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We were just kids

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“C-Griff.” Clarke Griffin looks up from her phone when she hears her best friend, Raven Reyes, calling out her instagram handle across the cafeteria. Raven drops into the seat beside her, with a grin on her face.

“What can I do for you Reyes-of-sunshine?” She asks, pushing her tray over so Raven can take a slice of pizza.

“Please, please, tell Bree that Bellamy Blake is bad news.” Raven says, gesturing at a blonde girl that Clarke doesn’t really know.

“I never said he was good news.” Bree says, rolling her eyes and swinging a chair around to sit next to Raven. “I just said he was hot.”

“I don’t know anything about him.” Clarke shrugs, unlocking her phone again and checking her new Facebook notification. It’s Jasper - as usual, tagging her in a weird meme he’d found.

“Well, I do.” Raven says, lowering her voice and leaning in. Other than Clarke’s best friend, Raven Reyes is a total gossip and literal genius. It’s a combination Clarke wouldn’t have guessed was a thing, but Raven rocks it. “He’s a senior, obviously. He’s just moved here from like Chicago because his mum died and he’s living with his grandma or something. And he’s turning nineteen in March.”

“How do you know?” Bree asks in awe. Clarke just rolls her eyes, she's used to this.

“He’s in my AP stats class.” Raven grins.

“None of that means he’s bad news.” Clarke tells them, still not looking up from her phone. “Don’t be a gossip, Rae-Rae.”

“I heard he got arrested which is why he moved here.” Raven adds conspiratorially. Probably saving that part of her story for last on purpose.

“Oh my god, what for?” Bree whispers back, leaning in closer.

“Don’t go starting rumours, Raven.” Clarke warns. The last thing she wants is to be involved in another dramatic and completely false story.

“It’s just what I heard.” Raven shrugs, leaning in to take another slice of pizza of Clarke’s tray.

*

Of course, Clarke knows of Bellamy Blake’s existence broadly, but she’s never really paid him much attention. She knows he started at Arkadia High this year, is in two of her classes, that he’s kind of private and that he’s become friends with Miller (who Clarke likes) and Murphy (who she’s impartial to). But it’s the first week of their senior year and she’s honestly has had more important things to worry about. Like catching up with her friends and discussing their summer.

However, in the weeks following the conversation with Raven and Bree, she notices him around more and more. On the first Friday of semester she gets a milkshake with Raven on the way home and he’s working behind the counter of their favourite coffee shop. He’s jogging at the park where she’s sitting on a bench drawing. He has the locker three down from hers and apparently has the same free period. On the days she walks home, she often finds herself walking behind him, so they must live fairly close.

 

She can’t even say she’s surprised when two weeks later Bellamy is allocated her lab partner in their AP Bio class. Her life is just like that. She’s not upset either, it’s already obvious that Bellamy is a good student. He won’t let Clarke do all the work.

“Hey.” She says, dropping her books onto the desk beside him. He glances up at her, pushing his books aside.

“Hi.” He says. It’s the first real interaction they’ve had and while it’s not much to go on, it’s not exactly warm. Clarke’s a big believer of first impressions and he hasn’t made a good one. But whatever, they’re lab partners. They don’t need to be best friends. They just need to be civil.

“So I figure as well as class we only have to meet once or twice a week?” Clarke says, looking down at the assignment list. It’s not a huge workload. They could probably get it done without having to work at home.

“I have to work.” Bellamy says, shrugging his shoulders. “It has to be during school time.”

“We have the same free period. I thought that would work.” Clarke suggests, trying to keep herself from reacting to his nonchalance. They don’t have to get on, she reminds herself.

“Stalking me now, princess?” He smirks. Clarke bristles at the way he almost spits the nickname and she can immediately tell he’s heard the rumours (that while might have some truth, do not define her). Clarke knows that she and Bellamy come from different backgrounds, but that does not mean he has a right to judge her on hers, like so many of the students at Arkadia High do. And he’s friends with Miller. She thought he’d be better than that.

“I happen to have noticed we’re in the library at the same time, arsehole.” Clarke snaps and maybe it’s not the most mature way to deal with this, but Bellamy is fucking grinning and that just makes her madder.

“The princess of Arkadia noticing the peasants.” Bellamy nods solemnly.

“You know what, fuck you.” Clarke mutters, opening her textbook with more force than necessary and unlocking her phone under the desk.

“Don’t threaten me with a good time.” He grins, opening his own book and starting on the chapter they’ve been asked to read. She’s tempted to kick him. But she's better than that. Just.

Clarke
Bellamy Blake is an arsehole. Add it to the list of facts you know about him.

Reyes of Sunshine
Hot, arsehole that got arrested and works at a coffee shop.
That’s a good brand
If not a little confusing

Clarke is about to type a response when there is a pointed cough from behind. She looks up to see their biology teacher holding his hand out. Clarke groans aloud and hands over her phone. He’s going to read her message out. He always does.

“Since Miss Griffin thinks she has more important things to read than the chapter we’re supposed to be focussing on, I think it’s important that I catch you all up on the topic of conversation.” Pike drawls. Clarke swears the only reason he got into teaching was to torture his students. “‘Bellamy Blake is an arsehole. Add it to the list of facts you know about him.’ Clarke, that’s hardly an appropriate thing to say about your lab partner. Reyes of Sunshine – I’m assuming that’s Raven Reyes – however, has said ‘hot, arsehole that got arrested and works at a coffee shop. That’s a good brand. If not a little confusing.’ Not really a riveting conversation, Miss Griffin. Not worth wasting your class time with. Read the chapter and you can have your phone back after class.”

Falling into a hole in the ground is currently sounding more appealing than meeting any of her classmates eyes right now. She can feel Bellamy smirking at her and Jasper’s sympathetic glances. Pike has to be breaking some kind of privacy law reading messages aloud like that.

“Think I’m hot, princess?” Bellamy whispers when the giggles from the rest of the class have finally subsided.

“In case you missed it, my friend thinks you’re hot. Not me.” Clarke says through gritted teeth. It’s a lie. Objectively speaking, Bellamy is hot. All broad shoulders, tan skin and freckles. He’s probably got too much gel in his hair, but that just makes Clarke wonder what it looks like without it. However, now she knows he has a shitty personality so it doesn’t matter what he looks like. Looks can only get you so far. 

“I’ll be in the library on Tuesday so we can work on this,” Bellamy says, shaking the assignment sheet in her face, seconds after the bell has signalled the end of the day. “Looking forward to working with you.”

Clarke storms up to Pike’s desk to reclaim her phone, not dignifying Bellamy’s words with a response. By the time she’s turned around to leave Bellamy has already left. Which is good. Now she doesn’t have to talk to him again.

“Griffin,”

“Reyes,” Clarke calls back, without turning around.

“Why didn’t you reply before? You can’t just withhold information from me,” Raven says, jogging to catch up with her.

“Pike took my phone and read my messages. So Blake knows you think he’s hot,” Clarke mutters, slinging her backpack off her shoulder and opening her locker. “Are you staying at mine tonight?”

“Worse things have happened,” Raven shrugs, helping herself to the chocolate Clarke has stashed in her locker. “And yeah, I am.”

*

Raven spends most weekends with Clarke because Abby loves her and Raven and her own mother don’t get on. It works for Clarke because it means most of the time Abby isn’t on Clarke’s back about grades or college or why she isn’t playing hockey this year. And for some reason she trusts Raven to not let Clarke drink when the occasionally do go to parties. So it’s a win-win situation.

It’s too early in the year for them to have much homework, so they spend the weekend hanging out by the pool, soaking up the last sun of the year. And talking about Bellamy Blake. Mostly because Clarke has decided to hate him and partly because Bree is still really interested in him. It means both Raven and Clarke are into searching through his social media profiles and making offhand comments about how much Clarke dislikes him and how hot Raven thinks he is.

*

The following Monday is one of the worst days in Clarke’s entire schooling career. She forgets her textbook for her AP literature class, she drops her tray of food in the cafeteria, her compulsory gym class leaves her with a pretty badly twisted ankle, she has a run-in with Dax and his friends and before she can go home and wash the day off her, she has to spend an hour with Bellamy Blake.

“Bad day, Princess?” He asks with a grin, when she slams her books onto the desk beside him.

“Just – don’t,” She says, hating how defeated she sounds and opening her book, waiting for Pike to start the class. Normally she’d say something snarky in response, but she really just wants to go home and ice her ankle and maybe watch a sad movie. She definitely doesn’t want to deal with Bellamy Blake. So she’s more than a little bit surprised and a lot relieved when he doesn’t snap back.

She manages to fume her way through the rest of the class without incident until finally the bell signalling the end of the day rings. She shoves her books in her bag, throws it over her shoulder and is hobbling towards the door before anyone else is out of their desks. She just wants to get home. There's definitely a bubble bath calling her name. And maybe a sulky box of chocolates. She’s halfway down the hall when Bellamy catches up to her. She sighs dramatically and tries to limp away with as much dignity as she can muster. It’s not much. But she keeps her head high.

“What did you do to yourself?” Bellamy asks, carrying his books rather than putting them in his bag. Almost as though he had rushed after her.

“Gym,” she shrugs, hoisting her bag higher onto her shoulder. She’d decided to walk to school, rather than drive and she’s currently regretting the choice more and more with each step she takes. Especially with Bellamy looking at her with sympathy. She can handle a lot, but not his sympathy. Not today.

“And you’re planning to walk on it?” Bellamy asks, glancing down at her ankle. She can tell it’s swollen, a little bruised and the sandals she’s wearing offer no support.

“I don’t really have a choice,” Clarke mutters. They’re standing in the car park now and Bellamy has dropped his pace to match hers.

“Mummy and Daddy don’t have a horse and carriage waiting to pick you up?” He asks. If it were anyone else, the blow wouldn’t land. She’d take it as friendly teasing. She’d laugh it off and tell them that she’d wanted to walk this morning and now her ankle is an inconvenience. But she’s upset already and he’s done nothing but judge her, from the moment he met her.

“Fuck you," she spits, trying to pick up her pace to walk away from him. But it hurts and she can’t help but groan. She almost wants to cry, but she’s not giving him the satisfaction.

“Wait, Clarke,” Bellamy calls. She doesn’t stop because it’s the first time he’s said her name and not princess, but she does stop, turning to face him. “I have a car. Let me give you a lift?”

“No," she says stubbornly and because the world is against her, she stumbles on her ankle.

“Don’t be dramatic. You’re on my way home,” Bellamy says, with a roll of his eyes.

“I don’t need your charity," she says, even though the thought of not having to walk home is tempting her.

“Clearly. But you’ll make it worse walking on it,” she sighs because she is dramatic and he is right. So she follows him across the car park and slides into his car.

“What’s your address?” He asks, when they’re at the street they usually go their separate ways on. He smirks when she tells him the street she lives on and she only just manages to bite down her reply.

“Thanks,” Clarke says, trying to keep the contempt out of her voice when he pulls into her driveway.

“Any time, princess," he says, as she climbs out of the car. She slams the door with more force than strictly necessary and tries to hobble away with the remainder of her dignity still in tact. She can’t help the faint smile that appears on her lips when she realises Bellamy doesn’t pull away from the house until she’s unlocking the door. It’s a nice gesture.

*

By six o'clock Clarke’s feeling mostly better. The smell of her favourite bubble bath is lingering on her skin and she has a bag of peas strapped to her ankle, she’s wearing her comfiest pyjamas and doesn’t have any homework she needs to be working on. She’s scrolling through a series of web comics she’d found before school went back and hadn’t had chance to revisit when her phone chimes the Wonder Woman theme music.

“Hey Rae,” Clarke answers, slotting her phone between her shoulder and her ear and leaning back on her bed.

“Are you holding out on me, Griffin?” Raven asks, without a greeting.

“Am I what now?” Clarke asks, eyebrows’ shooting up despite the fact Raven wasn’t around to witness it.

“I heard that you got into the car with Bellamy Blake this afternoon,” Raven says, matter of factly. Clarke will never understand the uncanny ability Raven has to find things out. “As your best friend, I’m offended you haven’t told me this. It’s been at least two hours since you’ve been home. Is he still with you?”

“How do you even find these things out?” Clarke sighs. It’s just like Raven to jump to that kind of conclusion.

“Miller told Monty, who told Harper, who told Bree, who told me,” Raven recites. “Well, what’s happening?”

“Of course. Even Miller is a gossip,” Clarke snorts. “I twisted my ankle in gym today, he gave me a lift home.”

“Oh good. Bree was kind of mad because she called dibs on Bellamy,” Raven tells her.

“Oh my god, Raven,” Clarke groans, sitting up in exasperation. “You can’t call dibs on people. How would you feel if someone called dibs on you and suddenly you became off limits to the rest of the school?”

“This is why I like you, Griffin. You put things into perspective,” Raven says. “Anyway, I like you better, so if you want to bang Bellamy, you go ahead and bang Bellamy.”

“Just to clarify, Bellamy Blake is still an arsehole and I still don’t want to bang him,” Clarke says, giggling a little. The conversation with Raven is as ridiculous as their fascination with him.

“He probably wants to bang you. I’ve heard things,” Raven says conspiratorially.

“Bullshit.”

“I have,” Raven exclaims, voice an octave higher than it was before.

"From who?” Clarke asks, this time believing her. Raven only sounds like that when someone doesn’t believe her gossip.

“Murphy told me he asks about you.”

“Gross,” Clarke says, ignoring the weird backflip her stomach does at her words. “And why are you talking to Murphy?”

“We’re friends. He’s on my bus,” Raven tells her and Clarke can imagine her shrugging her shoulders. Clarke smiles closing her laptop and settling back into her bed, to gossip with Raven. They talk about Bellamy more than she cares to admit, but only because Raven is curious. Apparently, Bellamy is a mystery and no one knows anything about him.

*

By the time Clarke wakes the next morning the swelling in her ankle has started to go down and it doesn’t hurt so much to stand on it. She still manages to convince her dad to drive her to school and arranges a lift home with David Miller, her neighbour, who isn't allowed to pick his son up because he drives a police cruiser.

Jasper and Monty meet her in the car park and laugh at her incompetence but help her towards the only class she shares with them both and Raven.

“How’s your ankle, Griffin?” Raven asks, dropping into the desk beside Clarke.

“Swollen and ugly,” Clarke mutters, lifting her converse clad foot to show the bruising. Raven snickers a little, but hands Clarke a coffee that she must have picked up this morning from their favourite coffee shop. The one Bellamy works at.

“Loverboy made that,” Raven says as Clarke takes her first sip.

“He makes a good coffee,” Clarke says, rolling her eyes and not thinking about the fact Bellamy is working before school and what that means.

“Who’s lover boy?” Jasper asks, turning around in his chair and smirking. Clarke and Raven have been friends with Jasper and Monty since their sophomore year when Clarke and Raven had started at Arkadia High. Jasper and Monty had taken them under their wings and shown them the ropes of the new school. It led to a very close friendship, even if they drove Clarke crazy with their weird schemes and ideas.

“Bellamy Blake,” Raven whispers, causing Monty to spin in his chair.

“So Miller wasn’t making shit up?” He asks, raising an eyebrow. “He likes the drama as much as Raven.”

“Fuck off, Monty,” Raven says, rolling her eyes. “She reckons she hates him, but he drove her home yesterday.”

“He’s just my lab partner,” Clarke mutters as their English teacher walks in and immediately silences the classroom.

By lunchtime, it’s Raven’s turn to sulk. She’s been given what she claims is an unfair amount of homework for the first week at school and she got into a fight with Roma.

“Do you want to ditch last period and egg her house?” Raven asks, only half joking.

“Yeah, as much as been arrested sounds like a great time, I have to meet Bellamy to work on our stupid bio assignment.”

“Whatever, have fun with your bad boy,” Raven winks.

“You’ve got to stop giving him creepy nicknames,” Clarke mutters, dropping her head onto the table. Raven winks again and Clarke only bothers to glare at her. She’s not looking forward to spending the afternoon with Bellamy. Especially since she knows he asked about her and he actually did something nice for her yesterday. It’s a different impression than he gave her that first day. He’s still a jerk, but she’s got a feeling its part of an act. 

She’s proven right when she arrives at the library to find him waiting with another coffee, from his café. How wrong could she really be about Bellamy Blake?

“Hey, Princess,” He greets, pushing the cup towards her. Not that wrong.

“Let’s just get this over with,” She mutters, pulling her books out of her bag and trying to bite back the smile threatening to break on her face.

“Whatever the hell you want,” He smirks and she suppresses a groan.

But despite this, by the time the hour is up, they’ve managed to argue about just about every part of their assignment, but also make a good plan. She grudgingly admits that he has good points and he actually ends up agreeing with her on the setup. And not that she’d ever admit it, but arguing with Bellamy is actually kind of fun.

Chapter Text

As the weeks go by, Clarke finds herself begrudgingly getting less annoyed by Bellamy’s torments. Obviously, she still dislikes him but she can admit that he’s smart and driven to be a good student and he’s funny. He’s not as bad as she thought. Which is frustrating because Raven and him have somehow gotten to talking terms and she’s rubbing everything in her face. And she’s convinced Clarke likes him, which is basically the worst.

By the time they’ve been working together on the ten-week project for three weeks, it looks like they’re already half-finished. Clarke’s never going to admit it, but she’s not looking forward to stopping the weekly meetings and arguments. It’s growing into her favourite part of the week. He's an arsehole, but he is funny.

So when she gets to her second-period class on Tuesday, she’s more than a little disappointed to see Bellamy isn’t there. She’s still looking around the room when she drops into her seat beside Harper.

“He’s not here today,” she says, grinning at Clarke. She groans internally before turning to Harper with a feigned look of nonchalance.

“Who?” She asks, raising her eyebrows slightly. Harper’s knowing look says she’s not fooling anyone.

“Bellamy Blake,” Harper says. “He wasn’t in statistics this morning. Raven asked me to tell you.”

“Oh, he’s my lab partner. We’re supposed to work on our assignment today,” Clarke shrugs. Harper is normally pretty good at staying out of school drama, but she had been the one to tell Bree that Bellamy had given her a lift home all those weeks ago.

“Raven said you’d say that too,” Harper says, “She’s overly invested in your life.”

“You’ve got that right,” Clarke agrees, rolling her eyes and unlocking her phone.

Clarke
You’re the literal bane of my existence reyes.

Reyes of Sunshine
Realised Bellamy isn’t here?
He asked for your number.
I gave it to him.
Thank me later.

Clarke
Literal. Bane. Of. My. Existence.

Clarke sighs, shoving her phone under her leg and turning to face Mrs Kane, their slightly crazy English teacher. Raven is a good friend – the best she’s ever had – but god damn her investment in whatever Bellamy and Clarke are is going to drive her crazy. They’re barely even friends. What is she even getting out of this? And she can only hope that she isn’t giving Bellamy the same torment. That would be even more embarrassing.

By lunchtime, Clarke hasn’t heard from Bellamy and has decided that Raven is probably bluffing. Why would Raven and Bellamy be texting in the first place? And he really wouldn’t need Clarke’s number. They don’t talk aside from the occasional greeting in the hallway and when they’re in the same class or working on their assignment. And they’re so far ahead on their work, that if he has had to take the day off, he doesn’t owe her an explanation until he sees her in class tomorrow. It’s not as big of a deal as Raven is making it out to be. Clarke’s fine really.

So of course, when she sits down next to Raven in their favourite corner of the cafeteria, her phone buzzes with a message from an unknown number. She tries to hide the screen from Raven, but she’s nosey.

“Is that Bellamy?” She asks excitedly, reaching for Clarke’s phone.

“Fuck off,” Clarke exclaims, too defensively, slapping Raven’s hand away and snatching her phone off the table. She faces the screen away from Raven and unlocks the message.

Unknown
Hey Clarke. It’s Bellamy. Sorry I had to ask Raven for you’re number but I didn’t want to just not show up to work on our assignment. I took the day off school because my sister ran away and I had to find her. I have to work every night this week but we can find extra time to work next week? I’m really sorry. My sister has hell to pay for this.

The message isn’t at all what she was expecting. She didn’t even realise Bellamy had a sister, let alone one that would run away and he’d go after. She saves his number and sits with her fingers hovering over her keypad for long enough that Raven makes another grab for her phone.

“Who was it?” Raven asks, nudging Clarke’s ankles with her shoes.

“Stop it,” Clarke says, shoving her back. “It was just Bellamy saying we can’t work on our assignment today.”

“Show me!” Raven demands, holding out her phone.

“Nope,” she says, popping the ‘p’ and slotting her phone back in her pocket. It wouldn’t normally be a problem, but something tells Clarke that Bellamy told her about his sister in confidence.

She doesn’t get a chance to reply to Bellamy until she’s walking to Bio with Jasper and his lab partner, a girl he’s definitely crushing on.

Clarke
All good. We can just work on it later! Hope your sister is okay.

Bellamy Blake
Tuesdays at Grounded are dead quiet, so if you have a free hour after school, we can probably work on it tonight if you want.
She’s fine. Just being thirteen.

Clarke is so busy fretting over whether worrying about his sister is out of line, that she doesn’t even realise what she’s agreed to until it’s too late.

Clarke
I can come by for an hour or two before my parents get home.

Shit. Shit. Raven is going to give her hell for this. And she can’t even deny that seeing Bellamy outside of school is already causing her stomach to do backflips. She’s just nervous about Raven’s reaction. Not seeing him. It’s got nothing to do with him. And everything to do with not wanting to deal with Raven’s reactions. Honest.

Bellamy Blake
Great. I’m on til 9 so swing by whenever.

Clarke groans loud enough that both Jasper and Maya turn to face her with raised eyebrows. She just shakes her head. She’s doesn’t need this reaching Raven any faster than it has too. And she’s not going to keep it a secret, she just wants to be the one to tell her. She doesn’t want to be ambushed again.

*

The walk to Grounded is quicker than Clarke was really prepared for it to be. She needed time to prepare herself and she’s not even a little bit ready when she’s pushing open the door and stepping inside the familiar coffee shop. The bell above the door catches Bellamy’s attention and has him smiling at her and gesturing to a table closest to the counter. She nods and drops her bag into one armchair and collapses into another.

“Princess,” he greets, placing a mug in front of her and sitting in the empty armchair five minutes later. “Caramel latte, no sugar, soy milk?”

“Yeah,” she says, surprised and a touch flattered he remembered her order. “Thanks.”

“I get free drinks,” he shrugs. “And I can sit with you while it’s quiet, as long as I greet and serve the customers.”

“Your boss is okay with that?” Clarke asks, surprised. She’s never had a job before, but Raven hates her boss and she knows Monty and Jasper aren’t allowed to have people in the shop when they’re working.

“Yeah," he says a little sheepishly, running a hand through his hair. “The couple that own this place are actually my sister's foster parents.”

“Oh my god,” Clarke says, unable to contain her surprise. Raven had said Bellamy had moved because his mother had died, but this is another thing she never expected from him. He really is the mystery that Raven says he is. “I didn’t know that.”

“It’s cool,” Bellamy shrugs. “I don’t really advertise it. My mum died just after I turned eighteen, I managed to keep custody of Octavia for a few months. But I didn’t finish school and I worked in a grocery store. I lost it pretty quickly.”

"That sucks. I'm really sorry about your mum. Where’s your sister now?” Clarke asks when he pauses in his story. She’s pretty certain that Raven’s rumour about his getting arrested is entirely false and she’s about to learn his real story.

“She’s here, few streets over from you. She goes to Arkadia Lake,” Bellamy says, gesturing out the door and in the general direction of the other school. Arkadia Lake Academy is just down the road from Arkadia High. Clarke had attended for elementary school and freshmen year but had managed to convince her parents that attending the school both of them were on the board at would make it seem like she had an unfair advantage. It’s where the taunts of her being the ‘princess’ of Ark High had come from.

“Didn’t you guys come from Chicago?” Clarke asks, kicking herself for letting him know that she’d paid enough attention to him, in the beginning, to hear where he was from. “Why are you at school in Arkadia?”

“The couple that took her in contacted me after a week of her being here and offered me a bed and a job so I could finish school. They didn’t want Octavia worrying about me,” Bellamy says, not looking at Clarke. She’s almost sure he’s blushing. “They didn’t have to. I can’t believe how lucky I got.”

“That’s really amazing of them," Clarke agrees, taking a sip of her coffee for something to do.”

“It is," Bellamy hums. “I was really mad in the first weeks I came here. Some kid kept asking where I came from and I told him juvie when he wouldn’t let up.”

“No shit," she teases, nudging his foot with the toe of her shoe and then blushing. That’s flirting and she’s definitely not going to flirt with Bellamy after he just told her that. Now is not the time. Flirting with Bellamy isn’t even something she should be thinking about. Ever.

“Yeah, and I sort of took it out on you because I heard some pretty horrible rumours about you from Mbege and Dax. And I believed them," he continues, meeting her eye, ”So, I’m sorry about that.”

“It’s okay,” Clarke shrugs, wondering how many times Bellamy is going to surprise her. “Some of it is probably true. I went to ALA for elementary school and freshmen year. My parents are on the board. If schools had a monarchy, I guess I'd be the princess.”

“Did you actually get expelled for sleeping with a teacher though?” He teases, tapping his nose in a knowing way.

“Fuck. Is that what’s going around now?” Clarke groans. “I didn’t even get expelled. I convinced my parents to let me change over.”

“I never actually believed that part of it,” Bellamy smiles at her and her stomach still doesn’t do backflips because even though they’re having a civil conversation, she still doesn’t like him. “And Miller pretty quickly told me I was being an arsehole.”

“Miller’s good at that,” Clarke laughs.

“Hey, hot arsehole that got arrested and works in a coffee shop is my brand," he smirks and Clarke groans again.

“You’re never going to let me live that down are you?” She asks, rolling her eyes.

“Not a chance, princess.”

They’ve been sitting in the coffee shop for close to three hours and haven’t made any effort on their assignment. Clarke hasn’t even taken her books from her bag. But they have had an in-depth discussion about The Walking Dead and whether Glenn’s death was really necessary (“No, it wasn’t.” “Have you even read the comics, Clarke?”) and about whether or not Mrs Kane is actually crazy or just putting it on.

At six o’clock Bellamy curses and tells her he has to close the store, so he and the barista (who has been working on a paper behind the counter since the last customer left an hour ago) can get home.

“If you don’t mind hanging around for ten minutes, I can give you a lift home?” Bellamy tells her, as he wipes down tables.

“Yeah, I’d rather not walk,” Clarke decides, “Can I help?”

“Ever swept a floor, Princess?” He teases, waving his arm at a broom behind the counter. Clarke pokes her tongue at him but collects the broom gets to work, determined to have the floor of the coffee shop looking the best it’s ever looked. Better, in fact.

They tease each other mercilessly and Clarke actually giggles until the barista tells them to, 'Stop fucking flirting and lock the door.'

He drops her home at six-thirty and Clarke groans when she sees both her parents’ cars in the driveway. She’s supposed to be home at five every day.

“Mummy and daddy don’t like it when you stay out late?” He teases.

“Shut up," she mutters, sticking her middle finger at him and climbing out of the car.

“See you tomorrow, Clarke!” He shouts but doesn’t drive away until she’s let herself inside. The gesture still makes her smile. But she’s not going to admit it.

“I’m sorry!” Clarke calls, as she kicks her shoes off in the entryway and joins her parents’ in the kitchen. “I was working on an assignment and we lost track of time.”

Her parents give Clarke a lecture on letting them know when she’s going to be late and being careful getting in the car with a teenage boy behind the wheel, but they don’t ground her.

*

She’s in bed, searching for the first issue of The Walking Dead comic when the familiar Wonder Woman theme rings from her phone. She forgot to tell Raven she met with Bellamy. She’s going to be insufferable.

“Hey Rae,” Clarke says cheerfully.

“You’ll never believe what happened!” Raven shouts into the phone. Clarke screws up her nose and holds the phone away from her ear.

“What?”

“Harper and Monty are Facebook official!” Raven squeals. “As of fourteen minutes ago.” Harper and Monty have been dancing around making their relationship official for months. Neither of them wanting to make the first move, both waiting on the other.

“You’re such a creep. How was your afternoon?” Clarke asks, rolling her eyes but loading Facebook on her laptop. She wants to like her friends status’.

“It was good. Mum was annoying, but that’s standard. Finished that English paper. Yours?”

“I went to Grounded so Bellamy and I could work on our assignment. Then I helped mum make dinner,” She adds, trying to draw Raven’s attention away from the fact she’s been hanging out with Bellamy all afternoon.

“Wait, you hung out with him outside of school?” Of course, it didn’t work. She didn't think it would.

“We did school work though, so I don’t know if it counts as hanging out,” Clarke says, fighting to keep her voice neutral. If she’s defensive, Raven’s going to call her out on it.

“Don’t be dumb. Tell me everything.” Clarke tells Raven that they ended up talking about TV and homework for most of the afternoon because that’s something friends do. She doesn’t tell Raven about Bellamy’s sister or who he’s living with. It’s not her business to tell and she doesn’t think Raven would spread it, but she doesn’t want to risk it.

*

"Pass me that," Miller calls, motioning towards the hip-flask on the coffee table. It's the Saturday after Clarke had spent the afternoon with Bellamy at Grounded is now sitting in the basement-turned-rec-room of the Miller house.

“How’s ALA?” Clarke asks Wells, reclining in her seat and taking the hip-flask from Miller before he even has a drink. Unlike Clarke, Wells was never able to convince his parents that Ark High was the better option for him. 

“Same old, same old," Wells shrugs. “Anyone tried to sell you drugs at Ark High?”

“Jasper and Monty did have weed last week,” Miller grins, taking his flask back and topping up his drink. They’re at the bi-monthly barbecue that the Griffin’s, Miller’s and Jaha’s insist on hosting throughout the year. Clarke doesn’t hate them as much as she used to when they were kids because now she gets to hang out with Miller and Wells and Wells’s new girlfriend, Luna. And they take turns bringing a flask of something.

“Having you two at ALA would be so interesting,” Wells sighs, reaching for the flask and taking a mouthful before passing it to Luna.

“But then we’d have to be pretentious arseholes as well,” Clarke grins.

“As opposed to regular arseholes?” Wells asks, rolling his eyes.

“Exactly," Miller agrees. Clarke lunges for the phone he’s dropped in his lap. Her favourite thing to do when she’s drinking is to take a Snapchat on someone else’s phone and send it around.

“Do you have to?” Miller asks, but doesn’t make any move to take his phone back. Clarke doesn’t say anything and wraps an arm around Miller’s shoulders. He frowns at the filter she’s selected, but leans in and holds up the flask. She captions it ‘You know it’s a good night when Miller provides the goods’ and flicks through his contact list, selecting everyone she knows. She pauses when she gets to Bellamy. Their relationship is tentative – better than before but not friends. But with the number of people she’s sending this too, it would be weirder to not send it to him.

“She’s really thinking about that one, who is it?” Luna asks, leaning forward to see the screen.

“Bellamy Blake,” Miller smirks, glancing over. Clarke manages to keep her expression neutral and roll her eyes.

“Why are you even friends with him? He’s an arsehole,” She shrugs. It's a lie and she knows it. 

“Haven’t we established that we’re all arseholes? He’s just a different brand of arsehole,” Miller asks, snatching his phone back and glancing at it. “He doesn’t use Snapchat anyway.”

“His loss. Your face looks much better with a flower crown,” Clarke teases.

“It does,” Miller agrees, “But seriously if you gave him a chance, you’d probably really like him.” She does like him. That's the issue here.

“Has Clarke judged a book by its cover? Our Clarke? Judging someone?” Wells asks dramatically.

“Oh yeah. She’s going to learn a real good lesson. Bellamy already learnt it,” Miller grins, tossing his phone back. “Rae replied.”

Clarke ignores Miller and Wells, choosing not to dwell on whatever Miller is insinuating. She already knows what they’re talking about. Bellamy really isn’t who she assumed he was. She’s not told anyone about the extent of their conversation in Grounded. That’s between them. She taps on the blue box, indicating the message from Raven and grins.

reyes-of-sunshine
Say hi to Mama Griffin for me

miller-not-nathan
Your obsession with my mum is weird

reyes-of-sunshine
Still holding onto hope that she’ll disown you and adopt me

miller-not-nathan
Same tbh

Clarke is about the exit out of the app when she sees the pink box next to Bellamy’s name is illuminated. She taps his name out of curiosity and holds the picture up for Miller to see. Bellamy’s arm is over his face, so all she can see is his mouth and a splattering of freckles and Bellamy’s face isn’t normally something that she’s attracted to – but she’s drunk and that’s a really good photo. Of half his face. What?

“He replied!” Clarke says victoriously, glancing back at the caption. ‘Sharing drinks with the peasants?’ She’s so focussed on trying to fit them all into a selfie, that she almost misses Wells’s declaration.

“She’s totally into him, hey?”

“Not a chance!” Clarke sings, snapping the photo and captioning it, ‘No peasants here.’

“Oh my god. She totally is,” Miller grins, taking his phone back. “This means no more flirting using my phone. I’m sending him your Snap Code.”

“Or you could not,” Clarke groans. “We’re not even friends.”

“The denial though!” Luna says, to Miller and Wells. There’s no point arguing now. Their minds are made up.

“Whatever. Tell me if Raven replies.” Clarke says, picking up her own phone and biting back a smile when she sees that BellBlake has requested to be her friend. She doesn’t like him like that. She just wants to be friends.

Chapter Text

“How was your weekend?” Bellamy asks, when Clarke drops beside him and begins pulling out her biology books. She’d Snapchatted him mundane details about her weekend after he’d added her and he’d sent her a few himself, which she didn’t tell Miller about. He would have been insufferable. He and Raven should really start a club.

“It was pretty good. I got basically nothing done because I started a new TV series on Sunday,” Clarke shrugs. “Yours?” Just because they’re friends on Snapchat, does not mean they’re friends in real life. They’re lab partners and social media buddies, which means they’re friendly and polite. And definitely not real friends.

“To be honest, the most exciting part was Snapchatting you," He tells her, giving her a smile that is all white teeth and perfection and for a moment she has trouble remembering why they’re not friends. Because they’re not.

“Adorable," Clarke manages to deadpan but turns it into a smirk when he stares right back at her. Oh god, what if Raven is right and she’s into him?

"That's me," he grins. 

When he walks with her to their next class and tells Dax and Mbege to ‘fuck off’ when they try to take a dig at Clarke, she has a thought that’s even more terrifying. What if he’s into her?

“You’ve ruined my life,” Clarke tells Raven when she’s sure no one is listening. They’re sitting at the back of the classroom, working on their individual assignments.

“Is it because you’ve finally realised you’re in love with me?” Raven asks, not looking up from her writing. It’s a running joke they make, that the other is in love with them. But right now, it’s not funny.

“How can you simultaneously be my favourite and least favourite person?” Clarke says, glaring at the side of Raven’s head until she finally looks up.

“How have I ruined your life, Clarke?” She asks, doing her best to sound bored but not quite managing it. This is Raven and Clarke is about to gossip. Raven is invested.

“I think you’re right about Bellamy,” Clarke says, dropping her voice and glancing around the classroom. No one is paying attention, all focused on their own conversations or their assignments. It’s safe to have the conversation.

“Why? Was he really arrested?” Raven whispers back, leaning in closer. “Is he a murderer? Bank robber? Enemy of the state?”

“What the fuck, Raven? What does that even mean?” Clarke mutters, slapping her friend. “You have to promise not to tell anyone.” Clarke is going to tell Raven because she tells Raven everything. But if this gets out and someone else finds out, Clarke is probably going to murder her best friend. She has a reputation to uphold. A reputation of disliking Bellamy Blake. One she has no interest changing. 

“How many times do I have to tell you?” Raven grins, “You’re at the top of the chain. Your secrets are my secrets.”

“Whatever. You were right about how I feel about Bellamy," Clarke mutters, this time looking away from Raven. She hates telling her friend she was right. And Raven’s favourite thing is hearing she was right.

“I fucking knew it,” Raven exclaims excitedly, earning herself a disproving look from their teacher and glances thrown at her from across the room.

“Shut up,” Clarke hisses. “It’s going to ruin everything.”

“Why?”

“Because we’re lab partners and once the project is done, we go back to not even being that. We’re not friends," Clarke mutters. Clarke and Bellamy’s (almost) friendship is purely circumstantial. Without the excuse of seeing each other once a week, they won’t hang out. They’ll have nothing to talk about. There is no point getting attached when it’s not going to last.

“Don’t be dumb, Clarke," Raven says, her voice returning to normal. “Don’t think I didn’t notice that you guys are Facebook friends now and I know he’s in your recent contacts on Snapchat. Don’t be a wuss. When your bio project is done, just ask him to hang out. He’s not going to say no.”

“You don’t know that,” Clarke sighs, sadder than she was really going for.

“This is worse than I thought,” Raven says, mostly to herself and then grabs Clarke’s face so she’s looking at her. “If you want Bellamy, you just have to tell him. Trust me.

“Do you know something I don’t?” Clarke asks, shaking her face free from Raven’s hands.

“Not at all,” Raven grins, turning back to her assignment. “Have you done part b of question four?”

“No, I’m still on question three.”

“Keep up, Griffin,” Clarke doesn’t answer. Her thoughts lost in Raven’s words. If you want Bellamy, all you have to do is ask. It can’t be that simple. They don’t even like each other. Well, she likes him. But they’re not friends. There is no way that it’s going to be that easy. If she tells Bellamy how she feels, it’s just going to lead to her own embarrassment and enough chocolate that she’d break out the next day. And then she’d have to be sad about that as well.

It’s just not worth it.

*

By the time Clarke is due to meet Bellamy for their free period on Tuesday, she’s accepted the fact that she can’t even say she and Bellamy aren’t friends anymore. Bellamy had texted her a biology meme on Monday night and they’d ended up texting back and forth until she went to bed. And they didn’t just talk about biology. He tells her about Octavia and how she doesn’t want to live with the foster family. About her trying to convince Bellamy to fight for custody when he finishes school next year, but he wants to go to college and he doesn’t think he can do both. She tells him about her parent’s expectations and how she doesn’t think she can meet them. Her mum wants her to study medicine but blood makes her queasy. Her problems feel trivial compared to his, but he assures her they’re not and offers good advice. They’re not trivial, Clarke. They’re different, he texts when she mentions it.

They’re definitely friends and it’s the worst.

Bellamy is lounging at the desk in the furthest corner of the room when she gets there, five minutes late. She did it on purpose to annoy him. He’s reading a book, probably for pleasure and not class because he’s a nerd and has his things spread over both desks.

“Take up more room,” Clarke sighs dramatically, shoving his pencil case to the side and watching with satisfaction when it hits the floor with a dull thud.

“Princess, have some respect,” Bellamy says, rolling his eyes and leaning forward to pick up his things.

“Me?” Clarke mock gasps. “You’re in the presence of royalty and you can’t even save me some space.”

“Fuck the monarchy,” Bellamy deadpans, sliding his English and statistics textbooks back into his bag. Of course, he was taking up the entire table on purpose.

“You wish," She grins and then glances around cringing. What a terrible line.

Without much conscious input from her brain, Clarke finds herself flirting more and more with Bellamy. It takes them fifteen minutes to even get their books out and continue their assignment. By the three o'clock, they’ve been shushed by just about the whole library and Clarke is giggling as they pack their things up.

“We didn’t get much done today and I don’t start until five. Do you want to work on this at Grounded for a bit?” Bellamy asks, leading the way out of the school and pausing at the gates. He’s going to go left, towards the town and coffee shop. She’d normally go right, but she finds herself nodding.

“I definitely need a strawberry shake anyway,” She tells him, slinging her bag over her shoulder and typing out a message to Raven. “You better be able to comp it.”

“If you’re lucky.” He agrees, nudging her shoulder with his own.

Raven Reyes of Sunshine
Is it a date?

Clarke
Is doing homework together a date?

Raven Reyes of Sunshine
It’s a start.
Make him comp your drink
Spill it in his lap
Lick it off

Clarke
The number you are trying to reach has blocked you because YOU’RE FKN DISGUSTING. WHY DO I TELL YOU ANYTHING?

Raven Reyes of Sunshine
Because you love me

Twice on the walk to Grounded, Bellamy’s hand brushes against hers. She can’t tell if he’s doing it on purpose or not and she isn’t brave enough to grab it. It feels so middle school. She thinks about brushing his hand back, but that would be even lamer. Especially if he’s only accidentally hitting her hand. God, she needs Raven to help her. When did she become so bad at crushes?

“Strawberry shake?” Bellamy asks, when they get inside and settled at the same table they worked at the week before. Clarke nods, reaching into her bag for her purse. By the time she’s withdrawn the cash, he’s already in line talking to the barista.

Clarke
He comped the drinks.

Raven Reyes of Sunshine
Told you, you’re in.

Bellamy returns shortly after, carrying their drinks. He’s put two strawberries and a little pink umbrella on the side of her cup, and she’s ordered enough of these to know that’s not the standard treatment.

“Cute," she tells him, sending a photo to Raven and then dropping her phone in her bag.

“Anything for the Princess,” he says, ducking his head on a smile and she is so, so, gone on him. “You told me to treat royalty better.”

“As you should," she manages to grin back, keeping her voice normal and probably not betraying how she feels.

They don’t do any of their project, which doesn’t even surprise Clarke. They’re still far enough ahead that it doesn’t matter, but they should probably put some effort in next week. They talk about their plans for next year, what they want to do and what they’re probably going to do. Clarke wants to apply to art school, somewhere on the West Coast, but she’ll probably end up studying medicine somewhere closer to home. Bellamy wants to study history, possibly teach it, but he thinks he’ll get a trade so he can get Octavia back. They try to convince each other they should do what they want, not what the people around them want them to do. But they’re as stubborn as each other.

Eventually, they move the conversation on to lighter subjects, until they’re laughing as they tell each other tidbits about themselves.

“When I was eleven, Wells called me boring because I didn’t want to play with his legos. So to prove I was fun, I snuck out at midnight to have a picnic in a tree in his backyard,” Clarke says, giggling at the memory and not the bright smile Bellamy is giving her. “My parents called the police.”

“I ran away when I was nine because being a brother was too hard,” Bellamy admits, “I had no idea.”

“I bet you’re an amazing brother,” Clarke says, earnestly.

They’re interrupted at five past five, when the same barista shouts across the counter, “Blake, get your arse behind this counter. I’m not doing your job so you can flirt.”

“Sorry, Princess,” Bellamy says, hurriedly standing and throwing his bag over the counter. “I’ve got to start work. I’ll see you tomorrow?”

“See you tomorrow," she says, smiling softly and ignoring the butterflies in her stomach and the fact she’s already trying to think of an excuse to send him a text later tonight.

*

Clarke somehow ends up in the habit of following Bellamy to Grounded after school on the days she doesn’t have study plans with Raven. And it’s not like they even become good study buddies. They just become good friends. More often than not, Bellamy doesn’t start work until after four, so they get a drink and sit at their (now) regular table and chat until he starts. Then she’ll get her homework out and sit in the store until she has to be home. When there is a lull in customers he brings her brownies or drinks and sits with her and pretends they're doing homework.

She meets Octavia who is nothing like she expected. She has a fiery temper and uses curse words where Clarke uses adjectives. She’s also the smartest thirteen-year-old Clarke has ever met and she’s not at all surprised when she starts using those smarts to get Bellamy to get her free cookies.

Raven follows them occasionally and tells them it will be less painful to watch, ‘If you just take all that sexual tension somewhere and go make out in a broom closet.’ She’s annoying but well-meaning and Clarke likes having her around to gossip about Bellamy when he starts working. Especially when they spend their time trying to come up with ways Clarke can be sure Bellamy is into her as well.

By the time they have finished their AP Biology project, it doesn’t matter that they won’t have that as an excuse to spend time together anymore. Bellamy asks if she wants to get a drink like he normally does and Raven was right. They don’t need an excuse to be friends. Now she just needs to figure out how to make her move.

*

“Do you want to go to a party tonight?” Raven asks, delicately applying bright red polish to Clarke’s toes. It’s Saturday night and Clarke is sleeping at Raven’s because she’s in a fight with her mum and Raven’s mum is gone for the weekend. They’d planned on a movie night, but right now a party seems like a way better idea.

“Who’s hosting?” Clarke asks, as though it will affect the decision she’s already made.

“Miller and Murphy,” Raven says, screwing the lid back on the nail polish and tossing it onto her desk. Clarke winces as the glass crashes into an assortment of metal Raven has piled against the wall. “But it’s at Murphy’s, so no parental supervision. I think his and my mum actually run a course on how to be bad parents.”

“Do you have booze?’ Clarke ponders. They both have fake IDs, but they’re not very good and they live in a small enough town, that chances are whoever is working at the bottle shop will know they’re minors.

“I’ve been slowly stealing vodka from mum,” Raven says, reaching under her bed and pulling out a water bottle filled with what Clarke assumes is the stolen vodka.

“Let’s go then,” Clarke agrees. Raven squeals and jumps off her bed, basically diving into her closet and throwing clothes at Clarke.

“Bellamy is going to be there, so you’ve got to wear something hot,” Raven says, launching another dress at Clarke. Clarke looks up from her phone, where she had been trying to work out how to casually ask Bellamy if he was going. Maybe a little liquid courage is all she needs.

Clarke lets Raven dress her in a denim skirt and tight black shirt, but draws the line when Raven holds up a pair of shoes that Clarke would definitely break her neck in. She opts instead for open-toed sandals, so she doesn’t ruin Raven’s pedicure. They do each other’s makeup and giggle as they suggest outrageous colour and glitter combinations.

They connect Clarke’s phone to Raven’s speaker and play songs that make them want to dance at volumes that probably make the neighbours hate them and they mix vodka with lemonade and then with water when they run out of lemonade. By the time Raven’s friend is beeping the horn to pick them up, they’re already tipsy and swaying slightly as they climb into the backseat.

“Already had a few, girls?” She asks, glancing at them and rolling her eyes.

“Shut up, Gina," Raven grins, kicking the back of her seat.

The party is in full swing when they get there and Raven immediately pours them both another drink. They seek out Jasper and Monty and by extension Maya and Harper. Harper is giggling behind her hands and whispering something in Maya’s ear when they arrive and both boys look traumatised.

“What are they saying?” Jasper asks Clarke when she hoists herself onto the bench next to him.

“Probably comparing notes,” Clarke saying wriggling her eyebrows and bringing her red cup to her lips. Jasper and Monty both groan at that and Clarke and Raven exchange a grin. Harper and Maya get on so well, the boys don’t know how lucky they are.

“Look who’s here,” Raven says, nudging Clarke. They’ve been at the party for half an hour and Clarke has been trying to act like she’s not looking for Bellamy. The act falls apart immediately as she whirls around to see him walking in the door. She can’t even hide the smile on her face.

“Should I go over there?” Clarke asks, nervously finishing her drink and dropping the cup on the table beside them.

“What do you think, genius?” Raven asks, rolling her eyes and shoving her.

Fortunately, Bellamy hasn’t noticed Clarke yet, so the only people to see her stumble are Jasper and Raven. She rights herself, taking a deep breath and staring at Bellamy for a moment, before walking towards him. He looks different, dressed for a party. His jeans are nicer than normal and he’s forgone his usual t-shirts for a button-down that he’s rolled up to his elbows. Why does he have to be so attractive? It just makes this so much harder.

“Hey,” Clarke says, tapping Bellamy’s wrist until he turns around.

“Hey Princess,” Bellamy says, turning away from Miller who grins wickedly at Clarke. She manages to roll her eyes at him, before turning back to Bellamy. “I didn’t know you were coming.”

“Raven decided she wanted to party more than she wanted to watch chick flicks,” Clarke tells him, she probably sounds way too excited and she can’t wipe the smile off her face. But she also doesn’t care. Bellamy wants to talk to her. He’s choosing to talk to her, rather than Miller. “So we came to party!”

“And pre-gamed hard before?” He teases, using his shoulder to nudge hers.

“Maybe a little,” Clarke admits.

“Guys!” Jasper shouts, squeezing between them and wrapping his arms around their shoulders. Clarke knows the smile on his face well. “Murphy has Mario Kart!” He’s about to kick all their arses.

“You’re on,” Bellamy says before Clarke can warn him. Jasper is undefeated. Even Raven can’t take him down. “Do you mind?” Bellamy adds, turning to Clarke.

“I’m about to see Jasper destroy you. Are you kidding? I’m excited.” She grins. The kitchen is crowded and they have to push through the group to get the back room. Bellamy takes her hand to pull her past people and it might be so they don’t get separated, but Murphy’s house is small and it’s absolutely not necessary. But it’s nice. His hand is big and warm and it feels like hers fits in his just right. She’s more than a little disappointed when he lets it go.

“You should have more faith in me,” Bellamy says, dropping onto the couch beside Miller and patting the space between them. “I’m a gun at Mario Kart.”

“No one can beat Jasper,” Clarke smirks, passing Bellamy a controller and settling into the couch to watch. She’s all too aware that their thighs are touching and she’d only have to lean slightly to her left to be completely leaning on him.

“Oh, thank god.” A new voice mutters and Clarke turns around to find Murphy standing in the doorway. “I thought I was going to have to socialise all night. Should have known I’d find you losers in here.”

“Running away from your own party already, Murphy?” Bellamy teases.

“Fuck off, Blake,” Murphy says, collapsing on Clarke’s other side and reaching dor the fourth controller. “You don’t mind do you, Griffin? Someone has to give these nerds a run for their money.”

“Go for it,” she says, gesturing at the TV and settling in more comfortably beside Bellamy.

By the time Jasper has reached his third lap of Rainbow Road, Raven is half a lap behind him and the other two are battling for eighth and ninth place. Clarke is giggling a little hysterically as Murphy and Bellamy swear their way through banana peels, bombs and being shoved off the edge.

“I hate Rainbow Road,” Murphy mutters, throwing his controller to Miller as he claims ninth place.

“I’m getting a drink,” Bellamy mutters. “Who’s in?” He tosses the controller to Monty.

“Get me another,” Clarke calls, as Bellamy gets up.

“As long as no one steals my spot,” Bellamy says, touching her wrist gently. It doesn’t feel like it should mean anything, but the lingering gaze he gives her and the goosebumps he leaves behind have to be something. The knowing look Raven is giving her tells her she’s right.

Bellamy returns shortly after, slotting himself in even closer than before and throwing his arm over the back of the couch. It’s not subtle, but it gives Clarke the excuse to lean into him. She’s notoriously bad at Mario Kart, so she doesn’t play. She does cheer for Bellamy when he manages to beat Raven on Cheep Cheep Beach.

“You’re a traitor, Clarke Griffin,” Raven grumbles, hauling herself off the single recliner – probably in search of a drink. “Just remember, I know everything about you.”

“You still love me,” Clarke calls, leaning forward to roll her eyes at Raven and take her cup off the coffee table. She settles back in against Bellamy and smiles to herself. Her life is good. She’s got good friends and who are irresponsible teenagers but would still rather get drunk and play Mario Kart than get drunk and take drugs. She’s sitting next to a boy who she thinks will probably be her boyfriend. She might be in a fight with her mum, but she loves her parents. She’s doing well at school. Her life is good. She’s in a good place.

“Do you want to get some air?” Bellamy asks, interrupting her thoughts and nodding his head in the direction of the backdoor that has been pulled shut against the late October chill. He’s just lost to Monty and Harper, who are arguably as bad as Clarke.

Clarke’s about to tell him that she’s not that drunk, she doesn’t need to go outside and sober up, but then she thinks about what he’s really asking and finds herself nodding and following him into the cold yard.

They ignore the catcalls and jeers as they pull the backdoor shut behind them and drop into the old loveseat on Murphy’s back deck. It’s windy outside, which is the excuse she gives for snuggling into Bellamy’s side again. He wraps an arm around her shoulders and Clarke only just manages to keep the slightly drunken grin off her face.

“I told you, you would lose at Mario,” Clarke says, because she’s kind of tipsy and she doesn’t have a brain-to-mouth filter when there is alcohol involved. It’s really embarrassing.

“Shut up,” Bellamy mutters, “I was nervous.”

“Why?” Clarke asks, the butterflies in her stomach flying around nervously.

“Because I wanted to do this,” he whispers, cupping her jaw gently and angling her face to his. There’s a moment where he looks into her eyes, like he’s searching for something but she doesn’t have the patience to find out what. She leans forward and closes the gap between them, her mouth meeting his a little harder than she meant to. He doesn’t seem to mind though, using the arm around her shoulders to pull her closer and the hand on her jaw moves to her neck.

It’s easy to get lost in the feel of his mouth on hers, the way he uses his tongue to swipe at her bottom lip and gently bites down on it when she opens her mouth. He’s clearly more experienced than her, but she doesn’t care. She’s kissing Bellamy Blake.

She’s not sure how long it’s been when they break apart, but she’s sure she’s grinning like an idiot. He is too though, so that’s not really something she is embarrassed about.

“Do you want to head home, Princess?” Bellamy asks, dropping both his hands to her waist and using his thumbs to rub circles.

“Oh yeah?” She says, quirking an eyebrow.

“Oh – shit," he stammers, “No, that’s not what I meant. Just – do you want to come home, or not even to my house, but just somewhere else. So we can talk about this and I’ll drop you back at Raven’s later.”

“Yeah, I do,” Clarke says, because as much as she wants to kiss him some more, they should probably talk about why they are kissing. Make sure they’re on the same page. And then maybe they can make out some more. She's looking forward to it. “Just let me tell Raven where I’m going.”

“And I’m going to find Miller,” Bellamy says. “I think he wants to hook up with Murphy’s neighbour and I was going to be his wingman so I should let him know I'm leaving.”

She follows Bellamy inside, watches briefly as he glances around at their friends playing Mario Kart, before heading into the main party.

“I’m heading off, Rae,” Clarke whispers. “I hooked up with Bellamy.”

“Called it,” Raven grins. “Thanks for abandoning me. You’re lucky Murphy topped up my stolen vodka supply.”

“He’s going to drop me back at yours tonight,” Clarke says. “We’re going to talk.”

“It’s not official until it’s on Facebook,” Raven calls, as Clarke makes her way across the living room.

“Shut the fuck up,” Clarke shouts back, displaying her middle finger to the room.

Clarke can’t see Bellamy amongst the big group in the main room, so she makes her way to the driveway where she knows he parked. She’s leaning against his car, trying not to be impatient, when she’s approached by a now-familiar blonde girl.

“Hey Griffin,” Bree calls, sliding up next to Clarke and twirling the neck of a bottle between her fingers.

“Bree,” Clarke says. She’s not really in the mood for whatever Bree has to say. She just wants to go with Bellamy. She doesn’t have time for this.

“So, you’re hooking up with Bellamy Blake too?” She asks, smirking slightly and bringing her bottle to her lips.

“What?” Clarke asks, her brain isn’t really comprehending Bree’s words. Hooking up with Bellamy too?

“Well, I’ve been sleeping with him,” Bree shrugs. “But it was nothing exclusive. So I don’t mind sharing.”

“You can fucking have him,” Clarke spits, shoving past Bree and taking off down the street. Of course it was too good to be true. Why would Bellamy even be interested in her?

 

Chapter Text

Clarke’s out of breath by the time she reaches the end of Murphy’s street. Quitting hockey might not have been the best choice for her fitness levels. She slows down once she can’t see the house anymore. This part of town is a maze and if she just keeps turning down random streets, no one will find her.

How could she have been so stupid to trust Bellamy like that? Sure, they’ve been spending most afternoons together, but she barely knows the guy. Why did she think anything else would happen? Why did she let Raven convince her that Bellamy was a good idea when Raven had been so convinced he was a bad guy in the first place? Why is she even as hurt as she is? It’s not like Bellamy cheated on her. As far as he’s concerned, they’ve only kissed once and it probably didn’t even mean anything to him.

She’s been walking for less than ten minutes when she gets the first phone call from Bellamy. She hangs up, but he immediately calls back, so she lets it go to voicemail. The third phone call is from Raven and she ignores that one too. She sighs dramatically when the text messages from Raven start coming through in rapid succession.

Raven Reyes of Sunshine
What the fuck haopened to you
Bree said you left but you didn’t go with Bellamy
because he’s right next to me
are you even alive
Were you kidnppaed?

Raven is drunk and with Bellamy, so Clarke isn’t really interested in explaining anything to Raven just yet. She’ll tell her in the morning when she’s a sober and sympathetic best friend and doesn’t have Bellamy whispering excuses in her ears.

Clarke
I’m not dead. I’ll see you later tonight.

She mutes her messages and drops onto a park bench and puts her head in her hands. She’s pretty sure she’s far enough away from Murphy’s that no one will find her. But she’s not entirely sure where she is. She’s probably going to have to call a cab to find her way back to Raven’s. Which is fine. As long as she doesn’t have to see Bellamy again. She doesn’t even have to sit next to him in Biology anymore. She shouldn’t even feel like this now. It’s not like he broke up with her. They’re done and it’s going to be easy. 

But it’s not easy. She really likes Bellamy, even if they don’t know each other very well. She fell hard for him and now this has happened. She can feel tears pricking in her eyes as she unlocks her phone to call Wells.

“Hey Clarkey," he answers, thankfully not sleepily. “Are you drunk dialling me.”

“No,” Clarke says, hating the way her voice cracks. “Well, yes. But I’m not calling because I’m drunk. I’m calling because I was right about Bellamy. He’s an arsehole.” Clarke had told Wells about Bellamy in the weeks previous. How she was falling for him, even though their initial impressions of each other had been so bad.

“Oh no, Clarke,” Wells sighs, “I’m sorry. What happened.” Clarke does her best to keep her voice even as she tells Wells about flirting with Bellamy all night, eventually kissing him and then coming out of the party to find Bree telling her that she’d been sleeping with him all along. But she doesn’t quite manage it and by the time she’s finished the story she’s crying silently and kicking up the grass in front of her with the toe of her sandal. Raven’s pedicure is going to be so ruined by the time she leaves.

“Have you considered that maybe Bree is lying to you?” Wells asks when Clarke stops talking.

“She’s not,” Clarke mutters stubbornly, because why would Bree lie? What does she get out of that? “Why would she lie?”

“Because she wants Bellamy for herself?” Wells suggests. “Look, I don’t know the guy. And I don’t know Bree. But you’re not an idiot. If he was just trying to sleep with you I think you would have figured it out before tonight. You told me he was nervous to kiss you. Think about it, Clarke.”

“I can’t,” Clarke whispers. “What if you’re wrong?” What if she talks to Bellamy again and he tells her that Bree was telling the truth. That’s going to make it hurt even more.

“What if I’m not?” Wells asks. “Do you need me to come get you? Dad’s at your place right now, so I can take his car.”

“No,” Clarke says. “I’m on the other side of town. I’m just going to head back to Raven’s.”

“Be safe,” Wells tells her. “Call me if you need anything. Call me if I have to beat up Bellamy.”

“He’d beat you in a fight,” Clarke says, managing a watery laugh before she hangs up.

Clarke sits on the bench, letting her thoughts swim. She even lets herself entertain the thought that maybe Wells is right and Bree just said those things to scare her off. But there has to be some truth to it. Making something like that up just doesn’t seem likely. Clarke just has to accept that she was right about Bellamy to begin with. He’s an arsehole and he doesn’t care about her.

Because of her wallowing, she doesn’t hear the car pull up until it’s too late. She groans when she recognises Bellamy’s beat-up Ford. She really didn’t think anyone would be able to find her here.

“What the fuck are you doing out here, Clarke?” Bellamy asks, slamming the door of his car and walking towards her.

“Go away," she says, standing up and folding her arms over her chest. She has goosebumps, but she can't even feel them. 

“No. Not until you tell me what the fuck happened,” Bellamy snaps, stopping when he’s standing directly in front of her. He puts his hands on her shoulders gently, but she shakes them off.

“Don’t touch me.”

“What happened?” Bellamy asks, looking at her desperately. “Princess, what happened?” Her heart breaks all over again, watching him look at her like he cares. Like he isn’t the reason she’s currently fighting back tears that are threatening to spill onto her face. Like he likes her as much as she likes him.

“Why don’t you just ask Bree?” She spits at him. Which she regrets immediately because it’s admitting how much she cares.

“What did she say to you?” Bellamy asks angrily, glancing back at his car as if he's considering going back to the party.

“Oh not much,” Clarke says casually, putting a finger on her chin as though she was thinking. “Oh yeah, just that you're currently sleeping with her.”

“Fuck,” Bellamy mutters, running a hand through his hair. “No. I’m not. Not anymore. I did and that’s what I wanted to talk to you about,” Clarke falters in her response. This is not how she expected this conversation to go. She expected him to either confirm or deny it. What if Wells was right and Bree is lying because she’s jealous?

Bellamy uses her silence to keep talking, reaching for her hand, which she lets him take. “It happened twice, at two parties I went to. Before you and I were even friends.”

“Before we were friends?” She repeats, trying for dubious but mostly sounding hopeful. She can't be mad that he's seen other people before her. She's seen other people before him. And they've never talked about their past relationships before. 

“I called it off as soon as I realised I was into you.” He promises, pulling her forward. She doesn’t protest, stepping closer to him and letting him hold her other hand. “Trust me, I wouldn’t lie about this.”

“How long ago?” She asks. If he’s telling the truth, her dramatic storm out of the party is going to be embarrassing.

“Basically the first day I dropped you home when you twisted your ankle," he smiles softly. Clarke flushes because that was months ago. How had she been so oblivious? “I promise there is nothing going on between Bree and I.”

“Thank god," she says, stepping forward and letting him wrap her up in a hug. “I’ve been into you for a while too. I don’t want this to be just sleeping together.”

“It’s not Clarke, I promise," he whispers, pressing his lips to her head. “I really like you.”

“I really like you too.” Clarke says, kissing his jaw because he’s so much taller than her and she can’t reach his lips. “Sorry for storming off.”

“It’s okay. Princesses are dramatic. I know that.”

She’s laughing as she leans back to hit his chest, but the laughter dies on her lips when he presses his mouth to hers, kissing her gently. He pulls away far sooner than she expected, but he laughs at her pout.

“I told Raven I would drop you home after I found you and my phone has rung three times since I got here,” Bellamy says, tapping his phone in his pocket. “And as much as I’d like to stay out here with you, it’s late and freezing.”

“Okay, take me back,” Clarke agrees. "I'm sorry again."

"It's okay," Bellamy whispers. "Bree has a way with words."

She untangles herself and climbs into the passenger seat of Bellamy’s car. He only gets as far as turning the car back on before he’s leaning over and tugging her forward to kiss her again.

“Bell,” Clarke giggles, as she pulls away again. “The handbrake is stabbing me in the ribs.”

“Fine,” He sighs dramatically, putting the car into gear and starting down the road. “I’ll take you back to Raven.”

The drive back to Raven’s is only ten minutes and Bellamy holds her hand the whole time. It’s nice and she feels so stupid that she ran out of the party before she spoke to Bellamy. She’s probably not going to hear the end of this, once things return to normal. It would have been so simple just to ask him about it. 

“I want it to be real, Clarke. I want to be your boyfriend,” Bellamy says when he pulls into Raven’s driveway.

“Me too,” Clarke says, “Let’s hang out tomorrow? I’ll be home in the afternoon. We can talk some more.”

“Sure,” he says and she leans over to press a chaste kiss to his lips.

“I’m sorry again,” she adds, climbing out of the car.

“Don’t be,” Bellamy says. “It doesn’t matter now.” He reaches out to squeeze her hand once before she pushes the door shut and walks up Raven’s driveway. All the lights are off, but she can hear the TV in Raven’s room going. Clarke bangs on the door and only has to wait about eight seconds for Raven to swing it open. And then she has arms full of her best friend. She's vaguely aware of Bellamy reversing the car and disappearing down the street.

“Jesus, Clarke. Never do that again,” Raven says, slapping her when she pulls apart. “What happened to you?”

“Fell in a trap and believed a rumour,” Clarke says, rubbing the spot on her arm that Raven hit.

“What did you hear?” Raven asks, pulling the door shut and flicking the deadbolt locked. Clarke drops onto one of the mismatched stools at Raven’s kitchen bench, while she starts making coffee, despite the fact that it’s nearly three in the morning.

“Bree told me she was sleeping with Bellamy,” Clarke shrugs, avoiding looking at Raven, choosing instead to focus on a burn mark on the bench. Bree is her friend, this is going to be hard for Raven. “I believed her.”

“She fucking what?” Raven asks, whirling around to face Clarke, eyebrows shooting into her hairline. She's definitely angrier than Clarke was expecting. 

“She said we could share him because they weren’t exclusive,” Clarke says, recounting what Bree had told her before she ran.

“I don’t know who she thinks she is,” Raven says, angrily dropping a mug down in front of Clarke and stirring sugar into her own. “She told me she was finished with Bellamy a month or two ago.”

“That was when he ended things with her,” Clarke tells Raven. “After Bellamy found me – seriously, I’m still impressed he managed to find me – he told me that he and Bree slept together twice before we even became friends, but he called it off because he’s into me.”

“I told you he was,” Raven interrupts, wiggling her eyebrows and dropping into the stool next to Clarke.

“Yeah, you were right,” Clarke says. “Which is irrelevant for this part of the conversation. Anyway, he told me that Bree was lying and we made out again, but you were calling so he brought me back here. And in the car, he said he wanted it to be official.”

“Sorry for cockblocking,” Raven teases. “But I was worried about. You just took off.”

Clarke and Raven discuss what happened between her and Bellamy until they finish the coffees. Raven analyses everything he said and did at the party, deciding that he’s definitely telling the truth. Bree was lying to Clarke because she’s jealous.

“She’s supposed to be my friend,” Raven says, as they’re pulling the sheets back on Raven’s bed and climbing in. “She never once told me that she slept with Bellamy. Just that she was done going after him.”

“I don’t know what her plan was. It literally took a two-minute conversation to work out she was lying," Clarke shrugs, pulling out her phone and deleting all the missed calls. She smiles at a message from Bellamy for plugging her phone into Raven’s charger.

Bellamy Blake
Goodnight Princess. Sweet dreams x

*

Clarke and Raven sleep until noon the next day and only getting out of bed because Raven demands pancakes that ‘are fresh as a daisy and have been made by Clarke using the ingredients I bought for this very occasion so don’t give me any excuses, Clarke.’

They cook pancakes, making more mess than strictly necessary and then watch repeats of Friends, sporadically showing each other Facebook posts from the party the night before. Raven teases her mercilessly about being right about Bellamy and occasionally exclaims angrily about Bree. It’s a nice afternoon, the kind she definitely needed after the night she'd had.

It’s nearly four in the afternoon when she gets a message from Bellamy saying that he’s finished work and free to hang out whenever she’s ready.

“Would you be mad if I asked Bellamy to pick me up now?” Clarke asks, fingers hovering over her phone, waiting to type the message.

“Nah. I understand I have to share you now. And I’m going to do some digging and see what Bree is up to,” Raven says, hauling herself off the couch and offering Clarke her hands. “Plus I really need to have a shower and wash my hair.”

“Don’t go starting anything, will you?” Clarke says, typing out her message and following Raven into her room so she can collect her stuff.

“Bree started it. I just want to know what she’s up to,” Raven grins, unlocking her laptop and loading Facebook.

*

“Where are we going?” Clarke asks, for the third time since Bellamy picked her up five minutes ago and started driving in the opposite direction of either of their houses.

“If I told you, it would ruin the surprise,” Bellamy grins, sipping the coffee out of his takeaway mug. He’d bought her one too, a latte with a sprinkle of cinnamon instead of her regular shot of caramel. It’s probably her new favourite drink.

“Has there ever been a time where I’ve given you the impression I like surprises?” Clarke asks, trying for grumpy but not really managing it. “Because I hate them.”

“I know," he grins. “But you’ll like this one.”

“You say that now,” Clarke mumbles, reaching for his phone and skipping the song he was playing.

They drive for another fifteen minutes, alternating between Clarke grumbling about not knowing where they’re going and just chatting about their weeks. Bellamy holds her hand when he doesn’t have to change gears and he lets her control the music, barely even complaining at her choices. It’s nice and friendly and sweet and she loves it.

Bellamy finally pulls down a side road and stops the car at a lookout point Clarke has never been to.

“Where are we?” She asks when he opens the door and slides out.

“Highest point of Arkadia, you can see everything from up here," he tells her, opening the backseat and pulling out a cooler. “I want to have a picnic.” Clarke can’t even hold back the grin when he offers her hand and leads her to a picnic table.

The view is incredible, he points out their school, the general area of their houses and the park Clarke and Raven hang out at sometimes.

“I came up here a lot when I first moved. It was a cross between hiding from the world and falling in love with the view," he tells her, opening the cooler and pulling out an assortment of foods from Grounded; sandwiches, cakes and cookies.

“I don’t blame you. It’s beautiful up here,” Clarke says, reaching for her favourite cookie and groaning when she realises it’s fresh and not the ones they sell for 80c at the end of the day.

They eat enough food that Clarke is probably not going to be able to eat dinner and her parents won’t be impressed, but she doesn’t care. This is perfect. They pack the cooler up and she slides across to lean on his shoulder.

“This is amazing, Bellamy,” Clarke says, when the sun starts to set, casting shadows over the town and dropping the temperature significantly.

“Good first date?” He teases, kissing the top of her head.

“Perfect first date," she agrees.

“I just wanted to prove that I’m really in this. I really like you, Clarke.” He tells her. “This isn’t just some ploy to get you or anything.”

“I believe you," she hums, leaning up and pressing a kiss to his lips. “I really like you too.”

Chapter Text

On Monday Clarke wakes up to a message from Bellamy asking if she wants a ride to school. She knows she could walk, or get a lift with her dad who starts late on a Monday, but the prospect of spending five minutes alone in the car with Bellamy before school is too exciting for her to turn down. So she agrees, signing her messages with two kisses. She can’t wipe the smile off her face when he messages back ‘see you soon princess xx.’

“Do you want a ride to school today, sweetheart?” Her father asks when she comes downstairs

“Ugh, I’m actually getting a ride with Bellamy," she tells him, scooping some of the eggs he’s prepared onto a plate and helping herself to the orange juice he’s left on the bench.

“Bellamy?” He asks, looking up from his laptop. “Your lab partner?”

She considers just agreeing with him, because the second she tells him Bellamy is her boyfriend, he will tell her mum. And Abby Griffin won’t take lightly to Clarke dating. But she tells her dad everything. And she’s not ashamed of Bellamy. So she says, “He was. But he’s my boyfriend now.”

Jake shuts the computer and looks at her in surprise. “I didn’t know you were dating?” He asks, probably aiming for casually but coming out a little strained.

“It’s new. But I like him,” Clarke shrugs. If she makes a big deal about this, so will her parents.

“I’d like to meet him," he decides, nodding his head and opening his laptop again. He trusts Clarke to make good choices. The conversation with her mum isn’t going to be as easy.

They finish breakfast, talking about Clarke’s English assignment and whether or not that’s an assignment that should really be worth forty per cent of her grade. Jake flinches when they hear Bellamy’s car pull into the driveway, but relaxes when Clarke kisses his cheek and tells him to have a good day. He’s going to like Bellamy. She’s sure of it.

“I didn’t know your parents would be home,” Bellamy says, when she slides into the passenger seat.

“Just my dad,” Clarke says, smiling. “He wants to meet you.”

“He – what?” Bellamy asks, turning slightly to face her. She laughs at the vague look of terror on his face.

“It’s not like he wants to meet you right now,” Clarke says gently, squeezing his arm. “Just at some point.”

“I’m not opposed," he says, pulling out of the driveway. “Just surprised me, is all.”

They drive to school talking about the few hours of Sunday that they spent apart, smiling when he says he missed her. It feels like it’s going to be a good day.

That is until Bellamy parks the car and Roma is waiting for them in the car park. Clarke doesn’t really know anything about except that she’s Bree’s best friend and doesn’t like Raven. So by default, Clarke doesn’t like her either.

“So, it’s true,” Roma says, as Clarke climbs out of Bellamy’s car and pulls her bag from the back seat.

“What is?” Bellamy asks, in a bored tone. He locks the car and puts an arm around Clarke’s shoulders, leading the way out of the car park and towards their first class.

“Arkadia Lake’s very own princess is slumming it up with Ark High’s Rebel King?” She taunts, falling into step beside them. Clarke can’t help the snort that escapes her.

“Well, we’re both royalty,” Bellamy says before Clarke has even thought of a response. “It only makes sense.”

“Have you heard what he did to get that title?” Roma asks, stepping in front of Clarke and blocking her from walking through the school gates.

“I’m sure you’re about to tell me,” Clarke mutters, glancing at Bellamy and rolling her eyes.

“He got arrested,” Roma whispers, looking around as though it were a big secret. “He went to juvie.”

“I know,” Clarke whispers back, grinning a little manically. Roma is making this easy. “Isn’t that hot? He such a bad boy.” Clarke places his hand on Bellamy’s chest, who looks as though he’s trying not to laugh, and leans up to press a kiss to his jaw. Roma looks between them, clearly unimpressed, but then paints a bright smile on her face.

“Don’t say I didn’t warn you,” She flips her long hair over her shoulder and struts off in the opposite direction of Bellamy and Clarke.

“That was weird,” Clarke mutters, frowning after her.

“Are juvie records something you’re into?” Bellamy teases, “Is that something I should go out and get?”

“Probably,” Clarke agrees.

*

Walking through the halls throughout the days earns them curious looks. From what she can gather, people heard about the fallout between them at the party and no one had seen it resolved. That coupled with the fact that their rivalry had become something of a legend around the school, meant that they were the hottest gossip Ark High had heard in a while.

Clarke doesn’t love the attention she’s getting from her peers, but spending time with Bellamy without having to hide behind lies of not liking each other is worth it.

“So you and Blake, huh?” Miller asks. She’s walking to sixth-period math class, keeping her head down and pretending she can’t hear the whispers around her. So she’s pretty grateful for the distraction her friend provides.

“Me and Blake," she confirms, trying to ignore the smug look on Miller’s face. He’d definitely called it.

“So sending him your snapcode wasn’t that bad?” He teases. Clarke shoves him, trying to contain the giggle on her lips. Because truthfully, that Snapchat was where they had gone from lab partners to friends. Not that she’s ever going to tell Miller that. He has a big enough head as it is.

“Shut up," she rolls her eyes, following him into the class and dropping into the desk beside him.

*

The weeks that follow lead Clarke and Bellamy to fall into an easy relationship. It’s still flirtatious teasing and bickering, but now it’s also cuddling on the couch watching movies, laying on a blanket in his backyard, with him pointing out constellations that she’s never going to remember. It’s sweet kisses in the hallway when they leave for the day and passionate kisses when they get a little too distracted from study. It’s fond glances and bright smiles. Everything she wanted from her first serious relationship.  

She goes to his house on Saturday afternoons, they go out on Sundays and they sit together at lunchtimes. Their friendship groups merge, Miller and Murphy, joining Bellamy at their favourite cafeteria table. Jasper and Monty hold their monthly movie night and invite the other three boys. Senior year is shaping up to be her easy favourite.

Which is what she’s telling Raven as they lay on her bedroom floor, pretending to do homework but really just gossiping. Because gossiping is Raven’s favourite pastime and Clarke always gets sucked into it.

“Uh huh,” Raven hums noncommittally and Clarke is about to kick her for paying more attention to her phone than she is Clarke when Raven flips her screen around and displays a photo. “Have you seen this?”

The photo is Bellamy and Bree, clearly not at the party that Bellamy was only going to because Miller had begged. Miller had recently come out, to full support from all their friends, but was still nervous to go and hit on the guy he was into alone. Bellamy had tried to convince Raven and Clarke to come to the party, but they wanted to a girl’s night.

“What the fuck?” Clarke mutters, taking the phone off Raven and zooming in on the photo. They’re dressed, but Bree is wearing a tiny tank, which it’s too cold for and Bellamy is just in a t-shirt, not the flannel he was wearing when he’d Snapchatted her earlier.

“Bree posted it like five minutes ago,” Raven says, brow furrowed in concern.

Love nights out with this one,” Clarke reads the caption aloud. “And then three of the smirking emojis and a heart.”

“What are you thinking, babe?” Raven asks. “It can’t be true?”

“It’s not,” Clarke declares, handing Raven her phone back. Bellamy’s hair is longer now than it is in the photo and Bree is blonder. “It’s an old photo.”

“Why the fuck is she posting it now?” Raven snaps, opening her messages and selecting Bree.

“I’m going to call Bellamy,” Clarke says. “Before we jump to any conclusions.”

“That’s not stopping me messaging her.”

Bellamy picks up on the third ring. Clarke can hear the sound of the party in the background and it shouldn’t bring her a sense of relief but it does. He’s still there. He’s not with Bree.

“Hey Bell,” Clarke says, trying to keep her voice even. But she’s shaking with anger. Honestly, who does Bree think she is? “Have you been on Facebook?”

“No?” Bellamy asks, sounding confused. She doesn’t really blame him. “Should I have? Are you okay?”

“I’m fine,” Clarke says, taking a breath. “Just have a look.” She hears him clicking his phone and then a sharp intake of breath.

“She’s not even here, Clarke,” Bellamy says, his voice getting louder as he brings the phone closer to his ear. “It’s an old photo.”

“I know,” Clarke sighs, more relief swelling inside her despite the fact that she didn’t believe it. “I just wanted to know if you knew what it was about.”

“No idea,” Bellamy mutters. “But I’m going to find out. Do you want me to come over?”

“No, it’s okay,” Clarke says softly. “Enjoy the party. Be a good wingman.”

“Okay.” Bellamy sighs, “Clarke? Just - you’re the only one I want.”

“You too,” She hangs up the phone and glances at Raven. She’s typing furiously.

“Good?” She asks, hitting send and handing Clarke her phone again.

Raven

What the fuck do you think you’re doing posting old photos of you and Bellamy? It didn’t fool Clarke for a second. He wasn’t into you and he is into her. yeah that sucks for you and I might have been sympathetic about if you weren’t acting like a psycho. Delete this shit. You’re acting like a child.

“I would hate to be on the receiving end of one of your rants,” Clarke says. “But thank you for doing that. I know she’s your friend.”

“She’s not,” Raven says firmly. “Not after the shit she’s pulled. No one gets to fuck with you like that."

“Thanks, Rae,” Clarke says, leaning into her friend and glancing at Raven’s phone when it vibrates.

Bree

I thought you were my friend.

But you clearly only care about Clarke.

I was just sharing an old photo that I like. Never once did I say that it was from tonight.

“She’s a mental case,” Raven declares, locking her phone and not bothering to reply. Clarke hums in agreement, loading the picture on her phone again and smiling when she sees Bellamy has removed the tag and people are calling her out on the fake post. At least she has her friends to back her up.

*

On Sunday, Clarke receives messages from most of her friends, asking about the picture Bree had posted. She tells them that Bree was trying to start something between her and Bellamy and most of them accept it. By the time they return to school on Monday, the photo has been deleted and people have forgotten about it.

"I don't know what she was trying to achieve," Raven mutters, as they walk to their English class, staring at the back of Bree's head. She's pointedly not looking at them.

"Whatever she was trying for, she didn't get it." Clarke shrugs. If Bree was trying to get them to fight or break up, she hadn’t even come close to achieving it. Considering they had only known each other for a few months, Clarke trusts Bellamy. She likes him so much and she’s not going to let anyone get in the way of that. "I don't even want to think about it anymore."

"It just seems so stupid." Raven continues as though Clarke hadn’t spoken. "Like at the party when she told you she was still hooking up with him? It literally only took a conversation for you to realise she's lying."

"She's just trying to get under our skin," Clarke says again, trying to sound dismissive. Bree has annoyed her, but it's not like she's upset about it. Not now that she and Bellamy have worked it out.

"And it's not like it worked," Raven mutters, shaking her head.

"Whatever," Clarke says. "It doesn't matter. We know she's lying and I don't care what anyone else thinks about us."

“That’s my girl!”

By the time the school day is over, Clarke has heard a new rumour sweeping the halls of Ark High. One that has nothing to do with her or Bellamy. Clarke shakes her head in disbelief as Raven rambles on about the newest couple and the fistfight that had happened over their lunch break.

*

"Want to hang out at the coffee shop today?" Bellamy asks as they shove their books into their bags.  

"I do." Clarke decides, following him out of the classroom. "What time does your shift start?"

He doesn't start until five, so they sit at their favourite table and share a slice of cake, making up stories about the people that come into the café and chatting idly about the new homework assignment they have in biology.

"What are you going to do about next year?" Bellamy asks. He says it casually, but it sounds like he's aimed for it to be nonchalant. It’s a loaded question and he knows it.

"I don't know," Clarke admits. They'd been looking over their college applications during the week. She knows her parents want her to go to med school, the same way she knows Wells's dad expects him to go to law school. It had been decided when they were children, playing doctors and on occasion, lawyers, that they were going to follow in their parents footsteps. But as much as she wants to make her parents happy, going to med school terrifies her. "Have you?"

"I want to go to college," Bellamy confesses. Clarke knows that Octavia expects him to fight for her when he graduates. And if he gets a trade and somewhere to live, they know he'd get her back. Her foster family had been helping them look into it. But he wants to study history (honestly, Clarke doesn't understand how is such a nerd) and then maybe become a teacher. And if he goes to college, Octavia stays in foster care. Clarke knows it's not an easy choice for him. He'd grown up with the mentality that he was his sister’s keeper. That it was up to him to keep her safe.

"Octavia staying where she is now isn't going to be bad for her." Clarke reminds him. "They're a good family. And they care about you both."

"But if I don't fight for her, I'm letting her down." Bellamy sighs, the conflict clear on his face. "But if I don't go to college, I'm letting myself down."

"You've got to do what's best for you." She tells him, leaning over to squeeze his hand across the table.

"Kind of like you, huh?" Bellamy laughs weakly. He's not wrong, but she doesn't want to admit it. Art is what she wants to study, but what is she going to do when she graduates? What kind of job will she have? It’s just a hobby. Her mother constantly reminds her of that.

"I haven't made the choice yet either." She confesses. "What am I going to do with a degree in art?"

"Whatever the hell you want." He tells her fiercely. They’ve had the conversation before, it had been one of the first serious things they’d talked about. But they’d never come up with an answer.

They talk about it until Bellamy is supposed to start work. They talk about the pros and cons of doing what they want to do verse doing what their families expect them to. Whether they should live up to the expectations of the people around them or should they do what makes them happy? They talk about just running away and going east. They could both study what they want to there. Clarke's parents wouldn't be happy with her but they would get over it eventually. And so would Octavia.

They could do it, Clarke thinks that night as she's laying on her bed flipping through her sketchbook. They could leave the expectations of everyone they know and be happy. She could study art.

And so she calls Bellamy.

"Let's do it," she says when she hears the call connect. She doesn't even give him a chance to speak. "Let's make a deal, that after we graduate, we'll go east together. We'll apply to colleges there and fuck what everyone thinks."

"Yeah?" Bellamy says after a moment’s silence. It's hard to tell with just one word, but he sounds excited. Like this is something he wants.

“We’re going to do it, Bellamy,” Clarke whispers into the phone. “We’re going to forget everyone else and do what’s best for us.”

In the following weeks, they secretly begin to plan their move. They look for colleges close to each other, where they can both study what they want to. They work out what they need. How they’ll get there. They make a plan.

It’s going to happen. She’s so excited.

*

“Griffin,” Raven says, dropping her tray in front of Clarke. It’s Monday and Clarke would rather be anywhere but eating lunch in the cafeteria. She’s tired, she’d been up all night on the phone to Bellamy. “I’ve been waiting for months for you to bring up your birthday.”

“It’s next week,” Clarke confirms, only mildly curious to where Raven is going with this.

“Obviously,” Raven rolls her eyes. “But you haven’t made plans.”

“I don’t want to have a party,” Clarke says before Raven even tries to coerce her into one.

“I know, you’re boring like that,” she interrupts. “But we could just go out for dinner or have quiet drinks in your basement, invite Wells and the guys from school.”

Clarke is about to interrupt and say she doesn’t want to make a big deal over her birthday but then stops. It’s just like Raven to know what she would want to do, to not have a party but to just spend time with her close friends. And so she finds herself agreeing with Raven. And getting sucked into planning and who she should invite and if she should get balloons. But she doesn’t mind, because now it’s something she’s excited for.

*

The day of her birthday approaches quickly, but of course Raven has everything prepared days in advance. Including everyone’s arrival time and ensuring they don’t have other plans. Clarke suspects that Raven had invited them before she had agreed to the event.

“We definitely don’t need any more balloons,” Clarke gasps, out of breath and flinging one at Raven.

“We need a hundred,” Raven says, flinging it back and reaching for another.

“This is a lowkey event,” Clarke rolls her eyes, but obediently blows up another balloon.

“Lowkey events deserve balloons too, Clarke,” she lectures.

Raven lays food out on the coffee table in the basement and sneaks down several bottles of alcohol. Clarke’s curious to how she managed to get so much on such short notice, but as Raven reminds her, ‘she can do anything.’

Their friends slowly start arriving after seven, until the basement is full of Jasper, Monty, Harper, Maya, Wells, Luna, Miller and Bellamy. And of course Clarke and Raven. They give Clarke gifts and then Raven yells at them to take the attention off Clarke and eat some of the food she’d prepared.

“Thank you,” Clarke whispers, once her friends are distracted. It’s just the way she wanted to celebrate her birthday. Raven squeezes her hand and then shouts at Jasper to verse her in beer pong.

They drink and eat and eventually put on a movie, that they talk over. And not for the first time, she feels overwhelming gratitude at having such a good group of friends. She loves them so much.

“Princess,” Bellamy whispers, when everyone else is distracted by beer pong again. “Happy birthday.”

Clarke smiles as she leans over to kiss him, tangling her hands in his hair. She was right, it looks so good without the gel.

“I got you something,” he says, pulling away before Clarke is ready. She’s a little tipsy and wants to keep kissing him, but the prospect of a birthday present from Bellamy is exciting.

“What is it?” She giggles, reaching for the small box he’s pulled out of his pocket. It’s wrapped in brown paper and tied off neatly with a red a bow. She has a feeling he did it himself.

She’s careful as she unwraps it, untying the bow and sliding her fingers under the paper. The box that falls out is blue velvet and she recognises it from the jewellery shop in the mall close to Grounded. Her heart catches in her throat as she lifts the lid and finds a silver, heart-shaped locket, intricately designed and something she already adores.

“Bellamy,” she whispers, “this is perfect. Help me put it on?”

“Do you like it?” He asks, clasping the necklace as she holds her hair up with one hand.

“I love it,” she tells him, letting her hair fall back into place and staring at the necklace, sitting perfectly at the base of her throat.

“Open it.”

It’s not easy to open, but once she gets her nail in the groove it pops open and reveals the tiniest picture of them and the words ‘happy 18th,’ on the other side.

“This is amazing,” she tells him, feeling tears in her eyes. Happy tears, because Bellamy is her forever. She can feel it.

“Get over here, losers,” Miller calls out. “I need help beating this cocky shit.”

“I’m allowed to be cocky,” Raven grins, throwing a ping pong ball into one of his cups. “I’m awesome.”

“I love you,” she whispers to Bellamy, letting him pull her up and lead the way back over to their friends.

“I love you too.” It doesn’t occur to her until much later that it’s the first time either of them has said it.

*

“Hey Clarke,” Bellamy says, as she climbs into his car. They’re going on a date, back to the lookout they’d gone to all those months ago. They’re spending the weekend together before graduation and they get too caught up in the celebrations.

“Hey babe," she grins, leaning over the dash to press a kiss to his cheek.

He is strangely quiet on the way over, but Clarke is too excited to notice. She’s chatting about the two colleges she hopes to hear back from in the coming weeks, about the apartments she’s been looking into, even though she knows they’re going to have to live on campus for the first year,  and how much she is looking forward to finally being able to do what she wants.

He’s still quiet as he unloads their basket and blanket from the back of the car and as they set up. Clarke finally notices after he doesn’t immediately reach for the food.

“What’s on your mind?” Clarke asks, leaning into him. He doesn’t answer immediately and she can feel him taking a deep breath, as though he’s preparing to say something.

“I – Octavia’s foster family are moving across the country,” Bellamy sighs, pointedly looking away from her.

“Oh no, Bellamy,” she says, not knowing what else to add. She knows he was going to stay with them for a few more weeks until they moved. And if they’re moving cross country, it’s going to make it so hard for him to visit her in the breaks.

“I’m going with them,” he adds before she thinks of something else to say.

“I - you’re, what?” Clarke manages to spit out. This wasn’t part of the plan. He wasn’t supposed to leave. They’re moving together. In the other direction. 

“They’re moving to Washington state,” Bellamy continues. “It’s too far. I can’t let her go that far without me. I’ve already been offered a job out there.”

“But we were going to move together. What about school? You want to go to school,” Clarke is crying already but trying desperately to keep it under control.

“What I want and what I need to do are two very different things, Clarke,” he sighs. “She needs me.”

“I need you," Clarke insists. “Please, Bellamy?”

“I can’t,” he says. “I have to do what’s best for her too.”

"But it's not what's best for you." 

"I think it is," he says quietly. "I need to be with her. She needs me. I'm so sorry, Clarke." 

"That's is?" She asks, tears running down her face. "We're just going to end?" 

"We'll be too far away from each other, we won't be able to see each other. And we'll be living such different lives," she can hear the strain in his voice. He doesn't want this either, but he's made up his mind. "We can't keep it up." 

She tries to fight him on it, but he won't budge. He's made up his mind. He's leaving after graduation. And he's not coming with her. 

It's over. 

 

Chapter Text

8 years later

Clarke’s not going to say she never got over Bellamy Blake, because she did. She’s just big enough to admit she never loved anyone in the same way she loved him. But that’s a thing isn’t it? Nothing is ever as good as your first love?

One out of her three serious relationships since him was even successful. And one led her to reunite with Raven after five years, so she’s not even going to count that one as a loss. Even Lexa taught her enough about herself that she’s not going to say it was a complete waste of time.

It’s just that now she and Niylah have broken up and she’s sitting in a coffee shop, waiting for Raven and feeling sorry for herself she does feel kind of like she never got over him. Niylah had been so perceptive and knew there was something holding Clarke back and when Clarke couldn’t admit it, they’d broken up. And she understands why, Niylah deserves someone that can love her entirely. And Clarke wasn’t that person. Which is fine.

It just means that she’s drowning her sorrows in another latte. 

“Griffin,” Raven calls, walking into the shop, with an air of confidence that Clarke has never managed. “Stop wallowing.”

In the five years that Raven and Clarke weren’t in contact, Raven had been through some pretty rough times. She’d been in a car accident, which they thought was going to lead to her never walking again. But in true Raven fashion, she’d recovered better than anyone had hoped, only losing feeling in part of one of her legs, rather than complete loss of the use of both.

While she was recovering, her boyfriend had gotten bored. Clarke had met him in a club one night, going home with him and falling hard and fast. She’d gone to his apartment to surprise him one day, only to find Raven already there. It was a shock, not only to see her boyfriend sleeping with someone else, but to see high school best friend after five years. They’d immediately worked out what happened and walked out together, leaving Finn alone.

That was two years ago, neither of them have looked back since.

Raven and Clarke never had a fight or anything. They just fell out of contact when they had ended up at schools so far away from each other. She’d missed her friend. But it happens. She doesn’t know many people who stayed in contact with their high school besties. Which is why she couldn’t believe her luck when Raven was not only not mad at Clarke for sleeping with her boyfriend, but excited to see her. 

“I’m not wallowing,” Clarke rolls her eyes, kicking a chair out for Raven to sit in and then wincing because she knows Raven doesn’t need the help.

“Good,” Raven says. “Because I’ve done something that is going to either make you really mad or really happy.”

“Did you burn down Finn’s house?” Clarke grins because she’s not sure if she’d be mad at Raven for putting herself in danger or happy that she’d done that to their two-timing ex.

“No, but I’ll add it to my to-do list.”

“What have you done?” Clarke asks, this time cautiously. Raven is looking at her with a look that means mischief and she isn’t sure she’s ready for whatever she has up her sleeve.

“I was in the library, before coming here,” Raven begins, “looking for something in the history section and I ran into the biggest history nerd we know.”

“I wouldn’t say that Luna is a history nerd,” Clarke says, shaking her head. “She’s just looking for background knowledge for her dissertation.”

“Try again.”

Clarke’s heart drops because if they’re not talking about Luna, they’re talking about a different history nerd. And the only other person that they have ever known to be that obsessed and interested in the past, is Bellamy Blake. And if Raven has run into him in the library, it means that he’s in town. Which means she’ll have to see him again. She’ll have to face what happened over eight years ago, that she still avoids thinking about.

“Who?”

“Bellamy Blake,” Raven says. “I think I want a hot chocolate. He’s meeting us here in ten minutes.”

“What?” Clarke all but screeches. “Raven! No!”

“What?” Raven challenges. “He was my friend too and he asked what I was doing this afternoon. I told him I’d be here and invited him along.”

“And you didn’t tell him I would be here?”

“No,” she shrugs. “It didn’t seem important.”

Clarke drops her head against the wood of the table as Raven gets up to order her drink. It’s all too tempting to get up and sneak out without having to see Bellamy. She’d love to catch up with him of course. She's curious. And he’d been such a big part of her life and she’s always missed him. But she’s not ready to see him the day after her breakup, while she’s dressed in leggings and an oversized college sweatshirt. She hasn’t even brushed her hair – though she did cut it short in the fall, so that could be worse.

She doesn’t move while she waits for Raven to return. She keeps her head firmly on the wood of the table, partly because she’s a drama queen and partly because she doesn’t want to get up and face seeing Bellamy for the first time in eight years.

“Dramatic as ever, princess,” a voice she would recognise anywhere, even after eight years says and she just wants to melt into the table she’s face down on. It would be just like Bellamy to show up early, while she’s laying on the table. 

“What the fuck, Griffin?” Raven asks, she can picture them looking down at her, side by side with looks of both amusement and exasperation. And maybe if she doesn’t lift her head up, they won’t be there. 

“I’m wallowing,” she mutters. It’s muffled by the table. And that’s probably for the best. She’s being weird and she knows it. 

“I thought you said you weren’t wallowing?” Raven says, putting her mug down on the table. It’s loud when Clarke’s face is still against the wood.

“I changed my mind.”

“She just broke up with her girlfriend,” Raven says. Clarke assumes she’s talking to Bellamy, but she’s still not game enough to look up. “She’s drowning her sorrows in lattes.”

“Don’t people normally do that in alcohol?” Bellamy asks. At least he’s not being weird about her having a girlfriend. She hates it when people from her past make a big deal over that. She feels rather than sees him pull out another chair. “Caffeine doesn’t really have the same effect for wallowing.”

“Clarke’s not a normal person,” Raven says.

“She did always drink a lot of coffee,” Bellamy muses. 

“Not much has changed,” Raven continues, kicking at Clarke’s ankles under the table. 

“Stop,” Clarke snaps, finally lifting her head and facing Bellamy for the first time since he broke up with her eight years ago. 

He looks the same and completely different at the same time. His hair is longer, thicker and messier and she’s still struck with the desire to run her hands through it. His face is fuller and sporting a lot more of a beard than he could grow in high school and she kind of wants to tease him about it. He’s broader and muscular like he probably goes to the gym and does more than walk home from school.

And he’s still so attractive that Clarke suddenly forgets how to talk. 

“Hey princess,” he says, smiling that half-smile that still gives her butterflies. And he’s still calling her princess. It’s a lot to handle.

“Hi,” she finally manages to spit out, reaching for her coffee just so she has something else to focus on. She’d have really liked it if Raven gave her more time to prepare for this. Like maybe, six more months? 

“I was just telling Bellamy what you’re doing here,” Raven says. Clarke had moved to New York a year after finishing College. She’d run into Raven within three months. 

“I’m working at the museum,” Clarke says, taking a steadying breath. She can be normal. This is just coffee with a boy who broke her heart eight years ago. “And I’m designing websites on my days off.”

“Sounds interesting,” Bellamy says and it sounds genuine like he wants to hear more about her work. Which maybe he does. Maybe he wants to be friends. “I’m at school here.” 

“What ?” Clarke almost screeches excitedly. The last she heard, Bellamy got custody of his sister and they were still in Washington. Not that she had been keeping tabs on him or anything. But she’s still friends with Harper. Who ended up marrying Monty. Who stayed in touch with Miller. Who is still friends with Bellamy and is still a huge gossip. 

“Yeah,” he says, a little sheepishly. “O is twenty one now and is literally not even in the country anymore. I figured I should go to school. I did always want to.”

“That’s great,” Clarke smiles and then frowns, “I think. What’s Octavia up to?”

“I wish I could tell you,” Bellamy shrugs. “But it is good. I’m really enjoying my classes.”

“Nerd,” Raven smirks. Clarke had almost forgotten she was there.

“You can talk,” Clarke grins. 

“Yeah, you said you were in grad school?” Bellamy asks, turning his attention back to Raven.

It’s not as awkward as it could be. They spend the afternoon catching up on the last eight years. The three of them talk about what they’re doing currently and what they did to get where they are. They talk about the friends they are still in contact with and Raven gets excited about introducing Bellamy to the friends they have in New York. 

It’s nice.

And maybe Clarke and Bellamy really can be friends again.

But then she catches his eyes looking at her chest. And it’s really not like him to stare and she’s wearing a sweatshirt, so it’s not like they’re even that eye-catching. She brings her hand up self-consciously and her heart drops as her fingers brush against cool metal. Her necklace, the one he had given her on her eighteenth birthday, has slipped out from its spot underneath her giant sweatshirt.

The chain had snapped when she was nineteen, in her first year of college and she’d almost just put it in her jewellery box to never look at again. But she felt so empty without it that she had bought a longer chain she could it tuck away. 

Bellamy’s definitely recognised the locket that he had given her and she doesn’t know how to explain why she still wears it. Because if she tries to explain that, she will definitely have to explain that she never completely got over him. That she compared everyone she was ever with, to him. And that’s too much. 

“I’ve got to go,” she finds herself saying, looking down at her phone as if she’s just noticed the time. “I was supposed to meet Luna.” 

“Luna’s in class?” Raven says, furrowing her brow. 

“Yeah,” Clarke mutters, shoving her things into her purse, “I’m meeting her after class at the museum for the show.” It’s a lame excuse, that Raven definitely doesn’t buy. But at least she doesn’t press any further. 

“Bye Clarke,” Bellamy says. “It was great to catch up.”

Clarke manages to spit out a, “you too,” before halfway running out of the coffee shop. 

She can’t even explain to herself why she left as quickly as she did. But Bellamy recognising the locket had struck a chord. She’s terrified that he’s going to speak to Raven and piece two and two together and figure out that she’s still holding on to him.

And it’s not like she’s still in love with him. It’s been eight years. She’s not. But there is a part of her that never let him go. A part of her that even hoped. That part had thought about sending him a friend request and getting back in touch with him. In her head, she’d thought that maybe now they were adults they could be friends, and maybe more, again. 

But she’d never done it of course. She didn’t know how. Didn’t even really want to. It was just an idea that she occasionally entertained.

And now, here he is. In her city. Running into Raven and getting invited on their coffee dates. She doesn’t know how to deal with it. 

She just needs some space and some wine to wrap her head around it.

*

“I thought you were sad because you broke up with Niylah,” Luna says, pouring Clarke another glass of the red wine that she only drinks because it makes her feel mature. They’re getting drunk in Luna’s studio because that’s what adults do. And they're both adults.

“I am sad about that,” Clarke mutters. “Sort of. It’s kind of been blown out the way by Bellamy reappearing in my life.”

“Bellamy, as in your high school boyfriend, Bellamy?” Luna asks. 

Luna was the first person Clarke had met when she moved. She was doing an internship at the museum she got her job at, so they spent a lot of time together in those first few months. As a result, she’d told her basically her whole life story.

“Yes,” Clarke mutters, working on keeping a straight face as she has another mouthful of wine.

“He hasn’t really reappeared in your life,” Luna says comfortingly as Clarke’s phone buzzes with a Facebook notification. “He just got coffee with you and Raven once. Don’t stress yet.” 

“I’m stressing,” Clarke groans, holding up her phone for Luna to see. Bellamy’s sent her a friend request. “You should have seen how awkward I was leaving today.”

“I wish I did,” Luna smirks, taking the phone off Clarke. She’s pretty sure she’s accepting the friend request. Clarke doesn’t stop her, just flops dramatically back on the floor. 

“What am I going to do?”

“What do you want to do?”

“I don’t know,” Clarke says, staring at the ceiling rather than her friend. “I guess it would be nice to be friends again.”

“Then be friends again,” Luna says, as though it’s that easy. 

“I’m too awkward.”

“Be less awkward.”

“You’re a fountain of wisdom,” Clarke says sarcastically rolling over to face Luna. She’s typing something on Clarke’s phone. “What are you doing?” 

“Replying.”

“To who?” Clarke jumps up and snatches her phone away. 

Bellamy Blake
It was nice to see you again today.

Clarke Griffin
It was :)
Sorry for running out today. Forgot I had to meet a friend.

Bellamy Blake
It’s fine. :) 

“You’re the worst,” Clarke sighs, looking down up from the messages. Luna hasn’t done anything wrong. All she did was reply to a message Clarke probably would have stared at for way too long. 

“I’m not,” Luna shrugs, hopping off the stool and sitting beside Clarke. “I’m helping.”

“Thanks,” Clarke whispers, leaning her head against Luna’s shoulder.

She’s not really sure what she’s freaking out about, just that she’s freaking out. Bellamy probably just wants to be friends again and she’s making such a big deal over nothing. She’s over him. She’s not in love with him anymore. They have history, but that doesn’t need to define who they are now. 

It’s fine.

Really. 

*

In the end, Luna accepting the friend request and replying to Bellamy actually did Clarke a favour. They start messaging back and forth, continuing their catch up. It’s only a few days later that they’re telling each other unimportant details about their days. When she has to deal with a particularly rude client, she bitches to him about it without even thinking. He complains to her about his unfair professor and it’s almost like there weren’t eight years of radio silence.

They talk about the past a bit but they never talk about their relationship or what happened between them. Which suits Clarke just fine. She doesn’t even know what she would say.

As she gets to know him again, she finds that like his looks, he’s changed but she still recognises him. He’s more his own person now, he’s proud of his sister and still worried about her, but doesn’t feel the need to go out and bring her home. He still cares about everyone and everything, but he’s not carrying the weight of the world on his own. He knows how to ask for help. He uses his head, not just his heart like before. 

She likes the person he’s grown into. She really likes him. She wants to be his friend. 

“Are you sure you just want to be his friend?” Raven teases, as she explains this to her. She’s a little tipsy and she can’t stop gushing about Bellamy. It's been two weeks since she'd seen him at the coffee shop.

“Of course,” Clarke says confidently. She can see herself falling for this grown-up version of Bellamy, but it hasn’t happened yet. 

“Mhmm,” Raven hums, carefully applying the finishing touches to Clarke’s makeup. They’re meeting some of their friends at the bar to celebrate Roan’s birthday. Bellamy’s going to be there. Clarke’s excited to actually see him again. They’ve only messaged since the awkward encounter. “I believe it.” 

"You should," Clarke says, watching Raven dig through her wardrobe for a pair of shoes. It still reminds her of high school. Sharing clothes and doing each other's makeup and pregaming a little hard before going out.

They get an Uber to the bar and the driver gets lost, so by the time they arrive all their friends are already crowded around a table. Raven slides into the booth next to Luna, leaving the only free space next to Bellamy. Clarke can’t even bring herself to care as she sits down beside him.

“Princess,” he greets her and Clarke rolls her eyes at him but can’t keep the grin off her face. It’s not awkward. They’re friends. 

“What are we drinking?” Clarke asks, reaching for Emori’s glass.

“Sure,” Emori laughs. “Help yourself.” She’s Murphy’s girlfriend and Clarke hasn’t known her long but she really likes her. She brings out the best in him.

Clarke had known Murphy was in New York, but she’d never reached out until Raven found out he was around. They’d been friends on and off through college and reconnected at the start of the year. Bellamy had also been excited to find he was around. Clarke's just trying not to think about how much her current social circle resembles the one from eight years ago.

“The line is too long,” Clarke whines, taking another sip. 

“I just ordered a jug,” Emori smiles, “because I knew you two would try and steal my drinks.”

“You know us well,” Raven calls across the table. 

It’s a nice night. Clarke hasn’t really had time to catch up with her friends between her two jobs and their work and study. She gets a little drunk, but so does everyone else. They dance and Raven manages to convince Clarke to sing karaoke with her. She trash talks Roan into versing her at pool and then loses so badly she has no choice but to start cheating, knocking her balls in when Roan is distracted. 

“Having fun?” Bellamy asks her. It’s late and she’s leaning against the bar watching Raven dance with Luna and deciding whether or not to order another drink. 

“I am,” she smiles. She hasn’t spoken to him alone tonight and despite the alcohol, she’s a little nervous. But he’s smiling that easy smile and she finds it melting away.

This is Bellamy. He was her best friend. She doesn’t need to be nervous. 

“Me too,” he says. “I haven’t really been out much.”

“Is it because you’re a giant nerd?” She teases, not able to help herself.

“Studying has held me back a little,” he laughs. “And I didn’t really know anyone I wanted to come out with until I met you guys again.”

“Happy to be of service,” she grins. 

“Do you want anything?” He asks, nodding his head towards the bar and fishing his wallet out of his pocket. 

“Just some water,” she decides.

“Sensible princess,” he smirks over his shoulder before turning his attention back to the bartender. 

“I learnt the hard way,” she admits. 

He doesn’t respond for a moment, ordering his own drink and asking for a bottle of water. 

“Want to sit outside for a bit so I can actually hear you?” He asks, handing her the bottle. It’s late, the music has been turned up to keep the patrons there, rather than at the clubs a couple of blocks over.

“You’re such a grandpa,” she grins, following him onto the terrace. 

“So, you learnt the hard way?” He presses, once they’re sitting down. 

“Oh, it’s nothing,” she laughs but goes on to tell about her first few years of drinking and not knowing when to stop. How there was more than one occasion where she got kicked out of where they were because she had gotten too messy.

He laughs and tells her a story about his twenty-first and ends it with, “I only know all this because Miller was there. I don’t remember anything.”

They fall into conversation again and it’s easy. She almost forgets that the rest of her friends are inside and that they’re probably talking about them. Not that there is anything to say. They’re two friends sitting at a respectable distance apart having a conversation. 

“It’s such a nice night,” Clarke muses, leaning back on her elbows and looking up at the sky. She’s drunk enough and sitting close enough to the heater that she doesn’t even notice the October chill.

“It is,” Bellamy agrees, following her gaze. 

“Orion,” she says distractedly, pointing out the stars that make out the constellation. If she was sober, it would occur to her that she only remembers that because it was Bellamy who had told her. Eight years ago, laying in her backyard. 

“I’m impressed,” he teases. “Never thought you’d be into astrology.” 

“I had a good teacher,” she says quietly. It’s the first time either of them mentioned their past. But it doesn’t feel heavy. It’s a fond memory.

“You did,” he grins. “Remember anything else?”

She’s a little too pleased that she can point out several other constellations above them.

It’s going so well. She’s almost waiting for the other shoe to drop.