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A Fresh Start

Summary:
Claire's been gone for four years. What's in store for her when she returns home? Quil/Claire


Notes:


1. Surprise, Surprise

Rating 5/5   Word Count 1373   Review this Chapter

Green, green, more green. Ah yes, Claire thought to herself, home sweet home. She stared pensively out the car window as her mother drove their beat up Toyota Camry down the road towards their house in La Push, Washington.

Claire had not been home for nearly four years. She had been living in London and attending the International School for the Gifted. When she was fourteen, she had received a full scholarship to the school because of her incredibly high IQ. Apparently, the board at the school thought that her, and those like her, needed to have their intelligence “nurtured” in order to reach their greatest “potential.” Her parents had practically shipped her out of the house to England the moment that they heard about the scholarship. They had always been a lower-middle class family, but they hoped that Claire could change that for them. This same financial situation had prevented them from being able to afford to fly Claire home every summer or be able to visit her.

Four years seemed to be quite a long time, as Claire and her mother had run out of things to talk about after ten minutes in the car together. She and her mother had never had very much in common, but the gap between the two of them seemed to have widened. She hoped this would change, for she would be spending the next year in La Push. She was taking a year off between high school and college because the pressure of having to be a “genius” all of the time was beginning to get to her.

Finally, her mother broke the uncomfortable silence they had been sitting in for the past forty-five minutes. “So,” her mother said, “Quil was very excited to hear that you were coming home.” Claire blushed.

“Really?” she mumbled. Quil had always been a fixture in her life while she was growing up. He was quite protective of her and always acted like a big brother towards her. Of course, that did not mean that she thought of him as a big brother. In fact, before she had left for London, she had started developing a crush on him. He was the only thing, aside from her family, that she had really missed about La Push. When she had told him that she had been accepted to the program in London, he had been so proud of her and made her promise that she would write him. And she did, for about two years, until she started missing him so much that she had to stop writing him. Her little crush seemed to have developed into something a lot bigger, something that she was not quite ready to handle yet. She could only hope that he could forgive her.

Her mother’s voice snapped her out of her thoughts. “He missed you, you know,” she informed her.

The corners of Claire’s mouth tilted upwards. “I missed him too,” she told her mother, quietly.

They finally pulled up to their house, which was small, but cozy. Claire got out of the car and stretched her long limbs. She had grown quite a bit, while she was away. She was nearly six feet tall now. Add that to her long black hair that hung down to her waist and her big blue eyes, and she could have passed for a runway model. Well, maybe not, due to the size of her chest. There were very few qualities that she shared with her mother, and her rather ample bosom happened to be one of them. It was something that the women in her family were quite proud of. Instead of trying to hide it, Claire was wearing a blue sundress that showed her cleavage off nicely, but without being grotesque. It fell right above her knees, making her legs look like they were endless.

She smoothed out the dress, and turned to help her mother get her luggage from the trunk of the car. Her mother smacked her hands away and said, “No, no. I don’t need any help. You just head right on in.”

She stared at her mother for a moment, sensing something was odd. She decided to ignore it, and started walking towards the house. Once she opened the door, she noticed that it was quite dark inside. She called out for her father, but received no answer. Then, she called out for her older sister, Nancy, and, once again, received no response. Maybe they’re outside, she thought to herself.

Claire opened the door to her backyard, and was greeted with quite the crowd. Her father, sister, Aunt Emily, Uncle Sam, and her parents’ friends Jacob, Embry, Jared, his wife, Kim, Paul, Seth, Leah, and many, many more, were all standing around talking. She searched for the one face that mattered most, Quil. After a moment, she spotted him in the midst of an animated conversation with Jacob. The smile that she had missed so much was threatening to break his face in half.

Finally, the partygoers seemed to notice that she had arrived. They all screamed out, “Surprise!” She felt a hand come down on her shoulder and turned around to see her mother grinning down at her.

Her father and Nancy pinned her in a hug. “Welcome home, little sister,” Nancy whispered in her ear. They released her and rejoined the rest of the party, along with her mother, who gave her a kiss on the cheek as she walked by. Maybe Claire had been wrong about her relationship with her mother after all.

Suddenly, Quil was standing in front of her. He was so handsome that he took her breath away, as clichéd as it sounds. He was a good half-foot taller than her, with short black hair and deep, chocolate-colored eyes. His tight, white t-shirt and faded jeans showed off his sculpted musculature. He looked like he was in his early twenties, but Claire knew he had to be quite a bit older than that. It seemed to Claire that all of them men in La Push aged quite well. She could only hope to look as young as they did when she reached their age.

Once she had reacquainted herself with Quil’s gorgeous appearance, she took note of the look on his face. He was staring at her with a mixture of awe and longing. She had never seen him look at anyone like that, especially not her. He seemed to appreciate the way her dress showed off her figure, as he was certainly not staring at her face. When he did finally drag his gaze upwards, he realized that she had caught him staring and blushed. Claire was quite sure that she had never seen Quil blush before. He looked down at his feet and then looked back up and smiled at her. “Hello Claire,” he murmured.

“Hi Quil,” she responded, equally as soft. “Long time no see.”

He stared at her for a moment, his face a mask of indecision. The next thing Claire knew, her feet were off the ground, and Quil was hugging her tight to his body. After a moment’s pause, she squeezed him back and inhaled his scent. He still smelled the same as he did four years ago: a bit woodsy and a bit soapy. She found it to be completely intoxicating.

When he set her down on the ground again, they were both grinning at each other. He grabbed her hand and started dragging her towards the crowd. “Come join the party,” he said. He lowered his voice and whispered, “Afterwards, I would like to hang out, just you and me. I think we have a lot to talk about. Is that alright?”

Claire gulped, knowing that she would not be able to escape talking to him about why she had stopped writing him so easily. “Sure,” she replied, a tremor in her voice.

Quil squeezed her hand. At least he did not seem angry with her. He would not have hugged her if was angry with her, right? Oh well, she had other things to worry about, now. Such as the fact that Jacob and Paul seemed to be getting into a rather heated argument over the last piece of pizza. There really is no place like home, Claire thought drily to herself.