 

But she knew, she knows , that things between co-stars never work out, that relationships so heavily scrutinised by the media will almost always inevitably end in failure. The day she had gotten the call that the role of Claire was hers, she had buried those feelings. 

 

Deep.

 

Hoping they would be forgotten.

 

And since then Sam had become her friend, a close confidant, someone she trusted with all her secrets. The time they had spent together and the memories they created were ones that she would keep with her always. She let her guard down around him, and perhaps that was her second mistake.

 

Her first was thinking that the glimmer of attraction she felt for him in the beginning could be so easily forgotten. And yes, she had dug a hole and hidden away that spark, buried treasure to perhaps some day be unearthed, when this was all over and she needed something to look back on. But what she had felt for him then was not like a precious gemstone or a nugget of gold.

 

It was a seed, and it had taken root, sprouted and pushed itself up towards the surface once more. Growing unawares and so vigorously that it was far too late to eradicate now.

 

Now that they're about to sit in a room and film their first intimate scene together, she thinks he'll see it. She doesn't have a glass face, not like Claire, but when they're there, her body bared for the world to see, he'll realise it.

 

Something will give her away.

 

The trembling of her body, perhaps.

 

The flush of rosy red across her cheeks and between her breasts.

 

The race of her pulse, the thundering beat of her heart.

 

The heat of her very core, the dampness between her thighs.

 

The way she nearly leaps out of her skin when he comes up behind her and settles a hand on her shoulder, clearly already in character, speaking in Jamie's voice.

 

"Are ye ready then?"

 

She can see it as she turns to face him, how he morphs back into himself, the growing concern in his eyes, clear as day.

 

"Is everything alright, Cait?"

 

Cait. He had called her that from the beginning, taking one look at her name and horrendously sounding it out the way it was spelt. “Kate-Ri-Oh-Na” he had said, wrinkling his nose and she had laughed, embarrassingly loud. 

 

She shakes her head at the memory, and then nods, perhaps a little more vigorously than the occasion calls for.

 

"I'm fine. Just a little nervous, that's all."

 

It's his turn to nod then. A subtle raise of his eyebrows as he studies her face tells her that he doesn't quite believe her, but he doesn't question her about it. It's one of his finer traits, knowing when to leave things alone, to not push too far.

 

"We'll be fine, as long as you don't accidentally slip and cut my throat." He raises his hands in the air, making air quotes around the word accidentally and she throws her head back and laughs, earning her stares from the crew setting up around them who are still getting used to her random outbursts of laughter before and after and sometimes even during takes. She laughs and he smiles; just two friends sharing a joke, nothing more, nothing less.

 

"That would make for quite the headline," she responds after a moment, and they lapse into silence then, mentally preparing themselves for the day that lay ahead. 

 

They rehearsed this earlier on in the week, on a day where they were both free from shooting other scenes. Half dressed and in the company of about two dozen crew members, they had listened patiently to the director's commentary as they arranged themselves on the ground, running through their already memorised lines and trying not to laugh as they figured out whose hands would go where. There would be no spontaneity here, each and every action planned and practised beyond reproach. Knowing exactly what’s to come should have helped soothe her fears, but it serves to do exactly the opposite. 

 

She knows how her body reacts to his touch;

 

Has since that first day, when out of the blue, right towards the end of the audition, they had been instructed to kiss. She should have anticipated such a request, but she had not prepared herself for it. Sam had tilted his head to the side, studied her for a moment and then shrugged, before cupping her face with both hands and leaning in. 

 

The kiss had sent a thousand bolts of desire through her body; the swipe of his tongue against her lower lip making her weak in the knees. She had been bold then, and bitten him, regretting her actions as soon as he tensed, his entire body going stock still. But when they pulled apart afterwards, he appeared to be completely unaffected, and she wondered how many women he had already kissed that day, and the day before that. The thought had sent an unfamiliar feeling of jealousy straight through her, one she did her best to do away with, in the same manner she tried to shove whatever feelings she might have about him to one side. Of course they had kissed since then, during rehearsals and various scenes, and she likes to think she’s maintained control throughout the entire process. The other option is far too embarrassing to even consider. 

 

She had pushed herself into a different headspace then, as she does now, turning over her dressing gown to an assistant and making her way over to her mark. Caitríona exists no longer; she’s Claire now.

 

Claire , who is about to hold a dagger to her husband’s throat and ride him into oblivion. It is Jamie who kneels before her, curls a thousand shades of red and gold in the shifting lift, looking into her eyes as they’re called to action

 

When her shift slips from her body, she shudders at the shock of cool air upon her skin and then again when she feels the heat of his hands. Their kisses are wet, hurried and desperate, as if trying to consume one another. It almost burns, as his fingers skirt from her collarbone down to her hip and across her thighs. There’s a hand in her hair, tugging at her wild mane, so ferociously it almost stings, and then he’s dipping his head, curls tickling her chest as he takes a nipple into his mouth. He sucks, swirls his tongue around the hardened peak, grazing his teeth against it. 

 

The pleasure of it ripples straight to her core and she freezes, comes back to herself. 

 

He pulls away then but the cameras are still rolling. 

 

“Sorry, didn’t mean to bite you,” he says, loud enough for the entire room to hear, and she knows he’s doing it to save her from embarrassment, to pin the blame on himself for messing up the take. 

 

She wants him even more for it. 

 

On the next take, her hand slips as she’s holding the blade to his throat, and she slumps forward, falling onto his chest, skin against skin. She hears his muffled curse and lets out an audible “fuck” herself, pushing herself upright by bracing her hand against his shoulder, feeling the sweat between their bodies. The blade falls from her hands, and she sees the mark she’s left on his neck, a thick red line where she had pressed far too hard.

 

She whispers that she’s sorry and they begin again.

 

And again.

 

The entire situation is so fucking difficult, no pun intended.

 

It's hard, no pun intended.

 

She's gotten to a point where she is filled, no pun intended , with sexual innuendo, in order to distract herself from the thought of him, lying beneath her, lying stock still as she rolls her hips against his. Where she's all plushy around the middle, with breasts and an arse, all curved and soft enough to squeeze, his entire body is carved from marble.

 

His chest is as solid as the ground itself, his muscles bulging even when they're not in use, and honestly she can't tell what she's feeling down there, between his legs and hers, because he's always this stiff.  

 

Pun most definitely intended.

 

There’s the heavy fabric of his kilt separating them, and she thinks he’s probably wearing his modesty pouch beneath it all, just in case the camera’s catch something unsightly. She had referred to it as a “cock sock” once, when they were embarrassingly drunk and ribbing one another about the ordeals that lay in their future, and the name had stuck. It’s not as though she’s deliberately trying to gauge whether or not he’s aroused by all this, certainly not for the purpose of making herself feel a little better about the stain that’s surely formed on her shift by now. 

 

When they break for lunch, she covers herself up with her robe, securing a knot in the front before she moves off him, not willing to risk anyone seeing evidence of her impure thoughts. Though she had been reassured by many that actors were often aroused in these circumstances, she knows what she feels for Sam is most definitely not normal, and it almost feels as though she is taking advantage of his body through their work together. She flushes then, a reddened bloom of embarrassment across her face, and very pointedly does not make eye contact as she heads off to eat. 

 

Alone.

 

She switches off and spends the next hour browsing through furniture catalogues online, searching for something to spruce up her new flat, absentmindedly twirling her fork in the rather unappetising salad she had picked out. The leaves are all wilted and there’s a suspicious looking bruise on one of the tomatoes, but the entire bowl is coated in a heavy vinaigrette that assaults all her senses at once. She forces it down anyway, feeling it settle low in her stomach before heading back to her trailer to wash her mouth out. Sam is nowhere to be found, which she is grateful for, just needing a little space to breathe without his presence. She steals his mouthwash, seeing it already conveniently placed on the countertop of their shared bathroom, and remembers that it hadn’t been there when she left earlier in the morning. He was a man that was awfully meticulous about his belongings, and she thinks he may have left it out just for her. 

 

The implications are too terrifying to ponder on for more than a moment. 

 

He’s already there when she returns to set, chatting easily with two of the crew members who are hanging off his every word. She wonders if it’s how she looks when he speaks to her, but brushes the thoughts aside when he turns in her direction, giving her a cheeky grin. 

 

This time, when the cameras begin rolling once more, she’s determined to get it right. 

 

She touches him in all the places that they had agreed upon, throws her head back and moans and whimpers at all the right moments, and ignores the burning sensation on her back and knees as her skin is rubbed raw against the carpet. But during one take, when they switch positions and she’s pulled up into his lap, she thinks she can feel him and lets out an involuntary gasp, his name leaving her lips in a drawn out sigh. 

 

God, she hopes that no one heard her.