DISCLAIMER: I don't own Degrassi or anything else.
Twitter: themusiksnob / Tumblr: musiksnob
So those of you who follow me on Tumblr may have noticed that I've been in a bit of fic writing depression lately. I'd been holding off on finishing Into Your Arms because I was feeling underappreciated for the amount of effort I put in to trying to write high quality fanfiction for you all. For a long time, I could put up with it – making excuses like "Well, it always slows down during hiatus" or "Reasons to Love You was really popular. Maybe those readers will come back and read Into Your Arms and it'll pick up."
But when I posted the last chapter of Into Your Arms – a chapter featuring an in-character Imogen, some really awesome and shocking lines, and a freaking epic moment between Eli and Clare and then I got 13 reviews (half of which were from people who I consider to be good friends), I got really, really upset. To the point where I was going to post the epilogue with an author note that says, "This is my last fanfiction. Goodbye."
I know some of you are thinking "Oh boo hoo for Musiksnob. I would kill to get 13 reviews on something I wrote." And I'm well aware of the fact that a lot of people have it a lot worse than I do. But I'll be honest that things have changed for me and staying up until 2 am to finish chapters or typing frantically during the baby's naps is not as appealing as it was a year ago.
The finale was incredible and it truly has inspired me to keep writing. But that's only going to take me so far. So if you enjoy my fanfiction, please take a moment to leave a review at the bottom of this page. And consider doing the same for the other authors you read. Fic writing is a really, really challenging labor of love and it requires encouragement. If I'm only writing for myself, that's fine. I can do that. But I can also keep my stories on my hard drive if that's the case.
Anyway, here's a happy two shot that takes place between Come as You Are Part 1 and Part 2. Not the greatest thing I've ever written but it's cute and happy so I hope you enjoy it.
"Eli," Clare whispered in the sexiest voice imaginable. "I am all in."
I gazed at her, unable to believe that everything I had wanted for all these months had come true. Clare wanted to be with me. She was willing to deal with the hard times when the twinkly lights would fade away and it was just us.
I wanted to tell her that I loved her, that I'd always loved her, that I had spent half the time since the Frostival analyzing her kiss over and over in my head, hoping that it wasn't a fleeting moment and that it wouldn't be the last time. That over the months when I'd forced myself to get over her, I'd still harbored a tiny bit of hope that one day we would reconnect.
In the last two weeks, I'd talked myself out of calling her time and time again, trying to enjoy my trip to New York City without thinking about how much better it would be if Clare were there. I wanted her to know how disappointed I had been only moments before when it seemed like she would leave the party without talking to me about the kiss, how terrified I had been when she dropped the "ball" and how my heart had stopped beating when she kissed me again.
But there were no words adequate enough for this momentous occasion, so with a glance at her lips, I leaned in again, tangling my fingers in the curls next to her ear. Her last kiss had shocked me so much I barely had time to respond, and though I initiated this kiss, she still pulled back more quickly than I would have liked. She kept her face close to mine, noses and foreheads touching, and her fingers stroked my cheekbone. She smiled at me and I melted, mirroring her expression.
"We should probably talk about this," she said, but I brought my finger up to her lips. I really didn't want to get in to the past year's sordid history tonight.
"Why talk when we could be kissing?" I teased, leaning on once more. She pulled back again, hesitating and I reassured her. "We have plenty of time to talk, Clare. Let's just enjoy the moment."
She smiled and leaned in again. I tried to kiss her gently, afraid of scaring her off and ending this perfect reunion. But it was Clare who kicked up the intensity, quickened the pace and sunk her fingers into my hair, pulling me closer. The kiss turned greedy, selfish, as each of us tried to make up for the many months we had gone without each other.
I wasn't sure how long the kiss lasted but it was again Clare who pulled back long before I was ready. "We're in public," she whispered, a blush spreading across her cheeks.
"No one's out here," I said, leaning in again. "They're all too drunk to notice us anyway."
She giggled. "I hope so."
I wrapped my arms around her waist, wondering if Clare would protest if I leaned her back down against the bench. I decided she would, so I just drew her closer, peppering her lips and cheek and jaw with kisses. I wondered vaguely if Adam would mind if we locked him out of his room for a few hours, but figured that was probably not a great idea either.
Loud shrieks emerged from inside the house. I tried to ignore it but it became impossible when the door opened. Clare and I broke apart and looked up at the intruder, shocked when a naked Drew Torres came barreling towards us. "Virgins!" he snickered, pointing at us, before making a loop around the empty patio and barreling back into the house.
I cracked up, turning to Clare, whose expression of shock showed she didn't exactly see the humor in this situation. She buried her face in my shoulder and I put my arms around her. "What's wrong?"
She pulled back and gave me a pouty look. "I didn't exactly expect my first time seeing a guy naked would involve Drew Torres in any way, shape or form."
"Aww, Clare," I teased, pulling her back into a hug so she wouldn't see the expression of relief on my face. Adam had told me the reason Clare and Jake had broken up, and it had made me wonder if Clare's offer to sleep with him had come as a result of the two of them getting a lot farther than the two of us ever had. Then again, the memory of Clare showing up on my doorstep and asking to spend the night with me jumped into my head, and I realized Clare wasn't always the most logical person when it came to things like that.
She still looked disturbed and a little regretful when she pulled back and I wanted to lighten the mood. "If it would make you feel better, I could whip mine out right here and you could just pretend the Drew thing never happened."
"Eli!" she exclaimed, scandalized. But I could tell my joke had worked and that she was feeling a little better.
"Just say the word," I said, reaching down for the button on my pants.
She gasped and her hands covered mine, but I noticed she didn't pull them away. Which meant her hands were closer than they had ever been to my…I needed to change that train of thought before I had a problem on my hands. "Don't you dare," she pleaded.
I pulled away and put my hands up in a gesture of innocence. "I wouldn't do that," I said seriously. "Not here and not now, at least."
"Good," she said, looking away from me for a moment before meeting my eyes and blushing.
"Maybe someday," I said, much in the way she had once said the words to me.
I expected her to protest, but her face softened and she looked thoughtful. "Do you remember that?" She smiled. "It seems like forever ago."
"That must mean that someday is getting closer," I teased. "You should see Hotel Eli. I think it's definitely earned its five star rating."
Clare smirked at me. "Not that close," she said, leaning toward me. "But probably closer than you'd think."
She kissed me but I was the one who stopped things after just a moment. "Really?" I asked, my voice cracking a little.
"Really." She leaned back and looked down at her hands. "I should probably tell you…Jake and I…we…"
I cut her off. "No, it's okay. You don't have to explain. It's none of my business."
She looked relieved. "Well you should at least know…what Drew said…it's still true…for me anyway."
I decided to let her know we really didn't need to have this conversation. "Yeah, Adam may have…told me that," I finished awkwardly as Clare's eyes widened.
"Oh my God," she said, covering her face with her hands. "How much did he tell you?"
"I just asked him if he knew why you and Jake broke up…and he told me."
"Ugh, I told him that in confidence," Clare groaned. "This is so embarrassing."
I put my arm around her and squeezed her closer to me. "Clare, it's okay," I said gently. "I'm glad it didn't happen but even if it did…it wouldn't change anything. I still…" I hesitated momentarily, not wanting to frighten her by declaring my emotions too strongly this quickly. "I still feel the same way about you."
She smiled at me and I took the opportunity to lean in for another kiss. It got heated in a hurry, as I willed my hands to stay on her waist rather than traveling her body like they wanted to. But I wasn't sure if she wanted them to, and that wasn't something I wanted to risk – considering we'd just gotten back together and we were technically in public.
The kiss went on long enough that I eventually had to break it, gasping for air. "It's times like these that I wish I still had Morty," I muttered, thinking about how nice it would be to lay Clare down in the back with no prying eyes from the party preventing us from taking things even a tiny bit further.
"Eli," she gasped, and I realized that probably wasn't a thought I should have said out loud.
"I'm sorry," I said. "That's awkward, right? Bringing up Morty, after everything... I just meant I wish we were in the back…" I realized my effort to explain wasn't really making anything better based on the shocked look on her face, and halted my statement halfway through.
She paused for a moment and then gave me a devilish grin. "It would be nice to have some privacy."
"We could go back to my place," I offered.
She laughed. "Tempting as that is, I probably should be getting home soon."
"Then we should probably just keep kissing here until that happens," I teased, giving her my signature smirk.
"Okay," she said happily.
But our lips had barely connected when I heard the sliding glass door open once again and a familiar voice calling, "Awww…isn't that cute?" We broke apart to find the other Torres brother, though thankfully – unlike Drew – Adam was fully clothed. "I guess this means I'm the third wheel again."
I grinned at him but surprisingly Clare shot back an angry retort, "Well, this time I have a lot less sympathy for you since somebody doesn't know how to keep a secret."
Adam looked to me for clarification. "You might not want to tell your best friend's ex that she almost swiped her v-card with her stepbrother."
"Eli!" Clare slapped my arm, and Adam took a cautious step back to the glass door.
"Yeah, sorry about that," he said, stepping back into the house but calling over his shoulder. "You guys should probably get going. Dallas and I have a long night of cleaning ahead of us since Drew passed out upstairs."
I pulled out my phone and realized it was getting pretty close to Clare's curfew, unless her mother had changed it in the past few months. "Can I walk you home?" I asked and she smiled and took my hand.
We walked through the basement and up through the front door. The party had really emptied out and only a handful of stragglers – mostly hockey team members – remained. Clare shot Adam a death glare on the way out and as soon as we were out of earshot, I squeezed her hand. "Don't be mad at Adam," I said. "I was the one who dragged it out of him."
"Why?" she asked.
I shrugged. "Even when we weren't together, I still cared about you, Clare. I wanted to know you were doing okay, even if it meant finding out some not so great information."
"You could have asked me," Clare said.
I shrugged. "I thought you were better off without me around," I admitted quietly.
I kind of expected her to get upset, but she just stopped walking and looked at me sadly. "I thought you were better off without me."
I touched her cheek. "I think we were both wrong."
We started walking again, our hands swinging loosely between us. "So tell me more about the New York City trip. It sounds like you had a great time."
"It was amazing," I said, grinning at her. "It was the best two weeks of my life."
"Where did you go?"
"Everywhere…Central Park, The Museum of Modern Art, the New York Public Library…We wandered around all these little art galleries in Chelsea and we had dim sum in Chinatown. Went to the top of the Empire State Building and checked out the State of Liberty. One of Bullfrog's friends was playing a show at this bar in SoHo and they had to sneak me in." I smirked at her. "Good thing I made my fake say that I'm 22 and not 19."
She rolled her eyes. "Yeah you wouldn't want to miss that."
"It was a pretty awesome show. Not as good as Arcade Fire at the Garden though."
Clare pouted, though I knew she wasn't that upset. "I'm jealous. You still haven't taken me to a concert."
I squeezed her hand. "Well now that we're back together, I think that can be arranged." I lamented the fact that the Toronto Arcade Fire show had sold out only a few minutes after it went on sale.
"So, music…art…what else did you do?"
I laughed. "I ate a shit ton of pizza."
"Eli!" she chided.
"I did," I teased. "New York City pizza is the best in the world. Have you ever had it?"
"I have," she said, though she didn't look nearly as happy as I would have thought. "We were there the summer before Grade Eight. It was the last family vacation we took together, before Darcy left and the divorce."
"Oh," I said softly. I knew how much her sister's absence had affected her and remembered just how badly she had handled her parents' divorce. "Hey, did Darcy come home for your mom's wedding?"
She shook her head sadly, and I put my arm around her and gave her a squeeze. "Maybe this summer we could go over there and drag her butt home from Africa."
She sighed. "I doubt even that would work."
All I wanted to do was cheer her up. "Well maybe we could go to New York City together instead. Have a fun trip for ourselves."
Clare smiled. "That sounds really nice. I don't think there's a chance in hell of my mom letting me go though."
Clare's words made me realize that next year she would still be at Degrassi. It would be one thing if she was at university – even if it was somewhere far away; we could still make plans to visit each other for long weekends or breaks. But she'd be living at home – underage – and the chances of her strict mother giving her permission to spend a week in New York with no one but her boyfriend was pretty unlikely.
But it was a long time before we'd have to deal with that. Clare seemed pretty proud of me for aspiring to get into NYU, so I wasn't going to worry about the details right now.
"You know, there's this bookstore called the Strand…it's only about ten blocks away from most of NYU. You'd absolutely love it. It's just miles of bookshelves jam packed with everything you could possibly want."
She smiled. "If you end up at NYU next year, I will definitely find a way to visit you – and the bookstore," she joked. "But I probably will have to bring Adam and Jenna with me for my mom to go for it."
"That's okay," I squeezed her once again, just happy to finally be able to touch her again. "We can kick them out along with my roommate."
"Do you ever think about anything else?"
"Anything else but what?" I challenged her.
To my surprise, she took the bait. "Sex," she said, more confidently that I would ever have imagined. The last time we dated anytime we had a conversation about this, Clare would always use a euphemism: "spending the night together" or "taking that step."
"So if you come visit me at NYU, you're telling me we're going to have sex?" I teased and she laughed.
"Maybe if you're lucky." I barely had time to process the fact that Clare was saying she would consider having sex with me in the future when we reached her front steps. She grabbed my hand and pulled me up with her, wrapping her arms around my shoulders. "I'm so happy," she said, with red cheeks and sparkling eyes."
"Me too," I said, leaning down for another kiss.
I didn't know if it was the fact the we didn't want to say goodbye or that we were afraid something horrible would go wrong and we'd never get to do this again or maybe it was just the fact that my brain kept thinking "Clare said sex. Clare said sex," over and over, but the kiss got really intense really quickly.
I spun her around, pressing her gently against the brick wall beside her door. Her fingernails were digging into my shoulders, but my hands couldn't stop moving, keeping pace with the movement our lips together. I smoothed them over her arms, then down to her waist, barely grazing the sides of her breasts on the way, pleased when she didn't push me away. She was wearing a flouncy skirt, and I daringly pushed up the fabric to wrap my hand around the back of her thigh. To my shock and delight, she jumped up and wrapped her legs around my waist as I pressed her more firmly against the wall.
Moans slipped through our tangled tongues, and I couldn't believe that she was letting me kiss her like this. We'd had moments of passion the first time we dated, but they were always more loving than lustful and this was something else entirely. I almost broke the kiss to ask her if we could take this to a more appropriate place, like her bed, but I was so terrified that she'd say no, that I'd have to stop kissing her or I'd have to move my hand from her thigh where if she hadn't been wearing tights, it would be in the most intimate place she had ever let me touch her.
I was so distracted by Clare that I didn't even hear the door open beside us. "Sex on the front porch, eh? I guess my advice worked," Jake said.
I stifled a groan as Clare pushed me back enough that she could regain her footing. "Your advice was terrible," Clare snapped. "If I had listened to you, we wouldn't be here right now." It was kind of amusing to see her so annoyed, knowing that she was probably just as upset about being interrupted as I was.
Jake laughed. "And you would have missed out on losing your virginity on the front porch." Clare looked like she was going to lunge at him so I held her back. "If you guys want to come in and watch TV with me, you can. I'd avoid going upstairs though. Dad and Helen have been up there for a while and I'm not going to bed until I'm sure the coast is clear."
Clare looked at me hopefully. I checked my phone. It was almost 11. Wow, we'd been out here for a long time. Good thing her parents were distracted although the idea of Clare's mom doing anything like what her daughter and I had just be doing was pretty gross. "I should probably get home. My curfew is 11 on school nights."
"You have a curfew?" Clare asked in amusement.
"Yeah. Byproduct of the whole bipolar thing," I explained and Clare nodded in understanding. I glanced at Jake who was still watching us in amusement. "Can you give us a minute so I can kiss your sister goodnight?"
I was pleased that Jake didn't give any indication that he thought of Clare in any other way. "Just make sure you use a condom," he joked before shutting the door to give us some privacy.
Clare wrinkled her nose. "He's so annoying."
I laughed. "You guys have really adapted to the stepsibling thing."
She smiled. "Yeah…we really have."
"What advice did he give you?"
Clare chuckled. "That if you were interested, you would come to me. And we shouldn't talk about it. He figured you'd just kiss me again."
I laughed. "I guess he was right about the kissing. But you understand why I couldn't come to you, right?"
She nodded. "Yeah…I'm just glad I got up the nerve to ask you about it."
I glanced at my phone again, knowing I really didn't have more time to spend wit her. "I hate to leave you, but my parents will kill me if I don't get home on time."
"That's crazy," she said. "I can't believe they've gotten so strict."
"Yep. They even make me call them Mom and Dad now," I joked.
Clare grinned. "I can't wait to see them again. I've really missed your family." She stood on her tiptoes to give me a quick kiss. "And you."
I kissed her again but I reluctantly pulled away pretty quickly. "If I keep kissing you, I'm never going to get home."
"Okay," she said, looking as disappointed as I felt. "Text me when you get home, so I know you're safe."
"Sure," I said. Ordinarily I would think that she was being too overprotective but I really wanted to have an excuse to keep talking to her.
She looked like she wanted to say something, but she shook her head as if she was having an internal argument with herself. "Goodnight, Eli," she said finally. "I'll see you at school tomorrow."
"Can't wait," I said, leaning in for another kiss.
As our lips parted, I just wanted to tell her I loved her. We had said it to each other whenever we said goodnight from the first time after the party we had helped Adam throw until the night of our breakup.
But we'd just gotten back together and even though I knew I felt that way about her, it felt too soon. I didn't want to pressure her or smother her or make her feel like she had to say it back if she wasn't ready. A lot had changed for her in the months since we'd dated last. She'd had another boyfriend for months and I knew that before they'd accepted their relationship as stepsiblings that she had loved him.
I knew she wanted to be with me now and I was ecstatic. But I didn't know if she still loved me and I would rather wait for her to say it than be disappointed if she didn't.
"Goodnight Clare," I said, giving her one last kiss before I forced myself to turn around and walk down her steps. I made it to the street before turning around to see if she was still looking at me.
She was – and she was smiling.