Author's Note: Work up with this idea in mind. Will be a three-shot. I do not own Degrassi. Please enjoy!
Clare Edwards stared at the lit up screen of her phone, "I'm bored," the text read. Clare didn't know what to make of it, exactly. Why would he, of all people, be texting her now? She hadn't had contact with him in weeks. After she lost the internship, she had eventually told Mrs. O that she couldn't handle the internship and school. She hated having to do that, and the look on Mrs. O's face nearly destroyed her. Even worse was when she said:
"Clare, I am very disappointed in you."
Clare just wanted it to be over. She wanted to move past the incident with him and the internship and that stupid article. She just wanted to forget, and she was. Eli was working like a madman on his play – throwing himself, body and soul, into the production. They hung out on the weekends, and Clare was finally starting to push everything behind her.
Until that text. From Asher.
Not a minute later, a second text arrived on the screen.
"Clare, why aren't you replying? I said, I'm bored. Do you know what this means for you? It means, that if you do not do exactly what I tell you to do, I will go to your school and inform your teacher and your principal that you sexually harassed and came on to me. You took advantage of my crumbling marriage, and you seduced me."
She couldn't believe what she had just read. Clare's eyes darted back and forth as she read the text over, and over again. He couldn't this. He couldn't be back in her life again like this.
"You can't do this," Clare replied, "I'll show these texts to someone. They'll know what you did."
"What I did? Clare, if you show these texts to anyone, I will just deny everything. No one is going to ever believe a poor little naïve kid over me."
He had a point. Clare had already gone to his boss. She had shouted in the office how Asher had sexually harassed her, and no one had believed her. Instead, it backfired onto her. Everyone thought she was the one that had taken things too far. He was right; if she tried to go to anyone, he would only make this worse for her.
"Unless, you want me to call in Eli for a meeting to discuss an article covering opening night. I might let it slip to him that you seduced me."
"Eli wouldn't believe you!"
"I can be very convincing, Clare. Now then, are you ready to do what I asked?"
Clare thought about just turning off her phone and getting ready for bed. It was late, and even though the next day was a school holiday, she knew she needed to go to bed. She didn't want to be sitting up all night texting Asher. But if she did turn off her phone…there was no telling what Asher would do out of revenge.
"What do you want me to do?" She texted back her reply.
"You're home right? I mean, it's a school night and your little boyfriend is working so hard on the play. Where else would you be? I want you to go to the bathroom, take off all your clothes, and send me a few pictures to entertain myself with."
Clare's heart was beating a mile a minute as she stared down at the text on her phone. No, this couldn't be happening. She dropped the phone from her hands as if it were a hot potato and not a smartphone. She wouldn't do that. She couldn't do that. She would take her phone and go to…go to who? Who could she go to that Asher wouldn't convince of her blame? Who could she possibly turn to? Ali? No, Ali had wanted her to tell Mrs. O. Eli? Eli would murder Asher, and Clare didn't really want Eli arrested. The phone lit up again.
Clare gulped, snatched the phone up off of the bed, and scurried into the bathroom. She locked the door behind her, and turned on the ventilation fan to hide the heavy breathing and pounding heart. She braced herself against the counter top, and faced her reflection in the mirror.
What are you doing? Just turn around, and go to Jake or your mother, or hell even Glen. Just get out of this bathroom! Why is this even a consideration? Turn around, and run!
But Clare didn't listen to herself. Instead, the voice of Asher came back into her head: I'm waiting, Clare. If you don't do this, I will make sure that everyone knows what a little slut you were in seducing me! You will never have a career as a journalist. You'll never write anything publishable again. You will be nothing! I will make you nothing!
Clare yanked her top over her head, and pulled off her jeans. She frustratedly unhooked her bra, and glared at the reflection again. She hated that reflection – the reflection of someone pathetic, hopeless, helpless, and naïve. She still had her makeup on from the day. Her hair was a bit messy, but Asher probably wouldn't be concerned too much with her hair. Sighing, Clare picked the phone up off the counter, and held it in front of her. She clicked on the camera icon, and oriented the phone so that the camera would be on her. She took a deep breath and…click.
She didn't know how, or why, she ended up at the Torres' house. She just knew that she needed someone. She needed Adam. Adam had always been there for her, and she for him. Maybe he could give her come words of wisdom, or at least help to calm her down. Her mind felt like it was being drowned in an undertow of thoughts and emotions. She felt sick as she went up to knock on the door.
To her surprise, Mike Dallas answered.
"Ah, Red," he grinned at her, and Clare could smell the alcohol on his breath.
"Um…Dallas, is Adam here?" She glanced passed him into the living room.
"The Torres' clan went to visit Adam and Drew's grandmother. Apparently she's in the hospital or something. They invited me along, but hospitals creep me out," Dallas shrugged.
"Oh," Clare nodded, "Well, I'll just be going then."
"Is there something maybe I could help you with?" Dallas raised a brow, and held the door open even more, inviting Clare inside.
She was so desperate to talk to someone – anyone – that she nodded and slid past him into the house, "It's just been a rough night."
"I get it. Come on, we can talk in here," he led her to the couch in the living room, "Want a beer?" Dallas picked up one of what looked to be able a dozen cans of beer lying on the coffee table. Clare couldn't tell which had been drunken, and which were still full.
"Uh…" it had been a grueling night, "Just one," Clare winced, wondering where that had come from. Dallas grinned even wider, and handed her the beer before sitting on the couch and putting his feet up.
"So, Red, tell me about this rough night of yours."
"I don't know if I should," Clare blushed furiously.
"Your cheeks will almost be the color of your hair if you keep that up," Dallas smirked, and Clare felt her stomach go sick. She took a swig of beer to calm her nerves.
"It's just…I don't see how anything can possibly get any worse for me right now. Everything is just so…wrong. The mind…the mind tricks you. It tricks you into thinking that things are fine – they're not fine! Nothing is fine! It's all wrong!" The tears were falling down her cheeks now, and she was surprised with Dallas wiped one away with the back of his thumb.
"Tell me what happened to make it so wrong?" He asked.
Clare felt a comfort in his voice, something she hadn't felt in a long time, and she told him. She told him everything. She told him about the internship; about how happy she had been, and how excited she was; she told him about working with Asher and how mesmerized by him she had been; she told him about the wine at lunch, about working late, and about the kiss; she told him about how she had run away, never glancing back; she told him how terrified she had been; she told him about the apology; she told him about the divorce; she told him about the interview, and how he had locked her in the car; she told him about going to his boss, and about no one believing her; she told him about the article, and how happy Eli had been; and she told him about the text message, and the photos she had taken just an hour before.
Dallas didn't say anything for a long time, and Clare felt herself relax. It had felt good to finally share with someone the turmoil she was feeling inside; even if that person was Mike Dallas.
"Interesting," Dallas nodded, and Clare felt a pang of something odd about this whole thing jut through her, "You know what I think you need?" Dallas asked, raising an eyebrow.
"What?" Clare asked nervously, scooting away from him.
"I think you need a guy you can turn to. It's funny how you come here, instead of to your own boyfriend's house. Why? Because you know Eli wouldn't be able to handle this. He has so much on his plate with the play, you just wanted someone. Am I right? Someone that could talk to you without a million other things going on in their life?"
"That makes me sound very self-centered," Clare blushed, "I just…I needed a friend. Eli…I don't want to bother him with all of this right now. Maybe after the play, but not right now. He doesn't need this."
"You need a guy you can turn to all the time – a guy who, when you're upset, will be able to make everything alright again."
"I-I should go," Clare moved to grab her bag from the floor.
"Stay," Dallas grabbed the purse from her hands and tossed it to the side, "I will be that guy."
"Dallas, you're drunk," Clare shook her head, "This isn't like you. You're…you're drunk."
"That's part of the fun, Red," Dallas ginned before leaning in and kissing her.
Clare knew she should have slapped him, or run – or maybe both. But she didn't. Instead, she did something that surprised her. She kissed Mike Dallas back. Maybe it was the beer, or the confusion and pain of the night; but at that moment, Clare just wanted someone to show her affection – to comfort and hold her. And at that moment, Mike Dallas would have to do.
It took her a moment to realize what she had just gone, and she pulled away as if Dallas' lips had given her an electrical shock, "Dallas…this was wrong. We shouldn't have…oh my God!"
"What's wrong, Red? You wanted this? If you didn't, you wouldn't have made it so easy."
Clare snatched her purse up, and hurried to the door, "I…I hate you!"
"No one hates me," Mike grinned; and as Clare opened the door to leave, she heard him say, "See you around, Red."
"You've been stressed these past few weeks," Eli mused, putting his lunch bag on the table, "This coming weekend, let's hang out. I know your birthday is coming, we could do something special."
"Mmhmm," Clare nodded, picking at a hangnail.
"It'll be fun. Something special, just for you," Eli smiled at his girlfriend; but when she didn't even look at him, Eli could tell something was off.
"Something's bothering you?" Eli frowned as he unwrapped his sandwich from his lunch bag, "You seem off today, Clare. Did something happen yesterday? I've been so wrapped up in this play, but if something is going on, you can tell me," Eli put the sandwich on the picnic table and grabbed her hand in his.
"I'm fine," Clare smiled a broken smile, "Don't worry about me, Eli."
"I always worry about you, Clare," Eli sighed, and smiled a sad, faraway smile, "Just promise me that you're alright?"
It's a fear, it is near. The shape becomes ever clear.
It bares teeth, extra sharp, that'll cut you in the heart.
It attacks really quick, try and fight it with a stick.