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Will You Tie My Shoe?

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Bellamy only had another hour before Miller showed up to relieve him from his post. Well, post wasn’t quite the right word. But it sounded more legit than the place he stood in the corner of the gymnasium right next to the bouncy house.

For the third year in a row, Officer Bellamy Blake had drawn the short straw and spent his entire Friday night on duty at Arkadian Elementary School’s First Week Kick-Off Party. He was surrounded by children who had way too much sugar in their system and their extremely exhausted yet enthusiastic parents. It wasn’t that he hated the event. In fact, it was quite adorable. It’s more that he preferred his Friday nights free so he could attend Octavia’s weekly family dinners, that had grown to include his entire friend group.

His night had been relatively boring, since nothing particularly noteworthy ever happens at these things. His presence is just a precaution, especially with so many children running around. Then, he felt a tug at his sleeve. He glanced down, seeing a young girl with big brown eyes looking up at him.

“Are you a police man?” she asked curiously, and Bellamy couldn’t help but smile.

“Why yes, I am,” he replied, and she furrowed her brows, looking down at her feet for a second.

“My mom says that you’re supposed to help people. Can you help me?” she asked, and Bellamy raised an eyebrow. He had never had a small child just run up to him and say they needed help before, and he was terrified about what could possibly be wrong. He felt himself scanning the room again, nervous that he had missed something.

“Of course. What’s wrong?” he asked, looking back at her. But she didn’t look scared… just frustrated.

“Will you tie my shoe?” she asked, and Bellamy let out a sigh of relief. He chuckled slightly as he kneeled down, and she stuck her shoe out toward him, hopping slightly since she was off balance. He could see where she tried to tie it herself, resulting in a messy knot.

“What’s your name?” he asked, as he finished undoing her knot.

“Madi. This year, I’m in the dolphin class,” she announced proudly, and Bellamy wasn’t even sure what that was supposed to mean. He had seen something about it in the hallways earlier, assumed it was some kind of way of grouping the kids in each grade.

“And there you go,” Bellamy said with a smile, gesturing to her perfectly tied shoe.

“Madi!” he heard someone shout as he stood up. He glanced over his shoulder, seeing a short blonde woman jog up to them. “You were supposed to stay with Wells,” she said with furrowed eyebrows, before looking up at Bellamy with a concerned look on her face. She looked almost too young to be this girl’s mom, but had the worried look in her eyes that screamed mom.

“He was busy talking to Raven, and I needed someone to tie my shoe,” Madi shrugged, and the woman immediately started chuckling. She looked back at Bellamy with a small grin.

“Well, thank you for tying her shoe,” she said with a bright smile, and Bellamy couldn’t help but smile back.

“It’s my job,” he managed to choke out, a bit flustered by the sweet way she was looking at him. The woman looked back at Madi. Her hair was cut pretty short, a bit wavy. Her eyes were bright blue, and Bellamy couldn’t help but think that these two girls don’t really look like they’re related.

“Wait, what is your name?” Madi asked, tugging on his sleeve again, and he couldn’t help but noticed the embarrassed blush on her mother’s cheeks as she shot him an apologetic look. Little did she know that this was the most adorable thing to happen to him while he was on duty. “I need to know in case I need help again.”

“I’m Officer Blake,” he replied, and Madi immediately skipped off. Her mother gave him a small courtesy wave before jogging after her. His eyes followed them as they headed over to the face painting booth. Madi practically tackled another woman who had dark brown hair thrown up into a ponytail. Her mother went up to the guy standing by them, crossing her arms and raising an eyebrow at him. Bellamy could only assume that was the Wells guy that was supposed to be watching after Madi. They exchanged a few words, and the blonde picked up one of the face paint brushes and started poking dots on his face as he tried to run away.

He couldn’t help but laugh at the exchange, how playful the four of them seemed. It seemed like Madi’s mom was supposed to be working the booth, but no one was actually there at the moment. A few minutes later, Madi turned around and waved at Bellamy, clearly telling the story to her mom’s friends. He waved back with a smile, but noticed how the other woman with them raised an eyebrow at him before turning around to say something to the blonde… who immediately buried her face in her hands.

“Okay, out of ten, how bad is it this year?” he heard Miller ask, and Bellamy jumped in response. “Woah, was I interrupting something?”

“No,” Bellamy shrugged it off, and Miller looked out into the gymnasium with furrowed brows. “Uh, it’s not that bad. The only rough part is when a kid shows up to the karaoke booth. If I have to hear Let It Go one more time…”

Miller wasn’t listening, but was instead staring at something intensely. “It’s the blonde, isn’t it?” he asked, and Bellamy shook his head quickly. “I don’t see a ring on her finger,” Miller smirked, turning back to look at Bellamy, and Bellamy’s eyes immediately jumped to the face painting booth. Miller was right. The blonde wasn’t wearing a wedding ring.

“I don’t even know her name,” Bellamy argued, and Miller let out a huff. He watched the booth closely though, giving the blonde another glance. She was pretty, he had to admit. And he had a well-documented… thing…. for girls who were good with kids, which she clearly was. In fact, he had seen enough kids run up to the booths and seen how sweetly she handled all of them. “Uh, anyway, nothing to really look out for. I’m gonna go,” Bellamy said before walking out of the gym, a little flustered by everything that just happened.

 

Two weeks later, Bellamy was filling out an incident report when Murphy slammed something down on his desk.

“Hello to you too,” Bellamy mumbled, not even looking over at whatever it is.

“One of your fans made this for you,” Murphy said, and Bellamy was intrigued, so he looked over at his desk, seeing a paper card with five different colors of crayon scribbled onto it. He couldn’t help but grin, wondering how old the kid who made this was. He loved it when kids would send drawings to the local precinct, often decorating his desk with them.

“How was career day?” Miller asked from the desk behind Bellamy.

“Pretty usual until a girl named Madi asked me if I knew Officer Blake,” Murphy said, and Bellamy immediately recognized the name. It was hard to forget the cutest thing that ever happened to him while on duty. “Told her that he happened to be my best friend.”

“What the hell?” Miller shouted, and Bellamy waved him off to shut him up. He needed to hear the rest of the story.

“Jealous, Miller?” Murphy teased, and Bellamy let out a huff, which Murphy smirked at. “Anyway, she made me wait so she could make you this.” Bellamy opened the card, seeing two stick people drawn next to a house that was somehow smaller than the two people. Then, Murphy tapped his finger on one of them. “She wanted me to ask if you remembered her mom.”

Bellamy’s face immediately blushed, because he did indeed remember her mom. “Oh my God, that’s her,” Miller said, and Bellamy jumped, not realizing that Miller had crept up on him and was leaning over to look at the drawing. “Murphy, that’s the girl that Bellamy couldn’t stop staring at.”

“Well, she’s certainly a looker. Got two fingers on each hand, massive blue dots for eyes, and is taller than her house,” Murphy teased, and Bellamy buried his face in his hands.

“Exactly Bellamy’s type,” Echo shouted from across the room, and Bellamy shot her a warning look. He wasn’t about to let today turn into another one of those days where everyone roasted Bellamy. It wasn’t like he never dated. He was just kind of waiting for the timing to feel right.

“For all we know, she just lives in a very tiny house. She may not even be that tall,” Murphy smirked, and Bellamy threw his head back.

“Okay, is there anything else to this story or are all of you just going to keep teasing me?” Bellamy huffed.

“Oh, right. Sorry, got sidetracked. So apparently her mom works at the school as an art teacher,” Murphy explained, and Bellamy cocked his head to the side. He figured it made sense that an art teacher would be in charge of face painting. “Her name is Miss Griffin, and I looked her up. Her first name is Clarke.”

“Finally, a name that we can tease him with,” Miller teased, and Bellamy smacked him on the arm.

“Madi overheard her mom arguing with her friend Raven, who seemed to think that she liked you and was mad at her for not talking to you. And Madi told me this whole story so that I could tell you that her mom likes you,” Murphy smirked, before reaching over to mess with Bellamy’s hair.

“Who knew Bellamy still had game?” Miller snorted.

“I said like two words to the woman,” Bellamy huffed, but he couldn’t help the smile that was forming on his face. She was really pretty, and her kid was so cute… and the fact that Madi remembered him and went to this effort… well, it felt like a sign.

“Aww, he likes her too,” Murphy grinned, looking at Miller who was laughing his ass off.

“Never said that,” Bellamy pointed out, even though he very well might.

“Come on, look at those uneven blue eyes and lack of a mouth,” Miller said, holding up Madi’s drawing. “Her head is bigger than the entire rest of her body. Look me in the eyes and tell me this isn’t the girl of your dreams.”

“Both of you, get back to work,” Bellamy said, pulling the drawing out of Miller’s hands.

 

He tried to play it cool when Kane announced he needed some officers to volunteer to work the fair. But that didn’t stop Miller and Murphy from teasing him mercilessly. Everyone knew it was just an excuse for Bellamy to be back at the school to accidentally run into Madi’s mom, Clarke Griffin. Of course, Miller and Murphy volunteered as well… if only to give him shit if he completely fumbled this opportunity.

He made sure to stay as far away from them as possible, though. The last thing he needed was the two of them making him more nervous. Honestly, there was no reason to be nervous. All he had to do was find an excuse to talk to her, see if there was any sort of connection there, and act accordingly. For all he knew, there was nothing there. This shouldn’t be a big deal.

When he finally spotted Clarke, she and Madi were playing one of the fair games. He watched Madi strike out a few times at knocking down the bottles, before Clarke got them all down, earning a prize. Madi picked out a tiara that was a little bit too big for her small head. He bit his lip to keep from laughing as Madi tugged Clarke from booth to booth, watching the tiara constantly slip off her head until Madi finally made her mom wear it.

Bellamy had really thought that Madi wouldn’t recognize him. After all, she’s pretty young and it had been weeks since he tied her shoe. But when she spotted him, her entire face lit up. Bellamy suddenly felt nervous as Madi started tugging on her mom’s hand. Clarke also recognized him, her cheeks flushed as Madi skipped on over to him. Clarke was still wearing the plastic tiara, looking like a princess.

“Officer Blake! I learned how to tie my own shoes!” Madi said excitedly, kicking her leg out to show her perfectly tied sneaker.

“That’s great. I’m proud of you,” Bellamy replied, grinning at her excitement. She really was a cute kid. His eyes flickered up to Clarke’s, seeing an embarrassed expression on her face. “Nice to see you again,” he stuttered out, wondering why he hadn’t come up with something smoother to say. It wasn’t like he wasn’t planning on talking to her… he should have prepared better.

“Nice to see you too. Madi has talked about you a lot,” Clarke said with raised eyebrows, and Bellamy bit his lip.

“Hey, Madi!” he heard someone say, and his head turned, seeing the same woman that was with them last time he saw them. “Want to do the cake walk with me?” she asked, before wiggling her eyebrows at Clarke.

“Can I?” Madi asked, glancing up at Clarke who just nodded, before narrowing her eyes at her friend.

Once Madi took off with Clarke’s friend, Bellamy opened his mouth to speak, but he had no idea what to say.

“So,” Clarke said, looking up at Bellamy with a curious expression on her face.

“So,” Bellamy mirrored, kicking himself for not thinking this far ahead. They both stood there awkwardly for a few moments, the only sounds coming from the children and parents running around in the school’s parking lot.

“Okay, I have something to tell you and it’s kind of weird,” Clarke said hesitantly, and Bellamy cocked his head in confusion. “So Madi has been in this phase where she really doesn’t like that I don’t date. After you helped her with her shoe, she wouldn’t shut up about you. So, I kinda promised that if I ever ran into you again, I would at least talk to you,” Clarke explained, and Bellamy burst out laughing. He covered his mouth quickly, but he still couldn’t stop chuckling.

He should have known that if Madi went to such great lengths to tell Bellamy that her mom liked him that she would probably be just as bad with her own mother.

“I know, it’s silly. And I never thought I’d actually see you again, or that Madi would recognize you. She’s also convinced that she is some kind of matchmaker because she set my friends Raven and Wells up,” she rambled, looking at him with an embarrassed expression on his face.

“Is your daughter some kind of matchmaker?” he teased, and Clarke bit her lip, chuckling slightly. He liked the way her smile kept escaping even though she was trying to play it cool.

“Well, unless you fall madly in love with me, she only has a 50% success rate,” she joked, and Bellamy threw his head back in laughter. It wasn’t enough that she was pretty and sweet… but she was funny too.

“Did Madi tell you about the drawing she made me?” he asked with a smirk, and Clarke’s eyes widened before she covered her mouth. She shook her head, looking at him nervously. His smile grew at her nervousness, probably terrified about what Madi could have possibly given him. “She gave a drawing to one of my fellow officers, asking him to give it to me. She’s a good artist. I immediately recognized you,” he teased, and Clarke threw her head back, her nose scrunching up adorably.

“Please tell me that’s all that happened,” she pleaded, and Bellamy shook his head, laughing at the situation.

“Nope. She told Murphy that she thought you liked me,” he teased, and she bit her lip, her eyes immediately searching for her daughter.

“It’s not, uh, well,” Clarke stumbled, and Bellamy loved how red her cheeks got as she tried to talk her way out of this. “You know how kids are. They just, uh—”

“It’s fine,” Bellamy said, and her blue eyes flickered up to his. “I thought it was adorable. The drawing is sitting on my desk at work.”

She let out a relieved sigh. “She literally told me that if we fell in love that I’d never have to tie my own shoes again,” she giggled, and Bellamy’s head ducked slightly as he smiled at that.

“If only I had known that’s what women looked for in a man,” he teased, and Clarke bit her lip, looking up at him warmly. “Uh, I’m Bellamy, by the way,” he said, remembering that he hadn’t really introduced himself to her.

“Clarke,” she replied. “So, anyway, thanks for being a good sport about all this,” Clarke said, slightly flustered as she glanced back down at the ground. “I’ll let you get back to work.”

“It’s okay. I get kind of bored at these things, and I like talking to you,” he replied, and she blinked a few times, her eyes narrowing slightly at him. He held his breath, waiting for her response. Maybe he was reading this wrong, maybe she really was just a mom humoring her daughter… in which case, she’d take off.

“Well, I guess I can keep you company,” Clarke shrugged, clearly trying to be all nonchalant. Bellamy had to bite his lip to keep from smiling like an idiot.

 

Her friend Raven very conveniently offered to watch Madi for the night… right before the fair ended. Once Raven and Madi were out of earshot, Bellamy managed to stutter out that he was free for dinner if she wanted to join him. He wasn’t sure why he was so nervous. After all, she had stood there and talked to him for more than an hour, flirting right back with him.

Over dinner, he learned all about how she became an art teacher. How her mom pushed her to be a doctor but she had always been passionate about art. She had a few pieces that got picked up in some smaller galleries in town, but doubted she’d ever make enough to support herself on her work alone… which is how she got into teaching.

In exchange, Bellamy told her all about becoming a police officer. His friend Miller’s dad was the closest thing Bellamy had to a dad, and he had always admired what a dedicated officer he was. So, for as long as Bellamy could remember, he wanted to be a police officer.

She told him how she came to adopt Madi, how she never really thought of herself as someone who wanted to be a mom, but with Madi she just knew. She talked about her daughter with so much love, bragging about how good she was at math for her age and speaking about her with nothing but tenderness in her eyes.

Bellamy, in turn, told her all about Octavia. How he had basically raised her once things started getting worse at home, how he was still extremely close with her. He talked about her husband Lincoln and how they just had their first baby, and let it slip that he was extremely jealous of their happy little family.

As he walked her to her car, Clarke confessed that she doesn’t normally date. She hadn’t had a lot of luck in past relationships when it came to finding someone that would love Madi as much as she did.

Then, he confessed that he had volunteered to take the shift at the fair tonight, in hopes of running into her again. He wasn’t sure why he let that slip, certain that Clarke would be uncomfortable with such a confession.

When she smiled at him, he let out a breath he hadn’t realized he had been holding. He didn’t have a lot of time to wrap his head around what that smile meant before she stood up on her tiptoes to kiss him. His lips were frozen as she started to pull away, but his lips missed hers immediately. He crashed his lips back into hers, this time not surprised by the intimacy. His hand cupped her face, his thumb tracing up and down her cheek. Her arms wrapped around his neck. This girl was so warm and soft in his arms, and her lips made his feel like they were on fire.

When he pulled away to catch his breath, Clarke’s eyes widened as she gazed into his. He hadn’t stepped back, and her arms were still around his neck.

“Okay, maybe Madi should be a matchmaker,” Clarke finally joked, and all Bellamy could do was nod. This girl rendered him speechless.

 

When he and Clarke eventually moved in together, the first thing he did was frame the drawing Madi made for him and hung it up in their room.

“I’m better at drawing now,” Madi huffed, hopping up on the bed.

“I know. You’re as talented as your mom,” Bellamy said, smirking over at Clarke, who couldn’t help but do that adorable, embarrassed grin that only showed up when he complimented her. “But this is always going to be my favorite drawing of all time,” he explained, smiling back at it. After all, without this drawing, he probably wouldn’t have gone back to that school to “accidentally” run into Clarke… and they never would have fallen in love.

“Nope. I think I have one you’re going to like even more,” Madi decided, before jumping off the bed and running into the hallway.

He threw his head back with a grin, and Clarke stepped up to him, wrapping her arms around his waist before resting her head on his chest. “What do you think this drawing is going to be?” he asked, and Clarke giggled, looking up at him with a teasing look in her eye.

“Maybe it’s another drawing of Abraham Lincoln. She practiced drawing him a lot when you told her that he was your favorite president,” Clarke reminded him, and he grinned at the memory before pressing a kiss to her forehead. He still had a few of those top hat heavy drawings up on his desk at work, although it was starting to get cluttered with all the other drawings along with the pictures of the three of them.

“Here we go,” Madi shouted, jogging in while waving another piece of paper at him. Clarke broke away, before moving to grab another one of his boxes. He took the paper from Madi’s hands, looking over it closely. It was similar to the one he hung up, but this one had three people instead of two. He glanced up at Madi, seeing her grinning excitedly at him.

“Who is this?” Bellamy asked, even though he had a pretty good idea of who it was.

“You. And that’s me, and that’s Mom. It’s our first family picture,” she explained with a shrug, and Bellamy glanced up at Clarke, feeling the tears forming in his eyes.

Our first family picture. He really loved the sound of that.