Comfort Me, Console Me
Little Author's Note: I wrote this for my friend, WestCoastTrees. If you haven't already, you really should read her stories on here. They are so inspiring, informational, and always teach you a little something about love. This is just a big THANK YOU to her for writing such amazing stories, being so kind, and really just being a person that I can sort of look up to. Thanks, and enjoy!
"Eli, I did something really bad." Clare sobbed. She was in her favorite spot, Eli's arms. He had been hugging her tightly as they waited for the doctor's consent to leave the hospital. Eli placed a kiss on the top of her head, swinging his legs back and forth as they sat on the emergency room's exam table.
"What happened?" he asked softly.
She buried her face in his black button down and hugged his waist. "I lost my internship."
A look of confusion crossed Eli's face. "What? Why?"
Clare cried softly once more. "I had to report my boss. I'm so stupid."
He shook his head as the girl nestled further into his embrace. "Clare Edwards, you are NOT stupid. Why…did you have to report him?" She shook even more. "Hey, calm down. It's okay," he stated softly, pulling her into his side even tighter, cringing slightly when she pressed lightly against a developing bruise to the left of his sternum from when Dallas had punched him rather forcefully earlier. Eli, having seen a rather sad Clare for the past few days, knew it was her 17th birthday, so he organized a surprise birthday party for the girl which was held at Fiona and Drew's condo. All went well, a giggly and smiley Clare hanging onto Eli's arm and receiving gentle kisses on the forehead for the first few hours of the party and socializing with good friends. That is, until Mike Dallas and the rest of the hockey team, the Toronto Ice Hounds, decided to show up and crash the party. Well, Dallas had cornered Clare. He wasn't too happy about the article Clare had written about sexual harassment coming from many sports teams in the area in the Degrassi Daily. Clare ran back over to Eli, cowering in fear and clinging to his arm. A fight ensued, and now the couple was stuck in the emergency room of Toronto General Hospital. "Shhh," he hushed her ever so gently, feeling her messy honey colored curls rubbing softly against his cheek as she broke down completely.
"No, you don't understand." She whimpered, curling into his side and hiding her face when a curious young girl eyed her hysterical appearance questioningly. Her fingers clutched at the smooth material of Eli's black shirt as she cried silently, tears making angry trails down her cheeks. She felt betrayed, violated, and like a bad joke. The way Asher just got to walk away and laugh in the Toronto Interpreter office was too much for her. His smug face as he chuckled, "Interns," and shook his head as if it was all Clare's fault had angered her so much that she had an absolute outburst of anger. Clare's shoulders trembled under the light weight of Eli's protective arm slung around them as she recalled that particular day…
"It seems your infatuation with Asher has crossed the line." The woman's light blue eyes glared right into hers, a disapproving stare eminent in her stone cold face.
A look of sheer confusion crossed the young girl's face as she finally began to realize what was really going on here. "My infatuation?" she was absolutely incredulous that this was happening to her when she did nothing to deserve it!
"Asher filed a report with H.R yesterday about your very inappropriate behavior. We have a record of text messages, phone calls, Twitter feed, all substantiating his claims." The coldness in her eyes began to stab at Clare's already broken heart. This COULD NOT be HAPPENING.
Clare's blue eyes widened as she shook her head in disbelief. "He's lying!"
The blonde haired woman pulled out her iPad and read directly from the screen, "Did you say 'I love Asher Shostak"?
"Oh my God; I can't believe this is happening," her voice cracked when she realized Asher was going to get away with this scot-free and she would end up looking like a fool.
The woman's stare was hard and ice cold, freezing all remaining bits of hope that Clare had. "Did you say it?"
"Yes! But not like-"
"I'm sorry, Clare, but we're going to have to let you go."
Her eyes swam with tears. "You've got it all wrong! He harassed me. Please, as a woman you have to understand!" Maybe the lady would, being a woman herself, give Clare's complaint more thought. That was what Clare hoped anyway.
"My hands are tied."
"I just want to be a journalist," Clare cried softly, her voice faltering in an obvious attempt not to break down right then and there.
Eli's voice interrupted her terrible thoughts. "Clare? What do I not understand, sweetheart?" he loosened his arm around her shoulders and instead scooted backwards on the exam table, bringing a now sobbing Clare into his lap and stroking her hair.
"I WAS SEXUALLY HARASSED, OKAY? ARE YOU HAPPY NOW?" she exploded, wiping away tears slower than the rate at which they came.
He stiffened, his entire body tensing uncomfortably. A few nurses had turned in their direction, one of them approaching the young couple.
"Honey, is there anything I can get you? I'm sorry, but if you don't calm down, you may need to be given a sedative." The nurse was young, possibly 25 years old, and she did not want to have to sedate the upset girl.
Eli adjusted Clare in his lap slightly and looked down at her with questioning eyes. By now, his deep greens were swimming in tears, and his vision was blurred. "She's just had a very rough week. I'm sorry, miss. Is there any way you could get her a blanket and maybe a juice box? Apple is her favorite." He reached into his pocket without moving Clare too much and handed the young woman some money.
"Of course," the woman smiled and made her way to the vending machines and the supply closet to fetch a soft blanket for the frazzled, hysterical girl.
Eli returned his attention to Clare, turning her face to his by lightly grasping her chin with his fingers. "Hey, Clare," he said softly, kissing her cheek gently and clearing most of the tears away with his soft, gentle lips. "We can get through this. Please…tell me what happened, okay? I'm not here to judge you. I'm actually here getting treated for a fight with a dumb jock, but now I want to be here for you."
Clare gently turned in his lap so her cheek rested against his shoulder, smeared mascara and drying tears all over her now red face. "When I went down to the office to try and edit my article with Asher, he asked me if I wanted to stay so I could finish it with him. He…he kissed me, Eli. I didn't want it, and I pushed him away immediately and ran out of his office. We talked about it the next day, and I, being the stupid girl that I am, agreed not to tell anyone, even though I actually told Alli because I needed to tell somebody. Well, after the City Hall protest, in his car, he started stroking my cheek and touching my face, and I tried to get out, but he locked the car doors and told me that if I cared about my career I would keep my mouth shut. I eventually got out of the car, and he just left me there and drove off, Eli. I was so scared. I only didn't tell you because I didn't want to burden you or make you sad because I've never seen you as happy as you are right now." She paused for a brief second before wrapping her arms around his neck tightly, the feeling of his hair against her finger tips providing her with some comfort. "I-I reported him to the head boss, and she told me he had already filed a report against me, stating that my infatuation with him had gone too far, and that this was basically all my fault. She didn't believe a word I said! I got fired, Eli." She cried softly, a soft sob making its way out of her mouth.
"I love you," Eli stated gently.
Lifting her head from his shoulder to meet his eyes, Clare's heart fluttered gently, butterflies invading her stomach as he leaned forward and softly kissed her forehead. "What?" she asked unbelievably. How could he love her even after she kept something this big from him?
"I love you. You heard me. I love you so much, Clare, and I haven't stopped ever since that day we first skipped English class together. I will love you through this, and through everything that we face in the future." He was so honest with her, she could tell, as his eyes bore into hers.
"Thank you," Clare cried in relief, kissing his lips softly and relishing in the soft texture, and the warmth of his lips on her own. Her tears became happy tears.
…And so, as Clare Edwards sat cuddled in her boyfriend's lap that night, holding his hand as he winced as the few stitches he needed for his left forearm, sipping her apple juice, and loving the feeling of being in his arms, she realized something.
Maybe Asher Shostak wouldn't get what he deserved. Maybe Asher hurt her and never paid a price for it. Maybe he would get away with what he had done to her.
However, Clare Edwards had, and always will have, Eli Goldsworthy by her side, and nothing will ever change that.
Watch out, Asher; because Karma has a long list of people, and you are number one.