Quil and Claire, now twenty-seven, are getting married. The darkest days are past. Perhaps further danger looms, but all on their minds now is the wedding. In the series For Her.
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6. Chapter 6
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Lina Denson was smiling as she rose. “Claire.” She paused, looked around the room of unfamiliar and hostile eyes, and gulped. She had never been much of a hero, and I doubted anything could change. She couldn’t be comfortable… but I didn’t particularly care about the comfort of such a person.
“Claire. My baby. I know I don’t have any right. I was never the mother I should have been. I don’t know anything about you, and I’ve played no part in making you the beautiful woman you are today. But when I stand here, I can’t help but be grateful. I’ve gotten very lucky, and I am blessed with such a fantastic child. Even if I didn’t help you in any way, you are still a credit to me. And know I love you, and I hope that you can be happy. I hope Quil can make up the damage I did… and Quil, I was never fair to you. You’re right. I knew. And it is my fault. And I’m so sorry…”
Her voice had gone from kind to breaking in those sentences. She sounded so unsure, so sad, almost weeping. I thought she was going to cry. That would be intolerable… she looked so much like Claire.
This cryptic speech had probably confused the heck out of Claire’s friends and colleagues, but if she didn’t mind, I didn’t.
Claire looked around desperately and then stood. “I want to thank each and every one of you. Mommy, I have to tell you, no child has ever gotten over the debt they owe to their mother. I literally would not be here without you. I love you.” Lina collapsed into the chair, breaking down in tears. Claire’s sister, seated stiffly beside her, turned to her mother for what I could tell was the first time in years and awkwardly patted her back.
“Emily, Sam, you are exactly what I want to be. Mature, and dependable, and loving, and in love. When I am your age, I want to be so happy… not that you’re old or anything.” Emily laughed. “Carlisle, it’s been seventeen years since the last time I saw you. You probably have no idea of this, but I became a doctor mostly because of how kind you were to me, those first days. You and Quil were the only people I trusted at all. And I want to thank you. If I can make as much of a difference in one patient’s life as you did in mine, I will have a full life.”
Claire, you have not made a difference in my life- you have made my life.
“And Quil. Darling Quil. Dear, sweet, beloved Quil. You are everything to me. You have been so good. You loved me without asking for anything in return. You give me so much. You love me in a way most people are never lucky enough to experience, and I am proud today to be your wife. I love you so much.”
I have no words to express the feeling. Instead, I looked into her face and smiled. It’s probably my turn to make a speech, so I stood. I kept it simple, though.
“Every person here, thank you, because if it hadn’t worked out exactly like it did, I might not be lucky enough to stand here today and call Claire my wife. It hasn’t always been perfect, but it’s been good. And all’s well that ends well… and this is the best ending in the world. Claire, my angel, my love, thank you. I love you more than you can imagine, and I always will.”
I sat down, surprised to hear clapping begin. Embarrassed, I turned to the food, until Claire sat beside me, tapped my on the shoulder, and whispered in my ear, “Thank you.”
Then I could look bravely out and smile at the people.
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