Welcome to my Quil/Claire fic! This is a companion fic to the one-shot So Far Away, a Quil one-shot. This is about Claire-- it's not quite as angsty, because she's younger and also does not know about the imprint. Please read and give me feedback! I would REALLY appreciate it! If you find errors, let me know. Also, formatting tips would be appreciated-- I'm not very good at getting this to look right. Sorry! Hope it reads ok. Read, enjoy (fingers crossed), and review!
Claire James wheeled her ever present black roll-aboard suitcase into her hotel room at the Hilton Narita in Tokyo. A quick glance around told her that the room looked exactly like any other hotel room she'd been in, whether in Seoul, Brussels, Dubai, Lima, or Miami. With a sigh she deadbolted the door and flung her suitcase onto the luggage rack, unzipping it with one practiced motion. She quickly shimmied out of the navy polyester dress, nylons, and heels before tossing her airline ID, watch, and pearl earrings onto the desk.
She had just finished working a sixteen hour flight, and her business class passengers, mostly overly self-important upgrades, had been ridiculously needy. There had been the jittery Japanese writer who had divided his time evenly between manic bouts of typing on his fire engine red laptop and ringing the flight attendant call button—complaining about the teriyaki sauce used in his preferred dinner entrée and the slightly wilted edge to his salad greens, and demanding his drink be freshened every two sips. The pair of slightly inebriated Midwestern businessmen who had lounged importantly in their seats like they were on royal thrones, obviously ecstatic about the upgrades they had scored, had proved even more irritating. They had waved their bloody marys about dramatically with puffed out chests and an air of self-satisfied arrogance and little boy glee. Despite their wedding rings, they had pinched her ass no less than three times apiece and openly ogled her breasts, well cloaked as they were in the unflattering polyester frock her company called a uniform. The worst passenger had been the puny teenage punk rocker who kept throwing banana peels at her—he must have brought an entire bushel on board with him! Apparently, just handing his rubbish to her for disposal was too easy and watching the slimy peels bounce off her chest was more entertaining. She thanked heaven that she had 36 hours before she needed to be back at Narita for her return flight and started to fill the bathtub with hot water, tossing in some bath salts she kept in her toiletry bag for nights like these.
She truly loved her job as a flight attendant. She loved the flexibility, the amount of time off she had (12-16 days a month!), the layovers scattered over six continents, the interesting people, the airplanes, the mad rush of the busy airports, and especially how this job had given her the opportunity to fulfill a lifelong dream of seeing the world. Some days the hustle and bustle, the inevitable delays, and disgruntled passengers became too much for her though, and she thought back on the simpler life she had led on a quiet Indian reservation back in Washington.
It was the deaths of her entire immediate family that could be labeled the catalyst for her leaving La Push four years ago. She had once had a little sister, though the memories of her were unbearably dim, who had died of a heart defect at the age of two. Claire could not remember much about her own flesh and blood sibling, but she could recall the air of depression and desperation that had permeated the house afterward. Her parents had been understandably devastated, and much of her time was spent with a boy named Quil, who showed up regularly in her memory after that. She still was not sure how he had gotten involved with the family, but suspected that he had come to help out after the death of her sister. She never wanted to ask him, not wanting to know for sure that he had started spending time with the James family out of pity or a misguided sense of obligation. Not knowing for sure allowed her to believe he had been around because he had genuinely liked her and wanted to spend time with her. He had certainly be a stabilizing force for Claire and her mother after Mr. James had collapsed from a fatal brain aneurysm at her fifteenth birthday dinner. Mrs. James had been inconsolable in her grief, refusing to leave her bed for a month after the funeral, until faithful and inhumanly patient Quil finally brought her around enough to realize she still had a daughter who needed her. He'd been a permanent fixture in her existence, something she had never questioned. When her mother had informed her that Claire would soon lose her too, this time from a long, drawn out battle with terminal cancer, Quil had been the only thing keeping her quasi-sane.
Slouching down further into the comforting bubbles, Claire allowed her mind to flash briefly back to those stressful college years after her mother's announcement. Other girls were living in dorms, giggling about boys, drinking at frat parties, and worrying only about psychology exams and the efficacy of birth control. She attended classes at a university three hours away, because her mother was adamant about her pursuing a degree. When Mrs. James laid out the "my greatest dream is to see my little girl graduate college before I die," guilt trip, how could she refuse? Her mother, amazing woman that she was, had only wanted Claire to have some semblance of normalcy and not to be stuck in La Push taking care of her ailing parent twenty-four hours a day. It was a noble goal, and Claire had truly wanted to further her studies, so she allowed herself to be forced into classes.
Focusing on the foreign languages had been therapeutic—languages were the one thing in life that always made sense to her. Language was beautiful, flowing, and fluctuating, and she loved the possibilities that language represented. Words could be combined in an infinite number of ways to express anything. In all other fields her academic aptitude had been mediocre, with barely passing grades in every subject save English, Quileute, and Spanish. (the only foreign language taught at the Quileute Tribal School) In those she had flourished, so majoring in European languages had seemed appropriate. The ease with which she absorbed the languages was a godsend, as she had had so little time to study with her mother as sick as she was.
Quil had always kept her car running smoothly and stocked with audio books in whatever language she was focusing on— commuting to Seattle left her with many hours alone in the car, so the audio books were perfect. Lord of the Rings in German had been a little long and melodramatic for her taste, but by the end of the epic series she had been conversing fluidly with a pitch perfect Hessen region accent copied from the narrator, much to the chagrin of her professor who had yet to see her complete any of the tedious German 101 workbook assignments. She had been allowed to bypass most of the base classes using this technique, starting the more advanced grammar, usage, culture, and literature courses earlier on. She had graduated in three years, narrowly fulfilling her mother's wish. She had not even participated in the ceremony, for within hours of finishing her last exam, her mother had taken a turn for the worse. She had sped home in time to say her final good-byes before her mother, her last remaining family member, had slipped away from her. Having had years to prepare for the loss had not eased the pain in any way, and she had found herself even more lost than ever. Quil had stood by, his strong and constant presence reassuring, but ultimately even he, who she had loved more than any person left on the earth, could not rid her of the ache inside.
Her languages had failed her and she could not find words to express what she was feeling in any one of them, which had frustrated her more than anything. She had wondered wildly if there was some sort of genetic curse intent on wiping out her entire line. The love and sympathy that radiated from everyone around her had become stifling, and she had longed to get out where no one knew that she was a genetic time bomb and to see anything and everything that she could. She could still remember the big blank book Quil had given her years ago onto whose pages she had so carefully pasted pictures of castles and cathedrals and towers and mountains that she had dreamed of seeing firsthand. Looking back, it seemed childish and far too simple. But travel she had—no one could say now that she had not experienced the world, good and bad.
The deaths of her parents had left her with a small inheritance, though much of it had been spent on treatments and hospice for her mother. Claire had not cared about the money one way or another, but, about six months after she had moved, Renesmee Cullen had shown up in New York City, and they had rekindled a sort of friendship. The Cullens, still feeling grateful—and warm and fuzzy as rock hard freezing cold vampires could be—to Claire for having spent time with Renesmee during her childhood years, (Renesmee had not been allowed around many human children, because of her rapid inhuman development. Claire, used to the strange and mythical, had been an approved playmate) had insisted that she let Alice handle the funds Claire had in her savings account. Claire had flat out refused to have them supplement their own funds, but had eventually acquiesced to Alice's stock market expertise. The money had accumulated at an insane rate—having a fortune teller handle ones portfolio was apparently a lucrative venture. After several intense discussions making sure that the gift-happy Cullens were not siphoning money from their own accounts into hers, she no longer kept tabs on the money. There was always plenty available in the account, which had aided in her extensive array of traveling goals. Traveling for work was one thing, but one did not get time enough to fully experience a city. It was using those funds that Claire had traveled to dozens of countries and stored up a lifetime's worth of stories.
Still lazing in the tub, Claire sniffed. Sure, she could start a story with "this one time when I was camelback racing in Egypt…" or "once when I was being chased across Warsaw by four Polish policemen who were convinced that I was the British serial murderer the entire European Union was hunting…" Stories she definitely had, and she would not trade them for the world, but she still felt empty. She had thought that time and experience would remedy it, but no matter how far she ventured, she never felt whole. It was a troubling feeling, but she had become a master at pushing the idea aside, though it continued to niggle at her subconscious.
She finally managed to drag herself out of the now tepid bathwater and wrap her body in a lush white towel, the faint smell of bleach tickling her nose. She fleetingly thought about calling Adam, but he was currently en route to South Africa if she was remembering correctly, so his phone would be off. They had a huge calendar on the kitchen wall with their schedules for the month laid out, but by the fourth day of her trip she tended to forget exactly when and where her roommate was flying.
Claire had met Adam, another flight attendant, when they had worked a flight to Copenhagen together. There had been a huge group of middle-aged American tourists in matching yellow t-shirts heading over to Europe to reconnect with their Danish roots. They had spent two hours in a group sing-a-long, causing the rest of the coach cabin to hurriedly insert headphones and earplugs. (Which she and Adam had passed out with abandon to anyone not clad in blinding yellow) The Danes on board flinched noticeably whenever the group would particularly butcher an otherwise pleasant Danish folksong. The group had taken up almost the entire coach cabin of our Boeing 747 and was an unstoppable force, fazed by absolutely nothing. The glares and snide comments bounced off them like so many rubber balls. Adam and she, the only ones willing to deal with the yellow-shirted sing-a-long posse, had bonded over the experience and been fast friends ever since.
She and Adam understood each other effortlessly, which was a complete shock for both of them. Neither was exactly gifted in the field of interpersonal relationships.
Claire could communicate with people at work and on the plane—but in her personal life, she had no relationships at all. She found most people utterly mystifying and/or inane, could not relate to them, and had absolutely no desire to make an effort to befriend people she found tiresome. (i.e. the vast majority of humanity) The girls she had lived with when she first moved to New York City could not comprehend her lack of social life: why she had no boyfriend, was not dating, and/or was not actively seeking a pilot to sex up in her free time. She had no answer for them. She was not looking for someone, but neither was she not looking. It was just that their faces all ran together and no one elicited even the barest hint of interest out of her. The girls told her that she was dead inside. She silently wondered if they were right. Then she had met Adam.
Adam had no family and no friends—did not seem to want them. He explained that his parents had died a long time ago and the one true love of his life had died eight years ago, and after losing Michael, Adam had closed himself off from everyone. He was a very attractive man, about six feet tall, slim but strong, with light brown hair and blue eyes surrounded by too many worry lines for someone only thirty years old. Men and Women hit on him constantly, but, like Claire, he claimed that their faces all ran together. The women were either oblivious to his disinterest in the entire XX-chromosomal category or just gluttons for rejection. The men, in Adam's words, were just shadows; none even came close to comparing to what he had lost.
Adam and Claire were a rather pathetically asexual duo. Neither of them had even the faintest interest in anyone—platonic or romantic, and it was a bit refreshing for her to be around someone who never bothered her about that aspect of her life. Adam was independently wealthy (another reason women threw themselves at him shamelessly) from several very successful business ventures he had made in his "youthful glory days" as he called his early twenties with Michael, flirting with the Fortune 500 bracket. With those funds he owned a great apartment in uptown (one far too expensive for a normal flight attendant salary) and, once he had heard about the crowded crash pad Claire was using as a home base, he insisted that she move into the second bedroom of his spacious (for New York City) abode. It was the perfect solution for both of them, and they had become extremely close over the past three years. The friendship was effortless and beautiful, and Claire was more grateful for it than she could ever tell. The only other person still alive that she had ever felt that close to had been Quil Ateara. Thinking of Quil made her shiver involuntarily, and she quickly donned her nightgown, pulled the blackout curtains over the window to hide the smog dulled sunshine, and crawled under the fluffy oft-bleached duvet.
Ah, Quil—that was one aspect of her life she still found disconcertingly frustrating, even after not seeing him for four years. She sent him postcards though, which was much more than she did for anyone else from her past. She just scribbled a handful of lines every few weeks about where she was and how she was doing. She knew somewhere deep in her gut that he would want to know. He never wrote back—she did not think she really wanted him to. She wanted to be separate from her past for a while, keeping her new life free of the old memories, both good and bad. She wanted, for once, just to be Claire… to figure out what exactly she wanted and who she should be. She could not help but roll her eyes at how cliché that sounded.
It was more than just that though. The death of her family had made remaining in La Push, surrounded by always perfect Quil and the disgustingly cheery werewolf sect with their doting wives and families, simply unbearable. She had struck out on her own, wanting to be around people who did not know her past trauma and drama. So far, it had been a good ride. If only she could eliminate that lonely feeling, the longing for something she could not identify. Lately it had been nudging her soul with frustrating regularity. Unfortunately, she had no idea what she was yearning for or how to heal the chasm of loneliness. She would have to talk to Adam about it soon. With that, she drifted off to a dreamland with a beach of rainbow colored rocks and warm arms around her, making her whole.
More to come! Please review and let me know what you think! Thanks! :)