"So won't you come home and dance with me, baby?"

-Ben Rector

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Their hands were intertwined (just barely) between them. A peaceful performance swept around them slowly. The wind whistled to them and the grass circled their ankles in a delicate dance. A symphony of crickets surrounded them.

She subconsciously hummed along with the wind, and soon enough his foot was tapping. Their hands swayed back and forth like a swing on a windy evening. She broke from his grasp to swirl in the overgrown plants as he bellowed out a few odd words to a song he seemed to be making up on the spot.

Her hips swayed, her hands miles above her head. A tired croak of a laugh mocked her movements until her auburn curls- the ones he though resembled the autumn leaves- swirled around her face as she searched for the laugh.

"I love you." He whispered softly. She danced to him, grinning at his pink-lipped smirk.

"I love you, too." She sang to the hidden beat of the summer night. Their fingers found each other again, and he twirled her into his arms.

"Please don't forget that."

It was almost a begging tone. Almost. But, covering it was a teasing one. As if he knew she wouldn't be able to leave him if she tried.

"Never."

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"I'll stay another minute." He whispered into her hair. Clare's hands whipped up to hold his neck closer to her, and the movement only made him smile more.

"Can't you spare another hour?" She asked.

Eli pulled from her and caught a glimpse of her bedroom walls. He remembered the first time he'd been in there. The walls had been covered in Fortnight posters and a wooden cross had been placed next to the door, but things had changed. There were four picture frames lined down a wall.

The first was from the 'secret' party. Clare was posed with one foot stretched out to the side and her wrap was extended out- along with her arms. The second and third were of a younger Clare with her arms around her family. The last one was of the two of them. His arm was lazily thrown around her shoulders, a classic smirk over his features while she smiled her usually candy-coated grin.

On another wall, a poster for a band Eli hadn't heard of hung inside of a large frame. Eli laughed once he realized how organized his girlfriend was.

The wooden cross was laid flat against her white desk, semi-covered by an opened English text book.

"Eli?" she asked. His eyes snapped back to her before pulling his lips back to their usual formation.

"A minute." He repeated. Clare's legs immediate tangled with his in some sort of persuasive technique, "Yes?" Eli asked sarcastically.

"If you can't move your legs, you can't leave." She pouted.

They'd been laid out across her bed spread for nearly three hours. The first hour was spent in silence as they worked on their projects, and the second was spent in laughter and quick witted jokes. The third, on the other hand, was spent in each other's arms, small giggles escaping from the feminine body.

"It's almost ten, Clare." Eli whispered as he shifted from her grip.

"I don't care."

"But your mother will. We have a ten o'clock curfew when in your room, remember?"

"I don't care." She repeated. He forcefully pulled himself from the bed and collected his things. Track eight ended on the CD he'd made her just as he set his blue binder into his bag. The next song- 'Dance With me, Baby.'- began seconds later. Eli sang to the song quietly. In all honesty, he hated the song, but he knew Clare loved it.

"Bye." He whispered from her doorway. Halfway down the hall, his voice picked back up and he continued to sing, "I'll be there before you can close your eyes. I'll be there to kiss my baby. Oh, and dance with you until the morning light. Until the morning light."

Until the morning light.

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"It's getting late."

"You mean early?"

"Shut up."

He shifted her onto his lap to make her more comfortable. She'd called him hours earlier crying over her father's new girlfriend. Without even a second's thought, Eli was out the door and halfway to Morty's door.

They'd driven nearly fifteen miles when he pulled off onto the side of the road and parked. Her cries had finished nearly an hour earlier, but he held her close anyway, "Can I tell you a story?" He asked into her curls.

She nodded. Clare's eyes hadn't opened once in the last five minutes, and- just as the sun was behind the mountains- she was fading.

"Once there was a boy. He was pathetic. A real mess, that boy. He was slipping into this dark hole when a girl saved him. This princess. She scooped him into her arms and loved him. That boy became her prince, you know. And one day his princess was upset and crying. It was his turn to take care of her."

"I like this story," Clare whispered innocently, "but it could use some work. The sentences don't connect well."

Eli scoffed, "Hush. It's my story."

He kissed her hair, "Anyways, he took care of her. He kissed her tears away and loved her the way she had loved him when he needed it. And then he made up a cheesy story about them to make her-"

Eli stopped. A small breathe slipped from her lips, and he knew she was asleep.

"Sleep." He finished with a final kiss to her forehead.

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"I can't think." She complained.

"Listen to track nine." Eli soothed as if it was an obvious solution.

"That's your solution to everything, Elijah."

His head bobbed as he switched the CD player on, "Track eleven is my favorite." Clare called over her shoulder. Her fingers didn't miss a beat from typing on the laptop, though. She needed to finish her project soon.

"Another of his songs?" Eli hummed. He'd heard too much of this artist lately, and he was sure Clare claimed him as her favorite.

No response came. She was concentrated on the luminescent screen. They were surrounded by pillows and empty popcorn containers. A single blanket was sprawled across the area.

"You know, if you hadn't forgotten about your assignment, we'd be watching movies right now."

"Hush now, Eli."

He fell back to his spot beside her, "So I knew a girl once. She was the one I adored. So I fell in love once with the girl I mentioned before." He whispered to her gently as the lyrics poured across the room. She shivered subconsciously.

"I hate you." Her voice echoed in the silent room.

"I love you, too, beautiful."

He pushed the laptop forward the smallest amount before capturing her lips in a quick, meaningful kiss.

More than words will ever explain.

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"I can't even look at you." She cried. He echoed her words. The words felt like venom in his mouth, and he could feel said venom dripping down his throat.

His hands were balled at his sides. Eli's nails dug into his palms to remind him not to say much else. He was already in too much trouble, and he couldn't handle much else.

"I hate you!" She screamed, "I hate you, I hate you, I hate you, I-"

"Who are you trying to convince here, Clare?" He asked in a monotone voice. Her blue eyes jumped to his green ones in confusion, "We're fighting, Clare. You don't hate me. You're mad at me."

"Furious." She corrected.

He caught her hands, pushing his lips to her tear-stained knuckles, "We've never fought like this before." She whispered.

Eli agreed, taking her hands to hug around the back of his neck. Clare reached up on her tip-toes to nuzzle her nose into the crook of his neck, "I could never hate you." She corrected her earlier rant.

"And I, you."

'Real lovers can fight one second, and kiss the next.' Eli reminded himself of his mother's words.

Real lovers.

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"…dance with me, baby." Eli twirled her into him. The grassy scenery brought them back to a them they barely remembered. The ones from months ago. The Eli and Clare that made songs up out of the crickets' chirps and the wind's mellow whistles. They were different now- very different. They'd found peace in those months. They'd found anger. They'd found love. Even more love than they'd ever had before.

He was singing her favorite song when she accepted his outstretched hand. They belted out the lyrics together- even though the words were supposed to be sung lightly and close to whisper.

As their singing came to a close, they fell to the ground and sang a much different tune. Dead Hand poured from their lips, Clare's singing fading in and out to the words she didn't know.

"I love you." She repeated for the ninth time that night.

"I love you, too."

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"Cause it's been too long. It's been too long."

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I wrote this months ago, and found this on my computer. I figured 'why not post this?'…so yeah, here you go. This is when I was obsessed with Ben Rector.

R&R, beauties.

It means a lot.

Okay, I'm done :D

Bye.

Caro((line))