Author's note: Inspired by the promos for February and Christina Perri's song "Jar of Hearts." Will most likely include just a few short chapters involving flashbacks.

IMPORTANT: If Clare and Fitz started dating before Eli came on the scene & Vegas Night didn't happen like everyone thought it did...

I learned to live half a life

Clare glanced at the clock in the kitchen. It read 7:22. Dolefully, she let out a sigh. Without ceasing, the rain hadn't let up since she got home from school today. It seemed only fitting, she supposed. After all, the thunder was just another reminder of the anniversary of the day he waltzed into her life.

Clare shook her head to herself, an attempt to rid all thoughts of him from her mind. Absently, she opened the refrigerator, wondering when her mother would return home with the groceries she supposedly went out to get an hour ago.

She blew out a breath and muttered a "Finally," when the phone rang, thinking it to be her mom, apologizing profusely for being late and telling her she was just on her way home now.

"Hello?" She shut the refrigerator door and wandered barefoot into the living room.


Gently, she fell on the couch and blinked, surprised. "Eli?" She lay on her back and crossed her ankles in the air, a reluctant smirk appearing. "Have a question on the English assignment?"

Eli gave a small laugh. "Nah… I was just wondering…"

Clare's eyebrows shot up. "Yes, Goldsworthy?" It wasn't often she heard him hesitant and… was that a nervous quality she detected in his tone?

Eli coughed. "I was just wondering… how… you were doing today?"

The line stayed silent for a moment. Eli felt the need to clarify. "You just seemed quiet, is all."

Tiredly, Clare propped an elbow on the armrest, a hand moving to cover her eyes. "I had a lot on my mind, I guess."

"Clare," Eli spoke honestly, almost pleading. "This is me you're talking to. You can tell me… I think I know."

Unsure of how exactly to respond to someone so straight forward, Clare swallowed. She couldn't lie. Not to her best friend.

"Yeah," she agreed shakily. Of course he knew.

But before she could get any other words out—not that she had any in mind—the doorbell rang.

"Eli?" Clare asked, getting up from the couch and thankfully padding over to the front door. "Could you maybe hang on a second?"

"Sure thing." She could hear his grin through the phone. "I'll be here."

With a vague smile, Clare cupped a hand over the phone's receiver, as she pulled open the door, assuming her mom forgot her house key again.

The rain continued pounding while another round of thunder rumbled in. But it wasn't what made Clare catch her breath right then. It wasn't the wind that whipped the rain onto her stance in the open doorway. And it certainly wasn't the sight of lightning illumining the night sky.

The phone dropped from her hand.


The line went dead.

I learned to live half a life
And now you want me one more time