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Thank you Raven

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For someone with a partially functioning leg, Raven sure is quick. Trying and failing once more to get my phone back, I tried to appeal to her long lost sense of reason :
- Come on Raven, is this really necessary? I told you I didn’t take a picture of her!
Raven turned my way, as if I just suggested she was unable to change a lightbulb :
- Excuse me?! You just told me that you might one day become President of the ladies munching club. This is an historical moment!
Exaggerating much?
- It was only one kiss on the lips… Merely a peck.
Ok, maybe more than a peck. Maybe one real kiss. Maybe several kisses. Maybe a full on makeout session that was rudely interrupted by the janitor of the coffee place we were at. But she doesn’t need to know that, right?
- But you liiiiiiked ittttt!!
Well, can’t argue with that. Too bad I met this Niyalah on her last day of holiday…
Before I could ask for my phone - again -, Raven’s eyes lit up.
For those blissfully unaware, this is NOT a good sign.
- You should go on Tinder! Maybe there’ll be other people from the campus!
Frowning, I’m almost afraid to ask :
- What is this Tinder place? I hope it’s not what I think, you know I hate camping since I had to spend an entire summer avoiding your boyfriend with the floppy hair and creepy stalkerish tendencies. What was his na- … Flinn!
- First off, it’s Finn. And it’s not a place, it’s an app.
She looks at me as if what she just said was supposed to make any more sense. I generally discover this kind of stuff years after. If it’s not art-related, I probably have no idea about it. Upon seeing my blank look, she sighs and despairs:
- Come on Clarke, everyone knows what Tinder is!
Crossing my arms, I state blankly :
- Not me.
Maybe she has a point when she says I need to go out from time to time, but I’m getting off topic.
- Well, you’re about to discover alllllll about it!
God she’s annoying!
I can see her downloading something and I’m 100% sure I won’t like it. There was a glint in her eyes. No way this is going to end well :
- Give me my phone back! I’m not interested in dating.
- I can work with that.
- God no. Raven. Don’t. Please!
She’s typing away and I hope it’s enough of a distraction for me to act.
Jumping on her, we fight for control over my phone.
Suddenly, she’s bellowing near my ear:
- HELP! She’s attacking a cripple!
Is she for real?
I stop my assault to send her a glare, holding my bleeding ear. Now that I’ve lost the element of surprise that’s just enough time for her to turn the tables on me.
This is the exact moment I realise that maybe, just maybe, I should’ve gone to the gym with Octavia. Because if I did, maybe I wouldn’t end up flat on my face, with a gleeful and cackling Raven sitting on my back.
Cripple, my ass.
My manhandling ways having failed, I opt for more devious techniques:
- Get off me Raven! I can’t breathe! Cough… Wheeze… Cough...
- Will you behave?
Her question makes me pause my oscar-worthy performance.
Should I...? Nah.
I’m not answering that.
Understanding my silence for what it is, I can feel her shrug:
- Suit yourself. You’re strangely confortable anyways.
Utterly defeated, I lay back down with an powerful sense of dread running up my spine. My doom must be near.
I can hear her tapping quickly and soon enough, she gets up.
Grumbling, I gather what’s left of my pride (not much) and drag myself near the couch. Sitting with my back against the leather I look at she-who-shall-be-considered-my-former-friend, waiting.
- Tadaaaa !
She shows me what I guess is my newly made Tinder profile, keeping the phone at a safe distance from my hands.
Squinting, I’m trying to read what she said about me :
- I love drawing, painting, sleeping and hot girls. If I like you, I might paint you while you sleep. Are you for real? You make me sound like a total creep!
- You did that to me!
- Not the point. And who said anything about liking you? Change it!
- Geez. Ok, ok. Hold on…
She types again and shows me the new result:
- Art enthusiast, looking for my new muse. Meh. Still bad.
- Think you can do better?
This is my chance :
- Yeah, pass me the phone.
Ignoring my outstretched hand, she cradles it like it’s her firstborn:
- Nuh huh Griff, I know you.
Crap! So close.
- Fine... What does the app do?
Excited at the prospect of ruining any potential chance I might have with local girls, she gives me the cliff notes version:
- I already set your preferences *slow wink*. Now you see the girls that you might like. Swipe left for “PASS” and right for “YASSS, I’D TAP THAT”.
- Not exactly how I’d phrase it…
- Whatever Killjoy. Let’s go!
Overjoyed, she shows me a picture of a woman that could easily be my mom:
- Seriously Raven? I think I’m bi, not desperate.
Begrudgingly, she swipes left. Another face :
- Nah.
Swipe left.
- Meh. No.
Swipe left.
- Eww, no! What is this? Is she asleep in her own vomit?
Turning my head away, I’m so busy gagging that I almost miss Raven’s answer:
- Yeah, I think so.
- Swipe left, quick!
She does and thus starts the painful realisation that I might stay a bi virgin my whole life. Too much makeup, female hulk lookalike, too many teeth, not enough teeth, and so on…
Ater what seems like an eternity of swipe left, Raven freezes.
- OMG…
- What?
Sitting up, I’m trying to get a glance at my screen to no avail.
- Clarke, go fetch me a diaper. Nah, make that two. I think I just fell in love.
Knowing Ravens’ sometimes twisted sense of humor, I’m not sure if she’s serious or not.
- Let me see.
- She’s a goddess Clarke. You’re lucky to be sufficiently socially inept that I feel like it’s my duty to help you, otherwise she would be mine.
- I’m not socially inept. I’m an introvert.
- You’ve never pretended to be out when people came by unannounced?
- So what? They’re the impolite ones!
- Are you escaping going to parties by pretending to have a ton of homework all the time even though you’re an art major?
My mouth opens in indignation :
- That’s… prejudiced and just wrong. I do have a lot of work you know?
- And did you or did you not tell the neighbours that they had named their daughter like your deceased turtle?
- … I was being truthful.
- Still rude. Thus my point.
Placing a hand over her heart, she declares in a solemn voice :
- I, Raven Reyes, hereby sacrifice my first lady boner on the altar of our long lasting friendship. I present to you, the straightinator.
She’s about to turn the phone towards me when I have the bad idea to open my mouth :
- The what now?
Obviously proud, she explains herself :
- Straightinator. Like terminator, but for straight sexuality. If there ever is a lesbian revolution, I bet you this woman is going to be the colonel. No, the general. Wait, no, The Commander.
She finishes with jazz hands, oblivious to the fact that she lost me long ago.
- Show me the picture Rae.
- You’re sure you don’t want some paper towels first?
- Rae...
- Fine.
She gives me the phone and my heart stops beating.
Wow…
- Rae?
- ... Yeah?
- Does the paper towel offer still stands?
Crawling towards me, we both look at the screen with dreamy eyes.
I have too many questions:
- Fuck, she’s so hot! Is this picture photoshopped? It has to be! Have you seen her face? No way this is real!
- Clarke?
I’m freaking out.
- Is it possible to orgasm merely from imagining what a person on a picture might do to you? Cause it feels like a possibility right now.
- Clarke?
- How come there are lesbians out there that look like that and no one told me about it?
- Clarke?
- Should I swipe left just in case? This is probably a joke. Or a mass murderer trying to lure us out of the closet.
- Clarke!
- What?
Raven takes hold of my phone and promptly swipes right.
Oh my God. What did she do? I can already feel the crippling anxiety coming.
- Why did you do that for?
A smug smile firmly in place, she brags:
- You’ll thank me later. And you better name your first born after me.
Rolling my eyes, I sigh dreamily before admitting the ugly truth:
- There’s no way she’ll swipe me right. We are not playing in the same league.
She grabs me by the shoulders, forcing me to face her :
- Are you kidding me? Look at you! You’re gorgeous. I know for a fact that you clean up well. And those Ta-Tas!
She makes a move towards my chest and I have to bat her hands away. Unflappable, she continues:
- This girl would be crazy to pass you up!
- Let’s be realistic, she’s gay, panties-dropping gorgeous and probably has girls throwing themselves at her left and right. Why would she go for the stay-in-the-dark starving artist who only kissed a girl once!?
- She doesn’t know that. It will be fiiiine, you’ll see.
I’m not convinced, but it is done and there’s not much I can do now…

==

A Tinder notification.
I look blankly at my locked screen, offering no details except for the name of the app.
What if it’s only a daily reminder to log in? It’s 8 in the morning on a sunday, it must be.
Bracing myself for disappointment, I open Tinder.
We matched?
Oh shit.
We matched!
- RAVEN! RAAAVEN!
I hear frantic scrambling in the corridor and a wild Raven appears in my doorstep, still halfway asleep but holding up a wrench.
- Leave her alone! I’ll fuck you up!
- I’m ok Raven! I just got overexcited, sorry! .
Immediately, she drops the wrench and faceplants on my bed.
- Why djz yof shohf? And sinffe when do yof shouhf my nahm when excifhd?
- The goddess. Lexa. We matched!
She sits up straight, suddenly awake. Her smile is slow to come, but its intensity would be classified “borderline creepy” on the cheshire cat smile scale.
Whatever she intended to say is interrupted by a new notification.
- A message. Omg she wants to meet up today! What do I do?
- Send her a time and place!
I look up, already panicking:
- Where?
She ponders for a moment before having an idea:
- Tell her to meet you in the spot you always go to to paint!
I frown. The one overlooking the whole campus?
- My secret spot?
- Clarke. There are two picnic tables there. It’s not secret, just up a gigantic hill and most of us are too lazy to climb it.
I’m still a bit reluctant at the idea of meeting her there. What if we don’t get along but she likes the spot and I have to share it with her?
- Won’t it be weird?
- I’m not saying to stay there the whole time. But it would be a good meeting point, with a great view and more importantly: public.
- It pains me to say it but good thinking. This way, if she’s a 60 years old man he’ll have trouble murdering me without anyone noticing.
Raven nods.
- True. Plus, I’ll be in the coffee place just below.
- No you won’t.
- I’ll wear a scarf, she won’t even know I’m there.
- She doesn’t know you, you doofus.
- Still, you’re like a … baby calf right now. Standing, but on shaky legs. Don’t you want mama Raven nearby, just in case?
- Please, NEVER refer to you as mama Raven ever again. And fyi a calf is always a baby.
- Meh. But still. I won’t interfere I swear. I just want to make sure you’re safe.
I send her a distrustful look:
- Oh really?
She flashes me a smile, tongue between her teeth:
- Maybe I want to have a love life by proxy.
- You do realize that I have heard painfully detailed stories of your regular… encounters?
- … Maybe I also want to see her for myself…
There. Now THAT, I can believe.
Should I accept?
If the goddess is not who she says she is, I’ll be glad to have my best friend/roommate nearby.
- Fine. But no contact.
She opens her mouth but I cut her off :
- No wave, no wink, no nothing. This is non-negotiable. Deal?
My conditions are met with as much enthusiasm as I expected: none.
Crossing her arms over her chest, Raven grumbles:
- You’re no fun.

===

She spends the rest of the day coaching me for my big moment.
I know I shouldn’t expect too much, but my life hasn’t been exciting of late.
Or ever, really.
So when an extremely hot woman shows interest in meeting lil’ old me me, it’s hard to maintain my cool.
My handpicked clothes are laid out on the bed, my makeup all planned out and I’m getting out of my bath when my phone pings again.
Eager, I hurriedly tuck my towel underneath my armpits and open Tinder.
Only to have it all fall flat.
I read and re-read the message.
I’m sorry, something came up, I won’t be able to meet you today.
I don’t understand.
Did I do something wrong?
Is she alright?
Should I answer or... ?
Even though there was no typo, maybe she was still drunk when she messaged me this morning?
I feel awful, unwanted, worthless.
I knew it.
When things look too good to be true, they usually are.
And yet stupid me hoped.
Dumbass.
Disappointed and a bit bitter, I decide that I might as well be a good sport about it:
Thank you for letting me know. I hope that everything's ok. Have a good day.
I could add something like “maybe another time, let me know!” but decide against it.
The false hope is a bit too fresh for me to be gracious about it.
She’s not responsible for my lack of social life and couldn’t possibly know that I would react this way.
It’s disproportionate.
I know.
Still, I sit on my bed defeated and doesn’t even look up when Raven comes :
- Dude, move, you’re going to be late!
I look up, feeling foolish and plaster a smile on my face, trying (and potentially failing) to look unaffected:
- She just messaged me. She’s not coming.
Seeing right through me, I can tell Raven is feeling sorry. I shrug:
- It happens.
Immediately, Raven sits beside me, taking me in her arms:
- Oh Clarke… Her loss, you probably dodged a bullet, she’s obviously stupid. Want to go out tonight? There’s a party at Harper’s and I know for a fact that she always had a soft spot for you… If you catch my drift...
Her obnoxious eyebrow-wriggle makes me smile. It can’t hurt to find some fun, right?
- I’m in.
Raven seems pleasantly surprised by my answer and I feel the need to clarify:
- The partying part. Not Harper.
In an annoying sing-song voice, she makes sure to get her already clear-enough point across:
- You could be…
- First of: ew. And no. I wouldn’t do that to Monty.

=====

Sketchbook and pencils in hand, I climb the hill, a bit anxious. It’s been two days since the whole Tinder disappointment.
I regret telling her about my spot. Even though she never showed up, the place feels tainted now.
Once at the top, I notice a woman with Asian features sitting at my table.
MY table.
Grudgingly, I drop my stuff on the other table.
The view is all wrong, the light not as good and the wooden bench is way less comfortable…
Feeling watched, I look up, only to be met with the woman's gaze.
She half-smiles at me, the expression a bit strange on her otherwise stoic face. I flash her a polite smile back and mind my own business, knowing that I have to work on this art piece if I want it done by Friday.
Between pencil strokes, I hear her leave and feel her gaze upon me once more.
Not bothering to turn around this time, I wait a bit before gathering my stuff and moving it to my table.
Much better.
Stroke after stroke, my sketch is coming along nicely. Considering how frustrated I’ve been in the last few days, this comes as a pleasant surprise.
I hear footsteps behind me and all I can think of is “twice in a day, really?”. Maybe the same woman came back? Apparently I can’t catch a break today.
The person sits at the other table, staying silent. At least I’m not forced to interact. I continue to draw, my pencil scratching the paper in a calming way.
After a while, I hear a dramatic sigh and a foot rapidly tapping on the ground.
I’m thinking about plugging my earphones in when the person gets up:
- Excuse me?
The voice is female and hesitant. I turn around and my jaw immediately drops.
Fuck me.
She’s real.
She’s very, very real.
And 100% gorgeous.
Standing a few feet from me is the Tinder goddess. With form fitting black jeans and a simple green shirt, she does her profile picture justice. And then some. Her hair falls in beautiful curls on her shoulders, partially braided. I’m gaping at her like a dying fish stranded on the shore, before gaining a semblance of composure:
- L...Lexa?
Stammering, way to make a good first impression Clarke.
She frowns, looking adorably confused :
- Do I know you?
Of course, you fool!
I put my head down, horrified.
She doesn’t even remember me two days after.
But it’s too late to back down now, I might as well keep digging my own grave :
- I’m Clarke. We matched on Tinder and were supposed to meet here Sunday afternoon.
Her reaction is unexpected.
Totally flustered, she splutters:
- Wha- but- I mean… I’m sorry but I don’t… I don’t have a Tinder! Is this a joke?
She’s very beautiful, but not half as graceful and stoic as I imagined her to be. Somehow, that makes me feel better. She looks around, probably in search of hidden cameras.
Lifting an eyebrow, I push my sketchbook aside and pat the bench next to me while fetching for my phone in my pocket.
Stunned, she sits and her green eyes widen slightly when she discovers her profile on my screen.
Lifting a trembling finger, she scrolls and takes a look at the messages, before turning to face me:
- I swear I had nothing to do with that Clarke.
Oh, how the way she says my name does things to me.
Strangely enough, I believe her. Shrugging, I flash her a smile :
- Well, there’s someone catfishing female students with your pictures. All in all, I was lucky to get stood up.
She gives me my phone back, our fingers brushing.
Curious, I have to ask:
- Do you know who might be behind it?
Now that she’s no longer taken aback, Lexa regained her aura of power:
- I have my suspicions... Do you know Anya? Tall, asian features, dirty blond hair, looking broody? She’s my cousin and told me to meet her up here.
- Errr... not exactly….
Lexa tilts her head, looking at me with questioning eyes.
Try to make some sense Clarke, focus.
You never had trouble talking to pretty girls before:
- I don’t know her, but this description perfectly matches a girl that was here when I first came up here. She left just a few minutes before you arrived.
Her back is straight and her face absolutely serious when she mutters:
- I’m going to kill her.
She’s planning to murder someone and here I am, smitten, smiling to myself:
- I hope we’re still talking about Anya.
My attempt at humour is met with the cutest of smiles. Her back is ramrod straight, in total contrast with the soft face with which she addresses me:
- Of course. You’re a victim here, same as me.
Lexa nods to herself before explaining:
- I believe that Anya is once more being her meddling self. She recently proclaimed that my non-existent love life was a problem, that I have been single for too long and made it a personal goal to find me a girlfriend.
Girlfriend!? YEESSSSSSSS!
You can’t tell, but I’m currently doing a happy dance whilst fist pumping in my head. On the outside, I giggle like a 4 year old schoolgirl and share a bit of my story:
- Sounds like someone I know. My best friend stole my phone to set up this Tinder account in my name.
We both laugh a little at that. Laughter turns into smiles, which turns into silence.
We’re oh so close.
I want to take a peek at her lips, check if they look half as soft as they did on the pictures. But we just met and I’m not sure if I’m her type. Bravely resisting, I meet her gaze instead.
I proves to be a mistake.
We stay like that for what feels like hours.
Have you looked someone in the eyes for a prolonged period of time?
If not, let me tell you: it’s incredibly intimate.
Her pupils are blowing up, slowly swallowing up the green of her irises. It’s sexy. Mine must not fare much better, considering how attracted I am to her. How the hell did I NOT realize I was attracted to girls too before the other day?
Please, let her be into me.
Even just a little bit.
I can work with a little bit.
When I feel like I can’t take this anymore without doing anything stupid like kissing her, I lower my gaze and put my phone back in my pocket, before fiddling with the bottom of my top. I want to ask for her number. How do people do that? Didn’t I use to have game? I swear I was not like this before.
Interrupting my inner monologue, her voice holds a strange sense of determination when she suddenly declares:
- Maybe she had a point though.
Lifting my head, I send her a questioning look.
- Would you be interested in having coffee with me one day?
A huge smile splits my face in half. Is this how it feels to win the lottery?
- Are you asking me out on a date Lexa?
Her ears tint a lovely shade of pink but I have to hand it to her, she holds her ground:
- Yes, Clarke, I most certainly am.
Throwing a coy smile her way, I immediately answer for fear of her changing her mind:
- I would love to.
Her answering smile, no matter how small, makes my heart skip a few beats.
I’ll buy tacos for Raven tonight. Maybe for the whole week.

***
She’s barely out of sight that I have my phone in hand, dialling Raven. I HAVE to share this with her:
- Hey Griff.
- I met her.
- Her her?
- Mhhh mhhh.
Her voice audibly perks up:
- What are you waiting for? Spill! How was it? Did you kiss? Omg I’m sure you kissed! You little minx you… Am I going to be an aunt?
I roll my eyes so hard it almost hurts.
- No, we did not. And no, you’re most definitely not.
Raven seems to notice something:
- Wait. How did you meet? Did she contact you on the app?
- No. Turns out that, much like me, she has an annoying friend who took things into her own hands.
- Are you implying that this meeting was the result of two masterminds beautifully weaving the threads of destiny to make this Clexa dream a reality?
In moments like these, I’m imagining myself on a stage, delivering a carefully crafted speech: “Thank you, thank you for this special prize rewarding infinite patience”.
- Do you want to know or not?
- … Fine.
A happy smile is back on my face as soon as I start to tell her:
- Her friend made the profile, she had no idea it even existed. We talked, she was so nice and well behaved and… she asked me out! Me! This gorgeous woman asked ME out on a date! I’m so excited Raven! She’s friggin’ perfect, I feel so lucky!
My small rant is met with silence:
- Rae, you still there?
- Sorry, I was busy barfing.
- Har har…
- Seriously, I’m happy for you Clarke, but let it be known that I fully intend to get every little detail of this meeting. Don’t think for even one second that I will let you get away with this.
- I wouldn’t dream of it.
- So, when will this date occur?
- I guess she’ll cont- shit, we didn’t exchange numbers!!!
My sudden despair is met with the most annoying guffaw of all times. Raven is laughing her ass off, wheezing on the other side of the phone. Every time I feel like she’s done, it starts all over again.
How could I be this stupid? God I’m such a disaster. Why does this kind of things always happen to me?
- Raven it’s not funny! What do I do? Fuuuuck!!
I want to tear my own hair off.
I look around me, hoping to catch sight of her. Maybe she didn’t leave.
I know she left.
It’s 100% certain.
I’m not stupid and I know Raven. Therefore, I waited for her to be gone before calling.
I even watched her leave and it was very, very nice.
Fuck. Fuckity fuck!

====

Who might be helpful?
Someone familiar with the dating world, who has game and hopefully won't make fun of me.
Scratch that, if they're my friend, of course they'll make fun of me… But I have to find a way to contact her.
My phone buzzes in my hands, stopping me in my thoughts.
Ouuhhh, Tinder. Please be her, please be her.
Yaaaaaassssssss.
Hey Clarke. It’s Lexa. The real Lexa. We met today. I realized I didn’t ask for your number. Would tomorrow be suitable for you to meet at the Dropship as discussed? At say, 5pm?
Haha she's so cute. And kinda formal. No doubt it’s the real her.
As if I could have forgotten about meeting this otherworldly beauty in the span of half an hour… If anything, even my underwear still remembers!
I can't believe she wants to meet so soon! Not that I'm complaining. But this has to be a good sign right?
Another buzz:
Should you need it, here is my phone number: [...] I look forward to meeting you again
Score!
I'm doing a very public happy dance and I couldn't care less.
This has to be the best day of my life! If I wake up now, I’m going to be so pissed!
What do I do now? Besides accepting of course. I can be dense sometimes, but I’m not that dumb.
Am I supposed to wait before answering? I think there’s a rule like that, to appear less desperate to get laid or something. But hey, I am desperate. My vagina is probably going to seal itself very soon (yes, I know it’s impossible, thank you).
Anyway, she wants to meet tomorrow. That's soon.
And what if she changes her mind? I’m not risking that to appear cool.
Decision made, I copy paste her number into a new contact and start typing:
Hey Lexa. It’s Clarke. 5pm tomorrow is fine by me. I look forward to it too :)
Was the smiley face too much?

 

===

I have never done it, but waiting for Raven’s input has to be worse than meeting the parents:
- You look… Good.
She’s lying. Poorly at that.
Looking down at myself, I frown:
- What’s wrong?
- I mean… Unless you’re meeting her at an altar or for a job interview, you’re way overdressed.
I’m too anxious to realize that I’m whining:
- I wanted to look nice.
- And you do but… Maybe take a shot at a more casual look? We don’t want her to know that you’re trying hard.
- We?
- Face it Griffin, you need me. If holding your hand is what it takes to get you started, I’ll do it.
- Raven, would you rather be buried or incinerated? I’m asking for a friend.
Unimpressed, she turns towards my closet and fetches a couple clothes, throwing it on the bed:
- Put this on.
I fully intend to complain, but she silences me with a sharp glance.
Grumbling, I eye her pointedly, waiting for privacy. Scoffing, she turns around, not failing to comment:
- You do realize that I was the one to rescue you that time when you fell in the shower after stepping on the soap?
Oh God, why does she insist on reminding me of this not-so-glorious moment?
- Irrelevant. And don’t you dare try to peek, perv.
Done, I signal her with a:
- I’m decent. What do you think?
Annnnd we’re back to her scrutinizing me like a hawk.
A creepy smile slowly takes over her face:
- You’re going to get laid tonight.
Rolling my eyes, I’m setting her straight (rhetorically speaking):
- I’ll consider myself lucky if I get a kiss. She seemed really nice. No need to rush it you know?
- Whatever Romeo, you know what I meant, don’t get your granny panties in a twist.
Supporting what I hope is my most annoying smirk, I immediately answer:
- I’ll let you know that I’m currently wearing extremely sexy lingerie.
Raven is obviously confused:
- What for? It’s a waste if she’s not going to see it! Plus, those things aren’t comfortable.
- It’ll bring me confidence. Enhance my seduction skills.
Hopefully.

=====

I can’t believe I’m about to think this, but Raven was right. My underwear itches.
Squirming on my chair to try to scratch myself discreetly, I almost jump out of my skin when a hand lands on my shoulder :
- Lexa, hi!
Getting up, I almost trample her in my haste to give her a hug.
- Hello Clarke.
Her voice… I’ve heard people say my name literally hundreds of times, yet no one ever made it sound so sexy.
Focus Clarke, you’ll have plenty of time to drool later on:
- Please, have a seat.
I cringe inwardly at the sound that came out of my mouth. She settles down and none of us comment on the fact that my voice sounded like the high pitched howl of an angry chiwawa. It's usually one of my best assets, I can't believe it let me down right when I needed it.
I’m not letting it get to me:
- How are you today?
God Clarke, if you start talking about the weather, as your conscience, I will be forced to declare my independence from you. I refuse to be associated with such behaviour.
Lexa has a barely there smile on her face when she answers:
- I’m good, thank you. What about you?
She brings up a delicate hand and brushes some of her curls behind her ear with impossibly long fingers. Even her hands are sexy.
It’s unfair.
Life cheated me.
I felt ok with myself before. Now I know that I’m a troll and she’s… hot as hell. This has to work, it’s a one in a lifetime opportunity:
- Perfect. I’m really happy to be here with you.
Geez, desperate much?
Why don’t you throw her your panties while you’re at it?
Oh cut it inner voice, one Raven in my life is more than enough!
- I’m glad, so am I.
She seems to ponder her words for a moment, before blurting awkwardly:
- And you’re very beautiful.
Almost immediately, she appears mortified, a pink dust settling on her chiseled cheekbones. Surprisingly, she seems as nervous as I am. Which is good, because I have a hard time coping with shy cute bean Lexa, I can’t imagine what it would be like if she was as confident as her looks would allow her to be.
Ok that’s a lie.
She would walk up to me, all grace and confidence and I’d die the instant she opens her mouth… the legists would have a field day with this “spontaneous liquefaction” case.
Wanting to save her from her own embarrassment, I briefly squeeze the hand she left on top of the table and add:
- Thank you. So do you.
Silence settles between us while we trade shy glances.
I don’t know what to say.
Omg what do I do? How come conversation was flowing easily on the hill and now it appears I forgot how it works?
The waitress comes over, saving us from this awkward moment. Lexa gestures for me to order first.
I’m tempted to take a beer, but the prospect of going 10 times to the bathroom makes me rethink it:
- I’ll have a coke please.
- Mint tea for me please.
I already felt like a teenager before and I can’t help feeling inadequate next to her. Mint tea, no pee problem, fresh breath… why couldn’t I have come up with that?
- Noted, I’ll be right back with your drinks.
Our joined “thank you” is perfectly synchronized and we trade shy smiles once our eyes meet.
It’s ok Clarke, try to be the ice breaker:
- So I have a quick question for you.
- Shoot.
- Was your friend as annoying as mine when you told her what happened yesterday? Assuming you did, of course.
- Urgh… Anya’s the worst.
Amused, I can’t let this false assumption pass by without a word:
- Nope, I’m pretty sure that’s my friend Raven.
- Nuh uh, impossible.
Bending slightly over the table, I nod vigorously to get my point across:
- Yes possible! It’s the case, I’m telling you!
She opens her mouth to reply, then closes it abruptly and asks me with a playful little grin:
- Is this our first argument?
Narrowing my eyes in an obviously fake threat, I add:
- Depends. Are you willing to back up your false claim by letting me meet this “spawn of all things evil” friend of yours?
A cute little smile blossoms on her face and I realize too late that I set myself up for some good ol’ fashioned teasing:
- Asking to meet my friends already? You move quick Clarke.
I know she’s just messing with me, but she does have a point.
Blushing furiously, I’m extremely grateful to see the waitress arrive with our drinks. She’ll get a generous tip from this table, that’s for sure. I can’t really afford it, being as broke as I am, but I feel like she deserves it for saving my ass. Twice
- Thank you.
Taking the opportunity as it presents itself, I openly ogle Lexa while she’s distracted by the waitress.
She’s purely and simply a work of art. I have to trick her into believing we’re playing in the same league. And then, she’ll become my girlfriend. We’ll walk hand in hand, she’ll let me paint her and hopefully we’ll do much more with a lot less clothes. Then, she’ll have to marry me. I mean, if the first woman I ever sleep with looks like that, no one will be able to live up to her. And I’ll be forever alone!
Nodding to myself, I’m taken out of my reverie by Lexa’s voice:
- Clarke? Are you ok?
When will I stop this self humiliating trend? Closing my eyes, I take a deep breath:
- Yeah, sorry. I’m not… I’m not used to all of this.
I might as well own it, considering the fact that I have zero game.
Her eyes are gentle and oh so soft when she looks at me and says:
- It’s alright. To be fair…
She places a hand behind her neck and addresses me a sheepish smile:
- I’m not used to it either.
This, I have a hard time believing.
I remember her saying that her friend thought that she had been single for too long, but for some people “too long” equals a week tops.
- Not a fan of dating apps?
- Errr… You could say that. I know practically nothing about it.
I read that when first meeting someone, if you make them talk about themselves, their opinion of you skyrockets. I wonder if that’s true. In any case:
- How come?
- I’m studying a lot and… Well… Anya keeps telling me that I’m technologically impaired. Which is not true! I don’t know much about it but only because my interest is limited.
Her face supports an adorable offended frown and I have to physically anchor my hands to the table to resist smoothing it out with my thumb:
- What’s your drug then?
- Excuse me?
Sending her one of my trademark Griffin’grin, tongue between my teeth, I elaborate:
- Well, as I see it, most people are addicted to their phones. If that’s not your thing, what is?
She admits shyly:
- I like to read. Mostly old war stories. The tactical part of it fascinates me.
Her green eyes are on me and I can feel that she dreads to hear my reaction. I mean, it’s cute that she’s nerdy, I’m trying to get in her pants AND I like to think of myself as a nice person… Obviously I’m not going to mock her:
- That’s so cool! Are you an english major?
At that, she lifts a sculpted eyebrow and answers in a cautiously happy tone:
- No one ever referred to it as cool! And no, I’m poli-sci.
- Oh I see… Mixing business and pleasure are we? Politics and battlefields have a lot in common!
- They do. Though I hope we’ll achieve peace in both worlds one of these days. A girl can dream. What about you Clarke? I remember seeing a sketchbook and pencils yesterday, are you an artist?
She noticed. And didn’t use a judgmental tone. How can she be so perfect?
Shrugging, I decide to be honest:
- I wanted to, but my mom was hellbent on me finding a “suitable work career”. In the end, I opted for the middle ground. Architecture. This way, I get to draw and create while having her off of my back. And I took art as a minor.
- Clever.
- Thanks.
Lexa shuffles a bit in her seat, getting comfortable. A warm smile settles on her lips before she asks:
- Will you draw something for me one day?
Playing it coy, I bat my eyelashes and drawl:
- I might…
- I sense a “if”.
There wasn’t, but since she insists:
- If you model for me?
This is stressful.
In all my life, I’ve never wanted to draw someone as much as I want to draw her. The muse comment from Tinder is starting to become a reality. She has to say yes! If not for me, in the name of my future career!
An elegant eyebrow goes up:
- Does this offer include a sheet to cover my modesty?
My eyes almost pop out of my head and I’m off spluttering:
- Wha- No. I mean yes. But I wasn't thinking of doing a… a -.. nude. Of you. We just met. It would be... I mean, not that I'm opposed to seein-
I look up just in time to see her bite back a grin:
- Annd I'll just shut up now.
For someone that avoids any form of exercise like the plague, I sure am bendy. Putting my foot in my mouth like a pro contortionist.
Thankfully, my humiliating moment comes with a quiet chuckle from Lexa.
I love the sound.
And I'm almost proud to be the one to trigger it.
Almost.
- I'm sorry Clarke, it was too tempting to pass up.
Grumbling, I have no choice but to be a good sport about it:
- You're lucky you're cute.
As expected, she blushes. Maybe not all hope is lost? Who doesn’t dig a clumsy blonde?
No one, that’s who.

Thankfully, the rest of the date goes by much smoothly and by the end of it, I’m even more hooked.
So far, I like everything about her and (I can’t believe I’m thinking this but) her quiet yet powerful “aura” is what I dig the most.
After paying for my drink (she insisted), we end up on the sidewalk:
- So… I had a great time.
Glancing shyly at her, I confirm the obvious:
- Me too.
I really don’t want to let her go.
I have to take a chance, if I don’t put myself out there, I’ll regret it my whole life:
- Would you… be interested enough to agree to a second date?
I’m shitting my pants (figuratively speaking), waiting for her to potentially shoot me down. She seemed interested enough, but I’m still uncertain that she likes me for real. My eyes meet hers and there’s nothing there but a black pool of want in a sliver of green.
Without meaning to, we both take a step closer to the other, our bodies almost touching, breaths mingling.
When she finally speaks, her voice is lower than it previously was and I catch her glancing at my lips:
- I’m interested enough to do this.
She cups my face in the palm of her hand and kisses me.
rekjngezlf,zlkrzme fjergegeg……………..

 

The end