Disclaimer: I do not own Degrassi. This story is inspired by and based on the superb fanfic "Brilliant Smiles and Barely Scraping By" (not a Degrassi fanfic, and it's not in this site), which was written by nepenthe_ at LiveJournal. The title of this fic belongs to Stellastarr*.
What to expect: Eclare friendship/romance/fluff, lots of Clare/Eli/Adam/Alli moments, some disturbing situations and strong language. I must emphasize on the disturbing situations part of this fic. You'll see eventually. I'm experimenting with my writing, so forgive my suckiness.
"Dreamin' what you're seeing and knowing that I can read it, it's all for you. I can see it in your eyes and even though I lied, it was all for you."
Somewhere Across Forever, Stellastarr*
"Ooh yeah, a little angel, she wants more…. More, more, more, more, more-"
Eli refused to open his eyes as the radio started playing, even though he knew what would come next.
"And that was Mr. Billy Idol with Rebel Yell," said the DJ in a booming voice and Eli wanted to laugh at his father's voice. "Wake up, sleepy heads, and enjoy the good ol' music that moi, the one and only Bullfrog, is playing for you. First day of school for most kids today, and if I could give you a piece of advice I would say, "We don't need no education-"
Eli turned off his radio clock and lay on his back, his eyes still closed. He tried to clear his mind, but he couldn't… he could only think of two things.
His back was killing him. And he needed to write something down.
He opened his eyes and stared at the ceiling as he thought of a quick way to stop the constant pain, a low groan escaping his lips. Eli glanced at his watch and realized that he hadn't slept more than two hours, which didn't shock him. He grabbed the journal that was on his nightstand and found a pen under his pillow, wanting to pour his soul out in a sentence.
Secret # 234- it hurts in a different way now, he scribbled on a random page. He really had no order for his thoughts, since his writing and mind were a united chaos, and pain couldn't be organized. He threw the journal aside and sighed, knowing that he would have to get up eventually. He just wanted to lie there until the end of time, until his lungs stopped working… until his heart stopped.
He sat on his bed slowly, cringing as pain stabbed his lower back, and his hands gripped the comforter tightly.
A hoarse sob echoed in the room, and it took Eli a moment to realize that the desperate cry came from him. He blinked as the acid tears started rolling down his cheeks, wanting to forget about the pain and misery he was going through.
Secret # 32- I want to stop crying.
He blinked and stood up slowly as he walked over to his window, noticing that it was a bright, sunny day outside. He wondered how it was possible for the weather to be so nice outside while everything inside him felt like infinite darkness.
Eli touched the glass with his fingertips cautiously, afraid to break it. He didn't know his own strength anymore, and he was afraid to destroy things… just because he was being destroyed.
"Eli, are you awake?" asked a soft female voice from the other side of the door. Eli wiped his tears hastily and tried to walk over to the door in a normal fashion so CeCe wouldn't suspect a thing.
He was not only a professional liar, but he was an astounding actor as well.
"Hey," he yawned casually as he opened the door, his mother standing there with a loving smile on her face.
"I didn't hear you come in last night, baby boy," said CeCe, sounding concerned. "Why did they keep you working so late? And you start school today…"
"We had lot of freight," shrugged Eli, the mere action causing him pain. "But Donovan promised that he won't ask me to work the graveyard shift again, not during school days."
"Good, otherwise I will have to talk to him," said CeCe mockingly. "I made some coffee, you need to be alert today!"
Bullfrog and Cece thought that a new school might change his attitude, that it would be a breath of fresh air. Degrassi was also a public school, meaning that the burden of paying the bill for a private school was quite the relief for his parents. Bills kept piling up, and Eli just wanted to help them out and never complain.
Secret # 45- Nothing can make me forget. Nothing.
Eli swallowed hard as he tried to bite back the words he desperately wanted to say. CeCe smiled at him and patted him on the head, chuckling softly. She leaned in to give him a hug but he took a step back, causing his mother to raise an eyebrow at him.
"I know that transferring to public school is not the best thing ever," she said in a motherly tone, still looking concerned. "But you know, with your grandfather dying and the bills and all… I know we put an unwanted burden on your shoulders with our economic situation, and I-"
"It's okay," shrugged Eli, his heart aching at the sound of the guilt in his mother's voice. "I don't mind working or going to a public school. Really."
CeCe smiled brightly at him and Eli knew that she still wanted to give him a hug, but he kept his distance. "Well then," sighed CeCe happily. "I'll cook something fast before you go school! I'm so excited for you!"
Eli wanted to raise his arms in mock celebration but the pain was too much to handle, so he contented himself with a derisive snort and a smirk. His mother walked away and he looked after her, wondering how long he would be able to keep his double life a secret.
As he walked into the bathroom and took off his clothes, he got a glimpse of himself in the mirror. The bruises were covering his chest, his stomach, and he cringed when he saw one of the bruises starting to turn yellow. Smaller bruises decorated his collarbone, the bruises shaped like fingertips, and he started shaking.
Secret # 13- Bruises are memories, and memories are lies. Lies will save you and secrets will keep you alive.
Eli walked into the shower and made sure that the water was scalding hot, wanting to wash away his pain. As soon as the water hit him he yelped loudly, the water hitting all of his bruises and scabs and making them burn.
He started scrubbing his body manically, knowing that no amount of soap or water would get rid of the disgust he felt for himself. He watched as the water went down the drain, hypnotized by the swirling motion. He felt guilty for not letting his mother hug him, but he didn't want anyone to touch him ever again. He remembered how he pushed Julia away with his secrets, how he didn't her to touch him... how he ruined their relationship with his lies.
Yes, he was good at keeping secrets.
But those secrets were slowly killing him.
"Breathe," he mumbled to himself as he walked down the hallway, clutching the straps of his backpack nervously. He glanced around, and he noticed people staring at him, as they had never seen a guy wearing all black before. He could hear them whispering "hearse" and "death," and he wished that Julia was there with him holding his hand.
But Julia was dead, just like everything he had ever enjoyed or loved. He found his English classroom and walked in, avoiding looking at people. Eli sat down quickly, looking down and staring at his fingernails. Students kept walking in; some of them glanced at him and he really just wanted the day to be over. He looked through his backpack and grabbed a black marker, doodling on his fingernails absentmindedly.
Eli noticed the bookshelves that were glued to the walls and smirked condescendingly at some of the featured titles. Nothing but the regular must-read-in-high-school stuff, and he rolled his eyes as he thought of having to read Lord of the Flies again.
He saw a small bruise on his wrist and immediately covered it with his sleeve, furious at his stupidity. The bruises were not supposed to be seen, ever, and he cursed under his breath as his head started hurting.
Look at all these bruises, Elijah… they are so beautiful.
Eli shivered and decided to focus on the people in the classroom instead, and the moment he glanced at the person sitting next to him, his heart stopped.
The girl sitting at the nearby desk couldn't be real… it just wasn't possible. She was too beautiful.
She was reading a Paulo Coelho novel, her eyes fixed on the book as her lips moved soundlessly. Her brown curls seemed carved to perfection as she ran her free hand through them, and then… she briefly glanced at him.
She looked away fast, but not before Eli noticed the intensity of her blue eyes, the way a nervous smile lurked her lips before looking away. His mind was in frenzied disarray, and he couldn't stop looking at her.
The girl reached for her pocket and pulled out her cell phone, a mischievous look on her face. Eli decided to finally stop studying her, and he focused again on his fingernails, trying to ignore the erratic beats of his troubled heart.
Eli swallowed as seconds turned into minutes, and he couldn't help but glance at the girl again. But the seat was empty, and the room felt suddenly cold. He wondered if he had imagined her, if his mind was finally giving up, and he twitched his lips in disappointment.
She was gone.
Eli tried to focus in the class and listen to Miss Dawes, the teacher, but he kept looking over at the empty desk beside him. He also kept thinking about the night before, the screaming, the pain, and the bruises... He raised his hand and asked for a hall pass; he just needed to leave the classroom and breathe, breathe because he felt that he was dying in front of everybody but nobody really cared.
He walked down the hallway and felt grateful that it was deserted; he wasn't sure that he would be able to tolerate more stares and whispers. How was he supposed to survive an entire school year in such an environment? He could easily drop out of school and continue working for Donovan and-
Giggles interrupted his thoughts and he frowned as he turned around the corner, curiosity taking control of him.
"This is so wrong."
"But that whore deserves it, for stealing your boyfriend. And it's not like we're going to get caught… who would suspect you?"
The girl in his English class was standing in front of a locker, another girl giggling next to her. Both of them were holding thick red markers in their hands and they were writing on the locker, the stench of permanent marker irritating Eli's nostrils.
"Shit!" said the other girl, her long black hair suddenly a blur as she started running away at the sight of Eli.
"Alli, wait!" the other girl cried, looking confused. She turned around and saw him, her blue eyes widening in utter shock.
They both stared at each other for one long minute, and then the girl dropped the marker. The sound of it hitting the floor echoed throughout the hallway, and Eli felt simply amused at the obvious terror on the girl's face.
He walked over to her, the girl seemingly paralyzed with fear, and Eli picked up the marker from the floor. He glanced at the locker and smirked when he read the words scribbled on it.
Your singing sucks!
"A little PG-13 with the insults, huh," commented Eli, handing the marker back to the girl.
"I… have to go…" she breathed, and ran off, leaving Eli standing all by himself.
The bell rang and his eyes followed the disappearing silhouette of the girl with the haunting eyes. The marker was still in his hand as the students started walking out of the classrooms and he pocketed it at once, walking away from the lockers as fast as he could.
Another secret, another day.