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Moth and Flame

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I hadn't even realized I’d fallen asleep when my eyes opened in the dim glow of our room. I certainly hadn’t meant to fall asleep directly on top of my new husband. We’d fallen back onto the bed after making love slowly, facing one another in front of the fire. His gift of Scottish pearls were still draped lovingly around my neck, though the pearls themselves were digging into my skin and his by now. Despite that, I found myself unwilling to move, not wanting to shatter this quiet moment between us. I watched him sleep, copper curls falling loosely across his forehead, and noted with an aching fondness that he was smiling in his sleep. I should want to leave, that much I knew, and a part of me still warred with the guilt ever-present in my heart and mind. But those thoughts all seemed to fade away to see him so peaceful. He was such an eager young man; eager to please me in every way he could, eager to make sure I was happy. When I did leave, he’d one day make a wonderful husband to someone better suited for him.

Somehow, I’d found my way mostly on top of him in my sleep, head resting against his chest and splayed over him as if his body were my own personal mattress. He was certainly broad enough for it, and if he felt any discomfort, I wouldn’t have known it from the way his arms were wrapped around me. Jamie was protective of me even in his sleep, and it made me breathe out in wonder to realize it was only a few nights ago that he was sleeping outside of my door while Dougal and Ned Gowan collected rents. How could we have ever known then that we would be here, days later?

Slowly, I shifted off of him but didn’t go very far, resting my head on a pillow as I lay on my side facing him. It was nice to be able to admire him this way, the lithe but hard lines of his body. Admiring my bites to his torso, it surprised me to feel a flush rise in my cheeks to know I’d marked him, at least for this night, and something close to possessiveness settled low in my belly. It wasn’t fair to think of him as mine when I was someone else’s, and I rose suddenly but quietly, moving across the room to the basin of water on the dressing table. With cloth found in a drawer, I unfussily cleaned myself between my thighs, then relieved myself before going to sit on the edge of the bed once more. This time, my back was to him, and I held the pearls in front of my face, contemplating them as my thumb stroked the smooth roundness. He’d given me something so incredibly precious to him, something of his mother’s, and I was going to leave him for reasons he couldn’t possibly understand. He’d think I was mad if he knew the truth, and yet a part of me wanted to tell him. A part of me wanted him to beg me to stay. If he did, would I? Idly, I thought perhaps that was why I’d said nothing at all. He would ask me to stay, and I wouldn’t be able to say no.

When the bed shifted a bit behind me, I didn’t bother to turn, knowing if Jamie had awoken, he would be drawn to me. It seemed I was the flame and he was the moth, though certainly over the course of our evening together, the line was becoming blurry.

I felt his lips against my shoulder; tentative, likely because I’d given him no reason in the past twelve hours or so to think I was perfectly comfortable with gestures of affection. Internally, I winced upon recalling how often I pulled away from him, and consciously made the effort now to lean back into his kiss instead. “Did I wake you?”

“No, Sassenach,” he murmured, and I thought I could hear a surprisingly pleased quality to his voice as he kissed my skin and felt no resistance. I leaned back further and he took it as an invitation to pull me closer, tugging until I could rest my head on his chest. As his lips pressed to the top of my head, I closed my eyes, breathing in the smell of him, the scent of us on his skin. Silence lapsed for a while and I felt myself drifting once again in the warmth of his arms.

“Can I ask ye somethin’, Claire?” he asked softly, fingers stilling in their wandering path up and down my back.

“Of course,” I’d responded, moving myself so that I was propped on an elbow facing him, still close enough to feel body heat radiating from his to mine.

“Ye said, earlier, that a woman only feels as good as ye did if the man is a good lover.”

He paused and looked at me so earnestly, I realized what he was looking for quite quickly and smiled. “That’s true. You’ve made me feel very good, Jamie.” Which was impressive, considering he was a virgin less than a full day ago. I decided to point out the obvious. “That wasn’t a question, though.”

“No,” he replied, ducking his head with a small smile. He stayed that way, fiddling with the fur of our blanket before finally looking back at me. “I only wanted to ask if there are things I could do, to make it pleasurable for ye, always.”

Oh, that man. His genuine earnestness might shatter my heart one day. Reaching out, I traced the line of his jaw, feeling the coarseness of his few days’ growth over the soft pad of my index finger. “I could teach you,” I heard myself offering. “All of the things to do, what you should know about a woman’s body.” Call it a gift to the woman who would eventually take my place.

“So, there is more to learn, then,” Jamie stated, sitting up fully as if ready to take notes.

Hiding a fond smile as I sat up with him, I pushed myself back against the headboard. “There are a few things you should know, even before how to pleasure a woman.”

“Ye ken I dinna want just any woman,” Jamie said, staring at me intently.

“Of course, Jamie. I only meant, well. In general, these are the things that matter.”

“I’ll never care to learn what women in general enjoy and need. You are mine, and mine alone to please.”

Christ. I didn’t know what the look on my face must have said, but I swallowed whatever feelings turned over in my heart and nodded. It would be easier if I simply began. “Alright. Lesson one.” I took his hand in mine and kissed his fingertips before guiding him between my thighs. Searching fingers wanted to wander, but I kept my hand over his so he would remain still. “Always, always you want the wom--me to be ready for you.”

His eyes had gone wide, and he breathed out his follow-up question. “How would I ken it? That you’re ready?”

“It’s a bit less obvious than when you’re wanting,” I teased gently. “A woman becomes wet between her legs. You’ve felt it,” I prompted, watching as his head bobbed up and down along with his Adam’s apple.

“Aye, I have. How did it happen? How...do I make ye want me?”

Breathe, really. Look at me in a certain way that leaves little doubt as to what you want. I couldn’t good and well tell him that all he needed to do was touch my hand to make need ache low in my belly. “Well, what gives you a cockstand, Jamie?”

“Thinking of ye, mostly,” he said, unashamed to tell the truth of it where I’d hesitated. “But, touch too, I suppose.” The lightbulb went off, so to speak, and he glanced at his hand between my legs. “Where my cock goes into ye, that’s where you should be slickest?”

He was a good learner, and I rewarded him with a soft kiss. Moving his hand, I dragged it up, higher toward my pelvis. “Women--I, like to be touched all over our--my body.” I was struggling to comply with his request, to center the conversation around me, around my own preferences; knowing the more I let him love me, the harder it would be for him to forget me when I left.

“That works out well, seeing as how I could kiss ye everywhere for hours,” he murmured, and I sighed as his mouth ducked to kiss my breast.

“There’s another place,” I found myself telling him before I could think about it, really. Letting out a breath, I parted my legs, wider so that he could see me. I had never felt more vulnerable in my life, to have him see the most intimate part of my body there was. Moving my hands down, I parted myself to him, swallowing hard. I’d helped lead plenty of female anatomy courses in the past; this was exactly like that, I attempted to tell myself. Only far more hands on.

Jamie seemed completely transfixed, unable to pull his gaze away even as I spoke. “This,” I breathed out, finger very lightly tapping against the small, swollen bundle, “Is called a clitoris. Touching it is like--well, touching the tip of your cock.”

“Aye,” he mumbled, understanding what I meant immediately. “And I should touch ye there?”

“Yes,” I whispered, breathless, eager. “Touch me there, Jamie.”

Slowly, his hand moved down my torso before letting the pad of his thumb graze sensitive flesh. Now that he knew where to go, I dropped my hands to my sides, grabbing fistfuls of bedding loosely. “The more you touch, the wetter I’ll become.” It was my final instruction before letting my head fall back to the pillow. Luckily, his studiousness was to my benefit as he circled now, causing my hips to spasm. He did it again, watching, studying my reactions closely. When he pressed a little harder, I cried out and felt the air go out of his body against me. Reaching down, I stopped his hand, much to his displeasure. “I told you there was another place to kiss me,” I reminded him.

Very quickly, his frown turned into a slack jaw. “Ye mean…” He swallowed and wet his lips, putting the pieces together. It was endearingly funny, how quickly he flopped to his stomach between my legs, but any laughter that escaped quickly gave way to a soft gasp. His lips pressed to my torso, then a bit lower until he parted me himself with his fingers, then replaced his thumb with his tongue. For a flash of a moment, I thought I’d gone blind as my vision went dark.

Jesus H. Christ.

I made a sound, I’m sure, one hand shooting up from the bed and into his hair. Redoubling his efforts, his hands slid under my hips to hold onto me. Experimentally, I felt him suck and I cried out, grip tightening in his hair. Thank God he was a fast learner. Twisting on the bed, his hold on me tightened to keep my hips right where they were, his tongue swirling lazy figure eights against me now. Then his head ducked, nose grazing before his tongue sought out the taste of me. I’m sure I tried to say his name, but all that left my mouth was a hoarse moan. The hand not clutching his hair pressed back into the headboard behind me as my back arched.

Eagerly, his mouth moved back up, resuming his previous task. He was focused and I was sure my heart might pound completely out of my chest. He sucked with more intent, then as my thighs tensed he let go, releasing me to lick instead. “Jamie,” I gasped and tugged him by the hair to look up at me. “Use your fingers as well,” I panted, whimpering at the loss of his mouth but trying to teach him. “Slip a finger inside of me, one first, slowly. Then another.”

He was breathing so hard I wondered if he could control himself enough to make it through the entire lesson. Still, he settled himself again and shifted to let his finger glide over me and then, slowly, into me. I gasped sharply, too sharply, and he stopped immediately, causing me to shake my head. “Not hurt. I’m not hurt,” I managed. I could feel my body flushing and as he added a second finger, I groaned at the pleasant feeling of being filled by him. “Curve,” I managed to huff out. “Curve them upward.”

Jamie did exactly as I instructed and lowered his head again. I wondered if, when his tongue pressed, he could feel my pulse throbbing against him. I couldn’t manage words any longer but he seemed to know what to do, moving on instinct now. Gradually, the room around me began to fall away until he used the wide flat of his tongue to cover the entire span of nerves, licking upward. Every sound I was capable of making seemed to spill out of me as something shattered inside. I cried out when my pleasure flooded his tongue and I felt him groan, making a shiver course down my spine until I arched.

I slowly began to relax on the bed, breathing heavily. I wasn’t aware of anything save for the sound of my own heartbeat slamming in my ears. I could feel Jamie moving, shifting upward, and I knew he was gazing down at me. For the life of me, I couldn’t open my eyes, the effort too great. As I struggled to catch my breath, I felt his fingers graze my neck and up across my cheek. He murmured something in Gaelic but I couldn’t find the words to ask him for a translation. It didn’t matter, as it turned out.

“Ye must be a rare treasure, Claire, to deem me worthy enough of that.”

It took a moment for me to process his words, but I still didn’t understand his meaning. That was what finally got me to open my eyes and speak. “What do you mean?”

I watched him swallow, embarrassed to be called out. Immediately, my features softened and I reached out. “It’s alright Jamie. You can tell me anything,” I murmured quietly while stroking his cheek with my thumb.

“I ken ye werena keen to marry me, and that ye were even less eager to lie wi’ me. But now ye’ve let me see every bit of ye, Claire. I’m no’ sure what I did to deserve it.”

I didn’t know it was possible for my heart to break in the way it did then, and I reached out to cradle the side of his face with my hand. “You’re simply yourself, Jamie. That’s more than enough to be deserving,” I spoke softly. Raising my head, I kissed him tenderly, then slowly pressed to roll him over onto his back. Resting against his hips, I could feel him, hard as stone against my thigh. “Will you make love to your wife, Jamie?” There was no way now to pretend I didn’t want him. A brief churning of guilt started to climb into the pit of my stomach, but one groan from Jamie tamped it back down.

“Christ, Claire, can ye no’ feel me aching for ye?”

Reaching between us, I raised my hips and then wrapped my hand around the silky hard length of him. His breath shook, and I could feel him struggling to speak.

“You--are mine,” he breathed out, hands moving to my hips.

I closed my eyes, pushing my inner turmoil away as I lowered myself onto him slowly. Our groans of pleasure mingled, and as I rocked slowly against him, I reached for his hands, guiding them to my breasts. “Don’t be gentle,” I whispered, bracing myself now with a palm on either side of his head as I moved.

Jamie took that as invitation to squeeze my breasts firmly before pinching my nipples, watching my face. When my jaw dropped and body involuntarily tightened around him, his eyes closed and he whispered, not in English, before moving me himself. Keeping his hands on my sides, he rocked my hips back and forth, the motion providing a perfect friction that had my body sagging down just a little. “Don’t stop, Jamie,” I gasped out, crashing my mouth against his and moving faster, delighting in his strangled moan. I wanted him to lose himself in me again. I realized through my haze of pleasure that I wanted him to be happy.

I could tell he was close; already I’d discovered his ‘tells’ and thought they were rather endearing. He always tried to get closer to me, impossibly close. Close enough to share my breath as we shuddered and gasped together. He bit his lip when he was fighting it and did so now; I bent to kiss him hard, then rolled my hips at the same time I clenched around him. It was enough for his resolve to fall away and he moved hard and fast, the only sound my desperate gasps and the drumming of our hips coming together.

I thought that was it, that he would finish then, but he proved to be an over-achiever as one hand now slipped between us. The angle couldn’t have been easy on his wrist but as soon as his fingers found their target, I couldn’t find it in me to care. He rubbed fast, urgently, and I curved my spine, shouting out his name so loudly that there wasn’t a chance anyone awake nearby would doubt our coupling. I fell apart and took Jamie with me, feeling him stutter out of rhythm before spilling into me. He pulled me down, directly on top of his chest, and I could feel his heart beating under my cheek. My breath hitched as my heart skipped a half beat to match his.

As we laid together in a tangled heap, I could just barely begin to see light in the corner of our shuttered window. Shifting my body against his, I curled against his side and closed my eyes. “It’s nearly dawn,” I murmured.

“We should try for more sleep, mo nighean donn,” he said in a tone of voice that suggested he was well on his way.

I’d barely made a noise of acknowledgment in the back of my throat before I found myself drifting as well.