Greetings wonderful readers! :) So I was on Tumblr the other day and saw some people sending this story around and I got so excited over it! Thank you all so much for sharing Love is Revival. I'm genuinely enjoying this journey and it brings a smile to my face to know you all are as well. Thank you to all the reviewers! You are all just amazing and I smile at all your messages. Thank you, really. :) I'll let you guys get to the chapter now. Enjoy my loves!
I sigh in content as I send my goodnight text to Clare. I feel a smirk make its way onto my face as I imagine the blush that will take over Clare's cheeks when she reads it. Mission accomplished.
She really is something. And damn, hugging her felt so familiar. My hands immediately found their home around her waist just as hers did against my neck. Our embrace felt so natural as if it was the millionth time I've held her in my arms, not the first.
I lift up my fingertips and brush them against my cheek. I can still feel the softness of her lips as she subtly touched them to my skin. It was such an innocent action. And the way she lifted herself on her toes and looked down in embarrassment…I'll be lying if I said I've ever seen anything more adorable.
Everything about Clare is just so damn intoxicating. Her ever-present smile. Her persistence. Her warmth. The way she seems to be the one and only thing that makes all the screwed up shit in my life disappear. I'm really starting to wonder exactly why I've been fighting my feelings for her so strongly. This whole time I've been trying to push her away and keep her at a safe distance from me. After all, I've got knack for hurting the people I care about. And yet, the more I fight Clare, the stronger she fights back.
And after seeing her so distraught about her dad, I just about wanted to grab a gun and do some damage when she confessed about the asshole that harassed her. Clare has got to be, hands down, the purest person I've ever met. She exemplifies an untarnished beauty. And for someone to just attack her like that and try to take that away from her angers me to the greatest extent.
A knock at the door shifts my focus back to reality. I set my phone down on the table and walk towards the door. I smile when I see who is behind it.
"Well look who decided to show up," I laugh as Dave stands there with a knowing look on his face. I wait a few seconds and all he does is smile at me. I furrow my brows together and ask, "What?"
He nods his head a few times before lifting his fisted hand up. "Come on. Give me some," he gestures to his hand.
I hesitantly pound his fist. "Why the hell are you acting so weird?"
He chuckles before walking past me inside. "Eli and Clare sitting in a tree. K-I-S-S-I-N-G," Dave sings obnoxiously. He laughs out loud as he flops down on the couch.
I roll my eyes.
"I think this is my cue to say I told you so," Dave remarks.
"I have no idea what you're talking about," I counter as I go grab two beers from the kitchen.
"My bad, bro. But did I or did I not just sit alone for two hours in Clare's apartment as she gushed about how dreamy you are to Alli?" Dave says aloud when I return.
I hand him the bottle and take a seat on the couch next to him. "She thinks I'm dreamy?" I ask him with a smile as I take a sip from my drink.
Dave's deep laughter echoes throughout the room. "I never would have thought I would see the day that Eli Goldsworthy would be blushing."
I snap my gaze to him as I bring my familiar mask onto my expression. "You don't know what you're talking about," I say in a low voice. I appreciate Dave's enthusiasm, but I'd rather not deal with him making fun of me. What I feel for Clare is no joke.
Dave takes a long drink of his beer before setting it down on the table. "Look, I'm sorry. I'll stop teasing. But seriously, you and Clare?"
I gaze down at my lap not wanting to meet his interrogating gaze. "Dave…" I trail off as I try and find the right words. I feel comfortable telling him anything. Like I've said before, he's my brother and he's proven his loyalty to me so many times. Even taking a bullet that was directed at me. "She makes me feel like everything will be okay. Like I can actually make it through all this shit." I smile to myself as Clare's image floods my mind. "She's so damn stubborn," I chuckle. "I tried to ignore her, but she wouldn't let me." I shake my head to myself. "Clare manages to make me happy." I look up at him. "I haven't been happy, like really happy, since…" I trail off as Clare's warmth is replaced by my dark memories of Julia.
"Since what happened with Julia," Dave finishes for me.
I nod hesitantly. I told him about Julia one night after a long day of battle. I had to tell someone or else I would go insane. Memories of that night haunted me for so long. It felt so fucking good to tell someone who had no prior background about it. I expected him to hate me after. Who wants to be friends with a murderer anyway? But he just sat with me silently. His mere presence telling me he understands. We all have our past and our reasons for enlisting. He comprehended mine.
"It just feels wrong," I tell him. "Why should I get to be happy when she can't?"
I hear Dave sigh deeply before turning to me. "I know you know how much Alli means to me." I nod my head. Everyone and their mother can see that. "That doesn't mean I didn't screw up big time."
I turn to him curiously. "You?"
He nods his head. "Me. Believe it or not, I cheated on her."
My jaw drops in shock. "You cheated on Alli?" I ask in disbelief.
"Even better, that was my first time with anyone. You can imagine that did not bide well with Alli," he remarks.
I nod my head slowly still in shock at his revelation. "She packs a lot of intimidation in that small body of hers."
"Yeah, imagine being on her bad side. It was pure hell. She wouldn't even look at me after. I was an ass. A complete idiot. It took months, Eli. It took months before she spoke to me. I did everything I could think of to get her back. And she did, eventually. But not before the girl I, you know, started to message me." He looks off to the side, avoiding my gaze. "I ignored her. I made that girl feel like shit." He shakes his head. "I was just so damn happy to have Alli back that I didn't want anything to screw it up. But the girl, J-Jacinta, she showed up at Degrassi for this event we had." He stops talking and I remain silent waiting for him to continue. "Alli knew something was up and I could feel myself losing her again. I didn't want that. So I tricked Jacinta to leave with me, but I was driving her to the train station. She wasn't too happy about it," Dave shakes his head silently. "She got out of the car and ran into the street while texting some crap to Alli with my phone. She didn't see the car…I didn't see the car until it was too late."
I turn away from Dave as I take all this in.
"She was hospitalized. They didn't know how serious her injuries were," his voice cracks. "She c-can't walk anymore, Eli. And that's on me. That is completely my fault. If I hadn't ignored her, she would still be walking. So I know how it feels to be the reason someone's life is never the same."
I look over at him as he bends over and rubs his eyes with the palm of his hands.
"I felt so guilty. I still do. Had it not been for Alli, I don't know what I would have done." He looks over at me. "The things you said about Clare. About how she makes all the crap go away?"
I nod my head.
"Alli did that for me. She still does that for me." He shrugs his shoulders. "I can't be without her. If I lost Alli, all the bad memories would take over."
I purse my lips together. "Isn't that bad though?" I ask him. "Letting one person have so much control over your happiness?"
He laughs under his breath. "You're acting like there's a choice. Eli, you don't let Clare have that control. She just does."
I rub my hands together nervously. "I never knew about that Jacinta stuff."
"Yeah, well I'd rather not make it public knowledge. I think you understand," he replies.
I nod in response before looking over at him. I knew Dave and I were close for a reason. But I never knew we had so much in common. Such similar experiences that haunt us. It feels great to have someone to talk to that actually feels the same guilt I do. No one else really understands something unless they've gone through it themselves. Wait, I take that back.
She makes me feel like she realizes what I'm going through. And she makes it feel so inconsequential. She makes me feel like I can overcome it.
Like Alli did to Dave.
I smile to myself.
"It's crazy huh?" He asks me.
I turn to him. "What is?"
"How one person can change your whole perspective," he states.
I shake my head humorously. "You can say that again."
"Clare is a really good person, Eli. She's been there for Alli through thick and thin. She's one of the best people I've ever met."
I glance at him. "She is the best person I've ever met," I confess.
Dave chuckles aloud before grabbing my shoulder. "Well then, now that that is settled, I'd like to sleep."
I laugh as I down the rest of my drink. "I'll get you some blankets."
I walk over to the bedroom and grab the spare pillows and blankets Cece and Bullfrog brought for me. I throw them on top of Dave. "Enjoy!" I tell him as I turn back down the hallway.
"You're such an ass!" He yells back jokingly.
I smirk to myself as I get ready to undress for bed. I look around for my shirt that I had let Clare borrow earlier. Where the hell is it? I search the bathroom and my bedroom. I walk all over the house and it is nowhere to be found.
That little devil. I feel a smile creep onto my face as I realize Clare must have taken it. Probably put it in her purse before leaving.
"Yo, Eli?" I hear Dave ask aloud.
I walk out my bedroom and down the hallway towards the couch. "What's up?" I ask him.
He looks at me seriously. "How's the PTSD?"
I inhale deeply before glancing at the ceiling. "Like shit," I inform him. "Living like me, Dave." I pause. "It's hell."
"Fuck…" Dave trails off.
I laugh, but it comes out dry. "Yeah."
"What did the doctor say?"
I shrug my shoulders. "Nothing important."
"Well how the hell are you going to get better?"
I look up at him. "I think that question has already been answered."
He smiles at me knowingly. "My man has game."
I roll my eyes before turning back into my bedroom.
Not that I'm actually going to sleep, but staring at the ceiling and reliving my day with Clare sounds like a fun way to spend my time.
A few hours later, I feel my phone vibrate from its spot next to me. I turn over to my side.
I open the message and I can't help the smile that makes its way onto my face.
If you're impossibly charming self doesn't mind, I can't sleep and was wondering if you would keep me company?
I immediately send her a reply. I never thought lack of sleep would be a good thing. I feel a sense of worry overcome my emotions.
Of course. I don't get much sleep these days anyway. Why are you awake?
I send the text and await her response.
Too much on my mind.
I chuckle slightly. Clare spends too much time thinking.
All the stuff with your dad?
It takes her a few minutes before she responds.
Mhmm. Alli and I watched a few movies and that took my mind off it for a while, but I can't help but think about it just laying here.
I purse my lips together as I wish I was there with her.
Maybe you should write a letter to your dad? You don't have to give it to him if you don't want to, but if writing is your thing, that might help get all your pent up anger out.
Her quick reply makes me smile.
That's a really smart idea Eli.
I smirk as I write back my response.
I'm a genius. I know. Now go sleep. You need your rest after such a long day.
Although I'd much rather spend the whole night talking to Clare, I wouldn't want her walking around as exhausted as I feel.
But I'm not tired.
I can just about see her pouting.
Sure you're not.
I'm not. I can stay up all night. Talking to you makes me happy.
And you, Clare Edwards, make me happy.
Sweet talking won't get you anywhere. You're not fooling anybody.
I have to suppress my laughter as she continues to argue with me.
Why won't you believe me? I'm not sleepy.
I shake my head as I type back my response.
I believe that you think you're not sleepy. But it's three in the morning. And since you don't seem like the "rebellious, stay up past your bedtime" type, I doubt you're used to being awake right now.
The innocence of our banter makes me smirk to myself.
Oh I am plenty rebellious.
I laugh out loud at her attempt. She is so damn cute.
I'm sure you are.
And her lack of response for the next hour proves my point. She probably fell asleep right after sending her last message. I decide to send her one more message for her to wake up to.
I figure I'm right and you've fallen asleep. But Ms. Rebellious, in case it wasn't obvious, talking to you makes me happy too.
Hours afterwards, my eyes snap open as I pant heavily from the images flying through my mind.
I quickly jump into the shower and ignore the stinging sensation of the hot water on my cut lip.
After dressing in my usual black attire, I walk into the living room and chuckle at Dave's sleeping form. I grab a pillow from that dropped off the couch in his slumber and toss it at his face.
He jerks awake. "What? What? I'm up."
I laugh as I walk into the kitchen and survey the minimal food in the fridge. I settle for some orange juice.
"We're going for a run," I tell him.
"Not in your life," he responds.
"My route just happens to pass by Clare's apartment where Alli is…" I trail off.
Dave jumps off the couch. "Give me five minutes," he yells back at me as he goes to the bathroom.
About half an hour later, Dave and I finish our run at Clare's apartment. I walk up and knock on the door.
I smirk at the shocked face that answers the door.
"What are you doing here?" she asks me as she looks Dave and I over. Well, shit. I didn't think about how unattractively sweaty running can make a person.
"Hi Eli, how are you? Fine Clare. Thanks for asking." I respond sarcastically.
She crosses her arms. "Hi."
I smirk at her. "I happen to be missing a shirt." I inform her. "I've been searching for it. You haven't seen it by any chance, have you?" I ask her.
She giggles before opening the doorway for us to come inside. "I think I have what you're looking for."
Oh how right you are, Clare.
"But you're not getting it back until I get my dance," she continues.
I nod at her. "Fair enough."
"Dance?" Dave asks from behind me.
"I asked Clare to join us at Guest Day," I tell him.
"Good morning everyone!" Alli's ever cheerful voice sounds through the apartment.
She walks over to Dave to embrace him, but stops in her tracks at his appearance. "Why are you panting?"
"I dragged him on a run with me," I respond to her question.
She scrunches up her nose. "Clare, kick them out before your apartment begins to smell," she jokes.
"You wouldn't do that to me, would you?" I ask her in a childlike voice.
She bites her lip as a smile makes its way across her face. "I would."
I gasp at her. "Ouch!" I respond sarcastically. "Dave, let's go. We're not welcome here."
"Eli, it's about time you learn how to deal with women." Dave responds before running over and wrapping his arms around Alli.
"Ew! Dave you are so gross! Get off me!" She shrieks as he continues to hold her.
Clare and I laugh at their interaction as Dave takes her further into the apartment. I turn to Clare.
"Feeling any better?" I ask as I make a mental note to thank Dave later for giving me some alone time with Clare.
She nods her head. "I wrote the letter as soon as I woke up. You were right. It felt nice to just let it all out."
"I'm glad," I tell her.
Our conversation pauses as she just stares back at me.
I will never tire of her eyes. They beckon me, just like the rest of Clare.
Her expression shifts to one of worry as she reaches up and brushes her thumb against my bottom lip. "What happened?" She asks in a soft voice.
I curse inwardly. I thought it wasn't noticeable. I take a step back from her. "Nothing," I respond.
She sighs. "Eli, I thought we were past this. You can tell me."
I look out the doorway; the outside air suddenly seeming much more appealing than it did just seconds ago. "I actually have a bit of my run left. I want to get done before I have to head to the hospital."
"You have an appointment today?"
I nod silently in response before turning to walk out.
"Eli, wait." She says as she takes a few steps towards me. I look over at her and she glances down shyly. "W-Will I see you later?"
I purse my lips as I take in a deep breath. "I'll see you tomorrow," I say in a rush before running out the door and into the fresh air.
Never have I felt uncomfortable in Clare's presence as I did just then.
Because she asked about my cut lip.
And my only answer would be that I bit down on it so hard that it cut open.
Holding Julia in my arms and kissing her before a round of bullets attack her body has the capability of making that happen.
I didn't want to fall asleep last night. But my body was so tired, I had no choice. And out of all the nightmares I've had, this one hurt the most.
Because this was the first time I communicated with Julia. I felt her arms, her lips. It felt so real. And to wake up after literally having her blood on my hands…It was the worse feeling I've ever experienced.
Even worse than the pain of the bullets when I got hit.
I block out my thoughts as I speed up my pace and feel my mind and body become numb from the physical exertion.
Later that day, I find myself sitting on the couch back at my place.
Who knew alcohol could be so rewarding?
I bring the bottle back up to my lips and down the remaining liquid before resting it next to the other bottles on the table.
I stand up and grab onto the couch to regain my balance. I blink my eyes as the dizziness rushes over my senses. As I make my way to the kitchen, I find myself swerving slightly. I hear myself laugh.
Opening the fridge door, I squint my eyes as I search for the remaining bottles. Fuck. Only two more left. I grab at them and walk back to the couch. I flop down onto the cushions and pop open another beer.
I hadn't planned on drinking so much, but rehashing the night your ex-girlfriend died tends to weigh down on you. Talking about the fight before she took off on her bike and the dread that seeped into my veins at the phone call from her parents just about felt like I was burning in hell. And last time I recall, alcohol numbs in the best way.
I smile to myself before taking another sip of my drink.
I haven't talked to anyone all day. Not Dave. Not my parents. Not Adam.
After my run, I went over to the hospital and the doctor thought it would be a good idea to discuss Julia seeing as how she keeps coming in my nightmares.
Good one, Doc.
After about twenty minutes, I couldn't take it anymore and she let me go early. My anxiety was piling up and I needed an immediate relief.
And that's why I'm sitting on my couch downing my…I look at the bottles on the table and I squint my eyes trying to count them all. I'm assuming I'm on my tenth bottle, but I can't see anything clearly at the moment. Coupled with the shots I took as soon as I got home, I feel good.
A knock sounds at the door.
"Oh," I hear myself sound out before I trip over to the door.
I open it and a blurry image comes into my senses.
"Eli?" A soft voice calls out to me.
I blink a few times. "Clare?"
"Yeah," she walks closer to me. She coughs as I'm assuming I reek of alcohol. "You're drunk." She states.
I laugh humorously. "A little bit."
"More like a lot," she corrects me.
Another figure walks in through the door. "Eli, what the hell?"
I feel my mind leaving the current conversation as Dave and Clare continue to talk.
"How much has he had to drink?" She asks aloud.
"I'll get him to his room," Dave responds as I feel his arm around my shoulder. "Come on, tough guy."
I chuckle. "Sleep sounds good."
"I'm sure it does," Alli's voice sounds into my senses as the blackness comes over me.
I feel a cold pressure against my forehead. It moves to my cheeks before it rests on my forehead again. I scrunch up my face before fluttering my eyes open.
Why the fuck is it so bright in here?
"Someone turn off the light," I mutter as I close my eyes again.
A few moments later, I hear the blinds of the window being drawn. I hesitatingly open my eyes. Much better.
"How are you feeling?" Clare asks as she takes a seat on the side of the bed.
She reaches over and moves the cold cloth over my face some more. "That feels nice," I tell her as the pounding in my head decreases at the coolness of the pressure.
She sighs as she continues. "Why were you drinking?"
I purse my lips as I remain silent.
"Eli, I want to know why I'm spending my day in your room taking care of you after you drowned your sorrows in alcohol," she states bluntly.
"No need to beat around the bush, Clare." I chuckle.
She stops her movement as she takes the cloth over to the bathroom where I'm assuming she is wetting it again. When she returns, the fresh cold on my face feels simply amazing.
"You owe me an explanation," she informs me.
I take in a deep breath. I hate how disappointed she sounds. I surprise myself by wanting to explain and open up to her about everything. From day one, Clare has believed in me while I haven't. I don't want to lose that. "I had the worst nightmare last night."
She rests the moist material atop my forehead before brushing her fingertips against my cut lip.
"I bit my lip as it was happening," I explain to her. "I cut through the skin."
"That bad?" She asks me in a soft whisper.
I nod my head.
"That doesn't mean you drink, Eli." She says in a harsh voice. "Don't fall into what is expected of you. I know the rates of alcohol dependence are high among those with PTSD, but you have so many people supporting you. You don't need it," she tells me as she shakes her head. "I could have been here to help you," she says in a soft voice.
Feeling like complete crap, I bring my hand over and grab hers knowing full well that the contact will calm Clare down a bit.
"This is what I meant when I said I didn't want to take you down this road," I tell her gently. "I don't know what the hell is going on with me. I don't know how to deal with it."
She gives my hand a squeeze. "I'm still mad at you," she says with a smile.
I nod my head. "I deserve that. I didn't mean to run out like that this morning."
"I've been worried all day. We all have," she remarks. "Dave and Alli are in the living room."
I look away from her ashamed at my actions. "Shit, I'm sorry. I can't seem to do anything right."
A few moments pass by before she laces her fingers between mine.
She glances up at me. "This is right," she says as her gaze wanders to our hands.
I spare a look at our joined hands, but my eyes return to her face.
And I realize I could get used to the image of Clare on my bed holding my hand.
And that concludes chapter 14! I hope all of you liked it! I just want to thank you all again for staying with the story. I know the build up is long, but it has to be. I hope you all see that too. But I do believe that what we're waiting for is just around the corner. ;) So review and tell me your thoughts! I will update as soon as I can! Thanks again for all the motivation. You guys rock! Love you my dears!