DISCLAIMER: I don't own Degrassi or anything else.

Just trying to get this up before tomorrow's episode contradicts everything in this. I didn't really intend for this one to get as dirty as it did, so blame Eli and Clare for being so hot together.

I was sitting in the media immersion lab, trying to work on some make up assignments for Ms. Dawes, but the document in front of me was blank. The only thing on my mind was Clare Edwards.

Monday night, I thought everything between us was amazing. We snuck out of the theatre awards right under her parents' noses, got to hear Chuck Pahluniuk read and had him sign our copies of Fight Club, took rebellion to another level by getting matching cartilage piercings, and drank hot chocolate outside the Dot, talking and kissing for an hour. By the time I got her home, my lips were swollen, my ear was throbbing, and I was the happiest man on the planet.

On Tuesday, things were really normal between us. We ate lunch with Adam and hung out at the Dot after school. I made an offhand remark about the new school uniforms and how we should do something to protest it. I never expected it would lead to her showing up on Wednesday wearing a corset and the shortest skirt imaginable, asking me to cut class with her and spend some time in the boiler room.

Although every hormone in my body was telling me to take her up on the offer, I refused. Because that wasn't Clare. That was some strange girl who wanted to make her parents notice her, in hopes that they would put their problems on hold and focus on her. And I wasn't going to let her use me to do that, or put her in a situation that she would regret later.

I didn't see her for the rest of the day after I walked away, and Adam told me her saw her leaving Simpson's office with her parents after second period. I left her five voicemail messages and probably twenty texts but she never responded.

She was in school today, dressed in her uniform and looking like her normal self, but she was avoiding me. I waited at her locker for twenty minutes before school started, but she never showed up, and when she never turned up at the cafeteria during lunch, I scoured the whole school looking for her, with no luck. In English, she took a seat at the front of the room and wouldn't even look at me.

I decided that English homework just wasn't going to happen and formulated a plan to get her to talk to me. I walked out to Morty with the intent of driving to her house, but it turned out that wasn't necessary because she was there, leaning against the passenger door.


Her eyes looked red, though she wasn't currently crying. "Hi, Eli."

She didn't say anything else, so I wasn't sure what she wanted. "Need a ride home?"

A glimmer of sadness flashed in her eyes. "No, I actually wanted to talk to you."

She gave me a look I couldn't quite place, and said, "I want to spend the night with you."

I breathed a sigh of relief. "Well, I'll have to check with my mother, but I'm sure she won't mind, as long as I crash on the couch, but you can take my bed, and I'll have my mother call your parents so they won't freak out."

She put her hand on my arm. "No, Eli. I want to spend the night with you." She emphasized the last word and her meaning finally dawned on me.

"Clare," I closed my eyes and tried to figure out what I could say to fix this. "We can't do that."

"Why not?" She scrunched up her face and I realized that she was about to cry.

I decided to tell her what I had been thinking for the past two days. "This isn't you."

"How do you know? I'm not Saint Clare, you know. I'm not some perfect girl who doesn't do anything wrong."

"I know that, Clare, but I hate that you think sleeping with me is doing something wrong."

"I don't think that at all. That didn't come out right."

"Clare." I pulled her into a hug. "I know you're upset about your parents. But you don't have to prove anything to me. I'll be here for you, no matter what."

She pushed me away. "That's not what this is about." She glared at me. "It's not like you didn't sleep with Julia."

She was guessing; there's no way she could know that for sure, because I hadn't told Adam and I certainly hadn't told her. But I wasn't exactly in a position to deny it, even though I was hoping to have this conversation under much different circumstances. "That was different."

"Oh yeah, what was so different about it?"

My frustration finally snapped. "Because I was in love with her."

I felt a tiny bit of relief that Clare's face was expressing shock and not anger, but I knew that if I didn't fix this, we might not work this out. "I like you a lot, Clare. And I can definitely see a future where the two of us are head over heels in love. And once that happens if you decide that you want to sleep with me, I will be the happiest guy on earth. But it takes time to get to that point, and I don't want either of us to regret anything that happens between us."

She leaned back against Morty and put her hands over her face but I could see the tears leaking out of her eyes. "I'm such an idiot."

"I know you're embarrassed, but you're not an idiot." I thought I'd try to lighten up the mood. "If it's any consolation, if I were less of a gentleman, we would still be in the boiler room from yesterday."

She laughed but it only made her cry harder. "Clare…" What could I say to make her understand? "You don't need to be a rebel. You just need to be yourself."

"But I don't know who I am!" Her tears grew more hysterical. I put my arms around her but this time she didn't resist.

"They're getting divorced," she sobbed. "They told me yesterday. There's nothing I can do to stop them." I gave her a kiss on her temple, but I didn't say anything. Nothing I could say would make this better.

We stood together, hugging each other while she cried for a long time in the Degrassi parking lot. When her tears had finally started to subside, I gave her a quick kiss on the lips and pulled her toward Morty. "Come on."

I knew she didn't want to go home, so I drove to my house. We entered the foyer and I took one look at her face and knew my mother was going to think I was the person who made her so upset. "The bathroom is right through there," I said, pointing. "You might want to wash your face."

"Good idea."

I found my mother in the kitchen, browning meat. We always ate tacos on Wednesday nights. "Hey, Mom," I said, kissing her on the cheek. "I just wanted to let you know that Clare is with me."

She whirled around just as Clare entered the kitchen. She only looked slightly better than she had before she washed her face. "Elijah Goldsworthy, what did you do to this girl?" Mom rushed over to her and pulled her into a hug. I couldn't see Clare's expression through Mom's giant curly gray hair, but when she pulled back to look at her, I could see her eyes light up just a little bit.

"It's not his fault, Mrs. Goldsworthy. I'm just having a rough time at home."

"Call me Miriam. Do you like tacos? You have to stay for dinner. I'm so pleased to finally meet the famous Clare."

"I would love to, thank you." Clare seemed overwhelmed and I shot my mom a warning look.

"Eli has told me so much about you." Ugh. Here we go. This is why I didn't usually bring friends home from school. My mom and I were really close and I told her almost everything, but she had the tendency to bring these things up in the most embarrassing way.

Within ten minutes, Mom had Clare smiling and chopping onions, while I got stuck setting the table. "I always cry when I chop onions, but you seem to be doing okay, Clare," Mom said.

Her eyes dimmed a bit. "I think I'm all cried out today."

Mom walked over to her and put her arm around her shoulders. "Why don't you go wash your hands? I'll add these to the meat and then we'll be all set."

When Clare walked out, Mom gave me a questioning look. "She just found out her parents are getting divorced." I had told her before about all the fighting and also how religious Clare's family was, so I knew she realized just how badly Clare was going to handle this.

"Oh that poor dear."

I plucked a piece of tomato out of the bowl. "Mom, do you think she could crash here tonight? She really doesn't want to go home."

Mom gave me a searching look. "Well, I think that would be okay. I'll give her mother a call after dinner."

Clare walked back in and I pulled her into a hug. "You don't have to go home tonight," I whispered in her ear. "You can stay here with me." Her arms tightened around my waist and I kissed her cheek.

"Eli," my mom said, and Clare and I reluctantly pulled apart. She rolled her eyes at us and continued. "Can you tell your father dinner is ready?"

I squeezed Clare's hand and walked upstairs to my dad's office. He was a computer programmer and he worked from home a few days a week. "Dad!" I called, even though I knew he probably couldn't hear me through his headphones. I tapped him on the shoulder and he jumped. He took the headphones off and I could hear The Beatles. "Dinner's ready."

"I've got about ten minutes to go on this project, but then I'll come down."

When I got back downstairs, I could hear Mom and Clare talking in hushed voices. I stood right outside the door to the kitchen, hiding behind the wall so they couldn't see me.

"I really don't know how to thank you for what you've done for my son," Mom said. "After Julia, I thought we were going to lose him too. It was hard on all of us; we considered her part of the family. But he blamed himself and I didn't think he was ever going to get out of the depression. Moving here helped a little bit since it got him away from the bad influences, but it wasn't until he met you that he really started to be himself again."

I closed my eyes, wishing that my mother would stop bringing up my worst memories. I had told Clare about Julia but she didn't know about the months after that, when I had trouble getting out of bed, when I spent my days skipping school, drinking way too much and caring way too little.

"I really care about him," Clare admitted, and I couldn't help but grin.

I walked through the door and grabbed her from behind. "Talking about how wonderful I am?"

"More like how conceited you are." She stuck her tongue out at me.

We sat down to dinner and my dad came down a few minutes later. He told us a story about one of his coworkers who almost broke their entire website and all three of us were in hysterics. My mom asked Clare about her involvement in church and her classes. I told Clare the story of our trip to Disney World where there was a huge hurricane and we had to stay in a shelter with 100 other families instead of the happiest place on earth but it ended up being more fun than the theme park. Clare looked a little sad when my parents were their usual affectionate selves and I squeezed her hand to remind her she still had me.

When we were finished eating, Clare and I offered to do the dishes and my mother said she would call Clare's mom. Clare wrote down the number and Mom took the cordless phone upstairs.

"Your family is amazing, Eli," Clare said as she put the dishes I rinsed into the dishwasher.

"Well my mother loves you already. So please don't break up with me because she'd totally pick you over me and I do like living here."

She rolled her eyes and I threw a handful of water at her. "Eli!" she screeched and I wrapped my arms around her and kissed her. My hands were wet and I moved them up the back of her shirt.

She pushed me away and gave me a dirty look, but I could tell she wasn't really mad. We finished up the dishes and went out into the living room. My mom still hadn't come back downstairs so I told Clare to look through my DVDs to see if there was something she wanted to watch and I went upstairs.

I opened the door to my mother's room and she was still on the phone. "I know it's hard but sometimes it's for the best," she said into the phone. She noticed me standing in the doorway and shooed me away.

"I think our mothers are going to be best friends after this phone call," I said when I returned to the living room.

"They're still on the phone?" Clare looked alarmed.

"Relax. They've definitely moved past you as the topic of conversation." I decided it was time to change the subject. "Find a movie you want to watch?"

She held up the Sex and the City movie. "Yeah, I don't think so," I said. "That belongs to my mother."

"It's the only one I could find that didn't have blood on the cover," she said.

I knew I was supposed to be cheering her up but there was no way I was watching that. I spotted a red Netflix envelope on top of the TV stand and checked to see which movie I had received.

"The Squid and the Whale?"

She shrugged. "I don't even know what that is."

"It's got Jesse Eisenberg in it, the guy from the Facebook movie and Zombieland. I don't really know anything about it, but it's an indie movie. No blood and guts in this one."

"Fine," she said, and flopped down on the couch.

It was only on for a few minutes when we realized this was the last movie we should be watching. The two parents in this movie sat down their two sons and tell them they are getting a divorce. Clare immediately tensed and I reached for the remote.

"You know, I have some math homework that I should work on," Clare said.

"You're no fun," I said, but I grabbed my laptop from where it was charging on the dining room table, and we both settled down to get some work done.

My mom came down a while later and laughed when she saw us. "Clare, I can't believe what a good influence you are on my son. You're welcome here anytime."

Clare looked up and my mom walked over to her and placed her hand on Clare's shoulder. "Your mom said it's fine for you to stay here tonight. You'll just have to wake up a few minutes early so Eli can drive you home to change your clothes before school."

"Thank you, Mrs. Goldsworthy." Clare paused. "Is my mom okay?"

"She'll be just fine, Clare. She just needs a little time, just like you do." My mom caught my eye. "Eli, I left a clean set of sheets on your bed; why don't you change them so Clare can get some sleep? It's getting late."

I went upstairs and changed the sheets as fast as I could. I realized my room was a mess and Clare was about to see it for the first time and I didn't want to freak her out. I gathered up a heap of dirty clothes and threw them into the bottom of my closet, but it didn't really make a dent. There wasn't much I could do about the piles of books and CDs lying around but I figure Clare of all people would understand that. The picture of Julia that I kept on my nightstand caught my eye and I thought about putting it away so I wouldn't upset her, but it didn't feel right to do that, so I left it.

Clare walked into the room and laughed. "This is exactly what I was picturing," she said, gesturing at my walls covered with posters.

"Oh, so you've been picturing my bedroom," I grabbed her around the waist. "That's good to know."

I pinned her down against my bed and kissed her, the way I'd been thinking about kissing her all day. Her arms came up around my neck and she kissed back enthusiastically for a minute, but then she pushed back against my chest. "I'm really getting tired," she said. "Can you find me something to sleep in?"

"Mmm, I've got some ideas," I said, and pulled her polo shirt out of the waistband of her khaki skirt. Before I could touch her stomach she pulled away.

"Seriously, Eli."

I got up, reluctantly and dug around my drawer. I found a pair of pajama pants that I knew would be too long for her and a black t-shirt. I handed them to her and she went into the bathroom. I grabbed a pair of basketball shorts for me, since I usually slept in my boxers, and a white t-shirt, and after she returned carrying a pile of clothes that I could see included her bra, I went to the bathroom to get ready for bed.

I figured Clare might like it if I tucked her in, but when I came back to the bedroom she was sitting on the edge of my bed, looking at the picture of Julia. I was pretty sure this day couldn't get any worse between the crying and the dredging up of old memories.

"Is this Julia?" Clare asked.


"She's very pretty." Clare looked over at me and I could tell she was trying to read my expression but I didn't know what to say. It was hard for me to think about her, even to this day, even being here with Clare who I really truly liked.

When I didn't say anything, Clare continued. "You never told me what you were fighting about." She didn't say 'the day she died' but I knew what she meant.

I sat down next to Clare on the bed, but I didn't look at her. "I accused her of cheating on me."

Clare let out a small gasp, and she wrapped her hand around mine, but I didn't respond. "Was she?"

I looked down at our intertwined hands. "I don't know."

I could feel her eyes burning on me and I turned to look at her. "This kid from school came up to me and said he was sorry that Julia and I had broken up. And when I told him he was crazy and that we would never break up, he told me he had seen her kissing some guy at this party she went to that I skipped because it was my dad's birthday. And when I asked her about it, she denied it, but I was so upset I called her some horrible names. And then I never saw her again."

"Do you believe her?"

"Does it matter?" I said bitterly.

She was silent.

"The kid who told me was kind of an asshole. So it's very possible he was lying. But when I confronted her, there was something in her eyes that made it seem like it was possible, even when she said it wasn't." I took a deep breath. "So I'd like to believe her, and most of the time I do."

"My dad cheated on my mom." I could see Clare's eyes filling with tears again. "That's the reason they're getting divorced."

"I'm sorry," I said sincerely.

"K.C. didn't technically cheat on me with Jenna. But he hooked up with her about three hours after he dumped me, and he had been flirting with her for weeks."

Clare had never really told me what happened between her and K.C. and I was starting to understand just how deeply this all was affecting her.

"I just want you to know, that no matter what happens between us, it won't be that," I promised. "We might fight and we might break up. But I would never cheat on you, and no matter how bad it gets, I promise that we will talk things out together."

Clare was crying in earnest now, and I pulled her onto my lap and she buried her face in my neck. I stroked her curly hair and rubbed my hand along her back as she cried. I could see the picture of Julia over her shoulder and fought back a few tears of my own, but tried to take comfort in the fact that I had Clare now, and that crying aside, she was the most beautiful, intelligent, sweet girl in the world.

"Eli," my mother called from the doorway and I turned to look at her. "I just need to talk to you for a minute."

Clare climbed off my lap and I met my mother in the hall. "How's she doing?"

"Every time I think she's feeling better she ends up crying again."

Mom looked over my shoulder and saw Clare's tear streaked face. "I can't believe I'm saying this, but if she's okay with it, you can stay in here with her tonight." She narrowed her eyes at me. "But Elijah, both of you better keep your clothes on at all times."

I knew she was thinking of the time she walked in on me and Julia when we were only covered by a sheet and not much else. "Mom, look at her. She's having the worst day of her life. I don't think you need to worry about anything happening."

"A mother always worries," she said, and she kissed me on my cheek. "Goodnight, Eli."

"Goodnight, Mom. And thanks for understanding."

I closed the door so that it wasn't latched shut but that my parents wouldn't be to see in if they got up in the middle of the night. Clare looked up in surprise. "Want some company?" I asked her.

She laughed. "I can't believe your mom is going to let you sleep with me."

Her wording brought an image to my mind that I couldn't shake for a second. "She can tell you don't want to be alone. And she trusts me."

"If she knew what you were thinking right now, I doubt she'd trust you so much."

"If she knew that you've thrown yourself at me, not once, but twice in the past two days, I doubt she'd trust you either," I teased. I pulled back the covers on the side I didn't usually sleep on and gestured for her to climb in. I went over to the door and flicked the light switch, and crawled into the bed on the other side.

Clare turned over a few times, moving from her back to her stomach, then to her side, facing away from me. I was starting to worry that she was a restless sleeper and wondered if maybe I should have crashed on the couch. I gave her a few minutes to get settled and then spooned up behind her and wrapped my arm around her stomach.

Her shirt had ridden up a bit in her restlessness, and my hand made contact with her smooth skin. I ran my finger along her stomach and she responded by pushing back against me, which made me instantly hard. I knew she could feel it but she didn't pull away. I moved my lips to her neck for a few seconds and then ran my tongue along her earlobe. I could feel her new piercing against my lips and smiled.

"And you're supposed to be the trustworthy one?" Clare smirked.

"Oh, you can trust me," I whispered in her ear. "I won't do anything you don't want me to."

She turned over and lay on her back and pulled me down to her. She kissed me and I could feel that this was the real Clare, not the girl who had hit on me because she was upset or trying to prove something, but my sweet and sexy girlfriend who really wanted to kiss me.

Being in bed with her was amazing, and I had trouble keeping my mind from wandering to dangerous territory. The few times we had kissed before she was really hesitant, either because it was for a project or because she was surprised or because we were in public. Alone in my dark room, it was another story. She entangled our tongues boldly, pulling back to place small kisses along my jawline, and running her fingers through the hair at the nape of my neck.

I moved her onto her side, and she wrapped her leg around my hip, and I was having trouble formulating complete thoughts in my head. I smoothed my hand over her side and down to her ass, dipping my hand underneath her waistband slightly. On my way back up, I pushed her shirt up a little bit more, so that it just covered her breasts, leaving her full stomach exposed.

She seemed to be really into this, but I didn't want to cross any boundaries with her, and I kind of wished we could stop and play an impromptu game of Never Have I Ever so I could at least know how far she had gone in the past. I suspected it wasn't very far and that made me nervous. She had a really rough day and I didn't want to do anything to upset her.

Clare seemed to know I was hesitating and broke our kiss. "What's wrong?"

"You're just so sexy. It's hard to know when you want me to stop."

She touched my chest through my t-shirt. "You don't have to worry. I'll tell you."

I ran my hand down her neck. "Maybe you could tell me now. So that I know and I won't do anything wrong."

She giggled. "Well, I can't do that. What if I want to do more with you than you're comfortable with? I wouldn't want to pressure you."

I groaned. "I don't think that's possible." My resolve was starting to crumble and if Clare took off all her clothes and asked me to have sex with her, I was pretty sure my answer was going to be yes.

"Well," she said slowly, and I felt like I was going to die. "I would like it if you touched me."

I moved my hand back down to her stomach, pretty sure I knew where she was going with this. "Touch you where?" I breathed.

I sort of expected she might move my hand, but instead she moved her shirt, pulling it up and over her breasts. It was too dark for me to really see her, but I could tell she was trying to take her shirt off, and I stopped her. "I promised my mother we'd keep our clothes on," I said, putting my hand on hers.

"That was a silly promise," she said, and I grinned.

"I didn't promise we'd keep our hands out of them," I said, and I moved both hands over her breasts. Clare let out a moan and my cock twitched against her leg. I was trying to enjoy the softness of her full and beautiful breasts and not focus on what might happen next. I touched her, trying to figure out what she enjoyed most by listening to the sounds she made. She seemed to like it when I cupped her and when I lowered my mouth to her nipple she started grinding herself against me in a way that felt so incredible.

I knew Clare had really put herself on the line when she asked me to touch her and thought that I should make the next move. "There's another place I'd really like to touch you," I whispered in her ear and she shivered.

"Please," she moaned and I actually had to pull my hips away from her to make sure I didn't come right then and there.

I slid my hand down the front of her pajama pants, testing to make sure she was really okay with this. When she started kissing me with a previously undiscovered ferocity, I knew I was on the right track and slid the pajama pants and her underwear down to her ankles. I wanted to dive in headfirst, but remembered that Clare was probably new to this, so I should do this slowly.

I teased her by touching everywhere but where she wanted me to – starting at her neck, down her breasts, across her stomach, curving around her hip and down her thigh. She started to wiggle a little bit and spread her legs in anticipation and I couldn't wait any longer. My finger met her clit and instantly she moaned so loud that I had to kiss her to drown out the sound. She was really wet and I groaned. I wanted to replace my fingers with my cock, but I knew that wasn't going to happen so I focused on the task at hand.

It was taking kind of a while, but I could tell she was enjoying it even if I hadn't quite found success yet. I knew from reading loads of websites on the subject that some girls weren't as easy as others. I wanted to add my tongue to the mix, but I thought we should save that for another day since I was surprised she was even letting me do this much.

We had stopped kissing since I was having trouble doing both things well at the same time, and her head was slightly turned away from me, as she panted as quietly as she could. I saw her stretched out neck, and went for it, dragging my teeth along her as I circled her clit faster. Ten seconds later, her legs shook and she arched so high off the bed that I couldn't reach her neck, but I kept rubbing gently. She didn't yell which was a good thing given my parents were right down the hall, but it was still the sexiest thing I had ever seen.

She moved my hand away and lay back against the pillow, completely out of it. I figured we were probably done for the night and wondered if I could make a trip to the bathroom without being totally obvious. I pulled her pants back up and looked at her in wonder.

"Wow," she finally said.

I laughed and gave her my trademark smirk. "Enjoying your first orgasm?"

"Who said it was my first?" My eyebrows shot up and I pulled myself up on my elbow and tried to read her expression, but it was too dark to really tell what she was thinking. Please don't tell me she got this far with that K.C. guy. That Justin Bieber wannabe really pissed me off.

Clare laughed. "It's probably the last person you'd think of."

Oh my God, she was going to kill me. Adam? Sav? Fitz? Conner? "Wesley?"

Clare's giggles turned hysterical. "Well, I have given him a hickey and he did grab my boobs once, so that was a pretty good guess, but no, not even close." I raised my eyebrows in shock but decided it was probably better if I didn't know what she had gotten up to with a school nerd before she knew me. But this orgasm thing, that I had to know.

"You're killing me Edwards."

"I'll give you a hint," she said, as she ran her hand down my stomach, pausing right above the waistband of my shorts. "It's someone very close to you. Right now."

My eyes widened as I realized what she meant. "You little devil." I attacked her mouth and gasped in surprise when she moved her hand into my shorts and wrapped it around me.

I fell back against the bed, and she pulled down my shorts and boxers and held me again. She sat up and I could tell she was nervous because her grip relaxed and she just barely caressed my skin.

"Clare, you don't have to…" I began, praying that she wouldn't listen to me.

"I want to," she said. "I just haven't done this before."

She moved her hand over me, and the feeling combined with the surprise that she wanted me like this made me realize this wasn't going to last long. I spotted a towel on the floor that I had left after my shower this morning and was momentarily glad I was such a slob. I asked Clare to grab it and she did, covering my stomach with it, and moving back to her task.

My eyes had started to adjust to the light and I could see her determined and curious expression on her face. I wanted to kiss her, but her lips were too far away and I didn't want to break her concentration. She was biting her bottom lip and the sight of that was a huge turn on.

I was about to ask her to go a little faster when she bent her head down and rang her tongue along my length. My hips moved forward and I had to bite my thumb to keep from crying out. She put me in her mouth and looked at me with her innocent doe eyes, and I knew it was over.

"Clare, stop," I said, and she pulled me out of her mouth just in time. I spilled all over the towel and she kept her hand on me as I came.

I cleaned myself up and threw the towel back on the floor, and pulled her to me so that we were spooning in the same position we were in when we first got into bed. "That was so fucking incredible," I said, and her eyes widened.

"And to think, a few hours ago, you turned me down when I asked you to spend the night with me," Clare said.

"But that wasn't you," I said. I spread my fingers out over her stomach and pulled her closer to me. "This is you."