Love Online - Chapter 14
This is a continuation of Love Online. You can find previous chapters linked here: [ Chapter 1] [Chapter 2] [Chapter 3] [Chapter 4] [Chapter 5] [Chapter 6] [Chapter 7] [Chapter 8] [Chapter 9] [Chapter 10] [Chapter 11] [Chapter 12] [Chapter 13]
A week after their honeymoon, things had slowly turned back to normal for Jamie and Claire. They had had such a lovely time in Greece and had wished never to leave, but alas, they had responsibilities waiting for them back home. Claire went back to work at the hospital and Jamie resumed his job at the print shop, but they had returned renewed and sublimely happy.
“How was it, then?” Geordie asked, as he brought in a new ream of paper.
Jamie smiled to himself, remembering all the amorous adventures he had experienced with Claire in Greece, blushing at the thoughts that came to mind.
“That good, huh?” Geordie grinned widely, his eyes crinkled into triangles.
“Better than good, my friend. Claire is amazing. I’m so lucky to have her.”
“Aye, ye are. Now, when are ye going to bring her by? Marjorie has been wanting to have the two of you over for a grand dinner in yer honor.
“Oh, aye. We’d love to. We’ll arrange something soon.”
The men continued talking as they worked, Jamie filling Geordie in on their adventures in Greece…well, the appropriate ones, at least. As Jamie was regaling Geordie on the finer points of Greek culture, he felt his cell phone buzz in his pocket. Reaching absently to retrieve it, he glanced at the screen.
Claire: Hey babe, just got home from the hospital. Jillian called and wants us to meet her new beau. Dinner tonight ok?
Jamie: Aye, I’ll be leaving in about half an hour. I’ll come home and change and then we can go. Who is the guy?
Claire: Don’t know. Jillian is being rather mysterious about it. :)
Jamie: Ok. I’ll be home soon, love.
Jamie finished loading the last ream of paper into the printer, grabbed his coat from the back, and said goodbye to Geordie as he walked out the door.
Claire was putting the finishing touches on her evening ensemble. It wasn’t going to be a formal affair, but knowing Jillian, she would be dressed to the nines anyway. Claire had decided to wear the sexy little red number that she had worn on her first date with Jamie. She knew he loved it on her, and if truth be told, she was hoping it would have its usual effect on him and inspire his amorous attentions once they got home.
As if on cue, Jamie came in the back door as usual, laying his jacket across the back of the chair as he walked through the living room, making his way towards their bedroom to change. Seeing her, he leaned to kiss her softly, then his hands roamed down over her form appreciatively.
“Sassenach,” he said huskily, “ye look beautiful. If ye go to dinner tonight looking like that, ye are likely to distract Jillian’s new man. God, Claire…” He didn’t say anymore, but kissed her deeper, while squeezing her ample bottom through the crimson fabric.
Finally breaking free, Claire said, breathless, “Jamie, we need to leave soon and you’re distracting me. Plus you need to get dressed.”
He gave her one last squeeze and let go. “Alright, if I must.” He began unbuttoning his shirt. “So, what do ye know about this guy?”
“Jillian just said she is totally head over heels for him. He is just back in Scotland after a couple of years abroad. She says she met him at a bar while we were on our honeymoon and they hit it off.”
“Jillian could hit it off with any man,” Jamie said, chuckling. “She’s certainly proven that. How many boyfriends has she had over the last year?”
Claire laughed, “You’re right at that, I’ve lost count.”
Later, as they were making their way to the restaurant where they were all to meet, they drove by the gardens where they’d gone on their first date.
“Do ye remember that night, Claire?” Jamie said, nodding toward the gardens.
“How could I forget it? I was so nervous, you know.”
“I was too. God, I must’ve paced a hundred times before knocking on your door that night.”
“And now here we are,” Claire said, placing her hand on his leg, “married and incredibly happy.”
“Aye, we are.” He leaned to give her a quick kiss, trying to keep his eyes on the road at the same time.
Claire leaned her head on his shoulder as they continued driving. “I wonder if it’s possible for someone like Jillian to have a love like ours, I mean, she does go out with a lot of guys and none of them ever seem to touch her heart on a deeper level.
Jamie knew what she meant. He and Claire had something different, not the usual thing at all. He felt in his bones that what they had was one of a kind, a gift so unique and precious, something to be cherished. He thought that no one, particularly someone like Jillian, could ever have a love like theirs.
A few minutes later, they made it to the restaurant. They checked in with the greeter, who guided them through the dining room toward the table where Jillian was already sitting. As they approached, Claire felt Jamie’s hand tighten in hers and thought she heard a distinct intake of breath. She looked up at him in concern and leaned to whisper, “Are you ok?”
Jamie composed himself as best he could. “Aye. I’ll do.” He had recognized the man as soon as the stalwart form came into sight, seated next to Jillian. He couldn’t believe it. Of all the men she could have picked, it would have to be him.
They reached the table and greeted the couple. Jillian turned and said, “Claire, Jamie, I’d like to introduce you to—”
“Dougal,” Jamie said, a bit coldly.
Jillian’s eyes widened and she looked between two men. “You know each other?”
“Aye, lass, ye could say that.” Dougal seemed to find the situation amusing, although the grin on his face didn’t quite reach his eyes.
“Aye,” said Jamie, “he’s my uncle.”
It was Claire’s turn to gasp. “Your uncle?”
For a moment there was a stunned silence, but finally Jillian broke the tension. “Well, I knew there was something I admired about you, Dougal. You have the most striking resemblance to our lovely lad here,” she said, turning her eyes to Jamie.
Dougal chuckled. “Aye, he’s rather a handsome lad. He definitely takes after the Mackenzie side of the family.”
“I like to think I got the best of both of my parents’ heritage. Ye never liked my Da though, did ye?” Jamie said, coldly.
“Well, ye ken how he took off with Ellen and knocked her up before we could find her a proper husband.”
Claire gasped. Jamie’s fist tightened on the table, rage bubbling up beneath the surface.
“I’ll thank ye to not talk ill of my Da. He loved my mother very much. Still does.”
“I meant no disrespect to ye, lad, but it’s the truth.”
“Perhaps it’s a truth that need not be discussed in present company, and certainly not in this setting,” Jamie said, gaining control over his emotions.
“Ye are right, lad,” Dougal said, “we shouldn’t be talking about the past, we should be celebrating your nuptials”. He motioned to the waiter and ordered champagne. After the glasses were full, he raised his in a toast. “To the happy couple. Congratulations!”
They all toasted and eventually the change of subject and the alcohol helped temper Jamie’s mood. For the rest of the night, they talked about neutral topics, never venturing again into dangerous territory. They actually ended up having a good time, despite the initial awkwardness. At the end of the night, they all said their goodbyes and promised to meet again soon.
Dougal helped Jillian into her coat as they followed Claire and Jamie out the front door of the restaurant. As the other couple reached their car, Dougal couldn’t help but admire Claire. There was something about the lass that he found intriguing. She was intelligent, to be sure, but there was also a fire he could see under the surface. A fire he found very appealing. He watched her as she leaned to get in the car, her short skirt accentuating those impossibly long legs. His heart raced at the sight and he couldn’t stop himself from imagining those legs wrapped around him. Suddenly he realized that he was staring and shook himself as he reached for Jillian’s hand and led her to his car.
Jamie had seen the look in Dougal’s eyes. That look was predatory, even menacing in its way. He knew his uncle had always been a ladies’ man, but Claire was one lady that he would never get his hands on. Jamie would make sure of that.