summary: Claire knows Quil is a wolf. She even knows that imprinting exists. But it isnt until she overhears him on the phone one night that she realizes she's his. So Claire enlists the help of her best friend to seduce Quil the summer before senior year. CxQ HEA Mature
The night everything changed was just your usual Wednesday night. I had school in the morning and hung out with my best friend Anna afterwards. At dinner time we parted ways, I drove home, and sat on the porch to wait for Quil to show up.
When I was a kid I didn't realize that there was anything special about a twenty something year-old guy hanging out with me. He'd been around since I was two and I just assumed everyone had one. A Quil. It wasn't until middle school that I really even began to ask questions. And that was only the case because my classmates asked. "Who's that man that always comes to the school play's Claire?" "Why do you always hang out with your brother?" I'd get mad and yell that he wasn't my brother, because something about that just felt deeply wrong. Quil wasn't my brother or my cousin or a family friend, Quil was simply mine. And he always had been.
Even Jamie, my older sister began to complain why Quil was always hanging around. We didn't need a babysitter anymore, so why doesn't he hang out with people his own age. When she said that my heart stopped. He wouldn't leave right?
That night my mom sent me to bed early and had a long talk with my sister. Jamie never said anything again but things still changed. On the weekends rather than have Quil come here, I would go spend them with my Aunt Emily in La Push where Quil was from. We would have family dinners with the whole pack, as Uncle Sam and Quil's friends called themselves, and Quil was still the same.
He helped me with my homework, took me to the beach and bought me three ice creams because he said if I had a fourth I'd feel sick. It was on one of those summer days when I was thirteen just before high school began, that I asked him, "Quil?" He looked up from his shoe laces that he was tieing.
"What are you?" To me. He sat back unceremoniously. His eyes were wide and he looked over to where Uncle Sam and Aunt Emily were sitting at the other end of the beach. It almost looked like Sam was looking back at us.
"What do you mean Claire-Bear?"
I huffed and narrowed my eyes at him. I told Quil a million times that I was to old to be called Claire-Bear. I was just Claire now. "Like, why are you always here?"
He frowned and looked down, "Do you not want me here?"
For a moment I thought of saying no, to punish him for using my old nickname but I realized that I was being childish and held my tongue. Instead I answered like my mom would, with another question. "Do you want to be here?"
"Of course Claire. Where else would I be?" I wrinkled my forehead. He was finally supposed to answer me not ask another question.
"I don't know, like with your friends or at work or school or something." And at that moment I realized I didn't even know how old he was. Would he still be able to go to school? He didn't look any older than 20, but wasn't he a teenager when he babysat me and Jamie? No way he was only seven then, he used to drive me to kindergarten.
"I see my friends everyday Claire." He smiled then as if that answered all my questions.
"Quil!" This was getting really frustrating. "Why do you hang out with a thirteen year old when you are…. how old are you anyway?"
"I hang out with you cus you are my best friend Claire." He rubbed my back with his large warm hand.
"Cus you are funny, and nice, you listen to my boring stories and with ice cream smeared all over your face you look cute." His eyes crinkled as he smiled at me. I quickly wiped my hand over my mouth and sure enough felt the wetness of my long gone ice cream. No wonder he didn't take me seriously. But cute?! I'm not cute, I'm pretty. I'm not some kid anymore. And then I was angry. Quil never answered my questions when I was serious.
"You think a thirteen year old girl is cute?" He removed his hand like I had burned him. Finally I found a way to hurt him back. "Isn't that weird?" Truthfully I didn't think it was weird, but Jamie had, and Anna did, and I wanted to know.
"It's not weird Claire." I had never seen Quil look that sad. Not even when his grandpa Quil Senior passed away.
"Why, cus you're like my brother? Cus you aren't. You are not my brother. You're not even my cousin. We aren't even related. So what are you?"
"I'm your friend Claire." I screeched in frustration.
"That's weird Quil. Just tell me. Tell me why you hang out with a thirteen year old. Don't you have your own life? Why doesn't my mom or Emily think it's weird. You're like old." The moment the words left my mouth I realized I could lose him forever. That was not what I wanted but I was mad and it felt good to say hurtful things, even though in the end I would be the one that was hurt.
Just then Sam reached us and said sharply, "Claire it's time to go home."
"What? No, it's not even dark yet." I looked to Quil, normally he would be on my side, sweet talking Sam that he would take a double shift if I could stay a little longer. But this time he didn't. He didn't say anything. That's when I realized I'd screwed it all up.
Emily drove me back home and I sulked in the car for forty-five minutes. When she put the car in park I snapped open my door and stormed into my house passing Jamie on the floor watching tv, and my mom folding laundry in the hallway. I pounded up the stairs, slammed my door shut, threw myself into bed and cried. I cried so long my head was pounding and I was sure I was dehydrated.
My mom and Emily talked for a while but no one ever came upstairs to disturb me and I was glad. The only one I wanted to comfort me was gone forever.
Things changed after that just like I knew they would. I refused to go to La Push and I even went two weeks without seeing Quil. Something I had never thought was possible. My heart ached for my friend. I figured the only way to express myself was to start wearing black, and the first weekend I don't go to La Push I grabbed my old scissors grabbed a chunk of my hair and cut. It looked truly terribly awful, and when my mom saw me come down the stairs she was so shocked she dropped the glass salad bowl. But it made me feel better.
Finally I did see Quil again, after those first two weeks. He came by the house with a bunch of flowers and chocolate for me. My heart started racing and I almost ran out to jump into his arms. But then I saw Jamie's face, pulled into a grossed out sneer. And I realized that this was weird. My dad brought my mom flowers and chocolate when they had a fight or on date night. So I didn't accept them even though I desperately wanted too.
I saw him around every once and awhile then, at grocery stores and the nearby mall. My mom told me that he moved here to the Makah tribe for work. I couldn't believe that he stopped working for Uncle Sam but I had no way of asking him why. On my fourteenth birthday I asked my mom not to invite him, or anyone but Emily and Sam from La Push. I regretted it the moment I woke up and didn't smell the burnt waffles Quil tried to make me every year. But my pride won out once again. It wasn't until I was almost through freshman year at high school when one of the boys started a rumour that I had herpes because I wouldn't kiss him that things between Quil and I changed.
That whole week at school everyone made fun of me. Only Anna and my sister stuck up for me but it wasn't enough. That weekend was the first party of the summer and I wasn't invited. Not only that, I was specifically uninvited.
I didn't tell my mom, Jamie didn't know, and that Friday night I ran away. I wanted to make it to first beach in La Push. I didn't know why, I just knew that that would be the only place I could feel better. After a three hour walk in the rain I gave up. I walked over to the road and held out my hand hoping someone would take me in either direction. And then it happened. I saw a blue rusty truck that I knew all too well. I quickly pulled in my hand and turned my back to the approaching car hoping he wouldn't see me. But he did. He had the car pulled over and me in his arms before I could even say "Quil."
He pulled off his toasty sweatshirt to give me to keep warm and pulled me into his car. I started to cry. When he drove back towards Makah I cried harder. I blubbered, "La Push" and finally he turned the car around.
He held open his right arm and I curled into his chest and sobbed. When he stopped the car I was still crying, but not about school or the part or that stupid boy Mark. I was crying because of Quil. Because of how much I missed him and how stupid I was.
Finally he picked me up and carried me into his house, which wasn't in Makah at all but still in La Push, unless he now owned two homes. He put me on the couch and wrapped me in three blankets before he grabbed my cell and called my mom. I didn't hear much of the conversation but when he asked when she'd be here I cried out. I could not leave him. Not again. Not tonight.
Quil sat back down beside me and asked if I wanted to stay here tonight and go home tomorrow I blubbered and nodded my head.
We watched movies all night long and Quil let me eat an entire tub of ice cream for the first time. When it became hard for me to keep my eyes open he moved over so I could lean against his chest, and that's how I fell asleep. I woke up the next morning in the exact same position. Quil's head had fallen back and he was snoring so loud his entire body was shaking. Both his arms were wrapped around me, and mine were fisted in his shirt. And it felt wonderful and strange and not at all wrong.
I realized at that moment that I was in love with Quil. Not like a brother or a friend but the way a girl loves a boy.
I started crying again and Quil woke quickly, tightening his grip around me. But he never asked why, and it made me love him even more.
My mom came soon after and when we were in the car she did ask why. So finally I told her about the rumours and the party and how I was doomed at school. But that Monday all the rumours had stopped and Mark, with a shining black eye came to apologize, and I just knew that somehow Quil was responsible for this. So after school I called him and asked if we could hang out. And the next weekend I went back to Aunt Emily and Uncle Sam's, and things kinda went back to normal, minus the part where I was hopelessly in love with him. So I decided to stop asking questions. Because I didn't care anymore why he would hang out with me. I only cared that he would never stop.
But sometimes you get rewarded for being patient, and on my fifteenth birthday Quil took me to a special bonfire in La Push where I got to hear some amazing stories about the tribe. Stories about wolves and war and love. When it was all over and my yawns were almost non stop Quil turned towards me and told me it was all true. That he was one of the wolves and that's why he never aged. That it happened to him when he was sixteen, and that "the pack" was an actual pack… of wolves. I believed him. Because it finally explained everything. So I thanked him for trusting me and swore to never tell anyone.
Now here we are on this fateful night. I'm sixteen and it was the end of junior year of high school. Quil always came for dinner Wednesday night so I was waiting for him on the porch steps. When he came out of the woods with windswept hair I bounded down the steps and jumped into his arms. He laughed and twirled me around before setting me on my feet.
"Hey Claire-Bear." I stuck out my tongue at him and he laughed.
He slapped a hand over his chest and exclaimed dramatically, "I'm hurt. How dare you not use my oh so manly name."
I saluted him with a straight face. "Yes Sir!" Then I stuck my tongue out once more and ran away giggling until he caught me seconds later and tickled me until I screamed "uncle."
Dinner was uneventful and afterwards we watched Titanic, which Quil hated but I always got to pick. I fell asleep after we put in the second DVD.
I awoke to the sound of Quil on the phone in the kitchen. He must be talking to someone from the pack because he was laughing. "... of course I'm with Claire… well that's what you do when you have one … dude why would I care about some party when I could spend the night with my imprint …" he kept talking after that but my heart stopped. Quil had said imprint right? Of all the stories that I heard when I was fifteen the story of the Third Wife had always been my favourite, so I was well versed in the term imprint. "... I gotta go she's waking up." I heard him hang up the phone and place it on the counter. Five creaky footsteps followed before Quil stopped before me on the couch. "Hey sleepyhead."
I couldn't form words. His forehead crinkled and he crouched down to touch my forehead. "You feeling okay?" I nodded mutely. "Just a bad dream? I thought I heard you're heart stutter." Had it been a dream? Could it be? Could I be that lucky? It would explain why Quil was always here... I swallowed hard and shook my head.
Finally I spoke, "No. A really good dream actually." He smiled and tapped my nose.
"Then what's with the serious face?" He laughed. "Good dreams are supposed to make you happy."
"I am. I think I'm really happy." I threw my arms around him before he could ask anything else and hugged him close. "I'm gonna go to bed." I needed time to think.
"Okay Claire." He stood to his full height of 6"4. "See you this weekend."
That night I didn't fall asleep until 5am. Thoughts kept running through my head. Thoughts that made me trash around in bed because I was so giddy. I heard him, I knew I did. I was Quil's imprint. That's why he spent so much time with me, that's why he ditched his friends and a party to come watch a movie with me that he hated. Quil loved me. Or at the very least liked me a whole lot. I squealed involuntarily and quickly slapped a hand over my mouth. My biggest dream had come true.
That night my dreams took a trip down memory lane and I remembered all the strange things the pack had said over the years that didn't make sense until now. Why they howled with laughter when I informed Quil at six that I would marry him, clapping him on his back in congratulations. Or why everyone thanked me when I let Quil back into my life after our falling out. They all knew. That's why Emily and Sam didn't think it was weird for him to hang around. God, my mom probably even knew.
With only two days of school before summer vacation left we weren't doing much but watching TV in class. I turned to Anna, my best friend, and decided to ask her for some advice. She already had three boyfriends so she could surely help me.
"Psst, Anna." She lifted her head from her desk where she had been trying to nap.
"What's up Claire?"
"I need your help. Can I come over after school?"
"Sure. What's up?"
I was so giddy I couldn't help myself from responding. "It's about a boy."
Her eyes bugged out of her head. "You? And a boy?" She laughed quietly. "I never thought I'd see the day. I can't wait to help you." Then a wicked gleam shone in her eyes. "Want to skip fourth?"
Anna had no qualms about skipping school especially now that it was so close to summer holidays and with a jolt I realized I didn't either. I could hardly contain my glee all day and to wait another hour after this seemed torture.
We grabbed two popsicles from Anna's basement freezer and sat out in her backyard. Her sweet labrador Tully ran laps around us stopping in every once in a while to see if he could lick any leftover juices off our fingers.
"Ok. What I'm going to tell you you can't ever tell anyone and you have to promise not to judge."
Anna smiled and held my hand. "I'd never judge you Claire. Now spill."
Before I could chicken out I said it. "I'm in love with Quil!"
She threw her head back and laughed. "I know that silly. Damn and here I thought you were actually gonna tell me some big secret."
"You know?" My heart thudded. "Does everyone know? Does he know?!"
Finally her laughter died down and she looked at me with sympathy. "I think your mom knows. And Jamie definitely knows. But I wouldn't worry about Quil, boys are totally clueless about this stuff." She paused and spoke again. "Isn't he a bit old though? I mean don't get me wrong I'm totally down with the sugar daddy thing but... how old is he anyway?"
"He's in his twenties." I crossed my fingers behind my back.
Anna's face lifted. "Oh! I knew he couldn't be that old. I mean he looks twenty so I guess that's all that really matters."
"Right." I smiled.
"So what changed? How come you finally decided to do something about it?"
"I heard him talking on the phone last night. Telling his friend he wasn't coming to a party because he was hanging out with me. But all we did was watch Titanic which he hates and I had even fallen asleep. And then he said…" I stopped myself then started again. "That means something right?"
Tully ran over and licked Anna's face and she pushed him away gently. "Totally. You know what this means right?"
"No? What does this mean?"
"It means it's time to seduce Quil. He's such a sweet guy I don't think he'd ever make a move on you especially since we're only sixteen. But he definitely has the hots for you. So we just have to make you irresistible."
"Yup." She popped her p loudly. "We are gonna make you so innocently hot he won't be able to keep his hands off you."
I blushed but couldn't keep the grin off my face that sounded exactly right. "Innocent?"
"Yeah girl you can't be all up in his face. Innocent hotness is what drives guys crazy, believe me. This is gonna be one crazy summer."
I did believe her. And it was a crazy summer.