"How much do you want to bet that I keep my New Year's' Resolution way longer than you keep yours?" Clarke asked Bellamy, two days before the end of the year.
He looked up from his book, blinking at her owlishly. "What?"
"I bet that I will keep my resolution way longer than you will keep yours," she repeated, flopping next to him on the couch and offering him a slice of cold pizza from her plate.
"You've already lost then, because I resolved years ago never to make another New Year's' resolution again, and I've kept that resolution," he replied, setting aside his book to take the slice.
"Oh come on, stop being a poop and bet me!"
Bellamy gave her an amused look at being called a poop, but shook his head. "I'm not breaking my resolution I made years ago," he answered stubbornly around a mouthful of food.
Finding a roommate on Craigslist had been a dicey proposition, but after getting through the first awful month together, Clarke had discovered she had more than a roommate in Bellamy. Three years together and they were still best friends, having gotten each other through college, horrific break-ups, starting a job for her and grad school for him.
It was only natural for her to have fallen in love with him, of course, but in the five months since she'd had that revelation at his birthday party, she'd been too chicken to do anything about it. Because if he didn't love her back, well, not that way, things would get awkward fast and she didn't want to stop living with him, or worse, drive her best friend away completely.
Even without being actually with him, life was still pretty good. His refusal to help with her New Years' resolution aside.
"Look, I am resolving to exercise at least three times a week in the new year, so that I am a healthier person and maybe to get rid of this thing," Clarke described, poking at the slight roll under her belly button that was all too visible through the thin material of her pajama pants. "And I know myself. The best way to motivate me is through competition. So bet me."
She glanced over at him to find him eyeing her skeptically, even as he finished off the slice in his hand. She would be complaining to him that it wasn't fair that he was naturally built with a washboard stomach, but she knew he did work out at least three times a week, so those abs he casually flaunted in the summer had been come by honestly.
Tragically, they were currently covered up by his old Dr. Pepper t-shirt and his grey sweatpants. At least she could take comfort in the fact that it was two in the afternoon and neither of them had been motivated to get dressed yet.
"Yeah, no, still not going to do it," Bellamy denied, frowning at her. "You don't need to work out, you look fine."
"That's a ringing endorsement," she commented dryly, feeling her cheek heat up. "You work out, what's wrong with my wanting to work out?"
"I work out because getting my body tired helps my writing process. I'm too fidgety otherwise." He paused for a heartbeat, then added slyly, "And I want to look good naked. But neither of those reasons apply to you."
Clarke blinked. "You don't think I might want to look good naked?"
"You're a woman. You're supposed to have curves. I am not."
She laughed. "Every girl you've dated has had a completely flat stomach."
"Notice how I'm not married to any of those women or asking them to be the mother of my children," he grumbled, flushing and trying to return his attention back to his book.
"Yeah, that had nothing to do with their looks and everything to do with the fact you didn't love them," she pointed out, though with less derision in her voice. His last break-up, with a truly lovely woman, Gina, had been tough on him. He hadn't even so much as hooked-up with anyone else since.
She knocked her shoulder into his companionably and changed the subject, so he wouldn't get all thoughtfully morose about it again. "If you're not going to bet me, you need to help me think of a good way to get me motivated."
"I can make you a gold star chart, the way I do for the kids at school," he offered, mouth quirking.
"Please, I need more than that," she replied, though she bit her lip a moment afterwards and looked at him.
He sighed, closing his book once more and offered, "Do you just want me to give you a sheet of gold stars so you can stick them on all your stuff?"
Bellamy knew her so well. He knew he wasn't going to get any reading done while she tried to figure out this problem and also knew that she wanted gold stars, just not in relation to her resolution.
"Yes please," she answered with a happy grin on her face, setting aside her half-eaten slice of pizza. Fair was fair, after all.
"Okay, so it sounds like you need a reward of some kind. How about we make reservations at one of those Brazilian steakhouse places for a month from now and if you go to gym like you want to, we'll keep the reservation?"
She looked at him like he'd grown a second head. "The prospect of stuffing my face with delicious food in a month isn't going to get me to the gym three days a week," she denied, letting her head loll back against the couch cushion. "I don't think a reward is really the motivation I need. The thing is, I hate working out. It's boring, even with music or if I'm watching a show while I'm doing it." Clarke smirked, rolling her head to grin at him. "The only cardio I've ever liked doing is sex."
Bellamy blanched and his brow furrowed. "How much sex do you have to have for it to count as exercise?"
"A lot," she admitted. "And it has to be really active, you know, not just laying there. But, with the right person, yeah, sex definitely would be my exercise routine of choice," she joked.
"Don't think they like people actually having sex in the gym," he responded, in a half-mumble as he looked down at his book quickly.
"Yeah, that would definitely be a home exercise routine," she agreed. "Which, you know, bonus. No excuses that the weather is yucky and I don't feel like going to the gym, and I could use my own shower afterwards."
He opened his mouth to answer, but then closed it and swallowed, his shoulders suddenly tight. When he finally looked back at her, she noticed immediately how wide his pupils had become and her gaze fixated on that while he replied in a thin voice, "Might be hard on me, you having sex with a rando in the apartment three times a week."
Clarke swallowed, half-giddy with the thought that he might be interested and half-terrified she'd misread his body language. But hope was a strange thing, and the hope that she might, maybe, possibly get to be with him spurred her on.
"Well, unless you want to be my...exercise partner?"
The question hung in the air between them for a long, agonizing moment. But then he closed his eyes, as if in pain, and shook his head.
While her heart lurched in her chest, he explained, "I can't, Clarke. I'm...I can't do the casual sex thing with you."
"Right," she heard herself say, trying to will a teasing tone into her voice so she could play this whole proposition off as a joke. How could she have misread him so badly? "As we discussed, I am not your type."
He blew out a breath. "No, that's not it. I-" He cut himself off when he got a look at her face, so she knew she must have looked stricken instead of playful.
Bellamy turned toward her and placed a comforting hand on her shoulder. "Hey, hey. It's not that I don't think you're gorgeous. You are. It's just…" He sighed, clearly miserable, which made her feel worse for putting him in this position.
This, here, was exactly what she hadn't said anything about her feelings.
But then he said, "I can't have sex with you because I wouldn't be able to keep it casual. I already have feelings for you and if we start having sex, I won't be able to separate it at all. I know you're just looking for a way to get in shape and I can't...I can't, okay. It's not that I wouldn't love to have sex with you. I would, just...I can't keep it about sex." He winced. "I'm sorry if I've just ruined our whole friendship but yeah, I don't think I could do it."
"Oh," she replied, heart hammering her chest. "Well, in that case." Before she could convince herself not to do it, she shifted on the couch, moving quickly to straddle his lap. "I've been in love with you for a long time now, so if that helps convince you to help me with this little resolution of mine-"
He cut her off with a kiss, surging up so quickly their teeth clacked together at first. But then he gentled his lips and their tongues met and she spent the next few minutes leisurely exploring his mouth and enjoying the feel of his hands on her hips. When she finally pulled away, he wore a happy, dazed expression.
"What do you say we get started on my resolution right now?" she invited as she cupped his face with her hand, stroking his cheek fondly with her thumb.
"You read my mind," he agreed, voice low and hot and everything she'd ever dreamed about.
"I've lost two pounds!" she reported one evening, two weeks later, as she weighed herself on the bathroom scale.
"Let's order pizza with extra cheese tonight. You didn't need to lose weight," Bellamy called from the sofa.
"I don't know if it's the sex, actually," she remarked, padding in from the bathroom and leaning over the back of the couch to peck him on the cheek. "But you know I'm down for pizza with extra cheese."
"We have sex constantly. How can it not be the sex?" he asked, turning to grin at her. "That's the only thing that's changed in your routine. Our routine."
"I think it has more to do with happiness, actually," she answered. He beamed back at her and she knew she had the same expression on her own face. "Also, all the missed meals, because I'm too lazy to get out of bed with you."
"It's not a bad problem to have, but yeah, definitely going to need to get more food into you," he promised, looping an arm around her shoulders to pull her over the back of the couch. She squealed, but didn't fight him, and soon ended up in his lap.
"You know, this is how we got started," she reminded him between kisses. "Not going to help me stop losing weight."
"We'll order triple cheese," he promised, his lips on her neck. "Eventually."
"This is the best resolution I've ever made," she declared, closing her eyes as her hands dove beneath his shirt.