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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9. Chapter 9
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She sat comfortably a ways away, smiling at me the entire ride. I was pleased to have won her forgiveness, of course. I also enjoyed the ride. It was very… weightless. Quite pleasant, to be in the air free without the usual cramped seats and lack of leg room.
There were two other people, the pilot locked in his cabin and a stewardess who brought us cocktails and a bowl of snack mix. Neither ate.
I realized this was the first time Claire had left the country. I’d been to Canada as a kid, but I doubted Claire’s father was one for educational trips.
The thought of Jack Denson could still make me cringe almost twenty years after I’d killed the man.
Eventually, Claire came to sit beside me, resting her head on my shoulder. I wrapped my arms around her, holding her beside me. I wondered if she was warm there… my skin would always burn with the speed of my werewolf metabolism, ready to phase if needed. Until the day I died, I’d be able to turn into a wolf if she needed me too.
I had accepted what I was, but I wondered if she ever thought about it.
The plane landed smoothly on a long runway lined with green. The trees were small and arced over us. The grass was manicured, absolutely tiny, like someone had cut them with fingernail clippers.
I offered Claire my arm. The stewardess followed us with the obese suitcases I’d prepared. We strolled up to the building. There was only one way to describe it.
It was a castle.
The crumbling turrets were of grey stone, and had small arrow slits, ready to defend from attack. The walls were tall and smooth, maintained beautifully.
And the place was huge, not in the sky-scraper way, more in the way that seemed like everything in it would be gigantic.
There was a suit of armor in the tiny lobby. An energetic red-haired woman explained that it had been modeled after armor belonging to King Henry the Eighth, who’d visited here. Two children visiting in the last year had nicknamed it Aaron, after the boy.
The name stuck. Claire was delighted by the whole experience, and so was I. However, there’d be plenty of time to enjoy this place later. Right now, we were both eager to check out a bed (and a toilet).
She took us to our room. It was called the Queen Anne room, with a carving on the door and a lock of ridiculous size. There was an actual key, at least a foot long and made of what couldn’t really be solid gold, but was putting up a good front.
The room was gorgeous, tapestried with pale gold walls. There were two huge windows valanced in red fabric, a walk-in closet, a pair of ivory armchairs and a waiting decanter of brandy.
The carpet was thick, and there was a rose on the bed.
The one bed.
Claire smiled. “Wow. This is really something.”
“Claire… there’s only one bed.”
She laughed. “I noticed. It’s kind of hard to miss.”
“Claire…” I didn’t know what to say. My mouth was very dry with an emotion I interpreted, not without surprise, as nervousness.
“I just married you, Quil. We’re on our honeymoon. They don’t make honeymoon suites with two beds. And it’s plenty big enough.”
That I couldn’t argue with.
Claire noted my speechlessness and opened the closet, reaching for the top of her dress. “Help me with this.”
She gave me a are-you-really-that-stupid look. “Help me get the dress off. I can’t reach the zipper, and I don’t want the dress to get ruined. Our daughter can wear it at her wedding.”
I stared for an instant. “Are you sure?”
If she was nervous, she showed no sign of it. I walked to Claire and gently tugged the zipper down.
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