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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:


6. Paintings

Rating 5/5   Word Count 1683   Review this Chapter

Awkward was the only word that Claire could use to describe the situation that she was currently in. What other word could possibly fit, when one’s father found one with one’s thirty-something boyfriend (who was actually only in his twenties, since he couldn’t age) in a rather, um, compromising position? Claire stopped feeling awkward the minute her father opened his mouth, and began to feel a bit shocked.

“Quil,” he practically growled at the werewolf, who had positioned himself as far from Claire on the bed as he could, “I thought I told you that nothing of that sort was to happen until she was at least twenty-one.”

Claire could feel her jaw drop. “What?” she asked, her tone sharp. She turned to Quil and glared at him with accusation in her eyes. “What is he talking about?”

Quil hung his head. “Your father’s known about the werewolf and imprinting stuff since you were real little. I had to tell him, otherwise he would think that it was odd that I was spending all my time with his little girl. Your mom knows, too,” he muttered.

Her father nodded. “That’s right. And right after he told your mother and I, he promised that he’d let you graduate college before he even thought about making a move on you.”

Claire could feel the anger rising in her throat. She was mad at her father for thinking that he could make decisions for her and she was mad at Quil for telling her parents his secret so long before he ever told her. Knowing that Quil had chosen to confide in someone else, even if it was just her parents, made her feel…jealous. She knew her reaction was a bit irrational, but as far as her anger towards her father went, she was completely justified. “Dad,” she seethed. “I am eighteen years old and I will do whatever I damn well please. You should have never made Quil agree to anything like that. It was wrong.”

Her father shook his head. “I don’t want some boy distracting you from your studies. I mean, it’s already bad enough that you’re taking a year off. This family needs you, babe. You could get us all the money that we’ve ever wanted with those smarts of yours. If you don’t go to college, that’ll never happen.”

Claire was beginning to turn red with rage. She could hardly believe what her father had just said to her. “So that’s it,” she said with a humorless chuckle. “That’s all I am to you: the family gold mine. Of course, you don’t want Quil around me. God forbid that anyone should get in the way of your little money making scheme.” Claire could feel the tears forming in her eyes. Quil shifted over towards her on the bed and held her hand. He looked angry, too, but he seemed to be in control of it.

Her father stared at her with wide eyes. “That’s now what I meant, Claire,” he whispered, horrified.

“Then what did you mean?” she snapped. Quil rubbed soothing circles in the palm of her hand.

“I-I…um,” her father stuttered.

Claire stood up and dragged Quil with her. “I’ll let you think about that,” she said, with no little amount of distaste in her voice. “Meanwhile, Quil and I are going out.” She led Quil past her father and out the door.

Once they were outside, she immediately jumped into Quil’s car. When Quil got in, he pulled out silently. After a few moments of silence, he finally asked, “So, where to?”

“Let’s go to your place,” she suggested. The car was quiet again for a while. Claire could not tell what Quil was thinking, but she could tell that he, like her, was angry. Occasionally, his hands would shake on the steering wheel and his skin would lose some of its color. She realized that these were signs that he might be about to turn into the wolf, but she was not afraid—Quil would not ever purposely hurt her. Of that, she was sure.

They drove for about five minutes until they finally reached Quil’s apartment building. It was a bland brown stone building that was just on the border of La Push and Forks. The inside was equally as nondescript. Well, it was, until one left the hallway and entered Quil’s apartment.

The apartment had two bedrooms, one bathroom, a kitchen and a living room. None of this would have particularly stood out, except for the fact that Quil had decorated each room with a mural. Most of them starred a chocolate colored wolf, which, now that Claire was finally aware of the truth, she knew had to be Quil. When she was little, she had always thought that Quil just had a strange obsession with wolves. She would have never in a million life times thought that he actually was the wolf that was the main figure in each of his murals.

What amazed her most was not the murals themselves, but the fact that Quil had painted them. He was quite the artist, something that he had only told her. All his friends thought that he had hired someone to make the paintings. She was glad to see that he had not gotten rid of them while she had been away. “I forgot how much I love your apartment,” she murmured as she took a seat on his couch.

He smiled and sat down next to her, allowing her to curl into his side. “I painted something new on my bedroom wall that I’d like to show you a little later.” He paused. “But right now, I think we should talk about what just happened with your dad.”

Claire frowned. “I should have seen it coming,” she grumbled. “He always was complimenting me on my ‘smarts.’ Always saying I was the best thing that ever happened to the family. I just never knew that they were using me.”

He stroked her arm. “I’m not trying to make any excuses for him, but maybe his words just came out wrong. You’re his daughter Claire, he loves you. You should probably talk to him.”

Claire was about to disagree with Quil, but realized it would be useless. He would just argue with her until she caved in. “Okay, fine,” she growled, “but I don’t want to do it right now. In fact, the only thing I want to be doing right now is kissing you, since my dear father interrupted us before.”

Quil shifted, so that his face was an inch from hers. “Sounds good to me,” he smirked. With that, his lips descended upon hers.

She channeled her anger at her father into passion for Quil. This time her hands were the ones doing the wandering, softly tracing his well-defined abs, then moving up to his pecs. She pushed him back onto the couch, so that she was laying on top of him. Her kisses became a little more rough than usual.

Quil pulled his lips away from hers, but she ignored him and just moved her mouth to his neck. “Slow down, Claire,” he panted.

“Hush,” she replied, biting his lower lip. He growled and resumed kissing her. This time, it was he, who was not gentle. His tongue completely dominated hers and his hands teased the flesh of her stomach that was exposed between her shirt and pants. Claire upped the ante, and began to undo his belt buckle.

In one second flat, Quil was across the room, his back against the wall. “No!” he snarled.

Claire sat up and fixed herself, so that she looked somewhat decent. “Sorry,” she muttered, ashamed of her actions. She wasn’t sure what had come over her.

Just as quickly as before, he was next to her, holding her hands. “It’s okay,” he told her. “Both of us were upset about what happened before and we got carried away.”

“I thought you weren’t mad at my dad,” she said, with a raised eyebrow.

The corners of his mouth quirked upwards. “Of course I’m mad at him, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t think you should give him a chance.”

Quil was too good for her, Claire decided. She knew that she would have never have been so generous to someone that had hurt him.

A mischievous glint entered Quil’s eyes. “You want to see that painting I was talking about?” he asked, looking a lot like a little boy who really wanted to open his Christmas presents.

“Sounds good to me,” she agreed. He took her to his bedroom and turned her towards the wall that sat behind his king-sized bed.

She stopped breathing. It was an absolute masterpiece. The same chocolate furred wolf was in the mural, but that was not all. He stood protecting a beautiful girl, who Claire realized after a moment, was supposed to be her. They had her same eyes, her same hair, her same everything. She could feel the love radiating out of the picture. “Quil,” she gasped, “When did you paint this?”

“Today,” he admitted, “while I was trying to calm myself down.” His smile was sheepish.

“Today,” she repeated. “Today? Quil, this is the most amazing thing that you’ve ever painted.”

“Thank you,” he replied. “I can’t help but agree with you. I mean, the girl in the picture, she’s just too beautiful for words.”

Claire blushed. “Do you really see me this way?” she asked.

He stared at her strangely. “Of course, this is how you look.”

“No,” she disagreed. “I’m not that pretty.”

Quil rolled his eyes at her. “You must have very poor eyesight.” He glanced over at the clock and appeared to be surprised. “Come on,” he ordered. “We got to get to the bonfire or we’re going to be late.”

“I totally forgot about that,” Claire exclaimed. “So you’re leading me to a hungry pack of wolves, huh?”

He stared at her for a moment, smirking that devious smirk of his. “I’ll be the only one who’s hungry for you.”

Yummy.