Author's Note: I hope you're all okay after yesterday. I just wanted to write this for us. I am sure it is not the best, and I apologize for that. I've been really busy and distracted, but I knew I needed to write this. I hope you all are doing okay. Take care guys. Oh, and as we all know, I do not own Degrassi.
She was sitting at one of the outdoor picnic tables, picking apart her sandwich when he approached her. He sat down across from her, and she glanced up at him through a curtain of eyelashes, distrust, and confusion. She didn't say anything, and they sat in silence for a few moments before he said –
"I'm going to eat with you today," his only introduction. She recognized him of course. He had directed the school play not all that long ago. She wondered why he was sitting with her now, pulling out a sandwich from a brown paper sack. She supposed she couldn't blame him. Ever since Cam had died, she had become a sort of oddity to the other students. She was used to their stares and she knew the thought that was always on their minds as she passed them in the halls, "She was his girlfriend, why didn't she do anything to save him?"
"You don't have to say anything," he said, "In fact, you can just sit there and listen and let me talk."
"What do you want, Eli?" Her voice was fatigued.
Eli cracked a smile as if he had just won some sort of competition, "She speaks!"
"Of course I can speak. What do you want?"
"For you to just listen."
"Why should I even let you sit near me?" She asked, dropped the sandwich she had barely touched, "I know what you're thinking. I know what everyone is thinking. Why didn't I try to save him? Why didn't I do anything? I was his girlfriend, didn't I make him happy enough?"
"I don't think that," Eli's brows scrunched together, "Not at all."
"So why are you here?"
"Because my girlfriend died when I was fourteen too."
That got her attention. She glanced up at him with surprise and cocked her head to the side, her silent way of telling him to continue.
"We were niners. She was living with us because her home life pretty much blew. We had a fight and she hopped on her bike and drove off, angry at something I had said. She never came home. We found out that she was hit by a car."
"Oh my god."
"I tried to act like it was okay. I mean, of course it wasn't, but I didn't want the people at school to see how bad off I was. They didn't make it any easier on me. I blamed myself every day for what happened to her, and I knew they blamed me as well. Some of them took it to the extreme," he sucked in a sharp breath as if working up the courage to continue, "They would shove me in the hallways and call me a killer. It began to happen so much, that I started to believe they were right. I had to transfer schools because it was so bad."
Her face paled, "I'm sorry they did that to you."
"I see the way they stare at you in the halls," he bit his lower lip for a fraction of a second, "I know this school, and I know these people. They're just upset and they're just curious. But no one should ever make you feel as though you are in any way responsible. Because you aren't."
"I feel like I should have done something," her voice broke, "I-I should have paid better attention. There's so much more I should have done for him…"
"He was unhappy with himself, but he wasn't unhappy with you. I saw you two in the hallways. He was crazy about you," his words drew tears and he apologized, "I don't mean to upset you…"
"I know," she brushed the drops off her cheeks.
"Being a fourteen can suck sometimes. High school is always filled with awkward moments, but even more so when you're just starting out. Just know that I know you did all you could for him. And I am sorry you are going through this right now."
"Thank you," she smiled a small, sad smile, "Does it ever get any easier?"
"Someday, yes. I think about Julia every day. She always finds ways of popping into my thoughts. Maybe it's a movie I have just seen and I think – wow, I want to share that with her. Or maybe it's a sunset that reminds me of her eyes. Little things. Or sometimes it's the way my girlfriend cocks her head to the side and rolls her eyes at something stupid I've just said. I see her everywhere and in everything."
"I've seen you and your girlfriend in the hallways. You two look so in love. How can you love another person after losing someone so close to you? I feel as though if I did, I'd betray Cam."
"You won't betray him. I thought the same as you. It made me push Clare away at first. I didn't want her to find out about Julia or about my old school. It was easier at first to just keep her at a distance, but then it got hard to. Every time I saw her, I wanted to kiss her. I realized that I was so young when I was with Julia. She would have wanted me to move on and find someone else to love. And it doesn't mean I love her any less. I just love her differently than I love Clare. Both are special to me, and both always will be."
"Thank you, Eli. I appreciate this."
"Don't mention it," Eli shrugged, "Just know that someone gets it, and if anyone gives you any trouble, just let me know alright?"
"It will get better, Maya. I used to not believe that, but it does."
"H-how are you?" Maya asked, her voice a tad shaky and right away, he knew what she meant. There had been a part of her that had wanted to approach him to ask, but never was able to work up the courage.
"I don't know," he answered honestly, "Right now, I just feel kind of numb. Like it was a dream or something that didn't happen."
"Me too," she nodded, "I am worried about the moment I realize that its real. That I have to live with this and not wake up from the nightmare."
"I don't know what's going to happen when it finally sets in. But you're not alone in this, Maya. You've got some pretty good friends. They'll be there for you. And if you need to talk, I'm not far."
Eli nodded and stood from the table, making his way over to the auburn-haired girl who took his hand in hers when he stood next to her. Maya bothered her bottom lip between her teeth, and hoped what he had said was true. That someday, it would get better.