|I'll Always Have You
Author: chocokat13 PM
Tragedy always seems to strike Clare at the worst of times. Can Eli help her keep a straight head through it all?Rated: Fiction T - English - Drama/Romance - Clare E. & Eli G. - Chapters: 10 - Words: 15,129 - Reviews: 32 - Favs: 24 - Follows: 22 - Updated: 12-30-10 - Published: 12-09-10 - Status: Complete - id: 6543222
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
I'll Always Have You
1. The Last Thread
It was abnormally bright that day. Clare found herself almost blinded by the rays that beamed down onto the Earth, warming the black asphalt of the funeral home's parking lot.
Hold tight, Clare. Everything will be all right, Eli had told her. He promised he would be her rock, just like he had a few months ago when her parents went through the divorce.
But no, everything would not be all right. Darcy…her big sister…her death was it. Her death cut that last thread that tied Clare down to sanity, and as she watched the balloon attached to the thread fly away, she couldn't help but wonder if Darcy's passing was for the better.
What kind of shit was that? Of course it wasn't for the better.
"Clare?" A quiet voice asked. Clare turned around to look at her mother. Helen looked so old, so worn, that it almost tortured Clare to look at her. "The funeral is still scheduled for tomorrow…you know that…I just wanted to let you know…that if you need to bring a friend to help you…through the service, your father and I would be absolutely fine with it."
Clare nodded vaguely, her eyes blank and soulless. Helen hated seeing her daughter's blue eyes so empty, unhappy then she had been when Helen had divorced from her husband.
"Can I go now?" Clare asked hoarsely.
Helen nodded. "Yes, honey. Go."
Clare walked into the parking lot, keeping her head down so that her mother wouldn't have to see her cry. She didn't want her mother to be any more upset than she already was.
Clare wasn't that surprised when she saw the black hearse parked but running in the lot. It wasn't the driver and car waiting to bring her sister's casket to her grave - it was the one person she wanted to see.
She opened the door to the passenger's side, sliding in the seat. Clare closed the door and didn't say a word, the tears still falling slowly down her cheeks.
As the car started to move, Eli took one hand off the steering wheel and took one of Clare's. The car ride was wordless and silent, for there was nothing to be said.
Eli just took them back to his place. When they got there, he took his hand off Clare's and parked the car, then helped her out of the car and up the front steps. He was worried about his Clare, for she was shaking, suppressing sobs now.
He led her up to his room, holding her close as she began to violently sob. Eli opened the door to his room, which he no longer kept padlocked. The room was still messy, but he and Clare had made a lot of progress, and the bed was free to sleep on now.
Eli sat down on the bed and pulled Clare into an embrace as he sat her down on his lap. She turned into him, burrowing her face into his chest, soaking his shirt with her tears. But Eli didn't care; all he cared about was that he had to comfort his crying girlfriend.
Funny word, girlfriend. Eli knew that was what Clare was, but the term seemed so loose. It almost felt more appropriate to call her his soul mate, the love of his life. Of course, how could either of them be certain that's what they were for each other? So they just stuck to boyfriend and girlfriend for now.
Time passed by, and Eli lost track of the minutes they had spent just sitting here. He didn't mind, not at all - in fact, he very much liked having Clare in his arms. Just not in this situation.
"I'm sorry," Clare said after awhile, looking up at Eli. She was one of those people who, when they cried, still looked effortlessly perfect and beautiful, Eli thought to himself. No runny nose, her makeup didn't run…how could she stay so intact?
"Sorry for what?" Eli asked, raising an eyebrow.
"Your shirt…it's all wet…" Clare explained.
Eli used his thumb to wipe away the tearstains on Clare's cheeks before replying. "It's no problem, Clare. Don't worry about me."
Clare rested her head on Eli's chest again, but she was quiet now as she listened to Eli's steady breathing, no tears falling from her eyes anymore.
"Though…I would like to get out of my shirt, if you wouldn't mind," Eli said, trying to keep his voice gentle incase Clare had another breakdown.
Clare nodded, and Eli released her from his embrace. He pulled his shirt off, but as he reached for another random shirt, Clare stopped him by taking his hand.
Eli looked at her curiously as Clare dropped his hand onto the bed next to him. Clare sat up on her knees in front of him, wrapping her arms around his neck. She leaned in close, her breath blowing gently against Eli's face, forehead pressed against his. Clare lightly pressed her lips against Eli's, and he kissed her back gently.
Eli stayed still as Clare broke away, letting her do whatever she wanted. She kissed his cheek, then his neck. Eli tried to refrain from groaning, a shiver coursing through him at her careful touch.
Clare softly pushed Eli so that he was lying on his back now, and Eli felt suspicious and unsure whether he should stop her or not. She lay on top of him, continuing her kisses down his throat.
As she started to make her way down his chest, Eli had to stop her. "Clare…not now. This isn't a good time for you."
Clare tried not to feel hurt by the rejection, even though it wasn't the first time she had been. She knew Eli was only trying to care and look out for her, but couldn't she just get what she wanted right now?
Clare sat up, getting off of Eli. She ran a hand through her hair, wondering why everything had to be so confusing for her right now. All these traumatic events taking place in her life were screwing up her judgment.
"Come here, Clare," Eli whispered, extending his arms slightly as he sat up slightly, resting his head against his pillow.
Clare reluctantly lay back down, letting him wrap his arms around her. He rested his cheek on the top of her head, and Clare enjoyed the warmth radiating off of his bare chest.
"You're upset. You're confused. Do you really think it's the best idea to do that right now, Clare?" Eli asked. "Especially when it'll be your first time?"
Clare sighed. "No," she answered truthfully.
A quiet knock sounded on the door, and Eli's mother peeked her head into the room. She was unfazed at seeing Clare in Eli's arms, for CeCe knew that if they had or were going to make love, it was because they loved each other. She knew where Eli's feelings for Clare stood, and she almost urged him to take that next step.
"Hi Clare," CeCe said, smiling slightly. "I was wondering if you wanted to stay for dinner? I'm making lasagna."
Clare smiled thankfully back. "I would like that very much."
CeCe nodded and closed the door as she left to prepare dinner.
Eli chuckled quietly to himself, and Clare made a face and looked at him. "What's so funny?"
"Nothing. Sometimes my mother just strikes me as odd."
Clare laughed tentatively in agreement as they settled back into a peaceful silence.
"Eli, can I ask you something?" Clare asked suddenly.
"Hmm?" Eli replied, closing his eyes.
"Who's bra is hanging off the side of your dresser?"
Eli opened an eye to follow Clare's gaze, and then his face turned red. "That was, um…that was Julia's."
Clare tried not to be surprised and disturbed that he had kept that. He was a hoarder, after all, but why the heck would Julia even leave her bra at Eli's? "You wouldn't lie to me, right Eli?"
Eli shook his head vigorously. "I'm not cheating on you, Clare. I swear."
"All right," Clare said. She knew Eli wouldn't lie to her, no matter how weird or suspicious the situation seemed.
They continued to lie there, quiet for the most part, until CeCe called to them that it was time for dinner. Eli put on a clean shirt and took Clare's hand as they walked to the dining room. They sat down next to each other, across from CeCe and Bullfrog, and quickly dug in.
The Goldsworthys shared quiet little conversations while Clare ate, not wanting to interrupt their family time.
"Clare, your sister's funeral is tomorrow?" Bullfrog asked her at one point.
"Dad," Eli warned him.
"It's fine, Eli," Clare murmured to him. "It is," she said, addressing Eli's father.
Bullfrog grunted in acknowledgement, nodding as he chewed.
"Speaking of which, my mother allowed me to bring somebody. Would you mind missing school and coming with me tomorrow?" Clare asked Eli softly.
Eli shook his head. "Not at all. I'll always be here for you, Clare."
"Thanks," Clare answered gratefully, and then finished off her plate of lasagna.
"Will you be spending the night tonight?" CeCe asked, and Clare couldn't help but notice how eager she looked.
"I suppose so. I don't want to be in that house," Clare mumbled as she stood up to wash off her plate.
"No, no, leave it, it's fine," CeCe assured her. Clare hesitantly put the dish back on the table.
"Why don't you find her an old pair of your sweats to wear to bed, Eli?" Bullfrog suggested.
Eli looked at Clare for a moment, the nodded, pushing his chair back and getting up. "Okay then. Back to my room."
They headed back upstairs as CeCe and Bullfrog started a conversation amongst themselves. Eli shut the door to his bedroom behind them, then rifled through his dresser, tossing Clare a pair of sweats.
He kept his back to the wall as Clare changed, then turned around when she announced that she was ready.
Eli smirked his usual lopsided smirk. "I must say, I do like you in those. You seem more like…mine when wearing my clothes."
Clare grinned a tiny bit, flopping down onto the bed. "Well, thanks."
Eli sat down next to her, lying back down. Clare snuggled into his chest, and he wrapped his arms around her once more, stroking her hair comfortingly.
Clare had had a rough day, and it wasn't even that big compared to how she would react tomorrow during the funeral itself. She was asleep soon enough, and Eli continued to stroke her hair rhythmically until he too fell asleep.