DISCLAIMER: I don't own Degrassi or anything else.

Well, 12c is upon us, and for all of the hell they are going to put us through I am fairly certain we are finally going to get real canon Eclare sex. I'm less certain that it will happen during Bittersweet Symphony as I had originally hoped, and think that stupid clichéd prom sex is probably all we're going to get, but I do think it will happen. (And hey, if it doesn't, that probably is just proof that Eli is sticking around for at least a few appearances next season, so it wouldn't be the end of the world).

But as a predominantly "canon" fic writer, having Eli and Clare sleep together on the show is a little bittersweet for me because it means that I won't be able to write any more first time fics. So I decided to write one last first time story, and if you look at the word count, you'll see that I have literally thrown in everything and the kitchen sink.

Hope you enjoy! Please review and let me know what you think!


Eli

The worst thing about my grade 12 year was that Clare and I didn't have any classes together. She had opted to take creative writing instead of AP English 4, postponing that class until her own grade 12 year – probably with the initial intent of avoiding me back when we were broken up. But now we were back together, and we didn't even have the same lunch period. Our school day relationship consisted of infrequent meetings at our lockers or the media centre between classes. For the last few months we'd been spending most of our time together after school, but lately with all the preparations for my zombie film and Clare's commitments to the newspaper, Jesus Club, and the yearbook, it hadn't been quite enough.

I hadn't even left for NYU yet, and I already missed Clare like crazy.

When the bell rang after my French class, I hustled down the hall, knowing Clare usually returned to her locker after her Physics lab. She grinned as soon as she saw me coming toward her and once I reached her I leaned in for a kiss. "Hey, you," I said, knowing there was a goofy smile on my face but not really caring.

"Just the man I was looking for," Clare said. "I have a proposition for you."

Although any other girl might have made that sound dirty, Clare's tone was serious. I screwed up my face in a grimace. "Jesus Club isn't having another car wash, are they? Because if you want me to listen to them singing bad Christian rock songs for two hours, you're going to have to wear a bikini this time."

She shook her head, rolling her eyes as she laughed. "It's Friendship Club, not Jesus Club, and I don't ever wear bikinis."

"Now that's something you should change," I teased.

"They don't exactly provide enough support," she explained, vaguely gesturing at her ample rack.

"Even better," I wiggled my eyebrows at her and she whacked my arm.

"Well you're in luck; there's no car wash. I just wanted to know if you had any plans for tonight."

I didn't, but I knew Clare usually stayed late at the newspaper on Thursdays, finishing up the week's edition of the Degrassi Daily. "I'm busy," I lied, planning to set up a joke about how I'd rather wash cars with Mary and Joseph than write a review of a Carly Rae Jepson album for her, but Clare looked crushed and I couldn't go through with it. "Hanging out with you."

"Good," she said. "Glen surprised Mom with a long weekend in Montreal, so I was thinking that maybe you could spend the night."

Spend the night? My eyebrows raised in curiosity but I didn't want to make any assumptions about what that might mean – or worse, make Clare feel pressured by the fact that I was making assumptions. "That sounds great," I said. "I'd love to spend the night with you."

She grinned and leaned in for a slightly longer kiss. Clare wasn't one to flaunt the PDA rules and I wondered if she really might mean what I thought she meant. "Should I bring anything? Footie pajamas? Ouija board? Doritos? Horror movies?"

Clare leaned in close and whispered in my ear. "I was thinking you should bring the condoms that you bought last month."

My eyes widened in shock. Not only was I now certain that Clare intended to sleep with me tonight, but I hadn't told her I'd bought condoms. I'd purchased them as a precautionary measure after the first time she had let me not only finger her, but remove all of her clothing beforehand. I'd sensed we were getting closer to sex, but when Clare climbed on top of me, completely naked, and removed my jeans and boxers before returning the favour, I knew it was only a matter of time and that I needed to get prepared.

But I hadn't mentioned them to her because I hadn't wanted her to think I was expecting more or that just because we had protection available meant that she had to be ready. "How did you…?" I asked, unable to finish the sentence.

"I saw them in your backpack," she admitted. "I was looking for a pen and I didn't find one and I thought maybe you had just bought some at the drugstore."

"Are you…okay with that?" I asked, nervously biting my lip. "I should have told you but I didn't want you to feel like I was pressuring you."

She looked confused. "Of course I'm okay. It's good that you wanted to be prepared. And you've never pressured me."

"Are you sure you're ready?" I asked, still nervous that this could be something she was doing for the wrong reasons. "Just because your parents are gone doesn't mean we have to…"

She placed a finger on my lip. "I have never been so certain of anything in my life."

Her tone was resolute and I grinned, fully believing her for the first time. "Well okay then," I said.

The bell rang, startling us. "Gotta get to class," Clare said, leaning closer to me as she tried to pass me. I tried to capture her lips with mine but she pulled away still grinning. "You can kiss me later," she called over her shoulder.

"Kiss you where?" I called, glad the hallway had pretty much cleared out.

Clare turned back and smirked at me for a second before hustling off to Pre-Calc.

It was a few minutes before I regained enough sense to get myself to the locker room for my next class.


Clare

I couldn't help but pace back and forth in the kitchen while I waited for Eli to arrive. I tried to go over my mental checklist of things I had planned to do and completed: straightened up bedroom, made my bed, showered, shaved, put on slightly sexy nightgown underneath my – slightly too fancy for hanging out at home – dress. Eli was bringing the condoms so I didn't have to worry about that. I'd picked up a frozen pizza and a box of brownies on the way home from school; it wasn't exactly the most romantic meal but I had a feeling we might not want to leave the house after…well…

After I lost my virginity to the love of my life.

Jake came down the stairs and into the kitchen, grabbing a bowl and the box of Lucky Charms. He glanced at me before opening the refrigerator door to get the milk. "What are you so dressed up for?"

"Nothing," I said defensively. He raised an eyebrow. "I have a date with Eli tonight."

"That's cool," he said. "I have a date with the remote control."

I groaned inwardly and turned away. I had hoped Jake might have some plans to go out tonight so that there weren't any awkward interruptions. I had thought about sleeping over at Eli's instead, but I figured that if Jake found out, he wouldn't be nearly as embarrassing as Cece and Bullfrog would be. But sleeping with Eli at my house had its own set of complications. I had learned that hard way when Jake was dating Katie that the walls between our rooms were very thin, and I didn't want him to distract Eli from me by getting him to play Xbox with him.

Although considering I had told Eli what my plans were for tonight, I doubted that playing Xbox with my stepbrother would hold much allure.

"What is wrong with you?" Jake asked, pulling me out of my thoughts. "You're all tense and pacing. You're making me nervous."

"Nothing is wrong," I said. "I'm just waiting for Eli to get here."

Jake hopped up on the counter, eating his cereal while he continued to watch me pace. "I'm sure he'll be here soon. You don't need to go crazy waiting for him."

"You're right," I said, taking a seat at the kitchen table, though my foot was still wiggling nervously.

I felt really uncomfortable under Jake's gaze, and I knew it had to do with the fact that for the first time in months, I was thinking about what had happened when we were together. As much as I knew that my relationship with Eli was completely different from when I had dated Jake on a number of levels, the last time I offered to sleep with someone, Jake had said no and our relationship had ended. I recalled that Eli had done the same thing, but I knew that even if Eli hadn't, there was no way I would have gone through with it at that point in our relationship.

If Jake hadn't rejected me, I probably would have slept with him. And even though in retrospect I was glad it had worked out that way, that I hadn't slept with the guy I now thought of as family rather than an ex, that I'd be sharing my first time with Eli whom I really thought I could spend the rest of my life with, it was still a painful reminder of being rejected.

I couldn't help but be concerned that it could happen again.

Eli had always been so cautious with me. The first time we dated he only tried to take things farther once, and after I'd slapped his hand away from my breast – so naïve that I was shocked he'd attempted it – he had kept his hands innocent at all times. When we'd gotten back together, I'd put some of my limited experience to good use and had taken his shirt off and later mine, when I realized if I didn't do it, he never would. It had let him know I was ready for more, and he did start to initiate things, albeit slowly and only after seeking reassurance at every step.

I was worried that he would refuse to sleep with me, using my nervousness as evidence that I wasn't ready. And the more I thought about that, the more anxious I got. And having Jake here in the house just added another level of uncomfortableness to an already awkward situation.

"Are you sure you don't want to get out tonight?" I suggested. "Mom and Glen are out. No curfew. You could…" I tried to think of something that would convince Jake to leave. "You could go smoke some pot," I said, when no reasonable argument came to mind.

Jake smirked at me, clearly amused by my suggestion since he knew I disapproved of his drug habit. "Why? So you and Eli can have the house to yourselves?"

"That would be nice," I said, my voice a little higher pitched than usual.

If it were possible, Jake's smirk grew wider. "You're going to have sex with him."

"What?" I squeaked, completely aware of how foolish I founded. "You're crazy."

"Sure I am," he laughed. "I would have thought if someone was going to take advantage of Dad and Helen's Montreal trip it would have been me, but clearly I'm wrong on that."

I realized that Jake was more amused by this than upset and despite the fact that I'd thrown him under the bus after my mom thought the weed belonged to Eli, I knew this wasn't something he'd tell her about. Rather than denying it, I just said softly, "Do you think you could find someplace to go for a few hours?"

Jake put his finished bowl in the sink and joined me at that table. Rather than answering my question, he asked, "So is this…I mean…you guys haven't before?"

I looked down at my hands and shook my head. Jake reached across the table and touched my hand briefly. "I think I'll go hang out at Mo's for a few hours."

"Really?" I asked, and he smiled in response.

"Yeah…and I'll sleep on the couch when I get home."

I jumped up from the table and threw my arms around him. "Thank you so much," I breathed, feeling some relief knowing that Eli and I would actually have some privacy.

"Thank you for warning me," he said as he pulled back. "I wouldn't want to come upstairs and hear you and Eli…ugh."

I rolled my eyes. "It would just be payback for you and Katie."

Jake's smug grin looked proud, but I could see the sadness in his eyes as he thought of his ex-girlfriend. "Eli's coming," he said, pointing out the window.

I turned to look and smiled at the sight of him. Jake poked me in the side. "Hey, Clare, I…" He coughed, and I was shocked out how serious he sounded. "I hope this is exactly what you've been waiting for."

As touching as the sentiment was, it was the last thing I needed at that moment. "Ugh, I'm so nervous and now you're going to make me cry." I was already feeling the pressure of such a momentous occasion and to have Jake remind me of how much weight I had personally assigned to it was almost too much.

He clapped me on the back. "Oh, and give him a hand job first; it's been a loooong time."

My jaw dropped in shock at his blunt statement. I knew for certain that Eli hadn't slept with Imogen when they'd dated, but I wasn't sure how Jake would know. "Eww, do you talk about sex with my boyfriend?" I asked in alarm.

"Only when we're high," he admitted as Eli rang the doorbell.

I shoved him. "Get out," I said, not wanting to remember the incident when I'd come home to find Jake and Eli stoned out of their minds, especially since I knew it hadn't been the first time.

Eli looked surprised to find both of us standing at the door when he arrived. "Hey Clare…Jake."

"I'm leaving," Jake said. "I've decided to go take Clare's advice."

He waved over his shoulder as Eli looked at me curiously. "You don't want to know," I said. I led him into the house and closed the door. "Shall we?" I asked awkwardly, pointing up the stairs.


Eli

I dropped my backpack on Clare's desk chair and sat down on her bed. She still stood in front of her closed door, and I could tell there was something wrong. Gone was the confident, radiant girl who had asked me to spend the night with her. Instead Clare shifted from foot to foot, looking more nervous than I had ever seen her before.

But before I could ask her what was wrong, she asked, "So how should we do this? Should we get undressed or…?" She trailed off at the end of her question, holding the hem of her rather fancy dress in her hands. She raised it slightly and I could see some sort of silky fabric underneath, but as much as I was curious about what was under her dress, I knew this wasn't the way to go about this.

"We don't have to do it right this second, you know. We can talk first," I suggested, and I was surprised when Clare didn't really look relieved. "Would you like to sit down?" I patted the area next to me on the bed.

She sat down next to me, her fingers clutching the bedspread, but she didn't say a word. I had no idea what had happened to make her look so upset. For a brief moment, I wondered if Jake might have said something to her that caused her to change her mind. I gazed at her but she gave me no indication of what she was thinking.

"Clare, if you don't want to…"

"I want to," she cut me off, averring emphatically.

"It doesn't seem like it," I said gently.

"Maybe you're the one who doesn't want to," she said, her tone accusatory.

"What?" I asked. "Do you really think that?" I felt like it was pretty clear that I had wanted her since we shared our first kiss during the Romeo and Juliet project and I couldn't understand how she could possibly think otherwise.

"I don't know," she said softly, but she didn't offer any explanation.

"I don't think we should do this right now," I said, knowing that something was clearly wrong.

She flinched as if I had slapped her. "I knew this was going to happen."

"Knew what was going to happen? Clare, you're not making any sense."

"You don't want me," she said, as if that answered my question.

"Of course I want you," I explained. "But you're acting really strange right now and I just want to know that you're okay."

"Well then let's do it," she said, reaching for the buttons on my shirt.

"Clare!" I said, pulling away from her. "Stop."

I could see a tear running down her face. "Every time I tell someone I want to sleep with them, they always reject me."

She wouldn't meet my eyes but her sadness tore at my heart. "Clare…I am not rejecting you."

"You told me to stop…"

"This isn't you, Clare. You're nervous and you're either avoiding me or throwing yourself at me. I just want to talk about this. I need you to tell me what's wrong."

It took her a minute before she took a deep breath and responded, "I'm scared you're not going to sleep with me. I'm afraid I'm going to put myself out there and you're going to reject me."

I gaped at her. "Why would I want to do that?"

"You've done it before," she said pointedly.

I stared at her in confusion. "You mean the time you showed up on my doorstep and asked to spend the night with me? When we'd been dating for what, a month? And not 24 hours before you'd reminded me you were waiting until marriage to have sex? You're really upset that I didn't sleep with you that night?"

"No," she said softly, looking down and refusing to meet my eyes. And with a sinking heart, I realized that this wasn't entirely about me.

She had told me after we'd gotten back together what had transpired between her and Jake, and I had to admit it hurt. I knew that she had loved him, but I never thought that she'd been in love with him, and the fact that she had been the one to offer to sleep with him – when she certainly hadn't with me – really killed me. I tried to be understanding; it wasn't like I hadn't considered sleeping with Imogen, and if our relationship had lasted longer than a week, it could have been a possibility. But right at this moment, I couldn't keep the thought out of my head that she might be currently upset over what happened with Jake because she still had feelings for him. I wondered again if Jake had said something to remind her of their relationship and that was why things were so weird when he left.

"Do you…?" I began but my voice cracked and I had to start over. "Do you regret the fact that you didn't sleep with Jake? Would you rather this be our first time together but not…but not your first time?"

Clare's eyes widened. "No," she said immediately. "I might have felt differently in that moment, but I'm so glad I didn't sleep with him. And not just because of you." She reached over and touched my hand. "I want my first time to be with you. And I know it's probably naïve but I'm really hoping that I don't ever have a first time with anyone else."

I couldn't help but breathe a sigh of relief but her words didn't exactly alleviate my confusion. "I'm not sure I understand what you're upset about then."

She turned her body toward me on the bed. "Even if both times I'm glad it didn't happen, it really hurt at the time. And I just don't want tonight to be like those nights, and the more I think about it the more nervous it makes me. I'm just scared that you're not going to believe me. Because I'm ready, Eli. I love you and I want to be with you…tonight and for the rest of my life."

I put my hand on her cheek and pulled her in for a soft kiss. "I want that too, Clare. But I don't know if it's a good idea when you're so anxious about it."

She shrank back from me and I could feel her slipping away again and I knew I had to find a way to fix this situation. Because it wasn't about sex. It was about the two of us communicating and being on the same page for once.

"I'll tell you what…," I said, reached for her hand. "I promise that I will make love to you tonight…but you need to promise that if you're feeling uncomfortable with anything, you'll let me know." She nodded, a small smile creeping onto her face, telling me that I was on the right track. "And first I need you to turn around."

Her eyes widened. "Eli, I'm not going to let you do that."

I couldn't help but laugh at her expression though I was curious as to exactly which sex act she was ruling out. "Relax, Edwards. All I'm going to do is give you a back rub – help you relax a little bit."

She let out a sigh of relief and turned around. I moved farther back on the bed and put my legs on either side of her, but I didn't leave much room between us. I started rubbing her shoulders, but I leaned in so I could whisper in her ear. "So what exactly did you think I was suggesting?"

Clare flinched. "I can't even say it," she whispered, but her tone told me what her words couldn't.

It was kind of shocking to me that someone as innocent as Clare would even think something like that was a possibility. I decided to reassure her. "Well you don't have to worry. I'm not going to stick anything where it doesn't belong." I pressed a kiss into her neck and I could feel her body relaxing as my hands moved over her. "But it might be nice to do it the normal way, with me behind you," I said softly. "Maybe we could try that after we've done it a few times."

"You're optimistic," she teased, but there was a smile in her tone. "Planning on making this a regular thing?"

"Yes," I said, my voice practically a moan as my hands worked their way up her sides and I had to force myself to keep from reaching around to grope her. "As regular as you want it to be."

She let out a happy sigh. "This feels so good."

"Just think about how good it will feel when I'm inside you," I teased her, bring my hand down her front for just a second before pulling it back and continuing to rub her shoulders.

"Eli!" she laughed.

"You know, I didn't get a chance to tell you how beautiful you look," I said. "This dress is really pretty on you."

"Is it okay? I know it's kind of fancy."

"It's lovely. You're lovely." I brought my fingers up her side and touched the zipper holding it on her. "Could I take it off?"

"Okay," she whispered.

I unzipped her but she stood up to pull the dress over her head. Underneath she was wearing a short, satin black nightgown with a strip of pink flowers at the edges, held up by flimsy straps. On most women it would look like normal sleepwear but on Clare, it looked unbelievably sexy.

"Wow," I said, reaching out to run my fingers over the fabric at her waist. "I changed my mind. The dress was terrible. This is lovely."

She giggled and stepped closer to the bed. "Can I kiss you yet?"

"Nope," I said, leaning in to kiss her but pulling back at the last second. As much as I wanted to move things forward, the idea of smoothing that sexy fabric over her body sounded like the perfect kind of foreplay. "Your massage isn't over yet."

A slow smile spread across her face. "Have I told you how wonderful I think you are?"

I smirked in response, "I'm hoping you'll show me later."


Clare

I was ready to show him now, but Eli laid me down on the bed this time and straddled my legs to resume his massage. I couldn't believe how good his hands were making me feel as they roamed up and down my back, and the silkiness of the material under his hands only made the feeling better. He had never really done this to me before, with the exception of a few minute long neck rubs when I was stressed out. It was Jake's signature move, but this felt completely different; with Jake, it was a come on – an excuse to get his hands on my body knowing that I'd ruled out most other forms of physical intimacy. Eli, on the other hand, knew this night was leading to sex and yet his actions were solely about making me feel comfortable and relaxed.

But even though his motives were pure, the effect was quite the opposite. I was completely aroused and ready for him to touch me everywhere – my breasts, my lips, between my legs where a pool of wetness was already forming. I could tell he was feeling the same way as he leaned down to rub my shoulders, creating goosebumps on the now bared skin. He was straddling my butt and I could feel his hardness and I wiggled back against him to let him know I was ready for more.

He seemed to get the picture and I could feel him back up. But while I thought he'd get off of me and keep going the way I was used to, his hands continued their journey – but this time they had a destination in mind. He lifted the skirt of the material over my hips, revealing the matching underwear that had come with this nightie. I had wanted to look a little bit special for him, and he let out a gasp of appreciation.

"A thong?" he said breathlessly as his fingers traced the fabric, causing me to spread my legs a little in anticipation. "Wow, that's sexy."

I was glad he appreciated it because it had felt a little silly and uncomfortable for the last hour that I'd been wearing it. But I couldn't say as much because he resumed his massage, his hands completely on the bare skin of my lower back and moving downward. His caresses were still gentle but they seemed more purposeful, though they still weren't doing anything to relieve the intense feeling he was building.

"Eli," I whimpered when his fingers grazed the area between my legs for just a moment before retreated upward. I was tired of the teasing and all I wanted was more.

The next thing I knew I felt his fingertips on my hipbones, dragging the thong that Eli had thought was so sexy down my thighs and calves before he dropped it onto the floor. I moved to sit up but Eli held me in place with a gentle hand on the small of my back.

"Not yet," he said. I was about to groan in frustration when he slipped two fingers into me and the sound that emerged was decidedly more positive.

"Ohhh," I moaned. He continued the motion, stroking me in a slow rhythm. He flexed his fingers around a bit as if he were trying to stretch things out to get my body ready for him. I had discovered during Eli's initial explorations of this area that having his fingers inside me alone wasn't enough to bring me to completion but there was something about the angle he was hitting with his fingers entering me from behind that made this feel better than usual. And every few strokes, his thumb reached out to rub against my clitoris, speeding up the intensity of the feeling.

I was letting out a few little pants and moans, glad that no one else was home and I didn't have to restrain myself further. But I was surprised when Eli – who was still fully clothed and hadn't even been the recipient of a kiss, let along more – let out a loud moan of his own.

"I'm glad you're enjoying this," I teased. I wished I was on my back like usual so I could touch my breasts in front of him, knowing how much he enjoyed it when I participated in my own pleasure.

His voice was breathier than ever before. "I just keep thinking that in a little while it's going to be my cock that's thrusting inside of you."

Ordinarily his words would have made me blush with embarrassment. But today it just made me feel bold. "Stop," I commanded, knowing it was the only way I could speed the process up, and Eli immediately removed his hands from me and jumped off both my body and the bed.

"I'm sorry!" he said, holding his hands up in surrender. "We don't have to do it; I swear, it was just a joke."

"Eli…" I sat up, facing him on my knees. "I want you now." To prove it, I grabbed the hem of the nightie and pulled it over my head, baring my body to him. It wasn't the first time he had seen me without clothes but I had never provided such a brazen display for him. I felt a rush of power at the look of awe on his face.

"Fuck, you are just…Forget the dress and the thong and the…whatever that thing was," he said, reaching for me. "Just be naked all the time."

I laughed. "I don't think so."

"Why not?" he pouted in jest, joining me back on the bed and putting his hands on my waist.

"It's awfully cold here in Toronto."

"We'll move to a tropical island," he said, nipping at my neck.

I shook my head. "The sunburn would be awful."

"You ruin all my fun," he joked.

"Oh really?" I teased. I reached down and touched him through his jeans. "I ruin all your fun?"

"You don't ruin anything," he said, his tone more serious than necessary in this moment.

I tugged on his shirt. "Your clothes are ruining my view of your body."

"I like it when you're eager." He pulled the t-shirt over his head quickly, and I gestured at his pants. He stood to remove them, taking his boxers with them as he kicked off his shoes and socks. It wasn't the first time I had seen him naked either, and Eli's lack of modesty had meant he didn't usually hide under sheets or try to cover himself up using my body the way I often did to him. But I loved how his slender frame fit together, the long fingers and rumpled hair I was used to seeing looked even better next to the lean muscles he'd started to build working out as part of his therapy regimen. I had to admit, I even liked seeing his penis. It certainly wasn't the most attractive part of the male anatomy but I loved how much he enjoyed it whenever I touched him or the one time I'd been brave enough to take him into my mouth. I'd known for a long time that Eli had loved me, but I still got a thrill out of seeing the proof that Eli wanted me as well.

I was surprised that Eli looked a little less confident than usual, and he shifted awkwardly, his hand on his neck, not meeting my eyes. "Should I put the condom on now?"

It seemed like the tables had turned and Eli was now the nervous one. I realized that since the whole encounter thus far had been about me, he was thinking too much with his brain and it was getting the better of him.

I reached for his hand and tugged him back onto the bed. "You can put the condom on when we're done kissing."

He landed on top of me as I lay back against my pillow. "Ohhhh," he pouted. "I'll never be done kissing you."

I grinned as his lips met mine. And for the next few minutes, he proved it, our mouths fused together as our hands roamed each other. This was comfortable, familiar, and we lost ourselves the way we always did, with tangled tongues and sweaty bodies. But it was proving to again not be enough and when Eli's fingers entered me once again, I knew that it was time.

"Do you want to get the condom?" I asked softly.

His fingers continued their ministrations. "I want to get you off."

His words made me think about my earlier conversation. "Should I do that for you? I mean, Jake said…" I cut off, realizing what I had revealed.

Eli sat up. "What did Jake say?" he asked, his tone clearly unhappy.

I screwed up my face in embarrassment. "He said I should give you a…" I made a hand job gesture in lieu of staying the words, "first since it has been a while for you."

I wasn't sure what I expected Eli's reaction to be, but I was shocked when he burst out into laughter. He seemed unable to catch his breath, leading to a coughing fit and I patted him on the back. "Are you okay?"

"Yeah, I just…" He let out a small cough but seemed to get himself under his control. "Is that why you guys were so weird when he left?"

I nodded. "I suggested he might want to go out for a while and he guessed what our plans were. And then he told me that and it's not exactly the kind of thing you want to hear from your stepbrother."

Eli laughed. "At least it wasn't your father. Bullfrog also found the condoms in my bag and decided a refresher sex conversation was in order."

I wrinkled my nose. "This conversation is not really helping me stay in the mood. Should we…get back to things?" I made the gesture again and Eli grabbed my wrist gently.

"That won't be necessary," he explained. "I took care of it before I came over for that very reason."

"That was smart," I said, blushing as I thought of Eli touching himself.

"But I'm assuming that you did not take care of things in advance so you should let me do that."

I blushed, though his assumption was correct – at least about today. I knew Eli would be shocked if he knew that I wasn't quite as innocent as he thought I was when I returned home after our heated dates. "It's okay. I want to do this now."

"Are you sure?" he asked. I could tell that his doubts were strictly limited to this very moment and not the whole night and I was grateful that he understood I really was ready. "I mean, it's your first time and it might not be that great."

"I don't care," I said, throwing my arms around him. "I just want to be with you."

He leaned back and pushed a curl behind my ear, staring deep into my eyes. "I've wanted this for so long, Clare. I didn't mind waiting for you, but this is what I've always wanted."

The gentleness in his loving tone brought a tear to my eye, but as emotional as this moment was, I didn't want to delay the moment any longer. "Condom," I said emphatically.

As soon as he hopped off the bed and turned his back to me in search of his bag containing the box of protection, I took a deep breath. I knew that this was my last chance to change my mind, to put the breaks on. To decide that the vow I had made years before I understood what this moment really meant was still what I wanted. I knew that if I told him I wasn't ready, Eli would immediately stop what he was doing and pull me into his arms and tell me he loved me, disappointed but not angry. I knew he'd tell me that we would wait as long as I wanted and that if I did want to wait until marriage that his only hope would be that he'd be the lucky groom.

Because I knew all of that – that Eli loved me more than anything and that he wanted to spend forever with me and just wanted me to be happy – I knew that I didn't need to wait any longer.

Eli knelt next to me on the bed, and I watched him as he carefully tore the wrapper open and inspected it to make sure he was putting it on right. He rolled it down his length and I wondered if it was uncomfortable for him but I felt too shy to ask. He moved between my legs and I lay down, focusing on my breathing so I didn't start shaking with nerves.

I thought Eli would immediately try to get inside me but instead he was hovering over me on his hands and knees. He put his hand on my face, pushing my hair back from my temple. "I love you, Clare Edwards."

"I love you too," I whispered and leaned up for a kiss.

"Tell me if it hurts or you need me to stop," he said, getting himself into position. I nodded, unable to respond. He took his penis in his hand and leaned down to enter me. I tried to stay relaxed, knowing that would help but he didn't couldn't seem to get it at the right angle.

He let out a frustrated groan. I resisted the urge to tease him about how he was supposed to be the experienced one and asked, "Is there anything I can do to help?"

Eli thought for a moment. "Here," he said, gripping my hips and angling them upward a little bit. "Let's try that."

He resumed his attempt and I could feel him pushing into me this time. He moved slowly and it felt more strange than painful until the barrier broke and I winced. "I'm sorry," he said. I knew his apology was genuine but it was clear from the look on his face that every second of this was feeling amazing for him.

"It's okay," I said. He had managed to get all the way inside and the pain had receded back to merely uncomfortable. "Just go slow."

He nodded and kept his hips completely still as he leaned down to kiss me. I wrapped my arms around his shoulders and his hands gripped my waist as if he were trying to hold himself steady. I felt almost giddy as we kissed passionately. After all this time of thinking about it, wondering about it, and worrying about it, I was finally having sex.

It wasn't as mindblowing as the first time Eli had given me an orgasm or as sweet as our first kiss. But it was deeply intimate and personal and the closest I had ever felt to another person. And it was awkward and weird, but it felt completely right.

I raked my fingernails down Eli's naked back and he pressed his lips into my neck, sucking gently on the spot that he knew drove me crazy. I moved my hips experimentally and while it still felt awkward to have Eli pressing his weight against me with my legs splayed open, things were definitely feeling better.

"You can move," I told him, urging him with my hands on his lower back.

He closed his eyes. "Fuuuuuck," he said, letting the word slip out at the same pace as his motion. Rather than chastise his language, I silenced him with a long, deep kiss.

Eli trailed a hand down my body, from my cheekbone to my neck, my breast to my hip, grasping at my thigh. He pulled my leg so I could wrap it around his waist and the other followed suit. "Ohh, Clare," he moaned again and increased his pace a little more.

I could tell boy the noises he was making that things weren't going to last much longer. It was starting to feel kind of nice but I knew that finishing along with him wasn't going to be in the cards for me. I toyed with giving it a shot myself, but I wasn't sure I was ready to share something that private with Eli even though we were currently enmeshed in the most intimate connection we'd ever shared. Besides, our bodies were literally fused together and as close as physically possible in all other places and I didn't want to let him go even for a second.

I tightened my legs around him and started to move in time with his thrusts. His mouth attacked mine to tell me that everything I was doing was exactly what he wanted, though in the final few moments he pulled back to look at me before his eyes closed involuntarily as he shuddered into me.

Eli collapsed on top of me as gently as he could manage and I just held him, so amazed by what we had just experienced and the feeling of his skin against mine. After a minute, he pulled away with a look of regret on his face and retreated to the bathroom to dispose of the condom.

I knew I had a silly smile on my face and when Eli returned and flopped down on the bed next to me, wrapping his arm around my waist, his expression mirrored mine. "You're grinning," I teased.

"So are you," he said in the same tone.

"I'm really happy," I said, leaning in for a kiss.

"You have no idea," Eli said, pulling me closer.


Eli

Clare and I lay tangled together in her bed for a long time, whispering sweet and trite sentiments to each other, until my stomach let out a loud rumble. Much to my disappointment, she insisted that before we head downstairs to make dinner, we had to put all of our clothes back on as Jake would be returning at some point that night. I pouted as she redressed in simple underpants and regular pajamas rather than her sexy outfit from earlier, but really, I didn't mind. Clare looked beautiful in everything and while a change of pace was always welcome I preferred her in the comfortable cotton.

We couldn't keep our hands off each other while we waited for the pizza to warm in the oven. It wasn't about sex anymore, but closeness and sweetness. She leaned up to press a kiss into my cheek as she reached for a glass from the cupboard. And I wrapped my arms around her and pulled her onto my lap before feeding her a piece of a brownie. I must have told her I loved her about twenty times and every time her eyes lit up as she reciprocated.

We were completely sappy. And for once, I was completely okay with that.

After we finished eating we took the leftover brownies up to her room and snuggled together on her bed. She was flipping through the TV channels but her effort was half-hearted. It was too early to go to sleep but it was hard to find a follow up activity that could hold a candle to first-time sex.

After a few minutes of clearly not finding anything that caught her attention, Clare turned the tv off and looked at me. "Can I ask you a question?" she asked softly, a faint blush on her cheeks.

"Sure," I said.

She took a deep breath. "Was that…I mean…was it as good as last time?"

I blinked at her. "Sex?" I asked, surprised that she would ask me that. Clare rarely brought up Julia generally and for her to ask a direct question about my previous sex life was unheard of. But she nodded and I realized she expected me to answer.

I didn't want to diminish what had just happened between us by telling her that I was a guy and frankly, sex was always pretty fucking amazing. And I didn't want to tell her how I'd spent an entire year after Julia's death recounting that final experience in my mind nearly every time I jerked off and that may have affected my recall of that incident. And while I knew my relationship with Clare had eclipsed my relationship with Julia in some ways, mostly because we had more opportunities to grow together, I didn't want to inflate Clare's ego at the expense of Julia's memory.

"It was amazing being with you," I said gently, reaching for her hand.

"But not as amazing as being with Julia," she whispered.

I shook my head. "That's not true," I said, realizing that my reluctance to address her question had led her to the wrong conclusion. "The only advantage that I had when I was with Julia was that we had done it more." Her eyes widened and I rushed to explain. "Not that many times," I assured her, not wanting to put a number on it but also not wanting her to think the worst. "But we got really comfortable with each other and were figuring out what each other liked, and with you, it's a completely new experience. So it's amazing and wonderful and I loved being with you, but I'm looking forward to figuring out what I can do to make sex an amazing experience for you. I know this wasn't the best for you, so no matter how much I loved it, I want you to feel the same way."

Clare had a small smile on her face and I let out a sigh of relief that I had saved this moment. "I did love it," she confirmed. "I thought it would be a lot worse actually…since it was my first time."

"And you wanted to save that horrible first time for your wedding night," I teased.

She laughed. "I should have. It wasn't horrible at all."

"You don't regret not waiting, right?"

"No," she said with a smirk. "If anything, I regret waiting this long."

"Really?" I raised an eyebrow in amusement. "When exactly do you wish we had done it? Vegas Night? Because that's what I was thinking."

She gave my chest a light shove. "How could you even think that?"

"If we were off banging in a classroom, Fitzy boy never would have a chance to pull a knife on me."

Clare grimaced at the memory. "I was thinking more like after Romeo and Jules."

"That was months ago!" I said in mock horror. "Think of all the sex we missed out on!"

I wasn't sure what I thought Clare would say to that, but I definitely didn't expect her to ask, "So do you want to do it again?"

"Right now?" I asked, my voice letting out an embarrassing squeak.

She nodded emphatically. "You know we don't have to make up for months of chastity all in one night, right?" I asked, wanting to make sure she was really up for this.

"I want to," she said.

I grinned and rolled on top of her, laughing as she let out a little squeal at my immediate response. She kissed me enthusiastically, and I knew that slow, sensual foreplay wasn't going to be necessary this time. Then again, I wanted to thank her for such an amazing experience that I knew wasn't anywhere near as amazing for her.

I planted a line of kisses up her neck and tugged on her earlobe with my teeth. "I want to make you come," I growled. "I want to make you feel so good that you scream my name." Clare had only let me finger her in the last six weeks or so, and had only let me go down on her twice – but though she tried hard to keep herself under control, each time she got a little bit wilder and more responsive. Panting and low moans had turned into cries of passion and I was desperate for her to lose herself in the moment completely.

"Eli, oh my God," she moaned, as I palmed her breast through her clothes, a little more roughly than usual.

"I want to fuck you with my tongue," I said, and Clare gasped. She often pretended she was horrified when I talked dirty to her, but I'd come to realize that she really enjoyed it.

"I don't think that's a good idea," she choked out as my tongue flicked over her pulse point.

I pulled back to look into her eyes. "I thought you liked it the last time I went down on you," I said, a little concerned.

"I did," she insisted, meeting my gaze. "It's just probably pretty gross down there right now…you know…with the condom and all."

My face fell as I realized she was right. But then a thought occurred to me. "That's fixable," I said brightly, grabbing her by the hand and dragging her off the bed.

It wasn't until we reached the washroom door that Clare seemed to catch on to my suggestion. "Eli," she chided. "I'm not going to take a shower now. It's fine. We can do other things," she said suggestively, standing on her toes to kiss me.

But now that the idea had popped into my head I wasn't really thrilled about letting it go. "Please," I begged. "It would be so hot."

She rolled her eyes. "Do you really think I'm going to let you watch me take a shower?"

"Who said anything about watching? I was going to hop in there with you." She looked over at the shower curtain hesitating and I wrapped my arms around her waist. "I've never done that before," I admitted softly. "You had a big first tonight and I thought maybe we could both share one."

Clare's expression softened and she gave me a devilish smile. "You've never showered before? Ewww, that explains a lot."

I grabbed her wrists with my hands and held them tightly. "If you're going to be mean, I'm not going to let you take your clothes off before I drag you in there."

She laughed. "As if you'd pass up an excuse to get me naked," she teased, moving past me to turn the water on before pulling her shirt back over her head. I grinned and followed suit, stripping all of my clothes off, before joining my beautiful naked girlfriend under the showerhead.

Being in the shower with her was amazing though I realized pretty quickly that my ass was going to be freezing cold the whole time since I was letting her have most of the hot water. But it was worth it to see the water streaming over Clare's body and to have my hands follow the trail. She soaped up one of those puffy bath things and started rubbing it all over me, giggling with happiness whenever our mouths paused their kisses.

After she cleaned me off, I did the same to her, enjoying the fact that I got to gaze so openly at Clare's body. For months I had imagined what her curvy form looked like under her clothes and the reality was even more breathtaking than the fantasy. I halted my motions after soaping up her torso and handed her the sponge. "Here," I said gently. "You do it. In case you're sore."

She gave me a grateful smile and turned away, allowing me to press a line of kisses down her spine as she finished cleaning. I was kneeling behind her when she turned around. "All finished," she said.

"I'll be the judge of that," I said, reaching between her legs with my fingers before giving them a good lick to determine she was right.

"Eli!" she screeched in shock as I gazed up at her. My head was in the perfect position, if I could just figure out how to get her to spread her legs. I took her hips in my hands and urged her toward corner of the shower, pressing her against the wall. "What are you…?" she started to ask before I swung one of her legs over my shoulder, hoping that would be enough support to keep her standing. The action left her wide open to me and I eagerly ran my tongue over her.

"Oh my God," she said loudly, though it was a cry of shock rather than ecstasy at this point. But I knew I could get her there if I tried hard enough. I usually would help things along by sticking my fingers inside her, but I didn't want to do anything that might hurt her.

I had to admit this was awkward and my neck was killing me and I knew it would be a lot easier to bring her back to the bedroom and pick up where we left off. But I had made such a big deal about taking a shower together and I wanted her to remember this moment for the rest of her life. So I picked up the pace, flicking my tongue against her clit, pleased when her whimpers and moans increased in volume and frequency. I glanced up at her and saw that while she had one hand against the wall to steady herself the other was tugging at her nipple, her eyes half-closed and cheeks flushed.

I grasped her leg a little tighter and increased the pressure, hoping desperately that she'd find release. "Eli, ohhhhhh," she moaned loudly, winding her fingers in my hair and I knew it was only a matter of time. I used ever trick I had, nipping and licking and sucking, and soon she let out the loudest moan I had ever heard, her voice ricocheting around the small bathroom. She shook and it took every bit of strength I had to hold her up, only allowing her to sink down the wall once her orgasm was finished.

"Wow," she said finally, and I grinned at her.

"Can I get a thank you kiss?" I asked.

She wrinkled her nose. "Why don't you wash your face off first?"

I laughed as I stood up and stuck my face in the shower spray. I felt Clare's arms wrap around me and I turned to face her as soon as I was finished and leaned down for a kiss.

"So…are we going to…in the shower? Or back in my room?" Clare asked softly.

"You still want to?" I asked in amazement. Part of me thought that once she had gotten off her interest in a second round of sex would probably diminish, but I wanted to make her happy enough that it was a sacrifice I would easily make.

She nodded, smiling shyly, and I gave her the same look in return. "We should probably move things to dry land. With the condom and all…and it was kind of awkward to begin with."

"Good idea," she said. She turned off the water and climbed out of the tub, handing me a large, fluffy towel before grabbing another out of a cabinet. We took turns drying each other off before we returned to her room and lay down on her bed, our lips resuming yet another passionate kiss.

The pace was slow and sweet this time, but it wasn't long before Clare told me she was ready. Once I had the condom on, I climbed back on top of her and entered her slowly, with less difficulty than before. She flinched a little at the intrusion but it took less time before she was comfortably meeting my gentle thrusts.

"This feels pretty good," she admitted when my lips left hers to trail down her neck.

"Good enough to make you come again?"

She laughed. "Good enough that I'm glad we're doing this again."

"I'm glad too," I said, grinning down at her. She looked beautiful with her damp curls pressed against her pillow, springing to life in crazy, haphazard ringlets after our impromptu shower. I wondered what she'd look like hovering over me and taking the dominant position.

"It's too bad we're at your house," I lamented, increasing the pace just slightly. "My bed is bigger. We could roll over and you could be on top."

Her eyes widened. "I'm pretty sure one of us would get hurt if we tried that."

I knew Clare sometimes was a little insecure about her weight despite the fact that her concerns were completely unfounded, but that was just ridiculous. "With you on top? No way. It would be amazing."

"I mean rolling over while we're…," she said. "We're not exactly acrobatically inclined."

"We could stop for a minute. Switch positions without risking injury," I suggested.

She blushed. "You realize we're having a conversation while we're supposed to be…you know."

"Fucking?" I suggested, unable to hold back my laughter at her look of disgust.

"Making love," she said demurely.

"I will make love to you all you want," I said. "But I think we'd both like it even better with you on top." When she didn't respond, I tried to back off. "If you want, I mean…no pressure."

"We could try it," she said, softly.

I moved out of her and took her position on the bed. She straddled my hips but seemed to be having trouble getting me inside her. "You can use your hand," I explained, and she took my advice.

Her eyes widened and I could tell it was uncomfortable for her as I buried myself in her. "We can stop," I reassured her.

"It's okay," she said. "Just give me a minute."

She rested her torso against mine and I pulled her into a warm embrace. "I love you," I said for what must have been the hundredth time that night.

She didn't respond but she started moving over me, her light pulses setting my body on fire. "Is this okay?" she asked.

"So good," I grunted. I tugged her back down to me and kissed her furiously. She seemed to get the picture that I needed more and picked up the pace a little bit.

"Oh," she moaned, almost as if she was surprised. "It feels better like this."

"God, Clare…" I couldn't finish my thought because her hips came down in just the right way and it sent me over the edge. She kept thrusting for a few seconds, but I stilled her hips and urged her to climb off before we had issues with the condom. "I'm sorry. I couldn't hold out any longer."

She pecked my lips. "It's okay," she said, wiggling a bit as she knelt next to me. "I was starting to get pretty sore anyway."

I reached for her hand but she was already getting off the bed and moving to the bathroom to pick up her clothes. "It's getting late. We should get some sleep."

After I disposed of the condom and pulled my pajamas on, I climbed into her bed with her. She only had a twin sized mattress and there really wasn't room for two people to sleep comfortably but I was pretty sure my mind was going to replay our experience from today so many times that I wouldn't be able to sleep anyway.

My arms were wrapped around her, holding her close as she sighed, "I can't believe my first time is over. After all these years of building it up in my head, I've finally experienced it."

"And it was worth it?" I asked again, just making sure.

"Completely," she said. "It's just strange to have something so momentous be over."

"It's not entirely over," I said and she turned toward me curiously. "You're still wearing the ring." I tapped on her left ring finger to prove my point.

"So?" she asked.

"Aren't you going to take it off?"

"I wasn't planning on it," she said.

"Oh," I said. I wasn't really expecting that to be her response.

"What did you think I was going to put it on a necklace and give it to you as a prize?" she teased.

"I thought I'd wear it on my pinky," I joked. "You know how much I like souvenirs."

She giggled, and I was relieved that a joke about hoarding had gone over well. "As much as I'd like to give you the ring, I'm going to keep wearing it. I don't want my mother to know, and for everyone at school, it's none of their business."

"So you're going to wear this ring forever?" I asked. Her logic made sense, but I couldn't help but feel a little disappointed that she was willing to keep wearing the ring just to keep people from finding out.

"Probably until I get engaged. So if you really want it, you're going to have to propose," she said, her voice light and teasing.

My response was dead serious. "I would propose right now. But I know you wouldn't say yes so I'm going to wait until you will."

"What makes you think I won't say yes?" she asked. Her tone was still light and I knew she was purposefully avoiding any acknowledgment that mine wasn't.

"Because we're too young," I said, leaning in to kiss her neck.

"Oh, is that all?" she laughed.

"Yup…that's all," I said.

She was about to respond when I realized that I had forgotten to take my meds. I was a little thirsty anyway, so I thought I'd go down to the kitchen for some water. "Be right back," I said. "I have to take my pill." I got up and rustled through my backpack to grab the container.

"Hurry back," she said, turning over and already sounding half asleep.

The hallway was dark and I walked downstairs awkwardly. But I could hear the TV and I knew Jake was home. He was pretty much the last person on earth I wanted to see right now – Helen Edwards…no, Martin…excepted – but as I stumbled on the last stair and hit the wall with a loud bang, I knew I'd look like an idiot if I went back up to avoid him.

He was sitting on the couch next to a pile of blankets and pillows, staring at the TV and wearing a pair of rollerblades. He looked like he was high or at least he had been at some point tonight. "Eli," he nodded, going back to his show.

"Hey," I said. I went into the kitchen to grab a glass, and wished that the Martin-Edwards family hadn't remodeled everything to have such an open floorplan; in their old kitchen I would have been safe from Jake's gaze. I was hoping he wouldn't say anything and that I could get back up to Clare without incident.

"So you're banging my sister," Jake said, clicking off the TV.

Fuck.

"Do we really need to talk about this?" I asked, swallowing my pill quickly in case I needed to run back upstairs.

"I'm probably supposed to give you some sort of big brother protective speech," Jake said, and I could tell he was still at least somewhat high.

"At least that would make more sense than you giving Clare handjob advice," I mumbled to myself.

"What?"

"Nothing," I said. "Look, you know I love Clare. And this is what she wanted…I don't know what else you want me to say."

Jake sat back against the cushion. "I'm satisfied."

I rolled my eyes. The two times I'd smoked up with Jake I'd enjoyed myself at the time, but afterwards I felt kind of weird about it and wondered if I'd sounded as stupid as Jake did. "I'm going to get back to Clare," I said, pointing toward the stairs.

"Goodnight man," he said and I took a few steps away before he continued. "Oh and Eli?"

"Yeah," I said, turning back toward him.

"I'm glad Clare enjoyed herself and all but next time you two fuck in my house, could you at least avoid my shower?"

"Sure thing," I said, practically running back to the stairs. I knew habitual weed use sometimes had implications for short-term memory loss and I really hoped that Jake was enough of a burnout to forget this whole thing had ever happened.

When I got back up to Clare's room, she was snoring lightly, a sound that was adorable rather than annoying. But when I curled up behind her and put my arms round her, she had clearly woken up.

"I love you," she mumbled.

"I love you too," I said, leaning forward to give her a light kiss on the temple.

"And you're right," she said in the same, half-sleepy tone.

"Right about what?"

"Why I wouldn't say yes to marrying you." She paused and I tried to figure out what she was trying to tell me. "It's because we're too young…but that's the only reason."

I smiled. "We'll be older someday."

She didn't respond, and I was certain that she had drifted back to sleep. At her words, I realized I didn't have to spend the rest of the night thinking about what it was like to have sex with her.

I was going to spend the rest of my life with her.