He stared at the blank canvas, unsure of what to do first. Every artist can attest to the fact that the hardest part of painting is actually starting. But most of these artists at least have ideas as of what they want to paint. But this artist was stumped. He had no desire to paint, which disappointed him to no end. He used to crank out paintings like there was no tomorrow. Plus, these paintings were amazing. He used to put them up in galleries and garner acclaim from countless art critics. He used to be good. Keywords: used to be.

So as he sat down at his easel, there was nothing to paint. His brain was so empty that if you were to bang on his head, it would echo back to you. The painter knew exactly what he needed: an inspiration.

When he was more prolific, it was all because of Julia. He knew that, and he knew, deep down inside, that his paintings were the reason she's gone now. It was all because of him. The worst part was that she couldn't even admit it. It's like he never even existed.

Just as he stood up to put all his useless materials away, his roommate walked through the door.

"Honey! I'm home!" Adam joked, walking into the overcrowded loft, carrying a bag of groceries.

"Ha ha. Very funny. No, seriously, go write a standup routine, you'll kill," Eli said with heavy sarcasm.

Adam held his hand over his heart in mock-hurt. "That cuts deep, Eli. Now I won't let you come to my HBO special," Adam said. "Hey, were you painting?" Adam inquired, excited for his friend. Eli hadn't picked up a paintbrush ever since Julia left, a year and a half ago.

"Nah, man. I guess I thought something would come to me, but I'm just blank. I have a very definitive way of painting," Eli said, following Adam into the kitchen. "I need something specific. Georgia O'Keefe had self-portraits and flowers; Monet had his garden; and even Andy Warhol had his fucking soup cans and Marilyn Monroe. I don't have anything. I need an inspiration," said Eli, opening the fridge and taking a swig straight from the orange juice carton, which didn't seem to bother Adam at all.

"Well that kinda sucks dude. What exactly do you need as an inspiration? A bowl of fruit?" Adam asked jokingly.

"Hah. No I need a... a muse. I need a girl who has a sort of tangible personality, with a smile that can pierce your heart and eyes that you can look at for hours on end."

"Wow," said Adam. "It's a wonder you even found one muse with expectations like that."

"Gee, thanks dude. I know I can count on you for being the blunt realist I've come to know and love," Eli said with sarcasm dripping from his voice.

"Sorry. But there's absolutely no way you are going to find someone like that. The chances are about one in a bazillion," Adam said with an apologetic look on his face, knowing that what he said didn't help, but he was unsure as of what to exactly say to satisfy the brooding artist.

Eli smirked at Adam disdainfully. He loved Adam like a brother, but sometimes he unfortunately wasn't of any help. Hoping to change the subject, Eli asked, "What's in the bag?" Usually they never went grocery shopping unless they were reduced to licking the dirty plates clean. They had just gone out yesterday and bought all the essentials, so there was no reason to go shopping again.

"Umm… I forgot to tell you. Alli is coming over tonight," Adam said sheepishly, preparing himself for Eli's imminent outburst.

"UGH. Are you serious?" Eli groaned. It's not that Eli hated Alli, because she was a very nice girl, but that meant that he had to leave his apartment, lest he become a third wheel. The worst thing about when Alli came over was that Eli had nowhere to go. Adam was basically his only real friend, so when Eli wasn't with Adam, he was basically wandering around Toronto like a lost puppy.

"Sorry, bro. But, if it's any consolation, Alli said that her friend has nowhere to go either, so she said you could meet her and hang out while we're together," Adam offered.

"No. I don't want to go on another one of your stupid setups. I am perfectly fine being lonely for the rest of my life thank you very much." Eli stated, hoping that Adam would buy his boldfaced lie.

"Trust me, this is totally not a setup. I promise you."

"Scouts honor?" Eli asked, holding up his right hand to seal the deal.

"Scouts honor," promised Adam, smiling and holding up his right hand.

"Okay then. So, seriously, what's in the bag?" Eli inquired, his eyes widening in mock child-like joy, gaining a laugh from his roommate.


CLARE'S POV

"C'mon, Alli. I do not want to do this. It's stupid," Clare complained, plopping down on her friend's couch.

"Clare, honey, this is the farthest thing from a setup! How many times do I have to tell you? What does it take to convince you?" Alli asked, throwing her hands up in the air in defeat.

"You always say that, though. You always say 'Oh Clare-bear this is not a setup!' Then I go out to some movie and there's Declan holding a bouquet of flowers. Or I show up at Applebee's, which I despise mind you, and there's Drew dressed up like we're going to the godforsaken Opera! I just can't win with you can I?" Clare said, exasperated at her friend's ineffective denials.

Ever since they met a year ago, Clare and Alli had been inseparable, but honestly they could not be more different. Clare was more introverted and enjoyed just being by herself. Alli was a social butterfly, who was seen as the "life of the party." Yet their differences only made them better friends. But sometimes those differences caused rifts between the two.

"No. No, no, no. This time is different," Alli insisted, shaking her head. "He's Adam's friend. Adam says that he's pretty messed up and not even looking for a relationship right now. So there's absolutely no pressure. I just always feel bad when I stay over at Adam's apartment because you have nowhere to go, no one to hang out with, and we're always kicking this poor guy out of his own home. We both just don't want our best friends to be lonely, that's all." Alli said, raising her hands to show that there's nothing to hide.

"Okay… fine," Clare said, making Alli squeal. "But just this once. And if I see him with a box of chocolates or a tux on, I'm outta there."

"Deal. I promise that there's nothing to worry about. I am just glad that Eli's not going to be sulking around the apartment while Adam and I are trying to be romantic," Alli said, which made Clare fake a gag, laughing at her friend acting all mushy. Alli and Adam had been going out for a while, and Clare was usually awestruck at how two people could be so... compatible. She sure had never felt that way with anyone before, and she doubted she would ever experience what her friend had.

LATER

"Okay Clare, I gotta go now. I called Adam and he said Eli's going to come over here to pick you up. He said you guys are going to some bar? The Black Tongue I think? I don't know," Alli said while collecting her belongings to stay overnight at Adam's.

"A bar? Ugh, why does all adult society need to revolve around alcohol?" Clare asked, remembering her past experiences with bars, and beer in general. She shuddered, trying not to relive her disturbing childhood memories.

"Aw come on Clare. It won't be that bad. And if it is I'm sure you guys can go somewhere else. Is that alright?" Alli asked, jokingly pinching Clare's cheeks. Clare swiped Alli's hands away and forced a smile.

"What's this guy like anyway?" Clare asked. She didn't want to be stuck at a bar with a pompous jerk or a guy that looked like he had just walked out of Abercrombie & Fitch and was headed out to see the next stupid horror film.

"I'll… let you decide for yourself. I don't want to spoil the surprise!"

"Why do you want it to be a surprise if it's not a blind date?" Clare asked, and Alli smiled sheepishly and bowed her head. "I knew it! This is a setup! Forget it, I'm not going. Nu uh. No way José."

"Wait! Clare it's not a setup I swear. I mean, it'd be nice for you two to hit it off but Eli doesn't expect anything from this date, just as you don't either. Like I said before, no one is pressuring you. You'll be fine, I promise," Alli said and put her hand on Clare's shoulder. "Well, I have to go now. I don't want to keep my boyfriend waiting! I'll see you tomorrow!" Alli said, waving while walking out the door.

Clare waved at the closed door, and sighed to herself, grabbing a pencil and a piece of notebook paper and started to write. There was no way she was going to enjoy this.


ELI'S POV

Eli climbed into Morty and while putting the keys in the ignition, thought about what little Adam had told him about this random girl. Adam told Eli that he would be picking her up at Alli's apartment, even though she didn't even live with Alli, which Eli thought was a little strange.

It had been a long time since he had been out, let alone out with a female. Even if this wasn't a date, Eli felt different. The last time Eli had been out on a date was with Julia, which seemed like it was a hundred years ago.

Adam said this "Clare" character was nice enough, and Adam had full confidence that Eli would enjoy his night, though Eli begged to differ. Nonetheless, here he was, driving to Alli's apartment to pick up someone that wasn't Alli. Eli sighed and turned up his radio, taking his sweet old time to get there.

After 10 minutes, Eli finally arrived and parked Morty. Alli's apartment was on the seventh floor, but elevator's had always bugged Eli, so he decided to take the stairs.

He walked down the hall, to the last door on the left, room 719, and pounded his fist against the door. He waited for a few seconds and puffed out a breath in impatience.

Suddenly, the door flew open, and there she stood. Clare Edwards. Those big, blue, honest, doe eyes struck Eli like a ton of bricks. He didn't want to sound cheesy, but those were the eyes he could get lost in and not feel the need to find his way back out.

He knew, right then, that girlwas what had been looking for.


Author's Note:

Okay, so this note might be a little long but I don't expect them all to be this long. So just bear with me here.

First things first: I have never, nor will I ever, own Degrassi or anything that has to DO with Degrassi. Got that? Okay cool. And the "Black Tongue Bar" is kinda named after the Yeah Yeah Yeahs song Black Tongue, which I also do not own.

Next: This is just an experiment AU fic. I have never done an actual series or anything, so I don't know how this will turn out at all. I already have the whole thing planned out, but this is the only part of the story I have written so far. So if I get a good response I might keep going! Maybe. I still am in school, so I won't update every 2 days or something. But I won't take a month for one chapter. Because one of my pet peeves about authors is when they start a story and then just don't finish it.

I don't know how long this story will be, but I am anticipating maybe 10 chapters? In the teens? I do not know, because as I said, this is my first chapter story-thingy so I don't know much about the process and stuff.

In this story I'm exploring Clare being the darker one than Eli. It seems like Clare is always the innocent one in a way, and I just want to see what it would be like if she were more dangerous than Eli. But that doesn't mean Eli doesn't have secrets of his own… hehehe. What does that mean? I do not know. Guess you'll have to read to find out.

And, I love the idea of Alli and Adam together. Don't quite know why… but I just think they'd be cute. So if you don't support Allam, I'm sorry but I won't change it.

So if you're still reading this long ass author's note, I commend you. Bravo! And if you would be so kind as to leave a review, I will probably most definitely love you forever. You don't even have to write a really long review (although I would adore you for it) just a few encouraging words would brighten my whole day. You have no idea.