Turning down yet another aisle, Lexa released a small huff as her eyes finally located the section of shoes that she had been hunting for. Ugh, shoe shopping. This was probably one of the things that she liked least in the world and something that generally she would put off until it finally became something that could no longer be put off.
Shoes were a funny thing – no two pairs, regardless of size or style fit the same way, which meant that shopping for them was an annoying thing because shoes had to fit, just right. They had to and if they didn't - ugh, no, there was no if they didn't - they just had to. It was no secret that normally Lexa would tend to purchase the same pair, over and over and over again, however in recent years it seemed more and more that every time that she found a pair that she liked, the company would turn around and discontinue them. So annoying.
Coming to a stop in front of a line of shoes, Lexa crossed her arms and glanced back down at the crack in her shoe, silently damning it. Yes, okay, it was obvious that she needed a new pair – Clarke was right. It was winter and things were going to get wet and gross and wearing cracked shoes was not the best idea ever, but at the same time – man, did she hate it when Clarke was right.
Scanning the shelf, Lexa shook her head and released the tiniest of grins. Okay, so maybe hate was too strong word to use. After all, in truth, she didn’t really hate anything where Clarke was concerned, so instead, perhaps it would be more fair to say that she, highly disliked it. Yes, that would work. Especially considering the fact that though she just told Clarke that they were only staying there for another ten minutes, there was no way that she was going to find the right pair of shoes in such a short amount of time, so now – she was trapped there. “Ugh,” Lexa sighed as she dropped her arms and removed a box from the shelf. “Okay, here, we go,” she added quietly as she kicked off her shoes.
Slipping her foot into one of the shoes and glancing in the mirror, Lexa suddenly stopped and felt her ear twitch as though she were a curious little puppy hearing some foreign noise.
That voice. She knew that voice and though it was one that she had not heard in a very, very long time, there was no doubt in her mind who it belonged to and for a moment, she lost the sense to breathe. Before she knew it and without the thought to slip back into her own shoes, Lexa found herself rounding the corner, with a leather oxford still gripped in her hand, and freezing at the sight before her.
Clarke stared back at him, her jaw hanging slightly, before shaking her head firmly. “Kane? On, my God.”
“Clarke,” Kane smiled widely. “How have you been?”
“God, I have been trying to get ahold of you forever,” Clarke shook her head again. “I was told you went off on some retreat,” she released a small giggle and motioned to the little girl. “I guess you have plenty of time on your hands when you’re cut off from the world.”
“Yes,” Kane chuckled and bounced the girl in his arms. “Yes, you do. However, this little monster of mine was apparently well on her way when we set out.”
“I see,” Clarke nodded and smiled as she reached up and took the girl’s hand. “Well, congratulations. She’s beautiful.”
“Thank you,” Kane smiled again. “So, how have things been? Is the gallery doing well? Have you dipped those talents of yours back into the scene yet?”
“Fine. Everything is fine,” Clarke answered, quickly brushing off any interest in discussing the gallery or her own work. “Kane, I have a question, do you remember when you had that final show and I sold a bunch of work?”
“Sure, of course,” Kane shrugged as he shifted his daughter from one hip to the other. “Why do you ask?”
“Well,” Clarke pressed her palm against her forehead and pushed her hair back. “Because, I have been trying to…”
“Lexa,” Kane suddenly said as an even wider smile spread on his wildly bearded face. “Well, this is quite the treat of blasts from the past today.”
Lexa blinked and gave her head a short shake. While the man standing before her certainly looked different than the man she remembered. It was definitely him. “Hello Kane,” she said as she stepped forward and reached out her hand, feeling her pounding in her chest. “Good to see you again,” she nodded.
“Always a pleasure,” Kane said as he gave her hand a good shake.
Lexa smiled pleasantly and redirected her eyes to the little girl in his arms
“This is Charlotte,” Kane told her with a proud smile. “Thankfully, she looks like her mother,” he added with a playful tone.
“Kane,” Clarke butted back in. “Listen, it came to my attention that a piece of mine sold that night and I was wondering if you might be able to tell me who you sold it to,” she explained rather quickly. “You see, the piece – it wasn’t,” she paused and shook her head, “it wasn’t meant to be sold and I have been making myself a bit crazy over it.”
“We both have,” Lexa admitted with a sympathetic side glance and a shrug.
“Oh, I see,” Kane nodded and gave his beard a scratch. “Well, I have a pretty decent memory. Which piece was it?”
“It was that one of the female form,” Clarke responded quickly. “Remember, the one that I wouldn’t sell at that showcase a few years back?”
“Ah,” Kane said with something in his eyes faltering as they dropped toward the floor.
Lexa felt her brow knit up. Uh oh. That can’t be good.
“What is it?” Clarke questioned him.
“I,” Kane paused and redirected his eyes. “I don’t know, Clarke,” he shook his head. “I’m not sure.”
As an awkward silence fell between them, Lexa felt her shoulders drop a bit. That was not the answer that they had been hoping for. Unsure of what to say, she turned and looked at Clarke and immediately felt her heart clench with fear. Fuck. Instead of filling with sadness, Clarke was clearly filling with something else and she just knew, this was not going to be good.
“You’re lying,” Clarke suddenly spat rather harshly as her eyes sharpened.
Kane's jaw slipped a bit. “Clarke, listen, I’m sure…” he began.
“No,” Clarke cut him off. “You’re lying. I know it. I can see it,” her voice climbed. “Where is it?”
“Clarke,” Lexa reprimanded her quietly as she took her hand and glanced around.
“What? No,” Clarke pulled her hand away quickly and took a step forward. “Tell me where my fucking picture went,” she demanded angrily.
Again, Lexa glanced around. Fuck. This was so not the place for Clarke to lose her cool and blow her top.
“Clarke,” Kane tried again as he took a step back with Charlotte dipping into his neck. “Stop this,” he rubbed her back soothingly.
“No. This is all your fucking fault,” Clarke raged at him. “You knew that I wouldn’t have wanted that piece sold. I told you. You knew!”
“Clarke, look, I’m sorry,” Kane shook his head. “I wish that I could…”
“Bullshit,” Clarke barked back at him loudly.
“Clarke,” Lexa repeated, this time with more force as she took her arm, feeling a familiar pang of pain fire off in her chest. “Stop,” she told her firmly. People were starting to stare.
“How the fuck can you be okay with this?” Clarke turned and snapped at her.
Lexa stared back at her, both silently pleading for her to stop and battling to suppress the storm that was quickly forming in her chest.
A whine from Charlotte suddenly filled the space between them, but even then, Clarke showed no sign of stopping, instead she turned back to Kane. “Answer my damn ques…”
“Enough,” Lexa interrupted firmly as she pulled her arm again, bringing their eyes to meet and this time, time seemed to freeze momentarily.
Something was off, that much seemed clear, but this couldn’t happen – not here, not now and definitely not like this. No. It needed to stop, now.
Kane cleared his throat as he shifted Charlotte in his arms and quietly began shushing in her ear.
Lexa turned and looked at him. “Kane, I think it’s best if we continue this another time,” she told him with a quick, but sympathetic glance at Charlotte.
"Yes," Kane’s eyes bounced between them. “I think you're right,” he agreed with a sharp nod as walked around them and made his way toward the exit. “I’m sorry, Clarke,” he added quietly.
“Oh, go fuck yourself, Kane,” Clarke scoffed as she once again pulled her hand free and crossed her arms.
Lexa released a sigh and rolled her eyes toward the ceiling. For fuck’s sake.
A moment later, as they watched Kane and Charlotte disappear into the crowd, Clarke finally turned and faced her again, now clearly aimed at redirecting her anger elsewhere.
Lexa closed her eyes and took a steadying breath. Fuck.