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Clarke Griffin doesn’t believe in fate.

Humans are on their own. They stumble blindly through life, making mistakes and sometimes learning from them. 

The point is, she believes in what you can prove. She believes in science. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. She likes to think none of this would have happened if she hadn’t come back to the office late that night.

That’s the consequence of an earlier action, the catalyst that leads to the whole story. And it starts with Bellamy Blake.

Her nemesis. The bane of her existence—or at least the work week, Monday through Friday, at their office. The co-worker she would most like to punch in his face, as attractive as it admittedly is.

The thing is, Bellamy is hot. She has a pair of functioning eyes. It’s not like she’s unaware of the fact.

The other fact is, Bellamy is also a total jackass. So the sight of his brawny arms and broad shoulders in work shirts might do stupid things to her ovaries, but her head knows better.

Bellamy has been undermining her since her first month at ALIE Tech. He turned her presentation in front of the CEO, Becca Franko, into anarchy. A presentation she had been working on for weeks.

The other staff on their floor look up to Bellamy for some reason. This has added to his already inflated ego.

He considers himself a maverick, an unofficial patron for the underdogs at the company. Before she started, he staged an uprising for the warehouse workers and got them higher wages. 

The employees on their floor probably couldn’t care less about the warehouse staff. But they listened to Bellamy, rallying behind every cause he threw himself into. He has a charisma that can draw a crowd almost effortlessly. 

Clarke has heard some of his rants, working across from him for the past three years. Bellamy isn’t a saint. He doesn’t give a damn about the good of the company so much as sticking it to “the man” and causing chaos. 

Clarke was lucky she didn’t get fired that day. It was her meeting. She couldn’t keep the audience under control and it was Bellamy’s fault. 

She can’t remember what the uproar was about. Maybe it was important or maybe it was just to spite her. The point is, Bellamy humiliated her in front of Becca, all the while wearing that self-satisfied, I’m-such-a-rebel smirk. 

So yeah. Clarke can’t stand the guy.

If you ask Bellamy, he’ll tell you a different story about why they hate each other. A story that paints him in a better light, naturally. The two of them can’t agree on anything. Not even why they hate each other. But her version is what actually happened.

Her nemesis is the cause of most of her problems. See Exhibit A: 

Clarke slams her desk drawer shut. “Where. Is. It?” 

At her loud, scathing tone, Bellamy flicks his gaze toward her. His mouth curls up in the corner, lining up a retort. “The stick? Did you check up your ass?” 

From across the room, Murphy snorts under his breath. His shoulders shake with silent mirth. 

Clarke’s teeth grit. She tells herself she won’t succumb to their childish banter today. 

“No, you insufferable bastard,” she hisses. “My planner. Where is it?” 

“It’s cute,” Bellamy says, his attention returned to his computer screen, “how you think I care enough about your planner to steal it.” 

Her blood simmers under her skin. Clarke tries not to panic, thinking of all of the important information inside her planner. She prefers to write her schedule down on paper, marking dates and notes for herself. 

That planner has her contacts and passwords listed on it. All of her appointments for the next six months. And the notes she needs for the upcoming staff meeting. 

Bellamy knows how important it is. You don’t sit across from someone for three years without finding out all kinds of things about them.

She knows about his peanut allergy. He has a habit of drumming his fingers on the desk and bouncing his leg, unable to sit still for long periods of time. His younger sister, Octavia, got her degree from UCLA. Bellamy has a framed photo of them from Octavia’s graduation sitting on his desk. 

Bellamy,” Clarke snaps. “I’m not fucking around. Where’s my planner? I know you took it.” 

Her accusation isn’t unfounded. Taking her sacred planner is the kind of juvenile prank that Bellamy pulls for a laugh at her expense. He claims she’s too uptight. The pranks are supposed to make her “lighten up” when in reality they make her want to tear her hair out. 

Bellamy ignores her, typing on his computer. 

Clarke huffs. She pushes herself away from her desk and strides toward the break room. In her experience, sometimes she has to wait out the pranks. Bellamy will have his laugh or grow bored. He’ll move on to flirting with the new guy in marketing soon enough.

She gets herself a bar of chocolate from the vending machine. That lifts her mood. Clarke moans to herself when the chocolate melts on her tongue. Yum

A husky laugh comes from behind her. “Well, I’m jealous.” 

Clarke whips around, eyes wide. 

Her pulse lurches. It’s Lexa. The beautiful brunette is a partner at Trikru Enterprise, one of their company’s biggest investors. Clarke didn’t know she was going to be in the office today. 

The sight of her makes Clarke’s mouth dry. Her fierce green eyes lined in kohl. The black pants suit that she wears the hell out of. Every time Lexa walks into this office, she loses her cool completely. 

They went on a date last year. It went well, really well, but Clarke had to say no to a second because of her no-dating rule. She has no clue why Lexa still gives her sultry bedroom eyes when Clarke blew her off. 

“Um.” Clarke laughs awkwardly. She holds out the bar of chocolate like a peace offering. “Want a piece?” 

Lexa’s eyes run down her body like a hot caress. “Not of the chocolate,” she says under her breath. 

Clarke’s stomach drops through twenty-two floors. Surely, she heard her wrong. There’s no way someone like Lexa is blatantly hitting on her —the dork drooling on chocolate like she hasn’t been laid in a year. (She hasn’t). 

The door to the break room swings open. One of the girls from reception, Bree, pokes her head in. “Clarke, there’s a delivery for you.” 

“Okay. I’ll be right there.” 

Clarke gives Lexa a smile over her shoulder. “See you around?” 

“I hope so,” Lexa replies flirtily. 

Clarke scurries out of the room and trips in the doorway. She cringes to herself, hearing a soft laugh behind her. Great. Lexa totally saw that. 

Once upon a time, she did have game. She’s not inexperienced. It’s just been a long time since she was out there and Lexa comes on so strong she doesn’t know what to do with herself. 

There’s a man standing by the front desk, dressed in a UPS uniform. He’s holding a small wrapped package, which he hands over when Clarke announces herself. She signs for the delivery, sending him on his way. 

The package is unexpected. Clarke is wondering about its contents when she returns to her desk. She doesn’t remember placing an order recently. Maybe Wells is sending her a care package from overseas. Her childhood best friend does that from time to time. 

She rips open the package. At first, all Clarke sees is what looks like a hunk of chocolate. A large brown wrapper with a Snickers label. 

Clarke is confused. She picks up the wrapped bar. Her finger accidentally presses a button and the rectangle starts to vibrate in her hands. Her confusion swelling, she decides to unwrap what is clearly not actually a candy bar. 

It’s a vibrator. A long, blue vibrator emerges from the wrapping into her hand. 

Clarke’s jaw drops. What the fuck? 

There are snickers and laughter all around her. Clarke realizes her co-workers have paused to watch the unveiling of this surprise package.

Her cheeks flush. They’re all watching her get delivered a vibrator at work. 

She looks up, realization dropping on her, to Bellamy’s smirking face at his desk. His chin propped in his hand, he’s watching the scene unfold with mirth gleaming in his brown eyes. 

Bellamy points his finger at her. “Now that is a prank worthy of my creative genius.” He winks. “Have fun, Princess.” 

Clarke stands up from the desk. Her face is on fire, ears burning. Anger is a live thing kicking furiously in her chest. She doesn’t realize what she’s doing until she’s thrown the vibrator at Bellamy’s chest. 

“You’re such an ass,” she snarls as he laughs. “Keep it. You can use it on the next girl you screw, so you can actually make her come.” 

Some of their co-workers whistle at her taunt. This is just another showdown on their floor. 

Bellamy’s laughter dries up. He narrows his eyes at her. “I don’t need the help. I figured you could use something to let off your sexual frustration. You seem tense, Griffin.” 

Clarke bares her teeth in a mocking smile. “I’m fine, Blake. Unlike you, I have a job to do. A job I’m actually qualified for. I didn’t get hired to be a boy toy.” 

Fire blazes behind Bellamy’s eyes. She’s struck a nerve. 

Clarke knows how to push his buttons too. Bellamy is bothered by the talk that followed his hiring. He doesn’t have the degree that others do. The official story is that their boss was impressed by his interview and took a chance on him. 

The unofficial gossip is that Kara in Human Resources wanted to bone him and that’s how he got the job. Based on his looks. 

Bellamy opens his mouth, ready to launch another verbal grenade her way.

Anticipation crackles down her spine. She’s just as twisted as he is, getting a sick pleasure out of their banter. It’s a special kind of high, always trying to one-up the other. 

“Griffin. Blake.” 

The supervisor of their branch, Marcus Kane, appears beside them. He looks down his nose disapprovingly at the blue vibrator Bellamy has cradled against his chest. Then he glares between the two of them. 

“Do we need to set up a meeting with HR?” he suggests. “Have another talk about sexual harassment?” 

Kane gives Clarke a pointed look here.

She feels a swirl of guilt and pride in her chest. Their last sexual harassment seminar was because of her. Or more accurately, the rumor Clarke started in the office about Bellamy having a foot fetish.  

She started that rumor as revenge, okay? She might have gotten carried away, claiming that Bellamy had a stash of photos featuring the feet of every person in the office.

But it was hilarious watching every person that Bellamy tried to hit on suddenly reject his advances. He was frustrated for days before he figured it out. 

“No,” Clarke responds. 

At the same time, Bellamy answers, “No, sir.” 

He stuffs the vibrator away, out of sight. 

Kane nods. He turns his attention to the rest of the office. “We’re having a staff meeting in ten minutes, for those of you who neglect to check your email.” 

When their supervisor walks off, everyone focuses on their work. The antics are over. With her planner still missing, Clarke feels unprepared for this meeting. She sends an email to Monty, her friend that works in engineering, to ask about it. 

From his desk, Bellamy observes her squirming like a cat watching his caught prey. “Someone’s got their panties in a twist.” 

“You,” she hisses, “do not concern yourself with my panties, Blake.” 

Clarke survives the meeting and the rest of the work day. Her mood is prickly thanks to Bellamy’s prank, thinking of his knowing smirk. 

“I figured you could use something to let off your sexual frustration.” 

How dare he just assume she’s sexually frustrated. They’re not friends. They don’t share intimate details about their private business. He doesn’t know if she’s seeing someone, if she’s secretly getting laid outside of the office hours. 

She’s not, but he has no right to assume otherwise. Smug bastard. 

Clarke cools down during her walk to the bakery, a few blocks away from their office building. The sweet aroma of baked treats pushes her annoying co-worker out of her mind. She doesn’t want to be in a foul mood while visiting her dad anyway. 

At the counter, Clarke places her usual order for a box of raspberry tarts. She carries the pink box from Sweet Delights onto the train. It takes about thirty minutes to reach her stop where Sanctum, the care facility, is located. 

From the outside, the facility resembles a luxury resort. The sprawl of stone buildings hosts individual apartments for their residents. The grand entrance features a rose garden, green manicured lawns, and a marble fountain. 

Clarke passes through the automatic doors into the lobby. Maya, one of the kind employees, lights up when she walks in. “Hi, Clarke.” 

“Hey, Maya. How’s it going?” 

They catch up for a few minutes. As another fan of art, she and Maya always find something to chat about during her visits. Maya tells her about visiting the Contemporary Art Museum last weekend with her boyfriend, Jasper. 

Clarke lives vicariously through this story. She hasn’t been to the art museum in ages. Her weekends are too busy in between work assignments, schoolwork and taking care of her father to have time for much else. 

“How are your classes going?” Maya asks curiously. 

Her mouth quirks into a rueful smile. “They’re going.” Clarke won’t bore her with complaints about her stress, trying to learn the ins and outs of the latest graphic design program. “How’s he doing today?” 

Maya understands what she’s asking. Her soft expression assures Clarke it’s a good day for her dad. “He’s been asking for you.” 

Clarke nods. Her chest tightens with guilt. She tells herself that she’s here now. “I better get going then.” 

She pops open the box from Sweet Delights and offers Maya one of the raspberry tarts. Her friend accepts the treat with a grateful smile. 

Clarke takes herself down the familiar, decorated hallways of the facility. The place does their best to resemble a home with warm, lavish decor. Sanctum is the nicest facility that she could find in their area, wanting the best for her father. The price is steep, but worth it for the attentive, kind staff like Maya and luxury accommodations. 

She knocks on the wooden door before letting herself into her father’s room. She finds her dad in his typical spot on the sofa, watching an old football game on the flatscreen television. 

“Hi, dad,” she murmurs. 

He turns his head at her voice. Today his blue eyes are clear and lucid, locking onto her with recognition. “There she is. Hi, kiddo.” 

Clarke clenches her jaw, pushing back on the tide of emotion that rises in her throat. She manages a wobbly smile. It’s getting rarer and rarer these days for her dad to remember who she is. 

His early-onset Alzheimer's disease can be unpredictable. There are times when she’ll visit and she’ll be a complete stranger to him. Those are the most painful. Sometimes, he’ll look at her and see her mother. He’ll call her Abby and ask why she left him. She hates those times. 

Clarke has no answer to give him. She doesn’t know why his wife left them any more than he does. Clarke prefers not to think about her mother at all, existing somewhere in the world without them. Abby has no interest in knowing her, which is fine. She still has her dad. 

For now, a dark voice reminds her. 

“Look, I brought your favorite,” Clarke says brightly. 

She brings over the box of pastries, joining him on the couch. They each eat a raspberry tart while the college football game plays in the background. After their snack, Clarke curls up next to him and lays her head on his shoulder. 

They watch the rest of the game. The clock on the wall reads 6:45. Dinner for the residents will be served soon. Clarke doesn’t want to screw up her dad’s routine, but she’s reluctant to leave him on such a good day. 

He’s not confused or agitated. He knows who she is. Ever since his diagnosis over a year ago, those lucid days have become far and few in between. Clarke doesn’t know for sure how many of those he has left. It makes her want to cling onto this sweet, precious moment and never let go. 

When the game ends, her dad turns to her and tucks a lock of blonde hair behind her ear. “How’s school coming along, kiddo?” 

Clarke smiles. She can’t believe her dad remembers she’s taking courses for art school. “It’s great, Dad. I’m learning so much.” 

He nods along, looking pleased. “You’ve always been a brilliant mind. Have you looked into Stanford?” 

Just like that, Clarke feels her bright moment of happiness deflates like a popped balloon. She falters. Her dad thinks she’s still in high school and applying to colleges. They had this conversation already when she was seventeen. Ten years ago. 

A gleam enters her dad’s blue eyes. “I know I’m biased since it’s my alma mater. I really think you’d love it there, honey.” 

I did , Clarke thinks. 

She attended and graduated from Stanford years ago, summa cum laude. Her dad was at her graduation. He had never been as proud of her as he was that night. 

It’s futile to point this out. This is what this disease does, decaying his brain cells, taking important memories away from him piece by piece. There’s no cure. Soon he’s going to forget everything. Forget their life together. Forget her. 

Clarke forces a smile, blinking hot tears out of her eyes. “I do too. Stanford is my first pick.” 

“Have you taken your SAT’s yet?” 

Sometimes during these visits, she just has to indulge him. She has to go along with where he’s stuck in time or who he thinks she is. As heartbreaking as it can be, Clarke knows how to appreciate a good day when it comes around.

She stays talking with her dad about colleges and SAT scores until dinner. Clarke says goodbye and promises to come by the day after tomorrow. She has a class on Thursday nights. 

As Clarke is heading out, Maya calls out to her. “Hey, Clarke. I think this belongs to you.”

It’s her planner. Leather bound, stuffed with notes, and monogrammed with the initials CG. 

“Oh.” Clarke takes it from her hand and slips it into her bag. “Thanks.” 

So she left it behind yesterday when she was visiting her dad. He was having an episode the night before. It was one of those instances when he was agitated and unable to calm down. He demanded to leave the facility, unable to understand why they were keeping him here. 

Bellamy didn’t steal her planner then. Unfortunately, she probably owes him an apology. 

Yeah, that’s not going to happen. Not after the stunt he pulled today. She’ll settle for not taking revenge on him for the vibrator incident and call them even. 

The stress is getting to her. Some days it feels like she has too many balls in the air, struggling to juggle them all. It’s inevitable that she’s going to screw up somewhere, but Clarke still gets annoyed at herself when she does. 

She has arrived home after another day at the office and visiting her dad. Clarke is getting ready to start her assignment for her graphic design class. That’s when she realizes her laptop is sitting in her locked desk drawer at work. 

Fuck,” Clarke says to her empty apartment. 

She’s already showered since coming home, dressed in her comfy lounge pants and an old tee shirt. She’s tired. She really doesn’t want to drag her ass back to the office. 

Clarke stalls for about five minutes, sulking on her sofa. Then she stands up, grabs her purse, and stomps out the front door. 

She opts for calling a cab to take her to the building, instead of catching the train. The driver drops her off on the street corner. Clarke hurries over to the skyscraper building. 

There are still a few lights on, scattered across the twenty-plus floors, some people staying to work late. Clarke is able to flash her badge at security and climb onto the elevator without an issue. 

Hopefully, there’ll be a janitor or other cleaning staff working on their floor. Clarke is going to be screwed if the doors are locked. 

She steps off on the twenty-second floor. Clarke sends up a silent prayer of thanks. There are lights on behind the frosted glass doors. Someone is in there. 

She enters the lobby. It’s kind of eerie, seeing the vacant front desk. She’s not used to the large floor space being so silent and empty. The phones are constantly ringing during the day and the girls chatting at the front desk. 

Clarke hurries to get to her desk, get what she needs, and get out. 

Noises reach her ears once she passes through the lobby and rounds the corner. Clarke strains to hear, to make sense of the unexpected ruckus.

It sounds like a desk is being scraped across the floor. And there’s…

Moaning. High, feminine moans and panting breaths. The slap of flesh against flesh. 

Clarke recognizes those sounds straight out of a porn video. She has to wonder if someone is watching porn inside the office before she hears the cries. 

Bellamy!” 

Her eyes widen. No. 

Her feet carry her forward before she gives the command, stepping out from behind the wall. She locks her sight on his desk. 

The first thing Clarke sees is the dark-haired girl bent over the surface. It’s Roma. She’s braced on her forearms and topless, her small perky tits bouncing. The black skirt she was wearing that day has been hiked up her waist, leaving her ass and long legs exposed. 

Bellamy stands behind her, his large hands grasping onto her hips as he thrusts. His dress shirt is unbuttoned and flayed open, the muscles in his abdomen flexing with his movements. That’s the only skin on display. He’s wearing his pants, unbuckled and unzipped. 

The sounds are obscene and filthy-hot. They flood into Clarke’s ears. The clink of Bellamy’s belt buckle. His heavy breaths and low grunts. The slick wetness of him driving into Roma, mixed with her pleasured cries. 

Clarke is rooted to the floor, a warm flush crawling into her cheeks. Her nipples tighten into hard peaks. She can’t tear her eyes off of Bellamy’s face. Curls stick to his damp forehead, his lips parted open, a concentrated furrow between his dark brows. 

So this is what he looks like having sex. Intense. Hot. 

Clarke is momentarily entranced by the fluid, sensual rocking of his hips and ass. His movements are controlled and pointed, hitting a spot that makes Roma push back against him eagerly. 

Wetness seeps in between her legs watching him. Bellamy knows how to fuck. 

He lands a loud slap against Roma’s ass, startling Clarke out of her trance. “Yeah, that’s it,” he rasps. “Work yourself on my cock, baby.” 

Oh my god. What the fuck is she doing? She can’t be watching them have sex. This is different than watching porn on her own. This is Bellamy. Two of her co-workers and she’s standing there perving on them. 

Roma reaches an orgasm. Her slender arms tremble on the desk, body shuddering through the throes of climax.

The scene is hot. It could explain why Clarke is so turned on, except all of her attention is hooked on Bellamy. 

If she’s being honest...it’s not the attractive, naked girl that has her body pulsing with arousal. It’s him

Clarke forces herself to step back, flattening against the wall. Her heart is pounding. She listens to the sounds of Bellamy fucking Roma through her orgasm, her loud moans gradually softening. Clarke squeezes her eyes shut, fighting a losing battle with her self-control. 

She dips her hand into her lounge pants, slipping past her panties to touch her tingling cunt. Her fingers graze slick folds, the pool of wetness between her legs.

She's too worked up to tease herself. Her fingers sink in, biting her lip to hold back a moan when she finds relief.  

It’s wrong. It’s so wrong, but she can’t stop. 

Clarke thrusts into the well of her cunt, her thumb rolling over her clit. The small nub throbs under her touch. She is so turned on, the need to get off consumes her. And behind her lids are all flashes of Bellamy. 

His intense expression. His hands, so much bigger than hers. His deep, rumbling voice. 

Clarke’s hips grind forward, chasing her orgasm. She gets wetter thinking about him. On the other side of this wall, grunting and breathing heavy, makes it easy to pretend it’s her that he’s fucking on that desk. 

Come for me, Princess,” Bellamy demands. 

Pleasure spikes through her in a building, delicious swell. She’s having trouble keeping quiet. Clarke clamps her right hand over her mouth, muffling herself when she comes. 

Her legs shake from the force of it. Clarke drops her head back on the wall as she recovers. 

The bliss of her orgasm is swallowed up by horror. Clarke’s eyes snap open. She just touched herself while thinking about Bellamy Blake. Someone she doesn’t even like

On his desk, Bellamy and Roma are still having sex. Shame burns in her face down to her toes. Clarke can’t believe she did this, listening to them to get off. They have no idea she’s there. 

Feeling disgusted with herself, Clarke quickly leaves. She forgets about the laptop. She wants to forget this ever happened. 

Chapter Text


It’s going to be a good day.

Bellamy walks toward the train with a certain spring in his step. The bliss is lingering in his veins shortly after leaving Roma’s place. His hair is an unwashed mess and he’s wearing yesterday’s wrinkled clothes, but the way Roma woke him up with her mouth wrapped around him makes it worth it.

Kane isn’t going to be in until later. He’ll have time to stop by his place and change before heading into work.

Bellamy steps onto the train when the doors slide open. He finds an open spot to sit down. Once they start moving, he digs his paperback book out of his bag to read during the ride.

At the next stop, people sweep out of the open doors. More bodies enter the car, a bustling transition that Bellamy stopped noticing after riding the train for so many years. He can block out the noise, absorbed in his novel.

However, there’s a flash of blonde hair that snags his attention. Bellamy glances up and there she is, standing by the window. Clarke Griffin is frowning down at her phone, a familiar wrinkle in between her brows.

A smirk forms on his lips. God, what are the odds? This isn’t his regular train. But this neighborhood uptown is the same location as the Princess’s fancy condo. He should have guessed she’d be on this one.

Bellamy tucks his book away. Stretching his leg out in front of him, he nudges her ankle with the side of his foot.

Clarke snaps her head up. She’s startled until she notices him. Then her lips flatten in displeasure. “Oh. It’s you.”

He stands up to join her by the window. His commute just got more interesting. Bellamy’s already in high spirits. Getting to annoy Clarke before the workday even starts is a bonus.

Unlike him, Clarke doesn’t look like she just rolled out of bed. She’s perfectly put together like always. She has on a striped blouse and tight black skirt. The tall heels she wears could cut someone’s throat. It’s hot.

Not the throat-cutting part. He just likes watching Clarke strut up the stairs to enter their building and stalk around the floor in them. She makes it look effortless.

Bellamy grins. “Morning, Princess.”

“What are you doing here? This isn’t your train.”

His grin turns wolfish, proud. “Spent the night at Roma’s place. She lives on Hoover Street.”

A strange expression crosses Clarke’s face at Roma’s name. Suddenly, she has a hard time meeting his stare.

Bellamy doesn’t know what to make of it. She’s supposed to be glaring at him, making a judgy comment about his sex life.

There’s a tinge of pink in Clarke’s cheeks. Maybe she’s into Roma. Leggy brunettes seem to be Clarke’s type. She went out with Lexa from Trikru last year.

“What’s with the face?” he asks.

Clarke scowls. “I’m not making a face.”

“You are.”

She wrinkles her nose, tilting her head away from him. “Ugh. You smell like a bar floor, you know.”

Bellamy shrugs brazenly. “Roma wanted a quickie before work. Didn’t have time to shower.”

There’s that face again. She looks uncomfortable, which doesn’t add up in his mind. Clarke isn’t a prude. She might judge his choices to sleep around the office, but she’s never been uncomfortable talking about sex. Not in front of him and not with anyone else at work.

He’s not a dick. Bellamy wouldn’t have sent her a vibrator as a gag gift if he thought Clarke would actually be upset about it. She gives back as good as she gets.

This reaction is different. It prickles his curiosity. Plus, bringing up her odd expression seems to piss Clarke off and that happens to be one of his favorite activities.

Look, he wouldn’t rile Clarke up if she didn’t make it so easy. Her reactions never disappoint. If she ignored him, he’d leave her alone. But the bickering and the pranks and the reactions are the essential ingredients of his weird dynamic with Clarke. The thing is, they both thrive off it.

“You into Roma or something? I can give you her number.”

“No, thank you,” Clarke says stiffly. Her cheeks are a bright, pretty pink.

“You seem tense,” he notes with mock-concern. “I still have the vibrator if you need—”

He’s cut off by Clarke slamming her four-inch heel into his foot.

“Fuck!” he yells, startling the other passengers on the train.

Clarke smirks briefly as he winces in pain.

Then she raises her voice, putting on the air of a scandalized woman. “Leave me alone, you pervert! I don’t want to see your penis!”

Really? Bellamy shoots her a look, widening his eyes.

The middle-aged woman standing on Clarke’s other side gives him a dark, suspicious glare. He can feel the heat of several judgmental eyes on him, coming from every passenger in their car.

See, not a prude. The Princess plays dirty.

Bellamy backs off, retreating to the seat he left earlier. Of course, now nobody wants to sit near him—the creep trying to flash his junk at unsuspecting young women.

A text buzzes on his phone. Bellamy flips the screen over to read the message.

Clarke Griffin, Work: I win.  

The workday drags by as Bellamy, like everyone else, is counting down the minutes for the weekend. After 5 o’clock, he heads to the bar with Miller and Murphy for a round of drinks.

Bellamy nearly chokes on his beer, laughing at the story of Murphy’s customer service call. Murphy works as a temp at ALIE Tech, filling in wherever they need him. He does well in sales, a master of bullshit. But his stint in customer care ended in him cursing at the client.

Miller shakes his head in wonderment. “Man, how haven’t they fired you?”

Murphy leans back with a lazy smirk. “You can’t get rid of cockroaches. We make ourselves useful.”

They chat about their weekend plans over a round of beers. Miller says he’s going out to Clearwater Pointe with Monty. His boyfriend’s family is renting a boat for a day in the sun.

Murphy is supposed to go to a baseball game with his dad. They have season tickets for their city’s baseball team.

Hearing about his friends’ close relationships with their fathers always puts a twinge behind Bellamy’s ribs. He loves his little sister and his mom more than anything in the world. But he’ll never have what Murphy and Miller have with their dads. His is buried six feet under.

“Screw that,” Murphy says. “I’d rather go on the boat. Does Monty have any hot single cousins?”

Miller curls his lip at him. “Even if he did, I wouldn’t tell you. I’m not risking you being married into the Green family. No way in hell.”

Bellamy snorts, the tightness in his chest loosening. He chugs down his drink, trying not to dwell on what he’s missing out on. Lots of people don’t have fathers. He could be worse off.

The drinks on Friday night are always a good way to wind down after work. But Bellamy’s favorite part of the weekend is when Sunday rolls around. His sister is in town and they’ll get to have their family dinner at his mom’s place.

They try to get together at least once a month or more, depending on Octavia’s schedule. His sister is a designer with her own clothing company. She’s often traveling around the country for work, which she loves, being able to visit different cities. 

Bellamy has dinner with his mom every Sunday anyway. But it’s special when they have Octavia join them.

He arrives at his mom’s house at midday, letting himself in. Knowing O will be coming, she’ll be cooking his sister’s favorite. And when Bellamy enters the small kitchen, his mom is preparing the rellenong manok—a family recipe from his dad’s Filipino side.

His mom pauses drying the chicken, slim hands coated in the marinated mixture. Her expression softens upon seeing him. “My boy.”

Bellamy smiles, leaning down to kiss her cheek. “Hi, Ma.”

He goes to wash his hands in the sink and then starts helping her with the prep. His hands move expertly with the ingredients to prepare the stuffing.

Bellamy has been cooking since he was eleven, taught by his mother. By the time he hit puberty, he could make meals on his own for him and O while their mom was working.

Their comfortable silence in the kitchen is broken by his mom.  “Tell me about work.”

Bellamy fills her in. She likes to hear about ALIE Tech, proud that her son is employed at a big company. He tells her about the numerous accounts he oversees and the successful deals he’s cut with their clients.

To say Bellamy loves his job is a stretch, but it has good pay and good benefits. There are some clients he is fond of, building relationships across many years and he has job security. That’s all that matters. 

After setting the stuffed chicken in the oven, Bellamy turns toward his mom. “How’s the water pressure in the bathroom? You need me to look at it again?”

Eyes warm, his mom pats his cheek. “It’s fine. Everything is fine. You’re a good son, Bellamy. Come. Sit with me.”

They move to the living room. His mom puts on Friends on the television. They watch a few episodes together, chatting during the commercial breaks. Bellamy finds it difficult to sit still sometimes, not be doing something, and earns his mother’s glare whenever she catches him fidgeting.

In the evening, his sister announces herself when she comes through the front door. “Hello?”

Bellamy smirks. “Right on time to eat mom’s cooking. Of course.”

Octavia rolls her eyes, shoving his face on her way to hug their mother. “Hi, Ma! It smells so good. Is that the chicken I like?”

He nudges Octavia as they head to the kitchen. “Help set the table.”

“O-kay,” she retorts, breaking out the bratty little sister routine.

There’s something about being in their mom’s house that reverts them to their younger selves. Bellamy finds himself using his stern, older brother voice more often. They’re grown adults, but they slip easily into old habits.

They crowd around the small table in the kitchen, digging into the food eagerly. Nothing compares to his mother’s home cooking.

“How’s my son-in-law?”

Octavia’s face brightens at the mention of her husband. “Lincoln’s good, Ma. He misses you.”

“He can come by whenever he likes,” their mom offers, smiling slightly. “How long are you in town for?”

“Three days,” she answers in between bites. “I have a meeting with a potential buyer tomorrow. Lincoln and I can come over after then.”

Bellamy should sense what’s coming next. It happens every time his mom asks about her son-in-law. She was wary at first, considering their five year age difference, but grew to love Lincoln.

Bellamy felt the same. He once thought nobody was good enough for his baby sister. If there is someone that deserves her though, it’s Lincoln. He treats Octavia right. They’ve been blissfully happy for the past two years of their marriage.

His mom turns her attention to him. “And when are you going to bring someone home?”

Here we go, he thinks.

Bellamy appreciates his mother respecting his sexuality. She supported him when he came out to her as bisexual. But she also made it clear being with a man or woman didn’t get him out of her expectations for him, including children. 

“Yeah, Bell,” Octavia says cheekily, “where are you going to bring someone home?”

“Don’t encourage her, O,” Bellamy grumbles.

His mother frowns. “I just don’t want you to be alone, Bellamy. You’re so handsome, smart, kind. I don’t see the problem.”

He bounces his leg, feeling his skin crawl during this whole conversation “There isn’t a problem, Ma. I’m not ready to settle down.”

She sighs like he’s disappointing her. “You deserve to be loved, my son. To have a family of your own. I worry I’ll never have grandchildren.”

In a moment of solidarity, Octavia rolls her eyes at him and Bellamy gives her a sympathetic glance.

Octavia doesn’t want to have kids, which is a sore subject with their mother. Octavia says she loves being a godmother to her friend Charmaine’s daughter, Hope, but that’s enough for her.

The responsibility to have kids falls on Bellamy’s shoulders. Luckily, he loves children and wants a few of his own. Unfortunately, though, his mother is aware of this and is keen on reminding him.

Then Octavia asks, “What about Clarke ?”

His pulse skips. Hearing about Clarke right now is unexpected, that’s all. And bizarre. The name of his co-worker doesn’t belong in the house he grew up in.

Bellamy pins his sister with a warning glare. So much for sibling solidarity.

“What about her?” he demands.

Octavia smiles, the picture of innocence, except for the wicked gleam in her eye. “She’s single. You had a crush on her, didn’t you? Maybe it’s time to make a move.”

Heat crawls up the back of his neck. Thank the gods they’re only in his mother’s kitchen and nobody from work is witnessing this conversation. He regrets telling his sister about his tiny, pathetic crush as it is.

“That was for five minutes,” he snaps, “when she first started. I’m over it now.”

“More like five months,” Octavia counters.

Bellamy ignores this correction, shoveling food into his mouth. He came to his senses over liking Clarke Griffin a long time ago. He realized what a stuck-up princess she is.

Clarke grew up sheltered and privileged. He saw it on her the moment she walked into ALIE Tech, a certainty that she belonged there echoing in her confident steps. People like her never doubt that they belong, that those spaces are crafted specifically for them. 

Their worlds are completely different, down from the roots up. Bellamy can just picture bringing her here, to the impoverished neighborhood he grew up in. 

Her horrified expression hearing about his childhood: the homemade clothes his mother sewed for them, using fabric from her job in exchange for giving her boss sexual favors. Watering down the milk. Showering at the high school when there was no hot water that month, the sweltering summers without air conditioning and freezing, bitter winters without heat. 

It nauseates him to imagine her pity. Yeah, like hell he’d ever bring her home.

“Who’s this?” His mom asks, glancing from his glowering expression over to his sister.

“A girl Bell works with,” Octavia explains. “She’s gorgeous and smart and a total badass. They have insane chemistry.” 

“Drop it, O,” he growls.

His mother seems to sense his mood and changes the subject. They finish dinner. He and Octavia clean up, washing and drying the dishes side by side.

The air is warm when they step outside onto the quiet street. A humid Sunday night greets them where the moon hangs full and bright. Bellamy walks with his sister over to her rental car. She’s dropping him off at home.

“You’re taking me to lunch this week,” Octavia informs him once they’re parked on his block.

Bellamy’s mouth twitches in amusement. “Okay, O.”

She hugs him tight before he climbs out of the car. Bellamy cups the back of her head. She’s a married woman with her a career, but to him, she’ll always be the baby he held in his arms at six years old.

“I miss you, big brother.”

“I miss you too.”

He places a kiss on the crown of her head in goodbye. Octavia honks her horn as she drives away and he’s ducking into his building.

Bellamy changes once he gets inside, putting on an old tee shirt and his sweatpants. He swaps out his contacts for his square-framed glasses. He has the rest of the night to himself and a documentary waiting in his DVR.

He left his phone behind. Bellamy doesn’t want to get distracted by work emails when spending time with his family. He settles onto his bed and decides to check his phone.

There’s a couple of texts from Miller from their earlier conversation. Then a message from Roma: what are you doing tonight?

Bellamy deletes the text without responding. They had their fun. He’s not going to lead her on. Soon enough Roma will figure out casual sex is all he’s good for and he has nothing else to offer her. 

With a pang, he remembers his mother’s concern. “I just don’t want you to be alone, Bellamy.”

He’s thirty-one. It was one thing to be hooking up when he was twenty-five, but now he’s approaching the phase when he’s supposed to get serious, find the right person to marry, and have 2.5 kids.

It’s not that Bellamy doesn’t want those things eventually. He does. He just has no idea how to going about getting there.

Most of his friends are in long-term relationships. Miller. Monty. Even his sister. The only single ally he has left is Murphy and despite his claims as being a lone-wolf, Bellamy suspects Murphy wants someone too. He was heartbroken when it didn’t work out with Emori.

He feels like he’s alone on an island. Everyone else has figured out how to make intimacy and love work. Bellamy is stuck, stranded. When people peer closely at him they see something broken deep inside.

Maybe his mom can see it too. She’s concerned that nobody is going to love him for this whole self. He’s not good enough to be loved like that.

Bellamy shuts off the television. He’s tired of being inside his head. He turns off the light, plunging himself into darkness, and goes to sleep. 

There’s a game he and Clarke like to play.

There are no clearly defined rules. Like the rest of their weird competitive rivalry, the game is a concept only they can understand.

They play when the day is slow, unproductive, and one of them is bored. In his head, Bellamy calls it Chicken. They’re competing to see who will break first. Who will claim victory and hold it over the other’s head in obnoxious glory?

Kane is at the head of the boardroom, leading a lengthy and tedious meeting about something Bellamy doesn’t care about. Their office is just one branch of the ALIE Tech behemoth. Corporate has given Kane the order to have this meeting, so they all have to endure it.

They’re lined up in rows in the biggest boardroom to fit everyone. Bellamy can see Miller is asleep in the row behind him, his chin resting on his fist. When he accidentally catches Roma’s eye, she shoots him an icy glare that is meant to chill his soul. Still pissed about him dodging her calls then.

They had a good time together. Bellamy was upfront about his intentions. He doesn’t like hurting anyone’s feelings, but it turns out Roma was one of those people pretending to be cool with casual sex. In reality, she expected more and now he was on her shit list.

Next to him, Clarke is staring straight ahead, her eyes glazed over. She has her hair up today in an elaborate bun, leaving the nape of her neck exposed. Bellamy finds this expanse of vulnerable skin distracting until he snaps himself out of it.

He’s bored. They’re trapped in this meeting. So Bellamy starts their little game, leaning in closer to her until his bare forearm brushes against hers.

Clarke’s head turns immediately. Her blue eyes narrow at him in suspicion. It could have been an innocent, accidental touch if not for the smirk hidden in the corner of his mouth.

His gaze flicks to meet hers. Three seconds. Then he looks away, back to the front of the room, his expression bored. The challenge has been thrown down. Come on, Princess.

Clarke shifts in her seat. As she crosses her legs, she deliberately runs her foot up the length of his calf. Through the material of his suit pants, Bellamy still feels an echo of that touch, a shiver that dances down his spine.

He’s not going to be outdone. And she unwittingly gave him an advantage today.

Bellamy casually stretches his arm around the back of her chair. Under the pretense of getting comfortable, he lets his fingers graze the nape of Clarke’s neck.

Her reaction is immediate and visceral. Clarke gasps, her body shuddering from head to toe at his touch.

He has to bite back his smirk when Harper turns around in her seat. Her brow is wrinkled in concern as she looks at Clarke, mouthing, “You okay?

Clarke nods at her friend. Harper turns back around. Clarke leans in the other direction, away from him, conceding victory.

He wins.

Victory doesn’t taste sweet. It tastes more like bitter disappointment that the game is over. He was having so much fun playing.

Finally, Kane calls an end to the meeting. Everyone stands up from their seats, stretching out stiff limbs. Voices carry in the boardroom as conversation picks up.

“Better luck next time, Princess,” he taunts.

Clarke rolls her eyes as she pushes past him.

Bellamy strolls out of the room. He’s in no hurry to return to his desk. He makes a stop at the restroom and then decides he needs a kick of caffeine to break up the meeting fog. He’s grabbing a soda out of the vending machine when a shadow falls over him.

Roma appears at his side. She looks slightly less murderous, her expression wary. “Clarke said you wanted to talk to me.”

Well played, Griffin.

Bellamy sighs, rubbing his neck with his free hand. This is going to be unpleasant. He might as well man up and do it.

“Look, Roma,” he starts. “I’m not interested in having a relationship. I’m sorry that I gave you a different impression.”

The ice in her blue eyes melts, her pretty face softening. “You didn’t. I know your reputation, Bellamy. I guessed I just hoped…”

He squeezes her shoulder gently. “It’s not you, okay? I mean it. You’re great. I don’t get serious with anyone.”

Roma nods. There isn’t much else he can say, so Bellamy exits the break room.

He stalks towards the cluster of desks in his area. Clarke is seated at hers, her back to him as he approaches. She’s typing an email on her desk, busy, her fingers flying over the keys.

Bellamy crouches down to speak into her ear. “I’ll get you back for that.”

Clarke jumps about a foot in the air. He catches her irritated look as he rounds her desk. She tilts her chin up at him. “I had a girls’ chat with Roma in the ladies’ room. She had a lot to say.”

“And you encouraged her,” he retorts, sitting down at his desk.

“She deserved an explanation, Bellamy. You were being a pig.”

“Here’s a thought: Stay out of my sex life. Just because you don’t have one of her own doesn’t give you the right to interfere with mine.”

That earns him a lethal glare. “I have a sex life,” Clarke hisses. “I just don’t spray it all over the office like an egotistical dog marking his territory.”

Bellamy presses his lips together, hiding behind his computer monitor. He refuses to laugh at her wit. He’s had to save it for the ride home sometimes, laughing to himself at some of the insults and comebacks Clarke has thrown at him.

When he’s got himself under control, Bellamy raises a brow at her. “Yeah? Prove it.”

“Excuse me?”

“Prove it,” he repeats, slow and pointed. “Cause I’m not buying what you’re selling, Griffin. You don’t date. The uppity princess is too good for the peons here.”

“You don’t know a damn thing about my personal life, Blake.”

“Don’t act like you know anything about mine,” he fires back.

A snickering noise comes from across the room, at Murphy’s desk. He’s not even looking at them.

Murphy is smirking at the other employees. “Fifty bucks they’re gonna hate-fuck on his desk.”

Clarke reels back at the comment, her shoulders stiffening. A defiant mask replaces her annoyance when she looks at him.

“I’ll have you know I have a date tonight. I don’t think I’m better than anyone. And they work with ALIE Tech.”

Bellamy scoffs. “Oh really?”

She’s bluffing and he’s not going to fall for it.

Her blue eyes gleam challengingly. “Yes really. We’re meeting for drinks at Moonshine. Tonight after work.”

His lips stretch into a smirk. “Great. Then I guess I’ll see you there.” 

She won’t show up. This is just another game of Chicken between them. Neither of them is willing to back down. Clarke lied to save face.

Bellamy reaches the Moonshine Bar after 7. He stopped by his place for a quick shower after riding the train and a change of clothes. The bar isn’t too busy for a Wednesday evening. The crowd seems to be small groups of people getting off work and grabbing a drink.

He finds Jasper, Monty, Harper, and Emori at a back table. Emori smiles at Bellamy when he comes over.

“Hey guys,” he greets, sliding in next to Jasper.

His friend, already drunk, takes a whiff of him. “Is that cologne I smell for the fair lady?”

Bellamy’s stomach flips, although he pretends he doesn’t know what Jasper means. “What fair lady?”

“Come on, Bellamy,” Monty says, not fooled. “Everyone at the office heard about your fight. You’re meeting Clarke here.”

He frowns, just imagining the rumors that will circulate. “I’m meeting her ‘date’,” he corrects, adding the air quotes. “Allegedly. She’s probably going to text and say something came up.”

Bellamy gets himself a drink at the bar and returns to his friends. They talk about TV shows for the next half-hour. He doesn’t watch much TV, preferring books. Jasper and Monty are trying to convince him to watch Lost.

He’s about to text Clarke, growing impatient with this charade. Then Harper nods behind him. “There she is.”

Bellamy turns around as Clarke enters the bar. She has on the same gray dress from work and black pumps. There’s a faint flush on her cheeks, which could be from the humidity or caused by the person she walks in with. Lexa Woods.

His jaw clenches. He watches the two of them approach the bar. Lexa has her hand pressed to the small of Clarke’s back. They don’t see him looking, caught up in each other.

Something is off. Bellamy is sure. They went on a single date a year ago, as far as he knows.

Or what if that’s just what they’ve told people? Maybe for appearances’ sake. Clarke is a private person, keeping her business close to the chest. Lexa works for one of their clients. For the Princess, that’d be a conflict of interest on her pristine reputation.

The thought of them dating in secret this whole time makes his stomach turn. It’s unexpected, that’s all. He thought he had Clarke Griffin figured out. It bothers Bellamy that there’s a side to her he doesn’t know.

Her deviant side comes out to play during their games. It’s not supposed to be for sleeping with their clients. Clients like Lexa that are fierce, successful, and power-hungry.

Bellamy’s mood is soured. He doesn’t feel like taunting Clarke, trying to sniff out how real or contrived this date is. He doesn’t feel like seeing her at all.

There’s a threesome of interns from the office sitting at another table. Two beautiful girls and a beautiful guy. The blonde male intern, Nicholas, he thinks, was eyeing him when he came in.

Bellamy finishes off his drink. He says goodbye to his friends before standing up and sauntering over to the other table. They see him coming, giggling and shushing each other.

He flashes a grin. “Hi, I’m Bellamy.”

Nicholas purrs, “Oh, we know.”

He’s not going to lie. That strokes his ego a bit. “Mind if I join you?”

They tug him down onto the empty seat. Nicholas is young, but far from being shy. He makes his interest known and Bellamy doesn’t have to try hard to charm him. He usually prefers more of a challenge, honestly.

The three of them have been sucking down Cosmo’s like water anyway. Bellamy has no interest in taking home drunk interns.

He’s almost as bored as he was during the office meeting. Nicholas and the redhead girl get absorbed in their Instagram pages. The third girl, Mauve, is a lesbian and unimpressed by his flirting. They get into a discussion about a Terry Pratchett novel.

Bellamy’s about ready to call it a night. This was a waste of time.

Then Clarke glances over her shoulder from the bar. She looks right at him, knowing where he’s sitting. Their gazes lock. Lexa is still at her side, conversing with the bartender.

At that moment, Nicholas starts toying with his curls. He gushes over how soft his hair is.

Bellamy doesn’t know why, but he pretends to like it more than he does. He catches Clarke’s curled lip of disgust before she turns around.

Perhaps neither of them wins this round. A draw. 

 

Chapter Text


Clarke needs to find a date in the next three hours.

Bellamy is wrong about her. He thinks he has her all figured out. Some fussy, uptight rule-follower that never has any fun. She can be fun. And she doesn’t believe she’s better than anyone.

Just remembering his smug face makes her want to punch a wall. Clarke isn’t even a violent person. Bellamy Blake brings out these reactions in her. He gets under his skin like no one else can.

“Stay out of my sex life. Just because you don’t have one of her own doesn’t give you the right to interfere with mine.”

Clarke can’t show up at the bar alone. Bellamy will be even more insufferable, mocking her about his (correct) assumption. She’s single and the sum total of her sex life is her vibrator collection and dirty fantasies about Halsey.

As the clock counts down to the end of the workday, Clarke runs through her options. She could ask a coworker to pose as her date. But she dismisses that idea, knowing Bellamy will tear through the façade.

No, she needs someone credible. Someone that would actually take an interest in her. Someone hot she can rub in Bellamy’s face for being such a pompous jackass.

Then the answer pops into her head. Lexa.

Clarke makes the call during her lunch break. She can’t risk someone at the office overhearing the conversation, so she calls from the cafe across the street. She uses the number Lexa gave her last year and hopes it hasn’t changed.

This is Lexa Woods,” a sharp, professional voice answers.

“Lexa, hi,” Clarke says, cringing at her awkwardness. “It’s Clarke. Clarke Griffin.”

Lexa’s tone warms. “Clarke. This is a pleasant surprise. How are you?”

“I’m good. Um. I’m calling to ask...Do you want to get drinks tonight?”

"I do,” Lexa replies. No hesitation. Her straight-forwardness is attractive. “I’m available at 7.”

“That’s perfect. How does Moonshine sound? It’s down the block from our building.”

It sounds perfect.” Clarke can almost hear the flirty smile in her voice. “I’ll see you tonight.

“Awesome. Bye.”

Clarke hangs up, her heart fluttering like a trapped bird in her ribcage. She finishes off her latte, although her nerves are so keyed up, she doesn’t need the caffeine.

When Clarke returns to the office, she’s torn. Maybe it’s a bad idea to lead Lexa on when she’s trying to get back at her coworker. After-work drinks aren’t a promise of anything, but they have a history. Lexa has made her interest in her known.

Clarke admires the other woman. She quite enjoyed their first date. The last thing Clarke wants to do is toy with Lexa’s feelings.

She’ll have to be honest and up-front, like she was before. Clarke isn’t dating right now. She has enough on her plate with a full-time job and her art classes. Most importantly, her dad needs her and he has to be her priority. Clarke has nothing left of herself to pour into a real relationship.

People start trickling out of the doors at 5 pm. Clarke stays later, continuing work and eating up the time until Lexa arrives. She has a granola bar to sate her hunger.

Bellamy stands up from his desk across her, stretching out his arms. She refuses to glance up from her screen and admire the enticing form of his muscles in the white button-down shirt.

“I’ll give you one last chance to back out, Griffin,” Bellamy offers with pseudo-chivalry.

“Bite me, Blake.”

He laughs lowly on his way out.

When the floor is nearly empty and quiet, Clarke places a call to the care facility. She checks in with Maya about her dad’s state that day. Her friend assures her he’s doing okay. Her dad thinks he’s a young, single man on vacation but he’s okay.

Her guilt wars with her determination. This happens every time Clarke contemplates going out. She has limited time left with her dad. She’s his only family and she should be with him.

“Clarke, it’s okay,” Maya says, sensing her hesitance over the line. “He was playing chess, last time I checked. Your dad’s not alone.”

Clarke’s throat contracts painfully. “Thanks, Maya.”

The text from Lexa pings at 7 sharp. Clarke freshens up in the ladies' room, reapplying her lipstick and spritzing on perfume she keeps in her desk drawer.

Her pulse skips when she comes downstairs, spotting Lexa standing in front of the building. She has on a tailored black pants suit, a red blouse, and spiky heels. Lexa always looks ready to storm a conference room and claim victory.

Lexa smiles upon seeing her. She leans in to kiss Clarke’s cheek. “You look beautiful.”

Clarke’s face warms. “Thank you. So do you.”

They walk together towards the bar. Another thing she likes about Lexa is there are never any uncomfortable silences. Lexa leads the conversation fearlessly and Clarke’s nerves dissipate. Lexa’s sharp sense of humor has her laughing when they enter Moonshine.

The bar is a regular meeting place for employees at ALIE Tech, just down the street from the office. The interior is lit by cool purple lighting and a neon sign hangs over the L-shaped bar counter, advertising the name. There is a collection of round tables and blue velvet booths.

She’s almost forgotten why they’re here. Lexa’s palm on her back is a tempting warmth, guiding her forward. They find space at the bar counter and order cocktails.

Lexa is telling her about her years bartending during college, including some of the most outrageous conversations she’s overheard.

Clarke is having a good time. It hits her again, right in the chest, the feeling of mourning what she can’t have.

Lexa touches her chin lightly. “You look sad.”

Clarke glances down at her glass, swallowing thickly. “I have to be honest. I love seeing you, Lexa. I guess I’m sad because it can’t go anywhere.”

Her green eyes narrow slightly. “Why is that?”

“I have a lot going on in my personal life,” she explains. “Plus work and the art classes I’m taking. I don’t have the time or energy for a relationship. Not the kind I’d like to have with you, anyway.”

Lexa is quiet for a moment, sipping her cocktail. At last, she says, “I won’t lie, I’m disappointed to hear that. I have this feeling we would be extraordinary together, Clarke.”

“I have that feeling too,” she admits.

“I respect your honesty, of course,” Lexa continues. “And I understand.” She flashes a coy smile. “I will also hold out hope that your circumstances will change and we’ll have a fair chance.”

Clarke laughs. “Maybe one day.”

As they’re sitting at the bar, she feels a prickle of heat on the back of her neck. She knows it’s Bellamy before she turns around.

He’s sitting at a table in the back with Jasper, Monty, Harper, and Emori, pretending like he wasn’t just staring at her.

He saw her here, she’s sure. Clarke waits for him to saunter over. Anticipation sparks in her veins. She pictures the expression on his face, second-guessing himself, the way his nostrils will flare in annoyance.

And then there’s the look that comes after. Clarke won’t admit her craving to see it. There’s a glint of respect in his deep brown eyes whenever she outplays him. She earned that look on the train when she pretended he was harassing her, and when he came back from her orchestrated chat with Roma.

Clarke orders another drink, chatting with Lexa, waiting. But Bellamy never approaches them.

Her blood heats with impatience. This whole stupid charade is because of him. What the hell is the holdup?

Clarke turns to look at him again. He’s not at the table in the back anymore. Confused, her eyes comb over the dimly-lit bar until she finds him. Bellamy has moved to a round table with two young girls and a young handsome guy.

Typical. Clarke tightens her jaw, watching the scene. Does he have no self-control?

The longer Clarke looks, she realizes these aren’t just local kids. They’re interns from ALIE Tech. The blonde guy is fawning over Bellamy like he’s a celebrity and he’s just eating it up.

Lexa’s hand on her knee makes her whip around. She quirks a slender, dark brow. “Is something wrong?”

“It’s so inappropriate!” Clarke bursts.

“What is?”

“Flirting with interns,” she snaps, her voice loud and uninhibited from the alcohol. “They’re probably younger than his sister. I can’t believe him! I mean, he has no respect for boundaries.”

Lexa peers behind her to see what has worked her up. Understanding shades her expression. When she looks back at Clarke, it’s with grudging curiosity. “Is he a friend of yours?”

“No,” Clarke scoffs. “He’s my coworker, who makes it his life’s mission to annoy me.”

Lexa presses her lips together. “I see.”

Her heart is pounding furiously. When Clarke feels that prickle again, she flips around and meets Bellamy’s stare dead-on.

The bar, the people, even the background noise around them disappears. They’re locked in a private showdown.

Then the blonde intern touches Bellamy’s hair, drawing his attention away. Bellamy leans into his hand, flashing that panty-dropping grin that many people have fallen for. The male intern melts.

Clarke curls her lip and turns around. She doesn’t look back.

They stay at Moonshine for half an hour more. At the end of the night, Clarke orders a cab to take her home. She can’t navigate the train after a few cocktails and it’s not safe at this time of night anyway.

Lexa says goodbye to her on the street. She seems colder than before, but Clarke is too buzzed to pay it much attention.

She crawls into bed and passes out once her head meets the pillow.

The next day, Clarke is seriously regretting those drinks. She never goes out anymore. Her body is paying her back for its low tolerance with a wicked hangover.

She drags herself into the office that morning. As soon as she can, Clarke escapes the bright overhead lights and grating voices into the break room. She brews herself a second cup of coffee with the company’s fancy machine.

Her movements are sluggish, pouring in creamer and sugar. Clarke considers laying her head down on the cool counter. Those cocktails were strong. She enjoyed talking to Lexa, but she’s not sure the payoff was worth it.

Clarke hides in the break room, sipping her coffee. Her headache has the chance to recede. She feels less like a hungover zombie and more like a human when she rinses her mug out and goes to leave the room.

Then she smacks right into Bellamy.

Her fragile peace is ripped apart. Clarke feels a tidal wave of annoyance wash over her, flushing her cheeks.

Instead of getting out of her way, like a normal person, Bellamy steps closer.

He crowds her against the kitchen counter. He is suddenly everywhere. Too close. His broad shoulders fill her vision and his rich, earthy scent envelopes her.

“Blake,” she growls. “What the hell are you doing?”

Bellamy tilts his head down toward her, his dark eyes intense and penetrating. “How long have you been screwing Lexa?”

Clarke’s eyes bulge at the question. “What?”

“You heard me. You and Lexa. How long?”

It’s easier to ignore her body’s attraction to him when he isn’t this close. Now her hormones are shrieking like an alarm at Bellamy’s proximity. His low, rough voice makes her stomach dip.

She raises her chin defiantly. “That’s none of your damn business.”

Clarke tries to shove past him. She’s not in the mood for his games. Having to work while feeling like hell is bad enough without dealing with Bellamy Blake too.

Bellamy doesn’t let her get by. Somehow, he gets closer. His arms come around her, caging her against the counter. She is bathed in his body heat. Her traitorous skin tingles at the contact like she’s been hit by electric currents.

Clarke has to bend her back to keep their chests from being pressed together. Her pulse races. Is it anger or arousal that burns through her? Possibly both.

“Since when are you seeing Lexa?” he demands.

“Since when do you fuck interns?” Clarke fires back.

Bellamy’s head jerks back. He blinks in surprise. “I didn’t fuck any interns. I went home alone.”

She believes him. Clarke doesn’t know why. But she does. For all their bickering and competitiveness, they aren’t in the habit of lying to each other.

“I’m not seeing Lexa,” she says quietly. “Not anymore. It was just drinks.”

Her admittance is absorbed in the taut silence around them. Their breaths sound heavy. Clarke is still too aware of Bellamy, his scent filling her head, caught in his wide, dark eyes like an animal in a trap. If she didn’t know better, she’d say his pupils look blown.

Clarke’s fingers clench on the hard counter. She’s not going to touch him. She’s not going to sink her fingers into his thick mass of curls. She’s not.

“Her loss,” Bellamy murmurs.

He steps away. Clarke can breathe evenly again and she’s certain she misheard him.

“That might be the first compliment you’ve ever given me,” she notes.

Bellamy smirks from the doorway. “Yeah, well. Don’t get used to it.”

The office has a cafeteria that Clarke likes to have lunch in. Most employees eat out or take business lunches with clients. Clarke prefers the quiet ambiance of the cafeteria, settled at a table by the floor-to-ceiling windows.

Clarke has her chicken salad while working on an assignment for her class. She’s an expert multitasker.

Then she’s joined by someone inviting themselves to her table. Murphy slides into the plastic chair across from her, dropping his paper bag onto the table. He starts unpacking his lunch.

Clarke bites her lip on an amused smile. Murphy’s brown paper bag lunch reminds her of high school. She wonders if they would have been friends had they known each other back then. Probably not.

“Did your dad pack that for you?” she teases him.

Murphy scoffs. “He wishes he had my culinary skills.”

He opens up a container of prepared food. The scent that drifts over to her is mouth-watering.

“Here. Try this.”

Murphy guides a fork to her mouth. Clarke is familiar enough with this gesture, sampling the meals that her friend cooks at home. She takes a bite off of the offered fork.

“Oh my god,” Clarke says at the flavor that explodes on her tongue.

Murphy grins proudly. “Right? I outdid myself.”

“What is that?”

“Lamb with marinated eggplant,” he answers and launches into the full recipe.

She’s not as sophisticated with cooking. Clarke can get by. She’s been making her and her dad’s meals since she was a teenager, but it’s not a passion of hers. She nods along and doesn’t mind listening to her friend’s enthusiasm.

“It’s delicious, Murphy.”

“You are my toughest critic,” he says, grinning.

Clarke steals another bite before turning to her salad. She continues working on her assignment as they eat in comfortable silence.

After some time, he asks, “You going to see Papa Griffin today?”

Murphy is the only person at the office that knows about her dad’s condition, other than Kane. Clarke told their supervisor because she had to. She prefers keeping her private life out of the office’s gossip. Sometimes she has to duck out of work to visit him and she had to give Kane an explanation.

After her dad’s diagnosis, Murphy found her crying in a stairwell. He took one look at her, pathetic and puffy-eyed, and declared they were going to get drunk.

Murphy didn’t ask any prying questions or offer comfort. He just took her to Moonshine and sat beside her through rounds of beer. Once she was drunk, Clarke ranted about her mother that had run off and abandoned their family. She was facing her dad’s sickness alone.

Murphy bitched about his shitty mom as well. She was a drunk, a bitter, angry woman that blamed her son for Murphy’s dad leaving her. He said his dad was great though and Clarke confessed her dad was her best friend.

At the end of the night, Clarke puked in front of him on the sidewalk. That really cements a friendship.

“Yeah, I am,” Clarke says, shutting her sketchbook. “Why?”

She and Murphy make plans to hang out at her place. He offers her to pick her up from the facility that night.

When work ends, Clarke goes about her routine. She makes a stop at the bakery to pick up some sweets and rides the train to Sanctum. Maya is off that day. Clarke isn’t close to the male employee at the front desk, but she gives him one of the cupcakes from the bakery.

Her dad is completely out of it. A bad day. Not the worst, since he isn’t upset or accusing the other residents of stealing his things. But he doesn’t know who she is. He treats her like a kind stranger.

Clarke can’t stay long. It’s too hard, seeing that blank look in his familiar blue eyes.

That look painfully reminds her that one day he won’t remember at all. The disease will claim his mind and the rest of him too. She’ll be alone in the world.

Murphy is waiting outside, staring listlessly at his phone screen. He glances up and sighs at whatever broken expression he finds on her face. He slides his phone into his hoodie’s pocket, saying nothing as he tucks an arm around her shoulders.

They go back to her apartment and eat take-out in the living room. Murphy takes control of the remote like he owns it and puts on Master Chef for them to watch. Clarke is grateful for the TV show as a distraction, taking her out of her life.

She prods Murphy with a sock-clad foot after a couple of episodes. “What’s going on with you?”

Murphy puts on a carefree smirk. “Oh, I’m living the single dream.”

“Hey, there’s nothing wrong with being single!”

He snorts. “You might be cool with being a sad spinster for the rest of your days, Griffin. I don’t want to die alone.”

Clarke pauses, a frown pulling at her lips. She detects a real vulnerability lurking under Murphy’s flippant attitude. She has no words of wisdom to give him, though. Being alone terrifies her too, about as much as the thought of letting someone in.

“Let’s make a pact,” Clarke offers. “If we’re both still single and miserable in ten years…we’ll kill each other. Double homicide.”

Murphy cracks a smile. “Deal.”

Another Friday rolls around. Excitement for the weekend buzzes in the air.

As Clarke is finishing up work, she catches snippets of her co-workers’ conversations. Monty and Jasper are chattering about some blockbuster movie coming out. Bree is talking on the phone about her hair appointment. Miller can’t wait to play Fortnite in his boxers all Saturday.

“Ugh, TMI,” Harper teases, wrinkling her nose.

Miller playfully tosses a balled-up paper at her, hitting her forehead.

The excitement is contagious. Clarke has assignments, as always, but she looks forward to sketching in her free time. Maybe drawing a bath and listening to music.

The office clears out as people leave for the day. Coincidentally, Clarke ends up walking side-by-side with Bellamy. They fall into step through the lobby and wait together for the elevator to arrive.

Bellamy is focused on his phone, not really paying attention to her. Clarke tries not to be bothered by this. She’s felt ignored by him all day, which sounds ridiculous even inside her head.

They had their typical banter, which is second-nature at this point. But he hasn’t pranked her since the vibrator incident. He didn’t interrupt her in the break room. It’s like he started a new game of hot and cold, which she hasn’t figured out how to play yet.

With a chime, the elevator doors slide open. Bellamy looks up, gesturing for her to go ahead of him. They walk in and stand on opposite sides of the box.

Clarke’s foot taps on the floor. The elevator seems to be taking a long time to descend. She has this thought just as a loud, mechanical screech sounds.

The lights flicker and the elevator comes to a shuddering halt. Silence follows. A sudden absence of the elevator’s whirring noises.

Clarke and Bellamy look at each other. Their faces mirror horror. They’ve stopped moving.

“You’ve got to be fucking kidding me,” he mutters.

Her thought exactly.

Bellamy leans forward to jab the ground floor button. It’s pointless, seeing as none of the buttons are lit-up. Nothing happens. He punches the HELP button next.

“Hello?” a gruff voice answers.

“Yeah, hi. We’re stuck.”

“Who is this?”

Bellamy rolls his eyes upward and Clarke almost laughs. What does that matter?

“This is Bellamy Blake,” he says tersely. “I work on the 22nd floor. ALIE Tech. Would you like my social security number too?”

Bellamy,” Clarke chides him, stifling a laugh.

“Hold on!” The male voice bellows.

They’re left standing in silence for the next seven minutes. Clarke already feels sweat sticking to the back of her neck. Bellamy rolls up the sleeves of his maroon button-down shirt. The immobile elevator is muggy.

Bellamy checks his phone, frowning at the screen. “You have a signal?”

Clarke pulls out her phone to see. “No. Damn it.”

She’s not someone that’s obsessed with or attached to her devices. But Clarke does need to be available for the care facility to reach her. She worries her bottom lip as time drags, telling herself her dad is in good hands.

Impatience nearly shoots off of Bellamy in visible sparks. His jaw flexes. She’s ready to get out of here too, but he seems to be in a particular hurry.

He stabs at the HELP button again. “Hello? What’s going on?”

The man sighs. “Maintenance says it’s gonna be an hour.”

Shock turns Bellamy’s eyes wide. “Did you just say an hour?”

“Yep. Sorry about that. Hang tight for me.”

The speaker crackles and he’s gone, abandoning them in this hot box of hell. Bellamy throws his messenger bag down with force, clearly frustrated. A similar feeling of helplessness comes over her. They’re trapped in here.

She tucks her legs under herself and sits down, deciding to get comfortable. Thinking about the heat only seems to make it worse, so Clarke focuses on Bellamy. He’s unable to remain still, cracking his neck.

“What’s your problem?” she asks. Maybe he’s claustrophobic.

“I have a date waiting for me,” he huffs and checks his watch. “He’s gonna be pissed.”

“Your flavor of the week?” Clarke snorts. “I’m sure he’ll survive.”

Bellamy glances at her, his brows raising. “You jealous, Princess?”

“You’ve got me,” she deadpans. “It’s my dream to be wined and dined by you, Blake. In fact, getting stuck in this elevator was part of my elaborate plan.”

Bellamy turns his head, trying to hide the amused twitch of his lips. His agitation has lessened with their banter and she’s weirdly glad to see that.

He flicks open the top two buttons on his shirt. Clarke looks away from the enticing glimpse of his chest as Bellamy sits down, stretching out his legs in front of him.

“What about you? You got any big weekend plans?”

“Are we really going to make small talk?” she asks snidely.

He cocks his head. “You got any better ideas?”

Her plans are with her Netflix account. Possibly a bubble bath if she’s feeling adventurous. There’s no way she’s admitting that to Bellamy though. Mr. I-have-a-date-every-weekend.

She says nothing. They spend the next fifteen minutes in awkward silence. Clarke thinks there’s no other kind of silence to be had with someone you’re trapped in an elevator with. Time moves slower. There are no distractions.

“Wanna fuck?”

Clarke startles. Her head snaps forward. “What?”

Bellamy smirks at her. “You heard me. We’re sitting ducks here. Might as well get some fun out of it.”

“Right,” she snaps. “The only fun to be had with you is through your dick. Nevermind stimulating conversation.”

“You didn’t seem too interested in my conversation.”

Clarke ignores that he’s made a point. “Don’t you have a date waiting for you?”

“Well, I’m not going on that date now, am I?” Bellamy glances at his watch. “Probably long gone by now.”

“You’ve unbelievable.”

Bellamy gives her a penetrating look, his dark eyes heated, his smirk filthy. “Don’t act like you haven’t thought about it.”

The elevator is suddenly smaller, the walls closing in on her. Clarke has a scary, irrational thought that he can read her mind. But no. There’s no way he knows she made herself come because of him.

Her face warms as she remembers: Bellamy fucking Roma on his desk, the kind of noises he makes in bed, the way he moves. All of it is seared into her memory.

Bellamy chuckles. “Oh damn. Ladies and gentlemen, Clarke Griffin is blushing. You do want it, don’t you? Been thinking about me, Princess?”

Clarke scoffs. “You’re so full of yourself.”

His eyes widen with a sudden realization. “It wasn’t Roma, was it?” he asks, sounding giddy. “You don’t want her. It was because I was talking about fuc—”

Clarke is in his lap, straddling him. She cuts off his words with a hard kiss.

“Shut up,” she tells him flatly. “You talk too fucking much, Blake.”

She kisses him again, a crush of her lips, her hand fisted in his shirt collar. Bellamy smiles against her mouth. The son of a bitch probably thinks this means something. Like she’s after his hot body, just another girl that will drop her panties because he asked.

Clarke unzips her skirt and says pointedly, “This means nothing. We’re stuck here. I’m tired of hearing you run your mouth when you could use it for something productive.”

Bellamy nods, his pupils are unmistakably blown. He pulls her back to his mouth with a forceful tug on her hips.

They give each other hard, biting kisses. He tugs her bottom lip roughly between his teeth. Bellamy’s aggression turns her on. He doesn’t hold back, taking from her what he wants. And she’s doing the same.

She fists her hands in his thick curls and yanks, deepening the kiss to her liking. Making no mistake that this is about fucking and nothing else. Bellamy groans when she pulls his hair, clearly liking it. 

His hands squeeze and knead her tits through her shirt, making her moan. She was wet when he gave her that heated look. She’s soaked now, desire pulsing in her blood, her hard nipples poking through the material of her lace blouse.

Bellamy is rock hard underneath her. His cock twitches against her ass. She grinds down in his lap and he groans again into her mouth. The friction feels good for her too, hitting her clit just right.

He gets her skirt hiked up and her panties down her legs with impressive speed. Her cunt pulses in anticipation before his fingers find her damp folds.

He drags through her wetness, chuckling smugly. “You’re so wet for me, Clarke.”

The rough pads of his fingers are delicious on her. He has his teeth scraping under her ear, biting and licking, while he spreads her lips. He teases her clit out, light touches until her hips cant forward.

“More?” he asks.

Clarke nods. “Harder.”

Bellamy presses his thumb to her clit, swirling firm circles, and she doesn’t care if he wants to gloat the whole time, as long as he doesn’t stop.

Moans slip out of her. Bellamy is teasing, moving off her throbbing clit. He thrusts his thick fingers inside her, rubbing at her slick inner walls. It doesn’t take long for him to find her G-spot and he curls his fingers over the bundle of nerves.

Clarke gasps. She could lose her mind with him rubbing that spot. Intense pleasure radiates through her.

“Yeah, that feels good, Princess?”

“Oh my god,” she cries. If he stops, she’s going to commit a murder, right here.

Bellamy doesn’t stop, using his thumb to roll her swollen clit in circles. Clarke digs her nails into his thigh as her orgasm spirals into a sharp peak. She comes hard, riding out waves of pleasure.

Bellamy pulls his fingers out while she’s catching her breath. Her cunt twitches with small aftershocks. Damn him. That was a fucking good orgasm.

She cracks her eyes open to his smug face. He’s licking her slickness off his fingers. The swirl of his tongue is unfairly erotic. She just came, but her desire for Bellamy hasn’t dulled. Lust blazes like low heat in her gut.

“Relax,” Clarke says to his proud smirk. “You made me come. You didn’t discover the cure for cancer.”

Bellamy laughs, shaking his head. “God, you’re a pain in the ass, Griffin.”

She yanks him into a hot, messy kiss, seeking out his tongue to massage with hers. He tastes like pussy. Clarke gets to work unbuttoning the rest of his shirt and tracing his strong, warm chest under her hands.

If they’re going to do this once, she wants him naked. She’ll shut up that part of her that is attracted to his body. Get it out of her system and move on.

Clarke pushes his shirt off his shoulders, freeing up his skin. Her fingers are greedy, moving down his chest, over his stomach, feeling the soft planes and trails of dark hair. She gets the chance to bite at his freckled shoulder.

“You too,” Bellamy murmurs, nodding at her chest. “Tit for tat.”

Clarke rolls her eyes, but listens, removing her blouse. It’s worth the effort, hearing Bellamy’s sharp inhale between his teeth.

Hunger flickers in his eyes at the sight of her tits. The way he’s staring at her makes her feel pretty sexy, so she does him the favor of unclipping her bra too.

Bellamy reaches out to cup her bare breast, giving a squeeze. “Fuck, Clarke. You’re sexy as hell. Even better than I thought.”

She latches on that, briefly, as he pinches her nipples and plays with her tits. Bellamy has thought about this before. He just admitted to wanting her. The question is, for how long?

Bellamy stands up with her in his arms, derailing her from that line of thought. He kisses and sucks at her nipples, pleasuring her as he drives them backward. He gets her back pressed against the elevator wall.

“Hold on.”

Clarke grasps onto his shoulders, waiting while Bellamy digs his wallet out of his pocket. He tears a condom open with his teeth and makes quick work of undoing his pants and belt. She helps him roll the condom onto his cock.

He feels hot and smooth in her palm. She can’t help squeezing around him, teasing him. Bellamy knocks her hand away and she laughs.

He hitches her leg up, wraps it around his waist. Clarke braces herself, her amusement fading. She’s had dildos and vibrators for the past year. It’s been a while since she’s taken a dick and Bellamy is bigger than average.

He presses inside her, warm and thick, sinking into her cunt. Clarke adjusts to the stretch and clenches around him. Fuck, that’s good.

“God, you feel good,” he says through his teeth.

Bellamy pounds into her, driving his hips hard and deep. The wet sounds of their sex fill the elevator and Clarke hears herself panting.

This is as hot as she’d imagined. Maybe better. Her new fantasies couldn’t conjure up a scene of her and Bellamy ravaging each other in a dim, broken elevator. Yet here they are.

Sweat rolls down her neck. Bellamy has sweat glistening at his temples and on his chest. She can taste it when she licks his neck, salty on her tongue. Clarke nips at the skin, sucking a dark bruise.

“Now who’s marking their territory?” Bellamy asks between pants.

“Don’t flatter yourself,” she snaps.

For that, Clarke rakes her nails down his back. But that only seems to spur him on, if his groan in her ear is anything to go by.

Bellamy fits his hands under her ass, tilting her hips up to slide his cock deeper. It feels so good she moans loud, clinging onto his shoulders, her thigh squeezing over his waist. She arches to meet his thrusts.

His breath hits her ear. “I like you better like this, Princess,” he growls. “All wet and needy for me. I’m gonna make you come on my cock.”

She’s already close. Clarke rubs at her clit in tight circles. Pleasure tugs insistently inside her, climbing higher and higher until it peaks.

“Oh fuck, Bellamy,” Clarke cries out as she comes.

Her cunt pulses around him. She lets her head fall back in bliss. This orgasm seems to go on forever, prolonged by Bellamy’s heated strokes inside her. She's writhing on his cock, her nails digging into his shoulder blades. 

That orgasm steals the breath from her lungs. Clarke comes down in a daze, flushed, to his thrusts picking up as Bellamy chases his release. 

The sensitivity makes her shudder and twitch. Clarke focuses on his face, his glazed eyes and agonized grimace. He looks hotter than with Roma, fucking her up close.

“Come on, Bellamy,” Clarke taunts. “Fuck me like you hate me.”

Her words have him finishing, like she intended. His cock throbs inside her. 

“Fuck, I’m gonna come,” Bellamy grunts. 

His head drops to her chest. He bites the top of her breast, silencing himself as he comes. The act is so hot, Clarke doesn't mind the sting of his teeth, not in that moment. 

His hips push forward a final time, spilling into the condom. The tension melts out him slowly until he slumped against her. 

Then they stand still, catching their breath. Clarke shifts and Bellamy straightens up, drawing out of her.

They peel themselves away from each other. The silence is less awkward than earlier but still heavy with tension. The deed is done and they are in uncharted territory—co-workers that have had sex.

Bellamy turns away to remove the condom and tuck himself back into his pants. They say nothing as they pick up clothes off the floor and get dressed, straightening themselves out.

Clarke is glad to find she doesn’t feel different towards Bellamy. She’s still her, maybe minus some dignity. Definitely not a girl who’s going to chase after him and leave her panties at his desk or something.

They had good sex. Really good sex. She got an itch scratched. No big deal.

Once she’s dressed, Clarke clears her throat. There is a conversation they need to have.

“That can’t happen again,” she says, her voice firm. “We work together. It would be unprofessional. I’d appreciate it if this stayed...in the elevator.”

Bellamy turns to look at her, his hair messier than usual. He has a hickey on his throat. Still hot. And yeah, pretty great in bed. It’s a damn shame this has to be a one-off thing.

“Worried about falling for me, Princess?”

She rolls her eyes. “I don’t even like you. That won’t be a problem.”

“Fine.” He shrugs. “Won’t happen again.”

“And no one can know about this, okay? I don’t want to be the headline of office gossip.”

“Agreed,” Bellamy says. “I have a reputation to protect. Can’t have people thinking I’m into Clueless.

“Ass,” Clarke mutters and he laughs quietly. “And Cher Horowitz was an icon.”

“You would identify with the privileged white girl. She was a sixteen-year-old that called her father Daddy, Clarke.”

They bicker about Clueless for the next ten minutes until the elevator kicks back on. It finally descends to the ground floor and they’re let out.

She and Bellamy say goodbye before going their separate ways on the street.

 

Chapter Text


It’s almost as if the night in the elevator never happened. Almost.

When Bellamy steps inside the office building, an excited buzz hits his veins that is unfamiliar. He likes his job enough, but he’s never eager to go to work. The sense of anticipation stems from him looking forward to Clarke’s reaction.

He doesn’t buy for a second that she’s going to pull this charade off, acting like nothing happened.

First, Clarke isn’t the type to fraternize with co-workers. She gives him shit on a daily basis for being “unprofessional” and sleeping around the office. Now she’s done the same thing.

Second, Clarke isn’t a casual-sex type of girl. She’s not like him. She dates to commit. The girl likes to plan out and be in control of everything. If the relationship isn’t long-term material, Clarke will cut that person lose and save herself the time.

Now, he and Clarke don’t sit around and spill their guts to each other. But Bellamy has picked up on enough. She had a serious relationship in high school that ended in a messy break-up. She loves movies like Clueless, When Harry Met Sally, and Sleepless in Seattle. Deep down, Clarke wants to be wooed and live out a romance.

What happened between them in the elevator is just a blip on the roadmap of Clarke’s life, a detour in her path to finding Mr. or Mrs. Right and settling down.

Bellamy doesn’t mind being that mistake. She gets on his nerves, but Clarke is still hot. He got to live out his old crush by fucking her brains out and hearing her scream his name. The bonus is entertaining himself as he pictures her freaking out all weekend over their hook-up.

Just his luck, the Princess is already standing in the elevator when he arrives. There are other businesspeople inside as well, so they’re not completely alone.

Clarke’s blue eyes briefly meet his. Tension ripples the air between them. 

Bellamy smirks, running his eyes down her body. He conveys with his expression that he knows exactly what she looks like under that dress.

His cock twitches as he remembers. Her tits are a work of art. It was a privilege, honestly, being able to see her naked. He keeps the memory locked in his mind, not wanting to forget the curve of her full hips or her thick bare thigh wrapped around him.

The elevator doors slide shut. Bellamy doesn’t bother to pretend his attention is elsewhere. He’s looking at Clarke as she studiously ignores him. Her expression reveals nothing, but he catches the white-knuckled grip she has on her purse.

They stop on the twelfth floor. A gentleman in a suit walks out. When their climb to the top of the building resumes, Bellamy sidles closer to her. He’s hit by the scent of her perfume, something warm and woodsy.

Bellamy leans in to murmur into her ear, “Bet we gave the security camera a good show.”

Clarke goes still. He watches the blood drain from her face. His amusement soars in time with her dawning horror.

Then Clarke’s eyes flick to the corners of the elevator. She soon realizes that he’s full of shit. There are no security cameras in here. Nobody saw them having sex.

Her head turns, cutting him a glare that could freeze Hell over. “You are such a dick,” she hisses under her breath.

“Can’t help myself. You’re so easy to rile up, Princess.”

On their floor, Clarke storms ahead of him, her heels popping like angry gunshots on the marble tile. Bellamy follows, chuckling to himself in amusement. He steals a shameless glance at her ass too.

On the way to his desk, Bellamy receives a look from Miller that is half-concern and half-curiosity. “What did you do to Clarke?”

He snorts. “Why are you assuming I did something to her? The day just started.”

Miller just shakes his head. “That girl is a tornado in heels. You think you would have learned that by now.”

As he passes by, Bellamy hears a mutter of “dead man walking” from his friend.

That Monday morning is slow, each hour dragging compared to the too-brief weekend. He has time to kill before his meeting with a prospective client that afternoon.

He keeps busy with instant messaging on his computer with Murphy, Jasper, and Harper. They’re playing an interesting round of Would You Rather?

Then Murphy interrupts their game.

jmurphy: the princess looks extra pissy today.

Bellamy feels a surge of irritation. He doesn’t like when Murphy uses his nickname for Clarke. But he can’t point that out without sounding ridiculous, of course.

jjordan: ooh bellamy boy is in trouble!

jmurphy: you piss in her cheerios this morning, blake?

bblake: she’s always pissed. I had nothing to do with it.

hmcintyre: damn. did you see how she looked at him just now?!

jjordan: RIP bellamy.

jmurphy: dibs on his apartment after clarke murders him!

Bellamy rolls his eyes. His line rings before he gets the chance to respond to them. He’s not worried about Clarke’s bad mood. Some joke about their non-existent sex tape isn’t enough to provoke her wrath. They’ve said worse to each other.

The issue arises after lunch. Bellamy is forced to consider maybe Clarke is pissed off at him in particular.

He’s setting up for a meeting with some potential clients in the conference room. Bree is helping him, setting out refreshments on the table while he’s going over his talking points.

The pressure rests heavily on his shoulders. Tigmon is a household name. Getting them to purchase from ALIE Tech could be the biggest commission of his career.

The glass door flies open. It’s not the Tigmon people, just Clarke striding inside. She stands over him, hands planted on her hips and her blue eyes like an angry storm.

“You can’t be in here!”

Bellamy barely spares her a glance, clicking through the notes on his tablet. “No time for foreplay, Princess. My meeting starts in ten minutes.”

“No,” Clarke growls. “My meeting starts in ten minutes. Did you not see the schedule? I have this conference room booked from 2 to 3.”

He did not check the schedule. In his experience, nobody pays attention to that. Nobody but Clarke. “Look, just use a different room. We’re all set up in here.”

You use a different conference room, Bellamy,” Clarke orders haughtily. “I’m having my presentation with the CFO from Alpha Industries. I need the projector.”

Bellamy looks up, arching a brow at her. “Did Daddy pull some strings for you?”

His mocking question is below the belt. Bellamy knows that. Clarke is good at her job. She doesn’t need family connections to network with executives. It just rubs him the wrong way, how Clarke charges in here and tries to order him out. She acts like her work is more important than his.

Still, Clarke’s reaction is unexpected. She reels back like his words are a punch in the gut.

Bellamy has a moment of regret. He doesn’t quite understand it, but he senses that he’s crossed some line.

Before he can make it right somehow, Clarke’s expression hardens. She doesn’t say another word, turning sharply on her heel and leaving the conference room.

Bellamy stares after her, rubbing his forehead. He doesn’t need this right now. He can’t afford to get distracted.

He turns to Bree, who is pretending to straighten out the bottles of water and blend into the background. “Can you help her find a different room for her meeting?”

Bree nods, slipping out the door.

Bellamy waits for Tigmon to arrive. His leg bounces anxiously under the table. The clock strikes 2 pm on his watch.

Outside the glass walls of the conference room, he watches Clarke march by, a stern woman in a pressed suit and briefcase in hand following in her wake.

The minutes tick by. 2:15. 2:30. 2:45.

He checks his work phone. There are no messages from Tigmon explaining their tardiness. Bree doesn’t have any messages for him at reception either.

By 3 o’clock, his patience has been stretched thin and annoyance flares inside him. These assholes didn’t have the courtesy to offer a message. They just didn’t show.

Bellamy is baffled. They’d had this meeting scheduled a month in advance. He confirmed with their assistant on Friday. What went wrong?

He collects his set-up and retreats to his desk, fuming silently. Bellamy isn’t the type to hold his tongue. He dials the mainline for Tigmon’s office to demand an explanation and their front desk answers. He’s redirected to the executive assistant next.

“Hi, Natalie,” Bellamy greets, trying not to lose his temper on this innocent girl. “I was supposed to have a meeting with Mr. Wong and Mrs. Price at 2 o’clock but they didn’t show up. Did your office try to contact me about canceling?”

“This is Bellamy Blake, from ALIE Tech?” she asks.

“That’s right.”

“Yes, I have it here on the calendar. I know we confirmed over email on Friday. I’m not sure what happened here. Let me speak with my boss, Mr. Blake.”

Bellamy waits for a couple of minutes. Then Natalie returns to the line, sounding no less confused. “Mr. Blake, my boss says that you canceled the meeting.”

A frown forms on his lips. “No, that’s not possible. Who did he speak to?”

He hears voices conversing in the background. A male voice is sharp with anger, responding to Natalie. “I see,” she says to him. “So, Mr. Wong says he arrived at your building today before 2, but he was stopped by a female employee. He didn’t catch her name. She told him you were no longer interested in meeting.”

When it clicks in his head, Bellamy feels his blood pressure boiling. He can’t apologize to Mr. Wong or offer an explanation. He is hardly able to thank the assistant before he hangs up.

His vision is tinged red. The heat burns his neck, tingling his palms.

Bellamy stands up from his desk. His heart is kicking like a furious drum against his rib cage. He gets a few looks from other employees as he tears through the office, but he doesn’t care. His focus is narrowed on finding Clarke and telling her off.

She’s seated in another conference room, in the middle of giving a presentation on a tablet screen. The woman from Alpha Industries jumps in her leather chair when the doors bursts open and he storms inside.

“Are you fucking kidding me, Clarke?” he shouts. “You canceled my meeting!”

Clarke spins in her chair. She’s shocked by his outburst but quickly recovers, her expression turning cool. “Bellamy,” she says with forcible calm. “I’m speaking with a client.”

He lets out a humorless laugh. “You think I give a shit about that? You have some fucking nerve, Princess.” Scorn drips from the nickname. "You don’t get your way so you sabotage my career. You really are an entitled little brat, aren’t you?”

Clarke jumps up from her chair, her composure cracking wide open. Pink colors her cheeks in angry splotches.

“And you’re a hypocrite!" she yells back. "You sabotaged my first meeting with Becca just so you could look badass and feed your stupid ego!”

“This isn’t a prank, Clarke!” he snaps. “Do you know how long I’ve had this meeting scheduled in advance? Tigmon is impossible to get a sit-down with!”

“You’ll get another meeting!” She gestures sharply at the woman at the table, looking on in disapproval. “Congratulations on ruining another presentation of mine! You just had to bulldoze in here and show what a tough guy you are, huh, Blake?”

His eyes bulge in disbelief. Bellamy takes a step toward her, the tip of his shoes knocking into hers. Clarke stiffens when he gets closer and his comeback fades off his lips.

She’s flushed, panting in rage, her chin raised to glare fiercely into his eyes. Bellamy has a flash of grabbing her wrists in his grip and pinning her to the wall. He remembers how her nails felt scraping down his back as he thrust inside her.

Fuck me like you hate me,” her husky voice taunts in his head.

Oh, he’ll show her what hate-fucking is.

His cock stirs. Bellamy is overheated by blind rage and his sudden arousal isn’t helping. Desire turns his stomach into a tight knot as his gaze locks with Clarke’s, her pupils visibly dilated.

The oxygen has been sucked out of the room, burned away by the angry sparks between them. Clarke’s wide eyes drop to his parted lips and his control is about to snap. He’ll wrap his hand around her pale, slim throat—

“Is there a problem here?” Kane’s voice booms.

Bellamy freezes. The red haze cloaking his vision recedes slightly, allowing him to turn his head.  

Kane is standing in the doorway of the room, veiled fury visible in the tight lines of his mouth. Behind him, most of the other employees are staring through the glass walls, witnessing him and Clarke’s shouting match.

His fists are clenched at his sides, breaths escaping in heavy pants. Bellamy is still furious at her for what she pulled. But their supervisor’s presence and their audience warns him to reel in his temper while they’re at work.

Bellamy strides out of the room, ignoring the stares tracking him. His boss’s hand lands on his shoulder.

“Take a walk,” Kane tells him, squeezing his shoulder. “Clear your head.”

For the sake of his sanity, Bellamy does just that. He goes for a walk down the street, letting his temper cool. The cacophony of the city’s noisy traffic can’t drown out the roar of blood in his ears. He can’t believe Clarke would do this.

No, that’s not right. He can believe it. The Princess is that infuriating. That fuck in the elevator gave him temporary amnesia, but he remembers clearly now what a privileged pain in the ass Clarke is. He’s never bowed down and let her have her way just because she expects everyone to accommodate her.

And he was still thinking about fucking her again. He’s lost his mind.

After twenty minutes, Bellamy feels calm enough to return the office. He’s able to bite his tongue for the next few hours, ignoring Clarke across from him, and do his work.

Monty sends him a message checking in. Bellamy doesn’t reply. He’s not in the mood. He can sense his friends and other co-workers sneaking looks at him and Clarke like they’re a circus act. They’re all waiting for the next show.

It’s not easy, but Bellamy sits on his temper until closing time. When Clarke shuts down her computer and walks out without a word, he is hot on her heels.

He snatches his messenger bag and catches up to her as they’re exiting the building. Ahead of him, Clarke races down the concrete steps with impressive dexterity in her high heels.

“Are you pissed I didn’t call you this weekend?” he taunts.

The question stops her like he knew it would. Clarke whips around, a familiar anger on her face. Her blue eyes are bright, crackling.

“What?” she hisses through her teeth.

Bellamy halts on the step above her. “I thought we were clear on what happened. That was just sex.”

“I know that,” Clarke snaps. “That’s what I told you. It didn’t mean anything.”

“Sure,” he agrees. “That’s what some people say. They pretend to be cool with it, but then they’re actually pissed off when the other person doesn’t text or call. They expect more.”

She crosses her arms, tilting her chin up to glare at him. “When, exactly, did I ask you for anything? Or gave any indication that I want more from you?”

Bellamy shakes his head. “You tell me, Princess. You’re the one that had it out for me today. I was acting normal. I don’t know what you want from me. But this.” He gestures sharply between them. “This drama is what I was trying to avoid with Roma.”

Clarke’s eyes flash like he’s just insulted her. “The world doesn’t revolve around you, Bellamy. I’ve got shit going on you don’t even know about!”

“Yeah? Like what?”

She scoffs. “Why would I tell you? We’re not friends. We screwed once. It’s done. Let’s go back to being co-workers that don't give a shit about each other.”

Bellamy leans back, flexing his jaw. Frustration pounds in his blood. God, she’s infuriating. Even if he bothered to ask what the fuck is wrong with her, he’d just get his head bitten off. No thanks.

“Fine,” he mutters. “Not like I care anyway.”

“Fine,” Clarke retorts. She turns on her heel and marches down the steps.

The next day at the office, they don’t acknowledge each other. They stick to their tasks, steer clear of each other’s paths, and avoid eye contact.

Bellamy’s bad mood lingers like a dark storm cloud over his head. He has trouble staying focused. He can’t stop thinking about the Tigmon account, what explanation he should offer. Who knows if they’ll even take his call.

His appetite is nonexistent. During the lunch hour, he sits at the café downstairs and picks at his sandwich. Anxious thoughts beat at his brain on how he’s going to fix this mess. Kane already expressed his disappointment at his behavior and how he handled himself, barging in on Clarke’s meeting.

He has to keep himself in check. Bellamy doesn’t know what he’ll do if he loses this job. He’s not qualified for anything else. He’ll have to go back to what he was doing before ALIE Tech—odd jobs, tutoring kids, doing repairs around his mother’s neighborhood, barely scraping by to pay his bills.

Someone approaches the table, hovering by his elbow. Bellamy turns away from the window and sees Clarke standing over him.

His mood darkens. He can’t help the angry twist his mouth takes. Bellamy says nothing, staring at her uneasy expression.

She stalls whatever she came to say, tucking her long hair behind her ear. Clarke never looks less than sure of herself.

“Look,” Clarke sighs. “I had stuff going on in my personal life. It was a bad day and you pissed me off with the conference room thing. I took it too far though. I shouldn’t have done that.”

“Still waiting on that apology.”

Her lips thin in annoyance. “I’m sorry, okay? It was a shitty thing to do.”

Bellamy nods. “Yep. It was.”

“I called Tigmon and explain what happened,” she says, which surprises him. “Wong and Price are willing to reschedule a meeting with you.”

He exhales slowly as he processes that. Well, at least she didn’t completely fuck up this opportunity for him. Bellamy makes the effort to swallow his pride and let this fight go.

“Alright. Next time I’ll check the schedule, so we stay out of each other’s way.”

“I appreciate that,” Clarke says grudgingly.

She leaves him alone after that, disappearing out of the cafeteria doors. Apparently, she only came in here to find him and apologize.

Bellamy stands up, throwing out his picked at food. He should contact Tigmon and see when they can arrange another sit-down meeting.  

As he rides the elevator back up, Bellamy thinks Clarke made the right call. Their hookup should stay a one-off thing. As hot as their sex was, the two of them mixing is like throwing water on a grease fire. A deadly inferno that will burn the office down and claim them as casualties.

Miller invites him out for drinks after work, sensing he needs to unwind his tension. They walk together down the street, chatting about basketball and how the season is going for their favorite team. Bellamy is in a better mood by the time they arrive at Moonshine bar.

Their friends have already started drinking, gathered around two tables. Miller walks over, kissing Monty in greeting before sliding in next to his boyfriend. Raven and Emori are talking on one side while Murphy is sitting on the opposite end, trying to act unbothered but Bellamy knows better.

He’s selfishly glad to see it. At least he isn’t the only unhappy person.

Bellamy takes the spot across from Murphy. He accepts the glass that Jasper pours from the pitcher on the table and slides over to him. The first sip has him coughing violently and Murphy smirks before clapping him on the back.

“Christ, Jasper,” Bellamy wheezes. “What is this, rocket fuel?”

“Close.” Jasper grins proudly and explains his newest concoction off the menu. “I call it ‘I don’t spit I swallow’.”

Raven chokes on her sip next and Emori has to pound on her back, watching worriedly as she coughs. Harper laughs and salutes Jasper over the name, her hazel eyes glassy.

Bellamy abandons Jasper’s creation and opts for getting himself a beer at the bar. When he returns to the table, his friends are shamelessly discussing him. His ears burn when they recount his meltdown in the conference room yesterday.

Miller asks him point-blank, “So, what the hell happened with you and Clarke?”

Bellamy scowls, taking a large sip of his beer. “New topic. I don’t want to talk about her.”

“Since when?” Murphy mutters. 

Bellamy ignores this. The sudden quiet at the table is awkward. He’s scouring his brain for something else to talk about. He came here to forget about the short blonde girl that gets under his skin.

From beside Jasper, Harper leans forward to address Murphy. “Is something going on with her? She never hangs out with us anymore.”

Murphy raises a brow. “How should I know? I’m not her keeper.”

“You eat lunch with her almost every day,” Miller points out. He’s not buying Murphy’s pretense of indifference either. “You’d know better than us.”

“Do you guys know about our friendship bracelets too?” Murphy retorts snidely.

Bellamy feels the irritation prickling under his skin again. He tells himself it’s because he doesn’t want to hear about Clarke. He still pissed about what she pulled on him. It’s not because everyone is pointing out how close she is to Murphy. That’d be ridiculous. He doesn’t care who she hangs out with.

Harper rolls her eyes. “Whatever, Murphy.” To the others sitting by her, she adds, “I hope she’s okay.”

Thankfully, the subject of Clarke Griffin is dropped and Bellamy has some peace of mind. The conversation moves on to other office gossip and then Jasper decides to resume their game of Would You Rather? He asks the same questions to the others that didn’t play in their group messages.

Another round of drinks later, Jasper brings up a new game. “Who would you do?” He asks the table dramatically. “Office edition!”

Harper is the only person that whoops excitedly. Miller and Monty look interested. Bellamy finishes off his second drink. The rest of them are used to going along with Jasper’s antics. They normally provide some entertainment.

“Raven!” Jasper points at her. “Who would you do?”

Raven thinks it over, tapping her chin. “I have to pick someone from our office? Hmm…oh! Kyle Wick from engineering.”

Harper nods her approval. “He’s hot.”

Raven nods her chin. “You go, H.”

“Monroe,” Harper answers then burst into giggles. “We already made-out at the Christmas party last year.”

The rest of them exclaim over this news. Harper is clearly tipsy and doesn’t shy away from offering details. The conversation is briefly derailed before Jasper reclaims their attention to the game by asking Miller.

Miller pulls a face at him. “Monty, obviously.”

Jasper shakes his head. “Let’s make this interesting. You can’t pick your significant other. Someone else.”

Monty hooks his chin on Miller’s shoulder. “Good thing I’m not the jealous type,” he teases.

His boyfriend rolls his eyes. “Fine. Uh, Bryan from marketing.” Wanting to take the attention off of him, he turns to Murphy. “Who would you do, Murphy?”

They’re kept waiting in suspense. A smirk grows on Murphy’s face. Meeting Bellamy’s eyes, he answers, loud and clear, “Clarke. She’s a babe. And it’s always the uptight chicks that are freaks in the sheets.”

“Gross, Murphy!” Harper chides him while Emori and Raven give him glances of disgust.

Bellamy pushes away from the table, stomping towards the restroom. He’s in danger of doing something stupid. Like punching Murphy or blurting to the group that he is only one that Clarke has actually slept with. He’s only drank two beers. He hasn’t completely lost it.

Murphy doesn’t know shit. He’s just trying to get a rise of him. That’s what Murphy does.

When Bellamy returns, the spotlight is on him. Jasper asks him the question. But the others chime in before he can get the chance, amusing themselves with their humor.

Raven snorts. “We might be here a while.”

“We should narrow that down to a single department,” Harper jokes.

“The better question is,” Miller cuts in, “who hasn’t Bellamy done?”

Bellamy grimaces. “Fuck all of you.”

They laugh at him, until they realize he’s grabbing his phone off the table and getting ready to leave. Harper tries to apologize for teasing him while Raven ribs him for being sensitive about their jokes.

Jasper says, “We know you’re a slut, Bellamy. We love that about you.”

He lets their comments slide off. He’s ready to head home.

“Come on,” Jasper shouts after him as he’s leaving the bar. “At least give us an answer!”

Clarke, Bellamy thinks, the door slamming shut behind him. She’s still the answer to that stupid question, despite all the reasons she shouldn’t be.

He is Persephone. He has consumed the pomegranate and been sentenced to spend his days in the Underworld. Clarke has become his Hades, his captor and his jailor, turning their work space into his personal hell.

Bellamy is entranced when she chews on her pencil in that disgusting habit of hers. All he can think about are those soft, pink lips wrapped around his cock. Want burns inside him to fuck her throat, hear what her wrecked voice will sound like after.

When she runs her fingers through her long hair, Bellamy is sure she’s taunting him with what he can’t have. He isn’t allowed to wind her hair around his knuckles and pull on the strands while he fucks her hard and deep.

Unlike the daughter of Demeter, he gets no reprieve from his torment when he surfaces from the hellscape and goes home.

Clarke has poisoned his bloodstream, seeping into his fantasies. At first, Bellamy tried not to think about her. Their sex—as fantastic as it was—was a one-time deal. There was no point in relieving the memories. They both moved on.

But when he’s touching himself, Clarke clings to a corner of his mind, refusing to budge. Her face replaces every person he tries to picture. Her husky, sexy voice lingers like a song he can’t get out of his head. He replays every moment in the elevator, every moan, every expression she wore, like he’s afraid to lose them.

It becomes that no other fantasy is as good as the real memory he has. Nothing can make him come as hard as thinking about her. Bellamy stops trying after a while, succumbing to his addiction. A part of him worries he’ll say Clarke’s name if he fucks someone else.

He doesn’t know what to do other than wait for this sexual obsession to fade. Seeing Clarke almost every day is probably fueling his problem. And that time in the elevator was the best sex he’s had in a while. Angry, passionate, a delicious release.

It’s getting ridiculous. And the kicker is, she seems entirely unaffected.

Clarke doesn’t stare like he does. She doesn’t act like the others that have tried to get him back into bed or make him jealous. She treats Bellamy the same as she did before they had sex, like she isn’t ruined by him.

In the two weeks since their conference room fight, he and Clarke are back to normal. Well, their version of normal. Which means firing insults, bickering, and finding ways to antagonize each other during work hours.

Bellamy sets up a prank for a Tuesday morning. He sits at his desk, sipping on his coffee and watching the clock. Clarke is usually in before 8:30. She’s fifteen minutes late.

Finally, Clarke bustles in, already looking frazzled and apologetic, as if expecting Kane to be standing at the elevator and waiting for an explanation. Most employees sneak in late whenever they can. Not the Princess. He can count on one hand the number of times she’s come in late.

Clarke strides forward and comes to a sudden halt when she notices the empty space. “Bellamy! Where’s my desk?”

Bellamy turns in his chair to face her. He puts on a concerned act, frowning and cocking his head. “Huh. Where did you last leave it?”

There are chuckles and laughter ringing around them from other employees. Bellamy glances at his eager audience and winks. Miller is leaning back against his desk to watch this play out.

“This isn’t funny, Blake!” Clarke shouts, her voice getting shrill. “What did you do with my desk? Where is it?”

“Princess,” Bellamy chides. “I didn’t lose the desk. You did. Maybe you should be more responsible.”

He hears Miller snicker behind him. Clarke is glaring daggers, her cheeks turning pink with frustration. It only makes her look prettier. She’s radiant, even with her hair thrown into a messy bun, and bags under her eyes that make-up can’t conceal. Bellamy hates it.

“How am I supposed to do my work?” she demands.

Bellamy shrugs, turning around to face his computer. “That sounds like a you problem.”

Clarke stomps past him towards the break room. He has to bite back his laughter, watching her engage in a scavenger hunt for her missing desk. He’s not actually getting any work done at all, but the amusement is worth it.

She checks the break room, the conference rooms, and all of the storage closets. Finally, Clarke marches back to him. A vein throbs in her temple when she stands in front of him, seething.

Bellamy grins. “Would you like to phone a friend? Maybe Monty can give you a hint.”

Reluctantly, Clarke glances over to Monty’s desk.

Monty sighs. “It’s on the roof.”

“I said a hint, Monty,” he grumbles.

Damn him. Bellamy gave Monty the clue to repeat to Clarke. He put in the effort to create clues for Clarke to figure out one by one. Not to be just handed the answer.

What?” Clarke asks shrilly. She snaps her head to glare incredulously at him. “You put my desk on the roof? How?”

“He made me help him,” Miller calls out, smiling in amusement. “And paid me with beer afterward. It took us an hour.”

Clarke shakes her head. She says nothing, silently fuming, as she storms out of the office.

She’s gone for half an hour. Without the distraction of her presence, Bellamy is able to take a couple of calls and get some work done. In the back of his mind, though, he’s wondering how Clarke is going to retrieve her desk from the roof of their building.

She’s clever and creative. He should have expected it. When Clarke returns, she’s with two muscular guys from the warehouse and they’re carrying her desk for her.

Bellamy is impressed, he’ll admit. It took her less than two hours. Plotting and executing his prank took him the better part of last night.

Clarke thanks the warehouse guys before they leave. She sits at her desk and goes about setting up her computer. In just a few minutes, she’s back to work.

“I’ll get you back for that,” she mutters.

She does. Overnight, Clarke empties every drawer in his desk and fills them with Skittles candies. His personal items are scattered around the office. Bellamy has to spend his morning locating his files taped behind the copy machine and his photos pinned to the fridge in the break room.

Jasper records the whole thing and puts his office supplies goose chase online. Clarke wins that round and it’s hilarious. He’s not even mad about it.

No, what’s maddening is her aloofness. His pranks don’t get under her skin. She always bounces back and retaliates. His sexual innuendos slide off her like she’s had her taste of him and wasn’t impressed. And she gets in the way of his career because she can’t stand to see him do better than her.

One day over lunch in the café, Miller listens as Bellamy rants at length about the frustration of Clarke Griffin. When he pauses for breath, Miller chuckles to himself.

Bellamy narrows his eyes. “What’s funny?”

“You,” Miller says. “We’ve been friends for years and I’ve never seen you like this. I’d say ask her out and be done with it, but it’s hilarious watching this play out.”

He grimaces. “Why the hell would I ask Clarke out? I’m not a masochist.”

Bellamy can picture how miserable that date would be. They would be at each other’s throats before the appetizers arrived. He doesn’t even like the high-end restaurants Clarke is used to. Bellamy prefers taking his dates to food trucks and walking around the city so they could talk.

What would he and Clarke even talk about? They have nothing in common. She was born with a silver spoon in her mouth. She got to travel abroad for at her fancy college and he’s never been out of the country. She’s a rich only child and he grew up poor, bearing the responsibility of his family’s survival.

At work, they already bicker about everything under the sun they don’t agree on. All they have is sexual compatibility. And she’s not interested in him that way.

Miller gives him an unimpressed look. “You know we have a pool going at the office, right? For when you and Clarke figure your shit out and get together.”

Bellamy nearly snorts soda out of his nose. “You guys are wasting your money then. That’s not going to happen. The Princess would push me out the 22nd window before going on a date with me.”

“And you?” Miller asks.

“It’s the same,” he replies vehemently, loudly, ignoring how he sounds like he has something to prove in this conversation. “Clarke Griffin is the last person in the office I’d subject myself to a date with.”

Bellamy sees Miller’s eyes widen in alarm. They’re fixed on something behind him. He feels a cold tendril of dread slip down his spine.

He turns around. Clarke is standing right behind him, holding a tray with food. Her expression is stony, her eyes like chips of hard ice. She pierces him with the most hateful look to date and walks away.

“Fuck,” Bellamy mutters.

It feels like he’s swallowed a rock, the sharp edges lodged in his throat. He didn’t mean for Clarke to hear that. He doesn’t want to date her, but she doesn’t need it said in such a callous way to her face.

They fling insults at each other daily, but this is different. This isn’t a comment about her work or her being a snob. Like the retort about her father pulling strings, this was personal and Bellamy knows he’s fucked up.

Chapter Text


Clarke nearly hits him with the door on her way out of the restroom. Bellamy is pacing the hallway back and forth. He halts abruptly when he notices her emerging.

Their gazes catch. Immediately, Clarke sets her jaw and turns away. Her cheeks flush with anger and humiliation. His words echo in her head like a bruise she can’t stop poking at despite the sting.

“Clarke Griffin is the last person in the office I’d subject myself to a date with.”

Bellamy calls out to her when she tries to leave the hallway. “Wait, Clarke!”

She spins on her heel, the anger in her veins blazing red-hot. Clarke isn’t someone that loses her temper. She keeps a cool head, no matter the crises.

But there’s something about Bellamy Blake that gets under her skin like no one else can. Three years ago, he got his hooks in her and he’s been clawing out layers of her she never knew existed. Having shouting matches in the office and sex in a public elevator are the most recent developments.

Clarke steps closer to him, stabbing his chest with her index finger. “Let’s get something straight. You don’t get to talk about me like that. You don’t have to like me, but I won’t let you disrespect me behind my back. Got it?”

Bellamy listens to her rant and takes it. He’s wearing an unfamiliar expression of contrition, his eyes full of regret.

“You’re right,” he says. “I’m sorry. That was—I was exaggerating. Miller was saying some shit and I…” he rummages his fingers through his hair, tugging at the thick curls, and grimaces. “It was out of line and cruel and I’m sorry, Clarke.”

She crosses her arms. Telling him off helped cool her temper somewhat. But there’s no quick fix for how humiliated she felt, listening to him. Knowing that is what Bellamy thinks about her and says when she’s not around.

Well, it shouldn’t come as a surprise. Bellamy despises her. What does it matter if he finds the thought of dating her so horrifying? She doesn’t care. She doesn’t want to care.

Bellamy is watching her closely, waiting on her response. Clarke doesn’t know what to say. She’s ready for this conversation to be over and never brought up again.

“Well, you’re not at the top of my list either.”

His grimace deepens. Bellamy shakes his head, seeming frustrated. “It’s not…Look, you’re beautiful. I’m obviously attracted to you. You’re damn good at your job, too. Smart as hell. We’re just different. That’s all I meant.” 

Clarke nods dismissively. “Fine. Let’s move on.”

She walks out of the hallway. Bellamy’s wide, apologetic eyes are unnerving her. She knows what to expect with his smirks or his angry, flaring nostrils. This side is atypical and she has no idea what to do with it.

The workday goes on with her and Bellamy staying out of each others’ way. He clocks out at 5:30 and it’s a relief when his prescence disappears from the office. Clarke lets out a breath she hadn’t realized she was holding.

She drops the cold mask when he’s gone. There’s barely anyone left on the floor and Clarke doesn’t have to concern herself with appearing unaffected and professional.

It’s not just her pride that hurts. She’s angriest with herself for giving a damn, for letting Bellamy know that his opinion matters. Clarke has pointed out a chink in her defenses.

She cares too much, while Bellamy doesn’t give a shit. He screwed her for sport. She was there, attractive enough to pass the time stuck in an elevator, but nothing memorable. Not worth the trouble of taking out properly and having to put up with her personality.

Clarke knows she is someone that can make enemies easier than friends. She likes things a certain way, and some might perceive that as being controlling. She has walls up that make it hard for people to get close to her.

She has a thick skin. She doesn’t need anyone’s approval. And she knew the deal when she straddled Bellamy and told him it meant nothing if they had sex.

Yet why is feeling like this?

Suddenly, Murphy is there, sitting on the edge of her desk and frowning down at her. “There’s no crying in baseball.”

The bizarre comment manages to draw her out of her head. Clarke throws him a look. “Are you high? We’re not playing baseball.”

Murphy rolls his eyes. “Obviously. You uncultured swine.” She whacks him on the arm for that and he goes on. “I mean, don’t let it bother you. Blake was talking out of his ass.”

Clarke scowls. “You heard? Fantastic.”

Murphy waves her off. “Relax. Miller told us the story. Harper, Monty and Raven chewed him out over IM for being a dick.”

“Huh,” she says. “Okay, that does make me feel better.”

“Speaking of getting high…” Murphy says, pulling out two rolled joints from his jacket pocket.

Clarke swats his hand down, her eyes widening. “Put that away before someone in HR see it! Jesus. We’re still on office property.”

“Goody-goody,” Murphy taunts. But he heeds her warning, putting the spliffs back in his pocket. Then he raises his brows at her expectantly.

“Yes,” Clarke answers his silent question.

She logs out of her computer, snatches her purse, and follows Murphy out. They sit in his car in the parking lot across the street and light up. The smoke fills her lungs. Clarke lets the weed unwind her from her crappy day.

Murphy tips his head back against the seat, exhaling smoke. “I had a date last week.”

“No shit. I thought I saw a UFO landing on Friday night.”

“I met her on Tinder, smartass,” he snaps and she laughs.

“How was it?”

“Miserable,” Murphy mutters, glowering. “I fucking hate making small talk. Dating is bullshit.”

Clarke frowns in sympathy. She’s been there. Online dates can be brutal. “How did you and Emori meet again?”

Murphy starts flicking his lighter on and off, a sign of his discomfort. Talking about his break-up with his girlfriend of three years is a sore subject. Still, a fond half-smile touches his lips.

“She tried to rob me,” he says. “Had a knife to my throat. I cracked some stupid joke and we just…clicked. I don’t know. It was easy with her.”

Clarke is quiet for a minute, inhaling on the joint. The weed is doing a fine job of covering her thoughts in a soft haze. It takes time to wade through and put together what she wants to say. Smoking puts her in a talkative, philosophical mood.

“I think it’s supposed to be easy,” she muses. “Life is hard and there’s always shit you have to deal with. But with the right person, it doesn’t feel so heavy, you know? You carry it together.”

Murphy waves his hand, gesturing through the car windows to the streets outside. “And where the fuck am I supposed to find this ‘right person’? Because the dates I have look at me like I’m some criminal punk.”

Clarke considers this. She hasn’t experienced it for herself. She and Finn were just kids. What they had was puppy love. They grew out of each other.

Murphy and Emori loved each other deeply, she knows. As much as two people can love each other and still be unable to make it work. They were cut from the same cloth, too similar. Their relationship became stagnant.

Then, there’s her parents’ marriage. She doesn’t like to dwell on that, but it’s enough to see where it ended. An ugly, hurtful abandonment.

Despite all evidence to the contrary, Clarke still believes in love. Real love. The kind that lasts. Maybe it’s naïve of her, a childish fantasy. But she has seen glimpses of it, rare like a shooting star across the night sky and true. Not every relationship can have that, but it does exist.

“You’ll just know,” Clarke decides. “You’ll feel it. One day, it won’t hurt as much and you’ll have moved on without realizing it. The right person will be there and they will be your person. You’ll know because that will be the person that makes you grateful to be alive. They challenge you, but they’re always on your side. They’ll change and you’ll change too, as time goes on, but it will be easy to remember why you love them. Because with them, you are your best self.”

Murphy flicks the lighter on and off in silence. Eventually, he says, slightly mocking, “That’s deep, Griffin.”

“I am deep,” she retorts. “I have hidden depths. You should be jealous.”

Murphy makes an innuendo about her hidden depths that has Clarke laughing and coughing on smoke. They take a minute to settle down.

“You know what I mean.”

He turns his head to look at her. “Yeah. Yeah, I think I do.”

Clarke feels better when she goes home that night. She orders a pizza for herself, starving after getting high with Murphy, and works on her art assignments into the evening. When her thoughts circle back to the café incident, Clarke amuses herself thinking about Harper ripping Bellamy a new one over IM.

The following morning Clarke walks into the office and finds something sitting at her desk.

She pauses to take it in, feeling wary as she recalls the vibrator package. But this time, it’s a real chocolate bar. Her favorite from the vending machine.

Clarke picks up the candy. Her gaze flicks up, meeting Bellamy’s already on her. She recognizes this for what it is. A peace offering.

She can’t move. Her wrists are bound to the headboard, pinned above her head by a silk tie. One large hand presses against her stomach, holding her still while her body threatens to buckle and arch from the assault of pleasure. Her legs are propped on his shoulders, laid out like the prey for him to devour.

And Bellamy is devouring her. His mouth is buried against her pussy, drawing her clit between his lips and massaging the sensitive nub with his tongue. He releases her clit slowly then starts up again, sucking on her in a torturous rhythm.

It’s so fucking hot. All of it. Bellamy’s scent mixing with the heady smell of sweat and sex. His broad shoulders spreading her open. The way he has her restrained on her bed, at his complete mercy.

Clarke is losing her mind, her moans loud and uninhibited. She’s going to come so hard. The tension soars inside her, climbing to an intense peak.

“Oh fuck,” she gasps. “I’m so close.”

Bellamy squeezes her hip. His wide eyes watch her from under his lashes, wicked, smoldering with dark heat. She can read his stare clearly, ordering her to come.

Clarke is nearly there. Her orgasm is at her fingertips, within reach, when she wakes up right on the verge of coming.

The dream slithers away like smoke passing through her hands, taking her climax with it. Her eyes snap open to a dark bedroom. She’s panting for breath, her skin flushed, the fire lingering her veins, trapped with nowhere to go.

Clarke kicks off the sheets twisted around her legs. The back of her neck is damp with sweat. A frustrated scream sits in her throat. She’s still turned on, her clit throbbing, slickness pooled between her legs.

All because of Bellamy fucking Blake.

Fuck him. Fuck him for doing this to her. He antagonizes her during work hours and now he’s stealing her peaceful sleep too.

This isn’t the first time this has happened since the elevator. Not even the fifth time. Again and again, she’s haunted by fantasies about Bellamy. His body, his tongue, his fingers, his cock. The dreams leave her frustrated and unsatisfied.

Clarke ignores her aroused state. She refuses to get off thinking about him. She’s not going to indulge her body’s weak desires. Mind over matter. She’ll purge her attraction to Bellamy from her system, however long it takes.

She climbs out of bed, stripping off her T-shirt, sleep shorts, and panties. Clarke takes a shower. She turns the water ice cold, as if she can wash the traces of her arousal down the drain.

Afterward, Clarke leaves her wet hair to air-dry. She throws on one of her dad’s old shirts, the long sleeves rolled up, and a pair of ripped jeans. It’s only 5 a.m. She has time to kill before her day has to begin.

Clarke plugs in her phone to blast her music, loud enough to drown her thoughts. She puts on the playlist for when she’s in a creative mood. Then she sets up on the living room floor with sketch paper and charcoals to draw her frustrations out.

The scent of the charcoal is calming. Clarke feels her irritation bleeding out with every harsh stroke of her hand across the paper. This is her escape, the sanctuary of her sanity.

At 7 a.m., Clarke washes her hands and changes her clothes. She doesn’t bother with make-up, just winds her hair up in a bun. When she’s ready, she locks the door behind her and heads over to the train station.

Her only plans for that Saturday are to spend the day with her dad. He’s been having a rough time lately. Her dad has been acting withdrawn, moody, not interacting with the other residents as much. His sleep has been difficult at night and he’s been stubborn, refusing to eat or bath without Clarke around.

Clarke worries about him constantly. She’s had to go in early to the facility before work to get him settled and again in the evening to have dinner with him.

She’s considering dropping out of art school. The classes seem trivial and eat up her time when her dad needs her. Work with her clients keeps her busy enough as it is.

Clarke stays at the facility all day. She walks around the manicured grounds with her dad, enjoying the early Fall temperatures, and they have a nice lunch under a gazebo. In the afternoon, they play a couple of rounds of chess and watch a few movies before dinner.

Her Sunday is split between school assignments and visiting her dad again. She gets a Skype call from Wells, which is a pleasant surprise. She misses her closest friend terribly. They catch up and Wells’ kind smile brightens her day.

On Monday morning, Clarke drags herself into work. She clutches her traveler’s mug of coffee like a lifeline keeping her afloat. Upon walking into the office, Clarke curses the sight of Bellamy’s curly head, leaning over Monty’s desk to chat.

He is the reason for her restless night.

Clarke sits at her desk and opens her email, starts responding to clients. Eventually, Bellamy returns to his chair. She goes about her work and ignores him. Or tries to. His presence is suffocating.

She’s always been aware of Bellamy in a room. He’s a big guy, sure, but Clarke suspects it’s his natural aura. Clarke may not like him, but she can’t deny that Bellamy is too vibrant, too alive, to blend into the background.

His scent drifts over to her—the real scent, not the mockery from her dreams. Why does he have to smell so damn good? Woodsy, masculine, sexy as hell.

She’s often distracted by him running his fingers through his hair, trying to tame the unruly curls. The memory will pop up unbidden and override her thoughts. She remembers how Bellamy liked when she pulled his hair during sex.

Clarke scarcely gets anything done before Murphy stands over her desk and demands they go to lunch.

She sighs, clicking out of her computer, and stands up. On the way out, Clarke feels the hot press of a gaze hitting between her shoulders. She turns her head and catches Bellamy staring at her as she walks out with Murphy. What the hell is that about?

In the afternoon, their department is corralled into another conference room meeting. Clarke finds a spot in an empty row. She’s fighting sleepiness as her lunch sits heavy in her stomach.

Bellamy drops into the seat next to her. Clarke stiffens when their shoulders brush. All of the empty seats in this room and he has to sit beside her.

No. Clarke is in no mood for their game. She doesn’t want to be around him, his enticing smell or the insufferable chip on his shoulder.

Kane stands at the head of the room with his PowerPoint. He starts presenting his slides for them, his voice droning on. Normally, Clarke would be taking notes, listening attentively. But she’s so tired…The room is dark and cozy with the lights off.

Clarke doesn’t remember falling asleep. She stirs when bright lights flare behind her eyelids. Her mouth is bone-dry and her head feels stuffed with cotton.

It takes a few moments. But Clarke realizes she’s using Bellamy’s strong shoulder as a pillow for her cheek.

She sits up quickly, horrified. “I’m—” The words come slowly on her sluggish tongue. “I didn’t mean…”

Bellamy shrugs. “It’s fine.”

No, it’s not. She didn’t mean to be touching him. Bellamy doesn’t seem bothered that she napped on him for 45 minutes. No, of course not. Clarke just opened herself up to a slew of taunts about how she can’t keep her hands off him.

He stands up, stretching out his limbs as Clarke sits there, stupefied. Voices carry around them, their coworkers trickling out of the room. Bellamy follows the others out, not saying a word or even smirking at her.

Oh.

The chocolates at her desk become a regular occurrence. Every morning, Clarke will enter the office and discover a new treat waiting for her, from Bellamy. They vary from Hershey’s kisses to her favorite chocolate bar to a two-pack of chocolate cupcakes.

This goes on for a week. Clarke loves the free treats, of course. She has a sweet tooth. But Bellamy has apologized and they’ve moved on. This new ritual is weirding her out.

“Enough,” Clarke demands on the sixth day. “Stop being so nice. It’s weird!”

Bellamy grins, leaning back in his desk chair. “Not happening. It looks like I’ve found a new way to get on your nerves, Princess.”

She rolls her eyes. “You’re forgiven, okay? Now stop before I have to buy a new wardrobe. I like my curves how they are.”

Bellamy’s eyes run appreciatively over her body. Clarke feels his gaze like a hot caress under her clothes. “I’ll say,” he murmurs.

From his desk across the room, Murphy gags loudly. “Quit flirting. I’m trying to digest my breakfast over here.”

Clarke ignores him, helping herself to the candy. There’s no reason for it to go to waste, even if she doesn’t want Bellamy being nice out of pity for hurting her feelings.

Clarke wants normal. Her dad’s condition is out of her control and their relationship shifts depending on the day. Sometimes she’s the dependable daughter, sometimes she’s a stranger to him.

Her life is lacking the normal and predictable lately. She needs it back on track, needs the dynamics of her world to fit into their roles.

She and Bellamy are rivals. They compete over clients and promotions. They banter, not flirt. Done.

Clarke can will that to be true, but the truth is rarely pure and never simple. Her determination to act like nothing changed after the elevator is just that—an act. The truth lives through her desire for him, which pulses inside her like a live, beating heart.

The tension is slowly maddening her. Once, Clarke believed Bellamy was the bane of her existence when he picked fights with her and pulled annoying pranks. But none of that can compare to secretly, reluctantly wanting him.

Her skin prickles when they touch, even from the fleeting graze of his fingers handing her a document. Bellamy’s proximity sends her stomach into a twisting frenzy. Clarke has daytime fantasies about pressing him against the wall and stealing a hard, bruising kiss. She craves the taste of his tongue.

Clarke searches for distractions at work. Sitting across from Bellamy has transported her to the second circle of Dante’s Inferno, designed just for her. When the opportunity presents itself to escape, she takes it.

Outside the leaves have started changing with the arrival of fall. Her walks around the city are colored by vibrant yellows and reds, the temperature lowering to a pleasant crisp. Clarke drinks her Pumpkin Spice Lattes and endures Bellamy’s mockery of her basic white girl behavior.

Halloween is fast approaching. The girls on their floor are putting up the annual decorations of spider webs, hanging skeletons, and pumpkin cut-outs. At reception, Bree sets out a bowl of candy corn. Clarke volunteers to help with the decorating.

She’s pinning bat cut-outs to the top of a wall, standing on a vacant desk. Someone is playing a Halloween playlist on their computer and Clarke hums along to “Black Magic Woman”, focused on her task.

She’s startled by the call of her name and the fact that it’s Bellamy behind her, when she left him across the office.

Clarke loses her balance on the desk. She’s stumbling until Bellamy’s hand grasps the back of her thigh and steadies her. His touch hits her veins like lightning. Shocking and potent. She can feel the heat of his palm through her tights.

“What are you doing?” she shrieks.

Bellamy lets go of her thigh like he’s been burned, putting his hands up. “Christ. I’ll let you fall on your ass next time, Griffin.”

Clarke huffs, ignoring the blood filling her cheeks. “What do you want?”

“Your phone’s been ringing nonstop,” he informs her.

“Who’s calling me?”

Bellamy cocks his brow at her. “Taking your messages isn’t in my job description, actually.”

“Ass,” Clarke mutters.

She steps down from the desk and goes to check her phone line. One of her clients has been trying to get in touch with her about an urgent matter. Clarke calls them back and gets the issue sorted out.

The rest of her workload is light that day. Excitement for the upcoming Halloween party crackles in the office air. The others are slacking off too. At their joined desks, Jasper and Monty are tossing snacks into each other’s mouths. At his, Miller has dozed off and Harper is drawing on his forehead with a marker.

It feels a little like the last day of school before break. Clarke smiles to herself as she stands up. She finishes putting up the bat shapes on the wall, then goes to find Fox and asks for further instructions. Fox suggests looking for more decorations in the storage closet.

She heads for the closet, opening the door to find the light is already on. Clarke stops when she spots Bellamy inside, grabbing a cardboard box from a high shelf.

You’ve got to be kidding me, she thinks.

She can’t get away from him. Though Clarke’s annoyance is soon swept away by a bolt of lust. Her eyes fall on Bellamy’s ass as he stretches to reach the box, making an entrancing sight in his suit pants. Damn it.

“You need something?”

Clarke jumps. Bellamy is staring at her where she stands gaping in the doorway. He’s holding an unmarked cardboard box.

“You’re helping with decorations?” she asks incredulously.

Bellamy shrugs. He looks good carrying the box too, the veins in his muscular forearms standing out. “Got nothing better to do.”

Clarke purses her lips, skeptical. She doesn’t quite believe him. He seemed busy enough that morning. But she can’t judge when she’s slacking off too. Kane is out of the office and they’re all taking advantage.

“Let’s see what’s in that box.”

Bellamy sets it down on a table. She comes over to comb through the box’s contents. His body heat radiates against her side. The closet feels abnormally small and tight. He’s somehow everywhere, invading her every sense.

They pull out an assortment of Halloween props. Clarke likes the cloth witches hats they discover. She has an idea of suspending them from above people’s desks. The box only contains three, but she’s certain there are more in the closet.

She shares her idea with Bellamy. He agrees there were more hats from last year, which several employees wore on Halloween day at the office.

Clarke pokes through the other boxes lying around. She senses movement behind her as Bellamy searches through the higher shelves. At last, she stumbles upon a plastic container that holds the witches’ hats and other costume pieces.

She gasps. “Bellamy, I’ve found them—”

Clarke almost knocks into him when they both turn towards each other. Her words are run off by his nearness, her brain turned to static. He’s too close, mere inches away, his breath minty and cool when it reaches her.

Her heart pounds painfully hard. Like a warning to move, get away before she does something stupid. But the thing is, Clarke can’t. Her body won’t budge because she likes being in Bellamy’s space a little too much.

She likes the bright flare of her nerve endings, feeling sharp and alive inside her skin. Clarke only realizes this now, when the difference smacks her in the face. The contrast between the mundane of her routine, flitting from work to the care facility, going through the motions of what needs to be done.

And then there’s this. Like the difference between being asleep, the soft cotton of dreams, and this clarity where the world is dangerous heat, real and thrilling and scary.

Her desire for Bellamy may be wrong and twisted, but it’s hers. Like her art, the rarity of this one selfish thing belonging to her—not her clients, not her dad, not something good and responsible—makes it irresistible.

Bellamy isn’t moving either. His eyes are wide, fixed to her face, his breaths sounding heavy in the quiet space. His hands twitch like he wants to touch her but stops himself. Then his gaze sinks to her parted mouth and that’s all the permission she needs.

Clarke kisses him, her lips crushing his in a swift, harsh attack. She gets to slip her fingers into his hair like she’s been craving, twisting through the curls. She presses herself against him and takes, takes, takes while she can.

The dark desire that lives in her rejoices at getting what it wants, finally, after being starved for weeks. In that moment, Clarke doesn’t care if he won’t kiss her back. She is selfish and free, like a thief thriving off the adrenaline of a stolen mark.

But Bellamy does respond, after a moment of stillness. His arms come around her, pulling her tighter against his body. His lips are as fierce and demanding as she remembers, kissing her back with an intensity that matches hers.

Clarke has never felt this kind of wild, blind passion. She is being consumed by Bellamy and she is happy to burn. Each kiss is everything and not enough. So she takes more and lets Bellamy have his fill too.

He moans when she pulls his hair and Clarke smiles victoriously at the sound. Bellamy drives them backward until she crashes into the shelf. Items rattle and fall to the ground, but neither of them care, caught up in the whirlwind of passion they’ve created.

Bellamy’s fingers dig into the flesh of her hips, hard enough to bruise. The sting only heightens her arousal. Twisted as they are, they both seem to enjoy a taste of pain with their pleasure, made better when it’s inflicted by the other’s hand.

She’s soaked between her thighs. Want roars inside her like a hungry beast, clamoring for Bellamy to be rough with her, to recreate her dreams. She wants the angry sex, the red marks on her skin, the feeling of his large hand around her throat while she comes.

He’s hard in between them. Clarke slides her hand down his chest to his waistband, cupping him through his pants. She massages his erection and Bellamy groans against her ravaging lips.

She needs him inside her. She needs—

“Clarke?” Fox’s voice calls from outside the storage closet. “Did you find anything else?”

Clarke goes still. She is doused in ice cold water, extinguishing her burning arousal. Logic and her damn good sense comes crashing in.

Oh my god. What the fuck is she doing?

Clarke rips away from Bellamy. She’s trapped against the shelf for a moment, the blood roaring in her ears, and still feeling Bellamy’s hard cock pushed against her stomach. Then she shoves past him to get some space.

“Yeah,” she croaks. “I…I’ll be right out.”

Clarke presses her hands over her eyes, hiding the view of the open door. Anyone could have walked in and seen them. She’s lost her mind.

Bellamy shifts behind her. His breaths come hard, just like hers. Clarke doesn’t want to look at him. She wants to run from this room, from what she’s done.

Shame and frustration corrode through her. She did it. She gave in and now she won’t be able to live it down. She tossed aside her dignity and threw herself at Bellamy, just like she swore she wouldn’t.

Bellamy moves to stand in front of her. His brown eyes flicker with victory. “You didn’t need to shut me up. What’s your excuse this time?”

“Don’t,” she snaps.

“Princess, there’s nobody else here. You can admit you want me. The world won’t end.”

“I don’t,” she says firmly, her tone too forceful to be believable. She tries to soften it. “That was a mistake. I don’t know what I was thinking.”

“You were thinking we have explosive chemistry and I could turn you out, if you stop being so stubborn.”

Her eyes narrow in suspicion. “We both agreed this was a bad idea.”

“It’s a terrible idea,” Bellamy agrees, his amused smirk contradicting his words. “And a hell of a lot more fun than repressing ourselves.”

He steps closer, his proximity like a siren song threatening to drag her under the churning ocean waves. “I know you’ve thinking about it too. You kissed me first, Princess.”

Clarke clings to her sanity, her lifeline keeping her from going under. “It’s the dry spell. You were right. I haven’t been with anyone in a long time.”

His head tips back, regarding her curiously. “Why not?”

Clarke bristles. “None of your business. So, that’s it. I’m sexually deprived. Or maybe my brain isn’t getting enough oxygen in this room. But I don’t want you.”

“Liar.”

The sharp accusation echoes in the closet, ringing through her ears. Her face prickles with heat. She’s angry and embarrassed and so, so turned-on.

Bellamy leans in close and her breath stutters. The scent of him, his large intense eyes, the rough cadence of his low, gravelly voice—all of it is sinful and deadly. “What are you so afraid of?”

You.

Clarke raises her chin, her jaw hard with defiance. She won’t let him know how her heart flutters frantically like a butterfly’s wings caught in a trap. She won’t show him weakness.

They are not prey and predator. They are rivals in the ring, circling each other, predator versus predator. This is the most dangerous game they’ve played yet and Clarke refuses to go down without a fight.

Bellamy’s mouth lifts into a tight, slightly manic grin. That grin makes her pulse race harder. It’s like he’s seen all of her cards and he’s confident he can play to win.

“You know what I think?” he asks. “You want this and it terrifies you. Because it’s the one thing in your perfect, organized little world that you can’t control. You’re afraid to lose control around me. You’re afraid of what I can do, what I bring out of you.”

He's not supposed to be able to see that. He's not supposed to see through her

“I’m not your enemy, Clarke. Not here.” He grabs her hand, flattening her palm to his chest. Her eyes widen at the frantic thump of his heart, the same tempo as hers. And Bellamy lets her feel it.

“See?” he demands. “You’re making me crazy too. We want the same thing.”

She takes her hand back and Bellamy lets her, watching her intently.

Clarke licks her dry lips. Her voice emerges as a hoarse murmur. “What are you getting at, Blake?”  

“A truce.” His tone lightens, trying to persuade her. “A mutually beneficial agreement.”

“More like mutual destruction.”

Bellamy chuckles. “Call it what you want. Same result. We take our frustrations out in a more enjoyable way. We get to have really fucking good sex. Win-win.”

“Just sex,” she clarifies.

He nods, firm. “Purely physical. Instead of killing each other, we can screw each other’s brains out.”

Is she actually considering this? Has she forgotten all the sound reasons this shouldn’t happen? Starting with the fact they work together, and it goes against the employee code of conduct. If they get caught, they could put their careers at risk.

Then, there’s the fact he drives her crazy. He is careless and impulsive with his words. Bellamy is used to the office hook-ups, the casual flings. She’s the one putting herself at risk for getting hurt in this scenario.

“We have to be smart about this,” Clarke says. “We need rules.”

Bellamy rolls his eyes, a smirk playing on his lips. “Typical. Should we draft a legally-binding contract too, Princess? Send a copy of our Fuck Buddy Agreement to HR?”

She bypasses his sarcasm, armed with stubborn determination. “Ground rules. This stays between us. It doesn’t leave this office. No dating, no strings.” She pauses for thought and adds, “We can see other people, too.”

Bellamy pauses as well. A ripple passes over his face. He’s usually expressive, but right then, she has trouble getting a read on him. She has a niggling suspicion he’s shutting her out on purpose.

Which is unfair. This is part of why Bellamy pisses her off. He practically just psychoanalyzed her fears, stripped her emotionally bare, and he’s still holding back. Not her enemy, her ass. He doesn’t trust her either.

“You sure you’re okay with that?”

“Yes. I only have room in my life for something casual. Nothing time-consuming or complicated.” Clarke shrugs a shoulder. “I know your preferences. You don’t have to stop on my account.”

Bellamy nods slowly. “Got it. So, we’re doing this?”

“We’re doing this.”

Chapter Text


The office’s Halloween party falls on a Friday, the 30th of the month. They have the luncheon during work hours, where everyone is still dressed in normal business clothes, and they lay out the baked treats in the biggest conference room for people to snack on.

That actual party takes place that night. The employees clock out around 5 p.m. and change into their costumes. Bellamy is one of the few that don’t make the trip home. His costume is simple and he’s able to get dressed in the men’s room.

The idea came to him last minute, something he threw together only days before. He knows some people that are intensely into the holiday, planning out their costumes months in advance like they’re preparing for the Apocalypse. Bellamy isn’t one of those people.

He’s never been into getting dressed up, not even as a child. When he was younger, he took Octavia trick-or-treating and kept an eye on her. Sometimes, he had to sew together her costumes if their mom was too busy. Bellamy liked stealing a few pieces of O’s leftover candy, but he’s not a Halloween fan.

Not until ALIE Tech. Three years ago, to be exact.

He has always enjoyed the office Halloween party. They’re supposed to be dry events, but Jasper sneaks in the alcohol, along with a few others. Even without drinking, it’s still a good time with the themed food and music and relaxed air with his colleagues.

Things changed the year Clarke started at ALIE Tech. She had only been an employee there since August, but she had made an impression. The higher-ups were impressed with Clarke’s background and work ethic. She was all business, dedicated, clever as hell. She took on every project by storm.

The employees didn’t know what to make of her yet, Bellamy included. She was closed off. Rarely mentioned a personal life, passed on meeting up for office drinks. Some people called her stuck-up and said Clarke thought she was too good to hang out with them.

Bellamy didn’t. Not then, not yet. He didn’t think she was naturally cold. He had since the fire in her eyes when she got pissed off. She had too much spunk in her to be cold inside. He learned she was a fighter when she told him off for ruining her presentation with Becca Franko.

He thought she was pretty, obviously. Her eyes were a startling shade of blue. But his crush didn’t form until sometime later, at the office Halloween party. 

That was the first time he saw Clarke Griffin drunk. The first time he heard her genuinely laugh. The first time he caught a glimpse of her hidden warmth, her sense of humor, and understood the face she wore at the office was just another costume.

Clarke liked Halloween. He overheard her mentioning to Harper how she had been putting her outfit together for weeks, finding the pieces online. That year she dressed as Princess Buttercup from The Princess Bride.

She did it ironically, in response to the “Princess” nickname he had bestowed on her. Clarke walked in wearing a flowing red dress tied with a sash, the crown of her hair braided back, the rest falling in golden waves around her shoulders.

She took one look at Bellamy and smirked, a mischievous glint in her piercing eyes.

Bellamy remembers raising his glass in salute, thinking, Well done, Princess.

He lost sight of Clarke throughout the night. Bellamy had a date he was focused on and the rest of the party was a blur at that point along with all of the others. Then someone pointed out Clarke on the makeshift dance floor.

It was a sight to see, because no one else was dancing then. There was spirited music playing, but people were there to mingle and stuff their faces with pumpkin-flavored treats. It wasn’t the kind of party for dancing, until Clarke drew the guy with her, dressed as Westley, into an open space and started moving.

All eyes were on her in her bright red dress. Clarke danced with her friend, a tall handsome black man, her motions fluid and carefree. The man in the Westley costumed twirled her around and brought her back to his chest. Her smile was dazzling, bright like a sun flare.

And Bellamy thought, happiness looks good on her.

That was the start of it. His pathetic crush. He couldn’t take his eyes off of her that night.

Later, he sought Clarke out to talk to her and discovered just how drunk she was. Her eyes were glassy, cheeks flushed. He remembers when she put her hands on his cheeks, which was the first time she ever touched him.

Clarke drew him close until their noses brushed and said very seriously, “You are beautiful. You’re like the most beautiful guy I’ve ever met. Who has freckles like this?” She pouted. “It isn’t fair!”

Bellamy has never forgotten that. He doubts Clarke recalls that it happened. She was wasted. But he remembers the dip in his stomach when they touched, how intoxicating it was to be under her full attention.

The pranks started not long after that. Bellamy isn’t sure what their original purpose was. If he had to guess, maybe he was just trying to get Clarke to notice him. She didn’t like him from the start. Maybe he was trying to prove something or maybe he just wanted to earn her laughter.

It’s his secret, but Bellamy looks forward to every office Halloween party because of that night. For the chance to see Clarke uninhibited and carefree like that again. It hasn’t happened since the first year, though.

Bellamy focuses on his reflection in the mirror. He had the stupid idea to let Octavia paint his eyelids a shimmering gold. It goes with the costume, he supposes. Some guys look hot in makeup. Bellamy just feels ridiculous.

He’s dressed as the male equivalent of Persephone. He has a floral wreath over his hair. He’s wearing a loose white tunic and olive green pants, going for a look fitting of the goddess of nature.

Bellamy decides to join the party. He’ll feel less absurd surrounded by other people in their masks and getup.

“Monster Mash” is blasting overhead, courtesy of Jasper’s spooky mix. Their floor has been transformed in the spirit of Halloween. Glowing orange lights are strung across the walls amongst the bat and pumpkin cut-outs. 

The desks are overrun by spider webs and large stuffed spiders. Clothed tables hold food trays and bowls of candy, propped up by fake dismembered hands.

It seems like everyone from the office has showed up for the party. The space is crowded with employees in costumes and their significant others.

Bellamy makes his way across the floor to Jasper, Monty and Miller. His friends all greet him. Jasper grins and hands him a glass of red punch made to resemble blood.

He is dressed as a mad scientist in a white lab coat, his hair standing on end and a pair of large goggles on his head. Miller is in costume as Ash, wearing the iconic red cap and a blue varsity jacket over jeans, while Monty is wearing a Pikachu onesie.

“Cute,” Bellamy teases the couple.

Monty squints at his crown of flowers. “What are you supposed to be?”

“Persephone,” Bellamy answers.

For some reason, this makes Miller start snickering. Bellamy doesn’t get it. He told Miller about his costume earlier. Is he laughing at the gold eyeshadow?

Monty frowns at his boyfriend. “Something funny, babe?”

Miller looks at Bellamy, a knowing curve to his mouth. “You see Clarke tonight?”

“Nope.”

Bellamy keeps his expression neutral, as if he didn’t care either way about where Clarke is. Inside, his stomach squirms in anticipation. His reaction is the worst it’s been this year.

Two days since their agreement in the storage closet and the hot make-out that came before that. Bellamy was willing to fuck her against the shelves, consequences be damned. His common sense fled him the second Clarke’s lips crashed against his.

He was like a kid on Christmas morning. Euphoria hit his veins hard with the realization that Clarke wanted him. Still. Maybe even as desperately as he had been aching for her since the elevator.

They agreed to try casual sex, though a part of Bellamy is waiting for Clarke to back out. Once the red-hot arousal faded from her system, she’d be back to thinking with her head. They could land in some hot water if Kane or HR caught them fraternizing on company property.

Bellamy doesn’t care. Well, not enough to keep from doing it. She feels too good. So much better than the fantasies, clinging onto the memory. The second hit was the worst and he’s hooked now, needing another dose of her mouth, her sweet pussy.

She’s in his veins now. That’s the only explanation for why Bellamy suddenly doesn’t give a shit about the brunette in the sexy Catwoman jumpsuit trying to catch his eye or anyone else here. He wants to see Clarke.

They talk while sipping on their punch and commenting on other people’s costumes. Jasper removes the flask from his pocket to pour whiskey into their drinks. Bellamy gets buzzed after two glasses and his anticipation shifts from a sharp flare in his gut to something humming in the background.

“Holy shit,” Miller splutters on his punch. “Is that Murphy?”

Bellamy follows his line of sight. He spots Murphy strolling towards them.

The first thing he notices is the dark eyeliner. Then the fact Murphy is shirtless under his leather vest, wearing leopard print pants, and black boots. He has silver hoops in his ear that might be real. Somehow, he manages to pull this look off.

“You’re wearing more makeup than me,” Bellamy says when he reaches them, a smirk on his lips.

“And I wear it better too,” Murphy drawls. His blue eyes look Bellamy up and down. “What are you, Peter Pan?”

“Persephone,” Bellamy corrects him irritably. “Goddess of nature.”

Murphy just shrugs, unapologetic, and he rolls his eyes.

The others ask Murphy about his costume. Bellamy sips at his punch, his attention drifting around the room. He searches for golden hair or the familiar curves of her body in the people that surround them.

Murphy pulls a repulsed face when a man in an inflatable tube costume passes by them. “Jesus Christ. Where’s the liquor?”

Jasper retrieves another flash from his lab coat and mixes Murphy a glass of spiked punch. Murphy makes a snarky comment about this being like prom night and Bellamy can’t help himself when he smirks, telling Murphy he won’t be getting laid tonight either.

Finally, Bellamy lays eyes on Clarke when she emerges from the restroom hallway. And he nearly spits out his drink in shock.

She is a dark, stunning vision. Half of her hair is dyed black and falls in contrast to the blonde waves cascading over her shoulders. She wears a gothic skull crown, her lips a shiny black, and red spills down her cheeks in bloody tracks. A shredded black dress completes the look, with an enticing hint at her cleavage.

Bellamy’s jaw hangs open. His friends are laughing at his expense. It’s not just how hot Clarke looks that stuns him. No.

She is the queen of the dead. The Hades to his Persephone. The dark enchantress that has stolen him away.

Clarke’s eyes meet his. She is cool, composed, giving no indication that things have changed between them. Other than a sly gleam in her blue eyes, meant just for him.

Bellamy’s feet move him across the floor without him giving the command. Clarke pulls him to her without having to lift a finger. In the back of his buzzed mind, Bellamy recognizes how screwed he is.

“I’ve underestimated how diabolical you are,” he says upon reaching her side. He gestures sharply at her outfit. “The goddess of the dead. That’s hilarious. Who told you about my costume, huh? Miller?”

She rolls her eyes. “Your ego deserves its own galaxy.”

Bellamy squints at her. “What?”

“I’m Wanheda,” she huffs. “I didn’t design my costume around you, you egotistical jackass.”

He pauses, puzzling this, as Clarke takes him in. She studies the flower wreath. Thoughts shift behind her sharp gaze. It doesn’t take her long to figure it out.

“Persephone,” she guesses.

Bellamy shakes his head, baffled. How? How could she possibly figure that out? No one else understood his costume, other than Octavia. His sister is familiar with his fascination with Greek Mythology.

“How did you guess that?” he demands.

Clarke’s lips quirk into a proud smile, pleased that she’s right. “Gina got you a copy of The Iliad for Secret Santa last year. And you have an Atlas statue on your desk.”

Bellamy is stunned again. He didn’t know Clarke paid that kind of attention to details about him. Perhaps it’s a keep your enemies close kind of thing. Still, the knowledge dances smugly in his chest.

“That statue’s a gift from O,” Bellamy tells her. “Who’s Wanheda?”

Before answering, Clarke glances around them, checking to see who’s watching. Then she steps closer, leaning up on her toes to speak into his ear. “Maybe I’ll tell you after you fuck me.”

A shiver races down his back. With her proximity, he catches a trace of her perfume and the woodsy scent triggers a Pavlovian response in him. His cock stirs, thickening to press against the seam of his pants.

Clarke steps away from him, turning to walk away. She gives him a pointed, heated look over her shoulder, beckoning him to follow her before she’s swallowed up by the thick mass of bodies crowding the office.

Bellamy pauses, peering over to where he left his friends. Jasper and Monty are engrossed in the apple bobbing contest while Miller stands by, recording his boyfriend. He can’t find Murphy anywhere. No one seems to pay attention to what he’s doing.

He gives Clarke a brief headstart before he shadows in her wake. He winds around his colleagues, passing Harper dressed as Captain Marvel and showing off her muscled biceps to Monroe. He spots Clarke’s half-light, half-dark hair turning the corner and he slowly follows.

They sneak away to a conference room hidden in a back corner of the office. No one uses this room. Bellamy locks the door behind him and Clarke hits the lights, their faces concealed from anyone peering in through the glass walls. Dim light trickles in from the cityscape outside.

Clarke has shed her boots and her skull crown, leaving a trail to where she lifts herself onto the round conference table. Her blue eyes shine at him in the dark, haunting him, daring him to come closer and take her.

A smirk curls Bellamy’s mouth as he approaches, undoing his belt. “You like this, don’t you, Princess? Being fucked on office property? I bet the thrill of getting caught makes you wet, doesn’t it?”

Clarke spreads her thighs, letting him step in between them. He can hear the shallow cadence of her breath. Her eyes are heavy-lidded when she reaches for him, intoxicated by the lustful haze that swallows them and Bellamy feels too, prickling all over his skin.

Bellamy grabs her wrist, holding her hand in place. Keeping their eyes locked, he draws the pad of her thumb between his lips and sucks.

She gasps, her thighs squeezing his waist. The sound thrills him. He’s going to make her gasp and moan and chant his name tonight.

“Tell me you want this.”

He needs her to say it. To admit it, just once.

“I do,” she admits huskily. “I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it.”

Bellamy slides his fingers into her hair, pulling her into a passionate kiss. He groans in relief at the feeling of her soft, fierce lips chasing his again. She tastes like the punch and a tinge of whiskey when his tongue plunders her mouth.

Clarke wraps her hand around the back of his neck, tilting his head to deepen their bruising, hungry kisses. She scrapes his bottom lip with her teeth and digs her nails into him, releasing the wild animal that cages itself behind her cool, controlled façade.

He provokes that side of her to unleash. Bellamy can’t wait to see it again.

Clarke runs her hand sensually down his body. Through his shirt he still feels the touch, burning under his skin. Then she cups his erection and squeezes lightly.

Bellamy groans into the kiss, encouraging her. It feels so good when she rubs him through his pants. The blood thrums in his veins, filling his cock. He swears he’s never been this hard.

His hands find the dip in her dress, slipping inside to squeeze her tits. He frees them from her bra and teases her nipples the way he remembers she likes. He pinches the hard peaks and rolls them between his fingers. 

“Fuck me, Blake,” she says against his wet, bitten lips.

Bellamy smirks. Her words are a command, one he’s going to willingly obey.

He flips Clarke over, leaning her against the table. He presses himself against her, the soft curves melding to his body, and moves her hair aside so he can nibble on her neck. That makes Clarke rock back against him, her ass grinding on his dick.

“You want me,” Bellamy can’t resist taunting into her ear. “All that bullshit and here you are, desperate for it.”

Clarke groans. “Shut up, Bellamy. Just fuck me.”

He slaps her ass hard. As he suspects, this only makes Clarke push against him, eager for it. Interesting.

Bellamy kicks her legs apart and she leans on the table to support herself. He unzips his pants, pulling himself out. Wrapping his hand around his erection, he gives himself a few slow pumps, clenching his jaw in pleasure.

“Pull up your dress.”

Clarke gets her dress bunched around her waist, exposing her round ass to him. It nearly kills him to see the sexy panties she has on, black lace against her creamy skin.

“Fuck, you’re hot, Princess,” he rasps.

Bellamy can’t keep his hands off her. He peels the panties off, reaches between her legs to feel the wet heat of her cunt. She’s slick when his fingers run through her folds. He can’t wait to drive into her velvety warmth.

A soft moan leaves her when Bellamy finds her clit, rolling the nub under his thumb. More wetness coats his hand. He can smell the sharp scent of her arousal.

Clarke’s hips jerk impatiently. “Bellamy,” she hisses.

“Tell me,” he demands, kneading her ass. “What do you need?”

“I need your cock,” she admits, voice hot and throaty. “Need to feel you inside me. I’ve been dreaming about it since the last time.”

Bellamy squeezes his eyes shut. He revels in the high that shoots through his veins hearing that. Clarke needs him.

He quickly takes a condom from the wallet in his pocket and sheaths himself in it. Then he shoves into her, giving her no time to adjust to his intrusion. He keeps going until his hips meet her ass.

Clarke cries out. Her back arches, clenching around his length. “Oh, God.”

Fuck. His cock throbs. She’s perfectly tight, her slick walls surrounding him.

Bellamy pounds into her, clutching her waist. The empty conference room echoes with the sounds of slapping skin and harsh panting.

Clarke’s moans grow louder with every wet slam of his cock and that spurs Bellamy to fuck her harder.

His teeth bare in a wolfish grin. “You like it rough and dirty. Can’t hide from me, Princess. You want me to dick you down, force you to give up control, don’t you? You greedy girl.”

Her nails scrape into the conference table. “Fuck. You.”

Bellamy laughs quietly. His fingers form a fist in her long hair, pulling her head back. He hears her moan, a response to his roughness with her. 

She can’t deny it. Her body betrays her. The privileged princess likes to be taken roughly on a conference table from behind, her noises loud, and rocking her ass into his thrusts like she can’t get enough.

Bellamy feels his balls tighten. He’s getting close. This didn’t last long, but he’s not surprised considering how worked up he’s been for her.

Determination swells up inside him. Bellamy’s going to make her come. He’s going to give her a mind-blowing orgasm so she won’t be able to toss him aside after this. If she’s considering changing her mind about them sleeping together, he’ll change it back.

Bellamy pulls out abruptly and flips her over. Before she can complain, he splits her thighs open and drives into her again, resuming his harsh pace. 

Clarke clings onto his shoulders, her tits free from her dress and jostling with their fucking. He gets to see all of her now. Her mouth parted open in pleasure, flushed cheeks, hazy blue eyes staring right into his. 

He wraps his hand around her throat and watches the way her eyes flicker. Yes

Bellamy strokes his thumb over her pulse point. "Come for me, Princess." 

He’s starving out his orgasm, jaw clenched. The tension coils in his balls, waiting to be released. Bellamy waits on edge for Clarke to get there first and finally, he feels the sweet, rhythmic pulses of her cunt as she comes.

Clarke's head falls back. She shuts her eyes right as her climax hits, severing their intense stare. 

He’s right there with her, letting himself fall into his orgasm. Pleasure rolls over him. Bellamy pushes in deep and lets out a groan of relief.

When he comes down, Bellamy is reluctant to move, encased in her warmth. He’s basking in his bliss too, the syrupy satisfaction coursing through him. Their sex was just as good as last time. Hell, it was probably better.

Her eyes are still closed as she soaks in her release. She looks fucked out and gorgeous, her mismatched hair a wild mess.

He forces himself to draw his softening cock out of her and dispose of the condom. His hair is sticking to his forehead. The conference room reeks of pure sex and sweat.

Bellamy zips himself up, while Clarke fixes her dress back into place. She slips down from the table and the faint light falls across her face, revealing her smudged eye makeup.

“What is just as good as you’ve been dreaming about?” he teases.

Clarke turns her wrist to flip him off and goes about grabbing her discarded crown off the floor. He finds his flower wreath has fallen off as well, chuckling to himself.

He’s provoking her, as usual, but there’s a part of him that craves to hear it was good for her too. He’s probing for a sign that this is going to continue and she’s not going to blow him off again.

He can’t get a read on her. Clarke is silent, an impenetrable fortress, an enigma in the darkness retrieving her boots. She leaves him frustrated, again, and Bellamy wonders why he bothers trying to reach her.

Well, other than the fun he has fighting with her and the amazing sex.

“So, Wanheda,” he says, cocking his head. “What’s the story there?”

Clarke’s lips purse. She seats herself on the edge of the table to lace up her black boots. “I was hoping you forgot about that.”

Bellamy leans back against the wall. He’s fighting a wave of sleepiness after their sex, but he also intends to make it clear he’s not letting this go. He’s curious and that curiosity grows when Clarke seems reluctant to tell him.

“It’s silly,” Clarke says. She stares at the tip of her boots, not at him. “Something I made up as kid. No big deal.”

“Nope. I’m not buying it. In fact, now I really think you came as the female Hades on purpose. Your obsession with me is showing, Griffin.”

Her eyes snap up to his, lit up with a familiar fire. “For God’s sake, I had no idea what your costume was about, Bellamy. It was just a coincidence.”

“Sure,” Bellamy agrees sarcastically. “If that’s what you want to tell yourself.”

Clarke huffs. “You are such a child!”

“Stalker,” he throws back.

At last, she gives in, glaring at him. “Wanheda is a character I drew as a child. She was like…an imaginary friend, almost. I could turn to her when I was afraid or lonely or just needed somebody to listen. She was there.”

Bellamy is quiet, taking this in. He’s lost for words at first. This is closest he’s seen Clarke to being vulnerable in front of him. She never shows weakness. And now she’s sharing a piece of her childhood with him, a clutch she used to lean on.

“What does the name mean?” he asks after some time. “Wanheda?”

Clarke’s lips quirk with the ghost of a smile. “Commander of death. Wanheda was invulnerable. She couldn’t be killed, couldn’t be hurt by anyone.”

“Sounds badass."

“She was.”

Bellamy learns something important about Clarke that night. Something happened in her childhood that hurt her deeply. She created Wanheda as a way of coping with that pain.

He doesn’t know the how or the why. Bellamy doubts he’ll be trusted with that information. But it appears that the Halloween tradition has continued and he has uncovered another layer to his infuriating, intense, complicated woman.

A beat of silence rests between them. Then Clarke suggests, “We should head back. Before someone comes looking for one of us.”

Bellamy nods. Right. 

“Your lips are black,” Clarke informs him. “You’ll have to wash that off.”

“Badge of honor,” he jokes.

She rolls her eyes at him. He gestures for her to go first out the door and waits for his turn.

Rain pelts against the windows, pouring from the dark storm clouds that clutter the sky. It’s a dreary Monday morning. The office is unusually quiet. Most people are likely recovering from their hangovers from the holiday weekend.

Bellamy’s on a call with a client when a shadow falls over his desk. Kane waits for him to wrap up and asks, “Come to my office?”

His boss is wearing a slight frown. It doesn’t mean good things when Kane looks stern. Bellamy feels apprehensive as he rises from his desk and trails after him.

They wade through the sea of white desks and sleek computer screens. ALIE Tech is all about being modern, so the layout features frosted glass doors, state-of-the-art technology and a bright, open space.

As they pass, Murphy pops his head up to make a crack about the teacher’s pet being in trouble. Bellamy discretely flips him off.

They step into Kane’s private office, the glass door shutting behind them. Sunlight streams in from the large windows behind Kane’s desk.

Kane sits down and Bellamy follows, dropping into the plush armchair. He doesn’t feel like a naughty schoolboy in here. His boss has always been more like a mentor to him than a strict authority figure.

Kane was the one that took a chance on him in the interview. Bellamy didn’t have the experience or the pedigree of the other applicants. But he wanted this job and he was determined that he had the natural skills for it. He could adapt and learn the rest.

Bellamy doesn’t know what this random meeting is about, though, and that sparks his unease.

“Read anything good lately?” Bellamy asks, jerking his chin toward the filled bookshelf.

Kane’s face softens for a moment. “I’m reading Nausea right now. I’ll let you know how it is.”

Silence lapses between them and his boss gets on with what this is about. “Bellamy, I want to discuss the dynamic between you and Clarke.”

His pulse stutters then starts to gallop frantically. Holy shit. Does Kane know about them hooking up at the party? Did someone nark on them?

“I know Miss Griffin can be…high-strung at times,” Kane goes on, taking a different direction than he expects. “The two of you have had many altercations in just the past three months.”

Bellamy shifts in his seat. He isn’t sure where this is going. “Well, I can’t let Miss Griffin take all the credit. Our ‘altercations’ are mutual.”

Kane nods. “I’m aware. What I’m asking is if you would like me to make a change. I can move your desk to another location.”

“No,” he says immediately. “I mean, that’s not necessary. We’re fine where we are.”

“Kara from HR has expressed some concerns,” his boss continues. “I share some of them. Now, I don’t expect everyone in the office to get along. My worry is this bickering interfering with your work.”

Kara should mind her fucking business, he thinks.

“It doesn’t!” Bellamy has to pause, lower his voice. “Sir, you haven’t had any issues with my performance before this. With Clarke…they’re just harmless pranks.”

Kane listens to him, his dark eyes thoughtful. He leans back in his chair. “You’re right. Your performance is great. I receive stellar customer reviews about you from the clients.”

Bellamy’s neck heats with a mixture of embarrassment and unfamiliar pride. “Right. So there isn’t a problem here.”

“I have hopes for you to go far in this company, Bellamy. I don’t want anything or anyone interfering with that.”

Bellamy ducks his head, watching his tapping fingers on the chair’s arm. He collects his thoughts. “Sir, Clarke doesn’t interfere with my work. If anything, she challenges me to be better at it. That’s part of what we do. We clash heads, sure, but we’re always pushing each other too.”

It’s not something Bellamy has admit to himself until now. He and Clarke have been competing with each other since she started working here. His personal rapport with clients versus Clarke’s negotiation savvy. Vying with her for the big clients and the promotions.

A part of him has been seeking Clarke’s respect too. As if to say: see, I don’t have an MBA from an Ivy League and my family doesn’t have connections to a CEO, but I still belong here.

His neck burns again with this realization. He cares too about what the Princess thinks. Why should he prove anything to her? She’s had her mind made up about him since day one, looking down on him as if he doesn’t deserve to be here as much as she does.

That hasn’t changed in three years. Even now, Bellamy is only good enough to take to her bed—as a dirty secret, of course. She’d never go out with him or call him her boyfriend. She sure as hell wouldn’t take him home to meet her rich parents.

Not that he wants that. But the point still stands.

“I see,” Kane murmurs. “Well, if that’s working for both of you, then I suppose that’s what matters. If you say there’s no problem, I’ll take your word for it.”

His boss shifts the subject away from Clarke. "There's something else I want to discuss, Bellamy. I have an assignment for you. It's a little unorthodox and outside of what you normally work on." 

Bellamy smiles slightly. "You've got my attention." 

"Very well. Our company is planning to venture into AI technology," Kane starts. He sees Bellamy's eyes widen and nods. "This information isn't public knowledge yet. I'm trusting you'll be discrete. Anyway, ALIE Tech is interested in partnering with Alpha. You've heard of them?"

Bellamy says that he has. Alpha is a lucrative, well-known corporation that develops marketing strategies. They're also known for specializing in marketing AI products.

"Our board of directors is highly invested in seeing this partnership come to fruition," Kane continues. "The issue is Azgeda is also interested in obtaining Alpha. Or so the rumors say." 

A confused grimace forms on his face as he listens to this. Bellamy can see the problem. Azgeda is a rival company to ALIE Tech. It could be a detrimental loss to their company if Azgeda were to win the partnership with Alpha and get a leg up on the AI market. However, he doesn't see how he plays into it. 

"What do you need me to do, sir?" 

"First, I want you to draft a proposal—a hypothetical proposal to offer Alpha if you were going to pitch them. Then, I want you to gather information on Azgeda's interest. See if there's truth to the rumors and if they're looking at other corporations as well." 

“Why me, sir?" Bellamy questions his boss, once he understands what's being asked of him. "I’m grateful that you’re trusting me, of course. But I’m sure someone else is more qualified—"

“You’re right for this," Kane cuts in firmly. "Report what you find to me. I know you’ll do an excellent job, son.” 

Bellamy leaves his boss’s office shortly after receiving this particular assignment. At his desk, he throws himself full-force into the work he has to catch up on.

If his work ethic is being called into question, then Bellamy will prove the HR department and everyone else wrong. He’s earned his place here. His boss thinks so and that’s what matters.

Thinking about his task, Bellamy feels a trickle of excitement, disrupting the monotony of work. He hasn't felt like this since he signed on his first client on his own. 

"Why are you smiling like that?" Clarke demands. Her narrowed eyes flit from his face to her cup. "Did you put something in my drink?" 

The grin lingers on his lips. This has nothing to do with her, but Bellamy gets a kick out of watching Clarke run to the break room to empty her cup. This dreary day just keeps getting better. 

Chapter Text


Clarke’s nose twitches in irritation. A huge stack of folders is dumped onto her desk, interrupting her flow of typing. “What is this?” she demands.

Bree pauses, a hand on her jutted hip. “The Leopold account.”

“I realize that,” Clarke says slowly. She’s capable of reading the label on the top folder. “But the Leopold account isn’t my client. Why are you giving them to me?”

Bree shrugs. “The boss’s email said to give them to you. Dax got sacked. So you get some of his clients.”

Their receptionist flounces off. Clarke is glaring at the back of her blonde head, but Bree is just the messenger. She isn’t responsible for spiking Clarke’s stress levels. The real problem is Dax getting fired and the rest of them have to add his workload to their piles.

She has so much to do. But Clarke's attention is drawn away from the stack of work in favor of looking at Bellamy. 

His fringe is falling into his eyes and he has a habit of shaking his hair out of his face while his hands are busy typing. Sometimes when he's frustrated, he'll blow out a heavy breath and the fringe will flutter. It's...cute. 

Like now, Bellamy reads an email that just arrived on his computer. He huffs to himself, all grumpy frustration, and ruffles the dark bangs across his forehead. 

Clarke's computer chimes with an IM. She glances at the screen. 

jmurphy: that smile on ur face is creepy. 

Clarke freezes. She didn't realize she'd been smiling. 

Ignoring the heat pooling her cheeks, she reaches for one of the files she's supposed to be looking through. It’s bad enough she thinks about Bellamy outside of work, in her shower, and often in her dreams.

So, she doesn’t need to gaze after him during office hours. She’s a professional. Clarke can keep her mind on profit and financial statements and other important data. Not on the shape of his wide shoulders in the royal blue shirt he has on. 

Clarke hasn't had the chance to test her theory yet, but she bets those shoulders are sturdy. She could rest the back of her thighs on them while he has his head in between her legs...

The spell is broken only when Bellamy stands up and walks away from his desk. Clarke steals another look at the back of him, particularly his firm ass, and turns back to her screen, her face growing warm.

Damn it, he’s hot.

And now she knows what it’s like to be fucked by him. Twice.

Clarke pushes those thoughts away. She opens the presentation she’s supposed to be working on. Her shoulders tense, her stress levels rising. There’s so much she has to do. And she can’t stay late tonight to catch up. Her class is at 6.

She’s still on the fence about dropping her art classes. Clarke hates to quit anything. At the moment, she’s determined to finish the semester out. There’s no point in letting the work she’s done go to waste.

Her dad’s health is doing marginally better now that his doctor prescribed medication to help him sleep and she feels better too about continuing her classes.

Clarke works through lunch. She eats the protein bar she brought at her desk. Murphy isn’t pleased she ditched him for lunch and throws a bag of chips at her. She doesn’t get to taste his bacon-wrapped pork recipe, which is disappointing.  

By the afternoon, she’s put a decent dent in her workload. Then Bree drops off another stack of files while she’s in the restroom and Clarke wants to scream.

She stops thinking. Her brain might explode. Clarke goes with her gut, which leads her to scribble out a note on her monogrammed stationery.

Stress relief, she writes. Copy room. 5 min.

Clarke stands up, pretending to stretch. She drops the note onto Bellamy’s desk and strides toward the copy room purposefully without looking back. Her heart races, but she can’t let anyone catch on to what’s happening.

Inside the copy room, Clarke stands with her leg bouncing. She can’t believe she’s doing this. Asking for sex at the office. The Halloween party she could justify to herself. They weren’t working then. This is different.

The door swings open. Bellamy strides inside and her worries, her reservations about doing this, are shut down when their gazes meet.

Like an addict, Clarke is soothed knowing her next fix is close. Her body tingles, anticipation and desire crackling in her blood.

Clarke surges forward and Bellamy meets her halfway, his pupils dilated as he reaches for her. They collide like a lightning strike hitting the ground, catching the room on fire.

Clarke gasps when their mouths fuse together. The intensity takes her breath away. God, the man can kiss. 

Her parted lips allow him to sweep his tongue in and taste her. They kiss hungrily. A purpose fuels them and creates an electric charge in the air. They grope at other with hunger of starved animals, all primal need and heat.

She’s panting in between kisses, her skin burning under her clothes. Bellamy’s hands move from her hair to her neck, spanning his fingers across her throat. He did that last time too. No doubt he can feel her pulse pounding under his thumb.

Clarke likes it, though she won’t admit as much to his face. It sounds bizarre. She likes the raw strength in his hand, even though he isn’t doing anything but resting around her neck. The gesture feels possessive like he’s claiming her.

He has nice hands, she’s noticed. Strong, thick fingers, a rich brown shade. They completely swallow hers. Clarke likes how small he makes her feel like this. Which is, like she said, bizarre. It should be something she hates.

She can’t make sense of it. None of this makes any sense. Her nemesis is responsible for her greatest pleasure.

Wetness slicks between her legs. She doesn’t want to wait another second. “Lock the door,” she demands.

“Already done,” he answers.

They have no excuse for being locked in the copy room, so they’re going to have to make this quick. A stress relief, that’s all she needs.

Clarke pops open the buttons of his shirt as fast as she can. She kisses down his chest, a hot trail of her lips, over his tense stomach until she reaches his waistband. Bellamy’s fingers slip into her hair as she plucks open his belt and drops to her knees.

She wants to suck him off, hear his desperate noises and make him fall apart. All because of her.

A quiet hiss escapes him once she frees his cock from his pants. He looks almost painfully hard. Her gaze darts up, watching his expression when her hand cups him. A flash of relief. Then his eyes meet hers, both pleading and demanding to her to keep going.

Her lips curl. She likes this.

What was it Bellamy said to her in the elevator? “I like you better like this, Princess. All wet and needy for me.”

Yeah. Clarke can relate as she strokes up and down the length of Bellamy’s hard, smooth cock, tightening her grip. His need is obvious. And his reactions are the best high hitting her veins.

Clarke swirls her thumb over his sensitive tip and his head falls back in pleasure, his eyes squeezed shut. She anchors her hand around the thick base and bends forward to take him into her mouth. His flavor blooms on her tongue. 

Above her, his breathing hitches.

Princess.” His gravelly voice sounds like pure sex right now. “Oh, fuck me.”

He’s heavy on her tongue. His dick twitches when she swallows around her mouthful. She forgot how hot this is. Then Bellamy’s fingers tighten in her hair, a painful grip on her scalp, and that gets her hot too.

His hips flex and Clarke tries not to gag when the tip hits the back of her throat. Her eyes water. 

"Shit, sorry," Bellamy murmurs, going still. "Your mouth feels too good." 

She didn't mean for him to stop. Clarke reaches for his waist, tugging to get him to move. When he doesn't, she pulls off of him. 

"Since when is Bellamy Blake a gentleman?" she asks mockingly. 

Bellamy cuts her a look. "Not choking someone with my dick is the bare minimum of human decency." 

Clarke snorts. She fists his cock, stroking lazily. "You want to say it? Fine. I want you to fuck my mouth, Blake." 

His eyes widen before darkening with lustful heat. "Christ." 

She smirks to herself, then lowers her head, sucking his length into her mouth. Clarke makes the effort to relax her jaw and take him as far as she can. Her eyes flick up to his, blinking her assent. 

Bellamy rolls his hips slowly, breathing heavily as he watches himself slip through her lips. His pace picks up once he sees that she can handle it. He drags his cock across her tongue, letting out deep moans. 

Clarke's stomach clenches with arousal. She's so turned on. Bellamy is the one being pleasured, yet she could come from this, from the way he bites his knuckles to silence himself while he fucks her mouth. 

He's gorgeous. She meets his dark, hooded gaze and revels in the pleasure she finds there. That intense look in Bellamy’s eye speaks to what she’s doing for him too.

Bellamy’s voice is wrecked when he rasps, “You like that, don’t you? Me using your mouth like I own you?”

Yes. Yes, she really does. And somehow, Bellamy knows this. He understands a hidden part of her that is only brought out when she’s fucking him. Like he holds the key and was unable to unlock it.

Clarke has felt this before him, of course. She knows what she likes in bed. She knows the script of her dirty fantasies. She’s tried with other partners, but none of them seem to get it. Not like she needs. Not like this.

Bellamy cradles her aching jaw, his soft touch in contrast with the rough way he’s been thrusting his hips. “You’re doing so good, Princess. Taking my cock so well. Gonna make me come.”

Clarke wants that, aches for it. Hearing his breathing getting sharp and fast is almost as good as when he praised her.

“Oh fuck,” Bellamy grunts. He pushes in deep a final time and releases into her mouth. The taste is unpleasant, but she listens eagerly when he squeezes her jaw, hard, and orders, “Swallow, Clarke.”

She does. It’s worth the glint of approval in Bellamy’s eyes. “Good girl.”

He pulls out, tucking himself back into his pants. She stands up, noticing the dull ache in her knees. Her body throbs with pent-up arousal, on the edge of combusting. She needs relief.

Bellamy pulls her into a hot kiss, large hands claiming her waist. “Gonna take care of you now, Princess,” he promises against her lips.

“Yeah?” Clarke asks, scratching her nails over his stomach. She shivers at the sound of that.

“Been thinking about tasting your pussy for weeks.”

Oh, god. Yes. Anticipation shoots through her like hot sparks. Finally, after dreaming and fantasizing about Bellamy fucking her with his tongue, the real thing is just within reach.

Bellamy lifts her like she weighs nothing and sets her on the copy machine. Bulky and uncomfortable against her ass, but she doesn’t care. He hikes up the skirt she has on, gets her tights and panties down, and hooks her thigh on his shoulder.

Clarke is trembling readily and jolts when Bellamy leans in between her legs. That kiss on her cunt is so worth the risk of getting busted for this. She’s panting as Bellamy licks at her wetness like he’s trying to catch every drop on his tongue.

“God, Bellamy,” Clarke moans, her eyes shutting. “That feels amazing.”

Her fingers curl into his hair for something to hold on to. Pleasure is a warm pool she’s sinking into with every lick of his soft tongue. His hands stroke her bare thighs and help her get lost in her body, the outside world disappearing.

It feels like she’s being taken care of for once. His hold on her is firm, but not rough. He eats her out like it’s a reward he can’t wait to give her, wants her to savor and enjoy.

“Mmm, you taste good,” he murmurs.

He flicks the tip of his tongue on her clit teasingly. Her eyes are shut, but Clarke can feel the weight of his gaze. He’s studying her, catching her reactions as he changes techniques from using the flat of his tongue to slow, tight circles.

Clarke moans loud, her thighs spreading wider. He’s got it.

Bellamy keeps up the slow circles, her pleasure climbing, and moans gushing out of her. His pace is steady and unhurried. Unlike some other sex partners she’d had, he isn’t rushing through giving oral, waiting for it to be done with.

They should be quick. But Clarke stopped giving a damn about that a while ago. This feels too good.

“Shh,” he says, a proud smirk on his shiny mouth. “We can’t get caught, Princess. Quiet or I’ll have to stop.”

She bites down on her lip and nods. It’s not easy. Bellamy goes back to eating her out and the sensations have her using her hand to muffle herself. He gets a rhythm going, a steady vibration on her clit, and her climax swells.

Clarke starts rocking her hips toward his mouth. She bites down on her hand, knowing her orgasm will be intense and it is—a pleasure that threatens to break her apart. Her body shakes as she comes, her cunt fluttering through it.

“Oh my god,” Clarke mutters. She cracks her eyes open at glance at Bellamy, reluctantly impressed. “You can eat pussy.”

Bellamy lets out a surprised laugh. “It helps when you enjoy it. And you have someone that’s so responsive.”

Her lips curl up, feeling pleased as Bellamy helps slide her panties up her legs. She fixes her dress back into place and hops off the copy machine. Her thighs tremble as she comes down gradually from that orgasm.

A part of her can’t believe they did this in here. It's hot though, the sneaking around and taboo of public sex. Already Clarke is thinking about the next time she can get Bellamy alone.

“Better?” Bellamy asks her.

“Yeah,” she admits. “Thanks. I needed that.”

He smirks. “Any time.”

Clarke likes to have a plan. She’s organized, meticulous about her schedule, and skilled at time management. She’s not the type to act spontaneously. Her life had a set plan—work, art classes, visits with her dad. No time on her plate for a relationship.

Her plan didn’t account for Bellamy Blake.

What happened in the elevator was supposed to be a fluke. A momentary lapse in judgment. Somehow, the co-worker she most dislikes has weaseled his way under her skin. Somehow, Clarke is having spontaneous sex with him during work. A lot of sex.

They don’t arrange for it to happen. It just does. Bellamy slips a note into her hand during a meeting or they’ll share a long, meaningful glance across their desks. Their code phrase. Stress relief.

Not many days will go by without them sleeping together. On Tuesday was the copy room. On Thursday, Bellamy passes her a note. They sneak into the storage closet. He fingers her to orgasm and she goes down on him again, emerging from the closet with dust on her skirt.

Sometimes, work is too busy. They have to wait until after hours to hook up. Clarke’s new favorite memory is riding Bellamy in her desk chair. The chair breaks during sex and dumps them onto the floor. Clarke lands on top of him and they burst out laughing.

It’s a nice moment. She has to stop herself from getting carried away. Bellamy is just screwing her now before he moves on to someone else. She doesn’t date at all. There’s no room for warm, fuzzy feelings. Just sex.

That’s not a problem. Their sex is great, sometimes fantastic. It gets better as they learn what the other likes. Honestly, Clarke hasn’t had such natural chemistry with someone before. Maybe for her and Bellamy, all it takes is someone that embodies everything they hate.

Bellamy doesn't view her any differently. He's willing to lend a hand, so to speak, and get her off, but he still assumes the worst in her. 

He still makes scornful comments about her privilege, as if growing up with money makes her evil incarnate. He refuses her offers to help with his workload, as if she's plotting to sabotage him. 

Bellamy may be great in bed, but she can't stand the chip on his shoulder. 

Well, they don't have to like each other. The physical side of their arrangement seems to work for both of them and Clarke is going to enjoy it while it lasts.

On the second Wednesday of the month, Clarke is counting down the minutes until work ends. She’s meeting some friends for Trivia Night and the excitement fizzles in her veins all day. Once the clock hits 5, Clarke is one of the first out of the building’s glass doors.

She takes the train to visit her dad. He’s having an okay day. He slips in and out of being lucid while she’s with him. Clarke has to calmly explain several times that he’s staying at the Sanctum facility and being taken care of. Their conversations are stilted as her dad frequently forgets what they were talking about.

Clarke walks her dad down to the dining hall for dinner and gives him a hug goodbye. Before she leaves, Maya offers her a warm, comforting smile and tells her, not for the first time, that she’s a good daughter.

Clarke tries to believe her. The guilt isn’t always easy to let go of. She feels like should be doing more, staying longer, or finding a way to improve her dad’s quality of life. Not going out with friends while he’s sick in a care facility.

When her dad first got diagnosed, his primary doctor recommended that she see a therapist. Clarke thought that was ridiculous. She isn’t the sick one. But as time went on and Clarke felt more and more over her head, she came around to the idea.

She only went to therapy for a few months. Clarke found losing herself in art to be more therapeutic than talking about a situation she couldn’t change. But the therapist did help Clarke realize it’s okay to do things for herself. She didn’t have to stop living her life because of her dad’s diagnosis.

Some days are easier than others to remember this. She is all her dad has. But as Clarke rides home on the train that evening, she repeats the question her old therapist asked her. What would Jake Griffin want for her?

She knows that answer. Her dad would want her to be happy, see her friends, and not bury herself in work.

Clarke repeats this to herself during the ride until it sticks. Her guilt shrinks.

At her place, Clarke changes out of her business clothes. They’re meeting at a bar uptown that hosts Trivia Night. Her phone is already blowing up by 7:30. A swarm of texts from Josie comes in demanding to get her ass to the bar.

Clarke asks her friend what she should wear. Her few sundresses, blouses, and pencil skirts aren’t going to cut in.

Josie: Something black, slimming & sexy. Obvie.

Clarke snorts. That’s about what she expects from her college roommate. As she’s combing through her closet, another text buzzes in.

Josie: There are major hotties here. Show off your cleavage. That rack of yours is gonna get you LAID tonight 😈

Clarke laughs before tossing her phone aside. She can’t wait to see Josephine and Gabriel tonight. Quickly, she puts on a floral corset top that is too risqué for work, dark jeans and black ankle boots. She finishes her make-up and heads out the door.

The bar is quiet when Clarke arrives, still early for the late-night crowd. Wednesdays don’t have a big turn out, which is why the owner Simon crafted the game for the mellow crowd.

A small group of local college kids are playing darts in the back, but the bar stools are empty.

Clarke nods at the bartender as she navigates through the dim room. Her path is illuminated by the many neon signs on the dark walls. As always, the air smells like cigarette smoke, despite Simon’s rule that employees can’t smoke inside.

She spots their usual group in their red cushioned booth and makes her way over. Her friends only turn out for Trivia Night. They already have a pitcher of Margarita’s on the table and Josie is drinking from a glass with a pink umbrella.

The Trivia Night tradition actually started with her and Josephine at Stanford. They kicked ass on their team of five girls. Typically, the so-called intellectual guys they played against would write Clarke and Josephine off as tipsy blondes just playing trivia to impress guys. And they were dead wrong.

“BITCH!” Josie squeals.

Clarke grins as Josephine climbs over her husband Gabriel to exit the booth. Josie wraps her up in a hug, smelling like expensive Chanel perfume. Her former roommate is a spoiled rich girl and tends to be superficial, but Clarke is still fond of her.

She hugs Gabriel next and her old friend presses a kiss to the top of her head. “Good to see you, Clarke. You look well.”

“She looks hot,” Josie corrects, nudging Gabriel over so they can slide in. She hands Clarke a filled glass and orders her to start drinking.

At the opposite table are Miller, Monty, Harper, and Jasper. Their opposing team. Outside of Trivia Night, they’d be sitting together and talking. Still, Monty waves at Clarke in greeting before Jasper slaps his hand away.

“No fraternizing with the enemy!” Jasper hisses.

Monty rolls his eyes.

Clarke catches up with Josie and Gabriel over drinks. Josie is showing Clarke pictures from the music festival she went to with her husband the previous weekend.

The festival looks like a good time. But seeing the coupley photos of Josie and Gabriel laughing and kissing puts a heavy, lonely ache in her chest.

Josie lets out a wolf-whistle. “Who is that?”

Clarke glances up. Her gaze locks on the messy curls and familiar figure approaching their table. Bellamy. What the hell is he doing here?

Bellamy’s looking at her too. His expression mirrors her surprise. Clarke can’t help but notice how good he looks. No wonder Josephine was cat-calling him. His black Henley shirt hugs his thick arms and she admires the unusual sight of him in jeans.

“Hey,” Bellamy greets, his hands tucked into his pockets.

Clarke speaks before anyone else can. “Stalking me?”

“Yep,” Bellamy deadpans. “My tracker on your phone said you’d be here.”

She rolls her eyes. Maybe it’s rude. But this is supposed to be her territory. Free from annoying co-workers/fuck buddies. As a rule, they don’t hang out outside of work.

“Raven can’t make it,” he explains, shrugging. “She called me in as her alternate.”

Clarke feels a jolt in her stomach. Bellamy is staying. For Trivia Night. The one night that she drinks, lets herself be tipsy and loud with Josie, and flirts with people at the bar.

She pulls her phone. There’s a message from Raven in their trivia group chat, apologizing for her absence. Although she’s annoyed by the turn of events, Clarke still wishes for her to feel better soon.

“That is so unfair!” Jasper complains to his team. “Team Hot Nerds is going to kill us in the history round now.”

Bellamy’s mouth quirks hearing the name. “Team Hot Nerds?”

“Raven came up with it,” Clarke explains. Her mind is caught on Jasper’s words though. She didn’t realize Bellamy is a history buff.  

Gabriel looks at Bellamy with interest, offering his hand. “Hey, man. Gabriel Santiago. Welcome to the team.”

As they’re introducing themselves, Josie leans into Clarke’s ear. “What’s the deal? You know him?”

Clarke scowls. “Unfortunately. That’s Bellamy. I work with him.”

She purposefully leaves out the part that they’re sleeping together. Josephine doesn’t work with them, but Clarke figures the less people know, the better.

Josephine’s eyes lit up. She recognizes the name from stories Clarke has told her about work, bitching about the co-worker that makes her life hell.

“Okay, how come you never told me he looks like that?” She waggles her sculpted eyebrows.

Clarke's scowl deepens. She feels a hot shock of misplaced jealousy. She has to rein herself in. Josephine is a flirty person. She hits on Murphy every time she sees him. Her finding Bellamy attractive doesn’t mean anything. Josie is madly in love with Gabriel.

“Hey hot stuff,” Josephine purrs when it’s her turn to introduce herself to Bellamy. “Josephine Lightborne. A pleasure to meet you.”

Clarke hears what sounds like a smothered laugh from Monty at the next table. Harper looks amused too.

To her surprise, Bellamy doesn’t react to the obvious flirting. He doesn’t turn on the charm, just nods, and excuses himself to get a drink from the bar. Clarke wonders if Raven warned him about Josie or told him she and Gabriel are married.

“He is hot,” Gabriel agrees after Bellamy walks away, running a hand affectionately over Josephine’s hair.

At their table, Miller raises his brows. “Aren’t you happily married?”

“Yes,” Gabriel says and grins. “I’m just stating a fact.”

“Everyone has a thing for Bellamy,” Jasper adds, smirking. “Wait until you see what a history nerd he is.”

“He fits on their team,” Harper laughs.

Bellamy comes back with a glass in hand. He sits in the booth across from her, his knee bumping hers under the table.

“Princess,” he greets.

“Raven couldn’t call in another friend?” Clarke demands. “It had to be you?”

Arrogance gleams in his brown eyes, meant to get under her skin. “No other friend that knows ancient history like I do.” He flashes a smug grin. “You’re lucky I could make it.”

“We do fine without your help,” she snaps.

Josie pinches her under the table. Clarke shoots her a look. She doesn’t understand. Her friend is typically amused whenever Clarke acts bitchy toward someone.

Bellamy slides over the bowl of nuts and helps himself to a handful. The bowl of nuts she was just eating from. When he sees Clarke glaring, he smirks and raises his brows. “What, do you have a problem sharing saliva, Princess?”

The cocky look on his face says it all. How can she have a problem with his saliva when she’s had his dick in her mouth that week?

“Don’t choke,” Clarke says sweetly while her narrowed eyes say otherwise.

Bellamy slips off to the restroom before the game starts. She waits a minute and slides out of the booth as well, waiting impatiently by the men’s room for him to emerge.

Several of the college guys give her looks, as if they’re expecting an offer from her. Clarke makes her disinterest known.

At last, Bellamy exits and she steps into his path. “What kind of game are you playing at, Blake?”

His dark brow lifts. “I came here to play Trivia, Griffin. Same as you.”

“You knew I’d be here tonight,” she accuses. “We agreed this doesn’t leave the office.”

Bellamy scoffs. “Do you see me trying to screw you on the bar?” He goes on before she can think of a response. “Actually, I didn’t think you would show up. You never come to these things. Miller told me about Trivia Night a while back and I’ve been wanting to check it out.”

Clarke crosses her arms. “Really?”

“Yes, really,” he answers bitingly. “You know what? I think you’re worried about not being able to control yourself around me, Princess.”

She lets out a derisive snort. “I can control myself just fine!”

They glare at each other, both refusing to back down. Clarke feels the familiar rush sparking in her veins, the twisted pleasure derived from going toe-to-toe with Bellamy, being challenged by a worthy adversary.

They’ve been here before, in heated arguments and cutthroat races for the next promotion, always one step behind the other. It’s like they can’t help themselves.

Sometimes, Clarke has stopped to wonder what it would be like to work at the office without Bellamy there. What it would be like to walk onto the floor and find him gone.

Her response isn’t what she expects it to be. She doesn’t feel relief at being free from bothersome pranks or enjoying the peace without hearing Bellamy’s sarcastic remarks and the way he clicks his pen just to irk her.

Instead, it feels similar to what she imagines standing at the edge of a cliff and staring down into a black abyss is like. Not relief, but overwhelming dread. A void. A vast emptiness that nothing else can fill or distract from.

Clarke doesn’t know how to explain that. Perhaps she’s just grown used to him, how people grow accustomed to bad habits. She doesn’t know. And like most things Clarke can’t explain, she locks the idea behind a door and refuses to acknowledge it.

“I came here to have a good time, see my friends,” Bellamy says, lining up the next challenge. “You have a problem with that?”

Well, Clarke can hardly say that Josephine and Gabriel are her friends without sounding like a five-year-old. Reluctantly, she does believe that Bellamy came here for his own reasons. He sees their co-workers outside of work on a weekly basis.

That isn’t her problem. Her problem is that Clarke has a colorful past with Trivia Night. From college years to her mid-twenties, Trivia Night has been a time where Drunk Clarke has been unleashed. And Drunk Clarke can’t be trusted. Especially not around Bellamy Blake.

“No,” Clarke says through her teeth. “No problem at all.”

Bellamy brushes past her, returning to his seat. She lingers for a minute, resolving to keep herself in check. She just won’t drink. If she doesn’t drink, there’s no chance of her embarrassing herself in front of him.

Trivia starts at 8:30 when the emcee, David, comes out. Their group cheers for him. David hands out the first round of questions on a sheet of paper for them to answer.

Gabriel explains there are five rounds with ten questions each round. Their team has to decide on one answer for each question. The first category is pop culture.

“Josie’s favorite,” Gabriel teases his wife.

The other table collectively groans. Clarke sympathizes. Without Josephine, they would struggle to answer the pop culture questions too.

The emcee hits the buzzer and calls out for them to start.

Josephine snatches the paper. “Who was the first Bachelorette?” She scoffs, writing the answer in pencil. “Easy.”

Gabriel leans over her shoulder to read the next question. “Which pop star is the godmother of both Elton John’s sons?”

Josie starts humming to Bad Romance. “That’s Lady Gaga, darling!”

Clarke shakes her head as she takes a sip of her drink. “Why do you know any of this?”

“Why don’t you?” Josie throws back haughtily then moves onto the next question. “What is Mr. Big’s real name in Sex and the City?” She reads out loud. “Oh, it’s—”

“John James Preston,” Bellamy answers.

Clarke nearly spits out her drink. She gapes at Bellamy in disbelief.

“Yes!” Josie cries, writing that down.

Gabriel smirks. “Tell me, Bellamy. Are you more of a Charlotte or a Samantha?”

Bellamy rolls his eyes. “Shut up. My sister was obsessed with that show. I happen to catch a few episodes.”

“Right,” Clarke laughs. “We all totally believe that!”

They fly through the rest of the round. Clarke knows a couple of answers, but Josephine truly kills in this category.

When the buzzer sounds, each group hands their papers off to the emcee. David reads off the answers. They don’t miss a single one, beating Jasper, Monty, Miller, and Harper by a landslide.

The next round is all about science. Clarke lets Gabriel and Josephine handle that. Josie is a child prodigy and Gabriel has a PhD in genetics. Clarke could handle herself in science courses, but she's used to letting the others take the lead in this category.

Bellamy has no interest in this category. He watches Gabriel and Josie while picking at the bowl of nuts.

She kicks lightly at his leg across from her. Clarke means to bug him, but she’s distracted by Bellamy grabbing her ankle. He rests her foot in his lap. Her breathing hitches when his fingers slip under the cuff of her jeans, his thumb stroking her ankle.

A shiver dances down her spine. This is unexpectedly erotic.

Bellamy holds her gaze, his chin resting on his fist. They’re playing a new game now. Clarke isn’t familiar with the rules. But the game entails staring at each other while he rubs slow circles into her ankle and slowly turns her on.

The challenge seems to be acting like this isn’t affecting her. Like she isn’t swept away by dirty thoughts about Bellamy and the bar’s bathroom only fifteen feet away. She told him she could control herself. Clarke isn’t giving him the satisfaction of being right, damn it.

The buzzer goes off. Clarke jumps. She tries to pull her leg back, but Bellamy holds her there, keeping her foot in his lap.

Gabriel hands off their paper. The round ends in a tie for their groups.

The next category is music. They all have different music tastes, so it’s supposed to be a group effort. But when the round begins, Bellamy is distracted by his phone. He’s typing out messages, ignoring Gabriel and Josephine firing off questions.

Clarke pouts, watching him. A smile plays on Bellamy’s lips. She imagines it’s some hot guy or girl sexting him. Maybe it’s Bryan from marketing. Or Bree. It didn’t take much to draw his attention away.  

His hand is still wrapped around her ankle. Clarke is annoyed by this. He’s texting someone and touching her at the same time. She doesn’t care who he screws, honestly. But he doesn’t have to be so obvious about it.

A break is called after round three. Jasper surges up to get more drinks at the bar. Gabriel stands up to cross to the other booth to chat. Bellamy is still on his phone.

Clarke snatches her foot back. If Bellamy notices, she doesn’t see. She pushes out of the booth and stomps towards the restrooms. 

When Clarke emerges from the stall, Josephine shoves a bottle of water at her. “Recharge,” she demands. “We have two rounds to go.”

“I’m not drunk,” Clarke informs her.

Josephine narrows her eyes. “No, you’re not. What’s up with that?”

Clarke shrugs, turning to the foggy mirror over the sinks. “Didn’t feel like it. You know I don’t drink as much as I used to.”

They touch up their make-up in the mirror. Clarke’s cheeks are flushed and she can’t blame alcohol. Her nipples are still hard too thanks to Bellamy, poking through her top. Damn him.

“You’re so fucking him,” Josie sings, teasing her blonde waves.

She focuses on reapplying her coat of lipstick. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Josie rolls her eyes. “Don’t play dumb. Bellamy looks at you like he’s seen you naked and he’s about to fuck you on the nearest surface.”

Lying to Josephine is pointless. Her old friend is like a bloodhound sniffing out bullshit. Josie claims it’s her expertise studying animal behavior.

“Fine,” Clarke huffs. “We’re sleeping together, okay? Let’s not make a big deal about it.”

Josephine gasps excitedly and punches her shoulder. “You slut. You’ve been holding out on me!”

“Hardly. Bellamy and I aren’t even friends. We’re just started hooking up.”

Her mouth stretches into a grin. “You’ve got yourself a fuck buddy, Clarke? I approve. Just make sure you toss him aside once you’re done,” Josie advises her. “It’s not fun to be the one flung after a fling, babe. Believe me.”

Clarke’s stomach clenches. The words are a cold, but necessary reminder. Bellamy is going to move on soon, if he hasn’t already started. She can’t get attached. What they’re doing is fun, but purely physical.

“There’s nothing to worry about,” Clarke says, forcing a smirk. “We’re not serious. We mostly just fuck at work.”

Josephine smiles in delight for her. “Good. You deserve all the orgasms.”

Gabriel knocks on the bathroom door, calling out to them. “Round four is about to begin, ladies!”

They join the guys at the table. The next category is history.

Clarke feels a flutter of excitement she can’t contain, watching Bellamy’s eyes spark. She’s curious to see if he’s as good at this topic as Jasper claims he is.

It’s their team’s weakest subject, prior to tonight. Bellamy carries them single-handedly through the round. Clarke would be lying if she said she wasn’t turned on by his prowess.

Josephine is the fastest writer, so she asks Bellamy the questions and writes down what he fires off.

“Julius Caesar was assassinated on 15 March 44 BC, a date now often known by what term?”

“The Ides of March,” Bellamy replies.

“Which Greek historian is known as the ‘Father of History’?”

“Herodotus.”

“Holy shit,” Gabriel mutters under his breath.

“How many days in a week were there in ancient Roman times?”

“Eight,” Bellamy says without pausing.

They win the history round, which puts them in the lead. The next category is general trivia and the four of them work together to answer the questions, combining their knowledge.

The general trivia ends in a draw, but they take the final win with the lightning round.

Jasper and Harper boo them as Gabriel accepts the gift certificate on their team’s behalf. Clarke claps loudly and Josephine lets out a piercing whistle.

Gabriel hands to certificate to Bellamy and says, “We would have lost if you weren’t here.”

“I’ll make sure to tell Raven that,” Bellamy chuckles. “Thanks. It was fun.”

Clarke climbs out of the booth. She’s ready to call it a night. Jasper boos her next for bailing at 10 pm, but she’s tired and has to be up early. Clarke hugs her friends goodnight and promises to call Josie, as always.

Bellamy walks with her out of the bar. He doesn’t seem keen on staying late either. Cars zip past them on the street as they linger on the sidewalk.

“Where do you learn all of that history trivia?” Clarke asks.

Bellamy shrugs, peering out at the street. “I’ve read a lot.”

She crosses her arms, frowning when she realizes that’s all he’s going to give her. “You’ve read what, books on the fall of the Roman Empire? The history of Greece?” Clarke presses. “Why?”

He gives her a look, brows raised as if he’s asking if she really wants to hear this.

Clarke waits. She didn’t realize getting Bellamy to talk about himself is like pulling teeth. Normally he doesn’t shut up.

“It’s always been my favorite subject,” he admits. “My mom read stories about the Roman Empire to me as a kid and I loved it. When I got older, I got my hands on every history book I could find. The country didn’t matter much. I wanted to learn.”

Clarke didn’t know any of that. Well, it’s not like they sit around and swap childhood stories.

Until now, she realizes. She told him about Wanheda—a private piece of her history, which no one else knows about. Not even Wells.

She tilts her head. “Who’s your favorite Emperor?”

Bellamy’s mouth twitches in amusement. “Augustus. When Octavia was born, I named her after his sister.”

Another tidbit of Bellamy Blake trivia she didn’t know. Clarke tucks the knowledge away. For safekeeping or ammunition remains unclear.

“Why is he your favorite?” she asks.

“What is this, twenty questions?”

Clarke holds his gaze, unflinching. She’s not deterred by his sarcasm. He should know that by now.

Bellamy can be charismatic when he wants to be. It’s a trait of his she’s always been envious of. He can command a room, get anyone to believe in his words and that is part of what makes him successful in sales.

But Clarke is good at getting what she wants and has the patience to wait him out.

Curiosity burns through her. Clarke is starting to discover how intelligent and insightful he is, underneath his more brash persona. 

The guy that lets his sister paint his eyelids gold for his Persephone costume is different from the Bellamy she thought she knew. And maybe Clarke was a bit endeared by that. 

Finally, Bellamy says to her, “He was brilliant. He turned his rule over Rome into a dynasty. The Senate revered him as a god. He was a tenacious kid too, eager to prove himself that he crossed enemy territory to reach Julius Caesar's camp. And Caesar was so impressed that he made Augustus his only heir." 

Clarke’s mouth pulls into an involuntary smile. “Wow. You really have a crush on Augustus.”

“Yes, I do,” Bellamy says shamelessly.

She laughs loudly. He stares at her with a mix of shock and pride in his eyes, watching her laugh.

“You haven’t drank anything tonight?”

“No,” Clarke says, though she doesn’t get why he’s asking her that.

Bellamy just nods, his lips tilting up suggestively. “You want to get out of here, Griffin?”

It’s late. That’s the excuse she tells herself for breaking the rule. They didn’t plan to meet up with each other outside of work. They’re just taking advantage of the coincidence.

Excuses. They're all just empty excuses. The truth is, Clarke doesn't care about the rules right then. She just wants him. The wanting fills her up and there's no room for anything else. 

No one is watching anyway when they slide into the Uber car and drive towards his place.

 

Chapter Text


His old mattress groans when his back lands on it. More creaks follow as Clarke adds to the weight by straddling him. They chase kiss after kiss off each other’s lips, hot and frantic now that they’re locked away in his bedroom.

His hands skim down her spine to the dip in her waist, hooking his fingers under her boyshorts. Clarke lifts up so he can remove them. What is meant to be a sensual movement is dampened by his loud, protesting mattress.

Clarke breaks their kiss to laugh. “Oh my god.”

Bellamy’s neck warms. “Sorry.”

She shakes her head, her teeth glinting in his dim room. In their hurry to fuck, he didn’t bother to turn the lights on.

“Don’t be.” Clarke grins. “We have our own soundtrack.”

A grin splits his lips as she works her boyshorts down her legs and tosses them aside. He doesn’t need a fully lit room to see her. Her naked body has been seared into his mind since the elevator.

Over time, Bellamy has picked up on the small details as well: the moles scattered across her back, the tiny scar on her side from having her appendix removed, the purplish stretch marks on her inner thighs. All of which Clarke didn’t try to hide and made no apologies for, which was another turn-on for him.

Clarke leans over him on her arms, long blonde hair framing her face. “What?”

“You’re really hot,” is all he says.

She makes a face then kisses him again, soft tongue sweeping over his. Her hand disappears inside his underwear to take his cock into her palm, rolling over his hard, sensitive flesh. She teases the head with her thumb.

Bellamy moans appreciatively and her finger swirls over the head again, torturously slow, making his thighs clench underneath her.

Fuck.”

Clarke nips his bottom lip, draws away. “Where’s your stuff?”

He gestures to the bottom drawer of his nightstand. While she roots through the drawer, Bellamy kicks off his underwear.

It strikes him that this isn’t the first time he and Clarke are going to be completely naked, skin to skin. All the other times they’ve been half-dressed, rushing through what they can get away with. Anticipation shoots through him in hot sparks on how different this will be.

Clarke doesn’t just grab a condom and get on with it. Oh no. She’s peeping through the drawer of his private things.

“Just help yourself, Griffin,” he bites sarcastically.

She tosses him a condom pocket, then takes out the bottles of lube he has stored there and inspects the labels. He has different types of lube for different purposes, none of which is her damn business.

Her hand pulls out the red silicone dildo he has in there next, biting her lip as she turns it over. Gaze heated and pupils wide, she glances over at him.

“You use this on yourself?”

Blood burns in his cheeks. Logically, Bellamy knows he has nothing to be ashamed of. Clarke digging through his sex toys just makes him prickly.

“Do I fuck myself with it, Princess? Yeah, I do.”

He knows Clarke is bi too. She’s least likely to judge him. But people can surprise you. Bellamy has been with girls that were weirded out by some of his sexual preferences, like anal play or knowing he's been topped by guys. He dreads the thought of Clarke reacting that way.

Clarke’s breathing hitches. Her eyes meet his and they are far from turned-off. The exact opposite. “Would you like it if I fucked you with it?”

His cock twitches, making his enthusiasm perfectly known. The blood in his cheeks flushes through the rest of his body in tingling arousal. He is stunned speechless for a moment, thinking about Clarke straddling him and pleasuring him with the large red cock.

Clarke’s smile is sharp and wicked. She crawls over to him, sliding onto his lap and trapping his already leaking dick between their bodies. She grinds against him, making his cock rub into his stomach and a grunt escapes him.

He can feel how slick she is between them when she murmurs into his ear, “Bellamy Blake is speechless? You would like it, huh? What if I fucked you while I was wearing a cock?”

Bellamy seizes her waist. He halts her grinding and hot words before she makes him come too soon. Her teasing has hit the bullseye on a private fantasy of his, which she has unknowingly exposed. Clarke isn’t supposed to know about that.

He leans up to kiss her and shut her up. Her lips are fierce, but he kisses her harder, determined to win back the upper hand. To cover up the part of him that Clarke was poking at, getting too close for comfort.

They tear at each other in a familiar clash, nails pinching his scalp and fingers twisting through his hair, his digging into her thigh and ass, leaving behind angry red marks.

He rips open the condom and rolls it on when their aggressive brand of foreplay has him ready to combust.

Bellamy flips them over, putting Clarke on her hands and knees. He’s able to sink into her nice and deep in this position and hears Clarke’s sigh when he enters her, bottoming out.

She’s dripping onto her inner thighs, deliciously wet and makes the glide inside her perfectly smooth. 

“That gets you hot, Princess?” he taunts. “Talking about fucking me in the ass?”

“Not as hot as it gets you,” she fires back.

Bellamy’s grin is sharp as he rolls his hips into her. They’re still bantering while having sex and he kind of loves it. No one keeps him on his toes like Clarke does.

His hands reach around to palm her tits, flicking her nipples the way she likes. Clarke moans for him, arching her back to press fully into his hands. He pinches and rolls the tight tips between his fingers.

The creaking of his mattress is really going now as he pounds into her. His bedroom fills with their soundtrack, skin against skin, and loud panting breaths. They don’t have to be quiet like they do in the office and Bellamy is determined to make Clarke scream.

Their co-workers can’t know their secret. But his neighbors will hear him bringing Clarke pleasure.

He shifts his hips, switching to pointed, shallow thrusts, and feels Clarke’s body tremble when he hits her sweet spot. He works that spot in a steady rhythm and soon her pleasured cries are louder than the squeaking bed.

“Oh, god.” Clarke’s fingers scrape wildly at his sheets. “There, Bellamy, there.”

His hand slides down her stomach and dips in between her legs to rub her clit. She’s getting close. Her body tightens and her pussy squeezes around him, clenching rhythmically with her orgasm. Bellamy strokes her clit through it.

Clarke’s arms collapse on the bed, panting for breath when she comes down. “Fuck me. That was good.”

Bellamy laughs. He pulls out of her and lets Clarke turns over, letting her push him onto his back. His head hits the pillows as she climbs onto his lap, taking his cock into her small fist.

Her cheeks are flushed pink from her climax, her wide blue eyes staring down at him with glassy satisfaction. But there's a spark there that hungers for more. They are far from finished with each other. 

She stretches for the discarded bottle of lube on his nightstand and pops it open, pouring a generous amount into her palm. Her hand pulls his cock, spreading the lube over him from the base to the tip. 

It feels so good. A moan escapes him from the tight, wet pressure of her fist.

Clarke is apparently in the mood to play, dribbling more lube onto his balls. Her fingers pull lightly at his sack, then move in a slick trail down to his perineum. Pleasure floods him when she brushes the sensitive skin there.

“Fuck,” he groans, hips jerking forward. “Clarke.”

She leans down to kiss him, sliding her tongue against his lazily. Murmurs against his mouth, “I like making you feel good too, you know.”

Her words hit him in the pit of his stomach. Bellamy’s instincts order him to grab her, have her ride his cock and fuck her into another orgasm. This isn’t about him. He’s here to satisfy her.

But a selfish need rises up inside him as Clarke keeps stroking his length, twisting her wrist how he likes on the upstroke.

Bellamy licks his lips. “What did you have in mind?”

Clarke smiles, her face brightening. It’s definitely worth stepping out of his comfort zone for that look. Then she slides her hand down to brush her fingertips over his rim. She circles his entrance teasingly.

He sucks in deep breaths, trying not to come right then. She has no idea what she’s doing to him. Bellamy could burst just with the offer she’s willingly making to finger his ass.

She doesn’t press inside him, yet. Her sharp eyes watch him closely. “Only if you want.”

“You don’t have to—”

“I want to,” she cuts in. “Do you?

“Yes.” Fuck yes.

Clarke snatches the lube up again to slick her fingers. Anticipation flutters in his stomach. He can’t believe she’s doing this for him.

Bellamy spreads his thighs to make it easier, lets her get in between them. She starts massaging his rim again in a wet circle. Carefully, she presses her finger inside.

And Bellamy can’t help but laugh.

Her head snaps up, eyes widen with alarm. “What?”

“Princess,” he says, snickering. “You don’t have to be that gentle. I’ve taken a lot more than that.”

Her cheeks flush darker adorably. “Right. Um. I’ve never actually…”

With his instruction, she works two fingers inside him. She has small hands, not anywhere near as thick as his dildo, but there’s still something arousing about it being Clarke. Especially because she hasn’t done this before.

Clarke is a quick study though. She figures out how to finger him just right, using her middle finger to stimulate his prostate, and has him moaning almost as loud as she was within a few minutes.

He rocks his hips into her movements and chases his release. His cock is leaking continuously, filling the condom. Bellamy struggles for breath as he gets closer, the pleasure spiraling up higher and higher inside him until he has to wrap a hand around himself.

His teeth bite his bottom lip, holding in a hoarse shout as he comes hard. His orgasm is intense and so fucking good.

Bellamy comes down as Clarke retracts her hand from him. His release has him fighting back against a powerful wave of sleep attempting to pull him under.

He curls a hand around Clarke’s nape to kiss her deeply, pouring in how satisfied and grateful he is. Their lips press together soft and slow. 

“That was really hot,” Clarke says, pulling back.

“Yeah?” he asks, trying not to sound horribly needy. “It wasn’t weird for you?”

Her blonde brows draw together. “No. Why would it be?”

Bellamy doesn’t answer that, just nods behind her. “The bathroom’s in there if you want to clean up.”

Clarke doesn’t move, studying him in that unnerving way of hers like she can see right through him. When she speaks her tone is firm.

“There’s nothing weird or wrong about what you like in bed. Fuck anyone who’s told you otherwise.”

He looks away, clenching his jaw. She climbs off the bed and disappears into the bathroom while her words twist through his gut. He’s still thinking about them when he hears the shower turn on.

Clarke refuses to stay the night, even though he insists on it. For the sake of her safety, that’s all. It’s after 1 a.m. by the time she orders for another Uber to come by his place and pick her up.

“I’ll take the couch,” he offers, watching her shimmy into her tight jeans. “It’s one night, Princess. Not a big deal.”

Clarke continues to ignore his offer. She finishes tying her wet hair up and walks out of his bedroom. He groans, cursing her stubbornness as he rolls himself out of his rumpled bed. Bellamy has to pull on his discarded boxers to follow her out.

“Uber is on its way,” she informs him, waving her phone in the air.

He rolls his eyes. “Of course, throwing out $20 on an Uber ride is chump change to you, huh? It’s a waste of money, Clarke.”

“Well, I wipe my nose with $20 dollar bills,” she replies snottily. “Anyway, stop arguing with me. I’m not staying. We broke enough rules tonight just by doing this.”

So that’s the issue, then. They slept together outside of office property.

No. Bellamy might have bought that before. He knows better now—knows Clarke better than she probably realizes he does.

This isn’t her being uptight about breaking rules. Clarke set up those rules for a reason, trying to keep distance between them. If she starts getting careless, she’ll lower her guard around him.

Bellamy doesn’t see that as a problem. Getting through any of Clarke’s defenses is both a challenge and a personal victory. He holds the story about Wanheda like a badge of honor close to his chest. He has a feeling Clarke hasn’t told many people that story.

She avoids being vulnerable in front of people. Tidbits from her childhood and details about her personal life are off the table. That’s something they have in common, actually.

Bellamy doesn’t open up to anyone. His problems are his alone to deal with, not to burden someone else with. So he gets it. He won’t push Clarke. If she wants to cling to the rules, he’ll let her.

Clarke has helped herself to a glass of water from his kitchen, much to his amusement. She walks around his apartment, taking everything in. It’s more of a loft with the exposed brick walls, high ceilings, and large windows. He has one bedroom and one bath. The rest is an open concept layout.

“I love your place,” Clarke says, pausing by the window. Light rain streaks against the glass panes.

“Yeah? Not too scruffy for your tastes, Princess?”

“I love the brick, the industrial style.” She turns, venturing over to his floor-to-ceiling bookshelf that spans a full wall. “This bookcase is a dream.”

He can tell by the awe in her voice that she means it. A small smile touches her lips as she runs her finger across the spines, reading the titles.

Bellamy leaves her to it, returning to his bedroom. He pulls on a shirt and switches his underwear for a pair of sweats. He tries not to think about how strange it is to have Clarke Griffin walking through his apartment.

Outside, the light trickle of rain picks up and turns into a downpour. Lightning flashes and the rumbling thunder makes the windows rattle.

When he comes out, he finds Clarke still by the bookshelf. She’s put the glass of water on a coaster, which amuses him too. In her hands is his worn copy of Metamorphoses. Her eyes take in a certain passage he has marked.

“‘Eurydice, dying now a second time, uttered no complaint against her husband,” Clarke reads out loud. “'What was there to complain of, but that she had been loved?’”

Bellamy clears his throat. “Have you read it?”

Clarke shakes her head. She looks at him with that gaze from the street outside the bar, a determined curiosity burning in its clear blue depths.

“Why this passage?” She taps her nail on the page.

He shifts his weight. There are no distractions, nowhere to look away from her piercing eyes. As if he is able to pull himself away.

Part of him resists answering truthfully. The distrustful part of him, the side that looks at Clarke and sees his clever, conniving rival. If he gives her something personal, she might use it against him later.

His experience tells him that’s the way the world works. Nothing is free, nothing is given out of kindness. He has to keep his guard up and look out for himself, for his family. That’s his responsibility.

Why she’s even interested in his reading material, he has no idea. Bellamy doesn’t know why she was asking about his history knowledge or favorite Roman Emperor either. Clarke only cares about how to get him off and that’s where her interest in him ends.

He blames curiosity for why he decides to tell her. “I mark quotes that talk about love.”

Clarke tilts her head. “Why?”

“Because I’ve never been in it,” he says. “Love, that is. I’m curious about what great writers have to say about the experience.”

Clarke stares at him like he’s transformed into a stranger. Her mouth hangs partially open.

The scrutiny makes him itch under his skin and reminds him why he avoids talking about himself. He can’t stand the silent judgment passing through someone’s head about him.

“You’ve never been in love,” she repeats in an awed whisper.

“No.”

Clarke glances down at the book in her hands. The corners of her mouth turn into a thoughtful frown. Trying to figure him out, he guesses.

Yeah, good luck with that.

“But you’ve dated people,” she points out.

“Sure,” he agrees. “Contrary to the romantic comedies you watch, though, dating doesn’t have shit to do with love. People use each other, take what they want, and move on.”

She’s quiet for a long while, digesting that before her eyes return to him.

“I hope you get to experience it for yourself one day,” she says, which surprises him. “You deserve that.”

“That might be the first compliment you’ve ever given me,” he quotes her, his voice sounding breathless. He can't quite manage the teasing tone right then. 

“Don’t get used to it,” she teases, guiding them out of the heavy moment and back to familiar banter territory.

She flips through the pages of Metamorphoses, pausing to read every passage he has marked carefully. It’s hard to watch. Like she is peering into his beating heart. But he doesn’t want her to stop, either.

Her phone buzzes a few minutes later, breaking the strange silence they’ve found themselves in. Clarke places Metamorphoses back into its spot on the shelf. She checks her phone and frowns deeply.

“They canceled my ride.”

“It’s pouring rain out,” he says as she swipes through her phone, a furrow wrinkling her forehead. “Clarke, you should just stay.”

“We’ve been over this,” she retorts.

He rolls his eyes. “Your reasons are ridiculous. Look, it’s extenuating circumstances. Crash here tonight. At work tomorrow, you can be extra mean to make up for it.”

With a huff, Clarke puts her phone away and turns her chin up at him. Her arguing pose. “I’m not being ridiculous. You know this is crossing a line. This is how it starts.”

Bellamy steps closer to her, arching his brow. “How what starts? You falling madly in love with me?”

Her eyes narrow into a fierce glare. “No. Lines getting blurred. We have a plan. Keep things simple, at the office. No sleeping over.”

“You’re already here,” Bellamy points out. “Be practical. You can’t walk home or to the train station. Your ride canceled. Your only choice is to stay here tonight so you don’t get pneumonia or ax murdered.”

“That’s an oxymoron,” Clarke murmurs. “‘Only choice’.”

He smiles slightly. “So it is.”

Clarke chews on her bottom lip, thinking it over. He suspects she has to fight it, to feel better later. It’s likely he’d do the same thing if he was forced to rely on her for shelter.

“I’m not sleeping in your bed though,” she says, then scrunches her nose. “Cooties.”

He laughs. “It’s a little late for that.”

Bellamy is relieved that she decides to stay. It wouldn’t be right to send her home at 1 in the morning when it’s thundering and lightning outside.

She spots the relief that spreads through him. “You’re worried about me?” Clarke taunts.

“With my luck, you’ll get yourself killed on the way home. Piss the wrong person off,” he retorts. “I don’t want that on my conscience.”

She turns to him suddenly. “Have you ever thought about what your tombstone will say?”

Bellamy stares at her, bewildered as to where that question came from. “Wow,” he mutters. “You’re darker than I thought, Princess.”

“Says the guy with several Nihilistic texts on his bookshelf,” Clarke shoots back.

“I wouldn’t say I’m a Nihilist. I like to read a little bit of everything.” He pauses to consider his answer. “I’d like my tombstone to say: Devoted son, brother, and exceptionally good at head.”

Clarke bursts out laughing, startling him. Her real laugh, the one he surprised out of her outside the bar tonight. Clarke doesn’t laugh like that at work. He feels a sense of accomplishment that he got it out of her again.

“Where did that question come from?” he asks her.

Clarke shrugs, an amused smile lingering on her face. Just as quickly as she opened up, she slides a vacant mask over her eyes, hiding herself. “Just something I was thinking about.”

He doesn’t believe it was a random thought at all. But Bellamy lets it go, for now. He sees Clarke rubbing her arms against the chill. “I’ll get you something to sleep in.”

Before she can protest, he ducks back into his bedroom. He has an old T-shirt that is too small to fit him now. Buried inside his drawers, he also finds a pair of cotton pajama pants that Octavia has left behind at some point.

Bellamy gives her the clothes. While Clarke is changing in his bathroom, he makes up the couch for her, still feeling guilty to not have his guest in the bedroom.

Clarke is too stubborn for her own good. He does his best to make it comfortable with a thick blanket and pillows, plugging her phone into a spare charger, and setting her cup of water on the coffee table.

Clarke emerges from the bathroom. She looks soft under his loft’s lighting, eyes wide and face free of make-up. His class of 2007 shirt hangs big on her and falls to her thighs.

Something dangerous flutters in his chest. Bellamy calls on the late hour as an excuse for that. He needs to go to sleep. They have to be at work in a handful of hours.

Once she’s situated on his couch, he nods at her. “Goodnight.”

Her voice calls out to him as he enters his room, softer than he’s heard before. “Goodnight, Bellamy.”

Clarke is gone before he wakes up. There’s almost no trace of her in the loft as if he dreamt the whole odd experience. But she left the clothes in a neat pile on his couch and the coffee maker on, gurgling in his kitchen.

They don’t talk about it at work, which is what he expects. Nothing has changed between them. They had sex in his bed instead of somewhere at the office and she looked through his bookshelf. Bellamy needs to stop holding his breath. He doesn’t know what he’s waiting for.

Until a day later, their department has a conference room meeting. Bellamy is paying attention, for the most part. Clarke is sitting next to him, scribbling in her notebook and he’s just as aware of her warmth at his side as he is of what Kane is talking about.

Then, Clarke pokes his arm with her pencil.

Bellamy glances over. His eyes fall on the notebook she has in her lap, angled toward him. On the paper, Clarke has sketched a gray tombstone. The epitaph reads: devoted son, brother and really fucking good at head.

Bellamy lets out a snort, which he covers with a cough. He still draws looks from their colleagues. Miller twists around in his chair to peer at him and Clarke quickly flips the page on her notebook.

He gets the drawing from her later. Bellamy folds the paper and tucks it into his desk drawer.

His mood is light as air when he steps onto the train that afternoon. Bellamy plugs in his headphones, scrolling through his music library for a song that matches the unfamiliar feeling he wants to hold onto. He puts on Paperweight.

During the ride, his phone alerts him of a text from Emori. She tells him the new carburetor arrived today.

An excited grin on his lips, Bellamy texts her back that he can come in to install it and she gives the go-ahead to stop by.

He gets off at his usual stop. Instead of heading toward his loft, though, Bellamy turns right at the end of the street and walks until he reaches the familiar sight of the auto shop. After slipping his iPod into his bag, he lets himself into the garage through the side entrance.

Heavy rock music blasts through the garage. Bellamy gets a nod from Otan, Emori’s brother, wearing a grease stained jumpsuit and sipping on a bottle of water. He passes by a line of cars, all in different states of maintenance, to the private office in the back.

“You here to check on your baby?” Nyko, one of the mechanics, calls after him in a teasing tone.

“Here for the Camaro,” Bellamy corrects then narrows his eyes playfully. “You better be keeping your hands off of Eurydice!”

Laughter follows in his wake. Everyone knows how protective Bellamy is of his baby.

Emori is out. Bellamy uses the key she gave him to unlock the office and finds the carburetor waiting for him in a box on the desk. He takes the box with him, locking up the office, and goes in search of a jumpsuit to change into. He’s going to be here a while.

The ’74 Camaro he has been slowly restoring for the past month sits at the edge of the garage. Emori’s shop does regular repairs and maintenance, but she has a side project of restoring classic cars. A project she passed onto Bellamy when she recognized his liking for it.

Liking is the wrong term, though. Bellamy loves this—the gradual, hard work process of restoration. He has an appreciation for vintage cars and their powerful engines, the way they run. It’s rewarding work to see the transformation too. Sometimes the cars come in as ugly, bruised shells and he gets to make them run right again.

Bellamy works late into the night, his mind quiet, his hands busy. Vaguely, he hears the other mechanics bidding each other goodnight and closing up their stations. He finishes before Otan is about to close the garage, standing up on stiff knees. He got the carburetor installed and functioning on the Camaro.

Bellamy texts Emori to keep her updated. She’s almost as excited to see the finished Camaro as he is. She owns the auto shop now with Otan and lives vicariously through Bellamy’s restorations.

Before he leaves, Bellamy goes to check on Eurydice. He knows the car hasn’t been touched since he last saw it. Bellamy has threatened the other mechanics with bodily harm if they so much as breathe near Eurydice. But he likes to look at her.

He pulls the cover off, exposing the beautiful sleek black paint and red leather interior. Eurydice is a 1953 Cadillac Eldorado. She was put back together painstakingly by Bellamy’s hands. It took him a year to complete all of the repairs and the result is his best work.

Bellamy takes a last admiring glance at Eurydice. Then, he washes up, changes out of the jumpsuit, and turns on the street toward home.

The skies are a crisp, clear blue. It’s like something out of a postcard—the perfect day, bright and sunny. The sunshine is doing a decent job of keeping them warm through the cold November temperature.

“Kill me now,” Murphy grumbles.

Bellamy suppresses a smile. From his other side, Jasper discretely takes a long swing from his flask.

Raven rolls her eyes at Murphy. “It’s not going to be that bad.”

Murphy scowls. “It’s Saturday. I shouldn’t have to be looking at any of you assholes on the weekend. I should be sleeping!”

Bellamy shares this sentiment, along with many of his other co-workers. The Saturday has them gathered at Peacock Park. The entire branch is in attendance for the mandatory company picnic.

The picnic is a yearly tradition at ALIE Tech. An event orchestrated by the higher-ups in the company as a—again, mandatory—day of fun and mingling for the employees. This includes skill-building exercises and activities that are supposed to foster teamwork.

Normally, Bellamy doesn’t mind the picnic. He hangs out with his friends outside the office, has some free burgers, and plays a game of football. The sales department has an ongoing rivalry against engineering for the football match. The whole thing is over by two in the afternoon.

This year is different. Bellamy has been dreading the event ever since Kane pulled him aside, encouraging him to get to know the corporate officers at the company. His boss advertised this as a viable opportunity for his career.

Everyone shows up for the picnic: the CEO Becca Franko, the vice president of marketing, the supervisors of the branches, even a few of the shareholders.

Upon arrival, they’re gathered into a group so Becca can address them and thank them for coming. She makes the same speech every year, but Raven still shushes their side comments when the CEO starts speaking.

“Careful, Reyes,” Murphy taunts. “Your nerd crush is showing.”

Tension coils in Bellamy’s shoulders. He steals Jasper’s flask to take a sip of whiskey, despite the fact it’s only 9 a.m. Hopefully, the alcohol can loosen him up.

There’s a round of polite applause when Becca is done. Now, they’re supposed to be using this time before the official activities to mingle with each other.

Bellamy stands back, watching as people from the other branches around their state link up, striking conversations. Not everyone is feeling friendly, of course. Many people from their office stick with their kind.

He spots Clarke sitting on a picnic bench, her long hair pulled into a braid. She’s with Harper and Monroe, chatting amongst themselves and holding paper cups of coffee.

Feeling his gaze, Clarke turns her head toward him. A subtle smile quirks her mouth up. Their secret ripples in the air between them like an invisible charge only they can feel.

Bellamy suppresses a grin. Is she thinking about them fucking in the supply closet yesterday? He certainly is. They made a mess of the shelves. He had to clamp his hand over Clarke’s mouth to keep their colleagues from overhearing them.

“Bellamy!” Kane calls out to him, beckoning him over.

Reluctantly, Bellamy approaches his boss and the woman he’s standing with. She’s blonde with cunning eyes that sweep over him appraisingly. Kane introduces her as Diana Sydney, the Chief Operating Officer.

Diana’s handshake is firm, almost aggressive. Bellamy is already feeling intimidated. What is he supposed to talk to the COO about?

“This is Bellamy Blake,” Kane says with a smile. “He’s one of our greatest assets at the Arkadia Branch. Bellamy secured the Eligius account.”

Diana’s eyes glint with a new interest when she looks upon him. “Quite impressive. Tell me, Mr. Blake, what are your thoughts on edge computing?”

Bellamy wishes his mind went blank. A clean slate would be helpful for him to come up with something semi-intelligent. Instead, his mind turns to edging. Though he’s sure that’s not what the COO is asking about.

Too bad. He’s a fan of edging. Bellamy has some thoughts on that subject. He has no idea what Diana is referring to.

Their eyes are resting on him expectantly. Bellamy rubs the back of his neck and admits, “I’m not familiar with that concept.”

Diana nods that she suspects as much, before launching into a lengthy explanation. He’s not totally hopeless. Bellamy understands better after that. He’s not particularly opinioned on data storage methods, but he offers his thoughts.

Bellamy shuffles around the park, moving around to keep his blood warm. He’d much rather join Jasper and Monty in their group activity than keep mingling. But Kane’s expectations weigh heavy on his shoulders.

He talks to corporate executives that he doesn’t remember the names of. A few are friendly and personable, so it’s not unbearable to make conversation with them. But even then, Bellamy doesn’t enjoy talking about selling tech, data storage, and the stock market on the weekend.

The higher-ups want to hear about his plans. His plans for the company, where he sees himself in 5 years, how he plans to compete with other tech companies. Bellamy fumbles through his answers and misses out on the football game with his co-workers.

They break for lunch. Grilled burgers, turkey burgers, and hot dogs are served, along with a selection of potato salad and snacks.

Bellamy grabs his cheeseburger and a soda. He sits at a picnic table next to Murphy. They shovel food into their faces in companionable silence. Soon, they’re joined by Miller and Monty, holding hands before they sit down.

“How we holding up?” Miller asks in between bites of his burger.

Bellamy grunts in response. He’s over this godforsaken picnic.

Monty forms a smile, looking at him. “Why have you been chatting up all of the executives today? You missed the game.”

Murphy answers with his typical snark before he can get a word in. “Bellamy is rubbing elbows with the elite to move up in the company.”

“I’m networking,” Bellamy retorts.

“Ass-kissing,” Murphy counters.

Miller ignores him. “Good for you, man,” he tells Bellamy. “I heard there’s an opening for sales manager at the D.C. branch. You should go for it.”

His friend’s encouragement lifts his mood slightly. At least Miller and Monty don’t think the idea of him moving up in the corporate world is laughable. He’s felt like an imposter all day.

Bellamy finishes off his food. He’s contemplating getting a second burger when a familiar laugh pricks his ears.

He peers around the cluster of picnic benches where everyone is having lunch. His stare lands on Clarke sitting at the table diagonal from his. She’s smiling, which isn’t an unwelcome sight, but then Bellamy notices the cap she has on.

The cap is a hideous bright orange. Across the front has PRINCETON written in black letters.

Clarke wasn’t wearing that cap when she arrived. It doesn’t take Bellamy long to realize the owner of the ugly hat is sitting next to Clarke, chatting her up.

Princeton guy is handsome in a preppy way, if you’re into that sort of thing. He’s clearly into Clarke. The blonde guy is flicking the brim of the Princeton cap, teasing Clarke. Her laughter reaches Bellamy’s ears as she playfully swats him away.

Bellamy’s gut churns like a dark, brewing storm. His veins feel charged with anger and something else, something heavy. Too close to the insecurity he felt embarrassing himself in front of the executives today.

He reminds himself he has no right to be upset. Clarke is allowed to flirt with this guy. She’s allowed to go out with him, fuck him after the picnic ends. What they have going on isn’t exclusive. No strings. No promises.

Fuck if it doesn’t bother him though.

After what happened at his place, he thought…well, he thought wrong. That was about sex. Clarke is still interested in dating, finding someone to settle down with. 

The Princeton guy? God, of course Clarke would go for him. He’s shiny and clean-cut, with a gleaming Rolex watch on his wrist. He went to an Ivy League. He and the Princess can talk about where their families vacation in the summer. The Hamptons or Saint Tropez.

“Bellamy,” Monty says his name sharply, studying him with a concerned frown. “Are you okay?”

No. He’s choking on his own jealousy. What is wrong with him? When did he become this guy?

Bellamy clears his throat, shutting his expression down. He drags his eyes away from Clarke back to his friends. “Yeah, I’m fine.”

He’s not, though. When they finish lunch, Bellamy gets to his feet and moves quickly toward the sight of Clarke’s blonde braid down her back. She’s standing under a large oak tree, alone, and checking her phone.

He’s a man possessed, the blood roaring in his ears like thunder. He has no control of his body or the words that burst from his mouth.

“You’re taking this networking thing seriously, huh?” he growls.

Clarke peers up from her phone, not seeming to notice his choked-back anger. “Not as seriously as you. God. I think I’d rather swallow knives than make conversation with Diana Sydney.” She laughs.

Bellamy clenches his jaw, the muscles popping. He ignores her comment. “What were you and that Princeton guy talking about?”

Clarke’s brows draw together at his question. “Carter? He’s cool. He’s head of Merges and Acquisitions in Stemford. Oh, he was telling me about this charity his parents are on the board of and he…”

He doesn’t hear a word. The wonderful charity that Carter donates to is blocked out by the anger that throbs in his veins.

“That’s great,” Bellamy bites when she’s done, full of sharp sarcasm. “He donates a small percentage of his wealth and buys himself a $5,000 watch.”

Clarke frowns at him. “Okay, I know you have a chip on your shoulder, but what’s the problem with giving to charities?”

“My problem,” he says through his teeth, “is rich people using charities as a tax deduction and then feeling good about themselves for ‘giving back’ to the less fortunate.”

He’s full of shit. Sure, Bellamy does have his issues with rich people and tax evasion. But that’s not why he’s seething right now.

He doesn’t care what Carter from Princeton does with his trust fund. He cares that Carter from Princeton made Clarke laugh and she flirted with him in front of their whole office.

“Look, you want to yell at Carter about his taxes, be my guest,” Clarke says, tucking her phone into her pocket. “I have to get back.”

She winds around him to join her team for the next skills activity.

Bellamy rubs a hand across his tight jaw, cursing himself for acting like a raving lunatic. Well, he certainly hasn’t improved Clarke’s opinion of him now.

Reluctantly, he goes to the group he’s been assigned to. They’ve been split into teams, intermixing the different branches and departments. The next activity is meant to teach them about collaboration and creativity.

Two separate teams are given pieces of cardboard. Their instructions are to build half of a bridge and then work with the other team to have their halves fit. There is much scrambling and laughter from the other members. Bellamy is too distracted to participate, beating himself up for his outburst.

The executives start slipping off after an hour. Bellamy is free from his networking duties and free to get the hell out of here.

Before he can make a hasty exit, he spots Bree laughing with Jasper. Bellamy isn’t sure why he locks in on her. Maybe because he’s slept with her before and she’s fun in bed, always down for a good time.

What he needs is to screw somebody else. Forget about Clarke and the Princeton jackass. He’ll get over it.

Snapping his sunglasses over his eyes, Bellamy approaches Bree. His gaze lingers on her long blonde hair, picturing wrapping the strands around his knuckle.

“Hey Bree. How’s it going?”

She brightens, turning to face him. Jasper smirks knowingly at Bellamy over her shoulder as he walks away.

Bellamy touches her hip, making his intentions clear. “You want to get out of here?”

Bree bites her bottom lip and nods. “I brought my car,” she offers.

“Lead the way.”

 

Chapter Text


Clarke hides a yawn behind her hand. She’s dragging that morning. Coming back to work after a busy weekend is a challenge.

On Saturday there was the company picnic, the highlight being the rowdy game of football. She had fun hanging out with everyone outside the office.

On Sunday, Clarke spent the day with her dad at the facility. They enjoyed the sun and fresh air, taking a walk through Sanctum’s manicured grounds. They played a couple of games of chess and although her dad wasn’t lucid most of the time, it was still a nice day.

She enters the break room to grab a cup of coffee. At a square table, Bree and Harper are chatting, not noticing her come in. She heads to the row of cabinets, going about retrieving the coffee grounds.

Bree giggles behind her. Clarke tries not to eavesdrop on other people’s conversations, but it’s impossible not to hear in the small room.

“Details, please,” Harper is whispering. “Some of us are single and have to live vicariously through your hot hook-ups.”

“H, you’re gorgeous. You could get some too if you tried.” Bree giggles again. “I heard Bellamy’s into threesomes. I bet you and Monroe could show him a good time.”

Clarke’s back stiffens at hearing Bellamy’s name. At that point, she forgets about pouring her coffee and focuses on blatantly listening in.

“No way,” Harper replies. “If I got Zoe Monroe into my bed, I’m not sharing.”

“Your loss,” Bree teases. “I got to spend my night having three orgasms until I saw God.”

The girls break into laughter. Clarke feels like she just got punched in the chest.

Bellamy slept with Bree this weekend.

Heat throbs behind her sternum, a fiery blend of jealousy and anger. God. He really will fuck anyone that shows an interest in him.

Clarke knows she isn’t special. She isn’t the first or even the second person in this office that Bellamy has slept with.

But did it have to be Bree? He could have screwed anyone. It didn’t have to be someone Clarke works with and has to see every day. What, did Bellamy expect her to compare notes with Bree?

Clarke inhales deeply, shutting her eyes. She has to calm down. Her emotions are thundering out of control.

She agreed to be non-exclusive with Bellamy. He’s allowed to sleep with whoever he likes. She doesn’t have the right here to be feeling so hostile towards him. Or their receptionist, who Clarke kind of wants to choke right now.

This is on her. Clarke hasn’t done the no-strings-attached hooking up thing before. Not like this, anyway. She hooked up with her friend Niylah a few times. But they don’t have the complicated relationship she has with Bellamy and they don’t work together.

It bugs her. There’s no denying that. Clarke has to deal with her jealousy later, on her own.

“So, he’s really that good, huh?” Harper asks, her voice wrapped in curiosity.

Yes, Clarke thinks, stirring in creamer into her mug. Bellamy doesn’t half-ass anything, including sex. He goes all in. 

Clarke holds back a dark, humorless chuckle. She could give a PowerPoint on Bellamy Blake in bed by now.

Unlike some selfish guys, Bellamy is a giver, not a taker. He considers his partner's pleasure more important than his. He has a thing for having his hair pulled. He loves it when she wraps her legs around his waist during sex.

“Oh yeah,” Bree answers. “But there was this kind of weird thing…While we were doing it, he kept calling me princess.”

“Is that weird?”

“I mean, that’s what my dad calls me and I’m not into daddy kink,” Bree says with a laugh and Harper snorts. She pauses for a moment and adds coyly, “Maybe for Bellamy, I’d make an exception though.”

Her pulse drums in her ears. Clarke doesn’t hear the rest of the conversation, vaguely noticing when Bree and Harper leave the break room to return to their desks.

A hurricane of emotions tears through her chest. When the shock fades, Clarke is left with confusion, anger, and a twinge of smug joy. She’s furious with Bellamy for using her nickname while he was fucking someone else.

But a part of her is pleased. Because he was thinking about her.

Her reaction confuses her. It’s too much for an early morning. Clarke grabs her mug before her coffee gets cold and walks to her desk.

She’s kept busy during the workday with tasks and assignments. In the back of her mind, however, Clarke is concocting a plan.

A plan that is part-torture and part-reward for Bellamy’s behavior.

Clarke doesn’t consider herself a devious person. Well, she is when the situation calls for it. Normally, she's a rule-follower. She dislikes having authority figures disappointed in her.

Making her dad proud has always been important. She did her best in school, got into his alma mater, and tried to be the perfect daughter - or as close as she could get. 

So, she doesn’t know where this wicked scheme rears from. She can’t exactly blame Bellamy when the scheme has her veins buzzing and her cheeks flushed with excitement, devised by her own mind.

At noon, Clarke has a quick lunch in the café and leaves the building. She walks through the crowded streets outside, passing a few blocks before she finds what she’s looking for: An upscale lingerie boutique.

Clarke is a woman on a mission when she steps inside. She dodges the attentive staff of the boutique, having no time to be intercepted. Her eyes hunt through the vast selection of silk negligees, lace corsets, and bodysuits.

Finally, Clarke locks in what she’s searching for. She finds her size, snatches the item, and slips into one of the dressing stalls.

Her tits look amazing in the push-up bra. The garter belt and thigh-high stockings are pure sin. White lace and tiny bows sell the sexy good girl look she’s going for.

Clarke angles her phone to take a photo. It takes several tries before she gets it right, capturing her pouting mouth and full body in the lingerie piece.

Nerves flutter in her stomach. She hasn’t done any of this before. Her last attempt to sext was with her ex-boyfriend, Finn, and they were teenagers. Finn was crude, having no better idea what he was doing than she was, and Clarke was embarrassed rather than aroused.

It’s no secret that Bellamy has more experience than her. Clarke only hopes the photo is as sexy as she intends it to be.

He’s supposed to be in a client meeting when she sends the picture. She stands in the dressing room, not sure if he’s going to respond. He might not check his phone.

Clarke gets caught up in her reflection in the full-length mirror. She has a weakness for pretty things, though she rarely indulges it. Her underwear at home is bought for comfort, mostly boy shorts and simple cotton. She doesn’t own anything this fancy.

It might be nice to have at least one set of lingerie…

Her phone buzzes in her hand. Bellamy calling.

Her pulse skips. She slides to answer. “Hello?”

Christ, Clarke,” Bellamy growls in her ear. “What the fuck are you playing at?”

 Clarke bites her lip on a smile. “You like it?”

She hears a door slam shut in the background. “I had to walk out of my meeting because I’m fucking hard. What do you think?”

Arousal beats in her blood, turning her nipples into tight points. Clarke squeezes her breast, her breath growing shallow. “I think; I wish you were here to suck on my tits.”

She blushes when the words escape her. It’s different doing this over the phone, not being able to see Bellamy’s face or his reactions to her.

Bellamy inhales sharply. “Are you touching yourself, Princess?”

Her fingers slip inside the bustier, pinching a nipple. “Yes.”

"Are you thinking about me?”

“Uh huh.”

Hearing his voice is enough to get her soaking wet. Clarke drops her head against the stall’s wall, her eyes closed. She’s remembering the time in Bellamy’s bed, how his large hands groped her tits while he pounded into her, thick cock buried deep in her pussy. He made her come so hard.

Tell me,” Bellamy demands. “What are you thinking?”

Clarke hesitates. Outside the stall, she can hear a saleswoman helping a customer. “I can’t.”

Yes, you can. It’s just you and me, Princess. I want to know. Tell me.”

Bellamy’s voice is deep and firm, the authority in his tone leaving no room for disobedience. It speaks to something inside her, eager to please.  

 “I’m thinking about your cock,” she murmurs. Blood burns her face. “Making me full. Nobody fills me like you do.”

Bellamy doesn’t speak for a moment. Over the line, she hears the slick noises of his hand jerking himself off.

The blood rushes through her body, throbbing in her cunt. Wherever he is, Bellamy is touching himself because of her. Her photo. Her words. The knowledge is a powerful jolt to her system.

Clarke stops caring that she’s in a public dressing room. She has to touch herself too.

Her hand dips into the white lace panties. Clarke swipes her fingers through her glistening lips. It’s not enough. She needs more.

She pushes two fingers in, needing to be filled. It can’t compare to Bellamy’s dick, but it’s something. Her cunt clenches around her fingers and a moan sneaks out of her.

Bellamy groans. “Fuck. I can hear how wet you are. That feels good, Clarke?”

She moans as quietly as she can. Her fingers curl upward, but she struggles to reach her G-spot. She aches for Bellamy’s thick fingers, the way he knows how to move them just right, make her lose her mind.

Clarke settles for rubbing her clit in tight circles, her breathing turning sharp.

Don’t come yet. Not until I say you can.”

 It’s like he has control over her body, stilling her hand’s motions. Clarke shudders against the wall, hips twitching, but she stops stroking her clit.

"Can you do that? Can you be a good girl for me?”

“Yes,” Clarke moans.

She can see Bellamy’s approving nod in her head. His dark, intense eyes watch her like she is everything—his salvation and his destruction. 

Clarke wants to be good for him. 

Touch your clit,” he instructs her huskily. “Slow. Tap your fingers. Now harder.”

A blissful haze falls over her, letting Bellamy’s commands guide her. Her mind turns off. There’s only pleasure, a slow agonizing climb, tapping on her sensitive nub from soft to hard to soft.

She has to sink her teeth into her lip, holding back a whine. “Bellamy!”

Stop.”

Her building orgasm is halted. Clarke stills her fingers. Her body writhes from the loss of stimulation. Her clit pulses desperately.

“Go again,” he orders. “Use two fingers. Harder, Princess. That’s it.”

The tension swells up inside her, tightening every nerve ending. She’s teetering on the edge of a massive orgasm. The dam that's holding her back is Bellamy's disappointment if she comes without permission. 

Clarke doesn’t think she can take stopping again. She needs to come.

“Please,” she begs. “Let me come, Bellamy. Please, please!”

Shh. You did so well, Princess." 

Warmth bubbles in her chest hearing Bellamy's pride. It soothes the ache in her core just slightly. 

Okay. Let go.”

Her orgasm bursts free. It’s the most intense climax she’s ever had, a powerful release after being teased to the edge and brought back down. She feels the pleasure tingling in her fingers and toes, going on and on.

Clarke bites her hand, muffling the scream she nearly lets out. Her knees buckle and she almost hits the floor, holding the wall to keep herself upright.

When she’s done, her pussy still flutters for a minute with aftershocks. Clarke feels like she could float away on a cloud of bliss. So fucking good.

Over the line, Bellamy is panting as he nears his climax. He sounds so hot. She listens to the slick rhythm of his hand pulling his cock. A low familiar groan fills her ear when he comes and says her name.

The miles separating them have disappeared. Clarke feels Bellamy like he’s beside her, breathing in the same air, close enough to touch.

Bellamy chuckles. “Damn. I think I ruined these pants.

She doesn’t feel bad about that. When the post-orgasm fog recedes, Clarke remembers what fueled her to do this in the first place. Dull anger clings to her veins.

She wants to say something mean and petty, ask if Bree could do this for him. But Clarke bites the question back. She has no right to ask that and that adds fire to her frustration.

Would she want to hear the answer anyway? Hear the same speech Bellamy gave to Roma and his other flings, how it’s not personal for him. He’ll let her down easy, but they’ll both know it’s her fault for thinking any of this means something.

Clarke needs to pull herself together. Be smart. Don’t get attached.

Princess—”

“I have to go,” Clarke cuts him off.

She hangs up and changes, putting her work outfit back on. Her mind has been made up to keep the lingerie for herself. On the way to the register, she grabs a couple of pairs of lace panties and stockings in other colors too.

On Wednesday afternoon, Clarke is packing up her things, preparing to leave for the day. She’s out of it, but still feels the intensity of Bellamy’s presence approaching her. Her nerves light up at his proximity, straining for a whiff of his rich, woodsy scent.

Clarke ignores her body’s cravings. She’s trying to put some necessary distance between them. They haven’t touched since that time in the supply closet last week and she’s suffering through withdrawal.

“Hey.” Bellamy stops a few feet away. He has his messenger bag slung over his shoulder. “Can we talk for a second?”

Clarke doesn’t look directly at him, pretending to stare at her planner. In her periphery vision, she’s aware that Bellamy is wearing a dark red beanie, his curls framing his handsome face adorably.

“Sure.”

Bellamy pauses when Miller walks past them. He nods at Miller in goodbye and then steps closer, lowering his voice. “I’m, uh, heading out of town for a few days. Kane is sending me to a business conference upstate.” His mouth quirks into a self-deprecating smile. “Guess he’s hoping I’ll learn something.”

Clarke stares hard at her planner’s page. Her stomach drops. He’ll be gone for days. Keeping her distance since Monday has been unpleasant enough.

“How long?” she asks mildly.

“The conference is three days,” Bellamy answers. “I’ll be back to work by Monday.”

She nods. When her expression is smoothed over, Clarke lifts her head and offers him a cool, polite smile. “That’s great. Is ALIE Tech covering your expenses?”

“Uh, yeah. They got me a room at some Hilton hotel.”

Clarke nods again. “Nice. Well, have a good trip.”

She turns away to finish packing her purse and logging out of her computer. Bellamy’s stare lingers on her like a bright light she can’t shut out, watching, burning her.

He grabs her wrist, halting her. “Clarke, are we okay?”

She braces herself, looks up at him. Those deep brown eyes peer through her, searching for a sign of life behind her cold mask. Clarke holds firm. She doesn’t have her emotions under control, yet, but she can at least save face.

“Of course,” she says. “Why wouldn’t we be?”

Bellamy frowns, his dark brows forming a concentrated wrinkle. “You’re not acting like yourself.”

She forces a scoff. “What? I’m fine.”

“No,” he argues. “You’re giving me that polite Customer Service voice that you use when clients piss you off and you can’t tell them to fuck off.” Bellamy leans in closer, narrowing his eyes at her. “You want to tell me to fuck off?”

Clarke takes two steps back. They’re still at the office. Plenty of people are at their desks, not having left yet.

She crosses her arms over her chest. “Since when have I not told you off when I wanted to? I said we’re okay. Stop pushing, Blake.”

He shakes his head, his expression falling with disappointment. “Yeah, alright. See you later, then.”

Bellamy walks away, rounding the corner of the office toward the elevators.

Clarke watches him leave. The pinched look of disappointment squeezes her chest too tight. That’s the last she’ll see of him for five days.

Thursday is busy, hectic with tasks and deadlines, and client meetings. She hardly has a moment to think for herself.

She shouldn’t have the time to glance over at the vacant space and notice Bellamy’s absence. But Clarke loses count of how many times her eyes stray over there.

Friday is hard. Slow. There aren’t enough distractions. Clarke doesn’t understand it. He’s been a thorn in her side for three years. She should be relieved, grateful for the peace and quiet. No one picking a fight with her. No one clicking their pen in the way she hates.

But she’s not relieved. Clarke is on edge, her nerves stretched too thin. Every little thing irritates her and makes her want to snap.

The rest of the office is painfully normal. Jasper and Monty play games to pass the time. Murphy calls out unhelpful and snarky comments. Raven gloats about her own brilliance a few times. Kane sweeps the floor to chat and check in on them.

Clarke is annoyed at all of them. She is annoyed at Bellamy for making her this jealous, needy person. She is annoyed at herself for missing him still.

When she gets home on Friday night, Clarke blasts her music throughout her apartment. She has it deafening so she can’t think.

She puts on her stained paint clothes, grabs her supplies, and loses herself in another world—a world of her own creation. Pouring everything that is swollen inside her into art and letting it go.

That Saturday, she’s riding the train back from the Sanctum facility, on the way home. Clarke swipes absently through Instagram. She’s neglected her social media in the past year.

Somehow, Clarke’s judgment slips away from her and she’s on Bellamy’s profile.

He doesn’t post often. The layout of his Instagram is haphazard, with no clear filter scheme or order. He clearly doesn’t know or care about that kind of thing and she likes that.

His last photo is from Christmas of last year, an unfiltered picture of him, Octavia, and his mother sitting around a table full of food dishes. Bellamy’s hair is long in this picture, in need of a trim, but his smile is wide and genuine, a boyish happiness that makes him look ten years younger.

He doesn’t smile like that at the office. He has a different, almost shy smile whenever Kane or someone compliments his work and he ducks his head a little. Then, there are the cheeky grins when Bellamy pulls off a prank or teases his friends.

For Clarke, there are rare moments when she’ll be on the receiving end of Bellamy’s half-smile. She has to earn those. They’re not as freely given as his smirks. What she has to do to glimpse a beautiful smile like in this picture is a mystery.

Clarke scrolls through the rest of his profile. She’s officially cyber-stalking him and it is pathetic.

Her phone buzzes with a message. For a second, she thinks it might be Bellamy. But it’s Josie texting her and she swallows down the bitter disappointment.

Her old roommate is inviting her to go out tonight. Clarke’s first instinct is to say no. Then she realizes she has no other plans, other than a quiet night in.

She thinks it over during the train ride. The idea grows more appealing. She hasn’t gone out to a club in months. Dancing and drinking with her old friend are a hell of a lot better than staying home stewing in regret and jealousy.

By the time Clarke arrives at her place, she’s pumped up. She texts Josephine and they agree to meet up at 9 pm. That gives her a few hours to finish a class assignment and get ready.

Excitement blazes inside her like a switch being flipped on. With her “Fuck U’ playlist blasting on Spotify, Clarke showers and takes the time to blow-dry her hair, getting glammed up. She digs out a sleek black dress from her closet and a pair of sparkly stiletto heels.

Josie arrives a few minutes before 9, shrieking at her through the intercom. “BITCH! Let me in. I’m freezing my sexy ass off out here!”

Clarke laughs as she buzzes her into the building. In a few minutes, Josie is at her front door and she lets her in.

Underneath her fur coat, Josephine has on a sheer black top, metallic sequin pants and chunky black heels. Her blonde hair falls around her shoulders in thick waves.

“You look amazing,” Clarke tells her.

“I know,” Josie replies proudly. She runs her eyes over Clarke. “Okay, no. You don’t look slutty enough. Come on!”

Josephine drags Clarke behind her to bedroom, ignoring her protests. While her friend ransacks her closet, Clarke picks up her phone and immediately tosses it down, refusing to check to see if Bellamy has texted her.

It doesn’t matter, she tells herself. He’s probably hitting on someone at the Hilton bar right now. Or fucking them in his hotel room. He’s not thinking about her.

“Here! Put this on.” Josie shoves clothing into her chest.

Clarke doesn’t bother to argue. She changes into the red top and leather shorts. It’s something she hasn’t worn in years, since her partying college days. The top has a deep V that puts her cleavage fully on display and the shorts cling to her body.

“I’m going to freeze in this, Josie.”

“Whatever,” she retorts. “You look sexy as fuck. We need to take a picture and document this moment!”

Josephine sets her phone on a timer so they can take photos. Clarke can’t help but laugh at her antics. It feels like the old days when things were simple and fun, striking poses with her friend and only caring about looking hot.

Before they leave, Clarke goes to the kitchen to pour drinks for their pre-club ritual. They used to always drink a Manhattan before they headed out to start the night off with a good buzz. She mixes their drinks and carries the glasses to her bedroom.

Josie is lounging on her bed, going through her phone when she enters.

Clarke sighs. “What are you doing?”

“Posting our pics on your Insta,” Josie replies in a sing-song voice. “Since I know you won’t do it. There! Okay. Gimme the booze!”

Her old roommate gives a theatrical toast to their night and they quickly sip their drinks. It has been a long time since they’ve done this. Clarke is glad she said yes. She deserves a night of fun.

They order an Uber car to drive them downtown and drop them off at the first club. Josie doesn’t like to stay at one place for too long, so they’ll end up club-hopping up and down the block.

The first club is called Vice. Clarke feels a thrill when they’re admitted inside, soon swallowed up by the pulsing colorful lights, the thumping music, the raw energy of the place. With their arms linked, Josie leads them in a lap around the club’s perimeter.

They find a small glass table by the bar. Josie has a rule about never having to pay for their drinks when they go out. It doesn’t take her long to hook some poor sucker in just by her catching his eye and twirling a strand of her hair.

He has a friend, of course. Clarke merely flashes a smile, trying not to get the guy’s hopes up. The gentlemen pay for their first round of drinks, expensive fruity cocktails. Josie charms them for a while and then pulls her onto the dance floor so they can disappear.

“You’re horrible,” Clarke laughs as they join the cluster of gyrating bodies.

Josie scoffs, flipping her long hair. “Says the girl that once flashed a table of Kappa Alpha guys and scored us drinks for the whole night!”

That feels like such a long time ago. Clarke tries to remember that girl as she dances and twirls around, sweat gradually slicking her skin.

Once, she was a bright-eyed sorority princess with a cushioned bank account from the Griffin family money, never having to want or worry for anything.

Other than a mother.

Clarke thinks back on that naïve girl fondly. She had big dreams to change the world and be a famous artist. Reality soon washed that away and she had to grow up.

After an hour at Vice, Josie is bored and wants to move on. They walk through downtown, slightly tipsy and freezing in their coats, and follow other people into another nightclub called Kingpin. This club has red velvet couches that Josie collapses onto to rest her feet.

Clarke offers to get them some shots from the bar. There’s a thick ring of people gathered around the bar top, so she has to wait for her turn. Clarke pulls out her phone and finds the screen lit up by notifications. People have liked the photos Josephine posted on her account.

She doesn’t care that much until her eyes latch onto a comment from bellamy_blake. Her pulse stutters. She and Bellamy aren’t following each other on Instagram. He wouldn’t see her post…unless he was cyber-stalking her as well.

bellamy_blake: looking good, princess.

Clarke bites her lip, staring at the comment. God. She’s turned into a thirteen-year-old trying to flirt online. This is beyond pathetic. Is Bellamy not upset with her anymore? Is she still upset with him? Is he thinking about her wherever he is?

She needs another drink. Finally, Clarke flags down the bartender and orders several tequila shots for where she and Josephine are sitting. Then she drops beside her friend on the sofa.

Josie tucks her chin on Clarke’s shoulder. “What are you looking at?”

“Nothing,” she mutters, locking her phone. “It’s stupid.”

Josephine frowns, narrowing her eyes. They’re interrupted by the arrival of the shots. They throw back the glasses, chasing the tequila down with bites of lime. The alcohol hits her veins in a warm flood and soon Clarke is giggling against her friend’s side.

Josie pokes her cheek. “Don’t tell me you were moping over Hot Trivia Guy!”

Unbidden, Clarke pulls a guilty face. “Oops,” she giggles. She’s been stripped of her filter and adds, “He fucked a girl we work with.”

“Didn’t you say it was nothing serious?”

Clarke punches her in the tit. “Whose side are you on, Josie?”

“Ow!” She grabs her boob, laughing hard. “You bitch. I’m on your side, obviously.” An evil grin curls her glistening lips. “So you should fuck someone. Get even.”

Clarke considers this. She is really horny since Bellamy left the city and deprived her of hot sex this week. It might help purge the image of him and Bree from her brain too.

Time skips away from her after the tequila shots. Josephine pulls them onto another dance floor and Clarke is spinning, loose and flushed, her hair fanning around her. She announces that she’s drunk and her former roommate just laughs at her.

Clarke dances with a pretty brunette girl that reminds her fondly of Lexa. She grinds against her slender hips, feeling silky dark hair slip between her fingers. The girl turns her head and they trade sticky, sloppy kisses that taste like cranberry juice and lime.

The kissing isn’t bad, exactly, but it’s all wrong. The girl is sweet, with small firm tits in her palms and soft curves. It’s not what Clarke needs to burn out the craving of Bellamy’s large hand wrapped around her throat and his hot, bruising kisses. 

Clarke separates from the brunette girl, licking her taste off her lips. The attraction is there, stirring heat in her stomach, but it’s not enough.

She finds Josie in the crowd, sandwiched in between two people, and enjoying the attention. Clarke goes back to dancing alone, trying to lose herself in her body moving to the music. Strong, masculine hands claim her waist and she knows it’s not him, not his touch, but it’s close.

Clarke pushes back into the body pressed against her, all firm muscle and a wide chest, thick arms that cage her in. The scent that hits her it wrong too, some designer cologne that is far from Bellamy’s earthy scent—damn it, she needs to stop thinking about him.

She turns around to face him, tilting her head back to see his face. He’s a big guy, towering over her even in heels. Bright blue eyes stare down at her, half-lidded and almost bored looking. He is attractive though with manly scruff across his sharp jaw and long hair that flows past his shoulders.

The man watches her like a lion waiting for the prey’s next move. Clarke hooks her legs outside of his, sliding her arms around his neck to press closer. He flexes his thigh against her and Clarke rocks down, holding his predatory gaze as she rides him.

Her world isn’t set on fire. But the friction gets her wet and the alcohol spurs her arousal. His hard thigh hits her clit just right and her head drops back, hips rolling to chase the pleasure.

She keeps her mind blank, doesn’t let herself think of anything at all. Her climax rises sharp and fast.

The man kisses her after she comes, his hands pulling through her hair. His lips are hungry and aggressive, nipping her mouth before his tongue slides over hers.

She can feel him hard in between them, how thick and big he is. Judging by the way he kisses, this man will not be gentle fucking her.

Clarke cups his erection, squeezes her fingers around him. “Let’s go."

He smirks. “Bossy little thing.”

There’s a trace of Bellamy there, in his deep voice and that cocky smirk. Enough that some part of Clarke’s brain is silently judging her as she takes this man’s hand and leads them across the dance floor.

She’s smart enough to pass by Josephine and give her a look, letting her friend know where she’s going. Josie smiles slyly, regarding Clarke with approval as the two of them emerge from the crowd and head toward the men’s room.

3 am finds Clarke in the back of an Uber car, slumped against the window. She watches downtown pass by in a swirl of bright lights and tries to forget about the hollow feeling in her stomach.

“Did he suck or something?” Josie demands from beside her, twirling her hair.

“What?” Clarke asks, distracted.

“You’re not acting like a girl that just got her brains screwed out,” she observes. “What’s up?”

Clarke turns to her, forcing a smile. “I’m just tired. I don’t stay out this late anymore.”

Josephine groans. “I know! You’re like an old lady now.”

Thankfully, her friend’s attention is soon captivated by her phone. Josie types out rapid messages, her acrylic nails tapping against the screen, and Clarke is free to turn back to the window.

She should be tired. It’s late and she’s been dancing all night. The night should be catching up to her. But Clarke is restless, disturbed by the endless churning of her gut.

Sleeping with a stranger in a nightclub bathroom might be the worst decision she’s made this year.

The sex was decent. A typical anonymous hook-up. Clarke had a few encounters like them in college when she was single and having fun.

It should be no different now. She is single and allowed to sleep with whoever she likes.

Only her body doesn’t seem to understand that, because she spent the whole time thinking about Bellamy.

With her eyes closed, it was him that she was touching, feeling, seeing. And it was Bellamy’s name echoing in her mind when she orgasmed.

All Clarke wants now is a shower. She wants to rinse the encounter off.

Soon the Uber is pulling up in front of Josephine and Gabriel’s building. The Lightbourne family has more money than God and owns the condominiums, as well as several other properties. Josie lives with Gabriel in the luxurious penthouse.

They climb out of the car and quickly cross into the building’s warm lobby, greeted by the doorman that lets them in. Clarke shivers as they enter the elevator and ride to the top floor. The stupid elevator makes her think about Bellamy too, their first time together.

“I’m home, my love!” Josephine calls out when they enter the penthouse, stripping off her stiletto heels.

Gabriel walks into the front room, wearing a gray tank top and sweatpants. His face brightens when he sees his wife. He’s ready to catch her when Josephine runs and throws herself into his arms, wrapping her legs around his waist.

Clarke looks away when they kiss. She’s used to their shameless PDA by now. Tonight, though, it makes the void in her stomach seem deeper.

Gabriel sets his wife on her feet, keeping his arm tucked around her. “You ladies have a good time?”

Josie grins wickedly. “Oh, Clarke sure did!”

Clarke cuts her a look. “I’m going to shower.”

She waves at them before heading further into the penthouse toward the guest quarters. She’s familiar with the way, having slept over at Josie’s place enough times.

Clarke stripes out of her clothes and steps into the luxury walk-in shower—which is definitely the best thing in the penthouse.

Inside the guest room, Clarke changes into a pair of silk pajamas. She lays on queen size bed, freshly showered and comfortable, but still feeling restless. Her chest aches. She flips and turns in the bed, unable to settle.

After long minutes stretch out with sleep out of reach, Clarke snatches her phone. Her Instagram is still open, sitting on the photo of her tonight in the red top and the comment from Bellamy.

Longing unfurls inside her to talk to him, to hear his voice after so many days.

It’s nearly 4 a.m., but Clarke calls him anyway. She’ll settle for his voicemail. If he asks about missing her call, she’ll say she dialed him by accident when she was drunk and half-asleep or something.

The line clicks. “Hello?

Her heart starts to thump erratically. “Oh. Bellamy. Hi.”

She didn’t expect him to answer her random call at 3:42 in the morning, that’s obvious.

Hey.” There’s a pause. “Did you…call me by accident?

Clarke closes her eyes. His voice soothes that ache inside her. “No,” she says. “But I didn’t think you’d be awake.”

It occurs to her suddenly that he might not be alone. He’s awake because he’s with someone. And now Clarke has reached rock-bottom of pathetic, calling after him like a needy little girl. This is exactly what Bellamy doesn’t want.

Just as she’s considering hanging up, Bellamy replies, “Yeah, I can’t get back to sleep. Got too much on my mind, I guess.

 “Me too,” Clarke admits. She runs her fingers over the cream duvet. “How’s the conference?”

"Fine.

 “Wow. Try to reign in your enthusiasm,” she teases.

Bellamy lets out a sigh. “It’s…a day-long meeting about business models and the tech industry. Which is good for the tech nerds here, but I don’t know what I’m doing here.

Under the thick layer of sleepiness in his voice, Clarke detects a note of insecurity.

“You’re there because Kane trusts you,” she tells him. “You were his pick from the sales team to represent our office. He sees all of the potential you have.”

Woah. Clarke hears her vehement response play back in her ears. Where the hell did that come from? Since when is she defending Bellamy? Even if it is from himself.

She didn’t like hearing him doubt himself, Clarke realizes. He shouldn’t. Bellamy is damn good at his job. A large portion of their client base has stayed with them for years because of him. They’d probably follow him wherever he went.

Silence weighs heavily on the line. Bellamy clears his throat. “You think I have potential?

He’s asking like her opinion actually matters to him. She’s both baffled and flattered by that. She thought he couldn’t care less about her perspective on anything.

“Yeah, I do. The people at our office look up to you. You’re dedicated, loyal, and smart. You’d be brilliant in a leadership role, if you ever took something like that on.”

Thanks, Clarke,” he says quietly.

She can imagine him ducking his head then, hiding his small, pleased smile. It makes her smile too.

“Uh. How was your night? You went out?”

 “Yeah. Josie and I went out to a few clubs.”

Inevitably, Clarke thinks of the guy from Kingpin. Part of her hungers for Bellamy’s reaction if she told him, possibly getting a flash of jealousy.

But no, that’s silly. He wouldn’t care. If anything, Bellamy would congratulate her on getting laid and loosening up for once.

“I saw the photos.” His voice lowers to a rasp that makes her shiver to her toes. “That outfit was…something.”

“Yeah? You liked it?”

He chuckles. “You know I did, Princess.”

Clarke’s skin warms. Her hand rests idly near the waistband of her silk pants. She has hope for where this conversation might go, to truly satisfy her craving for him.

But then her ears latch onto familiar sounds in the background.

At first, it’s just a low rumble of a television. Then the noise becomes clearer and Clarke recognizes the theme music.

“Oh my god,” she gasps. “Are you watching Sex and the City?”

No,” Bellamy says, too quickly.

The background noise disappears and she suspects he’s muted the television. That just makes her crack up, struck by a vision of Bellamy diving for the television remote. Glee dances through her veins.

“You totally are! I knew it. You’re a Mr. Big fan!”

It was just on,” Bellamy mutters.

The fluster she hears from him is both adorable and ridiculous. He has nothing to be embarrassed about. She’s a fan of the TV show too and used to watch it religiously.

Clarke searches for the remote on the bedside table, flicking on the flat-screen television in the guest room. “What channel?”

Bellamy tells her and she puts in on, turning up the volume slightly so he hear. She watches the episode and the four women chatting.

“Oh, this is the tantric sex episode!” Clarke laughs. “This is a good one.”

They’re quiet for a few minutes watching on their separate screens, the episodes synced up. Charlotte frets over her lover falling asleep when they were being intimate and what that means about her performance in bed.

Then Bellamy asks, “Be honest. Have you ever fallen asleep during sex?

Clarke lets out a giggle. “Uh, yeah. Once.”

You’ve got to give me more than that, Griffin. Who was it?”

“With my first boyfriend, Finn,” she confesses. “I had pulled an all-nighter to study for an exam and I was exhausted. And, well, it wasn’t the most exciting time, either. We were kind of in a slump sex-wise.”

Yikes. How did he take it?

Her nose wrinkles at the memory. “Oh, he acted like a big baby. I bruised his delicate male ego. What about you?”

Yep. This guy was going down on me once and I was lying back on this really comfortable bed…” He pauses when Clarke starts laughing. “I dozed off a bit. I felt bad, but he was cool about it.”

They resume watching the episode, occasionally making comments about the characters. Both of them express their disdain over the “soon everyone will be pansexual” line. Samantha is propositioned for a threesome by a gay couple she is friends with.

Clarke can’t resist her curiosity. “Be honest. How many threesomes have you had?”

Bellamy makes a choking sound that signals his shock at her question. “Jesus. Is the office rumor mill making me out to be a threesome expert or something?

She snickers. “I’ve heard some things, that’s all.”

Well, the tales of my experience are greatly exaggerated,” he replies dryly. “I’ve only done that once. Which was fun, sure, but it’s not a regular occurrence. You?

“I haven’t, no.”

The episode finishes, but neither of them takes notice of what happens on screen. They keep talking, asking each other a range of personal questions.

Clarke forgets about sleeping for a while. She’s having more fun than she did at the clubs, hearing about the worst date Bellamy has been on (a nut allergy sent his date to the ER in anaphylactic shock), and how he lost his virginity (which he admits lasted about five minutes, to her amusement).

Clarke tells him about a similar, disappointing experience with Finn in high school (“five minutes is generous”) and her first crush on a girl in fifth grade, who was, of course, straight.

She’s known she likes girls and guys since she was eleven. Bellamy says he had an idea but didn’t feel comfortable admitting his attraction to guys until he was about eighteen.

A glance at the clock tells her they’ve been on the phone for two hours. Her eyelids are growing heavy having been up for almost 24-hours now. Clarke feels like she can crash, finally.

She turns on her side, resting her cheek against the soft pillow. “You know, it’s good to hear your voice.”

“Are you saying you missed me?”  

Clarke smiles. “Something like that.” She fights a yawn. “I can’t stay up anymore.”

Yeah,” Bellamy agrees. “I should try to sleep too. I’ll see you at work, Princess.

"Night, Bellamy."

The line disconnects. She folds under the wave of sleeping tugging her away, the phone still in her hand.

 

Chapter Text


Coming home after a trip tends to give a new appreciation for what you have. Bellamy thought his old mattress was a piece of shit, but he misses the damn thing after sleeping in a hotel bed for four nights. The Hilton room was cold and lonely.

He missed his loft. He missed the Chinese place he orders from every Thursday night. He missed the photos around his place that gave it color and life, the faces of his family and friends.

So, he’s feeling a bit defensive of his home upon returning when Octavia falls back dramatically onto his sofa.

Her nose wrinkles as she bounces herself up and down, testing his cushion. “You need a new sofa, Bell.”

Bellamy hums noncommittally. He ignores the comment, focused on straining the pasta. It’s not his best dish by far, but his little sister demanded he makes something quick and simple.

Octavia complained she was starving, having been waiting for him to get home from Stemford—the city two hours outside Arkadia. He regrets giving her a key to his place. She let herself in and nearly gave him a heart attack when he walked through the door and found her at his kitchen table, brazenly using his laptop.

He made her wait longer for him to shower the trip off him. But his sister drew the line at Bellamy unpacking, so he had to abandon his suitcase on his bedroom floor.

“I’m serious,” she presses. “This is the same couch you bought with the loft—seven years ago! All of your stuff is outdated.” She peers around his living area with disdain. “Jesus Christ. There’s nothing from this decade in here!”

“That’s nice, O,” Bellamy mutters while he stirs in the sauce. “I’m cooking you dinner and you’re insulting my furniture.”

His sister overlooks his sarcasm, typing on her phone. “I’m ordering you a new couch. What day can you be here for the delivery?”

“O,” Bellamy huffs. “There’s nothing wrong with my stuff!”

“Never mind,” Octavia replies, brightening. “Lincoln can come by and sign for it while you’re at work. Problem solved.”

Bellamy shakes his head. His input is clearly not needed. He finishes preparing the pasta for them and sets out the plates with a bowl of crisp salad.

The aroma of food brings his sister to the kitchen table. They dig into their dinner. His annoyance at her meddling is easily forgotten as Octavia shares anecdotes from her travels and design career. Bellamy can never stay too mad at her. He’s proud of the mature, successful woman she’s become.

After dinner, they move to the perfectly acceptable sofa. Bellamy searches for something for them to watch on Netflix while Octavia is in the restroom.

“What the hell is this?”

Bellamy turns his head. His sister stands in the doorway of his bedroom, holding up a Macy’s bag like incriminating evidence.

His stomach drops. Bellamy fights to keep his expression neutral. “That is none of your business. Don’t go through my stuff, O.”

Octavia ignores him, of course. She’s never listened to him a day in her life. She brings the Macy’s bag into the living area and pulls out its contents: the slim box of perfume.

Bellamy keeps his eyes on the television screen, pretending that his pulse isn’t sprinting like he’s being hunted down. It’s not a big deal. If he acts like he doesn’t care, Octavia will let it go.

“You bought perfume! Expensive perfume.” Her voice is incredulous. “I can’t believe this. You don’t spend this much on your shirts! Who the hell is this for?”

Okay, Bellamy is well aware that he splurged on the perfume. It cost him $200. She doesn’t need to point out the obvious.

“No one,” he says tightly, jaw clenched. “Leave it alone.”

Octavia is studying him through narrowed eyes. His hope that she’ll let the mystery go is foolish. She won’t stop now that she knows he’s keeping a secret from her.

“You’re seeing someone,” she realizes. “Who? Come on, Bell. You can’t tell me? It’s someone I know, isn’t it?”

The muscles in his jaw pop and flex. He feels cornered. Octavia is going to figure it out. He doesn’t want her to know about Clarke. Sleeping with her is one thing. His sister would tease him a bit, act disgusted, and move on.

But this is different, condemning. Bellamy went out of his way to find the exact perfume that Clarke wears every day.

He found it while he was in Stemford, visiting the mall by his hotel during some downtime. Bellamy figured he could get a start on holiday shopping. Then he bought the perfume on a stupid impulse.

His sister is right. He doesn’t spend that much on clothes or materials for himself. For birthdays and Christmas, he’ll indulge to getting his mother and sister nice things because he wants them to be happy.

But this was for Clarke.

Bellamy doesn’t know what he was thinking. Just days ago, she didn’t seem to care when he told her he was leaving for the conference. Like it made no difference whatsoever if he was there or not.

He tried to forget about it, not let the disappointment eat him up while he was gone. He was plenty busy during the day, but when night fell he struggled to find restful sleep. His thoughts were tangled up in Clarke Griffin. His emotions were a knot of anger and disappointment and desire.

Then, she called him. Out of nowhere, Clarke called him at 3 in the morning. Not even for phone sex, but to actually talk. She all but admitted that she missed his voice. That put him in a ridiculously cheery mood the next day.

For once, it didn’t feel like he was obsessing over a woman that had nothing but scorn for him—outside of his bedroom skills. While he was stalking her Instagram, Clarke might have been thinking about him too.

His glee doesn’t last. Reality slaps him awake when Octavia discovers the perfume. You don’t buy this kind of gift for a woman you’re supposed to be casually sleeping with.

Octavia continues to pester him and at last, he cracks, so that he doesn’t have to hear the incessant questions. “It’s for Clarke, okay?”

She gasps. Her face lights up with excitement. “You’re seeing Clarke? Wait. Why is that a secret?”

Bellamy rubs at his stubbled jaw as he explains. “I’m not dating her. We’re hooking up. Non exclusively.”

The last part comes out tinged in bitterness. It’s his damn fault. He shouldn’t have agreed when Clarke brought that up. He should have been honest and told her no, he’s not okay with sharing her and he’s lost interest in other people since he kissed her inside that broken elevator.

Disappointment shadows Octavia’s face like a dark cloud blocking the sun. She falls silent for a while, frowning at the box of perfume in her hand. He stares at the TV screen, blankly watching a rerun from The Office.

“It’s stupid,” he mumbles. “I’ll probably just return it.”

“No,” Octavia protests. “I think you should give it to her. It’s a nice gesture.”

“What do you want to watch?” Bellamy asks instead of answering.

His sister purses her lips, but she drops the topic of the perfume. That doesn’t mean he’s completely off the hook though. Octavia burns a hole on the side of his face until he turns his head.

“What?” Bellamy demands.

“Do you like her?”

“Well, I’m not going to purchase a $200 gift for someone I hate, O.”

She punches his shoulder, hard enough to hurt and impress him. “Stop with the sarcasm, you oaf! You know what I’m asking. Do you have feelings for her?”

Clarke Griffin inspires a lot of feelings in him. Some infuriating. Some he’s never felt before. He knows what his sister is asking. The problem is, Bellamy has always had some kind of feelings for her. He’s never been indifferent towards her.

“I like what we have,” Bellamy says at last. “I don’t want it to stop. And I don’t want her to see anyone else. Just me.”

He expels a heavy breath. Fuck. Saying that out loud to Octavia was hard enough. He can’t imagine saying it to Clarke’s piercing blue eyes.

Then, there’s the guilt that hovers behind him like a shadow. He feels awful for sleeping with Bree. Bellamy knows what he and Clarke agreed on, but it still felt wrong. Like he had violated what they had.

It didn’t even distract him the way he meant it to. He was thinking about Clarke, picturing her, feeling her, while he was inside Bree.  

Clarke Griffin has ruined him.

“My advice, Bell,” Octavia says, “As your happily married sister: Give Clarke the gift and tell her that.”

He’s going to look pathetic if he gives Clarke that perfume. She’s not his girlfriend. She’s not his anything. They help each other relieve stress. They’re a step above bitter rivals these days, but they’re not exactly friends either.

Bellamy has no reason to be complicating that. It feels complicated already.

Timing is everything. Bellamy has heard the statement before. But he doesn’t fully grasp its significance until the wrong timing fucks him over.

Bellamy goes into work earlier than usual, arriving shortly after the office has been unlocked. His official excuse it to catch up on the work that has piled up since being out of town. In reality, he’s impatient to see Clarke again.

Bellamy sets his stuff down at his desk, boots up his computer, and waits impatiently as the clock crawls closer to 8:30 am.

He’s thinking about what he’s going to say to her. How should he play it? Should he be playful and try to rekindle their teasing from over the phone on Saturday night? Should he pull her into the nearest room and kiss her with the passion that’s been kindling in his blood for days?

The latter wins out. Bellamy needs to kiss her, to taste her again. To smell the scent of her sweet perfume and her skin.

Someone approaches him, disrupting his daydream. Bellamy glances up, slightly dazed, to find Bree seating herself on the edge of his desk. What is she doing?

“Hey Bellamy,” she says coyly.

“Uh, hey, Bree,” Bellamy replies, as apprehension sweeps down his spine.

He recognizes the look she’s wearing, the pout on her lips. Bree crosses her legs, causing the skirt she has on to slide higher up her thigh. Her head leans in to whisper to him.

“I had a really good time the other night.”

Shit.

Bellamy hates this part. It makes him feel like a dick. He doesn’t make any promises, tries not to get anyone’s hopes up. But some people just take that as a challenge.

“I did too,” he agrees. “But, look, Bree, this isn’t going to—”

Bellamy stops when his eyes find Clarke’s. She’s just entered their floor, bustling in from the elevator with a cup of coffee in her hand.

Clarke stops suddenly, locking in the sight of Bree perched on top of his desk, leaning suggestively towards him.

Son of a bitch. Bellamy clenches his jaw.

He knows what this looks like. He doesn’t want to give Clarke the wrong impression like he’s flirting with Bree right in front of her. But short of pushing the girl off his desk, he doesn’t know what to do. 

Clarke’s eyes flash. Like lightning streaking across a stormy sky, anger brightens her eyes for a moment. Then her expression goes cold and dark. The mask doesn’t fool him. He saw her anger. He sees her.

Clarke walks to her desk. She sets down her coffee cup, removes her coat. Her movements are casual as if she doesn’t notice him staring. But the way Clarke unwinds the scarf from her neck is deliberate, slowly revealing the mark on her neck.

His eyes latch onto it. The faded hickey on her throat.

The dark spot is recent, maybe a day or two old. It didn’t come from him. He hasn’t touched Clarke in over a week.

Bellamy stares at the pale slope of Clarke’s neck, long enough for Bree to notice he’s not listening to her suggestions. He can’t hear her. Jealousy flares from his gut and spreads through the rest of him, burning hot and sour up the back of his throat.

This is a sickness. He feels sick.

“Hello?” Bree calls, nudging his shoulder. “Bellamy?”

“Bree.” Clarke’s voice lashes out. She’s using that polite tone, but he hears the steel underneath it. “Can you fax this for me? The address is on there.”

Bree’s lips purse, turning away from him. “Sure.”

Their receptionist slides off his desk and goes to take the stack of papers from Clarke’s hand.

When she’s gone, Clarke resumes typing on her computer, acting as if she isn’t seething just like he is. She’s better at hiding her emotions, but they’re there if you know where to look.

Bellamy’s jaw works furiously. It doesn’t take him long to puzzle it out. Clarke went out that weekend and hooked-up with someone. Right before she called him and they watched that stupid show and talked for two hours.

“Stare harder, Blake,” Clarke snaps.

So. He’s back to being Blake then.

Bellamy shakes his head, standing up from his desk. He strides away from her so they don’t end up in another screaming match at the office. He escapes to the break room and tries to calm his heart slamming in his chest, silently raging.

He doesn’t understand her. What right does Clarke have to be upset with him? What should she care if Bree sits on his desk and asks him out? Clarke has someone else to meet her needs when he’s out of town, apparently.

Bellamy rubs his eyes. God. To think he felt guilty for sleeping with Bree. He’s an idiot. He couldn’t get Clarke out from under his skin and he was happy to hear from her, while she was screwing someone else.

“You know, it’s good to hear your voice.”

Why did she say that? Did she even mean it? Doubt swarms through his head like a plague attacking the giddiness he felt. What if she’s just messing with him, as payback for the pranks he’s pulled?

Behind him, the break room door swings open. Bellamy feels the back of his neck prickle, a sudden aware of her presence. She comes closer and he catches a whiff of her perfume, torturing him.

“Not now,” Bellamy says through his teeth, eyes closed.

Clarke stops somewhere in front of him. Her anger crackles in the air like an electric current. “Excuse me?”

“I said,” he growls, “not now, Griffin.”

His eyes snap open to her standing before him, hands gripping her hips. She’s not hiding her feelings now. The fury is clear across her dark expression.

“What the hell is your problem?” she demands.

“I’m not in the mood for your games, that’s all.”

Clarke arches a brow at him, incredulous. “What kind of game am I playing, Bellamy? Enlighten me.”

He shakes his head. “I don’t know. I can’t figure your angle out this time. You’ll have to give me a minute.”

Her eyes widen with every word of his sarcastic retort. “You’re angry with me,” she realizes.

His mouth bares a hard smile. “Ten points for Slytherin.”

“Stop it! You have no right,” Clarke hisses, her eyes flashing again as she storms up to him, gets in his face. “No right to act like an asshole when you’re the one shoving that girl in my face—”

“Bree? Christ, she just sat at my desk—”

“I know you slept with her,” she cuts him off hotly. “I heard her talking last week, after the picnic.”

That gives him pause, putting a pin in Bellamy’s anger. At least for a moment. Shock stops him in his tracks. Clarke knows about Bree. Clarke has known for the past week. She knew before he left for the conference…

“That’s why you were upset,” Bellamy says slowly, realization dawning on him. “Before I left. I knew you pissed at me, but I couldn’t figure out why.”

Clarke freezes. He sees a brief flare of panic in her eyes. “No.” She tries to deny it. “I wasn’t angry with you.”

Bellamy steps forward. This time he’s invading her space, forcing her to back into the countertop. He leans down and hears the crack in her breathing, her body reacting to his proximity the way his does when she’s near.

“Liar,” he says flatly.

Déjà vu hits him. He remembers cornering her like this to demand questions about Lexa. Questions that were honestly none of his business. But he didn’t care. He needed to know, as desperate and crazy as it made him seem.

That’s what Clarke does to him. Robs him of all rational thought and good sense. He’s been crossing lines and breaking company rules for her since they met. That has only gotten worse since they started this, crossing a line they can’t come back from.

Bellamy grasps her throat. His fingers span across the column of her neck, brushing soft skin and the dark bruise there. In the quiet of the break room, their heavy breaths are as loud as gunfire. Fitting, for their personal battlefield.

“Princess,” he murmurs. “What the fuck are you doing to me?”

Clarke’s eyelids flutter like she’s waking up from a dream. Her pupils are blown wide, the anger in her eyes replaced by a haze of desire. She latches onto his shirt, her nails pinching through the material to his skin.

Bellamy smirks. The realization of her jealousy has flooded his veins like a drug. “Go ahead. You can mark your territory if you want.”

Clarke tilts her head back, glaring at him. “What makes you think I want that?”

His fingers compress around her throat. He watches her eyes flutter again. She’s turned on, her nipples hard, her breathing fast and shallow.

“Because you were jealous of someone else touching me,” he says lowly. “So jealous that you tried to fuck it out of your system.” His fingers graze the hickey. “But it didn’t work. Did it, Princess?”

Clarke says nothing, her jaw set defiantly. Her defenses are stacked high. She revealed her cards to him and now she thinks she has to save face. He has to take a hit, or they’ll both lose here.

“I know,” Bellamy continues, “Because that’s what I did.”

Her lips part open slightly. He’s surprised her, got her attention. It’s come with a cost. He has to brace himself for the vulnerability he’s about to display, leaving himself wide open for her to throw it back in his face.

“I was jealous at the picnic. That’s why I left with Bree. I tried to forget about you, but I can’t.” His forehead presses against hers, stealing a greedy inhale of her scent. “You’re under my skin, Clarke. And damn it, I like you there.”

Clarke is quiet for a moment. She runs her nails across his chest, scratching lightly instead of digging in. “You called her ‘Princess’.”

“Yes,” he admits.

“Why?”

“Because I was thinking about you. I only want you, Clarke.”

Her blue eyes glint at him. As furious as a storm can be, there is raw beauty there too and he sees is now in her gaze.

“The guy I slept with meant nothing to me. I couldn’t get you out of my head, either.”

Bellamy slams his lips against hers, his arm snagging her waist to pull her completely into him. They melt together, giving in to the heat of their deep, passionate kisses. His heart pounds with the fire that licks through his veins.

He missed her lips and the feel of her small body in his arms. Every soft curve melds perfectly against him. Bellamy kisses her like something is lurking around the corner, ready to tear them apart.

And Clarke kisses him back like she’ll have to be ripped away from him. Her tongue hungrily sweeps into his mouth. She rakes her nails down his back, leaving behind possessive scratches that make him grin against her mouth.

Neither of them hear the door open. Or the sharp inhale.

“Oh…Holy shit!”

They break apart abruptly. Bellamy turns and finds Miller frozen in the doorway. He’s wearing a wide grin.

Bellamy licks his lips, tasting coffee and Clarke. “Miller—”

“Wow.” Still grinning, Miller gestures at the two of them. “How long has this been going on?”

Clarke shifts against the counter. Bellamy glanced at her pinched, worried face. Protectiveness wells in his chest. “Nothing is—” he starts to lie.

“Since Halloween,” Clarke says cutting him off. He stares at her in shock. “Well, officially. But you can’t tell anyone, Miller. Okay?”

Miller rolls his eyes good-naturedly. “I won’t. Obviously. Except for Monty.”

“Fine,” Clarke huffs.

Bellamy wonders if he’s dreaming or somehow stumbled into a hallucination. Miller gives them a knowing smirk before disappearing through the door. He can’t believe that happened. Or rather, that Clarke told him.

Bellamy turns back to her. “What was that? I thought you didn’t want anyone to know.”

She shrugs. “He saw us. And he’s your best friend. I figured you didn’t want to lie him.”

“I don’t.”

Clarke nods. She straightens out the front of her navy dress. A noticeable flush lingers in her cheeks. “We have to be more careful,” she tells him, frowning. “If that had been Kane or someone from HR…”

“Yeah,” Bellamy agrees, sighing. They’d be screwed. He reaches out to stroke her throat again. “You make me lose my mind.”

Clarke nibbles at the corner of her lip. “I know the feeling,” she mutters dryly. Her eyes meet his, full of resolve. “I don’t want to see anyone else. In case that wasn’t clear.”

That convinces him. This has to be a dream. But no, he thinks, looking at Clarke. At the nervous flutter of her pulse in her neck, the determined line of her lips. She is real and beautiful. And she wants him. Just him.

“Me either,” he tells her honestly. “You’re a handful, Princess and you’re all I want.”

The flush in her cheeks spread to her neck. Clarke looks pleased.

Bellamy aches to kiss her again, get his hands on her and bring her as much pleasure as her body can take. But they’ve already been busted once today. They have to be smarter if they want this to continue.

Clarke moves toward the door. He jerks his chin at her to go on without him, gesturing at his indecent state. Arousal has his cock straining against his pants.

“I need a minute,” he mutters.

A devious smirk curls Clarke’s mouth. “Find me at lunch. I’ve been waiting days to get my mouth on you.”

Bellamy groans as she walks out. “That’s not helping right now!”

Bellamy is called into another meeting in Kane’s office. This one is more formal than the last. They’re discussing his future at the company.

Kane talks about recommending him for a position in management, getting his own office, and a list of perks that fly over his head.

There’s an opening for manager at the Washington D.C. branch. His boss discusses the contacts he has in that area and brushing up on his interview skills, but Bellamy’s head is still wrapped around the location.

That’s two hours away from their town. Two hours away from his mom’s house. He’d be leaving the Arkadia branch. He might be moving, if he decides not to commute.

Bellamy tries to appear grateful during the meeting, nodding along. He’s flattered that Kane is even considering him for a higher position. Surely, there are many other qualified candidates to put in charge.

“You’ve don’t give yourself enough credit, son,” Kane tells him. “You’ve shown initiative with taking on projects and growing your client base. You have the leadership skills and the experience. You’re ready, Bellamy.”

“Thank you, sir.”

There isn’t much else he can say. It’s a relief when he’s dismissed.

Bellamy enters the break room. He loiters by the vending machine while trying to put his scrambled thoughts in order.

So much for taking initiative. His gut is telling him to say no. He’ll make a terrible manager. What the hell does he know about being a boss?

The thing is, this job was supposed to be temporary. Bellamy applied for the starting sales position because of the pay and the benefits. He needed to make above minimum wage.

At the time, his mom had medical bills to pay. She nearly lost the house. Her job didn’t have enough insurance to cover the medical expenses and they were drowning in debt to cover it all.

The salary at ALIE Tech let him help pay off the credit card debt, eventually, and the bills. Once his mother’s condition was stable, Bellamy was able to move out and get his own place. Thank god that Octavia’s volleyball scholarship was nearly a full ride to UCLA. His sister handled the rest of her school’s cost from money she saved working every summer.

College wasn’t an option for him. He couldn’t afford to hand over thousands of dollars for a degree, not when important bills needed to get paid. It was his family, his responsibility. Taking care of his mom and seeing Octavia off to college was what mattered.

The years went by and for some reason, ALIE Tech kept him around. Bellamy rose from his entry level position. He made friends at the company and Kane was always in his corner, so proud of where he had gotten. Bellamy owed his boss a debt that couldn’t be repaid, taking a chance on him.

He’s fine in the position he’s at, managing his accounts and building relationships with clients. He can keep selling tech.

What is his alternative? Saying no the promotion and disappointing Kane. His mentor has been training him for this, trusting him with a new project, and advocating him as the ideal candidate for the position. Bellamy can’t throw that back in his face.

Then there’s the pay increase. Bellamy would be foolish to say no to that.

He’s not materialistic in the slightest, but he knows the necessity of having money. Putting away savings so his mom could officially retire. Getting ahead on the rent at his apartment. Getting his bike fixed, so he won’t have to take the train to work.

“You look stressed.”

Bellamy turns. He thought he was alone in the break room.

Clarke shuts the door behind her as she comes inside. Her sharp blue eyes stare into him like she can read every insecurity that’s burrowed under his skin.

Can she see the dirt he dragged in here on his first day, coming straight from a job mending his neighbor’s fence? He had mud caked under his boots.

Clarke wasn’t here for that. He knows this. But sometimes it feels like she can look through him and see the roots of where he came from, the insecurities, everything he works hard to hide.

“I’m fine,” he says tersely.

She frowns, studying him closely. Bellamy wishes she would stop.

“You’re not.” She dismisses his excuse. “Are you okay?”

Bellamy lets out a harsh laugh. “Since when do you give a shit, Griffin?” He glances at the vending machine. “Am I blocking your candy bar? I’ll get out of the way.”

Clarke grabs hold of his arm, stopping him before he can stalk off. Her fingers wrap around his bicep and hold him in place. 

One glance at her face and the guilt swallows him. He shouldn’t have snapped at her. That wasn’t fair. She does care about him, as hard as Bellamy finds that to believe sometimes. 

“I’m sorry,” he mutters and sighs heavily. “I’m not—I’m not in the right headspace right now.” 

“It’s okay.” She squeezes his arm, her eyes soft, kinder than he deserves. “I can help you take your mind off of it. That’s what this is. Right?”

Bellamy flexes his jaw, considering the suggestion. His head isn’t clear. He has no idea what the fuck to do. But maybe she has the right idea. Screwing his frustration out sounds like a damn good distraction.

“Where?” he demands.  

They’ve had to be extra cautious about hooking up since Miller walked in on them, reserving their sex for after work hours when the office is clear.

Or, memorably, sneaking down to the warehouse during their lunch break on the day he came back from his trip. Clarke blew him behind a stack of shipping containers. 

Suddenly, Clarke smirks. “Follow me.”

She walks out of the break room and he’s a few steps behind her. They pass through the office floor where most people are typing on their computers or on calls, not paying attention to the two of them sneaking off together.

Clarke leads them to the block of private offices. She stops at Kara Cooper’s door, the head of the Human Resources department, and lets them inside. Clarke locks the door.

Bellamy peers around. The office isn’t as nice as Kane’s, lacking his view of the city skyline, but it is empty. There’s a gray executive desk with two computer monitors, tall filing cabinets against the wall, and a sitting area featuring a long white couch.

“Cooper’s on vacation this week,” Clarke explains, her mouth curled into a sly smirk. “I remembered her office would be…unoccupied.”

Bellamy mirrors her smirk. He’s impressed. “You’re a menace, Griffin.”

Clarke is a troublemaker. She conceals her sneakiness well behind a pristine record and innocent Disney princess looks.  But he knows better, probably better than most people they work with, who she really is. 

Bellamy leans down to capture her mouth in a searing kiss. His fingers twist through her hair, taking control, and he flicks his tongue through the open seam of her lips to taste her.

As always, Clarke gives as good as she gets. She rips open the buttons of his shirt and scratches her nails over his chest, marking him up. Their kisses are hot and punishing, scraping teeth against jaws, biting lips almost hard enough to draw blood.

This is the release he needs. The push and pull of their sex, neither surrendering to the other. It gets his blood pounding under his skin. His cock is so hard for her.

His shirt is torn off and tossed aside. Clarke unzips her dress, stepping out of her heels. Bellamy can’t wait to have his hands back on her, reaching to unclip her bra and reveal her full, gorgeous tits.

He helps himself to licking over the tight peaks, swirling the rosy buds with his tongue. Clarke moans, arching her back to get closer. He’s spurred on by her little noises and sucks her nipples into his mouth.  

His hand skims down her stomach, dipping into her panties. Bellamy hisses through his teeth. “You’re soaked for me, Princess.”

Her folds are dripping wet. He parts them with his fingers to sink inside her cunt, rubbing against hot, velvet-smooth walls.

Clarke cries out as he starts fingering her. He has to close his mouth over hers, swallowing her moans. She digs her nails into his shoulder blades and it’s the sweetest sting, knowing the pleasure he brings her is so intense, she needs an outlet.

He cups his hand around her, using the heel to roll over her swollen clit while his fingers curl upward. Wet sounds of her pussy being fingered echo through Cooper’s office.

Clarke shakes in his arms. He can feel her cunt throbbing and she breaks their kiss to pant against his lips, voice breathy and desperate, “Please, Bellamy, please.”

“You’re close,” he murmurs, nuzzling her flushed cheek.

Her expression is creased with beautiful agony as she nears her climax. Clarke rocks her hips hungrily into his hand, chasing her orgasm. He keeps his thrusting pace and pinches her clit with his free hand.

That finishes her. Clarke’s teeth dig into her bottom lip when she comes, her hot walls squeezing and contracting around his fingers. She rocks against him through her orgasm, wringing out every drop of pleasure and it’s exquisite to watch.

Bellamy draws out his fingers slowly. “Damn. That was hot, Clarke.”

Her gaze is half-lidded, watching lazily as he sucks on his slick fingers, tasting her. “I thought this was supposed to be for you.”

“I got plenty out of that,” he says, smirking. “Believe me.”

Clarke presses herself against him, her tits squished to his chest. She licks her taste from his mouth and moans when he kisses her back, making her desire known. He’s so hot for her he feels like he could melt through the floor.

She presses up on her toes and he grabs hold of her waist, lifting her up to lock her legs around them. Bellamy steers them toward the couch. He tosses her not-so-gently onto the surface. She lands on her back, her tits jiggling.

Clarke gasps after he throws her, staring up at him with wide eyes flickering with excitement. It makes Bellamy grin as he undoes his belt and kneels onto the sofa.

She grabs him by his belt loops, pulling him on top of her. Their kiss is a heated collide of lips and teeth, her fingers twisting in his curls. Using her feet, Clarke makes a quick work of pushing his pants and boxers down past his hips.

He pulls his hard cock out, jerking his length in tight, quick strokes. Her head propped on the couch’s arm, Clarke watches him closely.  She’s just as turned on as he is, all flushed and panting for him.

Bellamy retrieves a condom from his pocket and sheaths himself. He crawls closer to Clarke, swatting her hand away before she can touch her cunt.

The sound of the slap is loud in the locked office. And when it ends, Bellamy clearly hears how Clarke’s breathing grows loud and shallow.

Blake,” she hisses.

Bellamy smiles to himself again. He’s getting better at reading her, studying Clarke’s body and her reactions like an ancient text he has decode. She can hiss at him, but he knows what she really wants. It happens to align nicely with what he needs right now.

He takes hold of both of her tiny wrists in his grip. The size difference between them is arousing. Clarke watches him as Bellamy pins her wrists above her head. His hold is forceful, keeping her in place.

“I’m going to fuck you hard, make you come again on my cock. You’re going to stay still.” He meets her eyes, his glare challenging. “Do I have to use my belt for your hands or are you going to be a good girl?”

There it is. Her blue eyes spark at the words from his lips. Good girl.

Clarke squirms under him. Her puckered nipples rub against his chest. Bellamy would bet she’s drenched between her legs right now.

“No,” she murmurs. 

Bellamy squeezes her wrists hard. “No, what?”

Her eyes shine at him. “No. I’ll be good.”

A grin stretches his mouth. He uses his right hand to nudge her panties aside and push his cock inside her. Clarke’s tight, perfect warmth draws him in. She’s wet from her last orgasm and the feeling is heavenly.

Bellamy inhales sharply as he bottoms out, pulling his hips back to drag against her slick walls. He fucks into her with a climbing, intense rhythm, snapping his hips harder. The couch shakes with it.

Clarke pants under him. She’s the hottest thing he’s ever laid eyes on—thighs spread open, heavy tits bouncing, her arms restrained above her head. A smile plays on her soft pink lips, freely losing herself in her body’s sensations.

It would blow his mind, if his brain wasn’t turned into useless mush at the moment. All Bellamy is capable of is watching his thick cock disappear into her pussy, pounding out his earlier frustration and confusion into pleasure.

“You feel amazing,” Bellamy rasps into her ear, biting at the lobe. “Taking my cock so well, Princess.”

Her cheeks flush darker. It might be from the exertion of their fucking, but Bellamy suspects otherwise. He’s becoming fluent in what gets Clarke Griffin off in bed.

She’s eager to be praised. She likes to be fucked hard and intense and doesn’t mind pain. She wants to feel it, to lose control. And he likes to make his partners lose control, giving his all to make sure they enjoy themselves.

He licks his thumb pressing it to her clit, caressing the sensitive nub through her panties. The friction makes Clarke shudder and moan for more, then bite her lip to keep quiet.

“Fuck,” she gasps. “That feels so good.”

“Give me another one. Come, Princess.”

Her climax hits almost as if she was waiting for his permission. Bellamy’s eyes latch onto her face, greedy to glimpse the moment her expression turns to bliss. Gorgeous.

Clarke arches her back when she comes. Her body tightens, her cunt pulsing deliciously around his cock. Bellamy kneads her clit through her orgasm, milking her pleasure for as long as possible.

“That’s it,” he purrs. “That’s a good girl, Clarke.”

He doesn’t last long after her, succumbing to the force of his orgasm. Bellamy grits his teeth, keeping painfully silent as his pleasure peaks and rolls through him like a storm. His hips give a final twitch inside her.

Bellamy catches his breath, his pulse still thrumming hard. He brushes a lazy kiss on her shoulder, tasting the salt of her skin. “God, that was good.”

He sits up slowly, releasing Clarke’s arms. She makes a soft sound of agreement and brushes her hair out of her face.  “Better?” she asks him.

“Yeah.”

His dilemma hasn’t gone away, but it’s pushed back behind a fuzzy haze of post-orgasm bliss. His tension has drained. Bellamy feels relaxed instead of on edge, so it is better.

He takes a glance at her reddened wrists, feeling a twinge of both concern and pride. “You okay?”

Clarke follows where he’s looking and smirks. “I wouldn’t let you do that if I wasn’t okay with it, Bellamy.”

Fuck. Her answer is getting him hot again. Bellamy licks his lips. “So you liked that, huh?”

She leans in to kiss him, nipping his bottom lip as she draws away. “Next time,” she whispers, “Use the belt.”

When she dares to stand up and walk away after that, he lands a slap on her ass. Clarke tosses him a wicked glance over her shoulder, knowing exactly what she does to him.

“Brat,” he mutters.

“You love it,” Clarke says and goes about putting her bra back on.

Bellamy takes care of the condom and gets re-dressed. Inside, his mind is skipping ahead, thinking about the kind of dirty things he and Clarke can get into. Using his belt to bind her wrists to his headboard. Spanking her ass until it’s flushed red and seeing if he can make her come just from that.

When he turns to look, Clarke is already zipped up in her dress. That ruins his plans for another round. Well, it’s not like they can fuck in Kara’s office all day. Someone is bound to notice and they have to get back to work.

Clarke goes to unlock the door. Bellamy stops her before she can, laying a hand on her back. Her blue eyes turn up to him curiously.

“Thanks for that,” he says lowly.

She nods. “You looked like you needed it.”

So it seems that Clarke is getting adept at reading him as well. She didn’t force him to talk, when he was struggling to make sense of the chaos in his head. She helped him in their way. The sex relaxed him and bringing Clarke pleasure boosted his flagging self-esteem after that meeting.

Bellamy rather likes that, he realizes. He feels like he did when Clarke combed through his bookshelf and read his favorite lines from Metamorphoses. He feels seen, known.

Blissful is the word Bellamy would use to describe his week. After their conversation to make their arrangement exclusive, it’s like the intensity has been cranked up between him and Clarke.

They were already hot and heavy before. Now it’s reached another level. Clarke has broken the rules again, coming over to his place. He suspects it’s so they don’t get caught at work and she’s spooked by Miller walking in on them.

Either way, Bellamy isn’t complaining. They get to have sex on his couch, against the wall, and spread on his kitchen table all in one night.

His neighbor, a middle-aged WASP woman, gives him a dirty look the morning after when they’re collecting their mail. Pissed about the noise, he guesses. Bellamy just smiles smugly and wishes her a good day.

That Thursday they have Thanksgiving dinner at his mother’s house. Like the years before, the holiday is a warm family event, the house filled with people and the delectable scent of his mom’s cooking.

His aunts and cousins attend, along with Octavia and Lincoln. O’s friend Charmaine also comes, bringing her baby/Octavia’s goddaughter, Hope.

Bellamy is distracted from his duties by Hope. He’s supposed to be helping in the kitchen, but the 1-year-old girl has his heart. Bellamy plays with her in the living room. He’s always been completely soft for children.

Octavia and Charmaine chat on the sofa with their wine glasses. Lincoln is watching football on the TV and occasionally making funny faces at Hope. In the kitchen, his aunts are bickering as they prepare the food.

Bellamy feels his mother’s hand pet over his hair. “My son, when are you going to bless me with a grandchild?”

He laughs. “When a woman lets me have a child with her, I’ll let you know.”

Hope reaches for his face and Bellamy playfully snaps his teeth at her little chubby fingers, making her squeal in delight. He laughs again.

When Bellamy glances up, his mother is still standing over him. She’s staring at him with a contemplative look. “Is there a woman you have in mind?”

“What?” Bellamy asks. “No.”

His mother frowns. “Normally when I ask about grandchildren, you shoo me. This time you were smiling, love.”

Against his will, his cheek flush. That doesn’t mean anything. “It’s Thanksgiving,” he argues. “I’m just in a good mood.”

His mother hums. Her face softens into a smile as she leans down to kiss Hope and returns to the busy kitchen.

Bellamy notices Octavia looking his way from the couch. His baby sister wears a knowing smirk that rankles under his skin. He ignores her and goes back to playing with Hope, bouncing her in his lap.

They push two tables together and gather in mismatched chairs to fit everyone for dinner. His mother has laid out her nicest tablecloth for the occasion and they use the china plates passed down from her mother. Overlapping voices and the scrape of silverware fills the house.

Bellamy is stuffed when the meal is over. He picks at the pecan pie his aunt prepared while talking to Lincoln about his work. Then his phone lights up on the table. Seeing Clarke’s name makes his stomach flip.

Clarke: happy turkey day!!

She’s sent him a photo of herself wearing a turkey hat and a green apron. She’s smiling at the camera with a smudge of flour on her cheek. Baking, he figures. It looks she’s standing in the kitchen of a restaurant, the counters stainless steel and people in the background.

Bellamy: happy thanksgiving, princess. where are you?

Clarke: soup kitchen on 3rd ave

Bellamy’s brows raise in surprise at that response. She’s volunteering at a soup kitchen on Thanksgiving. Concern swiftly follows his surprise. What about her family? He tries to subtly ask his question without being offensive.

Bellamy: nice. no big turkey dinner?

Clarke: not this year.

Something clenches in his chest at her answer. He can almost feel her sadness seeping into his fingers through the phone and through the rest of him.

Bellamy has to refrain himself from asking more. She’ll tell him about it if she wants too.

Another text from her arrives a minute later. Clarke: it’s a family tradition.

She’s sent another photo. This is one is of a middle-aged man with dirty blonde hair and bright blue eyes, smiling widely as he holds a young girl against his side. Bellamy recognizes her face, the same big blue eyes. It’s Clarke at age ten or eleven. They’re wearing matching green aprons.

Bellamy snaps a photo of the table he’s sitting at, capturing Octavia in Lincoln’s lap, his laughing aunts, the cousins, his mom at the head, and Charmaine saluting him with her glass of wine.

Bellamy: this is mine.

Clarke texts him back a heart emoji, followed by: enjoy.

He puts his phone down, ready to do just that, and soak in his extended family. He’s reminded how lucky he is to have them.

The next day Octavia drags him and Lincoln along for holiday shopping. Bellamy hates the mall. He prefers to go in, grab what he came for, and leave. But his sister turns shopping into an all-day affair.

They go into nearly every store at the mall, checking off every person on Octavia’s long list. He’s able to get his mom’s gift while they’re out, so it’s not a complete waste. He already bought a new design sketchbook for O while he was in Stemford.

After the mall, Bellamy picks up a Christmas tree for his mother. This is another yearly tradition. He always gets the tree and puts it up for her after Thanksgiving. His mom is pleased when they get back, popping a kiss on his cheek.

They start decorating the tree that evening. Octavia is feeling festive, playing Christmas music and pestering their mom into bringing out her ornaments. Bellamy and Lincoln are roped into hanging tinsel and ornaments. They can’t say no to Octavia, it seems.

The holiday spirit must be getting to him. Bellamy will blame that for his actions. He’s never been to Clarke’s place, so he messages Murphy for the address—and ignores how that bugs him that Murphy has been to Clarke’s house before he’s been invited.

Bellamy takes the train to her building that evening, feeling like a creep. He almost turns back several times. But he finds his resolve. He went through the trouble of wrapping and getting the address. He might as well go through with it.

He has to wait outside her building for a few minutes, the cold biting his face. Finally, someone exits and he’s able to slip through the doors. Bellamy finds the apartment mailboxes and searches for Clarke’s number: 319.

He places the wrapped package into the locker, containing the bottle of perfume. The gift is signed with a simple and cheesy, happy holidays!

Whatever. Clarke deserves it and she’ll probably enjoy the anonymous gift better than coming from her no-strings fuck buddy.

On Saturday, Bellamy is spending his free time at the garage working on the Camaro. It’s coming along nicely. He pauses to check his phone and finds a missed text from Clarke. Cue his stomach’s fluttering. He needs to get that under control.

Clarke: you forgot to sign it.

Bellamy stares at the message, his brow furrowing. He doesn’t understand.

Bellamy: sign what?

Clarke: the gift you left for me. you didn’t sign it.

His heart skips. Shit. How did she know it was from him?

Clarke: I know your handwriting, you dork.

Clarke: thank you. it’s my favorite perfume.

A smile curves his lips. He writes back, you’re welcome.