I've gotten some amazing reviews lately. And this is my way of saying thanks in the most appreciative way that I can.
WARNING: If you haven't watched Better Off Alone, Part One then you are in for some major spoilers.
English class. It wasn't the worst class of Eli's days (that would be Gym if any of you cared to ask. Running around a rectangular gym was hamster work. And Eli was a full-blown human, for those of you who were questioning his vampire status). In fact, it was probably the highlight of his day. Though he wouldn't admit it, seeing the pale girl behind him every day warmed him somehow.
Yeah, he could quote literature about how that made him feel. But he wasn't really ready to face his emotions yet and begin pining for her lustfully until he finally had a real conversation with her besides the ones they had when their eyes met.
And he frankly wouldn't admit it because she was different. As in nerd different. The warm he got from her would easily be sequestered away when her hand would shoot up moments later as Ms. Dawes begin her daily discussions. She was intelligent, brilliant even. Anyone could see that.
It's just that she was so eager to please. So eager to follow daily routines that made him want to not think so much about her. Because, let's face it, the rogue and the follower never work out.
"Some of the greatest works of all time, letters…" Eli began to zone out as Ms. Dawes voice began to drone on once more as his black sharpie continued to squeak against his nails. Black line, black line, black line. "And now of you."
Bore. He stopped momentarily as he glanced at the red letter that graced the top of his latest essay that had just been placed down on his desk by none other than the current speaker.
It was an A. Suck it haters!
"Ms. Dawes, there must be some mistake. I've never gotten a C. How could this happen?" He heard the girls voice behind him speaking, and though her voice was enviable with its clear tones, he couldn't help but question just how forward the girl was with interrupting the class by attempting to question the all-divine professor.
He had been hoping she would be different; alas, the conformity of grades being meaningful must have swept her up and drowned her in its ocean.
"Well, your earlier assignments were divine. But recently your writing has become…distant. Impersonal."
Black line, how about a zig-zag here?
"I used complex sentence structure and advanced vocabulary."
He rolled his eyes. This is her now hitting the bottom of the ocean floor. Drown, drown, drown.
"Yes, but your assignment didn't tell me anything about who you are. What you want. You can't hide behind vampire fiction forever."
Twilight fever. How normal.
"I'm not hiding," she replied with a slight edge to her voice. Though they weren't touching, Eli swore he could feel the change in heat as her cheeks flushed a vampire-blood-lust crimson.
"Then prove it. To your writing partner." Ms. Dawes finger pointed at him and he shot her a you've-got-to-be-shitting-me look as his eyes went up to her.
"Me?" he replied.
I can feel the water already beginning to creep up past my toes as I can already feel my imagination begin to run with it's own versions of how this will play out. She'll want to work. And work only for that A. Repulsive sheep inclinations.
"Yeah, you." It's almost like Eli felt a physical stab at Ms. Dawes words. Felt wicked. "You write well, but you're a little wordy. You and Clare will be editing each others work this semester."
"Great. That'll be fun." He felt something fall in his chest as her own words fell quietly behind him.
"We may have a special partnership on our hands, people! Like Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes!"
Whatever, Dawes. Eli's right thumb began to check over his new black lines and smeared them across his nails, the edges of where his nails met skin now becoming that deep black, too.
"Sylvia Plath killed herself."
If he didn't think she was such a type-A, he would've smirked at her sarcastic and even more witty reply.
He felt his chest lighten and warm once again. As Dawes told them to write a few notes in their spiral for an upcoming assignment, he chanced a look back behind him.
Her bangs covered the blue sapphires that Eli loved so much and admired. She bit her lip slightly and he enjoyed seeing how…concentrated and focused she was. Her eyes only on one thing; just like his.
Repulsive, Eli. Simply repulsive.
Leaving English class, Clare was officially frustrated. Grabbing her books quickly and stuffing her now-widely-known-mediocre essay into her English textbook, she pulled the green shoulder straps of her bag onto her shoulder and stuck the books inside it. She began walking to the front of the room near the door while zipping it up.
A second later, she looked up and saw the black figure that occupied the desk in front of her. Eli. She could already feel the warm sensation overcoming her chest as she mentally began to rationalize that her cheeks flushing upon watching him was stupid. She wasn't going to be one of those giggling girls like her friend Alli. And she certainly wasn't going to giggle and gossip about him.
Because they certainly had nothing in common. It wasn't that he was at a goth; Clare could care less about what he wore. In fact, if she was being honest, she would say that she loved his dreary clothes since they fit him so nicely. But that was a thought not fit to occupy her vampire-romantic mind.
Because Eli just didn't share the same goals and desires as she did. He didn't care about grades. And she did. Ergo, his principles didn't match hers. And that's what made the two of them so incompatible. So they never had a chance together and these warm feelings are wasteful. Grades are not wasteful. That was the main reason for attending this prison, right?
Well…maybe for safe seclusion away from her parents. She felt her chest harden at the thought. Stop it, Clare.
She headed through the door when a muscular shoulder attempted to pass through it at the same time. She was smaller and therefore simply pushed slightly to the side next to the doorframe. It hadn't hurt, if anything, Clare was thankful that it had been the push that had pulled her out of her thoughts.
She looked over to see who had occupied the same space as her and caught the deep emeralds of a certain dark creature. Eli.
He walked off to wherever else he was heading (not like Clare cared), and Clare could once again feel a burning sensation. Frustration.
"He's just so ugh! You know?"
Disbelief. She never knew she could clash so much with someone she had barely held a conversation with.
"I get it, Clare, you're in love with Eli. But can we talk about something more important here? Like how I can get Drew's attention. Ever since I laid eyes on him I knew we were meant to be." Clare crossed her arms at Alli's chatter.
"Have you even talked to him?"
"You can't just talk to a guy like that. It takes strategy."
"Well, come up with it fast." With a light shove Clare pushed her now-panicked friend Alli into Drew's way. She smirked to herself as she looked at the floor (an attempt to at least grant Alli some privacy at whatever flirtatious method she was now applying at full force), wondering where this sudden boldness of character became so apparent.
She looked up and gazed down the hall. The black-clothed boy that was the spark to Clare's fire was still walking down the hallway. His jacket contrasting against the bright colors that surrounded him, it caused her to once again smirk. She knew his green emeralds must be focused on something ahead since his head never turned nor made any significant movement.
He was concentrated on just one thing; just like her for the moment.
She watched Drew walk away and came back to Alli's current situation.
A warming spread inside her as Alli's mouth opened to begin speaking to her. A boy: Alli's consistent topic of conversation. And now there was one that had captured Clare's thoughts.
They had met up the next day at Clare's insisting that she needed help. Help...that was something that Eli could easily sexualize yet quickly told himself to cut it out because it wasn't like anything was going to happen with the conservative, non-rule bending girl.
And that made it easier to give in to her desires.
"So, what do you think?" Clare asked, looking down at Eli with a slightly-pained expression on her face. She knew it was crap.
And she knew that he knew that too.
He pulled the apple away from his lips for a moment as he attempted to formulate a response. "It's…um…"
"Awkwardly constructed, filled with hyperbole, and generally sloppy." Yeah, Clare wasn't one to beat around the bush when it came to her writing. And she sure knew that she wouldn't get any compliments about this certain piece of crap.
"The title's centered," he shot her a quizzical look. Why bother reading this if she herself didn't think it was good enough? In all actuality, he had enjoyed it. But from his own experience as a writer, he knew that the only audience critique that really mattered was that of the author. And for that reason, he indulged her with letting her continue with her self-berating conversation.
If her shoulders hadn't instantly slumped from his instant positive notion, she would've smiled. Because she couldn't help but enjoy the fact that he at least had something nice to say.
And that wasn't really expected.
"Dawes is right. I have writer's block."
"So don't hand it in," he said off-handedly.
"Then what? Tell her the dog ate my homework?"
Eli looked to the side to make sure everyone was intently focused on their own sheep lives before he continued his persuasion. "Or you could…take off."
"You mean skip," Clare said bluntly.
"If you want to get official." He took a bite of his apple as she instantly shook off the notion of skipping out of habit.
Clare, not everything follows the rules and bonds of institutions.
"It would give me more time to write a way better assignment," she said slowly. The bell rang and Clare looked up expecting to find Ms. Dawes at the door shooting her a solemn look for even considering such an outlandish action.
"Decision time. Stay or go?" He watched her as he continued to chew on the bits of apple that still occupied his mouth. The conversation had now paused as she sat there considering his proposal. A few seconds went by and she was still sitting there. He wanted her to ditch. He wanted to prove that the girl had more layers to her than the one she wore to class. Wanted to prove that maybe she wasn't such of a good girl that she made out to be. And that way, maybe he wouldn't be so embarrassed with the heat he found on his palms against the cool apple as he watched her continue to think.
He watched her get off the desk and make her way behind him, grabbing her belongings. Eli turned and watched her head for the door. He was in a state of disbelief. He could feel that smirk that he so often had wanting to come out from its sequestered spot. There was no way…
"Well, you coming?"
He didn't need to think about it. Sticking the apple in his mouth as he grabbed his books, he headed up to her and made his way with her, stopping only a short moment to look behind him to see if there was any teacher present.
There wasn't. But in his peripheral vision he caught the devious blue eyes that he so often lusted for and he couldn't help but think that, damn, this was hot.
He felt her body brush against him and he could've sworn there must have been some electric shock there because he was now sparking with happiness as he watched her move past him and begin walking quickly in front of him with her head bowed.
"Clare, wait up!" He ran up beside her and matched her strides on the sidewalk. Today was going to be a good day. He could feel it. Looking up at the sky it was a clear blue and the clouds were out and it was just…
Yeah, he wasn't going to turn into a sap with all the poetic things he could say at the moment.
Clare looked over to her right at the boy who was (yesterday) the contradiction to everything that she was. But (today) he is now the complimentary being to what she is.
A small smile spread across her face as she continued walking forward. Her stomach was buzzing with the nervousness of skipping; getting caught was certainly a factor of how her palms had suddenly became clammy. No way could they have to do with the fact that their hands were barely apart and sometimes grazed each other as they walked quickly.
She made her way to a bench down the street that was out of sight from the school's front doors, but was close enough that they could quickly rush back (she had no idea what for, but that didn't really matter). She brought her bag down onto its cool metal rods and pulled out her wallet.
"Coffee," she said quickly. After last nights screaming match over her father's work schedule, Clare hadn't gotten much sleep. And now the relaxation and sudden calmness from being out of the school's confines was making her slightly drowsy.
The risk of getting caught was so worth this peace.
She nodded her head to the store behind them. "You want anything?"
Just you, Blue Eyes. He shook his head no as he plopped himself down on the bench and looked out onto the street, pulling his English essay from his right jeans pocket.
He attempted to mentally calm himself with all the fantasies of rebellion that he could possibly persuade her into. He couldn't help it; this was just so…sinful for her. It had to be.
On one level, he was turned on. But on a deeper level, he was appreciative that he was the one to partake in this activity with her.
Clare returned a moment later with a white coffee container in her hand and sat down. Pulling her essay back out of her bag, she handed it to Eli as he offered his own essay. Taking a few sips of coffee, she scanned his essay quickly, taking notice of how little red marks there were to scathe the page. While on her own essay, there was a whole paragraph on the last page at the very end of her essay that criticized her own work.
It didn't escape Eli's attention. He didn't realize that Ms. Dawes could be harsh. If anything, he could see Clare's motivation to do well so much more clearly: she wanted to prove that bitch wrong.
He looked up as he finished reading to notice that Clare was still solemnly focused on her task. He couldn't help but feel sarcastic at how odd this situation was. "Wow. This is a first. Skipping school to do work."
Clare took one more sip of her coffee and then placed it down beside her. Still bewildered, "Okay, I don't know why you got an A and I got a C."
"Simple. I'm dating Ms. Dawes," Eli replied sarcastically. He watched her face drop and though it would've been fun to edge her on even further, he spared her with a simple qualification. "You're a good writer, but anyone could have penned this piece. There's no point-of-view."
Whatever you do, Eli, don't pull a Ms. Dawes on her. She might just start going after you.
"I write about gun control. I say it's good," Clare said quickly.
This is Clare proving her point. This is Clare fighting back.
"Wow. Controversial," Eli said sarcastically with an attempt to lighten the mood.
"Okay. Fine. What am I supposed to write about?" Clare asked sharply with a raised eyebrow.
"Something that…" Eli pondered for a quick second the exact words. "Pisses you off."
"Besides my English partner?" she said with a glimmer of mischief twinkling in her eyes.
"Ouch!" Eli replied with a smirk hanging on the edges of his lips. He loved it when a girl got feisty. Particularly this one. He looked at her deep blue eyes and once again led the conversation a different route. He wanted to excavate her soul, "If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be?"
"My mom and dad. They're not exactly getting along," she said quietly. She was vulnerable; but for some reason, she had no problem with just spilling her guts to this boy. Okay, spilling of the guts was a hyperbole. But even Alli, her supposedly best-friend-forever, didn't even know what was going on…
"So write about that."
"I can't. It's personal." Eli watched as she closed her doors, locking him out. He had been so close, so close to getting inside her mind. And now he was out.
He scoffed. "You care too much about what people think," he said looking away.
"That is not true."
"Then prove it," his face returned to gaze at hers. "Scream," he proposed. "At the top of your lungs." He raised his eyebrows and nodded towards her, pushing her once more.
Clare caught his challenge and turned away from him to look down the street. Still sitting on the bench, she began to yell, "AHHHHhhhh." But somewhere near the end she could hear her mother's chastising voice in the back of her head telling her that young ladies don't do this. And that was when her scream quickly turned meek.
Eli challenged her once again, "That's the best you could do?"
And here he was thinking that she could do so much more.
Clare's eyes focused in on him. She caged her mother's voice away for a short moment as she mounted up the courage to defy the boy's judgment of her. Shooting one more glance down the street, she brushed off her jean dress and stood up.
Clare shot Eli one more look of that deep tenacity that she held, and opened her mouth, "AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!"
Eli was shocked. He hadn't been expecting it. He hadn't been expecting her to challenge him so head on. And that was no regular scream, mind you, that was a real, true scream.
Clare finished and looked at him with deep pride in herself. Instantly a weight had seemed to lift off of her shoulders and she felt more freedom than she had ever felt these past weeks. It felt good. Sinfully good.
"Okay, you're turn," she said calmly. If he could challenge her, she could do the same to him.
"Yeah, not my style," Eli said. He made his way off the bench and turned to face her just as she began heading after him with that cute smirk on her face and childish glee broke out.
"Wha-? You have to!" Clare began playfully pointing her finger at him, attempting to make a jab at his chest as he began backing up into a telephone pole. She continued, "You have to do it! You just have to." Eli grabbed her wrists as Clare's giggles began to interrupt her words. She caught Eli's deep green eyes and her words became muddled in her head.
"I have to-" kiss you.
Eli's smirk fell from his face as he began looking into Clare's eyes. He was drowning in them and drowning fast.
Clare felt suspended in time for a moment. Time had paused just for her so she could gaze deeper at him, almost as if she was looking into his soul for just a quick glance. And then instantly, with a quick snap, it was over.
She let a small, nervous giggle escape her as she pulled her wrists away from his strong hands. He let go instantly, not wanting to keep her there longer than she wanted to.
But dang, he wanted to keep her.
Clare turned away from him and took a few quick steps towards the metal bench once more. She attempted to regulate her breathing as she turned around once more and gave a short second glance at him quickly.
Eli looked down at the ground from where Clare had just been two seconds earlier and silently found himself wishing that she would just get back here. He brought his head up to look back at her for the second time that day and their eyes finally met.
All she saw were those deep green pools.
All he saw were those deep blue oceans.
They were warm inside even though they were falling, drowning in each other.