Maggie

Maggie

The laird of the McEwens, that beautiful man with the striking blue
eyes, had kissed her. She hadn’t been prepared for what surely must have
been dragonflies dancing in her belly, nor actually feeling her heartbeat
pound throughout every inch of her body, but she knew she liked those
feelings. It was only unfortunate that these reactions had so completely
befuddled her that she’d insulted him in such grand fashion that he’d
carried her stiffly back to this cave and had ignored her fully since setting
her onto her feet.
And all the minutes from then until now were spent trying very hard
not to cry.
Maggie sat as she sometimes did, on her bottom with her knees drawn
up to her chest. She’d clasped her arms around her legs and tried to keep
her gaze away from the laird. And his lips. She’d spent several minutes
watching him talk to Duncan at one point, watching his mouth move around
his words, amazed that those very utilitarian body parts could so easily and
effectively have caused such delight in her as they had only a short while
ago.
Her face heated with a blush when she caught Archie staring at her
with a narrow-eyed and contemplative frown. She didn’t care what that
cranky man thought. Laying her chin on her knees, she let the talk around
her become muted, only noise in the back of her brain while she wrestled
yet more with how superbly and effortlessly she’d managed to wreck the
single most amazing event of her little life. She closed her eyes and tried to
relive the entire encounter over and over, hoping to commit each second
and sound and feel to memory, having been told there would be no repeat.
A kiss shouldn’t be a life-changing thing, she thought with a bit of a frown,
but in some respect, she knew she was different even now.
She closed her eyes, impervious to the cold it seemed, adrift in her
own tortured thoughts. When she opened her eyes, she found the laird’s
gaze upon her. She detected that his jaw was still, or once again, clenched.
She tried to hold his gaze, hoped she conveyed properly her sorrow but
could not be sure. Soon enough their contemplation of each other was
interrupted by Archie’s grousing as others began to find their beds for the
night.
“Close quarters, lad, but you need no’ be climbing on top of me.”
“And where would you have me put my own legs, Arch?” Donal
wondered with a rare irritation.
Maggie blinked and Iain removed his heated gaze from her. When
Duncan found his pallet next to her, Maggie laid down as well, facing the
captain tonight, not sure she could withstand the chief ignoring her straight
on if she’d turned in that direction. He found his own bed within minutes
and stretched the huge fur over her once again. This kindness only made her
feel doubly wretched for how she’d treated him earlier.
She waited until all around was quiet, until the only sounds were those
now familiar nighttime noises, various persons snoring and water dripping.
Shifting upon the hard ground, she angled her face toward Iain and
whispered, “There is only ever once a first time for something. I’m very
sorry that I’d so foolishly destroyed my first kiss.”
Despite the many minutes that had passed since he’d found his bed, his
voice was not sleepy at all when he responded in a matching whisper, “It
was not an irrational response. It remains, however, that I shouldn’t have
kissed you.”
She needed a moment to gather the courage to press on. “And won’t
again?”
His reply was a long time coming, but then was really no response at
all. “Go to sleep, Maggie Bryce.”
There had been some discussion earlier, while she’d sat with her own
miserable thoughts, about getting out early tomorrow, if the weather
cooperated. They could be home by sunset, Duncan had proclaimed with
some hope.
Too soon, she thought. She needed time to fix this, couldn’t stand the
idea of parting ways with Iain McEwen while he thought she disliked his
kiss.