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Previously French Class. A series of one-shots beween chapters 3 and 4 of Protect Her. Based off actual instances in my life, Quil's POV.

Review. I disclaim. None of this is mine.

4. Shopping Mall

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Still shaking off the effect of the Claire shopping incident, I left the store with only one pair of jeans. It wouldn’t even last me through the week. Maybe I could try another store. I walked through the mall, and then stopped short. “Claire’s…” I muttered to myself. “Claire’s.”

For God’s sake. Why couldn’t I have imprinted on a girl named Matilda? Or Marjorie? Or Elzbetha? Or something everything else in the known universe isn’t also named?

I can’t go anywhere without thinking of her. I am haunted by that one syllable. Everything, everywhere, named for her… and probably no one else would ever notice, but I will, forever. Every time it’s possible, I’ll connect the universe to her. Though I could live with it if the pain wasn’t so easy to spring up with every passing female…

And yet I can’t bring myself to wish she wasn’t named Claire. It’s the perfect name for the perfect girl. I can’t wish her any different than exactly what she is. She was perfect. In every way… everything I could ever wish for.

I missed her so, so much… everywhere I go, everything I do, is her. Everything in the whole world is her. She followed me everywhere. She haunted my every step and I couldn’t bear imagining it could ever be any different. Even wishing for her to be mine was painful. What if I couldn’t be good enough for her? What if I hurt her like Sam had hurt Emily? Worse, what if she was hurt without me? What if she remembered me and wished and longed for me like I longed for her… or worse, what if she didn’t remember me at all? What if years from now I went back and took her in my arms and she had no clue who I was?

I swallowed back a thick wad of pain into my throat. Everything was darkened to my eyes except one path… toward her… And yet I can’t truly go toward her. Yet I can approximate. That will have to suffice, for now. I will have to symbolize my return, since I cannot truly be hers once more.

Oh, the hurt of just the thought! I wondered if anyone had ever felt so much pain before… and yet someday, someday, I could go back. Someday, when she was all grown up… but I wasn’t there! What if something bad happened to her?

No, she was safe. Probably safer without me… and yet I was nothing without her.

I did the only thing I could. Looking at the shop that taunted me, I turned and moved toward it… in a way, toward her.

I took a few steps toward the door. I noticed it was as different from her as apples and oranges. The entire little room is emblazoned with cheap, tacky jewelry. There is nothing in there even similar to her beautiful simplicity. And yet I look at the sign again…


I was Claire’s. And I always would be.