DISCLAIMER: I don't own Degrassi or anything else.
Twitter: themusiksnob / Tumblr: musiksnob
The title is taken from the song Swimming Pool by the Submarines. But it didn't really make sense to call it Swimming Pool. Go look up the lyrics and you'll see what I mean.
"Does Barry Manilow know that you raid his wardrobe?"
The Breakfast Club was playing in the background, but Eli and I had given up any pretense of watching it long ago. My mom had gone to bed early, claiming to have a massive headache, and left us alone to a rare moment of privacy.
The living room couch was narrow so I was lying right on top of Eli, but he didn't have any complaints. His hands stroked my back underneath my shirt, massaging the tension out of my muscles in the sexiest way possible, setting my skin on fire. He had already unhooked my bra, but he was taking his time, and I rewarded him by moving my mouth to his neck and stroking his skin with my tongue. The moan he let out told me I was doing this right.
He left one arm circling my waist, but slipped one around to my stomach and then up to my breast, cupping me underneath my loosened bra. "Is this okay?" he asked gently.
"Yes," I moaned, and he grinned before kissing me yet again. This was still fairly new for us but it wasn't the first time, and I appreciated just how cautious he was, making sure he didn't cross any of my boundaries before I was ready, even though I had agreed previously.
"You're so sexy, Clare," he said as he rubbed his thumb over my nipple. "You have no idea how much I love being with you." The desire in his eyes was evident. "How much I want you," he added huskily.
"I think I have an idea," I teased, rubbing my leg against him. Between his words and his hands, he was making me want him every bit as much as he wanted me, and it felt…dangerous. Like we were moments away from taking this too far, though too far was starting to feel more like right where we should be.
I had never had this problem with K.C. We kissed, but I never wanted to do more with him. But ever since I told Eli I loved him for the first time, it had gotten harder and harder to stop.
Eli grabbed my butt and pulled me toward him, and I straddled him more explicitly, grinding against him. He sucked on my bottom lip before his tongue swiped mine deliciously, deliberate but never too forceful. His hands moved back up my body and started to tug on my shirt. "Can I take this off?"
The heat from his hands was making me desperately want to feel the cool air on my skin, but I knew that was a bad idea. "My mom's upstairs."
"She's sleeping. She's not going to come down." He kissed down my neck as he slipped my shirt up even higher.
"I don't want to risk it," I managed to get out, and Eli nodded, as if he understood.
He grabbed me around the waist and picked me up as he slipped out from under me, placing me on the couch on my back. He lay down between my legs, and I wrapped them around him so I could get closer to him. "That's okay," he said, with a mischievous grin. "I don't have to take off your shirt to see how beautiful you are." He pushed my shirt and bra up until I was totally exposed and then took my nipple into his mouth.
"Oh, Eli." This was new, but very, very welcome. My legs tightened around him and I tugged on his shirt, to raise it enough to press my skin against his. He felt so smooth and sexy against me, and I kissed him, afraid that if my mouth was unoccupied, I would say something I'd regret. Like, take my pants off. Or, I want you inside me.
The tension was building inside me, and I wanted to beg Eli to touch me and make me feel amazing, so I pressed myself to him and tried to lose myself in his kisses without totally losing my ability to think rationally.
Eli seemed to be having the same problem. He tore his lips from mine to take a break, panting. "This is…wow."
I giggled and we kissed again, just as passionately as before. His hand reached down and gripped my thigh, and I was so close to asking him to finger me even though I knew I shouldn't, when his cell phone rang.
We were so into it that we didn't even notice at first, until I felt his phone vibrating in his pocket, practically right between my legs. I let out a huge moan, and that jolted Eli out of his daze. He leaned back to get his phone out of his pocket and I pouted, missing both the unexpected jolt and the feeling of his body against mine.
His eyes narrowed. "It's Adam."
That was weird. Adam never called anyone. He'd text or tweet or email, but he hated talking on the phone. I sat up, looking concerned, as Eli took the call.
"Adam, what's up?"
Eli covered his other ear, even though I wasn't saying anything and the TV wasn't really that loud, and he glanced at me. I realized my chest was still exposed and pulled the shirt down, reaching back to fix my bra. I was feeling a little grumpy that our night had been interrupted, but as Eli's face fell, I knew something was really wrong.
I reached for the remote to shut the TV off, and waited as Eli listened for a few minutes, occasionally interjecting with an "Uh huh" or a sincere "That sucks," as he paced around the living room. I could hear Adam ranting through the phone, his voice higher pitched than usual, but I couldn't hear what he was saying.
"Where are you? Do you need me to get you?" Eli gave me an apologetic look. "I'm at Clare's…You can come here, you idiot. We're just watching a movie." I raised an eyebrow, but I knew Eli was just trying to make Adam feel better. "Her mom's asleep; don't ring the doorbell. Are you sure you don't want me to pick you up?...Okay, we'll see you soon, bro."
Eli hung up and looked at me. "You're not going to believe this."
"Is it his mom again?" I couldn't believe how controlling and unsupportive Ms. Torres was. She and Adam were always fighting.
I raised my eyebrows. "I thought he hadn't even talked to her since she went to rehab." He had gotten a letter from her, apologizing for what she had said to him before she was sent away, but he had decided not to respond, too confused about their relationship.
"Apparently she invited him over for a movie night."
"And it didn't go well?"
Eli shook his head. "From what I gather, they were kissing and Fiona tried to take it a little farther, and Adam hesitated. And when she tried to reassure him that she didn't feel uncomfortable, she told him that she um…likes that he's both male and female. And when he explained that he's not and that he's a guy, he realized that she was more interested in him for his female body than his male mind."
My jaw dropped. "So she's like, a lesbian?"
He shrugged. "I guess. That's what Adam seems to think."
"Oh, poor Adam." I felt terrible that his first chance at love was ending so quickly. "That's so awful."
"That's she's a lesbian?" Eli quirked an eyebrow at me.
"That she doesn't return his feelings."
Eli settled back down on couch and put his arm around me. "You were never exactly on the Adam-Fiona love train anyway."
"That doesn't mean I wanted it to end badly," I insisted, a little annoyed that Eli thought I wasn't supportive of one of my best friends. "It's just everything between them has never quite worked. She was flirting with Drew, she didn't show up to Adam's party, she could only be around him when she was drinking, even at school." I raised my voice a little, starting to get really angry. "And then she totally broke his heart before she went to rehab and she should have just left him alone if she knew she wasn't interested. It's not fair to him."
"You're right," Eli said, squeezing my shoulder. "But I'm sure figuring this stuff out isn't all that easy under normal circumstances, and when you throw a trans boyfriend into the mix plus the drinking…I wish it had worked out for them, but maybe it's better that they end it now, rather than dragging things out."
We sat silently for a minute. I was trying to figure out what I could say to Adam to make this better. Aside from his brief flirtation with Bianca, this was the first time he had put his heart on the line for a girl, and I knew from experience just how bad it felt when that was ripped away.
"Do you think they were really in love?" Adam had told us he loved her on multiple occasions and Eli and I would usually smile and nod. He had said it to her before Eli and I had said that to each other, and maybe it was different on the inside, but it had never seemed to me like their relationship was as strong or deep as mine and Eli's. It certainly was a lot shorter.
Eli shook his head. "No. But Adam's not going to figure that out until he meets the right girl and really falls in love with her. So let's not burst his bubble on that. To be terribly cliché, it's better to have loved and lost…"
"Then never loved at all," I finished, meeting Eli's gaze. There was a little bit of pain in his eyes and I wondered if he was thinking about Julia.
He brushed a curl behind my ear and gave me a soft smile. He took his arm from around my back and entwined our hands together, turning slightly on the couch so I could see him.
"Hearing about Adam and Fiona and the reason they broke up…it really makes me appreciate what we have."
I smiled. "Because I wouldn't dump you for another girl?"
But his face was serious. "Because you accept me for who I am. You give me your unconditional love, even though I don't deserve it."
I took his face in my hands and forced him to look into my eyes. "You deserve it, Eli."
"Even though I'm a screw up? Even though I still blame myself for Julia's death, even though it's been two years? Even though I live in a world of madness because I'm too afraid to let things go?"
"Especially for those reasons," I said, and he closed his eyes. "Well, maybe you're not a screw up. But you care about people deeply and that's why it's hard to let go. That's not a character flaw; that's something that's admirable. I love you for that, and for so many other reasons."
He looked somewhat unconvinced, and I thought I'd take another tack with him. "You know, I really appreciate how you accept me for who I am."
He rolled his eyes. "Like that's hard. You have like three flaws, and they all revolve around not sleeping with me."
I socked him in the arm and he grinned. "I'm kidding."
I was feeling pretty serious though. "I think you're the only person in the world who really understands me. My parents still see me as a little girl, and even my sister doesn't treat me like an equal. So many kids at school just think of me as this judgmental Christian girl who'd rather act like a saint than like a friend. Even Alli thinks of me like that sometimes and she's my best friend."
Eli looked like he was about to protest, but I cut him off. "But when you came into my life, you wanted to get to know me. You could look past the cross necklace and the good grades. You don't think of me solely as the geek who did battle bots or the girl who brought a vibrator to school or the girl who writes vampire fiction."
Eli interrupted me, "The girl who did what now?" His eyes were bugging out of his head.
I decided to ignore him. I could tell him that story another day. "You see me as a girl who wants to do the right thing, but screws it up sometimes, and the girl who wants to be a good friend, even when it means challenging her own beliefs. You see the brave face I'm trying to put on for my parents, and you knew how scared I was to really fall in love with you, and how difficult it is for me to be in your arms and not let myself really be with you."
"Well, it sounds like we're perfect for each other." Eli's face had softened and he gave me a look full of tender adoration. "I love you, Clare."
"I love you too."
He leaned back against the couch cushions and I lay back in his arms. I wanted to kiss him, but I knew Adam would be here soon and that he would need us to be there for him.
Eli laughed. "Do you ever feel like Adam's our kid and we're the proud parents who just want what's best for him?"
I giggled. "Sometimes. But mostly I'm just glad he's our friend." Eli tightened his arms around me and squeezed my hand. "I hope he's okay."
"He will be," Eli said confidently. "And someday he'll find a girl every bit as amazing as you are for me."
I turned my head towards Eli. One more kiss couldn't hurt.