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"They'll be fucking by tonight, just watch," I hear the girl say to her friend.  She does a terrible job at whispering.  "You know Lexa."

"Yeah," the red-head says with a giggle. "She's gotta taste-test every new flavor."

I can't even focus on what my friends are saying around me, because I'm too busy watching the brunette at the counter, flirting with the barista.  She's gorgeous, really.  The barista is not bad looking either, but Lexa is truly a sight to behold.  Her curls cascading down her back and her jade green eyes, the arch of her eyebrows and the fullness of her lips.  She's irresistible to most women she meets, and though she doesn't pay them any mind, most men are drawn to her as well.  Anyone with eyes can see how attractive Lexa is.

"Earth to Clarke," Raven calls next to me, waving her hand in front of my face to drawn me from my daydreams. "You feeling alright?  You've been in a daze since we got here.."

"I'm good Rae," I nod, forcing myself to look her in the eyes instead of returning my stare to the brunette who is now leaning over the counter, whispering something into the barista's ear.  "Just didn't sleep well last night, I guess.  I had the weirdest dreams..."

"Dreams that made you scream and giggle like a banshee?" Octavia questions.  "I could hear you from across the hall, girl."

I laugh, hoping it pushes back the blush I feel rising.  I wonder what else she may have heard.  "You wouldn't believe how absurd," I look down at the napkin under my drink.

They wouldn't understand; I honestly don't think anyone would.  Perception is reality, after all.  And the only perception anyone has of Lexa is that she's a player.

 

<< |: H :| >>

 

Her hands know no boundaries when they roam over me.  Nimble fingers trace every millimeter of available skin like she owns it all and is constantly keeping account.  Her lips find new places to hover each time we're together, and I've never wanted to let someone have me the way I do with her.

Sometimes the way she touches me, I don't even feel like I have clothes on.  I don't take them off, and she never sneaks underneath them.  Really, I have to draw the line somewhere.  It's been two months since I let Lexa into my studio apartment on a rainy night after she walked me home from the laundromat.  It took 3 weeks for me to let her kiss me,  but after that there really was no turning back.

"Mmmm, your skin is so soft," she husks, placing open-mouthed kisses just above the waistband of my pajama pants.  She lays her head so that her ear is directly over my pubic region.  "I could stay like this for an eternity."

I wouldn't argue with her wanting to.  "Stay then."

"And give you the chance to get tired of me?  Never," the brunette smirks, "I have to make you miss me."

She moves up, her lips finding mine and her tongue asking for permission to slip me the silkiest, most sensual kinds of secrets.  I feel my heart flutter at the way she hums into my mouth, as if she's bitten into something she's missed the taste of and she's finally able to savor it again.  Her center connects with mine, rubbing against me enough to make me gasp and pull back, lip quivering at the new sensation.

"Want me to stop?" she asks, kissing my neck and nibbling over my pulse point.

I nod, only because I'm still clear-headed enough to think about the fact that I don't want to be just another girl to her.  I don't want to be the barista, or the girl at the record store, or the twins at the car wash, or the revolving group of girls at the campus bookstore and the pizzeria.  She doesn't push or try to convince me to keep going; sometimes I wish I could let myself enjoy it just a little bit more without pulling away or shutting her down every time.  But I know that she's already intoxicating enough, and if I let myself get fuzzy-headed and needy, I'll give in to her and I'll be the next one those two girls at the coffee joint were giggling about.

"You tired?"  Her voice is so soft, her breath so warm against the shell of my ear.  "You want to sleep?"

"Yeah," I respond knowing that I'm not.  Not really.  But if sleep keeps me from thinking about how much I want her, then that's what I'll have to settle for now.  "You gonna go?"

"You want me to?"

I close my eyes, and look away from her, towards the lamp on the nightstand by my bed. "No...."

"Then No," she answers, standing up to remove her shirt and her jeans.  She lifts my legs like it's nothing, pulling the covers out from under me so she can cover me and then hop in next to me. "Turn over," she instructs me, gently placing her hand on my stomach and letting her thumb rub against the exposed skin from where my shirt has ridden up.  "I'm the big spoon."

I keep telling myself that this is not the same girl that was just at the cafe, leaning over the counter and making my heart clench with every ghost of a touch against the other girl's ear.  I keep telling myself that this is just for me--that I'm special, and that she likes me for real.  I hate myself for almost believing it.

 

<< |: H :| >>

 

I knew I shouldn't have drank.  When I drink I got mouthy, and I tend to say the things I don't allow myself to say otherwise.

Which would have been fine, if Lexa hadn't waltzed in and started flirting with some dark-skinned goddess whose been posted by the bar all night.  I have no room to be jealous.  I have no room to be upset.  She's not mine--she's never been mine--and she's never lied about her activities with other girls.  It's not like she's hiding anything from me, it's just that my friends started making comments about Lexa and her new "Everest" and suddenly I'm on fucking fire.

Because Everest??  Really??  Everest is hard.  Everest isn't for the faint of heart.  Most of these girls that she's fucking with are the equivalent of 1 + 1; they're basic as fuck and in no ways worthy of the mountainous title.

It sparks something in me, seeing her with this girl and hearing my friends talk shit, and before I know it, I'm off the stool and on my feet, storming towards the bathroom.  It's a mere matter of convenience that Lexa is right in my path, and judging by the steps hastily following, she must know that something's up.

"Hey," she says, causing me to whip around and face her.

"Don't," I point my finger at her. "Don't you dare 'hey' me."

"Clarke, what-"

"Who is that girl?  Do you even know her name??"

"Mikayla," the brunette answers with one eyebrow raised.

"Are you going to have sex with her?"

She laughs, her eyes looking to the door before she looks back to me and her face straightens again. "Clarke-"

"Answer the question."

"I haven't decided yet," her shoulders lift nonchalantly.  She comes closer to me, testing the waters no doubt, trying to see at what distance and with what amount of effort she can affect me. 

"Stop," I put my hand up. "Don't touch me."

"Really?   Jesus, you're acting like I'm some predator."

"You are!" I practically yell out of frustration. Because really, why can't she see it??  A new girl every couple of days or so, she lays the bait out and they always seem to take it.

"I'm not!" she replies with an equally hair-raising tone.  "I don't lure people into my bed.  They come willingly.  I'm completely honest about what I want and what I don't want; they know from the moment I meet them what I'm looking for and what I will not allow.  It's their choice to continue the conversation, just like it's their choice whether they end up in my bed or not.  What?  You think I trap these girls?  That I trick them into thinking I'm gonna court them, buy them flowers, make them mixtapes, and sweep them off their dainty little feet??  Well fuck that.  I don't have time for false pretenses.  I like fucking and I'm good at it, and I tell them as much.  There are no parlor tricks here, Clarke.  No smoke and mirrors, no illusions.  What you see is what you get with me."

"THEN WHAT ABOUT ME??!" I argue, not realizing that the bathroom door has opened and Octavia and Raven are standing behind the girl in front of me now. 

"You come over and kiss me and cuddle and tell me that you could stay forever, but you never fucking do!  I wake up and my bed is empty and it's like...do other girls get to wake up next to you??  Or is this something you do with everyone??  Bail to avoid the awkwardness of morning breath and making breakfast together and maybe even a quick shower--separately in our case, but you know what I mean--"

The gasps from the doorway are what make me clamp my mouth shut.  Lexa turns just enough for me to crane my neck and see my friends, wide-eyed and staring at the two of us in shock.  My hand comes up over my mouth when I realize that I've just inadvertently told my friends that I've been seeing Lexa, the girl they've all but warned me about since I moved here and we all met.  I'm embarrassed.  Not because of what Lexa and I have shared, but because I'm drunk, and I'm being a messy bitch in the bathroom of some bar, and honestly this is not how any of this was supposed to go down.

"Clarke," she says, reaching for my hand and pulling it down. "I've never been dishonest with you.  Everything I said I meant."

I want to ask, then why do you leave?  But I don't.

"I don't just leave you there and not look back," Lexa whispers to me, but I can't even look at her right now.

She sighs, and releases my hand. "Check the Notes app on your phone," she tells me, before turning and walking out the door of the bathroom.

I do, knowing that if something is there then it has to be from her because I never write anything in Notes, and sure as shit, there they are.  Dozens of notes, some she'd written after staying over, some she'd written while I was in the bathroom and she was waiting on the couch with the movie paused.  There's even a note with a picture of her attached -- a picture of her blowing a kiss, in fact.

And suddenly I feel like a bitch for calling her out without ever having brought it up to her before.  She's right, she's never been dishonest with me.  It appears that I've been the one holding something back from her the whole time.

 

<< |: H :| >>

 

"How?" Raven asks, one open-faced palm in the air like a fucking meme.  "I mean...you and Lexa??  How the hell did that happen?"

I guess it was kind of bound to happen eventually, judging by how quickly the brunette racks 'em up, but I like to think of myself as different.  "The hospital.  She works there, too."

"Lexa??" O says incredulously.  "Are we talking about the same girl?  What the hell would she even do at a hospital, besides charming old women into opening up and taking their medicine.."

"She works in engineering," I smile, remembering the first time I had seen her standing on a ladder in the middle of the ER, helping her boss fix something in the ceiling.

They both stare at me, and I can tell they're wondering what the hell I was thinking getting involved with her.  Sometimes I wonder the same thing.  But most days, I'm just really happy to be around her.

"Tell me you at least use protection," I hear Raven point out.  "I don't know about you, but I don't want Hurricane Abby showing up just because you decided to forego the use of any common sense."

My friends have met my mother many times.  She's even brought them both care packages when she's come to visit me.  They love her, but they also know that when you get on her bad side, you better pray for an intervention.  It's crazy, but I wish my mom could meet Lexa.  Not the Lexa that everybody talks about; I want my mom to meet the person, and not her reputation.  I really think she'd like her.  She's a lot like my dad.

"We haven't had sex," I answer, my eyes focused on the night sky and the lights of the city outside my bedroom window.  "We kiss sometimes.  That's it."

I hear one of them snicker, and then there's a slapping noise, most likely caused by the other trying to get them to stop.  "Okay but...she stayed over," Octavia mentions. "She slept in your bed."

My mind flashes to laying on my side, eyes closed and reveling in the feeling of her arm thrown over my middle.  She sleeps with her other arm stretched out and shoved under the pillow, her hand somewhere between my pillow and the headboard.  I know this because I usually fall asleep with her fingers in my hair, nails scratching tenderly at my scalp.  I try to stay up long enough to hear her breathing even out; I want to know if she snores or sighs, and I want to turn over and see if she smiles in her sleep or if her lips part slightly.

I'm glad when Raven's phone rings and she leaves the room to answer it.  Octavia follows her to their apartment across the hall, and I can finally breathe a sigh of relief.  At least the interrogation is over and I can try to fall asleep, knowing that I wish Lexa were here too.

 

<< |: H :| >>

 

I make the mistake of reading all her notes, one by one, and then re-reading them as if there's no way I can be seeing things correctly.  Most of them are sweet and funny, a few of them are flirty in nature or borderline sexual, but theres one that I'm not sure about.  She says things like 'I don't know what this is to you' and 'I wish I could see what you're thinking'.  She talks about wanting to wake up with me, and wanting to know what my voice sounds like first thing in the morning.  Part of me thinks she's talking out of her ass.  Lexa doesn't do this kind of stuff.  But the other part of me holds on to what she said in that bathroom.  'Everything I said I meant'.  At the end of the note it reads, 'I could tie myself to you.  I could let myself grow roots and settle into a life with you, if that was what you wanted too.'  It's all right here in front of me.  She could stop doing what she's doing, if she knew that she'd have me.  But do I believe that?

She works on Saturday and I run into her carrying her tool belt in one hand and a large flashlight in the other.  "Did you mean it?" I ask her.

"Mean what exactly?"

"That you want more with me..."

Her eyes look hopeful, and her smile is shy but it's there. "If that's something you want.."

"I won't share you," I tell her wanting her to acknowledge that she understands what I expect of her.

She leans forward, kissing my forehead and letting hers rest against it for a moment. "Tell me you want me, and you won't have to," she breathes out before lowering her lips to mine.  She kisses me and I feel my heart leap into my throat in an effort to reach her.  Its short and sweet, but it's everything that I like about her.  "Gotta go.  I'll see you later, beautiful."

I watch her walk away, and there's something inside me that warms thinking about what it could be like to be with her.

My 12-hour shift lasts longer than Lexa's 8, and I'm in the parking lot headed to my car when I get a phone call.

"Don't stop anywhere," she says.  "I'm picking up food now and I'll be waiting by your door when you get here."

I laugh and tell her okay, and the whole ride home I'm singing to the radio with a grin on my face.  I've only dated a few people, most of them guys and we were in high school so romance wasn't really a think back then.  I've never had someone show up at my place with food.  I've never been with anyone who knew what I liked to eat, but Lexa's aware of my picky eating habits and for that I'm glad.  We've talked about how food textures bother me and how some sauces are just too strong for my palette.  She knows I don't like seafood and that fatty parts of meat make me gag.  She knows that I prefer to drink water with my meals, and that I prefer beer over any type of wine.

When I park, I take a second to look into the mirror and make sure I look okay after a long shift.  I'm not expecting perfection, but I'd prefer not to look haggard if I can help it.  I walk up the stairs (a healthy habit I keep telling myself) and I see Lexa standing in the hallway, bags of food in hand, leaning against my door having a conversation with the girl from 7D.  The girl laughs and puts her palm against Lexa's chest and pushes her back playfully.  I feel an internal blaze start up, but then Lexa's head turns and she sees me.  She doesn't look surprised or caught off guard.  Instead, she smirks and lifts her hands to show the food.

"Hey doll," she greets me, not sparing a second glance at the girl in front of her. "Wanna get a quick shower while I get the table set?"

The girl's eyebrows raise and she turns her head to me and then back to Lexa. "Sorry, I didn't know you had a girlfriend."

Lexa's eyes never leave me as she says, "I got really lucky."

 

<< |: H :| >>

 

I've only been seated for about 5 minutes when I see her walk in.  She got called in on the nightshift to help her boss fix a major leak in the plumbing system that could have potentially flooded the whole ER.  She struts into the coffee shop, pulling her hair back into a messy bun as she makes her way to the counter.  I watch as she offers the newest barista a polite smile and then looks up at the menu. 

As she orders, the girls at the table in the corner comment that she isn't dressed like she normally is, with her t-shirt and her black cargo shorts she wears sometimes at work.  She turns to face me, and the girls at the table giggle thinking that she's winking at them.  She waits at the counter and the barista reaches out to tug her shirt so she can read the logo on the left side of her chest better.  The girl makes conversation and bats her eyelashes.  I watch her place one drink on the counter, grab a napkin and write something on it before sliding it across the counter as another barista places a second drink down.  Lexa slides the napkin back and tells her something that I can't quite make out before she grabs both drinks and heads towards me.

"Morning Love," she coos, setting my coffee on the table in front of me as she kisses the top of my head. "D'you sleep alright after I left?"

"Mmmm," I hum as I take a sip of my drink, "No, it took me forever to get comfortable again.  Pillows are not a good enough substitute."

She takes a seat in front of me and reaches for my hands. "Well last night was our last night on-call.  Paulo says our next call schedule isn't for another 4 weeks."

"Ooh, charmer," I squeeze her hands. "So I get you all to myself at night for the next 4 weeks, huh?"

"You still have to share me with Pauna," she says jokingly, referring to our black rescue pit, "But yes.  I'm all yours."

From the corner I hear the girls trying to whisper but failing miserably, and it makes my heart jump for joy when I hear one of them say, "You know they've been together for a year now?  Guess Lexa finally found her favorite flavor."

Yep, I say in my head as she pulls both of my hands up to her lips.  She sure did.