"If you dare try and Belly Flop me right now, you're going down with me."
"I go wherever you go."
– Belly and Conrad, on their wedding day, We'll Always Have Summer
|Conrad and Belly|
Married, Housemates, Friends, Ex-boyfriend and girlfriend
Ending of book 1 (first time), Married (epilogue of book 3)
Their relationship begins as close friends as they grew up together throughout the many summers she and her family spent at their beach house. While Belly had a childhood crush on Conrad, he never returned the feelings, and her crush was largely known in the family.
It is only in The Summer I Turned Pretty that Conrad finally began returning her feelings after she "blossoms" into a beautiful young girl and he finally takes notice of her. By the end of the novel, the two enter into a relationship. However, it meets a crash and burned ending by the following novel, It's Not Summer Without You. Despite this, the two show repeated signs of still harboring feelings for each other and have a rather rocky and unclear relationship together.
The relationship faces obstacles due to Conrad's unstable negative emotions regarding his mother's death and inability to express his general true feelings, which leaves Belly frustrated. When she realizes she also has feelings for his brother, Jeremiah, and the younger brother wants to start a relationship with her, it only serves to further complicate matters between them.
Prior to series
Prior to the trilogy, as seen in flashbacks throughout the first novel, Conrad had not seen Belly as anything more than his best friend's little sister. He showed a typical brotherly protective side towards her at times, though.
The Summer I Turned Pretty
He has been Belly's crush since early childhood, a fact well known by everyone. While Conrad has always cared for her in a brotherly sense, he strictly saw her as "his best friend's little sister". However, it appears that Conrad now suddenly sees her as a girl, not a little sister figure as before. Despite his character being something of a jerk or "asshole" to everyone throughout the novel, getting drunk and locked in his room, it is hinted at that he has developed newfound romantic feelings for Belly.
This is hinted at when Conrad shows several accounts of getting either overly protective or jealous of guys flirting with her throughout the novel, such as when his friend Clay flirts with her. He also, while still getting along with him, seems to express a dislike and jealousy of Belly's relationship with Cam. Cam also takes note of how protective Conrad appears to be over Belly and later comments about how Conrad "looks at her", although Belly dismisses this. However, Conrad soon begins flirting with her whenever they are alone together, leaving her shocked.
Conrad's first example of being highly protective happens when they are at a Cousins Bonfire party. It is Belly's first party and it is there that she meets Cam for the first time. When Cam and Belly talk and get to know each other, he says he is getting ready to leave and offers to take her home. She tells him how she came with Conrad and Jeremiah and points to them. Cam says that he already figured this, telling her that Conrad had been looking at and watching them the whole time they were talking, and assumes him to be her protective older brother. Belly is surprised to hear this and tells him that he isn't and he just "acts like an older brother".
When Belly decides to leave with Cam and lets Conrad know she was leaving, he instantly becomes fiercely protective and the two loudly argue as Conrad refuses to let her leave. Ironically, a girl that Conrad had been talking to at the party notices his defensive attitude over Belly, bringing her to ask if Belly is his girlfriend. When both Belly and Conrad instantly say no, the girl becomes confused and asks if she was his little sister then. Despite Conrad's blunt refusal to let her leave with Cam, Belly intends to do so anyway. When she walks back to Cam and tells him they should just leave, he looks behind her and at Conrad. He is quickly visibly intimidated and suggests that they stay there instead.
The two spend the rest of the evening talking, with Cam even giving her his hoodie when noticing Belly is cold. As they leave, Conrad eyes the hoodie. For the car ride back home, he ignores her as Belly is in an emotional bliss from her time talking to Cam. She and Cam later start a summer fling, dating casually. However, Belly later admits that despite liking Cam in general, she's realized that she doesn't romantically like him. Jeremiah then confesses his feelings to Belly, hoping to start a relationship with her. When Belly admits to still liking Conrad, Jeremiah is left heartbroken that Conrad is always the one for her. Belly is left upset at this, as well.
Conrad and Jeremiah reach a fight over how he has made their mother worry so much. This leads to Belly finding out about Susannah's cancer returning, leaving her grief stricken. She goes to Jeremiah's room late that night and the two comfort each other in the wake of Susannah's cancer, soon falling asleep side by side. As Belly quietly leaves his bedroom the following morning, Conrad witnesses her leave and assumes she hooked up with Jeremiah. Making his presence known to her, she realizes he saw her leave Jeremiah's room and turns to face him.
Upon noticing his swaying and nauseous appearance, she asks if he's drunk. Conrad then makes a snide remark, retorting that she has to be nice to him now "like the way [she] was for Jere last night". Belly is outraged at his implied assumption and calls him the most selfish person she has ever met. She harshly says that she cannot believe she ever thought she loved him. Conrad is silently stunned at this and Belly angrily returns to her room. She believes she has finally let him go, but knows deep down she hasn't.
However, upon the realization everyone knows, Susannah calls for a family dinner and makes a declaration of her putting up one last fight. She then says she wants to stay with her family until the end of it, resulting in everyone making amends with each other. Conrad and Belly soon enter a relationship, even though Belly feels bad since she knows that it hurts Jeremiah.
It's Not Summer Without You
After her relationship with Conrad crashed and burned and Susannah's cancer finally killed her, Belly is left with a first summer in her home town instead of at Cousins. However, when Jeremiah calls Belly telling her Conrad's gone missing, she finds herself at Cousins once again. Can the three finally patch their wounds up and mend things after Susannah's tragic death and form a life without her? And who will Belly end up with this time?
Meanwhile, Jeremiah is growing tired of burying his feelings for Belly. He decided to let Conrad have her the first time, but will he be so kind this time? Or will he finally take what he's wanted all along?
In the end, Jeremiah makes his feelings known to her, kissing her in his car. Belly finds herself kissing him back and, after he reaffirms his love for her, they begin to make out. The moment is interrupted, however, when a shocked Conrad walks in on them. He jerkily walks away from the scene, and Belly flees after him. When he turns to face her, Conrad is on the verge of fury. They argue and Belly ends up running from the scene, finally realizing that Conrad will never admit to loving her and she must move on.
The trio are forced to stay in a motel when the rain gets too heavy to drive home. As Belly takes a shower, Conrad decides that she deserves better than him and lies to Jeremiah that he is over Belly and he can have her. This results in Belly and Jeremiah getting together during their car ride home together while Conrad calls a friend to pick him up.
The tension finally eases and Belly and Jeremiah are left truly believing that Conrad is finally over her and they can all move on in their lives.
We'll Always Have Summer
In the third and final novel, We'll Always Have Summer, Belly and Conrad have only seen each other once in the two years following the previous novel. This is when the two unexpectedly ran into each other at Cousins Beach during Christmas and spent a few days together. Other than their unexpected Christmas together, they basically have had no contact with each other.
When Belly and Conrad see each other again, Belly finds herself too shocked to react as Conrad simply waves at her. He later gives her a hug while joking calling her "little sis" when Mr. Fisher says how much Conrad has missed "his little sister".
Upon Jeremiah and Belly making their announcement of their engagement, Conrad is the only one who has no visible reaction and does not look at Belly when he leaves. However, due to her mother kicking her out of the house, Belly stays at Cousins Beach until her wedding day. She soon discovers that Conrad is staying there as well and the housing situation causes old and buried feelings to re-surface between the two.
Initially, Conrad does his best to stay away from Belly, but gradually finds himself struggling to resist his true feelings for her. When Belly finds herself mostly left on her own to handle the wedding planning, Conrad ends up helping her with her wedding planning and arrangements. He even secretly meets with Laurel to convince her to make up with Belly, being shaken when overhearing her cry because of the emotional toll her separation from her mother was mentally putting her through.
However, the more time they spend together the more the lingering romantic tension increases between the two. Soon enough, Conrad finds himself emotionally conflicted regarding his relationship with Belly as well his true heartbroken feelings about her engagement to his brother.
After finding out that Jeremiah cheated on Belly during his bachelor party, Conrad is left completely outraged since he thought Jeremiah would treat her right and leaves to calm down. Belly goes looking for him when hearing no one has seen him since he left the party and finds him at the beach. He immediately tells her what he heard, only to be shocked and disgusted upon learning that Belly already knew and intends to marry Jeremiah anyway. Belly and him argue, leading her to begin walking away from him.
Unable to deny his love for her any longer, he abruptly yet passionately declares his love for Belly. Belly is left stunned as he confesses his love for her, insisting that she is the only girl he will ever truly love. Despite his heartfelt confession, Belly brutally rejects him and says what they had never meant anything. She then walks away from a heartbroken Conrad, later collapsing into tears as soon as she is alone.
The following day, things are left awkward between Belly and Conrad. However, when alone together in the house, Conrad attempts to play off his confession as a drunken mishap. Belly, knowing the truth, is infuriated at his excuse and angrily snaps at him. The two furiously argue with one another, until Conrad confronts her that deep down she always knew his actual feelings for her. She weakly insists that isn't true, refusing to admit to it. Conrad says he won't "pretend" for her anymore and leaves the house, leaving Belly alone on the deck.
The night before the wedding, Belly tells Jeremiah about Conrad's confession to her. Despite trying to convince him to stay, Jeremiah takes off in a fury. Conrad finds him the following day and attempts to convince him to return to Belly, but he refuses. Eventually, they end up in an intense and violent fight as both boys begin arguing over who loved Belly more and deserved her. Jeremiah demands Conrad finally admit his true feelings for Belly, fed up with how he has lied about his feelings for her for years. Conrad gives in and confesses that he is in love with Belly and feels he always will be. This ultimately results in Jeremiah disowning Conrad as his brother.
After his violent confrontation with his brother, Conrad says goodbye to Belly to give themselves time apart. Before leaving, he gives her the infinity necklace he failed to give to her years prior (during The Summer I Turned Pretty) along with implying that he will always love her - declaring that loving her with her was worth all the trouble. After giving her a kiss on the forehead, he leaves. After this, Conrad and Belly stay apart for three years.
However, during her junior year abroad in Spain, Belly receives her first hand written letter from Conrad. He then writes her a series of letters in which he talks about his continued love for her and says he is always thinking about her, even recalling happy moments from their past together. Initially, Belly won't write him back until he eventually begs for her to send him something in response. After this, she begins writing him back and they soon stay in contact by writing monthly letters to each other.
Another year later, he shows up at her college graduation, resulting in their reunion as a couple again. He proposes to her after being in a relationship with her for about a year - possibly a little over - to which she accepts. The epilogue shows the couple just married and starting a new life as newlyweds, marking the end of the series.
- First Relationship
- Start Up: Ending of The Summer I Turned Pretty
- Broke Up: Prior to It's Not Summer Without You
- Reason: Conrad started becoming closed off with his feelings again.
- Second Relationship
- Start Up: Three years after We'll Always Have Summer
- Dated for a year+
- Married: We'll Always Have Summer epilogue
- Start Up: Three years after We'll Always Have Summer
- It is estimated that Conrad proposed to Belly after dating her for about a year, possibly a little over.
- The main reason for why they did not work together as a couple initially was due to Conrad having trouble controlling his negative feelings and emotions. He felt he could not be what Belly emotionally needed due to his many personal issues because of his mother's illness/death as well as his father's emotional abuse. It was only after the years following Susannah's death that Conrad managed to properly handle his unstable feelings and was finally ready to be with Belly, at which point in the series, she was involved with Jeremiah.
- When asked about when he knew that he was in love with Belly, Conrad said there was never a specific moment that he knew. He described it as a gradual feeling - comparing it to sleep and slowly waking up - that came to him over time. When he finally recognized the feeling, it left him with no doubt in his mind that it was love.
- They are each other's first - and only - real love.
- Conrad reveals in We'll Always Have Summer that out of all the mistakes he made in his life, his biggest regret was letting Belly go in It's Not Summer Without You. He further says that if he could undo one of his previous mistakes, that would be the one he would choose to undo.
- Belly had a childhood crush on Conrad starting when she was ten years old. While the two were good friends growing up together, Conrad never reciprocated the feeling and only saw her as a little sister. Ironically, it was only after Belly tried moving on from her childhood crush that Conrad finally began returning her feelings. Also, Belly was the one known to have been "crazy" so-to-speak about Conrad, but by the final novel, it was Conrad who fell head over heels in love with her and confessed his feelings in a passionate love declaration.
- Belly had her first slow dance with Conrad and named him as the first boy she ever cried over and loved.
- While Conrad dated many girls, Susannah said that she only ever saw him genuinely in love once - with Belly. Conrad later confirmed this statement when asked if he had ever been in love and he said he has only once. He admits to it being with Belly and, later, also says that he feels like Belly is the only girl he can ever truly love.
- The only time Conrad ever laid himself "fucking bare" emotionally-speaking was with Belly. This was in the final novel We'll Always Have Summer where Conrad breaks down and passionately confesses his true feelings for Belly and begs her not to marry Jeremiah. He even openly cries in front of her and, despite her resisting, tightly embraces Belly while doing so. When Belly brutally rejects him, he says she truly broke his heart.
- Conrad and Belly's first relationship lasted six months, during which Conrad claims in We'll Always Have Summer that he never so much as looked at another girl.
- Both times Conrad and Belly broke the other's heart, through their perspective and narrative of the moment, they both said that the moment they rejected the other they saw the "love" or "light" they had in their eyes for them "die".
- When Conrad begins writing Belly hand-written letters during her time in Spain, he says the last time he did such a thing was with his grandmother when thanking her for graduation money. When Belly began writing him back after he begged her for a response, he kept the first letter she wrote him and carried it around with him in his wallet so he would always have it with him as it "kept him going" and "gave him hope". Upon reuniting as a couple, Belly convinced Conrad to keep the letters they wrote to each other together as they "belonged" together. Conrad initially wished to continue to keep the letter with him, but soon agreed with Belly. Belly sometimes re-reads the letters despite knowing each of the letters by heart, enjoying the fond memories and feelings the letters bring her.
- The unexpected Christmas they spent together at Cousins Beach is stated by both to be their "best" or favorite Christmas memory.
- It is possibly implied that the first time Conrad flirted with Belly was in The Summer I Turned Pretty. This is when Belly tries to convince Conrad to stop smoking and he suggestively asks her what she will give him if he does, leaving Belly shocked since he had never done such a thing with her before.
- Conrad is "two years a quarter" older Belly.
- Conrad is shown to be rather protective of Belly at times. A few examples of this are when he becomes angry when she wants to leave with Cam (whom she just met) at a party, even giving Cam such an (unseen, but implied) intimidating look that it left him instantly and visibly nervous. Another account is when he becomes outraged upon hearing that Jeremiah cheated on Belly, since he thought he would treat her right, and literally "sees red" in the height of his anger and leaves in order to calm down.
- While the majority of readers were happy that the series concluded with Belly and Conrad happily married and together, most of the readers were upset that they did not get to actually see Belly and Conrad's reunion or significant romantic moments together. For example, some were upset they did not get to see the couple's first kiss after being apart for so long or Conrad's marriage proposal to Belly.
- A major symbol of their relationship is infinity. Conrad had explained the concept of infinity to Belly when she was younger, which she never forgot about. During The Summer I Turned Pretty, Conrad decides to buy Belly an infinity necklace for her sixteenth birthday. However, at the last moment, he suddenly became too scared to give it to her and claimed that he forgot about her birthday. In It's Not Summer Without You, Belly discovers his gift and, knowing that it was meant for her, takes the necklace and secretly wears it throughout the novel. When Conrad later discovers this, Belly claims to not know the meaning of it, even though they both know that she does. She reluctantly gives it back to him. Two years later in We'll Always Have Summer, Conrad gives the necklace back to Belly and confesses that he bought it for her sixteenth birthday, but was too nervous to actually give it to her. He then says that it always belonged to her and always will, implying he has always loved her and always will.
- In Jeremiah's perspective during It's Not Summer Without You when he recalls the time he fell for Belly during the early events of The Summer I Turned Pretty, it possibly showed the first time Conrad actually "checked out" Belly. When the trio were outside the house hanging out, Belly said she was going to get a pop from the house. Jeremiah saw how Conrad was noticeably checking her out for the first time as she walked away from them. This left him upset since he thought it was unfair of Conrad to suddenly take an interest in Belly despite her well-known crush on him for years.
- In bonus content of the We'll Always Have Summer paperback edition, it is revealed that an embarrassing yet heartwarming family photo Susannah took of Conrad and Jeremiah in Christmas-themed sweaters as children is the main framed photo in Conrad and Belly's living room following their marriage.
- They both enjoy older, classical films such as Casablanca. However, they both shared different opinions on the ending. Conrad believed it to have a happy ending, reasoning that Ilsa was better off with Laszlo. However, Belly believed Ilsa and Rick should have been together due to their love for one another. This, ironically, mirrored their own love triangle with Jeremiah. Conrad, despite his and Belly's love for each other, pushed her to be with Jeremiah as he felt she was better off with his brother.
- It is implied that Conrad still thought of Belly as "his girl" even after their break up in books two and three, as he refers to her as such. In It's Not Summer Without You, when Mr. Fisher's real estate agent asks who Belly is upon meeting her, Conrad introduces her as his girlfriend despite no longer dating her. Later, in We'll Always Have Summer, during his narrative when thinking over Jeremiah's engagement to Belly, he angrily thinks about how his brother was marrying "his girl" and how he feels he is being forced to simply watch it happen.
- When they were kids, Belly believed everything Conrad told her. For example, Belly had refused to eat carrots until Conrad told her if she ate enough she would get X-ray vision.