I realize it's been ages and for that, I apologize. Between the holidays, writing a young adult novel, editing my first novel, working, and taking care of my two kids (that'd be one three year old, one thirty three year old) I've been SLAMMED. Nevertheless, I managed to whip up the first section of this little two shot to close out Next To Me and Meaningless Meeting. The second section will be posted in a few days. I hope the Eclare fans approve!

The lyrics are from Adaline's We've Got Something- considering the "duality" in the other stories, I thought they were appropriate. Keep in mind that there are sexual themes and mild citrus in this story- nothing overly graphic but...I'm not quite sure about the rating so just keep that in mind.

"Maybe all the lights will lead us on as we go; It's you for me, you're everything, the half to my whole."

"Give me just a minute," I murmured, closing the door behind me. I leaned back against the hard wood and blew out a shaky breath. This is it..

A mirror hung on the wall in front of me and I peeked at my reflection, surprised by what I found there. Overall, there were a handful of defining moments in a person's life and they were typically one-sided, that is, experienced from a single point of view. People were rarely gifted with the ability to perceive themselves in these moments but, here I was on the outside looking in. Cocking my head, I stared at my face in deliberation. Half of it was in shadow- the bathroom was dark as I'd forgotten to flip on the switch- and the other half was illuminated by the moon. The pale, green light filtered in through a small window, washing over the planes of my face and underscoring the suspense written on my brow.

Chuckling dryly, I shook my head. Naturally, it was the moon. The lunar body had become a fixture in my life just two years ago. Where it was once just a light in the sky, now it was the signal that led me home.

Home. That word had new meaning for me. I'd always assumed that home was a place to rest your head, to keep you sheltered. It was a place with solid walls and a stable roof. Yet, in these past few years I'd learned that home was much more than that. Walls were the bonds built between two people, shelter was the result of enduring love and friendship. When you love someone unconditionally and they you, there is never any question of whether you will be alright. You just know. No matter what happens, if love is the foundation for life and relationship, bonds will never be broken. It was assertive reliance: I knew that the moon would never stop shining because my love is what gave it light.

Taking a step forward, I placed my hands on the sink. "This is what you've been waiting for your whole life, Clare," I whispered to my reflection. "He is the one you are meant to be with, the half to your whole." A small smile bloomed over my face as the words left my lips. I knew they were true- I was desperately in love with Eli Goldsworthy and he was in love with me. There were no qualms, no misgivings- we were meant to be together.

But it didn't make this any easier.

Dropping my chin to my chest, I fingered my purity ring in aggravation. My heart rate began to speed and my body trembled. I pulled a deep breath, trying to get control of my feelings. They were chaotic- knots were forming in my stomach and my palms were sweating- I tugged at my short, auburn curls and wondered if I could really do this. For fifteen years I had been that sweet, pious girl- the very ingenue Eli had written about just two years before- and although I'd stripped myself of that image, taking the next step still terrified me. Thinking about how I'd changed was one thing but, affirming it through physical action was another thing entirely.

"Clare?" A soft knock sounded on the door and I whipped around, clutching my chest in surprise.

"Yes?" I squeaked, hoping I didn't sound as nervous as I was.

"Are you alright?" Eli was concerned- I could hear it in his voice.

"Er, yeah," I replied, turning on the faucet. "I'll be right out."

He was silent for a moment. "Clare..." Eli stressed my name in such a way that it made my toes curl.

"I'll be right there, promise!" I chirped, running my freezing hands under the warm water.

Clearly this pledge was not enough to appease my boyfriend. The door flew open and Eli stepped inside, grabbing me by the arm and spinning me around.

"Enough stalling, Edwards," he growled. His warm breath fanned over my face- it was minty and fresh. Coupled with his musky scent, it made certain areas of my body react immediately.

"I...I'm not stalling!" I argued, looking everywhere but at him.

"Oh no?" he shot back, shutting off the water. "You've been in here for twenty minutes. That's one thousand one hundred and forty seconds over your initial estimate."

"What are you, a Mathematician?" I grumbled.

Eli raised a brow, a smirk tugging at his lips. "Nah, I have no patience for math," he replied, running a long finger down the column of my neck. "I much prefer Anatomy."

He looked me over and a soft heat began to radiate between my legs. I hated the power this boy had over me or, more specifically, my body. All it took was one smoldering look and I was a pile of goo. It wasn't fair- I had always thought the girl was the one who held all the cards.

"Are you scared?"

My head snapped sideways and I met his jade colored eyes. There was fire behind them but they were also tender, almost worried. The way he looked at me was exactly how every girl wanted to be looked at, no deserved to be looked at. Eli made me feel loved and desired- it was a lethal combination and I felt my breath catch as his hand dropped to my hip. Able fingers gripped my waist and I swallowed hard, thoughts of where else they could go infiltrating my head.

"Answer me, Clare," he pressed, his voice a soft whisper.

"I don't know what I am," I admitted, trying to ignore the fire burning below my waist.

Eli frowned. "If you're not ready..."

I blew out a sigh. "You've been saying that for eighteen months, Eli," I groused. "Isn't it getting a little old?"

"Old?" He repeated, looking at me as if I'd grown another head. "Clare, I love you. I can hold off, it's no big deal. Hell, even if you want to wait until..." he paused, his face flushing a deep crimson.

"Until?" I blinked in confusion. Eli looked squeamish and I was grappling to catch up. When did we suddenly switch roles?

"Well, er...you know," he fumbled for the right words, "you have views on pre-marital sex and what not."

I gaped at him in disbelief. Was he implying what I thought he was?

Eli's face was now tomato red and he ran a hand through his hair. "Just forget I said anything, Edwards. We can do this some other time."

As he made to step away something inside of me snapped. Eli had just let on that he was interested in forver. As in, forever with me. It must have been just what I needed to hear because, suddenly, I was all over him. He let out a muffled groan as I pounced, my lips descending on his with ample excitement. Arms looping around his neck, I held onto him like a spider monkey and he stumbled backwards. We slammed against the bathroom wall and I took advantage of my position, tearing at the braces over his shoulders and the buttons on his shirt. Eli's mouth was attached to my neck at this point and I whimpered as he snaked his tongue over "that spot", causing my knees to buckle.

Dirty bastard... I mused as he took control, whipping my shirt over my head and lifting me off the ground. For such a slight boy, he was curisouly strong and he tossed me onto his bed like a rag doll. Standing at the foot, he took a moment to drink me in. I was still in my Degrassi uniform, save for the bright blue polo, and he must have liked the idea of it. I figured it was something of a novelty- pure, little Clare in her lavendar bra, khaki uniform skirt, and knee socks- a fantasy of sorts. By the way Eli's eyes darkened as they slid over my half-naked form, I knew I'd hit the nail on the head.

Lying back on the mattress, I locked eyes with my boyfriend and began to run my hands up over my stomach. He swallowed hard and his adam's apple bobbed in his throat. After two years of dating Eli, I knew exactly what he liked. I had noticed rather quickly that he seemed to be something of a voyeur. He liked to watch me do things- homework, a hobby, whatever. It wasn't creepy or perverted, it was affectionate and I kind of liked him watcing me now. It made me burn and I cupped my breasts, running my fingers over them with fearther-like precision. Eli groaned as I gave them a little tug and then dropped my hands to the zipper of my skirt, pulling it down an inch at a time.

He leaned forward, one knee propped against the bed, and I could see "Little Eli" standing at attention. It made my heart rate spike and my hands shook as I yanked on the material, but I wasn't about to stop now. Besides, we'd gone farther than this before. Third base had been rounded only eight months into the relationship and was now somewhat routine. Studying with Eli almost always consisted of work and play. In the last year, I couldn't remember a time when it didn't contain a happy ending for both of us. This had only became more frequent when senior year arrived and half my classes were at University. After graduating, Eli had taken a year off to work and plot how to score classes with me in college. He was a sneaky little punk but I can't say I minded much.

Lifting my butt off the bed, I pulled my skirt down over my hips and exposed my lower half. Ironically, I had worn my matching set of violet underwear today. This was not typical- I almost always donned bright pink briefs and a yellow bra, or something equally as horrifying. Eli was relentless in his teasing about it but, I knew he wouldn't give me a hard time today. That much was clear from the look on his face.

He reached down and tugged at my skirt as I shimmied out of it. As soon as it hit the floor, Eli was on top of me. My legs parted instinctively as he shifted forward and locked around his slender waist. As our bodies met, we let off a simultaneous groan and frenzied kissing followed- sloppy and hard with tongues and teeth and heavy breathing. My whole body clenched as Eli raked his hand down my side, gripping my waist the way he always did when we were mid-foreplay.

He smirked against my lips and pressed his lower half against me, earning a stiffled moan in return. "Like that Edwards?" he teased.

I felt the blush creep over my body.

Eli chuckled. "Pink has always been a pretty color on you," he said, drawing a lazy finger across my blushing face. He fingered the strap of my bra, his green eyes flashing. "But today, purple has taken top honors." Cupping the underside of my breast, he bent down and kissed it, his tongue swirling over the fabric.

I sucked in a loud breath and thrust my chest forward.

Eli leaned away from me, a smug expression on his face. "So eager," he commented, running the pad of his thumb over the swell of skin. "I like that."

"Then I suggest you stop talking and kiss me," I demanded.

His gorgeous face split into a lecherous grin and he bent down, his lips hovering just over mine. "Oh, I'm going to kiss you Clare," he replied in a smooth voice. "But there's a question I need answered first." He looked down at me with that ridiculous smirk of his and I briefly considered smacking him.

"What question?" I huffed, thrusting my hips up in agitation. I needed friction and I needed it now.

Eli bent forward and began nibbling on my earlobe. "Do you want to know the question Clare?"

"Yes, dammit!" I whined, tiring of his game. I wanted him to kiss me, to touch me- he was driving me mad with all this teasing.

He laughed, clearly amused by my frustration. "Alright Edwards, I'll cut you a break," he murmured, placing tiny kisses over my shoulder. "The question is: where am I going to kiss you?"

I was having trouble responding, his suggestive tone coupled with the way his hands walked over my body was wreaking havoc on my senses.

"Is it here?" He ran his fingers over the soft skin of my throat and I hummed in appreciation.

"Or perhaps here?" His soft palm moved down to my breast and he tugged on the cup of my bra, flicking his tongue over my skin.

I hissed, wanting him to take it in between his teeth but, alas, he wasn't finished tormenting me.

"How about here?" He traced a circle around my belly button and I giggled- my tummy was super ticklish and Eli knew it. Shifting down, he laved his tongue over my stomach and I twisted, trying to get away but he held fast. He attacked the skin of my abdomen with his teeth but, instead of making me laugh, it sent a shot of pure desire down into my core. I gasped and my hips bucked.

Eli looked up at me, miscief dancing in his wild eyes. "Or I could always kiss you here," he breathed, his hand dropping between my legs.

"Ooh," I rasped, fisting his comforter as he ran a finger over the outside of my panties.

"Hmm, it seems I've discovered where you want to be kissed," he drawled.

Sliding his hand into my underwear, my head fell back and I let off a soft moan. Eli leaned in to taste my lips, savoring them in a long, slow kiss. He began to touch me, gentle at first but then harder as my reactions spurred him on. Nibbling along my jaw line, his fingers worked between my thighs in even strokes and I reveled in the way he touched me, the way he looked at me...I reveled in him.

"You're so gorgeous, Edwards," Eli murmured, dragging his tongue over my collar bone as he continued his task. "The way you look when you come apart in my arms- the way your whole body tenses and you bite your lip to keep from screaming," he crooked his fingers inside of me and I hissed, "it lingers in my mind for days afterward. I can't stop thinking about you Clare, you're everything to me."

I began to pant as he increased his tempo, his thumb reaching up for dual stimulation. It felt so good but I wanted to give him pleasure, too. His heartfelt admission sparked something inside of me and I reached out, running my hand down the front of his pants. I pressed against the bulge between his legs and he growled. The sound was low and it sent a tremor of desire through my body. Suddenly, I wanted nothing more than to have him inside of me. I loved Eli and I knew he loved me. This was enough of a validation- I didn't need a piece of paper or vows to tell me otherwise because, we already knew. We'd professed how we felt many times but it was at this moment that I realized I wanted to show him. And while I knew that my priest would tell me otherwise, that we were too young to know what love was, I didn't care. Our bond was pure and that argument had always grated on my nerves, anyway. Adults were the ones getting divorces and making love about money and material. Were these our positive role models? Who were they to tell me that I didn't know love? I had loved my parents from the time I was a baby! Adults and, yes, even the church wanted to apply "conceptualization" to a natural element- they wanted to make love conditional by assigning it requirements. To me, love was unconditional- there were no requirements- it simply existed.

"Please Eli," I whispered, pulling him forward by the collar of his shirt. "I need you."

He grunted and rubbed his erection against my leg. I began to unbuckle his belt and he gritted his teeth, staring at me with lust filled, albeit uncertain, eyes.

"I don't want to pressure you Clare," he responded.

My hands stalled and I looked at him. "I want you...all of you," I declared. "You're it for me."

This confession stirred something in Eli and his eyes began to water. Swiping at his face, he barked an embarassed laugh. It was clear that he didn't want me to see him get emotional but it only made me want him more. I knew right then and there that I had made the right decision- Eli Goldsworthy was my one and only.

The rest of our clothes came off quickly and we found ourselves in position- Eli between my legs, his eyes locked on mine in anticipation, and me underneath him, nibbling the full pad of my lower lip. With slow precision, he inched forward and began to fill me, a questioning expression on his beautiful face. There was pain but it didn't undermine the occassion. This was the most alluring moment of my young life, on many levels. It was more than just an act of pleasure- it was about trust and understanding, give and take. Making love was showing each other how much we care by making them feel good. It was the physical affirmation of how I felt about Eli. Of course, sex could be about individual gratification but for me, it was all about him. I was ready to show him how much he meant to me.

"Are you alright?" he whispered, his brow furrowed with worry.

Smiling, I nodded. "I'm fine."

He narrowed his eyes. "You better not be lying to me, Edwards," he admonished, "I want this to be good for you."

"And I want this to be good for you," I countered.

Eli sighed and shook his head. "Let's not make this about me, okay? You're the one who des-"

"I swear to God, Eli," I cut in, my face flushing with anger, "if you finish that sentence I will not only not have sex with you, I'll kick your ass!"

He blinked down at me in surprise.

"We both deserve pleasure," I continued, ignoring his astonishment. "Don't you see, this is about giving one another a token of our affection. You can't just give to me and not let me give back! That's not fair."

Eli opened his mouth to protest but I silenced him with a kiss. I was through bickering about who should get what and I planned to prove just how much he deserved affection. Wrapping my legs more snuggly around his waist, I thrust my hips forward and his face contorted, disapproval seguing to bliss.

"God Clare," he groaned, his head dropping to my shoulder as he began to meet my thrusts with his own.

I closed my eyes and tried to focus on making him feel good. The beating I was taking down below was not exactly comfortable but, as Eli set a measured pace, I noticed that the pain was not as bad. In fact, after a few minutes the burning began to fade and was replaced with a subtle thrum that filled my lower half. I hummed in approbation, enjoying the faint sensation, especially when Eli began to whisper in my ear.

"You feel so good, baby," he murmured, placing soft kisses on my lips, chin, and nose. "So warm, so wet for me."

I met his glimmering eyes, they were sincere and it made that subtle feeling intensify. "Only for you," I breathed.

Eli's face split into a wide smile and his hands moved down my body and gripped my ass. He rolled his hips and it sent a jolt of pleasure into my lower gut. A small fire began to build there and, the more Eli thrust inside of me, the hotter it burned.

"I'm not going to last," he choked out as his movements became more erratic.

I wasn't surprised. We were both new at this and I didn't expect an orgasm my first time out. So I decided to help Eli along by rocking my hips- I could always get off later, right now I wanted him to feel good. The sensation this new movement caused was well worth the effort, as was my boyfriend's reaction. Eli's eyes clamped shut and he let out a long, solid groan. I felt the flame inside me begin to rage as I shifted- the decision to help him was also helping me- and I panted as it mounted, exploding through me like a firecracker. I stiffened as the blaze rolled over me from head to toe. My mouth dropped open and a high sign fell from my lips. I was vaguely aware that Eli had also climaxed, his head was now buried in the crook of my neck and he was breathing hard. We lay there for the next few minutes, sweaty, out of breath, and still connected.

Always connected.

When he finally rolled off of me, we turned towards each other and smiled.

"You okay?" Eli questioned, refusing to meet my eyes.

I lifted his chin with a finger and leaned in to kiss him. It was short but sweet and it seemed to quell his anxiety.

"So that was good for you, then?" he asked, unable to keep the giddiness from marring his otherwise collected expression.

I giggled in response. "Yeah, it was pretty amazing," I replied and then poked him with a finger. "But don't let that go to your head."

The corner of his mouth pulled up. "Moi?"

"Yeah you," I shot back, shaking my head. "I clearly remember how smug you were the last time-"

"Eli man, I need to borrow Star Wars: The Force Un-believable!" Adam burst into the room, threw up his hands, and shot back out. "Dude, I'm seriously thinking about suing for continued mental anguish, here! Don't you two ever lock the door?"

He ranted all the way down the hall and we stared at each other, completely nonplussed. When we heard the front door slam we burst into laughter.

"I can't believe he still blames us when he's the one walking in without knocking!" Eli remarked, rolling his eyes.

I covered my mouth in amusement. "I know, he's truly demented."

Pulling me closer to him, Eli wrapped his arms around my waist and snuggled against my chest. "I love you," he muttered, his voice growing sleepy.

"Love you, too." I didn't miss a beat.

He pulled the covers up over our shoulders. "And I meant what I said before, Clare," he slurred.

I yawned, my eyes growing heavy. "About what?"

He did not immediately respond and I figured he'd drifted off. I rolled onto my side and we fell into an easy position, Eli spooning me from behind. Slumber began to descend on me and I was half-asleep when I thought I heard a soft whisper.

"I'm going to marry you some day, Edwards."

Heehee- I could not resist putting Adam through that one last time. I felt it was only appropriate that he walk in on their defining moment. Call it the last phase of a hazing ritual.

Anyway, there will be some closure with Fitz (Michael and Gabe, as well) in the next chapter- you'll see where everyone ends up. Hope this bit was worth the wait and I promise to post the next section shortly. Reviews are greatly appreciated.