DISCLAIMER: I don't own Degrassi or anything else.
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Just a cute Misfits/Eclare friendship missing moment oneshot. This takes place after Smash Into You Part 1. Hope you enjoy it!
Earlier today, Adam had begged me to help him figure out what to wear on his blind date, but I had an appointment with Ms. Sovay right after school, so I told him I'd get there as soon as I could. I showed up at Adam's house around 3:30 and Drew let me in. "They're up in his room," Drew said, gesturing to the stairs.
"They?" I mumbled, but Drew had already stomped down to the basement and I could hear his unpaused Xbox game blaring in the background.
The door to Adam's room was cracked open so I pushed it the rest of the way. The first thing I saw was Clare, sitting on Adam's bed and watching Adam as he held up two buttoned down shirts in front of him.
"Um, hi," I said, surprised to see her there. I hadn't really talked to Clare since the end of last school year, and Adam usually just hung out with each of us separately so it wasn't an issue.
"Eli, hi," she said, just as surprised as I was. "I didn't know you were coming."
"I thought getting a guy's opinion would help," Adam said, glancing at himself in the mirror as he switched the shirts in front of him.
I was about to apologize and offer to leave when Clare smiled warmly at me. "It's a good thing you're here, Eli. Adam doesn't seem to think I have any idea what girls like," she said, rolling her eyes at him.
I laughed and took a seat on the bed very tentatively, moving Adam's pillow out of the way in order to leave plenty of room between me and Clare. "And he thinks I do?"
"Just help me pick a shirt," Adam grumbled. "The green one or the blue one?" Adam was holding up two plaid shirts that looked like pretty much every other non-uniform shirt he owned.
"Well the blue one brings out your eyes," I teased, and I could see Clare smirking out of the corner of my eye.
"Ugh, you guys are useless." He grabbed a black Dead Hand t-shirt and the green plaid and went out into the hallway, slamming the door to the bathroom behind him.
I wasn't sure what to do now that it was just Clare and me in the room, and I was surprised when she turned to me. "I may have already made the joke about the eyes," she said conspiratorially, and I couldn't help but laugh.
"Poor Adam. Neither of us can take this fashion show seriously."
She smiled. "He's nervous. I don't think he really cares what he wears. He just needs the moral support."
Adam bounded back in a moment later and continued fussing in the mirror. "Is this okay?" he asked nervously, turning to us.
"You look good, Adam," Clare said.
He looked to me for confirmation. "You look exactly like you always do." Clare shot me a look. "What? He's not exactly my type."
Clare's expression flickered for a moment and I realized that wasn't the first time I had said those words to her. She had once asked me to stop fighting with Fitz and "kiss and make up" and I had said that very sentence to her. She and I hadn't talked about anything that had happened during our relationship in months, and I wasn't sure if I should be happy that she remembered that moment or depressed that it was yet another example of how I had screwed everything up between us.
"This secret admirer thing is such bullshit," Adam said, interrupting my silent recollection. "How am I supposed to know if I'm this girl's type, if I don't even know who she is?"
"That's why you just need to be yourself," Clare said helpfully. "She already likes you. No need to change who you are."
"Do you have any ideas who it could be?" I asked. Adam had given me a brief overview of the notes and his conversation with Tori, but I wasn't sure if he had narrowed it down at all.
He shook his head. "Tori was adamant that she couldn't tell me."
"Is there someone you're hoping for?" I felt a little out of touch with Adam's life. He'd been spending so much time with Dave and Drew and I'd been hanging out with Fiona and Imogen a lot lately. I'd gotten the impression that Adam was pretty pissed about me dragging him along when I broke into Fiona's condo so I'd been trying to lay low a little while I tried to get my emotions back under control.
A surprising blush settled on Adam's cheeks and Clare gave him a curious look. She tucked her legs under her on the bed and leaned against his bedpost. "In all the excitement about the secret admirer, you haven't mentioned that you have a crush," she teased.
"It's not a crush," Adam said, covering his face with his hands as he sank down into his desk chair, avoiding eye contact with us. "It's just…I was kind of hoping…"
Clare glanced at me quickly and I was glad I hadn't totally ruined the friendly moment between us. "Dude, just tell us," I said.
Adam jumped up and closed the door to his room before sitting back down in the chair and leaning closer to us. He lowered his voice. "You can't tell Drew," he said softly.
Clare and I exchanged looks again. Neither of us was exactly close with Drew. "Adam, Katie is not going to be your secret admirer," Clare said gently.
He shook his head. "Not Katie. Maya."
I gave him a look of confusion, but Clare seemed to know who that was. "Katie's sister?" she asked and Adam nodded.
Clare turned to me to clarify. "She's a grade nine. Blonde. Tiny. Plays the cello."
I had a vague recollection of a girl in a yellow shirt who was often dragging around an instrument that was twice the size of her. "She's pretty cute. Have you talked to her at all?"
Adam nodded. "Yeah, we've had lunch a few times with Drew and Katie. She's smart and funny and really pretty…" Adam's voice faded out but you could tell he was still thinking about her.
She sounded pretty good but I was worried Adam was going to get his hopes up. "If you already know her, would she really go through the whole secret admirer routine? Why wouldn't she just ask Drew and Katie to hook you guys up?"
Adam's face fell for a second, but he perked up almost immediately. "She probably doesn't want her sister to know, in case it didn't work out. I mean, I'm telling you guys, but I don't want Drew to know because he'll do something stupid and make me look like an idiot."
"She is friends with Tori," Clare confirmed. "I've seen them together in the hallway."
"So you're into stalking cute niner girls, eh Edwards?" I teased.
She laughed and leaned over to slap my shoulder lightly. "I'm a journalist," she said. "I observe."
"Well, they definitely are Facerange friends," Adam said. "And there wasn't anyone else on her profile who I've talked to before."
"Then it sounds like it's time to meet your lady," I said.
Adam got up and looked at himself in the mirror again. He smoothed his hands over his chest. "This doesn't look too…?"
"You look fine," I said.
He leaned down and sniffed his armpits. "Do I smell?" He continued before either of us could answer. "Maybe I should take a quick shower. Just to make sure." He grabbed a pair of boxers out of his drawer and practically sprinted out of the room.
I gave Clare a nervous laugh. "Do you think he wants us to wait for him?"
She shrugged. "I guess so."
We sat in silence for a minute. I hated that it was so awkward to be around someone I had cared about so much. We had been really good friends before we dated, and now things were just…weird.
Clare cleared her throat. "So you and Imogen, eh?"
Wow. After not talking for all these months, apparently we weren't going to make small talk about classes and homework. I gave her a curious look. "You know about that?"
She looked down at her hands. "I wasn't sure, but then I saw you guys…in the memorial garden."
Clare sounded like she was trying really hard to keep her tone even, and I wondered what she was really thinking. I felt really bad that she had found out about Imogen from seeing us kiss. I probably should have told her myself, and I definitely shouldn't have been making out with Imogen in what was basically a fish bowl.
"Yeah, we…" I paused to figure out the best way to put it. "We tried out the dating thing. But it only lasted like two weeks before we decided we were better off just as friends."
I couldn't miss the briefest hint of surprise on Clare's face; I guessed she hadn't gotten the memo on the break up. "Oh. I'm sorry. I didn't know."
"No big deal," I said. "It turned out for the best."
She pursed her lips. "I guess that must be nice," she said. "Staying friends with your ex."
Was she talking about us? I felt a lightness in my heart as I thought Clare might be suggesting that she and I could be friends after everything. But I was too afraid to bring it up so I thought I'd go the joking route. "Yeah, I'd imagine being friends is a little easier than being stepsiblings."
I was relieved when Clare laughed – a real, genuine laugh – instead of getting offended. "Just a little," she said. "But even that isn't as bad as you'd think."
"No?" I had heard that she and Jake had broken up and Adam had told me that he was pretty sure Jake was at least hanging out with Jenna. I had no idea where Clare and Jake stood with each other.
"I mean, it sucks that it didn't work out," she explained. "But he's a good guy. I'm glad he's in my life, even if the whole stepsibling thing is still super weird." She laughed. "We were already pretty good at fighting over what movie to watch, and between that and stealing each others' food, it's basically your regular sibling rivalry already."
I felt a pang again that even after their break up, Clare wanted Jake in her life, but it didn't seem like she felt the same way about me. And maybe part of me was feeling a little vindictive, because I couldn't help but bring up the topic I was sure would hurt her a little bit. "Is it weird now that he's with Jenna?"
She leaned back against the bedpost so that she was facing me directly. "I was pissed at first; I'm not gonna lie." I moved against Adam's headboard so that I mirrored her position on the bed. "But I think most of the reason I was mad was because it was her. I mean, that's two boyfriends who moved onto her immediately after we broke up."
She tapped my knee with her sock covered foot. "Don't you dare start dating Jenna," she deadpanned.
"I don't think there's much chance of that," I laughed.
She turned serious again. "I don't know. Once I got over the initial shock, I still wasn't thrilled about it…but it's something I just have to accept. I want him to be happy and if she makes him happy, then that's all that matters."
She said that very matter-of-fact-ly and I couldn't help but be impressed. She was a year younger than me but she had a level of maturity I was pretty sure I could never reach in a million years, even if I wasn't bipolar. "So the "Saint Clare" moniker still applies," I teased.
Her eyes widened and I could not read the expression on her face at all. "Not entirely," she said. She looked like she was torn about whether to continue this train of conversation, when she finally sighed and said. "I wasn't exactly thrilled when I saw you kissing Imogen either."
"Oh," I said softly. I really didn't expect her to say something like that. Was it possible that Clare still…had feelings for me?
"And I'm not exactly…disappointed that you guys aren't still together," she continued, and I gaped at her in surprise. I couldn't believe that Clare was admitting this to me, and I couldn't help but wonder about what it all meant. But she clamped her mouth shut as if she realized she had revealed too much, and I was too terrified to ask her what that meant for the two of us.
I took a moment to think about a way to continue the conversation without scaring Clare off. "So you're okay with Jake and Jenna because you want him to be happy…but you're not disappointed that Imogen and I broke up?"
Clare scoffed. "If you can't make a relationship work for two weeks, clearly she doesn't make you happy."
"She does make me happy," I said, and Clare's face dropped. "But only as a friend," I added quickly, still amazed that Clare needed some reassurance on that point.
I didn't get to find out Clare's response, because Adam came back in, dressed in the same outfit but with his hair neatly washed and gelled. "Okay, is this better?"
I rolled my eyes. "If I were a girl, I'd bang you," I said, and Clare couldn't hide her groan of disgust. "What? I told him he wasn't my type, and you got pissed. Now I'm pretending he could be my type and you're pissed. What do you want from me, Clare?" I asked dramatically.
"I see the two of you are back to your old insanity," Adam commented as he sat down to pull on a battered pair of Converse. He checked himself in the mirror one last time and glanced at his cell phone to check the time. "Come on," he said, as if it were Clare and I who had kept him here all this extra time. "I don't want to be late."
We started walking toward the Dot, with Adam outpacing Clare and I slightly in his excitement. When we were a few blocks away, Adam turned and stopped us. "I don't think you guys should come. It'll look like I was too scared to show up on my own and that I needed to bring chaperones."
"Sure," I said. "Text me later and let me know what happens," I said, wiggling my eyebrows suggestively.
"I wish," he said.
"Call me if you need me," Clare said, much more sensitively. She gave him a hug. "Good luck. But I'm sure you won't need it."
"Thanks guys," Adam said. He squeezed Clare's shoulder, gave me a fist pound, and stalked off toward the Dot.
Clare and I both needed to head in the same direction to go home, and I wanted to fix the awkwardness between us. "So do you think Adam's going to be happy with whoever is waiting for him at the Dot?" I asked.
She sighed. "I don't know…but I really hope so."
"He deserves to be happy," I said and she nodded in agreement.
We kept walking in silence until we reached the corner where we would separate. I knew I had to say something to her, anything that would make sure this wasn't the last conversation we had with each other for the next few months.
"Clare, I…" I started, right at the same time as she said, "Eli, can..." and we both ended up laughing.
"You first," she said.
Great. I wished she was the one going first. But she had given me enough to go on that I was pretty sure she wasn't going to run screaming away from me. "Clare…I miss being friends with you." Her face softened, and I knew that I was on the right track. "We were really good friends before we dated, and if I can hang out with Imogen and have it not be weird, and you can live with Jake and have it be okay, I'm pretty sure you and I could grab coffee at the Dot or have a movie marathon with Adam without things being too awkward."
She smiled. "That's exactly what I was thinking."
"Really?" I grinned. "That's great."
She looked a little embarrassed. "There's this poem I've been working on for months…there's something wrong with it, but I can't figure out what it is…and every time I pull it out to work on it, I always think of you because I just know that you'll know how to fix it."
She wanted to resurrect our writing partnership? Wow, she really was serious about becoming friends again – not just casual acquaintances who eat lunch together in the caf now and then. "You've got my email," I reminded her. "Send it along. I'd be happy to rip your writing to shreds," I joked. We had always had a really great connection as editors of each others' work and I couldn't wait to share that with her again.
"I will," she said. "Thank you."
She looked behind her toward the street she'd be turning left onto and then looked back at me. "Do you want me to walk you home?" I asked, not sure whether that was crossing any boundaries.
"No, that's okay," she said, shifting her weight from one leg to the other. I wasn't sure where her newfound awkwardness was coming from until she reached out and gave me a quick hug, much briefer than the one she had given Adam earlier. I barely had time to put my hands on her waist before she had pulled away. But I hadn't expected anything like that to happen between us anytime soon – even if it was the quickest and most platonic of hugs imaginable.
"Bye, Eli," she said brightly, taking a few steps back from me.
"Goodbye, Clare," I said, trying not to smile at the fact that this goodbye would certainly not be our last.