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PostPosted: Fri Jan 08, 2016 11:05 am 
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The look in Caleb's eyes told Claire that she had made exactly the right choice for her costume that evening, underwear and all. It had felt odd, choosing underwear for purely sensual purposes, rather than practicality, but it had been worth it, that was for sure.

If she was honest, there was probably very little that Caleb hadn't seen or done sexually, and to be able to have such an effect on him was thrilling in itself. His hands clutched at hers as they settled on his chest, pulling her into a fierce kiss. The only shivers racing through Claire's body now were those caused by Caleb's fingers branding her flesh with his red-hot touch. This was what they had been building up to all evening, something they couldn't have avoided if they tried.

And why would they want to avoid it?

The kiss deepened, and Claire didn't resist as Caleb slipped her hands underneath his t-shirt, which was as wet as her dress had been. She nudged it upwards, exposing his stomach and chest, and the flesh, where it met, was still chilled by the rain. She gasped as Caleb's fingers deftly undid he bra, pushing the strap out of the way as he kissed down her neck. All thoughts of the shower evaporated as Caleb tossed her bra to the floor, and her nipples were hard little bullets against his chest.

Claire almost yelped as Caleb lifted her by the hips, driving her back against the door, and all she could do was to wrap her legs around his waist, drawing him closer. Caleb's lips were everywhere, and Claire wrestled his t-shirt further up as she gripped on with her legs to stop herself from falling. "Arms up," she breathed, waiting the nano-second it took Caleb to comply before tugging his t-shirt over his head, dropping it onto the floor with a soggy plop.

"I think... the shower can wait," Claire murmured, her breath ragged as she pulled Caleb into another searing kiss, all the while her fingers were fiddling with the button and zip on his trousers, pushing them to the floor. Claire gave a startled laugh as she realised that Caleb had gone commando that evening, and she pulled back from the kiss for a second. "God, I hope that didn't chafe," she breathed, before pulling Caleb as close as she could.

This was going to be a long night...

***********************************

The bed was softly comfortable, and Claire lay in contentment, her legs tangled with Caleb's, her damp hair splayed across the pillow where her head rested on his shoulder. The shower had been a long time coming, and her muscles were liquid now, utterly spent and sated.

Claire dropped a soft kiss onto Caleb's shoulder, her face wreathed in smiles. "I guess this evening didn't exactly go to plan, did it," she said, her voice soft and laughing. It might not have gone to plan, but there was no way on earth it could have been better, that was for sure.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 08, 2016 11:35 am 
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Caleb laughed as he kissed the top of her head, which was still damp from the very long shower they had taken - he was sure that there was no hot water now left in the hotel after there activities - he was happy. Almost giddy with how relaxed, and sated he felt in that moment, he was laying on his back Claire tucked into his side like she was always meant to be there.

His arm was wrapped around her, lazily stroking up and down her side, honestly he didn't have much energy left just enough to spend it with her until the night time ticked away into the morning. It was completely different to how they had spent the past hour or two, from the vigorous sex - he was pretty sure one of them had bruises from the tiles in the shower - to the relaxed atmosphere that was now.

"Nothing ever goes to plan," he said, voice hoarse from earlier use, "Not with us anyway." Which was a good thing, he didn't want things to go to plan and well it kind of had gone to plan he had planned to end up sleeping with Claire once they got back to the hotel, it was just not meant to be as early as it currently was.

Shifting slightly, he pushed himself onto his side so he was laying facing her, he had forgone a top after the shower, instead intending to just lay under the sheets that was on the bed. It was the most content he had felt in such a long time, happy, relaxed and yes sated but it was more than that, so much more.

He looked her over, taking in everything on her face, from the kissed lips, to the faint blush on her face from the overly hot shower. This was everything he had ever hoped for, to have someone that completely got him in every sense of the word, that wasn't going to leave him because of his job that actually understood his job. Claire was essentially the whole package for him, something he had never thought he would ever be able to find.

Caleb placed a soft kiss on the tip of her nose, laughing as he did so, he traced a hand along the top of her shoulder, tracing small lines on her shoulder in imitation of the tattoo on the other arm. Honestly this was probably the most still he had been since they had first gotten together, well other than the times that he would be asleep of course, very subtly he brought his other hand up and pulled off his tags.

This was the moment he had planned out in his head since Claire had said yes to going to Atlantis with him, since he had arrived in New Orleans and if he was willing to admit it to himself maybe even before then.

Taking a deep breath, he held out one of the tags to her, dangling it in between them both, "Claire," he started, voice think with emotion, "I....love you so much...." honestly words were completely failing him at that moment.

Caleb had never had trouble with words, a flirt and innuendo here and there, the right smile in the right place got him pretty much everything he went after. He was full of charm, confidence and yes there might be a tiny bit of ego in him as well, but this, this moment in time all that failed him. He was not only opening himself up to a full blown commitment with her, but he had taken down every wall that Claire had probably peeked behind to lay himself bare before her.

This was not something he had done or ever wanted to do again, he wanted this time to be completely special, and there he was no words, throat locked with so much emotion it was hard to breath. He grabbed hold of her free hand, wrapped the tag around her wrist, if words were going to fail him then actions would be the best way to go.

"It's yours," he said quietly, hoping she would understand that this was his commitment to her, this was more than a marriage proposal, this was for life and everything that he probably wouldn't be able to say to her but wanted to say.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 08, 2016 12:23 pm 
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Claire could lay there forever.

It felt so right, curled up next to Caleb, her head resting on his shoulder, and she smiled sleepily as he kissed the top of her head. It had been one hell of a day, each disparate element coming together to make a perfect whole. It had been the best day she could remember, and she was more than content to end the day snuggling under the covers with Caleb. It really would be the perfect end to a perfect day.

Caleb's fingers tracing up and down her side were at once soporific and erotic, an intimate gesture that spoke of how comfortable they were with one another. It was a soft, sweet touch that Claire couldn't get enough of, and the thought that she was going to have this with Caleb in a whole other galaxy was dizzying.

She laughed quietly as he admitted nothing ever went to plan. "Maybe we should stop making plans, then, just go with the flow," she replied, her voice soft and warm. The atmosphere in their room was calm and content, the room lit only by the soft glow of the bedside lamps. It was almost the perfect romantic cliche, and Claire couldn't care less. It was their perfect romantic cliche, and bugger anyone who didn't like it.

Her eyes never left Caleb's face as he moved onto his side to face her, and she reached up, lightly tracing her fingers across his chest. Right here beside her was everything she could have ever wanted in a man: Caleb was kind, funny, sensitive, strong when it counted, and yet was able to relinquish control when needed. They might seem like complete opposites on the face of it, but the truth was that Caleb completed her in a way nobody else had ever managed to do. If there was such a thing as a soulmate, Claire thought she might just have found hers.

Claire laughed as Caleb kissed the tip of her nose, and traced little patterns on her arm. She reached up and drew a finger down his slightly stubbled jaw. "Trying to grow that beard already, e ipo," she murmured, her voice light with laughter. Her eyes were heavy, and it would be complete bliss to just curl up here and now and sleep.

However, her drifting was interrupted by Caleb's words. Claire's eyes flickered open, and she frowned lightly. Caleb's voice was filled with emotion, as he struggled with his words. "I know," she replied, her voice gentle. "And I love you. More than you know."

It was only then that she noticed he was removing the short chain from his dog tags, and she looked up, a questioning frown on her face. She had no idea what he was doing, until, suddenly, he took hold of her left wrist and wrapped the short chain around it,

It took her a few seconds to make sense of it, only Caleb's heartfelt "it's yours" bringing meaning to the gesture. His dogtags were an integral part of who he was, formed a part of his identity, and, in the giving of a tag to Claire, he was effectively telling her that he - his heart, his life - was hers. Tears brimmed over in her eyes and slaked down her cheeks, and the broadest smile imaginable slid into place. There was nothing she could give him in return, though, she had nothing to give, and, instead, took his hand and placed it over her heart.

"It's yours. I'm yours."


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 08, 2016 10:21 pm 
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It had never been his intention to make her cry, not at all, he just wanted her to know that everything he had he wanted to give to her. The only way he could make that happen was by handing over one of his tags, his own symbol of quite literally giving a piece of himself over to her completely. The trust, the love, the playfulness, the flirting, the sex, everything about her had driven him out of his mind from the moment she had agreed to 'kiss it better' in the gym not so long ago.

Claire was quite essentially everything he had wanted without actually knowing he wanted it, it was everything he was terrified to have but so determined to try again with opening himself up. That was what he had done, opened himself completely up in that moment, shed all the many layers of everything about him and exposed himself.

Caleb was in that moment a completely open nerve ending, anything she said, anything she did was over sensitive, was so much more than just a smile and a laugh. He felt a silly laugh bubble it's way up out of him, as he wiped the tears from her face - his own face feeling suspiciously wet as well now - and kissed her on each cheek, her nose, before resting against her lips momentarily.

There was no heated passion there, nothing that would lead to more strenuous activities - he might feel like a teenager but his energy levels most definitely were not teenager level any more - it was just a kiss that held his heart out to her for her to receive.

His own hand was gripping her wrist where the tags rested against her skin, he had a piece of himself on Claire now, that was his commitment, it was his pledge to her that the one night stands were through. That he loved her so very much that he wanted to spend forever with her.

"Forever," he whispered horsely, his own throat thick with un-shed tears as he looked at her once more, wondering just for a moment how he had gotten so very, very lucky.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 08, 2016 10:58 pm 
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Claire was utterly lost for words. A soldier's tags were sacrosanct, even to the point of death: if they died in the field, the one on the longer chain was left around the soldier's neck, and the shorter chain was taken and given to their relatives. In effect, Caleb was gifting his life to Claire, and that was just... well, it was huge.

Caleb was everything she could have ever wanted, and everything she needed. He was her best friend, her lover, her confidante. Claire could talk to him about anything - including her job - and he would never judge her. He was the one person whom she could rely on completely, no questions asked, and, in return, there was nothing she wouldn't do for him. It seemed to her that they were truly two halves of the same whole.

As tears leeched from Caleb's eyes, Claire thought she had never seen him more vulnerable, never so completely honest and open with her. It was as though any last vestiges of pretence, of any old walls that Caleb had placed up to protect himself had crumbled, leaving the man laid bare before her, trusting her not to break his heart.

That was one thing that Claire would never do, at least intentionally. If Caleb had his heart broken again, she didn't think he could recover. That he had felt able to place his heart so completely in Claire's hands was staggering, and that itself brought a fresh wave of tears.

Even as Caleb's fingers wiped the tears from her own cheeks, Claire was reaching up to do the same to him, her fingers brushing over his cheekbones in wonder. The soft kisses sealed everything, a gentle promise of commitment from him to her, even as his fingers held the chain around her wrist. Claire returned the soft kiss, resting her forehead against his for a moment, trying - and failing - to stem the bank of happy tears that seemed to be flooding from her eyes.

"Forever," she repeated, not giving a shit that they were sounding as soppy as they could possibly get. "Kei te aroha au i a koe, e ipo*," she murmured, looking in wonder at the tag around her wrist. "I wish I had something to give to you," she murmured, her voice apologetic, even as she brushed her lips across his. The soft smile flickered into more of a grin, even as her eyes sparkled with happiness. "I know this is bloody stupid, but... I always imagined this was how I'd feel on my wedding day."

* - "I love you, darling"


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 09, 2016 10:11 pm 
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Caleb wasn't sure if his whole body was shaking or if it was all in his mind, what he had just done, what he had just given her was huge. Huge enough to have an after effect on him, he had been one person for such a long time, had, had one way of thinking so as to save himself heartbreak in the future, one form of getting what he wanted when he needed it.

Yet all that, everything that made him who he was, he had just completely thrown it down, yes he was still actually the same person - he imagined he still wouldn't give up the flirting with every pretty face that walked past him, he didn't want to and he knew Claire wouldn't expect it of him either - but he was different.

This was starting a new chapter in his life, new place he was moving to, new partner (because calling Claire his girlfriend or lover just wasn't right now), new him. It was staggering what he had done and he couldn't quite believe he had done it himself, part of him had thought he would have chickened out of giving her a tag. Another part of him thought he would have gone over confident with it all and spoiled the whole damn thing, never for one second had he thought he would have turned into quite literally a speechless mess.

Caleb knew that he was being as stupidly romantic as he was bound to get, he leant into Claire's touch as she brushed her fingers against his cheek, wiping the tears that had fallen from him away. He honestly thought another woman would never reduce him to tears, yet these were at least the good ones this time.

He took a deep breath, trying to calm his racing heart, he still hadn't let go of her wrist with the tags on, afraid that if he did at that moment in time something bad would happen. He didn't want anything bad to happen in that moment nothing what so ever, he just had to take a moment get use to the idea that he was hers for.....well for eternity now.

Caleb blew out the breath he had been partially holding, "You gave me everything," he said, voice still quiet, but getting steadier, some of his usual tone creeping back in. "I need nothing else from you, except for you to be there and look at me like you are right now." That was the most sincerest he could get, if he didn't want to end up some emotional wreck huddled into the covers that was, he never wanted Claire to look at him any differently than she was doing now. There was a small, really tiny part of him, that was terrified that look would fade, but he stamped it on quickly, the look wouldn't fade. It. Would. Last.

When Claire mentioned marriage, Caleb couldn't help placing another kiss on her lips, he had at one point wondered what he would have felt like on his wedding day all them years ago. Would he have felt as elated as he does now? As terrified? As completely, stupidly happy? He just didn't know, what he did know, was that if he felt like he did now, then he'd say they were married in there own unusual way. Which really was not that unusual for either of them to.

A small smile crept onto his face, "I think," he started, kissing the left side of her face, "that this," now the right, "counts as marriage." before leaning just that little bit further down and trailing several kisses along her jaw and down her neck.

He still had yet to release her hand as well, he couldn't bring himself to let that go still, even as he started trailing kisses over her.

"Also I have no idea what you just said, but I agree," he whispered softly.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 10, 2016 4:39 pm 
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Claire could feel Caleb shaking, and she let her fingers drift down his cheek, onto his neck, where it rested. It must have been a huge decision for him, to decide to commit to her so completely, and that meant more to her than she would ever be able to articulate. If she were honest, Claire had been blown away that he had decided that she was what he wanted, and not some parade of one night stands with beautiful women.

Now this, this massive, lifetime commitment to her, knocked her sideways all over again. Caleb was the one for her, Claire knew that, and that was why she had no hesitation in offering the same commitment back to him. He was the one man she just knew would never let her down, would always be there for her, and would never, ever be unfaithful. He was the one man she felt that she could trust with her life - and with her heart.

Until that day in the gym, Claire had avoided even dating. She didn't want to risk her battered heart again. The risk was too great. However, she hadn't banked on one of her best friends sneaking his way past all her barriers, piecing together her fractured heart, the claiming it for his own. And, all the while, Claire hadn't realised that she had been doing the same for Caleb. Two damaged people, coming together and forming a perfect whole. The realisation had been earth shattering, but so right.

Claire's eyes drifted to the tag dangling from her wrist, Caleb's fingers wrapped around the chain, almost as though he was afraid it would fall off and their commitment to one another would be broken. Gently, she placed her fingers over his. "I'll be here," she replied, her voice soft and resolute. "I'll always be here, and I'll always be looking at you like this." She lifted her wrist, and kissed Caleb's fingers.

"Tomorrow, I'm going to have to find a chain to wear this on, you know," she breathed, her voice carrying the smile that lay on her lips. "I can't wear it wrapped around my wrist like this." Anything on her wrist would get in the way during surgery, and she didn't want to have to take it off. Hung around her neck on a chain, though, she never had to remove it.

For the briefest of moments, Claire thought she had overstepped the mark by mentioning marriage, but the tender kiss that landed on her lips said otherwise, and she chuckled quietly as Caleb traced kisses over her cheeks and jaw and neck, before stilling with shock as he told her that, at least as far as he was concerned, what they had counted as marriage.

"I think you're right, e te tau," she whispered. Her choice of endearment there was significant, too. It was the main term that the Māori used for a husband, and, though she had used it before in terms of calling Caleb her lover or her partner, never before had it held so much meaning for her.

Caleb's fingers were still wrapped around her wrist, keeping the tag in place, even as his lips traced soft kisses over her face and neck. She laughed quietly, dropping a kiss onto Caleb's shoulder, as he admitted that he had had no idea what she had said a few moments before. "Firstly, I said 'I love you, darling'," she explained, a soft smile gracing her lips as she kissed his shoulder again. "Then... well, e te tau... as well as meaning 'lover' or 'partner', it also means husband."

Claire let those words land, her face nuzzled into the crook of Caleb's neck, twining her legs with his, wanting to be as close as she possibly could. "You know... this has to be the strangest wedding ceremony ever," she chuckled, her lips brushing Caleb's skin with every syllable. Strange it might be, but she couldn't have asked for anything better in terms of making their commitment to one another.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 10, 2016 8:34 pm 
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As the shock of what he had, quite literally, proposed to her wore off the shaking became less. Caleb honestly had not thought that offering up one of his tags to her would have such an effect on himself, he had thought he would be strong, confident not quite literally a bit of a mess by the end of it.

He was entirely grateful that she hadn't called him on it, so very thankful that she had taken it in her stride as this being such a big deal to him and had just held him - if possible - even closer as he told her that it meant forever.

Finally after what felt like such a long time, he let go of her hand, more so once she told him what she had meant, husband in Maori sounded so freaking lovely. He trailed a hand up to her neck, he could imagine what the tags would look like laying against her skin, he didn't have to imagine the rush of excitement that crept up his spine knowing that he would be able to see whatever chain she chose peaking out of the scrub tops she wore once back at the mountain.

Knowing that underneath there would lay his tags, his claim to her, it was in intoxicating all in its own right and really he didn't seem able to stop the sappiness that kept bubbling up inside of him whilst being on this holiday. It had been so unlike him, but totally him all at the same time.

Caleb felt her legs drawing him in closer to her, it was mutual feeling and he smiled - a more flirty, cheeky, more himself - at her as he moved in closer, laying a trail of kisses along bare skin.

"Forever," he repeated quietly, not knowing what else to say but feeling that was all that needed to be said.

Caleb knew this was definitely a memory that was going to stay with him for a very, very long time, it was also going to be a memory that he would look back on fondly, especially in the stressful days leading up to leaving for Atlantis.


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