"Maybe you think that you can hide-
I can smell your scent for miles.
Just like animals."
- Maroon 5, "Animals"
Octavia had the best of intentions. She really did. All she wanted was to help Bellamy find a decent roommate who could pay half the bills for his condo downtown while he finished up his Ph.D. Once her brother started working as a history professor at Arkadia University in the fall, his salary could more than cover things. He was an Alpha after all, and Alphas always earned at the top of their salary ranges. So while everyone was happy Miller was leaving to move in with his long-term boyfriend Jackson, it still left Bellamy high and dry for the spring and summer.
Clarke Griffin starting work as a nurse at Mount Weather Memorial during the same shift as Octavia was a true godsend. The polite but serious blonde was a recent graduate and confessed to Octavia at the end of her second week she'd been staying in a hotel until she found a place to live. Octavia's blue eyes lit up, turkey and cheese sandwich halfway to her mouth. The willowy brunette knew straightaway Clarke was a Beta like her - the only scent she'd picked up was the honey vanilla of her perfume.
"Oh my God!" Octavia cried out in pure glee. "You can live with my brother Bellamy! His roommate just moved out. This is perfect!"
"Your brother?" Clarke blinked a few times, tilting her head thoughtfully to the side. "I never really considered living with a guy--"
"Oh, don't worry about it!" Octavia set down her sandwich and brushed her hand through the air. "He's a total nerd and clean freak. Plus, he's getting his Ph.D. in history, so he's practically always at the library. His place has got a good view of the skyline. And you'd have your own suite with a bathroom."
Clarke sliced into the piece of salmon on her plate, filling her fork with a bite.
"How old is he?"
"He's 28, plays soccer and can actually cook you breakfast. I'm telling you, Griffin, you'll be thanking me for this! I'll take you on a tour of his place after work today."
Clarke bit her lower lip in indecision. But the truth was, Octavia's girlish enthusiasm was contagious. Plus, she hated having her parents foot the bill for her hotel as they'd insisted on doing until she found somewhere safe to live.
"Ok," she said slowly. "I'll come check it out if he doesn't mind."
"He's visiting our mom out in Factory this weekend, so it's the perfect time," Octavia smiled.
Clarke was a smart girl - she'd graduated with top marks from her nursing program. With a surgeon for a mother and a genetic engineer for a father (an Alpha and Beta match themselves), she also knew a little something about biology. The odds of siblings presenting differently from each other at puberty was less than five percent. Bellamy Blake in her mind was a Beta like his sister. She had no reason to suspect differently. Besides, her mother kept her on the strongest suppressants money could buy - not only did they act as birth control but they also made her monthly heats more manageable and less painful. Even in the presence of Alphas, she passed as the Beta her mother and father wanted her to be to protect her. From the time she turned thirteen and her mother had solemnly held the purple container in front her face with a white oval pill in her outstretched smooth palm, Clarke had taken one each day without fail. Their daughter not having agency over her own body was not an option for the Griffins. They knew exactly how tantalizing Clarke's pheromones would be to an Alpha on the hunt for a mate. So, Clarke was well schooled on the ins and outs of her "special condition," as Abby referred to it. But what she didn't know at first was that Octavia and Bellamy Blake were half-siblings with different fathers. No, that knowledge came later.
Octavia assured Clarke as she unlocked Bellamy's door that he'd given his permission for the tour. The condo was everything she promised it would be - spacious, full of sunlight, with every appliance she could ever need and a few she didn't know how to work. There was easy access to the trains that would carry her into the city for her job. Clarke spun slowly around the living room on Saturday afternoon with a hesitant smile on her face.
"Well?" Octavia wiggled her eyebrows.
"Ok, you're right. It's perfect!" Clarke blushed.
Octavia winked. "Told you so!" She whipped out her phone from a back pocket and a few seconds later, she had her brother on speaker.
"Hi Bell, I'm at your place with Clarke. You got a few minutes?"
"Hey, O." There was a moment's pause when he cleared his throat. "Hi, Clarke. Nice to meet you."
The first thing that struck Clarke was his voice. It sent a mild thrill straight through her body to her toes. But she shook her head and trained her attention on focusing.
"Hi, Bellamy. Nice to meet you too. Are you sure you're ok with me moving in?"
He chuckled, and she found she liked that sound even better.
"Yeah, I'm good with it. I trust my sister. Honestly, you're saving me a lot of hassle sorting through the crazies online. Miller left earlier than I thought, so you're doing me a favor."
Clarke smiled a little at the soothing tone and streaks of appreciation flooding his deep voice.
"Ok, then. Thank you so much. I promise I'll clean up after myself and split all the chores with you. You're saving me from the Internet weirdos too."
"Noted." Bellamy laughed. "Well I'm sorry I'm not there in person, but I'll be back next weekend. So go ahead and move whatever you want to in, and I'll help with whatever's left when you get back."
"Thanks, Bellamy. I look forward to meeting you."
"You too, Clarke."
The next week was a whirlwind of picking out a bedroom set with Octavia, shopping for curtains and fresh linens and making plans for her new furniture to be delivered on top of working. With the help of Harper from sports medicine and Jasper from radiology, Clarke moved all her clothes and personal items into Bellamy's place slowly but surely. By the time she'd signed the receipt for the movers and bid them goodbye with icy bottles of water to take on their way late Saturday afternoon, Clarke was exhausted. She collapsed onto the couch in the living room, Octavia flopping down beside her in a recliner.
"Babe, I've got to get a shower and get back home to Lincoln. His Aunt Indra is visiting, and he's making a special dinner. Are you sure you don't want to come?"
Clarke sighed but shook her head. She'd heard a lot about Octavia's motorcycle-riding boyfriend who owned his own art gallery but she had yet to meet him. Octavia called him a "gentle giant," and from all the pictures peppered across Octavia's Instagram, they looked very much in love.
"Thanks, but I think I'm just going to order Chinese and get caught up on the Real Housewives."
Octavia grinned. "All right, next time. Tell Bell to call me later, and I'll see you at work."
Clarke jolted upright as she watched her friend head for the door. She'd nearly forgotten Bellamy was coming home tonight. Now she almost wished she'd said yes to the dinner invitation. Something about meeting him alone - even though she just moved into his place - made her nervous.
Brushing it aside, she put in an order for chicken and broccoli in garlic sauce with crab rangoons, fumbling a little over her new address, before stepping into the shower. Twenty minutes later, she was pacing around the plush living room carpet in her yoga pants and a Lumineers T-shirt. In the background, an episode of House Hunters International played.
Suddenly, there came a solid knock at the door, followed by the turn of a key. It was Bellamy. It had to be. She knotted her fingers together in front of her and took a deep breath. It was his mess of dark curls she saw first through the gap in the door as he entered, smiling warmly at her with a quick flash of bright teeth. He rolled his bag into the hallway and set down a leather briefcase on the kitchen counter before making his way into the living room with a hand outstretched.
"Hi, you must be Clarke. I'm Bellamy."
Her eyes widened as his delicious scent hit her in a wave. Despite the suppressants, it was strong ... and intoxicating. She felt her body respond, a weakness building in her knees. The sense that struck her next was more profound than intuition. She literally sensed his nerves, his excitement, his arousal as if they were her own buried deep in her belly. She reached out her own small hand, still entranced, and shook his, only daring a quick glance up at his too-dark eyes.
"It's nice to meet you."
Bellamy's warm hand curled around hers, sure and firm. She gave a tiny yelp as he pulled her a couple steps forward. He was looking at her with the kind of awe people normally reserved for fireworks displays.
"Nice to meet you too, Omega."