Author's Note: If I owned Degrassi, there would be a guarantee that Clare and Eli would never again break up, past characters would still make appearances, Snake would be awesome again, and the niners wouldn't be boring brats. Alas…I am sure you have figured, I do not own Degrassi.
Raising Annabelle Lee
Clare held her baby girl in her arms, and smiled down at the little bundle of joy that was currently nestled sound asleep in the blanket. Clare swore that her baby was just about the most beautiful thing in the entire world, and she couldn't wait for Eli to meet her. She had gone into labor while Eli was at work, and Adam had been the one who had driven her to the hospital and withstood having his hand crushed within hers as the labor pains increased.
"There's a lot of traffic," Adam had reminded her, "Eli will be here as soon as he can."
Clare tried to talk the doctor into holding off until Eli finally made it, but the doctor explained the Clare that babies don't wait for anyone. That baby needed to come out whether Eli was there or not. Adam had looked on in horror as the doctor told him to put on some hospital scrubs to protect the baby from germs, and asked him if he had ever been a part of the "birthing experience" before.
Adam had been a trouper though. He didn't faint or look away. Instead, he let Clare crush his hand as she cried out in pain and frustration. During the whole ordeal, Adam couldn't help but feel a little guilty. He felt as though he was taking away a special moment from his best friend. This wasn't right. Eli was the one that was supposed to be in the delivery room with his wife, not Adam.
"Have you heard from Eli yet?" Clare asked anxiously, taking her eyes off the baby girl for the first time since the doctor placed her in her arms, "Is everything okay?"
"I'm sure it's fine," Adam scooted the chair closer to the hospital bed, "Wow, for two goofy lookin' people, you sure made a pretty beautiful baby."
"Thanks, Adam," Clare rolled her eyes, a smile on her face, "I can't wait for Eli to meet her. He wanted a little girl. He'd never say so out loud – he always said it didn't matter just as long as the baby was healthy – but when we'd go shopping, he'd look at little girl clothes."
"Yeah," Adam nodded, "He's gonna be crazy for this little one." He reached down and gently touched the baby's cheek with the side of his pinkie finger, "Have you two thought of names yet?"
"No," Clare winced, "I suppose we should now, huh? Clare looked down at the small bracelet on the baby's arm, "I suppose Baby Goldsworthy 1 just won't cut it."
A knock at the door interrupted their thoughts. A nurse in pink scrubs walked in, looking troubled.
"Is everything alright?" Clare asked her.
"You…you have a friend in the hall who wants to see you," the nurse said, "I am afraid only two people are allowed in the room at the time…but we can make an exception."
"It's fine," Adam stood up, "I need to take a leak anyway…"
"You…you had better stay," the nurse looked at the two of them, her eyes swimming with sadness, before ducking back out the door.
"What the hell was that all about?" Adam asked, before a second knocking on the door interrupted them yet again.
Ali was standing there, her eyes brimmed red and her nose swollen and splotchy. She had mascara running her down her face, and she looked like an absolute mess. Clare's first thought was, Ali would never be seen like this…unless something awful happened. Then her mind and heart kicked into overdrive.
"Ali? What happened?"
"There…there was a car wreck," Ali's feet slowly moved across the linoleum towards the hospital bed, as if she were walking through sand, "On the highway. Eli…he spun out of control and…and hit a semi. Clare…oh God…"
"No…" Clare's face was as white as the hospital bed's sheets, "Ali…"
"They brought him into the hospital while you were in delivery. They did all they could…but…Clare…oh Clare…I am so sorry!"
"No," Adam stood from the chair, "No! Ali, there must be some mistake!"
"I wish there was," she looked down at the bundle in Clare's arms, "Clare…Eli died while…while you were having your baby."
Clare's face was stained with tears she didn't even notice were falling. Her sobs were silent. She always thought that silent tears were the worst, and they were. There was no stopping them. They were like water being poured from a faucet. She clutched the baby's body tighter to her, and looked at Ali with confusion in her eyes.
Ali sat down on the bed next to Clare, "Clare…I wish I could say something to make this alright…I wish…"
"Are you sure it was him?" Adam asked, still not believing what he was hearing, though his eyes were already swimming with tears, "Are you positive, Ali?"
"Yes, Adam. It was Eli. Eli's…gone."
The nurses and doctors pitter-pattered around Clare's room as if she were a bomb that would explode if they were no absolutely, one-hundred percent careful around her. She never wanted the baby out of her arms, and argued with the doctor when he told her that the baby needed to go to the nursery for the night.
"Can't she stay here?" Clare asked, "Please? You can bring up one of those plastic boxes for her and she can stay here with me."
The doctor looked at Clare as if waiting for her to burst into tears, but no tears came. She had cried herself dry about two hours ago. The doctor nodded, and exited to retrieve one of the baby hospital cradles. Clare looked down at her daughter through sore, dry eyes and kissed the baby on top of the head.
"He'd have adored you, you know," she whispered, "He'd have spoiled you rotten."
"Don't worry," Adam placed a hand on Clare's shoulder, "We all still will."
"I am going to buy you baby couture," Ali smiled, wiping away a tear from her cheek, "And make sure you wear only all the hottest designer labels."
Clare wondered how it was possible to feel so much joy, and feel so much sadness at the same time, "I think I know what I am going to name her," she announced to her friends.
"What?" Adam asked curiously.
"Ali, of course," Ali flipped a strand of hair over her shoulder.
"Psh," Adam scoffed, "What kind of lame-ass name is that?"
"Guys," Clare hushed them, "I am going to name her Annabelle Lee Grace Goldsworthy."
"After Eli's favorite poem," Ali tucked a cinnamon curl behind Clare's ear, "It's beautiful, Clare."
"Thank you. Ali, do you mind giving my mom a call. I really want my mom here."
"No problem," Ali agreed, and headed to the hallway to place the phone call.
"Grace?" Adam raised an eyebrow.
"Yes," Clare met his eyes, and it was as if they were sharing the most intimate of secrets, "Eli would have wanted that."
"Clare…tell me…what can I do?"
"Go home, and get some rest. Take Ali with you. You both have had a long day. Tomorrow, we will figure it out from there."
A/N: This is just an idea that's been floating around in my head for a long time. I know, it's blasphemy of me to kill off Eli, but I am just curious to see how this story will play out. I will update in a bit after I update some of my other stories. I hope you enjoyed this first chapter, and that you'll stick with me!