The first time they get together, Clarke swears it was a mistake. It was an accident. It was probably nothing more than good lighting and maybe a touch too much wine but she definitely, definitely didn’t mean to sleep with her best friend’s brother.
So it starts the day she moves in with Octavia. She and Octavia met their freshman year of college in a mandatory speech class that they both hated. They’d bonded over a mutual hatred for the professor and two years later, they were taking pictures together in the doorway of their new apartment. Well, really, Octavia’s older brother was taking pictures. Clarke has heard about him but she’s never seen him until she nearly ran into his chest when she was moving in a box full of old books. It ends with her staring at a wall of muscle under a thin t-shirt and oh god he’s hot. While she’s still staring at him, Octavia claps his shoulder and grins at her new roommate.
“This is Bellamy, my older brother,” she says. And two hours later, after he leaves, she adds, “Don’t fuck him.”
Apparently her older brother’s hotness is a running problem in Octavia’s life. Clarke can see why. They really don’t look that similar (not that Octavia isn’t just as hot, though painfully straight and taken) and if Clarke had met him separately, she never would have placed it but now that she knows he is off limits, he gets ever more tempting. It’s pathetic and she knows that. But something about a bad boy all tall, dark, and horribly against the rules has a serious temptation to it. She is a grown fucking woman and here she is, drooling over Octavia’s older brother like she’s twelve.
Raven sees it right away, the first time all their friends are in one room together for the apartment warming party/boozefest. When Clarke is in the kitchen refilling the chip bowls, she’s cornered by Raven and her patented I know something smirk.
She stares at Clarke, silently, in a way that makes her feel like she’s just been caught with her hand in the cookie jar.
She finally breaks under Raven’s stare. “What?”
“You’re totally trying to fuck Blake.”
Clarke scoffs, staring intently at the bowl she’s refilling. “You think I’m trying to fuck everyone.”
“Yeah, and you usually are on some level. But this is like level ten thousand. Flash flood warning, first eleven ever recorded on the Richter scale kind of wanting to fuck. I swear I’m getting aftershocks just sitting next to you.”
“You’re reading way too far into this,” Clarke says. “You always think you’re cupid when you’re drunk.”
Raven puts her glass on the counter and leans in closer to Clarke, glancing at the living room full of their friends, still happily passing around joints, oblivious to the girls in the kitchen. “Octavia’s going to be pissed, you know. Her best friend in high school had a huge thing for Bellamy, completely fell apart when he rejected her and took it out on Octavia instead.”
Clarke knows that, of course. She’d heard the whole story in freshman year right after they’d met. Apparently Maura was completely enamored with Bellamy, who was three years older than them and just starting his junior year of college when all hell broke loose. Apparently Maura had asked Bellamy for a ride home and made her move in the car, opening up her shirt for him and confessing her undying love. Bellamy was swift to turn her down as gently as he could but it had left Maura crushed and angry and she decided to make Octavia’s life hell as punishment. The remainder of Octavia’s high school experience was so shitty she graduated early and moved away to college at only seventeen.
“I’m not going to do anything with her brother. She’s my roommate, she’d know.” Clarke throws out the empty chip bag and turns to Raven. “Besides, I’m not looking for anything right now. Taking a break from dating, remember? And hooking up with my roommate’s big brother is the opposite of casual.”
Raven gives her one last look before returning to the living room, plucking the joint from Murphy’s hand and collapsing on the couch. Clarke goes to get herself a beer from the fridge when she hears someone clear their throat behind her, deep and a little rough. She pulls out her bottle and looks over her shoulder to find Bellamy standing a little awkwardly in the entryway of the kitchen.
“I, uh, bought you guys a housewarming gift. Octavia’s a little too occupied and I’ve got to run cause I’ve got class in the morning, so.” Bellamy digs in his pocket to pull out a gift card for Bed Bath & Beyond. “Thirty bucks. Don’t let O go near the As Seen On TV section or it’ll be a total waste.” His smile is a little lopsided when he hands her the card.
“Thanks,” Clarke says, pocketing the card and returning his smile.
“I suggest you buy real plates. Nothing makes an apartment more grown up than real plates.”
“Good advice,” she returns. Bellamy gives a half-wave, half-salute and leaves. That was pretty much their first real encounter.
It goes pretty well for the first couple of months. Clarke and Bellamy are never left alone and Octavia is just intimidating enough that Clarke doesn’t even give him more than a glance when he enters or exits a room. Over the course of those two months, prolonged exposure to Bellamy and his tight shirts and unruly curls has softened the edge of her previously overwhelming lust. Now that she knows him as more than just Octavia’s brother, it gets easier and easier to avoid the pang of attraction that usually accompanied his presence.
She learns more about him over those couple months, and more about Octavia in conjunction. They grew up in a small, Boondock-y kind of town where you were more likely to find a dealer on the street than a safe car; Bellamy was a total nerd in high school but still played baseball in the hopes of getting an athletic scholarship; Bellamy worked two jobs in the school year and three during the summers just to make sure Octavia had everything she needed. It makes sense to Clarke why his little sister has such an intense hero worship of him. He is the hero that kept her out of foster care and sacrificed most of his youth to raising her. After a few late night stories from Octavia, Clarke starts to feel that admiration too.
Once fall picks up and the school year gets rolling, things mostly get easier. Clarke is fighting tooth and nail to keep up with her increasingly harder classes and Octavia spends more time out with Lincoln than she ever has before. Things there are starting to get pretty serious, judging from the dreamy look Octavia always has when she gets back from an entire weekend spent in Lincoln’s apartment. Older as he is, he has no roommates to get in their way. This leads to Clarke moving from constantly studying in the library to constantly studying in their living room. Maybe not a huge change but a good one nonetheless. Her social life has really taken a hit lately, as have her allergies, leaving her in a constantly pissy mood with a constantly stuffy nose.
She’s about two hours into her Anat and Phys reading when she hears a knock on her door. Begrudgingly, she drags herself up from the couch and to the door, opening it with a frown. Bellamy stands behind it, staring down at her with a cocked eyebrow.
“You look awful.”
She sniffs in response, glaring. “That’s no way to be invited into someone’s home,” she says, but walked back towards the living room nonetheless, leaving the door open so he could let himself in.
“Is Octavia home? I called but she didn’t answer.”
“She’s out with Lincoln.” Clarke folds herself back up on her sofa and wraps herself in the thick blanket she’d been cocooned in before Bellamy interrupted her, wiping her nose and staring angrily at the highlighted notebook in front of her. He seems to catch her sour mood but instead of leaving, he drops a brown paper bag on the coffee table and sits in the armchair next to her, his legs stretching out the way boys do when they don’t realize they’re taking up too much space. He’s got a crooked grin on his mouth and, given her mood and general appearance, Clarke hates it.
“I brought food. It was supposed to be for Octavia but it’s your lucky day.” He pauses for a second, watches her stare down at her textbook angrily. “What are you trying to set on fire, there?”
“Human Anat and Phys 300. It’s testing my patience.”
Bellamy nods solemnly and hums low in his chest. “Test tomorrow?”
“No, not until next week.”
“Good.” He reaches out to the table and pushes her schoolwork onto the floor, careful not to wreck anything but still purposeful in his movements. Bellamy grabs the paper bag and starts unloading its contents on the newly cleared coffee table while Clarke stares up at him with her mouth open in surprise. She’s too tired and the food smells too good for her to argue though.
“Is it a cold?”
Clarke pops open one of the containers, steam rushing to freedom in the cold air of her apartment. “Allergies. Mother Nature is an asshole.”
Bellamy hums with sympathy and ducks into the kitchen to get forks and drinks. He comes back a few minutes later with a beer for himself and a mug of cloudy tea for Clarke. She gives him a look but he shakes his head. “Trust me. Family recipe.”
Clarke takes a sip and coughs when the burn of alcohol takes her by surprise.
“Like I said,” Bellamy smirks, “family recipe.”
They watch several episodes of Chopped without any real conversation, just light commentary and yelling abusive language at the screen when contestants used their baskets wrong. It’s nice, hanging out just the two of them. By the time they’re done, Clarke can finally breathe out of her nose and they’re both a little tipsy. She thinks Bellamy’s cheeks look nice with a little flush to them. She’s got her feet in his lap and his hand is resting on her bare shin.
“So you just came over to feed Octavia? That’s not usually how you spend your Thursday nights.”
He shrugs and leans his head back against the couch. “I haven’t seen her lately. It was mostly an excuse to make sure she hasn’t died or been kidnapped.”
“No, she’s just disgustingly in love. But if you want to keep bringing her food and giving it to me as a consolation prize, feel free.”
He grins at the TV and moves her legs back to the floor. “Will do, Princess.” Standing and stretching his arms over his head, he lets out a low groan. “I’ve got like fifty papers to grade and class at 7:45.”
“A TA’s job is never done.”
“You’d think they’d put that in the job description.” Bellamy stuffs his hands in his front pockets and shrugs. “It’s just my cross to bear.”
He flashes that grin over his shoulder again when he’s walking to the door and yeah, she’s fucked.