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Can't Buy Me Love

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Bellamy has worked hard to make sure he and Octavia are financially stable since their mom died. It feels wrong to be grateful that Aurora had known long enough beforehand to get her affairs in order, feels a little better to be glad that she made it past Octavia’s eighteenth birthday so that Bellamy never had to worry about custody and foster care.

He’s spent hours learning about budgets and taxes and mortgages and loans. They’re in a manageable amount of debt and most days he even feels confident that he’ll be able to pay it off before he’s middle-aged. He’s got a plan.

So when he up and wins the lottery, he does the only thing he knows to do in a crisis: he calls Clarke.

“What’s so urgent?” Clarke asks, falling onto the couch where Bellamy has been kind of staring blankly at the wall. Every time she sits she just kind of collapses and lets gravity do the rest of the work for her. He already feels a little bit better, knowing that the world is still mostly the same as it was before he’d gotten the news. “I only had a couple of episodes of Jessica Jones left, just so you should be appropriately grateful that I came over right away.”

“You know how Octavia and I always buy each other a couple of Powerball tickets for birthdays and Christmas and stuff? Well, I actually won.”

“You won the lottery,” she states, dubious.

“Not the whole thing.”

“How much?”

“Fifty thousand dollars.”

She’s quiet for long enough that he turns to look at her, only to find her making her ‘I’m concerned for you’ face.

“My first instinct was to laugh but you don’t look like you’re joking. Are you joking?”

“Not joking,” he says weakly. “I actually won fifty thousand dollars, and I’m having a very real freak-out about it.”

“Wow,” she says, sitting back for a moment before she leans forward and punches him in the shoulder. “Bell, that’s insanely cool! Why are you freaking out?”

“Because I have to decide what to do with the money,” he says, rubbing his arm where she punched him. “I mean, we sold the house and I can afford our rent on my current salary, so that’s taken care of. My car is mostly paid off. I can finish paying off my student loans, but that still leaves a huge chunk of change that I have no idea what to do with.”

“So you’re freaking out because you don’t actually need fifty thousand dollars as much as you did a few years ago?” Clarke says slowly, and yeah, she’s pretty much got him figured out.

“Who doesn’t need fifty thousand dollars?” He mutters. She bursts out laughing.

“Bellamy, only you would be annoyed that you won the lottery after you were already financially stable. You’re the only one of us who knows heads or tails about financial crap, you’re devastatingly responsible, and you’ve worked tirelessly to be that way. I can’t think of anyone I know who is more deserving or qualified to win the lottery.”

Bellamy feels the heat on the back of his neck and clears his throat, trying to change the subject from how great she thinks he is. It’s hard enough to act like he’s not halfway in love with her when she’s arguing with him and giving him a hard time, much less saying nice things about his character.

"I'm just saying, all you got me for my birthday was a replacement copy of The Iliad since you spilled coffee on mine, so clearly you and Octavia are not on the same level."

"I also bought you booze," she points out fairly. "Books and booze are two of your favorite things, so it was a great gift. Hey, if all else fails, you know you can just spend your winnings on alcohol and original texts. You know everyone would help you out with one of those things."

It’s just as well that their friends are all congregating at his apartment for game night. He can just tell the news once and they’ll move on. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work as well as he hoped and he gets drawn into– or, really, left out of– a discussion about what he could use the money for.

“You could donate it to charity,” Monty suggests. “If you still wanted to go the practical route.”

“Nah, then he’d just put it all in a bank. Blake’s enough of a charity case as it is,” Miller says, dodging the pillow Octavia chucks his way.

“Are you committed to using some of it on your student loans?” Jasper asks, drink sloshing dangerously as he talks with his hands.

“And Octavia’s,” Miller interjects.

“Don’t you dare spend your winnings on me,” Octavia tells him, for what’s not the first time. “I can take care of myself. Besides, that’s part of the deal with giving the tickets as birthday gifts.”

“Because if you’re not,” Jasper continues, as if the others haven’t spoken, “you should totally get a drone.”

“A drone?” Raven repeats, disgusted. “That’s the stupidest idea yet. If Blake wants a drone, I can build him one. I’d do that just for fun. If he’s going frivolous, he’s probably going to spend the money on some nerdy artifact in an Ebay bidding war.”

“Who uses Ebay anymore?” Murphy guffaws, speaking around a mouthful of popcorn. “That’s like communicating via AIM.”

“Do you think they’ve noticed that you haven’t gotten a word in edgewise in the past half hour?” Wells says under his breath to Bellamy.

“Definitely not,” Bellamy mumbles. He should’ve told them in a text and let this play out before they got to his apartment and ruined game night. He’d had a decent hand, too.

“It could be worse,” Wells says, thoughtful. Bellamy appreciates that Wells tries to look at every situation fairly, when he can be objective about it, but right now he’d prefer to stew in his annoyance. “They could be trying to convince you to spend your money on them. There are definitely worse friends to have.”

“They could also be trying to win my money from me in this poker game we’re not playing,” Bellamy grumbles. “Or saying things that are even remotely helpful.”

“Just think about what you really want,” Wells advises him. “If what you want most is not to have to worry so much about money, put it in a savings account. If what you want is to be debt-free, or to have a jetpack, then go for it.”

A flash of blonde catches his eye. Clarke is coming back in from his kitchen, snack bowls stacked precariously in her arms, laughing with Lincoln, who seems to be looking up stocks on his phone. She catches him watching her and raises her eyebrows, asking him silently what’s up.

“I’m gonna go get a refill,” he tells Wells, standing. Wells smirks and shakes his head, but doesn’t comment.

Clarke follows him into the kitchen, as he knew she would.

“If nothing else, they’ve helped you narrow your options tonight,” she tells him, pushing herself up to sit on the counter next to where he’s leaning. “Just cross off the list everything they’ve suggested, and you’re really on your way.” She grins at him, knocking her shoulder into his.

“I’ll probably just stick with the boring, practical plan,” he says, wetting his lips. “Wells did give me some actual advice, though.”

“He would. What did he say?”

Bellamy’s not sure how he decided that this was it, that this is the moment when he takes the leap and tells Clarke how he feels about her. Maybe it’s something that Wells said. Maybe he’s just feeling lucky.

“He told me to think about what I want the most.”

“And?”

“And…” Bellamy leans over and kisses her. He’s imagined this moment a thousand different times, but it’s so much better when it’s happening for real. When she’s really kissing him back, when she’s really pulling him closer, when he can really feel and hear her responding. He moves so that he's standing between her knees, her arms winding around his neck, his hands threading through her hair. They make out for what is probably an inappropriate amount of time, given all their friends are in the next room, and when she pulls back to speak, her lips are red and she's flushed. She looks well-kissed, he thinks, a little smug.

“You didn’t have to win the lottery to make that happen,” Clarke tells him, her voice breathy.

“Yeah, but now I can take you somewhere nice on a date,” he says, kissing her again. “You really lucked out.”

“Either that, or I’m an incredibly dedicated gold digger, laying the groundwork for years in case you ever made it big or won the lottery.”

“If you’d seen this coming, I’d have to agree. You might just be the best gold digger ever.”

 

A few years later, he uses some of the money he saved to buy her a ring. He’s glad he saved it to spend on what he wants the most.