It's been almost 4 months.
I'm so sorry to everyone to disappoint but I had no idea where I was going to go with this fic...but after spending the entire break mapping it out, I've got it.
So here's the end that all of you deserved a while ago.
I'm kind of sad to let this fic go. But hey, it's my second complete story and I'm pretty proud of this.
Thanks to everyone who reviewed every! LOVE YOU ALL.
And I know that the title doesn't really fit the story but you have been through the whole ride with the same title, so I've decided to keep it :)
'Step forward. Now back. Lift your right foot up. Higher, come on now...you've got this.'
It was the last meet of the season and Claire was up. She was extremely nervous because she hadn't slept much last night because of the incident with Cam. Her limbs and muscles felt extremely tired. Every time she brought her leg up towards her face, she had to bite her lip just so that she wouldn't groan with pain.
Sweat dripped off of Claire's forehead as she tried to focus on the beam below her. She bit her lip as her foot pointed up to her head. Gracefully, Claire jumped forward and cartwheeled on the beam. A strand of blonde hair escaped from her ponytail as she landed from her cartwheel, off of the beam. Standing tall with her hands outstretched towards her side, Claire gave the crowd the best smile she possibly could. She thought her smile felt forced and weak, but the crowd was eating it up.
Exiting the mat, she walked over to her team and accepted their congratulations with her head held high. Claire could win it, win it for her team. Even though she was insanely nervous, she was competing really well.
Claire walked over to the box that contained chalk. Even though she didn't need it necessarily, she liked the feeling of chalk on her hand. Rubbing the chalk on her hands, her sores were instantly relieved. She sighed with pleasure as she looked up at the other competitors. There were people on the rings, the beams, the trampoline...
Claire felt breathless when she looked at the audience. Sitting on the top corner of the bench was Cam. He had come to see her perform. Cam finally recognized that she was looking at him and looked up to meet her gaze. He looked at her with a small smile before waving at her. Claire looked away quickly in shame.
She had left Cam outside by himself last night...left him hanging after he proclaimed his love for her for the first time. She was just so confused because just when she had told herself that she was going to get rid of her feelings for Cam...he comes back and does this. Claire wasn't sure what to do. Yes, she wanted him...wanted him the same way he wanted her. She knew all she had to do was yes, but there was something holding her back. Something telling her not to let her heart break by his doing again.
Claire needed time...but she wasn't sure Cam was going to give her that...or even herself for that matter. She wasn't known for being very patient.
"Claire Lyons is next."
Focus, she told herself. Claire needed to think about her meet, not Cam. Taking a deep breath, Claire got up to the beam and mounted it. Raising her hands, she gave a brief smile to the judges and climbed onto the beam. She took a few steps forward before doing a backbend on the beam. The audience clapped politely when she landed on the beam with perfect form. Blowing out a breath, Claire cartwheeled forward.
Was he watching? She knew she shouldn't be thinking about this now. Especially when she had to win, had to focus. Claire landed on the beam perfectly and stretched her foot forward and then backwards. She did a double back bend and shakily landed. Her nerves were getting to her. This meet was huge, so important and all she could think about was Cam and how she was going to deal with her feelings.
Her eyes sight was blurring. This was not a good sign. Claire tried to concentrate on the beam in front of her but she saw three blurred ones that kept moving. She held her head and squinted, trying to see past her blurriness, but found she could not. Claire had to continue or else she would be disqualified. She ran forward and planted her hands on the beam, completing two shaky cartwheels before adding a flip at the end of her routine.
Claire felt herself losing control as she landed on the mat below the beam. She cried out in agony when she felt a snap. Before she could utter another word, the blackness consumed her.
Her bright blue eyes fluttered open. She blinked a few times, trying to figure out where she was. Claire sat up in the bed she was lying in and saw a figure sitting on a chair right beside her bed. Cam looked up to see Claire staring down at him. "Nasty fall, huh?"
Claire looked at him with confusion. She raised an eyebrow before asking, "What? Where am I? What about the meet?"
Cam shook his head and grabbed Claire's hand, squeezing it once. "School infirmary. Your mom went to find food with your brother. You um landed on one foot on the mat...you don't remember anything do you?"
Claire closed her eyes, enjoying the feeling of Cam gripping her hand. "I blew it didn't I?"
"Hey, there will be more meets, Claire. For what it's worth...you did amazing."
"Up until that last stunt, huh?" She said, pushing a strand behind her ear. She opened her eyes and yanked her hand free of Cam's before she pushed the covers aside. Claire jumped out of the bed, but cried out in pain when a sharp pain hit pulsed through her right foot. Cam caught her before she could fall.
"Easy there, Khorkina. Your foot's broken." Claire looked down at her foot and saw that there was a cast on it. She smiled sheepishly at Cam as he helped her back onto the bed.
"Thanks," She muttered.
Cam nodded with a tiny smile. "Don't mention it."
"No, I mean thanks for watching me...and for being here when I woke up," Claire said softly, a smile creeping onto her face. Cam looked over at her with a smile.
"I'll always be there for you. Don't forget that." Claire looked up at him with a widening grin. She felt herself leaning closer towards his face...so close that his lips were almost reachable.
"Claire!" A voice yelled from the front of the room.
Claire blushed madly as she pulled away from Cam. Her mother ran into the room and squeezed her tightly, crying slightly and babbling about her safety. Claire laughed lightly while patting her mom's back soothingly. She saw her brother approach them with an eyebrow raised.
"You okay, sis?"
Claire nodded. "You bet, little brother. Come here."
Todd walked towards his sister and before he could say anything, Claire hugged him tightly. "Thanks for caring, Todd."
While Claire was having a little reunion with her family, Cam had slipped out the door, needing time to think.
"Shut it, Layne," Claire shot right back at her amused friend.
Layne shrugged as they walked into their art class. "Hey, I'm complimenting it. The um care bears really suit it," She said with amusement before laughing at Claire's expense.
Claire flushed. "My mom picked the cast when I was unconscious. Believe me, I wanted to kill her." The blonde said as the two sat down in the front. She turned around to smile at Cam who was sitting in the back with Derrick. Claire felt like she could get lost in his two different colored eyes and found that she could not pull away from them.
Layne coughed. "Ughmm. Claire, take a picture?" She suggested.
Claire pulled away with confusion. "Huh?" Layne shook her head and rolled her eyes.
Ms. Fredericka walked in, patting at her big, frizzy red hair. "Now class, time to present your projects today."
Claire paled at her teacher's words. She was proud of her project. Claire had worked really hard on it, but she was embarrassed to present it. It was a picture of Cam's two different colored eyes in a darkened, blue mist that was supposed to represent her. They weren't going out anymore...or really good friends anymore...that was awkward.
The blonde slumped in her chair and groaned. This seemed to catch Ms. Fredericka's attention. She walked over to Claire's desk and asked Claire if she would like to go first and present her project.
"I've only seen glimpses, Ms. Lyons...but it looked spectacular."
"Well...it's not really-
Claire walked over to her portfolio and grabbed her painting out of it. Turning bright red, she placed it on the stand in front of everyone. She coughed nervously before muttering, "Here it is."
People started whispering about the project to each other. A few laughed and others shook their heads in the shame that the it couple wasn't together anymore. Claire didn't dare look at Cam's reactions. She had assumed that he only wanted to be friends now, since she publicly rejected him at the dance.
The teacher nodded and made sounds of approval. "Explain it to the class; your thoughts behind it and what technique you used."
I nodded and swallowed nervously. "It's um a pair of eyes...of different shades. I used the watercolors and the-
"How did you get the idea though, dear?"
Claire looked down at the ground. Hell, did her teacher want her to flat out say it? "I was uh inspired by uh my...friend...Cam." If she thought people were whispering before, they were whispering and gossiping even louder now.
Gaining courage, Claire picked her head up and saw Cam looking at her. He wasn't frowning or looking away. Instead, he was grinning at her supportively. He started to clap enthusiastically and soon the entire class was cheering. Claire shot Cam a look of gratefulness before she sat down in her seat.
She couldn't stop smiling.
"Claire, wait up."
Claire stopped short in her tracks and turned around to see Cam again. She told Layne she would catch up with her later. The blonde tucked a strand of hair behind her ear and crossed her arms over her chest with a smile. "I guess I should be thanking you again."
"No problem, Claire bear. Hey, listen...your painting was really good. I think you made my eyes look better than they really were."
Claire stopped at her locker and opened it, throwing her books inside. She shut it before looking at Cam. "Your eyes, Cam...are beautiful okay? I was just...painting the way I saw you..."
Cam seemed taken back by this. His eyes searched hers, waiting for her to start laughing, but she never did. Claire was serious, completely serious. He leaned against the lockers and ran a hand through his messy, dark hair. "Claire-
Claire smiled weakly at him. "Don't, Cam. I know what you're going to say."
"Claire, you can't just say that and then..."
"And what, Cam?" She asked eyeing him warily.
"And not expect me to take it personally and do this..." He leaned forward and tilted her chin upwards. Holding her face softly, he traced his thumb along the side of her face before leaning in to kiss her soft, pink lips. Claire's stiff body softened instantly at Cam's touch. She pulled herself closer to him. Cam felt Claire sigh as they were kissing before she pulled away.
"Cam, we can't. We're...we're not together."
Cam reached for her hands. "We can be though, Claire. We can...all we have to do is say yes."
Claire pulled her hands away from Cam. "I'm not sure I want to."
"Dammit, Claire. I don't believe that!" Cam said with frustration as he banged his fist against the metal locker. Ignoring the pain in his left hand, he said, "That kiss...we both wanted it, needed it even. We need each other."
His voice sounded strained as if he was going to break at any minute. Claire couldn't stop the words from coming out of her mouth, "I'm sorry..." She immediately regretted saying those two words, but she couldn't take it back. Her head was telling her she was doing the right thing.
Claire walked away from Cam, ignoring the pain she felt in her heart.
Claire sat outside on the bench, trying to ignore the excited crowds that were heading over to watch the last, huge soccer game. She was debating whether she should go. Of course, Layne was no help because her exact words were 'I wouldn't be caught dead at one of those things.'
Claire really wanted to support Cam...after all, he supported her at her meet...even if she did blow it. Then again, she just blew off Cam again, telling him they should be just friends even though she agreed with him that they should be together.
She raised her eyebrow in confusion before placing her face in her hands with a groan. She knew they should be together and yet, she just couldn't do it...couldn't allow herself to be vulnerable again. The first time they had been in love, or at least she had, Cam had broken her heart. This year, he has certainly made it both the best and the hardest time of her life too...
"You have to promise me you're coming to my game. Promise?"
"Wouldn't miss it for the world, Cammy."
He smiled his boyish grin before giving his thumbs up. "Alright!" He said with excitement as he wrapped his arms around her shoulder.
No matter what...Claire had to go to the game. She made a promise to him and a promise was a promise.
She got up from the bench and started to sprint towards the field. Claire hoped she wasn't too late.
Cam looked out into the stands and scanned them for a familiar mop of white blonde hair. Not finding what he was looking for, Cam sat on the bench, looking at the ground. Derrick whipped his towel at Cam's head.
"Cheer up, man. She'll be here." Cam nodded, as if he were trying to convince himself.
"Man, you are so whipped!" Kemp cat called before a bunch of the guys joined in. Cam simply rolled his eyes muttering something that sounded like 'whatever.'
"Alright, starting line up, get out there!" The coach barked out before Cam and Derrick rushed out onto the field. Cam knocked fists with Derrick as tradition before taking his spot as the center forward. He nodded at the other team's center forward before looking up into the stands one more time. Cam laughed with relief and grinned when he saw Claire climb the bleachers and sit next to Massie. Derrick was right. How could he have thought that Claire would miss his game?
Cam smirked at the team standing before him. Now that she was here...his lucky charm, there would be nothing stopping him from scoring tons of goals.
The whistle blew and Cam took off.
"What took you so long, blondie?" Massie asked her friend with a grin as she cheered for Derrick.
Claire shrugged. "Just figuring some stuff out."
Massie turned her attention back to Claire. She raised one eyebrow before saying, "Sounds intriguing. Did you figure it out?"
Claire shook her head and watched Cam intercept the ball. "Almost."
She loved him, that was true. Yes, there was a physical attraction between them. Claire adored his two different colored eyes and his dark, shaggy hair. She loved the way his muscles held her when they embraced or the way he had to bend down to kiss her...but there was so much more to him than that. Claire loved the way he would smile his trademark boyish grin or the way he threw his hands in his pockets when he walked. She loved the sound of his laugh and when he would make her blush by doing or saying something romantic. He knew her better than anyone she knew and made her want to be strong...for the both of them.
Cam was always there for her, through thick and thin. He was always thinking of her, caring for her and making sure she was okay. Cam was her best friend, knew her the best and sincerely wanted her to be happy. Not to mention, he loved kissing her and holding her as much as she loved it.
They were in love. Who was Claire's brain to say no? What if he hurt her? It was all apart of the emotional roller coaster. They loved each other and deserved to be happy...so ignore the what ifs and think about the present.
He loved you. She loved him. End of story.
Claire watched Cam strike the ball, slamming the ball into the back of the net. Her eyes widened and she screamed in delight along with the rest of the school. She stood and held Massie as they jumped up and down, cheering and screaming.
Claire felt her heart beat quicken when she saw Cam look up at her. He grinned at her and ran a hand through his dark, sweaty hair. Claire watched him mouth the words 'for you.' She almost gasped by the gesture, but instead felt herself laughing and grinning like an idiot. Claire cheered even louder and jumped higher.
She was in love with him.
Game over. They had won 3 to 1, thanks to Cam's skills.
Claire had watched everyone run onto the field to congratulate the soccer team. She was the only one standing on the bleachers, waiting for Cam. Claire would let him have his glory moment, she said to herself. Spotting her, Cam ran up to the bleachers and climbed two steps at a time to meet her. Panting loudly, he bent down and put his hands on his knees, looking up at her.
Claire clapped a couple of times, slowly, with a smile plastered on her face. These days she couldn't stop smiling. "Nice game, Cammy. I forgot how amazing you were."
He shrugged and grinned up at her for the compliment. Standing up, he looked down at her and said, "It's cause I had my lucky charm here."
Claire blushed madly as Cam grabbed her hands. He pressed them to his chest and closed his eyes. "Hear that? It's beating...for you," Cam said softly. When he opened his eyes, he found Claire's glassy blue eyes looking into his.
He leaned towards her. "Screw everyone, Claire. It's just you and me."
Claire pushed herself closer into his chest and said softly, "I love you." She met his lips and kissed him with all the passion she had been ignoring. Pulling away, she pressed her forehead against his.
"I love you too," He said with adoration.
A wet tear fell from her eye, but Claire wiped it away quickly. "Look what you did," She said with laughter. "You're making me cry."
Cam laughed and swung her around in a circle before setting her down. He held her close and buried himself in her neck, wishing he never had to let go.
"Miss Rivera, you have a visitor."
The dark haired beauty walked into the white room and sat in the chair in front of the glass screen. She stared emptily at the girl sitting on the other side of the glass.
Claire Lyons gulped nervously as she tapped her fingers against the table below the glass. Looking into Alicia's dull eyes, she felt speechless, as if the words she had practiced for weeks were forgotten. She turned around and saw Cam waiting by the door. He nodded in Alicia's direction and probed her to talk to her. Claire nodded and turned back towards Alicia.
Drawing in a deep breath, Claire stood up and walked to the door that joined the two rooms together. She ignored the cries of the guards not to go to the other room. Claire closed the door behind her and walked towards Alicia. Pulling a chair over, Claire sat right across from Alicia.
Alicia looked horrible...like a train had hit her. Her hair was bushy and tangled in several places and her eyes were glassy and red. She looked extremely pail and frail, as if they hadn't been feeding her. Claire gazed at her with sympathy before she shook her head.
"Alicia, what you did was wrong...you and I both know it and everyone else does...but...I..." Claire choked on her words.
Looking up at Alicia, she said, "I forgive you...for everything. For making my life hell at school...for indirectly killing my father...everything. And...now that I've forgiven you...I need you to do me one favor."
Her dull eyes widened, surprised at my outburst. "Anything." Her voice came out as a whisper.
Claire nodded. "I want you to forgive yourself, okay?"
Alicia shook her head. "I can't do that Claire." Her voice was broken and uneven. A few seconds later, a sob escaped her lips. The dark haired beauty started to shake uncontrollably. Claire got up from her chair and hugged Alicia tightly. Alicia wrapped her arms around Claire and sobbed into her shoulder. Claire patted her back and whispered soothing words.
Alicia pulled away a few minutes later and wiped her eyes. "Thank you...so much...for being so kind."
Claire smiled. "Everyone deserves a second chance." She gave Alicia one more hug and exited the room. Taking Cam's hand, Claire smiled as the two of them walked towards the exit. Cam waved at Alicia with a friendly smile before the two disappeared from Alicia's life.
Once back in her room, Alicia sat on her bed and wondered how on earth Claire had forgiven her. She was wrong about Claire...she was sympathetic and caring. Alicia didn't deserve her forgiveness. The dark haired beauty buried herself underneath her pillow, knowing that this was the only way she could forgive herself.
A life for a life.
Pressing the pillow, her heart screamed for oxygen, but Alicia simply ignored the urgent call. She allowed the darkness to consume her with a smile on her lips.
"You ready for this?"
Claire took a deep breath and jumped out of the car. Cam followed her and grabbed her hand, leading her up the stairs. Claire gripped the flowers in her hand and exhaled shakily. Walking through the green area, Claire passed several gray tombstones before coming to one that looked familiar. Falling to her knees, Claire placed the flowers on the soil.
Here Lies Jay Lyons
Father, Husband, Brother
"There are places I remember. All my life, though some have changed. Some forever, not for better. Some have gone and some remain. Though I know I'll never lose affection, for people and things that went before. I know I'll often stop and think about them. In my life, I love you more."
Claire wiped a forming tear from her eye and whispered, "I love you, Daddy." Standing up from the ground, she pulled herself into Cam and allowed him to just hold her as the rain poured down from the clouds.
"Alright, what's happened in 1754?"
"Easy. French and Indian War," Claire responded as she propped her broken foot onto another chair. Cam and her were sitting in the library, quizzing each other for final exams. Claire was sitting at one end of the table, with her broken leg propped on another chair. Cam was siting across from her, running a hand through his dark locks.
"Brits and Indians won. French lost pretty much all of their settlements in America."
"Which developed their...?"
"Hatred for the Brits...which is why they helped the Americans in the Revolutionary War which led to them being in debt...causing a revolution in their country. Seriously, Cam? All of these questions are really easy!" Claire said with amusement.
Cam grinned back at her. "It's about to get easier. Will you go to the prom with me?"
Claire laughed with a smile on her lips. "Guess that's why all the girls call you Mr. Romantic." She leaned across the table with a playful smile.
Cam nodded as he leaned across the table, closer to her. " I do live up to my nickname, don't I?" She leaned in and kissed him firmly.
Pulling away, Cam leaned against his chair with his arms over his head. "I'll take that as a yes."
Claire smirked playfully. "You can take it as a maybe." She pushed away from her table and grabbed her books.
Cam pretended to look flabbergasted. "A maybe? I make a romantic gesture and all you can say is maybe?" He said mockingly.
Claire bit her lip and nodded. She teased, "Like I said. Maybe." She started walking towards the exit with Cam trailing behind her.
"Very funny, Claire. Just say yes already! Claire? Claire?" He shouted, grabbing her hand and squeezing it tight. She only laughed and shook her head with a tiny smile.
Her wish had come true. And it was perfect.
In case people were confused back at the gymnast scene, Khorkina is a famous woman gymnast.
That is the end.
Thank you to all of my readers and reviewers. And for one last time, please review.
I look SO forward to making more Clique...especially Clam fics in the future.
Kisses. You haven't heard the last of me.