If she’d been six, this probably would have been Clarke’s idea of a dream night: spending it in a fancy dress at The Chancellors Ball. Now that she was older, the night is excruciatingly long, and she just wants to be back in their living quarters studying for the test she has coming up.
Wells is off somewhere being the good son with his father, shaking hands and greeting people. Her parents she lost somewhere in between the opening ceremony and her Dad going to get drinks.
She stands off in a corner by herself, feeling overheated, and like she’s on display in the dress that she’s wearing, a silver sleeveless ball gown passed down from one of her great, great, grandmothers.
Someone is coming towards her, a fellow medical student, with dark hair, and high cheek bones that she remembers kept on introducing himself as ‘…..related to a Kennedy, only several times removed’. As if his being related to some ancient, earth, historical figure really mattered when most people didn’t even know earth’s history.
Clarke knows he’ll ask her to dance, and if he does, she’ll never get away. Quickly, she sneaks from The Arks event room out onto the stations viewing deck. It’s a portion of the ship made for people to relax on their breaks. There’s a wide window, perfect for staring out at the moon, and it’s completely empty at this time of night.
She takes a sit on one of the viewing deck chairs, and pulls out the note cards she managed to hide on her person when her Mom wasn’t looking.
“Adenine. Purine base and one of the fundamental components of nucleic acids.” She flips to another card. “Anticodon——-“
“What the hell are you doing out here?”
She looks up at the sound of the stranger’s voice. Standing there is a cadet, maybe a few years older than her, with dark hair, looking pissed off for reasons she can’t fathom. “Studying,” she replies, showing her note cards.
The cadet stares for a bit before finally saying, “Your parents are going to kill you later.”
Clarke smiles. “I can handle my parents. Sorry if they sent you out here to look for me.”
He shrugs. “It’s alright. But shouldn’t you be inside though? You’re Clarke Griffin, aren’t you? I thought you and The Chancellor’s son—-“
She rolls her eyes. “No, we’re just friends.”
“Ah. Right, I just assumed.” He puts his hands in his pockets, then glances over his shoulder as if he’s thinking about heading back inside. After a moment, he looks back at her. “Hey, if you don’t mind—-“
Clarke puts down her cards then gestures to the chair next to her. “Have a seat.”
He smiles sheepishly. “Thanks, the girls keep on trying to dance with me but uh—-well…”
His voice trails off, and she understands instantly. “A cadet that can’t dance? I thought most guardsmen came from well off families,” she says.
“Is it a problem if I don’t?” his voice, once friendly, now has a harsh edge to it.
“No, just stating a fact. Look, you didn’t rat me out to my parents so why don’t I return the favor?”
He crosses his arms over his chest. “Well, it depends on what you have in mind.”
“I had four years of dance lessons. I’m a little rusty, but I could teach you enough not to embarrass yourself.”
“How about I help you study instead?”
Clarke stands up and holds out her hand. He looks at her hesitantly before he takes it.
“Where do I put my hands?” he asks.
“Right here,” she tells him, grabbing his other one and placing it on her waist. “And we’ll go forward, forward, side, side, forward, forward, side, side. Got it?”
He nods. “I, uh, I think so.”
The music from the ball room can only be heard faintly where they are, but somehow, the cadet seems to catch on quick. They follow the simple movements that are the only thing Clarke ever retained from her dance lessons.
“I never did catch your name,” she tells him.
“Bellamy,” he informs her, “Cadet Bellamy Blake, at your service, Princess.”
She rolls her eyes. “Hardly, just call me Clarke, okay?”
They dance together like old lovers, rather than two strangers. Bellamy presses closer to her, and Clarke’s breathe catches in her throat. She holds on tighter to him as she stares into his eyes. Everything else is forgotten. Their only observer is the moon and it isn’t likely to tell their secrets.
She thinks he’s going to spin her, but the timing is off, and Bellamy accidentally steps on her toes instead. She winces. “Ouch.”
“Sorry, I guess I’ve still got a long way to go.”
She steps back, and laughs. “Don’t worry. We’ve got all evening.”
He smirks as he asks, “Well, maybe we could continue the lessons after even?”
“Clarke!” Abby Griffin’s voice echoes through the too viewing area. Clarke glances over her shoulder, and finds both her parents standing there looking worried.
Clarke sighs. “Hi, Mom.”
“Clarke?” says Jake Griffin apprehensively. “What are you doing, honey?”
Clarke glances at Bellamy. “I’m just giving Cadet Blake here a dance lesson. You always say we should support our guardsmen.”
Jake laughs. “I suppose I do.”
“Jake, she can’t just stay here all night. Clarke, I had people I wanted you to meet. People from the hospital-“
Jake puts a hand on his wife’s shoulder. “Abby, honey, you can introduce her to them another night. Just let Clarke…continue with her lesson. She needs some fun for a change, after all.”
Abby frowns, but shakes her head. “Oh, alright.” Her mom leaves, but Jake remains and gives Bellamy a hard look.
“You take care of her tonight, young man. Alright?”
“Yes sir,” Bellamy tells him, and Clarke notices for the first time that his hands are nowhere on her.
When her Dad exits, she laughs at him. “Scared a little there, cadet?”
“Of your father? Yes. The man’s an engineer for The Ark. He could design a box to lock me away in for the rest of my life if he wanted.”
“He left you alone with me. I think you’ll be okay. Now come on. You’re nowhere near gold star level yet.”
Bellamy hangs his head. “Well, I suppose if the Princess insists…”
“The Princess does.” She grabs one of his hands then places the other on his waist again, and they begin again. It is the two of them, on the start of something new.
When they finally do stop its only because the orchestra has left for the night. The study cards Clarke had been intent on spending her night with are forgotten, but the number of Bellamy’s living quarters is memorized instead. Bellamy no longer steps on her feet, but is a perfect lead.