All too soon, the dance was over. They separated slowly and walked back to their seats to gather their things. Jamie checked his phone and realized Julia had texted pictures of them. He quickly scrolled through them as Claire disposed of their cups and snack plates. He stopped scrolling at one in particular where Julia had zoomed in and gotten their faces. They were laughing at something witty Henry had said. Claire’s eyes were sparkling and her face was glowing. She looked so beautiful it quite literally took his breath away. He quickly made it the wallpaper on his phone.
When Claire returned, he pocketed his phone and got out his car keys. It was only a little after 11. They had an hour to spare before he had to take Claire home. Some of their friends were going out to an all-night diner in the next town over, but they declined the invite, fearing that they wouldn’t be able to get home in time for Claire’s curfew.
Claire suggested that they simply get drinks at the local fast food restaurant and drive around. Jamie agreed to that readily. They had the windows down, thanks to warmth of the early fall evening, and the radio was softly playing songs Jamie had carefully selected on a Spotify playlist. As they drove to the outskirts of town, Jamie took a chance and chose a road off the beaten path. The view was spectacular, though, and he always loved seeing the glow of the lights from the high point.
“Would ye be alright wi’ me pulling over up here? We could enjoy the view from up here a bit before I take ye home. We don’t have to, ye ken...just...only if ye want.”
Claire eyed him and then nodded. He could usually read her face like a book. But this time, he couldn’t at all tell what she was thinking.
He pulled into the overlook and shut the car off.
“Did ye have a good time tonight?”
“I did. I really had a wonderful time.”
Jamie smiled at Claire. And then, “Claire, I...I ken we’ve always been mates. But I was thinkin’, if it was alright wi’ ye, weel, I’d like to start dating. Have a steady girlfriend, ken?”
Claire’s face fell, before she schooled her features and she looked quickly away. “Well, what girl did you have in mind?”
It dawned on Jamie that Claire didn’t follow. He had been watching his older brother, Will, flirt with girls for several years now and decided to give it a go.
“Weel, she’d have tae be gorgeous, ken. She’d be tall, so I wouldn’t get a kink in my neck. She’d have long, curly, dark hair and eyes the color of my Da’s whisky. Do ye ken anyone like that?”
He turned toward Claire and inched his arm across the back of the seat. He saw the exact second that the light bulb came on for Claire.
She whispered, “Did you mean...me?”
He nodded slowly.
He inched closer to her. Christ, he was so scared right now. What if she turned him down?
He saw her chest heaving and she looked like she was having trouble getting her breath. She finally said, “Alright.”
He reached over and took her hand, relief flooding through him. He could have taken rejection from anyone. But not Claire.
“Claire, have ye ever kissed a lad?”
She shook her head slowly, then replied, “Have you ever kissed a girl?”
He looked down at their tightly entwined fingers, swallowed and licked his lips, then looked up at Claire.
“Can I kiss ye, then?” He leaned in closer and closer until their noses nearly touched.
“Yes,” she whispered.
He was sure his heart was going to explode right out of his chest, but he soldiered on. He gently touched his lips to Claire’s and closed his eyes. He pulled back slightly and looked her in the eyes. She dragged in a deep breath, then threw her arms around his shoulders and drew him in for a second kiss, this time longer and deeper. He felt her chest heaving against his and he could feel her breasts leaning into his chest. Blood rushed straight to his groin and without meaning to, a deep, haggard moan came out. He was embarrassed right up until he heard her moan in response.
To hear her respond that way was everything to him.
Christ, this is what it felt like. He’d read about it. He’d heard the older boys brag about it in the locker room. He’d even snuck a wee keek at a dirty video or two...for science. But no one ever talked about how it felt deep in your soul.
It didn’t take long before they both became overwhelmed with how they were feeling. Jamie, remembering his talk earlier with his Da, and then later with Henry, pulled back.
“Claire, we should stop.”
Dazed, she opened her eyes and nodded, their foreheads and noses touching.
“Did ye like it?” He couldn’t help asking the question that was blaring in his mind.
“I did, Jamie,” she said softly.
“How do ye feel?”
She thought for a second. Then, in a voice he hardly recognized, she said, “I feel like my heart is going to beat right out of my chest. I feel warm and tingly all over. And my tummy, down low, feels funny. You?”
“Exactly the same. And I feel like I want tae...tae kiss ye forever and never stop. But I dinnae want us tae get...carried away...ye ken?”
She nodded, understanding.
Jamie glanced at the time on the dash. They’d have just enough time to get back in time for Claire’s curfew.
“We’d better head back to town. I dinnae want yer Da mad at me, ken?”
Claire giggled. He loved that sound. He leaned in and kissed her quickly one more time and started the car. As they were buckling up, Jamie tried to discreetly adjust himself. He was hard as a rock in his trousers. Hopefully that would be gone by the time he got Claire home.
Pulling up to Claire’s house, he got out and opened her door, offering his hand to her again to steady her. As she got out, he couldn’t help but focus on how shapely her legs were in her short dress and heels. She truly didn’t know how gorgeous she was. How she hid her curves behind jeans and t-shirts. How she had never really cared to enhance her natural beauty.
Closing the door behind her, he held her hand and walked her to her door, where the porch light was softly glowing in wait for them.
“I had a lovely night, Jamie. Thank you.”
“The pleasure was all mine, I assure ye.” He’d heard Will say that once. Claire looked like she was impressed, so it must have worked.
“Text me later, alright? I doubt I’ll be sleeping anytime soon.”
“Aye. I will.”
He hesitated, then decided to throw caution to the wind. He leaned in and gave her a chaste kiss.