Summary: Eli gets his NYU letter in the mail.

Eli smirked at his beautiful girlfriend as they entered his house and she babbled animatedly about her latest family night dinner. He was glad to see that she was getting along with her mother and step family again. After her mother had caught Eli in a compromising position in her daughter's room (A huge misunderstanding, assuredly) he had been afraid things would be tense, especially when Clare hadn't called or texted him afterwards. But when he returned to school the next day she had been waiting for him; a big smile on her face and a long explanation. Her mother had given her 'The Talk'. It had been awkward and uncomfortable, but it had ended with Helen promising to take Clare to their family doctor and start the pill. Clare had immediately informed Eli though, that this didn't mean she was necessarily ready to go all the way. She did however tell him that she wouldn't mind exploring new boundaries. To say Eli was in a good mood would be an understatement.

"And then Jake pounded his fist on the table and accidentally hit the spoon in the mashed potatoes bowl; it when flying straight into his face!" She laughed loudly, her eyes crinkling and fell into the living room couch. Eli fell next to her and snaked an arm her waist pulling her closer to him. With a wicked smile she reached her arms up to wrap then around his shoulders and leaned towards his face, her lips just inches from his.

The loud chime of Eli's phone broke them apart as they nearly jumped out of their skin. They both chuckled lightly and stared at each other comfortably as they let the silence fall back around them.

"Are you going to answer that?" Clare smiled at him, brushing his bangs out of his eyes.

He smirked and sat up slightly to pull his cell phone from his jean pockets. It was a message from Cece.

Hey Bbyboy Chek the kitchn table wen u get home Thres something ther 4 u.

Eli rolled his eyes at his mother's informal texting, but stood up nonetheless. He entered the kitchen, Clare trailing behind him and his eyes enlarged when they landed on the envelope sitting on the table. It's here.

He quickly snatched the white envelope with the NYU emblem on the front from its position and ripped the top open. Clare smiled as he yanked the papers out of its casing and held on to his free hand, silently giving him her support. His smile widened as he read the letter out loud.

"Dear Mr. Goldsworthy," His eyes drifted over to Clare, who gave his hand a reassuring squeeze. "Thank you for dedicating your time to apply to our school, New York University. It's truly amazing to see so many bright young minds applying themselves to reach new heights and to broaden their horizons." Eli was bouncing on his toes with excitement as his smile grew and grew. Everything was going perfectly; Clare was still here, his play was a success and now he had his letter. Nothing could ruin this. "We receive tens of thousands of applications each year and unfortunately, we cannot accept all of them. It is grievous situations like this that trouble us. We must regret to inform you…" His smile dropped, his voice faded out and his eyes became unfocused as he stared at that last sentence.

Suddenly, he ripped his hand from Clare's, crushed the paper between his fingers and threw it as hard as he could across the room. It didn't have the effect he wanted, it didn't calm him down. He had wanted it to be loud. He wanted to hear it smash and shatter and crash. He wanted it to break into a million pieces or burst into hot consuming flames. Instead, it glided along the room before bouncing against the wall and sliding across the floor with only the softest of crinkling sounds.

He clinched his fists into his hair, nearly pulling them out of his head. His teeth crashed down his lip as he attempted to keep the bloodcurdling scream from escaping his mouth. It didn't keep the loud groan out completely though as his eyes stringed with tears and nearly doubled over as he attempted to keep moving; pacing the floor with his shoulders hunched over.

Clare quickly stepped over and tried to unlatch his fingers from his hair. When that didn't work she placed her hands on his face and neck, running them up in down as she tried to sooth him. She repeated his name over and over; her own tears spilling over as she watched the boy she loves had his dreams shattered. Her thumbs rubbed circles in his jaw as she attempted to unclench it. His eyes wandered around refusing to meet hers. She ran her fingers up to beneath his eyes, brushing the tears away. This was the first time in a long time that she'd seen him like this and her chest heaved at the memory.

"Eli, please," She begged, pulling his face towards her as she planted small kisses on his forehead. "It'll be okay."

He yanked away from her grasp, angrily. He forcefully wrenched a chair from underneath the table, letting the legs scream against the tile floor as he threw himself into it. Placing his elbows on his knees and his face in his hand, he replied.

"No it's not, Clare. I didn't get in." He shoved the heel of his hands into his eye sockets as if he was trying to erase the visual of the rejection letter from his memory. Clare moved to kneel in front of him. She placed her hands on his lap and stared up at his face sadly, waiting for him to look at her. "I didn't apply anywhere else. Only NYU." She silently moved her hand to rub his arm, squeezing it tightly as she massaged him. He finally moved his hands from his face, revealing his red eyes as he stared down at her. "I'm a failure."

Clare stood up rapidly, shoved his arms away from his knees and moved to sit in his lap. She wound her arms around his neck and placed her lips close to his ear. "No, Eli. No you're not." He gasped for a deep breath and tightly moved his arms around her waist; pulling her closer to him as he dug his eyes into her shoulder. He didn't get in. The only place he wanted to continue his education was now not an option. It was wrong. It was unfair. He had worked hard for this.

He was vaguely aware that he was getting snot and tears all over her shirt, but when he attempted to pull away she only held on tighter, refusing to let him go. They could feel their hearts pounding at odd intervals as they held each other for an indefinable amount of time, just letting the news sink in. Eli sighed, releasing most of the anger and loosening his grip on Clare. She moved back to watch his face and gave him a small smile. He sighed again, feeling incredibly lucky to have a girl like Clare and incredibly embarrassed for how he acted.

"I'm sorry." He muttered.

"I'm sorry too." She brushed his hair away from his face again and gave him a small kiss before removing herself from his lap and retrieving the crumbled up paper. Using the side of the counter, she smoothed it out and quickly scanned the letter. Just as she was about to toss the paper in the trash she stopped and reread the last line. "Eli!" She spoke incredulously.

"What?" He questioned and stood to see what she saw.

"It's not a rejection letter," Eli stared at her. "Well, not completely." What did she mean? He clearly read the words that told him there was no room for him at his dream university. There was no mistaking or misreading the words "we regret to inform you".

"Look!" She held the letter out and pointed the last paragraph that Eli hadn't read, being too upset by the previous one to even consider reading the rest of their ridiculing rejection. He read it silently, unsure what it meant exactly. "They want to have an interview with you; to discuss admission for next semester!" She smiled at him as Eli continued to stare at the paper. "Eli! You got in!" The excitement couldn't catch up with him as he attempted to process the new development.

"I got in?" He felt his heart rate pick up and released a loud joyous laughed. He excitedly lifted Clare up and spun her around, keeping her close to him as she giggled and dropped the letter, letting it flitter to the ground as ran her fingers through his hair. Slowly, he let her slide down back to the floor, her body pressed against him. Her cheeks were bright read and Eli was sure his were just as red. He still felt truly embarrassed by his outburst earlier, but the look in her eyes told him she wasn't upset with him. She smiled up at him lovingly, her lips barely an inch from his.

"I love you."

"Forever and always." He muttered before closing the small distance between them and never wanting to let go.

Not too cheesy, is it? This idea just hit me like a bolt of lightning and I just had to get out. Hope you all enjoyed it! It was originally going to end without Eli being called in for an interview, but that was just too sad and I am known to be unable to end things with sadness. I can't wait for Oct. 12th!