A/N: Wow, long time no post... I've been trying to write this for a while, and now it's finally complete! Thanks to the lovely Rye for editing it for me :)
This oneshot is for Seahaven, who got my trivia question right on one of the chapters of If I Die Young. Anyway, this is based on a prediction of sorts, of what could happen with that whole "shirtless Eli scene."
Clare rolled over for what it seemed the fifth time that night, and let out a frustrated sigh. Despite getting to bed at a decent hour she still found herself unable to fall asleep; her mind crammed with new thoughts and worries, and her stomach clenching painfully with anxiety. Tomorrow would be the day she would meet with Jennifer and one of her dad's colleagues- her lawyer for the upcoming trial against Asher Shostak.
Just thinking about Asher and the assault nearly set herself into a state of panic. Clare still took two showers every day with excessive scrubbing until her skin was raw and red; she was uncertain when she would ever be able to overcome her fear and trauma over the assault. Her recent phone conversation with Darcy had helped a little, and knowing she had the full support in her family and friends.
After the meeting with Ms. Oh, Clare and her mother had a long overdue heart-to-heart. Clare told her mom everything she's been feeling since the divorce; being shunned by her father, isolated and alone, how she felt she couldn't bring anything up to Helen because all she seemed to care about was her new marriage. Helen had wrapped her daughter up in the hug and openly sobbed, chocking out apology after apology and how things would weren't completely fixed, but it would get better in time.
So far, things at home had improved. Clare felt closer with her mother these past few months and her relationship with her father was slowly improving and Jake was always around to lend her a hand, or a listening ear. Alli responded to every phone call or text Clare sent in moments of distress and tried to be there for her as much as she could with all the course work she had to finish for her early graduation, and even Katie Matlin, to Clare's surprise, was turning out to be a wonderful support and friend.
Of course, one of Clare's biggest supporters and her rock was her boyfriend, Eli. He held her hand the day she went to the police with Jennifer to report Asher, and the times she told both her parents as well as Jake what had happened. He stood by her beautifully these past months, even as he was swamped with college applications, and she couldn't help but fall more in love with him each time he put her first.
This was also how she knew she'd be able to depend on him with her bout of sleep deprivation. Turning on her lamp, Clare grabbed her phone off her nightstand and scrolled through her contacts, wanting to send him a text rather than waking him up if he was already asleep; she knew how important sleep was for his disorder.
Hey. I can't sleep. Are you awake?
After sending the text she waited a few minutes, just staring at her phone background before setting it back on the table. Clare got up with a sigh, assuming Eli was already fast asleep and decided to find a book to read from her vast collection. She had just picked up her copy of Perks of Being A Wallflower when she heard her phone ringing across the room. The book dropped from her grip and she bounded across the room, jumping over her bed and quickly answered, not wanting to wake up her mother, or Jake snoozing in the room next door. "Hello?" she whispered into the receiver, sitting down on her bed.
"So you can't sleep?" Eli said softly, ignoring a proper greeting. "You didn't have another nightmare, did you?"
Clare shook her head, although Eli couldn't see, and replied, "No… I didn't…" She sighed loudly. "I've been trying to sleep for hours but I can't seem to turn my brain off."
"Did you try reading… exercising or something? That usually works for me."
She sighed. "Nothing's working. I've been tossing and turning for hours. The stupid meeting tomorrow just won't get off my mind."
There was a pause where the low hum of the phone was all that could be heard until Eli asked gingerly, "Did you want me to come over?" Before Clare could open her mouth he quickly added; "Just so you can sleep. Like last time."
She knew he was alluding to the time a few weeks back when she had come over to his house for a movie date. Clare had ended up falling asleep curled up in Eli's arms just before they were halfway through the first movie. Eli had let her snooze, playing with her curls and Clare always referred to this being the best sleep she had ever gotten since the Asher debacle. "Eli…" she bit her lip. "You know I'd love that but it's late and you have that NYU seminar you were going to go to in the morning at school."
"It doesn't matter," He said confidently. "I can stay and then sneak out your window and walk down the school for the meeting. No big deal."
"Eli," Clare sighed again, this time, however with a more playful tone.
"I'll be there in ten or fifteen minutes." He said. and the line clicked off before she could reply and Clare fell back against her bed. She felt as single rush of nervousness and excitement run through her veins. Yes, she has had boy in her room before, but never in the middle of the night- or to stay over period. Her mind ran with all the possible scenarios of what could happen in the next few hours.
Of course, she knew Eli had completely innocent intentions. He never pushed her for anything once they got back together, and it was reinforced after the Asher incident. When he said he'd stay with her just to sleep, he meant it. But was that all she wanted? After Asher harassed her, Clare found herself hiding away from anything intimate with Eli; sometimes she found it hard not to cringe when he simply grabbed her hand. But after months of therapy and support, she found herself becoming more and more open to exploring a more physical side to their relationship.
A rap at the window released Clare from her… less than innocent thoughts. Padding over quietly, she opened the window and smiled down at the figure of her boyfriend waving up at her. She motioned with her pointer finger to hold on one minute as she silently opened her bedroom door and crept down the stairs, thankful Helen and Glen, as well as Jake, were all fast asleep.
"Hey beautiful," Eli greeted her as she opened the door, eloping him in a tight hug, burying her face in his chest. "Thank you for coming over," She mumbled into her shirt, taking in his scent.
Eli curled his lips into a soft smile. "You'd do the same for me," he replied with a shrug. "Come on, Milady, let's get you to bed." He gently intertwined his fingers with hers and lead her up the stairs, both being hyper-aware of every noise they made; the last thing they wanted was to be caught.
"Mm, alone at last," Clare sighed, flopping down onto her bed, while Eli chose to sit down beside her. She stared at the green-eyed boy, willing him to come closer, which he complied, shifting so he was laying down beside her, pulling her close.
"Are you worried about tomorrow?" he whispered into her ear. "About the meeting with the lawyers?"
Clare noticeably stiffened. "Yes…" she breathed, clamping her eyes shut. Eli raised an eyebrow, asking her to elaborate. "It's just… it's all happening so fast, you know? Before I know it the trial will be happening and I'll have to see… him again."
Eli gave her a sympathy look and began to rub his hand up and down her back. "He'll get what he deserves," He said confidently. "Both Adam and Connor are testifying about the Stuff Clare Says, and they'll set everyone straight, and wasn't your lawyer going to look into the Toronto Interrupter's security camera for evidence? It's going to work out, Clare."
Clare didn't say anything; she only moved forward and placed a soft kiss on his lips, deepening it unexpectedly. Eli was surprised, but reciprocated quickly, moving his hands to cradle Clare's head. The curly-haired girl smiled slightly and pulled Eli's lip through her teeth, eliciting a small moan from the boy. She pulled her fingers through his dark locks, twisting her body so she lay more on top of him. "Clare… Clare…" Eli spluttered, his eyes- though drooping with the intense pleasure he was being submitted to- were full of awe and bewilderment as Clare's situated herself completely on him, straddling his waist and placing lingering kisses down his neck. "I... what is…"
Clare pulled back, emitting a small giggle as her usually brazen and dauntless boyfriend was now a tense and flustered mess.
"We've… we've never really done anything like this before…" Eli stuttered, looking uneasy. "I mean… ever since the… incident I thought you'd not want to…" He trailed off. Clare cupped his face, bringing his green eyes to look at her blue ones. "You're right." She said simply. "After everything with… Asher… I didn't want to do anything with intimacy. I felt… gross. I still do sometimes I guess… but you're not Asher, Eli… and I trust you."
He placed his hands over hers'. "So… what are you saying?" He asked, trying to not sound overly eager- he didn't want to pressure her or scare her off.
Clare blushed a deep scarlet, feeling her face burning. "I'm… I'm saying…" She bit her lip, nervousness finally settling in. "I… I might not be ready for a lot of things… and I don't know when I will be but… I would like to explore some things with you… intimately…"
Eli smirked, "Intimately, eh?"
She socked him in the arm. "Hey, watch it mister!" Clare waggled her finger in his face. "You might not be getting lucky after all!"
"Oh I am lucky, I'm with you aren't I?"
Her face melted. "You are such a cheeseball." She kissed his nose. "I am totally telling Adam you said that!"
Eli let out a low chuckle, connecting their lips together again. He let his hands ghost down Clare's back, moving to touch the skin that was exposed due to her shirt that had ridden up and slowly spread his fingers up underneath. Clare released a noise of pleasure from the back of her throat, cluing Eli in that this was okay and he wasn't pushing her boundaries; Clare responded enthusiastically, moving her hands up under Eli's worn Dead Hand shirt, feeling his muscles clench under her touch.
Her kisses grew deeper, and their tongues battled for dominance as their hands wandered into new territory. Clare began tugging on the hem of his shirt, pushing it up as far as she could without leaving his lips; she pulled back suddenly, pulling on Eli's shirt once again and giving him a look, displaying what she wanted through her eyes. Eli helped her remove his shirt, and couldn't help but flush as she grazed her hands down his naked chest for the first time.
Eli smoothed his hands up Clare's spine, moving his hands gingerly over the fabric of her bra. He kissed his way down to her collar bone, massaging her gently. "Eli," she breathed, as he began to push the shirt she was wearing up higher, exposing her more. "Eli I-"
He paused is ministrations at Clare's tone. "I... I don't think… I can't go that far…" She mumbled to him, her cheeks turning scarlet. "I'm sorry."
"it's fine," Eli told her honestly. "I want to explore intimacy with you, Clare, but only when you are ready." She smiled relief on her face. "I love you, you know."
"I love you, too." She said, snuggling into his side. "You make me feel safe… like nothing bad can happen when you are here." He kissed her temple and pulled her closer to his body. "I'm not going anywhere."
"We should get to sleep," Clare told him softly, resting her head against his chest. Eli fell back against Clare's pillow, the smell of her vanilla shampoo able to guide him into a slumber.
"Eli! ELI!" Eli heard his name being called, but mumbled some inaudible words and rolled over. "Eli," Clare repeated with urgency. "Eli, you have to get up!" She began shaking him.
"What," He said groggily, rubbing his eyes with his hand. "It's 8:30!" Clare hissed. "You are going to miss your meeting, and my mom is still here!"
"Just get dressed," Clare said sternly, throwing his black Dead Hand shirt at his face.
Eli smirked, "Are you sure, Clare. Yesterday you couldn't seem to get it off of me fast enough." He threw the shirt back.
"Eli," She laughed. "Stop being a pain."
"After you admit your sexual desire for me."
"I don't think so,"
"Well then-" Eli froze, slowly moving his hands into a gesture of surrender.
Helen Edwards had stepped into Clare's room, a furious look on her face. "Clare Diana Edwards, what on earth is Eli doing in your room? Why is he not wearing a shirt?"
Eli quickly grabbed his shirt, using it to shield his chest as he quietly stumbled away from the war about to happen.
"Mom there is a perfectly reasonable explanation, I swear!"
"What gives you the idea you can sneak a boy into your room, young lady? What kind of woman have I raised you to be?"
"At least I'm not the kind of woman that sneaks back into her house after a booty call at 4 am, scarring her daughter for life!"
Just as Eli thought the coast was clear, he began to run down the empty hallway, only to smack straight into Jake as his came out of the bathroom, toothbrush in hand. The boy in plaid starred at Eli, taking in his panic stricken face, messy hair and naked torso. "You know…" He said slowly. "I am not even going to ask…"
A/N: Excuse my awkward attept at some form of smut. Never again, I swear! Hope you all enjoyed! Please leave a review- constructive criticism is welcomed.
PS. If you are a fan of my writing, you can vote for what my next multific will be on my profile here. The story summaries are posted on my tumblr- a link to them in also on my profile.