- Intro -
Clarke looks out her window nervously. Lexa is late. Well, later than usual. Lexa is normally here by now. The full moon is shining bright and the second Clarke looks away is the second she hears a light tap. The pebble bounces off the glass and Clarke quickly opens her window.
Smiling, Clarke watches Lexa slowly climb up the tree and cross the main branch onto the roof. For over a year it’s been like this. They’d see each other once a month when the moon was full and Lexa would return to her human form. The nights were long and passionate, Lexa would spend every human-hour making love to Clarke.
“Lexa,” Clarke exhales a breath of relief and hugs Lexa. She always smells so good. Earthy and raw, a deep woodsy mist that never fails to make Clarke’s skin rise. She cups Lexa’s jaw and kisses her. Lexa welcomes her with an open mouth, slants to deepen the kiss while pulling Clarke close. Finally, they part, breathless with hunger.
“What took you so long?” Clarke asks before running her hand under the hem of Lexa’s shirt. Lexa’s skin is warm and soft when Clarke unexpectedly touches a wet spot.
“Ah, ss—” Lexa winces slightly, her reflexes have her grabbing at Clarke’s wrist. “Sorry babe, I ran into a bit of trouble.”
“Trouble?” Clarke’s eyes wide with concern, she lifts Lexa’s shirt and discovers a large gash along her abdomen. “Oh my god…”
“It’s just a scratch,” Lexa replies and tries to pull her shirt back down. But Clarke is insistent and instead, pulls Lexa’s shirt completely overhead until she’s topless.
“Just a scratch! What happened?”
“There were a couple of hunters—”
“Hunters?” Clarke interrupts. “It’s a protected forest, I thought hunting is illegal back there.”
“It is and I wasn't expecting to get spotted. The bullet grazed me. I tried to make my way out, but they kept tracking me deeper into the woods. Finally, I was able to shift and walked the highway here.
Clarke has since retrieved a towel to attempt to clean the wound.
“Lexa I… I don’t know about this, it’s really deep,” Clarke says. She knows Lexa isn’t going to like what she’s about to say next. “We might need to take you into the emergency room.”
“No. No hospitals. No humans.”
“If we hurry, we’ll have a few more hours in your human form and at least get you stitched up.”
Lexa continues to shake her head. “I’ll be fine.”
“No, Clarke. I’m hundreds of years old, I don’t even have a last name and you’re expecting me to go into the hospital and get treated.”
“When did this happen?”
Lexa bites her tongue.
“Three days ago.”
“You’ve been bleeding for three days?!”
Clarke stands and grabs a fresh shirt from her closet. “Put this on, we’re going to the hospital.”
“But Clarke, I don’t even exist.”
“Please,” Clarke begs. “My mom is working tonight. We’ll go straight to her through the back entrance. No paperwork, no other humans.”
Lexa is quiet for a long time, weighing the pros and cons of her decision. “Fine.”
Clarke holds up her cellphone high in the air, hoping for a single bar of reception. Nothing.
“Fuck,” she curses under her breath. She hates this place. Hates that her mom moved them to the middle of nowhere after city life became too much and now, she’s stuck here, in the heart of Polis National Forest. Clarke misses Arkadia, she misses her friends from school and feels utterly betrayed by her mother who pulled her out halfway through the year. At sixteen, Clarke despises her life and this situation only adds to her animosity, when her car is broken down in a dead zone.
Looking back, she can still see the car’s silhouette against the full moon. She stayed by it as long as she could, waiting for another vehicle to come by but after over an hour, Clarke began to venture on foot. It was getting cold and she only needed one bar to call for a tow truck.
Walking further and further down the highway, Clarke finally sees a single bar come to life but it’s intermittent. She holds her phone higher, waving it about and following it wherever the signal leads when she trips over a rock and tumbles down toward the forest floor.
“Woah! Ouch! Fuck! Shit!” She falls for a long time, long enough for her to worry that she might roll off the edge of a cliff and fall to her death. Brush and branches scrape her skin until finally, she lands face down in the dirt. “Ooooff!”
Slowly, Clarke stands. Nothing seems broken but her elbow really hurts. She holds it up against the moonlight to try and assess the injury but still can’t tell. Automatically, Clarke reaches for her cellphone to use it as a flashlight when she realizes she dropped it during her fall.
Scrambling, Clarke sinks to her hands and knees and blindly sweeps the forest floor. It’s all leaves and dirt and rocks. “No, no, no…” Her cellphone was literally her lifeline. She has nothing now, no map, no light, and definitely no means of contacting anyone. Panic sets in and Clarke begins to sob while still combing the floor for her phone. Considering she didn’t die falling off a cliff, she might from exposure and hypothermia. Or get eaten by a wild animal.
The sound of a single twig snapping startles Clarke. She gasps and looks behind her. The glowing full moon casts long shadows through the trees and it misleads her eyes. But then, there’s an unmistakable sound of a footstep crunching leaves. Now, Clarke is worried she’ll be murdered by a serial killer (okay, so she watches too many crime shows).
“Who’s there?” Clarke says as brave as she can and finds a stick. She stands and wields it like a sword. “I said, who the fuck is there?”
Two more footsteps bring the person into the moonlight. Clarke squints, adjusting to the figure several feet away. She can’t make out a face but it’s no bigger nor taller than herself.
“You shouldn’t be out here.” It’s a woman’s voice. Seemingly, a young woman. “It’s late.”
Her English sounds different, tinged with an old intonation. Nevertheless, the sound of her voice alone calms Clarke. A sense of relief washes over Clarke knowing there’s someone else out here, another girl, and Clarke probably won’t die tonight.
“Do you live around here? My car broke down and my phone didn’t have any reception. Do you have a phone I can use?”
The girl doesn’t say anything, she simply stares in silence and repeats. “You shouldn’t be out here.”
“I’m not trying to be out here, like I said, my car broke down. Can I borrow your phone?”
There’s another long, drawn silence and it’s starting to creep Clarke out. “Hello? I asked if I could use your phone. Do you have a phone?”
“Well, then can you take me to your place, or your parent’s place or whatever to use a phone?”
More silence and it’s really starting to creep Clarke out. Also, Clarke beings to wonder what this girl is also doing out in the middle of the night. She can’t think of any nearby psych wards or prisons. Clarke is about to ask another question when she speaks.
“Follow me,” she says softly and turns.
In the valley of the forest, the leaves and shrubbery are dense, and the air is cold and thick. Clarke shivers, she has on a pair of fashion jeans with rips and a thin hoodie. She feels very stupid, then again, she wasn’t exactly planning on a midnight hike through the woods. Curiously, the girl ahead is content in just a basic t-shirt and raggedy jeans. Though her jean rips look real with years of wear and tear.
“Aren’t you cold?” Clarke asks while crossing her arms to conserve heat.
“I… I’m used to it.”
“So, you do live around here?”
More silence as the girl turns and just looks at Clarke, which apparently serves as her answer. Clarke is beginning to think she might be part deaf because she doesn’t answer about half of her questions. “How much further?”
The girl tilts her chin forward. Clarke looks ahead, hoping to see yellow lights to a house. A blanket and hot cup of coffee sound good, too. Instead, the outline of a small structure falls into view. It’s dark and looks abandoned.
“Wait… wait…” Clarke stops. “Where are you taking me?”
“It’s an um… shelter. The camping kind. For summer campers. It’s not summer now.”
She speaks as if she hasn’t spoken in years and is just remembering how.
“So, it’s abandoned, you mean?” Clarke says.
“Is there a phone inside?”
“Then what the fuck? I said I needed a phone.”
“This is the closest safe place.”
“What? What do you mean by that?”
“There are creatures at night.”
“Woodland creatures. Bears, mountain lions,” she swallows, “wolves. You should seek shelter for the night.”
“And what about you?”
The girl ignores Clarke’s question and leads them into the shelter. The interior is barren, there’s nothing but a few candles, a matchbook, and a visitor’s log. A piece of elevated plywood serves as a place to sit and sleep. Naturally, Clarke takes a seat and curls her knees into her chest, further conserving her body heat.
“You’ll be safe here until morning,” she says and lights a single candle. “In the daylight, you’ll see a footpath. Three miles due east will take you to a filling station.”
“Filling station? You mean a gas station?”
“Yes, that. A gas station.”
“I don’t understand, can’t you just take me there in the morning?” Clarke asks.
“What? Where are you going?”
“I’m… going home.”
“Why can’t you take me home?”
“My um… parents are very strict. They don’t allow visitors.”
“Mm-hm,” she nods.
“How old are you?”
“Do you go to Polis High? Because I haven’t seen you there.”
“Is that why you sneak out at night? Because your parents are so strict and you don’t get to leave during the day?”
Clearly, Clarke’s questions are becoming too much for the girl and she’s distancing herself toward the door.
“Wait,” Clarke says, “what’s your name?”
Another pause. “Lexa.”
“Lexa…” Clarke says it slowly, lets the unfamiliar name roll off her tongue. “I’m Clarke.”
“Why are you laughing?”
“You said it funny.”
“Klork. That’s what you said,” Lexa replies.
“It’s Clarke, not Klork.”
Lexa clears her throat and tries again. “Clar-kuh”
“Better,” Clarke says, “less kick in the ‘k’ but that’s fine.”
Lexa is about to leave when something inside Clarke calls for her.
“Lexa, wait. Could you… stay? Just a little bit longer?”
Lexa looks out the window as if gauging the moon like sunlight. “Uh, maybe just a little bit,” she replies and takes a seat next to Clarke.
The candle flickers and at this proximity, Clarke notices some of the Lexa’s features. She has thick, lush, and wavy brown hair. It cascades over her shoulders, which appear strong and athletic. All the while Clarke is studying Lexa, Lexa is doing the same, looking Clarke up and down until their eyes meet. That’s when Clarke realizes just how green Lexa’s eyes are, vibrant like a glow stick.
Clarke gasps and goosebumps travel down her spine. “Your eyes… they’re so green…” Clarke can’t help but say. It causes Lexa to dart her eyes aside to try and hide them. “Sorry I… I didn’t mean to comment—”
“It’s okay,” Lexa replies.
There’s another bout of silence when Clarke’s curled body isn’t enough to stay warm and she begins to shiver.
“Are you cold?” Lexa asks.
“No,” Clarke lies. She’s fucking freezing and still can’t fathom how Lexa is sitting there in a plain t-shirt. “I’m not cold at all, can’t you tell.”
Clarke’s sarcasm generates a smirk on Lexa’s lips, and they’re caught smiling at each other for a few seconds.
“Here,” Lexa leans in slowly with open arms. “May I?”
Clarke nods and tips her body into Lexa. Lexa is incredibly warm. More than warm, she’s hot. Her body radiates heat all around as if Clarke were under an electric blanket. It’s comfy and soothing, and Clarke’s eyelids begin to drop. It’s not just the warmth but Lexa’s scent. It’s a homey sweet musk that reminds Clarke of fresh-baked cookies from the oven and Clarke finds herself nuzzling into the crook of Lexa’s neck.
When Clarke does drift asleep, they’re side-by-side and she has since wrapped her arms around Lexa. Their bodies are flush and it’s the most perfect sleep Clarke can recall. Her hands run up Lexa’s back, it’s so soft and warm. The dreams follow when Lexa’s skin turns into a different kind of soft, like the hide of an animal or fur blanket. It’s warmer and Clarke curls herself deeper. It feels so safe and Clarke never wants to let go.
When Clarke wakes, Lexa is gone, and she wonders if it was all a dream.
Continuing this story from Clextober. Enjoy!
The morning light breaks, quickly dissipating the forest fog and leaks into the little shelter. And when Clarke steps outside, the sun is warm on her skin.
She follows a visible trail toward the sun, due east just as Lexa instructed, and exits the forest into the backside of an old gas station. The gas pumps are faded green and there’s a pile of old tires taking up most of the parking lot.
“Hello?” A little doorbell chimes as Clarke pushes it open.
“Can I help you?”
“Yeah, do you have a phone I can use? My car broke down and I lost my cell in the forest.”
“You mean you were out there all by yourself overnight?” The attendant says.
Clarke nods. “Well, not all by myself. There was some other girl, which—is there another teenage girl who lives around here?”
The attendant shakes their head. “There ain’t nothing but woods for miles and miles. That and woodland creatures. Consider yourself lucky that you weren’t eaten alive,” they reply and pull out an old dial phone with a swirly cord attached from underneath the counter.
Clarke thinks nothing of the attendant’s reply, Clarke is positive she saw and met a girl named Lexa. Otherwise, how would she have known where to go in the morning? Automatically, Clarke dials her mom’s cell number—it hasn’t changed since before Clarke was born. Her mom answers before the first ring is over.
“Hi, mom, it’s me.”
“Oh, thank god! Clarke, where are you?! Are you okay? The park rangers said—said that they found your car abandoned. Abandoned! Oh my god, I thought someone had kidnapped you—”
“Mom. Mom. Mom.” Clarke tries to get a word in, but her mom is rambling with panic. “Mom!” Clarke yells, and finally, there’s silence on the opposite end. “I’m fine. The car broke down, I lost my phone, and I spent the night in some camping cabin.”
“Where are you now?”
Clarke can hear the jingle of keys across the line; her mom will be here soon.
“Some gas station, at um…” Clarke leans away from the phone and looks at the attendant, “Excuse me, but where are we?”
“Jimmy’s Gas and Go. The only gas station on County Road 37.”
Within 15 minutes, Abby comes to a screeching stop at the front of Jimmy’s Gas and Go. She must have been going at least 100 miles an hour because it takes about twice that time to get home at the 50-mph speed limit. Her mother still looks a little panicked, reaching to pet Clarke’s hair ever so often, but for the most part, remains silent.
Clarke can see in her mom’s eyes it’s still too soon; Clarke lost her father less than two years ago. It was what prompted their move from the city. Everything about Arkadia would remind Abby of him. Night after night at the emergency room, Abby would push through and pretend she didn’t watch her husband die in the very same space she worked. He had died from a stab wound and was robbed of his wallet. Abby blamed the city. As an ER doctor, knives and gunshot wounds were a dime in a dozen, she had always wanted to move away from the city, but Jake saw something different and instead, wanted to run for city council. Sometimes—many times—life isn’t fair, and it was pure chance that Jake decided to stop at the store on the way home. For what? No one will ever know.
“I’m sorry if I scared you mom—I didn’t mean to,” Clarke says.
“It’s okay, dear.” Abby reaches to brush Clarke’s hair again. “We’ll get you a new car, make sure that doesn’t happen again.”
Clarke rolls her eyes. “I don’t need a new car mom, Jesus. Plus, I wasn’t completely alone.”
“What do you mean you weren’t alone?”
“There was some girl.” Clarke scratches her head. “She was the one who led me to the camper’s shelter. I think she lives around here.”
“Clarke, there’s nothing for miles. This is all national forest land. That’s what the park rangers told me when they found your car.”
Clarke shrugs. “Well, there was someone.”
Abby’s hand stretches and she places her palm on Clarke’s forehead. “Are you sure you’re alright honey? You know, sometimes people experience lifelike hallucinations when their body is trying to survive. Especially if hypothermic.”
“I wasn’t hypothermic, mom. I mean, I was kinda cold. But then Lexa showed up and we—and, I mean, she walked me to the cabin.”
“Who is this Lexa?” Abby quirks an eyebrow.
“I don’t know, some girl, my age, who found me.”
“And what was she doing out there, all alone?”
“I have no idea, I think she lives nearby.”
“No one lives out there. It’s public lands—protected lands, which means no homes.”
“Well, that’s what she said,” Clarke replies.
“Are you sure, Clarke, honey, that you saw someone?”
“Yes, I’m positive. I know what I saw,” Clarke replies and crosses her arms.
Abby bites her lip in doubt.
“Would you mind if we swing by the clinic?”
“Ughh… sure, if it makes you feel better.”
At the local Polis Clinic, Clarke swears her mom runs every imaginable test on her to include peeing in a cup for a full toxicology screening. Oh, the benefits of being a doctor’s daughter. Finally, they return home where Clarke is looking forward to a long, hot shower.
As she pulls off her black hoodie, that’s when she notices it. Her hoodie is covered in what appears to be animal hair. Strands of brownish-black as if she spent the night cuddling with a dog. While a bit peculiar, Clarke passes it off as left-over dog hair from the cabin bench. Thru-hikers travel with their dogs all the time, right?
Clarke spends the rest of her day dealing with her broke down car and getting a new phone. The soonest tow truck took two hours; the nearest auto repair was 45 miles away; and the repair itself took three hours. Clarke is exhausted by the time she gets home, and she opens the fridge to a container of leftovers. Her mom has since left for another night shift at the clinic. Over the past couple of years, Clarke has become accustomed to spending her nights alone. Although, she was already fairly independent before her father passed. Except in Arkadia, Clarke had friends. She would either have them over or vice versa and go to their place. There were afterschool activities, and Clarke was student body president. Here, now, Clarke sits alone at the dining room table with a plate of reheated spaghetti. The house sits at the edge of town, bordering the national forest, and her closest neighbor is a farmer.
Quietly, Clarke eats and stares out the window. She thinks of Lexa; Lexa who is homeschooled with no friends. It makes Clarke sad and she wonders how often Lexa sneaks out. It can’t be every night, can it? Clarke wonders if she returned to the shelter, would Lexa be there? The possibility sets a spark in Clarke’s chest, excited about making a new friend. Plus, Clarke never had a chance to thank Lexa.
With a new sense of adventure, Clarke goes to the garage and rummages through a box of camping equipment (her dad’s camping equipment) and pulls out a headlamp, a sleeping bag, and a can of bear spray. She puts on another layer of clothes, fills her backpack with candy and chips, and heads toward Jimmy’s Gas and Go. By the time she arrives, it’s just past 8 P.M. It’s pitch-black out and the gas station (now closed) is lit by a single bulb. Clarke parks around back, she puts on the headlamp before shouldering her pack, and shoves the bear spray in her jacket pocket. Shining her light into the woods, she walks the same path she did this morning. The vapor of her breath precedes each step, and the crunch of the leaves under her feet is the only sound that accompanies her.
Less than 10 minutes traveled, Clarke hears a distant snap of a twig. She gasps, stops, and grips the bear spray. Looking in the direction of the noise, she sees nothing, yet can feel a set of eyes on her. Clarke thinks about heading back; she’s being stupid. Then again, Lexa was out wandering the woods by herself, safe and unharmed. The thought gives her a sense of relief and Clarke continues forward, where the remainder of her trek goes undisturbed.
The shelter is just as Clarke left it with no signs that anyone—that Lexa—has been back. Slightly disappointed, Clarke unrolls the sleeping bag, sits, and waits. She plans on spending about two hours here before heading back. Abby would freak out if she came home to Clarke being gone (again) and the last thing Clarke wants is to accidentally fall asleep. She plays on her phone for the first hour and spends the rest of her time reading while munching on a bag of chips. After two and a half hours, Clarke decides to call it a night. There’s no movement outside and no signs of Lexa. Just before leaving, Clarke unloads the snacks onto the shelter’s counter. She thinks of Lexa and figures if she wasn’t allowed out of the house, that she probably didn’t have access to junk food either. Finally, Clarke rips an empty page from the back of the cabin’s logbook and leaves a note:
Lexa, Just in case you stop by again, I left you some snacks. -Clarke
It’s midnight by the time Clarke gets home, and though the night proved uneventful, Clarke is happy she at least tried. And just as Clarke unlocks the front door, there’s a rustle in the trees behind her. It scares Clarke, goosebumps rise across her skin and she drops the keys. She spins around, scanning the perimeter of the tree line but Clarke doesn’t see anything. Again, that feeling returns—the feeling of being watched. Slowly, Clarke picks up her keys and hurries inside, locking the door behind her.
It’s Saturday morning when Clarke’s mom leaves for work and the next chance she has to visit the shelter. Eagerly, Clarke hikes the trail at a brisk pace, hopeful to find Lexa again. Sunlight glistens through the leaves above and when Clarke enters the shelter, all the snacks are gone. The snacks and the note. A broad smile spreads across her face. Clarke had brought more food this time, including s’mores stuff, and dumps the contents of her pack onto the counter.
This goes on for several weeks, Clarke leaving food and notes at the shelter. And each time she returns, all the food is gone. All except for the chocolate bars. That, and Clarke’s not sure why there are no return notes. Maybe it’s too risky for Lexa to leave a trace? The next time Clarke is out, she leaves Lexa a longer note—a more detailed one:
Lexa, I left you more food. Not sure why you don’t like chocolate, who doesn’t like chocolate? I don’t know when or how often you can sneak out of the house, but if it’s not too far for you, I live at the end of County Road 13. -Clarke
Another week goes by when Clarke glances out the window at the full moon—the added light will be helpful. She’s getting ready to make another trek out to the shelter when something hits her window. At first, Clarke pays it no mind, thinking it was maybe a tree branch, but it happens again. The sound is more distinct the second time, sharper than a tree branch like a rock or a pebble. Clarke crosses her room and looks outside.
“Lexa,” Clarke mutters and opens the window.
“Hi, Clarke!” Lexa shouts with a big smile on her face and before Clarke knows it, Lexa is climbing up the tree.
Speechless, Clarke watches in awe as Lexa makes a small leap from the tree to the rooftop. She lands softly, gracefully, and comes up to Clarke’s window. “Hi.”
“Uh… hi,” Clarke replies. “You know, we have a front door… and like, a doorbell.”
“Oh, sorry. Should I go back down and utilize the front door?”
Clarke stares at Lexa, unsure if she’s being sarcastic or not, but when Lexa turns her body to descend the roof, Clarke grabs her forearm. “No, this is fine, come back.”
The touch almost startles Lexa and she freezes, looking down at where Clarke’s hand is on her arm. Her eyes flash green for a split second, like shining a light in a cat’s eyes, but disappears the next moment Lexa blinks. Clarke lets go, equally startled. “I’m sorry—I didn’t mean to touch you,” Clarke says.
“It’s okay,” Lexa replies.
She crawls in through Clarke’s window, entering the room where Clarke can see her better in the light; Lexa is strikingly beautiful. Before, her features were shadowed by the forest under moonlight or dimmed by the single candle in the shelter. But, here, in the middle of Clarke’s bedroom, Lexa stands tall with dark and handsome features. Her hair is thick and flowy, her lips are full, and her eyes are a deep and intense green.
“Thanks for all the food you’ve been leaving me,” Lexa says. “And I received your notes—obviously.”
“Uh-huh.” Clarke nods in a stupor, she’s still taken aback by Lexa’s beauty and grace. There’s a sudden captivation Clarke has never experienced before. Lexa is mesmerizing as if her mere presence has Clarke under a spell.
“And, sorry about leaving the chocolate, it upsets my stomach,” Lexa says. She continues to talk, but her words blur as Clarke keeps staring, gawking with wide eyes and an agape jaw. “Clarke?”
“I’m sorry, what did you say?”
“I was saying thanks for all the food, but you really shouldn’t be out in the woods so often, especially if it’s late.”
“It’s fine, I have a can of bear spray. And you’re out there.”
Lexa lets out a small sigh. “I am… but can you please trust me on this Clarke?”
Clarke crosses her arms defiantly. “I’m only going out there because of you.”
“Yeah. When I went back to the shelter and saw that all the food was gone, I figured you needed more,” Clarke shrugs. “And… maybe a friend?”
“Oh. Thank you, Clarke. That’s very considerate of you,” Lexa says. “How about I just come to you? Would that keep you out of the woods, at least during the night?”
Clarke nods. “I guess.”
“Is that a yes or a no?”
“That would be a yes,” Clarke clarifies. “And why do you talk like that?”
“How do you mean?”
“Like that—like, an adult, almost.”
“Sorry. I’m not… accustomed to talking to others much.”
“Do you have any siblings?”
Lexa shakes her head. “No.”
“Me either,” Clarke replies. “So how often will we get to hang out? Do you sneak out a lot?”
“I can only make it out once a month.”
“Monthly,” Clarke frowns. “Do you live far?”
“Not… terribly far. But I do travel everywhere on foot.”
“Do you have a car? Wait, can you drive?” Clarke fires off more questions. She can’t help her curiosity. Everything about Lexa is so mysterious.
“No, and no.”
“I have a car, I can pick you up wherever you are,” Clarke offers.
“Oh, no, please don’t. Uh, my parents. Plus, I prefer to travel by foot.”
“Are you sure?”
“To the absolute.”
Clarke squints at Lexa’s choice of words. “Okay, then. How long can you stay?”
Lexa looks out the window and studies the moon; Clarke assumes she needs the light of the full moon to help navigate home.
“At least several hours,” Lexa replies.
“Well, what do you want to do?”
Lexa places a hand over her stomach. “Do you have any more of those crackers?”
“You mean the graham crackers I left?”
Lexa nods. “I really liked them.”
“Um, yeah…” Clarke replies, “we can check the kitchen. C’mon.”
As Clarke leads Lexa downstairs, she notices Lexa’s wandering eyes as if she’s never been inside a house before, at least in a house that’s not her own in a long time. Her green pupils are full of wonderment, gazing from the art on the walls to the pattern on the furniture. Lexa’s eyes grow when they enter the kitchen and Clarke opens the door to the pantry.
“Oh, wow…” Lexa exhales like a kid in a candy store.
“Here’s some,” Clarke says and pulls a box of graham crackers from the top shelf, “but you can help yourself to anything.”
“Anything?” Lexa repeats in disbelief.
“Yeah,” Clarke shrugs. “At home—I mean, back when I lived in Arkadia, I used to have friends over all the time. Eat whatever you want.”
Lexa looks overwhelmed, unsure where to start between the boxes of cereal, bags of chips, and candy. Clarke wonders how strict Lexa’s parents are and if she’s not allowed any junk food in the house.
“Your parents are that strict, huh?” Clarke asks.
“Uh… my parents, right. I wouldn’t call them strict, just um, a tad traditional.”
“Traditional? Are you Amish or something?”
“I’m human,” Lexa replies quickly while deciding on the original box of graham crackers, taking them from Clarke’s hands.
“Okay…” Again, Clarke is unsure whether Lexa is being sarcastic or not, watching as Lexa picks through the pantry while shoving graham crackers in her mouth. She grabs a large bag of potato chips, hugging it like a small pillow. Her eyes then land on a container of beef jerky and she immediately reaches for it. While Lexa doesn’t seem malnourished, she’s lean and Clarke wonders if Lexa is perhaps homeless. “Would you like some real food?” Clarke offers. “I can heat you up some leftovers.”
“Yeah, my mom made a meatloaf and there are some potatoes.”
Lexa nods while chewing a piece of jerky. She continues to eat snacks out of the pantry while Clarke heats a plate of leftovers.
“So, where are you from?” Clarke asks, making small conversation.
“And… you’ve always lived here?”
“Most of my life, yes,” Lexa replies. “And you? You mentioned Arkadia?”
“Yeah, Arkadia City,” Clarke confirms. “The big city. Have you ever been?”
Lexa shakes her head. “I don’t go to the cities.”
Clarke frowns. “So, you’re homeschooled. You wander the woods at night. And, you don’t go to the cities?”
Lexa nods. The microwave beeps and Clarke sets down a heated plate of leftovers for Lexa, who seems just shy of drooling at the mouth. She watches Lexa wolf down the entire plate in minutes as if she hasn’t had a real meal in months.
“Do your… parents feed you enough?” Clarke asks as lightly as possibly.
Lexa doesn’t answer. Her eyes rove while wiping her mouth with the back of her hand. “Can we talk about something else?” She says. “At least not about my parents?”
“Sorry—I just want to make sure you’re safe,” Clarke replies.
“I am,” Lexa says with reassurance. “I promise.”
“Okay…” Clarke tips her head at Lexa’s empty plate. “Want some more?”
Lexa is hesitant at first, but eventually nods, sliding the plate over to Clarke for seconds.
The rest of the evening is spent watching TV, binging Netflix on the couch. Lexa is fascinated. Clarke learns that Lexa doesn’t have a television, a phone, or any other type of electronics.
“Then what do you do all day?”
“I read a lot,” Lexa replies while popping a handful of popcorn in her mouth. “Go for long walks or a run. Sleep.”
Lexa’s eyes are glued to the TV screen, while Clarke’s are glued to Lexa. Clarke is ever more perplexed. Each passing second with Lexa seems to enhance the allure surrounding her. While some things add up, others don’t, and Clarke is starting to wonder if Lexa is a figment of her imagination. Maybe Clarke has been alone in this house too long and her subconscious has conjured her a new friend.
“Are you really here?” Clarke reaches for a kernel of popcorn and throws it at Lexa’s face. Sure enough, it bounces off her forehead and falls onto her lap.
“Hey, now, no need to be wasteful,” Lexa says, picking up the kernel. “And, yes, I’m real. Why do you say that?”
Clarke doesn’t answer, but instead, reaches to touch Lexa’s hair. She runs her hand through long, dark brown waves, feeling cool strands fall between her fingers. Clarke shifts to Lexa’s face, gently tracing her features from her eyebrows to her nose and finishing at her lips. Lexa sits still, patiently letting Clarke touch, and from this intimate distance, Clarke can feel the heat emanating from Lexa’s body. The same heat that kept her warm in the shelter that night and Clarke runs her hand down Lexa’s arms. They’re strong and toned and feel like they’re on fire.
“Why is your body so warm?” Clarke whispers.
“It’s just the way my blood runs,” Lexa replies. She blinks, and her eyes spark green again, as if intentional—a warning—but it’s gone in a split second, and she returns her attention to the TV.
Clarke knows she shouldn’t ask any more questions, yet she doesn’t feel threatened but the opposite. She feels safe. More than safe, she’s inexplicably drawn to Lexa, and that same drive that had her going back to the shelter week after week encourages Clarke to scoot closer. Slowly, she leans her head down and rests it on Lexa’s shoulder. And when Clarke peers up, Lexa is unbothered, further outstretching her arm and invites Clarke into the crook of her neck. The warmth returns, the coziness of Lexa’s body against hers and it lulls Clarke to sleep.
When Clarke wakes, she’s alone on the couch with a throw over her shoulders. The TV is on mute, but images continue to flash.
“Lexa?” Clarke sits up and looks around. It’s almost four in the morning and there’s no sign of Lexa, only an empty bowl of popcorn. Groggily, Clarke walks herself up to bed with warm thoughts of Lexa accompanying her until she falls back asleep.
2 weeks later.
Clarke is standing outfield when the softball sails overhead, landing at the end of the field, and it rolls out of sight. Clarke jogs to the edge of the forest and crawls through a thicket of brush, looking for the softball when she spots it a few feet ahead. Stepping forward, Clarke grabs the ball but just as she does, there’s a light rustle deeper into the woods. The hairs on the back of her neck rise and Clarke looks ahead, concentrating her eyes into the depth of shadows when she spots a fleeting movement. Whatever it was, it looked big with dark brown fur. Clarke takes a few tentative steps back before hurrying out of the forest and continues the game.
Hello all, happy Clextober 2021! This chapter is a bit short, but I wanted to get an update out in time for Clextober. I suppose this is what happens with one-shot fails. Anyway, I hope ya'll enjoy the update!
For the next several months, Lexa returns to Clarke’s house at each full moon. The nights are spent binging shows on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, HBO, etc. Clarke has all the apps after she complained to her mom that if they were going to move away from the city, to at least give her all the watch options. Which, now, has proven to be incredibly beneficial. Lexa loves watching TV. That, and eating. They would curl up on the couch together with a pile of snacks, drinks, and candy, and watch TV all night. More often than not, Clarke would fall asleep on Lexa and when she’d wake in the morning, Lexa would be gone. Sometimes, if Clarke were lucky, she’d wake up around 2 or 3 AM in Lexa’s arms. Lexa would still be awake, munching away with eyes glued to the screen. Clarke doesn’t know how Lexa manages to stay up all night, and when Clarke would stir in Lexa’s arms, it’d draw her attention. She’d glance down, smile at Clarke, and tighten her embrace until Clarke fell asleep again.
Tonight, Clarke finds herself in the same position, snuggled in Lexa’s arms. Of all the genres, Lexa is obsessed with fantasy and horror, especially if they’re combined and Netflix has had the perfect line of recommendations going from Stranger Things to The Witcher, and now, The Haunting of Bly Manor. Clarke hates scary things, and while she could tolerate the first two, the last has her too afraid to fall asleep and she’s practically clinging onto Lexa for dear life. For whatever reason, Lexa always feels incredibly strong in her arms and no matter how tight Clarke squeezes, Lexa never seems to mind.
Another jump-scare scene frightens Clarke and she gasps while burying her face into Lexa’s neck. “God, Lexa, how can you watch this?”
“It’s fascinating,” she smirks. “Plus, I thought you’d be asleep by now.”
“Mm-nhmm,” Clarke shakes her head while nuzzling further. “It’s not even midnight yet. Plus, I’m too scared to fall asleep,” she squeaks.
Lexa tips her head down, “Do you want me to change it?”
“Well… no, you don’t have TV at home. I want you to be able to watch what you like when you can.”
“Clarke, believe me when I say that regardless of what’s on the television screen, I am looking at something I am incredibly fond of.” Their eyes meet, and Clarke watches Lexa wet her lips lightly before speaking again. “Or, should I say, someone.”
Clarke’s heart begins to pound so hard that it reverberates through her ears. Obviously, there’s something here, a pull that she can’t ignore and it’s been growing stronger since the day they met. Lexa’s eyes begin to glow green again, but this time, she doesn’t turn away and neither does Clarke. The hairs on the back of her neck rise, an instinctive warning that Clarke ignores, because she also knows that she’s never been safer before in her life. She stares at Lexa, entranced in a swirl of green, and slowly, Clarke leans in.
Their lips meet, and it sends a warmth throughout Clarke’s body she’s never experienced before. Sure, Clarke has kissed and been with others, but this feels magical. The air twinkles around them like a puff of fairy dust, and it’s as if they’ve been transported in the heart of an enchanted forest with birds and butterflies and waterfalls. Clarke smirks into the kiss, they part briefly, bump noses with a pause and Clarke inhales a deep breath. She wants more. So, she cups Lexa’s jaw this time, and will less hesitation, she kisses Lexa a second time. They reconnect with a light flicker of tongue, and just as Clarke opens her mouth for more, a flash of headlights illuminate the living room.
Panicked, Lexa sits up immediately, nearly tossing Clarke completely off the couch. “I should go.”
“What?” Clarke scrambles to her feet. “No, no, it’s okay, Lexa. It’s my mom, she probably just got off early.”
Lexa shakes her head in fear, shaking and stuttering, “But, my… my parents… um—”
Clarke can’t fathom why Lexa is so afraid, perhaps her parents don’t know she’s into girls? And Clarke quickly tries to mitigate the situation and says, “Don’t worry, my mom’s totally cool. I’ve been with a bunch of girls.”
Lexa furrows her brow. “You—what?”
“Well, not a bunch, but it’s not my first time.” Suddenly, Clarke is afraid she said the wrong thing. “I mean, is it your first time?” Clarke winces, she has no idea why she said that.
“Uh—” Lexa looks shocked with eyes wide. She is speechless as the front door clicks open, and her eyes follow.
Abby enters the house juggling her purse, keys, and a box of pizza. “Clarke! I’m home,” She looks up, “oh, you’re right here,” and turns her attention to Lexa. “And, who might this be?”
“Hey, mom! This is Lexa.” Clarke steps to Lexa’s side. “Remember? That girl that I was talking about when my car broke down?”
“Oh, well then thank you for helping Clarke that evening,” Abby replies while kicking off her shoes and walking toward the dining room. “I was very worried.” Abby sets everything down on the dining room table, including the pizza and Clarke swears she hears Lexa’s stomach growl despite all the food she’s already eaten. “There was a mix-up in the schedule tonight and turns out I don’t have the overnight shift. So I picked up some pizza on my way home.” Abby opens the pizza box and pulls out a slice for herself, and a stronger waft of hot pizza fills the room. “Lexa, would you like some pizza?” Abby offers.
Lexa nods, and seemingly, all of her worries about Abby coming home disappear much like gaining the instant trust of a dog after offering it a treat. Slowly, almost cautiously, Lexa steps towards the dining room table and spares a glance at Clarke as if seeking additional permission. Clarke nods and further gestures Lexa toward the pizza, “Like my mom said, help yourself.”
Lexa takes a slice from the box, and so does Clarke. The first few bites are eaten in silence as all three stand around the table when Abby breaks that silence.
“So, Clarke mentioned you lived nearby, Lexa?”
Lexa nods with a mouth full of pizza.
“And, whereabouts might that be?” Abby inquires. “We’re surrounded by public forest lands.”
Knowing Lexa’s circumstances involving her strict parents, Clarke goes into slight panic mode. She takes a step closer to Lexa and answers for her. “She’s on a small farm, her family’s had it for ages, before it was publicized. Right, Lexa?”
“Uhhh…” Lexa swallows a big gulp. “Yes, that’s correct.”
“Oh,” Abby raises an eyebrow. “And, you’re homeschooled?”
Lexa nods again.
“Just, you and your parents? Do you have any siblings?”
“No, just me,” Lexa responds quickly.
As Abby continues to ask Lexa about her living situation, Clarke’s heart begins to pound in a completely different way. She doesn’t want her mother to find out that Lexa has been sneaking out once a month and get Lexa in trouble with her parents.
“And… your parents know that you’re here?” Abby asks.
“Of course they do,” Clarke interrupts. She widens her eyes at her mom in a silent beg to stop the interrogation. “Can we go to my room now, mom?”
Abby returns her daughter’s stare, and after a short pause, nods. Hastily, Clarke takes the pizza box, which is all Lexa needs to follow her upstairs to her room where Clarke closes the locks the door behind them.
“Sorry, about that,” Clarke says, embarrassed.
“Your mom seems nice,” Lexa replies. “Very concerned about my wellbeing. And she brought pizza,” Lexa says it as if she’s hasn’t had it in years, which, now that Clarke thinks about it, may not far from the truth.
“It’s a doctor thing, sorry. I just don’t want you to get in trouble.”
Lexa nods while reaching for another slice. “I appreciate it.”
Clarke restarts Netflix as they sit cross-legged on her bed. Unsurprisingly, Lexa finishes the remainder of the pizza without slowing or stopping. And before Clarke knows it, they’re curled up on top of the sheets, and Lexa groans with content. Her stomach is full and her eyes look sleepy.
“Mmm, your bed is so soft and comfy…” Lexa mumbles and snuggles into it further. They’re side-by-side, face-to-face, with just a few inches between their face.
“You better be careful, don’t fall asleep and not make it home on time.”
“That… would be unfortunate…”
Clarke reaches for a strand of Lexa’s hair and twirls it in her fingertips. Despite its coarse appearance, it’s incredibly soft and Clarke further combs her hand into it. She can’t explain it, but everything about Lexa is enchanting. Clarke is drawn to her in a way she has never experienced. She tips her nose forward and nuzzles Lexa’s. They giggle, and Clarke angles her head to kiss her again.
“Mmm…” Clarke’s eyes slip shut, and she sinks further into the kiss. She presses their bodies together and breathes Lexa in. Lexa’s lips are so soft and she smells so good. It’s a slow and lazy make-out as if they all the time in the world.
They kiss until Clarke falls asleep, embraced in a warmth so unique that she never wants to leave.
Dawn is just shy of breaking when Clarke begins to stir. The weakest of civil twilight glows across the horizon, and with each passing second, sunrise threatens to fill the room. Clarke’s hands are intertwined in Lexa’s hair, and seemingly, Clarke is spooning Lexa with a tickle of hair against her nose and face. Except when Clarke’s hands shift, there’s more hair. It’s short and thick and suddenly, Clarke is very confused. Her blurry eyes open to an even more unexpected sight of a large, brown furball that she’s hugging, like a giant teddy bear.
And, as Clarke continues to stir awake and make sense of what’s in front of her, the massive creature opens its eyes. Its eyes are a bright, complex, green, and they flash with panic. The creature tumbles out of bed, knocking everything around the room from Clarke’s wall hangings to the books and papers on her desk. It’s massive, with long arms and legs, big paws, and a giant bushy tail. It tries to escape out the window, clawing and pawing without avail until it cowers into the corner of the room, panting.
Clarke can’t believe her eyes. Even sitting, the canine creature nearly reaches the ceiling. Slowly, Clarke approaches and recognizes its eyes, a special brilliance of the green.
Slowly, the werewolf—Lexa—nods.