i. his mom and dad aren't together

Elijah Marcus Goldsworthy is seven years old, and he doesn't have a single care in the world. He reads comic books about superheroes with the powers of spiders and villains who look like clowns. He watches cartoons about cars that turn into robots. He plays hide-and-seek with his Mom and Dad in the backyard. He goes to school, so he knows a few things.

But he doesn't know about Mom and Dad's separating until it is too late.

One day he comes home from school to hear them talking in low voices. He stops at the corner of the wall that led to their living room, listening.

"James, I'm worried about Elijah. How do you think he'll take my leaving?" Mom asks, and Elijah's green eyes widen.

Mom is leaving?

"He's going to be fine, Marissa. He'll come to understand that it's only natural for two people to get a divorce if they fall out of love." James answers calmly, and Elijah's face screws up in confusion.

'What's a divorce?' he thinks, and decides to listen to the conversation more.

"But he's only seven years old, James. And I'm leaving tomorrow." Mom presses, and Elijah feel sick to his stomach.

Mom is leaving tomorrow? No she can't! Tears swell up in his wide eyes and he runs up to his room, ignoring the yells of his parents. He stays up there and cries himself to sleep. He doesn't even wake up to tell Mom goodbye.

After that, he decides his name will forever be 'Eli' outside his family, of course.

ii. strawberry is his favorite flavor

Eli is nine years old and he has the hugest crush on Diana Rosewood. She has long brown hair and big brown eyes. There are fourteen freckles splattered on her nose and cheeks and her lips look like strawberry flavored lollipops.

So, Eli kisses them.

It's a sweet, chaste, innocent kiss on the swing set. They're laughing and she tells him how much she wants to have her first kiss in her favorite place, which is right where they are. So, Eli just leans over and kisses her. She kisses him back of course and pulls away slowly.

She runs away blushing, and Eli sits there, smirking because yep, her lips tasted like strawberry lollipops.

iii. 'goth' wasn't always his label

Eli is thirteen and he's just like everyone else. He wears normal clothes and he listens to the type of music boys his age listen to. He loves life and wants to drive a normal car- a Mercedes Benz.

And then his grandfather dies.

It sparks a black flame Eli never knew existed. Suddenly he's wearing all black and listening to incredibly angry music and he doesn't listen to anyone and he just shuts himself off from everyone. He wants to drive the hearse and has an odd fascination with death of all things.

Just like that, with the snap of his black-polished fingers, he's a gothic outcast.

iv. to him there is no god

Eli's fourteen and he decides God does not exist in any name, shape or form. His life isn't all that bad, it isn't. He has reasons to believe, he does.

But he has a few more reasons not to.

His grandpa is dead, his parents are split again, and he's found that love is just another word. Wouldn't you if you've seen your parents get remarried and divorced every couple months.

So, he swears off any kind of religion to be thrown at him. He doesn't do anything on Christmas, sits in his room at Hanukkah, cleans Morty at Kwanza, and just laughs when people try and convince him he's wrong.

He really doesn't believe in anything, so why push it?

v. he's more of a romantic than he'd care to admit

Eli is sixteen and has known her for months when he asks her out. He gets good ol' Morty cleaned up real nice and he picks out a great spot for a sweet dinner under the moon and stars. Sue him for wanting to make a good first impression on her.

It is Clare Edwards, after all. Innocent and lovely and kind and so…everything he isn't.

But he doesn't care because she said yes when he asked her out and she tells him over and over how much she loves the date. So he thinks that it's okay to be romantic and sweet and all that mushy crap so long as he's with Clare.

And no, he thinks, it isn't wrong for a boy to want a big white wedding with the girl of his dreams. A big white wedding where she's walking down the aisle in the most beautiful white dress and whole thing is perfect and he's standing there, hardly breathing because ohmigod he's really doing this.

Nope, it's perfectly alright. So long as nobody else knows about it, of course

vi. clare edwards is the love of his life

He doesn't know how, but he knows it's the truth. He's eighteen years old and he's found his wife. He loves everything about her and he can't get enough.

He loves the way she studies too hard and the way she bites her lip and the way she'll smile at him if he gets protective of her. He loves the way she blushes when does even the slightest affectionate or, dare he, sensual thing to her. He loves how her hand fits perfectly in his and how she tastes like strawberries. He loves how she laughs and how her smile isn't ever fake and…damn he just loves everything.

And he knows for sure she loves him back when she walks down the aisle in the most beautiful white dress and he's standing there, hardly breathing because ohmigod he's really doing this.