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Being Her

Summary:
A series of one-shots in Claire's perspective throughout the series For Her.


Notes:
Um, will not go in any order. they come as i get bored enough to write them. PSSSTTT if you want a new story, go review with her!


5. Lying Together

Rating 5/5   Word Count 555   Review this Chapter

The fat woman shifted in her seat. “So, you’re Claire?”

“Yes.”

Keep it short. Don’t tell her anything. I heard his voice whisper in my ear. Be brief and simple… and it won’t be so bad when you get home. I shuddered. I hated talking to the people. Not because they were anything less than kind… just that their visits always drove Daddy crazy…

“And you’re how old?”

“Seven.”

My birthday’s in a week. I don’t expect anyone will know. Hopefully I won’t get a present of any kind from my father… I gently touched the bruise on my leg and closed my eyes.

Have to keep it hidden. Can’t let anyone see. There’s no place for you to go, Claire. No place to run to…

“Second grade, right?”

“Yeah.”

“We heard, from your teacher, that although you’re a very bright child,” she smiled here with what was supposed to be flattery, “you have a rash of unexplained absences. You also seem… nervous, especially around male students and teachers, and sometimes you have a lot of boo-boos.”

I said seven, not two. I tried not to wince at her baby talk. However, it proved a decent distraction from the aching fear. What if she found out? What if…

“We’re worried something bad is happening to you. You live with your father?”

“Yeah.”

I tried to keep my eyes and voice perfectly level at his name, but it wasn’t easy. Every part of me rebelled when he was mentioned.

“I see you have a little cut on your face.”

I wanted to laugh at that. A little cut. Last night he threw a dictionary at me. It did glance off my face, after almost cracking a rib. I could hardly breathe from the aching soreness on my chest. “I tripped on the playground.”

“Are you sure… we want to know if your father had something to do with it.”

This was new and different. They’d never directly implicated Daddy before. Always, it was innuendo and leading questions. Maybe they were finally concerned enough to do something about it… but nothing could stop him if I told them. “No. My daddy loves me very much.”

I looked down. It was too true. He loved me in a strange and terrifying way… but he always said it was how grown-up people loved each other. I never doubted him.

“Are you sure, Claire?”
“Yeah.” I tried to sound confused, but positive. The woman sighed and nodded.

“All right. I’ll let you go on home. Now, you come talk to me any time you want, all right? And I’ll keep an eye on you, sweetheart.”

“Thanks,” I replied, keeping that false puzzlement in my voice.

I stood and walked out of the office. He was waiting. Gently, he took my hand, smiling at the lady. “Is she all right?” he asked.

“She’s fine.”

I could hear her suspicion fade between the twin acts we had put on. He guided me carefully from the office.

We walked to the car.

And then there was nothing more to hold him back- the act faded in an instant. I was alone with my fear once more.