Disclaimer: I don't own Degrassi or the Cure or She and Him.

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So, I write a lot of M rated fics, and I typically write a version of Clare that's a little sexier than how she's portrayed on the show. Mostly because I think a lot of people start out with good intentions to wait until marriage but then fall in love and discover the physical aspect of relationships and have a difficult time fulfilling their pledge. And considering Clare and Eli seem to have a deep love affair at a very young age, and consider he is both experienced and damn sexy, if I were a Degrassi writer, I'd probably go the realistic route and have them eventually have sex, like they often do in my fics.

But since I usually make her a little more willing to do stuff than she might be on the show, I thought I'd write a fic or two or three that are filled with a slightly more innocent Clare. Just to see how it goes. Hope you still enjoy it.

"Salad, Clare? I didn't think you were one of those girls that only ate rabbit food," I teased as I followed her through the cafeteria line.

"I normally have hot lunch, but not when they're serving sloppy joes." I looked at the teetering meat sandwich on my plate and kind of wished I had listened to her. Or dragged her to the Dot instead. She grabbed a brownie and gave me a pointed look. "Happy?"

"Only if you'll give me half."

She looked offended. "That's my brownie," she said as she slapped my hand away.

"I'll get cookies and share with you."

"Deal," she said. She handed the cashier some money and waited for her change as I picked out two chocolate chip cookies that I knew were Clare's favorites, and dug around in my wallet before I paid.

I followed her back to the table where Adam was already sitting since he brought his lunch and was disappointed that she sat down on the same side of the table as him. I liked to sit next to her because it was easier to make up excuses to touch her. I could bump up against her shoulder as I teased her, or cover her ears before I made a gross joke.

I took the seat directly across from her and noticed her sparkling blue eyes. Maybe sitting across the table from her wasn't so bad. Adam rolled his eyes at me, and I knew he was tired of our flirtatious banter, but I just couldn't help myself when I was around Clare.

He and Clare started talking about the science lab they had worked on in class that morning but I tuned out their conversation and just watched her. I hated to admit it to myself, but I was starting to fall for her. When we first became English partners, I thought she was sweet and nice and figured she wouldn't be too bad to have a friend. But the more I got to know her and saw some of the rougher edges underneath her perfect curls and smiles, I realized there was something there. Something more than friendship.

Whenever I was with her, I wanted to be with her. I wanted to kiss her; I wanted to peel her clothes off her delightfully curvy frame. I wanted to be her boyfriend.

But whenever I left her, when I went home, when I cleared the piles off my bed so I could lie down, all I could think of was Julia. How my feelings for Clare was a betrayal. How I didn't deserve to move on and find happiness, especially not with another girl. How it wasn't fair of me to make another girl fall in love with me when all I would do is hurt her.

"Everything okay, Eli?" Clare asked.

"Sure," I said. "Just didn't sleep very well last night."

Clare looked concerned but she didn't press the issue. I decided to change the subject. I saw her hand lying on the table next to her tray and noticed a gold ring on her left ring finger. This gave me a nice excuse to reach out and touch her from across the table.

I took her hand in mine and her eyebrows raised in surprise. "Pretty ring," I said. "It's a Claddagh ring, right?"

Clare nodded as my fingers caressed the skin right above the ring.

"I think you're wearing it wrong. Isn't it supposed to face out if you're single and looking and face you if you're in love?"

She shrugged. "I'm not sure. For me, it's a reminder of my purity vow."

Adam nearly spit out his drink and my jaw dropped. "Your what?"

She took the ring off and showed me the inscription. "Pure hearts wait."

Adam looked like he was about to crack up but I was trying to keep my look of shock off my face. "So you're saying, you're not going to have sex until marriage?" Adam asked.

"Exactly." Clare looked between us at my expression of shock and Adam's expression of amusement. "What? I mean, you knew that I'm religious. It can't be that much of a surprise."

"Adam's religious," I said. "He goes to church every Sunday."

"Because my mother drags me," he mumbled.

"Adam, are you planning on waiting until you're married?" I asked.

"Dude, I'm going to have sex with the first girl who offers. As many times as possible."

Clare rolled her eyes, and I laughed, knowing Adam was mostly kidding.

"You can be religious and not feel strongly about waiting. And you can want to wait and not have a piece of jewelry on your finger to remind you of it."

"Well, I do." She eyed me suspiciously. "Do you have a problem with that?"

Adam snorted and I shot him a dirty look. Did I have a problem with it? It kind of put a damper on the many dreams I had of her fucking me on my bed or in the shower or in the back of Morty. Her throwing me onto Ms. Dawes's desk after school and sucking me off. I was going to have to find some new masturbation fantasies otherwise I'd go nuts, knowing that none of them would ever come true.

"No," I said finally. "I just find it interesting."

"Interesting?" she said disbelievingly. "What do you mean?"

"I don't know. I'm just surprised, that's all."

Clare's eyes narrowed. "I guess you're not planning on waiting?"

Adam gave me a look. I had told him a few weeks ago about Julia and how she died, and after he said all the appropriate things like "I'm so sorry" and "That must have been really hard," he asked a bunch of questions about our relationship and I told him that she and I had sex.

I hadn't told Clare about what happened to Julia and had only even vaguely alluded to having a girlfriend in the past, and given my conflicted feelings for her, I definitely wasn't ready to tell her any part of the story. Especially not the sex part. She would never want to be with me if she knew the truth. If she ever gave me a chance, I'd tell her, but now…there was no way.

But I figured I could side-step her question and be honest without telling her the whole truth. "I think people should wait until they are in love."

"But if they're so in love, they should be able to wait until they are married," Clare said plainly.

I rolled my eyes. It was easy for Clare to say that. She'd never been in love as far as I knew. But I had, and I knew how it made your heart and your body ache for that desperate connection – both physical and emotional. Julia and I were young, but we didn't rush into anything; we'd been together a few months and we were basically living together by the time we had sex for the first time. I couldn't imagine waiting a decade before experiencing that with her, especially since we only had four months between our first time and her death.

"If they're so in love, they won't be able to wait until they are married."

She shrugged. "Well I disagree."

Between my disappointment in Clare's position and my sadness at remembering Julia and our love-making so vividly in this moment, I knew I had to change the subject. But there were a few more things I needed to know, especially if I were ever going to let myself try to be more than friends with Clare, so I thought maybe I'd just change the tone of the conversation.

"So what does that mean anyway? Where do you draw the line between what's allowed and what's not?"

"Excuse me?" Clare squeaked. She probably didn't expect me to get so personal.

"Well, intercourse is out, correct?" She blushed and nodded. "Is it an everything but situation? Where do you draw the line?"

"I don't know," she said quietly.

"Does oral sex count?" Clare's eyes widened. "What about mutual masturbation? Could you get naked? Groping above the clothes? I'm just curious."

"Yeah, curious," Adam coughed and I shot him a look of warning.

Clare looked totally embarrassed. "I don't know. It's something I'll have to figure out when I'm in that situation."

I felt a little relieved that she hadn't entirely ruled out all types of physical intimacy. I couldn't imagine being with a girl and not being able to do anything.

"You dated K.C. last year, right?" Adam asked. K.C.? Clare had never mentioned anything about that. I looked across the cafeteria to where he was sitting with Drew and Alli. I guess Adam must have heard the two of them talking about it. "What did he think about it?"

Clare looked sad. "He never had a problem with it. But considering I just found out he knocked up the girl he dumped me for, I'm thinking he may not have been entirely honest with me about that."

"Shit, I'm sorry, Clare. I didn't know," Adam said.

Knowing Clare had been dumped the year before, especially over something like that, made me realize she definitely deserved better than what I could give her. She didn't need someone who was still trying to deal with his past heartbreak. She needed to find a guy who'd be happy to wait until marriage with her, not a guy who lost his virginity at 15.

She caught my eye and her look of sadness made me want to pull her into my arms and hold her until she felt better. I looked down, afraid to feel too much for her. "You know, this salad wasn't enough. I'm going to go get an apple in case I get hungry later," she said. She left her tray, so I knew she'd be coming back but I felt terrible about how we had egged her on.

"Way to go, Adam," I said once she was out of earshot.

"At least I wasn't the one basically asking her if she'd be willing to giving me a blowjob."

"What? I wasn't…" Adam rolled his eyes at me. He had tried to get me to admit my feelings for Clare but I was adamant I only liked her as a friend. Even though I knew, it wasn't quite the truth. "You don't think she took it that way?"

"I don't think so. But I do think she noticed just how interested you were in finding out what she would want to do."

I sat back in my seat. "Waiting for marriage…of all the girls…" I muttered.

"Would it be worth it?" Adam asked. "To wait, if it was her you were waiting for."

I watched her across the room. She was chatting with Alli in the food line and seemed to be less upset than she was at the table.

"To be honest…I think it would be."

Adam smiled. I guess he was happy that I finally admitted I liked her. "Maybe she'll change her mind someday, anyway."


Adam grabbed his tray as Clare started walking back toward me. "I gotta get something from my locker."

I wanted to beg him to stay, to not leave me alone with her when I was feeling so vulnerable about my feelings for her, but she was close enough that she'd hear so I just waved at Adam and smiled at her when she plopped down across from me.

I handed her my extra cookie. "I'm sorry if we upset you. I don't want you to think we're not supportive of your beliefs."

Clare smiled. "It's fine. I know you're just curious. It's not exactly what most teenagers believe nowadays." She glanced over at K.C.

I put my hand over hers and touched her ring and she looked back at me in surprise. "Well, I'm sure you'll find a good guy who will be understanding whether he agrees with you or not."

"I hope say," she said, with a softness in her voice that made my cynical core melt a little bit.

I needed to say something, anything to keep myself from telling her how much I wanted to be that guy. I decided to try the teasing route again, but this time I wouldn't take it too far.

"What about kissing?"

"What about kissing?"

I stood up, grabbing my tray loosely and leaning down toward her so that our faces weren't all that far apart. "Your purity ring doesn't preclude you from kissing, does it?"

She blushed. "No, kissing is fine." I could see her eyes dart up to my lips and I knew I had gotten under her skin. Damn, I wanted to kiss this girl.

I took one step closer and leaned against the table to bring us even closer. "You know, if you think kissing won't lead to you wanting to do more with a guy, you obviously haven't been kissing the right person."

Her face turned purple and she took a second to react, but she stood and angled her face close to mine so that I'd only have to move about an inch to kiss her. "Well, then maybe you'll have to try to change my mind."

My hand was almost reaching for her hip when the beautiful lips I was staring at turned into a smirk. She picked up her tray and walked away from me, turning back to look at me from the garbage cans and giving me a devious smile.

I felt a pang in my heart and I knew I couldn't pretend anymore. I was head over heals for this girl. I wanted her…all of her. And I knew I'd wait forever if she'd let me.

Now I just needed to convince myself that I was worthy of her. And then, if her last comment was any indication…she'd be mine.