Hey guys, so this is my first chaptered story. I have a very vague outline drawn out, but I'm not sure how many chapters this will be, right now I'm thinking 5. This is set towards the end of the first semester of the new year; everything we've seen so far is canon.

Follow me on tumblr - cheapnovelty87 and be sure to check out "Even if She Falls" by blink-182.

I do not own Degrassi, blink-182, or any other pop culture references you may recognize.

5...4...3...2...1...class was officially over as the final bell echoed throughout the school. Students all around quickly gathered their things and sprinted out of classrooms, eager to get out of those God-forsaken uniforms and to enjoy the rest of their day.

Scoffing at the gleeful kids around him, Eli Goldsworthy sat, still in his desk at the back of his math class, constricted in his itchy blue polo with a scowl on his face.

After aggressively shoving his books into his bag, Eli made his way into the quickly emptying hallway, glaring at every lucky bastard that got to go home.

Unlike them, Eli had detention, awesome. He had to stay in this damn school another hour and a half. Stupid Katie and her idea that prolonging detention period would surely convince troublemakers like himself to see the error of his ways, whatever. It's not like Eli went around looking for ways to score himself a detention. Keeping him longer didn't make him want to rectify his wrong, no; rather it made him want to strangle the next kid he saw, a stunt that would surely earn him another detention. So not worth it…maybe Katie's dumb philosophy was right. He made a mental note to send her a particularly ugly stink eye that next time he saw Miss Peppy President running around snipping at everyone. He honestly had no idea what Drew saw in her.

Stopping quickly at his locker to grab his jacket, Eli was met by a hard thump on his back.

"Take a little longer, gramps!" Adam playfully said as Eli turned to face him, "c'mon man, Fi and Imogen are already loaded up in Hank."

"You know, just because you give your mom's minivan a tough name doesn't make it cool. It's still your mom's minivan" Eli replied nudging Adam's shoulder.

He quickly waved his hand, dismissing Eli's comment, "Eh petty details. You seem to be in an extra cynical mood, what's the occasion?" Being met with only a glare from Eli, Adam continued," Seriously, hurry up dude. We're all waiting on you!"

Eli opened his mouth briefly before a confused look overcame his features, "I didn't even know we had plans today."

"What? It's movie marathon day at Casa de Torres, I told you about it last week!" Adam said aghast before continuing, his voice an octave lower like an announcer, "today's theme: cheesy horror films."

Eli shook his head laughing, "As much fun as that sounds, I can't." Adam went to protest, but Eli cut him off explaining, "I have detention."

"What? You dummy! Why'd you go and get a detention on movie marathon day?" Adam chastised, slapping Eli upside the head.

"It's not like I did it on purpose, Bullfrog wouldn't wake up this morning, therefore making me late…again" Eli remarked smoothing down his hair.

"Let's not make this a habit, Mr. Goldsworthy" Adam teased doing his best Miss Oh impression.

"Those may have been her exact words" Eli mentioned thoughtfully before both boys broke into laughter.

"Hey, as long as you're not skipping or doing something fun without me" Adam replied. "You know…it is a movie marathon, aka super long, just come by after your stint is done, I'll keep the girls entertained."

Smirking, Eli responded, "I'm sure you will, Torres. Try and keep it PG will ya? I gotta get going though, I don't need another detention." Adam made a mock horrified face before bumping fists with Eli and heading towards the exit.

Eli walked into the classroom detention was being held and plopped down in a chair near the back. Sighing deeply he looked around, observing the other poor bastards who would be his company, hoping they were at least tolerable.

There were two sophomores giggling excitedly to each other in the far corner, a shaggy haired junior bobbing his head to his ipod on Eli's left, a smug looking freshman texting obnoxiously on his phone, and Bianca DeSousa, filing her nails with a bored look on her face. So much for good company, no such luck. The only familiar face was Bianca and he was not about to waste an hour and a half trying to befriend the Queen of Mean.

A rapid clicking of heels announced Miss Oh's entrance before she sauntered into the room, "Okay, quiet down everybody" she started making Eli stare in disbelief. Quiet down? The only one's who were making noise were the two hyenas in the corner.

"Detention has officially started. Now I have a meeting, but I'll be just down the hall, got it? So no funny business" she warned. Funny business? What the hell did she think they were going to do? Just start screwing each other in the middle of class? Or perhaps she thought they'd riot and light all the desks on fire while kicking out the windows. Yep, that's likely Eli thought, rolling his eyes while Miss Oh marked off their names on her clipboard.

As she went to make her Eli heard the distinct sound of running feet before hearing a disapproving gasp, "You're late Miss Edwards, let's not make this a habit."

He quickly stifled a laugh, remembering Adam's impression before he caught the name. Miss Edwards? As in…sure enough, as Eli spun around there was Clare Edwards in all her glory, walking into detention.

"Sorry Miss Oh, I got held up at my locker" Clare explained slightly out of breath.

"Take your seat; I'll be by to check on you" Miss Oh declared before marching down the hall. Eli quickly faced the front once more and began coloring his nails, trying his best to seem as though he wasn't just eavesdropping while Clare walked past him and took a seat a few chairs up from Eli in the next row.

"Oooh busted, Saint Clare" Bianca teased, not bothering to take her eyes off her nails.

"Shut up, Bianca" Clare murmured quietly, slumping back in her chair. Bianca just nodded smugly and blew on her nails.

Eli tried to ignore Clare and just focus on coloring his nails, but he found himself constantly staring at her. He noticed how much longer her hair had gotten and the way her red polo seemed to make her beauty much more prominent. He had to force himself to get back to his nails, they were much more important than how Clare looked.

He was sure it had been at least ten minutes, but Eli wouldn't allow himself to look up. If he did his eyes would surely betray him. So he kept his head down and worked the marker furiously over his nail. It was working well; he actually forgot she was there, just feet away from him until he heard a loud crash.

"Darn it" Clare muttered annoyed as she watched her pens disperse across the floor. She bent to pick up her pencil case, deciding to ignore Bianca's snide remark about her "smooth move." Clare crawled around retrieving her fallen items when suddenly a hand was blocking her path. She was about to smack it away out of annoyance when she realized the hand was holding the rest of her pens. Blushing slightly, Clare reached up and took them muttering thanks before standing and smoothing the wrinkles out of her clothes with as much poise as she could. Is it even possible to look graceful when climbing off the floor? She thought before a deep voice softly spoke, "No problem."

That voice, she knew that voice, no it couldn't be she thought, tilting her head up, but sure enough, there stood Eli Goldsworthy.

"Eli? Wh-what are you doing here?" she blurted without thinking.

He raised an eyebrow, "In detention? I'm serving detention if you can believe it" he replied amused.

Clare rolled here eyes at his reply, that's not what she meant and he knew it. When did he come in? She didn't see him. Seeming to read her mind, Eli spoke quietly, "You walked right past me, Clare."

Eli saw her face fall and quickly waved off the explanation she was about to give, "It's detention Clare, it's not exactly the social ladder. Besides, I wouldn't have noticed you if you didn't walk in late, very uncharacteristic, Miss Edwards" he teased.

"Well, I suppose I do like to make an entrance" she joked back.

"I'll give it….a nine out of ten"

"Nine? Why not a ten?" she exclaimed.

"Too predictable, you come in, you sit down. It's missing…some pizzazz, throw in some confetti next time" Eli suggested smirking.

"Maybe I'll come in doing cartwheels" she joked.

Eli just laughed and went back to his seat. Clare couldn't help but be taken aback at how…normal Eli seemed as she took her own seat. She knew he was seeing a therapist and was on medication, but she was still stunned at how much it seemed to help.

He didn't look anxious or angry, no wringing of his hands, no stuttering, no signs of the Eli she remembered from last year at all. No, this Eli was smirking and cracking jokes, just like he was before everything fell apart. She wondered how long he had been this way, back to his old self. Clare felt slightly guilty realizing she really didn't know, it'd been so long since they had last talked - at Jake's cabin actually. They'd had a few words here and there since, but she was too caught up in everything with Jake, Alli, and her parents to notice a change in him.

She was shocked too at how easy it was to joke with him. Almost like it was an instinct. It had been so long since she just laughed and joked with someone Clare realized with a frown.

Turning slightly in her chair to look at Eli, scribbling away at his nails, Clare noticed how he really did look calm and at peace, more so even than when she first met him. Before she could even think about what she was doing or more importantly why, Clare found herself, books in hand, making her way to the desk beside Eli.

"Mind if I sit here?" she asked, already placing her books atop the desk. Looking slightly surprised for a moment, Eli regained his composure and motioned for her to go ahead before shooting her a curious look as she sat down. "I do have an hour and…13 minutes left to kill, I suppose you'll be good enough company" Clare said, smiling to let him know she was kidding.

"Good enough? I'll have you know I make an excellent detention buddy" Eli shot back.

"Oh, is that right?" Clare asked smiling, "I think I'll be the judge of that, Mr. Goldsworthy."

"Speaking of detention," Eli started, narrowing his eyes at her, "how exactly does Clare Edwards land herself in the slammer?"

Laughing at his attempt to be serious, Clare replied, "You act like that's so outrageous. You and I have spent many detentions together."

"That may be true, but those were all because of my doing" he insisted.

"Actually, I'm the one who asked you to skip class" Clare pointed out.

"Ah, but I was the one to plant the seed" Eli added stubbornly. Before Clare could rebuttal, Eli cut her of with a laugh, "I get it, you're a rebel! Now…what did you do this time, Edwards?"

"Talking back to a teacher' she answered with annoyance in her voice, "I totally wasn't. I just thought Purino should've given me a better grade!"

"Hmm doesn't that sound familiar?" he mocked.

Blushing slightly, Clare mumbled, "I might've been a bit harsher this time."

"Ah," Eli said smirking, "the truth comes out. Sounds to me like you deserve to be in detention Miss Edwards."

"Maybe" she admitted, "what about you? Why are you here?"

"You know the usual, vandalizing school property, trying to overthrow student council, just anarchy in general" Eli replied with a shrug before giving Clare his trademark smirk. She raised her eyebrows questionably at him, watching as a sheepish look replaced his smug one, "I was...uh, late for class…again."

Clare burst into laughter causing some kids to look their way, "Ooh the truth comes out" she mimicked before adding, "you know I expected something a little more badass from the infamous Eli Goldsworthy."

"Language, Miss Edwards!" Eli accused while laughing to which Clare stuck her tongue at him in reply. "I know, pretty unmanly, but it's not my fault at all. Bullfrog is supposed to give me rides in the morning because Cece is already gone and well…I'm not allowed to drive." he explained, avoiding Clare's eyes before regaining his confidence, "So I'm ready, right? But Bullfrog is still in bed! And damn is he impossible to wake up. I've tried several alarm clocks, ice cubes, taking off his covers, which" Eli warned cringing, "I will never do again. I've even tried hitting him!" Eli finished throwing his hands up as Clare's laughter filled the room.

It had been so very long since he heard her laugh. He couldn't even pinpoint when. He never saw her joking in the halls anymore with Adam or Alli, hell, he never even saw her with Alli anymore. He was pretty sure she and Adam never really hung out anymore, according to Adam; she only talks to him when she wants to complain about something, but Eli was sure that was an exaggeration.

I bet Jake makes her laugh all the time he thought bitterly even though he honestly couldn't recall a time he did see them joking together. Eli sure as hell hasn't made her laugh in a very long time, that's for sure he thought acidly. He remembered the beginning of their relationship where both of them were always laughing, yeah, before you made her life a living hell he reminded himself with a frown.

Yet, even as all these thought passed through his mind, Clare was sitting here in front of him genuinely laughing…because of Eli. That alone stopped his dark thought and made him feel like he was on Cloud 9.

"Have you tried cooking bacon? That always gets me out of bed" Clare's voice said, bringing him back to reality.

"Huh?" Eli asked stupidly making Bianca, who was apparently eavesdropping on them, snort loudly.

"The smell of bacon" Clare said, "no matter what time it is or how tired I am, if I smell bacon, I'm getting up."

Eli smiled at her answer, it was such a Clare thing to say, and here he was, practically beating his father to wake him up when Clare's solution was cooking. "I didn't think of that, thanks."

Clare nodded slightly while tracing her finger over the wood grain of the desk before turning to Eli again. "How long? Until…um…you can drive again?" she asked shyly.

Eli's cheeks colored lightly as he choked out, "Uh…well my license is…um suspended until I'm 18...so…just a little bit longer."

An awkward silence settled between them as Eli awkwardly shifted in his seat while Clare studied the ceiling as if she discovered a new planet. Bianca, who was now facing them, looked back and forth between the two with raised eyebrows before sighing loudly and turning back towards the front, mumbling something about "who's going to entertain her now."

Eli searched the room desperately for some topic that could carry them through the rest of the hour; the silence between them was now almost painful. The sophomores were still chatting away in the back, they seemed to have enough gossip to last them a lifetime, the freshman boy was still punching away at his phone, Bianca looked as though she was trying to fall asleep, her feet on the table in front of her and her hands behind her head, while the kid with the headphones was still nodding along to his music.

"Have you…heard any good music lately?" Eli asked as his eyes landed on the headphone boy.

"Hmm? Oh, music? Um…not really' Clare started confused, "the Edwards house has now become a country lovin' household lately" she explained, obviously not happy.

Eli cringed, "Country lovin? God help you, how did that…never mind." Eli was about to ask what turned her family into country music fans when he remembered…The Martins. Several times Eli heard Jake singing some country song in the hallways; damn whoever put their lockers so close by, while in between classes or on his way to lunch.

Eli tried to like the guy; I mean how could you not? He's friendly, polite and easygoing, yet for some reason Eli could not stand the guy. Actually, he was pretty sure he knew why he didn't like Jake, but he didn't want to dwell on that. Something about seeing perfect, nice-guy Jake Martin sauntering through the halls singing about mama's cookin' made Eli want to strange the guy. He's a walking cliché for Christ's sake!

Thankfully Eli's therapist has taught him several techniques to calm himself when such impulse arose; otherwise Eli was sure he would've attacked Jake by now.

"Yeah" Clare said sarcastically, reminding Eli that they were in the middle of a conversation, "I love it."

Not thinking about what he was doing, Eli leaned over and placed his hand comforting on Clare's saying mock sincere, "You have my deepest sympathies, Clare." She laughed, placing her own hand atop his and thanked him. Eli's eye widened slightly at her touch, but besides that he managed to keep himself appearing cool and collected despite the voice in his head that was freaking out.

As soon as Clare released his hand Eli let out a relieved sigh and brought it back into the safety of his lap as the two fell into an easy conversation.

"…So Adam was sitting at the lunch table and before he could even finish, milk just started shooting out his nose!" Eli exclaimed, raising his voice slightly so he could be heard over Clare's loud laughter.

Before he could finish with the story, Eli was suddenly hit in the side of the head making Clare erupt with laughter.

"What the…?" Eli asked confused, placing a hand to his head looking around. Trying to conceal a laugh, Clare pointed to an object on the floor, a paper airplane. Bending to pick it up, Eli gave Clare a questioning look to which she merely shrugged. Who the hell threw a paper airplane at him?

Eli's eyes instantly shot to Bianca, who was, once again, facing him. She scoffed under Eli's accusing glare muttering something under her breath. Lifting a perfectly manicured nail, she pointed to her right.

When he still hadn't gotten the memo (much to Clare's delight, whose laughs were growing louder by the second, so much so headphone boy had to pause his music to find out what all the commotion was about) Bianca sighed loudly, exclaiming, "Mother of God!" giving Eli a pointed look then turning to the freshman boy who was busy whistling and avoiding eye contact with Eli.

Putting two and two together, Eli realized what happened; apparently the kid's phone could no longer hold his interest so instead he decided to chuck paper airplanes at people. The little shit!

"What's your problem, niner?" Eli exclaimed making the boy look over at him puzzled.

"Huh? What are you on about man?"

"What am I-This!" Eli said holding up the plane to which the boy just nodded his head, smirking.

"Cool plane?" the boy asked, drawing out his response making Clare laugh once more.

She didn't know what was up with her today, normally a kid tossing around paper airplanes would've annoyed her, but it's detention, what do you expect? Plus, one zinging into the side of Eli's head was pretty funny. The kid trying to act aloof and Eli's obvious irritation only added fuel to the fire

"No, you moron, it's not my-why'd you throw a plane at me?" Eli shouted, stumbling slightly with a red tint to his cheeks.

The boy just laughed softly raising his hand, "Whoa, chill out bro, it's just a plane; excuse me for trying to make detention suck a little less. Plus, it's not like I was aiming for you…mostly."

The kid's explanation only seemed to irritate Eli further. This dumb freshman with his dumb smirk thinking he can just throw shit at him? In front of Clare no less! Not that that matters…it was the plane he was pissed about, not the fact that Clare saw some niner one up him and seem to find it hilarious, no that didn't bother him.

"I promise I won't try to hit you again, okay? Now give me my plane back" the kid said flashing a sarcastic smile to the giggly girls in the corner who responded by, you guessed it, more giggles.

"Oh, your plane? This plane here? You want it back?" Eli asked holding up the piece of paper. The kid nodded, stretching his hand out. "Here's your stupid plane" Eli grumbled, crushing the paper in his hands before slinging it at the kid's head, earning him a laugh from Bianca.

The boy simply brushed off Eli's gesture with a shrug; "Whatever man, you need to take a chill pill, your girlfriend thought it was pretty funny" he said nodding to Clare.

At the boy's comment, Eli's irritation and Clare's laughter both seemed to stop momentarily while the two blushed and looked in the opposite direction of each other, suddenly interested in the walls.

"I'm not his girlfriend" Clare clarified with a blush still prominent on her cheeks.

"Oh?" The kid asked, suddenly very aware. "Allow me to introduce myself" he started, pushing his chair backwards until it was right in front of Clare's, "Zig Novak: skater not a hater, pleasure to meet you" he said with a smirk while taking her hand and placing a small kiss on it.

Clare shook and head and laughed at how obnoxious this kid was. Was he for real? How could he be so confident at his age? He definitely wouldn't let anything bring him down. God, she remembered when she was a freshman, that was a completely different story.

"I'm Clare and this" she said nodding to her right, "is Eli."

"Clare. Eli" Zig repeated nodding his head. "Say Clare" he drawled, eyeing her up and down, "whadaya say we ditch Doom and Gloom over here and you let me take you out. Dinner and a movie?" Clare laughed, unbelieving that he was actually hitting on her.

Eli snorted, "Pretty sure that unless you bring a parent or guardian with you, you'll get stuck seeing a PG movie. Fun date." Clare glared playfully at Eli's sarcastic remark and couldn't help but laugh at the current situation she was in: a freshman was flirting with her and Eli was getting defensive, yeah, this is not how she expected her detention would be.

"Eh" Zig said shrugging "doesn't really matter which movie we see…we won't be watching it anyway." Zig winked at Clare then turned smirking to look at a less than amused Eli.

"You're very sweet" Clare said bringing Zig's eyes back to her own, "but I think you're a little young for me." Eli rolled his eyes, a little?

"Aw c'mon baby, age is just a number" Zig said leaning on her desk making Clare cover her face to muffle her laugher. She just couldn't take him seriously, he's like a child! A little confident, smooth-talking child.

"Hey Zig-Zag?" Eli interrupted.

"It's Zig" he replied looking almost as annoyed as Eli felt.

Eli waved a hand in the air, dismissing his comment, "I don't think she's interested, bud."

Ignoring Eli, Zig just turned back to Clare, took out his wallet and handed her something.

"What's this?" she asked confused.

"My library card…cause I'm checking you out" Zig explained, smiling seductively. Clare had to give him props for trying, he did not take 'no' for an answer.

"You've got to be kidding me!" Eli said while looking over Clare' shoulder, not even realizing how close he was to Clare due to his annoyance, "that's not even a library card; it's your student id."

Zig shrugged, taking Clare's laughter as a good sign, "Doesn't make it not true."

Another burst of laughter informed Eli that Bianca was not only listening to all of this, but also seemed to find it all pretty damn funny.

Eli sighed dramatically giving Clare a look to which she nodded before turning to Zig, "Well, um Zig, it really was a pleasure to meet you, but Eli and I were um…in the middle of something."

"So leave" Eli finished smirking and ignoring the playful glare Clare gave him.

"Right. Well, I'll let you get back to that" Zig said pushing his chair back to its original position. Eli didn't even try to suppress the urge to roll his eyes, seriously, this kid was unbelievable.

Turning back to a still glaring Eli, Clare laughed once more stating, "That was um…interesting."

Eli turned to look at Clare amused, "You could say that again."

"That was interesting" Clare repeated smiling while Eli rolled his eyes playfully.

"Dork. Where were we? I think we were talking a-" Eli started thoughtfully before crying, "oh, for the love of!"

Clare was startled by his outburst, but only laughed disbelieving when she turned to see, who else, but Zig at their table once more.

"Zig? What a surprise…" she trailed off, trying not to laugh as Eli dropped his face to his desk, groaning loudly.

Zig smiled appropriately before squinting his eyes at Clare, "I guess I couldn't stay way, has anyone ever told you that you have the most gorgeous smile? I mean, I'm convinced on the 8th day…God made you." Clare blushed lightly at his forwardness, but mostly tried to control her laughs as Eli began hitting his head repeatedly against the desk. He continued dramatically, "Honestly, I'm having a hard time thinking of a word that describes your beauty."

"Probably cause he doesn't know any past the grade three level" Eli mumbled causing Clare to snort loudly before covering her mouth embarrassed while Zig glared.

"Thanks Zig, that's um…very nice of you, but Eli and I were um…talking" Clare replied awkwardly.

Taking the hint, Zig went back to his desk, not before taking a bow and winking of course.

"Is he gone? I swear if he's still there…" Eli started his head still on the desk.

Clare giggled, patting him on the back, "It's safe to come out, he's gone."

Cautiously, Eli raised his head searching for signs of the unwanted freshman and let out a relieved sigh once he saw Zig was back in his chair, now making flirty eyes with the two giggly sophomores.

"Since when did you become so popular with the fellas, Edwards?" Eli asked, turning back to Clare.

She shoved his shoulder aghast, "Hey, I've always been popular with the fellas, I'm a hot catch."

"Oh I can tell, with lines like that you must be" Eli remarked shaking his head then bringing his voice up an octave, mocking, "Ooh Clare, on the 8th day God created you, who the hell says stuff like that?" he asked, his voice back to normal.

"Uh, Zig Novak: skater not a hater, duh" Clare quipped back, smiling.

"Please tell me girls don't actually go for lines like that" he asked half joking.

Still chuckling over Eli's impression of Zig, she simply shrugged jokingly, "I've heard worse."

Eli's eyebrows instantly shot up intrigued, "Oh? Do tell, Edwards."

Clare smiled, loving how easy it was to joke with him, "Well…this one time I was at the mall with Alli and this guy asked for my number because he 'lost his own'" she said raising her hands in finger quotes.

"Lame" Eli announced laughing.

"And" she continued with a devious smirk, "this fool was so cheesy that they actually told me I had pretty eyes, how cliché is that?"

Grinning despite himself, Eli laughed along with Clare, figuring he had walked into that one and hoping the blush on his cheeks wouldn't betray him.

"Hey now, there's no reason to hate on Fiona, she really put herself out there" Eli retorted, raising a brow at Clare, triumphant he had turned the tables back on her. In response she burst into laughter, forgetting the incident with a very drunk Fiona, it didn't take long for Eli to join in, both laughing whole heartedly.

Their mirth relieved an unimpressed glare from Bianca and a stern, 'Alright now, settle down you two" from Miss Oh as she walked back into the classroom, snapping her fingers in their direction.

Slightly embarrassed, the two stifled their amusement and scooted their desks back to their proper place while Miss Oh made her way to the front of the room.

"Stay in your seats so I can do role call once more" she instructed pulling a piece of paper from her clipboard.

"Do we really have to go through that whole schpeel again? No one took off, we're all present and accounted for" Bianca drawled annoyed.

"Yes we do, it's procedure" Miss Oh replied shortly, missing Bianca rolling her eyes and mimicking her.

"Liam Berish?" The kid wearing the headphones raised his hand. "Sarah Carter?" One of the sophomore girls waved, "Bianca DeSousa?" Bianca only glared, "Clare Edwards?" "Here" she chirped making Eli chuckle at her innocence. "Elijah Goldsworthy?" He raised his own hand exchanging eye rolls with Clare at the use of his full name. "Jessica Martello?" The other girl just nodded and finally, "Zig Novak?" Miss Oh finished receiving a wink in reply.

Eli looked over at Clare raising his eyebrows, mouthing "Three…two…one…"

"Alright, detention is dismissed, I hope you have all learned your lesson and we will not be seeing each other in this context from now on" Miss Oh announced checking her watch and narrowing her eyes at all of them.

Bianca had already gone by the time the words were out of her mouth, the Liam kid shortly followed, giving Clare a strange smile that Eli didn't quite understand while the giggly girls stalled looking hopeful at Zig.

Clare stood, zipping up her bag and tossing it over her shoulder, dramatically exclaiming, "Freedom at last!"

Eli stood as well chuckling, "Ha, so does this mean your days of talking back to teachers are over?"

Clare feigned thoughtfulness, "I wouldn't go that far" she teased as they walked side by side to the door. The two fell back into a fit of laughter that was suddenly interrupted by someone clearing their throat.


Stopping in their tracks, Eli and Clare turned to see Zig, smirk on his face and track jacket thrown over his shoulder.

Eli groaned slightly, leaning into Clare, "I'll be outside" he said smirking before patting her shoulder and walking out, leaving behind a very flustered and uncomfortable Clare.

She watched his figure retreat into the hall, glaring when he turned to give her sarcastic thumbs up. "You just don't give up do you?" she sighed defeated, turning back to Zig who smiled proudly.

"Giving up is not my style" he replied.

"I'm not going on a date with you."

Zig nodded sarcastically, "Yeah, you say that now. In the meantime…" he grabbed Clare's hand with one of his and took a marker out of his pocket with the other, "here's my number."

Looking down at the scribble on the back of her hand, Clare smiled awkwardly and pulled her hand from his, "Gee…thanks, um…Zig. I should get back to Eli now" she said inching towards the door.

"Eli? Oh your 'not boyfriend'" Zig said rolling his eyes, "yeah, have fun with that. When things don't work out with Doom and Gloom give me a call, gorgeous. My smirk is better anyway." He gave her one last wink before walking out the door.

Clare waited a few seconds to make sure Zig was gone before she walked out to the hallway where Eli was leaning against a row of lockers playing with his phone.

"Hey" he said looking up, "how'd it go with lover boy?"

Clare lifted her hand to answer.

"Ha! Is that his number?" Eli burst out taking her hand, neither noticing the other blushing at the contact, as Clare nodded. He shook his head chuckling as the two made their way to the front doors.

"I swear that kid tries to put the moves on everyone" Eli absentmindly joked causing Clare to look his way feigning offence.

"What are you trying to say, I'm not flirt worthy?" Clare accused narrowing her eyes.

"No, no" Eli yelled putting his hand up in mock surrender, "you're flirt worthy, Clare. It's just anytime that I see that kid he's trying to woo the ladies: you, those annoying sophomores, and I'm pretty sure he's the same guy Imogen was telling me was bothering her last week. She mentioned a cocky freshman; Zig-Zag seems to fit the bill."

"Hmph." Clare suddenly felt the need to change the subject now that Imogen's name was brought up, try as she might, she just didn't like the girl, and the recent rumors about her and Eli dating probably weren't helping.

Eli shot Clare a look, sensing her change in mod, he shouldn't have brought up Imogen, way to bring the awkwardness back. He knew Clare and Imogen weren't exactly each other's biggest fan…that's an understatement, they probably hate each other. Eli couldn't help but chuckle, realizing Clare's current sneer looked a lot like the one Imogen wears whenever someone mentions Clare's name.

"So" he announced as they walked through the front doors, "is your mom picking you up?"

"No, her and Glen were gonna go out and she wasn't going to 'forget about their plans to come get me just because I decided to act out'" Clare answered rolling her eyes.

"Ah…well is…someone else…going to pick you up?" Eli asked awkwardly, obviously trying to avoid talking about Jake.

"No, I'm walking" Clare stated shortly.

"Well…I'm also walking…I could, if you want… walk you home, you know, if it's not too weird" Eli rambled, currently eyeing his scuffed up sneakers.

"You want to walk me home?" Clare asked caught off guard. "Eli, that's sweet of you, but you live on the other side of town, it'd be completely out of your way." She was stunned to hear the slight disappointment in her voice, was she actually sad to be leaving him? Yeah, she enjoyed his company for the past hour and half and sure, he made her laugh and forget about all the drama in her life right now and that was nice, but it was time to go back to reality and their separate lives, right?

"Oh, actually I'm going to Adam's house, so I'd go right past your house" Eli clarified interrupting her thoughts.

Before she realized what she was saying, Clare heard her voice answering, "Okay, that'd be great. Thanks."

Eli smirked, "It's no problem."

They were just walking up to Clare's block as Eli was finishing his story of Cece's last birthday.

"…I came downstairs, Bullfrog is running around in his underwear yelling nonsense while Cece is trying to put out the fire that was supposed to be our dinner, to this day we haven't let Bullfrog near a stove since."

Clare was laughing hard once again while Eli was having trouble restraining himself from admiring her. The way her cheeks would flush, how her eyes would get slightly teary and she'd bring her hand up to her mouth, it was all too much.

"Oh my gosh, your parents are hilarious! Of course Bullfrog would cook in his underwear" she sighed, her face dropping as eyed her home, "well I guess we're here."

"Home sweet home" Eli joked, trying to bring back her smile.

"Yeah, something like that" Clare mumbled. "Thank you. For walking me home and keeping me entertained. You do make a pretty good detention buddy" Clare teased, nudging Eli.

"The best" he smirked "and it's no problem Clare, I actually enjoyed myself today as well."

They stood at her steps; not wanting their moment to end yet, each would sneak glances at the other before blushing and looking at the ground.

"I…I guess I better get inside…do homework or something" Clare stated, motioning to the door.

Eli nodded, shoving his hands in his pockets, "Yeah, if you ever need a detention buddy for the future, just shoot me a text and we'll figure something out…break the dress code or something."

Clare smiled walking up to her door, "Yeah, we could protest Power Squad."

Eli smirked, turning to walk away. He made it three steps before he heard Clare's frustrated sigh behind him. Pivoting, he turned to find Clare still standing on her doorstep, digging through her bag with an annoyed look on her face.

"Everything okay?" he asked walking back towards her.

"Yeah, great" she remarked sarcastically. Eli raised his eyebrows waiting for her to continue. Sighing, she explained, "The door's locked. Usually my mom will be home at this time so the house is open, I forgot about her and Glen going out.

He nodded, "But don't you have a key?"

"It's sitting on my desk as we speak."


Clare gave a quick laugh, "My mom believes leaving a key outside is the equivalent to inviting the hooligans inside. Her exact words."

Eli laughed, "You wanna try to break in?"

"Ha, my mom keeps the place locked up like a prison when she goes out, it's no use."

He nodded cringing, "Do you want to um…call Jake?"

"Ugh, not really" Clare sighed, "I think I'm just gonna hang out. Thanks again for everything." With that she took a seat on the steps.

"…When will your mom be home?" Eli asked, uncomfortable with the thought of leaving her alone for long period of time locked out.

She shrugged, "Probably a while, I'm sure Jake will be back soon…he likes to bring Jenna back here."

Eli grimaced, catching her eye, "Sorry."

She waved her hand dismissively.

"Could you…call Alli or something? Go to her place?" he asked trying to help, but his question only seemed to further upset her as she quickly shook her head.

Everything in him was telling him to say goodbye and get out of there, let her be. Don't do Eli, don't do it. He knew he shouldn't, but despite all that, something, either how upset she looked, or thinking of the fun they were having earlier or something more, was telling him to ask.

So, ignoring the yelling in his head telling him not to, Eli looked at Clare, "You know, the girls and I were doing this movie thing tonight at Adam's; you could come, only if you want to of course."

She looked up at him confused, "the girls?'

"Oh, Imogen and Fiona" he clarified watching her face drop.

"Thanks for the offer, but I don't think that's such a great idea, Eli."

"Aw c'mon, they're not that bad. Plus we'll be watching movies, no talking required" he noted seeing her instantly perk up, "Adam will be there, don't you wanna hang out with him. Oh and did I mention I'm going? Doesn't get much better than that."

She was smiling as she gave him a pointed look, waiting for him to finish the deal.

"And" he said dramatically, "there will be snacks."

"Okay" she quickly answered, "let's go."

Eli laughed stretching out his hand, "You're such a dork, Edwards."

She smiled, taking his hand, both ignoring the slight spark they felt on contact, as he pulled her to her feet. "You're the dork" she shot back.

"Oooh, good one" he replied sarcastically making her stick her tongue out at him as they began walking in the direction of Adam's house, secretly glad they got detention today.