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You Are The Best Thing About This Place

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Clarke is kind of pissed. Well, she’s actually a lot pissed, but she’s pretending to only be kind of pissed because she probably doesn’t have all that much reason to be pissed, according to everyone she’s complained to. It’s alright for them. They didn’t get stuck in the stupid ensemble when they really should have been playing Nancy. Clarke has been in this theatre group for years, and they think they can just throw her in the chorus and she’ll be happy? Not likely. Also, she suspects the reason the director picked Octavia over her to play Nancy is because Octavia is thinner and that just pisses Clarke off even more.

And, okay, to be fair, Octavia is very talented. And Clarke got to play the lead in The Wedding Singer last year. But at least Octavia got to play the slutty cousin, which in Clarke’s opinion is just as good. But no, for Akardia Amateur Theatre Group’s production of Oliver, Clarke doesn’t even get to play the friend. She just gets stuck in the ensemble, with a tiny solo where she sings about selling fucking roses at two blooms a penny and she really doesn’t think it’s fair at all.

So, she really can’t help the sour expression on her face whenever the director, Cage Wallace, gives any kind of direction. Which, given that he’s the director, is most of the time.

“Your face looks like a cat’s butt.”

“Excuse me?” Clarke turns to see the new guy standing next to her, even though she’s pretty sure he’s supposed to be on the other side of the stage. She only knows this because she makes it her business to know where everyone on stage is supposed to be, not because she thinks he’s hot and has made particular note of him.

“Your mouth is all screwed up and you keep shooting daggers at Cage with your eyes,” the guy tells her.

“What’s it to you?” Clarke shrugs.

“Well, it’s not very in character is it? This is supposed to be a fun and happy song. Can’t have the bar patrons looking like they’re about to go on a murderous rampage,” he grins. He does have a really nice smile, and Clarke thinks he probably could be quite charming, had he not just told her that her face looks like a cat’s butt.

“Can you please stop talking while I’m directing?” Cage huffs, interrupting his own conversation with Octavia.

“Sorry, sir,” the new guy says, still grinning. Clarke just glares even harder. He turns back to Clarke. “So, did he cheat on you? Sleep with your mother? Kill your firstborn?”

“He made me doubt myself,” Clarke admits. “He put me in this shitty ensemble when I know… well I thought I knew, that I’m good enough to play the lead. I’m better than Octavia. At least, I thought I was.”

“Yeah, you are,” the new guy agrees.

“How would you even know?” Clarke huffs.

“I come to watch my sister in all the shows,” he says. “This is the first time she’s beaten you out for a lead role.” It only takes Clarke a second to register what he’s said, and her jaw drops, her eyes almost bulging out of her head.

“Oh, shit,” she swears. “I didn’t mean… Octavia’s great,” she says lamely. Octavia’s brother just chuckles.

“But you are better,” he winks. “I’m Bellamy, by the way.”

“Clarke.”

“I know.”

“Oh.”

“You’re practically famous,” Bellamy jokes. “Octavia told me that if I need help with anything theatre related I should ask you.”

“So did you have a question?”

“Yeah. When do we get to wear costumes?” Clarke rolls her eyes at him as Cage yells at them again.

“Stop being so unprofessional!” Cage snaps. “And aren’t you supposed to be on the other side of the stage?”

“Nope, you told me to be here,” Bellamy lies. “You must be thinking of Murphy,” Bellamy pushes Murphy over to the other side of the stage and Clarke can’t hold back the tiny smirk that tickles her lips.

-

“What are you doing?” Clarke hisses to Bellamy, trying not to alert Cage that she’s talking on stage again. She’s been told off by him for not taking the show seriously enough more times than she can count, but she can’t bring herself to care all that much. Which just shows how much she hates him, because Clarke has never not cared about a show before.

She can’t help it anyway, Bellamy is the one who talks to her first, and she has to talk back, and then it’s not her fault if he says something funny and she has to laugh. And honestly, maybe she’d tell him to shut up more often if he wasn’t the only thing that actually kept her coming back to rehearsals instead of quitting, like she’d wanted to do when she found out she was only a chorus member. He’s the only thing that actually makes it fun.

“I’m singing,” Bellamy whispers back, answering her question.

“Do you have to be that close?” she huffs.

“I’m trying to hear you. I don’t know what harmony I’m supposed to be singing,” Bellamy claims.

“We’re not even singing the same harmony,” Clarke reminds him. “And I swear to god if you’re doing it wrong on purpose I will murder you. You’re throwing me off.”

“It’s not my fault you’re distracted by my roguish good looks and masculine scent.”

“I wasn’t aware masculinity smelt like dirty old socks.”

“Masculinity comes in three different scents, dirty old socks is just one of them. The other two are –,”

“Shh, we’re supposed to be singing!” Clarke hushes him, but she’s smiling genuinely, glad it isn’t a sad song because she doubts she’d be able to keep the smile off her face even if she tried.

-

Clarke doesn’t spend any time with Bellamy outside rehearsals, except for when the cast goes out for drinks afterwards, but she comes to think of him as one of her best friends anyway. He’s pretty much the reason she looks forward to going to rehearsals, and when she’s there she kind of forgets she’s even friends with anyone else in the cast. Which she is, of course, despite her seething jealously at Octavia in the first couple of weeks of rehearsals. But she’s known Octavia a long time, they’ve been doing musicals together since they were both teenagers, and even though they aren’t exactly friends outside the theatre, she likes her well enough. And she loves most of the other cast members, like Raven, who’s only been involved with AATG for a couples of years, but she has a great voice and could probably also play a lead. And Miller, who only accepts roles if he gets to play the villain, because he says they’re more complex. Clarke just thinks he just likes villains because they usually have to dance less. Jasper and Monty are relatively untalented, but they’re enthusiastic and they’re always down to go out for a drink after rehearsals, even on a Tuesday night.

So, it’s really only Cage that Clarke hates, but since everyone else seems to like him, or at least tolerate him, Bellamy’s snarky remarks about the director are the only solace.

But she’s surprised to find out that everyone seems to think there’s something other than friendship going on between them. Or at least, that she wants there to be something other than friendship going on between them. And, yeah, he’s really hot. It was the first thing she noticed about him. But she doesn’t want to date him. Raven seems to disagree.

“So are you waiting for closing night to make your move or are you just being dumb?” Raven asks one night, a few weeks before opening night while they’re out at the bar after rehearsals.

“Sorry?” Clarke says, accepting her drink from the bartender. “I didn’t realise you were waiting for me to make a move. I don’t really feel that way about you. I mean, you’re hot, don’t get me wrong, but -.”

“I meant with Bellamy, idiot,” Raven snorts.

“Bellamy?”

“Obviously.”

“Obviously?”

“Is it not obvious?”

“Is what not?”

“How into each other you are.”

“I’m not into him,” Clarke scoffs. “Unless of course you mean into him as a friend. Because in that case, yes I am.”

“On what planet is into him as a friend a thing?”

“Look, I’m not claiming to be an expert on what goes on in your head,” Clarke shrugs.

“That was your head, not mine,” Raven points out. “Are you seriously saying you’re not into him?”

“That’s what I’m saying.”

“Just wait until closing night when you’ve had fifteen tequila shots and we’re all half naked in the pool,” Raven winks.

“You mean dead in the pool because we’ve all drowned after downing fifteen tequila shots then tried to swim.”

“I’m just saying, drunk Clarke knows Clarke better than sober Clarke does.”

“And the pool thing?”

“There’s something about pools in the middle of the night that makes people want to make out. Especially if you’ve conveniently forgotten to bring a swimsuit and have to go in in your slightly see through underwear.”

“Your imagination never ceases to amaze me.”

“Imagination? I’m speaking from experience.”

-

As it turns out, Raven isn’t the only one who thinks there might be something going on between Clarke and Bellamy, as Clarke is approached by another ensemble member, Gina, who is also playing the milk seller in Who Will Buy?

“Hey,” Gina says, sitting beside Clarke at the mirror while she does her make up for their first dress rehearsal. Clarke stops with her eyeliner brush a centimetre from her eye, a little confused as to why Gina has chosen this moment for the first time to speak to her.

“Hey,” Clarke says warily, putting down her eyeliner.

“This may seem like a weird question, but are you and Bellamy like… a thing? ‘Cause Raven said you weren’t but that I should ask you just in case.”

“Just in case?”

“Well, I mean, I’d like to ask him out. If he’s not already taken,” Gina smiles nervously.

“Oh,” Clarke says. “He’s not. Taken, that is. We’re definitely not a thing.”

“Okay, great!” Gina beams. “Thanks!” She practically skips off and Clarke watches her go, not sure why she suddenly feels like she wants to be sick. She finishes her make up and Bellamy walks in a few minutes later. Clarke pretends not to see him, for some reason she can’t fathom, instead hurrying into the dressing room to get into costume. By the time she’s dressed and out again he’s laughing with Gina and Clarke feels her stomach drop. He meets her eyes across the room then, says something to Gina and makes his way towards her.

“Hey,” he says, weirdly hesitant. “I, uh, wanted to talk to you about something.”

“Okay,” Clarke nods, but she’s not so sure she wants to hear what he has to say. “Do you want me to do your make up first?”

“Make up?”

“Don’t you listen to anything Cage says?”

“You know I don’t.”

“Everyone has to wear make up.”

“No.”

“Yes,” Clarke grins, whatever weird churning in her stomach had previously been going on disappearing and her good mood returning.

“Why?” Bellamy whines.

“Otherwise you’ll look all washed out. Now get in the chair before I have to wrestle you into it.” Bellamy mutters something that sounds suspiciously like I’d like to see you try, but he sits while Clarke goes to find someone with a similar skin tone to him. She comes back with Raven’s foundation, deciding it will be close enough for tonight.

Clarke doesn’t speak as she applies his make up, which Bellamy doesn’t seem to like because she can practically feel the discomfort radiating off him. Or maybe it’s because she’s so close to him that her hair is tickling his face.

“Are you wearing perfume?” he finally asks, which is kind of a weird way to break the silence in Clarke’s opinion.

“No,” Clarke answers, concentrating on the task at hand. “Shut your eyes.”

“Oh,” Bellamy says, obeying her command. “You just smell really good.”

“Thanks?” Clarke says, not sure how else to respond.

“So, uh… Gina asked me out just before,” Bellamy says nonchalantly.

“She works fast,” Clarke snorts.

“What?”

“She asked me before if there was anything going on between you and I because she wanted to ask you out.”

“Right,” Bellamy says. “What did you say?”

“You can open your eyes now,” Clarke tells him, and he does so. Which is apparently a mistake, because now those deep brown eyes are boring into hers, and she’s just remembered she doesn’t want to have this conversation. “I said no, of course.” Because what else could she have said. She had to tell Gina the truth. Even though part of her had wanted to lie, just so Gina wouldn’t ask him out. Which, Clarke realises now, is stupidly possessive for someone who isn’t interested in him.

“Great,” Bellamy says, without any inflection. “Do you think I should say yes?”

Clarke pauses for such a long time she wonders if she’s lost her ability to speak, and Bellamy’s looking at her expectantly, but her tongue just feels so heavy and her mouth is so dry. She licks her lips. “Clarke?”

“Yeah,” she finally manages. “Go for it. She seems nice.”

“Okay,” Bellamy nods, and he doesn’t really look at her as he walks back over to Gina.

-

She keeps her distance after that, and she doesn’t ask him how the date with Gina went and she complains to Raven about Cage instead of Bellamy, and she’s not even entirely sure why. Except that Bellamy talks to Gina a lot more backstage. And she thinks she saw him kiss Gina goodnight after one of the shows. And it hurts her heart a little bit, and suddenly she hates the entire show and everyone in it again.

There’s no pool at Cage’s house where they hold the after party, and it’s way too cold to swim anyway, but there’s plenty of tequila, and when Clarke sees Bellamy making out with Gina in a secluded corner, and the feeling that surges through her can only be described as jealousy, she knows that Raven was right. Drunk Clarke does know Clarke better than sober Clarke, and drunk Clarke wishes she was the one kissing Bellamy and that into him doesn’t even begin to cover it.

-

Clarke doesn’t see Bellamy at all after the show is over, apart from once when she spots him in the supermarket and quickly ducks down a different aisle so he doesn’t see her. She probably pines a little, but she gets over it fast, after all it was just a stupid crush that she hadn’t even realised she’d developed. So it obviously meant nothing. She probably imagined the whole thing.

By the time auditions for the next show come around, she’s practically forgotten he even exists.

Thankfully, Cage isn’t directing this time around, and the production of Beauty and the Beast is being directed by Marcus Kane, who is her mother’s fiancé and who has played various roles over his years involved with the theatre and now has decided to try his hand at directing. 

Clarke gets cast as Babette, and it’s not Belle (that honour goes to Octavia, of course), but she gets to put on a French accent and it’s a fun role. She’s not thrilled, but she’s trying to let things go.

She’s not sure how she feels about Bellamy playing Lumiere. She hadn’t even known he was talented enough to get a big role, but as it turns out he’s pretty fantastic. She kind of hates that.

He sits next to her at the first rehearsal and she does her best to act indifferent. (She may not be as over her crush as she’d previously thought).

“Long time no see,” he grins.

“Six months,” she notes.

“Feels like longer.”

“I see you’ve worked your way up. Lumiere is a great part.”

“I wanted to play Gaston.”

“You know Miller has to play the villain or he won’t be in it. Plus he has bigger muscles than you.”

“You haven’t even seen my muscles,” Bellamy points out.

“Nor do I want to,” Clarke assures him. “Gina didn’t audition this time?”

“She’s too busy with work,” Bellamy says.

“Too bad,” Clarke says, and then Kane starts addressing the cast and their conversation ends.

Kane takes Clarke aside at the end of the first rehearsal, gesturing for her to join him at the front of the auditorium while everyone else files out.

“Clarke,” he says seriously, once they’re alone. “Are you disappointed I cast you as Babette rather than Belle?”

“No,” Clarke lies, but she shrugs a little sullenly, giving herself away.

“It’s not because you’re not good enough, you know,” Kane assures her. “You’re a brilliant actress.”

“But not good enough to be the lead.”

“You are good enough to be the lead. The casting was more to do with… chemistry. And the men I had to work with. I couldn’t very well cast Octavia and Bellamy opposite each other, could I?”

“No,” Clarke sighs. She gets it now. He wanted Lincoln as the Beast and Bellamy as Lumiere. The casting of Octavia and herself simply had to slot in with that. She’s a little bitter about it, if she’s honest. But it does make sense.

“Besides, you and Bellamy have great chemistry. You two will steal the show.” Clarke just nods, not sure she agrees. “You’ll get your chance, Clarke.” Kane promises.

Babette isn’t a huge role, so Clarke isn’t needed at rehearsals that often, and she really only has a few lines here and there, and no solos to sing. But she feels better about it than last year. She’s happy Kane took the time to talk to her, and she gets it. She still wants to be Belle, but she gets it.

Clarke’s main scene is one where she basically just flirts with Lumiere, aka Bellamy, and she’s kind of nervous about it, which is weird. She kind of doesn’t really want to touch him. Or interact with him. But she reminds herself that it’s just acting, and that she’s an actress and that flirting with him in character is totally different from flirting with him in real life.

But they pretty much nail the scene the first time they rehearse it, and Kane makes them do it a couple of times but as she leaves the stage Kane grins at her and says, “See, chemistry?”

Even though Clarke is happier with her part this time around (only just), the rehearsal process isn’t quite as fun, and Clarke doesn’t want to say that it’s because she’s spending less time with Bellamy, but that’s what she has to put it down to.

She’s not even avoiding him on purpose, because that would be childish and stupid, but it’s just that his part is a lot bigger than hers so he’s always on stage. And they both like the director this time around, so Clarke has no one to bitch about with him. Instead she just gossips with Raven, Harper and Maya about how Octavia and Lincoln are so clearly going to bang by the time the show is over, if they aren’t already. And all four of them complain about how Octavia isn’t a very good Belle because she’s too aggressive and doesn’t play innocent very well. All four of them love Octavia as a person, but all four of them also think they could have done a better job. It’s nothing personal. Octavia is too wrapped up in either learning lines, being on stage or flirting with Lincoln to notice anyway.

Clarke talks to Bellamy a little bit, and he’s… the same. His relationship with Gina hasn’t changed how he interacts with Clarke and Clarke feels a little bit like a dick for acting like a jealous ex, when it’s not like she ever had any claim over him. Gina’s a better person than Clarke anyway. Gina would never bitch about her friends behind their back, just because she didn’t get the part she wanted in a stupid play.

And of course, Clarke still has a crush on Bellamy, but she can’t help that. He’s hot, and talented, and charming. And every conversation is full of light hearted teasing, glinting eyes and knowing smiles, almost like he’s flirting with her. So the crush on him – only natural. She’ll get over it.

But dress rehearsals come around, and she’s not over it yet, even after he walks out of the dressing room in his ridiculous candlestick costume. But it’s still ridiculous, even if it doesn’t cure of her crush, and she can’t help bursting into laughter when she sees him.

“What are you laughing at?” he asks, putting his French accent on.

“You look ridiculous,” Clarke tells him, joining him with her own French accent.

“So do you.”

“Don’t be ridiculous, I know I look amazing. I was born to be a feather duster.”

“Don’t quit your day job,” Bellamy jokes, returning to his normal accent.

“Oh my god, you guys look so cute,” Jasper interrupts. “I ship Babette and Lumiere so much.”

“You ship us?” Clarke deadpans.

“He ships our characters,” Bellamy corrects her.

“I’m getting a picture,” Jasper says. “Stand together and act in character.” Clarke is about to object, but Bellamy just grabs her and pulls her next to him. He poses like Lumiere, and he’s looking totally ridiculous all poised like a candlestick and Clarke can hardly remember what her character even is for a moment, until Jasper prompts her.

“In character, Clarke!” he says and Clarke quickly poses like Babette for the photo. “Okay, now do one where you’re making out,” Jasper says once he’s snapped the photo.

“Jasper!” Clarke and Bellamy scold at the same time.

“Just kidding. Will one of you take one of me and Miller in character?”

-

As it turns out, Jasper isn’t the only one who ships Lumiere and Babette, and people are constantly snapping pictures of the two of them whenever they’re in the same vicinity. Which, taking pictures is just a normal part of being backstage, but this is something else entirely.

“Aren’t people supposed to ship Belle and the Beast?” Clarke grumbles to Bellamy when Charlotte asks them if they will pose for a picture because her mom saw the show on opening night and thinks that Lumiere and Babette are just the cutest couple.

“You love it,” Bellamy grins at her, dropping to one knee to propose to her for the picture. And okay. She loves it a little bit. She likes the excuse to be flirty with Bellamy all the time, and it’s nice that people who have seen the show actually took notice of her character. But she’s not going to admit that to him.

Eventually people start uploading the pictures on various social media, and Clarke can’t help but roll her eyes at the staged pictures of her and Bellamy. But then there are some equally bad ones of the rest of the cast too. It’s the candid ones that are more interesting, especially since Jasper somehow managed to get a snap of Lincoln and Octavia making out after they were both out of the costumes.

Worst kept secret, Clarke comments on the photo, and she wonders how Bellamy will react when he sees it. She’s pretty sure he’s the only one who had been oblivious to the affair. She continues flicking through Jasper’s backstage photos on Facebook, mainly paying attention to the ones of her, but chuckling at some of the terrible selfies people had taken on his camera while he was on stage.

She eventually stumbles across one of her and Bellamy, different from the others, and it makes her heart skip a beat. It’s clearly taken after the show’s finished, since they’re both in their human costumes, rather than their object costumes. And it’s not posed. They aren’t even looking at the camera, just at each other. She’s grinning at him in the picture, and he’s looking at her with his head cocked and a wry smile and she guesses she’s probably just teased him about something and he’s trying to think of a witty comeback.

She’s struck by how obvious it is, just from this one picture, how much she likes him. She can see it in her own eyes, her body language. She wonders if it’s that obvious to everyone else. She likes the photo a lot, and she kind of wants to make it her profile picture, but she’s sure that if her big dumb crush isn’t obvious already, making this picture her profile picture would alert everyone to the fact. So she settles for making it her desktop background, and nobody needs to know.

-

When Clarke finds out that the next show the theatre group is putting on is Chicago, she knows she absolutely has to be in it. She doesn’t even care if she Roxie or Velma or just one of the six merry murderesses. But then Miller decides to put the auditions on the same day as her mother’s wedding, so she can’t go. Miller would have been happy to schedule another rehearsal time for her, as long as it was the same week. But the wedding is in France and they’re spending two weeks there, so she misses out.

But she refuses to not be a part of the show at all, so Miller tells her she can be the stage manager, which of course seems like a great idea at the time.

Three months on, and she’s practically tearing her hair out. Mostly due to Bellamy.

He’s been cast as Billy Flynn which of course makes grow the biggest head of all time. Clarke can barely tell where Billy Flynn ends and Bellamy begins. He flirts with everyone backstage, gets in the way of the backstage crew and is just generally loud and obnoxious. She can hear his booming voice now, probably bragging to Maya and Monroe about some shit he hasn’t really done. It’s a quiet scene between Raven and Emori, and they’re about to start singing Class, Clarke’s favourite song in the show so she storms backstage to tell him to shut the hell up. She’s already done it at least five times just tonight.

“Bellamy!” she growls and he stops midsentence to look at her. “I swear to god if you don’t shut up I’m going to kill you, and I can think of at least six ways to do it, thanks to this show.”

“Would you relax?” Bellamy drawls. “What’s the big deal?”

“People can hear you!” Clarke huffs before turning on her heel and heading back to the stage managers desk.

“I’m just having some fun,” Bellamy says, following her.

“You can have fun and be quiet.”

“I can’t help it if everyone wants a piece of this.”

“Do you think you could drop the character for one second? Egotistical isn’t a good look on you.”

“Egotistical?” Bellamy sputters.

“Besides, how do you think your girlfriend would feel about you flirting with everything that moves?”

“Well, since Gina and I broke up I don’t think it’s any of her business.” There’s a beat before Clarke says anything.

“Oh. Sorry.”

“It’s fine. We ended it a few months ago,” Bellamy shrugs. Clarke almost says why didn’t you tell me, but then she remembers that he has no obligation to tell her. They don’t even hang out outside of theatre, so are they really even friends?

“Is that why you’ve been acting like such an ass? Letting Billy Flynn go to your head?”

“Have I really been an ass?”

“Yeah.”

“Sorry.”

“It’s okay. Now get out of here, you’re on stage soon.”

-

It’s a few months after Chicago has ended when Clarke gets a call from an unknown number just as she gets home from work.

“Hello?” she answers as she puts her bag down and heads into her room.

“I think we should be friends.”

“Who is this?”

“It’s Bellamy.”

“Bellamy? How did you get my number?” Clarke sits down on her bed and pulls off her shoes.

“Octavia.”

“Right… so… why are you calling again?”

“I think we should be friends,” he repeats.

“Are we not already friends?”

“Friends normally have each others numbers. And hang out the whole year round, not just when they happen to be in a play together.”

“You want to hang out?” Clarke asks, surprised but pleased.

“Yeah. If you want to.”

“I do.”

“Great, so… do you want to grab coffee tomorrow or something?”

“Okay,” Clarke smiles and Bellamy suggests a place to meet and it’s not exactly a date, but she’s still smiling giddily as she hangs up the phone.

-

Clarke thinks that maybe after they’ve started hanging out more she’ll get over her crush, but in fact it seems to work the opposite way. They start out hanging out every couple of weeks, grabbing coffee or seeing a movie or watching Netflix on her couch. He doesn’t even tease her when he sees that her desktop background is still the picture of them together backstage at Beauty and the Beast. Just tells her how much he likes the picture.

Every time she sees him she swears she falls a little bit more in love with him. Not that she’s in love with him. It’s just a crush, she’s certain. But it feels like she could be dangerously close to love.

And then they’re hanging out almost all the time, alone together or with Clarke’s friends, or with Bellamy’s friends, or with Octavia, and Clarke wonders why it took them so long to actually get to this point. And she realises that not only is he her best friend, but that she is actually totally in love with him. She’s not sure when it happened, but she knows it’s stupid and inconvenient because she keeps thinking about kissing him instead of just enjoying his company. 

It’s announced that the next musical will be Legally Blonde, and Kane is directing again and Clarke feels like it finally might be her year. And when the cast list comes out and she reads her name next to Elle Woods, she couldn’t be happier, except when she flicks her eyes down one name and reads Bellamy’s name next to Emmett Forrest.

Her first thought is that she’s excited to get to work with him on stage again, which is shortly followed by maybe I’ll get to kiss him. She doesn’t say that part when she rings him to congratulate him of course.

“Hey, congrats on your third great role in a row,” she says when he answers his phone.

“I wanted to be Warner,” Bellamy tells her.

“You did not.”

“Yeah, I’m just kidding,” he laughs. “I wonder who this Finn guy is.”

“If he’s anything like the role he’s playing he’s probably a complete douche.”

“Hey, reserve judgement until we actually meet him.”

“Okay, okay,” Clarke smiles.

“And by the way, congratulations on getting Elle. You deserve it,” Bellamy says.

“Thanks.”

“It’s been a while since we last acted in love, not sure I remember how to do it,” Bellamy jokes.

“Let’s be honest, it’s going to be much harder for me than it is for you,” Clarke replies. A lie of course, but there’s an awkward pause and Clarke wonders if she’s hurt his feelings. “I’m kidding, Bellamy.”

“I know. I just couldn’t think of a good comeback,” he says. “Anyway, I have to go. Looking forward to working with you.”

-

Legally Blonde is by far the most fun she’s ever had in a show, and it’s not just because she got the part she wanted. It’s just a fun show. The songs are great, the cast is great (Finn isn’t even as much of a douche as she thought he would be), and she gets to spend heaps of time with Bellamy. Plus there’s a lot of sexy dancing which is always fun.

But they get through blocking the whole show, and Kane never once tells her she’ll have to (get to) kiss Bellamy. Which kind of sucks, because she has to kiss Finn and Thelonius so she feels a little cheated. But Kane seems to think there’s little point in a kiss between Elle and Emmett, because their getting together is kind of a sidenote anyway, not a major plot point. But other than not having an excuse to kiss Bellamy, Clarke is having the time of her life, and the weeks fly by and all too soon they’re at dress rehearsals and the show will be over in three weeks.

The costumes for Legally Blonde are much more flattering than anything Clarke has had to wear before, and honestly, pink suits her. The only costume Clarke is not a fan of is the playboy bunny outfit, which she has to wear for way too long in her opinion. She doesn’t really think it’s flattering, and it’s tiny and she’s pretty sure she’s going to spill out of it at any second.

The first time she walks on stage wearing it she’s pretty sure the looks of shock on her cast mates faces is not acting at all. Finn’s appreciative face surely is, however. She’s not even thinking about her lines in this scene, just counting down the minutes until she can put on real clothes again. And then that scene ends and she’s left on stage by herself in the ridiculous outfit, and she looks up as Bellamy walks on stage. Probably too soon, she scolds herself, she needs to wait until he says his line. But then, he just… doesn’t say it. And Clarke keeps looking at him, willing him to say something because improvisation is her weak point.

Finally he just mutters, “Line,” and someone in the wings feeds him the line, and they’re back on track, and since it’s only a dress rehearsal it doesn’t really matter anyway. But she’s still wondering what went wrong, since Bellamy almost never forgets his lines, and even when he does he’s actually great at improvising. So, she figures something must be wrong.

“Hey, is everything okay?” she asks him at interval, the only time she really has to talk to anyone, since she’s on stage the rest of the time.

“Yeah, why?”

“What happened with the Bugs Bunny line?”

“Bugs Bunny?”

“You know. What’s up, doc?” Clarke prompts.

“Oh,” Bellamy turns a little red. “Just got distracted.”

“Distracted?” Clarke can hardly believe it. “By what?”

“You’re really going to make me say it, aren’t you?” he sighs.

“I’m so confused.”

“The outfit,” he tells her. She can feel her own face turning red now.

“That bad, huh?” she screws up her nose.

“Bad?” Bellamy shakes his head. “No.” And then he turns and heads towards the bathroom leaving Clarke trying to figure out if he was serious or not.

-

The obligatory opening night celebratory drinks are in full swing by the time Bellamy gets there and most of the cast is crowded around a table in the outdoor area, Jasper and Monty already pretty drunk since they’d opening their first beers as soon as the curtain closed.

“Finally!” Clarke jumps up when she sees Bellamy. “What took you so long?”

“Look, just because Jasper and Monty are fine with coming out in their stage make up, doesn’t mean I am,” he grins.

“Did you go home and shower?”

“So what if I did?” he shrugs. Clarke rolls her eyes at him.

“I’m going to get you a drink.” She heads back in towards the bar, and when she comes back out with Bellamy’s drink and her own, she finds him sitting in her seat.

“Hey, you stole my seat!” she pouts, handing him his drink.

“We can share,” he tells her, and she only pauses a second to figure out if he’s serious before taking him up on his offer and planting herself in his lap. His arms wind around her waist and she leans back against him, breathing him in. Raven side-eyes her knowingly but Clarke ignores her.

“So, who’s a better kisser? Finn or Jaha?” Raven asks. Both men in question are present at the table.

“Look, no offence to either of you,” Clarke grimaces. “But I don’t think stage kisses are ever going to be enjoyable. I’m going to have to say Finn though, for the pure fact that at least Elle wants to kiss you, even if I don’t.”

“So you’re saying you don’t enjoy kissing me every night?” Finn grins while Jaha just laughs.

“Are you saying you do enjoy it?”

“Well, I mean, I don’t hate it,” Finn says. “Maybe we could try it off stage sometime, see if you like it better?” he winks.

“I think I’ll pass,” she snorts, but she swears she feels Bellamy’s arms around her tighten slightly in the split second before she answers. But then he’s reaching for his drink, totally relaxed again and she thinks maybe she imagined it.

“Suit yourself. Raven?”

“I’ll let you know if I get desperate.”

-

Closing night is a bittersweet feeling. On one hand she’s exhausted and she’s looking forward to finally having a free night, but on the other hand she’s going to miss it. She is looking forward to the after party though, which is being held at Kane and her mom’s house.

Kane gives the usual preshow speech about not changing anything just because it’s closing night and then getting teary because he’s so proud of the cast and crew. Clarke finds herself tearing up a little as well, and she can’t manage to hide it before Bellamy notices.

“Are you crying?” he grins.

“No.”

“Hey, there’ll be other shows,” he says gently.

“Yeah, but not this show,” Clarke sighs.

“So let’s make this last one a good one,” he bumps his shoulder against hers affectionately. She squints at him suspiciously.

“You’re not going to do anything stupid are you?” she asks.

“Like what?” he asks innocently.

“Bellamy,” Clarke warns.

“Well, Murphy and I were thinking of throwing in some break dancing during Harvard Variations, and I think I heard Raven say that Serena is now a lesbian and she and Emori are going to make out in the finale.”

“Don’t you dare,” Clarke tells him. “Kane will kill you. And Murphy will kill Raven.”

“Relax, I’m not going to anything,” he laughs. “Just go out there and kill it like you always do.”

She does kill it, of course, like she ever doubted she wouldn’t. And everybody else seems to have a great show as well, but all too soon she’s giving the valedictorian speech and proposing to Emmett/Bellamy and the show’s almost over. Bellamy hugs her and she’s trying not to cry as they sing the final bars of the finale, and they’re supposed to be singing out to the audience, but Clarke can’t help glancing at him, and she catches his eye and she beams at him while she sings, and he grins back. They turn to each other, as directed by Kane and as the ensemble cheers the last Omigod he grabs her around the waist and pulls her close to him, kissing her with an open mouth just before the blackout. Not directed by Kane.

And then he’s gone, and she has to hurry into the wings to get her graduation robes off before the curtain call. She’s reeling from the kiss, wondering what possessed him to do that. She’s annoyed and confused, because she’s pretty sure it was just a closing night stunt and she barely even got to enjoy it. She tries to catch his eye during the final curtain call but he’s looking steadfastly anywhere but at her.

It’s over then, and the curtains close for the last time and he looks at her guiltily before darting off to the dressing room.

She doesn’t see him again until they’re all at her mother’s house, and he grabs her by the arm and takes her aside.

“Clarke,” he says, and he looks sufficiently guilty. Clarke purses her lips at him. “I’m really sorry. I don’t know what came over me. I swear I wasn’t planning to kiss you.”

“Oh really?” Clarke says. “So it wasn’t some bet you made with Murphy?”

“No, I promise. I just got caught up in the moment. I forgot I wasn’t actually Emmett for a moment there,” he shrugs. Clarke nods. She supposes she can understand that, and at least it’s better than it being some joke. He kissed her because he wanted to kiss her. Well, because Emmett wanted to kiss Elle, which isn’t quite the same thing.

“You want a drink?” Bellamy asks.

“You know it,” Clarke smiles.

“Raven brought jelly shots,” Bellamy chuckles.

“Of course she did.”

Clarke doesn’t get as trashed as some of the others, though she drinks enough to think it’s a good idea to get in the pool when Raven suggests it.

“Let me just get my swimsuit,” Clarke says, about to head up to her old room where she still has a heap of old clothes tucked away. Raven immediately stops her.

“Clarke,” Raven says seriously, although her speech is slightly slurred from the amount of jelly shots she’s had. “Underwear.” That’s all she says before pulling her shirt over her head, slipping off her shorts and diving into the pool. Clarke glances back at the pool fence where Bellamy is standing with a few others, drinking.

“You coming in?” she calls.

“I don’t think I’ve had enough to drink for that,” he grins. “But have fun.” Clarke shrugs, toying with the band of her jeans before summoning the courage to pull them off. She pulls her shirt off next, and dives into the pool next to Raven, not looking around to see if anyone (Bellamy) is watching. Raven swims over to her, looking mischievous, and Clarke suddenly remembers that pools at night are good for making out, and she wonders if Raven has lured her here under false pretences. But she just brings her lips close to Clarke’s ear and whispers, “He’s watching,” before cackling to herself and doing an underwater somersault. Clarke resists the urge to look over at him to see if Raven is telling the truth.

It isn’t long before they’re joined in the pool by an assortment of drunk people, and Clarke eventually gets sick of being splashed, but she doesn’t want to get out yet, so she just huddles close to the end where less people are.

“Having a good time?” Bellamy asks, sliding into the pool next to her.

“Drunk enough now?” she jokes.

“Not sure,” he says cryptically. He’s so close to her, and the pool lights make for great mood lighting, and he’s shirtless and she’s in nothing but her underwear, so of course she suddenly can’t think of anything to say, her throat feels constricted and her heart is beating way too fast. She quickly looks away from his intense gaze.

“Great party,” she finally manages. Bellamy nods.

“Clarke,” he says after a short silence.

“Yeah?”

“How drunk are you?”

“Barely drunk at all.”

“Good.”

“Good? That’s the opposite of what Raven would say,” Clarke smiles.

“Yeah, I wanted to say something. But I wanted to make sure you’ll actually remember it in the morning,” he laughs.

“Okay,” Clarke says, able to look at him now that he seems to not be able to look at her.

“The kiss…” he starts.

“I said it’s okay,” she assures him.

“No, it’s not that, it’s just. I kind of lied,” he sighs, and Clarke feels her heart sink. So it was a premeditated prank after all. “I did get caught up in the moment, but not as Emmett. I wanted to kiss you. So, I’m sorry.”

“You wanted to kiss me?” she says in surprise.

“Yeah. Me. Bellamy,” he clarifies.

“Why?” Bellamy looks at her then and frowns.

“Why?” he repeats and Clarke nods. “I don’t know. I like you. I can’t remember a time when I haven’t wanted to kiss you.”

“What about right now?” Clarke grins.

“No, I want to kiss you now,” he says.

“So what are you waiting for?” she prompts and Bellamy raises an eyebrow at her.

“I guess I was kind of waiting for some confirmation that you wanted me to,” he snorts. “That you like me too.”

“Bellamy,” Clarke says, amusement in her voice.

“Yeah, okay,” he breathes and then he’s finally kissing her, for real this time, and Clarke’s hands find his face and her tongue finds his and she’s suddenly kind of annoyed there’s so many other people around. She hears Raven hoot and Bellamy pulls away, his grin matching Clarke’s.

“I’ve waited a long time for that, Bellamy Blake,” Clarke tells him.

“Oh yeah? I bet I’ve been waiting longer.”

“What if I told you that I wanted to kiss you since you told me my face looked like a cat’s butt?”

“Well, I’d tell you that I wanted to kiss you about ten minutes before that when I thought up that amazing chat up line.”

That was a chat up line?” Clarke scoffs.

“It worked, didn’t it?”

“It only took you four years to get the girl,” she teases. Bellamy pulls a face at her and pokes her in the stomach, and his eyes don’t quite make it back up to her face.

“You know your underwear is kind of see through, right?”