I pulled my knees up to my chin and glanced over at the sleeping form next to me. Quil was lying on his stomach, his face smashed into a pillow as he snored through the early-morning hours. I picked a piece of what I could only assume was fuzz off his sheets and dropped it over the side of the bed, careful not to disturb the sleeping giant.
"Claire, is that you?" The head burrowed into the pillow mumbled.
"Shh, go back to sleep," I whispered, sliding back down into the sheets again. "I just needed to sit up for a little bit."
"Oh," Quil groaned and rolled onto his side, dragging me to his front then promptly fell back asleep.
I gasped in spite of myself. Quil had pressed his chest to my back, and conveniently parts of his were very much awake and digging into parts of me. More specifically, digging into my butt. I carefully inched my way away from his business only to be drug back, his dream completely uninterrupted. I sighed and readjusted to a more comfortable position, but spent a decent portion of the night sleepless, pressed against a constant reminder of what my future held in store for me.
When I awoke the next morning I was alone. Not even Embry had come back to the shack that he and Quil called a house. I stumbled my way gracefully out of bed and towards the kitchen. The fridge that had once been canvas for clippings of girls clad in skimpy bikinis had been cleaned and a note was stuck to the front.
Embry and I have been called away on duty. Make yourself at home. I would tell you to call me, but an incident involving a frying pan and a bottle of rum have left us without a phone. Stay inside and be safe, I will be back as soon as possible.
I reread the note a few more times, looking for hidden meaning but gave up as there was obviously none to be found. There were no innuendos in this note; it was just plain sweet Quil.
Today was a day to be good, to stay at the house, clean, cook, and watch TV until Quil and Embry returned home. Perhaps if I did everything Quil wanted me to do, or at least half-expected, then I could get him into a better mood and perhaps even persuade him into bed. Preferably naked and sweaty.
My good intentions lasted until mid morning. I had cleaned the kitchen and watched an episode of Jerry Springer, but my mind had been wandering since I woke up. I could only think of Quil's words last night about love, and marriage.
How terrifying would it be to marry my crazy, overprotective, werewolf boyfriend?
"Hello, is anyone home?" A voice rang out and I felt pure terror roll down my spine. "Claire, baby, are you here?"
My mother was at the door.
"Coming!" I called and raced towards the guest room, which had once been my bedroom during my brief living stint here while my parents and sister were in England. "Mom is that you?" I added a false cheery tone to my voice and tossed the blankets around on my bed, trying to make it look as slept-in as possible. Who knew what Amy had decided to tell her about what she saw?
"Yes of course it's me. Who else would it be?" Her voice was getting less patient the longer she waited.
"Mother of mine," I smiled, swinging open the door and bowing to her with a flourish. "Please do come in."
"About time," My mom pushed her way in, her eyes roaming the hallway and obviously not finding it to her liking. "Quil and Embry need to put some lights up in here." She swept a finger along the molding that went halfway up the walls and created a tiny ledge. "And maybe hire a maid?"
"I'm sure that's a priority, Mom."
"I'm known you for sixteen years, Claire, please don't think I can't detect the sarcasm in your voice. Does this cave have a kitchen?"
I grinned. "Of course it does, let me just go get some logs and I'll put the kettle on for a spot of tea." I flounced down the hall, leading the way to the room I had just cleaned. "So why are you here? Social call or urgent need?"
"Well, other than finding out why my daughter didn't make it home last night," I could feel my cheeks turn bright red and tried to hide the fact by opening the fridge and pretending to rummage through it for the pitcher of iced tea. "I wanted to talk to you about something important."
"Alright, shoot." I located the tea and grabbed a couple of the cleanest glasses I could find from the cupboard and placed them on the table.
"I wanted to talk about England," She plopped a few spoonfuls of sugar in her tea and stirred it with the sugar spoon.
"You came here to reminisce?" I drank mine unsweetened, with a slice of lemon.
"Yes, well your father has been offered a permanent position in their London office. We're moving back."
I couldn't have been more than nine and Quil was threading a fishing hook for me, his giant fingers barely fumbling with the invisible line and miniscule hook…
"Almost got it," Quil muttered, jabbing the line into the hook at random.
"Quil! Hurry! All the fish are getting away!" I was standing in front of him, distracting him by jumping up and down, trying to see what he was doing with the hook.
He didn't look up from his task. "Stop jumping around, Claire. I don't want to hook you with this."
"But I want to see!" I begged and jumped again, against his orders. The hook snagged my eyelid on the way back down.
I snapped out of my daydream, pressing a finger to my right eye. There was a tiny scar at the corner of my eye from the hook.
"Quil," I stood up and brushed off the back of my shorts. "I'm right here, sorry."
"I've been looking for you." Quil clambered over the wet logs to sit next to me on the rock beach. "I got back home and you were gone."
"I had to go for a walk and clear my head. I've had a lot to think about these past few days."
"Ah, I know. I'm sorry that I keep thrusting this on you, no, don't look at me like that I don't mean thrusting thrusting, just the entire imprint issue." Quil sat gently next to me on my log.
I laughed in spite of myself. "It's alright, I'm kind of getting used to all of it actually. Now I'm just waiting on you to straighten things out in your own head."
I glanced over at Quil and inhaled. He wasn't dressed in his typical uniform of cutoff jeans and a tee shirt, but in black slacks and a white long-sleeved button down shirt with a black tie that had already been loosened from around his neck.
"Where have you been that you had to be dressed like that?" I asked, breathily. He looked stunning.
"I told you the other day, didn't I? I was in charge of finalizing the purchase of some land for the Pack." He tugged at the tie and cleared his throat. "There's no need to make fun of me, Jake and Paul already took care of all of that today."
"I wasn't going to." I murmured, kicking my legs back and forth. "Hey Quil?"
"Yes?" Quil answered, wrapping a long, muscled arm around my shoulders and dragging me to his body.
I snuggled into his side and closed my eyes. "What would you say to me moving in again? Permanently?"