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Win a Date with Bellamy Blake

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Clarke groaned as her best friend, Kate, drug her into the movie theatre. "I don't want to see this damn movie." It was hot outside today, despite it being mid-November, but it was Los Angeles, so that shit happened more often than not. She pulled her blonde curls up into a ponytail, sighing in relief as her neck immediately cooled. Kate rolled her eyes and arched one of her perfect red eyebrows.

"I don't understand why you have such an aversion to The Grounders series. I mean, Jesus, Clarke. You love sci-fi and violence and action. What's wrong with this series?" Clarke pursed her lips and shook her head. She wasn't going to get into this with Kate. There were some things that her friend didn't know her past, and she was going to keep it a secret for as long as possible.

"I think it's stupid. The whole premise is stupid."

"If the premise is so stupid, why is it a hit book series and movie series? Why is it making more money than The Hunger Games and the like?" Kate sighed as the two of them stood in line to get their tickets.

"It's just…" Clarke groaned, because she had no excuses. She only had the truth, and she was keeping that to herself.

"I mean, look at him." Kate pointed to the movie poster in which the lead actor of the movie series, Bellamy Blake. Clarke's expression soured. Bellamy Blake. Fucking douche. "He's so fucking good looking."

"He's a douche." Clarke responded, frowning.

"Stop it. He's gorgeous. He's just an actor." Kate said with yet another eye roll. "C'mon. I love this series, and I love Bellamy Blake."

Bellamy kicked the trashcan in the office of his agent, Marcus Kane. "You've got to be fucking kidding!" He yelled, turning to glare at the older man who was like a father to him. He was livid. He couldn't believe that Kane did this to him.

"Oh, stop freaking out, you big baby!" He turned and glared at the beautiful brunette lounging on the couch in Kane's office. He scoffed when his dark brown eyes met her hazel ones. She smirked at him-a smirk that was very much like his own, so much so, it was like looking in a mirror. It was expected, considering some of her genes were the same as his own.

"Fuck off, Octavia." He flipped his sister off, and she blew him a kiss.

"Now, Bellamy, you've got to look at the bigger picture here."

"What fucking bigger picture?" He turned his attention on Kane once again.

"The Grounders has been a huge hit and a boost for your career, but there's only so much of a boost that you can get when you're a PR nightmare."

"Fuck you, Kane." Bellamy snapped, marching over to his agent's drink kart. He poured a couple of fingers worth of whiskey and swallowed the drink in one gulp. He winced slightly at the burn.

"Well, you are, Bellamy. You've gotten picked up for DUIs, disorderly conduct, and if it weren't for a little money being exchanged, you probably would've been picked up on assault charges, as well." Kane laid out Bellamy's faults in his typically cold, calculated way. Octavia snorted from where she was flipping through a magazine.

"Why are you here?" Bellamy snapped at her. "Don't you have a centerfold with Playboy to prepare for?" The look he got from Octavia would've scared a weaker man, but he'd been on the receiving end of that look for most of his life, so it didn't exactly strike fear in him like it was intended. He rolled his eyes at her.

"You know I'm not that kind of model, Bells." She tossed her magazine aside and stood up, glaring at him. He waved a hand at her. "It's a shoot for Maxim." She said, tossing her hair over her shoulder. "And, it's tomorrow, brother dear."

"'Cause Maxim is so much better, O." He blew out a breath. He had a huge issue with guys ogling his sister, and the altercation that led to the almost-assault charge was the result of some asshole saying shit about his sister.

"Whatever, I'm out. I've got a date." She pulled at her shirt, which wasn't much of a shirt. It was one of those cropped things that was barely more than a glorified bra. Her pulling on it did nothing more than show a little more cleavage than he liked. If she wasn't his sister, that kind of outfit, the cropped shirt and lowrise, skintight jeans, would be attractive to a guy like him. Hell, he'd dated plenty of models, actresses, and pop singers, because they dressed the way that O did. He didn't like it that his sister was dressed in the same fashion.

"With who? What the fuck?" He narrowed his eyes at her, crossing his arms. She smirked at him, cocking her head to the side.

"Oh, no one in particular," she sighed, studying her nails. "Just...Lincoln Travers."

"ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME, OCTAVIA!?" Bellamy bellowed, earning a sigh from Kane and an eye roll from Octavia.

"I like this. This is good." Kane said, ignoring Bellamy's freak out. He turned to Octavia, clapping his hands together. "Is this a one time thing or do you think that there might be a little more there?"

"Dude! This is not a good thing. It's a bad thing. He's a fucking decade older than my baby sister!"

"I'm twenty-three years old, Bellamy. I'm old enough to make my own decisions. I don't need my big brother saying who I can and cannot date!" Octavia snapped before turning her attention back onto Kane. "It's pretty serious, actually. We've been dating for the last six months, but no one's caught on yet. If there was one thing I-we-" She glanced at Bellamy before turning her focus back onto Kane. "-learned as kids, it was how to keep a secret."

Bellamy's face soured, because they'd kept a lot of secrets as kids, like what their mom did in her bedroom, the room right next to theirs, in order to make the ends meet after Bellamy's dad bailed on them. Hell, O had no idea who her father was because of their mother's profession. No one knew what their mom had done as a living. She died before either one of them had a career in Hollywood. Bellamy was twenty-three, and O had just turned eighteen. The second she graduated from high school, the two of them bought a plane ticket to LA and never looked back.

"Well, this is excellent. We can control this before it gets out. It will boost both of your careers." Kane said, pointing between the two of them. "It will squash any rumors of trouble on set between you and Travers," Kane said, looking pointedly at Bellamy, who snarled at him. Kane momentarily flinched before smiling sweetly at Octavia. "And, it will do well for getting you talked about. Perhaps we can get you to be the next The Body for Victoria's Secret." Octavia chewed on her bottom lip.

"I don't think I want to use my relationship as a way to further my career, Kane." She ran a hand through her hair. "Lincoln and I-there's something here, and I don't want it to be something sullied by the vultures in the media."

Bellamy took a step towards his sister, but paused, because he still didn't like that Octavia was dating Travers. He and Lincoln did have trouble on set during the filming of The Grounders movies, except trouble was an understatement. It was a testament to how good of an actor he was (and, yeah, he could admit that Lincoln was pretty good himself, as well) that he was able to turn it off the second the camera went on. His character, Gage Fuller, and Lincoln's character, Ijan, went from enemies to best friends over the course of the series. Now, Gage and Ijan were in almost every scene, and there was even fanfiction being written about a Gage and Ijan romance. That shit was too weird in his opinion. He was quite happy with Gage's on-screen love affair with Crystal, the beautiful temptress from a rival tribe. He was never going to pretend to be in love with Lincoln's character, and if the producers, directors, and studio heads ever asked for that in the final movie that they were planning on filming in a few months, then they'd be shit out of luck for their star.

Octavia looked hopeful, but the second he stopped himself from getting any closer to her, her body and face physically hardened, and her I-don't-feel-a-thing mask slipped into place. He could read his baby sister like a book, and he knew that she was feeling a whole shit-storm of things right now, but she wasn't showing it. It made her a damned good model, and if she decided to ever take up Kane's offer, a good actress, too. He swallowed, marching over to pour himself a drink.

"Can I think about it?" She asked Kane, and her voice was quiet and tight. Bellamy winced, chugging his drink before pouring another.

"Right, yeah, just...make sure that you two keep this under wraps, or else we might not be able to spin it in our favor."

"What do you mean by that?" Octavia asked him, arms crossed.

"The ink's not quite dry on his divorce from Lexa Jamison, Octavia. The three of us-and Lincoln, and probably his team, too-know that you two were only together for the last six months, but the press will have a field day with the possibility that you and Lincoln being the reason for why he and Lexa split nine months ago."

"She was, though, right, O?" Bellamy said, his voice void of emotion. He knocked back his third drink before studying his sister.

"Yes, but no." She told him, twisting her fingers. "He and I have been getting closer-we go to all of the same parties, and I see him on set all the time when I come visit you, Bells. I dunno, we started talking, then texting, and then...he told me he had feelings for me. He said he was going to leave Lexa for me. I...I didn't think he was serious, and when he did, I just…" She ran a hand through her hair.

"You freaked. That's why it took you guys another few months before you hooked up." She nodded her head. He blew out a breath. She was his fucking baby sister. In the five years they've been in this business, he's made three movies with this asshole, who was flirting with his sister the entire time.

The Grounders was his first film, and it skyrocketed his career to the big leagues. The following year, he had lead roles in a few other teen, cult-favorite movies, and then the filming of the second Grounders film came the year after that, along with three other films. The production had just ended on the third Grounders film, which was based on the third book in the series. They'd divided the book up into two movies, so now the filming for the final movie in the franchise was to start in a few months. Bellamy planned on taking a break before he did anything else, but Kane was already talking to him about some gladiator movie that would start pre-production within a month of filming ending for the final Grounders film. He was considering taking it, because it would be another big draw at the box office, especially in the female demographics, because he'd spend much of the movie half-naked, sweaty, and bloodied. Women seemed to love him in roles like that. It got him laid quite frequently, so he wasn't going to complain.

"Okay, so we need to control this before it gets out. Talk to Lincoln. Let him know that this stuff doesn't stay secret for long, and the fact that you guys made it six months without anyone getting a whiff that something was going on between the two of you is a fucking miracle." Kane let out a breath. "I'm just worried about you, Octavia. I want to protect you and your career." She nodded her head.

"I'll talk to him." She acquiesced before looking to Bellamy. He sighed, squeezing his hands into fists a few times before he could speak.

"I don't fucking like it, but I won't pound his face in the next time I see him. That's all I can promise you, okay?"

"Okay," she nodded her head before turning toward the door. "Bye, Bells. Bye, Kane." The two men watched her go before they squared off once again.

"Now, tell me how the fuck you're going to get me out of this bullshit that you got me into." Bellamy snapped, glaring at his soon-to-be ex-agent.

"Oh, c'mon, Bellamy! This will do fabulous for your career, if you can keep it in your pants for one-night-a week or two tops."

"What the hell do you mean a week or two tops? You said one date not a fucking week!"

Clarke sighed loudly as she and Kate sat down in two of the center row seats. She dug her hand into her bucket of popcorn, shoving a handful into her mouth. "Would you stop sighing like that? It's just a fucking movie. Don't ruin it for me!"

"Why didn't you drag someone else with you-someone who actually likes this series and Bellamy Blake?" She said around her mouthful of popcorn. She smiled gleefully at the grimace on Kate's face.

"Because I wanted my best friend to go with me!" Kate sucked on the straw in her soda. "If I took anyone else, they'd talk through the movie and ruin it. And, if I took Wells, he'd complain the whole time and say that he deserves a blow job for being such a great boyfriend."

"Gross. Don't want to hear it. Don't need to know what you and Wells do." Clarke shook her head, visibly shivering in disgust. Wells was her best friend from high school, and the two of them had gone to Stanford together, and they both stayed there for their post-college studies-Clarke for medicine and Wells for law. It wasn't until they both moved to L.A. two years ago, after they finished their degrees, did they meet Kate. Clarke met Kate and introduced her to Wells. Kate and Wells had hit it off, and they'd been together for the last year and a half. Clarke had been fearful that she'd feel like a third wheel around them whenever the three of them got together after Kate and Wells had started dating, but that had never been the case. She gained a best friend and never lost her first one. She actually admired Kate and Wells, and she hoped to one day have a relationship like theirs. For a little while, she thought she did have that, but it turned out that she was wrong. Clarke swallowed the knot that formed in her throat, washing it away with a sip of her soda.

"Oh, sorry. I forgot." Kate rolled her eyes. She squealed when the room darkened and the previews began playing on the screen. Just before the movie was set to begin, one final advertisement flashed on the screen.

"Do you love Bellamy Blake?" A beautiful woman was featured, a flirty smile on her lips. "I know do. If you love Bellamy Blake as much as I do, then enter our Win a Date with Bellamy Blake competition. One lucky lady will win a romantic date for one evening with Hollywood's number one heartthrob, Bellamy Blake! Go to w-w-w-dot-win-a-date-with-bellamy-blake-dot-com to enter. There are a few restrictions, though. Bellamy is only a fan of the ladies, so you must be female to enter. Sorry, fellas! Also, Bellamy's a big boy, so only ladies who are over the age of twenty-one can enter, as well. Good luck, everyone!"

Clarke couldn't contain the laugh that erupted from her as she listened to all of the insane women in the audience start squealing like small children in a toy store at the advertisement. God, his agent and publicist must be desperate to get him good press, because his bad boy image might finally be taking him down. She rolled her eyes at how everyone was carrying on around her. "Can you believe this?" She turned to Kate, but groaned when she realized that her friend was equally as excited as the rest of them, but the redhead was at least keeping her squeals internal. Kate was wide-eyed, grinning, and frozen in the seat beside her. "You're as bad as they are." The movie's beginning music started booming through the theatre as the credits began. She sighed, leaning back into the seat, shoving more popcorn into her mouth. This was going to be a long two hours.

"Clarke, please!?" After the movie, Clarke and Kate had returned to Clarke's apartment.

"No!" Clarke shouted back at her friend as she poured some white wine into two goblets.

"Oh, c'mon, Clarke! PLEASE?!" Clarke gulped down the wine in her glass so quickly, she coughed on a bubble of air that she swallowed, as well. She immediately began filling her second glass.

"What are we begging Clarke to do?" Wells' voice flooded through the apartment, the door clicking shut behind him. She walked around the glass and foliage divider in her apartment with her full glass of wine and looked pleadingly at Wells.

"Please, tell your girlfriend it is okay with you for her to enter to win a date with Bellamy Blake rather than forcing it on me?!"

"What?" Wells asked, an eyebrow raised. He limped toward the Clarke, smiling brightly when Kate came around the divider, as well.

"Since I'm committed to you, love, I was trying to convince Clarke to enter the contest to win a date with Bellamy Blake." Kate explained as she pressed a kiss to her boyfriend's lips.

"Why would Clarke enter a contest to go on a date with Bellamy Blake? She hated him when she was in high school with him." Clarke groaned, because Kate twisted around to stare at her, a huge gasp erupting from the redhead.

"YOU WENT TO HIGH SCHOOL WITH BELLAMY BLAKE!?" Kate yelled, pushing away from Wells to storm over to Clarke.

"Thanks, Wells, so much for that."

"I didn't realize that you kept it a secret from her. I always thought she knew why you hated him so much."

"Oh, my fucking God, Clarke!" Clarke groaned, taking a couple of big gulps of her wine before shrugging her shoulders at her friend.

"Kate, why are you freaking out? So, I went to high school with him? It's not that big of a deal. He was an asshole. He was a bit of a bully. All he did was call me Princess and talked about how I was always on my high horse and looked down at the masses and the like. He was the king of the school, though, because he was the quarterback on the football team and all around popular guy, because he was the bad boy that everyone wanted to be or date. Except me, because he was obnoxious."

"How could neither of you tell me?" Kate looked between Clarke and Wells. "Seriously?"

"Well, Clarke and I were best friends through our parents, but we didn't go to the same schools, so I never met him, but all I heard was how much of a douchebag he was for the entirety of our school experience. I dunno why Clarke didn't tell you that she knew him."

"Because there wasn't anything to tell! He's a jerk! That's all. No biggie." Clarke sighed, taking a sip of her wine.

"That's it! I'm entering you in this contest!"

"What?! No, why!?"

"Because you are going to win a date with Bellamy Blake and rub it all in his face about how you're a hotshot living in L.A., and he's gonna regret never trying to hookup with you in high school." Clarke blushed, because he did kiss her one time at a party during high school, but then was a total asshole to her afterwards. "Why are you blushing? Did you hook up with him?"

"He kissed me. Once. Junior year of high school. There was a big party, and I went, because a girl that I was friendly with drug me there. He was drunk, and I was hiding on the enclosed porch at the house, because everyone else was in the backyard or in the different rooms of the house, and he came in, kissed me, and then said he was dared to do it. He's a douchebag before that, and then he was a douchebag afterwards. And, he's a douchebag now." She finished off her glass of wine. "Who wants to order pizza? I don't feel like going out."

Chapter Text

Kate Webber sat in front of the computer in her one-bedroom apartment in Downtown L.A. She could hear Wells in the bathroom, getting ready for the night. She had lied when she told him and Clarke that she wouldn't enter Clarke in the contest to win a date with Bellamy Blake, but now that she knew that Clarke had a history with him? She chewed on her thumb nail as she stared at the webpage in front of her. There was big image of Bellamy standing in the background of the webpage in a pair of dark jeans, a black t-shirt, and black army boots on his feet, a smirk on his lips. His dark hair was as unkempt as ever. It was one of his modeling images-likely one that he sent out when he was first getting booked for jobs, because he looked to be a few years younger than his nearly twenty-eight years of age at the present.

She heard the shower turn on, and she figured that now as the time. Should she betray her best friend and her boyfriend by entering Clarke in the contest, or should she just let it go and let some other sap win? She tapped her index finger on the flat space beside the big scroll pad of her laptop, hearing the click, click, click of her nail against the plastic. "Fuck it," she whispered, using her the tip of her finger to move the cursor to the enter button. "Clarke will thank me for this later."

Kate hit the enter button, and the page opened to a bunch of blank boxes next to a series of questions, and then a bunch of circle options in the form of what appeared to be some kind of Likert scale. She moved the cursor to the blank box beside the first question, and she began filling in the questionnaire.

Your full name. Clarke Elizabeth Griffin. Date of birth. February 4, 1987. Phone number. She paused before entering Clarke's phone number. Email address. clarkegriffin87-at-gmail-dot-com. Address. She entered Clarke's apartment address. Best way to contact you in the event that you win. Clarke didn't check her email all that often, so Kate directed them to call Clarke's phone. Are you employed? Yes. Clarke was employed. Are you college educated? Yes. Clarke had gone to medical school, so she was definitely educated. Do you live independently or with roommates? Or, do you live at home with your parents? Clarke lived alone. Are you in a relationship? No, Clarke was single. Kate sighed, answering all of the questions on the questionnaire before moving on to the Likert scale questions. On a scale of one to five, please rate the importance to you, with one being not at all, two being not that much/a little, three being neutral, four being somewhat, and five being a lot. "What the hell is all of this for?"

Kate shook her head and looked to the first question. Bellamy Blake is your favorite actor. She laughed as she marked a five, because it was likely that they'd rule out everyone who picked lower than that on that question. How much do you enjoy dancing, going to parties or nightclubs, and being around alcohol? Kate generally had to drag Clarke out to a bar or a nightclub to get their drink and dance on, but once there, she usually had a good time. She hesitated over the four, but figured that all fives would wind up getting Clarke more likely to be picked than any other answers. Kate quickly selected five for everything and then moved to the final empty box. Tell us a little bit about you. She hesitated for just a moment before she began to type.

"I graduated from high school with Bellamy Blake." She decided to leave it at just that. The final thing she had to do was submit a picture. Grabbing her phone, she scrolled through Clarke's instagram pictures before settling on a picture of her in a yellow blouse, jean shorts, gladiator sandals, and a pair of sunglasses perched on her head; her blonde hair was like a curtain, hanging in loose curls over one shoulder, and she had a huge smile on her face as she leaned back against the pier in Santa Monica. She sent the picture to herself in an email, which she saved onto her hard drive, which she attached to the website. Before she could regret her decision, she hit the submit button, reading that the winner would be announced in one week's time on the website, and the winner would be notified according to their requested mode of contact in the questionnaire. Moments after she exited the site, the door to the bathroom, and Wells came out with just a towel wrapped around his waist. She grinned at his nude chest, with nothing more than a slight smattering of chest hair there.

Despite the car accident that left him with a slight limp, Wells was in great shape. She bit her lip as she studied the way that a few errant water drops dripped down his chocolate skin towards the light blue towel on his hips. "Damn, baby." She cooed, setting her laptop down on the coffee table in front of her. She stood up and made her way over to him, kissing him as her fingers stroked down his chest. "I love your body." She breathed against his lips. She felt him grin as he pressed his lips to hers. "I think we need to get rid of this. Whoops." She pulled back, watching as the towel fell to his feet. "That's better, don't you think?"

"Definitely," Wells laughed, pulling her into his arms. His hands found her shirt, lifting it up and over her head. "It'll be even better when you're naked, too."

"We'll control this." Kane said as Bellamy glared at him from where they were seated in Bellamy's living room in the five-bedroom house on the Sunset Strip. He shook his head, staring out the large glass windows at his stunning view of the city.

"How the hell do you control it? I've already gotten over two hundred thousand women entering the goddamn contest. This is insane. And fucking creepy. I still don't understand why this is happening at all? Bad press is still good press, Kane. You said that yourself."

"Yes, but if the bigwigs at Lions Gate hear any more bad shit about you and the impact that could have on the success of the final Grounders film, they might cut you from the film."

"What the hell are you talking about?" Bellamy squeezed his hands into fists.

"Since the movies have deviated enough from the book series, the execs have proposed two screenplays, one that still aligns with the core plot of the final book, and the other with a surprise twist in the first twenty minutes of the final movie."

"Which is?"

"The death of Gage." Kane sighed, sitting down in one of Bellamy's chairs, a resigned look on his face. "They're pushing for that to be the movie that is made, not the one that follows the book more closely, in which Gage officially gets the girl, stops the grounders from destroying the city he built up, and all that shit."

"Well, fuck, Bells." Octavia came into the living room with a glass of water in her hand. She was dressed in a white bikini, with a black holey sarong tied around her waist. It did nothing to cover the skin she had exposed, but he'd rather she dress like that when she was at his house than her apartment in Malibu that had a shared pool with the rest of the complex or anywhere else.

Bellamy stood up and walked over to the punching bag that he had hanging in the corner of the living room. He punched it hard, watching as it swung back and forth. "How the hell does this fucking date thing help me?"

"Well, the idea behind this is that you go on a date with a lucky fan-make her dream come true. Make her happy and tell all of her friends how respectful and kind you are. Hopefully, I can convince you to do a little flirting via Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Vine, and all the other stupid social media sites you do. Follow her, favorite her shit a few times. You get the deal. It's a few weeks of that crap after the date of a lifetime. It gives you good press. Keep away from getting drunk and beating the shit out of people for awhile. Get the right movie made."

"Fine." Bellamy punched the punching bag once more before he turned to face Kane and Octavia. His sister was seated on the couch, looking concerned as she gripped her glass in her hands. Kane was still sitting in the same chair as before, his back rigid and his hands interlaced as he studied Bellamy back.

"Also, I have an issue with you." The older man looked over at Octavia. Her head snapped up, and she looked at him.

"What kind of issue?"

"Apparently, you and Lincoln weren't as secretive as you thought, because someone snapped a few pictures of you two making out in the parking garage of your apartment. They're trying to shop the photos around, but I was able to buy them up." Bellamy punched the bag again, making his sister jump.

"It must have been when I was saying goodbye to him…" She whispered.

"I called Lincoln's representation, and we both agreed that we need to control this in our favor. So, we're going to bury your coming out as a couple under your brother's contest date."

"How?" Both of the Blake siblings said it at the same time, making them smirk at each other.

"So, the deal is that you two will go out on your first official date in the public eye the same night as Bellamy's date with the fan. Most of the world will be focused on the contest date, and you and Lincoln will be less newsworthy. If people start to see you two out and about from now on, hopefully we can keep the length of your romance a secret, and people won't wonder if you two were the cause of Lincoln's failed marriage."

Octavia let out a breath before she sipped her water. "Okay."

"I'm still waiting to hear how we're going to control the contest."

"Well, we've already been able to narrow it down a lot. We sorted the women who entered to the age group of twenty-one to thirty." Kane said, grabbing his tablet. After a few moments of tapping at the screen, he pulled up a list of names. "That narrowed us from the two hundred thousand down to about one hundred thousand. You had a lot of women in the forty to fifty-five age bracket," Kane said with a smile.

"Yeah, the cougars love me." Bellamy rolled his eyes and walked over to look at the list of names over Kane's shoulder. "That still a lot of names to go through."

"Yes, so then we narrowed the search area to California, which knocked us down to ten thousand."

"Still too many."

"Then, to the Los Angeles area, which brought us to about two thousand."

"Again, too many, but better. Much better."

"We then narrowed it to everyone who gave a five rating on the scale questions-the ones about your movies, your philanthropic involvement, et cetera. That narrowed it to a thousand."

"Still too many."

"Okay, so now it is up to you. How much do you want to narrow it now. We could set preferences to girls with a certain hair color, body build, zip code, area code, narrow the age gap more."

"Um, narrow the age gap to twenty-five to twenty-eight." Octavia said, eyes narrowed. Bellamy cocked an eyebrow at her. "And employed. With a college education. Who lives alone or with roommates, not her parents. Who isn't an actress or singer."

"Well, that certainly narrowed it down. We have a hundred and fifty women now." Kane said with a smile.

"Why?" Bellamy asked her, and she rolled her eyes.

"Bellamy, you need a girl who is at least somewhat put together, not someone who's looking for a meal ticket in the form of trying to sleep with you and get knocked up for her chance at fame or a shit ton of money. The education part is because your smart, really fucking smart. You could have been a lawyer or a doctor or an engineer or President if that is what you wanted to do. Plus, you love history, so you need someone you can have a conversation with. Since you need to play the respectful gentleman card, and not the overgrown frat boy, you need someone who is at a more equal level to you. Plus, I know you. You don't like to date older. You like to date younger. Therefore, you need a single, unattached woman who is college educated, employed, lives independently from Mommy and Daddy, and who is about twenty-five to twenty-eight years old with a job."

"Fine. One hundred and fifty women?" He turned to Kane.

"Let me do that." Octavia said, holding her hand out for the tablet.

"What? Why?"

"Because you won't look at their responses to things, Bells. You'll look at their faces and their bodies, and you'll wind up with a miserable night. I'll pick you out a girl that you'll at least have an okay time with that won't make you want to puke when you look at her. Don't worry. I will narrow it down to about twenty women, and you'll pick a name out of a box, and that will be the contest winner." He studied his sister for a moment before nodding his head. O sometimes had a good head on her shoulders-she advised him to take audition for The Grounders originally, and she definitely helped him out with a lot of the other roles he's taken on throughout his career. Her advice had landed him as one of Hollywood's favorite action and blockbuster stars, so he would take her cue on this stupid date contests, as well.

Kane handed Octavia the tablet, and she stood, making her way out of the house. Both men watched her go. "This better work, Kane, or you're fired." Bellamy warned, earning a scoff, because they both knew that he wouldn't fire Kane. Marcus Kane was like his father-so much more than his agent.

Octavia dropped onto one of the lounge chairs by Bellamy's pool. She set the water glass down on the ground beside the chair and began scrolling through the names and pictures of the women who fit the criteria that Kane had entered in. She skimmed over names and faces, and there were a few people on the list that she recognized as the daughters of some important people that she had run across in the last five years in the business. Usually, they were trying to make names for themselves in fashion or modeling, and they were the type of girls that Bellamy bedded once and then never spoke to them again. He couldn't do that, because the women would likely make a stink, and he'd get more bad press. No, he needed a woman that he'd want to sleep with, but would still have an enjoyable time with without sleeping with them.

After cutting out the twenty or so women that she recognized, she decided to look at the answers that the women gave, especially their final open-ended space to talk about who they are as people. She cut out the ones that responded with nothing more than "oh, my God! I love you so much, Bellamy! I'm your biggest fan. Please pick me!" She smiled when she saw that that brought down the tally to seventy-five women. Some of the women talked about what they liked to do, other women talked about their passions in life. So far, she had found about ten women who didn't seem that bad-that Bellamy wouldn't want to stab himself in the eye with a fork should he go on the date with them.

Octavia came across the profile for a Clarke Elizabeth Griffin. She was pretty-blonde, green eyes, curvy, but still slender. She was definitely the girl next door type-not as leggy or stick thin as most of the girls in the narrowed down list. "Clarke Griffin." Octavia said the name aloud, because it was familiar to her, but she couldn't put her finger on how she knew the name. Clarke was a month younger than her brother, turning twenty-eight on February fourth, whereas Bellamy turned twenty-eight on January ninth. She lived alone, in her own apartment. She was employed. She had gone to medical school. She was smart, beautiful, hardworking, and independent. She was exactly the type of girl that Bellamy should date-hell, she was the type of girl who Bellamy should marry, but that was never going to happen.

She was just about to add Clarke to the group of girls' names that were to be put in the box for Bellamy to pick from when she saw what Clarke's about her box said. She had gone to high school with Bellamy. It was then that Octavia recognized why the name Clarke Griffin was so familiar. She was in the same grade as Bellamy-she had graduated the same year as him. She was valedictorian. She had been super smart and a loner at school. Bellamy had always called her Princess, because her dad was an electrical engineer and her mom was a doctor, and both of her parents were friends with Congressman Jaha. It was because of Octavia and Bellamy's smarts and athletic ability that they were able to get scholarships into the fancy school that the likes of which people like Clarke Griffin attended. No, Clarke was the perfect girl with a perfect life, and Bellamy hated her. He called her Princess, because he knew she hated it. Why the hell would Clarke enter this contest? From what Octavia could remember, she had hated Bellamy as much as he had hated her. It didn't make sense. Something about this entry was strange to Octavia, but intriguing. She wondered what Bellamy would say or do if he wound up selecting Clarke from box. Would he even remember her?

Octavia was still confused about Clarke's entry. Why would she enter? She hated Bellamy, right? She distinctly remembers Clarke calling her brother an asshole on the day of their graduation when he went completely nude under his gown and how he tore it off the second he accepted his diploma and moved his tassel to indicate that he'd graduated. He balled up the gown and tossed it in Clarke's face and took off streaking down the center aisle. It was after he'd dressed once more in the clothes that he had stored in the trunk of their mom's car that Clarke came storming up to him, her face bright red, her blonde curls tumbling down her back, the blue gown open to reveal a white sleeveless dress with small light pink and blue flowers on it, screaming about how much of an asshole that he was for ruining her perfect day. Octavia had watched the whole exchange, barely thirteen years old, with her mom hiding the flask she was sipping from behind her program as she stared off into space. She remembered thinking that Clarke looked so pretty in her dress with her matching white flats, even with the fury written all over her face. She had shoved Bellamy's gown into his chest, and all he had done was smirk at her and toss her a wink before storming off. Octavia expected Clarke to get flustered by her brother's smirk, to wander after him like most girls did, but instead she shot him a disgusted look over her shoulder, shook her head, rolled her shoulders, and then let a happy mask slip over her face as she walked over to who Octavia assumed were her parents, Congressman Jaha, and the congressman's son. She hugged each person, posed for pictures, all the while not letting it known that she was angry, but Octavia could see it swirling beneath the surface in the same way she's seen it swirling beneath her brother for as long as she could remember.

Octavia snapped out of the memory, staring at the pretty picture that Clarke had submitted with her entry. Perhaps Clarke intended to get back at her brother in some way. She couldn't let that happen. She almost deleted Clarke's entry, but something prompted her to search for anything she could get on Clarke Griffin. She started by looking for her via Facebook. After making a quick status update on her page for her fans, saying she was just lounging by the pool at her brother's house, enjoying the warm November sun, Octavia began searching for every name combination of Clarke Elizabeth Griffin she could find, and she finally found Clarke's page (Clarke E. Griffin). From the limited amount of her page that she allowed to be shared with the public, it was clear that Clarke was a good person. She was involved in various animal rights charities, she was an avid vegan, she volunteered at animal shelters, and she also taught art classes to kids in homeless and women's shelters, as well as in the children's wards of hospitals. The idea that Clarke entered to get back at her brother didn't seem to fit.

Octavia then jumped to Twitter and Instagram, trying her hardest to find anything about Clarke that would make sense about her entry. She couldn't find anything. All she found on Instagram was pictures of animals at the shelters she volunteered for that needed homes, pictures of her vegan meals that were apparently to die for, pictures of her with the children that she taught classes to at the hospitals and homeless shelters, and an assortment of pictures of her with her friends. Her tweets included inspirational quotes, song lyrics, and retweets of various things she was passionate about. Clarke was just nice. Almost too nice.

It was then that Octavia got a plan in mind. Clarke was exactly the type of girl that Bellamy needed in his life. It was her hope that Clarke would rub off on him, making him nicer, softer. Her brother was talented-so smart and wonderful. He raised her in a way that their mom never did, and neither one of them had ever been around their dads. In many ways, Bellamy was not only her brother, but her mother and father, as well. She loved her brother, and she was afraid that if he kept spiraling on the path that he was on-the drinking, the bad attitude, the fighting-he'd lose everything he'd worked so hard to get. His identity was that of an actor and as her brother. Perhaps Clarke would be good for him. Octavia wasn't naive to think that a single date would solve anything. No, she knew that it would take more than that, and she would have to play an active role in making sure that Clarke was involved in her brother's life for more than one night. She would figure out how to do that, but first she had to get them set up for one night.

She reached for her cell phone from the ground where she had left it before she had gone inside to get a glass of water and got distracted by the possibility that Bellamy's character would be killed off early on in a movie and her relationship with Lincoln being outed in a negative fashion. She composed a text to Kane.

Today 1:42 PM

Don't tell Bellamy. I've found the perfect girl to fix his image. Need your help to make it more than one night. Only one name is going into the box: Clarke Griffin.

It took all of thirty-two seconds before Kane responded to Octavia: Done.

Chapter Text

Clarke climbed out of her bed on the Saturday before Thanksgiving. She still had a few last minute things to get from the store and farmer's market before the holiday, which she was hosting at her apartment this year. Her apartment was the largest, a large open plan room with stairs that led to the loft. Traditionally, the loft would have likely been made into the bedroom space, but she had converted that area of the apartment to her studio. She smoothed the sheets back into place on her bed and slowly made her way to the kitchen, where she got herself a glass of orange juice. She drank down the juice before making her way to the bathroom to get herself ready for the day.

After her shower, she dressed in her painting clothes, which was essentially a ratty t-shirt over a pair of shorts, and she made her way up the stairs to the loft. She grabbed a fresh canvas and put it in place of the easel. Then, she grabbed the paint and brushes and got to work. She generally had two styles. She liked to paint landscapes. She loved the rich blending of greens and browns to make a forest, the mixture of blues, purples, pinks, whites, and black to paint evening sky, the dark vastness of the ocean, and so on. There was something relaxing about painting landscapes.

In the more recent years, however, Clarke had painted more abstract works. Things that made no sense to most people. Pieces that made no sense to her. Today she was driven to paint a tree. She painted the dark brown of the bark, the various shades of green for the leaves. But, her vision burned. Before she knew what she was doing, she was slashing at the canvas with angry blood red swipes of paint. In the end, it looked as if the tree was bleeding, and the whole image of the painting was dark and conflicted. She was angry-so angry-and this painting seemed to scream it. She let out a breath, stepping back from the painting, contemplating it. For some, they might believe that her little meltdown had ruined the beginnings of a stunning work of art, but to her, this was art. This is what she needed to say. The red revealed something to her. She gathered up her paints and supplies, cleaning up after herself, leaving the canvas on the easel to dry.

She headed back downstairs, hungry, and a glance at the clock on her oven indicated that she had been painting for almost three hours. Kate would be coming over in about a half an hour, and the two of them were going to go shopping for clothes, supplies for the coming holiday, and generally hang out. She could probably convince Kate to stop for lunch first before they go shopping. Instead of getting something to eat, she went back into the bathroom to wipe away any remaining paint on her body. She then began to dress into a pair of jean shorts, a t-shirt, and slid several braided bracelets onto her right wrist. A glance in the mirror showed her that she didn't need much more than a little undereye concealer, mascara, and a tinted lip balm. After a few minutes of applying the minimal makeup, she then pulled on a pair of ankle socks and a pair of Keds sneakers.

"Knock, knock!" Clarke had just finished getting ready when the door to her apartment opened, revealing her best friend.

"Hey," she called out to Kate, walking toward the front door, smiling. The smile slipped from her face when she saw Kate's expression. "What's up?"

"Before we go, we need to check something, okay?" Clarke nodded her head.

"How long will it take? I'm starving, and I was hoping to get something to eat before we go shopping okay?" Clarke said as she started shoving her wallet, phone, and a few other items into a small purse.

"Yeah, okay." Kate said, grabbing Clarke's laptop. She loaded the computer, and Clarke glanced at her confused by her strange behavior. She walked over to the kitchen, grabbing an apple to put a little something on her stomach. She heard her phone buzzing in the purse that she left on her bed. She rushed over to grab it, accepting the call from a number she didn't recognize.


"Um, Clarke?!" Kate called out to her, but she held up her hand and focused on the call and the man speaking to her.

"Yes, hello, is this Clarke Griffin?"

"Clarke, wait, um," Kate was next to her, holding the laptop in her hands.

"Yes, this is Clarke Griffin." She shot Kate a look, shushing her with just that look.

"Ms. Griffin, my name is Marcus Kane, and I am the agent for Bellamy Blake." The color drained from Clarke's face, and she turned to look at Kate. Her friend looked guilty as she turned the laptop around to show her the webpage displayed. It read: Congratulations, Clarke Griffin! Winner of our 'Win a Date with Bellamy Blake!' Competition! Beneath the announcement was a video, the red arrow in the center of the video box blocking out part of Bellamy Blake's crossed arms, with a black box in front of him, and his smirking face staring at her in an almost taunting fashion. Clarke glared at Kate as Marcus Kane began speaking to her again. "We just wanted to congratulate you on the winning of the Win a Date with Bellamy Blake! competition."

"Listen, I-"

"Now, I'm sure you have a lot of questions, Ms. Griffin, and I'm sure that you're excited, as well, so I was hoping that we could schedule a meeting for later this afternoon. We can answer any questions that you might have, then, as well as work out the details of the date." Kane rattled off an address. "How does one this afternoon work for you?"

Clarke continued to glare at Kate, who had shut the laptop and was biting her bottom lip, twisting her fingers. She figured that during the meeting, she could shut this down. Let them pick a runner up. "Fine. I will see you at one this afternoon. I'm out and about with someone else this afternoon, so do you mind if I bring someone with me to the meeting?"

"Oh, um, sure, Ms. Griffin, I think that that could be arranged."

"Excellent. I look forward to our meeting, Mr. Kane." Clarke ended the call with Bellamy's agent and took a deep breath.

"Clarke, I'm so sorry. I didn't think you'd actually win. I just...I don't know what I was thinking. Please don't hate me." Clarke closed her eyes, taking yet another deep breath, before she opened her mouth to respond to her friend.

"I don't hate you. I'm pissed, but I don't hate you. You owe me huge. You're getting me the fuck out of this."

Bellamy was late to the meeting, and he kept getting frantic texts from Octavia and Kane about his lateness. He had to meet the winner of the competition. Clarke...when he first read the name off for the video on the website, he thought it was a dude's name, but his sister and Kane assured him that it was a girl. He was trying to figure out why the name Clarke was familiar to him, but he had no idea, so he wrote it off. He so didn't want to go to this damn meeting, but he had to, so he was dragging his feet about getting there. It was only fifteen minutes, but it was enough rebellion that he felt pretty proud of himself. He sighed when his phone went off, and he saw that it was Octavia calling.

"Chill, I'm getting off the elevator now. Be there in a minute." He hung up the phone, and within five seconds, the door to the office at the other end of the hallway flew open, and Octavia was standing there twisting her fingers. She shut the door behind her, holding her hands up when he finally reached her. "What's up? Don't I have to meet this chick and get the details worked out for the date?" He rolled his eyes before groaning, thinking the reason that his sister was freaking out at him was because she was actually fugly and gave a fake pic. Or, maybe she really was a dude?

"Bells, do you seriously not recognize her name?" Octavia shook her head. "I mean, it was a decade ago, but I figured you'd remember the name when you read it off?"

"What are you talking about?" He crossed his arms and narrowed his eyes at his baby sister. A decade? Had he dated this girl in the past or something? Was his sister meddling in his life again?

"Dude, Bellamy, the girl you picked, you went to high school with her. Clarke Griffin." He stared at her blankly. She sighed. "Princess." It was then that he realized why the name was familiar. He narrowed his eyes at his baby sister, because she was obviously trying to fuck with him by picking the girl that he hated in high school, because she was a perfect princess who could do no wrong in the eyes of everyone.

"No matter which piece of paper I picked would've been her name, right?" She nodded her head. "You rigged this? Why? To fuck with me, O? You promised me a night with someone who wouldn't make me want to kill myself or her."

"It's not like that. She'll be good for your image, Bell. She's a doctor, for fuck's sake." He rolled his eyes. Of course she's a fucking doctor, he thought to himself. "Plus, she volunteers at animal shelters, and she teaches art classes to kids at homeless shelters and in hospitals. She tweets inspirational quotes and pictures of animals that need homes. She's nice, and I think hitching yourself to a nice girl right now will do wonders for your career and keep you from getting killed off of the movie series you've worked your ass off on for the last five years."

"But she's a stuck up, perfect bitch. She always was in high school."

"Yeah, well, if you don't get your ass in there and fix this, she's gonna bail on the one date, and you'll be royally fucked." He squeezed his hands into fists and pushed passed his sister, ignoring her, "Bell, wait! Calm down!"

"You're not cancelling on this fucking date, Princess" he said, storming into the office, arms crossed, glaring at the blonde girl he hadn't seen in a decade. She was sitting next to some nervous looking redhead. The redhead was pretty hot, he thought momentarily, but his attention was on Clarke Griffin, who narrowed her eyes and stood up, her own arms crossed.

"I told you in high school, and I'll tell you again now, don't call me that!" She snapped. "I'm not doing this damn thing, because I was NOT the one who entered. Do you honestly think that I'd want to go on a date with you...ever?" He was momentarily hurt by her rejection, but he pushed it aside, focusing on his anger.

"Feeling's mutual, Princess, but you're doing this if I fucking have to do this. I didn't want to do this from the beginning, but Kane pushed it on me, and your name was picked, so you're doing it."

"Yeah, no, not happening."

"Jesus Christ!" Octavia snapped, and everyone in the room turned to stare at her. She crossed her arms and glared at Bellamy before turning her glare onto Clarke. Kane took a step forward, sighing, holding a hand out, but she brushed him off. "Shut up for five seconds, everyone!" She said, shooting Kane a glare when he opened his mouth to speak. "Bellamy, you need to stop being an asshole. You acting like the manchild you are is not going to convince her to follow through with this goddamn date." Clarke laughed, earning a glare from Bellamy and Octavia. "And you," Octavia said, pointing at Clarke. "I chose you, because from all that I could remember in high school and the research I did on your social media pages from today, you're a nice person. If my brother is going to go on a date with someone for a stupid contest, he deserves to go on a date with someone nice."

"Except Princess isn't fucking nice. She's a stuck up bitch!" Bellamy snapped.

"Fuck you, Bellamy!" Clarke snapped. "You're an egotistical asshole who needs to get the fuck off of his high horse." He remembered how feisty she got when he messed with her in high school-she actually became pretty hot. The last ten years had been good to her, so she was even hotter now when she got pissed. If she wasn't the evil bitch that she was, he'd probably try to fuck her, but she was the princess bitch, so that wasn't happening.

"I could say the same to you!" He shouted back at her.

Clarke could kill Bellamy. She really could. She wanted to punch him in the face, and it took everything in her not to. "You don't fucking know me!" She yelled at the top of her lungs, and she saw his eyes widen momentarily before his mask slipped back into place. "You didn't know me then, Bellamy, and you certainly don't know me now. I was never a bitch. I just had pride in how well I did in school and my future and being nice to other people. If you remember correctly, it was never me who started anything. That was all youYou made it your mission to make my high school experience a nightmare. Why? Because my parents had money? That was never my fault, and it was never fair of you to take it out on me!"

He was silent, and she felt the inside of her right wrist start to itch and burn. She fought it as long as she could, but she couldn't hold it back, and she began to scratch at the skin hidden beneath the bracelets. She felt Kate lay a hand on her left hand, stilling her scratching. "Clarke," she said with a concerned voice, and Clarke couldn't handle it in that moment. She shook Kate off, shoving her right hand behind her back, before she tightened her left hand into a fist to keep herself from scratching. "I'm sorry that I entered you in this contest," Kate told her. Clarke watched as Kate turned her focus onto Bellamy. "I never understood why she hate you so much, but now I can see how toxic the two of you are in the same room. After I found out that you two went to high school together, I just thought it would be amusing to get you two in the same room again, but I was wrong." Kate wrapped an arm around her shoulders. "I think we should go."

"Wait, please, don't!" Octavia blocked their exit, holding her hands up to stop them from leaving. "Look, can we just...fuck, I need a drink."

"Me, too," Clarke said, and she locked eyes with Bellamy when he said it at the same time as her. He chuckled, and she looked away.

"Sorry, princess, but Kane only has bourbon." She narrowed her eyes at him, before she glanced at Kane, who had been very quiet throughout all of the arguing. He was now sitting behind his desk, his face in his hands. She didn't even remember seeing him move away from them, because she was so caught up in fighting with Bellamy.

"Is it Jack Daniels?" She asked Kane. "The bourbon?" Without lifting his head from his hands, he nodded at her. "Good," she said turning her gaze back to Bellamy. He smirked at her, walking over to where Kane stored his booze. He poured barely any bourbon in a glass, reaching for the bottle of water that was sitting beside the bourbon. He watered the booze down, holding the glass out to her. She scoffed, walking over to the bottles. "I can make my own, thanks." She grabbed the bottle of bourbon and an empty glass, and she poured about three fingers worth of the amber liquid into a glass. She raised the glass to her lips and stared Bellamy down as she finished the drink in three gulps. He smirked at her, amused, drinking the watered down drink in his hands before filling both of their glasses with more bourbon.

"Alright, we all know that Clarke can drink bourbon as well as Bellamy can, so can we get back to the discussion?" Octavia said with a sigh as she dropped onto Kane's couch. "Here's the deal. We all know that Bellamy's rep will take a nosedive if the girl who won his date contest bailed on him. You wouldn't want to be responsible for that, right, Clarke?"

Clarke sighed, downing her drink before she set it down on the tray where she got it from originally. "I was never a bitch, Bellamy." She said after a moment, turning to look at him. "Even if you're an asshole, I will not be the one who's responsible for messing up your career. So, I will follow through with the date, and then we go back to never speaking to each other again." She held her hand out to him, and he stared at her for a moment before he took hers in his.

After their shake was finished, she grabbed her glass and moved away from him to sit down on the couch nearby Octavia. She sipped her second glass of bourbon, looking to Kane. "So, when is this date taking place?"

"Are you leaving town for the holiday, Clarke, because I'd love to capitalize on the date as soon as possible."

"Nope. I'm here."

"Wonderful, would the Saturday after the holiday work for you? There's a movie premiere that I have two tickets to-"

"No." Clarke cut him off, shaking her head. She couldn't go on a date on that Saturday. She watched as Kate walked over to where Bellamy was still standing by the booze and poured herself a drink.

"But, Clarke, this would be the perfect-"

"No, Mr. Kane." Kate answered for Clarke. "Clarke's busy that night."

"What are you, her personal assistant?" Bellamy scoffed from where he was standing beside Kate. She rolled her eyes.

"No, but I am her agent." Clarke's eyes widened, and she shot Kate a glare.

"Her agent?" Bellamy asked, glancing at Clarke. "O, I thought that you said that you guys vetoed any actresses and the like. I thought you said she was a doctor."

"I did!" Octavia mumbled, looking at Kate and Clarke. "You put Clarke went to med school and that she was employed-" Clarke gulped down the remaining bourbon in her glass, setting it on the coffee table in front of her, distracting Octavia from speaking to Kate.

"I'm not an actress." She snapped, running a hand through her hair. "Or, a doctor. Well, I technically am, because I finished medical school, but I never started my residency. I never talk about where I work or what I do. I just let people assume that I'm a doctor, because I say I went to Stanford for med school, and that I'm constantly working." She sighed. "Thanks, Kate."

"Sorry, Clarke. I didn't even think, but since the cat is out of the bag, we may as well go all out." Kate ignored the glare that Clarke sent her way. "I'm an artist's agent. Clarke's a professional artist. Her art's been sold to a number of private collectors around Los Angeles, as well as the rest of the nation. She's actually a pretty big deal. She's got an art show next Saturday, so she can't go out that night."

"You're an artist?" Bellamy asked with his eyebrows raised.

"Yes, I sign my paintings as CEG, though, and that's what people know me as. I generally like to keep myself out of the public eye." She shot a glare at Kate, who blushed. "Yet another reason for why I never would've agreed to do this contest even if it was with a person I actually found tolerable." Bellamy glared at her as he gulped down his bourbon, pouring himself another drink.

"Screw you, Princess."

"In your dreams, Blake."

Kate dug through her pocket, pulling out her cell phone, typing into it. "I've got her schedule here." She said, trying to change the subject. She walked over to Kane. "So, she's setting up in the gallery on Friday, so that wouldn't work." She glanced at Clarke. "She does have an event scheduled for Wednesday night, but I think that could be rearranged…"

Clarke swallowed, grabbing her empty glass before rushing over to the bourbon once more. She poured herself a hefty glass. "Yes, I can skip that." She nodded her head. "Any excuse to skip that."

"Right, so would the Wednesday before the holiday work for Bellamy's schedule? We could schedule it for seven that night?" Clarke chugged her drink, and she felt the warmth spread through her. She was kind of buzzed. She had originally drank the bourbon as a way to challenge Bellamy's suggestion that she was a delicate flower who couldn't handle a real drink, but the second and third glasses were her own choice.

"This is the strangest way I've ever scheduled a date…" He said quietly to her as they watched their agents discuss the schedule of their lives like it was no big deal.

"I know. I feel like I should tell you that I come with six dresses and their matching underthings, three emerald necklaces, and a goat." She responded back to him, earning a belly laugh in response. Everyone's eyes flew to them, because they were amazed that the two of them were acting civilly. She rolled her eyes.

"That dowry is simply preposterous," he told her, ignoring the stares of the other three people in the room. "I won't take you for anything less than two goats. Or, one cow. A cow is the equivalent of two goats in my book." She shook her head.

"You're lucky you're even getting the one goat, mister!"

"Damn, Kate, the sexual tension in this room is almost stifling." Octavia said from where she was seated. Kate laughed, and Kane hid his smile behind a fake cough.

"There's a fine line between love and hate, Octavia." Kate added, earning Clarke flipping her off. Bellamy scoffed, and Clarke grimaced.

"Fuck off, Kate. Remember, I've got lots of dirt on you."

"Not as much as I have on you, Griffin." Kate winked.

"Two words: German tourist." Kate scrunched her nose.

"Three words: drunken moonbounce sex." Clarke's jaw dropped, because Kate had sworn that she'd never bring that up in front of anyone else again.

"Now, Princess, that's a story that I'd love to hear…" Bellamy said with a smirk. Clarke elbowed him in the gut.

"Kate, you're such a bitch!" She pressed a hand to her forehead.

"You brought up the German tourist!"

"Yeah, but they wouldn't know what it meant!"

"But it implied that I did something inappropriate with him, though!"

"Yeah, but now everybody knows that I had sex on a moonbounce when I was drunk!"

"That sounds like a lot of fun, actually." Octavia laughed, clapping her hands. "When did you do it? Was it recently? Why were you around a moonbounce?"

"Clarke's ex-boyfriend got his master's in aeronautics and astronautics from Stanford." Kate smiled, ignoring Clarke's shout of "Kate!" Instead, she kept going. Clarke was seriously going to kill her. "He fancied himself a future astronaut, so he regularly rented moonbounces to practice zero-gravity walking. She's also had a lot of pool sex." Clarke groaned, burying her face in her hands. "You know, 'cause they practice working on the spaceships underwater, so her ex used to sneak her into the pools to play screw the astronaut."

"I hate you. I disown you as my best friend. I tell you this in confidence, and this is how you betray me."

"Actually, I'm having fun. You having fun, O?" Bellamy laughed, taking a sip of his bourbon. Octavia giggled. "If I'd know that this was the real Clarke…" He trailed off, wagging his eyebrows.

"What would you have done, Bellamy? Would you have been less of an asshole, all in the hopes that you'd get into my pants?" Clarke asked him, her arms crossed. She shook her head.

"Didn't you kiss her in high school?" Kate asked, looking between the two. Clarke blushed, and Bellamy cocked an eyebrow at her.

"I kissed you? I never kissed you."

"Junior year. Tucker Bishop's party. You were drunk. I was bored out of my mind. You then said that you were dared to do it." She gave him a fake smile. "Yet another reason for why I didn't want to go on this stupid date."

"Holy shit! Ha! I don't remember that." She glared at him when he laughed. "Aww, did I hurt your feelings, Princess?"

"No, I actually slapped you afterwards, and then you said you were dared, so if anything, I'm guessing that you weren't dared, and you only said that to protect your bruised ego." She smiled at him, patting his shoulder. She tried to ignore the buzz that went through her when she felt how muscular his arm was. That was just the booze confusing her.

"Princess, I don't care how drunk I was, I wouldn't have kissed you, so if I said I was dared, then I was dared."

"You're such an asshole. You're lucky that I'm a nice person. Now if you'd excuse me, I've got some errands. I think I've interrupted my day enough for you."

"Like you had any real plans for today that were better than seeing my handsome face again." She shook her head at him, because his ego was turned on her heel, grabbing her bag from where she left it on the coffee table.

"I swear to God, if you're late on Wednesday, I will cut off your little friend." She pointed at him.

"There's nothing little about it, Princess." She scoffed, rolling her eyes.

"Octavia, it was lovely to see you again. Kane, nice to meet you. Let's go, Brutus."

"It was wonderful meeting all of you! I had a lot of fun." Kate winked at Bellamy, smiled warmly at Octavia, and shook hands with Kane.

"Bye, Clarke! Bye, Kate!" Octavia waved goodbye, an amused smile on her face.

"Clarke, Kate, it was lovely to meet you both." Kane extended to Clarke, who shook his hand quickly. She marched out the room, dragging Kate behind her by the wrist. She had a major headache, because she didn't get out of this stupid date, and Kate had aired a lot of her dirty laundry in front of someone she'd never want to know her most private secrets.

Chapter Text

Bellamy parked his car outside of Clarke's building. It was seven on the dot (he didn't want to risk any harm coming to his junk, and after learning just how much of a freak the princess was, he didn't doubt she'd come after his junk with a knife or scissors after all), and he let out a breath before he climbed out of the car. He could've called her, told her that he was here-hell, he could've just texted her, but he was pretty sure that the paps were trailing him, so it was important for him to get out of the car and meet her in the lobby of her building. He crossed the street, shoving his hands into the pockets of his blazer. He'd texted Clarke to go casual but nice, to which she responded: what does that even mean? Well, in his book, casual but nice meant a pair of dark wash jeans, a gray t-shirt, and a black blazer. He'd probably lose the blazer at some point, and he wanted to be comfortable. It was a nice t-shirt. High quality. It probably cost more than a years worth of rent in the shit box place that he and O had moved into after their mom died (okay, so, maybe not one year's worth, but pretty damn close).

He walked into the lobby of her building, and he saw a security guard look up from where he was seated behind the desk. The man's eyes widened momentarily, indicating that he recognized who Bellamy was, but he regained his composure, putting a suspicious voice on as he waved Bellamy over. "May I help you, sir?"

"I'm picking up Clarke Griffin." Bellamy cleared his throat when his voice came out scratchy. This was all so strange for him. The security guard eyed him for a moment before he reached for the phone, lifting the mouthpiece to his face. Not letting his eyes leave Bellamy's, the guard typed three numbers.

"Hello, Miss Griffin. This is Jerry from the front desk. Yes, I'm wonderful tonight, ma'am. Yes, I know that you ask me to call you Clarke, ma'am, but I really shouldn't." Bellamy rolled his eyes as he listened to the exchange. "Yes, ma'am, my daughter's birthday is next Friday. Why, Miss Griffin, I do appreciate that, but-yes, ma'am. Oh, and chocolate chip is wonderful. Thank you, ma'am." The security guard blushed, rubbing at the back of his neck. "Right, so the reason why I called, ma'am is to inform you that there is a man here for you. Yes, ma'am, it appears that it is him." He paused, studying Bellamy, who felt a little uncomfortable. "He's wearing jeans, a t-shirt, and a blazer, ma'am. No, ma'am, I have no idea what casual but nice is supposed to mean, either." Bellamy groaned, his head falling back.

"May I-Jerry, is it?" He held his hand out to the security guard, who furrowed his brow.

"It appears that Mr. Blake is requesting to speak with you, Miss Griffin." Jerry paused, nodding his head once. "Yes, ma'am. Good night, ma'am." He held the phone out to Bellamy, who sighed, pressing it to his ear.

"Jesus Christ, Princess. Are you still not ready?"

"Hello to you, too, Bellamy. Now, I'm completely ready...I just...okay, so what did you mean by casual but nice? I always dress nicely. And, casual to me is a pair of jeans or leggings and a t-shirt. But, men can pull off jeans and a tee without looking slovenly, but if we're going to a nice restaurant, I can't wear that kind of outfit. Which brings us to skirts or dresses or maybe a nice pair of slacks? So, what is it that you mean by casual but nice?" He pinched the bridge of his nose.

"Princess, put on fucking clothing and get your ass down here. Either that or I'm coming up, throwing you over my shoulder, and carrying you out of this damn building, even if the only thing you are wearing is a thong and a bra."

"No need to be rude, Bellamy," she snapped into the phone. "I'm just trying to look respectable and appropriate. Please give me some idea of where we're going tonight?"

"We're going to dinner and a club, Princess. Two places where we will be seen by a lot of people who will want to snap photos. Happy? Does that help you with figuring out what the hell you should be wearing?"

"A club? Why didn't you just say that originally?" He sighed.

"I don't know, Princess. How could I have possibly kept it to myself that we were going to a club? Jesus. Are you dressed yet? Or, do I need to come upstairs?"

"Oh, calm down, Bellamy. I'm on my way…" He heard the hesitation in her voice. "It's just...what kind of restaurant are we going to, because certain kinds of club wear are not appropriate for certain kinds of restaurants."

"That's it! I'm on my way up!"

"Wait! Stop! I'll be down in five." The line went dead, and he let out another deep sigh before he held the phone back to Jerry.

"Women…" He said with an eye roll, and a smile slipped onto his face when Jerry's lips twitched as he hung up the phone.

True to her world, Clarke was down within five minutes. Her hair appeared to be French braided in a halo around the crown of her head, and she was dressed in a light purple dress that was fitted under her bust, but was loose until the hem, which fell about halfway down her thighs. She wore a pair of black heels on her feet, and a bunch of black chunky (he thought that is what Octavia called it) jewelry on her ears, around her neck, and on her right wrist. She was holding a black clutch purse in one hand, along with a yellow bag with bright blue tissue paper sticking out of it, and a Tupperware container of what looked like cookies.

"Hi, Jerry!" She smiled brightly at him, leaving the cookies and yellow bag in front of him. "Here's the cookies for you and a present for your daughter's fifteenth birthday."

"Miss Griffin, you didn't have to do that." She waved him off.

"Jerry, please call me Clarke." She said sternly, wagging a finger at him. "The cookies are a thank you for rescuing my package from that kid in 401, and as for the present, it's just a couple of DVDs of some of my favorite movies from when I was growing up as a teen. I'm sure she'll love them."

"You're too kind, Miss Clarke." She laid a hand on the older man's, squeezing it, before she turned her attention on Bellamy.

"Hey, Bellamy." She looked him up and down. "You look nice." She twisted the hem of her skirt slightly in her hand. "Am I dressed appropriately? Do I fit the casual but nice category that you requested?"

Bellamy could hardly hear her, though, because he was too busy being wrapped up in how cute she looked. He hated that word, cute, but it was true. Everything from her hair to her dress to her makeup to her demeanor. Clarke was cute, and it pissed him off. He cleared his throat before giving her a smirk. "You look fine. Ready?" She stopped playing with her dress, and she looked away for a moment before nodding her head. She pushed past him, heading toward the door.

"Mr. Blake, I'm sorry if I'm overstepping, but you're an idiot." Jerry shook his head, and Bellamy narrowed his eyes at the security guard. "Just tell the girl you think she's pretty, especially when you actually think she is pretty." With that, Jerry shooed him from the building. Bellamy gave him a wave goodbye and went outside to find Clarke waiting for him.

"Ready to go?" She asked him, and he nodded, guiding her to his car. He opened the door for her, and she nodded her head in thanks.

They drove quietly, nothing more than the soft music coming from the radio. She sighed, reaching for the knob, changing it to some sugary pop song. He shot her a look, but she merely gave him a sweet smile, humming along with the song as it played. They made it to the restaurant in one piece, with no bloodshed. Then, again, there was hardly any dialogue either. It was just quiet, aside from the sounds of traffic around them, the music filling the car, and occasionally her quiet hums.

"So, to break the ice, why don't you tell me about moonbounce sex. Is it fun? Does the bounce make it easier to-" She reached across the table at the restaurant to press her hand over his mouth.

"Yeah, no, not having that conversation." Clarke said to Bellamy with a shake of her head, dropping her hand. She sat back, grabbing her glass of white wine, staring at it as she swirled the golden liquid around in the goblet. "You do stupid things when you're in love, right?" She raised the glass to her lips, taking a sip.

"And, when you're drunk." He held out his own glass, and she chuckled, tapping hers against his. "I could probably fit a moonbounce in my backyard, so if you ever want-" She narrowed her eyes at him, and he laughed. "It was worth a shot."

"You're an asshole." She shook her head. The waiter came over, dropping off their dinners, and as she was twirling her pasta around on her fork, she glanced up at him. She caught him studying her, and she blushed. He smiled at her, scratching the back of his head before he dug into his own meal. He couldn't help but think that this wasn't exactly the worst date that he'd ever been on.

After dinner, Bellamy walked Clarke to his car, once again opening the door for her. She brushed past him on her way in, and if he was a stupid teen, he would've been hyperventilating over a beautiful woman touching him and the sparks that ran up and down his spine. He wasn't a stupid teen, though, so to distract himself from the fact that he did get a few tingles at the feel of her body against his (she was sexy; there was no way he wasn't getting tight in the pants at her body rubbing against his), he did what every asshole does. He grabbed her ass. She turned around, smacking his chest and arms a few times, and he just smirked and winked at her.

She spent the majority of the car ride to the club huffing and puffing, her arms crossed. What she didn't realize was that he could see the pink twinge on her cheeks that was definitely not from her blush, but rather because she was blushing. If she were anyone else, in that moment, he would've known that he sealed the deal and was going to get laid that night, but she was a princess, and even if he was having an okay enough time and she'd probably be a good lay, that was so NOT happening.

"Um, Bellamy," he glanced over at her as he pulled onto the street where Spacewalk was. It was a popular club, and it was where Lincoln and Octavia were out and about for their first official date in the public eye. He planned on stopping by, letting is date with the contest winner overshadow his sister's date with Lincoln Travers to limit the bad press that a Linctavia romance could possibly get, considering Travers was in the middle of a heated divorce with Lexa. Plus, if he and Lincoln played nice in a crowd of people, he'd squash any rumors about their troubles on set. When he glanced at the blonde beside him, he saw that she was paler than usual and her hands were squeezed into fists. "We're not going to Spacewalk, right?" Her voice was breathy, and if she were naked and in his bed (or, hell, anywhere for that matter, he wasn't picky), then he'd find the sound sexy, but right now she looked nervous.

"Uh, yeah. My sister's here with Lincoln Travers. I have to make an appearance for a number of reasons. Our date will distract from the fact that Octavia's on a date with a man in the middle of a heated divorce. Plus, if I'm seen playing nice with Travers, people will think that there isn't a problem between the two of us, which there is. The asshole's a decade older than my baby sister. That shit isn't cool."

"I don't think that...maybe I could just wait here in the car, and you could go in, make an appearance, do a bro-hug and drink a beer with Lincoln, all smiles for fans snapping pictures, and then come back, and we could go somewhere else, okay?"

"Why are you being weird? It's just a club." He pulled up in front of the club and climbed out. He saw her twisting her fingers in her lap. He smiled at the fans waiting in line of the club who cheered and shouted his name. Girls begged him to come take pictures with him, but he just held a hand up to them as he walked around the car to go to the passenger side. He opened the door, and she swallowed, biting her lip. Why the fuck was she being so weird? "We'll stay for less than a half an hour, and I'll take you home or somewhere else, okay?" She nodded her head, climbing out of the seat, gripping his hand like her life depended on it. A valet came forward to collect his keys to the car.

"Oh, hey, Clarke! I didn't realize you were coming tonight. You know Bellamy Blake?" His eyebrows rose, and he turned to study the blonde woman squeezing the shit out of his hand.

"Hi, Sterling…" She swallowed. "Bellamy and I actually went to high school together, believe it or not. Listen, I talk to you later. Have a good holiday tomorrow, okay? Say hi to Mel for me, alright?" He nodded his head, taking the keys from Bellamy's hand, waving goodbye to the both of them.

Clarke could feel Bellamy's eyes on her as she drug him by the hand toward the entrance to Spacewalk. She was doing the breathing exercises that her grief therapist taught her after her dad died, but her vision was a little splotchy. Of all the fucking places that Bellamy could've brought her after dinner, it was, of course, Spacewalk. She could feel it in the way that he gripped her hand almost as tightly as she gripped his that he had questions. She let out a breath of relief when she saw who was the bouncer that night.

"Clarke!" She grinned at Miller, letting go of Bellamy's hand to accept Miller's hug. She stood on her toes to press a kiss to his cheek, stepping away from him. He left his hands on her waist, and she laid both of hers on his forearms. "I thought you weren't coming tonight?"

"I, uh, didn't plan on it, but Bellamy needed to make an appearance, so here we are." Miller glanced over her shoulder at Bellamy, and she felt him tighten his hold on her waist, making her squeeze his arms lightly.

"Right, I heard about the contest thing." He narrowed his eyes at Bellamy. "If you need anything at all tonight, come find me, yeah?" He turned his gaze back onto Clarke, and she blushed, rolling her eyes. The big brother act was so annoying, but she loved him for it.

"Oh, stop it! I'm fine. Wells and Kate here yet?"

"Yeah, they're back in VIP with everybody else." Clarke took a deep breath. "Well, not everyone." She nodded her head.

"Cool, we'll say a quick hello to them before we go find Bellamy's sister. You're coming tomorrow, right?"

"Of course. Harper's making some weird ass yam dish that you won't eat." Clarke chuckled.

"I'm glad I'm a vegan, because I can get away with not eating your girlfriend's attempts at cooking." Miller scrunched his nose and shook his head.

"Alright, you guys better get inside before his fans start stripping and propositioning him." Miller nodded to the girls in line who were getting rowdy and calling out obscene things to Bellamy. She shook her head. Class acts. "Harper and I are looking forward to your show on Saturday. We want to get something for the bedroom."

Clarke winked at him. "You can't afford me." She reached for Bellamy's hand, pulling him past Miller as she blew him a kiss. "But in all seriousness, I'll paint you guys something. No charge." She said as the two of them slipped inside of the club.

"Well, princess. It seems like you've got some explaining to do…" Bellamy breathed in Clarke's ear. He was pressed close to her body, both of his hands now on her hips as he guided her further into the building. She closed her eyes for a moment, because it always turned her on when a man whispered in her ear, but this was Bellamy Blake, and she was not attracted to him, so she willed her eyes open and to take a step away from him.

When they entered the main room of the club, she glanced around at the writhing bodies beneath the flashing lights and thumping techno music. The waitresses were dressed in shiny silver shorts and skintight silver crop tops with the words Spacewalk in loopy letters across their busts. They also had thigh-high silver boots on. The furniture was silver, black, and white, going with the space theme. The walls were painted a dark gray color, except for two of them. There, she had painted two giant murals. The first mural was an astronaut connected by a cord, floating in the air, working on the side of a spaceship. The other was an image of the earth as the sun was rising nearby, from what was intended to look like the window of a space station. "Did you paint them?" He asked, once again his lips pressed against her ear so that she could hear him over the loud music and thrum of bodies moving in time with it. She nodded her head, and he squeezed her hip. "I didn't realize I was the one out with a celebrity tonight." He joked, his lips brushing against her cheek as he pulled away. She swallowed.

"Um, can we make a quick stop in the VIP section?"

"That's probably where my sister is anyways."

"No. It's closed down tonight for a private party." She grabbed his hand, pulling him around scantily clad women gyrating against men with slicked back hair and grins on their faces. She prayed to God that her hand wasn't sweaty in his, because she was so insanely nervous-nervous about the blending of her old life with her new one (except Wells, who had never left her and had grown with her into her new life). Her back felt like there was a metal rod in place of her spine, with no give, and she squeezed his fingers tightly in his. She felt him pull his hand from hers, and she looked back, confused, only to realize that he was already reconnecting their hands by threading his fingers through hers. It was a lot more comfortable to hold his hand that way than her attempts at wrapping her small fingers around his larger ones, but it was also a lot more intimate. She tried her best to remain focused on the comfort aspect and not on the intimacy of their interlaced fingers and the pressure of his palm against hers.

They reached the VIP area, which was blocked off with a sign that said that the area was closed for a private party. There were a number of people in the room already. Kate and Wells were dancing, along with a few other people she had met over the years but wasn't exactly close to-they were their friends. Monty was behind the bar, mixing and pouring drinks. Jasper and his wife, Maya, were chatting on one of the couches that was facing the cloth robes, overlooking the gyrating crowd.

"Hey, guys!" She called out to everyone, waving her hand. Monty waved from the bar, continuing to fill glasses on a tray. Kate stopped dancing with Wells, rushing over to her, with Wells limping slowly behind her. The redhead hesitated, her eyes widening and one of her perfectly sculpted eyebrows rose when her gaze fell on Clarke and Bellamy's interlocked hands. She attempted to pull her hand free from his, but he tightened his hold. She glanced at him, squeezing his hand once, but didn't try to pull her hand away again, because she actually liked the feeling of his hand pressed against hers. Before Kate could question them, Jasper and Maya were crowding her, throwing their arms around her at the same time, so she was caught between the goggles hanging from Jasper's neck ("dude, Clarke, they go with the space theme, okay? Like, I'm one of the pilots of this spaceship!" - that is what Jasper told her when she questioned him the first time she saw him with the goggles hanging from his neck) and Maya's thick, dark curls. "Clarkey," Jasper grinned, pressing a kiss to her cheek. "I'm glad you're here. I also can't believe you're here with Bellamy Blake!"

"I thought you weren't coming?" Kate was still staring at their hands.

"Bellamy's sister is here with Lincoln, so…"

"Ah, right, distraction 101. 'Look at me with my contest winner date!'" Kate nodded her head. "They're not here yet."

"Miller told me. I just wanted to say hi to you all before we went to find Octavia and Lincoln. I'm hoping to miss them completely. Anyways, let me introduce you to everyone, Bellamy. This is Jasper and Maya. You know Kate, and this is Wells."

"Clarke, you look beautiful." She smiled warmly Wells, pulling her hand from Bellamy's with some effort in order to wrap her arms around Wells' neck. "How're you doing?" Wells asked her, grazing her right wrist on his way out of the hug. She brushed off his concern with a wide smile and a shake of her head.

The second that she released Wells completely, she felt Bellamy's hand connect with hers once more. She gave him a slight head nod to acknowledge that even though he was typically a charming, confident person, when he was around her friends, he felt out of place. It was how she felt in high school when she went to parties for Wells' dad and her parents' fancy, rich friends, as well as the parties with her classmates. The only time she ever felt really comfortable and safe was with Wells, when she was painting and around other artists (and they were notorious for tearing into your work without a moment's hesitation), and the wonderful people she had met at Stanford and in Los Angeles. Surprisingly, she felt comfortable around Bellamy, as well, which contradicted how she felt around him when she knew him growing up.

"I'll be fine as long as I can get out of here before everyone shows up." Clarke said to Wells. He nodded, turning his attention to Bellamy.

"Bellamy Blake. I'm Wells Jaha, Clarke's best friend." He extended his hand to Bellamy, who reached out and took it.

"I thought Kate was her best friend," Bellamy said with a smile as they shook hands. "It's nice to meet you though. I know I saw you on TV a lot in high school because of your dad."

"And now I see you on TV a lot because of your job." Wells joked. "But as for whether or not who her true best friend is, I was there first." He winked at Kate who scoffed, crossing her arms.

"Yeah, but I'm the best friend with the vagina whom Clarke can bitch about men, too."

"Been there, done that, sweetheart. Who do you think heard it all before you came along?" Wells grinned at Kate before leaning forward to press a kiss to her lips. "You're my very best friend, though."

"I better be." Kate purred, and Clarke, Jasper, and Maya groaned at their display.

"Enough of the cuteness!" Clarke complained. "I feel like I should be jealous that my two best friends don't consider me to be their number one best friend."

"Oh, you are." Kate grinned at her. "You're my best girl friend, and he's my best friend with a penis that I get to regularly fuck."

"Gross!" Jasper plugged his ears, while Kate, Clarke, and Maya laughed. Bellamy and Wells looked a little uncomfortable. Clarke squeezed Bellamy's hand in hers. He looked at her with a scrunched nose, and she couldn't help but find him adorable in that moment. She glanced away, focusing back on her friends. She was saved by Monty rushing over with a tray of moonshine.

"Moonshine, everyone! My best batch yet!" He said with a grin, making Clarke grimace slightly as she reached for a glass. She saw Bellamy cock an eyebrow at her, but she just winked.

"Our, Monty. Our best batch," Jasper said as he grabbed his own glass.

"Right, sorry, our." Monty said with an eye roll. He nodded to Bellamy. "'Sup, dude. I'm Monty."

"Bellamy Blake. Nice to meet you," he said, taking a glass of the moonshine from the tray. "Nice to meet all of you. Officially," he said with with a nod to Monty and Jasper. Clarke figured that Bellamy had frequented their club a lot over the two years it had been open.

"You fucking Clarke?"

"Oh, my God, Monty!" Clarke squeaked. Monty looked pointedly at her hand in Bellamy's. Bellamy laughed, winking at her, making her turn bright red. She pulled her hand away from his with some effort, which made him throw his arm around her shoulders and pull her close to him.

"It's cool, Clarke. You need a good lay. You've been a little bitchy lately." Jasper said with a nod, wrapping an arm around Maya's shoulders.

"Fuck you both." She snapped, pulling out of from under Bellamy's arm. "Bottoms up!" She muttered knocking her glass of moonshine back in one large gulp.

"Shit, Clarke! This is a delicacy. It should be sipped...enjoyed!" Monty admonished her. Clarke coughed, shaking her head.

"Fuck, that tastes like lighter fluid."

"Um, that's how we make it! Duh!" Jasper sighed. She flipped them both off.

"Damn, Clarke," Bellamy said, leaning down to breathe into her ear. "That was kind of hot."

"And, you're kind of an asshole." She responded, and he just winked at her, downing his own drink. She smiled when she saw him wince.

"Well, I was going to toast to the engagement from Hell, but since two of the drinks are already gone, I say fuck it." Monty said, the final glass of moonshine in his hand and the tray tucked under one of his arms, and he lifted his glass to his lips. Clarke soured. She watched as everyone else started in on their own glass, wishing she had another drink.

"Take mine," Maya said, handing over the moonshine. Clarke passed off her empty glass to Monty. "I'm not going to stay much longer. I'm sure Nina's driving Penny crazy." She took the glass from her appreciatively and downed it.

"You three are more than welcome tomorrow," she said to Monty, Jasper, and Maya (with the fourth being Nina, Maya and Jasper's one year old daughter). She was hoping to change the subject.

"Nah, with my parents in town, we're having dinner at our place. Thanks for the offer, though." Jasper told her with a smile.

"So, who's getting married?" Bellamy asked when they all presented Monty with their empty glasses. Everyone looked to her to respond, and she sighed, opening her mouth, but before she could even respond, she was interrupted.

"Clarke!" She turned around to see Miller rushing up to her.

"Why aren't you manning the door?"

"Graham just came on shift, and as I was headed inside for the party, I saw them pull up. Sterling was going to park their car."

"Shit. Thanks, Miller. Bye, all! C'mon, Blake." Clarke grabbed Bellamy by the forearm and began dragging him away from the VIP section. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw him wave at her friends. He pulled his arm free from her grasp, once more interlacing their fingers. She let out a breath as she guided him away from her friends, hoping to avoid the two people she had originally planned on not seeing that night. Unfortunately, her life sucked, and she guided him right into the path of the third and final owner of Spacewalk, Finn Collins. She paled. "Finn…"

Chapter Text

Bellamy didn't know what to make of Clarke's knowledge of Spacewalk. Had he seen her here during the many times he'd frequented the club? Did the owners of the club commission her to paint the artwork on the walls and that was why she was so popular with much of the staff? It was all confusing-most of all, the way that his stomach twisted into knots every time her hand found his.

Then, she introduced him to Monty Green and Jasper Jordan, two of the owners of Spacewalk, as well as her other close friends, and he realized that there was more to their relationship than a commissioned artist and the people who employed her. They were her friends. He didn't know why he was so shocked by Clarke having friends-of course she had friends-but, perhaps, he was just shocked that Clarke fit so well in the Hollywood life, something he didn't expect when he thought back to the nerdy girl he knew in high school, whose nose was always buried in a book with a pencil behind her ear and a paint brush holding her bun in place on the back of her head.

This Clarke-the smart, beautiful, funny, late-twenties Clarke-was an enigma to him. He spent much of the time with her friends quiet and lost, because he didn't know what to say or do around her. As he spent more time with her, he came to realize just how wrong he'd been around her. It was unsettling, because he was never wrong about people. He was never unsure of himself around people. He was always the confident, charming, center of attention Bellamy. He didn't recognize the person he was around her.

It was now Bellamy's turn to see an especially unsettled Clarke. When she pulled him directly into the path of the third man, whom he knew as the final owner of Spacewalk, Finn Collins, she'd gone pale and twitchy. The man in front of him wasn't all that intimidating in appearance-tall, lanky but muscular, with chin length hair that he'd brushed out of his face. Dark eyes bore down onto Clarke, his handsome face (what? Bellamy was secure enough in his sexuality that he could admit when another dude was pretty, and Finn was pretty) softening into a look of longing and apologeticness. Clarke, on the other hand, looked hurt, fearful, sad. He didn't like that look on her.

"Finn…" Clarke gripped his hand tightly in hers, and out of instinct, he stepped closer to her so that his side was flush against hers. The way that she said the man's name was so full of heartbreak, betrayal, and loneliness, it made Bellamy's own heart snap in two. He wasn't that guy. Once again, he felt off-balance around Clarke, taking on her emotions, wanting to do everything in his power to protect her, heal her. He swallowed, writing it off as how he'd step in for Octavia if she were upset.

"Clarke, you haven't been answering my calls or texts," Finn was saying, and he took a step forward. Bellamy felt Clarke tense beside him, stepping back. Finn frowned, but his gaze hardened when her step back had made it all the more evident that they had been holding hands. "What are you doing with him? You said you hated Bellamy Blake." Finn shot Bellamy a dirty look. "Look, can we just talk, please? I just...I feel like I need to explain-"

"Finn!" She cut him off. "Where are we right now?" Finn swallowed, taking another step towards Clarke.

"Clarke, please, I really need to-"

"Are you still engaged to Raven?" Clarke asked him, and Finn's mouth snapped shut. Bellamy glanced between the two of them. "Are we not at your fucking engagement party?"

"Clarke," Finn tried again, but she held up her free hand.

"No, Finn. I'm not answering your calls or texts or anything, because you are with Raven. I can't...I can't go down that road again. Please leave me alone."

Bellamy looked back and forth between Clarke and Finn, and he squeezed her hand gently, pulling her closer to him, wanting to protect her from the pain she was obviously feeling. Yes, this is how he'd respond to Octavia if she'd been in a similar position. She leaned against his side, as if he alone was keeping her from falling over.

"Clarke, I love you." Finn said pleadingly. "You have to believe me when I say that. I just...I need you to understand-" Bellamy saw a tear slip down her cheek, and it was then that he had enough of this bullshit.

"Well, tough shit, dude." He stepped in front of her, blocking her from his vision. "You need to back the fuck off."

"Bellamy," she began, but he ignored her.

"Who the fuck are you to tell me I need to back off? You need to back off." Finn said, getting into his face. He felt her squeeze his hand in warning. "This is between Clarke and I. This is not any of your business."

"Except it is my business, because I'm with her." He stepped closer. He was only a few inches taller than Finn, but he took advantage of his height, trying to tower over him.

"Bellamy," Clarke released his hand to tug on his arm. "Look at me." He glanced down at her, and she shook her head. "There are people watching. It's not worth it." He tensed his jaw, nodding his head. "Let's go find your sister, okay?"

"Clarke, you're seriously going to leave with this asshole? What about us?" She glared at Finn.

"There is no us, Finn."

"Is this because of him? Are you dating Bellamy Blake?" Finn asked in disgust. "He's only going to hurt you, Clarke. Look at his track record. He's not the right guy for you."

"And you are?" Clarke asked him, shaking her head. Bellamy noticed that she scratched at her right wrist, which seemed to be a nervous habit of hers. "It's none of your business whether or not I'm dating Bellamy, because you and I are not together anymore. You're getting married, Finn."

"He's no good for you," Finn said pleadingly. He stepped forward, but Bellamy stepped between them.

"Whether or not you think I'm good enough for her is of no matter. It's whether or not she does is all that matters. Now if you'll excuse us, she and I have a date to get back to." He wrapped an arm around her shoulders, pulling her away from Finn. They got as far as the bar, before he stopped them, leaning down to look her in the eyes. "You okay?" She nodded her head, but it was clear to him that she was still upset. He pulled her against his chest, and after a moment, she wound her arms around his middle, pressing her face into his neck.

"I don't know what to say…I'm mortified. I thought that I could-" Clarke said as she pulled out of Bellamy's arms. She sniffed, turning her face away to avoid his gaze. He sighed, rubbing a hand down his face.

"I wanted to beat his fucking face in. It was clear that he hurt you, and he just kept at it. A real man doesn't do that to a person they claim to love." He let out a breath. "I'm always upfront and honest with the girls I date about how I'm not into relationships. I don't go out of my way to hurt anyone. He saw that you were hurting, and he just kept going. It was clear to me that he was more worried about relieving his own guilt and not being seen by you as the bad guy than about love."

"That's insightful of you, Dr. Blake," she said with a smile, but it didn't reach her eyes. He rolled his eyes, pushing away from her completely.

"I just kept picturing some guy acting that way with Octavia, and I just...I wanted to end him." She stiffened, raising a hand to rub at the back of her neck.

"Right, well, it's over with now. You do realize that Finn now thinks that we're dating." Bellamy furrowed his brow. What the hell was Clarke going on about?

"What do you mean?"

"Well, first of all, we were holding hands. Second of all, you said that because you were with me, it was your business to get involved. Third of all, neither one of us ever denied that we were dating when Finn asked it. And, finally, you said that it only matters whether or not thought you were good enough and that we needed to get back to our date. All of that is circumstantial, of course, but lumped together, it is the logical assumption. Finn's probably fuming that I'm seeing someone else now, and he's going to make a big stink to anyone who listens."


"We're also forgetting about the tons of people that are surrounding us at the moment and who were there when we were having that argument with Finn. I mean, he's one of the co-owners of Spacewalk. You are Bellamy Blake. People are going to talk."

"Okay, Princess, I get it. People are going to think that there is something going on more than a single date. I can fix this."

"How can you fix it? We were supposed to go out one time, Bellamy. How in the hell are we supposed to get out of this? Neither one of us exactly likes the other person. Sure, we've been tolerating each other's presence for tonight, but that doesn't mean that we actually like each other."

Hearing Clarke say those words was like getting punched in the junk about fifteen times, Bellamy thought to himself. He tensed his jaw.

"Dude, there you are!" The two of them turned their head towards the sound of his sister. "I've been looking for you. Did you know that people are going on and on about some fight between Bellamy Blake and one of the owners of Spacewalk? Something about a girl. Oh, hey, Clarke."

"Octavia," Bellamy began, but he hesitated, looking at Clarke.

"Bellamy and I ran into my ex-boyfriend, that's all." Clarke cleared her throat. "It's good seeing you again, Octavia."

"Your ex-boyfriend? Really?" Octavia grinned, looking scandalized. "You dated one of the dudes who owns Spacewalk. Badass. Nice. So, did you throw a punch or something?" She turned her attention back on Bellamy.

"No, I didn't, but now pretty boy Spacewalker thinks that she and I are dating. Now, we're stuck keeping up this charade." His eyes narrowed when he saw how excited his sister looked.

"Big deal. You guys go on a few more dates, then Kane releases a statement saying that you guys tried to make a go of it, but you decided that you're better off as friends. There, done. No one gets hurt." Octavia rolled her eyes. "Oh, by the way, Clarke, this is Lincoln, my boyfriend."

"Boyfriend? He's hardly a boy, O." Bellamy snapped, glaring at Lincoln.

"Well, jeeze, Bellamy, I thought that you'd feel better about me calling him my boyfriend than my sexy lover." Bellamy literally snarled at his sister.

"Hey, calm down," Clarke said, stepping in front of him. He stared down at her, his jaw tense. "You don't want to make a scene," she reminded him. "Play nice. There are people watching." He swallowed, taking a step away from Lincoln and Octavia, and Clarke followed him, laying a hand on his arm. "Good."

"See, you guys got this fake relationship thing down perfectly." Octavia waved a hand at the two of them. "Anyways, how about one drink, a couple of selfies for social media about our cute double date moment, and then we go our separate ways."

"Can you handle one drink?" He nodded his head at Clarke, and she smiled at him. They had their one drink, and, true to her word, Octavia snapped a few selfies of the four of them, which he was sure was going to go viral soon enough.

Out of the corner of his eye, Bellamy could tell that Clarke was still upset over what had happened with Raven and Finn, and she was tapping away on her phone, likely to Kate or Wells, about what happened. He leaned over to whisper in her ear. "Want me to take you home?" She turned her head, but he was still leaning close to her, so their faces were only about an inch apart. He could smell the moonshine and rum on her breath from her rum and Coke, the wine they'd had at dinner a distant memory. Up close, he saw her eyes were a green-blue color, with flecks of hazel in them, and the only marks on her skin were the three birthmarks on her skin-one above her lip, another on her cheek, and the third above her eyebrow. She was beautiful, and he swallowed, keeping himself from leaning forward to connect their lips. She was Clarke Griffin, for fuck's sake. She was the stuck-up princess from high school that he hated. She was the smart know-it-all that pissed him off to no end. He leaned back, and he saw something flash over her face before she looked away, grabbing her drink to finish it off.

"Let's go," she said, standing up, and he nodded, turning to his sister and Lincoln. Lincoln was chatting with someone on the other side of him at the bar, whereas his sister was watching him and Clarke with a contemplative look on her face.

"I'm gonna take Clarke home. You good?" He said with a nod to Octavia. She rolled her eyes, nodding. She climbed off of the seat, wrapping her arms around his neck.

"Be wise, big brother." He pulled back, staring at her in confusion. What was she going on about? She just leaned up to press a kiss to his cheek. "Love you." She pulled away from him to pull Clarke into a hug. He saw Clarke's eyes widen in shock, but she returned the hug. "It was good seeing you again, Clarke. We should go shopping or something. I'd love to see your art. I'm always looking for nice things for my apartment."

"Um, yeah, sure…I'd like that." Clarke said when she and Octavia broke free from each other. She blushed, looking at Bellamy in surprise. He just shrugged. He turned his attention to Lincoln Travers. He felt Clarke's hand on his arm, and he let out a deep breath before he held a hand out to the older man.

"Lincoln, take care of my sister, yeah?" Lincoln nodded his head, shaking hands with Bellamy, giving him a warm smile.

"She means the world to me, Bellamy. I'd protect her with my life." Bellamy could tell that the older man was telling the truth, but it was still a little weird for him to hear someone else say it about her. For as long as he could remember, he was the only one doing that for O, so it would take some getting used to if he had to share her with someone else. "Clarke, it was lovely to meet you. I look forward to seeing you again." He stepped forward, pressing a kiss to Clarke's cheek, and she smiled warmly at him. The second that she separated from him, Bellamy grabbed her hand, pulling her away from Octavia and Lincoln.

The two of them walked outside, flashes from cameras and phones momentarily blinding him from the dark contrast of the club, and he pulled her closer to him. She released his hand to wrap her arms around his upper arm, and he smiled down at her. She seemed unsure of herself around the cameras and people photographing them, so he just guided her toward where the valets were standing. They stood there, with her clutching his arm, and him whispering to her. "You okay?" He realized that this was becoming a habit for him, but he was honestly worried about her after the argument with Finn. She looked so broken, and she'd lost her bubbliness that she'd been sporting all evening until they had arrived at the club.

"I'm fine." She nodded her head, sniffing. He could see it in her face that she wasn't, and he could also see that she was slightly buzzed on the moonshine and rum. He shook his head, about to open his mouth to respond to her, but his car pulled up in front of him, and the valet got out. He opened the door for her, helping her into the car, and he hesitated in the doorway once she was seated, knowing people were snapping pictures of them. "Bellamy?" She asked him, confused, and he just leaned forward, brushing his lips over her cheek. He didn't know what came over him, and if he had less of a tolerance when it came to booze, he probably would've kissed her lips, but he still had enough sense to detour the kiss to her cheek. When he pulled back, she blushed, reaching up to brush her fingers over her cheek, a small smile on her lips.

Bellamy felt pretty pleased with himself, shutting the door and walking around the car to the driver's side. He climbed in, and, after he put the car in drive, he found Clarke's hand on his before he could move it to wheel. She interlaced their fingers, and he smiled at her, glancing over his shoulder before pulling into traffic. The drive was quiet until Taylor Swift's I Knew You Were Trouble came on the radio. He grinned at her when she turned it up, singing along with the song under her breath. "You know this song is about me, right?" She turned to look at him, her eyes narrowed. "People like to believe that it's about Harry Styles before they started dating, but it's not. It's about me." She shook her head. "Don't believe me? You didn't see the reports of our brief romance a few years ago? The media went wild over our romance." She chuckled.

"I don't doubt that you dated her, nor do I doubt that you are the subject of this song." She grinned at him, biting her bottom lip. "You certainly are trouble." He winked at her.

"You have no idea, Princess." She rolled her eyes at him. "You wanna find out how much trouble I can be?" She pulled her hand from his, backhanding his chest lightly, but he caught her hand, raising it to his mouth to press a kiss there. It was in that moment that he did see the shiver go through her, and her cheeks became pinker. She looked away, staring out the window.

"What she doesn't know, though, is that you do love things." She said, referencing a portion of the song as it neared it's close. "You love your sister. You love your sister almost to the extreme-dude, let her breathe a bit." He lifted her hand to bite the back of it, making her squirm and him chuckle. "You love your job. I can see how passionate you are about your career and acting." She said, glancing at him. "I also remember how much of a nerd you were with history." He scoffed, squeezing her hand.

"I was never a nerd." She nodded her head, grinning at him.

"Yes, you were."

"If there was anyone that was a nerd, it was you." She laughed.

"Dude, I might have been valedictorian, but you were the one who had the perfect score in history. Nerd." He finally reached her apartment complex, and he lucked out with a parking spot in front of the building. He stopped the car, turning it off. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw a black SUV park across the street, the window sliding down and a camera lens exiting it. "I had fun tonight, Bellamy. Surprisingly." He rolled his eyes at her.

"I'm a good time, Princess. You should see how fun I am in bed." She groaned, shaking her head.

"You're such a pig." She told him seriously, but he waved her off. She reached for the handle, but he reached across her, stilling her hand. She turned her head, and he realized how close he was to her.

"The paps are here. I should walk you inside." He whispered, not moving away from her. "I can't look like an asshole."

"But, you are an asshole." She whispered back.

"Yeah, but then I'd be the asshole who can't get laid after a date." He said with an eye roll. She scoffed, pushing him away from her.

"So, I'm the tramp that gives it up after the first date? I don't think so."

"Clarke," she froze after she opened the door only an inch. It was the first time he'd used her real name. She glanced over her shoulder at him. "Let me walk you to your door."

Clarke bit her bottom lip, and if she were anyone else, Bellamy would love to grab her by the back of her head and suck that bottom lip into his mouth, but she was Clarke Griffin. That wasn't happening. It couldn't happen. "Okay." She said with a head nod. The two of them climbed out of the car and walked into her building. The two of them waved at Jerry, who gave Bellamy a pointed look that seemed to indicate that he was just a phone call away if Clarke needed him.

They rode the elevator in silence. She jumped when the elevator dinged to indicate it had reached her floor. She slowly made her way down the hall, stopping at her door. He leaned against the wall beside it, watching as she hesitated in front of it. He cocked an eyebrow at her, as she played with her keys in her hands. "Generally, to go inside, you have to put your key in the lock, turn it, then turn the doorknob." She shot him an aggravated look. She unlocked her door, opening it wide. She moved into the doorway, freezing with her back to him. He had expected her to walk in, shut the door in his face, and never to hear from her again, but she turned around, chewing on her bottom lip.

"If I invite you inside, it does not mean that I'm asking you to sleep with me, okay?" He smirked at her, moving away from the wall by her door to cross his arms. "Oh, God! Forget it. You're such a pig."

"No, no, no! You don't want the night to end. I don't blame you. I am nice to look at. Plus, you're curious about what I'm like in bed. I get it. Just say the words, Princess."

"You're so disgusting." She snapped, slipping inside her apartment. She began to shut the door on him, but he stopped it before it shut with his hand. He gripped the door edge in his hand, leaning the other on the frame as towered over him.

"Wait, Clarke." She froze, her glare softening. He smiled down at her as he took a step forward. "Do you want me to stay?" She didn't say anything, just chewed on her bottom lip. He lowered his voice. "Ask me to stay…" She let out a breath.

"Bellamy, would you like to come inside?" He nodded his head, moving inside of the apartment, shutting the door behind him.

Chapter Text

Clarke led Bellamy into her apartment. At the start of the night, she wasn't expecting this to happen, but he'd been a surprisingly good time, and she wasn't sure that she wanted the night to end. It was for that reason that she invited him into her apartment. The rational part of her brain was telling her that she was stupid for doing so, because she should be in bed at this moment, because she had a lot to do the next morning to prepare for the holiday dinner. Instead, the irrational version of herself (who had a habit of coming out during the most inopportune times) had invited him inside, and now she was standing in the living area of her apartment, twisting her fingers as Bellamy Blake stood beside her, looking around.

"Wow. I mean, I knew you were a good artist-the murals were fucking amazing-but I didn't realize your art paid for all of this." He stepped further into her apartment, and she suddenly felt self-conscious about her decision to put her bedroom area on the main floor near her living area and her studio in the loft. The white frothy bedding on her bed was suddenly seemed slutty rather than comfortable and relaxing. "This place is gorgeous. Did you paint that?" He pointed to the large painting of what she considered to be a celestial face that she painted after her dad had died. The large painting of the celestial face above her bed. She nodded her head, unable to trust her voice. "It's stunning. Is your studio upstairs? May I see it?" He headed in the direction of the stairs that led to the lofted space upstairs without waiting for her permission. She followed slowly behind him. When she finally reached the loft space, he was standing in front of the canvas with the bleeding tree. She still hadn't decided what she wanted to do with it, because she was sure she couldn't sell it. No one wanted a bleeding tree. "Wow."

"I...that was supposed to be a tree, but I…" She didn't know what to say about it. She was embarrassed by the pain that leaked from it.

"It's beautiful." He said softly, glancing at her. "It's sad." He glanced at all of the paintings she had on the walls and leaning against easels in various states of completion. "They're all sad." She furrowed her brow, because she was always curious to hear what people's interpretations of her work were. Most of the time, people focused on the aesthetics of her art, rather than her motivation behind them. This was the first time that someone had really found the place where she was painting from. Most of her art was sad, because she was sad. And angry. And broken. "They're all stunning, but heartbreaking." He ran his fingers over the dried red paint tainting the tree. "The tree is stoic, strong, invincible to the naked eye, but the's like someone took an ax to it, cut it, and now it's bleeding. But, it's still standing." He said with a brittle smile. She swallowed, because he put into words exactly what she was feeling but could not seem to articulate when she painted it. Her left hand found her right wrist, digging beneath the bracelet to scratch her skin there, but she stopped herself, because he turned back to the painting and said something that took her by surprise. "How much?"

"Wha-" Her voice cracked, and she coughed, clearing before speaking again. "What?"

"How much for this painting? I'd like to buy it." He turned to face her, smiling at the shocked look on her face. "I've got a lot of greens and reds and browns in my house, so it would go with the rest of the 'decor,'" he said with an eye roll and finger quotes. "Octavia basically decorated my house, because I apparently have no interior design sense. Yeah, of course I don't, because I'm a fucking dude, but I let her decorate how she saw fit." He shrugged his shoulders. "She spends a lot of time there anyways, so it's whatever. So, how much, Princess?"

"You really want to buy it?" He looked at her like she was stupid, and she swallowed. "I just...I never...I didn't think I would be able to sell it, because it is so much darker than my usual stuff." She walked up to the painting, laying her right hand on the dried paint. "I painted it the day I found out about winning the contest." She felt him tense beside her. "Before I found out that I won." She said, glancing his way before she turned her attention back to the . "I woke up, and my fingers were itching to paint. I felt so...I don't know how to describe it. I felt like there was something I needed to say, and I was so...I was angry. I started this tree, and it was so perfect and beautiful, but I was angry. It was like my brain shut down, and my hand went nuts. Thus, the red." She dropped her hand. "You can have it," she whispered. "I love this painting, even if people would write it off as being ugly and ruined. It should go to a home where someone understands it."

"Clarke," Clarke shook her head, refusing to look at Bellamy. She just got too personal with him. She turned away from him, but he grabbed her hand, pulling her back to him. They locked eyes, and she swallowed. This was too much. She didn't know what to make of this version of him. She understood the obnoxious jerk version, the overprotective brother to Octavia, and the charming, confident flirt. He'd shown her other sides of himself throughout the night, and she felt uncomfortable, because she didn't know how to respond to it, to him.

"So, there was a reason why I invited you inside." She said, breaking the moment. She smirked at him, dragging him out of her studio by the hand.

"To have your way with me-I know." She rolled her eyes as she drug him downstairs. She reached the downstairs, and she clicked off her shoes by her closet where she stored her dresses, fancy clothing, and shoes.

"Shut up. I've got to change first, though. Why don't you go get yourself a drink, okay? I've got beer, wine, juice, and water in the fridge, and there's also an open bottle of red on my counter, too." She said, pushing him away from her dressing area. "The glasses can be found in the cabinet above the counter by the fridge. I'll take a glass of red. Thanks." He glanced at her with his eyebrow cocked.

"Princess, you don't have to get into sexy lingerie. I'm sure what you have on is great, and I actually prefer to undress a woman, so you should really keep the dress on." She flipped him off. He winked, disappearing and heading towards her kitchen and dining areas.

Clarke dug through her dresser, grabbing a white tank top with black Stanford lettering across the bust. She then grabbed a pair of black capris with white polka dots on them. She slid the bracelet off her wrist, hanging it on her jewelry tree, before making her way into the bathroom to change. Once she was dressed in the pajamas, she unwound the braids from the crown of her head. She exited the bathroom, loosening the strands from each other, knowing her hair was even curlier than usual because of the braids. She paused when she reached the kitchen area to find that Bellamy had lost his blazer, which was draped on the back of one of her chairs at the table. He had the bottle of wine on the counter in front of him, and he was stretching to pull two glasses from her cabinet. His t-shirt was pulled up, revealing a hint of his muscular side. From what she saw, his tanned skin was stretched taut over his slender frame. She closed her eyes for a moment before she stepped further into the dining area.

"Hey," she said with a smile. He glanced at her as he pulled the glasses down, his eyes running over her changed appearance. Once her hair was loose from the braids completely, she gathered it up, tying it into a loose bun at the back of her head, using the hair tie on her wrist to hold it in place.

"Hi, so what's with the outfit change?" She smiled at him walking over to the fridge.

"You saw the dough balls in the fridge, right?" He nodded his head. "Well, I made an apple and pumpkin pie this morning, and I would've finished making the blueberry and cherry pie, as well as the quinoa-mushroom-bean dish that I'm making for tomorrow, but I had to go on this stupid date thing with this guy I sort of knew in high school." He laughed.

"Oh, wow! The poor guy! Wonder what he did in a past life to be forced to go out on a date with you." She stuck her tongue out at him, and he smirked at her. "Princess, you might want to put that tongue back in your mouth before I find something to keep it busy." Her jaw dropped open, because despite the light flirting all night that was the most overt thing he'd said to her all evening. It was one thing for him to joke about them fooling around, but this was him basically implying that something could happen between them. Again, the irrational part of her brain was trying to take over, pushing the rational part of it to the darkest corners of her mind, but she fought the desire to pull her shirt over her head and to drop to her knees in front of him. Shit, that thought was embarrassing. She felt the blush fill her cheeks, and she glanced away. She heard his amused chuckle.

"Anyways, you can help me." She walked over to the oven, taking the glass from his hand as he held it up to her. She took a sip of the red liquid as she pressed the bake button on her oven. She listened to the beeps as she set the temperature.

"Help with what?"

"Baking." She said with a smile, and he shook his head.

"Um, hell no." She rolled her eyes and began digging through her cabinets to grab some quinoa flour that she'd used to prepare the pie crusts. She then went to the fridge and grabbed the dough balls. She unwrapped them, leaving them on plastic wrap.

"Wash your hands." She said, hitting his hip with her own. She started washing her hands at the sink, but he just watched her, arms crossed. She dried her hands and walked over to the flour, getting a few handfuls and tossing it onto the counter.

"You're making a mess," he complained as she giggled when she pulled one of the dough balls off its plastic wrap and dropped it onto the flour, some of it wafting off of the counter to coat her stomach in a cloud of white. She began kneading the dough.

"You know, you could use your muscles for something worthwhile?" She said cheekily as she kneaded the dough.

"Nah, I'm enjoying the show. Your boobs look awesome right now."

"You're such a pig." She rolled her eyes. When the chill was worked off the dough, she dusted flour over her rolling pin. She began rolling the dough out. "Can you grab the pie dishes for me? They're in the cabinet by your feet." He leaned down, grabbing the two pie dishes from the cabinet.

"Nice ink, by the way. Didn't realize you had some." She glanced down at her foot as she pressed the dough into the pie dish. She saw the words she had gotten tattooed to her skin after her first big sale. She added some additional flour to the counter before she responded.

"Yeah, I've got three."

"Seriously? You don't seem like the type." She started kneading the second dough ball she had unwrapped for the top of the pie.

"What type is that?"

"Tattoos are permanent, and I don't seem like the type who'd make a speech about how impractical it is to get something permanently added to your skin."

"That's because you don't really know me, Bellamy." She said quietly.

"You're right, I didn't, but I'm starting to." He took a sip of his own wine, and she blushed. "Well, are you going to tell me about them. I'm sure that they all mean something, right?" She added some flour to the rolling pin, rolling out the second layer of dough. She then washed her hands before grabbing the pot that she'd left on her stove earlier.

"They do…" She chewed on her bottom lip. "The one on my foot was actually the most recent one I got. I've had it for two years now. I moved to L.A. with Wells, and I was feeling lost. I'd just graduated from med school, and I finally admitted to myself that I didn't want to be a doctor."

While she was talking, Clarke filled the pot with about three inches of water before putting it on the stove to start boiling. She went into the fridge and pulled out two jars, one full of cherry pie filling and one with blueberry, which she had made earlier in the day. She set them onto the counter beside the oven. When she was finished, she moved to the table, sitting on the top of it rather than in a chair, better able to see the water in the pot for when it was boiled.

Bellamy, meanwhile, had moved to sit down in the chair at the table beside her. He grabbed her foot, making her squirm as he thumb traced over the black lowercase lettering on her left foot. "'Art is to console those who are broken by life.'" He read quietly. "You think you're broken?" He released her foot, looking up at her, and she shrugged her shoulders. "I think that you're brave for deciding to go after what you want instead of taking the easy and expected route-medicine."

"It's a quote by van Gogh." She licked her bottom lip, brushing the flour from the front of her shirt and lap. "It would make more sense if you knew what my other tattoos were of, but I definitely consider myself to be broken and lost, even now."

"How are you broken?" His voice was soft, and she shook her head.

"I don't want to talk about it right now." She pointed at the inside of his right wrist. "What about you? You've got your own ink."

"It's an infinity symbol." He shrugged his shoulders as he laid his hand on her knee, letting her see the ink on his skin. "I got it when I first moved to L.A., so five years ago? I think it was spur of the moment, I'm a little buzzed on the excitement of making the decision to move me and O across the country and on some vodka, and I got the most generic thing that I could think of." He chuckled, turning his hand over so that she could feel the heat of his palm on her knee. "Now, I like to think of it as being meaningful, though. It's a reminder for myself that I should live with passion and integrity, that I should never go half-assed in anything I do, because I want to be remembered for as long as I can be and as being someone who lived life to the fullest." She smiled at him.

"I admire that."

"It's your turn. Tell me more about your tattoos." The water started bubbling, so she hopped off of the table and walked over to open both the jars. She then set them inside the pot of water, warming both the fillings once again so that the sauces thickened once again.

Clarke then turned to face Bellamy, leaning against the fridge. "The first tattoo I got was four years ago. It was when I was in my third year of med school. I was under so much stress, but I'd chosen medicine, because I wanted to impress my parents. My mom was a doctor, and my dad was an engineer, and I just...I wanted them to be proud of me. I wanted my dad to keep bragging to his friends about how smart and wonderful his daughter was to everyone he met-how I was going to be a doctor and save people's lives." She brushed at the tear that slipped down her cheek. "I kept it a secret how much I hated med school. Don't get me wrong-I love science, and I loved the idea of helping people, but my heart wasn't in it."

She gathered the hem of her shirt in her hands, pulling it up so that the material was bunched up beneath her breasts in her right hand, revealing the ink that she had permanently etched into her left side. She had gotten Banksy's Girl with a Red Balloon street art tattooed onto her side, but rather than pairing it with the 'there's always hope' that traditionally went with it, she'd added her own quote in cursive. The black image of the girl was reaching towards the balloon and the quote that separated them, positioned in the lower left corner. In the center, she'd had two sentences, a quote from Mitch Albom, her dad's favorite author. The top line was "I love you every day," with the second half of the quote beneath it, "And now I will miss you every day." In the upper right corner, she had the red heart-shaped balloon with Dad tattooed in the center in black.

"I got this tattoo impulsively, because my dad died. He and my mom got in a car accident. She was driving. I know I shouldn't have blamed her. It could've been my mom who died, with my dad driving, but he'd forgotten his glasses, and he can't-couldn't-drive at night without them. Some drunk driver blew through a red light, slammed into the passenger side of the car, and my dad was killed on impact. I had a nervous breakdown, and I impulsively went out and got this tattoo. My dad loved Mitch Albom, and the quote was just how I was feeling, and I love Banksy, so the girl reaching for a balloon that was flying away? I don't know. It just made sense to me. So, I got it. And, I got drunk, and I cried, and I screamed, and I failed a test." She laughed self-deprecatingly. "I don't fail tests. The professor was understanding. Let me do a makeup exam and a extra credit paper, and I should've quit then and there, but I felt like I would've let my dad down if I didn't become a doctor, for him. I didn't get to say goodbye, so my way of honoring him was to get this tattoo and to finish med school."

"Clarke," she shook her head, dropping her shirt and turning around. She shut the water off, sliding her hand into an oven mitt. She slid it onto her hand and reached for one of the jars, pulling it from the boiling water. She set it onto the table and grabbed a spoon, stirring the liquid in the jar. She mixed it to make sure it was combined and that the filling was thickened. She then picked up the jar and poured it into the pie dish. When it was emptied, she set the empty jar into the sink and put a few scoops of vegan butter on top of the filling and covered the pie with the other layer of dough. She set the dish aside, reaching for the flour to dump some more onto the counter to roll out the remaining dough.

"I'm sorry about your dad." She froze when she felt his hands on either side of her hips. "I've been there, you know? Losing a parent when you're young-it''s the worst thing in the world." She sniffed, taking a step back to let her back rest against his chest. He leaned down to press a kiss to her shoulder, and she let her eyes fall shut. That irrational part of her mind was coming to the surface again. She knew that she could turn around, kiss him, cross that line in order to stop talking about such negative memories. She pushed the irrational thoughts aside and grabbed some flour to dust over the rolling pin, and she began to roll another dough ball out. It rolled easily due to losing the chill from the fridge while they had talked.

He kept his hands on her waist as she worked. At one point he raised his right hand to lay it on her right arm, sliding it down the skin slowly with a feather-light pressure. She felt the goosebumps erupt onto her skin, and she shivered. He stilled her hand after she pressed the dough into the pie tin. "Your other tattoo is on your wrist, too." He settled his hand over her wrist stroking his thumb over the inside of her wrist. She froze, and she heard his muffled curse in her ear. "What the hell is this?" He turned her hand over, pressing the back of it into the counter to run his thumb over her wrist again. There was single raised scar on her wrist, surrounded by the tattoo she'd gotten about six months after the tattoo on her side. The scar was set right in the center of her wrist.

The tattoo was of a butterfly, and the loops of it's wings fell on either side of the scar, and the butterfly's body was made up a semi-colon, the period falling above the scar, and the comma falling beneath it. She stared at the path his thumb took as it traced back and forth over the scar. "When my dad died, I had known Finn for three years, but had only been dating him for two." She whispered, and she knew that he heard her, because his thumb stilled. "He had attended Stanford for his master's degree; he was getting an engineering degree in the aero/astro program. We met the day that Wells and I moved into the apartment complex near campus that the grad students lived in. We became good friends quickly.

"He told me all about his sweet girlfriend back home in Houston, whom was waiting on him. They'd dated from the time they were fifteen until Finn gotten into Stanford. The plan was that he'd go to Stanford, complete his master's, come back to Houston, and be an astronaut. They were going to get married and have babies and live happily ever after. He told me all this. He told me that they'd broken up because of the distance, but they both knew that they'd go back to each other when he was done his master's. The engineering degree in the aero/astro program was really difficult. It typically took three to four years, so that was a long time for them to be apart."

"What does that have to do with the scar on your wrist? Did he do this?"

"Can I finish my story?" She said, turning slightly to look at him. Their faces were close, and they locked eyes. "It turns out that it was all a lie. He did an amazing job laying the groundwork, Bellamy. He waited an entire year before he kissed me. He told me that night that even though it hurt to say goodbye to his life with Raven, he had fallen in love with me. He said that I was the girl that he wanted to spend his life with, not Raven. But, it turns out, I wasn't the only one he was having drunken moonbounce sex with." She stepped away from him, grabbing the other jar, mixing it before dumping it into the pie crust.

"He's an asshole." Bellamy said, and Clarke nodded her head in agreement. "How did you find out?"

"She came to visit him. She showed up, and he and I were supposed to have a date. He texted me that he'd gotten sick and needed to bail. I made him soup, and I brought it to his apartment. He didn't answer the door, but Raven did. She was so sweet-she didn't know about me. I didn't know about her-at least not that she was still his girlfriend. I freaked out, and she was heartbroken to find out that he'd cheated on the both of us."

"Then, why is she marrying him?" He asked her, confused.

"He was her family since she was fifteen, Bellamy. Her mom was a drunk; her dad bailed as a kid. They were poor. All of the money that they'd get from public assistance and welfare fed her mom's alcoholism. Raven lived on the street, ate out of dumpsters-all of that. Finn and his family-they took her in. Let her stay with them even after her and Finn started dating. She found it in her heart to forgive him. I couldn't."

"I don't blame you."

"It was six months after my dad died. I hated med school, I lost my dad, and then my boyfriend of two and a half years had lied to me and made me the other woman. It all got to be too much, so when I got drunk one night, I took a blade to my wrist. I just...I don't know what came over me. I just felt so out of control, and I hated my life. Since Wells and I had a two bedroom, he found me in the bathroom. He freaked out, stopped the bleeding, got me to the doctor on campus to see if I needed stitches." She wiped at a tear. "I was fine. It was superficial-it left a nasty scar, but it wasn't deep enough to cause damage. I could have told him that. I was studying to be a doctor, after all. I hated that I got so low, so I started going to a grief therapist to deal with my dad's death and Finn's betrayal. The grief therapist encouraged me to start painting again." She reached for the final dough ball, rolling it out quickly, completing the final pie.

"Is that why you didn't try to find a residency at a hospital? You went with art instead?" She nodded her head.

"My mother wasn't pleased, of course. She and I haven't really had too much contact in the last two years." After she painted almond milk and vegan butter over the surfaces of the pies, she put them in the oven. "I looked into self-harm online. The semi-colon project talks about how the use of a semi-colon in place of a period to keep a sentence that could have ended going. It's paired with the idea of self-harming and suicide attempts. Like, the semi-colon is supposed to represent the continuation of life, whereas a period is to symbolize the end of it. The butterfly is also another project in which people were encouraged to draw a butterfly on the spot they usually self-harm, and if the person self-harms near it, the butterfly will die or whatever. That project is a little darker, but I liked the idea of combining them. The butterfly and semi-colon together is a reminder to myself that there was a time when I felt so low that I decided to cut myself to see if that could relieve the negativity I was feeling. I don't want to go back to that place, and I regularly see a therapist to help me from getting to that place again. My art is my job, but it is also my way of releasing the tension and negativity within me."

"But you still have an itch that you need to scratch sometimes." She cocked her head to the side before nodding. He had noticed her scratching at her wrist, as well as Kate and Wells' concern over her during times of stress and anxiety.

"I'm just going to bake these. You don't have to stay."

"Princess," he shook his head. "If you'd like me to stay, then I'll stay." She chewed on her bottom lip before nodding.

Chapter Text

Clarke yawned when her phone started ringing at nine in the morning. She groaned, because her eyes were burning from tiredness and her head was swimming from the hangover. Fuck, how much had she and Bellamy drank the night before? They'd had wine at dinner, and then at the club, they'd both had moonshine. Then, the rum and cokes with Octavia and Lincoln. Then, wine again here. She was stupid to mix the types of booze, because now she felt like there was a marching band warming up inside of her head.

She and Bellamy had arrived in her apartment a little after one in the morning the night before, and then he had stayed until about four. She had baked the remaining pies, and he had helped her cut vegetables and fruit that she'd be laying out for people to munch on before dinner. He'd also helped her prepare her quinoa-mushroom-black bean dish. When they weren't working on the food, they were drinking and talking about nostalgic moments from high school-teachers they mutually hated, people they dated, friendships that they'd lost. By the time he'd left, she'd passed out in bed after brushing her teeth and washing her face.

"Kate, what's up?" Clarke yawned again, sitting up and rubbing at her eyes.

"Did you get any of my texts last night after you left?" Kate's voice was frantic, making Clarke wince at the volume and at the tone.

"No, I just saw that you texted, but since you were calling, I just answered that. What's wrong?"

"Okay, so last night, after you left, Finn and Raven showed up to the engagement party about fifteen minutes later. Finn was fuming, and after you and I were texting each other about the showdown between the three of you, I could definitely tell that he was thinking that you and Bellamy were more serious than just going on the date for the sake of the contest." Clarke yawned again, pressing a hand to her forehead. "Anyways, Raven said she was bummed that she missed seeing you, and she wanted me to pass on her congratulations about the show this weekend, so I said I would tell you when I saw you at your place for Thanksgiving. Then, Finn was like, 'Clarke's hosting Thanksgiving?' So, long story short, he basically invited himself and Raven to dinner tomorrow, and Raven was all excited, because she and him were planning on eating baked potatoes and bake a tofurky in the oven, but now she'll bring the tofurky to dinner. I couldn't say no, you know? He might be a fucking asshole, but she's too sweet."

"I know. I really like her. I hate him, but I like her."

"Exactly, so Finn was also like, 'Is Bellamy going to be there,' and I didn't know what to say, so I said that I didn't know. Then, Raven brought up the fact that she saw that you won the contest, and, of course, Finn got that shit-eating grin that he gets when he realizes that he's getting his way, so I kinda maybe sorta told him that Octavia rigged the contest, because you two knew each other in high school, and I kinda maybe sorta implied that you're dating."

"KATE!?" She winced at her her own shrill voice. Fuck, she was in a lot of pain. Thank goodness she wasn't puking.

"I don't know! I panicked. I didn't want Finn to think that he can waltz right back into your life and make a mess of it again." Clarke swallowed, because not too long after he'd proposed to Raven, Finn had started calling and texting her. She didn't know why, because it wasn't fair to Raven or herself.


"I know. I'm sorry. I just...Wells and I will be over at eleven with the turkey. Everyone is set to arrive around noon, right? We should probably get it in the oven around then so that dinner can start at around four-thirty. We can figure something out then. Like, how to explain Bellamy's absence or whatever."

"No, I'll take care of it. Bye, Kate." She hung up the phone and stood up, walking over to her dresser. She winced when she looked in the mirror at her tired, anxious face. She couldn't let Finn win, and the irrational part of her brain took over. She grabbed her phone once more and scrolled through the contacts until she got to Bellamy's name. She called him without taking a second to think it through, because for once, she didn't want her rational side to talk her irrational side out of it.

"What in the actual fuck, Princess, could you possibly want this early in the morning? I didn't get home until close to five this morning." He groaned. "Please tell me you're as hungover as I am. What the fuck is in that moonshine shit? I feel like I ate steel wool." She chuckled but winced.

"Stop making me laugh. I feel like shit."

"Good. I'm hanging up now."

"No, wait. There is a reason I called." She paused, and she heard his breathing on the other end. "Are you falling asleep? Bell, wake up!

"My bed is so warm and comfy though." He whined, and she smiled, not being able to control the thought that he sounded cute when he was tired. Her mouth went dry, and she closed her eyes, regaining her breath.

"I know. Mine is, too."

"Is that an invitation, Princess?" She rolled her eyes.

"No, but I was wondering what you're up today…" He yawned into the phone, setting off a yawn of her own.

"Octavia and Lincoln are coming over later, and O and I are going to show him our tradition of eating Eggo waffles and scrambled eggs in our pajamas on the couch. Why?" She smiled at their cute tradition that he and his sister had, but then she frowned, because their tradition came out of necessity. Their mom died when they were young-with Bellamy having to support his baby sister whom he was only five years older than when he was barely twenty-one years old.

"Well, so, I was wondering if maybe you-and Octavia and Lincoln, too, of course-would like to come to Thanksgiving dinner at my apartment today." She said quickly, chewing on her bottom lip. He was silent for a little while, and she was curious if he fell back to sleep. "Bellamy?"

"I'm here...I'm just...why?"

"Finn invited himself and Raven to come to Thanksgiving last night, and Kate may or may not have confirmed his fear that we're dating." She said it all in one breath, rather quickly, and she sucked in some air after she was finished. It was eerily silent on the other line, and she couldn't take the waiting to hear his reaction. "Bellamy?"

"I fucking hate your friend." He sighed.

"Seriously, your tradition with your sister sounds wonderful, and I honestly wish I had a tradition like that with a sibling, so I'm kind of jealous of you in that regard, but you know that I'll have enough food to feed an army. Wells and Kate are going to arrive at about eleven to get the turkey in the oven in time for dinner at about four-thirty or five. Monty is going to bring the stuffing and green bean casserole, all of which I can't eat, hence the quinoa dish. I've got a ton of potatoes peeled and diced, ready to be made into vegan mashed potatoes. I also have broccoli, green beans for those who don't like the casserole, peas, and corn. Oh, and you already know about the fruit and veggies for the appetizers. Plus, I bought a couple of those cheese and meat combo platters, and I have a ton of crackers and chips and condiments, including hummus. And, pies, which I will be making some awesome vegan whipped cream with coconut milk. And more booze!" She winced at her dry mouth, blinking as she began going through her drawers and armoire for an outfit for the day.


"Seriously. Please. I didn't bail on you for this date. The least you can do is pretend that we're dating for today." She heard him sigh into the phone. "How about you come here and watch the parade and the game and eat good food-oh, and the turkey." She felt so stupid for begging him. "Bellamy, I need you to do this one thing for me, okay?"

"Okay," he said quietly. "Princess, you owe me big time. What time do you need us?"

"Tell your sister and Lincoln to get here around noon or so." She chewed on her bottom lip. "Could you get here earlier than that? Like, ten-thirty to elevenish? We need to figure out a story, and we can text Octavia everything before she gets here, and explain it to Wells and Kate when they get here with the turkey."

"Shit, that means I have to get up now, tell O, and get ready in order to get to your apartment at the time you requested."

"I make a really good cup of coffee."

"This coffee better be made with ambrosia from the Gods."

"I make even better French toast…" She smiled when she heard him grunt.

"You owe me big, Princess."

"Yes, I do. Massively. We can talk about that when you get here. I promise I will more than make up for you doing me this massive favor."

"I demand lots and lots of sexual favors."

"Goodbye, Bellamy!" She said sharply, hanging up on him as his chuckle flowed through the phone.

At ten-thirty-five in the morning, Bellamy found himself parked outside of Clarke's apartment complex, yawning. He had his biggest, darkest pair of sunglasses on, and his hair was sticking up in all different directions from his haphazard towel-rubbing following his shower. He'd dressed in a pair of khakis (she owed him massively, because he was wearing fucking khakis), a light blue button down that he didn't button all of the way, revealing his white undershirt beneath it. He had a pair of brown shoes on his feet, and his favorite watch on his wrist. His head was killing him, and he barely had time to make himself a mug of his favorite coffee in his Keurig before he had to brave the ridiculous holiday traffic in one of the already worst trafficked cities in the United States. The whole time, his car was yelling at him as it read off text messages from Kane about the social media buzz from the date the night before. Apparently, a lot of his fans started following Clarke on twitter, deciding that she was "totes adorbs" and they were all "way jelly" over her cuteness or shit like that. He didn't exactly speak teen girl, but he thought that was high praise. Oh, and there were some people equating them to Barbie and Ken-which, honestly? Barbie and Ken? There were some "Negative Nancys," as Kane liked to call them, that slammed Clarke for looking like she was too nice, and that she was probably an actress, and this was all probably a publicity stunt, and she was going to be in his next movie or whatever. Overall, though, the buzz was positive, which the studio liked, so his job was safe for now.

He made his way inside of the building. It was daytime, without a security guard sitting there, monitoring the comings and goings of the residents or their guests. He got into the elevator, leaning his head back against the metal, with his eyes closed. It dinged, letting him know that he'd arrived on her floor. He walked to her door and raised his fist to knock on it. A few moments after his knock, the door flew open.

Bellamy took in the appearance of Clarke. Her blonde hair was straightened, with part of it pulled back from her face, but the rest loose and dangling around her shoulders. It was much longer than he realized, but he figured that was because of it being normally curly. She opted for light makeup, a bit of white on her eyelids, winged black eyeliner coming away from the corners, light pink blush, and rosy lips that looked all too inviting to kiss. Shit, snap out of it, Blake, he thought to himself. She had teardrop pearl earrings and a matching necklace with a single teardrop pearl. His eyes traced down her frame to the strapless white thing that basically looked like it was a lace bra and a high-waisted mint green skirt that revealed just a hint of her belly button. Also visible was the center portion of the tattoo on her side. The skirt fell about halfway down her thighs, made of some type of loose flowy material. On her feet were a pair of gray booties. In her hands was a mug of coffee that truly smelled heavenly, if a little sweet yet spicy. "Um, Princess, I think you forgot something?"

She glanced down at herself, frowning. "What?"

"A shirt?" She grinned as she looked up at him.

"I'm wearing a top. It's a strapless crop bustier." She said with a shake of her head and an eye roll.

"It looks like a lace bra-it barely covers your boobs. Hell, I can see your skin through the lace under your boobs. The only thing that is covered are basically your nipples."

"Are you really complaining about my choice of a top?"

"If you'd worn it last night on our date, no, but considering I have to play the role of the loving boyfriend today in front of your asshole ex and his fiancee, I think that you should probably change." She rolled her eyes at him again.

"I'm going to wear a sweater over it, idiot. I got warm while I was cooking you breakfast." She held her hands out, presenting him with the coffee. "I wasn't sure how you liked your coffee, so I made it how I like it. It's this really amazing organic dark roast that I mixed a small amount of almond milk into it as a creamer. Oh, and I also added a teaspoon of dark chocolate, a splash of vanilla, and a hint of cinnamon." She smiled at him as he took the mug from her hands and raised it to his lips.

His eyes drifted shut, and he sighed in pleasure at the coffee. It was a little sweeter than how he usually liked his coffee, but he was hungover and tired as hell, so he'd take what he could get. And, maybe it didn't taste that bad. "Are you gonna let me in, Princess?"

"Oh, right, of course." She moved out of the way, letting him into her apartment. "C'mon. I'm starving." She walked towards the kitchen area of her apartment, and he followed, his gaze immediately finding her ass. It was such a nice ass, too. She presented him with a plate full of French toast. "It's vegan." He scrunched up his nose, staring down at the bread, trying to figure out how the hell she made it vegan. "Oh, would you just try it?" She sighed, grabbing a plate for herself. She dumped some strawberries and blueberries on her plate, pouring some maple syrup on top of it.

She moved to the table, dropping down onto a chair, grabbing a fork. She smiled as she sipped from her own mug of coffee, and then slided through the bread with a fork. She popped a bite into her mouth, sighing, her eyes closed as she relaxed into the chair. He just watched her, not realizing that her eating a fucking bite of French toast was turning him on. He shook his head, smirking at her, adding his own fruit and maple syrup to the plate, before he dropped into the chair beside her. He pushed his fork into the bread, cutting off a piece of it before raising it to his lips. She opened her eyes, watching him as she popped a strawberry into her mouth. He rolled his eyes, eating the bite. Okay, it was pretty fucking good. She watched him, waiting for his response. "Okay, it's pretty good." She grinned.

"Of course it is!" She told him. "Happy Thanksgiving, Bellamy."

"Happy Thanksgiving, Clarke." They ate in a companionable silence, nothing but the sound of scrapes of forks on plates, an occasional happy sigh from her, and their coffee mugs hitting the table could be heard in her apartment. They finished off their breakfasts, and he glanced over to see that there was a small smudge of maple syrup on her cheek. "You've got some syrup," he said, reaching out to wipe the syrup away using his thumb. Out of habit, he raised his thumb to his mouth, sucking the syrup off. She locked eyes with him, and he found himself shifting closer to her.

"Bellamy," Clarke whispered when Bellamy's hand slid to the back of her neck, his fingers tangling in the loose strands of her hair at the base of her skull.

"We should probably just get that first kiss thing out of the way…" He was saying as he moved closer to her until their noses began brushing. "You know, for the sake of acting like we're a couple." Her eyes lashes fluttered shut.

"Right, yeah, that's probably a good-" She didn't even get to finish the sentence, because his lips met hers, and he felt her sigh against his lips. He couldn't believe that he was kissing her, because he totally hated her in high school, but she was right (which he hated even more than he hated her). He didn't know her then, and all of the assumptions he had about her now had been blown up as he spent more and more time with her. She was beautiful, funny, and entirely too kind, and he knew that he was no good for her. At the same time, though, he couldn't stop himself from kissing her moments before. Sure, he used the ruse of them faking something for Finn (and he was definitely going to use her sweet image to help him with his career), but he wanted to kiss her, to hear her breathy sighs and quiet hums of pleasure at the gentle, yet firm pressure of his lips against hers. So far, the kiss was chaste, though, with neither one of them opening their mouths. Well, fuck that.

He felt the tension in her body as he used his teeth to gently suck her bottom lip into his mouth. He nibbled on it slightly before soothing the bites with his tongue brushed across her bottom lip. She moaned softly into the kiss, and suddenly, he found her pressed against his front, opening her mouth to his. He took advantage of her open mouth to tangle his tongue with hers. Her hands found his shoulders, while his other slid to her waist, pulling her even further from her own chair and into his lap.

"Knock, knock!" Kate's voice carried through the apartment as the door to the apartment flung open. Clarke pulled back, and Bellamy sighed, running a hand through his hair. So, maybe he'd gotten a little carried away and taken the kiss too far, but he had his tongue in a pretty girl's mouth who was basically wearing a glorified bra as a shirt. She jumped up, gathering their plates and moving to the sink to begin washing them. He watched her anxious movement, taking comfort in knowing that she was equally as flustered as he was. He wanted to press her against the counter, beside the sink, and kiss her again-hell, he wanted to fuck her against that counter. But, she was Clarke, and he couldn't do that.

"Hey, we're in here." She called out to Kate.

"We?" Kate said as she and Wells came further into the apartment. Bellamy stood up, going over to grab the turkey from Kate's arms. Wells limped behind her, and he shot Bellamy a grateful, but slightly embarrassed (and, possibly, jealous) look as Bellamy carried the heavy turkey to the kitchen table. Bellamy grabbed his mug, finishing off the coffee. "Hi, Bellamy." Kate said as she sat down at the table, her arms crossed. "Didn't realize you'd be here." The redhead looked pointedly at Clarke. "Clarke, you didn't tell me that Bellamy was going to be here."

"I said that I would take care of it, Kate." Clarke turned around, reaching for the mug in Bellamy's hands, not meeting his eyes. Well, shit if that wasn't obvious that they were in the middle of doing something shady. How in the hell were they going to pull off a fake relationship for the day if she was going to be jumpy and avoid his eyes every time they faked a kiss or a touch? She turned back to the sink again, washing both of their mugs.

"Yeah, well, Clarke mentioned that Finn invited himself to the festivities today, so I'm here being a good boyfriend for Clarke. Right, snookies?"

"Oh, dear God." She muttered, turning around from the sink to flip him off. "You're such an asshole Bellamy."

"But I'm your cute, adorable, sexy as all hell asshole." She rolled her eyes.

"So, what the hell is going on?" Kate asked, an eyebrow cocked.

"Bellamy agreed to keep up the charade for Finn today to help me out, because I went on the date with him last night to help him out." Bellamy grinned at Clarke as she dried off her arms and reached for the gray cardigan sweater that was hanging off of the back of one of the chairs at the kitchen table.

"Oh, sugar plum," she shot him a glare, receiving a smirk back from him, as he leaned against the counter where he'd fantasized about fucking her moments before, arms crossed. "You know how I said you'd owe me majorly for doing this favor for you today? It's time to pay up."

"How so?" She asked, wrapping the sweater around her frame (if she was fucking cold, then why the hell wasn't she wearing real clothing?).

"Well, a little birdy told me that most of my fans are 'totes jelly' at how 'adorbs' you are, and they're all for our real life Barbie and Ken thing." Her eyes widened in surprise, and he chuckled at the snort coming from both Kate and Wells.

"A little birdy-Kane, I'm assuming?" Kate sighed from her table.

"Yes, and he also told me that the studio bigwigs are pretty happy about our little foursome bonding moment last night with Lincoln and O."

"Get to the point, Bellamy," Clarke snapped, and Bellamy narrowed his eyes when he realized that the pink stain on her lips was slightly smudged. He discreetly wiped at his mouth with his hand, feigning clearing his throat, cursing internally at the light pink smear that came away on his hand. He hoped like hell that Kate or Wells didn't notice that.

"The point is, Clarke, that my reputation got a boost from being associated with a goody-two-shoes like yourself, so I'll help you out today if you'll help me out by doing what O suggested we do last night." She furrowed her brow. "A few more highly publicized dates, and then a press release from Kane saying that we've decided that we're better off as friends."

"But I don't even like you as a friend…" He narrowed his eyes at her.

"Bite me."

"Where?" She said with a teasing smile. He was fucked. He was royally fucked. Also, he wanted to fuck her.

"Dude, guys...turn it off for like five seconds." Kate complained with a sigh. "Seriously, Wells, is it hot in here of just me?"

"Shut up, Kate!" Clarke snapped. Bellamy's phone chirped, indicating that he had a new message. He opened the phone and saw a link from Kane to a gossip website.

"Well, shit…" They all looked at him. "It looks like it is out that you and I went to high school together. And, damn, we did kiss at Tucker's party."

"Wait, what?" She crowded around his shoulder, and he could smell the fruit and maple syrup on her breath. He showed her a picture of a crappy picture of two kids out in the backyard of Tucker Bishop's party. In the background, there was an enclosed porch, and through the glass windows of the enclosed porch, what could be seen was two people, one with dark hair and one with light, in a passionate embrace. "We do look good together, Princess." She rolled her eyes as he scrolled down, with a zoomed in shot of the two of them from high school, their lips pressed against the other's.

"Okay, so according to this bullshit rag, a 'source' from high school says that we were secretly together in high school and that our public fighting was some kind of foreplay." He started chuckling then, groaning and batting at her hand when she pinched the back of his neck. He let her leave her hand resting on his shoulder though, so that her arm was draped around his neck as she read off his phone. "We do like fighting, Princess."

"Shut up, Bellamy. I can't believe this asshole 'source!' I had a boyfriend in high school after that party, and now it makes me look like some cheating whore."

"Please, no one would believe you're a cheating whore." He then squeezed his lips together, because that was exactly what Finn made her. She let out a breath. ", anyways, yeah, so people are crying bullshit on the contest with you winning…"

"Bullshit how? You and I haven't seen each other in a decade. Sure, we both live in L.A. now, but its a big city."

"Well, the speculation, according to Kane," Bellamy said as he opened the next text message from his agent, "is that we reconnected and started hooking up, and because my career is in danger due to all of the Lincoln Travers drama on set and the DUIs and that fight I got into with that dude that mysteriously became a not a big deal, which everyone now assumes is related to me paying the dude off, which I did, but you don't fuck with my sister-"


"Right, sorry."

"Okay, so they think that the contest was a publicity stunt to make it look like you're going to be sweet with one of your fans?"

"And as a tool to show off a good relationship with Lincoln." He groaned, rubbing a hand down his face. "Apparently, we were suddenly too friendly last night, taking selfies with my sister on her date. Kane's even saying that they believe that O dating Lincoln is actually a fake relationship to make it look like I'm okay with him, because I'd never let my sister date a guy who I've got shit with."

"It's funny how it's the other way around…" Clarke groaned, standing up. She dug her nails into his shoulder, and he grimaced, reaching up to detach her hand from him. He raised his arm, still holding her hand, to shift her arm around his body so that both their arms fell comfortably by their sides. She sighed, leaning against his side as she looked to Kate. "What the hell do we do then? Is this going to hurt both of our careers?"

"As of right now, no one knows that you're CEG, the artist." Kate said, doing her own recon on her phone.

"Kane suggests that we get ahead of this. He wants to release a statement that you and I went out for just one night, and it was a coincidence that your name got picked from all of the other names, and that it was your friend who pranked you by entering. He doesn't want to fuel anymore romance rumors."

"So, you being here, today, with me, on Thanksgiving? That's probably going to hurt your career, but help me out with Finn." She moved away from him, wrapping her sweater around her frame as she sat down in her own chair again. "I can't ask you to do that."

"I told you that I'd help you out."

"Yeah, but you also told me that you wanted me to go on a few fake dates with you to help your career, but that's not going to do anything but hurt it. So, even though things with Finn will be uncomfortable today, I think you should go. I said it before, I won't be the reason for why your career takes a nosedive."

"Hey, bitches!" Octavia's voice made them all jump, and they looked to the door to see Octavia coming in with Lincoln. "I know we're nearly an hour early, but I'm starved. And hungover." She winked as Lincoln shut the door behind them. "What's with all of the sour pusses?"

"You, Lincoln, and Bellamy need to get out of here now." Clarke said, jumping up. "I can get you guys some food together. I'm sorry that I don't have any turkey ready, but I've got a lot of fruit and vegetables."

"Clarke," Bellamy stopped her. "I'm not leaving."

"What's going on?"

"Some asshole that went to high school with Bellamy and Clarke are trying to say that this is all a publicity stunt, and that you and Lincoln are fake dating to make it look like there's no drama between the two guys on set. Oh, and that Bellamy's career is going to go down the crapper." Kate said with a sigh. "Oh, right, this is my boyfriend, Wells."

"Nice to meet you. I'm Lincoln." Lincoln walked over to shake hands with Wells, who gave him a tight smile.

"So, basically everything we were trying to avoid happening to Bellamy is actually happening because Kane pushed this stupid competition onto him, and then I went and rigged it so that Clarke could win." Octavia said, ignoring Wells all together. "So, I probably shouldn't have tweeted that Linc and I were on our way to Clarke's apartment for the holiday with Bellamy?" She bit her bottom lip.

Bellamy's eyes widened, and he immediately opened twitter and went to his sister's page. Sure enough, ModelBitchOB tweeted to the world: HAPPY TURKEY DAY, BITCHES! Me & my dude Linc82Trav r going 2 clarkeEgrif 's place w/ big bro KINGBBlake. #linctavia #bellarke (turkey leg emoji) (wine glass emoji) (football emoji) (triple heart emoji).

Clarke sighed, walking over to the counter to grab a bottle of wine. Bellamy watched her as she uncorked it and took a large gulp right from the bottle. She swallowed, and he watched a drop of gold liquid slip down her chin. She wiped at it with her thumb, before taking another pull. She walked over and presented the bottle to him. He shook his head, taking it from her. "Fuck it," he muttered, bringing the bottle to his lips.

Chapter Text

Octavia chewed on her bottom lip. She felt like shit. She didn't realize that she'd royally screw up her brother's career by rigging the contest so that Clarke could win. She sat on Clarke's couch, staring absentmindedly at the television as some football game was playing. Lincoln sat down beside her, wrapping an arm around her shoulders. "Baby, it's okay," he whispered. She shook her head, barely glancing at him.

"Hey, I got this." She twisted her fingers together as Lincoln stood up and was replaced by Bellamy. He sighed, tugging her into his side.

"Are you mad at me?" She asked him nervously, and he chuckled, wrapping both of his arms around her frame, pressing a kiss to the top of her head.

"Of course I'm not mad at you." He breathed into her hair. "You're my baby sister, and I love you."

"But I screwed everything up for you. I just thought that I was doing the right thing by kind of playing up a possible romance between you two. I thought that we'd agreed last night that you'd go out on a couple of fake dates for a few weeks, and then Kane would just say you've decided to be friends."

"You didn't screw anything up. You were being a good sister, and I love you for it. All you tweeted was that we were having dinner at Clarke's. That's not a big deal."

"Except I made up a couple name for you two. I named you guys 'Bellarke.'"

"Yeah, see the only stupid part of that is the fact that you're referring to us as Bellarke. It just a silly name." He chuckled. "Linctavia? Even worse." She giggled, shaking her head.

"I love him, Bells." She felt him tense around her, but he relaxed, pressing a kiss to the top of her head again.

"I guess it is a little weird to hear you talk about someone like this. It's different this time-I can tell. I guess I'm still picturing you as a fifteen year old going on your first date."

"I'm not fifteen anymore." She leaned her head up from his chest to study his face. "You don't have to be my dad anymore, Bells. Or my surrogate mom." He scrunched his nose up. "Remind me to tell Clarke just how cute you look with some makeup on and your hair pulled into little ponytails all over your head." She whispered, earning a pinch to her side. "I just need you to be my big brother."

"O," he blew out a breath. "I'm gonna try my best to stop being so overprotective." He pressed a kiss to her forehead. "But, seriously, though, Travers is a decade older. He's older than me."

"Bellamy Blake stop picking on your sister. The heart wants what the heart wants." Clarke made her jump, and she headbutted Bellamy in the jaw.

"Fuck." He released her, rubbing his chin. "Look what you did, Princess. Also, don't get involved where you don't belong." Clarke rolled her eyes at him before smiling and sitting on the coffee table in front of the two of them.

"Are you mad at me, Clarke?" Octavia asked nervously.

"Of course not. Why would I be mad at you?"

"Well, I'm the one who's forced you into a shitty situation. I mean, not only did I screw up my brother's career, but now I implied that you're dating him, so this might look bad for you, too."

"I'm not mad at you, and I don't think that your brother is, either." The blonde glanced between the two of them. "I think I've figured out how we could approach this thing."

"You have?" Octavia chewed on her bottom lip, feeling hopeful. "How?"

"Okay, so it's out that we knew each other in high school. That's not a big deal. You could see old high school yearbooks and figure that out." Clarke glanced at Bellamy. "As for the kiss from high school, we go whatever route Kane thinks we should. Does he want to go with what really happened? We were both at a party in high school, had a little bit too much to drink, and we kissed? Or, if he wants to say that yes, we briefly dated in high school, then, fine, whatever, we'll go with that. I think we should go with the truth, though. You and I really didn't like each other in school. But, when kids drink, they do stupid stuff." She smiled at Octavia. "I also think we should do release what really happened with this contest. My friend entered me in the contest, because she found out that I knew Bellamy in high school and that we had kissed. She entered me as a prank, thinking that I'd never win, but wouldn't it be funny if I did?" She narrowed her eyes at Octavia. "And, we also report that you wanted to prank your older brother, so you rigged the contest so that the girl who won is the girl your brother hated and drunkenly kissed in high school or his old flame-whichever story we go with."

"But that makes O look bad." Bellamy said, crossing his arms. "No."

"No, I'll do it. Little sisters mess with their big brothers all of the time. That makes sense and is completely understandable. So, I rigged the contest. Big deal." Octavia shrugged. "So, how do we explain today?"

"So, what Bellamy and I didn't realize was that we'd hit it off and enjoy spending time together." Clarke's eyes combed over Bellamy briefly before they returned to Octavia. Octavia narrowed her eyes, because the two of them were acting weird. "Like most celebrity couples, we go with the claims that we're just friends. I felt bad about my friend not having a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, so I invited him, his sister, and her boyfriend over for dinner with my other friends. We hang out for a little while in public places and do things that are ambiguous. Are we really friends or are we something more? Then, after a few weeks we stop hanging out. Our schedules get too busy, maybe? Kate's looking into getting me a few gallery shows in New York beginning in March, so I've got to do a lot of painting, especially in the last month or so before the shows, as well as the preparation for getting them across the country and so on and so forth.

"The final Grounders movie needs to start filming around then, so Bellamy has lines to rehearse, getting back into whatever physical training you have to do to prepare for your role again. Didn't you mention that Kane wants you to do another movie right after that one? Maybe you need to prepare for that role before you film the last Grounders movie, since you'll be cutting the filming schedules close?"

"You've figured it out." Octavia said with a smile. "Your busy schedules mean that you guys have to steadily reduce the amount of time you need to 'hang out.' This is brilliant. Do you two think you could hang out without killing each other for a few weeks?"

Clarke looked at Bellamy, and Octavia watched as the two of them stared at each other. It was like they were communicating through their eyes and facial expressions; both of them narrowed their eyes, cocked their heads slightly, and tensed their jaws. After a few moments of staring at each other, Octavia watched as Clarke extended her hand to Bellamy. "I'm game. What do you say, Bellamy? Think you can fake a friendship with me for a month or two and then we go our separate ways again?"

Clarke felt kind of stupid when Bellamy didn't take her hand right away. She closed it into a fist and pulled it back to her side. She was just trying to help, and he was being kind of rude about it. Two minutes before, he was being unbelievably sweet to his younger sister, admitting that sometimes he was too overprotective. Now he was staring at her like she was stupid or something. "I'm not sure it's going to work, Clarke. In theory, the idea is great, but I'm not sure you can pull it off." Her face flushed, and she sat up straighter, crossing her arms.

"What are you talking about?"

"I'm just not sure you have the acting chops for this." She scoffed, rolling her eyes.

"I'm a perfectly able to act like I'm your more than platonic, but not exactly romantic friend in front of the media for the sake of your career, my personal reputation, and my conscience. I'm offended that you do not think I'm capable of doing so."

"Princess, remember earlier?" She felt Octavia's eyes on her, and she swallowed. He was referencing her weirdness following their kiss. It was just because she didn't mean to get so carried away, and she definitely didn't expect for them to practically start making out in her kitchen.

"That's circumstantial. I've pretended to be someone's girlfriend before." She tossed her hair over her shoulder and wrapped her sweater around her frame. Maybe she should've worn a different top today, but she loved this outfit, and it was still pretty warm out for November. Plus, she kind of wanted to rub Finn's nose in it. She looked damn good without him.

"You've faked a relationship before? With who? Why?" Bellamy scoffed.

"With me." Wells said as he and Kate slowly made their way over. Lincoln followed behind, brushing slightly damp hands on the sides of his legs. Clarke smiled as he pulled at Octavia's hand so that she stood up. He then took her spot and tugged the younger woman into his lap. Bellamy narrowed his eyes at Lincoln. Clarke raised her eyebrows at him, reminding him of his promise to be less overprotective (and, in her opinion, overbearing) to her. He let out a breath before turning his attention on Wells and Kate. Wells sat in one of Clarke's arm chairs, and Kate sat down on one of its arms, leaning into Wells' side, with him wrapping an arm around her waist.

"She faked a relationship with you?" Bellamy asked Wells, who nodded. He rubbed at his sore leg with his hand, making Clarke frown. He'd gotten into a fender-bender with some asshole a few weeks before, so he was a little stiff and still limping slightly.

"Yeah. It was the summer before our senior year in Stanford when we were going for undergrad. Clarke convinced me to work at a summer camp over the summer with her rather than going back home to spend the summers with our parents." He glanced at Clarke, gave him a sad smile. She sniffed, absentmindedly scratching at the inside of her right wrist. She looked up when she felt someone tap her foot, and she saw that Bellamy had stretched out his feet slightly as he leaned back into the couch, making it look like he was getting more comfortable, but the way that his eyes were staring her down, despite the blank look on his face, it was clear that he was checking on her. Thinking about her dad made her sad. She looked away from him, focusing on Wells with a smile.

"Yeah, I was the arts and crafts counselor. Wells was the archery counselor."

"And self-defense and boxing counselor."

"There was fighting taught at a summer camp?" Bellamy asked, surprised.

"For the older boys and girls, yeah. It was for kids with emotional regulation issues. There were kids with autism, eating disorders, OCD, ADHD, trauma and abuse, neglect, depression, anxiety, self-harm." Clarke swallowed when she talked about self-harming. She didn't even get a chance to rub her wrist when Bellamy tapped her shoe with his again. She saw Kate shift slightly, and it was clear that Kate saw Bellamy's foot tapping. Clarke looked pointedly at her, trying to convey to her that, yes, he knew. "Boxing and self-defense can be a healthy way to release negative emotion."

"Yes, I'm aware of that. Are you?" Bellamy asked her, and pursed her lips.

"Yes, I am. I regularly go to the gym and hit a punching bag."

"We should spar sometime, Princess."

"Maybe." She rolled her eyes. "Anyways, as I was saying, we were at the summer camp. One of the girls who was a junior in high school had a major crush on Wells. To let her down easy, he said that he was dating someone, and he asked me to pretend to be his girlfriend. I agreed, and it was heartbreaking, because Charlotte, the girl who had feelings for him, was heartbroken. She cried, but she told me that I was very pretty and that she understood why Wells would like me so much."

"Aww, poor thing." Octavia said from where she was curled up in Lincoln's lap. She lifted her head to press a kiss to the underside of his jaw. "I'd have had a crush on you if you were my counselor at summer camp."

"Oh, God." Bellamy groaned, burying his face in his hands. Clarke giggled, because he was thinking about how Lincoln was ten years older than his sister. Wells six-year difference with Charlotte was not nearly as bad. "Shut up, Princess. So you were able to fool a sixteen year old. Can you fool everyone in the world who gives a shit about me?"

Clarke eyed Bellamy, cocking her head to the side. She slipped a sweet smile on her lips as she studied him. He narrowed his eyes when her smile turned into a full-blown smirk. She had an idea to prove to him that she could act like a cute girlfriend while making him uncomfortable in front of everyone else. She stood up and walked away from her living area to grab a glass of wine for both him and herself. She took a sip, using the golden liquid as a shot of courage, before making her way towards the living area again. She walked around the couch and held a glass of wine out to Bellamy. He was staring at her with narrowed eyes.

"Here, baby, I got you a glass of wine." He rolled his eyes at her pet name for him and took the glass from her. She smiled sweetly and then proceeded to climb into his lap, just as Octavia was curled up in Lincoln's. She heard the girls start chuckling around them. She balanced herself in his lap by wrapping an arm around his neck and leaned over to press a kiss to his cheek, nuzzling his face lightly with her nose before shifting into a more comfortable position in the crook of his arm. She then turned her attention to Octavia and Lincoln. "Octavia, I absolutely love your dress. Purple is a great color on you. It really makes your eyes pop." She said as she casually began to run her fingers through the hair at the base of Bellamy's skull.

"Thanks, Clarke. I absolutely love that skirt and your bustier crop top. It's super cute." Octavia said, and it was obvious she was trying to avoid laughing outright.

"Um, Princess?" Bellamy said, and his chest vibrated against the side of her body.

"Hmmm," she asked him, taking a sip of her wine while using her thumb and index finger to massage the back of his skull. His drifted shut, and his head lolled slightly back into her hand. It probably felt good to have his reck and the base of his skull massaged. He did seem to have a lot of tension there.

"Yeah, I think that people will buy it," Lincoln said, making the rest of the room laugh. Clarke just winked at Bellamy, who groaned, shifting his arm to wrap around her waist. He rested his other arm across her knees.

"Just remember to keep your legs shut, or you might flash the rest of the room." Bellamy grumbled, gently swirling the wine around in the glass across her legs. Clarke rolled her eyes at him, bringing her drink to her lips for another sip.

The door to the apartment flew open, revealing Monty dressed in a white dress shirt and black slacks. He grinned waving at everyone as he guided a pretty brunette girl in behind him. Clarke's eyebrows rose as she took in the girl. She was new. Just after Monty was a grinning Raven, dressed in a light blue dress, and Finn. She fisted her hand in Bellamy's hair, and he squeezed her hip with his hand. "Release my hair, Princess. I was never into hair pulling." He said to her quietly.

Kate snorted. "Clarke is." The blonde in question jerked as she turned around to shoot Kate a glare.

"Kate!" She whined.

"Oh, really now?" Bellamy asked her, giving her a cocky smile that made her stomach swim.

"Hey, guys!" Monty said as he pulled the girl over, therefore preventing Clarke from responding. "This is my girlfriend, Hayley Fox. Hayley, that's Kate, Wells, and Clarke. And, uh, apparently, Bellamy Blake, Octavia Blake, and Lincoln, yeah, apparently, we're friends with celebrities now?" He said scratching the back of his head. Everyone said their hellos to Hayley, who grinned excitedly when she saw the three celebs sitting on Clarke's couch.

"Ohmygod, I'm a huge fan of The Grounders." Hayley gushed.

"Thank you. You're sweet." Bellamy smiled at her. "I'd give you a hug, but someone's decided to drape herself across my lap."

"I wanted to make room on the other couch and arm chair for the other guests, honeybun." He groaned again, making Clarke giggle at his expense.

"Are you two dating?" Hayley asked, her eyes wide. Clarke pulled her hands free from Bellamy's hair.

"Of course not. We're just friends." She then raised her index finger to her lips before returning her hand to his hair. He squeezed her hip again as he lifted the glass to his lips to take a big gulp. "Hi, Raven. Finn. So happy you both could join us."

Finn glared at the two of them, but Raven smiled. "You two look adorable." Clarke returned her smile, leaning over to press a kiss to Bellamy's cheek once more. "So, I read some stuff online. Did you guys really go to high school together? When did you reconnect?" Raven sat down on the loveseat on the cushion closest to her and Bellamy. Clarke shifted in Bellamy's lap slightly, hearing his slight groan from the way her hips ground against his. She shifted again, smiling when she felt him squeeze her side in response.

"Yes, we went to high school together, and that idiot over there decided to enter me without my knowledge or permission into the contest." Clarke shot Kate a small glare.

"I apologized for that." Kate said with a sigh, jumping up. "Hayley, why don't you come with me and I can get you a drink, okay? Monty, help us?" The three of them wandered toward the kitchen area.

"Anyways, Octavia over here decided to mess with Bellamy, so she kind of rigged it so that I'd win. He and I absolutely hated each other in high school. Right, Bells?"

"Yeah, you were a stuck up bitch." Bellamy said with a smile.

"And you were a misogynistic asshole with a god complex." Clarke narrowed her eyes at him.

"You always had to be right."

"You always had be the center of attention."

"Yeah, I'm sure you hated it when the light didn't shine on you." She tensed her jaw. "But, you're not so bad now. Still a bitch, but I kind of like it." She rolled her eyes.

"You're still a misogynistic asshole with a god complex." She licked her bottom lip. "But you're irritatingly charming about it."

"Ahh, I think there was a small compliment in there somewhere." She laughed, shaking her head at him. "I like your laugh." He said quietly. Her eyes softened, and she felt her stomach twist. For a moment, she had to remind herself that this was just acting. Shit, he really wasn't that bad of an actor at all.

"I like your smile." She responded in an equally quiet voice.

"God, that was some weird mating ritual. Was that like foreplay for you two? Should we all clear the room so you can have some alone time?" Octavia said, making Clarke jump slightly. She blushed, raising the glass to her lips to take a big sip. She almost choked when she saw that Bellamy had done the same with his own glass.

"So was that news report right that you two dated in high school?" Raven asked as she pulled Finn down next to her by the hand. He sat on the couch beside his fiancee and glared at Bellamy and Clarke. Clarke swallowed.

"No, we didn't." Bellamy spoke, making her look over at him. "I guess we probably always had chemistry, but in high school, we were too stupid to realize that the fighting was just us trying to ignore it." Well, damn, that was a pretty good fake relationship thing to say. Bellamy was way too good at this. Then again, he was a professional actor. Well, there was a difference between improvisation (which she seemed to excel in) and acting, but it appeared that Bellamy could do both.

"That kiss was alcohol-induced, and it was our way of denying any possible attraction between each other." She added. She turned to Raven and stuck out her bottom lip. "You know he actually tried to tell me that he was dared to kiss me. I think his ego was bruised and his feelings were hurt, because I freaked out after the kiss was over."

"Hey, I was not hurt." He muttered, squeezing her hip.

"Wine! Who wants wine?" Kate said as she came over with a couple of bottles in her hands, whereas Monty and Hayley followed, both carrying a couple of glasses in their hands.

"I do!" Bellamy and Clarke said at the same time, holding their glasses up.

Chapter Text

Bellamy watched as Kate drug Octavia, Hayley, Raven, and another blonde girl by the name of Harper who apparently the girlfriend of the bouncer, Miller, who gave him dirty looks the night before, up the stairs to Clarke's studio to show them all of the paintings she wasn't going to be showing in the show that was on Saturday night. Wells, Monty, Miller, and Lincoln were all lounging on Clarke's couch watching the football game. He and Clarke had gone into the kitchen to check on the status of the food (him, the turkey; her, the potatoes and Harper's hardly edible yam dish that was, in fact, vegan). He laughed as he saw Clarke poke at it with a furrowed brow. It was congealing. Raven's tofurkey (apparently, Finn was also a vegan, so that is why the two of them brought a tofurkey to dinner) was sitting in the fridge, and it would go into the oven while the turkey was resting to be ready for the vegans and Raven (and anyone else who wanted to try whatever the fuck a tofurkey is-suffice to say, Bellamy wasn't trying it).

Harper and Miller had come barrelling in the door a little while after Raven, Finn, and Monty, and Hayley had. Harper was proudly showing off her yam dish, squealing that she made it vegan for Clarke to try. She claimed that she almost put butter in it, but Miller had reminded her that butter was an animal fat, so she made it with coconut oil instead. When Harper had skipped to the kitchen to put the yam dish in the fridge, Clarke shot Miller a death glare from where she was still perched on Bellamy's lap, and the man laughed, holding his hands up in mock defeat. "She wanted to make something that you could eat, too. If we have to suffer, so do you!" She flipped him off before burying her face into Bellamy's neck.

Speaking of Clarke sitting in his lap-it had taken everything within him to not fuck her right there in front of his baby sister, Lincoln, her friends, and her ex-boyfriend. Having a hot girl who was wearing a skirt that would be so easy for him to slide his hand under and a glorified bra as a shirt in his lap was rather distracting. He kept thinking about sagging, old lady boobs and vaginas in order to keep himself from getting hard. Plus, Clarke didn't play fair, because she kept tangling her fingers in his hair, massaging his neck and scalp, or scratching her nails slightly along the skin of his upper back beneath the color of his shirt as she talked to everyone. He kept asking for more wine, and he was quite buzzed at the moment. He bit down on a piece of celery as Clarke grabbed her quinoa dish from the fridge and contemplated when she would put it in the oven to warm. With the turkey and stuffing? With the tofurkey? "Try the cucumber dip. It's to die for." She said as she tossed a glance over her shoulder.

He shrugged, leaning against the sink, watching her flit around the kitchen. "Clarke! C'mere!" They heard Octavia call down from the studio space in the loft. Clarke moved to the sink, holding up her hands to show smeared yam crap.


"Make me." He said in a low voice, cocking an eyebrow at her. She rolled her eyes, stepping closer. She reached up and smeared the yam shit on his lips, making him grimace. "Aww, fuck that tastes like garbage." He said, wiping at his lips. She giggled.

"Yeah, Harper's not known for her cooking ability. I've tried teaching her, but it's a lost cause."

"I thought the same thing about O, but somehow I got a few basic dishes through her thick skull. What it takes is finding the right kind of meal. Something that the person really likes and is passionate to learn how to make." She raised her eyebrows at him. "What?"

"You can cook?"

"Yeah, of course I can cook. I practically raised my baby sister from the time I was twelve. I watched a lot of those cooking shows growing up."

"And, yet, you were going to eat Eggo waffles and scrambled eggs today?"

"That's a tradition. One that my mom started when she couldn't afford to get all the traditional stuff for Thanksgiving. We just stuck with it, because it was something to remind us of our mom after she died."

"Oh...I just…"

"You assumed that we made that stuff out of necessity, because we were poor and our mom wasn't the best mom around, right?"

"No." She shook her head, reaching for a paper towel to wipe of her fingers. "I assumed that you guys ate that, because your mom passed away when you were still really young."

"I wasn't that young, Clarke. I was twenty-one."

"And, I was twenty-five. We were both too young to lose a parent." She reached up to lay her hand on his cheek. "You're a good brother, Bellamy." He rolled his eyes, wrapping his arms around her waist, shifting her closer.

"Yeah, I know. Apparently, I'm a tad bit overprotective."

"Overbearing, controlling, authoritarian-" He stopped her by leaning down to brush his lips over hers. He felt her still in his arms, so he didn't deepen the kiss beyond the light brushing of his lips against hers.

"Is this okay?" He whispered against her lips. "You know, for the acting thing…" She nodded her head, but he pulled back. "I can feel Finn's glare." She blushed, laying her forehead against his chest.

"CLARKE!" Octavia screamed louder, making them both chuckle. He released her, letting her pull away from him. He watched as she glanced over her shoulder at him as she made her way towards the stairs.

"Make sure you tell them that the tree is mine!" He called out to her, making her laugh and nod her head. She disappeared up the steps, with him still watching her.

"So, you and Clarke, huh?" Bellamy squeezed his hands into fists when he heard Finn's voice nearby.

"Yup. We really hit it off last night."

"I'm calling bullshit. You don't care about her. You want good publicity, and dating a fan could make you look good."

"Don't tell me how I do and don't feel." Bellamy glared at Finn. "It's also a good thing that Clarke isn't a fan, huh?"

"She's too good for you." Finn meant it as an insult, but Bellamy didn't take it as one. Well, at least not in the way that Finn had intended it. Clarke was too good for him. She was too nice, too sweet. He didn't do nice or sweet. He did dirty, rough, messy. He approached dating relationships much in the same way that he approached sex: it was intense, fast (but not too fast), a good time for both people before they parted ways. Clarke wasn't the fuck 'em and go type. She was the girlfriend type. The one you take to bed and spend hours worshipping her body before finally succombing to a slow-paced 'love-making.' She was the type you could enjoy lying on the couch with, while watching a movie, and being content to not fuck. He didn't do that kind of shit.

"Yeah, she is, but for some reason she's okay with me spending time with her, so she obviously sees something there." He decided to go with Finn's intended insult rather than to respond to the differences between him and Clarke's approach to life and relationships (and sex).

"Does it bother you to know that I've gone to bed with your new girlfriend?" Bellamy stilled, because Finn had lowered his voice enough to have only Bellamy hear him. He swallowed at the smirk he could hear in Finn's voice. "Does it bother you to know that I know the way she sounds when she comes? It's like this breathy sigh, and her face gets flushed, and her entire body gets covered in goosebumps."

"Stop talking." Bellamy tried to keep his cool, because not only did he not want to hear Finn's interpretation of Clarke in bed and what she looks and sounds like, but to instead witness it first hand (THAT WAS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN! he had to actively remind himself), but also because it made him sick that this asshole could be so disrespectful to one of the most genuinely good people that Bellamy had ever come across. He and Clarke might not be friends, and he'd call her a bitch to her face when she was being one, but he would never in a million years disrespect her or any other woman in the way that Finn was.

"What about the fact that I've kissed and touched every inch of her body first? That I know which positions she likes? That's she's actually got a bit of a dirty streak. She likes it rough, with your hand tangled in her hair, bent over a table or the back of the couch."

"Shut the fuck up right now or I'll make you shut up." Bellamy turned around and stepped forward, getting into Finn's face. He didn't lower his voice before, because he didn't give a fuck who heard him. He tightened his hands into fists.

"Woah, now, boys. Play nice." Miller said, rising from the couch. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Monty rush up the steps to the loft, probably to get Clarke and Raven. Lincoln and Miller moved forward, ready to step in if need be. But, Bellamy wasn't going to lay a hand on Finn unless he needed to.

"We're just having a friendly conversation." Finn said, his eyes never leaving Bellamy's face. "Just telling Bellamy here about some of the fun times we've had as a gang."

"Yeah, I'm sure. Listen, why don't you and I take a walk, Bellamy?" Lincoln said, holding a hand up. Bellamy felt the rage rolling off of himself in waves, and Lincoln's slow approach to touch his arm, to pull him back, informed him that everyone else could feel it, too.

"What's going on here?" Clarke's voice made him tense, and he took a step back instantly. She moved to his side, wrapping an arm around his. "You okay?"

"No." He spat out, glaring at Finn. "Spacewalker's about to get his face beaten in."

"Hey, now. No one's touching my fiance." Bellamy looked over then at Clarke, to check on her, when he felt the tension in her body at the way that Raven talked about Finn.

"C'mon. You need to cool off. Let's go for a walk, okay?" She said, her blue-green eyes tracing over his face.

"I don't need to do anything of the sort, but this asshole needs to apologize to you."

"What are you talking about? Why does Finn need to apologize? What's going on?" Raven looked back and forth between Finn and Bellamy.

"Bellamy, let's go for a walk. Now." Clarke pulled on his arm, and he stumbled after her, shooting another glare at Finn as she guided him towards the door. "We'll be back in a bit, guys. Keep enjoying the veggies and fruit. I don't have my phone…"

"I have mine," he coughed, and she nodded.

"Perfect. Call Bellamy if you need us." She drug him out of the door of her apartment and towards the stairs. He followed her blindly, holding on tightly to her hand. When they got out of her apartment and into the bright sun of the midday glare, she turned to face him. "What the hell was that?"

"He's a fucking asshole." He snapped pulling away from her and marching down the street. He needed to clear his head and to ease the tension from his body. She followed, catching up with him. She interlaced their fingers, and he squeezed her hand tightly in his, a protective gesture, because he was having flashbacks to the shit that that guy said about Octavia a few months before. That's why he was acting like this. It reminded him of Octavia.

"I know that. You know that. What did he do this time?"

"He talked about you!" He said loudly, and the few people walking around on the street turned to look at him. He dropped his head, avoiding their gazes.

"What did he say about me? Hey, Bellamy talk to me."

"He asked me if it bothered me to know that's he's slept with you. Or that he knows how you look and sound when you come? How you like to be fucked."

"That fucking turd." He smiled momentarily, but talking about it made him want to punch the asshole again. "How did he say that I liked to be fucked? I'm curious. Because I generally didn't finish with him when we were having sex. That was rare, actually. And usually only during foreplay. And that was more mental than anything he was doing."

"Jesus Christ, Clarke." She looked up at him, and he just shook his head at her. She had no idea what she was saying, but all of it made him want to laugh and simultaneously kiss her. He might be an asshole, but he always made sure that the women he slept with had a good time.

"What? Oh, and pool sex? Yeah, that sucks. No fun at all. It's actually kind of cold and uncomfortable. And, he just didn't really get me in the mood at all, so it was just sucky. We only did that a few times before I was all, 'dude, Finn, I'm not fucking you in the pool.' Moonbounce sex? That was actually more amusing than pleasurable. He fell on his face a couple of times, which hurt his junk. Other times, he'd fall on his ass, because he couldn't balance right."

"What the fuck?" Bellamy laughed, rubbing his free hand down his face. This girl was going to be the death of him.

"Are you feeling better?"

"A little." He shook his head at her, and she grinned at him. "He said something that made me think of what Kate said. He said that you liked it when his hand was in your hair."

"God, yes. That is definitely a turn on for me. I obviously don't like it when guys yank on it so hard that it jerks my neck or tears some of my hair out, but a little tug feels unbelievable."

"And being bent over a table or a couch?" He said it as a joke, hoping like hell she'd shut it down, because he was getting hard thinking about tangling his hand in her hair and tugging it back slightly so that her neck pulled taut, and he could plant kisses and bites up and down the exposed skin.

"He brought that up? Yes, once in a while, that's fun, but Finn always liked to have sex from behind, but I like to switch it up. I get bored easily in bed. I need adventure. I need spontaneity. And, I need to be eye contact to come." She shrugged her shoulders. "That's one of the reasons why I usually never did with Finn."

"Clarke, are you trying to kill me?" He swallowed. He was imagining all of the ways he could take her to bed, and that was dangerous for the both of them.

"Why? Are you getting turned on by thinking about me, naked, and in your bed?" She winked at him, and he groaned, grabbing her by the waist and pulling her flush against him. She sucked in a breath when she felt the slight bulge in his pants from his growing dick.

"Does that answer your question?" He asked in her ear, his breath tickling her hair. He saw her swallow, her throat constricting, and he just wanted to run his tongue up and down it.

"So, we should really get back," she said breathlessly, and he immediately released her. She blushed, looking away from him.

"You know, you surprised me yet again, Princess." She glanced at him, her cheeks still pink.

"How so?" Her voice was husky, and he felt his dick twitch again.

"I, uh, figured you were kind of vanilla in bed. The type of girl who expects a guy to worship her body and then have slow, lazy, missionary sex." She rolled her eyes.

"Don't get me wrong. I will happily let a man spend as much time as he wants doing just about whatever he wants to my body before we have sex, but slow, lazy, missionary sex is only fun on Sundays. Everything about Sundays should be slow and lazy."

"You really are trying to kill me." He sighed, making her giggle.

"I try."

"You know it's taking all of my willpower to fuck you in the backseat of my car right now." He said, pointing to the tinted windows of his SUV.

"Maybe some other time. I've got guests to attend to, Mr. Blake." She pulled him into her apartment building and towards the elevator.

"You sure you want to be in an enclosed space with me right now, Princess?" He said as he pushed her against the wall of the elevator, towering over her and pressing his body against hers. He laid his hand on her sides, beneath her sweater, feeling the soft warmth of her skin that was exposed between the skirt and her top. He stroked his finger over her left side, making her squirm slightly.

"I trust you, Bellamy." She breathed out. "We can joke about sex, and we can make fun of each other, and we can call each other names. But, I saw the way you are with your sister, and I saw how you were ready to tear Finn's head off fifteen minutes ago as a way to defend my honor. I think I'm safe with you in here."

"That's not what I meant. I wouldn't force-"

"And, that's not what meant." She shook her head, standing up on her toes to lay her hand on his cheek. "If I asked you to take me to bed right now, I think you'd hesitate. I don't think you'd actually let us go that far, because you respect me."

"I'm not a good guy, Princess. I'd sleep with you right here and now if you'd ask me to, because I like sex, and it sound's like you'd be a good time."

"No, you wouldn't. You wouldn't because you think that I'm not the type to sleep around, have one night stands, that I'm different from you-more pure or something. You wouldn't have sex with me, because you think sex means more to me that it does to you." He took a step back, because she could read him like an open book.

"Am I wrong to think that?"

"No, you're not. I prefer sex to be in relationships, because it does mean more to me than a release of tension and feeling good. That's what masturbation is for. No, I view sex with someone else as a way of building a connection with them. So, yes, I feel safe in this confined box with you, because I know you wouldn't go there."

He swallowed, and the door to the elevator opened. He walked out of it, and she followed him. She stopped him before they got close to her door. "What's up, Princess?"

"Are you okay now? Should I be worried that you might punch Finn and get blood all over my apartment."

"Nah, I'm good, because I'm thinking about how much of a lousy lay he is. I feel bad for you, but feel super superior to the douche. Even more than I did before."

"You're ridiculous. This pissing contest has got to stop." She rolled her eyes.

"Are you okay? I mean, he shared some personal shit about you and your sex life with me."

"Look, he's an asshole, and I spent a long time crying about him, but I'm over it, okay? Seeing him with her, it's more about hurting my pride than hurting my feelings. I just...he lied to me for three years, and I just felt super stupid."

"I know. I'm sorry."

"Thank you for today, though. For being here for me. For defending me. For putting your career at risk for me." He rolled his eyes, wrapping an arm around her waist.

"I'm just looking forward to the sexual favors you owe me." He said as a joke as she opened the door. She laughed, her head falling back, and she smacked him in the stomach with the back of her hand.

"You're such an asshole. I seriously think I hate you."

"No, you don't. You love me." He scoffed, and she held up her finger and thumb in a pinching gesture.

"This is how much I like you. Hell, I'm not sure I even like you. Maybe tolerate is a better word." He pulled her into his arms, ignoring the eyes from the rest of the people in the apartment.

"You like me. That's all I heard." He said quietly with a chuckle before he leaned down to brush his lips across hers. She tightened her hold on the shirt on his lower back, pressing her lips more firmly to his. Yeah, they've got this acting thing down pat.

They broke the kiss and glanced around at the grinning faces (and concerned faces-Wells and Kate-and amused faces-Octavia and Lincoln) of the people in her apartment. "Where's Raven and Finn?" Clarke asked in surprise. He did a quick double take over everyone, and he realized that he didn't see a pompous dick that was looking for a beating and the girl who stupidly agreed to be his wife.

"Raven took their tofurkey in one hand and Finn's arm in the other, and then she stormed out the door." Kate said with a shrug of her shoulders. "Can we talk?" Clarke glanced at Bellamy, and he nodded his head. He figured that Kate was going to tear into her about their kissing, but the two of them agreed to pretend to be friends who were secretly something more before going their separate ways. They were just playing that part. She pulled away from him and guided her best friend up the stairs to her studio.

"I need a beer." Bellamy said to no one in particular, and the rest of the guests cheered, and they headed back to what they were doing before the explosion between him and the douchebag asshole.

Chapter Text

There was tension in the air between her and Kate; Clarke could feel it. The two of them were barely speaking after their argument on Thanksgiving about Clarke's sudden relationship change with Bellamy. Two weeks ago, she had been adamant that she didn't like Bellamy-hell, that she hated him. The night of their date, though, changed everything. He was funny and charming and ridiculous. He defended her in front of Finn. He was sweet and compassionate when they came back to her apartment after the night was over. He was especially good to her after he discovered the scar on her wrist. The next day, he agreed to give up a tradition that meant so much to his family-that reminded him of happy times with his mom-to support her and protect her from Finn once more.

Clarke felt her own desire to protect him, too, strangely. Maybe it was because of how good it made her feel to show him that she wasn't the prudish, stuck up, little girl that he'd always painted her as in his mind when they were teens (and even now). Maybe it was because he was so protective of her, so she wanted to return the favor. Maybe it was the way that she was learning more and more about him-seeing him as the loving older brother who'd do anything for his baby sister, the secret history nerd, the sweet guy who nudged her foot whenever he worried about something triggering her. Maybe it was a combination of all three that made her want to do what she could to protect his career (him). It was why she presented the idea of the two of them fake-dating/fake-friending (is that a word? Or, rather, a word beyond the Facebook connotation?). It was Bellamy who brought up the kissing. She figured that they'd hold hands, walk closely together, hug, and she'd continue to sit on his lap and act like there was something more, but with him kissing her several times in her apartment in front of her friends and his sister and castmate-that was taking it above what she had expected.

She had to admit, though, that the kisses weren't bad. He was a good kisser, and he was extremely attractive. If he were anyone else-if the situation was different-she was sure she would've fallen into bed with him after everyone left, and he had stayed behind to help her do last minute dishes and to present their plan to Kane via a phone call on speaker phone. The pictures that Octavia, Lincoln, and her friends had taken throughout the day had gotten a ton of online traffic. People were still questioning what they meant to each other. But, the circumstances weren't different-they were still Clarke and Bellamy, who got on each other's nerves and yelled at each other without a care for who was watching.

Kate didn't understand the kisses. She thought that things were going too far. She thought that Clarke was going to get hurt. Clarke was so sure she knew what she was doing, though. She trusted Bellamy, just as she had said in the elevator. She trusted herself to not let the irrational part of her brain take over and to screw his brains out. Because one night of fun would wind up in a huge mess, she was sure. She wasn't going to let that happen.

So, Friday had been hell, and Saturday wasn't going much better between her and Kate. However, Clarke had a show to run, paintings to sell, and interviews to make with art bloggers, art reviewers, journalists, and a few paparazzi that she were sure to be smart enough to figure out who CEG was. What she didn't expect was for Bellamy to come stalking into the art show, dressed in a tux that was fitting for a movie premiere rather than an art show, halfway through her show, pulling her into a tight hug. "Um, hi, what are you doing here?" She said in surprise, tangling her hand in his. He squeezed, shrugging.

"The movie was lame, so I ducked out early." He grabbed a champagne flute from a passing waiter, presenting it to her before grabbing his own. "To your show." She smiled, raising her glass to his. They tapped glasses, sipping the drinks, before he insisted that she tell him about each and every painting on the walls. She could feel the eyes of her friends (Wells was chatting with Miller, Monty, and Jasper in the corner by her river landscapes), journalists and various art snobs, and of Kate. Kate was following their every move, every smile, every touch, analyzing their behavior. Kate was her best friend, aside from Wells, and Clarke could read her friend just as well as Kate could read her.

Clarke was shocked at how happy she was that he was here, that he had chosen to bail on his own work commitment to come to hers, to support her. She squeezed his hand when she realized it, as they were standing in front of one of her more abstract pieces-it was two people walking hand in hand through space, but everything was jumbled, mismatched, full of hard angles and strange shapes. The people were unrecognizable as people, but were more like blobs with triangle-like elbows, balls for hands. Bellamy had scoffed, muttering something about
"spacewalker," so she knew that he understood the painting for what it was-a depiction of the strangeness, incompleteness, disharmony that was her relationship with Finn. He had glanced over at her, confusion painting his face at her sudden tight hold on his hand. "Thank you for being here." She said in explanation. He smiled, leaning over to brush his lips against her cheek.

"We gotta leave them wanting more," he whispered as he pulled back; he must have read the confusion on her face by him not kissing her lips, but instead her cheek. "As for the show, you're amazing. I wanted to see if there was anything else that I might steal away for my house. I don't want this one," he nodded towards the Finn-and-Clarke-relationship painting in front of them.

"I wouldn't want you to have that one, either." She pulled him by the hand to another landscape. This one was a full forest theme. Tall trees, dark grass, a hint of an animal or person or something creeping in the background, the black a contrast to all of the greens and browns. There was no red in the painting, but she thought it would go well with the bleeding tree. She smiled when she remembered he'd sent her a text of the painting hanging in what she suspected was his living room. "I think you'd like this one." She pursed her lips. "Something about you reminds me of the woods."

"Oh?" His thumb stroked along her hand, and she bit her lip, fighting the tremor that the feeling sent through her body. "How so?"

"The trees-they're so tall and formidable, and it takes a lot of hard work to bring them down." She cocked her head to the side as she studied the trees in her painting. "Even though they're so strong, they're still living things that give back to the world around them by giving us oxygen. They're a home for birds and small animals. They provide shelter from the rain or sun or predators for other animals. And, if you were to cut into them, to read the rings in their center, you'd see that with each ring, there is a story to tell." She shook her head, blushing. "I don't know. You act so strong and fierce, but there is a goodness to you, Bellamy. I see it with the way you act around Octavia. I saw it when you helped me when you didn't have to. I see it now when you're standing here rather than sitting in a dark theatre with other celebrities."

"Clarke," she glanced over at him, and he stepped forward, pulling her body against his. "That was the cheesiest but cutest thing I've ever heard."

"Oh, shut up." She said, pulling away from him completely. He started laughing, reaching for him, but she smacked his hand away.

"Stop. C'mere." He laughed, and she stuck her tongue out at him.

"I hate you, Bellamy. I really do."

"No, you don't. Seriously, that was cute. I loved the painting the moment you brought me over to it. Of course I'm gonna buy it, but your explanation for why it reminds you of me is downright adorable." He caught up with her, wrapping his arms around her waist from behind. She pouted, trying to pull from his grasp, but he tightened his hold on her. He pressed a kiss to her bare shoulder. The way his arms wrapped around her, caused her dressed to bunch slightly, inching higher on her hips. "I'm sorry if I embarrassed you. It's cute. You're cute." She rolled her eyes. He pressed a kiss to her cheek before releasing her. "Now, do I tell Kate that I wanna buy the painting or the person who owns the gallery or what?"

"Kate," she huffed. "By the way, she hates you, because you," she paused, glancing around before lowering her voice, "kiss me. She might not give you a fair deal on it." She turned away, ready for another drink.

"Clarke, I'd buy that damn painting for a million dollars, and not because it was nicely done, but because you painted it and said that it reminded you of me." She stopped, turning around to face him, arching a single eyebrow. "What?"

"One second you piss me off, and the next you say something sweet. I don't get you, Bellamy Blake. You're confusing as hell."

"Eh, I like to keep people on their toes." He winked at her, before turning his back on her, off to find Kate to purchase her painting.

Clarke woke up to a buzzing of her phone. She slapped her hand at the phone, trying to quiet it down. It buzzed again, and she whimpered. She opened her eyes, squinting in the light that was streaming in through her windows. She grabbed her phone, frowning when she saw a couple of Twitter notifications. She yawned, swiping her finger across the iPhone's screen to unlock it. She opened her Twitter app to see that Bellamy had tweeted her.

KINGBBlake: hey "girlfriend" (winking emoji) clarkeEgrif #teambellarke

The tweet included a link to Perez Hilton's website. She clicked on the link, and it brought her to his blog post with a picture of Bellamy with his arms wrapped around Clarke's waist, pressing a kiss to her shoulder with a smile on his face, and Clarke's nose scrunched up and bottom lip sticking out. According to Perez Hilton, she and Bellamy made a super cute couple, despite no definitive word from their (due to Bellamy showing up at the CEG art show, it was now confirmation that Clarke was the sought-after artist from the Los Angeles area) representation. Perez had scrawled Yummy! over Bellamy's head, and Yes, we're ADORKABLE next to Clarke's body in the picture. He was apparently TeamBellarke, as well. Clarke groaned, exiting out of the link to reply to Bellamy's tweet. Her tweet response then set off the most ridiculous Twitter conversation of her life.

clarkeEgrif: KINGBBlake uggh. Don't humor them. Also your tweet woke me. I'm now breaking up w/ you, "boyfriend" (broken heart emoji)

KINGBBlake: clarkeEgrif pssh! You're not breaking up with me. You LOVE me! (face with heart eyes emoji) (kissing face emoji with heart) (winking face emoji) (kissing boy and girl with heart emoji) (boy and girl with heart emoji) (yellow heart emoji) (blue heart emoji) (purple heart emoji) (green heart emoji) (red heart emoji) (triple heart emoji) (vibrating heart emoji) (big and little heart emoji) (starred heart emoji) (revolving big and little heart emoji) (heart with arrow through it emoji) (red lips emoji) #bellarke

clarkeEgrif: KINGBBlake dear god! What's with the emoji overload? #loser

clarkeEgrif: KINGBBlake also if when you say love you really mean LOATHE, then yes, i do.

KINGBBlake: clarkeEgrif SEE! Clarke admitted that she loves me! #bellarke FTW

clarkeEgrif: KINGBBlake I said I LOATHE you. You're gross. You'd make a terrible boyfriend

ModelBitchOB: KINGBBlake clarkeEgrif uggh get a room & get off Twitter.

KINGBBlake: ModelBitchOB clarkeEgrif can't. Clarke's at her apartment. I'm at my house. My bb is too far away. (sobbing emoji) #bellarke

clarkeEgrif: ModelBitchOB KINGBBlake I wouldn't be on Twitter right now if it weren't for your annoying brother. thanks. He smells.

clarkeEgrif: KINGBBlake ModelBitchOB btw really bellamy? bb ? #ANTIbellarke

KTWebber: clarkeEgrif KINGBBlake ModelBitchOB he smells beautiful. I would know. He hugged me on Thanksgiving.

KTWebber: clarkeEgrif KINGBBlake ModelBitchOB JAHAoliness said that I could tweet that (winking emoji)

KINGBBlake: KTWebber clarkeEgrif ModelBitchOB JAHAoliness haha! Sup gurl? how you doin? (winking emoji) (kissing face with heart emoji)

KINGBBLake: KTWebber clarkeEgrif ModelBitchOB JAHAoliness ...please tell Wells to not beat me up

KTWebber: KINGBBlake clarkeEgrif ModelBitchOB JAHAoliness i'm good, handsome. kisses, boo (kissing face emoji with heart) (kissing face emoji with heart)

JAHAoliness: KINGBBlake KTWebber clarkeEgriff ModelBitchOB stop hitting on my gf. Don't you have your own to woo? The one who tweeted #ANTIbellarke ?

JAHAoliness: KTWebber KINGBBlake clarkeEgrif ModelBitchOB hi...I'm lying right next to you, Kate. SORRY CLARKE

clarkeEgrif: JAHAoliness KINGBBlake KTWebber ModelBitchOB screw you, wells. worst best friend ever.

KINGBBlake: JAHAoliness KTWebber clarkeEgrif ModelBitchOB welp...this just got awkward. Cuz Clarke isn't my girlfriend…

ModelBitchOB: KINGBBlake JAHAoliness KTWebber clarkeEgrif NOT YET

clarkeEgrif: ModelBitchOB KINGBBlake JAHAoliness KTWebber NOT EVER

KINGBBlake: clarkeEgrif ModelBitchOB JAHAoliness KTWebber OUCH (broken heart emoji) #bellarke ?

JAHAoliness: clarkeEgrif KINGBBlake KTWebber ModelBitchOB Hey! I'm the BEST best friend ever.

JAHAoliness: KINGBBlake KTWebber clarkeEgrif ModelBitchOB Blake, get on this. You gotta ask Clarke to be your gf before someone else snags her

KTWebber: clarkeEgrif JAHAoliness KINGBBlake ModelBitchOB but I'm the best friend…right?

clarkeEgrif: KTWebber JAHAoliness KINGBBlake ModelBitchOB yes. YOU are the best friend.

KTWebber: JAHAoliness clarkeEgrif KINGBBlake ModelBitchOB HA! I win as Clarke's BFF (flexed arm emoji) (dancing girl in a red dress emoji) (girl in pink shirt with bent hand emoji)

ModelBitch: KTWebber JAHAoliness clarkeEgrif KINGBBlake lol #teamKateBFF

BellamyBlakeLuver: KINGBBlake clarkeEgrif if Clarke doesn't want you, I volunteer as tribute (girl in pink shirt raising her hand emoji)

KINGBBlake: BellamyBlakeLuver clarkeEgrif thanks for the support!

clarkeEgrif: BellamyBlakeLuver KINGBBlake he's free to a good home. Heads up though: he's not housebroken. He's stupid. He slobbers (face with triangle eyes and tongue sticking out)

KINGBBlake: clarkeEgrif BellamyBlakeLuver hey now! I don't slobber. You weren't complaining about my kisses on Thanksgiving

ModelBitchOB: KINGBBlake clarkeEgrif BellamyBlakeLuver (wide eyed blushing shocked emoji) gross #bellarke (winking face emoji)

clarkeEgrif: KINGBBlake BellamyBlakeLuver I was trying to be polite (face with halo emoji)

KINGBBlake: clarkeEgrif BellamyBlakeLuver take that back or I'll never ask you to be my girlfriend

clarkeEgrif: KINGBBlake BellamyBlakeLuver promise ?

BellamyBlakeLuver: KINGBBlake clarkeEgrif seriously I volunteer to be your gf. I'm sure you're  wonderful kisser.

clarkeEgrif: BellamyBlakeLuver KINGBBLake sorry, but he's taken. And yeah he's not that bad of a kisser. I guess.

clarkeEgrif: KINGBBlake BellamyBlakeLuver bells, when you ask me to be your gf, i demand flowers. calla lilies. they're my favorites. (pink closed flower with two leaves emoji)

clarkeEgrif: KINGBBlake BellamyBlakeLuver and a love note professing all of the things you love about me (envelope with heart emoji)

KINGBBlake: BellamyBlakeLuver clarkeEgrif sorry but my heart belongs to satan

KINGBBlake: clarkeEgrif BellamyBlakeLuver my dearest Clarke, let me list all of the things I love about you: 1 you're a cold-hearted bitch (purple smiling devil emoji)

KINGBBlake: clarkeEgrif BellamyBlakeLuver 2 you always have to be right. 3 you're verbally abusive. 4 you're a tease. 5 you're a princess (blonde girl emoji with crown)

clarkeEgrif: KINGBBlake BellamyBlakeLuver you're really laying it on thick. I'm such a lucky girl (cat with heart eyes emoji)

KINGBBlake: clarkeEgrif I'm bored. I'm coming over.

clarkeEgrif: KINGBBlake dude, it's not even 9 am on a Sunday after a late night at my show. I'm going back to bed. (sleeping emoji)

KINGBBlake: clarkeEgrif I'll join you.

clarkeEgrif: KINGBBlake my bed is a strictly Bellamy Blake free zone. if you like it, then you should put a ring on it (diamond ring emoji)

clarkeEgrif: KINGBBLake i like white gold, silver, or platinum. preferably platinum. also i'm a size 7 for know...for future reference (winking face emoji) (diamond ring emoji)

KINGBBlake: clarkeEgrif I thought you already came with a goat, emerald necklaces, and dresses with their matching undergarments ?

KINGBBlake: clarkeEgrif didn't I already buy you ? I wasn't under the impression I needed to give you a ring too!

clarkeEgrif: KINGBBlake my apartment door will be open for one hour. If you don't make it before I lock it again, then no snuggle session for you

clarkeEgrif: KINGBBlake we're watching Netflix. I'm thinking horror movies. (gun emoji) (knife emoji) (bomb emoji) (hammer emoji) (wrench emoji) (needle emoji) (pill emoji)

KINGBBlake: clarkeEgrif I'm on my way! (running guy emoji)

KINGBBlake: clarkeEgrif you're kind of scary, bb...I'm strangely turned on right now

clarkeEgrif: KINGBBlake bring breakfast

BellamyBlakeLuver: KINGBBlake clarkeEgrif relationship goals #bellarke

Clarke laughed at Bellamy's last tweet. She rolled her eyes as she sat up, yawning at how tired she was. She climbed out from under the covers, smoothing her bedding back into place. She then hobbled her way to the front door to unlock it. She made her way to her bathroom where she piled her hair on top of her head in a messy bun before engaging in her morning routine of going to the bathroom, washing her face, moisturizing her face, and brushing her teeth. She left her bedroom, pulling a sweater on over her tank top and a pair of cotton shorts. She grabbed two socks from her dresser, one was an orange one with black cats on it, the other white with images of the Valentine's Day conversation hearts on it, to tug on her feet.

Before she could make it to the kitchen to begin making coffee, her phone began to ring. She frowned, walking over to her bed to grab it from where she left it. Her eyes widened when she saw Asshole flashing across the screen. She had no idea who was saved in her phone as that. She certainly never saved anyone as that in her phone. She thought about who could possibly have access to her phone to change a name in the contacts to something so rude. She accepted the call. "Hello." She said it a neutral voice, not wanting to allude to the fact that she had no idea who was calling her.

"Clarke, hey, I'm so glad that you answered." She felt her stomach drop when she recognized the voice on the other end of the phone. She realized where the name was coming from. Kate. Kate had set Finn's name as asshole.

"What do you want, Finn?" She said, sitting down on her bed.

"Clarke, I wanted to apologize to you for my behavior on Thanksgiving. It really was unkind of me to get into an argument with Blake like that and to ruin your holiday. He really is a cad, though, Clarke. You should've heard the things he was saying about you." She tensed her jaw. The things that Bellamy was saying about her? Really?

"Oh? What kind of things was he saying about me?" She glanced up when her apartment door opened, revealing Bellamy, brandishing two to-go cups of coffee and a brown paper bag. She waved and returned her focus onto the phone call, watching him from the corner of her eye as he shut and locked the door behind himself.

"I don't know if I should say anything. I don't want to hurt you. I just...I felt like I had to warn you about him." Bellamy cocked an eyebrow at Clarke as he made his way over to her, holding out the coffee to her. She took it from the portable tray, smiling in her thanks.

"Well, Finn, I really appreciate you warning me about Bellamy, but I have to make a decision for myself. Please share with me the horrible things that he was saying about me." She bit her lip at the look on Bellamy's face to keep herself from laughing.

"Speaker," he mouthed to her, and she rolled her eyes, but acquiesced, pulling the phone from her ear to put it on speaker phone. Bellamy had put down the bag of food and sat down beside her, holding his own coffee in his hands.

"Well, Clarke, I'm not sure I should. Really. I'd hate to hurt you."

"What. did. he. say. about. me?" She emphasized each word, not hiding her irritation with him.

"See! This is what I was worried about! I knew that it would upset you. I shouldn't have said anything."

"Then, why did you call?" She reached with her left arm to place her coffee down on her end table, since she was holding her phone in her right. The move resulted in her sweater falling slightly off her shoulder. She shifted her shoulder a little, attempting to slide it back into place, but it only resulted in the sweater falling off even further. She gave up, tightening her left hand into a fist.

"I just wanted to protect you, Clarke. I wanted to tell you that I think he's a bad guy and that you should stay away from him. I care about you. I love you." Her eyes fell shut, and she shook her head.

"You know what I think, Finn? I think that you called me, because you wanted to hurt me. I don't think you really love me at all. I think that you don't like that I'm pissed off at you, because you have to be the good guy in everyone's mind. Except you're not the good guy. You cheated on your girlfriend with me. You made me the other woman. You lied to me. You kept pursuing me even after Raven forgave you and took you back. You keep pursuing me even though you're engaged. You don't want to let me have any chance of being happy with someone other than you, let alone happy when I'm just me, by myself. That isn't love, Finn! That's manipulation and betrayal. That's not real love. If you really loved me, Finn, you would let me go." She felt Bellamy's hand on her lower back, and she felt him shift closer to her. She leaned against his side, thanking him silently for his support in that moment.

"Clarke, I'm not trying to-"

"I know what you two were discussing on Thanksgiving, Finn." Clarke said, shutting down Finn's attempts to explain himself, to keep up his claims that he loved her and that he was doing this to protect her.

"I-what?" Bellamy tensed his jaw, shifting away from her to put his own coffee down beside hers.

"Oh, you don't think that Bellamy told me the second I pulled him out of my apartment? Did you really think that he's the type of guy to lie about something like that? Bellamy might have a bit of a history when it comes to romantic relationships, but one thing he's never done is lie when it comes to his intentions with women. You can ask every girl that he's ever been linked to before or after his acting career. You should've heard the locker room talk about him in high school." She felt Bellamy's smile against her bare shoulder, because she was echoing his claims he'd said to her on their date at Spacewalk a few days before.

"Of course he told me." She continued, trying to keep her breathing even, because he had began pressing light kisses along her shoulder, shifting slightly behind her as he worked his way towards her neck. She didn't know what kind of game he was playing, because he wasn't exactly hiding that he was there any longer. "He said that you shared intimate details about our sex life with him in order to put him in his place. Like claiming that you bedded me first was going to scare him away."

"If anything, I took it as a challenge." Bellamy said, pulling his face away from her throat. She blushed, and she heard Finn's sputtering from the other end of the call. "Plus, it gave Clarke the opportunity to set the record straight about what she really likes in bed, so I guess I owe you a thank you." He reached up, pulling the hair tie from her hair, letting her blonde hair fall loose. She shifted, turning to stare at him in shock, trying to figure out what he was doing. He just winked at her, sliding his hand into her hair, fisting it slightly. She let out an involuntary moan when he tugged it gently, and she immediately smacked a hand to her mouth. "Shit, Princess…" He grinned at her, and she slapped at him. He was taking advantage of his knowledge that she liked her hair being pulled a little to put Finn in his place. "Yeah, we gotta go, asshole. We're a bit busy."

Bellamy grabbed the phone from her hand, moving forward at the same time to press his lips to hers. Clarke squeaked in surprise, and she heard Finn's indignant shout of "Clarke" before Bellamy disconnected the call and dropped her phone to the floor. He released her moments later, and she was surprised when she wished that he didn't. She swallowed pressing a hand to her lips. "What was that?"

"That was us implying that we're having great sex right now to your asshole ex-boyfriend." She rolled her eyes, looking away. "Plus, it was super hot to hear you moan like that." She felt her cheeks burn, and she buried her face in her hands.

"Shut up!" She whined at his laugh. She pushed at him when he crowded her again, wrapping his arms around her waist. "Get off, dickhead." She snapped when he pulled her side flush against his chest, his fingers beginning to tickle her side. She squirmed, elbowing him in the gut. He groaned, falling backwards, bringing her with him. They fell back against her bed. She giggled, looking down at him from where she was lying on top of him. "I hate you." She told him, and he grinned at her.

He cocked an eyebrow at her, his eyes tracing down her face to her neck and to settle on her chest. "Are you wearing a bra?" He asked. She shook her head. "Fuck, Princess. You're mean." He groaned, releasing her, and she climbed off of him, looking down at her own chest.

"My tank top has a built in bra." She said with a shrug. She grabbed the bag from where he left it on the floor and her coffee from where she left it on her end table. "I'm wearing my pajamas from last night. You're lucky I put a sweater and socks on." She made her way towards her couch.

"Mismatched socks." He said, following her with his own coffee. She shrugged, digging into the bag for the food he brought her. She cocked an eyebrow at the pastries she pulled out. "Vegan eclairs. Don't worry. I double checked at the bakery."

"I think I'm in love." She sighed happily, biting into the pastry, moaning as she relaxed into the couch.

"Okay, so, yeah, you gotta stop making that noise." He told her as he took a sip of his coffee.

Clarke winked at him as she licked her thumb free of some chocolate. Bellamy shook his head at her, pulling his phone out to snap a picture of her. "What are you doing?"

"You look adorable right now." He said with a laugh. "Your hair's a mess, you've got chocolate all over your face from the eclair, and you've got mismatched socks. Hell, your entire outfit is mismatched. I'm tweeting this shit."

"Wait. No!" She pouted when she heard her phone buzz from where they'd left it on the floor by her bed. "Mean!"

"Hey, look at that! Thirty-three retweets already. Less than ten seconds. That's a new record, Princess."

"Can I see?" He held his phone out to her. She took it and studied the tweet. The picture was of her grinning at the eclair as she dipped her finger into the filling as it started to spill out of the pastry to catch it. There was some chocolate lining her upper lip. Her legs were resting on the ottoman in front of her, her left ankle resting over the right one. Her mismatched outfit was perfectly on display, as well as the knotted mess that was her hair on top of her head. She didn't see herself as being adorable, but based on some of the tweets he'd received in response to his tweet, most of his followers thought she was, too.

KINGBBlake: breakfast with the princess. She's excited about the eclairs if you couldn't tell (princess emoji) (crying laughing emoji) (coffee cup emoji) (donut emoji) clarkeEgrif

J12G: KINGBBlake clarkeEgrif god I want to hate her but I can't! (sad face emoji) she's so pretty (crying emoji)

Abbydabbydoo: KINGBBlake clarkeEgrif I want to be her when I grow up! (complete with hot actor bf)

giggles123: "KINGBBlake: breakfast with the princess. clarkeEgrif" #bellarke #getmarriedalready

Clarke stopped reading the tweets and rolled her eyes, wiping at her lip after she handed his phone back to him. "One of your fans says that we should get married. Are you prepared for that kind of commitment?" She joked before biting into her eclair again, making a big mess of herself again be damned.

"Eh. You don't put out when we're in the honeymoon stage of our romance. Sex is supposed to stop when you get married. I'll pass." She kicked him with the foot closest to him, and he caught it. She whined when he didn't let go of her foot, but instead held onto it.

"Are you going to eat with me, or just continue to hold my foot?" She asked him as she finished off her eclair and began sucking at her fingers.

"I'm having more fun watching you go to town on those things. How are you not fat? Every time I've seen you eat, you act like it's some orgasmic experience."

"I love food." She said with a shrug, wiggling her foot in his hand. Her eyes fell shut when he began massaging the base of it with his thumbs. "Fuck, that feels good." She swallowed, grabbing at her coffee to take another sip. "If something tastes good, and I enjoy it, I'm vocal about it. It's the same approach I have to sex. If I like something in bed, I let the guy I'm with know." She grinned at him when he dropped her foot.

"Finn's such an asshole." He said with a shake of his head. She furrowed her brow at him. "He's eaten meals with you. How does he not know what you really like in bed?"

"Ehh, I actually get super quiet when I come." She shrugged her shoulders as she dug into the bag for a second eclair. She passed him the brown paper bag, looking up with a furrowed brow when it took him a while before he finally accepted it. He opened his mouth a few times, but then promptly shut it with a clicking noise coming from his teeth as they hit each other. "Oh, did I break you?" She giggled. "Is this TMI? I'm just being honest."

"I, uh…" He shook his head, and she chuckled, biting into the eclair.

"These are so good, Bell. I'm so glad you brought them." She smiled to herself as she began enjoying the pastry. Soon enough, he joined in by digging through the bag for his own eclair. She enjoyed getting him flustered, because it meant that he was feeling some of the same feelings that she was feeling. The irrational part of her brain was trying its best to take over and make her throw herself at him, sucking the flavor of chocolate and filling from his lips and tongue. She couldn't do that, because this was a fake relationship for the media, not a real romance. This was not a real relationship!

Chapter Text

Kate hung up the phone, grinning. "What?" Clarke asked with an arched eyebrow as they ate brunch on Wednesday afternoon.

"I got you another show." The blonde frowned, which made Kate frown. Why was she frowning? Another show was a good thing. That was Kate's job as her agent-to get the talent a show to showcase said talent.


"Two weeks from now. It's something small, and, okay, it's less of a show, and more of a portion of a show, but it's for a good cause."

"A good cause?"

"Yes, a number of California-based artists are showcasing their work for a children's cancer benefit. There's a silent auction, a lot of schmoozing and rubbing elbows, expensive food and wine, cheesy music-that kind of thing."

"Oh, my kind of night." Clarke said with a sigh and a sarcastic smile. "Children's cancer benefit?"


"As much as I hate medical testing on animals, I'm willing to go to a benefit to pediatric cancer. Where is it held? How many pieces?"

"It's in San Francisco, at the UCSF Medical Center, actually. They're requesting five pieces. Do you think that you could get five done in less than two weeks?"

"I've got a few in the works and some sketches of possibilities. I think I could make it work, but I'll have to limit my social life to make sure everything is done when it needs to be."

"Yeah, you have to tell Bellamy to stop texting you about how bored he is." Kate said with an eye roll. She liked Bellamy, truly. He was funny, charming, and way too good-looking for his own good. She enjoyed the time she'd spent in his company, but she didn't like the constant bickering between him and Clarke. What she liked even less was the random kissing between him and Clarke. She didn't get it. Clarke was adamant that she hated Bellamy, but they go on one date together, and, suddenly, their spending a holiday with one another, he's bailing on his own work commitments to go to hers, and then hanging out and watching horror movies in their pajamas? Hell, on Monday and Tuesday, Kate had to literally take Clarke's phone away from her because Bellamy kept texting her while they were going over the sales of her pieces from the show the Friday before, as well as discussions about possible galleries in NYC for some spring shows.

"What's your problem? I'm just doing the right thing by getting him out of a jam…"

"I don't have a problem." Kate said with a sigh, but Clarke's pointed look indicated that the blonde wasn't buying that. "Okay, my problem is that one second you say you hate him, and the next second you're flirting via Twitter and hanging out in your apartment, and not in public as was agreed upon, in pajamas while watching horror movies and eating eclairs."

"Shit. I forgot to ask Bellamy which bakery he got those eclairs from." Clarke said, digging through her bag for her own phone.

"Clarke!" The blonde immediately dropped her phone onto the table, looking chastised. "I thought you hated him."

"I don't hate him. I did, but then I got to know him a little better. He's not that bad of a guy, and he's really sweet with Octavia. I don't hate him. I tolerate him."

"People who tolerate each other don't kiss each other."

"That's just for, you know, them." Clarke waved her hand at the passersby, speaking quietly as if to avoid drawing attention to their conversation.

"Bullshit. You kissed at your apartment in front of our friends and several people who know that this is a fake relationship."

"But that was for Finn!" Clarke grabbed her drink, taking a big sip of it.

"Yes, when Finn was actually there, but you guys kissed when Finn had already left."

"We thought that Finn was still there! That was about making him think that I'm moving on."

"I have an idea! Instead of kissing Bellamy Blake to make Finn think you're moving on, you go out and actually move on?"


"No, I'm serious, Clarke. I'm all for you getting over Finn. Frankly, it's been two and a half years, so I'd hoped you would've been by now." She sighed, studying her best friend in all of the world. "I'm worried about you, Clarke. I love you. You're my best friend. I want to make sure that you're okay."

"I am okay. I strangely feel more okay than I have in a long time, Kate. Ever since this stupid contest and hanging out with Bellamy, I've felt okay." Clarke chewed on her bottom lip. "Sometimes I feel like you and Wells baby me a bit." Kate arched her eyebrow at that. She felt offended. She tried not to, but she did. "I love you for it, believe me. I appreciate that you guys worry about me and want to protect me, but constantly checking up on me at every little moment-waiting to see if I'm going to take a razor blade to my wrist again-I think it's keeping me too caught up with the mindset that I was in when I did it."

"Wow, Clarke." Kate shook her head. Yeah, she was fucking offended. How could she not be offended by that? Her best friend was basically saying it was her fault she still thought about self-harming. Hell, she hadn't even been around when Clarke did it, but after spending two years involved in Clarke's life, and having been dating Clarke's best friend for the last six months, she'd heard every detail about that moment and the events that led to it. She was worried about seeing her friend slip back into that place again.

"I'm sorry if saying that hurts you. Don't get me wrong, Kate, I have moments when I'm alone, without you and Wells, where I think about cutting myself again, so it's not like I'm blaming you for being in that place. That's me and my own shit, which I'm dealing with and will probably deal with for a very long time." Clarke shook her head, making her blonde ponytail hit some poor waiter as he walked by. "Oh, sorry." The two of them hid their grins behind their drinks, taking a sip to stop from laughing. "What I'm saying is that I won't be able to deal with those moments when they come up if it's always in my mind-and everyone else's-that I'm going to hurt myself."

"What are you trying to say? I shouldn't worry about you?"

"No, you don't stop worrying about me, but maybe just let me breathe a little?" Clarke reached across the table and took Kate's hand in hers. Kate gripped her best friend's hand tightly. "I love you, Kate. You're my best friend. You don't need to walk on eggshells around me anymore, okay?"

"Okay. What does that have to do with Bellamy?"

"As for Bellamy-he treats me like I'm not gonna break. He makes me feel normal."

"I saw him on Thanksgiving. He kept nudging your foot, and he stood up to Finn for you. I'm surprised you told him at all. Miller, Jasper, and Monty don't even know. Hell, Finn doesn't even know, and he's part of the reason why everything happened."

"Bellamy was asking me about my tattoos, and he discovered the scar on my wrist. He asked me about it, and I told him everything. He was really supportive in that moment. At the same time, though, when I wanted to get away from that place, he went back to treating me like he always does. One minute he can be sweet and protective, and the next he's a total asshole. I appreciate that about him. I just feel normal. Like, he isn't going to change how he acts around me, because he knows, but he knows when to check in."

Kate studied Clarke as she spoke. The blonde was kind of staring off into space as she talked. Kate narrowed her eyes, because it was seriously weird to see her friend acting like this. She hasn't ever seen Clarke act like this. "Clarke, do you like him?" Clarke's head flew up, and shock was written all over her face.

"What? No!" She shook her head. "I mean, I like him as a person. He's not too bad. He still drives me insane, but he's not that bad. I've had fun the few times we've hung out. I guess, maybe, he and I could be friends at the end of this? I definitely wasn't expecting that, but if anything good comes from faking a relationship with him is that maybe we could become friends?"

Kate narrowed her eyes before giving Clarke a small head nod in response. She was calling bullshit. It was barely a week into their fake relationship, and she was already super worried about Clarke's heart getting broken. It was her opinion that Bellamy and Clarke should've never kissed, because lines were going to get blurred.

"Clarke won't return my texts." Bellamy sighed, tossing his phone aside. Octavia cocked an eyebrow at him before shaking her head. She tried to hide her grin, truly, but it was hard. Her brother was acting like a lovesick teenager who got in a fight with his girlfriend. "Get that grin off your face," he said, pointing at her.

"You're ridiculous, you know that?" She giggled, rolling onto her back. She was stretched out on the huge and insanely comfortable couch he had in his media room. They were watching some disaster flick that Bellamy turned down a role for due to scheduling conflicts for another action flick that was a cult hit amongst teens. Frankly, the movie blew in her opinion, so her brother lucked out that Interweb conflicted with The Island. Perhaps the reason why The Island was so popular was because her brother was in a loincloth for much of it. She grimaced at that thought.

"I'm not ridiculous. I'm trying to be seen out and about with my maybe-girlfriend. For my career."

"Oh, right. For your career." Octavia scoffed, rolling her eyes.

"O…" Uh-oh. He was using his I'm-older-than-you-and-therefore-wiser voice, or his Daddy-Bellamy voice, as she liked to think of it as. He pulled it out when he had to play the disciplinarian card when he caught her sneaking in (or out) of the house when she was in high school. Her mom was too busy with her johns to really pay attention to her daughter's comings and goings. It was Bellamy who raised her.

Not that she didn't love her mom. She did. Truthfully. Aurora Blake did what she could to take care of her kids, and she made enough money to keep a roof over their heads, clothes on their backs, and food on the table. Sure, it was a shitty two-bedroom apartment in which she got the second bedroom and Bell had the couch, and their mom conducted business in the other bedroom. And, the clothes on their backs were from the Salvation Army, thrift stores, and other similar places. They were lucky if they got to splurge on clothes from Walmart and Target during a particularly good month for their mom. And the food-the food was the marked down, old crap-bruised fruits and vegetables, slightly stale bread, and the like. But, they still had shelter, clothing, and food. But, the second Bell graduated from high school, he was able to go from working part-time at the WaWa just outside of the city in Capitol Heights, MD to working their full-time and adding in a part-time job at McDonalds. The income from his two jobs, plus Aurora's work, got them to shopping solely at Walmart with splurges at Target, Then, their mom died.

Things got tight after that. They moved out of their apartment and into a one-bedroom apartment. Once again, Bellamy slept on the pull-out couch rather than in a bed. Octavia offered to start working in order to supplement their income, but Bell had refused. He wanted her to finish school and go to college. Things didn't work out that way, though. O got "discovered" by Kane while he was in town for some reason or another, and he asked her if she'd ever thought of modeling and acting. Octavia didn't think she had the chops for acting, but Bell did. She knew it, because he charmed his way into getting a lot of things for them. He was smart, cunning, and good-looking. He had what it took to make it big in Hollywood, so she introduced Bell to Kane. They took off from there. Kane started getting them auditions, and everyone suddenly loved the Blake siblings. Everyone wanted them to model or act for them. Things were going well, but sometimes it still felt like they were fighting to prove that they weren't trash to the rest of the world. They were scared shitless that their mom's occupation before she died was going to be outed, and they were going to be no longer America's darling siblings. They were scared shitless that one day someone bigger and better than them was going to come along, and they'd no longer be wanted. In Hollywood, despite their success, they still felt like they were fighting for their lives.

"It is for my career. If it weren't for the studio heads still waffling over whether or not Gage is going to be killed off of the franchise that I've worked my ass off on, Clarke and I wouldn't have anything to do with each other."

"That's bullshit." Octavia sighed, leaning up to rest her weight on her elbows. "You guys were only supposed to hang out in public, but you two have spent a lot of time at her apartment in the last week."

"We only hung out once in her apartment, and that was after a public Twitter conversation." Bellamy said from his position on the other couch. Octavia shook her head.

"Yeah, what should've happened was that you picked her up and brought her to that bakery before going your separate ways, not hang out at her apartment and eat pastries and watch horror flicks."

"I was actually shocked that the Princess wanted to watch horror flicks. I would've thought she's the type to watch independent films and chick flicks." He shook his head with a small grin on his face. "She's definitely not what I expected."

That was as close to Bellamy admitting that he was wrong about something that Octavia had ever heard in her twenty-three years on this planet. She raised her eyebrows as she studied her brother's demeanor. He liked Clarke. "You like her."

"What? No." He shook his head and rolled his eyes.

"Bellamy, you're blushing."

"I'm not blushing! Shit, O. I don't like her. Not in the way you're implying, anyways."

"Is there something wrong with that, Bell? Really?"

"You know I don't do relationships." He said pointedly.

"I hate to break it, dude, but you're in one. Whether or not you want to pretend that it's all for the media and the fans and the studio heads, that's your business, but this is what a relationship looks like. You go on dates. You hang out. You kiss. You have sex. You enjoy the other's company."

"Stop talking about sex, because it makes me want to shoot Lincoln."

"Oh, c'mon, we're back to that now? That ship has sailed, big bro. I swiped my v-card back in high school with Brian Atoms."

"Aww, fuck, O." He groaned, and she chuckled. Sometimes she enjoyed upsetting her brother, but it was time to get serious.

"All joking aside, Bell, I just want to see you happy, and I think that you look happy with Octavia. You two have only been hanging out for a week, and you seem happier."

"That's the boost in my career." She rolled her eyes.

"Yeah, and you bought a fucking painting that she said reminded her of you. That's some boyfriend shit."

"Shut up, Octavia."

"Look, I'm not saying that you have to date her, but maybe you guys could be friends at least?"

"Friends with the Princess? I doubt that."

"Dude, you text her fifty thousand times a day, every day. You've seen each other five out of the seven days of the last week."

"It's for my career."

"Bellamy, you won't be able to use that for the rest of your life." She sat up, wrapping her arms around her legs, which she folded up against her chest. "Do you think I could talk to you about something?"

"What's up?" Bellamy shifted his attention on her, his hand absentmindedly grabbing the remote to turn the television off.

"I don't have any girlfriends. Not really, anyways." She blushed. "You're all I have, and I know you'll be uncomfortable with me talking to you about this, but…"

"Is this about Lincoln? Did he hurt you? Break up with you? I'll kill him!" Octavia immediately shook her head.

"Bell, stop. No, he didn't do anything of the sort." She sighed, running a hand through her hair. "We started to talk about it on Thanksgiving, but we got interrupted. I love him, Bells. I haven't told him or anything, but he's said it to me." He was silent for a few minutes, and she released a breath. "Bells?"

"Look, I'm not going to pretend that it's not weird or uncomfortable for me to talk to you about this, but I'm gonna do my best, because you're my sister." He rubbed a hand down his face. "What's keeping you from telling him that you love him?"

"Honestly? I have no idea. At first, I thought it was because of the age difference." Bellamy gave her a pointed look, but Octavia just returned it, holding a hand up to keep him from opening his damn mouth to interrupt her. "Yes, I'm aware that ten years is a big difference, but it doesn't have to be a bad thing, right? We've always had to be older than we were, so it's not that strange that I'm dating a guy so much older."

"O, we shouldn't have had to be forced into growing up as fast as we did growing up. We were dealt a shit hand. You're twenty-three. You should be out with your girlfriends, dating a bunch of guys, having fun, figuring out what you want in a relationship. Instead, you've got a boyfriend a decade older than you. He's at the stage of his life where he's thinking about life-long commitments, like marriage and kids. You're too young for that shit. Hell, he's not even able to keep one marriage together." He scoffed, and she glared at him.

"Sometimes things don't work out, Bellamy. Sometimes marriages end. Lincoln and Lexa are very popular actors. They hardly saw each other in the last two years. They're more strangers than married partners. They were miserable and unhappy together, so they went their separate ways. And, yes, I felt uncomfortable with my role in their breakup, because I did play a role. I was there for Lincoln when Lexa wasn't. I was his supporter, his confidant, and his friend. We steadily got closer over the years, and I fell for him in the same way he fell for me. I will admit that I freaked out after he left her for me. We hadn't kissed. We'd barely even touched, but I felt like a slut. He was having an affair with me, Bell-it was an emotional one, and it wasn't right. It was why I walked away for a few months before I realized that I felt like there was a piece of me missing. I went back to him, and we talked. We decided to give it a go."

"So, how have you been hiding-only staying in your own places for your 'dates?'"

"Yes, but it wasn't even about a physical relationship. I know you're thinking that that was all we did. It's not true though."

"I don't want to know that, O."

"We only started having sex in the last two months. We've taken it really slow. We've been watching movies, eating dinners, playing board games and card games-anything to get to know each other even better. Sex wasn't important-or, at least, not the sole focus of our relationship."

"God, I don't want to know that!" She sighed. "Look, I'm sorry, O. I do want to keep talking to you about this, but I don't need to know when you two started having sex. It's weird. All I see when I look at you is my baby sister. I'm trying, I swear, but it is hard. I don't want to be the overprotective asshole anymore."

"Well, I might like that you're a bit of an overprotective asshole," she said with a shrug, holding up her index finger and thumb to indicate a small amount. "Only this much, though." She smiled at him.

"I'm glad that this is a real relationship for you and Lincoln. I'm glad that it's not all about sex or whatever." She chuckled, nodding her head. "I'm not hearing the bad, O. What's keeping you from telling him that you love him?"

She began chewing on her bottom lip, unsure how to say what she needed to say. "I think that it has to do with you."

"Me? What are you talking about?"

"It's always been you and me, Bell. Even when Mom was still alive, it was still you and me." She gave him a sad smile. "I think that I'm just as scared to let you go as you are to let me go. I think I'm scared to let someone in. Does that mean that I'm going to lose you?"

Bellamy was at Octavia's side before she got the question out. He wrapped his arms around her frame, holding her against his chest. He pressed a series of kisses to the top of her head. "O, you could never lose me." She wiped at the stray tear that slipped down her cheek. "You're my best friend. I love you."

"You're my best friend." She turned her head, wiping at her cheek again. "But is it a bad thing that we're each other's best friends?"

"No, I don't think there is anything wrong with considering your sibling to be your best friend." He paused. "Although, it probably isn't a good thing that we both have a hard time being friends with anyone else. You've got a lot of girls you hang out with and talk to, but no female friends. I never had a lot of friends in high school, let alone maintained them with my career in acting. I pretty much only talk to Murphy, and he's a douche. I don't think I actually like him much."

"What are you saying?"

"I'm saying that maybe it is time to let other people in."

"Are you talking about just making friends in general or are you talking about Clarke again?" He groaned, pushing her away from his chest.

"I hate you. Get out." He sighed.

"Stop. I'm talking about being friends with Clarke. Do you think you could be friends with her after all of this is done?"

"I don't know, O. She gets on my nerves a lot, but sometimes she's fun to hang out with." He shrugged his shoulders. "Maybe we could be friends?"

"That's all I was asking for, big brother." Octavia said with a smile before she pressed a kiss to Bellamy's cheek.

Chapter Text

Clarke rolled her eyes when she saw that E! News had tweeted a link to an article about the status of "Bellarke." She clicked on the link, and she saw that there three paragraphs about the possible dissolution of the Bellarke romance.

Is there trouble in paradise for Bellarke? Three weeks ago, before every airing of the third movie in the Grounders franchise aired a four minute clip about a contest in which one lucky lady would get to Win a Date with Bellamy Blake. Hundred of thousands of hopeful women entered the competition, and the fortunate woman turned out to be a blast from Blake's past, Clarke Griffin, a well-known artist that goes by CEG from the Los Angeles area. Reports came in that Griffin was actually an old high school flame and that the competition was rigged. The reports that the two used to be romantically linked were debunked by both Blake and Griffin's representations, but it was admitted that Octavia Blake did rig the competition in order for Griffin to win, just for a few laughs at her older brother's expense, like little sisters are known to do. (I know I do that with my older sibs!)

Things appeared to be going great for the two, because they were photographed holding hands during their date at the popular Spacewalk, a club in Downtown LA, as well as spending the Thanksgiving holiday together at Griffin's with a large group of people. The two had a number of public Twitter conversations, lunch dates, and adorable hangout sessions, but over the last week and a half, there's been relative radio silence between the two of them. Neither one of them have been involved in their social media pages, aside from the occasional retweet on both their parts. No one has seen or heard from Bellarke, and people are starting to get nervous that the romance is dunzo.

Many people are crying that it was all a publicity stunt, and that the two of them were never together after all. Others are devastated that two of them could have broken up. While it was never confirmed that the two of them were dating, with Blake himself tweeting the son of the former  Congressman Jaha Wells Jaha , that Griffin was not his girlfriend, despite Jaha calling her that. I personally think that these real life Ken and Barbie are the real deal. I hope like hell that these two haven't called it quits, because I ship Bellarke  so hard . Let us know in the comments what you think the deal is about Bellarke. Are they real? Are they over?

She had just gotten back from getting her hair, makeup, manicure, pedicure, leg, underarm, and bikini wax done in the hotel spa and salon. She had returned to her room and sat on the edge of her bed, turning on a movie on the television, before getting on Twitter. She needed to continue to get ready for the night, because the limo was going to be picking her up in under an hour for the children's cancer benefit. She exited out of the link on her phone before opening a text to Bellamy.

To: Bellamy Blake

7:03 PM
Apparently we've broken up

She grabbed her lotion, squirting some into her palm before she began to rub it into the skin on her legs. Her skin felt instantly cooler, and the soft scent of lavender was calming. The tranquility of massaging the sweet smelling lotion into her skin was disturbed by the buzzing of her phone, indicating a text message.

From: Bellamy Blake

7:06 PM


To: Bellamy Blake

7:07 PM

E news tweeted a story about how you and I might have broken up because we haven't spent much time with each other these last two weeks

Clarke returned lotioning her skin. She moved on to her arms, massaging the lotion into her skin. She closed her eyes as she did so, trying to drown out the rest of the world. Then, her phone buzzed again.

From: Bellamy Blake

7:08 PM

Maybe one of us needs to stop being a popular artist who goes art shows for kids cancer benefits

From: Bellamy Blake

7:08 PM

What are you doing right now? Don't you have to leave soon?

She smirked as she began rubbing some lotion into the skin of her stomach, chest, and breasts. She was dressed only in a lace black thong that would leave no panty-lines under her dress. She used one hand to massage the lotion into her stomach and used the other to text Bellamy back.

To: Bellamy Blake

7:09 PM

Standing in my room in my undies with no bra on putting on lavender scented lotion and perfume

From: Bellamy Blake

7:09 PM

Pics or it didn't happen

Bellamy's response came almost instantly after Clarke's, and she rolled her eyes. She glanced at herself in the mirror, taking in her smoky eye makeup and the light pink of her cheeks and lips. Her blonde hair was straightened and pulled up into a elegant braided chignon on the back of her head. She shrugged, angling her phone so that she could snap a picture of her bare stomach, her fingers splayed across from him. She looked at the picture before sending it, chuckling to herself when she saw there was the briefest hint of the underside of her right breast and a few centimeters of sheer black lace of her underwear. She knew that she shouldn't be sending him such a picture, but the irrational part of her brain was never really present when she interacted with him. She sent the picture and set her phone aside. She grabbed her perfume and sprayed a little on the inside of her wrist, on the space just under her ear where it met her jaw, and between her breasts. She heard the buzzing of her phone, but instead of stopping after a few short buzzes, it kept going, indicating a phone call.

"Hey, Bellamy." She said, putting the call on speakerphone.

"That was mean. Very mean." His deep voice came out kind of heavy and scratchy over the phone, and she briefly let her eyes shut before she opened them again (because he sounded beyond sexy, not that she'd ever admit that to him, because his ego was big enough), reaching for her deodorant to apply it to her underarms.

"You wanted proof." She said nonchalantly as she set the deodorant aside. She reached for her dress and began to step into it.

"Was that boob?" Clarke chuckled as she tugged the dress up over her hips. She slid her arms into the armholes, shifting the front of the dress against her chest. She studied herself in the mirror, taking in how elegant and simple the front of the dress was, black with a sweetheart neckline that hugged her curves and flared slightly at the bottom. The armholes were thin, satin circles that left her back completely bare, hence her being braless. "Seriously, I saw slight boob."

"You're a child. Yes, that was the underside of my right breast." She said as she studied her appearance. She looked damn good.

"Fuck, Clarke." She laughed again, taking the phone off speakerphone and lifted it to her ear.

"You're ridiculous."

"And you're mean. I'm now fantasizing about what the rest of your boobs look like now. Don't get me started on the black lace panties."

"Thong, actually."

"Fuck…" Bellamy's throaty groan made her blush. She sat down on the bed, grabbing her black strappy stilettos and began putting them on her feet.

"I'm almost ready. Want to see a picture?" She heard his grunt, which she took as an affirmative. She moved the phone away from her ear and opened her camera app. She snapped a picture of the front of her before turning around to snap a picture of herself over her shoulder, showing off her exposed back. She then sent the images to him in a text message. She heard the dinging noise of his phone receiving the images over the call.

"Shit, you look amazing."

"Thanks." She smiled genuinely, grabbing her black clutch bag. She slid in a couple of twenties (you never knew if you'd need to have some cash on you), along with her lip gloss, into the clutch. The last thing that would go into her bag would be her phone, but she was still using it. She walked over to the dresser in the room. She picked up the silver necklace with a single, opaque cream-colored pearl in one hand. "I'm gonna put the phone down for a second. Have to finish with the jewelry."

"Okay." She set her phone down, putting on the necklace, along with its matching earrings (a single cream-colored opaque pearl) and a silver chain bracelet on her right wrist that had three dangling cream-colored pearls hanging from it. She then picked the phone up again.

"I'm back." She sat down on the edge of the bed, stretching her legs out.

"Are you by yourself tonight? Or is Kate going to be there?"

"Kate didn't make the trip this weekend. She's home in LA with Wells. It's just me. I don't really need her tonight, since all of the artwork is being sold in a silent auction. Everyone puts the number they're willing to spend on a card in a black box in front of the painting or sculpture that they want, and the bids are tallied. The highest bidder wins. I'm here to peruse the art, maybe make a bid or two myself, and to rub elbows with the rich and famous of San Francisco."

"If I had known you were going all by yourself, I would've come with you. Then, nobody would fear that Bellarke was broken up." She studied the French manicure on her fingers, except instead of white, she had used black tips on her nails to match her dress. "Plus, I look dashing in a tux. We'd be the hottest couple there."

"No, it's good that I came alone. We have to leave people wondering if we're friends or something more. We spent a lot of time together in the first week and a half since we reconnected. The last week and a half has been to do our own things with our careers."

"Speaking of careers, the bigwigs love Bellarke. They've officially sent the Gage-stays-alive version of the script."

"What?" Her brow furrowed. "What are you talking about?"

"Oh, right, you don't know. The whole reason why Kane was pushing for a contest win was because my recreational activities led the studio heads at Lions Gate to get kind of ticked off at me. They had the writers write an alternate script in which they completely deviate from the books' plot by killing off Gage in the first fifteen minutes of part two of the final movie."

"Ah, and you needed good press, and a date with a good-girl-fan would give you good press."

"Until America finds out that the good girl that was picked was a girl I hated in high school and would get into loud, verbal altercations with almost daily, and then America begins to suspect that it's all bullshit."

"Therefore, we were required to enter into a fake relationship in order to avoid bad press."

"Right. Exactly."

"I'm sorry that the studio people were trying to kill off Gage, so I'm glad that you got the right script. How is it?"

"Terrible but good."

"I don't think that's possible."

"No, its good, but it's heavy on the scene directions, because this film is primarily war, fighting, and sex scenes with very little conversation between the characters. Crystal and Gage have a lot of sex. I don't know how they're going to pass this movie off for teens and young adults without people making a big stink."

"Lots of sex, huh?" She mused, squeezing the phone between her cheek and her shoulder to scratch on the inside of her right wrist. When she realized what she was doing, she immediately stopped herself.

"Yeah, well, it's more like heated making out with shots of Roma's bare back and heavy breathing while pretending to gyrate against each other. God, sex scenes in movies are so not sexy. They're choreographed and uncomfortable and awful."

"Poor baby." She chuckled, smoothing a stray hair back into place.

"I'm serious."

"I believe it. What about that other movie that Kane is pushing you to take? Any word on that?"

"The gladiator movie? I think I might do it, but I'm not a hundred percent yet."

"What's keeping you from diving head first into it? You're a total history nerd. You'd love playing that role, and you know it."

"It's not that. It's more that I'm tired. I worked a lot over the last five years. I've made six popular movies in the action genre. This has been the longest stretch of time between filming, learning lines, and ten-hour physical training days that I've had since I got The Grounders. I'm burnt out. Do you know what I mean?"

"With acting in general or just action films? Because, honestly, I don't blame you for feeling burnt out with both, but especially with the action films. Ten-hour workouts a day?"

"For months at a time. Movies with sword fighting? Have to learn the proper techniques for holding the sword, swinging the sword, etc. Movies where I'm a soldier? I literally trained with retired marines in three-month boot camp to understand what it was like to be a marine. The list goes on and on." He sighed. "I guess it's mainly acting in action films, but maybe it is both. I don't know. I'm just…"

"Burnt out." Clarke said softly, and Bellamy hummed in response. "And bored."

"What do you mean?"

"You would text me literally ten times a day with these exact words: 'I'm bored.' Even after we hung out for three hours earlier that day or if we were scheduled to hang out later that evening. If it weren't for the fact that I had to work on my paintings and prepare for this show, you would've been up my butt the last week and a half, too."

"Sorry. I'll stop texting you so much."

"No, wait. Don't be mad at me for saying that. I'm not...I didn't say I had an issue with it." She bit her bottom lip, shifting the phone slightly. "What I meant was this: you're bored right now, because you don't have something to do. You said it yourself, this has been your longest stretch of time off in a long time, and I think it goes well beyond the five years you've been acting. In high school, you worked, played football, partied, dated, took care of your baby sister, and made my life a living hell. I'm not sure what happened during the time after you graduated from high school and moving to LA, but I'm assuming there was a lot of working and caring for your sister involved then, too."

"Yeah, well, we didn't have a lot of money, and my mom was always busy working, trying to keep food on the table, so someone needed to look out for O."

"Your devotion to your sister-to your mom, too-it's admirable, as is your hard work. I think you're not used to working, and I think the physical roles in movies have become a crutch for you, because they take the most time and energy. You don't need to worry about money anymore, but how you grew up stays with you until you're old and gray. Not working is killing you. Just like no longer needing to be a parent and a brother for your younger sister is killing you. You'll always see Octavia as being your baby sister who needs you to watch after her. She's all grown up, and that is hard for you to handle."

"You a shrink all of a sudden?"

"Well, every doctor goes through training in psychiatry during med school, but that's more about how medications can balance the human brain and body and less about the psychoanalyzing. I guess I just see a lot of myself in what's going on for you. It's different, of course. Our motivations are different. Our methods are different. But in the end, we're very similar."

"I guess that's why we have two dynamics: good conversation where we finally feel like someone else gets it and violent verbal altercations that make us want to ring the other person's neck." She laughed. The phone in the hotel room began to ring. "Do you need to get that?"

"Um, it's probably the front desk calling to tell me that my limo's here."

"Limo, huh? Fancy."

"Yeah, well, I'm classy like that. Hold on." Clarke picked up the hotel phone, leaving her cell phone in her other hand, away from her face. "Hello?"

"Is this Miss Griffin?"

"This is she."

"I'm Robert, the concierge from the front desk. I'm calling to inform you that your driver has arrived and is waiting out front, Miss Griffin."

"Thank you so much."

"I hope you have a pleasant evening."

"You, as well, Robert." She hung up the phone and raised her cell phone back to her cheek. "Well, I'm headed downstairs. I'm not sure when I'll leave tonight. Probably after I get drunk on champagne, because all I will have have eaten is shitty salad with limp lettuce since I don't eat the rubbery chicken they're bound to serve. But when I get back, I'd love to keep talking with you...if you're okay with that?"

"Dude, Princess, it is a Saturday night, and I'm sitting in my boxers with homemade pizza and popcorn, looking at a couple of scripts that people sent me. I think I'm okay with talking to the drunk you when you get back."

"Pictures or it didn't happen," Clarke joked, repeating Bellamy's words from his text message back to him. His chuckle was deep and throaty-and over entirely too soon, in her opinion. "Okay, good. Um, I want to keep talking about the acting thing, okay?" She could practically hear his eye roll.

"Only if you send me pics of you undressing yourself from that dress." She snorted.

"Goodbye, Bellamy." She hung up her phone and shoved it into the clutch purse. She made her way to the elevator. As she exited the elevator, her phone buzzed in her bag, and she pulled it out to see that he had tweeted the two pictures she had sent to him of her in the dress.

KINGBBlake: I mean c'mon (heart eyes emoji) (heart eyes emoji) (heart eyes emoji) clarkeEgrif is in SF looking like this & I'm not there (disappointed face emoji) #gorgeous #princess (princess emoji) (crown emoji)

She rolled her eyes, retweeting it before responding with her own.

clarkeEgrif: KINGBBlake I bet you'd look fabulous in a tux (winking emoji) thanks, handsome. I'll be back in LA soon (kissing emoji with heart)

Moments later, Clarke received a text with a picture of Bellamy smirking at the camera in just a pair of tight black boxer briefs, food and several packets of paper littering the coffee table in front of him. The caption with the photo was just a winking emoji. She rolled her eyes and screenshotted the image. As the limo headed towards the event, she cropped the image to get rid of her nearly nude picture that she had sent to him. That couldn't get leaked if she ever tweeted the picture of him in his boxers. (He'd done a Calvin Klein underwear spread, as well as a Joe Boxer spread, before, so a shot in his boxers was not going to hurt his career at all.)

Four hours of torture. Four hours of walking around and staring at pretty art, making insufferable small talk with rich assholes who thought that they were God's gift to the rest of the world. Four hours of eating crappy hospital food (at least there were some vegan dishes that she could pick at, but they still tasted like shit) and drinking likely two bottles of champagne herself. Four hours of bidding on a few art pieces that she liked, but not bidding nearly enough to actually win them. Four hours of hell before she was back in her limo on the way to the hotel once more. Thankfully, the ride was short, and it took barely forty minutes from her exiting the hospital to entering her hotel room. The second she got into her room, she was kicking off her shoes, tossing her clutch aside, with her phone pressed to her cheek.

"How drunk are you right now?" Bellamy's voice flowed through the phone after only a few rings.

"Surprisingly not that drunk. They had a couple of crappy vegan dishes that I forced myself to consume to soak up the two bottles of champagne I drank."

"Ahh, sounds like a perfect night." She rolled her eyes.

"The best night." She moved to the dresser, putting the phone on speaker. "You're on speaker."

"What are you doing right now that requires both hands."

"Nothing dirty. About to take off my jewelry and the like."

"Hold on, I'm gonna facetime you." The call disconnected, before moments later, her phone began vibrating once more.

Clarke accepted the call with an eye roll. "Hi," she said, sticking her tongue out at him. She reached up to unlatch her necklace, clasping it once again before laying it on the dresser.

"Is it supposed to be sexy to see a woman take her jewelry off, or do I really need to get laid?" She cocked an eyebrow at the tiny screen, seeing him chuckle in response. She removed the back of one of her earrings, pulling the pearl from her ear.

"I think you need to get laid."

"Are you offering?" She pursed her lips and glared at him. "Fuck, what's the point of this whole relationship bullshit then if you don't get laid regularly?"

"Well, maybe you should be in a real relationship then." She shook her head as she removed her other earring.

"Nah. Relationships and girlfriends are too exhausting. The best part of relationships is sex, which I can get without being in one." She rolled her eyes.

"That sounds lonely to me." She chewed on her bottom lip. "My favorite part of being in a relationship is being able to talk about my day with someone else and to hear about that other person's day, as well, while we are sitting next to each other on the couch. I love holding hands with someone or seeing the person's face light up when they talk about something that makes them happy or really makes the feel something. I love seeing the person's passion-it makes me happy." She shook her head, looking back at the screen of her phone. She blushed when she noticed he was studying her. "RIght, well, that was my nerdy opinion on relationships. The sex part is great, too, so...yeah." She licked at her bottom lip. "Anyways, tonight was the worst."

"Yeah?" Clarke silently thanked Bellamy for going with her subject change. "Did you buy anything?"

"No, I didn't. I didn't bid high enough." She frowned, shrugging one of her shoulders as she reached up with her other hand to start pulling bobby pins from her hair. "Four hours of bullshit smalltalk with pompous assholes who have bigger egos than you. I didn't think that was possible."

"Could you imagine how much fun you and I could've had together at this shindig?" He joked. She continued to pull the pins from her hair and steadily more and more of her blonde locks fell onto her shoulders. She sighed, her eyes drifting shut as she ran her fingers through her hair once it was completely loosened from the chignon. "We talked about you making noises like that, Clarke. You gotta stop that shit." She glanced down at the phone again, pulling her hands from her hair.

"What are you talking about?" She asked as she opened the drawer of the dresser to pull out her pajamas for the evening: an old Stanford t-shirt and a pair of plaid shorts. She placed them on the dresser out of the range of the phone so that they could still see each other.

"The sighs, the soft moans...all of's distracting." She blushed, looking away from him.

"I didn't realize I was making noises right now. Sometimes it's intentional, because it's fun to mess with you, but, most of the time, it isn't." She ran her finger over the dresser, feeling the smooth brush of the wood, trying to use the rhythmic movement to stabilize her heartbeat.

"Yeah, well, it drives me insane." His voice was tight. "What's next in the process of coming home from the party?"

"Changing." She bent over slightly, reaching under the skirt of her dress, feeling thankful that he wouldn't be able to see what she was doing due to the phone leaning against the mirror on an angle that only caught her top half, not what was happening below the dresser. She pulled her thong off, bending over to grab it from the floor. Again, the rational part of her brain vacated her head, because she held the fabric off of her index finger and waved it in front of the front of her phone.

"Fuck, seriously? You fight dirty."

"Remind me to play strip poker with you sometime."

"Why? Are you a good player? Are you trying to get me to undress in front of you, because, Princess, I already told you that I'm down to fuck whenever you want. Besides, I texted you a picture. It's customary to sext something else back." She shook her head at him, grabbing the shorts from the dresser. Once again, she hiked her skirt up while slightly bent over, pulling the shorts on under the dress.

"Actually, I'm a shitty poker player." She winked at him, turning around to face the opposite wall.

"You know I can still see you, right?"

"Yes." She said, sliding her arms out of the armholes of the dress." The top of the dress fell down, leaving the front of her bare. She knew that because she was facing away from him, he couldn't see anything beyond maybe a little side boob. Thankfully, the zipper was on the right side of the dress, so when she shifted her frame slightly, he saw only the wide expanse of her back as she loosened the skirt of the dress by pulling the zipper down. She pushed the dress off her hips completely, leaving her in nothing but the pair of shorts.

"When did you put shorts on?"

"Before I turned around. I pulled them on under my dress."

"I just don't get why you didn't just end the call."

"You wanted pics of the undressing process. I gave you a live-action version." She said, glancing over her shoulder at the phone as she reached behind herself to grab the t-shirt. "Plus, it's fun to mess with you. This is as close to sexting as you're ever going to get. Think of this as a freebie that will never occur again. Also, I may be a just buzzed enough to be this stupid." She pulled the t-shirt on over her head before turning around to pick up her phone. She then made her way towards her bed, sitting down on it to rest into the pillows. "So, let's finish our discussion from earlier."

"Princess, I don't even think I can process anything beyond the fact that you just changed in front of me without me seeing anything. Is that a skill that all girl's have, because I'm not sure I like knowing that, for my sister's sake."

"Yeah, a lot of girls could probably do it and do it well. I'm guess your sister doesn't mind changing in front of people. She's a model. She's modeled swimsuits and underwear and has posed topless to model a pair of jeans. I think she's cool with it." She yawned slightly. "But, we were talking about your career, so let's get back to that."

"How about we save the big important discussions for a time when you're not half-asleep and half-drunk. I vote we go back to getting undressed." She rolled her eyes at him.

"Bellamy, you're such a pig." Clarke yawned again, and Bellamy chuckled at her.

"Go to sleep, Princess. Call me in the morning when you're more awake. Night, Clarke."

"Night, Bell." She said, ending the call. She climbed back off her bed and headed to the bathroom to wash away her makeup and brush her teeth. In under ten minutes, she was back in bed and asleep.

Chapter Text

Clarke smoothed the gray dress she was in. It fell to her knees and was made of a soft material. She had paired it with a black cardigan and black ballet flats on her feet. It was Christmas Day, and she stared at the large Beverly Hills house in front of her. It was the vacation home of her step-whatever. Daniel Johnson was a very wealthy CEO of a medical technology company that regularly donated money to hospitals like the ones that Abby Griffin was the Chief of Medical at, all in the hopes that they would buy their technical equipment. Abby and Daniel had known each other for years-for at least six prior to Jake Griffin's death-and about a year after Jake's death, Daniel had asked Abby out. The two of them had been together for the last two years, and Clarke thought he was nice enough.

The night before, her mother and her step-whatever had come over for dinner at her apartment. Daniel had commented on how adorable her apartment was, informing her that if she should ever need any financial assistance with moving into another apartment (perhaps a two-bedroom apartment in which she could set up her studio in the second bedroom rather than having a studio loft. Abby had made comments about having to eat a vegan meal. Clarke bit her tongue, because all of her friends, and even Bellamy, did so without any complaints. Her mom couldn't even keep her mouth shut for one evening. Clarke bent over and grabbed her purse and the insulated bag she had put on the sidewalk at the edge of the property for the house. After her mother's complaints the night before, she had decided to bring her own meal with her, just in case.

She slowly walked up the walkway to the door, pressing her finger to the bell, hearing the clanging reverberate through the house until the door finally flung open, revealing her mother in a pair of khaki slacks, a white blouse, and a strand of pearls. The hair that framed her face was pulled back, the rest of her light brownish blonde locks hanging down her back. She had her ever-present severe expression on her face.

Clarke could feel the disappointment coming off of Abby in waves. "Hi, Mom." She gave her mother a tight smile. Abby responded in kind, stepping back, allowing her daughter to enter the building. Abby had certainly made herself at home in Daniel's life, Clarke mused to herself. As she entered the house, she was met with the smell of cooking ham, the scent strong and overpowering any other food dish being prepared in the home. It wasn't exactly pleasant to a vegan, but Clarke bit her tongue, ever the bigger person. The door clicked behind her, thanks to Abby pressing against it with both hands. The finality of the door shutting was like Clarke getting caught off from the outside world, trapped within the confines of a house she didn't want to be in on a day that was supposed to be filled with love and joy and family. Since her father had died, Clarke didn't feel the same about holidays with her "family" as she did before his death. It was almost as if her dad was the glue that held the Griffins together, and his death severed any hope of the two Griffin women being able to coexist peacefully. But, Abby was her mother, and Clarke loved her, despite her not actually liking her.

"Clarke, sweetheart, what's in the bag?" Abby said, crossing her arms loosely, as if she was attempting to look just casual, not irritated with her daughter.

"Just a few vegan dishes for myself. I didn't want to put anyone out."

"Well, Daniel made you a salad and there are few other dishes that are animal-product free, so…" Clarke nodded her head, refusing to say anything in response. A fucking salad and a few side dishes for dinner? Joy to the world!

She heard soft murmuring and laughter coming from further in the house. Apparently, the rest of the guests were there. Every holiday for as long as she could remember, the Jahas would join the Griffins or the Griffins would join the Jahas at their respective homes. It apparently no different since Jake's death and Abby's relationship with Daniel. Clarke was relieved to know that Kate and Wells were already there, so she had friendly faces to stick with during this terribly awkward evening. Her phone chimed in her purse, and she quickly buried her hand into the pocket to see that she had received an alert from Twitter. She saw that Bellamy had tweeted something. (Yes, she had put his tweets on alert. No, that didn't mean anything as Kate had suggested it had.)

KINGBBlake: Merry Christmas! Sitting down to dinner w/ my beautiful sister ModelBitchOB, my handsome costar Linc82Trav, & the extended Travers fam (santa emoji) (christmas tree emoji) (present emoji)

"Clarke, really? You can't go a few minutes into the holiday without being on your phone." Abby said with a reproachful sigh. Clarke tensed her jaw.

"Just wishing Bellamy a Merry Christmas, that's all." Clarke said, giving her mother another tight-lipped smile.

"Oh, right, your friend, Bellamy." Clarke licked her bottom lip.

"Boyfriend, Mom. He's my boyfriend." Okay, so they hadn't exactly agreed to ever use that term, but he didn't have family (beyond Octavia and Kane, who both knew the truth), so it wasn't the same as lying to your mother and step-whatever. She figured that he would understand her using the term with her mother.

"Clarke, you hated Bellamy Blake in high school. Do you not remember your graduation day?" Clarke blushed, remembering the way he'd stripped off his graduation gown and tossed it in her face after he'd received his diploma from the principal and moved his tassel. He'd smirked and winked at her, fully nude except for the hat on his head, and then raced down the center aisle, streaking, amongst cheers from their classmates and hisses of indignation from the family and faculty.

"Yes, well, things have changed. He's changed. I've changed." Her thumb quickly traced over the keypad of her phone, sending a text to Bellamy.

To: Bellamy Blake

7:36 PM

Merry Christmas, Bells.

"People don't change that much." Clarke lifted her head from her phone, where her eyes had been trained on the three periods, indicating he was responding to her text.

"You have." She let it hang in the air, turning her heel to head into the kitchen to drop of her food in the fridge and get a glass of wine. As she poured her glass of wine, she returned to her phone, seeing that Bellamy had texted her two messages.

From: Bellamy Blake

7:36 PM

Merry Christmas, Princess.

From: Bellamy Blake

7:37 PM

Octavia and Lincoln send their best to you. O wants to know when you guys were going to go shopping. Apparently you owe her a girls day since you haven't done that yet or something. Please don't go on a friend date with my sister. That's weird.

Clarke rolled her eyes, taking a sip of the white wine, leaning against the counter. She began typing into the phone, texting him her responses.

To: Bellamy Blake

7:41 PM

And mine to both of them. Also, I will dm your sister my number and she and I will set something up soon. I didn't think it would be appropriate for your new sorta gf to hang out with your sister without you after only a few weeks of sorta dating

To: Bellamy Blake

7:42 PM

But we've been "dating" a month now, so...oh, shit. We didn't do a month anniversary thingy.

She giggled at Bellamy's response.

From: Bellamy Blake

7:42 PM

Do I look like the type to celebrate one month with a girl? FUCK NO.

To: Bellamy Blake

7:42 PM

Are you the type to date one girl for a month straight?

From: Bellamy Blake

7:43 PM

I'm not the type to go without sex for over a month. I've got serious blue balls.

To: Bellamy Blake

7:43 PM

You've got hands…

From: Bellamy Blake

7:43 PM

But yours are cuter

To: Bellamy Blake

7:43 PM


She rolled her eyes, setting aside her phone for the glass of wine again. "Hey, beautiful." She glanced up, seeing Wells enter the room. His leg had healed nicely since the car accident, and his slight limp was gone finally. She smiled when she saw him, letting him pull her into a tight hug. "What's with the grin?"

"Bellamy apparently has a serious case of blue balls and thinks my hands are cuter, and therefore more apt for the job of taking care of his misfortunate circumstances."

"Pun intended?" She giggled when she realized what she had said.

"Yes." She heard her phone buzz beside her.

"Your mom is irritated that you haven't returned to the living room. We can all tell, but no one is saying anything. Ever the passive aggressive group." He said with an eye roll.

"Is Kate ready to kill herself?"

"Nah, she's actually doing well. She's holding her own against the Governor." Clarke laughed.

"I"m proud of her."

"Me, too." He took the glass from her hand and took a sip. "How are you?"

"I miss my dad," she said simply, taking the glass back. He nodded his head, leaning against the counter beside her. "I wish that he was here. I always felt like he was on my side."

"I'm on your side."

"Yeah, but…"

"It's not the same." She shook her head. "I get it, Clarke. Losing a parent sucks. I miss my mom everyday." She squeezed his hand in hers.

"Your mom was a good person." He sniffed and smiled at her.

"Your dad was a good person, too." She leaned up on her toes to press a kiss to his cheek.

"Should I be worried?" Kate's voice made them both jump before laughing at their own stupid reaction. Wells held his hand out to her, and the redhead came over, immediately enveloped into a hug by him and Clarke. "You left me alone for too long. That Indra lady is giving me a death stare. Dr. Griffin, would you check me over for wounds?" She joked.

"Indra's here?" Clarke said in surprise. She didn't expect that Indra Spenkle would be at a family holiday with the Jahas, the Griffins, Kate, and Daniel. She hadn't seen Indra since Wells had decided that he was over having babysitters as an adult, so he had told his father in no uncertain terms that his bodyguards had to go. Indra and Gustus were told that their services were no longer needed, and Indra had been reassigned to Thelonious' guards, and Gustus had retired to Florida.

Wells sighed, pulling out his phone, tapping at it a little. He then turned it to her gaze. She saw that he had opened his Twitter app and clicked on his latest tweet. She snorted, pressing her hand to her mouth.

JAHAoliness: The awkward moment when your dad says he's marrying one of the bodyguards he assigned to you in undergrad #christmas2014

"Oh, wow." She grabbed her phone, pressing the round button on it, not even looking at Bellamy's text from about ten minutes before, focusing instead on opening her Twitter app to retweet Wells' tweet. "I have to go tell Thelonious and Indra congratulations." She said, grabbing her glass of wine, waiting for Wells and Kate to grab their own. While she did so, she looked at her last text from Bellamy.

From: Bellamy Blake

7:44 PM

But I'm your pig (winking emoji) (pig face emoji) (pig nose emoji) (pig emoji)

They headed toward the living room where Thelonious had his arm thrown casually over the back of the couch, behind Indra's frame. Indra was sitting with a straight back, her face a mask of indifference like always. Thelonious Jaha and Indra Spenkle-a match made in heaven? Clarke smiled warmly at the both of them. "I hear congratulations are in order! What a Merry Christmas indeed!" She crowed. Both Thelonious and Indra stood. Thelonious gave her a warm half-hug and a kiss on the cheek. Indra gave her a nod, a sign of her respect for Clarke. The two of them had hardly spoken in all of the years that they'd known each other (a total of five before Wells put an end to having a bodyguard), but their relationship had always been one of mutual respect. Clarke respected Indra, because she took her job so seriously. Indra respected Clarke, because she was wise, courteous, and willing to sacrifice her own personal life to ensure that she accomplished top marks in her pre-med program (and had pushed Wells to do the same in his pre-law program).

Clarke pulled away from the happy couple to say her hellos to Daniel. "Daniel, it's good to see you again. Merry Christmas." She gave him a quick hug before nodding to her mother. She then took in the appearance of an Asian woman, slim but muscular, dressed in all black, and an attractive man, dressed similarly. His muscles were defined beneath his dark long-sleeved shirt. "Hi, I'm Clarke." She said.

"Clarke, these are my bodyguards, Anya and Elias." Clarke smiled at them both, trying to hide her confusion over why Thelonious still had bodyguards. He hadn't been a governor in quite some time. Frankly, not too many people cared about the former Governor anymore.

Clarke was seated uncomfortably between Elias, his blond hair slicked back in a way that she decided was entirely too smarmy, and Kate, who gripped her hand under the table. The way that her mother's eyes lit up as she guided Elias to sit at the table beside her daughter, and her casual questioning of Elias' family and education and future aspirations, made it clear to everyone present that she was trying to force a connection between Clarke and him. Apparently, the hired bodyguard of Thelonious Jaha was a better love match for Clarke Griffin than actor Bellamy Blake. She gave tight smiles every time Elias spoke, shooting her an irritating smile as he shifted closer to her.

She heard the buzzing of her phone in the purse she had left on her lap, and she wondered who could possibly be texting her at this moment. Everytime she glanced down at her lap, her mom would shoot her a tense glare, and she would just shift the bag in her lap, crossing and uncrossing her legs in irritation. Finally, the dinner was over, and she was sufficiently disgusted by the mating dance her mother was going through, she was able to sneak a glance at her phone to see that Wells hate tweeted something, tagging her in it, and that there were a number of responses to the tweet. How in the hell did Wells and Kate get to tweet at dinner? Oh, right, all focus was on her and Elias.

JAHAoliness: Even more awkward moment...Clarke's mom trying to set her up w/ one of my dad's current bodyguards #christmas2014 clarkeEgrif

KTWebber: JAHAoliness clarkeEgrif seriously the weirdest dinner of my life #christmas2014

KINGBBlake: JAHAoliness clarkeEgrif um...seriously? I haven't even met Mama Grif yet & she already hates me

KTWebber: KINGBBlake JAHAoliness clarkeEgrif dude's got nothing on you...he's creepy

JAHAoliness: KTWebber KINGBBlake clarkeEgrif beyond creepy. like murderous stalker kind of creepy…

ModelBitchOB: JAHAoliness KTWebber KINGBBlake clarkeEgrif so he's like MurphyJohn ? (laughing crying emoji)

MurphyJohn: ModelBitchOB JAHAoliness KTWebber KINGBBlake clarkeEgrif FUCK OFF octavia. who the fuck are these other asshats?

Clarke sighed, shoving her phone into her person. They'd all moved to the living room to continue drinking and talking, and it was clear that Elias was now putting the moves on Clarke a little more heavily to everyone in the room. There was an air of discomfort swirling, and she refused to even look at her mother. They hadn't had dessert yet, so it wasn't even okay for Clarke to make her exit.

Clarke had to deal with another hour of awkward conversation, dodging weird touches and creepy smiles from Elias. Her stomach was swirling, threatening to dump her dinner everywhere. She didn't know how much more of this she could take. Her wrist was burning with the desire to itch, but she kept her hands tightened into fists in her lap. She wasn't going to give into her anxiety. The doorbell rang, shocking all of them. Who in the hell was ringing the doorbell on Christmas night? Daniel excused himself to head to the door to see who it was.

He came back a few moments later, a shocked expression on his face, clutching a bottle of wine in his hands. "Um, Clarke, you have a visitor." He stepped aside, and in came Bellamy Blake, like a goddamn dark knight (attaching the image of a white knight to him would be too much, she thought to herself), a wide smile on his face. She heard her mother's indignant gasp from nearby, but she was too busy being swept up in Bellamy's arms, barely having time to pass her wine glass off to Kate.

She could have wept over how happy she was to see him, burying her face into his neck, hands gripping the underside of his upper arms like he would disappear if she released him. His one arm was wrapped around her waist and his other was carding through the hair at the base of her skull. He pulled her face from his neck to brush his lips over hers in a quick greeting before he pulled back. "Hey, Princess. Merry Christmas." She bit her bottom lip, nodding her head in thanks for his saving her, yet again on a holiday, when he didn't have to.

"Bell, what are you doing here?" She whispered in surprise, and he nodded his head in the direction of Wells, who was seated beside Kate. She smiled at Wells in thanks, before turning her focus back on the man in front of her, his arm still wrapped tightly around her waist.

"We finished up dinner at Lincoln's a little while ago, and since I was in the neighborhood, I thought I would stop by on the way back to mine. Octavia and Lincoln say Merry Christmas once again." She nodded her head.

"I thought we were going to meet up tomorrow night." She said, chewing on her bottom lip.

"Yeah, well, I had your present in my car anyways, and I missed you, so...I figured that I'd stop in tonight. Are you happy to see me?" She nodded her head immediately.

"Of course." She pulled away from him, pulling him by the hand to her mother a few feet away. "Mom, this is Bellamy. Bellamy, this is my mom, Abby Griffin." Bellamy pulled his hand from hers, slapping a sincere smile on his face as he shook hands with Abby.

"It's lovely to meet you, Mrs. Griffin. Well, officially. I think I remember seeing you around a few times during high school."

"Yes, I distinctly remember you from Clarke's graduation." Bellamy, at least, had the decency to blush, and he reached up to scratch the back of his neck.

"Yeah, that was not my best moment." He said with an uncomfortable smile. "I was a stupid kid, then. I'd like to think I've wised up a bit since." He glanced over at Clarke. "At least enough to make her reconsider her opinion of me."

Clarke shook her head at him, amused by the charm oozing out of him. He really was a good actor. She rolled her eyes at him, before turning him towards Daniel, who had returned to the living room, sans wine bottle. "Let me officially introduce you to Daniel Johnson, my mother's partner." Bellamy smiled, shaking Daniel's hand.

"Sir." She guided him to Thelonious Jaha and Indra Spenkle. "Governor Jaha." He grinned at the older man, once again, oozing charm. Jaha grinned brightly at him, disregarding his handshake to pull Bellamy into a hug.

"I love your movies, son. You're a phenomenal actor. Plus, I admire your charity work." Jaha was the easiest for Bellamy to smooth over? Seriously? Clarke wasn't expecting that. "And, to let you in on a secret, I was always amused by the incident at Clarke's graduation." His eyes flashed in merriment. "The things that Jake, Clarke's father, and I would get up to when we were kids! We were constantly embarrassing Abby and Tabitha, my wife." He turned to Clarke was a somber smile. "Your father would approve of your choices in romantic partners." Clarke blushed, ignoring the throaty chuckle from Bellamy, and the way he squeezed her hip.

"Dad was the most ridiculous and easily amused man in the world. It wouldn't surprise me if he liked this jackass." She said, elbowing Bellamy in the side. He grunted, pulling her into a tight hug against his side.

"That was mean, Princess." She rolled her eyes at him, and he just smiled, leaning down to press a kiss to her forehead.

"Bellamy, this is Indra Spenkle. She's Thelonious' fiancee and Wells' former bodyguard. If you continue to be irritating, know that she is probably willing to kill you and get rid of your body so that no one would ever know where to find it." She grinned at him, and he rolled his eyes at her, pulling his hand free, but still keeping her pinned to his side with the other, to shake Indra's hand.

"Ms. Spenkle, it is lovely to meet you. Congratulations to both you and Governor Jaha on the engagement." She smiled at him, shaking his hand firmly. Clarke giggled at the way that Bellamy shook his hand slightly afterwards. Indra had a tough grip. "Wells, Kate, good to see you both again."

"Handsome," Kate winked, making Wells sigh.

"Stop flirting with Blake in front of me." He said with a head shake and a smile. "I'm glad you could make it, Bellamy."

"I appreciate the invite and that you kept it a surprise from Clarke." Bellamy said as he shook Wells' hand. He then turned his gaze on Elias and Anya. "I'm Bellamy, Clarke's boyfriend." She almost shit herself when she heard those words exit his mouth. She bit on her bottom lip to keep from gasping or making some type of shocked noise that would give away the fact that she was surprised by his willingness to label himself as her boyfriend. Elias narrowed his eyes before storming off. "What did I say?" Bellamy asked no one in particular before turning to Clarke. "Can I steal you away?" She nodded her head. "Excuse us."

Five minutes later, Bellamy and Clarke were seated on a bench by the koi pond in Daniel's backyard, surrounded by white Christmas lights and sweet smelling plants. She could feel the eyes of her mother from the glass in the living room, but she tried her best to ignore it, focusing instead on Bellamy.

"Thank you, thank you, thank you. " She said, shifting to press her lips against his cheek. He chuckled, looking down at his feet, pulling her hand between his. He tangled their fingers, using the other hand to stroke his fingertips along the back of her hand and up her wrist slightly.

"Wells and Kate were saying you were so uncomfortable with that guy, and I dunno, I just...since I stopped protecting O as much, my protectiveness has to go somewhere, so you're getting the brunt of it now." He rambled, and she smiled, leaning against his side, resting her head on his shoulder.

"How did you know where Daniel's house was?"

"Wells DM'ed me the address. O knew what was going on, so she and Lincoln all but pushed me out the door. I wasn't lying, though, when I said I had your gift in the car. I had it hidden in the glovebox, because I didn't want to forget it for when you and I met up tomorrow."

"I don't have yours." She frowned, squeezing his hand.

"That's okay. I'll get it from you tomorrow." He raised her hand to press a kiss to the back of it.

"I had a hard time figuring out what to get you."


"Yeah, what does one get her fake boyfriend?" She joked. "What did you get me?" He dug the hand that wasn't clutching hers into his pocket and pulled out a black box. A jewelry box. She cocked an eyebrow at him. "Okay, my gift is shitty in comparison." She breathed. "I can't take this, Bell."

"Yes, you can." He opened the box, revealing a pretty silver necklace with an oval stone that was lined with diamonds. The stone itself was a medium grayish-blue color with swirls of bright colors. The stone resembled the swirling skyline of Van Gogh's Starry Night in her opinion, because there was such bright yellow and green-blues, with small splashes of orange and red.

"Bellamy, this is gorgeous." She ran her finger over the stone.

"It's a black opal. I picked it because it made me think of your paintings, especially your more abstract ones, with all those bright splashes of color. Oh, and the diamonds are conflict free, too. I thought that would make you happy." She leaned forward, pressing her lips to his, tangling her hand in the hair at the back of his neck.

Clarke knew that she shouldn't be kissing Bellamy like this. She doubted that her mother was still watching them, because it would be rude to ignore her guests, so it was really just the two of them. She couldn't stop herself from kissing him, though, because this was such a beautiful and sweet gift. It was a better gift than any other gift she'd received in past relationships. She felt his mouth open to hers, giving her permission to deepen the kiss if she wanted. She heard the click of the box shutting. She felt his hand shove it back into his pocket, while the other cupped her cheek.

She knew that she should pull back, but she couldn't seem to stop herself from combing her tongue over his bottom lip before slipping it into his mouth. His immediately met hers, and the kiss was as deep as it had been the first time they'd kiss. They were just as caught up in this kiss as they were in that one-a kiss that, like this one, was just between the two of them. She hummed softly into the kiss, because he was such a fucking good kisser. His other hand wrapped around her waist, pulling her even closer to his body.

Eventually, air became a problem, and she pulled her lips free, resting her forehead against his. She took her time opening her eyes, because she knew that the moment she took in his appearance, it would break the spell, and they'd be brought back to reality where they shouldn't be kissing like that, where this was all a fake relationship for good press. "Clarke," she heard the huskiness of his voice, and she squeezed her eyes even tighter shut.

"No," she said, her voice almost as deep and scratchy as his. "If I open my eyes, I will have to acknowledge that we crossed a line." She said whispered. He brushed his lips against hers again before pulling away from her completely. Her eyes opened when his hands fell away from her. "I'm sorry."

"Don't be, Princess." He gave her a weird smile, digging his hand into his pocket to pull the box out again. "Should I put this on you now, or...?" She nodded her head, turning away from him, gathering her hair into one hand over her shoulder. Her eyes fell shut when she felt the stone hit her chest and his fingers brushed against her neck as he clasped it. When he released the necklace, he ran his fingers over her neck, placing a kiss to the skin just below her ear.

"Bell," she said softly, and he rested his forehead against her shoulder.

"I should go before I insist on driving you home now to take you to bed." He said, clearing his throat.

"At this point, it's taking everything in me to not fuck you in your car, so…" He growled, literally growled, pulling away from her.

"Clarke, you can't say shit like that to me. You're supposed to make a joke about how I've got a hand or some shit."

"It's no secret that I find you attractive, Bellamy." She said turning to face him again. "But we just got caught up in the moment." He nodded his head, running a hand through his hair. She laid a hand on his shoulder. He smiled at her.

"I'm fine. I'm good. I need a drink, though." She laughed, standing up. She held her hand out to him. He slid his hand into hers, their fingers tangling. "So, what did you get me?"

"Nothing as nearly as nice as this." She frowned, using her free hand to run her fingers over the opal. "Do you want me to tell you, or would you rather open it?"

"Eh, you can tell me about it."

"I got you a nice watch and a bottle of really good bourbon." He pulled her by the hand into his chest and leaned down to press another light kiss to her lips.

"I love bourbon." He said, pulling back, making her chuckle and smack his chest.

"Stop teasing. I know my gift sucks in comparison to this." She smiled down at her necklace. "I love it, Bellamy. It's stunning."

"It's, like, a thank you for being awesome about doing this for me. You've gone above and beyond. As for your gift, I'm not teasing. I don't have a watch, so I greatly appreciate it. Maybe I won't be late all the time. And, bourbon, fuck, I love bourbon." She smiled at him, rolling her eyes slightly.

"I know you love bourbon." She pulled him inside, guiding him to the cabinet where Daniel stored all of his alcohol. "Speaking of bourbon." She poured them both a drink, holding her glass up to him. "Merry Christmas."

"Merry Christmas, Princess," he tapped his glass to hers. They both raised the glasses to their lips, eyes locked as they took a sip.

"Clarke, honey, we're going to have dessert. Bellamy, would you like to stay for dessert?" Abby's voice made them to break eye contact, and Clarke glanced over her shoulder at her mother. Her eyes widened when she took in the necklace hanging from Clarke's neck. "Oh, my. Is that...that's a lovely present." She glanced between the two of them, nodding her head. "We're eating in the dining room. I will set you a place, Bellamy."

"Thank you, Mrs. Griffin."

"Why don't you call me Abby?" She said, slipping from the room. Clarke swallowed, because it took a long time for Abby to say those words to Finn and every other person she'd dated in the past, but Bellamy being in the house for barely a half an hour, she was already going from trying to set her up on a date with Thelonious' bodyguard to practically saying "welcome to the family."

"Yes, ma'am." He nodded his head. "Abby." She slipped from the room, and Clarke bit her lip as she looked up at him. "What's wrong? That was good, right? She's not going to keep trying to hook you up with randoms anymore, right?"

"That was as close to her saying 'when's the wedding, and do you want three kids or four' as you could possibly get." She chugged the rest of her drink before filling the glass once more. "It took my mom nearly a year to let Finn call her Abby."


"Yeah…" He nodded his head before chugging the rest of his own drink. He then filled it to nearly the top, before nodding his head towards where Abby had disappeared.

"So, dessert?" He said with his voice tight. She nodded her head, following him from the room.

Chapter Text

Clarke Griffin was pissed. No, that was an understatement. She was fucking livid. And, of course, she was fucking livid at Bellamy Blake. She should've known that her mother's sudden change of heart about him would lead to him turning into a scaredy cat. He texted her to cancel their post-Christmas plans, with nothing more than a "sorry, can't make it." That was it. No explanation. No attempt to reschedule. Nothing. Now, she had a wrapped box that held a beautiful watch and a bottle of expensive and really good quality bourbon sitting on her coffee table like one of the forgotten toys left behind in the Toy Story movie where the character of Jessie was introduced, and her teenaged owner lefter on the side of the road in a box next to a donation van. Well, shit, now she was depressed and livid, because that part of the movie always made her cry, and Bellamy was a douche bag.

One week had passed since the Christmas dessert, "call me Abby" incident. She was fine with the text when she got it, actually. Sure, she was a little bummed, because she'd already started getting cute for Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter pictures, and the Vine she was going to insist that they make with the Santa hat and reindeer antler headband she'd bought. She planned on singing "you're a monster, Mr. Grinch / your heart's an empty hole! / your brain is full of spiders / you've got garlic in your soul, Mr. Grinch / I wouldn't touch you with a thirty-nine-and-a-half foot pole!" from the song You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch! while wearing the reindeer antler headband and making him wear the Santa hat. She was actually quite excited about making that vine, so it was a disappointment when he cancelled.

She let the disappointment go, however, because she figured he needed a cooling off period, because this wasn't a real relationship, and he did very relationshipy things by showing up to save her, referring to himself openly as her boyfriend, and getting the whole "call me Abby" thing from her mother. Then, there was also the kiss-the beautiful, hot, wonderful, inappropriate kiss-that was something that they shouldn't have done, because this wasn't a relationship. All of it made sense for why he needed to bail the next night, so she accepted it.

What she didn't accept was the fact that he'd spent the remaining six days ignoring her. The day after his text to cancel, she sent him a picture of the $150 dollar bottle of bourbon she bought him. The green ribbon was tied in a bow around its neck, making the reddish-orange color of the booze pop. In the text, she threatened that she was going to open it and start drinking it without him. She fully expected him to show up within an hour, pounding on her door, sporting a pizza for himself and vegan mac and cheese for her (she had told him a good bottle of bourbon, vegan mac and cheese, and a slasher flick was her idea of the best night in the whole world, and he had wholeheartedly agreed to take part in such a night with her). However, he never showed. He never even responded.

The day after that, she'd taken a picture of a much less expensive and good glass of bourbon that she'd purchased on a whim for herself with a single ice cube floating in it, claiming that it was from the bottle that she'd bought him. She got no response. Again.

Every text. Every call. Every DM on Twitter. Every goddamn carrier pigeon (okay, that was an exaggeration, purely because she would never force an animal to do her bidding in such a way, and she lived as cruelty-free a lifestyle as she could possibly get). EVERYTHING SHE DID TO GET IN TOUCH WITH HIM WENT UNRESPONDED. Well, fuck him. Fuck Bellamy Blake and his god complex. She wasn't sure what to do, because Kate had tweeted a picture of #Kells&Bellarke on Christmas of them eating dessert, with the necklace hanging off of her neck, and his arm around her waist like goddamn badges of their "relationship." It wouldn't make sense for him to suddenly disappear from her life. It wouldn't only look bad for him in the eyes of the media, his fans, and the studio heads at Lions Gate, who could suddenly decide that they were going to go with the version of The Grounders: Wisdom Part II where Gage is killed in the first fifteen minutes of the movie.

Seven days of silence, and it was now New Year's Eve, another big holiday in the eyes of the world for celebrity couples. Before agreeing to fake-date Bellamy for awhile, Clarke had planned on ringing in the new year with Kate, Wells, Harper, Miller, and Monty at Spacewalk. Jasper was going to be at home, with Maya and Baby Nina, and Monty was going to be working, and his new girlfriend, Hayley Fox was likely to be in tow. She figured that there would be a Finn and Raven run-in, as well, but she would be surrounded by plenty of her friends to keep the fireworks (pun-intended) to a minimum between the three of them. Except, now she was "dating" Bellamy, so the expectation would be that he'd be involved in any New Year's Eve plans she'd take part in. She knew that people would probably wonder why she and Bellamy weren't together, so she sent him yet another text.

To: Bellamy Blake

12:19 PM

What's the deal about tonight? Are we hanging out?

She shoved her phone into her purse, following Kate inside of the salon where the two of them got their tri-weekly leg, underarm, eyebrow and bikini waxes. Ever since her self-harming incident, she'd stopped shaving with a razor, sticking strictly to waxing to reduce any exposure to razor blades. She went first for the waxes, wishing like hell that she'd brought a flask to chug before Katia got started. Katia was the best, but she was also the worst. When she was finished, she limped (her bikini area was on fucking fire) her way to the chairs in the waiting area to wait for Kate to get out.

Her phone started ringing in her purse, and she grabbed at it, hoping like hell that it would be Bellamy, even if she was majorly pissed at him, so that they could figure out what to do for the evening. It wasn't. She momentarily pursed her lips before grinning in excitement at the name flashing across her screen. She slid her thumb along the "slide to unlock" bar and accepted the call from one of her best friends and a sister from her sorority from undergrad, Thalia. "Hey, Tally." She said happily into the phone.

"Clarkey! I've got huge and exciting news! Are you sitting down? You better sit down!" Thalia squealed into the phone. Clarke widened her eyes, unsure where Thalia was going with this call.

"I'm sitting. What's going on? Are you and Greg pregnant?" She asked. When she had met Thalia during rush week freshman year, Thalia had been dating her high school sweetheart, Greg, who had also attended Stanford with them. Greg and Thalia were truly adorable together, both dark haired, tall, and beautiful. The two of them were like a magazine spread of gorgeousness. After graduation, Thalia and Greg had gotten married (with Clarke and two of their other best friends and sisters as three of Thalia's six bridesmaids), and then the two of them had moved up to Portland, Oregon, where Thalia taught Italian at a fancy prep school, and Greg had gotten his master's in counseling psychology and now worked as an addictions therapist. Thalia and Greg had been married for six years, and during one of their recent Skype sessions, she'd admitted that she and Greg were discussing the possibility of having kids.

"Pregnant? Fuck no! We've decided to wait to start trying when we're both thirty and have bought a house. We're still renting a cute condo. We're getting a dog instead." Clarke laughed, shaking her heat.

"Give me a heart attack, why don't you!? I was all excited about being Aunt Clarkey."

"You're already Aunt Clarkey to Jasper and Maya's kid." Thalia reminded her.

"Yeah, but it's not the same!"

"Then, tell Wells and Kate to get the baby-making started!" Her friend teased.

"How about you tell that to Wells and Kate?" While Kate and Thalia had never met in person, they'd communicated through social media, phone calls, and Skype sessions, because Thalia and Greg were close with both Clarke and Wells. The two of them were pretty friendly, which made Clarke's life easier. All of her best friends were friends, which was such a relief. "So, what the hell is so big that you needed to tell me?" She paused. "I also demand to be Aunt Clarkey to the dog, too."

"Done, Clarke," Thalia laughed. "Guess who is in town for New Year's!"

"No shit! You're in L.A.?"

"Not just me, babes, but Lilly and Glass are here, too. The three of us convinced the boys to take on us a trip for the holiday, and what better place than the city that never sleeps?"

"Um, that's New York City." Clarke laughed. "Los Angeles is the City of Angels."

"Oh, whatever. Does it really matter? All that matters is that we need to have a Tri-Delta reunion!"

"Duh." She smiled, running a hand through her hair.

Clarke hadn't been in the same room with Thalia, Lilly, and Glass in three years. Thalia and Greg had moved to Portland almost right after the wedding and the graduation, and while Clarke had been in med school, she, Lilly, and Glass would travel to Portland every few months to visit Thalia, or Thalia would make a trip down to visit them. Lilly and Glass had worked at a theatre near campus for a couple years after graduation. Lilly's boyfriend, Kai, got a job in Austin, so she moved there with him. Glass went, too, because the two of them had grown up living next to door to each other, roomed together their freshman year, and then lived in the quad in the Delta-Delta-Delta house with Clarke and Thalia for sophomore, junior, and senior year at Stanford. Glass and Lilly opened their own music and dance school, with the help of Kai, Lilly's business school boyfriend, and his buddy from work, Zeke, who Glass had fallen for.

All four of them had become hugely successful and happy-Clarke with her art, Thalia with teaching, and Lilly and Glass with their music and dance school. While the four of them had gone their separate ways, they'd still kept in touch via texts, emails, social media, and bi-weekly Skype sessions of the four of them. She loved her sorority sisters. They were the closest things she had to siblings, aside from Kate and Wells. All three of the girls had been there for her when she lost her dad in her third year of med school. While they weren't physically able to make it to see her again the following fall after the breakup with Finn and the self-harming incident, the three of them knew about it and were immensely supportive by sending her care packages and staying on the phone with her late into the night, letting her cry out her feelings to them while Wells held her in his arms. Thalia, Kate, Wells, Lilly, and Glass were some of the most important people in her lives, and she knew that she'd be lost without them.

"Kate, Wells, and I were going to hit Spacewalk tonight with some other friends to ring in the New Year. You guys game for that?"

"Is Finn going to be there?" Thalia asked, and Clarke could hear the hatred in her friend's voice. She could picture the brunette woman scrunching her nose in disgust.

"Probably, but there will be enough people there that he won't cause a big stink. Or, well, I hope he won't. Raven likely won't leave his side."

"Uggh. The cheating asshole. But, we're down. I'm looking forward to seeing Wells again and meeting Kate officially."

"I'll text you my address, and you six can meet me, Kate, and Wells at my apartment tonight at eight. We'll do a little pre-gaming before we head to the club."

"Sounds perfect. I'm so excited for the four of us to get together again!"

"Same here, Tally."

"And, Clarke…" She paused for dramatic effect, making Clarke roll her eyes. Thalia should've majored in the performance arts, not Italian with a minor in Education. "We're looking forward to meeting your famous boyfriend." With that, Thalia ended the call, making Clarke groan as she dropped the phone in her lap.

"What's wrong?" Kate's voice made her jump, and she glanced up at her friend who walked her way out of a waxing as if it was like getting a massage. She didn't look the tiniest bit in pain, unlike Clarke. Bitch.

"Thalia, Glass, and Lilly are in town for New Years, so I invited them to join us at Spacewalk tonight."

"Yay! Where's the bad?"

"The bad is that Thalia hung up with the parting message that the girls are looking forward to meeting my famous boyfriend."

"Oh." Kate frowned, sitting down in the chair in the waiting area beside her. "Have you heard from Bellamy yet?"

"Nope. He hasn't tweeted, texted, or called me since Christmas dinner." Clarke frowned, reaching up to absent-mindedly run her fingers over the opal necklace she'd been wearing since he'd given it to her. "Whatever. This isn't real, so it doesn't matter."

"If you say so." Clarke shot Kate a dirty look, because the redhead had a tendency to make comments about how elements of hers and Bellamy's fake relationship aren't exactly fake.

"Maybe I can give them another famous Blake." She grabbed her phone, scrolling through her contacts for the number that she'd gotten from Octavia after she had DMed hers to the model, The two of them made their way out of the salon towards Kate's car. She pressed her phone to her ear, listening to the rings.

"Clarke, um, hey." She rolled her eyes at how nervous and weird Octavia sounded. She was probably near Bellamy.

"I'm not looking for your brother, don't worry. I wouldn't put you in the middle like that. If he wants to act like a scared, little boy, that's his prerogative."

"A scared, little boy?" Octavia said in surprise. Clarke could hear her trying to keep the laughter out of her voice, for Bellamy's sake.

"I mean, it was his choice to come thundering into my mom's boyfriend's house on Christmas, acting like some goddamn knight rushing into battle, acting like he's so awesome for saving the damsel in distress, and then he realized how boyfriendy it is to show up at a family event like that. It was his choice to label himself as my boyfriend to everyone there, and his choice to willingly meet my mom, her boyfriend, and Wells' dad, who's basically like my uncle. That was all him, and now he's freaking out about it."

"He called himself your boyfriend?" She heard the muffled sound of the phone being pressed to Octavia's chest and the murmured sounds of her chastising someone, likely Bellamy. "He didn't tell me that part." Clarke blanched. She hoped like hell that he didn't tell Octavia about the kiss.

"Oh, and what did he tell you?"

"That your mom told him to call her Abby, and you said that that was basically a 'welcome to the family' thing." She let out a breath of relief.

"Yeah, that. I dunno why she said it. It was weird. One minute, she's trying to set me up with a creepy bodyguard, and the next she's like, 'oh, Bellamy, call me Abby.' It made no sense to me."

"Well, perhaps it has something to do with the necklace. He didn't tell me what he got you for Christmas, but I saw the pictures that Kate posted of it on Twitter and Instagram, and it's gorgeous. I don't think the asshole's never even bought something that nice for me. Ouch! Fuck you, dude." Octavia said the last part to whoever she was with, thus further confirming to Clarke that it was Bellamy.

"You think that she told him to call her Abby because of necklace? I don't think so. Finn gave me a bracelet when we were together for a year. He and I were together for nearly two and a half years in total, and he didn't get the 'call me Abby' thing until a year and a half into our relationship. The most serious ex before him gave me a really pretty pair of earrings when we were together for six months, but my mom never officially met J, so she never did the 'call me Abby' thing."

"Oh, well, I dunno then. There was obviously something that inspired your mom to go that route, and now my big brother has his panties all in a twist about it. Dude, touch me again, and I will cut you." Octavia threatened again. "So, you said you weren't calling to look for my stupid brother. To what do I owe this pleasure?"

"I was wondering what your plans are for this evening."

"Well, I was invited to a party being hosted by another Victoria's Secret model, but Taylor Swift is going to be there, and things have always been a little weird ever since she and my brother hooked up for a bit. For some reason, she can't seem to let bygones be bygones with him, but she can with other dumbasses she's fucked around with."

"Oh, I love her. Please don't tell me she's a bitch or something." Clarke pouted.

"Oh, she's lovely, really, but it's just...awkward." Octavia told her. "Anyways, I was also invited to Miley Cyrus's big throwdown, but Lincoln worked with Liam Hemsworth on a film, and he's totally Team Liam in their whole breakup, even though it's been ages since those two split. Then, there was a party that's being held by Evangelese Gordon, the model, that I was invited to, but I'm definitely not going to that, because Evangelese is best friends with Lexa, and the only reason she invited me was to see if I would bring Lincoln, and then there would be this whole big thing with the media claiming that I punched Lexa or that Lexa and Lincoln are getting back together, and I was left crying in the corner at the party or blah, blah, blah. Navigating model politics is not on my list of fun things, so I'm avoiding that party like you wouldn't believe." Clarke's eyes widened. Octavia rambled about Evangelese (who named their kid Evangelese? This had to be a fake name for Hollywood. Right?) and Lexa, making Clarke's head spin.

"Oh, wow. That sounds...huh. You celebs, forced to rub elbows with the people you can't stand at parties just so the media doesn't spread lies about you, only to have other lies spread about you. It sounds like a real headache." She cocked her head to the side. "You're just like everybody else." She joked.


"Well, anyways, if you're looking to spend a little time with some people who aren't full of celebrity politics and are looking to basically get wasted and then fuck their significant others, you're more than welcome to join in with my friends and I tonight at Spacewalk. Lincoln, is obviously welcome." She said, smiling at Kate when she parked outside of Kate's apartment complex.

"Fucking significant others, huh? Is there something that you and Bell need to tell me? Ouch! Fuck, dude!" Clarke bit her lip, because that wasn't what she meant.

"Oh, god, stop. I'm just fake dating your brother, so I've got no one to fuck." She sighed, earning a snort from both Octavia and Kate. She shot Kate a glare.

"Honey, I think you've got someone who's willing to fuck you if you ask." Octavia grunted. "Dude. That hurt." Clarke sighed.

"Would you walk away from Bellamy? You're risking the bruising of your body. It is your moneymaker, so you might want to get out of hitting reach." Clarke sighed.

"That asshole wouldn't dare to bruise me." Octavia said, and Clarke could hear the eye roll through the phone. "Stop trying to change the subject. You were saying something about drinking and fucking significant others, while pretending that you and my brother don't want to fuck each other's brains out. Don't touch me."

"We're meeting Miller and Harper at Spacewalk, and I'm pretty sure that Monty's going to have his new girlfriend, Hayley, there, too-the one from Thanksgiving." Clarke chose to ignore Octavia's claims that she and Bellamy wanted to have sex. She wasn't going to deny it, because there was a huge part of her that knew that she found him attractive, but she knew that it wasn't the smart, rational thing to do. "Jasper's at home with Maya and their daughter tonight. And, I can almost guarantee that Finn and Raven will make an appearance, but there's enough people around that there won't be any fireworks there. A bunch of my friends from undergrad are in town, so we're meeting at my apartment to pregame at eight."

"Sounds like a party that I'd actually enjoy." Octavia hesitated. "Lincoln's welcome…" Clarke sighed, hearing the unspoken question in the younger Blake's voice.

"If Bellamy chooses to show up, I would not turn him away, but the ball is in his court. I've texted and called him everyday since Christmas, and he's ignored me. I'm done making an effort."

"Right." Octavia paused. "Lincoln and I will meet you at your apartment tonight. See you then?"

"Perfect! Bye, Octavia."

Clarke stared at her phone before deciding to text Bellamy for the last time. She sent him three long-winded texts about their current situation and personally inviting him instead of letting the invite come from Octavia.

To: Bellamy Blake

3:43 PM

Okay, here's the deal, Bellamy. I'm sick and tired of trying to call you, text you, talk to you. You need to decide what the hell is going on in your head and let me know. If you want to end this fake relationship, then fine. You just need to be honest and tell me the truth.

To: Bellamy Blake

3:44 PM

I know that you were standing right next to Octavia as we were talking. I invited her and Lincoln out with my friends at Spacewalk tonight. I told her that I wouldn't turn you away if you were to show u, but I figured that I needed to talk to you in person. I'm pissed and hurt that you've been ignoring me, but I wouldn't hate it if you were to come tonight.

To: Bellamy Blake

3:45 PM

So here is the deal. I'm meeting most people at my apartment tonight at 8. We'll stick around my place until probably about 9 and then head to the club. You can come to my apartment or meet us at the club if you would like to come. Talk to you later ?

Clarke shoved her phone into her purse. Time to make herself look pretty for that night. She had no idea if he was going to come over or not, but she did all that she could to fix everything going on. The ball was in his court, as the saying goes.

Chapter Text

"Fuck, this is boring." Bellamy glanced up from the beer bottle in his hands, stilling the index finger of his left hand where it had been picking at the label, looking to John Murphy, his friend since the first  Grounders  movie, who played Gage's nemesis. Murphy was sipping his own beer, and there was some movie on Bellamy's giant flatscreen television in his media room. He hadn't been paying attention to the movie, or Murphy, too caught up in his own thoughts.

"What?" He said lamely, raising the bottle to his lips to take a swig.

"I'm bored. You're over their moping like a gay ass bitch, and I'm fucking bored. When you invited me over tonight, I thought that you were going to throw a party, and your sister was going to drag a bunch of her slutty, model friends here, and I was going to get drunk and laid. Then, you handed me a beer and steered me to your fucking media room to watch some bullshit movie? This is the worst New Year's Eve, and I'm out."

"You know, you shouldn't call someone gay when you mean stupid or lame." Bellamy said with a sigh, returning his focus to picking at the beer label. "If you want to leave, then leave."

"God, you're acting like such a baby. What's got your panties in a twist, Blake? DId you and your girlfriend break up or something? Do you want to cry on my shoulder like some girl?"

"Fuck off, Murphy." He stopped picking at the label and tightened his hand into a fist. Murphy scoffed, pulling his phone from his pocket. He tapped at it, using only his thumb, before turning his hand to show off a Twitter feed.

"Your little girlfriend is partying it up at Spacewalk right now with your fucking sister, and you're here, crying into your beer bottle." Bellamy tensed his jaw, not looking over at Murphy's phone, despite a deep desire to do so. "I can't believe you have a girlfriend. I can't believe you're here moping after a fight or a breakup or whatever the fuck this is, rather than going out and getting balls-deep in some floozy. That's what the real Bellamy would be doing right now. Call me when you're back to being him." Murphy stood up, leaving a half-drunk beer on the coffee table. He shoved his phone into his pocket before slipping out of the room.

Bellamy sighed, discarding his own beer to lean back into the couch, running his fingers through his unkempt, overgrown hair. He left his hands tangled in it, resting his palms on the top of his head, staring unseeingly at the television screen. He heard the sound of a car door slamming, an engine revving, and then the squeal of tires as Murphy drove away from his house. Bellamy swore under his breath, pulling his hands from his hair. He dug one hand into his pocket, pulling out his phone. He was a weak, weak man. He clicked on his Twitter app.

Before the whole date contest and his fake relationship with Clarke began, he'd only followed a few people and 'things.' He followed Marcus Kane (MRMarcusKane) and Octavia, for the obvious reasons. He also followed THE_GROUNDERS, which was the official twitter for all of the Grounders films. He followed the official Twitter pages for all of the other movies he'd starred in. He followed Murphy, because the two of them hit it off during the filming of the first movie, since they both were sarcastic assholes with chips on their shoulders. He followed the official twitter for History Channel. That was it. That was all he followed. He followed less than ten people and things on Twitter. It was only recently that he began to follow Lincoln on Twitter, since he and Octavia were dating.

Then, the date contest happened, and he started fake-dating Clarke. So, he began following her. And Kate. And Wells. Then, there was Clarke's professional Twitter: CEG_art. Then, there was the Spacewalk official Twitter: SpacewalkCLUB. And, he couldn't follow the club's Twitter without following the Twitters of the owners (and Clarke's friends): J_Goggles_J and MrGREEN. And, since he followed Jasper Jordan, he had to follow Jasper's wife, Maya: MrsMayaJordan. And, then there was Nathan Miller (MillerNATION) and Harper Daniels (HaRpEr218). Finally, he was following Haley Fox (FoxyHayley), because she was now dating Monty and had been added to the fold of Clarke's friends almost immediately. Suffice to say, his feed was now full, because Jasper and Monty had a tendency to tweet about fifty things an hour. He'd always thought Octavia was a little nuts when it came to tweeting, but she had nothing on the club co-owners.

When he opened his Twitter, his feed was overrun with a shit ton of New Years Eve tweets from Octavia, Lincoln, Kate, Wells, Monty, Miller, Harper, and Hayley. He started scrolling through his feed, seeing that everyone was retweeting each other's tweets. He finally found himself at the start of the night.

KTWebber: Gettin ready wif my gurl clarkEgrif #HappyNewYearsEve

Kate had tweeted a picture of Clarke in a bright blue dress, leaning over her kitchen sink with a mascara wand in her hand, her mouth in a perfect "O" shape as she painted the wand over her lashes. Kate's back was facing the mirror and her friend, and she had her lips pursed in the classic 'duck-face' look as she held up a peace sign for her phone.

Things had built from there. Kate, Wells, and Clarke had retweeted some girl's tweet.

ThaliaSamson: 3Delta Reunion clarkeEgrif ThingOneLM ThingTwoLG #newyearseve #deltadeltadelta #sisters4life

The Thalia chick had tweeted a picture of a brunette, two blondes, and Clarke; based on her profile pic, Thalia was the brunette. Bellamy was surprised that Clarke had been a sorority girl, but, then again, there was still a lot that he didn't know about her, and she'd been defying most of his assumptions of her since the day she walked back into his life.

As the night went on, there were a lot of tweeted pictures of various combinations of the group dancing, drinking, and laughing at both Clarke's apartment, in cars, and at Spacewalk. Bellamy couldn't help but notice that Clarke's smile didn't exactly meet her eyes. He could also tell that everyone she was hanging out with were a part of a couple, except for her.

While he was avoiding his own confusion and mixed feelings about willingly calling himself her boyfriend in front of her mother, he'd wound up avoiding her. That, in turn, pissed off Octavia. She just didn't get it. It felt so weird when the word boyfriend slipped through his lips, almost as if his mouth wasn't connected to his brain. He hadn't been anyone's boyfriend since he had been a lovesick teenager. Hell, he hadn't been exclusive with a girl since he was twenty years old. Now, he had claimed that he was the boyfriend of the stuck up princess that he loved to hate in high school. Except, she wasn't exactly stuck up, but that was besides the point.

Not only had he called himself her boyfriend, but he'd also met her mother. He'd met her mother's boyfriend. He met Wells' dad, who was essentially her uncle. He'd willingly gone to her mother's boyfriend's vacation home, met her family, called himself her boyfriend, and given her an expensive piece of jewelry. He'd been stupid to give her the necklace, because it was decidedly too inappropriate for a fake dating relationship, he'd realized after fact. Now, he was freaking out. He didn't want her to think that it meant anything more than...well, fuck, he didn't even know what he wanted it to mean. He just figured that boyfriends got their girlfriends jewelry for holidays, and he went with it. Now, he was regretting it. He wasn't even letting himself think about the kiss.

Bellamy sighed, exiting Twitter. He had alerts indicating that he had text messages, and he knew they were all from Octavia, who was chewing him out for standing up Clarke. He felt like shit for doing it, but he needed to get his head on straight before he could see her again. His phone buzzed in his hand, indicating a new text had come in from Octavia. His eyes traced over the time at the top of phone. It read 9:58 pm. He cursed. He should be there for Clarke. He shouldn't be acting like a scared kid over all of this. Plus, she asked him to come, so why the fuck was he being the douche who was ruining her night.

He stood up, sniffing his underarms momentarily to make sure he didn't smell, before grabbing the remote from the coffee table to turn of the television. He then grabbed the two unfinished beers to dump in the kitchen and grabbe his keys, where he'd left them on his counter when he grabbed the beers for himself and Murphy.

Spacewalk was crowded and loud, which was good any other time. Bellamy usually loved having scantily clad, beautiful women pressing up against him, begging for him to take pictures with him or to sign their cocktail napkins or skin, sending him flirty smiles and whispering the dirty things that they wanted to do with him. Tonight, though, he was dragging his feet, because even though he knew that he should've been here hours ago, he still couldn't make himself move more quickly now that he had actually arrived. He was beyond late. It was nearly eleven-thirty, because traffic had been more horrific than usual, with everyone rushing to last minute party locations before the clock struck midnight.

The valet, Sterling, he remembered, had driven off with his car, leaving him trapped outside of the packed building when he'd arrived. There was a long line of people waiting to get into the club, and it suddenly became clear to Bellamy that he might be trapped here with no way to leave until Sterling walked back from where he'd parked Bellamy's car. But, the bouncer, a guy that Bellamy didn't know (he knew that Miller was inside, partying with Clarke and their other friends-and Bellamy's sister and Lincoln), nodded and motioned Bellamy over with his hand. "You're on the list." The man, Graham, according to his nametag, cocked his head towards the door. "Go on in." His dark blonde hair was slicked back, and he had one of those smarmy appearances that rubbed Bellamy the wrong way. He nodded at the bouncer, slipping past him, ignoring the groans and shouts of protests from those waiting in line.

He had then slipped through the crowd, looking around for Octavia, Lincoln, Clarke-hell, any friendly face at this point. Then, his eyes finally found her. He hesitated, leaning his back against an empty space by the bar, a little ways down from where Lincoln was drinking and laughing with Miller, Monty, and a few men he didn't recognize. While his gaze was momentarily on Lincoln and company, he saw Monty's eyebrows rise from where he was standing behind the bar, a bottle of vodka in his hand and poised over a glass with ice in it. The Asian man narrowed his eyes before he set the bottle of vodka under the bar and slid the booze on the rocks toward one of them he and Lincoln were chatting with.

Bellamy's eyes slipped away from the men to go back to Clarke. She was in the middle of a group of women, gyrating to the thumping music, in a tangled line of boobs and legs in short dresses. She had Kate pressed against her stomach, and one of the blonde sorority sisters of hers-a tall, waif-like woman with extremely long hair-pressed against her back. Her eyes were closed, and one arm was raised in the air above her head, and the other was draped around Kate's waist as she danced. She was stunningly beautiful, and the dress hugged her curves in a way that left his mouth feeling dry.

"Here you go." He jumped, turning around to see Monty slide a beer bottle across the bar to him. "You're a real dick, you know that?" He nodded as he raised the bottle to his lips to take a pull. "You abandoned her all night and then show up just in time for the midnight kiss? Is this just a booty call, because that's fucked up. She's been hurt and alone all night."

"I know." Bellamy said, setting the bottle down on the bar again. "I know I'm a dick, but I'm here now, okay?" Monty crossed his arms and shook his head.

"You only care about yourself, huh?" He narrowed his eyes at Bellamy. "You hurt her, you die."

Bellamy watched as Monty turned on his heel and headed back over to where Lincoln, Miller, and the other men were laughing and talking. He licked his bottom lip, grabbing his beer before turning around and leaning his back against the bar again. He glanced up to find that Clarke had broken free from the center of the women and stepped away, fanning herself with a hand. She looked up and at the bar, her eyes immediately landing on him. Fuck. He moved his hand to set the beer down on the bartop once more, his eyes never leaving hers, almost as if she had trapped him within the laserbeam of those blue-green eyes of hers. He shoved his hands into his pockets, finally gaining control of his body, and he immediately dropped his gaze to his feet. He didn't see her approach, nor did he hear it either. Just as he gained the courage to lock eyes with her once more, he looked up to find her standing directly in front of him.

He pursed his lips, not sure what to say. Her eyes traced over him, and he glanced down at himself, wondering if there was something on his clothes, but he found nothing wrong with his light blue t-shirt and his gray-blue jeans. He felt the eyes of her friends on them as they stood in front of each other awkwardly.

"Hi," she said quietly. He pulled a hand from his pocket, taking a step towards her. He raised his hand to tuck a stray curl behind her ear, but he hesitated, letting his hand drop.

"Hey, Princess." His voice came out kind of garbled, and he coughed, clearing his throat, looking away from the intensity of her blue-green eyes, which seemed to be more blue tonight that ordinarily. He figured that it had to do with the blue of her dress bringing out the blue of her eyes. She narrowed her eyes at him, silently telling him that she was irritated with him, that they needed to talk, but the way her eyes darted to the side, he could tell that she was letting him know that now was not the time to have that conversation. She stepped forward, closing a little more distance between them. He nodded at her, lifting his hand once more to tuck the stray curl behind her ear. He left his fingers on her cheek, cupping it in his hand for a moment before sliding it down to cup her neck.

Bellamy could hear the flutter of Clarke's pulse beneath his hand. She took another step towards him, their bodies flush against each other, and he noticed that the height of her heels closed the four or five inch difference between their heights. She bit her bottom lip, her eyes locked with his. He sighed, slipping his hand to the back of her neck, which he squeezed lightly as he leaned forward to brush his lips against hers. Her hand rose to lay on his chest, pressing her lips more firmly to his before she pulled away. He let her pull away from him completely, causing his hand to fall, but she still left only a little space between their frames. "My friends think we're fighting." She said softly, and he had to strain just to make out the words.

"Aren't we?" She chewed on her bottom lip again, and he reached out, grabbing her hand to interlace their fingers together. "You look beautiful."

"Thank you." She said, releasing her bottom lip. "We need to talk." He didn't say anything, just nodded at her. There was nothing to say. He knew they needed to have a conversation, but their current setting wasn't the place to do it. "Not here. Not now." She looked away from him, and he squeezed her hand in his.

"Too many people. Too many eyes watching." He nodded his head in the direction of her friends, but they both knew that her friends weren't the only ones watching them. There were plenty of people around them, both fans and non-fans alike, who would love to make a quick buck over outing a Bellarke conversation.

"Right. We'll talk later." She said, finally looking back at him again.

"Did you get a ride here or did you drive?" He asked her.

"Drove with Wells and Kate. Why?"

"Obviously, I will be taking you home. Maybe we can talk then?" He coughed slightly. "Any chance I could steal you away sooner rather than later? Maybe after the clock strikes midnight?"

"I don't want to leave my friends. I have seen Thalia, Lilly, and Glass in person in a while."

"Clarke, we're talking later, and if you don't go home with me or have me drive you home, people are going to talk." She sniffed, looking away from him. "Even if we're not talking about it now, it still seems like we're fighting. You've been here most of the night alone. I just showed up, and we had an awkward staring contest before a super chaste kiss, and we're barely looking at each other. It's obvious that we're fighting. So, let's get a drink. Let's chat with your friends. Let's celebrate the ball dropping, and then we need to leave and figure shit out then."

Clarke let out a breath before nodding her head. "Let's go meet my friends, then." She grabbed Bellamy's hand and pulled him towards her group of friends. She smiled warmly at her friends, grinning when a blonde, who was very similar in appearance, passed her a martini. The blonde in question was dressed in a black dress with dark eye makeup and light pink lips. A tan Asian man, and if he had to guess, the man was likely Hawaiian, had his arm draped around the blonde's waist. Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed that the second they'd reached these people, Clarke lit up, her entire demeanor changing from the stiff, caution that she'd displayed with him to relaxed, joyful version of herself that he'd encountered during most of their more pleasant and fireworks-free hangouts. "Bell, let me introduce you to my friends." She pointed to the blonde and the Hawaiian man. "This is Lilly Mitchell, and her boyfriend, Kai Iona. Lilly has two L's in her name."

"It's nice to meet you, Kai and Lilly-with-two-L's," Bellamy said warmly, shaking both of their hands. He glanced between Lilly and Clarke. "You two look a lot alike."

"We get that a lot." Lilly chuckled, winking at Clarke. "You can call me just Lilly, though. There's a reason why Clarke introduces me that way, which you'll understand in a moment."

"Hi!" Lilly barely had enough time to speak before a pretty, mostly-drunk brunette, Thalia he remembered from the Twitter pictures, pushed between Lilly and Clarke, draping herself over Clarke's neck. Her speech was relatively slur-free. "I'm Thalia." She smiled broadly at him, confirming his guess. "Thalia Samson." She released Clarke's neck to extend a hand to him. "God, you're so pretty, up close and personal. Your family has some good fucking genes." Thalia whistled.

Bellamy laughed, shaking his head as he shook her hand. "That's definitely thanks to my mother." He smiled tightly at Octavia when she stepped between him and Clarke, wrapping an arm around his waist. "She was beautiful, right, O?"

"Yeah, she was." She stood on her toes to press a kiss to his cheek. She then presented him with a new beer, since he'd abandoned the one Monty had brought him earlier. "You'll need to start drinking to catch up with this lot. Clarke's friends can drink even the best men under the table, I've come to learn." He saluted, taking a pull from the bottle.

"This is Thalia's husband, Greg," Clarke said, pointing out to another guy with light brown hair and a pair of thick-rimmed black glasses. "Then, we have Zeke Kissinger and Glass. Well, her name is Lily, with one L, Glass, but we call her Glass." She pointed to the waif-like, tall blonde with blue eyes and the dark-skinned black man standing beside her. He extended his hands to both of them, and they all shook hands, saying their hellos.

"Glass, huh?" Bellamy said, smiling warmly at the slender blonde.

"Our parents are best friends, and when our moms were pregnant, they both decided to not find out what they were having. They also decided that they didn't want to plan for names until we were born and they saw us." Glass laughed, glancing over at Lilly, who shook her head with a huge smile on her face. "Our moms went into labor on the same day, September twenty-ninth."

"I was born at ten in the morning, and Glass was born at ten that night. Since our moms were a little busy with the whole childbirth process and everything, my mom didn't get to talk to her mom before she gave birth to tell what she'd named me. Suffice to say, when they finally caught up with each other the next day, it was a bit of a surprise." Lilly shook her head. "My parents named me Lilly, with two L's, Marie Mitchell."

"And, my parents named me Lily Maree, spelled with two E's, Glass." Glass sighed. "Our moms thought it was a riot." Bellamy grinned. He was sure their moms did get a kick out of them naming their daughters, who were born on the same day at the same time only twelve hours apart, the same names with only slight spelling differences. "People kept mixing us up, you know? Both of us had same names. Both of us were blonde. Both of us had light colored eyes. One day, I walked into school and insisted that everyone start calling me Glass. I even made my parents call me that whenever Lilly was around."

Clarke chuckled, passing her empty martini glass off to Monty, who refilled it. She wrapped an arm around Thalia, who pressed a noisy kiss to her cheek. Bellamy shook his head at the two of them. It was clear that they were well-versed in the story, because they both mouthed the words that came from Lilly's mouth when she began to speak.

"It was so funny, because our first class freshman year at Stanford-we were all in that class, remember? Sociology?" Lilly said, nodding towards Clarke, Thalia, and Wells. The three of them agreed. "Anyways, the professor was calling out attendance, and she called out Lily Glass, and Glass raises her hand and is like, 'I go by Glass.' The prof thought she was being a smart ass."

"She gave me this dirty look, and I had to explain everything to her. I said, 'my best friend and I have been been friends since the womb, because our mothers are best friends, and we grew up living right next door to each other. We have the same first and middle names with only slight spelling differences. We're roommates, and we've been in almost every class together since kindergarten,' and then I pointed to the right of me. I added, 'including this one.' So, she agreed to call me Glass."

"That's funny. So, that's how you all met?"

"Yeah, we met in that glass, and the rest is history, as they say." Thalia said, her chin still resting on Clarke's shoulder.

Even though her friends were polite, Bellamy could still feel the tension in the air. Monty, Miller, Harper, and her friends from Stanford and their significant others were all aware of the weirdness between him and her, as well as kind of wary of him, because he failed to show up on time to meet them and to be with her. In a normal, real, relationship, he was sure that the second he wasn't around, they'd all be telling her to dump him. And, maybe she should. This could be their out. This moment right here was perfect. The two of them had been dating in the public eye for over a month.

Bellamy hardly stuck with one girl longer than two weeks, tops. And, even if he was seeing a girl for two weeks, he was also seeing two others. No, he was exclusively with Clarke, and maybe now was the perfect time to end things. He's not the relationship type, and this brief, yet still pretty long term for him, romance could be his proof for the world that relationships were a joke and just not for him. He was destined to live the life of a bachelor.

Octavia slipped away from him, to go stand with Lincoln, since it was nearly midnight. He hadn't been there long, but the make-it-or-break-it moment was almost upon them. People would expect him to kiss her, but if they didn't. If he held back, if he physically stepped away from her, pulled his hands from her body, then maybe it would be clear to everyone that this thing was over. They could walk away. Monty and his girlfriend, Hayley, left the group, as well. Lilly and Glass were talking about their school and students, but he wasn't really listening. He was staring down at his beer bottle, feeling no true desire to drink. He would occasionally glance up, grunt out a mmhmm or something to that effect to signify that he was listening (he wasn't). He nearly jumped when he felt her hand slide into his, and he looked over at her. He couldn't read the expression on her face, and he was sure that he was staring back at her with an equally confusing expression, too. She opened her mouth to speak, but the music stopped in the club, and everyone called out their disappointment.

"Hey, guys! I hope you're all having fun, but we're gonna shut the music down for a second to tell you that we've reached the five minute mark! So, guys and gals grab a fella or a lady to swap some spit with when the clock strikes midnight. We're gonna put the music back on, but really low, okay? I'll let you know when we've reached the minute mark." Monty's voice boomed through the crowd.

Bellamy and Clarke were focused on each other, though. Both of them had their eyes locked, and they were communicated with quick movements of their eyes-eyes that were tracing over foreheads, nose slopes, and full lips. In what felt like only a few seconds, Monty's voice was back, announcing the one minute mark. A murmur of excitement started filling the club, as people grabbed and loved ones and strangers to kiss once the clock struck midnight. She stepped closer to him, her hand squeezing his, making him bite his lip and take a deep breath.

"Ten." Monty chanted, and the clubgoers followed suit, chanting "Nine." with him.

Suddenly, nine went to two and then one. Everyone began cheering, and people were kissing. Clarke let out a strangled, "Bellamy," and Bellamy couldn't stop himself from stepping towards her to close the distance between them. So much for walking away.

The kiss was pretty tame-tame in comparison to their makeout session on Christmas, or even their first especially passionate first kiss-but it was still more passionate that the careful brushes and quick pecks that they'd been engaging in over the last month. His hands tangled in the loose waves that fell down her back as he tilted her head back to change the angle of the kiss. Her hands were high on his sides, fingertips dipping slightly into the space between two ribs on either side of his ribcage. He wasn't sure how long they kissed, never deepening it to super passionate, make out territory, but not letting either one of them slow it down and pull back.

"Hey, guys." Octavia coughed, tapping his shoulder, and Bellamy reluctantly broke away from Clarke. He slid his hands from her hair, leaving them to rest on the tops of her shoulders, his thumbs absentmindedly brushing up and down the column of her throat. He glanced away from her, seeing out of the corner of his eye the way that she licked at her bottom lip, feeling the movement in her throat as she swallowed. He focused his attention on Octavia.

"Happy New Year, O." He said, pulling one hand from the blonde to pull his sister into a hug against his side. He pressed his lips to her cheek.

"Happy New Year, Bell." She smiled at him before turning her attention to Clarke. "Happy New Year, Clarke."

"Same to you, Octavia." Clarke blushed, pulling away from Bellamy's hand to pull his sister into a quick, but tight hug. She then turned her attention on her friends, making a big show of hugging and kissing all of them, exclaiming her hopes that they all have a wonderful New Year. Bellamy watched her, giving Lincoln a quick pat on the back and a gruff "Happy New Year, dude."

"You're screwed, you know that?" Octavia said under her breath as she interlaced her fingers with Lincoln. Bellamy glanced at her in confusion before looking to Lincoln for help. The tall ox of a man just smiled at him sympathetically before he pressed a kiss to the top of O's head.

"O, let him be." Lincoln said with a head shake.

"What's she going on about?" Bellamy asked, arms crossed.

"You're into her." Octavia said with a small smile. "I like it. I'm definitely team Bellarke. You can't go wrong with dating Clarke Griffin, Bell. She's beautiful, smart, sweet, and funny."

"I'm not into her."

"Yes, you are. It's okay to admit it."

"Shut the fuck up, Octavia! I'm not into her!" He said loudly and with enough force that a few random people looked their way. Shit. He could see the headlines now: Bellamy's cheating on Clarke? Who is this sidepiece he's claiming that he's "not into?"

"Hey, you okay?" Clarke said, giving the three of them a nervous look.

"Can we get out of here?" Bellamy said suddenly, looking at her with a tensed jaw. They needed to figure their shit out, and he needed to get out of the club where so many people were watching and waiting for him to slip up. It was like being in shark infested waters, and he somehow pricked his finger. He was keeping his hand high above water, but the blood was slowly dripping its way down his wrist and arm, getting too damn close to the choppy waters.

"Not so fast, loverboy." The two of them turned, facing Clarke's sorority sisters, who were staring at him with not-so-friendly looks and crossed arms. It was Lilly who had spoken. Wait...Lilly was the short one that looked like Clarke, right? He combed back through his memory before nodding his head slightly, confirming his guess. Yes, she was Lilly. The other tall blonde was Glass (well, technically, she was Lily, too, but whatever).

"Lill," Clarke said, but the three of them shot her a look and shook their heads.

"Nope, Clarkey. He bailed on you all night, showed up at the last minute, and now he expects you to just run off with him after a little tet-a-tet with his sister? Hell, no." Thalia said, shaking her head.

"Yeah, Clarke. We gotta make sure that he's a good guy." Glass gave her a sympathetic smile, which became tense when her gaze transferred to Bellamy once more. He sighed, getting a huge migraine. He raised his hand to rub at his forehead, and he felt Clarke lay a sympathetic hand on his back.

"Guys, he's a good guy. Really. I feel one hundred percent safe and happy with him. We just had a weird day, and now we're going to go talk."

"Except you're not." Glass said with a sigh and a shake of her head. "We know you, Clarkey. You don't talk about the deep stuff with the people you date until it's almost the end, and then you brush off their inability to communicate as being an indicator all along that the relationship is doomed." Clarke's brow furrowed, and she tensed beside him.

"Tell me how you really feel, Glass."

"Hey, wait a second." Bellamy intervened before Clarke had a big blow up with three of the most important people in her life. "I have an idea. Why don't we take this party back to my place? I've got good food, good booze, a giant flat screen in my media room, and a heated pool. You guys can do the whole interrogation thing, make sure I've got nothing but the best intentions for Clarke, and Clarke and I can talk. Deal?"

"The couches in the media room are super comfortable. I would know. I picked them out." Octavia piped in. "Plus, the pool is awesome, and I have a ton of bathing suits that I leave there for you three to borrow, if you want?"

"Fine." Thalia said, nodding her head. "We'll go to your place."

"But, only because we really want to be able to post all over Twitter that we were at Bellamy Blake's house." Lilly joked. The group of them gave a tense laugh.


Chapter Text

Clarke had driven to Bellamy's with him, Kate, Wells, Lilly, and Kai. She sat in the front seat of his SUV, staring out of the window, watching the city pass by in a blur. Her eyes widened when he pulled into a driveway, reaching out of his car to press a couple of buttons that caused the big, wrought iron fence blocking their path up the driveway to open. He drove through the opening, and the gates stayed open long enough to let Lincoln's car, which also transported Octavia, Thalia, Greg, Glass, and Zeke. Since they had pregamed at Clarke's apartment, they'd rented a couple of Uber cars to take them to Spacewalk  earlier in the night, and they'd planned on getting Ubers to take them to their respective apartments (or hotel, for the visiting Stanford folk). It was only Clarke's best friends who were coming back to Bellamy's, because Harper and Miller decided that they were going to keep Hayley company at  Spacewalk, since Monty was working the club until closing. There had been no sign of Finn and Raven, luckily, while they were still there, and Clarke hoped that the couple had just opted for a quiet evening at home in their apartment or with their friends.

Bellamy and Lincoln parked the two SUVs, and they climbed out, pausing to study the giant house standing before them. This was definitely a step up from his life back home in D.C. She glanced over at him, and he scratched the back of his neck, wincing when her friends exclaimed at the size and beauty of it. Even though he had money now, he was still uncomfortable with him. She gave him a sympathetic smile, reaching her hand out to smooth an unkempt lock from where it dangled over his forehead. He glanced at her in surprise, and she blushed looking away. She felt him step closer, and he laid a hand on her lower back. "Clarke," he began, but he didn't get to finish, because Thalia came running over.

"Let's go, Blake. You promised me food, booze, and a heated pool. And the freedom to interrogate you! Let's get to it!" Bellamy bowed his head at her, giving her a charming smile. Clarke shook her head. He was ever the charmer. She squirmed, when he pulled her close to his side, guiding her with him as he led the way to his front door, unlocking it and allowing them all to step through. The oohs and ahhs only continued.

"Let me give you a tour," he said, glancing over her head to look at her friends.

"How about you make the food, and Clarke gives us the tour?" Lilly said, glancing around the front entryway of Bellamy's house.

"Um." He cleared his throat, looking down at Clarke, and it was clear he wasn't sure what to say.

"Actually, I've never seen Bell's place." She said as nonchalantly as she could.

"You haven't been to your boyfriend of one month's house." Greg said in surprise. Of her three sorority sisters' significant others, Greg knew her the best, because he'd been in their group of friends since the beginning, the start of freshman year. While Clarke and the rest of them had gotten to know Kai during the spring semester of their junior year, when Lilly began dating him, she was not as close to him as she was Greg. She hardly knew Zeke at all, due to his being a co-worker of Kai's in Austin. Their involvement was strictly via social media, Skype sessions, and phone calls. She nodded her head at Greg.

"It's not that big of a deal, guys. We've only been together for a month, and it's just easier to go to mine than to come here. He's usually the one picking me up and dropping me off for dates."

"And I come to your's to provide you with vegan food. I don't know why you're not eight hundred pounds, considering the amount of food that you consume when I bring it to you." Clarke elbowed Bellamy in the gut, smiling at the slight woosh of air and a quiet grunt that slipped from his lips.

"Hey, I make you food when you come over, too." She pouted, and he rolled his eyes at her, a small smile on his face.

"Yeah, I know." His gaze lifted from hers to settle on Greg's once more. "It's easier for us to hang out at her place than it is to come to mine, because the paparazzi stalk my house constantly. There's not as much street parking available around Clarke's, and the security guards and her crazy neighbors get really pissed when the paps sit outside of the building, so they threaten to call the cops until the assholes leave. It's just easier to go to hers." He shrugged.

"Well, I can do the tour, and you can get started on the food, yeah?" Octavia smiled at Clarke's friends. "C'mon. We'll save the kitchen for the last of the tour." She waved her hand at the group, and they all started to follow her out of the entry way. Clarke held back, though, opting to keep Bellamy company instead. She hoped that they'd be able to talk while they made up some food for her drunk friends.

"You coming, Clarke?" Glass asked her when she realized that Clarke wasn't following.

Clarke bit her lip, shaking her head. "I'll get the tour later. I'm going to help Bellamy." Glass looked between her and Bellamy before nodding her head. The tall blonde followed the rest of the crew out of the entryway. "So, I doubt you have that much vegan-friendly food, but I'm sure--"

"I do." She looked up at him in surprise. "I do have vegan food." He scrunched his nose slightly, looking down at his feet. "I even found a recipe for vegan mac and cheese that I had planned on making and bringing to your place for our Christmas dinner, but...uh...yeah." She stared at him in shock, not knowing what to say. "Plus, those veggie burgers that you made before-they weren't that bad. I remember how you made them, so I bought the ingredients to make them. Plus, that almond milk that you drink isn't so bad, and...I dunno. I'm not going to go vegan or anything, but it's not all bad. And, I figured that you'd show up here at some point, so I should probably keep some stuff on hand." She grinned at him.

"You were going to make me homemade vegan mac and cheese?" She stepped forward, wrapping her arms around his waist. "That's so sweet." She chuckled at the uncomfortable look on his face. "I'm so mad at you for bailing on me that night." She said suddenly, surprising him. He had the decency to look upset over his behavior, thinking that she was going to dive right into their 'talk.' That wasn't what she was doing, though. She winced internally when she realized that she was putting off that conversation, just as Glass had said she was likely to do. Right now, she had every intention of yelling at him for ruining her Vine idea. "I had the cutest Vine planned out for us to do." She pouted.

Bellamy laughed, and he shook his head at Clarke. "You're ridiculous." He said, leading her in the direction of his kitchen. She sighed in pleasure when they arrived in the spacious room, everything either bright green, black, or white. He dropped his keys on the counter, digging his phone out of his pocket. "Here's the recipe," he said, passing his phone off to her after looking it over for a moment. She glanced down at the phone, intrigued. "So, tell me about this super cute Vine." He said, glancing over his shoulder as he gathered the ingredients and all of the items needed to prepare the mac and cheese. He set everything up on the giant island he had in the center of the kitchen, using it as a prep station.

Her eyes were tracing over the recipe, and she couldn't help but think that the mac and cheese was going to taste pretty damn good, if the pictures had any indication. She looked up when he cleared his throat, prompting her to tell him about the Vine. She grinned when she thought about it again. She dropped onto a stool across from him, resting her chin in a single hand. "Well, I had purchased you a Santa hat, and I had also gotten a reindeer antler headband. I was planning on singing along to a certain verse of You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch." He chuckled, shaking his head as he began boiling two pots of water.

"That does sound cute." He said sarcastically. "Which verse?" He asked as he began chopping vegetables.

"You're a monster, Mr. Grinch / your heart's an empty hole! / your brain is full of spiders / you've got garlic in your soul, Mr. Grinch / I wouldn't touch you with a thirty-nine-and-a-half foot pole!" She recited dramatically, not singing the song, but mostly saying it loudly in the rhythm of the song.

"Ugh, you're annoying." He shook his head, pointing the knife at her momentarily. "I'm sure you'd have worn some cheesy smile on your face, bouncing around as you flirted with the camera. You'd insist that I'd play the part of the Grinch by pouting and sighing and rolling my eyes. Right?"

"You think I flirt with the camera?" She asked him, amused. She didn't deny the rest of it. He was the perfect Grinch, because he was such a grump all of the time. Well, when he wasn't making sex jokes and being kind of adorable. Not that she thought he was adorable or anything...

"Oh, I know you flirt with the cameras...and just about everything that moves." He said with an eyeroll and a chuckle. "You're a massive flirt, Miss Griffin. You do it on purpose, I'm sure of it."

She gasped as if she took offense to his insinuation. "Are you calling me a tease, Mr. Blake?"

"Yes, I am." She blushed at the look he was giving her, and she looked down. They were quiet for a few moments, with nothing but the sound of vegetables being chopped. She playfully grabbed a carrot piece that he chopped, and he batted at her hand with the hand that was sans knife. "Stop. I need that to make the mac and cheese." She grinned at how serious he looked.

"So, you're making me dinner." Clarke bit her bottom lip. "How very domestic and boyfriendy of you..."

"Boyfriendy? Really? What are you? Thirteen?" Bellamy said with a scoff and an eye roll as he finished with the vegetables and placed them in one of the pots of boiling water, along with the pasta in the other. She heard the way his voice hitched though, and it was clear that he was uncomfortable, but he was playing it off like a joke, like it was no big deal.

"I'm actually fifteen. Duh!" She said sticking her tongue out at him. She let out a breath, though, deciding to try again. Things were still awkward between them, despite their ability to slip back into their typical joking banter. "It would've been nice, though, if you had come over that night with the homemade food." She traced her finger along the countertop, not daring to look at him, where he was leaning against the counter beside the stove. "I would have really liked it. Even if it sucked." She chuckled quietly. "There's nothing like mac and cheese and a good bottle of bourbon."

"Yeah, and even though the Vine would have been terrible, I'm sure the rest of the night would've been salvageable." She rolled her eyes, finally looking up at him.

"The Vine would have made the night perfect." She said with a mock glare. "I didn't actually drink your Christmas present…it's still got the ribbon and everything. I hid it in my wardrobe before everyone came over earlier this evening, so that it didn't get consumed by those drunks." She jerked her thumb over her shoulder, a gesture to indicate her friends. "It's there, with the watch, in my wardrobe." She dropped her gaze to the countertop of the island.

"Well, here's hoping they didn't disappear into Narnia, because then we'll never get it back." He joked, making her laugh. They were talking about that night without actually talking about what was going on. She could feel the tension in the room. Both of them wanted to say something, but they were too scared to make a move. She wasn't sure what she was scared of, though. If he wanted this to end, then all he had to do was say it. It wouldn't be a big deal. (She didn't like to think about the way her stomach twisted in an altogether unpleasant way at the idea that he was going to end their fake relationship.) "Clarke," he began, and her head flew up to meet his eyes. He opened his mouth to talk again, but the tour of Bellamy's house had made its way to the final destination: the kitchen.

"And, last but not least, we have the kitchen. Where neither Bellamy nor Clarke are preparing anything to eat." Octavia shook her head. "Rude."

"Hey, I'm making vegan mac and cheese right now." Bellamy waved at the pots on his stove. "I also have some chicken wings in the freezer that I could make into barbecue wings or hot wings. Or, I could just do sauces to dip them in." He said, moving away from the counter to make his way over to the freezer. "And, I also have cauliflower florets, Clarke, and I saw a recipe to make hot cauliflower bites that are supposed to be a similar concept to hot wings…"

"That sounds great. Thanks, Bell." Clarke smiled at him. She felt Kate's eyes on her, and she glanced over at her friend. The redhead cocked an eyebrow at her.

"Well, anyways...I've got bathing suits upstairs in my room." Octavia said, and Lilly glanced at her.

"You have a room in your brother's house?" She asked in surprise.

"Yeah. He's got five bedrooms in this place. Before Lincoln and I started dating, I spent about half of my time here, and half of my time at my apartment. Now, I spend about three-quarters of my time split evenly between here and Lincoln's place, and the last quarter at my apartment."

"Well, if things keep going well between you and Lincoln or between Clarke and Bellamy, you're not really going to need to spend as much time here, am I right?" Lilly held up a hand to Octavia to high-five. Clarke's eyes widened, and she knew she turned bright red. Octavia just smirked at Bellamy and her before slapping her hand against Lilly's.

"I'm thinking that it'll probably be because of Lincoln and me more so than Bellamy and Clarke." She said, wincing slightly at the way it sounded. "I just mean, because Lincoln and I have been together for six months, so…" She said quickly, before trailing off. She looked at Lincoln hesitantly, who was fighting to keep a smirk off of his face. "Not that I'm saying that we'll move in together any time soon, because it's, like, way too soon for that, but…shit. I gotta stop talking."

"Celebrities...they're just like us." Glass fake-whispered to Thalia, but she really spoke at a normal volume, not even pretending to keep anyone else from hearing her. "They put their foots in their mouths just like us normal people." Everyone chuckled, and Octavia looked relieved.

"Right, so the bathing suits. I should have something that will fit everyone, so if you all want to come upstairs…and the guys could borrow some of Bell's?" She looked to her brother, and he nodded his approval. "Clarke? You coming?"

Clarke looked from Bellamy to Octavia. She shook her head. "I'm not really feeling like swimming right now." Octavia nodded her head. Everyone disappeared again, and she glanced over at him. "How can I help?"

An hour later, Clarke was seated on one of the lounge chairs, watching as her friends splashed around Bellamy's pool with Octavia and Lincoln. She had a small stack of printer paper in her lap and a sharpened pencil in her hand. She had kicked her nude heels off, leaving them beside her on the ground, and she poised the pencil over the paper, smiling as she watched Wells splash Kate in the face, and the redhead sputtered before diving on him. She quickly sketched the scene, before her.

A slight breeze blew around the backyard, and she shivered slightly, wearing nothing but her dress. Even if Los Angeles had mild weather, it was still too cold to be wearing nothing but a small dress in the middle of the night. The warmth from good food and alcohol had left her body, and now she felt the chill of the night. "Hey," Bellamy's voice made her jump, and he smiled sheepishly as he sat down on the chair beside her. "Can I see?" She moved her hand, showing him the sketch. He smiled, chewing on his bottom lip. "It looks good." He glanced at her friends.

"When do you think they'll give you that interrogation?" She asked him, flexing her toes.

"Soon, I'm sure. The fun will be wearing off, and they'll want to know just what my intentions are with you." He ran a hand through his hair. "I'm not looking forward to that."

"Oh, they might ask you about your intentions, but it's really just a list of embarrassingly personal questions about your sex life." She said laugh. "Nothing to be too worried about."

"Of course not," he joked, rolling his eyes. "No, honestly, what I'm not looking forward to is lying to your friends." He sniffed, looking away from her.

"What are you talking about? We've been lying to the whole world for over a month now." She stopped sketching everyone in the pool, setting the paper and pencil down on the ground near her shoes. She then turned to face him.

"But, this is different, Clarke. These are your best friends! I'm forcing you to lie to your friends and your family, and it's just...fuck!" He dropped his face into his hands. He cursed loudly enough to get everyone to look their way, and she blushed, looking away from them.

"Bellamy, maybe we should talk about this somewhere else." She said quietly.

"Right, yeah, let's go inside. Shit, you've got goosebumps. You're cold? Why didn't you tell me?" He stood up, holding a hand out to her. She took his hand, allowing him to pull her up. He pulled her by the hand into the house. He led her up the steps and down a few hallways, and she was brought face to face with his bedroom...and the stunning view that it had of the city. Most of the walls were made of glass, except the wall that his bed leaned against.

"Holy shit, Bellamy." She said in surprise, walking over to the glass, staring at the stunning view. "I'd be so scared to walk around this place naked." She said with a shake of her head. "Like, you're a celebrity. Don't crazy paparazzi hide in trees and take pictures with those long as fuck cameras or whatever." She heard his muffled chuckle. She faintly heard the sound of drawers sliding open, but her focus was solely on the view before her. "Forget having sex in this place. I don't know how you do it. I don't know how the girls you fuck do it. I might like spontaneity and stuff, but I'm not an exhibitionist."

Clarke jumped when she felt Bellamy's hands on her waist. "To be honest, you're the first woman who's ever been inside my bedroom, aside from O. And, I guess your friends tonight, if Octavia showed them my room on the tour." His breath ruffled the hair by her ear. She turned her head to study his profile. His jaw tensed slightly. "I've never brought a girl I've dated or fucked around with here. This place is sanctuary or whatever. It's my home, and I don't know...I don't really share it with too many people."

"But, you brought me willingly let my friends come here to harass you over our relationship...our fake relationship." She turned to face him, leaning against the glass slightly. "Why?"

"I dunno." He backed away from her, pointing a hand at the bed, where he had a pile of clothes waiting. "You can change into that. You should be warmer."

"I will change when I'm ready to change, but I think you owe me an explanation. What the hell is going on with you? What the hell was that outside? Why are you freaking out about lying to my friends and family all of a sudden? Why did you freak out and not talk to me for a week?"

"Because I'm not a fucking liar, Clarke! I'm not this guy!" He waved his hand at himself, raising his voice loudly enough to make her jump. They'd fought since embarking on their fake relationship-God knows, they've fought a lot-but not since before their first date had he really raised his voice at her like this. "This isn't me!"

"Oh, I don't know! Angry, yelling guy seems pretty familiar to me. Remember who you're talking to, Bell! Or, rather, who you're yelling at! Frankly, this guy is the one I'm most familiar with." She shot back, crossing her arms. He scoffed, shaking his head at her.

"Right, and you're little miss perfect. I forgot about that! Everyone fucking loved Clarke Griffin, the perfect princess. The star of our high school!"

"Don't start with that again! I think we both know that I was never the girl you liked to pretend I was!" She marched over to him, poking him hard in the chest. "You didn't know me then, Bellamy." She stopped herself from saying that he didn't know her now, because that wasn't exactly true. They'd really gotten to know each other, and it became glaringly obvious as time went on that they were very similar people, who just had different approaches to life (most of the time).

"Whatever, Clarke." He threw his hands up in the air and turned her back on her. "I'm out of here."

"Right, perfect! Run away." She snapped, and he stopped heading to the door only to turn around and march over to her once more. It was like they were teenagers again, getting into each other's faces, yelling about nothing, fighting over the stupidest shit, taking their anger and frustration out on the other rather than just dealing with what was going on. She suddenly sobered up, stepping away from him.

This was just another example of how much they were alike. They used yelling and fighting to distract from what they were really feeling. She'd always hated him, but now she realized it was because she hated the parts of herself that she recognized in him. She felt the tears burn in her eyes, but she didn't want to fight and cry. She just wanted to know what the hell was going on.

"Don't tell me I run away, Princess. I could say the same for you. You ran away to Stanford. You ran away to L.A. You ran away from your shit with Finn, instead of shutting it down completely. You run away from your relationship with your mom. You run away from a hell of a lot of shit, so don't pretend like you're better than me!" He was still fighting. He was still caught up in their usual dance, and she didn't want to do it anymore, even though every instinct was telling her to fight back, to sooth her hurts by hurting him. She was tired of the usual bullshit. She swallowed, walking over to sit down on the edge of his bed.

"Do you want to end this, Bellamy?" Clarke asked, staring at the floor. "All you have to do is say the words, and I will walk downstairs and tell my friends that we have to go, and we'll call cabs and get the fuck out of here. You won't have to worry about lying anymore. Just say what you want." He didn't say anything, and she sat there, not daring to look at him, waiting. She began to get pissed again. "What do you want, Bellamy?" He shook his head, and she stood up, getting in his face again. "What. do. you. want?"

"I don't know!" He yelled back. She flinched, because she was so close to him. He squeezed his hands into fists.

"How do you not know, Bellamy?"

"Because this is my career we're talking about, Clarke! This is my career! I can't be so cavalier about this, because this is my career we're talking about. I just...fuck, Clarke!" He dropped onto his bed, burying his face into his hands.

Clarke watched Bellamy, waiting for him to speak again. She moved to sit beside him on the bed, rubbing her toe across the wooden floor. She tucked a her hair behind her ear, trying to even out her breathing again. She heard him shift beside her, felt the bed move with his body, and she saw that he was now hunched over, resting his forearms on his knees, his hands clasped, and he was staring at the floor. "Bellamy?"

"I've spent my whole life fighting, Clarke. I didn't have the life you had. My life wasn't good or perfect. My mom fucked guys for money to keep a roof over heads and food on the table. I worked three jobs after she died to make sure that I could afford to care for Octavia. I almost didn't get custody of her, because I was so young and fucking poor. It was just because I'd been working at the WaWa since I was fourteen, and that I'd been working their full-time since I graduated from high school, I had a second part-time job, and said that I was already in the process of getting another part-time job at a bar on Friday and Saturday nights that they'd let me have her. They were really worried about the fact that she was a sixteen year old kid, being alone every Friday and Saturday night, but she ran track, played basketball and softball, and she was on the dance team-so her weekends were pretty much filled with meets and games and competitions anyways. I was twenty-one years old, and I almost lost my baby sister to the system, because I didn't go to college, and I was barely making ends meet.

"When my mom was still alive, and we still lived in a two-bedroom apartment, I'd sit in O's room, hold her and tell her stories about Greek and Roman heroes and Gods, or epic wars led by famous leaders, or explorers who discovered uncharted parts of the world." He didn't look at her as he spoke, and she barely dared to breathe, because she was sure that everything he was telling her was things that he didn't say to anyone. She figured that only Octavia knew what he was talking about. "I did everything I could to protect her, to keep her from hearing what Mom was doing in the other room. Fuck, half of those stories I would tell the kids at school about me getting in fights with random guys on the street were lies were really because I got into fights with grown men when they got rough with my mom or tried to move in on my baby sister." He choked on his words, and she reached out to lay her hand on his shoulder. He tensed slightly before relaxing under her touch.

"I've spent my whole life fighting, and I can't stop it. I can't stop being so fucking scared that I'm going to wake up one day, and I'll no longer be relevant in this town, and I'll lose all of this." He waved his hand at the view before him. "I have more money than I ever could've dreamed of as a kid, and I'm still scared that it's all going to just disappear one day. That's why I agreed to this scheme. It was just one more way I could fight."

"Bellamy, you're an amazing actor, and you're amazing in every role you play. You don't have to keep fighting. Plus, you're gorgeous, and people all over the world fantasize about being in a relationship with you. They want you in films, and if Hugh Jackman's career has anything to say about it, you can still look like a beast and do super active roles in your forties and fifties. You'll be fine." She shifted closer to him. He didn't say anything, but he let her rest her arm around his shoulders.

"I thought you hated my films?" He said after a little while, glancing over his shoulder at her. His face was blank, but the corners of his lips were twitching slightly. She sighed, pulling her arm away from him. She shrugged her shoulder casually, looking away.

"I may or may not have actually watched every one of your films after I agreed to this whole fake relationship thing, and I may or may not have actually enjoyed them, despite the fact that they are completely archaic in their depiction of women. Like, where are the strong, independent women that don't need a goddamn man to save them? It's so completely ridiculous that in this day and age, women are still shown to be weak and incapable of taking care of themselves. Fuck that noise. Look at The Hunger Games or the Divergent series. They have strong, powerful women, and that Crystal chick is running around in torn clothing, being kidnapped and almost raped before in comes Gage, saving the day. Fuck that. Suddenly, she's incapable of punching someone, when she spent a good portion of the first movie punching Gage in the face? Oh, and she also carries a knife in her boot, but did she have that on her when she got kidnapped? Nope!" She was waving her hands around as she talked. He grabbed her hand, interlacing their fingers, and she glanced over at him, blushing. "I was ranting, right?"

"Yes, but all I heard was the fact that you finally watched my movies and realized that I'm actually a good actor." She stuck her tongue out at him, but she was smiling. They were quiet for a few moments, just holding hands and looking out at the view of the city before them.

"I didn't know that you had to grow up the way that you did. I'm sorry that you had to go through all of that. I understand why you'd constantly feel like you have to fight and prove yourself as not being weak or bad or dirty or a monster or whatever it is that you think how you grew up makes you." Clarke said after a little while. She spoke quietly and slowly, and Bellamy squeezed her hand in response when she paused. "Is this why you're feeling so burnt out?"

He looked over at her, and the confusion was evident in his expression, if his furrowed brow and slightly pursed lips were to be trusted. "What do you mean?"

"We never got around to finish our conversation about your acting a few weeks back. We played it off like I was too tipsy, and you were too distracted by me changing." She blushed, looking away, pulling herself completely from his grasp, but he just chuckled lowly, reaching for her again. "We never talked about it again, but as I said then, you're burnt out over the action-packed films, because you get bored whenever you have time off between them. You're so used to fighting and moving that it's hard for your to stay still."

"I guess. I mean, Kane keeps telling me that I can be more selective about the roles I take, and that I can take more and more time between them…"

"But the idea of taking lengthy amounts of time off is killing you, because you need something to do, you need something to focus your energy on." Clarke finished for Bellamy, and he nodded in response. "Well, I think you should branch out."

"Branch out? What should I do? Should I do those chick flick movies or something? Should I be one of those pussy-whipped characters who spout ridiculous lines like 'you complete me,' while the female heroine stares at me with tears in her eyes and responds with an equally asinine line back, like 'you had me at hello?'" She laughed, covering her hand with her mouth.

"The fact that you just quoted those lines to me…" She wiped at the stray tears that leaked from her eyes. "Oh, my God!" She shook her head. "Well, hopefully, if you do act in some romantic comedy, you'll choose one with better dialogue. And you're a way better actor than Tom Cruise." She shot him a bemused look. "Seriously, how do you know those lines?"

"I have a sister." He said with a shy smile, looking away from her.

"Look, I'm not saying that you have to act in romantic comedies, but there's always horror or suspense or crime or historical...or, I don't know, porn." It was Bellamy's turn to let out a belly laugh. He fell back on the bed, clutching at his stomach, and she grinned as she laid back down beside him.

"You telling me to do porn, Princess?"

"Hmm, perhaps a sex tape of yours could be accidentally released…" She said, shrugging her shoulder casually, not looking at him. "Just one that is released after you finish filming the last Grounders film."

"And, pray tell, who should be my leading lady in said sex tape?" He rolled on his side, and she could feel his gaze on her face. "Are you offering?" He mumbled, reaching out to run a finger down her arm, and she knew that he could see the trail of goosebumps that followed its path.

"Not me…" She swallowed. "I'm much too classy for that. I already told you, I'm not an exhibitionist." She glanced over at him, and she realized that he was very close to her. "All I was saying, Bellamy, is that you should branch out. If you don't want to do different movie genres, then maybe you could try your hand at directing or producing? You've also got a brain in that head of yours, why not go to college? Imagine the looks on those snobby douches faces who scoff under their breath about how the schools let anyone in for enough money, and then you walk into those history classes about the ancient civilizations and intelligently debate who was a better politician, Socrates, Plato, or Aristotle?"

"Neither. How do you chose? They were all intelligent men. Socrates wasn't looking to be a politician or ruler. He asked probing questions of the youth and the windbag politicians already in power. He'd often embarrassed the shit out of them. His style of philosophizing inspired the Socratic Method of Teaching. He was Plato's teacher. Plato, who's real name is actually Aristocles, was a champion wrestler, and he wrote The Republic, which was his interpretation of the ideal society. He was also the person who wrote down Socrates' speeches and oral debates with others. Then, Aristotle was Plato's student. Aristotle is famous for his philosophical school that produce thousands of books and pamphlets. Plus, he believed that the goal of life was about happiness, and he was essentially the person who started the idea of 'everything in moderation.'"

Clarke broke out into a large grin as she watched Bellamy get a dreamy expression on his face as he talked about three of the most famous Greek philosophers the world knew of. "This. This is what I was talking about! You're smart, Bell. You know shit that most people don't know, because you're passionate about history and learning. You could go to school and spend your time between movies discussing philosophy and history and anthropology." She bit her bottom lip. "I envy you, actually."

"What do you mean?"

"I'm jealous of the fact that you get to make your own choices. I didn't exactly have that when I was growing up." She winced, looking away from him. "I'm trying to not make this about me. We were talking about you."

"Yeah, well, I want to hear about you." He whispered, shifting closer to her. He wrapped his arm around her waist and leaned his forehead against the side of her head. She closed her eyes, laying her arm over his, tangling their fingers together in a loose grip.

"I didn't have the greatest time growing up, either. I was forced to behave in a certain way, dress a certain way, be a person that I didn't really like or want to be. But, my childhood was nothing like what you and Octavia had to deal with. My family's sole concern was about image. My parents fought a lot during high school. I could tell that they'd probably would've divorced if they weren't a part of the elite society, and divorce is most definitely frowned upon amongst my parents' friends.

"My dad loved me, and he encouraged me to do amazing things, and I said it to you before, I chose medicine, because I wanted to make him proud, and I thought that by being a doctor, I would make him proud. While he was supportive of my art, he was supportive of it as a hobby or something to pass the time between classes and eventually shifts at the hospital. My mom thought that art was just silly, and my sole focus should be on medicine and science. I just…" She shook her head. "I had more money than you did, but I don't think I had any more opportunity than you did either." She said, wiping at a stray tear that slipped down her cheek with her other hand. He squeezed his arm a little tighter around her waist, stroking his thumb over her clothed hip.

"I actually admire you for your loyalty and your desire to see your sister flourish and follow her dreams. You were so smart, Bell, and a great athlete, and you could've gone really far with your education, but you gave that up so that you could help support your mom and sister. I think that is amazing." She felt him pull his face from her hair, and she looked over at him. He was studying her, a thoughtful look on his face. "You sacrificed so much and worked so hard to make things easier on Octavia, and that's something that I never got when I was growing up. My mom and dad had high paying jobs, sure, and I never feared that I wouldn't have enough to eat or that we couldn't pay the rent or that I didn't have clothes to wear, but I didn't get a choice. I didn't get to wear the clothes that I wanted to wear.

"I didn't get to work a part-time job. No, I had internships in law offices or hospitals or vet's offices, because those were respectable positions. Did you know that I fantasized in high school, at one point, about opening a bakery? I always loved baking, and I would do it when my mom wasn't home and our live-in chef would teach me how to cook and bake." She shrugged her shoulders. "That definitely would've not been allowed." She shook her head. "What I'm trying to say is this: we both got dealt really shitty hands. Neither one of us had the life that we wanted or deserved, and I admire the hard work you put in the achieve the one that you wanted. It took my dad dying, and my boyfriend cheating on me, and a really low point in my life where I cut myself as a way to really feel what I'd been bottling up for so long in order for me to actually chose to go after what I really want." She wipe at another tear.

"I think that we're stronger because of our experiences, and I don't want you to feel like you're not good enough because of where you came from. Even if you were still there, Bellamy, working three jobs to take care of your sister and barely making ends meet, you're still good enough. Okay?"

"Clarke, I'm forcing you to lie to the people you love. I'm forcing you to pretend to be someone you're not, just like your parents did. I feel like a monster for doing that to you. I'm so selfish to expect you to keep pretending to be in a relationship with me, because it is helping my career. It's why I've been freaking out lately, because I'm forcing you to lie to everyone, and it's so fucking weird to go around, calling myself your boyfriend when I'm not."

"You're not forcing anything on me. I chose to do this, Bellamy. It was my idea, remember? I wouldn't be here, I wouldn't be telling the world that I'm dating you, if I wasn't comfortable with it. I'm not going to walk away from this, because I want to help you. This is how I can do it, so I'm going to stick with this until you tell me that you don't need to pretend anymore. Then, I'll walk away." She swallowed. "You're my friend, Bellamy, and I do whatever I can to help out my friends."

"Thank you." He said quietly. "The only thing I'm concerned about is how we eventually end this, you know? What do we do? Not talk to each other or see each other for weeks, months, forever? I'm sure you can tell that once I get hold of something and consider it to be mine-my sister, my career, my house, my friends-I have a hard time letting it go."

Clarke grinned at Bellamy, rolling over to face him. "Are you calling me yours?" He rolled his eyes and groaned.

"I called you my friend, and I don't have many of those, so I don't know how to give one up."

She leaned closer to him, raising her chin to press a kiss to his forehead. "You've got me in your life, now, Bellamy. You're stuck with me. I don't like giving up what I consider to be mine, either. We're saving the breakup for when you have to go film the last Grounders film, and then you'll be headed out that gladiator film. You'll be super busy, and we'll break up, because we hardly see each other, but we've decided to remain friends. So, we'll still get to talk and tweet each other ridiculous things on Twitter and get dinner and all of that. We'll just stop holding hands and kissing. See? Problem solved!"

There was a knock on his bedroom door, making them both jump into seated positions, some distance between them. "Uh, yeah?" He called out, and Kate popped her head into the room.

"Hey, guys, so we're all done with the pool and showered, and Octavia lent us girls some clothes so that we can get out of our dresses, but I volunteered to come up here and get Bellamy for the interrogation that Thalia is super excited about." Bellamy groaned, burying his face into his hands. "Are you two all good here?"

"Yeah, we're good." Clarke smiled at him, reaching out to squeeze his shoulder affectionately. "We'll be down in a few."

"Do you two have any way that I can prepare for this?" He glanced between the two women. "Like, what should I expect?"

"Well, if I know Thalia, she'll probably used the questions that my dad emailed to her freshman year after we finished rushing Tri Delta. He said that since he was all of the way across the country, he needed her to ask the important questions for him. These were the questions he used to ask everyone I dated in high school, so...yeah…" Clarke blushed. "There's no way to prepare…"

Chapter Text

Bellamy was forced to face the music alone while Clarke changed into the clothes that he’d left on his bed. He felt weird about doing it, because he’d never seen a girl wear his clothes before. Well, a girl other than Octavia. He figured that it should’ve been his clothes that Clarke wore rather than her wearing some of the clothing that Octavia left at his place, because she was pretending to be his girlfriend, and girlfriends wore their boyfriends’ clothes. Right?

He followed Kate downstairs to where the rest of them had congregated after they’d dried off from the pool. It was unsurprising that O had directed them to the outdoor seating area, and there was a fire already going in the fire pit. The outdoor seating area that looked out on his yard and the pool was the largest seating area that he owned. He sat down in the one of the over-sized chairs, because he felt like he needed some kind of separation from the rest of Clarke’s friends while they interrogated him. There were only six people present that knew the truth about their relationship, and the other six had enough personality and intensity over this interrogation that it felt like he (them?) was being outnumbered. Besides, he was sure that his sister would love to see his discomfort while he was being asked probing questions about his relationship with Clarke.

Everyone was laughing and drinking, and Thalia was sporting a bemused look as she watched Bellamy running his hands up and down the denim fabric of his jeans from his knees to his thighs. He was surprised by how nervous he was. Lincoln passed him a beer, and he smiled gratefully at the man he used to hate but had grown to tolerate (even if he was fucking his baby sister). Lincoln sat down, and Octavia curled into his side, pressing a kiss to his jaw as he took the third beer in his hands from him. She gave him a smirk as she raised the bottle into the air. “To Bellamy. May this interrogation be funny as hell!” She cheered, and the rest of Clarke’s friends laughed and crowed their agreement.

“Believe me. It will be.” Wells said with a laugh as he sat on the ground in front of Kate, leaning back against her knees. Kate ran her fingers over Wells’ scalp. “I’ve witnessed every single one of these interrogations.”

“Except the first one. You missed the first one.” Clarke’s voice made Bellamy jump slightly, and he sat up, turning to glance at her over his shoulder. He swallowed, hard, because it was definitely a stupid idea to loan her his clothes. She was wearing a white long-sleeved t-shirt of his, and he could see the dark shading of her navy blue bra beneath it, and a pair of his light gray sweatpants, which she had rolled several times over her hips, but she still had to fist the fabric in her hands to hold them up as she walked. While the look would be unattractive on anyone, the fact that a hot girl (no, that’s not true--he wouldn’t be freaking out like this over just any hot girl)--that Clarke was in his clothing made him feel strangely possessive and itch to touch her.

“Ah, right. The first one.” Wells grinned at her. She rolled her eyes at him, but she swiped an arm down Bellamy’s as she went to sit down, but he grabbed her wrist, pulling her towards him. She all but fell into his lap, and he settled her in his arms, burying his face into her neck.

“I shouldn’t have given you my clothes.” He breathed quietly into her ear, and she tensed slightly. She turned in his arms to look at him questioningly. “I’ve never had a girl wear my clothes before, just like I’ve never brought a girl home. Only Octavia.” She blushed, looking down at her hands in her lap. After a moment, she reached for his beer, raising the bottle to her lips to take a swig.

“Thank you, Bellamy.” She said quietly, and it was his turn to give her a confused look. “For letting me in.” She leaned forward, pressing a kiss to his cheek, and he tightened his hold on her waist, settling back into the chair, pulling her body with him.

“Alright, enough, lovebirds.” Thalia groaned. “Let’s get this show on the road.” She pulled out her phone and began typing on it.

“Um, how does you texting get the interrogation going?” He asked just to be an ass, earning the middle finger from Thalia as she finally settled on whatever she wanted to find in her phone.

“Okay, so I’m going to read the entirety of the email sent to me, Lilly, and Glass from Clarke’s dad. Jake, may you rest in peace, you beautiful, beautiful man.”

Bellamy felt Clarke shudder slightly in his arms, and he leaned forward to press a kiss to her shoulder. “I’m sorry, Princess.” He told her, and she nodded her head. He raised his head to look at Thalia. “So, these are legit questions from Clarke’s dad?” Clarke’s three sorority sisters nodded their heads. “Shit, Princess. Your dad is interrogating me from the grave. That’s pretty sick.” He felt her chuckle in his arms, and he pressed another kiss to the side of her head. “I’m sorry I never met him, because he’s pretty fucking awesome.”

Thalia studied them for a moment before asking, “ready?” At their head nods, she cleared her throat and began to read the email aloud.


“’My dearests Thalia, Lilly, and Glass,

“’Thank you for willingly taking on the task of interrogating Clarke’s romantic partners for me while she is residing on the West Coast. Since she so rudely decided to go to school in California, she has left her adoring father in D.C., where I cannot truly investigate whether or not these people are worth my daughter’s time, energy, and love. I’m beyond grateful for your friendship with her, and the kindness you have shown me by asking these questions for me since I cannot be there. I’m also infinitely relieved that there are three of you, because it will make the relaying of the answers back to me much easier. While each one of you will have a different role in the process, each role is extremely important.

“’Thalia, you have been tasked with the actual questioning, which is why I addressed this email to you. From the moment I first met you, I knew that you were the girl for this job, because you have a no-nonsense attitude, and you cracked a sex joke to my face without batting an eye, and then laughed with me about it (and at Clarke and Abby’s facial expressions) afterwards. Thank you for such a wonderful memory that I will take to my grave. You, my dear, have a lovely spirit and a lovely sense of humor, and I know that my daughter will be better for knowing you.’” Thalia paused, wiping at a stray tear that slipped down her cheek. Bellamy ran a comforting hand down Clarke’s arm when he felt another tremor pass through her body. She might not have had the best relationship with her parents, but the loss of her dad still resonated deeply within her. He could understand that, because the same could be said about his mom.

“’Lilly, you have been tasked with the relaying of the answers to the questions. I know that you’re the best one for this task, because you’re as smart as a whip. (Not that Glass and Talia aren’t as equally as intelligent!!!) Throughout the last year of having known you and your friendship with Clarke, you’ve shown me that you have the memory of an elephant, even when you’re sharing each and every detail of your drunken escapades with my daughter. And when Abby and I were in town for Easter, I saw your notebook, and your shorthand for notes is admirable. You’ll be able to get every word of the answers down for me, and it will be like I’m right there in the room, hearing them as their being spoken. I am infinitely thankful, my darling, that you are a part of my daughter’s life, because I can see the fierce loyalty you show your friends. She deserves to have people like that in her corner.

“’Glass, you have been tasked with relaying the body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice of my daughter’s significant others. I know that you’re the best one for the task, because from the moment I met you, you were always the quietest. While you didn’t have as much to say, you were always purposeful and deliberate in your movements, and you’d observe the room--the people around you. I saw you take note of each minute detail that the people around you let on. I saw the way you were immediately at my daughter’s side when Abby and I had the unfortunate task of informing her that her Great Aunt Sybil had passed away. I watched the way you took her hand in yours and gave her a reassuring smile. You can read people well, and I need you to use that gift to ensure that my beloved daughter has chosen a worthy partner to share her heart with. I see the devotion that you show those you love, your desire to support and love them, and I know that I can trust that you will always be there for my daughter during her times of need.

“’I thank you women for joining Wells and watching over my daughter when I cannot be there to do the job myself. I am forever grateful to you and your wonderful hearts.

“’Now, we get to the fun part. These questions arose out of desperation and shock when I first walked in on my daughter at fourteen years of age with a boy’s hand on her breast and his tongue down her throat. Suffice to say, Clarke was horrified, but after my shock fell away, I couldn’t help but laugh and want to poke fun at my daughter’s embarrassment and to ensure that my daughter found a worthy partner who had similar interests, hopes, fears, desires, and dreams.’” Bellamy let out a belly laugh, causing Thalia to pause as she read the email.

“Seriously?” He said, looking down at the blushing blonde in his arms.

“It was one of the most mortifying moments of my life. I thought he was going to kill me or kill Scott. Then, he just laughed. Scott looked like he was going to piss himself.” He chuckled, shaking his head. He then nodded to Thalia to continue.

“’There is a reason, ladies, why Scott Havercroft is not a part of my daughter’s life anymore. These questions have grown in their length, and they have changed to be more age appropriate as my daughter has grown and gained a clearer understand of herself as a person, woman, and sexual being. Like, her sexuality. I absolutely—‘

“Time out.” Bellamy held up a hand. He cocked an eyebrow at Clarke. “Your sexuality?”

“Do you not know?” Lilly asked in surprise. “How do you not know? I mean, if this was some stranger, I’d understand, but you went to high school with her.”

“What?” Bellamy looked from Lilly to Clarke. “What?” Clarke laughed, shaking her head.

“Bell, I’m bisexual.”

“Shut the fuck up!” The chorus of laughs that surrounded him made him blush slightly.

“How did you not know? You made fun of me after Casey Kim and I broke up junior year.” She shook her head at his shock. “You said that I was such a stuck up bitch, Casey wised up after three months and dumped my ass.”

“I meant that you couldn’t have friends for longer than three months. I didn’t know that she was your girlfriend. Now I feel like an even bigger asshole, because I made fun of your relationship!”

“Well, for what it’s worth...I broke up with Casey, so you were wrong about that part.” He just shook his head at her. “I’m also relieved that you’re not saying anything about wanting to see me make out with another girl or to have a threesome. Progress, Bell.” He leaned over and bit her neck, making her squirm.

“Been there, done that with the threesome thing.” He shook his head. “I just can’t see myself doing that with you.”

“No?” She cocked an eyebrow at him.

“He’d be too scared you’d be more into her than him.” Octavia supplied with a laugh. He flipped his sister off, but she just giggled. “He’s also far too possessive and doesn’t really like to share. Trying to get a French fry off of his plate growing up was practically risking a limb. ‘These are mine, Octavia. Get your own damn fries!’ I can’t imagine what he’d be like with his girlfriend getting sexed up by another person.” He groaned, letting his head drop onto Clarke’s shoulder.

“Right, I remember him saying something like that.” Clarke said with a blush. “Um, right, so can we move on?” She asked, waving a hand at Thalia. Bellamy looked around her friends, and she saw Glass studying him in the same way that Clarke’s dad had said she was known to do. He blushed under her scrutiny, gripping Clarke tighter in his arms. She settled a hand on his forearm, gently running her nails along the skin there in a calming manner, helping him to relax a little more. Thalia cleared her throat and began reading again.

“’I absolutely wasn’t expecting that my daughter liked boys and girls when I found her making out with Marjorie Williams, the girl who was vacationing with her parents in the bungalow next to ours in Aruba her sophomore year. But maybe that had more to do with the fact that Marjorie, or Jory as she liked to be called, was sixteen to Clarke’s fifteen, and she had died her hair a bright blue that seemed to rival the color of the ocean. I can imagine all three of you laughing as you read this aloud, and I also imagine my daughter squirming uncomfortably and likely scrunching her nose in disgust (and thinly veiled humor, because she knows how I am, and she’s grown to appreciate this interrogation).’”

Bellamy saw that everyone was laughing, and Clarke was squirming. He grinned down at her when he noticed the small twitches at the corner of her mouth. She did appreciate the interrogations, because they were a way to feel connected to her dad even though he’d been dead for a number of years. He pressed a kiss to the top of her head, focusing on Thalia as she read the next paragraph. He blushed when he realized that Jake Griffin was addressing Glass and her scrutiny of him.

“’Now, Glass, if my daughter’s significant other is worth his or her salt, then this person should be blushing, slightly uncomfortable with where these questions could go, but still looking at my daughter as if she hung the moon. He or she should be excited to share his or her answers with you (and ultimately me when you send them to me), as well as with my daughter. He or she should be excited about sharing the answers to these questions (or at least the ones that my daughter hasn’t yet discovered the answers to) with her. The goal of these questions is primarily to establish an open line of communication between my daughter and her romantic partners. If I-- we --know Clarke, she often buries her true thoughts and feelings behind humor and science, and she has trouble letting people in. These questions are designed to break down those walls she has built up to really let those who are worthy into her heart and her life. Ultimately, it is my daughter who will decide whether or not the answers her partner gives align with her views about relationship, sex, and life.

“’Thank you again, my darlings, for taking on this task for me. You’re amazing young women, and my daughter is lucky to have you in her life. Also, do not hesitate to use these questions with your own romantic partners. You know what kind of answers you’re looking for in your own relationships. Use these questions wisely. By the way, I’ve starred the questions that have been around since the very first interview, and IF they have been altered, it is only enough to match Clarke’s nineteen years of age. I.e. Do you want to go to college? to Did you go to college?

“’With all my love, Jake.’

Bellamy felt a splash of wetness hit his shoulder, and he realized Clarke was crying into her hands, the beer bottle long since abandoned on the table to the right of their chair. He tightened his hold on her, tucking her face against his neck as she cried over her father’s death and the kind words he had sent to her friends. It was then that he realized that Jake hadn’t been able to do an interrogation himself since he compiled these list of questions for Thalia, Lilly, and Glass to ask Clarke’s boyfriends and girlfriends during college. He died a few years later, while Clarke was still in California.

“I think we need to take a break. Excuse us.” He stood up, with Clarke cradled in his arms and walked away from her friends, Lincoln, and Octavia. He brought her back inside, settling onto the couch in his living room. He was well aware that everyone else could still see them through the glass windows, but he just held her close as she cried against him. “I’m so sorry, Clarke.” He kept repeating the words to her over and over, running a hand over her back, the other tangled in her hair. When he wasn’t speaking, he would press a kiss to the top of her head, trying to comfort her.

“When my mom died, no one knew what to say or how to act around me. I just kept moving, kept working, because I had my baby sister to focus on, and I had to be strong for her.” He said after a little while, when her tears started to quiet some, and she occasionally sniffed and let out a shuddering breath. “But every night, after I’d held O in my arms while she cried herself to sleep, and after I got blindingly drunk, I’d sneak out and go to her grave, and I’d yell at her.” She lifted her head from his shoulder and looked up at him. He wasn’t looking at her, but instead staring off into space as relived the memories after his mom’s death. He felt her lay a hand on his cheek. “I’d tell her that I was so mad at her for getting pregnant with me when she was still a kid. I’d tell her I was pissed that she let deadbeat after deadbeat into her life until one of them left her pregnant again. I yelled at her about what she had to do in order to keep a roof over mine and O’s heads. I yelled at her for leaving me and O alone. I yelled at her for breaking my heart.”

“Bellamy,” Clarke whispered, leaning forward to press a kiss to Bellamy’s cheek.

“I’d go home after I was done yelling and climb into bed with O, and I’d hold her. I could tell she was awake--that she’d been awake the whole time I was gone--but she’d settle down the moment I came back. We spent the next six months doing that, just holding each other and being there for each other, and it hurt a little less. Or, well, it was easier to handle the hurt. You didn’t really get to do that. I know that Wells’ mom died when he was young, and he was there for you, but it’s different for us. We loved our parents, but we hated them, too. We hated them for the lives we had to live, but we loved them anyway.” He finally looked over at her, leaning his forehead against hers. “If you need me, I’m here, okay?”

“Thank you.” She whispered. He smiled softly at her. He didn’t know why he did it, but he kissed her then. It wasn’t some messy, heated kiss. It was gentle, non-probing, and comforting. It was his way of showing her that he understood the pain that comes with a loss like theirs. It was his way of showing her that he was there for her that he wanted to continue to be there for her. He pulled back, pressing his forehead against hers again.

“We can sit here for as long as you need before we go back.” He smiled, pulling back to let her see his face. “God knows I’m not ready for your dad’s questions.” She laughed, throwing her arms around his neck and hugging him tightly.

“I need the laugh. Let’s go.” She climbed off of his lap and held a hand out to him. He sighed, taking it, letting her interlace their fingers as she pulled him back outside again. They were met with somber faces, and he opened his mouth to tell them to leave her alone, but she beat him to it. “I’m fine, guys. Bell took good care of me.”

Bellamy sat down, pulling Clarke back into his lap, pressing a kiss to the top of her head again. “Let’s get this train wreck going.” He sighed, resting his chin on her shoulder, pinching her side lightly when she laughed.

Thalia coughed, hiding her amusement. “Um, well, you should know that most of the questions have asterisks, so...these are basically the same questions that he asked that Scott kid when she was fourteen.” She licked her bottom lip. “I like to start with the sex questions first, but Jake sent these questions in a specific order, so I’ll go with that. I’ve come to find that most of these questions can be lumped together into one answer, so I’m just going to read the list off. The first part is about family.

“’What is your definition of family? Who do you identify as your family? Who did you grow up with? What were your parents or guardians like when you were growing up? And now? Do you have any siblings? How often do you see the members of your family? What is your best memory of your family? What is your least favorite memory?’” Bellamy let out a breath when Thalia finally looked up from the list.

“Um, my definition of family is the people who love you and respect you, and who you love and respect. The people you trust with your most private moments. The people I include in my family was first and foremost O.” He smiled at his sister who mouthed that she loved him. “Um, since my mom died, she was my only family, but, uh, then we met Kane, and he became family.” He shifted slightly, and Clarke stroked her nails along the back of his neck to help settle him. “I’m sure O would kill me if I didn’t include Lincoln in that list...since he’s been around for the last five years.” He rolled his eyes, and Lincoln let out a chuckle. “And, Murphy, too, even though he’s kind of an ass.” He licked his bottom lip. “And, um, I guess, Clarke, too. She’s like my best friend, aside from O, so…” He momentarily felt her still in his arms, but then she shifted closer to him, if that was at all possible.

“You’re my best friend, too.” She said softly, earning a “hey!” from Kate, Wells, Thalia, Lilly, and Glass. She rolled her eyes at them. “You all, too.”

“Um, you’re all aware that O’s my sister. We don’t really know our dads, so we can’t be sure we don’t have any other siblings out there.” He shrugged. “I see her every damn day...and I think the same could almost be said about Lincoln and Clarke at this point.” He rolled his eyes. “Murphy...yeah, well, I see him enough. And, Kane, I talk to him like fifteen times a day, and he calls me ‘son’ and tells me not to fuck up our careers.” He laughed, shaking his head. “As for my favorite memories...the time that I scared O’s first boyfriend, Atom, when she was sixteen, and the kid pissed himself.”

“Fuck you, Bellamy!” Octavia muttered. “Atom broke up with me the next day. You threatened to hang him from a tree!” Clarke tsked at him.

“Overbearing, overprotective, annoying brother…” She shook her head, and he pinched her side again, making her squirm.

“Worst memory was the day that I walked in to find that my mother had died of pill overdose when I was twenty-one.” He tensed his jaw, and she pressed a kiss to his cheek. He closed his eyes, shaking his head. “Anyways, what’s next?”

“Um, right so...this next section is about living arrangements.” Thalia scratched the top of her head. “The first few questions are kind of unnecessary, since we’re, uh, sitting here, but I’m gonna read them anyway.” She rolled her eyes. “’Where do you live? Do you have an apartment, condo, or house? Do you own it or rent it? How long have you lived here? Where did you grow up? For how long? Do you have any roommates? Do you like where you live? What is your favorite room in your home and why? If you live in a studio, you can disregard that question and move on to question eight. Do you have a favorite piece of furniture or item in your home and why?’”

“What the fuck?” Bellamy laughed. “Right, so, yes, I own this house. I’ve lived here for three and a half years. O and I shared an apartment for the first year and a half that we lived in L.A. I grew up in D.C., like Clarke. O’s as close to a roommate that I have now...unless you count me being at Clarke’s most of the day or night…” He shrugged.

“Way to make it weird, dude!” Octavia exclaimed, and Clarke scrunched her nose at him.

“Well, it’s true. I’m at Clarke’s almost every damn day, and either we spend the whole day there, or I’m there until two or three in the morning.”

“Dirty.” Greg said, making Thalia thump him in the chest, and the rest of the guys laugh. Bellamy joined in. He felt Kate and Wells’ concerned looks, and he blushed, leaning his face into Clarke’s neck.

“You’re an idiot.” She muttered.

“Right, so, uh, favorite, uh, music room, I guess. I’ve got a bunch of guitars and a piano and stuff in there. I taught myself to play the guitar in high school--real panty-dropper, you know? Then, I moved here, and I taught myself the piano, too.”

“I didn’t know that. You play?” She looked up at him in surprise, and he nodded his head.

“Uh oh...Clarke’s pregnant now.” She shot Lilly the middle finger.

“Shut up!”

“What?” Bellamy asked, grinning. Clarke blushed, and her friends laughed.

“There are three things that get Clarke all hot and bothered. Hot people who can cook.” Lilly waved a hand at him. “Done. Hot people who melt around animals and babies. None of us have any animals or babies on hand, so we don’t know how you’d do there, but considering the fact that your sister looks like you hung the moon, I’m assuming you’re good with kids.” Clarke groaned, burying her face into Bellamy’s neck. “And, finally, hot people who play musical instruments. Especially self-taught musicians. For some reason, she finds that hotter.”

“I hate you.” She mumbled against his neck, making him chuckle. He ran a hand down her back. “So, what’s your favorite item or piece of furniture?” She asked, trying to change the subject.

“Well, my favorite items are your paintings. The one in my living room of the bleeding tree, because it helped me realize that you weren’t what I’d always pegged you as. The one from your art show, because you said it reminded you of me.” He winked, making her whimper from embarrassment. “And, my favorite piece of furniture is my bed. It’s comfy as shit.”

Pregnant.” Thalia said with a shake of her head.

“Fuck off, all of you. I’m done. The interrogation is over.” Clarke groaned.

“Nah, I kind of want to keep going. These questions are kind of fun.” Bellamy grinned.

“Wait until you get to the sex questions.” She snapped. He laughed, shaking his head. So far, this interrogation thing wasn’t too bad at all.

Chapter Text

Bellamy had spoken too soon. Or, well, he’d thought too soon. He’d been lulled into a false sense of security, and now he was stuck answering the tough questions. The questions that he didn’t exactly have the answers to. The questions that he shouldn’t be answering...because he wasn’t actually her boyfriend.

“Speaking of...” Thalia grinned. “Relationships section, here we come!” Clarke groaned.

“No! There was no speaking of! Just because you all make a horrendous joke that is so not funny about me getting pregnant, because Bellamy can cook, play instruments, and helped raise a little sister, it does not mean you can bypass two whole sections of the interrogation questionnaire that my dad created. Frankly, we can just ignore the relationship questions!” She whined, but Thalia pressed on.

“The other two sections are about the career and his interests. We all know what he’s does for a living, and who really cares which job he has worked the longest.”

“Yes, but there’s the education questions, too! Like, what if he wanted to go back to school? Do any of you know what he’d study?” Clarke asked, and Bellamy cocked an eyebrow at her. She was definitely trying to put off the relationship questions, so he started to feel tense and nervous.

“As long as you do, then we’re good. Do you?” She swallowed, keeping her gaze firmly on Thalia. The brunette kept her expression neutral, thumb poised over her cell phone. Clarke sighed, dragging her eyes to Wells, looking at him pleadingly.

“You know what? I want to hear all about what Bellamy plans to study if he decides to get a college degree, what his future plans are, and all about his interests.” Wells gave her a soft smile, and Clarke relaxed slightly.

“Yeah, let’s do this. Lay the other two sections on me, Thalia.” Bellamy said quickly, and the brunette pursed her lips before nodding her head.

“Fine.” Thalia returned her gaze to her phone. “’Are you working or in college? If you are working, what kind of job do you have? Do you like this job? How long have you been working at this job? How many hours per week do you work at this job? What is the longest job you’ve ever had? Did you go to college? If not, why not? If you’re currently in or have graduated from college, where did you go? What did you study? Why? What do you hope to do after you graduate? If you’ve already graduated are you doing what you intended to do when you first started college? Where do you see yourself in five years? Ten years?’” Thalia looked up at Bellamy, and he let out a breath.

“At the moment, I’m neither working nor in school.” He joked, but only Wells, Octavia, and Lincoln laughed sympathetically with him. “I’m an actor. It depends on the role for how many hours I work per day, let alone per week, when I’m actually filming. I’ve been an actor for five years now this July—that’s when the first Grounders started filming. Longest job I ever worked was at the Wawa just outside of D.C.—the Maryland side, not the Virginia side. I worked there from the time I was fourteen until I was twenty-one, and Kane discovered O and I. I didn’t go to college after high school, because I started working to make sure that I could help support my mom and O. After my mom died, I focused on taking care of O for those last few years before she graduated from high school. If I ever go back to school, I’d study history. Maybe anthropology? Maybe philosophy? I dunno. All three? I could afford it.” He shrugged. “As for where I see myself in five years…I’m not sure I can think that far ahead. For so long, O and I had to focus on the here and now, so it’s hard for me to picture the long term. I just know I wanna be happy.”

“You never said if you like your job…” Octavia said, making his head jerk in her direction. “Do you like being an actor?” He looked down at Clarke’s lap, and he felt her run her fingers over his arm again. “Bell, do you want to be an actor?”

“I dunno. I like making money. I like being the center of everyone’s attention.” He laughed, but it was self-deprecating, even to him. “We all know that. I like the challenge of trying to be another person, even if it’s for a little while.”

“But you don’t want to act?”

“I honestly don’t know. I like it when I do it, but I have no idea what else there is for me to do.”

“Anything. The whole world’s open to you.” Clarke said, laying a hand on his cheek. He looked down at her. “Look at me. I felt like I had to choose medicine, and after my dad died, and everything with Finn, and the wrist cutting...I realized what made me happy, and that was my art.”

“Wait! WHAT THE FUCK?” Octavia exclaimed, and Clarke winced. Bellamy shot his sister a dirty look.

“O,” he warned, but Clarke shook her head.

“I honestly forgot that you and Lincoln didn’t know. Um, yeah, I slit my wrist a little while after the whole mess with Finn. Wells found me. Like, it wasn’t enough to really cause any damage, but I just wanted a release from all of that pain that I was feeling, so I cut myself. I’m doing a lot better now.” Octavia looked like she wanted to ask more, but Clarke shook her head. “Later, okay? We can talk about it later.” Her mouth snapped shut, and she just nodded her head at Clarke.

“Bring on the interests section,” Bellamy clapped his hands, rubbing his palms together. It was kind of awkward though, because he had Clarke in his lap, with his arms on either side of her, so he kind of jostled her, and he was pretty sure his forearm hit side-boob. She elbowed him in the gut, making him huff out his hair and her to giggle as she settled back against his chest again. He tightened his hold on her, laying his chin on her shoulder.

“’What is your favorite movie or television genre? What is your favorite kind of music? What is your favorite book genre?’” Clarke and Octavia groaned, and he flipped his sister off and pinched Clarke’s side, making her squeal and squirm. He nodded for Thalia to continue. “’Are you willing to listen to music, read a book, or watch a TV show/movie of a genre you don’t like if Clarke asks you to? What is your favorite kind of food? Can you cook? Do you like to cook? Will you cook for Clarke? She’s lazy sometimes.’” Clarke laughed, hiccupping slightly as she choked back a sob. “’Are you athletic? If yes, how do you exercise? If you say with sex, ten points for you, and I like you already.’” Bellamy laughed, pressing a kiss to the side of Clarke’s head.

“Your dad is a riot.” She nodded her head.

“’Are you good at home or automobile improvement? If yes, call me, because our dryer has been acting up lately, and we need someone to fix it, but I’m too cheap at the moment to call someone. Plus, the car has been making a weird ‘whirring’ noise. Do you have any special talents? Can you sing? Do you dance? Can you play music? Are you artistic? What is the craziest and wildest thing you’ve ever done? Outside of sex! We’ll get to that, Buddy or Missy! What do you consider to be your biggest strengths? Weaknesses?’”

“Shit. Your dad is great.” He shook his head again, and she leaned her head back on his shoulder. “Favorite movie and television genre—horror or action or sports or documentaries. Music genre is classical and rock, but I tolerate dance or pop music—whatever is playing in the clubs. Books…everything and anything, but mostly historical nonfiction, philosophy essays, research journals, stuff like that.”

“NERD!” Octavia coughed, and he flipped her off again.

“Clarke makes me watch bullshit chick flicks and medical dramas and completely inaccurate period movies and the crap on Lifetime and lame sitcoms and forces me to listen to crap like Taylor Swift, even though I dated her and she’s annoying as fuck…” He trailed off with a laugh. “So, yeah, I watch and listen to stuff Clarke wants me to listen to. I will not read a romance novel. Ever.” He said pointedly, looking down on her. She rolled her eyes and pinch his bicep, making him tickle her in retaliation. “Yes, I cook. I’d like to think I do it pretty well. I cook for Clarke all of the time, because she is lazy as shit at times.”

“Hey! I cook for you, too, mister!” Clarke pouted, and Bellamy responded by pressing a noisy kiss to her cheek.

“Um, what’s next?”

“Athleticism.” Lincoln said, and Bellamy laughed.

“Um, I have to be for my job. I kick box, weight train, do martial arts, run, spar in a ring or box with a bag, throw knives and axes, do some archery, go to the gun range, and, yes, Mr. Griffin, I hope you hear this wherever you are, but I do enjoy burning some calories with some acrobatic sex.”

“Ew.” Octavia groaned, shaking her head. “Gross. Gross. Gross.”

“I concur.” Clarke muttered, smacking him. “Don’t be a pig, Bellamy.” He just laughed in response.

“Yes, I can fix a car and stuff around the house, but I’m better with carpentry than electronics. I can play musical instruments and I act for a living. I can carry a semi-decent tune, and that is as talented as I can get. Craziest thing I’ve ever done? Move to L.A. and become an actor. Biggest strengths…um, hardworking, determined, ambitious, and I do anything for my family. Weaknesses? I don’t have any.”

“Ha! I can think of a bunch.” Clarke said. “Overbearing. Overprotective. Obsessive. Obnoxious. Obtuse.”

“Are you just listing off negative traits that begin with the letter O?” Bellamy said snarkily.

“Irritating. Annoying. Grating. Self-obsessed. Narcissistic. That better?”

“Much. Thanks, babe!” He winked, and she stuck her tongue out at him.

“God, Jake would’ve loved you.” Clarke froze, and Bellamy looked at Wells in confusion.

“Oh, yeah, totally!” Thalia nodded. “He’s exactly the guy that he’d want Clarke to end up with.”

“Stop. Why does everyone keep saying that my dad would like him? You’re just piggy-backing off of your dad, Wells.” Clarke pouted.

“No. I remember the day of your graduation, your dad told us at lunch that he thought Bellamy’s graduation stunt was hilarious, and he said, and I quote, ‘Damn it, Clarke. Why couldn’t he be the kid I walked in on you blowing when you were seventeen? That Blake kid looks like he was packing!’” Clarke squeaked, and Bellamy let out a belly-laugh.

“Jesus! Learn to lock the door, Clarke.” Octavia laughed, shaking her head.

“Your dad walked in on you giving someone a blowjob?”

“And he apparently checked out your junk.” Kate shook her head. “That doesn’t bother you, Bellamy?”

“Nah, because I let it all hang out that day. I didn’t give a shit.” He winked before turning his attention back on Clarke. “Your dad wanted you to date me, the guy who stripped at graduation, because I was bigger than the other guy you fooled around with?”

“He also said that the only person who could ever rile her up like that was you, and he said that that kind of passion would translate to a deep and intense love.” Wells swallowed, looking up at Kate with a fond smile. “He also said that you seemed like a guy who’d make her laugh—and him—and really, that was the most important thing.”

Clarke cleared her throat. “Yeah, well, my dad had a weird sense of humor.” She looked like she wanted to move on, so he pressed a kiss to the side of her head, nodding at Thalia.

“Yay! My favorite part.” Lilly grinned, and Bellamy shot her a concerned look. “The relationship section.” Thalia laughed, patting Lilly on the shoulder.

“Let’s do this.” Clarke groaned, burying her face into the crook of Bellamy’s neck, and he tensed slightly, trying to prepare himself.

“’How did you meet my daughter? How long have you been dating? What do you like most about her? What do you like the least? Before you started dating my daughter, how long were you single? Have you ever been married, engaged or lived with another person? Do you have kids? Do you want kids one day? What is the best part of being in a relationship? The worst part? What do you think are the most important things for a relationship to work? What are you intentions with my daughter? What would be your reaction if you got my daughter pregnant?'"

Bellamy swallowed, because shit just got real. Clarke let out a breath, and she looking at Thalia with a look of gratefulness. He furrowed his brow before he shook his head. “Shit, how did we meet? I feel like I spent all of high school hating you. I don’t know how it started.”

“I do!” Octavia grinned. “I remember that Clarke was the volunteer in the school center, and she was the student from the upper school who was supposed to show me around the lower school. You came with, because, um, mom had to work, so she walked us around the lower school. I remember you looking at her like a puppy looks at its owner.”

“Fuck off, Octavia.” He muttered, making Clarke chuckle, pressing a kiss to his cheek.

“What happened? We could’ve been married by now, Bell!” She joked, earning a groan from him. He pinched her side again, making her laugh.

“Anyways, now we know that kid’s name, because your boyfriend--that Scott kid--came up to you after the tour, insulted me and Bell about being the scholarship kids that we were, and you told him that he should stop being an ass, but still went with him. I think Bell’s ego got bruised, because he called you Princess and said you were a stuck-up bitch from then on.”

“My ego was not bruised.” Octavia rolled her eyes.

“Uh, huh. Sure.” She shook her head. “And, we all know how long you two have been dating. Although, I’m sure everyone would love to hear what went through Clarke’s mind when she decided to keep seeing your stupid ass.” She gave the two of them a cheeky grin, and he sucked in a breath, because they hadn’t figured out this part of the story. People just accepted them saying they hit it off on their first date.

“Well, we all know that I definitely didn’t want to go on that date.” Clarke said before he could even open his mouth. “That was all Kate’s fault. On the date, Bell was surprisingly...normal. We were able to talk without punching the other in the throat, so I counted it as a win.” She joked, and Bellamy poked her in the side, sticking out his bottom lip.

“I’m always awesome, Princess. It was you who was acting like a normal person and not the crazy person you were in high school.”

“I think we’ve established that you were the one who ruined all chances of us being friends in high school, because you made assumptions about me that were completely inaccurate.” She rolled her eyes. “Anyway, I figured Bellamy owed me, so I invited him into my apartment in the hopes that he would help me finish cooking for Thanksgiving the next day. I should’ve know that he would just spend most of the evening irritating me rather than helping me.”

“Hey, I did help eventually, but it was more fun to watch you make a mess. Plus, your boobs looked awesome when you were kneading that dough.” She smacked at his chest.

“Shh! I’m telling the story. Anyways, Kate also suggested to Finn that Bellamy might be more than a former rival of mine from high school, and she may or may not have implied that Bell was going to be at Thanksgiving, and Finn invited himself over.” He tensed, because he didn’t know where she was going with this. “So, I called up Bellamy and figured that because I stuck with his date instead of backing out of the contest, then he could come to Thanksgiving and get my annoying ex-boyfriend off my back.” She paused, smiling up at him. “We talked for a bit before everyone else got there, and we had breakfast, and I dunno...I realized he wasn’t that much of an annoying asshole.” She blushed looking away. “So, yeah…”

“You’re forgetting the part where I kissed you and blew your mind.” He winked, earning an eye roll in response.

“You’re such a loser.” She shook her head. “I mean, you’re not that good of a kisser.”

“Take that back! I’m a fantastic kisser.”

“No, you were definitely drooly and kind of a lazy kisser in the beginning, but I’ve trained you well.” He growled, tickling her, since she was sitting in his lap and at his mercy. She squirmed, grinding against his junk, which definitely needed to stop before he got a major hard on in front of her friends. He stilled his hands, and she settled down, but the way that she licked at her bottom lip seemed to indicate that she felt just how much her grinding against his junk was affecting him.

“I’m a fantastic kisser.” He repeated, and she rolled her eyes.

“I say he should prove it.” Greg said, and he held up a hand to both Zeke and Kai, and both of the men slapped their palms against his.

“Yeah, no, that’s not necessary.” Kate said, shaking her head, but Octavia called out that she’d love to see him plant his best kiss on Clarke.

“Fuck it,” Bellamy muttered before grabbing Clarke by the cheek to press their lips together. She squeaked against his mouth, her body rigid in his arms, but he gently stroked his thumb on her cheek as he kissed her. After a few moments, she began to relax in his arms slightly, her own hand creeping into his hair as his hand shifted down to her throat. His palm rested along her pulse point, which fluttered quickly, practically tattooing his palm with its frantic pace. His tongue stroked along her bottom lip, making her sigh as her lips slipped open, allowing his tongue to tangle with hers.

“Oh, shit, I might puke. I take it back. I don’t want to see my brother make out with Clarke.” Octavia’s groan of disgust snapped him out of it, and he broke the kiss, pulling away from Clarke. The two of them sucked in a few mouthfuls of air, trying to regain their composure.

“Right, so, um, yeah, you’re an okay kisser, I guess.” She breathed out, making him chuckle. They looked up when Glass cleared her throat.

“I think we should get back to the questions. What do you like most about Clarke?” She asked, eyes narrowed as she cocked her head slightly to the right.

“Um, she’s smart, kind, beautiful, and unrepentantly honest. She keeps me on my toes and tells me when I’m being an asshole. She, uh, doesn’t judge me for things that aren’t in my control, but challenges me to change the things that I can control.” He cleared his throat. “What I like the least is that she’s annoyingly stubborn.”

“Oh, so are you!” Clarke said with an eye roll.

“And, she’s mean!” He added, poking her in the side again.

“Dude, you keep poking and pinching me, I’m gonna bite you."

“Bring it on, Princess. I bite back.”

“Ugh, enough. The next two questions are stupid for my brother to answer. He’s been single his whole life. He’s never had a real girlfriend or been in a relationship. He’s dated a shit ton of girls, but never had a relationship or anyone stick around longer than for five minutes.”

“I had a few girlfriends in high school!” Bellamy snapped at Octavia.

“Oh, please, Bell. Those hardly count as real relationships. Most of them were just exclusive friends with benefits situations. You might have used the term girlfriend, but those girls definitely weren’t your girlfriends.”

“Shut it, O!” He rolled his eyes.

“Kids?” Lilly prompted.

“Do I have any? Um, no. No one has come out of the woodwork and attempted to say that I fathered their kid or anything. As for maybe wanting them one, I dunno. There’s no right way for me to answer this question, is there?” He laughed, running a hand through his hair.

“How so?” Lilly asked him, frowning slightly. “Either you do or you don’t.”

“Well, if I say that I don’t, then you all say to Clarke that she should end it with me right now, because she likes babies almost as much as she likes animals.” He tensed his jaw. “And, if I say that I do, it puts pressure on my relationship with Clarke, because we’ve been together for a month, and that’s kind of too soon for that kind of shit. Right? I mean, I know I’m new to the whole relationship thing, but I do know that a month is too soon to talk about kids.”

“Let’s bypass the other questions for a would you respond to Clarke if she said that she’s pregnant then?” He swallowed, because Lilly was pulling out all of the stops.

“It’s not an issue.” Clarke responded for him. “I’m very careful when it comes to birth control. You all know that.”

“But sometimes shit happens.” Lilly responded. “I think you know that.” She flushed bright red, and Bellamy looked down at her in surprise.

“I never got pregnant.” She told him. “I just thought I was after a one-night stand freshman year. It’s no biggie. Really. I mean, every nineteen year old has a pregnancy scare. Right?"

“Yeah, no, that was never an issue for me.” Octavia said with a shake of her head.

“Damn right it better not have been.” Bellamy narrowed his eyes at his baby sister, receiving an eye roll in response.

“So that was just me? Oh, great.” Clarke picked at a pulled thread in her (his) sweatpants. “After being, like, three days late--I’m very consistent for those of you who don’t know my menstrual cycle and were wondering--” She rolled her eyes. “After being a few days late, I took a pregnancy test, it came back negative, and then I got my period the next day, everything was all good. So, yeah, it’s no big deal. I’m very careful about birth control, especially after that. Bell wouldn’t have to worry about an unplanned pregnancy.”

“But, to answer your question, Lilly, and to relieve any doubt in your mind about whether or not I’m an asshole, I wouldn’t just dump Clarke. My sister and I are weirdly close, and we’re technically half-siblings and five years apart in age. If I got Clarke pregnant, I’d want to be involved in my kid’s life, because my family is super important to me.”

The air was heavy, and Bellamy took a deep breath, feeling overwhelmed by how serious he was with that statement. He’d stick by Clarke in a heartbeat if she was pregnant. It didn’t even have to be his kid, and he’d be there for her and the kid. Clarke squeezed his hand in hers, and he squeezed it back, knowing that she was picking up on his tension.

“Right, so what’s the best part of dating me?” She said quickly, moving the conversation along. He rolled his eyes.

“Ugh, nothing. You’re the worst girlfriend ever.” He rolled his eyes, and she poked him in response.

“Hey! I’ll tell you the best part of dating you…” He cocked an eyebrow at her, and she smirked. “But only after you tell me…” He sighed.

“You make me breakfast.” He said teasingly, and she pouted. “Okay, fine, being part about being in a relationship with you is that I can share things with you that I usually keep bottled up or only talk to O about.” She grinned, pressing a kiss to his cheek.

“The best part of being in a relationship with you is that you make me laugh, even when you’re majorly pissing me off.” She teased, but then bit her bottom lip as she stared at her lap. “And, you understand, you’re similar enough to me that you know just what I need in that moment or always know the right thing to say.” He swallowed. Shit, this was getting far too deep.

“Worst part of a relationship?”

“Sharing with another person.” He said with a laugh. “It’s the best and worst part of a relationship. I’ve only ever had O, so opening up to other people sucks.”

“Well, I think you’re doing fine with it.” Clarke said, squeezing his forearm.

“What are the most important things for making a relationship work, Bellamy?”

“Honesty. Trust. Respect.” He said quickly. “And, my intentions with Clarke are to just be there for her as long as she wants me to be.”

“Yay! The sex questions.” Glass giggled. “My favorite ones.”

“That’s because you’re all freaks.” Clarke muttered.

“I’m gonna read them off one at a time. It’s more fun that way.” Thalia told him. “’What is your sexual orientation?’”

“Um…straight. Heterosexual. I like girls…and boobs and vaginas.”

“Really. You could’ve left it at straight.” Clarke rolled her eyes.

“I like your boobs the best. You have the greatest boobs in the whole world. Better?”

“Stop talking.” She shook her head at him, but there was a small smile on her face, which made him feel victorious.

“’How do you feel about my daughter identifying as a bisexual?’” Thalia continued.

“It’s cool. Whatever floats your boat, babe.”

“’Are you a virgin?’” Thalia couldn’t ask the question with a straight face. “’If yes, some of these questions might not apply to you. Sorry! But, congrats, I guess. If you are why? I’m curious.’”

“Yeah, definitely not.” He shook his head.

“’If no, how old were you when you lost your virginity? Was it a good experience? Do you have any regrets about it?’”

“Um, I was fourteen. She was a senior. She thought I was hot and wanted to get back at her ex-boyfriend. I had jacked off before, and I’ll admit that I had no stamina…” He laughed, running a hand through his hair. “I enjoyed myself, I guess.” He chuckled. “Um, regrets? Not really. I guess that I practiced holding off an orgasm a few times when I was jerking off so that I could’ve lasted longer than like three minutes.”

“You should be proud that you made it three minutes the first time you had sex.” Lilly said with a laugh. “My first boyfriend lasted like thirty seconds and came on the first pull out.”

“Gross.” Kai shook his head. “Don’t need to know about that stuff, babe.”

“You’re the best I’ve ever had, hon.” She blew him a kiss, and he winked.

“’Do you know how my daughter lost her virginity? Virginities? If you lose your virginity with ne gender, are you still considered a virgin with the other gender? Shit. There’s more than two gender’s, right? Abby and I have been keeping up with our LGBTQ stuff.’” Thalia smiled.

“No, I don’t know how Clarke lost any of her virginities. Care to share, babe? How did you pop your cherry every which way?” She smacked his chest.

“Do you have to be that crude?”


“Fine. First kiss was at ten. With a boy. First French kiss was at twelve. With a boy. First time a boy touched my boob was fourteen. First time a girl touched my boob was fifteen—along with my first time kissing a girl and then French kissing her, as well. First time I touched a girl’s boob, I was fifteen. First time I touched a boy’s penis was when I was fourteen. First time a guy had his hand down my pants, I was fifteen. First time a girl had her hand down my pants, I was fifteen. First time I touched a girl below the belt, I was fifteen.”

“Damn. Jory got a lot of firsts.” Octavia applauded. “That girl had game.” Clarke rolled her eyes.

“First time I blew a boy, I was sixteen. First time a guy went down on me was when I was nineteen. First time a girl went down on me, I was seventeen. First time I went down on a girl, I was seventeen. First time I had intercourse with a boy, I was sixteen. First time I used sex toys with a girl, I was eighteen. First time I used sex toys with a guy, I was with Finn. That’s it. I will can give you details if you want, but I think we could leave it at this. Yeah?”

“Jesus Christ.” He was half-hard listening to her, and she didn’t even give details.

“Is it weird that I’m curious how good Clarke is in bed?” Octavia asked, raising her hand.

“Nope. Not at all.” Lincoln said, shaking his head.

“Don’t even suggest a threesome with another girl to my sister in front of me, dude.” Bellamy pointed at Lincoln, who raised his palms at him.

“She’s great in bed.” Glass said with a smile.

“Timeout. What?” Bellamy looked at Clarke with a cocked eyebrow. She rolled her eyes.

“Glass has beautiful hands. She has long, delicate fingers, and I just…I was curious.”

“And, I was drunk.” Glass laughed.

“Shit. I’m so turned on right now.”

“I’m so pissed, because you didn’t even experiment with me in college! Either of you!” Lilly pouted.

“Same!” Thalia whined.

Girls…” Wells said with a head shake. “You are so weird.”

“Um, ‘where is the craziest place you’ve had sex? Why did you do it? Did you enjoy it? Do you have any regrets about it? Is it something you’d like to do again?’” Octavia groaned, plugging her ears and muttering something about someone telling her when these questions were done.

“Um, craziest place I had sex was on top of a building with an extra after we just filmed an action scene. Everyone was packing up to move on to the next scene, and I pulled her around the corner from everyone else, and I fucked her against the wall with my hand over her mouth to make sure that she was quiet enough that no one came to investigate what we were doing.”

“Jesus.” Kate said with a shake of her head.

“That actually sounds kind of fun,” Clarke laughed. Bellamy winked.

“It was.”

“God, they’re made for each other.” Greg grinned.

“Yeah, so no regrets about it. Definitely willing to try it again.”

“I think that’s a hint.” Zeke added. “Sounded like a big hint. Can I just request that you two don’t do that while I’m here?” Clarke blushed.

“’What are your expectations about sex within relationships?’” Glass said, looking at him pointedly.

“Um, don’t fuck other people without a condom?” Bellamy asked, running a hand through his hair. She gave him an unamused look. “Honestly, I don’t have any expectations. I like sex, and before I started dating Clarke, I always made it clear to girls that I wasn’t interested in more than just a sexual relationship. If the girls weren’t into that, then we stopped. Sex is only fun when it’s consensual and both of us are actively involved. I don’t want to have sex with a girl who’s only doing it because she feels like she has to or as a way to shut me up or as a manipulative tool to get what she wants. I don’t want to have sex with a girl who doesn’t want to have sex with me. I respect women. I respect my relationship with Clarke. I might say crude and provocative things, but if she doesn’t want to have sex with me, then we’re not having sex.”

“Good answer. I approve!” Lilly clapped her hands.

“’Are you comfortable talking about what you do and don’t like when it comes to sex?’”

“Stay away from my butt, Princess. Also, none of that shit with knives or whips or whatever. And no dressing up like babies or pretending to be animals or actually bringing in animals. We good?” He was being a smartass, which earned him a bite on the bicep. He grabbed her forearm and bit her back. “See, I said I bite back.”

“’Are you comfortable with hearing what Clarke likes and doesn’t like when it comes to sex?’” Thalia asked him, and he groaned.

“I’ve been hearing about Clarke’s likes and dislikes in bed since we reconnected after her name was announced as the winner. No to pool sex or moon bounce sex.” She groaned. “Also, from behind can be fun, but she likes to be looked in the eye.”

“Bell, stop!” She pinched him, and he just grinned at her.

“’Is there something you’ve always been curious about but have never done sexually? What is your comfort level with discussing this with my daughter? You may do so now or in a more private setting, whichever makes you feel more comfortable.’” Lilly read off from Thalia’s phone.

“Jesus. Your dad was a nosy bastard.”

“Moving on. The next one is about the number of sex partners.” Clarke said, burying her face into her hands.

“Um, I haven’t counted. A lot. More in high school and before I started acting than now, because I’m nervous about what fans would share about me to the tabloids.”

“What about at the same time?” Glass asked him.

“You mean how many girls I was sleeping with at the same time? Um, I think the most was three?”

“And now?” Thalia narrowed her eyes.

“Shit. I’m not sleeping with anyone. Chill, guys.” Clarke squeezed his hand.

“Birth control?” Greg asked.

“Um, condoms, definitely. Any other birth control that the girl wants to use. Always condoms, though.”

“Do you buy them yourself or do you have some assistant buy them for you?” Greg asked.

“I buy them.”

“’What do you consider to be cheating? Do you know what Clarke’s definition of cheating is?’” Thalia returned to looking at her phone.

“Um, cheating to me is sleeping with someone else or being emotionally open to another person—sharing things that should be shared with your partner. As for Clarke’s definition, being explicitly clear with exes that we’re not together anymore and not telling Clarke that I’m with only her, when I have other people on the side.” He felt her tense, because he basically said he wasn’t going to be Finn.

“’When was the last time you were tested for STDs or STIs?’”

“After I ended things with the last girl I was sleeping with, so a few weeks before I started dating Clarke. And, I’m sure the next question is whether or not I’ve had a STD or STI. No.” He let out a breath. “Shit. Are we done?”

“Yes, we’re done!” Clarke cheered, letting out her own sigh of relief.

“Oh, wait!” Thalia set her phone in her lap, giving him and Clarke an evil smile. “There was a question under the relationship section that I forgot to ask. ‘Are you in love with Clarke?’”

Chapter Text

“Jesus Christ! He doesn’t have to answer that!” Clarke turned to Bellamy, eyes wide. “You don’t have to answer that! Don’t answer that!” Kate had never seen her best friend looked so nervous and uncomfortable before, and she squirmed slightly in Bellamy’s lap, clearly upset. Kate’s eyes narrowed slightly. “This interrogation is over.”

Bellamy wrapped an arm around Clarke’s neck, pressing a kiss to the side of her head, whispering quietly in her ear. Kate watched as Clarke froze for a moment before she relaxed slightly, settling back into his chest. “Right, so, yeah, um, this was fun, guys. Who wants a drink?”

“Clarke, we’re just trying to look out for you.” Thalia said, pursing her lips. “We love you, and we were there for the heartache that you went through with Jenna and Finn.” Clarke froze, and Kate saw the way Bellamy tightened his hold on her, allowing her to settle back into his chest. He shifted, essentially caging her in with his long limbs, a protective gesture if Kate ever saw one.

“Well, I’ve been there for every one of Clarke’s relationships, except the one with Jory, since that was a vacation hookup. I can tell you right now that Bellamy is nothing like Finn.” Wells said, shaking his head.

“Fucking hell, of course not!” Bellamy shook his head, interlacing his fingers, which were resting in Clarke’s lap.

“Bellamy’s not Jenna, either.” Clarke said woodenly. She turned her head, leaning her forehead against Bellamy’s chin.

“He’s secure in his sexuality and is not fucking scared to tell his Catholic mother that he’s been fucking a girl for her entire senior year of college. He sure as hell wouldn’t dump her on the day of his graduation, when she was so excited to meet his family for the first time, only to discover that he used her name to his advantage by claiming that he was dating a guy. Oh, and he wouldn’t fucking move home to Louisiana without so much of a goodbye.” Wells snapped, making Kate squeeze his shoulder.

“That’s what happened with you and your last girlfriend?” Bellamy asked Clarke in surprise, shifting her slightly to look into her eyes. “What a bitch.” He frowned, and she gave him a sad smile.

“It’s not…look, Jenna came from a super conservative family. Catholicism says that homosexuality is wrong, and while there are number of Catholic individuals who do not necessarily believe that that tenet is right, it is part of the religion’s beliefs. I’m not going judge an entire population of people just because of it.”

“Why not?” Octavia said with a scoff. “They judge you for your bisexuality.”

“Because I’m not. I respect their individual beliefs. I have an issue with the people who’d harass me for mine, but that doesn’t mean I have to hate every Catholic person—or Christian, or Jewish, or Muslim, or what have you person—that comes along. I don’t judge Jenna, nor did I judge her family. That is what they believed. Jenna didn’t date, because she didn’t feel the same attraction to boys as she should have. Then, she came to college, and it took her until her senior year, my junior year, to finally admit that she was interested in women and to try it out.” Clarke paused, tracing a fingertip along the veins in Bellamy’s forearm. Kate narrowed her eyes at her friend’s behavior—hell, at Bellamy’s, too. She would have to comment on it later, when she and Clarke were alone. Now wasn’t the time.

“So, we were together from September until May, and it was beautiful, and it was special, and I loved every minute of it. Yes, it hurt to know that I was her dirty secret. Yes, it hurt to know that Jenna was too guilty and ashamed of her sexuality—ashamed of me. Yes, it hurt to have my girlfriend breakup with me the day of her graduation, just because she didn’t want to introduce me to her family, to tell them the truth about her own sexuality. All of that hurt, but I’m not going to attack her for it. I respect Jenna and my relationship a hell of a lot more than I do Finn.”

“No one is disputing that Finn is a disgusting piece of shit, Princess.” Bellamy practically growled as he caught Clarke’s roving hand in his. He interlaced their fingers. “But, I don’t respect Jenna or the way that she treated you. The circumstances of your relationship was different, sure, but she essentially did the same to you as Finn did.”

“I don’t want to talk about this anymore.” Clarke sniffed, and Bellamy leaned over to press a kiss to her forehead.

“So, can we talk about the fact that Clarke has a type?” Kate said quickly, earning a confused look from Bellamy, Octavia, and Lincoln, a glare from Clarke, and amused laughter from the rest of their friends.

“What are you talking about?” Bellamy asked, and Kate smiled at him.

“She has a thing for tall, dark, and handsome…or, well, beautiful, in Jenna’s case.”

“Oh, stop it.” Clarke sighed.

“Nope. I need pictures of Jenna now.” Bellamy laughed, pressing a kiss to Clarke’s shoulder.

“I think I have a few on Facebook.” Lilly grinned, tapping into her phone. Clarke whined, and Kate momentarily felt guilty, but she powered through it. As embarrassing as it was to switch the top of conversation to this, it was better that the uncomfortable discussion of Clarke’s past relationships in front of a hell of a lot of people. She figured that Clarke and Bellamy would have some weird heart-to-heart thing, since that is what they do now, and Clarke would tell him all about her relationships with Finn and Jenna in more detail. Instead, Clarke’s likely slightly relieved over the change of conversation to the physical attributes.

“Yeah, all three of Clarke’s most serious relationships have been with people with dark hair, dark eyes, and, in yours and Jenna’s cases, darker skin tones.” Wells said with a laugh.

“Shit! If Clarke was going to experiment with any one of us in college, it should’ve been me.” Thalia pouted, while Lilly held out her phone to Bellamy.

“That’s Jenna.” Bellamy took the phone, studying the image on the screen.

“Damn, babe.” He whistled, pressing a kiss to the top of Clarke’s head. “I’d fuck her.” Kate rolled her eyes, and she smiled when she saw that Clarke had done the same. She pushed the phone away from Bellamy, who chuckled as he passed it back to Lilly. “I’d rather have you, though.” He whispered, pressing a light kiss to her lips. Kate squirmed slightly, watching her friend and her fake boyfriend. Clarke blushed when Bellamy pulled back, but the two of them were caught in their own little bubble, smiling softly and staring into each other’s eyes.

“So, yeah, you’re definitely part of Clarke’s type.” Kate said, making both of them jump slightly when they came back to their surroundings.

“Well, I had a type before Clarke,” Bellamy laughed. “It was girl, but, uh, now I’d say I have a penchant for curvy, blue-eyed blondes, with enough attitude to make the world turn.”

“Shut it, asshole.” Clarke responded.

“You guys are cute.” Thalia said with a smile. She then yawned loudly. “Shit. We should probably get out of here.”

Bellamy frowned, and he shook his head at them. It was late, and he wasn’t going to send them on their way this late at night. “No, it’s fine. I’ve got plenty of room here. You guys could crash.” He frowned. “I don’t have enough bedrooms, if O and Lincoln stay the night, but I’d be fine with crashing down here in the media room, and a couple could take my room.”

“Actually, Kate and I better call an Uber.” Wells said, and Kate squeezed his shoulder.

“Yeah, my parents are going to be in town tomorrow for a week, and we’re meeting them for lunch.”

“Oh, fun!” Clarke added. “Promise that I get to eat brunch with you parents at some point this week?” Kate nodded her head.

“Lincoln and I are actually gonna head out, too, so Kate, Wells, if you’d like a ride home, we’d be more than willing to take you.” Octavia said, standing up and stretching.

“Are you sure it wouldn’t put you out too much?” Wells asked, and Lincoln shook his head.

“It’s no problem, really.” Lincoln smiled. The four of them stood, along with Clarke, who claimed she was going to walk them to the front door.

“Um, I’m sure O showed you the guest rooms? You’re more than welcome to crash here.” Bellamy smiled at the other three couples.

“If you’re sure you don’t mind, we’d greatly appreciate it. We’ll be out of your hair early in the morning, I promise.” Glass yawned. “I’m exhausted.”

“Yeah, it’s no problem. And, I’ll make breakfast for everybody in the morning.” Bellamy added.

Kate pressed a quick kiss to Bellamy’s cheek as the four of them said their goodbyes. She breathed a warning into his ear as she pulled away. “Take care of my girl, or I’ll end you.”

“Promise, Kate.” He said as they separated. Clarke walked her, Wells, Octavia, and Lincoln to the door, kissing and hugging all of them. The four of them made their way to Lincoln’s car, climbing in.

As Kate buckled herself into the backseat, reaching for Wells hand, Octavia cleared her throat from the front seat of her car. “So, my brother is madly in love with Clarke.” She said simply, turning in the seat to look at Wells and Kate as Lincoln began to drive away from the house. “He doesn’t know it yet, but I’ve never seen my brother act like this around a woman before. He’s more connected to her than he is with me. The way he looks at her…”

“Clarke’s in love with Bellamy, but she doesn’t know it yet. Or, more likely, she does know it, but hasn’t put it into words. Out of fear. Fear of losing him. Fear of getting hurt. Fear that he feels the same way…” Kate agreed with the younger Blake. “So, what do we do about it?”

“Nothing. We let them figure it out for themselves,” Wells told them.

“My brother’s an oblivious idiot, and he’s just as stubborn as a mule. He’ll need a push in the right direction.” Octavia said with a sigh.

“Clarke avoids talking about her feelings, especially when she fears rejection. She’ll never tell Bellamy the truth about what is going on for her, because she’d be afraid he’d laugh in her face. She’ll definitely need some coaxing.” Kate insisted.

“No, neither one of you are going to do anything.” Lincoln said firmly from the driver’s seat. “If Clarke and Bellamy really love each other, they’ll work it out, just as Wells said. Besides, I think the two of them will need to ‘break up’ before they can ever have a real, genuine, organic relationship. Right now, the two of them are too caught up in the fake relationship that they wouldn’t be able to separate it from a real one.”

“I agree with Lincoln. Right now, Clarke is thinking she’s going to stick with this as long as it is good for Bellamy’s career, and she’s going to push aside her own feelings, saying that she loves him, so that is why she let him go.” Wells added.

“Bellamy is the same way, O, and you know it.” Lincoln agreed. “He’ll convince himself that the way to show Clarke he truly loves her, he’d end things between them, because he’s not good enough for her or whatever.”

“Oh, shut up!” Octavia pouted. “It’s because we all know these things, we’ll have to interfere. I want my brother happy, and Clarke makes him happy. If I have to hold him down and tell him to tell her that he loves her and that he should tell her that, then I will do it.”

“Clarke’s never been happier either. I want the best for my girl, and if that means that insisting with her that she needs to share her feelings with Bellamy, then that is what I’m going to do.” Kate held out a hand to Octavia, who shook it excitedly.

“Operation Bellarke?” Octavia quipped, earning a groan from both men.

“I’m in.” Kate agreed. She couldn’t believe those words slipped from her lips after being wary of him for so long. However, if he made Clarke happy, then that was all that mattered, right?

“Good night, Thalia,” Bellamy waved as he shut the door to his bedroom. “Fuck.” He muttered, rubbing his hands through his hair. Clarke twisted the hem of the shirt she’d borrowed from him, watching his discomfort, trying to push down the amusement and the nervousness she was feeling. “I’ll sneak you out in a little bit.” He said, pulling his hands from his hair and pacing a little by the door. She nodded her head, her eyes following him.

“Until then…” She said casually, sucking her bottom lip into her mouth.

“Um,” he stared at her, stilling his pacing. “Fuck, this is so weird for me. I’m not usually like this. When I have a girl alone in a bedroom, usually the clothes are flying by now.” He laughed, making her smile.

“Yeah?” He rolled his eyes. “So, what do you do?”

“What do I do?”

“Yeah, how do you seduce a girl?” She sat down on the side of his bed, leaning back slightly, resting her palms on the fabric behind her. His eyebrows rose as he took in her relaxed posture and easy smile.

“How do I seduce a girl?” He slowly released a breath. She nodded her head, arching an eyebrow.

“So far, I see nothing but awkwardness. Is that how you get laid, Bell? You make a girl feel bad for you?” He growled slightly under his breath, making her chuckle. She rolled her head from one shoulder to the other, eyeing him with an amused smile on her face. “Mm, that’s a bit better. The growl thing is kind of sexy…”

“Clarke, you don’t want me to put the moves on you.”                        

“No?” He narrowed his eyes at her.

“Stop with the sass.”

“Oh, I’m too sassy for you?” She grinned even wider. “Sorry.” He squeezed his hands into fists, laughing as he shook his head at her. It wasn’t a humorous laugh, though. She could tell as much. The laugh was that of self-deprecation and desperation, rather than real amusement.

“Fuck, Clarke.” He breathed out, and she blinked at him. “You really don’t want this.” He said as he slowly sauntered toward her. She cocked an eyebrow at him. She knew that she stop this, and she really had no idea what came over when she asked him in the first place, but she was so tired (both emotionally and physically) that she was allowing her irrational side take cover.

“Who are you to say what I want, Bell?” She sat up. He kept walking, not stopping in front of her. Instead, he climbed onto the bed, crawling behind her. She turned slightly, looking over at him. She was sure the curiosity was etched in her face, and he did a quick nod of his head.

“Look that way.” He kept his voice low and gravely. She turned her head, looking forward, humoring him. “Usually, I don’t need to seduce a woman.” He continued, shifting behind her. She kept herself steady, even with he placed his hands onto her shoulders. “When I meet a woman, usually she’s ready for me with minimal seduction. There are a few women, those who I’d say are little shyer than others.” He leaned down to whisper in her ear. His breath fluttered the hair at her ear. She sucked in a small breath, quiet enough that she was sure that he didn’t hear it.

“What do you do with those women?” She asked him, shooting for casual, and she was pretty sure that she succeeded. This was a really stupid idea.

“They just need a little more coaxing.” He whispered. His hands began to move. His fingers prodded the skin, and she sighed, letting her head fall forward, smiling as his thumbs combed over the back of her neck.

“Is this the coaxing you were talking about?” She moaned out, a failed attempt at keeping it together throughout his seduction.

“We’re just getting started, Princess.” He chuckled, moving his hands lower on her back. She continued to hum under her breath, her eyes shut tightly. As his hands pressed into the skin of her lower back, she felt his lips brush against the back of her head. He pressed sloppy kisses down her skull to the back of her neck, one hand abandoning her back to wrap his her curls messily around his hand. He shifted her hair out of the way as he placed open-mouth kisses against the skin of her neck.

The hand of Clarke’s lower back slid around to her hip, squeezing her hip bone. Bellamy shifted his body, his knees resting on either side of her body. He was crowding her frame, so all that she could smell or feel or hear was him. He sucked at the skin where her neck met her shoulder. “Bell,” she sighed, arching her neck, offering more of her skin to his mouth. She felt him smile against her throat. She moved her hands from where they were resting in her lap to lay on top of his thighs. She dug her nails into his thighs, making him tighten his hold on her hair. She moaned at the gentle pressure on the back of her head from his grip.

His hand slipped beneath her shirt, stroking along the skin of her side. She felt the twinge in her stomach as she sucked in a deep breath. His hand shifted higher, slowly painting its way up her side. His fingers were warm and callused, making her squirm as goosebumps erupted across her skin. His hand froze, just shy of the side of her breasts. She knew he could feel that tattoo of her heartbeat beneath her ribs. He pulled his lips from her neck, and her eyes opened up. He sucked her earlobe into his mouth, and she moaned again. She shifted, turning in his arms, a hand leaving his thigh to cup his cheek. Her turning led to his hand stroking across her skin to her upper stomach, just below her breast. She guided his face to hers. Their lips barely brushed against each other, before she pulled her face away. “Okay,” she licked her bottom lip. “You’ve got me nice and seduced.” She laughed quietly, but it was humorless and filled more with amazement and arousal. He eased back slightly, breathing heavily. Their eyes locked.

Clarke wanted nothing more than to kiss him and to continue what they started. She knew that Bellamy felt the same way, based on the way that he was breathing and his eyes combing over her face, settling on her lips more than once. He released her hair from his grip, but he didn’t move his hand from where it was resting beneath her shirt. She sucked in another deep breath. “Clarke.” He paused, licking his lips. “I, uh, think we should get you to Octavia’s room.” He said, letting his hand drop, pulling it from beneath the shirt. She stood, walking away from him.

The irrational part of her brain had taken over, and now she felt embarrassed by her behavior. She was stupid, and she let it get too far. She was attracted to him, but this was beyond sex. She’d always know that she was sexually attracted to him, even when she hate him. Now, it was different, though. He was her best friend—in a way that Kate and Wells weren’t. She felt so strongly for him. She felt safe with him. She felt understood by him. She felt an especially deep connection to him. She ran a hand through her messy hair. “I’m sorry.” She whispered. She tensed when she heard him climb off the bed. His arms wrapped around her waist, and he pressed a gentle kiss to her shoulder.

“There’s nothing to apologize for.” His voice sent a shiver down her spine.

“I’m gonna go.” She pulled away from him, walking to the door of his bedroom. She opened it, jumping when she saw that Glass was walking down the hall. “Oh, um, wow! You scared me!” She laughed, pressing a hand to her chest.

“Hey, Clarke. Where’re you off to?” Glass asked with a smile. She glanced around Clarke to smile at Bellamy. Clarke glanced over her shoulder to see that Bellamy was giving a tight smile, running a hand through his hair.

“I was, uh, just going to get some water.” She said, turning her attention back to her friend.

“Me, too. I’m dying of thirst. All that booze and laughing, you know? Walk with me?”

“Actually, why don’t I go?” He said, coming forward. He pushed past her, pressing a quick kiss to the top of her head. “I’ll set the coffee maker up for the morning. That way, whoever is up first can get it started. You know, if it’s not me.” He gave her a pointed look, as if he was encouraging her to sneak out while they’re gone. The two of them slipped down the hallway.

Clarke leaned out, watching them go. She turned her head, ready to head into Octavia’s, but she met the gaze of Zeke. “Oh, um, hey!” She smiled at him. He was waiting in the doorway of the guestroom that he and Glass were staying in.

“Hi, Clarke.” She waved at him, sliding back into the room and shutting the door. She frowned, walking over to sit down on the bed again. After a few minutes, she heard Bellamy’s muffled voice saying goodbye to Glass.

The door opened, and Bellamy walked in, holding a glass of water. He stopped dead when he saw her still there, and Clarke frowned, standing up. “Um, Zeke was waiting in the doorway.”

“Yeah, I saw that the door was open when Glass went back to the room.” He sighed, running a hand through his hair. He walked over to the end table near her side of the bed. He put the glass down on the coaster that was sitting next to the lamp. “So, what’s the plan? Try and sneak you out now?” She shook her head.

“Glass sleeps with the door open. I never understood how she could handle it when we lived in the Delta house at Stanford. We would always shut it once she fell asleep, because it was hell to have those girls running around all night and trying to sleep.” She paused. “I was hoping that my friends were drunk enough to want to get laid by their significant others, but if Glass is wandering around, then she isn’t have sex, ergo the open door.” She sighed.

“So, you’re here tonight?” She nodded. “Okay, so we’ll make it work.”

“Right, okay.” She shifted, laying down on the bed, on top of the covers. She watched as he walked around the bed. She kept her back on him, listening as he unzipped his jeans, the sound of them falling down his legs. After a moment, the bed shifted as he climbed in on the other side.

“C’mon, get under the covers.” Bellamy reached out to poke Clarke’s shoulder. She rolled onto her back, seeing that he was in his t-shirt and white and blue stripped boxers. He had one knee resting on the bed, the duvet and sheet raised and held in his hand. He gave her a pointed look, and she shifted to slide beneath the sheets. He climbed into the bed completely, laying down beside her, leaving a foot between them.

“Um, the light. We forgot the light.”

“Nah, we’re good.” He clapped his hands, and the lights went out in the room. She burst out laughing, ignoring his mutters.

“You’ve got the clap lights!” She giggled. She squealed when she felt him roll over into the bed to crush her body beneath his. He buried his face into her neck as he began tickling her sides. She squirmed beneath him, laughing loudly. “Stop, stop, stop!”

“Are you gonna stop teasing?” He said, raising up over her. She couldn’t see him in the dark, but the lights of the city helped her to see the shape of his face. She stilled beneath him, his fingers no longer tickling her, but instead stroking over her sides. “The lights are good for when you’re drunk and lazy.” He said softly, and it made her smile. “Admit that you want some in your place.” He grumbled, and she settled a hand over one of his wrists, stilling his movement.

“Of course,” she joked, and she could practically feel the eye roll. “Bell,” she hesitated for just a moment before she leaned up, pressing her lips to his. He kissed her back, making her tighten her hold on his wrist. She broke the kiss nearly as quickly as she began it. “Good night.”

“G’night.” He breathed, moving off of her body to lay down beside her. She rolled over, facing him. She reached out, laying a hand onto his arm. He slid his arm from beneath her hand, instead choosing to interlace her fingers with his.

Clarke didn’t know when she fell asleep, but she knew that they were still holding hands.

Bellamy awoke to the morning light shining in his eyes. He felt the warmth of Clarke pressed against his chest, his arm wrapped around her waist, holding her close. Their fingers were still intertwined, and he felt the thud of her heart against his chest. He opened his eyes slowly, shifting his head closer to her, breathing in the smell of her hair. His free arm was tucked beneath his head, and he bent his arm at the elbow, reaching down to comb her blonde hair from her eyes. He shifted, raising his head as he ran his fingers through her messy curls, watching her face as she slept. He felt her sigh in her sleep, which made him smile. She moved back, pressing more firmly against him, and he thanked every God imaginable that he didn’t have any morning wood at the moment. He smiled wider when her eyes opened slightly and she half-hummed, half-whined.

Her free hand raised, lying on his forearm. She absent-mindedly stroked her nails across his skin. “Morning,” he breathed into her ear, making her chuckle. She pulled her fingers free from his and groaned before rolling over to face him. She scrunched her nose at him as she blinked sleepily. “If I knew you were this cute in the morning, we’d have had sleepovers ages ago.” She stuck her tongue out at him. She buried her face into his neck.

“Shut up. I’m sleepy.” She whined, making him laugh. He slid his arm under her neck, shifting her body even more closely to his. Fuck, was that even possible? If she moved any closer, they’d be connected by osmosis. His hand returned to playing with her hair, the other hand tracing over her back as he gently rubbed it through her (his) shirt. He felt the puff of air against his neck as she sighed. “G’morning.” She mumbled against his neck.

“You still smell good.” He told her, pressing his nose against her hair. “I love your shampoo.” He felt her smile against his skin, and it made him grin against her hair.

“I love the smell of your cologne.” She sighed, pulling her head back from his neck, and his heart sped up at the sweet smile on her face. “You always smell good. Even with gross morning breath.” He laughed, rolling his eyes at her.

“I don’t have morning breath.” Clarke nodded her head, scrunching her nose again. Bellamy pouted at her. “You’re so mean to me, Princess.” He whined, and she giggled.

“Poor baby.” He furrowed his brow, making her smile wider. It was the type of smile that made his stomach clench slightly. She shifted up to press a kiss against his nose. He moved the hand was ghosting over her back to lay it against her neck. “Better?”

“Mmm, not quite.”

“What about this?” She pressed a kiss to the apple of his cheek. He shook his head. “Hmm,” she hummed before shifting higher to press a kiss to his forehead. “Better yet?”

“A little.” He said, stroking her neck with his thumb. She shifted her head down once more, brushing her nose against his as she moved to press her lips to the dimple in his chin. “That’s not too bad.” He smirked down at her. She chuckled.

“How’s this?” She shifted her head against and flicked her tongue against the tip of his nose. He groaned, making her giggle. “Better?”

“Clarke,” he grunted. “Oh, fuck it.” He leaned down and pressed his lips against hers. She sighed against his mouth, opening her mouth to his. He swiped his tongue between her lips to comb over the roof of her mouth. He felt the hum of pleasure, which he answered with his own. He shifted her onto her back, his hand still tangled in her hair at the back of her head. His other hand slid down her neck to her shoulder.

Bellamy wanted to move his hand to Clarke’s breast, but he was nervous that he’d take it too far. Instead, he stroked his hand down her shoulder to grip her elbow. She reached up, laying her hand on his back, gripping his t-shirt in her fist. Her other hand wrapped around his waist, grabbing his shirt at the small of his back. He sucked her bottom lip into his mouth, nipping it, grinning at the moan that slipped out of her. She moved her hand from his upper back to his neck. She pressed her nails into his skin, making him grunt. His hand followed the path of her elbow to her wrist, raising their hands above her head. He carded his fingers through hers, breaking the kiss to begin pressing open-mouth kisses to her neck. He tightened his hold on her blonde curls, making her grunt with pleasure at the slight tug. Fuck, the sounds she was making was starting to make him hard.

She squeezed his hand with hers, her other hand releasing his shirt to slip beneath it. The heat of her soft hand against his back made him jerk against her. “Bell,” she gasped, shifting her legs so that one of his fell between hers. These kisses were a lot different from the others they’d had before. Sure, they’d made out before, but this was different, because they were alone and in a bed. This was different. He knew that he should stop it, but having her body beneath his, even full clothed like this? He wasn’t sure if he wanted to stop. He wanted this, her.

“How’s the morning breath?” He mumbled against her throat, sucking on the little mole that was seated on her collarbone. She laughed a little breathlessly, pulling her hand from where he’d had it trapped above her head. She reached down, sliding it under his shirt, settling both of her hands on his hips.

“It’s not too bad, I guess.” She sighed. She slowly ran her hands up his sides, taking his shirt with them, and he shifted back to study her face. Her cheeks were flushed, her lips red and swollen, but her eyes were clear. He could read the desire and the hesitation in them. She wanted this just as much as he did, but she was nervous to cross the line. He studied her for a moment, both of them breathing heavily, eyes locked. There were two routes they could go. He could stop this now, make excuses, or he could tell her how much he wanted to continue.

“Clarke, I—” He didn’t get to finish, because the door flew open, and three screaming women came thundering into his room. He snapped his mouth shut, rolling off of her as they all crowed “Clarke!” together. He sat on the bed beside her, leaning back against the headboard with his elbows resting on his knees. It wasn’t like he was fully hard or anything, but he was sure that Clarke felt the beginning swell of his dick against her thigh. He dropped his head down, chin pressed to his chest, running a hand through his hair.

“Oh, sorry! Did we interrupt?” Thalia winked as she, Glass, and Lilly all jumped into the bed on top of Clarke. Thank fucking God, he had a California king. Clarke grunted beneath the weight of the three women.

“Hey, guys…what the hell?” She sat up, pushing the women off of her. Lilly fell off the bed and onto the floor, making Bellamy roll over slightly to check if she was okay. Instead, he found her laughing and red-faced as she rolled onto her stomach and rubbed her ass.

“Ow.” She winced as she climbed onto her knees, resting a chin on Clarke’s thigh. “We’re hungry. We started making breakfast, because we were sick of waiting for Bellamy to make it like he promised. We’ve got a shit ton of eggs being scrambled, bread toasting, and sausage frying. None of us know how to make your vegan stuff, so I sliced some fruit for you, and we found some peanut butter, so you’ll be okay with peanut butter toast and fruit, right?”

“Um, yeah, that’s good for me.” The three women cheered excitedly and wrapped Clarke into a tight hug.

“Okay, so we’ll see you downstairs.” Glass grinned at them, grabbing the other two girls by the wrist. “Morning, Bellamy!” She said, pushing them out the door and shutting the door behind them.

Clarke groaned, burying her face into her hands. “I’m so embarrassed. I’m sorry.” Bellamy sighed, moving closer to her to press a kiss to her shoulder.

“It’s okay.” He sighed, sitting down beside her so that their arms, sides, and legs were brushing against each other.

“Would you have stopped us?” He pressed his lips together, staring at the curve of her shoulder. He could feel her eyes trace over his face, and he swallowed, raising his eyes to meet hers.

“I don’t know.” He honestly didn’t. He had started to say something to her, but in that moment, he wasn’t sure what was going to come out. “God, the smart thing—the responsible thing—” He stopped abruptly, and she gave him a small half-smile.

“The rational thing…”

“Yeah, the rational thing would have been to stop it.” He groaned, leaning his forehead against her shoulder. “But I was never the most rational person in the world.”

“I’ve always done the right thing, the rational thing…” She reached up to lay her hand on the back of his neck. “But I don’t know if I would’ve stopped it either.” He raised his head, giving her a small head nod. Fuck. If her friends hadn’t have interrupted, they probably would have had sex. He didn’t know if he was relieved that they came barging in or if he was disappointed. To be honest, it was a bit of both. “C’mon. Let’s get some breakfast.”

They made their way downstairs, with Clarke leading the way. Bellamy trailed behind her, hesitating, wanting nothing more than to gather her up in his arms and lead her to the nearest surface to have his way with her. Kissing her was intoxicating, and being that close to sex—it had been torture for him. When they made it to the kitchen, they laughed and smiled with her friends as they ate. She kept throwing him heavy looks, looks that seemed to ask him to talk with her. He knew that they should. The night before they’d had a huge blow up and considered ending this whole charade. Then, the interrogation happened, and he’d revealed so much of himself and his history to her and to her friends, things that he shouldn’t be doing as a fake boyfriend. Then, they’d slept together and nearly hooked up, twice. So much insanity happened in a short period, and he needed to get his head screwed on straight before he even attempted to have another deep conversation with her. He was feeling confused as hell about what the hell was going on with them.

“So, we set up two Ubers to pick us up and take us back to the hotel. They’ll be here in five.” Zeke was saying, snapping him back the moment. “Thanks for having us, Bellamy, and thanks for putting up with these psychos.” The dark skinned man nodded toward the women who all rolled their eyes at him. “Clarke, it was great to meet you, officially.”

“Actually, I, uh…could I maybe catch a ride back to my apartment with you guys?” Bellamy tried to ignore the rejection that flared up in his stomach (that overpowered the small burst of relief he was feeling over being able to avoid having a much needed conversation again). He just smiled as he bit into a piece of toast, using the excuse of chewing to not have to answer any loaded looks that may come his way.

“I figured that you’d get a ride back with Bellamy?” Lilly frowned, looking between the two of them.

“I would, but—”

“I have a meeting with Kane soon.” He piped up, swallowing his bite of toast. “His office is in the opposite direction of her place, so it would be a bit more of a hassle for me to drive her there and then drive her back.” Clarke smiled at him, but it didn’t reach her eyes, and he knew that she heard the tension in his voice that he’d tried to keep out of it.

“I forgot about that. You mentioned it.” She lied, keeping the smile firmly in place. “This actually works out pretty well, because I was actually feeling really inspired to paint.” He watched her fingers twitch, and the rejection eased in his stomach some. When she was inspired to paint, nothing could stop her from painting, so it wasn’t that she was trying to get away from him, but more about getting to her easel. “I’m feeling super antsy right now, and I just need to paint. With the three art shows that Kate has in the works in April in Manhattan, I need to knock out a bunch of paintings.” The rejection flared up again. This was their way of breaking up—spending way too much time apart, because of their busy schedules—was this her way of starting the process? Telling her friends that she was going to be busy and across the country from him in a few short months?

“Oh! How exciting! Three shows? That’s a lot. How much art do you need for that?”

“Um, we’re doing two small shows and one bigger one, so I need about ten pieces each for the small show, and about eighteen to twenty for the bigger show. I’ve got about ten pieces completed that didn’t work in my last show right after Thanksgiving. I’ve been looking through them to decide if I’m going to use any of them or if I want to settle on a completely new theme.”

Bellamy began clearing plates and cleaning up while Clarke talked. “Babe, you might want to go grab your dress and stuff before the cars come.” She jumped, stopping in the middle of her discussion of one of her pieces that was of a shooting star that was crashing towards Earth. He probably looked and sounded like an asshole, but he couldn’t help it. He was irritated and feeling self-conscious, and he didn’t know how to deal with those emotions.

“Oh, right, yeah. Come with me?” She climbed off of the island stool, reaching for his arm. He let her drag him from the kitchen towards the stairs. “I’m sorry to bail on you, but I really am itching to paint.” She said as she tugged him up the steps.

“It’s fine, Clarke.”

“No, it’s not. I’ve got so many ideas rolling around in my head right now, I’m not sure I’m gonna be leaving the studio for the rest of the day, which is definitely great for my career, but sucky on you and the fact that I’m essentially bailing on you after you put up with my friends when you definitely didn’t need to.” He watched her as she walked toward her dress, which was lying on his dresser from the night before. Her shoes were on the floor in front of it, since she brought them up the night before after the interrogation. “I’ve got a thing tomorrow morning at Spacewalk, but I was thinking that maybe you could come over for lunch afterwards? I should be home around twelve-thirty.” She turned away from him, tugging the shirt she borrowed over his head, making his eyes widen in surprise. He took in the span of her back, the dark navy of her bra standing out against her pale skin. He could see a portion of her tattoo, the a portion of the girl’s back, from his vantage point. She then slipped his pants off of her hips, standing before him in nothing but the bra and pair of matching lace underwear that left nothing to the imagination.

“Fuck,” he muttered, and the little laugh that she let out as she tugged the dress over her body once more made his dick jump in his pants. “That was mean.” He told her when she turned around again, bending over to grab her shoes. She rolled her eyes at him, but he just stalked over to her, wrapping an arm around her waist. He pressed his lips to hers, making her squeak in surprise. She reached up, wrapping her arms around his neck, letting the shoes dangle from her finger tips as she responded to his kiss.

“You taste like eggs,” she pouted, breaking the kiss.

“Eggs are better than the sausage, right?” He didn’t eat any sausage that morning. Just eggs and toast and some fruit. She pursed her lips slightly. “They’re free-range, organic, and from a locally-owned, super-small farm that I got at the farmer’s market. People have gone to his farm before, and he treats the chickens like royalty. The chickens are only used to produce eggs, and when they grow too old, they’re retired and allowed to live out the remainder of their lives as happy pets. He doesn’t slaughter them. I think the guy’s a vegetarian who sells his eggs and his produce from the garden.” She studied his face for a moment.

“Okay, so those eggs aren’t too bad, I guess.” She pressed a quick kiss to his lips. “I gotta go, but please tell me that you’ll be over for lunch tomorrow? One?” She dropped onto his bed to put her shoes on.

“Yeah, one.” He nodded as he watched her finish putting on her second shoe.

“Perfect.” She held her hand out to him, and he took it, letting her pull him back down the steps to where her friends were waiting by the front door.

“Let’s go, slowpoke. Glass, Lilly, Zeke, and Kai already left.” Thalia said, smiling at the two of them. “They say thank you again, Bellamy.” He nodded his head, pressing a quick kiss to Thalia’s cheek as he hugged her. He shook Greg’s hand before kissing Clarke one last time. She gave him a pointed look.

“I’ll see you tomorrow for lunch.” She promised him, waving as she followed her two friends out the door.

“Fuck…” He muttered before heading back to his kitchen to finish cleaning up.

Chapter Text

The first thing that Clarke did when she got home to her apartment was scrub at her teeth while she waited for the water to warm in the shower. Bellamy may have told her that she didn’t have gross morning breath, but she still felt like she did. “Fuck,” she muttered, blushing as she stepped under the warm spray. She let the water beat down on her face, reaching up to comb it over her hair. She winced when her fingers got caught in the knotted curls. She hadn’t brushed the style from her hair the night before, so she slept on a curly mess, and along with the fact that his hand had been in her hair. “Fuck,” she whined, turning around to let the water run more completely through her hair.

She kissed him again. Last night, she’d kissed him, and then this morning, she’d played some stupid fucking game, kissing various parts of his face before licking the tip of his nose, and he’d kissed her. She’d forgotten who she had spent the night with. She’d forgotten what appropriate behavior was for her and her fake boyfriend. How many more times were they going to kiss or fool around when no one was around and still pretend like it was normal or not weird or that it didn’t happen? They’d made out on multiple occasions, yet they were still acting like they were just friends who were pretending to be in a relationship.

She was so confused, which is why she did what she did best. She bolted. Sure, she wasn’t lying when she said that she was inspired, because she was. She did have a tendency to do her best work when she was feeling an excess of any emotion. Extremely happy? She wanted to let the rainbow explode onto a piece of paper with colored pencils. Extremely sad? She wanted to empty her soul with a piece of charcoal in a sketchbook. Extremely angry? She wanted to stab at the canvas with a paintbrush. Her art was how she worked through her emotional experience, and right now she was feeling extremely confused and conflicted. She was feeling inspired, but she didn’t know how to express herself. She wanted to simultaneously paint and sketch and color. It was during times like this that she had a tendency to do mixed media artwork, because her charcoal would suddenly turn into a swipe of yellow paint that would narrow into a line of blue colored pencil before swirling back into a dark smudge of charcoal. She would work through her confusion, usually left with a mess of a picture that was confusing and difficult to look at. Frankly, that was what happened with several of her breakup-with-Finn pieces.

After standing under the spray long enough that the water started to lose its warmth, she quickly washed her hair and face before climbing out of the shower. She dried herself off with a towel and then slipped her robe on. She made her way out of the bathroom to go dress in her favorite clothes to paint in, a pair of loose boxer-shorts and a tank top, with a pair of mismatched fuzzy socks. She rubbed at her hair before she dropped the damp towel on top of her bed to pull the clothing from her drawers. Once she gathered what she wanted, she dropped them on the dresser and reached for her the sash of her robe. She loosened the tie, letting it fall open. As she shifted her shoulders to let the robe fall from her bare frame, her eyes happened to catch sight of herself in the mirror.

Clarke gasped as inspiration struck her like a lightning bolt attracted to something metal. The silky robe slipped the rest of the way off of her body, leaving her completely nude in front of her full-length mirror. She studied her curves, the shapely path of her thighs and stomach and breasts. She noted the faded bruises on her knee from kneeling on the hard ground when she cleaned her oven the other day, along with the trail of freckles on her hip bone. She rose onto her toes, watching the tightening of the muscles in her short but slender legs. She turned to her side, running her hand the tattoo permanently etched into her skin. She faced away from the mirror, but turned her torso so that the muscles in her back bunched in some places but were stretched in other. She studied the swell of her butt at the base of her hips.

If someone were to catch her, studying and running her hands over her own naked form, they’d think that she was some type of freak or that she was horny (or both). Instead, she was an artist who was contemplating the perfect series of pieces. She was thinking of the beauty of the naked form. She was thinking of the symbolism of being bare physically, and how it relates to bearing one’s soul. She was thinking of how the mirror reveals what others see of you, but also what one sees within him- or herself. She was thinking of how the mirror is similar to that of a lover, someone you are open and vulnerable with. You lay yourself open and bare to your lover, and you see in them what they reflect back to you. All of it was so powerful to her in that moment, and to think that it came from the confusion over what she and Bellamy were to one another!

She was laying herself bare, being vulnerable, with him, but she was also hiding, keeping herself separated, not sharing everything with him. What was reflected back to her was his running scared, his occasional brusqueness and rude comments, his inability to communicate with her without yelling or placing blame onto her, but he also reflected back kindness, compassion, openness, a willingness to try and experience, and a desire to protect, honor, and support. They weren’t lovers. They were friends, but they were confused friends. They weren’t being honest with each other or themselves.

She was curious what was reflected in other couples. What did the mirror reveal to couples like Jasper and Maya, or Kate and Wells, or Lincoln and Octavia? What did they see when they were vulnerable and open with their lover? What was reflected back to them?

Her fingers began to twitch as she thought of possible scenarios for a show. She quickly through on her art clothes before she began searching through her bag for her cell phone. She marched from her sleeping area of the apartment to the kitchen, grabbing a pad of paper and a pencil from the counter where she wrote her grocery list. She tore the top page off of the pad and sat down at the table and began to write.

Clarke needed mirrors. She needed models. Would her friends being willing to get naked for her so that she could paint them with their lovers and alone, surrounded by mirrors? She would need more space. She would need a venue that was private and open and allowed for mirrors to be hung up or displayed in some way, but hidden from the rest of the world to protect her friends’ nude forms from others. Should she do it outdoors? Indoors? She would need photographs, because she really couldn’t expect her friends to sit or stand for hours on end in the complete nude. She wasn’t the best with a camera, though. Perhaps she could call her friend who was a photographer? She could take the pictures that she could use as a reference for the paintings at a later date. How many paintings would she want to do? Would she have enough to do three shows worth? Did she have the time to compose that many pieces of art? Where was she going to do all of this? Would anyone even agree to this?

She stopped writing, grabbing her phone. She hesitated when she opened her favorite numbers, seeing Bellamy’s name at the top of the list, because it came early on in the alphabet. She swallowed when she realized that he generally came first when it comes to people she communicated with. She had to pound down the desire right then to call him first to share her idea. Right now, she couldn't get distracted by calling him, for a number of reasons. The concept was about being naked with a partner. She knew that Bellamy would volunteer to help her out, but that would mean that the two of them would have to be naked together. Shit! He'd also throw a hissy fit if he knew that she wanted to ask Octavia and Lincoln to participate, too. Instead, her thumb found Kate’s name, and she called the redhead before she could let herself be detoured by a call to Bellamy. She needed to figure out what to say to him first.

“’Ello?” Kate crowed into the phone. “I’m so glad that you called. I’ve got some good news and some bad news.”

“What?” Clarke felt some of her happiness over her inspiration diminish. “What’s going on?”

“Well, one of the smaller venues that I was trying to get squared away for a show canceled, because they had a massive fire after a performance art show that went awry, and now they’re doing renovations. They’re not sure they’ll be ready for an April show.” Kate told her, making Clarke frown for a moment. “But, I do have some feelers out for a possible third venue, or we could keep it with the two, if you want.”

Clarke considered it, and she realized that it would be so much easier on her to focus completely on this theme, which she would make into her larger showcase, and she’d use the spare artwork that she hadn’t used in the last few shows for the smaller show. It wouldn’t be a consistent story throughout, but she was an artist, and she could name the overall show Muddled and the inconsistency of it all would suddenly come together. She’d be called a genius for her ability to bring together a number of pieces in different genres. Her shooting star piece would somehow link to her by-the-sea landscape in some art-show-hipster-snob’s mind. (She shouldn’t berate the people who come to her show, but her shows would occasionally attract some random hipster who was being ironically cool by finding the underlying message hidden in her art.)

“Um, keep it with the two venues, because I have the best idea for the larger show. It’ll be like my debut and my rebirth all rolled into one.”

“Oh, yeah? Pray tell.” Kate cooed into the phone.

“Yeah, and you might be able to help me out.” Clarke said softly, nervous that Kate would say no. “Um, so, the theme is about vulnerability and openness within relationships. The relationship one has with him- or herself, and the relationship that one has with a lover. I’m going to incorporate the use of mirrors, like the mirror is reflecting back the person’s true essence, and the mirror is also the lover…sort of.” She stopped when she realized that she was rambling.

“Holy shit, that sound’s so awesome.” Kate exclaimed, and Clarke felt some tension ease out of her frame. “How can I help?”

“Well, with a few things actually. First, I was wondering if you could call Monroe and ask if she’d be willing to help me out by taking photographs of the models I’m going to be using. I want the full-scene shots, but I was also hoping she’d be able to get up close and person with the shots, taking pictures of facial expressions, or muscles and curves of the bodies, et cetera.” She paused again. “You can tell her that she can use the full-scene pictures if she doesn’t mind me using them as a basis for the paintings, you know? Like, I’ll probably alter the images once I start painting, anyways, to really get my vision across to the viewer, so it wouldn’t be like the same thing over and over.”

“Yeah, I’ll call her! No problem. This would actually work out, because I was looking to get Monroe another show, and maybe I could work it out to be a joint show? The art house is big enough to do your paintings, as well as to include a wall of Monroe’s photos. It would draw a big crowd. I could see a lot of people interested in buying the paired photographs and paintings.” Clarke grinned as she listened to Kate ramble. “Oh, my God! I have the best idea. I’ll get her to take pictures of your paintings, and we could get started on a book printing of the exhibit. We could pair the photograph with its coordinating painting, and we could have you write up where the inspiration came from and what was going on for you with the pieces, and so on. Same with Monroe, like why she’d want to be involved in the process, et cetera. Which, of course, she’ll be down for this, because it sounds like a really awesome exhibit.”

“Yeah, that does sound cool. The art book is a pretty awesome idea, as well. I could definitely be into a printing of the exhibit. It would be a way of sharing it with the whole world.” She nodded her head.

“Okay, so I’m writing this down now. Bullet one, call Monroe. Bullet two, look into publishers for a printing of this exhibit at a later date. Do you need me to start calling possible artists’ models? What if I called Kane and Octavia? Do you think she’d like to be involved?”

“Kate, stop for a second. I want couples as the models. I did have an idea of asking Octavia and Lincoln to be involved, but I’ll talk to them about it. There’s more to the concept that I want to share with you that I left out earlier.” She sucked in a deep breath, letting it out slowly before she spoke again. “I want the models to be nude. I want the physical nudity to represent the emotional vulnerability that comes with relationships.”

“Okay, yeah, that’s pretty awesome. I dunno why you’re acting like such a weirdo about all of this.” Kate said, and Clarke could hear the eye roll. “I’m not sure if there are too many model couples, but I’m sure I could find some if I look hard enough. I work with a few modeling agents that might be able to help me out—”

“Kate!” Her friend stopped talking, and she took another deep breath before continuing. “I feel extremely connected to this idea, and I want the best people to represent the message that I’m trying to convey. So, um, I was wondering if you and Wells would consider modeling.”

There was a lengthy pause, and Clarke felt like her heart was going to explode in her chest. She was scared that Kate was going freak out on her, but she heard the soft sound of her friend breathing before she calmly spoke again. “You want me and Wells to be photographed and then painted naked?”

“Yes, and not just you! Like, I’m going to ask Octavia and Lincoln to do it, Miller and Harper, Monty and Hayley, and Jasper and Maya. Hopefully, all of them would agree to it. It’s not going to be gratuitous nudity, though. I’m going to try and make it more of a focus on backs and sides, so that it’s mostly asses that are on display and maybe a hint of side-boob. Plus, there are going to be poses where the couples are coming together, touching in some way so that it’s like one is bleeding into the other? You know what I mean?” It was quiet again for a little while before she heard some muffled sounds on the other end of the line. She could hear Kate’s murmuring voice, and the deep baritone of Wells responding in an equally low tone. After a few minutes of murmuring, Kate returned to the call.

“Clarke, Wells and I trust you completely. We trust your vision, and we also trust your word that this isn’t gratuitous, but more about the message of vulnerability and openness. We trust you, so we’re in.”

“Oh, my god! Thank you; thank you; thank you!” Clarke squealed into the phone. One couple down, a few more to go. Her plan was coming together perfectly so far.


Bellamy texted Clarke that he was about to leave for her house. He grabbed his keys and headed toward the front door of his house, pausing when he felt the buzz in his hand from his phone.

From: Clarke Griffin
12:15 PM
SHIT! I knew I forgot something!!! So, there’s a slight change of plans.

He sighed, quickly tapping a response back to her, which she responded to almost instantaneously.

To: Clarke Griffin
12:15 PM
What kind of change of plans????

From: Clarke Griffin
12:16 PM
Meet me and Kate at Ikea!?

To: Clarke Griffin
12:16 PM
Ikea? Why Ikea? It’ll take me forever to get there.

From: Clarke Griffin
12:17 PM
Right. Shit. Um, meet us at my apartment. We’ll be there by 1:30ish?

From: Clarke Griffin
12:17 PM
Oh, can you get bagels!? From my favorite bakery!!?? Please and thank you!!!! Xxxxxxxxxxx

He rubbed his temples, because he’d hoped that the two of them could talk about whatever happened over the last few days, but with Kate with her, he’d doubted that that was going to happen. He headed to his car, feeling like an asshole, because he was going to get her bagels, just like she requested.

He made it to her apartment at quarter to two, bag of bagels in hand, but after banging on the door for a good five minutes, he realized that they hadn’t gotten there yet. He groaned again, letting his head bang back against the wall next to her doorway. He was kind of pissed off, but he couldn’t get pissed off with her in front of Kate. Well, he could, because he had…before…but, he felt like he couldn’t get pissed off at her now, in front of her friends. He dropped the bag of bagels on the ground next to his hand, squeezing his hands into fists.

“Hey, Bellamy.” He jumped when he saw Wells come lumbering down the hallway with several bulky mirrors wrapped up in his arms. He immediately headed forward, reaching out to grab some of them, confused as to why the black man was coming to Clarke’s apartment with seven, mismatched large mirrors in his arms. “Sorry about the wait. Clarke was frantically texting me while I was at the antique shop that I was closer and that I needed to get back here before you did. She also wanted to me to tell you that she knows you’re probably pissed at her and that she’s sorry.” Wells set the remaining mirrors that he was holding down by the door, pulling his keys from his pocket.

Bellamy watched as Wells stuck one of his keys into Clarke’s lock, opening the door to her place. He then grabbed the mirrors in his hands once more, heading into the apartment, with Bellamy following suit, mirrors tucked under one arm and the bag of bagels from the ground in his other hand.

Bellamy gaped when he looked around Clarke’s apartment. There were a lot of mirrors leaning against almost every surface. He put the mirrors that he was holding down, leaning them against another stack of mirrors. There were mirrors of every shape, size, color, and style. There were little mirrors that had rounded wooden frames. There were big mirrors that were large with gray metal outlining them. There were mirrors that had rainbow plastic that were a weird shape that he didn’t even know the name of. There were so many fucking mirrors. “What the hell?” He glanced at Wells. The black man was no help, because he shrugged and laughed.

“Yeah, so Clarke got slammed with inspiration yesterday.”

“Mirrors, though?” Bellamy ran a hand through his messy hair. “Are those little mirrors tied with ribbons?”

“Yeah, they’ll go in the trees, apparently. With the twinkle lights.” Wells pointed to the piled of white twinkle lights that people use at Christmas or to decorate dorm rooms that were piled on the kitchen table. “The lights will also decorate the archways and the bench.”

“Trees?” Bellamy repeated back to Wells, confusion etched all over his face.

“Bellamy, hey! Oh, you brought the bagels!” Clarke crowed excitedly, Ikea bags in her hands. She grinned at the bagel bag in his hand. “I’m starving!” She came over, putting down her bags on the ground to press a quick kiss to his lips before grabbing the bagel bag from his hands. He furrowed his brow, watching her, because she kissed him in front of two people who knew that everything between them was fake. Kate cocked an eyebrow at him momentarily, and then she headed towards the table where Wells and Clarke were moving the lights off the table and digging into the bagel bag.

“Um, what’s going on?” He asked as he walked up to the table. Clarke was slathering vegan butter on a bagel, and she smiled at him, bumping his hip with hers.

“I’m sorry about this. That I forgot to call you. I pushed everything at Spacewalk earlier this morning, because Kate and I were gonna go t Ikea and a bunch of other stores.” She licked at the faux-butter on her thumb, the other hand holding half a bagel. “I’ve been going all night with planning for my big art show in New York. I’m so fucking excited. You’re sister and Lincoln are gonna model for me, along with Miller and Harper, Wells and Kate, Monty and Fox, and unfortunately, Raven and Finn.” She sighed, and Kate gasped.

“What? Seriously? You didn’t tell me that!” The redhead said indignantly.

“I know! I was talking to Jasper, hoping that maybe he and Maya would do it, but they turned it down, because of Baby Nina and not being able to have a sitter, even with the rest of everyone there, and all of that. Which, I don’t blame them for at all. It’s not like I needed them. Hell, it’s not like I needed all of you. I could’ve stopped with just you two or just Octavia and Lincoln or just Miller and Harper, or Monty and Fox. But, Raven and Finn were there, and Finn was being a real shit, and Raven’s Raven. She volunteered them, and then Finn was all, ‘of course we’d help you, Clarke. Is your boyfriend going to be there?’ I wanted to kick him in the balls.”

“Why didn’t you ask me?” Bellamy asked suddenly. “Why didn’t you ask me? Why didn’t I find out about all of this until now? Why am I an afterthought?” He watched Clarke drop the bagel in her hands. She grabbed a napkin, rubbing at her fingers before she took his hand in hers.

“You’re not an afterthought! At all. I’m sorry that I got super busy and slammed today, trying to get everything squared away and set up, because it is not just my timeline that I’m working with, but my friends’, and Lincoln and Octavia’s, and Monroe’s.” His brow furrowed momentarily at the mention of someone named Monroe, but he didn’t interrupt. “I’m sorry that it slipped my mind to call you about meeting me at the store to get the mirrors, but you’re not an afterthought.”

He tightened his jaw, letting her grip his hand in hers, but he kept his hand loose, not holding it back. He could feel the tension in her just by the way she held his hand, her thumb tracing patterns across his knuckles. She chewed on her bottom lip, looking at him pleadingly, and he could tell that she was trying to convince him that she was being genuine and serious about her claims that he wasn’t an afterthought for her. But if that was the truth, then why didn’t she ask him to be a part of this, too? “Why didn’t you ask me?”

“Well, because…look, it’s not that I know you wouldn’t be more than willing to participate, and I’d actually love to paint you some time, seriously, because your bone structure is just lovely.” She was rambling, and to get her to snap out of it, he began to pull his hand from hers. She tightened her hold on him, frowning. “It’s because it’s a couple thing!” She looked away from him, blushing, and he nodded his head.

“Isn’t it going to be weird that you didn’t ask your boyfriend?”

“Yes, but no, because I’m the artist, and it’s kind of hard for me to paint myself and direct myself and all of that.”

“Well, isn’t that why you asked Monroe to take the photos for you to reference and why you two are doing a joint show and the art book?” Wells added, and from the look on Clarke’s face, he could tell that the comments were unhelpful. So much had happened since he’d seen Clarke last, less that forty-eight hours, and she hadn’t even thought to share it with him. The rejection flared in his gut again. She was distancing herself from him, preparing for their upcoming breakup. He successfully pulled his hand from hers, and he looked down at his feet, ignoring the pang in his chest at the hurt and disappointment on her face.

“Wells!” Clarke sighed, and out of the corner of his eye, Bellamy saw her shoot a dark look at her best friend. “It’s not just that it is a couple thing…it’s the type of couple thing that the photoshoot and the painting is about.”

“Cut the bullshit and stop being cryptic, Clarke.” Kate sighed around a bite of bagel. “It’s about sex.”

“No, it’s not about sex.” Clarke said, but that piqued Bellamy’s interest. His baby sister was involved, after all. “Okay, so, it’s a little about sex, but it’s more about the vulnerability and the connection between couples and their openness with one another. The mirrors are a symbolization of the couples’ reflection of each individual partner and them as a couple.”

“Everyone’s getting naked. There’s likely some naked bodies getting all up on each other. Ergo, sex.” Kate took another bite of bagel.

“You’ve convinced my sister and her boyfriend to get naked for some photographer to take pictures of them and that you’ll use copies of to make paintings.” Bellamy asked slowly. “And, you didn’t tell me about it, because you didn’t want me to put my foot down about it. Which you knew that I would, because I protect my sister with every fiber of my being, and that includes gratuitous displays of her body or her sexuality. Don’t pretend that this is about you being nervous about being naked around me, because we’re not a real couple. It’s about my sister.”

He saw the guilty look flash across Clarke’s face. “Bellamy, it’s not gratuitous. If anything, I’m not going to be featuring more than sides or butts and bare backs and so on. I’m not going to make something that overly sexualizes your sister. Do you really think that I’d do that?” Her voice became pinched, and it increased in volume as she went on. She looked like she was about to cry, but he couldn’t focus on that. He had to protect his sister.

“I’m calling Kane. He’ll put a stop to it!”

“Kane knows! I told Octavia about it, asked her to consider it, asked her to ask Lincoln, and then I told them both to call their representation to talk it out. Kane is fine with it, because Octavia’s fine with it. She trusts me!” A tear slipped down her cheek, and she wiped it away angrily. He squeezed his hands into fists, fighting the desire to comfort her when she was upset.

“We’re gonna…c’mon, Wells.” Kate grabbed Wells by the hand, dragging him out the door. “Call me later, Clarke.”

“I can’t believe you don’t trust me!” Clarke said, ignoring Kate and Wells leaving. She kept her eyes locked on him, and he crossed his arms, glaring at her. The door slammed shut, and they were alone to fight it out.

“You asked my sister to strip down naked, and you didn’t tell me about it! You didn’t ask me!”

“I don’t have to ask you about it, because you’re not her keeper! She’s an adult!”

“She’s twenty-fucking-three, Clarke! She’s hardly an adult! She’s my sister, and she’s my responsibility! It’s my job to protect her!”

“And, she’s already lost a mother, has no idea who her father is, and could have been raped or, at the very least, molested as a teen. She’s an adult.”

“Don’t throw what I told you back into my face!” He shouted, slamming his hand down on the table. She jumped, backing away from him, and he froze, because he scared her. He didn’t want to be that guy. He wasn’t that guy.

“You can’t keep her locked up forever, Bellamy. She’s an adult, and she needs to live her own life. You’re not protecting her by isolating her—making her overly dependent on you. She needs to stand on her own, and this decision—her decision to be a part of this, to take ownership of her body and her relationship and her career—that is her way of doing that! You can’t—you shouldn’t—get in the way of that!”

“Fuck you, Clarke.” He shook his head.

“No, fuck you, Bellamy. Fuck you for not trusting me! Fuck you for not believing in me! Fuck you for acting like I don’t give a shit about Octavia or my friends or even you!” She stormed past him. “I wouldn’t do anything to hurt your sister’s career or her person. I wouldn’t do that to her. I wouldn’t do that to my friends. I wouldn’t do that to you! I’m not that person.”

“She’s my sister, Clarke! She’s all I have.” Bellamy yelled after Clarke, following her as she made her way towards the stairs to the loft. She froze, rounding on him, tears pouring down her cheeks. He stopped, his hands flying up automatically to rest on her hips, when he realized that she’d stopped moving away from him but towards him, as a way to stop himself and her from crashing into one another. His hands burned with the feel of her heated skin beneath his.

Her hand rose, cracking into the side of his face, shocking him. She appeared shocked, too, because she immediately pulled away from him, studying her hand before leveling her eyes on him once more. “I think you should leave.” Her voice was quiet, and her chest was heaving beneath her tank top. She wiped at her soaked cheeks.

“Clarke,” he raised a hand to his cheek. This wasn’t the plan. This isn’t why he came here. This wasn’t what he wanted.

“No, get out, Bellamy! I can’t—just get out!” She screamed. “Get out.” She buried her face into her hands. He stepped forward, wrapping his arms around her, pulling her against his chest. He pressed his face into the top of her head, and she sobbed harder, shaking in his arms. “I c-c-can…” She tried to speak, but her words were lost in the tears.

“Clarke, breathe, I’m sorry.” He chanted into her ear, burying his face into the crook of her neck. “I’m sorry.”

“I can’t do this right now, Bellamy.” He felt her struggle to pull away from him, but he tightened his hold on her, not letting her go.

“Too fucking bad, because we’re gonna have this fight and get over it.” He growled into the skin of her neck, and she started beating against his chest with her hands.

“Let go of me! You need to go!”

“No,” he told her, pulling back only enough to look down at her. “No.”

“Octavia’s all you have, right, Bell? So, go find your sister, and leave me alone.” He swallowed. That’s why she slapped him, because he said he didn’t have anyone but Octavia. It wasn’t the truth, but he was angry, and he had a tendency to do and say stupid shit when he was angry. He had her, and he hurt her. He felt like a royal douche, and he needed her to know that he didn’t mean it.

“I’m sorry, Clarke.” He reached up, wiping the tears from her cheeks. “I shouldn’t have said that. I have you.” He whispered, leaving his hand on her cheek. “I have you, don’t I?”

“You do.” She sniffed. He pulled her into a tight hug again, reveling in the way her arms slipped around him, squeezing him closely against her. She buried her face into his chest, and he ran a soothing hand up and down her back. He didn’t mean to make her cry, and he felt like a dick for it. At the same time, he was still feeling pissed and hurt over her keeping it a secret from him. He was honestly getting confused about what the hell was going on between them.

Chapter Text

“Octavia, these shots are gorgeous!” Clarke called out to Octavia, making the brunette grin as she continued to walk through the shimmery pink, white, and blue fabric hanging from the trees; the glittering of the twinkle lights wrapped around the branches made everything glow brighter in the shade from the house, high walls of the enclosed backyard, and the tree’s leaves, despite the sun being planted high in the sky, very few clouds drifting across the pale blue sky. Octavia’s skin was lightly tanned, which stood out beneath the opaque fabric. She shot the camera a sly smile through a mirror as she parted some of the fabric to walk through.

Clarke watched as Monroe called out directions to Octavia as she moved through the setup in the backyard of Daniel’s holiday house. Well, it wasn’t exactly Daniel’s house anymore, but she still hadn’t completely processed the phone call the afternoon before. As much fun as she was having with this photoshoot, and she was getting an amazing spread of pictures to use to paint, her mind was elsewhere. She and Bellamy had barely spoken since their fight two days before. When he left, he said they were fine, but she didn’t know if that was just Bellamy speak for ‘I’m going to disappear for a week again and leave Clarke feeling unbelievably confused about where we stand.’

After a quick goodbye coffee with Thalia, Lilly, and Glass before their flights out of LAX, she’d spent the day before getting the backyard ready for the photoshoot. Clarke had used the fact that she was busy directing everyone on how she wanted things and conferring with Monroe on how the lighting should be and the order in which they should take the photographs to distract herself from the fight with Bellamy, but it had barely worked. The guys were doing the majority of the heavy lifting (some of the mirrors were pretty damn heavy), and Finn kept asking her where Bellamy was, since he wasn’t there. She ignored him by running off to direct someone to position a mirror in a different spot or to confer with Monroe over test shots without any of the models.

Thankfully, after one of his annoying ‘where’s Bellamy, Clarke’ ambushes, Octavia snapped at him. “Why the fuck do you care where he is? Your concern should be on your own relationship rather than Clarke’s relationship with my brother.” He immediately shut up and slinked away, not looking at neither Clarke, nor Octavia, for the rest of the day. Octavia had pulled Clarke aside after the incident with Finn, informing her that he was at a bunch of auditions that Kane had set up for him, last minute, because the gladiator film he was going to do after the final Grounders film had pushed up their production start. Bellamy had to back out of the film, because of scheduling conflicts, so he and Kane got to work on securing another summer project for him.

The second that Octavia walked away, Clarke had pulled out her phone to send him a good luck text, which she received a thank you for three hours later, when they were finishing up the final details in the backyard before heading their separate ways for the evening. She knew that he must have been exhausted, considering she had heard from Octavia, Lincoln, and Bellamy that the audition process was draining for a number of reasons. Sometimes, the actors were reading for a bunch of people—casting directors, producers, and so on; other times, they were being filmed doing a read and the recording was sent off to the important people halfway around the world. There were times when actors were doing chemistry reads with people who had already been cast or between two potential actors to be cast in specific roles. There were even times when the script that the actor read from was bogus for the audition process, just to ensure that the true film being made was kept a secret for as long as possible.

After she’d climbed into her car, ready to head back to her apartment, asking if he wanted her to bring him dinner, but he had told her that he was just going to crash, and that was the last that she heard from him. The rejection had stung, but she hadn’t pushed it, because she figured that they would work out their issues when they were both ready for it.

The fight two days before was pretty rough, and she kept replaying it in her mind. After it was over, they had sat in silence, on her couch, for a while. She apologized to him for slapping him. She had been out of line with that, and she’d known it the moment that her hand had connected with his cheek. She felt like shit for hitting him, and then he started apologizing to her? It made her feel even worse, because he’d opened up to her about his past. He had discussed how he used to get in fights trying to protect his mom and sister as a teen. He told her that he’d always felt like a monster or like he wasn’t good enough, because of where he came from and what his childhood was like. Her slapping him—it was another confirmation in his mind that he wasn’t worthy of respect, basic kindness and decency, and honesty; it was confirmation that he wasn’t good enough. She was so confused about what was going on inside of her head (and heart), so she took it out on him. That wasn’t fair. She reacted poorly, irrationally, to him saying that he only had Octavia to count on, because it had hurt her feelings. If she was honest with herself, she kind of deserved it, because she hadn’t talked to him about her plan when it came up. He’d said that she considered him an afterthought. That was completely untrue. If anything, he was an ever-present fixture in her mind, which actually freaked her out.

Bellamy brushed off her apology, saying that he accepted it, but didn’t need one, and they’d sat in silence for a while again. Clarke asked him if they were okay, and he’d said they were fine. Then, they sat in silence again. Before she knew it, he was saying that he had to go and was walking out of the door. They weren’t okay, she knew, and this would be the perfect way for them to end their fake dating thing. They had a massive fight, and they broke up. It would’ve been sort of true, but there was a hole in her heart at just the thought of it. She felt sick to her stomach over the fight, and she felt sick about them just walking away from each other. This was a legitimate fight. This wasn’t them pretending to have a fight and then breaking up, only to become friends at a later date. She was confused as hell, and she didn’t know what to make of everything.

“Clarke, do you think we got enough pictures of just Octavia? Is there anything else you want from her before we call a break and do the pair shots?” Clarke jumped when Monroe’s voice drew her back to the present moment—the photoshoot, her plans for the exhibit, reality.

“Um, yeah, let’s break, okay?” She gave Monroe a tight smile.

“Let’s do a fifteen minute break, yeah?” Monroe looked over to Clarke for confirmation, and she quickly nodded her head. Octavia grinned as Lincoln passed her a robe, quickly pulling it on.

When Monroe and Clarke had met up to plan the schedule for the week, they knew that Octavia, Lincoln, Kate, and Wells had the least flexibility in their schedules. Kate was assigned to three other artists aside from Clarke and Monroe, and she was in the process of working out deals for them in various arenas across the country; Wells was in the process of building a case that was to go to trial in three weeks. Octavia had a photoshoot in Milan the following week, and Lincoln needed to fly out to Miami for a three-episode guest arc on a new crime show that was going to be airing in the fall. The rest of the people participating in the photoshoot were Spacewalk staff, Raven, and Hayley. Raven was a mechanic, and she owned her own business; Hayley was a third grade teacher, and the private school she worked at had the rest of the week off for the holidays, so she didn’t need to go back to work until next Monday. Monty, Jasper, and Finn stated that as long as the shoots were done before the opening of Spacewalk in the evening and that their staff weren’t scheduled for the shoot on the same day that they had an opening shift at Spacewalk, they were cool with who went when.

Clarke and Monroe, using these parameters, decided that they would break down the shoot to be one couple per day to get the necessary number of photos for Clarke to use detail references for her paintings and to not forcer her friends to stand around naked, waiting for their turn to go. Today, Sunday the fourth, Lincoln and Octavia were scheduled to get their individual and pair shots taken. Tomorrow, Harper and Miller were going to be photographed; on Tuesday, Monty and Hayley were scheduled. On Wednesday, it was Raven and Finn; Wells and Kate were going to be photographed on Sunday the eleventh, because Octavia had insisted that the two of them attend Bellamy’s birthday dinner, followed by drinks and a little dancing at Spacewalk, since he didn’t want to do a huge birthday bash this year. Octavia claimed that Wells, Clarke, and Kate would be too tired and hungover to do a photoshoot on Saturday, so it was pushed to Sunday instead.

They had a full house today, though, because everyone wanted to help out and get a feel for what was going to happen during their own shoots. Lincoln and Octavia were scheduled as the first couple to, because modeling and photoshoots were their jobs, and they’d been naked in some capacity at work previously, so they were completely comfortable with a shoot like this. Lincoln dropped trough moments after he arrived, asking where they wanted him, so his solo shots were done first. While Monroe was photographing a few of the detail pictures, Clarke had turned to Octavia and said “damn.” The younger Blake had just grinned and nodded her head. She was one lucky girl.

Monroe headed over to Clarke, holding out the camera for her to peruse. As she was reviewing the pictures, commenting over lighting and angles, as well as how it was great that Monroe had zoomed in on Octavia’s lower back to get the trio of birthmarks that could be found there, she felt a hand rest on her lower back, making her jump. “Hey, Bellamy added, a little delayed, considering the two of them froze for a moment after his touch.

“Hi,” she smiled, albeit it was a hesitant one, leaning over to press a quick kiss to his cheek.

“So, have I missed seeing my sister naked, or…” He trailed off, giving her a sheepish look.

Clarke handed Monroe her camera, and the redhead gave them a quick wave before she headed over to chat with Lincoln and Octavia, likely about the upcoming pair shots. Clarke focused her attention on Bellamy, however, chewing on her bottom lip for a moment. “We just finished the solo shots for her, and now we’re doing a quick break before we do the pair photos. Everything was going pretty well this morning. It’s a pretty great start. I can’t wait to dive into the couples photos. I’m thinking about having each couple do a series of shots walking toward each other, getting closer, and then doing a few of them together, facing each other and then back to front or separate, but touching in some way. We’re going to brainstorm some of the poses first, get a feel for what seems natural and organic, and then let them run wild with the idea.” She blushed, looking down at her feet. “I’m rambling, right?” He gave her a soft smile, shrugging.

“It’s cool. It all sounds cool. I’m sure it will be great.”

“C’mere.” She grabbed Bellamy’s hand, guiding him back inside and away from the prying eyes of her friends, but most importantly Finn. “How were the auditions?” She asked after the two of them arrived in the family room, out of earshot from everyone else.

“Um, they were good.” He ran a hand through his hair, staring at his feet once he sat down on the couch. She perched on the cushion beside him, not daring to be close enough to touch him, because she knew that they weren’t fine.

“Tell me about them? Feel good about anything?”

“Um, there were a few action movies that I had to do a few heavy dialogue reads with dumb actresses who gave me a headache.” She smiled, running a finger over the floral design in the couch’s fabric.

“The kind of girls you’d normally try to bed.” She said with a laugh.

“Yeah, well, after this thing with you, I’ve come to realize that I’m over dumb sluts. I need more of a challenge than that.” Clarke’s head flew up, and she saw Bellamy roll his eyes, but he was still staring at the floor, not at her. What in the hell did he mean about that? “There was one chick flick read that I did for the casting director was going to send the recording of to the producers and directors. I definitely don’t like chick flicks.” He shook his head.

“Which probably means that the read went really well, and you’re questioning your masculinity.” She teased, finally getting him to look at her. Her comment earned her a half-hearted glare.

“It was a monologue that will likely be a voiceover for the male protagonist finally realizing that he was in love with his female counterpart. It was definitely not creative and unique, and I almost wished that it was for gay romantic comedy, because it would’ve made the whole thing more intriguing.” Clarke laughed, a deep throaty laugh that had Bellamy swallowing, Adam’s apple bobbing, and his eyes tracing over her lips. She licked her bottom lip.

“I’d totally go see a movie where you make out with another guy.” She shifted closer to him, almost without realizing it.

“I’d be great as a gay man.” His voice deepened, sounding a little more gravely than usual. It made her heart beat a staccato rhythm and her breathing quicken. His body also shifted in her direction, their knees brushing as they spoke.

“I don’t doubt it. Who would they cast as your male counterpart?” She sucked her bottom lip into her mouth, her fingers slowly brushing across the fabric of the couch until they met his. He interlaced his fingers through hers, eyes trained on their hands.

“Murphy, definitely. Murphamy has a nice ring to it, yeah?”

“I ship it.” She chuckled. “Bell,” she breathed out.

“Clarke,” he responded, and his eyes were back on hers.

“I’m sorry.” He huffed out a breath, shaking his head. The moment was officially ruined.

“We’re fine. Stop apologizing.”

“No, we’re not. Let me apologize, please.”

“I don’t need an apology. You didn’t do anything wrong. If anything, I feel like I should apologize, because I totally over—”

“Oh, my God! You can’t be serious. You’re not apologizing to me. You did nothing wrong. I was the one who fucked up.”

“Yeah, but I’m over it. I don’t need a stupid apology.”

“Are we really fighting about apologizing? Jesus, that’s horrible, even for us.” Clarke sighed, leaning her free hand against her forehead. “Can you just shut the fuck up for, like, five minutes, because I want to apologize? We’re not okay. You know it. I know it, and I want to make it okay between us.”

“Yeah, well, apologies generally are to relieve the guilt a person feels, not to relieve any pain the other person is feeling, so if I don’t want an apology from you, then you don’t need to give one. I’m fine. You’re fine. I’m over it, and you need to get over it, too.”

“I’m not trying to apologize to assuage my own guilt, Bellamy. I’m trying to explain to you what was going on in my head. I do want to repair any damage between us that might have happened.” She squeezed Bellamy’s hand in hers. “You’re my friend. You’re my best friend. I didn’t think that would be possible, you know? I didn’t expect this when we came back into each other’s lives, and I don’t want to lose you. I’ve been here before. I’ve lost people, people I really cared about, because I didn’t talk through shit the way that I should have. I wasn’t honest and open, and that’s what I’m trying to do here. So, please, just shut the fuck up and let me talk.”

“I just did.” He muttered under his breath, and she reached out and smacked his chest with her free hand. “Alright. Whatever. Apologize to me. Make it a good one, because I’m not going to let you keep trying to do it after this.” She rolled her eyes at him, but she could feel the smile twitch at the corners of her lips.

“Well, I forgot the whole big speech I planned, because we were arguing over the semantics of an apology, so you’ve gotta bear with me for a second.”

Bellamy made a noise that Clarke was sure was an attempt at a buzzer sound. “This apology is already off to a shitty start.”

“I hate you.”

“And, it’s officially in the history books for the worst apology ever.”

“Bell!” She whined, and he chuckled, squeezing her hand lightly.

“Okay, fine. I’ll stop. Go ahead. Dazzle me, Princess.” She stuck her tongue out at him, but then sobered, looking down at their clasped hands.

“I’m sorry for a lot of things, so you’re going to need to bear with me. I’m gonna do some explanation first, and I don’t want to really make any excuses, but I do want to tell you what I was thinking and feeling, which is why I did what I did, okay?”

“Okay.” His voice was soft, and she could feel his gaze on her cheek, but she continued to stare at their hands. Her thumb traced lightly over his skin, and she could feel the little hairs on the back of his thumb beneath the pad of hers. She flicked her tongue over her bottom lip, taking a quick breath to prepare herself.

“I’m sorry that I made you feel like an afterthought. I should’ve called you and talked to you about the idea I had for my exhibit. I also should’ve called you the second that I made plans with Kate and Wells about going shopping for the mirrors and such, because we had made plans to talk. I told myself that it was because I was wrapped up in my show, but that was only a small part of it. The other part was why I was avoiding calling you talk about my show in the first place.

“I was feeling really mixed up about what happened between us. You and I hooked up, which is steadily becoming a common occurrence between us, and then we almost had sex. I wound up doing exactly what Glass says I do. I ran away, instead of facing things head on.” She swallowed, glancing up at him briefly. His eyes were soft, and he was watching her. He gave her a small nod to acknowledge what she was saying.

“You’re not an afterthought, Bellamy. That’s not why I didn’t talk to you about everything. To be honest, you’re the complete opposite of an afterthought. In the last month and a half, every little thing that has happened in my life has always come with the thought: I have to tell Bellamy. Someone honked their horn at me—‘oh, I’ve got to tell Bellamy what an asshole this person was. The light just turned green.’ I saw a cute dog when I was walking down the street—‘I should take a picture of it and snapchat it to Bellamy.’ You probably get the idea.” She blushed, staring at her lap. She waved her hand at the direction of the backyard. “I came up with all of this, because of you.” She winced when she realized what it sounded like, so she quickly started talking again to prevent him from responding.

“After I got home on New Year’s, I took a shower to relax, because I was so hyped up with a lot of energy, but it didn’t really go away at all. When I was changing in front of the mirror, I got the whole idea that I described to you the other day. The nakedness is a symbol of vulnerability, and the mirror being the reflection from a lover and blah, blah, blah. But the inspiration itself came from me feeling conflicted over us nearly having sex. We’re best friends; we’re pretty open and honest with each other, but there’s a lot of stuff that I haven’t shared with you, and I know there is a lot that you haven’t shared with me. We’re attracted to each other, and we’re friends, but this isn’t a real relationship. I get confused sometimes, because we hookup, and it’s just…I dunno. I just got mixed up.”

“Clarke,” Bellamy interjected, his voice deep and gruff. Clarke shook her head, closing her eyes.

“Wait. Please let me finish.” She let out a breath. “I wanted to do this exhibit, because I wanted to look at real couples. I wanted to see what they see when they look at each other. We’re friends, and we kiss because we’re putting on a show for everyone else. That’s bound to make things muddled, so I wanted to look at real couples and put that emotion—that vulnerability, openness, connection—onto a canvas.” She ran a hand through her hair. “You were the first person I thought of to tell about the exhibit, but then I got scared, because how did I explain that all of it came from me being mixed up over us nearly having sex in your bed? And, yes, there was a huge part of me that didn’t want to tell you, because I wanted to ask Lincoln and Octavia to participate, and I knew you would react poorly.”

“So, all of this was because of me?”

“Sort of? It took on a mind of its own, because I am artist…I’m creative. Things don’t always end up the same as when I first conceptualize it. You should understand that about movies.” She blushed, looking away from him.

“Clarke,” he whispered, cupping her chin to guide her gaze back to him.

“I’m sorry that I slapped you.” She sniffed, tears filling her eyes. “You were yelling at me, and you said that you only had Octavia. I was hurt. I felt rejected. I felt like you didn’t care about me at all. You’re my best friend, and you’re important to me. Hearing you say that really upset me, and I lashed out. I wanted to hurt you the same way that you hurt me, and I didn’t know how to do that, so I smacked you, which was really stupid and horrible and rude and awful, and I’m so fucking sorry.”

“Clarke.” He was laughing at her. He was laughing at her? What the hell is wrong with him? Why was he laughing at her? “Do you know how many times that Octavia’s smacked me across the face?” Right. He was comparing what happened with her to something with his sister. She pulled her hand from his, and he sighed, wrapping her arms around her. “Clarke, c’mere. I didn’t mean it like that. I’ve been smacked by a lot of women in my lifetime, not even just Octavia. I’m not thrown off by someone slapping my face.” She scoffed, pushing at his chest, trying to pull away from him. First, she was compared to his sister, and now he was comparing her to all of his former flings. Perfect. “Why are you pulling away?”

“First, I’m like your sister, which is wrong on so many levels.” She stood up, waving her hands.

“Clarke, no, wait.”

Then, you compared me to all of the women you’ve slept with since you lost your virginity in high school. That’s even better.”

“Clarke, stop. Wait.” He started chuckling again, standing up, arms up and open, either hoping to grab her into another hug or to protect himself from a possible physical assault from her, since she was exactly like his sister and all of the women he’s fucked over the years. She glowered at him, and he stopped laughing, but there was a wide smile on his lips.

“Don’t laugh at me.”

“This isn’t going the way I intended it to go. I’ve also been slapped a lot in my movies, too.” He tried, shrugging his shoulders.

“Yeah, not helping.” She paused, running a hand over her face. “Although, the most accurate, considering I’m your fake girlfriend.” She felt the fight go out of her. He laughed, walking over to her.

“C’mere.” He whispered, wrapping his arms around her frame. “What I was trying to say is that I don’t blame you for the slap. I’m not pissed about it. Frankly, that was the least upsetting part of our fight that day. Seriously, you have nothing to worry about.”

“But, Bell, I shouldn’t have—” He shook his head, looking down at her.

Don’t worry about it, Clarke. I’m serious. Am I allowed to apologize to you yet?”

“You don’t have anything to apologize for.”

“Neither did you, but I let you apologize.” She opened her mouth to respond, but he just laughed. “With a fight, yes, but I still let you apologize. Let me go now?”


“Cool, I’m sorry for my part in our fight. I was stressed about what was going on between us, too. I was looking for any excuse to lash out at you, because I’ve got the emotional maturity of a three year old.” She chuckled. “I yelled, and I was feeling rejected, too, because you didn’t tell me about the exhibit. Then, you forgot to tell me that you were changing our plans, and I just felt like I didn’t matter. We’re supposed to be best friends, and I dunno…it’s stupid.” She sniffed, wrapping her arms more tightly around his torso.

“I know that feeling…” She leaned her forehead against his chest.

“I’m very familiar with the idea that every little thing that happens is met with an ‘I wonder what Clarke would say’ or whatever. Even when I was hiding a week ago, I still wanted to talk to you. So, when all of this came up, I saw it as you not caring about me or whatever.” He pressed a kiss to her crown. “I said that I only had Octavia, because I wanted to make you feel rejected, because I felt rejected. We’re a mess, Princess.”

“Yes, we are.” She whispered back, gripping the back of his shirt. “I do care about you, though.” She pulled her face away from his chest, looking up at him. “You know that now, right? You’re my best friend.”

“I know.” He smiled. “Ditto, babe.” She rolled her eyes. “So, this was all about me, huh?”

Clarke whined, pulling away from Bellamy. “You’re such an asshole.”

“You love it.” He laughed, grabbing her again. “We good?” He tilted her face up towards his. His fingers traced along her jaw; the feather light touch sent tremors down her spine, which he surely noticed, considering one of his arms was wrapped around her waist, holding her against him. She nodded her head, making him smile as his thumb brushed along her bottom lip. “Good.” He leaned down to press a gentle kiss to her mouth.

She sighed, relaxing into the kiss. She went up on her toes; her hands tangled into the hair at the base of his skull. He moved his hand to rest on the spot where her throat met her shoulder, his thumb tracing along her collarbone. He broke the steady pressure of his lips against hers, sucking first on her top lip before moving to the bottom one. He bit down on it lightly, earning a soft sigh from her. He released her lip, and hers remained parted, allowing one swipe, then two of his tongue along her bottom lip, a warning that he was going to deep the kiss. Except he didn’t get a chance to, because someone clearing their—her—throat made them both jump apart.

Bellamy’s cheeks were slightly tinged pink as he looked over her head at whoever was in the doorway. Clarke sucked her bottom lip into her mouth when he uttered a strangled, “O,” nodding his head as he moved his hand from her shoulder to tuck a blonde curl behind her ear.

“Sorry to interrupt this…whole thing.” Clarke glanced over her shoulder at Octavia, who was waving her hand at the two of them with an amused smile on her face. “But, we’re in the middle of this photoshoot. One that I’m not getting paid for, mind you.” Clarke opened her mouth to respond, but Octavia held a hand up. “I don’t want to hear it! I volunteered to take part in this, because you’re my friend. But, the saying still fits; time is money, so let’s go, bitches!”

Bellamy groaned, giving Clarke one final squeeze on the shoulder before he brushed past his sister, pinching her arm. Clarke followed him, but Octavia reached out and grabbed Clarke’s arm, stopping her. “I thought ‘time was money,’” Clarke teased the younger Blake, who rolled her eyes in response.

“It is, but there’s something I want to talk to you about.”

“Oh? That sounds ominous.” Octavia rolled her eyes.

“I just wanted to check in with you…see how you’re doing.”

“I’m fine…” Clarke furrowed her brow and squinted at Octavia. “Um, why do you…what is this about?”

“Well, I know that you and Bell had a fight, again, and then I came in here, and it looks like you two were all made up…” Clarke felt the heat settle on her cheeks, and she looked to her feet. “Have you thought about just telling him?” Her head flew up at that, because what?

“Telling who? About what?”

“Bellamy.” Octavia sighed. “Have you thought about telling him that you have feelings for him?”

“Wait! What? I don’t.” The look on Octavia’s face indicated that she wasn’t amused, making Clarke swallow and her blush to deepen even further.

“Clarke.” Octavia shook her head. “You’re in love with him. It’s written all over your face.”

“I’m—I don’t—it isn’t—we aren’t—I’m not…” Clarke swallowed, shaking her head, and Octavia smiled, resting a hand on Clarke’s shaking arm.

“It’s okay, Clarke.” She says sympathetically. “Why don’t you use his birthday to tell him the truth about how you feel?”

“I don’t even know how I feel…” Clarke muttered, and Octavia pulled her into a tight hug. “Are you sure it’s okay that I’m spending most of his birthday with him?”

“Yeah, it’s really no biggie! Honestly, people would think it’s weird if he spent the day with just me and then hung out with you for a bit at dinner. I mean, every other year, we just chill on the couch, watching movies—hanging out with his girlfriend on his birthday is expected.” Clarke blushed at that. “To be honest with you, I know that my brother loves me, but he’d much rather spend the day with you, the girl he’s crazy about, than with me.” Clarke froze, watching Octavia as she turned around and sidled out of the room. She swallowed a few times, because what the hell did that mean? Octavia couldn’t be serious. Bellamy didn’t have feelings for her, did he? That couldn’t be true.

Clarke hurried to the backyard, because she knew everyone was waiting on her, and her eyes immediately landed on Bellamy, arms crossed with a glare pointed at Finn. Finn was mirroring Bellamy, standing on the other side of the backyard with Raven, Wells, and Kate. Raven was chatting with the other two, oblivious to the blatant pissing contest going on between Bellamy and Finn. Clarke hurried her way over to Bellamy, wrapping an arm around his waist. “Forget about him.” She said quietly, and Bellamy turned toward her, wrapping his arms around her.

“He’s a dick. He had the audacity to come ask me when you and I were going to go, because you didn’t mention it when you and Monroe were going over the schedule for the week. I told him to fuck off.”

“He knows. I told them that I’m not good at doing self-portraits. It’s why every piece I’ve made comes out more abstract and disjointed when I attempt to include myself in it.” She rolled her eyes, because it was a lie. “I said that since this is a couple thing, and I’m not doing a self-portrait, that means that we’re not doing this.” She waved her hand at the set up.

“Oh, okay…” He looked away from her, staring at the ground, making her gape at him. Was he disappointed?

“Did you want to?”

“Um, well, I dunno. I think it would be pretty cool, you know? Plus, isn’t it weird that your boyfriend isn’t participating in your art show? Like, his sister is modeling? And his costar is modeling, but I’m not?”

“Well, I was actually hoping that I could paint you, too, but not for a show. I wasn’t kidding when I said that I wanted to do a portrait of you. I just…I just feel weird about selling that kind of thing, you know?”

Bellamy opened his mouth to respond, but he was interrupted by Monroe coming over to ask if they were ready to start. Clarke and Monroe got into their director mode, talking about some possible ways to start the shot. Lincoln dropped his robe, and Clarke grinned at the muffled curse that came from Bellamy’s mouth behind her. Lincoln came up to Octavia, standing behind her, helping her to pull her robe off her shoulders, pressing a kiss to the back of her neck as he did it. Monroe calls out for them to freeze that shot, raising her camera to begin taking pictures.

“Fuck, I can’t watch this. Clarke, I’m out. Call me later. We’ll do dinner, okay?” Bellamy pressed a kiss to the back of her head, before practically running from the backyard, earning a few chuckles from everyone watching his escape.

Chapter Text

From: Clarke Griffin
1:49 PM
Don’t forget to bring pajamas and clothes for tomorrow and something fancy to wear to dinner tomorrow night. See you later, birthday boy! (winking emoji)

Bellamy took a swig of the beer that he had in his hand as he sat on Clarke’s couch, watching some random Lifetime movie that they found on Netflix. He rested the bottle on his thigh, which left a damp ring on his jeans. It was the night before his birthday, and Clarke had convinced him that it would be easier and more convenient for him to crash at her place for the night, because they were going to be leaving early in the morning for whatever she’d planned for them the next day. He understood the logic, but his mind was more focused on the fact that they’d be sleeping in the same bed again. It had barely been a few days since the last time they’d done that—and had nearly hooked up. He was hoping that this time around, things would go more smoothly, but he honestly had no idea yet if going more smoothly meant them having sex or not.

He was in jeans and a long-sleeved t-shirt, his shoes long been kicked off, with a pair of gray socks on his feet. She was seated beside him, dressed in her usual mismatched socks and clothes combination. Tonight, she sported his navy blue ACDC t-shirt that she’d stolen from his bag; he’d brought the t-shirt to sleep in, as well as another long-sleeved shirt to wear the next day, as well as a dress shirt, blazer, and tie for the fancy dinner his sister had planned. Paired with his shirt, she was sporting a pair of gray leggings with pink polka dots on them. On her feet, she had one thick orange sock and one thick purple sock with red flowers. The leggings were tucked into the socks, which were pulled all of the way up to her knees. Her hair was once again piled messily on top of her head, and she was wearing a pair of thick-framed glasses. She had her sketch book in her lap, and her legs were folded so that her feet were tucked against her ass. She was leaning against the arm of the couch, facing him, as she sketched. Her brow as furrowed in concentration, and she was chewing on her bottom lip. Her skin was freshly washed, sans makeup, and he couldn’t help but think she was even more beautiful without makeup than she was with it.

Bellamy set his beer on the coaster on the end table beside him and grabbed his cell phone. He raised it up to snap a few pictures of Clarke. She hummed, sliding one of her feet out from underneath herself to kick at him absent-mindedly. He laughed, catching her foot in his hand, trapping it on his lap. He tapped into his phone as he set up a tweet, adding a few of the pictures he’d taken of her. He then settled on his favorite picture of her (one of the pictures after she realized he was taking a picture of her, so her pink tongue was swiping along her bottom lip and she had her nose scrunched), sharing it to Instagram, with the same caption, tagging her in both social media accounts. After sharing the pictures, he dropped his phone into his lap, laying both of his hands on her ankle. Her phone began buzzing with alerts from being tagged in his tweet and Instagram post.

“Bell,” she whined, kicking at him with her other foot. He grabbed that foot, too, and soon she was trapped with her feet in his lap as he stroked his fingers along her ankles after he’d rolled her socks down so that her heels were uncovered. “Why do you always share embarrassing pictures of me?” She complained, resting the pencil on top of her sketch. She reached for her phone and opened it. She sighed loudly as she opened up his tweet and Instagram post. His phone was blowing up with responses from his fans, but he kept his eyes on her as he slipped his fingers underneath the bottoms of leggings, making her squirm.

KINGBBlake: ‘Twas the night before my birthday, and my bae was a sketching, looking adorable despite being mismatched #princess #artist #beautiful clarkeEgrif

Litshai: KINGBBlake clarkeEgrif for real though…I ship Bellarke so fucking hard

StoicMuch: KINGBBlake clarkeEgrif just get married already. I’m dying over here. #toomanyfeels

MissEMarissa: KINGBBlake clarkeEgrif #justmakebabiesalready YOU WOULD MAKE BEAUTIFUL BABIES

“You know that bae means poop in Danish, right?” She said with a cocked eyebrow. “It literally means shit. You’re referring to me as your shit.”

“Well, you are a turd…” Clarke flipped Bellamy off, sporting an amused look. He just grinned back. “But you’re my turd. My precious, beautiful turd.”

“I fucking hate you.” She snapped, tossing her phone aside. “Now you don’t get your presents.”

“Hey, I want presents.”

“I had great presents planned for you, too.” She kept talking, ignoring him as he pouted at her. “Tomorrow was going to be such a great day, but, no, you’re a little shit, so no—hey!” She squealed when he yanked her by her ankles so that her ass was pressed against his thigh and her legs were draped over his legs.

“I want my presents.” He said softly as he leaned over her, pressing a kiss to her chin. It the closest to her mouth that he could reach, so it would have to do. She rolled her eyes, turning her sketchbook around to face him. He saw what she was sketching—him, with his eyes locked onto the TV screen and a beer in his hand. He was leaning back into the couch, his hips shifted slightly forward, and his hair was mussed on top of his head. “Clarke…” He reached for the sketchbook, hesitating before grabbing it, his eyes flickering to her face. She nodded her head, pressing it into his hand, and he pulled it from her grasp. He settled it on top of her shins to study the image more closely. His finger brushed over the pencil, making him wince when he smudged the darkened space a little. He immediately pulled his hand back and instead combed over it with his eyes. “It’s amazing. You’re amazing.”

“Yeah, well, you were sweet to offer to be a part of my show, and I wasn’t lying when I said that I want to sketch and paint you. I’d love to have you model for me for a piece sometime—maybe something for your bedroom?” She sat up, resting her weight onto her forearms and elbows. “Go back a few pages. I did a profile sketch of your face. You’ve got an amazing jaw.” He flipped back a few pages—noticing briefly that there was a picture of his hand and lower forearm, muscled and detailed, as it gripped the beer bottle in its grasp.

When Bellamy got to the right page, he saw that Clarke had drawn his profile. His lashes were long and full. His jaw tensed, with his full lips clamped shut. There were freckles dotting his cheek, and tufts of brown hair were sticking up on his head, the rest curled slightly, making a motley crew of knots and curls. He thought that the sketch was so good that it looked almost like a black and white picture of him. He reached for the pencil, pulling it from her fingers. He laid it, and the sketchbook, down on the floor and rolled over onto her, chuckling at the muffled “mmphf” as his body weight settled onto her.

“I take it that you like it?” She asked softly, running a hand through his messy hair. “That’s not your whole gift…obviously, but I did want to sketch you.”

“I love it, Clarke. All of the pictures.” He pressed a light kiss to her nose. “I’m bored. Wanna cuddle?” She chuckled, rolling her eyes at him.

“You’re ridiculous.” She complained, but he could tell that she wasn’t really annoyed with him. He just smirked at her, shrugging his shoulder slightly.

“So, you wanna cuddle?”

“Dear God.” Clarke blew out a breath, and Bellamy’s eyes immediately fell to her lips. “Bell…” He pressed a light kiss to her lips, and she sighed, scraping her nails along his scalp. “If we’re cuddling, we need to stretch out, and I get to be on top, because you’re too heavy.” She pushed at his chest, and he chuckled.

“Mm, baby, you can be on top whenever you want.” She squealed when he grabbed her in his arms and settled her on his lap. He turned his body so that he was leaning his back on the arm of the couch. He then shifted his hips lower until his neck was resting on the arm. “Ugh, I need a pillow.” He complained. She attempted to pull out of his arms, but he squeezed her close. “Where are you going?”

“I’m getting you a pillow old man.”

“You’re my age.”

“Actually, in a few short hours, you’ll be a whole year older than me. Ergo, you’re an old man.”

“Look at me, robbing the cradle.” He winked, letting go of her. She jumped off of the couch and walked over to her bed, grabbing one of the pillows off of it. She then made her way back to him, whacking him in the face with it. He grunted, pulling it from her hands to settle behind his head. He then grabbed her wrist and pulled her onto his lap.

Clarke laughed as she stretched out, resting her head against his chest. Bellamy began tracing his fingertips up and down her back. “You’re comfy,” she sighed, pressing her face into his chest, his hands went to her hair.

“You’re cute.” He replied, tangling his fingers in her curls. She shifted her face so that her chin was resting on his chest, and she grinned at him.

“Oh, I know.” He laughed, pulling her face towards his. She moved with him, letting him kiss her lightly. A moan came from the television, and they both broke their kiss to glance at it. They both began chuckling when they realized that the couple in the movie were hooking up.

“Mm, they’ve got the right idea.” He joked. She rolled her eyes at him, laying her head back down on his chest. He tried to keep his eyes on the screen, but every now and again, his eyes traced down to what little of her face he could see. It wasn’t long before he saw that her eyes had drifted shut, and there was a steady rhythm to the rise and fall of her breathing. After a quiet snore slipped from her lips, and a yawn fell from his lips, he decided that was time to put them to bed. He smiled as he ran a hand against the back of her head. “Clarke,” he said quietly. She shifted, whining softly under her breath. He chuckled quietly, tilting her face up so that he could brush his lips against hers. “Wake up, princess.”

“Bell?” Clarke’s voice was husky with sleep, and it did things to Bellamy’s insides (and nether regions, but now wasn’t the time).

“You fell asleep, Princess. Let’s get you to bed, okay?” She nodded, blinking at him. She sat up, straddling his hips, her hair a mess, half-falling out of her bun. He reached up to pull the hair tie from her curls, letting it slip over his hand to settle on his wrist. They fell down around her shoulders, and he swallowed, because the position they were in was entirely too intimate.

“Bell,” she bit her lip, and he sat up, pressing his lips to hers. She sighed into the kiss, arms wrapping around his neck. His hands settled on her waist, deepening the kiss by combing his tongue into her mouth. She dug her nails into his shoulders, making him grunt. He squeezed her hip with his hand before letting it inch up her side. She pulled back, and his hand froze, waiting for her to yell at him or something, but she just pressed her forehead to his cheek and yawned, her lips stroking along his jaw. He chuckled, squeezing her hips again.

“Time for bed, Princess.” She leaned back, tears in her eyes as she yawned again, her hand lazily covering her mouth.

“Okay, but I will totally make out with you in the morning.” She yawned again, which set off him. She giggled as she climbed off of his lap. “Hurry up and get ready for bed. I wanna snuggle.” She made her way towards her bed and collapsed under the covers. He stood up and turned off the television. He then brought his unfinished beer to the kitchen before chugging it and putting the empty bottle in the trashcan for her recycling. He then made his way back to the living room area to shut the light off. “Hurry up, Bell.” She chanted, buried in her blankets with her head on a pillow, the light beside her bed the only light in the apartment.

Bellamy grabbed the pillow that Clarke had brought to the couch and tossed it at her as he made his way past her bed. She giggled as she dumped it on the other side of the bed. He then made a show of stripping off his shirt. She whistled, which broke into a belly laugh as he wiggled his hips as he undid his belt buckle and the button of his jeans. He winked as he pulled down the fly and then turned around, swaying his hips as he pushed his jeans off his hips, revealing his boxer-clad ass. He finished his show by nearly tripping as he stepped out of his jeans. She clapped and cheered, earning the middle finger from him before he disappeared into the bathroom to wash away the stink of beer by brushing his teeth and to take a piss. He then slipped out of the bathroom and pulled a pair of plaid pajama bottoms from the bag that she’d left on top of the arm chair near her bed. He pulled them on before slipping into the bed beside her. “Did you like the show?”

“Mmhmm, very nice. It was such a disappointment when you put more back on.” She giggled, nestling into his side beneath the covers and laying her head on his shoulder.

“Next time, I’ll make sure to take everything all off—and leave it off.”

“Promise?” She whispered, and it was muffled, because she was burying her face into his neck. He could feel her eyelashes flutter against his neck as she tried to stay awake.

“Good night, sleepy girl.” She pressed a wet kiss to his neck. The last thing he heard before he too settled into sleep was a muffled ‘happy birthday.’

The day before, Clarke had set the alarm for four in the morning. The first event she had planned for Bellamy’s birthday extravaganza was a hot air balloon ride, and in order to be there on time, they had to get up super early. She was expecting Bellamy to be irritated for having to get up so early, but she knew that once he found out what was in store for them, he’d understand. She heard the chirping of her phone from across the room, and she lifted her head from where it was perched on his chest. His arm was draped across her waist and the other was tucked under her pillows—the pillows she wasn’t using, since she was instead using his body.

She carefully slipped out from under his arm, smiling at the pout that slipped onto his face in his sleep. She climbed out of bed, tiptoeing over to where she dropped her phone. She found it on the floor in front of the couch. She grabbed it and shut off the alarm. She stood back up and stretched, yawning. She figured that she’d let him sleep for a little while longer. She made her way into the kitchen and started preparing them some coffee. When the coffee was finished and she’d prepared them both a mug, she made her way back to the sleeping area of the apartment. She set the two mugs of coffee down on the end table beside him and leaned over him, running a hand down his arm.

“Bellamy,” Clarke whispered. She squealed when Bellamy grabbed her by the wrist and pulled, making her fall on top of him with a quiet grunt. His arms wrapped around her, and she laughed when he placed wet kisses on her jaw and neck. “Bell,” she whined, squirming at the way his hands danced up her spine.

“You promised me a make out session.” He mumbled against her jaw. She chuckled leaning up the press her lips to his. He smiled against her lips. One of his hands moved to rest on her cheek, whereas the other settled on her lower back, pulling her even tighter against him. His tongue stroked along her bottom lip, and she opened her mouth to his. He groaned when his tongue slipped inside of her mouth and met hers. She met his kiss with the same amount of force, running her hands along his bare chest, moaning at the feel of his muscles beneath her hands. His hand moved from her cheek to curl inside of her messy curls, and the hand on her lower back slipped lower to grab her ass. She shifted her hips, letting her legs fall on either side of his waist.

He grunted, squeezing her ass in his palm. She rolled her hips against his, feeling his dick twitch against her lower half. She moaned louder, breaking the kiss to suck in a deep breath. He moved his lips to her jaw and then lower to placing open-mouthed, sucking kisses against her collar bone. His hand moved from her ass to her lower back again, but this time he slipped it beneath her shirt—well, his shirt, but she was currently wearing it. She rolled her hips again, and he grunted, rolling them over so that she was pressed back onto the bed, and he was resting part of the way on top of her. His mouth found hers again, and she whimpered into the kiss, because his hips were trapped beneath the covers and no longer pressed against hers. His hand was still trapped beneath the shirt, stroking up her spine. He pulled his hand from her hair to pull the blankets away from his hips. She moved her hands to his back, pulling him close. He broke the kiss, giving her a small smirk, whispering that she needed to be patient, but she just rolled her eyes.

Clarke just grinned, sliding her hands down Bellamy’s back to grab his ass. He jerked, especially when she slid her fingers beneath the waistband of his pajama bottoms and boxers. “Shit, Princess.” He laughed, pulling back to slide out of the covers completely. She slid her legs apart as he moved closer to her, settling into the curve of her hips. He placed his hands on either side of her body, and she moved her hands to stroke her nails along his forearms. He grinned at her, and she bit her bottom lip as her eyes traced over his half-naked form above her. He lowered his weight against her, kissing her again. She moved her hands to his cheeks, kissing him back. She bit his bottom lip, making him grunt against her mouth. “Mmm, Princess, this is quite the wakeup.” He said against her mouth before he sucked on her bottom lip. She squeaked, pushing his face away from hers, suddenly remember the reason for his wakeup call.

“Bell, wait! We’ve gotta go.” She pressed her hands to his chest, pushing him off of her.

“What?” He sat back, kneeling between her legs, and she sat up, running a hand through her hair and pulling her shirt back into place.

“Yeah, we’ve gotta go. I made you some coffee. Do you want to get in the shower first? Or, I mean, maybe I should…I’ll take a bit longer.” She rolled away from him, climbing off of the bed. He pouted, watching her as she moved around the bed to grab one of the mug of coffees off of the end table. She passed it to him, and she picked up the other to take a few quick gulps.

“What?” He pouted again, holding the mug of coffee in one hand. She looked at him, furrowing her brow at his confusion. “Um, we were in the middle of something.”

“I’m sorry to end the make out session, birthday boy, but we’ve gotta go.” He leveled a glare at her, waving a hand at his appearance. She could see that he was half-hard beneath his boxers and pajama bottoms, and his hair was sticking up in different directions. His lips were swollen, red, and slightly wet from their kisses, and he looked completely sinful. She bit her bottom lip as her eyes traced over his frame. “I’m sorry.” She repeated again, taking a sip of coffee. “Believe me, I am, but we’ve gotta go.”

Bellamy sighed, sitting on his heels as he raised the coffee to his lips. “What time is it?”

“It’s about quarter after four.” Clarke winced as she said it, and his groan showed that he agreed with her. “Look, it’s for a good reason!” She insisted, taking another gulp of her coffee. “The first part of your birthday celebration is a hot air balloon ride. We have to be there by quarter after five, because that’s when they’re gonna start filling the balloon, so we’ve gotta go! I’m gonna go get in the shower.” She put the mug down again and leaned forward to press a quick kiss against his lips.

He grunted, reaching for her, but she pulled out of his arms and rushed into the bathroom. She showered quickly, washing and conditioning her hair, washed her face with the cleanser she kept in the shower, and then scrubbed her body with her loofa before rinsing everything away. The best part of getting waxed was not needing to shave anything, so her showers could be kept short. She hopped out of the shower, drying off her body with a towel before she wrapped her hair with it. She slathered her face and body with moisturizer before slipping a robe on her naked body. She brushed her teeth and rinsed with mouthwash. She then exited the bathroom waving a hand at him.

“Hot air balloon?” He said when she came out, and he was still seated in the same place as he was before she got in the shower less than ten minutes before. She rolled her eyes, crossing her arms to study him.

“Yes, hot air balloon. I thought that you’d enjoy it. I’ve never road in a hot air balloon, and I don’t think you have either. Right? It’ll be nice to do something fun, new, just the two of us.” She chewed on her bottom lip, nervous suddenly that he thought that the activity was stupid.

“I haven’t.” He spoke softly, and he gave her a small smile. “I haven’t gone on a hot air balloon ride, and it would be nice to share it with you.” He reached a hand out to her. She took his hand, allowing him to help her climb onto the bed beside him. He laid a hand on her cheek, leaning forward to press a light kiss to her lips.

“I’m glad.” Clarke smiled as she pulled back from the kiss. Bellamy moved his hand to cup her neck. His thumb traced along her jaw, and she pulled the empty mug from his hands. “Go shower, okay? I need to get dressed.” His eyes fell from her face to her body, taking in the sight of her in the robe, kneeling on the bed beside him.

“You’re naked.” His eyes were locked on her chest, and she rolled her eyes, because she knew he couldn’t see anything. She’d tied the robe tightly, so he couldn’t even see a hint of cleavage. Granted, the robe was stretched across the middle of her thighs, a little shorter than would be considered decent.

“No, I’ve got a robe on.” She pushed at his shoulder with her free hand, but he settled his hands on her hips.

“But, you’re naked underneath it.” He breathed, stroking his fingers across her abdomen, gathering up one of the ties that knotted the robe together in his hand. “You know, I could definitely get us there on time, even if we continued where we left off ten minutes ago.” She sucked in a breath, and he shifted closer, pressing a kiss to her jaw. “Clarke…” She tilted her head to the side, letting him kiss down her neck.

“Fuck, wait.” She pushed him away. He groaned, letting the tie of her robe drop. “We can totally talk about this later, but I’ve got a great plan for your birthday, and I’m not going to let you distract me. Go shower.” He sighed, rolling away from her to go into the bathroom.

She let out a breath, standing up and placing the empty mug beside hers on the end table. She then quickly dressed and went over to her vanity to put on a light layer of makeup and blow her hair dry. She was pulling her gray faux fur boots on over her jeans when the door to her bathroom flew open. She cocked an eyebrow at him, taking in his nearly nude form. His skin was damp and pink from the shower, and he had a towel wrapped around his waist. His hair was wet and curling around his forehead. He winked at her, slowly making his way over to his bag on her dresser. She stood up, rubbing a little deodorant on under her armpits. She grabbed her striped flannel shirt and pulled it on. “Jesus, fuck, seriously, Bell?” She laughed, shaking her head at the fact that he’d dropped the towel, showing off his very bare and very toned ass.

“I’m just showing you what you’re missing out on.” He winked at her through the mirror over her dresser. Thankfully, the dresser was waist high, so she wasn’t seeing anything pertinent—just his ass. Fuck, did he have a nice ass.

“You’re an asshole. Hurry up. We’ve gotta leave soon!” She grabbed the empty mugs and headed towards the kitchen to grab some fruit and a couple of slices of banana bread for them to munch on while they waited for the balloon to fill, as well as to make them a couple of to-go coffees.

“I’m ready.” She rolled her eyes when he wrapped his arms around her waist, pressing a kiss to the back of her head.

“It took you long enough in the shower.” She said with an eye roll, turning around in his arms to cock an eyebrow at him.

“Yeah, well, someone left me half-hard, so I had to jack off in your shower.” She huffed, smacking his arm.

“You’re a dick. Let’s go, birthday boy.” He grinned, leaning down to press a kiss to her lips before pulling back.

“It’s so beautiful,” Clarke breathed as she stared at the view of the greater Los Angeles area that stretched out below them. She’d rented a private balloon for the two of them, so there was only them and their pilot, Steve. She felt Bellamy step behind her, his hands finding her waist. She smiled, her eyes falling shut, as she leaned into the kiss he pressed to her temple.

“You’re beautiful.” He mumbled against her skin, his arms wrapping more tightly around his waist. She smiled, turning her head to press a kiss against his jaw.

“Happy birthday, Bellamy.” She rested her forehead against his cheek.

“Thank you, Princess.” He ran a hand down the back of her head, and his fingers slid under her curls slightly, getting tangled in her hair. “I mean it. Thank you. This…” He waved his head at the empty air around them. “This is amazing and beautiful…you’re perfect.” He cupped her cheek, tilting her chin up to press his lips to hers. The kiss was chaste and sweet, and it made her sigh into it. She fisted his shirt at his lower back, and when the kiss was over, she hugged him tightly, leaning her head against his chest as she took in the view around them.

A few minutes passed before she spoke again. “Let’s take pictures and videos.” She reached down to pull her phone from her back pocket. She lifted the phone up, opening the camera app. She set it to video reversed the image so that it took in the sight of the two of them. She hit the red record button. “Hi, everyone! It’s six-thirty in the morning, and Bellamy and I are celebrating his birthday in a hot air balloon! A big thank you to our pilot, Steve, for safely showing us the beauty that is the greater Los Angeles area! We’ll be sharing more videos and pictures from our ride. Wish the birthday boy a happy birthday, everyone!” She blew a kiss to the camera and then went up on her toes to press a kiss to his cheek. She ended the video and then started up a new one, she carefully held her phone near the edge of the basket and slowly turned in a circle so that her followers and his fans could see their complete view. She ended that video and then started up a new one. “Alright, Bellamy, wave to your fans! Do you have a few words that you’d like to share?”

He blushed, running a hand through his hair, shaking his head. He gave a small wave to her camera, running his tongue along his bottom lip. “I guess I wanted to say hi to all of my fans. Thank you for wishing me a happy birthday, talking to me on Twitter, and putting up with all of my crap for the last few years. I love and appreciate you all. You’re the best fans that a guy could ask for. I want to say a big thank you to my baby sister, Octavia. Even though I’ve been an overprotective asshole to you over the years, but you’re my baby sister, my whole world. I love you, and I will always be there for you. To Marcus Kane, thank you for taking a chance on me and O five years ago. Thank you for being the father figure I’ve never had and calling me out on my shit when I’m dumb. You’re the best management that an actor could ask for, and you’re a great friend to have in my corner. To all of my other friends—Murphy, Lincoln, Roma, and, well, I guess, Kate, and Wells, too—thank you for being awesome. And, finally, I guess the biggest thank you of all to you, Clarke Griffin. You’re the most amazing girlfriend that a guy could ask for. You’re so beautiful and smart and incredible, and I’m really glad that you came back into my life again. I’m sorry that I was a douche to you in high school, and I’m glad that you gave me a second chance in November after you won the contest. You’re my best friend.” He shook his head, running a hand through his hair again. “Alright, I sound like a sappy asshole, so I’ll end with this. Thank you, and I love you all. Peace.”

Clarke smiled as she ended the video. She stuck the camera into her back pocket as she walked towards Bellamy. “You only sounded a little like a sappy asshole.” She laughed as she wrapped her arms around his waist.

“How much?”

“Like this much.” She pinched the air with her index finger and thumb, leaving a little space between them. “Thank you for the sweet message.” She grinned at him, winking. “It’s always nice to hear how I’m an amazing girlfriend.”

“Oh, shut up.” He laughed, bending down to kiss her soundly. She wrapped her arms around his neck, and he pulled her tight against his chest. His tongue combed along her bottom lip, and she opened her mouth, allowing him completely access. His tongue stroked along the inside of her mouth, meeting hers briefly before she broke the kiss. She didn’t want to be indecent in front of Steve, and she scrunched her nose at Bellamy as she pulled away from him. She nodded toward Steve, and he gave a nod of understanding. He pulled her back into a hug, resting his chin against the top of her head as they stared out at the view below them. After a little while, she reached for her phone again.

“Let’s take pictures of us and Steve!” She turned her camera towards Steve. “Wave to the camera, Steve!” She snapped a couple of pictures of the very awkward Steve. Then she snapped pictures of Bellamy by the edge of the basket, then pictures of them together, and then made him snap a few pictures of her. Afterwards, she tucked her phone into her back pocket once again. As soon as they landed and the chase crew was driving them back to where they started, she was going to post the pictures and the videos to her various social media profiles. “Happy birthday,” she said again.

“Thank you, Princess, for an amazing birthday.” He hugged her close, pressing his face into her hair.

“It’s barely just begun.”

“Yeah, but it’s the best birthday I’ve had in a long time.” She glanced up at him, and he smiled down at her. “You’re…I just…I’m so happy that you came back into my life.” She blushed, looking away. She felt the dip in her stomach at his words, so she stood on her toes and pressed her lips against his.

He kissed her back, deepening the kiss. She wrapped her arms around his neck, pushing closer to him. Her heart was pounding in her chest, and she couldn’t help but think back to what Octavia had said a few days before. She broke the kiss to lean her head against his chest again. He kept his arms wrapped around her, and the two of them looked out at their view. She decided right then and there that she was going tell him how she felt. After everything that morning, she knew that she wanted this relationship to be real. She wanted to be able to say that she was Bellamy’s girlfriend and for that to actually be the truth. She wanted him to mean it when he said that he was her boyfriend. She wanted for all of it to be real. She was going to be honest with him. She was going to tell him that she was falling for him.

Chapter Text

clarkeEgrif: check out my Youtube videos featuring KINGBBlake #birthdayboy #hotairballoonride #sobeautiful (sunrise over the mountain emoji) (sunrise over the city emoji) (balloon emoji) (present emoji) (confetti cannon emoji) (birthday cake emoji) (boy and girl holding hand emoji) (boy and girl with heart emoji) (boy and girl kissing with heart emoji) (cat with heart eyes emoji) (kissing with heart emoji) []

KINGBBLAKE: clarkeEgrif #weallknowimbeautifulprincess #noneedtodrawattentiontoit #birthdaydatewithmygirl (sunrise over the mountain emoji) (sunrise over the city emoji) (balloon emoji) (present emoji) (confetti emoji) (birthday cake emoji) (boy and girl holding hand emoji) (boy and girl with heart emoji) (boy and girl kissing with heart emoji) (cat with heart eyes emoji) (kissing with heart emoji)

KINGBBLAKE: with bae (poop emoji) (lips emoji) [quote tweet: Clarke E. Griffin clarkeEgrif check out my youtube videos featuring KINGBBlake…]

clarkeEgrif: KINGBBlake I already told you that bae means poop in Danish. Stop calling me your TURD

KINGBBlake: clarkeEgrif I know! That’s why I put the poop emoji babe. xoxo princess (princess emoji) (crown emoji)

ModelBitchOB: KINGBBlake clareEgrif #getaroom btw cute videos & pics!!! Love u big bro! Happy bday. See u both l8r Xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox

KINGBBlake: ModelBitchOB clarkeEgrif type like an adult. Fucking hell. Raised you better than that

ModelBitchOB: KINGBBlake clarkeEgrif says the man that cusses like a sailor (winking emoji)

“Stop bitching at your sister and focus on what is important right now.” Clarke made Bellamy look up from his phone. They were seated outside of her favorite café and bakery, waiting for their waitress to bring them their to-go coffees. He cocked an eyebrow at her.

“And that is what?”

“Me. Obviously.” She smirked at him, quirking a single eyebrow. He grinned, shaking his head, but he acquiesced to her request, dropping his phone onto the table. He reached out and laced his fingers through hers.

“Obviously.” He stroked his thumb along hers, watching as her tongue flicked out across her bottom lip. “So, what is up next for this birthday extravaganza you’ve got planned?”

“We’re then meeting Wells, Kate, Octavia, and Lincoln at Universal Studios in a bit, because it has the Jurassic Park ride!” He raised his eyebrows at her. “Oh, shut up, you know you love high energy activities, and what’s better than going to an amusement park? After hanging out with them for a while, we’ve been given the freedom to be on our own again. I figured we could grab some chocolate covered strawberries and champagne and head to the beach for a bit and have a picnic. Then, we’ll head back home for a shower before dinner. After that, drinks at the bar and then back home so that I can give you your birthday present. Oh, and we’re catching an Uber after our showers to the restaurant, because I want to get my drink on, and it’s your birthday, so you shouldn’t have to be the DD.”

“Shit, Clarke.” He raised her hand and leaned over the table, guiding her hand to his lips. He pressed a kiss there before letting both of their hands drop back to the table. “You’re amazing, you know that? Insane, but still amazing.”

“I just want you to have the best and most perfect birthday, Bell.” She blushed a bright red, looking away from him.

“You do realize that we could’ve chilled on your couch all day, and it would’ve been ‘the best and most perfect birthday’ I’ve ever had. It’s the best because I’m with you.” His stomach clenched when he said those words, and he blushed, looking down at the remnants of the coffee he ordered. The chocolate-colored stain was coating portions of the white mug. She squeezed his hand, and his eyes rose to meet hers. Her lips were parted slightly, and her eyes were…well, he didn’t know how to describe her eyes. He just knew that she was trying to tell him something with them.

“Here you go!” The waitress smiled, dropping off the two to-go coffees. Bellamy jumped when he heard the woman’s voice, and he released Clarke’s hand, dropping both of his hands into his lap. He rubbed his palms along his thighs.

“Yeah, um, thanks!”

“No problem.” The waitress hesitated, glancing between him and Clarke. “Um, well, I, uh, happy birthday.” He smiled, running a hand through his hair.

“Thank you.” He stood up, pulling his wallet from his back pocket. He pulled a ten and a twenty from his wallet, handing them to her. “Keep the change.”

The waitress’s eyes widened, and she nodded her head, thanking him. Clarke stood, as well, reaching for Bellamy’s hand. The two of them waved goodbye to her, and they each grabbed their to-go coffees before heading towards where he’d parked his car. “That was nice of you.” Clarke commented, releasing his hand. She opened the passenger door, and he leaned against the doorway after she climbed into the car. He shrugged his free shoulder. She put her coffee in the cup holder and grabbed his hand in both of hers.

“It’s not a big deal, Clarke. I’ve got plenty of money, and if I can share it with other people, then I’m glad to do it.”

“You’re such a softie.” She chuckled, releasing his hand. “Let’s go, you big nerd.” He rolled his eyes and stepped back, shutting the passenger door with his free hand.

Clarke rested her weight back on her palms, stretching out on the blanket that Octavia had folded up for them on top of their insulated picnic bag. She closed her eyes, enjoying the feel of the disappearing sun on her face. She blushed when Bellamy pressed a kiss to her cheek. “Princess,” he cooed, knocking his shoulder into hers lightly. She opened her eyes, and he held a glass of champagne to her. She sat up, taking the glass from him. He poured a second glass of champagne, handing it to her, before he pulled the tray of chocolate-covered strawberries from the bag. “These look fucking amazing.”

“Yeah, they do, don’t they?” He placed the tray on the ground, reaching for a glass of champagne from her hand. He took a sip, using one hand to lift the lid on the tray of strawberries. She smiled as she grabbed one once it was removed. His eyes narrowed as he watched her raise the fruit to her lips, and she winked playfully at him as she bit into it. Juice squirted into her mouth and down her chin slightly, and she moaned at the combination of sweet and tart.

Bellamy raised a thumb to swipe at the trail of juice that dribbled down her chin as Clarke chewed. He sucked on his thumb, which led to her flicking her tongue along her bottom lip. He grinned, grabbing her wrist to pull her hand with the half-eaten strawberry towards his mouth. He bit into it, and she knew he was purposely swiping his lips and tongue across her fingertips. She rolled her eyes, pulling her hand away from his mouth to nibble on the remaining fruit near the stem before tossing it into the empty space on the tray.

She didn’t look at him as she raised the glass of champagne to her lips, contemplating how to tell him what she felt. Hell, she was still confused about what she felt. All she knew for sure was that she felt something stronger than friendship for him. She didn’t care about him the same way that she cared about Kate and Wells. But what she felt for him was completely different from how she felt about Finn and Jenna. There were moments when he looked at her—she thought he felt the same. She was honestly scared to death that she’d tell him that she had feelings for him, only to discover that she doesn’t. She was scared that he didn’t feel the same way. And, fuck, she was the most scared that he did, and they had to figure out if they could make a relationship work between them.

“Hey, what’s going on in that beautiful head of yours?” Bellamy’s lips pressed to Clarke’s temple, and her eyes fell shut as she leaned into his kiss, into his body.

“Just thinking about how I’ve laid down the gauntlet on ultimate birthday celebrations. The ball is in your court, Bell.” She joked, turning her head to send a wink his way. He laughed, smirking and leaned down to press a kiss to lips, sucking her bottom lip into his mouth.

“Don’t you worry, babe. I’ve got you covered.” He winked after breaking the kiss.

“Lay it on me. I want to hear these plans.”

“Oh, hell no. I’m not telling you before it happens. Your birthday celebrations are going to be a surprise. You’ll have to wait and see.”

She pouted at him, making him laugh. He kissed her again, making her hum against his mouth when he deepened it by stroking his tongue along her bottom lip. She opened her mouth, allowing his tongue to slip inside and meet hers. His free hand rose to tangle in the hair at the base of her skull, which he pulled on lightly to tilt her head back. She squeaked at the slight tug, pressing her body closer to his.

Bellamy gathered more of Clarke’s hair into his hand, tugging on it to make her practically purr against his mouth. She jumped, nipping his lip when her leg got splattered with the remainder of her champagne in her glass that she’d dropped as she got so invested into the kiss. He grunted as she pulled away from him, grabbing napkins to pat her soaked legs. He started laughing, grabbing more napkins to pat her lap. She cocked an eyebrow at him when his hands got a little close to her pelvis and sex. “Just helping you out, babe.” He winked, and she slapped at his upper arm.

“Shut up, Bell.” She pushed his hands away and wrapped her arms around his neck. She planted a firm kiss on his lips. “Take me home. I need to change, and our dinner is soon anyways.”

“Oh, you never have to ask me to take you home. I could help you get out of those pants, too.”

She sobered up immediately, letting go of him. She dropped her hands into her lap. She stared at her hands, trying to figure out the way to say what she wanted to say. She took a deep breath. “I think we should stop with the sex stuff.”

“Oh.” His voice was gruff and deep. She raised her head, watching as he ran a hand through his hair.

“I—” She reached for his hand and took it in hers. “I get confused. I know that you and I have talked about that kind of stuff before, but I just…it’s confusing, okay? Don’t get me wrong—I want to. Believe me. I want to…I’m…Bellamy, I like you, you know that right? You’re my best friend, and I really care about you. I’m attracted to you, and I just…I think it’s confusing when we get caught up in everything. We could’ve…we would’ve had sex this morning.” She let out a harsh breath. “I’m rambling.” He tensed his jaw, nodding his head. She frowned, because she felt like she didn’t articulate what she was thinking well. She licked her bottom lip. “I want to be with you…that way.”

Clarke chickened out. She squeezed her one hand into a fist, suddenly angry with herself, because the second she said it, she knew it was true. She did want to be with Bellamy, in every way imaginable. She wanted to go to bed every night next to him and to wake the next morning with him by her side. She wanted to kiss him. She wanted to hold him. She wanted to fuck him. She wanted to love him. She didn’t think that Octavia was correct when she said that she was already in love with him. She did know, though, that she wanted the opportunity to discover if she was. She wanted the opportunity to fall in love with him. She was holding herself back. She was protecting her heart. She was…she was scared.

“Hey, it’s okay.” His arms surrounded hers, pulling her closer. “I get it, okay? We’re…I just…I don’t know.” He groaned, rubbing a hand down his face. “Fuck. I don’t even know.”

“Bell, be honest with me about what you’re thinking or feeling. I…we can figure it out together, right?” She was giving him the chance to open up to her, to tell her what he was feeling. Fuck, if he told her—she’d jump at the chance. Really. She would. She would tell him that she chickened out before and that she did want him in every way.

“I just…” He groaned. “I’m not good at this kind of stuff, Clarke. You know that. Talking about feelings and shit. Letting people in. You’re my best friend. You’re the only one, besides O, that I can talk to. I like that. I like you. And, hell yes, I want to fuck you. I just…we…I get it. We’re friends. This whole thing isn’t real, and there’s supposed to be an end date on it, right? I get that. I know that we’re gonna make it work and be friends when it’s all over with.”

She felt her heart sink into her stomach, and she gave him a tight smile. She quickly nodded her head, flicking her tongue across her bottom lip. “Yeah, I mean, yeah!” She was proud of herself, because she kept her voice light, even—she didn’t give him any hint that her heart was breaking. Maybe she should give this whole acting thing a shot, because she was definitely really good at it. She was dying inside, but she was acting like she was perfectly fine on the outside. She was a pro.

“Do we still get to kiss and, like, make out and shit? Because I can’t not kiss you, you know that right? Like, it is physically impossible for me to go more than ten minutes when I’m around you without kissing you.” She laughed, feeling the tears prick in her eyes. She didn’t want—no, that wasn’t the right word. She felt the same way. She needed to kiss him. She wanted to kiss him. She knew that it would hurt to keep kissing him, because she wanted this to be real, and he obviously didn’t. And, well, she had to. They were faking a relationship. She had to kiss him or else people would think that there was something wrong.

“Duh. Of course we will still kiss.” She rolled her eyes and waved a hand at him.

“Thank fuck.” He leaned forward, pressing his lips to hers. She squeaked, grabbing his shoulders. She wanted to push him away, and she told her hands to do it, too, but she found herself pulling him closer. Her hands slid into his hair, and she kissed him back every bit as ferociously as he was kissing her.

Bellamy broke the kiss, leaving a hand on Clarke’s cheek. She kept her eyes closed, wanting to savor the moment before she opened them to reality: this was fake. They were fake. He stroked her cheek with his index finger, drawing her eyes open. His eyes traced over to her face, and she could see the question in his eyes—asking if she was okay, they were okay. She smiled at him, turning her head to nip at the tip of his index finger before pressing a kiss to it. He rolled his eyes at her, dropping his hand. “So, yeah, we really need to go. My lap is cold.” She waved a hand at the wet mark on her pants.

“Right.” He laughed, helping her pack up their small picnic. As they were climbing back into his car, he grabbed her hand and raised it to his lips, pressing a kiss to the back of it. “Clarke, I, uh…” He hesitated, and she frowned, squeezing his hand in hers.

“What’s up?”

“I just…I wanted to say that I think we should do what feels right for us, okay?” She furrowed her brow, trying to understand what he meant. “Like, if we…I know that you want to cut the sex stuff out, and I’m cool with that, but I just think that we…I…shit. Never mind.”

“No, I asked you to be honest. Go ahead.”

“I think we should do what feels right or good or whatever, you know, like in the moment. If we’re together, and we’re…like, don’t hold back, like…” He waved his free hand in the air.

“You mean if I shouldn’t stop us if I think we’re getting too close to the point of no return?” She cocked an eyebrow at him.

“Yeah, I mean, if you want to, of course. Like, don’t…like, I get it. You don’t want to do anything, because it feels confusing, but know that I…like, I wouldn’t…I care about you. You know that? I’m…I want to be with you, and if you want to be with me, too, I’m good. We can figure it out, you know? It won’t…I’m always going to be here, okay? It won’t get weird.” She let out a half-laugh, half-sigh.

Clarke understood what Bellamy was saying. She did. He was telling her that if they should cross over into the ‘friends with benefits’ arena, he wouldn’t drop her when the fake relationship was over. He would still be there, be her friend. She nodded her head, because he was studying her, wanting to make sure she was okay with what he was saying. “I mean, yeah, okay. I won’t hold back if it…if it feels right.” He nodded his head once before turning his focus back on starting the car.

Chapter Text

Bellamy caught Clarke’s hand as they entered the restaurant. She startled, glancing down at their hands and then up at his face. She gave him a tight smile and glanced away. Her eyes darted around the restaurant of people, most of whom were staring, pointing, and whispering about him (and her, and him and her together). Sometimes he relished in being the center of attention. He loved having all of their eyes on him. He loved being the topic of conversation and adoration. Right now, though, was different. He frowned at her skittishness. She was jumping at the feeling of his hand on hers, not looking him in the eye. He didn’t need the onlookers talking about that, especially today, on his birthday.

“There you are!” He glanced up just as Octavia slammed into his body. Her arms wrapped around his shoulders as she pressed a sloppy kiss to his cheek. He returned her hug with his free arm, but his eyes were onClarke, who was staring at her feet. She pulled her hand from his, and his frown deepened, but he moved his now free hand to settle it on his sister’s back. O pulled back, scrunching her nose at him.” You would be late to your own birthday dinner!” She smacked his upper arm before turning to Clarke. “I’m not letting you borrow him anymore,” she teased as she pulled Clare into a tight hug.

“Sorry,” Clarke laughed, her smile wide—but it didn’t reach her eyes. “We had to go back home and change, and I had to take another shower, because someone spilled champagne all over my lap.” He knew something was up when she began scratching on the inside of her wrist. It had been awhile since he’d seen her do that.

“Hey! You did the spilling.” Bellamy grabbed Clarke’s hand, squeezing it lightly.

“Yeah, but you’re the reason I spilled it.” She pouted, letting her hand lay limply in his. He winked at her, but he knew she was uncomfortable, and he had no idea why.

“You guys are gross.” Octavia grimaced. “You’re one of those annoying couples that act all cute but are really just gross and make you want to hurl.”

“We’re not a couple.” Clarke laughed it off, muttering quietly under her breath. She ran a hand through her blonde curls. She attempted to pull her hand from his, but he held tightly onto it. He wasn’t letting her go that easily.

“Right,” O said, stretching the word out as she glanced between Clarke and him. She entitled her gaze onto Clarke, raising a single eyebrow. Clarke blinked a few times, jerking her hand roughly from his. This time, he let her go.

“I have to pee.” She squeaked before running the direction of the bathroom.

“What the hell did you do, idiot?”Octavia punched his shoulder, and he gritted his teeth.

“Nothing!” He rubbed at the sore spot with his hand.

“That doesn’t look like nothing! When we left you guys earlier, she was practically glowing and looking at you like you hung the moon. Now, she’s acting like a little girl who got caught fucking around in the cookie jar and got grounded. You obviously did something wrong.”

“I didn’t do anything wrong, O! Fuck!” He groaned, rubbing a hand down his face. “Let’s just eat, okay? I’m hungry, and I’m tired. I just…”

“What’s going on?”

“Nothing.” He paused. “Shit, I dunno.” He sniffed, shaking his head. “Things are just really complicated between us, you know? Like, I really…she’s amazing, O. She’s my best friend, and I just…I don’t want to lose her.”

“I know you don’t, big brother.” Octavia placed a hand on Bellamy’s shoulder. “I’ve never seen you this happy. You’re so much lighter and calmer…” She waved her hand at him. “I don’t know. You’re just…less pissed off t he world. I love seeing you like this, Bell. I just want you to be happy, and I can see how happy she makes you.” She squeezed his shoulder and gave him a soft smile. “It’s every girl’s dream to see her brother have a girlfriend that makes him light up the way you do when she’s around.”

He coughed, shaking his head. “O, c’mon, stop it.” He tightened his jaw, glancing in the direction that Clarke went. “You know it isn’t like that…we’re not…”

Octavia cocked an eyebrow at him. “But you want to be, right?” He flicked his tongue along his bottom lip, contemplating her question. “You want to be with her, don’t you? You have feelings for her.”

“O…” He shook his head. “We’re friends.” He felt his gut twist and churn, and the words tasted like a lie. Things were complicated with Clarke. He knew that he wanted to have sex with her. He knew that he she meant the world to him and that he was relieved that she was back in his life after all of the years. Hell, he knew that he’d walk through fire for her, if she asked him to.

Bellamy also knew that this thing between them had an expiration date. He knew that she called them friends and implied that that was all they’d ever be. When he’d heard her verbalized that, it felt like the world had fallen away beneath his feet, swallowing him up whole. Ever since they worked things out between them following their New Year’s fight, things had felt different between them. Hearing her say that it was all fake all over again…well, it made him feel like shit.

He didn’t know what any of that meant, though. He thought that they were just friends. He’d thought that all that he’d ever wanted was for them to be friends. Talking through the reject they both felt during their fight and admitting how important they were to each other made things seem deeper than before.

Octavia gave him a small smile. “Bellamy, I know you. I know what it looks like when you care about someone. Hell, it’s why I tolerate Murphy after all of these years, because it’s clear that you have a soft spot for the asshole. Then, there is Clarke, and, shit, Bell, you’re so different around her. And, like, not in the bad way, ‘she’s changing you’ thing.” She squeezed his shoulder again. “You’re happier than I’ve ever seen you. You’ve always had to take care of everyone else, big brother—me, mom, your fans, Kane, the rest of the cast and crew, and those damn studio execs. You’re doing all of this stuff to make everyone else happy, but you never really take the time to think about what makes you happy and do it. Hell, I’m not even sure you’re an actor because you like it or because you’re good at it and it’s your way of making sure we never have to worry about money again.” She shook her head, squeezing his shoulder again. “But, when you’re around Clarke, you’re different. Like I said, you’re happy. Let yourself be happy for once, Bell. Let yourself have the life you want and deserve.”

He tensed his jaw and shook his head. “O, I don’t…fuck…I’m happy, okay? You make me happy. And acting makes me happy most of the time. And Kane, Lincoln, Murphy…my fans. All of that makes me happy, even if sometimes the shit that comes with all of it pisses me off. Clarke makes me happy, too. She’s my best friend. I don’t think…” He squeezed his hand into a fist. “Fuck. I don’t even know what I’m saying.”

“You’re falling for her.”

He closed his eyes and sighed, “O…”

“No, seriously, big brother. Tell her the truth. Tell her how you feel. Tell her that you’re falling for her!”

“I don’t even know if that’s true!”

“We both know it’s true!” Octavia said loudly, earning a couple of looks from the staff and patrons. Bellamy blanched, glaring at his sister. He pulled her to the side—and away from the prying eyes and ears.

“O, I don’t...” He trailed off, running a hand through his hair. “I don’t know what I’m thinking or feeling. I can’t even…fuck, I can’t even talk to you and figure this shit out, so how in the hell am I supposed to figure it out enough to talk to her about it.”

She grinned and wrapped her arms around his shoulders. She pressed a loud kiss to his cheek. “I love you, you big idiot. I love you, because for once in your life, you’r actually listening to me and taking what I have to say seriously.” He glared at her when she pulled back from the hug, muttering under his breath that he’d done those things before, but most of the time what she had to say was pretty dumb. It was pretty clear that she chose to ignore his comments, because she barreled on and talked over him. “Bell, you don’t get it. You just admitted out loud that what you’re feeling for Clarke isn’t platonic, okay? Like, you might not be in love with her or whatever, but you’re definitely not looking at her like a friend. This is huge!”

“O, stop it.” He felt a wave of panic flood over him, churning in his gut. His palms began to sweat and he felt hot all over.

“Shit, B, take a breath.” She sounded nervous, and she grabbed both of his hands in hers. “It’s okay. I don’t want to scare you off of telling her anything if you’re not ready, but you gotta do something, dude. That Clarke,” she jerked a jerked her thumb over her shoulder, in the direction of the bathroom. “That Clarke looked confused as fuck. That Clarke is going to need you to act like a grownup and figure your shit out.”

“I’m not good with words, O. I’m not good at telling her that I’m as confused about everything as she is.”

“Then show her. Show her that you care about her. Forget about the potential end date for your relationship. Forget about that this is all fake. Forget about all of that, and just act like a guy who is dating a girl that he likes. Figure out if you want this to be real, and, if you do, show her that. One day, you’ll be able to actually say the words, but for now, just show her how you feel.”

Bellamy took a deep breath and took Octavia’s words to heart. She was right. He’d been hiding behind the crutch of their fake relationship, and he hadn’t let himself acknowledge what was really going on for him. He didn’t know if he had true feelings for Clarke or if he just liked the idea of being in a relationship with someone—of sharing his world with someone that wasn’t his sister. Perhaps his friendship with Clarke was just getting mixed up with the desire to have a relationship, making them seem deeper than they were. He didn’t know, though, because he never let himself consider anything beyond the fact that she was his best friend, and he was attracted to her. Can he be friends with her—really friends with her, and be sexually attracted to her, but, like, not want to be in a relationship with her?

“What’s taking you guys so long?” He jumped when he heard Clarke’s voice next to him. She laid a hand on his back, and he tensed momentarily before relaxing into it. He turned towards her, wrapping an arm around her waist. “We’ve been waiting on you two, and we’re all half-starved.” He pulled her more firmly into his side.”

“Sorry! Just a little brother-sister bonding.” Octavia waved their lateness off. “Did I mention how much I love your dress? Because I do…Clarke, you look amazing.”

“Oh,” Clarke flushed, looking down at the black dress she was wearing. “Thanks…you’re the model, though. You look even more amazing that I do.”

“Oh, god, shut up. I’d kill for your ass and boobs. Bell, tell her she’s pretty.”

“She’s gorgeous,” he said automatically, blushing slightly at how quickly the words fell from his mouth. “You both are,” he added. O rolled her eyes, but she smiled good-naturedly at him.

“You’re such an ass kisser. C’mon, let’s eat.” She headed towards the table. Clarke started to follow, but Bellamy squeezed her hip and pulled her back into his side again.

“I wasn’t kidding.” He breathed into her temple as he pressed a kiss there. “You’re beautiful.”

“Thanks, Bellamy.” She wrapped her arms around him and pressed her face into his chest. He felt her take a deep breath, as he returned her hug. He leaned down to press a kiss to the top of her head. “You’re not so bad yourself,” she teased as she pressed a light kiss to his collar bone.

“Oh, I know, babe. Believe me.” Her warm laugh sent a charge through his body, and he squeezed her a little tighter before letting her go. “C’mon, I need food and sleep. The quicker we get to the table, the quicker we get out of here and get some sleep.”

“Sounds like a plan. But, don’t forget your present. I still haven’t given that to you.”

“Clarke, this entire day has been amazing. Being here with you is enough of a gift.”

She blushed, glancing away. “Yeah, well, I still have a present for you, birthday boy.”

“You’re amazing, you know that?”

“Stop complementing me! It’s your birthday! We should be singing your praises today.” She cocked an eyebrow at him, a saucy smile slipping onto her lips. “But your ego is big enough.”

He laughed, leaning forward to brush a light kiss on her lips. “You love it.”

“Eh,” she shrugged, rolling her eyes. She stepped back and poked him in the stomach. “Food.”

“Yeah, yeah, I know. Bring on the pasta!”


Throughout the evening, Clarke was quiet, and Bellamy spent most of the meal watching her. She would blush every time she caught him looking at her, and it made his heartbeat quicken a little. He would just smile and look away, settle in his gaze elsewhere. Sometimes, he would catch O’s eye, and she would give him one of her meaningful looks that made his stomach twist. Other times, he would notice that Kate was narrowing her eyes and looking between him and Clarke like she was trying to figure something out. Wells and Lincoln looked bored and unamused with their girlfriends, because they both kept nudging the girls and shaking their heads at them. Everything about the dinner was strange. At the end of the meal, Lincoln offered them a ride to the club, along with Kate and Wells. Bellamy admitted that since they were running late after they got back from the beach, so they had just driven to the restaurant rather than waited on an Uber. They waved goodbye to the other four as they exited the restaurant. Bellamy took Clarke’s hand in his and guided her towards his car. “You okay?” He asked as he opened the car door for her.

“I’m fine. Just tired.” She smiled at him, not getting into the car. Instead she put both of her hands on either side of him and took a step closer to him. “Do you mind if you just drop me off at my apartment? I’m so beat. I don’t think that I could handle going out dancing and drinking. My feet hurt.” She bit her lip as she looked up at him. “Is that okay? I don’t want to ruin your birthday or anything. Don’t be mad.”

“I’m not mad. How could I be mad that you don’t feel like going out drinking after you gave me one of the most amazing days of my life. I’m exhausted, too, you know. I’d actually prefer to just go home right now, too, so you’re giving me the perfect excuse to bail on my sister. I’ll text her right now.”

“No, I don’t want to get in the way of—” She began, but he stopped her by pressing a kiss to her lips. He gathered her hands in his and interlaced their fingers.

“Clarke, stop. I want to tend the night with you. We’ll go home, watch a movie, and get some sleep. This has been the best birthday, and I want to end it with you.” He brushed his thumbs across her knuckles.

“Okay,” she nodded. “I want to end it with you, too.” She blushed. “Shit, that sounded like a suicide [act, or something.”

He laughed, raising her hands to press kisses on both of her palms. “Let’s go home, yeah?”

Her eyes widened slightly, and she nodded her head a few times. “Yeah, um, let’s go home.”


From: Big Brother
10:32 pm
Clarke and I are gonna head back to her place. Have a drink for me

To: Big Brother
10:33 pm
Night, big bro. Happy birthday (red heart emoji)

Octavia dropped her phone into her lap and leaned out of the passenger seat in Lincoln’s car to talk to Kate. “Clarke and Bellamy had a weird thing, today. Like, it was super weird.”

“Yeah, she looked super uncomfortable tonight. Earlier, she was practically glowing.” Kate leaned forward, and the two women ignored the groans coming from Lincoln and Wells. “Then, she got to dinner, and she looked like she wanted to cry through most of the night.”

“I think she chickened out on telling him how she feels.”

“Oh! You think? That or she told him, but, like, didn’t tell him, so he probably said something stupid.”

“Guys,” Wells began, but it fell on deaf ears.

“Oh, maybe! I talked to him tonight, and he basically admitted to me that he doesn’t see Clarke platonically anymore. He’s scared to admit how he feels to her. I told him that if he can’t actually say the words, then he should at least show her. So, hopefully he’ll stop talking like this whole thing has an expiration date.” Octavia said, waving her hand around as she talked.

“That’s probably what happened. If she started to talk to him about how she feels, and then says that bullshit ‘we’re friends’ thing that they both keep saying, then she probably freaked, because ‘he doesn’t feel the same way,’ and blah blah blah. They just need to get their heads out of their asses and admit to the other how they feel.” Kate rolled her eyes.

“I totally agree. So, I told them both that they need to admit to the other how they feel, but it kind of…it didn’t really go how I thought it would. What do you think we should do now?”

“Not get involved.” Lincoln suggested, and Octavia rolled her eyes at him.

“Shush, baby. We’re trying to make Clarke and Bellamy happy.”

“They’ll be happier if you let them figure out their shit on their own.” Wells grabbed Kate’s hand. “We figured out our shit.”

“So, did we, O. We didn’t have anyone else’s help. If I remember correctly, you walked away for awhile, and it was exactly what you needed to figure out that we’re good together.” Lincoln added as he stopped at a red light.

“Which is what we’ve been saying since you two decided to force them together.” Wells shook his head.

“Let them be.”

“Yeah, but they’re emotionally stunted.” Octavia sighed. “They need an extra push. I know my brother. He needs this.”

“Same with Clarke. She’s scared to get hurt, you know? Her last two relationships were awful, and she got really hurt. She needs to see that this is real.” Kate squeezed Wells’ hand. “I think that it’s my turn. Maybe if I talk to Clarke on Sunday when we’re at photo shoot, I can figure out what happened today that led to her being down in the dumps.”

“Yeah, that’s a great idea.” Octavia chewed on her thumb nail. “Do you think Bell will be there?”

“I dunno. Probably, He couldn’t stay for your shoot, but if he’s going to show her how much she means to him, he’ll want to be a good boyfriend, right? Support her at work?”


“So, maybe I can pull him aside, too?”

“Actually, it might be better if Lincoln or Wells do it.”

“No!” Both men said at the same time.

“Baby, c’mon. You could do a bonding thing with Bell. Like, talk to him about how much you love me, and check in that things are good between the two of you. Then, you could casually talk to him about Clarke.” Octavia reached out and squeezed Lincoln’s forearm.

“And, Wells, you could totally pull one of those: ‘what are your intentions with Clarke’ spiels with him.”

“We already know the answer to that, though. He answered all of those questions on New Year’s, and he knows that I know that this is fake.” Wells shook his head. “Don’t get me involved.”

“Me either. I want your brother to like me, Octavia. I don’t need him being pissed at me for pushing him into something he’s not ready for. Just let them both figure it out on their own.”

“You’re no help.” Octavia sighed. She turned back to Kate. “Talk to Clarke. Perhaps once we know what happened tonight, we can get Bell to fix it.”

“Sounds good.”


“Bell, before we get some sleep, I want to give you my present. The real present.” Clarke explained to Bellamy as they walked inside of her apartment.

“You mean this whole day was a fake present?” He joked, following her up the steps to her studio.

“Shut up.” She laughed, lacing her fingers through his. “Close your eyes.” She said as she stopped him before they reached the top step. He saw a sheet hanging over a canvas, and he cocked an eyebrow at her. There were also a series of nearly blank canvases that had light outlines of bodies in brown. He figured that they were the paintings of his sister and Lincoln. He closed his eyes, and he let her guide him up the final step and towards the covered canvas. He heard the sound of the sheet being pulled away. “Open your eyes.” He opened his eyes and took in the sight of the painting she had made for him. “It’s unfinished,” she began as he stepped forward to examine it more closely. “I, um, I wanted to check with you first…to see if you wanted me…” She trailed off, running a hand through her hair.

His eyes traced over the canvas. She’d painted a man, his skin tanned and freckled. His head and body were slightly bent forward, and he was facing away from the viewer. His dark hair was mussed with curly wisps, and what little of his face that could be seen appeared pained. The eyes were scrunched and his jaw tensed. He recognized the jawline from her sketches. The painting was of him. It was obvious why the man in the painting was pained. His arms were raised above his head, and he was supporting a globe on his shoulders. The man’s one hand was visible, and it was his hand. The hand was supporting the globe where the Atlantic Ocean was. The globe wasn’t a normal globe, though. The colors were the same—blue, green, yellow, and brown.

However, where the mountain ranges and rivers should’ve been painted into the continents, there were faces. He recognized O and his mother in the North and South Americas. He saw Kane’s face painted into Europe. Murphy’s face was painted onto the small mass that was Greenland. Lincoln’s face was painted into the section of Asia that was visible, close to Kane’s face so that he was visible. A large portion of Africa was visible, but it was blank. There was no face painted there. The painting did appear unfinished with the blank space. It was missing her.

“Clarke, it’s beautiful, but where are you?” He frowned as he turned to look at her. “You painted that motherfucker, Murphy, but you didn’t include you.”

“I didn’t know if you wanted me to add myself to the painting.” She sounded almost breathless. “I didn’t…I didn’t want to assume that you’d want me in the painting.”

“Of course I do.” He huffed. “You can always assume that I want you. Shit, Clarke, you’re more important to me than Murphy. And Lincoln. And Kane.” He ran his fingers over the image of his mom. “Maybe even her, too.” He swallowed, feeling the knot settle into his stomach.

“Bell,” she was so quiet that he almost didn’t hear her. He could feel her eyes on him, so it seemed like he felt it more than he heard it.

“You’re just as important to me as O…but it’s different. You’re different.” He glanced over at her. “I don’t even know what to say. It’s amazing.” His heart pounded in his chest, and he pressed his shaking hands tightly to his sides. He was almost afraid that he’d reach out and grab her, pull her so tightly against himself that he wasn’t sure where he ended and she began.

“You’re always supporting everyone else and carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders, like Atlas. I wanted to show that in a painting.” She blushed, looking down at the floor.

“Clarke,” he whispered, his eyes filling with tears. He realized that his sister was right. He needed to show her how he felt. He cared deeply for her. She was his best friend. He wanted to show her that he heard her earlier. He wasn’t some sex-crazed asshole who made her feel like the only thing she was worth to him as a good lay. He was going to show her that he cared about her more deeply than that. He was going to lay off the kissing and the over the top PDA. He was going to respect what she said earlier, acknowledge that he confused and hurt her with all of that. He was going to stop doing it. He'd be a true friend to her, like she deserved.

“Do you like it?” Clarke’s voice brought Bellamy back from his thoughts.

“I love it.” He raised a hand and tucked a lock of her hair behind her ear, keeping his hand pressed to his cheek. He raised her head so that he could look her in the eye. He stepped closer, and he watched as her tongue flicked across his bottom lip. “Thank you.” He leaned forward and pressed a kiss to her lips. It was the final kiss he would give her before he gave her everything she’d asked for and deserved. She stood up on her toes and deepened the kiss. She pressed her hands to his shoulders, pulling him closer. He went with her, opening his mouth to her when her tongue danced across his bottom lip. His hands settled onto her waist, and he pulled her so that her chest was pressed to his. She wrapped her arms around his neck. After a few minutes, he broke the kiss. “Let’s get some sleep.” He cleared his throat, because his voice was husky. He stepped back and wiped at his mouth with his finger tips. He saw her brow furrow, and she turned away from him, wrapping her arms around her middle.

“Right, yeah, okay. Let’s get some sleep.” Her voice was pinched, and he realized that he’d fucked up again. “I’ll finish this tomorrow, and you can bring it home in a few days, once it’s dried.”

“Clarke,” he wrapped his arms around her, pulling her back against his chest. He pressed a kiss to her crown. “Thank you.” He leaned his forehead against the back of her head. “I want you to know that I love this painting, and I loved every minute of today. You gave me the best birthday ever. It was perfect, because I was with you.”

“I’m glad you had a good day, Bell.” She leaned her head back against his shoulder.

“C’mon. Let’s get some sleep, okay?” He released her and walked around to face her. He held out a hand to her, and she nodded.

Bellamy raised Clarke’s to his lips once she placed it in his hand. He pressed a kiss to her knuckles, making her roll her eyes. “You’re such an idiot,” she muttered as she let him lead her to the stairs.

“Yeah, but I’m your idiot.” He grinned as they headed down the stairs.

“Something like that…”

Chapter Text

Clarke woke early the next morning. The weight of Bellamy’s arm was familiar to her now, settled over her waist, the other tucked under her neck. The warmth of his body cocooned hers. She felt the fluttering of his breath against the back of her neck. She closed her eyes and settled back against him, but they flew open almost immediately, because she felt the swell of his arousal against her back. All of the other times that she’d awoken in his arms, she hadn’t experienced his morning wood. Sure, she had felt the beginnings of it when they’d gotten carried away while they were kissing, but to wake up to fully relaxed, aroused Bellamy was something new for her. She found that she wasn’t as uncomfortable with it as she figured that she should be.

If they were in a real relationship, she probably would have rubbed against him or rolled over and awoken him by touching him or going down on him. But, they weren’t in a real relationship, so instead, she was going to settle back into his arms and enjoy the moment until he awoke. She closed her eyes and relaxed against him again, allowing sleep to overcome her again.

It wasn’t moments later when she felt him hum against her neck and pull her even more firmly against him. Her head was cottony from being half-asleep, but she felt the kisses that he left on the back of her neck and shoulder. “I could wake up like this every morning.” He muttered against her skin, his voice raspy with sleep.

“Mm, I can tell you’re happy to see me.” She yawned, wiggling her hips slightly, and he laughed, stroking his fingers along her stomach lightly.

“I’m always happy to see you, Princess.” He sucked on the space where her neck met her shoulder making her sigh. She shifted, attempting to roll over, but he squeezed his arm, holding her in place. “Wait. Don’t roll away. I just want to enjoy this for a few more minutes.”

“I’m not rolling away. I’m trying to turn over and give you a proper good morning kiss.”

“By all means, then. Roll over.” He loosened his grip on her waist, and she rolled over so that she was facing him. She shifted up so that their eyes were level and their faces were inches apart.

“Hi,” she whispered before pressing her lips to his, her hand on his cheek. He met her kiss and raised the arm that she was laying on to rest his forearm against the back of her head, pulling her closely. The other squeezed her hip. After a few moments, he pulled back to smile at her softly.

“Hi,” he whispered back.

Clarke ran her fingers over Bellamy’s face as she blinked sleepily at him. His fingers ran up and down her back in a random pattern. She couldn’t contain the shiver that ran over her as his fingers grazed her ass, and she leaned forward to kiss him again. She let her fingers trace down his cheek to his neck and down his neck to his bare chest. Her fingers continued their descent until they were tracing through the trail of course hair just above his tented boxers. He grunted, stilling her hand with his.

He broke the kiss and interlaced their fingers together. “I heard you before, Clarke.” His eyes traced over her face. “I’m following your lead here.”

“Sorry.” She squeezed his hand with hers. “I just…you know I wasn’t ever really into morning sex until you.” She laughed, leaning forward so that her forehead was tucked under his chin. She pulled her hand free from his and draped it over his waist to give him a half-hug. She pressed her hand against his lower back, pressing as much into his body as she could get.


“Not really. I love my sleep, and then when I wake up, I just like to go about my day, you know? Use that surge of energy to go paint or to the gym or something.”

“But, now you want my bod, huh?”

Clarke laughed in response to Bellamy’s comment, pinching his side. He tugged slightly on her hair in response, making her grunt. She pressed herself more firmly against him as she kissed his collarbone. “Fuck, I need you to make that noise again.” He scraped his fingers along her scalp, tugging lightly at her hair. She moaned again. “Yeah, just like that, baby.”

“Bell,” she rubbed her body against his, and she felt his shudder as her stomach and hips rubbed against his arousal.

He pushed her on her back, kissing her hard as he pressed his body against hers. She moaned into the kiss. She felt herself drifting into dangerous territory. She knew if they kept this up, they would definitely sleep together, and she was scared to let that happen. She was falling for him, and she couldn’t handle it if she let herself go that far with him, knowing that he didn’t feel the same way.

Bellamy’s lips traced down Clarke’s jaw to her neck, where he began sucking on her pulse point. She sighed, scraping her nails along his back as she tried to gain her faculties. It was too hard, though. She couldn’t focus. All she could think about was the way his lips felt against her skin and the weight of his body against hers. Fuck. She loved having his body pressed to hers. She loved the light rocking of his hips against hers. She loved every minute of this. Fuck, she loved him.

The thought sobered her completely. She loved him. She knew it. She knew that she loved him. She realized that there was a part of her that had always known she’d loved him. There, underneath the surface, an ever present hum in her bones. She wasn’t even sure that she could put a finger on when it happened. Early on, for sure. The night her friends interrogated him, and she felt so much more connected to him then she was before? When he came to her mother’s and introduced himself as her boyfriend? When they talked over the phone while she was in San Francisco? Thanksgiving?? When she saw that he was willing to hurt his career in order to help her with Finn? And she was able to pull him aside and calm him down when he was ready to take Finn’s head off? Fuck, she probably loved him since their first “date,” when she was able to open up to him and see a side of him that she knew he didn’t let many people see. She was in love with him, and she wanted everything with him.

“Bell, stop.” Clarke slid her hands from Bellamy’s back to grab hold of his sides. She pushed lightly, and he immediately rolled off of her, dropping onto the bed beside her. He ran a hand down his face, and she watched as his chest rose and fell as he regained his breath. “I’m sorry.”

“Why are you apologizing?” He pulled his hand from his face and turned on his side, resting his weight on his forearm as he partially sat up to study her face. “No biggie.”

“No biggie? You’ve got a hard on the size of Texas, and I’m definitely turned on. I’m sorry I stopped this.”

“So what? I told you, I’m following you. I’m hard. Big deal. Do I want to fuck your brains out, yes? Do I want to see just how turned on you are? Fucking hell yes, but you’re not cool, so…we’re stopping.” She felt her heart burst open even more, and she squeezed her eyes shut. “Clarke.”

She shook her head, and she felt a few stray tears slip from her eyes. Shit, she wasn’t going to cry. He repeated her name again, softly, as he moved closer to her. He pressed a few kisses to the side of her head as he wrapped an arm around her waist. “No. I can’t…I’m…Fuck…” She mumbled through her hands.

“Baby, it’s okay.” He reached up to pull her hands out of the way. “Princess, it’s okay.”

“It’s not okay. I’m so confused.” She wiped at her eyes, wincing as more tears slipped out. He nodded his head.

“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t’ve pushed. I should've stopped this ages ago, but I wanted to keep going, and I just…I suck; I’m sorry.”

“Stop it.” She laughed through the tears, reaching out to rest a hand on his cheek. “You didn’t do anything wrong. I wanted to keep going. Fuck, I almost did. I just…I couldn’t do it, Bell. I couldn’t do it.”

“I know…” He turned his head to press a kiss to the palm of her hand. “You don’t need to apologize. I should apologize.”

“We’re so fucked up. We’re fighting over who should be apologizing again.”

“Yeah, well, I was right then, and I’m right now.” He pressed a kiss the side of her head and buried his face into her hair. He took a few deep breaths. “I should…I’m gonna go, um...take care of this.” He pulled away from her.

Clarke turned her head and watched as Bellamy headed into the bathroom. The door shut behind him, and she heard the water turn on. She sighed, running a hand down her face again. She climbed out of the bed and walked to her vanity to run a brush through her hair. She winced when she noticed the sizable dark red mark that was left on her neck, and she slapped a hand over it. It was going to be a bitch to coverup and hide from Kate the next day.

She took one final glance towards the bathroom door, and for a moment, she debated going in there and joining him. She shook her head and then practically ran from her bedroom in direction of the kitchen, deciding that coffee and breakfast was a necessity to get her mind off of sex with him.

Clarke grabbed her iPod and hooked it up to the speaker system that she had set up in her kitchen, scrolling through her music to find a song worth listening to as she cooked.


Bellamy exited the bathroom, rubbing a towel through his hair, finding Clarke’s bed empty. He heard music and the clanging of plates and pans coming from the kitchen everywhere. He grabbed his phone to see that he had quite a few text messages and notifications on his social media sites—birthday messages primarily. He stopped dead when he saw that Clarke was dancing around the kitchen, singing along to a song on blasting from her iPod, as she fried pancakes on the stove. He laughed quietly under his breath, watching as she swayed her hips to beat of the song. She was dressed in her pajamas from the night before: a pair of sinfully short black shorts and a deep purple tank top. And, he was pretty sure that she wasn’t wearing any underwear, and he knew she wasn't wearing a bra. Fuck, he was going to need another cold shower after all of this.

Rude Boy by Rihanna came on, and he decided he had to share this with other people. He didn't see her phone anywhere near by, so he sent a quick tweet to his fans that he was hopping on Periscope, but they shouldn’t tell Clarke. He then opened Periscope and held a finger to his lips when he saw his fans start to jump on, knowing that they could hear the music in the background. He then switched the camera to start recording her as she danced and sang along to the music.  

Clarke jumped when she turned to in the direction of the fridge, and she saw that Bellamy was recording her. She put her hands on her hips and glared at him, making him laugh and shrug. She flipped him off before she got back into the song again. She sang along with the song, swinging her hips sensually. “I like the way you touch me there ; I like the way you pull my hair ; Babe, if I don’t feel it, I ain’t faking ; No, no ; I like it when you tell me to kiss me there ; I like it when you tell me move it there ; So giddy up, time to giddy up ; you say you’re a rude boy ; show me what you got now ; come here right now.” She crooked her index finger at him, and he laughed.

He switched the camera back to his face and winked at the camera as he walked towards her. He held the camera out to record them as she wrapped her arms around his waist and he leaned down to press a kiss to her lips. She arched her back, and he followed so he was leaning over her. He broke the kiss to turn his attention to the camera again. “See you all later!” He winked again before ending the Periscope recording. She smacked his arm as he dropped his phone onto her countertop.

“You’re an asshole.”

“Hey, don’t think I didn’t notice which part of the song you decided to sing for the camera.” He laughed, reaching up to tug on her loose curls, making her hum. She pushed him away.

“Bite me.” She said as she opened the fridge door.


She ignored him, reaching into the fridge for something. He decided he’d pick his own spot, so he crowded her against the fridge to bite down on her shoulder. She squealed, squirming in his arms. He laughed as he soothed the bite mark with a couple of gentle kisses. “Stop…” She whined, turning around to face him, a glass bowl of berries in her hands. “You did enough of that this morning.” He cocked an eyebrow at her as she pushed past him, kicking the fridge door shut with her foot. She placed the berries down on the counter and gathered her loose curls off of her neck with one hand. She then arched her neck to the side, revealing the reddish-purple mark on her pale skin.

“Shit, I got you good, huh?” He stepped closer to her, reaching out to stroke the mark with the tip of his finger.

“Yeah,” she whispered, her eyes falling shut.

“Does it hurt?”

“No…yes, but no…” He pressed a little harder, watching as her brow furrowed. Her body leaned into his touch, so he knew that he wasn’t hurting her. He leaned down, replacing his fingertip with a light brushing of his lips. “Bell,” she whimpered, and he sucked a breath in.

She didn’t want this. She didn’t want this. She didn’t want him like that. He was trying so hard to follow what she wanted, and that was some distance. As much as he wanted to take her on her table, he knew that she didn’t want that. He took a step back, sucking in a deep breath. Her eyes opened almost immediately, searching for him. She studied him for a moment, and he couldn’t quite read her expression before she cleared her throat and turned back to the plate of food that she’d prepared.

“I have pancakes and syrup and the fruit.”

“Looks good, Princess.” His voice was scratchy and betrayed just how much he wanted her. She bit her bottom lip momentarily, and she reached for her iPod, shutting the music off.

“I hope you like them.” She grabbed an empty plate and handed it to him.


From: Bellamy Blake
5:48 PM
How’s it going, babe? Dinner tonight?

To: Bellamy Blake
5:48 PM
Good. Kate’s beautiful. I saw Wells’ dick. All in a day’s work.

From: Bellamy Blake
5:49 PM
Are you scarred for life?

To: Bellamy Blake
5:49 PM
He’s got a nice dick and a nice ass. Kate’s a lucky lady *laughing winking emoji*

From: Bellamy Blake
5:50 PM
Mine’s better.

To: Bellamy Blake
5:50 PM

From: Bellamy Blake
5:51 PM
There’s no reason to be jealous, Princess

Clarke laughed as she studied the last text from Bellamy. She studied the waning light, the glow of the lights and candles, and the tired looks on her friends’ faces as they huddled under robes and cuddled against each other. Even if winter in Los Angeles was mild in comparison to many other states in the continental United States, it was still early January and cold. The cold was fine—good actually, for aesthetic purposes—but not for her friends. For her, either, because she wanted nothing more than take a hot shower, start a fire in her fireplace at her apartment, and cuddle up on the couch with vegan baked goods with Bellamy. She sniffed, because she wanted to spend time with her boyfriend, even if they were only technically dating in the eyes of the rest of the world. She wanted this to be real.

“Hey, guys! I think that’s enough for tonight. Let’s get our ‘models’ warmed up.” She turned to Monroe. “We got everything you needed, right?”

“There’s never enough pictures, but we got great stuff today. I’ll give you copies.” Monroe headed towards her computer to make copies.

Clarke pulled her texts open again. She typed out a quick text that they were wrapping up to send to Bellamy. She asked him to pick up Chinese food from her favorite vegan Chinese place, texting him the address and her order of mock General Tso Chicken with extra broccoli, brown rice, and veggie rolls. She rolled her head on her shoulders for a moment before she dove into helping everyone with their cleanup.

“Seeing Bellamy tonight?” She jumped, dropping the sheet that she as going to throw over one of the mirrors. She glanced at Kate and shrugged. Kate reached out and poked the bruise on her neck, making Clarke squirm. “That’s a nice hickey.”

“I…can we not argue about this right now? I know that you think that I’m being stupid, but I know what I’m doing. Bellamy and I are...friends.” She winced at the catch in her voice.

“Oh, babe…” Kate enveloped her in a hug. Clarke tried to step out of the hug, because she didn’t want to cry. She didn’t want Kate to know that she was upset. “You’ve fallen for him?”

“No. We’re…we’re friends, Kate.”

“Clarke, sweetie. I know…” Kate squeezed her tighter and a stray, traitorous tear slipped out of Clarke’s eye. “I just wanted to protect you from getting hurt, but if you have feelings for him, you have to talk to him.”

“I…Octavia said the same thing! Is it so obvious?”

“To the people that are aware that this is all fake? Yeah, it is.” Kate dropped her voice, and Clarke appreciated her friend even more in that moment. “To him? Probably not.”

“I don’t know how to have that conversation with him. I tried…I started to explain to him that I wanted him, but then I chickened out and made it about sex. Like, we agreed to pause the sex stuff, but…”

“Sex stuff?” Kate’s eyebrows practically disappeared into her hair.

“We haven’t…but…we…there have been moments when it could get there. Like, we’re making out and hands are getting close to edges of clothes, and I stop it before it gets there. However, it hasn’t stopped. We almost had sex again.” Clarke pointed at her neck. “He told me that he would always be there for me, if we slept together before this ‘thing’ ends.”

“Clarke, he doesn’t want this to end. He’s in love with you. He just doesn’t know how to say it.”

“Sometimes I think that could be true…the way that he looks at me sometimes…I just…then, he says something about how he understands that this isn’t real, and I just…it breaks my heart. I’m not sure I can keep this up. I don’t know how to do it.”

“Tell him the truth.”

“And then what? He says he doesn’t feel the same way.”

“He won’t. He’ll say he doesn’t know if he’s in love with you, because he’s got the emotional range of a bucket, but he’ll admit that he doesn’t see you platonically, and you’ll both try something real, and it will work.”


“Just be honest with him.”

“I’m scared.”

“Then end it.”


“I mean it. Clarke, if it is tearing you up this much, then end it. People break up for a lot of reasons—seemingly happy people. You two can end it, and you can get the space that you need and the time to figure out what you want and need.”

The thought of ending things with Bellamy broke her heart, but she knew that they couldn’t keep going the way they were. She needed to be honest with him. She needed to tell the truth.


“Hi, Paige, right?” Bellamy held a hand out to the woman on the other side of the door to Clarke’s mom’s boyfriend’s house in L.A. Paige was dressed in a pair of khaki slacks, a white t-shirt tucked in, and a light brown cardigan over top. On her feet were a pair of tan shoes. Her hair was cut into a short bob and she was wearing a pair of brown glasses. As she laid her hand in his, he realized if she were coming to interview him four months before, he would have bedded her as soon as her pen was capped. Now, he could acknowledge that she was pretty, but he didn’t feel the need to sleep with her.

“Yes, Bellamy, hi! I’m such a fan.” Paige flashed him a flirty smile, all teeth and plump lips. He returned her smile (but it was much more subdued than hers) as he stepped back, letting her her through the door. “I’m a huge fan of yours.”

“Thanks. I appreciate it. I’m honored that so many people like me, and I’ve been lucky with the role I’ve been offered and taken.”

“Oh, it’s more than that. You’re a great actor. And so handsome.” Paige winked as she glanced around the entry to the house. “You know, I’m surprised that you wanted to meet here…where are we exactly?”

“Clarke’s family’s place. Follow me. I’m in the process of making vegan mac and cheese. Do you like that?” He led her to the kitchen, immediately going to stove to stir the pasta.

“Clarke…your girlfriend.” Paige prompted and Bellamy dropped the spoon onto the spoon rest. He cleared his throat and turned off the pot, after realizing the pasta was ready to be poured.

“Yeah, my girlfriend…that being said, we’re not really here to talk about my relationship with Clarke. We’re here to talk about the Grounders movie, right?”

“Yes, we will get to that, but I know a ton of readers are likely interested in hearing about you and Clarke. You met in high school, right?”

“I’d really rather focus on the movie.” Bellamy poured the water and then grabbed the mixture of the vegan cheese sauce he’d prepared before Paige’s arrival.

“There were rumors that you two were fighting at New Year’s and that things were off on your birthday. People are claiming that you two were fighting. It is suspicious considering that the two of you spent most of New Year’s apart.”

“Look, I know that you’re trying to do your job and get all of the juiciest, nastiest details of my private life, but it is just that. My private life.”

“C’mon, Bellamy. You’ve got to give me something. People are talking that you’re relationship is a sham now. You two aren’t really together anymore, but you’re staying together because it looks good. Especially because there is a source in the production office for the final Grounders film that you were almost fired.”

“That’s…” He closed his eyes and shook his head. He was going to kill Kane, because he obviously didn’t vet the interviewer before the meeting was set. Or, she was going off book, and he needed to know if he could kick her out. He also needed Clarke’s calming energy—or someone to help him fight this battle with him—and she needed to take a breather from painting. “Excuse me for a moment.” He slipped out of the kitchen and headed to the the art studio that Clarke had set up in one of the offices in the house. “Save me.”

Clarke jumped when she heard him, nearly dropping her wet paintbrush. She turned to look at him, immediately frowning when she saw his face. “Poor baby.” She set the paint brush and her palette down. “Is the magazine reporter beating you up?” She wiped her hands with the towel by her painting station, but there was paint smeared on her arms, chest, cheek, neck, legs, and in her hair. Not to mention her clothes. Her clothes were covered in paint, but he figured that these were clothes she wore specifically for painting. The easel depicted a half-completed image of Wells and Kate, naked and embraced.

“Wells does have a nice dick. Mine’s still better.” He joked, and she laughed, coming over to press a kiss to his cheek. “C’mon. You need water and a snack, and I need you to tell this chick that we’re not broken up and that you are madly in love with me or something.” He frowned rubbing at the paint on her cheek with his thumb.

“Madly in love you, huh?” Her voice was breathy and a higher pitch than normal, and a pink blush started to bloom on her cheeks. He thought it was adorable that she was getting flustered, and in the back of his mind, he thought back to what Octavia has said to him. Could there be any truth to her belief that Clarke felt something deeper for him? He felt a weight in his chest, but it wasn’t oppressive, at that thought. He honestly wasn’t sure how to read into the feeling.

“Yeah…I’m lovable, right?” He didn’t know what he was expecting to hear, but her soft smile and gentle eye roll was enough. He felt the tightening in his stomach, causing him to flick his tongue across his bottom lip.

“Ehh, only sometimes.” She winked before pushing past him. “Let’s go be madly in love.”


Clarke heard Bellamy follow her to the kitchen. She immediately went to the sink to wash her hands.

“Babe, this is Paige. Paige, Clarke.” Clarke dried her hands on a towel and smiled at the pretty woman standing in her kitchen.

“Hi, Paige.” She smiled at the woman seated at the island, a pad of paper, a pen, and her phone out. The woman narrowed her eyes and cocked her head to the side, sizing her up.

“Hi, Clarke. It’s nice to meet you.” The woman appeared to be sizing her up.

Clarke grabbed a carrot stick from the counter top. Bellamy nudged her with his hip as he dumped bread crumbs on top of the cheese and pasta mixture. “Stop.” She poked him in the side as he kept bumped into her again as he walked around her to put the food in the oven.

“Perhaps you’ll be more willing to let me in on a few inside secrets about you and Bellamy.” Paige pouted. “He won’t tell me anything.” She rolled her eyes, and she was whining, as if she and Clarke were friends.

Clarke cocked an eyebrow at her. “You’re here to interview Bell about his movie, not about our relationship. This isn’t a puff piece you’re writing. You’re writing something more substantial than that. You’re telling the story of the Grounders and its triumphant conclusion.” She grinned at the reporter.

“Of course that is why I am here. I just think that adding some more personal details will make it tad more compelling.” Paige tapped her pen against the pad of paper. “Your fans love it when you open up about yourself to them. The large majority of them seem to love your relationship with Clarke. However, there are some that believe that your relationship is a sham, because of Bellamy’s image issues. Having a committed relationship with a ‘good girl,’ especially one from his past appears to have softened him. And, it seemed to assuage the production company, if the rumors that Bellamy was almost fired from the final film have any truth to them.”

Clarke’s eyebrows rose as she studied the woman before her. She was a good reporter, even her medium was entertainment journalism and not the hard-hitting stuff like politics. “Okay, I’ll address that, and then you can dive into the real interview, which is about the movie and what is next for Bellamy Blake.” She felt Bellamy’s eyes on her, but she kept her gaze leveled on Paige.

“Bellamy and I are in a committed relationship that is one hundred percent real. He is my best friend, and I care deeply for him. Yes, he and I knew each other in high school, and it is true that we did not get along at all. In fact, we had a really tumultuous and competitive…relationship throughout high school. I believe this was because my boyfriend at the time that we met was rude to Bellamy, and it likely influenced his opinion of me. I regret that this was the case, because Bellamy is genuinely one of the most amazing people I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. I wish that he and I had been at least friends in high school, but we weren’t. I am grateful that he has come back into my life now, and I hope that he will continue to be for the rest of my life, regardless of whether or not we are in a romantic relationship.

“I cannot answer to whether or not the rumors of the production company wanting to leave Bellamy out of the final Grounders film. That is up to the production company to confirm or deny those rumors, but I can say that it would have been stupid as hell for them do that. Bellamy is that movie, and I do not say that lightly. Yes, there are a number of talented actors who are a part of that film, but this film would not be a reality or as popular as it is now without Bellamy and his tremendous talent. He is the reason why people keep going back. It’s not because he’s handsome or physically fit and semi-naked throughout most of the films. It’s because of he can display multiple layers to his character in every scene that he performs. The fans of this film follow it, because they see themselves in his character. He brings his character from the film, and the book series that it was inspired by, to life. So, the production company would have to be the dumbest people alive to not give the franchise and its fans the justice that it deserves.”  Clarke crossed her arms as she stared Paige down. “Does that satisfy your curiosity?”

She leaned back into Bellamy when he wrapped his arms around her waist from behind and pressed a kiss to the top of her head. “Thanks, babe…” He muttered against her hair, and she smiled as she shifted her head to look up at him.

“Octavia and I are the only ones who are allowed to talk shit about you…” She winked, making him chuckle loudly.

“Shut up.” He brushed his lips over hers gently.

“How touching…”

She jumped when she realized that she’d forgotten that Paige was there all-together. She felt her cheeks burn, and she looked down at her feet. His hands squeezed her hips, a sign of reassurance. 

“So, it’s serious between you two then? Considering you hope that he’s a part of the rest of your life.”

“I am not the type to not have serious relationships, Paige.”

“But your boyfriend has not been known to have had any relationships…”

“Bellamy’s previous relationships, and they were relationships regardless of their duration and level of commitment, are none of my concern. What are my concerns are ensuring that as long as Bellamy and I are together that we treat each other with as much love and respect as we possibly can, that we are happy while spending time together, that we are supportive, open, and honest with each other, and that we are actively choosing to be together. Those are my concerns.”

“So you have no fear that he might cheat on you or something…you know, slip up?”

“I would never cheat on Clarke.” Bellamy snapped at the same time that Clarke snapped “He would never cheat on me.”

“You both seem to be in agreement over that.”

“Bellamy knows my history, and he knows that dishonesty, betrayal, and cheating are my non-negotiables. And he is loyal to a fault. He loves with every part of his being. I am lucky to be the person on the receiving end of that. Even when he pisses me off, he makes me happy.”

“Sounds like true love to me. At least on your side. Bellamy hasn’t said much.” Paige noted.

“Clarke is the most important person in my life. I value and respect her as an individual. She is the first woman I have ever felt truly connected to, so my relationship with her is completely different than any other relationship that I have had previously. She is my best friend first, my partner second.” He rubbed his fingers into the exposed skin by her hips. “She is the first person I think about when I wake up, and the one that I go to sleep thinking about. Although, I do prefer it when we get to sleep next to each other and I wake up with her in my arms, but I take what I can get when it comes to our busy schedules. Anyways, she’s always on my mind.”

She felt like her heart was going to explode. When he said things like that, it meant that he loved her in the same way that she loved him? If she were to turn to him in this moment and tell him that she loved him, he would say it back, right? And mean it? She wanted this to be real. She needed it to be real with him.

“Does this mean that wedding bells might be ringing in the future?” Paige asked casually.

Clarke froze, but she felt Bellamy’s reassurance when squeezed her hips lightly and pressed a kiss to her temple.

“Alright, you got enough of the juicy details about my relationship with Clarke.”

“Oh, c’mon. We’ve gotten this far.”

“Because you goaded Clarke into opening up about our relationship, and then I had to respond to your question about how I feel about her, because it would make me look like a douche to keep my feelings about her between us after she was so open and forthcoming. So, you’ve gotten as much as you’re going to get.”

“Damn, I guess I will settle with what I have. But, you know that most of your fans are dying to know if there will be ‘Bellarke’ wedding bells ringing.”

“Are you ready to talk about the movie? Clarke needs to eat a little something before she goes back to work, but I would really get back to why you’re really here.” He released her hips, signifying that she was safe to go about her business.

Clarke moved to the counter where the sliced vegetables were and picked up a cherry tomato, listening as Paige asked Bellamy a question about the movie. She popped the cherry tomato into mouth, watching Bellamy as he responded.

“Well, I’m excited to bring the conclusion of the franchise to life and give the fans the resolution that they’ve been waiting for, but I’m sad that something that has been a part of my life for the last five and a half years—about seven by the time post-production is done and the film is out—is ending. I grew up with these movies, like a lot of my fans did. Most of my twenties will have been spent being involved in this franchise, so it’s sad to watch it end. At the same time, it’s also a very exciting time, because it’s opening me up to new possibilities.”

“What kind of possibilities?”

“Well, with the success of the Grounders franchise and the other films I had the opportunity to take part in, I now can be more selective in what I do moving forward. I really enjoy the action genre, because I love the physicality that comes with those roles. Since I was a kid, I’ve been active—I hate sitting still, as Clarke and my sister can attest to—so I really love being a part of films that allow me to move, you know? However, I have been in this industry and solely taken roles in that genre for the last five and a half years, so I’d love to branch out and see what else is out there.”

“Are there any particular genres or roles that you’re eager to pursue?”

“Well, Clarke keeps telling me that I should do something in the romantic comedy arena, but I’m not sure I can pull that off.”

“No, I told you that you should do gay porn with Murphy.” Clarke winked at him, and he flipped her off. “Paige, I give you permission to write in your article that I am team Murphamy. If things between Bellamy and I do no work out, I want them to be endgame.”

“Clarke, stop.” Bellamy reached over and poked her in the side, making her squeal.

“Alright, I’ll stop.” She stuck her tongue out at him before grabbing a piece of carrot and biting into it.

“Anyways, Clarke seems to think that I should try a rom-com, or even any other genre, but I think that the next logical step for me would be to transition into a thriller. Not quite horror, but something more sinister and action-packed, but not necessarily requiring me to pretend to jump off buildings or do martial arts or handle a sword.”

“Can I add something?” Clarke interjected quietly before Paige could ask her next question. “Bellamy is brilliant. He and I were definitely rivals in high school, because he was so smart. I keep telling him that he should pursue a college degree.”

“That’s always on the table, yeah…I mean, I have to work my way up to a doctorate, because this one went to medical school.” Bellamy reached out and bumped Clarke’s leg with his foot. She kicked back at him, sticking her tongue out at him again. He narrowed his eyes at her, and she smiled playfully back.

“Really? I did not know that. I knew that you’re an artist—the well-known C.E.G. What made you decide not to pursue medicine?”

“Well, as Bellamy said, I went to undergrad and then medical school at Stanford, and after I graduated, I had a couple of residency offers, but after my father died a few years ago, I realized that medicine was not how I wanted to spend my life. I have a lot of respect for my classmates and doctors, but it wasn’t right for me. So, I started painting again, and I found my agent, who is now one of my best friends in the whole world, and I’ve been really successful at it. So, it’s all for the best.”

“I’m sorry for your loss.”

“Thank you.” She smiled at Bellamy. “He’s behind on the education thing, so I am definitely hoping that he’ll pursue a college degree soon. He’s a total nerd when it comes to history and the classics and all of that, so I hope he pursues that.”

“Wow, that’s interesting. I didn’t realize that you were such a history connoisseur, Bellamy.” Paige cocked an eyebrow at Bellamy.

“Yeah, well, when I’m not acting, I’m more likely to watch a documentary than to watch a movie.”

Clarke stood up after having eaten a nice amount of veggies. “On that note, I’ve got my other best friend’s dick to go paint, so I’m off.” Bellamy laughed aloud, shaking his head.

“Um…” Paige’s jaw dropped open. “I…what?”

“I’m doing a series of nude pieces that is focused on connection and love, and how couples essentially become mirrors for each other as they grow closer to one another. All of the couples featured are real life couples and some of the closest people in the world to me. It is a collaborative project featuring the stunning photography of Zoe Monroe. We are going to be presenting it in Manhattan this spring. We’re also in the process of creating a book of the artwork and photography that should be out sometime next year.”

“Wow. That sounds interesting. Is Bellamy a part of the series?”

Clarke froze for a moment before shaking her head. “No, he’s not. He is definitely an inspiring catalyst for the pieces.”

“But he’s not in it.”

“No, he’s not.”

“She’s painted quite a few amazing pieces for me recently, including a piece in which I am taking the role of Atlas, and the world that I’m carrying on my back features the faces of the most important people in my life. It’s really a magnificent piece. It’s in my bedroom at my house.” Bellamy reached for Clarke’s hand and squeezed it.

“It’s not that I do not want to include Bellamy,” Clarke began when she saw Paige narrow her eyes at them. “I think that...when I was first inspired by this idea of this series, it was at a time when Bellamy and I weren’t sure what we were to each other. Due to our history and our deep connection, people often forget—including us—that our relationship is still so young. We haven’t been together very long. We are coming up on our second full-month of dating. So, when I thought of it a few weeks ago, I…we…we weren’t sure where our relationship was going. He and I had reconnected so quickly and so deeply, I’ll admit that I got scared. I can’t speak for Bellamy, but I know that our relationship went through a rough patch for a few weeks. So, I was seeking an explanation for what I could be feeling and decided to look at the other deeply powerful relationships that I’m surrounded by as a way to discover what that kind of deep, loving connection looks and feels like.  So, I reached out to my friends, each in varying stages of their relationships, and this series was born.

“As I have dove into my work and our relationship has progressed, I believe that I have a better understanding of what I want out of my relationship with Bellamy. So, while it is too late for him to be a part of this series, I do plan on continuing to paint him. He’s definitely pretty to look at, so it’ll be easy to sell.” She winked at Bellamy, trying to play off everything that she said. He was studying her in a way that made her feel slightly uncomfortable, so she looked back at Paige.  “Right, so I’m gonna go before I share any more details about my relationship with Bellamy. You two have a wonderful rest of your interview!”

Clarke practically ran from the room, because she was fearful that Bellamy was mad at her for giving out so much private information about him and their relationship. Which, technically it wasn’t a real relationship, so wasn’t sure what he was thinking. Did he think that she was playing up the fake-girlfriend bit? Because she was one hundred percent honest in everything she said to Paige. She was committed to Bellamy. She did care deeply for him. She did pick this theme because she wanted to understand what was happening between her and Bellamy. All of it was completely true for her. She just hoped that he felt the same way.

Chapter Text

“Babe, what are you doing?” Bellamy poked Clarke with one of his toes. He was seated on his couch in his media room, and the TV was on in the background. Neither one of them were really watching it. Well, he was watching her. She was staring at her iPad. They were facing each other, with one of his feet on the ground and his other leg was in between hers, and he kept tapping her inner thigh with his foot to get her attention. There was the soft, clicking noise in the background from the portable timer that he’d brought from the kitchen to alert him when the vegan lasagna he was making was finished. He was using their dinner (at his house ) as a tester to see how easily he could pull Clarke away from her painting. The second she’d walked through the door, however, with barely a kiss, she dropped onto his couch and buried her face into her iPad.

“I’m searching for places to rent for the month I’m in New York from mid-March to Mid-April.” She didn’t look up from her iPad. He watched as she furrowed her brow and shook her head lightly before tapping at the top of her screen. 

He chewed on his bottom lip at the reminder that they were supposed to be easing up on their contact before they went their separate ways in March. Their breakup. But, her birthday was coming up…was he supposed to be the dick that broke up with her right before her birthday? Or, was he the dick who breaks up with her after her birthday. If that was the case, then he couldn’t do what he had planned. It was a little too “happy couple” for a couple that splits right after that.

He hated the idea of not seeing her every day was killing him. He didn’t want to be away from her in that capacity. Sure, they could talk on the phone, text, or private message each other through social media, but it wasn’t the same.

"I was thinking that I might go to Manhattan for a few months."

"Really?" Clarke's eyes darted up from her iPad screen and locked onto his face. He swallowed, because her eyes were narrowed, and he didn't know what that look meant. She was studying him so intensely, and it felt like her eyes were tearing through his flesh to see deep inside him. He just didn't know what she saw as she looked at him. "Why? You start filming in Croatia in April."

Bellamy chewed on his bottom  lip a little. "Wouldn't it be strange that my girlfriend is New York for a huge art show--one that is a collaboration with another artist and that a book is being produced from, I might add--but I'd be here until I had to fly out before filming a movie for months in a foreign country. We wouldn't be seeing each other for months, Clarke. That's abnormal. Especially, because the filming doesn't start until April now. That's a whole month of me being in Los Angeles, while you're in Manhattan, and then I spend months in Croatia filming. So, if my girlfriend is in Manhattan, then I should be in Manhattan for as long as I can before I have to leave the US." He shrugged. 

His phone beeped, and he picked it up from where it was resting on the ottomon in front of him. He saw that it was a text from his sister. O was asking him about getting lunch the next day. After texting an affirmative to her, he looked up to see that Clarke had brow furrowed. “What?”

“So, this is just about looking good for the press? You spending time in Manhattan, because it looks better for you to be there while I’m there?” 

He was shocked at how that cut into his heart. He let out a deep breath, because that was total bullshit. How could she think that was all that it was for him? How could she think that he only wanted to be around her because it looked good for his career? “Is that what you think? You think I only want to go, because it’s better for my career?” He ran a hand through his hair. “Fuck you, Clarke.”

“What? Fuck me? Real mature, Bellamy. You’re the one saying that it’s stupid for you to stay here for a month when I’m in Manhattan.”

“Yeah, Clarke, because I’m already going to be gone for months in another country, practically on the other side of the planet. Do you really think that the only reason why I want to go to Manhattan with my goddamn girlfriend is because it would be good for my career?”

“Your girlfriend?” It was his turn to feel uncomfortable, almost as if he revealed too much. But, what was he revealing exactly—he wasn’t so sure. 

“Well, isn’t that what you are?” He ran a hand through his hair. “Like, we’ve referred to each other as boyfriend and girlfriend, so it would be weird for me to not call you that, right?”

Her brow furrowed lightly, and she pinched her lips together for a moment. Her nose twitched as she looked away. “I mean, yeah, but…” She scratched at her forehead, just above her left eyebrow. 

“Clarke.” He shook his head. “You’re important to me. Of course I want to spend as much time as I can with you.” He reached out to her, laying his hand down on his lap, palm up. She hesitated a few moments and then laid her hand on top of his. Immediately, their fingers threaded together, and she nodded her head at him.

“I’d love it if you got a place in New York before you have to leave to film the movie.” 

He swallowed, wiping the palm of his free hand on his thigh. His palm hadn’t been this sweaty since he was twelve and he was going to kiss a girl for the first time. “I was thinking that instead of you and I both renting a place, we could just get the place together.”

“What?” She dropped her iPad in her lap. “Like… together ?” Her hand immediately withdrew from his, and he felt it like a shot in the heart.

“I was thinking that maybe I’d fly out of JFK on the eleventh. I always have it written into my contracts that I get a four-day break every two weeks during filming. Flights will take anywhere between ten and a half to fourteen hours, depending on if I can get a direct flight or if I need to do a layover somewhere, but that’s still around three days that I’ll be in town and we can see each other.”

“How long are you filming for? I’d be staying at the apartment we rented together for the duration of filming?”

“Filming will probably be about four months? Give or take a few weeks.”

“Wouldn’t that be hard on you—filming for two weeks, dealing with a long flight—likely with connections unless you’re doing private—then having to deal with jet lag here before flying back and filming while dealing with jet lag?”

“Well, yeah, it would suck, but it’d be worth it to see you.” He dropped her gaze as he began bouncing the leg that he was resting on the floor. “You could always come out to where we’re filming in Croatia after the shows and everything is finalized with the sales of your pieces.”

“Bell…” She shifted so that her one foot fell to the floor.

Bellamy retracted his other leg, turning away from Clarke. “Unless you don’t want to do it, then that’s cool, too.”

“No, stop, Bell, I’m not saying no.” She shifted her position so that she could move closer to him. He took a deep breath, trying to settle the pounding of his heart. She leaned her chin onto his shoulder. “I just don’t know what this means.”

“What do you mean, Clarke? What does what mean?”

“When we started all of this, the intention was that it was going to be a short ‘are-they, aren’t-they’ thing before going our separate ways, because we were so busy. But we were never that. Things got so deep and real, so fast. I just...I don’t know what this means. I don’t know how to handle this.” She waved a hand between them. 

“So, you want to end this?”

“No—that’s…I don’t know why this is so hard for me.” She stood up. He watched as she began pacing back and forth, twisting and interlocking her fingers periodically. “What is this, Bell? I’m confused as hell, and I have been for ages.” She paused for a moment. “Are we friends? Because I don’t kiss you like I kiss my friends. Friends don’t make out and almost have sex with each other just about every time they’re alone together. Even best friends— Wells and I have never done that . Kate, if she were into girls, and I have never done that.” She rubbed at her face for a moment. “Are we dating? What are we doing here?”

“Clarke…” Bellamy stopped, because he didn’t know what to say. Clarke crossed her arms and stared at him. “I…you’re my best friend, but…”

“But, what? You don’t want to hurt my feelings? It’s habit? You’re horny? You’re avoiding an end date? You like what it does for your career?”

“No, stop. None of that…well, a little because I’m horny, but I know you are, too.” She rolled her eyes. “Clarke…I don’t know how to answer this question.”

“You can’t tell me how you feel?” She turned her back on him.

“Because you’re being so forthcoming with how you feel right now…”

“I already told you—I’m confused about what this is!”

“Yeah, but you didn’t say what you want, Clarke. What is it that you want this to be?” She stared at him. Of course, she was silent now. “Right…” He leaned forward to rest his elbows on his knees, pressing his face into his hands. 

“I want you, Bell.” Clarke whispered, and, for a second, Bellamy froze, because he wasn’t sure what she meant. Or, maybe was just scared to have her confirm what she meant. “I thought it was obvious…it feels like it’s obvious. Everyone could see it. Your sister. Kate. Wells. Everyone saw it."

He dropped his hands from his face. “What?”

“That’s all you have to say? I tell you that I want you , and I get a ‘what?’ Great.” She threw her hands up in the air.

“That’s not fair, Clarke. You’re still not being honest. How ?” She wrapped her arms around herself. “I need to know how you want me, babe…” She looked away from him. “C’mon, Princess. Tell me…” He stood up and slowly walked towards her.

“Bell,” she took a step back, but he reached out, taking hold of her upper arm.

“Clarke, please ?” His fingers slid down her arm slowly. He took her hand in his, raising it between them. His laid his other hand on top of their joined hands. “I need to know how you want me.”

“How do you want me, Bell?”


You don’t know, do you? You don’t want me the way that I want you.” She pulled her hand from his.

“I don’t know how to answer you, Clarke. This is...this is too much.” 

“Fuck you, Bellamy.” She stalked away from him. Her eyes filled up with tears.

“I don’t let people in, Clarke. You’re the first person that got beneath my skin in a long time. Fuck, ever . How I feel about you is so different from everyone else. I don’t know what it means. I need to know what it means, Clarke. You can tell me. You can tell me what I’m feeling--what we’re doing. What we are.”

“I can’t tell you that, Bellamy, because you might not feel the same as me. What I feel for you...those are my feelings. I can’t tell you how you feel about me.” She wiped at the tears that slipped down her cheeks. He reached out for her, but she shook her head, holding a hand up. “No. I can’ hurts too much.”

“You’re my best friend, Clarke.” He felt the tears slip down his cheeks, too. He squeezed his hands into his fist. “You’re the most important person to me in my life. I’ve tried so fucking hard to be someone that makes you happy, and I feel like I do nothing but hurt you.” 

“I’m hurting, because I don’t know how you feel. Because I’m worried that you don’t…” She abruptly stopped talking and clutched at her chest. 

“That I don’t... what ?” 

“I can’t do this anymore, Bellamy.” She wiped at her cheeks. “I can’t be with you anymore.” He felt his heart shatter into a million pieces. She was walking away from him, and it felt like a piece of him was being torn out.

“You’re breaking up with me.”

“WE’RE NOT TOGETHER, BEll! How can I break up with you if we’re not together?” She threw her hands up in the air. “This is what I’m talking about. This--” she waved her hand between them. “ This isn’t a friendship, and it’s not a relationship. I have no fucking idea what it is, but I need to walk away. I don’t want to, Bellamy, but I can’t keep doing this half-in, half-out thing here. I want this to be real. Fuck! Are you happy now? I want this to be a real relationship, and I want us to be together. I want to kiss you and have sex with you and hug you and laugh with you and hang out with you and do all of the shit we already do, but I want it to be real. I want to know that you’re my boyfriend, and I’m your girlfriend. I want you, Bellamy. I want us.” She pressed a hand to her forehead. “I want to be in love and to have a family one day, and I don’t think you can give that to me.”

“I don’t know what love feels like, Clarke. I love my sister, but I sure as fuck don’t feel the same way about you as I feel about her. I don’t feel the same way about you as I feel about Kane. Or Murphy.” He swallowed. “How do you do you know when you love someone, Clarke?”

“You just know, Bellamy.”

“What is different from friendship and being in love?”

“So much of being in love is friendship. It is stronger, though. It’s deeper. It’s a partnership. It’s companionship and respect. It’s kindness and support. It’s deciding that the person is someone you want to spend as much of your life with as you can. There is passion and sensuality, but even when that is gone, you still look at this person and see them for the beautiful soul that they are. I don’t know, Bell. Being in love is all of that and more. You just know, Bellamy. You feel it in your bones that this is your person.” She wiped at her cheeks again. “You’d know if you love me. And you don’t, because you aren’t struggling with this as much as I am. As much as I... care about you, Bell, I can’t keep doing this anymore. It has to end.” 

Clarke walked to the couch where she had left her iPad. She grabbed it, shoving her feet into her shoes quickly. Bellamy followed, because she was not leaving like this. She wasn’t going to throw all of this in his face--tell him that she wanted to be with him, that she might even love him, only to dump him and then leave. “Clarke, stop.”

“I can’t, Bell. This is killing me.” She rushed up the stairs to grab the bag that she’d left in his room, and he followed, blocking the door to his bedroom. She couldn’t leave when she’d finished grabbing her bag, because he was there--in her way. “Bell, move.”

“No. You’re not leaving like this. You’re not walking out on me. We’re not finished here. We’re not finished at all. You want me to say that I’m your boyfriend? Fine. I’m your boyfriend. You’re my girlfriend. This is real, but please don’t leave.”

“It’s not real! You’re saying that because you think it will keep me from walking out the door. You don’t mean it. You have to want this, Bellamy. You have to want me.”

“I do want you!” He shouted. He pulled the bag from her hands and dropped in on the ground to the right of her. “I am tearing myself apart right now to keep you here, Clarke. If you walk out the door, you’re walking out of my life. I can’t lose you.” She shook her head.

“You’re saying all of the wrong things. If I never said anything, would you be saying all of this? Be honest, Bellamy. Think hard on it, right now. Would you be standing here, saying that you want to be in a relationship with me, if there wasn’t a chance that I was walking away and you wouldn’t see me again.”

“What does that matter?”

“It matters, Bellamy, because it tells you how you feel about me.”

“I don’t want anything to change, Clarke. We were happy, weren’t we? We were making plans. We were renting an apartment together. I asked you to come to stay with me while I filmed the movie. I thought everything was working.” She stepped back from him, wrapping her arms around herself.

“Bellamy, that’s everything a couple does. Couples go on trips together and move in together. That’s what they do when they’re in love. I need you to be one hundred percent honest with yourself right now. I need you to let yourself feel. Do you see me as your girlfriend--your partner--the woman you could marry one day? Or do you still see me as your best friend who you like making out with? Your old rival from high school that you think is hot and you grew to like as a person? Someone who could be replaced or could walk away, and you’d grow to be okay with it? Or, if I decided that I wanted to stop all of the kissing and tell the world that we weren’t dating--just faking it--would you be okay with that?” 

He swallowed. Everything she was saying was making sense. He was treating her like his girlfriend, but he never said the words. He never asked her whether she wanted to be anything more than the girl who did him a favor. He opened his mouth a few times, trying to get any type of words to come out. It felt like he was blocked, like he didn’t have the words.

“Exactly. The label we use doesn’t matter to you, Bell, because you don’t want this to be real. You’re fine with us being just friends. You’re fine with us just staying the same. You’re fine with all of it, because this whole thing is another role that you’re playing. I can’t keep pretending to be your girlfriend anymore, Bellamy. I’m not an actress. This isn’t fun for me. It’s killing me. Please let me go.”

Bellamy closed his eyes, stepping back and out of the way. Clarke bent over to pick up her bag. As she started to pass by him, he finally understood what he needed to tell her. The thing that would be true and real, and that it would keep her from walking away from him. “The label doesn’t matter to me, Clarke, because it’s all true. You are my best friend, but you’re also the girl I can see myself living with and spending the rest of my life with. You are my partner. You are everything to me. I never thought about marriage with anyone, because I didn’t think I’d ever find someone who I felt like I could marry. That I was worthy enough to marry someone. “ She froze at the top of the stairs, waiting for him to finish.

“You are my high school rival that I always thought was hot, and I have grown to like you as a person. More than that. You’re the most important person in my life, and you know how ridiculous my relationship with my sister is. And, if you honestly wanted to walk away from me or from this thing between us, I wouldn’t be fine; I would be a mess. I’d be destroyed, honestly. What I would be fine with is if you wanted to stop all of the kissing and all of the cuddling and all of that, and just be friends. I would be fine if you wanted to announce to the world that this was all fake. But it would be a lie, because it wasn’t fake to me. It never was. You are my best friend, my partner, and the only woman who I can see myself having something real with.”

Her head fell forward, chin tucked against her chest. Her shoulders began shaking, and he heard her soft sobs. He moved towards her, laying a hand on her shoulder, guiding her back from the stairs. She dropped her bag on the floor, turning and pressing her face to his chest. He wrapped both arms around her, pressing hard kisses to hair. He was essentially trying to fuse his lips to the crown of her head, like each time his lips left her hair was painful for him. “Bell,” she whispered, and he tilted her head back to lean his forehead against hers. 

“Everything I’m’s love, right?” She squeezed her eyes shut tighter, and he rubbed his nose against the tip of hers. “I love you, right? I’m in love with you.” 

Clarke let out a shuttering breath. She pressed her lips to Bellamy’s--once, twice, three times in quick succession. “I fucking hope so, because that was quite the speech, Bellamy Blake.” He laughed, moving both of his hands to her cheeks, rubbing his thumbs on her cheeks and under her eyes to wipe away the dampness her tears had left behind.

“You still haven’t said it, Clarke…” He kissed her gently, sucking on her bottom lip slightly.

“Who said I feel the same?” She teased, threading her fingers through the hair at the base of his skull. 

“Fuck you,” he muttered against her mouth as he began nibling at her lips. He kissed along her jaw to suck at the junction below her ear. “Say it.”

“I love you, too, Bellamy.” She sighed, tilting her head back to let him have more access to her neck. He placed sucking kisses up and down her neck, grinning at the sighs and whimpers that made her neck vibrate beneath his lips. His teeth grazed one of the tendons in her neck, making it bulge slightly as a deeper groan slipped from her lips. “So much. For so long. Since that first date. Since we bonded over bourbon in Kane’s office. Since graduation. Since that drunken kiss at that party. Since that day I gave the tour of the lower school to your sister. Fuck, I don’t know when it happened, but I’ve loved you for so long.”

“I’ll admit it took me a little longer to figure it out.” He laughed, resting his forehead against her collarbone. She chuckled, running her nails lightly on his scalp and down the back of his neck. “I need you, babe. I need to make love to you. I need to worship every inch of your body. I need to taste you and kiss you and feel you. Please, Princess.” He sucked at her collarbone and ran his tongue along it.

“I--” She didn’t get to finish, because they heard a loud beeping noise from downstairs. “I need you to go turn off the oven so that we can eat lasagna after you thoroughly ravish me.” She pushed him back from her body. “I’ll go freshen up.” He laughed, willingly moving around her to go do as she requested. He didn’t exactly want to eat burnt lasagna or to burn his house down while they were in bed together, either.

Clarke brought her bag into Bellamy’s bedroom again. She placed it on the bed and unzippered it. She knew that he would likely want to undress her, so she didn’t plan on getting naked for him. She just wanted to make sure she was ready for him. She grabbed the toiletry bag she’d brought with her and went into the bathroom.

She grimaced at the sight of herself--what little makeup she’d worn was smeared all over her face, and her cheeks were red and blotchy. Her eyelids were red from being rubbed at and from the crying. Well, they were red where they weren’t black from her smeared mascara. She peed and then dampened one of the reusable face cloths that she’d brought with her to wipe between her legs; she wanted to make sure she didn’t have an errant piece of toilet paper stuck to her skin. That would take her right out of the mood for sure. She then sniffed at her underarms and decided that applying another layer of her underarm deodorant cream might be a good idea. She pulled the jar from her bag and quickly massaged a small amount into her armpits.

She washed her hands quickly and then proceeded to wash her face to get rid of all of the smeared makeup. The cool water soothed her skin, and she felt so much better as she patted her skin dry with a clean face towel. She went through the rest of her skincare routine as quickly as possible. The knock on the bathroom door made her jump, and she dropped the toothbrush she was about to add toothpaste onto into the sink.

“Babe, you okay in there?” Bellamy’s voice was muffled through the door. Clarke laughed softly to herself as she began to put her toothpaste and toothbrush away. She opted for a quick rinse of mouthwash in place of a full dental routine. 

“Yeah,” she called out. “I’ll be out in a second.” She rinsed her mouth quickly and spit it out in the sink as she ran the faucet to wash it away. Once she turned off the faucet, she frowned as she patted at her slightly damp and matted hair. It was falling out of the messy bun she had on top of her head. She quickly loosened her hair from the hair tie, letting it fall messily on her shoulders. She brushed it as gently and as quickly as she could, letting the curls feather around her face. She felt more like herself--more like the woman she wanted him to love. She put her brush away and zipped up her toiletry bag.

Adjusting her shirt--and then wincing when she felt her right breast spill out a little over the cup of her bra, she adjusted the way her breasts fell under her shirt--she took her toiletry bag in hand and headed to the bathroom door.

Bellamy smiled at her when she opened it, making Clarke suck her bottom lip into her mouth. “Hi,” she whispered softly, and he smiled wider at her.

“Hi,” he whispered back. He placed his hands on her hips, pulling her closer to him. His lips found her left temple, and he pressed a quick kiss there before moving to whisper into her ear. “I’m surprised you didn’t take a shower with all that freshening up you were doing.”

“Shut up. I wanted to be ready for you.”

“Babe, you could roll around in a pit of mud, and I’d be ready.” He pulled back to wiggle his eyebrows at her. “Actually, that might be hot. We should do that some time.”

She rolled her eyes and pushed at his chest with her free hand. “Are you going to take me to your bed or not?” He growled, pulling her tight into his arms to kiss her hard on the lips.

“Of course I am.” He breathed into her lips, tangling his fingers into her loose curls. He twisted it lightly in his hand, tugging softly, and she practically purred against his mouth the hair was pulled taut from her scalp. “Mm, I love that sound, baby.” 

Bellamy backed them up, guiding her to the bed. When they got close, he pulled the toiletry bag from Clarke’s hands and put it back into her bag, which he quickly moved to the floor. He reached for her again, both hands clutching her cheeks as he kissed her firmly.

She laid her hands on his hips, bunching the fabric so that a small hint of his was revealed. “I need this off, Bell.” She pulled at his shirt, sliding it up so more of his torso was exposed.

“Impatient…” He tsked at her, stepping back and raising his hands up. “Go ahead. Undress me, Princess.” She rolled her eyes but made quick work of pulling his shirt off. Her mouth immediately went to his chest as her fingers traced the expanse of skin now exposed to her. She felt the twitch of the muscles in his back, the divots of his abs, the swell of his biceps, the bulge of his veins in his arms, the hardened tips of his nipples--all of it. She couldn’t get enough. Her hands and lips roamed. He let her discover him, too, his hands never straying from her hair.

After some time, Bellamy tugged at Clarke’s hair again, forcing her head back, away from his chest. His lips found hers, tongue stroking along the seam. She opened her mouth quickly to him, as her nails scraped lightly along his back. She pushed closer, pressing against the warmth of him. “I need this off of you.” He broke the kiss to reach for her shirt, pulling it off of her quickly. “Fuck, Princess,” he muttered when she was left with just her bra covering her upperhalf. “So fucking beautiful.”

“You’re not so bad yourself,” she sighed. The sigh quickly turned into a moan as he did his own discovery of her exposed skin. He painted her skin with his lips and tongue, sticking closely to the edge of the fabric. He pulled lightly at the cup of her bra with his teeth, and she let her head fall back. His hands massaged at her lower back, pulling her closer to his mouth as his tongue dipped into the crease between her breasts. “More, Bell. I need more.”

“Whatever the hell you want, Clarke.” He pulled back from her. One hand slid up her spine to find the bra clasp, while the other found a strap and began pulling it over her shoulder. The moment that she felt her bra give way, he was pulling it free from her chest. He cursed softly under his breath as he settled a hand onto the skin of her chest, just below her neck.

Bellamy’s hand was on fire. It was the only thought Clarke’s mind seemed to be able to form outside of the glow of pleasure and anticipation that was building in her body. She rested her hand over his, sliding it downward until he was palming one of her breasts. “I love you.”

“I love you, too, baby, so much.” He kissed her hard as both hands began kneading softly at her breasts. He would cup her breasts in both palms, pushing them up, filling as much of his hands as he could, with the excess weight of them spilling out between his fingers and around his palms. Then he would release them, rubbing the pads of his thumbs around her nipples before making a gentle pass over her hardened nipples. The feather-light touches, the soft kneads--all of it was sending shockwaves of pleasure down her spine to settle into her sex. She moaned wantonly as his mouth found her neck.

He placed suckling kisses down her neck to her collarbone. She arched her back, raising onto her toes, forcing his lips downward to wear she wanted them most at this moment. He grinned against her skin, nipping lightly at her chest, just above the swell of her right breast. “Not yet. Need you out of these pants and in my bed.” He pulled back, reaching for the clasp of her jeans.

“Bellamy,” she whined, but her hands followed suit, reaching for his jeans. “You, too.” He laughed, leaning forward to kiss her as they both finished pulling the zippers of each other’s pants down. 

They both began laughing hard after Clarke fell over in the process of their arms getting tangled as they both tried to push each other’s jeans over their hips. She bounced back onto the bed, giggling, but the moment was soon sobered as Bellamy’s eyes traced over her half-naked form, laying on his bed. She shimmied her way back up the bed, trying to be as sexy as she could, considering her jeans were still caught halfway over her ass. 

“Fuck,” he muttered, pushing his jeans off completely. He was still stepping out of them, kicking them off of his legs as he crawled onto the bed over her. Once both of his legs were free, he leaned back, kneeling to the side of her. Both of his hands grabbed the tops of her jeans, tugging them completely over her ass, down her legs, and then tossing them over his shoulder once her feet were free.

Both of them were clad only in their underwear--him a pair of black boxer-briefs that left little to the imagination, and her a pink lace thong that had matched her bra. She reached for him, brushing her hand over the swell of his dick. He groaned as she cupped him, her hand taking hold. She began to stroke him over his underwear. Her other hand found her own breast, which she began rubbing as she arched her back. 

She needed more. She wanted more. She wanted him. “Make love to me, Bell.” She moaned as she pinched her own nipple.

“Yes, baby. I wanna make you feel so good.” He moved forward, trapping her hand between them, pressing his chest to hers. His mouth found hers, his tongue filling her mouth, not even waiting for her to open to him--not that she would’ve denied him. She needed him. He was swallowing her moans, and she arched her back into him, wanting to feel every inch of her body against his. 

Bellamy grabbed at Clarke’s hand, stilling her strokes. He raised it high above her head, their fingers interlacing as he stared into her eyes. “So beautiful, baby.” He whispered, pressing a light kiss to her nose then her lips. “Love you,” his lips danced against her skin as he moved lower--over her chin, then down her throat. Sometimes it was just the brush of his lips against her skin; other times, soft flicks of his tongue. Then, there were the soft sucking kisses or the grazes of his teeth.

Her body felt electrified, as if her veins were now wires that were sparking through every inch of her. Her hands found his hair, and she moaned loudly, gently scraping her nails along his scalp as, finally , his lips found her right breast. His tongue painted the mauve color of her areola before he sucked the pebbled tip of her nipple into his mouth. He sucked softly at first, then harder, making her moan loudly and her back arch. He grazed his teeth against her nipple as he released it before nibbling at the fleshy swell of the rest of her breast.

His free hand began kneading at her left breast, pinching her nipple between his fingers. His other hand squeezed hers lightly as she continued to whimper. “More, Bell. I need more. I need you .” She was surprised she could even form words at this point. Fuck, he was good at foreplay. Part of her wondered if she could come just from this.

Bellamy’s mouth left Clarke’s breast. His lips moved to the seam between them before dipping lower to suckle at the skin beneath them. His kissed, nibbled, sucked, and licked every inch of her stomach. His tongue dipped into her bellybutton. “More.” She cried out, rolling her hips to bring his mouth lower still. He laughed against the lace edge of her panties. He released her hand to cup her asscheeks in both hands as his pressed opened mouth kisses to her pubic mound through her thong. 

“I can smell you. I can smell how much you want me.” He bit at the fabric, pulling it taut, away from her skin, before releasing it so that it snapped back into place. “Can’t wait to taste you.” Her legs fell open, allowing him to settle between them. He moved a hand to her center, tugging her thong aside. “Fuck, you’re so wet, Princess. It’s all for me, right, baby?” She nodded her head, leaning up onto her elbows to watch him as he pressed a quick kiss to the wiry curls at the top of her sex. “Gonna taste you now.”

He leaned back, grabbing at the top of her thong. She lifted her hips to help him, letting him tug it off of her body quickly. When she was completely bare, she let her legs fall open once more. He kissed down her left leg from the ankle until he met the center of her sex. 

Bellamy took a long lick at the entirety of Clarke’s sex, from the bottom to the top, curling his tongue around her clit. After a few gentle licks against her clit, nothing but quick dances of his tongue to make quick sparks of pleasure radiate through her body, he spread her legs even further, pushing them up so that her knees were at her sides, opening her sex to him even further. She cried out as he began to suckle and lick at her with even, firm strokes of his lips and tongue. She couldn’t get a handle on his pattern. One moment a kiss, another moment a hard lick, then a soft suckle at her clit. His tongue dipped into the well of her, but then the next moment it was pulling her clit into his mouth, trapping it between his teeth as he nibbled at it. 

She gripped his hair in both fists, back arched off the bed, the back of her head pressed hard into the pillows. She kept chanting his name repeatedly, in quick succession, until she could do nothing more than moan loudly. She was so close to the edge. It felt like her legs were twitching and spasming, and she dug her  heels into the bed, pushing her sex closer to him. She couldn’t get enough of his mouth. So good. It felt so good.

She cried out loudly when one, then two, then three fingers dipped inside of her. She could feel him spreading them inside of her, massaging at the spot inside of her sex that made her see stars. Each time his fingers entered her, he spread them a little bit more, and she realized he was stretching her open, getting her ready for him .

Clarke had felt Bellamy earlier (and when they’d gotten carried away previously)--even half-hard, he was huge. But now, now he was rock hard, his dick straining against his underwear, and she knew that he was going to stretch her open. It had been awhile since she’d made love to a man, let alone one of his size. She needed to be fully turned on and be prepped by his hand--even then, the stretch when he first breached her might make her lose her mind a little.

“Fuck, baby.” The vibrations of his words against her clit made her see stars, and she moaned. “You taste so good. I can feel you fluttering. You’re gonna cum soon, aren’t you? You’re so close, baby. I’m gonna make you feel so good.” He attacked her sex with even more vigor--firmer licks, sucking harder at her clit, rubbing more intensely at her G-spot deep within her. She felt like her bones were beginning to liquify, and a sweat had broken out over every inch of her body. 

The goosebumps erupted over her body, but she couldn’t get there. She needed him. She needed to see him. “Bell.” She sat up as much as she could, pressing her chin to her chest, to watch him make love to her with his mouth and fingers. Her eyelids were heavy with lust, and she was so close. She needed him. “Your eyes, baby. I need to see you.” He tilted his head back a little, locking eyes with her as he sucked hard on her clit. Her jaw dropped open as she fell over the edge, and her orgasm thundered through her. She sucked in a deep breath, stopped breathing entirely, making no noise as she bottomed out.

She could barely hear anything over the sound of heartbeat pounding in her ears, but there was the soft sound of his fingers moving in and out of her sex as the rush of her cum was released. She heard his soft moans as he continued to suckle at her sex. His eyes never left hers until she fell backwards, legs twitching on either side of him as she rode out the waves of her orgasm.

Finally, it was too much, and she batted at his head, trying to push him away. He laughed as he released her clit from his lips. She moaned as he slowly pulled her fingers from her body. They were shiny and wet from her cum, and before he could raise them to her lips, she grabbed his hand and pulled it to her own mouth. She sucked on his index finger, eyes never leaving his as she licked it clean. She repeated the motion with his middle and ring fingers, too.

“Fuck, Princess. Love you so much.” He crawled up her body to kiss her, fucking her mouth with his tongue as thoroughly as he used it to fuck her sex.

Clarke moaned into the kiss, reaching for Bellamy’s hips. “Condom, Bell…”

He broke the kiss, leaning back. “Yeah, right, condom.” He moved for his nightstand before freezing. “Fuck. Shit. Fucking fuck.” She arched an eyebrow at him. “I don’t have any.”

“What? What do you mean?”

“I mean, when we started really fooling around after my birthday, I looked into whether or not condoms were vegan, and then I realized that my brand wasn’t, so I tossed them, and I ordered a bunch of vegan condoms online. They haven’t gotten here yet, so I don’t have anything.”

“You looked into whether or not condoms were vegan?”

“Well, yeah, because if you and I were going to have sex, I wanted to make sure that you were completely into it, you know? Like, I didn’t want you to get upset and get out of the moment, because you were thinking about all of the tortured animals that were affected to make and test the condoms I bought.”

“I love you.” She sat up and pressed her lips to his, because he’d actually thought about her needs and her desire to be as cruelty-free as possible.

“Love you, too.” He said against her lips. “So, I could totally go down on you again, or we could sixty-nine, if you’re into that, and we could have sex the next time we’re at your place or whenever I get the condoms I ordered.” He ran a hand through his hair, which stood up in tuffs from the sweat that he’d worked up from going down on her. 

“You’re not even going to offer to pull out?”

“No. Fuck guys who say that kind of shit, because not using a condom is super intimate and personal, especially considering this is our first time. I never have unprotected sex, Clarke. I always use condoms. Even when the girl is on the pill or has an IUD or something.” 

“Hey, relax.” She cupped his cheek with her hand and leaned forward to press a light kiss to his lips. “Because I’m vegan and I don’t really like pumping my body with a ton of chemicals and toxins, I don’t use pills or implants or anything. I do track my cycle, like I said before I’m really regular . I know my body. I’m not quite at the danger zone period of my cycle yet, but I’m not sure that...” She bit her bottom lip. “I do appreciate that you didn’t ask to go that route right away. I trust you, and I love you, but I’m definitely not ready to rely solely on the pull out method and my cycle. You’re right that it is deeply personal and intimate, and we’re still so new…”

“Hey, you don’t have to explain yourself to me. This is...I want to do this, right, Clarke. I want...I want this to be good for both of us, in all ways, of course, but, like, right now, I want this to be good for both of us, and I don’t want either of us worrying about unprotected sex and how things could go wrong.” He took her hand in his, carding their fingers together. “If we ever get pregnant, I want it to be because we decided that it was right for us and that we were ready to have a baby.”

Clarke’s eyes widened at that. Did Bellamy seriously just talk about them having a child, because she had no idea that was even on the table. At the same time, though, she was grateful he was bringing it up, here and now, before they even had sex. Not only did it mean that he was thinking about them in the long term, that this was really real for him, but it was also comforting to know just how serious he takes sex and what could come from it. “Did you just...are we having babies one day, Bell?” She grinned at him, and he rolled his eyes.

“I’m just saying that I’ve never had sex without a condom, and I don’t intend to start now. I won’t be the one pressuring you to ever go on the pill or to have sex with me without a condom, either. The only way I’ll ever even consider going without a condom is if we decide that we’ll have a kid. Even with you tracking your cycle and knowing your body so well, I just don’t feel right about it. I want sex to be fun, and the uncertainity that can come with unprotected sex, or rather relying solely on pulling out and on tracking your fertility, takes the fun out of it for me. And your body is the one that goes through the ringer with pregnancy, so if we have sex and you get pregnant, then it’s you has to deal with all the physical changes. I’m not going to risk your health and personal well-being just so we can sex without a condom.” He shook his head. “Besides, there’s already enough of a chance that we could get pregnant using a condom that I don’t want to worry about it when we’re not using a condom.”

“Is it weird that you talking about safe, consensual sex is a crazy turn on for me?”

“Not even a little bit, and, frankly, I’m glad to hear it.”

“Do you have discussions like this with all of your partners?” She was curious, because the large majority of the sex she had were within relationships. Finn had always pressured her to go on the pill or something, because he didn’t like having to always use a condom. When she slept with men or people with male genitalia, she always used a condom (and dental dams early on in their sexual relationship). With partners with female genitalia, when it was new, she used dental dams to prevent STDs, but there were no risks of pregnancy.

“This in-depth, no. I always flat out say that I use condoms, even when they give me a blowjob. And, I ask when they were last checked and if they’re clean, so I know whether or not it is safe for me to eat her out. But, I know you’re clean, and you know I’m clean, which is why I didn’t worry about eating you out tonight.”

“Have you ever used a dam with a girl?”

“No, I haven’t. Have you?”

“Yes, with male and female partners. Always early on in the relationship--unless I know for certain that we’re both clean.”

“Is it easy to use? Fuck, why am I asking? We’re together, and we’re not going to be using them, so why do I care?”

“Because curiosity is good, especially with sex. And, we could totally use one some time, just so you can try it out. And, I don’t know if you’re into it or not, but we could use them when I’m on my period. I usually get super horny right before my cycle hits and then on day three of my cycle. I’ve had my fair share of partners who are into having sex and others who aren’t, so if you want to, then we could use a dental dam for oral sex. You already prefer to have sex with a condom, so we’re good there, too. It can be a little more messy than sex when I’m not on my period, so we’d need to use a towel or sheets that we don’t care about, but...I’m into it.” She ran a hand up and down his forearm. “To use a dam, all you have to do is pull the sheet of latex taut, but not too taut that your muscles tire out, and then lay it over my vulva. Then, like, have at it. When we’re done, we toss it in the trash like a condom.”

“You like to have sex while on your period?”

“Well, I’m not opposed to it. Like I said, I get horny sometimes, and I’ll use a vibrator externally to get off, whether I’m in a relationship or not. If you want to have sex when I’m on my period, then I’m excited to do that with you. If you don’t, then we won’t.”

“I’ve never been with a girl long enough or with enough frequency that I’ve ever had to consider having sex when she’s on her period...but, yeah, why not? I’m cool with trying it, and I’d love to make you feel good whenever you want, babe.”

“Cool. So, I think it should be known that I always carry condoms in my toiletry bag for overnight stays, because I love to be prepared, so...if you are ready to have sex, then grab my bag.”

“You didn’t say this earlier?” He practically rolled off the bed to grab her bag. “Why didn’t you say that earlier?”

“Because I enjoyed talking about protection with you. It’s hot as fuck.”

“We could’ve saved the extra stuff for later, after we have sex. You know, before the next round.” 

“Sorry…”Clarke let out a breathy laugh as she watched Bellamy from where she was resting back against his pillows.

“No, you’re not.” He rolled his eyes as he dug around her toiletry bag before holding up a trio of condoms between two fingers. “Someone likes to be really prepared.”

“I like sex.” 

“I love having sex with you.” He said before he tore one of the condom wrappers open with his teeth. 

“Mmm, let me!” She sat up and reached out to settle her hands on his hips. She carefully pulled his boxers down, exposing his hard length. He was long, thick, and beautiful. She didn’t usually find penises to be that beautiful, but it was Bellamy, and everything about him was beautiful. She hummed softly as she abandoned her attempts to pull his boxers down to take him in one hand and press a gentle kiss to the head. 

“Fuck,” he jumped slightly, and it made her smile. A realization dawned on her, and she thought back to what he’d said before.

“Is this the first time a girl used her mouth on you without a condom?” She stayed close to him, letting the movement of her lips brush against the tip. She tasted the salty tang of his precum against her bottom lip. Her tongue jutted out, licking it away, and she watched as his eyes fluttered shut for a moment.

“ wear a condom.” His voice cracked slightly as she sucked gently on him, using her tongue to lick away more of his precum. “Fuck, baby…”

“You like my mouth on you?” She moved her lips to the underside, letting the head of dick rest slightly to the right of her upper lip. She pressed a light kiss there.

“Yeah,” he coughed as he reached down to run his thumb on her chin. She let her mouth fall open, as if he was opening her mouth, but in reality, his thumb was barely grazing her skin. She shifted her head so that the bulbous head of his dick fell into the perfect O-shape of her mouth. 

She closed her lips around the head of his dick, sucking softly before releasing him with a pop. “Like this?” She opened her mouth to him further, taking more of him into her, letting her tongue dance along the underside of his cock as she sucked a little more firmly on him.

“Fucking hell…” Bellamy’s head fell back, and he leaned back onto his elbows, allowing her more space to work. She sucked more of him into her mouth as she gently twisted her fist around the base of his cock. “Just like that, baby.” A hand settled into her hair, tangling with the curls around his fist. 

The first gentle tug of her hair made Clarke’s eyes fall shut, and she moaned around his dick as she bobbed her head up and down his length. He was stretching her lips wide, and she knew that he was going to be doing the same to her sex soon enough. He pulled a little harder on her hair, and she felt his hips twitch beneath her. She knew that he was holding back from trying to set the pace, from fucking into her mouth before she was ready. She was ready, though. She needed to taste more of him. She released him with a pop, making his eyes open enough to meet hers. “I’m not going to break, Bell. Fuck me.” 

He groaned as he surged up, pulling her by her hair until their mouths met. She threw one of her legs over his waist, straddling him, feeling the slick dampness of his dick pressed between their stomachs, dragging so perfectly against her clit. She moaned loudly against his mouth, and he bit down on her bottom lip as he twisted her hair a little harder in his hands.

“I want to be inside of you.” He said against her mouth, and she nodded, reaching behind her to find the torn condom wrapper to pull the condom free from its wrapper. She broke the kiss long enough to look down between them, pinching the tip and making quick work of rolling it onto him. 

Clarke sat up on her knees, with Bellamy’s help from his firm hands on her hips. She used her left hand on his shoulder to support her weight as she used her right hand to guide him into her sex, slowing sliding down on him until she was seated firmly in his lap, and he was completely bottomed out. She moaned, resting her forehead against his cheek as she let herself adjust to the size of him, buried deep inside her. The stretch of her sex burned, but in all of the best ways. She took a couple of gasping breaths, each one causing microshifts of her body, which sent tingling shockwaves up and down her spine.

“So fucking perfect, baby.” He whispered as he ran his hands up and down her back. His nose brushed against hers, his deep brown eyes finding hers. “I love you.”

“Love you.” She responded as she used her knees to lift herself up and almost completely off of him before she slowly sat down until he bottomed out again. This time, it was quicker though, with him gently lifting his hips to meet hers. 

Despite their desperate need to be joined moments before, they spent the next few minutes lazily rocking against each other as they kissed. It was more about the closeness, the connection, and Clarke couldn’t help the soft smile that settled onto her lips. They were making love, and it was perfect.

“What?” Bellamy whispered as he leaned his forehead against hers. Her eyes fluttered shut, and she sighed as he wrapped his arms tightly around her waist. She felt the soft pants of his breath against her lips, and she rolled her hips more firmly against him, making him release a deep groan. His fingertips pressed deeper into the skin of her back.

Clarke ran her fingers through his hair before lightly fisting it as she stilled her hips. She tilted her head back, looking him deeply in the eye. “We’re making love, Bell.” He smiled at her, leaning forward to nip at her bottom lip.

“We are.” He looked down at where their bodies were joining. “So fucking perfect, baby. I get it now…” He trailed off with a deep groan when she squeezed his cock lightly with her sex. “Fuck, do that again.”

“Like this?”

“Yes, baby, so good.” 

“What do you get, Bell?”

“What everyone says about sex being better when you’re in a relationship.” She grinned at him before leaning forward to bite gently on his earlobe. 

“Mm, fuck me, Bell. As good as this is, I want you to make me come.”

“Done.” He rolled them, eliciting a squeal from Clarke. She rolled her eyes as she looked up at him. He braced both hands on either side of her head, grinning down at her smugly.

“You’re such an as--FUCK!” She gasped as he retracted his hips only to pump back into her hard and fast. “More.” She demanded a little breathlessly.

Bellamy continued to rock his hips into Clarke at a pace that had her whole body bouncing. “fuck, your tits look amazing.” She giggled as much as she could, but in the end, they turned into moans and whimpers of ecstasy. “I can feel you shaking, baby. You gonna come? Fuck, please tell me you’re gonna come. I can’t hold out anymore.”

“Almost there, but you can come.” She used one hand to pinch and roll a nipple while the other slid between their hips to rub frantically at her clit. “So close, baby. Talk to me. Look me in the eyes.”

“Fuck, Clarke. I love your body. I love the way your tits bounce when I fuck into you. I love how red your skin is right now, baby. It means I’m fucking you so good, baby. Look at you. Your pink little tongue needs something. Do you want to suck on my finger as I fuck you, baby?” He shifted all his weight to one arm. “Wanna taste yourself, baby?” He pushed her fingers away from her clit, and instead rubbed his fingers through the wetness leaking out of her sex as he fucked into her. He sucked his ring finger, moaning around it. “It tastes so good, baby. You taste so good.”

“Mm, yes, Bell. Let me taste myself.” He fed her his index and middle finger, fucking into her harder as she moaned around his fingers. Her little tongue stroked his fingers like when she was sucking his cock.

“I love how you taste, baby. I could spend days between your legs. If I ever end up on death row, I want your cunt to be my last meal. I love the sounds you make when my tongue curls up inside of you. And, now, baby? Fuck, your tonuge is fucking my fingers like they’re my cock. I loved having your mouth on me, baby. I wanna fuck that mouth over and over again.”

Clarke released his fingers with a pop. “I want that, too, Bell. I want you to fuck my mouth with your hands in my hair. I want you to hold my head in place and fuck my mouth.” 

“Next time, baby. Right now, I wanna make you come. I love the way your pussy is milking my cock right now, baby. You wanna come, don’t you? Fuck, baby. I wanna make you come so hard. Look in my eyes, baby. I love you.”

“Fuck, Bell, love you, too!” She gasped. “Gonna come, Bell.” 

Their eyes locked. In moments, Bellamy released a deep groan as his hips pressed hard against her. He ground his hips into hers as he came, filling the condom. “Fuck, baby, so good.” He muttered, pressing his forehead against hers, pressing open mouth kisses on her lips. “Come for me, baby.” 

Clarke’s jaw dropped, and she sighed deeply. The lightest sound came from her lips as she came, hips grinding against Bellamy’s. Eventually, their hips stilled, and they just clutched each other close as their lips languidly met.

“Alright, you’re heavy.” Clarke laughed, pushing at his chest. Bellamy nipped at her lips one last time before he rolled off of her. 

“I’ll be right back. Gotta take care of the condom. Then, I’ll help you clean up.” 

Clarke watched his ass as he sauntered into his bathroom, completely in the nude. Moments later, he returned with a damp washcloth in his hands. She squealed when he dropped it on her chest, but he pulled her by the hips to the edge of the bed. He dropped to his knees. “What are you--fuck, Bell?!” Her back bowed when his mouth met her sex. His tongue painted up and down her pussy lips before he sucked her clit hard. She cried out as a third, sudden orgasm erupted from her. “Oh, fuck!” His tongue moved down to her entrance, sucking the cum from her as it spilled from her body. “Oh, my God…”

“Hmmm, so you’re not always quiet when you come.” He leaned up to grab the damp cloth to wipe away any remaining traces of cum, sweat, and spit.

“Well, that was a bit of a surprise for me in more ways than one.” He tossed the washcloth over his shoulder and climbed into the bed with her, using her boobs as a pillow. He rubbed his face into them, pressing open-mouthed kisses on the valley between them.

“Does this mean you’ll get a place with me in New York?” He said after a few moments. She laughed, brushing a hand through his unkempt hair. 

“Yes, Bell. Let’s get an apartment together in New York.” She brushed her thumb along his bottom lip. “Love you, Bell.”

“Love you, too, Princess.” He climbed up her body to lay on the pillows, turned on his side. She settled her back against his chest.

“You wore me out.”

“Take a nap. I should probably go start the oven. You’re gonna be starving when you wake up.”

“Wait. In a minute. I just want you to hold me while I fall asleep.” 

Bellamy kissed the back of Clarke’s head, tucking the covers up around them. The last thing she heard before she slipped away into sleep was his whisper. “I love you.”