final semester

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic

in their final semester at the prestigious st catherine's with 95 days to graduate, thalia and bellamy find each other in a fateful encounter. a small favor grows into a friendship and a love they could not believe they had lived without for so long. with family drama and scholastic stress how will these two make the most of their final semester?

Bellamy

She sat on the grey carpet. A laptop covering her thighs, pink headphones peeking through her black hair.  An oversized band t-shirt hung off of her medium frame. As she nodded her head along to the music, glimmers of red among the black. Yesterday she was at the orange tables, Monday she was in the History section today she’s along the wall in fiction section. Glowing brown skin under the fluorescent library bulbs. As she raised the paper coffee cup to her lips, she gently blew on the black plastic cover before taking a sip. Her eyes ventured from whatever she was doing on her computer and met mine. I fumbled with the book I had in my hand and much to my embarrassment it dropped to the grey library carpet. Stooping to reclaim the book I saw her head shake a little. Laughing? Judging? Who knows?

“Can you help me out here?” I queried waving a hand in her direction as I rose from the floor. I was already embarrassed; I didn’t have much more dignity to lose.

She looked up once more, pulling the headphones down to her neck. Her brown eyes stared directly into mine. It felt like I was being pinned to a wall under her gaze. “I don’t work here.”

Folded in my lips, anxiously hitting the book against the palm of my hand. “Yeah, but I’ve seen you around so I figured you would know.”

Her eyes travelled up and down my tall frame as I inched closer, a smirk making its way onto her face. “And if I don’t?”

I silently hoped she couldn’t hear the rattling of my heart in my chest. Here was someone I didn’t know, a stranger who intrigues me so much it’s causing my heart to race. “I’m sure you do.” I replied my confidence was shocking to me but she seemed intrigued. Leaning back and folding her arms she glanced down at her screen once more, a thought ran behind her brown, almond eyes before she looked back at me.

“What are you looking for -?”

“Bellamy.”

She smirked again, looking off to the side before asking again, “What are you looking for? Bellamy?”

There it goes again. My heart rattling around at the sound of my name from a stranger’s lips. I explained that I had an Art History research project and needed some literature.

“You’re in the wrong section. Art History is separate from History.” She replied dusting off her legs as she stood. “Don’t ask me why because I don’t work here.” She continued with a smirk.

I trailed after her as she walked past me after collecting her things from the carpeted floor. “Art History is the section behind the café. Hope you find what you are looking for Bellamy.”

“I owe you.” I called after her as she shot me a smile before disappearing down the steps to the ground floor of the library.

Thalia

“A Bellamy? That’s who you are fawning over this week?” my friend Malika pestered as we walked home that day from classes. She liked to torture me about everything and I did the same in return. We met at orientation and it was the strangest friendship I’ve had to date but also my favorite. “Come on T you have to focus. You are the mystery. You can’t fawn over a Bellamy.”

I rolled my eyes, side stepping a puddle on the cobblestone. “I’m not fawning. You asked how my day was. I told you. End of discussion.”

A scoff came from my friend, followed by a knowing look. “Thalia. As your friend I am reminding you of how heart broken you were last month when the guy you were not obsessed with brought his girlfriend to what you thought was going to be a study date.” My friend noted throwing air quotes on ‘not obsessed with’.

Tongue in cheek I tried not to remember. It was embarrassing for me. “Fine, you have a point. I still state that I am not fawning.”

“Objection your honor. She’s reaching.” Malika jested looping her arm through my own as we pushed open the doors to the building our dorm was in.

St. Catherine’s sounds like it should be an all-girls institution. It was until a few years ago when administration or whomever decided they should be more inclusive making it one of the top universities in the county. Malika and I both got in on a full ride but that was by missing out on a lot of high school experiences to get the grades worthy of a St Catherine’s girl, it’s what we first got drunk over and cried about together on our first night of being roommates. I knew she understood me and was just looking out for me. We had similar history and family lives, she was just trying to make sure I don’t lose my streak for some random mystery greaser in a library. Her words not mine. It was our last year and now wasn’t the time to loose focus, St Catherine’s honors can place you anywhere you want to go you start at the bottom like everyone else but with a head start.

At the end of your final semester, if you are one of the honors students, they place you in a summer internship role with the firm, company, lab of your choice and at the end of that period you have an advantage over any other poor soul who didn’t work hard enough or isn’t favored enough through nepotism to get a position. The constant nag of this coveted prize is sometimes what gets seniors to change their ways from the frat behavior of their first three years of the college experience. Malika, like with everything, decided to make this work for her better than anyone else. She was on track for honors and already was looking at law firms to become a paralegal and with her all-A profile for the last three years she was already ahead. She was on a first name basis with the dean but while being the biggest nerd I’ve ever met she was also the largest party animal. Her trick was a three-drink minimum, she says it gets her the buzz she needed without blacking out and not being able attend classes the next day. Malika had control. She was my control I so desperately needed.

With high school and my hawk of a mother for a chastity belt, I was like a kid in a candy store when I started St. Catherine’s. Unfortunately,  as much as it pains me to admit, the boys were what distracted me the most. I was not this person before college in my small town of 600 people there weren’t many options. College is a bunch of young adults pulled from all corners of the world or country and shoved within a couple square miles to learn. Options were all I had and Kade who worked and probably still works at the Benny’s Gas and Go back home paled in comparison to them. I was the type to yell at the screen when the main character tossed aside her morals to be with a random guy she met the day before, now I was her. Or I would be without Malika who has dragged me away from what would have been drunken mistakes on more than one occasion. As we settled into our dorm, taking of the clothes from day I made a mental note to thank her when we graduate in 95 days.

Bellamy

She wasn’t here today. Or maybe I missed her I don’t know but now I was walking aimlessly in a library I had no intention of actually being productive in. It didn’t matter to me that I had a portfolio to finish there was something intriguing about  her.

“I thought you wanted to come here to work on our project. Not wonder around aimlessly.”

I honestly forgot he was with me. Jake, some random first year I got stuck with in an elective course that believed in the torture that was group work. Unlike most first years at St. Catherine’s, Jake was taking it very seriously not matter how many times I tried to shake this kid, he was always there like a stubborn stain.

“I came here because I wanted to talk to a friend. You took my single word reply as an invitation to join me.” I muttered side stepping a girl who had was more interested in her phone than not colliding with passersby.

“Look Bellamy.” Jake began with such a condescending tone I almost rolled my eyes, “I don’t know what you have going for you besides the brooding and wondering but I would like to ace my first year.” The freshman rambled reminding me just how much I disliked people voicing their opinions, well in my direction. Freedom of speech or whatever.

As I turned to glare at the runt a flash of red caught my eye behind Jake. A red cardinal sweatshirt was her choice of oversized clothing today. Her headphones hung around her neck and she balanced her coffee cup, laptop, and textbooks in her arms. Science major what I could make out from the visible spines of the textbooks.

“Oh, is that the friend you are supposed to be meeting? Let’s get your meet and greet over and done with so we can finish the presentation.”

Before I could stop him, Jake was making his way over to her. Cursing under my breath I stood there and waved awkwardly when Jake pointed in my direction. A small smile spread across her lips and I pleaded silently that Jake wasn’t embarrassing me. A feeble “Hi,” fell from my lips as the pair walked over to me.

“I thought we were going to meet in the Art History section.” She questioned, that smile now a smirk.

It was my turn to smile, “I was on my way there but you met my obstacle, Jake. Jake this is-“

“Thalia. Bellamy owes me a favor that he’s paying out today. So, you guys have to work on the presentation you mentioned another time.” She said cutting me off but apparently persuading Jake with a single excuse. “Sorry Jake.”

The first year clearly was under the same spell I was. He stumbled back a little under her gaze before clearing his throat, and quickly excusing himself neglecting to apologize to me for being an annoying little prick.

“Thank you for that. He was being a pain.” I said falling into stride with her as she continued her walk that was halted abruptly. “So is your name actually Thalia?” I questioned shoving my hands in the pockets of my  sweats.

She nodded, “Why would I lie about my name Bellamy? Did you lie about yours?” Thalia asked looking over to me. Those brown eyes making me stumble over my response.

I shook my head, plucking one of her textbooks from her stack and flipping to through the highlighted pages. “So, Thalia, how will you be cashing in this favor of yours today?” I asked finding my voice again.

She chuckled at my query as she picked a carpeted corner to sit in. “Don’t you have things to study for? Or are you a freshman looking for an excuse to hang out with a senior and brag to his friends about it?”

“Not a freshman. In fact, a senior who is procrastinating on his art portfolio.” I replied taking a seat next to her. She was warm and smelt of vanilla coffee. “But this favor has a 24-hour time limit let’s not waste it.”

I watched as Thalia pulled her legs under her body. She was thinking. Her eyes flicked across the yellow flecks that speckled the grey carpet. “You can help me study Bellamy. And then I’ll owe you.” She said reaching her hand out for me to close our deal.

“I don’t think that’s how these types of transactions work.” I prodded taking the opportunity to wipe my hand in my sweats.

Thalia shrugged. “Take it or leave it Bellamy.”

Thalia

We shook on it and now I was being drilled on my respiration flash cards by art student Bellamy. He was actually helpful when he wasn’t staring directly at me or smirking. At the end of a successful session of recall Bellamy handed me his phone as I downed the now room temp dregs of my coffee. “What for?”

“Your number. So, I can call in my favor. The library is nice and all, but I can’t come in here looking for you all the time. It’ll ruin my rep.” Bellamy jested.

I couldn’t help but shake my head at his forwardness. “Your rep you say? And what exactly is your rep Bellamy?” I questioned taking the device from him and tapping the 11 digits.

He watched as I put my name in the phone. “I’ve been told I’m brooding. You don’t brood in a library Thalia.”

Nodding I tapped his phone against the palm of my hand, “Debatable but okay. You have 24 hours.” I stated handing him his phone.

“I’ll come up with something.” Bellamy said smirking again. I liked his smirk. It showed in his eyes first before the corner of his mouth quirked up. He stood grabbing my textbooks, while I was left with my laptop and a coffee cup to dispose of as he walked with me to the entrance of the library.

“So, I think we should have some rules for this situation of ours. Like what happens after 24 hours are up and we haven’t recalled our favor?”

Bellamy nodded, mulling over my question “Um I don’t know. I guess we should come up with a consequence shouldn’t we. Or the other person determines what happens.”

It was my turn to think about the possible scenarios that could stem from this. “Okay. And favors are not to be anything that make us uncomfortable. We have to agree the favor.”

“Agreed.” He quickly agreed, his neck flushing a light shade of pink. “Anything else?”

“Nope.” I replied taking my books from him, “Remember to cash in that favor soon.” I said quickly, walking away before he could say anything else. I took a deep breath shooting Malika a 911 text.

***********

Sitting on my bed back in the dorm, I recited the concordance of the pact I made with Bellamy. My friend, on her own bed, pushed her black rimmed glasses on top of her raven hair she had pulled hastily in a ponytail. Her signature studying look. “What’s with the look?”

“You made a random pact with mystery library guy after we talked about you focusing on graduating with honors. The face is confusion Thalia. What favor would he even need to call in?”

I shrugged, “Up to him, I guess. I’ll still graduate with honors but also with an interesting story to tell at thanksgiving dinner.”

Malika rolled her eyes bringing her glasses back down to the bridge of her nose. “Okay T. Once you have it all figured out. Just make sure if you rob a bank, you put some money aside for me.”

I smiled to myself. “What would you need the money for miss paralegal? If anything, I’ll be begging you for extra funds when I’m doing my research.”

 

Bellamy

Staring at the magenta wash I covered the canvas in three days ago I groaned. It was the last piece of my portfolio that had to be done before the gallery showing, which was the practical exam for us art majors. The gallery was in two weeks and I only had this sad starting point which stared back at me waiting to be painted. The art studio normally helped but it seems to have lost its magic. Picking up my phone I flipped through my playlists trying to find something that would help. Nothing. Nothing was working and at this point who cares about what Mr. Sheffield said about inspiration and a cohesive story in our portfolios, I wanted this to be over.

After picking up a paintbrush for the tenth time I finally gave up for the night, packing up my things putting the magenta canvas back in the locker labelled ‘B. Matthews’ where the four finished projects sat. Sighing I tossed my apron in as well, closing the locker and shooting Thalia a message. I know it hasn’t even been twelve hours but I wanted to talk to someone who wouldn’t just prompt me to get high and think about it later.

I’ll cash in my favor now.

We decided to meet at the café on campus, Killn’ Time. I let her pick since I didn’t really care where we spoke, once it wasn’t the art department. Pushing open the door, the ringing of the bell caused a few people to turn their heads in my direction. The café was mostly empty, one or two students were catching up on some work, a couple was having a coffee date in the corner and Thalia was sitting in a booth on the far side of the room. She held the navy ceramic mug in front of her with both hands her nails tapping against the mug rhythmically. The steam from the beverage in front of her, most likely coffee, floated around her face as read the book open in front of her. Immediately drawn towards her I sat across from her in booth after getting her attention.

“I didn’t expect you to cash in that favor so quickly.”

I chuckled pulling my hood down and running my hand through my hair, “Neither did I to be honest. I just wanted to talk.”

Her smile quickly changed from playful to concerned. Furrowed brows and she pulled her bottom lip between her teeth a little, closing her book. “And you picked me because?”

“My friends aren’t exactly the listen and support type. Or the listening type and this isn’t a thing I just want brushed off.”

Thalia nodded seemingly understanding what I meant. “I won’t promise that I’ll give the best advice but yeah I’ll listen.”

Flicking my tongue over my lips as if to remove any doubt or anxiety, “I have a huge gallery submission coming up, it’s like the art students final practical exam. We’ve had all of break to finish five pieces of different media and I’m stuck on my traditional piece. I don’t know why but every time I stand in front of that canvas, I seem to loose all inspiration. It’s like my brain is frozen. And my professor says that there should be a general theme to all the pieces but the original muse of the piece is kind of not an option anymore.”

“Who was it?” she interrupted, pulling my eyes towards her face once again. Her eyes filled with a genuine concern. Under the fluorescence of the lights, you could see flecks of gold in her eyes. “Your muse I mean.”

I blinked, taken back by the question. There wasn’t a definitive answer but the first thing that came to mind was, “My mom. She was the inspiration for the first two pieces. The third just came to me after that. There was a flow kinda. I don’t know how to describe it. The fourth one was just a piece I got an A on before cause I was in a time crunch and the fifth alludes me.”

“What happened to your mom?” My mouth went dry and I think Thalia could sense something changed as she leaned back shaking her head. “I’m sorry continue.”

This is what I wanted wasn’t it? Someone to actually care so why is it so difficult to tell her? Probably something I should bring up in therapy this week. “No, it’s fine. She has stage four breast cancer. It’s been different I guess.”

Thalia nodded, tucking a section of hair behind her ear exposing the constellation of piercings on her ear. “I get how it could be different. When did you find out she was sick?”

It was my turn to lean back into the brown pleather with a deep sigh rub my hands on my thighs. “Over the break. When my block started.” I looked down at my pair of Converse. “It is just difficult seeing someone who you’ve painted as strong for all your life just taken down by something no one ever saw coming. She hasn’t passed yet but she’s basically a ghost of herself.”

“And you’ve been the opposite of that in your pieces.”

I nodded looking back at her. Her hands still wrapped around the mug, but the brown liquid no longer steamed. The gold still in her eyes. “And it’s hard to display her as anything else. It feels like I’m doing her a disservice.” I replied to which Thalia quickly shook her head, disagreeing with me.

“No, it’s not a disservice to tell her story. If anything, it would be one not to tell it. I’m sure she would want you to.”

Silence hung between us as I processed what she said. “This must not have been what you thought my favor was going to be huh?” I questioned with a hesitant smirk.

Thalia’s brow furrowed, probably because of the sudden change in topic. “Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect. My roommate definitely thought something was amiss. Your first favor the same night, but to be fair she thinks every guy I mention is out to harm me in some way.” She replied tilting the mug. The light bounced off the ceramic sheen of the mug casting strange shapes onto the wall next to us.

A real smile made it’s way onto my face, “Sounds like good friend.” I replied which got a genuine smile out of Thalia herself. “I’m sorry to dump this all on you.”

“You’re good Bellamy.” She confirmed with a shrug. “I would have listened with or without the favor.” She stated before her nose scrunched in distain. I watched as she fished a vibrating phone out of her pocket.

“My alarm.” She explained. “It’s the end of my break.” She slipped her tongue into her cheek for a moment tapping away at the little screen in front of her. “We can talk on the way back to my dorm if you still need to get somethings off your chest.”

My heart leapt with her suggestion but then again, I didn’t want to distract her. “No, you can go. Wouldn’t want that roommate of yours to think I’ve kidnapped you.” I responded with a chuckle. She laughed along with me for a moment but I could see she was still wondering if to leave me by myself after this or not. “Which building are you in?” I questioned after letting out a purposefully exasperated sigh.

Thalia folding in her lips and breaking eye contact smiled. “Reynolds. So not far.”

Nodding, I was first to my feet “That just happens to be on route to my dorm. I can keep you company if you are truly enchanted by my presence so much.”

She scoffed but followed me out of the café. We walked for a while on the cobblestone path. Amber light from the cast iron lamp posts created spots of light that Thalia was adamant on walking through. The yellow light illuminating her in a soft glow. I cleared my throat as we turned through the park, the sprinklers spitting mechanically over perfectly kept lawns. “Thanks, by the way. For letting me vent.”

Thalia nodded turning so she could face me as she walked backwards, “You are welcome, Bellamy. You know, I’m happy you used your favor tonight.”

I smirk at how adamant she was in her statement. “What do you mean by that?”

She thought for a moment, still backwards in her stride. “Malika was being more uptight than usual. And I know she means well but I was on the verge of a breakdown, and I don’t have one of those scheduled for the week so I would’ve just been thrown off schedule.”

I chuckled a little, there was some truth to her joke. I could see it as she flicked her eyes down to her shoes while she talked. “Well, we can’t have that now, can we?”

Thalia whipped back around, her hair bouncing as she fell back into stride on my right. “This is me.” She stated with a smile as we stopped in front of the iron archway that indicated the entryway to Reynold’s Hall.

One of the larger halls on campus, a popular housing arrangement for scholarship or exchange students. It was closer to a lot of the more ‘scholarly’ aspects of St. Catherine’s; the library, classrooms, dinning hall were all in comfortable walking distance. I had to walk a little further than wanted to get to anything class related as someone who lived in the circle of frats and sororities. K?N, not something I advertised about myself generally and it wasn’t my first choice but if my dad partying his college life away 20 years ago meant I got free accommodation for being a legacy I wasn’t going to turn away the opportunity because of the stigma behind fraternities. I just wasn’t going to tell anyone I was in one right away.

“Goodnight Thalia. See you when I see you.” I said smirking at her and turning away before she could draw me in once more. Walking on my own once again on a night where my favorite color was gold.

Thalia

As a mostly independent person, finding something to label as a favor was posing to be more difficult than I thought it would be. Other than studying there wasn’t much I needed help with. I groaned as I scrolled through my essay for what felt like the hundredth time. Looking for any disparities but the words melted together. Closing my laptop, I fell back onto my bed staring up at the popcorn ceiling of my dorm room. Looking around the room I racked my brain for a good enough reason to message Bellamy but I doubted he jump at the idea of helping me clean in here. Interrupting my thoughts my phone buzzed at the foot of my bed and I watched the notification flash at the top of my screen.

Pulling myself up to grab the phone I scoffed as I read the message. It was from Lincoln Haynes. Strange name but some how it fit this guy perfectly. Reeking of privilege Lincoln always got what he wanted, granted he worked for the majority if his grades everything else landed in his lap. I however have evaded being associated with him for 2 years of persistent pursuit. Here he was again, like clockwork asking me to study. At first, I was flattered but now it’s just annoying. Pushing open my laptop again I stared at the essay wondering if I should just bite the bullet and submit it when my phone buzzed again, this time Lincoln was inviting me to a frat party, it was Greek week apparently. He even invited Malika, he called her Mellissa but the invitation was there. I knew she would say no she had a mock trial the next day, it was all she could talk about for the last week. I wanted to go but I didn’t want Lincoln to get the wrong idea this party was so I could blow of some steam and forget about this essay on why I think cancer is a mitochondrial disease. So, I called Bellamy.

Don't ask me why I called him. I could've texted but instead I sat there on my bed, one leg in bed the other swinging casually while my phone sat in my hands ringing. I listened to it ring once, twice before he picked up. He sounded out of breath.

“Thalia? We call each other now?” he questioned. I don’t blame him for being confused, I didn’t even realize I was calling him until it was too late.

I pushed my frizzy hair out of my face, making a mental note to wash it soon. “Yeah, sorry to blindside you like this. But how do you feel about parties? Specifically, frat parties?”

What was I doing? Seriously what was I doing. My mouth was moving and the sentences were comprehensive but I truly didn’t know where any of this was going.

“Umm. Depends. Which fraternity?” he asked as I tapped through my phone looking at Lincoln’s message again.

“Oh, Theta Nu. It’s Greek gods and goddess theme which is a bit on the nose if you ask me. But come with me as a favor.” There was a pregnant pause and I cringed inwardly at the incessant whirring of my fan in the background if this call.

“How is this a favor exactly? Why not ask Malika?”

“She has a mock trial on Monday and I don’t want the guy who invited me to get the wrong idea.”

Bellamy chuckled on the other side of the phone. “Sure, I'll go with you Thalia.  Send me the invite.”

A smile spread across my face before realization hit me like a truck. “I didn't even ask if you were busy right now. I just called you out of the blue like a mad person.”

His laugh sounded again, making me smile once more. “It's fine I wasn't doing anything important, just out on a run. I'm glad you called.” He said his voice fading to a mutter with his last words. “I'll see you tomorrow, Thalia.”

“I'll see you tomorrow, Bellamy.”

*****

“I can’t believe you are leaving me in my time of need.” Malika whined without looking up from the folders of information in front of her. “How am I supposed to finish all of the wine by myself?” she pouted gesturing to the three bottles she had pulled out of her emergency stash for this very occasion.

I was picking out my curls to in an attempt to make my afro symmetrical in front of the only mirror in our dorm that we snagged off the side of the road at the end of first semester. The white paint was flaking off and revealing the awful vomit green color we were attempting to cover in the first place. “Coming from the same person who finished an entire jug of Tito’s in one night. You’ll be fine.” I teased smoothing out the white material I was wrapped in I slid two gold cuff on my arms and fluffed my hair out one last time before checking my phone. “And Bellamy is outside. Don’t wait up for me.” I grunted as I pulled on my Air Forces, perfect for frat parties. “You’re gonna kill it tomorrow.” I gave her a quick kiss on the cheek before I grabbed my phone and my keys.

Running down the steps of my building, I was surprised to see Bellamy leaning against the wall on the outside of the dorms, smoke bellowing out of his nose and mouth and a cigarette hanging from his fingers. I cleared my throat as I pushed through the doors catching his attention. “Hey.” I greeted as his eyes travelled from my shoes to my face. “What?”

“You look great.” He said stepping back to look at me again.

I chuckled, “You don’t look to bad yourself.” I replied flicking the makeshift gold leaf crown that sat on top of his curls. His toned body exposed from an opened button down and a pair of white shorts that stopped above his calves. “Shall we?”

Bellamy nodded, taking one last drag of his cigarette before putting it out on the red brick of the building before flicking it into a nearby trash bin. “Lead the way.” He said with a smile as we walked to Theta Nu.

Bellamy

She was glowing. The way the cuffs wrapped around her arms, the gold accented her beautifully. The white satin of her dress against her dark brown skin and the way it wrapped around her body. Satin tight around her torso with panels of fabric creating a plunging neckline, leaving her chest exposed. A simple gold chain hanging on her collar bones which also seemed to glitter in the light of the night. The red and gold strands in her hair. The way the dress exposed enough of her thighs. Fuck.

“Did you hear what I said?” she asked, her eyes wide as she looked at me.

“No sorry. I was thinking about something.” I replied trying not to look at her chest. “What did you say?”

“I asked if you had any epiphanies regarding your art.” She repeated as we stepped into quickly moving line of students who were trying to enter Theta Nu.

I shook my head, “Unfortunately no. I’m still kinda stuck.” I replied clearing my throat as the scent of vanilla coffee filled the air the closer I got to her. “And I have to redo my clay piece because some dunderhead cracked it in the kiln.”

Thalia bit her lip to stifle a laugh, probably at my use of the word dunderhead. “Oh, I’m sorry. Hopefully this takes your mind off of things.”  

We were quickly to the front of the line where two guys, probably freshers who got stuck with grunt work, were scanning the invitations. “Hopefully.” I muttered to myself as we walked into the party.

Looking around at the bodies rubbing against each other, the bass of the pop songs slapping the air filling the space even on the outside of the Theta Nu manor. The front yard was already filled with students and the flashing lights inside illuminated the silhouette of the crowd inside. Thalia made a bee line for the inside of the manor, grabbing my hand as we entered. We weaved through the inebriated dancers and I was guided into the lounge by Thalia who seemed to know where she was going.  

“Thalia!” some guy called out to her as we were passing by the longue. “You made it.”

A tight-lipped smile spread across Thalia’s face and my brow twitched looking at the interaction between the two. “Lincoln. Yeah, I did.”

His eyes raked over her body, his smirk deepening, and the glaze over his eyes from what ever drug he was on became more visible as his gaze deepened. “You fit the theme very well.” He noted before his eyes found our hands, Thalia’s still latched onto mine. “And you brought a friend. What happened to Melissa?” he asked his eyes darkening as he looked at me.

“Malika. She’s busy. Bellamy is here instead.” She stated. No sass, no room for questions left. Lincoln is an asshole and he had the gelled hair to go with it surprisingly his cliché stopped there. Lincoln was an average guy, but he clearly thought he deserved Thalia’s attention more than I did and I couldn’t help but give him a once over as I was pulled into the kitchen.

“I assume he was the guy that invited you.” I said, yelling over the music as Thalia rummaged through a cooler and fished out two drinks. I leaned against the countertop next to the fridge while I watched her hop up on the island after checking the marble for spills. “Is he an asshole or did I read that wrong?” I questioned twisting off the cap of my drink and watching Thalia pop the top off her can open.

She shrugged sipping on the drink, “He’s persistent and I don’t like being around him but I guess you can call him an asshole.”

“So, why’d you come if he invited you?”

Thalia’s nose scrunched at my question. “I needed a distraction. So here I am.” She muttered something else after that way drowned out by the music.

“What?” I questioned moving closer to her. Vanilla coffee mixed with cherry.

“I also needed to use that favor up you know?” she said smirking before tipping her drink back to her head, her eyes still trained on mine. Gold.

I could feel a smirk sneak onto my face and her eyes flicked across my face before I nodded. “Fair enough Thalia.”

“Ball’s in your court Bellamy.”

Our eyes were locked on each other’s until a call for flip cup players rang out. Thalia’s eyes lit up. She downed the rest of her can and hopped of the counter pulling me into the longue. I wouldn’t say I’m a pro at flip cup but I was pretty decent, it came with being in a fraternity, but that doesn’t mean it’s my favorite game. Thalia on the other hand was buzzing with anticipation. The promise of competition burned in her eyes and she stood, anticipation coursing through her body as some guy counted down at the top of the table. I stood behind her watching as she screamed fear into a guy who towered over her, for not getting his cup flipped in a short enough time. Finally, it was her turn. She downed the cup and with the concentration of a bomb squad member she attempted to flip the cup. Her brow furrowed and her tongue poked out from between her lips. Successfully flipping the cup, she punched the air and gave the guy on her right a double high five. She was on cloud nine. Bouncing all over the place as her side of the table won the race. A gold leaf grown was placed on her head from one of her teammates as they all took celebratory shots.

“I think you almost made that man cry.” I chuckled as she made her way back over to me.

She scoffed taking my drink from me and taking a sip. “He has all that muscle and can’t flip a plastic cup? I wasn’t going to loose because of that.” She said with a smile.

I looked at her for a moment before saying, “Can I use my favor now?”

Her curls bounced as her head tilted to the side a bit. “Sure. I don’t see why not. What’s the favor?”

Thalia

“Bellamy. I’m not trying to wash paint out of this dress.” I commented as we walked into one of the rooms in the art department, Bellamy towing a stolen cooler behind him. It’s not like the house full of drunk students would miss a few drinks.

He laughed from behind me, “You can put this over your dress.” His hand outstretched, gripping a black t-shirt. The image of three small leaves, I couldn’t tell what kind permanently etched into his skin. Our hands grazed each other’s as I took the shirt from him. “I need your help.” He said turning away as I pulled his shirt over my head. It smelt of clay, acrylic, and nicotine.

“Yeah. That would be why you called in your favor in the first place.” I jested but held up my hands, feigning surrender as he glared at me. “Ask away Bellamy.”

“Paint with me?”

It was my turn to stare at him in disdain. “You want me to paint with you? I hope it's not going in your portfolio because its not going to be very good.”

The art student chuckled shaking his head, his dark curls bouncing as he did so. “No, it’s for fun.”

I felt my eyebrow flick upwards, involuntary reaction. I guess he was uncomfortable at the party. “Fine.” I replied pulling another pair of drinks form the cooler. “But you don’t get to laugh if I'm not good.”

“I promise I won't laugh.” He said setting up an easel beside what I assume was his own. A small folding table stood between the easels, jars of water, stained from years of painting, accompanied by a stack of well loved palettes and more brushes than anyone would know what to do with. Bellamy propped up two boards of canvas, one for him one for me. He pulled his phone out of his back pocket and quickly scrolled through to find a suitable playlist for the moment. After he'd finished his routine, he sat in front of his canvas and beckoned me to do the same.

I took a deep breath and sat in front of the canvas, grateful that his shirt fell just below my dress that would have been ruined if I messed up. “And I just paint anything?” I questioned. Bellamy who was already swiping away at the canvas with his first coat of paint gave an affirmative grunt in response. His eyebrows knit together as the thoughts of what he was going to create danced behind his brown eyes.

Art. I'd always been fascinated by it and more by the people who could create something out of nothing. Grabbing a large brush, mimicking Bellamy's actions, I thought about how it was stripped away from me during high school. My love for creating. I was told no so many times, that science was my passion. Which it is, but I also missed this.

I chuckled to myself as the brush ran over the canvas. “I haven't done this in a while.”

“Really?” Bellamy questioned from where he sat, having managed to cover his canvas already and was sketching out the soon to be image on a paint covered notebook that at some point must have been a plain black leather journal. “You used to paint?”

“Yeah, but not seriously. I used to paint like everyone else did when art was a mandatory subject in school.” I said shrugging off the question. “You know with v shaped birds and a sun in the top right-hand corner.”

Bellamy laughed to himself, the sound of the lead pencil scratching on the pages just under the song he had playing. I couldn't make out the words but the vibe was somber, calming. “Well, why'd you stop painting not seriously?” he teased.

I wiped the excess paint off onto a stained cloth that was weighed down by the water jars. “You know when school turned from fun to you making decisions that would shape the rest of your life? Around then.” I noted, trying to keep my tone light but the room already had a more serious feel to it. Sipping on a beer, I tried to ignore it but it was like an annoying toddler poking at my leg.

“I can get that. So, what did you do for fun?”

A scoff jumped out of me as I decided that abstract was the way to go for this painting.  “In high school? Nothing really. I focused on studies and extra curricular activities that would get me here and they did.” I made a pass of green over the canvas. “What about you? What was young Bellamy like?” I asked with a feigned wisdom to my voice.

“Young Bellamy was quiet, but nothing much has changed.” He smiled as he made an arch of black on the canvas. “I just dress better now, and talk to people who make me nervous.”

My eyebrows flicked up inquisitively. I made him nervous?

Bellamy

Her nose scrunched as she focused on making swirls and blobs on the canvas. If she understood what I just said she didn't show it. “Yeah. Young Bellamy was a chill guy.” I continued as I painted the rough colors for the brick pathway.

“I think present Bellamy is pretty chill to.” Thalia commented before laughing softly. I looked over to see her tapping away at her phone. “Malika says hi by the way. Well, she's complaining about how early she needs to wake up tomorrow and that your favors should stop taking me away from her. But that’s equivalent to her saying hi.”

I nodded with a smile, “My next favor will include the roommate. I promise.”

“I keep talking about my roommate but you haven't told me about yours.”

I cleared my throat, absent mindedly wiping my brush in my pants. “Well shit.” I muttered looking at the streak of brown against the stark white of my shorts. “Um. I don't have a roommate.” Not a lie but not the truth. I had my own room in the frat but living with 20 other guys would be classified as having a roommate.

“Doesn’t that get lonely?” she asked making a swirl of lilac through the jade blob.

I nodded, “It does.” Again, not a lie. 20 frat guys aren't necessarily the most comforting bunch of people on the planet. “But I'm an only child so one could say I’m used to it.”

“I get that. I’m glad you have me then.”  Thalia said switching to red paint, “To talk to.”

“And if Malika is ever busy, you can talk to me.” I replied my eyes fixed on the canvas in front of me. I could feel her eyes on me. She watched me paint cotton balls of green for a while before turning back to her own canvas. “How’s painting not seriously going?”

She laughed again, the sound filling the air with a new comfort, “It’s going pretty well Bellamy.” My name still sounded like a new word every time she said it.

“Glad to hear Thalia.”

 

 

Thalia

I watched Malika pace up and down our small dorm, pulling on her pants suit in increments as she recited the important points for her mock trial today. I had been ready to walk her to the trial for a while, but according to her, I made the mistake of letting her sleep in. Malika was punctual and the definition of type A. If her mental plan of how the day was to go was even a little off, she would not be having a good day. Luckily, I planned for that and had everything laid out for her, mostly because when I got back to our dorm last night I could not sleep. Don’t ask why because I don’t know why. I kept getting distracted. It was like I had been hypnotized by the brush strokes, or how his shirt hung off his shoulders while he painted.

“Thalia. Did you hear me?”

No. I did not. “You’ll be fine Mal. Everything is laid out where it should be. Just breathe.” I replied plucking her thermos I’d filled with coffee off her desk and handing it to her. She only drank decaf, which I considered to be a crime but ignored. “We have forty-five minutes before trial which gives you forty minutes to set up and prep once you put on your shoes.”

She nodded slipping on her flats and smoothing down the non-existent stray hairs on her head. Malika did a final check of her bag making sure she had all the folders, notes, and highlighters she needed to ‘crush the defendant into nothing but a fine powder’. Walking arm in arm as we always do, we made our way across to the law faculty. I hate to admit it but every head of brown curly hair made me turn my head, I even tripped once or twice.

“You know I think I already know the answer to this, but are you okay T?” Malika asked as we entered the empty trial room.

I followed her down the aisle and to the desks at the front, “Yeah, I’m fine. We got back later than expected that’s all.” I said clearing my throat and helping her set up the binders on the desk.

“We? How is mystery art boy? Still a mystery?”

“I thought you were busy being nervous.” I deflected, squinting at my friend.

She waved me off sitting in one of the black leather chairs waiting for me to respond to her questions. “This will help me take my mind off of it.”

I sighed fiddling with one of the note pads, “He’s still a mystery. I don’t have anything more to say on that subject.”

“Objection, bullshit.” Malika interrupted. “Tell me about him. I know I was dismissive but if he’s relevant I should know.”

Shrugging, I tugged at my sweater vest. “He’s just Bellamy for now. I guess we are friends. We painted last night.”

“Painted? I thought you went to a party?”

“We did. Until we didn’t and we painted.” I repeated pulling my phone out of my bag and showing her the paintings. “This one is mine. He’s bringing it by later today.”

Malika’s mouth twisted into a smile. “It’s nice. So, I guess I finally get to meet this Bellamy.”

I narrowed my eyes at her once again. “I don’t know what you are thinking about but it better be about this trial.”

My friend shrugged me off, smoothing out her skirt as the door to the back of the room swung open. She shooed me off to the assigned seating for the audience as she conversed with her classmates, finalizing their course of action.

*****

“The jury find the defendant guilty your honor.”

I gave a thumbs up to my friend who smiled widely in my direction as the jury gave their decision. You could feel the relief on one side of the room bulldoze the tension of the other. I knew Malika was overjoyed that is for sure. I took my leave with the rest of the audience and decide to wait for her outside while she celebrated with her team.

“How did the trail go?”

“Bellamy?  Why are you here?” I questioned seeing the art major waiting on one of the iron benches, painted green, with my canvas.

He shrugged, “I wanted to meet the infamous Malika, and give you your painting earlier than I thought. Something came up.”

Shaking off the shock from seeing him sooner rather than later I took a seat next to him. “Well Mal is celebrating her victory inside; she should be out soon.” Bellamy smiled, a little wider than his usual smirk and a dimple burrowed it’s way into his cheek. “Did you really drag that thing all the way out here?”

“It wasn't that far and it's not like the canvas is heavy.”

The sound of laughter pouring of the law faculty pulled my attention from Bellamy to the entrance where Malika was. I caught her eye and waved her over, “There Malika this is Bellamy. Bellamy this is Malika.”

“Oh, you're Bellamy. I thought you'd be broodier less skater.” Malika said smirking with her arms crossed over her chest taking all of Bellamy in.

Bellamy nodded, “I thought you'd be taller.” He countered with a shrug.

I bit the inside of my cheek to keep my laughter inside as Malika looked him up and down.

Malika cleared her throat, “Anyway. I'm going to celebrate with the team for a bit. Bellamy if you could do me a favor and make sure this kid is ready for her Biochem test on Friday that would be nice.” She continued despite me glaring at her. I could feel Bellamy's eyes on me as she waved and walked away in the direction her team disappeared into.

“So, you told her about the favor thing?” Bellamy asked with his dimple again. When did he get the dimple?

“Yeah, I did.”

Bellamy chuckled lifting the canvas under his arm. “Just do you know. Its not a viable favor unless you ask me.” He said leaning in before getting up and heading in the direction of my dorm.

Bellamy

I could immediately tell which side of the room was Thalia's and which was Malika’s. They both had an order to them but Malika’s was more muted while shades of red speckled Thalia's side. I placed the painting at the foot of Thalia's bed while she sat at her desk pulling her shoes off.

“Is it what you expected?” she asked spinning to face me.

I shrugged. “You could say that. It makes sense.”

She chuckled shaking her head. Her hair was still in its natural state from last night so it bounced with each movement. “I'm not sure what that means but okay. Art student Bellamy.”

Smirking I walked over to her looking at the photos on her tack board. Malika was there and people I could assume to be her family stood with her in front of the St. Catharine’s sign at the entrance of the school. Her eyes were squeezed shut and she smiled widely, with her parents on either side of her in front of the red brick wall. “Your parents?” I questioned pointing at the image.

She nodded leaning forward to prop on the desk a little. “Yeah. Well, my mom and my stepdad. Dad is in the next one.”

Sure, enough there was another picture of her and her father pinned above that one. He squeezed her in a hug and was kissing her on the cheek. Thalia’s nose was scrunched but her smile gave her mirth away. She looked like her dad, well minus the clean-shaven head, but she had her mom’s eyes.

“They were never married, my parents. Everyone is one big happy family.” She stated smiling at the pictures. “My sister is due a couple days before I graduate too.”

I felt myself smiling along with her. “Are you excited?” I asked leaning against the wall watching her think.

She shrugged, “I don’t know. I don’t think I’ll be around enough to be excited you know? I’m happy for my mom and David though.”

My eyes scanned the board some more my eyes falling on a picture of a guy. He was standing in the ocean, Thalia on his shoulders, her hands in his damp curly hair. The sun glittered on their brown skin. They looked happy.

“My best friend back home. His mom and my mom are inseparable. Closest thing I have to a brother.”

“Are any of them coming for visitor’s weekend? Or did they stop coming after the first year.”

Thalia chuckled shaking her head. Curls bounced. “No unfortunately they are all overly supportive and at least one of them comes every year. They also force me to give a tour each time like they don’t know the university better than I do.” She stated moving from her seat and climbing up onto her bed. “I don’t know who’s coming this year though.” Her hands worked at the post-it notes that she had stuck on the wall. “What about you? Any family coming this year?”

My hand found the back of my neck and I sighed. “I’m not sure. I’m supposed to call my dad later today actually so I can invite them to the gallery showing.” I took the opportunity to pull two cream envelopes from my hoodies front pocket. “One for you and one for Malika.”

Her eyes went wide from where she sat on the bed. “You didn’t have to do that.”

My ears burned but I pushed through it. “I wanted to. I have more invitations than family anyway. All of my other friends have anyway cause they are in the class. Not saying we are friends. I –“

“We are friends Bellamy. It’s okay.” Thalia reassured. Her laughter glitter in the air. “You can put them on my desk. Hand me the painting?”

I cleared my throat suppressing a smile and did as she asked. Now for the harder part, talking to my dad.

Fathers are either really difficult to impress or don’t care. My father happened to fall into the latter category. My dad was a vision of American excellence. In college he partied hard and worked, not at hard. Opened a business that no one really understands or knows definitely what he does for a living and married a gorgeous woman. My mother always says she won the lottery with him. Realistically, my very Asian grandmother planted the idea of her marrying a white man in her head when she was 12 and twenty something years later their happy family was finalized when I was born. Their idea of a successful family did not come with an artist for a son.

“Hand me two command hooks. They should be in the top drawer of my desk.”

I shook my head trying to get rid of the imposter syndrome and dug through the drawer. There they were, two command hooks amongst the clutter. I watched her hang the panting, the back of her sweater vest lifting an inch when she lifted her arms over her head. A peak of skin. “It looks good.”

“You think? It’s not slanted, is it?”

“Definitely not slanted.” I huffed, my eyes meeting hers for a moment before my phone obnoxiously rang. The ringtone the default one that came with the phone, I could never be bothered to change it. “I’m sorry. My dad runs on his own time and no one else’s. I have to take this.”

Thalia

I sat staring at the piece of art on my wall as Bellamy talked to his father outside of my room. Friends. We were friends. The colors stared back at me. Lilac, green, blue. It somehow worked with the room even though it shouldn’t. Maybe I just liked it that much. Sighing I climbed down from my bed wondering if I should go outside and make sure everything was okay with Bellamy. At the same time, we had just gotten past the friends label, quite awkwardly might I add. His ears turned red and he couldn’t look me in the eye.

“Thalia?” His voice sounded from the door causing me to whip around on the fuzzy black carpet. “I think I’m going to take off, okay?” His hands. One clutched his phone tightly, the other he had fisted into his pocket.

I swallowed thinking of what to say. “Umm. Yeah, that’s fine once you’re, okay?” his eyes flicked to mine. They were dull.

He nodded. “I’m okay.” Not true. “I'll message you?” he said before turning away once I nodded.

My gaze turned to the invitations that sat on my desk. The beige envelopes labeled with black cursive. One labelled Malika the other T.

Bellamy

Calls with my dad are always irritating but ever since my mom got sick, he was more stubborn. It came from a good place, is what I thought to myself as my sneakers pounded against the dirt trail. I found this space in my first year and its where I came to clear my head when the house got too loud. I'm sure the other guys come out here to impress girls or whatever but I came out here to run or scream depends on the day.

I think my dad forgets how old I am sometimes. It’s the last semester before graduation and he thinks a change in major is possible. It's like talking to a wall with him.

My phone rang loudly from the old wooden bench that I left it on. Rolling my eyes, I jogged over to see ‘Dad’ in bold. Deciding I'd rather rip the band aid off than drag this out any longer I answered. I shouldn't have.

“Sorry about that kiddo. Barry needed me to respond to something asap. But back to what I was saying. Art is fun and all but it's not a major.”

I scoffed. “It is though. If it wasn't it wouldn’t be offered as one.”

I could picture how his forehead wrinkled and how his tongue raked across his teeth. He was thinking. “Son. There is no need to be crass. I'm just saying you have so much more potential.”

My hand tugged at my hair. “Dad we aren't having this conversation again. Especially when I’m graduating in a couple weeks.”

He chuckled on the other side of the phone, “How do you know you’re graduating?”

Taking a deep breath, I pushed down the thought of tossing my phone into the dense green and forget this conversation ever happened. “I'm hanging up now. Don't call again unless it's an emergency. You’re wasting my time and breath. I'll see you in three weeks if you show up.” My finger hit the red button and I decided it was a day to scream.

Thalia

I hadn't heard from Bellamy since he ran out of my dorm room. That was four days ago. He said he would message me and it didn't occur to me that he would ghost me.

“Just message him.” Malika said before holding up a flashcard for me to answer. “Worst thing is he leaves you on read.”

“Um cytochrome c.” I narrowed my eyes at her after answering the question in the card. “I wouldn't know if he left me on read or not. My receipts are off. He could be dead in a ditch somewhere.”

My roommate nodded at my answer putting the card in the very short stack of correct answers so far. “You're being dramatic. You two are friends aren't you?”

I groaned and flopped back onto the bed as she smirked. She was teasing me, which was fine, but I was concerned. Did I have a reason to be? Not really no. Yet here I was. Distracted. Yay me.

Malika poked my sweatpants covered leg. “Thalia. You are staring into nothing. We have a whole pile to finish.”

Craning my neck from my position I pouted. “Can we do this later?”

Malika’s eyes rolled shut as she pinched her nose bridge in disappointment. Expected. “If you get 10 cards correct, consecutively, we can stop. How about that?”

With much hesitance I gave in. It was an ultimatum I could work with. Or so I thought. We sat there for another hour drilling cards. Either I was extremely distracted or very unprepared. Neither of those options were ones I was particularly keen on. Finally, Malika got tired of me and I was sitting in the dusk version of our dorm with the screen of my phone illuminating my face. The lamp on Malika's desk was casting an orange glow on her desk and our microwave whirred happily doing its job of heating a bowl of ramen in the ‘kitchen corner'. She was sat in her chair watching some show to, as she would say, defrost.

Tongue in cheek, I began to type only to delete it right after until I finally gave up and called him. Straight to voicemail.

“Well, that's never a good sign.” Malika commented.

“I thought you were watching your show.”

My roommate stared back unmoving. “Your keyboard sounds are on. I literally listened to you struggle to type something cohesive twenty-five times.” Her eyebrow quirked upwards as I opened my mouth to defend myself. “What are you going to do now?”

My nose scrunched as I thought about it. “I don't know what else I can do.”

Another week went by and my calls still went to voicemail. I bounced around from my classes to my dorm, not having time to go anywhere else since my lecturers suddenly decided to insert an additional assignment to the curriculum. Even buried under a mountain of work, I still couldn't the feeling that something was wrong Bellamy. Malika was certainly tired of my groaning every time the thought crossed my mind. So, I went for a walk.

I didn't really know what I was looking for we've only seen each other in three spaces on campus. The café was a long shot. He didn't even know where that was when I suggested it. I had to give him directions. The library also made no sense to try especially if he was avoiding me.

“Art department it is.” I muttered to myself taking a left as I left the Reynolds building.

Bellamy

My headphones were snug on my head as the foreign rap lyrics poured into my ears. I decided to tackle a massive canvas for one of my gallery pieces and my arms were paying the price. I decided to start over completely.  Taking a different look on things. I wiped my hand along my nose, the coolness left behind was definitely a swipe of cyan paint. Stepping off the step ladder I was using, a proud smile crept onto my face. A malnourished face screaming against a midnight blue background with flecks of color. The harsh strokes perfectly translated my frustration with school. Green. Frustration with cancer. Cyan. With my future. A deep orange shade. With school, a yellow similar to summer. Red for the anger I was harboring towards my dad. It was basic but it worked. A midnight blue somehow brought it all together. I guess my new theme was based off my emotions. Again, it was basic but it worked. It was truthful.

I sat on the plastic tarp I put down to help the janitors out a little. They came in everyday for the past week and found me covered in paint and manically scrapping together colors and throwing them at this gigantic canvas. Pulling off my headphones, I lay flat against the plastic crumpled against my back. I knew for a fact that I was going to being sweating soon but this was comfortable for now.  

Hearing the plastic tarp crumple from movement that wasn’t mine I turned to look behind me to find Thalia towering over me.

“Hi.”

Her eyebrow twitched, “Hi? Happy you’re alive you hermit.” She replied taking a seat next to me. Turns out weeks of isolating myself from her didn’t lessen her effect on my heart. She turned to look up at the eight-foot-tall canvas. “So, this why I haven’t heard from you in three weeks? Or are you out here doing favors for other people?”

Jealousy? “Just the painting.” I replied bumping my shoulder on hers. “I’m sorry for ghosting you by the way. My dad called me and I-”

“Freaked out and isolated yourself? Yeah, Yeah you did.” She replied smiling at me. “Was that the inspiration for this?” She asked nodding towards the canvas. “Yes, is the only appropriate answer by the way.” She teased.

I smiled widely at her. “Yes. That and some other things.”

“I’m really glad you’re okay Bellamy.” She said softly looking back at me. Brown and gold. Colors I’ve come to like more than I’d care to admit.

“I’m really glad you’re here Thalia.”

Thalia

No. Simply no. Who paints with their shirt off? I had made the executive decision to keep Bellamy company as he worked on the rest of his portfolio. The plan was he would paint, I would watch or study just to be there. You know friend things. I didn’t study much that afternoon, in fact I don’t think I even turned a page in my textbook.

“Thalia?” Bellamy called my name causing me to shuffle the flashcards in my hands, my only hope that I looked busy and not like I was analyzing how his back muscles contracted. “Are you okay?” he questioned turning towards me, finally pulling on a shirt. “You’ve been quiet.”

I cleared my throat, “Yeah, I’m good just hungry.” He smirked, with that annoying half smile that caused his eyes to crescent. “What? Why the look?”

His bottom lip jutted out a little as he shook his head, “Nothing. I was just going to ask if you wanted to go get lunch. Or dinner.” He corrected himself after looking at the time.

Shit. “Um. I’ll just check with Malika to make sure she didn’t do anything for dinner yet.” Sure, enough it was approaching 8 p.m.

 I used the opportunity of the call to distance myself from Bellamy and silently pleaded with my roommate to pick up the phone.

“I'm going to assume you found what you were looking for since it’s been hours.” Malika said, not even greeting me. She didn't have to.

“Yeah. He's alive and well. Um hypothetically speaking-“

“I'm fine T. I'm going by Kade tonight anyway. Also use protection. I love you by.” She cheered before hanging up and leaving me with my mouth gapping.

Bellamy tapped my should causing me to jump. “What's the verdict?”

“Oh. I'm free to do whatever.”

Whatever ended up being very similar to what one might call a date. I never asked if it was, never will. Anyway. It had date energy and my stomach was in knots. Suddenly my antiperspirant wasn’t doing its job.

We ended up going picking up a pizza, well as many pizza slices, we could carry from the cafeteria, and sitting on the roof of the art department, after I persuaded Bellamy that is.

“You know, the grass is just as good as this rooftop. It’s safer too.”

I scoffed picking the pineapple off my slice and putting it on the oil covered foil. “We aren't even on the edge. You'll be fine Bellamy." I taunted looking out at the campus.

“I would be better on the grass Thalia.” He mumbled taking a bite out of his slice. “Why the roof though?”

I leaned back on my forearms. The rooftop was rough but not uncomfortable enough for me to move, I just knew when we left, I’d have an abstract drawing pressed into my skin. “I have a lot of good memories on roofs. That and it’s pretty up here, and quiet.”

Bellamy chuckled next to me, mimicking my posture. He looked up at the sky which was quickly changing colors as the evening continued. His curls hovered above the concrete. “Yes, there are places like that less feet above the ground.”

He's not a fan of heights. “We can move if you want to.” I suggested pulling my knees up to my chest, the fabric from my sweats tickled my chin a bit. The evening wind cast a chill over my arms, tiny bumps prickling my skin.

I saw Bellamy shake his head as I watched the sun blink through the trees, the sky turning amber. “I can stand it for you. I disappeared for weeks it’s the least I can do.”

I couldn't help but chuckle. “I'm not going to make you stay up here Bellamy. We can go watch a movie or something.”

“Yeah, that would be better.” He quickly agreed, not pressing to stay any longer.”

I felt my smile grow wide as he stood to his feet hastily before offering me his hand. Beaming up at him I happily accepted.

-to be continued-

 

 


Submitted: September 22, 2022

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