LAST CHAPTER. I know I said 30-40 in the beginning, but it just didn't work that way. lol
And review if you so choose.
If more than 20 people want a sequel about raising little Eli and the challenges that Clare and Eli face, I will write one.
Bullfrog was sprawled out carelessly on the loveseat, the upper half of his body thrown on the arm and his legs dangling unnaturally off of the opposite arm. A bottle of Jack Daniels was clutched in his right hand, and a joint was pinched between the thumb and index of his other hand.
"Happy…" He drawled out with great effort, all of his words running together sloppily, "first Christmas without-Eli-here… Cheers to many more!" He screamed before taking a long swig from the bottle.
CeCe was half-lying, half-sitting on his lap. She snatched the marijuana from his hand and inhaled deeply of it before bursting into laughter. "Happy last Christmas of not being "Grandpa Bullfrog.'" She poked him in the belly and planted a messy kiss on his face. "Gimme some of that Jack, Jackhole." Another fit of giggled erupted from her as she drank, and she spewed her mouth full of burning alcohol all over her husband's face.
Bullfrog laughed heartily as he wiped the substance from his eyes.
"You… freak…" He pulled her closer to him, so that she was completely lying on him, cuddled into his neck. "I just…I fucking love you, CeCe." He hiccupped and closed his eyes tiredly. "Night babe."
The ring of their home phone interrupted the moment and Bullfrog rolled his eyes at the sound. Though he just wanted to pass out from his high and drunken stupor, he dragged himself from the comfort of the couch and moseyed unsteadily over to answer the call. They had been waiting for Eli to call and let them know that he and Clare were home safe, so the ringing wasn't unexpected. As he ripped the cordless phone off of the port, Bullfrog was blissfully unaware of just how memorable that phone call would be.
"Merry fucking Christmas dude!" He exclaimed to his only son as he tried to balance himself up against the wall. "CeCe and I are toasted!"
"That's great, dad." Eli slurred.
Bullfrog furrowed his brow and asked, "You're drunk too! It's a party! Woo!" CeCe whooped from across the room and laughed together.
"Not drunk. Morphine."
Bullfrog let out a dry laugh and suddenly felt like the room was spinning. "What?" He asked weakly. The smile that had been on his face previously was wiped off, and no remnants of the exciting evening remained in his features.
"We're in the hospital, dad. We got hit by a drunk driver."
Bullfrog felt as if his world had stopped, like someone had hit the brakes and time was unconnected to their situation. He was frozen in place, suddenly more sober than he'd ever been in his life. Coherent thoughts were gone. Words were gone. His life had gone from blissfully fun to terrifyingly real in a matter of seconds. His only son, the only daughter he'd ever known, and his unborn grandkid were in the hospital.
"We're okay, Bullfrog. Can you just come to the hospital?"
"O-o-of course kid." He stuttered. Normally, he would hound Eli for answers and try to make a dry joke or comment about a hard situation, but all he really wanted to do was see, with his own eyes, that his kids were okay. He didn't have time for jokes.
As Eli gave him directions and the hospital name, Bullfrog realized that his hands were shaking violently, and that he was much too drunk still to drive. He glanced over at CeCe and she was equally, if not more drunk than he.
As he jotted down the information, he realized there was one person who would be willing to drive them to the hospital at such a ridiculous hour on a holiday.
"See you soon, Bullfrog." Eli murmured tiredly from the other end. "I love you, dad."
Bullfrog choked up a bit and felt his eyes tearing up. "I love you too, kid."
He hung up and immediately dialed another phone number.
Bullfrog and CeCe burst into the hospital room, panicked, sweaty and still quite intoxicated. They noticed that Eli and Clare lay in separate beds, but the beds were pushed together and their fingers were intertwined. Clare was on her side, facing away from the door and Eli was facing her, gripping tightly to her hand. Clare was fast asleep and Eli looked drowsy, but his eyes weren't yet closed.
When he heard the door handle slam into the wall, and saw his parents looking panicked, he chuckled and motioned for them to sit at the edge of his bed. CeCe gripped him into a tight hug and sobbed into his shoulder. "Baby, I'm so glad you're okay. What happened? I need to know everything."
Eli pulled out of his mother's death grip and whispered, "A drunk driver swerved into our lane and totaled the car. They had to use the Jaws of Life to get us out, but we're both okay. I have a concussion and Clare has a broken wrist. We're both covered in bruises, but everything else is fine."
He noticed the looks of utter relief on his parents' faces, and felt slightly guilty for making them worry so much. He and Clare had agreed that they wanted to surprise everyone with the baby, so he lured his parents to the hospital without divulging all of the details.
"What about the baby? Did they make sure the baby is okay?" CeCe pressed, looking over at Clare's sleeping form. With the blanket on her, her stomach was covered and it wasn't noticeable that the large bump was slightly flattened, much to Eli's relief.
"Yeah, the baby is fine. Everyone is fine." Eli assured her, holding back a grin. Little Eli was in the nursery, but he was due to be fed and would be brought in soon. He couldn't wait to see the excitement and shock on his parent's faces when they saw his son.
It had only taken moments for Eli to fall in love with the fragile little guy, and everything about him felt different after he held the boy for the first time. The attachment that he felt to Clare was intensified too; he was absolutely awe-struck by the fact that she'd given life to their child, and wanted nothing more than to protect the two of them at all costs.
He glanced over at his girlfriend and admired her peaceful features and smeared make-up. She'd been through the most painful experience of her life, and she still managed to look stunning and happy in her slumber.
Eli brought his attention back to his parents, listening to them prattle on about accidents and Christmas, and noticed that they were more giggly than usual.
"You guys are drunk, aren't you?" He asked. CeCe and Bullfrog started laughing even louder and Eli felt himself getting furious. "Your son just got hit by a fucking drunk driver, and you get behind the wheel drunk? What the Hell is wrong with you? We could have died. They told us that we're lucky to even be alive, and you have the audacity to c-""
They responded by laughing even louder. Bullfrog jumped off of the bed and to the door. "Chauffer, you can come in now."
Eli stared at the door confusedly as none other than Adam Torres strolled through. Eli practically jumped from his bed to hug his friend, and was met by terrible pain and stiffness. "Ow, fuck. Adam! Get over here, dude!"
Adam rushed over and the two shared a rough embrace, much to the dismay of Eli's physical condition.
"What the Hell are you doing here? Not that I mind, I mean, you finally took some time out of your busy schedule to see your best friend." He punched Adam weakly and chuckled.
"I'm just so damn popular, it's hard to fit you guys into my schedule." Adam teased. "Your parents called me because they were too shit-faced to drive themselves. No biggie, it's only 2am on Christmas…" Adam shot a playful glare at Bullfrog and plopped down on the bed. "So how's the fetus? Your reckless driving didn't screw everything up, right?" He was kidding, but Eli could detect the underlying worry in his joke.
"Everyone's fine, dude. Thanks for the concern."
At that moment, the door opened and a nurse came in, wheeling a tiny crib behind her. CeCe, Bullfrog and Adam turned to meet the gaze of a grinning nurse.
They looked back at Eli with confusion, and before any of them got a word in, Eli said, "Oh, I guess I forgot to mention that… During the accident, Clare kind of had the baby." Eli grinned at the looks on his parent's faces. The moment was absolutely priceless. The amount of noise that came from them was inhuman. CeCe screamed and started bawling, and Bullfrog roared with cheerful laughter, a few happy tears running down his scruffy cheeks. The nurse wheeled the baby between the two beds and smiled at the reactions. Bullfrog, CeCe and Adam immediately surrounded the crib, inspecting and cooing at the tiny little boy.
Gently, the nurse shook Clare awake and handed her the bundled boy. "It's time to feed your son, Ms. Edwards. It may hurt the first time, but you'll get used to it."
Clare rubbed her eyes tiredly and saw her guests. "Adam…" She smiled weakly, reached her hand out to grip his. "You made it in time to meet your godson." She beamed at him, emotion coursing from every inch of the room and making her teary.
"I wouldn't miss it for the world." Adam squeezed her hand back and pulled it to his mouth for an innocent kiss.
"Clare, he's beautiful." CeCe breathed, unable to contain the tears that flowed out of her eyes and trailed mascara down her cheeks. "What's his name?"
Clare and Eli looked at each other and Clare nodded at him, giving silent permission for him to boast about his boy.
CeCe put her hands up to her mouth and smiled through the thick tears. "It's perfect. My two Eli's. My two baby boys."
Bullfrog just stared at the little boy with awe and admiration. He was less outwardly emotional than his wife, but inside, he felt like he was about to burst. "Damn… Great job, son." He held his fist out to Eli and the younger Goldsworthy met it with a chuckle.
"Good job, beautiful." Bullfrog bent over and placed a kiss on Clare's forehead. "You're gonna be a damn great mom."
"T-Thank you." Clare stared down at her son and inspected each detail of his wrinkly face. His features were scrunched up, but she could still see traces of her and Eli prominently in them. He had a mess of black hair, and sweet little peach fuzzes on every other bit of his face. Eli's bow-shaped upper lip was clearly present, and Clare's pouty bottom lip. He had chunky cheeks and his nose was tiny and cute, like a little button. She couldn't wait to watch him grow, to see his first steps, hear his first words, and reach all of the milestones with him. No feeling in the world could compare to the warmth and joy that her firstborn son brought her, and he'd only been born a few hours before. She bit back a sob and stroked his plump cheek. "Mommy loves you, Elijah."
She looked at Eli, who had tears of his own streaming down. He smiled shakily and whispered, "I love you two more than anything else in the world."
Clare let a few of the drops fall as she mouthed, "Me too." She snapped out of her daze and looked up at CeCe. "Want to hold him before I feed him?"
CeCe nodded with more enthusiasm than any child on Christmas morning. She leaned over and grabbed him, noticing that Clare was too weak to lift him up to her. She left a light smooch on her grandson's forehead as she rocked him. "So," she whispered, not wanting to startle the baby, "what exactly happened?"
Clare lay back tiredly and waved her hand at her boyfriend, signaling that he can take the reins of the conversation.
Eli cleared his throat and braced himself to recap the epic tale that was his son's birth. "Well, as you know, we were hit by a drunk driver. I blacked out for a bit, and woke up to Clare screaming her head off. Long story short, I called 911, the operator told me to look for the baby's head. I did. It was there. Clare just couldn't hold in her pushes…" He teased, smiling sarcastically at the drowsy girl. "So… I delivered him."
He'd never seen his parents' eyes get as big as they were in that moment.
"Are you fucking serious?" Bullfrog practically screamed in shock.
Eli nodded smugly and half-crossed his sore arms. "Yep, Dr. Eli delivered a baby while sporting a wicked concussion… Yes, you can have my autograph."
"You forgot to mention how you were crying, screaming and panicking the entire time." Clare laughed, provoking a mild glare from Eli. Adam chuckled and held his hand up to her for a high-five.
"Somebody had to lessen your ego." Adam smirked.
"Well, Clare was screaming and crying too." Eli huffed at them, feeling undignified by the reality check.
"Clare was in labor. She was supposed to scream and cry." Bullfrog corrected, also taking Clare's side.
"Well, I'm impressed with you, baby." CeCe fussed, squeezing Eli's hand with her free one. The baby fretted in her arms, emitting a shrill cry throughout the room. "Somebody's hungry." She sang, handing the little one back to his momma. "We'll let you feed him in privacy. Bullfrog and I need some coffee to sober up, and we promised Adam some food for driving us."
They all gave the baby one last lingering glance before shuffling out of the room. It was the first time since the birth that Eli and Clare were both alone and awake.
Clare looked at her son in bewilderment, her hands shaking nervously at the unfamiliar prospect of breast-feeding. Hesitantly, she lifted up her robe and put his mouth to her sore breast, letting him latch on for nourishment. The feeling was uncomfortable, but unlike anything else ever. She was feeding her son… She gave him life, and she was giving him sustenance. The connection between them was utterly unbreakable, and she felt invincible in those moments. As he nursed on her, Clare looked over at Eli with a pure awe shining in her eyes.
"It's w-weird. I'm feeding my own baby… Our baby. It's almost too much…" Her voice broke and she couldn't tear her gaze away from the child. "It-It was so scary, Eli. I didn't know if he was going to be okay…" She admired the slight suckling motions of the tiny lips and she let herself go. The tears that she'd so desperately fought were finally embraced, and the emotions caught up to her. "I always knew that I loved him, but it wasn't until that car hit us that I realized how much. I was so scared that he would be hurt or even…" She shook her head and held him closer, fighting the thoughts of past fears away. "Our little baby could have died, Eli… This amazing little life could have been taken away. I can't…" She clenched her eyes shut and soon felt arms around her shoulders. Her eyes opened slowly and she saw a very bruised and battered Eli next to her, sitting haphazardly on the edge of her bed. In any other situation, Clare would have sent him back to his own bed to rest. But in that moment, more than anything, she needed to be held by him. Gently, she leaned back into his embrace and let his warmth wrap around her.
He shushed her gently and ran his hand through her soft curls. He grabbed her chin and lifted her lips up to meet his in a brief but loving peck. "Clare, I promise that as long as I live, I won't let anything happen to you or our boy." He reached down and glazed the baby's cheek with his index finger. "
Clare saw the sincerity in his eyes, and for once, chose to believe his promise whole-heartedly.
After everything they'd faced together; all of the trials and tribulations, each and every fight and downfall, Eli and Clare seemed to reach the resolution. Neither of them could wonder if the peace would stay, if Eli would venture back to his days of cruel games and thoughtless words, or if their tiny family could survive the curveballs that life would surely throw their way. Those were thoughts and doubts for a different day, they both thought; a later day that may never even come.
She thought, for the first time in so long, that maybe happy endings were possible in life.
And maybe little Eli would hold them together forever, keeping them happy, keeping Eli stable, keeping them a family.
And he thought that maybe the love he held for his little boy would be enough to heal him from his problems.
Maybe his personal demons were a thing of the past.
In the end, there was only one thing that the young couple knew for sure; that the 5 unholy pink plus signs were the best thing that ever happened to them.
CORNY ENDING IS CORNY.
I just want to take a moment to say that you all have been absolutely fantastic. Each and every review/follow/subscribe and favorite warmed my heart, and it's been a pleasure writing for you and taking you along this Eclare journey.
If you want a sequel, let me know through a review or PM. I have a few ideas in mind that may be interesting. If not, I love you all and thank you so much for taking the time out of your lives to read my little piece of Eclare fiction.
Ugh, I'm getting emotional. Haha
Everybody, enjoy the new episodes starting Monday.
OUR OTP IS CANON ONCE AGAIN.