Eli's POV

There was no question that Clare's room was significantly brighter in décor than my own, but damn did it radiate something fierce when the sun rose. I felt like one of Clare's coveted vampires as my eyes indignantly adjusted to the light beaming in from her window, amazed that the intrusion hadn't caused her to stir. I cocked my head, reaching for my phone on the nightstand to check the time, and I felt her body shift, followed by a tiny groan. I set the phone down, suddenly uninterested and turned back to her, watching in awe as she woke herself up, blinking around the room as she remembered her surroundings.

"Hi," I murmured, tightening my arm around her as she stretched.

"Hi," she repeated, her voice cracking with grogginess as she settled back against my sun-warmed skin, clearing the sleepy impediment from her throat. I rubbed her arm, feeling the goosebumps rise with each pass of my fingertips and smiled down at her, earning a mirrored gesture, and though I'd never admit it, my heart swelled at the sight.

It hadn't ever been hard for me to fathom a future with Clare. My history went to show that it had once been a problem that I could. But moments like this, I found it hard to decipher the future from the now; not to imagine us older, waking up together in a bed of our own each morning, used to the cadences in one another's voice, the way our respective hair matted and frizzed against the pillows. I'd probably never tell her how much I wanted that reality for us.

"What time is it?" She asked, running her thumb over my ribs, her eyes still not up to the task of staying open. Checking the abandoned phone, I answered that it was just after nine, and she smiled again. "My mom's already at work," she elaborated, seemingly having no intention to leave the bed. Reluctantly, I would have to if I wanted to make my appointment with my doctor.

"Not that I wouldn't be overjoyed to stay in bed with my beautiful girlfriend all morning, but I have therapy in an hour," I sighed, pulling myself out from the tangled sheets, picking up my wrinkled shirt and slinging it over her bed post as I stretched out my cramped muscles.

"So what did Jake say last night, anyway? I forgot to ask." No sooner than the question was posed, her cheeks colored and her eyes popped a bit, furthering my desire to know.

"He assumed you staying the night meant more than it did," she rasped, her eyes trained hard on her sheets as she straightened the covers. "He offered me condoms," she whispered, so quietly I could feel the blush seeping from her pores. I laughed, loudly and obnoxiously, and she glared viciously, only spurring on my laughter.

"Show off," she scoffed, chucking a pillow at me as I arched my back, brandishing my still bare chest. Instantly the craving to toy her limits overtook me again, and I held the stretching pose for a few seconds longer than were required.

"Now just what would I be showing off, Miss Edwards?" I taunted, purposely avoiding her eyes as I changed poses. "You said yourself you have no interest in my advances. This should do nothing for you," I smirked, a loose fist at either ear in a grandiose stretch. Wholly unamused as she appeared, I did catch her glance to my receding jeans, exposing a sliver of black underwear. Before I could deliver any of the cynical and wonderful snarky gems formulating in my mind, a throat was cleared somewhere in the room, and I saw the source of it first, my face dropping in horror. I was frozen in my pose, but it was for nobody's benefit this time, I was just too afraid to move or speak or do much of anything to acknowledge the brown eyes aflame and narrowed in my direction.

"Mom! I- why aren't you at work?" Clare gasped, her back to me. Helen's eyes flicked between Clare and I fervently, arms tightly crossed.

"Manager meeting, late start," she bit, her face unchanging like stone. "This is what we talked about, Clare!" She jabbed an accusatory finger in my direction and her voice rose, breaking through the eerie void she'd portrayed until that point.

"Mom, nothing-"


"Okay, but mom, he didn't-"


"Mom! Would you just-"

"Do you think he's beautiful?"

"Wh-, can we not-"

"I'm not hearing a no, Clare."

"Okay, wow, I can't believe… okay, I find him… attractive, yes –God I can't believe this-, but I know how to say no, not that he'd put me in that position, and can you stop implying that he's the Devil?"

The air was stifling suddenly, and I was itching to escape when my phone rang, Bullfrog's ID popping up. I stepped back, sliding to accept and turned to face the curtains. "I'll be home in a minute," I hissed, hanging up before he requested explanation. The two in the room were staring at me, and I fumbled to collect my things, my fingers too shaky to properly redress, instead holding the shirt to my chest and beelining from the room, wide eyed and pounding heart.

I breathed a little easier at the foot of the stairs, a little guilty for leaving Clare in the Lion's den alone.

"Fuck me," I grumbled in relief, leaning back against the wall to catch my breath. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw movement, and it would seem I'd interrupted breakfast between Jake and his father.

"This… is Eli," Jake introduced slowly, lifting another spoonful of cereal to his lips. Glen nodded.

"Nice to finally meet you," he drawled strangely, the two of them staring shamelessly. "Hungry?"

"Not even a little bit, nice to meet you too. Jake, thanks for your… help last night, wasn't needed, but good looking out, and with that, good day," I rattled awkwardly, waddling out shirtless and with shoes in hand.

Jake's POV

"So that was Clare's-"