Take My Hand (Knot Your Fingers Through Mine) Part I
"You know…" Clarke mumbles softly into the night. They're off to the side of the celebration by the floor to ceiling windows that overlook the stretch of the bay before them. "I was thinking…" She hints, swinging the remainder of her wine around in the glass.
"Yes?" Bellamy plays along, completely content in the moment.
"You're right." She sighs, swallowing. He can tell she'd spent a while dwelling over this. "About the trip. I have to go." He pauses, meeting her gaze in an attempt to digest her words. To say her statement didn't at least sadden him on some level would be a lie. Still, he smiled.
"And I'm going to go," She adds as a matter of fact a little winded from the amount of wine she ingested to get to her conclusion. "under one condition."
"Which is?" He questions in amusement.
"Come with me." She whispers tenderly. And he knows she means it for the look in her eye is nothing short of dead serious.
"You don't have to answer right now. I'm saying think about it." Clarke's quick to add so there's no confusion present. She doesn't want there to be with this. She was hesitant to ask him at first but standing there with him, she came to the simple realization she couldn't imagine being apart from him for that long. She wants him to come and she had finally said it.
Now, it was his move.
"I will… think about it." He quickly clarifies, because there's a lot on the table at the moment and he has to weigh out all the options. They're serious now, which means the decisions they make together have to be as well.
Still, she smiles. A smile so brilliantly knitted together he almost can't conceive how lucky he is. "Also, not trying to pressure you or anything, but you've got eight days to decide before that plane takes off." She adds ever-so-subtly, and together, they chuckle at the wittiness of her remark.
"I'll keep that in mind." And it's something he definitely does, along with the rest of options he has to weight out for there're a lot of things he has to consider. He needs time to recover, prepare himself both mentally and physically before getting back on the job. He has to think about Clarke and what it would mean for her for him to join her. This was supposed to be her trip, her opportunity to travel and immerse herself in the things she knew best; medicine and art. Would her perspective change if he was present? Then again, would it somehow make it better? There was simply no way to know.
Still, the appreciation he felt that she gave him a say, was beyond overwhelming. The fact that she thought to include him in the process was the exact reason in that moment he was certain she was the real thing — they were the real thing, and no matter the distance or heartache, they would be just fine.
The next morning is nothing short of hectic as Clarke, with Octavia's plans in hand, takes charge of the final set up. The gang shows up in the early hours of the morning, with the exclusion of the Bride who they leave behind to sleep in and prep for her upcoming day.
About a million things go wrong or so, it seems that way. The boys misplace the rings for a hot second, the ship had accidentally been docked on the opposite end of the pier, the flower delivery had sent the wrong truck, and the caterers were running late. Everything that could go wrong felt as if it did that morning, Clarke just hoped Octavia was having better luck than her at the moment.
Yet however large, the problems were ultimately fixed in their own timely matter; the boys found the rings in the glove box of Bellamy's car, after a small talk with the Captain the ship was relocated back to its original spot, she'd sent the flower truck back hoping to get them to bring the right one, and they had nothing to do but wait for the caterers to show up. The final set-up did indeed take longer than they imagined, but in the end, everything worked it's self out, and before the gang knew it, it was time to head back to the apartments and get dressed, this for Clarke meant, take the quickest, longest nap possible before it was go-time again.
The wedding prep almost felt like a war. Tackling down obstacles left and right, and sometimes even head-on and completely blind. So when Clarke stood before her bed when they got home, she crashed upon it with no restraints.
"Tired?" Bellamy teased in a chuckle behind her.
"Uhmm." Clarke groans back through the covers. "The thought of putting on a dress, heels and then proceeding to dance the night away does not seem appealing in any way right now." She adds, turning over. Bellamy nods in agreement grabbing his tux from the hanger on the door. "Really? Because I've got my dancing shoes."
"Oh well, in that case!" She laughs turning around with full force for his amusement.
"But I'm seriously taking a nap. Wake me up in twenty minutes when you need someone to tie that tie." She teases making herself a little more comfortable. Sadly, it's not long before she hears the thudding footsteps across the hall and back into her room. "Incoming…" Bellamy warns from the mirror just as his sister bursts through.
"Clarke we have a situation — are you seriously sleeping right now?!"
Somehow, by some force of miracle Clarke concludes, they made it. Through the chaos of getting the wedding party dressed and ready, which, with their group wasn't necessarily the easiest thing to do successfully. To helping Octavia and keeping her calm through the whole process, something that naturally Clarke would've expected to be difficult. But for some reason, wasn't necessary at all.
It was strange she expected her Octavia to freak out, at least once — and granted her first "situation" that stole the blond out of a nap was merely that the ribbon tying her bouquet together had come undone and she couldn't fashion it back. However, after the simple fix, Octavia was nothing but calm through it all.
For once, she didn't seem to feed off the chaos around her but remain calm and reserved, something Clarke found curious at first. But as the morning trudged on, she came to a subtle realization in terms of Octavia's behavior.
It must've been because was sure. She was sure of Lincoln, sure of herself. Sure of their future together.
The music was playing softly in the background through the double doors of the ship where, on the other side Lincoln stood at the alter waiting with a goofy, dumbstruck smile, ready to receive his bride. The weather had turned around at this point, and the usual Seattle winter gloom faded as the sun peaked through its clouds in rarity.
"You guys are up." One of the coordinators instructed. Raven and Monty walked the aisle first.
"Last chance to flee." Clarke teased the Blake sister. Octavia easily laughed on her brother's arm. "I'm well aware."
"No cold feet? Because I mean, this thing has emergency lifeboats. You could easily run away on one of those things." Bellamy adds ever-so-subtly making her laughter grow. "I'm pretty sure those are for actual emergencies."
"And what? My baby sister not wanting to get married isn't an emergency?" He continues, teasing. "Oh, stop it, Bell."
Together they all laugh.
Jasper and Maya make their way down.
"I'm up." Clarke swallows, getting nervous for some reason. She feels as if somehow, it's the end of something, and it is. It's the end of her and Octavia's single crazy twenties. And even though they were still in their twenties, and definitely not single anymore, things were changing. It was quite funny actually, Octavia, in spite of being a few years younger than her was moving at a rate of such maturity, Clarke couldn't see the difference anymore.
"Clarke?" The coordinator indicated. The blond nodded, smiling back at her best friend. "Good luck up there." She exhaled, meeting Bellamy's eyes for a brief moment in reassurance before positioning herself before the doors onto the deck of the ship.
The doors open, and at the same moment, her smile widens. An almost overwhelming amount of white flowers contrast the aged oak wood of the benches around the room. She spots Lincoln at the end of the isle, grin as wide as can be, waiting anxiously but yet somehow completely relaxed as if he's prepared for this moment his whole life. See's her mother, who after everything, Octavia insisted nothing shorter than she attend the wedding, sitting next to Finn and Kane, eyes so bright as if they could smile themselves.
And even if it's the end of that stage in her life, Clarke thinks as she walks, she couldn't welcome it with warmer arms. Their friendship was no way ending, it was merely evolving as they grow up, grow older. And nothing was better than doing so with life-long friends.
"You two are up." The coordinator states turning to the Bride and her brother.
"Remember; lifeboats." Bellamy teases. "Really? That's your last piece of advice to your sister before she gets married?" She jokes, playing along. "I'm merely laying out your options." He smirks offering his hand. "Plus, I'm not married so I think that automatically disqualifies me of offering any sound advice on marriage." He's quick to add in his timely fashion.
"Speaking of which. I know you saw it." She mumbles. The coordinator gives them the go, but Octavia holds a hand up, telling her to wait suddenly falling out of position to turn to him wanting this confrontation to be face to face.
"Saw what?" He knows exactly what she's referring to, but doesn't want to dive into the topic at this exact moment, there simply wasn't time for it. "Don't play games with me, Bellamy. Mom's ring." She clarifies. "I put it on your bed before you guys came back this morning."
"And, are you going to use it?"
"O, I'm literally supposed to be walking you down the isle right now." He points out in a nervous chuckle. "I'm aware. Answer the question." Of course, only his sister would choose that particular moment the get the answer out of him. She knew him too well.
"Guys, you have to go, now." The coordinator states, bringing them back into position.
"Bellamy…" Octavia whispers, not knowing why she was desperate for his answer. The doors swing open, there is no more time. So in the moment before they walk, he pats the outside of blazer jacket in reassurance and in a mere whisper he says, "When the time comes, one day. Definitely. Can I give you away now?"
She nods, smile radiating across the room. Together, they take a step.
And what Bellamy thought was going to be a hard day, turned out to be surprisingly easy due to the strong reassurance and trust he had in Lincoln to carry Octavia through the next stages of their lives.
The act was simple, the mentality behind it — letting go, was still in its own way a difficult trek to pass. She didn't need him any longer, not in the way she had for so long and it was going to take some time to get used to. But seeing her so content, marrying her best friend, someone he had no doubt would be there for her in ways from this point on in her life he himself couldn't, was more then he could ask.
The ceremony is short and sweet, yet somehow their guests still leave with the impression they've witnessed love in it's finest form. They stick to traditional vows, repeating the words after the Captain with such tender certainty as if they somehow hold a lifeline between them. And in a sense of way, they do.
"I, Lincoln, take thee, Octavia, to be my lawfully wedded wife, to have and to hold…" Lincoln starts. Through the ceremony Clarke notices Bellamy gazing her way and she finds herself mouthing 'pay attention' in his direction, coy smile and all.
But he can't, not really. And it's not because she's standing there, looking like that, although the view before him doesn't hurt — it's merely her presence that distracts him. The realization of how lucky and fortunate he's come to be that somehow, someway through the chaos of the world combined, they'd found a respite in each another.
"To have and to hold, from this day forward…"
For some reason he's transported back in a memory, to the last wedding they attended years before they deemed anything too significant to one another.
Go a couple years back and Clarke's lying lazily in the comfort of his warmth on the bed. Outside heavy snow falls and there's a fire crackling in the fireplace of her hotel room, bouncing luminous reflections off her bare skin. She's awake, they both are. Minds, wrapping around the fathom of what'd had happened.
They lay confused but comfortable. But that was no different than before, they'd always been comfortable. This time, though, felt different. He'd never seen her in such an exposed nature before, physically, of course, but mentally as well, for he could tell he mind was turning like clockwork.
"I-I should go." He lets out noticing her quiet nature. But she's merely thinking, nothing more. "No." The tone in her voice is so raw, so honest that it catches his attention. "Stay." Yet, he's hesitant to because he knows they probably shouldn't have done what they did. Her breakup with Finn was fresh so he has every doubt in his mind they're thinking different things.
Still, he found her honesty refreshing, now it was his move. "Are you sure?" He doesn't want to leave. He's surprisingly enjoying her company there. She nods, turning to face him. "We're friends right?"
He nods. His heart suddenly feeling heavy in his chest as her eyes piece into his. Of course, they were friends, he found himself thinking.
"Good." She swallows a smile, laying back down. And he holds her, he could tell she needed someone in her corner. In the recent weeks, she felt as if no one was, partly due to her mother's disdain following the aftermath of Finn's proposal, and everyone's shock.
He too was shocked. He was sure the two of them would end up together and he'd spend the rest of his life being dragged to their life-changing events by Octavia. But he underestimated Clarke's sense of direction. When first heard Finn was planning to propose he had no doubt in his mind she'd say yes, surprise to him and everyone else when she didn't.
"Are you okay?" He found himself asking.
"Yeah." She replies as if she herself was surprised by the answer. They lay so open and intimate with one another he doesn't feel out of place when he asks her what he does next. "Do you regret it? Not saying yes?"
"Not one day." He can tell it's what she's been thinking about as well. "Are you going to regret this?" She takes no time shaking her head. "No." And he believes her. "Why so many questions?" She questions softly. Bellamy shrugs having nothing else to offer. He's attempting to figure her out, but failing miserably and there was no way he was about to let her know. "Just wondering." He exhales, his thumb running up and down along the slope of her bare shoulder.
"Well, quit wondering." Clarke chuckles, bringing a smile to his face. She turns once again resting her head in the crook his shoulder, arm laying lazily across his chest. "And sleep." She mumbles, closing her eyes.
But he can't sleep. He tries because he's exhausted from spending the day with members of the extended Griffin family, but it's a lost endeavor. Instead, his mind wonders. He thinks about the woman in his arms ultimately coming to the realization she was different. They were different. This felt different. Not bad different mind you, for there simply isn't anything so, but a welcoming, refreshing different. Most of the women he'd spend the night with weren't like this; didn't feel like this.
She was honest in her words, in her actions even if they weren't what he wanted to hear and that was something he found a true value in.
"For better or worse, for richer or poorer. In sickness and in health. To love and to cherish, till death do us part."
"And now, by the power invested in me by the state of Washington," The Captain announces before them all bringing them to the moment they were all here for. "I pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss the bride." The two took no time coming together for a quick kiss as the guests cheered.