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Stay the Course

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The first time Bellamy sees her, Clarke Griffin is standing on the sidewalk outside of her mother’s 1.5 million dollar Hoboken condo, huddled under a giant fur lined hooded jacket, eating a bagel in the pouring rain.

At the time, Bellamy thinks that it’s one of the strangest things that he had ever seen. The girl didn’t even have an umbrella, and it was damn near freezing; she was drenched. But there she was, seemingly oblivious, tearing small bite-sized pieces off of her bagel while staring at her shoes.

Now that he knows Clarke, he also thinks it is one of the saddest things that he has ever seen.

 

“Hey!” He calls out through the passenger side window, loud enough to be heard over the pounding rain and the swish of the windshield wipers. “Are you Clarke Giffin?”

Her head pops up,and just for a moment, before her walls shoot up and her expression is schooled into one of friendly surprise, he sees the fear and the sadness, the hollowness in her eyes.

“Yeah,” she shouts back, already moving toward his car. “Bellamy, I take it? With Uber?”

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Bellamy has always believed that rain memories remain so much more vivid. Maybe it’s the superabundance of sensation--the sounds and the feeling of being wet and cold and somehow more alive. But mostly, he thinks that it’s because of the color. Every color is so much more saturated, so vivid. It sticks with him.

For this reason, he will never forget the way that Clarke looked standing out in the rain, eating that damn bagel. The slickness of her black coat, and the way that her bright blonde hair stuck out of the hood and grew darker where the rain had wet it.

He will always remember her laugh, a little bit too forced, too high and weak, as she shimmied her way out of the drenched jacket in his back seat. Of how she then suck her small, cold hand in between the seats to shake hello.

As he drove to the airport, Bellamy snuck quick glances of her in the rearview mirror. Everytime he chanced a glimpse, he found her staring out of the rain smudged window, watching the cars and almost bare trees fly by. He wondered what she was thinking about.

If it wouldn’t have been entirely inappropriate, and if she hadn’t looked so sad, he might have asked her. Bellamy was a man of questions, after all, and while he sometimes liked to linger in the unexplained, he also liked eventual conclusions, answers.

But she was his fare, so he kept his mouth shut--didn’t want to chance a bad rating. He needed the side job with Uber, needed the extra money it provided. Anything to send to Octavia, who had just started her freshman year of college.

Bellamy had held firm on his rule: no working Freshman year. He wanted his sister to concentrate on her studies, and honestly, he also wanted to give her the opportunity to enjoy being a kid for once in her life.

After their mom died, Octavia and Bellamy both had to work part-time jobs during high school in order to get by. This was O’s last chance to relax a little, act her age. She had a lifetime of hard work ahead of her.

Bellamy had never gotten that opportunity. At five years his sister’s senior, he worked through high school, college, and now grad school. His sister, his responsibility.

Drawn from his thoughts by Clarke’s cough, he stole another glance at her in the mirror. She was reading something on her phone now, her face scrunched up in aggravation, bottom lip stuck out just a little.

Bellamy smiled to himself. She was cute, and because he knew he’d probably never see her again, he let himself look just a little bit longer.