“I’m not wearing that on a first date” Claire said, shaking her head at her best friend and roommate who was holding up a little black dress that she knew would feel like a second skin and leave little to the imagination. “Hell, I don’t think I would wear that on any date” she intoned as she continued to look through her closet for a suitable outfit. What does someone wear on a blind date?
“If ye did, ye would be guaranteed a second date” Geillis said with a smirk on her face. “Ye have a fine body Claire. Show it off. Ye’re always in scrubs. Nothing wrong with letting yer feminine side show” Geillis said winking at Claire as she pulled a three quarter length sleeved black blazer out of her closet and laid it on the bed next to a pair of dark wash skinny jeans and white top.
“We are meeting at a pub right?” Claire asked rhetorically. “I would rather wear something more casual and not have sex be the first impression I give him.” She rolled her eyes at Geillis’ offended expression.
“I’ll have ye know I wore this on my first date with Dougal and we are still going strong” Geillis said putting the dress up against her own slender frame as if to show Claire how great it looks.
“And if I recall correctly you wore that dress home the next day when you did the ‘walk of shame’” Claire retorted holding back a smile. “I will not have sex on the first date, especially with someone I have never met.”
After days of nagging on Geillis’ part, Claire had finally relented and agreed to go on a blind date with the nephew of Dougal, Geillis’ current flame. All Geillis told her about the guy was that his name was Jamie, he owned his own business and he was ‘verra good looking’. Geillis arranged for them to meet at The Thistle, a pub that was not too far from their flat. Claire had asked how she would know who she was looking for and Geillis informed her to look for a man with red hair that was big and beautiful.
Claire showered and dressed, deciding to leave her hair down, adding a touch of curl cream to her curls to keep them soft and fizz free. The white cotton shirt she chose had a scoop neckline that was modest but showed off her silver scalpel necklace that Joe, her best friend from medical school, gave her when they graduated.
She walked out into the sitting room where Geillis was now lounging on the couch scrolling through her phone. Claire narrowed her eyes thinking about how she knew that Geillis was sure to be following this guy’s social media but refused to even show Claire a picture, saying that that would defeat the purpose of a ‘blind date’.
“Can I borrow those peep toe high heel ankle boots you have?” she asked her friend. Geillis’ face lit up a bit at the request.
“Those will definitely help to accentuate that arse of yers!” she exclaimed as she hurried to get the shoes for Claire.
Claire paced in the living room, as she was starting to feel a bit nervous. She hadn’t been on a date in ages. In fact the last date she went on was with her ex, who she hasn’t even seen in over a year. The mess with her ex was actually the reason she hadn’t gone on any dates, not that the opportunity didn’t present itself. She thought of the new orthopedic surgeon at the hospital that had taken an interest in her and finally asked her out just a couple of weeks ago. She had politely turned him down. She had a strict rule against dating colleagues, especially those who were her superiors. She had never dated anyone at work and she didn’t need to be distracted while at her job or for others to think she was getting special privileges.
She had another reason for putting off dating. She was also going through a divorce, which her ex was dragging out. Claire didn’t understand his reluctance to just sign the papers. It’s not like she was asking for anything. There was nothing to hash out. Claire brought little to the marriage, having not really ever had a home before getting married. She didn’t want the house or even alimony. She just wanted out.
Claire went to Oxford with Geillis where she met a charming history professor who happened to be working with her Uncle Lamb….. Frank. They started dating her second year of University. In her final year she thought her whole relationship was serendipitous. She found out that she got accepted to Harvard for the medical program and at the same time Frank was also offered a position in the history department at Harvard. That was when he proposed that they get married. They had a quick courthouse wedding days before they moved across the ocean to Boston, calling it all fate.
Claire thought everything was fine in her marriage. She never had a reason to doubt it. When she thinks back on it now, she can see the things she had been blind to. At the time she had been too wrapped up in her studies to notice. How Frank often came home late at night claiming he had to stay at the office to work on lectures for his class. How he suddenly claimed to have classes on the weekends even though he told her when they first got together that it was a waste of time to hold weekend classes because students rarely turned up for them. How he seemed to be less interested in being intimate with her. It all fell apart a month and a half before her graduation.
Over a year earlier
She texted Frank to let him know that she would be late because she was going to go to the library with Joe to cram in one last study session to prepare for her last final she would be taking next week. Frank had replied that it was fine because he was going to stay late in his office to work on his final lecture for the semester.
About an hour into studying, Joe got a text requesting food. Gail, Joe’s wife, was expecting their first child. “Happy wife, happy life Lady Jane” he said to Claire as he packed up his things to head home early.
Claire figured she would head out also. Without Joe to quiz her, there was no reason to stay at the library. She could study at home. She thought she would go by Frank’s office to see if she could talk him into heading home with her. It had been a while since they had had any alone time together . They had both been so busy with the semester coming to an end. It had also been ages since they had even made love and she figured it would be a good way for both of them to relieve some stress.
She made her way across campus toward the history department, stopping at the coffee shop that was just across the street to grab Frank and herself a little pick-me-up. As she walked down the long corridor towards Frank’s office, she thought of ways she could talk him into calling it a night and heading home with her. She wasn’t opposed to using her feminine charms to bend his will. She smirked as she approached his office door, thinking maybe she could convince him to have a quickie on his desk. She held the drink holder in one hand and turned the nob of his office door with the other, not bothering to knock since it was too late for any meetings and he said he was just working on his lecture.
The smile dropped off her face as she took in the sight in front of her. Frank was sitting in his desk chair with his head tipped back, eyes closed and mouth dropped open in obvious pleasure with a blond head bobbing in his lap. She dropped the cup holder with the coffees as she gasped in shock. The noise of the crashing beverages caught their attention and the blond stood quickly, wiping her mouth with the back of her hand. Claire noticed that she was young. Younger than her. More than likely one of his students. Frank covered himself as he stood, shock written clearly on his face.
“Claire” he croaked. “It’s not...” Claire’s hand flew up to silence him. She could feel the flush of anger and betrayal course through her body.
“Don’t you dare try to tell me it’s not what it looks like” she said through gritted teeth, her hands fisted tightly at her sides. “Because it seems to me that while you said you would be working on your lecture, you are instead entertaining an ‘oral exam’ after hours!”
Frank, having managed to get his fly done up, shot a look at the young lady, who looked mortified at being caught giving the history professor a blow job. Frank’s mouth opened and closed a few times, trying to find words to dig himself out of the mess he is in.
“Sandy, will you excuse us for a moment” Frank said calmly.
“No. That is quite alright. I’m leaving” Claire said, emphasizing the last two words hoping he caught the double meaning. Claire turned and stepped out of the office, leaving the coffee mess for Frank to clean up, it being the least of his problems right now.
As she was leaving she heard Sandy ask incredulously “I thought you were getting a divorce?” Well that said a lot. She made her way home and wondered if Frank had the balls to come home himself. He did.
She was still up when he arrived home later that night. She had already called Joe and explained what had happened and made arrangements to leave. She knew herself and knew she couldn’t stay in a relationship where she couldn’t trust him. She did however want answers.
“So how long has this been going on?” she asked, sitting on the couch with a drink in her hand. She heard him exhale as if this interrogation was unnecessary. Claire however didn’t rise to him. She was determined to stay calm.
“I met her about a month ago when she interviewed me for a paper she was writing” he said in a tone that made her believe that he felt it wasn’t any of her business. He moved and sat in the chair adjacent to the couch she was sitting on.
“Is she the first or have there been others?” was her next question. Frank ran his hand down across his face in resigned frustration.
“Claire, do you honestly want to know?” he said, dropping his head into his hand.
“Not particularly, but I am a doctor and my concern now is to find out if there is a possibility I have been exposed to anything” she said finally looking over at him. Her face set like stone, unreadable for the first time. “The more students you have been with the higher the risk of contracting an STD if you didn’t use protection and with your aversion to condoms….” She left her statement open ended. Frank didn’t say anything for several long minutes.
“I used protection……. most of the time” Frank mumbled.
“Jesus H. Roosevelt fucking Christ” Claire exclaimed, her resolve cracking just a little. She knew she would have to get tested just to be on the safe side.
“How long has this been going on?” she couldn’t keep the disdain out of her tone.
“Christ Claire! Must you beat a dead horse?” Frank said standing. “Look, you were so caught up in becoming a doctor. You were always at the library or doing those bloody clinicals...”
“Stop!” Claire cut him off. “You do not get to make your infidelity my fault. I was home every night! I can’t believe I was so blind. I should have know something was going on when you were the one getting home late. I should have known when you were too tired to make love.” she huffed, her temper rising. “It wasn’t because you were too tired, it was because you had already made your quota of orgasms for the day.” She took a deep breath to reign her temper back in. She all of the sudden felt drained and did not want to argue with him when the truth was so plainly there in front of her.
That night she left and stayed at Joe’s. He offered her his guest house. In the six weeks leading up to graduation, Claire searched for internships outside of the Boston area. Opportunity presented itself pretty quickly when chatting on the phone with Geillis who informed her that they were accepting new interns at the hospital where she herself was interning and Claire jumped at the opportunity to apply. She was accepted in the program at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh and moved to Scotland when she graduated.
That was over a year ago. Claire had just started her residency a couple of months ago at the same hospital and Geillis has been on her to get back out in the dating world for the last six months. Finally she relented thinking if this date tanked she could hold it over her friends head and Geillis would stop with all the nagging.
“Here ye are love” Geillis said bringing her back from her thoughts as she walked back into the sitting room, handing her the shoes. Claire sat and pulled on the heels then stood, now a few inches taller than her already tall height. She did a slow turn to show off her look for her roommate.
“So how do I look?” she asked. Geillis smiled, appraising her friend.
“Casual, but sneaky hot. Those jeans are workin’ for ye” she gave Claire a wink and plopped back down on the couch. Claire just shook her head with a smile as she picked up her phone and dropped it into the clutch she chose to match the shoes.
“Okay well I’m ready. So I just have to find a hot red headed Scot. That shouldn’t be too hard” she said sarcastically.
“Aye. If he gets there before ye he will be at the bar, but if ye get there before him he will look for ye at the bar” Geillis informed her. Claire nodded her understanding. She stepped over to the mirror hanging above the small table in the entry way and checked her hair and makeup once more. “I know ye’re nervous but ye look amazing. There is no way he wouldn’t like ye” Geillis said encouragingly. “But if things dinna go well and ye need an out just text me an S.O.S. and I will come up with a fake emergency needing yer immediate assistance” she said winking at her friend in the mirror before ushering her to the door. “Now go have fun. Get laid. Ye could use a good shag” Geillis laughed as Claire stepped out the door.
“Not going to happen” Claire tossed over her shoulder with a laugh as she made her way out and headed off to The Thistle that was three blocks away.
She stepped into the pub, scanning the patrons sitting at the bar. A group of three young girls who looked to still be in Uni sat closest to the door. A bit further down was a middle aged couple deep in conversation and at the far end of the bar was a couple of guys about her own age, their eyes on the trio of girls as they held a conversation she was certain revolved around ways to get one or more of the girls to leave with them. She noticed their eyes drift from the girls to her as she made her way to a seat between the group of girls and the couple, not wanting to have to dodge pick up lines from them herself.
With no red headed men in sight, Claire figured she must have beat him here. She pulled out her phone and checked the time. She was only about ten minutes early. The bartender stepped up asking her what she would like. She ordered a white wine, not wanting to start with anything too strong but figured the wine would assist with calming her nerves well enough. She sat and browsed her phone, avoiding looking around too much, not wanting to send any signals to the guys at the end of the bar. Her avoidance tactic didn’t work though. It wasn’t too long before one of the guys approached her.
“Hey there. Can I get ye yer next drink?” he offered, leaning on the bar to her left, between her and the couple.
“Um….hello. No thank you. I’m actually waiting for someone” she said turning him down politely, smiling in a way she hoped wasn’t encouraging.
“A friend?” he asked in a hopeful tone, sending his friend a look like they were about to win the jackpot.
“A date” she heard a familiar voice say in a deep Scottish accent. She turned her head towards the voice and looked up into a pair of familiar blue eyes.
“It’s you” she said in astonishment.