"Thanks, Rudy." He says underneath his breath. His eyes are hazy because 1. he's as high as a kite at the moment and 2. he's so filled with sadness that there's no way his eyes will be as alive with light as they were previously. Well, at least not for a long time now.

He pulls his shirt back on and slips the cash into the parlor owner's hand. Rudy tells him that he's sorry, and that maybe next time it will all work out. But he doesn't say anything, because he's tired of hearing it. Adam's told it to him, Katie has, and Bianca mumbled some drunken statement about how she knew he would get over it, but it wasn't much.

But it's not like he didn't know that this would happen.

He knew that she was going to leave. She said she would. Summer ended – she disappeared.

He stared at the glass doors for a moment, almost imagining he can see himself and her standing outside, fingers interlocked as he tried to clarify how much he loved her. He didn't like memories anymore. Probably because he had never loved anyone as much as he had ever loved his Clare Diana. Or Clare. She was just Clare now.

The Fantastic Four was in shambles now, after Fitz's little stunt with Talia. The four of them all decided that for senior year, it might be best to go separate ways. Fitz swore that it wasn't his fault, but everyone knew the truth. He had given Talia the invitation, and he had caused the problems within the problems. It may have been an accident but the results were near fatal. Bianca told Fitz that she couldn't ever love him again, and none of them had heard from him since. Katie says he ran away to northern California. Bianca says she doesn't care.

So maybe with Fitz gone, they really will be The Fantastic Four. Bianca, Katie, Adam, and him. But he doesn't ever want to go back to Neverland. He never wants to look at that stupid book again. Goddamn Clare Diana!

Goddamn Clare Edwards!

He finally shoves his hands into his pockets after staring at the glass doors for some time now. His already foggy head is tired of being around here. It's tired of thinking of Clare and how unfortunately miserable he is without her. He had never realized how dependent he was on women. On young, immature girls. But now he does. Clare Diana has opened his eyes.

He had to fall for her.

Of all people – her.

But he knew eventually the cycle would begin again. He would get over Clare, and he would find someone brand new to fall for all over again.

It had happened with Talia.

And Julia.

And Bianca.

And Imogen.

One day, Clare Diana.

Rudy tells him one last time that he's sorry, and that he hopes he won't have to see him here again. Or at least any time soon. He says this mostly because he's tired of seeing someone so young go through heartbreak so many times. Five times. Five fucking times.

He says his final goodbye, and pushes through the door with one hand and stares at the busy street in front of him. School is stating in less than a week, and he's never seen the street so crowded with young teenagers picking out new clothes for the school year and spending their cash on things they don't really need but find so glamorous they just have to buy. He mutters something underneath his breath, and takes a step out from underneath the overhang fully into the sidewalk – only to be collided into in a matter of seconds.

She hits him with a subtle oof! sound, both of them stumbling back a few steps to collect the breath that's been stolen from both of their lungs. She was carrying several overflowing bags of clothing, which fall to the ground in a pile. He eyes them suspiciously. They don't have any brand names on the bags which appear to be shopping bags from the nearest grocery store. It doesn't appear that she's shopping, but instead… giving back? That didn't seem to be right.

"Oh my goodness!" She cries, getting down onto her knees to pick up the scattered clothing. Her high pitched voice makes him scowl, as he bends down to help her.

"You should really fucking watch where you're going next time, princess." He spits, and she looks at him nervously, apologetically.

"I truly am sorry." She says sincerely. "You just came out of nowhere."

Both of them stand to their feet. He's holding two of the bags for her, while she holds only one. She stares at him for a moment, her long, straight blonde hair hanging neatly over her shoulders while she tries to figure him out with only a glance. He huffs, wanting to shove the bags into her arms and take off in the other direction. He doesn't have time for this. He wants to go home and do more drugs.

Perhaps Clare was right. Maybe he was a drug addict.

No – NO.

No more thinking of Clare.

"Thanks for helping me pick up the clothes," She mentions. He notices the way she tries to tuck her loose hairs out of her eyes and behind her ear. She's pretty, he guesses. "I was on my way to deliver them to the Good Will."

"The Good Will?" He asks. He tries not to laugh inappropriately at her, but he snorts because he can't help it. "Why would you do that?"

"I just moved in," She tells him. "I was taking my clothes out of the boxes, and I decided the best way to get rid of the things I didn't want any more was to give them to those less fortunate. I also heard this place was pretty well known for their thrifting."

He shrugs. "I guess it is."

He's remembering stealing clothes with she-who-shall-not-be-thought-of. He's remembering the leather jackets.

"Anyway," She tosses some of her blonde hair over her shoulder and gives him one hell of a grin. "I should probably –"

"Where are you moving from?" He butts in.

"Florida!" She answers him cheerfully.

At least it's not Canada.

At least it's in the country.

"My father's a pastor. He's going to be the new pastor of Calvary Christian. Have you heard of it before?"

He blinks. A preachers daughter. "Sure." He says plainly. He really has no idea, of course, but he plays along because she seems so innocent. And he has a thing for innocent girls, unfortunately. He's drawn to them like moths to a flame. "My parents go there all the time." He lies. That seems to get her to bubble over with excitement.

"Maybe I'll see you there!"

He shoves the bags into her arms and shrugs passively. "Maybe. I don't know."

He almost takes this as an invitation, and in a way, a smirk curls into his poisoned lips. His dull, hazy eyes seem to sparkle just a little bit. He knows where to find her now, if he wants to. The golden haired girl gives him one last smile, and tries to hold her hand out to him from under her mess of bags.

He takes it, and shakes it.

"I'm Becky Baker." She tells him.

"I'm Eli Goldsworthy."

There he goes again.

Hooking up and cigarettes.