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With Every Passing Season
Claire's gotten used to the heat of the island over the course of her stay, and now that she's not there anymore, she thinks it's kind of difficult getting used to the intense cold in Boston. Juliet had tried to warn her about the weather when she was considering moving, but since when had Claire listened to Juliet?
She kind of wishes she had now.
"So how are you adjusting to the weather?"
The question is surprisingly honest, and try as she might, Claire can't find any hint of sarcasm in it.
They (which is to say, she and Juliet) are sitting across from each other at Claire's kitchen table, wine glasses still half-full. Claire is playing with the edge of her glass, running the pad of her thumb along part of one edge and back again.
She takes a little sip of her wine and sets the glass down a little too forcefully, chewing on her bottom lip as she fixes her gaze on Juliet.
She's suddenly aware of how hot she is although she's pretty sure the rest of the room is cool, and even though she looks away, she can still feel Juliet's gaze on her.
"It's great, you know. Aaron's doing fine."
If Juliet's noticed that Claire hasn't really answered her question, she doesn't say anything.
(And Claire doesn't say anything either.)
She's still not quite used to the weather, although she has to admit it's a little nicer now that it's the springtime. But there's a chilling sort of freshness to the air, and it stings her face when she steps outside.
She shivers and shrinks into her jacket, releasing a cloudy puff of air as she glances at the blonde next to her.
Juliet, Claire notices, doesn't seem bothered by the nippy air.
Cold wind for a colder heart she must be right in her element.
That's what Claire thinks, but sometimes like right now, when Juliet's noticed that Claire's staring and stares back with a ghost of a smile, a wistful look on her face those times, Claire thinks that there are some things that Juliet cares about.
(She concentrates hard on the space in front of her, and not on the woman next to her.)
Maybe because the winters are so cold, she's always thought that summers in Boston would be pleasantly cool, or at least cooler than summers elsewhere. But she finds that summer in Boston is hot unbearably so.
So she finds herself sitting at the edge of the pool, her legs in the cold water, as she holds Aaron tightly to herself. Slowly she slips into the water, and Aaron makes a surprised noise at the cold water, but soon he is gurgling and laughing as he swipes at the water, and Claire can't help but smile at his delight.
She's so busy with Aaron that she doesn't notice until the very last minute that Juliet's arrived, because she's standing right there in the water, a few feet away from her.
Claire tentatively hands Aaron over to Juliet's outstretched hands, partially afraid of what the other woman might do. But all she does is to kiss Aaron on the forehead and lead him around the pool, and when she returns him to Claire, she smiles and Claire doesn't like the way her heart drops when Juliet smiles at her.
(She clutches Aaron tighter to her breast, and pretends not to notice as Juliet gives her a look.)
Claire is sad to see the summer go. Autumn brings with it the cold and the darkening days, neither of which she likes.
She agrees to coffee with Juliet one of these days, and she thinks that maybe something's wrong (something with Aaron? She hopes not), because Juliet's usually not so formal with her.
It's only halfway through the meeting, when Juliet's places her hand on Claire's and doesn't let go immediately, that she realizes it's a date.
She can't help the way she smiles as she comes to that realization. And no matter how uneasy her mind may be, she also can't help but squeeze Juliet's hand in response.
And when they leave the coffee shop later on, she can't help the way her stomach does a complete flip-flop as Juliet leans in; she can't help the way her eyelids flutter shut as their lips press together; and she certainly can't help the way she feels like she's soaring higher than she's soared in a long while.
She's not sure if she can trust Juliet; she's not sure if she ever will be able to.
But she knows that this is what she needs for now.
(She pulls Juliet in and deepens the kiss.)
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