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Near Her

Summary:
The latest installment in the For Her series, sequel to Protect Her, Love Her, Hold Her, Keep Her, From Her, With Her, and Beside Her. Quil and Claire have finally triumphed. Despite the obstacles littering thier way, they are at last happy. What happens when the darkest secret of their past comes back and threatens to seperate them forever?


Notes:
I disclaim. Y'all should read the sequels first.


12. Chapter 12

Rating 5/5   Word Count 637   Review this Chapter

“Claire, Claire, Claire! Oh, thank God, Claire, my darling, my love, my sweet, sweet Claire…”

I pulled her tight to my chest as she threw her arms around me.

“Quil.” She looked up at me, and I could see the tears in her eyes. “I thought I was going to lose you. I thought they were going to take you away from me.”

“Impossible. Nothing. No one. Never.”

“I don’t know how I’d survive that. It surprised me, a little bit, how much I need you. I’d have thought I was a little more mature by now, a little more self-reliant. I was wrong… Quil, I can’t live without you. I can’t. I need you so much. I can’t breathe without you.”

I held her even closer. I could feel the tears on her face soaking through my shirt. I wished I could see her beautiful face (it had been too long, too long) but this comfort was more important. “It’s all right, Claire.”

“You know the nightmares came back? Every night you were gone. I didn’t sleep once. I would wake up screaming and be too terrified to go back to bed again. And I was so cold. Freezing. Shaking. I needed you there. I know it’s probably bizarre, that an adult woman should be this totally dependant on someone, but… I am.”

“Shh, honey. Shh. It’s all right. You can always need me. That’s what I’m for. You can depend on me. You can rely on me. I’m here. I’m never leaving you again, Claire. Not if the whole world tries to drag me away. Not if you need me.”

“I always will. Always,” she said, and her voice was fierce on the promise.

Gently, I pulled her away from me. “Claire, you were incredible up there. Quite a performance.”

“I wasn’t performing, Quil.”

I could feel my jaw drop.

“Well, of course I had to stretch the truth a little, but I meant every word I said about you.

“You really see me like that?”

“Clearly? Yes.”

I laughed. “Oh, sweetheart.” I have succeeded. Everything I have wanted all my life, I’ve gotten. It almost makes up for the splendid failure at the beginning.

“Don’t I get any credit?” Paul huffed, back to his surly self.

“You did okay, kiddo.”

“I did brilliantly. That was a hard case, dude. You had exactly one piece of evidence in your favor, and like two hundred against.”

“Reasonable doubt, Paul.”

He rolled his eyes.

Claire hugged him briefly. “Thank you for saving my husband, Paul. I appreciate it even if he doesn’t.”

“Thanks, Claire. No thanks, Quil.”

I laughed again, possibly from sheer relief. I’m not going to jail forever. I got to stay with Claire. I got to raise my children, watch them grow, walk Leah down the aisle to meet Quil in twenty years. I got to be here, near them, near her.

It was all I wanted.

“Oh, Quil. One more thing.” She grinned, and my heart stuttered a little. I’d forgotten how breathtaking she could be.

“What?”

A little body dashed out from the hallway, crawling at rocket speed, and attached itself to my leg. “He can crawl?”

“Daddy!” Quil screamed.

“He can talk?”

“He knows three word. Daddy, Mommy, and My, which apparently means Leah.”

I laughed. “You did the same thing, Claire. Though eventually you figured out how to say my name.”

“I love you, Quiw.”

“I love you too, Claire bear.”

We laughed and laughed as I scooped my son into my arms and moved closer to my wife.

I could scarcely contain the joy.