“God, they smell so good!” Lexa's voice is loud as she enters the kitchen, quickly snatching a hot cookie from the try on the counter and barely dodges the hand that reaches out to smack her own away.
Her mother glares at her, “they are for the fundraiser tomorrow. Tris came down with something so Mrs. Palmer asked me to fill in.”
Lexa grins, side hugging her, “you're too good to us, mom. Honestly though it's probably a good thing, her cookies are like rocks.”
“Do not let her hear you say that.”
Scoffing, Lexa lifts herself onto the opposite counter, taking another bite of the sweet snack and talks with her mouth full, “so what's up with Tris anyway?”
It earns her another glare and she smiles wide after she swallows. “Just a minor bug, it's going around the school, she will be just fine by tomorrow.”
“Mom! Tell Anya to stop-”
“I wasn't doing anything.”
They roll their eyes in unison as Aden, Anya and Raven enter the small room and Aden's eyes light up, running over to awkwardly hug the sitting Lexa in all his twelve year old energetic glory. “Lex! What are you doing here?”
Lexa jumps down, hugging him properly while Anya kisses their mother's cheek in greeting. “I missed my favourite little brother.”
“I'm your only brother,” he whines.
“Which automatically makes you my favourite.” Aden smiles wide and runs off to start his homework and she looks up to see Raven watching all of them with a small smile and nods at her, “Reyes.”
Raven smirks, “Woods. You coming tonight?” Lexa frowns and Raven rolls her eyes. “Grounders? Octavia and I are introducing Anya and Lincoln to our friends? You know, Bellamy, Jasper, Monty and Clarke.”
Recognition hits Lexa's expression, “ah yes, the infamous Clarke Griffin, how could I forget?”
“I don't talk about her that much.”
Anya snorts, wrapping her arms around Raven's waist from behind, “babe, you literally talk about her the same amount you talk about space. I swear if I was the jealous type.” She leaves the threat hanging and Lexa nearly laughs at the dreamy look that crosses Raven's face.
“So you in, Woods? I mean, I don't have any blood family so I'd really like it if my alternative family could get along with my friends,” she pouts, eyes pleading, “please.”
Lexa rolls her eyes, “are you seriously trying to guilt trip me into meeting your friends? Why you so bothered about me? Anya and Lincoln are the ones they're going to be judging.”
“Because I want them to meet everyone that's important to me,” she answers softly, eyes cast to the floor but Lexa just stares her down, raising a brow until Raven huffs. “Fine. This is going to turn into the damn Spanish inquisition and I really do not need this one,” she pulls Anya against her harder, “to lose her temper and make them all feel two-feet tall, so be a good sister and do it for her.”
A small chuckle echoes from the direction of the stove, a poor attempt to be drown out by the oven door being closed and Lexa smiles, “chill, Reyes, no need to get all sentimental, I was going to go anyway purely to see Lincoln wither away under the protective, big brother stare down he's going to get.”
Raven pumps her fist, “sweet! We are going to get so-” a glare, “not drunk. So not drunk. We're going to drink soda and absolutely nothing alcoholic. Don't worry, Mrs. Woods, I'll make sure Lexa here has a clear head for tomorrow.”
“Child, how many times do I have to tell you to call me Indra?”
“One more time, as always, Mrs. Woods.”
Indra ignores her and glances to Lexa before looking back at Raven, “and alone. Make sure she gets home sober and alone. Lord knows I do not need another heart-broken girl asking after her, especially at the most important fundraiser we have had so far.”
Lexa crosses her arms over her chest, insulted, “I'm stood right here you know. And I am an adult, I'm more than capable-”
“Scouts honour, Mrs. Woods. Sober, alone and an early night so she can woo all the doctors into giving you ridiculous amounts of money.”
Anya smirks smugly at Lexa as Indra takes a cookie from the cooling rack and hands it to Raven, unspoken words in her mother's eyes and she grins against Raven's neck, “don't worry mom, I'm holding onto this one for as long as she can tolerate me.”
“Good, now get the hell out of my kitchen. It is hot enough in here as it is without you three crammed in. Anya, when you get back to the office please tell your father to pick up something on his way home, like hell am I cooking for six after baking hundreds of these things, and Lexa, take a damn shower.”
Making a show of sniffing herself, Lexa sighs in self-satisfaction, “it's the smell of achievement, mom.”
Indra huffs, “it is the smell of sweat and a groggy gym, now get upstairs before I whip your ass.”
Lexa moves to her, wrapping one arm around Indra's waist and rests her head on her shoulder, “you're the best, you know that right?” Indra nods causing Lexa to chuckle. She grabs another cookie, backing away quickly towards the door, “and you shouldn't threaten your children, it sends a bad message.” She darts out of the room before she's reprimanded. Again.
Anya laughs, moving away from Raven, “she'll do great tomorrow. You know Lexa, she could talk blood out of a stone if she needed to. Do you want anything specific for dinner?”
“Pizza,” Indra immediately answers, “no, wait. Chinese. No, pizza. Just get both.”
With a goodbye kiss on the cheek, Anya nods, “we'll be back in a couple hours.”
She takes Raven's hand, leading her out of the kitchen, “later Mrs. Woods. I promise I'll only let Lexa get marginally drunk and in no way will tequila be involved. Probably.”
Indra shakes her head in fond amusement, sighing at all the batter laid out in front of her.
The front door crashes open and Lexa pauses her game with Aden, “wife and children, I am home. Come and give the man of the house some love.”
Lexa automatically picks Aden up and squeezes him, laughing as he tries to wriggle out of her grasp and glances over to the offended look her dad gives her, “oh, were you referring to yourself?”
“Cute, Lex. Maybe I'll keep the beautiful cuisine I have from opposite sides of the world to myself.”
“Opposite sides of the street, more like,” Indra drawls, pecking her husband's lips before taking the bags off of him and laying them out on the now clean counters next to the plates because 'it does not matter if they are already packaged, we will eat like civilised human beings'.
He waves her off, “semantics.”
Aden runs off to the kitchen, ignoring his dad in favour of his stomach but Lexa moves to hug him, “how was work?”
“Slow,” he sighs, hanging his jacket and joining the others in the living room, “it's like people don't even want to steal cars anymore.”
Raven lines up glasses, pouring drinks into them as Indra and Aden finish setting up, “don't worry Mr. Woods, by the end of the month I'll have those babies looking sweet as hell. People will be banging down the doors to buy a car off of you.”
“I hope so,” he sighs again, taking his seat in his favourite old, worn and ripped recliner, completely mismatched to every other piece of furniture in the room but the one thing he refused to give up when Indra wanted to redecorate. He looks over to Lexa, “what about you, kid?”
She shrugs, “I mean, the gym still isn't in profit but it's not losing money either. I just really need tomorrow to work out, I had two treadmills pack up on me today. I desperately need some better equipment in there.” Raven looks her over before sticking her hand out in a 'gimme' motion. “Rae, I can't always ask you to fix my shit, okay? I'll figure something out.” Raven just raises her brow and stomps her foot and Lexa deflates, handing the keys to the gym over, “thank you.”
“What are family for, right?” She plops herself down on Anya's lap and Lexa smiles at the two of them. “Besides, what can you bring to the table if your business goes under?” She winks at Lexa, unnecessarily showing that the jab was a playful remark.
It amazes Lexa sometimes, just how comfortable they are with Raven and Raven with them in the short space of time they'd known each other. She still remembers the first night Raven came over for dinner after her first shift at her dad's shop, all confidence and a personality that just made them all gravitate towards her. Still remembers the following week when she was trying to calm Anya down about their first official date and the month after that claiming them all as her own. Adopted family, something they could all associate with.
Indra announces that dinner is served and as if time had sped up, they were all sat in the living room, plates full of a messy mix of pizza slices, fries, noodles, rice and sticky sauces.
The conversation flows as easily as it always does; Aden beaming about school, Indra telling her plans and meetings she has lined up for the community, Raven boasting about the latest machine she's working on at college, Anya and Lexa constantly bickering about this and that until, “so Raven, when are you going to make an honest woman out of my daughter?” The room freezes. Except Aden who is happily munching on his makeshift pineapple and curry sauce pizza. Lexa scrunches her nose in disgust.
Anya chokes on her drink. “Dad- what- I mean- just- mom!”
Indra shakes her head, “could you not have waited until she swallowed, honey? She could have spat coke all over my couch.”
“With all due respect, Mr. Woods,” Raven starts, “as much as I love your daughter, I don't think we're there at this particular moment in time. It has only been four months after all.”
He shakes his head, “when the heart knows, it knows. And seriously, is it too much to ask you to call me Ryder just once? Even Octavia calls me uncle and she isn't even my niece.”
Raven scoffs, “you have seen her around your brother right? It's all 'yes sir, no sir'.”
“Yes, Gustus does tend to have that effect on people.”
“Uncle Gus is a big teddy bear.”
Aden's happy quip sets the tone back to relaxed immediately, any mention of marriage left for now.
Lexa looks over Anya and Raven again in fake distaste, soft words whispered between them and light kisses being placed on lips and cheeks and they both positively glow with happiness and- “it's probably a good job, we don't need them to get more gross than they already are.”
“You could only strive to achieve this level of grossness, Woods. When are you going to finally bring a girl home?”
She smirks with a wink, “I bring plenty of girls home.” She shrugs when Anya rolls her eyes at her from behind Raven's shoulder, “what? I'm a free spirit with a lot of love to give. There's nothing wrong with exploring my options.”
Anya scoffs, “can it really be considered exploring if it is only for a few hours and you avoid them at all costs after they leave?”
Smirk still present, Lexa chuckles, “it's not my fault they don't hear me when I tell them it's only going to be a one time thing. Also, sometimes it's way more then a few hours, and trust me, a lot can be explored in that time. You telling me you and Raven don't-”
“Enough,” Indra barks out, muttering to herself about how this is not proper dinner etiquette and how did she raise her children to have no shame, “I personally cannot wait to see the day that Lexa meets her match.”
“Settle in then, mom, 'cause you have a long wait ahead of you.”
She walks into the kitchen to see Anya and Lincoln both with a beer bottle in their hand, Anya chugging hers and Lincoln playing with a stray section of the label and she laughs. They're both dressed to the max, Anya in a dark grey power suit covering a black blouse that's open at her neck line, black heels accentuating her already long legs and Lincoln in his nicest pair of dark blue jeans and printed black, white and grey t-shirt, a blazer hanging lazily over his arm ready for the slight chill outside. “You two look ridiculous. You realise we're going to Grounders and not The Dropship, right?”
Anya glowers at her, Lexa dressed in black work boots with the lips hanging over to reveal the soft, grey lining and dark skinny jeans, her white muscle shirt with dropping arms showing through to her stomach and black sports bra, tight leather jacket slung over her shoulder. “Their friends are rich, Lexa, some of us actually care about our appearance.”
“If they're going to judge you for what you wear then maybe they aren't as great as they're made out to be.” She raises her brow and Anya knows she's right, but it doesn't stop her from taking another large gulp of her drink. Lexa grabs it out of her hand and places it on the counter before straightening Anya's collar. “I know you're nervous, but if these people can't see how much you care about Raven or trust her judgement, then they aren't worth your time in trying.”
“She's known them for years, Lex. They went to high school together and now they're at college together.”
Lexa shakes her head, “that doesn't matter. Raven loves you, for some stupid reason,” Anya chuckles, relaxing, “she isn't going to choose them over you, got it?” Anya nods and Lexa looks over to Lincoln, “you on the other hand, you need to make a good impression or the only time you'll be seeing Octavia's fantastic ass is when she's walking away. Honestly, how did you manage to get somebody so fucking high maintenance?”
“He's great in bed,” Octavia exclaims as she enters the room, pushing herself under Lincoln's arm to rest her head against his chest, “and thank you for noticing how truly gifted I am in the ass department.”
Raven comes in after her, mirroring Octavia's position against Anya, “well, Lexa, you're the only Woods' in the room without a beautiful girl on her arm.”
The kitchen is so small that they're all practically touching standing next to each other so it doesn't take Lexa much to wrap both of her arms underneath Octavia and Raven's elbows, pulling them away from their significant others and against herself. “Now I have two,” she grins, causing Lincoln to laugh and Anya to roll her eyes, “shall we ladies?”
Octavia and Raven make a show of over-exaggerated giggling as Lexa leads them through the front door and in the direction of Grounders, but it doesn't take them long to move away from her and back to their other halves, Raven not-at-all whispering about how hot she finds Anya in a suit and Octavia complaining that if the wind picks up her dress is going to reveal more than she's comfortable with.
It isn't a long walk to the bar, but it's enough to make them appreciate the warmth it offers when they slip inside, the two couples heading to their usual booth and Lexa to the bar for drinks. “Lexa.”
“Hey, Nyko,” she smiles large at him, “how's life?”
“Good. Sporting seasons aren't too great at the minute so it's calmed down in here a bit, but it's nice to have that calm time sometimes, you know?”
Her smile deflates slightly, wishing she had the same confidence in her gym, but she doesn't say that. “Yeah, totally. Anyway, can I get the usual for those guys,” she gestures over to their table, “and an orange juice for me please?” He looks at her in shock. “I'm on strict orders to not be hung-over tomorrow.”
“Oh shit, the fundraiser,” he sets about pouring the drinks, “I hope it goes well, you guys deserve this.”
“The neighbourhood deserves it.” She grabs the tray of drinks easily, “thanks, Nyko, put them on-”
“Octavia's tab,” he waves her off, “I know, I know.”
The chat idly for a while, Lexa biting her tongue about how late these so-called friends were when Octavia says she's going to go and phone Bellamy to find out an ETA and Raven texts Clarke. As if on cue the door opens revealing a young woman, a gust of wind blowing dead leaves in and blonde hair flowing wildly in it as she struggles to close the door behind her. Raven is just about to call her over when Lexa's voice speaks up, “wow.”
Raven clamps her mouth shut, looking over to Lexa in amusement.
“She's gorgeous,” Lexa claims when blonde hair is finally tamed and she looks around as if she's trying to spot someone, “I'm going to go say hi.”
“Lexa, wait. Lexa! Lex- and she's gone. Fuck.” Anya and Lincoln raise their eyebrows curiously at Raven. “That's Clarke.”
“Okay?” Raven hides behind Anya, “babe, what are you doing?”
Raven huffs like it's obvious, “hiding so Clarke doesn't see me.”
Lincoln snickers, “and you're doing that because...”
“Because she's going to turn Lexa down so hard and I've never seen that happen before. It's going to be fucking hilarious.”
Lexa glances at her reflection in the mirror behind the bar, checking to make sure her make-up is still on point and hair is still in perfect waves over her shoulder before sliding next to the woman, 'to die for' smirk firmly in place, “hey-” she stops short when bright blue eyes meet her own and she can't stop her words from spilling out, “fuck, your eyes are captivating.”
She laughs and Lexa has to bite her cheek at the deep, husky sound. “Thank you, but is that really the line you're going for? Not 'I haven't seen you around here before' or 'are you here alone because I could keep you company' or even do the classic thing and offer to buy me a drink?” And if Lexa had to bite her cheek at just a laugh, she damn near has to hold in a whimper at her voice.
“Well one; I haven't seen you around here before, two; I could quite happily keep you company, all night if you'd like, and three; I would offer to buy a beautiful woman a drink, but you don't strike me as the type to accept.”
“Then you'd be right. I'm actually here to meet some friends so if you don't mind.” She turns away from Lexa, clearly telling her that the conversation is over and it should probably click to Lexa who this is, but it doesn't.
The thought of leaving this woman doesn't sit well with her so she tries to carry on the conversation, “so where are they? Your friends?”
She shrugs, digging around in her bag to take out her phone, reading a message, “here somewhere.” She quickly types a reply before hitting send and leaves her phone on the bar top, turning to face Lexa in exasperation, “look, I don't mean to be rude or anything but this is the first time in nearly three weeks that I've actually been able to get a night off and I'd really just like to spend it catching up with friends.”
Lexa rolls her eyes, but accepts that, “at least let me stay until you find them, this is a nice place but there are some questionable people that come in here.”
“And you aren't one of them?” The woman eyes her warily before she nods, “alright, stud, you've got yourself a deal.”
“Stud? So at least you think I'm attractive.”
A groan. “I never said that, don't be cocky.”
“I'm not cocky, I'm confident.”
“You're arrogant. The two are vastly different.” And she doesn't mean to, but she smiles. A smile that has Lexa's insides melting.
“Lexa,” she introduces herself, the hand she holds out to shake ignored as she watches blue eyes widen.
Lexa frowns, “yeah, you've heard of me?” Why won't her brain just connect the damn dots?
Another laugh tumbles from the woman's lips, this time laced with disbelief, “oh, I've heard all about you. And if even half of what I've heard is true, I can assure you I am most definitely not interested.”
“You shouldn't judge people based on what others say about them. And may I ask whom, exactly, told you these things?”
Just as her mouth opens to respond, another voice fills the air and Lexa's vision is interrupted by Octavia's face, “Clarke! You finally made it.”
“Sorry, O, got caught up at the hospital.” Clarke pulls back, “Lexa here was just keeping me entertained.”
Clarke. Clarke Griffin. Clarke Griffin the girl that Raven never shuts up about.
Octavia smiles between the two of them, blissfully unaware that Lexa just managed to make a fool of herself in front of Clarke and tugs at her elbow, “c'mon, Griff, Raven's over there with Anya and Lincoln.”
“I'll be there in a second.” She waits for Octavia to leave, bouncing back to the table, and leans down to Lexa's ear, “so if I would've played along with your little game tonight, are you telling me I wouldn't just be another notch on your headboard?”
The shiver that shoots through Lexa's body at the throaty sound is something she'll never admit. Having Clarke this close, the subtle hint of vanilla that invades her nostrils, the trickle of hair that tickles her shoulder, makes her feel something new and she knows, she knows Clarke is different to any girl she's met, knows her usual tactics won't work and honestly, she doesn't want them to. Unfortunately for her, her heart, head and mouth aren't on the same page. They're not even in the same book. “Who said anything about my headboard?”
Clarke sighs and shakes her head and Lexa can do nothing but watch her walk away to their table. Can do nothing but watch as Clarke introduces herself to Lincoln and Anya. Can do nothing but watch her smile and laugh and talk and effortlessly make herself fit neatly into their small group and she can't stop. She can't stop and it's starting to get creepy but she's fucked. She's so fucked because everything she's ever done when it comes to women flies out of the window and all she can see is Clarke Griffin, the one she has the urge to make an effort with, the one she wants to get to know and she's intrigued. She's intrigued because Clarke didn't drop her panties like the others. She challenged her, shrugged her off, made her feel like she has to work for hours for just one minute of her attention.
The epiphany hits her like a train. She could easily fall in love with this woman.
She is so monumentally screwed.
“So what did you do to piss her off?” Raven's voice doesn't register next to her. She orders an apple martini and Nyko scoffs, pulling a dust covered bottle from the shelf and it's obviously for Clarke. Another thing Lexa stopped her from doing. Ordering a drink.
“Yo, space cadet?”
“I'm going to marry that girl, Rae.”
She doesn't pay attention to Raven's jaw dropping or her eyes darting back and fourth between the two because her gaze is still fixated on Clarke, and Clarke, her gaze is right back at her, burning into her, challenging her. “You literally spent like, five minutes with her and she already doesn't like you. Maybe. She didn't really say but I'm her best friend, I can tell. Lexa? Lexa!” She doesn't hear a word. “Fuck sake. Anya,” she shouts loudly, right down Lexa's ear and she jolts, slowly taking in her surroundings but still not breaking her eye contact with Clarke, “I think Griff broke your sister.”
Lexa clears her throat and blushes when Clarke smirks at her, Raven's tone leaving no doubt as to what she intended her words to mean. “Fuck, off, Reyes,” Lexa hisses.
Raven looks between them once more and laughs, “you are such a fucking gay disaster, Woods.”