I don't own Degrassi. I really don't; I wouldn't lie to you guys.
Sorry, I get bored with the traditional disclaimer. I try to add snarkiness to keep it interesting. Is it working? Rhetorical question, that was. Like Yoda, I can talk.
Okay, time to get to the story, right? Here is the first half of Love Lockdown- Part 1! Enjoy yourselves, friends. =D :
Two weeks without Clare was harder to endure than I had expected it to be. Her grandmother lived in British Columbia, so we were trying to communicate over a three hour time difference. Unfortunately, that seemed to be easier said than done. Clare was always busy when I tried calling, and she completely ignored all my texts.
Of course, I wasn't completely obtuse- I knew Clare's convenient preoccupation was just her way of showing me that she was still upset about Fitz. Which was understandable, but I didn't see how blowing me off was going to fix anything. Not to mention that the day after Vegas Night I got a call from Principal Simpson about my suspension- which essentially meant that I had to go through three weeks without seeing Clare on a regular basis.
She wasn't suspended because Simpson decided that her perfect record and reasonable justification for the stink bomb left her innocent. I, on the other hand, was clearly antagonizing Fitz by blaming him, so I would have to undergo a punishment. Simpson's words, not mine.
Suspension aside, it would be harder for Clare to avoid me when she was just down the street, and she was due back safely from her grandma's any minute now.
"Dude, stop pacing," Adam suggested firmly, "It's making me nervous." It was the Saturday before he went back to school, so I had invited him over to play video games and to keep me sane. Unfortunately for him, my level of sanity was steadily dissipating. I had texted Clare, asking her to text me when she was home, but what if she didn't? I felt like a drug addict that hadn't taken a hit in a week, and I was definitely going through some major withdrawal.
"Sorry. I'm just…anxious."
"Could have fooled me," Adam mocked. I stopped to smirk and narrow my eyes at him. "Why are you so bent out of shape, anyway? You said yourself that Clare wasn't going to break up with you over the Fitz thing; she obviously just needed some space."
"I need to see her, though. It's completely crazy, but I'm just so used to having her around all the time, so her absence has been particularly brutal. Besides, what if she doesn't want to see me just yet? I'll go completely insane," I started to pace again. I simply wanted to see her face; to know she was okay. I wanted to wrap her up in my arms and let her scent wash over me. I wanted to hear her laugh; see her beautiful smile. When had I become so dependent on Clare? I needed to chill out; I took a deep breath, and flopped down on the couch next to Adam so I would stop pacing.
"You mean you haven't already?" Adam raised his eyebrows at me.
"No," I told him, a ring of certainty in my voice, "After I lost Julia I went completely insane," I whispered. "This is nothing compared to how I was after the accident," I told him honestly. 'Or still kind of am,' I thought to myself darkly, images of my room swimming into my mind. I looked over at Adam only to find him staring at me, a bizarre look of befuddlement and astonishment plastered on his face. "What?" I asked him, confused and defensive.
"Sorry, you're just not usually so…open or casual about your past that it caught me off guard." I nodded, he had a point, but I had almost completely come to terms with the whole thing. I certainly didn't place so much blame on myself anymore. The only problem I had left to face was my hoarding tendency. Not a small feat, but it no longer seemed impossible. "Clare's helped a lot with that, hasn't she? That's why you're acting so strange about her absence, isn't it." The last part was less of a question and more of a statement. Adam's pensive stare made me feel a little uncomfortable.
I wasn't surprised that Adam had been able to figure that out when my own mother hadn't put two and two together yet. Adam was a very perceptive kid; especially when it came to his friends and family. I couldn't hide much from him. "Kid Wonder hits the nail on the head once again!" I exclaimed playfully, smirking at him.
Adam sat back, satisfied, just as my phone let out a beep signaling I had a text message. I grabbed it, and flipped it open. A genuine smile lit up my face when I saw that it was from Clare, but I quickly deflated as I read it.
'Hey, I'm home, but I've got some serious jetlag. I'm going to take a nap. Sorry.'
She was still avoiding me, I assumed. Oh well, I would see her tomorrow no matter what. "Clare's home safely," I said to Adam, not able to hide my disappointment.
"You want me to leave so you can go over there?" Adam offered. In response I passed him the phone so he could read the message for himself. "Oh," he started cautiously, "so, do you want me to leave so you can pout?" I couldn't tell if he was seriously offering that, or if he was mocking me.
"I'll leave that up to you," I told him. It was true that I probably wasn't going to be in a pleasant mood the rest of the evening, but that didn't necessarily mean I wanted to kick Adam out.
He stood up, stretching. "I think I had better go," he commented, assessing my mood. 'Smart move,' I thought to myself, 'if I could escape from myself, I would, too.'
"Thanks for coming over," I told him, getting up as well so I could drive him home. Adam just nodded as we walked out the door and slipped into Morty. Adam stayed quiet for the duration of the ride, and for that I was thankful. I had taken Adam to and from his house many a time, so I was able to turn on my autopilot, and just try not to think about how I was on the brink of insanity.
"Thanks for the ride," Adam said, smiling at me when I parked in his driveway, "See you soon." I nodded, and watched as he climbed out, and then slipped through his front door.
On my way back home I tried to talk myself into a sense of calm. There was no reason for me to get worked up- I had spent two weeks without Clare, and one more night was not going to kill me. So, I went home, locked myself in my room, and collapsed on my bed. All my energy had been completely drained from the anxious worry I had been experiencing all day. I decided that the sooner I went to bed, the sooner I would see Clare, so put everything I had into relaxing.
Before I knew it I sprung up in my bed, dazed. The clock sitting on top of a pile of random shit read 12:07 pm. I rubbed my eyes, trying to make it change, but the numbers remained the same. I had not slept that long, not to mention dreamlessly, for a year. I smiled to myself, knowing that I had Clare to thank for my now regular sleeping patterns.
For a moment, a dark thought slipped into my head: my dependence on Clare was probably extremely unhealthy if this relationship was going to work. I needed to learn how to balance my life, or there would be harsh consequences.
I took a deep breath, reluctantly pushing the thoughts aside, and looked around my room for my phone. I found it under the covers by my feet, and flipped it open. Clare had texted me while I had been out. 'I'm going to church. I'll call you after. ;),' it read. I smiled; apparently she was done avoiding me.
I got out of bed and headed for the kitchen. I found my mom and dad sitting at the table. "Morning, sleepyhead," my mom greeted me; "did you sleep well?"
"Yes, actually," I announced. My dad and she exchanged a pleased, but cautious, look. "I saw that," I warned them, narrowing my eyes.
"What do you expect, Eli," my dad's deep croak questioned, "We're happy you're happy, we're just worried that it may be a temporary arrangement."
I rolled my eyes, but I could definitely see where they were coming from; they had every right to be skeptical.
"When do we get to meet her, anyway," my mom chirped happily. Maybe I had been wrong last night when I thought my mom had not connected my mood to Clare.
"Excuse me?" I was caught off guard.
"We know there is a girl, Eli," My dad winked at me, painfully accurate.
"Eventually…," I told them noncommittally. They just laughed, and moved on to a new topic. I grabbed some cereal, and ate it at the counter. Just as I was finishing up, my phone started to buzz. I quickly put my bowl into the dishwasher, grabbed my phone, and headed out of the room before answering. My parents shot me knowing looks as I rushed out of the room. I resisted the urge to stick my tongue out at them. "Hey," I said, answering my phone.
"I miss you," Clare responded warmly. I smiled; the knot that had been ever-present in my stomach for the duration of break released. I had no clue why I had convinced myself that Clare didn't still have feelings for me. Paranoia was an odd emotion.
"Oh yeah?" I asked her playfully, "Your continued silence was telling me a different story." I tried to play my worry off as a joke, but I knew Clare could hear the accusation under my good-natured tone.
"So, I needed a little time to think. You'll be happy to hear my time away has turned the tables in your favor. I realize that what happened with Fitz was not entirely your fault, but just don't let it happen again," she scolded me. I rolled my eyes.
"Does that mean I'm completely forgiven?" I asked, exasperated.
Clare chuckled. "Not completely," she qualified, "but let's not talk about that right now. I want to see you." I wasn't happy with her response, but I was eager to see her, and we could always talk things out in person.
"I'll be over in a half hour," I responded, "but we should talk about it soon. Like maybe when I get over there," I suggested roughly.
"Can't wait. For you to be here, and for us to talk," Clare told me sincerely before we hung up. I quickly showered, dressed, and grabbed my keys. I stopped by the kitchen to inform my parents that I was going out, and then I walked out to Morty. All my anxieties had been put to rest with that phone call, so I could enjoy the short drive to Clare's- blasting my music, and singing along softly. The feeling of weightlessness was one I had not gotten used to yet, but it still felt amazing in combination with my excitement of seeing Clare.
I pulled up to the curb in front of Clare's house, and hopped out of my hearse. I was walking up to the door to knock when Clare flew out and ran right into me.
"Ooof," I grunted on the impact, but smiled as she pulled me close, her arms around my neck. I placed my hands on Clare's hips, and pulled her as close to me as possible, burying my face in her curly hair. I inhaled deeply, my addiction finally being satisfied.
After a moment Clare removed her arms from my neck and stepped back, smiling and meeting my eyes. "It's good to see you, too," I commented, chuckling.
"You know what they say: distance makes the heart grow fonder." Clare grabbed my hand, and pulled me down so we could sit on the steps. "I'm sorry for avoiding you. I really am, but I needed the time to asses where our relationship is headed. When I realized how much I missed you, though, I knew there was no sense in even considering a break."
"I'm glad you came to that conclusion," I told her earnestly, staring her right in the eye. "I've been going crazy here without you. Just one question, though," I told her, narrowing my eyes at her a little.
"What's that?" Clare prompted me.
"Why am I not forgiven yet? Have I not apologized a sufficient amount?" I really had no clue what else to do.
"That's not it," Clare was shaking her head at me; "I know you're sorry, I'm just still reeling from how immaturely you handled the situation. Let's just say you're on probation," she smiled at me, so I leaned in to kiss her forehead.
"I can handle that. For now…," I complied, whispering the words into her hair. I felt Clare shiver involuntarily. I would have to keep a lookout for something I could use to make it up to Clare once and for all. I had heard Chuck Palahniuk was coming to town soon; I would have to look into that. He was one of Clare's, not to mention my, favorite authors. It would make an awesome first date; I smirked to myself.
Just then Clare got to her feet. "Let's go inside, shall we? I really think you should finally meet my parents," she suggested, a devilish gleam in her eye. As soon as the door shut behind us, though, Clare stiffened.
"What's…," I began to ask her what the problem was when I heard the yelling. Clare's parents had apparently not resolved their issues yet.
Clare face had turned pale as a sheet, and she shot a worried glance in my direction. "Let's go to my room," she whispered to me, and took off without waiting to see if I heard her. Without hesitation I followed her up the stairs, and into her room. I had never been there before, but it was just as I expected it to be: bland and organized like the rest of the Edwards' house. Clare walked to her bed, plopped down, and let her head drop into her hands.
I watched her cautiously for a moment until her shoulders started to shake- clearly crying. I crossed the room in two giant bonds, settling myself down next to her gently, and then I draped my arm over her shoulder. "Clare," I said, my concern saturating my voice.
I response Clare turned in toward me, resting her head on my shoulder as a sob escaped her throat. "They were so civil while we were at Grandma's," her voice shook as she tried to stay quiet, "and I was naïve enough to think that it meant they were over this hostility." I felt her shake her head. I let her cry for a few moments till I heard her tears slow
"You're not naïve," I finally spoke, trying to comfort her, rubbing circles up and down her arm, "You're just chronically hopeful."
"I don't see the difference," Clare sniffled.
"There isn't one," I informed her candidly. "Hopeful just has a much better connotation," I joked lightly with her, kissing the top of her head.
She chuckled softly. "You're ridiculous," she notified me.
"I do what I can," I faked arrogance, and she playfully punched me in the arm, sitting up.
"I'm sorry about that," she blushed rubbing her eyes, "I didn't mean to lose control like that, I guess I was just surprised."
"Clare, you don't have to apologize," I told her, perplexed that she thought she had to. "Our relationship is kind of past the formalities stage," I let sarcasm color my tone.
She blushed deeper, "You're right, but I still feel bad."
"Well, don't," I told her simply, lightly wiping a tear off her cheek. A door slammed downstairs, followed by a silence, so I assumed that the worst was over for the time being. "Should we go downstairs?" I whispered to Clare. She nodded, so I grabbed her hand, and we walked down together. Clare gestured that we should exit out the front door.
When we were outside Clare turned to me, "I had wanted to introduce them to you," she told me chagrined, "but now isn't really a good time."
"I'd say that's a bit of an understatement," I raised my eyebrows at her.
"I have to get ready for school tomorrow, anyway," Clare said, the regret clear in her voice, "so you should probably go home and do the same."
I shifted uncomfortably, looking away from Clare. "I'm, um, well, I don't have much to get ready for…," I scratched my head, trying to shield Clare from looking into my eyes.
"What are you talking about?" Clare asked suspiciously
"I may be a little suspended," I admitted guiltily.
"You're what!" Clare's voice shot through a few octaves, "Why?"
"Schools tend to frown upon knife fights," I said sarcastically. "But it's only for a week; I'll be back before you know it. You won't even have time to miss me." Clare narrowed her eyes at me, but remained silent. "I guess I'll leave you to your scholarly preparations," I said, not moving. Clare nodded, still not happy about my suspension. I stepped forward to plant a kiss on her cheek, and then walked to Morty, climbing in. Clare waved as I drove away, but she was obviously lost in thought. I hoped for her sake that her parents would start to get along again soon. I could see the same stress lines on her face that had been there during our first week of friendship. I shook my head, knowing that the fighting I had just heard could not end well for any involved.
My week of suspension was ultimately uneventful. I received my new school uniform in the mail, and listened to Clare and Adam both complain about the new rules over the phone. Other than that I passed the time with video games, sleep, and long drives in Morty. Clare was busy with homework and some Ali drama, so she couldn't hang out, and Adam was stuck at home listening to Drew complain about said Ali drama. I felt oddly cut off from the rest of the world, but I suppose that was the point. The weekend before I was allowed to go back to school I spent catching up on school work that I was expected to have done, and picking up two tickets to see Chuck Palahniuk on Monday night. I couldn't wait to surprise Clare with them, and to go on our first date.
Finally, Monday came around. I had never been so excited in my life to go to school, not only to be with Clare, but also simply for something to do. I loved school, most of it anyway, and being without it for so long was refreshing, but boring.
As I got ready that morning I looked at my uniform, considering what it would be like to put it on, but I had the perfect excuse not to wear it that I simply couldn't resist. I slipped on some regular clothes, figuring that if anyone would be oblivious to the new rules it would be the guy who was out all week. I smiled to myself, as I climbed into Morty, and headed for Degrassi.
"Well, look who's back," I heard Adam comment, walking up to where I was at my locker. "How is it that you have your photo ID, but not a uniform?" Adam asked me confused.
"We have uniforms now?" I feigned innocence, "This was never brought to my knowledge." Adam rolled his eyes at me, but chuckled.
"Do you really think they're going to buy that?" He asked me faithlessly.
"Of course," I told him cockily, "I missed the christening of this new Degrassi, so it would make sense for me to be a tad behind on the new rules." Besides all that, I had impeccable acting skills. Adults turned to putty in my hands…usually.
"I guess," Adam conceded. "I need to get to first period, but I'll see you in English," Adam called as he walked away. I nodded in his general direction; then I surveyed the halls. I had to say it was strange to not see Clare at her locker, and I had to wonder where she was. I couldn't linger on the thought too long, though, because the warning bell rang, and I had to rush to History.
I had to actually pay attention in History for the first time in a while because I was pretty behind. I focused on my notes, and, thankfully, I was able to catch myself up within the period.
I rushed to English, looking forward to presenting Clare with the tickets for tonight. Vegas Night had been a disaster, but I would make sure this date was the most fun, romantic night of Clare's life. As I walked into English I immediately spotted Clare sitting on her desk, talking to one of the girls in the class. She looked up as I walked in and smiled widely at me. I winked at her, and was about to go join her when a boy from the class whose name I could not recall stepped in front of me.
"Hi, Eli," the kid greeted me nervously.
"Um, hi…," I trailed off. He knew my name, so I really didn't want to ask him what his was. For some reason that just seemed rude to me. "What's up?" I asked him, my face slipping into a mask of confusion.
"Well, I help Ms. Dawes grade papers sometimes, and I've read your poetry. It's really good," I wondered where this was going, "so I was wondering if you could read some of my stuff, and give me some advice," The kid spit the last part out nervously, and the flinched as if he was expecting an immediate no. I glanced over at Clare who seemed absorbed in her conversation. I decided not to interrupt her just yet. Besides, the kid seemed nice, so there was no reason for me to turn him down.
"Sure," I smiled at him. He blinked a few times, clearly taken aback. Did I really seem that unapproachable? I was kind of offended.
"T-t-thank you!" The kid stuttered appreciatively. I walked to his desk with him, perching on the one behind it as he handed me a notebook. I started to skim it. It was actually decent work, but the flow was a little choppy in some poems. I circled them, and told him what I thought he could do to make it better when Ms. Dawes sailed into the room.
"Mr. Goldsworthy," She sighed, and I handed the kid his notebook. He murmured a quick thanks, but I had focused on Dawes, so all I did was nod. "The new dress code is not mortician. That's detention; you know the rules."
I scoffed at her description of my clothing, but stuck to the script I had figured out in my head. "Actually, no I don't," she spun around to face me, a bemused look on her face, "I missed last week, remember? Suspension," I reminded her.
I could tell Dawes knew I was using that to my advantage, but she couldn't prove anything, so she went along with it. "That's a fair defense," she muttered, "but this is your only warning," she pointed her finger at me and narrowed her eyes. I chuckled.
I looked over at Clare to see her rolling her eyes at my clever escape, obviously not so absorbed in her conversation anymore. So, I decided it was a fair time to join her. Also, my desk was the one in front of hers, and class was about to start soon. Showing off just a little, I hopped off the desktop I was sitting on, jumped over one row of desks, and landed on the top of the desk beside Clare all in one fluid motion. I let an elated smile light up my face- I couldn't wait to give her the tickets.
Clare quickly looked around the room to make sure Dawes hadn't noticed my little stunt. The girl Clare had been talking to rolled her eyes, and walked away quietly. "Dodged a bullet there," I commented proudly.
"I thought you only dodged knives…," Clare said, only partially joking.
"Really?" I asked her incredulously. I figured she had officially gotten over this during the week of my suspension, but apparently I was wrong. "Three weeks and I'm still in the doghouse," I raised my eyebrows at her, but I was still abashed. Clare just turned her face to the side, subbing me. "I only messed with Fitz to defend your honor," I reminded her, "and if I had known that psycho was going to pull a knife…"
I couldn't finish because Clare started to count. I trailed off, confused. "Eight, nine, ten," she was watching her wrist watch, but then she turned to me. "Now you're forgiven," she smiled.
I let out a sigh of relief. I had been thinking that she was never going to let that go. "Thank you," I told her earnestly. Then I smiled, revving up to show Clare my surprise for her, "I'll make it up to you tonight," I told her, reaching into my back pocket, "on our first official date!" I whipped the tickets out in front of me for Clare to see.
Clare knew what they were immediately. "You got Chuck Palahniuk tickets?" She asked me excitedly.
"Yup," I confirmed proudly, "He's reading an unpublished Fight Club excerpt tonight."
As I was talking Clare deflated- not a good sign. I looked at her questioningly.
"I've got the theater awards tonight," Clare didn't even try to hide her disappointment, "and both my parents are coming." She winced.
"Ah," I thought back to the fight I had walked in on a week ago, and wondered if that had gotten any better. "They're not fighting anymore?" I asked her hopefully.
"No, they're still fighting," she assured me, her voice taking on sarcastic tones. "Fighting just might be the new normal."
I smiled at her sympathetically, and looked down at the tickets. I was really hoping we could go. Just then, a brilliant thought struck me, "But the talk doesn't start till eight," I started hopefully, "So, you think that parental mediation will be done by then?"
Clare paused a moment, considering. The she reached forward, and plucked one of the tickets from my hands, making a noise of confirmation. I smiled broadly at her, and Ms. Dawes started to teach. We slipped into our desks, but I had trouble concentrating on anything but tonight. It was going to be amazing.
Clare and I were sitting at our regular lunch table waiting for Adam, and discussing our plans for tonight. "So, I'll pick you up around 7:30 from the school," I told her, and she smiled and nodded.
"How did you even score these?" she asked, astonished.
"I had to battle through the seven rings of hell for them," I told her casually, and she kicked me under the table. "Fine, I actually just made sure I was one of the first in a rather long line," she chuckled.
"Thank you," she was beaming at me.
"You two seem especially happy today," Adam commented, sliding into his seat.
"We are going on our first date tonight," Clare declared happily, pulling her ticket out of her bag and sliding it over to him.
Adam read the ticket, and pushed it back. "That'll be fun," he smiled at us. I was glad Adam no longer felt like a third wheel around us. It put my mind at ease.
"I always have fun with Clare," I mused. Adam shook his head at me, and I laughed. "It's true!" I said, defending myself.
"Still, you could at least try to tone down the couple stuff when I'm around," Adam joked, throwing a fry off his lunch try at me.
We all laughed at each other. Clare stood up. "I have to go finish a paper for history, but I'll see you guys later." She waved and walked off.
"So," Adam started once Clare was gone, "are you going to the theater awards tonight?"
"Should I be?" I asked him, confused.
He raised his eyebrows at me, "Clare is nominated for something," he said this as if it should be something I already know.
"I…didn't know. Clare never said anything…," I trailed off.
"If I were you," Adam told me, "I would go, dude. Best to be safe than sorry, right?"
"You are absolutely right," I told him, tossing the fry back at him, "Thanks."
"You know I always have your back," Adam smiled at me.
So, thanks to Adam's advice, I arrived at Degrassi, and snuck in the auditorium just in time to hear that Clare had won in her category. I smiled to myself, and slipped backstage to listen to her speech. I detected the anxiousness and anger in her voice as she talked about her parents instilling a love for theater in her at an early age. I could only imagine what transpired beforehand that was making her so upset.
She stopped shot just as she reached the backstage area, spotting me. I clapped twice. "Bravo," I told her proudly, "I couldn't have said it better. Maybe shorter."
"At least you listened," She said, irritated, "My parents are losing their minds out there," she admitted softly. I figured.
"But at least soon you'll be comforted by the disturbing prose of Chuck Palahniuk," I said, attempting to cheer her up. She shot me a pained, ashamed look. "Oh, no. They said no," my heart sank.
Just them, a gleam I had never seen in Clare's eye before was present. "So what?" She asked me. "Why should they ruin my night?" I liked where this was going. Clare grabbed a hold of my hand. "Come on," she said excitedly, pulling me out onto the stage.
"You little devil," I said playfully, my heart kicking it up a notch. Clare had never been very rebellious, and it was thrilling to see her acting this way.
As we ran across the sage I waved to her parents, who had identical shocked looks on their faces. I worried that this would cause them not to like me, but I couldn't focus on that for long because I felt Clare's hand squeeze mine, and she let out an excited giggle. Tonight was going better than I had planned, and it had barely even begun yet!
I want to apologize for taking so long to update. I had lots of stuff to do. I also felt the show left a lot to be filled in, so that's what I did. I hope you like it. Review? That would be amazing.
Thanks for reading. =D