This is my first story for Degrassi, so I hope you guys like it! Title inspired by the song "If We Hold On Together" by Diana Ross.

Before we kick off the story, I'd just like to let you guys know that this is one month into Clare's 11th grade year and Eli's 12th and I'm not going by the newest season in anyway with the exceptions of Alli, and Fiona and Adam (possibly).

Read, review, enjoy!

Disclaimer: I don't own Degrassi in anyway with the exception of this plot and one or two of this story's characters! I don't own the song "If We Hold On Together" or any of the song lyrics that will be at the end of every chapter and the titles of which the chapters are named after.

Chapter One

You Found Me

"I must say, for the first test of the year, you all did exceptionally well," Miss Dawes congratulated her class. She started to pass out graded test over the first book they read that school year, 1984, to her Advanced Senior English class.

The class contained a lot of bright twelfth graders and one very advanced eleventh grader named Clare Edwards. She sat in the back of the class with two guys she was very close to. There was her good friend Adam Torres sitting to the left of her. Sitting in front of her was Adam's best friend, and Clare's boyfriend of nine months, Eli Goldsworthy.

"I was quite pleased with the essay questions," Miss Dawes stated as she started walking towards the trio. "Most of you seemed to pass the average expectations."

She handed Clare, Eli, and Adam their tests before she started passing out the rest of the tests. Clare smiled triumphantly at the big "A" that stood out in red ink at the top of her paper.

"How did guys you do?" she asked the boys.

"Sorry, I don't pass and tell," Eli teased, turning in his desk to face the other two.

"Fine," Clare played along. "Adam?"

"A minus!" he replied triumphantly. "And, I'm sure I don't even have to guess, you got an A?"

"You are correct, sir," Eli said, looking at the grade on Clare's paper.

"Not fair," she said jokingly as she turned the paper face-down on her desk. "Now you have to tell us how you did."

"Fine, you win," he sighed in mock defeat. "A."

"Why am I not surprised?" Adam laughed sarcastically.

"Okay, we're now about to start a unit on authors of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and their works," Miss Dawes began to speak. Eli gave Clare a small smile before turning back around in his desk. "To start us off, I'd like all of you to write a two page essay on an author from one of those two time periods, a well-known piece they'd written, and how influences from their lives possibly affected their work and for it to be turned in Wednesday. And let's try not to all do the same author; I don't wish to read thirty essays about Charles Dickens and A Christmas Carol."

The bell rang, therefore dismissing the class. Clare, Adam, and Eli gathered their belongings before heading out of the classroom.

"And I have yet another piece of homework to add on to the large amount I already have," Clare stated as they left the class and entered the hall.

"This assignment's easy," Adam reminded her. "You should know a few authors from the old days."

"I do . . . and the assignment is easy; I'd just rather not do it this weekend."

"I feel the same way about any homework every day of the week," Eli commented.

"Don't we all," Adam commented as he and Clare chuckled.


The end of the day came and Clare's amount of homework had doubled since that morning. After the final bell rang, she went straight to her locker and began pulling out all the books she was going to use for her homework this weekend. She pulled out four heavy textbooks to accompany the one that had been out since the beginning of the last period of the day. Unfortunately, they all wouldn't fit into her bag without tearing it in half. Instead of cramming them all into the bag, she stuffed two binders, Geometry book, and her French book in her bag, hoping this would not put much stress on the fabric. She flung the strap over her shoulder and felt the weight of the books dig into her shoulder. After she got use to the extra weight in her bag, she attempted to carry the other three textbooks and a Jane Austen novel she checked out of the school library for her English essay. Clare could not remember the last time she had this much homework, so she didn't really remember the last time she carried this many books at once . . . and she didn't know how sore one could get from carrying so much at once.

She walked down the hall, her arm cramping from holding the books and her bag strap sinking deeper into her shoulder. She was close to the door when she felt someone collide with her back. She stumbled forward and the Austen book and two of the textbooks crashed to the ground. She straightened up just in time to see two football players running and throwing a ball down the hall. She rolled her eyes at how inconsiderate they were when she heard someone call her name.

"Clare!" the voice said. A few seconds later Eli was by her side. "You okay?"

"Yeah," she replied, ignoring the pain in her back that added on to the pain in her arms.

Eli, who saw the whole thing from down the hall, turned away from Clare to see the football players flirting with a few girls by the door. He took a step towards them when he felt Clare grab his arm.

"Eli, don't worry about it,' she reassured, reading his protective mind.

"They nearly ran you over," he protested, looking over his shoulder.

"Yes, nearly," Clare reminded. "Don't worry, I'm fine."

Eli did not argue, so he just nodded reluctantly, deep down wanting to punch the person who caused harm to Clare. She let go of his arm as she and Eli bent down at the same time to retrieve the books she dropped.

"Doing some light reading this weekend?" he joked, seeing how many books she was carrying around as he picked up one of the textbooks.

"More like fighting a losing battle against homework," she replied, picking up the other textbook.

"Yikes," Eli stated, picking up the other book and looking at the cover. "Sense and Sensibility. For English?"

"Yeah," Clare answered, taking back her books and balancing them (and their unbearable weight) in her arm again. "And compared to the other homework I have, this is actually going to be the highlight assignment of the weekend."

"That sucks," he commented, seeing her struggle to hold on to all the books. "Well, let me give you a ride home."

Clare smiled grinned at his offer; he was always so sweet and willing to help her.

"You sure?"

"Would you rather walk all the way home?" he mentioned, knowing she wouldn't be fond of that idea.

"Oh, tough choice," she kidded. "Thank you."

"Don't mention it. Here, let me give you a hand with those," Eli proposed, taking three of the books off her hands.

"Thank you," she repeated, gratefully. It was a relief to not carry so much at once. "I owe you."

They walked out of the school and down the steps. Once they were on the sidewalk, he wrapped his free arm around her shoulders and kissed her. Their kiss was perfect and magical, just like their first and all the others after that. After a few seconds, they pulled away, grinning at each other.

"That's all you owe me," Eli said before he and Clare walked to his hearse (which he called Morty), his arm still around her.

Once they arrived, he and Clare were able to transfer the books into the car and Clare was finally able to remove the heavy bag off her shoulder. She reached up to massage her shoulder, Eli taking notice.

"Today's not your day, is it?"

"And I usually enjoy Fridays," Clare agreed, giving up on the massaging; it wasn't helping her much.

"Here," Eli said, standing behind her. Before Clare could say anything, he gently began to rub her shoulders. She couldn't help but smiled at how thoughtful, nice, and sweet he was towards her. She always wished she could be just as good to him as he was to her. She told him this a few times and the answer would always be the same.

"You're here and you're happy, that's all that matters," is what he would say.

"Better?" he asked now after a minute or so as he finished massaging her shoulders.

"Much," Clare replied honestly; the pain in her shoulder was practically nonexistent now. "Thanks."

"You don't have to keep thanking me, Clare," he said as he walked around to the driver's seat, ignoring the eye roll Clare did.

She climbed in the hearse and the two of them started to drive off the Degrassi campus and onto the main road. They spoke as they drove to Clare's home. Nothing too major was said; it was just their usual small-talk. A few minutes later, they arrived in front of Clare's house.

"Your mom's home early," Eli pointed out, seeing the single car in the driveway. Since Clare's parents got divorced, her parents flipped back and forth as to who stayed in the house with her as the other lived in an apartment ten minutes away. Her dad stayed with her one week and was with her mom for another. After the divorce was finalized, Mrs. Edwards got a full-time job and was not usually home till six. Today, however, she got off three hours earlier.

"Yeah," Clare noticed. "Well th – I appreciate the ride," she said, remembering what he said before they drove away.

"Anytime," Eli grinned. "I'll call you later."

"Okay," Clare said, gathering her books and climbing out of the hearse. "See you later."

"Bye," Eli replied before Clare closed the passenger door. She walked up the path to her house and turned around to see Eli driving away.

"Hi, Mom," Clare greeted her mother as she entered the house.

"Hi, honey," Mrs. Edwards replied while Clare walked into the living room. She was looking through some papers on the couch as Clare set her books and bag next to the armchair. "I see you and Eli are still together."

Clare rolled her eyes at these words. Her parents were not particularly fond of Eli because of that one dinner they had together. Since then, Clare tried to clean up the mess that was caused and attempted to convince them to see the good person Eli was. In the end though, no change whatsoever came to their opinions on their daughter's boyfriend.

"Yes," Clare replied in exasperation. "He's not a bad guy."

"I'm not saying he is; I just wish I knew him better."

"He's been wanting to get to know you and Dad," she said. It was true; Eli wanted to get more familiar with Clare's parents and, hopefully, they would both approve of him dating Clare. "You just seem so busy all the time."

Helen just shrugged and got back to looking at her papers.

"I'm going to go to my room and get started on my homework," Clare announced as she excused herself from the living room.

"Okay; what do you want for dinner?"

"Anything eatable," she replied as she made her way up the stairs and to her room with all her books in hand.


Two hours later, Clare was in her room working on her Geometry homework. She had gotten through all the homework she had with the exceptions of English and Geometry. She was confident that she would get the Geometry completely finished and complete half of her English essay by the end of the night.

By the time six o'clock rolled around, she was researching Jane Austen's life on her

laptop. When she flipped through the book, she could tell that she wasn't going to be able to finish the assignment that weekend, so she just told herself to do the research for tonight and begin reading the novel tomorrow. Clare took accurate notes and became totally consumed in her work. Therefore, she was startled when her cell phone rang at seven, making her come out of her work zone for the first time since she ate dinner. She looked at the caller ID and saw that Eli was the caller.

"Hi," she answered, putting her assignment on the backburner.

"Hey. How's the evil homework coming along?"

"I'll survive. It actually wasn't as bad I thought it was going to be."

"Well, even if it isn't so evil, need a break from the books?" Eli offered.

"Depends . . . are you asking me go somewhere with you?"

"If you were up to it . . . pick you up in ten?"

"See you then," Clare accepted before hanging up her phone.

She stood up and walked over to the mirror on the other side of her room. She knew she did not have to worry about how she looked, but she felt like she needed to make herself look a little more presentable. She reapplied some of her makeup and ran a brush through her hair a few times. Once she was satisfied, she pulled on her denim jacket, grabbed her phone, left her room, and made her way down the stairs.

"Mom, I'm going out," she called to her mother.

"Okay. Be home by ten!" Helen replied.


Clare walked out the door just in time to see Eli pulling up in front of her house.

"Good evening," he greeted her after she climbed into Morty. "Where to?"

"Anywhere," Clare answered bluntly.

"I can do that," Eli said as they drove down the road.

They drove through the town for a few minutes, the radio playing and the two grinning at the mere presence of the other. After ten minutes, Eli pulled into the parking lot of an empty park. He and Clare walked over to one of the benches under a tree and sat down. Eli wrapped his arm around Clare's shoulders as she rested her head on one of his. The park was deserted except for the occasional squirrel. The moon sent its beams to illuminate the area in a soft, silver-blue glow. It is quiet . . . beautiful . . . perfect.

"How are your parents doing since the . . .?" Eli eased in to conversation, but trying not to make it difficult. Clare did not talk much about her family lately, so he was unsure if everything was fine or if it was not.

"Divorce. You can say it now, Eli, I'm not gonna freak out," Clare reassured. "They're doing well. In the end, separating was for the best for them; they're a lot happier now."

"That's good. And how are you holding up?"

"I'm not complaining about anything, am I?" she pointed out.

"Fair point," Eli responded. "I'm glad everything's fine."

"Thanks. But . . . they're still unsure about you," Clare put in the nicest way.

Eli tried not to be affected by this, but he did not want to go against the Edwards's wishes if they did not approve of Clare's choice for a boyfriend. He only met her parents once and he liked them; he just wished they could have understood that he cares for Clare and respects her in every way.

"Well . . . hopefully it won't last that way for long."

"Yeah," Clare reciprocated. "We should let them meet you again. Things may turn out better this time."

"I'd say next time we should give them at least a day's warning . . . and cut back on all the negative things and focus more on the positive," he presented, joking with her about the first time he met them.

"I'll remember that," Clare chuckled lightly. "Sorry about that, by the way."

"I understand. You were going through a tough time . . . but what's done is done and we just gotta keep going forward."

"Yeah. Speaking of tough times, I've noticed your locker is still in good condition. Is your room the same way?" Clare stated. The two of them completed the mission of cleaning out Eli's room a week before school started back up.

"Let's just say that thanks to your help, I have not been tripping over items I didn't know I had every time I leave my room."

Clare smiled up at him and took his free hand in one of her own.

"I'm proud of you, Eli," she told him as she gave his hand a gentle squeeze.

"Couldn't have done it without you," he replied before kissing her forehead.

"Glad I could help," Clare said, slightly blushing.

They sat there in silence for a few seconds, watching moon beams dance on the grass a few feet in front of them.



"I know I haven't been saying it lately, but I'm glad we're together."

Clare smiled and felt her heart beat rapidly inside her chest.

"So am I," she agreed. She took her head off his shoulder and looked directly at him. "And, to be honest, these have been some of the best months of my life."

"Mine too," Eli grinned.

The two of them leaned in at the same time and their lips met. They fit perfectly together and the entire joyous scenario from the kiss earlier that day came back to them. But this kiss was different somehow. For some reason, it meant more.

After seconds, maybe even minutes, they separated their lips and looked at each other. Clare brushed some hair out of Eli's eyes so she could look directly into their emerald beauty.

"I love you," she confessed.

Eli felt his heart beat like it never beaten before. He looked directly at Clare and smiled.

"I love you too."

Clare's face broke into a wide smile as she heard his true feelings for her. She wrapped her arms around his neck as he wrapped his arms around her torso and began to kiss passionately.


A few hours later, the Eli was about to drop off Clare at her house. If it was not for her ten o'clock curfew, she would've stayed out longer with Eli; unfortunately, authority and time were not on their side. With five minutes to spare, Eli pulled in front of the house for the third time that day.

"I'll talk to you later," Clare promised as she unbuckled her seatbelt.

"Looking forward to it," Eli flirted in his casual way.

Clare grinned before she gave him one final kiss.

"I love you," Eli said as their lips parted.

"I love you too."

Clare stepped out of the hearse and made her way to her house. When she looked over her shoulder, she saw Eli give her a small wave, which she returned, before heading out into the night.

She was still in a daze when she told Helen that she was home and when she made her way up to her room. She was in shock . . . the good kind of shock. The kind of shock one gets when they get off an exciting ride at an amusement park, or when you get surprised by one of your greatest friends that you haven't seen in ages . . . but the kind Clare was feeling was just out of this world. For the first time, she found someone who truly loved her.

As Clare got ready for bed, she thought about no one and nothing but Eli . . . his sense of humor, his wit, his mystery, his kindness, everything that made him who he was. She turned off the light, climbed into her bed, and thanked God for Eli. It took Clare a few minutes longer to get to sleep than usual, her thoughts and heart being so consumed in this pleasant feeling.

"You broke through all of my confusion

The ups and the downs and you still didn't leave"

~"You Found Me" by Kelly Clarkson

I have TONS of ideas for this story, some involve drama, some involve what I call "aww moments", and others will be somewhere in between. This is probably going to become my number one project, but the second chapter may not be up for a while. You see, I wanted to get this story published before the newest season premieres (aka TODAY! I'm super excited) so everyone knows I'M NOT BASING HARDLY ANYTHING OFF THAT SEASON! Sorry, just wanted to make that point clear.

I'm sorry that the first few paragraphs weren't well-constructed; I hate introducing characters I don't create, I don't know why. Plus, beginning stories isn't my strongest trait. Please forgive me. I'm also sorry I didn't put more of Eli's POV in this chapter; I'll try to put in more in chapters to come!

I feel a little unsure about the way I wrote Eli. Please let me know if I'm totally off his character. I have just become a Degrassi fan, so I'm sorry if the characters are a bit uncharacteristic. If they are, please let me know so I can change that for later chapters! Please and thank you!

I hope you guys liked this chapter! Much more to come! Read, review, enjoy!