The Edge Of The World


"I have no doubt that you'll act like the perfect gentleman." I turned on my heel and motioned to him to follow me inside.

It was lovely to step into the coolness of the kitchen after standing outside in the bright sunlight, and I went to sit at the kitchen table, watching as he slowly followed me in. It would have been fair to say that he dwarfed what I had always thought of as a big kitchen, and it wasn't until he was seated opposite from me at the table that I said anything.

"While you're camping out there I don't really see the point in you cooking for yourself, it's just as easy for me to cook for two as for one, so long as you don't have a fondness for gourmet food. You can wash your clothes here, not that I think they do need washing of course, but I can imagine it's hard to get to a laundry when you've been out hiking for days." I could feel a blush starting to creep up from the neck of my t-shirt, warming my face while he looked at me, humour curving his mouth.

"Quite an about face from the hostile, fiery haired banshee I encountered earlier on the beach, I don't know what to say but thanks, it's a more than generous offer. I only hope you don't extend the same hospitality to everyone that wanders into your space, I'm almost certain there are plenty out there that would take what you've offered and a whole lot more besides."

"I can take care of myself if I have to and I've got Jess, usually she's pretty wary of strangers." Living so remotely there was always a possibility of danger, but it always seemed to me that I had more to fear from the elements than from a human hand, and had never been given cause to think any differently.

"For all you know, I could be a wanted man back in Ireland Kate, did you not stop to think about that?" The seriously asked question didn't set my nerves jangling in the slightest.

"Well I can't imagine that any great criminal mastermind would choose to go hiking around the Hebrides in favour of sunning themselves on a beach in Spain somewhere."

"I suppose you make a fair point, but if there's anything you want to know about me, feel free to ask." I wanted to know everything, I felt like I was drowning under the weight of his stare and I was struggling to keep my breathing even.

"Okay, which part of Ireland are you from and what do you do for a living?" I only just restrained myself from asking the more personal questions that were on the tip of my tongue.

"Well I'm originally from Waterford, I'm living in Dublin now though where I work part-time as a courtroom artist and now and again I work for the local police, artists impressions and things like that." He sat back in his chair, running his fingers through his hair and back off his face.

"You must be pretty talented then, why the commercial work?"

"Quite simple, I got the impression when I was a penniless struggling student that I wasn't going to make a name for myself until I was dead and buried, money is no good when you're dead, but then isn't that always the way." He smiled ruefully before continuing. "Besides, my mother is quite liking the peace and quiet now that we've all flown the nest, I didn't want to go back home and spoil it."

"So you've got brothers and sisters then?" I was guessing by the slightly spoiled look about him that he was probably the youngest of the family.

"I've got three brothers and two sisters, my parents didn't get a television till they were married eight years." He laughed at my shocked look.

Three hours later, we were still sitting there chatting, and I was charmed completely, as was Jess who had draped herself over his feet, gazing up at him adoringly from time to time. My stomach growled loudly, and I glanced at the clock, surprised at how much time had passed, and my eyes were drawn to the window where a large bank of ominous looking clouds were starting to explode on the horizon. The air did seem a little thicker, a bit heavier than it had earlier and I knew that we were probably going to have front row seats for a rogue storm.

"How waterproof is your tent Seumais?" I asked him, drawing my head back round to face him.

"Well, to be honest, I'm not entirely sure, I hate to admit it, but any time I've been out and the weather looks like it's about to turn, I've headed for the nearest bed and breakfast. Hardly one of the worlds greatest adventurers am I?" He looked like a naughty boy being caught doing something he shouldn't, but I laughed.

"I think you're going to put it to the test tonight, the weather is going to turn, but you've got some shelter from the house." There was a slight smell of burnt flour in the air and it felt hotter than ever, sweat began to trickle its way down my spine making the soft material of my t-shirt cling to me.

"I'd better go out and make sure everything is tied down securely then, I don't suppose there's a bed and breakfast nearby? Only kidding, I think I'll survive one night in the rain." As he headed outside, I couldn't help but feel like I had kicked a puppy, but even although we had gotten along well, he was still a stranger and I wasn't wholly convinced that offering him a bedroom for the night was the wisest idea.

I made a large chicken salad and split it between two plates, and grabbed a couple of cans of juice from the back of the fridge. Butterflies were fluttering away in my stomach but they were overshadowed by the beginnings of a dull throbbing headache, which I could put down to the building storm. After putting the cold cans in my pockets, I added cutlery to the plates and made my way outside, stopping just short of the tent. I smiled as I listened to his cheerful whistling coming from inside, coughing loudly to let him know I was there.

"I thought I'd save you going to the trouble of cooking, if you don't mind too much, I'll join you though." I held out a plate to him and set my own down on the ground at my feet, pulling the cans out of my pockets.

"How could I object to being taken care of like this? To be honest I was getting a little sick of beans." He sat down cross-legged and popped the can before settling the plate on his lap.

Together we ate, in companionable silence, watching the gunmetal grey clouds steadily covering the bright blue sky. The heat was getting more and more unbearable, but neither of us complained, content to watch the seabirds, wheeling and crying out over the water, which had changed in colour, mirroring the sky. As we finished our meal, the breeze picked up, bending the flowers in the machair back and forth, twisting the spiky marram grass.

"I think we'd better clear up, the rain isn't too far away, you can see it on the horizon." I pointed towards the yellowish looking mass that had laid itself atop the sea in the distance. We hadn't had rain for a few weeks, unusually for us, so mother nature was sure to make up for what we had missed out on this evening.

"I'll take your word for it Kate, I don't fancy being caught out and spending the night, soaking wet inside a tent." He handed me his plate and stood up, brushing down his ragged jeans, holding his hand out to me, to help me up.

For the second time that day, I felt that frisson of awareness, and this time it was him that let go first, but not until he had explored the inside of my wrist once more, his eyes holding mine. I thought that he would say something then, but he didn't, his eyes speaking volumes, but his mouth unmoving.

By the time I had reached the kitchen door the first fat drops of rain hit the ground and with a few muttered curses behind me I heard Seumais zipping himself into his tent. Jess followed me quickly inside and began to pace around the kitchen, whining softly as the first rumbles of thunder began to fill the air. I scraped the plates quickly and dumped them in the sink, retreating to the sofa to rub my temples. I knew that once the tension in the air eased, then so would my headache, but for the moment, it hurt even to keep my eyes open.

Even with my eyes shut, I could still see the brilliant flash of lightning as it lit up the kitchen, and I started to count slowly, as I did when I was a child, trying to figure out how far away the storm was. Five miles and getting closer by the sounds of it; God, by the sounds of it had taken it into His head to rearrange the heavenly furniture, and he wasn't being too careful about it either. I felt Jess jump up onto the sofa and moved my legs so she could lie down at the back of my knees, all the while she whined. A couple of hours passed, with no sign of the storm abating, but my headache seemed to be easing considerably and I breathed a sigh of relief, opening my eyes slowly.

The skies had grown much darker now, and although it was only eight in the evening, it looked much later. I got off the couch and went to stand at the sink, looking out to where Seumais had his tent, seeing the rain running off it and I hoped that there were no little holes in the material. With each flash of lightning the small bay was lit up, showing that the sea which had been completely calm earlier, was now transformed into a churning mass of darkest grey, topped by whitecaps that were breaking not too far away from the high tide line. Any higher and I would be raking seaweed out of the garden in the morning, normally an activity reserved for the wintertime.

Suddenly the rain eased but a wind had struck up, whistling around the door, chilling my toes, as I stood barefoot on lookout. It probably wasn't as cold as I imagined, but with the earlier heat, the contrast was huge. Just when I was on the point of finding a pair of socks to slide my feet into, the hailstones started, beating on the window with a steady tattoo, drowning out the sound of the wind but equalled by the thunder as it rumbled overhead. I took one last look at the small tent being buffeted by the elements outside and put aside all concerns about taking him into my home for the night, there was just simply no way that I could leave him outside. Jess must have second-guessed my intentions because she was at the door before I was, scratching frantically at the wood for a few seconds before I pulled it open.

"SEUMAIS!" I shouted, but the wind seemed to rip his name from the air, and I thought better of shouting a second time and ran as quickly as I could to the tent, which had semi-collapsed.

My fingers found the zippered seam at the front and Jess barked while I tried to manipulate my fingers inside. He must have realised he wasn't alone because I found the zip sliding open and a very worried and pale looking Seumais staring into my face.

"Who opened the gates of hell then Kate?" He retreated further into the tent and I shook my head at him.

"You can't spend the night in there, the way the water comes down off the hillside sometimes, you'll get flooded, come into the house." I held my hand out to him and started to shiver as the rain started up again, soaking through my t-shirt in seconds.

"I'll be okay in here Kate you get yourself back into the house." He was sitting with his legs crossed on his sleeping bag.

"For the love of God, if you don't get out of that tent right now, I'll come in there and drag you out, and believe me when I say that I don't care whether I hurt you or not." A crash of thunder right over our heads punctuated my little speech and I watched him jump with fright.

I realised then, that it wasn't that he didn't want to come into the house, it was more a case of him being too frightened to move and my heart went out to him.

"It'll take less than a minute Seumais, you can't stay out here." I felt numb with the cold and wet but I dropped to my knees and leaned forward, offering him my hand.

"You are going to have to do something extraordinary to take my mind off the thunder and lightning for long enough for me to get into the house, I hope you realise that." I grinned at him and sat back on my heels, wetting my lips. Whether it was a good idea or not, I didn't care, but I grabbed the sodden hem of my t-shirt and dragged it up slowly, exposing my midriff to his surprised eyes, then higher so that the now transparent material of my silky bra was on show. I knew without looking down that my hardened nipples were poking against the thin silk and I hauled the t-shirt completely off before I could change my mind.

Seumais' face was a picture of incredulity, his mouth had dropped open and he sat stock still for long seconds. I held my hand out once more and without a word he took it, crawling forwards to me, only flinching slightly as lightning lit up the inside of the small tent. I edged my way back and felt my toes sinking into the soggy earth, the mud squishing about my toes as I stood up, the icy rain streaming down over my breasts.

His backpack was the only thing he took with him as we ran to the kitchen door, gasping for breath because of the cold. I left him standing in the kitchen and made my way through to the bathroom, stripping out of my wet jeans and peeling my bra off. After towelling myself roughly I threw on my sleep shorts and a fresh t-shirt before taking a towel back to the kitchen for Seumais, who was doing his best to calm Jess down, sitting on the sofa with one arm around her, holding her close. What I wouldn't have given right at that moment to trade places with my dog, but I pushed the thought to the back of my head and passed the towel to him.

It was typical that after braving the elements to rescue him that the storm would lessen in its fury. The thunder was less constant, and the rain was much lighter.

"Well that was fun wasn't it Kate?" He dropped his head back and closed his eyes, loosening his arm enough for Jess to move and jump down to the floor.

"So long as there are no encore performances. I wouldn't have slept at all tonight thinking of you sitting out there in your tent." I said, watching from the kitchen sink as he rubbed the towel over his hair.

"Would you like a coffee to warm you up?" I switched the kettle on and spooned granules into a cup for myself.

"That depends, I think seeing your delicious curves and those ripe breasts might heat me up quicker... but if that's not an option, then I guess coffee will have to do." He shot me a grin and I felt myself blush.

"Hush, I couldn't think of any other way to get you out of your tent, so coffee it is then." The moon had broken through the heavy clouds and with the rain easing I could see most of the garden and the large shape of Seumais's tent being carried up and away on the wind.

I dropped the spoon I was holding with a clatter, and without a word to Seumais himself, I bolted out of the kitchen with Jess at my heels. He could hardly hike around the island without his tent, and god alone knew if he had the money to replace it if it was lost. I should have thought to take it in when I had persuaded him to come inside the house, but the thought hadn't even crossed my mind.

"Where the hell do you think you're going Kate!" I heard him yell after me but I ignored him and ran in the direction I had last seen his tent flying in.

I felt the sharp shell laden soil of the machair under my feet and the brush of the grass against my legs as I ran on further, seeing the dark shape of the tent just a few feet away from me. I was being soaked for the second time that evening but I didn't care, and launched myself in a flying rugby tackle at the tent before the wind could take off with it again. The breath was knocked out of my lungs as I hit the ground but all I felt was relief, even though the fine spray of the surf was reaching back to where I was lying. I clutched the slippery wet material of the tent close to me as I heard Seumais's heavy breathing nearby.

"Jesus Kate, you're crazier than any Irish woman I ever met before, it's only a tent for God's sake!" He dropped to his knees beside me and lifted a heavy dripping hank of hair away from the side of my face.

"You can't camp if you don't have a bloody tent Seumais, you could try thanking me!" I took offence at him casting aspersions on my sanity.

"It wasn't worth risking your neck over, have you noticed how close you are to the edge of the water?" I could hear the waves crashing quite close to where we were and turned my head to look, just in time to receive another face-full of spray.

His hands slid underneath me and I felt myself being lifted up a little way but with a muffled curse from Seumais, I felt myself dropping back down, the breath knocked out of me as he landed across my back.

"Bloody tent!" I let out a laugh as he moved, hearing him carry on cursing as he untangled his foot from one of the ropes.

I was still laughing as I felt his hands hold me once more, but this time, instead of pulling me up, I felt myself being turned over, now face to face with eachother.

"I'm glad I could provide some amusement for you and it's gratifying to know that the evening hasn't been a complete waste." He brought his head down, close to mine and I could feel his hot breath fanning against my cheek.

"We should move you know, I'm soaked to the skin and you are too." I pulled my clinging t-shirt away from my body and let it drop down, moulding itself to my contours.

"I really should help you out of those wet things, maybe return a favour or two, since you seem to have done nothing but bend over backwards since we met." I shivered as his fingers slid underneath my t-shirt, pulling it up over my stomach, stopping just at the bottom curve of my breasts.

"Don't you think that it could wait until we get back to the house?" I whispered.

"Why wait Kate, I don't think you could get any wetter than you are already." The way he spoke, made it sound as though he was talking about something completely different but I bit down on my bottom lip and nodded.

The rain dripped from his face onto mine, but I didn't care, all I wanted at that moment was for him to kiss me and I brought my hands up, pushing them through his long hair; cradling his head. I had wanted this from the moment I had watched him knock in the pegs while he pitched his tent and now it was real. He angled his mouth against mine, questing softly, brushing his lips back and forth against mine lazily, nibbling on my bottom lip, tracing along the fullness with his tongue before deepening the kiss, spearing his tongue against mine. So hungry now for more, my moans of need were answered by him as he broke off the kiss and moved down my body.

"Lift your arms up Kate." His words were a soft command and I did as I was told, lifting my back up at the same time so that he could pull the t-shirt free.

After pulling his own t-shirt off, he dropped back down, nuzzling his face between my breasts, laving his tongue over each aching nipple, suckling while his thumbs massaged the valley between them. Most of my body might have been frozen with the cold but I could feel a wet heat begin to spread between my legs, a faint throb from my clit that begged to be touched and I squirmed beneath him, my hands pushing him down.

"You're an impatient little thing aren't you?" He laughed against my belly, breath hot, stubble creating a spine tingling friction.

"I'll practice patience later Seumais, I promise." I was rewarded when his hands pushed down my shorts and his tongue lapped almost delicately against my mound, teasing me.

I wriggled and lifted my hips, feeling his hands push my shorts completely off and I gasped with shock as I dropped my hips back down onto the freezing cold tent. He moved quickly between my legs, pushing my thighs apart with his knees, both of his hands on my hips, holding me still as he buried his face between my legs, moving his face from side to side, bathing himself in my juices. His nose rubbed against my clit, while his tongue darted back and forth inside me and it was all that I could do to keep my thoughts sane. I grabbed two handfuls of the tent material and pushed my pussy up against his face and he slipped his hands underneath me, holding me up, drinking from me as I cried out.

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