Clarke Griffin was not one to be stood up.
She was used to getting asked out on dates, whether it be a boy or a girl asking. Normally, she would say yes. What’s the harm in dinner? Or a movie? Who knows, she might really hit it off with someone; that was the whole point of dating, anyway. The worst think that could happen is that they don’t mesh, and they move on with their lives.
Well, that’s what she used to think anyway.
Never once did it cross her mind that this kind of stuff happened outside of cheesy romcoms and soap operas. Surely, people had the decency to at least show up to a date (one which they asked for by the way, thank you very much!), right?
(Also, she was very vain. Look at her, who the hell would stand her up? Especially after being the one to ask her out in the first place?)
Turns out, the worst thing that can happen to a girl on a date is not having the date show up at all.
They had planned to meet at seven at a local restaurant, Nook’s. It was a small, intimate place, earning its name quite well being tucked away in the nooks and crannies of her campus. No more than fifty or so at a time could be sat, but it was by far her favorite place to eat on campus. (Not that Chick-fil-A and McDonald’s were hard to beat, though.) Nice Italian food, amazing desserts, a small bar in the front, and, most importantly for a broke college student like herself, on the more affordable end of the eating out spectrum.
She arrived on time, walking in to the open, seat-yourself environment and picked a table near the window. Punctuality was key for her; she didn’t mind others being a minute early or a few minutes late, but pushing the limit irked her to no end. It was just impolite, honestly, to show up ten minutes late and leave her waiting when it wasn’t even her plan to begin with. That’s why, when she checked her phone to see it was 7:20, Clarke let out a rather audible sigh, leaning back in her seat and crossing her arms.
Her waitress, a rather petite, pretty girl named Harper, came over then. “Miss, would you like to get started?” She asked, reaching for her order pad and a pen from her apron pockets.
Clarke shook her head. “No, I think she should be here soon. She is the one who asked me to come to dinner, after all,”
Harper gave Clarke a small, awkward smile. “Well, I sure hope she does. Quite rude to leave you waiting so long. I’ll go ahead and bring out a cappuccino, on the house, while you’re waiting.”
“Thank you,” Clarke muttered, looking back down at the menu on her table. She must’ve read over the specials at least ten times by now.
A couple a few tables over looked at Clarke, mumbling something to each other with pitiful gazes. Clarke caught the woman’s eye, seeing the sympathy etched on her face, as if saying, “I’ve been there, sweetie.” Quickly, the other woman looked away, pink creeping up the back of her neck.
Great. Just what she needed, strangers pitying her for her date being late.
Another twenty minutes passed, and the couple some tables over had left. A group of girlfriends had sat at a booth on the other side of the small dining area, laughing together and ordering drinks. Clarke rested her cheek on her hand, staring at them for a while before sighing and closing her eyes. Harper was at her side by the time 8:00 rolled around, pouring her another cappuccino.
“Do you have alcohol here?” Clarke asked her, tired eyes looking up at the freckled face.
Harper gave her a sympathetic look.
Oh, not her waitress too.
“We have all the wines on the menu, some champagne, and some margaritas. Or some hard liquor up at the bar,” she pointed to the front, “where I’ll have my shift switch in a half hour.”
“Can I just, like, get a bottle of wine? Do you do that?” Clarke asked, her eyes pleading.
Harper laughed then, nodding her head. “Sure, for you I will. You need a good drink. Hope she shows up soon,” and with that, she left.
Another half hour had passed, and so had two glasses of some cheap sort of rosé. More people had been filing in, some giving her saddened looks, others ignoring her all together. The girls at the booth on the other side kept glancing her way, and Clarke could tell they were muttering about “that poor girl,” every so often.
She felt so watched. Everyone around her knew that she had been stood up. How embarrassing.
The restaurant was nearly full of college kids now, and Harper had been switched to bar duty as she had said, leaving her with some new waiter to come check on her in intervals to see if she wanted to start yet.
By the time an hour and a half had passed since Clarke’s date was a no show, she pulled out her purse. Rummaging through it, she looked for her credit card to pay for the glasses of wine she’d consumed. Just when she was ready to call the new waiter over, she heard a, “I’m glad you’re still here! I’m so sorry!”
Clarke looked up, expecting to see the girl from her anatomy class that had asked her out, but instead saw someone completely unfamiliar. She began to ask who the strange girl was, when the brunette in front of her took a seat across from her.
She made a point to speak loudly, so everyone could hear. “Jesus, you wouldn’t believe everything that’s happened today. My car broke down in the middle of nowhere and my phone was dead. I had to wait for some lady driving her kids to soccer practice to pull over and help me call AAA! Thank god you’re still here, the last thing I’d want you to think is that I stood you up!”
From the bar, Harper gave Clarke a thumbs up and a wink.
The pretty brunette across the table dropped her voice to a whisper. “Just go with it. I’m Lexa. My friend sitting over there,” she pointed to the booth where the gang of girls were, “texted me and told me to come save a ‘damsel in distress,’” she smiled.
Clarke sighed. “Thank you,” she whispered back. Raising her voice a little more, she said, “No worries, Lexa! I’m glad you’re okay,”
It seemed to get all the apologetic looks off her back.
“So, if you don’t mind me asking, why’d you help?” Clarke asked Lexa.
Lexa reached behind her head and undid her braid, letting curly hair come loose. Ruffling her fingers through it, she shrugged her shoulders. “That tall one, Anya, was texting me about a ‘cute blonde getting stood up.’ I figured I’d swoop in and save the day. Thought if someone was stupid enough to stand up as pretty a girl as Anya made you out to be, it was their loss, and my gain. That is,” she added quickly, cheeks tinting pink, “if you’d like to have dinner with a girl. I mean, if you’re into girls. Me. If you’re. Attracted to me.”
Clarke couldn’t help but laugh at that. Lexa had gone from suave to babbling in seconds. It was rather charming, really. “You know, I think I would.”
Lexa smiled then, picking up the menu and scanning it.
In a matter of time, both girls had their main courses placed in front of them, and had decided to share the rest of that bottle of wine Harper had brought over. Clarke learned that Lexa was twenty two, in pre-law, and “had a thing for cute blondes.” Lexa was either very charming and suave, or a bumbling dork who ranted about squids and physics for just a few seconds too long to not be endearing.
“Enough about me, though. Please, Clarke, talk. I’m making a fool of myself,” Lexa laughed nervously, tugging on a curl.
Clarke couldn’t help but smile at that. After curling a bit of spaghetti around her fork, Clarke hummed. “I’m twenty one, in nursing school, and I like to paint and sketch,” she started, going through some of the basics about herself. After a while of favorites and memories, Clarke shot a smirk to Lexa. “And yes, I most definitely am.”
Lexa tilted her head to the side slightly, reminding Clarke of a confused puppy. How adorable.
“You are what, exactly?”
“I’m interested in girls. Very much so. You know. You. I’m interested in you, Lexa,”
Lexa’s face instantly heated up, and she couldn’t keep a small grin from stretching across her face. “Oh, good. Because I’m very much so interested in you,”
Clarke reached into her purse then, pulling out her credit card and called a server over. “By chance, would you want to maybe, I don’t know, come back to my apartment?”
Lexa stilled, setting down her glass of wine. “Really?” Clarke nodded, admiring how red Lexa’s face went. “I, uh--yeah,” Lexa said, rubbing the back of her neck.
Jesus, Lexa was hot and cute as hell.
Maybe that other girl had stood her up, but she’d definitely done Clarke a huge favor.