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Renewal

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“Oof!”

I gripped the phone tighter in my hands as I stumbled over a wrinkle in the rug, swearing under my breath. Jamie looked back at me, eyebrows raised and the ghost of a half-hidden smile on his lips.

“You have to go slower,” I whined. “My legs aren’t as long as yours.”

“Oh I think they’re plenty long, Sassenach,” he purred, looking over my legging-clad limbs.

I bit back a laugh and ended the recording. “Well, now we have to start all over,” I chided, but leaned in to kiss him to take the bite out of it.

“I dinna see why I need tae do this,” Jamie said for the tenth time that morning as I frog-marched him back to the entryway.

“Well, you heard John,” I replied. “If the preview alone got people so excited, the feature’s going to go gangbusters. So we need to have something on our account to capitalize on the initial attention.”

He sighed, but straightened at the door. “Aye, that has the ring o’ sense to it,” he admitted grudgingly. “But I still think it ought to be you in the wee videos. Some nice close-ups of ye going up the stairs, mebbe, shot from behind...”

I gave him an arch look, and he smiled brilliantly.

“That’s better. Now dance, monkey,” I teased. “Action!”

Fáilte gu Lallybroch,” Jamie began, his voice low and rumbling. Welcome to Lallybroch. “This is the main house, which was built by my many-times great-grandfather in 1702. The downstairs has been renovated a few times since then,” he gave a wry smile, “but most recently I gave it a bit o’ polish last summer.”

We walked through the finished rooms downstairs, Jamie weaving together family stories and the broader history of the Highlands. I just let the camera roll, planning to cut everything down to short clips that could be Instagram stories. Neither of us were very knowledgeable on the finer points of social media or video editing, but John had assured us that a home-grown feel would charm Country House readers.

Jamie and I had decided that a tour would be a logical starting point, to expand on whatever photos and information John and his editorial team included in their story. We still weren’t quite sure exactly what they planned to publish; John had assured Jamie he would have never dreamed of revealing the financial details, but he was less forthcoming on the shape the article had taken. “We never show drafts to subjects, opens a whole can of worms,” he’d said, somewhat apologetic. But he had sent us a few of Jamie’s quotes to check the accuracy, and most of those were about the renovation process, which had soothed some of Jamie’s worries.

When Jamie had finished showing the slash mark in the wood on the stairs from an English solider’s bayonet, I checked the time. I groaned when I saw it was not even ten o’clock yet. I had hoped that filming might take up the whole morning, to distract me from the creeping anticipation I felt over the evening’s activities.

“Somethin’ amiss, Sassenach?” Jamie asked, hearing me.

“Not at all!” I said, a little too brightly. He gave me a skeptical look, but didn’t press.

Eight hours to kill before our date. It felt like a lifetime.

“I’m going to see if I can figure out how to get this cut down to size,” I continued breezily, already creeping towards the study. “Thanks for helping.”

Despite his raised brows, Jamie made no comment. He reached out and grabbed my hand, though, and pulled me close for a slow, gentle kiss that made the tension melt from my knotted stomach.

“On wi’ ye,” he said softly when he released me, and gave me an affectionate pat on my rump. I smiled gratefully, and skittered down the hall.

It wasn’t that I was nervous over having dinner with him, exactly. We’d eaten hundreds of meals together in the months I’d been at Lallybroch, and it was hardly the first time we’d be dining out together either.

If I was honest with myself, which I was desperately trying (and failing) not to be, it was the level of care and attention Jamie was giving me that strung me tight as a violin. I had never been this openly adored before, not even in the early days with Frank. And while it was a heady feeling, it was also somewhat terrifying. 

It rather reminded me of learning to ride a bicycle as a child, while we were on a dig in Peru. Uncle Lamb had finally let go of his hold on the seat and sent me careening off on my own. I had quickly lost control, my body forgetting how to use the pedal brakes, and accidentally went down a steep hill. At first, the speed was thrilling, but as I realized I had no way to stop, I started to scream. I had ended up in the ditch along the dirt road, stunned and breathless, the adrenaline not quite hiding the pain in my broken arm.

I slumped down in the chair, feeling suddenly drained. The past five days had been a blur of endless caresses and sweet words, and I had been an enthusiastic participant in all of it. But in the quiet between, I couldn’t quite ignore the hint of unease that lurked below the butterflies. Just like the moment my bicycle wheel had tipped over the edge of the steep slope, I was leaning over a precipice with Jamie. I feared I was already past the point of no return, and I couldn’t be entirely sure I wouldn’t end up in the ditch again.

I spent more time than strictly necessary editing the video, allowing myself to get lost in the comforting lilt of Jamie’s voice as I cut and spliced things together. The real Jamie made no appearances, which I was simultaneously disappointed by and shamefully grateful for.

I had, of course, noticed that he made a point of leaving me to my own devices in those moments when I felt a bit overwhelmed by it all. It reminded me a bit of that first night, when he’d made such a point of standing aside from the door in the front hall to leave me an exit route. He simply made space. Evidence that he saw so much of me—which was in itself a little nerve-wracking.

It was around one when my stomach started growling, and I wandered out to the kitchen, surprised that Jamie hadn’t come to grab me for lunch.

The house was quiet, and there was no sign of Jamie downstairs. I called out his name, with no response. But in the kitchen, I saw a handwritten note on the table.

“Sassenach,” it began, in Jamie’s elegant script. The slight smudges touched my heart; he was left-handed, and his hand had smeared the ink in his apparent haste.

Gone to town for some things to start on your bathroom next week. I’ll be back at 6 to pick you up for dinner. Don’t work too hard without me.

-J

To my surprise, tears started to well in my eyes even as I smiled. He’d given me some time alone to get ready and make it feel like a real date—as well as to have some mental space. The man was perceptive, I had to give him that.

 


 

After a spot of lunch, I spent the early afternoon working in the garden, letting the soil and green things soothe me. I weeded and then harvested more of the late spring produce, allowing myself to feel some measure of pride in the bounty. Come summer, we’d be drowning in fresh fruit and veg. Maybe I would do some preserving, I thought, and give it to the first few guests…

A few hours digging in the dirt left me much more at peace mentally, but a right mess physically. Given the windblown and tangled state of my hair, I thought I’d better give myself plenty of time to shower and get my curls back into some semblance of order.

Once in the shower, hair washed and conditioner soaking into the locks, I felt the nervous energy start to return. Now, however, it was more fluttery excitement than panic. I shaved my legs carefully, but hesitated when I reached the apex of my thighs.

Neither Jamie or I had yet revisited the conversation we’d had that morning after our second night together, though I was of course keenly aware of the fact that we’d so far only explored one another with hands and mouths. I had a feeling, though, that Jamie had something else in mind for tonight. Should I at least do a bit of shaping, I wondered?

But I remembered vividly Jamie’s awed expression when he first saw me exposed, and the number of times since that he’d buried his face between my thighs. The image of his red hair against my dark thatch was burned in my brain, and I shivered as I pictured it. No, I decided, best leave it alone.

I went through the rest of my routine as quickly as I could, an eye to the time. I could never be sure just how my curls would dry, and I wanted to give myself time to fix it up if they came out wonky.

Jamie had said I should dress formally, but that we might be outside for a bit, so I pulled out one of the only suitable dresses I still owned—a long-sleeved midi of emerald green silk chiffon with a plunging neckline and a rather daring slit at the front. I’d bought it in an ill-conceived attempt to online shop myself out of my depression while Frank was in the hospital and had never had a chance to wear it out. I hoped it would elicit the same hungry gaze from Jamie as the tartan dress I wore for his birthday.

Dress on and a bit of makeup applied, I took a tentative look at my still-damp curls to see how they were progressing. Not terrible, I thought, turning to see the sides in my vanity mirror, but not their best. Maybe I’d best put them up.

Thirty minutes later, after wrestling with my long-unused diffuser and the better part of a pack of bobby pins, I thought the result was passable. I’d left a few tendrils springing out of their confines, knowing how much Jamie liked the sight of my hair against my pale skin. I felt a flush rise as I thought of how just that morning he’d gently brushed a curl aside to press an openmouthed kiss to the nape of my neck, his erection hot against my lower back.

I’d pushed back against him, hoping to goad him into a bit of morning fun before he left to make coffee. But he’d just chuckled and patted me on the hip.

“It’ll bide,” he said cryptically, and swung himself out of bed despite my whining protestations.

As a result, I felt a bit like a live wire, crackling with sensitivity. As wonderful as all our many encounters had been so far, I craved the feeling of him inside me with an alarming intensity. For my own gratification, true enough, but also to give Jamie a first time worth remembering.

Given my studies, I was well aware that sex was a much broader and deeper category than vaginal intercourse alone, and I found something quaint in Jamie’s insistence on calling himself a virgin still. But personal experience had taught me that, at least for me, there was some particular significance to having a man inside me in that way. It seemed almost poetic to give pleasure with the piece of me that felt pleasure most—it was as mutual as sex got, in my opinion. I thought it would hold a similar weight for Jamie, and I longed to watch him experience it.

The sound of a car coming up the drive startled me into the here and now, and seeing the time, I swore violently. I quickly misted the air with perfume, letting it settle over my hair, and then scrambled to get my heels on and buckled. I heard the front door close, and Jamie’s faint call of “Sassenach?” from the hall. 

“Coming!” I shouted back. Grabbing my trench coat and purse from the bed, I hurried out of the room and down the stairs.

A Dhia,” Jamie breathed as I came around the landing into his view. Descending the last few stairs was like slipping into a warm bath as I reveled in him watching me. I felt that same blush rise again from my chest.

He looked lovely himself, having dressed at some other location. He wore a perfectly cut navy suit with a white shirt and no tie. His red hair, usually a bit of an unruly mop, was swept back casually, and I couldn’t resist touching the waves that brushed the back of his collar as he pulled me to him for a chaste kiss.

“Ye look fantastic, mo ghraidh,” Jamie said, giving me another look from above.

“What’s that one mean?” I asked, giving him a little twirl. “I never think to ask.”

He coughed a bit. “Ah. Well. It’s somethin' like my darling, or my dear,” he said, tips of his ears starting to redden. “Christ and Mary above, lass, I can see yer third rib.”

I giggled. “I thought you might like it,” I said slyly.

He slipped his arm around my waist and pulled me tight against him. “We’d best get out of here before I decide tae march ye back upstairs, and damn the reservation,” he murmured huskily in my ear. I shot him a look to indicate that I did not mind that alternative one bit, but he just chuckled and pulled me along to the courtyard.

 


 

Jamie pulled out all the stops, holding my door and helping me into the cab of the truck. On the drive, he was his most charming self, recounting his trip into Inverness and the rather ribald teasing he’d been subjected to when he ran into Angus Mhor at the hardware store.

“Oh!” he said suddenly. “And I found out who left that handprint on John’s arse.”

“Who?” I asked, covering his hand on the gear shift with my own.

“Ye’ll never believe it,” he said with a roguish smirk.

“Tell me, you twit!”

“Jenny.”

I cackled aloud. “No!”

“Oh aye. Angus said he came back from walkin’ me down the hill and John was greetin’ something fierce about burning his arsehairs off tryin’ his hand at jumpin’ the fire. So Jenny pulled up his kilt to get a look and he yelped and pulled awa’ like she was skelpin’ him, so she smacked him a good one.”

“Oh my God.”

“Wonder if that’ll make it into the article,” Jamie mused.

“Somehow I doubt it,” I said with a snort.

We were coming down through the pass out of the valley, and as we came around a bend in the road to see the Glass River, winding and glimmering in the early evening sun. I sighed in content at the view.

“No’ much further,” Jamie said, stroking my index finger with his thumb.

“We’re not going to Inverness?” I asked, surprised.

“No,” he said with a grin, but declined to elaborate further.

We were quiet for the last few minutes of the drive, basking in the sight of the valley at golden hour in companionable silence.

The narrow one-lane road followed the river, and as we came up to one of the bends I spotted a stone tower peeking out through the trees across the water.

“What’s that?”

“Castle Strathglass,” Jamie said. He turned off the road into a small parking lot that had been hidden from view by the spring-green trees. I could spot a cobblestone path at the far end that led to what looked like a stone bridge over the river.

While I was distracted, Jamie came around to open the door for me once again, holding out a hand for me to take.

“Such a gentleman,” I teased as I placed my own hand delicately in his.

“I aim to please,” he rumbled, and I felt a thrill at his tone.

“I’ll have you know I’m not one to put out on the first date,” I said with a sniff as I stepped gingerly out of the cab, and he laughed.

“Nor am I,” he said, taking my coat and settling it over my shoulders. “But as they say, there’s a first time for everything, aye?”

My breath caught in my throat as I felt his lips brush against my earlobe.

“Come along, Sassenach,” Jamie said, taking my arm gallantly. “I’ve some things up my sleeve yet, before we get tae seein’ just who puts out for whom.”

The pathway did lead to a bridge, a beautiful stone arch that crossed the river to an ancient-looking gate. I could see the same turret I’d spotted from the road rising above the wall, with a Scottish flag flying against the orange-streaked sky.

“Th’ place was bought by some Frenchman, a decade or so ago,” Jamie explained as he steered me onto the bridge. “A restaurateur, I gather. He turned it into a luxury hotel, and the restaurant is one of the best in the Highlands.”

We passed through the open gate into the courtyard, and I gasped at the sight. 

The pathway meandered through an idyllic English-style garden, and beyond was the castle, lit up extravagantly against the coming sunset.

“Ye can go around and park closer, but I thought ye’d like the view better from here,” Jamie said, a note of uncertainty. “I hope ye dinna mind walking.”

I squeezed his arm and rose up on my tip-toes to kiss his cheek. “Not at all,” I said sincerely.

 


 

Inside, the maitre d’ greeted Jamie warmly by name and took us straight to our table, which was draped in a rich white cloth and set against a massive arched window overlooking a small loch with the mountains behind. The sun was just sinking below the peaks now, and the sky was alight.

“My God, Jamie,” I said breathlessly when the maitre d’ had left us, whisking my coat away with him. “This is…”

He smiled, looking a little nervous. “I hope it’s all right,” he said apologetically. “I thought ye’d like to see one o’ the other hotels about.”

I reached across the table and took his hand. “It’s perfect,” I said sincerely, threading my fingers through his.

Part of me wanted to ask if he could afford it, but that struck me as cutting the poor man off at the knees. So I simply smiled at him, grateful for his thoughtfulness.

Our waiter arrived moments later with glasses of champagne and the menus, but quickly left us to our own devices.

“So is this a recon mission rather than a date?” I asked mischievously, sipping my champagne.

Jamie laughed. “Weel, I didna think of it like that,” he said, swirling his own flute idly. “But I suppose it could be a bit o’ both.”

As it always did, the conversation flowed easily between us, interrupted only by the waiter’s return for our order. Jamie chose a bottle of wine to split—“Oh, of course you know about wine,” I said with faux exasperation as he discussed pairings with the waiter—and started us off with a decadent smoked lobster dish to share. I opted for Scottish halibut for my main, and Jamie went with the turbot.

“Excellent choices,” the waiter murmured as he deftly lifted the menus out of our way.

“They're known for their game during hunting season,” Jamie told me, “but in the spring they really go all in on th’ seafood.”

“All local?” I asked.

“Aye,” Jamie said with satisfaction. “Ye did say that people like that sort o’ thing.”

I smiled, pleased to hear my own words repeated back to me after so long. “I did, didn’t I?”

The waiter returned with the wine Jamie had selected, a white burgundy that I deliberately hadn’t checked the price on. I took a sip and closed my eyes to savor the fullness on my tongue.

“Good?” he asked, sniffing his own glass with alacrity.

“Very,” I said. He took a sip and made a pleased Scottish noise in agreement.

“So how do you know so much about wine?”

Jamie gave me a lopsided smile. “My uncle Jared is a distributor,” he said. “He lives in Bordeaux. He used to bring cases and cases to the house at Hogmanay, and he started me a bit young.”

I raised a brow. “Well, there’s a useful connection to have,” I said thoughtfully. My mind was working overtime. Of course we couldn’t compete with a place like this, but the idea of a restaurant, with hand-selected wines and local whiskies…

Jamie cut me off at the pass. “Let’s not talk about work anymore,” he said firmly. “We can do that any time.”

He was right, of course. I filed away my thoughts and turned my attention fully to him.

 


 

By the time our dessert plates were whisked away, I was feeling pleasantly warm from the wine and the incomparable company. The longer we’d talked, the more we’d sought each other out. First, casual brushes of feet. Then a hand, under the table on my thigh. Our chairs seemed to migrate closer to each other by sheer magnetism, until our legs were pressed against each other.

After he’d paid the bill, Jamie looked at me speculatively. I met his gaze squarely, certain my pupils were blown as wide as his. He leaned over and brushed his lips over my shoulder, then brought his mouth within inches of my ear.

“Sassenach,” he murmured, and I shivered. “What say ye to a wee nightcap?”

I looked at him through my lashes. “At home?” I asked pleadingly.

He laughed, low and deep. “No, lass. But no’ here, either.”

I was intrigued. “Well, I suppose…”

He was up and pulling out my chair for me in an instant. The maitre d’ arrived with my coat as soon as I was up, and with a few murmured thank yous and farewells, we were away up the drive.

We made it to the garden before our breathless desire caught up with us. Jamie paused, whirling me by the waist to face him, and captured my mouth in a dizzying kiss. I was all too willing, the tension of the meal having driven me beyond distraction, and I nipped at his bottom lip a little harder than I intended.

Far from putting him off, it pulled a groan from him that sent heat pooling directly between my legs. He pressed me tighter against him, and I could feel that he was just as affected as I was.

Finally, he pulled his mouth away, and a small cry of loss escaped me. He buried his face in my hair, nuzzling.

“Keep tha’ up and we’ll end up under in a bush,” Jamie chuckled.

“I wouldn’t mind,” I quipped.

He pulled back to look at me, eyes sparkling with mirth. “Let’s save exhibitionism for round two at least, aye?”

I snorted, but allowed him to pull me down the path to the parking lot. Jamie helped me into the truck as he’d done earlier, but somehow his touch was hotter, more electric on my hand, and the feeling lingered.

“That arse,” he sighed as I turned to sit, making me laugh.

On the drive, however, Jamie was back to playing the gentleman. He held my hand comfortably, letting go to shift gears now and again.

“Ye really are the most bonnie lass, Sassenach,” he said when we’d gone some way down the road, stealing a glance at me.

I blushed. “Flatterer,” I accused, and he smiled crookedly at me. I wanted to tell him the same, that he was as beautiful a man as had ever walked God’s green earth, but I couldn’t seem to find the words. I was noticing a pattern between us, that he always seemed to know what to say and how to say it, while I tended to deflect and downplay. Was it a difference in constitution, or simply a learned guardedness I’d acquired in the extra years and heartbreak I had on him? The inequity of it was starting to bother me, and I wondered if I’d ever be capable of telling him what was in my head—and my heart.

But for now, I simply changed the subject.

“So where are you taking me?”

Jamie smiled, as though he knew every thought that had just flitted across my mind. And he probably did, the bloody Scot.

“It’s just up the pass a ways,” he replied cryptically.

Some ten minutes of comfortable quiet later, he turned off the road onto a gravel drive that ran along the ridge of a heathered hilltop. He stopped at the highest point and put the car in park.

I looked at him in considerable confusion.

“This is where we’re having a drink?” I asked, skeptical.

“Just trust me, Sassenach,” he said lightly, getting out of the cab. I watched him through the windscreen as he came around the front to open my door.

“The ground’s a wee bit soft,” he said. “Careful in yer heels.”

I stepped gingerly down to the ground, where my shoes did indeed sink in immediately, making me wobble. He chuckled, and before I knew what he was planning, lifted me up bridal-style in his arms.

I squealed in shock, the sound cutting through the crisp night air. “Jamie Fraser, put me down this instant!” I admonished shrilly, slapping a hand ineffectually against his shoulder.

“Nay chance,” he replied cheerfully, stroking his thumb against the curve of my backside. He didn’t even sound like he was straining, the beast.

He carried me around to the back of the truck, where he did lower me gently to my feet so he could open the gate to the bed. Inside, the faint moonlight illuminated a thick nest of blankets and pillows, with a small cooler of some sort off to the side.

“What’s all this, then?” I asked, balancing on my toes so my heels would stay firmly out of the dirt.

“There’s meant to be a meteor shower tonight,” he said shyly. “I thought we could catch the beginning at least.”

My heart melted. He helped me up into the bed and hopped up effortlessly behind me. I took off my shoes, tucking them along the side, and wrapped myself in one of the quilts. Jamie did the same, following his loafers up with his suit jacket, and then leaned over to rustle in the cooler.

“Care for a wee dram?” he asked, holding up a bottle of his father’s finest. “Only the one, mind—I still have to drive us home.”

I accepted, and Jamie scooted over to me with the bottle and two glasses. He poured us each a finger or two, then shimmied into the blanket with me. We leaned up against the cab, his arm around my shoulder, and tilted our heads back.

“They’re even brighter here than at Lallybroch,” I whispered, the dark making me feel the need to keep quiet.

“Aye,” Jamie responded, squeezing me tighter against him. “Nay lights at all, out here.”

I took a small sip of the whisky, but I was already feeling lightheaded. Whether it was from the wine or the overwhelming desire to be closer, ever closer to Jamie, I couldn’t say. He leaned over then to kiss me, caressing my cheek with his free hand, and I pressed against him.

It only took a few minutes for us to slide down til we were horizontal, chest to chest on our sides, the heavens and our glasses both forgotten. His mouth was everywhere, on my mouth, my eyelids, my earlobe, my jaw. I was panting, murmuring his name as his leg slid between mine. My skirt had hiked up so the slit of my dress was at my hips, giving his thigh access, and I rocked against him in desperation.

His hands were warm as he slid one under my deep neckline, and he moaned into my mouth when he realized I wore no bra underneath.

“Jamie,” I breathed as he ran a rough thumb over my already-taut nipple.

His other hand ghosted down along the line of my waist, to my hip, and then across my midriff to seek the gap in my dress. He pulled his thigh back slightly and I whined at the loss. But I knew what he was looking for, and I moved my top leg to give him access.

“Oh fuck,” Jamie groaned when he found what he sought, and I gave a strangled laugh.

“Sassenach, are you tellin’ me ye’ve been wearing absolutely naught underneath that dress all night?” he growled in my ear as he slipped one teasing finger into my slippery folds.

I could give no reply beyond a whimper.

“Why, you wee vixen,” he chuckled, and pressed suddenly hard on my swollen nub. I cried out wordlessly, bucking my hips as he pulled his hand away.

“Jamie,” I pleaded.

“Would ye think me verra wicked if I told ye I wanted ye here and now?” he asked me breathlessly. I could feel him trembling in my arms, and the length of him burned against my hip.

I tried to focus, my brain clouded with desire. “Jamie, I...wouldn’t you rather…for your first time?”

He kissed me hard, swallowing my stammering. “I can think of nothin’ better than tae have ye glowing in the starlight,” he whispered. “But only if ye want to.”

“I very much want to,” I breathed, reaching up to the nape of my neck to undo the small button there.

Seeing my intention, Jamie pulled his hand away from my breast and curved his arm around my shoulder to seek out the zipper. As he pulled it slowly, I kissed him, and brought my own fingers to his shirt. The chill air against my exposed spine sent a shiver right through me, but a pleasant one. He slid the open dress down my arms until the bodice was pooled around my waist.

Jamie pulled back then, adjusting the blanket so it made a cave around us but he could still see my bare torso.

“Ye look like a faerie, lyin’ there,” he murmured, reaching out a finger to trace from my neck down over my breast and all the way to my belly button. “Is it too cold?”

“It won’t be if you hurry up and get on top of me,” I teased, tugging his undershirt out from his waistband. He laughed and shimmied out of his open shirt, then pulled off the undershirt. Even without him pressed against me, the heat radiated off of his bare skin, warming the air under the blanket cavern.

His shirts discarded, he gently rolled me onto my back and took hold of my skirt, pulling the dress down over my hips until I was bare. I grabbed at his belt, desperate to have him as naked as I, to feel all of him against me. He pulled off his pants and briefs together, and there he was, leaning over me.

He met my eyes with such feeling that I almost couldn’t hold his gaze.

“Are ye sure this is all right, Sassenach?” he asked, hesitant. 

I could have laughed; could there be anything more romantic than seeing him this way, with the star-dazzled sky over his shoulder? Instead, I just smiled and lifted my head to kiss him softly.

I let my hands slip down his washboard abs until I brushed the end of him, slick with his excitement. His hips pressed hard against me, seeking more contact. I obliged, wrapping him in a light grip and sliding down to the base of him. He moaned and his own fingers returned to my center, retracing a now-familiar path along my inner lips, slow and teasing.

“I want you, Jamie,” I whispered. “Jamie, please.”

He had been resting most of his weight on one arm, only half-covering my body with his, but at that he maneuvered himself to be fully on top of me. I spread my legs to make room for his, opening myself to him. There was no air left between us for words. I still held him in my hand, and I gently guided him to my core.

He held himself still above me, the tip of his cock brushing against my opening, and gently, tenderly brushed my hair out of my eyes. He leaned down to touch my lips with his, and then, agonizingly slow, pushed his hips forward to enter me fully.

We both let out relieved breaths at the same time, and I was suddenly struck with a feeling of rightness. Jamie let out a gasping laugh.

“My God, Sassenach, ye feel so good,” he choked, and then he was pulling back and easing forward in an altogether too-gentle rhythm.

I was half-delirious, the fullness of him inside me driving me mad with want. I wrapped a leg around his hip, pulling him deeper still, and I moaned. He felt what I wanted and increased his speed, eyes wide with wonder as he watched me under him. His strokes gained a more practiced rhythm as he got the feel of it. My breath came in gasps, punctuated by small cries and his own name when he periodically pressed himself as deep as he could go. He moved his hips experimentally in a figure eight, and I nearly sobbed in pleasure.

“Yer wee noises are lovely, mo chridhe,” Jamie whispered in my ear, and captured my lobe between his teeth.

I could feel the pressure building as the weight of him pressed against my clit, and his rather large cock hit that spot deep inside me over and over again.

“Jamie, I—”

He was growing more frantic now, all but slamming against me with delicious force. I wanted to ask him to wait, to let me catch him up, but I could see he was too far gone. Suddenly he tensed, crying out my name, and then went limp against me, head resting on my shoulder.

I pressed gentle kisses to his sweat-dampened temple and ran my fingers through his hair, whispering nonsense to him as he recovered his breath.

“Claire,” he groaned finally, pressing a kiss to my collarbone. “Jesus, Claire.”

I laughed, somewhat breathlessly, as his weight was fully against me now. He heard the wheeze and pushed himself up a bit, making his softening cock fall out of me. I whimpered a little at the empty feeling—I had been so close, and I was still on fire.

“Is it always like that?” he asked in amazement, rolling to one side. He seemed to be regaining his senses.

“Not always,” I answered, unsure of how to put into words just what about the feeling of him was so different from anything I'd experienced. “But something like that, I suppose.” I couldn't stop myself pressing against him, craving desperately, but not wanting to call attention to it. After all, it was his first time—it wasn’t surprising he’d have gone before me.

Jamie looked down at me for a moment, thinking, then suddenly his eyebrows shot up.

“Och, I’m so sorry, Sassenach,” he said, hand creeping over my stomach. “I couldna help it, ye just felt so…”

I waved a hand. “It’s fine, really,” I said reassuringly. “I don’t usually…”

But he was already dipping his fingers down, coaxing my legs back apart. My eyelids fluttered as he circled the bundle of nerves lazily.

“Lay back, lass. I’ll no’ leave ye wanting,” he whispered against my ear, and I surrendered.

It didn’t take me long, as close as I’d been. I came hard, calling out his name as I tried to keep my eyes on his adoring face, dark against the glittering sky behind him. And as I rode the final waves of my orgasm, a bright light streaked across my vision—the only meteor either of us would see that night.