It had been a year.
A year since she'd slept an entire night.
A year since he'd been happy.
A year since they'd said goodbye to one another.
Neither one really wanted to leave the other, but they thought it was for the best.
They were wrong.
"Attention students. Buses are on their way for pick-up, and many parents are coming to pick you all up. So keep your pants on. You'll all be out of here soon," said Principal Simpson over the loudspeaker, followed by a collective sigh of relief from all the students waiting to go home. There was a huge snowstorm going on, and everyone was excited for a snow day.
Clare rolled her eyes as she flipped open her cell phone then dialed her mother's phone number. As she waited for her mother to answer, Alli walked by and mouthed that she was leaving. Clare said byeback as her mother answered the phone.
"Hello? Clare? Why are you calling me?" said Mrs. Edwards, sounding a little bit worried.
"Hey Mom, everything is fine, they're just closing school because of the snow. Do you think you could come pick me up?"
After a little pause, Helen finally said, "Sorry Clare, I wish I could but work has been really demanding. Did you try calling your father? Maybe he could come pick you up."
"He's on a business trip," said Clare curtly. Her parents have been divorced for a while, and she was still struggling with the fact that her family was 100% broken.
"Oh," said Mrs. Edwards, with less sympathy than before. "Well, I'm sure Alli can take you home, right?"
"She just left," said Clare, getting annoyed with her mother. She knew she was trying to help, but it was getting a little bit annoying.
"Well, I'm sorry Clare, but I suppose you're just going to have to stay at school until I get off from work."
"Yeah, whatever. Bye," said Clare disappointedly, practically slamming the phone shut.
Clare sighed while looking around the room at everyone else leaving with the buses, or with their parents, or their own cars (lucky). She couldn't help but let her mind wander back to the one thing she just wished she would forget: Eli. They hadn't really talked a lot since… the breakup. It had been tough for both of them (and to be honest, it still was torture for them mutually), and she found that she could never truly forget him, or his smirk, or his eyes, or his… everything. Everything reminded her of him, and the realization of that fact only made Clare feel worse. But, even though she felt shitty every day she spent without him, she still felt that the break-up was for the best, even if they were both suffering.
Clare tried to shake Eli from her mind. She looked around the now almost completely empty room, figuring out what she can do to kill time until her mom came to pick her up. The last kid left and she look expectantly up at Mr. Perino, hoping to be let out of class.
"Don't give me that look. You can go to the library to study, smoke, I don't care. Just leave, snow gives me a headache," Mr. Perino said. Well it's a good thing you live in Canada, eh? Thought Clare humorously to herself as she walked out of the classroom. "Thanks Mr. Perino. Hope your head feels better."
She crossed the hall to her locker and took out enough books out to last her a while, and walked to the library. She saw a few kids, none that she knew though. Degrassi was pretty much deserted by now.
Clare got to the library (the only one there, too) and walked over to a random table, setting her books down. She looked over to the bookshelf that she and Eli shared their first "real" kiss. Not for a film project, just because he wanted to kiss her. And just thinking about that simple moment made Clare choke up a little, because she knew that she and Eli would probably never share those types of moments again. But she did not want to break down crying in an empty library, so she just sat down and took out her science textbook and started to do her homework for next class.
About fifteen minutes had passed; Clare had finished her science homework and was just pulling out her English assignment when she felt a presence suddenly appear. She looked over to her right and gasped. "Eli?" she questioned, feeling like it was the first time she'd ever seen him. "What are you doing here?"
"Morty broke down. Hah, he always seems to crap out at the worst possible times, doesn't he?" Eli said, with little humor in his voice. Clare gave him a once over, the bags under his eyes that coincidentally matched with hers, his disheveled hair, the way that his smirk seemed lifeless, his ghastly pale skin, and his bloodshot eyes. She didn't even want to think of what could cause him to look so disastrous.
Clare gave him a small smile, and Eli also noticed her change in appearance. She still wore the same clothes, and her hair seemed almost exactly the same, but the shine seemed to be lost from her ocean blue eyes, and she seemed like she'd lost so much weight, which really disheartened Eli. He loved every one of her curves, and he couldn't fathom that she had lost her appetite ever since the day they'd said goodbye. His eyes traveled to her lips. The lips that he had kissed with such passion. The lips that had seemed to always smile a special smile for him. Now, her lips seemed different in too many ways. The smile was gone, and he no longer could kiss them. That fact alone was torturous to him.
Both realized that they were sitting in an awkward silence. Quite unlike the content silences they used to share, where no words needed to be said. They both had so much to say, but neither knew whether anything should be said.
"So… how's grade 11 treating you?" Eli asked, hoping to get the ball rolling.
"It's… fine. You know, it's school. How's life being the top dog around here?" she asked with a small giggle. At least they both could have a sense of humor, right?
"Heh, it's good. Although, I haven't hazed anyone yet so… I don't think I'm doing this Upperclassman thing right," he said with a small grin, relishing the fact that they were talking without it being too awkward.
"Well, we better find a freshman and go steal his clothes then, huh?" Clare asked, a small smile making its way back to her lips. A genuine smile, one that had been missing from her face for a long time.
"Yeah, we better get on that." Eli stated. And the two fell silent again. Eli couldn't shake one thought from his mind, and he decided to take the leap and just ask Clare. "Um… How's Jake?"
The question caught Clare by surprise. "What do you mean?"
"Oh, well, I guess I heard that you two went on a date a while ago, and I was wondering if… you know…" Eli seemed to be at a loss of words, for once. He didn't even want to imagine the possibility of Clare being with another guy. But to his astonishment, Clare barked out a laugh. He looked at her with a puzzled face.
"Jake and I aren't going out, Eli. We went on a date a long time ago, from the urging of his parents. We just didn't click. We're too… different." She said the last part quietly, remembering that that was one of the reasons for the breakup. After a little pause she asked, "How's Imogene? I heard you two also went on… a date." Eli could notice that she seemed a little disappointed in the fact that he seemed to have gotten over her so quickly.
"Imogene is most definitely not my type," Eli was quick to assure. "We went on one date on her insistence. We went to Little Miss Steaks and she… she dined and dashed. She wasn't that great anyway. She basically talked about herself the whole time, and wasn't really interesting in the first place." Clare admittedly got a little excited hearing the news that Eli post-breakup was just as unsuccessful as she was at getting a date. When she heard that Eli and Imogene had gone out, the little green monster inside of her came out for a little and played with her emotions, and she was glad that she could put it to rest now.
"Oh. Well, I'm sorry it didn't work out?" It sounded more like a question than a statement.
"Yeah…" Eli paused. "It's been a little odd since the… breakup," said Eli, trying not to get too emotional in front of his ex-girlfriend. He especially had to keep reminding himself that she was his ex.
"Hah," laughed Clare nervously. "Yeah it has, hasn't it? I haven't-"
"Clare, Eli, I'm glad I found you" interjected Principle Simpson, unknowingly ruining what could have been a moment for the two. "You guys are the last two students left in the building. I have to leave because my wife – Spike – is stuck somewhere on the road. I know that you two are trustworthy. Despite… what happened last year. And I know this is asking a lot of two high schoolers, but would you two mind locking up the school? All of the doors are locked except the front entrance. All you have to do is take the extra keys from the bottom second drawer on the left of the receptionist's desk and lock up the doors when you leave. Put the keys back in the drawer and then close the door behind you. I wouldn't ask any other students this, so look at it as a very… high privilege. Anyway, I'm already running late, so thanks again," he said as he walked out of the library doors.
Clare and Eli looked at each other. Both confused, but, almost instantaneously, both realized that they were officially alone with each other.
"Are you alright? The bags under your eyes are really large," Clare asked, seemingly out of the blue.
"Way to beat around the bush, Clare," Eli said with a hint of humor to his voice. After a small pause he said, "It's nothing, I just can't sleep as well as I used to. It's weird, because it seems like… I can't do anything since…"
"We broke up," she finished for him. "I can't sleep either. I can't sleep, I can't eat, and my writer's block has been horrible. The only thing I can write about is—"
"Broken things?" Eli asked.
"… Yes. How did you know?"
"I have the exact same problem. I have been living in hell, basically. I can only write about broken things because… I feel broken. Ever since we 'parted ways,'" he said, putting air quotes around the old-fashioned sounding phrase. His mood noticeably shifted, and he said, "I've gotten help though, Clare. I know last year I was acting… odd, to say the least. But I've been seeing a shrink. I hate it. It's torture, having to delve into my psyche. And I feel so sorry that I put you through all that last year. But I swear, I am so, so much better now." Eli sounded so… desperate. Like if he didn't finish what he was saying he would explode.
"That's wonderful Eli. I am so happy for you," Clare said, genuinely happy that Eli had gotten so much help.
"Clare," Eli said, taking her hand. Neither of them could ignore the spark of electricity that went through both of them at the touch of their skin. "I miss you. One of the reasons I considered getting help was because of you. I couldn't stand the fact that I had caused you so much pain. I wanted to get better and I did. I finally feel… free." Clare's heart sped up when he said that. Except for the fact that he felt free. She was happy for him, but she felt horrible that he could feel free without her, but she just felt empty without him. But Eli continued, "Well, not exactly free. There's still this vacant feeling that I have. My whole life seems barren, without you." That last statement made Clare tear up.
"Eli, I miss you too. I can't get you off of my mind. I know I probably should have felt relieved when we broke up, but I didn't. Not in the slightest. Every single sleepless night I stare at my ceiling and think what a huge mistake I made. Each and every night I kept hoping that you felt the same. I don't want to mess up what you have now, Eli, but I hate every second I spend without you. I hate everything that reminds me of you and what I left behind. I hate—" Eli couldn't take it anymore. Hearing those words escape from her lips made his heart swell, hearing that she couldn't live without him. He cut her off mid-sentence and kissed her. Kissed her the way he'd wanted to forever. He didn't hold anything back. And, even though the kiss surprised her, Clare responded with an eagerness that just made Eli feel happier. The kiss sent the most electric shocks throughout their bodies, from their heads coursing through their bodies to their toes. It felt like the first kiss they had had in their entire life, but at the same time they were both so familiar with each other that they instinctively knew what to do. Their tongues started battling for full dominance, and time seemed to stand still. Eli bit Clare's bottom lip and they both whimpered at the feeling. Both out of breath, they pulled their mouths apart, which a little sucking sound. Eli put his forehead on Clare's and looked into her blue eyes. The eyes that only a short while ago looked vacant. Her eyes were now sparkling in a way he could never have imagined. They were shining with love. He just knew it. This revelation made Eli so… happy. Truly blissful for the first time in a very, very long time. He started laughing. He was so giddy that he couldn't help laughter from escaping his lips, and soon Clare joined in.
"I love you Clare," whispered Eli. "So much."
Tears yet again came into Clare's eyes. "I love you too Eli. I never stopped."
They both just sat in wake of their harmonious reunion, exchanging small kisses, making sure never to stop touching one another. They spent the rest of the snowstorm basking in each other's love, and fell asleep in each other's arms in the silent library.
Uniforms, all weird security things are gone.
I don't give a fuck if you don't like the assumptions I made about Jake and Imogene, because this story was basically just for me, to get me through this weird-ass theory-making time.
Oh god I hope I didn't screw up the tenses this time. Please let me know if I did, and where.
I don't know why I added some of this. It just seems like too much, you know? Oh well. Sorry if you didn't like it :\