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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.


7. Chapter 7

Rating 5/5   Word Count 608   Review this Chapter

“Please describe for us how you met your wife, Mr. Ateara.”

“I met Claire while she was staying at her aunt Emily’s house. I babysat for her. I remember thinking she was the most adorable and sweet and precious little girl I’d ever seen. I loved that little girl—just in a very different way than I do now.” As I spoke, my eyes scanned the room for my Claire. She was wearing a plain black suit, like she was at my funeral. I closed my eyes in grief. Oh, Claire.

I swore I’d never leave you again.

If only I had a choice…

“How old were the two of you?”

“I was sixteen. Claire was almost three.” It’s hard to say. It makes me sound like a creep. It’s not so bad now that we’re both adults, but then it was unnatural.

Like me.

There is a reaction from the audience (those that aren’t pack members themselves.) They draw back a little and whisper among themselves. I wince.

“Describe the events of your life between meeting Claire and her parents’ divorce.”

“I babysat for her pretty frequently. Jack Denson didn’t like me, didn’t like anyone but him to have a place in his daughter’s life. I stayed away while he was in town, but that wasn’t very often. Lina, Claire’s mother, trusted me, understood how easy it was to be enchanted by Claire.” I smiled at her. She smiled back, sadly. “That was a happy time. I hung out with my friends, and little Claire went everywhere with us. It was like having a sister.

“And then her parents got divorced. Lina just announced it one day, that she and Jack made a custody deal. They split the kids and the cash and Jack took Claire. And I didn’t see her again for five years.”

“What did you do during that time?”

“Hung with my friends. Community service stuff, like Sam said. None of us went to college, but I helped Jake—my friend Jacob Black—start up his auto shop. Good business.”

It was pretty much the local werewolf support network. It employed any of us between jobs.

“Can you tell us what happened to make you go after Claire?”

“Well, for some reason, during those five years, I couldn’t stop thinking about that little girl. She was a sweetheart, I remembered, and I worried about her. So when Sam and Lina decided they were worried too, I volunteered.” This was the first outright lie I’d told, but it was in defense of my pack. That was acceptable.

“What happened that day?”
“I went to Claire’s school and found her teacher. I saw Claire—she had a bruise, on her face, right there—“ I touched my own cheek and tried to restrain the shaking. The thought was nauseating. That someone would intentionally hurt her, for no reason but to cause her pain… It was ridiculous in its horror. “And the teacher said she thought Claire’s dad was hitting her. I couldn’t let that happen. I remembered the happy, innocent little girl I’d played with, and I had to stop it. I went to her house, talked to her father. He admitted he’d done it.

“And then he confessed—or bragged, really—that he’d molested her as well. I… I couldn’t let her go back to that. He had child pornography playing on the television when I walked in the house. I saw that and I saw the look on her face and… I couldn’t let it happen again.”

“So what did you do?”