Hello beauitfuls! This is the one-shot I talked about in the last update of One of the Boys...or I Have Friends In Holy Spaces...I don't remember which! It was inspired by Everytime by Britney Spears. The song is so amazing. I will be updating both stories sometime next week.

Do not own Degrassi, or Britney Spears. [But I wish I did.]

I make believe
That you are here
It's the only way
I see clear
What have I done
You seem to move on easy

Everytime – Britney Spears

Clare sat alone at the kitchen table. The dinner had gone cold hours ago and Clare had long lost hope that he would show up any time soon. She went through her almost nightly routine of picking up everything she'd poured her heart into making.

Clare extinguished the flame of the candles and shoved them, along with their bases, into a miscellaneous drawer. She picked up all of the perfectly clean plates, and put them back in their cabinet. Clare didn't bother to eat alone, again; she'd lost her appetite. Briefly, she considered leaving the uneaten food in the refrigerator for him to find whenever he came back, but she knew he wouldn't care, if he noticed at all. She grabbed the plates of food and shoved everything into a black garbage bag that she took and dumped into the trashcan at the end of their driveway.

Clare turned around and looked at the house that she and Eli had built together. It wasn't a grandiose mansion or a castle of dreams, but it was better than that, it was theirs. Clare could close her eyes and recall the day they bought the house. She opened her eyes to see a house that was intimidating and lonely, a shadow of what it once was.

Clare often thought that the house was a metaphor for herself. She laughed bitterly and briskly made her way back inside. There wasn't any reason for Clare to be laughing outside in the dead of night. The neighbors didn't need another reason to think she was crazy. The sounds of objects being thrown around the house every other night was enough.

Clare shut the door quietly behind her and finished cleaning. Her house was spotless, it was always spotless. To the point where it didn't even look lived it. It was just a common place where two people happened to sleep now.

Clare wondered where he was tonight as she filled up the bath tub. She stripped slowly and stepped into the scalding water. She sunk her head in and the water burned her face. When she came up for air she listened carefully for any sign that he may have come home in the few seconds she was under water.


Clare sighed and leaned back. She closed her eyes and let momentary peace consume her.

She hurried to change into something warm before she froze in her towel. She hated looking at the clock and seeing how late it was. She hated seeing how early in the morning it was and calculating how many hours she would have with him before he ran off to work, and then not come home until late. Clare let her eyes travel to the digital clock that was placed on his nightstand.

It was half past one in the morning. Clare felt the anxiety starting and quickly changed into a pair of shorts and a tank top.

She crawled into her perfectly made bed and stared at the painting of a cliff that was opposite their bed. He loved this painting so much, but Clare never understood why. Clare had asked him once, and Eli went on about how he pictures someone being relatively safe from the edge, or teetering to save themselves from a grave fall. She laid in the dark and pulled the covers over herself.

She could call, but that wouldn't do anything. It would go straight to voicemail.

Clare turned around in the bed so she could face the clock and fixed her eyes on it, watching minute after minute go by.

Clare was still awake, eyes wide open, when he finally came home.

It was almost three forty-five in the morning.

She could hear him downstairs, no doubt just dropping his things anywhere, making her house a mess. Clare wondered how drunk he was. She'd find out soon enough.

She heard him stumble up the stairs and finally open their door.

Eli walked in quietly, and began undressing himself.

"I told you not to wait up for me," Eli whispered when he came to their bed. Clare smelled the cigarettes and alcohol from the minute he walked into the room but now that he was in bed with her, the stench made her want to gag.

"How did you know I wasn't sleeping?" Clare asked.

"You breathe more deeply when you sleep," Eli explained.

"Where were you?" She asked.

"Doesn't matter, let's just go to sleep," Eli whispered, and started cooing sweet nothings into her ear. He pulled her closer to him and wrapped his arms around her, trailing his fingers up and down her spine in a soothing manner.

Clare buried her face in his neck and breathed evenly. Aside from the alcohol and cigarettes, he still smelled like himself. She took another deep breath when she got a whiff of something that wasn't alcohol, cigarettes or Eli.

It was the faint scent of woman's perfume.

Clare clenched her eyes shut and pretended she didn't smell anything.


She woke up the same morning in the position she'd fallen asleep in, in Eli's arms. Clare looked up to see him staring at her. She gave him a small smile which he returned.

"So what are we doing today?" She asked gingerly, but quietly. It was Eli's day off, the first one he'd had in a few weeks, and she'd been looking forward to the surprise he promised her.

His gaze flickered away from her and Clare's hopes shattered. "You have to go in, don't you?" She asked monotonously.

"I'm sorry Clarebear," He said.

Clare shrugged and slid off of him. She climbed out of the bed and started picking up Eli's clothes. Everything was wrinkled and reeked of his bad habits. She picked up his shirt and pretended not to notice the faint pink stain on the collar. Clare could laugh at the cliché of that, finding lipstick on your husband's collar.

Eli watched her intently, wondering if she was going to say anything. But they both knew that she wouldn't. She never did and never would, because admitting it would make it all real and Clare would rather live in a fake happiness than recognize that her husband was cheating on her.

Clare wasn't stupid. She could almost pinpoint the day on which the cheating started, over a year ago.

Eli had walked in nervous, and shaking, with tears almost spilling from his eyes. He looked at Clare with the utmost guilt ridden expression ever and she felt her heart stop.

That night before they went to sleep, Eli promised her that he would never do that again and begged her for forgiveness.

Clare had kissed away his guilt and gave him a second chance.

The cheating never did stop.

Clare sighed and dropped all of his dirty clothes into their hamper and left the room. Eli never came after her anymore.

She walked barefoot into the spacious kitchen and started brewing a pot of coffee. She leaned against the counter and stared at the wall, shivering slightly from the cold.

Clare felt a pair of arms wrap around her and went rigid.

"I'm sorry," Eli whispered.

Clare wondered what he was apologizing for, ditching her today, or the months of adultery, probably both.

"Its fine Eli," Clare said, "I know how important this project is."

Eli turned her around and pressed her back against the counter. He leaned down and captured her lips with his. Clare slid her arms around his neck and pressed herself against him. His grip on her hips tightened and their tongues were battling for dominance. Clare pulled away and started kissing Eli's neck and jaw.

"Call in sick," Clare whispered and raked her fingernails teasingly down his back. She pulled his head down to her own and kissed him again, trying to convince him to stay.

"I can't," Eli said and pulled away. He untangled himself from Clare pressed a kiss to her forehead. "I'm going to go get ready," he whispered.

Clare turned away from him, already feeling the tears pricking the backs of her eyes. She heard his footsteps run up the stairs and the bathroom door closing. When the shower came on Clare purposely turned on the hot water in the kitchen sink, making the shower run cold for a brief moment.

Clare poured herself a steaming cup of coffee and let the bitter black taste burn her tongue and throat completely as she gulped it down. She prepared Eli a thermos for work and went to clean up the mess he'd no doubt made in the living room when he arrived home last night. His shoes were thrown in a corner and papers were spilling from his briefcase across the room.

Most women who knew their husbands were cheating, or suspected cheating would rifle through their significant other's things but Clare never did. She was never tempted to. She knew he was cheating on her but she didn't want to know her, know where they went, or know what they did. Finding out whom this other woman was made her real and Clare wanted to believe that she was still Eli's number one.

Clare walked back up the stairs to her bedroom and slipped under the covers of her unmade bed. Eli walked in a few minutes later, with a towel wrapped around his waist as he dried his hair.

Clare watched him change from her spot on the bed and admired his beauty. Eli was always toned but not overbearingly muscular. He had a slight tan in his otherwise light skinned complexion. His facial features were sharp and distinguishing. To this day, Clare couldn't help but feel her knees go weak every time Eli looked at her with those forest green orbs. Among other things, Clare thought Eli was perfect.

Eli walked over to their bed with a stupid grin on his face, "Help me?"

Clare got up on her knees and grabbed him by the collar, "You're never going to learn how to do this are you?" She said jokingly as she tied his tie for him.

"And I don't have to. Not when I have my beautiful wife to do it for me," Eli whispered.

Clare kissed him, silently begging him to stay.

"I have to go," Eli said, "but I'll make it up to you, I promise. I'll get off early today. I love you."

Clare nodded and tried to smile, but she already knew that wouldn't happen. "I love you too," Clare said shakily. He kissed her head one more time before exiting the room in a hurry.

Eli didn't come back home until almost two thirty in the morning.

He climbed the stairs quietly but as usual, Clare was still awake. Eli crawled into bed with her after stripping his clothes and tried to pull her to him but she turned away.

"You promised," Clare whimpered.

"I'm sorry," Eli replied, "Everything ran extremely late. Everything is due soon and we're finalizing and making last minute changes to our idea."

Clare nodded and felt her anger dissolving, not because she wasn't angry anymore, but because there was no point in being angry. She was going to give in and he was going to continue breaking his promises.

Eli moved over until he was next to Clare and this time she didn't pull away. She turned so she was facing him and let him engulf her completely. His arms slipped around her and Clare felt at ease despite everything. A lone tear slid down Clare's face, and fell on Eli's chest. He felt the tear and held her tighter.

Clare would never leave Eli. He was her home.


Eli was careful the next few weeks, didn't make any promises that he'd end up breaking and didn't come home in the dead of night as frequently.

Clare didn't get her hopes up though.

Clare was sleeping on the long couch; The Handmaid's Tale had fallen on the floor, long forgotten. Eli watched her carefully, almost in a scrutinizing manner. He watched her chest rise and fall slowly and how sometimes it would pick up for a minute or two. He wondered if she was having a nightmare. Her hair was all over the place but what Eli noticed were her small gestures. How she clung onto the small blanket around her like it was her life line and how stiff her body was. Even in sleep, Clare was tense.

Eli could only blame himself for that.

He placed his hand gently on her leg and Clare gasped and shot up.

"Sorry," Eli whispered.

"You scared me!" Clare shrieked.

"I got off work early today," Eli smiled.

Clare looked at the antique clock hanging on the wall that read almost seven. She turned to him with a blank expression.

"I came home early to be with you," Eli said in an innocent voice. Clare wondered where he would have gone if he hadn't come home. "But you were sleeping and I didn't want to wake you up. I got home around four thirty."

Clare sat on the couch opposite him. She didn't know what to say. Was she supposed to thank him for coming home early for the first time in months and not going to cheat on her with some other woman?

Eli smiled, taking Clare's hand in his, "I made us dinner."

Clare let him pull her off the couch and towards their kitchen. The smell was delightful, Eli was a good cook. The dinner was mostly silent. Eli kept Clare's hand in his. She finally started warming up to it until she felt something missing.

"Where's your wedding ring?" Clare asked.

Eli pulled his hand away from Clare. "I must have forgotten to put it on today," he lied. Clare knew he hadn't put it on in months. It sat in the back of her jewelry box after she found it on the floor of the car one day.

Clare barely touched the rest of her food after that. She cleaned Eli's mess in the kitchen and slumped to their bedroom. She lay under the cover, biting her lip harshly to keep from screaming out or crying.

She didn't notice Eli come in until he climbed into bed next to her. Clare stiffened and blinked away any tears that threatened to expose themselves. Eli slid his hand over until he found Clare's. He brought it up to his lips and kissed it.

Clare turned to lie on her back and watched Eli. He leaned forward to press their foreheads together.

"I'm sorry," Eli whispered and leaned forward to close the gap between them.

The kiss was soft at first, and it reminded Clare of the innocent pecks they would sneak in when they would hang out at her house as teenagers. Then Eli got more aggressive and slid his hands down to Clare's hips, squeezing lightly. He kissed her more passionately and Clare opened her mouth to him. Eli slid his tongue into her mouth, massaging hers with his. Clare let out a small sound of pleasure and that was all the indication Eli needed.

He moved down from her lips to her jaw and down her neck. He licked and sucked greedily. Clare was sure he was trying to leave a mark. Eli kissed the tops of her breasts before pulling off the thin camisole she was wearing. He unhooked her bra and threw it over his shoulder. Eli leaned forward again and began sucking on her nipple, tugging it slightly with his teeth and mouth. He brought up his other hand to Clare's neglected breast, to pull and roll the nipple with his fingers.

Clare let out a low moan and threaded her fingers through his soft hair. Her legs spread of their own accord and Eli placed himself between them, aligning their hips together. He started to rock his hips into hers, and Clare mewled at the feeling of his erection against her. Eli started licking and sucking his way down her sternum. Clare's hips continued thrusting and Eli held them down forcefully, rubbing his thumbs in a soothing manner to stop her trembling.

"Eli," Clare whimpered, "please…"

"Please what?" Eli said huskily watching her with a smirk plastered on his face.

He leaned forward and kissed his way up her left thigh, biting gently when he was near her center. He quickly leaned back and did the same with her right thigh. Clare moaned and bit her lip, it had been a long time since she and Eli had been intimate. Her patience was running out with his teasing.

"Please Eli," Clare whispered, "touch me."

Eli pulled Clare's underwear off and pushed two fingers into her. She was so wet and Eli groaned as he pushed down on her clit with his thumb. Clare threw her head back and Eli took this opportunity to bite down gently all over her neck, complimenting each bite with a kiss. He removed his fingers and sat back. Clare ran her hands down Eli's back, pulled his boxers off and threw them to the side.

Eli grabbed Clare's legs and hitched them around his waist. He rubbed himself against her and they both moaned at the sensation.

"Eli please stop teasing," Clare begged.

Eli finally pushed into her and groaned at how tight she was. Clare whimpered at the feeling of Eli being inside of her again. Eli lay back on the bed and pulled Clare so she was on top. She rolled her hips, arching her back at the pleasure.

"Fuck Clare," Eli moaned.

Eli ran his hands from her hips to her waist to her breasts, admiring all of her glorious, sexy curves. He kneaded her breast softly. Eli thrust his hips up as she came down and Clare let out a choked moan. She bit her lip and shut her eyes in pure bliss and Eli kissed her. He reached down and rubbed Clare's clit in time with the thrust of his hips. Clare gasped and rocked her hips harder.

Eli leaned up so he was sitting and Clare was sitting on him. He groaned when they're torso collided and moaned when Clare's nipples touched his chest. Clare threw her arms around Eli's neck and brought his lips down to hers. Their kiss was a battle for dominance and all that could be heard was the sound of lips smacking together and the occasional clicking of teeth.

"Eli, I'm so close," Clare whimpered, biting her lip.

Eli buried his face in her neck and breathed. He ran his right hand down the left side of Clare's back and scratched the dip in her back lightly. The noise that Clare let out at that almost made Eli cum right then, but he was determined to get her off first. He rocked his hips a few more times, making sure to hit her sweet spot every time.

Eli could feel her tightening around him and brought Clare down to him. He kiss her neck and breathed.

"I'm sorry," Eli said, tone only above a whisper as Clare came around him. Eli came shortly after. He pulled out and kissed Clare tenderly.

"I love you," he said against her lips.

"I love you too," Clare replied in a cold tone.

She lied down on the bed and pulled the covers over herself and Eli. He pulled her close to him and fell asleep quickly.

Clare felt disgusting and nauseous. She wanted nothing more than to get up from their bed, run to the bathroom and scrub herself clean. Eli's small slip echoed in her mind, 'I'm sorry' was ringing in her ears. Clare felt dirty and used, like the sex they'd just had was to reassure her that they were still married. It was as if all he had to do was come home every one in a while and have sex with her to get her forgiveness.

Just fuck me and I'll forgive you, Clare thought angrily.

For the first time since the cheating started, Clare cried herself to sleep.


The next morning the sun shone through the window blinds and woke them both up. Eli leaned forward and pressed his morning problem against Clare.

"I took the day of today," Eli mumbled in his still groggy state, "it's all about you and me."

Clare let out a quiet sigh and ripped the bed sheets off of her. She climbed out of bed and headed to the bathroom. She felt sticky and could feel the dried cum on her thighs.

Clare stepped under the hot water and let it wash over her, washing away all the remnants of the previous night. Eli came to stand in the threshold of the bathroom and watched Clare intently.

Clare looked at him with questioning eyes when she turned around and saw him just standing there.

"What? Am I not allowed to spy on my wife?" Eli said playfully.

Clare shrugged and turned away from him to wash her hair. Eli stepped forward until her reached the glass door and opened it to slip inside. He came up behind Clare and gripped her hips and ran his hands up her body until he reached her breasts.

Eli teasingly ran his fingers around her nipples and more turned on at the hiss Clare let out.

She pressed her backside to him and Eli clenched his teeth together to stop the moan he was going to cry out. Before he could process what was happening, Clare was on her knees in front of him. She closed her mouth around the tip of his cock and started sucking.

Eli moaned and raked his fingers through Clare's wet curls, holding her head lightly. Clare suck and teased his slit as her hand stroked what she couldn't put in her mouth.

"Fuck Clare," Eli moaned, when Clare enveloped him in the warm wet cavern of her mouth.

Her hand came up to massage his balls and it wasn't long before Eli came, without warning, in Clare's mouth. She glared at Eli and spit everything into the running water.

Clare stood up and shot Eli a dirty look before stepping out of the shower. She grabbed one of the thick white towels from the rack and wrapped it tightly around herself. She exited the bathroom, leaving a dumbfounded Eli behind.

By the time Eli finished showering and changing, Clare had already brewed a pot of coffee. She handed Eli a mug wordlessly. They went to sit at their small breakfast table and before Clare could sit Eli pulled her into his lap.

"Are you angry?" Eli asked, furrowing his eyebrows.

Yes, Clare wanted to respond. "No," she said quietly.

"Good," Eli smiled, "So what's on the agenda for today? Do you want to go out? Or we could always just stay in." His voice dropped at the end and he shot Clare his signature smirk.

"Let's just stay in," Clare replied and took Eli's hand in hers and intertwined their fingers, "I miss this, just us together."

Eli nodded and smiled fondly, "Whatever you want."

They finished their coffee in peaceful silence.

They were lying on the couch. Eli had Clare on top of him and she had her face buried in his neck.

"Ugh, Eli," she said into his neck, "I don't understand why you love these bloody movies so much. How did you convince me to watch this again?"

"I kissed you until you said yes," Eli laughed turning off the television.

They spent the day watching movies and just lying around together.. There was plenty to be done around the house but for the first time in months Clare didn't care.

"Let's go out to dinner," Eli said suddenly, jostling Clare, who was beginning to fall asleep.

Clare hummed and the vibrations on his neck made Eli's cock twitch.

"Okay," Clare replied, "let me go get ready."

Clare climbed off of Eli and went upstairs to their bedroom. A few minutes later, Eli showed up in their room and just watched Clare from the far wall.

Clare was wearing a very form fitting red dress that only came down to about mid thigh. She was wearing black high heels that made her legs look so long that Eli didn't know he was walking until he came up behind Clare.

He placed his hands at her thighs and ran them up slowly, making the dress inch higher and higher.

"What are you doing?" Clare asked breathlessly as she looked at him through the mirror.

"I don't want to take you out anymore," Eli said huskily, "no other man should have the right to see how fucking beautiful you are."

Clare smiled in the mirror, "You promised me dinner, Eli."

"There's something else I'd much rather eat," he whispered in Clare's ear, sucking gently on her earlobe. He ran his finger teasingly down the front of Clare's black lace panties.

Clare threw her head back on Eli's shoulder and he took the opportunity to bite down gently. His finger gently traced the lace back up to the top of her panties. He took both hands and slipped the dress off Clare and threw it somewhere on the bed.

"Don't want it to get all wrinkled," he said in a low tone.

Eli turned Clare around so she was facing him. He grabbed her thighs and lifted her up so she sat on the vanity, knocking a few things down the process. He and ran his hands up Clare's legs and purposely skipping the place where she wanted his hands, his fingers, anything.

Eli unclasped Clare's bra and slipped it off of her. He touched her breasts and groaned at the feeling of her nipples hardening against his palm. He grabbed her face with both hands and kissed her hungrily. Clare dug her fingernails into his back and Eli moaned. He traced a finger down Clare's neck, through the valley of her breasts and down her flat stomach to the top of her underwear.

"Eli, please," Clare begged, "no teasing."

Eli smirked and slipped his finger down, "You're so wet Clare and I've barely even touched you."

Clare gripped Eli's shoulder, "Please."

Eli slipped his finger inside and started pumping it in and out slowly. Clare moaned and rocked her hips onto his finger.

Eli dropped to his knees and pulled his finger out, Clare whimpered at the loss. He pulled her underwear down her legs and placed them next to her. He pulled Clare so she was resting just on the edge of the vanity. He leaned forward and gave her a broad lick.

Clare moaned loudly and brought her hands to Eli's hair, pushing his head down. He stiffened his tongue and shoved it into Clare, fucking her slowly and torturously. He lapped at the sweet juices flowing from her and brought two fingers up and slid them into her.

Clare let out a small scream when he started scissoring them and sucking on her clit at the same time. She left one hand threaded in Eli's hair and brought the other up to pinch and massage her own breasts.

Eli moaned at the sight. He always found it hot when Clare would touch herself. Eli alternated hands and slid his other fingers into her. With the hand already covered with Clare's wetness, Eli started stroking himself, moaning at slickness.

The vibration of his moans on her made Clare grind herself harder on Eli's fingers. Eli pulled out his fingers and thrust his tongue inside her and Clare moaned loudly as her orgasm ripped through her body.

Eli cleaned her up with his tongue and grabbed the panties. He slid them up Clare's legs until they were on her again. He stood up and Clare looked at him wildly.

Clare kissed Eli and wrapped her legs around him, bring him closer. She squeaked when she tasted herself on him.

When Clare jumped down from the vanity and let Eli slip his arms around her waist.

"Dinner," Clare smiled impatiently and Eli laughed.

They got ready quickly after that and were on their way to dinner. Eli got a text during the drive and Clare tried hard to not notice the stupid grin that sparked on his face as he read it. He had quickly put his phone away, not bothering to reply.

Clare tried to ignore the tiny voice in the back of her mind whispering, 'just fuck me and I'll forgive you'.

Dinner was quiet; Clare had retreated back into her shell. She pretended not to hear Eli's phone vibrating in his pocket throughout the entirety of their meal. Eli had discreetly checked his phone while the valet brought their car.

The lights of the city were behind them as they drove home. Eli cleared his throat and Clare turned to him.

"What's wrong?" Clare asked nonchalantly.

"They don't want to grant us the budget for our project anymore. Sav called me in to go try to talk the investors into giving us everything we asked for," Eli said quickly.

"It's almost nine o'clock," Clare said gesturing to the clock but it was no use. He was leaving to her. "Can't it wait until morning?" she tried.

"No, it can't. The client comes in tomorrow to make sure everything is set," Eli explained through his teeth.

"Okay," Clare said, surrendering.

The rest of the drive was in silence as Clare tried to hold in the tears that were teetering on her eyelashes.

When Eli pulled up to their house, Clare threw open the car door and slammed it behind her without saying goodbye to him. She walked slowly up their pathway and looked for her keys inside her purse. She finally found them and unlocked the door. Clare noticed that Eli didn't pull away until she was inside the house and, as he did, a huge grin spread across his face.

Clare closed the door slowly and went to their stereo system. She turned it on, and cringed at the earsplitting music Eli loved. She turned the volume dial as high as it could go and let the terrible music interrupt her thinking process. Clare didn't care if the neighbors could hear, she couldn't think and that was the only thing that mattered.

A smile spread across her face and she walked up the stairs to her room. Not a thought crossed her mind. It was as if Clare was on automatic mode and all she wanted to do now was clean.

She took off her dress and threw it into the hamper. She changed into a pair of shorts and an old Dead Hand t-shirt of Eli's. She tied her hair in a high ponytail and threw all of her jewelry into the box, ignoring the wedding ring that was staring back at her.

Clare dragged the hamper filled with dirty clothes to the stairs and carried it to the laundry room. After Clare put in a load of clothes, she went to scrub the kitchen down, making sure everything was spotless. Clare spent the night dusting, vacuuming, sweeping, mopping and wiping every inch of the house.

Eli may have been a hoarder back in his former years, but Clare had turned into a different type of obsessive compulsive disorder. Starting a few months back, everything had to be in its proper place, everything had to be spotless and perfect.

Clare made the house what her life wasn't, perfect. If the house was perfect, Clare's marriage didn't feel like such a sham. Her husband wasn't out, fucking some other girl, less than twenty-four hours of fucking her.

She sat down in the middle of the long beige, suede couch and admired how clean her house was. Clare took a second and looked down at herself. Her knees were red from crawling being on the floor; cleaning every knick and cranny she could reach. Her usually pale hands were red and raw, from scrubbing with bleach. Not to mention that her head was pounding from Eli's disturbing music, which she had just turned off.

Out of everything in her house, Clare felt like the dirtiest object. The worst part was that she didn't know how to clean herself up. She picked up the universal house remote Eli had insisted on buying, and turned off all of the house lights.

Clare curled up into a dirty little ball and waited for her husband to come back.

Eli finally stumbled in at about two in the morning. He turned on the lights and jumped at the sight of Clare sitting motionlessly on the couch. She looked like a lost little girl, curled up into herself. The sight of her made Eli sober up, fairly quickly.

"Clare?" he asked.

When she didn't respond Eli walked slowly over to her.

He sat on the coffee table and took in her appearance. Clare's eyes weren't shining, they looked like the color of the ocean water before a storm.

"How was the meeting? Did you get the investors to pay up?" Clare asked, emotionlessly.

Eli wondered for a second what the hell she was talking about. "Oh yeah," he lied, "a lot of sweet talking."

"I bet," Clare sneered, rolling her eyes

Just as Eli was going to ask what she meant by that, Clare threw herself at him. She buried her face in his neck and breathed deeply, shaking violently when she smelled the alcohol and sex on him. She straddled his lap and leaned in to kiss him. She coaxed open his mouth and kissed him harder.

Clare felt like pulling away and throwing up when she swore she could taste her on his tongue. Eli pulled her close, and rubbed her back.

They pulled back after a few minutes of kissing and Clare looked Eli straight in the eyes, searching for something, anything. But since she wasn't sure what she was looking for, she found nothing. She started shaking again and Eli pulled her back to him.

"It's okay Clare," Eli whispered, "I'm home."

Clare dug her nails into his back and Eli hugged her harder. "I'm home too," Clare whispered, breathing deeply.

He carried her up the stairs to their bedroom and laid her down on the bed. He quickly stripped out of his clothes and crawled in next to her. Clare instantly draped herself over him.

Eli wrapped his arms around her, and Clare felt like she could breath. He was home, and she was too.

This is why Clare would never leave Eli. No matter what he did, she would take it all, because in the end, they were each other's homes. Their house was just that, a house. Their home was when they were like this, wrapped up in each other, forgetting that there was anything else in the world besides them.

Clare loved him. Eli was her home. She would never leave him because even with the house, she would be homeless without him.


Eli lay on their bed with his eyes wide open. Clare lay on top of him and he ran his hands up and down her sides slowly. Eli loved Clare, he wouldn't deny that. She had gotten him through the hardest of times. He barely thought of Julia nowadays, only on her birthday and her death. He had stopped hoarding, and never had the urge to again. This was all thanks to Clare.

He did love Clare, more than he loved himself even. But he wasn't sure what had happened. It really was an overnight change because one day he and Clare were laughing and kissing on the couch as they watched some sappy lifetime movie. He couldn't recall the last time he'd heard, let alone made Clare laugh.

The next day Eli saw her, the woman with the knowing smirks and sky smiles. Eli wondered if it was because if she was almost a blend of the two women he'd loved. She sort of resembled Julia, in a twisted way; she was tall, pale, slim and had big dark brown eyes that bore into Eli's until he cracked. She was also like Clare, intelligent, sarcastic, devious and happy.

The only difference between Clare and her was that Clare loved him. Clare would do anything to make Eli happy. Even accept his cheating ways. Eli knew that she knew, and it killed him to see her trying to hide it. However, she was different. She didn't love Eli; in fact, she probably didn't really like him either. Eli didn't love her, or like her for that matter. But there was a pull, something that drew them towards each other. And once they started they couldn't stop.

"I have a wife," Eli told her, as she handed him the key to their crappy hotel room. He didn't even know how he'd gotten there. It had started as one stolen kiss in the late afternoon; they'd stayed late to work on the proposition.

"I don't care," she'd whispered, reaching up to kiss him, "this isn't anything more than what we're doing right now."

She smiled in that mischievous way that Eli couldn't turn away from. He let her pull him into the motel room.

But now here Eli was, a little bit over a year later, cradling his wife. Throughout the night Clare shuddered violently, sleeping tensely, wound up like a toy, even though she was supposed to be at peace.

He'd felt terrible for leaving Clare tonight but when she called he couldn't say no. She had Eli wrapped around her finger. Eli hated it, hated that Clare was beginning to lose ground and all because she wouldn't fight.

Clare would give Eli anything he wanted as long as he was happy.

The next morning when Clare woke up, Eli was nowhere to be found. Her heart started to race in panic. She jumped from the bed and ran out of the room. She stumbled down the stairs, still groggy from sleep. Clare ran into the kitchen and found Eli sitting there, drinking coffee.

Clare let out a sigh of relief.

"Morning," Eli said, casting his gaze in her direction.

"I thought you'd be gone by now," Clare blurted, honestly.

"I called in and said I couldn't go," Eli mumbled.

"What about your client?" Clare asked, looking down at her hands. They were pink now, and her palms ached a little. She picked at her nails nervously, waiting for the lie Eli would tell her.

"He can wait," Eli replied, taking Clare's sore hand into his own and kissing it, "you're more important."

Clare's heart fluttered faintly.

"Can we- can we not do anything today?" Clare asked. "I just want to be with you."

"Me too, I just want to be with you too," Eli smiled tiredly. Clare looked up shyly at him and he guided her up the stairs to their bedroom.

They spent the entire day lying in bed.

After that night's incident, Eli was good. He came and went from work like a normal person. He took Clare out for dinners, dancing and even planned for them to go away for a while, together. Clare let herself be swept off her feet again. She was in a high that no one could bring her down from. But the feeling only lasted for about a month.

The crash was horrible. Eli came home one afternoon, changed, and mumbled something or other about a meeting. Clare tried hard believing him but she knew it was starting again.

Eli was a ghost in his own house. He came home from work and ate dinner with Clare, spent time with her. Later in the evenings he would change into fresh clothes and kiss Clare's forehead before leaving. He made up lies. "I have to go to a meeting," or "Adam just called me, I have to go," and Clare let herself believe them because at the end of the night, Eli always came back to her. Every night it was Clare who he curled up with. When he was with Clare, she felt pure bliss, like everything was going to be okay.

Clare still had hope that he would stop, that she could be enough for him again.

Clare waited for him, night after night, staring at the painting of the cliff on the other side of their room. She imagined herself on that cliff. When she had first gotten together with Eli they were safe on the cliff, far away from the edge. But now, she was teetering to find her balance. Her happiness had dwindled. Everything was gone, and all she had left was Eli. Clare prayed that he would pull her back to safety with him. Pull her back to her home in his arms.

She was never going to leave her home. Eli still loved her.


Clare walked around like a zombie. The house remained perfect, but Clare became a mess.

Clare was cleaning the kitchen floor, soaked to her legs in bleach. She was scrubbing a particular spot on the tile, a thick black scuff that Clare was sure Eli had probably made when he staggered in late at night. She scrubbed the spot for over an hour before throwing the brush across the room and kicking the bucket of water.

"Nothing in this fucking house is ever fucking clean enough," Clare yelled punching the wall. She started crying when she realized that the bucket of dirty water was now all over the floor and at the pain in her knuckles.

Clare curled up into a tiny ball and rocked back and forth, watching the dirty water move slowly across the floor. She cleaned the water off the floor and left the kitchen angrily. The black scuff was still on the ground.

Eli stumbled in that night around midnight. Clare was watching some old rugrats cartoons on the couch. Eli went to sit down and wrapped his arm around her. She leaned into his touch and sighed contentedly. She was happy for the moment. But it was all different now. Eli came home only because he had to, not because he wanted to.

Before, even when he cheated, Eli would look at Clare with a sparkle in his eye and she knew that he still loved her. But now, every time they looked at each other Clare felt a feeling of emptiness as she saw that Eli's sparkle had dulled, and gone. He would sigh and kiss her forehead before leaving each night.

Clare wondered if his sparkle belonged to her now.


Slowly, Clare became more anxious. Eli would show up later and later in the night. There were days where the only time she saw Eli was as she watched him sleep next to her. She'd run her finger over his facial features and admire how beautiful he was.

Clare woke up one morning and felt something different in the air, something bad. She tried calling Eli, to make sure he was okay. But of course, he didn't pick up. Clare sighed and went about her daily routine of cleaning the house.

Clare took a moment to look at herself in the mirror and could barely recognize the person staring back at her. Her eyes were a dull navy now, permanently miserable. The red and brown in her hair had toned down. Her skin was ghastly pale now, like a person overcome with illness.

She touched the mirror to really see if she was the person standing there. The reflection mirrored her actions and Clare swallowed a lump in her throat.

Clare cleaned the already spotless house and admired her work, as she did every day. It smelled like lemon Pledge, and not a single speck of dust could be seen. The only flaw was the stubborn black mark on the kitchen floor.

She spent the rest of the day reading Palahniuk and drinking wine, waiting for Eli. The uneasy feeling in her stomach didn't go away but Clare blamed it on the wine. She'd had more than a few glasses throughout the evening and they were starting to take a toll on her.

Clare looked at the clock and bit her lip. It was almost four in the morning and Eli had not called her, not even to lie. She pulled the duvet over her lower half and ignored the cliff painting across from her.

Clare made a promise to never leave Eli, her home, ever.

But she never thought that Eli would leave her.

The sun was beginning to rise. Golden rays peeking through the blinds. Clare had dark circles under her eyes and her bottom lip was swollen from the biting.

Eli hadn't come home.

Her nightmare was a reality. Eli may have not stopped loving her but he had stopped caring for her. Their marriage, their everything was done.

Clare stood up slowly, and made her bed with the same perfectionist manner she did every morning. Not a dent or wrinkle could be seen.

Clare turned and stared at the painting of the cliff. She started at it and walked out of the bedroom. She walked to the top of the staircase and admired her meticulously clean house.

And all for nothing, because Eli was gone.

Clare slid to the floor, sobbing. She felt like the filthiest thing in her house, and it was suffocating. She had been sure that Eli would come back. Their love for each other was so strong.

She thought of the painting in their room and laughed bitterly.

Instead of pulling her to safety, Eli had pushed her over the edge.

Thoughts? Review please.