Sequel to Protect Her and Love Her. Quil and Claire have escaped from the past-- mostly. They are trying to fit in at college and find themselves and each other.
This will be fluffy, mostly. Some angst, of course. go read the prequels first. and enjoy. i don't own quil. poor me. review. please please PLEASE review.
10. Chapter 10
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“Claire?” This was going to be deeply unpleasant. Deeply, deeply, unpleasant.
“Wanna go to a party in like five minutes?”
“A girl I knew in high school. I met her last night. Oh, and I told her you were twenty-five and I was thirty.”
“Because I don’t look any older than when I was sixteen, that’s why.”
“She sort of bullied me into going.”
“All right. I’ll come.”
“Good. I want to show you off.”
She smiled at that. “Give me ten minutes to get ready.”
“Take fifteen.” She smiles and disappears into her room.
I put on a polo shirt and khaki slacks, since I have no clue how fancy this will be. This should work out. It was my anytime outfit.
Claire, on the other hand, did not look very anytime at all. She was wearing a dark blue dress and white leggings, with flat blue shoes. She smiled when she saw me. “Let’s go.”
She led this time, as we walked to my car. Now we sat side by side, listening to music, not quite as comfortable as we had been before the events of Saturday night.
The ride was all too brief, and suddenly we are there, exiting the car. Claire took my hand. “Let’s give these people the performance of a lifetime.”
I grinned. “Your wish, my command.”
Elaine’s jaw dropped as we walked in. “That kid! I know her! She’s only nineteen!”
“What?” Brilliant, brilliant response.
“I knew her mom. Lina Denson, my big sister’s best friend! I was there when she had her baby. Claire, right?”
Frick. I had forgotten how tiny La Push was. Everyone knew everyone else, and had for several generations.
Fortunately, my Claire was a genius. And good at improv. “Oh, you must be thinking of my little sister. We have the same name… confusing, right? Well, my mom was only sixteen when I was born, so I went to live with my grandparents for a couple years, and then I moved to my dad’s when my parents got divorced. Mom missed me a bunch, so she named my sister after me!”
She still doesn’t quite seem like she believes Claire’s enthusiastic lie.
So I add another element, this one of tragedy. “It’s good her mother had that reminder… Claire’s father was a terrible parent. I’m not going to go into the whole story, but he ended up murdered, while Claire was at school. I thank God every day that she stayed late, that she didn’t have to see what happened… it was a fight. Over drugs. When Claire came to live with me, she was severely emaciated.” True, although that was far from the worst of it. “There was no food in the house because her dad was always high.” Lie. But whatever.
“I try not to think about it…” huge fake sob, on Claire’s part. “He may have been a crappy dad, but I loved him. It was so hard, to see the pictures in the papers of… of what happened… it was pretty…”
“Gruesome. I was there, waiting to see Claire. I was outside the front door when the knife went in…” a slight exaggeration. I didn’t need a knife to kill the man who’d hurt Claire so much.
“Oh…” this was a believing sound. I thought she was fooled.
But I was too busy thinking about what Claire had said. I wasn’t sure if it was a lie, but it didn’t sound like one. Had she loved him, despite everything? Had I hurt her when I killed him?
And I thought I’d had my fair share of tricky conversations this evening.
The party was nice enough, a bunch of people my “age” and lots of food. I like food…
It was sort of boring, except that Claire was there.
I got to leave right after dessert because of work, but I decided to walk the two miles so Claire could drive home herself. She was having a lot of fun.
When I left, she was standing, drink in hand, and chatting with a tall brunette senior.
Good. She didn’t have enough friends.
There was no such thing as her being too happy, in my opinion.
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