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Beside Her

Summary:
Latest installment in For Her, sequel to Protect Her, Love Her, Hold Her, Keep Her, From Her, and With Her. Whew! In this story, Quil and Claire's first child is born. They face the ordinary travails of parenting, along with some special dilemnas.


Notes:
Largely fluff. no forseeable evil conflicts of doom... but don't worry, there will be plenty in the next tale! this is the series that never ends. 100 reviews, people. or the sequel doesn't go up. or get written. and we don't want that.


5. Chapter 5

Rating 5/5   Word Count 556   Review this Chapter

The house cleared out. Only Leah remained. We needed to talk to her.

Claire held Quil against her, and I kept my hand against her, because this was clearly hard for her and I didn’t know why.

“Sit down,” I offered. Leah sat. She was stiff, oddly so, in a formal way I had never seen before. Uncomfortable.

I remembered when it was my turn in the hot seat, or rather the “I’m in love with your child” seat. However, Leah had it considerably easier. For example, I knew she was a werewolf, and I was far more amenable than the average person to the idea of true love setting in before age three.

Claire didn’t seem to be. Something about this was bothering her, and I had to find out why. Though of course I would abide by Claire’s wishes, I knew I had to do what I could to let Leah have her happiness too. I knew her pain.

I wanted to share the joy I’d found.

Claire clearly didn’t feel the next way, and so this was an extremely necessary conversation.

“Don’t send me away,” she blurted. “Quil, Claire, please… I don’t… I’d never…”

“I know. Claire?”

“What?” She sounded impatient. It was different from her usual soft, sweet tone.

“What’s wrong, Claire? What’s…”

Claire sighed and shifted the baby in her arms, moving him a little so only she and I could see his face.

“You can tell me,” I whispered, and she turned to look at me.

“Really? Can I?”

“Yes.”

Leah stared, impatient, and I was certain that, however polite and silent she might be, she was praying with all her soul- please let me be with him, please, please, it’s all I want, all I need…

“Well, it’s just that… my life hasn’t exactly been easy. And I’m not sure I want that for my son.”

I felt like I’d been punched in the stomach. My breath strangled in my chest, my head spun. “I thought… I thought…” I love you, Claire. I thought you loved me too. I thought that could make all this worth it.

Clearly, I was wrong.

She looked at me blankly for a second, and then gasped. “Oh, I didn’t mean it like that, Quil. I don’t regret a single day of it, if it brought me to you… but… I’m just… shouldn’t he get to choose?”

“He will, Claire. Didn’t you? Didn’t I let you walk away from me? Didn’t you come back?”

She sighed. “That’s true. But… the other thing… I’m his mother. I don’t want him to be taken away from me.”

“I won’t take him anywhere. I just want to be a part of his life. That’s all. I won’t hurt your family Claire.”

Could hurt him.

I heard her unspoken words, the shadow of my own.

Claire looked at all of us, eyes darting from face to face. She cradled Quil for one more moment, then gently placed him in Leah’s arms.

“Congratulations, Leah,” I whispered.

Claire laughed, but Leah and I knew it wasn’t funny- it was life or death… no, so much more.

It was something to live for.