Word Count: 5412
Summary: Angela sends for Claire to break Nathan out of his depression.
Spoilers: Takes place prior to Four Months Later, but let's say all of Volume to be safe. Also, pretend that Nathan got out of the hospital at the beginning of February.
Warnings This is canon, so incest and underage sex are involved.
Disclaimer: I claim no ownership over these characters. I am merely borrowing them from Tim Kring et al.
Feedback: Yes please! It makes me happy and keeps me writing.
Beta'd by apckrfan. Any mistakes are mine.
Author's Note: Written for the Valentine's Day Challenge at cheer_and_fly.
"Your father needs you," Angela said, a note of finality in her voice as she hung up the phone.
"Why did you do that, Ma?" Nathan asked from the doorway, his words slurring only slightly.
"I am only doing what is best for you," she answered. "As always."
"By calling Claire? How is that best for me?" Nathan snapped. "She can't do anything about the fact that Peter is gone!"
"Yes, your brother is gone. I miss him too. But this isn't healthy, Nathan. You can't put your life on hold waiting for your baby brother to come home, when we both know that will never happen."
"We don't know anything," Nathan growled. "Peter is missing. I refuse to be as quick to accept his death as you are, Mother."
Angela sighed. "Be that as it may, you are letting yourself fall apart. If you won't look after yourself for your own sake, then do it for Claire's. You have already lost your wife and sons. Perhaps there is someone in this family that you care about besides Peter."
"She shouldn't have to see me like this," Nathan said.
"I agree. So do something about it. Take a shower, shave off that ridiculous beard and remember that you are a Petrelli."
"With you around, how could I ever forget?" he grumbled.
"I will not lose you, too," Angela fiercely told him. Before Nathan could respond, she crossed to the door and opened it. "Claire will be here the day after tomorrow. I expect you to be ready for her."
The sound of the door closing behind her echoed in the silent apartment.
Nathan sighed and shook his head. He poured himself a drink and wondered what he'd do with a teenaged girl underfoot.
His mother had been true to her word. When he returned to Peter's apartment after a trip to the market, Claire was sitting nervously in the living room, although she stood to face him when he entered the apartment.
"You don't have to be here," Nathan said, by way of greeting.
"Hi to you, too," Claire mumbled.
Nathan smiled slightly at that, but dropped it quickly. "Hello, Claire. You shouldn't have let my mother coerce you into coming out here. Don't you have school or something?"
"My dad wanted me to wait a little while to make sure that we're going to stay in California for more than a couple of weeks before enrolling," Claire told him. She quickly amended, "My other dad."
Nathan waved her off. "No, he's your dad and we both know it."
An uncomfortable silence settled over the room and Nathan took the opportunity to take the groceries into the kitchen.
He felt Claire follow him, watching as he moved about the small kitchen putting away his few groceries. He didn't really eat much these days. He preferred a liquid diet.
"What happened to you, Nathan?" Claire quietly asked.
"My brother exploded after filling my body with enough radiation to ensure that there are no more children, legitimate or otherwise, for this Petrelli. Or hadn't you heard?" Nathan sneered. He did not want to talk about this. Not with Claire, not with anyone.
He almost regretted causing her to flinch, though.
"You don't have to be mean about it, you know," Claire said. She refused to show that his words hurt her. "You flew off and I didn't know whether the two of you were alive or dead. Not for weeks. No one bothered to tell me that you were alive! I finally had to beg my dad to try to find out."
"I would have been better off if I had died," Nathan said, leaning against the counter.
"Because Peter's missing?" Claire dared to ask.
"Don't talk about Peter," Nathan automatically snapped. "Peter is not dead."
Claire smiled softly at that. "I know."
Nathan looked up at her, shocked, hopeful. "Y-you do?"
"Of course, I do." Claire giggled. She moved in close to him. "Peter has my ability to heal. I just know that he survived that explosion."
"Everyone else has given up hope," Nathan said. "They all think I'm crazy for believing that he's out there, somewhere. I just want him to come home to me."
His shoulders trembled and he balled his hands into fists, willing himself not to break down. He would not cry like some child. Not now. Not in front of Claire.
Claire saw him shudder again. She tentatively reached a hand out and set it on his shoulder. When he didn't shake her off, she pulled him to her in a loose embrace.
Nathan, who hadn't been touched in compassion in such a long time, felt his resolve crumble under Claire's simple offering of comfort. He wrapped his arms around her small frame and pulled her against his chest. He buried his face in her silky hair and began to sob. Months of frustration and sorrow, fear and anger were released as Claire held him through his pain.
Claire held Nathan until he had exhausted all of his tears. She tried to ignore how good it felt to be holding him, and not because he was her biological father.
Eventually, he stepped back out of her arms, muttering an apology.
"You don't need to apologize," Claire insisted. "You obviously needed that."
"I guess I did," Nathan agreed. He ran a hand over his face and cringed at the feel of the coarse beard. "I must look like shit."
"I wasn't going to say anything," Claire said, grinning.
"I'm going to go get cleaned up," Nathan said. "Just make yourself at home."
Nathan escaped to the small bathroom to try to gather his thoughts. He turned on the shower and stripped off his clothes, stepping under the spray when the water was hot enough.
His mother had been right to send for Claire, he reluctantly admitted to himself. He hadn't cried since that night at Kirby Plaza and it had been eating him alive.
It wasn't grief. He was not grieving, because Peter wasn't dead.
It was so many other things, though.
Nathan rinsed the shampoo – Peter's shampoo – out of his hair and took a moment to enjoy the familiar scent.
No, Peter wasn't dead. And Claire knew it too.
He turned off the water and grabbed a towel, rubbing himself dry in quick, efficient strokes. He wrapped the towel around his waist and cleared a space in the foggy mirror. It was time for the beard to go.
After rummaging around the bathroom, he eventually found some shears and trimmed the beard down so that he could shave the rest off. Some time later, he emerged, fresh-faced and squeaky clean from the bathroom.
Claire was watching TV in a much cleaner living room than he'd left it. She turned slightly when he emerged from the bathroom, but quickly averted her gaze, as he was still wearing just a towel.
"I'm just going to get dressed," Nathan said, walking quickly – not scurrying – to the bedroom.
Not being used to having anyone else in the apartment while dressing, Nathan forgot that the wall connecting the bedroom and the living room was comprised of glass panels, including the door.
Claire, however, was very aware of the fact that there was a completely naked man in the next room. A very good looking man, who happened to be her father. She pushed those thoughts aside, knowing it was dangerous to think of Nathan as anything but her blood relation.
Nathan returned to the room before long, dressed in jeans and a button-down shirt.
"I don't think I've ever seen you in jeans," Claire observed. Blushing, she added, "You look good."
"Thank you," Nathan said, not liking the thrill he felt at her words.
He stood still, not sure what to do next, when Claire patted the couch next to her. After hesitating only a minute, Nathan sat beside her.
"What are we watching?" he asked, glancing at the TV screen.
"Love Actually," Claire answered. "It was the best choice. Everything else is much sappier."
"It's all sappier?" Nathan teased.
"Well, it is Valentine's Day," Claire pointed out.
The hint of a grin Nathan had been wearing disappeared. "Shit. It's Valentine's Day? Since when?"
"All day," Claire said.
Nathan glared at her. Ruefully, he admitted, "I didn't get anything for Heidi."
"I doubt she was expecting anything," Claire commented. "Especially since you're not actually living with her. D-do you mind me asking what happened?"
Nathan shook his head. "No, I suppose you're right. She kicked me out. While I was in the hospital, covered from head to foot in radiation burns, I told her the truth about us, about what we can do."
"You told her?" Claire echoed, her eyes wide.
"It was long past time that she knew. If I were a better man, I would have been straight with her from the start. But there were too many things going on. I was so focused on winning the election that I didn't want any kind of special ability. I figured that if I pretended it didn't exist, I didn't have to talk about it. Or something like that."
"So what changed?"
"I realized that the easiest way to explain the burns was with the truth. I told her about the flying, Peter's multiple abilities, the explosion, Linderman…you." He looked up to meet her eyes.
Claire swallowed, hard. "You told your wife about me?"
"I did. No more secrets," Nathan said.
"Linderman was the man who rigged your election, right?" Claire asked.
"Yes, he is," Nathan frowned. "He also healed Heidi so that she could walk again."
"That evil man had the ability to heal others?" Claire was aghast.
"Hard to believe, I know. It was an offering, a promise, a reminder of how much I owed him," Nathan said.
"It's great that she can walk, though," Claire said.
"Yes, it is. It was wonderful watching her walk and stand, moving just like I remembered." Nathan sighed. "I got to watch her walk right out of my life."
Claire rested a comforting hand on his thigh. At least it was supposed to be comforting. The thrill of sensation they both felt at the contact wasn't intended.
After a moment, Nathan lifted Claire's hand from his leg, uncomfortable with the placement, but he kept her hand in his. Meeting her eyes, he said, "I'm sorry to have ruined your Valentine's Day."
Claire shrugged. "It's just a stupid greeting card holiday. It's not like I have a boyfriend or anything that I would have been spending it with. My dad isn't too big on me dating."
"No, I'd imagine not," Nathan agreed. His eyes ran over her body, taking in the stunning curves and flowing blonde hair. Claire's heart raced under the scrutiny.
"So, um, do you have anything that I can make dinner with?" Claire asked.
"You don't have to cook," Nathan insisted.
"Are you going to cook?" Claire asked, eyebrow raised in challenge.
"No, I'm going to order something to be delivered," Nathan replied. "What would you like?"
"Whatever. Chinese maybe?" she suggested.
"Sounds good to me," Nathan agreed. He finally released her hand, which he'd forgotten he was holding, to grab the menus. As they decided what to order, he realized just how hungry he was. He'd become too good at ignoring his body's demands.
They watched the movie in a much more comfortable silence than before as they waited for the food to arrive. When it did, Nathan paid for the food and Claire got plates and serving utensils from the kitchen.
"What do you want to drink?" he asked as he went into the kitchen.
"What are you having?" Claire asked.
"Beer," Nathan called back.
"I'll have one of those," Claire said.
Nathan came to stand in the doorway. "I don't think so."
"Why not? It's not like I'm gonna be driving anywhere. Besides, isn't it okay to drink when you're underage if you're with a parent?" she pointed out.
Nathan bristled at the parent comment, but he turned back into the kitchen, emerging a moment later carrying two bottles of beer.
"Consider it your Valentine's present," he said gruffly, handing her one of the bottles.
"Thanks. You're such a romantic," Claire said, rolling her eyes.
"It's not supposed to be romantic," Nathan said.
"I know, geez. Can't you take a joke?" Claire teased.
"Just don't go getting used to this," Nathan warned.
"Don't worry, I won't," Claire agreed.
Rather than eat off her lap, Claire sat on the floor in front of the coffee table. After a minute, Nathan joined her.
She picked up one of the egg rolls with her fingers and, wrapping her lips around one end, took a bite. She giggled and held a hand in front of her mouth as she realized she'd taken too big a bite.
Nathan paused with his egg roll halfway to his mouth as he felt his groin tighten. Chinese food was not supposed to turn him on. Hell, Claire was not supposed to turn him on. He savagely bit into his food, averting his eyes as Claire repeated the process.
When they moved on to the main dishes, Nathan offered Claire a pair of chopsticks, but she declined.
"Never learned how to use them," she said, sounding apologetic.
"I suppose there isn't much call for learning in Texas," Nathan said.
"No need to be insulting," Claire said, sitting up straighter. "There are plenty of Chinese restaurants around. We just never learned how to use chop sticks since they all have forks on the table."
"I wasn't trying to be insulting," Nathan hedged. He nimbly used his set of chopsticks to pick up some food and bring it to his mouth.
"Show off," Claire muttered, using her fork to lift her meal to her mouth.
"Maybe sometime I can teach you how to use them. If you'd like," Nathan offered.
"I'd like that," Claire beamed.
Going against his better judgment, Nathan picked up a piece of Claire's food with the chopsticks and held it before her mouth. She smiled and opened her mouth wide, closing it around the chopsticks and pulling her head back. She met Nathan's heated gaze as she chewed.
The sound of the chopsticks hitting the table broke their eye contact. Nathan quickly retrieved them before taking a long draught from his beer.
Claire took a moment to take a smaller sip, but she needed something to quell the fire that was racing through her.
"W-what was that?" she nervously asked, taking a quick bite of food.
"I'm sorry," Nathan apologized. "I don't know where that came from."
"Where what came from?" Claire asked, not sure she wanted to know the answer. Nathan couldn't have been having the same kinds of thoughts she was having. He was the responsible adult here, after all.
"It was nothing," Nathan insisted. "That's all it can be. You're technically my daughter. I can't look at you like that. It was wrong, I'm sorry."
"So that was what I thought it was? Lust?" Claire clarified.
"Certainly you've been in lust before," Nathan said.
Claire shrugged. "Not much. Not really. Things didn't go well with the last boy that I kissed."
"Boys can be idiots," Nathan told her.
"Tell me about it," Claire said, grinning. "Brody was a real ass. He was the Quarterback."
"Hey, I was the Quarterback," Nathan objected.
"Case in point." Claire was smiling now, so Nathan just laughed.
"Are we okay now?" Nathan asked.
"Yeah, we're good."
When they were both full and had cleared the uneaten food and dirty dishes, Nathan suggested, "Do you want to watch a DVD?"
"Sure," Claire said. "What do you have here?"
"I'm not sure. I haven't actually watched any of Peter's DVDs since I started staying here," Nathan admitted.
"Let's see." Claire crossed to the shelving unit containing Peter's small DVD collection. "Mostly action and superhero stuff."
"Figures," Nathan huffed. "At least they're not all romantic comedies."
"Did you think they would be?" Claire asked, looking at him over her shoulder.
"With Peter, you never know," Nathan replied. "Anything you want to watch?"
"Spiderman?" Claire suggested. "I can kind of empathize with him."
"Great, superheroes," Nathan sighed. "Alright. Fine. Go put it on."
He sat on the couch while Claire popped in the DVD and found the correct remote control. He expected her to sit at the other end of the couch, but was pleasantly surprised when she sat right next to him instead. She curled her legs under her and leaned slightly against him.
"Is this okay?" Claire asked, her breath warm against his neck.
Nathan swallowed hard, but calmly answered, "It's fine."
When he settled his arm around her shoulders, she sighed and relaxed against him.
They remained that way throughout the movie. Neither dared to move, afraid of losing that connection, afraid of how good it felt to be sitting so close together.
Nathan's thoughts drifted, not really paying attention to what was happening on the screen. He was too focused on the warm body of the young woman curled up against him. If it were any other woman, he would not be watching the movie for an entirely different reason.
In his mind, he pretended that he was not responsible for half of the DNA in this young beauty. His fantasy self was a few years younger, and she was a few years older. By now, the arm around her shoulder would have slid lower, hooking under her arm, and grazing a thumb along the curve of her breast. She would sigh against him in contentment before turning lust-filled eyes up to him.
She would lick her plump, pink lips and lean up towards him, meeting him halfway as he lowered his head to kiss her. Her mouth would open under his, welcoming his tongue. His mouth would swallow her squeal of pleasure when he fully cupped her breast.
Nathan was jerked out of his fantasy Claire sighed wistfully at something that had just happened on the TV.
Claire's forearm was resting along his thigh, her elbow perilously close to his erection. Nathan tried to casually slide his free hand to cover the bulge, giving it a quick squeeze, his fingers accidentally brushing against Claire's arm.
He froze when the action caused Claire to glance down at his hand before quickly looking up to his eyes.
"Is everything okay?" she nervously asked.
"Yeah," Nathan squeaked out. "Yeah, it's just fine."
"Do you have a stomach ache from the Chinese food?" Claire asked, reaching over to rest her hand over his stomach and scratching lightly in what she thought was a soothing manner. Nathan found it anything but soothing.
"No, I'm fine," Nathan snapped, causing Claire to pull her hand away quickly.
She turned back to face the TV, crossing her arms over her chest. "Fine."
Nathan breathed a sigh of relief. For several blessed minutes the only sounds were those coming from the television.
"I'm not stupid, you know," Claire said, seemingly out of the blue.
"I never thought you were," Nathan replied.
"Yes, you do." Claire turned back to face Nathan. "I know that you're turned on right now. Why did you lie to me?"
Nathan groaned. He wondered, not for the first time, why women always wanted to talk about these things. "Because I didn't want you to know. It's none of your business what my body is doing."
"If you were thinking about me it is totally my business," Claire retorted.
"I wasn't thinking about you," Nathan insisted.
"Oh yeah?" Claire raised an eyebrow in challenge.
"Yes," Nathan said. "It's been a long time since I have been close to a woman. Any woman. My body reacted without thinking."
"So you would have reacted this way if it was say, your mother, sitting here?"
"My mother would never sit like that with me," Nathan said, his face twisted in disgust at the thought.
"So you blame me for your body's reaction?" Claire asked.
"I'm not blaming you. God, can we please stop talking about this now?" he pleaded. "I don't want to talk about this."
"I don't want to talk about it either," Claire said.
"Thank— Claire, what are you doing?"
Claire had swung her body around and straddled him as he spoke. It was only with his quick reflexes that he caught her hips with his hands and stopped her from sliding fully against him, instead keeping her sitting on his mid-thighs.
"I'm tired of talking, too," was all she said by way of explanation before leaning in and kissing him.
Nathan wanted to pull back. He knew he should pull back, push her away, do something to stop his daughter from kissing him so entreatingly. He knew he should stop her. He had to be the strong one here. But God forgive him, he didn't want to.
He remained stiff, unyielding; and then Claire's soft, wet tongue brushed against his lips and he was done for. He threw his weakening morals out the window and kissed her back, opening his mouth to hers and taking control of the kiss.
Claire moaned into the kiss, obviously happy with his reaction. She wrapped her arms around his neck and he slid his hands down to grasp her ass, finally pulling her flush against his body. He rocked his hips, driving his renewed erection against the warm heat between her thighs. Claire squirmed in his lap, rubbing against him, making the most delightful noises.
"I've wanted this since the first time I saw you in New York," Claire admitted against his ear, her kisses having moved steadily in that direction over the past minute.
"Oh, God, me too," Nathan admitted. "You were so beautiful, so grown up. So not my child."
"I'm not a child, Nathan," Claire said, pulling back to meet his eyes. "Do I feel like a child?"
"No," Nathan groaned, running his hands over her sides, his fingers brushing against her breasts.
"This is why I let your mom talk me into coming on such short notice," Claire said, rocking her hips against him, causing them both to moan.
"Do you have any idea what would happen if anyone caught us?" Nathan asked.
He didn't say no to her.
"No one has to know," Claire said. "We can keep this just for ourselves. We can both pretend there's no attraction when other people are around. You're good at pretending."
"I should say no," Nathan said, still not able to do so.
"But you don't want to." Claire smiled knowingly.
"No, I don't," Nathan agreed. A part of him screamed in his head all of the legal and moral reasons why he should not take his daughter to bed, but instead all he said was, "Turn off the TV."
Claire grinned wickedly, leaning over to grab the remote, her hips twisting and digging into Nathan. He bit back a groan as the room was plunged into silence.
"Wrap your arms around my neck," he instructed. When she did, he stood and her legs automatically wrapped themselves around his back. She rubbed her cheek against his freshly shaved one before dipping her head to kiss and lick at his neck.
Nathan was afraid his knees would buckle before he reached the bed, but luck was on his side and he laid Claire on the disheveled bed. She reluctantly dropped her legs from around him as he pushed back to stand.
A thought popped into her head and she bounced off the bed. "Oh, I almost forgot." She dashed into the living room and Nathan could hear her digging around in her suitcase. He sat on the bed, leaning against the headboard, wondering what on earth she could be doing out there.
A much more timid Claire re-entered the bedroom with her hands behind her back.
"What was that all about?" Nathan asked, patting the bed beside him.
Claire crawled up the bed and straddled Nathan's lap, again. She nervously held out what she had brought with her, her cheeks flushed with embarrassment.
It was Nathan's turn to raise an eyebrow at the foil packets Claire held out for him. "Y-you were planning this?" he asked in disbelief.
Claire shook her head, still blushing furiously. "Not planned. Hoped. I told you I wasn't naïve. I know how bad it would be if I got pregnant."
Nathan didn't even want to think about that possibility. Against his body's demands, he said, "You know that condoms don't work 100%."
"I'm also on the pill," Claire said.
"You're not a virgin?" Nathan asked, unsure what he wanted her answer to be.
"I am," Claire admitted. "I want you to be my first."
Nathan groaned and dropped his head to her shoulder, hugging her tightly. "Are you sure about that?" he asked, his voice muffled slightly against her body.
"I'm sure," Claire said, running her fingers through his hair. "This is all that I've wanted for the last few months. I've felt all kinds of guilt about wanting you, but it's what I want." She pulled his head up so that he was looking into her eyes. "You're what I want."
Nathan kissed her. He'd tried to reason with her. He'd offered her a chance to stop this. She wanted this as much as he did. She had given him the condoms to use.
With one hand behind her head and another against her lower back, Nathan rolled them over so that Claire was beneath him. He settled himself between her legs and began to pull at her top. Claire sat up enough to help him drag it over her head. Her bra was soon to go, too.
While Nathan took a moment to stare at her half-undressed beauty, Claire began to work the buttons of his shirt. When she reached where his shirt disappeared into his pants, Nathan helped her to pull the material loose and off his body. She rubbed her hands over his defined chest as he lowered himself to taste her breasts.
Claire arched into his mouth, offering herself to him. Nathan feasted on her flesh, reveling in the firmness of youth, growing drunk on the taste of her skin. He switched his attention to her other breast after some time, his hand coming up to take his mouth's place.
Nathan tried not to press into Claire's writhing body, but she was making it very difficult to remain still. She was giving herself to him completely, not holding back a single moan of pleasure or wriggly movement.
Instead, he moved his lips down her belly and licked at her belly button. She giggled and he glanced up at her. With their eyes locked, he opened her jeans and drew them off her legs, taking her panties with them.
Claire bit her lip at being laid bare before Nathan, but her arousal dulled any embarrassment she might have otherwise felt. The heat in Nathan's eyes and the bulge in his pants helped a lot too.
"You still okay?" he asked, lying back down between her thighs.
"Yeah," Claire said. "More than."
"Good," Nathan said. He used his hands to spread her thighs more, opening her to him. He licked his lips, then licked her.
Claire squeaked in surprise. She'd known what he was going to do, but no one had ever done this to her before.
Nathan smirked to himself before fastening his lips over her clit and rubbing it mercilessly with his tongue. He slid one long, elegant finger inside her, drawing pleasure from how wet she was already, and her moan that accompanied the action. He licked her and stretched her and thought that he could come just from the sounds that Claire was making.
Claire's fingernails scratched at the sheet beneath her as she tried to find some kind of purchase against the pleasure she was feeling. She always knew that Nathan had a wicked mouth, but now she could appreciate it on a whole new level. She felt her orgasm building and wanted to tell Nathan how close she was, but she couldn't catch her breath long enough to form words.
Finally needing something more, she reached for his head, threading her fingers through his hair and holding him to her. He glanced up at her and their eyes locked. Heat, lust, desire flared between them and Claire cried out his name as she fell over the edge.
Nathan wiped his mouth and shucked off the remainder of his clothing as Claire recovered. He was achingly hard and needed to be inside her, soon.
He reached for one of the condoms that had dropped to the surface of the bed, but Claire sat up and pulled him into a passionate kiss.
"That was incredible," she panted when they separated.
"We're not done yet," Nathan promised.
"We better not be," Claire agreed. "I want to feel you inside me."
Nathan was surprised to feel her hand wrap around his cock as she spoke. He groaned and only let her stroke him a few times before placing a hand over hers and removing it.
"I'm close, Claire," he said in response to her worried expression. "I need to be inside you."
"Yes," Claire said, lying back down. "Please."
Nathan hurriedly grabbed a condom and ripped the package open. He sheathed himself and positioned himself between her legs again.
"Are you ready?" he asked, nudging at her entrance.
"Please," Claire said, wrapping her legs around Nathan's hips.
Nathan kissed her, sliding his tongue into her mouth as he drove himself into her with one powerful stroke, breaking her barrier. Her nails bit into his shoulders from the rush of pain, but she soon relaxed as he continued to kiss her.
"You okay?" he murmured against her lips.
"I'm good," Claire said. She ran her hands over his back and lifted her hips experimentally.
Nathan pulled back and entered her again, slowly. He established a languid pace, resisting the urge to simply pound her into the bed. Maybe next time, he thought.
Claire was moving now, too. She writhed and moved her hips against him, picking up the rhythm he had established.
"Can you go any faster?" she asked. "I want more."
"My pleasure," Nathan groaned and immediately picked up the pace.
"Yes," Claire moaned, feeling her body rev up towards another climax.
"So close," Nathan said through gritted teeth. "I'm so close, Claire."
"I'm gonna come again," Claire keened.
Nathan slid a hand between them, feeling himself about to lose control. He brushed his thumb against Claire's sensitive clit and the result was instantaneous.
Claire's body clenched around his and she let out a wordless shout.
"Claire," Nathan called out as he shuddered and emptied himself into the condom.
He collapsed on top of her, panting harshly as he tried to recover his breath. He could feel her trying to do the same, probably hindered by his weight. When he could manage the movement, he reluctantly pulled out and flopped down on the bed beside her.
"That was better than I had imagined," Claire said, turning on her side to press her naked, sweaty body against his.
"I'm glad not to disappoint," Nathan said. Internally, he tried not to gloat about how he still had it.
He slid off the condom and tied it off, dropping it in the wastebasket near the bed. He blindly reached for the bedding and pulled the covers over himself and Claire. She snuggled closer to him in thanks.
"How long are you in town?" he asked her, running his fingers through her tangled hair.
"Just through the weekend. I have to go back Sunday night," Claire said. She stretched an arm across his chest, holding onto him tightly. "I don't want to leave you."
"Shh," Nathan hushed her. "We'll figure something out. Regular visits, or something."
"I don't want to lose this with you," Claire said.
"You won't," Nathan promised. "I don't think that we could ever go back. Not that there's really anything to go back to."
"You promise not to shut me out?" Claire asked. She turned wide, tear-filled eyes up to him.
"I promise," Nathan said. He kissed away the tear that escaped. "Right or wrong, we're in this together."
Claire could feel exhaustion overcoming her. "Happy Valentine's Day, Nathan," she mumbled.
Nathan leaned down to brush a kiss across her lips. "Happy Valentine's Day."