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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.


8. Chapter 8

Rating 5/5   Word Count 553   Review this Chapter

The next day, I went back to work, and Claire went back to class. Joe was way too happy to see me… I was the most reliable person on his staff that spoke English. Everyone else was either a pimply teenager or on the other side of a language barrier.

I did my best to ingratiate myself, since Joe was like eighty, seriously, and he couldn’t keep working very long. I was hoping to get his job when he retired and make enough money to do more nice things for Claire, and hopefully not work quite so much.

So I could spend more time with Claire.

Everything came back to her sooner or later.

Focus.

I couldn’t, though. This was not an ordinary day, and I kept forgetting what I was doing in my thoughts.

I had really scared her… I wasn’t sure what I had done wrong, but she’d made it very clear that it wasn’t me she thought I was on Saturday, it was him.

And I had resolved to be as little like him as possible.

I didn’t know what I had done wrong… she didn’t seem mad at me, just scared. And then she had kissed me, something I would never have expected, and it had been like heaven, only better…

“Quil! What’s wrong with you!” Joe snapped.

“Sorry, boss. I had the flu yesterday and I’m still not totally over it… plus, someone I really care about is having a hard time right now. What do you want me to do now? I’m done sorting the drink mix.”

Generally, I was kept working the ticket counter, but what we called “backstage” was better for a day like today.

“That girl, right? Claire?”

“Yeah…” I was surprised he remembered. The only time he’d ever heard about her was when I wrote her name on my job application for who I lived with, and here and there when she came up in conversation.

“She all right?”

“I’m not sure. We’re working it out, though. She’s a strong person, she’ll come through. I know she will.”

The old man looked in my eyes. “Son, I’m going to tell you something. You know you’re the best employee here, and I know you want my job. I’m going to retire next week, and I’ve recommended you be made manager. But that isn’t what I wanted to say. When my wife died, that was the worst day of my life, but in a way, it was the best. It was the day my daughter came home after fourteen years—she left when she got pregnant in high school and we wanted her to get an abortion. I met my grandson, I saw my only child. It was beautiful. Grief can bring people together, boy. Or it can tear them apart. It’s up to you. You need to let this girl know you’re here for her. Or she’ll find someone else who will be.”

He looked very bad-action-movie-wiseman with the white beard and hair, all skinny and frail and old. But I knew he was right. “Thank you.”

“You remember what I said. Now, I need you to take theatres one through twelve. Go on.”

I ran.