"You should go and talk to her,” Clarke said to her brunette friend, out of breath.
She took off her boxing gloves and discarded them carelessly on the floor before wiping away the beads of sweat rolling down her forehead with the back of her hand.
"And have her hear me? Are you insane?” Octavia looked at her like she had grown a second head all of a sudden. She took off her boxing gloves as well. “No, thank you."
"Indeed, that's usually how conversations get started, Octavia," Clarke chuckled, amused by her incongruousness. “You say something, they hear it, they say something back.”
The blonde walked up to the blue corner of the boxing ring and eagerly took a sip of fresh water out of her flask. Life was unfair, Clarke mused as she took in Octavia.
She was still looking pretty well put together, seemingly barely affected by their current sparring session. A few beads of sweat were rolling down her forehead, far fewer than on Clarke’s. Her breath was slightly uneven and her hair was still neatly tied into those complex braids Octavia liked so much, wild dark brunette flyaways blossoming into platinum blonde, becoming almost translucent, whenever the rays of sunshine would hit them right.
Octavia had once said that the hairdo helped her feel fiercer. Clarke, whom was often on the receiving end of her punches and jabs, didn’t see much of a difference. Braids or not, the blonde was still hurting exactly the same after sparring. While it may not make much of a difference in her punches, it definitely did make Octavia look fiercer, resembling not unlike a young relentless Viking warrior on a war path where defeat wasn’t an option.
Though, as of late, the brunette was often distracted by a new woman frequenting the gym, thus shattering the whole unbeatable champion figure she had going on with each blow and uppercut landed by her opponents. As much as Clarke liked landing more punches than usual, it also felt a lot less rewarding.
The said woman had been visiting OneKru gym for about three weeks now and Octavia must have been ogling at her for two weeks and six days. Every time Octavia was here and the other woman too, she would get distrait. Octavia did spend plenty of time at the gym and apparently so did the other woman, given Octavia’s numerous texts informing Clarke that she had spotted her that day.
While the not-so-discreet goo-goo eyes had been cute at first, now, it was getting borderline grotesque.
"With those long legs, I’m not even sure she would hear me from all the way up there anyway," Octavia said with a dreamy sigh. She switched her gaze from the tall woman sparring two boxing rings over to look at the disheveled blonde in front of her. "Plus, what would Bellamy think?"
"Fuck Bellamy,” Clarke rolled her eyes.
She had heard that excuse too many times to count.
"Ew, he's my brother!" Octavia said with a disgusted expression, wrinkling her nose, before pretending to throw up.
Clarke pointed an accusatory index finger at her and wiggled it in circles, her blonde eyebrows furrowing in seriousness. "Don't try to distract me from this very important conversation we're having. This is happening," she motioned between Octavia and her back and forth. "Who gives a fuck about what Bell thinks? You should do whatever you want. Or dare I say, do whoever you want," Clarke rolled her hips all the while making a suggestive motion with her hands next to her hipbones and wiggled her eyebrows up and down, a wide playful, teasing smile on her lips.
Octavia laughed and gently bumped her friend’s shoulder with her hand. "You're terrible."
"Come on, O,” it was somewhere between a whine and a tired sigh. “You've never been one to be shy about going after what you want. What's so special about the woman that has you acting like a scaredy cat?"
"You see the same woman as I do, right?” Octavia raised both of her eyebrows, surprised that Clarke even had to ask the question in the first place since the answer was as plain as the nose on the face to her. “Bad ass chick that kicked Indra's ass while barely breaking a sweat last week? Indra's. Took me days to beat her ass. And I’m her trainee! I swear, she didn’t even study her boxing technique or anything. She just asked her if she wanted to spare and bam! A few minutes later, Indra was on her back. I don’t think I’ve seen anyone fight this smoothly in ever, Clarke. I’m as much in awe of her as I am attracted to her. I don’t know if I want her or if I want to be her."
"Your staring and drooling would strongly suggest the former, sweetheart," Clarke said good heartedly and comfortingly patted Octavia’s shoulder.
"I'm not that obvious.”
Clarke raised an eyebrow, more than skeptical about that statement.
"Okay, so maybe I am a bit less discreet than I think I am but I’m nowhere near as bad as you make me out to be,” Octavia conceded, her voice an octave higher than usual, not ready to admit out loud just how much she had, indeed, been staring.
"Please, I think even the heavy bags picked up on it."
Octavia rolled her eyes.
"The maize balls picked up on it, the dumbbells picked up on- Hell, even the forgotten wearable weights in the old dusty-"
"I think I got it!" Octavia hold up a hand to shush her friend. "If I say that I’ll think about it, will you drop it?”
Clarke disregarded her friend’s comment and kept on. "You know what you should do? You should ask her to spare. If she’s as good as you say she is then worst case scenario: she wins and you get to be topped by her, best case scenario: you win and you get to top her. Either way, it's a win-win.”
"Your friend might be onto something there," a feminine voice said from somewhere at the foot of the elevated boxing ring they were currently occupying.
Octavia and Clarke both looked down at the woman. Sure enough, the object of Octavia’s affection was standing right there. Her arms were loosely crossed, resting comfortingly on one of the ropes, a playful challenging smirk illuminating her face.
When the two friends had arrived thirty minutes ago, she had already been sparring and it must have been a great session judging by the look of her. Her hair was messy and she was sweaty all over. The natural light reflected on her skin, beautifying the strong powerful muscles hiding beneath the smooth-looking flesh. She looked even more stunning up close than she did from afar.
“Fuck,” the brunette said ungracefully, her brain catching on on what had just happened.
The nameless woman she had been admiring for three weeks was now standing right in front of them, talking to them, and she had just heard Clarke say in not so many words that Octavia would very much like to experiment plenty of different compromising positions with her. Perfect, it was just fucking perfect.
"Shit, sorry. You weren't supposed to hear that," Clarke winced noticeably and made an apologetic face.
"Ah, always joking around this one,” Octavia bumped their shoulders together. “That's how Clarke is, Clarke the clown!" Octavia forced a laugh out, hoping the woman would buy that it was just an overly silly teasing obviously-private joke between friends.
Wow, even Octavia wasn’t buying that bullshit. She mentally groaned at her inaptitude. She tried to think of another way out of the situation, one that would involve the least amount of embarrassment possible. Although she was usually quick on her feet, her mind came up short at the moment.
"Oh, so you don't find me attractive then? Because the only other option I can think of that involves that much staring is murder. Are you planning on murdering me, kid? Should I worry?" she said with a raised eyebrow, her face and her tone neutral, not giving anything away.
"Of course not! No murder! I'm not a murderer at all! I’m just- it’s just that, well you see,” Octavia wished her mouth would stop blurting out things without her consent but it apparently had a mind of its own and carried on. “It’s kind of a funny story, see, the way you’re just beautiful. The way you fight! Uh, the way you fight is beautiful. I meant to say the way you fight. Not that you’re not beautiful! Cause you definitely are. Beautiful, that is. Ten ou-“
"I think what Octavia is trying to say,” the blonde put a reassuring hand onto Octavia’s arm before her friend could dig an even deeper hole for herself and Octavia was immensely thankful for the interruption. Clarke gave her a comforting smile. “Is that I better get going and leave you two to it. I’ll see you tomorrow Octavia!” Clarke softly patted her friend’s shoulder and gave it a squeeze before quickly collecting her things and climbing down the ring.
“Clarkie!” Octavia said, the name coming of as a warning.
Clarke looked knowingly at the tall woman and placed a hand in front of her mouth as if she was going to share a secret.
“Now, I really ought to get going. She only calls me Clarkie when I’m in big trouble,” her voice was just as loud as when she was talking, ensuring that Octavia could hear her.
The woman laughed. “I’ll hold her back if she tries anything.”
Octavia was too baffled to say anything. Her friend was walking away from her right when she needed her the most. Maybe there was going to be a murder after all because Octavia for sure felt like killing Clarke right now. Over the woman’s shoulder, she saw the blonde giving her two thumbs up and an over-excited smile. Octavia only glared back in response but Clarke just mouthed something that looked like an awful lot like “You got this!” and turned around.
“Cheeky friend you have here.”
“You can say she’s an asshole alright. She’s definitely going to pay for that.”
Her words were forming a correct sentence, she wasn’t involuntarily roasting herself, and she had replied coherently. Octavia was ridiculously proud and she psychologically highfived herself.
“She may be an asshole, but she’s also right.”
“She is?” Octavia asked, curious about what the woman was talking about.
“Even the dumbbells picked up on it.”
“Oh God, how long have you been standing there?” Octavia asked, absolutely mortified. Earth couldn’t swallow her soon enough.
“Long enough,” she replied nonchalantly with a shrug but the smirk on her face told she was quite enjoying making Octavia squirm. “Name’s Charmaine by the way.”
Octavia seized the opportunity to change the subject and to keep the conversation flowing. “You know?” she frowned.
“Indra speaks highly of you. She said you were the best boxer in here she ever had the pleasure to take under her wing. Said if I wanted some real competition, I should spare with you.”
Of course Indra would send the woman her trainee had a crush on toward her. Not that Indra was wrong, Octavia was one of the best regular fighters training at OneKru gym but Octavia also knew Indra was well aware of her attraction to the woman, which meant her action wasn’t as innocent as she would probably claim it was.
“From what I’ve seen, she isn’t wrong. You have some pretty impressive moves,” Charmaine said.
“You watched me fight?” Octavia repressed the squeal that desperately wanted to make it out of her mouth at the thought of Charmaine watching her.
“Only seems fair, right?”
“I’ll give you that one,” she was thankful for the still present heat from training that was hiding her undoubtedly blushing cheeks. “Is that why you came over? Because you want a sparring partner?”
“Partly, yes. I’m too tired to go another round today but I’ll definitely take a rain check on those sparring sessions.”
Octavia smiled widely. The woman she had been admiring from afar wanted to train with her, among all the other very capable boxers here. She wanted to fight with her, Octavia Blake.
“I’ll certainly hold you onto that. What’s the other reason?”
“Indra also happened to mention something interesting about you after our friendly fight the other day.”
“Of course, the woman of a few words suddenly turns into a chatterbox about me. Between her and Clarke, this feels like a mutiny.”
“What did Indra have to say that was so interesting?”
“She told me that Princess Pounder really liked the coffee shop on fifth avenue and that all the I’m-looking- when-you’re-not-looking was getting ridiculous.”
“Didn’t know your name yet. Octavia suits you much better. One of a kind name for a one of a kind woman,” Charmaine smiled sweetly.
“I-, thanks. Charmaine is quite lovely as well.”
People generally thought her name was weird, outdated, or too much a mouthful. She couldn’t remember the last time someone had complimented it and she couldn’t help the soft smile that overtook her lips.
“What’s my nickname?” Charmaine frowned.
“You don’t want to know,” she snorted as she shook her head no.
“You think you do but you don’t.”
Charmaine chuckled. “Come on, it can’t be that bad.”
“It’s not bad, it’s just incredibly incriminating. Maybe later on I’ll tell you.”
“Except I’m curious now. How about we fight for it?”
“I thought you were too tired to spare?”
“Scared to get your ass kicked?” she said with a raised eyebrow and a confident smirk that Octavia wanted nothing more than to wipe off.
“Oh, it’s on.”
Charmaine extended one hand up and Octavia helped her up onto the boxing ring.
“What do I get when I win?” the brunette asked.
“When? Someone’s cocky. If you win, then you get to top me. If I remember right, it’s something you would quite enjoy, right?” Charmaine said sultrily and playfully wiggled her eyebrows.
“This is going to follow me for a while, isn’t it?” Octavia said with a defeated tone.
She wasn’t truly mad about it. Not anymore at least. Her initial embarrassment had dissolved, and with time, she was pretty sure she would eventually see the hilarity of the situation too.
“You bet it is,” Charmaine said teasingly. “Freestyle?”
Octavia nodded in agreement and both women put their protective gear on. They started off gentle, their punches slow and mindfully restrained, getting acquainted with each other’s style and tactics. Gradually, they grew more familiar and their moves stronger. For someone who claimed to be too tired to fight, Charmaine did put up on a fair fight that was challenging enough for Octavia. Her punches lacked their usual speed though and eventually, in one swift move from Octavia, Charmaine found herself lying down on her back with the brunette on top of her.
“Looks like I wo-“ Octavia never got to finish her sentence.
One moment she was talking and the next lips were covering her own, effectively shutting her up in the best way possible.
Charmaine may look rough around the edges and all hard angles, but her lips were incredibly soft. Octavia quickly lost her winning stance over the other woman and straddled her. She felt a boxing glove land on her hip. Not finding the grip it was looking for, it strolled to her lower back and Charmaine pulled Octavia closer to her. Octavia’s hands framed Charmaine’s head and she grew a tad frustrated at her boxing gloves for restraining her hands. Charmaine seemed to know exactly what she wanted to do though because not even a second later, her lips pressed harder against hers. Out of breath, Octavia pulled away.
“I definitely won,” Octavia whispered against Charmaine’s lips, her eyes still closed and their breath mingling.
“I think we both won.”
Octavia opened her eyes and was pleasantly surprised to see that Charmaine’s grin was just as big as hers and that her gunmetal eyes were twirling with the same desire that was burning somewhere deep in the pit of her stomach.
From up close, Octavia could see all the little imperfections etched onto Charmaine’s skin. The crow’s feet appearing at the corner of her eyes when she was smiling, how jagged the scar adorning her neck was, the small barely-there mole on her left cheek… The more Octavia looked, the more beautiful she was.
They lay there in silence, looking at each other for a while, taking in the fact that they had finally kissed after weeks of staring at one another.
“Ms Everest,” Octavia whispered.
“Your nickname. Ms Everest. Clarke came up with it.”
Charmaine raised an eyebrow. “Okay? I don’t see what the big secrecy is about. I’ve been called far worst because of my height.”
“Oh, your height is only part of it,” Octavia said before she could stop herself.
Charmaine looked at her expectantly, genuinely curious.
Octavia made an outward motion with her arm. “I’m a big nature lover and one of my dreams is to climb Mount Everest one day. See, I told you, incriminating.”
Charmaine laughed, full on belly laughed and Octavia, though embarrassed, was also delighted. Charmaine looked mesmerizing when she was laughing. Her voice echoed into the empty gym, bouncing on the walls before setting Octavia’s ears abuzz.
“I, for sure, had never heard that one before. I’m pretty sure I should feel offended, but you know what? I kind of like it. I would have never pegged you for a dork with foot-in-the-mouth-disease.”
“Oh, yeah, I’m the real deal,” Octavia said, overly flirtily to make it apparent she was making fun of herself and Charmaine chuckled. “Now, you said something about getting coffee?”