Fanfiction - A Lifetime of Her (Part VI)
Part VI – “My kingdom for a kiss upon her shoulder”
She didn’t come back after that night – I knew she had gone back to Boston, to take control over her life. I waited. The phone never rang to give me news or an explanation, inexplicably silent even though I was certain she could find the number had she wished to. And I waited. My mailbox was painfully empty every day, while I dreamt of letters touched by her fingers, read aloud by her warm voice. And yet I waited.
I waited because I had no choice – I was meant to wait for her. Our lives were inextricably connected, vessels adrift on the sea with an intended destination written in the stars. I had tried to forget her before, to live pretending I wasn’t waiting – and that had hurt more than the hours I spent awake at night, looking at the spot where she once had laid by my side. But there was that small fraction of time, that heartbeat, just before I opened my eyes in the morning, where everything was possible – and I was happy.
Sometimes I would catch myself checking the weather in Boston, wanting to know if she could see the stars in clear skies – at least I could share that proximity with her. I wondered if she had drank coffee, dark and strong, while her eyes were still half-shut. If she had decided on a specialty yet. That was better than wondering about her marriage – every time I turned my thoughts to Frank, the idea of her being touched by him brought me to a blinding state of anger and fear. I would go outside in those occasions to run, as fast as I could for as long as I was able, until I had fled myself and was somewhat free.
I enjoyed teaching and found great solace in my students, curious and lively little fiends, always looking for trouble. I dedicated myself to the task of keeping their spirits sharp and their curiosity burning.
I had my old friends, with whom I shared whiskey glasses and laughs at the pub – keeping a respectful distance from the place I knew Laoghaire still frequented. They kept me grounded, even with their crudes jokes about my bachelor status. While I was laughing, it was easier to wait – I could almost push Claire to the back of my mind, where she would curl and sleep, satisfied.
Saturday was born in blazing glory, sun shining high in a cloudless sky like a treasure’s coin. I accepted the chance to spend the morning exploring the paths at Arthur’s Seat, pushing myself to the limit. I reached the summit with a delicious pain at each breath intake, the air fresh like crushed mint, filling my chest with the pulse of life.
Back at my apartment, I made plans to shower and spend a lazy afternoon reading and napping on the couch, while I stripped off my sweaty t-shirt, heading towards the bathroom.
That’s when the doorbell rang.
I opened it without thinking twice, expecting perhaps to see Angus or Willie, swinging by to challenge me to watch a rugby match or play a chess game.
Her hair was a bit shorter than the last time I had seen her, framing a face that was slightly flushed from sunlight and anticipation. She was wearing a white sundress and I realized I had been wrong – my memories would never be more than a pale comparison to the woman who stood before me. Her arms were bare, with no visible marks, her flawless skin resembling a painting.
“May I come in?” Claire asked softly, her eyes quickly tracing the lines of my exposed chest before she looked at my face, expectant.
“Of course.” I moved to the side, allowing her in. I brushed my hair with nervous fingers, desperately looking for an old t-shirt to dress. Eventually, I settled for the one I had been wearing, smelling faintly of sweat and crushed leaves.
“I wanted to come sooner.” She swallowed hard. “I’ve been in Scotland for a couple of days, but had to take care of some papers to start my surgical residency here and find somewhere to stay permanently.” Claire searched my eyes. “I’m moving back to Scotland.”
“Aye.” I said in a husky voice. “I’m glad to see ye, Claire.”
“I’m glad to see you too, Jamie.” She smiled, more confident. “These past two years, I -“
“Ye dinna have to explain anything to me.” I interrupted, feeling strangely hollow, fighting against anger which came with a sense of relief.
“I think I do.” Claire insisted, stepping closer to me. “I want you to know that I heard you, Jamie. I didn’t want to make promises until I truly meant them. I had to finish school and decide what I really wanted for my life.”
“And did ye?” I croaked, folding my arms in a defensive gesture, pre-emptively shielding myself from bad news.
“Yes.” She whispered. In that moment she reached out with her hand, offering it to me with her palm down – naked. Her wedding ring gone. “I divorced Frank more than a year ago – and never lived with him again after I was here.” Claire searched his eyes. “With you.”
“Then why did ye never wrote or called?” I asked, hurt creeping into my words. “Why did ye waited two years to show up again?”
“I had to be worthy of you.” Claire said simply, twisting her hands – her fingers touching the ghost of the ring that once had been there. “I had to make sure I was coming because it was the right thing – not because I was wrecked. You offered me everything and I wanted to have something to give back.”
“I missed ye.” I admitted in a whisper, as her hand touched my cheek – I closed my eyes, surrendering to her caress. “A Dhia, I thought I’d go mad with the idea of never seeing ye again.”
“I missed you too.” She gasped, her body so close to mine I could feel the swell of her breasts, the compelling heat coming from her skin. “I haven’t realized I could barely breathe until now.”
“Are ye here to stay then?” I asked serious, our eyes locking. We were gently swaying along some music we could both listen, too eager to stand still, too afraid to finally meet in quietness. “Because if ye’re not…”
She silenced me with her trembling fingers, touching my mouth, learning the shape of my lips. I almost moaned with the pleasure of her touch, so sincere and tender.
“I’m here to stay.” Claire assured me, tracing the line of my chin, where stubble prickled. “If you’ll have me.”
“I’ll have ye in any way I can.” I whispered, my voice almost breaking with emotion – and yet, stronger than ever before. “Always.”
“Jamie…” She sighed with a smile, her forehead leaning against mine. “May I kiss you?” I realized she didn’t wish to rob me another kiss, a thief taking something precious, covered in the night’s cloak.
“I thought ye’d never ask.” I gave her a lopsided smile and our lips finally met, a kiss eighteen years in the making, hesitant at first and then all-consuming.
We spent the afternoon discovering each other, laying in the living room’s rug, slowly and languidly displacing clothes in order to kiss another inch of skin, to draw shapes of desire with our fingertips.
I opened the first buttons of her dress, tracing with my tongue the curve of her breasts; she insinuated her hands on my shorts, caressing the fine copper hairs of my thighs. I nuzzled her neck, softly biting her until she moaned, so I could reward her with a soothing flicker of my tongue. She laughed and playfully clawed my back, making sure I too would wear medals of our war, marks of the victor. I marvelled with the roundness of her arse and the feel of her swollen lips, battered with kisses, ever-wanting. I was mightily aroused – that much was evident to us both – and yet I didn’t move to enter her. I didn’t wish to precipitate the voyage we had started together, to hasten something that would come naturally to us, as each one of our meetings through life had. I would finally get a lifetime of her and planned to savour each small conquest.
“Are ye hungry?” I asked eventually, kissing her shoulder. She looked dishevelled and wanton, pure lust and love in the shape of a woman – I’d never seen her more beautiful or desirable.
“I’m starved.” She laughed, nuzzling the hollow of my chest one final time. “Will you feed me then?”
“Ach, I’m too knackered to cook.” I admitted, playing with her curls – already sorely missing her lips on mine. “But there’s a fantastic Mexican place nearby – I’ll buy ye dinner.”
“If you’re planning to intoxicate me with Margaritas,” Claire sat up and started to compose her clothes. “I have to say it’ll probably work like a charm.”
We left the house walking hand in hand, like two loved up teenagers, giggling and teasing each other. I’d pull her against me once in a while to kiss her again, to the general amusement and surprise of people around us. I didn’t know such happiness was possible – I felt my chest so full that no space was left for regret or doubt.
We were talking about plans to spend Sunday together, when we heard the commotion. A loud crash, someone screaming – the air was thick with tension, harder to breathe in. I felt Claire gripping my hand one final time before she let go, prepared to face what was certainly coming around the corner.
A man with a black ski mask emerged from the sizable jewellery store, which had imposing diamond rings and golden necklaces peeking through the window displays. He carried a dark sports bag at his shoulder and in one hand sported a menacing revolver, while the other grabbed a shrieking shopkeeper by the hair. Blood dripped from the side of her head, where she had probably been pistol-whipped, her eyes blank with shock.
An alarm went off inside the store, an unnerving sound that made me shiver, the hairs on my arms erecting in fear.
The robber shouted something – a car was waiting near the curb, another masked man inside it. He forcefully pushed the woman against the sidewalk, her head bumping against the edge with a nauseating sound of crushed eggshells.
I think I screamed, trying to stop Claire from moving – I knew she would go. She had healed me times enough for me to know that she wasn’t capable of witnessing suffering without trying to interfere.
It happened in a second and yet I saw it in slow motion – how she kneeled next to the woman, trying to stabilize her neck, to evaluate her wounds, calling for her with the lips I just had kissed moments before. The man in the ski masked turned and looked at her, laughing at the sight of her unfruitful gestures – she held his gaze in defiance, insulting him with her sharp tongue.
I was already screaming before it happened – I could see it so clearly and yet I was powerless to stop it. The gunshot that announced the ending, loudest even than my heart breaking.
I ran to her, trying to catch her before she fell on her back. For a moment I thought he had missed her – but a drop of red appeared on the white of her dress, spreading quickly across her belly like a net of poison, a cloud of blood drenching the fabric.
She looked at me with her eyes wide open in painful shock. I sobbed and cried for help, trying to keep her with me through a stupor of despair, my hands pressing the wound as my heart’s blood left her body.
“Jamie.” Claire whispered weakly, searching my eyes. And I started to pray, as sirens wept around me.
Note: I know it’s angsty but - hey- it’s canon! :D