DISCLAIMER: I don't own Degrassi or anything else.
Don't have much to say about this one. Hope you like it.
"So, they have this big dramatic moment and they finally kiss and then I'm stuck. The story doesn't feel finished, but I just don't know where to go with it," I said.
Eli wrapped his arms more tightly around my waist. It was the end of March but it was unseasonably warm and we decided that rather than doing homework at the Dot or working on his room, we'd hang out at our favorite park. We had found an isolated tree and curled up together, him leaning against the trunk and me laying my head on his chest.
"I don't know how you always end up with writer's block. How many pages do you have?"
"Eighteen," I said. Ms. Dawes had suggested our short stories should be around 20 pages.
"So you're good then."
"But the story doesn't feel complete. It's not just about fulfilling the assignment. I'm trying to figure out what to do with the characters."
"Maybe they should have sex."
"Excuse me?" My voice went up a little and I knew my cheeks were red.
"I mean, think about it. You've got these two characters who have this insane chemistry, you put them through hell for 15 pages, and somehow they get it together. They have this intense kiss, but it isn't enough. If they're fueled by passion like you say they are, they wouldn't stop at a kiss. They would have sex."
Eli's bluntness made me extremely uncomfortable. We had been stopping at just a kiss for a few months now, and I knew he wasn't crazy about it. It sounded like he was talking about my characters but maybe he was talking about us.
"Well, even if they would, I can't write that. This is for English class."
"I've written much worse than that," Eli smirked.
"But they just got together. It wouldn't be realistic that they'd have sex immediately."
"Well, not everyone is as pious as you, Saint Clare." I rolled my eyes at him. "But it's a story. You can't write months of frustrated foreplay into a 20 page story. You've got to get to the good stuff."
"I wouldn't even know how to write about that." I certainly couldn't write from experience.
"You don't have to write all the gory details. Just get them under the covers and leave it to the reader's imagination. In the next scene they can share a cigarette and spout morning after clichés and then you're done."
I narrowed my eyes. "You're not going to smoke if we have sex, are you?"
Eli's eyes crinkled in amusement. "Um, no, Clare, I was talking about your fictional characters." His fingers tickled the side of my waist a little. "Though I like that you're more upset about the idea of me smoking than me having sex with you."
"Shut up." I felt like my cheeks were on fire.
"I think you should at least try it." My eyes widened and he quickly corrected himself. "Writing it, I mean. Just listen to the characters and see where they take you."
As he said that, he slipped his hand just underneath the hem of my t-shirt. I tensed a little but his hand didn't venture too far north of my hipbone, so I relaxed against him.
"Maybe," I said.
"And if you need my help with your story…you know, for research purposes, just let me know."
I rolled my eyes and decided it was time to change the subject. But Eli's hand was moving up my side, never getting inappropriate, just stroking my skin up and down lightly.
"What's…what's your story about?" I couldn't believe how much his gentle caresses were affecting me. My breathing quickened slightly, and I tried not to focus on how nice his touch felt.
"It's a love story."
I laughed. "Mr. Cynical is writing a love story?"
"It's not a romance novel. It's a literary exploration of the steps that you take when you're in the process of falling in love."
My breath caught in my throat. He was talking about his story, not us. Just like how my characters could end up having sex even though we weren't. We weren't in love. I mean, we hadn't said the words.
I wasn't exactly sure how I felt about him, but now that I thought about it, that seemed to fit. We were in the process of falling in love.
"How are you organizing it?" I asked once I found my voice. "Is it just straight prose or are you going to do it in sections?"
"I've been trying to write each step as a different section. I haven't gotten very far yet."
I was pretty curious to read this story. "What steps are you writing?"
"The first section is The Kiss so that's pretty self-explanatory. I think the second section is going to be called The Talk and it's going to be about that awkward conversation you have to have where you put all your cards on the table and reveal all of your secrets. The third or fourth one is going to be The Fight."
Well, we had certainly been through step one and two, but part three sounded interesting. "You think people can't be in love unless they've had a fight?"
"Because if you get along all of the time, there's nothing there. There's gotta be a little bit of tension to make things interesting." He wiggled his eyebrows. "Besides, without fights, how can you have makeup sex?" His hand tickled my side a little bit but I wasn't in a giggling mood.
I bit my lip. "So you think people have to have sex to be in love?"
"Clare, no." Eli cupped my cheek with his free hand and turned my face so I was looking at him. "I think it's the opposite. I think people should be in love before they have sex. I know it doesn't always work out that way, but it does for me."
His words made me feel relieved but his gaze made me feel uncomfortable. I ripped a handful of grass out of the ground and started to braid it together, keeping my eyes firmly away from his. "Are there any…sexual milestones in your story?"
I felt Eli looking at me curiously, but I couldn't meet his eyes. "The only step that could even remotely have to do with that is part 8. Trust."
I furrowed my eyebrows. "Trust doesn't only have to do with sex."
"Nope," he said, placing a kiss on my earlobe. "But it does have a lot to do with it."
Does Eli think I don't trust him? I didn't want to have sex with him for a lot of reasons, but it wasn't because I didn't trust him.
"Eli, I…" He placed his finger on my lip.
"For instance," he said. "For the past few minutes, my hand has been creeping up your side underneath your shirt. And even though that would usually make you uncomfortable, you haven't stopped me. And that's got to be for one of two reasons."
He spread his fingers, positioning his hand directly underneath my breast. "One is that you trust me enough to know that I would never want to do anything to make you uncomfortable, so you're okay with me touching you because you know I won't take it too far."
His hand was so close, and my heart thudded in my chest. "Or what's the other reason?" I whispered.
"Or you really want me to touch you, because you want me to make you feel good and you trust me enough to know that even if we take one more step together, it doesn't mean we have to do more than that."
"And which do you think it is?" I breathed.
"I don't know," Eli admitted, his voice husky. "I've been hoping you'd give me a sign so I wouldn't get it wrong."
I turned a little bit in his arms so I could look at him. His eyes were pleading with me. "We're in public," I said, feeling my cheeks heat up.
"No one can see us," he said. He moved his hand slightly lower and I couldn't help but feel disappointed.
"Eli." But I wasn't brave enough to tell him what I wanted. But I guessed I could show him. I turned around more in his arms and pressed a kiss into his neck. My tongue slipped out and stroked him and I could feel his hand tense against my rib cage. I nibbled on his collarbone, pulling at the neck of his collared shirt.
His free hand moved to my chin and pulled me to his mouth. I was just parting my lips at the urging of his tongue when his fingers grazed the bottom of my breast. I was wearing a bra, but it was pretty thin, so I could really feel him. He moved two fingers right over my nipple, teasing it into a hard point, before taking my whole breast into his hand.
"Mmm," I moaned. I could feel Eli smirk against my lips. He gently massaged me for a few minutes before moving his hand up to my chest.
"Your heart is beating so fast," he whispered. I took a deep breath. He slid his hand back down and moved it underneath my bra so that he was touching my bare skin.
"Oh, Eli," I whimpered. My head fell back against his chest. I had never done anything like this before and I couldn't believe how intense it felt.
"You're so beautiful, Clare," Eli said, moving his mouth next to my ear. "The only thing that would make this moment better would be if I could see all this soft, sexy skin I'm touching."
My eyes fluttered shut as his other hand moved into my shirt and cupped my other breast. I didn't respond to him. I wasn't sure what he wanted me to say. We were in the middle of a park; I certainly wasn't going to let him take my shirt off.
"Clare, will you let me see you? The next time we're all alone at my house, will you let me touch you like this? Will you let me take off your shirt and run my hands all over your skin? Can I kiss you right here?" He circled his finger right around my nipple.
"Yes." The word came out more like a moan than I had intended, and Eli's eyebrows raised.
"Can I take you there right now?" he asked.
I blushed. Was I really ready for that? "Maybe next time. Let's just enjoy the beautiful day together."
He placed a kiss on my earlobe, right over my piercing, and kept his hands on me.
"You're not disappointed, are you?" I asked.
"I could never be disappointed by you," Eli said. "Especially when my hands are on your breasts." He squeezed me lightly.
He moved his hands down to my waist and tightened his arms around me. I turned so that I could see his eyes.
"So when do I get to read your story?" I asked, feeling much more capable of forming words now that he had removed his hands from my bra.
"I'll send it to you as soon as I finish it. I hope you like it."
"I'm sure I will," I said.
"It's been…interesting to write. Because even though it's fiction, I keep thinking about you."
I sucked in a breath. Eli's eyes never wavered from mine. "Yeah?" I said, feeling so stupid for not having a better response.
"Yeah…I don't know about you, but I think we're on the last step."
"What's that?" I leaned my head against his shoulder so that I could still look into his eyes, and his arm came around my back to support me.
"Time." He brought his hand down to my cheek and captured my lips with his.
Did he mean what I thought he meant? Had we gotten through the kiss and the talk and fighting and trust and whatever the other steps were and we were just waiting for the right moment? The only thing we needed to do to fall in love was to just be together?
I pulled back and looked into his eyes. "We've got all the time in the world."
He grinned. "I don't think it's going to take that long."
I kissed him this time, a soft, sweet kiss that he immediately took to another level. I gripped his shoulders with my hands, wishing I had agreed to his offer to go home with him and take this a little further.
I released him and stood, holding my hand out to him to pull him up. "What's up, Clare?"
"Do you want to take me back to your house for a little while?" I bit my lip, waiting for his response.
I don't know what I was so nervous about because his grin answered my question immediately. We took off for Morty, running hand in hand across the park. When we reached the hearse, Eli pushed me up against the passenger side door, trapping me between his arms. "Are you sure, Clare? I didn't mean to push you before. And I meant what I said; I want you to trust me."
I gazed up at him with what I hoped was a seductive look on my face. "As long as you don't take it any farther than what you asked me before, I want this, Eli." I slipped my hand under them hem of his shirt and I felt his stomach muscles contract against my hand. "I want you to touch me. I'm not ready for sex, but I like how sexy you make me feel."
Eli groaned and buried his face in my neck. "Now I'm not going to be able to drive home." I could feel him against my leg and laughed.
"You could always let me drive," I teased. I had gotten my learner's permit a few weeks before but Eli didn't want to let me behind the wheel of Morty.
He scooted me over a few inches and opened the passenger's side door. He threw me the key, and got in.
"Are you sure?" I asked, leaning against the doorjamb.
"I'm thinking you're probably a little more coherent than I am right now. I'm not so sure I can get us back home safely, and I really want to get there so I can be with you."
His words made me wonder if I had a clear enough mind to drive home. I skipped around the front of the car and turned the ignition after I put my seatbelt on.
I took a deep breath and glanced at Eli before I put Morty in drive. His gaze made me blush. I wasn't sure how much time he needed, but the look in his eyes told me everything I needed to know about how he felt about me – and I knew I felt the exact same way.