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A Fresh Start

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


3. Explanation

Rating 5/5   Word Count 1540   Review this Chapter

Claire must have heard the tale of the werewolves more than a million times growing up. She had loved to hear the stories about the protectors of her tribe, and enjoyed the fear that she felt when someone would tell the legends about the Cold Ones, the vampires. That was all they ever were to her, though, just stories, something that made her feel safe at night as a little girl, when she thought of the wolves protecting her from the boogey man. She had always known, somewhere in the recesses of her mind, that the boogeyman, the Cold Ones, and the werewolves were not real. As she had grown up, and gone away to school, she had forgotten about them, so she was a more than just a bit shocked, and skeptic, when Quil said to her, “I’m a werewolf.” Just like that. Simple and clearly not joking. Her only response, the way that any sane person would react, was an unintelligent, “Huh?”

The corners of Quil’s lips tilted upward. “Breathe, Claire,” he ordered, gently. She had not realized that she had been holding her breath up until that point. “I know that this is incredibly hard to believe and that it probably sounds really stupid, but every legend about the werewolves and Cold Ones you heard growing up? They’re all true. Every last word of them.”

Claire shook her head. “No,” she murmured. “That is scientifically impossible. And believe me, I should know, I’ve taken more science classes than any other person on the face of this planet. Not once were werewolves or vampires ever mentioned.” She stopped shaking her head, and then nodded, as if she were agreeing with herself. Surely Quil was about to agree with her, and then laugh at his own stupidity for thinking that he could fool her with such a dumb joke.

Quil laughed, but there was no humor in it. “No, honey, I’m the one who should know. I’m the one who turns into a werewolf whenever he feels like it.” He cut her off before she could respond. “Think about it. Haven’t I always felt a little too warm to you?” He cupped her cheek in his hand, and she realized for the first time that he was really quite warm. “Doesn’t it look like I haven’t aged to you?” He hadn’t, but that was something she had realized before—something that she thought could be explained by genetics. “That’s because I can’t age,” he continued. “Not unless I choose to, which I haven’t yet.”

Claire could hardly believe what Quil was saying. It did make some sense, but she was going to need proof. “Show me,” she whispered, her voice hoarse with fear.

He grinned at her. “I thought you’d never ask.” Suddenly, he was standing in front of her with his back turned towards her. Much to Claire’s shock, he slid his pants off, and he was most certainly not wearing any underwear.

“Quil!” she yelped. “What are you doing? Put some clothes on!” Despite her words, she could not help but notice how nice and toned his butt looked.

“Calm down,” Quil retorted. “I’ll be putting a coat on in a second,” he said through barely contained laughter. Claire didn’t know what was so funny. She crossed her arms and gave a huff of annoyance.

A few seconds later, she realized the cause of his humor. Quil’s body shifted into the shape of what she could only describe as the largest dog she had ever seen. He looked like a wolf, but he was the size of the horse. He had short, chocolate colored fur. His black eyes bored down into hers, waiting for some sort of reaction. Claire smiled unsurely at him. He trotted slowly towards her, in a manner more graceful than she thought that something his size should be able to move.

When he reached her, Claire recoiled a bit. It was a natural reaction, and she hadn’t meant to do it, but she could see the hurt in the enormous werewolf’s eyes. “Sorry,” she whispered gently. “It’s was a reflex reaction. I’m not afraid of you.” The wolf came to sit down next to her and rolled his eyes. “Okay,” she amended, “I’m a little bit afraid, but you can hardly blame me.” She paused and chuckled. “How can you be sarcastic even when you’re not human? Only you, Quil.”

He made a strange sound that Claire interpreted as a laugh, although she couldn’t really be sure. She reached over tentatively and stroked his fur. His mouth formed a doggy grin, bearing teeth that looked incredibly sharp. He leaned his head near her, so that it level with her face, and licked her from her hairline to her butt. “Bad Quil!” she squealed, jumping up and trying to dry off her now soaked clothes.

The laughter she heard this time was distinctly human. She turned around to find a stark naked Quil putting his pants back on. “You should have seen your face,” he told her between laughs.

Any anger she might have felt melted away instantly at the sight of Quil looking so happy. She couldn’t help but giggle along with him. “I think I’m going to have to train you”

He smiled at her. “I’d like to see you try.” She plopped herself in his lap and he wrapped his arms around her. He twisted her around, so that she could see his face, which was suddenly quite serious. “So you’re okay with me being a werewolf?”

She kissed his cheek. “I’m pretty sure that you could have three heads and I’d still feel the exact same way about you.”

“Good,” he said, still serious, “because there’s something else I need to tell you. Something that you might not be as willing to accept.” She stiffened in his arms, but he continued on. “You know how I said all the stories were true? Do you remember the ones about imprinting?”

“Yes,” she replied, on guard now. Their conversation was taking a turn she had not been expecting. She remembered the legends about the wolves finding their true loves. Those had always been her favorites, yet they had always seemed the most farfetched.

“Well those turned out to be really true. It first started when Sam imprinted on Emily, and then Jared on Kim, and, finally, me on…” he trailed off.

She tried to meet his eyes, but he wouldn’t look at her. “You imprinted? On who?” she gasped in disbelief. Quil, the Quil she had just kissed only a few minutes before, the one who she had liked forever, was meant for some other woman. Tears formed in her eyes—she simply could not believe it.

Quil could see how upset she was, but he just chuckled at her. Claire could not help but feel a little bit angry that he was laughing at her pain. “Isn’t it obvious, Claire-Bear?”

“No, it’s not,” she sniffed indignantly.

He looked nervous once again. “It’s you, Claire,” he told her, his words coming out quickly. “I saw you for the first time when you were two, and it was like wham, suddenly you were the most important person in my entire world. I’ve loved you ever since then. It wasn’t romantic love back then, of course. It was more like brotherly love. And then it was like the love between two friends. And now…” he paused, staring at her, trying to gauge her reaction, “well, now it’s definitely romantic love. It’s a good thing you left when you did, because my feelings were already starting to change, and you were way too young back then. It’s nice to know that at least you feel something for me now that you’re all grown up. Don’t worry though, I don’t expect you to reciprocate to quite my level, yet. I just thought you might like to know how I feel,” he told her, trying to act nonchalant.

Before Claire even knew what she was doing, she leaned over and kissed Quil. And kissed him. And kissed him. If her lips could stay attached with Quil’s forever, then that would be enough for her to be infinitely happy. She was his soul mate! He loved her! It was almost too much for her heart to take. When she was finished kissing him, she said, dreamily, “You imprinted on me…that’s the most wonderful thing I’ve ever heard in my entire life.”

Quil threw his head back and roared with laughter. “You know,” he told her, “most women would not react that way.”

Claire raised an eyebrow at him. “I am not most women,” she said haughtily.

He grinned lasciviously at her. “Don’t I know it.”

She went to smack his arm, but instead ended up covering her mouth to stifle a yawn. “Tired,” she mumbled.

“It’s time for you to go to bed. You’ve had an awfully long day.” Quil scooped her up into his arms and started walking towards her house.

She planted a kiss on his bare chest. “Will you stay with me tonight?” she asked sleepily.

“Of course,” he whispered. “I’ll stay with you every night if you want me to.”

She definitely wanted him to.