Chapter 1: from zero to everything
I've got a heavy little secret
I'm about to fall in love with you
- let me take you away, wilhelm tell me
It’s only a kiss.
It isn’t even a surprise, because they mention it early on: So this is a story about two girls in love, they say. Last chance to get out. Lexa remembers standing there and smiling, taking the script and saying, I don’t mind. After all, it’s not like a girl like her is about to balk at a challenge like that.
“It’s a good story,” she remembers saying, too. “I’ll do it.” There’s clapping and hugging and people saying, We can’t wait to tell you who you’re working with, and Lexa doesn’t even remember being nervous, at the very least. Whoever it is, she just thinks, I’ll do it anyway.
All considered, Lexa does not have a problem with it. Until she meets Clarke.
It’s not even that she doesn’t like Clarke – Clarke’s one of the good ones. Can act with a quirk of her brow, or the quiver of her lip, and don’t even get Lexa started about that thing Clarke could do with her eyes.
(And then, there’s Clarke’s laugh.)
Yet despite being actually all that, Clarke is never late – Lexa’s heard horrible diva gossip about actresses their age, and truth be told, she’d braced herself for something like that with Clarke, only to be proven wrong. Despite the ungodly hours, Clarke has always seemed to manage her temper, and she is always considerate, always walking around with an extra cup of coffee for Lexa.
What’s not to like, really? She has great eyes, and is actually, quite absurdly beautiful. She never touches Lexa without telling her first where her hands are going to be (I am going to touch you here, then here – is that okay babe?), and Lexa thinks it’s so polite and endearing, like Clarke is always on her side.
Relax, Clarke would murmur, hand high on Lexa’s thigh. This is just me.
Yet always Lexa shivers anyway.
The first time around, Lexa chalks it up to the outdoor weather – their first kiss happens on a lakeshore, surrounded by trees, and they’re damp from the rain. The skies are overcast and the wind is chilly, and Lexa just thinks, of course it’s the weather when Clarke moves in to kiss her finally and she shivers under Clarke’s cold hands wrapped gently around her neck.
They do it in three takes, and afterwards Clarke wraps the towel she is handed around Lexa first. “You’re shaking,” she just says, off the question in Lexa’s eyes. “You all right?”
“Yeah,” Lexa manages eventually. “You?”
Clarke smiles. “That nose bump thing was a killer,” she says instead, leaning back in to press a playful peck on Lexa’s cheek, laughing as she pulls away to start walking back to her trailer. “See you later at dinner!”
Lexa nods, swallowing hard, watching her move away, a hand against her cheek. Of course, it’s only a kiss. And it’s only a show, and it’s only acting. Yet how to ignore the drumming inside Lexa’s chest at that?
It’s not even that she doesn’t like Clarke – it’s that she does.
(It’s only a kiss. But it is a problem, nevertheless.)
Weeks pass between the shoot and the episode airing, and Lexa watches it over dinner at Clarke’s flat. They’re all housed near the studio where they have been taping these days, and though Clarke lives three floors down, Lexa doesn’t mind hanging out, not really. The weeks between have been comfortable at best – like Clarke’s almost a friend, which shouldn’t be so bad, considering how they have been spending more hours in a day pretending to be lovers.
Tonight, though, Clarke’s just Clarke – she’s lounging on the couch beside Lexa, wearing an oversized shirt and eating chicken wrap for dinner.
Lexa looks up from her pasta, surprised at Clarke’s cursing as the first few minutes of the episode flash on the TV. “Hm?”
“They’re airing the kiss tonight.”
“They are?” asks Lexa.
“I recognize this editing,” says Clarke, before: “Oh, here we are. That’s the dirt road to the lake! And that’s you!” Clarke giggles at that, and Lexa leans forward, squinting at the screen. “You look so cute on your bike.”
“Check out how shaky my handle bars are,” says Lexa, laughing nervously, and when Clarke moves, Lexa feels their knees touch. It puts goosebumps along her arms. “I always wanted a re-shoot of that.”
“I think they didn’t want to let go of how authentically nervous you looked,” Clarke teases. “Which, by the way – nice touch.”
Lexa rolls her eyes. “I haven’t been on a bike in ages, Clarke. The danger was real.”
“Sssshhh,” says Clarke, pointing to the screen. Night has fallen and now their characters are huddled together on a mat under a tree, waiting out an ill-timed thunderstorm. “God, do you remember how cold this was?”
Lexa lets out a shudder; she does, that night was chilly as fuck, but that’s not what puts the shake in her shoulder, not really. Beside her, Clarke is looking intently at the screen, almost like she’s evaluating the scene, her lips moving slightly with the dialogue, and Lexa has to look away upon realizing that she’s staring. Fuck.
On-screen Clarke says, Maybe life should be about more than just surviving, and fuck, Lexa thinks. Here we go.
“Here we go,” Clarke mutters, elbowing Lexa lightly, and Lexa holds her breath.
The final cut puts the kiss at maybe twenty seconds long – it’s much shorter than Lexa remembers, and though she does not entirely remember doing that nose bump thing that Clarke raved about, seeing that moment played out does fill her with warm memories.
Shit. Lexa breathes out only as the moment is broken and the show goes into commercial.
There’s a moment of still and quiet before Clarke finally screams. “That was gorgeous!” she says, tackling Lexa into the couch, arms around Lexa’s shoulders. “God. We should totally take a photo of us right now – we would break the Internet!”
“Clarke,” says Lexa, struggling to get the sound out with Clarke heavy on top of her.
“I mean, look,” Clarke says, lifting her head temporarily off Lexa to reach for her phone. “We’re trending. Have been all night.”
“We’re sitting on your couch in our pajamas. I look like a mess – unlike some people, I don’t look nice disheveled.”
Clarke sticks her tongue out. “Whatever,” she says, pulling Lexa back up with her and tugging Lexa’s hair loose from her ponytail. “You look fine with your hair down.” Clarke runs her hand into it once, pushing some of it away from Lexa’s face. “There. Now come closer.”
“We’re still taking a photo?”
Clarke holds her phone at arm’s length. “Ugh, fuck it, let me climb onto you for a bit—there. Don’t move.” Lexa puts a hand on her forehead to disguise just how flustered she is, and Clarke just grins smugly at the screen before snapping it.
“There,” says Clarke, after a while. “That wasn’t so hard, was it?”
Lexa breathes in – Clarke’s still so close. “Um, you’re still on my lap, actually,” she points out, and she freezes at the feel of Clarke pushing back against her. Too warm, too warm, too—
“This is actually quite comfortable.”
Fuck. Lexa forces a laugh out, just to salvage the moment. “Get off my lap, Clarke.”
“Fine,” Clarke says, pouting as she slides off Lexa and onto the couch, phone in hand. “Uploading, uploading—done.”
“You should call Kane to inform him we’re wrecking the Internet tonight,” says Lexa, slipping her phone out in kind to see what Clarke has posted.
@IamClarkeG: Now *that’s* a kiss. Totally worth the wait @LVine xx pic.twitter.com/E5hf7jpKoT
Right on cue, Clarke’s phone starts ringing, and Lexa’s phone starts beeping, and at the time Lexa doesn’t quite know what hit them, not just yet.
Of course, it goes viral; nothing like a small, grainy photo from the actress’s phone herself to jumpstart a minor Internet breakdown. When Lexa wakes the following morning, Clarke has already sent her several screenshots of the previous night’s Internet shenanigans, and Lexa is almost too mortified to open her own social media.
Lexa has just slipped back into bed with her cup of tea when her phone starts ringing. Clarke.
“Good morning,” Clarke greets. “You’re up early.”
Lexa yawns. “As are you,” she says. “Tea?” She can’t quite remember when it became so ordinary for Clarke to call so early in the morning.
“Coffee now,” says Clarke. “Did you get my screencaps?”
Lexa chuckles. “You’re insane, Clarke. It’s like you spawned a little revolution.”
“Well. Kane was happy about it,” she says. “Or at least, happy enough to want to take us out to lunch today.”
Lexa feels her brow lift at that. Kane, their show’s producer, has been a really hard read; she doesn’t quite know if she’s doing well or not. Well, at least he’s happy about this one thing. “Lunch, huh?”
“One of his chef friends is opening this new restaurant downtown—”
“You are not talking about—”
“Yes, I am totally talking about The Ark.”
“Holy shit.” Lexa sits up straighter in bed, tea in her hand now growing lukewarm.
“So. Eleven? What the fuck are we wearing?”
“I don’t know. Is it a dress up thing?”
“When has a function with Marcus not been a dress up thing?”
Lexa groans. She had been looking forward to this day as a laidback one – no makeup, no hair, just tea in bed and maybe a book. “I think all my clothes are in the laundry.”
“Come over and check my closet out?”
Lexa considers the suggestion briefly, before actually remembering that one time she shared a dressing room with Clarke. That was… interesting, Lexa recalls, though the struggle not to stare as Clarke slipped in and out of clothing is something she’d rather not relive.
“I’ll think of something,” Lexa says instead. “Eleven, right?”
Clarke is already in the lobby when Lexa steps out of the elevator, and she sees the exact moment that Clarke lights up upon meeting Lexa’s eyes.
“Hey,” Clarke greets, leaning in to kiss Lexa’s cheek. “You look amazing.”
Lexa swallows hard as Clarke tugs at her lapels, smoothing them. “As do you,” she just says softly, looking Clarke’s dress over – red and criminally short, which is actually par for the course, as far as Clarke is concerned, but still, Lexa just swallows harder. “Should we go?” she asks as she looks away. “It’s almost eleven.”
“Kane’s driver is out front,” says Clarke. “You ready?”
Not that Lexa ever is, but she nods anyway, breath taken as Clarke grabs her by the wrist and pulls her out of the door and toward Kane’s car.
It’s one of Kane’s smaller sedans, and Lexa feels Clarke press against her as she closes the door. Christ. Clarke then threads an arm into hers, hand coming to rest upon Lexa’s knee warmly. Well, shit.
“You all right?” Clarke asks, squeezing lightly.
Lexa nods, and, as if to prove she’s a functioning human inside a moving vehicle, Lexa slides her phone out for show. “I believe it’s my turn to start the Internet breakdown for today,” she says, tilting her head just so. Clarke follows suit, though in that split-second it takes Lexa to actually take the photo, Clarke manages to turn her head.
When the frame freezes, Lexa’s winking at the screen, and Clarke’s leaning in looking like she’s about to kiss her, and Jesus Christ, Clarke really knows how to work this.
“How does it look?” asks Clarke, leaning in and trying to get a glimpse of Lexa’s screen. Lexa relents and hands her phone over. “Damn, we look good.”
“Would that make Kane as happy?” asks Lexa, and Clarke just laughs.
“Only one way to find out,” she says, handing Lexa’s phone back, a smug grin on her lips; a challenge in her eye.
@LVine: otw to lunch with the amazing @IamClarkeG in a few :) pic.twitter.com/KL8jgT4anM
(“Who uses ‘otw’ really?” Clarke teases, as she helps Lexa out of the car.)
The Ark’s interiors are as breathtaking as promised, and they are greeted at the door with flowers. Clarke lets out a soft giggle, and Lexa blushes as she takes the bouquet and cradles it in one hand, resting her other hand at the small of Clarke’s back out of habit, ushering her past the threshold.
They are led into a small room at the back. The place is surprisingly well-lit, much to Lexa’s surprise – their table is beside a huge window that opens to a view of a pond.
“This place is amazing,” Clarke murmurs, and when Lexa looks at her, she’s already picking up a note from the table. “It’s from Kane – Have a great lunch, ladies. –Marcus.”
Clarke shrugs. “I guess he’s not joining us for lunch?”
Lexa lowers her bouquet on the empty chair to her right. “He’s not?”
“So… it’s kind of like he’s paying for our date or something?”
Lexa laughs. That explains the window, she thinks, peering past the pond and onto the street. Paparazzo party. “Of course,” she just says. “Might as well make the most of it? I’m starving.”
“Same,” Clarke says, making a face as she reaches over for the menu. “What are you having?”
Clarke orders for the both of them. While they wait, they talk about the previous night’s episode, and the shooting schedule for the weeks ahead. “I can’t wait to go on location shooting again,” says Clarke, taking a sip from her glass of water. “The studio gets kind of suffocating sometimes.”
“I heard we’re going to have a beach shoot soon,” says Lexa, and Clarke lets out a low whistle in approval. “Last I heard, it’s on for the end of this month.”
“Jesus Christ, I am so ready to hit the beach,” Clarke says. “I don’t even care that it’s for work.”
Lexa laughs, and right on cue, their order arrives. “All work and no play?” she asks, looking at Clarke before digging in.
“Oh, never,” says Clarke, picking up her fork. “All work, all play,” she corrects, and Lexa tries to ignore the twinkle in Clarke’s eye as she says it, turning her attention back to her steak instead.
@IamClarkeG: Thank you @MrMarcusKane for the lunch and the flowers!
I & @LVine love @TheArkRestaurant <3
Clarke likes taking pictures; she likes taking pictures a lot. She also likes sending Lexa lots of stolen ones that she shoots between takes, often catching Lexa napping somewhere.
“God, you could sleep anywhere, can’t you?” says Clarke, grinning, and Lexa just pouts until Clarke concedes to delete them. However, this was before Clarke discovered she could actually use them for show promotion. Now with Kane’s implicit approval, Lexa has to fend off Clarke’s insistent May I post this? questions every so often.
“Do what you want Clarke,” Lexa sighs, finally. They’re in Lexa’s trailer, and Clarke is seated across her on the bed, browsing over her script notes. “They’re your photos in your phone.”
“But this is your face,” says Clarke, not looking up from her script. “I don’t want to invade your privacy or something.”
Lexa smiles. “These are all photos of me with my eyes closed. I think privacy is pretty much already out of the question.” Clarke just giggles as she nudges Lexa’s shin with her toe. “And besides—they’re not even my entire face.”
“You’re always sleeping with half of it covered in something.”
“I should probably start covering all of it, no? As a precaution.”
“Lexa.” And then, growing more serious: “No, really, I’m serious – the uploads are for fun, you’re in no way required to just say yes all the time—”
Lexa can’t help the laugh that escapes her lips. Is she even serious? she wants to ask. Of course I’ll always say yes.
This is you.
“I’m not—” she begins instead, and even then, Lexa has to pause when Clarke lifts her head to look at her. “It’s not a problem. Really.”
“Even when you’re sleeping?”
@IamClarkeG: If you think she’s adorable awake, you clearly haven’t seen her asleep @LVine :* pic.twitter.com/J5ghYi06f7
@LVine: @IamClarkeG =)
It’s not a problem, not really; Lexa gets the hang of being so socmed visible after a while, though she still gets jarred whenever she gets recognized in public as that girl who is probably dating Clarke Griffin.
“Do you mind though?” Clarke asks her on the plane over to location. Earlier, they had signed autographs after being recognized together at the airport, with a couple of fans asking if they were really together. Lexa can’t remember how she responded, though the blush on her face must have been unmistakable. “Because if you’re uncomfortable, maybe we could lay off the socmed for a bit?”
Lexa shakes her head. “Don’t be ridiculous,” she says. “Strike while the iron is hot.” And it is hot – Lexa knows this, and she also knows there probably is no better way to ride a wave that is peaking, so to speak. “But if you’re uncomfortable—”
Clarke tugs her headphones off entirely – they’re the same color as Lexa’s, completely coincidental, but it looks like they’re also matching headphones and Lexa just has to laugh at the absurdity of it all. “Me, uncomfortable?”
Lexa just gives her a look. All these weeks they’ve spent together, and already Clarke has become comfortable enough around Lexa to tell her bits and pieces of her actual life – and this is how Lexa knows about the guy that Clarke has been dating for a while now.
“What about Wells?” says Lexa, trying to pass it off as a completely casual question.
“What about Wells?” Clarke asks back.
Lexa averts her eyes at that. Well, shit. “I’m sorry,” she backtracks. “I shouldn’t have—it’s not my place.”
Clarke shakes her head, leaning in closer. “No—really,” she insists. “What about Wells?”
What about him, then? Lexa wonders, biting down on her lip, staring at Clarke’s watch. That he is dating you outside of work? That he gets the non-onscreen version of you?
That he gets the realest you?
Lexa blinks, catching these thoughts running through her head. What even am I thinking?
“What?” she asks, jolted for a moment as Clarke’s face comes into view clearer. “Sorry. I really don’t have anything to say about Wells.”
“Except of course that you do,” says Clarke. “Come on.”
Lexa hesitates for a moment before: “I just think between the two of us, you should be more concerned about our socmed because you have a boyfriend?” There. I said it. Lexa bites down on the tip of her tongue, like she’s trying to take the taste of that last word out of her mouth.
“Wells is not a boyfriend.”
“Just someone you’re dating?”
“Just someone I’m going out with,” says Clarke. “He knew what he was getting into – if he doesn’t like it, then he doesn’t.”
Lexa finds herself giving in to a slow grin at that. “Strong words,” she teases. “You sure about that?”
“Not to be cocky, but—I am TV-dating a superstar, am I not?”
Lexa laughs. “Nope, that would be me – I am TV-dating a superstar.”
“We’re clearly made for each other,” says Clarke, laughing along and repositioning her headphones to cover one ear with one hand before touching Lexa’s on the armrest between them with the other. Lexa feels her insides get cold as everything outside of her warms up with Clarke so close.
“So,” Clarke says again, and Lexa feels herself breathing out as Clarke withdraws her hand slowly. Gently. “We’re good?”
Lexa nods. “Yeah,” she says. “We’re more than good.”
Chapter 2: cliff's edge
The amazing pullingpaniccords @ tumblr is making a socmed au set to this, and basically I am all over the place about it. Part 1 is here.
The shift is subtle, but Lexa notices it anyhow – no more direct selfies for Clarke, or at least, when Lexa checks her socmed, there’s less of their faces and more of their other things: Toes curled in the sand; hair fluttering in the wind; a hand against a knee. Many times, Lexa recognizes a bit of herself barely inside the frame – looking out to the water while resting between takes; a silhouette of her drinking from a fresh coconut from afar. A shot of Clarke’s morning coffee, with Lexa’s fingertips resting just a few inches away.
Really subtle, Lexa thinks, smiling at her phone a final time before tucking it away.
“You’re doing it again,” Clarke calls from across the room, and Lexa rolls her eyes, pretending to be pissed.
“Doing what again?” she asks, brow lifted.
“That small smile thing just now,” says Clarke. “While you were looking on the phone.” And then, off Lexa’s light laugh: “Have you any idea just how many girls are in love with you at this very moment? And it’s mainly that small smile thing.”
“Shut up Clarke,” she says, looking away. She’s blushing up a storm and she knows it. “I have no small smile thing.”
Besides – what’s a handful of girls who are in love with me if none of them is you?
And then, catching herself after that train of thought: I did not just think about that, did I?
“You do,” Clarke insists, and when Lexa shifts her eyes back to Clarke, she’s out of her seat and walking toward Lexa with purpose. Here we go. She slides in beside Lexa, brandishing her phone at Lexa’s face. “See?”
Of course, Lexa thinks, squinting at the screen. Clarke would have a photo. She always does. “I look ridiculous here. Delete this.”
“No,” says Clarke, sticking her tongue out at her and snatching her phone back playfully. “You look priceless.”
“I know we had this sort of socmed ceasefire, but can this just—”
Clarke pouts at her, perching her hand on Lexa’s knee warmly. “Please?” says Clarke, going in for the kill, and Lexa sinks back into the couch, laughing as she curls her legs underneath her.
“Whatever you want, Clarke,” she just says.
@IamClarkeG: Someone tell @LVine to unplug – we’re at the beach! pic.twitter.com/kH5bF7lgJm
Clarke likes disappearing in between takes; it’s what gets the both of them in trouble mostly, and far too many times the director has to send out production assistants to find them.
Their most successful attempt has them holing up in a hut at the far end of the beach – Clarke says one of the girls at the hotel bar had told her about it, and at first, Lexa was reluctant to stray so far from their hotel, but in the face of Clarke’s insistence, it’s not like she has much of a choice.
Not like she’s about to allow Clarke to stray on her own.
“I told you this was a good idea,” says Clarke, pulling Lexa into the hut after her. Inside, there is a wooden bed pushed against the huge window overlooking the beach. Clarke climbs onto it carefully and stares out. “The life.”
Lexa squints at the sight. The view is gorgeous and the warm sun is making her dizzy and drowsy. Well, she just thinks, sitting at the other edge of the bed. Clarke isn’t wrong.
They spend the afternoon filling the silence with idle talk, and Lexa knows exactly what she’s doing – she’s avoiding having to think about tomorrow’s big scene, which involves their characters being intimate on the shore, and mostly Lexa’s surprised that Clarke is worried in the first place.
“You’re thinking about it,” says Clarke after a while, not even glancing at her.
“Thinking about what?”
Lexa laughs nervously as Clarke shifts, and their legs touch above the wood. Clarke is wearing a loose summer dress over her bikini, and Lexa barely managed to throw on shorts before Clarke pulled her out of her room earlier. Like this, they just look like plain tourists, and the small hut smells like the coconut in Clarke’s sunblock.
“Like you’re not,” Lexa says, and the small nervous laugh that Clarke answers with fills Lexa with a sort of relief.
“We knew that was coming, eh?”
Lexa shrugs. They’re both watching the sea closely, like they’re trying to find calm there. “Not like we haven’t kissed before?” she says, keeping her tone light.
“It’s the bikinis that are the trouble,” Clarke sighs. “I mean – are you okay with that?”
“The touching through bikinis.”
Lexa breathes in. Fuck. Hold it together. “Why wouldn’t I be?” she asks carefully. And then: “Aren’t you?”
“Aren’t I what?”
“Are you not comfortable with the touching—”
“No!” says Clarke, turning to face Lexa and putting a hand over Lexa’s raised knees. “That’s not—not what I meant. Jesus. Touch me.” And then, after a moment: “That sounded horrible.”
Lexa’s heart is in her throat. Touch me.
Fuck if that isn’t going to be in Lexa’s dreams for a while.
“Lex?” Clarke asks again, tilting her head. Lexa hopes it is dark enough in the hut to hide her blush. That, or the heat. “Look, you know what? We should just get it out of the way—”
“Whoa,” Lexa begins, raising her hands as if in surrender as she watches Clarke pull her dress above her head, revealing her bright tangerine bikini underneath. Mother of god. “Clarke?”
“I said touch me,” says Clarke, and the gentleness is what ruins Lexa, really. Clarke slides closer on her knees to move across the bare surface of the bed, hand wrapped around Lexa’s wrist and tugging. “The camera is over here,” she says gesturing at the empty space beside them. “Where would your hand be?”
Lexa moves to her knees herself, facing Clarke; she feels a bead of sweat break upon her brow. It’s the heat; it’s the pressure. She doesn’t even try to disguise the shake in her hand as she lowers it against Clarke’s chest gingerly, fingertips seeking a heartbeat. This is not new, she reminds herself. We’ve done this before.
Yes, in a room full of people, but shouldn’t this be a bit easier?
“Look at me,” says Clarke. “Remember that I’m a girl who’s in love with you, all right? We’re on the beach because—”
“It’s our first holiday together,” Lexa completes. “And I am nervous, because—”
“You want it to be perfect, and it is, and we’re just two girls, having a perfect love-struck holiday,” Clarke says, leaning even closer, and Lexa tries her best to keep her eye from fluttering closed as Clarke finally moves to touch Lexa’s thigh. “Is this okay?” she asks, voice dropping. “Can I go higher or—”
“Yeah.” Lexa bites her lip, nodding her head and trying to find another place for her other hand. “Where can I…”
“—wrap that around me, place it on the small of my back. Yes.” Clarke adjusts in Lexa’s hold, and when she meets Lexa’s eye again, she’s smiling. “See? That wasn’t so hard. Do you remember how we moved from there to here?”
“So do I tell them we’re starting with me already in my bikini and you with a shirt on? Is that better for you?” Clarke fiddles with the hem, tickling the skin underneath. “We’d probably have to take this off.”
“Maybe we do,” says Lexa, and her breathing – Jesus. She hopes her breathing doesn’t give her away, and Clarke now has two hands gripping the edge of Lexa’s shirt, already poised to lift.
“How do you want this?” Clarke asks, and in the quiet of the room Lexa hears her heart thud in her ear.
I want, I want, I want.
“Just make quick work of it?” Lexa suggests.
Clarke grins, lowering her gaze to follow the movement of her hand. “Where’s the fun in quick?” she says, lifting extra slowly, taking her damned sweet time and oh fuck Lexa thinks, I need a glass of water.
By the time Clarke has managed to pull Lexa’s shirt all the way off, Lexa has all but stopped breathing. “Wow,” says Clarke, exhaling like she’s been holding her breath as well. “You really are nervous.”
Lexa rolls her eyes. “You think?”
“You weren’t this nervous at the lake,” Clarke teases, brushing Lexa’s hair off her shoulders, fingertips brushing against her collarbone.
Lexa shudders – at both the memory and Clarke’s fingers. “Don’t be ridiculous. I was mortified at the lake.”
“Not that it showed.” When Clarke smiles at her, it takes a moment longer for Lexa to remember why they’re here – the moment reduced to that singular feeling of Clarke’s hand, rubbing circles on a small patch of skin. “We can’t stay upright for too long,” she says, staring at a spot on Lexa’s shoulder, and with her this close, Lexa could feel her breathing against her skin.
“You want to lie down?” asks Lexa, tone careful, her hand still warm upon the small of Clarke’s back, now lightly sweaty.
“I have no idea what they want,” says Clarke. The sound she punctuates that with – like a small laugh, though not really. Shaky like my hands, Lexa notes. “You want to be on top?”
Excuse me? Lexa swallows hard, squinting harder. “Whatever you want,” she says instead, and at that she feels Clarke toying with the drawstring of her shorts, wrapping the cord around a finger and tugging.
“All right,” Clarke says, and just like that Clarke is falling backwards slowly, like a blanket unfurling, and Lexa is moving after her, falling over with one hand now braced against the wood beneath them.
When Lexa remembers to breathe, Clarke is looking up at her curiously, like she’s wondering where Lexa has gone just now and Christ, Lexa wishes she can help the blush that takes over her face at the feel of their chests pressed flush against each other all too warmly.
“Well then?” Clarke asks after a while, hand coming up to tuck Lexa’s hair behind her ear, if only to keep it away from her face. “How’s this?”
Lexa wishes she had words; wishes she had more than just the lump in her throat. More than just the maddening rush of blood to her head.
“This is,” she begins, licking absently at her lips. Damn it. “This is fine. Are you—is this fine?”
Clarke nods, running a hand up Lexa’s arm slowly, leaving goosebumps over the skin. “We could—if you want to test the other way around—”
“No, don’t—don’t move,” says Lexa, barely aware that they’re now talking in whispers. She lifts her body off Clarke’s slightly, hovering just close enough for heat. “Better?”
“Yeah,” Clarke says, managing a smile.
“What do we do now?”
“Well.” This time, it’s Clarke who wavers slightly, and Lexa actually feels her shiver. “We can kiss?”
We can what? “Well.”
“Or—well, we don’t have to—”
“Clarke.” Lexa breathes in. I got this, she tells herself, despite the hammering in her chest. I got this.
Lexa takes a moment before finally leaning in closer, again letting herself press against Clarke gently, and Clarke lets out a soft gasp at that. Don’t turn back now, Lexa tells herself, trying to keep her eyes open as she looks into Clarke’s; trying not to let them flutter close at the feel of Clarke’s hand settling lightly upon her neck.
“Shut up,” Lexa murmurs against Clarke’s lips as she moves in for the kiss. Maybe we could, she just thinks. I could think of worse things. The kiss is slow, almost chaste; Lexa keeps her hands braced against the wood, even as Clarke moves her hand down Lexa’s spine slowly, before settling upon the small of her back.
Shit. Lexa dips her hips closer as Clarke nudges her downward, Clarke’s hips grinding up like she’s looking for contact, and fuck, what is this place? Lexa’s head fills with lust and panic as Clarke’s hand moves lower—
“Ms Griffin! Ms Vine!”
Clarke breaks away first, heaving underneath Lexa. The kiss hovers between them for one long moment, and Lexa waits for the thing in her chest to restart before pushing off Clarke, elbows shaking.
“Shit.” What the fuck, what the fuck--
Clarke just laughs – this trembling, throaty sound that rings in Lexa’s ears, and just like that, she’s rolling out from under Lexa, smooth and easy like that moment hadn’t been as fucking dismantling as it was.
Lexa watches as Clarke picks her sundress off the floor and slips it back on, her figure silhouetted against the bright doorway. She runs her hand into her hair and puts it up in one messy bun, before turning to look over her shoulder, calling out to Lexa softly. “Let’s go?”
Lexa blinks, and just like that the moment’s gone, and goddamn it, Lexa thinks, Clarke’s really, really good at this. “Yeah,” she manages finally, walking out after Clarke, trying to appear calm and composed.
Outside, the sun is bright, and Lexa has to squint against it.
I am so, so fucked.
At the shoot itself, Clarke tells their director about their previous “conversation”, discussing with the team confidently about how they had initially “brainstormed” going about the scene. (Though Lexa wonders briefly about Clarke leaving out the detail where they had actually practiced their blocking, but then again, maybe it’s for the best.)
“So we were thinking maybe I could start in my bikini, and Lexa could be in a shirt—”
“What, Lexa’s not getting a turn at taking your sundress off?”
Lexa pales at that, feeling the dread wrap around her insides coldly. “Excuse me?” Whatever happened to plans?
“We hadn’t—” Clarke begins, shifting her eyes between Lexa and the team, talking with her hands. “I mean. What do you think?” she asks Lexa.
“What do I think,” Lexa repeats, just to have something to fill the dead air with. “Um. Sure?”
The look on Clarke’s face is a cross between confusion and surprise; like she had not expected Lexa to cave just like that. Like she had expected Lexa to fight it.
“Great,” their director says, before turning to walk away. “Take five, then let’s go?”
Let’s go. Lexa reaches for her bottle of water and takes one long swig, noting Clarke’s movements in the periphery. Around them, people break from their team meeting to go their own ways, presumably to fix something in his or her own jurisdiction, and after a while, right in the middle of the hubbub Lexa finds herself looking at Clarke, a bottle of water in her own hand.
“Well,” says Clarke, walking over to her, smile on her face.
“Well,” Lexa says in kind. The sand under her toes is soft and ticklish, and when she looks out, the sea is flat and sparkling.
“Do you remember how this goes?” Clarke asks.
Lexa laughs, breathing the salty air in and letting the memory of that warm afternoon fill her as she empties her water bottle and tries not to give it all away – Remember? she wants to ask, biting down on her tongue.
She can’t look Clarke in the eye, not really, because truth be told, it’s all she ever manages to think about these days.
“Lexa,” Clarke says again, poking at Lexa’s side playfully. “I asked—”
“We got this, Clarke,” Lexa says instead, catching Clarke’s hand by the wrist and holding it warmly. “We’ll probably get it in three.”
“Or two,” says Clarke, smiling wider. “Hell, maybe we’d get it perfect in one go.”
Lexa blinks. But who’d want it all done so soon? she just thinks, wondering about the kiss; wondering if maybe she could get away with deliberately—
What even is this? Lexa interrupts her own train of thought, jolted as Clarke slips away, as the sound of lights whirring to life start buzzing from afar, marking the start of the shoot. Did I just think—
Shit. When she runs her palms against her thigh, her sweat is cold, and Lexa feels the thudding in her chest go harder against her ribs.
Maybe it’s nerves. Or the unforeseen chill in the breeze. Or the surprising tide as it comes in, lapping at their toes once when they sit too close to the water.
Sure, it’s just nerves, Lexa thinks, getting up from the sand for the nth time and dusting herself off as she heads for her chair in the sidelines, a heaviness in her chest. She knows that isn’t quite it – there’s just something different about the way they’d agreed to do it in the hut and all that. Something too mechanical, too… stiff, and Lexa knows there’s something off about it.
“It’s like you’re putting together furniture – A to B, E to F,” their director comments, and Clarke laughs at that, shaking her head. “Clarke.”
“I’m just saying—it looks like really good furniture,” says Clarke, though the tinge of annoyance in her voice has begun seeping through anyhow, and fuck. Maybe Clarke is tired.
Even then she’s still trying to defend it. Lexa walks closer, watching the re-run on the small screen – no, this can’t be it. “My hands are shaky,” she says, shrugging. “I’m sorry. Let’s do that again.”
Again. At the back of her head, a small voice is telling her that maybe… God damn it. Clarke turns her head at that, and to Lexa’s horror she realizes that she has actually spoken aloud.
“Can you guys excuse us for a bit?” says Clarke, sliding her hand into Lexa’s casually before tugging her away from the team and leading her into one of the empty cabanas on the beach. Fucking Clarke trying to sneak out in the middle of actual shoot, Lexa thinks, managing the smallest of laughs as she sits upon the edge of it.
Instead of answering immediately, Clarke perches her hands on Lexa’s shoulder and starts fucking kneading upon the space where it meets her neck, and Lexa can’t help but sigh lightly at the feel of Clarke’s fingers moving hotly against her skin.
“Is it me?” Clarke murmurs after a moment’s silence, and Lexa opens her eyes at that, unaware even that she has closed them.
“Is it me?” Clarke asks again, her fingers stopping to wrap themselves loosely around Lexa’s neck. “I mean. We were doing well in the hut, and today you feel—”
“I feel what?”
Clarke bristles slightly at that, pursing her lips like she’s trying to think of better words. Goddamn it, Lexa, stop staring at that fucking mole. “Just… different. I guess. Far from here, like you’re trying so hard not to—not to lose your footing, to be on top of things—”
Lexa clenches her jaw at that. “I’m trying Clarke.” She doesn’t mean for it to come out sounding the way it does, but there it is. The sag in Clarke’s shoulders prompts Lexa to put her hands on Clarke’s waist, as if to gather her closer. “Sorry. I know you’re tired, and I promise—”
There is movement at the back of her neck, this much Lexa can sense, but she doesn’t understand immediately what it is—what it means. When it hits her, she’s already looking back up into Clarke’s eyes, and for a split-second the confusion washes over her – What are you doing, Clarke?
When it hits her, it’s all softness – Clarke’s lips are salty-sweet, her gloss mixed with the sea, her fingers dancing up Lexa’s nape before threading into her hair, and fuck, Lexa thinks, her hands slipping around Clarke to hold her tighter – to hold on.
When Clarke pauses to breathe, she breaks away from Lexa’s lips – in that moment, barely millimeters away; breaths mingling warmly – and Lexa’s chest quiets at that, thinking, the moment is broken. But then again, Clarke moves right back in, and oh.
Oh. There isn’t much that Lexa could muster right then – it’s like Clarke had just reached in and wiped her head clean, and Christ, Lexa doesn’t even catch herself at it, but when she opens her mouth Clarke slips right in, like she’d been waiting.
The second time, it is Lexa who breaks away, but not without a final nip against Clarke’s lower lip. “Clarke,” she manages, eyes closed, hand braced against Clarke’s chest.
When she opens them, she sees Clarke smiling at her tentatively. “Damn,” says Clarke, taking a deep breath. “They should just follow us around and shoot us, no? Because that was fucking amazing.”
Fuck. Of course. Lexa feels something inside die, a little. Nothing to it, don’t be ridiculous. “Yeah.” And then: “I’m sorry Clarke, I didn’t mean—”
“To be amazing, I know,” Clarke completes for her, tucking Lexa’s hair behind her ear and planting a quick kiss upon her cheek before fastening her hand around Lexa’s arm. “Just—do that, okay? Whatever that was you were apologizing for -- do that.”
They get it in two. They start as Clarke suggested in the first place – with her dress already off, because it was Lexa’s fumbling that was the trouble, and damn, it makes Lexa wish they’d started this way altogether.
“See?” Clarke tells their director later, when they’re huddled together to review the clips, perched casually upon Lexa’s lap as they do – and really, Lexa would have minded, having Clarke this close, if only she didn’t feel so relieved and so exhausted to say something.
“Right,” the director says, conceding. “Fine, Clarke. Say it.”
Clarke sticks her tongue out, gathering Lexa closer playfully, one arm hooked casually around Lexa’s neck. “I told you so.” And then: “Right, Lex?”
“Mhmm.” Lexa feels a yawn come on; truth be told, her eyelids are beginning to feel heavy like lead, and the smell of Clarke as Lexa nuzzles into her absently – like faded sunblock and makeup and sunsets – just lulls her further.
“Then let’s go to bed?”
Lexa is jolted lightly by that, jerking away from Clarke for a moment, like she were startled out of shallow slumber. Let us what? “Clarke.”
Without answering, Clarke slides off her lap and pulls her slowly to her feet, and Lexa walks after her, barely managing to keep her eyes open; lets herself be led.
The next thing she knows, Clarke is opening a door, and when Lexa takes a peek she is mildly confused and disoriented—this is—“We’re in my room,” murmurs Lexa, walking on as Clarke nudges at the small of her back before closing the door gently after her.
“Why?” Lexa rubs at her eyes as she flops onto the bed in the middle of the room, the covers enveloping her softly.
“Because you said you were sleepy.”
Lexa feels the mattress dip as Clarke crawls in next to her, and Jesus Christ, in that moment Lexa could only be too aware of the thudding in her ribs; the pounding in her ears.
“I am,” says Lexa finally, swallowing hard. “And you?”
Clarke just hums at that, resting her forehead against Lexa’s shoulder, curling into Lexa’s side warmly. “And I am,” she just says.
The rest of the night is quiet, but Lexa knows Clarke is close enough to hear the truth.
It’s beating right inside her chest.
They leave the beach separately; Lexa is scheduled to do some radio interviews back in the city, whereas Clarke has to stick around for appointments with the local channel. Clarke gives her a hug before parting that morning, lingering in Lexa’s hold like she hadn’t spent the night tossing and turning beside Lexa; like Lexa didn’t wake just hours before to the covers having been kicked off the bed.
So she’s a messy sleeper, Lexa thinks, looking out of the plane later that afternoon, headphones in. Not that I have use for that particular detail.
When she sleeps mid-flight, Lexa dreams of the clouds rolling by and Clarke laughing by the shore, a mango in her hand.
Chapter 3: i want it all
She does not see Clarke for three weeks. The shoot goes on hiatus after the beach, and Kane assigns them to go on promotional tours separately. Clarke does TV and web, while Lexa does radio and print, and the first couple of days are so packed Lexa doesn’t even see them go past, the hours going by in a blur.
Clarke calls on the third night, just as Lexa slips into bed and turns out the light. “Clarke?” she greets sleepily, burrowing into the covers. “How was your day?”
“Like Kane was trying to kill me,” says Clarke, yawning at the other end, and Lexa tempers her smile, trying not to imagine Clarke with her eyes closed, sleepily mumbling into her phone. “TV is exhausting. Is yours any better?”
“If it’s any consolation, shoots for print go for hours.”
“God I’m so excited to see your cover.”
“It’s not going to be a cover – it’s just a picture, Jesus Clarke—”
“Whatever,” Clarke says, letting out a small giggle. “I miss your face.”
Clarke herself does something about that – when she tires of the texts and the phone calls, she shifts to video calls at the end of the week. Lexa fumbles with her laptop – How the hell does this work even? – and Clarke’s laughing when her face comes on, and Oh.
“Hello,” says Lexa, a bit formally. She adjusts herself in front of the screen, suddenly self-conscious. “Can you see me?”
Clarke laughs harder, her face on the screen stuttering. “Yes,” she says, coming closer. “How’s this?” Damn. Pixelized and all, Clarke sure is—“Are you touching your computer screen, Lex?” she teases, and Lexa jerks her hand back, as if burned. “Miss me that much?”
“Clarke.” Ahead of the blush that she’s sure would overwhelm her face, Lexa reaches over to close her laptop halfway, careful not to shut it completely, so she could still hear Clarke talking.
“Where are you going? Lex! Come on,” Clarke’s saying, interrupted by fits of giggling. “Come on. Come back. Please?”
(Lexa returns after a few moments, but not without turning off the lights first; she hopes the dark would disguise her reddening cheeks.)
Lexa warms to it eventually; by midway the following week, it becomes an ordinary thing – like a literal window sitting on the hotel desk under the television.
“What was on today?” asks Clarke, and Lexa walks over to her laptop, toothbrush already in her mouth. “You’re getting ready for bed already?”
Lexa shrugs, before walking out of Clarke’s line of sight to spit the toothpaste out of her mouth. Like this, it almost feels like Clarke’s right there in the room with her – all things considered, it’s not a bad feeling.
“Yeah? Hang on.” Lexa pulls her hair up hurriedly in a bun before picking her laptop off the table and bringing it to bed with her. “Sorry. You were saying?”
“Aww you’re comfy,” Clarke coos. “It makes me feel so grimy and sweaty in comparison.”
Lexa scrunches up her nose, sticking her tongue out playfully at Clarke. “Too much to do today?”
“No, the sweat’s from this evening’s workout, actually.”
Well, that’s new. “From what?” asks Lexa again, unable to hide her disbelief. “Did you just engage in some form of exercise?”
“Whatever Lex, I feel fat.”
“We should work out together some time.”
“But you hate physical exertion.”
“Not if they’re with you.”
Oh jesus. “You’re not fat,” she says instead, changing the subject.
“And you’re not here,” says Clarke.
And it shouldn’t be a problem, Lexa knows as much – only it kind of is.
@IamClarkeG: Script’s here! @LVine have you seen page… =) pic.twitter.com/1L8fpK65sd
@LVine: @IamClarkeG time to work!
The first time Clarke falls asleep halfway through a video call, they’re doing a read-through. Clarke says she’ll close her eyes for a minute, and then she’s gone. Lexa stares on, trying not to laugh at Clarke’s sleepy form, barely visible in the half-light of her room, cities away.
Lexa takes a picture. How’s this for a change? she asks herself, though she feels ridiculous for even thinking about posting it. She isn’t even here, Lexa tries telling herself, though she cannot really un-see Clarke anyhow – the way she’s huddled up with her knees to her chest on the chair; the way her hair falls on her shoulders, a blanket thrown haphazardly across her body.
She isn’t here. Lexa takes a last look at her photo before deciding not to delete it.
@IamClarkeG: Check out my girl @LVine on acting and passion and sleeping on the set! Haha! soundcloud.com/lexa-vine-is-havi… I miss your voice!
@LVine: @IamClarkeG we were just talking last night!
@IamClarkeG: @LVine =)
And so it goes: Clarke’s the first stop for the day, and the last at night, and it’s horrible, really, Lexa thinks – there’s just no way this could end unmessily, and yet.
And yet, here they are: Clarke’s texting in the middle of a photo shoot, and Lexa tries to keep replying while in the middle of make-up preps before going on-air. On television.
“I’m so nervous.”
“You say that because you’ve been on these things an awful lot. What if they don’t like me?”
“God, Lex. How could anyone not like you? Relax.”
What’s all these anyone’s if none of them… Lexa blinks, catching herself just in time. “Thanks, Clarke.”
“I’m nothing if not head cheerleader,” she says, and in her head, Lexa sees Clarke grinning brightly, and oh, just that flutter in her stomach again, as memories of the beach come rushing back in—
God, like any of that helps. Get a grip, Lexa.
“What are you wearing?” asks Lexa instead, trying to change the topic.
“God, warn a girl about these questions,” says Clarke, and oh Christ, Lexa thinks. That sounded horrible, didn’t it? “But hang on, let me post something.”
You were asking for it. Lexa taps her fingers nervously against the dresser, waiting for Clarke. Make-up and hair done, all that’s left for Lexa is this agonized waiting, and.
@IamClarkeG: Well @LVine was asking what I was wearing to today’s shoot so. Here’s hoping it doesn’t disappoint pic.twitter.com/Gty75dpE3n
@LVine: @IamClarkeG pretty!
@IamClarkeG: @LVine what are *you* wearing? =)
@LVine: Giddy and nervous. Going on-air in a few! pic.twitter.com/mNc2BfxUQ8 =) @IamClarkeG xx
@IamClarkeG: Did you guys see @LVine on the Night Show? That dress tho! gorgeous
Clarke’s on her feed so often, it almost feels like she’s always there.
At some point, she tries wheedling Lexa into Snapchat – “Like Instagram, but temporary,” Clarke tries explaining, much to Lexa’s added confusion, before adding helpfully: “Suppose I’d want to send you nudes, at least it dissolves itself in x seconds.”
To which Lexa just replies: “Way to sell a baffling piece of social media to me, Clarke,” her throat dry as fuck.
When the promo run ends and they’re all called back to base, it’s in time for Kane’s birthday. Clarke lands back in town way ahead of Lexa – she finishes her rounds early, and Lexa knows by way of paparazzi that Clarke has some time to spare for her actual real life friends.
And by actual real life friends, Lexa means Wells.
Okay, so to be clear – Lexa’s pretty sure she isn’t even entitled to feel this way about a stolen snapshot – Lexa sees it on the Internet, Clarke rushing through the airport with Wells beside her, carrying her bag – but it’s not like she could deny the existence of that distinct decked-in-the-chest feel, either.
Lexa gives herself a moment to let that pulsing sensation ebb – it’s not real – before scrolling past the photo and going offline for a couple of hours, distracting herself with a card game on her mobile instead.
(When Lexa sees Clarke’s actual post, it’s almost time for bed, and Lexa has managed to stay away from social media for the better part of the night. The photo was posted four hours prior – it’s a selfie of Clarke and Wells in a brightly lit restaurant, presumably for dinner and catch-up conversation. Clarke’s caption was a short, ‘Look who’s home!’ but to Lexa it reads so much longer.)
(For the first time in so long, there are no phone calls. Lexa stares at her suitcase, packed neatly in the corner, until sleep tugs at her eyelids.)
And it’s not even that Lexa does not have friends – she does, few and far between as they are, but it’s not like they are around. Except of course for Anya, who managed to land in the same network as Lexa a couple of years back, and even then they’d been working as if they’re worlds apart.
“At least I’d see you at Kane’s birthday,” says Lexa to Anya, striking up a conversation hours after landing. “You *are* coming, right?”
In true Anya fashion, she calls instead of texts. “Of course,” says Anya, getting into it without a hello. To Lexa, she sounds almost breathless – like she’d been climbing stairs. “You walking on the red carpet on Clarke’s arm? Wouldn’t miss that for the world. I bet I’d get a bazillion Instagram likes if I take a photo.” There’s a slight laugh that follows it; Anya’s always teasing, and Lexa has somehow even missed it.
“Shut up,” Lexa says, for the lack of anything more insightful to say. “You shooting?”
“We’re breaking for Kane’s birthday weekend.”
“Oh thank god,” says Lexa. And then, off Anya’s laugh: “Come to dinner?”
“Like you can be seen outside with anyone who isn’t Clarke?”
“What?” Lexa blinks. What are you even talking about? “No, that’s not—”
“What?” It’s Anya’s turn to register her surprise. “The way your soc med was going – I thought it was strategy.”
Strategy? Lexa feels that muted stabbing sensation starting up in her chest. “It wasn’t,” she offers. Or was it? She tries not to remember the way Clarke looked in her photo with Wells. Was this how a completely agenda-less picture looked? Lexa winces at the word agenda.
“Was that how it looked?” she asks again.
There’s a long pause before Anya begins laughing softly. “Oh Lexa,” she just says, and Lexa hears the exact moment that something clicks in Anya’s head. “What have you done?”
Anya comes to dinner, preferring to have it in Lexa’s apartment instead.
“I’m not doing the whole dinner out thing with you until I’m completely sure what I’m getting into,” she tells Lexa, walking into Lexa’s flat with casserole in her hand. “Your soc med brigade is insane.”
Lexa steps aside, beckoning Anya to come in with a small wave. They’re in their house clothes – just like old times, she thinks, closing the door and following Anya with her eye as she pads into the kitchen, a characteristic ease about her. “I’m sorry—I guess?” says Lexa, walking after her. “And thanks for dinner.”
Anya laughs, shaking her head. “Don’t mention it—been a while since I last cooked for two.” And then: “Tell me about Clarke.”
What’s this? Everyone knows Clarke. She’s the network’s biggest. “What do you mean -- you know Clarke,” says Lexa, leaning against the doorway to the kitchen.
“Not the way you do, probably,” says Anya plainly.
What the fuck. “What’s that supposed to mean?” Lexa begins, walking closer to stand right beside her by the stove, and Anya fiddles with the knob briefly before it comes to life. Lexa’s kitchen fills with the comforting smell of Anya’s familiar cooking, and Lexa can’t help but let her eyes close briefly.
“Jesus, look at you.”
“Please. You’re a great actress, Lex, but a horrible liar.”
Lexa frowns. “You said you thought it was strategy.”
“I thought it was acting. This,” says Anya, pointing to the space between them with a spatula she’d taken from Lexa’s cupboard earlier. “This is lying.”
“How do you even know that?
“Do I or do I not play a vicious detective in what I’m currently shooting?”
Lexa laughs, rolling her eyes. “I am envious of all the leather jacket in your wardrobe,” she just says.
“Says the girl who was on location shoot on the beach just last month.”
“You knew about that?”
Anya nods, humming as she turned off the stove and leaned in closer to taste. “Your production assistants are gossips,” she says, before offering Lexa a spoonful. “Rumor has it Lexa Vine and Clarke Griffin are not faking it.”
Lexa nearly scalds her tongue on Anya’s cooking. God damn it. “And you believe them?”
“Don’t get me wrong, it’s not… mean gossip?” says Anya carefully. “I think the general consensus is that the two of you are… in the words of a couple of them, unbearably cute.”
“Oh god,” says Lexa, feeling all sorts of embarrassed. “Did you at least try to defend my honor?”
“Nothing to defend against, they all adore you,” says Anya. “Besides—I cannot exactly dispute the fact that you are unbearably cute.” And then, watching Lexa blowing gingerly upon the spoon before leaning back in carefully: “Casserole all right?”
“On point,” says Lexa, licking at her lip briefly. That Anya is a good friend who is a good cook will never be not in Lexa’s favor. “Also: Did you just call me cute?”
Anya shrugs. “It’s like Clarke’s rubbing off on you or something.” And then, realizing her turn of phrase, Anya starts giggling. “Rubbing off.”
“If you weren’t feeding me tonight, I’d kick you out,” Lexa just says, sighing.
@LVine: Thank you @ahnrivers_ for tonight’s dinner pic.twitter.com/gFqeJ6TeRh
@ahnrivers_: @LVine You’re welcome. See you at Kane’s party =*
Clarke calls on the day of Kane’s party, and only then. Lexa tries not to be so excited – Relax, it’s just Clarke – as she picks up with a soft hello.
“Hey you.” Clarke voice seeps in, just as softly. “Mini-holiday going all right?”
Trust Clarke to call their momentary separation a holiday – like it were something festive and loud. Lexa tries not to be so slighted. “It’s fine,” she says. “Yours?”
“Nothing extraordinary,” Clarke deadpans, and Lexa almost feels bad to have taken the word holiday the way she had. “Catching up with friends?”
Friends. The way Clarke says it, it’s almost like she’s wrapped in a thin haze of jealousy, and god, Lexa chides herself, can we stop hearing things that aren’t there? “A few,” says Lexa. For some reason, she balks at saying, Just Anya. “Same as you?”
“Only Wells,” says Clarke, and Anya’s name almost comes tumbling out of Lexa’s mouth, like she owes Clarke that sort of honesty. “A dinner here and there.”
“Ah,” Lexa says. Her mind is blank – she wants to tell Clarke about her day; about how she’s still thinking about the beach, sometimes. But why would Clarke even want to listen to all that? Lexa wonders. It’s been days.
It’s been days, and their rhythm has been interrupted, after all, and now Lexa’s back to square one and she’s fidgeting.
“You coming to Kane’s party with Anya, then?”
“What?” Lexa straightens her spine against the couch, suddenly alert. I’m coming with you. Am I not? “I mean – no, it’s just. She’s coming and I’m coming – so we’re seeing each other there, likely.”
“I am,” says Clarke. “So. I’ll see you?”
“I think,” Lexa says, pausing awkwardly. There is shuffling on the other end, and Lexa tries not to picture Clarke, bored out of her wits and trying to look for a way out of this conversation. “Clarke. Wait.”
“I was wondering—perhaps we’re expected to go together?”
God damn it. “That came out wrong.”
There’s a little laugh on the other end, and Lexa imagines Clarke shaking her head. “Just blurt it out, Lexa,” she says, her tone finally tinged with a lightness that Lexa has missed. “Would you have wanted to go together anyway? Expectations or no?”
Bet you’d set the red carpet on fire – wasn’t that what Anya had said? Lexa pushes her out of her mind for the time being, thinking instead about Clarke in a beautiful dress. Oh god. Lexa wonders if the butterflies now going berserk in the pit of her stomach made that a good choice of distracting thought.
“Of course,” says Lexa softly, blinking. “In a heartbeat.”
“Then I hope you’re ready in three hours because I’m picking you up.”
@IamClarkeG: Happy birthday @MrMarcusKane! Hey @LVine – red or green? pic.twitter.com/Mhy8Jejs4E
@LVine: @IamClarkeG you’d look gorgeous in either
@IamClarkeG: @LVine :* see you!
Once a year, Kane gathers all of his station’s talents in a Thanksgiving Dinner Ball that doubles as his birthday celebration. It’s a well-attended event that often merits its own media coverage – Lexa remembers the first time she’d had to attend one, it was barely three months after signing on to the network, and three weeks after she started shooting for her first show, and, needless to say, it was fucking overwhelming.
Like prom, but everyone is 100x more gorgeous, was how they’d sold it to her then.
Years later – and sitting right beside Clarke Griffin on the ride over – it’s still 100% true.
(Clarke, who knocked on Lexa’s door in a startling deep blue number; Clarke, who took Lexa’s face in her hands to take over doing her eyeshadow. Damn, I’ve always wanted to do this, Clarke just said, shushing Lexa throughout)
The commotion that greets them at the carpet surprises Lexa. Of course, she expected the network’s entertainment anchors to be there, and maybe a handful of photographers from sister media, but nothing quite prepared her for the crowd that gathers the moment the step out of the vehicle.
“Oh,” says Clarke, sizing up the mob from inside the car, slipping her hand into Lexa’s in her surprise. “Would you look at that.”
Lexa sighs, leaning closer. “Imagine how disappointing this would have been if I were the only one getting out, hm?”
Clarke laughs, tugging at Lexa by the hand. “Shut up, and take a picture with me,” she just says, snapping a quick one.
@IamClarkeG: Here we go! (We are starving!) @LVine xx pic.twitter.com/yVu62awuR9
Chapter 4: cracks between where we lie
It turns out to be work hours disguised as party hours; they walk through the carpet smiling for pictures and doing interviews. Clarke carries the conversation most of the time, and often, Lexa’s job is to just look on and seem absolutely smitten for the cameras, a hand casual on the small of Clarke’s back.
The fact is, Lexa doesn’t even have to try, at all – it comes to them so easily, and at one point an interviewer even has to call them out on it: “You are so into each other,” says the interviewer, teasing slightly, and Lexa hopes her nervous laugh merely comes off as a piece of intelligent acting.
They sit side-by-side at dinner – actors from the same shows have to share the same table, and perhaps it is Kane’s way of ensuring that, had they not arrived together, they would definitely be seen together, at one point or another. Clarke takes a ton of photos at the table with their other co-stars – she’s an absolute darling, and really, how is it at all possible to not be charmed?
Not possible, Lexa thinks, watching Clarke just go.
It is by no means an exclusive, network-only event; Kane likes inviting his other friends, too – media and advertisers, the whole lot of them, and so this is how Lexa comes across Wells for the first time. Clarke disappears for what feels like a moment too long, and when Lexa goes around the party to come looking, she finds Clarke at the advertisers table, laughing.
“Oh, speak of the devil,” says Clarke, turning to her, bottle of wine in her hand. “Look Lex – they’ve got better wine at the sponsors’ table.”
“Clarke,” says Lexa, throat tight. She’s all-too-conscious now about all these strangers looking at her and smiling.
“So you’re the one,” comes a voice from the table, as a man Kane’s age stands and extends a hand. “Thelonious Jaha.”
Lexa receives the hand graciously, if a bit confusedly. What was Clarke doing at the ArkTel CEO’s table, anyway? “Pleased to meet you sir,” she says, surveying the table carefully before rounding back to Clarke -- now talking with Wells.
Wells is a Jaha. Lexa tries not to look so surprised when Clarke turns to her to introduce him. “You know Wells?”
Damn right, I do. “I believe we haven’t met,” she says instead, smiling sweetly at him. “Hello.”
When Wells smiles back, Lexa feels herself somewhat warming to him. Is this what he does? “Finally, Ms Vine,” he says. “Clarke can’t stop talking about you.”
“Stop flustering the girl, Wells,” says Clarke, smiling in kind. “She just got here.”
Talk is easy and pleasant and Lexa is surprised to be at ease so quickly. Wells is soft-spoken and attentive, and when Lexa speaks he actually turns his head to listen, eye on Lexa’s. It is quiet and unnerving, but only because she can tell this isn’t the wine, at all.
Fine, so Wells is a magnificent piece of a man, he’s practically business royalty, and he’s known Clarke since they were children, because Clarke’s father and Wells’ father and Kane were once schoolboys together.
Lexa doesn’t quite know what to do with this information.
Somewhere in the middle of the conversation, Lexa excuses herself to answer her ringing phone. As soon as Anya’s name flashes on her screen, Lexa mumbles an apology and steps away from the table, already halfway into a hello.
“Look who’s hitting it with the bigwigs tonight,” comes Anya’s voice, her voice teasing.
“Where are you?”
“Across the hall, behind one of the camera set-ups—”
Lexa looks around, squinting in the dark. She finds Anya leaning against a column in the middle of the ballroom, just in the shadow of bulky cameras. “Lift your hand Ahn, I can’t see you,” she says, just to be difficult.
“Bullshit,” says Anya. “I see you looking.”
Lexa laughs. “Fine,” she says. “You called?”
“Just to be annoying,” Anya admits, and it only makes Lexa laugh harder. “I see you’re enjoying yourself at the enemy’s camp.”
“There is no enemy.”
“Isn’t that Clarke’s sort-of boyfriend?”
“Louder, because certainly no one is listening.”
“Sorry,” says Anya, though the way she giggles at the end of it is totally not contrite. And then: “Too busy chaperoning Clarke to actually bump into me tonight?”
“What? No, who’s—I’m not chaperoning Clarke.”
“Then come have a drink with us?”
Lexa fiddles absently with her necklace. Well, she does feel like having one. Or maybe two. When she looks back at the table, Clarke has her back turned to the rest of the ballroom, and she’s laughing hard at something Wells may have said.
Lexa tries to ignore that sharp stabby feeling again, deep in her gut. “Fine,” she forces herself to say instead, and at the other end Anya lets out a quick laugh.
“Bar in three,” Anya just says. “See you?”
Two drinks become four, and eventually, six. During the first two rounds, it is only the two of them shooting the breeze, but it doesn’t take too long before Anya’s co-stars Bellamy Blake and Raven Reyes find them.
Well. If this isn’t turning out to be an interesting night.
Lexa’s never been in a show with them before, but it’s not like she’s blind – these two together are molten, and she makes a somewhat drunken mental note to review where Anya’s show is at, because the way Raven is pressed up against Anya at times is confusing.
“So—” Lexa slurs, leaning against the bar and gesturing at Anya and Raven with her glass-holding hand. “The two of you are like—in competition for this man’s affection?” Bellamy laughs at the way Lexa emphasizes this man, like she were completely incredulous.
Raven shakes her head, arms entwined with Anya’s. “You see—that’s the thing. Why, right? I mean, stand right here and look at Anya and Bellamy side-by-side—”
“Reyes,” says Bellamy, narrowing his eyes in warning. God, look at how pretty this boy is, Lexa just thinks, blinking as she catches herself in time. “Don’t talk like I’m not here, Jesus.”
Raven laughs. “And I’m completely aware you’re there, babe,” she coos. “I’m just saying—I’m asking the writers to write my character with Anya’s, is all.”
“Like they could write two gay shows simultaneously,” says Anya, her loud laugh coming out more like a bark. “That slot’s taken, hon.” Anya runs her hand down Raven’s bare arm before nudging Lexa’s. “Right, Lex?”
Oh. Lexa blinks, for a moment there simply entranced with the scene unfolding in front of her. “What?”
“Oh, tell me about it,” says Raven, sighing melodramatically. “The things I would do to kiss Clarke Griffin.”
“Raven,” Anya chastises, but the grin on her face is wide and lazy. “Don’t—Lexa is right there.”
“Oh. Sorry.” Raven covers her lips with her hand. “Oops. Do we have a jealous type right here?” Lexa sees the drunk blush on Raven’s face as the lights swerve past her.
“I mean – it’s Clarke,” Anya chimes in, and fuck, everyone on the bar is so drunk right now.
“Anya,” says Lexa, warning in her tone. She is suddenly sober, her eyesight righting itself. She scans the bar one more time – there’s Bellamy with his bowtie askew, grinning over the rim of his glass, at the far end; and there’s Anya and Raven, looking every bit like some sort of mayhem twins, shoulders pushed against each other’s, laughing and whispering in their dresses.
Fucking hell, how did I even get here?
“You know what?” Bellamy speaks up, draining his glass and walking closer as he takes out his phone from his breast pocket. “We should take a picture.”
“A picture?” Anya drawls.
“A picture!” Raven repeats, her enthusiasm laced with alcohol, and fuck, here Anya is now, hooking an arm around Lexa’s neck in kind and pulling her closer, as Bellamy slides in beside Raven before taking the damn thing.
@TheBellBlake: Bar with the girls @ahnrivers_ @thisisravenreyes @LVine pic.twitter.com/tS8NwjK5yS Happy birthday @MrMarcusKane!
@thisisravenreyes: @TheBellBlake @ahnrivers_ @LVine kisses x
When it is time for Kane’s customary final toast, everyone goes back to their tables, and that’s when Lexa sees Clarke again that night. She’s smiling until she meets Lexa’s eyes, after which she schools the expression on her face to a more muted one, like she doesn’t want Lexa to see that particular smile.
It nags at Lexa briefly, but then Marcus starts speaking, so Lexa turns her mind to that instead.
Later, when Marcus has already thanked everyone and the ballroom has already erupted into applause, Lexa turns to Clarke and thinks of something to say. “Clarke?”
Clarke nods. She still has her eyes to the stage, her face illuminated by the lights. Lexa tries not to let her breath get caught in her throat.
“Any after parties?” Lexa asks again, when Clarke says nothing.
Clarke shrugs. “Maybe. ArkTel’s hosting one at their rooftop. I think.”
“So you’re going with Wells then.” It comes out clipped and harsh and Lexa does not mean it that way, not at all. Shit.
“How about your after-party?” Clarke asks back instead, still not looking at her. “With Anya and her show crew?”
There’s a louder round of applause – when Lexa turns her head back to the stage, Thelonious is climbing up to the podium, half-filled wine glass still in hand, and there is hooting among the men sitting in front as they goad Marcus Kane’s best friend into doing a speech.
Great, Lexa thinks. Even more speeches from semi-drunk uncles. Lexa tries to focus on Thelonious, only to be interrupted by the sound of Clarke getting up and gathering her things.
“Where are you going?”
“What?” Lexa rises from her seat and shuffles after Clarke, tripping upon the hem of her dress slightly in her rush. “What about the ArkTel after-party?”
“I’ll just call Wells when I get home,” Clarke says, and Lexa’s mind fills with, What is going on? She tries to keep up with Clarke as they step out into the hall, their heels echoing. “What are you doing?” Clarke asks, casting Lexa a brief look over her shoulder as she hears another set of heels clacking against the floor behind her.
“You’re my date,” says Lexa, and it doesn’t even occur to her that this isn’t something she’s supposed to say so off-handedly – not here, not to Clarke, and especially, not with as much alcohol already in her system.
Fuck it, Lexa tells herself. This is the perfect time for everything.
“Your date,” Clarke repeats, though Lexa notes the slight amusement in her tone. And then, seeing that Lexa isn’t going anywhere: “So. You taking me home then?”
Lexa’s throat goes dry. Fuck. Now whose brilliant idea was this again? Lexa shifts from one leg to the next, eyes on the floor.“If no one’s offered—I mean, you were getting cozy with ArkTel’s heir.”
Shit. Lexa bites down on her tongue the moment it’s out. Way to go, Lexa. That was truly the most innovative thing to say. Couldn’t we have ended with--
“Are you jealous of Wells?” Clarke asks, her head tilted like she’s just come across something mind-blowing. Fuck. “Because as you know -- Wells is a friend.”
“A friend you’re dating,” says Lexa. There, I said it.
“A friend I’m no longer dating.”
Wait, what? Lexa blinks. Did Clarke just say—“Wait, what?”
Clarke sighs, sitting unglamorously upon a carpeted stair step, her dress in disarray beneath her. “We’re better off as friends. It’s the schedule.”
Of course. All of this is just the schedule, isn’t it? Lexa stares at the hem of Clarke’s dress and tries to resist the urge to rearrange it.“I see,” she says instead.
“No, you don’t.”
Yes, I do, Lexa wants to say, looking for a safer space to rest her eyes – somewhere that isn’t on Clarke’s dress, or her hands, or her bare shoulders, or-- “What do you want me to say, Clarke?”
“What about Anya?”
Lexa blinks. Truly, this night. “What about Anya? Anya is a friend.”
“A friend you’re dating?”
“Excuse me?” For a moment Lexa is stunned by the question. “Where did that come from? We are not—I mean. Anya?” Lexa furrows her brow, now thoroughly confused. Why even would Clarke think that? “Anya and I are friends.”
“Friends. Who on occasion cook for each other?”
Oh. Of fucking course that would be a big deal. Lexa shrugs. “She cooks, I just eat. She’s an old friend. Why does this even matter?”
“Because I thought we could be two people who told each other things,” Clarke says quietly. “I told you about Wells, like, three weeks in.”
But Anya is not Wells, Lexa almost says. “I’m sorry,” she offers instead. “I didn’t think—there’s nothing of the sort to say about Anya.”
“Really,” Lexa says firmly. “It’s not—it’s not a big deal, okay?”
Clarke sighs, gathering her dress and wrapping them around her legs tighter, like she’s making room for Lexa on the steps. Lexa takes a moment before sitting carefully, leaving a few inches between them. Clarke keeps her eyes on Lexa’s knee.
“Sorry,” says Clarke finally. “I wasn’t—I didn’t mean to push.”
Lexa balls her hands into fists, nails digging into palms. She notes the sharp ache present there, almost tearing at the skin; she bites down on the tip of her tongue as well, hard enough like she wants to draw blood. She’s shaking; this much she knows. Her chest is even pounding, but then again that isn’t the worst of it.
The worst part is that there’s that tingling sensation on her lips again, and she knows what exactly that is about.
(Maybe I should toss a coin, Lexa thinks. Heads, I kiss her. Tails, I kiss her. And then, catching that thought: God damn it.)
“You’re shaking,” Clarke notes, after a while.
“That’s what happens when I’m full of bad ideas,” Lexa just says, and Clarke grins at her like she wants to be in on the mischief.
“Such as?” asks Clarke. Lexa tries to ignore the playful lilt Clarke uses on her and tries a smile instead – a small one, a shaky one. Clarke moves in closer to put a hand on Lexa’s knee, and Lexa could only do so much to keep herself from freezing at the touch. “You’re not telling? Unfair.”
“What if they’re absolutely horrible ideas?”
“Tell me anyway.”
What if it sounds like, I’m actually so drunk right now I could almost kiss you? Lexa holds her breath, counting down from ten; her hands are clammy, her lips feel like they’re burning with want and fuck. Everything about Clarke is in slow motion, and Lexa feels her chest get heavy.
And then, after what seems to be forever, Clarke says again: “Tell me anyway.”
Make up something. Anything. Lexa’s chest thrums with a sort of panic, because when she looks at Clarke, Clarke’s face is so open and hopeful and it really doesn’t help, not at all, because now more than anything Lexa really wants to kiss her.
Instead Lexa finds herself saying: “You want to get out of here?” and god, she is so horrible at this.
Chapter 5: fineshrine
This is going on a bit of hiatus, much apologies. Have a good December. :)
Applause breaks inside the ballroom, which could only mean one thing: Thelonious has finished his speech and Kane’s party is officially over. In a moment, people would start streaming out of the main door, and Lexa could almost imagine the look on Anya’s face when she sees them in their rumpled dresses on the steps.
“I thought you’d never ask,” Clarke says finally, and when Lexa turns to her again, Clarke is standing up and reaching out for her, grinning.
Something plummets right inside Lexa, scorching a path from the base of her throat to the pit of her stomach. “Clarke?”
“Let’s get out of here,” Clarke just says, pulling her up.
They slip out of the building just as the people start spilling out, and they stumble into their car just before the cameras are up again at the red carpet for the end-of-party interviews. Clarke climbs in after Lexa, giggling as she tells their driver to take them home.
“They’d probably look for us,” says Lexa breathlessly, as Clarke’s shoulder bumps into hers at a turn in the road.
“Let them,” Clarke says, hand careless on Lexa’s thigh, and Lexa tries to keep breathing; tries not to zero-in on that touch. “Or would you like to take a picture, just so they know we’re out together?”
“Come here,” says Clarke, inching closer to Lexa, phone already in hand. Lexa knows how this goes; damn, by this time, this should be so automatic – it’s a selfie with Clarke, and they probably have dozens by now – but jesus, it never gets easier, and Lexa still trembles slightly when her cheek brushes against Clarke’s by accident.
@IamClarkeG: off to the after-party with @LVine rockin’ party @MrMarcusKane happy birthday! pic.twitter.com/4J1bSU8PKV
“After-party, hm?” Lexa says, upon hearting Clarke’s tweet. “Where are you really taking me, Ms Griffin?” she asks, narrowing her eyes playfully.
Clarke just laughs, rolling her eyes before leaning her head upon Lexa’s shoulder. “I’m making this up as we go,” she says, burrowing closer, and Lexa swallows hard at the feel of her stomach somersaulting. This night is full of bad ideas. So many bad ideas. “Just go along with it.”
“Yes ma’am.” Off the rearview mirror, Lexa sees the shadow of Clarke’s smile. She stares at it throughout the quiet ride home.
Lexa follows Clarke into the elevator, giggling like schoolgirls misbehaving. They don’t say much on the ride up; they speak in smiles and eyebrow lifts and god, the butterflies in Lexa’s gut must be drunk as well, fluttering about messily amid all that whiskey swirling in her stomach.
When the elevator doors open, Lexa stumbles out with Clarke, her heels catching on the carpet, and Lexa curses out so loudly in her surprise that Clarke has to shush her, hand around her wrist.
Fuck. Lexa looks around – she can’t decide whether she’s still drunk or if she’s sobering up quickly because Clarke’s holding and tugging at her, and when they turn into the corridor at the end of the hallway that’s when it hits her.
We’re on Clarke’s floor. Lexa watches as Clarke takes out her keys, letting them dangle noisily in her other hand, while still gripping Lexa’s hand in the other. Shit. Lexa thinks about how she’s not supposed to be here, about how she’s probably better off in her own room, taking her make-up off and drinking water to completely counter this potential hangover—
But then, now Clarke’s pushing her keys into her door and opening it slowly, and Lexa’s first instinct is to breathe in the moment Clarke says, “So this is where I live.”
The first thing that hits Lexa is how the place feels like Clarke -- with the lights still off there isn’t much to see, but as Clarke enters she pulls Lexa in with her, nudging the door closed as she turns the hallway light on with a flick of a switch. Lexa hangs back, waiting for Clarke’s next move.
Clarke throws her keys upon the table next to the door, and Lexa watches as Clarke toes her heels off as she walks down the narrow hallway. Lexa holds her breath at the practiced ease of it; the way Clarke extends a hand to steady herself against the wall that tells Lexa that there have been hundreds of nights just like this. In the end, Lexa can’t help the gasp that escapes her throat.
Clarke looks over her shoulder slowly, like she’s casually remembering she had a guest. “You all right?” she asks, taking her earrings off and putting them away and damn, Lexa feels herself backing against the door further.
“I’m fine,” Lexa lies.
“Then step away from the door and come in,” says Clarke. “Have a seat – I’ve been wanting to ask how your heels haven’t killed you yet, jesus.”
Lexa grimaces, reminded. “It’s—they’re fine,” she says as she walks over and perches herself upon the armrest of Clarke’s couch, crossing her legs so she could get to her heels. “How are your legs?”
“Gorgeous but dead,” Clarke says, winking at her before heading to the kitchen. “Can I get you anything to drink?”
Lexa swallows hard before laughing. “Oh god, we’re drinking some more?”
“What kind of host would I be if I didn’t offer?” says Clarke, and oh, the way her face is illuminated by the refrigerator light in the darkness of her kitchen is everything. “Whiskey?”
Right on cue, Lexa’s throat goes dry. “Whatever you’re having,” she says, coughing lightly at the end of it.
Clarke walks over to fiddle with her iPod docked on the speaker beside the TV, before heading to the couch where Lexa is and handing her a glass. Lexa stares at it for a moment, and before she could even take it, Clarke’s sinking into the space right next to her and there is music and fuck, Lexa feels it low in her belly, and it’s a tad bit too warm.
“Chillout music, hm?” says Lexa, taking a careful sip from her drink.
“I believe I promised someone an after-party,” Clarke just says, turning to Lexa and crossing her legs.
Fuck. Whose brilliant idea was this again, to be cornered like this? The drink burns a path down her throat. “Did you, now?” Lexa asks back, and Jesus, she can’t even help herself, can she?
“Mm-hmm.” Clarke nods, closing her eyes. They’re still in their dresses, and Lexa tries not to worry too much about all that wrinkling. Really, Lexa? You’re on Clarke Griffin’s couch and you’re thinking about wrinkling? Lexa can’t help the little laugh that slips out of her lips.
“Well, at least you’re having fun,” says Clarke. Her voice has taken on that gravelly tone again, familiar to Lexa by virtue of their late-night phone calls, and fuck, even their video calls had been so much easier to deal with.
So much easier.
“Yeah?” Lexa finishes her drink with a small hiss—not that there is anything else that could be done, given the situation, is there? – and Clarke gets up from the couch with a soft sigh. “You all right?”
“I love this song,” says Clarke, swaying lightly as she reaches for the player to drive the volume up, and fuck, is Clarke dancing? No. No no no-- “Remember this one? From the beach?”
Oh god. Of course, Clarke would remember these small songs from their shoots. “Yeah,” Lexa says softly, averting her eyes and trying not to stare. “I didn’t even get the chance to know who the artist was.”
“And the sound team being fantastic, the title of the track in my iPod is the episode date and the segment label,” says Clarke wryly, and when Lexa turns back to her Clarke already has an arm outstretched, her drink held aloft in her other hand. “Hey Lex?” she’s saying, head tilted. “Come dance.”
Lexa blinks. “What?”
“It’s not a party if there’s no dancing.” And then, off the possibly stubborn look on Lexa’s face: “Come on, humor me for a bit.”
For a split-second, Lexa forgets how to coordinate her bones. It’s not the first time she’s dancing with her – they do that a lot for the show, and in various locations, too. But all of those had been severely choreographed, and executed in a room full of people walking about busily with their lights and speakers and elsethings.
None of them had been in Clarke’s dimly lit living room. And while Lexa has certainly heard this song before, all of it just comes to her so… new.
But there’s just something about the expectant look on Clarke’s face that pushes Lexa off the couch anyway. “Fine,” she says finally, swallowing hard as she stands to take Clarke’s hand, gasping as Clarke draws her closer immediately until she’s pressed up against her. “Easy, now,” she murmurs, lowering her empty glass beside the player.
Clarke giggles, setting her glass beside Lexa’s, a hand still firm around Lexa’s wrist. “Sorry.” And then: “Remember how this goes?”
“Yeah.” It comes out barely a whimper, because how this goes is something Lexa isn’t sure she could accomplish quite innocently without so many people looking on and keeping her from going off the script. And here we have no script, Lexa thinks, panic wrapping around her brain slowly. Here we’re improvising in Clarke’s room.
Clarke’s other hand settles upon the small of Lexa’s back, nudging her closer gently. “I remember how you had been so… concerned. At the shoot in the beach,” says Clarke, and god, her voice’s low register is getting worse. “How you’d wanted to stay close so—the skin, there’s not too much of it uncovered.”
“I remember,” Lexa says, breathing in. Where is she going with this?
“I remember how… I had worried about being awkward. Pressed up against someone else like that, it wasn’t… I mean, look at you.”
“Look at me?”
“Look at you.” When Clarke laughs, her breath tickles Lexa’s cheek warmly and it’s ridiculous, how Lexa feels right now – like her heart is about to give out. “I still get so nervous, sometimes.”
“You’re kidding,” says Lexa, narrowing her eyes at her. “You’re never nervous. You’re Clarke Griffin – you’re solid.” And I’m fucking in love with you, Christ. Lexa tries not to dwell on that thought; she’s so close and it almost feels like Clarke would be able to hear what she’s thinking, and oh, what if she’d heard that? Lexa thinks she’s blushing, and she hopes Clarke mistakes it for the drinks they’ve been having all night.
“So that’s how it looked like?” asks Clarke, an all-too-pleased smile on her face. “Some damn good acting then. Kudos to me.”
“Clarke—” Lexa begins, but before she can say anything else, Clarke slides them across the floor a couple of steps to the side, a little laugh to go with it. Lexa holds on and follows, her knees jittery with whiskey. She lets a shaky breath out instead. “You devil.”
“Only on the dance floor,” says Clarke, looking up at Lexa, and oh, is this how it feels like, to be putty in someone’s hands? Lexa can’t help the laugh that bubbles out of her throat.
The song winds down, and Clarke’s still swaying her hips, tucked warmly against Lexa’s. Clarke moves like waves and Lexa is lulled by the comforting rhythm of her rocking.
“Lex?” Clarke says after a while, piercing the silence that has fallen around them.
Clarke seems to hesitate before continuing. “How far have you read? In the new batch of scripts, I meant.”
Oh. Of course, Clarke would be talking shop – why else would she want Lexa back in her room? It sobers Lexa, somewhat. It is what it is – get a grip. “I haven’t been—I’ve been behind. Why?” she admits, embarrassed – whether it’s at her slowness or at her presumptuousness, she cannot tell. Christ, Lexa, what the fuck were you thinking? She loosens her hold around Clarke’s waist and Clarke breaks away from her briefly, turning to get her glass off the table, still half-filled.
“I’ve read ahead,” Clarke says, taking a sip from her drink. “It’s… going to be a very interesting few weeks.”
“More than the usual?” Lexa teases, trying to hold her nerves at bay. Something about the way Clarke segues into it pushes her up on her toes. “Any interesting locations up ahead?”
“Oh, more than one,” says Clarke, heading back to the couch. The next track plays – it’s also something from the beach, incidentally, but slower. Clarke’s still swaying, eyes closed, drink in hand. The word in Lexa’s mind is hypnotizing. “We’re doing a hotel scene, I think.”
“Sweet,” says Lexa. “I should be working on the scripts soon—”
“There’s a scene where,” Clarke pauses to drain her glass and Christ, Lexa watches with widening eyes as Clarke’s throat moves under the dim light. “We get sort of, you know. Intense.”
Intense. Lexa breathes out. “Jesus, Clarke,” she says, trying to disguise the slight shake in her voice, picking up her empty glass and peering into it longingly. Damn, I need more. “I thought you were going to say we’re going to break up or something.”
“What? No, fuck. Too early for our characters to break up.”
“I was going to say.”
“We’re having sex.”
Lexa nearly drops her glass in surprise. “Excuse me?”
“Our characters are going to have sex. In the hotel.”
“Oh.” Lexa tightens her hold around her glass, feeling it slipping. She eyes Clarke, breath held. Of course, this is only logical progression, she tries telling herself. Where else to go after that cliffhanger at the beach?
Clarke just smiles back, gesturing to her empty glass in kind. “More whiskey?”
“I can get it,” Lexa offers.
“Top shelf, to your left, above the refrigerator.”
Lexa steps into the kitchen wordlessly, trying to gather her thoughts. Has she been carrying that information around all night? she wonders, walking carefully in the dark. She opens the refrigerator door slightly, if only to allow for some little light, as she looks up to locate the bottle. It sits in the middle of halfway-done bottles of tequila and vodka.
“Your shelf is a fire hazard,” says Lexa, smiling as she walks back into the living room, whiskey in hand. Clarke looks up from her phone upon Lexa’s approach, holding out her glass.
“Please,” says Clarke, that gravelly drawl still there, and oh, the way Lexa’s stomach clenches at the sound. “That liquor shelf is the best thing about this flat.”
No, the best thing about this flat is you. Lexa shakes her head absently as she fills Clarke’s glass, before picking up her own glass in kind, settling beside Clarke on the couch. “Actually a pretty good idea,” says Lexa, taking a sip, watching Clarke over the rim of her glass. “Like a big girl shelf or something.”
Clarke laughs. “Big Girl Shelf? Really, we’re calling it that?”
“Isn’t it fitting though?”
Laughing harder, Clarke lifts her glass in a toast, and Lexa touches hers against Clarke’s with a soft clink. “To big girls,” says Clarke. “Cheers.”
They finish a couple of rounds in general quiet, looking at each other from opposite ends of the couch, their hands draped over the backrest touching every so often. Clarke likes toying with Lexa’s fingertips absently as she talks, low and soft, just below the music.
“What are you thinking about?” asks Clarke, eyelids already fluttering. Not that Lexa is any better –there’s a glow about Clarke now, and if Lexa squints she thinks she could see the whiskey working under the thin skin of Clarke’s collarbone.
Oh shit. Lexa takes another sip, letting it warm her. “How long—since you’ve read that part of the script?”
There’s an honest-to-goodness blush that spreads from the base of Clarke’s throat at that, and she reaches for the bottle sitting on the table, laughing shakily as she pours herself a third round. “Long enough,” she just says, rearranging herself on the couch and inching closer to Lexa, her toe brushing lightly against Lexa’s shin. Shit. “I can’t—it’s been in my head. I can’t get it out.”
“Why?” Fucking hell, Lexa, why do we even want to keep asking these questions?
“God,” Clarke murmurs, and it prompts Lexa to drain her glass in kind. “I don’t know. I mean – not the first time I’m shooting naked—”
Jesus. “Do we have to—I mean, if you’re not comfortable—”
“We signed something, Lex,” says Clarke, looking into her glass. “We just have to – we have to figure it out.”
Lexa stares as Clarke swirls her drink idly in her hand, the smile on her face softening. Lexa scratches at the surface of the couch, itching to touch. “Tell me how,” she finds herself saying, reaching for the bottle instead. Clarke leans over with her, their hands brushing against each other.
There is a small, stunned moment that passes between them, quick like a zap of electricity. After a moment, Clark blinks and says: “Let me.”
Lexa notes the small slur on Clarke’s tongue as their shoulders touch; this close, Lexa can smell the whiskey blended with Clarke’s fading perfume. It makes her lightheaded, somewhat, and her shaky hand spills a little of the whiskey on the table.
“Shit,” Lexa mutters, wiping at it helplessly with her hand. “Sorry. I missed—”
“We’re drunk,” says Clarke, covering Lexa’s hand with hers, just as shakily. Fuck, Lexa thinks.
Lexa lets out a little laugh, nervous and fraying at the edges. “We are drunk,” she repeats, drinking the whiskey left in her glass anyway. When she looks up at Clarke, the drunk blush on her cheek is already a deeper shade, and fuck Lexa can’t help herself from reaching out to rub her thumb at the corner of Clarke’s mouth.
Shit. Clarke breathes in, staring at her with half-lidded eyes, tongue darting out to lick at Lexa’s finger.
“Jesus, Clarke.” Lexa is surprised to actually hear herself at this point, and she can’t even tell whether it’s the whiskey or just Clarke actually inching even closer that’s making it harder and harder for her to breathe.
Goddamn, if she keeps going, I’m kissing her, Lexa thinks, as Clarke hovers even closer, leaning with a hand now careless upon Lexa’s thigh. Lexa’s hand settles upon it and grips, if only to stop it from caressing because Jesus the heat of Clarke’s hand even above the surface of her dress.
“What are you doing?” Lexa asks.
“I don’t know,” Clarke says. “You feel warm.”
Lexa cannot pinpoint the exact moment of free-fall – is it when Clarke digs into her dress, her nails catching on the fabric? Or is it when Lexa’s hand strays into Clarke’s hair and Clarke leans into the touch? Not that it matters, because the rest happens all too quickly for Lexa to catch herself anyhow: Clarke’s neck warm in her hand, Clarke’s curls tangled into Lexa’s fingers, their lips too close.
And so it goes: There in the dim light of Clarke’s living room, on a night quiet, save for the soft music from Clarke’s player on the table, and the rustling of their dresses as Clarke claws against the cloth – Lexa almost kisses first.
Almost, because right then Lexa’s phone starts ringing on the couch, and it throws the both of them off each other so fast, Lexa feels all the whiskey drain out of her veins.
“Shit.” Lexa reaches back for her phone blindly, fumbling with it and answering it on speakerphone by complete accident. The caller comes in amid static and screaming.
“Lexa! Babe, where are you?” There is hooting in the background and for a moment, Lexa is confused before finally piecing it together: Fucking Anya is fucking drunk. “We’re here at Bellamy’s—Raven is looking for you, where’dya go?”
Lexa nearly answers before realizing that Clarke is actually listening in. When she looks up, Clarke is already smiling wanly at her, straightening her dress and collecting their glasses off the table to take them into the kitchen.
Fuck. Lexa pushes her phone to her ear and switches out of speakerphone. “Damn it, Ahn,” she says, watching Clarke disappear into the kitchen wordlessly. “It’s late.”
“And you’re still up,” Anya slurs, and Christ, in the kitchen, Clarke has turned a faucet on. “Late-night Clarke lovin’?”
“You are at Clarke’s, right? The last tweet had a picture of you—”
“Yes, Ahn, I’m still here,” Lexa hisses, emphasizing the last word, hoping to get the message across without having to say Clarke’s name. “Sorry I cannot join you tonight.”
“Pfft,” says Anya, punctuating it with a drunken giggle. “Raven would be brokenhearted.”
“Please pass my apologies along.”
“Ahn—” There’s the tell-tale tone of the line going dead as Anya hangs up unceremoniously, and Lexa stares at her phone in disbelief. What the fuck? In the kitchen, the water has stopped running and Lexa doesn’t remember Clarke getting out of the kitchen, so she leaves her phone on the table to take a peek.
Clarke is sleeping on the dining room table when Lexa finds her – head bowed and resting on her forearm, a slight snore there. Lexa bites her lip to keep from laughing at the sight, before approaching carefully, trying not to make a sound.
“Clarke,” Lexa whispers, sitting across Clarke and nudging her arm gently. When Clarke does not move, Lexa clears her throat. “Clarke.”
Clarke wakes with a low hiss of breath, stretching slowly as she picks herself up from the table, blinking at Lexa slowly, like she’s disoriented. “You’re still here,” she mutters, smiling. “I thought you were leaving?”
“What? Where?” asks Lexa softly, fiddling idly with the ring on Clarke’s finger, right on top of the table.
Clarke furrows her brows. “Wasn’t that—didn’t Anya want—”
“Anya was drunk,” Lexa interrupts, hand still on Clarke’s, tugging gently. And then, softer still: “Did you want me to go?”
“No,” says Clarke, after a while. “But if you wanted to—”
“I’d stay. If you want.” The offers out, and Lexa bites down on her tongue, unable to take it back.
Clarke laughs. “Not like you have a long drive home, hm?”
“I was thinking about pretending I’d wait out my hangover until morning,” says Lexa, rolling her eyes. Clarke’s laugh tapers to a soft giggle as she rests her cheek against Lexa’s hand.
“Then stay,” she just says, pressing a soft kiss against Lexa’s knuckle, her eyes closed.
Chapter 6: it means nothing
happy new year, guys. :) i hope you're all celebrating well.
Persistent rustling wakes Lexa, and when she opens one eye, she catches the clock on Clarke’s bedside table: 3:15. That wasn’t sleep – that felt like a five-minute nap, she thinks, before barely registering the warmth that is now pressed up against her.
Shit. Her eyes may be heavy, but her brain is now wide awake, as Clarke snuggles closer, backing into Lexa and fitting herself into the careless curve of Lexa’s body on the bed. It isn’t clear to Lexa how they got from the kitchen to here – much less, from party dress to Clarke’s oversized shirts – and the dull throb in her temple reminds her of the previous night’s drinks. Damn. I am never drinking again, never drinking again, never--
Clarke shifts closer and Lexa tries to stifle a groan. The last thing she wants is to wake Clarke in the middle of the night, and with a confusing sound at that. Lexa tries to breathe in deeply, if only to calm herself – a mistake, actually, since the only thing it does is fill her with Clarke’s scent, and if there’s anything more damaging to her calm, it’s that. Like this, Clarke smells so… human. Stripped of makeup and perfume and sunblock, this is Clarke at her purest form, and if Lexa hadn’t woken up with a racing heart, right now it throbs mercilessly against her chest.
Fuck. It’s not even like this is supposed to be new – she’s held Clarke hundreds of times: For dozens of on-cam scenes. While napping at the sidelines, waiting for their next turn to shoot. While in their trailers, after a full day’s work. This thing right here, Lexa reminds herself, trying to not be so attuned to the rhythmic rise and fall of Clarke’s chest as she breathes, it isn’t new. Get a grip. It means nothing.
Why would it, right?
Clarke sighs and stretches, and it freezes the blood in Lexa’s veins. Her hand stills where it is perched upon Clarke’s hip lightly, forearm tensing as Clarke’s shirt hikes up slowly along with her movement, sleepy and languorous, and fuck, Lexa can’t bring herself to take her hand away, not even when it is pressed against the bare skin of Clarke’s side.
It means nothing.
Before Lexa could even count down from ten, Clarke is shifting again, and Christ, how is this girl not awake yet? Lexa thinks, lifting her hand momentarily off her so she can move however she likes – and by however, it means that Clarke soon ends up with her face buried in the crook of Lexa’s neck and her hand—
Christ. Lexa does not hazard a look, but she feels Clarke’s hand move anyhow, brushing against hers as it goes lower. It means nothing, Lexa repeats in her head. Just a fantastic story to tell the grandkids, maybe – oh hey, I was a young actress once upon a time, and one night I got drunk with a co-star and ended up spooning her, and at one point in the night I woke to find her sleeping with her hand halfway down her pants. Yes, that is a terrific story to tell our grandchildren.
Lexa shudders at the word our. Fucking go back to sleep, Vine. Forget all of it in the morning.
Sleep comes for Lexa after a handful of lifetimes. Clarke doesn’t move from where she is nestled softly against Lexa, legs tangled together under the covers, and at some point the steady rhythm of Clarke’s breathing helps lull Lexa into slipping back into slumber.
Morning comes harshly.
It’s been a while since Lexa was last startled out of bed – an acutely uncomfortable feeling, Lexa is rediscovering, as she is jolted awake by the sunlight coming in through the window.
What the fuck. Lexa blinks against the light, rubbing the sleep from her eyes as she rolls out of bed, stomach grumbling. She hits something on the way down – damn it; where did that come from? – and it is only after a few moments that she remembers where she is.
Clarke. Lexa looks around, heart racing in mild panic. The bed is empty.
Holy shit. What happened last night?
Lexa breathes in, taking a moment to collect herself. Too damn early in the morning to be in so much distress, she just thinks, getting up and taking Clarke’s room in – something she hadn’t been able to do the night before, for obvious reasons.
It’s quite a simple room – the bed occupies almost the entirety of it, and then there’s Clarke’s closet at the far wall, right beside what Lexa assumes to be a bathroom. There is a table against one corner, which carries a lamp and a handful of notebooks and folders. Scripts, Lexa thinks, her gut twisting for a moment.
Stepping out carefully, Lexa finds herself back in the living room – it looks so different in the morning light, and Lexa is actually a bit disoriented. Like the bedroom, the living room is likewise Clarke-less; Lexa starts worrying, a little, as she finds her phone on the table, wondering if it’s acceptable to shoot a quick Where are you? to Clarke.
Her phone rings after a moment, and in her panic, Lexa forgets to check the caller ID. “Clarke?”
The chuckle at the other end of the line tells Lexa how wrong she was – and how costly the error. “Good morning Lexa.” Anya’s voice filters through the phone and Lexa groans lightly upon realizing her mistake. “I’d like to pry some more, but I have a feeling you aren’t awake enough for my possible questions.”
“You.” Lexa rubs at her forehead, her frustration summed up in a single word.
“Okay, before you bite my head off – I’m sorry, yeah?” says Anya, though the way she’s still laughing lightly kind of suggests otherwise, though Lexa is frankly a bit too sleepy for proper anger. “Let us make it up to you.”
Us? Lexa feels her brow lift. “You and Raven last night—”
“—drunk-dialed you while you were out with your sweet lady lover, and we’re sorry.” There is rustling on Anya’s end, and Jesus, is she still -- was she with Reyes all night? Raven calls out a sleepy, Sorry Lex! in the background, and in the end Lexa is unable to stop the smile from spreading across her lips. “Have brunch with us. We’ll say sorry personally.”
Well, if this apology comes with a very good story. “I want waffles and coffee.”
“Done,” says Anya. And then: “Bring Clarke?”
Clarke comes in all sweaty, some ten minutes later, and Lexa immediately regrets looking up from her magazine upon hearing the door open.
“Hi.” Clarke smiles as she hands Lexa a cup of coffee before tugging her earphones off. Her other arm is wrapped around a brown paper bag. “Bagels,” she says, off the unsaid question on Lexa’s face. “From around the block.”
“You’re sweating.” Lexa feels her heart drop further. Of all things to say. Clarke lets out a little laugh and Lexa tries going along with it the best she could. “I mean,” she adds hastily. “Did you go out for a jog?”
“I was trying to wake you so we could go together,” says Clarke, sitting beside Lexa on the couch and handing her a bagel. “But you were sleeping so soundly I felt a little guilty for even trying.”
Lexa takes a shaky sip from her coffee. Clarke watched me sleep. How even am I supposed to get through this day? “Sorry I overslept.” And for a host of other things. Clarke inches closer, humming happily into her bread, and Lexa does her best to keep breathing.
“Nah, we had a long night,” she just says, so off-handedly it’s impossible to ascribe any further meaning to it. “You deserved the sleep. And besides,” she pauses to take a bite, and is still chewing when she continues, “My bed is comfy, isn’t it?”
Lexa disguises her cough with a sip from her coffee.
“You okay?” asks Clarke.
“I’m fine.” Lexa takes a bite, and takes her time chewing. “Your bed is comfy,” she concedes, after a while. “Thanks for letting me crash.”
“Anytime,” Clarke says, grinning with the sun on her face and fuck it Lexa feels as drunk as she’d been the previous night.
If I stay a bit longer. “Listen,” Lexa says, clearing her throat, inching away from Clarke slightly. Clarke furrows her brow, possibly from Lexa’s tone, and Lexa finds herself shaking her head. No, that’s not—“Anya called earlier.”
“Oh.” The way Clarke’s voice drops at that; the way the grin fades almost imperceptibly from her face, unnoticeable had Lexa not been staring.
“To apologize,” Lexa adds. “For the drunk dial last night.”
Shit. Panic rises in Lexa’s head abruptly. What if she doesn’t remember last night? The knot in the pit of Lexa’s stomach tightens and she can do nothing else to soothe it, apart from take another sip from her cup. “You probably don’t remember—”
“I do,” Clarke interrupts, hand on Lexa’s knee.
Lexa blinks at that. Stop trembling, stop trembling, stop—
“Well then,” Lexa manages, after a long while of just staring at Clarke’s hand on her. “Anya’s asking if she could apologize by way of brunch.”
“Oh.” Clarke draws her hand back, but so slowly that it is almost like a caress. “That’s—that’s nice.”
“She’s with Raven Reyes right now, and they’re asking if we could join them—”
“Wait a minute,” says Clarke, eyes suddenly shining with mischief. “Are Anya and Raven—”
“We’re asking the same questions,” Lexa says. And they’re asking the same questions. “I guess we have to go to brunch to find out.”
Clarke stands up, shoving the rest of her bagel into her mouth and dusting her palms against her thighs carelessly. “Give me a couple of minutes,” she says, hurriedly ducking into her bedroom.
Raven and Anya are taking selfies when Clarke and Lexa come upon their table, and they look up from their smartphones with a chorus of squeals in greeting.
“You’re here!” Raven says excitedly, kissing Lexa’s cheek before casting a lingering look at Clarke and kissing her cheek as well. “Have you any idea how long I have been wanting to have brunch with you, miss?”
Lexa laughs lightly at how this seemingly flusters Clarke. “Your girl is flirting up a storm,” Lexa tells Anya, as Anya leans closer to give her cheek a customary kiss in kind. “No warm up whatsoever.”
“I’m sorry I can’t help myself,” Raven says, grinning widely as she sits back down and gestures toward the seats across them. “Please. Today’s brunch is on us.”
“Thank you,” Clarke says sweetly as Lexa pulls out her seat for her. “I wonder what took us so long as well.”
“I was telling Lexa about how embarrassed I was about last night’s drunk dial,” Anya begins. “We’re very sorry for the interruption.”
Lexa turns to her phone and fiddles with it nervously, holding it with both hands on the table. “It wasn’t—”
“No harm done,” Clarke chimes in, hand on Lexa’s just like that, as if it were the most natural gesture, and Lexa notes the way Anya’s eyes widen just so at the sight. “Right, Lex?”
Breathe. “Yeah,” she says, swallowing hard. “It was kind of annoying though,” she adds, mustering a little laugh, and the table erupts in a round of giggling soon after.
Anya rolls her eyes. “Your waffles are coming.”
“What are you having, Clarke?” Raven asks, gesturing to her own plate and nudging it toward Clarke. “Want some of mine while we’re waiting?”
Clarke grins, reaching over to snatch a strawberry off Raven’s plate. “I’ll have whatever Lexa’s having,” she just says. “And coffee.”
“Your wish is our command.”
It’s pleasant, light conversation; Clarke and Raven hit it off pretty well, and every now and then Lexa manages to exchange an amused glance or two with Anya, mostly whenever Clarke or Raven starts talking excitedly with her hands.
“Tell me about the beach,” says Raven, touching Clarke’s hand over the table and leaning in. “God, I am so envious.”
Clarke turns to Lexa briefly, smiling with her lips parted, and oh, the things that look does to Lexa, every single time. “It was great,” says Clarke in her signature drawl, winking at Lexa for good measure. “Wasn’t it, Lex?”
Despite the boulder in her throat, Lexa manages to nod and say, “Yeah,” her voice coming out a bit strained. “It was. The beach was great.”
Anya laughs, subtly nudging a glass of water toward Lexa. “I could tell,” she says, snickering.
Clarke goes on about it, seemingly oblivious to Lexa’s small predicament; instead she launches into an unstoppable stretch of storytelling, rambling about the midnight margaritas and the sneaking out in the middle of the shoot and the nightmare they were to the production assistants.
“Cliff jumping though!” Raven says. “I’ve always wanted to try. Ahn, can’t we--”
Anya shakes her head, laughing and swatting Raven’s arm. “We’re going to give our writers a stroke.”
“It was just a suggestion.”
“We’re doing a crime drama.”
“The beach could be a high crime area—”
“Dream on, Reyes.”
Raven sighs, exaggerating her exasperation, and Clarke laughs out loud. “The beach is always worth a shot,” says Clarke. “I’m sure your crew could use some sun and sand.”
Still pouting, Raven slips her phone out and winks at Clarke. “We should take a picture to emphasize my desire for a beach shoot,” she says.
@thisisravenreyes: Petition for a beach ep with @ahnrivers_! I mean – look at the tan on these girls! @IamClarkeG @LVine pic.twitter.com/F7if7jbJ0X
@LVine: @thisisravenreyes Brunch was lovely! kisses x @ahnrivers_ @IamClarkeG
@IamClarkeG: @LVine BEACH EP BEACH EP BEACH EP! @thisisravenreyes @ahnrivers_ #makeithappen
On the ride home, Clarke leans closer to look over Lexa’s shoulder as Lexa browses through her Twitter notifications.
“I think Raven broke the Internet,” says Lexa, holding her breath and trying not to breathe too much of Clarke in, although it is quite too late now to keep her arm from getting scalded by Clarke’s proximity. Relax, Lexa. It’s just Clarke.
It means nothing.
“I’m still getting notifications myself,” Clarke replies, grinning, She scoots even closer, perching her chin upon Lexa’s shoulder completely. Shit. “You think they’re getting a beach ep?”
Lexa breathes in, trying to compose herself. “Have you seen Raven in a swimsuit?” she asks. And then, off Clarke’s careful shake of the head: “Do yourself a favor and Google her.”
A favor. Really, Lexa? Good thing Clarke seems to think nothing of it as she nonchalantly switches to her mobile browser and does as she is told. Lexa smirks, casually glancing over at Clarke’s phone as it loads the search results.
It is quiet inside the car for a handful of moments, before Clarke goes: “Holy shit.”
Lexa laughs, pocketing her phone. “You’re welcome.”
@IamClarkeG: Holysh*t this body needs to be on the beach @thisisravenreyes pic.twitter.com/l2ur9KGv5y (HT @LVine)
@LVine: @IamClarkeG you’re welcome =)
@thisisravenreyes: @IamClarkeG ARE YOU FKN KIDDING ME?? Thanks for the shoutout babe <3 And you too @LVine x
“Thanks for doing brunch with us, Lex. Raven was so excited about meeting Clarke she couldn’t shut up,” says Anya on the phone, much later in the afternoon. By that time, Lexa is already in her apartment, trying to relax in her kitchen.
“Pleasure’s mine,” Lexa says. “I love the waffles. Consider your debt paid.”
Anya laughs. “You look good together.”
“I’m just saying.”
“And so do you—”
“You don’t get to turn this around on me, Vine.”
“I’m just saying.” Lexa breaks into a laugh just as Anya does, and god, what even is this place, and why can’t Lexa be anything other than fond of it?
Chapter 7: tenderness
A handful of you asked for a Clarke POV chapter, so I figured – might as well? Throwing in a bit of Octavia, who is here as Clarke’s former close-in security aide and workout buddy because why not?
Some mornings, Clarke runs.
It’s an unexpected interest – if anything, she hadn’t expected herself to be so enamored with something that requires her to be up so early in the morning – but then again, she hits the point where she actually starts looking forward to her morning runs, and that’s that.
Some mornings, Clarke runs with Octavia. Which is also unexpected, considering how Octavia is often out of Clarke’s orbit, shoots and shifts considered, but by some stroke of luck Clarke finds herself with a couple of non-shooting weeks that coincide with Octavia’s normal hour shifts.
(On the day Octavia first joined her, Clarke nearly choked on her water in surprise. She’d been taking a pause near one of the benches when Octavia approached casually, nudging Clarke’s shoes with hers with a soft, “Hey.” Clarke looked up, confused for a split-second before ultimately letting out a squeal: “YOU.”)
“So,” Octavia begins, falling in step beside Clarke, matching her steady rhythm. “Tell me about Lexa Vine.”
Clarke huffs, trying to speak through the heavy thudding in her chest. Where do I start? she thinks, noting the way her heart races just with the thought. “What about Lexa?” she asks instead, catching her breath.
Octavia laughs. The way she sounds, it’s almost like Octavia isn’t running at all. “Come on, Clarke. The two of you are all over my feeds. You’re doing pretty well.”
“Had you stayed,” says Clarke, grinning as she slows her pace a bit. “You’d have been included in all those events.”
“Don’t take this the wrong way but—guarding you was an absolute nightmare,” says Octavia, and Clarke nudges her with an elbow in retaliation. “Seriously. I’ve had more peaceful patrols.”
“You make it sound like I’m a constant crime scene.”
“Correction – a high value target,” says Octavia, raising her finger to make a point. “The only bigger nightmare was Kane.”
Clarke laughs, rounding the bend and slowing further. “Remember that time with the paparazzi—”
“Which one? The one where you signed the wrong posters?”
“In my defense, it was dark—”
“The ambush interview spoilers were so unnecessary. The look on Kane’s face—”
“—made it all worth it, right?” Clarke sprints for a bit, leaving Octavia behind for a handful of seconds before losing steam altogether as she rounds the final corner, ending where she often does: In front of her favorite bakery for breakfast.
When Octavia realizes where they are, she laughs out loud, her head thrown back. “Clarke.”
Octavia simply gestures at the bakery door. “You have never changed at all, have you?”
Clarke gets the bagels while Octavia gets the coffee, just like old times, and they eat breakfast in Clarke’s flat. Clarke tells her more about Lexa in between bites and sips, taking a peek at her phone every so often.
“Let me guess – shoot break ‘til what, next Friday? But the two of you are keeping in touch all along, and it’s not part of some strategy, is it?”
Clarke takes a long gulp from her coffee. “Strategy? Why does everyone keep saying that?”
“Well, when people have a million or so followers between them, it kind of just pops up.” Octavia shrugs. “It’s just a thing.”
Clarke opens her mouth to say more, but she notices her phone screen blinking so she goes for that instead, barely catching Octavia roll her eyes. When she unlocks her phone, it’s Lexa; of course, it is.
“Message from the bae?”
“Shut up,” says Clarke, bringing her phone closer to her face to hide a bit of her smile as she tries to find an emoji to punctuate her Good morning with. “Come closer so we can take a selfie?”
“A selfie,” Octavia deadpans. “I’m sweaty and ridiculous—”
“Come on, O,” says Clarke, dragging her chair closer. “I’m sending a snap to Lexa.”
After a moment’s resistance, Octavia relents, and Clarke tilts her head for effect before sending it with the caption, Post-run breakfast with O. Octavia just shakes her head and spends the rest of breakfast looking at Clarke judgingly instead.
Lexa’s reply comes much later, when Octavia’s already gone to prep for her shift at the precinct and Clarke has already showered and is currently reviewing the script, like she does most days.
No smiley, no emoji, Clarke notes, sighing and almost hearing Lexa’s tone. She goes ahead and calls anyway. “Good morning again, grumpy.”
Lexa yawns. “Morning.” And then, “Who’s grumpy?”
“You should run with us sometime,” says Clarke. “Octavia and I could use another running friend.”
“We used to work together.”
“Oh.” There’s a long pause at the other end and Clarke chews on her lip as she waits for Lexa’s next word. “Also an actress?”
Clarke laughs. Octavia would be so annoyed, she just thinks, remembering Octavia’s initial frustration at being put on star duty because, as she put it, the squad was being a bit sexist. “Close-in security,” she explains, trying to make light of it, as if it hadn’t been a particularly difficult time. “It was a long time ago.”
“You had a close-in security?” A small, nervous-sounding laugh laces Lexa’s question, and Clarke tries not to giggle at how adorable she sounds.
“It’s not that big a deal – well, at the time it must have been, looking back, but—”
Lexa breathes in, like she were bracing herself for a huge question, and this time, Clarke is unable to suppress a small laugh from coming out. “You’re laughing? Are you – is this a joke?”
God, I don’t think she’s even awake enough yet for this conversation. “Sorry babe,” Clarke coos. “Too early for this conversation?”
“I should have made tea first,” says Lexa, her small laugh getting through finally.
“I’d ask you to come over for breakfast, but—”
“No—yeah, I mean. Errands today, I told you, right?”
“Right.” They are in the final stretch of downtime, and Clarke knows Lexa could use the time for her own things. “I’ll leave you to it then? Sorry to call so early.”
“Don’t be ridiculous Clarke,” says Lexa. Clarke presses her phone closer to her ear, if only to hear more of that tone she’d just used – all too soft, and just the way Clarke likes it. On the other end, Clarke could hear the shuffling of sheets, and the soft thud of pillows being rearranged on a bed. It fills Clarke with all too warm feelings. “It’s always good to talk to you.”
Octavia takes her boxing. Clarke liked combat workouts, but she couldn’t quite get a good rhythm going, and besides it was kind of hard to find a gym and a buddy, so this is all kind of a nice surprise.
“How on earth do you even find an empty gym on a night like this?” asks Clarke, letting Octavia fix her hand wraps – it’s been so long and Clarke had all but forgotten how to do it herself.
“Owner-friend gladly cleared it when I said I was taking you here,” Octavia says, deftly finishing up one hand before turning to the other. “She’s a fan of your show.”
“Though she’s kind of disappointed Lexa isn’t working out with you tonight, to be honest.”
Clarke laughs. Lexa boxing? Well, that would be a sight. “She’s quite busy with her own things during downtime,” she explains. “I could ask her if she could drop by, though. I mean – favor for a friend.”
Octavia smiles. “Well. I’ve seen a fairly limited amount of her on TV and on your feed and she looks – well. Can she—would she even hit things? She looks so proper.”
Clarke tries not to think about the many times she’d caught herself staring at Lexa’s arms. “She definitely could hit things—”
Clarke blinks. “Excuse me?”
“You’d hit it, won’t you?”
Octavia just laughs, fixing Clarke’s other hand before turning to lace up her workout boots. “Whatever you say, Clarke,” she says, smirking.
Clarke hits extra hard as Octavia steadies the sandbag for her, partly in annoyance, and by the end of the third three-minute-long round, Clarke could already feel her shoulders about ready to fall off. “Shit,” she curses, rolling them as she walks toward the sidelines.
“Water break?” Octavia follows Clarke to help remove her gloves, tossing a fresh towel at her as well.
Just like old times indeed, Clarke thinks, sighing as she flexes her temporarily freed fingers, testing the hold of her wraps. “Yeah,” she says before opening her bottle of water and taking a swig. “My shoulders feel like concrete.”
“Been a while eh?” says Octavia before turning around. “Speed ball?”
“Go ahead, I’ll watch.”
“You’re here to work out, not text.”
Clarke slips her phone out anyway, checking for messages; turns out Lexa has left three. “Give me a minute,” she says, unlocking her screen.
Lexa arrives in denim shorts and Clarke almost hits herself on the face with the speed ball when her knuckles slide off the edge as she gets distracted. Legs for days, Clarke thinks idly, stepping outside of the speed ball’s trajectory to greet her.
Lexa grins as she lowers her bag near the door. “It sounded fun,” she says. “I wanted to watch.”
“I thought you were trying a bit?” Clarke pouts, stepping closer. Lexa makes a face, nudging Clarke away in mock disgust, muttering about sweat. “Octavia will be disappointed.”
“Nah, Clarke just wants an additional partner in her misery,” says Octavia, and when Clarke turns her head, she sees her approach from her session with the sandbags. “My name is Octavia,” she says, extending a hand. “I’ve heard so much about you, Miss Vine.”
“Lexa,” she counters, receiving Octavia’s hand, smiling in kind. “Thanks for inviting me. Sorry I couldn’t actively participate—”
“My friend’s a fan,” says Octavia. “She’d flip just knowing you’ve been here.”
“Oh.” Lexa blushes and Clarke tries to bite back a small, amused laugh. “Is she not around? Would be lovely to meet her.”
“Unfortunately unable to be here,” says Octavia. “But I’d pass your message along.”
Lexa breathes in, turning to Clarke with an even bigger smile. “You seem legit.” And then, to Octavia: “How’s Clarke coming along?”
“Well—not bad for a rusty thing—”
“Hey!” Clarke says, nudging Octavia’s shoulder just as Lexa laughs out loud. “Standing right here, loves.”
“Just being honest,” says Octavia. “I meant that as a compliment!”
“Show me, Clarke,” says Lexa, sitting upon a bench, an expectant look on her face. “Just so I have an idea how it goes.”
“It’s boxing, Lex,” Clarke says, rolling her eyes. “Ever watched Pacquiao? There are gloves and there’s hitting things?”
“Ssshhh,” Lexa says, sticking her tongue out playfully at her. “Show don’t tell.”
Needless to say, Clarke spends the rest of the workout distracted, and Octavia has to call Clarke’s attention many times to keep Clarke from hurting herself on the speed ball.
“Jesus, Clarke,” Octavia mutters, holding the speed ball in her hand to stop it from hitting Clarke’s forehead. “Can you be any more smitten?”
“I said, can you be any more smitten with your co-star?”
Clarke rolls her eyes. “Isn’t she lovely though?” she asks, and Octavia just lets out an exasperated sigh. “What?”
Octavia starts pulling off her gloves and reaching for a different set lying in one corner. “All right,” she says. “Mitts now – but only because the speed ball has nearly killed you far too many times today than is bearable to count.”
Clarke lets out a giddy squeal – mitts are the closest thing to sparring she’ll ever have tonight, and to be honest, it kind of excites her. She looks around briefly and finds Lexa, who in turn flashes her a smile and a thumbs up sign.
Octavia clears her throat, tapping Clarke’s forehead with one of her mitts.
“Ow! The fuck?” Clarke groans.
“Pay attention, Clarke,” Octavia just says, holding her mitts up and moving.
Later, after five rounds, Clarke slides bonelessly onto the floor in front of Lexa, groaning unglamorously through her smile as she reaches for the water bottle that Lexa hands her.
“That seemed like a good workout,” says Lexa.
“Join me someday?” asks Clarke, and the smile that graces Lexa’s lips when she says maybe makes Clarke’s heart flutter, somewhat. Can you be any more smitten--
“What do you think should we leave for Octavia’s friend?” Lexa asks, and that snaps Clarke out of it, for the moment.
Clarke stretches idly as she thinks – A photo? An autograph? “A shoutout on soc med?” Clarke suggests.
Lexa furrows her brow, as if something is amiss or confusing. “A shout out?”
Oh my god. Clarke bites down on her lip, shifting her eyes to the mat below her knee as she stretches one leg, if only to keep from laughing out loud. On a scale of 1 to Lexa fucking Vine, just how adorable are you? “Fine, let’s stick with the autograph,” she says instead, and when she looks back up at Lexa, she’s already digging into her bag, as if she were looking for a pen.
Octavia drives them back to their building after closing the gym. “Not like I’m letting the two of you out of my sight at this hour,” she says, slowing to a stop by the curb.
Clarke laughs, touching Octavia’s hand on the gear shift. “Some things never change eh?” she just says. “Thanks, O.”
From the back seat, Lexa chimes in: “Thank you.”
Octavia waves her hand dismissively as Clarke leans in for a hug, muttering something about the following day’s early morning shift that Clarke doesn’t fully catch. “Don’t forget to put an ice pack on that forehead,” says Octavia, eyeing the spot just above Clarke’s brow where the speed ball hit her rather hard earlier.
Clarke just nods, smiling as she scrambles out of the front seat, Lexa following her shortly. They stand by the door, waiting for Octavia’s car to turn the corner before entering the building altogether.
Everything is quiet until the elevator door closes. “You hurt yourself?” Lexa asks softly.
Clarke turns to look at her; Lexa is staring at the blinking floor numbers, and Clarke allows herself a couple of moments to stare at the lovely sight of Lexa’s jawline. “It’s not a big deal,” she says, grazing the spot gently with a fingertip. The contact makes her wince and hiss.
When the elevator opens to Clarke’s floor, Lexa steps out first, much to Clarke’s confusion. “Well?” Lexa just says. “That forehead is not going to put ice on itself.”
Clarke fumbles with her keys – her fingers are shaky as fuck, but then again, it could be the hand wraps. Or perhaps something else entirely, she thinks, cursing as she finally gets it right. The door opens with a soft creak, and Clarke immediately feels her bones crumble lightly at the thought of her bed.
Behind her, she can hear Lexa’s soft footsteps, uncertain like they’ve never been here before. Oh. Something seizes in Clarke’s chest, remembering the last time Lexa was here.
“Would you like a drink?” Clarke offers, breaking the quiet.
“I’d like a bowl of ice cubes and a soft towel for that bruise,” Lexa replies, and when Clarke just stands there – still slightly stunned at all this tenderness, to be quite honest about it – Lexa laughs softly and goes into the kitchen herself.
Not like she does not know how to move around this place, Clarke thinks. Not like she’s seeing this for the first time. She looks on from the doorway to the kitchen, arms folded across her chest, watching Lexa move like this place were hers.
After a couple of moments, Lexa approaches Clarke gingerly, ice pack in hand. “What, no ice cubes?” asks Clarke, and Lexa just backs her into the living room until Clarke sinks into the couch. Lexa shakes her head as she presses the pack against Clarke’s skin, dabbing gently and testing for pain. Clarke tries not to make a sound, but fails.
“Sorry,” Lexa murmurs. “That hurt?”
“Sorry,” she says again, so close to Clarke now that Clarke already has difficulty reconciling the cold of the ice pack with the heat off Lexa’s skin. “Where did you get this anyway?”
“Speed ball rebound,” Clarke says. “It hit me while I wasn’t looking.”
Lexa makes a face. “Ouch.” And then, “Why weren’t you looking?”
“You were distracting,” says Clarke, biting the inside of her cheek to tame her all-too-wide smile.
Lexa pauses for a moment before speaking. “I was?” she asks back, pressing the pack a bit more firmly against the skin, only Clarke’s forehead is already more or less numb for her to feel so much discomfort.
“It’s the shorts,” Clarke replies, fiddling with the hem of Lexa’s shorts for emphasis. “Legs for days.”
Lexa starts giggling, and it is the most amusing sound. “I’m sorry,” she says, though she doesn’t sound contrite, not at all. If any, she moves even closer, one knee now resting upon the couch right beside where Clarke is seated, and it takes all of Clarke to not simply pull Lexa onto her.
Easy, Griffin. “I’m not,” she says. “And I’m the one with the bruise.”
“I’m glad you were there, though.”
“Me too,” says Lexa. “Even if I weren’t technically being useful.”
“Well, you’re being useful now.” Clarke holds onto Lexa’s hand, a quiet request for her to put the ice pack away. “Thank you.”
“All this… tenderness.”
Lexa pauses before lowering the ice pack on the table and sliding in right beside Clarke, finally sitting on the couch. “Eh. What are friends for, right?”
Friends. Clarke tries out the sound of that in her head; it feels like there is a chunk missing, but hey, she’ll take it. “Friends, huh?” she asks back, shifting to face Lexa, now sitting with her legs crossed. Clarke tries not to stare too openly at the way Lexa’s seated so comfortably, but in the end, Clarke ends up with a hand light upon Lexa’s bare knee.
After a while, Lexa realizes Clarke had asked a question, so she replies with a soft and shaky: “Of course.”
Clarke blinks. Fuck it, she thinks, inching closer, hand sliding up slightly on Lexa’s thigh. Fuck it, I want to. She breathes in, unable to stop her eyes from straying and staring at Lexa’s lips. “You and me?”
“Very good friends,” Lexa just nods, swallowing hard.
Lexa’s still nodding when Clarke goes ahead and kisses her – no further warning, just goes ahead and does it, leaning in with a shaky hand braced against Lexa’s leg. Lexa stills – for a split-second or a lifetime, Clarke couldn’t really tell, though her chest feels curiously devoid of sound as she waits for Lexa to respond.
Lexa breaks the moment once she starts kissing back – she lifts her hand to Clarke’s face and surprises her with her icy touch. “Fuck,” Clarke hisses, drawing back slightly. “Your hand is cold.”
“Shit.” Lexa laughs, nervously running her offending hand into her hair, ostensibly to warm it. “Sorry. Shit.”
“It’s all right,” says Clarke, reaching for her again, cupping Lexa’s face in her own warmer hands, giving them both a moment to gather themselves. And then: “We suck at this friends thing, don’t we?”
Lexa breathes out slowly, lips breaking into a grin. “Yeah,” she says, kissing Clarke gently back, bumping her nose against hers. The move reminds Clarke of their first time on the lake; inside her chest, her heart feels like it’s grown a couple of sizes. “Yeah, we definitely do.”
Chapter 8: rip the universe
Fucking finally, right? =) Here’s one to celebrate the premiere.
Clarke knows just how smitten she is, and it doesn’t bother her, not really; after all, it’s not like it’s detrimental to the main thing they’re doing, which is basically portraying two people in love, so what’s there to worry about, eh?
Nothing, Clarke repeats in her head, catching herself staring at Lexa on set for the nth time. It’s been a handful of days since shooting resumed, and Clarke has already settled back into the rhythm of it mostly – the late nights and the early mornings and the in-between moments like this, when they’re waiting in the sidelines and could afford ten-minute naps and then some.
And then some. Clarke clears her throat, trying to suppress the laugh that has bubbled at the bottom of it. After that kiss, Clarke had expected Lexa to freak and walk out, never again to be seen except maybe awkwardly -- only that wasn’t how it turned out.
How it turned out was that Lexa stayed. Against all expectations and Clarke’s held breath, Lexa stayed – like it had been the most logical thing to do, even when it absolutely wasn’t, because Clarke wasn’t really thinking but wanting, and oh, Clarke knows, she’s still not thinking now.
No one is thinking now. So unnecessary. Clarke bites her lip, swiping idly at her phone’s camera and taking a picture. It comes to her automatically these days – see Lexa, snap something – and going over her camera roll at the moment, she can’t help the small giggle that makes its way out at the sight of it.
“What are you laughing at?”
Clarke pockets her phone quickly, feeling her face grow warm as she looks up at Lexa’s just-woken face. “Nothing,” she says, recovering with a smile. “Sleep well?”
“Mm-hmm.” Lexa stretches in her seat before walking over to Clarke’s. “Your turn? My seat is more comfy for naps,” she says, sliding in right beside Clarke. “I’ll wake you when they call for us.”
Clarke breathes in; when Lexa’s this near, it’s almost impossible to resist sneaking out to make out, and Clarke traces a faint figure on Lexa’s forearm to let her know what she’s thinking about.
“I said nap, Clarke,” she says, but she settles against Clarke warmly anyway; Clarke could feel her smiling into her shoulder. “You and your bad ideas.”
“I don’t remember you complaining the last time,” Clarke points out. That earns her a swat from Lexa – that, and a ghost of a kiss against the skin under her ear. Clarke tries not to shudder – both at the sensation and the memory of the previous day’s shenanigans in the empty set across their current studio. “You have bad ideas of your own.”
Clarke moves away slightly, if only to watch Lexa pull that innocent look at her in that moment. Jesus Christ, she just thinks. On a scale of one to Lexa fucking Vine. “Yes, you,” says Clarke, pressing a kiss on Lexa’s nose in kind.
“I’m just as bad as you are,” Lexa counters, and in her head Clarke goes, That’s fucking it, before she caves in, kissing Lexa squarely on the mouth, inhaling that small gasp Lexa responds with in her surprise.
And so this is how it goes, those first few manic days: Clarke comes to work and kisses her co-star more often than she’s supposed to, and nobody, not even Lexa, seems to mind.
They get away with it mostly, for the first few weeks – disappearing between takes just like that, and dragging each other into dressing rooms in haste.
“We can’t keep doing this--”
“Of course we can.” Clarke nips at Lexa’s earlobe to quiet the rest of her, pushing her up against the mirror of her dresser, trying to negotiate a rhythm with their hips. Lexa swallows hard; hard enough, at least, for Clarke to feel the skin of her throat move, and God, how is this even happening, exactly? Most days Clarke still can’t believe it.
“What Clarke Griffin wants—” Lexa murmurs, and Clarke’s so close she feels Lexa’s chest vibrate with the words, hands slipping under Lexa’s shirt, feeling her skin right where it is the warmest.
“--Clarke gets,” she completes for her, the rest of it disappearing into Lexa’s mouth.
The crew catches on eventually, though nobody seems thrown by it; the bigger surprise had been, apparently, that they hadn’t in fact been dating for longer.
“We’d been so sure by the time Kane’s birthday rolled around, the two of you were already together—”
“Everybody kind of knew when you disappeared in the middle of Jaha’s speech—”
“What? We thought the lake kiss did it for you—”
“Not gonna lie, when you kept disappearing at the beach—”
The way Lexa blushes makes Clarke’s heart flutter, ticklish in the space under her ribs; in the end she is unable to stop herself from reaching over to brush her thumb against Lexa’s cheek, if only to feel its warmth in her hand.
“So Clarke, when was it exactly?” one of them asks, passing two glasses of mojitos to the girls.
Clarke takes a look at Lexa as she hands her drink over; now they’re both blushing up a storm, and it must be torturous to behold two people like that, Clarke just thinks. How young and juvenile and alive. “When do you think, Lex?” she passes the question on instead, threading her fingers into Lexa’s and playing with them idly.
Lexa shrugs. “When what Clarke?”
“I think they’re asking about when this began,” says Clarke, taking a careful sip from her drink and never taking her eyes off her.
“I don’t know about you,” says Lexa. “But I go all the way back to Day 1.”
Clarke drains her drink and laughs, reaching for Lexa to pull her in. “Charmer,” she just says, hooking her hand around the back of Lexa’s neck and tugging.
And so it goes that the ongoing joke is that when neither of them can be seen on the set, they’re probably hiding in a dressing room somewhere, privately busy with each other; in fact, one of the crew’s ongoing betting games had involved walking in on them in particular venues.
“You’re treating our honeymoon stage as some sort of twisted Bingo game,” Clarke points out, half-amused, half-annoyed. The assistants caught hung their heads, rightfully embarrassed at being scolded. “We demand a share of the pot.”
The group goes, “What?” in disbelief, and Clarke just laughs.
Lexa smirks as she snatches a piece of paper from an assistant’s hand – it’s a makeshift Bingo card, with several boxes already crossed out. Clarke looks over Lexa’s shoulder to catch a glimpse of the crossed out items: Dressing room 67, under the Wednesday column; Elevator under Tuesday.
“Hey,” Clarke says. “We were not making out in the elevator, I was fixing Lexa’s collar--”
“Your definition of not making out is really dubious babe,” Lexa says, and Clarke just sticks out her tongue at her playfully in response. She takes the list off Lexa’s hand to scan it more fully. “What, like you need more bad ideas?” Lexa whispers in her ear.
Clarke shakes her head. “I’m fine,” she says into Lexa’s ear in turn. “Just making sure these idiots actually have all bases covered, in the first place.”
Once, breaking away from Lexa momentarily to scan their current location, Clarke takes a moment to ask where they are. “Ladies restroom on the 7th floor, east wing,” Lexa murmurs against the corner of Clarke’s lips. “Why?”
Clarke grins, grabbing Lexa closer, hooking a finger into one of her belt loops. “Fuck you, who are you working for?” she teases. Surely, this location is on someone’s card.
“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” Lexa sing-songs, but she nips playfully at Clarke’s shoulder, and it’s enough to tell Clarke that she’s obviously letting an unnamed crew friend win.
Clarke runs a fingernail lightly across Lexa’s stomach, tracing a fine line just under her belly button, and Lexa arches into her at the sensation. “Come on. Who?”
Lexa merely lifts her head from Clarke’s throat before kissing her on the lips, smiling through it all. “You’ll see,” she says as they come up for air.
Clarke rolls her eyes. “Fine. This better go to our date fund.”
“I’m thinking it’s already large enough to fund a whole body massage for two.”
Clarke whistles, licking down Lexa’s neck; the shiver it induces causes a wet and warm heat to start pooling deep in Clarke’s gut. “God, I love how you think.”
There’s hooting when the first winner comes around.
Clarke and Lexa sit during the “awarding” to verify the winning combination – “I knew it,” Clarke murmurs into Lexa’s ear. “You were playing favorites.”
“I was getting impatient,” Lexa whispers back. “Wanted to get it over and done with.”
“Wanted to make out without being interrupted by a bingo card bearer?”
Someone clears her throat loudly and that breaks into Clarke and Lexa’s brief bubble. Clarke turns her head and smiles. “So who won?”
When Echo from hair and make-up stands, she is greeted by a mix of groans and cheers, and Clarke feels Lexa gather her closer, putting a hand on her knee and gripping affectionately. Echo walks by them on the way to her “prize”, high-fiving Lexa and winking at Clarke even. Clarke winks right back; she hadn’t really notice Echo until now, and she feels kind of terrible about it.
Lexa is still obviously half-embarrassed to take Echo’s bingo card – part of the whole verification gig – and Clarke tries to keep herself from laughing the longest she could. She fails rather quickly and Lexa nudges her with an elbow in retaliation.
When Lexa finally announces that Echo’s card is accurate, Clarke takes Echo’s hand and raises it as if announcing a split-decision winner in a boxing match, and Lexa just covers her face with her hands.
The weekends are a different matter.
On weekends, they stay in, often at Clarke’s, because Clarke’s couch is nice and Lexa prefers it to her own. Lexa shows up with fruit, and Clarke comes to the door with coffee, and it’s ridiculous, how gorgeous Lexa is in the morning, when her face is clear and shower-fresh and just.
The first thing Clarke does when she sees her is pull her in for a kiss. Not that there’s any other way to greet a face like that.
“Good morning to you too,” says Lexa, smiling lazily against Clarke’s lips. “Is it okay if I hang here?”
Clarke rolls her eyes. “Well, there are worse ways to spend a Sunday,” she says, and Lexa’s soft laugh fills her apartment pleasantly. “I made coffee.”
Lexa breathes in, following her into the kitchen. “Smells good,” she coos. Clarke pulls a chair out and nudges Lexa into it, guiding her with a hand on the small of her back, before heading to the other end of the counter to make Lexa a cup. I should have made two, Clarke thinks. I should get used to making for two.
(Under ordinary circumstances, that would have been a flag; Clarke doesn’t like getting used to things, she has never been, but then again. But then again, there is nothing ordinary about these circumstances, because, quite frankly, Lexa is quite extraordinary all the time.
That should have been a flag too, in all honesty, but it’s not like Clarke’s about to overthink it. Only she already sort of is.)
It’s mostly a quiet thing; later, they eventually find themselves together on the couch, watching a random rom-com on cable, Clarke’s leg strewn over Lexa’s lap. Lexa has an idle hand on Clarke’s ankle, mindlessly kneading it, and Clarke sinks into the touch, trying not to think about how she could get used to this.
Clarke doesn’t get much of the movie; she spends an inordinate amount of time watching Lexa watch it instead, her face so transparent that Clarke knows exactly how the scene is playing out, simply judging from the way Lexa reacts.
“You all right there?” Clarke asks, nudging Lexa with her toe. There’s a gasp from the TV which Lexa mirrors, and when Clarke turns her head she finds that the lead has already shed her robe. Oh, Clarke blinks. This would be fun.
Lexa shifts in her seat slightly, her grip on Clarke’s ankle tightening a bit. There’s a tell-tale blush spreading from Lexa’s neck upward, and it’s coloring the rest of her face a pretty shade of pink; the moment Clarke notices it, she’s as good as gone.
“I am not.” A small smile plays at the corner of Lexa’s mouth, and Clarke sits up, hauling her face closer to Lexa’s and pressing a kiss on her chin. “Clarke.”
“You know something,” Clarke whispers, getting more comfortable nearly straddling Lexa’s lap just as the music on the TV swells. Lexa finally tears her eyes away from the screen, swallowing hard as she looks at Clarke.
Might as well just come out with it. Clarke takes a deep breath. “The hotel scene’s coming up in a couple of weeks and—”
There’s that moment again – Clarke’s known Lexa long enough to know how an almost imperceptible setting of her jaw can signal Lexa’s shift from casual to serious – and here it is. She almost kind of regrets bringing it up, but then again is there really a better time for it? Not like watching this sex scene could get any more awkward.
“You’re worried,” says Lexa, her tone level and her eyes fixed on Clarke. Her hand has shifted and stilled around Clarke’s knee and is now holding onto it firmly, as if in doing so she’s making sure Clarke’s not about to fall off the couch or something. “I’m sorry—I know you’ve wanted to talk about that since—”
Clarke shakes her head, putting a hand on Lexa’s. “We got kinda busy,” she says, and Lexa drops her eyes briefly, like she were embarrassed. “But Lex--”
“You should take the lead, of course,” Lexa says, staring at where their hands are joined. “I mean, you’ve obviously done this before, and I’m just—I want to help make the scene—”
“Lexa.” And then: “Look at me.” Lexa lifts her eye and tilts her head, smiling softly; just like that, it’s Clarke’s turn to swallow hard. “That’s not – I’m not worried about getting the scene perfect. I trust you.”
“That’s… nice of you to say.”
Nice? Really? Clarke lets herself laugh a little. “You’re hardly just nice, Lex,” she says. “You’re talented, and gorgeous, and—”
Lexa interrupts that with a laugh of her own, coming closer to Clarke for a quick kiss and then pulling away all too shyly. “Sorry,” she says. “You get unbearable sometimes. When you do that.”
“That,” Lexa gestures vaguely with her hand, rolling her eyes. And then, her face growing solemn slowly: “What even do you see in me, Clarke Griffin?”
The way the question falls out of Lexa’s lips – like she were truly at a loss that there’s an answer to it. Clarke lets her eyes roam – tracing the soft arch of Lexa’s brow, that faint blush on her cheekbone, the small gap between her parted lips. How could she not see this for herself? Clarke wonders.
“I see plenty,” Clarke says simply. “And yet it’s not enough.” Lexa’s face falls slightly at that, and Clarke knows that came out wrong, so she shakes her head and grips Lexa’s hand tighter. “Wait, that wasn’t—I meant to say.” Get it together, Griffin. You’re almost there. “I’d like to—I know there’s more to see, and if you would—”
“Okay. Listen.” Lexa presses her lips together at Clarke’s insistence, and Clarke draws another shaky breath. Well, then. We got this far. “What I’m trying to say is that I’m not about to see my girlfriend naked for the first time in a room full of crew.” She spits it out the quickest way she could – she does like a little rap, doesn’t she? – and she chews on her lip as she waits for Lexa’s response.
Lexa doesn’t say anything for a while, though she looks at Clarke with an astonished gaze. Clarke waits, the world around seemingly slowing. Take your time babe, why don’t you?
“What did you just say?” Lexa asks eventually, though there’s a half-smile at the corner of her lips.
Fuck. I just asked her to be naked with me ahead of shoot, didn’t I? Clarke winces a little, suddenly embarrassed. “I said I’m not about to see you naked for the first time in front of so many people.”
Lexa laughs – she sounds like a mix between shaky and nervous and somewhat tickled. “Yeah, I got that part,” she says. “But what did you just call me?”
Girlfriend. Something clicks in Clarke’s head, and it sounds a little like, Fuck, fuck, fuck. “Fuck,” Clarke breathes out and Lexa just laughs harder. “Shit – no, that’s not my answer,” she says, laughing in kind. “Shit. I should have asked first, no? That’s how it goes?”
“We’ve pretty much railroaded all processes, Clarke,” says Lexa. “I should have asked.”
“Yeah,” says Lexa, licking her lips. “Would you?”
“Would I what?”
“Be my girlfriend.”
Clarke takes a moment to be stunned – just like that, Lexa has completely turned this around on her, and Clarke’s all but lost. She opens her mouth, thinking she knows what words to use, and when nothing comes, she tries another small laugh to cover it up.
“Is that a yes? A no? A maybe?” Lexa asks, tilting her head. “Clarke?”
Is she kidding? “You’re ridiculous Lex,” Clarke says finally, breathing out. “Of course, it’s a yes. What else could it be?”
“You sure know how to make a girl nervous,” says Lexa, letting out a small, surprised sound as Clarke fully hoists herself over Lexa’s lap, shifting to straddle her completely. “Oh, Jesus.”
Lexa gathers Clarke loosely in her arms, hands straying under her shirt, and Clarke sinks into the touch. “I make you nervous?” she asks, hands braced upon Lexa’s shoulders.
“Like you can’t tell?”
“Like I could tell,” says Clarke, grinding down, and fuck, that nearly imperceptible moan that barely makes it out of Lexa’s throat makes its way to Clarke anyhow, and it drives her nuts. “You’re impossible.”
“I’m completely here,” says Lexa, nipping against Clarke’s throat, hands tightening around Clarke’s waist and keeping her still. “Half of me still wonders how the fuck that happened.”
Fuck. Clarke curses in her head, gut clenching at the way Lexa’s lips wrapped around that very word. Her hand finds its way around Lexa’s nape, toying with her ponytail and pulling it loose. Lexa shakes her head lightly, helping her along. “God,” Clarke murmurs, her other hand braced against the back of the couch. “How are you even real?”
“Only one way to find out,” says Lexa, and fuck, Clarke is so done, and Lexa hasn’t even begun.
Chapter 9: perfect
Yes, that title is from that One Direction song. I have waited and I have /waited/.
We're wrapping this up in a bit, but before that -- this. Here you go guys. =)
The first time around, Lexa makes her wait.
Patience isn’t Clarke’s strongest virtue, this she knows too well – and she feels herself shiver as Lexa murmurs, “It takes as long as it takes” into the inside of her thigh.
Shit. Clarke swallows hard, trying not to pull at Lexa’s hair, ticklish now on her stomach. All I ever wanted was to take her clothes off, Clarke thinks dimly, wondering how on earth she could have managed to bungle that attempt, after everything.
Not that she’s complaining either.
It’s just that – right here, right now, Clarke’s naked in her own bed and Lexa still has most, if not all, of her clothes on and maybe this isn’t what she’s expecting at all.
There’s a low rumble that starts from Lexa’s chest, and Clarke’s shivers turn into full-body shudders. “What?” asks Lexa, voice sweet, like she just hasn’t been tracing wet, warm lines up and down Clarke’s thigh with her tongue. For what feels like hours.
Eventually, Clarke manages a soft, “Please.” And while Clarke’s usually polite, more often than not, she’s not this polite – and Lexa knows as much, reveling in Clarke’s apparent torture.
Clarke lifts her head, if only to catch Lexa’s eye. “Damn it, Lexa,” she says through clenched jaws. “You’re way too dressed for this.”
“Hm?” Lexa lifts a brow before excruciatingly pulling away from Clarke, a smile playing on her lips. “Oh. This?” Lexa lifts her shirt slightly, revealing the strip of skin just above the waistband of her pants, and Clarke lets her head drop back down to the bed with a groan. “Sorry,” she hears Lexa continue, and damn just like that her lips are back on Clarke’s skin. “I’m thinking of keeping it on – I’m feeling a bit cold.”
This fucker. “I’m feeling a bit naked,” says Clarke.
“But not cold.” Lexa grins wider, skimming her hands over Clarke’s thighs, before shifting to hover just above her and meeting her gaze. “I mean. You’re very warm.”
Clarke takes a moment, losing herself in Lexa’s eyes. God damn it, girl. “Shut up and kiss me, Vine.”
“Isn’t that what I’ve been doing all this time?”
Clarke rolls her eyes, grinding up against Lexa’s thigh; the move hikes Lexa’s shorts higher. Fine, wanna play? Clarke arches her brow, enjoying the small gasp that falls from Lexa’s parted lips as she inches closer to Clarke’s face, and just like that, she knows exactly just how much of a mess she’s making.
Something about that distinct break in Lexa’s tone snaps something in Clarke; instead, she finds herself surging upward, crossing the gap and meeting Lexa’s lips, hands threaded behind Lexa’s head as she pulls her closer. Fuck this, she thinks, hyperaware of the way the fabric of Lexa’s shirt drags against her skin, and clawing at Lexa’s covered back.
“Come on, Lex–”
A small whimper slips out of Lexa as Clarke bites down hard on her lip, nibbling at it briefly before letting it go. Shit, Clarke thinks, too hard? Lexa pushes off her briefly, and when Clarke opens her eyes to see what Lexa’s up to, she’s already tugging off her shirt.
Fucking hell. Clarke swallows hard, drinking her in; Lexa looks back with eyes already somewhat fogged with want, and it takes all of Clarke not to reach out and touch.
Okay. We can take a moment to breathe.
“Clarke?” It’s out so softly that Clarke pushes herself up slightly, resting back on her elbows on the bed. Lexa’s knelt between Clarke’s legs, her head tilted, and her face – where should Clarke even start?
“Hm?” Clarke feels all the other words leave her head, sitting up completely now and wrapping a hand gently around Lexa’s wrist. She’s trembling. “Lex.” And then, guiding her hand: “Please. Touch.”
Lexa’s hand is unsteady and molten; Clarke feels her skin burn underneath the pads of Lexa’s fingertips, and Clarke breathes out slowly as she arches into her palm.
“Good?” asks Lexa, brushing her thumb upon the bone of Clarke’s hip.
Clarke nods. “Yeah.” And then: “Better than good.” Lexa pulls her closer, their chests pressed together; it’s so warm now that it reminds Clarke of that day at the beach. “You?”
Lexa lets out a small laugh in answer, the sound shaking at the edges as Clarke skims her hand up Lexa’s side and around her torso, before fumbling to unhook. “You okay back there?”
Rude. Clarke narrows her eyes at Lexa, eyeing that smirk on her face. “You’re still wearing too many clothes,” she says, tugging Lexa’s bra off finally and trying not to stare. Jesus, how even is this real. Despite her best efforts, Clarke is unable to resist finally touching, and Lexa lets out a small gasp as she sinks into Clarke’s hands.
Shit. Truth be told, this is everything Clarke’s been thinking about lately, but then this is also nothing she’s prepared for – no matter how many times she’d replayed and replayed this scenario in her head, hoping she’d be somewhat less embarrassing upon execution if she thought it out long enough, but alas.
Alas, Lexa Vine is perfect, and she’s now topless in Clarke’s hands, and Clarke is absolutely zero percent prepared for it.
Well, she just thinks. This would have been very awkward in the midst of crew. Clarke kicks herself mentally for that ill-timed work-related thought, but then again, for someone who’s about to lose it just grinding against Lexa’s thigh – perhaps a handful of thoughts to slow her down would be useful.
Okay. We could take a moment to calm down, can’t we? But when Clarke looks up, Lexa’s already reaching out to take her in for a kiss, two hands cradling Clarke’s face, and oh. Kisses like this – tongue and teeth and a tinge of desperation, a whimper slipping in between mouths.
No, there is no moment, there is no calm, Clarke tells herself, allowing Lexa to push her back into the bed, their legs tangled so closely she could feel how slick she is against Lexa when she moves. Fuck. She runs her fingernails lightly down Lexa’s spine, and Lexa arches into her, purring into the kiss and pressing even closer.
Everything is so warm, and when Lexa cups her finally, Clarke feels every single nerve ending in her body so starkly she can’t help but cry out.
I am so, so fucked. I mean. Not yet, but—
“You all right?” The image of Lexa’s face starts out as a blur before Clarke’s eyes finally manage to focus, glazed over as they are just by the thought of Lexa’s hand on her. “Clarke?”
Clarke blinks. “Yeah,” she says, swallowing hard, Lexa’s kiss still heavy on her tongue.
“And this?” Lexa moves her hand slowly, and it takes all of Clarke not to cant her hips. “Is this okay, Clarke?”
Jesus, can she not. Can she not be saying my name like that. Nodding, Clarke lifts her head up slightly, just to kiss her again. “Yes,” she murmurs against Lexa’s lips. “Whatever you want just. Keep going.”
Keep going. Can we be a little more desperate? Clarke holds her breath as Lexa’s hand stills for a second. Shit, I’m fucking this up, fucking this up, fucking—
“All right,” Lexa says finally, breath warm against Clarke’s neck, barely a whisper even and Clarke tries to hold in a gasp of her own. She knows she holds little to no chance against this Lexa, who is now actually moving her hand in nearly imperceptible circles.
“Fuck.” The way Lexa says it – half-moan, half-growl – rings in Clarke’s mind, sending a jolt through her spine, and when she lifts her hips Lexa slips right in, and oh. “Christ, Clarke, you’re wet.”
What did you fucking expect. Clarke would have said something, had this not been a particularly challenging situation. Instead, she finds herself rolling her hips, marveling at the feel of Lexa inside her, her own hands straying and gripping the sheets.
“Is this okay?” There’s a tenderness to Lexa that Clarke can’t decide how to feel about, foremostly. Is she touched? Strangely aroused and turned on? Maybe a little of both, but then again, it’s not like she can really decide while Lexa’s dropping her head to her chest and taking a nipple into her mouth slowly.
“Yeah,” Clarke finally manages, her throat dry, hissing as Lexa blows gently upon newly wet skin. “Totally.”
“And this?” Clarke’s got her eyes screwed shut, but she can feel Lexa smiling against the curve of her breast anyway and nipping lightly. The feeling sends goosebumps all over. “Is this okay?”
Everything and nothing is okay, Clarke wants to scream, hands fisted in the sheets. “Fuck, Lexa,” she says between gritted teeth.
Clarke braces her other hand against Lexa’s hip, pulling her closer. “Do whatever you want,” she just says, canting her hips as Lexa curls her finger deeper, and fuck. “Just do something. Anything.”
“Anything?” Lexa lets out a little gasp as Clarke digs into her hip harder – hard enough for her fingernails bite into the skin.
Truth be told, Clarke Griffin does not beg – but right here, pinned between Lexa and her mattress, Clarke is ready to say just about anything.
“Please.” Clarke does not even recognize her own voice, and the way Lexa slips all the way in, knuckle-deep and moaning, feels a lot like letting go of a long held breath.
It doesn’t get any faster, but at least Lexa’s getting places, and for the most part Clarke starts counting her blessings.
So what if Lexa likes taking her time? And so what if she insists on an entirely quiet affair? It’s like Lexa’s making sure some sort of bubble doesn’t suddenly burst, or is concentrating as if any time she’d break something or fumble. Clarke thinks it’s almost adorable – almost, because there’s nothing entirely adorable about how Lexa just keeps hitting that good spot, and really.
At some point, Clarke even tries to speed her up – wrapping her legs around Lexa for leverage, only to have Lexa push down on her hip as she tries to still her movement and Christ, Clarke’s a bit helpless, isn’t she? Naked and sweaty and curled around Lexa like this.
That Lexa is kind of take-charge isn’t even the most surprising thing about it, though even the expected things come to Clarke as a surprise – in the end, it kills Clarke, that Lexa is so attentive, and that she’s looking at her like that while she’s moving in and out of her, and just.
“Faster, Christ.” Clarke reaches down, tightens her grip around Lexa’s wrist, and Lexa just looks at her with the softest of smiles and the slightest shake of her head, and god, the way she curls her finger slowly deep inside of Clarke is so deliberate, it could very well already be murder. “Lexa.”
Lexa blinks innocently before stilling altogether, and Clarke sets her jaw, breathing in. “What?”
Of course, Lexa’s going to make her beg, isn’t she? Lexa’s going to draw it out until she feels so full, and of course, Lexa is also going to pull back just when Clarke’s about to come. Clarke squeezes her eyes shut and her thighs together at the thought.
“I just want to come, babe,” Clarke finds herself saying, in that voice again that she doesn’t even recognize as her own. “I’ll do anything.”
There goes that word again, Clarke thinks dimly.
“Anything?” Lexa asks, voice dropping like she’s whispering a threat, and there is little Clarke could do to stop herself from turning to bury her face into the pillows beside her. Fuck, she thinks, feeling Lexa’s hand on her knee, still gentle as she nudges her legs open.
Anything. Clarke complies, falling back.
With her eyes closed, it doesn’t even register to Clarke immediately, what Lexa’s doing next – all she knows is that Lexa is shifting in the dark, her fingers still inside, and suddenly it’s a whole lot more warm and moist and.
Fuck. Clarke’s eyes fly open, and when she looks down, Lexa has her eyes closed and her mouth on Clarke, and holy fuck holy fuck holy fuck. “Fuck, Lexa.” And then, “Babe—please.” Please open your eyes. Please, faster now with that tongue. Please, this feels like you’re burning me alive.
Clarke thinks she hears Lexa say, Sure; the solitary word vibrates on her clit and Clarke feels her hips arch further into Lexa’s mouth. Lexa holds her down, free hand tightening its grip, and Clarke lets a small whine escape her throat.
The build is slow; it is exactly as Clarke feared. At some point, Lexa slides her fingers out, before guiding Clarke’s legs and draping them over her shoulders for a better angle. Shit. Like this, Lexa could push into her deeper with her tongue, and Clarke feels herself lose it every single time she does, her shoulders digging into the back of Clarke’s thighs as she pushes closer and closer.
When Clarke comes, she feels the world go blank, the sounds around her muted and the heartbeat in her chest stilled. Inside her belly, it feels like a tightly wound cloth being unfurled slowly, its corners brushing against the far corners of Clarke’s body, ticklish against her walls.
It washes over her, slow the way it came, seeping into the cracks of her bones and all the unguarded folds of her skin. It takes a while, the same way Lexa took a while, and Clarke just lets it, surrendering her body to its flow, fingers threaded tightly into Lexa’s hair, holding on.
When Clarke comes to, Lexa’s watching her, staring at her through half-lidded eyes, sheets wrapped around her chest and legs tangled with Clarke’s lazily.
“Welcome back,” she greets Clarke with a smile, and Clarke can’t decide whether she’s being smug or sweet. Clarke breathes in and stretches, reaching over to throw an arm around Lexa loosely.
“Hey.” Clarke shifts closer and Lexa lifts her arm to let Clarke in. Lexa’s skin still feels warm, Clarke could say as much even through the sheets. And then, clearing her throat: “So. That was.”
Lexa shrugs. “Yeah.” She keeps her eyes glued to a spot just past Clarke’s shoulder. “I hope that was – yeah.”
“Don’t be ridiculous,” says Clarke, tipping Lexa’s chin toward her; her lips are still kiss-swollen, and Clarke traces them lightly with her thumb. Lexa’s tongue darts out briefly, playful, and Clarke laughs. “That was amazing.”
“Where did you even learn to do all that?”
Lexa pouts, though the blush on her face is already that sweet, undeniable shade. “You’re just saying that to fluster me, aren’t you?”
“I’m not. Really.” And then: “Answer my question.”
Lexa shakes her head. She’s got her hair down one side of her neck, and her face is so bright and clear, it kind of takes Clarke’s breath away. Kind of. “I was just reading off your skin,” she says, shrugging like this weren’t a big deal. “You’re very well written.”
Clarke blinks. This fucker. “Now who’s flustering whom on purpose?” she asks, biting down lightly at Lexa’s shoulder, eliciting a small, delicious sound from Lexa. “Stop being so charming.”
“Or what?” Lexa teases.
Well. Clarke looks up just in time to catch the smug look on Lexa’s face, and Clarke just thinks, It’s time. She shrugs, slipping her hand under the sheets, skimming her hand over the skin and enjoying the way Lexa pulls her stomach in and lets out a small gasp.
Clarke takes a moment to hold her eyes before winking at her. “You really want to find out?”
Lexa trembles; Clarke can feel her shaking right out of her skin the moment she first cups her and oh, she considers asking if she’s ever done this before, because Clarke wants to know just how careful she’s supposed to be, or if it’s happening at all, or—
“Clarke,” Lexa interrupts, and Clarke stares at how heavily Lexa’s swallowing, her throat moving under Clarke’s gaze.
Shit, Clarke thinks. Is she backing out? “Are you—is this okay?” Clarke’s mouth is suddenly dry. “We can still stop. We can still—”
Lexa’s eyes widen at that, hand shooting down to fix itself around Clarke’s wrist tightly. “Don’t you dare.”
“Don’t I dare what?”
Lexa pauses before moving her hand – Clarke’s hand – on her, tracing circles on her clit, and letting her head fall back to the pillows. Holy fucking fuck. Clarke bites down on her own tongue, swallowing down a moan as she feels Lexa start pooling onto her palm.
Fucking hell, shit. Clarke soon feels Lexa’s hand slip from her wrist, moving to grip at Clarke’s forearm instead, her hips start rolling in time with Clarke in a rhythm that they soon find.
“Can—fast? Fuck, Clarke.” Lexa has her eyes screwed shut, her mouth pressed against Clarke’s ear, her words barely making it out. Clarke remembers how Lexa had slowed and contemplates doing the same, but Christ, the way she’s panting against Clarke right now. The way she’s digging her nails into Clarke’s skin.
Fine. Clarke gives in, pushing into her harder, and this time Lexa lets a moan out without holding back. She sounds so sweet and Clarke cannot think of anything else, her mind clearing and filling with just this blind wanting to hear that again. And again.
When Lexa comes, her body’s a fucking symphony, and Clarke closes her eyes to listen.
Chapter 10: epilogue
Thank you for sticking with this, it has been such a sweet ride. I apologize for being unable to return every single one of your kind comments – please know that I read each and every one of them, and they all made me smile, and my heart grow a thousand-fold. Thank you, thank you. You’re what makes writing for this space so, so rewarding. Until the next writing effort. May we meet again. =)
On the morning their shooting schedule resumes, Clarke sends a snap of her breakfast to Lexa and waits. It’s always been this way – always, Clarke wakes ahead, prepares breakfast, and waits for the tell-tale blip on her phone screen that tells her that Lexa’s replied.
Today, however – today is different, because Clarke is sending the snap, not from her flat but from right beside Lexa, just to be annoying.
“You do know I see what you’re eating, right?” Lexa reaches over to pick a grape off Clarke’s plate, as if to demonstrate her point. Clarke just laughs, their shoulders brushing together as Lexa moves closer, and Lexa offers another grape to Clarke in kind, hand hovering just in front of her lips.
Clarke opens her mouth slowly, deliberately licking at Lexa’s fingertip afterwards. Lexa lets out a groan. “Thanks,” says Clarke, smiling smugly. “How’s your breakfast?”
Lexa looks down at her plate, smiling absently. “It’s pretty good,” she says. “We should probably post something to tease about this shoot no? What do you think?”
@LVine: BIG day today! But first – breakfast @IamClarkeG :* pic.twitter.com/OgwS5n0afL
@IamClarkeG: @LVine so excited! =)
@thisisravenreyes: @IamClarkeG @LVine OH MY GOD is this??? FINALLY???? cc @ahnrivers_
@ahnrivers_: @thisisravenreyes hahaha @IamClarkeG @LVine go get ‘em girls! kisses x
“I will never be over the fact that Anya and Raven watch our show,” says Lexa, and Clarke could already spot that tell-tale start of a blush. “Have you seen?”
“Yep,” Clarke nods, scrolling down her feed. “Look at you, you’re destroying the Internet for breakfast, babe.”
Lexa blushes harder. “Well, not just me—that photo is half you, Clarke.”
“Fine,” she concedes, leaning in for a quick kiss on Lexa’s cheek. “We’re destroying the Internet. For breakfast. What a time to be alive.”
They’re in the middle of a semi-lazy kiss on their hotel room couch when Lexa’s phone starts ringing, vibrating loudly against the wooden table.
“Do you have to get that?” Clarke murmurs, still nibbling at Lexa’s lower lip. She opens one eye to take a peek – it’s Anya. Clarke tries not to groan too loudly.
Lexa keeps kissing for a few more moments before pulling away, though she keeps one hand firmly gripping Clarke’s hip. “Wait a sec.”
“Lexa–” Clarke whines.
Lexa shakes her head, eyeing Clarke like she’s saying This won’t take long. “Fucking hell, Ahn,” Lexa greets, swiping to answer her phone on speaker.
Background noise greets them back first before Anya comes in more clearly. “Bad time?”
Clarke rolls her eyes, leaning closer to nip at Lexa’s earlobe, and Lexa tries not to shudder and let it show in her voice.
“Not at all,” Lexa says, swallowing hard. “What’s up?”
“Hey, Anya!” Clarke chimes in anyway, practically crawling over Lexa’s lap. “Where’s Raven?”
“CLARKE!” Of fucking course. Clarke lets out a laugh, imagining Anya and Raven huddled close together, speaking into Anya’s phone somewhere. “LEXA!”
“Hi Raven,” Lexa says, and Clarke burrows into her arms further. Might as well get comfortable, she thinks. If this phone call’s going to be lengthy, right? “Where are you guys?”
“No – where are you guys?” Raven asks back. “I saw the photo you posted, Lex – those robes look very comfy.”
“We’re shooting a handful of hotel scenes today,” says Clarke. Her hand strays inside Lexa’s robe and Lexa draws in a quick breath. “Lexa and I are just… going over some lines.”
“Yeah,” Lexa says, though her voice is a bit strained. Wonder why? Clarke smirks at her, hand still on the bare skin of Lexa’s stomach, slipped between the robe. “Lots of things to memorize.”
Someone laughs at the other end of the line, and Clarke recognizes it to be Anya. “Whatever you say girls,” she drawls, and Raven starts laughing along in the background as well. These fuckers. “How’s line reading going so far?”
“Fuck you Ahn,” says Lexa, rolling her eyes and getting her phone from the table, ostensibly to end the call. “Is that all?”
“One last thing,” says Raven. She breathes in to pause, as if bracing herself for some really big announcement, and Clarke feels Lexa’s hold on her tighten slightly. “I just want to say – I’m captain of this Clexa ship, or whatever you call your pairing. I am captain. I am on it. I am a fan--”
“Thank you, Raven,” Lexa says, and oh jesus, her cheeks are so red right now, it looks as if Clarke had slapped her or something. “I’m going to hang up now—”
“One more thing—are you filming a sex scene, or?”
“RAVEN.” It’s ridiculous, how Lexa and Anya complain at the same time, and Clarke just giggles into Lexa’s chest. “Christ,” says Lexa, laughing lightly herself. “Can I not comment on that?”
“Hah, it would have been easy to say no,” says Raven.
“Okay then – no,” Lexa says.
Clarke laughs. “I don’t think that’s how it works, Lex.”
“Kane would kill you if that leaked, no?” says Anya.
“Yeah,” Lexa concedes, and in the background they could hear Raven making choking sounds in her glee. “For the love of us – please don’t get us killed?”
“If it’s any consolation, I think you’re killing Raven right now--”
“I’m fine,” Raven says, wheezing in the background. “I’ll be over here, sitting expectantly, ready to die.”
“Please don’t die,” says Lexa.
“We need as many viewers as we could manage,” says Clarke.
“I will watch in the afterlife,” says Raven. “And gather viewers from there for you; it’s going to be amazing.”
“Jesus Christ, people,” Anya interrupts. “Why am I friends with you again?”
Later, when the phone call has long ended, Clarke waits for makeup call time in Lexa’s room, her feet propped up on Lexa’s lap. She’s browsing through their script for the day, and Lexa is idly kneading at her ankle.
“Our friends are crazy,” Clarke says, without looking up from her papers. “On a scale of 1 to batshit, how pissed would Kane be if that leaked?”
“Batshit,” Lexa says, and when Clarke takes a small peek, she sees her smiling anyhow. “You know how much Kane hates his spoilers.”
“He’s like this Spoiler Warrior, or something.”
Lexa laughs. “Spoiler Warrior,” she repeats. “Don’t let him hear you.”
“Not about to,” says Clarke, shaking her head. She settles into the couch further, sinking into Lexa’s touch, growing better by the minute. “So good,” she murmurs, letting her eyes flutter closed.
Clarke nods. “Your hands. God.”
Laughing, Clarke swats at Lexa playfully, an eye still closed. “Don’t be so smug.”
“I’m not.” And then, laughing lightly: “Okay, maybe a little.”
Clarke laughs along, tossing her script onto the table and shifting closer to Lexa and eventually crawling onto her lap, straddling her. “You ready for later, babe?” she asks, tucking Lexa’s hair behind her ear.
Lexa looks up at her, soft smile playing on her lips. “Of course. And you?”
“Don’t judge me,” Clarke begins. “But I have been waiting.”
“Have you?” Lexa asks, hands straying under Clarke’s top. Shit, do we even have time? Clarke eyes the clock on the desk – ten minutes? Fifteen? Clarke groans, leaning over to capture Lexa’s lips in a quick kiss.
“Don’t start,” Clarke says, warning in her tone.
“I’m not doing anything.”
“I can feel your hands.”
“My hands are just being friendly.”
This fucker. “That’s not—” Clarke gasps as Lexa skims her warm palms over Clarke’s stomach before scratching lightly at her sides. “That’s—that’s nowhere near friendly. Friendly has a zip code, and your hand isn’t in it—”
“Is that right?” Lexa leans in, nipping at Clarke’s jaw, and jesus. What part of not starting does she not understand? Clarke thinks, knees turning to jelly.
Oh, fuck this. Clarke rolls her eyes, fingertips finding the hem of her shirt and lifting. Lexa keeps smiling at her, steady and infuriating, even as Clarke drops her shirt to the floor.
“Makeup is in ten,” Clarke says, inching slowly toward Lexa’s lips.
“Let me have seven,” says Lexa in reply, closing the gap herself.
On their first shooting day back, Clarke Griffin is late for makeup for half an hour.
Profuse apologies aside, it’s all kind of worth it. #