Short Story - Subject: Degrassi - Rating: T - Category: Drama/Romance
Day 1: Eli Goldsworthy - The Interview: Eli and Clare are still getting used to dating, when their "date night" turns into "interview night" for Adam's new crush.
~Day 1: Eli Goldsworthy - The Interview~
...but that wasn't true. Clare did want to know. I had seen it in her face yesterday.
Tonight was supposed to be our "date night", but Clare was on a different planet. Her eyes were out the window, searching for the stars. She was lost deep in thoughts concerning Adam.
"I'm just worried for him, that's all," she had said on the way in. "You know how badly it went for him last time."
"That was his own mistake for picking Bianca," I had concluded. "I don't get his taste, at all. I'd much rather have a fiery red-head with some brains."
Clare had blushed. I had thought that was a good sign. That we were moving back into the direction of a real date. No such luck.
"Get your head out of the clouds, Edwards," I said.
She rolled her eyes. "I told you to stop calling me that, Eli."
"And I told you that I would as long as you deserved it," I teased.
Clare slapped me on the arm; I smirked. Good.
"So, are you going to talk tonight or just daydream?" I asked.
Clare made her thoughtful face. "Is it really daydreaming if it's nighttime?"
I laughed. "It might be daytime on whatever planet your mind is on right now."
Clare sighed. "I just wish there was some way we could he-" Her eyes widened.
I looked behind me. Fiona Coyne was coming in the door. Oh, great.
"It's... Fiona," Adam had - finally - admitted yesterday.
"Fiona Coyne?" Clare had gasped.
"It's not that big of a deal," Adam had tried to convince us. But I could tell it was a big deal to him.
Clare tried to look the other way, but I didn't bother. Fiona wasn't paying any attention to us, anyway.
"I can't believe she's here," Clare said. I looked back at her. I couldn't tell if she was excited or nervous. I wasn't sure which I would have liked better.
"I think even rich girls like coffee, Clare," I said. "Or lattes."
"No, I mean... it's perfect," Clare said, quickly. "Maybe we could talk to her."
"Whoa, what?" I said. "Why would you want to talk her?"
"Well, obviously... to see if her intentions are pure," Clare said.
"I hope her intention aren't totally pure," I reasoned. "For Adam's sake."
Clare frowned at me. "What?" I asked. She just shook her head.
"Listen," she said. "I'm serious. I don't want Adam to get hurt again. I think he really likes her, and I don't want him to... hurt himself again if it doesn't work out."
I frowned. Clare was right. I hadn't been there, but I knew about the incident. It wasn't something I knew how to handle the way Clare did. Her sister had been suicidal at one point, so she had a slightly better grasp on the situation.
"But what can we do?" I asked. "Interview her?"
Clare had her thoughtful face on again. "Well, I wouldn't say that... exactly."
"I would..." I mumbled, as I watched Clare go through questions she wanted to ask in her head. "Are we really going to do this?" I asked, miserably. I couldn't see this working out well.
"Yes," Clare answered, standing. "What kind of friends would we be if we didn't?"
"The non-interfering kind?" I offered. But I got up and followed Clare over to Fiona's table.
Fiona was busy typing away on her laptop, probably purchasing things we couldn't afford in our dreams. She didn't notice us until she reached for her latte. Her eyes passed me over to Clare. "Oh, hi, Clare," she said. "How are you?"
They knew each other?
"Hi. I'm fine, thanks." Clare said with a formal smile. "Mind if I sit?" Fiona shook her head, and Clare pulled out the other chair at the table, sat down, and folded her hands in front of her. She was so proper. I grabbed a chair that wasn't being used from the next table over and plopped myself down.
Clare gave me a look for a moment before turning back to her unsuspecting interviewee. "I was actually hoping I would get a chance to talk to you today."
"Really?" Fiona asked, curiously. She eyed me for a second. "I'm guessing you're not here to ask about Declan."
Clare looked shaken for a minute. I didn't like that response. "Uh, no... that's not it," she said, hastily. "I was wondering... well, we're actually really good friends with Adam."
"Ah, I see," Fiona said. She took another sip of her latte. "And you were wondering...?"
"Well, we wanted to-" Clare started.
"See if you were good enough." I finished.
Clare glared at me. "Eli!" I rolled my eyes. This was already going on too long. Why prolong things with formalities? There were things I'd rather be doing with my time. Especially my Clare-time.
"Sorry," Clare said to Fiona.
Fiona laughed. "It's nice to see he has some loyal friends," she said. "Those are kind of rare in my old schools."
"Oh, I'm sorry," Clare said, looking concerned. Fiona only shrugged in response.
"Well, would you mind us asking... a few questions?" Clare tested, casually.
"Go ahead," Fiona prompted, rising an eyebrow.
Clare took a deep breath. "Well, I'm guessing you know of Adam's... situation. Right?"
"Yeah, I do," Fiona answered.
"Does it weird you out?" I asked before Clare could ask in a more proper way.
"It doesn't bother me," Fiona said. "I wouldn't ask him out if it did, would I?"
"That makes sense," Clare said, kindly. I wasn't satisfied.
"So, are you into girls or something?" I asked. "Because Adam isn't a girl. Or a lesbian. He's a guy."
Fiona smiled almost dangerously at me. "I'm aware of that," she said, darkly. "I'm not a lesbian, either."
"So, you've dated guys before... if you don't mind my asking?" Clare said, trying to steer the conversation back into her formal intentions.
"Yeah, I've dated a few times." Fiona said. "All guys, though one of them was gay," she threw out there with a casual shrug.
"And one was your brother," I said under my breath. Clare hit me. Hard.
"Excuse me?" Fiona said, looking dangerous again.
I smiled, widely. "Nothing." She rolled her eyes.
"Look," Fiona said, glancing back and forth to both of us. "I'm not out to get your friend. I actually like him just the way he is. And I thought he'd like the band that's playing Above the Dot tomorrow, so I asked him to come. It's as simple as that."
"I'm sorry," Clare said at once. "I didn't mind to imply... or offend you."
"You didn't," Fiona said.
Clare laughed, awkwardly. "Eli doesn't know how to keep his mouth shut, sometimes."
Fiona laughed, too. "You can say that again."
"Hey!" I snapped. "I'm actually trying to watch out for Adam here, not make friends."
Clare looked hurt. I looked away from her. I was messing up again. I didn't know why I was acting the way I was. I did definitely want to watch out for Adam, as much as I had started out against the interview. But that wasn't at the core of what I was doing.
I wanted Clare all to myself. I already had to share her with her silly girlfriends, and now that her sister was home, I had even less time than usual with her. If she made friends with Fiona, that would be even less time for me. I knew it was selfish; I knew I shouldn't have asked for more than I was already getting. It was already so much more than I deserved.
"Sorry," I said, honestly. I peered back up at Clare. She was worried. It looked like she was trying to read my mind. I didn't like seeing her like that. I glanced at Fiona and was surprised to see that she looked... concerned. I didn't like her pity.
"I need some air," I said, getting up. Clare grabbed my arm. I couldn't look at her; I was getting too upset. She let me go.
I took a walk in the darkness. I didn't know where I was going until I got there. I sat down and leaned back, closing my eyes. What a silly place to go.
I often took long walks at night when I couldn't sleep. Even after getting Morty, I preferred walking at night. And I always used to end up in the same place. Every time.
I hated my past. I hated it so much, but I couldn't let it go. It was part of me. It had morphed me into what I was today. To let it go, to forget, was like tearing off my own arm. It was me. It was who I am.
And yet, something had changed. I hadn't gone to the place of my distant past. To the scene of the tragedy that had destroyed the life of someone I'd loved. I wasn't there, sulking in its darkness, as usual. I was sitting on a damn bench.
Clare was the light in the darkness. She was so bright that it hurt. She was the sun, and I was the moon. I hadn't thought it was possible, but her shine reflected off of me to light up the night. My dark place wasn't where I wanted to be anymore.
I let my head fall into my hands. This was difficult for me. I didn't adapt to change well. Not big changes like this. I liked knowing where I was going to end up, even if I didn't mean to. Now, I was going in a completely different direction.
I looked up at her. "Hi, Clare." How long had I been sitting here?
"What are you doing here?!" she yelled. "I went out to look for you, and I saw an empty Morty sitting outside of the Dot."
"I told you, I needed some air," I said.
"But you didn't answer your cell or anything," Clare said, desperately. "I called three times."
"Battery's dead," I replied.
Clare sat down next to me and put her head in her hands just like I had but only for a moment. Then, she looked up at me, pulling a hand through her hair. Her eyes were teary, and they sparkled in the light from the streetlamp.
"I told you not to scare me like this again, Eli..." Clare said. "How was I supposed to know you were okay?"
"You're overreacting," I said, quietly. I gently took the hand out of her hair and held it in both of mine. "I'm fine."
"After everything that's happened, I'm just concerned about you," Clare said, exasperated.
"You worry too much," I said, stroking her hand with my thumb. "Why?"
"You don't worry enough! I have to worry for both of us!" Clare shouted, shaking her head.
"Why?" I asked again. What kind of response was I looking for?
"Because I love you!" Clare didn't look surprised or regretful of her outburst. Her piercing blue eyes looked right into mine. She wasn't ashamed of her words.
I took a few deep breaths, not looking away from her for even a second. "I love you, too, Clare."
I hadn't planned on saying it. Do people ever plan on saying they love someone? Maybe some people did. But not me. I acted on impulse. And I didn't regret it in the slightest.
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