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“Mo ghraidh, your very being is art.” He pressed his lips against mine softly, just a whisper, before pulling back. 

“Come here.”

He slowly pulled me up and walked me towards the large full length mirror in front of the closet, standing behind me and wrapping his arms around my waist. My breath hitched as his mouth descended on my neck, whispering kisses along its length, just barely brushing, sending shivers through my body. His fingers grazed over my back and proceeded to slowly tug down the zipper of my dress, all the way to the small of my back before moving his hands to my shoulders. They skimmed down my arms, leaving goosebumps in their wake as he slipped my dress off my body. 

My gaze met his in the mirror as he stared back at me intensely, determination and passion swirling in the ocean blue hues of his irises. My head turned towards his and claimed his mouth, gripping onto his firm bicep tightly when he opened his mouth and kissed me back, sliding his tongue and massaging it against mine. The kiss was slow, wet, hot, and messy but held a fierce passion and determination that had me tingling all over. 

I felt his hands swiftly unclasp my bra and push it off my shoulders, leaving it to fall at my feet. He cupped both his hands around my breasts and squeezed once, causing a moan to tumble out of my lips and into his mouth at the feel of it. Continuing down on their path, his hands slid down the pale skin of my stomach to the band of my panties. I kept my eyes squeezed tightly shut and continued to focus on just kissing him, tasting him, trying not to seem nervous about standing in front of him completely naked; exposed for him while he stood behind me still fully clothed.

I tried to turn around in his arms, an ostensible attempt to rid him of his clothing and make me feel less vulnerable. To my surprise, he tightened his grasp on my hips, holding me firm in his strong grip, not allowing me to move an inch. I let out a whimper against his lips. I secretly loved it when he took complete control of my body and its pleasure. Although, it wasn't much of a secret I suppose, since this man could read me like a book. He obviously knew what his actions did to me if the smug, satisfied smirk against my lips was any indication. 

He sank his teeth softly into my bottom lip, pulling it back before diving back in to devour my mouth with his own. His fingers hooked into the band of my cream colored lace underwear and slid them down my legs. They fell to my feet, leaving me bare. My heart pounded in my chest as his fingers grazed gently up over my hip bones, my entire body trembling slightly in his arms, from nervousness and arousal both. 

After a few moments the kiss slowly turned from passionate to tender,  and he separated his lips from mine, nose brushing against mine as he pulled back. My breath came out in pants as he captured my eyes. The usually calm ocean blue of his eyes had turned dark and stormy. I shuddered under the intensity. 

He seemed to be taking things excruciatingly slow tonight, teasing me with lingering touches and soft brushes when all I wanted was to jump him and take him to bed then and there. 

The corner of his plump, kiss-swollen lips turned upwards, knowing precisely the effect that he had on my body. He could see it all over my face. I cursed myself for having a ‘glass face’ as he had so charmingly put it a few months ago. In moments like these, it always gave him the upper hand.

I searched his eyes, looking for what was going through his mind, questioning his deliberately unhurried pace, but he just held my eyes with a contemplative expression, giving nothing away. 

Just as I was about to snap at him, demand that he stop this ridiculous game of teasing, and take me to bed immediately, his eyes shifted from mine to the mirror in front of us. Suddenly tugging my hips back, he pressed himself against my arse, his hard arousal evident against the fabric of his pants. My breath hitched as he murmured huskily into my ear, “Look at yerself, Claire.”

Wait, what? There was no way I could do that. Look at myself, now? Stark naked in front of a mirror with him right behind me? My eyes widened in anxiousness, slightly uncomfortable with the situation I had somehow found myself in. I fidgeted with my fingers, trying to figure out what I should do as I felt a lump rise in my throat.

I glanced at his face with a worried expression, but the blatant desire swirling in his eyes as he dragged them lustfully over my body gave me a small boost of confidence.

“Trust me, Sassenach,” he whispered softly, lips brushing against the outer shell of my ear, thumbs rubbing across my hip bones reassuringly. I took a deep breath, swallowing my fears to let the small amount of confidence I have take over before turning my head towards the mirror. 

“Look at yerself. We can stop whenever ye want if yer feelin’ uncomfortable, but please, try for me first,” he murmured softly into my ear, lips still brushing against my skin with every word. My lips pulled up into a small smile. This massive, stubborn hulk of a Scot had a funny way of making me feel completely safe and comfortable with him , no matter how uncomfortable I found the situation I was in. 

He nudged his nose against my cheek encouragingly, and I sucked in a breath as my eyes apprehensively wandered over my naked form. 

Something about this somehow turned me on but filled me with anxiety at the same time. In my previous marriage, most of the time Frank and I had slept together was done in the darkness of the bedroom, not really bothering to actually look at each other. 

Jamie, on the other hand, from the very beginning of our relationship, had constantly expressed his unabashed, blatant appreciation and desire for my body. I could tell just by the reverent and slightly possessive way he touched me, the adoring and lustful way he looked at me. The way he took his time in letting his eyes trace over every inch of my body as if enamored by it, taking in every detail with a hungry, borderline animalistic look in his eyes.

And if that wasn’t already enough (which it was), he made sure to tell me so as not to leave a doubt in my mind that he found me irresistible. An admiring “Ye look so bonny in the morning, Sassenach,” stated the morning after our first date when I had woken to the realization that I had fallen asleep on the couch beside him while watching movies the night before. A groaned “Yer thick, plump arse makes me lose my fuckin’ mind,” as he took me from behind without abandon, fingers digging into my arse cheeks, hips slamming into me roughly. A murmured “ye have a lot of verra fine skin, Sassenach,” after I had told him I liked the feel of his stubble against my skin, after which he proceeded to show me just how fine he thought all of my skin was. 

But unfortunately, things weren’t that simple. A handsome man tells you you’re beautiful and suddenly all your insecurities just wash away. It didn’t work like that. Granted, what Jamie and I had was so much more than that, but even then.  

Although Jamie made sure I knew he thought I was beyond beautiful, it didn’t magically make me secure and confident in my body. No, my ten year relationship with Frank was like a deteriorating building. Over the years, his words created cracks, slowly chipping away at my confidence. Day by day and year by year, it crumbled until all that existed was rubble, and I couldn't even look at myself, the demolition site, without feeling uneasy. 

A matter of fact “you could use a little extra help, darling,” looking pointedly at my small chest while handing me a push up bra when I was shopping for some lingerie, making it clear he was none too impressed by my modest 34B’s had had my heart sinking. 

An avoidance of my arse, thinking it a little too fat when the flesh didn’t fit perfectly in his palms, had me crestfallen.

A patronizing “Claire darling, are you taking care of your skin properly? You seem to be breaking out in the forehead area,” when we were both getting ready for a social event had me trying to hold back the tears from falling down my cheeks. I myself had noticed earlier that my skin was less than perfect at the moment because I was expecting my period any day, but to hear him say it in such a demeaning way was like rubbing salt on an open wound. I knew logically that the fact that I didn't have perfect, photoshopped skin all the time was normal. But at that moment, and every time after, I found myself berating myself in my mind, hating that I didn’t look as perfect as expected. 

A humiliating suggestion of  “you should wash up first,” when I had suggested towards the beginning of our marriage if he would maybe want to try going down on me. After I had done as he requested with shame heating my cheeks, he had obliged me begrudgingly. The experience had left a hollow, empty feeling in my chest. I had never asked it of him again, and he had never offered. The thought that remained in my mind was not that he simply didn’t like the act, but that he didn't like it with me

A nudge, a whisper of “Maybe you should order the salad,” from him had had me thinking twice every time I ate something remotely unhealthy. Had me turning down seconds at every dinner. Had me looking at myself in the mirror, wishing I could look different, better somehow.  

After hearing things like that constantly throughout ten years of my life, my confidence was shattered into fragments. I couldn’t simply regain it overnight, no matter how many times Jamie told me I was beautiful. It wasn’t just something I could be told, it was something I had to grow to believe again. 

Jamie was slowly but surely helping me put the broken pieces back together simply by loving me the way I was, but my self confidence was nowhere near whole yet. 

My mind was still flooded with negative thoughts about myself and all the things I could see that were wrong with me. I was trying day by day to get better at being kinder to myself. Some days I was and some days I wasn’t. Some days I was able to see the good and find the beauty in it, and other days the insecurity would surface, rearing its ugly head. 

In the moment, I was feeling the insecurities flood my mind, feeling immensely vulnerable standing there with Jamie simply looking at me. It was different when he looked while we were having sex. Right now, he was just looking .

I trusted Jamie more than I thought it was possible to trust anyone. With my soul, my life, my body, my everything. It was myself I didn’t trust at times. People say keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Well, my enemy was as close as it could be, seeing as it was my own mind. 

I tried to push the discomfort to the back of my mind as I forced myself to drag my eyes up my body at Jamie’s request. I started at the bottom, drifting my eyes slowly up my long, pale legs, between my thighs, gasping softly and cheeks tingeing red as I took in the evident wetness coating the area as well as the insides of my thighs. My eyes lingered there for a few seconds before moving upwards over the curve of my wide hips, over the soft skin of my stomach, up to the swells of my breasts which were rising and falling with each heavy breath I took. I took in my pink nipples, hard and pointed due to arousal, practically begging for his lips to provide some relief. 

Taking in a deep breath, I continued upwards, over my collarbones and neck which were littered with Jamie’s love bites. Up over my lips which were parted and swollen, a deep shade of red from his thorough kisses. My eyes roamed over my flushed cheeks framed by waves of dark, curly hair, up to my eyes which were wild and dark with need. I looked unrecognizable; every inch of my body was absolutely wanton with desire. 

My heart pounded in my chest as my gaze locked with Jamie’s in the mirror and found him already watching me with a mix of lust and adoration. He pressed himself further into my back and tightened his arms around me. The firm hardness of his chest against me warmed my body, and the hardness of his covered cock pressing against my ass caused the air to get stuck in my throat. 

“Ye alright?” he checked softly.

“Yes,” I managed to breathe out, so quietly I could barely even hear myself. He pressed a tender kiss to my cheek, continuing to reassure me, warming my heart to its very core. 

“Keep yer eyes on my hands,” he ordered lowly, the deepness of his voice causing my insides to do somersaults. My eyes slowly drifted down, running over the firm, defined muscles in his forearms, the smooth tan skin, the veins prominently running across their length, down to his hands, the embodiment of strength as they gripped my hips gently, a beautiful contrast. Powerful yet gentle. Rugged yet tender. 

I stayed concentrated on his long fingers, my mind wandering to how they make me feel when they’re buried deep inside me. I bit my lip at the thought. 

I felt Jamie’s breath whoosh against my neck as he let out a soft chuckle and my eyes snapped up to meet his. He looked at me knowingly with a glint in his eyes, and I felt the blush rush to my cheeks, again , when he smirked, reading my mind. 

But his demeanor suddenly changed as he pulled me tighter against him and brought one hand up to my face, hand under my chin gripping my jaw tightly and harshly turning my head to the side. He brought his lips to my ear again while holding my face roughly, a complete 180 from his gentle demeanor a minute ago, and my mouth dropped open in a silent moan at his harsh actions. 

“Keep yer eyes on my hands, Sassenach. Dinna make me ask ye again,” he warned into my ear, teeth nipping my earlobe before letting go of my face. I bit my lip to stop myself from pathetically moaning at his words and actions as I quickly whipped my head back to the mirror and trained my gaze onto his hands which had settled on my waist. I could feel how wet I was between my thighs at this point, but I didn't dare to look. All this build up was almost painful, twisting the coil deep in my abdomen tighter and tighter.

His demeanor switched to gentle and tender again, giving me whiplash, as he whispered his hands lightly up my waist, over my breasts, over my collarbones, barely touching me, simply grazing with the tips of his fingers, leaving me craving more. My eyes followed his every move with labored breaths.