Clarke knew that, eventually, Madi would have to start going to school, but she didn’t think it would be so soon. But then again, every parent believes that time flies by when it comes to their kids growing up. So, Clarke had accepted the fact that the August after Madi turned four, she would be dropping her daughter off for her first day of Pre-K, but she didn’t realize just how much would go into getting her ready for it. Not that she was alone because Bellamy made it his mission that summer to do anything and everything he could to make sure that Madi was ready for her first day of class.
“A, B, C, D, E, F, G…” Madi’s singsong voice drifts from the first floor of the house and into the bedroom. Clarke smiles and stretches out against the pillow that had been Bellamy’s.
Bellamy’s taken it upon himself to go through the ABC’s every day and bought more toys for her to play with that would help stimulate her brain. He had told Clarke that when he was younger, and his mom was working a lot, he was the one who made sure Octavia did her homework and helped her when she was struggling, so it doesn’t surprise Clarke that he’s doing the same thing with Madi. And he teaches as his career, so Clarke knows Madi is in the best hands she could possibly be in.
Clarke rolls out of bed and throws on Bellamy’s sweatshirt that she had commandeered during Christmas and decided never to give back. She starts down the stairs and lets the sound of her fiancé and daughter’s laughs guide her to the kitchen.
“Mama!” Madi perks up when she catches sight of Clarke.
“Hey, baby!” Clarke walks over to where Madi is sitting on the counter with Bellamy’s arm braced in front of her. “Is that a cookie?” Clarke cocks and eyebrow and looks between Madi and Bellamy, who was about to take a bite out of his own cookie. His eyes are wide, and he smiles as he holds out his for her to take.
“Bellamy, are you trying to spoil our daughter’s breakfast?” Clarke takes the cookie and keeps staring at her fiancé.
He shrugs. “We cleaned up as a surprise, so I told her we deserved a cookie.” Then he turns to Madi. “I think mama’s mad at me.”
Madi giggles, and Clarke can’t help but smile. “Okay, but only if it’s just one cookie. We can have more after you eat.”
“Okay, mama.” Madi nods her head then takes a bite of her cookie, and Clarke does the same.
“Do I get a cookie, mama?” Bellamy looks at Clarke with puppy dog eyes as if he’s not a grown man who can get a cookie no matter what anyone says. But it’s absolutely adorable, and Clarke has to fight back a smile.
“I don’t know…” Clarke takes another bite of her cookie, and Bellamy acts shocked. “Just this once.” Clarke can’t fight her smile anymore, and Bellamy grins, leaning forward to take a bite of her cookie. “Hey, this is mine!”
“Technically, it was mine first, princess.” Bellamy keeps grinning as he moves forward to try and get the cookie.
“But, you gave it to me, so it’s mine now.” Is what Clarke says before stuffing the rest of the cookie into her mouth.
“Here, daddy.” Madi holds out her half-eaten cookie to Bellamy.
“Thank you, baby, but that’s your cookie, you earned it.” Bellamy turns to look at Clarke, propping one of his hands on his hips. “At least someone loves me.”
“Of course I love you, babe,” Clarke smiles as she leans into his chest, “that’s why I’m marrying you.”
“I love you, too.” Bellamy smiles and leans forward, giving her a kiss.
“I love you, too, mama!” Madi smiles and holds her hands out for Clarke to pick her up.
“And I love you, my little munchkin.” Clarke leans over and picks up her daughter. Despite how much Madi’s grown, Clarke has a feeling she’s not going to be ready to stop picking her up. “So, what’s for breakfast?”
The three of them ate breakfast, then Madi made it a point to pull out one of her little workbooks to work on writing her numbers and ABCs. Bellamy pointed out that she probably wouldn’t need to start using the workbook soon, but Madi seemed to want to work in it. So, Clarke sketched, and Bellamy worked on some of his lesson plans for his upcoming classes. When Madi finished her writing, she got up and climbed onto the couch with a children’s mythology book that Octavia had gotten her.
“Daddy, can you read a story?”
“Getting sleepy?” Bellamy puts his papers aside and pushes his glasses further up his nose.
It’s come to a point where Madi would prefer to have a story read to her before she goes to sleep, and if she doesn’t, she doesn’t sleep well. He’s spoiled her already . Clarke smiles at the thought. Spoiled her with mythology stories and tons of books . It’s the best thing ever.
Madi nods her head then climbs onto the couch between them. Bellamy opens to the last story he had read as Madi settles in next to him, and Clarke moves closer, too. Bellamy clears his throat and picks up on a story about Hercules, and Clarke can’t help but smile. Madi may not be his daughter biologically, but there’s no way anyone else would know that she’s more like him than she ever had been with Finn.
When Clarke wakes up, she’s on the couch with Madi wrapped in her arms, and Bellamy is still sitting next to them, but the book is gone, and he’s picked up his papers again. “I fell asleep?”
Bellamy looks over at her and smiles. “Yeah, I think that cookie made you tired.” He teases, and Clarke reaches over to swat at him as she yawns.
“I’m going to miss these naps,” Clarke says it more to herself than anything and reaches down to move some hair out of Madi’s face.
“Then, sleep while you can.”
“What about you?” Clarke turns her blue eyes up to meet his brown ones. “You’ve been busy since you woke up.”
“Trust me, I’m fine right here.” Bellamy leans down and gives Clarke a kiss then kisses Madi’s forehead. “Besides, if I tried laying down on this couch, we’d all fall off.”
Clarke chuckles a little before wrapping her arms around Madi and closing her eyes again. She can feel Bellamy’s arm come down and rest on her side, and she smiles. They still have a little bit longer before Madi’s first day of school, so Clarke just lets herself enjoy it.
Clarke knew that the price of pre-k wasn’t going to be cheap, but it turns out that Bellamy had no idea just exactly how much it would be.
“My mom never said anything.” Was what he said as he stared in disbelief at the paper in front of him. “This is tuition for a semester of college.”
Clarke nodded her head. “But, we got this.” She still had a trust fund that she had been planning on using for Madi’s schooling and, despite her insistence that she could pay for it herself, Bellamy still said he was paying half.
“We’re partners in this.”
Clarke could feel her heart expand as she looked at the man in front of her. His hair was an unruly mess, and his shirt was wrinkled from having slept in it. Clarke had gotten up earlier than usual and checked the mail since they had been waiting on a letter from the pre-k about expenses. Bellamy woke up shortly after, just as Clarke was getting off the phone with her mom about getting a payout from the trust.
“Yes, we are.” Clarke leans forward to give him a kiss, and Bellamy pulls her down onto his lap.
“And to think, we’re also getting married in three months.” Bellamy nuzzles into the space between Clarke’s shoulder and her neck. “You’re going to be Mrs. Blake.”
“And you’ll never get rid of me.” Clarke jokes as she reaches up and runs her fingers through his hair. “I’m afraid you’re stuck with me and Madi.”
“Good.” Bellamy smiles against her neck then kisses it.
The weekend before Madi starts school, everyone gets together at Bellamy’s for a little celebration. Madi’s really excited about beginning Pre-K, and everyone else is excited to be out of college, well, except Raven, who is going to get her Ph.D. in physics and Harper, who is getting her master’s in social work.
“I can’t believe my niece is growing up.” Raven looks to where Madi is and pouts. “I’m coming to live with you and Bellamy so I can be around her again.”
“Like you’d leave Zeke’s.” Clarke teases.
Not long after Bellamy proposed, he asked Clarke and Madi to move in with him. The two of them convinced Miller to stay at Bellamy’s until the wedding, and then Clarke was going to rent her house out to him. Zeke asked Raven to move in with him shortly after that.
“But she’s getting so big!” Raven looks like she might actually start tearing up. Which is really weird coming from her because Clarke is pretty sure she’s never seen Raven cry aside from the day that Madi was born. “It feels like I’m missing out on some major stuff.”
“Rae, you’ve been helping me potty train her whenever we go out. You’re not missing much.” Clarke reaches over and rubs her friend’s back. “But, we can definitely have sleepovers more. I miss being around you, too.”
“Damn right, you do.” Raven smiles. “Do you think Bellamy would notice if I start living in one of the spare bedrooms?”
The two of them laugh, and Clarke pulls Raven in for a hug. Even though they still see each other on a weekly basis, it’s still hard to go from seeing someone every day to less than half that. It’s how Clarke felt with Wells, but she moved halfway across the country then.
Everyone hangs out, and a few of their friends ask Madi if she’s excited for school to which she says, “I go to school with mama, now I go to my school,” with the biggest smile on her face. Clarke has always loved learning, and from what she’s seen, it looks like Madi is the same way.
As the day goes on, Octavia jumps up and says she has to get something out of her car and, much to Clarke and Bellamy’s surprise, returns with school clothes for Madi.
“You told me how you hadn’t had a chance to go get some yourself, so I figured I’d help out.” She says as she hands the clothes off to Clarke.
“So that’s why you asked me what size clothes Madi wore.” Clarke laughs as everything clicks into Bellamy’s mind. “I thought you saw a cute dress or something.”
“Oh, don’t worry, Bell, that too. It’s at the bottom of the stack.” Octavia grins as she sits on the couch’s armrest.
“Mama, I try the dress?” Madi’s big blue eyes peer up at Clarke’s.
“Sure, honey.” Clarke takes the dress from the bottom of the pile. “Let’s—”
“I got her.” Raven gets up and smiles. “Come on, pipsqueak.”
“How does it feel to know that she’s starting school in a few days?” Zeke asks as he leans against fire mantle. “Because I can’t believe it.”
“Yeah, it’s...it’s weird.” Clarke can feel a lump form in her throat, and Bellamy’s arm goes around her shoulders.
“It’s okay.” He murmurs into her hair then kisses her temple. “We’ll drop her off and be the first people there to pick her up.”
Clarke looks up at him and can see that his eyes are shining. It makes her wonder if it was like this for her parents, even if Clarke was fine with going to school since she was walking in with Wells.
“I don’t think I’ll be ready for August to start school.” Octavia looks at her son, who is busy with some plastic blocks. “Madi grew so fast.”
“Tell me about it.” Clarke and Bellamy say it at the same time, and Clarke giggles.
“We got this, don't we?” Clarke asks, and Bellamy nods.
“Damn right, we do.”
“Bell!” Octavia swats at her brother. “Be careful! August is like a parrot now.”
“Sorry, O.” Bellamy smiles, and Clarke looks at August, who’s studiously building a block tower to the sky.
When the day finally comes to bring Madi to school, Clarke feels like she’s going to start crying at any minute, but with Madi being so excited, she also feels excited. It’s really weird. Bellamy seems to be going through the same thing with how he’ll laugh and joke around one minute then look at Madi, and pout as if he’s about to start crying, too. How do parents do this?
Madi skips happily to the car and gets annoyed when her parents aren’t right behind her. “Mama! Daddy!” She runs up and grabs her parent’s hands, pulling them towards the car.
On the way to the school, they sing the ABC’s and count numbers, and whenever they’re not doing that, Madi is just chatting away happily in her car seat. Again, it’s a weird feeling.
Bellamy parks the car, and before either of them can get to the back door, Madi is already pushing it open and trying to climb out of Bellamy’s big truck.
“Hold on there, Sonic, you’re going to hurt yourself.” Bellamy lifts Madi up and sets her on the ground while Clarke grabs her backpack. “Are you excited?”
Madi nods her head enthusiastically, and Clarke’s heart constricts. I promised myself I wasn’t going to cry. “Well, let’s go find your class, munchkin!”
Before they even step into the building, Bellamy already has to wipe a few stray tears from his face, and Clarke can feel hers threatening to start, too. When they find Madi’s class, she wiggles out of Bellamy’s arms and begins looking for her name on the little tables, and Clarke loves how happy she seems.
“It’s nice to see the two of you again.” Madi’s teacher, Mrs. Stevenson, migrates towards them and shakes their hand. “Madi seems excited.”
“Yeah, she’s really excited. She loves learning.” Clarke’s voice is rough as she speaks, and Mrs. Stevenson’s eyes soften.
“I know how hard it is for parents to let their children go, but I promise that things are going to be perfect.
“I don’t doubt that.” Bellamy smiles and, despite the redness of his eyes, Clarke knows that he’s excited for Madi to start school because he really wants to help her learn.
“Feel free to stick around and meet some of the other parents, but the class will begin in about fifteen minutes.”
“Alright, thank you.” Clarke and Bellamy both nod, and as Mrs. Stevenson moves to welcome another child and their parents, Madi runs up to them.
“Mama, Daddy!” Clarke and Bellamy kneel in front of Madi, and she smiles. “You can go home. I okay.”
“You sure, sweetie?” Clarke reaches out and straightens her daughter’s bow.
“Yeah.” Madi bites her lower lip as she nods her head, and Clarke can feel the lump in her throat, threatening to push its way to the top. Madi looks between her parents, and Clarke sees her eyes begin to shine as Madi leans forward and wraps her little arms around her and Bellamy. “I love you.”
“We love you, too, baby.” When they pull apart, Clarke lets her tears fall a little, and so does Bellamy.
“And we’ll be back soon to pick you up, okay?” Bellamy chokes out, and Madi nods.
“Madi!” A little blonde girl named Charlotte calls over to her, and Madi smiles.
With one last kiss to Clarke and Bellamy’s cheeks, Madi runs over to the other girl. They met the day they had to do the placement test, and Clarke is happy to see that it looks like Madi already has a friend. Bellamy grabs Clarke’s hand as they walk out of the classroom, and Clarke finally lets herself cry. Of course, there are other parents around that are going through the same thing, but Clarke feels like she’s being affected more than others. Except, when she looks at Bellamy, he’s crying harder than she is.
When the two of them reach the truck, Bellamy opens Clarke’s door before sliding into the driver’s seat, but instead of leaving, they sit in the parking lot with the truck idling. Clarke grabs some napkins out of the glove box and hands a couple to Bellamy, who is steadily crying, too.
“Fuck, is it always this hard for parents?” He mumbles as he wipes off his face. “How can people do this?”
“I think they just have to realize that it’s a part of their kid getting older.” Clarke whispers then blows her nose. “God, I knew this day would be hard but not this hard.”
“Hey,” Bellamy reaches across the console and grabs her hand, squeezing it lightly, “we got her into class and waited until we were in the truck to really cry. I think we did a pretty good job.”
Clarke lets out a wet laugh and nods her head. “Yeah, I guess you’re right.”
“Want to go get some ice cream before we head to campus?”
“Yeah,” Clarke smiles a little, “ice cream sounds good.”
For the rest of the day, Clarke can’t stop thinking about Madi growing up, which leads to more than one tearful calls to Bellamy between their classes. She thinks about watching Madi take her first steps, her first word, all of their days playing outside, and of course, everything the two of them have experienced with Bellamy in the past year and a half.
“What if she doesn’t want to go to the park anymore?” Clarke sniffles and ignores people’s stares as she walks through the quad towards her next class. “What if us going this past Saturday was the last time?”
“Baby, she’s still four. I’m sure she’s going to want to go to the park a lot more.”
Clarke nods her head and pushes open the door to the art building. “Yeah, you’re right.” She wipes away some of her tears. “I gotta go, I’m about to be in class, but I’ll come to your office afterward so we can get something to eat.”
“Alright, I love you. And have fun in class.”
“I love you, too, Bellamy.”
When Clarke entered Bellamy’s office after class, she found him at his computer with tears slipping down his cheeks. He smiled at her, and she wrapped him in a hug, both of them taking a few minutes before heading to get some food. Now, they’re waiting in the pick-up line for the elementary school, and Clarke is pretty sure she’s vibrating in her seat with how excited she is to see Madi again.
“Think it’d be weird if we waited outside the truck?” Bellamy asks, and Clarke smiles at his nervous facial expression and rapidly bouncing knee.
“Who cares?” Clarke smiles as she jumps out of the truck, and Bellamy does the same.
Madi comes out with her class, and as soon as she catches sight of her parents, she beams. “Mama! Daddy!” She throws herself into their arms and giggles. “I had fun.”
“Good, Mads.” Bellamy smiles and plants a kiss to his daughter’s cheek. “Let’s go home, and you can tell us all about what you did.”
Madi talks the entire way back to the house and doesn’t stop until she gets put to bed. She tells them about Charlotte, and how she likes Mrs. Stevenson, and how they got to take a nap, and they sang songs. Really, it makes Clarke’s heart melt at how happy her daughter seems, only she has to remind herself that she has to go back tomorrow.
When Clarke dropped Madi off at daycare the first day she had been sad, but then it was only two days a week and only for a couple of hours. Now, it’s every day and over five hours. But, Bellamy had been right, Madi still their little girl, and it’ll get easier.
“How are you doing?” Bellamy asks as he rubs his hand up and down her back. They decided to turn in right after Madi, and Clarke is pretty sure all of the crying she’s done has worn her out.
“I’m okay.” Clarke gives him a small smile. “How about you?”
“Well, I’m pretty sure I’m dehydrated, but overall I think I’m okay.” Bellamy smiles, too, but Clarke can see his eyes beginning to shine. “I didn’t think it would be this hard. I don’t know how you could bring her to daycare.”
“I was thinking the same thing.” Clarke laughs lightly. “But I think it’ll get easier.”
“I don’t know if I want it to.” Bellamy whispers, and Clarke nods as she moves closer to him. “I mean, I don’t want to cry this much again, but—”
“But it feels like that if this gets easier, then it seems as if we’re okay with her getting older?”
“Yeah, exactly.” Bellamy sighs then places a kiss to the top of Clarke’s head. “But we’re not, are we?”
“Definitely not.” Clarke laughs, and Bellamy wraps both of his arms around her.
“But, we got this.”
“Yeah,” Clarke pulls back and smiles at him. “We definitely do.”
Clarke knows that she’s still going to miss Madi the next day when they drop her off again, but she also knows that she and Bellamy are always going to make the most out of the time they have with their daughter. Seeing Bellamy get so emotional today also just solidified the fact that Clarke has found the most amazing guy she could ever ask for. It’s not going to be easy, but with him by her side she knows it’s going to be okay. Not to mention that she’s about to be his wife, and that helps her smile as she falls asleep.