A/N: Last chapter =( I'm so sad. It's like my baby is all grown up now. Haha.
And what's with all this talk about a proposal? ::shakes head::
Eli led Clare to his destination, one hand holding her while the other was in his jacket pocket. They walked a steady pace, taking their time. Clare was still confused as to where they were going, but trusted Eli enough to let him lead. She looked around, remembering the neighborhood and couldn't help but smile. This was a neighborhood she had grown so familiar with during high school and knew it almost as well as her own. She made a mental note to visit her own neighborhood before they left.
He stopped walking, causing her to stumble a bit. She looked around and her smile only got wider. It was a place that they held close their hearts and always managed to visit whenever they got home. She let go of his hand took a few steps ahead of him.
"The park," Clare turned to him.
Eli smirked, "Where else?"
She walked over to a tree and walked around it a few times. Finally, she stopped and saw her initials, as well as Eli's and Adam's. They had carved it in there after they finished their Romeo and Juliet assignment. The memory was still fresh in her mind – before they left, Adam walked up to the tree and carved it first, as a "keepsake," with the other two following his lead. Clare looked at the bench, where she and Eli kissed. It meant nothing to them at the time, but it certainly made their friendship stronger. Eli walked up to his girlfriend and wrapped her in a hug, surveying the park.
"I've missed this place," she sighed.
"We certainly have had a lot of memories here," he rested his chin on her shoulder.
"Yeah," her eyes continued to look around.
"Do you remember when you caught Drew and Alli making out behind that tree?" he led her attention to the distance.
She laughed, "I was so mad at her for getting back with him and keeping it from me."
Eli remembered, "Adam had to hold you back from slapping Drew. He may not have been the most outstanding guy, but Adam didn't want to see him hurt."
"Speaking of Adam," Clare said, "Remember when we caught him and Fiona kissing behind that same tree almost a month later?"
"What is it with that tree?" he asked, "And why haven't we ever made out behind it?"
She slapped his arm, "Eli!"
He chuckled, "Fine fine. We'll make out in front of it."
"Eli," she groaned.
"Just kidding," he gave her a poke, "Sort of."
Clare narrowed her eyes at her boyfriend, but said nothing further.
He loosened his grip on her, but kept himself close. Her back was against his chest and she could feel his heartbeat, which was slightly faster than normal. Clare could sense that he was nervous, but she couldn't tell why. Eli moved his hand to his jacket pocket, while the other arm was wrapped across her chest. Her hands were gripped onto that arm.
"Oh, there have been so many memories here," she said to herself.
"I'm hoping we have more," he said in an almost question form.
"I don't see why not," she whispered.
"Then how about this one?" he asked.
"Which o –"
Clare stopped her sentence when Eli held up a white box in front of her. She could feel her heart stop for a second until it started up again, beating ten times faster. Her eyes widened in her mouth formed an 'o.' Eli was nervous as he released his other arm from her grip to open the box. As hard as he tried, he couldn't stop himself from shaking. He heard her gasp when the box opened. It was a white gold diamond ring that had a design on the side that made it look like a ribbon. He was still behind her so he couldn't see her reaction. From what he was observing, she was motionless. He took a deep breath, preparing for his next words.
"Will you marry me?"
She tried to form a coherent sentence, "Oh Eli…"
His mind started to race as he thought of her words. Was that a good thing? A bad thing? Should it have been more romantic? Should he have waited? Eli's arms started to falter, but before he could put them down, Clare grabbed them so she could look at the ring again. She took a few more breaths and answered.
It took a few seconds for the answer to register in his mind but once it did, he couldn't contain his smile. He was still shaking as he took the ring out of the box and placing it on Clare's left hand, which was also shaking. Eli admired how it looked on her, while she stared at it in awe. She turned around and immediately jumped into his arms. He was caught off guard but was able to hold on to her.
"Oh my gosh! I love you! I love you! I love you so much!" Clare was practically screaming.
Eli laughed, "I love you too, Clare. More than anything."
He put her down, but she continued to bounce around happily. She kept looking at the ring with a big smile on her face.
"How long have you been planning this? Did your parents know? How did you know my ring size? We have to tell my parents! Can we tell my parents?" she fired questions at him.
"Whoa, whoa," he put his hands up, "I've been planning on asking you for almost month. My parents knew about this, which is why we're here in the first place. Alli gave me your ring size. And yes, we will tell your parents."
"That's why she kept borrowing my rings," Clare remembered Alli's sudden fascination with her jewelry.
There were still so many questions in her mind but she pushed them aside because there was something she needed to do first – tell her parents. She grabbed Eli's hand and practically raced back to his place. He only laughed and let her lead the way. They got there in record time and Clare waited impatiently for him to open the door. After a few agonizing seconds, Eli finally got the door open.
They walked over to the kitchen and as Clare was about to make the announcement, she was once again speechless – her parents were standing next to the Goldsworthy's with smiles all on their faces. Her father was holding a bouquet of flowers, while her mom tried to contain her excitement.
"Sorry we're late," Helen spoke up, "But your father decided to stop and buy some flowers."
"You helped pick these out," Randall joked back.
"You knew?" Clare asked.
They both looked at Eli, who answered, "As if I was going to ask you without getting your parents' permission."
She let go of his hand and walked over to her parents who enveloped her in a hug. CeCe and Bullfrog walked over to their son and hugged him as well. They all exchanged in a few more hugs and 'Congratulations' and CeCe offered everyone dessert. The rest of the evening was spent in exchanging stories. The newly engaged couple had a certain glow to themselves that their parents continued to tease them about. They excused themselves from their parents as soon as they started talking about future grandchildren. They went to the backyard.
"A month of planning," she brought it up.
He lightly blushed, "I know we took things slow because I was scared, but deep down, I think I always knew that you were the one. I get to spend the rest of my life with my best friend and the one I love."
She smiled, "I certainly lucked out with you."
"I could say the same thing," he said.
Clare went up on her toes and gave Eli a kiss. She cupped his cheek with his left hand, letting him feel the ring press against his skin. He smiled against her lips and held her tighter. A few seconds later, they pulled away.
"So I'm guessing there's a lot to do," he smirked.
She giggled, "Oh you have no idea."
A/N: Well, you're right! Eli does propose to Clare. =P
Honestly, I can't see myself continuing on because the only thing I can write about is the wedding, which would be all happy and whatnot. I can't write any more drama for them. Hah.
Oh and would you look at that, I'm posting this the same day Degrassi comes back. Woo! Again, thank you so much for all of your support in this story. I doubted myself when I wrote this but your reviews were just heart-warming. Thank you! xoxo all around!