Text Size Large SizeMedium SizeSmall Size    Color Scheme Black SchemeWhite SchemeGrey SchemePaper Scheme        

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!


50. Chapter 50

Rating 5/5   Word Count 676   Review this Chapter

We’re in the coffee shop after work. I do my best to muster a smile, and say, “Josh, we’ve got to talk.”

“That doesn’t sound good,” he answers lightheartedly. I close my eyes, trying to stop my whole face from furrowing with the pain.

“It’s not… well…” For him, maybe. “Look. I like you, pretty much just as a friend. But I know you don’t…”

He taps a pattern on the side of his latte. “Claire, it’s not a big deal. I can handle being friends with a girl I’m crushing on… we’re grown-ups now, remember?”

I can still hear Quil cheering like an idiot at my graduation, the sound ringing in my ear. “No… you… it’s… I… my boyfriend. Quil.”

“The perfect one,” Josh says, nodding. He’s heard more about Quil than I’m sure he’s ever wanted to.

“Yeah. We’ve been dating since I was sixteen.” I pointedly leave Quil’s age out of it. “I love him. I really, really love him. But I want him to be happy.”

“Why are you telling me this?”

“Because I want you to know…. I want him to be happy… and I can’t… He feels like… I should have started at the beginning… you know, I’ve never told anyone before. Quil’s always been around.” How do I say this? It’s so impossible. There aren’t words. It’s the kind of secret one keeps because it’s just too painful to say aloud. “I… when I was a kid, my parents got divorced. I went to live with my dad.” I take a slow, deep breath, and say it. “I was four when he started hitting me. Six when he raped me the first time. Nine when Quil rescued me.”

Josh catches his breath, and then slowly turns to look at me. He looks so earnest and kind as he says, “I’m really sorry.” I try not to let the forbidden phrase sting.

I smile. “Not your fault. Not Quil’s fault, either. He thinks so, though. He spends all this time trying to make it up to me, and I can’t bear it. He deserves someone who…. Who can really love him. Who can give him everything.”

“And I don’t?”

I shake my head. “No, no, that isn’t what I mean. If you’d seen Quil around me, you’d understand. He’s… He never asks for anything. For some reason, he can’t say no to me.” Imprinting. Damn it! If only he’d decided on his own to love me, I wouldn’t be doing this. But he never had a choice, and I can’t bear it. Imprinting. Suddenly, the word is hateful. “I know you’d tell me, if I was being awful. He’d just smile at me and chalk it up to childhood trauma! And never leave, no matter what. I can’t stand having so much power over him… that’s not fair. I feel like he’s trapped, stuck with me. It’s so unfair. I can’t… can’t do this to him. And you…” I sigh. “I know he isn’t going to just let go. I need you to help me with that.”

“You’re asking me to pretend…”

“Not pretend, Josh. For real. Help me live a real life, a life without him in it, for a little while, maybe. Maybe forever. I do like you, a lot. If it weren’t for him, I’d have said yes the first time you asked me. I just think you should know my reasons.”

He considers for a moment, slowly sipping on that coffee, fingers still dancing against the wood. Finally, he answers, “All right.”

“Thanks.”

“You’re welcome.”

He takes my hand, and I relax my fingers into the grip, though it takes all my willpower. Everything in me exclaims that it isn’t right. His touch feels freezing cold, clammy and weak in mine, but I try not to think about it. It isn’t easy.

“What now?” he asks.

“Now?” I wince. “We have to go talk to Quil.”