Running along the beach in the early morning hours was her favorite time of day. The beach was usually deserted and she only had the ocean for company. It was the way Clarke loved it. Just her, her surfboard and the ocean, there was nothing better than that.
Rarely would her best friends join her as she liked to go as they put it, “Way too fucking early.” She smiled thinking about it. She liked her sleep too, but this would always rank higher than sleep. If she was honest, surfing always came first before everything else. She had a hard time explaining why, it was just in her blood. She was grateful that her friends understood and never once complained at her lack of focus in other areas.
They tended to tease her about her love for surfing. They would constantly say it was her one true love and she didn’t need a relationship because they would be in competition for her affection. She would laugh and shake her head, but she couldn’t refute any of it. They made valid points even if they were just teasing.
She finished her three mile run before doing her usual stretches to cool down. She put on her rash guard, and grabbed her favorite surfboard. She took a moment, like she did every morning to admire it. She looked up at the sky smiling before looking back at the board.
It was the last gift she’d gotten from her dad and was her most prized possession. It was a picture her dad took that she loved and he had put on the bottom of the board. It was a bird flying low over the rippling, blue water. It was a majestic scene that she connected with her father watching over her out on the water.
She headed into the vast, blue ocean.
She paddled out, enjoying the sound of the waves rolling over, the tide crashing into the shore and the burn in her arms as she went duck dived under the waves. When she was far enough out, she straddled her board waiting for a good set.
She let her mind wander to the very first time she got on a surfboard with her dad. He let her ride one with him and she wanted to go again and again and begged him to teach her. When she got her first surfboard, she jumped for joy and straight into her father’s arms who hugged her tight.
She had been surfing since she was four years old and had loved it ever since. It had been her favorite pastime to do with him. He’d taught her everything she knew. She remembered the first time she popped up and was able to maintain her balance on the wave. She was beyond excited and remembered the huge smile on both her face and her father’s.
She let the memory fade away with a wistful smile on her face.
She started going out early after he died, she could be by herself and take time to remember him. It made her feel more connected to him. Being out on the ocean, she could almost feel him and it made her feel at peace.
She caught sight of a beautiful set heading in. She started paddling hard, not looking back before popping up on her feet with an ease born out of years of practice. She rode the surf line, dragging her hand through the wave with a big smile on her face. She made a bottom turn, touching the lip before popping out in aerial move before the wave turned into white water.
Surfing never got old, even though she did every single day, it was an adrenaline rush every single time.
She rode a few more decent waves before checking the time. She figured she had just enough time for one last wave and was lucky to catch the last of the set. She popped up, bending low, carving up the face before riding through the tunnel and coming out the other side. She let the wave carry her the rest of the way in.
Clarke didn’t want to go to class and would rather continue surfing. She couldn’t care less about school, but she made a deal with her mother. All she wanted was to become a pro surfer, but in order to continue doing what she loved, she had to go to college. It was mostly to please her mother though. She hated that she was still trying to get her to accept her.
She came out of the ocean heading towards her stuff she left. She gathered up everything before heading back down the beach, the opposite of where the stranger had been watching her.
She smiled the whole way home.
Lexa had been coming to the beach every morning for a run, she preferred running there to pavement or a treadmill. There was something calming about running by the ocean, with her feet pounding the sand and the waves lapping at the shore. She couldn’t explain it, but she loved it.
She had woken up earlier than usual and couldn't go back to sleep. So, she decided to get her run in earlier than usual. She escaped out of her apartment quietly as not to wake her roommate. Anya was not a morning person and was usually cranky until she got her caffeine fix.
She walked the short way for a warm up, stretching her muscles as she went.
It was off season for football, but she still needed to keep in shape if she wanted to keep her position. She was the best quarterback the college had seen in awhile. She was lucky that nobody cared that she was a girl. All they cared about was that she could play and was damn good at it too.
She arrived at the beach, wearing her usual black shorts, tank top and Nike's. Her best friend always gave her crap that her favorite color was black when they lived on in Hawaii, but she didn't care. It worked for her and that was what mattered.
Lexa listened to the calming music blasting through her iPod. She loved mornings like this, where she could watch the sunrise and listen to music, it was the perfect way to start her day. She let everything go when she did. All her worries ceased when she ran, that was why she loved it so much.
Lexa's chest was heaving as she ran across the beach. She kept her gaze down, focusing on putting one foot in front of the other. The beach was a harder workout than the pavement, but it was just what she needed. She wasn't worried about running into anyone. There was never anyone here when she ran this early.
She ran for a few more minutes, before she saw her.
She was far out into the distance, but Lexa could make her out. Her back was turned facing the waves rolling in. The only thing Lexa could really see of the girl was her blonde hair. Lexa was breathing hard as she slowed her steps. She knew she should've kept going as she wasn't nearly done with her morning run, but her feet stayed rooted to the spot.
Lexa couldn’t help but stare at her in awe. She watched the girl turn and start paddling, trying to catch the wave. She stood in a trance as she watched the girl expertly ride the wave and even managed a trick from what she could see. She flew in the air, managing to spin and landing back on the water still on her board. She had no idea what it was she did, but it was flawless. (Lexa would even admit that her mouth dropped open).
She had been running on the beach every morning for years. She had seen her share of surfers and didn't know why this particular one stopped her in her tracks. Lexa couldn't take her eyes off of her. She could hear the music still blasting from her headphones as she stood transfixed by this girl. Lexa knew she had to get back, because she had class, but couldn’t resist staying another minute to watch.
This girl was amazing. She rode the wave with ease. She could see the look of pure concentration and enjoyment on her face. This girl was thriving and looked like she belonged out there in the water. Lexa didn't know if she was a pro surfer or not, but the girl should be one if she wasn’t. Lexa couldn't help but watch the girl enjoy it so much.
Lexa was sure if she was out there she'd drown or possibly get eaten by a shark. She had never been good at surfing. She couldn’t get the hang of it and anybody who had tried to teach her had gotten fed up and ended up giving up on her. Her best friend, Anya would surf from time to time, but it was just for fun. This girl looked like this was her job and damn ... was she good at it.
Lexa would've kept staring like a creep, if it wasn't for the girl turning her head in her direction, which made her panic. Lexa couldn't get a good look at her. The only thing she could see was her blonde hair, and black and blue half wetsuit, but could tell that the girl was looking her way. She wasn’t sure if she was looking directly at her, but didn’t wait to find out.
Lexa realized the awkward situation she had put herself in. She was breathing heavily again, all because of watching the girl surf. She needed to get moving. The girl was now paddling in as Lexa hurried to put her headphones back in. Lexa started her run up again, but she couldn’t help look back one more time. She smiled as she jogged off.
Lexa groaned when she felt a shirt thrown in her face. She breathed it in for a minute, smelling the fabric softener, before ripping it off her face and glaring at her best friend.
"Why?" Lexa grumbled as she threw the shirt back at Anya. She knew she could've done better than that, but she was tired.
"You overslept." Anya answered standing over her. Lexa's eyes widened as she shot up in bed and looked at the clock on her nightstand. She visibly relaxed when she noticed she still had time before her first class to get her run in. Lexa threw the covers off her before getting up. She was about to strip before turning and gesturing for Anya to leave.
"I need to change." Lexa said.
"Nothing I haven't seen before." Anya scoffed. It was bound to happen with them living together. Anya had seen Lexa's package more times than she could count.
"Well, not today." Lexa answered shoving Anya out of her bedroom. The two lived together in an apartment off campus and Lexa loved it. She had hated those god awful dorms, but luckily for her, it was only required for freshman to live on campus. Lexa now had her own bathroom and privacy most of the time. Living with Anya had its upsides as well as downsides. It was something she'd lacked in the dorms. She was happy that they had gotten a two bedroom, two bath apartment, with a galley kitchen and decent size living room and all for an affordable price.
She had heard that prices in Honolulu were more expensive, but they had gotten a good deal. She had gotten an academic scholarship to come here and couldn’t pass it up, nor did she want too.
Lexa threw on some compression shorts before throwing on her running attire. She opted her usual attire, a black tank top and shorts. She quickly grabbed her iPod and rushed to the kitchen. She gobbled down a protein bar, opting to make her shake after her run, before she hurried out the door. Anya didn't even get a chance to say bye.
Lexa wondered why she was in such a rush. She didn't set off a steady pace like she normally did; she sprinted down the beach until she got to her spot. There were a few people wandering around and people even surfing, but she wasn't there. Lexa completely stopped, her heart beating rapidly in her chest.
She placed her hands on her hips looking around. There was a 'no littering on the beach' sign next to her so she knew she was in the right spot. This was the exact spot she stopped yesterday when she saw the blonde, but she didn’t see anyone out there. It was completely empty, making her panic. Why, she wasn’t sure. She shook her head and continued on her run. She ran along the beach close to the tide and was mindful of her surroundings, but didn’t see the blonde anywhere. She did her usual route, before calling it quits.
Lexa sighed in disappointment. She had been hoping to see the blonde again and could admit she wanted to watch her surf again. There was just something about the way she did it. Lexa lifted her tank top up to wipe some of the sweat off her forehead, before guzzling some water and heading back to her apartment.
On her way back, she was wondering how she missed her when it clicked. She wanted to smack herself. The beach was almost always empty so early in the morning, maybe that was when and why the blonde chose to surf at that time. She must enjoy it when no one else was around. Lexa could understand, vowing to wake up on time tomorrow in order to catch her.
She wanted to see the blonde again and was determined to make that happen.
Clarke had gotten home from her morning surf in a great mood. She had managed to catch a few great waves. It was the perfect start to her day, watching the sunrise on the water while straddling her board, nothing could beat that.
She walked into the house after putting her board in the garage. She was renting a three beds, two bath house with her best friends. Both of them surfers as well, but not dedicated like she was.
She went into the kitchen to start a pot of coffee otherwise she would hear grumbling from her two best friends. She started on breakfast as well when she heard sounds coming from the bedrooms.
She continued making breakfast and thought back to her surf yesterday morning. She thought she had seen somebody watching her, but when she got to shore, there was nobody there. She chalked it up to a figment of her imagination.
She was just putting out the first stack of pancakes when her best friends stumbled bleary eyed into the kitchen.
“You made pancakes! Oh my god, you're my favorite.” Raven exclaimed taking a pancake and eating it out of her hand.
“Ah, Rae, it's early, why so loud?” Octavia scolded her before getting a cup of coffee.
“It’s a beautiful morning, O! I’ll be as loud as I want.” Raven replied swiping another pancake.
“I’m going to kill you, Reyes. You know, I’m hungover as fuck. You drank more than me, how are you not worse off?”
“Better genes.” Raven smirked. “No, no, no, I can just handle my liquor better than you.” She said taking a healthy sip of her coffee.
“You are so dead, Rae. I’m going to murder you.” Octavia replied getting up.
“Could you two act like adults instead of five year olds?” They both looked at her indignantly before they shot out of their seats.
Clarke laughed, rolling her eyes at them before grabbing her own coffee and plate of food. She sat down at the table and started to eat. She did her best to ignore the “children” as they ran around the island with Octavia threatening bodily harm and Raven laughing hysterically.
They finally stopped after Octavia had tackled Raven to the ground, tickling her until she begged for mercy. After another few minutes, they got up, coming to sit back down to finish their food. They ate in a comfortable silence Octavia, who was sufficiently caffeinated and in better mood, spoke up.
“How was your surf?”
“It was good, really good. I got to ride some pretty awesome waves," Raven and Octavia shared a look. “You two knuckleheads should join me more often, there’s nothing like being out on the ocean with nothing else around you. It’s freeing.” Clarke ended up with a small, serene smile on her face.
“Yeah, I like my sleep more, C, you know this. How long have we been friends?”
Clarke smiled. Raven was right; they’d been friends since grade school, where Raven had punched a bully who was picking on her. Clarke punched him afterwards, gaining the confidence from her protector. They both got detention and a new friend. They didn’t meet Octavia until freshman year when she moved to the island with her mom and brother. They had all been best friends since.
Raven was the genius of the group, she was studying to be a rocket scientist and could talk your ear off about it if you let her. Clarke ended up zoning out anytime she did. She loved her though. She was an arrogant smartass, rude and blunt, but she was fiercely loyal and trustworthy.
Octavia was the badass of the group, but hated to be referred as that. She was tiny, but fierce. She was a warrior who didn’t take shit from nobody and very protective of the ones she loved. She was always trying new things and was always convincing them to step out of the box.
Clarke was considered once upon time to be the party girl, but she grew out of that phase and was now the nurturer of the group. She took care of everyone no matter what. They could always count on her. She was reliable and responsible. Somehow through all the years, the bond between them never wavered. They were more sisters than best friends.
Clarke shook herself from the memories and smiled.
“Okay, you’re right. Besides I do like being out on the water by myself. It helps.” Clarke thought back to her dad again, taking a deep breath and sighing. Neither of her friends said anything as she knew they loved and missed him too.
“We understand, C.” Octavia reached over and wrapped an arm around her.
Clarke was very grateful for them, without them, she didn’t know how she would have gotten through her dad’s death and her mom’s distance.
“I love you guys.” Clarke said, her voice thick with emotion.
“We love you too.” They both replied at the same time before wrapping her into a big group hug.
She smiled and hugged them back tightly before letting go.
“Thanks. Now get off me weirdos, I need to shower and head to class.” She rolled her eyes at the mention of class, but knew she had to go or suffer the consequences.
She finished her breakfast before putting the dishes in the sink. She headed off to her room to shower. The bonus to having a house that her mom paid for was getting first pick of the bedrooms. She chose the master with its own bathroom.
She smiled again. Life was good. She had her surfing, and friends who were her family. What else could she need?
She was about to find out.
Lexa had just gotten back from her second and last class of the day. She was more than ready to face plant on the couch. She threw her backpack down by the door, determined to take a little power nap as she was exhausted. Sometimes she debated changing her major, but knew it was the right fit for her.
Her nap was interrupted precisely five minutes later just as she started to fall asleep, with Anya loudly coming out of her room.
"I'm hungry." Anya whined sitting down on the coffee table, pouting at Lexa. Lexa squinted up at her annoyed. She hated the pouty face because she always gave in.
She should be used to it now as they’d been friends for years. Anya was the first real friend she made in foster care. She was an asshole, but she was her best friend that had been through everything with her. She honestly wouldn’t know what to do without her.
"Can I sleep first?"
"No, it's already seven. Let's go get some dinner." Anya suggested happily. Lexa sighed, because it actually didn't sound like a bad idea. Anya knew what Lexa was thinking, because she smirked in victory before getting up to grab her keys and wallet. Anya would never carry a purse, she was the cliché bad girl with the leather jackets, Henley t-shirts and boots. She even rode a Harley which was her baby.
"Let's go!" Anya rushed as she pulled Lexa up from the couch. Lexa groaned, but obeyed grudgingly. Anya was lucky she was hungry and was semi being nice which was a rarity considering she lived for teasing her.
They settled for a pizza parlor not too far from their apartment. Anya went to order their usual, supreme pizza while Lexa went to find a booth. She found one that was in the middle, by the window. Lexa sat down quickly afraid to lose it. There were students all around. Some were studying, while others were just hanging out with friends. It was a popular hangout spot.
She heard the door open and close multiple times, but wasn’t paying it any mind. Lexa was playing with the salt shaker, when she heard beautiful laughter. It was deep, raspy and rich. It immediately caught her attention. The hairs on the back of her neck tingled and her ears perked up, wanting to hear the sound again. It was music to her ears.
Lexa heard the laughter again, making her turn around. Lexa tried not to gape at the girl whose laughter she heard. There was no mistaking it, she was the girl from the beach. The one she’d watched surf. She recognized the blonde hair. She only had a back view, but it was enough to recognize her. She couldn’t help, but take a closer look and from what she could see, she loved. She had on flip flops, short shorts and a blue tank top. She wished she could see all of her. Lexa felt her palms start to get sweaty, and her heart rate sped up.
The girl didn't notice her, thankfully. Lexa kept her head down and continued watching the surfer. She was with a couple of friends, and they all seemed to be having a good time. A part of her wanted to walk up to her and introduce herself, but she never had confidence with girls before. Her ex girlfriend had been the one to pursue her, so she didn’t have any experience in that department.
Lexa didn't get a good look at her when she was leaving either as she didn’t turn around like she’d hoped. Lexa sighed heavily. She wondered if she was ever going to see what the girl looked like. She wanted to meet her, she just didn’t have the balls to do it yet.
She was glad Anya hadn’t come back to the booth yet as she had gotten derailed by someone. She was grateful knowing the teasing she would have endured had Anya noticed her pining. More than likely, Anya would have gone over there herself just to embarrass Lexa. She lived for moments like that. Lexa didn’t want someone else doing it for her, she was going to do it herself.
Lexa smiled faintly because she was definitely waking up early to see this mysterious blonde again.
Clarke had a great night with her friends after classes. They had insisted on pizza because Raven was adamant she couldn’t live without it. They went to the popular pizza parlor close to their apartment because they had the best pizza on the island.
They had gotten back late, but like clockwork, Clarke was awake and on the beach early. She spotted someone a ways down the beach which surprised her. She was usually the only one out this early. She shrugged it off, hoping they left her alone.
She went through her normal routine before heading into the water. She was able to catch a few waves, but today wasn’t going well.
She only caught one more before heading back to the beach. She checked her watch, seeing it was still early. She sat down on the beach with her legs pulled her to chest as she didn’t want to head home yet. This was her safe haven and where she liked talk to her dad. She smiled sadly.
She thought about her dad and wondered if he would be proud of her. Clarke wished she had gotten the chance to say goodbye. She didn’t as it was sudden car crash and he died on impact after a drunk driver hit him head on. Both her dad and the other driver died, from what her mom had told her, he didn’t suffer which she was grateful for.
She remembered the day clearly, she had been asked to go pick up the present for her mom for her birthday, but had opted to go see her boyfriend instead. Her dad had volunteered with a smile on his face. He didn’t mind as he had a couple errands he needed to do. She couldn’t even remember if she told him that she loved him or even a thank you. She still carried the guilt around knowing it was supposed to be her and not him.
It had been two years and still felt like yesterday that they’d gotten the call. Adding to her father’s death, her boyfriend Finn broke up with her stating he couldn’t handle her constant mood swings. She couldn’t really say much because she also became very distant. She didn’t care, if he couldn’t stick around when she needed him, then he wasn’t worth it.
She had spiraled out of control after that. She had lost everything that mattered and she stopped caring. She started drinking heavily, had a couple one night stands and almost flunked out of school. She didn’t care about anything or anyone. If it wasn’t for her friends, she would have never gotten through it. Without them, she didn’t know where she’d be.
She looked out over the vastness of the ocean trying to shake off the memories when she felt the hairs on the back of her neck stand up. She slowly turned her head and saw someone looking her way. She couldn’t say for sure if they were watching her, but felt like it. Their eyes met, she’d seen this person before the other day before she’d taken off. Tearing her eyes away to scan the rest of them, Clarke noticed the running clothes and looked like brunette hair, could be black pulled back in a braid. She couldn’t really make out any features, but she could tell she had a nice body. A body she wouldn’t mind… she shook her head. It had been a while.
The runner nodded before turning around and sprinting back down the beach. That was odd, she thought, but didn’t have time to dwell on it. She cursed when she looked at the time before getting up and heading home.
She wondered if she would see the mysterious runner again and found herself hoping she would. She had no idea why, but when their eyes had met, she felt something she hadn’t felt in a long time.
Something a little like hope.