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The Graduation Pact

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Clarke slows her paddling, straddling her board and looking out towards the horizon as the waves rock her. Bellamy paddles out to meet her beyond the break, mimicking her position. They don’t say anything as they gaze towards the fast setting sun.

They had spent the entire afternoon surfing and were finally forced to surrender with the fading daylight. Clarke was exhausted, but it was the best kind of tired. The ache from working your muscles hard, the feeling of sun-soaked skin. Her saltwater drenched hair was pulled back into a french braid, but pieces of it were now falling out and sticking to her face. 

“I’m going to miss this,” Bellamy sighs. 

Clarke gives her best friend a teasing smile. “I can’t believe you chose somewhere without any good surf options.”

“I’ve looked it up, I think they have some …” he tries, voice doubtful and eyes still trained on the horizon. “But, just another excuse to visit you in LA anyways.”

Clarke laughs. “Glad you need the excuse.”

In a few months, both Clarke and Bellamy would be embarking on separate adventures at their colleges - their first solo adventures since...well, since forever. Clarke had been neighbors with Bellamy since the day she was born, and becoming best friends pretty much immediately followed. She couldn’t remember a time when she didn’t have Bellamy as her cure for boredom, her confidante, her cheerleader, her partner in crime. As neighbors, their parents had been friends since before they were both born. But then Bellamy’s father died when they were only six, leaving his mom to care for him and his baby sister alone. Clarke’s family helped in whatever way they could and while they were certainly friends before that, they had truly become family in the years since. Bellamy is her...he’s her Bellamy. There isn’t a singular category that he neatly fits into. All she knows is that she’s comfortable with him in a way she isn’t with anyone else in her life. In some ways, he nearly feels like an extension of her. She quite literally can’t remember a moment in time when she didn’t have him beside her, through the good and the bad. But that would all be changing soon.

Yesterday was their last day of school, and in just a week’s time, they would be donning their graduation robes and officially putting high school behind them. They were both leaving the home they grew up in, the only home they’d ever known - Big Island, Hawaii. They’d be going to universities far away from home, and far away from each other. The latter scared her more. Bellamy was accepted into Stanford University’s history program, while Clarke was going to attend the University of Southern California’s art program in Los Angeles. She knew, rationally, that of all the places across the country they could have ended up at, that they weren’t that far away from one another. Still, it was nearly a six hour drive instead of the six second walk they were used to. She’ll have to go weeks at a time without seeing him in person, maybe even months depending on how busy they both get. 

Clarke and Bellamy intended to make the most of their last summer together, before they parted ways in August. She was trying her hardest to focus on that instead of their inevitable separation.

“Alright,” she starts, trying to ready herself without giving it away. “Last one in buys the pizza,” she quickly shouts, turning to paddle back towards shore as quickly as she can, in spite of her tired muscles. 

Clarke laughs when she hears him yelling about cheating from behind her. 

Still, Bellamy ends up passing her and beating her in the final moment. He usually does, given that he’s got five inches on her and objectively bigger muscles, but he has no problem using that to his advantage. He never lets her win, but it makes the times when she does win all the more satisfying.

They’re both laughing by the time they’re walking up the beach, boards under their arms. Bellamy throws his free arm over her shoulders, pulling her closer as he taunts her. “Cheater buys pizza, huh?”

Clarke laughs, pushing him away. “ Asshole .” He’s not going to let her forget this for the rest of the night. 

“It’s called karma .”

Clarke shakes her head and rolls her eyes at him, but not without smiling. It’s nearly dark by the time they make it back to Bellamy’s old convertible jeep, the sky a dark shade of blue with the subtlest hint of orange. After storing their boards on top of the car, they dry off the best they can and Clarke pulls a pair of shorts over her bikini bottoms, not bothering to cover her top half. It’s technically a navy bikini top, but it’s tight and supportive, more akin to a sports bra. Not the flimsy kind that she laughs at when she sees them in the movies, as if those string bikinis would stay on her while she surfed. Bellamy leaves his swim trunks on and also doesn’t both with a shirt. Given that they’ve been surfing together since they were about five, Clarke barely gives much consideration to a shirtless Bellamy. In fact, she only rolls her eyes when she sees tourists fawning over the shirtless surfer and she knows he feels the same about her. It’s just not like that between them. 

Clarke cranks the radio as she plugs in her iPhone to the sound system. Days by the Drums starts to play and she hums along to the song absentmindedly. It’s only a five minute drive alongside the ocean to Farmers’ Pies & Munchies, known affectionately by the locals as Farmers. 

The bell over the door rings as they walk in and Monty looks up from where he’s standing behind the counter, leaning against it and scrolling through something on his phone. 

“Hey, guys,” he greets them, setting his phone down. “Usual?”

“Yeah. Thanks, man,” Bellamy answers for them. 

Monty yells the order through the window to the kitchen where his father is working while Bellamy and Clarke sit down at the counter, too tired to stand around while they wait for their order.

“You guys just coming in?”

“Yeah,” Clarke answers. “We were at Pine Trees, it was great. We were there since around 2.”

“Oh did you see Harper? I was trying to go with her but got roped into working.”

“Yeah, she was with us for a few hours, she came by with Monroe.”

“Damn, I can’t believe I lost a whole day. Feels even more depressing knowing our days are numbered.”

Monty got accepted into the biochemistry program at MIT, even further away from home than they would be. 

“We were just talking about that.”

“At least you guys can drive to a beach. I’ll be in New England .” 

He says it like it’s a cursed place, drawing laughs from Bellamy and Clarke.

“You said you were excited,” Bellamy reminds him.

“I am, I am,” Monty concedes. “I’ll just miss this. It’s going to be an adjustment.”

“Oh,” he adds. “Did you hear that Mbege is throwing a party the night of graduation?”

John Mbege was one of the wealthier amongst them, but a nice guy. His parents owned a decent chunk of land and happened to travel a lot for work, which meant that more often than not, days of surfing ended with kids drinking at his place. 

“His parents aren’t even going to be around for graduation?” Bellamy questions. 

Monty laughs. “Well I think they’re sticking around for the ceremony and flying out immediately after - I think he mentioned New York this time.” He shrugs. “Who knows.”

“Oh, by the way,,” Clarke starts. “Is my other order ready?”

Monty’s eyes twinkle with mischief. 

“Ah, almost forgot,” he tells her, leaning down to grab the small bottle from under the counter while Clarke fishes out a 20 dollar bill. She hands it over to Monty and he passes her a bottle of the homemade moonshine that Jasper and him make at Jasper’s farm, unbeknownst to Jasper’s parents. Monty takes advantage of his work shifts at Farmers by selling the bottles, quite literally under the table.

Clarke smirks as she takes it, quickly sticking it in the small backpack slung over her shoulder. “Thank you,” she sings. 

The three of them talk for about ten more minutes before Monty’s dad brings out their large supreme pizza and makes small talk for a few minutes.

When they get to the jeep, Clarke sets the pizza box between the seats before climbing in, kicking off her flip flops and throwing her feet on top of the dashboard. It’s completely dark out, although still warm and humid enough that it isn’t too cold, even with the breeze. Clarke hits play on her playlist and Saltwater by Geowulf starts playing. She sings along in a low voice while she digs through her bag for the moonshine. 

Come to the ocean

Even when you're broken

Sunrise when you call my name

Oh I thought you had something to say

When the tide wash me in

You and I no longer a thing

Unrepentantly I've waited for you

Clarke takes a small swig of the moonshine once she pulls it out.

“Clarke, I’m driving,” Bellamy starts to complain. He’s cut off by Clarke choking on the sip.

“Damn,” she mutters once she recovers, screwing the top back on. “Rough batch.”

Bellamy laughs. “Put it away.”

“Aye, aye, Captain.” She sticks it back in her bag and immediately opens the pizza box, grabbing a slice.

“Really? You can’t wait five minutes?” Bellamy chastises.

Clarke shakes her head. “I need something to wash the taste of that away.” She takes large bite of it, chewing greedily. “Besides, it’s my pizza, I bought it,” she argues around a mouthful.

Bellamy just laughs, shaking his head at her. 

“Bite?” she offers, putting the half eaten slice in front of his face.

Bellamy leans forward and takes a bite out of it, nearly moaning as she takes back the slice. “I’m so fucking hungry,” he complains. Clarke just laughs and offers him another bite after taking one herself.

--∞--

“We’re back,” Clarke calls, walking in through their back kitchen door. Bellamy follows her with the pizza in his hands, setting it down on their kitchen island.

Her mom walks in a minute later, as Clarke hops onto the kitchen counter and takes another slice of pizza. She eats it eagerly, feet swinging, as Bellamy leans against the adjacent counter and begins devouring his own slice.

“Hi sweetheart,” her mom greets her when she walks into the kitchen, giving her a quick peck on the cheek. She greets Bellamy and gives his shoulder a quick squeeze as she walks past him towards the fridge, taking out the water pitcher. “You remember we’re going for dinner and drinks with Thelonius and his new girlfriend tonight?” she asks, pouring herself a glass.

Clarke scoffs. “ That’ll be interesting,” she says after she swallows her mouthful of pizza.

“Be nice,” her dad warns in a good natured voice as he walks into the kitchen. Bellamy smirks at her scolding and Clarke throws her pizza crust at him in response. He catches it effortlessly and takes a bite of it, looking smug. Clarke glares and rolls her eyes.

“I’m just saying - Wells told us that she’s a golddigger.”

Her mom sighs. “Honey, it’s good he’s dating again. It’s been three years since Daisy passed. Wells is probably just adjusting to that. I’m sure it’s hard to see his father dating again.”

Clarke raises her eyebrows. “If you say so,” she quips in a doubtful voice.

“Ready?” her dad asks.

Her mom nods, putting her glass in the sink. “You guys behave - and no sitting on the furniture like that,” she warns, pointing between them at their still-damp, saltwater soaked swimwear. 

“You take first shower,” Clarke tells Bellamy once they leave, grabbing a third slice of pizza. “I’m still starving.”

“Fine, but leave me some,” he warns, heading towards Clarke’s room with his backpack. 

Clarke gives him a thumbs up and walks over to her living room, ignoring her mother’s warning and flopping down on the couch.

--∞--

Bellamy throws his backpack on Clarke’s bed before walking into her bathroom and turning the water on, peeling off his wet swim trunks. Clarke is one of the only teenagers he knows who’s lucky enough to have her own bathroom. He used to tease her about how spoiled she was, but then she retorted that it was hardly her own bathroom since she basically shared it with him. He couldn’t argue with that. He’s even got his own shit he keeps in her shower now, despite that he could just run home, next door, to shower. This is just easier, though.

Bellamy gets in the shower and starts lathering his hair with the shampoo he keeps in there. As he’s rinsing it out, he succumbs to picking up the bottle of Clarke’s shampoo and sniffing it once. Hers just smells so damn good and it’s a smell he now directly associates with Clarke - an enticing blend of coconut and praline, some vanilla too, and pistachio. Hell, he’d use it himself but she always yells at him for it. Apparently it’s some expensive brazilian brand or something. Last time he used it, he tried to deny it and got caught anyways. She saw through his lie and insisted he let her smell his hair. He refused and it ended with her chasing him around the house, eventually jumping on his back, pressing her nose to his curls and confirming her accusation. The girl has a nose like a bloodhound. 

He does his best to hurry through his shower so that Clarke can get in and is back in her room changing in less than ten minutes. Her room has changed here and there over the years, but it’s more or less a room he’s as familiar with as his own. He’s probably the only person who has “bedroom rights,” as the Griffins call it. Rightfully so - despite what some people at school think about how close they are, it’s just not like that with them. It never has been. Being in Clarke’s room isn’t the thrill of being in girl’s room - it’s the same room they built lego castles in when they were five, that they made a blanket fort in when they were seven. They had refused to sleep in their own beds for a week, to the exasperation of their parents. It’s the same room they first tried alcohol in when they were fourteen, having stolen some of her dad’s whiskey when curiosity got the best of them after hearing that some other kids in their class had started drinking. It was the room where they comforted each other through various breakups. 

When her and Lexa got in a blowout fight and broke up during spring of their junior year, it was Bellamy that Clarke had texted.

Clarke: Lexa and I broke up. Can you come over? I need human contact/someone to tell me how much better off I am.

Bellamy’s heart had clenched at that text. He was leaving his work shift at Second Dawn, a local surf shop, and it took all his strength not to speed on his way home. Lexa was an absolute moron, and had never been good enough for Clarke anyways. Of course he’d come over. He knew Clarke like the back of his hand, how she was a touchy person and would want someone with her. He would have come over anyways, even if she had simply texted Lexa and I broke up without asking for anything. 

Bellamy: Just ordered pizza which should arrive at your door in 30 minutes. I’ll be there in 15 with some moonshine and icecream.

Bellamy: Oh, and Lexa is an idiot.

Clarke: I love you.

They had spent the entire night in her room, eating pizza and icecream, getting decently buzzed from the moonshine. Upon request, he also forfeited his hoodie to her, hoping he would get it back eventually but knowing it was probably a lost cause. They fell asleep snuggled on top of her bed, her in his arms with her head on his chest. It was just how they were. They were each others’ safety, each others’ homes. They didn’t need others to understand it. 

--∞--

Clarke is on the couch, absentmindedly scrolling through the channels when Bellamy walks up to her, shaking his wet hair on her like a dog, a piece of pizza hanging out of his mouth.

“Stop it,” she whines, kicking him away.

Bellamy laughs, collapsing onto the other side of the couch. “Go shower.”

Clarke throws the remote towards him and hurries through her shower, wanting to be snuggled on the couch again with a fourth slice of pizza as soon as possible. She comes back fifteen minutes later wearing a pair of black leggings and a worn gray muscle tank with a sports bra under it. 

“I’m exhausted,” she complains, falling back onto the couch and taking a bite of her pizza. 

“Same,” he agrees, around a mouthful of pizza. He must have gotten another slice when she was gone. 

“What are we watching?” he asks. He seems to be flipping through channels as mindlessly as she was.

“Why didn’t we get icecream?” she ponders, ignoring his question.

“Fuck. That does sound good.”

Clarke looks up at him with pleading eyes. 

“No way in hell am I going to the store right now,” he tells her before she can even ask, pausing his channel flipping. He’s randomly landed on TBS. When Clarke realizes the movie My Best Friend’s Wedding is playing, she rolls her eyes.

“This movie is so damn stupid,” she complains. “Keep going.”

Bellamy lets out a single, mocking laugh, nearly startling her.

Still laying down, Clarke manages to kick his leg. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

“Seriously?” he questions. “Was it not your idea to make a sex pact three years ago?”

Clarke pauses as the memory washes over her, eventually breaking into a smile and giggling at herself. “Oh yeah.”

“Oh yeah,” Bellamy mimics her.

Clarke thinks back to that day, one she hadn’t really thought about recently. It kind of fell off her radar once she knew it wasn’t happening.

It was the summer after their freshman year, both of them fifteen, and they had the Blake house to themselves for the night. Aurora was working a night shift at the bar and Octavia was at a friend’s house for a sleepover. They had their favorite snacks spread out on the coffee table and were having a Pirates of the Caribbean marathon, but Clarke wasn’t really paying attention. She couldn’t help but dwell on the text conversation she had with her cousin Josie that afternoon.

Josie was two years older than her and truly her opposite, despite how strong their physical resemblance was. She was gushing about her boyfriend Gabe, who she had started dating a few months back. Clarke didn’t really care about Gabe or their relationship, but Josie loved to talk about it, and so Clarke usually ended up appeasing her. She shocked Clarke when she told her that she was planning on having sex with Gabe that weekend. 

Clarke: Are you serious? Haven’t you only been dating a few months?

Josie: Don’t be judgy, Clarke. You’re young, you don’t understand. 

Clarke: I’m not judging. Just...don’t you want to know him better?

Josie: Clarke, you’ll get it when you’re older. Sex really isn’t a big deal, and nobody wants to be a virgin when they go to college. Better to get the experience beforehand. 

Clarke hadn’t really ever stressed about sex before. It was something she was still wrapping her head around in general, but her conversation with Josie left her anxious. She had always just assumed it would happen eventually, but maybe it wouldn’t. She hadn’t even been kissed before. What if she went off to college completely inexperienced, and nobody wanted her? 

Per usual, Bellamy could tell that something was wrong. She didn’t even react when he paused the movie, only continued to stare into space as her thoughts spiraled. 

“Spill, Clarke.”

His voice snapped Clarke out of her thoughts and she realized the movie was paused. 

“Huh?” she asked, turning to him. 

“What’s up with you? You’re acting weird,” he told her, grabbing his can of coke and taking a sip. 

“Will you have sex with me?”

Bellamy choked on the sip of soda, nearly spitting it out. 

“What?” He sounded truly distressed by the question, which Clarke tried not to feel too insulted about. 

Clarke shook her head. “Sorry - not like, now,” she assured him. “It’s just, I was talking to Josie today and-”

“I’m going to stop you right there,” he cut her off. “Your cousin is batshit crazy, how many times do we have to go over this?”

“I think she might have a point this time, though.”

Bellamy ran a hand across his face, like he was already exhausted by the conversation. “A point about what?”

“Well, she was telling me how she’s going to have sex with her new boyfriend. She said how sex wasn’t a big deal anyways, and you know, maybe she’s right. Why does it have to be a big deal? Then she was also saying that no one wants to go to college a virgin, and maybe she’s right about that too. Like, that would just be stressful. I would rather know what the hell I’m doing before going off to college.”

Clarke expected Bellamy to immediately fight her on the idea and continue calling her crazy, but if anything, he looked affected by Josie’s words too. Like he didn’t want to agree with them, but was having a hard time calling bullshit as he thought it over.

Still, after a beat, he only said, “Clarke, we’re not having sex.”

“No, I don’t mean now,” she explained, the idea coming to her as she spoke. “What if - well, what if we make a pact. If neither of us has sex by the time we graduate, then we do before we go off to college?”

Bellamy scoffed. “You’re being insane.” Still, Clarke knew him too well. She could hear the seed of doubt in his voice. 

“Why not?”

“Trust me, you’ll have sex before graduation, Clarke. I doubt that will be a problem for you.”

Clarke blushed at the comment, even though she wasn’t entirely sure why. Was he saying she was pretty? Well, he was her best friend - he was just being nice. 

“Well, maybe I won’t. Maybe I won’t like anyone, even if they like me.”

Bellamy laughed. “Okay, so you’re assuming I also won’t be having sex then? Thanks, Clarke.”

Clarke crossed her arms defiantly, sitting cross legged on the opposite side of the couch and now completely facing him. 

“Well, if you’re so sure that we’ll both - or at least one of us - will have sex, then why not agree to it?”

“You’re being insane. Why can’t we make a married by 30 pact like normal people?”

“It’s 2016, who cares if we never marry? Besides - you would rather commit to marrying me than having sex with me once? Now who’s the insane one?”

“Clarke,” he complained. 

“Do you agree?”

Bellamy tilted his head subtly, giving her a long, exasperated look. Still, it was tainted by affection and Clarke could tell she was wearing him down. 

“Fine,” he conceded, ending their twenty second stare down. 

“Promise it,” she commanded, holding out her pinky finger to him. He once told her that if she told anyone they still made pinky promises, he’d deny it, but he always appeased her. 

Bellamy sighed more dramatically than Clarke thought was necessary when he linked his pinky with hers. “If we’re both virgins when we graduate, then we will have sex before college.”

Clarke was pleased with her solution to the problem and felt a lot less anxious than she did before. Sure it wasn’t foolproof. Bellamy would probably have sex, even if she didn’t, but it was the closest thing to a back up plan that she could manage at the time. 

Without another word, she turned back towards the TV and Bellamy pressed play. 

“Okay, but having sex with someone isn’t as big a deal as marrying someone. Julia Roberts is still crazier” she insists as she gestures towards the TV, using the same argument as three years ago. 

Bellamy laughs, turning back towards the TV. “Whatever you say.”

“Oh what could have been,” she says, voice heavy with mock wistfulness. “You just had to go and ruin it,” she teases with a laugh. 

Clarke expects Bellamy to laugh along with her, but she sees how his brow furrows before he even turns to face her again. He looks at her with narrow, curious eyes, his lips quirked into a half smile that doesn’t reach his eyes. 

“What are you talking about?”

They’d never really talked about the details of their sex lives, or lack thereof in Clarke’s case. Over their last three years of high school, they had both dated people. Bellamy had started “hanging out” with Roma during the beginning of their sophomore year, although it never became serious. She knows she was Bellamy’s first kiss though. She can still remember how strange she felt when he told her about it. It was an unnerving, uncomfortable feeling that she chalked up to anxiety over him moving faster than her. She knows she acted strangely when he told her and although they both frequently vented or gushed about their significant others to the other, he never again brought up the physical parts of it. Clarke took the hint and also kept that side of it to herself. 

Clarke started dating Finn that winter and dated him through the end of their sophomore year. Then a girl messaged her on Facebook and told her how they had been hooking up. She had the text messages to prove it. Apparently the girl didn’t know Clarke existed. Clarke was heartbroken by it and had never felt so unwanted, so discarded. She wasn’t enough. Right before junior year started, Bellamy started dating Gina, who was a new student at the school. They dated for nearly six months and that’s when Clarke concluded that Bellamy must have had sex. Bellamy had casually mentioned that she spent the night a few times and Clarke had taken that as him telling her they’d had sex, in so many words. She figured he didn’t want to make a big deal out of it, so she didn’t bring it up again. 

Towards the end of their junior year, right around the time Bellamy and Gina broke up, Clarke started dating a girl Lexa from the class above them. It was Lexa that made Clarke realize she wasn’t straight like she had thought, and she’d immediately ran to Bellamy’s house to talk to him about it. He was the only one she felt comfortable enough with to discuss it, because it was Bellamy. He wouldn’t judge her, wouldn’t see her differently. But that relationship had ended up being a short-lived disaster. They dated for nearly three months and Lexa was emotionally manipulative and controlling for most of it. It ended when she accused Clarke’s bisexuality of being a “phase” and ended up going back to her ex girlfriend. Then there was Echo, who Bellamy started dating shortly before the beginning of their senior year. She was a girl in the class above them and so had already graduated, but had stayed in town for work. They didn’t break up until just before Christmas. So there had been multiple opportunities for Bellamy to lose his virginity, not counting the couple of girls she’d seen him making out with at parties.

“I’m talking about you breaking - well, not breaking. Nullifying ,” she corrects herself, “Our pact.” She laughs, trying not to make the conversation a big deal. It really isn’t, or it shouldn’t be. “Because, you know, having sex does that.”

Bellamy’s brow furrows even more dramatically and he tilts his head back in surprise. “Clarke - I haven’t had sex.”

Clarke sits up straighter, eyebrows shooting up in surprise. 

“What?”

“Well I mean, I’ve done...other things,” he clarifies, cheeks turning pink. Clarke can’t help but find it a little adorable, but odd at the same time. They’re never embarrassed to talk about anything. Even though they’ve never made a point to talk about sex, she didn’t think it would be any different. “But not like, completely, like-” he cuts himself off, clearly flustered. “Besides, why are you saying I nullified it, or whatever. You’ve had sex, so it doesn’t matter anyways.”

Clarke’s eyes widen at that, shocked at his assumption. She’s confused why he even thinks that and can’t remember saying anything that would ever imply that. 

No , I haven’t,” she corrects him. 

Bellamy’s mouth opens a little in surprise. “Not with Lexa, or even Finn-”

“No,” Clarke cuts him off. “What about you and Gina? Or Echo?”

Bellamy just shakes his head at that, offering no explanation.

“Why did you think I’ve had sex? Why wouldn’t I have told you?”

“Well, why wouldn’t I have told you ?” Bellamy asks, turning the question around on her. Fair enough. 

Clarke bites on her bottom lip when she realizes she isn’t completely sure why she assumed that. “I don’t know. I guess, maybe I thought you didn’t want to like, make a big deal, because I hadn’t yet. I know it’s not as big a deal for guys-”

Bellamy shakes his head at that, looking a little offended. “That’s not true.”

“Well why did you think I had sex and didn’t tell you?” she shoots back, feeling a little defensive, even though they aren’t exactly arguing . They both sound more bewildered than anything, confronted with a new truth after accepting something else as fact for so long.

Bellamy sighs. He clearly doesn’t want to answer her, but knows he has to because she answered him. “I don’t know. Finn and Lexa were both shitty to you, I didn’t know if you just felt uncomfortable about it or regretted it or-”

“Oh,” Clarke says. 

“Clarke, I didn’t mean-” he starts, clearly worried he offended her. 

“No, no,” Clarke cuts him off. “That’s fair, and accurate,” she assures him, and she means it. She can hardly judge her best friend for seeing her unhealthy relationships for what they were, especially since he was the one picking up the pieces each time. 

For the first time ever, Clarke thinks neither knows what to say to the other.

“So,” Clarke starts, somehow unable to handle the silence. She didn’t know heavy silence with Bellamy. She only knew easy, comfortable silence.

“So,” he echoes, unhelpfully. 

They sit in awkward silence for another ten seconds before Clarke abruptly laughs. “I mean, it doesn’t still count anyways. It wasn’t like - it wasn’t real .”

“Exactly,” Bellamy hurriedly agrees. “It was like a joke more than anything.”

“Exactly.” Still, Clarke’s mind is reeling, against her control. She shakes her head at herself and takes the remote from him, switching it to her netflix account. “What are watching?” she tries.

--∞--

Bellamy wakes up to a familiar weight weighing down his left side and knows just from the amount of light behind his eyelids that he’s in Clarke’s room. He opens his tired eyes, rubbing them awake and glances at the heap curled up on his left side. Clarke was notoriously cold-blooded, while he ran hot. This usually translated into Clarke bullying him into letting her cuddle while they watched TV or slept. He can’t say he really minded. She was kind of adorable when she slept, especially when she left her hair down like it was now. 

Halfway through watching Ferris Bueller’s Day Off , the internet connection in the living room crapped out. They took Clarke’s laptop to her room to finish the movie and apparently both fell asleep at some point. Her laptop was still open on the desk in front of her bed, the screen now black. 

Bellamy untangles himself from her and picks up his phone from where it’s charging on her bedside table. Two texts from his mom around midnight, asking where he was. Given that there aren’t any missed calls and worried voicemails, he assumes she probably just texted Abby to check if he was at their place. 

“Clarke.” He pokes at her side and she grumbles something unintelligible. It’s only 7:30am and she’s at her worst in the morning. 

“Clarke, I’m heading out.” He wants to squeeze in a run before he has to report for work at Second Dawn in a couple of hours. 

She grumbles something again, which he can’t understand, but he doesn’t bother trying to wake her up further. Grabbing his backpack, he heads out the back kitchen door and crosses the driveway to his own house. His mom is at the kitchen table drinking coffee when he walks in. 

“Bellamy,” she greets him as he sets his backpack down and grabs a mug for himself. He can tell by her tone he’s about to be scolded. 

“I was just next door, Mom,” he sighs. 

“Do you think maybe you should be asking me before spending the night at a girl’s house?”

Bellamy scoffs as he picks up his mug.

“It’s not a girl, it’s Clarke,” he laughs on his way out of the kitchen. But for the first time in his life, that statement doesn’t ring entirely true. He isn’t sure why. 

--∞--

Bellamy gets off work by 2pm and heads straight to his room, feeling more tired than usual. He thinks it’s the let down of school ending - having to cram for final exams, projects, and essays, only for it to suddenly be over before he can process it. He nearly leaps onto his bed and puts his arms under his pillow, closing his eyes as his thoughts drift.

He’s been on edge all day and can no longer ignore it. His conversation with Clarke kind of shook him last night. They had brushed past the whole thing and gone back to normal, but he had a lot of time to think while at work, and that conversation is what his mind kept drifting back to.

First off, it was just plan weird to him that they had both assumed the other had sex, and had both been wrong in their assumptions. It wasn’t like them to not know everything about the other. In fact, he knows his close friendship with Clarke bothered Gina and Echo, even though they tried not to let it show. Bellamy figured it would be easier to date in college, when he had some distance from Clarke, as much as he would miss her. As much as the thought of living so far from her made his heart physically ache when he let himself think about it for too long. So he didn’t. But the point is, it’s unsettling to realize he doesn’t know everything about her and it has him wondering what else there is to uncover. 

Still, that was only part of it. In truth, in those few minutes before Clarke had essentially called it off and gave them an out, he let himself wonder about what he had never let himself wonder about before. In those few minutes, he opened the door to a possibility that should have stayed locked, and he doesn’t know if he’ll really be able to close it again, no matter what she said about the pact. With the prospect of having sex with Clarke being a reality, he let himself wonder for the briefest moment what it would be like. What freaked him out the most was how much he wasn’t freaked out. No - that’s not completely right. His heart raced at the thought, it definitely freaked him out. It was more like, he was freaked out that he wasn’t as repulsed by the idea as he thought he ought to be. The nerves he felt were more akin to anticipation than disgust. 

As if she somehow read his mind, his phone rings next to his head. His eyes pop open and when he checks it, he sees the selfie of him and Carke from a year ago, when they were trying on ridiculous cheap sunglasses at a gas station.

“Hey,” he answers, sitting up straighter.

“Hey, are you home?”

“Yeah.”

“Cool, I’ll be over in five.”

“Clarke-” he starts, but she hangs up before he can finish. 

He’s not sure what he was even going to say or why he felt the urge to make up an excuse as to why he couldn’t see her. He couldn’t remember a time he didn’t want to see her, but he felt like his head wasn’t on straight at the moment and so it was best if he was left alone. 

A few minutes later, he hears Clarke’s muffled voice greeting his mom and then the familiar rhythm of her bouncing up the stairs towards his room. 

“Hey,” she greets when she walks in, sounding a little breathless. She immediately sits down cross legged on his bed, a few feet from him. His gaze involuntarily drops to her lips, but he quickly forces it back to her eyes. When did he start doing that ? Then, without preamble, she makes an announcement.

“I think we should honor the sex pact.”

“Clarke,” he starts, a warning in his voice. Still, he hates how that same spark of something like hope ignites in him again, just like the night before. 

“Hear me out, will you?”

Bellamy sighs. “Fine.”

“Thank you,” she says, giving him a pointed look. “First off, I think the reasoning for the pact still stands. I don’t want to go to college a virgin. And not like, because the label is so bad or whatever, but I just want to be comfortable. I want to know what I’m doing. Which leads me to my second point-”

“Do you have a Power Point to accompany this presentation?” he laughs.

Clarke leans over to shove him, laughing as she scolds him. “Stop interrupting .”

Anyways , as I was saying. Second point - we’re best friends. We care about each other. Isn’t it better if our first times are with someone who we care about, who cares about us, who we trust ? We can’t wait around until we’re 30, hoping we’ll find our true love first. We both know that’s ridiculous and might never happen.”

Bellamy didn’t really like that she was making so many good points, just like she was three years ago. Neither of them was keen on cheesy romance or any of that - they didn’t need this to be sentimental. She was right about that.  

“And at least this will be better than losing it to some random guy, or girl, who doesn’t give a fuck about me,” she adds. 

Bellamy unwittingly clenches his fists, closer than ever to agreeing to the pact. Some asshole taking advantage of Clarke, not treating her right...he can’t let that happen. Especially for her first time. It takes Bellamy a second to realize Clarke has stopped talking. She’s looking at him expectantly, like she’s waiting for a response.

“Okay…” he starts. “I mean...you’re not wrong, with your points.”

“Okay, same page there then,” she confirms, as if she’s crossing something off a mental checklist. “I guess before we even consider this though…” Clarke trails off, like she isn’t sure how to word what she wants to say. Bellamy raises his eyebrows expectantly at her. 

“Okay, well, are you even attracted to me?” she finally asks. Bellamy knows his cheeks flush, feeling the blood rush to his face. Clarke shrugs nonchalantly when he doesn’t immediately answer. “I truly will not be offended if you say no, or if you think I’m like a sister, or-”

“Of course I am,” he blurts, cutting her off. Just hearing her compare herself to his sister is what truly repulses him and he doesn’t want her to continue with that line of thought. “I’m an 18 year old guy,” he adds, trying to make his voice lighter when he realizes how intense he sounded. 

Clarke laughs at that. “Well, thanks. Good to know I’ve met your high standards.”

Bellamy rolls his eyes at that. 

“Oh please, Clarke. You know you’re pretty.” The words escape his lips before he can think better of it. 

Now it’s Clarke whose cheeks flush at the comment. It’s a strange look on her. Clarke is outgoing, demanding, funny, sarcastic, adventurous, honest...where was he going with this? Oh, right. She was all those things, but definitely not shy . That’s what she looks like at the moment. He realizes his heart has started beating a little harder and forces himself to speak so they can move on.

“Your turn,” he challenges with a smirk. It draws a smile from her and she looks more like herself again. 

“Would I be here if I thought that was going to be a problem for me?”

Bellamy laughs. “You’re not going to tell me I’m pretty?”

Clarke rolls her eyes, smiling at him. “You’re such a dick. You also know you’re hot, it’s why you’ve spent half your life shirtless.”

Bellamy mock gasps. “Clarke Griffin, are you objectifying me?”

“You literally asked me!” she yells, smacking him with a pillow. 

Bellamy laughs as he dodges her and for a moment, he realizes that they’re acting normal again. Clarke is probably right - having sex won’t be big deal. It’s only when their laughter dies down does a light tension settle over the room again. 

“So…” she starts. “Guess that’s settled.”

“Okay…so are we really doing this?”

“I don’t know, are you agreeing to it?”

Bellamy looks at her for a moment. His heart swells with affection for her - his best friend, who is pretty hot, if he’s being honest with himself. They can make this good for each other, figure this out together like they learned how to surf and skateboard together. Like they tried alcohol for the first time together. They’ve gone through a lot of firsts side by side, and it’s always made it better. 

“Yeah,” he says, unable to stop the grin that sneaks onto his lips. “I’m in.”

--∞--

Bellamy Blake is nervous, to say the least. He’s laying on his bed, scrolling through any app that might distract him, but it isn’t helping much. Neither did his run he went for an hour ago or the shower he just took. He feels like he’s waiting to take a test - the anticipation before is always worse than the actual test. 

After Clarke left on Sunday afternoon, they came up with a plan. They decided it was best not to wait, that they would just grow increasingly nervous about it (like right now, for instance). So that’s how they decided on doing this at the earliest opportunity, which happened to be now, on Tuesday evening. Octavia was at a friend’s house for a sleepover and his mom had another night shift and wouldn’t be back until after 1am. They would have the house to himself. So Bellamy had bought condoms, and lube too, and now he was waiting, trying not to dwell on the fact Clarke was ten minutes late.  

“Sorry,” Clarke apologizes breathlessly as she bursts through his bedroom door. “My mom kept hassling me about cleaning my room.”

Bellamy swallows thickly. He feels a little bad about the fact that her parents are next door, like he’s taking advantage of their trust. Bedroom rights would certainly be abolished if they had a clue about what was going on, but Clarke doesn’t seem concerned by it. 

“It’s okay.”

He takes her in as she kicks off her flip flops and makes her way over to his bed. She’s dressed in high-waisted cut off jean shorts and a plain white tanktop that stands out against her tan skin. It’s exactly what she would wear on any other day, but today, for the first time, he’s allowed to look. He didn’t realize he had been actively denying himself that until this moment. Now that he’s allowed to want her in this capacity, it’s like he’s unlocking something inside him that he didn’t dare touch in the past. He hopes to God that he’ll be able to put those feelings back after all is said and done. 

--∞--

Clarke’s heart is already pounding when she walks over to Bellamy’s bed. She sits cross-legged in front of him and can sense how his eyes run over her. It’s surprising how it doesn’t make her uncomfortable. Actually, despite her nerves, it kind of thrills her.

“Still sure about this?” Bellamy immediately asks.

“Yes,” Clarke answers confidently, knowing Bellamy will immediately notice if there’s even a seed of doubt in her voice.

“Okay, I have a few ground rules.”

Clarke rolls her eyes affectionately. “Go on.”

“First point,” he teases sarcastically, and she pushes him for mocking her. 

Bellamy laughs, but his voice is more serious again when he speaks. 

“I need to know that you’re not just doing this because you’re afraid some guy - or girl - will think less of you for being a virgin in college. Anyone who thinks that’s a big deal is a moron, and that’s not a reason we should do this.”

“That’s not it,” she assures him, all the teasing gone from her voice too. 

“Really,” she emphasizes when he doesn’t respond, placing a comforting hand over his knee. “I just want my first experience to be comfortable, and with someone I trust. It’s that simple.”

Bellamy lets out a breath, as if he’s relieved. Clarke realizes he must have been nervous for her answer. “Okay, good. Me too.”

“Second point?” she asks, voice teasing again. 

Bellamy smiles at her, and the softness of it makes her stomach flip. 

God, she loves this guy , is the thought that floods her. 

No, not like that . She immediately gives herself a mental slap on the wrist.

“Second point - 100% honesty policy here. You need to tell me if you’re uncomfortable, or you don’t like something, or-”

“I will,” she promises.

“If you want to stop, for whatever reason at all, you tell me. No questions asked.”

“Same goes for you.”

Bellamy nods. 

It’s clear that neither of them knows how to proceed now that they’ve laid out the terms of this. Clarke stares at him for a beat, blue eyes on his familiar brown ones. She knows those eyes better than her own and suddenly feels ridiculous for her apprehension. Before she can talk herself out of it, she quickly leans forward and presses her lips to his. Bellamy seems a little surprised by her abruptness, but then he relaxes and his lips respond to hers, and oh - 

This feels amazing , she thinks, equal parts relieved, terrified, and surprised. 

Who knew kissing her best friend would feel like this ? His lips are warm and move against hers with just the right amount of pressure, making her skin feel like it’s buzzing with something electric. She leans closer to him on instinct, hands on his thighs for balance, and his hands move to her waist to steady her. Were they always so big? She feels like they entirely encompass her hips. Suddenly, she very much needs to know what the inside of Bellamy’s mouth tastes like. Her mouth opens a small amount and she hopes that he’ll take the hint.

Luckily he very much does take the hint, almost immediately slipping his tongue into her mouth. Their kisses are something akin to an exploration. Returning to a site from your childhood only to find it old and new all at once. You notice the differences with your aged eyes but still can’t separate it from the warmth, the comfort, of what it once was. If it’s any indication by the way he licks into her, she thinks that Bellamy is enjoying this as much as she is.

The awkward position of leaning into him grows tiring and she moves forward to straddle him instead, basically sitting on his lap. Clarke swallows Bellamy’s moan when she unwittingly grinds against him. Upon hearing a sound like that coming from Bellamy , a giggle escapes her before she can stop it, effectively breaking the kiss. For a split second, as his face falls to the crook of her neck, she thinks she’s ruined it already. He probably thinks that she’s laughing at him, when that couldn’t be further from the truth. But her worries evaporate when she feels the curve of Bellamy’s smile against the skin of her shoulder. She feels, more than hears, the rumble of his own responding laugh. 

“You going to giggle the whole time?” he asks, smirking at her as he lifts his head to face her again.

“Probably,” she answers honestly. Because the absurdity of the situation does make her want to laugh. But it isn’t a bad kind of absurdity. Not in the least bit. 

Bellamy’s hands remain on her waist and she only sees the glint of mischief in his dark eyes a second before he squeezes her, taking advantage of the fact that she’s incredibly ticklish. A fact he knows well. 

Clarke laughs loudly and leans into kiss him again, surprised at how natural it feels. She didn’t even have to think about it. As soon as her lips make contact with his, he flips them without warning so that she’s laying on her back, legs bracketing his hips as he hovers over her. Dammit if the image of him above her doesn’t ignite a small fire in her core. She doesn’t have time to contemplate it before he’s kissing her again, just as hungry as the first time. One of his hands moves from beside her to trail down the side of her body, landing warm on her bare thigh. This time she’s the one who moans.

She needs more

It’s the thought that consumes her. She needs friction, some kind of relief. Clarke isn’t sure if it’s because she started squirming or if it’s simply because Bellamy can basically read her mind, but somehow he knows to shift so that his thigh is pressed against her entrance. Their kisses are both unhurried and intense as Bellamy lowers himself onto his forearms and lets his hand trail under her shirt, stroking the bare skin of her waist. A shiver ripples through her and her hands move to thread through his dark curls, pulling him closer to her as she grinds against him. Clarke gasps at the sensation and Bellamy breaks the kiss, lips trailing across her cheek.

“Fuck, that’s hot, Clarke,” he grumbles against her skin, voice low.

Suddenly the material of her jeans feels entirely cumbersome and she gently pushes him away from her. He looks like he’s about to ask her what’s wrong, concern reflected in his eyes, until his gaze follows her hands to where she’s unbuttoning her shorts. Bellamy immediately moves to help her slide them down her legs, tossing them somewhere on his floor.

“You too,” she says breathlessly, already reaching to pull her tank top over her head. 

Bellamy is too distracted pulling off his shorts and t-shirt to notice her nearly naked state until he’s climbing over her again. She swallows thickly when she catches a glimpse of his tented boxers. He pauses, hovering over her but still too far for her liking. He simply stares for a moment, like he’s distracted by the sight of her.

“You know you see me like this almost everyday,” she laughs, breaking him from his trance. 

It’s true, really. Half their lives together are spent in swimsuits. Bellamy just smirks. 

“It’s different,” he murmurs before leaning down to kiss her again. 

Her cheeks flush because he’s completely right. No matter how many times she had seen him shirtless, it’s never felt like this . It never made her throat dry, her tongue heavy, her whole body crave something unnameable. 

Bellamy positions himself like he was before, the only difference being fewer unnecessary layers of clothing between them. Even with her underwear on, she gasps when she grinds down on his thigh again. The heat of his skin makes her whimper against his mouth, the pressure against her clit giving her an intense jolt of pleasure. She nearly protests when he pulls his lips away from hers until she feels him working his way down her neck towards her chest. After pressing a singular kiss to the top of one of her breasts, he hesitates long enough that she props herself onto her forearms to look at him, realizing that he seems to be waiting for permission.

“You can take it off,” she tells him, unable to stop a giggle from escaping on the last word. Like last time, Bellamy just smiles at her, like he’s also aware of the delicious absurdity of it all.

“Get up here,” he laughs. 

Clarke sits up a little and Bellamy’s hands move behind her to unclasp the bra. Clarke realizes it probably would have been easier if she had taken it off herself, but she’s realizing that there’s something about Bellamy undressing her that she loves. Bellamy fumbles with the clasp for a few seconds, his breath hot against her neck as he does, but he manages quickly enough. Clarke finds herself wondering how many other bras he’s taken off and is surprised by how repulsed she is by the thought of it - how much she hates the idea of Bellamy doing this with anyone else.

Clarke shrugs the bra off and Bellamy kisses her again, pushing her back against the bed as he does. His hands inch up her body until he places one on each breast, caressing them in an experimental way. 

God, does it feel amazing. 

She had never understood it before. She had tried playing with her breasts when she was masturbating because she’d seen it in porn videos, but it never really got her anywhere and she thought it had to be yet another unrealistic portrayal of sex in porn. She understands it now, as his warm hands encompass them, a calloused thumb brushing across her peaked nipple. Bellamy doesn’t miss how her breath hitches at the gesture.

“Feel good?” he murmurs against her lips.

“Uh huh.” Clarke can’t really manage anything more coherent than that. 

Bellamy pushes up a little so that he can look her in the eyes. 

“Can I go down on you?”

Clarke swallows and feels a blush flood her cheeks. It’s not the question as much as the casual tone he asks it in. Like this is completely ordinary. Like they do this all the time. 

“Do you want to?”

“Yeah.” He smirks a little when he says that, as if the answer should be obvious. Which she doesn’t think is completely fair given that some guys say it’s gross and complain about it. She’s pretty sure that he’s done this before and even though she knows it really shouldn’t matter, she finds herself curious.

“Have you...before?”

“A couple of times,” he confirms. “Have you-”

“No,” she admits quickly. She doesn’t love this conversation, but then she’s reminded it’s Bellamy and feels better about it. They can talk about anything and this shouldn’t be any different.

Still, the thought of it does make her nervous. Ridiculously, more nervous than having sex with him. It’s just that, she’s not sure how she feels about Bellamy being that up close to... there . She’s not sure it gets more vulnerable than that. That was another reason that Lexa accused her of not being Bi, because she wasn’t ready to go that far with her yet. In reality, it was just because she wasn’t ready then, plain and simple.

Bellamy immediately reads her hesitation.

“Clarke, we definitely don’t have to if you don’t want to,” he assures her. “Whatever you want-”

“I do,” she cuts him off. Which is true. If anything, him giving her the choice immediately calms her. Another reminder of who she’s doing this with - someone who cares about her, someone who she trusts with everything and anything. “I just - I didn’t really shave that much, I-”

Bellamy rolls his eyes, although it’s clear it’s aimed at her concerns and not at her. “That literally does not matter - at all .”

“Okay...then yeah.” She can’t deny that the thought of Bellamy’s tongue on her is already making her feel squirmish. Bellamy kisses her again and Clarke feels herself relaxing, melting into him, just like before this uncomfortable conversation.

“Just, uh - let me know if you don’t like something,” he tells her when he pulls away. “Or let me know if you want me to stop.”

“Okay,” she smiles at him.

“Okay,” he says back, his own soft smile emerging on his lips. 

Bellamy begins kissing his way down her body and even though they’re simple kisses, not even anywhere particularly sensitive, she feels overwhelmed by it. She feels blanketed by him, like she’s drowning in his very presence. 

He presses a kiss to her hip before adjusting himself further down on the bed. Bellamy hooks his fingers under the band of her panties and she lifts her hips so that he can slide them off. Running his hands up the outside of her thighs, he pulls her legs open further before he stars pressing kisses up the soft skin of her inner thighs. Clarke’s breath becomes labored the closer he gets and she closes her eyes at the sensation, fisting his blanket in anticipation when she feels his hot breath against her. Then his tongue swipes up along her folds and she’s biting down on her lip so she doesn’t scream at he sensation because yeah...it feels that incredible. He continues licking into her until she starts to pant and squirm, and he has to use one of his arms to hold down her hips. Then his tongue circles her clit and the direct stimulation makes her release a sound that’s more animal than woman, one she barely manages to muffle. 

“Clarke?”

Half dazed, she sits up on her forearms to look at Bellamy, who still has his head between her legs. The site of it somehow both turns her on enough that she feels a fresh surge of wetness and also scares her, intimidates her in its intimacy. His eyes are black. 

“Yeah?” she asks, voice breathless and uneven.

“No one’s home. You don’t have to be quiet.” One side of his mouth quirks into a small smirk when he says it. Apparently he’s noticed her attempts to control the noises he’s drawing from her.

Oh , she realizes. He wants to hear me

It’s not that she was necessarily worried about someone hearing her. It was more, in a sense, a way to keep herself under control. She isn’t good at relinquishing control. But now Bellamy is telling her to let go and the thought thrills her. She wants to surrender to her instincts, to her body’s desires instead of the concerns of her head and her heart. Those concerns that warn her not to love this too much.

“Okay.” She gives him her own smirk and this time, she doesn’t lay back down. 

When Bellamy realizes she isn’t going to, he lowers his mouth back to her, eyes never straying. Her stomach flips at the sight of him, at the eye contact they maintain. She knows she’s dripping now, even more than she was a minute ago. It’s clear Bellamy can tell by the way he groans when he tastes her again. That, coupled with the sight of him grinding against the bed, chasing friction, pulls a loud moan from her. Her plans to watch him are forgotten because she can’t focus on anything but the sensation. She falls back and stares up at his familiar ceiling. This time she doesn’t try to hold in the whimpers or moans that he pulls from her. 

She gasps when she feels him press a finger to her entrance, moving against her wet folds. He continues working her with his mouth, circling her clit in a steady rhythm. 

Please ,” she begs. She isn’t sure if he’s waiting for permission or just teasing her, but he complies by pressing a thick finger inside of her. 

“Yes,” she gasps as he starts moving. It’s so much better than her own fingers. “Yes, keep going.” 

She feels the vibration of his responding moan against her as he adds a second finger, their rhythm matching that of his tongue until she’s climbing higher and higher. She’s vaguely aware that she’s panting his name, that he has to work harder to hold her down as he increases his pace. But then she breaks, free falling off the edge with a loud moan, her whole body twitching. Bellamy slows his pace, easing her down before slipping his fingers out of her. It’s only when she opens her eyes does she realize she had them squeezed shut. The image of Bellamy sucking on his fingers is what she opens her eyes to. 

Clarke must appear shocked because Bellamy immediately stops, seemingly sheepish. She notices how his cheeks flush, which isn’t an easy feat given his darker complexion. 

“Sorry, too much?” he laughs, except this time his laugh is more nervous - stilted even.

Clarke smiles, shaking her head shyly as she brings a hand up to his waist, stroking it up and down. Bellamy leans closer, kissing her shoulder as he grinds against her. She can easily feel him through his boxers, completely hard.

“I’m ready,” she says quietly.

Bellamy props himself above her on his forearms. “You’re sure about this, right?”

If she’s being honest, she’s not really sure. It’s not because she isn’t sure she wants him, wants to do this - it’s because she isn’t sure she’s supposed to want it this much. She isn’t sure they can go back to the way they were as easily as they planned...or at least she can’t. Bellamy doesn’t seem to have any reservations about it. In the end, she figures that if they’ve ruined their friendship, it’s already done.

“I’m sure,” she promises, voice small. 

Bellamy tucks her hair behind her ear. It’s something he’s certainly done before, but the gesture feels brand new in its tenderness. Before she can react, he climbs off her to sit on the side of his bed, opening the drawer of his bedside table. Clarke sits up a little, scoots back against his familiar pillows and fights the urge to cover herself. He’s already seen all of her at this point. Clarke can tell that they’re both nervous by the silence that settles over the room as he takes a condom out. It’s probably the longest they’ve gone without saying a nything , unless one of them was asleep. She tries not to stare too obviously as he shucks off his boxers and kicks them aside. The tension breaks slightly when he struggles to open the condom wrapper, dropping it once.

“Fuck,” he mutters as he picks it up. 

“You good?” she giggles. 

Although they don’t disappear completely, their combined nerves morph into something lighter after that. Bellamy shoots her a charming smile as his eyes rake over her. 

“That’s an understatement,” he laughs, sitting down on the bed and finally rolling the condom on. Clarke takes a deep breath and waits for Bellamy to climb over her again, but he reaches towards his drawer instead, pulling out a tube of something. Lube, Clarke realizes.

“I wasn’t sure if you - do you want…” he trails off, the tube in his hand still.

“Oh...yeah, that’s a good idea.” She figures that it can only help - she doesn’t want this to be any more painful than it has to be. 

Bellamy squeezes some on his hand and strokes his length a few times. Clarke’s heart pounds as she watches him, the way he bites his lip and his jaw goes slack from pleasure. He squeezes a little more onto his hand before he climbs over her again, settling between her legs like he was was always meant to be there. 

Bellamy presses a quick kiss to her lips and another to her cheek before slipping the fingers with the lube into her. He pumps them in and out a few times, massaging her clit with her thumb as he works her back up. Clarke shudders, still sensitive from her last orgasm but already feeling her body burning with the desire for another. 

This is happening.

This is really happening.

It’s the only thing running through her mind as his fingers leave her and she feels his cock bump against her. 

“Clarke, you’re sure?” he whispers, lips next to her ear.

Clarke lets out a breathless laugh at his thoroughness in asking for her consent.

“Yes,” she assures him. “I’m sure.”

Strangely enough, it’s his decision to interlace his fingers with hers that makes her heart race even more rapidly. It once again strikes her as wrong - too intimate, too much. Not what they’re meant to be doing here. Still, all she does is grip his hand, his other encompassing her hip. 

Bellamy lifts his head to watch her as he begins to push into her, seemingly searching her face for any discomfort. It’s not painful, but it isn’t exactly comfortable either. There’s a dull burn as he stretches her out and she adjusts to his size. When he’s halfway inside, her breath hitches and he pauses.

“You okay?” he murmurs.

“Yeah,” she breathes. “Keep going.”

Bellamy pulls out slightly before pushing into her further and she can tell by the way his jaw clenches that he’s making a concerted effort to be gentle, to restrain himself. She grips his hand tighter on instinct, his fingers still interlaced with hers. Then he’s fully seated inside of her, pelvis to pelvis, his breath ragged against her cheek. 

“Fuck,” he groans. “Fuck, you feel so good.”

His desperation sets fire to her skin and she feels the familiar heat in her core coiling tighter and tighter. When she speaks, her voice is breathy, wrecked in a way she doesn’t recognize.

“Move,” she tells him. “Bell-”

“You okay?” he asks, but he’s already experimentally rocking into her. 

“God,” she gasps, the friction making her dig her nails into his biceps where she’s holding onto him with her free hand. 

Clarke wraps her legs around him tighter and his hand at her waist moves to clutch her thigh. Bellamy looks at her with black eyes, the intensity of them electrifying her as he leans down to kiss her again. Their kisses are messy as he quickens his pace, thrusting into her at a steadily. 

She isn’t sure of the exact moment it happens, but eventually the pain subsides. The feel of him moving inside her only brings a hot pleasure rushing through her body as she begins to feel the beginning of a familiar chase. Her hands move to his lower back, above his tailbone, urging on his thrusts. At some point, she starts meeting them, rocking her hips against him and falling into the rhythm he set. 

Bellamy’s face drops to the crook of her neck, lips brushing against her neck and shoulder. It’s clear that they’re both too lost in the pleasure to manage a proper kiss. It’s animalistic, instinctual, the way they move, drawing moans and gasps from each other, the only sounds in his small room. They urge each other on, the rhythm quickening until the familiar tingle begins washing over her body, the heat building until it has nowhere to go.

“Bell- Bellamy ,” she cries, because she’s right there. “I need - fuck, please .”

Bellamy doesn’t manage more than a growl against her skin in response but he untangles his fingers from hers and brings his hand between them, rubbing intense circles against her clit. His other hand grips her hip so tightly she thinks it might bruise. He picks up the pace, slamming into her relentlessly and hitting somewhere so deep inside her that she’s never found with her own fingers. The wet sounds of skin slapping against skin is somehow the last straw. She doesn’t recognize the sounds falling off her lips when she breaks, clenching down hard, gripping him so tightly that his rhythm falters. 

“Fuck, I’m gonna come, Clarke,” he groans. He releases when he’s deep inside her, collapsing onto her as she’s still coming down from her own high, panting raggedly. 

“Fuck,” he murmurs. She can feel his lips against the skin of her shoulder, now clammy. 

“That was…” Clarke trails off, realizing there are truly no words. Her whole body is still tingling, her heart somehow both heavy and light with the realization that he’s still inside of her.

Bellamy. Her best friend. Her favorite person in the world is as close as anyone can ever be. She never wants anything less than that. 

“Sorry,” he murmurs, as he finally pulls out and rolls off of her. She actually misses the heaviness of his weight on top of her, but she doesn’t say it.  

Clarke lets out a deep breath. “It’s okay.” 

Bellamy disposes of the condom in the trash can beside his bed before collapsing onto his back, laying beside her.

“Fuck,” he repeats, like he can’t believe it.

“Fuck,” she echoes.

“You okay? How do you feel?”

He doesn’t turn to look at her, but places one of his hands atop her thigh in a comforting gesture, his breath still heavy. Something about it makes her choke up, but she tries not to show it.

“Good. A little sore, but...damn. That was incredible.”

That draws a laugh from Bellamy and then she’s laughing too, feeling light and giddy.

“We should have done that a long time ago,” she sighs, once their laughing fades. 

“What?” Bellamy rolls onto his side to look at her, head propped on his hand. Her cheeks flush when she realizes how that sounded.

“Not like - you know what I mean,” she says hurriedly, still staring up at his ceiling, refusing to roll over and meet his gaze.

Bellamy laughs. “I’m not sure I do.” He sounds more amused than anything.

“Like, friends with benefits or something, you know,” she tells him, although she’s not sure that’s what she really meant or even wants. She can barely sort out her own feelings on what transpired since she walked into his room, so she’s not at all sure how to explain them to him.

Bellamy doesn’t say anything for a moment. She hears him roll onto his back again before he speaks, voice strained when he does. 

“Right. Friends with benefits.”

--∞--

Bellamy waits until he hears the shower running in the bathroom across the hall before he pulls his pillow over his face and lets out a muffled yell.

“Fuuuuucckkkk,” he groans in frustration. 

Having sex with Clarke was going to prove to be the worst decision of his life. Not because it was bad. No, it was because it was unbelievably good. Yeah, he didn’t expect to dislike having sex with her. He always thought she was pretty, he could admit that much. But now he’ll never be able to get her breathy moans out of his head. No sounds will ever live up to the sound of her begging for him as she came around him. No woman will ever live up to how mind blowing it felt to be inside of her. It had thrilled him, every moan and gasp he drew from her. She was a puzzle, one he hadn’t known he was missing pieces to until now. Now he felt obsessed with learning every inch of her, from every mole usually hidden by clothing to anything and everything that turned her on. But Clarke was his best friend. Suffice it to say, he didn’t know what the fuck to do about any of it. He wasn’t sure what all of it meant, or if it meant anything at all.

It’s not like he’s in love with her. That would be insane, to fall for someone because you had sex with them. Unless...unless, of course, he felt that way before. 

No , Bellamy practically screams at himself in his head. He throws the pillow off his head in frustration. 

No, that’s not right. He would have realized if he was in love with her long before now. Just because she’s his best friend, and the person who makes him laugh the most, and the person he trusts most, and the person he has incredible sex with...no. Nope. He’s not going there. 

Clarke said it herself. Friends with benefits. That was a more accurate title for them. Nevermind the way he hated it when she had said it, how it felt so wrong. He wasn’t sure what he was hoping she would say, but he knew it wasn’t that. But he’s getting ahead of himself. They aren’t even friends with benefits either. It’s not like he can assume this will ever happen again, no matter what she had said. 

The sound of the bathroom door opening snaps Bellamy out of his spiraling thoughts. He sits up on the side of the bed, having already put his boxers back on. Clarke walks in, wrapped in a towel, hair damp and tousled. 

“Can I borrow a t-shirt?”

“Yeah, of course,” he tells her, running a hair through his messy curls. “Take whatever you want. I’m going to grab a quick shower.”

Clarke nods, opening his t-shirt drawer, knowing exactly which one it is. He’s at the doorway when she speaks again.

“Sure it’s okay if I spend the night?” 

God, he hates this. He hates how uncertain she sounds. The Clarke he knows tells him when she’s spending the night. 

Bellamy rolls his eyes teasingly in an attempt to lighten the strange tension they’ve wrapped themselves in. “Of course. My laptop’s on my desk, pick something for us to watch.”

When Bellamy comes back from the shower in shorts and a t-shirt, he finds Clarke cuddled on his bed in one of his t-shirts and her underwear. He balls his hand into a fist as his mouth goes dry at the sight of her. He swallows thickly, tongue heavy. 

When they fall asleep, Clarke is cuddled into his side. It’s not at all different from four nights ago, and yet Bellamy can’t shake the feeling that everything has changed.

--∞--

To Clarke’s relief, Bellamy and her are seemingly able to shift back into something resembling normalcy over the next few days. They surf and hang out with their friends, watch TV and waste time driving around aimlessly with a good playlist. They do all the things they normally do and neither of them brings up the fact that they had sex, or the fact that it was clearly great for both of them. She’s happy they’re avoiding the topic - she doesn’t have her head on straight at the moment, certainly not enough for some heavy conversation. All she knows is that she wants him in a way she never truly picked up on before, and it’s making her question everything.

Did she always feel this way?

Had she been suppressing feelings for him, or is this just physical?

But how can it be purely physical, when it’s Bellamy?

She knows she loves him, but what if it’s not the kind of love she thought it was?

If she was in love with him, how could she only be realizing it now?

Then, on Friday night, things change again. It’s past midnight and given that they’re both night owls, they’re awake and going through old pictures and memories on their Facebook profiles, reminiscing on the last 18 years. It would be the end of an era when they graduated the next day. 

Clarke wishes she could remember who started it. One minute they’re laughing, laying next to one another. The next minute, her best friend’s lips are on hers again. She wishes it didn’t already feel so familiar. So normal. So right. 

Neither makes any effort to stop it and it isn’t long before clothes are being shed. She comes once on his fingers before leaning over to open her bedside table drawer. Bellamy seems a little confused when Clarke pulls a condom out and she’s relieved when he accepts it without a word, quickly unwrapping it and rolling it on. She doesn’t feel like explaining how she bought them when she was dating Finn. He had kept making comments about how they should have sex soon and she bought them to be prepared, even though she felt far from ready. At this point, she can only be thankful that she found out about his cheating before they went too far.

Clarke lets out a low moan when he rubs against her a few time. 

“You sure?” he whispers, looking her directly in the eye when he asks.

“Please,” she breathes.

Bellamy doesn’t need to hear more before he pushes into her. Like the first time, he pauses to let her adjust to him. It hurts a little, but the pain fades much faster this time. She bites down on her lip to muffle her moans as Bellamy begins thrusting into her. She assumes he buries his face in her neck and bites down on her shoulder for the same reason. They don’t have the house to themselves this time and both seem to be acutely aware of her sleeping parents down the hall.

Clarke is once again bewildered by the fact that Bellamy, her Bellamy, is inside her. She feels her heart swell for him, her stomach flip at the low growls escaping him. It’s her train of thoughts about him as much as his quickening pace that drives her over the edge much quicker than she anticipated. Bellamy covers her mouth with a hand, muffling the whimpers and squeals that she can’t keep in. He must have been waiting for her because he immediately lets, groaning against her shoulder as he comes with her. 

Unlike last time, Clarke is almost immediately overwhelmed by anxiety as her mind and heart catches up with her body. Last time, they had a plan. A purpose. She was already confused about what they were after that and she can’t help but notice that this latest incident only adds to that confusion.

--∞--

The night of graduation, Wells offers to DD a group of them to Mbege’s party since he isn’t a big drinker. They squeeze into the retro 70s van he drives and Clarke ends up sitting on Bellamy’s lap so that everyone can fit. He’s wearing old jeans and a t-shirt, a signature look for him. Certainly nothing out of the ordinary, but Clarke’s heart is pounding against her will as she takes him in. Clarke is wearing a sundress and it certainly doesn’t help that Bellamy’s warm hand is resting on the side of her thigh, but she can’t tell if he even realizes he’s doing it. She sits still as a statue, afraid to shift at all.

This is ridiculous , she scoffs at herself in her head. 

Maybe this isn’t about Bellamy at all. Maybe it’s only about sex. Maybe she’s just horny because she’s had a taste of it and needs to sleep with someone else to separate the experience from Bellamy. Yeah, that makes sense. That’s what she’ll do. 

--∞--

Bellamy refills his solo cup at the keg set up on Mbege’s back deck. The party is crowded, the house overflowing with people, many of whom have moved outside to the deck or bonfire they started in the backyard. Bellamy spent the last thirty minutes talking with Miller, trying his best to pay attention to the conversation despite the fact he spent the whole time wondering where Clarke was and wishing he was talking with her instead. You’d think he would be sick of her at this point, but he only wants her more. 

Bellamy’s eyes sweep over the crowds of people as Beachcomber by Real Estate plays over Mbege’s expensive speakers.

What you want is just outside your reach

You keep on searching

You're walking down that Pensacola Beach

You keep repeating

 

While you're waiting for that sound

Apparatus to the ground

You're stealin' from the lost and found

And what you find

Ain't what you had in mind

When he doesn’t see Clarke, he wanders back into the house. That’s when he notices her, in a corner making out with Niylah. Niylah is two years older than them, a pretty woman who works as a barista at the coffee shop in town and surfs as often as they do. He feels his heart drop into his stomach, even though he rationally knows he has no right to feel any kind of way about this. How many times had he seen Clarke makeout with someone, kiss someone, and it had never bothered him? Now it made him want to throw up.

Bellamy wanders back out to the deck, thinking about his friendship with Clarke as he sips on his beer. He was never really jealous of the people Clarke was with, but maybe that was only because he didn’t need to be. Some twisted part of him had always thought - or knew - that he mattered more to her than any boyfriend, girlfriend, or hookup. He was never threatened by them because he was that confident in their friendship, in their relationship. She belonged to him, no matter who she chose to date. 

Fuck , he thinks, realizing how messed up that is. 

Hadn’t Gina and Echo accused him of prioritizing Clarke over them? Hell, Echo had broken up with him for that very reason. Maybe Clarke never showed jealousy towards Bellamy and his girlfriends because he did the same thing she did. He made it clear that Clarke mattered more than any girlfriend or hookup. Maybe their lack of jealousy towards the other’s relationships didn’t mean a lack of feelings at all. Whatever it was, he was sure it wasn’t normal for a friendship. That much was clear to him now. 

Fuck , he thinks again. They would be parting ways in six short weeks and everything was so unbelievably fucked up.

“Hey.”

Bellamy spins around from where he’s leaning against the railing and finds Clarke walking towards him, holding her own solo cup.

“What are you doing, meditating?” she laughs. 

Bellamy forces himself to laugh, but he can’t tell if she buys it. 

There’s a beat of silence between them and he can’t help but think about how they might have destroyed whatever they had. 

“Having fun with Niylah?” Bellamy immediately knows it’s the wrong thing to say, especially because he barely masked the bitterness in his tone.

Clarke raises her eyebrows at him. “Yeah, I am.” 

Bellamy recognizes the challenge in her voice, daring him to say the wrong thing. I am . He doesn’t miss the present tense she uses. As if she’s about to go back into the house and pick up where she left off.

“Good,” he snaps.

Clarke furrows her brow at him and opens her mouth like she’s about to yell at him. He’s familiar with the expression. But then she surprises him but closing her mouth again and taking a deep breath, as if to collect herself. 

“Bellamy, is there a reason I shouldn’t be kissing someone?” she asks in a low voice. Not that there’s anyone around them to overhear her. 

Bellamy doesn’t know what the answer to that is, so he only runs a hand through his curls and says nothing. 

“Why are you mad about me kissing Niylah?”

Bellamy opens his mouth to retort that, but she cuts him off.

“And don’t deny it, because you’re clearly mad about something. Don’t insult me by pretending I can’t read you like a book. I can kiss anyone I want, it’s not like we’re together!”

“I know!” he snaps, regrettably raising his voice.

Clarke clenches her jaw and they’re both quiet for a moment.

“Well...what are we then?” Clarke’s voice is shaky. Half hope, half fear.

“I don’t know,” he admits. 

How does this end, even if they admit they have feelings for each other? The whole thing is a mess, to say the least.

“Well, glad we figured that out,” she snaps.

“Clarke-” he starts, but she’s already walking away, back into the house. Back to Niylah, probably. 

“Fuck,” he mutters. He doesn’t follow.

--∞--

Clarke tells Harper that she’s going home, so someone knows that she left. She can’t be at the party anymore. Between the realization that high school is officially ending and that she’s in love with her best friend, her best friend who she’s now officially fighting with, it’s all too much.

Except she doesn’t go home. She doesn’t want to have to explain to her parents why she’s home early and she knows she’s in the kind of mood where if they ask her what’s wrong, she’ll probably burst into tears. So she walks down Mbege’s street, and then another, and another, hugging her arms despite it not being cold out. She’s already halfway there when she realizes where she had begun to subconsciously wander to. 

Kahalu’u Beach is where Bellamy and her both learned to surf as children. It’s a three mile walk from Mbege’s house and takes her a little over an hour, but she’s so lost in her thoughts she barely notices the passing of time. It’s only when she’s kicking off her flip flops and walking across the sand does she realize how there are stray tears falling down her face. She walks all the way to the water, letting the tide sweep across her bare feet. She’s thankful for the bright, nearly full moon. It would be too dark to see much of anything without it. She forces herself to take a deep breath and tries to calm down as she stares at the nearly black horizon.

“Clarke!” 

Bellamy’s voice startles her, given how quiet it is otherwise. There’s not another soul in sight.

“Clarke!” he yells again, as she spins around to face him. She can see that he’s angry as he closes the distance between them. 

“Did you walk all the way out here by yourself? Don’t you know it’s dangerous-”

“How did you even find me?”

Bellamy holds up his phone, opened to the Find My Friends app , and narrows his eyes at her. 

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you.”

Bellamy only turns towards the ocean and she follows suit. They’re quiet for a minute, until Bellamy breaks the silence.

“I lied.”

“What are you talking about?”

He lets out a deep breath before turning towards her, pulling her closer by her arm so that she’s standing in front of him, mere inches from him.

“I said I didn’t know what we are,” he starts, voice quiet. Like he’s afraid of spooking someone, despite no one else being around. “Maybe that part is true. I don’t know what we are, but I know how I feel. I know what I want us to be. I’m sorry it took me so long to-” Bellamy cuts himself off, collecting his thoughts as Clarke’s heart begins to pound. “What I feel for you, Clarke...it terrifies me. I love you so damn much that I don’t even know what to do with myself. I’m such an idiot for taking so long to realize that I don’t just love you, that I’m in love with you. I don’t know if that makes things more complicated, or more simple, or what. But it’s the truth. That’s the full truth, and I want - I need - you to know it.”

Clarke can feel his surprise when she throws herself into his arms, but he wraps his own around her tightly after a beat, rocking her gently. She feels him nuzzle her neck and for a moment, she’s mostly just relieved to not be fighting with her best friend. But then she pulls away and takes his face in her hands and knows relieved doesn’t even begin to cover it. 

“You aren’t the only idiot who took too long to figure things out,” she laughs. Face still in her hands, Clarke feels, more than sees, his responding smile. “I love you too, idiot.”

Bellamy kisses her fiercely as soon as the words leave her lips. He tastes as incredible as the first time.

--∞--

Bellamy sets a box down on her small twin bed and brushes off his hands on his jeans. “Is that everything?”

“Oh I think there’s one last one in the trunk. Do you mind grabbing it while I start to unpack here?”

“Yeah, of course.” He gives her a quick peck on the lips before heading back out. It somehow feels both new and exciting, and like they’ve been doing that their whole lives.

Clarke smiles as she opens her suitcase and begins taking out her clothing, but can already feel the grief at his absence, despite the fact he’s not even gone yet. Stanford starts a week later than USC, so he flew to Los Angeles to spend the week with her and help her get settled before going up to Stanford. They both shipped their cars, so at least it would be easy enough to go back and forth between the cities. 

After the night of graduation, they decided they were both all in. It didn’t take the six weeks of summer for them to know that they didn’t want what they had to end. So they made a plan. They would see each other one weekend a month, alternating between Stanford and Los Angeles. She knew it would be hard, that she would miss him like crazy, but it was for the best. Neither wanted to hold the other back. Even if they were going to stay together, they still needed to try to build their own lives at their respective colleges.

The last week had felt like a vacation, despite the shadow of their separation hanging over them. They surfed, played tourist throughout all of Los Angeles, and fucked every night in the Airbnb they rented. It was a dream. But like all dreams, it had an expiration date.

“Hey,” Raven greets her, walking into their room.

Clarke had just met her roommate that morning, but she already had a good feeling about her. She was nice, but also funny and told it how it is. Qualities she appreciated.

“Where’s the boyfriend?”

“Oh, he went to grab the last box.”

“So, sticking with the high school boyfriend, huh?”

Clarke smiles as she turns to face her. Maybe she should be offended, but she’s confident enough in what her and Bellamy have that she’s not. 

“Yeah. Long distance won’t be fun, but I think we can handle it.”

“Not worried about turkey dropping and all of that?”

Clarke only laughs. “No, it’s not like that with us. He’s my best friend.”