“I’m sorry… did you just… I can’t…” Squeezing her eyes shut tightly, Clarke pinched the bridge of her nose, hoping to stave off the headache she could feel building. After a few deep breaths she opened her eyes to face her friends again. They’d gathering in the apartment she shared with her best friends Octavia and Raven. Each friend was perched in his or her chosen spot, a long developed habit that spoke of the ease they all felt in their friendships. After studying them each in turn she spoke again, “You did what?”
“Are you asking me?” Finn pointed to himself.
“No one is asking you anything.” Raven replied absentmindedly while she stared at her phone.
“She’s looking at me.” He said.
“She’s never looking at you.” Octavia scoffed.
“She used to - ” he started.
“Then she found out the truth.” Raven cut him off. “Frankly, you’re beyond lucky we let you come anywhere near us.”
“I didn’t know!” Finn shouted.
“You didn’t know you had two girlfriends?” Monty’s head tilted slightly to the right.
“That’s lame man.” Jasper added.
“No! I mean I knew that. I was just…” He drifted off, trying to find an excuse for his behavior. When nothing came to mind he threw his hands up, “it’s been three years!”
“What a coincidence!” Raven said, “that’s how long we were together!”
“And twelve times as long as we were a thing.” Clarke finally jumped back in the conversation. She held out her hand to Raven, gesturing that she wanted her friend to hand over her phone. “And, oddly enough, the same amount of time I’ve been over all of this. Now can we please get back to the topic at hand here? I really don’t feel like talking about that failed relationship again. It has been three years after all.”
“So you were talking to me?” Finn asked hopefully.
“No. And I wasn’t looking at you either.” Clarke replied.
“Then who?” He asked.
“For the love of…” Bellamy huffed from his perched on a nearby desk. “Let’s just start with Raven.”
“Why me?” She seemed a little offended.
“Because you’re the oldest and should know better.” Clarke said.
“Hey!” Raven crossed her arms over her chest. “We’re all delinquents here.”
“Stop calling us that.” Clarke couldn’t help but laugh.
In truth, that’s exactly what the friends were. Not that they’d ever really been troublemakers, they’d always just bent the rules. They hardly ever actually broke a rule, let alone a law. Except for that one Fourth of July celebration with Raven’s homemade fireworks. But they’d learned their lessons from that. Or rather, they learned how to not get caught.
Their little group of friendship started with little ten-year-old Clarke meeting thirteen-year-old Bellamy at the park one day. He threatened her then best friend, Roma, over her teasing of his little sister. Clarke had been ready to battle but when he explained having to comfort his eight-year-old sister, Octavia, because of Roma’s teasing, she’d relented. She even went with him to play with the younger girl. That one time game of tag lead to meeting up the following weekend for more running around which lead to their parents exchanging numbers which eventually turned into family dinners and sleepovers and bonfires and late night phone calls. Clarke had traded in one best friend for two others.
Octavia brought Monty and Jasper into the group a few years later. She’d seen a bunch of bullies harassing them in the school parking lot one day and ran to their rescue. Of course, she’d used Clarke and Bellamy as threats against the bullies. Soon, the five of them were causing havoc and creating fun wherever they went.
Of course Clarke followed Bellamy to Arkadia College. Then O, Monty, and Jasper followed her. Clarke brought Finn into the fold after he asked her to get a coffee during one of their study sessions for history. No one in the group was prepared for feisty Raven Reyes to pop up a few months later, happily announcing her transfer to her boyfriend, Finn.
The rift in the group, which was really just Finn versus everyone including their newest member Raven, was quickly resolved. Clarke had never had the energy to hate anyone for too long. But she hardly ever actually acknowledged Finn’s presence.
“I’ll keep calling us that until it isn’t true anymore!” Raven’s declaration cut through Clarke’s memories.
“Just tell us what you did.” Octavia snapped.
“Why are you so tense?” Raven smirked. She knew the answer. And she knew Octavia knew she knew. And Clarke, she knew too. Octavia was also aware of Clarke’s knowing. Bellamy though, he had no clue.
“Because you keep doing stupid things!” Octavia replied.
“Raven.” Clarke interrupted before the other two girls could get each other too riled. “Did you really hack into Polis’s student records and change a bunch grades? For honors students and student athletes? Including students on scholarships and grants?”
Her best friend shrugged and refused to meet her eye, “maybe.”
“Raven Reyes!” Clarke growled.
“Monty helped!” Raven said as she pointed to the younger man.
“Not cool dude.” Jasper gasped, offended on his best friend’s behalf.
“I’ll get to you in a minute Jasper.” Clarke snapped. She turned to Monty, “Will they be able to figure out it was you?”
“No.” He answered easily.
“You’re sure?” Bellamy asked.
“Yes.” Raven nodded. “And before you can ask, it’s a bunch of techno babble you wouldn’t understand. Basically proxies, servers, rerouting, and false IPs. We covered every base three times over. We’re good.”
Clarke nodded before sighing, “But really Rae? Three hundred students?”
“Seemed like a nice even number.” She smirked.
“Can you undo it?” Octavia asked.
“I could.” Monty replied.
“But why would we?” Raven questioned.
“They deserve everything they get!” Finn asserted.
“Is that why you set off smoke bombs at the Polis alum gathering? The ones that dyed eighteen very powerful people green?” Bellamy asked.
“Eighteen people including my mother.” This time Clarke tried to hold her laughter; it came out a very unladylike snort instead. “I mean, I’m not happy about the prank but Mom was green for a week. It was kind of amazing.”
“Well if someone,” Jasper glared at Finn, “hadn’t messed with the compound no one would have ever been green.”
“You know several of those people have threatened to pull funding if the perpetrators aren’t caught right?” Clarke pointed out, suddenly very serious.
“And?” Finn shrugged.
“It’s not like they haven’t pulled pranks on us Princess,” Raven said.
Clarke could only shake her head. “Maybe this rivalry has finally gone too far.”
“They started it!” Finn shouted.
“Technically this feud was started 197 years ago when the founder of Arkadia College swindled the founder of the University of Polis out of hundreds of acres of land. He literally just appeared one day and refused to leave. He was a glorified squatter who just started building on some other man’s land.” Bellamy, ever the historian, corrected.
The friends stared at him for a moment. Then Octavia laughed and said, "nerd."
“I for one think almost two centuries of petty fights and pranks is more than long enough.” Clarke added. “We need to make peace.”
“As if that’s even possible.” Raven said.
“We’ll never know if we don’t try.” Octavia replied.
“Undo the grades. And make doubly sure no one knows it was us.” Clarke said. “Why did I think running for student body president was a good idea?”
“Med school applications needed padding.” Monty chimed in.
“I think people only voted for me because they thought I’d keep you lot in line.” Clarke replied.
“Idiots.” Bellamy shook his head.
Clarke stood and paced for a few minutes, going over in her head everything that needed fixing and how she was going to accomplish it all. Of course her list would be a lot shorter if her friends stopped pranking the prestigious university next door. Her position as student body president had come with too few perks to deal with the stress her best friends were putting her under. Finally she turned to the group again.
“Right. So Jasper, no more smoke bombs. Or bombs of any kind. Finn, don’t mess with things you don’t understand. Monty, stop listening to Raven. Rae, stop corrupting the cinnamon roll.” She said.
“Clarke, maybe there should be actual punishment this time.” Bellamy advised.
She shook her head, “I don’t think so. Not if it can all be fixed.”
“But – ” He tried to say more but was cut off by Octavia.
“I think we’re done here now. Finn’s cologne is giving me a migraine.”
“Agreed.” Raven nodded.
“Right, so everyone just fix what you broke and stop breaking everything.” Clarke said. “This is why we can’t have nice things. You people keep breaking them.”
After a few more weak arguments for punishment from Bellamy, and Finn declaring his super expensive cologne was the rage in France, the guys shuffled out of the apartment leaving Clarke with Octavia and Raven.
“Clarke.” Raven said.
“Not now Rae, please.” Clarke shook her head.
Raven couldn’t help but reply, “it was a harmless prank guys.”
“Harmless?” Octavia snapped. “How is it harmless? What if those students lose scholarships because of your prank?”
“You really think those profs of at the University of Pompous wouldn’t notice the changes? Aren’t they all supposed to be geniuses or something?” Raven scoffed. She stood from her spot on the couch and headed for the kitchen.
“Not the point!” Clarke called after her. Raven reappeared with chips and a beer. Clarke rolled her eyes, “you know we would kill anyone who messed with our GPAs Rae. And anyone stupid enough to even slightly threaten O’s rugby scholarship would be deader than dead.”
“I wouldn’t even bother trying to hide the evidence.” Octavia nodded as she snatched the chips from Raven’s grasp. “And these are mine.”
Raven studied her friends. She sank back onto the couch with a sigh. “Fine. Monty and I will fix it first thing Monday.”
“No,” Clarke shook her head. “Now.”
“Griff, come on. It’s 4:30 on a Friday afternoon.” Raven replied.
Clarke took the beer from her hand and took a sip. “Fix it now Reyes. Leaving those students in limbo is not how we do things.”
“They’d let us suffer.” Raven said. She dove at Clarke, trying to get her beer back. Her friend jumped off the couch and out of her reach. “Remember when they locked us up in that conference room during Homecoming? Seven hours!”
“Kind of our fault for handing over our cell phones.” Clarke shrugged. She sipped the beer again and smirked at Raven’s scowl.
“What about when they changed all the language on the school’s website to Greek? Even the coursework!” Raven countered. She studied Octavia out of the corner of her eye. When she thought the younger girl was distracted she dove for the chips. Octavia just shoved her head away and laughed when Raven ended up on the floor.
“As if that was an issue with Bellamy and Octavia around.” Clarke said. “Just fix it now.”
“Clarke!” Raven whined. “How can I work on an empty stomach?”
“If you and Monty are half as good as you think you are you’ll be done with plenty of time to party with us tonight.” Octavia cut in. “Which is why Clarke and I bought the beer and chips in the first place Rae.”
“Is that…” Raven glared at her friends from her place on the floor. “Are you doubting my ability to fix this?”
“Doubting is putting is strongly.” Octavia shrugged and bit into a chip.
“Worrying is a better way to put it I think.” Clarke nodded.
Raven huffed and pulled herself to her feet. “You’re doubting me. Unbelievable.”
“To be fair, the doubt is only happening because you can’t solve this by making it go boom.” Clarke laughed.
“Rude.” Raven spun on her heel and stomped away.
“Where you going Reyes?” Octavia called after her.
“Screw you Blake!” She yelled over her shoulder. “I’ll see you jerks in an hour. Shots are on you two tonight!”