Author's Note: What was Eli talking about in the shower when he said that Clare had told him she wouldn't have sex with him? Hmm...made me wonder. Anyways, just a short little drabble. I am DONE with school work and assignments for awhile so I'll finally have time to start updating fanfictions. I plan to start on that tonight!

Broken


"Eli...I-I can't," Clare sat up, tucking her hair behind her ears. She felt horribly and the look on Eli's face didn't make it much better. His brows were knitted together in taught concern as he propped himself up on his elbow and asked -

"What's wrong?"

"I-I don't know..."

A look of horror crossed his face and his ears turned a flaming shade of pink, "Was it something I did?"

"No! No, not at all," Clare felt flustered, trying to organize her thoughts into sentences Eli could understand, "I just don't think I can do this."

"What do you mean?" Eli was trying to be patient but the instant let down was painful, "Is everything alright?"

"No..." Clare shook her head, suddenly taking intent interest in a hangnail.

"What is it then?" Eli asked, starting to grow impatient.

"It's just...I don't know if this is such a great idea, Eli."

"What do you mean?"

"I don't think you are at a...um...a healthy place to be doing this," Clare's stomach felt queasy as she wrung her hands together in her lap.

"What are you talking about?"

"After Cam...I mean...sex is a huge step, Eli. I just want to make sure you're mentally healthy to be able to..."

"To be able to do what? Make love to my girlfriend? So now that I had to be the one to find that kid's body, suddenly I am unfit to make love to my girlfriend?"

"Eli..." Clare's cheeks flamed. She knew her words were going to come our wrong even before she had opened her mouth.

"Clare, I love you. Seeing Cam's body doesn't change the fact that I want to take our relationship to the next level. You told me you were ready. You planned this whole God damned thing," Eli waved his arm around the bedroom causing the candles to flicker with the sudden movement, "You told me everyone would be out of the house and that I could come over to Hotel Eli for the night."

"I know, I know," Clare's words were flustered, "It's just...if it were me..."

"Well it's not you. I found the body - not you, Clare."

"I just don't think you're at a good place mentally to take our relationship to the next level."

Eli hopped off the bed and did the skinny-jean jig into his pants, "I'm sorry," his voice was harsher than he had expected it to be, "When you figure out when I am mentally sound enough to fuck you, give me a call."

He regretted it the moment he said it. The look on Clare's face was enough to kill him; and though Eli would have liked to think that the look of complete dejection on her face ached him more than his pelvis at that moment, it just wasn't true.

"Hi," Clare glanced up from her lunch to see Eli standing above her. They hadn't really spoken since their "break" and though she had gone over every possible conversation a hundred times in her head, she still wasn't prepared to speak to him.


"Hi," she tried to smile but it broke half-way across her face.

"Can I talk to you?"

"There's no law saying you can't," Clare sat down her sandwich and raised an eyebrow, signalling him to continue.

"Okay," Eli took a seat across from her at the picnic table, "Look, I screwed up..."

"Yeah."

Eli winced, "I screwed up really badly. I should be used to it by now but I'm not. It's like everything I touch breaks."

Clare raised an eyebrow again and Eli sighed, "What I said in your bedroom that night...and what I did when I was on the drugs...it was unacceptable."

"Eli, you destroyed me."

"I know," another wince, "And I can never forgive myself for that. Seeing Cam like that...it brought back all these feelings and memories from several years ago."

"Julia," Clare's voice was barely a whisper. She was always careful when speaking that name.

"Julia," Eli nodded, "I thought I had a handle on things but I was wrong, Clare. After Cam, I just was really messed up mentally. I needed some time to focus on myself. I needed to make myself a priority because I could never be the boyfriend you deserve to have in your life until I got better. But I couldn't get better without making myself my top priority and Clare, I'm sorry but I can't date you unless you're my first and foremost priority."

Clare bothered her lower lip between her teeth, "I-I am glad we're taking a break," she said, "I think we both needed it."

Eli nodded, "I am sorry about everything. One of these days when I get better - and when you want me to - I'll plan a huge romantic night for us. The works!"

A shy smile spread across her face, "Is that so?"

"Oh yeah," Eli nodded enthusiastically, "I'm thinking Champagne and rose pedals and..."

"Eli, stop," Clare shook her head, "That's all very nice, but I don't need all of that. I just need you."

"I'm sorry I am so broken," Eli stared at a crack in the pavement, unable to meet her gaze.

"You're not broken, Eli," Clare reached across the table and grabbed his hand, "You've never been broken."

A shy smile tugged at the corner of his lips, "Adam is planning this ridiculous movie night. He's inviting some people - Becky, Dave...I was wondering...if you'd like to go with me. Just as friends...for now."

"Just as friends," Clare nodded in agreement, "For now."