Clarke frowned at the notification on her ipad. “Why does your history teacher want to meet with me?” she asked, but Madi kept her eyes innocently on her homework.
A little too innocently.
“Mr. Blake’s a hardass,” Madi said with a shrug.
“A hardass who wants a meeting with me barely a month into the school year?” Clarke asked. Madi shrugged again and Clarke narrowed her eyes and scanned the email. “He’s worried about your performance already. Have you even had any tests? What am I missing?”
“He just doesn’t like me,” Madi replied and erased something on her worksheet.
“Madison Grace,” Clarke warned.
Madi’s head snapped up with her jaw set into familiar defiance. “He doesn’t like me, and...maybe I didn’t hand in some stuff,” she mumbled, faltering slightly at Clarke’s look.
“You didn’t hand stuff in? Madi, we’re barely into September. How far behind are you?”
“It’s just a stupid assignment,” her daughter protested. “And it’s just History.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“If I’m gonna be an engineer I don’t need to know about Ancient Greece or whatever.”
“You’re not gonna be an engineer if you fail out of high school and don’t get into a good college,” Clarke countered.
“You can’t fail out of high school, Clarke ,” she snarled. Madi used Clarke when she was feeling like pushing boundaries and Mom when she wasn’t, so Clarke just crossed her arms and stared her down.
“You really want to find that out the hard way? And you’re definitely not getting into MIT if you fail World History your freshman year. What didn’t you hand in?”
“Just some...stuff.” Clarke raised her eyebrows and Madi sighed. “We were supposed to read some old stuff and write what we thought about it. I didn’t.”
“Didn’t read it or didn’t write it?”
“Either,” she mumbled.
Clarke pressed the heels of her palms into her eyes. “You can’t do that. Do you have the assignment still?” Madi nodded and avoided eye contact. “And you’re done with the rest of your homework after math, right? Nothing else?” Madi nodded and Clarke waited for her to mutter a quiet yes . “Then you’re getting started on it tonight. No video games, and I take your phone until it’s done. Do we have a deal? Madi?”
“We have a deal,” she sighed, and Clarke walked over and took possession of the phone. She hated this part of parenting but she made herself go through with it, because the alternative was probably worse.
Mr. Blake didn’t know it, but Clarke was dreading the meeting almost as much as Madi was.
Madi reached for the door handle as soon as they pulled into the parking lot but Clarke veered out of the drop off line and took one of the short-term spots in front of the doors. “What room is Mr. Blake in?” she asked.
“What are you doing? Your meeting with Mr. Blake is this afternoon, right?” Madi asked, and then stole a glance at her beanie in the visor mirror. Polis Academy required uniforms so she'd have to take it off by the first bell anyway, but Clarke remembered how important that sort of thing was at fourteen. Madi twisted it to be a little more crooked and Clarke hid a smile.
“It is, but since you’re going to have that assignment done by tomorrow it shouldn’t take more than a couple minutes to clear up. I have plenty of time before my meeting, so I’ll just run in now and explain it to him. What room?”
“Uh...120, I think? It’s by the front stairs and it’s got like, Egypt shit— I mean, stuff— all over. Can’t miss it.”
Great. You’ll still owe him a personal apology though.”
“I know,” Madi muttered, and Clarke punched her shoulder gently.
“We all screw up, kid. We just do better the next time, remember?” Madi had come to her when Clarke was in a dark place and for that Clarke could never be angry at her for too long. Still, she had to try and parent this child as best she could. So far Madi was a pretty good kid— a little feisty and prone to sulking sometimes, but she had a good heart and a brain to rival Raven Reyes. Clarke was fairly sure she was doing okay at this parenting thing, at the very least.
“Yeah,” Madi said and then brightened. “And I can have my phone back when it’s done, right? Not when I turn it in; but when it’s done?”
“When it’s done and I’ve read it, yes. Love you, kiddo.”
Madi rolled her eyes a little but still leaned across the console to kiss Clarke’s cheek. “Love-you-too-bye,” she said in one breath and jumped out of the car.
Clarke checked her messages to let Madi get a non-embarrassing distance away from her before she stepped out. Normally she wore scrubs to the hospital but today she had a meeting with administration about scheduling in addition to her meeting with Mr. Blake, so she was in a dress and blazer and her hair was even washed and dried, which Madi would happily tell anyone was a feat in and of itself. She’d made sure Madi finished the reading assignment and outlined her response before going to bed two nights ago, and Madi had been working on her essay ever since. Clarke would apologize, thank him for letting her know, and assure him she didn’t expect any leniency on the grades-- just for him to let Madi know if there was any extra credit the rest of the semester. If there wasn’t, she’d live with the zero. If MIT didn’t take her because of this, MIT didn’t deserve her.
Clarke figured she would be out of here well before the first bell and have plenty of time to grab a coffee before her meeting— no need to make a separate trip this afternoon for the scheduled meeting. Mr. Blake would have his afternoon back and she wouldn’t have to make two trips. Win-win, really.
She signed in at the office and navigated her way through the crowds of teenagers, who were an odd mixture of hyper and sleepy. Some leaned against lockers lethargically and some were bolting around like it was a playground, but she found the social studies hallway without being run over and right by the stairs she caught sight of a room with a big pyramid on tacked to one wall.
Clarke knocked on the door and peered in. Mr. Blake was sitting at his desk at the front of the room, head down as he marked something he was reading with a pencil. Glasses rested on the bridge of his nose and he pushed them up automatically when he raised his head.
Oh wow . She’d been expecting a middle aged white guy with an axe to grind, not someone her age with ridiculously untamed curls and a jaw that could cut glass. And warm, golden skin. And freckles. And-- well, all of it.
Mr. Blake was, unfortunately for Clarke, distractingly handsome. “Mr. Blake?” she asked politely.
He looked confused. “Can I help you?”
“I’m Clarke. Madi Griffin's mom,” she said and strode in.
He stood up looking half-frazzled, half-confused. “Wait, I thought— isn’t our meeting this afternoon?”
“It is, but I was in the area and figured I’d stop by to get this straightened out,” she said breezily. His shoulders filled out his button down nicely, and god, men with their sleeves rolled up to their forearms should be required to come with a warning. It was kind of a shame he was Madi’s teacher. She walked up to his desk, heels clacking, and spotted a chair nearby. With one swift move she’d pulled it beside his desk and sat down.
Just then he found his voice. “I’m sorry Mrs. Griffin, I—”
“It’s just Ms. Well, Dr., actually.” she corrected him. “Anyway, thanks for your email. Madi—”
“We have a meeting this afternoon, Ms— Dr. Griffin. Now’s not the appropriate time,” he said, a little more curtly than she thought was strictly necessary.
Clarke waved her hand at him. “Don’t worry about it; like I said, I was around and had time. But I’ve talked to Madi and she’s well on her way to completing the assignment--”
“I thought I said in the email that she wouldn’t get credit for that,” he interrupted, sitting down heavily.
“I know, but that’s no reason for her not to do it. She’ll finish it and turn it in, and—”
“-- I said no credit,” he said flatly.
“And I heard you the first time,” she said, bristling. “But I told her she had to finish it anyway, and if there’s—”
“--extra credit you want her to get first crack,” he completed, and she did not like his tone. Maybe Madi was onto something with him: he was a hardass. And possibly a jackass too. “That’s not how my class works, and I know you’re probably used to people doing whatever you tell them, but—”
Mr. Blake’s dark eyes were flashing behind his glasses. “I get it, your kid is a precious angel who never once did anything wrong and this is her first mistake, she needs to get into a good college and I need to take that into consideration, whatever. I’ve heard this before, and that’s not how it works in my class. She’s got plenty of other chances to get her grades up and if she wants to go see the play and write the report, that’s her chance for extra credit. No exceptions.”
Clarke had blacked out somewhere around precious angel and had barely heard a word after that over the roaring in her ears. “What did you say to me?” she snarled and stood up.
He stood up and advanced on her. “This isn’t my first year teaching,” he growled. “And every year, parents like you come in to tell me that they feed their kid organic smoothies every morning so they can’t possibly have not turned in an assignment but let me assure you, they can, smoothies or no. And when someone makes an appointment for the afternoon, showing up eight hours early because it’s more convenient for you is a dick move, by the way.”
“Where the hell do you get off telling me how I parent?”
Something like guilt flashed behind his eyes and a muscle in his jaw flickered. “That’s not the point.”
“Oh yeah? Then what is the point?” Clarke stared him down, anger coursing through her veins. She wanted to scream at him, but a bell sounded in the hall, startling them both.
He looked at the clock behind his desk and swore under his breath. “My class will be here any second, Dr. Griffin. You know where the door is,” he said through clenched teeth and turned away from her.
Clarke was speechless with rage for a solid ten seconds. She knew it was exactly that long because she watched the clock behind his head tick from the one to the three while he ignored her. But then a herd of students came trampling in, all of them staring at her like she was an animal at the zoo. She barely remembered how she got out of the room and only dimly recalled signing herself out from the office before climbing into her car while adrenaline coursed through her veins.
Her hands shook with anger as she started the car and decided to go straight to the hospital, dozens of plans to ruin that jackass flashing through her brain at lightning speed. She dwelt on it all through the day. She barely paid attention during the scheduling meeting and her charts took far longer than they should have, her mind bent on revenge. But by the time the clock drew nearer 3:45, something else took up residence in her gut.
The time of her scheduled meeting with Mr. Blake slipped past and his words from this morning— the ones about it being a dick move, not the ones about her parenting— started to echo through her mind. She’d just assumed it would be a small thing, stopping by like that. She was saving them both time, she’d reasoned, and for another solid hour she convinced herself that she had been in the right, that he was just an asshole with an inexplicable grudge against her.
But the more she thought about it the worse she felt. If someone showed up seconds before she started a shift to for an unscheduled meeting because it was more convenient for them...well, she’d probably be just as much of an asshole. He was still an awful jackass, but a very tiny part of her had to concede that he might be an awful jackass with a point.
And honestly, that was the worst part.
“Did you apologize to Mr. Blake?” Clarke asked while Madi was clearing the dishes. She’d put off asking about it as long as she could, anger and guilt warring in her chest.
“It was fine. He was weird today.”
Clarke’s stomach squirmed. “Weird how? Upset?” She worried she’d just made things worse for Madi, that Mr. Blake would take his anger at Clarke out on her daughter.
“No. He was actually pretty nice to me. Said he appreciated me apologizing and reminded me there’s that lame trip this November for extra credit. He was more just like... freaked out? He kept forgetting shi— stuff.”
“Trip?” Clarke asked. He’d mentioned something like that during their meeting— fight, really— but so much else had happened she’d skipped over it.
“Yeah, there’s some play up in DC in November. If you go and write an essay about it it’ll replace your lowest grade for the semester.”
Clarke picked up her ipad and scrolled back through her email until she found it— an email from the PTA headed Chaperone Opportunities . Halfway down the list was an item labeled 11/4/17-11/5/17: History Field Trip: overnight, accommodations provided with fee . One chaperone needed for every 10 students. Viewing of the play Antigone at the Anacostia Arts Center. Headed by Bellamy Blake, Social Studies. “Then you’re doing that,” Clarke said. “I’ll come with, okay?” If she had made things worse for Madi, at least she’d be around to protect her.
“Okay,” Madi said, a little sullen. “Can I have my phone back tonight?”
Clarke clicked the link to the sign up page and got started. “Show me the essay, then it’s all yours. Is it done?”
“Then finish the dishes and get started, kiddo.”
Clarke filled out the chaperone form and swallowed back her groan. Twenty-four hours with a man she’d just shouted at.
She couldn’t wait.
Special thanks to @bgonemydear for a little bit of teacher-related consulting and the idea for the title, which comes from "Are We There Yet" by Ingrid Michaelson.
Also thanks to @AimNicRob on twitter for her beta work.
“We’ve got sutures in three and probable stomach-pumping in six,” Jackson informed her.
“God, I hate Halloween. Rock paper scissors?” Clarke replied. On the count of three Jackson threw rock and Clarke threw paper, so she covered his fist with a smirk. “Enjoy stomach pumping,” she decided, and Jackson groaned and handed her the chart for sutures. She straightened her alien antenna as she walked down the hall, dodging patients as she went. Madi had pronounced it the lamest costume ever, but Clarke shrugged it off. With her green scrubs it worked well enough and anyway, most people in the ER on the weekend before Halloween were too drunk to care.
Clarke scanned the chart when she approached curtain three. Male, 33, four inch laceration on left forearm. “Looks like you’ve got a nasty cut there, Mr...Blake?” Clarke stopped halfway into sweeping aside the curtain, her stomach dropping when she double checked the name at the top. Bellamy Blake.
She looked up and there he was, sitting with his hand holding a towel to his left arm. There was a helmet on the floor near his feet and he was dressed as a gladiator, skirt and everything. His eyes widened. “You?” he said.
They stared at each other awkwardly until the woman sitting next to him unwound her arms from across her chest. “Anyone going to tell me what’s going on?”
“I’m Dr. Griffin,” Clarke said at the same time Bellamy muttered, “It’s nothing.”
The other woman’s eyebrows went up. “Okay, and are you going to fix up my brother or just stand there staring at him?”
“Can it, O,” he muttered under his breath.
But Bellamy’s sister’s attitude snapped her back into doctor mode. “Right, sorry about that,” Clarke said and reached for her latex gloves. “What happened?”
“A friend fell down some stairs,” Bellamy said. “I tried to catch him and my elbow went through a window.”
Clarke grimaced sympathetically. “Have you been drinking?”
“Only one beer. Someone’s gotta stay sober at their parties— people fall down stairs otherwise.”
“Jasper falls down stairs sober, Bell,” his sister threw back. “I’m Octavia, by the way.” Clarke nodded politely at her and Bellamy winced when Clarke peeled the towel away from his arm.
She prodded at his wound. “Well, the good news is the edges are clean and it’s not too deep. The bad news is you’ll definitely need stitches. It says on your chart you’ve had a tetanus shot recently?”
“One of the perks of teaching. You’re always up to date on your shots.”
Clarke pulled out her kit and laid a clean cloth on the mobile table, motioning for him to lay his arm out for her. “So you too know each other,” Octavia observed.
“My daughter has him in class,” Clarke said and kept her eyes on the wound. Her ears were burning a little, to be perfectly honest.
“Oh shit, are you her?” Clarke tried to think of a way to answer that question but Octavia barreled on. “Bell, if this is the princess who—”
“Take a walk, O,” he gritted out. Clarke risked a glance at him and he was staring at the floor, his jaw tense.
“Take. a. walk.”
Octavia threw her a dirty look as she flounced out of the room. “I’m sorry about that day, you know,” Clarke said and flushed the laceration to make sure it was clear of debris.
“You’re sorry? I’m sorry. I’m honestly surprised I still have my job after that.”
“Wait, what?” Clarke looked up.
“After the shit I said to you? I assumed you’d go straight to the board. And it’d be warranted.”
“Oh, well...you might have had a point. About my timing, not about my parenting,” she said. “I wasn’t thinking about your schedule, just mine.”
“Yeah, well, still. I was way out of line.”
A soft smile played around the corners of her mouth. “That you were. But so was I.”
He gave her a crooked grin and the tension in the room seemed to dissipate. “That’s fair.”
For a heartbeat she looked into his eyes— a brown so dark she was momentarily dazed— and then she made herself look away. “I’m going to give you a shot to numb the area,” she said and picked up a syringe. “If you’re the fainting type, look away now.”
“I’m tougher than I look,” he said, a note of playfulness in his tone.
Octavia pulled the curtain back partway. “Did you two work your shit out or do I have an ass to kick?”
“We worked our shit out but she’s about to start the stitches, so how about I meet you in the waiting room?” Bellamy said.
“I can handle it,” she protested.
“You passed out the time Lincoln had to get them on his knee,” Bellamy replied.
“I did not.”
“Did too. I was the one who caught you, remember?" He redirected his attention to Clarke. "This shouldn’t take long, right?”
“Right,” Clarke confirmed.
Octavia eyed them warily. “Okay, fine. I’ll see you out there,” she said, and swung the curtain closed a little more forcefully than was strictly necessary.
“Is she your only sibling?” Clarke usually made chitchat with patients to distract them, but if she was honest, she was more than a little curious about him.
“Yeah. But she’s six years younger and my mom worked a lot, so it’s...complicated. I sort of raised her. By which I mean I drove her to a lot of things and made a lot of mac and cheese.”
Clarke kept her eyes on her work. “With us it’s pop tarts,” she said.
“You know, instead of organic smoothies,” she ribbed gently. “When I first got Madi it was all she would eat for breakfast and I had to pick my battles, and now...well, there’s no real excuse for it now, but yeah. Pop tarts.”
He chuckled. “God, I was such an ass to you,” he said.
“Pretty much, yeah,” she laughed. “What does your sister do now?”
“She’s a cop. Fiancé’s a social worker.”
“In town? Wait, Lincoln DuBois?”
“You know him?”
“Slightly. He wasn’t Madi’s caseworker, but I met him a few times.”
“How long have you had Madi? If you don’t mind me asking,” Bellamy said.
“Not at all. She's been with me five years; I was her foster mom at first, but I adopted her two years ago.” Clarke had been in a bad place after Lexa left and registered as a foster mom a few months later out of a need to do something. Madi was her second placement and they clicked despite (or maybe because of) Madi’s tendency to start fights back then. She was an angry kid and Clarke understood anger. Her birth mother was in prison— twenty years for dealing oxy, an absurd sentence even if it was her third offense— and Madi had years of neglect in her past. But Clarke was patient and it was Madi who brought up Clarke adopting her if her mother would sign the papers. The day the judge finalized the adoption was far and away the best day in Clarke’s twenty-nine years.
“Congrats,” he said warmly. “She’s a neat kid.”
“She says you’re a hardass.” The sutures were almost complete but part of her wanted to draw this out, keep chatting.
Bellamy snorted. “I am, but difficult teenage girls are my specialty,” he said, and then his eyes got big. “Oh god, if you tell anyone I said that I’ll definitely lose my job.”
“Your secret’s safe with me,” she laughed. “What’s with the costume?”
“Well, you see, it’s Halloween,” he said drily.
“I know, but why a gladiator?” She started tying the last suture off.
He shrugged with his opposite shoulder. “It’s the only one I have. Octavia hates that I wear the same thing every year so now I wear it out of spite. And it’s easy, seeing as it’s the only one I have.”
“Plus it shows off your legs,” she teased, despite the fact that flirting with a patient was definitely against the rules, not to mention her daughter’s teacher.
“That’s right, it does,” he grinned. “Your antenna are crooked, by the way,” he said, and reached out to straighten them.
Abruptly they both seemed to realize what they were doing and an awkward silence fell, both of them looking away, their smiles fading. Clarke taped a bandage over the stitches and stood up. “Right. So keep this dry for the next 48 hours, and then come back in six days to get the stitches out. I’ll have a nurse stop by with instructions and discharge papers and send your sister back in,” she said without looking at him and hurried out of the room.
Apparently, they had two modes— fighting or flirting.
November was looking worse all the time.
Clarke scanned the crowd at the base of the bleachers for Wells and checked her phone again. It was a brisk fall night and he’d promised to join her for the football game but then he'd gotten stuck at the office and Clarke felt a little weird being here by herself. Madi was hanging out with her friends just to the left of the bleachers, ignoring the game— and Clarke— entirely.
A crop of dark curls caught her eye. Bellamy saw her and a smile flashed across his handsome face so quickly it had to have been an unconscious reaction. Her stomach flip-flopped like she was fourteen, not the mother of a fourteen year old. She waved to him and he made his way up the stairs. “How are those stitches?” she asked as he took the seat just in front of her. She wished he’d sat down next to her. It was a chilly night and she’d forgotten a blanket.
On second thought, the seat in front of her was probably a better choice.
“Got them out yesterday. I thought you’d be there, but they said you’re off for a few days,” he replied easily.
“What’d you tell the students?”
“That I fought a bear.”
Clarke snorted. “Did they believe you?”
“Not in the slightest. And I saw on the list you’re chaperoning the trip to DC with me,” he said. A gust of wind blew and he turned up his collar. His hair ruffled in the breeze and she desperately wanted to fix it for him. Instead she just balled her hands into fists inside her mittens.
“Uh, yeah,” she said, and tried to think of a polite way to say I signed up because I didn’t trust you to treat my kid fairly and now it’s a problem as I am unfairly attracted to you but it’s too late to back out and failed, so she just smiled at him.
Bellamy grinned back. “It’ll be exhausting, but I’m looking forward to it. Antigone is a fun play.”
“Fun?” Clarke asked archly. She’d skimmed Madi’s copy of it a few nights ago and found it a little grim. Compelling, but but grim.
“Well, fun to teach,” he said, a little abashed. “It gets them talking, at least. But what brings you to the game? Did I miss something and Madi’s now our quarterback?”
“I wish. She hates sports,” Clarke laughed. “Her friends are in band though, so she came to support them. And I came because she needed a ride and because some of us like sports. My friend was supposed to meet me here but he’s running behind.”
Something flickered in Bellamy’s eyes but his face stayed genial. “Hey, nothing wrong with being a nerd. I’ll make sure Madi knows that,” he teased.
“And what’s a nerd like you doing at a football game then?” Out on the field Polis managed to kick a field goal and they both jumped up to cheer with the rest of the crowd. When they sat back down Clarke realized either she’d shifted a few inches closer to Bellamy or he had shifted closer to her, but either way she wasn’t complaining. Her knee was almost brushing his shoulder, and she really needed to get her shit together because noticing that was ridiculous.
“I try to make it to at least one event for each team. Well, for the kids I have in class. I try to be supportive.”
Clarke bit her lip because god, that was cute. He smiled at her out of the corner of his eye and for the next twenty minutes they chatted. He was surprisingly easy to talk to, and other parents and students periodically stopped by to say hello to him. He was just as warm with all of them as he was with her, she realized, which, well, sort of sucked.
She wanted to be special.
God, this was bad.
Fortunately Wells showed up around then, which helped put Clarke back at ease. She had a tendency to get stiff and cold when she was uncomfortable, but Wells and Bellamy hit it off and soon enough she was back to her old self, chatting and laughing with them both. Polis Academy was down 14-3 when Bellamy stood up and said his goodbyes. She watched him walk down the bleachers and get stopped by a small mob of kids at the bottom— Madi included— demanding high fives.
“So you gonna explain that?” Wells asked, his voice pitched low under the crowd.
“Explain what? He’s Madi’s teacher.”
“Then why did I feel like the third wheel on a really great second date?”
Clarke shifted uncomfortably. “He’s Madi’s teacher,” she said again.
Wells nodded and patted her back in sympathy. “You don’t really have to do the no-dating-until-college thing, you know. I think Madi would understand.”
Clarke shrugged and stood up with the rest of the crowd. The game was over and they joined the scrum by the stairs. “It doesn’t really matter, you know? He’s not exactly an option right now,” she said.
Wells stuffed his hands in his pockets. “I get it,” he said. “Hey, think Madi would be up for ice cream with her godfather? Or is she too cool for us now?”
“Probably too cool,” Clarke chuckled. “But I’d be up for a beer.”
Wells bumped her shoulder with his. “You’re buying.”
This chapter is a little short but chapter three is a monster, so just hang in there.
Clarke regularly worked for twelve hours on her feet in an emergency room. She’d made it through a grueling residency while fostering a pre-teen, pulling twenty four hour shifts and then going to Madi’s spring recital. She could handle junkies looking for painkillers, spurting aortas, belligerent drunks arguing with anyone in a ten foot radius, and hysterical family members all without breaking a sweat.
But somehow, none of that was even half as exhausting as four hours on a bus with fifteen high school freshman, followed by dinner and a play. By the time the lights in the theater went down Clarke was considering just taking a nap but figured she was there as a role model and thus probably shouldn’t.
She had new respect for Bellamy after all of this. He seemed completely unphased by the overwhelming exuberance of the kids. Madi was enjoying herself, giggling with her friend Adria and listening intently when Bellamy stood on the bus to remind them of the themes of the play. Clarke admired the way he navigated everything without once seeming frazzled because by the time they were all checked into the hotel she was at her wit’s end.
Clarke's room was next to Bellamy's, while Madi was just down the hall with Adria, and as she went to put her key in the door Bellamy looked over. “Now all we have to do is make the rounds a couple of times to make sure they know we’re lurking, and then at ten thirty we have to make sure everyone’s in their assigned rooms," he said. "I’ve got a list of where the girls are staying for you.”
“What’s the chance that someone tries to sneak out into another room to make out?”
“I’d say seventy-thirty,” he said with a rueful grin. “But they’ll have to use the hallway. Should be pretty easy to catch.”
“I’ll see you then,” she said, grinning back.
For the next hour, all Clarke heard was doors opening, whispers that gradually rose to shrieks of laughter, followed by doors closing and then the process starting all over again. She and Bellamy split up the make-out-interrupting rounds, which also doubled as the “please keep it down a little so the hotel doesn’t kick everyone out” rounds. At ten thirty Bellamy handed her a list and she knocked on each door, comparing the names with the assigned rooms. It wasn’t that the kids were poorly behaved, they were just...energetic. Incredibly so. They were wired with the headiness of being on their own— mostly— in the city, in a hotel with all their friends. Again, it was draining and she didn't know how Bellamy put up with it.
Clarke treated Madi and Adria no differently than the rest, and Madi rolled her eyes theatrically at Clarke's presence but then darted to the door right before she left for a hug goodnight. Clarke slipped out the door and saw Bellamy sitting against the wall at the end of the hallway. She went and sank down next to him.
“I don’t know how you do this every day,” she sighed. “I’m exhausted.”
“To be fair I don’t do this every day,” he chuckled. “But yeah, they’re...a lot, sometimes. Mostly I’m sick of the flirting. I just want them to stop touching each other for like, ten seconds.”
“And here I thought one was bad,” she said and leaned her head against the wall. “So I assume we sit out here for a bit to make sure nobody tries to pull a fast one and sneak out after bed checks?”
“That’s the plan, yeah. But I can handle this. You can go get some sleep.”
Clarke shrugged. “Might be nice to talk to an actual adult,” she said, which was partially the truth.
The other part of it was she hadn’t stopped thinking about him since the one-two punch of Halloween and the football game. And while considering anything with him was definitely off the table while he was Madi’s teacher, she did want to get to know him better. “I liked the play,” she started. “Madi’s been talking about it nonstop lately.”
“Yeah, I like having them read the abridged version before we see the play; helps them follow along a little better. It really seemed to strike a chord with Madi,” he said carefully. “She mentioned her mom a few times in class.”
“She’s an independent thinker with a mother in prison so yeah, I can see how this one clicked for her. She’s mostly a math nerd, but things like laws and justice and ethics are pretty personal for her.”
“You said she’s been with you five years?” Down the hall one of the boys poked his head out of his room, saw them, and ducked back in in rapid succession. Bellamy shot her an amused grin that she returned.
“Yeah, with me for five, but she was in the foster system before that. Her mom was in and out of jail so when she first came to stay with me I was her fifth placement but her first long term one. You said you kind of raised your sister, right?”
Bellamy nodded. “My mom worked two jobs pretty much our whole lives and I was six years older than her, so yeah. I tried, at least.”
“That must have been hard,” Clarke observed. Another door opened a crack and then slammed shut so fast they both chuckled.
“I mean, when you’re sixteen you don’t exactly want to be making sure your ten year old sister does her math homework and goes to bed on time, but you do what you’ve gotta do, you know? She seems to have turned out okay, if nothing else.”
“That’s my feeling with Madi. She’s doing all right, so I can’t be doing too poorly.”
“You’re not,” Bellamy said with unexpected heat. “I was a huge dick to you before and totally wrong. You’re doing fine. Great, even.”
Clarke gave him a half smile. “Believe it or not, I didn’t let the opinion of a crank who’d known me for all of two seconds make too much of an impression on my self-esteem,” she teased gently. “But thanks.”
“She still think I’m a hardass?”
“She does, but she likes you in spite of it. She’s just stubborn and doesn’t want to like History.”
“You’re a STEM nerd too, I take it?”
“Not as much of one as you’d think,” Clarke shrugged. “I minored in art in college. But I don’t do too much with it these days, mostly just sketches and overly-composed iphone photos.”
Bellamy nodded and they heard a third door open and close. “Do you think they’re texting each other to trade off checking if we’ve given up?” he asked conspiratorially.
“No, I know they are,” she laughed. “So what do you do when you aren’t doing this?” she asked, hoping that if he had a girlfriend or boyfriend he would take the opening she was giving him and mention them. Not that she could date him, obviously. But she was only human. And incredibly curious.
“Watch documentaries on Netflix and hang out with my sister and her friends, really,” he said. “I can’t imagine you have much free time though?” Bellamy snuck a look at her out of the corner of his eye and Clarke realized she wasn’t the only one fishing.
“Between the hospital and Madi, no. And I decided not to date until she’s in college,” she added, just to be sure they were on the same page. Not that it mattered, because he was definitely, positively, off limits.
“Any reason for that?” he asked mildly.
“Her mom had a lot of boyfriends and there was a lot of instability for her growing up. So I decided I’d just...wait.”
Bellamy’s eyes seemed to flash and her heart clanged against her ribcage.
He’s out of the question, a voice in her brain hissed.
Unless you wait until the school year is over a different one whispered.
That’s ages away.
He’s interested though.
Clarke stopped arguing with herself long enough to realize Bellamy had asked her something. “Sorry, what was that?” she asked.
“I said Octavia didn’t deal very well with my first serious girlfriend, so I understand that,” he replied, his lips quirking up.
“She gave you shit?”
“A metric fuckload of it. Granted, Echo wasn’t always the nicest person and O was only fifteen, but yeah.”
“Yeah, I think Madi might be able to manage it, but honestly, I don’t mind doing this for her. It’s just a few more years until she’s in college and it makes her feel safe, so it's worth it.” Bellamy nodded and they lapsed into a not-uncomfortable silence. It was nice to talk to him, she realized, because most of her single mom friends were women who had had unplanned pregnancies in their early twenties. Parenting teenager when you didn’t really feel like an adult yourself was an entirely different ballgame and Bellamy seemed to get that.
“So you’ve been celibate for five years?” he asked, and she was pretty sure it wasn’t her imagination that his voice got a little deeper.
Her mouth went dry. “I didn’t say that,” she replied, and his eyes flicked over to hers. But truth be told, Clarke had been in a drought for the last six months, ever since Niylah had decided to go backpacking through Latin America.
“I shouldn’t be doing this,” he said quietly, looking back down the hall.
“This?” she asked, even though she knew what he meant.
Bellamy cut his eyes at her again. “Flirting,” he said softly. “It’s...inappropriate.”
“I know. I shouldn’t either,” she said and swallowed hard, searching for a subject change. “So what made you pick Antigone?” she asked.
Bellamy shifted a little and his forearm brushed against her thigh. Clarke fought a shiver. “Because kids respond to it, mostly, and because it’s a good way for them to realize that the sort of things we talk about in class aren’t just names and dates and abstract ideas, you know? Antigone is daring her father to punish her and arguing against an unjust law. That’s the sort of thing that kids this age can really get into, and it helps make the ancient Greeks seem more like real people instead of just old dead guys. A lot of them come in thinking history’s just names and dates and shit, and we have to do some of that, but it’s more important to me that they understand power and justice and things like that, you know?” He finished a little more emphatically than he’d started, and the passion in his voice took her breath away.
“What?” he asked when she didn’t respond right away, his ears turning red. “Was that too much? I can get kind of carried away.”
“No that was...that was hot,” she said before she could stop herself.
Bellamy watched her, his eyes dark and hooded. Clarke licked her lips unconsciously, all too aware of how little space there was between them, and then he looked away and swore under his breath. “I should go check and see if I can hear any plotting,” he said, and pushed himself up. Clarke waited until his back was turned and closed her eyes, willing herself to get a fucking grip.
He’s Madi’s teacher. It can’t happen.
It. can’t. happen.
Bellamy tiptoed down the hall and paused every so often, listening intently. He came back and Clarke told herself the moment had passed. “I think we’re in the clear,” he said, and after a second’s hesitation he held out his hand to help her up.
Her hand disappeared inside his palm. She stood and found herself a little too close to Bellamy but he didn’t step back and neither did she. The air between them thickened. “I should go to bed,” she said without moving.
Bellamy seemed dazed. “Yeah, me too,” he murmured but he didn’t move either.
Clarke tipped her chin up to look at him more easily and Bellamy’s head seemed to drift down. Her eyes trained on his lips. They were just millimeters apart when her brain clicked back on. “I’m sorry, I should— I should go,” she stuttered and stepped back.
Bellamy looked just as freaked out as she felt. “Yeah, we should...yeah. G’night,” he mumbled, and darted into his room.
Clarke closed the door behind her and collapsed against it, head in her hands. What the fuck were you thinking, Griffin? she berated herself and tried to force herself to get ready for bed.
She paced back and forth at the foot of the bed, unable to think of anything but him. Bellamy was in the very next room, probably taking his shirt off. Her fingers itched to feel the planes of his chest, to explore his lips with hers. You just want to get laid and break your dry spell she tried scolding herself, but it was no use.
Before she could talk herself out of what was surely the worst idea she’d ever had, Clarke walked to her door. Her heart beat a rapid tattoo, thumping against her sternum almost painfully. She took a deep breath and opened it.
Bellamy was already standing there.
He caught her face in his hands and his mouth descended on hers before she said a word. She kicked the door shut and he kissed her desperately; needily. His tongue sought hers and Clarke’s arms went around his neck, her hands tangling in his hair. “This is a bad idea,” he gasped between kisses.
“It’s a terrible one,” Clarke agreed as she stumbled back towards her bed. She fisted his shirt in her hands and dragged him with her, unwilling to let go for a single second.
His hand curved around her ass. “It can only happen once,” Bellamy said.
“Just this once,” she echoed and pulled him back down to kiss her. She nipped at his lower lip, just a flash of teeth, and Bellamy’s hand slipped under her hem. She stepped back and let him pull her shirt off, his hands skimming up and down her sides. His mouth blazed a trail down her throat, sucking with with just the right amount of pressure, and she started fumbling with the buttons on his shirt.
“Wait— fuck,” he swore. “Condoms?”
“Oh shit, um...let me check.” She hadn’t exactly been planning on having sex while chaperoning a field trip, but if she was lucky she might still have a few tucked into the smallest pouch on her toiletries kit. Clarke wrenched herself away from him and rummaged through her bag, crowing happily when she found a non-expired condom.
“Thank Christ,” Bellamy muttered and grabbed her arm, yanking her against him and kissing her again, his hand fitting around her jaw. This time he was the one to nibble at her lower lip and Clarke made a small noise in response. He grinned at that and she grinned back, the heady anticipation of a one night stand humming through her veins.
She threw the condom onto the nightstand and resumed her work on his shirt. His skin was warm and smooth under her fingertips and she dropped an open-mouthed kiss to his shoulder. Bellamy nuzzled at her temple, his breathing coming in heavy, thick gasps. She trailed her finger down his bare chest and palmed his growing erection through his pants. “Fuck,” he panted, and Clarke undid his belt buckle. Bellamy wrapped her hair around his hand and pulled, tipping her head back and growling deep in his throat. She liked the way it made her scalp sting, just for a second, and she felt a surge of wetness between her thighs. She took his cock in her hand and squeezed and he growled again, hungry and eager.
Bellamy swept his thumb across her lower lip, his eyes unfocused, and she shivered. She was caught in his gaze, her lungs struggling for air under the weight of it. Bellamy spun her around and banded an arm across her waist to keep her pinned to his chest. Clarke dropped her head back against him and he scraped his teeth across the place where her shoulder met her neck. His hand inched towards the waistband of her leggings and she whined impatiently, and his other hand tweaked her nipple through the lace of her bra.
She felt him smile against her skin and his hand dipped lower, slipping down through her curls. “Fuck. Already?” he asked when he found her soaking, and Clarke draped her arm around his neck to hold him close. He teased her folds, his hand trapped against her by her clothing. She twisted her head to kiss him and the angle wasn’t quite right but she didn’t want to go another second without tasting him again. She only broke away to draw his thumb into her mouth, sucking hard and dragging her teeth across the flat of his nail.
She found his lips once more and Bellamy used his spit-slicked thumb to tease her nipple out of her bra, the wetness making it slip over the tight, pebbled bud with ease. He pushed two fingers into her and ground the heel of his palm into her clit, and Clarke melted against him. Her muscles turned to liquid and her brain sank into a haze. She could feel his chest, warm and firm against her back, and she could feel his fingers inside of her, thrusting in and out, stretching her and teasing her. She could feel his breath fanning her skin and his thumbnail teasing her breast. Everything else fell away until she was nothing more than flesh and nerves, craving only him.
Bellamy twisted his hand and his thumb fell on her clit. Clarke gasped and then keened, and when he plucked at her nipple and lashed his thumb across her clit in quick succession she broke apart. Her walls clenched down on his fingers and her knees went weak as her orgasm rippled through her. His arm was the only thing holding her up and he nipped at her earlobe playfully before pushing her forward against the bed.
Clarke fell onto the mattress in a tangle of limbs, relieved to not be standing anymore, and watched him lick her arousal from his fingers. His eyes fluttered shut and his cheeks hollowed out as he sucked. She pushed herself to her knees and kissed him, needing to chase her taste on his tongue. Bellamy’s hand came to rest on her waist, wet and sticky from them both, and then he twisted the clasp of her bra.
She tossed it over the edge of the bed and he drew her aching nipple into his mouth. Her fingers speared through his hair and she held him close while he teased first one breast and then the other. He only pulled away to shove his pants and boxers down past his hips and Clarke sat back on her heels to take in the view.
Fuck he was handsome, perfectly formed from his broad shoulders and flat stomach to his narrow waist, his cock long and thick and hard. She ached for him with an intensity that surprised her. His gaze was heavy, a physical presence landing on her body. It was difficult to look away while she peeled her leggings and panties down, and Bellamy stroked himself lazily while he watched.
Clarke scrambled to the top of the bed and braced herself against the headboard, tossing her hair over her shoulder and waiting.
Bellamy climbed onto the bed and reached for the condom. Foil crinkled and his hand smoothed across her ass. “You want it like this, huh?” he purred in her ear and swatted her. It was just a light tap, not even enough to sting, but the sound echoed through the room and she groaned.
“Harder,” she demanded, and Bellamy complied. This time his palm did sting when it landed. She was drenched already but his hand smacking her ass got her even wetter, and when he finally lined himself up and pushed inside he mumbled fuck under his breath.
Bellamy gave her a moment to adjust to the intrusion and she redoubled her grip on the headboard. His hand came up to cup her breast and he started to move, his thrusts deep and powerful. She met him thrust for thrust, arching her back and locking her elbows. He trailed his hand up her spine and then grabbed her hair again, tugging just hard enough to make her clit pulse.
He curved his body around hers and his thrusts grew shallower, but the angle made his cock press against the front of her walls just right. She turned her head for a messy kiss, all teeth and tongue, and then Bellamy hauled her up so her back was against his chest and was sitting on his thighs. The hair on his legs scratched at her skin, rough and perfect. He kept his hand against her sternum, just below her throat, and fucked up into her, hard. Clarke keened and clenched her walls around his cock to heighten the sensation. He attached his lips to her throat and Clarke brought her hand to her clit. Her fingers brushed the base of his cock with each circle and she felt him swell inside of her, but then he pushed her back onto all fours and pulled out.
She made a noise in protest, feeling empty and hollow, but then he was filling her back up and her vision went white. His hand replaced hers on her clit and his strokes were rough and almost fumbling, but the pressure was exactly what she needed. “Come on,” he growled. “I need you to come. I need you to come on my cock,” he begged, and all she could do was make a helpless mewl in response. She was close, so close, and every time he thrust inside of her her legs trembled. He slapped her ass again and then he leaned forward to bite at her shoulder and that was all it took.
Her walls fluttered and contracted around his cock and Bellamy kept going, kept fucking her through it, a litany of fucks and oh gods falling from his lips as she came. She wanted to collapse against the pillows but she arched her back once more, shifting his angle inside of her just enough to pull him over the edge.
She felt him get harder and harder before he let go with a guttural groan. Her walls were still twitching around him as his come filled the condom. They stopped moving, his hand once more smoothing down her back, and then he held the base of the condom and pulled out.
Clarke’s muscles finally gave out and she crumpled to the mattress. Bellamy threw the condom into the trash and collapsed next to her, his face mashed against a pillow. “Well, fuck,” he said with a dry chuckle.
“Yes, yes we did,” she said, her eyes dancing. Bellamy laughed and leaned forward to kiss her before falling back down to the bed.
He brushed back a lock of her hair and they lay in silence as they tried to catch their breath. Clarke’s limbs felt heavy and her eyes started to droop, lulled by the peaceful sound of his breathing. Bellamy swept her hair back and ran his thumb along her jawline. “I suppose I shouldn’t fall asleep here,” he said ruefully, and Clarke blinked at him.
She wanted him to stay, she realized, but that couldn’t happen. “Yeah, probably not,” she said instead of what she wanted to do, which was curl closer to him and rest her head over his heart.
Bellamy sat up and she watched him locate his clothes. He dressed quickly and she dragged herself out of the bed, snagging her pajama shirt from her luggage and walking him to the door. Bellamy ducked his head and kissed her sweetly, but when he went to pull back she dragged him back down for another kiss, and then another. His hands rested on her waist, tantalizingly close to the hem of her shirt. “If you don’t stop I’ll never leave,” he muttered against her lips, so Clarke kissed him one more time and then stepped back.
Bellamy peered out the door quickly and then turned back, stealing one last quick kiss before he darted into the hallway.
Clarke flipped the deadbolt and went into the bathroom to brush her teeth. She considered showering but just couldn’t quite bring herself to rinse him off her skin yet. And when she went to bed she curled into the pillow he’d used, hoping to breathe him in one more time as she slept.
“What’s your deal, Mom?” Madi asked.
“What? Sorry honey, what was that?” Clarke looked up from her breakfast to find Madi watching her with her head tilted to one side. The rest of the students were finishing up and dashing back to their rooms to pack before the bus took off. Bellamy was already standing near the desk to handle check out, which was probably for the best. Distance was good. She needed that from him.
“You’re all spacey this morning,” Madi chided.
“Sorry,” Clarke said again. “I just didn’t get a lot of sleep last night.” The reason for her lack of sleep glanced over at her and then flicked his eyes away. Clarke plastered a smile onto her face. “Are you finished packing?”
“Mostly,” Madi said and scraped up a last bite of yogurt.
“Right, well, mostly isn’t finished and the bus leaves in 20 minutes so let’s get a move on,” Clarke replied. She forced herself not to look over at Bellamy while they walked to the elevators, and by the time she finished tracking down her toiletries and stuffing them back into her suitcase she was almost convinced that she could handle a four hour bus ride in his general proximity.
One night. That was the deal. It wouldn’t be fair for her to change the terms after the fact, no matter how badly she wanted a repeat.
Still, she couldn’t quite stop herself from picking up an extra cup of coffee from the front desk and handing it to him as he stood in front of the bus, counting off the remaining students. “Didn’t know how you take it,” she said, feeling absurdly shy given that he had been inside of her less than twelve hours ago.
He gave her an equally bashful smile and looked down. “Black’s fine,” he mumbled and then straightened. “Madi makes twelve. You mind staying here while I go round up the stragglers?” he asked.
“Of course,” she said, and took the time without him to will her heart to stop pounding.
Surprisingly, the kids were fairly subdued on the bus. Maybe it was the early departure, but the first hour passed in relative quiet. Clarke took a seat across the aisle from Bellamy and they took turns popping their heads out to check on the kids, sharing awkward nods each time.
An hour and a half into the bus ride, Clarke cracked and opened her messages. She called up Bellamy’s contact before she could second guess herself.
What if I don’t want it to be just once?
She saw Bellamy pick up his phone and panic surged through her veins. She tapped out another message as fast as humanly possible, just in case.
Feel free to tell me to back off if this is over the line.
An ellipsis appeared as he started to type, his eyes darting her way often.
Princess, I think we left the lines way behind us.
Clarke let out a breath even as her heart jumped at his words.
How would it work?
We let each other know when we have a free night. No sleepovers, no dinner, nothing remotely date like. Just sex. I don’t require exclusivity but I do want honesty, so if there’s someone else I’d like to know.
Is there someone else for you?
Not at the moment, no.
What if Madi gets nosy and reads your texts?
She’s pretty good about respecting my privacy, but I’ll change your name in my phone .
Clarke fiddled with the information in her contacts and pretty soon Bellamy Blake was no longer listed.
There. Now you’re Riley Chapman. I work with him but don’t actually have his number and Madi finds him mind numbingly dull.
So you’re in?
Clarke risked a glance at Bellamy and he did the same, sending her a look that made her toes curl. The typing bubble appeared again and hovered. The seconds ticked by and Bellamy was looking at his phone, frowning.
Finally, it appeared.
Clarke flashed him a smile that he returned, and then one of the boys stepped into her line of vision and the moment was broken.
Which honestly, was probably for the best.
special thanks to @bgonemydear for her teaching insights on this one.
Chapter 4: Four
I'm changing the rating for this story from M to E because this chapter is just 50% porn.
Clarke didn’t use the word addicted lightly. Addiction had ravaged her daughter’s young life and she’d seen far too many broken people in her hospital, their lives hollowed out by drugs, for her to use it as a punchline.
But she was starting to wonder if she might be addicted to sex with Bellamy Blake.
With Niylah she didn’t feel the need to text every time Madi left the house to hang with her friends, and she didn’t regularly replay memories of their nights together when she was alone in her room with her vibrator, either. The sex with Niylah was always good and she treasured their friendship, but what she had with Bellamy was something altogether different.
It was consuming and exhilarating and almost suffocating, how much she wanted him. When she wasn’t with him she was remembering what it felt like to be on her knees, his cock heavy on her tongue, or bent over his kitchen table while he fucked her from behind. She flipped through the images like a rolodex, one snapping into another while she tried to remember the scent of his skin and the exact feel of his hand on the back of her thigh.
There was the time she’d come over and he was finishing up his dishes, still in his black slacks from work but with his shirt tossed over a chair, stripped down to his sleeveless undershirt. She watched the play of his muscles across his back through the sheer white fabric as he rinsed, taking in the cut of his shoulders and the narrowness of his waist. She’d walked up behind him and kissed the nape of his neck, her hands sliding down to undo his belt and grasp his rapidly hardening cock.
She dropped to her knees and took him in her mouth then and there, his soapy hands clutching at the countertop while she bobbed her head back and forth. She loved the taste of him and the way he would whisper her name as she took him as deep as she could.
He had returned the favor by propping her in a chair and burying his face between her legs, fucking her with his tongue until she came twice and begged him to stop, her body shaking as she came down.
There was the time she spent almost the entire visit on her back, first while he swirled his tongue around her clit and then while he had her calves resting on his shoulders as he fucked her. She wasn’t sure she’d ever forget the way his lips brushed against her ankle, or how perfect he felt when he got that deep.
The time she was on top and rolled her hips slowly, his hands digging into her thighs and his head thrown back against his pillows was burned into her brain, as was how hard she’d come just from him rubbing her clit with his thumb.
Sex with Bellamy was intoxicating and what’s more, he seemed to feel the same way. It was in the glazed, half-drunk look in his eyes after he came and the way he seemed insatiable whenever she was in his bed.
Clarke found herself not wanting to leave his bed when the time came, either. It had never been that hard before, with Niylah or anyone else, but Bellamy was nearly impossible to leave. She liked lying in his arms, tracing idle circles across his skin while they talked about their days. She liked hearing his voice rumble deep in his chest and how he seemed to love carding his fingers through her hair.
If sex with Bellamy was a drug, she craved it.
Clarke parked around the corner as usual and climbed the steps to his apartment. He opened the door and she kissed him automatically, her body losing all of its exhaustion the second his arms wrapped around her back. They shed their clothes in a long, haphazard trail from his door to his bedroom, his hands seeking out every inch of skin he could touch. “God, sometimes I just can’t wait to see you,” he mumbled, his mouth on her shoulder.
“Me either,” she said, shrugging out of her bra and then pawing at his pants. “Sometimes I don’t,” she added.
Bellamy pulled back, his hands still on her waist, and tilted his head to the side. “What do you mean by that?”
Clarke finished undoing the button on his jeans and pushed them down around his hips. “When I can’t see you. I touch myself and think about you," she said boldly. "It’s not the same, but it’s pretty good.” She rolled up on her toes and nipped at his lower lip, which was now hanging slightly open.
Clarke grasped him through his boxers and squeezed. “All the fucking time,” she said, nuzzling into his neck.
“Show me.” The words came out like an order and that sent a frisson down her spine.
She stepped away from him and raised and eyebrow. “What was that?”
“You heard me,” he said, his eyes dark. “I want to see how you touch yourself when you think about me.”
She took another step back and lifted her chin, popping the button of her jeans and waiting with her hand just above her waistline. “I will. On one condition.”
“And that is?”
“You can’t touch me during. Unless I tell you too.”
His gaze darkened further and he nodded, a short, tight jerk of his head.
“On the bed,” she commanded, and Bellamy stepped out of his jeans and then, with a questioning look her way, out of his boxers too. Clarke peeled her jeans off too and watched his eyes fall on her black panties. He licked his lips and settled on the bed with his back against the headboard. His cock rested against his stomach, hard and dark.
Her panties were already damp and she curled her fingers into the elastic near her hips. She slipped them down slowly, revealing the curls at the apex of her thighs millimeter by millimeter. Bellamy swallowed hard and brought his hand to his cock, skimming his palm up its length. He stopped at the tip and raised his eyebrows, waiting for her nod before he stroked his hand back down. It wasn’t urgent; just a lazy, slow touch to ease what she knew was a powerful ache.
It was an ache she felt too, to be honest, but she had a show to put on. She stepped out of her panties and tossed them towards him. Bellamy caught them, balling them up in his free hand and bringing them to his nose. He breathed her in, his eyes closed, and Clarke had to bring her thighs together to ease the need inside of her that just seemed to ratchet higher and higher whenever she was with him.
When he opened his eyes Clarke climbed onto the bed and straddled his legs, balancing just above his knees. He tossed her panties aside and his hands came up as if he was going to grasp her waist, but then he stopped. “Can I?” he asked.
Clarke leaned back on her heels, her knees spread wide, and thought. “Not yet,” she decided. “But I’ll tell you when.”
Bellamy dropped his hands, one fisting the sheets and the other returning to his cock. “How do you start?” he prompted.
“Well, usually I have my vibrator,” she said, her voice throaty. She raised herself back up on her knees so she loomed above him, her breasts right in his eyeline. “But I always start with my tits.” She watched his adam’s apple bob up and down and brought two fingers to her mouth. She licked them delicately, making sure he saw each flick of her tongue, and then lowered them to her breast.
Her nipple hardened the moment she rubbed her areola. She teased herself for awhile, keeping the touch light and feathery, and then worked her way rougher. She pinched it-- not hard, not yet-- and her clit gave a needy throb. “I like to imagine you doing this,” she purred. “And sometimes I bring my vibrator up right here, let it brush against my tits while I think about your hands.”
“And then?” he asked hoarsely.
Clarke smirked and leaned back, bracing herself on one hand. It arched her back and brought her cunt a little higher, spread open for him. “And then I bring it down like this,” she said, and Bellamy’s hand on his cock seemed to grip himself tighter. She skimmed her hand down her stomach, pausing just above her mound. “Thinking about you always gets me wet,” she continued. “Wet like this.” She slipped two fingers between her folds and slicked them up with her arousal. She held her hand out, silent, and Bellamy bent his head forward to take them in his mouth. He sucked her fingers clean, his tongue rasping against her skin, and Clarke felt dizzy with want. Part of her wanted to just sink down on his cock and let him touch her in any way he wanted, but another part of her liked this feeling. She liked having this control over him, even if it was torture for her too.
She pulled her fingers from his lips and leaned forward to kiss him softly. Then she arched back and brought her hand down to part her folds. “I like to tease myself a little,” she said, trailing her finger around her opening and up around her clit. “I usually think about your tongue,” she said, and Bellamy watched her, entranced. “I like it in me, and I like how you like to make me wait, make me beg for it.” She dipped one finger into her entrance and Bellamy licked his lips hungrily. “But I don’t always have that kind of self control,” she admitted, “so I usually bring my vibrator right up here.” She brought her fingers to her clit, pressing down just enough to ease the sharp ache located there. “I keep the setting low at first, because I like to put it inside me sometimes too.”
Bellamy made a noise at that, somewhere between a groan and a curse. Her thighs felt weak and shaky, so she found his eyes and nodded. Bellamy's hands came up to hold her steady, his fingers digging into her hips. His cock fell back against his stomach, harder and thicker than she’d ever seen it. She pushed her fingers into her entrance and they moaned in unison, Bellamy’s head coming to rest against her forehead. He kept his eyes down— they both did— as she fucked herself, twisting the heel of her palm against her clit whenever she could. “And then when I can’t take it anymore, I turn it up and put it against my clit until I come,” she said, and brought her now-soaking fingers up to her clit. She was so keyed up she was trembling, and the circles she drew on her clit were rough and imprecise.
“Kiss me,” she gasped, and Bellamy captured her lips with his. He broke away and she whined, but then he bent his head and took her nipple between his teeth, flicking his tongue against it.
And that was all she needed to fall apart. Her clit pulsed and she let go with a sharp keen, her orgasm ripping through her with a force that left her dazed.
Bellamy lifted his head and his eyes met hers. And even though she was still coming, even though she could barely see straight, she couldn’t wait another second.
They’d dispensed with condoms a month ago, after they both got tested and he knew she had an IUD, and Clarke had never been more grateful than that very moment. She didn’t want anything between them and she wanted to feel him come inside of her with a need that stole the breath from her lungs. So she took his cock in her hand and guided it inside of her, her chest pressed against his and his arms wrapped tight around her back.
Clarke rolled her hips forward at the same time he snapped his hips up, and the sensation made her gasp. They did it again and again, her whole body feeling like it was opening to him, and Bellamy’s mouth found hers just as his cock swelled inside her walls. She kissed him as he came, growling into her mouth with a guttural groan.
Clarke tucked her face into the crook of his neck, holding him close as they both struggled for air. “When do you have to go?” he asked, his hand smoothing up and down her spine.
Clarke squeezed her eyes shut like she could block out the world. She didn’t want to go but Madi needed to be picked up at eleven so she didn’t have much choice. She nuzzled his neck and kissed his jaw. “Not for a while yet,” she said, and felt his shoulders melt a little under her touch. She told herself this was just intoxication, the heady first months of lust, and that soon she'd relax and be willing to leave his arms.
She almost believed it.
An early spring rain pounded at his roof, spattering the windows. Clarke nuzzled her face into Bellamy’s neck and he sighed. “When do you have to leave?”
She craned her head to look at his alarm clock across the room. “The movie ends at 10:15 so I have, uh...ten more minutes before I have to leave,” she said and dropped a kiss to his shoulder.
Bellamy shifted to draw her closer. “I applied for a new job,” he said quietly, his fingers running absently through her hair.
She looked up. “When? Or, I guess, where?”
“Arkadia High. They've got a retirement this year and I think it’d be a better fit for me.”
“In what way?”
“It’s more like the school I went to growing up. I think I could, I don’t know, get through to those students. Or I could try. I know what it’s like to be poor, you know? Polis Academy is great, but I think I need to give it a shot over there.” He smiled at her. “It’s a public school so I’d get to be in a union. Better pay and more job stability that way. And I’d be harder to fire if I got caught fucking a student’s parent.”
Clarke grinned back. “You’ve got some plans, I see.”
“I’m just keeping my options open,” he teased.
Clarke laughed and leaned up to kiss him. “Madi will be sad, but if it’s what you want you should go for it.”
“It probably goes without saying, but I’m not telling my students yet. Even if I get it, I won’t until the end of the year.”
“Don’t worry, your secret is safe with me. And you being across town would make things easier with us,” she pointed out.
“Would it...change anything?” he asked with the air of choosing his words carefully.
“Just that I wouldn’t have to worry about getting you fired,” she said lightly. “You know— you know why I can’t be more than this.” Her stomach twisted and she held her breath.
“No, I know,” he said with an easy smile. “Can’t hurt to ask though, right?”
Clarke exhaled in relief and kissed him again. She looked back at the clock and groaned. “I should get going,” she whined.
Bellamy sat up and watched her as she hunted for her underwear. “Any idea when we’ll see each other again?”
“Madi’s going out for softball so I’ll have those games to go to, but I’ll keep you posted if I have a night free.”
Bellamy tilted his head to the side. “Softball, huh? I didn’t realize Madi was interested.”
“Family rule. You’ve got to do at least one sport freshman year and she picked softball.” Clarke shimmied into her jeans and found her bra at the foot of his bed.
“What sort of bullshit rule is that?” Bellamy laughed.
“Hey, sports are good for you. And being on a team is an important skill,” she said a little defensively.
“Let me guess— you played tennis and volleyball.”
“Partially right. Tennis, soccer, and swimming.” She looked at him and found him cackling, his head thrown back. “What?”
“God, I should have known— you were a jock .”
“What’s wrong with that?” Clarke mock-pouted. She climbed onto his lap and his hands came up to her waist automatically even as he kept laughing.
“Nothing. It’s just some of us are nerds who hate sports.”
Clarke trailed a finger across his shoulder and down the tendons in his arms. “You’re pretty ripped for a nerd who hates sports,” she teased.
“Running and weightlifting aren’t sports,” he threw back. “Zero teamwork required.”
“Right, well, it’s still the family rule and I think she’s excited about softball. Adria’s doing it with her, at least.”
Bellamy crinkled his eyes and tucked a lock of hair behind her ear. “You’re a good mom, you know,” he said softly.
It made her chest tighten to hear that, so she leaned forward and planted a kiss on his lips. “Thank you,” she said, and the look in his eyes-- something like awe and admiration-- wrapped around her like an embrace. Somehow, Bellamy had tangled himself around her heart like a vine and she knew it was dangerous.
But even worse was that she didn't even care.
Chapter 5: Five
“Clarke? You can head out,” Jackson said, poking his head into the room.
Clarke nodded, keeping her head down over the chart. “Just finishing this up,” she said and hoped he didn’t hear the tears in her voice. Jackson hesitated but closed the door, and Clarke sat back in her chair with a shaky sigh.
It wasn’t that she hadn’t lost patients before. She had, and the pain of it always cut her deep. Usually she could handle it better, but this had hit a little too close to home. A car accident, just like the one that took her father. A girl, no more than eight, who died on her table, and a father who was DOA. The girl hadn’t even looked much like Madi but the loss worked it’s way inside her lungs until she wanted to howl with rage at the unfairness of the world. Clarke wiped at her cheeks and pulled out her phone, debating.
Are you around?
I am but O and Lincoln are staying with me while their place gets fumigated
I thought you had to work tonight?
I did. I just can’t go home yet.
This isn’t about sex. I just need to talk to someone.
Clarke had barely hit send on her message when her phone started to ring and Riley Chapman flashed across the top of the screen. No picture to accompany it, no handsome, reassuring grin. “Hello?”
“You okay?” Bellamy asked.
“I’m fine,” she said and then shook her head at herself. “Well, not fine. But can I see you? I know you said your sister—”
Bellamy cut her off. “You know highway thirteen, right? There’s an overlook up there, just past mile marker 171. I can meet you there.”
“See you there,” she agreed. She tapped out a quick message to let Madi know she’d be home a little late and filed away the completed charts. She hastily wiped the tears from her face before she let herself out of the office and hurried to her car.
Bellamy was waiting for her at the overlook, arms crossed as he leaned against the door of his car. “What’s wrong?” he asked the second she opened her door.
“Aren’t you worried about your students catching us up here? This is like, prime making out territory,” she joked half heartedly.
He gave her a half smile. “I have it on good authority that no one comes up here anymore. I hear things,” he replied. “But what’s wrong?”
Memories of her shift came crashing back and her face crumpled. “I couldn’t save them,” she said, her voice cracking.
Bellamy crossed the distance between them in two paces and caught her in his arms. “Hey hey hey,” he said soothingly, his hand coming up to cradle the back of her head. He tucked her into the space between his shoulder and his neck, holding her tight. The tears came thick and fast and in moments his shirt was soaked through but Bellamy just held her, swaying on the spot. Bellamy’s warmth radiated into her and curled around her heart and she found herself not wanting to step back. His jaw pressed against her temple and murmured quiet nonsense into her ear until the tears started to slow.
“I’m sorry,” she said against his chest. “I just didn’t know where else to go.” But as soon as she said it she realized it wasn’t quite true. She’d met Wells after tough shifts before, and her mother was always willing to talk her through losing patients when she didn’t want to bring her grief home to Madi.
The truth was, she had other people to talk to. But she wanted to talk to Bellamy. She wanted his comfort, his arms around her, his heart thumping reassuringly under her ear.
Bellamy nodded and pressed a kiss into her hair, just above her ear. “Did you want to talk about it?” he asked, and the concern in his voice clawed at her heart. She made herself step out of the comfort of his arms.
“Not really. Just a bad shift and I— I don’t like taking this home to Madi.”
Bellamy brushed an errant tear away with his thumb. “She’s a tough kid,” he said carefully. “She’d probably understand.”
“I know,” Clarke admitted. “She’s just had so much shit in her life; I don’t like making her feel like she’s responsible for me too, you know? Especially for things like this, where it’s my job and I should be able to handle it.”
“You’re still human though. It’s okay to break sometimes.”
Clarke chuckled tearily. “Would you have let Octavia see you like this?”
“Probably not,” he said with a gentle grin. “You’ve got me there.” He held his arms out and she stepped into them again without a second’s hesitation.
“I should get going,” she said against his chest. “I told Madi I’d be late but I don’t want to stay out too long.”
Bellamy tightened his arms around her and kissed the crown of her head. “You sure you’re gonna be okay?”
Clarke nodded, still safely ensconced in his arms. “I just needed to cry.”
“I’m here whenever you need me,” he said with a hoarse voice. “You know that, right?”
“I do,” she said and this time he was the first to let go. “Thanks, by the way.”
“Any time, princess,” he said softly.
“Come on, Adria!” Clarke called. “You got this!” The rest of the parents were sitting on the bleachers but Clarke had moved to stand near the first baseline for a better vantage point. Adria hit a foul ball and the crowd clapped politely.
“What’s the score?”
Clarke looked over to find Bellamy standing a safe distance away from her, his eyes on the field. “We’re tied at one-one. Bottom of the fifth,” she said casually.
Adria swung again and connected. Bellamy clapped and Clarke cheered her on to first base. “I got the job,” he murmured under the roar of the crowd.
Clarke risked a glance his way and smiled. “Congrats,” she said, and he smiled back. He crossed his arms and shifted on his feet so he was just a bit closer. Clarke mirrored his movements and when the next batter had the crowd’s attention he caught the back of her fingers between his knuckles. It was a brief touch, hardly longer than a heartbeat, and then it was over.
“Thanks,” he said and shifted away. The girl struck out. Bellamy clapped encouragingly and sent Clarke another brief smile. She wished she could close the distance between them, but instead she just focused on the field.
The distance was there for a reason.
“Where’s Madi tonight?” Bellamy asked, his fingers trailing through her hair. He did that a lot after sex, she’d realized, and she liked it. It was relaxing; comforting in a way she'd come to associate with him.
“Robotics camp until Sunday.”
He thought for a moment. “When do you work next?”
“Not until Tuesday.”
“So...no responsibilities for the next two days at least.”
“I have a dishwasher to unload and maybe some laundry to do, but yeah, no major responsibilities.”
Bellamy shifted and rolled her onto her back. “Stay here,” he said, hovering over her. “I know, I know, it’s against the rules. But if you stay over I could fuck you in the shower tomorrow,” he teased, grinning and settling into the cradle of her hips.
“Or you could fuck me in the shower tonight,” she said, but her giggle turned to a moan halfway through when he ground against her clit just right. Staying was a terrible idea and some part of her knew it, but he was smiling down at her and god, she wanted to. “Okay,” she said, and his face lit up. She’d never even considered spending the night with Niylah, even though she knew she would have been more than welcome. Things were different with Bellamy— and different was both really good and potentially really bad. She kissed him giddily and shoved aside the way her heart seemed to melt inside her ribcage at the thought of spending the night. All of this was against the rules, but fuck it— she deserved to have some fun.
Clarke had forgotten what it was like to wake up with someone. She’d fallen asleep nestled against Bellamy’s chest but they’d drifted away from each other during the night; Clarke sprawled out on her stomach and Bellamy curled on his side facing her. He nuzzled her shoulder and she lifted her head to look at him, smiling drowsily. “You take up a lot of the bed,” he chided, and she wanted to curl up inside his voice, all hoarse and raspy with sleep.
“I’m used to sleeping alone,” she smiled.
“Fair enough,” he said and she cuddled into him, her head resting on his shoulder. Bellamy’s hand trailed up and down her spine, tracing the bumps and divots with his finger tips. She pressed a kiss to his chest and started to doze off again.
He kissed her forehead and Clarke’s eyes fluttered open. She craned her neck up to kiss his lips, her eyes still hazy with sleep. “We should probably eat breakfast,” he said.
“Mmmmm, yeah, breakfast,” she mumbled, resuming her previous position draped halfway across his body.
“I’m sorry to say I don’t have any pop tarts,” Bellamy said and Clarke popped her head up, scrunching her nose at him.
“I didn’t mean we eat them every morning,” she protested, and Bellamy laughed, cuffing his hand around her neck to draw her down for a consoling kiss.
“Eggs or pancakes?” he offered.
Clarke kissed the dip in his clavicle. “Eggs,” she decided. “Scrambled, with toast.”
Bellamy laughed again and she felt his bare chest rumble against hers. “I said nothing about toast. But I’ll see what I can do.” He rolled away from her and she whined pathetically, so he rolled back and kissed her forehead before climbing out of bed. “Here,” he said, and tossed her a clean shirt from his dresser. “Meet you in the kitchen.” It was a soft, dark blue cotton, hanging just to the top of her hips, and it smelled like clean laundry. It was comfortable and endearing, just like everything about him. She smiled to herself and found her underwear near the foot of the bed.
In the kitchen, Bellamy was cracking eggs above a bowl. His maroon shirt stretched tight across his shoulders and she wrapped her arms around his waist, kissing the nape of his neck. “You have no idea how long it’s been since someone’s made me breakfast,” she sighed.
“Well don’t get too used to it; you’ve gotta make the coffee,” he said, glancing over his shoulder.
“Where are the filters?” she asked. Bellamy tipped his chin toward a cupboard and she pulled them down. She got the coffee brewing by the time the eggs were cooked and they ate at his tiny kitchen table, nudging each other with their feet and grinning over their coffee mugs.
True to his word, Bellamy fucked her in the shower that morning. He crowded her against the wall and kissed the side of her neck, her nipples brushing against the cool tile as she arched back against him. The water was hot but his mouth was hotter, sucking a red mark into her shoulder while he fucked her from behind.
And then they washed each other’s hair, laughing and splashing each other until her cheeks ached from smiling.
She meant to leave after they dried off, but somehow she found herself changing into a pair of Bellamy’s sweatpants and settling onto his couch with some paper she’d stolen from his desk instead. She sketched him while he graded papers, the sun dragging shadows across the floor. She liked the way he frowned when a student wasn’t doing well and liked it even more when he beamed when they got something right. She spent a solid fifteen minutes working on getting the crease between his eyes just so, trying to replicate that mix of concentration and intelligence.
It was the middle of the afternoon when he threw his papers down and tugged her across his chest against her squealing protests. “You gonna let me see those ever?” he asked into her hair.
“What, my sketches?”
“No, the rocketship you're building. Yes, your sketches,” he teased.
Clarke squirmed out of his grasp until she could grab one from where it fell to the floor. “I don’t usually show people them unless they’re finished,” she explained, holding it against her chest. “So you can’t judge.”
“You’ve seen my bulletin boards. You know I can’t judge.”
“Okay,” she said, and held it out for him. She had gotten used to showing her art in college but it felt different showing it to Bellamy. It felt like showing a little part of herself to him, and he already had so much of her. She held her breath as he took the paper.
A soft smile crossed his face. “God, you’re good,” he whispered, like he’d forgotten she could hear him.
“Really?” It wasn’t misplaced modesty— deep down she knew she was good, but it’d been so long since she’d shown someone her work that it made her unsure. And he was so vibrant, so warm, so alive; she wasn’t sure she could capture all that.
“Really,” he said, and leaned over to kiss her. It was languid and lazy, the afternoon sun warming their skin, and Clarke shifted to be more securely on his lap. Her tongue traced his full lower lip and she nipped at it, and then his hand came up to curl around the back of her neck and hold her close. She couldn’t get close enough to him and yet she was content to just kiss him. He seemed content to simply kiss her back, their lips exploring each other slowly and deliberately.
When they finally came up for air Clarke snuggled down and rested her head against his chest. His heart thumped under her ear and his arms stayed tight around her and they both drifted off, dust motes dancing in the shaft of lights above them.
The sun was sinking when she woke up. Bellamy’s head was tipped back against the couch, snoring softly. “Hey,” she said, sleepy and raspy. “Wake up, sleepyhead.”
Bellamy blinked and looked at her with those dark eyes that threatened to destroy her. “You want to stay for dinner?” he asked.
She did. God, that was all she wanted to do. She wanted to stay so badly she knew she couldn’t, so she made herself shake her head. “I’ve got to get home,” she said, and her heart plunged as Bellamy’s face fell.
“I get that,” he said with an attempt at a smile that didn’t reach his eyes. “You can keep the clothes, if you want.”
“I should change,” she said, and the bubble of happiness around them popped. The real world leaked back in, her responsibilities and life rearing their heads. Clarke changed in his room quietly and Bellamy walked her to the door like always, kissing her swiftly.
Clarke blinked back inexplicable tears the whole drive home.
“And how are things with you, Clarke?” Nyko asked. Madi had been seeing him for the last five years and Clarke came every fifth or sixth time, just to check in. It gave Madi a safe space to work things out and helped Clarke feel like she wasn’t a terrible, irresponsible parent despite the fact that they sometimes had cereal for dinner in front of the TV.
“You know, I’ve been thinking,” she said and shifted a little in her chair. Madi was picking at her cuticles on the couch but Clarke knew she was listening, just trying to seem disaffected. “What if I started dating?”
Madi looked up, first at Clarke and then at Nyko. “You said not until I went to college,” she said warily.
“I know. And if you want me to stick to that, I will. I just thought it might be worth...revisiting.” She had to ask, she’d realized. After that weekend with Bellamy she’d been craving something more concrete with him and she suspected he felt the same. But Madi came first.
“Why?” Madi asked and crossed her arms.
“I just— I was thinking— it might be time,” Clarke floundered and looked to Nyko, who lowered his glasses.
“Does that bother you, Madi?” he asked gently.
“I dunno,” she shrugged. “A little, maybe.”
“What about it?”
Madi chewed on her cheek. “ She dated a lot,” she mumbled. “And I hated them.”
“I wouldn’t have anyone move in,” Clarke promised. “I’m not talking about that.”
“But would you...be gone? More?” The hesitancy in Madi’s voice made Clarke’s heart splinter inside her ribcage.
“No. You know what? Nevermind,” Clarke said.
“I think this is worth talking about,” Nyko interjected. “If you want to date, we should talk about what that might look like for Madi.”
“I don’t,” Clarke said. “Forget it. It’s not something I was really considering anyway.” Madi’s shoulders relaxed and Clarke knew she’d made the right decision.
No matter the cost.
Clarke fished her phone out of her purse as she walked towards her car. It buzzed in her hand with a text.
Grandma Abby wants to watch another episode of Supergirl.
And that means I’ll be home an hour late. Is that okay?
Of course. Send my love to Mom and Marcus
They say hi
Clarke unlocked her car and slid behind the wheel. She could go home and do laundry, or just pour herself a glass of wine and watch something of her own on netflix, but instead she called up her messages and texted Bellamy.
I have an extra hour
I’m setting things up at Arkadia so I’m not at home
Clarke frowned at her phone. Arkadia High School was on the other side of town from her and a solid twenty minutes from Bellamy’s apartment. If he left right now to meet her at his place they’d only have maybe fifteen minutes before Clarke had to turn around and go home if she had any hope of getting back before her mom dropped Madi off.
But ever since the session with Nyko, Clarke had felt like her time with Bellamy was swiftly ticking away. She knew they couldn’t go on like this much longer, not if things weren’t going to change, but she didn’t want to give him up. Not yet.
Meet me at the overlook? Everything’s fine, I just want to see you.
Be there in ten .
Bellamy had his car off to the side, far away from the circle of light thrown by the streetlight. Clarke parked a safe distance away and got out to find him leaning back against his door with a dark grin. “Just had to see me, huh?” he teased.
Clarke just grabbed his shirt in both hands and kissed him. “Something like that,” she said, and pulled the door to the backseat open.
“Here?” Bellamy said, but he didn’t sound upset. He sounded just as into it as she was, quite frankly, which was good. They needed to shift this back to what it was supposed to be— hot sex, a little bit tawdry and a little bit raunchy. If they could do that maybe they could fix this, move things back to fucking and away from feeling , and fucking at an overlook was definitely not something you did when you were in love with someone. It was something you did when you desperately wanted to fuck.
“Here,” she confirmed. Clarke climbed in and Bellamy followed, slamming the door shut and covering her with his body before kissing her again. He pawed at her scrub bottoms and she pulled her top off, leaving her in the tank top she wore underneath. He pushed her up against the door and knelt down on the floor to peel off her pants. They dangled one foot and she shoved her panties down too, acutely aware that they didn’t have much time.
Bellamy grinned and kissed the inside of her knee, his eyes glinting in the streetlight, and then his tongue was on her clit. His legs were folded against the opposite door and it couldn’t have been comfortable, but he didn’t seem to mind and neither did she. His hands splayed across her thighs to keep her legs open and his eyes flickered up to hers. Clarke gasped and knitted her fingers into his hair, tugging him closer. He drove his tongue deeper, tracing her entrance and laving across her folds. Distantly she heard cars rolling past but all that did was drive her need for him higher, knowing they could be caught, that this could all come crashing down. Clarke’s lungs went tight, the sensations rippling through her body, and the sight of his dark head between her legs made it even harder to breathe. The door handle dug into her back and the seatbelt was pinned beneath her leg but the only thing that existed was Bellamy, his breath hot on her cunt and his lips wrapped around her clit.
He eased two fingers inside of her and crooked them just right. Clarke gasped again, her heel digging into his back, and when he brought his tongue to her clit her thighs trembled around his ears. She shook as she fell apart and Bellamy lunged up to kiss her, his mouth still tasting of her come.
It was awkward and cramped but with some shifting and repositioning they made it work and Clarke sank down on his cock with a needy moan. She rode him while Bellamy sucked hard on her collarbone, his curls brushing against her shoulders. Clarke braced her hand on the window and rose up and down on his cock, his jeans knotted around his ankles and his thumb pinned to her clit. Her hand slipped in the condensation on the window, the glass cool under her palm. His thumb pressed on her clit even harder. The pressure was delicious and sharp and he pulled her tank top down, nudging her bra aside so he could tease her nipple with his teeth. She nosed at his temple and he kissed her jaw, messy but sweet, and she took his face in her hands as they both came, gasping into each other’s mouths.
“That was a hell of a break from work,” he said, smoothing back her hair. He brushed his nose against hers and she giggled, stealing another quick kiss from him. The car was stuffy and humid and smelled like sex and she felt like she'd never stop smiling.
“I just wanted to see you,” she said, his hands still under her shirt, warm and soothing on her back. “Felt like it was worth the risk.”
“I’d agree with you there,” he said, and in the dim light she saw how soft his eyes were and knew she’d failed. She’d wanted to try and recapture what things had been at the start but now that she thought about it, it had never really been about sex with Bellamy.
It was about him . She cared about him, and more than she could bring herself to admit. And he cared about her, and the longer they kept doing this dance the more it was going to hurt when the music stopped. “Everything okay?” Bellamy asked, and she made herself smile.
“Of course,” she lied, and kissed him again. “But I should get going.”
Bellamy tilted his head so he could kiss her deeply, thoroughly, carefully. She let him and kissed him back, but when she climbed out of his car, she knew.
It was only a matter of time.
The end came in August. Clarke knew the clock had run out the moment Bellamy opened the door. “What is it?” she asked. She was sweating in the summer heat, but her skin suddenly felt cold. He had been the one to ask her over and for some reason, that text had sent her heart plummeting. They could lie to themselves all they want, but this wasn’t just sex and hadn’t been for a long time. She knew it and somehow, she knew he did too.
“It’s nothing,” he said, but she didn’t believe him. She followed him to the couch, her heart thundering in her ears. Part of her wanted to end it first, just so he’d be able to hate her for it. Maybe that would be easier; having him hate her. But she didn't have the courage; couldn't bring herself to say the words just in case she was wrong.
“Bellamy, just— just tell me,” she said, even though she wasn’t sure she could bear to hear the words. Her tongue felt like lead and her lips were numb.
He sat down, his forearms resting on his knees. He wouldn’t look at her and her stomach churned. “I can’t go on like this,” he said, and the pain in his voice felt like a raw nerve.
“I know. Madi comes first. But this— I want more. I need more. Is that...possible?” he asked. “Even if it can’t be today, I have to know that it could be more. I want— I want more with you. And I think you do too.”
Tears welled in her eyes. “I promised her not until college,” she said and her voice cracked.
“Three years,” he said, she knew it was over. But she couldn’t imagine that, didn’t want to picture a life without him.
Clarke reached out and wrapped her hand around his wrist. “Bellamy, please,” she begged, but she wasn’t sure what she was asking for. She couldn’t ask him to be a secret for three years, and she couldn’t ask him to wait either. He covered her hand with his and looked up. A tear tracked down his cheek and he sniffed, blinking fast. She wanted more time with him, more nights in his bed. She wanted so much more than even that, but asking for that felt monstrously unfair.
“I won’t ask you—” he broke off and brushed at his cheek with the back of his hand. Clarke was crying too now, tears dripping off her chin into her lap. “I understand. You have to put her first. But then I think— I think we need to be over.”
“You know— you know I wouldn’t choose this, right?” she said, needing him to know. “I want more too, I just...I can’t. Not now. Not yet.” She wiped a tear from his face with her thumb and Bellamy trapped her hand against his cheek. He made a noise somewhere between a sigh and a sob and pressed his forehead against hers.
“I’m sorry,” he said brokenly.
“There’s nothing to be sorry for,” she said and squeezed her eyes shut. Bellamy cupped the base of her skull and then they were kissing, the salt of their tears mingling on their lips.
It hurt more than almost anything else in her life had hurt. It hurt to kiss him but it would hurt even more to stop, so she kissed him one last time. And then once more, and then once more, and then she knew that if she didn’t stop she would never find the strength to walk away.
So she stopped, and it was over.
I know, I know.
The next few weeks passed in a fog. Clarke did her best to hide her pain from Madi but Madi picked up on it anyway, even going so far as to empty the dishwasher without being asked. Clarke told herself she just needed time, that eventually the pain would pass and she’d get used to a life without Bellamy in it. It hadn’t even been a year, after all. She should be able to put herself back together.
She’d be fine. Eventually.
And in a lot of ways, she was. She stopped crying in the shower or in her car after a shift and one day she realized she’d gone twelve whole hours without thinking about him. Of course realizing that hurt too, but it was shifting from a knife-sharp pain to a dull, constant ache.
Clarke peered into the bags Raven and Madi were pulling out of Raven’s trunk. “What are the odds you two just like, blow up my house?” she chuckled.
“It’s my house too, you know,” Madi snarked.
“There’s only a 5% chance of an explosion, tops,” Raven said soothingly. “And that’s only if shit goes really, really wrong, because not much here is explosive. Flammable, sure, but not explosive.”
Clarke lifted what appeared to be half of an engine and carried it to the garage. “So what are the odds you burn my house down?”
Raven grinned. “Twenty percent, depending on how well Madi follows directions.”
Clarke laughed and shook her head, heading back to Raven’s car for another load. “Oh my god Mom, I forgot to tell you. You’ll never guess who we ran into this morning,” Madi said, picking up a couple of pipes and tucking them under her armpit. “Mr. Blake. And he was like, clearly on a date. ”
Clarke’s stomach tumbled down a flight of stairs and she ducked her head into the trunk to hide her face, which was probably draining of color at that very second. “Really?” she said as neutrally as possible. Raven cast her a sideways look.
“Yeah. He was really nice but super freaked out,” Madi prattled on, heedless. “Also, do grown ups really go on dates to the farmer’s market? That seems lame and boring.”
Clarke pretended to be fumbling with the bags to buy herself some more time. Raven rested her hand on her forearm and raised an eyebrow. Clarke shook her head and Raven straightened. “Hey, Madi, I’ve got some insurance questions I want to talk to your mom about. Can you get things started out here?” she called.
Madi shrugged and dropped the pipes with a loud clatter. “The start of the frame should be pretty easy, yeah. Go be boring; I’ve got this.”
Raven dragged Clarke around the garage and out to the swingset in the back corner of their yard. She waited until Clarke sat down on a swing to take the one next to her. “So I take it this Mr. Blake is the mystery man you were fucking,” she said, her gentle tone at odds with her blunt words. Clarke nodded and chewed on her lower lip. Raven sighed. “I assumed you didn’t want to say who it was because it was someone at work, but Madi’s teacher makes sense too. You okay?”
Clarke shrugged. “We ended it over a month ago,” she said quietly.
“How serious was it?”
“You know my rules,” Clarke said, pushing herself back in the swing. She lifted her feet and let the momentum pull her forward. Bellamy’s dating . She wanted to be happy for him, but all she felt was numb.
“Rules aren’t feelings. So how serious was it?”
Clarke shrugged again. “It doesn’t really matter. He wanted more and I couldn’t give him that, so it’s over. I’m happy for him.”
“That sounded really convincing,” Raven said drily. “But you never know, it might not have been a date. I bet you’ve gone to the farmer’s market with Wells before.”
“Do you really think that?” Clarke asked, looking up.
Now it was Raven’s turn to shrug. “How honest do you want me to be?”
“I want the truth.”
“It felt pretty date-like. And Madi’s right, he was pretty squirrelly when we ran into them in the parking lot. I figured it was just, you know, former teacher being awkward about being caught on a date, but if you guys were serious...well, it’d explain a lot.”
“Who was it?”
“His date?” Raven asked. Clarke nodded. “She said her name was Gina.” Raven pulled out her phone. “How much do you want to know about her?”
“Are you really going to cyber stalk her?”
“Don’t you want me to?”
Clarke debated that for awhile. It would hurt to know and it would hurt not to know, but maybe if she could tell herself he was with someone good— someone nice, someone available, someone who wouldn’t hurt him— she could start to move on. “I do,” Clarke said, pushing herself in the swing again.
Raven frowned. “Bellamy Blake, right? He doesn’t seem to have facebook.”
“He’s got it locked down so students can’t find him.”
“Whose would be open? Or at least find-able?”
“Maybe his sister. Octavia Blake.”
“Found her,” Raven said, her brow knitting as she scrolled. “Doesn’t look like there’s a Gina in her friend’s list.”
“Might be a blind date or something,” Clarke said reasonably.
“Who else could we check?”
“Nathan Miller? That’s his best friend.”
Raven chewed on her lower lip and squinted intently at her screen. “Okay, Nathan Miller’s got a Gina Martin in his friends list.” She tapped on something and waited. “They work together, it looks like. Her profile is private but yeah, that’s her,” she said and held her phone out.
Clarke took it with clammy hands. Gina had a bright smile and curly hair and the sort of face you wanted to talk to; confide in. It felt like a punch to the stomach, but then again everything these days felt like that. It was the price she paid for not being with Bellamy, apparently. “She’s cute,” she said and handed it back.
“She’s got an open instagram account,” Raven announced. “She posted a photo of some tomatoes she bought this morning, but no mention of a date.”
Clarke held her hand out for the phone again. She scrolled through Gina’s instagram, searching for clues, but mostly it was photos of her breakfast— she went out to brunch a lot, it seemed— and her dog, a golden retriever named Happy. She had half a dozen goofy selfies with her dog licking her cheek and even more of her dog sleeping, and Clarke smiled sadly. “She seems nice.”
“You don’t know they’re together,” Raven said. “She might just be a friend.”
“If she was just a friend she’d probably be facebook friends with his sister,” Clarke countered confidently. Plus she had heard Bellamy talk about his friends enough that she knew their names by heart, and Gina wasn’t one of them.
“Hey, Raven?” Madi yelled from the back door to the garage. “I think I need your help now.”
Raven looked at Clarke and Clarke tipped her head towards the house. “Go. I’ll be fine. Just don’t burn anything down, okay?”
Raven waved to Madi and waited until she’d disappeared back into the garage before she stood and pulled Clarke into a long, tight hug. “I love you,” Raven whispered fiercely.
Clarke hugged her back. “Thanks,” she said through unshed tears.
Knowing that Bellamy had probably moved on motivated her to try and do the same. Clarke did the usual break up things as she attempted to get over him— cut her hair to her chin, started working out more— but she wasn’t really sure it qualified as a break up if they were never officially together. Sometimes she scrolled through Gina’s instagram, desperately searching for confirmation that they were together. She couldn’t find it, but she knew, deep down, Bellamy had let her go.
One Saturday afternoon found Clarke sitting on the edge of their tub with Madi behind her. “God, hold still,” Madi groused.
“Just that one section,” Clarke reminded her. “I can’t have all my hair bright red. I’m still a doctor, you know.”
“No, you’re a doctor?” Madi teased. Clarke twisted her head to shoot her a dirty look and then rearranged the towel on her shoulders. Madi worked on applying the dye quietly and Clarke examined her toenails, wondering if she should repaint them while the dye set.
“Hey, so...I was talking to Nyko,” Madi started hesitantly. “About what you said last time. Or, I mean, the last time you came.”
A familiar pang ricocheted through her chest. “About me dating?”
Madi fell silent again. “Yeah. About that. Nyko mentioned— well, we talked about it. And he pointed out some...stuff.” She stopped talking and Clarke let her concentrate on what she was doing, clearly building up the courage to say it. “And I think I would be okay with it. Maybe. With some— with some restrictions.”
“Like what?” Clarke asked around the lump in her throat.
“Whoever it is, they can’t move in. Not until it’s been like, years.”
“And I don’t want to meet them. Not for awhile, at least.”
“What do you mean by that?”
“Like, just don’t— I don’t want to meet them on your first date, you know? She— she was always doing that. She’d meet a guy and the next day he was bringing me ice cream and then the next week he was living with us, and then a week after that he’d be gone. Half the time she'd disappear after that too.”
Clarke’s heart always hurt whenever Madi talked about her past. She wanted to build a time machine and zoom back to the past to take her away from everyone who hurt her. But that wasn’t the point of this conversation so she shoved that instinct down. “I can do that. How long—” she stopped and swallowed. “When would you want to meet them? How long do you want me to wait?”
“I don’t know,” Madi said honestly. “But like...you’d know if you were serious, right? Really serious, I mean.”
Bellamy’s face flashed before her eyes. It’s too late for that anyway , she reminded herself . “I would, yeah.”
“Then I think whenever you think it’s time, you know? I trust you on that.”
Clarke stood and Madi squawked in protest, but Clarke drew her into a hug anyway. “I know how hard this is for you,” Clarke whispered in her ear. “Thank you.”
Madi wrapped her arms around Clarke’s back and squeezed. “Sorry I’m so fucked up, Mom,” Madi said quietly.
“Don’t say fuck,” Clarke said, chuckling through her tears. “And you’re not fucked up, okay? You’re brave. And I love you.”
Madi tucked her face into Clarke’s neck. “I love you too, Mom.”
Approximately 400 times over the next month Clarke pulled out her phone to text Bellamy and then changed her mind. It felt unfair somehow, like she would be undoing whatever progress he’d managed to make since she walked out of his apartment that awful August day. She thought about Gina and the fear of finding out he had definitively moved on would convince her to put her phone away.
And then on a Friday night in November she almost ran him over.
“Look out!” Madi screeched and Clarke slammed on the breaks. Bellamy was illuminated by her headlights, frozen like a deer. “Oh shit, Mom, you almost ran over Mr. Blake,” Madi laughed. “I bet he’s coming to see us crush Arkadia.”
“Don’t say shit, ” Clarke sighed, fully knowing she was fighting a losing battle there. Her heart was pounding and not just from the close call. She wasn’t sure he recognized her car and his expression was unreadable as he waved and jogged out of the parking lot towards the gym. But it was him-- there, in the flesh.
God, she missed him.
Clarke steered the car to the curb with a little more care and shifted into park, bringing her mind back around to the task at hand. “So what’s the plan again?” she asked Madi.
“Basketball game, then Adria’s house. I’ll text when I get there and Adria will have me home by 11:30,” Madi recited dutifully. Clarke hated that she was nervous about Adria driving, but she had to face the fact that she was now a mom who doubted her kid’s friend’s abilities behind the wheel. At age 30.
“Okay, have fun. Love you,” Clarke said and Madi climbed out.
She had been planning on spending the night with a glass of wine— just one, in case Adria couldn’t drive Madi back for some reason— and Netflix, but she once she was home she couldn’t focus or relax. She scrolled listlessly through her netflix queue, unable to settle on anything and constantly picking up her phone and setting it back down. She’d managed to convince herself she was okay with letting Bellamy go, that she could just start casually dating like any other single mom. But seeing him had been a shock to the system. It was like falling into an icy lake; like waking up from a dream gasping for air.
She opened her phone and searched her messages for the last text from Bellamy— four months go, asking her to come over— and finished off her wine in one gulp. He might be seeing Gina. He might have moved on entirely. He might hate her. The possibilities were endless, but she had to know. She stared at her phone and steeled herself.
I miss you.
She hit send and then turned her phone over to remind herself not to check it obsessively, but five minutes later she couldn’t help it. She hadn’t heard it go off but maybe she had somehow missed it. Maybe her phone was screwed up. Maybe he was typing now. Maybe— maybe she hadn’t lost him completely.
But she knew even as she swiped it open that it was futile. He hadn’t responded; her text was still hanging there like a pathetic neon light.
Another twenty minutes went by and Clarke was considering getting good and drunk and hoping Adria’s mom would be able to drive Madi home in case of an emergency.
And then there was a knock at the door.
I know, I know, version 2.0.
Chapter 8: Eight
“I miss you too.” The words were out of Bellamy’s mouth the second she opened the door. Clarke stood with her hand on the doorknob, gaping at him. “So I’ll wait, okay? However long I have to, I’ll wait. If that’s what it takes I’ll do it because I’m miserable without you,” he blurted out. He looked around, uncomfortable, and shifted from foot to foot. “ I’m sorry, I thought—”
Her brain finally clicked into gear and Clarke didn’t let him finish his sentence. She took his face in her hands and kissed him, relieved and elated all at once. Bellamy pushed her backwards and kicked her door shut with his heel. Kissing him felt like coming home, like everything was right in the world, like he was the last person she ever wanted to kiss. Her lungs were tight and she felt giddy, almost dizzy with joy. Bellamy tilted his head to deepen the kiss.
“Wait,” she said and pulled back, forcing herself to put some distance between them. “I have to tell you something.”
“Tell me what?” The worry in his voice cut her to the bone.
“No, no, it’s good. I talked to Madi. Well, her therapist did. There’s some restrictions, but she’s okay with it. With me dating, I mean.”
A smile, slow but bright, dawned across his face. “Really?”
“Really. No more sneaking around.” she said with a smirk.
Bellamy grabbed her wrist and tugged her against him. He brushed her hair back with his palm, clumsy and fond. “So what are these restrictions?”
“Nothing major. She doesn’t want you to move in until it’s been a few years and she doesn’t want to meet you until it’s serious.”
“Technically she already knows me,” he said faux-seriously, studying her face like he was committing it to memory. “But I’m fine with not meeting her in this capacity for awhile. And I have a place to live, so not moving in shouldn’t be a problem. Anything else?”
“That’s it,” Clarke replied. “I wanted to tell you earlier, but…”
“Madi told you she saw me with Gina,” Bellamy finished. He kissed her forehead and then sank down on her couch. “We probably have some talking to do, huh?”
“Probably.” Clarke sat down next to him, crossing her legs and facing him. Bellamy smiled at her wine glass on the coffee table and picked it up, helping himself to a sip before he handed it to her. “So...it was a date, wasn’t it?” she asked.
Bellamy looked down at her rug. “It was. I thought— I thought I could move on. Or try to. She’s a friend of Miller’s, and—” he broke off and sighed. He ruffled his hair and Clarke rested her hand on his arm until he looked at her. Bellamy gave her a lopsided smile. “I gave it a shot. But I couldn’t. Kissing her...it wasn’t right. We made it two dates. Madi saw the second.”
Clarke held out her wine to him and bit her lower lip. “I cut my hair. And let Madi do this to it,” she said, pointing to the fading pink patch.
“Looks good,” he said, his smile a little more genuine, but then it faded again. “We did a number on each other, didn’t we?”
“We should have known better,” Clarke agreed. “But I think we were— well, I was— in too deep before I realized that...that I loved you.” She let out a shaky breath that was almost a laugh and stole back her wine, finishing it in one gulp. Clarke hadn’t said that to someone in a long time. She hadn’t even planned on saying it; hadn’t even let herself think it until just now. She couldn’t look at him— wouldn’t— but then his hand was under her chin, lifting it until her gaze was level with his.
Bellamy licked his lips. “Say that again,” he said with wonder in his voice.
“We should have known better,” she teased. Bellamy lifted his eyebrows and she laughed. “I loved you. Love you, actually. Present tense.” He kissed her at that, and it was perfect. There was no hurt, no ticking clock, no burying feelings so deep you almost forgot they existed. Just his lips, open and warm, and hers, seeking each other out with no pretense.
His tongue traced her lower lip but then he broke away. “Wait, when is—”
“Not until 11:30,” Clarke finished. He smiled and then they were kissing again, her hands curling around his face to hold him close. Bellamy pulled her towards his lap but she shook her head. She took his hands and tugged him up. “Upstairs,” she said, and he trailed her up the stairs.
It was the first time Clarke had had someone in this house. She’d purchased it a year after Madi came to live with her and she had stuck to her rule until just now. It felt oddly right to have him here, though. He didn’t feel like an intruder. He felt like he belonged.
Bellamy took in her bedroom while she shut the door but then she cupped his jaw and guided his lips back to hers. She’d missed him so much it was tangible, like a missing limb. But now he was back and she let that settle into her bones. He peeled her clothes off, piece by piece, his movements reverent and unhurried. He dropped his head and kissed her shoulder, skimming up his hands up and down her sides. “God, I missed you so much,” he whispered into her throat.
Clarke tugged his shirt off over his head. “I missed you too,” she whispered back. She dragged her nails lightly across his back, his skin hot to the touch. She took a deep breath and let the scent of him fill her lungs, salty and musky. He carded his fingers through her hair with a soft look in his eyes and she kissed his already-swollen lips. She dropped her hands to his belt and slowly slid it from his waist with a leather and denim hiss.
Clarke knelt. She pulled his jeans down with her and he stepped out of them, watching her with hooded eyes. Clarke sat back on her heels and ran her hands up his calves, his leg hair bristling under her palm. He had on black boxer briefs, his cock outlined as he grew steadily harder. She sat up and kissed his belly, just below his navel, and curled her fingers into his waistband.
His cock sprung free and she licked her lips unconsciously. She kept her eyes on him and curled her hand around his shaft. She watched his eyes flutter shut at her touch. The first touch of her lips to the head of his cock made him groan, and she curled her tongue around the underside.
He slid his fingers into her hair and Clarke encircled him with her mouth. His salt musk was stronger here and she felt herself growing wetter. The thick vein in his cock seemed to pulse as she bobbed her head, taking him deeper with each movement. A litany of curses fell from his lips and Clarke rubbed her thighs together, needing friction, needing more.
“Fuck, this getting you hot?” he growled. Clarke twisted her hand around his cock and he made a strangled noise.
“You would like that, wouldn’t you?” She smirked and licked at the tip of his cock, his eyes blazing down at her. She parted her thighs and brought a finger to her aching clit. Clarke swirled it with a deliberately light touch and stretched her lips over her teeth to take him back into her mouth.
“God, yes,” he muttered and then he became incoherent with want, his hands knotting in her hair and his lips dripping with profanities.
She explored her folds, careful not to key herself up too much, and Bellamy’s cock bumped her soft palate. She pulled back, her tongue trailing in her wake, and then went deep one more time. His cock swelled and Bellamy tugged on her hair, pulling her back up to standing with a needy groan.
Her thighs were slick and Bellamy pushed her back against the bed, falling between her legs and attaching his lips to her center. Clarke brought her hands to her nipples and twisted, sending wave after wave of sensation on direct line to her clit. Pressure built in her belly, coiling thick and hot, and when Bellamy’s eyes snapped to hers she broke. It was almost too much, coming on his tongue after resigning herself to never having him again. Tears pricked the corners of her eyes but they weren’t sad. She was happy; overwhelmed with joy.
Bellamy eased her through it, his licks becoming slower and gentler, and then stood. Clarke was draped halfway across the bed, her boneless legs dangling, and she reached for a pillow. “There hasn’t—” her mouth went dry and she stopped. “There hasn’t been anyone else since you.”
Bellamy met her gaze. “For me either.”
“Then fuck me,” she ordered and moved the pillow to under her hips.
Bellamy caught her meaning and grabbed her thighs, tipping her hips up to meet him. She thought it would be rough, needy, hard; but instead he pressed into her slowly. Almost too slowly. Clarke clutched at his hands, wanting more, but he wouldn’t be rushed.
She watched him and he watched her, his eyes somehow burning and gentle at once. She stretched to welcome him in, her ankles coming to cage his waist, and inch by aching inch Bellamy pushed into her and then pulled out. It was maddening and perfect and gradually he sped up until her tits were bouncing and their skin slapped together, sticky and loud. A bead of sweat tracked down his jaw, sliding down his throat and pooling just above his collarbone.
The ridges of his cock kept bumping against her front walls and Clarke’s vision started to go spotty. He pumped in and out and the friction ignited her veins. He bit his lower lip and Clarke brought her fingers to her clit, needing to come one more time with him inside her. Bellamy’s gaze snapped down to watch her and his hips stuttered. He groaned and his cock swelled and pulsed inside her. Feeling him let go cracked something open deep within her and Clarke came shortly after, her walls clenching down and pulling every last bit of come from him.
Bellamy stopped moving and gently set her legs down. Clarke pulled down the covers, her body sloppy and uncoordinated, and crawled up to the headboard. His come was slipping out, down her thighs, and all she wanted was his skin on hers.
He collapsed next to her and dragged her closer. His limbs had the same clumsy movements as hers but they managed, her head coming to rest against his chest.
Clarke pressed a kiss just above his heart. “I love you, you know.”
He let out a long breath. “God, I never thought I’d hear that from you,” he said. His hand tangled in her hair and she smiled to herself because it felt so right. “And I love you too. Have for a long time, actually.”
Clarke made a contented noise and burrowed into him. “We can’t fall asleep, okay? Madi will be home in…” she lifted her head and glanced at the clock, “...an hour and a half.”
Bellamy groaned and sat up, dislodging her. “Then we can’t do this, because otherwise I’ll never leave,” he said. Clarke kissed his torso, his forearm, whatever skin she could reach, and then curled into the warmth he left behind. She pouted a little as he got dressed but knew he was right— laying like that was a recipe for Madi finding out about this in the worst way possible. Part of her couldn’t bare to have him away from her, but she knew this wasn’t the last time.
They would have more moments like this. As many as they wanted, even.
She pushed herself up and Bellamy handed over her shirt. “So where do we go from here?” he asked.
Clarke decided it wasn’t worth the bother of getting completely redressed and stood, walking over to the dresser to pull out her pajamas. It was just an old thermal shirt and yoga pants, but Bellamy’s eyes dwelt appreciatively on her breasts and she smiled. “Well, I’m not sure telling her about this past year is the best idea quite yet, but I can tell her I’ve met someone.”
“You going to say it’s me?”
“I’ll ask her if she wants to know, but I think I will. If she’s okay with me dating, I think she can handle this. Besides, she liked you.”
“Yeah, liked being the operative word. I’m not too sure how long that will last once she finds out I’m dating her mom.”
“Well, that’s my shit to deal with. But I think it’ll be okay.”
“And when can we go on a date?” he asked and drew her into his arms.
Clarke tucked her head under his chin. “I really want to say tomorrow,” she said wistfully. “But I should probably ease her into this. Next week, maybe?”
His laugh rumbled under her ear. “Next week it is. Where do you want to go?”
“Surprise me. I haven’t been on a date in years. Literally,” she said and tipped her head back so he could kiss her.
“Soon,” he promised, his smile lighting up the room.
“Hurry up,” Madi groused.
“Hey, pictures are important,” Bellamy teased. “And move that way a little, you’re squinting.”
“You know you can take pictures after graduation too, right?” Madi said as she moved out of the direct light. The football stadium stood behind them, rapidly filling up with families and graduates. “I don’t have to turn this thing in until tomorrow.”
“Trust me, you’re not gonna be taking pictures with us once it’s done,” Bellamy said. “You’re going to be taking them with your friends and you’re going to kind of forget we exist. Okay, just a few more with your mom and then I promise I’ll stop.”
“Grandma Abby and Grandpa Marcus aren’t gonna be able to save this many seats alone,” Madi sing-songed.
“They’ll be okay,” Clarke said and put her arm around Madi’s shoulder. Madi was an inch or so taller than her now but sometimes she still saw the fierce little girl she’d been when they first became a family. Part of Clarke missed that little girl, no matter how proud she was of the woman she’d become.
“He was even worse at my graduation,” Octavia said with an eye roll. Octavia and Madi got on like a house on fire and had from the moment they met, usually because they were ganging up on Bellamy. It was terrifying and endearing, to be perfectly honest. “He didn’t trust his phone’s storage yet so he had to take every photo twice, once with his phone and once with his camera. It took forever .”
“Yeah, well, I still got good pictures,” he grumbled. “Okay, there, we’re finished.”
“Finally,” Madi said, pulling off her mortarboard, but she elbowed him with a grin. Bellamy smiled back and mussed her hair. “O, Lincoln is coming, right?” she asked.
“He’s coming straight from the office. Wouldn’t miss it for the world,” Octavia said. “Are we ready? Then let’s go up and get you graduated.” Raven linked arms with Madi and Wells was already ahead a few paces, sweating through his suit in the sun.
Clarke hung back while her family— her family — walked on ahead. Everyone else was waiting for them in the stadium to watch her daughter— her daughter — graduate from high school. Bellamy noticed that she wasn’t with the rest and hovered by the side of the walkway until she reached him. “You okay?” he asked, kissing her temple and draping an arm over her shoulders.
Clarke leaned her head against his chest. She watched Madi walking up ahead, loudly arguing about last night’s UFC fight with Octavia and Raven. She blinked back her tears and smiled. “Yeah. Everything’s perfect.”
Thank you all so much for reading. Your flail-y, sometimes angry comments brought me endless joy and I appreciate each and every one of you.