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Love Her

Summary:
SEQUEL TO PROTECT HER. Quil is Claire's, heart and soul. At last, she is old enough for him to pursue hers... but can she overcome the terror and demons of her past to find true love?


Notes:
I disclaim. This story is stolen from Ms. Meyer's beautiful universe. it is all hers, so please don't sue me. right. enjoy. oh, i reccomend you read Protect Her first. And review it. after every chapter. well, once at least. but seriously, read it or this will make no sense. and thanks to all the people who read, reviewed, and encouraged me on Protect Her. I couldn't have written it without the continuous support i found, and i hope this story will get a similar response.


8. Chapter 8

Rating 5/5   Word Count 711   Review this Chapter

“Really?”

“Claire, you know I won’t. Don’t you know me at all? Do you trust me?”

“Yeah.”

And I could see, yet again, the secret. There was something she wasn’t telling me. Some way in which I had failed to be enough for her, had not done what she required of me. I hoped it wasn’t that she was lying, that she didn’t trust me.

“Do you want to go talk to your mom?”

“No. But I will…”

I wondered why. Did she feel some obligation to this woman? Lina Denson had never done anything for Claire.

“Soon?”

“Yeah. Get it over with.” She smiled a brave little smile. She was sixteen, but she still seemed a child sometimes. An innocent… something she had never been. That had been stolen from her when she was young yet.

“Claire… not to make you angry or afraid, but is there something you aren’t telling me?”

She blushed a beautiful rose color. “Yeah.”

“And you aren’t going to?”

“No. Sor-“

“Don’t apologize. I’m always here if you want to talk, but you don’t ever have to tell me anything you don’t want to.”

She ducked her head. “Thanks.”

“Anything. Anytime.”

“Unconditional promises are stupid, Quil.”

“Not where you’re concerned. Since I can’t deny you anything.”

“Thanks.”

She smiled again, and my heart fluttered, swelled, burst.

What you do to me, Claire. If only you knew. What you do to me.

I drove this time, even though it was only about two miles—Claire, unlike your average werewolf, was physically capable of tiring.

We talked the whole way, about little things. Trying to avoid the big issue of where we were going and whom the person waiting there would remind her of. Instead, I learned about her friends. Aliena was going out with a freshman—two whole years younger. “Lucky kid,” I remarked, and Claire laughed.

“Not to hear Aliena tell it. She thinks he lights the moon.”

“Well, true love is always a good thing…”

A silence sat for a moment between us. I didn’t want her to feel pressured. And I didn’t want to remind her of my obviously unwelcome offering of flowers. Instead, I moved the conversation along. “Have you started thinking about colleges?”

“Yeah. But I don’t think I want to leave, Quil. I mean… not unless you could come too… I’d be scared. And I’d miss you.”

“Maybe I could come.”

“Doesn’t the pack need you?”

“Not if you do. They aren’t worth a second thought next to you, sweetheart. Besides, Sam’s already decided to quit, and the rest of us will follow soon… the leeches are gone. It’s really up to the next generation to deal with it as it comes. I’m going to quit too… if you… when you’re older… if… maybe.”

I was trying not to say if she loved me. That was the real deciding factor. If she couldn’t accept me, I would remain young and strong, her protector, her entire life. But I would much rather be her lover.

“Thank you. I think… maybe Duke? It’s in North Carolina, really far away, and it’s sort of expensive.”

“I’ve got money. Not a lot, but there’s no better use than for you, and I’d be happy to move if you wanted to. I could work there, get a job. We can do it.”

Her eyes widened. “That’s more than I could ask.”

“You can ask me for anything you want, ever. And I’ll try to always, always give you more.”

She appeared to be fighting with herself.

“What’s wrong?”

“I can’t… can’t tell you.”

“All right. When you’re ready.”

Last time being ready had taken six years. I hoped it would be quicker this time. Really, truly, I did.

But her choices were always hers. I would never take choice away from her, because then I would be no different than he was. I would never pressure her, even over something seemingly trivial, because I would always have to do my best to earn and keep her trust.