DISCLAIMER: I don't own Degrassi or anything else.
This is a little sappy even for me. Hope you enjoy it!
I opened my eyes to see Sav Bhandari grinning at me. "Sorry to wake you up, but the party is really winding down and I'd like to head out." He nodded his head toward Holly J who was standing by the DJ table. "Holly J and I have some…making up to do. Do you think you could put the DJ equipment in your car and I'll pick it up from your house tomorrow? I left my Ipod playing some slow jams so people will start heading out."
"Sure, sounds good, thanks man." I said.
I looked at Clare who was still snuggled up in my arms on the hammock. She looked beautiful and I really didn't want to wake her up. I almost told her I loved her before, but I chickened out. I think she got the picture anyway when I told her being with her was a dream come true.
I managed to get my cell phone out of my pocket without disturbing her and checked the time. Wow. It was already two a.m.
"Clare," I said gently. I raised my voice a little and repeated her name, but I still couldn't wake her up. I put my hand on her side and shook her a little.
"Eli?" She looked very confused, waking up in a hammock next to me.
"It's 2 a.m., Clare. We gotta start cleaning up and get you home before your parents kill you."
"I told them I was sleeping over Alli's." She checked her phone. "No missed calls. I should be okay. I can't believe we fell asleep and missed half the party."
We managed to get out of the hammock without toppling it over and surveyed the damage. There were about fifteen kids left. They were mostly standing around, still drinking; two couples were dancing. Clare went over to them to make sure they had safe rides home while I grabbed a trash bag and started throwing out cups people had left lying around.
"Where's Adam?" she asked when she came back over to me.
I shrugged. "Best case scenario: Fiona invited him in for some alone time."
Clare raised her eyebrows. "And realistically, what do you think happened?"
"She probably decided to fly out to New York for her party, not even realizing how badly Adam was going to take it and how much work he did for her."
"You should text him and make sure he's okay," she said. I pulled out my phone and sent him a message.
Overall it wasn't too messy, and within an hour we had everything taken care of except for the DJ equipment, lights, and the now empty keg. Adam hadn't shown up and he hadn't responded to my text. Everyone else had left and it was just me and Clare, alone in the woods together.
Clare was starting to unwind some of the lights from the trees and I came up behind her and wrapped my arms around her. "You know, Clare, we didn't get a chance to dance earlier."
"You dance?" she asked with a smirk.
"I do," I said. I held out my hand and she took it with a smile. She wrapped her arms around my neck and I pulled her closer, clutching the small of her back gently.
I didn't know the name of the song that was playing, some cheesy ballad Sav had put on his mix that I'd never voluntarily listen to. I just lost myself in Clare's eyes. She pressed herself against me more firmly as we swayed together and I kissed her neck. We shared a brief kiss as the song ended.
She stepped back. "It's really late, Eli," and to illustrate her point, she yawned.
"I wish Adam was here to help us clean up," I grumbled. "It was his party." I grabbed the keg and put it in the back of Morty. It was a lot easier to lift now that it was empty; when I picked it up earlier it took three people to get it in and out of the car.
Twenty minutes later, we had packed up all of the DJ equipment and lights and Clare was coiling the extension cord. "You're okay to drive, right?" She asked.
I rolled my eyes. "I spent half the party asleep in a hammock, Clare. I didn't even get to try the beer." Clare hadn't been thrilled about the fact that I had helped provide the alcohol at the party, but my fake ID pretty much sealed that fate.
She climbed into Morty. "Do you really want me to bring you to Alli's?" I asked. "It's four in the morning; I don't think you'd want her parents to catch you sneaking in." She didn't respond right away. "You could crash with me. You know my parents don't care."
"Okay," she said quietly.
I took her hand. "It's just sleep, Clare. Just like the hammock."
"That sounds great," she admitted and I felt so lucky to have her.
I pulled down Queen Street on the way to my house, and Clare grabbed my arm. "Fiona lives on this street. If the light is on in her apartment, we'll know Adam is there."
"And having a very good time," I wiggled my eyebrows at her and she slapped my arm lightly.
"It's that building. Pull over."
I rolled to a slow stop. Sitting on the front steps of her building was Adam, all alone. Clare and I exchanged a look and jumped out of the car.
Adam took one look at us and burst into tears. Clare threw her arms around him as she sat down next to him. I felt a little bit awkward standing next to them, so I sat down on the other side of Adam and put my hand on his shoulder.
"Did you talk to her?" Clare asked gently.
Adam shook his head. "I rang the doorbell and called her a zillion times. She's either not here or she's avoiding me. Or both."
"It sucks that she didn't come to the party," I said. "But maybe she just decided to go back to New York last minute and she didn't bring her charger or something. It doesn't mean she's not into you."
"I told her the party was for her. I must have scared her off." Adam moaned. "I'm such an idiot."
He buried his face in Clare's shoulder and I could barely hear his next words. "Or maybe she found out about me."
Clare pulled him in tighter and I wrapped my arms around both of them. "If that's it, she's not worth it, Adam. But you don't know what the story is until you talk to her, so let's not jump to conclusions," Clare said. I was so glad she was there. She was much better at this than I was.
"I don't know what I could have done differently. If I told her immediately, I never would have had a chance, but since I waited, if she found out, she'll never trust me."
Clare and I exchanged a look over Adam's shoulder. It didn't seem like he was going to be doing any better anytime soon.
"Adam, where does your mom think you are right now?" I asked.
"At K.C.'s with Drew. Why?"
"It's after 4 a.m. Text your brother and tell him you're with us."
Adam allowed us to lead him to Morty and handed Clare his phone so she could type the message. He was in a daze and didn't speak during the whole drive home.
I figured we could crash in the TV room but when we got there, my mom was conked out on the couch, infomercials blaring. I turned the TV off with the remote and gestured to the stairs. My room was still a huge mess, but over the last few weeks Clare and I had managed to get the bed cleared off and created a direct pathway to the bed, but the floor was still covered.
There wasn't really room for me to be polite and offer to take the floor so the three of us crowded together on my bed. We were so exhausted from the late hour, the party, and the emotion, that we basically just kicked off our shoes and climbed in, Clare lying between us with me spooned behind her and Adam on his side facing her.
Clare laced her fingers in Adam's and I wrapped my arm around her waist. It was a testament to how much I loved both of them that I wasn't jealous at all, knowing she just wanted to be there for him as a friend. The double bed wasn't really meant to hold three people but for tonight, it would work.
Adam's breathing turned from sniffles to sleep in just a few minutes, which was a relief. It was hard to see him suffering so much, especially knowing it probably wouldn't be the last time for him.
I could tell Clare was still awake and I tightened my arms around her. I knew Adam needed us, but I couldn't help but think how nice it would be if she and I were lying in bed alone. Clare took the hand that wasn't holding Adam's and grabbed mine. She tucked our entwined hands close to her and mine was kind of resting against her breast, which was way too exciting given the circumstances.
I pressed my mouth into her neck, smelling the sweet scent of her shampoo. I wanted to wake up next to her every morning and never let go.
"Clare," I whispered, so quietly I wasn't sure she'd even hear it. "I love you."
I waited for a second, barely breathing, not sure if she had fallen asleep. Then very softly, "I love you too."