Author's Note: ONESHOT, slightly AU because I don't know what sport he plays, so I am just gonna say Jake plays basketball. I do not own Degrassi or the characters. Enjoy!
"Hey, Jake," Clare bounced over to her boyfriend's locker, "Um…shouldn't you be getting to class because of your…"
"I know I have a test, Clare. You don't need to tell me."
"Good luck on you…test," Clare sighed, looking rather much like a deflated balloon. Maybe he was just stressed. He did hate French class, and this was a big exam…
A crash not too far from her drew Clare's attention. Eli had just rammed his fist into his locker and was currently trying to shake the pain from his hand. He was angry. Angry at Jake for talking to Clare like that…like she was nothing. He wished the metal locker was that douchebag's face.
"Clare," he said on a breath. His green eyes met her blue and she shyly turned away, embarrassed at how Jake had acted towards her and even more mortified that Eli had been a witness to it. Why did his locker have to be just two over from Jake's?
Clare sighed again and brushed a strand of hair from her face before marching off down the hall. She paused as she walked past him, "Eli," she said curtly.
"Clare," he said in a mocking tone.
He could see that smile that played on his lips – that smile that so often would tug at the corners of her lips when he would tease her. Clare opened her mouth as if to say something, but continued to walk down the hallway.
Eli leaned back against his locker, throwing his head against it. Why did she have to be with such a jerk like Jake. Jake the Jerk. That should be his new name. The moron was just as airheaded as his basketball.
Clare found Jake at lunch sitting with his basketball buddies. Clare sighed and walked over towards them with her lunch tray in tow. She was a little nervous. Would he yell at her again? She wanted to be extra careful and felt like she was walking on eggshells.
"Jake," she said softly, sitting down next to him, "How was your test?"
"Awful," he popped a Dorito into his mouth, "Why?"
"Just…wondering," Clare sighed, wondering when they stopped talking so much, or if they ever really did. With Eli, they'd tell everything to each other. But this was different. This wasn't Eli. This was Jake.
Good riddance, Clare mused as she took a bite of her sandwich.
"So are you all excited for the game tonight?" Jake asked, the team nodded and grunted with food still in their mouths.
"We are gonna kick South Lake's…"
"Tonight?" Clare asked, her eyes swimming with questions.
"Um, yeah. Duh."
"Tonight you said you'd come over and watch It Happened One Night. It's my favorite Clark Gable…"
"Clare, you know better than to make plans with me during the basketball season."
"But you were the one that…"
"You'd think dating the star player would make her actually care," Jake laughed, his friends laughed. Clare felt humiliated. She picked up her bag and hurried out of the cafeteria. Jake and his friends laughed even more as she left.
As she walked past Eli's table, he turned and watched her.
"Go," Adam shooed him with his hand.
"No way," Eli bit into his burger, "She doesn't want to talk to me."
"Well, from the looks of it, she needs someone to talk to. Go."
"But…okay fine," Eli grabbed his backpack and hurried after Clare.
He found her sitting against Morty – more like hiding behind Morty – crying. Eli felt his heart break.
"What are you doing here?"
"How are you, Clare? Oh – I'm fine, thanks for asking," her voice was acrid.
"That's my line," Eli nodded towards her, "Can I sit against my own car or are you gonna bite my head off?"
"Sit," Clare sighed, she grabbed her bag and was about to leave when he stopped her.
"Doesn't mean you have to leave. Put your bag down and talk to me, Edwards."
"There isn't anything to…"
"You're crying," Eli went to wipe a tear from her cheek, when she jerked away, he apologized, "Sorry. It's a habit I guess."
"Well you need to break it, Eli. You can't just come over here ready to wipe my tears away. You just can't do that anymore. I have Jake for that now."
"Jake seems to be causing the tears more so than wiping them away."
"I cried when you and I would fight."
"Don't you even compare us to you and Jake, Clare," Eli sounded hurt, and he was, "I would never…I never treated you like Jake treats you. All day today he's been biting your head off and then he and his jockstrap friends over there laughed when your feelings got hurt. They were laughing at you! I have half a mind to march over there and…"
"Eli," Clare looked up at him, her eyes drowning in tears, "you can't fight my battles for me. You aren't my boyfriend. Jake will fight my battles, and if he won't, then I will. I have to. I've learned to do a lot on my own now, Eli."
"That doesn't mean he can just…I just hate watching someone…never mind."
"What were you going to say?" Clare urged, wiping away one of her tears.
"It's not important," Eli stood up from the cement, "I'll…I'll catch you later."
"No," Clare jumped up, "you tell me right now what you were going to say or else it'll eat at you and you'll run off and do something crazy."
Eli sighed, "You know me too well. But really, Clare, don't worry about it. It's nothing."
"Tell me," Clare blocked his exit by moving in front of him. Eli was trapped. She had him pinned up against Morty.
Eli ran a nervous hand through his hair and glanced around for an escape.
"Tell me," Clare shoved him.
"What's it to you?" Eli growled and shoved her back.
"Don't touch me!" Clare glared at him.
"Oh, you mean I can't touch you?" Eli asked, looking as innocent as he could be before grabbing her and pinning her up against his car, "Like this?"
He was holding his wrists up and pinning her against Morty – his stomach was against hers, his chest was against hers. She could feel his breath against her ear as he said:
"I dare you not to want to kiss me right now."
"Eli," Clare's voice was filled with faux anger, "Let go of me this instant!"
"Um…no. I will let go of you when you tell me five good reasons why you're with him. Go."
"That too many for you, Edwards?"
Clare sighed, "Fine," she thought it over a bit before saying, "Well…for starters, we were close friends when we were younger…"
"When you were younger. But people change, don't they?"
"Well…um…he didn't change that much."
"Well…" Clare bit her lower lip. When Eli thought she was taking too long, he lightly shoved her, "He…well…he likes Coldplay!"
"Clare," Eli rolled his eyes, "you hate Coldplay."
"I do not…" Eli shot her a knowing look, "Fine," she sighed, "He plays basketball."
"And you could care less."
"No," she tried to sound defensive, "I have actually become quite interested in sports."
"Is that so?" Eli raised a suspicious eyebrow.
"Yes. For starters, it's very…invigorating to watch…um…especially when…they make a…touchdown!"
Eli dropped his forehead against hers, causing Clare to inhale at the unexpected gesture, "You're impossible, Blue Eyes."
"So there really is no good reason you're with him, is there?"
"He's not you," Clare spat out, and instantly regretted the hateful words the moment she said them. Eli looked as if she had slapped him. He let her wrists drop to her sides and backed off of her.
"Get away from me, and get away from my car. You hate the thing anyways."
Clare opened her mouth to apologize, but Eli interrupted her, "What part of 'get away' didn't register with you?"
"I didn't mean…I shouldn't have said…oh Eli," Clare cried, "I really didn't think…God…I didn't…Eli…"
She touched his arm but he shook her off, "Go away, Clare."
"I'm so sorry," Clare turned to leave, "He isn't you," she sighed, "but sometimes I wish…I wish he was."
Eli looked up, but she was already gone.
He let out a growl and kicked Morty, hard, leaving a dent.
"Damn it," Eli hissed, looking at the damage, "Damn you, Clare!"
Clare didn't expect to wind up standing on the front porch of Eli's house when she began her walk, but nonetheless, here she was. Clare bit at her thumbnail, fear taking a grip over her. She could just leave, and he would never know that she had stopped by.
But she couldn't. She couldn't just leave. Sighing, Clare walked up to the door and rang the doorbell. No one answered. She waited a bit before turning around to leave, when a voice stopped her.
"Clare?" He sounded surprised to see her, and he was. She hadn't been to his house in forever, and he was surprised she even remembered where he lived. She turned around and her cheeks turned a bright shade of crimson.
"I was just…I went for a walk and I…I'm sorry…I'll be leaving now."
"Clare," Eli shut the front door behind him and met her on the porch, "Why are you here? At my house?"
"I don't know…" Clare smiled, feebly, "I must be interrupting your dinner or something. I'll see you…around."
"Dinner was my mom's attempt at Chicken Cordon Blu," he made a face, causing Clare to smile, "Talk about disgusting! I swear, I think she just digs through the compost pile and heats up whatever she…" Eli realized they were both smiling and he stopped himself. He couldn't be like this with her. They both had made that very clear at lunch.
Clare blushed again and became suddenly interested in kicked a pebble on the cement.
"So…" she bit her bottom lip, "do you want to, perhaps, join me on my walk?"
"It is getting dark," Eli looked up at the twilight sky, "and it wouldn't be…um…prudent…of me to let you go walking around out in the dark on your own."
"Exactly!" Clare nodded, "So…"
"Yeah," Eli made sure the front door was shut before shoving his hands deep into his pockets and walking in step with Clare.
"I made an A on my English paper," Clare volunteered, "I…I made sure to write my feelings. It wasn't that shabby of a paper."
"Good for you," Eli nodded, impressed but trying not to show it, "What topic did you write on?"
"Oh, you know," Clare brushed it off, "just stuff."
Clare blushed again, "Possibly."
"You wrote us stuff for your English assignment?" Eli was curious. He so desperately wanted to know what she had written, but he didn't want to pry.
"You can um…read it if you want. Sometime. It's just about…growing apart."
"How does that happen?" Eli asked, not meeting her gaze.
"No idea," Clare sighed, "believe me, things would be different if I knew."
"Do people really grow apart?" Eli kicked a rock out of his path.
"I'm gonna have to disagree with you, Edwards."
"I don't think people grow apart. I think…people grow tired. People grow tired of dealing with each other. Like, people don't want to deal with bossiness or with smothering or with craziness or with difficulty. People want easy. But stuff isn't easy. I guess."
Clare bit her lip again; he was right. She didn't want to deal with him anymore. She had never thought about it in those words, but now that he had said it, it made sense. She didn't want to deal with the loss he was dealing with. She didn't want to deal with his mental illness and his hording. She didn't want to deal with the pain he was going through. It was all too much…and she got…tired.
And surely she must have tired him, didn't she? She was always so bossy and so…
"I'm sorry for growing tired," Clare blurted out.
"I'm sorry. I have never had to face the things you made me face…and it was…overwhelming. It was just…too much for me…too quickly. You had so much…so much on your plate and I just couldn't even…I'm so sorry."
"Clare," Eli stopped in his tracks, their eyes met, "I'm a wreck. I'm not…I'm not…okay, I guess is the way to put it. I'm a mess. An emotional mess. I can't handle things like normal people can. I…break down. And I can't ask someone to try and…deal with me right now."
"But maybe if I had only tried harder…I left you, Eli. You needed me and I left you and you…you spiraled out of control."
"You shouldn't have had to stay with me. I know that now."
"But maybe I regret not."
Eli sighed and let a small smile play at the corners of his lips as he dug his hand from his pocket and offered it to Clare. She took it, and together they walked down the sidewalk, holding hands like they used to.
"What was that?"
"No, I don't think I heard that correctly," Eli laughed, a genuine laugh, which caused Clare to, in turn, laugh.
"Eli, you heard me just fine."
"No, you see, I'm getting old and my hearing just isn't what it used to be."
"I'll buy you a pair of hearing aids and a walker," Clare rolled her eyes.
"Cla-re," Eli whined, drawing out her name. Clare rolled her eyes; why did he have to be so…irresistible? And he totally knew it too!
"Fine," she gave in, "I regret not being there for you…and I regret…losing you in my life."
"You know what, Edwards," Eli squeezed her hand, running his thumb over hers, "I miss you. I miss you a whole lot."
"I miss you too," Clare sighed again, "but what can we do?"
"Um…you kick that jockstrap to the curb and come running into my arms and we go have a hot makeup make-out session in the back of Morty?" Eli comically wiggled his eyebrows, causing Clare to laugh.
"You know better than that," she scolded.
"But why can't we? Why can't you just go dump him and we just pick up where we left off?"
"There is no picking up where we left off," Clare abandoned his hand and sat down on a nearby bench, "What is done is done, Eli. So many things have happened and changed and…I just can't."
"So I am guessing that's a no to the hot makeout session too, huh?" Eli sat down next to her.
"Tempting," Clare smiled shyly.
"I can be rather persuasive," Eli gave her a suggestive nudge.
"Stop," Clare rolled her eyes, "we just can't. We can't. I am with Jake now and…"
Eli stood up, grabbed her hands, pulled her up, and into his arms; his lips were practically touching hers and Clare so longed for that touch.
"I dare you," Eli said slowly, his voice a seductive whisper, "to not want to kiss me right now."
Clare fidgeted and Eli knew he was winning this battle. His lips weren't even an inch away from hers. It'd be so easy to just kiss her, but he had more willpower than that. Well…he was going act like he did anyways.
"You want me to kiss you right now," Eli's breath danced upon her lips, "you want me to grab you and kiss you and never stop. That's what you want and I know it."
"N-no," Clare lied, "you're…you're crazy."
"I know," Eli grinned, fully accepting the description, "I mean no sane person would be doing this."
"A sane person would know that he needs to let his ex-girlfriend be with her boyfriend, even if it's not something they both particularly want."
"Good thing I'm crazy."
Eli brought his lips even closer. His bottom lip was grazing hers and Clare's lips were beginning to involuntarily quiver – begging, against her will, to be kissed.
"Eli," Clare whined, "someone will see."
"Is that all you're concerned about?" Eli asked.
Eli was done. There was only one more thing left to do, and he knew it would be the one thing that would totally push her over the edge. He grabbed her bottom lip between his teeth and lightly nipped.
He was right. It worked. Clare wrapped her arms around him, her hand finding his hair, and together they kissed in the middle of the moonlight. Eli bit and sucked and teased her lips and tongue and Clare let out a very sensual moan, which Eli absolutely went wild for. He tried every trick in the kissing book to get her to moan more and louder. He loved inciting that reaction from her.
Clare was completely dizzy, and lost in the kisses. Her brain completely shut down. She knew it wasn't okay to be standing out in the middle of the sidewalk kissing her ex-boyfriend while her current boyfriend was off at a basketball game…but logic had abandoned her.
After a few minutes, Eli pulled away, "We could continue this in my room," he suggested.
"Your room?" Clare raised an eyebrow.
"Yes, but before we get to the makeup make-out session," he grinned and pulled her phone from her pocket, "you have to kick the jockstrap to the curb."
"Eli," Clare rolled her eyes, "you can't be…"
"He isn't good for you. He…he doesn't treat you like you deserve."
"Before I call him," Clare took the phone from him, "You have to tell me what you were going to say earlier, today at lunch."
Eli cursed under his breath, "I was hoping we could skip over that."
"Why?" Clare nudged, "You can get me to say that I regret losing you, but when it comes to me trying to get something out of you…"
"Okay, okay," Eli sighed, "I was going to say that I hate watching someone treat the one person that's my everything as if she is nothing."
"Eli," Clare's eyes swam with tears, "Eli…" she reached up to kiss him but he pulled away.
"No kiss until you make the call," Eli folded his arms across his chest.
"Fine," Clare dialed the number. Of course, it went to voicemail, "Hey, Jake, it's Clare. I know you're at the game and everything but I just wanted to call and say…well I think we should breakup. We just…don't fit well together and…"
"She prefers to actually date someone with more brains than a basketball," Eli shouted.
"Shut up," Clare hissed, "Anyways, Jake, I just think that maybe we should…"
"If you ever put your slimy hands on her again…"
"…not see each other anymore. We both want different things. Goodbye, Jake. I hope you can understand."
"Go shove a basketball up your…"
Clare ended the call, quick, "Eli! Can you go five minutes without having to misbehave?"
Eli chuckled and threw his arm across her shoulders, "Come on, Blue Eyes, let's go home and I'll show you just how much misbehaving I can do."