Despite Claire’s begging, he wouldn’t tell her any details.
As they pulled up to the old cottage, he looked over at Claire’s face, noting with satisfaction the delight that showed as she took it all in.
He, Brian, Ian, and several friends had fixed up the cottage. Jenny and Mam had decorated the back deck and garden with fairy lights, flowers and streamers. A table had been laid with Mam’s best china and silver. Mam had cooked a meal fit for royalty, complete with all the fancy trimmings. Rupert and Angus had even managed to hang a glittering silver ball atop a makeshift dance floor. Ian and Jenny had hand-picked the music softly playing over an unseen speaker.
As Claire took it all in, tears sprang to her eyes.
She whispered, “Oh Jamie. You did all this for me?”
“Aye. I’d do anything for ye, Claire.”
He kissed her softly on her cheek, then thumbed away a tear on her pearlescent cheek.
“Now, no more tears, aye?”
Claire sniffed and laughed. “Aye.”
Together, they enjoyed the sumptuous meal and danced under the stars and the glittering lights cast around the yard by the light ball. Jamie sang in Claire’s ear, albeit a little off-tune, and held her close as they danced.
He pulled her to a stop and took a deep breath. She could tell he was nervous, having noted his clammy palms.
He lowered down to a knee. Claire breathed out, “ohhh” as Jamie took out a small blue velvet box that held a small shiny diamond ring.
“Claire, I think I have loved ye forever. I asked Da once how I’d ken when I was in love. He told me I’d just ken. It wasn’t something that would just hit me. It would grow over time and suddenly, there before my very eyes, there it would be.
“And so it was. Suddenly, one day, there ye were. But ye’d always been there. However, ye were more. Ye were everything tae me. The breath in my lungs. The beat of my heart. And now,” he touched her belly, “the two of us have made this bairn. We are now forever tied together heart and soul.
“I’d consider it my greatest honor if ye’d consent to be my wife, Claire. Will ye marry me?”
Claire stood before him, her quivering hands covering her mouth. Despite his ban on any further tears for the evening, she felt them fall unbidden from her eyes as she nodded yes.
Jamie’s face beamed brilliantly as he took the ring and placed it on her finger. He kissed it, then rose and took her face in his hands.
“I love ye, Claire. My Sorcha.”
“I love you, too.”
Jamie led her to one of the set of French doors that spanned the back of the deck. Upon opening it, he led her into a bedroom that glowed softly. The bed was framed by entwined willow branches, intertwined with fairy lights and lacy tulle. The bed was invitingly turned down with pristine white, lace-edged sheets and a thick matching duvet. Throughout the room, sat candles in lanterns that softly flickered. The warm late spring breeze drifted in through the open French doors.
“Oh Jamie,” Claire breathed, “this is beautiful.”
“I ken that our first time wasn’t what we wanted it to be. But, I was hoping, if ye were alright wi’ it, that we could maybe have a redo. I wanted our first time tae be so much more. Would ye let me make it up tae ye?”
Jamie held his breath as Claire looked around, taking it all in.
“Who did all this, then?”
Jamie tugged her closer to him and threaded his arms around her waist. “I did. I didnae want anyone else tae see this part. It’s...well, it’s private. My gift from me tae ye.”
“What about your parents?”
“I dinnae care anymore. This is just for ye and me. No one else.”
Claire was overwhelmed. She reached her arms up around his neck and drew him to her and sighed. It was the first time they had been this close since...since that one time . He had avoided anything resembling intimacy with Claire, not because he didn’t want her. Because, Christ, he did. He avoided it because he wanted to give her space. And frankly, he wasn’t comfortable with it, given that his parents were there under the same roof. Then there was the guilt. So much guilt that he’d done this to Claire and made her suffer so, despite all her rejections of any notion that it was anything but the both of them, together, that held the blame for the fix they were in. But tonight, it was just the two of them.
And a fresh start. A do-over.
He slowly leaned in and gently kissed her lips.
He tried to go slow. He really did. But having gone months without her touch, he was more than primed. Their kisses quickly became heated, their touches inflamed.
He reached behind her and slowly eased the zipper down on her dress. He had gazed all night at her swelling cleavage. It hadn’t escaped his notice that her breasts were growing plumper and filling out. He ached to touch them. He eased her dress down to the ground and helped her step out of it.
What greeted him was a vision beyond words.
She stood before him in a matching red strapless lace bra and red lacy thong. Her skin shone in the light. Their child lay protected in her swollen belly, that he had finally seen uncovered for the first time.
He stared at her for so long that Claire finally wrapped her arms around herself and burst out, “Will you bloody well say something?!”
All he could manage was, “Christ, Claire, ye’re beautiful.”
Her face transformed and she smiled. She reached for him and began to undress him, as he had her. Once his jacket, shirt, tie, shoes and socks were removed, he stood before her in just his trousers. She went to remove them and brushed against his swollen cock, causing it to twitch.
He had to get control of himself. He wanted this to be better.
He closed his eyes as she lowered his trousers and his boxer briefs. He counted to 10. And then 20.
His hands trailed up and down her arms and traced a path across the top of the red lace covering the swells of her breasts. Pulling her closer to him, he threaded his left hand into the back of her hair and tipped her head to the side. He ran soft kisses up and down her neck, stopping occasionally to suck on the spot that he knew drove her wild.
Running both hands down her back, he reached to unclasp her bra and dropped it to the floor. He took a step back and feasted his eyes on her. Her nipples were larger and darker. Beneath the surface, delicate blue veins showed that he’d never noticed before. Taking her hand, he stepped backward until he reached the foot of the bed, where he sat before her, pulling her in between his spread legs.
Slowly, he lowered her thong, kissing a path along their way to the ground. She leaned to slide off her heels when he stopped her with a hand. “Nae. Leave them on. I like them.”
His hands slid back up to cradle her tummy and he kissed it. Softly he explored her rounded shape, getting acquainted with it. He noticed the barely there silvery marks where her skin had stretched. He noticed how hard it felt in comparison to the softness of it before that one time . Snaking his fingers up, he cupped her breasts and wondered at the fullness of them. Not only that, he caught on rather quickly that they were now extremely sensitive. He had barely touched the nipples when he had drawn a breathy, threaded sound out of her.
Leaning forward, he drew one into his mouth and she drew him tighter to him with a loud moan, clutching his curls in her fingers. He switched to the other side, lavishing it with the same attention.
Suddenly, she pulled him to his feet and dragged him to the bed.
“Wait,” he whispered.
He reached up and released her hair from the pins that held it up, followed carefully by the tiara. Her curls fell in a perfumed cloud that drugged him. He eased her backwards onto the bed and crawled up beside her.
There before him was his Sorcha. Her hair spread out on the pillow. Her skin glowing in the soft light. His dream became reality before his eyes..
She reached for him and wrapped her small hand around his cock, then dragged his hand down between her legs. His breath caught at the sheer amount of heat that he felt there between her legs. She was so wet for him.
Her hand moved faster and he moved his faster in time with the rhythm she set. Their quickened breath, their racing hearts fueled the fire even further. He kissed her, tangling his tongue with hers, panting open-mouthed against hers.
She pulled back. “Now, Jamie. Please, now!”
He positioned himself between her legs and nearly expired as the glow from the fairy lights above them reflected on the wetness between her legs and practically running down her thighs. Grabbing his cock, he slowly slid inside her, giving her a moment to get used to the girth of him before moving in further and further.
When he was inside her buried to the hilt, he couldn’t hold back the ragged groan that came out of him. She thrust up against him and he almost came then and there as her inner muscles grabbed him and pulsed around him.
Three more thrusts and they both came together, crying out as they pulsed together and clung to each other.
Basking in the afterglow, Jamie felt the baby shift against him. He reared away and looked in wonder at Claire. “Was that…?”
Claire nodded. “Umm-hmm. I’ve been feeling little flutters for a while now, but just lately, I’m starting to feel her shifting and kicking.”
Jamie placed a hand gingerly on her tummy and waited. Soon enough, he felt a little ripple against his hand. “Do ye think it’s a girl, then?”
“I don’t really know. I just think of her as a girl, I suppose. Maybe it’s mother’s intuition?”
He frowned a bit and then said, “Claire, I ken I haven’t really been involved lately, but I really do want to be a real Da. Will ye tell me when things like this happen so I can share in it wi’ ye?”
Claire looked at him searchingly. He wondered what she was really thinking in that head of hers. Despite her glass face, sometimes she could be hard to read.
“Alright. Do you really mean to marry me and stay with us? Be a real family? Will you be happy and not feel...I don’t know...maybe ‘trapped’?”
Ahh. So that was it.
“Claire, I told ye I would. I’m not trapped, as ye say. Yes, I wish it had mebbe happened a bit more conventionally, but it is what it is. Fate brought us together and fate is keeping us together. Tae me, marriage is forever.”
Claire smiled and relaxed visibly. “It’s forever for me, too.”