Before your read, keep in mind that this is based off of the episode guides that have been released. In one of the episodes Clare is said to be sexually harassed by someone named Asher, so this is my take and ideas on it. Not too much Eclare in the episode descriptions, I'm afraid There will be plenty of it in this though! Eli's POV by the way.
I wasn't sure where we stood anymore. I mean, of course I still cared for her. It just didn't add up, her sudden interest again. I wasn't sure if I could withstand another heartbreak from her, and so I did exactly what I didn't want to do.
I pushed myself away.
I focused everything I had in theatre, my studies, and my other friendships. It was painful, especially when she would give me that longing look like she did. I just couldn't risk it anymore.
So when Clare did call around noon on a Saturday morning, I was both affronted since I had already explained my reasoning's for separating myself and curious. I answered after a couple rings because it had taken a moment for it to sink in that she was calling me for some unfathomable reason.
"Hello?" I said when she didn't speak first.
"Eli?" I froze in my path across the room when I heard her voice that was unmistakably hoarse from crying.
"What's wrong?" I replied immediately, my heart racing on its own accord. I could hear her heavy breathing that sound exactly like she was hyperventilating. Scenarios flew threw my head; she could be hurt stranded somewhere, or she had just found out some life changing news. I couldn't stand to hear the tears in her voice.
"Can you come get me? I can explain then." Clare's voice broke on the last word and I could tell that she was definitely crying. I wanted her to explain, because already the questions were eating me inside out.
"Where are you?" I knew she would explain eventually and I kept telling myself this, but I could still feel the panic arising in me. She's safe. She's breathing. I reminded myself, but with no real relief. I gripped the edge of my desk, waiting for her response and holding my breath.
"I'm in a hotel. I'm not sure which one." Her voice was choked. I desperately racked my mind, trying to think of hotels that were close to us. I knew there were a lot in the more city area, but I didn't know the names or exactly where they were.
"Look around the nightstand if you're in a room. They usually have their logo on a menu or something." I listened to the rustling as Clare searched.
"It's a Marriott." I knew the way to the closest Marriott, and I retraced the way in my head before deciding how long it would take me. I was going to have to hurry and convince Bullfrog to let me borrow his car. I could tell that she was petrified by the way she spoke to me.
"I'll be there in twenty minutes tops." I finally decided.
Fifteen minutes later, after arguing with Bullfrog, eventually winning, and driving a tad bit faster than the speed limit, I pulled up in front of the hotel. I instantly spotted Clare, even though if I hadn't been looking for her I probably wouldn't have thought it was even her in the first place.
Her curls were disarrayed and stuck up in random angles. I had only ever seen her hair like that when she would just wake up, but usually every hair was brushed to perfection. Her tank top and mini skirt were sloppily thrown on. I noticed that it wasn't clothes she would usually wear, not ones that revealing. Once she stepped closer to the car I could see that mascara stained her cheeks and the dark circles under her eyes. She walked with a slight limp.
The second she sat down and closed the door, she fell apart. I watched helplessly as she began to bawl horribly. I could only watch before I realized that this was real, and that I needed to do something.
I scooted over to try to see if I could comfort her from my own seat. It was uncomfortable and impossible, so I just broke all of the promises I made to myself and hopped into her seat. She melted into my arms and buried her head in my chest. Her sobs racked through her, shaking her shoulders and distorting her features.
I forgot about everything. It didn't matter that we had broken each other's hearts in some way or another. It didn't matter that she had left me in the hospital room. It didn't matter that I had terrified her with my acts of insanity. She needed me and I was here.
Once her cries subsided into whimpers and quickened breathing, she peeked up at me through her wet eyelashes. I took my thumb and pressed it to her cheek, wiping away the tears and mascara residue.
I didn't even ask, but she explained.
"We were at some party he invited me to. I was so excited I didn't even think that he was just using me." The tears collected in the corner of her eyes again, making them glassy. "He gave me a few drinks but I wasn't completely drunk. And then he kept forcing me to dance and kiss him." Clare's voice kept breaking and I listened. My mind was strangely blank. "Then when I actually refused him, he grabbed me and dragged me from the house and into his car." She subconsciously massaged the inside of her wrist, and I examined the growing bruise. "He tied a sweatshirt around my mouth so I couldn't scream and dragged me into the hotel room."
She paused. I didn't need her to continue but she finished her story anyway.
"He raped me." That's when I felt the anger. It was suffocating, clawing my thoughts and leaving them irrational. It flowed through my veins and skyrocketed my pulse. It felt like heat was clinging to me, like I couldn't get away from it. I could picture it perfectly, beautiful innocent Clare being taken advantage of. It was bound to have happened at some point, but even the thought made me incredibly furious. But then I took a deep breath and attempted to swallow it all. She didn't need me to be angry, she needed be to be here.
Neither of us spoke while she calmed herself. I broke the silence hastily.
"Who was it?" She crossed her arms over her chest, taking a shaky breath. I could tell she was reluctant to tell me just this one detail, but as much as I wanted to I couldn't do anything to him.
"Asher." Clare mumbled. I could picture his face, but I didn't know him all too well. I erased my growing fury and instead focused on Clare. She had a red mark growing into a bruise on her cheek, dried blood on her lip, black and blue wrists, and a limp.
"We're going to go back to my house and clean you up, okay? And then I'm taking you to the police station." She nodded and leaned her head against the window. After climbing back into the driver's seat, I started up Bullfrog's car, wishing for the thousandth time that it was Morty's engine being revved. I started what was sure to be the most immense ride home, glancing at Clare curled up in the passenger seat. Her eyes were squeezed shut and I recognized the expression and posture of someone who was trying their best not to think. I had definitely been there before.
"Music helps me." Clare's cerulean eyes shot open, gazing over at me.
"What?" She crinkled her nose like she did when she was confused, and even the little familiar motion sent a pang through me. However, I pushed out the unwanted emotion like I had taught myself to do, so it disappeared just as quickly as it had come.
"Listening to music always helped me forget about things. Well, if you play it loud and listen to it close enough that is." She contemplated this for a moment, staring at the dashboard before flicking her swollen eyes back to me.
"Can you put some on?"
"What station do you want?" Clare had never had an avid taste of music, but I knew she absolutely hated what I listened to. She described it as 'too intense for me' one night when I had asked about her agitation.
"Whatever you like." I raised my eyebrows at her in a moment of surprise, before abiding to her and switching on my favorite station. She leaned back into the window frame and closed her eyes again. I sang along quietly. A few songs later, I noticed her breathing was even and her squinted shut eyes were relaxed.
In about twenty minutes, Clare hadn't moved but I had pulled into my driveway. I saw Bullfrog peek his head through the curtain, grinning when he saw that his car was unscathed.
I looked at Clare's sleeping form. She looked so much more peaceful then she did when she was awake.
I leaned over and gently touched her pale shoulder. She slowly blinked her eyes open and sat up. She looked absolutely bewildered for a moment, but then realization dawned on her features. I gave her a weak smile before opening my car door and walking over to her side.
She followed my lead and the second both of her feet were planted firmly on the ground, I wrapped my arms around her. I pulled her close to me and rested my chin on the top of her head. She draped her arms around my neck, nuzzling her face into my neck. I couldn't help the butterflies in my stomach or my increased heartbeat, although I wished I could. It was ridiculous how I could only be around her for a day and still fall into her charms so quickly.
"I'm so sorry." I whispered into one of her curls. When we both pulled away, her eyes were wet.
When we came in the living room, I noticed that Bullfrog and Cece had deserted the downstairs. They probably had witnessed the scene out on the driveway and knew that something was wrong, and that it was not involving them. Feeling grateful, I directed Clare to the couch and lumbered into the kitchen.
I ran a cloth under the water and made a few ice packs. I tried my best not to make too much noise, because I knew Clare wouldn't want a huge fuss and would try to reject these offers. It was better to force it on her. She was sitting in the same spot I left her in when I returned. Like I predicted, she shied away from the objects in my hands the second she spotted them.
"It's fine Eli I don't –" She protested, but I shushed her before she could finish her sentence. She relented as I began gently dabbing her bloody (and now swelling) lip. I tried to focus on helping her, but I found the little act extremely sensual. Sometimes my finger would slide off of the cloth and accidentally brush her lip, sending wild electric like feelings through me. The entire time she bored those doe-like eyes into mine. Once the blood was cleaned I pulled back from our close proximity, taking in an uneven breath.
I wordlessly pressed one of the many icepacks to her cheek. She reached up to take it from me, her fingers brushing mine.
I was trying to tell myself to stop, but my heart when into overdrive anyway.
Once she had icepacks in all bruised areas, I examined her hurt ankle. She winced when I slide my finger over the red areas. I'm not a doctor, but it looked sprained. I told her so and she sighed.
"I'm going to grab of Cece's clothes for you to change into, okay? Or if you want to take a shower or something before…" I realized how awkward that sounded, and felt the heat rush to my cheeks. Clare blushed too, shaking her head and telling me that she was just going to change.
A bathroom trip later, Clare was wearing one of my mother's many band t-shirts and a pair of baggy jeans. She had tamed her hair and might have put on a little makeup, but I couldn't tell.
She followed me back out to Bullfrog's car, and I began driving towards the police station. When we pulled up and I parked (after a not uncomfortable silence), she sat in the car and just stared at me. Her eyes were so piercing; I stared back and raised my eyebrows. I was hoping for a response.
"Thanks for doing all of this." She gestured to her new clothes and to the car. I grinned and just shook my head.
"You call and I shall come." Clare gave me a small smile. She brushed a curl behind her ear, her gaze shifting to the doors of the police station. If I didn't know her as well as I did, I wouldn't have recognized the flash of fear in her eyes.
"You can leave if you want. I'm sure they'll let me call my mom from inside so she can take me home."
"Do you want me to go?" She sounded unsure. I knew that she still wasn't happy with either of her parents, and having her mom pick her up from the police station could result in humiliation and a lot of unwanted explaining on Clare's part. I watched as she looked down, her eyelashes fluttering as she contemplated my question.
"No." She admitted, swallowing loudly. That stupid euphoria and satisfaction flooded through me. I tried pushing it away.
"Let's go." I stepped out of the car and guided Clare into the building. Clare was supposed to go in to talk to them by herself since I wasn't a witness, so I sat outside and waited. I knew that she was clearly distressed about reporting the incident, because she had given me one of those longing looks again. It was as if the whole experience would be just that much more bearable if I was there.
I knew the second I would drop her off at home that it would be over. This Asher person would be fired and she would go on with her life, leaving me wondering who else she would have called if I didn't pick up my phone first.
"Thank you." Clare's voice came from the opening door. Her eyes were red but she smiled at the officer that was escorting her out. I followed Clare out and watched as the cop patted her back before returning inside. Clare crossed her arms over her chest and inhaled loudly. I took a deep breath as well, before taking her hand and leading her back to the car for what seemed like the hundredth time that day.
During the next few weeks, like I predicted, Clare didn't talk to me more than usual. We exchanged glances in the halls and occasionally would speak about homework from English, but it was like nothing had happened.
Then one day she called me again.
"Eli?" Her voice came through from the other side of the phone. I felt that ominous feeling of déjà vu as I remembered when she had called me previously. Except, this time, her voice was calm.
"Hey, what's up?" I said, trying to keep my voice sounding casual.
"Um, well I went to the doctor yesterday. My ankles just bruised and I didn't get any STD's, so that's good!" She laughed nervously. I missed the sound of her laugh. It sounded so familiar. It was like nothing had changed, when in reality everything had.
"I'm really glad Clare. But, um, why are you calling?" It came out ruder than I thought, and Clare was quiet. I opened my mouth to apologize but she began talking before I could.
"Oh right. Well I'm sorry to bother you and all but I just have to do something really important and I don't think I can do it alone." Once she finished her ramble, she fell into an awkward silence. She was pulling me one way and I was trying to go another, but I eventually just gave up and allowed her to take over.
A few minutes later I was standing at Clare's doorstep. I outstretched my hand to ring the bell but then pulled it back. I still couldn't believe that I was here. Shaking my head and I reached out again but before I could ring the bell, the door opened.
"You came." She breathed, grinning for ear to ear as if I was the best thing she'd ever seen.
"I said I would, didn't I?" I said sarcastically, stepping inside once she motioned for me too. I remembered her house perfectly, but obviously Jake and Glen had added their own accents to it. I didn't feel that same hatred I used to when I thought about Jake. He was just a guy who had fell for Clare for the same reasons I did. I couldn't blame him anymore.
"The doctor asked me if they wanted to perform a pregnancy test there or at home." Clare bit her lip. Her words made my mouth fall open and heat rush to my cheeks. I hadn't really thought about how the rape could get her pregnant.
"I just couldn't do it alone. Just in case it really is…. That." I nodded, blinking uncontrollably.
"Well, I'm here." I couldn't help but frown at her strange request. She gave me a thankful smile before slipping into the bathroom. I leaned against the wall wondering what would happen if Clare really was carrying Asher's child. The thought made me shudder.
The bathroom door opened and I snapped out of my thoughts. Clare emerged from behind the door. Her expression was blank.
"Well? Are you?" I asked, suddenly feeling clammy. I didn't want Clare to have to drop out of school for a baby. She wouldn't be able to write a book like she wanted. She would be completely and utterly broken. And her expression wasn't telling me anything right now.
But then she stepped closer to me and wrapped her arms around my neck and rested her head on my shoulder. I wrapped my arms around her waist, widening my eyes in bewilderment. Was this a yes or a no?
"Thank God." She whispered, as breathing began shaking with what I realized were tears. Relief filled through me, and I couldn't help but feel tears grip my own eyes. Clare would be ruined if she couldn't follow her dreams. She had gotten extremely lucky.
"It sucks." Clare said, pulling away from the hug and wiping her eyes.
"Life?" I asked. She nodded, subconsciously twisting a charm on her bracelet. She looked so fragile in that moment.
"First my virginity gets taken by some creep," she shook her head and anger shown in her eyes. "That one thing I had been waiting for with the right person at the right time was taken from me. I'm so glad he didn't take my first kid too." Tears filled her eyes again and she stared at the floor. I tilted her chin up to me, and her sparkling eyes met mine.
"I was so afraid that everyone would reject me again. I just wanted to feel special." She breathed. I knew right then that she wasn't just talking about that night. Somehow, she was talking about all of her past relationships. With me, K.C, Jake, and even her parents.
"I'm never going to reject you. I'm always going to be right here next to you." As much as I wanted it not to be, I knew that this was true and it always would be.
Amazing song this chapter was named after is Fix You by Coldplay. Let me know what you think
~Lots of Love,