Author's note- Hello, friends. I present to you, the epilogue of Belated Birthdays. I've had fun writing this and I love Quil and Claire dearly as of now. Perhaps one day I will return to continue their story :). Keep a look out for me! Until then I'm going to try and sort out my life, maybe write some non-fiction of my own. Enjoy. And thanks for everything. Your support has inspired more than you could ever imagine.
Disclaimer: None of the recognizable characters, locations, or plot points are my own. All are the property of Stephenie Meyer. No Copyright infringement is intended.
My hands were tangled deep into her hair, her breathing hot and unsteady against my face. I pressed my lips to hers swiftly, multiple times, drawing my favorite smile out from hiding.
"I hate when you tease me like that," she sighed, the smile still attached, her form molding to mine completely against the porch side wall.
"I just love that smile." I softly kissed her again, longer this time, loving the sigh that she released.
"Quil!" Stormy's shrill shriek rang from inside of the house. "Go to your bachelor party! Immediately! I need Claire in here now!"
"I think that's code for 'get out now'."
She smirked. "Not cryptic enough to be code," she told me. I laughed. "It's blatantly obvious that you are no longer wanted here."
"Harsh," I hissed, the wind whistling between my teeth.
Claire began wiggling out from the pin I had her in, but I refused to budge.
"Yes, Claire?" Her eyes stared humouredly up at me, a smile begging to crack over her lips as she tried to act mad.
"Leave," she cried, giggling. Her hands pressed uselessly against my chest, her hips arching against me in effort. Now,that was certainly not going to get me out of here any faster. She whimpered, groaning as I lifted her hands above her head. "Why can't you just go have fun without me? Go to your party!"
"I can't!" I claimed, glancing down at my watch. "Forty-two more seconds!"
She squirmed against the wall, attempting to slide out from underneath my hold. My shoulders shook with laughter at her lack of success. "You're impossible," she said.
I looked one more time down at the watch. "Midnight." Her smile was brilliant in the moonlight. "Happy eighteenth birthday, Claire."
Stormy's flustered countenance awaited my arrival as I swept through the front hall, an overwhelming smile refusing to leave my lips. Her fair hands closed over my wrists and pulled me into the electric chair that she had rigged with four different types of hot tools.
"Boys." Her mutter was spat irritably as she combed fly-aways out of her eyes and checked the power to all of the curling irons and curler holders.
"You're huffy tonight." I giggled. Her steely eyes caught mine with a quick glare but softened just as quickly.
Her smile was kind as she twirled a piece of my hair in her fingers. "You are going to see him in thirteen hours." My heart drooped and the feeling was clear in my face. She laughed at the absurdity of my sadness.
"That seems so long."
"Think of it this way, the next time you see him you'll be walking towards him in a white dress." She gently patted the garment bag that hung from a hook on the door beside her. My pulse quickened at the vision. "Oh, Claire, I'm so happy for you guys." Her thin arms closed around me, the warmth of a close friend shaking off the jitters of the coming day, if only for a moment.
"Thanks, Storm. It's going to be a special day." My heart raced as I thought of how special the next night would be. After the near-terror of my sixteenth birthday we'd decided to wait for everything. And what a long wait it had seemed. Stormy's nimble fingers began tugging at my hair, strangling it into curlers, piece by piece.
I'd murmured a blubbering 'yes' that night. After recovering from the unexpected proposal, however, I'd set terms of my own. I was too young to get married at that point. He had agreed. And I wasn't sure if I should have worn the ring around, people don't look kindly on engaged sixteen-year-olds. Quil's face had fallen swiftly when I'd said that. His voice had trembled and his eyes had fluttered as he'd said, "you don't want to wear my ring, Claire?"
Excess tears had welled in my eyes, spilling over the ones that were already dwelling there. I had offered my hand to him then. His smile broke slowly; he pressed his lips against my fourth finger before slipping the ring onto my finger. The resolution in his big, brown eyes melted quickly after that.
My terms? I would marry him on the soonest, suitable day in my opinion, which was my eighteenth birthday. And I would wear his ring. But I got to make my own decisions about college.
I deferred admission to Seattle Pacific for a year to spend more time writing down my own music before I got to school. I was going to major in music, surprising I know. And Quil was going with me. He'd already picked out an apartment in Seattle and everything.
Heaven wasn't really a place on earth. But I felt that I had gotten pretty close to what might be described as such.
It was colder than we had expected. The chilly wind gave me goosebumps as we climbed the stairs to the only church in La Push. Once inside, the butterflies swirling in my stomach were quite enough to keep me warm. The set-up was simple. The gathering was small. The aisle was covered in white satin. And tears were in Sam's eyes as I wrapped my arm around his, taking that first step with him and knowing that my dad was smiling down on me. These are the only details I recall up until I locked eyes with Quil. From that point on, the only particulars I can summon have to do with him. Which is utterly fine with me.
"Claire." His eyes were full of such a deep emotion that it was hard to keep contact with them. But I did. Because that strong feeling was because of me. Because he was mine. I smiled. All mine. "I've always liked giving you nicknames, C. You've always been my baby, my little girl, my best friend, my confidante." He sighed. "And now you have another title, my wife." My stomach somersaulted in my torso. "It's our God intended right to be loved. Your dad was one of the most wonderful people I ever met, and I know that he must have had a lot of good things to say to the big guy about you. Because I love you more than life itself." His thumb skimmed over the top of my cheek, wiping away the tear that had slipped from my eye.
"C, you're the air in my lungs when I take a deep breath, a calming, soothing instinct to me. You're something I could never live without and I can't imagine even being able to try. You're my world, Claire Bear. And I wouldn't have it any other way," he ended quietly, the atmosphere was silent. The audience was speechless, as was I.
I swallowed, attempting to pull the sudden frog from my throat. It didn't work. I stood there, my tongue swollen and dry.
"Claire," the minister prompted quietly, "it's your turn."
I took a shaky breath. "Quil." The waterworks continued. "You're my hero, my superman. You're stronger than me, taller than me, sturdier than me, and more righteous than anyone I've ever met." Sam cleared his throat inconspicuously at the end of the line of groomsmen. Only the wolves snickered. "But for the longest time I thought I had you conquered. I knew you would do anything I ever asked of you, no matter what. It was like having a superhero to play with. I could be untouchable." I smirked up at him. "But then I began to realize that your power applied to me, too. I loved you as much as you loved me, if not more. I guess I'm not so powerful anymore. I would and will do anything you ever ask of me."
His smile slowly unfolded, stunning as always. He mouthed unlikely to me silently. My grin only widened.
"And I promise to love you that same way for the rest of my life," I said.
Author's note- Good-bye for now. I hope you'll leave a parting thought :).
Warmest wishes from a personal space heater lover,