Quil Ateara and the Impossible Claire
Chapter One: School Pictures
Disclaimer: Don't own nothing you recognize.
I continually went over what best way to play the situation off as I walked home. It was raining, of course, and several people I knew drove past me on their own way home from school, but none stopped to offer me a ride. Most of them had tried this before and had gotten a lecture from me about polluting the environment, and had since learned not to offer.
Of course, it was times like these that made me want to reconsider my stance on environmental protection. Why should I give a damn about an environment that clearly – I glared at the rain clouds and promptly got rain in my eye – did not give a damn about me?
I briefly considered taking advantage of the downpour by "accidentally" dropping the packet in my hands into a puddle, successfully ruining its contents. But my mother knew me better than that by now. Even if she didn't, I was a terrible liar.
"Damn school pictures!" I said aloud to the rain. I attempted to kick a rock that I misjudged in weight and size and succeeded only in hurting my toes. I hopped up and down dramatically for a moment, clutching my injured foot, before continuing my miserable trek home.
And that what was in the packet in my hands, wrapped carefully in plastic by my history teacher who knew I would be walking home and also knew it was likely to rain on me. Wrapped carefully in plastic to protect those precious school pictures. The ones that were the source of my problem for today.
Most kids didn't like school pictures. Probably because you could tell that the photographer really didn't care how they turned out, that he was just trying to squeak by until he got a job with National Geographic or something. Or maybe because one always looked as if one had just swallowed a large dosage of ipecac and was fighting a losing battle at trying to prevent it from doing its job. Either way, most kids didn't like them. But as for me, I loathed them.
Never in my entire school career, from kindergarten up until now, had I ever had a good school picture. Ever. And this year, my senior year, when I was finally supposed to look mature and grown up…well, this one was the icing on my crap-filled cake.
And the worst part was I had to take it home to show my mother. Who would no doubt act as if I'd held up the Taco Del Mar.
So I was taking the time on my way home from school (a.k.a. The Hell Hole of the Pacific Northwest) to try and figure out how to break it to her gently.
By the time I'd reached my family's small but comforting house, no great plan had come to mind. I sighed dejectedly, hoping that I could at least make it upstairs to change out of my soaking wet clothes before I had to show her.
No such luck. As soon as I stepped inside the house, my mother swooped in on me, screeching, "Don't drip on the carpet!" as if me coming home more than damp was something new and shocking.
"Mom, I have to drip to get upstairs and change," I said, but she didn't hear me because she was too busy squealing. I groaned, knowing she had spotted the telltale picture packet.
"Are those your new school pictures?" she asked excitedly, taking them from my hands before I could answer. She seated herself at the kitchen table and went about opening the packet, chattering happily the whole time, while I attempted to sneak upstairs. "Oh, I'm so excited to see these. Its your senior year, and you really are a pretty girl when you want to be, Claire. And you were wearing that shirt that we bought in Port - "
When she suddenly cut short, I knew she had finished opening and was now seeing. And I was only just putting my foot on the bottom step. I froze.
She was silent for several long moments. Finally, she sighed, "Oh, Claire."
I turned around. "Its not my fault, Mom, that photographer guy sucked at his job, and…." My voice trailed off.
And then, to make matters worse, my sister Carly walked in. Her stupid boyfriend drove her, so she usually beat me home. I say usually because sometimes they would decide to mack out for a while. My mother knew that's what they were doing, but she always accepted their lame excuses. I'm pretty sure Carly could tell Mom she was pregnant and a crack whore, and my mom would just say, "All right, honey, just stay safe." Of course, she'd be thinking, "All right, honey, just stay not-Claire." My sister was a year younger than me, and oozed sweetness and ladylike beauty and grace in a way I could never hope to match.
"Oh, are those Claire's pictures?" She floated over to my mother's side and looked at my pictures, before frowning slightly. "Oh. Well. Those aren't…well, hmm." My sister didn't have it in her to say anything meaner than Glinda the good witch.
I harrumphed. "Yeah, I know, I don't look like you." At the sight of Carly's taken aback face, I instantly felt sorry. I did love my sister. Very much. What I didn't love was our mother's blatant favoritism, but since I couldn't do a whole lot about it I generally took it out on Carly. "Sorry," I muttered to her quietly.
My mother apparently heard the snide comment, but not my apology, because she looked at me. Not just looked at me. She looked at me. The Mom Look. With a capital 'L'. "I suppose everyone else managed to look decent in their pictures," she said, clearly annoyed.
"Nuh uh," I said defiantly. "I saw Allison Sorenson's, and it looks like she swallowed ipecac." I was proud of my analogy from earlier.
"I bet she's at least smiling," my mother insisted.
"And Anthony Stecher looks like he's brain dead in his."
"No, Claire, I saw his pictures. That's just how he always looks. You shouldn't make fun of him," my sister quietly admonished. My mother looked at my younger sister fondly, and I suddenly felt like I had swallowed my own dosage of ipecac.
My mother whirled on me again. "Couldn't you just sit still for ten seconds while he took the picture? I mean, what were you saying that was so important that you couldn't wait until after the picture was taken to say it?"
"I didn't mean to talk when he took it," I said defensively. "He didn't even warn me, so its not entirely my fault."
Just then a knock came at the door. My sister went and answered the door. I was pleased to see it was Quil. Quil was quite possibly the only person on the planet to get me. Obviously my sister was pleased it was Quil, too. Ever since she turned fifteen she had been "in love" with him, and to my extreme annoyance, she followed him everywhere she could making googly eyes at him. I wondered absently if her stupid boyfriend knew this.
My mother smiled warmly at him. "Hello, Quil."
"Hello, Tammy," he replied, his deep voice in sharp contrast to all the feminine ones in the house.
It also never ceased to amaze me how he made our house seem like a doll house. He simply towered over all three of us. Even my dad only came up just above Quil's shoulder.
He peered over my mother's shoulder, and I grimaced. His mouth twisted as if trying and failing to conceal a smile. "So these are your school pictures, Claire?" he asked, feigning innocence. I could see the amusement in his eyes, though. He knew right well that those pictures were causing a stir.
My mother's annoyed expression returned. "Yes, they are." She Looked at me again. The one with the capital 'L.' "I'm not sending these to your grandparents. And I hope you're pleased that they will be going into your senior yearbook for all your future generations to see."
Quil's eyes twinkled a bit more. "Oh, I don't know. I think they're very…representative of Claire's person. I like them."
I shot him a death glare. Except Quil didn't quite understand death glares. At least not mine. He found them incredibly amusing instead.
My mother finally cracked a smile. "Yes, very representative. Her mouth wide open with words pouring out." She shook her head, laughing, and stowed the pictures away in a drawer without another scolding word my way. "I just won't show these to your father, then." She went about washing and peeling potatoes for dinner.
I thundered up the stairs to my bedroom, and I heard Quil follow. I threw my book bag on the floor by my desk, kicking my squelching wet shoes off, and immediately began to peel my clothes off.
Quil entered the room behind me and shut the door quietly. He flopped down on my bed, which was far, far too small for him, carefully averting his eyes. He snickered again. "I really do like those pictures."
"Oh, hush up, you," I snapped, throwing my sopping t-shirt in his face. "I'm mad at you. You mocked me in front of my mother. Again."
I was grateful in spite of what I was saying. He had averted disaster from my family. Had my mother stewed on the pictures long enough to show my father when he got home from work, I would have been miserable all day. I knew my father wouldn't really care, but he would be slightly disappointed. I absolutely hated disappointing my father.
"Hey," he said, rising from the bed as I was bent over shuffling through my dresser drawer for a new t-shirt. "You know better than to throw things at me," he said playfully.
I stood up from shuffling and put my hands on my hips. I was only in jeans and a bra, but I didn't feel uncomfortable around Quil. He'd been around as long as I could remember, and it wasn't like he hadn't seen it before. "Yeah, I'm totally afraid of you," I replied dully. I went busily back to looking for a t-shirt. When no reply came from Quil, I glanced back up at him. I realized that his eyes were traveling up and down my body.
I knew I didn't have a bad body, per se. I was always naturally thin. But I had virtually no curves whatsoever. No chest that I had so desperately wanted. When it hadn't come by my last birthday, I had given up on it. But whether I had a good body or not was besides the point. The point was Quil was looking. It wasn't creepy, but it was new, and I, for all I want to change the world, don't do new well.
I quickly grabbed a Star Wars t-shirt and pulled it over my head. I nudged the drawer shut, and ran my fingers through my short, dark hair. Quil, who was very perceptive when it came to me, sometimes annoyingly so, realized that I had noticed him looking. Uncomfortable, he gathered my wet clothes that I had carelessly strewn on the floor and took them to the laundry room to dump them in the wash.
In his brief moment of absence, I collapsed on my bed. Quil entered again and made a whining noise that sounded uncannily like a dog. I lifted my head to look at him. "What're you bitchin' about?" I demanded.
"Ever charming, Claire," he replied. "You know I don't like sitting in the chair at your desk. And now you've taken the bed, and I just don't know where I'll sit," he said melodramatically.
My head fell back on the pillow lazily and I didn't reply. I shut my eyes instead. Quil didn't like sitting in any chairs that had arms on them. He was, in general, too big for them.
"You won't move for me?" he asked in the same melodramatic tone.
"No," I said shortly. I smiled slightly when I heard the whining sound again.
"I see that smile," he said sulkily. "You're tormenting me."
"Mmhm." I rolled over, my back to him.
He crossed the room in two steps and plopped down on the bed next to me. His weight made the mattress sag. "You're mean," he said simply.
"Its true," I replied. I rolled over again so that I was facing him. He lay down next to me. Still slightly chilled from my thorough soaking, I moved closer to his abnormally warm body. I burrowed my cold nose into his t-shirt, feeling the heat radiate off his chest through the thin cotton.
He moved a strand of my damp hair tenderly behind my ear. "Wanna take a nap?" he asked.
"Mmhm," I repeated.
He said nothing else, only hugged me closer to him.
I loved falling asleep in his arms. I never needed a blanket with Quil there. And since it was one thing I enjoyed that my mother didn't mind, I enjoyed it to its utmost.
A/N: This is my first Twilight fic. Hope you like it!