An Outlander Affair to Remember- Chapter 6
Six- Afghanistan 2006
“I suppose you grew up rather quickly yourself, hmm?” Terry mused over dinner, trying not to be intimidated by his looks or well deserved reputation as a ladies man. “Did your nanny read you bedtime stories from Lady Chatterly’s Lover?”
“I thought everyone knew that. A chapter a night then we would blow out the candles.” Nicky refused to be baited.
“We?” Terry’s eyes narrowed.
“I was only so big!” Nicky defended, hand floating midway up in the air in illustration.
“Sounds like an idyllic childhood!” Terry retorted. Nicky only smiled in return.
“And you’ve been putting notches into your belt since?”
“I’m on my third or fourth belt at least.” He looked away.
“Love connections all, though?”
“Must be hard to respect women who fall all over themselves to please you.” Terry guessed.
Nicky could feel her putting barriers up, describing him in such stereotypical terms that he hardly recognized himself. He was not that kind of man but she couldn’t know that. He needed to set her straight.
“That sounds like a nasty crack, you better be careful or it could become a habit. And you are wrong, you know. I always started out thinking of them as perfect, on the whole, I put them way up here.” Nicky’s hand shot above his head. “But as we get to know one another, things just….” Nicky allowed his hand to cascade downward until it fell below the table.
“I imagine that’s a lot of work for the two of you—you having to hold her up, her having to stand on that pedestal…” Terry smiles at him sympathetically.
“Quite. Pretty soon the thing starts to wobble, then tip and….” Nicky shrugs helplessly.
“C’est la Vie.” Terry agrees.
Eager to turn the tables and change the subject, Nicky took her hand in his. Too tempted to offer him comfort and liking how her hand felt in his just a little too much, Terry pulled her hand out and away.
Just then the waiter arrived with their after dinner drinks and the cheesecake they’d agreed to split.
“Everything is moving much too fast.” Nicky said after a while. “Like the bubbles in your glass. “ Nicky gestured to the waiter to pour him one as well. “You like pink champagne?”
He and Terry clinked their glasses in a toast. Nicky watched her eyes close and the small smile that played on her lips she savored the taste.
“My favorite drink. It ever apologizes for what it is– a wonderful treat that makes life more enjoyable for a moment in time.” Terry told him.
“Why can’t this trip be a treat just like pink champagne?” He asked.
“Kenneth, for starters.” Terry told him.
“Jealous is he?”
“Of what? No, he trusts me we’ve been together for several faithful years.”
“Not one mistake? Ever tempted?” Nicky pressed.
“You make me sound boring.” Terry shrugged a little.
“He sounds like a paragon.”
“He must be for me to be able to resist you.” Terry tried to make a joke but her tone was sincere.
“So I guess we are back to walks in the sunshine and shuffleboard?“ Nicky gave her a self-deprecating smile.
“Mmhmm, afraid so.” Terry confirmed.
“No night baseball?” Nicky’s eyebrows waggled suggestively but he could not meet her eyes.
“Are you— my God! You are blushing!” Terry’s shocked tone caused Nicky to blush in a way he hadn’t for many a year.
“‘A temporary reaction to the novelty of rejection.”
“Oh your poor ego! I am sorry!” Terry was laughing at him now.
“Don’t be, me and my ego will just go for a walk. Care to join us?”
“I thought you’d never ask!” Terry said as he helped her rise from her chair.
As they walked onto the deck, Terry was bathed in moonlight, Nicky, with an artist’s view for color and composition, thought of how she’d look on canvas, how he might capture the play of wind rushing through her hair, the way her eyes drank in the stars above, how her lips curved in a sly smile as she glanced his way.
So strong was his vision, Nicky had to stop his finger from sketching what he was seeing in his mind’s eye using fingers against his thigh, an old muscle memory trick was his starving artist years.
For the first time in a long time, Nicky wished he was back in the habit of traveling with easel and oils.
“What color is your hair, Sassenach?” Alex repeated.
“Hmm?” Claire’s head was still back in the book.