Wow. This is it. The final chapter! Well I'd like to thank all of you who read and reviewed this story. I love you all! You guys are amazing and I'm so happy you liked this. I actually never thought I would like writing this story so much. I had a lot of fun writing it and I hope you guys enjoyed reading it. Anyways, enjoy the last and final chapter! I would love it if you would leave me a review telling me your thoughts on this chapter! :)
This chapter is dedicated to goldsworthys. You'll understand why when you get to the last sentence. :)
Disclaimer: I do not own Degrassi or Wherever You Go by RonPope (which you should totally listen to) or John Green's quote, sadly. But I do own the whip cream on Eli's nose.
"I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, then all at once." – John Green.
"Clare," Eli whines as she pulls him along the side walk. "Where are we going?"
Clare sighs, her eyes staring straight ahead, "You'll see."
There was a brief pause, Eli twisting his lips from side to side, before saying, "Are we there yet?"
"Christ, Eli. Just wait."
Eli didn't say a word after. He could detect the slight annoyance in her voice and decided it would be best if he stayed quiet. They continued to walk as the night air bit at the skin of their cheeks. Eli fiddled with his coat to wrap it tighter around him, but was interrupted when he bumped into Clare. She had stopped and was staring at something across the street. He turned to see what she was looking at and narrowed his eyes in confusion. She was staring at a coffee shop.
"You brought me out of bed at nearly one in the morning to get a cup of coffee? Clare, I could've made you coffee at home. After all I make the best, according to you."
His smirk dropped when she turned to look at him, her lips slightly pouted. "You don't remember?"
"What? Have we been here before?"
She twisted her lips to the side and nodded, removing her hand from his to wrap it around herself. Eli turned to look at the coffee shop again and concentrated. It was vaguely familiar. As he thought about it more, his face relaxed softly and he turned to her again.
"We came here one night when we first began dating," he stated softly.
She nodded and looked up at him, "Our fifth date, to be exact. Look, I wanted to bring you here because this place is special to me."
"You're not about to tell me this is where you took every other guy you've dated here on the fifth date, are you?"
Clare smiled a small smile and looked at her shoes, "You're the only guy that made it to date number five."
Eli stared at her for a moment, taking in her words. Then, he cracked a grin and wrapped his arms around her, pulling her close.
"That's my girl!"
She giggles into his chest and wraps an arm around him, pulling back to pull him towards the coffee shop, "Come on."
Once they were inside Clare asked for the booth in the corner, near the window. Eli looked at her oddly; that table was occupied and there were plenty others available. But Clare had told him that she wouldn't settle for any table other than the one she requested. He stayed quiet. Once the man who was occupying the table got up and left, Clare made her way over to it happily and with a slight skip in her step. She wiped off the table with a napkin and then sat down, getting comfortable and shaking off her coat. Eli took a seat across from her and took off his coat as well, resting his arms on the table afterwards.
"I have to ask. Why must we sit in this booth? There are plenty others just like this one."
"That's where you are wrong, Goldsworthy." Clare smirked. "This booth is much different than the others."
"How so?" Eli raised an eyebrow.
"Because," she sat up straighter and folded her hands together over the table. "I didn't fall in love with you while sitting in any other booth."
Eli's face softened and his body relaxed. She was looking at him with such affection that he was sure he wasn't dreaming. Even so, he subtly pinched himself on the arm, just to make sure. Nope. He was definitely awake. And he had never been happier to be awake at one-thirty in the morning. He reached over and grabbed one of her hands and leaned forward, his elbows sliding against the cold table top. He brought her hand to his lips and held it there for a moment, his eyes closed. He just wanted to stay in the moment forever. He pulled her hand away from his mouth, though, but held it in his tightly as he laid it on the table between them.
"May I ask how you came to this conclusion?"
She smiled, "You're going to think it's stupid."
He grinned, "I can assure you, I will not. Please tell me. Every detail."
She took a deep breath and nodded once.
"Okay, well we were sitting here on our fifth date, and we had ordered hot chocolate and shared a plate of fries. Believe it or not, I even remember the song playing at the time; Wherever You Go by Ron Pope. You were talking about something and you paused to take a sip of your hot chocolate. But when you put the cup down and continued to talk I noticed there was some whip cream on your nose." She laughed softly and looked down at the table top. "I thought about telling you but decided not to, because you were so oblivious to it and you kept talking. I only smiled and nodded my head as if I was listening to your story, but really, I wasn't. I was too busy focusing on how cute you looked."
She smiled softly, "But then you scratched your nose and took notice of the whip cream. Your eyes zeroed in on it and you went cross eyed for a second before you wiped it off with a napkin. I remember smiling at you because I had known it was there, and you laughed with a shake of your head and I knew. My heart dropped into my stomach and my breath caught in my throat and I felt like I was going to vomit, and I knew I had fallen in love with you."
She didn't look up right away but she knew he was staring at her. She didn't feel nervous or embarrassed; she just wanted to give him time to let it sink in. But Eli had had enough time to let it sink in and it was engraved in his brain before she even caught her breath after her little speech. And suddenly he could recall the night. He remembered every detail as much as she did; although he couldn't remember how the song went or even sounded like, and he gave her props for remembering that tiny detail. But he remembered everything else about that night. Even the way it ended.
"That was the night we made love for the first time," He whispered softly.
She blushed, "Do you honestly think I would have let you even touch me like that if I wasn't in love with you?"
He laughed, "The world makes sense now."
Clare rolled her eyes, "Could you stop making jokes? I'm trying to tell you that I love you. That I'm undoubtedly, incredibly and uncontrollably in love with you."
Eli grinned and sat back into the seat of the booth. He pushed his feet far under the table until his legs were tangled with hers. He sat there for a moment just smiling at her, her own smile mirroring his. But he couldn't take it anymore and he stood and leaned forward, over the table, his hands gripping the sides of her face as he kissed her. Boy, did he kiss her. She felt as if the room was spinning, the kiss was so passionate. He would only break away for a second to catch his breath before his lips would be pressed back to hers.
When they finally separated, Eli leaned back into his previous position and stared at her with his signature smirk.
She sighed lovingly, "God, I love you."
His smirk transformed into a childish smile and whispered, "And I you."
But then she stood up on the seat and he watched, loving the way she glowed with joy. There were only about two other people in the café other than a few waiters and waitresses. But even so, Clare smiled brightly as she tilted her head back and opened her arms, closing her eyes.
She yelled, "I LOVE ELIJAH GOLDSWORTHY!"
He laughed for quite a while, his hand clutching his stomach as she said it over and over again. She turned to another customer and asked, "Did you know I love this man?"
The woman had a lap top on her table; she couldn't have been more than thirty. She looked up from the screen and smiled, "I do now," and then returned to her work.
Clare sighed happily and fell back into her seat, leaning back against the seat, mimicking Eli's position.
Eli grinned at her, "God I love this booth." He turned to one of the waitresses walking by and asked, "Could we get two hot chocolates and one plate of fries, please?"
He turned back to her, his cheeks hurting from the permanent grin on his face. He placed his arms on the table and leaned forward, daring her to come closer. She stared at him for a moment with a beautiful smile; she felt so much better now that she had told him. She wasn't sure why she had held it in for so long, but was so glad that she had, finally, told him. She mimicked his position and leaned forward as well, their faces a mere inch apart.
"Your turn," she smiled wide.
He pushed his eyebrows together, "My turn?"
She nodded and bit her lip. "Tell me the moment you fell in love with me."
Eli looked down and laughed softly, "If you thought yours was weird, just wait until you hear mine."
Clare sat up straighter and waited patiently for him to start. She felt a bit eager. He had told her he loved her multiple times and the things he absolutely adores about her, but not once has he explained the moment he fell in love with her.
The waitress came back and placed their hot chocolates and the plate of fries on the table, smiling before leaving them alone once again. Clare grabbed a fry and munched on it as she stared at Eli.
Eli cleared his throat and began speaking. "It was, um, our third date. It was just after a movie and we were walking back to the car. And well – God you're going to think this is the weirdest thing ever, but you um, you… well, you sneezed. You looked shocked afterwards, like you didn't even know it was coming, and apologized, though I laughed it off. And I thought it was most adorable thing ever and I just knew. That was the moment I fell in love with you."
There was a brief pause between the two. Eli didn't even look up from his hot chocolate until she spoke.
"That is correct."
She barked out a laugh as her head fell onto the table top. Her hands reached out to grab his and he chuckled along with her, their fingers slowly intertwining. When she lifted her head to look at him, he noticed the wide smile on her face, making him feel more relaxed.
She shook her head, "It's never like this in the movies. No one in the movies falls in love because of whip cream or a sneeze. It's all bullshit, really. God, I love you."
"Please don't stop reminding me,"
Standing to her feet, Clare made her way around the table to slide in the seat beside him. She wrapped her arms around his torso, his arm wrapping around her shoulders, and rested her chin on his shoulder. He looked at her and ran his thumb on her cheek softly.
She kissed him then and, against his lips, muttered, "I love you. Oh God do I love you."
The grin on his face never faltered as he kissed her passionately, his hand holding the back of her neck to make sure she wouldn't slip away from his grasp anytime soon. When they separated she reached for a fry and popped it into her mouth. Eli stared at his hot chocolate, holding her close to him. He looked down at her to see she's munching hard on the fries and smirked to himself. He tilts her head back so he could reach her lips, tasting the salt on them. He pulled back and smiled, kissing her nose softly.
Eli sighed contently and leans back into the seat, pulling her with him, muttering, "Totally worth the wait."
She giggles and reaches up to shove a fry in his mouth, both of them laughing when he bit her finger.
The two took a cab home. They were both extremely exhausted and couldn't wait to climb under the covers of their bed. Clare had quickly changed and jumped in bed before Eli had time to slip off his shirt. He flicked the light off and took off his jeans as he made his way to the bed, clad in only his boxers as he joined Clare under the covers. Clare was facing away from him and he was too tired to be uncomfortable, so he turned to lie on his stomach, his arm bent as his hand lay under his cheek.
Yawning tiredly, Eli whispered softly into the air, "I love you, Clare."
The room was quiet for a minute. He figured she was asleep and closed his eyes, ready to fall asleep himself. Suddenly his bent arm was being lifted and Clare stuck her head under it, her nose touching his as she let his arm rest on top of her head. She wrapped her arm around his waist and held him close, kissing his cheek.
Taking a tiresome breath, she whispered, "I love you, too, Eli."
And right before he slipped into unconsciousness, he said, "I'm going to marry you someday."
She shuffled as close to him as she could get and breathed through her nose, her fingers drawing lazy designs on his side.
She sighed lovingly, her dreams beginning to take over, "I'll hold you to that."
And that night they fell asleep the way they fell in love; slowly, and then all at once.