Author's Note: I had this idea today. I know its taking me some time to write my updates but this one will just be a oneshot. School is so hectic and stressful right now. I apologize. I hope you enjoy this oneshot. Oh, and we all know, I don't own Degrassi. Oh, and I don't really remember what Clare's dress from the promo looks like, so just bear with me.
Princes, Princesses, Kings, and Queens,
Come one, Come all to the Spring Ball
Saturday April 20th, 2013
Tickets sold in Cafeteria. Couples get Discounts
Clared sighed as she stared at the poster stuck to the white-washed brick wall. The Spring Ball had been Drew's idea - well, the idea of a spring dance had been Drew's idea. It was one of his first projects as student body president. He had tried to pass Senior Skip Fridays but Simpson had struck that down pretty much before Drew could finish his proposal. After that idea had been a no-go, Drew had started thinking up something fun for the students of Degrassi. Simpson hadn't been wild about the idea of prom due to all the other mishaps that had taken place at Degrassi dances. He explained to Drew that prom was just an invitation for something bad to happen. Desperately, Drew turned to his First Lady as he called Clare. The nickname earned him a huff and an eyeroll from Bianca but he didn't care; he couldn't think of anyone better to be his Veep (he loved saying that) than Clare Edwards. Clare had thought it over and with her head held high and a glossy presentation folder tucked under her arm, she marched into Simpson's office.
She was very diplomatic. She told Simpson that he was right to be worried about a dance but that the school needed something special before the seniors would graduate. The thought of the seniors graduating made her uneasy for reasons she did not want to admit to anyone - much less herself - but she had to put those feelings behind her and be professional. She went on to say that Degrassi could hold a dance but it wouldn't be "quote-unquote: prom" as she had explained it. Instead it would be a Spring Ball. The theme would be Fairytale Royalty. The concept of "fairy tales" had been playing on her mind recently and she had decided that it would make a pretty good theme for a spring dance. Simpson's interest piqued. Clare continued to explain that the ticket sales could go towards a Project Graduation sort of event to be held the night of graduation to ensure that the new graduates were safe. She had heard of the program and thought it was really cool to throw a sleepover in the gym with games and movies to ensure that the newly graduated seniors were not out drinking or getting into any trouble. Simpson liked that idea as well. With some more persuading and some brightly-colored charts and diagrams, Simpson had agreed that Degrassi could throw a Spring Ball.
That night, Clare and Alli had stayed up until two in the morning painting and decorating flyers and posters to put up around the school. The next day at lunch, she and Drew spent the entire lunch period tacking the posters to the wall and passing out flyers. They stationed themselves at the front of the cafeteria and gave out a flyer to each student that entered. Drew would not stop thanking her for convincing Simpson to let them go through with a school dance. Clare had been uneasy about being Drew's VP, but seeing how excited he was about the Spring Ball and feeling her own excitement stir, she didn't regret her decision st all.
As she was staring at the poster on the wall the Friday before the dance, Jenna came up behind her and put a hand on her shoulder. The unexpected touch drew Clare from her thoughts.
"Come on, Clare. We agreed we'd go dress shopping this afternoon. Alli's waiting."
"Oh...yeah," Clare had been looking forward to dress shopping with her friends. She had enjoyed planning the dance and the excitement and busyness of everything had been an excellent distraction from her crumbled love life. She had looked forward to dress shopping and attending the dance with Alli and Jenna. She was determined to have a good time and enjoy herself despite the fact that she was newly single and without a date to the dance. It didn't help matters that graduation was fast approaching. She had been staring at the poster on the wall and concentrating on the date and how quickly time was flying. It didn't seem like Spring Break had been all that long ago. She and Eli had wanted to spend every second together over the break. They had valued their time together like gold slipping through an hourglass. Now, Eli would be leaving soon and nothing was going quite like Clare had expected it to.
"Are you feeling alright?" Jenna asked, again drawing Clare out of her thoughts, "We can always go shopping tomorrow..."
"No, I'm fine. Just...thinking," Clare shook her head and adjusted her curls, "You know what, let's go shopping. I need to get out and do something fun."
Jenna nodded understandingly and together they headed out to meet Alli by her car. It had taken much persuading for her dad to let her have the car back, but had finally given in. The girls hopped inside and Alli popped a Nelly Furtado CD into the dash. They passed the time it took to drive to the mall by singing along to the songs and gossiping. Once at the mall, the girls hit the food court first to chow down on greasy pizza and slushies. Then they hit the dress shops. Alli and Jenna found their dresses quickly - loud, sparkly things that fit their bodies and their personalities perfectly. Clare on the other hand wasn't finding anything. Nothing stood out to her and she began to question her decision to even go to the dance.
"What's wrong?" Alli asked, sensing there was something off.
"I don't know," Clare lied, "I think I am just tired."
"You sure?" Jenna wasn't buying any of it.
"Well..." Clare decided to give in, "I just don't know if I should go to the dance..."
"Are you kidding?" Alli's jaw dropped, "After all the hard work you and President Torres," she said with a hint of jest, "...put into planning this dance? You have to go!"
"Is this about Eli?" Jenna asked, knowing the name was dangerous subject to brooch.
Clare bothered her lower lip between her teeth, "I just don't know if it would be prudent of me to go alone..."
"You aren't going alone," Alli was quick to correct her, "You're going with us. And besides, we're going to find you a gorgeous dress and do your makeup and hair all pretty and you'll look like a knock-out. When Eli sees you..."
"That's just the thing though," Clare sighed, knowing what her friends had up their sleeves, "I don't want to make Eli regretful or anything. I just want him to graduate and go on to NYU and be happy and successful. Clearly, he was not happy with me. Maybe this break was for the best."
Just as she said it, her phone buzzed. Digging it out of her purse, she saw the lit up text message on the screen.
"Are you going to the dance?" It was from Eli.
"Dude, have you seen my phone?" Eli asked, looking under some folders next to the computer he was using, "I swear, I just had it..."
"Uh..." Connor slipped his hand into his pocket, "No. I haven't."
"Hmm," Eli scowled at the barren desk beneath the folders.
"It'll turn up," Connor shrugged, "You probably set it down somewhere but are too distracted with all this editing to remember where."
"Yeah," Eli's brows knitted together, "I guess you're probably right."
"I'm uh...going to go to the bathroom."
"Yeah, you do that." Eli watched Connor slowly back away from the computer and head out the door of the media room. Eli shrugged, deciding Connor's odd behavior was probably just Connor being Connor, and returned to the finishing touches of his movie.
"Look!" Clare showed the phone to Alli and Jenna who were huddled around her.
"Wow," Alli's eyes widened, her spidery lashes practically reaching her brows.
"That's...random. What are you going to say back?" Jenna nudged Clare.
"I-I don't know. I don't think I should say anything back."
"Just say 'yes'" Alli shrugged, "What can that hurt? Just a yes and that's it. Don't reply if he texts you again."
"No," Jenna chimmed in, "Say, 'I'm still thinking about it.' Keep it vague and...mysterious."
"Ooh, I like that," Alli nodded her approal.
Clare held up a hand, "Alright, alright. I'll just say, 'Maybe.'"
Her friends agreed that that was a good answer. Clare texted back and a few seconds later got her reply.
"Well, I hope you do decide to come."
"Dude, look what I found on the floor by the door," Connor slid Eli's phone to him across the desk.
"Huh. I thought I had it up here with me."
"You probably just dropped it."
Eli scowled as it lit up with a text:
"Don't get your hopes up."
"Connor..." Eli turned slowly to his friend, "What is this?"
"No, this most definitly is something. Did you...did you take my phone and text Clare with it?"
Connor bit down hard on his lower lip, "Maybe?"
"Damn it," Eli hissed, "What'd you say to her," he went back to read the conversation, "Damn it, Connor!"
Eli sighed, "I know. You just don't really think about stuff before you do it, do you?"
Connor shook his head.
"Me either," Eli slipped the phone into his pocket and out of Connor's reach, "Well, there's no way whatever you said to her made this any more of a mess than it already is."
"You should take her to the ball," Connor blurted out.
"Connor, no. Clare and I...we're done. I tried to talk to her like you said and she was not interested in it all. In fact, she seemed more interested in Drew than me. I tried. That's all I could do and I even did that wrong. I had this whole speech prepared in my head and all I could say when I saw her was that I got into NYU. How selfish, right?" Eli winced, "I wish I could do something to make her see how sorry I am. I say things without thinking and when I told her I needed a break, I said some pretty hurtful things. She should never forgive me for that, but at the same time, I do owe her an apology. I just wish I knew how to go about doing that without completely screwing it up like I always do."
"I still think you should take her to the ball."
"Connor, we've been over this. There is no way she would ever let me. She won't even give me the time of day."
"Then do something to convince her to do otherwise."
After hours of primping and primming, the girls were finally ready to go to the ball. Alli and Jenna had spent the night the night before and together, they spent the day getting ready. Clare was still apprehensive about going, despite the fact that she had found the perfect dress. It was at a vintage store away from the mall. Jenna had suggested they go there to look for something 'extra special.' It was Alli who had seen the dress first - blue with sequins. She had tried it on and it fit like a glove. She was tempted to never take it off, though she knew it was unrealistic. She even broke through her comfort zone and spun around the shop watching the knee-high skirt flow out around her. It didn't take much convincing from Alli or Jenna for her to buy it. Now, minutes before they'd head over to Degrassi, Clare looked at herself in the full length mirror. The blue dress brought out the blue of her eyes and the make up Alli and Jenna had done for her made her look stunning. She blushed a little.
"Oh. My. God," Alli pulled the curtain back from the window an inch, "You've got to be kidding me!"
"What, what is it?" Clare hurried over with Jenna close behind.
"Oh. My. God," Jenna's eyes were saucers.
Clare leaned forward around her friend's shoulder and realized what all the fuss was about. There, on her street, was a horse and carriage with Eli sitting in the red velvet seat. He was wearing a prince costume and Clare didn't know if she should find it utterly romantic or absolutely ridiculous.
"What the heck is he doing?" Jenna asked.
"Someone needs to up the meds," Alli rolled her eyes and turned from the window.
Clare bit her lower lip, wondering how she should go about dealing with this. She considered sending Jake out there to deal with it for her, but he was busy trying to sneak some clothes and toiletries into his backpack. He had booked a hotel for the night for Katie and him to stay in after the ball. Clare would have to cover for him, not that she really minded. She decided not to bother Jake with this and to just face Eli herself. She flattened out the dress of her skirt and marched towards her door.
"Where are you going?" Jenna asked.
"Please tell me you are not going to encourage that boy's behavior," Alli flipped her hair.
Clare paused before ignoring them and heading downstairs. She hoped her mother hadn't seen any of this. There was no telling how Hellen would react to the boy who had broken her daughter's heart more than once showing up with a horse and carriage in front of their house. She would probably complain about the horse poop first, then Eli. Clare swung open the door and the realization of everything slapped her in the face. Eli Goldsworthy really was in front of her house with a horse-drawn carriage.
"Hello, m'lady," he said with a bow.
"Eli...what the hell is this?"
"Your carriage awaits."
Clare sighed, "I am going with Alli and Jenna. We've been planning this for a long time."
"Plans can be changed."
"Eli...look," Clare sighed again, using the time to try to gather her thoughts, "We're over. What you said to me in the greenhouse...I get that we needed a break and I can respect you for putting your mental health first. I really do. But the way you said it to me...and then the way you approached me after the election..."
"I know," Eli's eyes fell to floor of the carriage. After a moment he jumped down and went to stand in front of Clare, "What I did was wrong. I know that. I can never forgive myself for that, nor should you. When I tried to talk to you after the election, I didn't mean for it to go that way. I honestly just wanted to apologize to you. I had this whole apology speech practiced in my head but when I saw you, my mind went blank. I had just gotten into NYU and when I got that letter, the only person I wanted to share the news with was you. Seeing you standing there in front of me...I just blurted it out. I didn't mean for it to come out that way."
"Alright," Clare nodded curtly, "I understand that. Sometimes what I say doesn't always come out right either. But then you texted me last week and..."
"Connor took my phone. He's been trying to set us back up together for the past month, Clare. He took my phone while I was editing my movie some more. He was the one that texted you, not me."
Clare tried to let everything sink in, "Alright. But then why all of this? Eli this is...this is...ridiculous."
"You think so too?" His eyes widened excitedly, "Oh thank God! This is the last time I let Adam try to help me come up with something romantic!"
"Adam thought of all of this?" Clare couldn't help but let out a laugh.
"Yeah," Eli chuckled, "He said it would be very romantic. Connor told me I should ask you to the dance but I figured you wouldn't give me the time of day after how I acted. So I called Adam and asked for some advice. He told me I needed to really woo you..."
"Woo? Adam said woo?" Clare laughed again and a huge grin spread across Eli's face. He had many sleepless nights due to thinking he'd never hear Clare's laugh again.
"Yeah," he nodded, "I wish I had recorded the conversation."
"How does he like visiting Wesley in South Dakota?"
"He's having a blast. It's the weirdest thing."
"Weirder than all of this?"
"No, definitely not," Eli shook his head, still smiling.
"What prompted him to take a trip mid-semester anyways? And to see Wesley? In South Dakota?"
"What prompted him to think up this horse and carriage nonsense?" Eli shrugged, "I stopped questioning that boy a long time ago."
Clare smiled and Eli said, "I never thought I'd see that again."
Clare blushed as a silence swept over them. She had no idea how to respond to that, and instead walked over and ran a hand down the horse's snout, "He's beautiful."
"Her name is Wanda."
"Oh," Clare nodded, "Hello there, Wanda. So," she turned to Eli, "What exactly was your plan with all of this?"
"Well," Eli slipped his hands into his pockets, "I was going to get down on one knee and ask you to be my date to the Spring Ball."
"And if I said yes?" Clare raised an eyebrow. She was surprised by how easily conversation came. She had imagined if she ever spoke to Eli Goldsworthy again, it would either be painfully sad or painfully awkward.
"Well, I was kind of hoping you'd let me stop off at my place first so I could change out of this ridiculous outfit."
"Ah, I see. And if I said no?"
"Well, then I'd look like a pretty big moron."
"Eli..." Clare raised an eyebrow.
He snickered through a small smile, "Alright, I guess it's too late."
"Yeah. Hate to tell you this, but you do."
Another silence fell over them. Eli glanced up to her bedroom window and saw Alli and Jenna peeking out through the curtain, "Do they think they're being inconspicious?"
"Oh no," Clare shook her head, "They gave up on trying to be sneaky a long, long time ago."
"What''ll it be?"
Clare bit down on her lower lip, "Eli, I don't know..."
"I know I am no Prince Charming. Heck, I think I could easier pass for a wicked stepmother at this point," Eli raised a teasing eyebrow, "and I do know we aren't a fairy tale. I told you it won't always be twinkly lights - and it won't. That wouldn't be life if it were. But here's the thing - despite all the ups and downs, the ending can still have a happily ever after."
Clare stared at the concrete before lifting her eyes up to meet his, "Eli, it won't be a happily ever after. You know that. You are going to go off to NYU in a month or so and I will still be here. Even if we did get together, we've been through this too many times. It's like a broken record. I don't want to get back together only to hasve my heart broken again."
"I know," Eli sighed, "I can't fathom the pain I've put you through. But Clare, you are my whole world. These past few weeks without you have been miserable. I don't know how I can stand being away in New York without at least the thought of you coming to visit me. Even if you say no, there'll always be a drawer for you."
Clare let a small smile lift at the corners of her lips, "Eli...I'd like a drawer very much."
It was his turn to smile, "Are you saying yes?"
"It's always been yes," Clare stepped forward and Eli pulled her into a hug.
"I was worried I'd never hug you again."
"I was worried you'd never hug me again too."
After breaking apart, Eli raised an eyebrow and put his hands on his hips, "Well, I am glad you said yes otherwise it'd be pretty damn embarrassing to make the return."
"The return? Of all of this?" Clare wasn't quite following.
"No," Eli bothered his lower lip between his teeth, "I know I've screwed up in the past Clare. I speak and do things before I think and it gets me into a lot of trouble. But this I have thought about. I had to put my mental health first, Clare. I had to take a break from you because there was no way I could date you knowing you weren't my priority. I couldn't do that to you. But from now on, I want you to be my priority."
Clare still wasn't following.
"Clare, without you in my life, I have been a mess - and I don't just mean spilling pudding on my t-shirt. I haven't eaten much or slept at all. I've thrown myself into this movie trying to get you out of my head but I realized that that's impossible to do. You are my world. I love you more than anything, Clare. I will always love you. I don't think my heart could stop loving you even if I tried. So please accept this because it'd be really frigggin' embarrassing to have to return it."
Eli reached into his pocket and withdrew a small silver ring. Clare's eyes widened and the breath fled from her lungs. Eli held the ring out to her and she noticed the small diamond in the center.
"This will go either of three ways. One, you'll slap me. Two, you'll run up to tell Alli and Jenna," Eli glanced up to the window and gave a little wave, "Or three, you'll accept this ring. Now, before you do any of those things, this is not an engagement ring. I am sure Hellen would come out here and skin me alive if it were. This ring is a promise ring, Clare. It's a promise that I am going to work harder to be the boyfriend you deserve. It's a promise that when I am away at NYU, you'll have a drawer - hell, for you I'd give you the whole dresser. It's a promise that I am willing to fight for this and it is a promise that when you graduate from Degrasi I will be sitting in the audience at your ceremony with an actual engagement ring in my pocket. It's a promise that you are all I want Clare - all I need - forever. What will it be? And if you go the slap-me route, please be gentle."
A huge smile spread across her face as she held out her hand and said, "Eli Goldsworthy, certainly you aren't going to make me put it on myself!"
Eli smiled and slipped the promise ring off her left ring finger and put the promise ring in its place, "Have I told you how stunning you look in that dress?"
Clare blushed and a sense of boldness swept over her, "It's been almost four weeks since you've kissed me, Elijah Paul Goldsworthy. That is unacceptable."
"How rude of me, m'lady," Eli grinned and stepped forward, closing the distance between them. He caught his lips in his own and together they shared a kiss. When they pulled away, he tucked a strand of hair behind her ear.
"Much," Clare smiled.
"Good. Now then, how about I go home and change out of this stupid outfit - I swear I am going to murder Adam if he ever decicdes to come back from his vacation - and then I am going to come back over here in a real ride and pick you up."
"Real ride?" Clare rasied an eyebrow.
"Yeah," Eli shrugged as if it were nothing, "For getting into NYU Bullfrog decided he'd congratulate me by buying me a black Shelby Mustang. It's no big deal really only..." he paused as a grin once again spread across his face and his eyes danced excitedly, "It's the biggest deal ever!"
"Eli! That's awesome!"
"His name is Ferdie."
"Ya know, Morty and Ferdie from Mickey Mouse?"
"Yeah," Eli grinned, "He's pretty awesome. So I'll let you run upstairs and dish to Alli and Jenna," again he looked up at the window and waved, "While I go change clothes and get Ferdie. I'll be back over here in twenty minutes?"
After sharing one more kiss, Clare watched Eli hop back into carriage as the driver shook the reigns and trotted Wanda back down the street. When came back in Ferdie, he held open the passenger door for Clare to slip inside.
"Very nice," she said, clearly impressed.
"Every princess needs a proper carriage. This carriage just happens to be a bit more awesome than most."
"He actually did it!"
"What are you talking about?"
"What is he wearing?" Wesley made a face.
"A prince's costume. He actually thought I was being serious," Adam roared with laughter.
"Well did it work?"
"What do you mean?"
"Did it work?"
"He didn't say. Hold on, he sent me one more picture," Adam flicked the screen on the phone to the second picture Eli had included in the text. It was of Clare and him in a shiny black mustang with the top down. He had his arm wrapped around her and she had her hand positioned so that the ring was in the shot.
"Well?" Wessley asked, "Did it work?"
Adam smirked and showed Wesley the picture on his phone, "Like a charm."