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Hold Her

Summary:
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.


Notes:
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.


4. Chapter 4

Rating 5/5   Word Count 1560   Review this Chapter

“Claire!” My two hour break. I was sitting on the couch when she walked in.

She smiled. “Hi, Quil.”

“I’m calling in sick to work tonight.”

“Why?”

“Because… I want to take a break. I’d like to go somewhere with you.”

“Anywhere in particular?”

“Yep.”

“Planning on telling me where?”

“Nope.”

She scrutinized my face, then giggled. “Quil, are you taking me on a date?”

“Maybe.”

“I love you.”

“Love you more.”

“I don’t see how that’s possible.”

My heart thumped. Of course, it was ridiculous to assume she loved me anywhere as much as I loved her, but it was nice to hear she believed it.

“You should probably dress up.”

“Quil, you know we’re broke.”

“Not when it comes to you.”

She groaned. “All right. But you, mister, had better get pretty too.”

“Deal.” I smiled with my most angelic expression.

We disappeared to our separate bedrooms. Of course, our apartment is roughly the size of your average cardboard box, but cohabitation is out.

For now…

BAD WEREWOLF.

We have one bathroom, one kitchen, two bedrooms, and one general washer/dryer/sofa room.

Claire got first time in the bathroom. It took her nearly an hour. Then I take a quick shower and put on a suit… she said pretty, okay?

I brushed my hair, too. Just this once. (JK) and put on cologne Claire said she liked.

Then I stepped outside. She was waiting.

I caught my breath, as I had to do frequently around her. She was insanely beautiful. Incredibly beautiful.

She was wearing something shiny on her lips. I wanted nothing more than to kiss her at that moment.

Her eyes were lined in a deep green, the color that would always signify home to me.

The dress was the same color. It was long, with a bare back and no sleeves. Her hair was loose around her bare shoulders, and she was wearing clear high-heeled shoes and sparkling crystal earrings I’d given her for her twelfth birthday. It pleased me that she still liked them enough to wear them, even if she was only doing it to make me happy… okay, they weren’t really crystal. They were diamonds, but don’t tell her. She’d get mad if she knew.

But they used to be my mom’s, and when I explained the whole werewolf-imprinting-Claire-needs-help/jewelry thing to her, she proffered them.

Mom was gone now…

So was Dad. I took a moment to mourn. It was in Claire’s sophomore year that they both died, one after another. Mom died of cancer. They called Dad’s disease a heart attack, but everyone knows it was really grief…

Well, I was never that close to them, they were so wrapped up in each other.

That made me feel sorry for my potential someday children. They would definitely have that problem.

“You look incredible,” I whispered.

“So do you. I’m the luckiest girl in town.”

“You have that backwards… wait, nevermind.”

She cracked up. “You are too funny.”

“Thank you.” So I was being a little sarcastic…

“You’re welcome.”

“Come on, Claire.” Freshmen aren’t allowed to have cars, but there’s no rule against over-employed ex-werewolves owning their own. So I escorted her to our carriage, a.k.a. a beat-up really, really, old BMW that I found broken on the side of the road and Jacob expertly repaired to beyond-perfect condition. Everyone I know thought I had a $50,000 car.

It was free.

I loved Jake.

Claire let me take her hand and escort her to the car. She smiled as I opened the door for her and full-out laughed when I bowed as I closed it.

This was going to be fun…

I drove a little ways out of town, to what was basically a retirement community, called Farrington Village. The most expensive restaurant I could track down within 200 miles was there, and I had heard it was fantastic. Neither Claire nor I had ever been to a place where our respective tux and prom dress didn’t qualify us as overdressed.

As we pulled into the village, the sun set gloriously behind the stinky barn. Several cows, striped black then white then black, like an Oreo, were standing around, peacefully chewing their cud or just enjoying the lovely air. I parked the car in a flowery parking lot, guiding Claire over the manure-covered ground, (gross, I know,) with a careful and steady hand. She blushed.

“I’m not quite that delicate, Quil.”

“But I must be careful… I wouldn’t want to damage you. Those shoes look perilous. And pretty.”

“They are, the first at least. You’ve never worn four-inch heels.”

“Nor do I plan to… unless you ask very, very nicely.”

She laughed.

And then punched me hard in the stomach, probably bruising her hand.

“What did I do?”

“HOW MUCH ARE YOU PAYING FOR THIS!!”
“Um, I haven’t paid anything yet… unless you count the dress.”

“This must be incredibly expensive.”

I spun her gently and looked into her eyes, resisting the temptation to lose myself in them. “Claire. Please, please, let me do this for you. Please.”

“All right, but you owe me one.” And then she cracked up.

I smiled too.

We walked in. Okay, we were a little dressed.

But even the waiters were wearing freaking tuxedos, so I didn’t feel that out of place. The whole room was lit with giant twelve-foot crystal chandeliers. It was a really big room, too. The white tablecloths were covered with heavy silver silverwear, and by silver I mean the precious metal, not the color, so it isn’t redundant.

There must have been eight forks and five plates. A heavy bottle of sparkling water was on the table waiting for us and the guy pulled out our chairs.

“Wow,” Claire whispered.

I smiled.

Then I pulled out the menu.

I had no idea what about nine-tenths of this stuff was.

Neither did Claire.

We decided on two salads, one Ceasar and one Chef’s. My suggestion for the sweetbreads was outvoted.

“I am not, no matter how much you beg, eating goat intestines. Nice try.”

“I think it’s actually cow intestines.”

“Read my lips. No.”

I sighed. “All right, no sweet breads. What about this pasta?”

We got the salads. And it was fantastic, of course. The Caesar had a big lacy web of parmesan cheese on top that had been fried. I let Claire eat it, but she gave me a piece.

Perfect, and generous too!

Is that redundant?

Anyway, the food was good. She ordered a leek tart, which appeared to actually be mostly eggs, cheese, and spinach, and only had a little bit of fried leeks at the edge. But she liked it.

I ordered a steak. Hey, I may not phase anymore, but I’ve still got a stomach like a bottomless pit.

Steak is good at filling bottomless pits.

“This is good!”

“You’re welcome.”

“Thank you.”

The waiter cleared our places. “Would you like any dessert?”

“No.”

“Yes.” I glared at her.

He produced a menu. It had Key Lime Pie on it. And Claire cannot resist Key Lime Pie, no matter that it costs twelve bucks here.

So we got that and the Triple Chocolate Platter. Oh, and two decaf mochas. We’re chocolate people, what can I say?

She finished that sucker in seconds and grinned.

Then the bill came.

I didn’t let Claire see it… she shouldn’t be exposed to such things.

Four HUNDRED dollars for one dinner!
It’s worth it, of course. Because this has been one long set-up…

I put my life’s savings (not really, but close) in the little fold-up money holder thing, and the waiter smiles as we leave the restaurant, even though I can’t afford a good tip.

“Want to take a walk?”

“Ugh. Yeah. I must have gained ten pounds from that meal!”

“You’d still look great if you gained ten hundred.”

“You mean a thousand?”

“My way’s more poetical.”

She laughed again. This was going well.

We strolled down a street lined with pictueresque gardens and tiny houses. The night was shining with stars and the bright perfection of a full moon. “It was a night like this when you told me you loved me the first time,” I mused.

“That was a good night.”

“Yeah.”

She took my hand, and I was emboldened. “Claire, I want to ask you something.”

“Of course. You just bought me two hundred dollars worth of food, didn’t you?”

She must have looked at the prices on the menu. Conniving little girl. “I understand if it makes you uncomfortable and you don’t want to… but I want to know if you’re ready. Claire, may I kiss you?”

Her lips shone in the moonlight as they opened to answer.