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it's a small world

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At eighteen, Clarke Griffin has her whole life ahead of her. A fresh new acceptance to a Pre-Med program far away from Arkadia gives her the opportunity to escape the constraints of her dysfunctional home life and lackluster teenage experiences. An opportunity to ensure that the illness her father died from does not happen to any other family, just by studying at one of the schools she’s dreamed of since she was young. It’s an opportunity all her friends and family, including herself, planned that she would receive because of her high grades, list of extra curriculars and countless hours of volunteer work. Nobody is surprised that Clarke Griffin receives the acceptance letter.

 

The only time anyone is surprised is when she breaks up with Bellamy Blake, boyfriend of three years, a week before she’s set to leave.

 

“We talked about long distance,” Bellamy reiterates, the confusion twisting his face into a puzzled expression. He slowly closes his front door behind him, not trying to disturb the household at this odd hour of the night, never taking his eyes off the long haired blonde before him. “I juggled my first year at Arkadia, working, watching over O and dating you just fine.”

 

“I’m going to be living in a three hours away, Bellamy,” Clarke’s eyes are red, but her voice is steady, the tears leaving her eyelids long before she stood in front of Bellamy. “I don’t think you understand-”

 

“I made plans to visit.”

 

“In the midst of your own school work, your job and Octavia?”

 

“We did it this whole year.”

 

“Yeah, while I was in high school and you commuted twenty minutes away to a community college!” Clarke cries.

 

She doesn’t have to elaborate. Bellamy straightens, realization dawning on him as Clarke sinks back herself, guilt ridden all over her face. Clarke tucks into herself, her arms crossed over her chest in an effort to shield herself from the cool air of the August night and not directly look at Bellamy. The night sky hangs above them, the lack of visible stars glaring down at the scene before them. Despite the intense August heat, the absence of sunlight has manifested a cool chill. Clarke wraps her arms around herself once more, realizing she’s going to have to get used to warming herself.

 

She can’t resist, though, taking in the pained expression on his face when her eyes meet his. Clarke takes a step towards him, her hand reaching out, only for him to jerk back so quickly, his elbow knocks against the wood of his front door. Clarke slowly retreats back. Bellamy can only look at her completely dumbfounded, the mix of hurt creating a lump in her throat.

 

“I don’t want this to be forever,” Clarke says honestly, quietly. “I love you.”

 

“Not enough to believe a guy that goes to a community college can stay with a girl going to an Ivy League,” Bellamy scoffs.

 

“You know that’s not what I meant.”

 

“We’ve been together for three years, Clarke.”

 

“I don’t not want to be with you! Right now, we’re on different paths. I still know that you’re my future-”

 

The darkness in his eyes steals the light from hers. “But I’m not your right now.”

 

Tears spring to Clarke’s eyes again, leaving red hot trails down her cheeks. Bellamy’s teary eyed as well, but Clarke can’t get past the hurt painting his features. His lips pressed tightly together in a line, the scar above upper lip protrudes and quivers, only to twist into a scowl within a couple of fleeting seconds. A cool breeze blows through her blonde locks, flailing all over her pale face awkwardly.

 

Bellamy takes another step back.

 


 

 “She doesn’t want to marry me,” Clarke laughs.

 

Raven raises an eyebrow, watching her friend pour a glass of orange juice with a chipper smile on her face. Clarke sets the jug of orange juice on the marble island, taking a long gulp of her beverage before setting down the glass gently. Raven sits on the barstool opposite to her, her legs crossed in a haphazard position that gives her ample access to stare at Clarke in bewilderment and utter confusion.

 

“You are awfully content for someone whose marriage proposal got rejected,” Raven points out. Clarke laughs again, reaching for her glass of orange juice. Raven leans across the island, grabbing Clarke’s hand before she can. “Do I need to check you in somewhere?”

 

Clarke swats Raven’s hand away, retrieving her glass for another sip. The liquid travels down her throat, allowing the citrus to eliminate the soreness, caused by a night’s full of screaming and crying. Clarke finishes the glass, turning so her back is facing Raven and walking over to the sink across from her. She twists the knob, watching the water fall from the nozzle before running her now empty glass under it. Clarke can feel Raven’s eyes on her, but knows she probably has no idea what to say. Clarke doesn’t even know what she wants to hear.

 

It wasn’t like Clarke proposed. Well, she hadn’t purchased a ring yet, at least. Which is a good thing she brought it up with her girlfriend of two years before investing in such an expensive piece of jewelry, so she could learn that Lexa had no plans to marry her anytime soon or in the near future. Clarke clenches the glass harder, allowing the mixture of water and soap to run over knuckles as it overflows.

 

“So, Lexa wasn’t the one,” Raven says from behind her. “I could have told you that.”

 

Raven’s lack of sympathy didn’t surprise Clarke. It just stirred her annoyance, especially when her friend knew just how meticulous Clarke was. Clarke was looking for the one, and she loved Lexa, enough to consider marriage. Now, she would have to start over, and that would throw away everything she tried to build within this two year relationship.

 

At twenty eight, Clarke was looking at her next step. She successfully received her Pre-Med undergraduate degree within four years, even achieving valedictorian before climbing onto the next milestone; medical school. Once that was completed, with a pretty decent 3.7 GPA, she got an internship in the town of her alma mater, which was ridiculously lucky for a clinic in such high demand. Now, with the beginning of her residency, her career was on the right track, if not almost at her end goal.

 

For years, Clarke put her academics before her personal life. It cost her a lot of fun social events, even more friendships and potential relationships that continued to linger in her mind. None of it came easy to Clarke, she had to work hard to keep up her academics and had to work even harder to maintain relationships – majority of which were platonic; seeing as her romantic life was put on pause pretty much since she was eighteen. A string of hookups would satisfy her until she was able to get to a place where she could fully invest in a relationship.

 

And for a while, she didn’t see herself ever being with anyone seriously. For years, the only person her heart belonged to was Bellamy; but it was made clear mere months after she ended things that he was not waiting for her the way she was waiting for him. He never returned her calls, blocked her on the then-popular social medias and even got his sister to respond to Clarke’s demands asking to never speak to him again. It broke Clarke’s heart, knowing he wanted nothing to do with her, even though she promised him he was her future, no matter if they weren’t together in present time. But she guesses she broke his heart first, and it’s not fair to ask someone to wait, especially for someone with an impending career in the medical field.

 

So she swore off dating all together. The closest she ever got within eight years of leaving Bellamy Blake was a non-exclusive relationship with Finn Collins towards the end of her undergraduate degree. And all that revealed to her was that Finn was in an actual exclusive relationship with Raven Reyes, who albeit soon became one of her closest friends, but further deterred Clarke from the dating world.

 

Meeting Lexa was not planned. The further Clarke got to finishing her medical degree, the more she desired for the relationship she once had so secure. The hookups no longer satisfied her and her loneliness grew. And she already stalked Bellamy on his new social medias, only to discover his engagement to a gorgeous tree-hugger with long legs and glowing skin, meaning reaching out to him after eight years of not speaking was very much not an option. And in the midst of that heartache, was Lexa.

 

“You have this thing,” Raven continues. Clarke shuts off the sink, setting the dripping glass on the drying rack before turning to face her friend. She leans against the counter, arms folded and raises an eyebrow, daring Raven to continue. “Where you have one person in your mind and you think that’s it.”

 

“What?” Clarke huffs.

 

“Lexa, for example. You meet her at a bar, she’s hot, she’s confident, she’s a workaholic like you, and you’re sold,” Raven explains, the hand gestures making her point more boisterous. “So you completely ignore the red flags. She’s cold, barely opens up, prioritizes her career over you-”

 

“I do that, too.”

 

“She’s not marriage material. She doesn’t even want kids.”

 

“Lexa’s great with kids, she just doesn’t want them right now. And neither do I.”

 

“You’re missing the point,” Raven sighs, pinching the bridge of her nose in exasperation. “You guys fought all the time. She wasn’t responsive, she didn’t put in an effort to see things your way, despite you doing it for her all the time. She wasn’t the one.”

 

Clarke breathes in deeply. Her relationship with Lexa has always been turbulent, and she always thought it was because they were so similar in a lot of ways. They were always such head-first thinkers and abhorrently stubborn that fights were a side effect of their love for one another. Despite Clarke assuming their passion would keep them together forever, she knows it was wishful thinking. Especially when Lexa pointed it out weeks ago, citing logically it could never work between them for that exact reason.

 

She’d only suggested that Lexa think about the possibility of marriage being on the horizon soon. If Clarke had known it was a tipping point, she may not have brought it up at all. It dawns on Clarke at that moment, that maybe that was all to telling all together. Her constant tip-toeing around Lexa stemming from her fear of being alone wasn’t a love strong enough for marriage. Not that she’d admit it to Raven in the moment.

 

“And then there’s Bellamy,”

 

Clarke’s head snaps in Raven’s direction so fast she gets whiplash and before she can play it off, her hand flies to her neck and her face twists in discomfort. Raven smirks, leaning back on the barstool with her legs intricately folded beneath her. Raven’s never met Bellamy, but Clarke used to talk about him enough that she’s conjured up an idea of him in her mind and has accurately spoke of their relationship as if she’d been there, a whole decade ago.

 

“You guys were broken up for eight years before you started dating Lexa,” Raven points out. “And in those eight years, you acted like he was your only option. Like somehow, someway, you’d find your way back to each other like a cheesy, horribly written show on the CW.”

 

“Well, I loved him since I was fifteen.”

“And you are now twenty eight. It’s time to be a grown up and get on Christian Mingle if you really want marriage right now.”

 

Clarke sighs, holding her arms tighter across her chest. She doesn’t want to be married just to be married and she knows Raven is just poking fun, but her outward desire to have everything in her life meticulously planned to a T is kind of ruined right now.

 

It’s not that she thinks she deserves happiness more than the average person. A lot of her friends are married right now, and she sees the light in their eyes when they look at one another, some even cradling newborn babies and yet, she has to admit, none of them have careers that take half as long to fulfill as hers. It’s a part of the job, she understands, long hours in the clinic don’t leave much time for bonding with partners. Maybe once her residency is completed, by thirty three or thirty four, she’ll have met someone.

 

Clarke has time to meet someone new. There’s millions of people in the world that she hasn’t met. There’s at least one that’s right for her.

 


 

Clarke admits, she’s been a bit lazy about finding the one, especially with her timeline that gives her at least five more years. On the bright side, the other side of her bed is never cold.

 

Three months of officially being single, Clarke’s taken advantage of the lack of commitment. After a tough shift, she heads to the bar, picks up a random that will either leave in the middle of the night or that she’ll escort out in the morning. They satisfy her needs perfectly fine, rejuvenating her for her shift the following morning and encouraging her to repeat the process later on that night. It’s a habit she fell into in undergrad and practiced throughout medical school, so it’s kind of like she’s stepping into old shoes. In fact, it’s a lot easier to resume than it was to start after a breakup.

 

There’s no particular type. For the past month, there’s been more pretty girls in the chosen bar than good looking men, and she can usually guarantee that she’s going to come when she brings home one. She programs a fake number in some of their phones, tells them she works under a different profession, only blatantly honest about the fact that this is nothing more for her than a hookup. The one thing they all have in common is that they agree, with only a handful attempting to make it more than that afterwards.

 

“Grounders, tonight?” Her colleague, Luna, asks.

 

Clarke packs her scrubs into her duffle pack, folded neatly in a Ziploc bag. She’s finally taken her hair out of the ponytail she’s held for nearly fifteen hours and is sporting a white mini skirt with a less than festive black tank top and matching belt. Not attire for a clinic.

 

“Sanctum,” Clarke corrects her.

 

“Hot date?”

 

“Not tonight.”

 

Luna smirks at her, clearly not believing her colleague. Clarke rolls her eyes, itching to get away from the stuffiness of the clinic, heaving her duffle bag over one shoulder. She glances at the clock in the breakroom, the digital letters reading ten forty six back to her. She promised Raven she’d be at the bar by eleven, but the drive is already twenty minutes and she’s not even out the door.

 

“I don’t know how you do it,” Luna admits, her tone dripping with condescending undertones. “Over a twelve hour shift and you still go out to party? What a life.”

 

It’s called having a life,the thought manifests inClarke’s mind, but luckily never makes it out of her mouth. Clarke suspects Luna had a thing for Lexa, the way she would be sicky sweet whenever her girlfriend was around compared to the shady remarks she made in her absence attested to that. The dislike Luna had for Clarke was subtle enough for her not to have any solid proof or evidence to bring it up, but it’s more than irritating most times. Before, Clarke never cared and Lexa never paid Luna any mind, but when word got out the two split, she swore she saw a hint of a smile on Luna’s face as she gave a half-ass attempt at a Everything Will Be Okay speech, despite Clarke’s more than professional behaviour.

 

Clarke fishes her phone out from her belt loop, noting the Uber approaching within two minutes. She smiles tightly at Luna, not even attempting to appease her with a response before heading out the door.

 

By the time she’s slammed the backdoor of the Uber, Clarke already only has ten minutes to get there. She’s expecting a call from Raven promptly at eleven o’clock, but there’s nothing she can do about it, so she smiles politely at her driver and asks how his day is going while he leisurely ushers Clarke to her destination.

 

Clarke’s phone vibrates in her pocket at exactly 11:00pm as predicted.

 

“Hello,” Clarke braces for –

 

“Tell me you at least left the clinic,” Raven shouts.

 

“I’m in the Uber.”

 

Yesss,” Clarke recognizes Harper’s voice, definitely after a couple of shots. She hears a struggle over the phone, Raven begging Harper to be careful, only for her to relinquish power in the end. “Clarke, I’ve missed you so much! I mean, I love my baby, but this is the first time tequila has tasted these lips since before pregnancy!”

 

Clarke smiles to herself, picturing the blonde haired woman clinging to Raven in Sanctum’s bathroom, after her first night out since the birth of her baby. Come to think of it, it’s the first night in months all their friends have gotten together in months. All of Clarke’s friends have pretty demanding careers and personal lives to match, and in the years since graduation she’s seen them start their lives while she pursued medical school. Harper, a criminologist married Monty, an engineer a couple of years back, just welcoming a baby boy, Jordan, a couple of months ago. Raven, a fellow engineer, currently engaged to Shaw, a pilot trainee. Then there was Jasper, freshly dating a sweet girl he met at the botanist conservatory he worked at.

 

The six of her friends have always been able to combine their professional and personal lives with ease. Clarke admired it, never absorbing the trait herself, always juggling and having to choose one or the other. That’s why dating Lexa came so easily. Clarke worked long hours, Lexa worked long hours, they had a basic understanding that seeing one another came second and only possible if their jobs allowed them to. Looking back, maybe that wasn’t the most normal thing, but it was system that worked for them for two years.

 

The sound of murmurs and muffled whispers fill the line, Harper and Raven most likely struggling over who gets control of the phone. Clarke peels her own phone away from her ear to check the time, just two minutes passed eleven pm, meaning she still has at least ten minutes to go before she’s there. A loud grunt echoes over the line, causing Clarke to instantly put the phone back to her ear.

 

“Harper, it’s a surprise!” Raven angrily whispers.

 

“A hot guy isn’t a surprise, it’s a gift!” Harper slurs. Another grunt coming from one of the girls, before Clarke assumes Harper has successfully yanked the phone from their friend. “Clarke, Shaw brought the hottestguy for you.”

 

“Oh God,” Clarke sighs. “What’s wrong with him?”

 

“Nothing!” Raven insists. The two are on speaker now. “I didn’t tell you because I didn’t want you to think we were setting you up.”

 

“Which you are.”

 

“Oh, we totally are. But I know you hate blind dates, so we’re all here. The guys love him.”

 

“He’s so hot,” Harper chimes in. “I’m a married woman, but even I can admit he’s so hot. The only downfall is that he’s divorced.”

 

“You’re setting me up with a guy whose divorced?” Clarke holds her hand over the receiver, trying to lower her tone. She eyes the driver through the rear view mirror, whose clearly eavesdropping as her cheeks turn bright red. “What on Earth made you think that was a good idea?”

 

“He’s super sweet and Harper’s right, hot. He doesn’t even think this is a date, he thinks he’s just hanging out with all of us.” Raven explains.

 

Clarke stares out the window as the Uber halts. They’ve come to a red light, stopping in the midst of traffic. They’re in the heart of the city now, people busily walking down the streets on this Friday night. In the crowd of people, she watches as a handful of couples pass, hand in hand, giggling, all over each other or all the above. She watches the smiles on their faces just looking at one another, remembering a time she used to feel that giddy around Lexa, remembering how she always felt that way with Bellamy.

 

The hookups are temporary. They please Clarke for now, but the longlines for stability remains. Maybe Raven is right, that’s she’s scared of getting back out there cause she thinks she already met the greatest. But if that was true, Clarke wouldn’t have moved on the first time.

The Uber begins moving again, and Clarke’s vision of the strangers waltzing along the sidewalk blurs. Raven and Harper are saying something, probably something that would be useful for Clarke to hear, but she’s completely zoned out. Clarke coughs, making it seem like she’s been paying attention.

 

“I’ll be there in five minutes,” she estimates.

 

Clarke presses the end call button, not waiting for their response. She sinks back into the seat, leaning her head back against the cushion. The driver says nothing, only peers at her through the rear view mirror and since she’s no longer looking into polite small talk, Clarke just offers a simple smile.

 

She could give the guy a chance. Worse comes to worse, Harper and Raven both agree he’s hot, so hopefully that means he’s a good fuck.

 

The Uber screeches to a stop a little over five minutes later after a relatively silent ride. Clarke thanks the driver, and climbs out of the car, rating him five stars before waltzing to the entrance. A twenty minute Uber ride, alone, costs her approximately fifteen dollars that she doesn’t have to spare between rent. She curses, hoping she can share an Uber pool with someone or catch a ride with one of her friends if she doesn’t end up leaving with the guy.

 

Clarke’s expectations are low. Raven’s definition of a blind date could just mean another decent fuck, which puts her mind at ease, but she just hopes this guy doesn’t think anything. It doesn’t matter if Raven says he doesn’t, she has no idea what Shaw said to this guy about her. Clarke knows at the back of her mind – the engaged pair came up with this idea together and it only makes her more anxious. If she’d known this was a potential date, maybe she would have dressed a little less slutty.

 

It doesn’t matter, though because she’s here and she misses her friends and a hot guy is just a bonus. The fact that she barely ate all day means it’s going to be a lot easier and a lot faster for her to get drunk tonight and at least there’s always a drinking buddy in Jasper. Plus, Harper already seems gone.

 

Clarke enters Sanctum after providing the bouncer with ID, recognizing the aroma of sweaty adults and onion rings instantly. The lights are dim and the music is low, but there’s a couple drunk partygoers swaying on the dancefloor near the DJ booth with tables full of people munching on food, the bar crowded with people itching just to taste alcohol. It’s a bar and restaurant that the group have gone to since their undergraduate days, conveniently located just ten minutes from campus. Clarke’s grateful they all stayed relatively close to the city.

 

It’s only just past eleven, meaning the group probably just ordered a round of drinks and sets of appetizers, so Clarke etches into the dining section, scanning through the packed tables for her friends. The Friday night makes everybody harder to find, but Clarke hears them before she sees them, following the sound of Jasper’s cackle to a booth in the left corner. Jasper’s new buzzcut has taken some time to get used to, but the big grin on his face is enough to bring a smile to Clarke’s face. He throws his head back in laughter, too pre-occupied with another to notice his friend approach the table.

 

They’re sitting in a round booth, one of the bigger ones in the establishment. It’s usually that way, thanks to the size of their group, but it’s not uncommon for them to squeeze into a smaller booth just for the hell of it or if the place is super busy.

 

Clarke steps closer, only noting Jasper’s small frame. He has his arm thrown around someone, who she assumes is Monty, because it’s always Monty and is laughing so hard he has to hold his ribcage in order to refrain him from doubling over. It’s only as she gets closer that his laughter subsides enough for his eyes to land on Clarke. They bulge so wide, it’s almost out of his hand, as he throws his left, free arm in the air to wave at her.

 

“Clarke!” Jasper calls. “Come over here!”

 

Clarke knows he couldn’t see she was already on her way, shaking her head in amusement. Monty peaks out from the booth, opposite end of Jasper and grins. “You’ve got to meet this guy! He’s a hoot!”

 

Monty’s just as drunk as Harper, Clarke can see by his flushed expression. He’s not easily amused either, especially by Jasper’s antics, which means the alcohol has worked wonders or this really hot guy is also really funny.

 

It only takes her one more step for the man in question to come into vision and she’s already approached the table; no way of backing out. Clarke freezes, her heart lurching and smile dropping from her face as Jasper hugs the guy tighter to him. The whole crew is there, all bright eyed and mostly drunk, giggling over a plate of onion rings and a dozen half-empty glasses. None of it registers in Clarke’s mind, she can only look at him.

 

Bellamy Blake stares back at her, an all too familiar smirk dancing across his lips. He figured it out before her, she realizes as he brings his glass to his lips, the smirk never faltering and takes a sip. He huffs placing the drink back down on the table and leans back in the booth, swinging his arm over Jasper’s shoulder, sending him into another tailspin of laughter.

 

“Hey princess,” Bellamy greets her. Clarke’s heart begins beating again.

 

His voice is deeper, if that was even possible. It’s warm and welcoming, but condescending all together, matching perfectly with the smugness that exudes from his face. Clarke recalls seeing a beard in his wedding pictures on Facebook, which is completely gone now, his cleanly shaved face accentuating the sharpness of his jawline and the freckles that pattern his cheeks. The scar above his lip is still ever so prominent, etched into his features and emphasized by the smirk that has cursed his mouth for decades.

 

Clarke doesn’t even think he’s really here. It’s the first time she’s seen him in person in a decade, and yet he’s all the same, his eyes just a little more worn. The curls that clump together on his head are exactly as she remembers, so fluffy and perfectshe can feel them from where she’s standing.

 

The nickname is what gets her. As a teenager, it made her stomach flutter and between her legs dampen simultaneously. It yields similar results to this day. The amount of times she’s slipped her fingers downwards and closed her eyes just to imagine him saying it to her over and over again flood back to her. Yet now, the title causes her stomach flutters, between her legs dampen, in addition to an overwhelming feeling of nausea.

 

Everyone’s looking at her, not that Clarke really notices. They peer at her stillness with curiosity but Jasper’s maniacal, drunken state is a key distraction, causing majority of them to shift their attention back to their other, more lively friend. It’s Bellamy that’s kept his eyes steady on her, the amusement in his eyes, like he’s planned this encounter for years. Meanwhile, he ignored her calls and pleas for almost three years straight after the breakup.

 

It clicks for Raven first. “Hey, I think I need to head to the bathroom. Clarke, come-”

 

Raven makes an awkward move to stand, only to be roughly yanked down by Harper, a big, easy grin on her face. “You just peed! Now come on Monty, move over so Clarke can sit.”

 

Monty scoots closer to his wife, patting the extra seating beside him. Clarke takes the cue, finally tearing her grip away from Bellamy Blake to sit on the velvet seat. She shuffles in awkwardly, haphazardly smiling to her friends in greeting. When her gaze focuses in front of her, Bellamy is still looking at her, that smirk still planted on his face, drink still clutched in his hand.

 

He looks like he has something to say. Bellamy always has something to say, Clarke reminds herself, but not to her and not in a while. The last words she ever heard from him in correlation to her was said through Octavia, but after a decade of not speaking, she assumes he’s less cordial about the silent treatment now. Yet, Clarke doesn’t say anything either, grabbing Monty’s glass of whiskey and downing it before he can open his mouth to protest.

 

Harper is too busy chatting away to let her husband – or anyone else for that matter – get a word in either. Clarke zones her out, for the most part, eyes glued to the glass in front of her, only picturing Bellamy smiling politely at her friends and sideways glancing at her, amped by the uncomfortableness of the situation.

 

“Oh my God,” Harper shrieks. “We didn’t even let Clarke introduce herself.”

 

“I don’t think that’s necessary,” Clarke begins, only to be silenced once again by Harper.

Harper reaches over Monty, her body sprawled across his lap in attempts to grab Clarke by the bareness of her shoulder. Clarke’s head jerks up, catching Harper as her hand falls from her shoulder before she faceplants in her crotch. She steadies her the drunken mom by the wrist, only providing her with further encouragement. “This Clarke Griffin. Single, Clarke Griffin. Single, doctor Clarke Griffin.”

 

“He calls her Princess Clarke,” Jasper reminds the group. He glances from Bellamy to Clarke and then back to Bellamy. “Is that because of the long, blonde hair? It’s kind of Rapunzel-like, right? Or is it because she was late, like a modern day Cinderella?”

 

Jasper ooo’s and awe’s, encouraged by Harper nodding eagerly at his conspiracy theories. Just like it clicks for Raven, the same look of recognition falls on Shaw and Monty’s faces. Clarke only wishes she can sink back into the safety of the clinic and deal with more people that are dying instead of sitting here in this booth. She can only wince, her hand shielding her face as she glances at Raven. The engineer mouths sorry to her friend, before turning to her fiancé and nudging him in the ribs.

 

“Actually,” Bellamy starts. Clarke looks at him, his dark eyes staring directly at her. “When I met Clarke, I thought she was a bit of a spoiled brat. Hence, the name princess.”

 

It takes a moment for it to register for Harper and Jasper. Raven slowly sips at her drink, Monty and Shaw exchange uncomfortable glances while Clarke sucks in a breath. Bellamy seems anything, but phased, a look of amusement sprawled across his features. He takes the final sip of his drink, finishing it off, before sliding it to the middle of the table.

 

Clarke watches him easily interact with the intensity of the situation, a little jealous and a lot frustrated with the idea. He refused to speak to her for years and when she finally stopped trying, he made no effort to come to her when he was clearly over their relationship andher. He completely erased Clarke from his life, not even open to the idea of remaining friends despite their long term friendship and now he comes to her city, settles in with her friends and acts like everything is nonchalant and happy.

 

Clarke is happy with her life. She has a successful career and amazing friends and yes, she’s single, but her one night stands are more than enough to keep her content. That’s more than she can say for Bellamy, who according to Harper, is freshly divorced.

 

“That was a long time ago,” Clarke remarks. “People grow out of nicknames.”

 

“Not everybody,” Bellamy shrugs. “Seems to fit you still.”

 

Clarke furrows her eyebrows, opening her mouth to spit venom, when Harper sighs in exasperation. “You’re Bellamy? High school sweetheart Bellamy?”

 

Bellamy laughs, his row of bright, white teeth flashing at Clarke. “You’ve talked about me?”

“Just to fill in the gaps,” Clarke laments. She scans the room, spotting a pretty, blonde waitress just finishing up with a table across the bar. She heaves her hand up and waves. “Waitress! A round of shots, please.”

 

The shots do wonders. While Jasper and Harper are cut off pretty early on, the rest of the group indulge in a slew of alcohol, making the whole situation a lot less tense and tolerable for Clarke. Bellamy talks mostly to Shaw or addresses the group as a whole, refraining from singling out his former girlfriend in front of her friends. They all love him, laughing at his jokes or awing at his stories. Clarke even catches Raven biting back a smile.

 

It annoys Clarke to a point she believes it shouldn’t. Bellamy was invited here by Shaw, he didn’t ask to be a part of this evening or her friend’s lives and certainly not her own. That’s what gets her, she thinks, that Bellamy spent so much time avoiding her that now, he sits across from her comfortably, like a stranger in a bar or a mutual friend. Time can heal all wounds, but Clarke almost prefers he be angry at her, or uncomfortable with the situation or literally anything that she is feeling in this very moment. Aside from the snarky remarks, Bellamy makes no further references to Clarke or their past relationship. Everyone’s too drunk to even remember.

 

Clarke wishes she didn’t know it would be easier for her to black out with these shots then it would be to forget.

 

By the fifth shot, their group has dispersed. It’s just after midnight, meaning more people are pouring in, heading directly to the dancefloor. Harper follows the trend, dragging along Monty who drags along Jasper, whizzing into the crowd of dancers that crowd near the DJ booth. Clarke thinks then, the conversation would switch back to the elephant in the room, but Bellamy downs his sixth shot, not even the slightest recognition of regret on his face.

 

“I still can’t believe you’re slumming it with Murphy,” Shaw marvels, his face twisting in regret after taking another shot.

 

“John Murphy?” Raven baffles. “I’m so sorry.”

 

“He’s not too bad,” Bellamy admits with a teasing smile. “A bit of a pig, a lot of an ass. But we get along just fine.”

 

Clarke sees her opportunity to toy with him. After taking one of the last few shots for confidence, she sets her glass down and gives him a sickly sweet smile. “What God forsaken force causes you to live with Murphy?”

 

Bellamy doesn’t miss a beat. “I met him through a mutual friend, back in college. He moved here, I needed a place to crash, he offered. And then he introduced me to Shaw-”

 

“That’s not what I mean. Why live with Murphy? Why leave home?”

 

“Got a job offer here.”

 

“Worth leaving the wife?”

 

Bellamy’s tongue pokes the inside of his cheek and Clarke knows she’s struck a nerve. His lips purse tightly, and an instant feeling of regret sinks in. She wants to apologize, but her pride stops her, and the drinks she’s already taken enable her to further drown her guilt in more alcohol. Shaw and Raven’s uneasy stares affirm her decision as Clarke reaches for the last shot.

 

Before she can react, Bellamy grabs the shot. He throws his head back and with a gulp, rests the final empty glass on the middle of the table with a louder than necessary thud. No disgust or twist of regret on his face. “She left me.”

 

Clarke really feels like an asshole now. She scratches the back of her neck, the sharpness of her nails not even close to compensating for the pain that’s settled in her chest. Out of the corner of her eye, she can see Raven sending daggers her way, begging her to say something as Shaw lets out a low whistle in response to the silence. All of the glasses are empty, no escape in alcohol left and all any of them can hear is the low beat of the music echoing through their ears and shaking the table.

 

She wishes she could take it back, say she’s sorry, but when her mouth opens, nothing comes out. Clarke watches him as he runs his tongue over his lips, trying to taste the last bits of alcohol. His expression solemn only a couple of moments ago, morphs into a pokerface, almost as if he’s trying to appear as bored. Given the situation and that his mannerisms are still the exact same from high school, Clarke knows he’s just trying to put up a front and thanks to her, she gave him the perfect excuse to do so.

 

Bellamy’s eyes flutter from the glass to the open floor, a familiar cheeky smile playing up on his face. Clarke turns, noting the cute, petite waitress from before flounce down the aisle, a tray of drinks balancing in her right hand. Bellamy catches her gaze, and he summons her over with an easy wink. Clarke gulps, watching the waitress smile brightly as she approaches the table.

 

“What can I do for you?” She asks sweetly.

“Well,” Bellamy leans in closer and squints, before settling back in his seat with a smile. “Josephine. That’s a beautiful name.”

 

Josephine very obviously suppresses a giggle, a blush rising to her cheeks. “How beautiful is yourname?”

 

“It’s Bellamy. So you can be the judge of that.”

 

“Bellamy, that’s so unique.”

 

The flirtation goes on right before Clarke’s very eyes. She guesses she deserves it, she did pull the wife card, which was a very low blow. Bellamy and Josephine fall into the ease of small talk and Clarke nearly gets nauseous looking at it for so long that she has the gull to look at Raven and Shaw who only stare back at her in irritation and annoyance.

 

“One more round of shots,” Bellamy’s loud voice booms, emphasized by his fists banging on the table. He tilts his head to Josephine, that smirk making an appearance once again. “Please, Josephine.”

 

“You got it.”

 

Josephine saunters away with the pep of a school girl. Clarke can’t help but roll her eyes, wishing she had a glass to hide behind at this very moment. She’s more tipsy than she is drunk, but the alcohol is already rushing to her head, thanks to a lack of food and her interactions with Bellamy. She should have just followed Harper, Monty and Jasper to the dancefloor instead of staying put at the table in hopes of entertaining Bellamy.

 

As the waitress disappears behind the bar, Bellamy reaches for a napkin placed at the edge of the table. Clarke eyes it before he has the chance to grab it, noting a sprawl of numbers with a cutesy heart drawn underneath. It’s no secret it’s Josephine’s handwriting. Bellamy lifts upwards, tucking the napkin into his back pocket without a word, before turning to Shaw and talking about his new teaching job in the area.

 

Just that easily, like Clarke’s comment never spewed from her mouth. Shaw eagerly jumps at the conversation change and Raven scoots closer to Clarke for emotional support, but she silences her with a glare before she can even open her mouth.

 

It amazes her how Bellamy is so quick to brush things off, move forward at the slight of a hat. He’s been that way his whole life, she guesses, especially with all the shit he endured early on. It worried her before she got through to him when they were dating. It’s why she thought he would be okay with a friendship going into school, as selfish as it was for her to decide it. Yet, he didn’t speak to her for three years and when she stopped trying, he moved on. Like nothing happened.

 

Josephine returns with the shots, and Clarke has to undergo another scene of her and Bellamy flirting before she goes back to doing her actual job. Clarke doesn’t even wait for them to finish, grabbing one of the shot glasses, filled to the brim with God knows what, and chucking it back. She reaches for another before the rest of them even has a chance to get their first of the round.

 

The rest of the night, Clarke proceeds with caution. She doesn’t make a statement or a remark, barely says a word throughout the night and if she does, it’s certainly not directed towards Bellamy. He glides through conversations, even welcoming back the trio from the dancefloor with a grin and earning a couple of solid laughs. All the while, Clarke takes shot after shot, rarely letting her friends grasp at a glass. Bellamy sneaks in a few good shots, but only after Raven places an arm on her friend’s shoulder and tells her to cool it.

 

The night winds down around two am, Harper and Monty being the first ones to leave because Harper is too far gone to stay. Jasper decides to head out in the Uber with them, not before putting Bellamy’s contact information in his phone and giving him a kiss on the cheek as a goodbye, taking one more shot before departing with the married couple. That leaves the four of them, again and Clarke may be a lot drunker than before, but she’s smart enough to know she can’t stay.

“Did you call an Uber?” Raven asks, getting to her feet to steady Clarke as she wobbles out of the booth.

 

Clarke motions for her to step aside, shaking her head. “I just want to get some air. I’ll call it when I get outside.”

 

“Why don’t you just wait in here? It’s a lot warmer-”

 

“It’s fine, I need some air. I’ll text you when I’m home.”

 

Raven’s lips close firmly as she reluctantly sinks back into her seat. Clarke gathers her items, dusting herself off as she stands, intending to just swivel around on her heel and leave. But she makes the mistake of looking at Bellamy, who only stares at her pitifully and it churns her stomach. Clarke’s tolerance for alcohol is pretty high, especially after years of practice, but the need to vomit up everything has never been higher than when Bellamy looks at her in a way that makes her feel like a damsel in distress.

 

Clarke doesn’t even say her goodbyes. She nods, if they can even call it that, she can’t really confirm that her head moves upwards or downwards. She waddles out of the club, embarrassingly trying not to appear as gone as she is, half hoping Bellamy doesn’t watch her walk away while the other half yearns for him to watch her leave with a smile.

 

The cool air of the night hits Clarke the minute she bursts out the door, giving her the brief feeling of serenity and calmness she hasn’t received in God knows how long. She stumbles to the front of the building, leaning against the cool brick. For a moment, she just stands, allowing the exposed areas of her body to level her temperature in combination with the airiness of the night. She closes her eyes and thinks about the time between her Bellamy and the Bellamy now.

 

Bellamy, Bellamy, Bellamy.

 

She can almost hear him now, calling her name.

 

“Clarke!”

 

Shit.

 

The energy it takes for Clarke to open her eyes makes her head pound. She winces, the vision of Bellamy approaching blurry, but real. She closes her eyes again, as if that’s going to make her invisible. She only realizes it’s stupid when she hears Bellamy chuckle. She feels him lean on the wall beside her, the roughness of his leather jacket scratching against her bare forearm.

 

“Did you call an Uber?” Bellamy asks.

 

Clarke’s eyes remain closed. She slurs, “I’ll get to it.”

 

There’s pause before Clarke attempts to heave herself up from the wall. She fails, her heel not steady enough with ground as she flails backwards, only to be caught by the forearms by Bellamy.

 

“Hey, hey,” Bellamy cautions her. He gently guides her, the softness of his fingers attempting to prop her upwards. Clarke slumps against him in defeat. She can’t help it, she has no energy and she’s very upset and very drunk. “Let’s get you home, okay?”

 

Clarke doesn’t remember exactly how they got from Point A to Point B. She recalls Bellamy asking for her address, and laying against him in a backseat, but the drive only feels like a couple of seconds and in a flash she’s fumbling with the keys to her apartment, only to huff and slam them into Bellamy’s chest. Somehow, someway, the door is opened and Bellamy lays her down on the couch, tells her to stay put and she can no longer hear him.

 

In any other state of mind, Clarke would be embarrassed. She hasn’t felt this drunk, this dizzy and this out of her mind since a party in her undergraduate years. At least then, it was Raven taking care of her and dealing with her sheer drunk stupidity. Now, it’s Bellamy Blake, who before today Clarke hadn’t spoken to in a decade. Yet, Clarke can’t figure out if she just doesn’t care in this moment in time because she’s drunk or for the exact reason that the person standing in her apartment isn’t a stranger for the first time in weeks.

 

Clarke curls up on her couch, tucking her legs beside her stomach and arms behind her head. She wants desperately to sleep, to drift off and wake up with no recollection, but as much of an ass as Bellamy is, she knows he won’t leave her like this. She’s not even surprised when she hears his footsteps signal his return to the living room. She feels the couch dip when he sits at the other end, but makes no move to accommodate for his presence.

 

When Bellamy’s body shifts, Clarke assumes he’s leaning over the lower half of her body. “Hey, sit up. I brought you water.”

 

Clarke groans in response. She hears Bellamy huff before heaving himself off the couch. She hears the sound of glass gently settling atop of her coffee table, before she feels Bellamy’s hot breath just inches away from her face.

 

“You won’t be able to sleep like this,” Bellamy soothes. His tone is low, but calming and soft. “Just a couple of sips. I promise, I’ll let you sleep after.”

 

It’s the compassion in his voice that encourages Clarke to detangle herself, sitting up on the couch at an awkward 150 degree angle, just so the water can travel down her throat without her choking. Bellamy chuckles, so low Clarke strains to hear it all the way through. She opens her eyes halfway to see him lean over and grab the glass full of water. She reaches her hand out to take it, but Bellamy shakes his head, otherwise completely ignoring her. He places a hand at the back of her neck, steadying her as he brings the glass to her lips.

 

Clarke sips, allowing the water to soothe her dry throat. She tilts her head back against his hand to signal he’s done, almost wishing she didn’t as Bellamy retracts, the heat from his hand leaving her cold once more. He places the near empty glass back on the coffee and sighs.

 

“I’m sorry,” Clarke speaks. Bellamy glances at her, confused. “About your wife.”

 

Bellamy smiles tightly, taking a seat on her couch by her feet. She doesn’t mean to do it, but by instinct, she slings her legs over his lap. He eyes her legs, then looks back at her, but comment on it. He doesn’t move either. “It’s okay. I technically left her.”

 

Clarke shoots up so fast, her head pounds in incredible ways. She groans, clutching her temple as she leans back on the couch. Resting on the softness of her cushion for a moment, she regains some of the strength she had before Bellamy opened his mouth.

 

“Then why would you lie? To make me look like an ass?”

 

“Partly,” Clarke can feel him smirking. She doesn’t expect him to elaborate, the mystery of twenty nine year old Bellamy Blake hanging over her hauntingly. But he continues, “I sent the divorce papers, but she basically asked for them.”

 

“What did she do?”

 

“A story for another time.”

 

Clarke’s sure there won’t be another time. To have your ex-boyfriend of over ten years take care of you incredibly drunk, which is mostly motivated by his surprise appearance, isn’t exactly a campaign to see someone again. Even if they met under different circumstances, walking down the street or catching each other in a grocery store, Clarke doesn’t think he would ever want to see her again.

 

“I’m sorry you have to take care of me,” Clarke apologizes. “I know you’d rather be anywhere else doing anything – or anyone else.”

 

Clarke opens her eyes just in time to catch Bellamy smile at her. “I haven’t met anyone I’m inclined to fuck yet.”

 

“What about Josephine?”

 

“The waitress? She’s sweet, but definitely not tonight.”

 

“Why not tonight?”

 

“Because I’m currently watching over my drunk high school sweetheart.”

 

“I don’t want to hold you back. I’m an adult, I can take care of myself.”

 

“You’ve never held me back.”

 

The silence hangs above them. If her head wasn’t pounding and the room wasn’t spinning, Clarke may have had the courage to say something. But nobody says anything, until Clarke’s stomach rumbles, loudly. Her and Bellamy both stare at her stomach, like it couldn’t have possibly emerged from her, but it most certainly did. Through half-lidded eyes, Clarke can see the small glimmer of a smirk.

 

“I only had a granola bar today,” Clarke admits, a tone that is much too harsh for her own wrongdoing.

 

“How the hell are you a proper doctor if you don’t eat?” Bellamy gawks.

 

“I’m just amazing.”

 

“You have bread?”

 

“What? Of course. I’m a functioning adult.”

 

“Cheese slices?”

 

“Shredded, cause who the fuck uses sliced cheese now. Why?”

 

Bellamy gets up from the couch, heading back into the kitchen. Clarke can sort of see him through her blurry vision, walking around her space and opening cabinet after cabinet. He pulls out a fresh loaf of bread from the lower cabinet before walking to the fridge and retrieving the bag of shredded cheddar cheese. He walks over to the stove and turns a knob before ruffling through more cabinets.

 

“Are you making a grilled cheese right now?” Clarke sits up, balancing on her forearms.

 

“Yes,” Bellamy states. He finds a whole bunch of pots and pans in the drawer under the fridge, selecting the one he likes before placing it on the stove.

 

Clarke watches her former high school sweetheart, who she has not seen in ten years, maneuver around her kitchen with her eyes half open, head pounding and drunk off her ass as he prepares her a grilled cheese at approximately two thirty am. He does it with a scary amount of comfortability, too, slicing a corner of butter and splattering it into the pan, swishing it around by the handle so it covers all the surface area.

 

She decides it’s best just to lay back and let it happen. Allow Bellamy Blake to make her a grilled cheese in her own apartment, because she knows that the one thing that hasn’t changed in this decade is his stubbornness. And by the way her stomach grumbles againthere’s no solid reason for Clarke to protest.

 

Bellamy puts the grilled cheese on a plate for her when he’s finished, cut into two triangular pieces. As she curls into the couch, chomping away at the freshly made food, Bellamy takes his time washing the dishes and placing all the ingredients back in their proper spots. By the time Clarke’s finished the grilled cheese, she’s half-sobered up and he’s finished cleaning the pan. He comes into the living room only to grab her plate.

 

“I can wash it in the morning,” Clarke insists, reaching for it.

 

“I don’t mind,” Bellamy shrugs. Instead, he uses his free hand to hand her the water on the coffee table.

 

Clarke accepts it from him, taking a long sip. She’s finally regained her senses. Her vision returning and her migraine dissipating slightly. She follows him into the kitchen, taking him in as he slides the leftover crumbs into the compost bin before proceeding to turn on the sink to rinse. Slowly, she climbs onto the barstool, watching Bellamy’s back move and contract as he scrubs.

 

“I don’t deserve this,” Clarke sighs.

 

“I’m just helping out.”

 

“This is more help than I need or deserve.”

 

“Let me decide that, won’t you, princess?”

 

“I love when you call me that.”

 

Bellamy falters a little, Clarke notices him tense. Normally, her sober self would regret saying such an arrogant, sultry comment to a man who hasn’t given her the time of day in such a long time. But her drunk-self adores this attention from someone as wonderful as Bellamy, as she can’t help that she’s a little damp in between her legs because of it.

 

Nonetheless, Bellamy ignores the comment. He dries the dish, then places it back in its rightful spot. He turns back to face her, Clarke’s big doe eyes staring back at him. She’s more than okay now, alert and fed. He surveys her over, balancing a hand on her marble countertop.

 

“I should go.”

 

“You don’t have to,” Clarke gets to her feet. “I mean. If you want to, you can go. But it’s late and I don’t mind if you crash here.” A pause, that’s maybe a little too long. “On the couch. Or I can take the couch, since you’ve been kind of a saviour tonight-” She stops mid-sentence. A smile has crept its way onto Bellamy’s face. “What?”

 

“You had me at you don’t have to.”

 

It’s just before three am when they move to the couch. They sit on opposite ends, expecting to doze off, but it’s no surprise that neither of them wants to be the first one to fall asleep. It’s not long before their legs are entangled with one another as Bellamy and Clarke talk and talk and talk. Ten years is a lot to miss out on, and they waste no time filling each other in on details. They fall into a rhythm, a sync that neither of them were able to define as teenagers and certainly can not in present day as adults.

 

It scares Clarke, how open and fluid she’d been with Bellamy in these past couple of hours when it took her current friends years to break through her shell. She supposes it’s because of the foundation they built long ago in their formative years, but when she gazes at Bellamy her heart just opens in a way she can’t categorize into single emotions. She just feels safe with him, open in a way she hasn’t felt in a long time.

 

Clarke sobers up fast after the sandwich and water, but she and Bellamy stay put on that couch until five am. It’s still dark outside thanks to the coolness the fall season, but when Bellamy glances at the clock, his eyes go wide in shock.

 

“Do you have somewhere to be?” Clarke teases.

 

“No, I’m surprised how late it’s gotten,” Bellamy confesses.

 

“When do you plan to leave?”

 

“Already rushing me out the door, princess?”

 

That feeling, of the butterflies in her stomach and the dampness between her legs returns at such a force, she has to gulp it down. Bellamy eyes her, like he was expecting a more reactive episode, but Clarke is sober now. She stays put on the couch, if only squeezing her legs just a little tighter.

 

“No,” Clarke clarifies. “Leave whenever you want. I don’t have a shift today.”

 

Bellamy leans his head back on the couch, still gazing at her, like he’s mulling over what to say. Clarke drums her toes against the cushions, missing the warmth his legs brought hers. She still has her miniskirt on and tank top, and it’s less than comfortable, but she hasn’t really got the nerve to leave Bellamy to change, even for the moment it would take.

 

“I think I’ve overstayed my welcome,” Bellamy settles on.

 

Clarke’s heart drops as he swings his legs off the couch. She watches him stand and make his way to the door, going to slip on his shoes. She follows, practically skipping over to him as he leans down to tie his shoes. It’s all painfully slow, giving Clarke ample time to think of something – anything, to say. He reaches up, giving her a tight lipped smile before reaching for the door handle.

 

“Thank you,” Clarke pipes up. Bellamy turns to her. “For taking me home and keeping me company. You definitely haven’t overstayed.”

 

Bellamy taunts her, leaning against the doorframe, still managing to keep his hand grasping the handle of the door. Clarke raises her eyebrows, crossing her arms over her chest. He’s intimidating, but also widely confusing at times. She used to be able to read him like a book and in these few short hours together she’s thought she’s done a pretty good job at it. But sometimes, he throws her a curveball.

 

No words leave his lips, he just stares at her with a smirk and half-lidded eyes, almost like he’s the drunk one now.

 

“What?” Clarke snaps, after moments of silence.

 

“You sobered up?”

 

“Fully sober a good hour ago. You’re good to leave, I promise I’ll be fine in my own apartment.” Clarke notices him falter. She tilts her head upwards. “Is there a reason you’re staying?”

 

Bellamy coughs, clearly being caught off guard. Clarke smiles triumphantly as he brushes off the non-existent dust on his shirt. “Just making sure you can see straight.”

 

Clarke shifts her weight from one foot to another. Bellamy smiles, one with his lips closed followed by a head nod as a goodbye. Clarke smiles back, not sure what else she can say, knowing she’s probably forced him to stay much longer than he was comfortable with just for her own sake. 

 

Bellamy turns to the door again, and Clarke’s heart lurches. She’s gone ten years without seeing him and the sickness she feels when he reaches for the door handle is too inhumane for her to ignore. She knows she’s not thinking logically, she said goodbye to Bellamy all those years ago, and doing what she’s about to would throw everything out the window. But honestly, wholeheartedly, right now Clarke does not care.

 

She grabs him by his free hand, causing him to turn in surprise. She doesn’t wait for the smirk to lift onto his features or for him to say some stupid remark about how she can’t keep her hands off of him, using the hand that’s not holding his to cup his face and crash her lips against his.

 

Clarke balances on the tips of her toes, trying her best to taste as much of him as she can. Bellamy’s arms wrap around her hips, pushing her upwards so she can get a lot closer as she wraps her arms around his neck. He tastes familiar, if not the same, sprinkles of coffee from the high school cafeteria replaced with fragments of vodka from the previous night. The way he kisses is what’s different, no longer falling into the category of rough or soft, but desperateas he deepens the kiss without much prompting from her.

 

Bellamy lifts Clarke with ease, cupping his hands over her ass as she wraps her legs around his torso. They stand there, lips interlocked for a while, just clinging on to one another. Bellamy’s the first to pull away, leaning his forehead against hers. “This what you wanted all along, princess?”

 

Clarke gulps, too out of breath to do anything but eagerly nod. He leans in this time, taking her lips with vigour. He strides over to the kitchen with her in his arms, despite the couch and bedroom a couple feet away. He slams her down on the marble countertop, moving his hand from her ass to her neck. She moans into his mouth as he grasps at her, soon replaced with whining as their lips break contact.

 

Bellamy lowers her down so she sits against the marble. The coldness pricks at her exposed skin, but it’s overpowered by the heat between her legs. They dangle on either side of Bellamy as he steps away, only to start kissing up the inside of her thigh. Clarke sighs, grasping at his hair as he reaches the middle of her. He hooks his fingers under her thong, disregarding it somewhere on her kitchen floor before licking up the middle of her.

 

Clarke’s skirt restricts what she can see, but she’s too much in bliss to stop him now. Bellamy keeps a steady pace, licking stripes down her while he uses his thumb to circle her clit. She reaches to grasp at his hair, but he pins her wrist down with his free hand.

 

“Bellamy,” Clarke breathes. Bellamy, Bellamy, Bellamy.

 

She arches her back just to feel him get any closer to her dripping cunt. He moves his hand from her insert his fingers into her, giving Clarke the extra leverage she needs to heave her hips upwards. She cries out in pleasure, her orgasm edging as he pumps his fingers in and out of her and licks eagerly at her clit.

 

Clarke’s almost there when he pulls his fingers away from her, standing up so she can get a full view of him popping them in his mouth and wiping them clean. Clarke scoots closer, just to feel his touch one more time. He smirks placing his fingers under her thighs to pull her closer. She sits up, almost on command.

 

“You taste so good, princess,” he whispers, so close their lips touch as they move.

 

“Not good enough to finish the job?” Clarke pants.

 

Bellamy grins. “I thought we were just getting started.”

 

Bellamy wastes no time in tugging at her tank top. Clarke removes it with ease, and to Bellamy’s delight reveals she’s not wearing a bra. She removed it after her shift, the underwire having dug into her for far too long, and the tank top giving her just enough support that it really emphasized her cleavage. Bellamy takes it as a win for him, wasting no time taking her left one into his mouth while he palms the other.

 

Clarke sighs, leaning her head back as she combs her hand through his curls. He switches, giving the other nipple just as much adequate attention. She grinds against his torso, begging for some sort of release, but Bellamy’s smart enough not to give it to her just yet. Clarke lifts his head up by his hair, connecting their lips one more. She tastes herself on his tongue, and it only fuels her to bring him closer.

 

This time it’s her lips that leave his allowing Bellamy to focus his attention her neck. She basks in the affection for a moment, before finding the courage and strength she needs to hop off the counter. Bellamy’s lips smack together in confusion, before Clarke places her hands on his chest and spins him around. His lower back collides with the counter top as Clarke begins working on his buckle.

 

The palm of his hands grip the countertop as Clarke yanks down his jeans, his boxers following without warning. Bellamy’s breath hitches as she takes him in her hands, slowly working her way up and down his shaft. Clarke leans closer, taking the lower part of him in mouth. Bellamy groans, his knuckles turning white as he grips the countertop. Clarke licks up his shaft, her tongue swirling around the tip just to taste him before taking all of him in her mouth. She bobs up and down, her saliva collecting at his base and giving her more leverage to go faster.

 

Bellamy moans out. “Fuck, princess. I forgot how good you are at that.”

 

It’s enough encouragement for Clarke to go faster. She hopes it’s the best blowjob he’s had in ten years, better than the wife who couldn’t keep him around. Her tongue swirls around him as she moves up and down and she knows he’s close when he grips her hair, gliding her along for encouragement.

 

Clarke manages to find the strength to remove her lips from his cock despite the need to taste every ounce of him. His dick pops out of her mouth with a loud sound to match, but before Clarke can even sit back on her knees and wait for his complaints, Bellamy leans down and yanks her upward by the wrist. She yelps in surprise before his lips crash onto hers once more, so powerful she falls against the sink, her only support being his hands on her lower back.

 

Clarke removes his jacket, and then tugs on his shirt, silently begging him to be as bare as she is. Bellamy yields his shirt over his head so that they are chest to chest, skin to skin, their only sources of warmth coming from each other. Clarke holds him tighter, Bellamy’s lips travelling to the nape of her neck to bite down.


“Bellamy,” Clarke breathes out again. “I want you now.”

 

Bellamy hums in response, his lips still pressed against her neck, adamant about leaving a mark. Clarke moans, running one hand through his curls and scratching at his back with another. She’s afraid he didn’t hear her when he lifts his head, lips captured once again in hers. He moves his hands down her forearms, sending a chill down her spine as his fingers brush against the exposed skin. Her hands drop to her sides, allowing Bellamy to intertwine their fingers as he leads her back, until he crashes against the island once more, their lips never leaving one another.

 

In one swift moment, Bellamy’s hands are on her hips, spinning her around so she’s against the countertop. He heaves her up easily, breaking contact to lay her down once more against the coolness of the marble. It’s enough to bring Clarke back into focus, watching intently as he climbs on top of the countertop, on top of her. Bellamy hovers over her, every feature of his face in high definition right before Clarke’s eyes. She reaches her hand up, tracing her finger lightly over his freckles. He kisses her finger before leaning down to kiss her slow and passionate.

 

Bellamy places his hand beside her face to remain steady, using his other hand to guide himself between her legs. Clarke’s eyes follow his movements, his cock slipping into her without any restraint. He eases into her slowly, Clarke feeling every inch of him as he fills her up. It’s been a bit over a month since she exclusively brought a man home, but no man can compare to the way Bellamy fits in her, making her feel complete just by burying his dick inside of her.

 

“Shit,” Clarke moans.

 

“Are you okay?” Bellamy asks tentatively, his eyes glazing over in a mix of pleasure and concern.

 

Clarke smiles slyly at him, bringing her hand to the back of his head and kissing him once more. He doesn’t seem to take that as a yes, because he pulls away pretty quickly, his dick still in her but not moving like she know he can, and eyes pleading for an answer. She leans her head back and nods, “Yes, Bellamy. I want to feel every inch of you over and over again.”

 

It doesn’t take Bellamy long to respond, beginning to pound into her fast and strategic, the rawness of him hitting every ounce of her in ways she forgot was possible. The hand that’s not keeping him upright on the counter runs circles quick and hard over her clit, keeping a steady pace with his dick pumping in and out of her. Clarke cries out, arching her back and tightening her grip around him in every possible way, her toes curling and fingers scratching at his back begging for him to keep going, to never stop, to finish her the way she knows he’s going to in just a matter of moments.

 

Clarke can feel her orgasm approaching as Bellamy’s pace quickens. She finds the strength to move her hand up to his neck and bring him down to her again. They come together as they kiss hard and slow, collapsing against one another as they finish. Bellamy’s face falls as he pants into her neck, Clarke’s grip loosening but not releasing around his torso. She combs her fingers through his hair, trying to catch her breath and fathom the fact that she just fucked her high school sweetheart of over a decade ago on her marble countertop.

 

The pair remain there, breathing in sync, caught up in the presence of one another. Clarke assumes they don’t stay still for too long because soon enough they relocate to her bedroom to fuck a couple of more times.

 


 

Sunlight peaks through the satin curtains in Clarke’s bedroom, casting a shadow along Bellamy’s bare chest as he sprawls out on her mattress. It’s just past seven am, and they’ve just finished their fourth round of fucking after a night of booze and no sleep, so the fatigue is catching up on them fairly quickly now. Bellamy’s eyes are half open, staring absent-mindedly at the popcorn ceiling. Clarke’s under the covers, her ex boyfriend’s head laying on top of the sheets over her lap. She gazes down at him, hugging her arms to her chest, head spinning.

 

It sinks in now, as her eyes become drowsy and she’s drenched in sweat that twenty four hours ago Bellamy Blake was a memory. Now, they’re in her bed, after hours of amazing sex and Clarke just can’t wrap her head around it. She’s grateful she doesn’t have a shift today because she’s going to need the day to process it, if not more time.

 

Clarke’s hand reaches down to brush a curl out of Bellamy’s face, tearing his gaze away from the ceiling. He looks up at her as if forgetting where he was. The hesitancy worries her, especially when the ghost of a smile graces his lips. His mind is racing, but so is hers, and yet she doesn’t look nearly as concerned as he does.

 

“Are you on birth control?” Bellamy asks now.

 

“No,” Clarke admits sheepishly. “But I can get the morning after pill.”

 

“I’ll pay for it.”

 

“I wouldn’t ask-”

 

“I know.”

 

Bellamy jerks up from his position on Clarke’s lap. They brought their clothes with them when they waltzed into the bedroom hours ago, disregarding them somewhere else in the vicinity. Bellamy scans the room, spotting the lump of clothing near the closet. He walks over, reaches down into his jean pocket and fishes out his wallet, plopping a fifty dollar bill on Clarke’s dresser before beginning to slip on his boxers and pants.

 

“You’re going?” Clarke asks. She crawls across to the foot of the bed, leaning over to open the top drawer, haphazardly causing the fifty dollar bill to slip inside. She makes a mental note to remember it later, retrieving a navy, oversized shirt and slipping it over her head, all while Bellamy is almost completely dressed.

 

“Yeah,” Bellamy responds, tone dry and sharp. “Murphy’s probably worried sick.”

 

“I highly doubt it.”

 

“Yeah, me too.”

 

The hint of a smile grazes his lips when Clarke giggles. She catches it, before it fades, a stoic expression resonating over his features. Clarke scoots to the side of the bed where he stands, slipping on his jacket. Her legs dangle, watching as Bellamy inhales and exhales before zipping up the jacket to his neck.

 

“You’re not going to ask for my number?” Clarke challenges, wincing as the nervousness in her voice fails to be covered up by her flirty tone. Bellamy hesitates, Clarke can see his back tense. Her stomach drops and her tone switches to become alittle more defensive that she anticipates. “Is something wrong?”

 

“No,” Bellamy lies.

 

“Bellamy.”

 

Bellamy inhales sharply. He turns to face her, his blank expression morphing into a sorrowful one and Clarke knows what’s coming. She perfected the speech throughout her college days, and has had more than enough practice over the past month. She braces herself.

 

“My divorce isn’t even finalized yet,” Bellamy sighs. “I don’t think I can start anything new right now. Especially not with you.”

 

“Especially not with me?” Clarke stands. “What does that mean?”

 

“Clarke-” Bellamy begins, running a hand through his hair in exasperation.

 

“No, what did you mean, Bellamy.”

 

“I meant our time has passed. We’re different people now.”

 

“Isn’t that the whole point? We’re not teenagers anymore. We’ve grown.”

 

“Into different people. And I can’t speak for you, but I’m not someone who wants to get involved with the person I used to love who left me so she could become this new and improved person without me.”

 

Clarke stands still, the words hitting her square in the chest like a ton of bricks. Bellamy’s chest rises and falls, maintaining his breathing while Clarke feels like all the air was sucked out of her lungs. Suddenly, she’s back to eighteen, standing on Bellamy’s doorstep while her dignity is shattered into pieces. She hates the way he looks at her now, pitifully like this was something she should have known was coming. However, she hates the guilty feeling she has for chasing a career she worked so hard for and loves, so much more.

 

“You’re right. I may be a different person now,” Clarke steps towards him pointedly. Bellamy sucks in slightly, his head tilting upwards. “But you’re still the same person you were when we were teenagers.”

 

“I’m sorry Clarke,” the monotone of his voice upsets her more.

 

Clarke doesn’t move, allowing him to take a step back. Her gaze follows Bellamy as he nods his head to her, significant enough for a goodbye, before turning on his heel and walking out of her bedroom. She can hear the sound of his footsteps lessen as he steps through her apartment, the door unlocking and swinging open before it gently comes to a close.

 

And just like that, Bellamy is out of her apartment and once again, out of Clarke’s life.

 


 

A month goes by since Clarke has last seen Bellamy. She knows he’s close by, since she’s aware Murphy’s apartment is mere blocks from hers, and it’s enough to send her into a tailspin most nights, but not enough that she goes to track him down. Her group of friends hasn’t gotten together since that night because of their busy schedules and whenever Clarke meets up with Raven, she refuses to discuss Bellamy or their night together. She doubts Bellamy told anyone about it either.

 

Clarke occupies her time with additional, longer shifts at the clinic. She’s deathly afraid of running into Bellamy at a bar, even more terrified of him being there with a girl. So for the past month, she’s resorted to old names in her contacts. Most consistently, it’s Niylah, who gets the memo that she’s a booty call and views Clarke in a similar light. They get along personally almost as much as they do sexually, so it’s a good fit.

 

Clarke thinks about Bellamy all the time. What he’s doing, who he’s with, when his divorce will be finalized. It’s the beginning of September, so she knows he starts his teaching job within the next couple of days, so he’s probably really busy. Clarke’s really busy, too, juggling residency at the clinic and her failure of a love life. So much so, those are the only two priorities that stand out in Clarke’s mind.

 

“Wow,” Clarke hears Luna marvel from behind her. She mentally curses, packing her items into her duffle bag a little faster. “Someone’s in a hurry.”

 

“Long day,” Clarke supplies.

 

“I can tell. There must be a lot of long days, cause you seem overworked all the time.”

 

“Do you realize how condescending you sound whenever you speak?” Clarke snaps, spinning around to face Luna. Her short temper surprises her colleague as much as it does her, but Clarke maintains her firm stature.

 

“Don’t take your PMS out on me, Clarke,” Luna huffs. She marches out of the change room and Clarke watches as she goes.

 

How cliché of Luna to blame Clarke being fed up with her on periods. Clarke rolls her eyes just thinking about it, turning back to her duffle bag. Like God, she’s not even onher period right now. She shoves her phone into her duffle bag, when she realizes, I’m not on my period.

 

Clarke steals the free pregnancy tests from the clinic before she leaves. It’s stealing, because patients are only supposed to take one, but Clarke’s not a patient and she takes six.

 

The drive home is excrutiating. Clarke’s in her own car since she hasn’t been heading to bars after her shifts, but she wishes she just rode an Uber. She can barely focus on the road. She’s almost run at least three red lights and pedestrians just seem like an afterthought at the moment. Her thoughts race and heart pounds as she tries to rack her brain.

 

Bellamy placed the money on her dresser for the morning after pill. She took it and bought it that day, right? Clarke can’t remember, the only memory of that day being her curled in bed thinking about him.

 

Clarke practically runs up to her apartment before her car is even in park. Her neighbours say hi, and she tries her best not to ignore them, but by the time she reaches the elevator Clarke can’t even bother. It dings on the seventh floor, and Clarke races past a couple walking hand in hand, so fast they break apart. The couple falls against either side of the wall, but before Clarke can yell back a sorry, she’s at her apartment.

 

It’s a good thing Clarke never wastes her breaks on going to the bathroom because she has enough pee to fuel all six tests and probably more. She sits on the toilet, laying each test out across the sink and painfully waits the five minutes. She watches the timer countdown on her phone, but she’s sure she’s only slowing time.

 

There’s no way she’s pregnant. With every other male in her lifetime Clarke has been an avid condom user. There’s never been a guy that’s had his penis inside her without a condom on aside from Bellamy Blake. In high school she was on birth control for majority of their relationship and when she switched off of it because of it’s side effects, they either sucked it up and used a condom or – regrettably – practiced the infamous pull out method and morning after pill.

 

Clarke doesn’t screw up, not with things this big. There’s no way that she’s pregnant.

 

Her phone dings, signalling the end of the five minute mark. Clarke stands from the toilet and takes a deep breath. She turns, hovering over the sink to glare at all six tests. All six positive pregnancy tests.

Chapter Text

The mirror in Clarke’s room is full length, mounted beside her dresser and encased in a silver, royal broidering. Clarke saw it at a garage sale around the time she bought this apartment – sometime before her first year of medical school. It gets dirty easily, Clarke wipes it down with Windex at least once a week, but it provides her a full access view of every inch of her body without complaint. The top of the casing reaches just below the ceiling and it’s wide enough to fit at least three of her friends, including her in a classic girls night selfie. Those nights out are really the only time she pays much attention to how she looks anyways – not really her top priority to get dolled up for a shift at the clinic.

 

However, as Clarke stands before the mirror, eyes blotchy, face patchy and body bare, she can’t stop her eyes from roaming over every inch of her. Her hair is piled up messily on the top of her head, pinned together with a black and brown claw clip. Shoulders slouched, her chest pinches between the top fold of her stomach and her legs are turned inward, her hips expanding because of the position. She straightens, using the reminder of someone pulling a string attached to you above your head to get all her ligaments in check. But she only feels more out place with her head held high.

 

Clarke’s breasts never stood perky, their natural size always causing them to droop a little. She cups them with her hands, lifting them momentarily only for them to drop back to their original placement when she releases them. Clarke turns to the side, her posture still intact. Her stomach protrudes more than usual, which she confirms by smoothening her hand over its surface. She follows her hand, eyes intent on watching it move up then down over the slight curve of her baby bump.

 

Clarke breathes in, closing her eyes as the tears begin to sting. She cranes her neck, the back of her hand reaching up to support. She inhales, her breath stilling until there’s absolutely no air left before she exhales, running her hand down from her neck and back to her stomach.

 

There’s a million life lessons for people like her to learn at a time like this. Clarke’s run through all of them; The wrongdoings unsafe sex, fucking an ex, forgetting the fifty dollar bill. It’s her own stupidity that’s landed her in the situation she’s in, Clarke acknowledges that. Failing has never been a comfortable subject for her, and now with a situation she could have very easily avoided, it’s not exactly a plus for her self-esteem.

 

Clarke leans closer to the mirror, examining the puffiness of her face. She’s been crying all night, curled up alone in her bed after an exhausting enough shift and she’s definitely showing it. Her cheeks are patterned with red and white blotches and her eyes are tinted pink making her look more bloated – on top of the pregnancy. She pulls at her cheeks, scrunching up her nose in attempts to look normal, but settles on light makeup.

 

Too late. The alarm on her phone beeps, reminding her to leave for work in ten minutes and she’s not even dressed. Clarke sighs, reaching over to her drawer to silence the alarm. She straightens in front of the mirror once more, staring at herself and wondering if it’s just her knowledge about the pregnancy that makes her feel so different today.

 

There’s no time to wallow, though, at least not right now. Clarke pulls on sweatpants and a tank top, packing the utilities into her duffle back and dashes out the door, leaving the string of positive tests sitting on her bathroom counter from the night before.

 

Normally, Clarke is a star at work. She exceeds expectations, receives numerous amounts of praise from the attendings and fulfills tasks promptly. She takes pride in her job and her abilities to do zero in, no matter what’s going on outside of work. However, she’s just so happened to jinx it, because this baby isn’t lending a helping hand.

 

It’s all she can think about. A baby with olive skin, a litter of freckles and a mesh of curly black hair. The vision of it fills her brain and it’s only accompanied by an image of Bellamy, cradling their child or bouncing it on his knee or just being a fucking amazing father because that’s the type of parent Bellamy Blake would be. Granted, the man stated weeks ago he wanted nothing to do with her and she doubts parenthood is on his radar in the middle of his divorce.

 

Clarke has no idea what type of parent she’d be. A mediocre one at best.

 

“Ouch,” the twelve year old Clarke is treating yelps.

 

“Sorry,” Clarke apologizes quickly, shaking her head to refocus on the scene before her. A simple flu shot, and she spaced out completely. She retracts the needle, grabbing a cotton ball and dabbing at the blood that’s left behind. “There you go.”

 

“That hurt,” the girl grumbles like Clarke hasn’t already apologized, rolling down her sleeve.

 

“Needles don’t tickle.”

 

“They also don’t drill a hole through my arm.”

 

“I didn’t-” Clarke grabs the girl’s arm, inspecting to see she did not in fact puncture a double sided hole in this child’s arm. She’s a doctor, she knows that’s not possible, but the smirk on the girl’s lips tells her she fell into her trap. “Ha, ha.”

 

“It still hurt.”

 

“You’ll survive.”

 

“You’re heartless.”

 

The patient hops off the bed, not bothering to spare a second glance at Clarke before darting out the door to rejoin her mother. Clarke turns to watch her go, mouth agape, taking the words a little too personally. She’s not one to take patient bitterness to heart, especially since everyone endures a wackjob or two almost daily, but the patient definitely doesn’t assuage her pre-existing insecurities.

 

The day continues to worsen. Patients complain about her lack of attentiveness, files scatter all over the floor due to her own clumsiness and during rounds, an intern has to take over for a summarization because Clarke’s eyes just can’t seem to focus on the words. Clarke assumes it’s pregnancy brain, at least for the first half of the morning, but she’s undoubtedly been pregnant for weeks. It’s herbrain thinking about how this baby is going to ruin her career – if she doesn’t do it first.

 

“Dr. Griffin,” Dr. Nyko, the chief approaches Clarke on her break, while she’s nibbling on a granola bar. Clarke gulps down the food in her mouth, sputtering at the fact that he’s even talking to her – it’s just been one bad day. He takes a seat across from her in the cafeteria, and smiles warmly like nothing is wrong. “I’ve been meaning to speak with you.”

 

“Oh,” Clarke manages to say. Stupid, she curses internally, you can’t think of anything else to say that shows him you have actual braincells?

 

“I’ve been extremely impressed with your work over the year and bit you’ve been with us,” Dr. Nyko praises. “You remind me so much of your mother.”

 

Dr. Abby Griffin, Clarke’s mother, is basically a world-renowned doctor. When Clarke was little, her mother would leave for weeks at a time to perform some ground breaking surgery somewhere in the world and come back with a souvenir for her and her father to say she missed them. But then she’d jet off, sometimes just mere hours later, to the local hospital to work what she would call her day job as an attending.

 

Clarke barely sees her mother now, even less than she did as a child. But she’d be ungrateful to say that Abby hasn’t opened doors, despite Clarke’s pleas against it. She won’t admit it, but Clarke knows she put in a good word for her at this clinic. She just won’t ask her, because she doesn’t want to call just to fight and honestly, doesn’t want to admit to herself that her mother may have just got her where she is today.

 

“Thank you,” Clarke puts on a smile. “She’s really paved the way.”

 

“I’m surprised you’re not in surgery,” Dr. Nyko comments.

 

“It’s not really what I’m drawn to,” Clarke admits honestly. “I much prefer to have my own clinic one day. And this position has only further affirmed that.”

 

“Well, it’s a pleasure to have you on board. I’d like to see you apply for Chief Resident, actually.”

 

Clarke chokes on the tiny bits of granola bar in her mouth. Chief Resident positions are typically reserved for third years, and they’re in charge of all the interns throughout their training. It’s that, on top of regular resident responsibilities and Clarke’s been striving to look good for the position since she was an intern herself.

 

“Thank you, sir,” Clarke fathoms. “I’ll consider it.”

 

“Please,” Dr. Nyko heaves himself up from the chair. “I’ll be reviewing the applications in December, so you have some time to think about it. It’s a lot of work. You’ll barely have a social life.”

 

“I barely have one now.” Clarke’s attempt at a joke works, earning a chuckle from Dr. Nyko.

 

“Good to hear. Nice speaking with you, Dr. Griffin.”

 

Dr. Nyko excuses himself. Clarke watches as he wanders through the cafeteria before waltzing out the exit doors before she breaks into a grin. It’s a huge praise to be recommended by the Chief of the clinic, and it’s a boost to Clarke’s self-esteem after an especially horrible day at work. Clarke chomps on her granola bar, giddy about the next couple of days, almost completely forgetting about the bad morning she’s endured.

 

And then, the day continues. And Clarke’s reminded that she’s eating for two.

 

The day worsens. Clarke forgets to check up on patients, accidentally bruises one when she’s drawing blood and the dizziness that clouds her head only makes the day more intolerable. This pattern continues for a week, her brain everywhere else but this job. People comment, patients, colleagues, all noting her strange behavior. Some are angry, noting how her lack of focus puts people at risk while others are more understanding because maybe it’s just a bad week. But Clarke knows, this will only continue if her mind isn’t completely fogged out.

 

The week before, Clarke was at the top of her game. Colleagues envied her, patients adored her. Now, colleagues are covering up for her – giving them the opportunity to look better and words spread around the clinic about her lack of skill, making patients fearful of getting her as their doctor. It’s this baby, she realizes, her awareness of it, that’s fucking up her routine. And all she wants to do is go back home and cry some more because poor her for forgetting to take Plan fucking B.

 

Instead, Clarke spends her breaks crying out her tears, so when she goes home she can pass out and prep for the day ahead. She tries to do better, she does, but she has absolutely no idea what is happening with the fetus growing inside her and it’s killing everything she’s worked for. Chief Resident is slowly sipping further and further away from her and it’s only the first week of September.

 

“What’s with you?” Luna demands to know one day.

 

Clarke’s in no mood. “Nothing.”

 

“You’re really bringing down the team, Clarke.”

 

“Thanks for the input.”

 

“No problem. It’s the least I can do since you won’t sort out your shit.”

 

Clarke can see Luna stomp out the bathroom door from the mirror. Her hands grip the sink, allowing her knuckles to turn a different shade of white as she does so. The tears have stained her cheeks, and her eyes are a blaze of red. She doesn’t look any close to work ready and her break is over in five minutes, give or take. Clarke stares at her reflection and scowls at the woman she’s become.

 

This isn’t Clarke. To be going about her day without a plan. She knows her goal; Chief Resident. But Clarke knows she’s being neglectful of the obstacles in her way that are eventually going to become more hazardous than they already are. She has to get out of her own head and do something, anything pertaining to some resolution with the baby growing inside of her. But she has no fucking clue.

 

Clarke’s shoulders shake, the beginnings of a sob starting up again. She dips her head, casting her gaze to the sink. The whiteness of it stares back at her, bothering her already irritated eyes. She squeezes her eyes shut and lets out a low, shaky breath halting the crying session before it can even begin. Clarke has to get back to work, and she has to do her job well if she wants to continue being a part of this residency program. Luna’s right. She needs to sort out her shit.

 

She’s smart enough to know she can’t do it on her own. Clarke can’t even see a finish line in sight with her own perspective. Yet, she can’t tell her friends, who’d probably all be excited about a new baby and a playmate for Jordan. She can’t tell her mom because oh God, why would she even think about contacting her. There’s only one person who would be just as excruciatingly scared as she is. And he deserves to know.

 

Clarke feels the string pulling at the top of her head. Her limps align and she stares into the mirror, stoic and determined to get back to work. But first, Clarke heads to the receptionist desk located at the other end of her unit and schedules an appointment.

 


 

Right now, Clarke’s only course of action is to get to Murphy’s apartment. From there, she’ll talk to Bellamy and she just kind of hopes things will fall into place. Usually, it’s her with the plan and the vision – thinking of logistics and timelines while Bellamy is caught up in the emotion of everything. But somehow along the way, the roles have reversed. She’s stunted by her own fear and Bellamy has a way of calming her. And with a problem that’s also inevitably his own, he’s more than inclined to assist. 

 

It’s not really a thorough plan, but it’s a next step and it brings Clarke some sort of comfort knowing that there is a goal in mind. Clarke packs all six pregnancy test in individual Ziploc bags on Saturday morning and brings herself to put on some mascara and concealer so she looks somewhat put together, before travelling to Murphy’s apartment.

 

Clarke enters the apartment building with her purse slung over her shoulder and head high. Her nose scrunches up at the stench that follows. Murphy’s apartment building is less than ideal, with the cheapest rent and accommodations to get people by. Neighbors really aren’t friendly and the staff could not care less about their tenants. It’s the perfect place for someone like Murphy to live. Yet, she can’t help but think of Bellamy, who does not fit in with the vibe of this place. People walk by, not taking any notice of her, as she struts to the elevator, out of place and happy for it.

 

The lack of security is scary. Clarke waltzes into the elevator and presses the correct floor and nobody so much as asks her if she lives there. With Clarke’s building, she has a key to enter in addition to the one to get to her room. However, she really isn’t in the mood to exchange pleasantries with strangers. So today, she’s thankful. She’s thankful until she reaches her destination and her heart drops just standing in front of the door.

 

Murphy and Bellamy’s apartment is right before her, on the other side of that door and yet Clarke can’t bring herself to knock. She’s about to destroy any way of life that Bellamy has built for himself, just with a couple of words. And she knows she shouldn’t, but there’s an immense feeling of guilt settling in her chest and then –

 

“Who are you?”

 

Clarke registers the door swing open after an olive skin woman stares back at her. She stares at Clarke, annoyed and disgusted, like she’s done something wrong. She assumes it’s because she’s been awkwardly standing at this door for a couple minutes, not that this strange girl, sporting a lacy red bra and boxers, would know that. Unless she’s been looking out the peephole for the same amount of time.

 

Clarke peers at the number on the door, double checking she’s at the right place. 53b, definitely Murphy’s apartment. But she’s never seen this girl before. Granted, it’s been a while since she’s even seen Murphy, he makes his appearances only when he feels like it. But there’s a twist in her chest stemming from a fear that this girl could be here for Bellamy. It is a Saturday morning, but it’s also the morning after a Friday. Maybe Bellamy’s way of getting over his wife is fucking a string of girls and keeping them company until early hours of the next day. Her heart lurches just thinking about it.

 

“Oh, I’m Clarke,” she begins to say tentatively. “I-I’m friends with Murphy.”

 

“You’re here for John?” The girl quips an eyebrow.

 

“Well, no, I’m here for Bellamy.”

 

“Then why did you mention John?”

 

On cue, Murphy appears behind the girl. He’s confused and mostly naked, with only boxers and an untied robe on when he spots Clarke, but not alarmed. He places a hand on his friend’s shoulder, calming her to a degree where it surprises Clarke. “Emori, this is Clarke. She’s a friend.”

 

“Did you know she was coming?” The girl, Emori, inquires.

 

“I did not.”

 

“I’m not here for you,” Clarke admits. It comes out harsher than intended, but before Murphy can make some snarky remark about it, she continues. “I’m here for Bellamy.”

 

“I didn’t know you guys knew each other,” Murphy’s twisted smirk graces his features.

 

Clarke doesn’t even know what to say to that. “Is he here?”

 

Murphy mulls it over for a while, debating between teasing her or just giving her a straightforward answer. Emori looks less than pleased with Clarke’s presence, which he takes note of. Her arms are planted firmly across her mostly exposed chest, and she stands strong in front of Murphy, like she’s marking her territory. At least Clarke knows this girl isn’t here for Bellamy’s benefit.

 

“No,” Murphy reveals. “He has a meeting with the school board or some crap like that.”

 

Clarke’s shoulders droop. She glances at her purse, instinctively holding it closer to her, then looks back at the couple before her. Murphy’s not really sure what’s going on, and Emori is tapping her foot impatiently, just waiting for Clarke to scurry off to wherever she came from. She’s not going to have the balls to do this in person again, but she really doesn’t think she should be telling Bellamy he’s going to be a father over the phone. She stares down the empty hallway and then back at Murphy.

 

“He should be back in, like, half an hour, though,” Murphy settles on. He steps aside, holding the door open wider for her. Yet, Emori doesn’t move. “Come in.”

 

“Thanks,” Clarke breathes out gratefully. She steps closer, but Emori still doesn’t move aside to let her in. Normally, she’d push past her, but Clarke’s not sure if that’s the safest option right now. Murphy looks on with a Cheshire grin, clearly enjoying this and just like that, his sudden act of kindness comes to an end. Clarke narrows her eyes at Emori, who tilts her head up at her in response. “Sorry, am I supposed to jump over you?”

 

“You can try,” Emori challenges.

 

“Wouldn’t be difficult,” Clarke shrugs.

 

Murphy laughs, grabbing Emori by the hips and pulling her to his chest. He avoids conflict, burying his face into her neck and eliciting a slew of giggles. Clarke visibly cringes, but takes the opportunity to slip past the pair into Murphy and Bellamy’s apartment. And to no surprise, it’s an absolute pigsty.

 

There’s dirty dishes piled up in the sink so high, Clarke can barely register it as a sink. The plates that litter the counter tops all have some form of food on them and the chairs at the miniature kitchen table aren’t just not tucked in, but are flipped backwards to face the TV in the living room. It’s not the worst thing, if there wasn’t one singular dining chair in the middle of the hallway, diagonal from the television. The living room also has its fair share of disregarded plates, in addition to a stack of playboy magazines and three remotes – half of which are turned on their front to reveal an absence of batteries. Yet somehow, the television is blasting the Sopranos at almost full volume.

 

Clarke tentatively approaches the couch, careful not to step on any forgotten food or God forbid, live animal. She feels tingly taking a seat on their pleather couch, and she shivers at the random thought of tiny bugs crawling on her skin. She can’t imagine Bellamy peacefully living in a place like this.

 

Murphy reads her mind, plopping on the couch beside her and slinging his arm around her shoulder. “I know, the place is a little meh, right now. Bell’s usually an excellent maid, but he’s been so overworked being a school teacher he just comes straight home and passes out.”

 

“I know how that is,” Clarke affirms with a nod.

 

Emori crosses over her and sits on the opposite end of Murphy. “You never mentioned how you knew Bellamy.”

 

“Oh, they definitely fucked,” Murphy shrugs.

 

Emori’s eyes narrow at her. Clarke rolls her eyes, trying desperately to come off like that is not the case. She holds her purse closer. “We’re old friends. From high school.”

 

“So you fucked in high school?”

 

“That doesn’t explain what you want with him now,” Emori brushes Murphy off, staring intently at Clarke.

 

Clarke stares back at Emori, dumbfounded by her boldness. She seems to be Murphy’s plaything of the week, but damn, she’s sure hung up over Bellamy. Emori folds her arms over her chest, leg crossed over the other, patiently waiting for a response like she deserves one. Clarke can’t help it but let out a laugh in her direction. Emori’s lips purse, her cheeks turning a little red as Clarke disregards her, instead turning to Murphy.

 

“I didn’t know you had a new girlfriend,” Clarke teases.

 

She expects Murphy to quickly clarify that Emori is not his girlfriend. In the years she’s known Murphy, he can’t hold down a job much less a girlfriend. He travels a lot, gets bored easily and has a pretty shitty personality sometimes. The amount of times he’s tried just to sleep with her is more than Clarke can count. She even recalls him trying a couple of times when she was with Lexa without any shame. Yet, to her surprise, Murphy removes his arm from around Clarke and places his opposite one around Emori, leaning over to plant a kiss on the girl’s cheek.

 

“Officially a month,” Murphy announces. “You guys didn’t wonder why I never hang out with you guys?”

 

Clarke bites down on her tongue, trying desperately not to spit out a snarky remark while she sits alone with him in his apartment. She considers Murphy a friend, but it’s the loosest of terms. He dropped out of undergraduate sometime within the first semester of the first year, but by then he already assumed he was ingrained in the friend group that consisted of herself, Harper, Monty and Jasper. Although he no longer attended the school, Murphy would just pop up at around times that were most convenient to him. Sometimes they would go months at a time without hearing from him, but he always weaseled his way back in.

 

Now that they’re older, Murphy’s no more consistent. He comes and go as he pleases, so much so they don’t bother to invite to him to anything anymore. But he’s gotten surprisingly close with Raven’s fiancé, so sometimes he’ll hear about things and just invite himself.

 

“We figured it’s because you’re just an asshole,” Clarke shrugs.

 

“That’s fair.”

 

Murphy reaches down to forcefully slap Emori’s ass. It echoes through Clarke’s ears, the giggle that follows from Emori’s lips even more haunting and for the second time within five minutes, Clarke visibly cringes. The whole interaction makes Clarke more confused. The two are clearly all over each other, leaving Emori’s invasive, judgmental behavior unexplained.

 

It becomes a dangerous situation when the pair fully begin making out, with Clarke less than a couple centimeters away from them. Her jaw nearly drops, seeing Murphy and Emori’s lips so entangled with company present, but then again, it is Murphy. Clarke shouldn’t be surprised he found a partner so similar in his cruelty. It’s not even surprising when Emori climbs onto his lap, Murphy cradling her tiny body as if Clarke disappeared into thin air.

 

Clarke leans back, neck craning to one, put as much distance between her and the couple as she can and two, scan for any semi-clean waiting areas in the apartment. There doesn’t seem to be any areas to flee to, as all she’s met with is a whiff of the natural, abhorrent smell of the apartment and the sight of dirty dishes. Her face twists into disgust and she debates just waiting in the hall when an overwhelming feeling of nausea washes over her.

 

The combination of the stench of the area and the scene before her ignites a morning sickness that has mostly been dormant. Clarke can feel the bile rise up in her throat, too powerful for her to swallow down. In a flash, she’s up from the couch, not even bothering to exchange pleasantries with the entangled duo before she darts to the bathroom. She throws the door open with such force it smashes against the side of the wall. She throws her purse somewhere on the floor, with little to no time to even close the door before the vomit is spewing from her mouth, into the toilet below her.

 

Clarke coughs and coughs, the liquids inside of her splashing into the water below her. Embarrassment swells up inside her, the hotness of her cheeks being any indicator. This is the first time her morning sickness has got the best of her and it’s not even in her own apartment. She can’t even bring herself to scan the bathroom because she knows it’s probably even less kept than their kitchen and living room combined and she doesn’t want to reignite the urge to throw up.

 

“What the fuck?” Emori’s voice spits from behind her. Clarke doesn’t even look up, her head hung delicately over the toilet bowl.

 

“I’ll clean it,” Clarke groans.

 

There’s a pause and Clarke prays Emori just got up and walked out of the room, but it’s wishful thinking. She hears rustling around the bathroom, bare feet squishing against the tiles. The soft pinch of plastic crushing together follows when the footsteps stop. Clarke assumes Emori’s now staring at her over the bathroom and she’s already thinking of a way to pass this episode off as alcohol poisoning, when the sound of plastic fills her ears once more.

 

Clarke tries to recall any view of the bathroom, but all she remembers is rushing inside and abandoning all senses to yack. She finds the strength to lift her head, wiping any contents that remain on the corners of her lips. She sees Emori’s legs first, eyes travelling up to see her staring down at a package in her hands. Clarke eyes widen. The Ziploc bag is gripped in between the girl’s fingers and she’s staring at it with a face so red Clarke thinks she’s about to erupt.

 

It’s only when Clarke takes a look at the floor that she sees the flap of her purse open and all its content scattered across the floor. Her phone, wallet and the five remaining pregnancy tests decorate the floor, exposed for anyone who wanders in the bathroom to the see.

 

Clarke panics, surging to the floor in attempts to round up her items, going for the tests first, but it’s too late. There’s the one already in Emori’s hand, and the rest displayed before her eyes. She shoves the Ziploc bags back into her purse, along with her phone and wallet and gets to her feet, leaning to snatch the final test from Emori’s grip. However, the girl is quick, jumping back into the doorway of the bathroom with the test still in her possession.

 

“So you and Bellamy are fucking,” Emori scoffs. “Enough to get knocked up.”

 

“Give that back,” Clarke seethes.

 

“You homewrecking bitch. He’s married, you know.”

 

“He’s in the middle of a divorce.”

 

“Is that what he told you?” Emori smirks. She crosses her arms across her chest, the test still gripped tightly between her fingers.

 

Clarke’s chin tilts, her lips pursing together. Her chest constricts, a familiar rise of panic settling within her. The last time she was the other woman, she destroyed a four year relationship. Granted, she was completely unaware that Finn and Raven were even together, much less for four whole years, but the sickening feeling settled in the pit of her stomach took her months to get over. But with Bellamy, it’s different. For him to be committed to someone else through marriage, is an entirely different set of pain. Clarke feels dizzy, the blood draining from her face as she thinks of carrying a baby with a man who’s not only married, but is someone she used to love more than life itself.

 

God, Clarke has to get out of here. She lunges for the test again, but Emori is crafty. She jumps out of Clarke’s reach, easily bypassing the blonde as she darts into the living room for safety. Clarke snarls, following her into the next room with her purse tightly clutched in one arm and hand balled into a fist for the other.

 

Clarke’s urge to tackle Emori is only assuaged by the fact that she’s pregnant because never in her life would she allow someone who barely knows her at all to have this much sway over her. By the time she reaches the living room after collecting her items, Emori’s already in the midst of complaining to Murphy, who switches his gaze from his girlfriend to Clarke in middle of her rampage. She notices Clarke, positioning herself to face her as she dangles the test in between her two fingers.

 

This, isn’t happening,” Emori states.

 

“Right,” Clarke draws out. “Because I’m going to listen to a girl who thinks sleeping with Murphy is a good idea.”

 

“Um, hello?” Murphy jumps in. Clarke shoots him a fiery glare and he retracts with an eye roll.

 

“Bellamy is married to a great woman, who he loves very much,” Emori reiterates to Clarke, her tone surprisingly calmer than it was just a couple seconds ago.

 

Clarke’s lips smack together tightly. She’s curious as to what’s changed, because people who love each other very much don’t get a divorce. A surge of panic rises in her as she wonders if that was one of the reasons Bellamy didn’t want to see her again. Did he always have plans to go back to his wife?

 

Emori notices the disdain on Clarke’s face and approaches her slowly. “Listen, you seem like a relatively normal girl. Murphy says you’re some sort of doctor – good for you. You’re smart enough to know that Bellamy won’t leave his wife for a one night stand.”

 

“What happened to their divorce?” Clarke sputters. She doesn’t mean to come out like a school girl with a crush, but the naïve tone in her voice does just that. She resigns, trying to compose herself like the twenty eight year old woman she is, but Emori latches on it.

 

“They’ve been through a lot. They made the wrong call on this one, both of them realize it.”

 

“But he lives here now.”

 

“For the year, maybe. But you don’t give up on a marriage when it gets difficult. You look like a someone with two parents who are still together.”

 

Clarke thinks back. Maybe. Jake Griffin adored his wife, so much so that her being absent weeks at a time didn’t cause a dent in the way he felt about her. Clarke remembers dinners he would plan for her return, special outings as a family – and although rare that the three of them were together, Clarke looks back on it fondly. The only time things fade to grey are after her father’s passing when she was ten.

 

Somehow, Clarke understands what Emori is trying to say. She doesn’t look like a girl that’s lead a tough life, and maybe there isn’t a distinct appearance for someone who has, but Clarke acknowledges how she comes across. Blonde, pretty and intelligent make up a substantial list of credentials on their own. So, Clarke gets it. She also gets the sanctity of marriage. But she also gets Bellamy.

 

Bellamy’s a lot of things, a lot of wonderful, amazing things. A liar is the furthest word she would ever use to describe him. She stares at Emori, the Ziploc bag still firm in her grip and steps forward to tell her just that – Bellamy would never sacrifice his relationship with someone he loves to wreak havoc in another’s life. He may not want to be with her, it may have just been sex for him, but if that marriage is really what he wanted, Clarke wouldn’t have kept him occupied that night.

 

The words don’t come from her mouth, though. Emori’s face is mixed with annoyance and some form of pity and when Clarke looks back at Murphy, she can tell he has no interest in piping in. She second guesses herself and leans back.

 

“I won’t tell Bellamy about this,” Emori offers, ever so kindly. “You can go about your day, Doctor. It’ll be like this never even happened.”

 

The venom that Clarke desperately wants to spit at her stays inside her mouth. Clarke inhales, trying her best not to let tears slide down her cheeks in front of this strange girl and Murphy of all people. Instead, she nods her head, allowing Emori to have her triumph and heads to the door without a fight.

 

It’s unfair of me to have wanted to put this on Bellamy when it’s a decision I have to make, she reasons with herself as she walks towards the elevator. Her pace painfully slow, a part of her wishes Bellamy would emerge from the elevator before she has a chance to get to it and change her mind. Yet, as Clarke gets closer and there’s no Bellamy, she realizes this is just how it’s going to be. It’s on her to figure this out. Clarke’s faced worse.

 

Clarke reaches the elevator and presses the button. She waits for a couple moments, eyes scanning through the bleak halls of the apartment building, arms hugged around her. She’s the only one in the hallway, the dim lighting singling her out to no one in particular. One light above her head flickers unnaturally quickly, and shuts off completely when the elevator doors open. It’s empty, Clarke confirms when she steps inside.

 


 

Clarke goes about her days like Bellamy Blake doesn’t exist, as if this pregnancy is another immaculate conception. She goes to work, overworks herself as per usual, goes straight home and researches. She spends hours reading stories of people who became parents in the midst of their residency program, or who raise children at the peak of their careers, but it’s discouraging when most of them have a partner in the picture who is a tremendous help.

 

She considers other avenues, too. But Clarke isn’t convinced those options aren’t for her.

 

It’s a vicious cycle. Clarke throws herself into the notion that she can’t do this, doesn’t wantto parent and ruin the career she spend years building for herself. Then she thinks about the possibility that this is it for her and after months of wanting something more substantial in her personal life, this is the universe’s gift to her. It seems cruel to give her a baby whose parent wants nothing to do with her, but nonetheless. Her fears and anxiety mix with the slight of content she feels running her hand over her stomach at her most stressful times.

 

She finds herself doing it at awkward times, though.

 

“Are you queasy or something?” Luna stops in her tracks. Clarke looks down at her hand planted on her stomach and quickly moves it to the patient file she’s reviewing. “I’m happy to take your patient off of your hands.”

 

“I’ve got it,” Clarke gives her a sickly smile. She closes the file and tucks it under her armpit. “She’s ready to be discharged anyways. And then I have my next patient and I’m going on lunch.”

 

Lunch, otherwise a code word for her appointment. Clarke can’t fathom the fact that she’s already six weeks along, it’s almost as nauseating as the morning sickness. She almost appointment she scheduled a couple weeks ago, but it’s the only part of her plan that remained intact since talking to Bellamy was out the window.

 

Clarke grimaces just thinking about him. Sometimes, she thinks he has a right to at least knowand make his choice on his own. She’s found herself stopping by Murphy’s apartment after work sometimes. But Emori’s words echo in her ears, that he is married to a great woman who he loves very much and is currently in the process of working things out with. She has no right to go and uproot his life, for a second time, ten whole years later.

 

Luna opens her mouth to say something, but Clarke’s already handing the patient file to the receptionist in exchange for her next client. She smiles at Luna, the plasticity of it mocking, and bounces to her next patient in a rush. Luna’s been quite bold with her stray of rude comments and belittling judgements and Clarke is in no mood for it. Most times, she’s too nauseated or dizzy to come up with a good comeback and she can’t tarnish her reputation more than she already has.

 

Clarke approaches the client’s room, knocking lightly in order to signal her entrance. She hears a huff through the door as she opens the patient file. She scans the file, eyes glazing over until she reaches the reason for visit; sore throat. Clarke shrugs, turning the doorknob, her eyes still on the file as she walks in.

 

“Hi there, I’m Dr. Griffin, I’m here to check out that sore throat,” Clarke’s eyes travel back up the file to address the patient by name. She freezes, reading the name Bellamy Blake over and over until she has the courage to look up.

 

Bellamy sits on the patient table, looking more than healthy. His feet touch the floor, enclosed in a nice case of black loafers that go with his dress pants and white button up shirt. He’s slouched over, making the navy blue tie he’s loosened around his neck dangle against his chest. Clarke almost smiles, recalling his lack of fondness when it comes to formal attire. Yet, he becomes a teacher.

 

The desire to smile is gone when she takes a look at Bellamy’s face. His eyebrows are furrowed together like he’s lost in thought, his lips twisted into a frown, showcasing the scar over his lip proudly. The creases on his forehead are indented prominently and as his hands clasp together, he looks up at Clarke, a stare of betrayal running deeper than she could have ever imagined. She gulps.

 

She doesn’t have to guess, she knows he knows. Yet, when Bellamy holds up the plastic Ziploc bag with one of pregnancy tests inside, the stoic expression she's hellbent on maintaining drops from her face, replaced with guilt and regret. Instead of an apology, Clarke marvels, “Emori.”

 

“No, actually,” Bellamy laughs bitterly. “I found it in the trash, since I’m the only one who cleans up the place. She tried to pass it off as hers, but who puts a pregnancy test in a Ziploc bag?”

 

Clarke’s shoulders straighten. “Many people, I’m sure.”

 

Bellamy’s lips purse. “I saw these exact Ziploc bags in your drawer the last time I was there.”

 

“They’re a popular brand.”

 

“Clarke,” Bellamy’s voice cracks. His eyes are wide, desperate, pleading for her. “Please.”

 

A lump forms in Clarke’s throat, just the expression on his face making her heart leap. She stares at him for a moment, until it makes her want to burst into flames, turning away from him and walking over to the counter on the other side of the room. She gently places his file down, gripping onto the counter to steady herself. She takes a deep breath that exhales shakily. “I went to your apartment. I was going to tell you.”

 

“What stopped you?” Clarke hears his feet collide with the floor.

 

“She said you and your wife were working things out.”

 

Neither of them say anything. The silence is all the deafening, the words left unsaid forming their own conclusion in Clarke’s mind. Before she can pull herself, her shoulders hunch over and a quiet sob is wracking over her body. She grips the counter tighter, her skin stretching over her knuckles excruciatingly and her head bows.

 

The sound of footsteps echo from behind her, before a pair of arms silently snake up her forearms. Clarke tries not to take advantage of the comfort, staying still as Bellamy moves his arms around her. It only makes her cry more, her chest hiccupping up and down as his arms shield her from herself. She leans into him, hands moving up to hold onto his arms that are planted across her collarbone. She takes the relief, the second of them encapsulated in that moment together and breathes.

 

Clarke composes herself, allowing his warmth to level her. Her cries subside, and her breathing resumes as normal. She gulps down the rest of the lump that clouds her throat and exhales, drawing a low breath from the O shape of her mouth.

 

“It’s not true.”

 

Clarke turns so fast, her and Bellamy are almost nose to nose. The words that come from his mouth are soft and if she wasn’t so close to him, she wouldn’t have heard them. He looks at her, a pained smile written across his lips. He looks down at her, and Clarke sees his Adam’s Apple bob. Bellamy detangles himself from her, much to Clarke’s dismay, putting much needed distance between the two. He backs up against the patient table, leaning against it once more. Clarke stands up straight, patiently waiting for him to continue, her ability to breathe again returning.

 

“Echo and I are on good terms. But the divorce was never on pause.”

 

“But Emori–”

 

“–Is a wishful thinker.”

 

Labelling Clarke as relieved is an understatement. Her heart swells at the news, and definitely calms the anxieties she’s manifested over the course of the past couple of weeks. But one look at Bellamy’s face is enough to bring her back to the ground. His expression, solemn and mournful, his eyes darting to the floor as he avoids eye contact. His curls fall over one another, his sorrowful expression disappearing underneath them, away from Clarke’s eyesight.

 

Clarke’s two for two, always fucking up when she brings up the wife. She mentally kicks herself for it, for causing Bellamy even more unnecessary pain aside from the one she’s directly responsible for. Bellamy’s disdain towards it is evident in the way he carries himself, his spirit visibly breaking every time she reminds him of their status. Clarke understands, she assumes it would similar if she actually had married Lexa, only for it not to last.

 

Bellamy takes a deep breath. Tentatively, Clarke wanders over to him, leaning against the table beside him, so close their hips are touching. She ignores the burning feeling in her chest, ignited just by the feel of him. She glances at him, his eyes still drawn to the ground, silently begging him to look at her.

 

"Emori's been our friend for years," Bellamy explains simply. His gaze is still casted downwards, and the words are almost too soft to hear. "She's just...a wishful thinker." 

 

Clarke yearns to take the pain away from him, every inch of her aching just looking at him. Ten years ago, she’d know exactly what to say or do. Today, she can’t even begin to guess. It scares her, how different they are now, only for them to soon be thrusted into parenthood. It’s their only common ground that she knows of.

 

“I have an ultrasound in,” Clarke checks her watch. “Five minutes.” Bellamy’s head lifts instantly. His bewildered expression makes her giggle. She tilts her head, controlling the laughter he so easily elicits from her. She peering at him with a smile and hopeful gaze in her eyes. “If you want – I’d love for you to be there with me.”

 


 

As a doctor, Clarke knows a basic list of what to expect. She lays on the patient table, changed from her scrubs into the traditional gown, exposed beneath to the doctor as she inserts the sonographer into her. It’s all very typical for a first trimester ultrasound, especially one done at just six weeks. All Clarke can guarantee is a due date and the number of fetuses – one, please – not even a confirmation of a heartbeat is common. So she lays back, allows the doctor to excuse herself before getting started and allows her anxieties to focus primarily on Bellamy.

 

Bellamy’s hands are crossed over his chest, his teeth chewing at his lap as his foot taps nervously at the tiles. Clarke’s been anxious for weeks, paranoia consuming twenty four seven for a while now. But when she looks at Bellamy, who’s not a doctor and was far too young when Octavia was born to remember the normalcy of these appointments, she feels her worries fade. He’s not even looking at her, his eyes glued to the ultrasound machine, blank as a board.

 

Clarke’s head lays down on the forefront of the patient table, cheek pressed against the coolness of the protective sheet. She stares at him, watching him poke his tongue out of his cheek and pretend he’s playing this off cool and not like a total wreck. It’s only when she extends her hand out to him that his eyes lift to look at her. He forces a smile, stepping forward to take Clarke’s hand as she pulls him towards the patient chair.

 

Dr. Cartwig returns, a nice big smile on her face. “Alright, let’s get started.”

 

Bellamy squeezes her hand.

 

All the doctor does is sit and Bellamy’s eyes dart to her. Clarke smoothens her thumb over his hand, trying to keep his protectiveness at a minimum. She notes his shoulder’s relax slightly from their tense state, but Bellamy’s eyes don’t leave Dr. Cartwig, watching as she types away at her machine, oblivious to the stares. Clarke can’t take her eyes off him, oddly secure just being next to him. It’s nice, being the one not freaking out for a moment.

 

Dr. Cartwig maneuvers her mouse, the tones of black and white finally popping up onto the screen. Clarke sees Bellamy’s eyes go wide, turning her head to see the doctor’s exaggerative movements minimalize as she centers in on one specific section of the ultrasound.

 

“Your due date seems to be around the beginning of May,” Dr. Cartwig announces, eyes not leaving the screen. She pauses for a moment, Bellamy straightening a little as she does so. Then, she turns back to the odd pair with an easy smile. “May third, if we’re being exact. Want to hear something cool?”

 

Neither of them respond, Dr. Cartwig not bothering to wait for a reply as she taps a couple more buttons on the machine. Then she points to a section on the black screen, indicating the location of the baby with her index finger and using her other hand to hold up her other one, signaling for them to wait a moment. Soon enough, the low chorus of steady beats sound through the system. Clarke’s heart pounds, both her and Bellamy leaning in to hear better. For the first time that day, Bellamy breaks out into a grin. He doesn’t have to be a doctor to decipher what that is.

 

“It’s not often you hear a heartbeat this early,” Dr. Cartwig comments. “You’ve got a wonder child on your hands.”

 

Clarke stifles a laugh, because damn, does she have no idea how accurate that statement is. Her eyes focus on the fetus, as small as grape she estimates by Dr. Cartwig’s index finger. She lets the slow, steady sound of the heartbeat fill her ears and for the first time in weeks, it's tears of joy in her eyes. She looks to Bellamy, a smile lifting on her face to compliment his grin. It takes a moment, his eyes permanently etched to the screen before he glances at her. Their eyes lock, earlier moments of resentment fading into the background. 

 

Bellamy kisses the top of her forehead, silently reassuring the both of them. Clarke leans into him, this time her being the one to squeeze his hand.

 


 

Clarke has to finish the rest of her shift, but Bellamy’s itching to talk about this more in depth. So instead of her having to trek over to Murphy’s apartment only to be met by his she-devil of a girlfriend, Clarke hands Bellamy her apartment key and tells her she’ll be back sometime after six thirty. He hesitates, but hey, she’s already carrying his child – what’s so scary about the key to her apartment?

 

Clarke reaches her apartment just before seven. As she approaches the door, the smell of fresh food fills her nose and her stomach rumbles – thanks to her diet of a granola bar and a minimal amount of fruit throughout the day. She assumes it’s her neighbors, but the aroma only strengthens as she gets closer to her own home. Before Clarke’s hand is even on the door handle, she knows it’s coming from Bellamy.

 

Sure enough, Clarke opens her door to the sight of smooth steam rising high in her kitchen. She tiptoes in, removing her jacket and hanging it on the coat rack beside the door, peering at Bellamy as he maneuvers something in a pan over the stove. She slips off her shoes before stepping into the kitchen, seeing the two plates of chicken laying on her marble countertop. She stifles a laugh, recalling the last time Bellamy was here, when something very different was on her countertop.

 

“Hey,” Bellamy turns, pouring the contents of the pan into an empty plate across from the ready prepared ones. “I figured you hadn’t eaten.”

 

“You’re going to have to pay me back for hogging all my ingredients,” Clarke jokes, slipping into one of the barstools. She peers into the plate, noting the steamed vegetables Bellamy just finished with.

 

Bellamy smirks, dipping a large spoon into the carrots and peas before sliding it closer to their plates. “Maybe you can use the fifty dollars you clearly didn’t use before.”

 

Clarke glares at him, but Bellamy’s smirk only deepens, his dimples flashing at her.

 

The chicken is amazing. Bellamy’s been a great cook since he was young, always preparing food for him and his sister and eventually Clarke, since it was usually just the three of them around his house. He’s perfected the simple things a long time ago and this is no different. At least their baby is going to be fed well by someone cause Clarke has no cooking skill in her back pocket to fall back on.

 

Clarke anticipates he’s waiting for the big talk until after dinner because all that comes from his mouth is small talk, how is she feeling, does he want her to grab groceries for her, all stupid shit that drives her crazy. Clarke brushes it off, answering simply and politely, antsy at the fact that she’s tiptoeing around this man that she’s known for over half her life. Their interaction is all very reserved, the both of them compacted in their fear of saying something wrong. She’s already anticipating the blowout that will occur after dinner, especially if this is the avenue Bellamy’s deciding to take – where she needs to be looked after, while he takes charge. She thought he knew her better than that.

 

They move to the couch after dinner, slap something on television that’s fresh off Netflix and sit on opposite ends. Bellamy’s eyes stay transfixed on the screen, commenting on the show that neither of them could care less about. Clarke gets it, he’s worried, she can tell by the way his lips purse together – again showing off that infamous scar on his upper lip. But now that he knows, they can formulate a plan and she’s itching to have one.

 

“Bellamy,” Clarke starts. “Can we just get to it?”

 

Bellamy’s slouched over on the couch, balancing his elbows on his thighs. He chews at the inside of his lips, contemplating for a moment as he looks down at his hands, clasped together. Then, he looks to Clarke, eyes pouring into hers. “I want to keep this baby.”

 

Clarke’s heart opens. “So do I.”

 

It’s the first time she’s said it aloud, and it’s still void of a plan, but it’s more than a relief.

 

Clarke feels herself relax, swinging her legs onto the couch and stretching them outwards in Bellamy’s direction. He moves slightly, getting close enough to her that she can place her legs on top of his lap. He leans back, the color returning to his face, relief washing over him in synchronization with Clarke.

 

“So?” Clarke ponders. “What’s next?”

 

“I’m going to move out Murphy’s apartment,” Bellamy announces. Clarke silently thanks the universe. “It was never supposed to be permanent, so I’ve been looking anyways. There’s a couple of good places near the school, townhomes.”

 

“How far away are they from here?”

 

“Twenty minutes – give or take,” Clarke’s shoulders slump as he says it. Bellamy is quick to reiterate, “I know it’s not ideal. I can look for some places close to here-”

 

“You can always just move in here.” The words sputter out of Clarke’s mouth before she can reign them in. Bellamy’s head tilts, the hint of a smile on his face, like he thinks she’s joking. She sinks back into herself, regretting the words sounding so forward. When his face twists into confusion, Clarke continues, “There’s two bedrooms. I usually use the spare for a painting space, but we can always move that out, move your stuff in-”

 

“What about a nursery?” Bellamy inquires. “This place is way too small for the three of us.”

 

“So it’s better to have two separate places, almost half an hour apart?”

 

“We have to adapt to the situation. It’s not like we’re together.”

 

“Yeah, because you don’t even want to try.”

 

It’s a low blow, Clarke winces as she says it. Bellamy looks away from her, shaking his head, teeth grazing over his bottom lip. She sucks in a breath when he stands and brushes past her, neck craning to follow his movements. He waltzes into the kitchen, opens one of her top cabinets and retrieves a glass, filling it in the sink with water. He leans over the countertop, sipping his glass.

 

Clarke stands, tentatively taking steps towards him. She leans against the countertop, peering at him as he stares down at the marble. He takes a sip of his water, eyes fixated on nothing. Clarke knows he’s in deep thought, and her heart sinks. She knows the reason he’s not with her and normally, if he were anybody else, she’d understand. She has no idea how he was with his ex-wife or even what warranted the divorce and yes, she’s being selfish. But damn it, they’re having a baby.

 

The sound of the Netflix show is the only thing occupying the space. Otherwise, it’s just Bellamy and Clarke, separated by the marble of her countertop. Bellamy takes another sip, a couple more away from emptying the glass. He settles the glass on the marble gently, palms gripping the edge of the countertop. He looks up at Clarke.

 

“I can't, Clarke,” Bellamy croaks. “I want to be able to, for this baby. But that wouldn't be fair, to either of you.”

 

Clarke gulps down the thickness in her throat. She nods quickly, eyes not leaving his, pleading with him that she understands. Bellamy sighs, his eyes departing with hers as his head hangs. She sees him inhale and exhale, and walks closer. She wraps her arm around his shoulder, his head falling into her neck. Their breaths are steady, her cheek pressed against the top of his head, as they stand in her kitchen, undeniably uncertain.

 

Clarke yearns to take his pain away. He’s not vocal about it, but whatever his wife did, Clarke wants to ring her neck for it. It weighs on him, she can see just by the way he carries himself. And yet, Bellamy hasn’t said a word condemning his wife, not an insult thrown in her direction. His wife doesn’t deserve his complete and utter kindness. Bellamy deserves someone better, he always has. She almost wishes he found that someone, because after what she did to him all those years ago, he definitely didn’t need whatever the woman he ended up marrying sent his way.

 

They’ve been standing in her kitchen, in each other’s embrace for a little too long. Bellamy straightens himself, coughing to relieve the awkwardness. Clarke’s eyes follow him, watching as he brushes himself off. He’s still in his work clothes, except the tie is discarded and his white dress shirt is unbuttoned halfway. Clarke peers at him, his chest somewhat exposed and etches closer.

 

Her hand moves up, tracing the outline of his chest and following up to his collarbone. Bellamy sucks in a breath, but no words leave his lips. Clarke moves closer, her hand snaking up to behind his neck. She leans up, planting a slow slew of kisses from his collarbone to the base of his neck. Bellamy grunts, falling against the countertop for support.

 

“Clarke,” he breathes. Her lips are still on his neck. “I-I can’t be what you want me to be.”

 

“I want you to be here,” Clarke murmurs between kisses. She looks up at him, hand still on the back of his neck, his eyes glistening. “That’s good enough for me. That you’re here.”

 

Bellamy allows her to lean upward, their lips smoothening over one another. They move in sync, slow and intimate, caught up in the presence of one another. Clarke leans against his chest, one hand still at the back of his neck while the other grazes over his exposed collarbones. He moves his hands to snake around her waist, gripping her hips as he pulls her even closer.

 

Clarke pulls away, Bellamy’s eyes on her as she lowers herself to her knees. He follows her, watching her nimble hands unbuckle his belt with ease. His breathing gets more shallow and soon he’s panting, and Clarke hasn’t even touched him yet. She smirks to herself, knowing that at least she can still get this reaction out of him, no matter how many years they’ve missed.

 

His pants fall to the floor and soon his boxers accompany them, his dick already half-hard. It springs free, Clarke gently caressing him with her hand. His dick fully hardens in her hand, encased by her fingers. She continues to stroke him for a while, her free hand massaging the base of him as Bellamy grips the countertop for support. Clarke can sense he’s waiting for her, but she finds pleasure in knowing that she has him like this, wrapped around her finger while she’s physically wrapped around him.

 

Clarke slowly brings her lips to the tip of him, Bellamy’s head falling back at the contact. She swirls her tongue around him, licking the pre-cum that’s already oozed from him before she brings the rest of her mouth down. Bellamy grunts, adding to her motivation as she bobs her head up and down. His dick is slick with a mixture of her saliva and his cum, the extra lubrication making Clarke go faster and faster.

 

“Fuck, princess,” Bellamy’s hand scrunches Clarke’s blonde locks. He’s careful not to push her head down, her already doing a more than adequate job. Clarke hums, causing him to pull at her hair harder. Clarke moans, bringing her hand down to rub her clit through her pants.

 

More focused on the task at hand, Clarke switches between her tongue exploring the base of him and enveloping his whole cock in her mouth. Her strategy drives Bellamy crazy, his moans sending her over the edge as she furiously rubs at her clit.

 

They come together, Clarke sending herself over the edge just as she sends him. His cum sputters into her mouth, Clarke’s lips still attached to him. She feels herself release, her eyes closing as she swallows him. Bellamy’s hand drops from her hair, just so he can catch his breath. Clarke eases her lips off of him, wiping any remnants of him off with the corner of her mouth with her thumb. She gets to her feet, Bellamy pulling her in for a long, drawn out kiss.

 

Clarke knows him well enough to know that even though she came, he’s not satisfied it wasn’t by his hand. Their lips still attached, Bellamy’s hands lower to intertwine with her fingers. He pulls away from Clarke, leading her to her bedroom and it’s enough to get her cunt yearning for him again.

 

The minute they enter her bedroom, Clarke turns to him, hands leaving his to cup his face. She brings him in for another kiss, their lips moving in unison almost immediately. Their lips still interlocked, she guides him towards her bed, allowing him to fall on top of her as she sinks into the mattress below. Clarke locks her legs around him, grinding against his bare bottom half with her pants still on.

 

Bellamy sinks his hand lower, bypassing the waistline of her sweatpants and panties. His fingers gently caress the bareness of her cunt. He massages over her clit with his thumb, twisting his hand so that he can insert his other two fingers inside of her. Clarke lips open in a moan, his lips gnawing at her bottom lip as her hips buck against him.

 

Clarke maneuvers her hips as his fingers furiously pump in and out of her, trying her best to wiggle out of her pants while Bellamy’s still working away at her. She unlocks her legs from his torso, hips still yearning for him to be closer. Bellamy moves his lips to plant kisses along her neck.

 

“I’ve got you,” Bellamy whispers in her ear. Clarke shivers.

 

He removes his fingers from her cunt, giving her ample time to wiggle out of her sweatpants. As she removes them, Bellamy’s legs move on either side of her, straddling the blonde as he unbuttons the rest of his dress shirt. He throws it over in the new pile with her sweatpants, before turning to Clarke and helping her remove her shirt.

 

Clarke feels less sexy about her sports bra now that Bellamy’s looking at her. Yet, he doesn’t think twice about it, only wanting it removed. Clarke sits up, pulling it over her head and throwing it elsewhere before Bellamy’s already gently pushing her back to down onto the bed. Their lips interlocked again, bare chests pressed against each other, his hand moves to resume what he was doing. Clarke catches his wrist before he gets to her, switching their positions so that now she’s the one on top.

 

Bellamy’s eyes travel her body as she sits comfortably on him, hands moving to grip her hips. He smirks as she gets ready to position herself, knowing her cunt is aching for him. “What, no condom?”

 

The joke goes over Clarke’s head, far too horny to care. “I got checked right after finding out I was pregnant.”

 

“Are you sure I’m the father?”

 

Clarke eyes move up to glare at him. She is sure, only having been with girls aside from him for at least three months. But by the look on his face, he’s not any bit uncertain this baby belongs to him. Bellamy’s smirk deepens, hands moving to grip around her ass. She suppresses a yelp, yearning to remain in control. Her hips move downwards as she leans up, grabbing his cock with her free hand and positioning it in front her entrance. Slowly, she lowers herself onto him, sighing in relief as he fills her.

 

Bellamy’s hands tighten around her ass as she moves them forward. Clarke hips form circles around him, her steady pace turning fast and furious in a matter of seconds. Bellamy pushes her as close to him as he can, Clarke’s hips bucking wildly as she fucks him into her. He matches her pace, Clarke’s clit colliding with the base of him, giving both of them the extra edge they crave. Moans fill Clarke’s apartment, both of their paces quickening as they desperately grasp one another.

 

Half-opened eyes accompanied by blurry vision, Clarke can see the two of them interlocked in the mirror through her peripheral. It's a glimpse, very different than her self-loathing morning stares, the reflection showcasing the two of them moving together in sync. The view makes Clarke's chest tighten and nearly fucks up her rhythm, turning her attention back to Bellamy. His mouth formed in a perfect O shape, his eyes barely being able to stay open as they enwrap themselves in one other, reaching their heights in unison. It's even more motivation for her to keep going, intent on making him feel just as good as he makes her.

 

Clarke collapses against him as they cum, Bellamy’s arms moving around her torso to push her closer. Bellamy grunts as Clarke cries out, filling her with his load as she clutches onto his shoulders. Their movements subside as their climaxes slow, ligaments wrapped into one another, breathes bouncing off one another's soaked bodies.

 

Silence consumes them, their naked bodies embracing one another. Clarke’s head rests against Bellamy’s chest as it rises and falls. She can hear his heart beating rapidly. She presses her ear even closer to him as he smoothens his hand over her hair. Her eyes slowly close, taking in the beating sound.

 

Bellamy presses his lips to Clarke’s scalp. Her head lifts, looking up at him as she balances her chin on the dipping of his chest. She can see the concern that creases him, the bliss from sex replaced by the worry lines that plague his forehead. Clarke moves her hand up, brushing a curl away from his face, before settling her palm against his cheek. He leans into her hand, dark eyes peering at her, half-lidded, yet all the while pleading.

 

“What are we going to do?”

 

Clarke doesn’t know what to say, she certainly doesn’t have an answer. She opens her mouth, expecting to say something half-reassuring and just as unsettling, when her train of thought is interrupted by the ring of a cell phone.

 

She heaves her bare body up from Bellamy, already missing the warmth of him as she wanders over to her sweatpants. She leans down, delving her hands into its pockets to retrieve the source of the ringing. Her phone flashes a photo of her and Raven, lips puckered as they pose for a photo in their swimsuits. Clarke smiles, recalling the months prior when they picture was taken at the local beach. She almost misses the call, thinking about how her body won’t resemble anything close to what it did then in just a matter of weeks.

 

Bypassing Bellamy’s fatal question, Clarke presses the Accept button and holds the phone to her ear. She sighs, hoping Raven doesn’t sense the exasperation in her voice. “Hey, Raven–”

 

As usual, Raven’s spitfire nature barely provides Clarke with ample time to take a breath. “Murphy told Shaw that Bellamy Blake knocked you up.”

Chapter Text

The news of Clarke’s pregnancy travels fast amongst their friends. Once Clarke has no choice but to confirm Murphy was indeed telling the truth – and once Raven is done screaming at her – she proceeds to tell the rest of her friends, in increments. Raven and Shaw know first, then she calls Harper and Monty, who thankfully have Jasper present with them. Everyone’s excited, once Raven calms down she even says her congratulations, Shaw adding to her contribution while Harper and Jasper shout excitedly and chant into the phone followed by Monty’s right on cue pep talk. It’s all a little overwhelming, but Clarke’s happy that someonein this whole ordeal is more excited than anxious.

 

She and Bellamy wish they could have kept it a secret a little longer since it’s still very early, but there’s some comfort in having their friends know that eases the pressure. Everyone’s offered to lend a helping hand and while it won’t fix all the issues the soon-to-be parents have yet to iron out, it settles a sliver of the conflict.

 

Clarke’s now able to focus more at work now that the people who need to know, know and her and Bellamy fall into a routine. For the next month, he’s over four to five times a week, bringing her dinner or cooking it there himself and they spend hours ironing out details. It usually ends in sex, platonic sex as they like to call it, but the process repeats the next day without any awkwardness so Clarke doesn’t think it’s a detriment.

 

“Have you found a place?” Clarke asks, shoveling a spoonful of mac and cheese into her mouth. Bellamy’s used his own recipe, just as amazing as all of his other dishes, topped with a slew of breadcrumbs.

 

Bellamy’s been looking nonstop for the past month, desperate to find something close to the school he works at, that’s also feasible for a child. Now that Polis is his permanent place of residence, it’s fair for him to struggle to find a forever home – especially in the timespan that they have. He’d prefer to have it renovated before the baby arrives, but now he’s lucky if he can even a purchase a place before then.

 

Clarke’s curled up on the couch, already in sweatpants and an oversized sweater. She holds the bowl of mac and cheese close to her, already almost finishing it off as she watches the back of Bellamy’s head. He leans over the coffee table, his red pen standing to attention, face buried in one of his student’s work as he marks their assignment. He’s already frustrated, his students essays not as well done as he would have liked. Running a hand through his frazzled curly locks, he huffs, pen jabbing at the crisp white paper below him.

 

“I’m looking into a couple properties,” Bellamy huffs. “No bites yet.”

 

“You have time,” Clarke points out. “Once you buy the place, you’re going to stay here for a while anyways, right?”

 

Residency maternity leaves are only six to eight weeks. Clarke’s not complaining, she knows she’s going to be aching for work when the baby is fresh out of the womb. But she also acknowledges how short amount of a time it is, barely two months to adjust to parenthood before having to readjust to motherhood and her working life. Which is why Bellamy’s agreed to start the baby’s life off in Clarke’s apartment, until a month or two in to her settling back into work.

 

“It would be comforting just to have something for sure,” Bellamy sighs, dropping his pen to cast a gaze at Clarke. “I guess I have to wait until the house in Arkadia is sold anyways.”

 

Bellamy’s home with his wife, back in Arkadia, is still up for sale. It has been for half a year, or maybe a little less. Clarke doesn’t remember details, only remembering that he still shares a home with another woman.

 

Clarke swallows down another spoonful of mac and cheese, trying to ignore how dry her throat has become at the thought of his wife.

 

“Right, how’s that coming along?”

 

“Fine,” Bellamy offers.

 

As usual, he doesn’t elaborate. He never does, not with anything Echo related. Clarke’s got used to that behavior from him, but is still surprised when the aching feeling in her chest reignites. She gulps down the lump in her throat, desperate to dilute the uncomfortable ache that plagues her.

 

Clarke finishes off the macaroni, scooping the last bit into her mouth. She lets the spoon clang into the bowl, standing up to wander into the kitchen. Bellamy returns to his marking scheme as Clarke places the bowl into the sink. She rinses out its contents, along with the spoon before soaping it up and repeating the rinse. She places the bowl on the drying rack before retrieving two glasses. Filling them to the brim with water, she walks back over to Bellamy, placing a glass in front of him.

 

“Thank you,” Bellamy murmurs between pen scratches.

 

Clarke takes a seat back on the couch, waiting for Bellamy to take a sip of his water before drinking from her own glass. She nosily peers over his shoulder, watching his pen hack away at the paper, circling words she can’t make out and scribbling question marks with brief comments. Her eyes follow him as he picks up his mark book, writing down a final grade in one of the student’s columns before tucking it back under the coffee table. Bellamy flips the essay to its first page and writes a C in bright red ink in the top right corner before fishing out a crisp, new stack of papers sure to face the wrath of his pen.

 

Bellamy’s passion for history radiated off of him, his face lighting up whenever he got the chance to talk about it. She knows it’s probably the same when he’s teaching those kids, which makes her heart hurt even more, picturing their disinterested faces stare back at Bellamy’s enlightened teachings. He’s been extra worked up, thrust into teaching a bunch of eighth graders that don’t really care about what he has to say, finding a home and planning to have a baby, all which comes to a climax around the same time.

 

Bellamy’s already marking up the page by the time Clarke has a chance to take another sip of the warm water. She sighs, watching him work away, hunched over a coffee table – not even a real desk. She leans over, cautiously placing her glass on the coffee table, far away from his work. Bellamy doesn’t even look up, giving her an advantage to sneak up behind him.

 

Gently, Clarke sits against his back, swinging her legs over his lap so that her feet are balancing in his lap. She wraps her arms around him, her feet carefully smoothening out the crotch area of his pants. Bellamy sucks in a breath, and hums when Clarke’s lip delicately kiss his neck, leading up to the nape of his ear as her teeth lightly tread his earlobe.

 

“Clarke,” Bellamy warns. “We can’t keep doing this.”

 

“Sure we can,” Clarke giggles coyly, her breath hot against his neck. “We did this yesterday. And the day before. And the day before–”

 

“This isn’t what co-parents do.”

 

“I’m sure we’re not the first.”

 

Clarke feels him harden through his pants and bites down on his neck. She knows she’s won when he suppresses his moan, a low vibration rumbling low in his throat. He drops his pen, allowing it to roll off the table, until it ultimately disappears into the carpet below. Bellamy leans his head back to rest against Clarke’s shoulder as she reaches over to unbutton his pants. She moves her feet, having them sit upright on either side of him as he shuffles his pants to his knees, letting his cock spring free.

 

Her fingers wrap around the base of him, slowly stroking upwards. Bellamy plants his hips on the ground, trying not to seem as eager as he most definitely is. Clarke leans closer, nibbling on his earlobe as her hand softly caresses his shaft. She goes up and down painfully slow, feeling Bellamy’s breath become more shallow as she continues.

 

“Clarke,” Bellamy whispers. He’s trying to egg her on, but the heat between Clarke’s legs has a plan. She bites down on his neck, her hand still delicately wrapped around him.

 

“Come on, Bellamy,” Clarke smiles into the nape of his neck as his hips buck upwards. She slows her pace even more. “You don’t want to bend me over this coffee table? Fuck me all over your student’s papers, so hard I’m screaming for you?”

 

Clarke’s whispers send shivers down Bellamy’s spine. She presses a kiss into his neck, her hand now so loose around his cock her fingers are barely grazing his shaft. Bellamy gulps, his gaze locked on the scene below him.

 

In a flash, Bellamy grabs Clarke’s wrist, twisting her around so that she’s against the couch. She catches herself, using her free hand to balance her forearm on the cushion of the couch as Bellamy brings down her sweatpants to her knees. He runs a finger over her, testing how wet she is before he positions himself at her entrance. Clarke tries leaning her body closer to him, trying to envelop him inside her, but Bellamy’s grip tightens on her wrist, causing her to stay still.

 

Bellamy leans forward, making Clarke wish she had taken off his or her sweater so she could feel his bare body against hers. Instead, she feels the weight of his chest against her back, the hot air from his breath tickling her ear.

 

“This is the last time,” Bellamy whispers, planting kisses on the outside of her ear.

 

“Doesn’t look like we’re going to stop anytime soon,” Clarke breathes hastily. Bellamy doesn’t object, a moment’s hesitation coursing through him. She tries to lean back against him again, once more foiled by him reigning her in by the wrist. She yelps, the cast of a smile grazing her features. “I thought I told you to fuck me over the coffee table.”

 

“Hmm, must have forgotten. I do remember you wanting me to make you scream.”

 

“Well, I’m not screaming now–”

 

Clarke speaks too soon, Bellamy’s cock gliding inside her easily. She groans, her arm collapsing against the cushion as she grips onto it for support. Bellamy still has her wrist tight in one hand, using his other hand to squeeze her hips and thrusts himself inside of her. His pace quickens within a matter of moments, the momentum he’s building saved in the pent up frustration.

 

Trying her best not to give Bellamy the satisfaction he’s craving, Clarke buries her face into the comfort of the cushion. She eagerly slams her hips against his, the contact making her want to cry out in pleasure. Her toes curl as he bottoms her out, hard and quick with a rhythm that usually brings Clarke to the edge within a couple of minutes.

 

She hears him clear his throat, too late for her to expect the hand that roughly rakes through her hair. Her head is jerked back, Bellamy intricately crafting her messy blonde locks into a makeshift ponytail. Clarke cries, her cunt even more content to be wrapped around Bellamy’s cock as this new angle gives him much more power.

 

“Come on, princess,” Bellamy mutters between thrusts. Clarke’s fingers tighten around the cushion, her knuckles turning a paler white than she already is. “Tell me what you want me to do.”

 

Clarke doesn’t want to give up so easily, but fuck. She bites down on her lip, trying not to let the words stumble out of her mouth. Yet, when Bellamy’s momentum slows, his dick losing the circular motion, she curses.

 

“Bellamy,” Clarke whimpers. “Bellamy, don’t stop.”

 

Bellamy’s pace builds back up, teasing her. “Tellme what you want me to do.”

 

“Fuck me, fuck me, pleaseBellamy, until I’m screaming.”

 

Bellamy resumes, his cock slamming into her cunt rapidly. Clarke cries out, the chorus of moans that follow giving him an incentive to keep his tempo. He yanks at her hair, her head jerking back and the moans that come from her throat becoming deeper. His other hand squeezes at her wrist, pulling her back into him. Not that he needs to do any of those things, Clarke already throwing herself back against him, just to feel every inch of him.

 

Clarke screams out, his cock hitting her just where he knows she likes. Again and again, Bellamy’s cock dives inside of her, eliciting loud screams of pleasure from Clarke. Her sounds echo through the apartment, can probably be heard through the thinness of her walls, not that either of them care. It wouldn’t be the first time that they’ve received a noise complaint within these past couple of weeks.

 

“Bellamy, Bellamy, Bellamy,” Clarke chants, coming to her peak as he continues to plow inside of her. “I’m almost there, Bellamy, God, please–”

 

Their bodies moving in sync, building to a climax. Bellamy ensures Clarke’s taken care of, finally letting go of her hair, allowing her head to fall back against the cushion. He takes his now free hand and rubs furiously at her clit, continuing his rapid pace. He groans, releasing himself inside her as Clarke falls apart in unison.

 

Bellamy’s body collapses against hers, taking the time he needs to catch his breath. Clarke is still heaving as he pulls out of her, almost missing the loss of him as she recovers from their quickie. She hears the shuffle his pants from behind her, picturing him scramble to put on his clothing as smirks to herself. Clarke leans down, pulling her panties up to regain some sort of composure. She forgoes her pants, turning to sit on the floor, back against the couch.

 

Sure enough, Bellamy has his pants halfway up his legs, boxers already in place. He stands beside the coffee table, looping his button through the hole and dusting himself off. Clarke gazes at him, a playful smirk etched onto her features. Bellamy gives her a fabricated smile in response.

 

“It didn’t even really take much effort this time,” Clarke comments.

 

“I’m serious, though, Clarke,” Bellamy sighs, leaning down to collect his student’s work on the table. He shuffles them into a folder. “This isn’t healthy. We agreed to co-parent, separately, on our own, single. This blurs things.”

 

“Bellamy, I’m an adult. I know you don’t want to be with me. But nine months is a long time, may as well pass the time with sex.”

 

Bellamy rolls his eyes, her joke not settling fondly with him. He places the folder of his student’s works into his satchel, followed by his mark book before leaning down to retrieve the red pen that had fallen into the folds of the carpet. Clarke can see the frustration in the sharpness of his movements, the way he shoves everything into his bag with vigor. She leans her head back, gazing at him in confusion.

 

Clarke knows he’s gearing up to leave, an overwhelming feeling of guilt plaguing him whenever they have sex – which is quite often for someone who claims they shouldn’t be doing it in the first place. She understands he’s still reeling from the heartbreak his wife put him through and that sex isn’t going to change his mind. But Bellamy is no stranger to casual sex, she doubts in the years between her and meeting his wife that he hadn’t been with anyone. A baby complicates things, she knows, but it’s more than that.

 

Sometimes, Clarke sees it in the way he looks at her. Sometimes they’ll just be talking – not even about the baby, maybe about his day at work or a troubling patient Clarke had. Then he’ll just stop midsentence, or lose his train of thought, staring off into space. He’s always thinking, his mind never at rest, kind of like Clarke’s. But while she’s thinking about her residency or something else she can do to impress the Chief, Bellamy’s thinking about things out of control like the past.

 

They’ve built a friendship over the past couple of weeks, but Bellamy’s only in it for the baby. Clarke doesn’t even need to ask him, as if he’d be honest if she’d ask. She can tell his presence relies on the fetus growing inside her because there’s no way he would have allowed Clarke Griffin back in his life after the number she did on him.

 

“It’s only eight,” Clarke speaks up.

 

Bellamy glances out the window, Clarke’s big, glass frames encompassed by feathery white curtains. The darkness has seeped in, thanks to the thinness of material. Her living room is only illuminated by the lamp on the end table beside the couch. Lately, too much light has been bothering Clarke’s eyes, especially since the florescent lights of the clinic are so blaring. She prefers the darkness anyways, it makes her feel closer to him, somehow.

 

“We both have work tomorrow,” Bellamy points out. There’s no point in arguing with him, he’s already buckling up his satchel. He slings the bag over his shoulder, giving Clarke an easy smile as he leans down to plant a kiss at the top of her head. “Goodnight, Clarke.”

 

Clarke hates the intimacy of it, the soft touch of his lips against her head when five seconds ago he was saying this couldn’t be possible – all ten seconds after he fucked her against this couch. She grimaces, Bellamy notes as he pulls away.

 

“Sorry,” Bellamy apologizes quickly. Clarke doesn’t say anything, watching him waver as he glances at the door and back to her. He sways, and Clarke knows he’s debating saying something that’s going to be even more controversial to her. “We’re going to stick to it this time. No sex. Strictly co-parents.”

 

“You’ve said this before.”

 

“Yeah, and I hate being a hypocrite. So we’re going to approach it differently this time.”

 

Bellamy scans the room, eyes settling on the wooden end table with the only source of light. Before Clarke can even guess what he’s doing, he heads over to it, kneeling to open its tiny compartment drawer. Bellamy sticks his hand inside, fumbling around before retrieving a few spare sticky notes. Clarke raises an eyebrow, watching him take a seat on the couch. He knows her apartment better than her at this point. He pats the space beside him, signaling Clarke to come up as well as he unbuckles his satchel and begins digging through it.

 

Hesitantly, Clarke places her hands on the couch, heaving herself up as she does so. She sinks into the cushion beside him, knees colliding with his in small increments. Her eyes are fixated on his movements as they rummage through his bag, only to retrieve that red pen. Bellamy wiggles it at her, earning an eye roll from Clarke, as he undoes the cap with his teeth.

 

Bellamy scribbles something down at the top of the bright, yellow sticky note but turns it away from Clarke so she can’t fully see it. She huffs, leaning against the back of the couch with her arms planted across her chest, with no clue as to what the father of her child is doing.

 

“What do we still need to figure out?” Bellamy asks her.

 

Clarke doesn’t get it. “What? About sex?”

 

“No. About the baby.”

 

“You mean, everything?”

 

“Name something.”

 

Clarke runs through a culmination of ideas in her mind. She picks the one that worries him the most. “Living situation.”

 

Bellamy quickly scribbles something down on the sticky note. He flashes it to Clarke, before he stands, moving over to the television. Clarke reads it as, Things to Actually Do: Where’s the Baby Going to Live? He peels the sticky note away from its stack, placing it against the corner of the television. He turns to her, a cheeky smile on his face, “Name another.”

 

Clarke’s still not entirely sure what this has to do with them having sex, but she plays along. She mulls it over, “Nurseries.”

 

Bellamy writes as he walks, wandering directly into the kitchen. He sticks a note on the upper cabinet, right above the stove. It sticks out, the brightness of the yellow color contrasting against the pure white of the cabinets. The same title headlines the sticky note, this time following Clarke’s suggestion of nurseries; Baby’s Furniture/Room. The thought of it sends shivers through her spine, her and Bellamy basically having to buy two of everything because of their separate housing.

 

The list continues, Clarke following him throughout her apartment as they come up with a jumble of things they haven’t conquered yet. By the time they’ve covered a quarter of the things they have to do, they have to start doubling, then tripling up on the sticky notes in certain rooms. It’s quite panic inducing, how much they still have to figure out. Soon, Clarke’s apartment is littered with sticky notes in intricate places. There’s at least three in her living room, not counting the additional three in her kitchen and four in her bedroom. There’s even one in her shower, with two in the spare bedroom where all her art supplies are.

 

They land back in Clarke’s living room, the sticky note almost run completely dry. Bellamy tucks his pen back into his bag before placing the sticky notes back in the compartment of the end table while Clarke marvels at the yellow papers that accent her apartment.

 

“What’s the point of all this?” Clarke sighs. “To make me go into early labor?”

 

“It’s so whenever we want to have sex, we can just look at a sticky note and work on that instead,” Bellamy says it so simply. Clarke blinks at him, expecting further explanation on this foolproof plan of his, but he seems pretty content.

 

“I’m sorry, how is that going to distract us from fucking?”

 

“It’ll distract me just fine. We don’t even one of these things ticked off our list and I don’t know about you, but that decreases my sex drive.”

 

“Nothing decreases your sex drive.”

 

“Touché. But you’re worse than me.”

 

“What? How am I more horny than you?”

 

“You’re always beggingme to fuck you.”

 

“And you’re always more than willing.”

 

Bellamy smirks at her. Clarke thinks this whole thing in bogus, the litter of sticky notes just acting as reminders of things they want to avoid. Yet, in a way, she understands his methodology. Clarke’s a planner with an inclination to have everything perfected and completed in a timely manner. Procrastination is no enemy to her, because she’s never come across. As for Bellamy, his innately nurturing behavior may have begun with Octavia, but it sprouted into full force with this baby. He’s nowhere near satisfied until the person he’s supposed to care for, is cared for.

 

For the past month since they’ve both been blissfully aware of this baby, whenever they get stressed about anything – including the baby – because they feel like it’s out of their control, they have sex. Clarke kind of hates how he figured it out before she did, but she also just enjoys sex and so does he, so he’s also kind of wrong.

 

“This will work for two days, tops,” Clarke shrugs.

 

“My guilty conscience is also playing into it.”

 

“Oh my God,” Clarke rolls her eyes. “Bellamy. You aren’t taking advantage of me. I know you’re not over your wife, I know you don’t want to date your ex-girlfriend just because she’s pregnant with your child. It makes sense. We can stillhave sex.”

 

Bellamy peers at her, his chest slowly heaving up and down, hands planted on his hips. There’s that look, the look he gives her when the reality sets in and the glory of the sex and the baby fade. Clarke feels an aching in her chest whenever he does this, gazes at her like she’s just so unaware. She wants to understand, she wants to grasp why Bellamy does the things he does and sometimes she thinks she’s got it. But then he looks at her like that and her confident disappears in a flash.

 

It must be his wife, Clarke assumes. Bellamy never talks about her, barely says her name, doesn’t update Clarke on the divorce proceedings. She knows that her name is Echo and that Bellamy has a court date coming up sometime before Christmas, but otherwise he’s relatively silent. Clarke knows she has to stop bringing her up. Bellamy’s made his peace, stated time and time again that he’s not ready for a relationship and that he doesn’t feel the best about himself having sex with Clarke.

 

Clarke takes a deep breath, inhaling and exhaling through her nose. She looks to Bellamy, recalls how animated he was about this idea of his and compares it to the solemn gaze that crosses his features now. If this is something he wants, Clarke can try.

 

“Fine,” Clarke reassumes her careless persona trying to make it look like she’s genuinely onboard with this plan. Bellamy smirks at her. “We’ll give this a try.”

 

“You look nervous,” Bellamy’s smugness radiates.

 

“I’m not nervous at all. I know you’re going be the one to give in.”

 

“We’ll see about that, princess.”

 

The smirk combined with the nickname is enough to dampen Clarke’s panties once more. The amused expression that paints Bellamy’s face tells her he’s all too aware of it too. She responds with a glare and a middle finger shooting up in his direction, following him as he walks to the door. Bellamy laughs, glancing at Clarke as he reaches the door with that permanent smirk etched on his features.

 

Bellamy slips on his shoes, preparing to leave. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”

 

It almost goes over Clarke’s head, because Bellamy’s always over, but she remembers. “Oh, yeah. What time is everyone coming?”

 

After finding out about Clarke’s pregnancy, Harper insisted they all meet to celebrate. Again, Clarke wanted to wait until she was a little further along, but the blonde’s excitement pierced through the phone almost making the pregnant woman’s ears bleed. Plus, she hadn’t seen the group until the night in question, and she supposes meeting them would relieve the stress that comes along with a baby.

 

With that said, Clarke insisted on hosting. She had to work the day everybody was free anyway, and Bellamy offered to cook, so she figured she’d come home from a long day, see her friends and then pass out seconds after they all left without having to travel from one place to another.

 

“Seven, I told Shaw you’d be working till then, but I think they want to surprise you with some sort of gift anyway,” Bellamy shrugs. Clarke sighs, bringing a smile to his face. “What? We could use a couple of free surprises.”

 

“They’re making such a big deal, I’m not even out of the first trimester yet,” Clarke wanders over to Bellamy as he leans against the doorframe. “I haven’t even told my mom.”

 

“I haven’t told Octavia.”

 

“Are you worried about telling her?”

 

“Not as much as you’re worried about telling your mom.”

Clarke winces as Bellamy chuckles. He’s a hundred percent right. Clarke doesn’t know Octavia apart from her thirteen year old self, but her mom has always been a hard ass and Bellamy knows it all too well. It helps that the two are back in Arkadia, three hours away from them and therefore, void of any information. But Bellamy’s just waiting for the go ahead from Clarke so he can tell his sister, who he already talks to all the time. It’s harder for him than it is for Clarke, who hasn’t spoken to her mother in months.

 

She promised him by the time she hit the second trimester, Bellamy was free to tell his sister. In fact, Clarke really doesn’t care if Octavia knows now, but he agreed to tell his family when she told hers, so she didn’t argue. There’s only a couple weeks left to go, but now Clarke’s not sure if she can bring herself to tell her mother she got pregnant at the beginning of her residency.

 

“I’m sure everything’s going to be fine,” Bellamy placates her. He senses the fakeness of the smile on Clarke’s face the minute it appears. “Let’s just focus on tomorrow. And the sticky notes.”

 

“I won’t have a problem,” Clarke insists.

 

“We’ll see.”

 

Bellamy leans forward to give her a parting kiss on the cheek and Clarke makes sure to dramatically jerk back. He ends up puckering with the air, but only for a moment before he straightens himself out. Clarke grins, pointing her finger to him accusingly as he shakes his head with a smile.

 

“That was a co-parenting kiss goodbye,” Bellamy insists.

 

Clarke tries to refrain her cheeks from turning a shade of rosy red, his smile making her feel warm in ways they are actively trying to prevent. Bellamy catches it anyways, a smirk placated on his lips, before he tips his head towards her as a goodbye. He twists the handle, sparing a glance over his shoulder as exits, before slowing closing the door behind him.

 

He’ll crack, Clarke settles with herself. Bellamy has the same hormone level he had as a teenager, wanting sex nearly as much as Clarke does. He just so happens to be a standup guy, and his moral compass is leading him elsewhere. For now.

 


 

Clarke’s work life has greatly improved since she and Bellamy began figuring things out together. The stress relieved from having to venture into motherhood alone has been placed solely into motivation for her job, and her dedication to the Chief Resident position. She’s at the top of her game, reading patient’s mind and being an excellent assist to attendings. All while keeping her pregnancy a secret.

 

It’s illegal for any workplace, especially Clarke’s, to discriminate against a woman just because she’s pregnant. The fact that she’s with child is not supposed to withhold her from any opportunities; such as raises or promotions. Clarke knows she would be able to keep her job, especially with the maternity cause laced within its description, but any chance she would have as Chief Resident would fly out the door. The position begins in January, just four months before she’s due – nobody in her right mind would give her the job.

 

However, if Clarke already has the job by the time anybody discovers she’s pregnant, then it would be much more difficult for them to fire her than it would be just for them not to hire her at all. All she has to do is keep the bump secure and locked away until December, when the position is filled. And then, she’s in the clear.

 

At the end of her shift, Clarke utilizes the change rooms to slip out of her scrubs and into her attire for the evening. She notes the small outline of her baby belly increasingly growing, casting her hand over the smooth surface. Every day, she thinks she can see just how much bigger her stomach grows. Right now, she just looks bloated, but Clarke’s hoping it stays that while, for just a little while longer.

 

Clarke delicately places her scrubs into the Ziploc bag before shoving it into her duffle bag. She retrieves her faded, blue jeans and black turtleneck; adequate clothing for the night ahead of her. Slipping on her jeans, Clarke reaches down to loop the button through its required hole. She finds herself straining, forearms contracting in an attempt to close up the jeans. She huffs, sucking in her stomach the best she can, the sides of the denim grinding into her hips as she attempts to bring the button and loop closer together. 

 

“Fuck,” Clarke curses. This is her favorite pair of jeans. In frustration, Clarke untucks the turtleneck from her jeans, and smoothens it over the waistband, concealing the unbuckled button. She slings the duffle bag over her shoulder and opens the changeroom door to exit.

 

Luna and a couple of her other colleagues are chatting outside. Clarke keeps her head down, believing in the motto that if she doesn’t make eye contact, they won’t see her and makes a beeline for the door. It’s too good to be true though, because just as Clarke reaches for the door handle, she’s being summoned.

 

“Clarke,” Luna’s monotone, eerie voice echoes from behind her. Clarke turns, a false, subdued look of bewilderment casting her features. “I hear you’re petitioning for the Chief Resident position.”

 

All of her colleagues turn to her, curiosity peaked on their faces. Clarke does a brief scan of the room, noting a lot of these residents are upper years, in their second or third year of residency. Luna stands from the bench the majority of them are perched on. It seems like the two of them are the only first years in the room.

 

Clarke narrows her eyes, irritation setting in. Luna would make her look like a fool in front of all these residents, who have spent more years in this clinic than she has. It doesn’t make her feel any less secure about her ability; Clarke knows she’s intelligent and talented, wicked good at her job. She has no fear about people with more years on her receiving the position instead of her, because it mainly focuses on the interns anyways. Clarke just doesn’t want the extra eyes on her. She’s competitive and confident, but a lot of people lack the ladder. Clarke assumes a lot of the residents staring intently at her fall under that category.

 

Luna glances between Clarke and their colleagues, hands folded across her chest expectantly. Clarke smiles, stepping closer towards the group of residents. She’s not intimidated by anyone, especially not Luna and residents she’s never shared more than a few words with.

 

“I am,” Clarke states, ensuring not to add on to gloat. “Why do you ask?”

 

“Oh, because I’m applying, too,” Luna smiles. She places her hand on a fellow resident’s shoulder, looking to him with a smile. “So is Jackson.”

 

“That’s nice,” Clarke’s stature doesn’t waver. She nods her head to Jackson, who gives her a polite smile in return. He’s a third year resident, Clarke’s seem him around many times. He’s very friendly, always greeting her in the morning shifts they share together. She’s not at all worried about him. “I’ve got to get going, but good luck you guys.”

 

Clarke doesn’t wait for them to reply, she much rather be out of this clinic before they initiate another conversation. She tips her head towards her colleagues, again heading for the door, when Luna calls out to her.

 

“Clarke! Just be mindful, your zipper.”

 

It’s so middle school-ish, how her colleagues try to suppress a snicker with her back turned to them. She doesn’t even try to hide an eye roll, it’s not like they can see her anyways. Clarke tries not to move her head, her eyes shifting downwards to see her shirt has rode up, revealing her unbuckled pants and forefront of her plain, black panties. At least it’s not the sexy kind tonight.

 

Clarke glances over her shoulder. “Good eye, Luna.”

 

There’s no attempt to buckle up her pants, that would just be more humiliating when people see Clarke physically can’t do it. Instead, she smiles sweetly at the colleagues giggling behind her back, and takes her sweet time sauntering over to the door. With her hand on the door handle, she even waves bye to them, all of them staring at her with red faces, before she walks out.

 

What is this, high school? Clarke thinks to herself as she walks to her car. She fumbles with the keys, trying to remember why people care so much about her career and her life, like they shouldn’t be sorting out theirs. After all, Clarke’s life solely revolves around work and now, this baby. Maybe they’d have a chance at catching up to her if they were nearly as preoccupied on their own lives as they are with Clarke Griffin’s.

 

Clarke doesn’t let it bother her. She’s much more excited to see her friends. All of them are coming; Raven, Shaw, Monty, Harper, Jasper and even Jasper’s new girlfriend, Maya. It would be nice, not stressing about the baby for once and actually being able to celebratewith the people she knows cares about her. Not only does Bellamy get along well with their friends, but it’s great to have him there and back in her life. Even in a way different than what she expected.

 

Clarke fumbles with her keys, the smile on her face and thoughts in her head distracting her from what she’s doing. She gets giddy, just thinking about Bellamy, so much so she has to remind herself of what they are. Co-parents. He’s still in love with his wife, but he’s more than willing to be a present parent. Clarke has to remember why he’s sticking around, because it’s not for her. The smile drops from Clarke’s face, the reminder ringing through her ears.

 

The sound of laughter and chatter echoing through the doorframe. Clarke opens the door, revealing her array of friends scattered across her apartment. She smiles, first seeing Jasper with his arms around Bellamy once more, a permanent grin etched on his face. A girl she doesn’t quite recognize stares at them from a couple feet away, a quiet smile on her lips and Clarke assumes that’s Jasper’s girlfriend. On the couch, Raven has her legs swung over Shaw as she launches into a conversation with Harper, sitting cross legged on the floor across from them. In the kitchen, Monty bounces baby Jordan, just a couple of months old, while he shakes the bottle he’s preparing for him.

 

Clarke’s heart squeals, the scene before her feeling more like home than she’s felt in ages. She steps further inside her apartment, beginning to slip off her shoes when Jasper catches sight of her.

 

Jasper extends his index finger in Clarke’s direction, “There’s the baby mama!”

 

Clarke’s friends chant in unison, welcoming the woman with cheers and screams. Bellamy smirks at her, the overwhelming attention being thrown her way making Clarke cringe. Harper’s the first to rush to her, enveloping her in a big hug before she can protest.

 

“I’m so happy for you!” Harper squeals.

 

Out of the corner of her eye, Clarke sees Raven and Shaw stand, making their way over to her. They wrap their arms around her and Harper, joining the chorus of giggles that emerge from Clarke’s lips. Jasper follows suit, detangling himself from the father of Clarke’s child to join in on the fun, only for Monty to wander over, sparing an arm to hug around the group as he juggles Jordan in the other.

 

The array of arms wrap around Clarke, yet she feels anything but suffocated. It’s nice, to have moments free of worry, her thoughts absent of the things they haven’t done yet for this baby – and just enjoy the presence of her friends who are so undeniably happy for her. Even if they all found out thanks to Murphy’s big mouth.

 

Clarke peers through the cracks, her friends heads obstructing her view, trying to catch a glimpse at Bellamy. She catches sight of him, just across the hall, Maya standing idly beside him. The smile on his face stretches, his dimples deep and admirable. He stares at the group of friends, primarily sneaking peaks at Clarke. She knows he’s relieved for her, to have them here for her.

 

Before Clarke can beckon him over, the group disperses, pulling apart to give the pregnant woman her much needed space. Murmurs – primarily from Harper and Jasper – fill the space as they pull away from her, asking a million questions at a million miles a minute. She looks around, trying to keep track of who’s saying what, but everyone’s mouth is moving.

 

“How did this happen?”

 

“Do you know if it’s a boy or a girl, yet?”

 

“Do you have any baby names? I have some suggestions–”

 

“Wait, so are you guys going to move in together?”

 

Clarke nervously looks to Bellamy, who now smirks, very evidently admiring the attention on Clarke. She narrows her eyes at him, his smirk only deepening. She scans the rest of her friends, trying to muster up the courage or knowledge to say anything useful to them. At one point, she’s sure they’ve begun side conversations with one another because Jasper, Harper and Raven have teamed up on one common area – names, Clarke thinks – and are now conversing with each other before addressing her.

 

The panic of her face must become apparent, because Bellamy takes notice. One fleeting look to him and that’s all it takes for him to whisper something politely to Maya, and appear at Clarke’s side in a flash. Clarke sees him hesitate to put an arm around her, his hand reaching up in the motion. She raises an eyebrow, but Bellamy quickly refrains, settling on standing shoulder to shoulder. The voices of her friends refuse to die down.

 

“Alright,” Bellamy’s voice booms, clapping his hands together for emphasis. Everyone’s mouths shut, almost on cue. Clarke can’t help but be impressed. She’s used to being the one in charge. “Let’s eat, shall we?”

 

Everyone’s settled down on the makeshift dining table Bellamy prepared beforehand. Clarke’s dining table is tucked to the side, only really seating four people on a good day. However, Bellamy insisted he could make it work with one of those storage tables he has ahold of at school, instead of having all of them eat plates of food on Clarke’s couch – which again isn’t enough to seat all of them. It works surprisingly well, if not a little bit of a tight fit. The table stretches from the kitchen to the living room, obstructing really any walkway, but it’s not like they need to be wandering anyways.

 

The food is placed throughout the table, all laid out on a white table cloth Clarke knows is hers, but she definitely hasn’t seen in ages. A bowl of salad in the middle of the table with tongs placed alongside, a plate of garlic bread and cutlets of chicken on a separate glass dish. There’s more than enough for all of them. Clarke knows it’s purposeful, Bellamy’s been begging her to take leftovers to work for her lunch.

 

Their friends dive in without complaint, Bellamy already displaying their plates before them. Clarke swoons at the thought Bellamy’s put into the night. She did nothing, just went to work and came home to this. Her eyes follow him, as he sets a final plate down in front of himself, smoothening out the wrinkles in his shirt before taking a seat next to Clarke and that familiar feeling between her legs returns.

 

“So,” Jasper talking with a mouthful of food is almost its own language by now. Luckily, after years of friendship, Clarke’s fluent. He waggles his fork between the two soon-to-be parents perched across for him, his eyebrows wiggling suggestively. “When did you guys do the Big Bang?”

 

Maya, his quiet, but adorable girlfriend, giggles. Everyone else winces, except for Bellamy whose infamous smirk shines throughout the table. He looks to Clarke, as if sensing how she’s already put herself in a mood, and nudges her with his elbow. Clarke glares at him, watching as he opens his mouth to give an explanation she definitely wouldn’t approve of.

 

“It was a one-time thing,” Clarke lies. She doesn’t even have to look at Bellamy to feel his smirk deepen.

 

“What,” Harper’s hands fall against the table cloth, her eyebrows furrowing together. “So you guys aren’t together?”

 

“No,” the quickness of Bellamy’s response makes Clarke unsettled. “But we’re going to co-parent. And we’re friends. So, it’s going well.”

 

Clarke’s eyes dart to Raven, as if on instinct. The engineer’s popped a piece of chicken into her mouth, but she’s already staring directly at Clarke, an expression reading no-bullshit-please etched onto her features. Clarke’s given it away, the way her heart dropped at Bellamy’s quick answer written all over her face. Raven leans closer, nodding her head to Clarke, hoping she’ll elaborate on that. The blonde shakes her head, short and quick, hoping her friend will just ask later.

 

She zones back in to the conversation running through the table, Jasper already shifting topics to naming another child after him. Neither of them even have to say anything, Monty already protectively holding Jordan to him and calmly stating that his son is an individual aside from his namesake. It definitely distracts Bellamy, who finds humor in her friends banter, eyes intent on the scene before him.

 

The heat between Clarke’s legs intensify. She hates it, how she can get turned on by such mundane acts Bellamy performs, whether it’s him cooking or smiling or just enjoying the company. Her eyes linger, watching as Bellamy smiles and chimes in, almost effortlessly like he’s been here all along.

 

Bellamy must see her from his peripheral vision, cause by the time he spots her, it’s too late for Clarke to look away and make it look natural. She smiles sweetly at him, her shoulders raising and eyelashes batting away innocently. He shakes his head, subtly but enough for Clarke to know she’s caught.

 

Bellamy leans over to her, head still motioning no. “Can’t give up so soon, princess.”

 

“It’s like you want me to fail,” Clarke whispers accusingly.

 

“It is fun to watch,” Bellamy admits. “But we’re sticking to this.”

 

“Sure–”

 

Suddenly, Bellamy’s scanning the room before she can even finish her sentence. Clarke follows his gaze, landing on a proud yellow sticky note hung delicately on one her upper cabinets. She sees him squint to read it, but Clarke’s already made it out.

 

“Actually,” Clarke announces to the table, a big smile on her face. “I wanted your opinions on something.” Everyone’s silenced, egged on by the urgency in Clarke’s voice. “Nursery color schemes. What’s something neutral, but not overdone?”

 

Monty jumps on it, launching into a whole spiel about an idea Harper shut down for Jordan’s room. Clarke has to admit, she’s only half-listening, and since Monty is basically addressing the whole table, he doesn’t notice her glancing at Bellamy. The sweet smile on her face has returned, Bellamy sharing it with a nod of his head, almost like he’s proud. It irritates her, how he’s so committed to this no-sex thing, like he has such a pristine moral compass.

 

Bellamy leans in once more. “Nice save.”

 

Clarke furiously takes a bite at her chicken. She can hear the low chuckle resonating in Bellamy’s throat as he leans back into his seat. His attention turns to Monty, who continues to ramble about the theme that Clarke couldn’t quite catch – nor care about. She can’t even pretend like she’s invested, too intent on Bellamy whose less than concerned about her desires.

 


 

By the time dessert rolls around, everyone’s practically stuffed. Bellamy doesn’t sweat it, he only bought snacks and treats from the grocery store, so he’s pretty content with the group dispersing into the living room or kitchen. Clarke helps him clear off the table, despite his protests. It’s the least she can do. Not only did she not help with the set up or preparation of this, at all, but she’s also not praising him with sex anymore. So, this is a good alternative for now.

 

Raven lingers, evidently not helping with the cleanup, but standing nearby, sipping gingerly on her wine. Clarke eyes her, motioning for her to come help them if she’s just going to do nothing, but Raven brushes her pregnant friend off, content on drinking her wine and waiting for everything to be cleaned up. She’s met with an eyeroll, but not that Raven cares.

 

“I’ve got this one,” Bellamy slips in, taking a dish from Clarke before she can reach for it. “Go, talk to your friends.”

 

“They’re your friends, too,” Clarke insists. “Come on, we can clean when everyone leaves.”

 

“I’ve got to get going after this.”

 

“What? You have something planned tomorrow?”

 

“I have some work to do–”

 

“You can just do that here–”

 

Bellamy’s eyes bulge at her, not enough to signal alarm, but to express his plead for Clarke not to continue pestering him further. It’s answer enough. He’s trying to distance himself, not outwardly saying it in order to protect Clarke’s feelings.

 

Clarke’s shoulders droop, but she keeps her mouth shut. Bellamy nods to her thankfully, taking the plate and heading to the sink without another word from either of them. She watches as he sets the dirty plate on a stack of similar ones, instead taking one of the dirty glasses and dumping out its contents before beginning to rinse it. Shaw soon appears beside him, and Clarke’s content knowing he has company if he insists to clean her dishes.

 

Sometimes, she wonders how domestic he can act towards her. He cooks for her at least a couple times a week, washes her dishes, brings her toiletries, spends time with her while he’s grading assignments. It can’t all be for the baby, crosses Clarke’s mind a lot. But she knows it’s foolish of her to think otherwise, that Bellamy would even be giving her the time of day if it wasn’t for this baby. He can call them friends all he wants, Clarke is certain they’re on the cusp of co-parents.

 

After all, friends communicate. Clarke and Bellamy talk often, especially when they’re not fucking, but it’s always on a common ground – the baby or sex. She’s tried prying about Echo, but Bellamy shuts down. He either changes the topic or refuses to go into detail and when Clarke presses it, he gets upset or leaves – which is the last thing she wants. There’s this whole other side to him that she doesn’t know, that he refuses to talk about. She doesn’t even know the father of her own child anymore – if she ever did at all.

 

“Hey,” the touch of someone’s finger against her shoulder disrupts Clarke’s train of thought. Clarke looks, relieved to see Raven. “You unbutton those pants during dinner?”

 

Clarke glances down, completely forgetting that these godforsaken jeans betrayed her earlier today. She sighs, having no energy to care. “It is what it is.”

 

Raven grins. “Good to know pregnancy hasn’t ruined your confidence.”

 

Clarke laughs, leaning down to gather up the table cloth. Raven sets her wine glass on the countertop, this time returning to actually offer some assistance. She walks around to the other end of the table, opposite to Clarke. Mirroring her friend, Raven picks up the corners of the tablecloth, coming together with Clarke to fold it in half.

 

“You guys are totally fucking,” Raven whispers when she reaches Clarke.

 

Clarke yanks the tablecloth from Raven’s grip, the folded sheerness wrinkled by the drastic action. Raven only smirks at Clarke’s abruptness, as the blonde continues to fold the tablecloth into a neat square, glaring at her friend.

 

“Not anymore,” Clarke whispers back.

 

“Why not? You want more?”

 

“No, but he’s clearly still into his wife.”

 

“Not enough if they’re getting a divorce.”

 

“He told me even if he was over her, he wouldn’t be with me.”

 

Raven gapes at her. “What? He said that to the mother of his child?”

 

“In fairness, it was before I even got pregnant,” Clarke defends. She makes one last fold with the tablecloth, setting it aside on the makeshift dining table. It lands with a thump, the neatness of it coming apart.

 

“Okay, so now I’m confused. No more sex because…?”

 

“Because he wants to stick to being co-parents exclusively.”

 

“Oh, he thinks you’re going to fall in love with again.”

 

“He does not.”

 

“Why else would he give up free sex? With the mother of his child?” Raven instigates. Clarke rolls her eyes, only encouraging her friend to elaborate. “Think about it. You want to keep seeing him after your one night stand, he says no because he couldn’t be with you. Now, you’re having his baby. Fucking with a kid is a whole different ballgame, he’s totally expecting you to beg for a ring.”

 

“I told him I get that he’s not ready,” Clarke offers.

 

You have to not be ready. You have to express that you don’t want this to be a relationship. I mean, unless that’s a lie.”

 

Clarke sucks in a breath, casting a glance back at the tablecloth. She exhales, reaching out to grasp the sheerness of the fabric. She feels the softness of it against her fingers, the folds coming apart a little more as she ghosts over it. Her mind races, because she’s thought about this extensively, well before the words left Raven’s lips.

 

Before this, Clarke spent her nights with a different person occupying her bed. Before that, there was Lexa, for a good two years. It seems so long ago, that she thought of Lexa being the one that she was destined to marry. It’s barely been six months, less than half a year since they broke up and now here Clarke is, pregnant with Bellamy Blake’s baby. This time last year, she was standing in this kitchen with her girlfriend while Bellamy probably stood in his own kitchen with his wife, unbeknownst to what the following year would bring them.

 

The thing is, Clarke doesn’t fall in love easily. Falling in love with Lexa took time, even after the eight years it took to find her. The only other person that she ever loved was Bellamy Blake, and he’d been on her mind years after they stopped seeing each other. Clarke knows how easy it would be for her to fall in love with him all over again.

 

Clarke glances across the kitchen, Bellamy and Shaw still chatting away. Bellamy’s still hunched over the sink, but his head is turned to the side, giving adequate attention to his friend. There’s a big, lopsided grin on his face, followed by a laugh that causes him throw his head back and shoulders to raise. Clarke can’t help the smile that grows on her face.

 

“Ah,” Raven notes. “So it would be a lie.”

 

“No, it wouldn’t be,” Clarke insists, swirling back around to face Raven. “I understand what this is. I’m fine with having him this way.”

 

“Better than not at all.”

 

“I can live without him. I’ve done it for a decade.”

 

“And yet, here you are. Knocked up.”

 

“You act like I planned this.”

 

Raven sighs, heading over the countertop to retrieve her wine glass. Once in her grasp, she leans against it, only a couple of feet away from her fiancé and Bellamy. Clarke grabs the tablecloth with an intention to put it away, but instead of wandering over to the cabinet, she steps towards Raven. She leans against the island beside her, shoulders touching and gazes landing on the living room.

 

Perched on her couch are Monty and Maya, who stare at their partners sitting cross legged on the floor. Harper’s holding Jordan under his armpits, the seven month old baby bouncing happily on his chubby little legs. Jasper holds his hands out to the baby, a big grin on his face, chanting something about Jordan being a star nephew all because of the Jordan legacy name. Jordan flashes a gummy smile, a coo gurgling from his throat. Monty leans down, placing a kiss on top of his son’s head before leaving another one on his wife’s lips.

 

Clarke doesn’t notice how wide her smile is until Raven nudges her. She glances at the engineer, whose eyebrows are raised suggestively in her direction, before turning her attention back to the baby and his doting parents with her lips pressed together. She sighs inwardly, watching Harper hand Jordan to Monty, his chubby arms slapping across his father’s neck less than gracefully. Monty laughs, Jordan mimicking his giddiness with a toothless grin.

 

“You and Bellamy can still be a family,” Raven comments, her voice low so the words only resonate in her friend’s ears. Clarke tears her gaze away from the scene before them. “But if he doesn’t want to be with you, sex isn’t going to change that.”

 

“I know,” Clarke admits. She hesitates, “If this is what he wants, I can do this for him and for the baby. I can just be his friend, his co-parent.”

 

“Do you really have another choice?”

 

“No, but I know I can do it.”

 

Raven nods slowly, taking a final sip of her wine. She finishes off the glass, placing it on the countertop behind her. Clarke hugs the tablecloth closer to her, a wave of reality rushing over her. Raven slings her arm around Clarke, squeezing her friend to her size. Clarke rests her head against her shoulder, taking a deep breath as she does so.

 

“Work on your friendship with him before anything else,” Raven suggests. “Rebuild that.”

 

They were horrible friends before they were together in high school. Clarke looks back on it, a reminiscent smile spreading across her lips, but at the time it was torture. However, circumstances are different now, she acknowledges, and they’re both adults with a baby on the way.

 

Clarke glances back at Bellamy. He turns at the same time, offering her a smile as they make eye contact. Clarke peers at the stack of plates that are still uncompleted, almost missing him lean forward and grab the glass Raven so nicely placed on the countertop. He tips his head to Clarke, who smiles apologetically at him. He brushes her off, a shrug from him telling her not to worry about it. Bellamy resumes his conversation with Shaw, turning back to the sink to wash the glass.

 

Her gaze turns back to the living room, watching her four friends play with Jordan. Clarke yearns to join them, almost as much as she wants Bellamy to join them. She detangles herself from Raven, much to her friend’s surprise.

 

“Don’t be mad,” Raven cautions her. “I still need you to be a maid of honor in a few months.”

 

“I’m not, I promise,” Clarke assures her. The brief flash of Clarke in her maid of honor dress makes her coil, knowing she’s going to have to get the dress she reserved at the boutique refitted thanks to her belly. She shakes the image from her mind, turning back to Bellamy. “Bell, take a break.”

 

Bellamy looks back at her like he’s going to say no. Clarke likes to think her stature remained calm and collected, but the pleading is all in her eyes. She nods her head towards the living room. Bellamy glances at the scene in the living room before back at Clarke, absentmindedly placing a glass on the drying rack. He smiles with a curt nod, muttering something to Shaw before they both retreat over to the girls.

 

Shaw waltzes over to his fiancée, placing his arm over her shoulder and a kiss to her temple. “Great news, Bellamy is going to be Clarke’s plus one to the wedding.”

 

Raven’s eyes dart to Clarke skeptically, but Clarke’s already facing Bellamy for an explanation. The wedding RSVP’s were sent out months ago, before the summer season and long before Bellamy even knew Shaw. He glares accusingly at his new friend. “I told you I wanted to talk to Clarke about it first.”

 

“We already paid for her plus one’s plate,” Shaw points out.

 

“Right, Lexa,” Clarke sighs. She turns to Bellamy, and offers a simple shrug. “I don’t mind you replacing her.”

 

“You’ve already knocked her up,” Raven offers with a smirk. “What’s one date to a wedding?”

 

Bellamy flinches, increasing Clarke’s desire to gear him away from the engaged pair. She hooks her arm around his, praying he views it as platonically as she intends it to be. “Let’s go see Jordan.”

 

Clarke notices Bellamy’s eyes flicker with glee, just for a moment, but she catches it. He remains his calm stature, a small smile placated on his face as they wander into the living room. Monty is bouncing Jordan on his knees, greeting the pair with a smile. Clarke removes her grip from Bellamy’s arm, stepping over Jasper to take a seat next to Harper. She settles into the softness of the carpet, watching Bellamy hover over them, hesitant to step forward.

 

Jordan stares at the new faces, excited by the amount of attention he’s getting. His gaze switches been his mom and Clarke, before landing on Bellamy who basically towers over the rest of them. Bellamy does nothing, a simple awkward smile on his face that ignites a round of giggles from Jordan. Bellamy’s taken aback, his eyes widening when Jordan reaches his chunky, little arms in his direction.

 

“Aw,” Harper coos. “He wants to hug you!”

 

“Oh,” Bellamy’s low tone sounds out of place when he’s uncertain. Clarke’s heart flutters, Bellamy only being able to stare at Jordan.

 

Clarke stands, leaning over the couch to lightly tickle Jordan’s stomach. He gurgles, turning his attention to the blonde and reaching his arms for her instead. Monty willingly hands over the bouncing baby, Clarke scooping him into her arms with ease. She’s held him plenty of times, especially when he was just born, but he’s a lot bigger now, settling into her side like a puzzle piece. She straightens, eyes following him as his hands reach to grab a fistful of her blonde locks.

 

Jordan yanks, but more out of curiosity, not hard enough for Clarke to complain. She picked him up to give to Bellamy, but now, he feels secure in her grasp. She bounces him, grinning when giggles erupt from him. He holds onto her hair tighter, his free hand grasping at Clarke’s turtleneck. He’s the perfect mix of Monty and Harper, Clarke realizes, with the gentleness of his father and smile belonging to his mother.

 

Clarke remembers the purpose of this, glancing at Bellamy. His eyes are already on her, following her every movement with wide eyes in complete awe. Clarke ignores the flip her heart does, carefully wandering over to Bellamy. He still towers over Jordan, usually towering over Clarke, causing the infant’s attention to return to him. Again, he holds his arms out to him. Clarke holds him forward.

 

“Come on, Bell,” Clarke teases. “You scared?”

 

Bellamy glares at Clarke, this time eliciting a smirk from her. He gently reaches out to Jordan, accepting the baby into his arms. Clarke hovers, making sure Bellamy’s got the grasp down pat, because the last time he held a baby this small he was six or seven and it was his own sister. However, as she should have expected, Bellamy’s a natural, cradling the infant with a big grin.

 

“Hey buddy,” Bellamy bounces him on his hip. Jordan reaches up, Bellamy holding him a little higher so he can grasp at his curls. He laughs, lowering Jordan and causing the curl to slip between his chubby fingers as he does so. “You like my hair? I like your hair.”

 

Clarke can’t take her eyes off Bellamy. She rarely can on a good day, but now it’s a different type of feeling. He interacts with Jordan with ease, playing with the infant like he knows all the best things to do to make him giggle, talking to him like he understands. Bellamy’s smile is wide and his eyes light up every time Jordan does something as minor as graze his hand over his face, haphazardly tracing his freckles.

 

Her heart swirls and dips into her stomach, accompanying the butterflies that haven’t really left since her and Bellamy reunited. It almost makes her nauseated, how permanent his effect on her has been, how all of Bellamy’s actions cause an innate reaction within her. All of which Clarke has trouble controlling, the urge to wrap her arms around him never being strong. But Clarke resists, watching Bellamy’s lips gently bite down on Jordan’s little fingers. The infant laughs again, for the millionth time that night, and Bellamy breaks into a grin. 

 

Instinctively, Clarke gently caresses her stomach, the slight bulge restricting her jeans from closing not being so much of a bother now.

 


 

By the time everyone’s piled out, it’s just after eleven – surprisingly early for one of their gatherings. However, Harper and Monty had to leave once Jordan got fussy and everyone dwindled from there. Clarke half expects Bellamy to leave with them, but by the time their last party guests leave, he heads right to the kitchen – intent on finishing those dishes.

 

Clarke’s not one to protest his presence, so she slips into her bedroom and changes into more comfortable clothing. She replaces her turtleneck with a salmon baggy t-shirt with some scratched off logo on it and finally strips out of her jeans. She debates walking out just in her underwear, but is soon reminded of her conversation with Raven from earlier and pulls out a pair of grey sweatpants.

 

As Clarke drags the pants up her leg, her ear strains, hearing the pitter patter of water from her faucet as Bellamy washes the dishes. Her mind drifts, wondering if he’s thinking about his wife while he absentmindedly runs his hands over the dishes that belong to the woman he got pregnant. Clarke despises the itching feeling that rises in her chest when she thinks about it, how her life may be completely uprooted, but his is more so. It’s detrimental for the though to even cross her mind, but she can’t help it.

 

Content in her sleepwear, lost in her thoughts, Clarke wanders back into the living room. Bellamy’s back is turned to her, still slaving over the sink. She pauses, watching him from the hall – quiet and in motion. She resists the urge to wrap her arms around him from behind, walking over to the left side of him, where the stack of dishes has decreased.

 

“Thought you were planning to leave,” Clarke comments. Bellamy sets aside a now clean dish on the drying rack just as Clarke reaches for another. He accepts it from her with a polite smile and turns back to the sink.

 

“I do,” Bellamy confirms. “But I can’t leave the mother of my child with a mess, now can I?”

 

“I’m fully capable of washing my own dishes,” Clarke huffs.

 

“I like doing them.”

 

“You’re such a housewife.”

 

“That’s cute.”

 

Clarke giggles, her smile deepening when she sees the ends of Bellamy’s lip quipping upwards. Her eyes linger as his gaze returns to the dish, scrubbing off the access food with her sponge, unbeknownst to her staring. His freckles prevail in the florescent lighting, the one lightbulb lit above their heads as the rest of her apartment is left dim.

 

She almost doesn’t ask. Leaving things as they are meant things would stay the same, right? Nobody would say anything to mess it up this time. Yet, despite her heart screaming no, she opens her mouth.

 

Bellamy beats her to the punch. “I’m sorry about Shaw, by the way. He asked me to come to the wedding as your plus one and I told him I would ask you first. In case you wanted to bring someone else.”

 

Clarke stifles a laugh. “Who would I bring? Lexa kind of bailed.”

 

“Right, sorry,” Bellamy apologizes quickly.

 

“I was just kidding. Lexa’s been out of my life for a while now. And you’re kind of stuck with me for the next eighteen years, at least. I’d love for you to be my plus one.”

 

Bellamy quietly nods, the hint of a smile disappearing just as fast as it appears on his face. Clarke notices it though, hard not to when she’s looking at him all the time. His gaze dips, back to the dishes, out of the conversation once more. Clarke’s eyes are still on him.

 

He never asks for her to elaborate on Lexa. Maybe it’s because he just doesn’t care, or doesn’t want to press her, but Clarke always wonders if it’s so he doesn’t have to give her an explanation about Echo. That’s just it though, Clarke would sing a whole song detailing all the ups and downs of her and Lexa’s relationship if it meant Bellamy would offer any information with substance pertaining to his soon-to-be ex-wife.

 

Clarke falters, her weight shifting from one foot to another as she hands Bellamy another plate. Again, he accepts it from her, this time noting her distasteful stare.

 

“What?” Bellamy smirks. “The sticky note plan not working?”

 

Clarke surprises herself, basically ignoring him. Instead, she blurts out, “I’m okay with it. You know, being friends, not having sex. I understand that’s going to complicate things for you. But I want to reiterate, Bellamy, I’m in no place for a relationship right now either.”

 

Bellamy’s a little taken aback, clearly not expecting that sort of spiel from Clarke tonight. It takes him a while to shake it, only noticing when his hand is directly under the piping hot water for way too long. He suppresses a groan, rinsing the rest of the dish before placing it on the drying rack. He for a dry towel clipped between drawers, leaning his back against the sink to dry his hands before gently throwing it aside.

 

“I know that,” Bellamy crosses his arms over his chest.

 

“You do,” Clarke draws out, not convinced, yet blushing at her own foolishness. He probably just doesn’t want to have sex with her.

 

“Yeah, I know how serious you are about this Chief Resident position.”

 

“So, that’s just it. You just want to stop having sex, be friends without the benefits.”

 

“I think it’s what’s best for us.”

 

Clarke wants to scream, because how dare he assume what is best for her. But she calms, knowing herself how it feels to think something is best for the both of them. This is what is best for Bellamy and if that’s the case, she can do that.

 

Not without knowing why, though. “You think it will complicate things?”

 

“Well, we are having a baby. And we’ve rebuilt our friendship. Adding sex definitely makes things more difficult.”

 

Clarke hates that it’s that simple. So simple there’s no way for her to find loopholes. It’s plain and dry and yet, she’s not all that convinced. Call it wishful thinking, but Clarke’s desire to pry more doesn’t just stem from her nosy tendencies. She knows – at least some semblance – of the person Bellamy is. And she understands that Bellamy’s not ready, she knows that for a fact, so maybe it wouldn’t matter if she was ready. If this is what he wants, she can play along. But if there’s something she can fix–

 

“Okay, friends,” Clarke settles on with a nod. A moment of silence hovers over them, but by the way Bellamy sways forward, she can tell he’s waiting for her to drop the next round of questions. “I want to talk about Echo.”

 

“Clarke,” Bellamy sighs.

 

“You just finished saying that we’re friends, Bellamy. Not only friends, we’re having a baby,” Clarke points out. Bellamy looks forward, chewing on the inside of his mouth. “You have to start opening up to me. There’s a whole other side of you I don’t know anymore.”

 

Bellamy taps his foot against the floor. He hesitates before finally muttering, “I don’t want to bore you with the details.”

 

Clarke steps forward. “That’s such a stupid excuse, Bellamy. I care about you, as a friend and the father of my child. I see it weighing on you, every single day and I want you to know you can be honest with me.”

 

She thinks she may have gotten too close, her chest brushing up against his arm as her eyes bore into the side of his face. But she makes no effort to move, silently begging him, pleading for him to say something.

 

“Bellamy,” Clarke’s voice is soft, open. “We’re in this together now. Co-parents, remember?”

 

A small smirk forms on Bellamy’s lip and that’s when she knows she has him. He looks to her, the smirk on his face attempting to take away from the sadness in his eyes. Clarke stares at him, blue eyes connected to his brown ones, all the words unspoken pouring into them. The upward ends of Bellamy’s lips droop, forming a tight line.

 

“Things between Echo and I are done. I’m a hundred percent and ten percent committed to this baby.”

 

Clarke nods her head slowly. “I know.”

 

“I’m sorry if you think I’m hiding something from you,” Bellamy’s low voice rumbles in his chest. “But I’m not. Echo’s my past now – she’s taken your spot.”

 

It’s a joke, Clarke can tell by the way Bellamy breaks out into a sly smirk. But she has to force a smile, knowing just a few months ago, Clarke very much was Bellamy’s past. And he would have kept it that way, had it not been for this baby.

 

“That’s reassuring,” Clarke lies. She pauses, trying to find the right words. Another lie follows. “I’m glad we’re friends.”

 

“Me, too,” Bellamy smiles. “Maybe we’ll be better at it this time.”

 

Clarke laughs, only because Bellamy chuckles and every smile that lifts onto his face it spreads to her. The aching feeling in her chest stays put, forcing it’s way to her throat and making her vision blurry. She closes her eyes, not wanting Bellamy to notice the tears that have filled them and instead gently reaches down, intertwining their fingers together. She rests her head on his shoulder, drawing out a long breath. He doesn’t shy away, finding comfort in the intimacy of it, similarly to Clarke. He leans his head on top of hers, just after planting a kiss to the top of her head.

 

Platonic friends raising a baby– Clarke can hear her heart cracking in her chest.

Chapter Text

Clarke doesn’t have to be a doctor nor pregnant to know that the first trimester is hell. The welcoming of morning sickness, first couple pounds of weight gain and slew of mood swings can be a real detriment to anyone’s self-esteem, but it takes a new form in Clarke Griffin. Being a perfectionist such as herself, she’s mastered the trials and tribulations of the first trimester.

 

Every night, she prepares a banana smoothie with strong hints of ginger and pops it in the fridge overnight to battle her wave of nausea in the morning. She slurps it down while getting ready for work, in between crackers and any other bland foods that prevent morning sickness before starting her day. Bellamy hates it, but he rather she eat full course meals every single day and gain more weight than already necessary.

 

That’s what’s difficult, deterring herself from Bellamy’s cooking skills. Every time he’s over, she has to physically remove him from her kitchen and pry his hands off any equipment. Weight gain is inevitable enough without his food’s divine intervention. Mood swings are more difficult to control – especially with Bellamy basically already in parent mode, but Clarke’s managed. Mostly because she realized she acts irrational, similar to her mother, when she’s in the height of a swing.

 

Thankfully, Clarke’s just a week from the end of her first trimester.

 

“Phase two,” Clarke groans, sprawling across her couch. She slaps her hands against her stomach, the sound echoing and causing Bellamy to flinch. “Your days are numbered.”

 

“Please don’t say that to our baby,” Bellamy pleads.

 

Clarke smirks, eyes following him as he stands up from the couch. Bellamy leans down, beginning to collect his new round of student’s assignments and delicately placing them into his satchel. Clarke shuffles up, leaning against the shoulder of the couch, her hands now delicately caressing her baby bump. “This is cause for celebration.”

 

“Oh, yeah?” Bellamy teases, slinging his satchel over his shoulder. “Should we call your mom?”

 

The daggers Clarke sends his way bring a smile to Bellamy’s face. She rolls her eyes, “I’ll get to it. Maybe at Christmas, when she calls to remind me it’s a holiday.”

 

Bellamy snickers, knowing all too well of her mother’s overbearing habits. Clarke admires that he gets it, even after a decade of not seeing the two interact – granted, not that there was much development over the years.

 

Clarke leans her head back, resting against the corner of the shoulder and cushion of the couch. Her eyes struggle to stay open, her only motivation being that she gets to stare at Bellamy just a little longer. He stands over her, a half-smile taking up his features as she struggles to stay awake. It’s only ten o’clock, but she had a full shift today. And pregnancy doesn’t allow her to be as alert as she used to be.

 

“I’ll let you get some sleep,” Bellamy’s voice is barely above a whisper, as if she’s already dozing off.

 

Being friends isn't as hard as Clarke originally thought it would be. She would actually call her relationship with Bellamy; a friendship now. Now that neither of them are pining for sex - despite Bellamy's constant teasing that manages to come out of nowhere - it feels like she's getting to know present day Bellamy Blake, instead of resorting to the previous image of him she ingrained in her mind for a decade. 

 

It doesn't make it any easier on her when he has to leave, though. Clarke has got used to his company, secure in the reassurance that majority of the time, Bellamy appears just minutes after Clarke arrives home from work, knocking at her door, ready to greet her with his dazzle of a smirk. Sometimes, she allows herself to forget he's so diligent about seeing her so often, only so they can fall into sync in time for the baby's arrival. It can't be too selfish for Clarke to think he solely just wants to spend time with her. 

 

“You can stay,” Clarke argues.

 

“I have work tomorrow, too,” Bellamy points out. “You know, a class full of kids to teach. At a normal nine to five hour. Unlike you.”

 

“I don’t get to choose my hours.”

 

“Neither do I.”

 

“You went into the job having a pretty solid idea.”

 

“So did you.”

 

Clarke sighs, the argument she’d been debating to start dying on her lips. He likes to tease her about her long hours all the time, but loves her job and he knows that well enough by now – at least she doesn’t have to bring work home, like him. Bellamy’s smile turns into a smirk, as it always does when he thinks he’s won an argument. She lifts her head up from the crook of the couch and shuffles upward, trying to regain some state of consciousness as Bellamy gears up to leave. She folds her legs beneath her, widening her eyes in attempts to wake herself up.

 

Bellamy turns to her, taking a couple of steps towards her so he can lean down and kiss her cheek. He doesn’t linger, but it feels like he does, the way his lips imprint on her cheek. Clarke feels the ghost of the kiss when he pulls away with a smile. Hates it more that he finds his actions platonic, the intimacy of it not phasing him while it courses through her veins and makes her heart quicken its pace.

 

“Try to look alive,” Bellamy jokes.

 

Clarke only gives him a smile in return before he heads for the door. She watches him go, always waiting until he’s out the door to tear her eyes away from the scene. Quietly, she sits, as he slips on his shoes and puts on his jacket over the satchel that slings across his shoulder. She hates when he leaves, hates more that she can’t say anything about it.

 

“Oh,” Clarke recalls. Bellamy’s hand pauses on the door handle, his head swiveling around to catch a glimpse of her. She’s already on her feet, bending over to open the end table beside her couch. “I have something for you.”

 

Bellamy’s footsteps echo from behind her in an attempt to peer at what she’s doing. Clarke tries her best to use her body as a shield, retrieving the item paired with a sticky note. She spins around, her hands tucked behind her back and a big grin on her face, not realizing how close he’s gotten to her.

 

Clarke bumps into his chest, his body previously inches away from her. She staggers back, yelping as he catches her by forearms. Bellamy chuckles, “Careful, princess.”

 

Another thing Clarke hates; the nickname. At least before, it gave her an incentive to jump his bones. Now, her heat is met with nothing, the butterflies in her stomach flapping their wings aimlessly and the blush that previously patterned her cheeks replaced with her teeth biting down on the inside of her mouth.

 

“Anyways,” Clarke brushes him off with an eye roll. She shrugs his hands off of her, his hands falling down to his sides. Bellamy’s smile falls off his lips, folding his arms across his chest. Clarke tries to ignore the pride that mere action fills her will. “Like I said, I have something for you.”

 

Bellamy’s eyebrows raise. “Should I be scared?”

 

Clarke ignores his taunting, bringing her hand in front of her to reveal a slick, silver key. At the base of it, a sticky note proudly stands. Sprawled across the yellow paper reads, Things To Actually Do: Get In Clarke’s Apartment.

 

It took all her willpower to stop her from making a joke with that one.

 

A look of bewilderment spreads across Bellamy’s face. He stares at the key, then at her and then back at the key. Clarke’s eyebrows furrow together, expecting him to be a little more excited about the fact that he doesn’t need to wait for her to come home from a long shift in order to access her apartment. Yet, he doesn’t say a word, just stares at the key, like it’s the fucking key to the gates of Heaven.

 

“Happy end of the first trimester?” Clarke concedes, a quizzical tone plaguing her voice. She pauses, no words coming from his lips as he sinks back, straightening his posture. “What?”

 

“I-I’m still looking for a place–” Bellamy begins. It clicks in Clarke’s head from there.

 

“Oh, no. No – no, I’m not asking you to move in,” Clarke scrambles to explain. Heat transfers to her cheeks, embarrassment filling her. She was already rejected for this proposal weeks ago, she didn’t mean to do it again. “It’s just a key. So you can get in without me being here.”

 

The pang in her chest returns when Bellamy breathes a loud sigh of relief. He doesn’t have to use all the dramatics just because he  misinterpreted the situation. Nonetheless, he accepts the key from her, smiling as he plucks off the sticky note. She expects him to crumble it up, or stick it to one of her sticky-note-less pieces of furniture, but instead he nudges his jacket aside and slips it into his bag.

 

With his hand in his bag, Bellamy pulls out his ring of keys. It rattles as he joins the clasp of the loop of the key. “And here I was thinking you were going to profess your love to me.”

 

Clarke laughs dryly, because what the fuck else can do to react to that? She shifts uncomfortably, watching as he shoves the keys back into his bag, the clatter of them rattling together ringing through her ears. “Well, when the baby’s here, you’re going to basically live here for a bit. Hard to do that without a key.”

 

“Thank you, I appreciate the sentiment,” Bellamy smiles. Clarke smiles, too. “I didn’t get you anything for the end of the first trimester. And you’re the one carrying the baby.”

 

Clarke bites her tongue, don’t make a sex joke that’s going to result in sex. It’s hard, she’s sure Bellamy expects something to slip from her mouth. The smirk he’s trying to refrain from taking up his features is a dead giveaway of that. But Clarke reels it in, trying to rack her brain for an appropriate joke. She doesn’t really expect or want anything aside from sex.

 

Until it dawns on her.

 

“The nursery,” Clarke pipes up. Bellamy looks confused. She elaborates, “I have to get all my paint supplies out of there. I work pretty much all weekend, but I don’t start until late on Sunday. Can you help me after my shift on Saturday?”

 

“Why this weekend?” Bellamy shoves his hands in his pockets. Clarke’s eyes follow him as he shifts his weight, narrowing in confusion at his antsy behavior.

 

“Because nothing is done and I have no peace of mind,” Clarke explains, tilting her head to the side in confusion. “I want to have the nursery done sometime before Christmas and we’re less than two weeks away before December. I’m going to have even less time when I start the Chief Resident position in January.”

 

“You got the position?”

 

“Not yet, but may as well plan like I have.”

 

Bellamy’s quietness unsettles Clarke. It’s his replacement for not talking about things he doesn’t want to talk about. Ever since their discussion a couple of weeks ago, when he refuses to open up about something, he just outwardly refuses to talk – about anything. Clarke’s caught him a few times, has him elaborating about a timeline of his divorce and received some open-ended spiels about Octavia. But she’s yet to crack his resolve.

 

Saying Clarke is discouraged would be an understatement. It’s just a mere seven days until her first trimester comes to a close, and yet all Bellamy has to offer is something surface level. Can she even complain? Bellamy’s been a wonder to her in every other regard. Is it so bad for her just to want to forge some sort of connection with him, so semblance of what they had, aside from this baby?

 

“Bellamy,” Clarke reignites. “What are you not telling me?”

 

Bellamy sighs, ruffling a hand through his hair. He staggers back slightly, putting some distance between the two of them. “It’s not a big deal. I was on the phone with Echo this morning–”

 

Something Clarke alsohates – no, despises – most of all, is his friendship with his ex-wife. To his credit, Bellamy hasn’t strived to keep it a secret. He openly tells Clarke they’re on good terms, and while the mystery of their divorce remains a secret, whenever Echo calls to talk about any meaningless shit she can think of, he entertains her. He states that Echo is his past, but she seems ever prevalent in his present.

 

“There’s a bite on the house, we’re selling it this weekend,” Bellamy explains. “I have to go back to Arkadia to sign some papers.”

 

“So? Why wouldn’t you tell me that?” Clarke snaps.

 

It seems so mundane, so ordinary, definitely not something he should be worried about telling her. The house was always supposed to be sold, it’s normal for people to go and physically sign the papers to lease the house they’re selling. It speeds up the process, with the absence of having to send shit in the mail and it taking weeks to reach one end or another. Clarke knows that. She’s running over it in her head, wracking her brain to try and find what was so obsolete as Bellamy stands still in front of her.

 

There’s something else. Clarke plants her arms across her chest, almost bracing herself for it. Bellamy’s hand goes up to scratch the back of his neck, but no words are falling out of his mouth. Yet, Clarke waits anyways, her firm stature coming off more than intimidating. After a few moments, a sigh escapes Bellamy’s lips, his hand falling to his side and slapping against his thigh.

 

“Emori told her about the baby, weeks ago,” Bellamy starts. That’s something Clarke didn’t know. She takes a step back, her thighs hitting against the end table. Bellamy’s not done talking, though. “She just wants to talk, so we’re going to grab dinner after–”

 

There it is.

 

Bellamy trails off mid-sentence, the look on Clarke’s face enough to shut him up. She’s straightened herself, her arms still folded firmly across her chest, but her face reads nothing. She thinks that’s what scares him, the recognition of any emotion wiped from her features, like it was never there in the first place. A stranger, hell, a friend wouldn’t know it’s a front, wouldn’t be able to see past the stoic in her eyes to read the thoughts scattering her brain, plaguing her chest.

 

But Bellamy Blake does. He’s seen it before. The way her eyes turn dark to conceal when she’s mad about something, the way her mouth forms a line so tight just to refrain from her lips quivering, the corners of her mouth wrinkle as she does so, her nails digging into her arm. She’s so mad.

 

Clarke can mask it, come across like she’s mad this is new information. And she is  angry that he probably wasn’t going to tell her about this trip to Arkadia until the last minute, didn’t tell her Echo knew all this time that the two of them are expecting a baby. That’s what she can lash out at him for.

 

But that’s not what burns her skin, makes her heart drop to her stomach, churns her insides. It’s this relationship, whatever it is, has no right to be upset about him making amends with his wife. In fact, could Clarke really complain if they got back together? She isn’t with Bellamy anymore, hasn’t been for a decade and they aren’t having sex. All that binds them together is this baby.

 

Bellamy is bonded to Echo by marriage. Years of being together, probably longer than he and Clarke were romantically involved, all the way back in high school for crying out loud. A divorce means nothing if they’re not going to end up going through with it.

 

The thought of it is enough to send Clarke over the edge. But she doesn’t erupt, remains composed, lets her eyes say the words that fail to escape her lips. “I’m really tired.”

 

“Clarke–” Bellamy begins.

 

“I’ll see you whenever you get back,” Clarke brushes past him, purposely hitting his shoulder as she marches out of the living room.

 

She hears his footsteps clatter behind her. “I was going to tell you. I’m not leaving until Saturday morning, I was going to stop by after your shift tomorrow–”

 

“It never came to mind to tell me that Echo knew this whole time that I’m pregnant? Even though we said we would wait to tell more people?” Clarke spins around to face him, feet away from her bedroom. He stops in his tracks.

 

“Emori told Echo before I could stop her. She wasn’t upset–”

 

I’m  upset, Bellamy.”

 

Bellamy inhales, exhaling shakily. “I know. And I’m sorry. I should have let you know sooner.”

 

He takes a step towards her, reaching out to comfort her. Clarke raises her hand up, pausing his movements. His hand dangles at his side, eyes pleading for her. Clarke’s chest rises and falls, trying to contain everything she wants to say to him in the name of friendship. At the end of the day, that’s all they are – friends.

 

“Have fun in Arkadia,” Clarke’s voice is soft, low so that he doesn’t hear the broken undertones. She’s sure he does anyways, by the way his face twists into a mixture of regret and pity. “I’ll talk to you when you get back.”

 

“I don’t want you to be upset–”

 

“I have no right to be.”

 

“Don’t say that, Clarke, I screwed up–”

 

Clarke shakes her head. She doesn’t know how long she can compose herself, the impending desire to cry swelling up in her chest. For once, she just wants him to leave. “I still have to finish up my Chief Resident application, I want to hand it in during my next shift. It’s fine, go.”

 

Not wanting to give him an opportunity to explain himself further, Clarke turns and retreats into her bedroom. Back turned to the door, she carefully shuts it closed, leaning against the wooden frame for support. At first, she doesn’t hear anything, no movement sounding from the other side of the door. She can picture him hovering, staring at the door meters away from him, contemplating barging in, in true Bellamy Blake fashion.

 

She has to remind herself this isn’t high school. Bellamy isn’t her boyfriend. They aren’t together. There’s nothing to fight for, not when she inevitably has to talk to him again because of their child. It hits her when she eventually does hear him shuffling about, moments before the sound of a door opening and closing.

 

Clarke swallows the lump in her throat, allowing the slew of tears to stream down her face in silence. She hates that she’s crying over him. He technically hasn’t done anything wrong, at least not enough to warrant tears. She exhales, trying to control her breathing.

 

It makes her feel better to chalk it up to mood swings.

 


 

Clarke spends two hours after Bellamy leaves perfecting her application. It was perfect a couple of days prior, but she stresses over the finer details; if her qualifications are emphasized, if her short answers are cliché. She could call it a distraction, an outlet so she doesn’t think about Bellamy and his wife grabbing dinner in a couple of days, while she’s slaving away at work. But she’s also a hardcore perfectionist, so it’s not too much of a jump for her to wait until midnight to print out the final copy.

 

Even then, she checks it over a multitude of times. It’s nearing one in the morning by the time she slips it into a folder, keeping it from getting wrinkled, and into her bag for following day. And then, once it’s tucked away by the door, she lays in bed for a couple more hours, mind switching between the diction in her application and all the other things Bellamy must be hiding from her.

 

Clarke’s shift starts at seven am sharp, right when the clinic opens. That means she needs to get up by six in order to have enough time to down her smoothie and arrive promptly. A system of hers that isn’t difficult to follow, granted she sleeps before one in the morning. It’s four by the time she finally drifts off. Luckily, her round her alarm clocks do the trick and she’s able to get to work and hand in her application all in due time.

 

Yet, the day continues going downhill from there.

 

“Dr. Flou, Dr. Griffin!”

 

Clarke head raises from the patient file she’s hunched over. She peers across the clinic, in the direction of her name, noting Dr. Nyko waltzing over to them. Clarke straightens instantly, plastering a cheery smile on her face and welcoming gaze. The Chief returns her pleasant look, but his eyes scan the room. That’s when it registers that he’s also called Luna, along with Clarke, for whatever statement he intends to make.

 

Luna struts over confidently, a look of professionalism on her face. If it were up to Clarke, she’d say it was way too stoic for a clinic environment, where people are already in horrible moods because they’re ill. However, Dr. Nyko acknowledges her with a curt nod as she takes her place beside Clarke.

 

“I’m glad I caught you two,” Dr. Nyko beams. “I just received both of your applications for the Chief Resident this morning.”

 

Clarke resists the urge to curse aloud. She handed in the application two weeks before the deadline, mere days after its inquiries were made available to the public. She expected Luna to hand her application early as well, but not two weeks early.

 

“You two would both make excellent candidates, this is going to be such a tough choice,” Dr. Nyjo rests his hand over the left side of his chest, the cheesiness of the action compensated by the pitiful stare he gives the two women. “I’ve been greatly impressed with both of your work.”

 

“Well, I’m sure you’ll come to the right decision,” Clarke offers with the cheeriness of a smile. She doesn’t even have to look to know Luna’s giving her the side eye. She’s been a kiss ass her whole life, she’s used to the stares. She’s not going to apologize for realizing that politeness gets you some places with authority, especially when your academic standing is as excellent as hers.

 

“When do you make your decision?” Luna ponders.

 

“Before we close for Christmas,” Dr. Nyko offers. “Christmas Eve.”

 

Clarke gulps down the bile that rises in her throat. She knew those were when the results come out, it’s not the fact that it’s just over a month away that worries her. In fact, nothing worries her but the slew of morning sickness that just waved over her.

 

Sometimes, smoothies don’t work as well as they’re supposed to. Strike one, of Clarke being absolutely incorrect in thinking she has the first trimester under control.

 

Keep the smile on your face, Clarke relays to herself. Lips closed, stretched across your face, no room for any unnecessary contents to spill out all over her boss’ expensive looking sneakers. It’s a little more tempting to pivot and vomit over all that hair that Luna has, but disgusting and unnecessary all the same – so Clarke keeps her lips sealed tight.

 

“That’s plenty of time for you to make the right decision,” Luna comments, echoing Clarke’s words back to Dr. Nyko to purposefully piss her off.

 

Clarke doesn’t say anything, can’t say anything with the nausea that plagues her. Instead, she offers a sickly smile to her colleague, nodding in agreeance as she turns back to face Dr. Nyko. He seems pleased that he’s observed the girls don’t have a competitive edge. Clarke almost laughs at the irony.

 

“Now, back to work,” Dr. Nyko claps his hands together, a wide grin on his face.

 

He bows his head to both residents before retreating out of the waiting area of the clinic. Clarke stands still, almost elbow and elbow with Luna as they watch him go, absurdly fake smiles on their faces. To Luna’s credit, hers is more diluted, but Clarke knows Dr. Nyko is a sucker for foolish happy faces.

 

Clarke’s not bothered by Luna. Not in the slightest. She’s a hundred and ten percent more qualified than her, does a lot better with patients and is liked a lot more by attendings, thanks to the kiss ass nature Clarke has perfected. It’s not just her more than above average intelligence that makes her an ideal candidate, it’s everything about Clarke Griffin that makes her an extraordinary doctor. She could tell it to her, too as Luna turns to open her mouth and spew out some pure, unadulterated bullshit.

 

However, the baby has other ideas. By the time Luna’s lips begin to move, Clarke’s already darting out of the waiting area to the staff bathrooms which are much farther than they need to be. She marches through the halls, trying not to look like she’s sprinting to some dying patient or has diarrhea.

 

By the time she flings open the door to the staff bathroom, it’s only mere moments until she vomits into the toilets in one of the stalls. A second later and it would have been over. God, Clarke can’t wait for this trimester to be over.

 

Clarke’s phone vibrates in her pocket. Head hung over the toilet, hair matted to her forehead, she brings herself back to the real world for a moment, just to see Bellamy’s face take up her phone – most likely to check if she’s still upset. Without a second thought, she presses decline. No more needing to throw up today.

 


 

Clarke can practically feel Luna’s eyes on her throughout the day. The fight for Chief Resident is even more apparent now with Dr. Nyko lurking around the clinic recently. The residents have all been on their best behavior all weekend, not wanting a complaint while he’s ever so present. Now with his unnecessary, sort of pep talk this morning, Clarke is on high alert. A bright smile on her face, all the knowledge in her brain stacked to the forefront and always ready to go at the drop of a hat.

 

Luna basically mirrors her. Except she does it while constantly checking back to see what Clarke’s doing next. It actually rises her confidence level, knowing that Luna has to constantly see what Clarke’s doing in order to feel secure about her own abilities. She just hope Dr. Nyko notices it as well.

 

“Alright,” Clarke hums to herself. She should be on her lunch break by now, but she’s decided to take on a couple of extra patients, just to impress. That’s proven to backfire the minute Clarke picks up her last patient file, the name John Murphy sprawled across the top. “Of fucking course.”

 

Clarke scans around the clinic, all the residents bustling about. She debates handing it off to someone, literally anyone but Luna, but while she’s in the process of trying to find that special someone, she makes eye contact with Dr. Nyko. So instead, she allows her pride and utter fear of disappointing authority figures get the best of her, smiling politely at her boss before heading to the row of patient rooms.

 

Murphy, as per usual, has been absent for months. Besides his little stint with Emori a couple months earlier, paired with telling their friends about her own pregnancy, he hasn’t popped up. She assumes it’s because he knows he’s more than not wanted, probably has his roommate and her baby daddy to fill her in on that front. But Murphy also knows he could care less about what any of them think and if he wants to make an appearance, he sure as hell will.

 

Her fingers wrap against the door, sure enough hearing a murmur of consent to enter. Clarke waltzes in the room with her head held high, professional and polite as she would any other case scenario. She can’t help it if a smile is instantly wiped off her face upon seeing Murphy smirking back at her. He glances at her up and down, brows furrowed.

 

“I thought you’d be fatter,” Murphy observes.

 

“Aren’t you a delight,” Clarke mumbles, flipping through his chart. “Here for an STD check?”

 

“I’m a taken man now, actually.”

 

“Right, your she-beast of a girlfriend. Is she here with you?”

 

“Nah, she’s at home. Didn’t want to risk you getting into a brawl at your place of work.”

 

“How considerate.”

 

Clarke’s eyes land on the reason for Murphy’s visit. It’s cold season, so she’s not surprised when the symptoms read runny nose and slight cough. Murphy’s a big baby, not one to wait things out. She sets his file on the counter, slipping on a pair of gloves and grabbing her stethoscope. She waltzes back over to Murphy, who sits up on the patient table, slouched and bored.

 

“Sit up straight,” Clarke orders. She ignores the smirk that curls back onto Murphy’s lips as he does what he’s told. She leans the base of the stethoscope against his chest. “Breathe in and out.”

 

Silently, Murphy obliges. Halfway through, she’s a little too confident she’s going to get through this without any of his infamous commentary. Of course, she jinxes herself.

 

In between breathes, he manages to speak. “Bellamy’s barely at the apartment. It’s basically like he’s moved out. You riding that?”

 

“Please shut up.”

 

“That’s not very doctor like.”

 

“You’re not very human like.”

 

“Fair,” Murphy takes his last breath out. Clarke slings the stethoscope around her neck, walking back over to the counter to record her results. “I’m sorry about Emori, by the way.”

 

Clarke scoffs, not even bothering to grace him with a response.

 

To her surprise, Murphy continues his apology. “I should have reeled her in, but she and Echo have been friends since, like, forever. And I didn’t want to get broken up with. Plus, I assumed you could hold your own.”

 

Clarke allows his words to sink in, thinking back to how she most definitely didn’t hold her own. She cringes just thinking about it. Never would she have allowed anyone to have spoken to her, to have taunted her the way Emori did that day. However, she doesn’t have to wonder what factor was in play to skew her behavior.

 

She returns to Murphy, wordlessly performing the rest of the routine checkup. He most definitely has a cold, she confirms, maybe a little harsher by how swollen his throat looks. Clarke writes him up and prescription with the intent to send him on his way.

 

“Thanks,” he mutters, accepting the note from her.

 

Murphy faces away from her, walking over to the door. Clarke hasn’t given him an inch, not that he’s tried much more to apologize. She doesn’t really care about his apology or him, Murphy does this every once in a while. A shitty person until he feels bad and the cycle repeats.

 

But if he is useful for anything, it’s information.

 

“Wait,” Clarke stops him.

 

Murphy swivels his head, looking back over his shoulder.

 

“Emori, Echo and Bellamy,” Their names feel wrong on Clarke’s tongue, especially to say in the same sentence. “They were all friends?”

 

Murphy faces her. “Emori and Echo were friends in college – roommates, their first year. They didn’t meet Bellamy until third or fourth year, when he started dating Echo.”

 

“So, he’s been close with Echo for a while?”

 

“They were all kind of a trio once they got together. I met them traveling to Arkadia one day, for their Homecoming,” Murphy explains. Clarke doesn’t really care about the tidbits he adds about himself. “Emori and I fucked around a couple times. Nothing serious till now, but when I went back to visit, it would be the four of us.”

 

Murphy’s seen firsthand what Bellamy and Echo were like, he’s known them for years. Clarke knows she’s going to regret it, but she asks anyway, “You know why they’re getting a divorce?”

 

“You don’t?” Murphy seems amused.

 

Regret sinks in, right on cue. “Forget it.”

 

“I do know why. But only because Emori told me. He doesn’t talk about it, neither does Echo.”

 

That’s answer enough, especially paired with the guilt Clarke feels in betraying Bellamy’s trust just because she’s a little more than curious.

 

Clarke nods, reeling in the information. She doesn’t say anything, expects Murphy to leave with that, but he hovers. She narrows her eyes at him, noting as he shifts – like there’s something on the tip of his tongue he thinks he shouldn’t say, but wants to. She’s not sure if she wants him to utter he words he’s about to or to tell him to leave now with some of her dignity intact.

 

“He spends a lot of time with you,” Murphy settles on, reiterating what he said only minutes before.

 

“We’re having a baby,” Clarke rolls her eyes.

 

“Baby’s not here yet. Why does he need to be around if the bastard is still in you?”

 

Clarke lets his bastard comment slip, only because she’s thinking about the rest of his statement. Her arms hug at her side, watching Murphy with a curious gaze. He clearly meant it as a joke, something to lighten the tension. But she allows it to overpower her brain, just for a moment.

 

Her stomach rumbles. Back to reality. “Feel better, Murphy.”

 

Murphy sighs, turning back to the door. Clarke ushers him outside, back into the patient hall. He stumbles through it, his natural walk being all as clumsy and messy as his whole essence. He walks painfully slow and Clarke’s hungry as hell, granted to her own fault.

They reach the end of the hall, a door away from wandering back into the clinic. This time, Murphy pauses, turning back to face her.

 

“Also, sorry about telling Shaw you got knocked up,” Murphy apologizes. “Emori told Echo and I wanted to get in on the fun.”

 

Clarke plasters her fake, cheery smile on her face, so evidently fiction that Murphy’s amusement grows. “Thanks, Murphy. I’m glad my pregnancy is so fun for you.”

 

Murphy says his goodbyes with a smirk. He tips his head to her, Clarke nodding back in acknowledgement before he slips out the door. Clarke pauses, waiting for him to get far enough into the pharmacy section that they don’t have to make awkward small talk while she heads to the receptionist desk to return his file.

 

When she assumes the coast is clear, Clarke leans forward, hand barely hovering over the doorknob before a voice startles her. She jumps back, facing Luna, who stands right across the hall, only a couple of feet away.

 

“Congratulations,” upon seeing Clarke’s reaction, Luna smiles. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to startle you. I know it’s not good to scare a pregnant woman.”

 

Realization settles across Clarke’s whole body, right before it turns numb. Luna takes several steps closer to her, closing the distance between the two. Clarke tries not to look bewildered, but it’s hard when she’s basically frozen in front of her colleague. One more step and her and Luna would be nose to nose.

 

Clarke’s not anywhere close to stupid, she’s as brilliant in social cues as she is in the medical field. Luna’s trying to intimidate her, and it’s sort of working. It’s like she knows how this could turn her world upside down, as if it hasn’t enough already.

 

“How far along are you? I can’t even tell that you’re showing,” Luna inquires, squinting melodramatically. She leans forward, as if going to examine Clarke’s stomach. She remains still, trying to come off like Luna’s tactics don’t scare her – or maybe it’s because she’s still frozen in place. “You know, I see it now. Once you know, you know, right? Maybe the Chief will have a better eye than I do.”

 

Luna straightens her posture, a triumphant smile gracing across her lips. Clarke tilts her head, ignoring how her boiling blood courses through her body. Luna swiftly moves to the side, waltzing past Clarke with a gentle brush of her shoulder.

 

The contact breaks Clarke stature as she spins around. She catches Luna’s wrist before she can reach for the doorknob. “It’s not going to change anything. I’ll still be the better candidate.”

 

“That’s not my decision,” Luna mocks. “Dr. Nyko has to decide if he wants a pregnant woman, with all her attention on a newborn baby, leading his fresh, impressionable interns. Not me.”

 

This is exactly what Clarke was trying to avoid. No, they can’t actually not hire Clarke because she’s pregnant, it’s grounds for discrimination. But no employer in their right mind would cite that as the reason for them not hiring a woman, especially in this day in age.

 

Luna yanks her wrist out from Clarke’s grip, again reaching for the doorknob. She debates letting her go. Everyone was going to find out about the baby anyways, it’s just a lot sooner than she was planning. Maybe not getting the position will be okay, for now. She can always try again next year, when she has more experience after a couple months with the baby, settled.

 

But Murphy’s words linger, I assumed you could hold your own. Clarke’s worked tirelessly to get where she has for years. She’s put her social life on the backburner, spent countless hours at the library, took volunteer positions on top of part time jobs just for experience, worked to make a name for herself aside from the one her mother provided. She’s risked everything – definitely lost Bellamy because of it. And now he’s back, and maybe not in the way she would like, but he’s here and this position is at her fingertips. For once, everything is hers. She’d be stupid to let Luna throw a wrench in that.

 

Clarke takes hold of Luna’s wrist again, this time yanking her away from the door forcefully. Luna stumbles back, resuming her position in front of Clarke once more. She looks as surprised as Clarke feels.

 

“You’re lucky that you’re pregnant and that I’m a professional,” Luna scowls.

 

“No, I’m lucky I’m fucking brilliant, cause it’s going to be that much sweeter when the Chief still gives me the position over you,” Clarke steps forward.

 

Luna’s straightens, creating mere inches of distance between her and Clarke. “If that were true, you’d have let me go and not yanked me back like some barbarian.”

 

“Maybe. But even if I don’t get this position, you’d know it was only because of this baby. You’re telling him because you’re scared you’ll lose.”

 

That strikes a nerve with Luna. Her face twists into something Clarke can’t recognize, far too used to Luna’s lack of transparency. Her monotone voice, passive aggressive comments and everything so utterly non-abrasive about her colleague cracking right before her eyes.

 

“You wouldn’t even be in this program if it wasn’t for your mother,” Luna’s voice raises. Clarke’s never heard her above her usual, low octave. “You’re brilliancy will always be clouded by her success.”

 

“And any talent you have will be overshadowed by mine,” Clarke matches her volume, if not a little higher just to assert herself. “You don’t have one thing going for you, Luna. You’re a mediocre doctor and a mediocre person, that’s why my girlfriend didn’t bat an eye at you when we were together and probably still wouldn’t today.”

 

“I’m sure Lexa would have plenty to say about you being knocked up just months after she dumped your ass.”

 

“You know nothing about me. You’re just fucking scared I can read your one dimensional ass like a book–”

 

The door behind Clarke bursts open, so frantic and quick that it collides with the wall beside her. Both of them jump, Clarke turning to see Dr. Nyko standing in the doorway, an unsual look of fury coating his features. Fear settles back into Clarke, all color draining from her face as she loses feeling in her legs.

 

“Both of you, in my office, now,” Dr. Nyko seethes.

 

Clarke should have known never to listen to Murphy.

 


 

Clarke and Luna sit down in two chairs side to side in front of Dr. Nyko’s desk. Both of them are eerily silent, Clarke not even daring to glance at her colleague through her peripheral vision out of fear of the Chief saying something. She’s still, more still than she’s been in her life, waiting for Dr. Nyko to say something.

 

Her hands are tightened around the shoulder of the chair, her knuckles turning white. Clarke can hear the movement from outside, her fellow colleagues bustling about with patients and working, like how she was supposed to be doing. Clarke’s stomach rumbles, the only part of her body moving. Bellamy would be so upset she’s waited this long to eat.

 

Dr. Nyko has his hands folded on the desk, gaze intent on them. He lifts his head, glancing between Clarke and Luna, like he’s deciding who to yell at first. Clarke grinds down on her teeth, trying not to frown or look like she’s about to cry. She blames mood swings, again.

 

He sighs, casting a gaze down at his hands again. “I’m so very disappointed in both of you. Justafter I told you two how excited I was about your work.”

 

“It won’t happen again,” Clarke rushes to promise.

 

“We can guarantee it,” Luna backs her up.

 

Dr. Nyko doesn’t look entirely convinced. He returns to switching between Luna and Clarke, before addressing the both of them. “You do not cause a scene in the workplace. Whatever issues the two of you have, you leave it outside of this clinic. In here, you are professionals.”

 

“I am so sorry,” Clarke’s voice breaks. Fuck. Dr. Nyko’s eyes land on her. She clears her throat, trying to brush it off. “This is not an accurate show of my character. I had a lapse in judgment, and it won’t be repeated.”

 

“A lapse in judgement,” Dr. Nyko repeats. Clarke’s jaw tightens. “You can’t have those here. You’re doctors. People’s lives are in your hands.”

 

“And I strive to make sure that all patients receive the upmost care,” Luna joins in. Clarke resists the urge to roll her eyes, it takes every bone in her body. “I had just returned from caring for a patient when I saw Dr. Griffin–”

 

“I don’t care what happened leading up to it. I don’t care what happened during it. I only care what happens now, after you projected your personal problems to the whole clinic,” Dr. Nyko exclaims.

 

Clarke winces. So much for keeping her pregnancy a secret until January. Instinctively, she settles her hand over her stomach, the first time she moves her body for a while, allowing the knuckles on her right hand to regain their color. Absentmindedly, she rubs small circles around the base of her belly.

 

The action catches Dr. Nyko’s eye. His gaze soften, replaced with pity. Clarke’s hand pauses, the new emotion radiating from him shooting only in her direction. It only makes her feel worse about the situation. He sighs, switching his gaze in between the two of them once more.

 

“Both of you,” Dr. Nyko glances from Luna to Clarke. “Take the weekend off, without pay.”

 

Every ounce of feeling Clarke had is obliterated from her body.

 

Luna jolts forward. “Sir, you’ll be understaffed–”

 

“There are plenty of residents that would jump at the shifts the both of you have been given,” Dr. Nyko explains with ease. Luna leans back into her chair, defeated. “Take the time to think about this. Really reflect. Because I certainly am going to.”

 

There’s a pause. He inhales, his chest heaving all the way up to his shoulder before he slowly exhales. Clarke’s eyes are trained on him, glued there like it’s permanent. Her eyes start to burn. It’s the only thing she can feel.

 

“Get back to work,” The Chief orders. “You’re both dismissed.”

 

Luna stands almost immediately. She bows her head in acknowledgement to Dr. Nyko, but makes no sort of action towards Clarke. With her head held high, she smoothens out the wrinkles in her lab coat and struts out of the room.

 

Clarke remains still. Not because she wants to, every voice in her head is screaming at her to get her ass up, she’s making even more of a fool of herself. She gulps down the lump that thickens in her throat, trying to regain some sort of composure. But there’s still no movement.

 

Dr. Nyko tilts his head, confused and concerned. “Dr. Griffin, are you alright?”

 

“I’m a very good doctor,” Clarke finds the words stumbling out of her mouth. The look of pity returns to Dr. Nyko’s features. Before he has a chance to make her feel even worse, she continues, “I prioritize my work. This baby won’t change that.”

 

It sounds horrible tumbling out of her lips. She despises how similar she sounds to her mother, after vowing that’s not the type of parent she wanted to become. Yet, here she is, a position just at the tip of her fingers and she’s throwing her baby under the bus just to grasp it.

 

“I know you’re a fantastic doctor, Dr. Griffin,” Dr. Nyko sympathizes. “But, the decision I made today is no reflection on your pregnancy.”

 

Maybe not this decision, but it certainly doesn’t aid Clarke’s pursuit for Chief Resident. Inherently, Clarke acknowledges that her outburst with Luna could have been reigned in. It would have been much less of a risk for her to scatter off and tell Dr. Nyko all about this baby instead of acting like an infant herself.

 

Clarke nods, her head only shaking a little, grasping the shoulder of the chairs once more to heave herself upwards. Dr. Nyko mirrors her, waiting for Clarke to get herself in order. She pats her hands down her body, as if checking if all her body parts are still there, because she’s certainly lost the feeling in most of her limbs. She smoothens out the wrinkles in her lab coat, gives one last sorrowful look to her boss, and turns away from him.

 

The walk from the chair to the door is a lot longer than Clarke remembers. Her brain feels fuzzy, and her limps drag on, her vision misleading the door to be a lot closer than it is.

 

“Dr. Griffin,” Dr. Nyko calls out to her. With some strength in her body, Clarke faces him. “Congratulations, by the way.”

 

It’s the last thing Clarke sees before her vision morphs from blurry to pure black. She feels herself stumble, but the motion is soon gone. There’s vague sounds of shouting, but soon those fade into the distance, as well, along with any consciousness Clarke encompasses.

 


 

Bellamy is Clarke’s emergency contact. She made the switch from Raven to him as her number one after her first doctor’s appointment. It just made sense, if something were to happen to her or the baby that he would be the first one that anybody would call. Granted, Clarke always thought it would be in the instance of labor, not because she hadn’t eaten solid food on a particular day.

 

He leaves work early, Clarke assumes as it’s barely two o’clock when Bellamy strolls into the clinic, panic resonating over his features, sweat dripping from his forehead. He scans the clinic, disheveled before an intern leads him over to Clarke. He practically fans over her, asking a million questions at a mile a minute. All Clarke can muster in reply is that she’s okay and the baby is okay and that she wants to go home.

 

Clarke’s discharged shortly before he even arrives. Bellamy leads her to his car, Clarke can see the nervous glances he sends her way every couple of steps, but his mouth is screwed shut. As if he has any right to pry.

 

“I’m sorry I took you away from work,” is the first thing she says to him. Clarke sits in her kitchen, a half-eaten grilled cheese in front of her, while Bellamy leans on the counter across from her, just watching, waiting for her to say something.

 

Bellamy shakes his head. “I didn’t mind coming to get you. I mind you not taking care of yourself properly.”

 

“I was going to eat,” Clarke insists, but it’s soft and weak. She doesn’t recognize the tone of her own voice. Clearly, neither does Bellamy, a flicker of confusion appearing on his features. Clarke explains further, “I got caught up with patients. And then…”

 

Clarke trails off. Dr. Nyko came to check on her when she regained consciousness, explaining she fainted in his office. All was good with her and the baby, and he squeezed her hand before telling her to enjoy her weekend, leaving her alone on the patient table to reminisce on the day.

 

She reaches for the grilled cheese, bringing it to her mouth and taking a tentative bite. Clarke nibbles the contents in her mouth, staring at the marble patterns on her counter. She doesn’t have to check if Bellamy’s watching her, she knows he is. She takes her time, digesting both the food and her thoughts, before placing the grilled cheese back on her plate.

 

“I understand your job is important to you,” Bellamy begins. She hears his footsteps, senses his presence come up to the side of her. He leans down to her eye level, and she feels even more like a child when she can’t even look at him as his eyes peer at her. “But you’re not just putting yourself at risk here, Clarke. You have to eat, you have to think about this baby–”

 

“I am thinking about this baby,” Clarke’s voice is barely above a whisper, but it’s stern. Her eyes dart to Bellamy, tears burning her eyes. “All I think about is this baby. And you. And my job. That’s it. Those are the only three things I prioritize. All are important to me, equally.”

 

Clarke senses his desire to protest as Bellamy straightens his posture. He doesn’t understand. He loves his job, she’s certain by the way he brightens up talking about it – a grin across his face when he’s retelling her a story about a student or when he gets an opportunity to talk about literally anything history related. But Bellamy’s a family man first and foremost, he’d drop everything just like he did today for the people he loves.

 

It’s not that Clarke wouldn’t. It’s that it doesn’t come second nature to her, not like it comes to Bellamy. They’re different sides of the same coin, either all in or all out, just with contradicting processes.

 

Clarke looks up, seeing Bellamy peer down at her. His face twists into confusion, silently begging Clarke to explain. His eyes, slanted downwards, reading nothing but hurt.

 

“I’m suspended,” Clarke whispers.

 

Bellamy leans back down. He’s heard her correctly, but it’s clear he’s waiting for further explanation. Clarke bows her head back down, trying to resist the tears that threaten to spill over her eyelids. She feels warmth against her hand, peering up to see Bellamy’s moved his hand on top of hers. He intertwines their fingers and squeezes.

 

His thumb traces over the smoothness of her hand. His skin is rough against her own, scratching at the whiteness of her hand. Clarke finds it comforting, the tiny, micro-scrapes centering her back to reality. She finds the courage to look at Bellamy, and he’s just crouched there, staring at her – waiting.

 

Clarke offers him a weak smile, but it makes the hurt in Bellamy’s eyes shine even greater. Her eyes glisten, as his stare tries to magically dilute them. She’s calmer, with his grip on her, his eyes on her, all his attention on her. He hasn’t even said anything, hasn’t pried for any information. She wishes she could have given him the same courtesy.

 

Moments pass, neither of them talking. She doesn’t expect Bellamy to speak first, but he does, leaning back up to his full height, hand still in hers. “I have something for you.”

 

Bellamy’s patience astounds Clarke. Yet, her curiosity is peaked, and the amused smile Bellamy has on his face tells her he noticed her eagerness. He gently jerks her hand, and she rises on cue, following him as he leads her through her apartment.

 

Clarke sees it from down the hall, the brightness of the yellow sticky note contrasted against the whiteness of the doors that align. It’s propped front and center of the door to the left of her bedroom, the spare that Clarke hoards all her paint supplies in. She glances to Bellamy, who looks at her with a smirk, already too proud of himself before the grand reveal.

 

They reach the door, giving Clarke ample opportunity to lean closer to examine the sticky note. It’s one of the original ones, reading Things To Actually Do: Baby’s Furniture/Room  in Bellamy’s signature red pen. Instead, this time, in the right corner are two tiny words sprawled in black ink; In Progress.

 

Bellamy lets go of her hand, twisting the door handle and opening the door open wide for her. With a grin, he says, “After you, princess.”

 

The spare bedroom, once littered with paintings, supplies and sketchbooks no longer occupy all the space. Clarke can actually see the wooden floors again, albeit dusty and in need of a good cleaning. She wanders inside, noting all her artwork and accompany supplies pushed to a corner of the room, neatly tucked away and unharmed. But what catches her eye is the light brown wooden crib that sits underneath the window at the end of the room.

 

Clarke takes a couple of steps towards it, examining the structure. Her hand glides over the railing, the smoothness of the wood tickling Clarke’s fingertips. It’s a classic model, with a crisp, white mat at the base of it. What makes it unique is the canopy that hangs above it, light and sheer. Clarke fumbles in between her fingers, the softness of the fabric calming her.

 

She swivels her head around once she’s done marveling at the crib. Bellamy stands, leaning against the doorway, his arms folded before him. The smirk that crosses his features tells her he’s quite proud of this reveal, especially with her look of utter shock and amazement. Clarke breaks out into a smile, one with her mouth agape and a huff escaping between her lips.

 

“I came by this morning before work to drop off the crib and clean some stuff up,” Bellamy explains. “I was supposed to come back and mop up the place, so it doesn’t look like dust has been collecting for years. But then you pulled your little stunt.”

 

“Sorry about that,” Clarke hiccups, hand running over the wood of the crib just one more time.

 

“It’s not much, nor is it an adequate end-of-the-first trimester gift,” Bellamy steps into the room. “But I was thinking, if you want, once we pick a design, I can paint the room. Maybe wake up some of your art skills so the baby doesn’t have a boring ass room. We’ll do it together.”

 

Clarke stares at him. Bellamy’s hands are tucked into his pockets, and he’s swaying on his heels, his nervousness more than apparent. It’s a simple gesture, but it makes Clarke’s heart swell and causes the tears she’s worked hard on restraining fall down her cheeks.

 

“You don’t like the crib?” Bellamy alerts, stepping forward to hover over Clarke as she hunches over in tears.

 

“No, no, I like the crib,” Clarke’s half laughing, half crying. She turns, bringing him into an embrace, her arms moving up his torso. She feels the comfort of his arms wrap around him as she sinks her head into his chest. “Thank you.”

 

Bellamy’s hand runs over her back, Clarke’s soft weeping filling the spare bedroom. She’s never been much of a crier, she knows that and so does Bellamy, and it’s so easy just to blame it on the hormones. Clarke likes to chalk up all her unruly emotions to mood swings because she swears she’s never been this emotional before.

 

His hand lowers to her back, drawing circles with his thumb through the fabric over her skin. It sends shivers through Clarke’s spine, but she’s grateful when he hugs her tighter because of it. She clutches onto him, grabbing a handful of his shirt in her hands. Her cries subside, the two embraced in the middle of the nursery that’s in progress.

 

“I meant what I said yesterday,” Bellamy’s voice is barely above a whisper. “It’s you, me and this baby. Nothing is going to change that, we’re in this together.”

 

Clarke lifts her head, chin balancing on his chest. He stares back down at her, brushing a strand of loose hair behind her ear. “I know. I’m sorry, I overreacted about Echo. She was your wife, of course she’s important to you.”

 

“You’re important to me, too,” Bellamy insists.

 

“Because I’m carrying you’re child,” Clarke means it as a joke, but not really.

 

“Clarke, you know you’re so much more than that.”

 

Clarke wants him to elaborate. To say exactly how much more she means to him. But there’s a thought at the back of her head, that if she asks, he’s just going to call her a good friend or his best friend or something along that basis. She’s heard it all before, she’s working on maintaining that foundation now, but it doesn’t mean it’s something she wants to ring through her ears once more.

 

She detangles herself from him, furiously swiping at her cheeks. The tears dampen her skin, and she’s sure she looks like an absolute mess, confirmed by Bellamy’s confused stare. Clarke places her hands on her hips, inhaling through her nose and exhaling through her mouth. She doesn’t know how to cope with this platonic intimacy that just goes so easy for him. But, at least it’s a step in the right direction that she acknowledges it for what it is, not for what she wants it to be. She’s his friend, first and foremost.

 

“So, I don’t work for the rest of the weekend,” Clarke explains it with a stifled laugh, like it doesn’t make her want to burst into another round of tears. “So I can pick up some more furniture. What else does a baby need? A changing table, a dresser, do we get toys–”

 

“Come with me to Arkadia.”

 

The words seem to surprise Bellamy as much as they do Clarke. Her head snaps towards him so fast she’s surprised she doesn’t get a kink in it. Both of their eyes wide, Bellamy’s eyes soften, recognition falling into his features while Clarke face remains hard, surprised.

 

“I was only going for the weekend, I’m supposed to be back Sunday night for work anyways,” Bellamy explains, like the pieces of the plan are falling into place as he’s talking. “You can hang around while I’m finishing up things with Echo. We relax all Sunday, take your mind off work for a bit. It’ll be fun.”

 

It doesn’t sound fun. Being back in Arkadia, a hotspot for all of Clarke’s old shit that she’s tried desperately bury throughout the decade. Meanwhile, Bellamy spends one of the two days they’re there with his ex-wife. Not only selling the house that they shared for God knows how long, but grabbing dinner, catching up, probably talking about Clarke and the baby she’s having with one of the two married individuals when she’s not even there.

 

“Octavia’s not home, so you can just hang around our place for a bit,” Bellamy hurriedly elaborates, reading her facial expressions perfectly, sensing she’s not even remotely on board. Clarke glances from the crib he so sweetly gifted her and back to Bellamy – suggesting they go on a fun little road trip as platonic soon-to-be parents, bewilderment spread across every aspect of her features.

 

She knows he's trying to be there for her. This is Bellamy's way of assuring her that he will have her back, not only as a parent, but as a friend, as someone he cares for. Clarke appreciates the sentiment, his desire to make her feel desired while he's undergoing his own shit. But Arkadia brings on a whole new wave of morning sickness that doesn't go away within a few hours. 

 

There’s absolutely no selling point here. Clarke could easily spend the weekend focusing on the baby, gathering the necessary furniture and settling on designs for the nursery. Maybe she could read a pregnancy book while she’s at it. Hell, anything is better than spending two whole days in Arkadia, just because Bellamy has decided to give her a pity invite.

 

All of these factors race through Clarke’s brain and yet, she can mark the exact moment in her mind when she makes the conscious the decision to blame what she says next on the mood swings. “Okay.”

Chapter Text

Welcome to Arkadia! Population: 3423

 

Clarke groans, the sight of her hometown’s sign combined with the raging heat of the July season irritating her beyond belief. She huffs, inhaling a puff of hot air as the sun beams at her collarbone through the windshield. Eyes closed and sweaty locks of blonde hair matted to her damp skin, Clarke can hear Bellamy chuckle from the driver’s seat amidst the soft chorus of a rock band she can’t remember the name of.

 

She swivels her head, cheek laying against the cushion of the passenger seat to gaze at Bellamy, one hand on the steering wheel, smirking at the road before them.

 

“Let’s go back,” Clarke whines.

 

“A weekend at Mount Weather wasn’t enough of a retreat for you?” Bellamy teases, the playfulness in his voice as evident as the cheeky smile he glances at her with.

 

The retreat to Mount Weather was a trip the pair had been planning for months. It was meant to celebrate a list of things they didn’t have enough time or money to commemorate individually; Bellamy’s graduation, Clarke’s senior year and their upcoming two year anniversary. They worked out all the details, financials and living arrangements, and it was their first trip alone together, adding to their excitement. It wasn’t too far from Arkadia, but far enough for them to be out of town and away from the dullness that was their hometown.

 

It had only been for three days, maybe two and a half if they counted all the travel time. But it was worth it, to be alone for that amount of time without the interruption of schoolwork, or jobs or Octavia or Clarke’s mother. They spent the weekend hiking and swimming in lakes, sitting around a late night bonfire or in their cabin, just enjoying one another’s presence in accordance with their two years together as an official couple.

 

“No amount of days is enough to be away from Arkadia,” Clarke sighs. She eyes Bellamy’s hand, the one not on the steering wheel, laying idle on the compartment between their two seats. Lazily, she intertwines their fingers, bringing his hand up to her lips to kiss. “I can’t wait to get out of here. Forever.”

 

Clarke notes the way Bellamy’s Adam’s apple bobs up and down, pointedly. His hand grips the steering wheel a little tighter, and the one holding his opposite is greeted with a gentle squeeze. He reminds her, “It’s just one more year.”

 

Bellamy’s no stranger to Clarke’s plans. Polis University has been her dream since the dawn of time, and she’s insanely vocal about it. Bellamy’s been nothing but supportive, but Clarke’s observant to the way he tenses whenever she mentions it, especially as of late. He may have been the one to just graduate, but he’s attending Arkadia’s community college just a thirty minute drive away. Next year, Clarke will be going to Polis University, three whole hours away from Arkadia.

 

“Yeah, but I wouldn’t really have left for good,” Clarke nudges his side. Bellamy forces a smile, eyes on the road. “I’ll be back all the time. Who else is going to make sure I eat properly?”

 

Bellamy throws his head back in a laugh, Clarke grinning out of relief and the mere sight of his happiness. They come to a red light, just inches away from the bustle of Arkadia – as much as it can be, with their insanely limited population. Bellamy halts, foot sturdy on the breaks as he leans over, planting a hard kiss against his girlfriend’s lips. Clarke smiles into him, biting down on his lower lip playfully.

 

He retracts, leaning against the cushion of the driver’s seat. Bellamy turns his head, peering at his girlfriend, eyes light and smile soft against his features. “Anything for you, princess.” 

 

“They’ve got to redo that sign every year.”

 

Clarke heads snaps towards Bellamy, bursting out of her daydream just as they whiz past the Welcome to Arkadia sign. She peers behind her, noting the increase in population since the last time she took note – granted, only be a few hundred. Over a decade later, Arkadia still isn’t a hotspot for tourists and more people desire to move out than they do to move in. She glances back at Bellamy, an amused smirk dancing across his lips.

 

“Sorry,” Bellamy apologizes. “Didn’t mean to interrupt your daydreaming.”

 

“I wasn’t daydreaming,” Clarke lies. “I was plotting ways to ensure that my mother doesn’t find out I’m here.”

 

“You didn’t call her?”

 

“I only figured out I was coming with you last night.”

 

“That’s true, but you didn’t even shoot her a text? She may put an assassination hit on you if someone spots you here and you didn’t let her know.”

 

“It’s fine, she’s probably working anyways.”

 

Bellamy nods along, understandingly and oddly composed. Her eyes linger on him, just in case he falters. He doesn’t, his gaze remaining firm on the road, poised and unbothered, like he isn’t about to see his wife in person for the first time in months. Clarke admires the way a person can have their shit together, but it’s scary with Bellamy. There wasn’t even a mention of the purpose of this trip this morning, when he came back to pick her up. All there was, was a warm greeting and English muffin paired with her banana smoothie, ready for her to enjoy while he began their road trip, promptly at ten am.

 

Clarke tears her gaze away from him to glance at her surroundings. They have just emerged from the trees that align the pathway into Arkadia, reaching the first red light that signals their entrance into their hometown. Clarke gulps, eyes staring past at the one downtown strip they have, nothing really changed from the decade prior.

 

The buildings are still less than colorful, the palette of beige and yellows faded and chipping at the steams. The store signs with decorative lights flicker, unnoticeably at the start of the day but second nature to Clarke. People are bustling about, active for a Saturday morning, dressed in warm hats and wool scarfs, typical for the tail end of November. There’s a thin layer of snow sprawled across the sidewalks and grass, almost transparent contrast to the concrete and greenery. Amongst all else, the sky is dull and grey perfectly highlighting Arkadia’s natural elements.

 

Clarke glance away from the less than exciting scene before her, instead paying attention to the clock above Bellamy’s car radio. The soft hum of a mainstream artist rings through the speaker, right below the digital numbers that read: 12:57pm. Bellamy is supposed to be at his house in three minutes, yet there’s no panic. In fact, the perfectionist in Clarke is a lot more worried than he even appears to be.

 

“Bellamy,” Clarke alerts. The panic in her voice is enough to make him jolt. “You’re going to be late.”

 

Bellamy glances from her, to the radio and then back at the road. To his credit, he tries to suppress his smirk, but it’s more than noticeable to Clarke’s eyes. Her gaze remains firm as he explains, “It’s okay, I texted my lawyer that I would be a couple minutes behind.”

 

“Your lawyer?” Clarke raises an eyebrow.

 

“Yeah, we’re using my lawyer to look over the contracts, ensure everything is taken care of,” Bellamy shrugs, nonchalant. The light turns green, his foot yielding from the break to the gas pedal.

 

“You and Echo are using the same lawyer?”

 

“It’s just for the house. We’re splitting everything equally and Kane relays everything back to her lawyer anyways, makes sure there’s no discrepancies.”

 

Clarke gnaws at the inside of her lip, allowing the conversation to end with his explanation. She turns her gaze back towards the streets of Arkadia, familiar and nauseating all the same, but a distraction from the disaster she’s about to waltz into. She rubbed at her thighs, trying to diminish the tension that built up in them from sitting for three hours straight in addition to Bellamy’s oh-so-casual relationship with his wife.

 

They rolled up to the house fifteen minutes later. It was a semi-townhouse, the physical building merged with another household that lived on the opposite side. The For-Sale sign, stamped with the word SOLD in bold letters stood on the lawn, telling Clarke which one belonged to Bellamy. It was quite tall, displayed with a red bricked outline and rectangular porch. A white railing utilized to outline the porch paired with a scrappy lawn chair.

 

It looked very homey. The type of starter home newlyweds would purchase with the intent of starting a family. Clarke couldn’t see the backyard, but she had no doubt that it was fenced in, prepared for a litter of children to run around, open and safe while their parents stared at them from the kitchen window.

 

Clarke could picture it. Two children, a boy and a girl running around on the open lawn, jumping between sprinklers while Bellamy cooked dinner, eyeing them through the window with the hint of a smile on his face. Clarke would snake her arms behind his waist, plant a kiss just below his ear and look on with them.

 

She quickly snapped out of it. That fantasy definitely didn’t belong to Clarke, not anymore and certainly not when Bellamy and Echo bought this house.

 

Bellamy pulls the gear shift into park before setting his gaze on Clarke. “I don’t see this taking more than a couple of hours. We should be done by three or so, and Echo and I are going to grab lunch at The Ring. I won’t be back any later than five.”

 

It was a thorough explanation, one that Bellamy relayed with a calm tone, yet with a hint of worry coating his voice. He changed his dinner plans to lunch for Clarke, decreasing the amount of time he would be spending with his wife to spend with the mother of his child. Clarke adored the idea, but definitely let him sweat it out. She could tell he felt guilty about his relationship with Echo and was trying to make it up to her, but the situation as a whole made her nauseating and heartsick.

 

“So you’ve said,” Clarke smirks. 

 

Bellamy let his nerves simmer, nodding at Clarke. “You remember the way back to my mother’s house?”

 

“Like the back of my hand.”

 

Clarke may not have been in Arkadia for a while, may not have been to Bellamy’s childhood home in even longer, but she knew the inner and outer workings of this town like a road map implemented in her pain. Thanks to eighteen years of only knowing this place, the anxieties that come with it also etching themselves permanently into her brain.

 

Bellamy smiles at her. It was the first time she noticed a quiver, a brief hint of worry coating his features in a way that didn’t regard Clarke or her wellbeing. He glanced at the house, standing proudly before them before turning back to Clarke. She peered at him for a moment, his gaze switching back to his infamous pokerface in attempts not to alarm her.

 

“It’s okay to be nervous,” Clarke ghosts her hand over his. He didn’t move it, letting Clarke’s hand lay atop of his. “This was your life.”

 

Bellamy chews at his bottom lip, debating to say something. Clarke’s eyes pry, begging him to open up even a fraction before he has to exit his car. Her hand tightens around his, although he remains dormant, thoughts overtaking his brain. Moments pass before he opens his mouth, only to be silenced by the swerve of a car, as it parallel parks directly in front of Bellamy.

 

The black SUV is big and bulky in comparison to Bellamy’s, casting a shadow over the shy. Clarke sits up straight, her hand slipping from Bellamy’s in an attempt to comment on the pompous ass that is bound to step out of that vehicle, when the driver’s side of the door swings open, and said pompous ass hops out, a cheery grin on his face.

 

“That’s Marcus Kane,” Bellamy holds his hand out in front of her, silently pleading with her not to make a crude remark. Clarke faces him, curiously. “My lawyer.”

 

Putting a face to the name jogs Clarke's memory. The first and last time she saw Marcus Kane was maybe in her teens, when he did some work with her father’s engineering company. It was after his passing, but her and her mother would still checkup and visit from time to time, and one particular visit, Kane was there with a grin eerily similar to the one on his face presently. He introduced himself to both of them, yet was aware at who the two of them were, offering his condolences and starting a polite conversation.

 

Next thing she knew, Clarke would see his face all the time on billboards, advertising his services. Clarke had no idea if he was good, but her mother spoke highly of him and his slew of pro-bono cases.

 

Kane’s dark, brown hair was slicked back, as per usual, but now with hints of grey. His skin, Clarke recalled as smooth was now decorated with a beard, with similar grey undertones to the hair on his head. Clarke watches him smoothen out his suit, staring at the house with a big huff of air, like a main character of a comedy movie, before his gaze switches to the car behind his own.

 

Bellamy tips his head, offering a wave. Kane’s eyes are on him first, his grin growing – if that’s even humanely possible – at the sight of his client. Then, his eyes dart to Clarke. There’s a very noticeable falter, the blinding grin on his face dipping and hand pausing mid-wave.

 

“Ouch,” Clarke narrows her eyes.

 

“Maybe he thinks you’re my mistress,” Bellamy smirks.

 

Clarke’s lips form a tight line, directed specifically at Marcus Kane before glancing at Bellamy. “I would never go back to the scene of the crime.”

 

Bellamy chuckles, leaning to the side to open his door. As the door swings open, he ticks his head to the side, motioning for Clarke to follow suit. Clarke has no intention to introduce herself, kindly wanting to excuse herself from the narrative and slip away before Echo makes an appearance. But she has to get out of the car to switch to the driver’s seat, so she clambers out with a huff.

 

Clarke offers Kane an awkward smile as ample greeting, walking in front of the hood of the car to switch to the driver’s seat. He gives the same version of a greeting back, his grin diluted into an odd looking half-smile that Clarke assumes is supposed to be welcoming. Bellamy holds the door open for her, but the slam of a car door distracts them both.

 

She swivels her head around to see a passenger hoping out from the SUV. It takes her a while to register as the woman struts over to the driver’s side, the softness of a smile on her lips as she gazes at Kane. Her hair in a signature braid, the tan of her skin contradicting Clarke’s pale complexion, her posture immaculate. It should click long before then, but it’s only when the woman’s lips meet Kane’s cheek that she realizes it’s her mother.

 

“Mom?” Clarke can’t help but blurt out.

 

“Clarke?”

 

Abby Griffin detracts her attention from Kane, only to stare bewildered at her daughter. Her gaze travels to Bellamy, who can only offer the bow of his head in response to her. Clarke’s mere presence is enough to set her off balance, but seeing Bellamy Blake alongside her must bring on a world of new thoughts. Abby’s eyes travel down Clarke’s body, her daughter cursing internally that she didn’t button up her coat, leaving the tightness of her long sleeve to expose the bump on her stomach.

 

Clarke would find it funny that it looks like her mother is going to have a stroke. She’s seen the look a plethora of times in her teen years, especially in regards to situations Bellamy is involved in, but this is a whole new world of shock for Abby Griffin. Her eyes are wide, her mouth agape, with one hand clutching over her head.

 

Bellamy’s hand sneaks up behind her, pressing against the small of her back. He leans in, whispering softly into her ear. “Take a deep breath. You’re okay.”

 

Clarke hadn’t realized she was holding her breath. She exhaled, a gust of air departing through her lips. She sinks into Bellamy’s hand, the heat coming from his hand pressed against her back relieving the tension building in her chest, if only slightly.

 

“Abby,” Kane turns his head to her. “I had no idea Clarke and Bellamy–”

 

“Neither did I,” Abby breathes, the coldness of the air visibly escaping her lips.

 

“We can go,” Bellamy insists, mouth still level with Clarke’s ear. “I’ll drive you to the house myself and then I can come back–”

 

Clarke doesn’t mean to ignore Bellamy, but the sight of her mother sends her for a tailspin. She steps forward, head held high as she glances between her and Kane. “I didn’t know you were seeing anybody.”

 

“I didn’t know a lot of things clearly,” Abby raises both her eyebrows, nodding in the direction of Clarke’s stomach, before mirroring her actions, taking a step towards her.

 

Clarke gulps with her mother standing so close. It hasn’t been too, incredibly long, but the weight of what’s unsaid is weighing on her now that they’re in the flesh. Abby looks past her, once at Bellamy before down at Clarke’s stomach and then back up to her daughter. Clarke’s sure she connected the dots fairly quickly.

 

Yet, to her surprise, Abby grabs her daughter by the forearms, bringing her in for a hug. Clarke stumbles, the closeness of the action throwing her off balance. She hesitates, but brings her hands up to lay against her mother’s upper back, patting the surface as she returns the hug. Over Abby’s shoulder, Clarke can visibly see Kane with a smile dotting his features. At least one of them thinks this is going well.

 

Abby’s the one to pull away, but her hands remain firm on Clarke’s forearms. The tightness of her smile tells her she’s still upset, but the expression is all to familiar. She won’t make a scene in public, especially not in front of her boytoy, who Clarke assumes is fairly new.

 

“It’s so nice to see you,” Abby tells her earnestly. She turns them both around, arm slung around her daughter’s shoulders, as they face Bellamy and Kane. Abby’s gaze remains on Clarke as she stretches her free hand out to Kane. “You remember Marcus, don’t you?”

 

Kane grabs Abby’s hand, bringing it to his lips for a tender kiss before reaching his hand out to Clarke. “Wow, I haven’t seen you since you were, what, sixteen? I hear you’re a doctor now.”

 

“I am,” Clarke’s had a masterclass in being fake polite to people, taught by her mother herself. She forces a smile and accepts Kane’s hand.

 

Bellamy sneaks up closer to her, although used to Abby’s antics, definitely out of practice. He stares at the trio before him, woefully unsure of what to do, arm outstretched to Clarke like a life reserve, hovering over her as he awaits her to grasp him. She lightly wraps her arms around his wrist, pleading with her eyes that she’s fine. But Bellamy’s smarter than that. At her touch, he steps even closer, gaining the attention of Abby.

 

“Bellamy Blake,” Abby smiles. “It’s been a while since I’ve run into you at the grocery store.”

 

“I moved to Polis, actually,” Bellamy remarks, a familiar wave of protectiveness coursing through him.

 

“I assumed,” Clarke can tell her mother has to forcibly resist herself from wincing. Her gaze falls on Clarke’s stomach once more. “Congratulations, to the two of you.”

 

“Thank you,” Clarke allows her fingers to slip through Bellamy’s grip, turning to her mother. In a hushed tone, she whispers, “I can explain–”

 

The sound of another car cruising through the street disrupts Clarke mid-sentence, a tiny, red Honda pulling up on the opposite side of the street. The engine halts as the car jolts back once parked. In seconds, the driver door opens and a pair of long legs slide out. Complimented by a black, bootie heels and a long, mocha trench coat, a woman with wavy, light brown locks stands.

 

Clarke doesn’t even have to guess to know that’s Echo. She’s stalked her enough times on Facebook to know who she is, to memorize her stunning features and award winning smolder that seems to just be her default expression. Clarke feels her throat go dry, the way she scans the scene before her woefully unphased, before her eyes land on Bellamy. Her lips quirk up if only slightly, before she begins strutting over to them.

 

Clarke glances back at Bellamy. His eyes are on Echo too, their gaze interlocked. He swallows and his jaw tightens as Clarke’s heart drops to her stomach. He moves closer to Clarke, almost like a scared little kid hiding behind their mother. The irony isn’t lost on Clarke, as she pulls apart from her own mother to slide closer into Bellamy’s embrace. His hand finds the small of her back once more, this time for his benefit as opposed to hers.

 

“Bellamy,” Echo greets. Her voice is exactly like Clarke imagined it would be, rough interlaced with seductive undertones. “You look good.”

 

“Echo, this is Clarke,” Bellamy is quick to respond, ignoring the compliment entirely. He tilts his head to Clarke, a small, forced smile grazing her features.

 

“Clarke, I’ve heard so much about you,” She can’t tell if Echo’s tone is taunting or just her way of greeting. She gestures towards her stomach, Clarke instinctively cradling the base of it. “Bellamy won’t shut up about being a father.”

 

The tension seems to alleviate from Bellamy, his shoulders relaxing and hand falling limp against Clarke’s back. Clarke glances at him, out of place and out of her mind, not really sure what to make of this. He nudges Clarke playfully, “What? It’s definitely going to spruce things up a bit in Polis.”

 

“Good, because you’ve always been a bore,” Echo laughs.

 

Clarke soaks in the banter before Echo turns her attention to Kane, outstretching her hand to him and introducing herself. The distraction is enough to allow Clarke to dwell in her thoughts, the absurdity of the scene before her taking a toll. Clarke came to Arkadia hoping to avoid Bellamy’s wife and is not only introduced to her, but is met with her mother and her new boyfriend who she didn’t seem to mention.

 

Bellamy is still beside Clarke, now too close for comfort. His shoulder collides with Clarke, and now she feels like she’s burning. She feels him shift, the fire following his movements as he brushes against her. His hot breath is against her ear, contradicting the cold air that whisks through the afternoon.

 

“Echo will understand if I step out for a bit. I can drive you back to my place–” Bellamy’s suggestions are interrupted, Abby stepping forward to loop her arm around Clarke’s.

 

“While these three do business,” Abby’s smile is sickly sweet. She’s pissed. “Come back home. We have a lot to catch up on.”

 

“Clarke’s going to stay at my mom’s house,” Bellamy’s voice is stern, almost harsh as it rings through Clarke’s ears. His voice booms, pausing Echo and Kane’s pleasantries as they swivel around to stare at the trio.

 

Abby tilts her head towards Bellamy. “I haven’t seen my daughter in person in over a year, Bellamy. I’m sure she can spend some time with me while you clean up here.”

 

The slyness of the comment doesn’t go over Clarke’s head, as she sure it doesn’t Bellamy’s either. She turns to her mother, eyes dark. “Mom, are you serious?”

 

“What?” Abby’s eyes widen innocently. She reaches out to brush her hand against Clarke’s forearm. “I’ve missed you. And your boyfriend is busy here, I won’t keep you once he finishes up here.”

 

“He’s not my boyfriend,” Clarke hisses. It sounds so schoolgirl-ish coming from her mouth, even more so when she darts her eyes to look at Echo, that smolder still ingrained into her features. She draws out a breath, straightening her posture. She turns to Bellamy, his poor attempt to suppress the scowl on his features bringing a small smile to her lips. “Mom’s right, I haven’t seen her in a while. I’ll see you around five?”

 

Bellamy’s head straightens, the statement surprising him. He looks from Abby to Echo, gaze settling on Clarke. His eyes grow dark as he leans forward. “I can be back sooner–”

 

Clarke shakes her head. As much as she would love for him to ditch his plans with Echo and for her to spend less time with her mother, she knows she’s going to need all the time she has to explain to her current life with her. Abby says she’ll let her go, but if she doesn’t have a grasp on the situation, she’ll probably barricade Clarke in her house.

 

“It’s okay,” Clarke nods. “Thank you, but I’ll see you at five.”

 

Begrudgingly, Bellamy leans backward, eyes darting from Clarke to her mother, who simply offers him the kindest of smiles in return. He glances back at Clarke as she silently tries to persuade him that she’ll be alright with the plea of her eyes. They both know it isn’t entirely true, but she can hold her own when it comes to her mother – albeit, she is quite out of practice. However, Bellamy allows his shoulders to relax, the façade of a polite expression falling over his features.

 

With a nod of his head, Bellamy turns towards Echo and Kane, joining their chatter with a small smile on his face. Clarke watches, eyes squinting when she notes Echo sidestepping closer to Bellamy, so much so she brushes up against his arm. She says something to him that earns a laugh from Kane and a sincere smile from Bellamy. He tilts his head towards her, muttering something Clarke’s ears are too foggy to hear. Echo stifles a laugh, smacking him playfully on his chest and he grins, chuckling slightly.

 

Clarke doesn’t mean to look on like a jealous girlfriend, because she’s not envious and she’s certainly not a girlfriend. But she can’t help but note their comfortability with one another, the soon-to-be divorced pair enjoying each other’s company with a round of smiles and laughs. They only filed for divorce just over half a year ago and yet it’s like they’re still the best of buddies. It’s something she can’t wrap her head around, so much so it fills her with even more dread than when they first left Polis.

 

She feels a hand wrap around her first, her mother giving her a look that almost details what her own daughter is thinking. Do you see this? Do you see what you have got yourself into? The words don’t escape Abby’s lips, but they don’t have to for Clarke to perfectly hear them echo in her head, in the exact pitch of her mother’s voice.

 

Clarke sucks in her lip, biting down on the bottom as she gazes one last time at Bellamy. Kane is directing them to the house now, as the trio hike towards the entrance. Bellamy and Echo are still bantering of some sort, in some kind of conversation as they approach their home together. For a moment, his head swivels back to stare at Clarke. She softly smiles back at him when he displays a hopeful smile, calm and collected. This time, she’s not sure if it’s for her or for him.

 


 

The last time Clarke sat in this kitchen was three years ago during Thanksgiving. She was on her last leg of medical school, and her mother insisted on going over potential resumes and job opportunities in the comfort of her own home in Arkadia. Clarke usually came back for holidays anyways, spending a little less than three days with her mother in her childhood home. However, that was the last time she went to Arkadia to see her, requesting that if Abby really wanted to visit her daughter, she would come see her in Polis.

 

From a first eye scan of the room, Clarke can see the kitchen has been redone. It’s always posh and furnished pristinely, but the layout is a lot more modern than she remembered. Clarke doesn’t like it. She admired the classic of their home, the way her father designed it when she was a little girl. But it had been over eighteen years since his passing, and she no longer lived here, so she didn’t really have the jurisdiction to protest.

 

She sits in the barstool, sleek and slippery as she climbs on top of it. Another tick against the modern design. Her hands fold in her lap as her mother bustles through the kitchen, removed of her outerwear clothes and revealing her simple jeans and red sweater. Clarke kept her coat on, seeing as her mother’s first glimpse of her baby bump nearly sent her into a heart attack. However, now Abby glided around the kitchen, her movements enacted with grace and poise as she retrieved a glass from one of her cupboards, pouring filtered water into it before handing it to Clarke.

 

Her daughter muttered a thank you. Clarke’s throat was insanely dry, and the sip of water she took helped alleviate some of it, but it did nothing to ease her anxieties. She glanced over the edge of the glass as she drank, noting her mother watching her expectantly, arms folded and lips pursed tightly. When Clarke set the glass down and didn’t offer any words in exchange for the drink, Abby took the opportunity to pounce.

 

“I know we haven’t been on the best of terms, Clarke,” Abby acknowledges, a sigh escaping from her lips with the shake of her head. “But for you not to tell me that I’m going to be a grandmother. It’s a new low.”

 

“I’m barely out of the first trimester, I was going to tell you at Christmas,” Clarke offers. It’s not entirely a lie.

 

“Over the phone? I doubt you had any plans to see me.”

 

“You never asked to come to Polis.”

 

“You never seem to want me there,” Abby accuses. Clarke shuts her mouth, the hurt on her mother’s face making her heart beat a little faster. “I didn’t even know you and Lexa had broken up.”

 

“It was a little while ago, sometime in May,” Clarke’s voice is low, calm, as she fills in the blanks.

 

“Well, thanks for telling me now.”

 

The sarcasm dripping from her tone makes Clarke’s blood boil. She understands this is a conversation she should have been having with her mother well in advance, but it’s not like they were on conversationalist terms, aside from checking in with one another once in a while. Clarke straightens, exhaling slowly as her mother shakes her head, revving up for the second part of a lecture that she’s been manufacturing in her head.

 

“And with Bellamy Blake,” the words escape her lips, accompanied by a tone of disbelief and disappointment. Clarke stares at her, almost shocked she would dare to say it aloud.

 

“What is that supposed to mean?” Clarke snaps. Abby’s eyes dart to her warningly, not that it matters much to her daughter. “Bellamy has always been good to you.”

 

“He’s a great man,” Abby agrees with a curt nod. “You two just aren’t an ideal fit. Your trial run in high school could have told you that.”

 

“We’re not in high school anymore.”

 

“Right. You’re a doctor at one of the best clinics in this country, on your first year of residency. A position that we worked very hard for. Meanwhile–”

 

“We?” Clarke’s eyes narrow.

 

She’s had her suspicions for a while, her mother’s involvement in her selection into the program at the Polis Clinic hanging over her head whether by her own doing or sly comments from her colleagues. Never would she pick up the phone and directly ask her. Clarke’s not sure she would want to know, not certain if even know she wants to know. Her shoulders slump, her mother studying her, evaluating how she should proceed.

 

Abby’s head tilts upwards, lips firm as she chooses her next words carefully, calculated. “Meanwhile, Bellamy has been here. He became a teacher, a very noble career path and got married. You lead very different lives.”

 

“Not anymore,” Clarke clarifies. “He still works as a teacher, but in Polis. And he’s in the process of a divorce. We’re going to co-parent, as adults as friends.”

 

“It’s a simple plan. But a baby doesn’t follow simple plans, Clarke. You could never be just friends with Bellamy Blake, not before you started dating, not with a baby on the way and certainly not with his wife still in the picture.”

 

“She’s not in the picture. It’s just me, Bellamy and this baby.”

 

Abby stares at her, pity painting every aspect of her expression. Her eyes gaze at Clarke, almost calling her stupid without even uttering the words. She’s seen the gaze before, all too familiar with it in her teen years. It’s permanently etched into her brain, the way she is so much of a disappointment to her mother despite having done everything in her power to please her.

 

“I want that to be true for you, Clarke,” Abby patronizes. “It’s just not reality. You should have called me when you found out. We could have worked through this together.”

 

“I get it, I don’t tell you things you think you should know,” Clarke mimics, sarcasm dripping from her tongue. “But don’t act like you’re so above me. How long have you been seeing Marcus Kane?”

 

“Your father has been gone for a long time, Clarke. He would want me to happy.”

 

“You haven’t answered the question.”

 

“It’s only been a couple of months.”

 

“So, longer than I’ve been pregnant.”

 

Abby rolls her eyes. “I didn’t want to tell you until things were serious.”

 

“And I didn’t want to tell you about this baby until I was in the second trimester. What's the difference?”

 

Heat rises to Clarke’s cheeks, the utter frustration guided towards her mother fueling a fire that hasn’t been activated since her teen years. Abby watches her, stature almost unphased as she attempts to analyze her daughter. Clarke turns away from her, the frustration turning to fury as her mother attempts to diagnose her, like she’s one of her patients. She brushes away a couple of angry tears that have escaped her eyelids before facing her again.

 

Bellamy has always been a weak point. There’s a reason Clarke’s rebellious days didn’t come to fruition until she was a teenager – after the hurricane that was her relationship with Bellamy, she never felt more grounded and centered to reality, especially when it came to her mother. She stopped caring about her mother’s disapproval when it stemmed to Bellamy and their estranged relationship progressed further after their breakup.

 

“I like Bellamy,” Abby informs her. Clarke can tell her mother doesn’t think she’s lying. “But you two have always been from different worlds. You two have different priorities, that’s always been the case. All I was saying is that I could have helped you come to terms with that before it got this far.”

 

“You have no right to police who I surround myself with,” Clarke seethes. “I’ve done everything you have expected from me since I was a child. I went to Polis University, I went to medical school, I got a job in an amazing clinic. I’m a doctor. What more could you want?”

 

“This isn’t about what I want. I’m proud of you, that you’ve reached such high academic success. But you’re a first year resident. How, with a newborn baby, are you going to prioritize your career? You’re not even married to him, Bellamy’s married to someone else. Even if that weren’t the case, your father and I waited until I was well through my specialization, so I could be present–”

 

“But you weren’t present!”

 

The loud shout from Clarke makes her jolt from her chair, standing firmly before her mother, only separated by the island. Abby appears taken aback, her mouth sewn shut at the sudden outburst from Clarke as she straightens herself, eyes glancing over her daughter. Clarke can feel the red, hot tears burn her eyes, blur her mother’s image right before her. She blinks them away.

 

“The miniscule amount of memories I have of you from my childhood is scary.Every recital, every parent teacher conference, the field trips, every single memory, all I remember is dad.You were never there, and in the rare moments you were, your mind was elsewhere. There was always something more important, whether it was life changing research or a surgery that needed you more than dad and I did. God, you were gone so often you didn’t even realize he was sick–”

 

Clarke abruptly stops herself, the years of resentment that overcome her towed by the sheer devastation that crosses her mother’s features. A tear rolls down Clarke’s cheek, clearing her vision enough to see the glisten in her mother’s own eyes. She can hear her mother’s heart cracking, or maybe it’s her own or the combination of the Griffin woman’s colliding together. Abby grips onto the countertop, leaning her weight against it with her head bowed, gaze anywhere but upon her daughter’s face.

She could only stare at the top of her mother’s head, the greying roots of her mother’s hair glaring back at her. Clarke felt her bottom lip quiver, the scene before her so familiar and sickening at the same time as her mother’s body curled, heavy breathing following. She sucked in a breath, noting the way Abby’s knuckles whitened due to the tight grip on the counter.

 

Abby’s head raises slightly, peering upward at her daughter. Clarke wishes the words would come to her, reassurances flying through her teeth to solidify that isn’t what she actually thought of her mother, that it was a heat of the moment outburst. Yet, a wave of relief flushes over her, colliding sharp with the overwhelming guilt, and thus creating a mixture of satisfaction and powerlessness all wrapped into one messy, messy bow.

 

Clarke clears her throat. “I’m sorry.”

 

Abby straightens herself out, smoothening the wrinkles of her sweater with the palm of her hand. “Me, too.”

 

Clarke doesn’t dare ask about what specifically. There’s a million things Abby Griffin should be sorry for, and one tiny acknowledgement isn’t enough to rectify the years of neglect. But by the look on the older woman’s face, Clarke can tell she knows that, too. Although, she’s probably too proud to admit it.

 

“Your father would be proud of you, like I am,” Abby continues, regaining her composure by falling back into her judgmental suit. Clarke’s jaw tightens. “But he’s not here. It’s just you and me now, Clarke.”

 

“That’s not true,” Clarke shakes her head, the words falling softer on her lips than they should be. “It hasn’t been you and me for a while.”

 

“This is the time to fix that. You’re having my first and possibly only grandchild.”

 

My first and only grandchild. Clarke stiffens at the comment, resisting the urge to outwardly scoff. Of course, Clarke is bringing another individual into the Griffin legacy, destined to be something that requires plenty of schooling, and little to no personal life, a guide outlined by Abby Griffin herself.

 

The look of disdain on her face catches Abby’s eye. She sighs, crossing her arms over her chest to peer at her daughter. Her eyes drop to her stomach once more before looking back at Clarke. There’s a flicker in her eye, right before there’s a modification to her approach.

 

“I want to help you with this,” Abby counters.

 

“I have Bellamy.”

 

“For how long?”

 

Clarke tilts her head upwards, eyes narrowed in her mother’s direction. Abby watches her with the same expectant gaze, no more intimidated or weakened by her daughter’s increasing impatience.

 

“Bellamy would never abandon me or this baby,” Clarke insists, emphasizing each word with the fury in her tone.

 

“I’m not talking about Bellamy, Clarke,” Abby admits with a pitiful sigh.

 

Clarke purses her lips, trying to keep steady eye contact with her. Her stare firm, Clarke silently begs her to continue. Maybe out of frustration, or curiosity or just pure stupidity, she wants her mother to elaborate.

 

Abby glances at her, eyes boring into her daughter’s. “You made the decision to leave Bellamy ten years ago. You wanted something more than what he could give you. There’s something in you that knows Bellamy wouldn’t get it before. What makes you think he would understand now?”

 

Clarke yearns to pretend she has no idea what her mother is saying. That she’s talking out of her ass because she has the impending desire to always be right, always be the most intelligent in the room. That her vague explanations and horrible metaphors are nothing substantial, hold no gravity over the situation, much less over Clarke. But as disconnected as Abby is from Clarke, she is still her mother’s daughter, and with that comes a fraction of truth.

 

Bellamy’s priorities have always lied elsewhere. Whether it was with his mother or Octavia or Clarke, it’s people first, Bellamy second. He has his passions, his life goals, his dream job and they all come second to the people in his life. Clarke’s a different breed, raised differently, crafted differently. Her individuality is nothing if not complied of things for her and her only, starting with her academia and ending with her career.

 

Everything’s supposed to shift when you have a baby, priorities especially. Bellamy’s already in dad mode, buying furniture, planning nurseries, creating a functional, uncomplicated relationship between him and the mother of his child, leaving work to check on Clarke, bringing tasks to her apartment just to keep her company despite his responsibilities, spending time away from his own home just to be with her. It’s the caregiver in him. It’s a trait Clarke has to second guess that she possesses herself.

 

It’s a life Clarke has to determine that she wants.

 

Clarke stares down at her stomach, the bump easy to note with a simple gaze past her chest. There’s an immense love for the being growing inside her, she detects as she brings her hand over to cascade over the bump. There’s an immense love for the man that’s helping her bring it into the world. And there’s an impending fear that she can’t have it all, the career and the man and the baby and the life she’s risked it all for before.

 

“You seem hungry,” Abby notes. Clarke looks up at her. Apparently, she’s decided this conversation is over. Abby has said what she needed to say, and as per usual, she’s got to Clarke, in some way, shape or form. She turns, beginning to ruffle through cabinets. “Let me see what I have here.”

 


 

Clarke perches herself on the windowsill in her childhood living room, Abby sitting cross legged on the couch, talking aimlessly and flipping through soap opera channels when Marcus Kane’s black SUV rolls into the driveway minutes before four o’clock. She straightens, peering closer through the glass to see the owner of the car himself swiftly duck out of the driver’s side, mouth open and head back mid-laugh. Her gaze switches to the passenger side, to see Bellamy pop out of the passenger side door, a polite smile on his face.

 

She assumed she would have at least another hour in this hellhole, spent with her mother either prying about how her job is going, asking questions Clarke doesn’t have the answers to about the baby or pretending their old friends by recapping soap operas she couldn’t care less about to her daughter. The relief coursing through Clarke’s body is almost overpowered by her surprise, Bellamy not supposed to be here for another hour, let alone that she also assumed Echo would be the one to drop him off, thanks to their lunch plans. Not that she’s complaining, by any means.

 

Clarke heaves herself up from the windowsill, so abrupt and quick that it startles Abby. She puts her hands up in mock defense, silently stating that she’s more than capable of standing on her own two feet, as her mother stands to hover.

 

“Bellamy’s here,” Clarke states, walking over to retrieve the jacket she disregarded a while back. She leans down, retrieving the coat before slinging it over her shoulders, all that aware of her mother’s intent stares from her peripheral vision.

 

Her movements are quick, trying to walk with a fast paced to the door so Bellamy and Kane don’t beat her to it and for some odd reason, Abby finds the need to invite them in. Clarke exits the living room without another word, her mother hot on her heels as she marches down the long hallway to the front door. Clarke reaches the welcome mat, leaning against the frame of the white wooden door to balance herself as she slips them on. She glances up at Abby, who stands a foot away, arms across her chest and stern smile spread onto her lips.

 

“I hope you don’t go M.I.A again,” Abby comments.

 

Clarke doesn’t have the patience to argue. “I’ll call. And keep you updated.”

 

She gets it. Abby, all her flaws considered, wants to be involved in her grandchild’s life like any grandmother would. Clarke also understands that it’s a couple years too late for her to be the present parent now. Especially with her less than helpful commentary regarding Clarke’s lifestyle and Bellamy Blake.

 

Clarke’s gaze flickers to her mother once more, offering her a small smile before attempting to reach for the door handle. Abby steps forward, arms out expectantly and Clarke wonders how far Bellamy and Kane are up the driveway. Nonetheless, she stares at her mother for a moment before stepping into her arms, allowing her mother to embrace her. She brings her arms up, reciprocating the hug.

 

“Remember, Clarke,” Abby whispers, sending shivers down her daughter’s spine. “You’ve worked so hard to get where you are. Don’t throw it away now.”

 

Clarke practically jerks herself out of her mother’s grip. Abby’s arms fall to her sides, a solemn, but firm look crossing her features. Clarke’s chest rises and falls, debating to get the final word in just because she’s fuming inside, angry that her mother has decided to step in now out of all the times in her life, frustrated she had the audacity to speak about Bellamy the way she did, upset she made her second guess the few things she was sure about. She opens her mouth.

 

The knock at the door sounds through the living room, accompanied by the ring of the doorbell. Clarke closes her mouth, sacrificed by the bell, turning away from her mother to open the door and reveal Kane, smiling brightly and Bellamy, peering in the house, scanning for Clarke, almost completely missing her standing right before him.

 

Bellamy’s gaze settles on her, the relieved smile that graces his lips bringing a flutter to Clarke’s stomach.

 

“Clarke,” Kane greets her, his grin faltering as he scans over her. “Are you leaving so soon? I was hoping you and Bellamy would stay for dinner.”

 

“Oh, we’re heading back tonight actually,” Bellamy interjects, calm and easy. “Clarke works bright and early tomorrow.”

 

Clarke nods along, a polite smile resting on her tired face as she steps outside. “Sorry. Maybe another time. I’d love to get to know you.”

 

Bellamy tucks his arm around her protectively, Clarke noting the investigative stare he shoots at her mother. Abby tilts her head towards him, eyeing him similarly as Clarke maneuvers herself closer to his side. Kane, absurdly oblivious, steps inside, throwing his arm around Abby.

 

“Likewise,” Kane beams. He glances at Abby, planting a kiss to her temple. Clarke notices her blush before Kane turns his attention back to her and Bellamy. “Congratulations, the two of you. You’re going to make amazing parents.”

 

Instinctively, Clarke glances at her mother, trying to discern her approval rating. Abby just hums in response, offering a tight smile in her daughter’s directions. Clarke’s shoulders slump, the frustration colliding with her disappointment. Bellamy’s hand moves, wrapping around her waist and squeezing her hip. She peers at him, only to note the forced smile he returns, specifically for her mother.

 

“Thank you, sir,” Bellamy’s looking at Abby when he says it, the tightness in his voice evident to even Marcus Kane. “Clarke and I should be going now, though. It’s a long car ride back to Polis.”

 

Kane nods, finally sensing the tension lingering between the three. “Right. Safe travels. I will be seeing you soon.”

 

Bellamy tips his head to him, completely disregarding Abby as he practically spins himself and Clarke around. He leads them off the porch, his feet smacking against the pavement so hard that Clarke strains to hear the door close behind them. She checks over her shoulder just to be sure as Bellamy’s hurrying her off the property, his arm still firm around her waist.

 

Clarke separates herself from him, missing his touch the moment they depart, but curious all the while. Bellamy halts, fury written all over his features as he gazes back at Clarke’s house before back at her. She doesn’t even have to say anything, the look of bewilderment is enough to give him a hint.

 

“I tried to get here sooner,” Bellamy insists, voice soft compared to the look on his face. “But bringing Kane to lunch backfired, I thought it would end things sooner–”

 

Clarke makes a mental note to feel prideful about the fact that he wasn’t alone with Echo, in addition to wanting to leave their little lunch date quickly, later.

 

She shakes her head, placing her hand on Bellamy’s forearm to calm him. Her thumb brushes against his jacket, causing him to close his eyes and breathe out through his nose. She steps closer to him, her baby bump brushing up against the side of him. Clarke gulps, hoping the contact doesn’t startle him, but instead he sinks into her, almost on instinct – like when his arm wrapped around her waist moments ago.

 

“You don’t need to explain yourself,” Clarke reassures him.

 

“I just wanted to be there. I should have been there.”

 

“Let’s get to the car, okay?”

 

The last thing either of them wants is to have Abby and Kane peer at them from the window. Clarke leads him to his car, which her and her mother rode to arrive at the home, parked off to the far right of the driveway. She hands Bellamy the keys, per his request, before he opens the car door for her, allowing her to slide inside. Once they’ve peeled out of the driveway, the two of them are silent.

 

It’s not a far drive to Bellamy’s childhood home, nothing is really far in Arkadia. Bellamy’s still tense, though and Clarke knows it’s better just to wait until he doesn’t have to focus on anything, especially driving, to start talking about her mother. She always brings out people’s most heightened emotions, and Bellamy’s never been a stranger to that.

 

Clarke notes how his jaw tightens, his knuckles turning white as his hand grips the gearshift. She lightly places her hand atop of his, feeling his hand relax into her palm.

 

She waits until they pull into his driveway.

 

The Blake household is exactly like Clarke remembers it, if not for a couple more wears and tears. It’s a quaint, one story with yellow moldings and an off-white single garage, the roof chippings just slightly more prominent. The large tree in the center of the yard still has the tire swing Octavia would use almost daily, season to season, tied firmly on its sturdiest branch. The bits and pieces of grass not covered in snow are long and browning, and the driveway displays a variety of new cracks. She’d know it was the Blake house from miles away.

 

Clarke finds herself staring a little too long. She can picture her and Bellamy propped on the porch steps in the heat of summer, watching Octavia swing aimlessly as the cuddle into each other. She recalls attempting to mow the lawn while Bellamy’s less than helpful comments, her and Octavia teaming up to throw snowballs at him when he was unsuspecting, lying on the driveway to gaze at the stars. It floods back to her, washing over Clarke like a bucket of cold water was dumped on her head.

 

The softest of touches grazes Clarke’s knee, causing her to jump. Instantly, Bellamy moves his hand, “Sorry. You seemed kind of lost.”

 

“Right, sorry,” Clarke shakes her head. “I was just thinking about my mom.”

 

Bellamy leans his head against the seat and takes a deep breath. He glances at her, cheek pressed against the cushion of his seat. “I’m sorry about that. I had no idea she was Kane’s girlfriend.”

 

“Neither did I,” Clarke half-smiles. She pauses, before her smile drops into a more serious expression. “I had to talk to her eventually. It’s not like you could have prevented it.”

 

“I know. I just thought we’d be able to control it.”

 

“You mean control my mother. Which we know is impossible.”

 

“I’m not a teenager anymore. I could take her.”

 

The amusement in his tone makes Clarke laugh. She gazes at him, a fondness for him plaguing her heart as she stares, watching as his eyes bore into her. She breathes steadily, trying not to disrupt the tenderness of the moment, wanting him just like this, for a moment or two longer. He’s the one that moves, just to grasp her hand and intertwine their fingers. Clarke’s heart does jumping jacks, following his eyes as they dip to their interlocked hands as he absentmindedly twiddles with her fingers.

 

“I don’t know what she said to you,” Bellamy starts. His gaze is still intent on their hands. “I know her and I have never really been on solid ground. But I will be, for you and for this baby.”

 

“You don’t need to be,” Clarke’s voice is barely above a whisper. “Have I ever cared about what my mother said when it comes to you?”

 

Bellamy glances up at her, unconvinced. Clarke bites down on her lip, the gaze that pours into her making her heart pound before she is forced to look down at her lap.

 

Clarke’s known at the back of her mind that she must have always wondered if her mother had any influence on their separation ten years ago. All those years ago, she insisted it wasn’t the case, that her mother’s words had no effect on her, and while she believed it at the time, she’s not sure she could say that today. It was Clarke’s decision, but at the end of the day, she is her mother’s daughter.

 

“I know you’re going to be here,” Clarke rephrases, glancing back at him. He matches her stare, almost intimidating her. But she manages to say, “I’m going to be here, too.”

 

Clarke sees Bellamy gulp, his Adam’s apple protruding as he does so. He nods, content, setting his sights back on their intertwined fingers. She watches as he momentarily rubs his index finger against her thumb, the friction comforting and soothing, his silent way of telling Clarke that he believes her.

 

Bellamy uncurls their fingers, looking back to Clarke with a small smile as he straightens in the driver’s seat. “We should head inside. Lord knows Octavia might have left the stove on before leaving on her flight to Fiji.”

 

“Fiji?” Clarke marvels, her astounded making Bellamy chuckle as he ducks out the car. Clarke follows, walking alongside him up the driveway.

 

“Her and her boyfriend just broke up. It’s a girls trip of some sort, her way of cleansing him out of her life.”

 

“Oddly enough, that doesn’t surprise me.”

 

“It shouldn’t.”

 

They step up the porch, Bellamy instantly heading to the door, retrieving his keys from his back pocket. Clarke eyes him for a moment as he fumbles through the chain, scanning the porch and soaking in the familiar surroundings. A cool breeze of winter air knocks through her, her blonde hair falling over her face. She curls into herself, arms wrapped around her torso as she attempts to shield herself from the cold.

 

Clarke’s eyes land on the red door through her wisps of hair, blocked by Bellamy’s frame. She’s flashes back to the last time she was standing on this porch, a cool breeze sending shivers down her spine, hair flailing all over the place, her own arms wrapped around her and Bellamy, standing just a couple inches away. Another scene in front of the Blake household that she remembers all too well.

 

“Clarke?”

 

She looks up, drawn back to present day. Bellamy has the door open, already halfway inside, peering at her curiously.

 

“Coming in?” Bellamy inquires.

 

“Yeah,” Clarke smiles tightly, heat rising her cheeks while attempting to brush off the sudden wave of nostalgia that overtakes her.

 

She takes a deep breath and steps inside.

 


 

“This doesn’t feel right.”

 

Clarke allows a giggle to escape her lips as she throws the duvet over the couch. Bellamy stands a couple of inches away, arms crossed and face twisted in a more exaggerated form of disgust than is necessary. She continues preparing the couch anyways with spare blankets from the closet Bellamy hoped she forgot about, fluffing the pillows before setting them on the edge of the couch.

 

“If you don’t want to sleep in the master bedroom, you could have just taken Octavia’s room,” Bellamy points out.

 

“It feels weird,” Clarke turns to face him. “She doesn’t even know I’m here.”

 

“So? It used to be my room. So really, I take reign.”

 

“It still feels weird.”

 

“Then you should be sleeping in the master.”

 

“No, that’s your bed.”

 

“I can sleep in Octavia’s room without guilting my conscience.”

 

“I like your couch.”

 

“Liar.”

 

Clarke smirks at him. He stares back at her, matching Clarke’s intensity with a prominent scowl etching his features. Bellamy stands firm, arms crossed, expression hard, while all Clarke has to do is smile coyly, features light and taunting as she places herself sturdily beside the couch. He’s the first to waver, glancing between the couch, all prepared for a solid night’s sleep back to the woman who is carrying his child.

 

The couch is pretty comfortable, Clarke is adamant about that. It’s soft and cushiony, thanks to years of adequate use. Not only did they have their fair share of rendezvous’ in their teenage years on it, but also their fair share of naps. It still holds up, Clarke can confirm, as she napped on that couch the minute she stepped into the house just hours ago.

 

Bellamy’s still standing strong in his superman pose when Clarke innocently takes a seat on the couch. He narrows his eyes as she soon ducks her legs under the covers, making a point to rub her legs together to show her comfort as she sinks her head into the pillow. She exaggerates a yawn and flutters her eyes closed.

 

“I’ll carry you,” Bellamy threatens.

 

“I’ll make you drop me,” Clarke sighs sleepily.

 

Clarke hears Bellamy’s footsteps approach the couch, the fabric of his clothes shifting together as he crouches down beside her. She pretends not to blush at the feeling of his hot breath against her cheek, burying her face further into the covers. She doesn’t even need to open her eyes to know he’s smirking.

 

“You’re making me look like a horrible man here, princess,” Bellamy whispers, low, like they’re the only two people in the world, no need for him to raise his voice even the slightest bit.

 

Clarke peaks her eyes open, to fact check that he is – indeed – smirking just a couple of inches away from her. Their eyes meet, and his smirk sinks to an amusing smile. She tilts her head upwards, coming across as prissy and triumphant on purpose. “What the princess says, goes.”

 

“If you think I can’t argue with that, I can.”

 

“I don’t have the energy, let’s just cut to the chase when I inevitably win.”

 

Her eyes flutter shut once more. Movement is stilled, and Clarke is convinced he’s just staring her down. However, seconds pass and she hears him shift, and his footsteps echoing out of the room. She’s disappointed, eyes opening to see that she’s been abandoned in his living room.

 

More than slightly annoyed, Clarke closes her eyes with a huff. It’s already dark in his house, thanks to the poor indoor lighting and night that’s fallen over the sky. It doesn’t take long for her to sink into the darkness, incredibly exhausted just from having to physically view her mother in the flesh. She cuddles into the blankets, somewhat content when a flicker of light breaks her out of her concentration.

 

Clarke’s eyes widen, noting the lamp standing by the end of the couch flickered on, illuminating Bellamy and a mountain of covers tucked under one arm and pillow tucked under another. She opens her mouth to protest before he’s sprawling the pillow out on the floor beside her, taking a seat on the wooden floor before throwing the covers over his lap.

 

“You’re not sleeping on the floor,” Clarke boggles, “when you have two functional beds literally a couple of feet away.”

 

“You’re not sleeping on the couch,” Bellamy mimics, his voice low and condescending, “when you have two functional beds literally a couple of feet away.”

 

“Bellamy, don’t make me feel bad.”

 

“Sleep in a bed.”

 

“No!”

 

“Then feel bad.”

 

Bellamy lays down, curling himself into the covers to mirror Clarke. He stares up at her, a triumphant smirk on his face as she leans on her elbows, peering down at him. She resists the urge to break out into a smile, trying to maintain the scowl on her face. He doesn’t break his gaze, knowing Clarke is all the more sleepier than he is. Fucking pregnancy hormones.

 

“You should rest,” Bellamy taunts, “We have a day to spend in Arkadia tomorrow.”

 

“Oh, I’m so excited,” Clarke deadpans.

 

“You should be. If you fall asleep now, it’ll feel like the morning comes sooner,” Bellamy smirks.

 

Clarke drops her elbows, allowing the combined comfort of the couch and pillow to consume her with a sigh. Fine. She’ll let Bellamy have this one. She hears him chuckle before she drifts off.

 


 

Clarke’s eyes flutter open, fatigue plaguing her looks down at Bellamy. He’s no longer curled up on the floor, missing from his makeshift bed. It’s still dark, the lamp being the only illuminating factor in the whole house. She can easily hear the crickets chattering outside, no birds chirping to signal that it’s morning. Yawning, Clarke brings a hand up to rub her eyes, trying to gain some vision as she scans the room.

 

She lands on Bellamy, standing across the room in front of his bookshelf. He has something in his hand, and Clarke’s too curious to not check it out, or check up on him – see why he’s up in the middle of the night. She stands, Bellamy hearing her shift as he glances over his shoulder.

 

“Shit,” he grumbles. “Did I wake you?”

 

Clarke approaches him, standing close enough to peer over his shoulder. Clutched in his hand is a frame, with a photo inside of him, Octavia and his mother. Bellamy’s mother, Aurora, has her arm around ten year old Bellamy – gap toothed at the time, still as freckled as present day – with four year old Octavia bouncing in her arms. Aurora has a wide smile on her face, as does Bellamy. Clarke’s seen the picture before. It used to be in the master bedroom.

 

“I couldn’t sleep,” Bellamy admits, gaze returning to the photo. “I forgot we moved this here.”

 

Guilt rushes over Clarke, noting his solemn expression as he gazes at the photograph. She glances around the room, fully taking in the picture frames of the Blake family, soaking up every inch of the living room. She sighs, cursing herself internally for her stupidity before turning her attention back to Bellamy. She places hand on his shoulder, comfortingly. He brings his free hand up, grasping onto her hand.

 

“You don’t need to sleep here,” Clarke whispers.

 

“I’m not leaving you on the couch,” Bellamy scoffs.

 

“We can go to the bedroom,” she concedes. Bellamy glances over his shoulders and raises his eyebrows at her. “I-I can sleep in Octavia’s room, if you want – I just thought–”

 

“No, we’re adults,” Bellamy places the photograph back on one of the bookcase’s shelves. He turns, her hand falling from his shoulder. “I should have just suggested it before. Beats the floor.”

 

Clarke smiles softly as he pulls his hands into his sweatpants with a shrug. She can visibly see the tightness in his shoulders, the animosity towards the picture frame, radiating off his body, diminishing his attempts to mask it with a nonchalant façade. Her lips tighten, reaching out her hand. He accepts it, allowing her to lead him to the master bedroom.

 

The master bedroom was his mother’s before it was Bellamy’s. Up until just a couple of weeks before Bellamy started college, Bellamy had been sharing a bedroom with Octavia, practically since she was born. Until a car accident took away his mother, right at the end of August, and he got sole custody of Octavia, drastically uprooting every aspect of his life.

 

Upon first glance, Clarke notes how emptier it looks now. In the year of his mother’s passing, before Clarke left, they never spent much time in here. Bellamy hadn’t moved in, only really stepping into the room to grab a couple of things and leave. It was always crowded, littered with Aurora’s cigarette boxes, or water bottles or articles of clothing, the bed unmade and drawers open. Now, all those are absent, everything neat and in its place.

 

“I’m surprised Octavia hasn’t touched this room since I left,” Bellamy forces a laugh. “Otherwise, it would not be this clean.”

 

Clarke slowly approaches one end of the bed. She notes the emptiness of the nightstand, absent of photographs. Bellamy must have moved them all to the living room. Hesitantly, she stands, waiting for Bellamy to make any move before she crawls into a bed that doesn’t belong to her.

 

Bellamy walks over to the opposite side of the bed, pretending not to notice Clarke’s hesitancy as he peels back one of the covers and climbs inside. He averts his gaze from her, awkwardly trying to get comfortable while coming across as unphased. Clarke looks on, a little to invasively.

 

“We can talk about it,” she pipes up. Bellamy glances at her, placing the covers over his knees. “About your mom.”

 

“It was eleven years ago,” Bellamy shrugs.

 

“It’s been eighteen for me. And I’m not healed.”

 

“But we can both function.”

 

Clarke slips into the bed, the mattress dipping as she does so. She takes the over end of the covers, tucking them above her stomach, before resting her back against the pillow. She gazes at Bellamy on the opposite end of the bed, a spacious distance between the two of them. He slouches, eyeing Clarke as she settles in.

 

“That’s an overstatement,” she jokes with a smile.

 

Bellamy returns her smile, leaning back against the bedframe. He glances straight ahead, eyes blank on the white covers that cover up the lower half of their bodies, a dormant expression overtaking his features. With a sigh, he looks back to Clarke, “I moved into this room a while after you left for school. Octavia was thirteen, it didn’t seem fair to keep sharing a room when nobody was using this one for over a year.”

 

Clarke nods, following along. She does a brief scan of the room, before looking back at him. “Your mom would have wanted it that way.”

 

“I know. Which is why I waited as long as I did,” Bellamy grimaces. “Kind of to get back at her, I guess. For leaving.”

 

A common ground between Clarke and Bellamy, their absent mothers. While Abby spent her days bettering the world instead of being present in Clarke’s life, Aurora’s daily routine consisted of multiple part time jobs in attempts to make ends meet while her nights were occupied with booze and cigarettes.

 

“She didn’t want to leave you,” Clarke says softly.

 

“She made the choice to drive that night, drunk,” Bellamy shakes his head. Through the dark of the room, the only source of light being the streetlight standing prominently outside, she can see a flicker of hurt register on his features. He sighs, leaning his head back against the headboard. “It’s a good thing she smacked into a tree and not someone else.”

 

The last time Clarke recalls her and Bellamy speaking about this, they were sitting in this exact room, days after the accident, preparing for the funeral. Bellamy said those same exact words to her, before ceasing the conversation all together. He’d asked her to fix his tie, please, because he had to wake up Octavia and help her get ready for the day they were about to have.

 

Clarke scoots closer to him, hoping she’s not pushing her luck. He watches her as she does so, allowing her to place a comforting hand on his knee. Bellamy hesitates, but places his hand atop of hers.

 

“I love my mother,” Bellamy continues the conversation much to Clarke’s surprise. “She worked hard to make sure Octavia and I had food on the table. She had to relieve the stress somehow, albeit not in the healthiest of ways. It’s just hard being back here, reliving it.”

 

Clarke should have guessed returning to Arkadia wouldn’t only be difficult for her. His hand squeezes at hers. She twists her hand around so their palms are in contact. Bellamy’s is more sweaty, Clarke’s more clammy as they intertwine their fingers. She gazes up at him, eyes encouraging him to continue.

 

“I wanted to sell the house when I got married,” Bellamy adds. “I told Octavia she could move in with me, but she refused to let me sell it. So I helped her pay it off for a bit, until she could get a fulltime job and take care of it on her own.”

 

“She has very different memories than you do,” Clarke points out. “You were holding down the fort here so well for basically her whole life. Of course she’d want to stay.”

 

“I assumed it was because she didn’t like Echo,” Bellamy smirks. “I guess it was a bit of both.”

 

Clarke leans her head against the headboard, watching as Bellamy’s gaze dips to their hands. His thumb grazes over her own, slowly drawing patterns neither of them can make out. The silence is nice, comforting in the presence of one another.

 

Bellamy’s the one to scoot closer this time, hands still interlocked as their knees bump together. Clarke looks on, amused, as he maneuvers himself so he can lay down on the mattress, head propped up on the pillow with a continuous grip on her hand. He gently tugs at her arm with a playful pout on his lips, encouraging Clarke to mirror him. She giggles, biting her tongue to refrain from making a sarcastic remark and ruining the moment as she slips lower into the covers, lying on her side, facing Bellamy.

 

Their hands occupy the space between them, lying flat in the dip between the two pillows. Their hands twist, wrists straining to maintain their hand holding. With a couple more shuffles, the two silently settle on interlocking their pinkie fingers, content with the contact from one another. Clarke gazes at him, watching as cheek finds comfort in the softness of the pillow, a small smile on her lips.

 

“Why didn’t she like Echo?” Clarke finds herself saying, trying to come across as nonchalant, gaze shifting to focus on their intertwined pinkie fingers.

 

“Echo has a strong personality and so does Octavia,” Bellamy sighs, pausing before adding, “she begged me not to propose.”

 

“But you did anyway.”

 

“I did. I tried to force them to work out their problems, which they kind of did for a bit. They were at least civil to one another from the point of the engagement to when I caved and told Octavia she cheated.”

 

Clarke shifts back on instinct. Bellamy’s pinkie tightens around hers, silently begging her to come back. She does so, reeling herself back in, noting how his eyes scan for her reaction, passed the surprise. Clarke blinks, trying to regain her composure as the revelation sinks in. He just said it so nonchalantly, like she wasn’t trying to pry it from his brain for months on end. And yet, all her frustration is towards Echo.

 

“She’s an idiot,” Clarke blurts out.

 

“It was only a one-time thing. I just couldn’t get passed it,” Bellamy explains.

 

“Yeah, because she lost your trust.”

 

“I wasn’t as present as I could have been. There was a lot of things we should have acknowledged weren’t healthy before we got married. The days of not talking when we were upset, the very little we knew about each other despite six years of being together, our different outlooks on life. We weren’t a good match long before.”

 

“Doesn’t give her the right to cheat on you. With who? Some stranger?”

 

“A co-worker, her boss, I think.”

 

“Oh my God, Bellamy. Why are you even still friends with her?”

 

“We were in each other’s lives for a while. We may not be in love anymore, but I care about her.”

 

“What about me? Didn’t you care about me?”

 

Clarke’s eyes widen, surprised she allowed herself to utter those words at all, nonetheless when Bellamy was finally opening up to her. She swallows, shutting her eyes to shield from Bellamy’s reaction, exhaling out her embarrassment. She can feel the heat rise to her cheeks, can only imagine how stunned Bellamy is.

 

“What are you talking about?” Bellamy baffles, defensive and hurt. “You know how much I care about you. That’s why I wanted you to come with me, so I could have you here.”

 

“I shouldn’t have said anything, I’m sorry, that’s not what I meant,” Clarke rambles, eyes still closed.

 

“Clarke,” Bellamy pleads. She opens her eyes, right away noticing how close he’s shifted. Their hands are now above their heads, still interlocked with their pinkies, noses just an inch away from colliding with one another. His eyes bore into her, searching and begging all at once.

 

Clarke takes a deep breath. “I didn’t mean now.”

 

“You meant all those years ago.”

 

“I tried to stay in contact with you for years,” Clarke whispers, red hot tears burning her eyes. Bellamy’s face softens. “I understood you were mad at me. But I never wanted you out of my life. How is it that Echo, who cheated on you, gets to be in your life now, while you shut me out all those years ago?”

 

“Because it hurt more with you,” Bellamy doesn’t miss a beat. Clarke blinks at him, eyes half-lidded as she watches him scoot closer, so close their noses bump together. “You leaving nearly destroyed me. Hearing your name made me want to pull my hair out, seeing your picture made me want to smash glass. I couldn’t ruin my life any further by continuing to see you, not when I had school and Octavia to focus on.”

 

“I could have still been there for you,” Clarke cries.

 

“You couldn’t have. Not from three hours away and not by just being my friend. It’s always been all or nothing with you and me. If I couldn’t have you like this, I couldn’t have you at all.”

 

“Like this?”

 

Clarke can feel his breath against her lips. It’s hot, and staggering, his chest heaving in parallel to hers. Bellamy’s eyes dart to her mouth, his tongue smoothening over his own lips. Clarke feels her collarbones tingle, her heart leaping, her stomach dropping all at once, watching how his gaze flickers from her lips up to her eyes, almost like he’s asking for permission. At first, she doesn’t move, not sure what good can come from this. Then, in a split second decision, she shifts the tiniest bit closer.

 

Bellamy leans in, planting a chaste kiss on her lips. His lips are chapped, rough against hers, but the kiss is soft, gentle, curious. There’s no tongue, just the movement of their mouths moving in sync, for just a few fleeting moments.

 

Clarke’s the one to pull away, eyes widened up at him, although his remained close. She still feels him on her lips, and when his eyes finally flutter open, she can tell her touch lingers on him, too. His pinkie tightens around hers, grasping on for dear life as she gazes at Bellamy, who completely pulled a 180 from the stance he’s had for months.

 

“There’s no sticky notes here,” Bellamy offers as an explanation, a small, teasing, hopeful smile gracing his lips, still slick with her touch.

 

Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Clarke wonders.

 

Bellamy leans in again, this time capturing her lips in a savory kiss. He uncurls his pinkie from her, Clarke whining into his lips at the loss of touch. He compensates by swiftly moving on top of her, carefully straddling her in attempts to not harm her bump. The free hand he now has cups her cheek as he leans down, never breaking the kiss, instead deepening it as his tongue explores her mouth.

 

This is everything Clarke’s wanted for months. It’s been so long since she’s felt his weight against her like this, their mouths connected fiercely as she brings her hand up to his cheek to bring him even closer. It feels more than nice, the heat coursing through every aspect of her body, encouraging her to show the same enthusiasm he’s finally showing her.

 

But Clarke, as excellent of an overthinker as she is, finds the bright, yellow sticky notes flashing through her mind, despite their physical absence. Furniture, Names, Diaper Bag, Hospital Plan. All the distractions that Bellamy so intricately placed around her apartment, embedded in her head for months, per his request. It had all been his idea, everything they’ve worked towards in establishing their co-parenting, strictly friends partnership, abolished as the kiss, and kiss and kiss.

 

Bellamy pulls away this time, allowing Clarke to take a gasp of air as his lips move down her neck. His hand travels down to her oversized t-shirt to her grey shorts, mouth continuing to suckle on her neck, Clarke grasping at his curls as her chest heaves up and down. It’s when her shorts begin to slide down her hips that she uses the palm of her hand to push at his chest, halting the hand bringing down her shorts and removing his lips from her neck.

 

“Sorry,” Bellamy mumbles, eyes scanning over her stomach, assuming he somehow put too much weight on her stomach. Clarke only stares up at him, hand still firmly placed on the middle of his chest. He peers at her, “What’s wrong?”

 

“Not like this,” Clarke whispers.

 

Bellamy straightens atop of Clarke, realization crashing over him. His head ducks down, glancing over their two bodies hurriedly, muttering a variety of sorry, I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have before rolling off of her. She moves back to her side, watching as Bellamy re-organizes himself in the covers.

 

“It’s okay,” Clarke insists. She reaches her hand out to him, but he jerks away.

 

“Strictly co-parents,” Bellamy reminds her with a smile so forced that Clarke’s heart aches.

 

“Bellamy, please–”

 

“It’s alright. I should have known better. Goodnight, Clarke.”

 

Bellamy rolls over, back facing Clarke as he tucks into the covers. Clarke’s eyes water, mouth open to protest. Instead, she smacks her lips together, sealing them to refrain from saying anything else to ruin the night. The last thing she wants is to have him do something he’s going to regret and lose all the progress they have made.

 

Clarke’s hand grazes over her stomach. She thinks back to what her mother said, about her tendency to put herself first, how she shouldn’t lose that. Her hand presses tighter against her stomach, rubbing in slower circles.

 

She takes a deep breath, rolling over so that she faces the wall instead of Bellamy. It takes her longer than normal to fall asleep, her thoughts scattered and heavy, weighing down on her mind. Clarke curls into the covers, trying to focus on the steadiness of Bellamy’s breathing as he sleeps just inches away from her. She falls into sync with him, allowing the patterns of his breathing soothe her to sleep.

Chapter Text

The steady drizzle of water echoes through the thin walls of the Blake household, startling Clarke awake. She jolts upwards, half-lidded eyes scanning the room as best she can, while her signature bedhead locks fall over her face. She brushes the strains of hair behind her ear, glancing over her shoulder to take a look at the other half of the bed, completely empty. It’s made to the best of its ability, with the covers tucked up to the pillow that lays atop of it. The other half of the duvet stretches over to Clarke’s side, wrinkled and folded beneath her limbs.

 

Clarke doesn’t have to strain to hear the pitter patter of water from the shower, the only bathroom in the home located directly beside the master bedroom. She yawns, fatigue continuing to dampen her spirits, combined with the whole mess that was the night before. Trying to keep focus, she leans over to decipher the time on the nightstand. It’s just a couple minutes after eight o’clock. If things were going well in Clarke’s life, she’d be at the clinic, thrust into the duties of her position instead of having her mind riddled with thoughts of her mother’s disdain and Bellamy’s episode of affection.

 

At least she doesn’t have to see her mother for a little while. Her issues with Abby can be put on pause, if only for a moment, while the Bellamy dilemma stands strong and proud right before her very eyes. He’s in a totally different room than she is, yet Clarke is dreading seeing him stand before her. She can already imagine what he’s going to say.

 

I made a mistake last night, is how he will begin. Then Bellamy will continue, supporting his thesis with the following statements; I was caught up in the heat of the moment and I shouldn’t have kissed you. This co-parenting thing was going really well before, I hope we can get back to that. He would urge Clarke to agree, and she would, with an eager nod and friendly smile because it’s Bellamy Blake, and who is she to cause more complications in his life?

 

Clarke flops back down on the bed, the sturdiness of the mattress meeting firmly with her back. She sprawls out her arms, staring at the ceiling fan that’s undoubtedly been collecting dust for years. She watches it, imaging the panels turning and air working its way into her lungs. She pictures it spinning, and spinning and spinning –

 

“Oh,” the low tone of Bellamy’s voice disrupts Clarke’s racing mind. She jolts upwards, heat instantly rising to her cheeks. The towel wrapped around his waist is the only item keeping him covered, and paired with the beads of water gliding down his chest and damp hair falling over his eyes, Clarke feels herself clench her legs. “I thought you were asleep.”

 

Clarke only shakes her head. Bellamy stares, like he’s debating what to say, grip tightening on the white cloth towel. He switches his gaze from her, to the towel, to his suitcase on the other end of the room, settling on heading in the direction of his clothing. Carefully, he bends down, intent on not exposing himself more to Clarke, ruffling through his suitcase and quickly retrieving a pair of jeans and long sleeve top.

 

Bellamy stands, turning to Clarke with the towel clutched in one hand and his clothes gripped in the other. She almost laughs, because everything about his expression screams Thirteen-Year-Old-Boy-Walked-Into-The-Wrong-Changeroom. The amusement that spreads over her face makes Bellamy relax, his shoulders no longer tensing up and an easy smile appearing on his lips.

 

“You know, our day in Arkadia starts soon,” Bellamy cautions her, heading to the door.

 

Clarke leans back against the bedframe, folding her hands over her stomach. “I think I’ll pass.”

 

“You can’t pass!” Bellamy calls out to her, using the hand clutching his clothes to point at her before exiting the room.

 

Clarke draws a low breath, hand smoothening over her stomach. She should be relieved she’s not going to receive a lecture from him, at least not this morning, but all she can think of is when he’s going to let the ball drop. Maybe he’ll brush it aside for now, but if anything is to be said about last night, Bellamy can only keep things bottled up for so long until they eventually spill over the edge.

 

“Spit it out, Bellamy,” Clarke seethes, crouching in an awkward angle in the back of his car, attempting to buckle up her jean shorts. “I don’t have all day, I have to get to tutoring.”

 

“Since when do you need tutoring?” Bellamy muses.

 

He slouches on the opposite end of the backseat. He stretches across the back of his car, practically naked if not for his boxers, not a care in the world. He finds it funny, watching Clarke Griffin scramble to pull herself together, to pull her clothes back on. It happens every single time they do this, whether they’re behind some random park in broad daylight like today or in the pitch dark of an abandoned parking lot. Always in a hurry, always having something to do.

 

Clarke shoots him a deathly glare. “I’m tutoring the incoming freshman before they start their classes. I have to be on time. Now, spit it out.”

 

The smile spreads across Bellamy’s face, morphing into a smirk as Clarke struggles to button up her blouse. The frustration written all over her features is almost as cute as the pout she makes, failing to slip the button through the slit for the millionth time. Her nimble fingers are almost useless when she’s in a panic.

 

Clarke can feel Bellamy’s eyes on her, playful and light like this is the funniest thing in the world. She has to stop hooking up with Bellamy before she has things to do. She always lingers a little too long, adds a couple extra minutes to their time together and then she’s panicking. And he’s no help, never in any hurry despite his list of responsibilities and it pisses her the fuck off.

 

She feels Bellamy shift, gaze too intent on her stupid fucking blouse that just won’t cooperate. Her eyes flicker upwards, just for a moment to see he’s now sitting up in front of her. He takes her hands, and Clarke’s sure he’s about to entice her to spend more time in the back of her car. She almost rips them away, when he gently sets her hands down at her side, positioning her to sit on the opposite end of the backseat. Bellamy pushes himself forward, leaning closer to Clarke.

 

He takes her blouse in his hands and begins slipping the buttons through the slits with ease and a smug smile on his face. Clarke would push him away if he wasn’t actually doing something to help her case. Plus, she likes the way his fingers brush up against her stomach, the small jolt of electricity sending the heat right back to her legs.

 

“You know, you have to have steady hands to be a doctor,” Bellamy jokes, slipping the last button through the slit.

 

“I do have steady hands,” Clarke’s eyes narrow.

 

“I know you do,” Bellamy winks.

 

Clarke rolls her eyes, but mutters, “Thank you.”

 

“Not a problem, princess,” Bellamy leans even closer, inches away from her face. Clarke gulps, not yet used to the closeness of him, despite the fact that this arrangement of theirs has occupied her entire summer. “Now, you have to do something for me.”

 

“Bellamy, I have to go–”

 

“Let me take you on a date.”

 

Clarke laughs. She physically, with all her stomach muscles and her head thrown back, laughs out loud, because he’s joking. Bellamy Blake doesn’t date. She doesn’t date. They have a litter of more important things to be concerned about and not to mention, they don’t really get along that well when they aren’t fucking. So it makes all the more sense that he’s joking.

 

However, Bellamy’s stare remains firm. Her eyes are watery thanks to her fit of laughter, but through the blurriness of her vision she can easily make out his unmoving expression. His lips quirked up amusingly, but the eagerness in his eyes, the plea for an answer all the more deafening. Clarke controls herself, taking a deep breath to stare back at him, hoping he’ll crack first and explain further.

 

When he doesn’t, she allows herself to fall against the door, baffled. “You’re serious.”

 

“I am.”

 

“Why?”

 

“Because I like you.”

 

“How do you know that?” Clarke accuses. She doesn’t mean for it to come out as harsh as it does, but instead of it frightening him, a smirk appears on his face.

 

“Because I enjoy spending time with you, Clarke Griffin,” Bellamy shrugs. “And believe it or not, I would like to know you better.”

 

Clarke gazes at him, all the more surprised at this revelation than she is about the easiness of his expression. No worry, no concern, as Clarke goes over all the things that could possibly go wrong if she agrees to go on a date with Bellamy Blake. And yet, she allows herself to focus on him, on the smirk on his lips, the plea in his eyes, and the faintest blush she’s ever seen coloring his cheeks.

 

“Okay.”

 

“Clarke!”

 

Clarke tears herself away from her daydream, the flashback playing on a loop in her mind for God knows how long. She shakes her head, trying to rid of the memories of what they used to be, focusing solely on present day. Her ears perk up, straightening herself from her position against the headboard as Bellamy’s voice calls out to her.

 

“Yeah?” Clarke calls back. Her voice wavers, hiccupping in the middle of one simple world.

 

“Are you ready yet?”

 

Her eyes fall over her body. Still dressed in pajamas, hair uncombed, face bare, memories colliding with the implication of today’s events replaying in her mind. No, she’s most certainly not ready.

 


 

There’s not many places to go in Arkadia. There are some food places, local and homegrown, but it’s not like the two of them can occupy their day hopping from restaurant to restaurant. Unlike Polis, Arkadia lacks any fun activities, free of clubs, a severe lack of bars, one semi-decent arcade if people go on a day when they aren’t hosting birthday parties. It’s just another thing that contributes to Clarke’s long list titled Things to Hate About Arkadia.

 

Bellamy takes her to The Primes bed and breakfast in the morning, chirping away about its timely interior and overly polite staff, who are all middle aged or elderly ladies that shower them in big, cheery smiles and compliments about just how adorable they are, whenever the pair so much as says please and thank you. It’s just like Clarke remembers, she even recognizes some of the staff when they address Bellamy by name.

 

Otherwise, Bellamy doesn’t offer much substance for conversation. He easily dodges Clarke’s attempts to pry with offhanded remarks about his stack of pancakes or her omelets or engages in absurdly insignificant conversations with the staff, who he allows to twirl their fingers around his hair. It’s irritating, if anything, because they could do this from the comfort of Polis – sitting in some breakfast bar, a much sluttier waitress hitting on Bellamy as he pretends to find it flattering while Clarke looks in pure annoyance.

 

At the end of their breakfast, Bellamy slides a twenty dollar bill over the check before Clarke can even reach behind her chair for her purse. He begins collecting their now empty plates, stacking them over one another in a neat pile for the waitresses to collect, without so much as a second glance at Clarke.

 

“We can split it,” Clarke raises an eyebrow.

 

“I’ve got it,” Bellamy shrugs, sliding the smallest plate on the stack of the others.

 

“Dear God, let me give you ten–”

 

“If you pull out any fucking monetary measurement, I will kill you,” Clarke seethes.

 

Bellamy smirks, the way his scar protrudes from his upper lip igniting a fire in the pit of Clarke’s stomach. He settles back in his seat, his wrists settling on the edge of the table comfortably and smugly, causing the cuffs of his button up to rise up just slightly. Clarke’s eyes narrow, the way his eyes flee to scan the restaurant causing her to dart into her purse, combing through it’s compartments in attempts to fish out her wallet.

 

The Councilman is a fairly new five star restaurant, one of the very limited ones in Arkadia, way out of both their individual budgets, that Bellamy and Clarke decided on a whim they wanted to try. It took them months to even book a reservation, which was originally intended as a one year anniversary present turned into a Christmas dinner for just the two of them. Clarke had been excited, having refused to go with her mother purely because she was eager to experience it first with Bellamy.

 

That was until they ordered a bottle of non-alcoholic sangria, just before the waiter handed them their menus. Bellamy silently thanked him, before opening the menu, only for his face to turn a shade of white Clarke had never seen in her life. She followed suit, glancing at the menu only to immediately close it. Damn, her family was rich and all, but who pays any close to that amount of money for salad? And she’d only just glanced at the appetizers.

 

After plucking Bellamy’s menu out of his hands, she insisted they just throw a twenty on the table and ditch. Only for Bellamy to inform her the sangria was far from just twenty dollars, only for Clarke to fact check with a gasp. Before she could even look up from the menu, Bellamy was already fishing out his wallet.

 

The color returned to his face, the smirk along with it, as it usually did whenever he pissed her off. “Bellamy, I’m not fucking joking, I will murder–”

 

“You can pay me back later, princess,” Bellamy shuffles up from the table, extending his hand out to her. She glares up at him, arms crossed firmly across his chest. Despite the stares it attracts, Bellamy’s smirk deepens. “Come on, baby. Don’t make me throw you over my shoulder.”

 

Clarke swivels her gaze back towards the table, lips tightened and stature firm. There’s moments of her just staring at the fifty dollar bill, paired with a couple of tens to amount to the appropriate price. Her stomach drops, as does her prissy act, and she reaches behind her to open her purse to split the cost when a pair of bulky hands tuck under her ass.

 

She yelps, hoisted in the air with her purse dangling from her fingertips. The stares they attract are incredible, open-mouthed disgust or scrunched up noses as Bellamy marches them out of the restaurant to the beat of the soft strums of classical music filling the restaurant. Clarke’s laughing, partly because of the scene they just concocted, mostly because she can’t believe she was stupid enough to believe he actually wouldn’t cause such a scene.

 

A hostess is kind enough to open the door for them on their way out. As Clarke passes, still hung securely over Bellamy’s shoulder, she can see the petite hostess’ fear smeared across her face and it makes her laugh even harder. Bellamy makes sure to smack Clarke’s ass once they’re out the door, finally causing her to gain some form of composure and control her fits of laughter.

 

He sets her down, careful to allow her to balance on her heels, the cheekiest grin looping across his face. He tucks his hands on either side of her jaw, tilting her face up to crush his lips against her. Clarke giggles against his mouth, returning the kiss before pulling away from him, her hands clutching his forearms for support.

 

“I love you, you know that,” Clarke whispers, forehead against his.

 

Bellamy smiles at her, so full of affection and adoration that Clarke’s heart swells. “I love you more, princess.”

 

Clarke blinks back into reality with a shake of her head, rattling the absurdity of the memory out of her brain. How heartsick of a memory that it is just to cross her mind. She gulps down a lump that’s formed in her throat and regains focus on Bellamy, current Bellamy, father of her child Bellamy, friends only Bellamy as he stands from the table. He watches her expectantly, and she fears he’s going to extend his hand to her, so she stands a little too quick.

 

She stumbles slightly, losing her footing. Bellamy catches her by the forearm, eyes scanning over her in concern. “Hey, you alright? You need some water?”

 

“No, no,” Clarke insists, shrugging his hands off her with a placid smile. “Just stood up too fast.” Bellamy looks like he doesn’t believe her, so instead of having to further explain herself, she continues, angling her body closer with a cheesier grin to perk him up. “So, Bellamy Blake, what’s next on our quest around the most boring town in the world?”

 

Bellamy grins at her, leading her outside to his car after tipping his head to the staff in goodbye. He holds the door open for her, Clarke still watching him expectantly for an answer as she slips through.

 

The cold, brisk winter air travels through her curls, sending them flying behind Clarke as she turns to stare at Bellamy. Eyebrows raised, and arms crossed over her chest, and chin tilted upwards, she stands poised. Bellamy only looks at her, amused.

 

“Well?” Clarke prompts.

 

“I’ve told you many times it’s a surprise.”

 

“I think you know I’m not a surprise kind of girl.”

 

“Nice baby bump.”

 

“You’re an ass.”

 

Bellamy chuckles darkly, swiftly moving past her and unlocking his car without another word. Clarke practically spins around, hot on his heels and having to jog slightly just to catch up with him. She can feel the smug expression on his face just by the way he saunters, not weighed down by a fetus like she is, and clearly thinking that whatever he has planned is just out of this world impressive.

 

“It’s going to be one dull of a day if you can’t even tell me what we’re doing,” Clarke teases.

 

Bellamy reaches the driver’s side of the door just as Clarke stops at the hood of the car. He glances at her, a smirk still ever prevalent on his face, only deeper now, showing off his dimples and that scar that protrudes just above his upper lip.

 

“Oh, princess,” Bellamy winks, throwing open the driver’s side door of his car. “I make everything exciting.”

 

Clarke’s eyes follow him as he climbs in, the car door slamming behind him erupting her from her more salacious thoughts. She swallows, trying to bring moisture back into her mouth and trying to seem unphased as she walks a little too fast over to the passenger side of his car.

 


 

The minute Bellamy takes a left turn on a backroad street, Clarke knows where their first destination is. If the smirk on his face is any indication, he doesn’t seem too bothered by the fact that she figured it out, more proud that she didn’t realize sooner. His gaze remains steady on the road, grip loosening on the upper half of the steering wheel, cruising along the mostly empty road, ignoring the fire in Clarke’s eyes as she glares at him.

 

“You have no respect for the mother of your child,” Clarke snarls.

 

Bellamy shakes his head, a low chuckle escaping his lips. “I have to show him where it all started.”

 

“Him?” Clarke quips, her heart quickening just the slightest.

 

Bellamy glances at her, the easiness of a smile resting against his features. “Feels like a boy to me.”

 

Clarke quiets as Bellamy shifts his gaze back to the road, hand tentative on the base of her stomach. She clears her throat, shifting her attention back to Bellamy.

 

“He or she, this isn’t where it all started,” Clarke states, head tilting back towards the road.

 

The road narrows to one lane, Bellamy’s car squeezing in between the yellow line and the curb as he approaches a somewhat hidden intersection with a scratchy wooden sign on the righthand side. He makes a right turn, passing the wooden sign as Clarke peers at it, squinting to make out the words like she doesn’t already know what they are. It was difficult to read before, but a decade has made it nearly impossible, despite the yellow strokes of paint that take up its space.

 

TonDc Clearing. The supposedly bolded yellow letters are not only barely legible, but barely resemble words. The wood of the sign has been scratched down to the brittle, with only brief specks of yellow making an appearance. It would be quite eerie, if Clarke didn’t know the all about the habits of racoons and stoned teenagers that occupied the area.

 

Bellamy drives deeper into the clearing, the crunch of snow aching below his tires. The plain of green grass is covered in a thick layer of snow, sticking like concrete as opposed to the rest of Arkadia. It looks a lot more pure in the wintertime than it ever has in the summer. Clarke’s really only been during the warmer seasons of her high school years, when bush parties were at an all-time high and the lake wasn’t half frozen over.

 

A splash into the lake rips Clarke’s attention away from Gaia, the cute junior she’s been trying to grab the attention of her whole freshman year. She squints, watching none other than Bellamy Blake emerge from the lake, curls and body dripping with droplets from the lake and a victorious shout emerging from his lips. A chorus of partygoers scream their allegiance, in accordance with a low whistle from Gaia herself.

 

“Bellamy Blake,” Gaia shakes her head with a smile, before tipping her red cup to Clarke. “What a character.”

 

Clarke’s not really a big fan. She tears her gaze away from the scene Bellamy’s performing in the lake and she clatters her cup against his anyways, pushing out her chest with a small smile on her face to play up her innocent act. Gaia’s either oblivious, all too respectful or all too uninterest not to acknowledge her ploy, returning Clarke’s smile with a soft grin of her own. Clarke’s lips falter, but she maintains her cheery stature, trying not to come across as disappointed, recovering smoothly.

 

“It’s quite hot for the end of April,” Clarke sighs, exasperation escaping from her lips as she fans herself with her free hand. “Summer hasn’t even started.”

 

“Arkadia is quite unpredictable. I’ve only just moved here a year ago.”

 

“Wow. Well, maybe if you’re free, I could show you around the best spots?”

 

It’s a horrible pickup line. A no good, terrible excuse for a pick up line, the oldest one in the book, but Clarke hopes Gaia is into clichés. She’s on the debate team, has a 4.0 G.P.A and she heard through the grapevine that she’s also interested in going into public policy of some sort. Gaia’s the type of person that her mother would adore, and it helps that she’s insanely hot.

 

Gaia smiles down at the blonde, her eyes widening in a soft way that makes Clarke nervous. “I would love that.”

 

Clarke grins, throwing her wave of blonde hair over her shoulder and batting her eyelashes up at her. Gaia grins down at her, taking a sip from her cup and peering down at her suggestively from above the rim. She thinks she’s scored, just when a pair of wet, bulky arms wrap around her torso.

 

“Hey, princess,” Bellamy’s low voice makes her chest clench in a fit of anger. He chuckles when she pushes him off of her, stumbling back with an easy grin as she swats at her damp skin and clothing. “I’m surprised to see you here. I thought you weren’t coming.”

 

“Princess,” Gaia repeats. “You two know each other, huh?”

 

“No–” Clarke begins.

 

“Oh yeah,” Bellamy finishes. He slings a wet arm around Clarke, only for her to shrug him off once more. “I was Clarke’s first friend at Arkadia High.”

 

Clearly, Gaia thinks Bellamy is insinuating more by what he’s saying, the widening of her eyes sending alert signals in Clarke’s brain. She shakes her head, meaning to explain, but Gaia just tightens a smile at the two of them.

 

“I see,” Gaia nods politely, “I’ll leave you two to it, then.”

 

Gaia’s already swiveled around, making her way towards another group of people. Clarke glares at Bellamy, who’s clearly amused from riling her up. She sighs, turning away from him to march after Gaia. She’s more than halfway up the hill, and Clarke panics, trying not to lose all the progress she’s made tonight and charging up after her.

 

Thanks to the mixture of odd spring heat and April showers, Clarke’s foot lands on a slick of mud halfway up the hill. She slips, losing her footing and tumbling down the hill in an awkward, somersault position, drink flying from her hand, alcohol coating her hair in conjunction with the mud and dirt she’s accumulated.

 

Clarke lands with a thud at the bottom of the hill, eyes closed and head searing in pain. She’s conscious though, she can tell by the sound of fits of laughter echoing throughout the clearing. Not only has Gaia definitely seen her make an absolute fool of herself, but so has the whole entire student body. She doesn’t know how she’s going to socially recover from this one.

 

“Hey,” a familiar voice looms over her. “Clarke, are you alright?”

 

She groans in response, hand pressed to her aching head. A drop of water plops down on her forehead and Clarke wonders if it began raining for a moment before she puts two and two together. Her eyes open just a sliver, enough to see Bellamy Blake hovering over her, a look of concern on his face.

 

“I’m fine,” Clarke musters. She has to walk away with some of her dignity intact. Bellamy gently grips her forearm, helping her up. When she gets to her feet, she brushes herself off, trying to ignore the stares of the whole student body, her cheeks burning furiously. She brushes herself off, head held high. She repeats, “I’m fine.”

 

Bellamy squints at her. “Are you sure?”

 

“Yes,” Clarke whispers, embarrassment seeping into every bone in her body. “I think I’m going to go home.”

 

“Do you have a ride?”

 

“I’ll call someone–”

 

“Don’t worry about it, I’ll drive you.”

 

“What? No–”

 

“Just let me grab my clothes.”

 

Bellamy’s off before she can protest any further. One second, she’s watching him collect his clothes from some girl, who pouts when he says he’s leaving and practically growls when she sees him escorting Clarke out of the clearing. The next second, she’s in Bellamy’s car, curled in the passenger seat with his jacket draped over her, muttering directions to her house.

 

He’s impressively silent. There’s no teasing about her fall, or taunting about how she totally blew it with Gaia, just a looming silence, that’s surprising lacking tension or awkwardness. Clarke admires it, clutching his jacket to her and staring out the window at the streetlights they pass as he drives through the quiet night.

 

“Thank you,” she mumbles when he pulls up to her house.

 

Clarke glances at him, noting how intense his stare is on her home. She almost feels embarrassed, her home being the few lavish ones in Arkadia. Bellamy finally looks at her, a smile on his face.

 

“You really do live like a princess, huh?” Bellamy muses. Clarke’s cheeks heat up once more, opening her mouth to defend herself when Bellamy adds, “It’s not a problem, Clarke. And don’t worry about Gaia, I’m sure she’ll still let you on the debate team.”

 

Clarke eyebrows furrow. “What?”

 

“That’s why you were talking to her, right? She’s the president of the debate team, and it seems like something you’d want to be a part of.”

 

“It isn’t. I was trying to flirt with her.”

 

Clarke’s come out to very few people. It’s only really been her childhood friend, Wells sometime a couple years prior and her mother just at the beginning of this year. Not that there’s a desire for her to hide it, but she knows how some people can be, her mother has expressed to her in detail how some people can be. So she’s cautious, only telling people who she’s close to or likes or trusts. And then there’s Bellamy, and the words just tumble out, and she’s not sure what category he falls under.

 

“Oh,” Bellamy nods.

 

Clarke bites her lip, his lack of a reaction all that unsettling. The quiet that fills the car makes her all the more nervous. She reaches for the door handle, intending to leave and then, Bellamy throws his head back against the seat and laughs. Hard. Clarke pauses, head turning to stare at him incredulously.

 

“What’s wrong with you?” Clarke snaps.

 

“I’m sorry,” Bellamy clutches his chest, turning his gaze to face her with a lazy grin. “You just totally made a fool of yourself in front of Gaia.”

 

Clarke’s cheeks burn. “Did I really?”

 

“Oh yeah, a hundred percent, you totally ate shit,” Bellamy huffs, trying to draw out his breath and contain his laughter. Clarke narrows his eyes at him, almost preferring the silence. When he finally composes himself, he looks to her with a grin. “Don’t sweat it, princess. There’s a ton of other girls who haven’t seen you hurdle down a hill.”

 

“Or boys,” Clarke adds.

 

Bellamy quiets, a small smile appearing on his face. “Or boys.”

 

Clarke stares at him, her fondness for Bellamy Blake growing in that moment.

 

A light flickers on outside her house. Clarke turns, noticing her porch light is now on, and her mother is peering at her through the window. She doesn’t even have to read the stern expression on her face to recognize it, sighing in exasperation. Clarke reaches beside her and sets Bellamy’s jacket in the middle of their two seats, before beginning to unbuckle her seatbelt.

 

“Thanks again, Bellamy,” Clarke nods her head to him.

 

She’s halfway out of his car, passenger door still open, when he calls to her. “Does this mean you consider me a friend now?”

 

Clarke’s chest is heavy, poisoned by the memories her brain keeps repeating in her mind. She hasn’t allowed herself think back to those times in years, the pain it brings along with it just not worth the turmoil. Arkadia may bring it’s heap of bad memories, but it also brings along it’s good ones, stained with everything in between then and now.

 

“You can’t say you considered me a friend before that day,” Bellamy points out, pulling the gearshift into park. He leans back on his chair, eyes on her expectantly. “Do you remember which day I’m talking about?”

 

“Barely,” Clarke lies, the words coming out as a gasp.

 

“Well, just to jog your memory,” Bellamy swings open the driver’s side door. “Don’t run up the hill. Last time you did that, you ate shit.”

 

Bellamy hops out of the car, Clarke still perched in the passenger seat as he slams the car door behind him. She gulps down the lump forming in her throat, something she’s had to do more than she would have liked to today, watching as Bellamy’s feet crunch through the snow. His heavy boots leave footprints as he circles around the passenger side. He opens her car door, eyebrows furrowed in confusion but lips quirked upwards.

 

“Hey,” Bellamy’s voice is soft, interlaced with concern. “I’m not going to let it happen again. Not when you’re still attached to my baby.”

 

Clarke admires his attempt to lighten the tension, shaking her head as she fights to not break out into a smile. She unbuckles her seatbelt as Bellamy moves aside to make room for her, hopping out of his car. She hears the door close behind her as she walks further into the clearing, the crisp snow stretching across the clearing, making it seem football fields longer than it actually is.

 

She creeps closer, satisfied by the way her feet imprint in the snow. The streets of Polis are only littered with snow a little later in the year, sometimes as late as after the New Year. Even so, Clarke’s apartment is far from any suburbia and there’s not any clearings anywhere in the city. While this type of snow isn’t foreign to Clarke, it is to Polis. And God, she does hate almost everything about Arkadia, but sometimes, she does miss how accessible the snow is.

 

That is, until a burst of snow hits her upper back. Clarke yelps, the contact coming as a surprise as the melted pieces of snow creep into the collar of her winter jacket, seeping down her back and leaving a cool trail. She spins around, hand haphazardly twisting behind her to clutch the upper part of her back.

 

As expected, Bellamy stands a couple feet away, tossing a makeshift snowball in his hand. He smirks at her, clearly declaring war without even having to mutter the words. Clarke stares him down, mouth agape and eyes ablaze, feigning shock.

 

“You can’t throw snowballs at a pregnant lady!” Clarke shouts at him.

 

“Says who?” Bellamy challenges, winding his hand back, snowball clutched in his grasp.

 

“Says me, the doctor!”

 

“Doctor says it’s fine if I don’t aim near your stomach.”

 

“What doctor says that–”

 

Clarke flinches, a snowball hurtling in her direction before she can even finish her sentence. Her head ducks, acting as perfect target, the snowball colliding with the hat on her head. Again, she yelps, the snow adding to the collection of melted ice that cascades down her back. Clarke shivers, beginning to prance around the plain in attempts to warm her body to any sort of degree. She hears Bellamy cackling, but she doesn’t care, she’s so fucking cold and it’s his fault.

 

When she’s finally regained some of her senses, Clarke turns back to stare at Bellamy. His back is turned to her, hunched over – partially because he’s still laughing at the awkward movements that just exuded from Clarke’s body, but mostly because he’s trying to create more snowballs before she notices. But Clarke notices, eyeing the way his hands scrape together in the ident between his legs, collecting the snow together and patting them into perfect round balls.

 

Clarke hurries, gathering some snow together and creating her own snowballs. Not nearly as perfect as Bellamy’s, but pristine craftsmanship isn’t exactly what she’s going for at the moment. She pats them together, sparing glances at Bellamy as she collects the snow in her grasp. She really should have brought mittens, but the last thing on her mind was Bellamy bringing her somewhere to engage in a full on snowball fight.

 

Bellamy begins leaning upwards as Clarke prepares her fourth snowball. She doesn’t wait, yielding her hand behind her back and hurling one of them directly at his back. Instead, it crushes against the dip between his lower back and ass, noticeably seeping down his pants. It’s a win for Clarke either way.

 

He yelps, jumping around in surprise. The triumph that seeps into Clarke’s veins is nothing compared to the pure enjoyment that she gets from the way Bellamy’s hips swivel, almost as if he’s trying to hula-hoop. She’s sure it doesn’t help, noting how his face twists in discomfort the more his hips jerk back and forth, his arms still managing to cradle a slew of snowballs.

 

“That was a low blow,” Bellamy calls out to her.

 

Clarke shrugs, a slow smirk appearing on her face. Without warning, she winds her hand back once more and yields it in Bellamy’s direction. It hits his stomach smack dab in the middle and this time his mouth drops open, mock surprise lifting onto his features.

 

“Hey, no stomachs allowed!” Bellamy yells.

 

“That’s only the rule for pregnant people!”

 

Clarke winds her hand back again, but this time Bellamy is prepared. He ducks as the snowball flies towards him, the pile of snow gliding over him and crushing against the hood of his car. He jumps up in retaliation, arm precisely aimed as he throws his own snowball. Clarke lurches back, his snowball missing her shoulders and diluting into the snow somewhere behind her.

 

Their back and forth goes on for a while, both of them too wildly competitive to let the other win. Clarke’s not even out of breath after half an hour because of how hellbent she is on winning, as if there’s an indicator. Her snowballs become bigger, throws more harsh, intent more serious. And while Bellamy grows amused, his guard comes down and Clarke’s able to take advantage. It’s fun for her in a different way than it’s fun for him, and Clarke knows he finds joy in that.

 

By the hundredth snowball, sometime over an hour later, Bellamy taps out, collapsing into the snow on the lower end of the hill. Clarke has one snowball left and debates crushing it in her hand, but instead she underhands it, allowing it to loll through the sky and plop down directly on Bellamy’s stomach. He fakes a dramatic, painful groan as Clarke trots over, taking a seat down in the snow beside him.

 

“You don’t play fair,” Bellamy breathes, sprawled out on the snow, limbs stretched out.

 

“Fair doesn’t get you anywhere,” Clarke smirks.

 

She watches his eyes flutters closed, him drawing out low breaths in attempt to catch his breathe. Clarke bites her lip, a pretty heavy debate in her mind, but decides to go against her moral compass and sinks down next to him. She keeps her distance, at least half a meter of space between them as she digs her elbow into the snow, balancing the side of her head with the palm of her hand. Her only hand drapes over her stomach, rubbing small circles as she gazes at Bellamy.

 

He looks calm, his mouth formed in a perfect O as he breathes in and out slowly. His freckles shine through the cloudy day, more prominent now that Clarke has a closer look. She resists the urge to trace them with her fingertip, connect them together like the constellations that align in the sky. Instead she just gazes, admires from afar, trying to ignore the yearning that burns a hole through her chest and makes her stomach dip.

 

Bellamy’s eyes flutter open, immediately met with the cloud covered sky before his head shifts, cheek lying against his forearm as he peers at Clarke. His eyes darken, glancing over in one fluid motion, before returning to maintain eye contact. She can almost read it in his eyes, that maybe, just maybe the desire she has for him is reciprocated.

 

Clarke can hear him breathing just as well as she can see it. The cold air that visibly escapes his lips comes in short intervals, unsteady like the way his breath hitches. She can feel it brush the tip of her nose, almost as if he’s welcoming her closer. She’s sure he can hear her breathing, too, partnered with the rapid drum of her heartbeat.

 

Her gaze drops to his lips. Bellamy’s eyes follow hers.

 

“That was fun,” Bellamy breathes. His voice is raspy and Clarke can’t tell if it’s because of the winter air or something else entirely. His eyes don’t leave her lips.

 

“Even though I kicked your ass?” Clarke muses, voice so soft it comes out as whisper.

 

“Well, I did let you win.”

 

“You never let me do anything.”

 

A silence looms over them. She watches the way his tongue flattens over his lips, smoothening out the roughness of the terrain. There’s nothing more she wants, in that moment, than to have her mouth on him, and she’s starting to think that Bellamy may just want the same thing. Her eyes flicker up to his, his following suit just seconds later.

 

Clarke wants him to say it. He’s the one that put these regulations in place between them, he’s the one who didn’t want to complicate things with sex, he’s the one that refused to dive deeper into whatever was going on between them. And maybe it was her fault, for leaving all those years ago, but how would she know if he doesn’t tell her that for sure. How would she know if he doesn’t open his goddamn mouth?

 

“Clarke,” Bellamy begins. Clarke’s ears perk up. She shuffles closer. And then, ever so slightly, he shuffles back. A forced smile appears on his face. “We should go. Begin phase two of our day in Arkadia.”

 

Bellamy digs his hands into the snow to heave himself up and heads to the car. Clarke watches, almost shocked. His feet dig into the disrupted snow, leaving his footprints amongst a slew of many, heading to the driver’s side of the door without even looking back at her.

 

As if this isn’t exactly what she expected from him. Clearly, last night was a mistake, and God, at least she missed the lecture, but some part of her wants to hear it. Wants to hear about everything that could possibly go wrong, wants to get the chance to fight for it, to tell him that wouldn’t be the case.

 

But there’s that fear, lying in the pit of her belly, sharp and poignant, telling her she should be grateful he doesn’t want to talk about it. Saves her the pain of having to face another one of his rejections.

 


 

Clarke should have assumed Moonshine would be somewhere on Bellamy’s list. It’s the only place in the whole town that is actually advertised as entertainment, with a bowling alley, arcade and escape rooms all jampacked in one place. It’s fun, Clarke recalls, but her and Bellamy never really spent much time here. The lack of sentimental value should strike a chord for Clarke because she can’t remember one memory off the top of her head. But she decides, very early on, that maybe that’s a good thing.

 

Bellamy suggests bowling first, probably making up for their moment in the snow with another friendly competition. Clarke caves, not only because hey, not only competition is a competition, but she does really want to try. He hasn’t asked anything of her, if only to be friends, and no matter what is between them, it’s evidently not something she wants to pursue. So she tries, and kicks his ass in bowling while doing it.

 

She wins 102 to his 87. Neither of them are surprised.

 

“Another round?” Bellamy prompts.

 

“Sure,” Clarke shrugs, “Would you like to put the bumpers on first?”

 

Bellamy rolls his eyes, earning a giggle from Clarke as he leans into the computer, programming another round into the machine. As he does so, Clarke scans the bowling alley, not so busy for a Sunday afternoon. There’s familiar faces scattered about, but everyone’s a familiar face in Arkadia and its nobody Clarke or Bellamy know personally or have the desire to greet. She taps her foot, humming gratefully for that fact and turns to Bellamy.

 

They’re halfway through the second round, with Clarke in the lead when her stomach rumbles. She ignores it, winding her hand back and watching the bowling ball soar down the aisle, knocking over eight of the ten pins in one strike. She grins, turning to retrieve another ball as Bellamy glances up at her.

 

“Hungry?” Bellamy prompts.

 

“I can wait until after this round,” Clarke insists. Her bowling ball rolls out of the slot, and she retrieves it with a huff, beginning to head back to the aisleway.

 

“What if I told you your mom was here?”

 

Clarke winds her hand back. “Haha, funny joke.”

 

“Yeah, I’m not kidding.”

 

Clarke falters as she thrusts her hand forward, the ball loudly smacking against the ground, barely rolling a couple of inches before plopping into the gutter. She turns, swivels around so fast that if it was possible for her body to get whiplash, it would have and follows Bellamy’s gaze. She doesn’t even have to lean any closer, the familiar strut of her mother all too ingrained in Clarke’s head from the day before.

 

She’s not alone, Marcus Kane has his hand on the small of her back. He whispers something in her ear, earning a blush and a giggle from Abby, as they approach the receptionist. Kane makes empty gestures towards the bowling alley and Clarke swears she’s going to hurl.

 

“We’re supposed to be back in Polis already,” Bellamy reminds her. The panic written all over her face is enough to bring him to his feet, gathering her belongings as well as his. “Come on, we’ll sneak out the back. I already paid.”

 

Clarke loops her arm around Bellamy’s, tearing her eyes away from her mother affectionately eyeing Marcus Kane to allow him to lead her through the entertainment center, opposite to the pair. He’s quick on his feet, smoothly maneuvering through customers and staff members, offering them a polite, apologetic smile when he accidentally bumps into them. Within seconds, he has the backdoor open with one hand while the other plants on the small of Clarke’s back, gently guiding her outside.

 

She glances behind her once to her mother approaching the bowling alley, bowling shoes in one hand and Kane’s hand in another. She inwardly sighs, stepping out into the cool breeze, soon followed by Bellamy.

 

“I was thinking quick lunch at one of the shops near the theatre?” Bellamy inquires. Clarke’s mind is elsewhere. “A movie after, then we head home?”

 

“Long distance,” Clarke’s mother hums. “That’s going to be tricky.”

 

Clarke rolls her eyes, the reflection in her mirror being spotted by her mother. Not that she cares, she wanted her to see it. Clarke slips on one hoop earring, clasping it behind her ear with a dull look on her face. She hopes her mother can spot that one, too.

 

“I’m not judging, Clarke,” Abby continues. “I’m just telling you be realistic. Polis University is three hours away.”

 

“I wasn’t born yesterday, mom,” Clarke spits out. She turns, facing her mother as she leans against the dresser, arms crossed firmly over her chest. “Bellamy and I planned to do long distance long before my acceptance letter came in.”

 

“I know, but now your letter is in and in just a few short months, your life begins. I don’t want you to hold back because of some boy.”

 

“Bellamy is not some boy. We’ve been together for almost three years, I love him. You don’t give up on people that you love.”

 

“I never said you should. He works hard to provide for his sister, especially after his mom passed so suddenly. I just can’t imagine pursuing a long distance relationship with a man three hours away, who essentially has to raise a child while he attends school and already has two part time jobs.”

 

“We’ll make it work.”

 

The doorbell rings, thankfully. Clarke’s had enough of this conversation. She hoists herself up from her position on the dresser and turns to the door. Her mother stops her, nodding to her other ear. Clarke’s hand flies up, and instead of feeling the matching hoop, she feels her bare earlobe and curses under her breath.

 

“Watch your language, pirate,” Abby warns her. “I’ll get the door.”

 

Clarke turns back to her dresser, shuffling through her jewelry box in search of the missing earring. She always worries leaving her mother alone with Bellamy. Not that she would dare say something scandalous in front of him, but the subtleness of her comments are enough to send anyone into a tailspin. Clarke should know, she’s lived with her for seventeen years.

 

She fishes out the matching silver hoop at the bottom of her jewelry box and hooks it through her ear. It nips her, thanks to her rapid movements, but she collects her things and hurries down the stairs anyways, ignoring the burning sensation on her earlobe.

 

Clarke worries more when she doesn’t hear any voices from the foyer. Bellamy’s voice booms and Abby’s voice echoes, and yet no sounds of talking fill her ears. She quickens her pace, only to reach the end of the hallway to see her mother standing alone at the front door. She has her face buried in some package that must have just arrived at the doorstep.

 

On cue, Clarke’s phone buzzes in her hand. She flips open the screen to see a text from Bellamy. It goes along the lines of someone asked him to pick up a shift, Octavia needs a new karate uniform and he’s going to make it up to her. She types back a reply, telling him she understands, despite the pit in her stomach. It’s the third time this month.

 

“He’s not coming?” Abby inquires. She saunters down the hallway, and it irritates Clarke so much she doesn’t answer. Her mother reaches her, offering her a pitiful smile, resting her hand on her daughter’s forearm. “This is what I mean, Clarke. Bellamy knows how to put his priorities first. Do you?”

 

Clarke scoffs. What a hypocrite.

 

“So, no movie?” Bellamy pipes up with a quizzical stare.

 

Clarke blinks, realizing they’ve somehow managed to get back to his car. Disorientated, Clarke’s gaze switches from the car to Bellamy, all the while Abby’s words echo in her mind. Yet, she manages a smile and nods, “A movie sounds great.”

 

Bellamy keeps glancing at her out of his peripheral vision. Clarke’s eyes are intent on the road, as his should be, but he’s also so worried when it comes to her mother. Rightfully so, she’s a hurricane and a sandstorm all at once, and she’s the one person that can turn Clarke into someone she can barely recognize. As infuriating as it is to Clarke, she knows how upset it makes Bellamy, to watch her spiral just by the mere presence of Abby Griffin.

 

It’s when she starts chewing at her fingernails that he stops her. “Hey, she didn’t see you. I think you’re in the clear.”

 

“I never am with her,” Clarke chuckles darkly. She glances at Bellamy, who can only provide a sideways glance before he turns back to the road. She stares at him, if just for a moment, before she says, “I wish she didn’t have such a hold over me.”

 

“She doesn’t, not anymore,” Bellamy reaches out, places his hand atop of hers and squeezes. “You have control of your life, Clarke. You have control of your career, of where you live, of the people in your life. It’s all up to you.”

 

“It just kills me how she always told me, career first – everything else second. And look at her now, with Marcus fucking Kane, bowling. My dad had to beg her to take a day off work, and she would have laughed in his face if he said it was to bowl.

 

Clarke shakes her head, disbelief and shame overriding every aspect of her being. She sighs, head tilted upwards, leaning against the cushion of the passenger seat, trying to focus on the warmth that exudes from Bellamy’s hand comforting her. His thumb begins to draw small circles, and she closes her eyes just to focus all her feeling on the soft patterns of his skin touching her.

 

“She’s my mother. I love her,” Clarke breathes. She opens her eyes, and breathes out. “I just can’t fathom the things she does to me most of the time.”

 

“I know.”

 

Bellamy does know. All too well.

 

Clarke twists her hand around, palm touching his, intertwining their fingers. He offers her a small smile, too focused on the roads before him to glance at her. She’s grateful for it, though, because she appreciates the extra time she has to stare. To thank whoever was in charge of sending him back to her. For giving her a second chance, even if this is how she has to have it, platonic and with a baby on the way.

 

It’s not her mother’s fault that she left Bellamy, Clarke thinks. At the end of the day, no matter what her mother whispered in her ear, it was Clarke’s decision to make and Clarke’s decision only. And she’s still not sure if it was the wrong one, grateful for her career and the life she’s lead. But if she could have all those years back, just with Bellamy Blake right there, she would have it in a heartbeat.

 


 

Their lunch is full of filler conversations, Bellamy switching between scarfing down his sandwich and rambling about the movie they’re about to see. Clarke’s seen the trailer for it, and is half-intrigued, more interested in talking about anything that isn’t her mother. And since he refuses to talk about the two of them, this is their next best course of action.

 

Bellamy’s still talking about the movie when they’re in the theatre, and Clarke has no idea how he hasn’t run out of things to say about this fucking film. Clarke’s run out of things to say to placate him, simply nodding along or humming her agreeance. It’s thanks to a silent prayer that’s the previews for the other movie start, and Clarke can lean back and relax, thinking about something as mindless as a movie with hot actors and actresses for once.

 

Clarke almost makes it. Really, there’s less than a quarter of the movie left, and they just got to the climatic action scene, so everyone’s on the edge of their seat and really into it. One of the villains smacks the main hero down to the ground, and a guttural moan escapes her lips that Clarke is sure is supposed to come out as a groan – but this actress hasn’t really been that great of a performer, so she shouldn’t be surprised.

 

But it’s enough for Clarke’s mind to drift.

 

“You’ve got to be quiet for me, baby,” Bellamy whispers, his breath hot with his mouth pressed to her ear. “Can you do that?”

 

Clarke nods, all too willingly, thankful for the dim lights of the half-empty theatre. Her and Bellamy are all the way in the very back, watching some movie Clarke forgets the name of the minute his hand sneaks up her skirt. She feels him brush aside her panties, pressing soft, barely tangible kisses to her jaw as his fingers work his way down her slit.

 

She suppresses a moan, the slickness of her cunt giving him ample access to the base of her. He gently caresses her slit, brushing past her clit in a way that makes Clarke want to scream, teasing every inch of her before he even pushes inside her. She leans her head back, neck resting against the edge of the seat, peering at Bellamy. His forehead is against her temple, eyes dark. He presses a hard, wet kiss to her cheek, before leaning his head back, pretending to be focused on the movie.

 

Bellamy’s thumb moves to trace the outline of her clit, already throbbing for his touch, begging for his attention. He uses the pad of his thumb to press down and Clarke can’t help it, she squeals from the sudden contact. Bellamy smirks, eyes not leaving the screen, noting a couple of heads that turn to face them as Clarke attempts a pokerface, just as he slips his two fingers inside of her.

 

Clarke bites down on her lip, desperate to be quiet, desperate to be good as he works his fingers in and out of her, slowly but surely. His thumb continues to perform loops on her clit as he pumps his fingers in and out of her, his pace quickening.

 

Bellamy leans in, just enough to press a light kiss to her jaw and whisper, “You’re doing so well, princess.”

 

The screen blurs before her, everything fuzzy and unclear except for his fingers. It takes every bit of strength for her not to moan aloud, not to scream his name and beg for him to make her cum. Instead, she wraps her hand around his arm, steadying herself as the fury in him grows. He hungrily nips at her neck, fingers curling inside of her to reach that spot he knows drives her crazy.

 

“Please, Bellamy,” Clarke rasps, whispering in huffs.

 

“Please what?” Bellamy demands, voice low, rattling through every bone in Clarke’s body.

 

“Please, make me cum,” she whimpers, grip tightening around his arm.

 

“Of course, princess,” he presses a kiss to her temple.

 

Bellamy’s fingers quicken, a pace so rapid Clarke has to use her free hand to grasp the arm rest for support. She does what he says, she stays quiet, and let’s his fingers finish all her sentences. His thumb rapidly circles her clit, fingers thrusting in and out of her, burning such a fire that Clarke feels herself almost on the edge of relief. Just one more strike of his fingers and –

 

“I want to go,” Clarke pleads, the fire between her legs almost nothing compared to way her eyes burn with tears. Bellamy peers at her, eyebrows raised in confusion, so she repeats, “I want to go home.”

 

Bellamy just nods, abandoning their popcorn and soft drinks to guide her out the door. His hand is on the small of her back as he walks her down the steps and out of the theatre, but Clarke can barely even feel it, her legs doing all the work as they approach his car and climb inside.

 

God, she hates Arkadia. She hates everything about Arkadia. She hates how dull it is, how everything there is to do, someone can do in a day and that’s all there is to it. She hates how her dad and Bellamy’s mom died here, didn’t have the chance to see how great their children have become away from this town. She hates how her mother practically owns the town, showing up everywhere and anywhere to be greeted by friendly faces, because she’s rich and successful and so fucking smart. She hates that even though she hates Arkadia with every fiber of her being, all the good memories she has here are with Bellamy and they’re all amazing and wonderful and it makes her heart ache all the same as it did ten years ago.

 

Clarke stares out the window, mentally giving a fuck you to every store the car passes, a fuck you to Arkadia as a whole. She shouldn’t have agreed to come, should not have agreed to come here just because she couldn’t stand the idea of Bellamy being alone with his ex-wife. His stupid, dumb wife who cheated on him with her boss, who he’s still friends with, when he couldn’t be friends with her because Clarke destroyed him. And now, she’s ruined it all, and Arkadia is just a constant reminder of everything she used to be, everything she is no longer.

 

“Clarke,” Bellamy’s worried tone seeps through her ears.

 

Her gaze remains out the window, but his voice brings her back to reality. She feels the red, hot tears stream down her cheeks, and has to gasp for air to stop herself from sobbing. She feels the car swerve, and through blurry vision can see he’s pulled into a parking lot, now greeted by the night fall, despite it just being after seven. It gets so dark in Arkadia in winter, it perfectly matches how Clarke feels every single time she’s here.

 

She doesn’t even wait for him to put his car in park, the minute the car stops, she throws herself out of his vehicle and gasping for the coldness of the winter air to fill her lungs. She stumbles to the hood of the car, leaning against it as she hunches over, sobs wracking her body. The feeling of Bellamy’s arm wrapping around her, composing her ever so slightly as she leans into his chest, comforted by the warmth of him.

 

“I hate it here,” Clarke cries. “I hate it here.”

 

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” Bellamy whispers into her hair. His arms tighten around her as she wraps her own around his torso, her face buried into his chest.

 

It takes a couple of minutes for Clarke’s sobs subside, Bellamy’s arms still firm around her. They stay still, holding onto one another, Clarke’s tears staining Bellamy’s shirt due to his opened jacket. Not that he minds, running his hands through her hair as she tries to match her breathing with his, steady and strong. It takes a couple of more minutes, and then Clarke pulls away, swiping at her runny nose with stinging red eyes.

 

Bellamy watches as Clarke takes a couple of shaky, deep breaths and leans against the hood of the car, staring up at the night sky. He mirrors her, their shoulders brushing against one another as they sit, and stare up at the stars that scatter the sky. She notices him glance at her, his stare lingering for a little too long.

 

“I’m sorry I brought you here,” Bellamy says softly.

 

“I shouldn’t have said yes,” Clarke sniffles turning to him with a sad smile. She nudges his arm with her elbow, trying to get him to perk up. “You were just trying to make me feel included.”

 

Bellamy shakes his head, a small smile. “You’re right. You should feel included enough just carrying my child.”

 

Clarke smacks his arm and throws her head back in a laugh, genuine and heartedly. She’s all the more giddy when she looks back at Bellamy, grinning at her in adoration. Her gaze settles, her own grin subsiding into the softness of a smile as he stares back at her. All the desire to wrap her arms around him and kiss him a thousand times over is still there, but it’s quieter and settles in an aching place in her heart.

 

“You’re going to be an amazing father,” Clarke whispers.

 

Bellamy dips his head, sheepish and bashful. He runs his hand through his curls, and huffs. His gaze returns to her, her big blue eyes staring into his dark ones, honest and vulnerable all the same. He could tell her she’s going to be amazing mother, but Clarke would just rebuttal him, so he settles on, “I’m not going to be half the parent you’re going to be.”

 

Clarke rolls her eyes, mouth open to rebuttal just as expected, when Bellamy shakes his head, silencing her before the words can even leave her mouth. She huffs, shaking her own head in disbelief, the quietness of a smile creeping up on her lips.

 

“We already know how to do it the wrong way,” Bellamy nudges her. Clarke puffs out a laugh, glancing at him. He stares down at her, eyes light and heart open. “Can’t be hard to find the right way now.”

 

His freckles are less prominent now, the night sky and horrible streetlights not doing much to showcase his features. But Clarke stares anyways, trying to make out as many she can find, comparing them to the stars in the sky – she might not be able to see all of them, but she knows they’re all there. She’s secure with that, allowing her eyes to dip, again to his lips.

 

Bellamy’s eyes follow hers, just as they did before when they were laying in the snow. His breath becomes staggered, and Clarke fears he’s going to pull away, usher them into the car and race back to Polis all before ten pm.

 

They do have work tomorrow, bright and early. Maybe it would be best if they leave sooner rather than later –

 

Clarke doesn’t have time to finish that thought. She’s in autopilot, her hands landing on both sides of his cheeks, her toes reaching to their tips, her lips crushing against Bellamy’s. She’s scared he’s going to pull away, that this time he’s really going to give her a lecture as she snakes her arms behind his neck and hopes for the best.

 

Bellamy’s hands wrap around her waist and she sighs in relief into his lips. He deepens the kiss, tongue slipping through her lips and arms bringing her closer to him. She’s all the more eager, every fiber of her being begging her not to give in washed away by the feelings on his lips on hers.

 

He’s the one to pull away, Clarke’s heart aching the minute his lips depart from hers. Bellamy’s forehead rests against hers, breathless. “We’ll talk about this later?”

 

Relief flushes through Clarke as she brings him in for another kiss. “Good idea.”

 

Their lips crush against one another once more, grips still firm on one another as they hold on tight, as if their lives depend on this one fleeting moment between them.

 

“Is it weird we’re doing this in our high school parking lot?” Bellamy mumbles through kisses, fingers combing through her hair.

 

“What?” Clarke detaches her lips on him for a moment, Bellamy resorting to kissing along her jawline. She glances behind him, an ironic laugh escaping her as she stares at Arkadia High in the flesh for the first time in over a decade. She brings her hand up to Bellamy’s cheek, lifting his face to meet her lips once more. Through kisses, she manages, “It’s not weird. This is where it all began.”

 

Clarke scans the cafeteria, the students bustling about blurring her vision and making it increasingly difficult to find anyone that she recognizes. That’s the thing about Arkadia High, something Clarke learned seconds after entering the halls, every single teenager in town attends here. The school is overcrowded and underfunded and it makes it more impossible to find seating in the lunch room than it is to get to class on time.

 

Students rush by her, unaware and without a care. As a freshman in September, Clarke’s about as noticeable as an ant on the ground and people treat her as such. Colliding into her, brushing past her, nearly stepping on her, the list never ends. She absolutely despises this place, aching to get the four years over with so she can go far, far away and never come back. There’s not one thing that could keep her here.

 

She clutches the tray of food in her hand, a bowl of lasagna and some greens, glancing down at it before refocusing back on the cafeteria. Her friend Wells, her only friend, moved out of state before the school year started and Clarke hasn’t really made any new ones just yet, but she spots a group of girls from her homeroom sitting in the corner and decides it’s better than eating one of the outside benches, alone.

 

Clarke only takes one step before a student collides into her, tray smacking against her chest. She gasps, the lasagna burning hot trails as it slides down her chest. She mentally curses herself for wearing a low cut top today, because God forbid she feels good about her tits for once. She peels the tray off her, her mouth open in shock.

 

“Oh, shit,” a low voice mutters. Clarke looks up, met with a freckled boy with black curls glancing down at her. His friend, in a beanie, snickers behind him. The boy responsible winces, awkwardly grabbing napkins from his friend’s tray and handing them to Clarke. “My bad.”

 

Clarke swipes the napkins from him, angrily swiping at her chest. The soft pasta shells flicker onto the floor as Clarke’s fury builds inside of her. “What am I supposed to eat now?”

 

“You don’t have enough money on your meal card for another one?” The boy inquires.

 

“I do. But why would I buy another one, when you’re the one who spilt it on me?”

 

The freckled, curly haired boy laughs. He actually laughs. Clarke wants to smack every freckle off his face in that moment, mouth agape in embarrassment and shock. His friend pats his hand over his shoulder as he shakes his head in disbelief, his curls moving with him.

 

“Not all of us have money to buy you five course meals, princess,” he huffs.

 

“Princess?” Clarke snaps, voice pitched so high she barely recognizes it ring through her own ears. “You’re unbelievable.”

 

“I feel bad, I do,” it doesn’t seem like he does. A smirk appears on his face and Clarke can see the hint of a scar protrude from his upper lip. He holds up a brown paper bag, eyebrows raised, as if its explanation enough. Clarke glares at him, face hot with anger. He sighs, and explains, bored, like she should get it. “I have a turkey sub in here. You can have half.”

 

“I don’t want your turkey sub.”

 

“That’s all I can do for you, princess.”

 

“Don’t call me that. You’re an ass.”

 

Clarke storms past him, angrily brushing against his shoulder. She hears him laugh behind her, or maybe it’s his friend, she doesn’t care. But then, she hears footsteps clamber after her, heavy and quick as she storms through the cafeteria.

 

“Hey, I am sorry,” it’s like she can hear him smirking. “I’m Bellamy.”

 

“I don’t care,” Clarke pushes through the cafeteria doors, expecting to leave him there. He follows.

 

“It was an accident, no need to be a brat about it,” The boy, Bellamy, yells after her.

 

Clarke stops in the middle of the hallway, uncharacteristically empty, most likely due to everyone huddled in the cafeteria. She spins around, facing Bellamy, who stands a couple feet away from her, arms crossed – as if he has any right to be angry. She has lasagna on her tits for Christ’s sakes.

 

“You know nothing about me. You never will know anything about me. I’m not a princess and I’m not a brat. I’m rightfully angry and hungry.”

 

“I said you could have half of my turkey sub.”

 

“I don’t want your turkey sub!”

 

“I made it myself. I’m a pretty good cook.”

 

“I doubt it.”

 

Bellamy’s not even offended, amusement taking up his features as he peers at Clarke. His arms are still crossed firmly, but his smirk is a lot more playful, even more so annoying. She expects a retort, or anything of substance. But what really can she expect from a teenage boy who spills lasagna on her?

 

“Okay, princess,” Clarke’s fists ball as the name slides out his mouth, as if it belongs there. “What’s your name then?”

 

Clarke hesitates. But she’d prefer he know her real name than go around and tell people the nickname he claimed for her. “Clarke. Clarke Griffin.”

 

“Bellamy Blake,” Bellamy steps closer. Clarke straightens, the lasagna that’s staining her chest no longer as hot as the burning inside of her. He grins at her. “I think this is going to be the start of a beautiful friendship, princess.”

Chapter Text

“So, you guys are back together?”

 

“No, we aren’t.”

 

“You’re back to fucking?”

 

“No, Raven.”

 

Clarke hears Raven’s head bonk against the headboard, followed by a sigh of exasperation. She rolls her eyes, continuing to pack up her duffle bag with her scrubs, itching to get home to see Bellamy, uninterested in the spiel Raven’s about to dump on her.

 

“You two are infuriating. How do you fully make out in the parking lot of the place where you fell in love, only to not even move past first base?”

 

“We both had work in the morning, we had to head back.” Clarke explains, heaving her duffle back over her shoulder. She balances her phone in the crevasse between her shoulder and cheek, hand outstretched to the exit door of the staff room. “Otherwise, this week has been a shit show. He’s trying to cram curriculum in before Christmas, I’m trying to get back in the good graces of my boss. We haven’t had time to talk about it.”

 

“That’s such bullshit. You guys are just pussies.”

 

Clarke suppresses the urge to roll her eyes, not out of courtesy of Raven, but in the name of saving face around the clinic. She walks through the halls, painting a cheery expression on her face and offering a polite smile to anyone who passes by, noting the pitiful glances they send her way. They have all heard about her outburst with Luna, if not having witnessed it in person for themselves. On the bright side, she’s received a lot more sympathy than Luna, thanks to the publication of her pregnancy and fainting incident. However, it doesn’t diminish the fact that at the end of the day, it’s pity – no one thinks she’s going to get the Chief Resident job now.

 

It hasn’t discouraged Clarke, though. She’s been busting her ass all week, showing up earlier than usual, spending overtime in the clinic, intervening in cases a lot more than she previously did. She’s basically being a kiss ass, but everyone is too in awe of her growing baby bump to care. They graciously accept her help, even praise her for how efficient she works despite her pregnancy. It’s a good look, if she ignores the backhanded compliments. Dr. Nyko has even spoken to her a couple of times, granted all about her personal life and how she is. But she knows she can shift the conversation, she just has to try a little harder.

 

Nonetheless, it’s provided a great distraction to her love life. Raven’s right, to a degree – her and Bellamy have been total pussies about the conversation, but they also have valid excuses. With the first week of December rolling around, there’s a lot more patients at the clinic with flu season. Not to mention, Bellamy’s been struggling to get his students prepped and up to date before Christmas, with a slew of mandatory staff meetings before the holiday break. He’s barely been at the apartment this week, and if he is, it’s to drop off food and check on her for an hour or two before he runs off to another obligation.

 

Tonight, however, Bellamy insisted they spend more time together, like they used to before the weekend in Arkadia. It’s Friday, so both of them can afford a break from work, and Clarke’s eager to finally have the chance to talk. If she ignores the nausea that builds up in her throat whenever she thinks about what he could say in response, it’s mostly excitement that fills her body.

 

“Anyways,” Raven prompts, seeming to move on from her tirade, “Tomorrow. You’ll be done work by seven?”

 

“Yes, Raven,” Clarke affirms with a sigh, “I promise, I won’t be late to your bachelorette party, especially when I’m the maid of honor.”

 

“You better not be, Clarke. I’ve been looking forward to this day all year.”

 

“More so than your actual wedding?”

 

“Of course, I can’t get shitfaced as I walk down the aisle.”

 

A smile lifts onto Clarke’s face, exiting the doors of the clinic after waving goodbye to the receptionist. Raven gave her a detailed list of how she wanted her bachelorette party to go practically minutes after she got engaged and since Clarke received the ever so honorable title of maid of honor, it was her job to make it happen. Which she did, having rented out Sanctum, already set up the tab, ordered the strippers and laid out the menu – vodka, tequila and more vodka – months in advance.

 

She’s excited that Raven’s excited – her own amusement dwindling because of her lack of participation in the drinking. Yet, Clarke’s sure it’s going to be a fun time, because hey, she planned it after all. And if Raven’s bachelorette party is going to be anything – boring is far from it.

 

Clarke walks to her car, hiking open the passenger side door and throwing her duffle bag in the seat. “Alright, bridezilla. I’ve got to get home. I will see you tomorrow, nine o’clock sharp.”

 

Sharp, Griffin,” Raven scolds.

 

With a shake of her head, Clarke grabs the end of her phone, releasing its hold from her cheek and pressing the End call button. She throws her phone at the top of her open duffle bag, zipping it up before slamming the passenger door shut and heading to the other side of the car. Clarke slides inside, key turning in the ignition, and a low breath escaping her lips. Her hands tighten around the steering wheel, eyes glued to the near empty parking lot before her, foot on the break, like she doesn’t have somewhere to be.

 

There’s an uncertainty planted in her gut that she’s not used to. Clarke’s familiar with calculating decisions, predicting things before they happen – a grade she’s going to get on a test, a patient’s diagnosis, how Raven will black out before midnight at her own bachelorette party. But when it comes to Bellamy, to narrowing him down to a science, Clarke’s brain is out of sorts. She spent years learning him, months re-learning him, only to falter when it comes to how her evaluation on how he feels about her. Not knowing is the hardest part, even more so when it comes to Bellamy.

 

Clarke sighs, placing her hand on the gearshift and jerking it backwards into drive. She steadies her breathing, knowing she has to survive the drive home to get out of the unknown. With that, Clarke slides out the parking lot, beginning her drive back to her apartment, where Bellamy undoubtedly waits for her.

 

She walks into the apartment, on instinct looking towards the kitchen. Whenever she arrives home, he’s usually there, slaving over the stove or sliding food onto plates for her. However, her kitchen is dim, save for the light that hangs over the island and the familiar smell of freshly cooked food is noticeably absent. Not that she’s complaining about Bellamy not preparing her dinner for her, but it’s become almost routine, that she kind of expects it.

 

Instead, the aroma of take out containers fill her apartment. Clarke concludes that Bellamy must have been in a pinch at work, instead picking up food on the way back to her apartment. The smell of Chinese food isn’t appalling at all, appealing to her pregnancy cravings quite nicely. Clarke’s head shifts, noticing the array of half-opened, half-eaten take out containers on her coffee table, except instead of Bellamy sprawled across her couch, there’s a complete stranger.

 

She almost screeches, a woman with a flimsy tank top and thick eyeliner sizing her up as if Clarke is the intruder. However, as the mini panic attack courses through Clarke’s body, her eyes settle, examining the woman in doctor mode. And she realizes, breathing out a sigh of relief, the hand clutched to her chest instantly relaxing at her side.

 

It’s just, the last person she expected to see occupying the space on her couch was Octavia Blake.

 

“Octavia,” Clarke breathes, “I had no idea you were going to be here.”

 

“And I had no idea my brother knocked you up, but here we are,” Octavia grimaces, taking a sharp bite out of her chicken ball before plopping it back into the Styrofoam container.

 

The flush of the toilet distracts Clarke from visibly flinching at Octavia’s snappy response. A brief flow of water coming from the sink sounds before it’s shut off, Bellamy emerging from the bathroom with a shake of his hands. He walks down the hall, face written with stress, before his eyes dart up to meet Clarke.

 

Clarke raises an eyebrow, wordlessly ordering him to explain. Bellamy flashes a smile at her, in attempt to assuage her, reaching the end of the hallway, wrinkles etched into his forehead as he silently begs her to remain calm with the plea of his eyes. Octavia stares up at them, unbothered and all the while annoyed, glancing between the two with a challenging expression. Bellamy moves over to Clarke, bringing in her for a hug to greet her, uncharacteristic and all the more forced.

 

“I tried to call you,” Bellamy leans in to whisper.

 

“When?” Clarke hisses back.

 

“Just after your shift.”

 

“I put my phone in my duffle bag.”

 

“How else could I have warned you?”

 

“I don’t know. A bulletin board on the front door?”

 

Clarke pulls away, examining Octavia. She hasn’t seen her since she was thirteen, with thick bangs covering up the acne on her forehead and her awkward, prepubescent limbs scrawny, contradicting her fiery temperament. The fire in Octavia’s eye tells Clarke her personality is all the same, her appearance a little more fit to match. Her brown hair, once so long it trailed down to the small of her back, dyed pitch black and cut to rest on her shoulders, with a tattoo of what looks like two upside down L’s back to back, facing outwards and perched on her left forearm.

 

Octavia examines Clarke in response. She can only imagine what’s racing through her mind, the last conversation she had with her ending on a less than cordial note. Her eyes narrow, trailing up the blonde before landing on the swell of her stomach.

 

“When are you due?” Octavia demands.

 

“I told you, O,” Bellamy cautions, “The beginning of May.”

 

“Maybe I would have remembered, had you told me in person instead of over the phone, three months after you knocked her up.”

 

“Watch it, Octavia. We were waiting for the end of the first trimester, and I haven’t seen you in person since August.”

 

“Right. When I helped you move out of your whore of a wife’s house for a fresh start here, in Polis. Only for you to knock up your ex-girlfriend a month in.”

 

“You don’t need to talk about me like I’m not here,” Clarke’s eyes narrow.

 

“I know you’re here,” Octavia scowls.

 

“Right. You’re sitting in my apartment, after all.”

 

Octavia tilts her chin upwards, as if taking on a different approach to examine Clarke. Instinctively, Clarke straightens and Bellamy takes that as his cue to step forward. He reaches down, retrieving a container from the large brown bag propped up on the coffee table and hands it to Clarke, free hand on the small of her back.

 

“Why don’t you start eating,” Bellamy advises. “Let me handle my sister.”

 

He tips his head towards the island, as if suggesting she sit there. Instead, Clarke offers him a sickly smile, accepting the takeout and waltzing over to her couch that Octavia’s body sprawls across. She pauses at the end, Octavia unmoving and unrelenting, before leaning down to swat at her legs, causing her to bring them upwards. Clarke takes advantage of the new space, taking a seat and opening her container of food. She reaches over to the coffee table, grabbing a plastic fork and digging it into her noodles.

 

Clarke hears Bellamy sigh, just as he shifts, retreating into the kitchen to grab a chair from her small, rectangular dining table. She can hear him dragging it over, the scraping of the chair leg colliding with her wooden floors, but her eyes don’t leave Octavia’s.

 

“So, Octavia, what brings you to Polis?” Clarke asks, like she hasn’t already figured it out. She brings the noodles up to her mouth, watching Octavia debate how to answer.

 

“I just got back from Fiji,” Octavia admits, “On my drive back from the airport, I saw Bell’s old home had been sold. I called him to see how it went.”

 

“Hm,” Clarke prompts.

 

“And he told me everything. Imagine how shocking that was, after not hearing a lick about you in seven years.”

 

“Octavia,” Bellamy sighs.

 

“Fine, don’t tell me about the baby until it gets to twelve weeks or whatever,” Octavia sends daggers his way. “But not telling me about Clarke at all? Are you serious, Bell?”

 

“You’re right. I should have told you sooner. But I knew this is how you would react.”

 

“It doesn’t matter. I’m your sister, Bellamy.”

 

Clarke chews her noodles slowly, the tension between the Blake’s seeping into her skin. She understands, as protective as Bellamy has been over Octavia, practically raising her, she returns to a degree. She was the one to answer all of Clarke’s calls, practically hearing her beg to speak to Bellamy despite having broken his heart. And Octavia was only thirteen at the time, having already gone through so much, too young to understand the hardships of adult life.

 

While Bellamy’s taken the brunt of the pain bored, Octavia’s definitely received some of the aftermath, if not witnessed it firsthand. And at the end of the day, she’s right – she’s his sister. And despite how things were left between the three of them all those years ago, they’re bringing a baby into the world. A baby that Octavia is going to be the aunt of.

 

“You’re right,” Clarke pipes up. Bellamy and Octavia’s eyes dart to her. “We should have told you sooner. But it was my first trimester rule. Don’t blame your brother.”

 

“Oh, I blame you plenty,” Octavia seethes.

 

“You should. I screwed up. Not only back then, but now. I didn’t want to tell anybody cause I didn’t want my mom to find out. Bellamy was just going along with what I asked of him. Believe me, we were just trying to figure things out.”

 

Octavia’s features soften, if slightly at Clarke then noticeably so at Bellamy. Out of her peripheral, she can see Bellamy avoiding eye contact with his sister, peering at Clarke in hopes of giving her a silent thanks. She doesn’t want it, after all this is the least she can do. She understands why Octavia hates her, there’s no need for her to start hating Bellamy as well.

 

The Blake sister sits up, moving the take out container to hover over her lap as she crosses her legs. Clarke watches how intent she is on her brother, as if trying to send him a secret message without explicitly having to say it. Bellamy’s eyes finally drift to her, hesitant, as if he can pick up on what she’s attempting to do. Clarke wishes she could figure it out, but Octavia seems to have acquired a secretive side, darker than the version Bellamy used to perpetrate.

 

Octavia’s head tilts to peer at Clarke. “I want to be involved from now on.”

 

Clarke nods, “You will be.”

 

Octavia’s eyes dart to Bellamy’s for confirmation. His lips tighten, before a slow smile spreads across his face. “You were always going to be involved. Someone has to teach them karate.”

 

“Of course, cause it certainly won’t be your weak ass,” Octavia grins.

 

She moves the container off of her lap, placing it on the coffee table before springing upwards to give Bellamy a hug. Clarke’s almost alarmed at how drastic her mood switches, so similar to how she was as a child. Her arms wrap around her brother, Bellamy enveloping her in a hug. He peers at Clarke over his shoulder, as if checking in on her. She only offers a semblance of reassuring smile in return.

 

Octavia pulls away, arm slung over her brother’s shoulder and unreadable expression geared towards Clarke. There’s a hint of a smile on her face, lips quirking up slightly to form a smirk – a signature Blake move, yet all the darker spreading across Octavia’s features. Clarke’s lips tighten, staring back at the aunt of her child, waiting for her to spit the venom she’s been practically vomiting since Clarke walked through the door.

 

But it doesn’t come. Instead, Octavia turns back towards her brother, her arm swing around his neck to interlock him in a headlock, knuckles rubbing against his curls. “I’m going to be the best aunt.”

 


 

Clarke throws the last of the empty containers into the trash, hours after they’ve been demolished. The trash has long piled up, her week of take out certainly catching up with her. She sighs, trying to place the lid over the trash, evidently failing to do so even with forceful action. It was just another loss of the night.

 

Bellamy, intent on spending this night with Clarke, attempted making conversation once the tension had settled, only to be interrupted by Octavia on several occasions. Every time, the Blake sister would overpower the conversation to something about herself, deterring Bellamy from actually speaking to Clarke at all. She wasn’t surprised – the minute she saw Octavia sprawled out on her couch, Clarke knew they wouldn’t be able to get a word in. They would never get to that one specific topic in mind.

 

A familiar presence snaked around Clarke, muscular arms swooping into her vision to help her slam down the lid of the trash can. Clarke retracts, allowing Bellamy to attempt to contain her garbage. His hands shove down on the metal lid, but to no avail. He huffs, settling back on his heels as he looks to her with an easy, defeated smile.

 

“I’ll take the trash out before I leave,” Bellamy promises.

 

A soft snore interjects before Clarke can comment. She turns, noting a sleeping Octavia now sprawled across her couch. Her hands tucked under her head, knees brought up to her chest, she looks quite comfortable in a stranger’s apartment. She almost looks peaceful.

 

“I’m sorry,” Bellamy whispers. Clarke’s head turns to stare at him. “Octavia’s a lot. Always has been.”

 

“She has every right to hate me,” Clarke grimaces.

 

“No, she doesn’t. Not when we have a baby on the way.”

 

“Well, she wants to be involved. Don’t you want that?”

 

“Of course I do. But how involved can Octavia be besides the fun aunt? She can barely use a toaster.”

 

“She’s twenty three, Bellamy. Give her a little more credit.”

 

Bellamy sighs, running a hand through his curls. His stare moves to his sister, eyes softening at her sleeping figure before glancing back at Clarke. “I don’t know what her version of involved is. But whatever it is, she needs to get on board with you being around.”

 

“I am carrying this child,” Clarke snorts.

 

“Not just that.”

 

Clarke’s lips purse, tension building in her chest as Bellamy’s eyes darken. She allows his gaze to travel down her lips, staring for a moment too long before he averts his eyes to check on Octavia. She doesn’t have to glance behind her to recognize the relief that flashes across Bellamy’s face, seemingly pleased that she’s still asleep. He meets Clarke’s eyes, lips formed in a tight line and hands planted on his hips, appearing as vulnerable as she feels.

 

“I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it,” Bellamy whispers.

 

“Me, too,” Clarke admits, voice pitched a little higher than intended.

 

There’s a part of her that just knows Bellamy feels the same way. That knows he goes to bed thinking about her, wakes up being the first thought on his mind, goes throughout his day without really leaving his thoughts. She knows, because it’s what she does, and as much as she pines for him, as much as she aches for him, Clarke knows there’s no connection out their stronger than the one she has with him. It can’t be only her.

 

But then, there’s another part of Clarke – the logical thinker, the head first type of woman, that’s practically fueled her academic career and abolished her love life. Despite these past couple of months, despite the baby that they share, there’s a million things unsaid, and probably a million more that Clarke doesn’t even know of when it comes to Bellamy.

 

Clarke stares at him, the desire in his eyes evident as she peers at him. She attempts to prod, the blue in her eyes all the piercing. She just wants him to say it. She just wants to know.

 

“What time is it?”

 

A loud yawn tears Bellamy’s eyes away from hers. Clarke glances over her shoulder, following Bellamy’s gaze to Octavia stretching out her limbs on the couch. It’s like she has cues, perfect times to interrupt any moment between her brother and Clarke.

 

“Time for us to go,” Bellamy states with a sigh.

 

Immediately, Clarke’s head swivels back to face him. The apologetic look he gives her before he brushes past isn’t enough to prevent her heart dropping into her stomach. Clarke turns, limbs suddenly feeling heavily, leaning against the counter as she looks on at the Blake’s. Bellamy has Octavia’s coat in hand, laying it across her lap before he goes to retrieve his own coat.

 

“Bellamy,” Clarke whispers as he reaches the coat rack, her fingers softly grazing his wrist.

 

Bellamy’s eyes are soft, not leaving Clarke’s as he slips on his jacket. “I promise, we will talk about this. Tomorrow–”

 

“I have work, and then Raven’s bachelorette party,” Clarke reminds him. “You have Shaw’s bachelor party, too.”

 

“Shit,” Bellamy curses.

 

“What are you going to do with Octavia?”

 

“Who’s going to do what with me?” Octavia pops up behind Bellamy, an intense stare in her eyes.

 

Clarke flinches. Luckily, Bellamy swivels around, a monotone expression and tone to match. “I’ve got a bachelor party tomorrow. Don’t know what you’re going to do hanging around Murphy’s apartment, that’s all.”

 

“Why don’t I just hang out with Clarke?” Octavia prompts with a smirk.

 

It reminds Clarke of how eager she was to spend time with her as kid, always jumping at the chance to be alone with her big brother’s girlfriend. But the glint in her eye is more mischievous, ten times less genuine than the thirteen year old girl she once was.

 

“Clarke’s going to the bachelorette party. She’s the maid of honor.”

 

“Maid of honor, huh? So, you run the show?”

 

“I just do what the bride says,” Clarke shrugs with a cautious smile.

 

Octavia’s gaze lingers, silently challenging her. Clarke just pastes the smile on her face, allows Bellamy to shift his eyes nervously between the two of them, while she tries to figure out Octavia. The minute she entered the apartment, her resentment towards Clarke has been ever so clear. But now, after a couple choice words from the pair, Octavia wants to pretend she’s fine and dandy. Until she gets Clarke alone, she’s sure.

 

“Alright, O,” Bellamy claps his hands down on his sister’s shoulders with a forced, easy going smile. Octavia keeps her gaze on Clarke. “Let’s get back to the barn.”

 

“Ugh,” Octavia finally relents. She allows him to lead her out the door with a huff. “You’ve got to find your own place. I was actually looking at some houses near–”

 

Octavia’s sentence falls deaf on Clarke’s ears, the final look Bellamy gives her being enough to steal her attention. There’s murmurs of chatter coming from Octavia’s mouth that dissipate as she walks further down the hall, but Bellamy hangs back, leaning past the door to say his goodbyes. Clarke steps forward as he wraps his hand around the frame of the door, eyeing Octavia who’s blissfully unaware of his absence for a limited amount of time.

 

“I’ll come by after the bachelor party,” Bellamy suggests.

 

“To Sanctum?” Clarke raises her eyebrows.

 

“I’ll meet you here. I’ll wait for you.”

 

“What about Octavia?”

 

“I’ll tell her the party went long. Besides, I was hoping we could talk tonight.”

 

“Yeah, me too,” Clarke agrees with a sigh. She runs her hand through her hair, frazzled and lumpy from her twelve hour long ponytail at work, failing to regain its shape after it’s few hours of freedom. Her eyes scan upwards, meeting Bellamy’s and all of the sudden, her heart flops upside down in its new home in her stomach. “I – I really want us to figure this out.”

 

“We will,” Bellamy leans in a little closer and Clarke’s breath hitches. “Together.”

 

Right on cue, Octavia shouts, “Bellamy! What the fuck?”

 

“I’m coming,” Bellamy huffs out a response with a roll of his eyes. Clarke grimaces as he turns back to her. She notes the hesitation before he leans in, planting a soft kiss on her cheek, tender and dry but there, nonetheless. “Tomorrow, okay?”

 

Clarke just nods, allowing him to slip away down the hall with the linger of his lips on her cheek. Octavia’s voice comes back into her hearing, nothing she can make out definitively, but a round of chatter nonetheless. She can’t hear Bellamy, probably drowned out by whatever his sister thinks is so important, but she feels him on her cheek and from the warmth gathering at the pit of her stomach.

 


 

“Dr. Griffin.”

 

Luna’s voice fails to send a rise out of Clarke, despite her surefire attempts to do so. Clarke’s already too much in her own head, mind riddled with Bellamy and the million and ten different ways tonight can go. It’s occupied her workday, but luckily, her ability to multitask has greatly improved since the first months of her pregnancy and her constant need for perfection is still ever present. So, she’s had a pretty good day, aside from the anxieties that come along with Bellamy Blake.

 

But of course, Luna’s definitely on an attempt to ruin that.

 

“Luna.”

 

Clarke doesn’t even turn to face her, doesn’t bother to address her by the name on her medical degree. She continues shoving her scrubs in her bag, already knowing she’s going to have to race home just to be ready in time for Raven’s bachelorette party. As much as she doesn’t care for whatever Luna has to say, today she really doesn’t have time for it either.

 

“You seemed to have a good week,” Luna comments.

 

“I always have good weeks,” Clarke retorts, zipping up the duffle bag with a harsh pull.

 

“Look, I am willing to put our differences aside–”

 

Clarke turns around sharply, swinging the duffle bag over her shoulder as she does so. “Dr. Nyko isn’t around. Your kiss ass bullshit isn’t necessary.”

 

Luna’s expressionless façade falters, the hint of a smile gracing her lips. Clarke’s eyes narrow, her colleague’s attempt at whatever sort of truce she wanted to pull out of her ass seeming all the more suspicious now. The skepticism building inside of her tickles Clarke’s chest, adding to her irritation and overall frustration. Luna’s stare is almost pitiful, if not entirely mocking. She knows something that Clarke clearly doesn’t.

 

She’s done playing nice with Luna, if last week was any indication of that. There’s no time for games, not with a Chief Resident position on the line.

 

Clarke tilts her head upward, attempting to appear unphased. “Do you have something to say? Or are you just hellbent on wasting my time?”

 

Luna steps closer, clearly having waited for a prompt from Clarke. She stands just a foot away, close enough that Clarke could reach out a strangle her if she really wanted to.

 

“I thought you would have heard about it by now,” Luna’s voice is low, but just above whisper. “Dr. Nyko is no longer considering you for the Chief Resident position anymore.”

 

“Okay,” Clarke laughs, “Because I believe a word that comes from your mouth.”

 

“It’s not my word,” Luna shrugs, “It’s Jackson’s.”

 

“And how would Jackson know that I’m no longer being considered?”

 

“He was in Dr. Nyko’s office, saw the list of final candidates he was considering for the role.”

 

“Sounds like Jackson was somewhere he didn’t belong and got mixed up.”

 

“Maybe. Doesn’t change the fact that our names were on the list and yours wasn’t.”

 

This is why Clarke is a head first thinker. Jackson is loyal to a fault, having been at this clinic longer than her and Luna both, and is an excellent doctor. He’s very sweet, says hi to everyone when he walks in, says bye to everyone when he leaves, buys a batch of donuts from the café when he only meant to get one for himself. There’s no reason for him to lie, not when his whole essence is based on being cheery and happy and an overall goodie two shoes.

 

Luna, however, is a different story. She’s smart, as much as Clarke hates to admit it, but nobody is more cunning than her. Of course Clarke wouldn’t believe her. So, she would bring in Jackson, someone absurdly trustworthy to corroborate her story. Too bad Clarke’s too fucking brilliant to take her word for it.

 

“On the bright side,” Luna begins. Clarke already predicts what she’s going to say. “At least you’ll be able to spend all your time with your newborn.”

 

The doors of the staff room burst open, a slew of their colleagues shuffling inside. The clinic has just closed, so everybody’s heading home, except for a couple stragglers that have patients to check up on. A group of them come in together, laughing and chatting away, eager to get home for the weekend or be back bright and early tomorrow morning.

 

Jackson is among the few laughing, huddling over to his cubby with a round of pals beside him. Clarke glances at Luna as he collects his things, gaging her reaction. It doesn’t falter, the hint of a smile still present on her otherwise stoic features.

 

“Dr. Jackson,” Clarke calls out to him with a smile.

 

Jackson turns, a toothy grin on his face. “Clarke, we’re off the clock. You can call me Eric.”

 

“We all call you Jackson anyways,” Clarke saunters over, brushing past Luna with a light touch of her shoulder.

 

Their colleagues seem to shuffle away, probably because she just comes off as a raging bitch or nobody wants to deal with the pregnant lady or maybe because they’re scared of her after her outburst last week. Who knows, Clarke doesn’t really care.

 

“That’s true,” Jackson laughs, slinging his coat over his shoulders. He doesn’t seem too bothered by Clarke’s presence, if at all, which is more than a good sign.

 

Clarke glances over her shoulder. Luna’s gone. She smiles to herself triumphantly, but just to add salt to her wonderful colleague’s wound, she turns back to Jackson. “I actually have something I wanted to ask you.”

 

Jackson’s face falls.

 

“Jackson,” Clarke’s voice wavers. Fuck, why does he have that horrible look on his face? Maybe he’s just a jumpy individual. This is the first time Clarke’s actually attempted to strike up a conversation with him aside from work purposes. She breathes in, the falsity of a smile still painted on her face. “Is there – did you see a list in Dr. Nyko’s office? About the Chief Resident position?”

 

He looks around, frantic and nervous. Clarke follows his eyes, scanning at the staff room filled with their colleagues who couldn’t care less about the two by the cubby. She looks back at him, his eyes still darting between individuals, as if someone’s listening in. As if anyone cares. The only person who needs to know anything here is Clarke, since everyone seems to be filled in, but her.

 

Jackson looks back to her, finally. His eyes are all apologetic and if she squints enough, a little teary. It’s answer enough, but he says it anyways. “I’m sorry, Luna wasn’t supposed to tell you–”

 

Clarke blacks out what he said next. She’s sure it’s a slew of reassurances, and praises on her hard work, but she’s already out the door before any of it can register.

 

She’s on autopilot, her feet guiding her somewhere, she’s not sure, her mind hasn’t caught up yet. Her legs carry her through the halls, ignoring the stares and polite small talk as she passes through people. Her face, twisted into a combination of anger and pure disappointment, appears like she’s about to murder someone when in reality she’s trying her best not to burst into a round of tears. Not another excuse for people to pity her or call her hormonal or take it easy on her cause she’s bringing a human into this world, something women have been doing since the dawn of fucking time.

 

Halfway there, Clarke’s brain finally comes back into play. She’s almost at Dr. Nyko’s office. It’s only ten after seven, so she prays he’s still there and quickens her pace. And then, she sees him, locking up his office for the night.

 

“Dr. Nyko,” Clarke calls out breathlessly.

 

The Chief looks up at her with a welcoming smile as he tucks his keys into his pocket. “Dr. Griffin. Are you heading home for the night?”

 

“I’m still being considered for the Chief Resident position,” Clarke states, like it’s a fact, like Jackson saw wrong. Dr. Nyko swallows, his Adam’s apple visibly bobbing. She stands straighter, tries to gulp down the lump in her own throat so that her voice comes out steady and like the professional she is. “Right?”

 

“Everyone is being considered,” Dr. Nyko replies, but it’s calculated and thick.

 

“So the final list of people being considered, I’m on it?”

 

Dr. Nyko’s lips form a straight line. He pauses, before beginning to dig his keys out of his pocket. “Why don’t we talk in my office?”

 

“Please,” Clarke begs. She feels like a fool, having to plead for a fair shot, after her years of outstanding academic success and being an excellent doctor. Dr. Nyko gazes at her pitifully and it just fuels her fire. She did not give up everything to lose it all now. “My application was perfect. My performance has been more so. And I’d get it, if the incident last week shot my chances, but Luna’s name is on it.”

 

“The process of selecting the right individual for this position is more complex than you think–”

 

“You can’t tell me it’s because of this baby, because that would be obvious discrimination. But that’s what it is, right?”

 

“Of course not, Dr. Griffin. You are a very valuable asset to this team…”

 

He drowns on. Clarke can see his lips moving, but she doesn’t bothering to make sense of the words that escape. It all comes out as a lie anyways. His voice wavers, and is also a pitch higher. His face also twists into a form of guilt that he attempts to cover up with a pokerface expression, but for someone as naturally cheery as Dr. Nyko, it doesn’t come across how he intends it to be.

 

Clarke’s not going to get a truthful answer, at least not verbally. But she’s didn’t go through years of high, prestigious education to not know when she’s being fucked over. And yet, as the sadness settles in her chest, she can't help but feel that this is just pure and utter karma.  

 


 

Thanks to her need to confront the Chief at that exact moment in time, Clarke’s going to be late for Raven’s bachelorette party. It’s only eight forty three, but it’s at least a fifteen minute drive to Sanctum and she’s struggling to put on her second eyelash – so it’s going to be at least ten more minutes until she leaves, and that’s if the glue doesn’t get all over her eyelid. She’s already crafting the apology text to Raven in her mind, promising to be there before the fun starts.

 

Clarke squirts the last bits of glue from the tube onto the tray. She runs her eyelash through it, allowing it to grab a good collection of glue before bringing it to her eyelid. Her hands are shaky and her vision is impaired because of the tears that are collecting in them. Her dress doesn’t fit right, all too snug despite the fact that she bought it a couple sizes bigger months ago to accommodate for her baby belly. Her makeup looks dry and cakey, and she can already feel that she’s going to fuck up her eyelashes.  

 

Every part of her wants to stay home and spend a weekend just crying over her job. She didn’t get to last weekend, after she was suspended and now she’s basically blacklisted from the Chief Resident title because of something so simple as impending motherhood, and she has to go and be a supportive, bubbly maid of honor for her best friend because otherwise she’s the shittiest person in the world. And it’s not fair, she guesses, to have a pity party all for herself and sacrifice more of her relationships because of her academia.

 

The eyelash is less than an inch away from Clarke’s eyelid when a knock at the door startles her. She gasps, abandoning her grip on the fake eyelash, allowing it to flutter downwards and lay on her dresser. She pauses, thinking she heard it wrong, when the knock comes again, sharper and longer.

 

Clarke sighs, stepping out of her room to answer the rapid, repeated knocks on the door. Bellamy’s already at Shaw’s bachelor party and everyone at the bachelorette party was supposed to meet at Sanctum, so she assumes it’s a neighbor asking for a favor. But of course, she’s wrong, cause she seems to be on a roll today.

 

Octavia stands before her, toes decorated in a sparkly, black heels tapping against the hardwood outside her apartment. A glittery, purple mini dress clings to her petite body, complimented by her thick black eyeliner and perfectly straightened hair. She looks to Clarke, expectant, like she should know what to say.

 

“You have one eyelash on,” Octavia observes, clocking her head to the side.

 

“Thanks,” Clarke bites sarcastically. “What are you doing here?”

 

“Bellamy didn’t tell you? Raven found out I was in town, invited me to the bachelorette party. I thought I’d catch you before you leave so we could take an Uber together.”

 

Clarke stares at her, dumbfounded and completely drained. On any normal day, she’d be extremely irritated Bellamy didn’t mention this to her, even question Octavia to a degree about it. But it would probably just be another thing to blow up in her face today and she’s honestly in no mood to be right for once.

 

Octavia takes her silence as an invitation inside, brushing past Clarke with the click of her heels. She scans the apartment, as if it’s any different than when she left it a day before, before continuing to strut down the hall. She pauses, Clarke still standing in the doorway, plucking a yellow sticky note off one of the doors in the hallway.

 

“What’s this?” Octavia surveys the note.

 

“Bellamy put up notes around the apartment,” Clarke nods weakly to the other ones scattering her home. “Reminds us what we need to do.”

 

Octavia glares at it, displeased for God knows what reason. Promptly, she sticks it back on the door and as Clarke etches closer, she realizes it’s the door to the nursery. The Blake sister turns to her with a quirked eyebrow before swiveling on her heel. “You couldn’t just write a list like normal people?”

 

Clarke follows without much of a choice, steps behind Octavia as she waltzes into her bedroom without so much as clarification.

 

“Sit,” Octavia orders.

 

Clarke obliges. Mostly because she’s exhausted, but partially because she’s curious as to what Octavia is doing at her apartment. She sinks into the softness of the bed, the first time she’s actually sitting down in more than twelve hours.

 

Octavia walks over to her eyelash in hand, and bends down. “Close your eyes.”

 

Clarke does, soon feeling the coolness of the glue against her eyelid. She feels Octavia’s index finger and thumb crush against her natural lashes, setting the fake ones in place. It pinches, but Clarke does no more than wince.

 

“Open,” when Clarke’s eyes do flutter open, Octavia stares back with a smirk. “There. All done. Let’s go.”

 

Clarke stands. “Thank you?”

 

“Why did you say it like that?” Octavia rolls her eyes. “I’m ready for a party.”

 

Clarke wishes she could pin Octavia. But like her brother, she’s hard to categorize into one specific thing. She’s complex, and changing every second and Clarke has no idea how to talk to a person like that. When she was a kid, it was easy to please her. She adored Clarke almost as much as she idolized her brother. And now, Clarke feels like one slip of the tongue and she’s going to jump her.

 

Not really. Octavia wouldn’t harm a pregnant woman, especially not one carrying her brother’s baby. Clarke worries though, what she would do or what she will do once this baby’s habitat is no longer in her womb. Nonetheless, they arrive at Sanctum without any fragment of an argument. Octavia rambles on, a lot about herself, which Clarke doesn’t mind. She would love a distraction from herself.

 

“Right on time!” Raven’s cheer echoes through Sanctum, uncharacteristically empty thanks to them booking it out. “I was starting to think you’d be late.”

 

“Not for a bachelorette party I planned,” Clarke smiles.

 

She wraps her arms around Raven, embracing her for a moment before pulling away. Raven’s dressed in a white mini dress with spaghetti straps, a black sash draped around her torso with the word Bride written in gold, cursive letters. She smiles glancing over Clarke, clearly more pleased than she is with her choice in a bodycon baby blue strapless dress, complimenting her eyes. She opens her mouth to voice this, when Clarke interrupts.

 

“Thanks for inviting Octavia,” she directs to the black haired woman beside her.

 

“No problem,” Raven grins. “I’ve got to meet the sister of Bellamy Blake, aunt to my godchild.”

 

“Your godchild?” Octavia quirks an eyebrow.

 

Clarke laughs nervously, scanning the bar. There’s a cute bartender with a short buzzed hair, a silver patch collected at the front that catches her eye. She slings her arm over Octavia, trying to dissipate any growing frustrations. “That guy at the bar, he’s kind of–”

 

“Hot,” Octavia finishes. “Excuse me a minute.”

 

Octavia slips away, instantly going to chat up the bartender who’s in the middle of serving drinks to Harper and Maya. Other than that, Clarke notes some of Raven’s friends from work chatting away at a nearby table. There’s a couple more people that aren’t there yet, Clarke recalls, which makes her feel better about not being as early as she could have been, but at least it’s enough to keep Raven occupied.

 

With that guilty conscience pushed aside, Clarke hooks her arm around the bride’s, dragging her to a nearby corner. Raven trudges along with a laugh, before she’s met with daggers by her maid of honor. Confused, she asks, “What?”

 

“What?” Clarke hisses. “You invited Octavia? Really? You’ve never even met her before!”

 

“Bellamy texted me last night and asked if she could tag along,” Raven explains with the shake of her head. “I thought you’d be cool with if it he was.”

 

Clarke sighs, running her hand through her hair in exasperation. Her eyes fall to the bar, where the bartender seems to be gazing at Octavia with a cheesy grin. She seems to be harmless enough, clearly occupied with other duties. But that doesn’t explain why Bellamy would practically beg Raven to invite his sister, especially when he’s supposed to be waiting for Clarke back at her apartment afterwards.

 

“Right,” Clarke forces a smile. “Sorry. I just had a bad day at work.”

 

“Damn,” Raven purses her lips, annoyed.

 

Clarke feels a sheath of guilt wrack through her once more. This is Raven’s bachelorette party, she reminds herself, one that you are the maid of honor for, so suck it up, Clarke. She forces a playful smile, leaning in to nudge the bride-to-be. “I wish I could drink the pain away. But I’ll be completely content shoving glasses down your throat instead.”

 

Raven grins mischievously in response before dragging Clarke over to the bar.

 

It doesn’t take long for the party to go full fledge bachelorette. For Harper’s bachelorette party, years ago, it was the same way. The three of them took round and round after shot until they physically couldn’t see, encouraging Clarke to proceed to dance on top of the bar, drunk out of her mind and in six inch platforms, before making out with one of the strippers and then having more shots until she and Harper passed out on top of a barstool, cuddled into one another. She remembers it fondly.

 

Now, she sits observingly on the barstool she was once passed out on years ago, watching the fun unfold her eyes as she sips on a bland, flat water from the bar. Raven’s the one dancing on the table now, this time with the company of a stripper Clarke so kindly hired. The stripper, a man sculpted to the God’s, has shed his faux pilot uniform – another one of Clarke’s ideas, an ode to the groom – left only in a navy blue speedo, taking pleasure in spinning a plastered Raven around as she attempts to refrain from doubling over in laughter.

 

Her friends circle around the table, cheering and shouting, throwing dollar bills at the pair. Harper’s tried climbing on the table a couple of times, and after a few failed attempts of Raven trying to pull her up, has taken her place beside a calm, if not a little scared Maya who looks on in amusement. Octavia, on the other hand, is soaking all this up, having abandoned the cute bartender to enwrap herself in one of the other strippers that litter the crowd.

 

If Clarke can enjoy one thing, it’s that everyone else is having a good time. They have her to thank for that. Begrudgingly, she takes a sip of her water, peaking out above the rim to continue to watch the scene before her. She could go on and join them, but her back is killing her and her sour mood isn’t much of a motivator. She’ll paint a smile on her face when she goes to give her speech.

 

Octavia spots her, and eyes for her moment. Clarke pretends she doesn’t see, and tries to slow her heart rate when she sees her abandon the stripper and trot over. She stumbles, more than a little drunk and Clarke has to catch her by the forearm before she collapses onto the barstool. Octavia just laughs as she settles down into the seat, a flashy grin on her face.

 

“You seem to be having the time of your life,” Octavia slurs, the sarcasm evident on her tone.

 

“Just tired,” Clarke lies. “Long day at work, this kid weighing on my back. Bad combo.” Octavia hums, seemingly pleased by the answer. Clarke eyes her, watching as her eyes glaze over the scene before them. “You said Raven found out you were in town? How?”

 

“Murphy must have told the hubby,” Octavia shrugs, eyes anywhere but on Clarke.

 

“She told me Bellamy asked for you to be invited.”

 

“Huh, what a guy. Always looking out for his little sister, I guess,” Octavia turns to Clarke, eyes narrowing into slits and a challenging smirk on her face. “I do the same for him.”

 

Realization settles over Clarke, the blaring music no longer registering in her ears, but filtering out in mumbles and hints of beats. She can feel her heart beating a little quicker, as it tends to do in Octavia’s presence. She doesn’t know what she expected from Octavia, still doesn’t know how she managed to get invited here, but knows it wasn’t for the basis of being chummy with the mother of her niece or nephew.

 

Clarke pretends not to be phased, bringing the glass of water to her lips once more to take a sip. “Bellamy’s a grown man. I don’t think he needs you to look out for him.”

 

“He did when it came to Echo,” Octavia leans back, resting her forearms against the top of the bar. “He didn’t listen then. But he shouldn’t let history repeat itself.”

 

“Nothing is even happening between me and Bellamy.”

 

“Oh, yeah? Cause you guys seemed pretty chatty when you thought I was asleep last night.”

 

The fire in Octavia’s eyes matches her tone, all steady and fierce like she’s a weapon preparing for battle. Clarke swallows, choosing her next words carefully, not wanting to set off a loose cannon at Raven’s bachelorette party.

 

“Bellamy and I are having a baby,” Clarke says slowly. “How we choose to go forward is up to us.”

 

“You mean it’s up to you,” Octavia scoffs.

 

“No, Bellamy has been pretty adamant about what he wants these past couple of months. We’re both trying to–”

 

“Don’t act like you give a rat’s ass about Bellamy. He’ll never be first for you. You’re too selfish to see past anyone but yourself and when this baby comes, he’s going to realize that.”

 

“This baby is my first priority.”

 

“People are never your first priority.”

 

Clarke can hear the hurt interlaced with Octavia’s tone. She softens, the memories of a decade before flooding back, when she considered Octavia a little sister of her own. She gulps when she sees Octavia blink away her teary eyes, the fury reappearing almost on cue.

 

“I’m not the same person I was ten years ago,” Clarke reassures her. “I know what I did was wrong. I was only thinking about my career and I’m going to make sure I find a balance–”

 

“There is no balance,” Octavia seethes. “You can’t have it all, Clarke. You can’t be the next Abby Griffin without taking on some of her parental traits.”

 

Clarke’s eyes darken. “I won’t be like my mother.”

 

But her voice wavers causing a shameful smirk appears on Octavia’s lips. Her voice quiets, almost pitiful. “You don’t even realize it. You and Bellamy are having fun playing house for now. But wait till the real world sinks in and you have to choose between your dollhouse and your career.”

 

Octavia turns promptly, shouting to the waiter about another glass. He brings her a round of shots, which she downs within seconds before shooting a glare at Clarke and returning to the crowd without another word. Clarke sinks into the barstool, her chest feeling all the more heavy, eyes all the more watery and her – all the more disappointed.

 

She casts her hand over her stomach, ever present in the bodycon dress she’s wearing. Clarke takes a shaky breath. The reason she didn’t get the Chief Resident position is because of this baby. And she wants to say she doesn’t care, that this child comes first anyways, but she’d be lying if she said she doesn’t feel resentful. That this infant growing inside just cost her the first of many losses in her career.

 

And Clarke knows she could either be one of two parents. Her dad, who was a wildly successful engineer, at the top of his game before Clarke was born. He stepped down to a lesser role afterwards, wanting to spend more time with his daughter instead of hiring a nanny, let his name slip into the hall of fame because it was already well established. But Clarke isn’t even halfway to where she needs to be to be substantial in her field. She’d slip into oblivion, into the cracks of motherhood. Which is exactly what her mother didn’t do. Hence, the other type of parent she could become.

 

Clarke’s worked so hard. She lost everything to get where she is today. And now, if she doesn’t have her career, what was it all for?

 

“Speech!”

 

Her eyes dart up to meet Harper’s, the blonde bouncing over to grab Clarke by the hand. She struggles to stand, the weight of her belly and personal problems laying extremely heavy on her body. Raven takes the hand of a supporting stripper, carefully stepping down from her pedestal on the table and jogging over to Clarke with a wide grin.

 

“Come on, preggo, speech!” She joins Harper in cheering.

 

Right. Maid of honor duties call. Something always more important to distract Clarke from her failure of a personal life.

 

Clarke breaks into a grin, the fakest one she can muster. Luckily, her two friends are far too drunk to notice. But she spots Octavia, out of the corner of her eye, looking on with a smirk and knowing expression. It makes her stomach churn. But the cheery expression remains.

 

“Someone hand me the mic,” Clarke laughs as Raven and Harper burst into a chorus of cheers. Harper runs off to fetch the microphone and Raven envelops Clarke in a sloppy hug.

 

“You’re the best maid of honor ever,” Raven slurs. “I’m going to get you the best jolly jumper for Christmas, cause your kid deserves the best.”

 

Clarke coils, pulling away with a less cheerful expression. Raven leans her head on her shoulder, eyes trailing Harper as she waltzes back over, microphone in hand. She turns to the crowd, trying to quiet them, to no avail. They’re all preoccupied with the gorgeous strippers. Harper looks to Clarke, who sighs before letting out a low whistle, captivating the attention of the bachelorette party.

 

“Thanks,” Harper grins, before turning back to the crowd. “Okay, bitches. We’re here today to celebrate Raven fucking Reyes becoming Mrs. Miles Ezekiel Shaw.” The crowd cheers and Clarke finds the strength to clap along. “But before we hear from the soon-to-be bride, who wants to hear from soon-to-be mama and maid of honor, Clarke Griffin? On our fabulous, brilliant, engineer bride?”

 

Again, the crowd interrupts into a chorus of cheers and laughter. Clarke only hopes they’re all as drunk as the bride and fellow bridesmaid, unable to notice the disdain on her face. The last time Harper introduced her was to Bellamy, and it was as a doctor. Now, she’s reduced to a soon-to-be mother.

 

Octavia catches her eye as Clarke takes the microphone. She tries to ignore the plight in her chest, turning to the crowd with her façade painted across her face and opens her mouth to talk about Raven Reyes, the person of the hour.

 


 

Octavia may not have been super drunk at the beginning of the party, but she’s completely trashed now. Clarke struggles to hold her steady as she walks her into her building and settles her in the elevator before having to heave her into the apartment. She’s laughing and clinging onto Clarke, mumbling little to nothing legible. She can only make out a few choice words about the bartender and a few about how much Octavia likes Raven, which makes Clarke all the more sick to her stomach that the two may actually become friends.

 

By the time they burst through the door, Bellamy is on his feet. He stares at them in confusion, but seeing how a pregnant Clarke struggles to hold up his sister, doesn’t waste time in darting to them. He takes Octavia into his arms, guiding her towards the couch as she collapses into the cushion in a fit of giggles.

 

“Sorry, Bellamy,” Octavia bellows. “Did I cockblock you?”

 

Clarke retrieves a glass of water, bringing it over to the siblings as Bellamy stares down at his sister in utter humiliation. She hands him the glass, watching as he carefully tries to tip the water into his sister’s mouth. She gurgles up half of it, before settling into the cushion’s and muttering something about taking a nap. She curls into herself, and within seconds, the two can hear her snoring softly.

 

She looks down at Octavia, almost wanting to lean down and double check that she’s actually asleep. But as Bellamy sets the glass down, confusion etched into every part of his expression, Clarke realizes she has bigger problems.

 

“What’s Octavia doing here?” Bellamy asks.

 

“She invited herself to Raven’s bachelorette,” Clarke sighs, turning around to head into her bedroom. This dress is way too tight and she feels like she’s going to burst at the seams if she doesn’t rip it off her body.

 

Bellamy follows. “What? How did she–”

 

“I don’t even want to think about it,” Clarke calls over her shoulder.

 

“Clarke,” Bellamy captures her wrist in his grip. He peers at her, searching for something that isn’t there, that he isn’t going to be able to pry out of her this time. “I’m sorry if she caused trouble tonight.”

 

That’s an understatement, Clarke wants to bite out. While Octavia seemed to blend in seamlessly with her friends, she did an excellent job of multitasking. It’s all Clarke thought about the rest of the night, her actions, how they’ve hurt people, how at the end of the day she’s always going to be selfish if it means keeping her career intact.

 

“It’s fine,” Clarke manages, “I’m just going to head to bed.”

 

“I thought we were going to talk–”

 

“We don’t need to.”

 

Bellamy leans backward, hurt registering all over his features. It physically pains Clarke, the way it reminds her so much of the look on his face all those years ago. But instead of reaching out to him, and God forbid having him jerk away like he did all those years ago, she straightens, chin held high and lips sealed shut. Because she knows that she has to do what’s best for both of them, even though he won’t be able to see it.

 

“Clarke,” Bellamy starts, warningly. He’s seen this before.

 

“I didn’t get the Chief Resident position,” Clarke admits. Bellamy opens his mouth to respond, but she’s quick to continue. “Because they didn’t want to hire a pregnant lady.”

 

“What the fuck? We can sue for that–”

 

We won’t be doing anything. All wehave to do is,” Clarke breathes out slowly. She closes her eyes, tries to stop the tears from spilling from her eyelids. “We have to rethink this. Our situation.”

 

Bellamy’s chest rises and falls excruciatingly slowly. Her eyes slowly flutter open to see him glancing behind him down the empty hall, palm of his hand scrubbing over his face in exasperation. He lets out a low, dark chuckle, shaking his head in disbelief.

 

“You can’t be doing this again, Clarke,” Bellamy whispers. Clarke doesn’t say anything, giving him an opportunity to step forward. “You’ve regretted this before.”

 

“We’ve been doing really well up until now,” Clarke ignores his statements, trying to keep her tone even and steady.

 

“Nothing has gone wrong between us, Clarke. What the hell are you doing?”

 

“What’s right, like always.”

 

“Who the fuck says this is what’s right? You’re making this decision, for the both of us, again because you’re fucking scared. Of I don’t fucking know what, Clarke. Losing your career? Is that really what’s ending this, before it even starts?”

 

“This is what you wanted,” Clarke cries. “For months, you wanted to just stays friends, just to co-parent! And now, that’s what I want, I agree with you and you’re turning this around on me?”

 

“You know why I didn’t want to fucking start something with you,” Bellamy’s voice raises, bouncing off the walls of her tiny apartment. “Because I knew you would do something like this. I knew, the minute I started to fall in love with you again, you’d pull this shit because you can never be fucking happy with just me.”

 

“That’s not true,” Clarke shakes her head, the tears spilling from her eyelids and rolling hot down her cheeks.

 

Bellamy stares at her, face still. “There will always be something more important. And it won’t be me and it won’t be our baby. You’re incapable of putting anyone but yourself first.”

 

He knows where to hit her. On any other day, Clarke would be able to see through it, to see past the tears his own eyes to know that he didn’t mean it. But now, she stares at him, searching for that exact twinge of regret and it’s not there. All that’s there is hurt and pain, all present because of her.

 

“I want you to say it,” Bellamy steps even closer.

 

Clarke’s breath hitches as she leans against the door of her bedroom, her belly brushing up against his torso. His hand comes up, resting on the bump, careful and soft unlike his expression which is nothing but stiff and hard and written with hurt. His thumb smoothens over her stomach, the contact sprouting a row of fires across her skin.

 

“I don’t know what you want me to say,” Clarke finds the courage to look up at him.

 

His eyes bore into hers, pleading and desperate. “The truth. Is this really what you want?”

 

“Yes.”

 

“Then say it to me.

 

Her eyes water staring at him for so long, his hard expression such a contrast from the soft graze his hand against her stomach. Clarke cowers, eyes wandering around the hallway. Her eyes land on a sticky note, the one meters away on the door of the nursery. It’s hung haphazardly, thanks to Octavia’s handy work. Her heart crackles in her chest, just a little more than before.

 

Clarke looks back at him, face firm, eyes steady, and with an even voice, “I think it’s best that the baby lives with you primarily when we split custody.”

 

It’s not the words Bellamy expects to hear, but it’s brings the same sting. Clarke doesn’t expect them to tumble out of her mouth before they do, regret instantly flushing over her. Bellamy’s hand drops from her stomach, taking a step back with the shake of his head and a dumbfounded expression.

 

“I – I mean,” Clarke stutters, “It just makes more sense. You have better hours, you’ll have the bigger house–”

 

They were supposed to do half and half. After the first couple of months in Clarke’s apartment, they’d switch off every other week. Not to mention the countless amount of times they would both drop in to visit. It was supposed to be fair, half and half. Clarke can’t even pinpoint when she decided that’s not something she wanted. Her heart almost aches more thinking about the admission than when she looks at the hurt and anger written over Bellamy’s features.

 

“I know exactly what you mean,” Bellamy scowls.

 

“Bellamy, please,” Clarke pleads, stepping forward to defend herself.

 

He holds his hand up, causing Clarke to stop in her tracks as he staggers back a couple of steps. Bellamy huffs, a pitiful smile resting on his features as his head bows in defeat. He pauses, Clarke unable to do anything but stare uselessly back at him, until he lifts his head.

 

“I can’t believe I thought you changed,” Bellamy snarls. “That you would actually choose me this time.”  

 

Another slew of tears cascade down Clarke’s cheeks, her inability to find any words to say causing her to stutter out meaningless noises. She reaches out to him, only for him to step back again.

 

“Bellamy,” a soft voice echoes from behind them.

 

Clarke peers past him as Bellamy turns, Octavia standing idly in the doorway. She glances from him to Clarke before back to her big brother, pity in her eyes. And if Clarke squints, maybe the tiniest twinge of regret. She wishes she could be angry with Octavia. But she can’t. She fucked this one all up on her own, despite the Blake sister’s influence.

 

“We’re going home,” Bellamy booms. Octavia nods hurriedly, rushing to the door to gather her things. Bellamy heads for the door as well, Clarke hot on his heels.

 

“Bellamy, we’re not done–” Clarke begs.

 

Bellamy turns, face twisted into a mixture of anger and heartbreak that Clarke hates that she recognizes all too well. “No, Clarke. We are.”

 

Octavia’s already halfway out the door, staring at the two like a deer in headlights. But Clarke doesn’t care, she can’t tear her eyes away from Bellamy. She watches him slip on his shoes and throw on his jacket with a stoic expression, his face once scribbled with every hurtful thing she said to him, every horrible thing she put him through, erased in a matter of milliseconds.

 

Bellamy glances over his shoulder, just briefly as he steps out the door. The look he gives her is nothing except empty and it hurts all the same. Clarke’s eyes are glued to him as he slowly shuts the door behind him, disappearing out of her apartment building and out of eyesight.

 

Every part of Clarke wants to follow him out the door, charge after him and scream that she regrets it. That after all this time, she finally has him back and she realizes what she lost before. That this baby is their way of repairing what she once broke, and that she’s going to try every day for the rest of her life to make him just as happy as he makes her. But her body stays still, planted just meters away from the door he walked out of seconds – which soon turn to minutes – before.

 

Clarke’s hand finds the base of her stomach. The only guarantee that Bellamy will still be here, the only reason she’ll ever see him again. She traces the outline he imprinted just moments before, feeling the warmth of his hand linger on her belly.

 

If she was anyone else, she could be happy. Besides, it’s not like she would deserve an ounce of it anyway.

Chapter Text

Christmas is always a bittersweet holiday for Clarke. Since moving to Polis, her plans for the holiday season have lacked traditionalism or consistency, usually depending on whatever mood Clarke was in. Most years, she and her friends would have a group Christmas with Secret Santa a couple days before Christmas, which she always found fun and exciting. That couldn’t be the case this year, as everyone decided they wanted to be functioning adults and go visit their families in their hometowns. Meanwhile, Clarke had no such desire.

 

Last year, on Christmas Day, Clarke spent the holiday alone. Lexa had been on a business meeting prior that she decided she wanted to follow up on, on the twenty sixth, so she didn’t see a point in flying home just to fly back the following day. Clarke understood at the time, perfectly fine with curling up by herself and watching Christmas movies with a fix of popcorn. Looking back, she didn’t how she was okay with not spending the holidays with her girlfriend. She’s having a hard time accepting that she won’t be seeing Bellamy.

 

Not that she sees Bellamy much often anymore. Because he’s Bellamy, he checks up on her through text messages and sometimes she comes home to freshly packaged food on her counter, but he’s never there to accompany it. Whenever she asks how he is, what his plans are, his responses are dry, if he dares to reply at all, restricting all their conversations to the baby and her wellbeing. It’s almost as heartbreaking as not having him around at all. He’s there, within her grasp and she can’t even reach him.

 

The last time she physically saw him was the night of Raven’s bachelorette and the look on his face is permanently etched into her brain, side by side with his expression from ten years ago. Clarke wishes it was hard for her to believe that she can inflict that much pain on an individual, twice, but it’s even more heart wrenching that she fully knows what she’s capable of – and what she’s not.

 

Clarke doesn’t know what’s going to come out of her mouth when she finally does see him. There’s no words that she can possibly muster up to fix this, right? She has to live with what she broke and Bellamy has every right to act however he chooses to. She just wishes she had an idea as to how that would be before this doctor’s appointment.

 

It’s her last appointment of the year, the first one of the second trimester. Bellamy planned to come weeks ago, probably would still be present if he found out later, and now Clarke’s antsy. She nervously taps the tip of her shoe against the tile in the waiting area, hand smoothening over the bump of her stomach as she scans the room. There are other waiting mothers, most with their partners, all preoccupied with their own devices. Clarke wonders if she looks as frantic as she feels, waiting for a man she knows is coming, but not for her.

 

Minutes before her appointment, Bellamy marches into the waiting room. A lump forms in her throat as he shakes the snow from his curls, his trench coat matted in similar flakes. His normally smooth skin has a hint of facial hair, but nothing too scruffy or overgrown. His eyes a little worn, stature a little stiff, but otherwise Bellamy Blake.

 

He scans the waiting area before spotting Clarke on the far right. Clarke straightens, trying to ignore the little leap her heart does when his eyes meet hers. He offers her a tight, awkward smile and waltzes over, planting himself in the seat next to her.

 

“Sorry, I’m late,” Bellamy apologizes.

 

Clarke shakes her head. “They haven’t even called me yet. They’re running behind, you know, Christmas season.” Bellamy nods understandingly, his gaze fleeting from Clarke to wander around the room once more. Her shoulders slump. She continues, “How was school?”

 

“Last day before the break is a half day,” Bellamy shrugs. His eyes are still elsewhere. Clarke follows his gaze to a heavily pregnant mother talking to her toddler as he plays with a cluster of blocks at her feet. “The kids were excited.”

 

“Were you able to fit in all your curriculum okay?”

 

“It worked out fine.”

 

She sighs. Clarke shouldn’t expect much more than what he’s giving her. She’s lucky she’s getting anything at all from him.

 

Clarke finds her eyes wandering to the woman and toddler, too. Bellamy’s a little more concentrated, his once firm stare growing amused as the toddler holds up his stack of blocks for his mother to marvel at. The hint of a smile ghosts across Clarke’s face, before a sour taste accumulates in her mouth. She looks away, casting her hand over the smoothness of her bump one more time, guilt seeping into her veins.

 

Out of her peripheral, Clarke notices Bellamy’s eyes drifting back to her. His stare lands on her stomach, on the fluid motion of her hand grazing across her belly. She looks up at him, the amusement in his eyes dissipating into the familiar hurt she caused just weeks ago.

 

“Thank you,” Clarke whispers. It’s low, barely registering in her own ears. “For being here.”

 

“Someone has to be here for our child.”

 

“Bellamy,” his name tumbles out of her lips, soft and pleading.

 

Bellamy tears his eyes away from her stomach to look up at her, the hurt in his eyes turning to a flash of anger. His tone, bitter and lacking remorse matches the expression resonating across his features. He whispers, cautioning her, “Don’t do this here, Clarke.”

 

Clarke opens her mouth to protest when her name is called from the receptionist desk. Bellamy is up on his feet before it can even register, expectantly waiting for her to follow suit. When she pauses, an attempt to gather her thoughts, he extends his hand to her. She glances up at him, the gesture small and seemingly meaningless, and not for her. For the baby. Everything he does now for her regard, is in turn for the baby.

 

She accepts his hand. Her fingers wrap around the base of his palm, allowing his grip to gently heave her up despite the coldness he feels towards her. His fingers press against the top of her hand, his other hand resting against the small of her back for extra support. The moment that she’s up, steady on the tile he’s balanced her on, he detangles his fingers from her grip. Bellamy’s cold expression shifts to that of emptiness, lips pursed tightly, compliant. He nods his head towards the receptionist desk, encouraging her to walk in.

 

There’s no right word to say, especially not right now. So, Clarke mutters her thanks to the father of her child before following the receptionist into the patient room. She hears Bellamy’s footsteps behind her, trying to find comfort in the sound of him as the warmth from his hand leaves a deep aching in the pit of her chest.

 

The appointment is the slightest more fruitful, Bellamy’s silence all the more deafening as he leans beside her to squint at the screen. He asks questions, detailed ones that have never crossed Clarke’s mind before. If Dr. Cartwig says everything looks good, she takes it and goes. Bellamy presses, asks about what development the baby should be at, asks if it’s normal that Clarke still feels a twinge of morning sickness, asks if there’s any more he can do to make this process as seamless as possible.

 

It’s a routine for him every visit. It makes Clarke’s heart swell just a little more, eases up her nerves every time. Even now, as Bellamy’s eyes fail to ever meet Clarke’s, always intent on the doctor or the machine.

 

Upon answering his final question, Dr. Cartwig looks to Clarke with a grin. “You’ve got yourself a keeper here.”

 

Clarke glances at Bellamy, eyes roaming over him almost on instinct. She already expects the way her heart soars at the compliment, the way her cheeks heat up and leave a rosy residue on her cheeks. However, the sentiment is lost when Bellamy stares back at the black and white scan of their child with an incessant frown. Her stomach churns and she can swear she sees the baby jump a bit on the screen.

 

“Alright, you two are good to go, I expect to see you back in six weeks,” Dr. Cartwig explains. “Next time will be a little more interesting if you want to find out the sex of your baby.”

 

A smile lifts onto Clarke’s face before she can resist. Out of habit, or maybe just the pure desire to look at him whenever she can, she peers at Bellamy, a similar expression crossing his features. He goes to shake Dr. Cartwig’s hand, thanking her for her time and wishing her a Merry Christmas before she exits the room.

 

Clarke already misses him, aches at his distance when she’s cleaning herself up. Bellamy stands idly at the door, scrolling through his phone as she wipes the gel off of her stomach and throws on her jacket. A little slower than usual, too preoccupied with analyzing every miniscule move he makes, noting how his eyes are anywhere but on her. But he waits nonetheless, toes tapping against the tile.

 

There’s always a sentence at the tip of her tongue, a joke reworking itself in her mind, an ice breaker she voices over and over in her head. Any excuse to talk to him, really. But it dies on Clarke’s lips, never escaping past her mouth as she stares at the freckled man, pretending to be preoccupied with whatever’s on his phone to look at her. He can’t even look at her.

 

And Clarke knows it’s nobody’s fault but her own. This is what she wanted. Just another sacrifice in the name of her career. A sacrifice she’s already made before.

 

Bellamy accompanies her on her walk out of the doctor’s office. Her hopes remain at bar level, knowing they have probably parked their cars in the same tiny parking lot that all of the patients have. His silence is all the more telling to her, awkwardness seeping into her veins as Clarke continues to spare glances at his expression; never changing, cold, emotionless.

 

“Alright,” Bellamy coughs out into the cold, winter air, a gust of air leaving his lips. He rubs his hands together, already stalking towards his car that Clarke spots near the end of the lot. “Call if you need anything for the baby.”

 

Clarke debates letting him go. Allowing him to dip into his car and pull out of the parking lot without another word from her. It’s the least she can do for him, the least selfish thing she can do in all, and she almost does it. He’s halfway to his car, back turned to her, when her feet suddenly follow in his footsteps.

 

“Bellamy,” she calls out to him.

 

He stops in his tracks. She notices his shoulders heaving, an evident sigh escaping his lips. Yet, Bellamy glances over his shoulder, just as bored and expressionless as before. “Yes?”

 

Clarke dares to move closer. Cowardly, she asks, “What are you doing for Christmas?”

 

Bellamy huffs, turning around on his heel to stomp back to his car. Clarke mentally punches herself for that one, her desperation showcased front and center. She skips after him, the impending need to talk to him, the selfish desire to corrupt his life once more taking over as guilt plagues her chest once more. Similarly to how it was as whenever she had minimal interaction with Bellamy these past couple of weeks, or when her mind drifted to him while she was working or when she’s lying in bed thinking of the only person in the world who she would want beside her.

 

She catches his shoulder, and he jerks around, his eyes flashing angrily at her. “Clarke, don’t start this again.”

 

“I don’t want to start anything,” Clarke whispers, her timid tone contradicting the frustration interlacing Bellamy’s voice. His head moves to glare at her hand on his shoulder. He gulps, the gesture not registering in her head until it does. Her hand drops to her side. “I hate that you hate me.”

 

“You’ll survive,” Bellamy scowls through gritted teeth.

 

“We can’t do this if you hate me–”

 

We aren’t doing anything, Clarke. As far as I’m concerned, I’m raising this child on my own.”

 

Clarke sinks back, confusion falling over her face. “What?”

 

Bellamy’s lips purse, frustration seeping out of his nose like smoke. He scans around the parking lot, hand scrubbing over his face. His hand drops to his side as he glances back at Clarke. “I won’t let you come in and out of our child’s life, Clarke. I won’t do that to them.”

 

“I won’t be in and out–”

 

“You’re not sure if you want to be a mother, Clarke. I couldn’t see that before, but I see it now. You can’t do that to this baby. You can’t be unsure.”

 

“I’m not unsure!”

Bellamy steps forward, eyes narrowing. “You know exactly what you said to me that night.”

 

She does. She knows exactly what fell from her lips that night, all the things she said to him, all the hurt she caused him. She knows exactly what she said about their child. It’s all she thinks about, day after day. She can never forget it.

 

Clarke tilts her head upwards, trying to come off as confident. The softness of her voice gives her away, “That’s not what I meant, Bellamy.”

 

“We talked about sharing custody for months,” Bellamy accuses. “And suddenly, you want me to take majority of the responsibility?”

 

“It logically makes more sense,” Clarke argues, the fire in her voice putting out the minute it escapes her lips. She can’t seem to come across as put together, as certain as she intends to. “If you had bother to talk to me these past couple of weeks–”

 

“You made it clear you wanted nothing to do with me.”

 

“Stop twisting my words,” Clarke hisses. “I never said I didn’t want to be a part of raising our child. I never said I wanted nothing to do with you. I–” The rest of her words die on her tongue.

 

Bellamy pauses. Clarke can tell he’s trying to analyze her next sentence in his head, the way his eyes remain still on her, brain working a mile a minute. He seems to decide against this, sinking back into his wool sweater, the flicker of hope disintegrating such as quick as it appeared. He waits for an explanation. Clarke doesn’t have one that she would like to give him. Not one he would understand.

 

He’s all heart. People are his priority before anything else. Clarke wishes she could be that way, wishes she could see through his eyes. But there’s a sickening feeling growing at the pit of her stomach whenever she looks at him, his face written with betrayal and she second guesses it all.

 

Realizing she can nothing more to offer, Bellamy nods knowingly, teeth running over his lower lip in contemplation. He sighs, combing his curls out of his face with his fingers. Clarke watches his movements, trying her best to predict what he’s going to say next. His hand drops to his side, his gaze finally returning to settle on her.

 

“I don’t mind having majority custody,” Bellamy finally says, “But I’d prefer full custody.”

 

Clarke’s eyes widen, eyes boring into his pleadingly. “You can’t take our child away from me.”

 

“I don’t want to,” Bellamy’s quick to assure. “But you need to think about this, Clarke. Think about how we grew up. Our mothers were barely there, if ever. Always in and out. Always choosing when they wanted to show up.”

 

“I won’t do that. I will be there,” Clarke’s voice cracks, eyes brimming with tears.

 

She supposes she should feel betrayed that Bellamy is even suggesting this. That he’s proposing that she completely remove herself from the parental role, leave him to raising the child they created together. But instead she feels a panic rising to her chest, a familiar feeling of loss, of being defeated that doesn’t normally seep into her veins this intensely in social settings. Accompanied by that immense feeling of guilt that she bores into her whenever her mind wanders to Bellamy.

 

Clarke’s hand moves to her stomach, another instinct she’s grown accustom to. Her gaze drops, the tear she’s attempting to contain sliding down her cheek as her stomach glides over the bump. She sniffles, eyes tipping upwards when she feels Bellamy’s gaze linger.

 

Bellamy’s eyes soften at the gesture and sight of tears. His frustration subsides, morphing into a sense of acknowledgement and understanding. “I know this isn’t what you bargained for. But do you know what it actually is that you want here, Clarke?”

 

Clarke’s life was supposed to planned out. The doctor path was going well, everything she aspired to be, everything her mother ingrained in her fully coming into fruition. And when that was completed, her personal life was set to start. And then this baby came along. She’s had months to adjust to a new plan, a new life where all things personal can balance out with her academia and yet she’s losing grip of both. She can only hold on to one.

 

“All I need you to do is be certain, Clarke,” Bellamy sympathizes. “Not just for me. For this baby.”

 

His eyes drift into hers, breathing hitching at the blue that sparkles through her tears. Instinctively, his hand reaching out, thumb brushing against her cheek to absorb her stray tear.

 

Clarke leans into his hand. The snow that falls above them isn’t as soft as his touch, not nearly as comforting either. She closes her eyes when his hand falls to his side, reality settling back into him. He clears his throat, taking a step back to put more distance in between the two. Clarke forces herself to open her eyes, to look at him and the mess that she created.

 

“I’m all in,” Bellamy continues, voice strong. “I need you to be, too.”

 

Bellamy doesn’t wait for an answer. He takes her silence as an opportunity to step backwards, sending his goodbyes with a curt nod before turning to stalk towards his car. Clarke’s eyes follow him, noticing how his hand goes up, most likely to run over his face in exasperation. He’s tired. He’s sick of the back and forth. After everything in his life going up and flames, he needs this one thing to be foolproof, free of destruction.

 

Clarke gets it. The need to have everything fall into place, for things to go as planned. It’s every part of the essence as to who she is as person. It clicks for her now more than ever. She doesn’t just have to make a decision for him.

 

Bellamy saunters back to his car, his words hanging over her head. Her gaze dips back to the bump on her stomach, hand cascading over it ever so slowly. It’s no longer just her and Bellamy.

 


 

“Dr. Griffin!”

 

Clarke curses under her breath. She slowly takes her hand off of the door handle and turns around, pasting a big, polite smile on her face. Dr. Nyko jogs towards her, the same polite smile on his face, the edges of his lips tipping nervously as she makes eye contact with him.

 

Dr. Nyko has been overly cheery to Clarke for the past couple of weeks. He suggests her for a lot of the attendings to assist with, offers her additional advice in between patients, even asks more about the baby than he does about the personal life of any of his staff. Clarke assumes he’s avoiding a discrimination case, but at the end of the day, he’s still her boss. So, she puts on her most infamous façade and sucks it up. There’s no need for her to make herself even less of a catch at this place.

 

“Chief,” Clarke acknowledges, “How can I help you?”

 

“Well, I understand you will be working tomorrow,” she resists the urge to scoff. Of course he knows that, everyone works on Christmas Eve. Nonetheless, the smile stays put on her face and Dr. Nyko continues, “and you may be aware that the Chief Resident position will be announced tomorrow as well.”

 

“I am,” Clarke says it too short, too precise. The Chief coughs awkwardly, tension lingering into the air. She enjoys the way he squirms, so with the same shortness in her tone and matching smile, she continues, “On both accounts – working Christmas Eve and the position.”

 

Dr. Nyko nods awkwardly. “Very well.”

 

Clarke raises her eyebrows impatiently. “I’m sorry, Chief, is that all? I have to get home–”

 

“No, I apologize,” Dr. Nyko responds quickly. She looks at him expectantly, trying to guess all of the bullshit that’s going to expel from his lips before he says it. “About the Chief Resident position…” The way he says it, so casually, Clarke’s ears almost picks up. She almost sets herself up for that disappointment. “I’m sorry that you will not be receiving it. It’s not for lack of skill.”

 

Clarke knows it’s not for lack of skill. If it were based on skill, or intelligence or any sort of actual experience required to fulfill the position, she would have received it. She knows exactly what this about, and it has to do with the growing bump on her stomach.

 

She almost demands to know what the reason is, start another scene in this clinic in less than a month. Almost digs herself a deeper hole. Yet, she remains reserved, nodding when it’s appropriate too and allowing Dr. Nyko to clear his own conscience right in time for the holiday season.

 

“I think you are an extraordinary doctor,” Dr. Nyko begins.

 

Clarke’s in no mood for a spiel about how great of a doctor she is. She knows how amazing she is. Just today alone, she endured a fourteen hour shift of proving just how wonderfully she can perform at her job. And yet, because she’s just a resident, and Dr. Nyko is the Chief and enough has been taken from her in the past couple of weeks, she remains silent and compliant, fingernails digging into the base of her palms in frustration.

 

“And I very much value your expertise at the clinic, but I think your talents will shine elsewhere,” Dr. Nyko continues. Clarke heart skips a beat. She’s being relocated? Or worse, fired? The Chief clears his throat, “There’s a research opportunity taking place in our labs in a couple of months. I think you would be perfect for the position.”

 

A lot of intelligent, award winning doctors do research. Her mother has done her fair share of projects, contributing to many notable finds. It’s not the research that turns Clarke away, it’s that she’s not in a position where she can lead a research team. She’s only a resident, meaning she would be assisting someone, most likely a well versed attending, on their findings. There’s a chance she could assume more of a leadership role, but it’s not a guarantee, not like the chain to becoming an attending is.

 

Yet, she understands why he considered her for a research position and not Chief Resident. While research opportunities are demanding, calling for a lot of hours that aren’t as set in stone, it also reduces the hours in the clinic. Residents who assist on these projects typically spend half of their week in the clinic and the rest in the lab, so their attention can be divided efficiently. That said, while the hours in labs vary, they’re also shorter increments. It’s less time in actual work overall. He’s pawning off the pregnant woman and soon-to-be mother of a newborn, elsewhere.

 

Clarke can’t resist, her nose scrunching up in disgust before she can do much to stop it. Dr. Nyko seems alarmed by her reaction, the nerves practically showing up as goosebumps on his skin.

 

“It’s research for fatal illnesses, such as cancer, and the role of stem cells. There’s a lot more at play, too many for me to list, but I can print out the report for you to read,” Dr. Nyko hurriedly explains. Clarke must not look sold, because he dares to add, “I understand your father passed from such an illness–”

 

Something inside her snaps. She doesn’t need to have Dr. Nyko explain to her how her father died, she remembers it well. She remembers the sudden diagnosis and the days in the hospital and sitting idly by while neither her or her doctor of a mother could do anything about it. It’s not a memory she recalls fondly. And it’s not an excuse for him to use.

 

“Do not speak about my father like he is a business proposal,” Clarke warns, voice low and stern as to not alert anyone but Dr. Nyko. “And do not treat this research opportunity as something you’ve been considering me for all along. You did this because you know exactly why you didn’t give me the Chief Resident position.”

 

Dr. Nyko straightens, attempting to exude some sort of authority. “Dr. Griffin, I assure you that is not the case.”

 

“Then why was I no longer considered for Chief Resident?” Clarke challenges.

 

Dr. Nyko doesn’t dare to muster up a half-assed explanation. Clarke notes the way his shoulders slump in defeat before he resumes his pristine posture, attempting to come across as composed as he wracks his brain for a worthy excuse. Clarke doesn’t have time for it. He’s had weeks to come up with a good lie, and she’s not in the mood to hear the one he comes up with in a couple seconds. She doesn’t want an excuse and she doesn’t want a pity job.

 

“Have a good night, Chief,” Clarke declares icily.

 

Clarke pushes the exit doors opening, the gust of the night air and winter snow blasting into her face. She allows the strong wind to comb through her curls as she marches to her car, furious and upset. Tears threaten to stream down her face once more, but that would only blur her vision and prevent her from getting home any faster. So she blinks them away, hops into her car and drives home.

 

By the time Clarke’s stomped into her apartment building, her phone signals that she has a message. She fishes her phone out of her coat to read a text from Bellamy. Left some takeout at your place, Clarke stares at it, heart cracking a bit more at the final line, Merry Christmas.

 

Clarke assumes that’s the last text she’s going to get from him for a couple of days. The Merry Christmas may as well have confirmed it, since it was only the night of the twenty third. She would have much preferred to curl up on the couch with him after that horrendous discussion with the Chief as opposed to alone. But she kind of sunk that ship, she supposes, along with the loss of more supposedly good things in her life that seem to be following suit.

 

She texts him back a thank you, and a Merry Christmas to you, too. Her fingers dangle over the keyboard, tentatively typing out I wish you were here with me. She stares at it, thumb hovering over the send button. She almost dares to do it. But what would he sent in reply? He’d probably leave her on read. And that’s terrifying enough, so she deletes the message without more prompting.

 

The elevator brings her up to her floor just as Clarke tucks her phone back into her coat. She trudges out the elevator, duffle bag over one shoulder, just aching to collapse on her bed before she has to wake up for another shift tomorrow. As the last one before the holiday, on Christmas Eve, it’s bound to be filled with people with flu’s and colds and the regular spew of accidents that come along with the holiday season. She also has to mentally prepare for Dr. Nyko to announce Luna as the Chief Resident.

 

However, it looks like Clarke’s peaceful night of sorrow alone will have to wait. From the end of the hall, she can see two individuals huddled outside her apartment door. A man and a woman wearing heavy winter attire, chatting leisurely while pressed up against her door. She almost makes a beeline for the exit, because she’s convinced the two are strangers, when the woman turns and spots her.

 

“Clarke,” the woman calls to her.

 

“Mom,” Clarke realizes. She quickens her pace, not out of a desire to see her mother any sooner, but out of sheer surprise. They have to stop meeting like this. “What are you doing here?”

 

Abby ignores her daughter’s blatant disregard for her presence, bringing her into a careful hug. Clarke haphazardly wraps her arms around her mother, duffle bag shuffling off her shoulder into the crease of her elbow. She pulls away, adjusting her back as her mother stares back at her with a pleased smile. Glancing behind Abby, Clarke notices Marcus Kane grinning warmly at her.

 

“I wanted to surprise you,” Abby informs her.

 

Another surprise visit from Abby Griffin, except this one was planned without Clarke’s knowledge. She knows the reason Abby didn’t let her know is either because it was a last minute decision or didn’t want to give her daughter the opportunity to come up with an excuse to say no. This is the second time she’s seen her in a little over a month, and it’s much to frequent for Clarke’s liking.

 

Marcus Kane steps forward, arm brushing against Abby. That’s when she notices the small, rectangle box in his hand, decorated in bright, blue wrapping paper. Clarke eyes it for a moment, eyebrow raised until Abby nudges him. He understands the cue and holds out the box to her, his smile faltering into a nervous one.

 

“This is for you,” Marcus says.

 

Clarke accepts it from him with a polite smile. “Thank you. I’m sorry, if I’d known you two were coming I would have grabbed something–”

 

“No need,” Marcus insists with a grin, “I’m just excited to get to know you. Your mother talks about you so much, you’d think you were in the room.”

 

Oh, I can only imagine. Instead of the words slipping from Clarke’s mouth with her routine use of sarcasm, she laughs politely. Abby looks grateful for the lack of attitude, not that she did it for her. She’s exhausted and not in the mood for an argument, and she doesn’t need to take out her frustrations on any more innocent people.

 

Abby and Marcus look to her expectantly. Clarke racks her brain, trying to figure out what she did wrong, before she realizes they’re still standing outside of her apartment.

 

“Oh, right,” Clarke shuffles past them and unlocks the door. Without much more of a choice, she welcomes them, “Come on in.”

 

For once, Clarke’s grateful for Bellamy’s habit of ordering an unnecessary amount of food. The leftovers usually occupy her fridge for a two or three days. Sometimes, she’ll even take containers to work for lunch so that they don’t clog her fridge for much longer. She’s grateful to have someone to share the food with, even though she would much prefer Bellamy. Her mother’s company is difficult enough to digest.

 

Marcus Kane, Clarke learns, is a chatter. He scarfs down his food so fast just to have the ability to talk to her that she often finds him rubbing his chest and aiding a new wave of heartburn. He talks about his job, and their plans for the New Year and asks Clarke a round of questions too, as if her mother didn’t already supply him with the answers. Not that Clarke trusts her mother enough to provide him with accurate answers, but she appreciates the initiative he takes nonetheless.

 

“Where is Bellamy tonight?” Marcus asks, dabbing at his lip with a napkin.

 

Abby’s eyes flicker up to meet Clarke’s, folding her hands together in her lap as she does so. Clarke merely spares her a glance, in no mood for a lecture in the middle of dinner.

 

“With his sister,” Clarke offers, “She’s in town for a bit.”

 

“Oh, that’s great. She’s a fireball that girl,” Marcus muses with a smile. “She must be so excited about the baby.”

 

“She is,” Clarke nods, a small smile appearing on her own lips. She eyes her mother, who looks on skeptically, but doesn’t dare say a word.

 

“Will the two of them be joining us for Christmas?”

 

“Us?” Clarke raises an eyebrow, her heart skipping a beat. She glances at her mother, who has known taken the time to focus on the food in the container that she pokes around with a fork. “I thought you were only in town for a day or so.”

 

“I thought it would be a good idea to spend the holidays with my daughter and grandchild,” Abby supplies, finally looking back to Clarke.

 

“You didn’t think to run that by me first?” Clarke accuses, her eyes narrowing and fingers wrapping tightly around her fork. “I have nothing prepared. I work all day tomorrow, too, so it’s not like I have time to plan anything.”

 

“We can’t just join in on you and Bellamy’s plans? We won’t be too big of an addition. The holidays are all about spending time with family, after all.”

 

“Bellamy is going to be with his sister on Christmas. We don’t have any plans.”

“You won’t be together? You’re expecting a child in a couple of months and you won’t even be spending Christmas together?”

 

“Well, we aren’t together, so what does it matter?”

 

It’s one thing for her mother to show up completely unannounced. She’s done it before, more so when Clarke first moved to Polis, but considerably less – almost never, in the past couple of years. It’s another for her to paint out a roadmap of what her daughter’s life is supposed to look like, again, just because it’s not the path she envisioned.

 

Marcus looks nervously between the mother and daughter duo, debating whether or not to intervene. Clarke couldn’t care less about his stare, or the millions of thoughts racing in his head, staring at her mother with such a fire she feels like she’s going to burst.

 

“I can prepare dinner,” Marcus pipes up, as if it will help. “We have a hotel room for a couple of nights, so we can’t host. But I don’t mind cooking something up–”

 

“Marcus is an excellent cook,” Abby pats his shoulder.

 

Clarke’s eyes could burn holes into her mother’s head if she really focused. She doesn’t even spare a glance at Marcus, who is very nice and all, but a bit of a try hard, his doting nature towards Abby failing to have a similar effect on Clarke.

 

Through gritted teeth, Clarke mutters, “Mom, can I speak to you in the other room?”

 

Abby looks like she’s going to say no, the way her eyebrows furrow and head tips upward. But one hardened glare from Clarke and her features stiffen. She much rather have a heated discussion in the privacy of another room than in front of her boyfriend. So, she nods, presses a kiss to Marcus’s cheek, stands and follows her daughter down the hall and into her bedroom.

 

Clarke holds the door open for her, watching her mother wander into her bedroom like she’s taking a stroll. Her grip tightens around the doorknob as Abby glances around the room, judgment painting every aspect of her expression. When she’s seeming done with analyzing Clarke’s bedroom, she walks over to the edge of her bed and sits down, hands placed delicately in her lap. Clarke slowly shuts the door behind her, inhaling sharply.

 

“We can’t leave Marcus out there for long,” Abby advises. “It’s impolite.”

 

“Impolite,” Clarke sputters. “How ironic.”

 

“If I had told you I wanted to come by, you would’ve said no.”

 

“Well, you would never have known that for sure unless you asked.”

 

Clarke leans against the door, arms crossed over her chest as her mother stares. Abby eyes her like she has something to add, but seemingly decides against it. She looks away from her daughter with a huff, fingers tinkering with one another as she sits.

 

“It’s been over a month,” Abby points out. “No updates.”

 

“There hasn’t been anything to update you on,” Clarke shrugs.

 

“I’m your mother. There should always be an update.”

 

They remain in silence for a couple moments longer. Clarke brought her in here with something to say, something that was sure to turn into an argument, but things are too quiet now to start it. Abby glances back at her after a while.

 

“Do you like him?” Abby asks.

 

Clarke almost asks who. Then, realization dawning, she nods. “He’s nice. Talks a lot.”

 

She recalls how happy her mother was when she saw her at the bowling alley with Marcus all those weeks ago. Not only happy, but relaxed, just enjoying the moment. It was something Abby rarely did, in light of her demanding career and busy schedule. She remembers the envy that seeped into her chest when she saw it, how she witnessed how carefree she could be for Marcus, but not her father.

 

“He does,” Abby agrees with a genuine smile. Clarke doesn’t remember the last time she saw something so real exuding off of her mother’s features. “He really wants you to like him.”

 

“He doesn’t need my approval,” Clarke insists.

 

“Well, I do,” Abby sighs. “I haven’t been with anyone since your father. And you’re my daughter, I need you to like him.”

 

“I don’t need you to like Bellamy.”

 

“I do like Bellamy. Just–”

 

“Not for me,” Clarke finishes for her.

 

She closes her eyes, the memory of what her mother said to her in the kitchen that day flooding back to her. You made a decision to leave Bellamy ten years ago. Clarke breathes out shakily. You wanted something more. Her career was what was more back then. Her career is what’s more now. She understands now, what her mother was trying to say. Bellamy was never the problem; it’s always been Clarke.

 

Clarke feels tears prick the inside of her eyelids. She lets them subside, before opening her eyes to stare back at her mother. Abby’s eyes are on her, undoubtedly noting the tears that fail to disintegrate into her daughter’s eyes. As expected, she makes no move to comfort her daughter. Abby doesn’t really know how to do that. She doesn’t have that maternal trait that mothers are supposed to have, panic rising in their chest whenever their child is in peril. That was usually Clarke’s father’s role.

 

While her father’s job was demanding and high paying, Clarke can barely recall day before his death where they didn’t see each other or spend time with one another. Her mother, on the other hand, was gone for weeks most of the time. She thinks back, about how when Abby would eventually return – even for the shortest of timespans – and fill her in on all her medical marvels, her eyes lit brightly, even more amused when Clarke would egg her on to tell more of her stories. It seemed worth it for her, the lack of family time, to be able to be a real asset to the world of medicine.

 

Clarke almost shudders realizing that she’s felt the same way. Sacrificing her social life for high academic status, just like what her mother ingrained in her from their fleeting moments together in her childhood.

 

She rubs her palms on against the denim of her jeans, wiping off the sweat that’s accumulated. Clarke wanders over to her mother, taking a seat beside her on the bed, closest than they’ve been in years. She looks to her, “The Chief offered me a research opportunity today.”

 

Abby’s nose scrunches in disgust, scarily similar to Clarke’s own reaction. “Have you been underperforming?”

 

“No, all I get is praise from everyone,” Clarke huffs. She decides not to launch into the logistics behind Chief Resident, grateful her mother knows nothing about it. “He just seems to think I’d be a good fit.”

 

“I would have never taken on a research opportunity in my residency,” Abby shakes her head. “They would’ve cut my hours in the O.R. That’s definitely what they’ll do in the clinic as well. You’ll be at home more than you’re working.”

 

Clarke’s heart flutters involuntarily.

 

“It would be a waste of your time,” Abby adds with a scoff.

 

Clarke’s lips tighten. She thinks back to her dad, who was unfortunately plagued with an illness all too common for the world’s liking. Nothing rare, or obsolete. If there was anything Clarke could have done to prevent it, she would have, without a moment’s hesitation. She knows her mother would have done the same.

 


 

At the end of the workday, Dr. Nyko gathers everyone in the staff room to say his pleasantries before the holidays and announce Dr. Jackson as the new Chief Resident.

 

Clarke breaks out into a grin. She already knew the position wasn’t hers and Jackson is a super hard worker, a great doctor and promising candidate. But she’d be lying if she said the reason for her sadistic smile isn’t because Luna looks so angry, she half-expects her to storm out of the room or punch a wall. The defeated slump of her shoulders really sells it, even more so when Clarke brushes by her to give Jackson a congratulatory hug.

 

“Thanks, Clarke,” Dr. Jackson grins. “Happy holidays.”

 

“Happy holidays,” Clarke pats him on the back, before turning to weave her way through the crowd.

 

She catches Luna, sulking on the outer ends of the group of people surrounding Jackson, attempting and failing to maintain a pokerface expression. Clarke smirks when Luna notices her, the slight tension that noticeably builds in her colleague’s shoulders all the more satisfying. She doesn’t even bother with a sly remark or bitchy comment. She simply brushes past her, the mutual loss not weighing on Clarke like it evidently does on Luna.

 

It’s Christmas Eve, and Clarke is in no mood to start shit with Luna. In fact, she’d be more than happy if they never spoke again. But when Clarke slings her duffle bag over her shoulder and turns to exit, there’s Luna’s icy stare glaring right back on her. Before Clarke can react, Luna practically marches over, a smirk crossing across her own features, like there’s some new form of leverage that she’s unaware of.

 

“He’s a third year,” Luna offers as an explanation. “Of course they chose him. At least I got to the final round though, right?”

 

“Right,” Clarke affirms with a petty smile. “There’s always next year for you to lose again.”

 

“I’m sure I’ll struggle with that, having you as competition. If that’s even what you can call it.”

 

Clarke is less than phased, if at all, by Luna’s sarcasm. Instead, she offers a patronizing gaze which visibly makes Luna’s blood boil. It’s the best Christmas gift she’s received so far. “Happy holidays, Luna.”

 

She brushes by her colleague once more, feeling the daggers she sends to the back of her head as she walks away. Clarke expected to feel more upset, more angry at the results – probably because some part of her actually thought Luna had a shot. But some part of her, an odd part, feels at peace, like things are falling into place.

 

The staff room is less full than before, colleagues of hers already filing out in hopes of getting a jumpstart on the holiday. Clarke spots Dr. Nyko saying his goodbyes to Jackson with a congratulatory pat on the back, before the new Chief Resident leaves as well. She slows her pace, almost sauntering over to the Chief. She notices that she catches his eye, if the nervous bead of sweat forming his temple is any indication.

 

“Dr. Griffin,” Dr. Nyko forces a smile. “Happy holidays.”

 

“Happy holidays,” Clarke nods. She hesitates, teeth grazing over her bottom lip as she does a brief scan of the room. She doesn’t mean to leave Dr. Nyko anticipating for her next moves, but it’s an added bonus for sure. She looks back at him, certain. “I’d like to see the report of the research opportunity you mentioned yesterday.”

 

Shock flashes over Dr. Nyko’s features for a visible amount of seconds before it subsides into relief. “Of course. I’ll have a copy for you ready when we get back to work.”

 

“Thank you,” Clarke makes an attempt to move past him, when he speaks up once more.

 

“If you don’t mind me asking,” Dr. Nyko steps in front of her. “What made you change your mind?”

 

“I haven’t committed to the project yet,” Clarke insists. She shifts her weight from one foot to the other, hand gripping the strap of her duffle bag as she chews at the bottom of her lip. “However, I guess it’s that my priorities have shifted.”

 

Dr. Nyko nods understandingly, despite the cringe that bundles in Clarke’s chest. He doesn’t get it. He probably thinks she’s putting aside her career to become a full time mom, completely abandon the work she’s put into her academia. She doesn’t bother to correct him, to appease his knowing stare, like he has any idea what is coursing through her mind. She knows he’s too dense to understand. Her mother is all but, and still doesn’t understand.

 

So instead, Clarke offers a polite smile and walks out of the clinic with her head held high. And when she gets home, she spends hours catching up on the months of sleep that she’s lost.

 


 

Christmas Day occurs as expected. The whole day, Clarke contemplates texting Bellamy, despite their holiday salutations days before. He doesn’t message or call her, no attempts to get through to her. She knows she deserves the cold shoulder, his ultimatum still hanging over her head. But there’s an undeniable shift in the air that Clarke can’t ignore. She can’t expect him to feel it too, but she hopes she has the chance to make him realize it.

 

The rest of the day is filled with Marcus and Abby’s combined efforts to cook. Abby’s never been much of a cook and it proves that Marcus isn’t either. But Clarke looks on, their shared giggles and never ending conversations bringing out a side in her mother that she’s yet to see in a while. It’s a side Clarke much prefers.

 

It’s around nine, well after dinner and dessert that Marcus and Abby prepare to leave. The day wasn’t half as grueling as Clarke expected, and it’s a nice shift from her mother’s overbearing self. Marcus is good for her. She can only hope that she keeps him around.

 

“Oh, wait,” Marcus pauses, hanging his coat back up on the hook. “You didn’t open your present.”

 

“I thought you guys forgot,” Clarke winces. “I feel horrible for not getting you two anything.”

 

“Well, we sprung this visit on you without warning. And it’s not much. Please, open it.”

 

Clarke spares a glance at her mother, who pleads with her eyes to do what he asks. She assumes Marcus picked out the gift, hence why he’s so eager for her to open it. She allows them to sit back on her couch while she heads to the closet in the hallway to retrieve the present she stored away. When she returns to the living room, Marcus’ leg is already bouncing with excitement.

 

She peels the bright, blue wrapping paper away, revealing a slick, plain, black box underneath. Marcus takes the wrapping paper from her, scrunching it up in a ball and tucking it into his lap as she peels off the lid of the box. She places the lid down on the coffee table, peering inside to notice a shine twinkle in her eye.

 

Clarke pulls out a shiny, silver ornament in the shape of a ball. It’s very pretty, but she doesn’t realize why Marcus was so hung up on her opening it until she peers at the engraving in the middle of the sphere.

 

Baby Griffin-Blake’s First Christmas

 

“You can insert a picture, you know, once you have one, by opening up the lid on the bottom,” Marcus points out. Clarke doesn’t respond, inspecting the ornament. Nervously, he continues, “I assumed you were hyphenating the last time, should I not have–”

 

Clarke shakes her head, the gesture interrupting Marcus mid-sentence. She traces her fingers along the engraving, the words sinking into chest. Her index finger loops through the letters seamlessly, on a clear path from start to finish. With her other hand, she holds the base of the ornament, marveling at its glow, its rays bouncing off of the reflections in her apartment.

 

“I love it,” Clarke breathes. She looks up at Marcus and then to her mother, who’s tears are pricking her own eyes. Her gaze returns back to the ornament, a smile growing on her features. Realization dawns on her, and she chokes out, “He’s definitely going to be a Griffin-Blake.”

 

“He?” Abby prods. “You already know it’s a boy?”

 

“No,” Clarke allows the pride to fill her chest, unable to tear her eyes away from the shine that sparkles on the engravement. She drags her fingers over the metal, a low breath exhaling out of her. “It just feels like it.”

 

Minutes later, Clarke’s exiting her apartment with her mother and Marcus. She insists to them that she’s only escorting them to their car, even going as far as to hug the two of them before saying her goodbyes. She’s in autopilot mode more than anything, thanking them extensively and wishing them safe travels before shuffling them in their cars. She makes a mental note to call before the New Year and thank them once more for the visit and the present before hurrying off to her own car.

 

The drive to Bellamy – or Murphy’s – apartment is longer than it typically is. Clarke manages to receive every red light at every stoplight, passengers utilizing crosswalks when she goes to make a turn, the car in front of her driving less than the speed limit. It could be her mind playing tricks on her, but for once in a long time, Clarke finally feels like she’s grounded to reality. So, if she has to wait a couple more minutes on the last couple hours of Christmas Day, it’s what she will do.

 

Clarke practically races to the elevator, thankful nobody in Murphy’s apartment building is reputable enough to question her. In seconds, what feel like hours, she’s at the door, knuckles wrapping rapidly against the wood. It feels like years before the door opens, relief flooding through her when Bellamy stares back, bewildered and confused.

 

“Hey,” Bellamy greets softly. He surveys over her, noting her heavy breathing and red flushed cheeks. “What’s wrong? Are you okay?”

 

“I’m all in,” Clarke says without missing a beat. The confusion on Bellamy’s face doesn’t subside, his brows furrowing together, more puzzled than before. “I want to be there. I will be there. My career is important to me, but you and our child are so much more.”

 

Surprise flashes across Bellamy’s face, mixed with a set of uncertainty that does nothing to settle Clarke’s nerves. He glances over his shoulder, eyes roaming around the apartment before he looks back to her. Clarke twiddles with her fingers, peering up at him, silently pleading, begging for him to hear her out.

 

“I know I don’t deserve it,” Clarke whispers. “But I can prove it to you.”

 

“Prove what?” Bellamy all but snarls. “That right now, you can squeeze motherhood into your busy schedule?”

 

Clarke straightens, not letting his frustration get the best of her. She expected this, and more. “I know it’s going to take you a while to trust me – to forgive me. But I can’t go on with my life without you in it. I’ve done it before and I don’t want to do it again.”

 

“I told you all of this. I begged you not to do it. Not just then, but when you pulled your stunt a couple weeks ago. And now you’ve changed your mind? Again? How long until you’re back to your normal self?”

 

“You’re right,” Clarke pleads, eyes beginning to sting with fresh tears. “I’ve been selfish. And cruel. I’ve let what others think of me, of what my life was supposed to look like cloud what’s important to me for years. And I don’t want to be living for anyone else but me and this baby. Not anymore.”

 

Bellamy’s features harden, his eyes darkening. “I won’t take this baby away from you. If you’re committed to being a parent, a present one, a mother better than the ones we had, I want you to be in our child’s life. They’re going to need you. I–” This time, it’s his turn to trail off.

 

Clarke doesn’t need to guess what he was going to say. She steps forward, hand hesitantly reaching up to comb through his curls. His eyes close, breathing hitching at her touch, the lightness of her fingers cascading against his sculp.

 

“You said you needed me, the other day,” Clarke whispers.

 

“You’re twisting my words,” Bellamy mimics.

 

The softness of a smile graces Clarke’s lips. She leans forward, forehead leaning against his, so close that the hotness of his breath begins to tickle her nose.

 

“I need you, Bellamy.”

 

“You left me,” Bellamy breathes. “More than once.”

 

Clarke’s fingers fall through his curls, dipping to graze against his cheek. Bellamy stiffens, eyes screwed tightly shut. Clarke moves even closer, her chest almost pressed up against his, if it weren’t for her stomach in the way. Bellamy feels her bump brush against his torso, hands trailing up her waist to cup around her belly. His thumb brushes against the bump, other fingers still.

 

“It won’t happen again,” Clarke assures him with every fiber in her chest. She knows words won’t be enough this time. “Let me prove it to you.”

 

“How?” Bellamy’s voice is barely above a whisper. “How are you going to turn it around this time, Clarke? How do I know that you’ll stay?”

 

She feels like her heart is going to burst into a million pieces. Bellamy’s voice, so soft and timid, unlike anything she’s heard from him in a while. Clarke wishes she could take it all back, restore his trust in her without ever having lost it in the first place. But now they’re here and Bellamy’s jumped through hoops to make sure Clarke’s comfortable throughout this whole ordeal, at the expense of his own wellbeing. It’s her turn to prove her loyalty, that her love for him and their child transcends any of the bullshit she once thought was so important.

 

“My career is important to me,” Clarke repeats. She feels Bellamy tense, brushing her thumb against his cheek to calm him. “But my life means nothing if there’s a career and not you.” Bellamy still seems hesitant. She continues, “I won’t gain your forgiveness or your trust overnight. But if you let me, I’ll spend the rest of my life proving to you that our family are my first priority.”  

 

Bellamy relaxes into her touch, breathing still unsteady. His forehead presses against Clarke’s, almost indenting into her own as her hand travels from his cheek to the back of his neck. Her fingers loop through the ends of his curls. She dares to lean up, balancing on the tips of her toes to brush her lips against his. Barely there, the softness of her lips meshing with his chapped ones in an airy touch.

 

He leans away, now barely an inch apart, eyes still closed. Clarke can still feel his breath dance across her skin, their mutual desire feeding the lack of a gap between him. She yearns to pull him closer, to feel his lips brush against hers just once more if that’s all she can get. But she makes no move to do so. It’s his call. She drops from her stance on her tiptoes, allowing her fingers to continue to lace through his curls, holding him close to her while she can.

 

“Clarke,” Bellamy whispers. “I can’t lose you again.”

 

“You won’t,” Clarke promises.

 

“It’s going to take me a while to trust you. It won’t be as easy as last time.”

 

“I know. I’ll give you all the time you need. I just need a chance to prove to you that this is all I want. This is all I need.”

 

Everything is eerily silent. Clarke’s been standing in the doorway for a good couple of minutes and either nobody’s passed by or she’s been too wrapped up in Bellamy to notice. The apartment is quiet as well, no sign of Octavia’s antics much less for Murphy or his psycho girlfriend. All there is, is the two – three – of them, embraced in one another without much consideration for anything else. For once, it feels like it’s just them.

 

Bellamy’s hands shift, cascading around her torso to wrap around her waist. His eyes flutter open, half-lidded as his eyes bore into Clarke’s, searching for truth or any sign of dismay. All he finds is the blueness of Clarke’s eyes, glimmering, hopeful and pleading for him. He pulls away, detangling his limbs from her. Clarke bites down on her lip, trying not to mourn the loss of his touch.

 

“Then this is it,” Bellamy nods. Clarke stares at him, his expression stern, but eyes soft – still glistening with the hurt she caused. “This is your last chance, Clarke. I mean it.” Clarke nods all too eagerly. “But I don’t know about us. I – I think I have to see if I can trust you again. And maybe then…”

 

“I understand,” Clarke interrupts with a small smile. Her eyes linger, scanning over Bellamy’s features that seem to soften at her smile. For a moment, he looks like he’s going to say something more, but then his lips press together in a tight line, sealing off the words before they’re spoken. She sighs heavily, trying not relieve the pain that builds in her chest. “Merry Christmas, Bellamy.”

 

Bellamy nods curtly. Clarke tightens her smile, tipping her head to him in acknowledgment before turning away. She tries to ignore the disappointment that builds in her chest, attempting to overpower it with the relief that floods through her. She may not have Bellamy in the way that she wanted, but she has their child and they’re still a family. And that’s the most rewarded that Clarke’s ever felt about anything in her life, overtaking all the academic accomplishments in a moment of pure bliss.

 

Clarke barely takes a step out the door before Bellamy catches her wrist. She turns, eyes meeting Bellamy’s. And in a moment of all knowing, he crashes his lips to hers, yanking her closer so that she leans into his chest. Her hands snake up to cup his cheeks as his hands wrap around her waist, deepening the kiss with every bit of want and desire.

 

He pulls away, breathing heavily, “Just for tonight. Okay? This is just for–”

 

“Tonight,” Clarke finishes breathlessly. The ends of her lips tug into a smirk, “There’s no sticky notes here anyways.”

 

A laugh escapes Bellamy’s lips, cut short by the hard kiss he presses to her mouth. Clarke moans into him as he leans down, roughness of his hands palming down her ass to scoop her up into his arms. She wraps her arms around his neck, bringing his face all the close to her as he leads her further into the apartment. The only time he pulls his lips away from hers is to glance at the couch and wipe off the take out containers that litter it, providing enough space for him to gently lower her down on the cushions.

 

Clarke marvels at him as she sinks into the cushion. The way he towers over her, his mere presence casting a shadow over her normally, even more so when he’s looming just inches away. Bellamy climbs on top of her, legs straddling on either end of her body, leaning down once more to press his lips to hers. Gently, he lays his body atop of hers, using his forearm to balance himself and not crush her stomach. His other hand snakes up to cup her stomach, tearing his lips from her mouth to suckle on the junction where her shoulder and neck meet.

 

“Bellamy,” she breathes, can’t help the burning question that for some reason lingers in her mind. “Murphy–”

 

“He and Emori are visiting Echo in Arkadia,” Bellamy mumbles against her skin, beginning to place a series of open-mouth kisses up her neck to the back of her neck.

 

Hating the mere mention of his soon-to-be ex-wife, Clarke grabs a fistful of his hair bring his face up to meet hers. She moves her hand to back of his hand, crashing her lips against his once more. In between kisses, she asks, “And Octavia?”

 

“Passed out drunk in the bedroom,” Bellamy mutters against her lips. “It’s just you and me, princess.”

 

Clarke moans at the nickname, at the statement of it just being the two of them. Bellamy smirks into her lips. He pulls away momentarily just to hike his shirt up over his head, Clarke following suit, discarding their clothing somewhere along the mess on the floor before their lips smack against each other. His hand snakes around to her back, unhooking her bra and letting it slide to the floor before he gently guides her back down.

 

His hand travels down from her stomach, hooking into the waistband of her yoga pants and tugging them downwards. Clarke leans up, allowing him to completely remove them while his mouth remains firm on hers. She kicks them off the couch as his hand sinks down to cup her mound, earning another moan from her as he pushes her panties aside, running his fingers along her folds.

 

Her hips buck upward at his touch, earning a growl from him as he bites down on her lower lip. She attempts to remain still and complaint, running her tongue over where he bit, gaining more of a taste of him as his lips continue to smother into hers.

 

Two of Bellamy’s fingers slide into her with ease, crooking inside of to earn the guttural moan that escapes from her. Slow at first, he gradually begins to pick up the pace, earning a variety of yelps and sighs of bliss from Clarke. He finds a steady pace, quick and hard as his fingers pump in and out of her. The pad of his thumb finds her clit, dragging against it in strategic motions and bringing her closer to a sense of release.

 

“Bellamy, Bellamy, Bellamy,” she chants breathlessly.

 

“You like that, baby?” Bellamy whispers against her skin.

 

All she can do is nod, the words stolen from her as he tears his lips away. She whimpers at the loss of him, only for her half-lidded eyes to manage watching him lower himself down. He settles himself comfortably in between her thighs, fingers still managing to twist and fuck into her like their lives depend on it. She wiggles beneath him, Bellamy’s now free hand coming down on her hip to hold in her place.

 

“I’ve got you,” Bellamy whispers, his breath hitting her cunt directly. It has to be less than milliseconds later when he licks a long stripe up her folds, before suckling on her clit.

 

Clarke’s grateful Octavia’s passed out drunk because the moan that escapes her lips is enough to shake the entire apartment building. One of her hands lean up to fist Bellamy’s curls, the other grasping the cushion for dear life as his tongue swirls around her clit in between sucking motions, fingers continuing to pump in and out of her at an alarming rate.

 

“Fuck, Bellamy,” she gasps, “You’re doing so good, baby. Fuck.”

 

Bellamy hums at the praise, the added vibrations giving her the extra edge she didn’t know she needed. He continues his pace, and it’s only a couple of minutes before she’s approaching a climax, coming onto his fingers as he continues to fuck her with the added combo of his mouth. His tongue glides her through her orgasm as a wave of bliss falls over her, aftershocks coursing through her body and causing her to jerk closer to him, if it’s even humanely possible at this point.

 

His hand on her hip steadies her as she comes down, Clarke’s head falling back against the cushion as sweat drips down her body. Bellamy lets the suction release from her clit with a popping sound, wet kisses trailing up her naked body as he reaches her breasts. She sighs dreamily when his mouth finds her tit, licking circles around the bud of her nipple while he twiddles the other one between his fingers. The wetness that slicks her thighs grows as he continues, using the jeans coating his legs to knee into her cunt. She grinds down on it, gasping at the friction it creates.

 

“Bellamy,” he lets go of her tit to press his lips hard against her, cutting her off once more. Clarke presses a couple of soft kisses to his mouth as he attempts to deepen it, pulling away so that she can breathe and his lips fall just under her jaw. Her hand falls to his belt buckle, just as he catches her wrist. She looks up at him, whimpering, “I want to make you feel good.”

 

“I just want to be inside you,” Bellamy murmurs into her mouth.

 

“But I–”

 

“I need to be inside you.”

 

Clarke watches in awe of Bellamy Blake, as he leans up, disconnecting their lips once more. She props herself up on her elbows, trying to get the best view possible as he unbuckles his belt, throwing it to the side while his jeans sag down his thighs. In one swift motion, he removes them, his cock visibly imprinting through the thinness of his boxes. Clarke leans up, pulling them downwards before Bellamy can protest. His cock springs out, already leaking with pre-cum.

 

Her mouth waters to be around him. She shifts to move closer, causing him to catch her cheeks in between the roughness of her hand before her mouth can even open to gape at his cock. She gasps, the roughness taking her by surprise by adding to the heat that pools in between her legs. She stares up at him, his eyes dark and lustful as he gazes down at her.

 

“Careful, princess,” Bellamy warns. He ducks his head, their lips just inches apart, barely brushing against one another. “I thought you were going to prove yourself to me.”

 

“I am, I am,” Clarke babbles, too caught up in every aspect of him to disobey.

 

“Then lay back down.”

 

Clarke does so, wiggling into the warmth of the couch as Bellamy looms over her. Her eyes bore into every crevasse of his body, staring intently and relearning every inch of him. This time she won’t forget it, not even an centimeter of him will leave her mind. She won’t give it the opportunity to.  

 

Bellamy resumes straddling her, forearm pressed into the cushion just beside of her head to steady himself. With his free hand, he guides his cock between her legs. Clarke’s intent on watching, only tearing her eyes away from the scene before her when his cock sinks into her, causing her to throw her head back and groan.

 

His slow movements allow her to get used to the stretch of him, not that she needs to. She’s been aching for his cock for months, yearning for him probably for longer. Every inch of her is prepared to take him. Bellamy seems to realize that too, a flicker of recognition flashing across his face before he pulls out, almost fully, before proceeding to slam back into her. Clarke gasps, cut off by Bellamy’s lips on her throat, his pace gradually picking up.

 

One hand steadying him over her, the other beginning to rub circles on her clit, their sweaty bodies move begin to jerk together in unison. Clarke’s legs move to straddle around his torso, giving him the extra leverage he needs to deepen himself in her. Bellamy bottoms out inside her, causing moans to escape both of their lips.

 

“Fuck,” Bellamy mutters into her neck. “You like when I fuck you like this, baby?”

 

Bellamy jerks into her hips, hard and Clarke yelps. “Yes, baby. I love it, oh my God.”

 

It’s not long before she’s approaching her second orgasm of the night thanks to Bellamy Blake. He seems to be close, too, his movements becoming more erratic as he thrusts inside of Clarke. She tightens her grip around his torso, bringing her arms around his neck to crash her lips against his. He moans into her mouth as Clarke runs her tongue over his upper lip, purposely tracing his scar.

 

“I missed you,” Clarke breathes against his lips.

 

She doesn’t expect him to say it back, knows she’s not at that spot with him yet or probably anytime soon. But she takes pride in the way he pauses, his rhythm faltering for a moment when she says it. Just as quickly though, his thrusts resume, his hips snapping harder against hers.

 

“Come for me, princess,” Bellamy urges her, breathless and stuttering.

 

Clarke doesn’t have to be told twice. In seconds, she’s tumbling over the edge again. Her cunt pulsates around his cock, enough for him to shudder inside her just moments later. They come down from their aftershocks together, breathing into one another’s necks in an attempt to cool down. Clarke runs her fingers through his curls as he nuzzles into her neck, staying still for a couple of moments, blissful in the company of one another.

 

Soon, he collapses alongside her, squeezing into the space between her body and the back of the couch. Neither of them make a move to put on their clothes, but she knows she’ll probably have to go home soon so Octavia doesn’t wake up to them naked on the couch. It’s not like it’s that late, Clarke realizes as she glances at the clock hanging above the television. It’s barely eleven o’clock.

 

Bellamy’s arm wrap around her, finding her stomach and gently caressing the bump. She places her hand over his, tracking his movements as they move in sync, the two of them continuing to breath heavily.

 

She allows herself to remain there for a couple of minutes, only detangling herself from him when she hears the softness of his snores. Clarke collects her items, pulling on her clothes as quietly as possible. She keeps stealing glances at him, unable to fathom what just happened, trying to convince herself that this would just be a onetime thing. She has to do this better this time, for Bellamy and the baby.

 

Before she leaves, Clarke leans down, pressing the softest of kisses to Bellamy’s nose. As she turns to walk out the door, she hears Bellamy mumble, “Merry Christmas, princess.”

Chapter Text

Clarke watches Bellamy expectantly, as he sits quietly across from her. His eyes are elsewhere, casted downwards to hinder her from gaging an appropriate reaction. She feels beads of sweat form at her temple, nervously scratching at her arm to prevent herself from saying anything more. Bellamy will speak to her when he’s ready to do so. However, this realization fails to settle any ounce of Clarke’s nerves, so she peers on, twisting her head haphazardly for a mere glimpse at him, and into his mindset.

 

Finally, Bellamy’s head lifts. His mouth is still working, but it remains closed, his eyes glossed over in contemplation. Clarke wants to scream. He’s doing this on purpose, to work her up. Then, a slow, albeit forced smile grows across his features. It does nothing to assuage Clarke’s worries, if anything making her more irritated. She predicts the lie that’s going to fall from his mouth before they even escape his lips.

 

“It’s good,” Bellamy informs her.

 

“You’re a liar,” Clarke seethes.

 

Bellamy chuckles, resting his fork against the plate. He reaches for a napkin, swiping at any remaining crumbs that remained on his mouth. He crumples up the napkin, throwing it into his plate, which still has at least half of the chicken uneaten. “It’s not bad.”

 

He’s too good of a person to be honest with her. The goal was to make him dinner, for once switch up the roles, but it’s just another thing Clarke took from her mother. She has no cooking skills, if any. It’s a miracle she’s survived this long without them. In childhood, there was nannies to cook, in her teen years was Bellamy, college life brought along a set meal plan and for the past two years, take out and Kraft dinner was her best friend. And now, there’s Bellamy again, suddenly telling her that isn’t a healthy lifestyle to lead.

 

The past couple of months, Bellamy’s been her main source of food supply. In an effort to settle the score, and get back in his good graces – even the slightest bit more, she offered to make dinner just this one time. It couldn’t be that hard. All she had to do was follow a recipe online, and Clarke’s usually been very good at following directions. Turns out, it’s not as simple as she once thought.

 

The chicken she prepared was burnt, almost to a crisp. She attempted to peel away some of the charcoal pieces, but it ended up looking like a severely battered flaccid penis. So, she panicked, and didn’t steam the vegetables enough, but vegetables were vegetables, right, no harm no foul? She didn’t know. She had no time to prepare a non-alcoholic beverage, so she settled on wine for Bellamy and water for her and called it a day.

 

Clarke sighs, settling into her chair in defeat. “I’m sorry.”

 

“Don’t apologize,” Bellamy lifts up from his chair, beginning to collect the plates with an easy smile on his face. “We can’t all be doctors.”

 

She stands to follow him into the kitchen, watching as he scrapes the leftovers into the compost bin before heading to the sink to wash the dishes. Clarke leans against the marble countertop, watching as he scrubs away without complaint and with a smile on his face, like she didn’t make charcoal chicken and half-assed, not even really steamed vegetables and call it a meal.

 

Yet, there’s still a sickening feeling forming at the pit of her stomach. Bellamy may appreciate her efforts, but the end result was still a complete wreck. She gazes at him, watching his back muscles constrict as he washes the dishes, cleans up the mess that she created. All she wanted to do was something nice for him. I fucked that up, too.

 

“Don’t feel bad,” Bellamy cautions her.

 

“Did I say that aloud?” Clarke flinches.

 

“No, I can just sense your defeat,” Bellamy shuts off the sink, grabbing a rag to dry off his hands before turning back to her.

 

He leans against the sink, eyes resting on her, forgiving and joyful with a playful smirk dancing across his face. Clarke’s heart swells, racing a million miles a minute just because she’s lucky enough to get to see him look at her like this. After her tantrum a couple weeks ago, she could’ve lost the opportunity to look at him, to be with him like this at all. They’re still just co-parents, on the cusp of becoming friends again, but at least they’re something at all.

 

Since Christmas, Bellamy’s been wary of spending every minute with Clarke. He may have forgiven her, but this isn’t her second chance – it’s her third, or maybe fourth, it’s bad that she can’t quite recall. He’s always there to make sure she’s eaten, to ensure her and baby are okay, but it’s not like before. She has to beg him to stay more than hour, and most days he leaves anyways. She’s see it in his face, the desire to give in, to allow her inside the walls he reconstructed multiple times because of her.

 

But sometimes, he looks at her like this. Eyes resting easily, smile so graceful and full of adoration. And Clarke thinks she’s almost there, almost inside. And then, she jinxes it.

 

Bellamy coughs, the lingering stares between the two catching up with him, heat evident on his cheeks. Clarke watches as he dusts himself off, trying to minimalize the significance of their interlocking eyes, his smirk replaced with a forced smile before he turns his back to her, ruffling through the cabinets.

 

“Grilled cheese?” Bellamy suggests.

 

Clarke’s stomach rumbles, almost overtaking the pang that’s sent to her chest. She settles into the barstool, forearms resting on the countertop of the marble island. “Please.”

 

Bellamy settles a pan over the stove, turning the knob to medium heat before retrieving a slab of mutter and shredded cheese from her fridge. His back turned, he slices off a piece of the butter and splashes it into the pan before grabbing hold of the loaf of bread. Clarke eyes him, palms of her hands digging into the base of her knees as he silently works away.

 

There’s always a question, a debate as to what she can say next. Clarke’s habit of choosing her words carefully fails whenever it comes to Bellamy, but it’s done her wonders in her academic life. Even with his back turned, him not even having to look at her, he causes her stumble, to say things she normally would have better composure of. Especially now more than ever, as her strive to fall back into rhythm has been a significant tribulation.

 

It’s the reason why he’s distant. Clarke knows it’s on her. It’s also on her to fix it.

 

Clarke climbs off of the barstool, waltzing over beside Bellamy. She settles beside him, hands placed over one another on her marble countertop as he flips the grilled cheese sandwich over on its back. He eyes her skeptically, the corners of his lips trudging upwards into a smirk.

 

“Don’t trust me not to poison your food?” Bellamy inquires.

 

She nudges him, earning a laugh from him in response to her giggle. “You know, I just wanted to make you a nice dinner. Do something nice for you for a change.”

 

“Carrying my child is a pretty nice thing to do.”

 

“You’re the funniest person I know, Bellamy Blake.”

 

“I try.”

 

Bellamy reaches up to open the upper cabinet, retrieving a plate and settling it down beside him. He flips the grilled cheese onto the plate, turning off the stove before reaching into her drawers, retrieving a nice to slice through the sandwich into two, easy triangles. He hands it to Clarke with a boyish grin.

 

“I only want half,” Clarke declares, accepting the plate from him. “You have to finish the other one.”

 

“I made it for you,” Bellamy points out, placing the pan into the sink to rinse off. Clarke follows like a lost puppy, an exaggerated pout forming at her lips.

 

“I won’t eat it.”


“My time and effort will go to waste.”

 

“Oh, well.”

 

Clarke holds the plate out before her, head tipped upwards and incessant pout remaining on her lips. Bellamy surveys over her, comically, the hint of a grin appearing on his face. The dimple on his chin stands out, as does the scar above his lip as he suppresses his smile. It almost makes Clarke waver, the small details of him crashing into her like a wave of heat. She grips the plate tighter.

 

Bellamy sighs in defeat, grabbing one slice of the grilled cheese and taking a furious bite in exaggeration. Clarke grins, spinning on her heel and trekking over to the couch. She hears Bellamy’s footsteps behind her as she plops onto the couch. She takes the first bite of her grilled cheese, heaven melting in her mouth. There’s no dip in the couch, no cushion adjusting to his weight, so she glances up to note Bellamy slipping on his jacket, a half-eaten slice of grilled cheese balanced in his other hand.

 

“You’re leaving,” Clarke states.

 

“I told you I couldn’t stay for long,” Bellamy informs her, a little too monotone for her liking.

 

It’s what he does; when they get too close, when he can tell Clarke’s trying too hard. She tries dialing it back, but she fears doing that too much will push him away forever. She sighs, sinking into the comfort of the couch as she watches him finish off the grilled cheese and lick his fingers clean.

 

Clarke gulps, the mere action of his tongue swiping across anything making the heat return to her legs. They haven’t talked about that night on Christmas at all, aside from the words that were spoken. As far as Bellamy’s concerned, the sex never happened. The two of them certainly act like it didn’t.

 

“Do you remember when you made me that grilled cheese back in August?” Clarke pipes up, desperately, trying anything to get him to stay just a little longer.

 

Bellamy stifles a laugh. “When you were drunk out of your mind?”

 

“The first time we saw each other in ten years.”

 

“When this whole mess began.”

 

Clarke bites down on the grilled cheese, teeth gritting against one another in an attempt to appease the soaring pain that shoots through her. Bellamy looks at her, his poor choice in words dawning on him. She glances at the television screen, plate resting in her lap, attempting not to show how off guard the comment caught her. She leans over to the coffee table and keeps it on the news channel that pops up, pretending to be interested.

 

His guilt seems to do the trick, though. Bellamy slips off his shoes, eyeing the screen as he walks over to Clarke. He settles into the couch, arm slung over the top of the rest.

 

The awkwardness seeps in, Clarke not even concentrating on what the newscaster is saying, a blaring ring in her ears. It may be Bellamy’s guilt that causes him to stay, but it’s Clarke that keeps her lying awake at night, reworking everything she’s ever done wrong in her mind over and over again, trying to rectify a situation she’s responsible for destroying in the first place.

 

Bellamy’s eyes linger on her, she can feel him burn holes into the side of her cheek. “You know, I have a busy day tomorrow. That’s why I’m not staying.”

 

Clarke does know that. And that doesn’t make her feel any better, but it does help her not sulk in front of Bellamy any longer.

 

“I know,” she sighs. Clarke settles the now, empty plate of crumbs on the coffee table before leaning into the couch. “But there’s been a lot of non-busy days.”

 

Bellamy nods slowly, “I know.”

 

Clarke wants to scream that she’s trying. Beg him to tell her if any of her attempts are actually working, or if it’s futile. But then there’s that voice, at the back of her mind, reminding her. It’s Bellamy’s call. It’s been her calling the shots for a while, and she’s messed it up too many times to count. She has to give him the time that he needs to decide if this is what he wants.

 

She clears her throat, “Are you nervous about tomorrow?”

 

Bellamy looks at her, contemplating if he should go down the avenue of this new discussion or go back to their previous conversation. Clarke pleads at him, her eyes wide, for a new topic, and he takes the hint. His hardened features relax, and a smile spreads across his face

 

“Not at all,” Bellamy affirms. “This divorce has been the reality for a while. And now that it’s about to be finalized, I can start seriously looking into properties.”

 

Clarke grins, ignoring how her heart beats faster hearing the joy in his voice talking about his divorce. She supposes she should feel like a bad person for thinking it, but damn is she thrilled to be getting rid of Echo once and for all.

 

“What I am nervous about,” Bellamy scoots closer, leaning in to rest his hands against Clarke’s stomach, “is this little guy right here.”

 

Clarke leans back, giving him better access as she relishes n having him graze his hands across her stomach. She’s never had any qualms about him touching her, but Bellamy’s a little more hesitant – touching always leading to something more. But when Clarke started to feel some discomfort that felt like possible kicks a couple of weeks ago, Bellamy’s jumped at the chance to cast his hands over her protruding belly.

 

“Why are you nervous?” Clarke laughs, gazing down at him with a smile. “The appointment is routine, with the bonus of finding out if it’s a boy or a girl. That’s pretty much it.”

 

“I know he’s a boy,” Bellamy laments. Clarke gives him an eyeroll, because of course they can never know until they do, but the confident grin he flashes at her whenever he says it solidifies every mommy instinct in her. He casts his gaze back to her stomach, hand wrapping gently around the side of her belly, his smile diminishing slightly. “I’m nervous about not making it back on time.”

 

Her stomach has grown significantly in the past month, and now that she’s midway through her second trimester, even she’s a little more antsy. While Bellamy is usually the one asking a slew of questions, making sure that her and the baby are at the prime at all hours of the day, Clarke’s found herself obsessively researching – which isn’t out of character, but is definitely a stray from the norm in regards to the baby. Whether it’s expectancies for the second trimester or possible baby names, sometimes she spends hours in front of the screen.

 

It’s definitely has something to do with her newfound appreciation for the life she’s bringing into the world. Clarke thinks it’s the excitement of starting a family, the admiration of all this baby can be with someone like her and Bellamy as parents.

 

Clarke leans further into the cushion, watching Bellamy fixate on her bump, eyes scanning for something she isn’t sure he’ll find. His hands cast gently against her stomach, sealed by a cotton long-sleeve that’s snug against her belly. She feels the callouses on his fingers through the fabric, admires the combination of rough edges and soft touches that his hands leave behind. Bellamy scoots closer, pressing gently on her stomach as he does so.

 

“They’re not going to kick for you,” Clarke smirks.

 

Bellamy glares up at her. “He has to, I’m his favorite.”

 

Clarke laughs, cheek resting against the cushion as Bellamy’s gaze returns to her belly, proceeding to poke and prod, trying to illicit a kick that either of them are yet to actually feel.

 

“Does that hurt?” Bellamy inquires, fingers lightly digging into the side of her stomach. He looks up at her, eyes wide and curious.

 

Her breath hitches, and she knows she’s not going to be able to form a coherent sentence when he’s looking at her like that. Instead, Clarke shakes her head no, but Bellamy catches the glimmer in her eye. His fingers continue to dance over her stomach, but his eyes are on hers. It’s too intimate, Clarke thinks, yet not daring to tear away from him. She finds herself placing her hand over his, mimicking his movements across her belly. Clarke expects his gaze to dip, but the warmth from his hand that brings a chemical reaction to her brain supposedly not having the same effect on him.

 

Clarke loves when they’re like this, when it’s just the two of them and the baby. They may have been the only two in the apartment long before, but when he looks at her like this, it’s like they’re the only people in this world. She wishes she could peer into his brain, see what he’s thinking, if anything that she’s been doing this past month and a bit has worked in her favor.

 

“We’re expecting fifteen centimeters of snow tonight–”

 

That tears Bellamy’s eyes away from hers. His attention lands on the screen, Clarke following suit as she cranes her neck to peer at the television. The newscaster is staring stoically at the screen, her mouth moving a mile a minute as she details the weather report.

 

“Shit,” Bellamy curses. His gaze lands back to his hand on her stomach. “What if I don’t make it back?”

 

“I know you don’t want to miss it,” Clarke sighs, glancing back at Bellamy, noting his solemn expression. “But don’t kill yourself trying to get back on time. I’ll fill you in.”

 

Bellamy doesn’t look satisfied with that answer, thumb grazing a little harder against her belly. Clarke sits up, causing Bellamy’s hand to fall from its previous position. He sinks back, resting into the other end of the couch, scrubbing a hand over his face in exasperation.

 

“It’s one appointment,” Clarke justifies. “And you can’t reschedule this hearing–”

 

“I mean, I can–”

 

The panic that rises in Clarke is evident in the alert in her eyes. “No, you can’t.”

 

A slow smirk spreads across Bellamy’s face. “I’m sure staying married won’t be too much of a hassle–”

 

“You’re not funny.”

 

“I seem to recall Monty thinking I’m a hoot.”

 

Clarke rolls her eyes, the ghost of a smile appearing on her lips. Bellamy grins back at her, and she’s relieved to see some of the light return to his eyes. He leans forward to nudge her elbow, her faux annoyance coming to a peak as she turns to glare at him.

 

“I meant what I said,” Bellamy reminds her. “About Echo being my past.”

 

“I know,” Clarke nods. Bellamy’s gaze lingers, in a way that he expects her to say more. There is more to say, and against her better judgement, she whispers, “And what about your future?”

 

Bellamy’s teeth graze over his lip. He’s trying to work out what to say in his head, probably running through a variety of sentences that attempt not to hurt her feelings. The uncomfortable feeling that settles in the pit of Clarke’s stomach would only worsen with his answer, so she forces a smile at him and sends him on his way.

 

“It’s okay,” Clarke reassures. It’s not. “You should get going. We both have busy days tomorrow.”

 

“Right,” Bellamy nods, not looking all that relieved to have been saved the trouble of answering. Instead, he looks even more unsettled, even as he heaves himself up from the cushion. He turns to her, still trying to find the right words to say as she peers up at him. “Uh, well, good luck with your meeting tomorrow.”

 

Bellamy doesn’t lean down to press a kiss to her cheek or her forehead, nor does he whisper sweet things in her ear before he slips out the door. She yearns for the day they’re back at that point, not realizing how much she admired the soft touches that would linger on her body with his goodbyes all those months ago.

 

Clarke finds herself staring at the door a couple minutes after he leaves. Her mind in a daze, nothing fully registers when he’s not around. Not until she grounds herself back to reality, the reality that her and Bellamy are not together, and that he doesn’t owe her anything except when it comes to this child. She smacks her head against the rest of the couch, sighing out her frustrations.

 

It’s a couple moments later when his last sentence registers,Good luck with your meeting tomorrow. A couple more moments pass until Clarke shoots her head up, staring widely at the newscaster mouthing the words to her report and cursing herself internally. My fucking meeting is tomorrow.

 


 

When Clarke found out Becca Franco was running the research opportunity the Chief recommended to her, it was a no brainer that she was going to interview. A doctor known worldwide, she’s had her nominations in various prestigious medical associations, including some very notable wins. She’s basically royalty to the medicine community, only coming back to her hometown in Polis every couple of years to run research opportunities. Not to mention, a recommendation from her would secure Clarke an attending position anywhere, in addition to her name already being recognized from just having worked with her.

 

The hours Clarke doesn’t spend with Bellamy, groveling to be in his good graces, she researches. She goes through all of Becca Franco’s past research opportunities, the wildly successful ones and those moderately so, studying the residents she selects as assists and trying to decipher a pattern. The research opportunity is intriguing and all, but Becca Franco is the selling point here. There’s no room for error, when medicine royalty is on the table.

 

Clarke would know. Her mother is basically just that.

 

She stands outside the interview room just minutes before she’s set to meet her. Clarke arrived a good hour early, not intentionally, but having already been paranoid about the storm. It wasn’t too terrible in Polis, but she can only imagine how bad it is elsewhere.

 

The nervousness that seeps into her body she would normally chalk up to fear of failure. Clarke’s toes tap against the tile, scanning around the bustling clinic. She brings a hand to her stomach, grazing over the bump as a form of her security blanket. And while some relief is brought, her mind still wanders to Bellamy, back in Arkadia, in the thick of the storm.

 

Clarke untucks her phone from her back pocket, fingers flying across the keyboard almost without her consciousness. She sends a text to Bellamy, Hey, how’s everything going?

 

She waits patiently on the chat. He’s always very responsive to her messages, albeit when they’re important – like if it’s about the baby. Soon enough, the three dots pop up on Clarke’s screen only to reveal a picture with the caption; Just Divorced!

 

Bellamy’s holding up the papers in a haphazard angle, only half his face in the screen. Clarke can see the blurry outline of the papers, the focus entirely on Bellamy’s signature at the bottom row. Her heart flutters, not only because Bellamy looks like an old man that doesn’t know how to work a camera – and it’s kind of cute, okay? – but at the mere relief of him being rid of his ex-wife. The jealousy that plagues her heart, the fire in her limbs that ignites whenever Echo’s brought up, hopefully a thing of the past.

 

From what she can see, Bellamy looks genuinely happy. He’s outside of the courtroom, meaning he should be on his way back now. Her appointment isn’t for another couple of hours, so she knows he’s going to rush back and try to make it.

 

Clarke finds herself staring a little too long, a smile she’s unaware of aching her cheeks just moments later. She doesn’t mind, though, the slight interactions she has with Bellamy, just the luck of having him still around, being all that to smile about.

 

“Clarke,” the familiar monotone makes Clarke’s head snap up.

 

Sure enough, Luna slips out of the interview room, a surprised, but smug expression etched into her features. She’s not dressed in her scrubs, sporting a similar professional apparel to Clarke, a two piece suit, except her hair is pulled back in a low ponytail. Clarke does her best not to analyze her, she already knows exactly what she’s here for. She grits her teeth.

 

“Luna,” Clarke greets with a head nod. She tucks her phone into her back pocket, curling her fingers into a fist to dig into her palm. She hopes Luna will just continue walking, but of course she doesn’t, turning to stand in front of Clarke, surely with a list of things to say.

 

“No way you’re interviewing for Dr. Franco’s research opportunity,” Luna tilts her head to the side, mockingly. “How brave of you.”

 

Clarke forces a smile. “I was just going to say how noble it is of you, to give up your much unneeded hours in the clinic to pretend to be useful here.”

 

Luna only smirks in reply. Clarke expects a more thorough tongue lashing, but one doesn’t seem to be bristling on her lips. She allows Luna to survey over her, again in efforts to taunt her. Her eyes remain on her stomach, as if she’s pointing out the obvious detriment in Clarke’s plans, before they travel up to relish in Clarke’s reaction. Clarke only straightens, expression blank. Her eyes following Luna as she struts away, disappearing around the corner just moments later.

 

Once out sight, Clarke smacks her head against the wall behind her, eyes screwed shut and whispering curse words. She’s confident in her talents, in her intelligence, in her abilities as a doctor – she always has been. But it’s been evident the past couple of months that brilliance isn’t enough, not when circumstances can come in the way of future breakthroughs, halting productions and prolonging procedures.

 

It’s not like she can hide it any better now. Clarke grip tightens around the base of her stomach, evidently protruding from the blouse under her blazer. This baby is my first priority, she reminds herself, drawing out a low exhale. There’s a security in that, a safety that she’ll have her family at the end of the day – something Clarke’s never really been accustom to, but finds an odd sense of solace in now.

 

She thinks it’s okay that her career is important, too. Clarke yearns to succeed, to do well in the world of medicine on her own accord. Just not at the expense of the wellbeing of her family.

 

“Dr. Griffin?”

 

Clarke’s eyes flutter open, the plaster of a smile pasted on her face in an instant. She almost a little starstruck staring at Becca Franco, her large brown eyes peering at her warmly, like she isn’t such a household name.

 

She heaves herself up from the wall, and turns to extend her hand. “That’s me.”

 


 

Dr. Becca Franco’s been silent for a little while. Clarke picks up a pattern, noting that she does this quite often, collecting her thoughts before an observation spews from her lips. Yet, even with that knowledge in tow, it’s just as unsettling as Clarke sits across from her, just waiting for her to say something.

 

“I’ve met your mother, years ago. She said she had a daughter in med school,” Becca explains, swinging her arm around to rest on her chair. “I expected you to be just like her.”

 

Clarke bites the inside of her cheek, allowing the searing pain to distract from the discomfort gathering at the pit of her belly. “We’re in two very different fields.”

 

“That’s why I’m surprised – usually, children that fall under the same line of work as their parents select the same field,” Dr. Franco notes. “Surgeons are a far cry from clinic work.”

 

“It is,” Clarke nods slowly.

 

She attempts to gauge what Dr. Franco is attempting to get at, what she can say to possibly appease her, but she really can’t gather anything at all. Dr. Franco is very calculated, knowledgeable and factual and Clarke assumes she wants someone similar to work on this research opportunity with her. Her mother is all those things, therefore, she must want Clarke to be all those as well.

 

Clarke could almost curse her mother out for again making a negative impact on her work life. This time, it’s without her even trying to cause shit, just her simple existence causing ruffles in her academia.

 

“While my mother and I are in different fields of work, we do have a very similar work ethic,” Clarke hurries to explain, hoping the unevenness in her tone doesn’t give her away. “We both–”

 

“I can see you have similar work ethics,” Dr. Franco interrupts her. Clarke’s mouth sews shut as she begins to address her. “Don’t take this the wrong way, but you’re a lot more personable. Your passions deviate.”

 

Clarke thinks that’s a good thing; the way her heart skips a beat tells her it is. She knows just how impersonal her mother can be, and although they’ve been on better terms lately – calling bi-weekly, a big jump – it’s still very much something for Abby Griffin to work on.

 

There’s a pause, another linger of silence forging between the two. Dr. Franco’s eyes flicker on Clarke, her tongue poking out of the inside of her cheek in contemplation.

 

Becca Franco smiles, hands folded in front of her. “I have to say, Dr. Griffin, I’ve heard all the praise and extraordinary reviews, but you’ve blown me away, today.”

 

“Thank you,” Clarke grins. Her heart flutters, cheeks instantly heating at the recognition. She tries her best to suppress it, a pristine look of professionalism falling over her features. “That means all the more coming from you.”

 

Dr. Franco surveys over her, wheels turning in her head. Clarke feels her heart race, a mere stare from her being all the more intimidating than any word she’s spoken. She hates that she can’t tell what she’s thinking. Clarke usually knows when she has the job, but her confidence has been a little shot lately. And while Becca Franco is singing her praises now, so did Dr. Nyko. And her talents were still passed up, because they couldn’t see past the bump on her belly.

 

It seems that Becca Franco can’t either. Her eyes, inevitably, end up on Clarke’s stomach. She doesn’t look quizzical, or frustrated, but instead interested. It does nothing to settle the nerves budding in Clarke’s chest, as she swallows, bringing moisture into the dryness of her throat as Dr. Franco stares, unapologetically so. When her eyes finally lift to meet Clarke’s, it’s like her heart stops.

 

“I hope you don’t mind me asking,” Dr. Franco begins. Here it comes. “When are you due?”

 

“The beginning of May,” Clarke forces a smile.

 

A grin appears on Dr. Franco’s face. “That’s wonderful. My firstborn’s birthday is May, too. Is this your first?”

 

“It is,” Clarke confirms, hoping she successfully masks the surprise that flashes across her face.

 

“That’s so exciting. You’re going to love being a mom. The doctor in you really never shows more.”

 

Dr. Franco lets out a laugh that Clarke forces herself to mimic. The treatment, more so the lack of pity interlaced with it, is more than a surprise than she bargained for. Instead, Dr. Franco relaxes into the chair, looking relatively unphased at the mention of Clarke’s pregnancy, unless she’s attempting to cover it up. The uneasiness in Clarke settles in, overthinking once more.

 

“I understand the project begins in late July, early August,” Clarke blurts out. “I am confident that with a newborn, I will still be able to–”

 

Dr. Franco’s eyebrows furrow, hand coming up to silence Clarke. “Dr. Griffin, there’s no need for you to prove your commitment to this project. You’ve shown that with your extensive credentials and experience.”

 

Clarke nods, cheeks flushing in embarrassment. Dr. Franco surveys over her again, this time appearing sympathetic. She sighs, leaning closer to Clarke as she balances her forearms on the table. Clarke watches her, breath caught in her throat, hoping she didn’t fuck up another thing in her life that could be really great for her.

 

“I’m a mother, Clarke, I understand the pressures between parenting and your career,” Dr. Franco explains. “It’s more than doable, especially when someone is as intelligent as you are.” Clarke nods along, teeth grazing over her lip in contemplation. “Motherhood may cause others to second guess you, but it’s because they don’t understand the balance that we find. I like you, Clarke. I think you’re perfect for this project. Pregnant, with a newborn or not.”

 

It’s almost as if an instant weight lifts off of Clarke’s shoulder. Her head tilts upward, attempting to keep eyelevel with Becca Franco as tears prick her eyes, an overwhelming flush of relief flooding over her. Her hand finds her stomach once more, gently rubbing circles, as if congratulating not only herself, but her baby for the win. Dr. Franco’s eyes fall on her stomach once more, a warm smile gracing her lips. Her gaze lifts back to Clarke before she stands, outstretching a hand to her.

 

“I think I made my decision before you even came in,” Dr. Franco adds jokingly, “But you’ve done more than enough to seal the deal.”

 

Clarke practically floats out of the interview room, on a different level of cloud nine. She doesn’t have to be pregnant to be glowing, but it certainly helps, the overwhelming amount of pride that fills every ounce of her body exuding from every smile, every flicker of her eye, every which way her limbs stretch as she walks. There’s a million things to be this bubbly about, the most important one being her getting job and another, being her beating Luna and her smug, bitch of a face.

 

It’s a petty thing to be excited about, but it’s exciting all the same.

 

At one point, she’s almost skipping down the corridor, eager to call Bellamy and share the good news. She comes to a stairwell with a big, open window, giving her ample access to view the snow coming down in hard increments and smacking against the coated pavement when Bellamy calls her first. Clarke brings the phone to her ear, a grin so wide it would shine through the phone if it could.

 

“Bellamy, hi,” Clarke greets, out of breath from the jolts down the hall.

 

“Hey,” Bellamy’s voice comes across the speaker begrudgingly. Clarke’s eyebrows furrow, straining to hear the patter of wind bustling through the other line, through Bellamy’s disheveled grunts. “Fuck, I’m sorry, Clarke. I’m definitely not going to make it. My car just broke down.”

 

“What? Are you okay?”

 

“Yeah, I’m fine. I got a tow truck coming, but it’s going to be another hour. And then another two and a half back to Polis. Not accounting the time it takes for him to actually fix this shit.”

 

Bellamy’s tone, while emphasized with frustration and anger, has disappointment seeping through its edges. Clarke leans against the brick wall in the stairwell. She hears a soft thump on the other end, assuming Bellamy’s subconsciously mimicking her as he leans against his car. He sighs, audibly projecting through the speaker. She pictures him running his hand through his hair, after exhausting all his possible options, feeling utterly and completely defeated because that’s just how Bellamy Blake is.

 

Clarke switches the phone to her other ear, turning to gaze out the window once more. The snow is still coming down hard, a couple paces away from appearing as a blizzard. She watches it fall, adding to the collection of snow on the pavement and hills.

 

“I was so close,” Clarke hears Bellamy mumble.

 

“It’s one appointment,” Clarke reminds him. “The baby won’t miss you too much.”

 

“Clarke, don’t get me wrong, I’m there for the baby, to make sure they’re okay and everything’s going well, but I’m also there for you.” There’s a brief pause, as Clarke’s breath hitches and her heart pounds. “We’re supposed to be doing this together.”

 

It takes Clarke a couple of moments to find the words to say, to formulate a sentence. People sing her praises all day, from colleagues to friends, but when it comes to Bellamy, to the words of kindness that falls from his lips, she can’t help the innate reaction that bubbles inside of her. The heat that floods her cheeks, the swell of her heart, the added desire to have him in her arms. It’s an effect he’s had on her for years, only strengthened in their time together.

 

And now, even after Clarke’s messed up a million more times, she finally has the chance to show him how much she values his presence. How grateful she is that after all these years, the universe allowed him back into her life. That he’s still here, despite her fuckups and perfectionism and flaws. That her love for him has only blossomed, more than she ever knew was humanely possible to love another human being aside from the child that she’s lucky enough that they get to grow together.

 

“We’re always going to be in this together,” Clarke reassures him, her voice soft but stern. “One appointment doesn’t change that.”

 

Bellamy’s quiet on the other line for a moment. A while later, he lets out a huff, and in true Bellamy Blake fashion, he says, “Well, it would have been nice to prove that I’m right about our son in person.”

 

Clarke lets out a laugh, a chuckle from Bellamy soon following. She turns, leaning her temple against the window and allowing the coolness of the tint to tone down her body heat. She pulls the phone away from her ear for a moment, checking the time. She’s got at least an hour before her appointment, and while she’s disappointed Bellamy won’t be there with her, it’s something they both anticipated could happen. It’s all the more upsetting to have Bellamy be so down about it, as if there’s anything either of them could have done to prevent it.

 

It’s been a hard day on him all around. While Bellamy’s prepared for his divorce, it’s a grueling process nonetheless. And she knows he was looking forward to this appointment in particular.

 

An idea settles into Clarke’s overworking mind as Bellamy begins drowning on about how long the tow truck is taking. She lets him talk, while she contemplates if it’ll be easier for her to make colored cupcakes than it was for her to fry chicken.

 

And when the appointment comes and goes, she calls Bellamy again, only to lie and say that the baby’s legs were crossed.

 


 

Baking is not easier than cooking – it’s just messier.

 

While the appointment goes well, it is more than what Clarke can say about this endeavor she’s in the middle of. It took her a good thirty minutes to find the aisle that had food coloring and icing at the store, and even more time to find a recipe simple enough to craft from scratch. It’s only by the time that Clarke is midway through the process, splattered with batter from head to toe and completely and utterly frustrated that she realized it would have been more beneficial to buy from the box.

 

Despite her shit attempt at dinner last night, and the ingredients that decorate her floor and walls, Clarke has a little more of a grip. She dips the food coloring in the batter, mixing it around until it’s fully blended, before dividing them into the designated muffin pans. She slides the pain into the oven before setting the timer and calling it a day. She huffs, leaning against the corner, out of breath and thoroughly praying they turn out well because fuck, Bellamy deserves the surprise and she wants to see the grin lift onto his face the minute he bites into one.

 

“What the fuck,”

 

Clarke’s eyes shoot open, a snow covered Bellamy emerging into the kitchen. He hangs his snow-riddled hat on the hook,  along with his coat, his tired limbs slowing the process as he glances around the kitchen. His tone is misleading, no fragments of the amusement and surprise that clearly etch onto his features. He scans the kitchen, Clarke briefly glancing over it as well, trying to avoid the reality that this is going to be a bitch to clean off every surface in her kitchen.

 

“I made cupcakes,” Clarke clarifies.

 

Bellamy’s eyes widen at her. “I can see the multiple attempts.”

 

He walks over to the cabinet nearest to her head and slides his finger against it, a chalk of batter coming off on his finger. Clarke glances away sheepishly, to which Bellamy chuckles, retrieving a napkin and wiping off the remnants on his hand.

 

“Why the cupcakes?” Bellamy ponders.

 

“They’re Happy Divorce cupcakes,” Clarke explains, the smirk gliding onto Bellamy’s face causing her to smile as well.

 

Bellamy seems to believe her, leaning an elbow on the cabinet to get eye level with Clarke’s stomach. He casts a hand over the front, lighting caressing the bump. “Your mommy is kind of crazy. Is that why you crossed your legs today? You like when she’s crazy?”

 

Clarke fails to suppress the grin that lifts onto her face as Bellamy leans his mouth in closer to talk to the baby. He’d deny it if she ever mentioned it in public, but she can’t ignore the flutter that fills her chest when he talks to the baby this way, completely involved in a discussion, as if their child will talk back. He preoccupies himself with her stomach, babbling incoherently and allowing his hand to glide over her stomach, once again trying to illicit a reaction.

 

Unsatisfied with the baby’s unsurprising lack of movement, Bellamy lifts with a sigh, leaning against the counter alongside Clarke. She gazes at him, eyes trying to inspect every inch of him, analyze what’s going through his mind as he glances around the room, a half-smile tugging on the corner of his lips.

 

“It’s funny you made Happy Divorcecupcakes,” Bellamy notes. His gaze turns to her, “Echo made cookies after I found out about the affair. Didn’t seem to work as well as she thought.”

 

“Really? Cookies didn’t repair the sanctity of marriage?” Clarke gawks, sarcasm dripping from her tone.

 

Bellamy throws his head back in a laugh, the sweet melodies of his voice filling Clarke’s ears. She watches as his eyes return to her, subtly maneuvering over her body. The words are formulating on his tongue, she can sense it, and by the reserved expression on his features, she’s not sure that she’s going to like what tumbles from his lips.

 

“You don’t have to do all this,” Bellamy’s voice is lower, almost like a whisper. “Cooking, baking, even if you were good at it–” He grins at the glare she sends his way, only for it to morph into a sympathetic smile at the of tilt his head. “That’s not how you make things better.”

 

Clarke’s heart sinks to the bottom of her stomach.

 

“I know,” she frowns. “I’m sorry–”

 

“You don’t need to apologize,” Bellamy insists with the shake of his head. “I appreciate the effort. I just hate seeing you kill yourself over these projects just to satisfy me.”

 

“I like doing things for you,” Clarke says softly, her blue eyes gazing up at him, pleadingly. “You’ve done so much for me. I haven’t done nearly enough for you–”

 

“You’re carrying our child–”

 

“God, Bellamy, if you could carry this baby yourself, you would.”

 

Clarke sighs, leaning her head back against the cabinet, arms crossed firmly across her chest. Bellamy smirks at her, entertained by her exasperation.

 

“Maybe. But I wouldn’t do it as well as you.”

 

Clarke peers at him, the same grumpy expression on her face, but her eyes staring at him in wonder. Her eyes scan his features, the cold winter paling his complexion, but his freckles still managing to shine prominently. His eyes glimmer at her, the darkness of his pupils enlarging as he matches her gaze. It’s all the more breathtaking, Clarke thinks, as she could spend hours, days, just staring at him with wonder.

 

“How do you do it?” Clarke whispers.

 

“Do what?” Bellamy asks, eyebrows furrowing together in confusion.

 

“Be so good to me,” Clarke wonders aloud, “I’ve been horrible. And you’ve given me so many chances. Why?”

 

Bellamy’s lips tighten in a firm line, his tongue clicking against the roof of his mouth. He runs his hand through his curls, angling his body away from her as he leans further into the counter. He contemplates, in silence, as Clarke stays concentrated on every aspect of him, trying to deduce something, anything.

 

Clarke’s desire to switch the topic, to relive him of another round of stress she’s putting on him, subsides selfishly, yearning for an answer. She just wants to know what he’s thinking, where he stands. All she wants is him, completely and openly.

 

“You’ve given your mother a lot of chances,” Bellamy concludes. He peers at Clarke. “Why?”

 

“I’m talking about you and me.”

 

“Why, Clarke?”

 

Clarke straightens, brain wracking over possible explanations into the switch of topics. She fails to come up with any substantial, eyes glancing over Bellamy in confusion. He only stares back at her, eyes pleading for an answer. So she gives him one, an honest one.

 

“Because she’s my mother,” Clarke explains, simply.

 

“Because you love her,” Bellamy points out.

 

Clarke stills. Bellamy angles his body closer to her, and Clarke feels her breath hitch at his newfound closeness. His hand reaches out to graze her cheek, and now he’s so close that her stomach bumps against his torso. His thumb lightly glides over her bottom lip, but his eyes sink into hers, and again, it’s just the two of them. Like this is how it was supposed to be.

 

“I know you,” Bellamy whispers. “I know you’re heart. You may have this image of what you’re supposed to be in your head, but I can see how what you feel overpowers it.”

 

And you love me, Clarke reserves herself from adding.

 

Bellamy’s eyes darken, and again Clarke wonders if she said something she shouldn’t have aloud. Sometimes, she thinks he can just read her mind, better than she’s able to read his, and that’s why he’s so forgiving. Why he always comes back to her, despite how shitty she acts and how stupid the choices he makes her. He’s right, he knows her, and he knows her a lot better than herself at most times. It’s scary, but all the more inviting at the same time.

 

Clarke does her best keep his gaze as his thumb moves to the base of her chin. Bellamy’s touch leaves a trail of fire along her jawline, imprinting on her skin as if he meant to leave marks. She feels heat everywhere on her body, from her face to her chest to between her legs. It’s a pull on her only he has, only he ignites, with the simplest of actions.

 

When Bellamy’s forehead leans against hers, it’s like all the air has been knocked from her lungs.

 

“I guess it’s a little pathetic of me to keep relying on that,” Bellamy breathes, his breath so hot that it tickles her lips. He pauses, eyes surveying over Clarke as she peers up at him, wide eyed like a doe. “But so is your cooking, so I think we’re even.”

 

Clarke giggles, tipping her head up a little to get a better look at him. Their foreheads distance, eyes now level with one another, less than an inch apart. She can’t help but gaze, all the wonders that exude from his tugging on every inch of her heart, igniting a new flame somewhere along her body. One hand on her chin, another finds itself on the base of her stomach, his gentle touches almost enough to send him over the edge. His thumb glides over her chin, just as his fingers dance across her stomach.

 

She yearns to close the gap, the lack of space between them being all the more enticing as his eyes drop to her lips. The tip of his thumb brushes against the bottom of her lower lip, and Clarke swears she can see stars. He’s so close, in every way with his presence and his touch, but he doesn’t dare to start anything more.

 

Clarke can see the fear in his eyes, hiding behind the plea for her. Bellamy certain about her heart, knows where her loyalties lie now more than ever, but there’s still the past that creeps up on them. She’s still made her mistakes, they’ve still caused a significant impact on him. There’s still more for her to prove. Not with the likes of food and treats, and maybe Clarke’s not exactly sure how she’s going to prove it, but she’s sure sticking around and being just with him and their child is a good place to start.

 

She almost voices this, her mouth opening to whisper reassurances in his ear, when a sharp kick collides with Bellamy’s hand, so hard he jerks his hand away.

 

“What the–” Clarke glances down at her stomach, confused and questioning everything, when her hand instinctively flies to the area that was kicked. She looks up, watching as Bellamy marvels, a grin spreading across her face. “That’s a kick.”

 

She grabs a hold of Bellamy’s hand, bringing it to the same spot. Clarke feels his breath hit her collarbone, his gaze intent on the bump.

 

“Come on, baby,” Clarke coos. “Show daddy your kicks.”

 

It takes a couple moments. But they stay there, in that position, waiting patiently, the only sound in the room being their heavy breathing filling the air. The minutes that pass only feel like seconds, the anticipation causing time to fly, before another kick in the same area lands on the side of Clarke’s stomach, bumping directly into Bellamy’s hand. He keeps it still, hand tucked under Clarke’s as he looks up at her, a matching Cheshire grin gliding across his lips.

 

Bellamy lets out a short laugh, as does Clarke, crouching down to be eyelevel with her stomach. His hand cascades over the top, running over the side that’s now growing sore. His touch lingers there for a moment, as if soothing the pain and welcoming the baby, before gently moving back to the base.

 

“Look at you,” Bellamy whispers. “You want to keep your legs crossed this afternoon, but now you’re a karate kid?”

 

Clarke giggles, reaching her hands over her stomach to grab a hold of Bellamy’s wrists. She brings him up, finding humor in the confusion that grows into his features. “I have a confession to make. I lied about the Happy Divorce cupcakes.”

 

On cue, the stove dings, just as Bellamy quirks an eyebrow at her. Clarke brushes him to the side, clearing the path before she heads to the stove, eagerly opening up the door. She retrieves the cooking mitten from the side of the stove, slipping it onto her hand before she bends over and slowly removes the muffin pan from the warm insides. The whiff of fresh cupcakes hits her nose first, and she’s grateful they smell like normal, well-baked cupcakes. She sets them aside on the countertop, stepping aside so Bellamy can take a peak.

 

Still as confused as before, Bellamy gives her a sideways glance before he steps past her. He leans over the countertop, puzzlement etched into his brows as they furrow. Clarke watches, assuming he has yet to make the connection. He stares at them for a little while longer, gaze flickering to Clarke once before back at the cupcakes.

 

Bellamy straightens, hand leaning up to scratch the back of his neck. “Purple Happy Divorce cupcakes?”

 

Clarke gapes, pushing Bellamy aside as she leans over the countertop to peer at the very much so, purplecupcakes that line the pan.

 

“No,” Clarke cries. Her elbows lean against the cool of the marble as she tucks her face into the palms of her hand. “They weren’t supposed to be purple.”

 

She hears Bellamy’s poor attempt at stifling a laugh from behind her. When he speaks, his amusement is even more evident, etching into the stutter in his voice. “What color were they supposed to be?”

 

Clarke sighs, turning around to face him. She glances at the cupcakes and then at Bellamy, his smirk bringing a little more comfort as opposed to its usual irritation. His back is propped up against the island, peering at her mockingly. She finds a smile creeping up on her own lips. This seems to make Bellamy uneasy, even more so as she peels a cupcake from the muffin tin and takes a bite.

 

She takes her time slowly chewing the bits of cupcake in her mouth, saliva laving up the crumbs. Bellamy looks more so confused now more than ever, but his amusement is still evident in the lightness of his eyes. She swallows the pieces of cupcake in her mouth, swatting away the crumbs that linger at the corner of her mouth leisurely. Bellamy seems to understand the art of her teasing now, shaking his head with a playful smile on his face.

 

“You’re killing me here, princess,” Bellamy mocks, hoping that will elicit a more prominent reaction from her.

 

It doesn’t work on Clarke. She stays still for a few more moments, a smirk creeping up on her lips to taunt him. Bellamy doesn’t say anything more, waiting impatiently with the tap of his foot, until she opens her mouth.

 

“It was supposed to be blue.”

 

Bellamy’s expression doesn’t change, still seeming a little confused. He glances from the cupcakes to her, trying to piece it together. Clarke can pinpoint the exact moment when realization dawns on him, his eyes widening to a degree she didn’t know was humanely possible, face glowing and grin wide.

 

“I thought the baby’s legs were crossed,” Bellamy etches closer.

 

“Sorry, I lied again,” Clarke fakes a grimace, unable to stop the giggle that escapes our lips.

 

Her hands cradle the sides of her stomach, Bellamy’s hands slides atop of hers. The roughness of his hands warm hers, as their fingers intertwine with one another. He holds them there for a moment, crouching down so he can peer upwards and meet her eyes.

 

“We’re having a boy?”

 

“We’re going to have a son.”

 

Clarke feels her eyes prick with tears as Bellamy breathes against her stomach, his awe and amazement bringing a sparkle to his eyes. A laugh escapes Bellamy’s lips, short and airy, before he leans up to stare at Clarke. He presses a kiss to her forehead, reality settling in to the two of them as she leans into his touch.

 

In just a few short months, they’ll have a son.

 

He pulls his lips away from her, only to rest his forehead against hers once more. Their hands remained interlocked on the side of Clarke’s stomach, only to be greeted by another swift kick from their son. They laugh softly in unison, basking in the glory of what they created in just the span of a couple short months.

 

Clarke lifts her gaze, hand moving from Bellamy’s to rest on his cheek. His eyes peer up at her curiously as her thumb grazes across the scruff decorating his jawline.

 

“I’m going to be the person you’re relying on,” Clarke whispers. Bellamy’s eyes flutter closed as her thumb trails over his jaw. “For you, and for our son.”

 

Bellamy’s eyes remain closed, unmoving for a moment before he nods. His head moves into the palm of her hand, pressing a kiss to the pad of her thumb. The wetness of his lips leave residue against her thumb, but Clarke keeps it still, reassuring and begging for him all at once.

 

Her gaze drops to his lips, the intimacy interlacing their last round of interactions implementing into the tension between written between them. She wants to kiss him, wants him to deepen his mouth against hers, show him just how much she’s dedicated to her family with one action she knows she’s good at. Another moment of weakness, just for the two of them, like that Christmas night curled into each other’s arms.

 

Bellamy seems to read her mind, the unspoken events of Christmas night seeping into his brain. He steps away, hands slowly moving off of her stomach bump. Clarke attempts not to look like she’s aching at the loss of him, but when he turns away from her, a pout forms on her lips without much say.

 

She watches as he walks into the other room, his footsteps padding into the distance as he disappears down the hall. And then, he returns, waving a bright, yellow sticky note in his hand. Clarke shakes her head, but the hint of a smile remains on her face. There’s sticky notes littering all over her apartment, no excuses for moments of weaknesses this time.

 

“Look at that,” Bellamy smirks.

 

He hands her the sticky note, stuck to the edge of his index finger. She peels the sticky note off of his skin, squinting at the ever prevalent, red ink sprawled across the paper.

 

“I think this is the only thing we have completed,” Clarke notes.

 

“One is better than none,” Bellamy calls over his shoulder, heading over to her end table to ruffle through the drawers. He retrieves a black pen, before making his way back over to Clarke.

 

Clarke flattens the sticky note against the marble island, ironically trademarking where the events took place all those months ago. The edges that are non-stick flap up, so Clarke uses both her index fingers to press on the ends, forearms sliding against the marble and shuffling against Bellamy’s as he leans in beside her. Haphazardly, he reaches around her, writing the word COMPLETE over the red letters.

 

Things to Actually Do: Find out the Sex of the Baby are drowned out by the big, boldened black words, but Clarke can still make it out if she squints. Bellamy caps the top of the pen, gazing at her like the distraction did anything to destroy the heat building in their bodies. She smiles at him, appreciating his efforts, understanding that he needs more time, but emphasizing his naivety with the shake of her head.

 

Bellamy only smirks back, pretending he doesn’t notice the tension that lingers between them, pretending that he’s blissfully unaware of the implications that the two of them bring – never just friends, never just co-parents despite the best of their efforts.

Chapter Text

Stating that Abby Griffin has a tendency to be judgmental is an understatement. Clarke’s grown up in her world of drama; sideways glances and hotly comments regarding pretty much anything she has to offer. Nothing is good enough unless it’s perfect, and even then there’s still room for improvement. With age, or maybe more so with the introduction of Marcus Kane, she’s been a lot more bearable. She’s taken the extra steps to try and reintegrate herself in Clarke’s life, and while it’s appreciated, she’s still Abby Griffin at the end of the day – she has her moments.

 

Today, is one of those moments.

 

“Mom,” Clarke hisses from the other line, leaning towards the camera so that her face is in full view. “You’re not telling me I’m not fat enough to be six months pregnant, are you?”

 

Abby tsks, the sound of her tongue clicking against the roof of her mouth echoing over the speaker on Clarke’s phone. She’s in perfect view on FaceTime, and Clarke can picture her propping her phone up on some sort of cannister so that she receives the best angle. Her forearms are folded before her, and it looks like she’s at a dining room table – although it’s not her home.

 

“I did not use those words, Clarke,” Abby insists, eyebrows raised defensively. “I simply asked if your doctor said anything about you being under average weight at your last appointment.”

 

“She didn’t. And I may not be carrying poorly, but all the fat has gone to my boobs and ass.”

 

“I didn’t need the unnecessary information, Clarke, I just asked for a simple answer.”

 

Clarke’s hands glide over her baby bump once more, the softness of the fabric feeling plush against her skin. She’s carrying all in her stomach, considerably low, but her breasts tower over her bump, nor can she even get started about her ass. Sometimes, she can’t wonder how any part of her body can get any bigger and then the next day comes, and it somehow, someway does just that.

 

She sighs, angling her body away from the camera as she poses in the mirror. The teal, green bridesmaid dress is a bold color, especially for a Raven Reyes wedding, but it does cover up the problem areas that have arisen in the past couple of months. It’s modest, another surprise for a Raven Reyes wedding, with a crossover back and flowy bottom. It projects Clarke’s bump while protecting her cleavage, and the color brings out the blue in her eyes, so she’s satisfied. Which is more than she can say for Harper, but they can’t all be winners.

 

Normally, she’d ask Raven or Harper for their critiques, but complaining about herself to the bride isn’t the most maid of honor thing to do and Harper’s been all the more preoccupied with Jordan, who along with just turning one has also learned how to toddle. Clarke’s problems are less than severe and with no one else to bother, left Abby. Which normally, would never be an option, but Christmas sprouted a chance to rebuild the scraps of their relationship and Clarke was on the road to being a better person, anyways.

 

Not that Abby Griffin made it easy. While her anticipation for her grandson certainly soothed some of her flaws, the judgments remained, in the same subtle undertone that had been prevalent all her life. Clarke tried her best not to lose it on her, especially since this already was such a milestone for them, but somedays her mother really gave her a run for her money.

 

“It’s a little old fashioned,” Abby comments.

 

“Raven’s going for the traditional wedding oddly enough,” Clarke states, studying herself in the mirror. She gathers her hands in her hair and piles it at the top of her head, debating an up do. “Probably because Shaw’s parents are very conservative.”

 

Abby hums in reply. Her voice is static over the speaker, leaving Clarke less than knowledgeable about the intended tone. It puts her on edge, not to be expectant to her mother’s next move, although she supposes it’s something she’s supposed to be overcoming. There’s the faint click of her mother’s tongue that Clarke recognizes as a bad sign, creaking through the speaker. She decides to ignore it, hoping her mother will take the hint and not argue.

 

A bit of silence passes as Clarke deems herself satisfied with the dress. The alterations seem to be done correctly, plus it’s not like there’s much she can do with the wedding in less than three days anyways. It’s a nice dress, compliments her quite well and even if it didn’t, this day isn’t about her – it’s about Raven. And she’s been a less than present friend lately with all the commotion with the baby, so it’s only fair that she doesn’t complain about this one, minor thing, that’s not even in her control.

 

She reaches behind her to unzip the back of the dress, but evidently fails to do so, her arms sprawling out against her upper back without a grip on anything. She huffs, allowing her hands to fall to her side with a sigh. Putting on the dress was hassle enough, having taken twenty minutes to zip up before she got the courage to call her mother for a critique. She may just have to sleep in it until the day comes.

 

“How are you going to get that dress off?” Abby inquires, noting her daughter’s frustration. Before Clarke can even open her mouth to reply, she continues, “Is Bellamy with you?”

 

“No, he’s not,” Clarke sighs, “He’s stopping by soon with dinner–”

 

“How is that going, by the way? You and Bellamy?”

 

Of course the topic coursing through Abby Griffin’s mind was Bellamy Blake. Clarke only updates her on the baby and new career opportunities, drawing the line at her love life. She’s not even sure she can call whatever is going on with Bellamy, her love life. They’ve certainly become closer, but he’s made no moves to indicate he wants to go past being friends. And if that’s not painful enough, here is her mother, asking her to reiterate their status.

 

“We’re fine,” Clarke shrugs, attempting to come across as casual. “He’s very excited that he guessed right about the baby being a boy. Won’t let me live it down.”

 

Again, Abby hums in reply. Clarke waits a beat, for what she knows is coming, before her mother’s voice crackles through the speaker once more. “I hope he’s not the reason why you took that research opportunity.”

 

Clarke’s not at all surprised at the complete 180 away from the original conversation. “Mom, I told you, I took that job because Becca Franco was running it and I am interested in the research.”

 

“Not because it’s going to give you more time at home? Because that’s not what’s going to put you on the map, Clarke–”

 

“Why is that such a bad thing?” Clarke huffs, glaring at her mother through the screen. “I want to be home with the baby as much as I can be. I’m his mother.”

 

“Of course, you should want to be home with your child. But at the price of your career?”

 

“My career isn’t going anywhere. Dr. Franco even said that–”

 

“Clarke,” Abby’s voice comes out sharp, despite the poor connection. It efficiently screws Clarke’s mouth shut, her lips pursing into a tight, frustrated line. “We’ve been prepping you for a career in medicine your whole life. I want to make sure that you’re not throwing it away for a boy–”

 

“For my son?”

 

“For Bellamy.”

 

Clarke straightens, anger boiling into her bloodstream. Her mother’s accused her of being too good for Bellamy, for progressing past the need for him for years. Almost convinced her of it at one point, causing her to be reckless and selfish and cruel. Clarke knows she can’t blame her mother for her actions, her own need for recognition and success having been her detriment. She’s certain this time that Bellamy’s it, that he’s all she could ever want. Even though it’s going to take him a bit more convincing.

 

But now, her mother changed her tune, thinking that he’s the one holding her daughter back. It’s too easy, Clarke thinks, for her mother to get into her head. But she’s more sure now than ever that the decisions she’s making are right ones, that she’s finally on some sort of right path. If only her mother would be on the same page.

 

She hears her mother clear her throat, before she adds, “Somehow, along the way, you’ve put your personal life above your academia. And–”

 

“I’m done talking about this,” Clarke snarls, sharply pressing the decline button before her mother can get another word in.

 

The phone screen draws to a blank, silence etching into the bedroom in a way that makes Clarke all the more infuriated. She waits for a couple moments, staring at the darkness of the screen. Her mother doesn’t call back. It’s probably for the best that she doesn’t.

 

Clarke sighs, turning her attention back to the mirror. Her eyes sting with budding tears, and the sight of her in the dress doesn’t do much to rectify it. It’s a pretty dress, and it looks fine on her, but the words of her mother implant themselves into the clevises of her mind, taking away from any positive thinking she can muster. It’s a fine dress, she’s fine, and things are supposed to be looking up for her now. She’s supposed to be on the right track.

 

“Wow,” the voice booms from behind Clarke, startling her as she whips her head around. Bellamy leans against the doorway, looking on with a teasing smile. She didn’t hear him come in. “That’s not a dress that screams Raven Reyes.”

 

Clarke only smiles at him in return, the disappointment that sinks into her chest not allowing her to formulate a response. She notes the flicker in Bellamy’s eyes, the recognition that dawns on him, almost like a notification that something is wrong. She turns to the mirror, trying to avoid his gaze, but she spots him through the reflection, creeping closer with a look of concern etched onto his features.

 

“Clarke,” Bellamy begins. “What’s wrong?”

 

“I can’t get the dress off,” Clarke lies, instinctively.

 

Through the reflection of the mirror, she can see Bellamy’s not all that convinced. His eyes scan hers through the mirror, but she looks away, pretending to be interested in the fabric of the dress as she smothers the silk in the pinch of her fingers. Bellamy’s eyes are still on her, without a doubt, she feels them rise the goosebumps on the back of her neck.

 

Bellamy steps forward, hands instantly finding the zipper at the back of the dress. Clarke looks up, finding his eyes through the mirror once more. It’s like he’s asking for permission, the way his hands linger tentatively on the zipper, his eyes boring into hers for a sign, something to tell him to stop. He’s so close she can feel the hotness of the breath on his neck, can see how he tries to control his panting through the reflection.

 

Clarke nods, giving him the go ahead. He steadies one hand on her upper back, his fingers pressing lightly against her skin. Bellamy’s hand snakes up, resting on the bareness of her left shoulder. They’re cold, the skin having been exposed to the winter air probably just minutes before. But when it sinks into the dip of her shoulder that meets her neck, a twinge of warmth is brought to her body instead. Her eyes flicker to meet his in the mirror, but he’s no longer looking at her. His eyes are on the back of her, a gulp exuding from his Adam’s apple.

 

The zipper drags halfway down the dress, as intended. It’s painfully slow, instead of the quick zip that the dress probably allows. Maybe he’s scared that if anything happens to this dress, Raven would kill him and Clarke would sit by and watch. Or maybe he’s just like Clarke, wanting to savor the moment of the two of them, and pretend later is less intimate than it was.

 

It sags on the ridge of the zipper, but Bellamy doesn’t take his hand away. His thumb rubs circles into her neck, almost ghostly while the hand once clasped around the zipper moves to her waist. Clarke’s breath hitches. He hears it, and Clarke sees his inclination to come forward. Bellamy catches her eye in the mirror.

 

And then, he coughs, stepping away from her. Clarke turns, the dress hanging limply on her shoulders, as she brings her arms around herself to awkwardly hold it in place. Bellamy brings his fist up to his mouth and bites down, looking to her with a nod. “It’s a nice dress.”

 

“Just not one that screams Raven Reyes,” Clarke musters with a smile.

 

“Definitely not,” Bellamy returns her smile. He hesitates, eyes glancing over her, lingering for a moment too long before they return to her face. “It looks beautiful on you, though.”

 

Clarke stares back, her smile growing just ever so slightly as a brush creeps up on her cheeks. She hugs her dress to her a little tighter, as Bellamy shifts awkwardly from one foot to the other, as if he’s lost his place. His head swivels, darting around the room before walking past her to pull at her drawers. He retrieves a sweater, one blue and baggy that probably belongs to her father, but is the first one he sees.

 

Bellamy hands it to her. She slips it on wordlessly, the bunch of the dress now hanging loosely at her hips, thankfully hoisted by the girth of her baby bump. His expression hardens as Clarke smoothens out the frizz in her hair, the odd combination of an outfit not seeming to be the source of his bother.

 

“Did you just talk to your mother?” Bellamy inquires.

 

“The way you read minds is scary,” Clarke bites out a laugh. She wanders over to the bed, sinking her bottom into the cushion of it, hands clasped together in front of her. She twiddles her fingers, knowing Bellamy won’t press for more unless she says more. Her eyes flicker up to meet his. “She doesn’t like the person I’m becoming.”

 

“What person is that?”

 

“A mother, I guess.”

 

“What about the research you’re going to be doing with Becca Franco?” Bellamy ponders, stepping forward to sit on the bed with her. His knee bumps against hers, and Clarke looks up at him. “You said she’s like royalty.”

 

“Doesn’t matter, less hours in the clinic means it takes longer to become an attending. Also means more time at home, and God, who wants that?” Clarke sighs sarcastically, running her hand through her hair, allowing it to sag on one of her split ends. She looks to Bellamy, a small smile forming. “I love my job. But I can’t wait to be home with him. He’s been attached to me for six or so months, and I don’t think I want to give that up when he comes.”

 

Bellamy nods knowingly, the edges of his lips tugging up into a smile that makes Clarke’s heart want to explode. He looks on with such a fondness, an understanding that only the two of them share and it takes everything in her not to throw her arms around him, to feel his embrace. She forces herself to tear her eyes away from him, again focusing on the twiddle of her fingers, and ever consuming essence that is her mother. She lifts her head, staring at the blankness of her closet door.

 

“I guess she never felt that way when I was born,” Clarke concludes. She hangs her head, “I know I’m not one to talk. But sometimes I wonder if she’s capable of change. Or at least, understanding my perspective.”

 

Clarke hears him suck in a breath, lifting her head once more just to catch of a glimpse of him. His hands are planted into the mattress, extended at an angle behind him as he leans back in contemplation. He’s no longer looking at her, but emulating her stare directed at the blankness of the closet door.

 

“I think she’s trying harder,” Clarke supplies. “Because of Marcus. But–”

 

Bellamy glances at her, eyes darkening. “You’re her daughter. She should be trying harder just because of that.”

 

“Bellamy,” Clarke sighs, shaking her head as she turns away from him. “That’s not enough, it wasn’t before and it’s not now–”

 

“Clarke,” he straightens, peering at her, begging her to look at him. She does, her head shifting to meet his gaze. “This is your life, despite her sad attempt to live vicariously through you. You’re successful, you’re smart, and you’re going to be an amazing mother. She’s not all those things.”

 

Abby Griffin is successful. Abby Griffin is smart. Abby Griffin is a mother, but amazing is a far cry from the word Clarke would use.

 

But there’s an attempt, a yearning that Clarke recognizes in her mother. It’s difficult for her to express it, maybe, but Clarke knows it’s there. She sees it when her mother’s name flashes on her phone for their bi-weekly calls, not a minute later than seven pm. She recognizes it in the way she’s eager to ask about the baby, but adamant about spewing her knowledge about the importance of her career. It’s more tame now, more controlled than it was when she was a teenager or even from the year before.

 

There’s a want for a better relationship that’s executed in more subtle terms. Any full blown attempts from her mother are usually met with criticism and disdain, and Clarke knows she acknowledges that. This is her way of repairing things, albeit not the most effective, the only way Abby Griffin knows how to without scaring away her daughter once again.

 

It reminds Clarke of herself. The desperation for something more. She’s doing the same thing with Bellamy, except in more brash terms. While her mother is unapologetic and secluded, Clarke is determined and painstakingly devoted.  There’s no preservation, not like how her mother’s desire for change is hindered by her ambition and – possibly lack thereof – a moral code.

 

Clarke watches the darkness in Bellamy’s eyes fade to softness, piercing at her in an attempt to be all the more convincing. Bellamy doesn’t have to try, doesn’t have to look at her with those aching, brown eyes for Clarke to be unequivocally in tune with what he conveys.

 

“Before you, I wouldn’t have given my mother the time of day,” Clarke finally says, the lingering silence hanging in the air slashed by the conviction in her voice. “You gave me another chance. You make me want to be better.”

 

Bellamy’s stare lingers, the outer corners of his eyes softening, the brown tints glistening. His gaze travels over her, examines her, tries to derive meaning – wants to gauge if he can trust her. You can, she wants to yell. He’s the reason she’s so determined to be this better person, diving headfirst into the world of just the two of them. Bellamy may not completely understand just how impressionable he is on her, but the look of awe that consumes his features tells her he may have a hint.  

 

Clarke’s lips tremble, and she’s not sure if it’s because she can feel his breath against her mouth or because he stares at her like she hung the moon and the stars above their heads. All she wants is to move closer, to press her lips against his, to show him just how her world revolves around him. But she stills, the way his eyes flicker into a sense of recognition causing the warmth to seep out of her body, replaced by a discomforting shiver.

 

Bellamy pulls away before anything happens, before he can jolt forward or before she can wrap her arms around him. Nothing happens, but something transpires nonetheless – a stolen glance, a missed moment, all that’s left unsaid. It can’t be pinpointed to one thing, but it’s recognized in the way that Bellamy stands, dusting himself off without a rhyme or reason.

 

“Takeout’s probably cold,” Bellamy coughs. He starts to stride out of the room before Clarke can say any more. “I’ll warm it up.”

 


 

Raven’s dress is just as traditional her bridesmaids, if not with her own signature flare. The gown is long, exceptionally so, with a train leading at least a meter behind her. The corset is an intricate, white lace as are the matching triangular shoulder straps, met with a slim gown flow. Her hair hangs low, a rare occasion for the bride, in ringlet curls that allow a perfect throne for the veil that cascades down her head.

 

Harper cries when she sees her as does her mother-in-law. The two are gushing over Raven, running their fingers through the softness of her veil or smoothening out her dress. Raven’s all for the attention, glowing with her radiant smile as she thanks them for their compliments, while characteristically acknowledging her own natural born greatness. Along with Clarke, they’re the only three in the bride’s waiting room, basking in the glory of the soon-to-be-wedded woman.

 

Clarke feels guilty, sinking into the corner while Raven’s adored by her friend and soon-to-be mother-in-law. She’s more than supplied her round of compliments, and Raven deserves all that adoration and more, but she’s just waiting for Harper and Ms. Shaw to leave the room. Raven will come down from her high when they eventually disperse and Clarke’s ready to take the brunt of it.

 

“I can’t believe you’re getting married,” Harper squeaks, hand flying to her cheek in admiration. “I remember how you were in your early twenties–”

 

Raven barely has time to shoot Harper a glare before Clarke claps her hands over the blonde’s shoulders. “Harper, make sure our ring boy is ready, okay? Show time is in fifteen minutes.”

 

“Will do,” Harper takes the hint, nodding along. She steps forward, squeezing Raven into a quick, side hug before backing up towards the door. “You’ve got this, gorgeous.”

 

Clarke resumes Harper’s position, stepping in beside Raven so that they’re side to side in the mirror. She can pinpoint the exact moment that Raven’s gaze shifts, her eyes flickering to Clarke to relay a sudden burst of panic. Her eyes dart to Ms. Shaw, seemingly oblivious to her daughter-in-law’s burst of panic as she idly runs her fingers through her veil.

 

Ms. Shaw is the pinnacle of tradition, Clarke learned upon meeting her. She went with Raven to approve her wedding dress, which was a hassle in and of itself – aside from the additional commentary and modifications to the wedding; catering, food, music. Her criticism is usually in the form of passive aggressive comments, which Raven really doesn’t do, no matter how harmless. She’s all about confrontation, about saying what she means. Although, it’s not exactly possible to do so to the mother of the man you’re about to marry without greatly pissing her off.

 

At the end of the day, Raven doesn’t care so much about the technical aspects as much as she does about becoming Mrs. Miles Ezekiel Shaw.

 

“Ms. Shaw,” Clarke smiles brightly, capturing the mother of the groom’s attention right away. Her eyes narrow at Clarke, observant to her large belly and lack of a wedding ring. “I think the groomsmen need you, so they can start taking their places.”

 

Clarke hears Raven’s breath hitch as Ms. Shaw tilts her head in observation. She continues to smile brightly, politely, having to deal with these types of adults all her life. Clarke’s perfected the art of the façade. She’s not worried. Ms. Shaw’s look of subtle disdain soon fades into an acknowledging nod, the hint of a smile gracing her lips, although directed at Raven.

 

“You look absolutely stunning, darling,” Ms. Shaw squeezes her shoulder. “I’m so glad we chose this dress.”

 

“Me, too,” the cheery, polite tone that drips from Raven’s lips are so out of place, Clarke has to suppress a laugh.

 

“I suppose it is best if I get going,” Ms. Shaw runs her hands through Raven’s veil once more. Clarke notices the bride tense, even as her mother-in-law’s hand drops from the veil to her side. “My boy is going to be in awe when he sees you walk down the aisle.”

 

Raven grins, genuinely, if not for a slight falter afterwards. “Thank you, Ms. Shaw.”

 

Ms. Shaw bows her head to Raven, the gracious smile dropping from her lips when she turns away and makes eye contact with Clarke. She ignores the sickly sweet smile Clarke sends her way, trotting out the room with the click of her wedges. Clarke looks over her shoulder to watch her go, the pasted smile falling off her face the minute the door closes behind her.

 

“She’s a peach,” Clarke turns back to Raven, adjusting her veil as she stares at the bride in the mirror.

 

“She’s not that bad,” Raven mutters, much to Clarke’s surprise. “She loves Shaw, and she loves me. Which is more than I can say about my own mother.”

 

Clarke draws in a breath. “I’m sorry.”

 

“Don’t be. Our relationship was beyond repair years ago.”

 

“Do you wish she was here?”

 

“No,” Raven states firmly, tearing her gaze away from the mirror to stare at Clarke. She realizes that her mother’s absence isn’t the reason for her panic when a shaky, smile lifts onto her face. “Who would have thought, the girl who shared my mommy issues and slept with my boyfriend was going to be my maid of honor?”

 

Clarke laughs, holding out her hand to Raven. She accepts her friend’s hand, stepping down from the pedestal with a shaky breath. Clarke gazes at Raven, an amazed smile gracing her features, despite the nervousness that etches onto the bride’s expression.

 

“In my defense, I didn’t know he was your boyfriend,” Clarke defends teasingly. She knows Raven knows that.

 

She stares a little more intensely at her friend, trying to analyze what’s going on inside her head. Raven gazes back, just as intense and much more frightened, the glisten of panic in her eye ever prevalent.

 

“I feel like you,” Raven finally bursts out.

 

Clarke raises an eyebrow. “Care to explain?”

 

Raven sighs, closing her eyes to inhale through her nose and exhale slowly. Clarke waits, patient and curious, peering at her friend as she short-circuits. It’s not like Raven to panic, to falter, to not rise to a challenge. Weddings are scary, Clarke understands, but nothing frightens Raven Reyes. That’s what makes her panic all the more abnormal.

 

“You know, when you and Lexa broke up, I said to you,” Raven opens her eyes, voice barely above a whisper. “You’re with someone and you think they’re the one. You were that way with Lexa, you were – still are – that way with Bellamy.”

 

“I’m following,” Clarke nods with the slight narrow of her eyes. She decides to ignore Raven’s subtle insults for the sake of her wedding day.

 

“I always thought it was going to be Finn. From when we were twelve, it was him and I,” Raven details, exasperation evident in her voice. “And when ten years later, he cheated on me and we, for whatever reason, tried to still be friends and rebuild that trust, it never came back. We were basically inseparable for ten years. And then things just changed. He didn’t want me anymore.”

 

“Shaw isn’t Finn,” Clarke steps forward, concerned as Raven’s eyes begin to water.

 

The bride fans away her tears with the wave of her hand, insistent on not smudging her linear or mascara. “I know. But I used to be so sure Finn would be the man I was supposed to spend the rest of my life with. And now there’s no doubt in my mind that the one is Shaw. But things can change so quickly–”

 

Before another word slips pasts the bride’s lips, Clarke wraps her arms around Raven. She embraces her, tight and secure. Raven balances her chin on Clarke’s shoulder, leaning over her belly bump carefully. Clarke hears her sniffle, knowing she’s trying to refrain from crying, leading to her messing up her makeup or looking blazed for her wedding day.

 

They remain there, for a moment. Clarke pulls away a couple minutes later, holding Raven securely by the shoulders to examine her. Her eyes are a little watery, but Raven seems adamant about not letting them slip past her eyelids. The softness of a smile grazes her lips, one that Clarke returns as a flush of adoration floods through her.

 

“Shaw loves you, you’re his one,” Clarke solidifies, her grip on Raven’s shoulders tightening. “Whatever changes, you deal with together. You’re each other’s one, now.”

 

Raven nods, tears subsiding. “I’m an awesome person to have be the one.”

 

“You’re damn straight.”

 

Raven laughs, relief flooding through Clarke to hear the happiness return to her voice. Clarke tilts her head, admiring Raven’s beauty; not only in terms of her gorgeous gown, elite makeup and the pristine curls in her hair. Her honesty, her truth, the rawness of how she feels exudes from her, adding a glow that Clarke envies just as much as she admires. Clarke has to work to be that transparent, and while she’s getting there, it’s not as simple as Raven makes it look.

 

“Now, come on,” Clarke links her arm through Raven’s, shaking her head of her self-ridden thoughts. “Time to get you hitched.”

 

Raven snaps some snarky remark about how that makes her sound like a hillbilly and Clarke knows she’s back and ready.

 

She aligns Raven behind the line of groomsmen and bridesmaids at the door, her father-in-law already waiting there for her. Clarke gives her hand a squeeze, moving to stand beside Shaw’s brother and best man. When the hum of the music starts, Jordan is the first to go, toddling down the aisle as fast as his little legs will take him, Harper and Monty close behind to observe. Before the doors swing close, Clarke spots Monty hand Jordan to Bellamy sitting in the front of the pews, cueing her time to walk down.

 

Clarke can’t help but watch as he accepts Jordan into his arms with ease. The glimpse she catches shows the one year old instantly going to tug on his curls, a go to whenever Jordan gets the chance to wrap his arms around Bellamy. As per usual, Bellamy lifts him a little higher for easier access, grinning silently as the toddler enwraps his fingers around the curls. Her heart flutters before the door closes, and it’s time to proceed.

 

Clarke looks behind at Raven, arm tucked into her father-in-law’s. She gives Raven a nod, to which the bride approves with a smile of approval. Clarke doesn’t think she’s ever seen Raven so antsy, but there’s a certainty on her lips that fills her with an overwhelming sense of pride. She turns back to Shaw’s brother, nodding that she’s ready and she waltzes through.

 

Clarke hadn’t realized how awkward walking down the aisle would be. Shaw’s brother, who for the life of her she cannot remember the name of – how terrible of a maid of honor – walks painfully slow, basking in the glory of all the guests in attendance. Everyone’s eyes are on them, and she’s sure it’s going to be a lot worse for Raven, but she can’t help but feel a blush rise to her cheeks with this much attention on her.

 

At least she gets a better view of Bellamy this way. He’s moved Jordan to bounce on his lap, the toddler now occupied with his finger wrapped in his tiny fits. Bellamy looks at him with such adoration, cradles him with such comfortability that it’s impossible for her to tear her eyes away from the two.

 

Bellamy lifts his head, tearing his attention away from Jordan for a moment to glance down the aisle. His eyes meet Clarke’s, almost on instinct. His grin morphs into a smile of affection, his dimples protruding, highlighting the glimmer in his eyes. A lump forms in Clarke’s throat, the dryness consuming her, as it always does when Bellamy looks at her in any way. His smile grows into a smirk, and she must be caught, but she doesn’t even care. She doesn’t look away from him until they walk past, just after Bellamy winks at her.

 

The blush on her cheeks is even more prominent now.

 

Once aligned in her position beside Harper, the hum of the music shifts, and everyone in the pews stand to stare at the door. Moments later, Raven emerges with her father-in-law on her arm, a smile so bright on her face Clarke has to double check it’s coming from Raven Reyes. She glances at Shaw, already standing at the head of the aisle, and the grin that he breaks into is even more confirmation of this day of celebration.

 

The way that Clarke knows that Shaw is Raven’s one, is the way she knows Bellamy is hers. She remembers the discussion she had with Raven almost a year ago, when she was set on proposing to Lexa. It floats through her mind every so often, that once upon time, Bellamy Blake was erased from her life – presumed to never come back. And maybe that’s why she thought someone else was the one, because once before Bellamy was unattainable, gone.

 

She glances at Bellamy, who now has Jordan bouncing steadily on his hip. Jordan peaks over his shoulder at Jasper, who twiddles with him behind Bellamy’s back, but his eyes are elsewhere. Clarke expects them to be on the bride, as they should be, but they’re not. They’re on her, probably never left her since she walked down the aisle, the easiness of a smirk still prominent on his face. Clarke resists the urge to grin back, turning her attention back to the bride walking down the aisle.

 

Clarke will be damned to let her one slip away again.

 


 

“I just don’t see why I couldn’t have been the best man,” Jasper spews through a mouthful of chicken. He’s looking at Maya while addressing the table, who looks on supportively, while the rest of the table only pretends to be shocked. “Are brothers that important? I wouldn’t know, I’m an only child.”

 

“I wasn’t in the wedding party either,” Murphy points out, the monotone in his voice alluding to the fact that he really couldn’t care less regardless.

 

“No surprise,” Monty scoffs. “You’re not reliable.”

 

Murphy just shrugs, slinging an arm over Emori before pressing a kiss to her temple. Emori doesn’t react to the sudden burst of affection, her eyes narrowed into slits directed at Clarke the whole night. Clarke’s barely given her the time of day, and she hasn’t said anything to her, but she assumes it’s Bellamy’s presence that’s keeping her in check.

 

It’s not really an odd table, except for the addition of Emori. Raven’s sitting with her new husband and in-laws at a long table at the front of the room, but aside from her absence, the rest of Clarke’s friends are present. Harper and Monty take turns occupying Jordan while Jasper drowns on about his exclusion from the wedding party, which falls deaf on everybody’s ears except for Maya, who nods in acknowledgment beside him. Murphy and Emori are sitting the farthest away from Clarke, supposedly in their own world except for when Emori wants to glare at Clarke like she murdered her whole family.

 

The table has more than its fair share of overwhelming personalities, to say the least.

 

“So, Clarke,” Emori dares to speak. Bellamy’s head snaps towards her faster than Clarke can even acknowledge her, a look of caution spreading onto his features. Emori seeming ignores him, eyebrows raised. “When are you due?”

 

“Beginning of May,” Clarke replies easily.

 

“I can’t believe it’s so soon,” Harper chimes in. “You guys must be so excited.”

 

Clarke’s hand slides over her stomach, eyes still on Emori. Her eyes narrow at the girl, the irritation on her face being any indicator that she’s not finished talking. “It is so soon. Bellamy wasn’t your divorce just finalized a couple weeks ago?”

 

Before the table can even fall quiet, Bellamy shrugs, a taunting smirk playing on his face. “Legally, I guess. Was final long before that, though.”

 

“It’s still fresh. You and Echo were together for years–”

 

“You seem to be more upset than Echo and I ever were,” Bellamy laughs, but no humor laces his voice. It’s dry, and sharp, clearly putting Emori off guard as she shrinks back into Murphy’s arm. “We realized we weren’t working out a long ago.”

 

She wasn’t the one, Clarke settles on.

 

Bellamy’s gaze shifts to her, as if it’s something she said aloud, eyes knowingly reading into hers. He offers her a small smile, bringing his hand to rest nonchalantly atop of hers, already laid on her stomach. Their son kicks in agreeance, pounding straight into Bellamy’s hand. It even startles Clarke, even more so when Bellamy jumps a little at the contact. The two of them break out into wildly childish grins, as if it’s a secret that only they share.

 

“Are you guys boning?” Jasper wonders aloud, staring directly at Clarke and Bellamy as their faces turn different shades of red.

 

Monty elbows him in the ribcage, earning a yelp from Jasper. “You can’t just say that. Especially not in front of my son.”

 

“He doesn’t know what it means,” Harper concedes.

 

“They’re totally fucking,” Murphy nods in agreeance.

 

“That’s not a better word to use,” Monty scolds.

 

As the table ignites in another absurdly loud discussion, Clarke feels Bellamy’s breath whisk against her ear. “You need some air?”

 

If the eager head nod wasn’t enough of a yes, the big smile that spread across Clarke’s face was. Bellamy takes her coat from the back of her seat and hands it to her before throwing on his own. He takes her hand, doing a better job of ignoring Emori’s glares than Clarke does, leading her out of the reception. She doubts the rest of the table notices, hearing their voices carry as Bellamy opens the door for her, a big gust of wind hitting her before the sound of her friends drown out.

 

The winter season is still in full effect for the middle of February. While the snow has mostly melted, there’s an absence of leaves decorating the trees and a frigid air that whisks through the sky in one, fluid motion. The wind tangles itself in Clarke’s hair, nearly destroying her up-do as Bellamy guides her over to one of the benches near the hills on the outside of the parking lot.  

 

Clarke glances over her shoulder, the music from the reception fading the further they walk out of the hall. It’s illuminated by the street lights, giving the hall a glow that makes it appear even classier than it already is. The white pillars are menacingly tall, Clarke notices, only growing taller as she walks further away. It reminds her of the receptions she attended for her parent’s friends when she was younger, the brick outline and rich interior alluding to a different sense of status that she’s now only vaguely familiar with.

 

She stumbles a little when they stop walking, Bellamy having perched himself on the bench while still interlacing his fingers with hers. Clarke looks to him with an amusing smile, as he stares back with a smirk. Words left unsaid, she takes a seat beside Bellamy and to Clarke’s dismay, lets go of her hand. But he does scoot closer, crouching haphazardly to wrap his hands around the sides of her stomach.

 

“How are you tonight, buddy?” Bellamy mumbles to her belly, “Having fun?”

 

“He’s moving around a lot,” Clarke grins, staring down at Bellamy completely consumed in her stomach. “I think he’s ready to get out.”

 

“We’re not ready, we have nothing done,” Bellamy scoffs. “I can’t believe we only have three more months.”

 

“I know. It’s kind of insane to think we’re going to be responsible of another human being in just a couple of weeks.”

 

“It’s more of the title of being a parent, not so much the responsibility I’m worried about. Lord knows I practically raised Octavia.”

 

Clarke tenses involuntarily. She hasn’t seen Octavia since before Christmas, the night of Raven’s bachelorette party, and she knows she’s still not in her good graces. Sometimes she can hear her in the background of her phone calls with Bellamy, muttering something she can’t hear, but knows is about her by the way he scolds her and tells her to leave the room.

 

“How is she?” Clarke feels inclined to ask.

 

“Still slumming it with me until she finds a job here.”

 

“A job here?” Clarke feels the nerves prick at her forearms.

 

Bellamy straightens, a frustrated sigh escaping his lips. “She said that she wants to sell our house, move here to be closer to me and the baby.”

 

“When did she decide this?”

 

“Probably months ago, but she just told me the other day.”

 

Clarke settles into the metal of the benches, hands resting atop her stomach. Bellamy leans back on the arm rest, watching her quizzically, attempting to gauge how she feels about having Octavia so close by. It’s not like she has a say. Octavia’s an adult, and Bellamy’s sister and the aunt to their son. She has every right to move to Polis and start a life here, whether they’re in each other’s good graces or not.

 

But she knows how protective Octavia is. Bellamy may have held reign for a bit, especially during her childhood, but they have the same blood boiling through their veins. And despite Clarke’s attempts to mend her relationship with Bellamy, it will never be enough for Octavia.

 

“What’s wrong?” Bellamy prods. Clarke smoothens her hands over her stomach, not meeting his eyes. He winces. “Not a good idea?”

 

“No,” Clarke’s quick to protest. “It’ll be nice having your sister here, for you and the baby.”

 

“Not for you, though.”

 

It’s not a question, although maybe it should be. Bellamy phrases it like a statement. Clarke sighs, looking up to meet his eyes. She smiles, sickly sweet, leaning over to gently grasp Bellamy’s wrist and lead it back to her belly. His hand rests atop of her stomach, caressing through the fabric, eyes trained on her.

 

Clarke can’t restrain herself, hand gently gliding through the curls in Bellamy’s hair as he stares up at her.

 

“Don’t worry about me. She may not be my biggest fan, but she’s not the leader of the I-Hate-Clarke-Griffin club. I would say it’s Luna, but Emori comes in a close second.”

 

Bellamy sighs, “Emori had no right to speak to you that way.”

 

“I’m a homewrecker in her eyes,” Clarke sighs with an appeased smile.

 

“You shouldn’t be. You’re not,” Bellamy’s thumb glides softly over the fabric, against her stomach.

 

“I like to think I’m not. You were getting divorced before we…”

 

“Yeah, that’s true.”

 

“Then why is she so invested in you and Echo? If she’s been both of your friends for so long, and this is something you both want, what’s up her ass?”

 

Bellamy’s thumb halts, hesitation evident in his inaction. His gaze flickers back to Clarke’s stomach, hand pressing slightly against her, focus back on the baby. Puzzled, Clarke brings her hands up to grasp his wrist and grab his attention. A sigh escapes Bellamy’s lips, as his eyes return back to meet her own. She doesn’t have to say anything, her stare is accusatory enough. There’s something he’s not telling her.

 

When words fail to escape his lips, Clarke scoots away from him, back hitting the arm rest of the bench. Bellamy straightens, Adam’s apple bobbing as she crosses her hands across her chest. His hand reaches up to scratch the back of his neck sheepishly. She feels her nerves prick along her elbow, further aided by the cold that sneaks up her coat and dries her throat.

 

“Bellamy,” Clarke deadpans. “The divorce, you wanted it, right?”

 

“Yes, I did,” Bellamy’s quick to defend. He sighs, scrubbing his hand over his face before leaning back on the arm rest opposite to Clarke. He stares off in the distance, eyes trained on the hall. “Echo was a little more on the fence.”

 

“I thought you two were on good terms,” Clarke points out. After all, it’s what he’s said to her many times before, whenever she’s pressed about it.

 

“We weren’t, at first,” Bellamy swivels his head to look at her.

 

Clarke’s lips purse into a tight line, but she nods, egging him to continue. His eyes soften, but his lips tighten before he opens his mouth.

 

“Before I found out you were pregnant, Echo and I would talk almost daily. She would beg for a second chance, even though I already moved to Polis, say we’d been through so much. I didn’t entertain her, but I didn’t directly shut her down either. But eventually, she realized this is something I didn’t feel like I had to do, it was something I wanted to do. And she climbed on board.”

 

The coldness of the wind smacks Clarke in the cheek, mimicking the pang in her heart. “You told me that day in the clinic that you two were on good terms.”

 

“I wasn’t lying then. This was before I knew you were pregnant,” Bellamy reiterates. He moves closer, arm slung around the top of the bench as Clarke remains still. “When I found the pregnancy test, I called Echo and told her to back off, for good. That our time was over, and that you and me–”

 

“There wasn’t a you and me then. You didn’t want there to be.”

 

“–That you and me were having a baby. And I wanted to give all my attention to you and our baby.”

 

Clarke sinks back, wedging her hands between her sides and forearms for warmth. She tucks into herself, bracing herself for the cold winter air and choosing her next words carefully. “Did she know about me before?”

 

“She did. I think that’s why it clicked for her.”

 

“What clicked?”

 

Bellamy hesitates, but his eyes remain firm on her. “That if it’s between you and her, there’s not even a competition.”

 

Clarke feels herself sink, softening as the words escape his lips. If her eyes could melt into his, they’d bring back the light that was taken away from them so many years ago. The night sky hangs above them, challenging them, and Clarke takes the bait. She moves closer, tucking herself into the security of Bellamy’s arm.

 

Bellamy’s hand wraps around to land on her shoulder, while his opposite hand leans in to press against her belly. Clarke rests her head against the crook of his neck, twisting her head around to gaze up at him. His gaze, once trained on the hand planted on her belly, lifts to meet her eyes, brushing their noses against one another as he does so. Clarke tilts her head upwards, brushing her lips against his chin to press the softest of kisses to the dimple etched in the middle of it.

 

His breath halts, and she can no longer see the air that exudes from his mouth. She can see her own, though, her breathing erratic when it comes to looking at Bellamy Blake, the cold, winter air not helping her case. His eyes meet Clarke’s, noses brushing against one another once more.

 

“Pause the boning!”

 

Clarke jerks away from Bellamy, the utter absurdity of the words spoken combined with the volume startling the two in different ways. Bellamy hugs her tighter, while Clarke leans away to prepare for a blow, causing them to be in an awkward limbo of entangled limbs.

 

Jasper emerges from the hall, the blazer of his tuxedo blatantly discarded and his tie hanging limp at his side. With a big grin and open arms, Jasper struts towards them, “Save the boning for later. I’m getting a dance with Miss. Griffin before the night is over!”

 


 

Clarke’s feet ache by the fourth song, a far cry from a year ago, when she would twirl around on the club dance floor with her friends for hours on end. Now, they all seem lightyears ahead of her. Jasper’s erratic movements can’t be considered dancing, but he’s still moving without any sign of stopping. Monty’s alongside him, matching his style with a calm, more rhythmic tune while Harper occupies Maya, spinning her around like she’s as airy as a balloon. All four of them attempt to guide Clarke, but there’s only so much she can do with a protruding stomach.

 

Bellamy opts out of dancing, content with playing with Jordan at their table in the company of Emori and Murphy. Clarke keeps sneaking glances at them in between Jasper’s craziest of dance moves, noting how Bellamy is too occupied with keeping Jordan happy to listen to Emori. Her lips seem to move a mile a minute, in the direction of Bellamy, but neither he or her boyfriend seem to be keen on listening to what she’s saying.

 

Clarke debates sinking back to the table, curling up next to Bellamy and Jordan. Her feet are killing her, and she can’t keep up with the moves her friends make. Harper throws her arms around her at one point and almost tips her over, and she makes a split decision to call it a night.

 

Then, the tune of the music shifts, the once upbeat techno that exuded through the speakers morphing into a slow, melodic chord. Maya drags Jasper into the corners of the dance floor to embrace the slowness of the song while Harper peels away with Monty, heading back to the table. Clarke starts to follow, when Bellamy stands, handing Jordan to his father before swiftly heading to her.

 

“Think you have it in you for one more?” Bellamy smirks, holding out his hand to her.

 

“I thought you didn’t dance,” Clarke crosses her arms over her chest, making a show of being prissy.

 

“I don’t dance,” Bellamy reiterates, “But I can sway.”

 

Clarke rolls her eyes, but accepts Bellamy’s hand nonetheless. He pulls her in swiftly, and swaying he does, following the low hum of the chords. Her hands travel to hang around his neck, while his other hand moves to the small of her back. She can’t help but giggle as Bellamy holds her close, attempting not to stumble over his own two feet, a squeeze of her hand indicating he’s trying to keep a steady rhythm.

 

“Do you remember prom night? The one during your senior year?” Clarke grins at Bellamy’s grimace. He seems to already know what memory she’s attempting to resurface. “You did this, too. Squeezed my hand until I lost blood circulation cause you were so nervous.”

 

Bellamy’s grip loosens, instead relying on intertwining their fingers to keep him steady. “We had to get you an ice pack.”

 

“You apologized for days.”

 

“Not my proudest moment.”

 

“Think you’ve learned a couple more steps?”

 

“Definitely not. During our wedding, I stepped on Echo’s toes four times. She nearly cursed me out in front of all our friends.”

 

The familiar agony that floods Clarke whenever Echo’s mentioned sinks back into her chest. This time, it’s her that holds Bellamy closer, her stomach nearly indenting into his torso. Bellamy senses her disdain, dipping his head to become eye-level with her.

 

“Hey,” Bellamy whispers softly. There are couples of people swaying beside them, nobody from the swarm paying attention, but it lets Clarke know all his attention is on her.

 

Clarke peers up at him. “It shouldn’t affect me so much. I mean, this time last year, I wanted to marry Lexa.”

 

“You were going to marry her?” Bellamy inquires, eyebrows furrowed together.

 

He looks frustrated more than surprised, Clarke deduces. She tilts her head, eyeing him quizzically. “I never told you that?”

 

“I knew you two were serious, but marriage is a whole other level.”

 

“I think it was what I thought was the next step. I loved Lexa, and she was very important to me, but our marriage would have been catastrophic. I’m glad she ended it before I could propose.”

 

“You were going to propose.”

 

“I was thinking about it.”

 

Bellamy’s hand tightens around hers once more. Clarke peers at him, encouraging him to say what he’s thinking without having to pry it out of him. She thinks she knows, but the swell of her heart is getting her all too excited, all too hopeful and she wants him to say it. She needs him to say it.

 

“It shouldn’t affect me so much,” Bellamy echoes her. He leans his head down, forehead resting against hers. “But everything with you affects me so much.”

 

Clarke gulps, trying to bring moisture back into the dryness of her throat. “Someone seems jealous.”

 

“Do I need to be?”

 

“No, but you are.”

 

Clarke may be teasing, tone all light and airy, but every other part of her body exudes an intense heat. His eyes darken, grip tightens and his hand on the small of her back presses against her, pulling her closer than before. All the words formulating on her tongue disperse, his hot breath against her lips causing her cheeks to redden.

 

There’s no reason for Bellamy to be upset. Clarke and Lexa broke up close to a year ago, and she’s six months pregnant with his child. They’re not even together, and those are his wishes – not hers. Clarke knows she harbors similar feelings towards Echo, the disdain, the pure dislike and certainly the jealousy. Seeing it on Bellamy isn’t all that different, she assumes, but it fills her with a sense of desire that she’s sure isn’t ideal.

 

She doesn’t know how she finds the courage, but her mind starts working again, leaning up so their lips are barely a brush apart.

 

“We aren’t together,” Clarke whispers.

 

“I know,” Bellamy’s breathing becomes heavier.

 

A wave of silence falls over them. Clarke tunes back in to the song, recognizing the last, final chords of the final chorus. The song’s almost over.

 

There’s a million reasons why this is so difficult. She knows why they aren’t together, or at least she did once upon a time. It’s necessary for Clarke to atone for what she’s done, and she has, but every fiber of her being just wants Bellamy and their family of three. She just wants to be with him. And she knows, she looks at Bellamy and she knows that it’s not just her that feels that way.

 

“It’s you, Bellamy,” Clarke assures him with her whole heart. “It’s only ever going to be you.”

 

The song comes to an end, poorly transitioning to another upbeat song. The partygoers seem to adjust accordingly, dispersing from their partners and dancing to the rhythm of another techno song. Clarke can hear Jasper’s muffled voice through the crowd, but she’s too zoned out, too completely and utterly focused on Bellamy, the two still interlocked in a slow dance. They sway quietly, content, and it’s just the two – three – of them.  

 

There’s more to say, words that should leave their mouths. But Clarke recognizes the glint in his eye, and when his tongue smoothens over his upper lip, she’s not surprised when he pulls away from her. His fingers still intertwined with hers, he leads her out of the hall, except this time it’s not for the doors.

 

Bellamy leads her through the foyer, the bustling of the music still very prominent, but not overpowering the ringing in Clarke’s ears. This time, she can barely keep up with him, her heels clicking wildly as he charges forward with her in tow. He pushes open the door of the women’s bathroom, awfully shamelessly and stumbles inside. Lucky for him, no woman is at the sink’s ready to cuss him out.

 

A good thing about traditional, classy halls is that their bathrooms are over the top. Instead of stalls, because what’s less classy than a stall, there are wooden doors that block the toilets and allow for privacy, cemented in by stone walls. Bellamy either was aware of this, or simply didn’t care, pushing the two of them into the first one that he spots, and locking the door behind him.

 

Clarke barely has time to turn around and face him before his arms wrap around her, cradling the base of her stomach as he plants kisses along the side of her neck. She sighs, pleasure flooding through her body as he touches her. “Bellamy, I–”

 

“I know, baby,” Bellamy nibbles at her ear. “I know.”

 

He spins her around, eyes darkening at the sight of her. They stare, lost in one another, only for a couple of seconds before Bellamy’s hand travels to clap around the base of her neck, smashing his lips onto hers. It’s almost bruising, the way he smacks his lips into her, but it only adds to the heat in between Clarke’s legs. Her hand travels up to cup his cheek, her light touch comparing to the roughness of his hands.

 

Bellamy deepens the kiss, his tongue snaking between her lips and smoothening over her own. Clarke moans, causing him to bite down on her bottom lip. It earns a yelp from her, to which he replies by smoothening his tongue over the bite.

 

“Sorry, princess,” he says against her lips, panting. “You need to be quiet for me, okay?”

 

Raven would probably kill her if she found out this is what her maid of honor was doing at her wedding. On a normal day, she may even encourage it, slide them a roll of condoms under the door. But today, her best friend having sex with her baby daddy probably wouldn’t be the most traditional of events to transpire on the night of her wedding. Especially not with Shaw’s family lurking about.

 

There’s also the way Bellamy says it. Demanding, but soft and pleading all the same. Her sounds are only for him, it’s just the two of them, it should always just the two of them.

 

Clarke moans quietly into his mouth in agreeance.

 

Bellamy’s hand travels from the back of her neck to the base of it, pressing lightly. Clarke leans back, biting down on her own lip this time to suppress a moan. His lips depart from hers, only to leave a trail of kisses down from the back of her ear to the junction between her neck and her shoulder. At the end of his trail, he bites down, earning a whimper from Clarke.

 

He doesn’t waste time, Lord knows how much of it they have. Bellamy positions her against the door, careful not to slam her stomach against the wood. She presses her hands on both sides of her, the coolness of the wooden door a direct contrast to the heat radiating all over her body. Bellamy kisses the back of her neck before beginning to zip down her dress, leaving pressing his open mouth to each exposed area as he slips down.

 

The dress falls to the floor, pooling at her feet. There’s no need for her to hold it up this time, fully prepared and welcoming to be exposed to him. Already absent of a bra thanks to the built in one, all Clarke’s left in are her panties, drenched to the core.

 

Bellamy pulls them down with a huff. She can’t help but noticed he’s fully clothes as he leans against her, the scratchiness of his blazer digging into her back. He more than makes up for it with another array of kisses imprinting on her backside, along with the hand he brings around to tweak at her hardened nipples. She has to bite down a whimper once again, as she feels Bellamy position the head of his cock at her entrance.

 

“Bellamy, please,” Clarke begs. “I need you.”

 

He teases her, lightly gliding his cock against her wetness. “Yeah, baby? I’m the only one you need?”

 

That word. It sends a trail of fire soaring through her body, and she nods eagerly, swiveling her head over her shoulder to stare at him. Bellamy’s eyes are still dark, lifting to train on her.

 

“You’re the one, baby.”

 

Bellamy gulps in response, leaning in to press another fiery kiss to her lips. It’s over as fast as his lips come, pulling away from her to lay his hand atop of hers on the wooden door. Bellamy’s free hand steadies his cock, aligning it with her entrance before he pushes inside her with a low, rumbling grunt.

 

“Bellamy,” Clarke gasps, head jerking back to rest against him as pounds into her.

 

“You’re all I need, princess. All I want,” Bellamy mutters to the rhythm, jerking wildly inside of her.

 

There’s not much to see being turned to the door, but Clarke’s vision goes blurry, his rhythm becoming erratic fast. She feels herself build up more gradually, until he moves his hand from hers to lay two fingers on her clit. She gasps once more, trying to suppress the chorus of moans that threaten to escape from her lips as Bellamy rapidly circles her clit, while continuing to hit every right spot inside of her.

 

Clarke wants to yell, wants to scream his name. She always does, but possibly more than she ever has before in this very moment. One hand on her clit, another wraps around the base of her stomach to keep her in place as Bellamy jerks upwards, their climaxes approaching together, quietly against their wills.

 

They come together, Clarke pulsating around his cock as Bellamy releases himself inside her. His head falls against her neck, his panting leaving hot breaths against her shoulder. One of his hands are still secured around the base of her stomach, while the other leans up to rest on her collarbones, thumb digging circles into the soft skin. She reaches behind her to comb her hand through his hair, trying to control her own erratic breaths, resting against his structure.

 

It’s not possible of her to stay here forever. Maybe she could get away with it as a partygoer, but she’s the maid of honor and the night’s coming to a close soon. Clarke’s the one to detangle herself from him, his cum trails down her leg. She moves to unravel a roll of toilet paper to clean herself up. All Bellamy has to do is zip up his pants, he doesn’t move to do so just yet. Instead, he leans against the wooden door, just watching her, catching his breath.

 

“What is this now?” Bellamy asks, breathless.

 

Clarke slips on her dress. Wordlessly, she turns her back to him, and he takes the cue to lean forward, and zip up the back of her dress.

 

“It can be anything,” Clarke mumbles, although she knows what she wants it to be. More than this. She turns back around, facing him. “We have time.”

 

Bellamy nods, content with the answer – for now. He needs to think, think passed the sex. Clarke is certain, a hundred and ten percent. But she needs him to be on the same page, once the bliss of their orgasms have faded.

 

He moves out the way to allow her to exit the bathroom. Clarke listens for a moment, ear pressed against the wood to make sure she hears no one on the other side before she opens the wooden door. As she steps out, Bellamy shuffles his dick back into his pants and Ms. Shaw walks into the bathroom, with Raven at her heels.

 

Clarke instantly shuts the door in Bellamy’s face, leaving him locked in the stall.

 

“Ms. Shaw,” there’s that bright smile again. “Raven, how’s your night been?”

 

Raven eyes her skeptically, but Ms. Shaw just looks at her with pure displeasure. Raven’s mother-in-law turns the mirror, before digging through her purse and retrieving a tube of lipstick. Clarke notes Raven’s eyes still on her, but she forces on Ms. Shaw who seems just as annoyed as she is oblivious.

 

“Just touching up my make-up,” Ms. Shaw replies, gliding the tube of lipstick against her lips. She puckers them, as if for dramatic effect before turning to Raven with a smile. “Raven, so beautiful, no touch ups needed. She’s just a fantastic daughter-in-law and great company.”

 

Raven grins in reply, before Ms. Shaw turns back to the mirror, this time fishing a tube of mascara out of her purse. She goes to apply it, as Raven tilts her head towards Clarke, examining her. She just hopes she put the dress back on correctly.

 

“Are you alright?” Raven asks.

 

“Great,” Clarke confirms. More or less the truth. “Baby’s just been sitting on my bladder all night.”

 

Raven still looks skeptical, but the cheery expression flashes back on her face when Ms. Shaw glances back.

 

“All done,” Ms. Shaw announces. She doesn’t even spare Clarke a glance before she begins to trot out of the bathroom. Raven stills, earning her mother-in-law to turn back. “Coming, Raven?”

 

Raven glances over her shoulder, “In a minute. Just have to use the bathroom.”

 

Ms. Shaw hums in agreeance, smiling gleefully at Raven and barely giving Clarke a once-over before exiting the bathroom. To her credit, Raven waits to hear the bathroom door close before her head snaps back to her, like a vulture preparing for an attack.

 

“Bellamy, you can get out of the bathroom now,” Raven calls out.

 

There’s a pause. And then the door creaks open, and Bellamy shamefully steps outside. He awkwardly scratches at the back of his neck, glancing between Raven and Clarke, trying to gauge an appropriate reaction to the situation. There isn’t one. Clarke’s cheeks are bright red, but she has to suppress a giggle from escaping her lips.

 

Raven glances between the two of them, eyebrows raised and accusatory. She doesn’t have to say it. She knows what they did. But instead of unleashing her wrath on them, she huffs, “You guys really need to sort out your shit.”

 

And with that, Raven heads into one of the secluded bathrooms, leaving the two of them stranded and somewhat embarrassed. Clarke glances back at Bellamy, the sheepish look on his face replaced with a knowing expression. An exchange of looks, they silently agree on one thing. The bride is always right.

Chapter Text

It’s unusual for Clarke to wake up in an empty bed nowadays. Once her eyes flutter open, sleep fleeting from her body, she instinctively rolls over expecting to be comforted by a pair of large, muscular arms that belong to an individual still in deep sleep. She’s always the first one awake, her shifts beginning way earlier, and most mornings she lingers in bed a little just to have a couple moments of peace in Bellamy’s arms. In the course of the past two months, she’s become accustom to the routine. So, when she rolls over on a bright, sunny morning at the end of March, to find a cold, empty, right side of the bed, she’s a little out of sorts.

 

Clarke sits up, scanning around the room for any sight of Bellamy. Her bedroom is empty, dim from the early morning with rays of the horizon peeking out between the curtains. She rubs her tired eyes, glancing at the clock beside her bed. Her alarm was supposed to go off in a couple of minutes anyways, but she wishes she could spend the extra time tracing the freckles patterning Bellamy’s face.

 

A soft pattering sounds from the next room. Clarke strains her ear, the shuffling of footsteps coming more into focus as she concentrates. Relief flooding through her, she unravels herself from the covers she’s tangled in, bare feet pressing against the cool of the wooden floor. She tries her best to be quiet, tiptoeing out of her room and into the hallway, the movement becoming increasingly louder. The door to the nursery is slightly ajar, Clarke opening it just a little more so she can peak her head through.

 

Unsurprisingly, Bellamy is pacing around inside, shuffling around furniture as if they hadn’t agreed the nursery was finished the night prior. His attempts to gently glide the changing table from one side of the room to the other are futile, poisoned by the loud creaks caused by the scraping of the wood against the floor. He pauses in between, tongue poking out of his cheek, evaluating another way to proceed. Clarke looks on with a smirk, utterly amused but not at all surprised by Bellamy’s desire to play interior designer.

 

“Morning,” Clarke chirps, giggling when Bellamy jumps slightly at the sound of her voice.

 

“Sorry,” Bellamy winces as Clarke steps inside the nursery. “I wanted to finish things up in here before you went to work.”

 

“I thought we agreed this was finished last night.”

 

“Yeah, but I was thinking about it and you’re right – it would be easier for the changing table to be closer to the closet. I’m just trying to position it in a way that it doesn’t look so crowded.”

 

“And this is a matter so pressing at six thirty in the morning?”

 

“We already put completed in bold letters on the sticky note for this nursery. I’d hate to be a liar.”

 

Clarke’s eyes flee to glance around the room. Some other items have been moved around, the dresser sitting on the opposite wall, a horizontal mirror hanging proudly above it. The basket of stuffed animals is no longer sitting beside the closet, now propped up against the crib. One piece of furniture that has remained the same though, is the crib Bellamy placed months ago, still sitting proudly under the window, the soft fabric of the canopy complimenting the Griffin-Blake ornament hung around the banister as it reflects off of the rays of sunlight.

 

Aside from the changing table now obscured in the middle of the room, the nursery does look complete – albeit, something out of a rich person’s baby catalogue. The pale white of the walls are still quite jarring to her, unnecessarily bright and uncharacteristic for an infant’s room, but she hasn’t found much time to paint it nor had the gull to hire someone to. The wood of the furniture makes it look posh, but Clarke can’t help but think it looks too pristine. But, her and Bellamy are in a hurry to throw something together with the baby arriving in just over a month, and Clarke doesn’t hate the room. She can always spruce it up when the baby is spending a week with Bellamy, it’s not like he’s going to the know the difference as a newborn.

 

Her eyes fall back on Bellamy, back to being preoccupied with the position of the changing table. Clarke goes around the other end of it, reaching out to grab a hold of it, when Bellamy basically yanks it from her reach.

 

“Yeah, no,” Bellamy shakes his head. “If I didn’t let you help me last night, what makes you think I’m going let you help now?”

 

“I’m fully capable of pushing a changing table, Bellamy,” Clarke huffs.

 

“Our son is practically ready to fall out of you. You’re not touching the table. Just tell me where to put it.”

 

On a normal day, Clarke would argue. She’s fully capable of doing whatever she could if she wasn’t pregnant. But her back is killing her, thanks to their son and she really doesn’t have the energy to push the damn thing anyways. Sulking back in mock defeat, Clarke steps back, leaning against the plain walls before directing Bellamy.

 

Bellamy shuffles the changing table over, a bit away from the closet so it’s still possible for them to open the door with ease. He positions it against the wall, securing it in position before standing back to marvel at it. After a couple of moments, he tiptoes back, leaning beside Clarke on the opposite wall. Her shoulder brushes against his, the familiar jolt of electricity running through her veins but no longer the awkwardness that plagued them months ago.

 

She catches him scanning the room, and tries her best to refrain from doing the same. If Clarke glances around the nursery one more time, she’ll probably burst into tears for more than one reason. Her eyes dart from Bellamy, involuntarily focusing on the wooden floor, trying not to think about the nursery that they’re standing in, because fuck, it’s done and it’s completed and the baby’s coming in a month.

 

“Clarke,” Bellamy’s voice resonates through her ears. “You don’t look happy with how it looks. I can move some things around, I don’t have to leave for work for another–”

 

“It’s fine,” Clarke bites out. But her voice cracks, and suddenly Bellamy’s stepping in front of her, crouching down to her eye level to tend to her.

 

“We have time to change it. Tell me what you don’t like.”

 

“It’s fine, Bellamy. It’s just fine!”

 

“You don’t like that it’s fine?”

 

“Shouldn’t it be better than fine? I don’t know, more colorful? It’s so plain. He’s going to mess up the walls within the first week, if he’s not blinded by how white the room is–”

 

Bellamy tries to suppress his laugh, wrapping Clarke in the security of his arms. Again, she would further this debate, but she’s exhausted and has to go to work soon and has just got used to waking up tangled in Bellamy’s arms. Clarke sinks into his embrace, cheek pressed against his upper chest, tears that come from God knows where pricking at her eyes. She blames the hormones, making her so emotional. But then, she stares at the crib, the beautiful, gorgeous crib and some of her nerves are assuaged.

 

“You work yourself up for nothing,” Bellamy informs her, pulling away from the embrace to show off his smirk. “He’s going to love this nursery.”

 

“He’s probably going to like your nursery better,” Clarke bites out.

 

“Obviously, I’m going to be the cool parent.”

 

“I’m going to make sure that nice couple does not sell you their house today.”

 

Bellamy chuckles, amusement etching into the brightness in his dark eyes. His eyes travel over her for a moment, the tone of the conversation shifting as he softens, his voice carrying a light, hopeful altitude that makes Clarke want to forgo all her responsibilities and listen to him for hours on end.

 

“You’re going to love the house, Clarke,” Bellamy assures her. “I can’t wait for you to see it. There’s plenty of space for him to run around, a backyard big enough for a swing set, even a huge tree in the front, like the one at my old house.”

 

Clarke swoons over the way Bellamy’s eyes light up whenever he talks about anything regarding the baby. His excitement exudes off of him, seeping into her veins and causing a grin to break out on her face. The anticipation for the arrival of their son makes her all the eager too, but while she showcases it in a form of bundles of nerves and anxiety, Bellamy holds the challenge proud and brave.

 

“I’m glad I took a half day off work to come see it,” Clarke says, “You seem to think this is it.”

 

“It is. And I’ll show you exactly why when you come by.”

 

Bellamy’s hands are still on her forearms, steadying her in place. Clarke feels his thumb brush against her skin, the rubbing motions assuaging her nerves while simultaneously quickening her heart rate. She never gets used to it, the way Bellamy touches her, or the way he gazes at her with so much want and admiration – just like what he’s doing now. It makes her want to convulse, any mere bit of affection towards her emitting a burst of endorphins that Clarke can’t seem to contain.

 

His eyes, seconds ago full of light and excitement, shift into something dark and full of desire. It’s a look Clarke memorized, especially in the span of these two months. While everything’s been so focused on the baby, planning and preparing, these in between moments with the two of them are what fuels her, diminishes the anxieties that come with upcoming parenthood.

 

Clarke knows what’s going to happen next. What’s been happening for the past two months, whenever they look at each other this way.

 

“You have time,” it doesn’t come out as a question when Bellamy says it. His arms snake up and down her forearm, the warmth from his hand causing every inch of her to burn.

 

Bellamy leans forward, his lips just barely brushing against Clarke’s. The hotness of his breath sinks into her mouth and she resists the urge to moan so eagerly. Into the softness of his lips, she responds, “Yeah, I have time.”

 

He leads her out of the nursery. Not away from the sticky notes, that occupy the hall just as much as they do every inch of Clarke’s apartment. As they waltz out, Bellamy’s hand tucked into Clarke’s, she can’t resist but pluck the sticky note attached to the nursery off the door. The bold letters spelling COMPLETE over the original writing stand out, especially as she waves it in Bellamy’s face with her free hand.

 

Bellamy meets the yellow sticky note with an eyeroll, trying to resist the smirk that plays up on his lips. He goes in to attack her neck, leaning her against the wall in the hallway.

 

“You know,” Clarke moans, her cheek pressed up against him as he sucks lightly on her neck. The sticky note is still attached to her index finger, and Bellamy pulls away to inspect it. “We haven’t been following your rules.”

 

“We completed this one,” Bellamy plucks the sticky note from her index finger and reaches over to press it against the nursery door once more. He comes back to her, forehead resting against hers. “Which means we earned this.”

 

“What about all the other times?” Clarke challenges him.

 

Clarke’s lost count about how many times they’ve had sex since Raven’s wedding and without a doubt, Bellamy has, too. While her apartment is littered with sticky notes reminding them not to have sex, Bellamy and Clarke have defied that rule, having sex in every square inch of her home even as the post it notes stare back at them in absolute shame. They keep them up, for the sake of their morals and because they do act as helpful reminders and motivators, but it’s foundation is more than severely cracked.

 

“Exceptions to the rule,” Bellamy shrugs.

 

“Those have been a lot of exceptions,” Clarke quirks an eyebrow.

 

Bellamy leans in, kissing her hard as he props her against the wall. His hands snake around her waist, holding her in place for a moment before he pushes down her flannel pajama pants. Before her pants are even pooled at her feet, he’s sinking to his knees, hands marveling over her hips. The roughness of his hands add to the heat between her legs, readying her for him before he’s even close enough to her. The hotness of his breath is now grazing her mound. She tries to jerk her hips towards him, only for Bellamy to push her against the wall once more.

 

As a result of being more than halfway through her final trimester, Clarke has to strain to see Bellamy on his knees in front of her. She wants to cry out, push in her stomach just a little so she can see the pleasant view before her, but Bellamy’s still holding her in place and she knows he wouldn’t allow that. She can still feel him though, the callouses on his hands, the brush of his curls against her stomach, his breath just inches away from her throbbing pussy.

 

Clarke opens her mouth to start pleading for him, the anticipation destroying her. They don’t have much time. But instead of words falling out, a moan erupts from her as Bellamy licks one, long stripe up her pussy. Her hand goes to grip his hair as his tongue flattens against her, collecting all of her while she simultaneously falls apart. He picks up a rhythm, fucking his tongue into her while his fingers circle her clit as she yelps and claws for him.

 

“You taste so good, princess,” Bellamy whimpers into her pussy.

 

She almost doesn’t hear him, lost in the bliss of an upcoming orgasm. Clarke mewls in response, holding his head closer to her as he resumes his rhythm. “I’m almost there, baby.”

 

At the sound of that, Bellamy switches his strategy. His mouth goes to suck hard on her clit, fingers seeping into her wetness. Clarke groans, throwing her head back against the wall as she approaches her climax. It flushes through her like a wave, Bellamy’s tongue and fingers still working on her, riding her through it.

 

Clarke slumps against the wall, breathing coming out in pants as Bellamy rises to his feet. On his way up, he plants a wet kiss to the base of her stomach before capturing her lips in a hot, hard kiss. She can taste herself as his tongue seeps into her mouth, sighing into the familiarity he brings, warmth shooting through every aspect of her body. His hands snake up cup her cheeks, holding their mouths together for a couple of moments before Clarke finds the strength somewhere in her to pull away.

 

“I want to feel you inside of me,” Clarke whispers. Bellamy’s eyes darken, bringing his mouth to hers once more. Between kisses, she mutters, “Bed?”

 

Bellamy nods against her lips, barely breaking contact as he leads her into the bedroom. They stumble, but he’s careful to cradle her, protect her from any danger she or the baby may encounter in her small, usually uneventful apartment. He carefully guides her to the bed, laying her down against the softness of the mattress.

 

Instinctively, Clarke tears her lips away from him to remove her t-shirt before she goes to get on all fours. It’s the easiest position with her big belly, missionary not doing the job and riding too much of a hassle with the extra cargo. Bellamy stops her, eyes casting over her in contemplation.

 

“What?” Clarke doesn’t mean for it to come out so soft, but it does and Bellamy’s eyes look at her with so much admiration she may just cry.

 

He doesn’t respond, instead guiding her to rest on her side. It’s still a difficult task, the roundness of her belly trying to act as a sufficient cockblock. Bellamy is more than patient, though, allowing Clarke to get adjusted to the weight, positioning her so that her stomach lays complicit on its side, her hand tucked under her head for support. Bellamy throws his own shirt over his head, discarding it somewhere on the floor before he rids of his boxers. He lays beside her, her bare back pressed against his bare torso.

 

One hand snakes between her neck and the mattress, looping around so that his fingers can intertwine with hers. Clarke feels him move to position himself at her entrance before burying his face into her neck.

 

“Is this okay?” Bellamy asks tentatively, lips moving against her neck.

 

Clarke hums in response, all too eager for him to shove his cock inside of her. Bellamy responds accordingly, his cock pushing inside of her in one fluid motion. Clarke gasps, leaning her head back against his shoulder as his now, free hand moves to grab at her hips, hold her in place as he pumps in and out of her. She gasps, his steady pace already working her second orgasm of the day, all before seven am.

 

Bellamy’s face is buried in the junction of her shoulder and her neck, panting against her skin. “Fuck, baby. You always feel so fucking good, so tight on my cock.”

 

Clarke jerks her hips against him, shows him how much she wants it, how much she wants to earn it. A grunt erupts from his throat, Bellamy wildly snapping is hips against hers in response. His hand tightens around hers, pace quickening as Clarke moans and yelps at each jerk he makes.

 

“You fill me up so good, baby,” Clarke groans. She throws her head forward, gasping as Bellamy snaps his hips into her, hard in reaction. “I’m going to come again.”

 

“That’s it, baby,” Bellamy encourages, his raspy morning voice seeping into her ear. “Come for me.”

 

Bellamy detangles their fingers, haphazardly reaching his hand down to palm her breasts. Already sensitive to begin with, pregnancy hasn’t helped the matter. Clarke’s tits ache for attention, even more so when Bellamy finally gives it to them. He alternates between pinching at her nipples and grabbing a fistful in his hand, adding to the immense pleasure that courses through Clarke’s body, resting against his shoulder once more.

 

Her cunt begins to pulsate around him, his hand abandoning her tits to rest against the base of her neck. One hand on her neck, the other on her hips, Bellamy anchors himself inside her, the final thrust sending her and him over the edge in a soar of heat and pleasure. She moans out, the side of her face mushed into the side of the mattress while Bellamy breathes erratically into her neck.

 

They barely have time to come down, Clarke’s cunt still pulsing from the aftermath when her alarm clock goes off. Bellamy groans, clearly just as displeased with the interruption, but pulls out of her anyways. Clarke turns to lay on her back, watching as he collects himself. They both have work in a few hours, Clarke’s shift starting a good hour before he has to be at school.

 

Yet, with their limited time, Clarke watches him as he shuts off the alarm clock, eyes half-lidded. Her eyes follow him as he slowly makes his way around the room in attempts to come down from his orgasm, while gathering the professionalism he needs to get to work. She watches, no words exchanged between the two, because that’s how it always is.

 

Talk about the baby, talk about anything at all, have sex and then don’t speak about it.

 

It’s too much, for the both of them. Having to deal with their busy lives, the complications of a baby. But then, there’s this cosmic energy that the two of them have and the only way they can release it, aside from having the difficult conversation is having sex.

 

Clarke likes to think she rather have him this way than not at all. And that’s still true, she realizes, as she watches him flee to the bathroom to get ready. But then he’s out of her sight, and Clarke misses him although he’s just a couple of feet away. She wants more than this, but she needs Bellamy to want her in the same way.

 


 

The clinic’s bustle of customers have died down in the recent months, the seasonal diseases having sprinkled into oblivion. There’s still a lot to do, without a doubt, people do get sick and there’s a handful of minor and more severe injuries to attend to. But for the first time, Clarke finds herself – bored. The mundane tasks of the clinic no longer fulfill her drive for success and now that she’s no longer in competition, she can actually admire the way Dr. Jackson leads the interns – as clueless and freaked out as they are, Clarke knows she wouldn’t have had as much patience for them.

 

It’s partially why Clarke finds herself glancing at the clock more often than not. The major reason being that she’s more than excited to take a look at Bellamy’s house, because it’s all he’s been talking about for weeks. How perfect it is to raise a family, how their son is just going to love everything about it, how it’s close to some really good schools and how the neighbors are super friendly. Clarke loves the way he gushes about it, so much so she ignores the pit her chest that forms whenever he starts talking about this absolute dream house.

 

By the time lunch finally rolls around, Clarke practically jumps out of her scrubs. Days away from April, spring has finally graced them when it’s presence thankfully, because Clarke’s sick of wearing pants. The sundress she changes into is airy, gives her room to breathe and doesn’t make her look like a total balloon with it’s gorgeous, lilac fabric that sits comfortably atop her bump. She smoothens over it, adjusting the straps sitting on her shoulders before she spins on her heel, intent to leave the clinic for the day.

 

Instead, she’s met with Luna, staring at her skeptically from across the room. Clarke would normally just graze by her, not offer her more than a sideways glance, but Luna’s blocking the door and it’s not like she’s in any state to trample over her. Luna must realize this, too, a slow smirk spreading across her face.

 

“Clarke,” Luna finally acknowledges. “Gone into labor?”

 

“Took a half day,” Clarke explains, suppressing the urge to roll her eyes. “Should I have run it by you, first?”

 

Luna laughs, like it was a joke she was meant to find comical. She steps towards Clarke as her grip tightens on her duffle bag. “I know you think you’re some hotshot now because Becca Franco chose you for your research.”

 

The announcement was made to the clinic a couple of weeks prior, although Clarke and Dr. Franco had been talking about arrangements for months. People who interviewed already received emails they were unsuccessful about the position a week or so after the interviews, but Luna must have assumed Clarke had failed as well, because this was the first time she was bringing it up.

 

“You seem to think about me a lot,” Clarke muses, a small smile tugging at her lips. “Sorry, I can’t say the same about you.”

 

The flash of anger in Luna’s eyes shows she’s offended, but she recovers quite quickly, a petty smile appearing on her face. “I’m glad I didn’t get it. Research takes you out of the game for a bit. I couldn’t risk my career as an attending for that.”

 

“Good for you. Would you like to talk about yourself some more or can I go?”

 

Luna’s eyes scan over her, hellbent on a reaction. Clarke’s not too keen on giving her one. She doesn’t need to prove that she’s more intelligent than Luna, or the better doctor. She is. No matter what position she has under her belt, no matter what position Luna has under hers, Clarke’s confident in her abilities as a professional. And she’s done with entertaining these petty interactions with Luna.

 

Clarke steps forward, eyes drifting over Luna. She watches her skeptically, as if trying to anticipate what she’s going to say so she can rework a comeback in a diligent timeframe. Clarke only smirks at her. She may be done entertaining Luna, but damn does that girl jump through hoops to entertain her.

 

“Have a good day, Luna,” Clarke settles on.

 

The disappointment that etches into Luna’s face is enough for Clarke to slip by her, waltzing out of the clinic before her colleague can spew any more nonsense out of her mouth.

 

Clarke sees Bellamy’s car before she sees him, a grin overtaking her features. Her smile diminishes when she notices him standing out of the car, leaning against the look with a contemplative look on his face. When his eyes dart up to meet her, his alarm becomes even more apparent. She stops in her tracks just a couple of steps away from him, quirking an eyebrow in his direction.

 

“Are you going to tell me what’s wrong?” Clarke demands, crossing her arms over her chest.

 

“Nothing’s wrong,” Bellamy stretches out the word, and Clarke’s smart enough to know he’s going to phrase whatever is wrong in a way that doesn’t seem as bad as it definitely is.

 

He opens his mouth to explain, when the passenger side window rolls down and Octavia’s head pops out. “Aren’t we on a time crunch? Let’s go!”

 

Clarke glances from Bellamy to Octavia, the Blake sister making sure to send a glare her way before ducking back into the passenger side and rolling up the window. Bellamy has his eyes closed, breathing out slowly in frustration. Through the tint in the window, Clarke can see Octavia occupying herself with her phone clearly as irritated as she is to be in the same vicinity as her. She looks back to Bellamy, his eyes now open and apologetic.

 

“She was supposed to be at work,” Bellamy supplies. “Said she took the day off to come see the house with us.”

 

“With us,” Clarke repeats slowly.

 

There isn’t an us, passes through Clarke’s mind. She searches for anything telling in Bellamy’s expression, but he seems more agitated with his sister. Soothingly, Clarke’s hand finds the base of her stomach, slowly gliding across it in hopes for comfort. Or maybe there could be.

 

Bellamy heaves himself up from the car with a sigh, moving to the passenger side of the car. “I’m going to tell her to get in the back.”

 

“It’s okay,” Clarke steps forward, hand resting on his forearm. He turns, pausing midmotion noticing her other hand on her stomach. “There’s more room for us in the back anyways.”

 

There’s also this impending need for her not to piss off Octavia. Not that she can’t handle her own this time, but the Blake sister is sneaky and overly protective and that’s never a good combination.

 

Bellamy eyes her, argument forming on the tip of his tongue. Clarke wraps her fingers around his forearm, squeezing reassuringly. He glances at Octavia, pretending to be so engrossed in her phone that she doesn’t notice that scene occurring before her. He seems to come to the same conclusion Clarke does, looking to her with an apologetic smile.

 

“Got to pick your battles,” Bellamy offers with a sigh.

 

His hand moves off of the passenger side door to move to the back seat. He opens the door for her, grabbing a hold of Clarke’s hand to help guide her inside. Bellamy sends her a smile that’s supposed to be reassuring, but it’s just as shaky on his lips as it would be on Clarke’s.

 

“Don’t worry,” he attempts to reassure her once more. “Once you see the house, it’s going to be worth it.”

 

Clarke smiles, small but hopeful. His eyes glaze over her, like he wants to do something more; that gesture of affection he’s so inclined to do. But then Octavia coughs, loud and absurd and a hundred percent fake, and Bellamy seems to forgo that thought. Instead, his lips form a tight line, patting the top of the car with his hand before he shuts the door and moves to the driver’s side.

 

Before Bellamy can even walk around the car, Clarke catches Octavia’s eye in the rearview mirror. They’re narrowed into slits, as if daring her to do something that Clarke still can’t figure out. It’s almost as if Octavia thinks of Clarke as an obstacle in Bellamy’s life, one that she’s intent on demolishing. Clarke tilts her head high, smiling overly politely at her son’s aunt. She’s not going to let her intimidation tactics get the best of her this time.

 

Octavia opens her mouth to say something, but then the car door opens and Bellamy slides inside. On cue, he sends her a warning look, as if cautioning her to be on her best behavior. Her mouth closes promptly, but that doesn’t stop her from sending Clarke another glare in the rearview mirror before Bellamy drives off.

 


 

The house is as spectacular as Bellamy said it was. Clarke realizes that the minute they pull into the driveway, marveling at the yellow paneling and big tree that Bellamy mentioned, standing proudly at the front of the house. She can already picture the tire swing, imagine Bellamy balancing their son as he guides him through the air.

 

And then that familiar pang of her chest returns, like a feeling of loss. But when Bellamy looks at her, so excited and happy about this gorgeous yellow house with a big tree, future memories already sprinkling about in his mind, she can’t find the courage to voice the uncomfortable feeling her chest. So, she smiles and tells him it’s amazing – because it is. Clarke doesn’t know what she finds so unsettling about it, anyways.

 

Bellamy’s real estate agent, Roma, showcases each room with a dazzling smile and description to match. Clarke notes how Bellamy looks at her whenever they enter a new room, ignoring his sister’s comments to focus entirely on how she feels about it. She loves each room, every new room more amazing than the next and it’s so easy for her to picture Bellamy performing the most mundane of tasks in every aspect of the house. Whether it’s cooking something in that spacious kitchen, or lounging on the couch in the living room big enough to store a playpen and a couple of toys, Clarke has no trouble picturing Bellamy in a house like this.

 

It’s just that she often pictures herself there with him.

 

Roma takes them to the upstairs level after doing a thorough exploration of the ground floor. Clarke has no complaints, Octavia has tweaks and Bellamy’s already sold. However, Roma leads them upstairs anyways, guiding them through the master bedroom and ensuite bathroom, to the office, to the other upstairs bathroom and finally, the nursery.

 

“The couple that’s selling has a toddler,” Roma explains as the trio steps inside. “I understand you’re expecting. Maybe you can get some inspiration for your own nursery.”

 

Clarke resists the urge to bite back that her nursery is done, but her jaw soon falls slack regardless. The toddler’s room is bordered white, but the walls are painted a navy blue. There’s three windows on either sides of the wall, brightening up the room without a need to turn the light on, perfectly illuminating the white furniture that stands inside. The crib, similarly to Clarke’s, is under the master window, except tucked off to the left of the room. At the front, there’s the dresser, paired with the changing table while the right side of the room occupies all the toys a toddler can dream of having.

 

On the bare wall to the right are some drawings of planets, looking to be painted on. Clarke steps forward, recognizing the texture of the paints almost immediately. Her fingers graze over it, the pristine style sticking to the wall in an intricate decoration. The space theme seems prevalent throughout the room, the mobile above the crib sporting similar planets. Clarke’s focused on the drawings though, bringing life to the room and greatly putting her nursery to shame.

 

“It’s great, right?” Bellamy sneaks up behind her, whispering in her ear. He doesn’t startle her though, hand resting on the small of her back as she marvels at the room. “We have to put in our own furniture, but I kind of like the space theme.”

 

“Yeah,” Clarke breathes, envy seeping into every part of her body. “I like it, too.”

 

Clarke turns to look at him as he beams at her. Her fingers drop from the paintings on the wall, the bright splatters of orange and green planets are most likely not logically correct, but that illicit a favorable reaction nonetheless. Clarke wonders if one of the parents is a painter, of if they hired someone to do it. She pictures herself drawing the swirls of planet, propped up on a barstool while Bellamy stands behind her, cradling their son in his hands.

 

Bellamy’s hand stills on the small of her back, as if sensing her discomfort. She flashes a smile at him to assuage his worries, to no avail. His eyebrows furrow together, and he opens his mouth to say something, when he remembers they’re not the only two in the room. He glances at Roma and Octavia, both watching expectantly. Roma, eager to show the rest of the house and Octavia, her eyes narrowed in dangerous slits.

 

“You know, I really want to show Clarke the basement,” Bellamy exclaims.

 

“That’s our next stop,” Roma informs him. “Shall we–”

 

“Actually, I think I’m going to take reign on this one. Do you think you could show Octavia the backyard?”

 

“The backyard?” Octavia spits. “Why can’t I see the basement?”

 

“I’m going to take Clarke down there first–”

 

“Why can’t you show both of us?”

 

“I’ll show you after. Can I have five minutes, Octavia?”

 

“I don’t see why Clarke needs to see the basement before I see the basement–”

 

“Octavia,” Bellamy hisses, red flushing to his cheeks. Roma scratches the back of her neck awkwardly, and Clarke’s in no better position, switching her gaze from the two Blake siblings. She makes the active decision not to intervene, Octavia glaring at Bellamy with such heat she may explode. Luckily, she’s no match for her older brother, who tells her sternly, “I’ll show you the basement after.”

 

Octavia glances from Bellamy to Clarke, as if debating whether or not she should ignite an argument in a house that technically doesn’t belong to anyone standing in it. Her eyes read fire and the way her fists ball makes Clarke think she’s gearing up to punch a wall, but no such action comes. Her gaze lands on Bellamy, head tilting upwards and exhaling through her nose before she huffs and marches out of the room without much more of a warning. Roma takes the cue, hurriedly following after her.

 

They wait for a moment, straining to hear the murmurs of Roma’s voice begin and dissipate the further down the stairs they climb.

 

Clarke stares curiously at Bellamy. “Is there a sex dungeon in the basement?”

 

“The princess and the sex dungeon does have a nice ring to it,” Bellamy teases, a smirk playing on his lips. She playfully smacks his shoulder, a grin stretching across his face.

 

Bellamy extends his hand out to her, encouraging Clarke to take it. She does so, slowly but surely, allowing the intertwine of their fingers. The warmth from his hand seeps into Clarke’s body, causing her to turn back on autopilot mode and he guides her out of the nursery. She glances over her shoulder, taking one last look at the paintings on the wall, cursing her plain nursery, before Bellamy leads her down the two flights of stairs to the basement.

 

Clarke tries not to allow her curiosity get the best of her, but that’s nearly impossible with Bellamy twitching to control his smile. She peers at him, trying her best to figure out what’s so exciting about a basement, when she’s already seen the nursery. Although, he doesn’t say anything, he squeezes her hand, comforting and reassuring. She squeezes back, her eyes attempting to pry information from him. Mostly for that reason, Bellamy doesn’t even spare a glance in her direction.

 

Reaching the bottom of the step, Clarke realizes the basement is more of an extended hallway with an outer circle leading to three more doors. Aside from that, there’s a couch with a bookcase filling up space, but other than that, there’s not much else to see. Bellamy leads her towards the door on the farthest left, twisting the doorknob with his free hand before pushing it open. Instead of stepping inside, Bellamy twirls Clarke around, letting go of her hand so that she’s leading the way.

 

He grins wolfishly at the quizzical look that she shoots him, “Princesses, first.”

 

“This is definitely a sex dungeon,” Clarke concludes, Bellamy only smirking in reply before he nods her along. She sighs, the element of surprise having quite the draining effect, but she faces forward and edges deeper into the basement.

 

A light flickers, and Clarke turns to realize Bellamy’s sunk back to flip on the switch, illuminating the dark room. The first thing Clarke is the white walls detailed with what could be categorized as absent minded drawings, but are instead very intricate animations. They coat the walls, with pretty much little to no space for much else, usually hung up with tape and paper, but look to be formatted in a specific way. It reminds Clarke of the sticky notes that scatter her apartment, a meaning secret to anyone but them.

 

In the corner of the room is an easel, surrounded by paint cans and brushes. Clarke’s feeling that one of the parents was a painter is seemingly correct, but they also appear to be much more of an artist than that. Clarke steps inside, marveling at the room and the scatter of artwork that encompasses it. That familiar jealously returns, sinking into her chest as her eyes flee around the room.

 

Bellamy’s footsteps break Clarke out of her haze, gaze fleeting to him as he moves to the corner of the room. She follows, his eyes expectant on her. Her feet feel heavy making their way over to him, Bellamy noticing her uneasiness before she creeps up. She reaches him, meeting his curious gaze, only to shift her attention to the drawing on the wall he’s standing in front of. She etches closer, hands delicately tracing the outline of the drawing as Bellamy turns to stare.

 

“A princess,” Clarke muses with a smile. This princess is blonde, with blue eyes, drawn in a cartoon-esque style with a large, flowy pink gown. It would almost be childlike, if it didn’t look like something straight out of a Disney movie.

 

“When I first saw this house, I thought it was a crazy coincidence,” Bellamy stifles a laugh, turning his gaze to look at her with a boyish smile. “But that was also when I kind of knew this was going to be my house.”

 

“It’s perfect, Bellamy,” Clarke informs him, genuinely with her heart open. “This house screams you. I love it. Our son’s going to love it.”

 

Bellamy eyes her, not entirely convinced by her sentiment. “Then, what’s wrong? You’ve been off ever since we got here.”

 

Clarke sighs, debating come up with a lie to assuage his worries. She glances back at the princess drawing, a sketch among a litter of other detailed works. Clarke assumes the original owners will take all the works inside this room when they move, and wonders briefly what Bellamy would do with the room. It’s spacious enough to make a good playroom, aside from the one upstairs or maybe another office. Her heart aches just thinking about it, and she turns back to Bellamy, her eyes glossy.

 

Bellamy’s hand reaches up to touch her cheek, thumb lightly brushing against the softness of her skin. “You want to know why I wanted to bring you down here, alone?”

 

“So we could have sneaky sex in the basement of your soon-to-be home?” Clarke suggests jokingly, despite the way her voice cracks when she speaks.

 

“Not entirely,” Bellamy smiles, full adoration and understanding, eyes light as they peer into hers. His hand drops, following the path of her forearm to reach her hand. He intertwines their fingers, and gazes around the room. “I wasn’t sold on the house until I saw this room.”

 

Clarke has a hard time believing him, a scoff leaving her lips.

 

“It’s true. Something was missing, I couldn’t put my finger on it. But then, I got to this room. Roma said the couple was going to empty this room before they moved, and not to mind the mess, but I was kind of drawn to it. The paint reminded me of the smell of the nursery in your apartment before we furnished it, and the mess certainly resembled it beforehand. But then, I saw this drawing and I knew what was missing.”

 

Bellamy’s eyes drop back to Clarke’s, a pleading look that makes her heart want to burst into flames seeping into her sight. “It’s missing you.”

 

She straightens, a swarm of butterflies attacking her stomach as her heart quickens to an unearthly pace. It seems unreal, the way he’s gazing at her now, the way his grip tightens around her hand, so secure and full of plea. There’s a million sentences that form on her tongue, but none seem to make it past her lips, her mouth left ajar and stutter-y with no real words emitting from it.

 

“I know, we just finished the nursery at your apartment literally this morning,” Bellamy explains, taking her stunned silence as a red flag. “Maybe I should have said something before, but I helped furnish it cause I know we needed it done and I was afraid you would have said no to moving in. But I know you weren’t happy with how it looked, maybe this is why. Because no nursery is better than the one in this house, our house.”

 

Clarke knows this is her cue to say something. Bellamy searches her eyes for an answer, trying to read her expression to gauge what she’s thinking. Clarke’s mind is racing a million miles a minute, she can’t even fathom what she’s thinking at the moment.

 

There’s beads of sweat forming at his temple, Bellamy running over the dryness of his lips to bring moisture to them. He rambles further, “There’s an extra bedroom beside this room, as well as a bathroom. I figured, if you want your own space–”

 

“An extra bedroom,” the voice echoes from behind them. Bellamy and Clarke turn, noting Octavia standing in the doorway, arms crossed and Roma standing uselessly behind her. The Blake sister steps forward, glancing around the room, her expression twisting into disgust. “I hope this isn’t it.”

 

“It’s not,” Bellamy responds, short and annoyed.

 

“Hm,” Octavia hums, staring challengingly at her brother. “Great, because it would be awful to have your little sister sleeping in a paint infused room.”

 

Bellamy sighs, pinching the bridge of his nose in irritation. Clarke’s eyebrows furrow, glancing from Bellamy to his sister, Octavia staring him down like a hound ready to attack. It’s clear something is lost in translation, because Bellamy peers back at his sister, pitiful all the while frustrated.

 

“We talked about you getting your own apartment,” Bellamy basically seethes, “What happened to that plan?”

 

“You were buying a house and you didn’t think about how I fit into that? I’m your sister. I thought I was welcome here.”

 

“You are! But Octavia, you’re an adult and you have a full time job–”

 

“You’re going to give Clarke the spare room. That’s why you’re pushing me out.”

 

“I’m not pushing you out–”

 

“I think it’s best I wait upstairs,” Roma pipes in, a nervous laugh escaping her lips. Octavia shoots her a glare, and she’s running up the stairs, the clack of her heels echoing behind her before anyone can get another word in.

 

Octavia’s head snaps towards Clarke, a deadly look in her eye. She only straightens, not wanting to be intimidated by the Blake sister and her entitled streak. Octavia steps towards her, causing Bellamy to insert himself between the two as a wedge. His sister glares at him before her gaze shifts to scowl at Clarke.

 

“You don’t get to do this,” Octavia snarls. “You don’t get to come and go from his life whenever you damn well please.”

 

“Octavia–”

 

Clarke interrupts Bellamy, stepping out from behind his human armor. Octavia’s eyes narrow at her, and she squares herself as if Clarke intends to hit her. She has no doubt that if she wasn’t pregnant, Octavia would have shot a punch or two by now, but she’s not worried about that at the moment.

 

“You’re right, I fucked up in the past,” Clarke begins.

 

“And a couple months ago,” Octavia inserts.

 

The urge to bring up Octavia’s antics, the part that she played subsides. No matter what Octavia said or did that night, nobody forced her to treat Bellamy the way she did. Clarke nods, “You’re right. I messed up then, too. And there’s no greater regrets in my life than hurting your brother.”

 

“Then maybe you should stop doing it.”

 

“I will. I have.”

 

“I don’t believe you. You can’t be trusted. Not with Bellamy and certainly not with my nephew.”

 

“You care about your brother, I understand that, but I care about him, too. And I will spend my life, if I have to, proving that to him–” Clarke gulps down a lump forming in her throat. She can’t find the strength in her to look back at Bellamy, to register his facial expressions, because she knows that’s going to break her all the more. Her eyes settle on Octavia, anger visibly coursing through her veins.

 

A look, that disappears such as quick as it appears, flutters across Octavia’s face and Clarke thinks she recognizes it. She’s seen it on Bellamy, been the cause of it too many times. Octavia may be a lot more prideful than her brother, a thicker façade of strength laid across her skin, but Clarke realizes the look of betrayal. And maybe she didn’t understand just how many people’s lives she’s messed with, her focus having been entirely on Bellamy and Bellamy only. She’s almost shunned by Octavia’s venomous glares, but Clarke takes a deep breath.

 

It’s pain she’s caused, and it’s her responsibility to repair it.

 

“I hurt you, too,” Clarke realizes it as the words slip off her tongue. “And I am so sorry, Octavia. I left you, too. You saw what I didn’t, you picked up the pieces I broke. And I’m sorry.”

 

Octavia’s expression softens for a moment, as if the realization is dawning on her as well. It morphs, confusion overtaking her as her eyebrows furrow together. She glances behind Clarke at Bellamy before returning her gaze to her, puzzled as to what to say next. This apology from Clarke doesn’t seem to be in course for what Octavia has foreseen. It wasn’t in Clarke’s line of vision either, but she knows it was necessary.

 

Only seconds pass before Octavia’s anger returns, registering over every feature of her face, tensing her body and curling her hands into fists. Clarke resists the urge to step back, head held high as Octavia stares her down something mean and outright terrifying. She steps forward, so close she almost bumps against Clarke’s stomach.

 

“I don’t need the history lesson, I was there,” Octavia scowls. “But don’t worry, I’m going to be there, again, for the millionth time that you leave–”

 

“I’m not leaving. I’m with Bellamy and this baby, a hundred and ten percent. You can trust–”

 

“Shut up! You know nothing about me, you know nothing about my brother, you don’t belong in our lives–”

 

“Octavia!” Bellamy bellows, no longer complacent standing behind Clarke. This time, he has to squeeze in between her and Clarke, grabbing his sister by the shoulders as the anger radiates off of her. “Upstairs. Now.”

 

Octavia doesn’t budge, glaring at Clarke in a manner so deathly that she may have been able to kill her. Clarke doesn’t look away, trying to acknowledge her part in this, despite Octavia’s long standing grudge. There’s a forgiveness in Bellamy that Octavia just doesn’t have, and Clarke can’t place if it’s because she, herself, is just so horrible and not worthy of even his forgiveness or because Octavia’s protectiveness blinds her sense of judgement. Clarke doesn’t thinks he has any jurisdiction to be picky.

 

She got lucky with Bellamy, Clarke reminds herself sometimes. She dumped him, and after a ten year gap, earned his trust again only to break it once more. And now, that she’s found herself, that she’s certain – the pain is supposed to stop. But her and Bellamy aren’t together, and Octavia still hates her guts. Forgiveness may be between them, but maybe what she broke is irreparable.

 

Bellamy’s hands tighten around Octavia’s shoulders, pushing her out of the room. She stumbles out of the room, making sure to send an angry glare to Clarke before she’s forced out the doorway. Bellamy glances back at her, noting the sorrowful expression that takes up the mother of his child’s face. Clarke tries to mask it, tries to do this for him, but he’s too good at seeing through her.

 

Hands still on Octavia’s shoulders, Bellamy mouths, “It’s okay.” He shuffles out the door, disappearing before Clarke hears a pair of footsteps charge up the steps.

 

Clarke finds her feet waltzing around the room, her body heavy because of the baby weighing her down along with the heart ache that plagues her. The room, full of drawings and artwork now mocks her, because what is okay about any of this? This house, so picture perfect and all for a life she isn’t sure that she deserves. She finds herself still in the middle of the room, crouching down to sit on the bare wooden floor.

 

Her hands folded in her lap, she stares at the artworks scattering the room. They’re magical to the people that live here, all with their own separate meaning, Clarke’s sure. They glare at her like she doesn’t belong, like she doesn’t deserve a role in this household. Her gaze falls to her lap, blocked by the large bump that overtakes her body.

 

It’s been a thing of hers, ever since Clarke found out she was pregnant, to find her hand travelling to the base of her stomach, smoothening over the bump to seek some sort of comfort. The sense of peace that fills her body helps settle her wave of nerves. As Clarke’s breathing hitches, becomes a little more erratic, her hand soothes her, the company of her child brings her the clarity she would be unable to find within herself months ago.

 

Bellamy wants her to move in here, albeit in the spare bedroom. He sprung it on her haphazardly, as if this morning he wasn’t rearranging the nursery in her apartment. And Clarke wants nothing more than to be here, in this house, raising their child together. But there’s a flicker of a thought crossing through her mind, calling her selfish once more, that she’s taking more than she deserves. She shouldn’t be able to have the career and Bellamy and this baby.

 

Clarke glances around the room, the sketches closing in on her in this once, spacious room. The thoughts that wallow her, consume Clarke as she sits alone in this room almost becomes unbearable, her breathing hitching and chest contracting. Both hands come up to her stomach, clasp around the middle of it and she closes her eyes, and breathes. She doesn’t want to be doing this alone.

 

Gathering to her feet, Clarke glances around the room once more. She pictures it bare, then reimagines it with her own paint supplies. The easel isn’t tucked in the corner, but is instead focused at the head of the room and instead of sketches aligning the walls, there’s doodles created in paint decorating the bareness. She’s crouched in a corner, hands balanced around her son’s torso while he paints leisurely along the walls, adding to the collection of images. Bellamy stands behind them, for being a lack of an artist, with a grin and plants a kiss on Clarke’s cheek.

 

Clarke has to blink away the image, tears threatening to spill from her eyes. It’s a home they could have together, and one she so desperately wants to have. But she needs to do things right this time.

 

By the time Clarke is halfway up the steps, she can hear Octavia shouting. She creeps closer, the Blake’s voices echoing throughout the house, becoming increasingly louder as Clarke moves forward. She follows their carrying voices to the kitchen, standing behind the archway so that she doesn’t interrupt them. She’s tempted to step forward, to make her presence known, but the curiosity that spikes gets the best of Clarke, waiting patiently where she’s out of sight.

 

“This is ridiculous, Bellamy,” Octavia seethes, the frustration burning her body showcasing in the cracks of her voice. “She’s fucked up so many times! And you want her to move in? You’re not even together, for fuck’s sake!”

“Lower your voice, Octavia,” Bellamy cautions with a hiss. Clarke pictures him running a hand through his hair in frustration hearing the sigh that escapes his lips next.

 

“You know what, I hope she hears me! She left you once, and I picked up the pieces then. I’m going to have to pick up the pieces now, too as well as my your nephew’s once he’s neglected by her, too!”

 

“Don’t talk about her that way, Octavia. She wouldn’t do that to our son.”

 

“But she’d do it to you. She has done it to you.”

 

“It’s like you want her to be this big, bad monster, Octavia. You haven’t even attempted to try and see the person she is now. I’m not making excuses for her past actions, but fuck, you certainly haven’t been helping.”

 

“What is that supposed to mean?”

 

“You stole my phone to invite yourself to Raven’s bachelorette. You think I don’t know you said something to set Clarke off that night?”

 

The back and forth ceases for a moment. Clarke pictures Octavia being caught off guard, wheels turning as to what to say to combat her brother next. Silence consumes the house, but the tension is so thick in the air, Clarke feels it prick her skin like a wave of humidity.

 

“It’s not like I held a gun to her head!” Octavia shouts, anger even more evident than beforehand. “What I said was the truth. A couple of choice words, and Clarke went running for the hills. Is that not a red flag to you? Oh, right, it’s not because you’re too up her ass to realize it!”

 

“Clarke’s made her mistakes. I’m the one that’s been effected by it. I’m sorry you felt like you took the brunt of it back then, and will have to do it again, but I promise you Octavia, that won’t happen,” Bellamy’s explanation comes out calm, almost soothingly to Clarke’s ears. There’s another pause, and Clarke assumes Octavia’s thinking of a rebuttal, when Bellamy adds, “I know her. I know the person she is now. I trust her. She’s better, and she loves our son and–”

 

“And you think she loves you.”

 

The words do not spur from Octavia’s mouth like a sudden realization. It’s accusatory and full of blame, like she’s shaming her brother for the act. Clarke feels her back fall against the wall, almost as if the wind has been knocked out of her. While Octavia says it as an insult, Clarke’s heart races for Bellamy’s response, anxieties tickling every part of her body. Her hand comes up, falling flat against the bump and she smoothens her hand over it, and breathes out.

 

There’s a pause, and Clarke wishes she could catch a glimpse of Bellamy’s face. She stops herself from peeking around the corner, analyzing every aspect of Bellamy’s body language and facial expression because he’s taking too fucking long to answer. And for a moment, she debates if he’s even going to acknowledge the comment and her heart threatens to sink to her stomach. Then, she hears him cough, clear his throat and finally speak.

 

“Yeah, I think she might,” Bellamy confirms.

 

“She might,” Octavia huffs, mockingly. “She loves herself. And herself, only. You’re blinded by your own stupid love for her to realize that.”

“It’s because I love her that I know her,” Clarke hears Bellamy’s foot shuffle, assuming he’s stepping closer to his sister. Her breath catches in her throat, and the sudden revelation from Bellamy seems to put him off guard, too.

 

There’s a moment of silence. It sinks into Clarke, resonates in her bones as she’s sure it does with the Blakes. Clarke’s known that Bellamy has love for her, just like she’s aware of her undying devotion to him. But she knows better than anyone that sometimes love just isn’t enough to save a pair, and while she could bet her life that Bellamy’s her one and only, it wouldn’t be far to make him commit to that same feat. Not after everything she’s done, not when it’s on him to decide how they proceed.

 

“I thought it’s what through me off base before, how I was falling in love with her again,” Bellamy continues, his voice soft and barely above a whisper, Clarke straining to hear him. “And it may have. But I know, more than ever, that our family is her first priority. She’s not going to give it up again.”

 

“I can’t stand here and watch you throw your life away for a woman that doesn’t care about you for the millionth time,” Octavia’s feet begin to shuffle, her voice becoming more prominent in Clarke’s ears. “I’ll be in the car when you pull your head out of Clarke’s ass.”

 

Before Clarke even has the chance to scramble away, Octavia rounds out of the archway almost flying by her. The Blake sister looks more than angry, her face twisted into a horrid expression. She halts when she nearly rams into Clarke, stumbling backwards to take a look at her. Her face still reads fury and destruction, but it morphs into a glare of betrayal when Octavia’s eyes settle on her. Clarke only straightens, her lips pursed tight in response.

 

Maybe, it’s too late for the two of them. Octavia stares her down as if Clarke’s going to be the one to break, burst into tears and beg for forgiveness. Clarke’s sure that even if she did do that, Octavia would gladly refuse the apology and go on hating her. One day, Clarke hopes to repair what she broke with Octavia, or at least form some sort of civil relationship after the baby is born.

 

But there’s a glimpse in Octavia’s eyes, past the betrayal that resonates with realization. Far from acceptance, or any sort of positive reaction, but one that recognizes what this is going to be. That while forgiveness may not be in the cards for her, reserved exclusively for Bellamy and Clarke, and their devotion to one another after all these years. It’s not something Octavia even attempts to comprehend, but one that is evident just in the way that Bellamy and Clarke are.

 

Octavia doesn’t say anything to Clarke, just brushes by her with her head held high and eyes elsewhere, stomping out of sight and slamming the door behind her.

 

Clarke exhales, heart still quickening despite the Blake sister’s absence. She can feel Bellamy in the other room, and the anxiety that fills her chest almost wants her to waltz in without any knowledge of the last hour and a half in this house. But she’s sick of the dancing around one another, yearning for what she knows is forever laced in the two of them.

 

Bellamy has his back turned to her when she enters the archway into the kitchen. His hands are cemented on either side of him, pressed against the counter so hard that his knuckles are turning an alarming shade of white. His back heaves up and down, his breathing erratic. Clarke makes her way towards him, appearing at the left of him to take his attention away from his ever consuming thoughts.

 

“Hey,” Bellamy greets her like he’s out of breath, his voice coming out in rasps. He angles his body towards her, trying to mask a neutral expression across his face. “Octavia went to get some air–”

 

“I know,” Clarke nods, hand snaking up his forearm softly.

 

Realization settles over Bellamy’s features, recognizing that Clarke must have heard exactly what transpired between him and his sister. His face drops, a shade of red flushing over his cheeks. He opens his mouth, intent on sputtering an explanation. Clarke shakes her head, a little too eagerly, hand dropping from his forearm to her side and silencing him before he can even speak.

 

“I love you,” Clarke spews. His face makes no move to change, as if the words haven’t sunk in. Adrenaline pumps through Clarke’s veins, and she’s almost breathless as she continues. “I love you, Bellamy. I love you so much that I can’t see a life where I’m nearly as fulfilled as I am now with you and our son.”

 

Clarke feels her throat go dry, gulping down to bring some moisture back into it as Bellamy stares at her like she’s an enigma he’s attempting to crack. She takes advantage of his silence to continue, rambling on like she’s a lovesick teenager all over again.

 

“My life meant nothing more than a set of steps to help me achieve my career before you. When we were teenagers, I was scared of the meaning you brought to my life. And I pushed you away, because I couldn’t fathom how lucky I was to have your love. As if it wasn’t plausible for me to have both that and a successful career.”

 

Clarke licks her lips in between breaths. Bellamy opens his mouth to interject, but she’s not finished, blinking away tears before she starts speaking again.

 

“And then you came back. And I got my second chance. And probably my third and fourth along the way. But these past couple of months have made me the happiest I’ve been in ten whole years. You have made me the best version of myself, in all my years on this planet, never have I felt more fulfilled than in the moments I have shared with you. I love you, Bellamy. I want more with you.”

 

Clarke steps forward, snaking her hands around Bellamy’s neck and bringing him close. She can feel the shallowness of his breath as he leans his forehead against hers, hitting against her lips in subtle waves. Her hand whines through the back of his neck, hooking into his curls in attempts to bring him even closer. The bump is a detriment, but Bellamy doesn’t see a problem, arms wrapping around her waist as her stomach sinks into his torso.

 

Her chest is bursting at the seams, the anticipation for what is going to spill from his mouth making Clarke want to explode into a million pieces. Her hand tightens around his hair, hanging on for dear life as he circles patterns into the small of back, almost like he’s at peace. Clarke’s eyes blink up to look at him, his stare piercing into her and saying a million words without speaking once at all.

 

“What are we doing, Bellamy?” Clarke breathes, blue eyes staring up at him pleadingly.

 

Again, Bellamy fails to respond, smoothening his tongue over his lips. He pauses, and Clarke wants to break. He inhales, and exhales, but it comes out shakily. “I wanted it to be your choice. That’s why I rearranged the nursery a million times. I wanted things to be perfect at your place and perfect here, so I’d know where you’d be happier when I asked you.”

 

“Perfect is where you are,” Clarke whispers, so full of conviction and plea that Bellamy’s eyes flutter closed. She leans up, bumping their noses together so that his eyes open once more. She starts rambling, her heart unable to contain the words she’s kept pent up for months on end. “This is more than you cooking dinner for me after work, and more than the sex. More than friends, more than co-parents. I want every part of you, Bellamy, forever. I want to be all and more for you–”

 

Bellamy doesn’t allow her to finish, leaning down to crush his lips against hers, hard and full of passion. Clarke deepens the kiss, hands travelling across his skin to cup either sides of his cheeks. Bellamy’s hands remain steady on her waist, sinking his nails into the small of her back to gain friction, his tongue seeping past her lips to explore every inch of her. Their pace, frenzied and passionate, dissipates into a slow and needy state, their grips on one another loosening just the slightest bit.

 

He’s the one to pull away with a short, gasp of air. His forehead returns to rest on hers, both of their breaths meeting in the middle as they struggle to get a grasp on reality. Otherwise, it would just be the two of them, with their more than adored bump in the middle, alone in this world together.

 

A grin spreads across Bellamy’s face, full of relief and happiness. Clarke returns the giddy smile, a giggle escaping her lips, no longer able to contain the love and adoration she has for this man and their family.

 

“There is no more. You and our son are all I could ever want,” Bellamy whispers, breath hot against her lips. “I love you, Clarke. So much.”

 

“I love you,” Clarke says again, this time the words flooding from her lips with an ease and calmness to it.

 

She leans on her tiptoes again, their lips brushing together in a softer kiss, desperate for one another’s touch. Bellamy’s arms wrap around her, hoisting her up to the best of his ability while managing not to crush her stomach. Giggles escape their pressed together mouths, the two eager to get close as close as possible to one another.

 

In between kisses, Bellamy mumbles, “Does this mean you’re moving in?”

 

Clarke grins into the kiss, enclosing her lips around him once more. Her hands sink into his curls once more, deepening the movements of their mouths in an act of pure desperation. She gets him forever, and maybe that’s an overstatement in the moment, but the way her heart soars, she’s never been more certain about anything or anyone in her life. She would give up anything to just have him and their family, and now, as they stand in the kitchen of their new home, Clarke may just have her everything and more.

 

The two have no intention of unwrapping themselves from one another anytime soon, Roma lingering God knows where and Octavia moping about in the car. They take advantage, entangling themselves in what’s only going to be the two of them for a limited amount of time.

 

A sharp pain shoots through her stomach. She gasps, and Bellamy senses the absence of heat, the underlying tones of shock that courses through the sharpness in her voice. Hurriedly, he sets her on the ground, gentle enough that she lands upright, quick enough that Clarke feels her world spin on its axis. Clarke instantly leans against the countertop for support, Bellamy crouching down to try and assess what just happened in the span of a few seconds.

 

“Did I press too hard?” Bellamy scans over her, hands hovering over her stomach as Clarke clutches onto it, her eyes screwed shut tightly.

 

Clarke shakes her head, a course of shockwaves contracting her stomach. She knows what this is. She can barely breathe, she’s not able to talk, it’s no hoax or Braxton hicks. She’s seen many women experience the ladder in the clinic, and seen many more experience the real thing to differentiate between the two. Tears prick at her eyelids, the pain unbearable, even as the aftermath commences.

 

She throws her head back, beads of sweat forming on her forehead. Clarke’s eyes flutter open, meeting Bellamy’s concerned stare. It doesn’t help her cause, a wave of panic flushing through her. All her training as a doctor, all of the security and logic that makes up who she is as a person flying out the window. She looks at Bellamy, his eyes just searching for an answer and she’s scared.

 

“It’s too early,” Clarke whispers, voice breaking. “No, it’s too early.”

 

Bellamy doesn’t need any more of a thorough explanation, nodding his head along and wrapping his arm around the small of Clarke’s back. “It’s okay. Your due date is in a month–”

 

“Five weeks,” Clarke corrects with a wince. Another wave shocks through her body, and she falls against his grip, yelping out in pain. Bellamy holds her steady, as she leans against his body on the cusp of bursting into tears. “Bellamy, we’re not ready.”

 

“We’re ready,” Bellamy confirms with a nod. He looks so sure, so lost in the two of them that nothing seems breakable. He holds onto her hand, and gives it a reassuring squeeze as she flinches through the pain. “I promise you, we’re ready.”

 

“There’s still so many uncompleted sticky notes–”

 

“How well have we followed the rules of those God damn sticky notes?” Bellamy muses, lightening the mood with a small smirk forming at his lips.

 

Clarke relaxes, if only the slightest bit, focusing on the scar above his upper lip that’s ever so prevalent by his smirk. If she could, she’d trace it with her finger, calm herself by counting the freckles that speckle his face and somehow, by an act of magic, keep this baby in for another five weeks. But instead, she relies on the squeeze of Bellamy’s hand, leaning into the weight of him to support her.

 

“He’s ready,” Bellamy gestures to her stomach, before looking back at her with a reassuring gaze. “And so are we.”

 

In a world of a million meanings, Clarke gazes up at him, his words sinking into her bones and resonating throughout her body in conviction. Bellamy’s certainty radiates, how unequivocally devoted he is seeping into Clarke’s veins. The light in his eyes drains the fear from hers. She leans up with the minimal amount of strength she can muster and captures his lips in one more soaring kiss.

 

Bellamy returns the kiss, the soft movements of his lips eliminating any of the fear that overtakes Clarke. She comes back to the ground, centers within herself, allows herself to sink into the softness of Bellamy’s lips for the last couple of moments that it’s just the two of them. And when she pulls away, she leans her forehead against his temple and smiles up at him, small and shakily, but also certain and full of love.

 

“I love you,” Clarke breathes.

 

“I love you, princess,” Bellamy grins back at her. He bumps his nose against hers, and with a teasing tone says, “Your chariot awaits.”

Chapter Text

Clarke and Bellamy’s son is brought into the world in the early hours of the morning, wailing at the top of his lungs and flailing his little arms and legs as the sun rises, peaking through the curtains of the hospital room. He has ten fingers and ten toes, Clarke double checks as Bellamy, awe-stricken at the sight of their son clips the umbilical cord. Clarke is still calculating, memorizing every inch of him as the nurses carry him away to be cleaned, his soft, strong cries echoing throughout the room. She recalls shouting at Bellamy to follow him, head falling back against the cushion of the pillow to take a breather as he jogs off, taking a breath for the first time in her fourteen hours of labor.

 

She attempts to run over his image in her mind, her pristine memorization an advantage in medical school, but a saving grace now. He’s small, premature, but Clarke’s seen babies born later and tinier than he is. His lungs are powerful, enough to overtake the bustle of the noisy room, and he kicks his little legs like he’s been practicing for months – which Clarke can confirm, that he has. There’s no way to know for sure, but Clarke – cheek pushed against the pillow and breathing heavily – and her medical knowledge have not noticed any red flags.

 

And then, call it a maternal instinct, Clarke thinks they’re taking too long. The doctor’s patching her up below, and there’s a chorus of nurses still tending to her, but Bellamy’s not back yet and neither is her son. Her head rises from the pillow, robotically and stern, and a couple choice words fly out of her mouth, demanding to see her son. The staff try to assuage her, but nothing that comes out of their mouth – the medical jumbo she understands or the sweet, reassuring comments – does the trick like the nurse returning with her son in her arms, Bellamy trailing behind with the biggest of grins.

 

“He’s six pounds,” Bellamy calls out. “Nurse said he would have been huge if you made it to term.”

 

“It’s because of your cooking,” Clarke chastises, stretching up as her nerves trickle away.

 

Clarke outstretches her arms, sweat beading down every inch of her. She doesn’t look at Bellamy, but her relieved smile is reserved for him and their son. He’s bundled up now, clean of any of the guck he was entrapped in, and he’s no longer crying. The nurse gently hands the newborn to his mother, securing him in her arms before her, and the rest of her staff seemingly melt away, leaving the new parents and their son alone in the room.

 

For a bit, all they can do is stare. Bellamy hovers over the two, hand balancing on the head of the bed, eyes marveling over him. Clarke learns every inch of him in a matter of seconds. His big, brown eyes look up at his parents like he knows them, his tiny, wrinkly hands clawing at one another in contemplation. The thickness of his lips rub together, tongue poking out of the seams, similar to his slick, black hair that peaks through his new hat.

 

“He’s all you,” Clarke whispers, index finger lightly smoothening against his cheek. He’s paler, and a lot more mushed together than his father, but so are all newborns. She leans down, pressing the softest of kisses to the top of his forehead, before retracting to gaze up at Bellamy. “He looks nothing like me.”

 

“Maybe he’ll act like you,” Bellamy suggests, a playful smile resting on his lips. “And then we’ll really be in trouble.”

 

Clarke laughs, and it takes all the wind out of her. She’s been up for over twenty four hours at this point and so has Bellamy. They have family waiting in the hall, Octavia not having left and her mother arriving with Marcus just before midnight. Bellamy’s been giving updates, and they’ve all visited Clarke and been on their best behavior, so it would only be fair for them to come see the baby before she steals a couple hours of sleep. But selfishly, Clarke just wants it to be the three of them for a little while longer.

 

Bellamy leans in closer, pressing a kiss to the top of Clarke’s sweaty, matted hair. His head drops, nuzzling his nose into Clarke’s neck, chin balancing on her shoulder. Clarke tips her head to him, bumping her nose into his, catching sight of his widened eyes, capturing each of their son’s minimal, first movements. Her lips brush against the soft skin under his eye, where a pattern of freckles lay, as she silently hopes the sunlight will have similar effects on their son.

 

Clarke glances back at their son, his eyes beginning to flutter closed, jaw opening slightly to let out a barely noticeable yawn. Clarke’s heart almost bursts at the sight, and she can’t imagine how this was a life so far from her a year ago. The love that overtakes her is unearthly, filling her chest and constricting her airways, just simply from looking at her son. Bellamy may be right, that they’re bound to be in trouble with this one, this tiny, infant that’s only six pounds, cradled in Clarke’s arms.

 

“I can’t believe it,” Clarke breathes, “I can’t believe we made him.”

 

“I’m really glad you lost that fifty dollar bill,” Bellamy whispers, amusement evident in his soft tone. Clarke giggles, and swivels her head to him, blue eyes meeting his as he turns to look at her. His leans his dry forehead against her sweaty one, eyes glistening similarly to hers. “I love you so much, princess.”

 

“I love you, baby,” Clarke’s voice is barely above a breath, but he hears it.

 

Bellamy smiles, something heartbreakingly wonderful before he tips closer to capture her lips in a hard, short kiss. He pecks her lips as good measure once after he pulls away, Clarke’s gaze returning down to their son.

 

Clarke crouches down, her lips brushing against the tip of her son’s nose. “And I love you. More than anything.”

 


 

The soft hum of a cry carries throughout Clarke’s apartment, into her bedroom. Her head jerks up from the computer screen, ears straining to detect if the cry is her son shifting about it in his sleep, or signaling that he’s awake. A steady pattern of footsteps echo from the hall, Bellamy seemingly taking reign and allowing Clarke’s attention to return back to the laptop balanced on her lap, Becca Franco staring back at her on the screen.

 

“Mommy duties call?” Dr. Franco muses with a smile. She bounces her youngest on her lap, and she almost makes the whole parenting gig look easy.

 

“Bellamy went to get him,” Clarke replies. “I have some more time, if there’s anything further to discuss.”

 

“I think we covered everything. I’m very impressed with the initiative you’ve taken with the Patten approvals. It may not seem like a lot, but it was incredibly helpful for me, and I know it’s not an easy task to complete, being a new mom and all.”

 

“I’m lucky I have such an easy baby, and the best partner. I’m also very committed to this project,” Clarke stresses, adjusting herself against the headboard of the bed. She resists the urge to wince uncomfortably. This will be easier when their house is finished, so she can have a proper office space. Until then, she focuses her attention on Dr. Franco, a genuine smile gracing her features. “I found a really good balance between the two.”

 

Not to say the balance has been easy. For the first couple of weeks, all Clarke did was tend to her son. Adjusting to parenthood was difficult, and it’s been a lot of long nights where her and Bellamy just stay up catering to him and his every need. And she wouldn’t change those precious first moments for anything on this planet, and she loves her son more than her heart can take, but it’s a relief to ground herself back in her work. It’s even more of a blessing that she gets to do it from home, that she’s able to drop anything at the mere murmur of her son.

 

It’s a little surprising, even now, that Clarke’s so willing to do it – abandon everything at the drop of a hat just to be present for her son. Bellamy’s home after three o’clock on weekdays, and now with the end of the school term, he’s with them almost every day. While he’s in every position to take the brunt of responsibility, Clarke jumps at the chance to take care of him, no matter what she’s doing. The balance is difficult, and sometimes it’s hard for her to focus in when her son’s laying idly in the next room, but having him so close is the most positive motivation that Clarke’s ever had before.

 

Dr. Franco smiles knowingly at Clarke, the challenges of motherhood being a shared bonding experience for the two. They’re not on a first name basis, still strictly under the professional realm of their relationship, but Clarke’s grateful that she has a boss so understanding of the life of an academic and a parent. Bosses in the past have shown themselves not to be as comprehensive. 

 

“That’s all you need really,” Dr. Franco ruffles her child’s hair, before setting him off her lap and sending him on her way with a cheery grin. “I look forward to working with you, Dr. Griffin. I will see you in two months.”

 

Clarke nods, saying her goodbyes to her boss before clicking off the video chat program. She huffs, slamming her laptop closed in exasperation. After a two hour meeting filled with constant medical terminology and practices, procedures to learn, policies to follow, Clarke feels like collapsing on the bed and falling asleep. She glances at the clock on her nightstand, reading just after nine pm. It’s way too early to fall asleep, especially when Bellamy’s not with her and their son is seemingly wide awake.

 

The tiredness in Clarke’s eyes dissipates as she throws her legs off the bed, getting to her feet. She thought the antsy feeling that crept into her bones whenever she went to see her son would ease after the first couple of weeks. But now, their son is two months old and she’s still eager to get a hold of him, even though she’s practically around him twenty four seven. Quietly, she tiptoes to the nursery, careful just in case Bellamy successfully rocked their son back to sleep in under five minutes. She peaks her head in the room, her heart melting at the sight before her.

 

Bellamy’s hips are swaying back in forth, whispering in hushes as their son coos in his arms. His back turned to her, he doesn’t notice as Clarke leans against the doorway, too engrossed in the scene to interrupt.

 

“Mommy and daddy haven’t even went to sleep yet,” Clarke can hear the grin on Bellamy’s face. “Don’t you know the rule? You have to sleep so we can sleep.”

 

Clarke tiptoes further in to the nursery, the creak of the floorboards earning Bellamy’s attention. He glances over his shoulder, smiling when he sees her enter the room. Clarke wraps her arms around the base of his torso, leaning up to brush her lips against his. He returns the chaste kiss, before swiveling his head back around to their son. She peaks over his shoulder, watching as their son’s eyes struggle to remain open.

 

“He’s a fighter,” Clarke comments, earning a low chuckle from Bellamy.

 

“He’s usually so good,” Bellamy muses. “I think he’s learned that if he’s asleep, he can’t spend time with your boobs. But I like your boobs, too.”

 

Clarke giggles into his shoulder, smiling giddily. “What he says goes.”

 

“Like princess, like prince,” Bellamy glances over at her once more, a playful smirk toying on his lips. Clarke takes advantage, decidedly ignoring his joking comments to peck at his lips.

 

“I’d prefer if you use his name.”

 

“You once said that about your name.”

 

“I still prefer Clarke to princess.”

 

“Hm,” Bellamy hums, his small smirk telling her exactly how unconvincing she is. He steals one more kiss from her lips, before his gaze returns to their son, half-asleep in his arms. “You’re royalty, like your mommy, huh, August?”

 

She could never tire of hearing his name, August never failing to surge her heart with an overwhelming sense of pride. Whether it’s just hearing Bellamy say their son’s name, or August doing something as miniscule as yawning, Clarke’s in awe every time she wakes up and remembers she gets to be his mother. Every time she curls into the opposite end of the bed to embrace in Bellamy’s arms. Every time she wakes up to a cry, the happiness that overpowers how fucking tired she is whenever she’s the one to appease him. It’s a different type of proud, estranged from the success she accomplishes academically, but still makes her feel on top of the world. This time, with two new companions at her side.

 

Clarke leans her head against Bellamy’s upper back as he talks to their son. Her grip tightens around Bellamy’s torso, swaying with him as he lulls their son to sleep. The soft vibrations of his voice echo throughout his body, resonating through Clarke’s as they move in sync. By the time August is fast asleep, they’re still moving, just the three of them. It’s just the three of them.

 

Maybe it should be alarming how Clarke’s heart physically aches when Bellamy leans down to place August, fast asleep, back in his crib. That she already misses the sight of him, even if he’s just a couple of feet away. Bellamy runs his hand over their son’s stomach, before turning to Clarke. One off look from Clarke, and he can immediately sense her withdrawal. He smiles, kissing the bridge of her nose.

 

“We have to let him sleep,” he whispers, snaking his hands gently across her forearms. “So we can sleep.”

 

“I want to hold him,” Clarke pouts.

 

“You’ll wake him.”

 

“That doesn’t bother me.”

 

“It’ll bother you when he doesn’t want to go back down.”

 

Clarke hums, logically having to agree with the father of her child. She balances on her tiptoes, tricking Bellamy into another kiss as she peaks one eye open to spy on their child. She can’t help it, she’s kind of obsessed with her new fulltime job.

 

Bellamy catches her, a small chuckle leaving his lips. “Come to bed, princess. Before you wake the prince and the kingdom explodes.”

 

She allows Bellamy to drag her to bed, fingers intertwined even as they crawl into bed with one another. Clarke curls into Bellamy’s torso, his arms slung around her securely. They’re both exhausted, Clarke feels the sleep try and drown out her eyes, can feel the steady pattern of Bellamy’s shallow breathing on her neck. She leans against him, his warmth spreading through her body like a current. She could fall asleep any moment, perfectly sound with her son in the next room and Bellamy tucked in her embrace.

 

Instead, Clarke turns, Bellamy’s arms now secured around her lower back while she brings up a hand to cup his face. His eyes are closed, but he hums into her touch, as Clarke’s thumb lightly glides across the softness of his cheek. He adjusts his head, planting a kiss on her thumb. Clarke grins, Bellamy’s eyes fluttering open, half-lidded with an amused smile etching onto his features.

 

“Didn’t you hear what I told August?” Bellamy teases, “When he sleeps, we sleep.”

 

“I just don’t know how I got so lucky,” Clarke finds herself babbling.

 

The love that consumes her as she stares at Bellamy makes her collarbones ache, her stomach flutter and her eyes water. Bellamy adjusts himself, seemingly more tentative at the sight of her. He balances his elbow on the pillow, side of his head set in the palm of his hand. He reaches his free hand out to grab her hand dancing across his cheek, pulling it away to press a kiss to her palm. Clarke sighs dreamily, a combination of the fatigue that plagues her and the sheer happiness that makes her chest so fuzzy.

 

“Sometimes I don’t know why,” Clarke continues. “Why I got so lucky.”

 

“Who says you’re the lucky one?” Bellamy whispers, eyes boring into hers. “I’m the one with the beautiful, doctor wife and gifted son.”

 

“Gifted? At two months?”

 

“I know he’s going to be a prodigy.”

 

Clarke huffs out a laugh, earning a grin from Bellamy. He enwraps their fingers once more, balancing their conjoined hands on their hips as he stares at her. Clarke gazes back, memorizing the pattern of his freckles for the billionth time since she’s met him. It never gets old, she always loses count, seeking solace in having to start over. And sometimes, when she’s too sleepy to count the plethora of freckles on his skin, she’ll just catch a glimpse of the scar above his lip, or one particular curl in his hair that’s more prominent than the other. Any aspect of him that makes up the man that she loves.

 

Bellamy does it, too, she comes to realize. She doesn’t know exactly with what feature, but she catches his eyes dusting over her, memorizing things about herself that she probably couldn’t even recognize. He shuffles closer, as if trying to get a better look, but then he leans in, pressing a soft, slow kiss to her lips. Clarke leans up, deepening her lips against his, still desperate for every inch of him.

 

She pulls away, breathing hot against his lips. Her eyes dazzle at him, pupils blown into orbit. Clarke’s hand snakes up into his curls, wrenching them in her fist. “Where do I even start with you, Bellamy?”

 

Their noses nuzzle together, Bellamy’s lips planting a kiss in the section between her nose and upper lip. “Start by telling me you love me.”

 

His voice, so soft and pleading that Clarke’s heart swells. She tips her head up, capturing his lips in another soaring kiss. In between their pressed mouths, she mumbles, “I love you, Bellamy. You’re it for me.”

 

A guttural moan escapes from Bellamy’s throat, sending vibrations throughout Clarke’s body and down to her cunt. The hand tucked into his curls brings him even closer, deepening the kiss almost painstakingly hard. He rests his hand on her hip as he maneuvers them around, towering over her. Clarke wraps her legs around his torso as he moves his hands down to palm her ass, leaning his bodyweight against her as they scramble to remove their clothes while still entangled in one another.

 

As Bellamy’s hips rock against hers, all that Clarke can think about is how amazed she is that this is her life. That at this time a year ago, her first priority was to be the best of her field no matter what the sacrifice she had to make would be to get there. She just exited a failed relationship, and there was no Bellamy. Bellamy was gone, a thing of the past, and now he’s here, on top of her, chanting how much he loves her as their son sleeps in the next room.

 

Clarke cries out when she comes, Bellamy crashing against her and showering her in kisses as she climbs down. She whimpers into his neck, whispering how lucky she is to have him back, forever, a million times before they both drift off to sleep.

 


 

“It’s not a fair competition.”

 

“Life isn’t fair.”

 

“Jasper! They’re both cute.”

 

“But which one is cuter, Monty?”

 

“It’s bias! Everything about this is bias!”

 

Clarke watches from the kitchen, sipping wine for the first time in months, an amused smile on her face. Jasper and Monty sit on her coffee table in the living room as if it’s the new, designated couch, Jordan and August propped up on the actual couch like dolls to be marveled at. To give them credit, Maya is at one end of the couch, making sure the toddler doesn’t smother the three month old that Octavia has laying in her lap, as she guardes him like some sort of watchdog.

 

Jasper and Monty’s bicker throughout Clarke’s apartment, and it’s nearly impossible to focus on her own conversations. Not that she minds much. Clarke adores glancing over and seeing her friends marvel over her baby, who sits idly on his aunt’s lap and chews away at his fingers. The past couple of hours, her group has been taking turns bonding with the baby, similarly to how they did with Jordan when he was first born.

 

They’ve all seen him within these past three months, taking turns visiting separately, but this is the first time they have all been together since Raven’s wedding. Clarke wanted to wait until they moved into the new house, but she couldn’t wait to see her friends all together for another month.

 

“My kid is cuter,” Harper chimes in, nudging Clarke playfully.

 

“Watch it,” Clarke narrows her eyes in faux defense, Harper laughing as she takes a sip of her own wine and goes to join her husband in the fun. With a fond smile, Clarke turns to Raven on her left, gingerly downing her own glass. She pokes the new bride’s stomach, “I guess no babies for you for a while?”

 

“I wouldn’t say a while,” Raven shrugs. “But definitely not right away.”

 

“Yeah? Enjoying the married life?”

 

“Very much so. The sex is fucking godly–”

 

“I don’t think I need this much information.”

 

“Shut up, I know you’re getting dicked down whenever the bugger is asleep. Hopefully, you do it safely this time.”

 

A blush creeps onto Clarke’s cheeks that she attempts to shield with another sip of her wine. For the record, she did get back on birth control, filling a prescription before she even left the hospital with August. But it doesn’t stop the redness from showing, Clarke hoping she can mask the color flattering her face with the indulgence of alcohol, setting the empty glass on the island behind her once its finished. Raven’s smirking at her when she turns back around, finishing off her own glass before setting it alongside Clarke’s.

 

“So, what’s up next for you, Clarke?” Raven leans back against the island, balancing her elbows against the marble. She wiggles her eyebrows suggestively at the blonde. “Will you be the next one walking down the aisle? Or is Jasper going to beat you to it?”

 

Clarke glances at the group in the living room. In the midst of Monty and Jasper’s bickering, she catches the sneaky looks the latter gives to Maya, even going as far as to blow kisses to her while his best friend is ranting. Monty calls him out on it, and Harper laughs along, arms slung around her husband. Her gaze drifts, back to her son watching the scene unfold obliviously before him while he balances in his aunt’s lap. Clarke moves her eyes up to examine Octavia, having only been invited after immense peer pressure from her.

 

As much as Clarke hates to admit it, Octavia is wonderful with August. She’s inexperienced, for sure, but she dotes on him almost as much as Bellamy does – except she’s able to spoil him, as the designated cool aunt. There’s always a new gift for August that they certainly don’t need, spends hours at a time just playing with him and sometimes she offers to take him for the night so her and Bellamy can have a night off – a request that’s seemingly directed towards her brother and is consequentially always, denied.

 

Octavia’s more tame now. She doesn’t snap at Clarke, and the new mom can handle the offhanded remarks she makes once in a while when Bellamy’s out of earshot. But they’re far from friends, probably far from being on good terms.

 

Clarke suddenly feels the urge to pour herself a second glass of wine.

 

“Octavia may cut my ring finger off before Bellamy proposes,” Clarke physically winces as the image plays across in her mind.

 

Raven throws her head back in a laugh, shaking her head in amusement. She turns to Clarke, a playful smile growing across her lips. “So, you think he’s going to propose?”

 

“I didn’t say that,” Clarke rolls her eyes.

 

“It was implied.”

 

On cue, Bellamy waltzes through the hall in mid-discussion with Shaw at his side. They disperse at the living room, Shaw walking over to the two of them while Bellamy heads straight for his sister. As the newlyweds exchange their affectionate greetings, Clarke watches Bellamy scoop August into his arms. Octavia’s mouth starts moving, undeniably in protest but Bellamy just sticks his tongue out at her, before proceeding to blow raspberries over his son’s stomach.

 

Clarke tilts her head to the side, examining the scene unfold in front of her. Bellamy has a habit of stealing August from people when it’s their turn, but Clarke doesn’t really mind in the moment. August doesn’t seem to care either, leaning into his father’s side as a chorus of giggles erupt from his lips. Bellamy dances his fingers across his belly, cooing at him in the most dramatic of ways to illicit more tangible reactions from their infant who’s barely three months old.

 

Yeah, Bellamy is the man she’s going to marry. There’s no question about it. But for once, Clarke feels no rush to speed things along. She knows he’s the one, he’s it for her. She doesn’t need a ring on her finger to prove that.

 

Bellamy wanders over to Clarke, cradling August in his arms. Their son looks so tiny, huddled in the bulk of Bellamy’s arms, peaking his head out so his eyes can wander around his surroundings. Clarke grins, instantly stretching her arms out to grab a hold of him, to which Bellamy pouts, angling his body away from her.

 

“I just got him,” Bellamy insists.

 

“Fine, but I want him next,” Clarke crouches down, nuzzling her nose against August’s. He gapes his mouth open in response, reaching his tiny hand out to grasp at his mother’s cheek. She laughs, pressing a kiss to his nose before she straightens, pecking Bellamy’s lips in a proper hello.

 

Raven glances at the two of them, an amused smirk gracing her features. She leans into Shaw’s side, his arm slung around her comfortably as she evaluates the two. “I can’t wait to fuck in the bathroom of your wedding.”

 

Bellamy coughs something hearty, heat rising to his cheeks in a glow of a deep red. Shaw snickers as Clarke takes advantage of the lapse in judgement, scooping August into her arms and cuddling him to her side. Bellamy’s still recovering from the comment Raven made, evidently flushed and embarrassed. Her eyes drift over him, trying to gauge if his awkwardness is a source of their encounter in that pristine bathroom all those months ago, of it’s a result of the mention of a wedding.

 

He leans against the marble countertop for support, forcing a sheepish smile. “Yeah, sorry about that.”

 

Raven shrugs, right in her judgement not to believe him as she cuddles into Shaw’s side. Clarke glances over at Bellamy, a smirk evident on her lips as he only stares back, bewildered and somewhat amused. However, the humor etching into Clarke’s expression fades as she balances August upwards, peppering his face with kisses as a whiff of a less enjoyable smell fills her nose.

 

Clarke scrunches up her nose in disgust, staring accusatorily at her son as he chews mindlessly on his fingers. “You stink, bub.”

 

“I can take him,” Bellamy offers, pushing off of the countertop, arms already outstretched to retrieve him.

 

“It’s alright,” Clarke insists, stepping out of Bellamy’s reach. “You haven’t even had any dessert. Go, enjoy yourself.”

 

“I rather be with him–”

 

“Bellamy, you bought all this dessert to not eat it yourself–”

 

“You guys are sick,” Shaw mutters, shaking his head. “Who fights over wanting to change a diaper?”

 

Bellamy smirks, his puppy dog persona melting into his true, arrogant fashion as he turns to look at Shaw, nudging his shoulder. “Soon, it’ll be you two.”

 

“Not soon,” Shaw and Raven echo in unison.

 

Clarke abandons the three in the midst of manufacturing Shaw and Raven’s hypothetical children, swiftly carrying her son into his nursery. She nudges the door closed with her elbow, the loud discussions that fill her apartment falling into murmurs. August gurgles at the newfound quietness, leaning into his mother’s chest as she waltzes through the room. He doesn’t make a fuss when she lays him down on the changing table, only stares up at her with his father’s eyes, wide and curious.

 

She can’t help but marvel at her son, run her fingers over the softness of his skin, plant a kiss on his cheek, whenever she gets the chance. It doesn’t matter what he’s doing, it’s not like August can do much at three months old. But Clarke’s heart soars something painful and wonderful all at the same time whenever he stares up at her, so oblivious to everything except for the fact that she’s his mother.

 

A soft raspberry is blown into his neck, earning another round of giggles from August. Clarke grins, crouching down to grab a fresh diaper and set it alongside the changing mat. “You’re such a good baby. You’re the best baby.”

 

Clarke goes to unbuckle his onesie, navy blue fabric with the word’s #1 Sonsprawled across the belly in bold, sky blue letters. She remembers when Bellamy came home with it, the day they brought August back to the apartment, him having secretly purchased it at the hospital gift shop without Clarke’s knowledge. She put up a fuss then, saying they had more than enough clothes, but it did look absolutely adorable on him.

 

August kicks his legs in response to the new brush of air that courses through the room, hitting his now exposed skin. Clarke unravels his dirty diaper, trying to gently hold his legs as she swaps the old for a clean one.

 

“Good boy,” Clarke praises, eyes locked with her son. “You’re a champ. Aren’t you, August?”

 

“He could be Bellamy’s twin.”

 

Clarke jumps at the sound of a voice. She hadn’t even heard the door open, despite the chorus of voices that echoed through the tiny apartment. She glances over her shoulder, collecting herself, already knowing who stands in the doorway. Octavia watches her expectantly, as if deciding whether or not she should go any further. Clarke doesn’t know what to say to her, rarely ever does, but even more so in these past couple of months.

 

Usually, they’re only alone for a few seconds, when Bellamy leaves the room. It’s enough time for Octavia to bite out a remark, but not enough for them to dive into a conversation, civil or otherwise. Clarke’s teeth graze her bottom lip in contemplation, before a gurgle from August centers her back to reality. She glances at him, her son more curious to the sound of another voice filling his nursery.

 

“Yeah,” Clarke musters. “He’s all Bellamy.”

 

Clarke doesn’t turn, but she feels Octavia’s footsteps closer, hears the door creak to a close. The anxiousness that builds in her chest is only managed by a look at August, sweet and wide-eyed. Octavia would never harm her with anything more than a tongue lashing, but even so, Clarke doesn’t find herself scared of her. If anything, it’s all the history that lies between them, all that Clarke’s done etched permanently into the younger Blake’s mind. Octavia’s image of Clarke is the same of that ten, almost eleven years ago. There’s no redemption for her in the Blake sister’s mind.

 

Octavia’s shoulder brushes against Clarke’s as she reaches the changing table, her fingers lightly tapping against the wood. She peers at August, and out of Clarke’s peripheral she can see the way her eyes light up when he glances back at her. Clarke patches up the new diaper, securing it in place before she begins bunching up the onesie, preparing to slip it back onto his chunky legs.

 

“I assumed the name August was from Augustus when Bellamy told me,” Octavia speaks suddenly, her thoughts seemingly bubbling from her mouth. “I never asked. But I kind of figured I was wrong.”

 

“How so?” Clarke challenges, facial expression deceiving as she smiles widely at August, trying to put on the charade that she’s friends with his aunt.

 

“I figured it would be a name that meant something to the two of you. Not to me.” 

 

“His middle name is Jacob. That’s for my father.”

 

“I know, but it’s a middle name,” Octavia huffs out, like she’s becoming increasingly irritated that Clarke’s not picking up on her subtle, non-existent hints. She glances at Clarke for the first time, tearing her eyes away from August. “It’s the month you guys started dating, right?”

 

Clarke nods slowly, slipping the onesie onto one of August’s legs.

 

Octavia continues, not done with her halfhearted analysis, “And it’s the month you left.”

 

Clarke sucks in a shallow breath, but nods again, buttoning up August’s onesie. “It’s also the month Bellamy and I found each other again.”

 

If the previous mention was supposed to be a hit to Clarke, Octavia retracts that strategy. Her eyes drift back down to August, now clean and dressed and wriggling about on the changing table before her eyes return to Clarke. “And the month our mother passed.”

 

August Jacob Griffin-Blake was a name Bellamy and Clarke hadn’t decided on until hours after they laid eyes on him. Jacob had been set in stone as a middle name since they discovered he was a boy, and the Griffin-Blake hyphenation was agreed upon much earlier than that. The first name was always lost on them, though, and they figured once they laid eyes on their son, it would be easier from there.

 

“Bellamy chose the name,” Clarke finds herself saying. “You were right, sort of. It’s kind of from Augustus. He was telling me how he chose to name you.” Octavia’s eyes soften, the hint of smile gracing her lips. “And then we got to August. And you were right about all that stuff, too. It just fit him, fit our story, if that makes any sense. Plus, his middle name is an ode to my father and it worked out that August is an ode to your mother.”

 

And it fit their son perfectly. Whenever her or Bellamy glanced at August, at his big, gummy smile or wide, brown eyes, they couldn’t picture him with any other suitable name. It was like the word was meant for him and for him only.

 

Octavia nods, comprehending the information Clarke’s provided for her. She looks like she wants to say more, ask more questions, but decides against it. She’s clearly still not comfortable enough with her. Clarke’s surprised they’re even having this conversation in the first place.

 

Clarke glances at Octavia, tearing her eyes away from her son to stare at her. Her voice is soft, but curious, exploratory. “Why didn’t you just ask Bellamy?”

 

“He would have launched into some sappy retelling,” Octavia shrugs. “He’d make me cry. Worse can scenario, you make me angry.”

 

“And that’s better than crying?” Clarke questions, eyebrow quipped.

 

Octavia chuckles darkly, shaking her head as it descends back to gazing at August. She reaches out, her fingers grazing across the softness of his belly as Clarke just watches. Her touch is gentle and full of care, something that’s so odd for Clarke to witness from Octavia. Her hand caresses across his belly, earning a wave of giggles from August. Octavia smiles in reply, retracting her hand, allowing her fingers to tap against the wood once more, her gaze still intent on her nephew before her.

 

There’s a pause, before Octavia says, “I’ve got to hand it to you. All your flaws, you still managed to make a pretty cute kid.”

 

Clarke smiles, casting her gaze down at August. “We did, Bellamy and I.”

 

Octavia’s head raises again, examining Clarke. Her tongue smoothens over her lip, debating whether or not to utter the words that are reworking in her mind. But suddenly, the words flow from her lips, “He loves you so much. So much that it scares me. At least with Echo, I could tell it wasn’t going to last because he wasn’t a hundred percent in it. But with you, he’s all in.”

 

“And I’m all in, too,” Clarke turns to look at her, stern and serious and pleading all the same. “I love him and August, more than anything.”

 

Octavia nods, slow as if she’s contemplating whether or not to believe her. She doesn’t seem entirely convinced, and Clarke’s sure there’s nothing she can say that’s going to make her a hundred percent on board with the idea of the two of them being together. But it’s as if Octavia realizes that too, slowly nodding and returning to stare at August.

 

“Then I can tolerate you,” Octavia settles on. She reaches out, brushing her finger under August’s chin. “For Bellamy. And for him.”

 

Clarke glances at Octavia, dark hair falling over the sides of face in curtains, attempting to mask the glow on her face that's directed towards her nephew. She knows that’s all she’s going to get from the Blake sister. Her devotion to her brother and pure, adoration for her nephew is enough for Clarke. She can manage Octavia’s tolerance, especially if she gets to love Bellamy for the lifetime they have ahead.

 


 

Bellamy’s fingers dance across her exposed back, purposely sending tingling sensations throughout her skin, bundling into her nerves. Clarke can easily see him smirking in the mirror as a shallow breath escapes her lips. He catches her eyes in the reflection, dark and teasing as Clarke stares back, almost breathless with her knees weakening all before six o’clock. Bellamy keeps his eyes trained on her, leaning in to press a soft, bruising kiss in the juncture between her neck and shoulder.

 

“Bellamy,” Clarke whines, tilting her head to give him easier access to her skin. He snickers in response, zipping up her dress all the way before taking a step back. Clarke glares through the reflection in the mirror, turning to face him. “You can’t tease me like that before we go out.”

 

“I think it’s fun,” Bellamy shrugs, his lips stretching into a grin as he walks forward. He brings his hands up to pinch either sizes of her jaw, staring down at her in a mixture of amusement and adoration. “You look absolutely gorgeous, baby.”

 

He had a hand in choosing her attire for the night. A simple, summer dress to welcome the season while also allowing her to move around without feeling constrained. It’s light blue brought out the color in her eyes and accentuated her golden locks, it’s thick straps holding up her chest while it flew just above her thigh. Bellamy glances over her once more, running his tongue over his lips, eyes hungry with lust. Clarke stares back, heat already growing between her legs, just by the way he looks at her. She doesn’t think she’ll ever get over it.

 

Bellamy brings her forward, capturing her lips in a slow, torturous kiss. Clarke deepens the kiss, tugging on the collar of his shirt to bring him closer. She moves her hands over the base of his chest, marveling over his body as he mirrors her, his hands moving down to cup her ass. She moans into him involuntarily, feeling Bellamy’s smirk against her lips, and effectively derailing her attempt to further their encounter. The laugh that escapes his mouth sends vibrations through hers, tingling her body while increasing her irritation as he pulls away.

 

“We have the whole night, baby,” Bellamy teases, his hot breath tickling Clarke’s skin. “And your mother is in the next room.”

 

Clarke tenses at the mention, like the reality of her mother being in the next room had drifted from her mind. “That just killed the mood.”

 

“Good,” Bellamy laughs, a small smile creeping up on his lips. He brings his hand to her forearms, lighting rubbing warmth into them in an attempt to relax her. “Let’s say goodnight to the baby and get on our way, okay?”

 

Clarke allows Bellamy to intertwine their fingers, leading them out of the bedroom and into the living room. To Clarke’s surprise, Marcus isn’t holding the baby when the waltz into the room, instead Abby cradling the three month old close to her, laughing at something her boyfriend said to her. August laughs, too – more so, gurgles – like he understands anything about the interaction that just transpired and Clarke’s mother stares at him so fondly, a fraction of her nerves manage to settle.

 

Abby’s head jerks up when she hears them enter the room. She surveys over Clarke, and then Bellamy, before setting her gaze back on her daughter. “That’s the dress you’re wearing?”

 

And just like that, the bundle of nerves return, pricking at Clarke’s skin. She feels Bellamy squeeze her hand. Through gritted teeth, she replies, “It is.”

 

She expects another round of passive aggressive judgments to slip through her mother’s lips as Abby examines her once more. Her head swivels to Marcus, and a grin stretches across her face. “Clarke looks amazing, doesn’t she, Marcus? You couldn’t even tell she had a baby three months ago!”

 

It’s a backtrack, Clarke can tell. But she appreciates the way her mother doesn’t just blatantly let things slip from her mouth without any rectification afterwards. She takes the compliment as it is, because it’s an appreciative effort and a step in the right direction, after all. Marcus says something in agreeance, along the lines of an encouraging statement that goes through one of Clarke’s ears and out the other, but luckily Bellamy interjects with an appropriate thank you.

 

Clarke steps forward, surging August from her mother’s arms and peppering him in kisses. August stares back at his mother, relatively unphased as she pulls her lips away from him, cradling him in her arms. “Mommy’s going to miss you.”

 

“It’s only for a couple of hours,” Abby raises an eyebrow, unimpressed. “It’ll be nice for him to spend some time with his grandmother.”

 

“I know it will,” Clarke sighs, tickling under August’s chin to earn a round of giggles from him. “But I like being with him. This is the first time I’m leaving him with someone other than Bellamy.”

 

“I’ve taken care of a child before, Clarke.”

 

“That’s not the issue, mom. I’m just going to miss him.”

 

Clarke stares at her mother, as if she wouldn’t understand. As repaired as their relationship is, there are just some situations left unspoken, not dared to be spoken aloud. Her mother doesn’t have much sentimental value in her and while Clarke does trust her to take care of August, she doesn’t know how much she expects from her. Marcus, the one without kids let alone grandkids, has shown to be much more paternal in the past couple of months. He’s always holding August, muttering sweet things to him while Abby sticks around for the technical aspects; changing, feeding, putting him to sleep.

 

Abby stares back at her, and again to Clarke’s surprise, a smile creeps up onto her face, like she understands and – for once – relates. Her arm slings around Clarke’s shoulder, gently taking her in for a side hug, staring down at August’s curious, big brown eyes. “You never stop missing them. But you know, at the end of the day, you’re always going to come back to them.”

 

Clarke glances up at her mother, her gaze still intent on her grandson. She’s sure it’s double meaning doesn’t go over her mother’s head. She chews at her lip, nerves transforming into a sort of shiver through her spine. Abby looks up at her, a soft smile gracing her features. Clarke returns the smile, nodding appreciatively at her mother.

 

“Thank you,” Clarke settles on.

 

Abby’s eyes glisten for a moment, before she blinks and they disappear. Clarke wouldn’t have caught it if she wasn’t looking. She glances back at her son, smiling down at him and planting a kiss on his soft forehead, before passing him back to her mother for the night. The pair say their goodbyes to Abby and Marcus, paying special attention to their son before they leave the apartment for the night, their first night alone in over three months.

 

Bellamy takes her to dinner at The Anomaly, a casual restaurant downtown, with greasy pizza and the saltiest of fries. He orders a helping of the fries for the two of them to share, indulging in a classic cheeseburger. Clarke picks away at the fries, and finishes her grilled cheese pretty fast, but it’s not as good as Bellamy’s – she’s quick to reassure him. They top off with dessert, a thick, chocolate brownie with a mountain of whip cream on it. It reminds Clarke of their dates back in Arkadia, bonding over simple junk food while they laugh and talk for hours on end, disturbing the rest of the people dining without much of a care.

 

When Bellamy walks her across a boardwalk on the outskirts of Polis, the summer heat winding down with the sunset, hand in hand, he mentions this. “I figured fancy restaurants are kind of overrated. Especially cause at the end of the day, all you really like is my cooking.”

 

“I liked The Anomaly’s food,” Clarke shrugs, pausing her steps to kiss Bellamy’s cheek. “But you’ll always be my favorite chef.”

 

They etch off of the boardwalk, feet digging into the sand as they walk closer to the crisp, ocean water. Bellamy sits down first, tugging Clarke down with him until she falls haphazardly into his lap with a yelp. She’s mid-laugh when he throws his arms around her, peppering her with kisses all over her neck and face. Clarke tangles herself into his lap, Bellamy resting to plant kisses on her forehead, hands intertwined and fingers twiddling with one another’s.

 

Clarke stares out at the water, the soft crashing of waves filling her ears. They’re so close, the waves come up just inches away from their feet, but Clarke finds it comforting. She finds Bellamy more so, cuddling into him. His arms strengthen around her, holding her in place as the sun lowers itself. A breeze carries through them, whisking their hair backwards. Bellamy takes advantage, ducking his head into the crook of Clarke’s neck, leaving barely existent kisses on her skin.

 

“This sure beats parking lots,” Clarke grimaces at the memory.

 

Bellamy laughs, sending hearty vibrations throughout Clarke’s chest. “I remember that. Dinner and then sex in the back of my car before I would drive you home.”

 

“Can’t have sex on a beach.”

 

“Well, we can–”

 

“Not with all these people around–”

 

“I’m just kidding,” Bellamy muses, kissing her cheek.

 

Clarke leans into his touch, embracing the shower of affection he’s providing her. It’s not lack she has a lack of it, Bellamy always jumping at the chance to hold her, to cherish her. It’s so often that Clarke almost forgets this wasn’t her life, that somewhere along the way, one, wrong move and he wouldn’t have been a part of her future.

 

She tilts her head up, ear pressed against his chest. Bellamy looks down at her, a curious smile on his lips before he leans down to kiss her. Clarke returns the kiss, mimicking his soft movements before she pulls away, relishing in having him so close to her in more ways than one.

 

“I don’t know how I was so stupid,” Clarke mumbles, so low only he can hear. “All those years ago. To give this up, for something I could have still had.”

 

“It’s in the past, Clarke,” Bellamy assures her, reaching out to tuck a stray strand of hair whisked away by the wind behind her ear. “I’m here now. And I’m not going anywhere, even if you want me to.”

 

It’s a joke, but Clarke doesn’t laugh. “I’m never going to want anything more than you. I’m spending the rest of my life with you, Bellamy. I promise you.”

 

Bellamy’s smile falters, but not out of uncertainty or fear. Her words sink into him, and his breathing becomes a little more shallow. Clarke tucks herself closer into his embrace, allowing him to lean down and rest his forehead against hers. His amused expression returns, a challenging smirk making an appearance on his lips. “Is that a proposal I hear, princess?”

 

Clarke nuzzles her nose against his. “You’re so eager to jump into another marriage after getting out of one?”

 

“When you know, you know,” Bellamy grins. He presses a kiss to the corner of her mouth, tauntingly slow and gentle. “I have the rest of my life to spend with you.”

 

“You’re right,” Clarke agrees, reaching out to dust her fingers against his cheek. “There’s no timeline. I know one day we’ll be there. But right now, I love where we are.”

 

“Me, too.”

 

Bellamy readjusts her on his lap, Clarke perched on his thigh so that they’re eye level. His eyes lock with hers and the tone shifts, Clarke can tell as Bellamy tightens his grip around her hand. “You always say you don’t know how you could’ve made those mistakes back then. But we were so young, Clarke. I barely knew what I was doing with my degree and even though you have a step-by-step plan, you couldn’t predict how we, at eighteen and nineteen, fit into that. You don’t need to keep holding it over your head.”

 

“I messed up after that,” Clarke points out, lips pursed together to refrain from quivering.

 

“You did,” Bellamy confirms with a nod. “But, I know you. I know your ambitions drive you and they cause you to put what you think is yourself, before others. But you always make the right decision in the end. I love you because you’re crazy smart and crazy ambitious and you fight for what you want, whether that’s your career, or our son – or me.”

 

Clarke leans her forehead against his, soaking in his words and trying to ignore the fact that her chest feels like it’s going to burst with pure adoration for the man that loves her so deeply.

 

“I know you think you don’t deserve this, how much I love you,” Bellamy takes her hand and holds it over his chest. “But you do, baby. You and August are not only my first priority, but my everything. I wasn’t a fraction as happy with my life before as I am now. And that’s because of you.”

 

Tears stream down Clarke’s cheeks before she can stop them, an embarrassing hiccup escaping from her mouth in chorus. Bellamy reaches out to cup her cheeks, digging his forehead into hers and swiping away her tears with his thumbs. Clarke’s hand is still on his chest, except now it’s clawing at his shirt, bringing him closer so she can crash her lips onto his. She desperately grasps for his mouth, his chapped lips scratching away at hers and bringing her an overwhelming sense of relief that floods through her body.

 

Bellamy deepens the kiss. His hand travels down from her face to clasp at her lower back, holding her in place. After a couple of moments, Bellamy detaches his lips from hers, resting their foreheads together. He stares at her, so intently that Clarke feels her heart about to burst into a million pieces. He doesn’t say anything, not that he needs to. Clarke understands.

 

Still, Clarke doesn’t know how she got so lucky. There’s still a voice at the back of her mind, telling her she doesn’t deserve how unequivocally devoted this man is to her. And maybe it will take her a while to believe it, but she’ll spend the rest of her life proving it to him.

 


 

Stacks of boxes decorate Clarke’s apartment, propped up in almost every corner of space. They’re all labelled, brown cardboard sprawled across with a black, bold sharpie. Everywhere she turns, there’s a new box to seal, or one empty to fill with miscellaneous items and toiletries. She just finished, what she can only hope and pray is the last one. Clarke checks her list, the crumbled piece of paper staring back at her tauntingly. She checks off the last box and collapses onto the couch with a huff.

 

She can clearly see the opened cabinets and drawers, emptied of its contents, but she’s so exhausted that she has to make a mental note to close them all before they leave tomorrow. Otherwise, everything else is finished for the most part. The nursery is emptied, with only the crib left for August to sleep in for the night, leaving the movers to pack it up in the morning. Her paint supplies are in one or two boxes scattered somewhere, and it’s probably going to take her longer to unpack them when they get to the house. Her bedroom, save for the sheets and the bed, are all secure in boxes.

 

And the sticky notes are gone. Well, most of them. The completed ones are crumpled up, thrown into the garbage, left to the dumpster and never to be seen again. Good riddance. Clarke’s forgotten what it’s like not see a sore patch of yellow in the middle of her walls, doors and cabinets.

 

Sinking into the cushion, Clarke hears the gentle close of a door from the hallway. Bellamy creeps into the living room, tiptoeing slowly. His eyes catch Clarke sprawled out on the couch, instantly going to tower over her. Clarke giggles as Bellamy lays on top of her, showering her with kisses all over her face.

 

Satisfied, Bellamy shifts to the side, back pressed against the cushion of the couch. They scan the mostly, emptied living room in unison, basking in the bareness of it.

 

“Finished the last box?” Bellamy presumes, eyes still on the emptiness of Clarke’s apartment.

 

“Hm,” Clarke hums in agreeance. She falters, if only a little. “I’m not going to miss this place.”

 

Bellamy stifles a laugh, careful not to make any loud sounds and disrupt August’s slumber. He stares down at her, woefully entertained. “Oh, yeah? Why not?”

 

Clarke shifts, head swiveling to stare up at him. His elbow is dug into the cushion right beside her head, his cheek cradled into the palm of his hand. His eyes, curious and full of amusement bring a smile to her face. She leans up, gently pecking at his lips before settling back into the comfortableness of the couch.

 

“I think it’s because I’m so excited about the new house,” Clarke turns, wrapping her arms around his torso as she cuddles into him. “That’s our home.”

 

Bellamy gently brings hand to her cheek, absentmindedly rubbing his thumb in circles against her porcelain skin. His smile is small, but his eyes glisten with pure affection, boring into hers. “You and August are my home.”

 

Unable to resist, her heart bursting at the seams, Clarke leans up, crashing her lips against his. Bellamy grins into the kiss, giving Clarke less to grip on as she attempts to nuzzle her way closer to him. He draws back, pecking at her nose, his hand moving down from her cheek to grip her waist.

 

“I can’t wait to get to the new house either,” Bellamy quips, voice low and soothing as it hums through Clarke’s ears. “It feels like our life is just starting. Does that make sense?”

 

Perfect sense, Clarke thinks. The words are intended to slip from her mouth, but as she stares up at Bellamy, nothing falls from her lips. She could get lost in the brownness of his eyes, so similar to their son’s but with years of life etched into them. The admiration that shines, the pure, unequivocal love that emits from them, meant only for their small, little family. She can’t believe a year ago, she didn’t have this. She didn’t have a person that looked at her this way without any prompting, didn’t have Bellamy wrapped in her embrace, didn’t have their son sleeping away in the next room.

 

Bellamy searches her eyes for an answer, unable to read the variety of thoughts that scatter her brain. He shuffles closer to her, Clarke tightening her grip around his torso as he leans down to rest his forehead against hers. She presses a light kiss to the divot in his chin, earning a low chuckle and fond smile from Bellamy. His eyes rest on her, eyes travelling over her in a deeper search.

 

“I hope I didn’t scare you away again,” Bellamy mumbles, although his tone is light and brimming with amusement.

 

What would be the prickling of nerves spiking up Clarke’s spine doesn’t arrive this time. She finds solace in the tone of his voice, in the fact that he’s joking. That he’s not actually scared that she’s going to pick up and run away again. There’s no bone in her body, no thought that crosses her mind about that ever happening again.

 

“Never,” Clarke promises, could swear it a million times over and over again. Her tone, serious and pleading, takes Bellamy by surprise, his eyes widening just the slightest. He opens his mouth, seemingly to reassure her once more. But Clarke doesn’t need it. She surges up, capturing his lips in a fiery kiss. Bellamy goes to deepen his lips against hers, a groan leaving his mouth when Clarke pulls away with a boisterous smile instead. “We’re just getting started, baby.”

 

Bellamy grins, leaning in closer. His lips, less than an inch from away from her as he breathes, “I love you, princess.”

 

Clarke lips scrape against his as she whispers, “I love you. So fucking much.”

 

They join together, lips crashing against one another in a desperate need for each other. It could almost be mistaken for a kiss between two people who haven’t seen each other for a long time, and in a way, that’s the case. Clarke’s never felt more herself, more in tune with who she is as an academic, as mother, as person than she does when she’s with Bellamy. No pressure to fit on a schedule, to be the best of the best, to be anything more than herself. Her heart never pumps as fiercely and as fast it does when she’s tangled with him.

 

Clarke feels his own heart thump against his chest, falling in sync with her own. Her arms, wrapped around his neck, melt into him, almost as if they’re seeping together. They’re already one, in Clarke’s eyes. No need for them to be joined at the hip or for a wedding ring to be placed on her finger. It’s the two of them and August, and it’s barely the beginning of it.

 

“You know what I am going to miss?” Bellamy mumbles against Clarke’s lips, unable to disconnect himself from her.

 

“Hm,” Clarke hums, too engrossed in the kiss to pull away.

 

“That marble countertop.”

 

That does it, Clarke throwing her head back in a laugh. Bellamy instantly goes to attack her neck, planting a row of kisses from her shoulder and up the pathway to her jaw. Clarke squeals in delight, careful to be quiet enough that her sounds don’t carry through the apartment and disrupt August, although the pure bliss that consumes every bit of her makes it more difficult. Bellamy leaves a row of kisses along her jaw before etching up back to her lips.

 

Clarke stares down at him, eyes full of mischief as he lightly kisses the corner of her mouth. “I don’t think we’ve said our proper goodbye to the marble countertop.”

 

Another squeal leaves her lips as Bellamy scoops her up in his arms without warning, his eagerness causing another laugh to erupt from Clarke. He swiftly swings his legs off of the couch, carrying Clarke bridal style into the kitchen before he sets her down on the island. The cool of the marble stuns Clarke more than the movement does, but its quickly dispersed by the overwhelming heat that pools at her legs as Bellamy glowers down at her, eyes full of lust.

 

Clarke looks up at him, feigning innocence with her big, blue eyes. Her eyes catch the scene behind him, all the opened cabinets and drawers appearing disorientated while Bellamy stands before her, tall and firm. Her breathing becomes shallow, the sight alone adding to the desire just to have him on top of her. Bellamy seems to read her mind, staring down at her with that infamous smirk that accentuates the scar above his lip, a habit of his that she’ll never tire of.

 

Without a word, Bellamy tucks his fingers under the waistband of her fleece shorts, pulling them down in one swift motion. They fall somewhere on the floor, Clarke hears the thud, but then all she can hear is ringing as Bellamy begins leaving a slew of kisses along her inner thighs. Her hand flies down to clasp at his curls, nudging his face closer to no avail, his movement aching slow as he leaves a pattern of teeth and tongue along the inside of her thighs.

 

She knows when he gets there, can feel his hot breath against her cunt through the thin fabric of her unaware. Bellamy places a kiss to the fabric, already dampened and Clarke moans out in disdain. She tries to be quieter than usual, not wanting to disrupt the last time they’re going to do this here, but he makes it increasingly difficult, especially when he shuffles her panties aside to slick a finger down her folds.

 

“Bellamy,” Clarke mewls. “I need you.”

 

“I know, baby,” Bellamy gently runs his finger up and down, eliciting a wave of pleasure that courses through Clarke’s body. Her hips jerk up, to which Bellamy responds by placing his mouth right against her clit, a quick kiss that Clarke can barely feel before its gone. “I’m going to take care of you. Just need you to be patient.”

 

There’s no part of Clarke that wants to be patient. After finally having Bellamy, officially, she never wants to sit around and wait again. But he’s here, sitting in front of her. And she can’t deny how amazing he makes her feel every single time they do this, without a doubt. Clarke nods, adjusting herself to balance on her forearms so she can look at him perched in between her legs.

 

Bellamy smirks up at her, “Good girl.”

 

Clarke almost collapses right there, only managing to keep herself up with the incentive that she gets to watch him. Bellamy’s eyes lower back to her cunt, now no longer content with her panties just brushed to the side. He yanks them down in one fluid motion, discarding them with her shorts somewhere on the floor, not that Clarke follows as he presses one, longer kiss to her clit. She gasps as he lightly begins to suckle on her clit, using his hands to pry open her cunt before he provides a firm lick to the middle of her.

 

Her head falls back, a guttural moan fighting to escape her lips. Bellamy laps at her pussy, incessant and strong while his fingers circle around her clit. His tongue explores every inch of her, hits every spot that makes her want to cry out his name. He collects every part of her from the bottom, before his tongue swipes up, smearing her wetness all over her cunt as it coats his mouth.

 

“Bellamy, Bellamy, Bellamy,” she chants, only so low because it comes out in breaths. “Please, baby, I’m almost there.”

 

Bellamy moans into her cunt, the vibrations resonating throughout her pussy and giving her the extra edge that she craves. Somehow, he dives deeper into her cunt, his tongue fucking in and out of her at alarming rates as his fingers furiously circle at her clit. Clarke bites down on her lip, so hard she can taste blood, but it’s nothing compared to immense pleasure that overtakes her as she reaches her peak.

 

Her orgasm falls over her like a wave, Bellamy’s lips back to suckling on her clit to ride her through it. Clarke involuntarily jerks her hips into his mouth, the aftershocks of her orgasm betraying her. She can feel Bellamy smirk into her cunt, but at this point she doesn’t care. She collapses on the marble, the coolness centering her back to reality for a moment.

 

However, Bellamy doesn’t seem to be done with her. He climbs on top of the marble island, hovering over Clarke and giving her ample access to his cock imprinting his sweatpants. On instinct, she reaches for him, desperate to get her hands around the thick of him, only for Bellamy to grab her wrists, pinning them against the marble. His mouth travels up her body, pausing to outline her stretch marks with his tongue. Clarke arches her body up to meet him and once he’s finished marveling at all she is, he smashes his lips against hers, hard and achingly. Clarke moans in protest when he draws back.

 

“I fucking love your cunt,” Bellamy whines, pulling her up so he can remove her tank top. Her tits burst from the release of the fabric, nipples stiff due to the whiff of cold air. He marvels at her tits for a moment, before grabbing a fistful of them. “Just as much as I love your tits.”

 

They’re substantially larger now with Clarke’s new role as August’s milk supply. Her tits were already big to begin with, and now that they’ve managed to be raised a cup size, Bellamy can’t get enough of them. For a while, she wouldn’t let Bellamy touch them, scared she’d leak milk. Even after she did finally give him access, they would leak if she hadn’t fully drained them beforehand. Not that Bellamy cared in the slightest, but she certainly did.

 

Clarke tries to recall how long ago it was. It couldn’t have been longer than a few hours, having stored her pumped milk in the fridge ahead of the long day they were going to have tomorrow. Bellamy feels her tense, eyes fleeing up to her.

 

“Relax, baby,” Bellamy’s soft voice reassures her. He leans up to peck her lips, before returning his attention back to her breasts. “You’re so beautiful. So fucking gorgeous.”

 

Bellamy fists her tits in his palm, Clarke throwing her head back in immense pleasure before he takes one in his mouth. Her hand flies up to the back of his head, holding him in place as her mouth gapes open. His fingers find their way to his cunt once more, this time working in and out of her slowly before he switches to the other breast to give it equal attention.

 

His haphazard position causes him to shift all his weight on top of her, and Clarke admires how every inch of him is pressed against some part of her skin. She can feel his chest heave at her torso he mouths at her breast, flicking his tongue against her nipple while his free hand pumps his fingers in and out of her in a steady rhythm. She aches forward at his touch, a strangled moan escaping her lips as his erection digs into her thigh.

 

“Bellamy,” this time his name doesn’t come out in chants. She calls to his attention, but he’s too enwrapped in his pace, suckling her tits and fucking her with his fingers. “Bellamy, baby, come here.”

 

At the sound of her soft, pleading voice, Bellamy’s head lifts, her breast falling from his lips with a significant pop. Clarke tries to shuffle up, but his fingers are still digging inside of her, hitting an unearthly spot that makes her want to collapse all over again. She manages to lift her head just enough to meet his eyes, concerned but dark.

 

“I want to put my mouth on you,” Clarke whispers

 

Bellamy’s fingers falter inside of her. “Let me finish you off first, okay, baby?”

 

Clarke nods, something hurried because she’s dizzy from the way his fingers move inside of her. Her head leans back, locks of hair either sprawled across the marble top or matted to her forehead. Bellamy’s rhythm changes, fingers now furiously fucking into her. He shifts downward, hopping off the island to crouch down and bring his mouth back to her clit, sucking hard. The combination is enough to drive Clarke over the edge again, hands clasping at nothing but the cold, marble cabinet she’s pressed against.

 

She barely comes down from her second orgasm before she’s shifting off of the island. Bellamy stands back, cock visibly restrained in his sweatpants, holding out his hand to help her. Clarke shakily grabs his hand, jumping off the island. Her knees are weak, nearly buckling when her feet make contact with the floor. Bellamy swoops in, catching her before she can collapse onto the ground, a weak, but lustful smirk playing at his lips.

 

He’s clearly proud of his work. Clarke can barely feel any inch of her body, her last two orgasms being the only wave of emotion that floods through her. Captured in Bellamy’s arms, she finds some semblance of strength to lift her head and crash her lips onto his. It’s weak, and lazy and messy, her lips scrambling to seal every inch of his own. Bellamy’s more than responsive though, deepening the kiss and mimicking her movements, as if he has it memorized her every move, all the while still aching to learn more.

 

Clarke places her hands on his chest, slowly drawing back from him with a newfound strength. She sinks to her knees as Bellamy leans against the opposite countertop. He shuts an opened cabinet with his back as he does so, loud enough that it echoes through the kitchen. Both of them wince, ears straining for a sound of cries they’re sure is to come. They wait a couple moments, even their own breathing remaining still, but August’s voice doesn’t hum through the air.

 

“I thought for sure that was it,” Clarke shakes her head, letting out a puff of breath that she’d been holding. “You’re so lucky.”

 

Bellamy’s eyes are trained on her, a smile deepening across his face. “Oh, you have no idea, princess.”

 

Clarke grins up at him, grasping at the fabric of his pants, making sure his boxers underneath are also connected in her fists before she yanks them down. His cock springs out, nearly smacking Clarke in the face. She brings her hand to the base of him as Bellamy kicks his pants and boxers off. His hands are clasped on the countertops of either side of him, but his eyes are on hers, dark and lustful as her hand slowly works up his shaft from the base of him.

 

Bellamy’s eyes flutter closed against his better judgement, knuckles whitening at how hard he’s gripping the countertop. It’s only when she brings her mouth to his tip, lightly gliding her tongue against the pre-cum that’s collected that his eyes open once more, half-lidded and utterly amazed at the sight of her.

 

“Baby,” Bellamy whimpers.

 

Clarke encloses her mouth around the tip, humming as she works her way down his shaft. Bellamy’s groan rumbles from his throat, her slow pace making everything ten times more excruciating. She brings her free hand up to palm at the base of him before she picks up her pace, her head bobbing up and down his cock as her tongue swirls around him.

 

One hand edging off of the countertop, Bellamy fists it through her hair, adding to the quickness of her movements. She’ll never get used to the length of him, to the aching in her jaw whenever he’s fucking her mouth. It’s similar to the ache in her cunt, only fulfilled by his cock jamming into her. She moans around him, feeling every inch of his cock in the tightness of her mouth. He’s close, she can tell by the way his hand grips at her hair.

 

Bellamy yanks her off his cock moments later, still holding her in place with his hand gripped in her hair. Clarke stares up at him with big doe eyes, and he can only look down at her in pure admiration for a second before he leans down and heaves her up in his arms. He crashes his lips against hers, arms wrapped around her upper back to hold her up steady. His cock presses against her bare abdomen as he cradles her, kissing her like it’s the last thing he’s ever going to do.

 

“You’re fucking amazing,” Bellamy breathes into her lips.

 

He draws back, detangling his arms from her to slip off his shirt. He throws it somewhere, and before it smacks against the ground, his mouth is back on hers. Clarke brings her hands up to cup his cheeks, bringing him even closer as their naked bodies submerge into one another. Bellamy’s arms drop from their place on her upper back, travelling down her body to scoop under her ass. He lifts her up, bringing her back over to the island, this time pinning her against the marble top and his hips instead of slamming her on the base of it.

 

Clarke marvels up at him, her lower back cooled by the marble, but her center full of heat from her legs wrapped around his torso. She can’t help it, smiling dreamily up at Bellamy as he climbs back on top of her. He catches her smile, returning it with a grin of his own before capturing her lips with his once more. Bellamy uses his free hand wrap around her lower back, just under where she’s pinned by the countertop. His other heads to his cock, steadying it against her sopping cunt.

 

Bellamy pushes into her with ease, his cock prepared with her saliva and her cunt decorated with his, in addition to her own mess. He buries his face into her shoulder, Clarke’s hands flying up to grasp at his hair as her legs tighten around his torso. He begins slowly, etching into her and stretching her cunt. Clarke moans out, stifling anything louder than that despite the pure ecstasy that courses through her veins at the feel of him inside of her. She looks down once, seeing them conjoined and working into one another, and her heart bursts at the view.

 

With her hand fisted in his hair, Clarke jerks his head back so he can look at her. His eyes are glossy and she can only imagine hers are too, feeling the prickle of tears and slick of sweat that beads down every inch of her. At the sight, Bellamy picks up his pace, slamming into her as her cunt tightens around him.

 

Clarke rests her forehead against Bellamy’s as he powers into her, the moans that escape her so low and only meant for his ears. “Fuck, Bellamy. You make me feel so fucking good.”

 

“Yeah, baby?” Bellamy breathes, his pace only quickening at her praise. “I’m the only one that can make you feel this good, huh?”

 

“Yes, yes,” Clarke chants in whispers, eyes locking with his despite being half-lidded. “I’m all yours, all yours.”

 

Bellamy loves the sound of that, snapping his hips towards her in response. “Yeah, you’re all mine. It’s just you and me, princess. You and me.”

 

Clarke brings her hands down to claw at his back for extra support, her chest slamming against his torso as he fucks into feverishly. They don’t break eye contact, lost in every aspect of one another. She can feel her cunt beginning to tighten, approaching her climax and by Bellamy’s erratic movements, he’s almost at the same point.

 

“I love you,” Clarke breathes. “I love you, I love you, I love you so much.”

 

A switch seems to flicker in Bellamy, his eyes darkening as if he’s never heard those words spoken from her mouth before his dick was buried inside of her cunt.

 

“Fuck,” Bellamy gasps. “I love you, baby. Fuck, I love you.”

 

Their chants of I Love You’s fail to fill the room, but Clarke thinks that’s okay. They say it over and over again, the words meant only for them to hear as their bodies move in sync, flesh colliding flesh as they reach their peaks.

 

Clarke’s cunt flutters around Bellamy’s cock as he anchors himself inside of her. Their orgasms course through them, Bellamy collapsing his head into Clarke’s shoulder as she holds onto him for dear life. She feels every part of him seep inside her as she clings to him. Her grip tightens around him, her heart beating alarmingly fast in unison with his own.

 

She’s the one to pull away, only slightly so he looks at her. Bellamy’s eyes are half-lidded, forehead sloppily resting against hers, but he’s staring at her nonetheless. Clarke wretches her fingers through his curls, the calmness of the action soothing him as much as it does her. Her lips lightly brush against his, him returning the kiss with the same softness.

 

All of her is still in awe; this is just the beginning for the two of them.

 


 

With the boxes being shuffled out of the rooms one by one, the apartment looks much larger. Some of the furniture is still in place, having come with the original renting proposition, but most of it is empty. The walls are bleak, the rooms lack any sort of accent and everything just seems bare. There’s a slight part of Clarke that already misses the place, but it’s overpowered by her boys, playing together on the bare floor in the living room.

 

August, now four months old, lays idly on Bellamy’s stomach. Bellamy’s found solitude in being sprawled across the floorboards, giving August ample access to roam about his father’s body. Not that he can move much, but it’s fun to see him try. Bellamy guides him for the most part, his son showing a gummy smile as he’s bounced about.

 

Clarke smiles fondly at the pair, more so at the way Bellamy’s eyes light up whenever August so much as gurgles. A giggle escapes her lips when he moves up, Bellamy propping himself against the wall and bouncing August in his lap, face morphing into a variety of caricatures in order to get their son to smile. It’s not hard to do, but Clarke knows how her heart swells whenever August flashes them a toothless grin, and can imagine it’s the same kind of feeling for Bellamy.

 

She walks over to the father and son, Bellamy looking up at her with a big grin before swiveling his gaze back to August. “Look, Gus, mommy’s going to join us on the floor.”

 

“Only for a minute,” Clarke insists, although half-hearted.

 

Bellamy cradles August in one arm, heaving his other arm upwards so Clarke can tuck herself into it. August reaches out to her, his mother easily scooping him into her arms as Bellamy embraces her. His curls are much more prominent now, making it look like he has more hair than a four month old needs. She draws her fingers through it, August sinking into her touch. She grins at him, his chubby cheeks stretching into a haphazard smile.

 

“Look at you,” Clarke whispers. “So much like daddy.”

 

Bellamy leans his temple against her head, gazing at their son in her lap. “He may look like me, but he’s all you. Stubborn–” Clarke rolls her eyes, but a fond smile is still on her face. She notices Bellamy glance at her out of her peripheral vision. “And crazy smart.”

 

“You are crazy smart,” Clarke marvels, bringing August closer so she can nuzzle her nose against his. August coos in response and her heart melts. “You’re perfect, aren’t you?”

 

Bellamy laughs, pecking at Clarke’s cheek. “Another thing he gets from you.”

 

Clarke’s head falls against the wall, tucking August into her side. He lays complicit against her chest, tiny hand pressed just below her collarbone. Silence falls over the family of three, and Clarke takes the opportunity to scan her now, bare apartment. All the boxes are gone, walls free of artwork and most of the furniture emptied. She supposes she should feel sad about it, having spent more than six years in this place. But then she glances at Bellamy, and she’s never felt more certain.

 

Bellamy leans his head against the wall, thumb brushing up against her shoulder. His smile is small, but so full of adoration and affection. And then she looks back at August, simply looking up at his parents with curiosity, eyes filled with all that’s unknown, chalk full of potential. Clarke couldn’t have felt more complete than she ever has in this moment in time, sitting here in this empty apartment with the love of her life and her son cuddled close to her.

 

“This is it, huh,” Bellamy takes a deep breath, following her gaze on August. “No more bachelorette pad for mommy.”

 

Clarke laughs, turning to stare at Bellamy. “I won’t miss it.”

 

“You better not.”

 

Bellamy captures her lips in a quick kiss despite the fit of giggles that erupt from Clarke. August seems to want in on the fun, leaning up with any strength he can muster and placing his hand in between his parents lips. Clarke draws back, while Bellamy pretends to bite at his hands, August surging into giggles so similar to his mother.

 

“I can’t believe I go back to work on Monday,” Clarke breathes, ruffling her fingers through August’s curls once more. “It’s going to be so different.”

 

“A good different,” Bellamy nudges her. “Your career is part of you.”

 

“So is motherhood.”

 

“Two of the many things that make you so extraordinary, Clarke. You’re going to fall right back into sync back in the clinic and you’ll love being a part of this research with Dr. Franco. Although, you’re going to love coming home to your new house and adorable, perfect son so much more.”

 

There’s a pause, a moment for Bellamy’s words to hang in the air before they settle into Clarke’s bones, resonating through every part of her body. She glances at him, eyes glistening. “And you.”

 

Bellamy grins, hearty and fond. “And me.”

 

They stay there for a moment longer, the three of them wrapped into one another, the quietness of the apartment only being disrupted by August’s giggles and coos. The moving van they rented is already on its way to the house, and all that’s left to do is buckle up their son in their car and drive there themselves. Yet, the pair can’t help but overstay their welcome just a while longer, cuddling into one another in the short amount they have time left in this apartment.

 

Bellamy’s the one to detangle himself first. Clarke watches, eyes following him as he scrambles to his feet, dusts himself off before turning to her and their son. He smiles down at her, silently telling her its time as he outstretches his hand. Clarke glances at August, still cradled in her arms, just waiting for her cue. She looks back up at Bellamy and takes his hand, allowing him to gently, heave her upwards.

 

His hand goes up to the back of August’s head, ruffling his curls and kissing his cheek. Bellamy draws back, looking to Clarke. She leans in, basking in the softness of his lips as they enclose around hers. It’s slow and drawn out, and she can’t wait to do this more in the new house that’s waiting for them.

 

“I’ll grab the diaper bag,” Bellamy mumbles against her lips before he pulls away. He steals a kiss from her cheek, her eyes just following him. He smirks at her, sensing her involuntary procrastination. “You ready, princess?”

 

Clarke finds herself grinning back, unable to control it. “As ready as you are.”

 

Bellamy takes a step back, turning his back to Clarke as he retrieves the diaper bag. Clarke walks to the door, standing by it as she watches him sling the diaper bag over his shoulder and scan around the room, double checking if he’s missed anything. She does the same, albeit more briefly before she glances at August, his big, brown, doe eyes staring up at her like she’s his whole world.

 

Clarke plants a soft kiss on his nose. “What about you, huh? You’re ready to see your home, right?”

 

August leans his head on her shoulder in reply. Clarke hugs him close to her, resting her chin on his head. Her palm lays flat against his back, feeling the steady patterns of his breathing as they soothe any nerves she’s thought to have. She slowly breathes out, eyes closed and trying to control the quickening on her heart rate. She peers through her son’s curls at Bellamy, satisfied with his last sweep of the apartment. He turns back to them, nodding his head in confirmation.

 

Bellamy waltzes towards the two of them, basking in the sight of his family as a smile creeps across his face. His hand finds the small of Clarke’s back, leaning in for one more quick, kiss. She turns as he draws back, watching as his hand reaches the handle and opens the door. He bows, hand still on the door handle earning a curious look from August and a giggle from Clarke.

 

“Princesses and princes first,” Bellamy echoes.

 

“I love you,” Clarke grins.

 

Bellamy leans up, a matching grin. “I love you.”

 

With that, Clarke glances at her son. August only looks on, oblivious to the actions that are about to transpire, more so to the ones that have occurred previously – what got them here in the first place. Clarke smacks her lips against his cheek, moving his curls out of his face. They’re ready to go.

 

Clarke steps forward, barely an inch out of the doorway before she remembers. She abruptly springs backwards, nearly knocking into Bellamy as she does so. He hovers over her, eyes brimmed with concern, but all she can do is look at him with a grin.

 

“Wait,” August still in her grasp, Clarke moves around Bellamy, her son bouncing along with her. He makes room for her, shuffling to the side as she closes the door halfway with her free hand.

 

The culprit, a bright, yellow sticky note stuck to the back of the door. Bellamy rolls his eyes, but huffs out a laugh as she plucks the final sticky note from the door, waving it in his face. August reaches for it, the yellow intriguing him but Clarke’s too busy shoving it in Bellamy’s face to notice.

 

“Last one,” Clarke announces, proud she remembered.

 

“Maybe we can put new ones up in the house,” Bellamy suggests, although his tone says he’s all teasing, flicking his finger against August’s cheek to distract him from the sticky note in his mother’s hand.

 

“Definitely not.”

 

Bellamy chuckles, “At least we completed these ones.”

 

Finally.”  

 

Clarke blows raspberries on August’s cheek before smacking her lips against it in celebration. She delicately places it on the back of August’s shirt, nuzzling her nose into his neck for the extra burst of comfort she craves from him. Bellamy stares at her, watching the two so engrossed in one another, for a moment before he etches forward. A quick kiss on Clarke’s lips and one hand on the small of her back, before he guides her out the apartment, eyes locked on his family. August still in her arms, Clarke uses her free hand to grab a hold of the door handle, closing it behind her family as they leave for their new home, the final sticky note still stuck to their son’s back.

 

Things to Actually Do: Bring Our Baby Home.