The rhythmic, even thumping of the train against the tracks seemed to match the pace of her own heart which seemed to thump just as loudly in her chest. And as she watched the houses and trees whip past her window she felt herself getting further and further away from the life that she was ready to leave behind.
Twelve months ago Clarke would have thought that leaving home for college would have made her feel anxious but one year is a long time and so much had happened. She wasn't even sure she could call the place that she was leaving home anymore. It was a place she no longer recognized.
It had been her mother, her father and herself her entire life and while she knew that there was no such thing as a perfect life, a perfect family, she had felt that she has as close to that as one could get. Her mother was a respected heart surgeon, one of the top in her field. And while she wasn't always around, the amount of love she showered on Clarke and her father when she was home seemed to make up for any lost time. Her father was a high powered lawyer who somehow never missed a single one of Clarke`s soccer games. He worked late nights, worked on weekends, did whatever it took to not miss a single game of the sport that meant everything to his daughter.
And she was good, damn good. She was named one of the top high school soccer players in the state in her sophomore year. By her junior year she had received dozens of college offers and took an early acceptance to Camp Raton University located in TonDC. It had one of the best girl`s soccer programs on the East Coast and was only a three hour train ride from home which meant that she would still be able to see Finn on weekends.
She had started dating Finn her freshman year and the two had become inseparable. They talked about their future constantly. She would become a world class soccer star, he would become a world famous musician. They would get married when they were 25 and have kids when they were 30. And everything seemed to be falling perfectly into place. Too perfect to be true apparently.
Everything fell to pieces three months ago. She sat in the waiting room, watching her mother pace around the room in her scrubs. When Dr. Kane walked through the door he had a sad look in his eyes, they were glossed over. He had been her father`s best friend from childhood, who had introduced her mother to her father when they met in medical school. "I`m so sorry, Abby..." and her mother screamed, Clarke couldn't bring herself to move. The room went silent and she couldn't hear Kane, but could see him mouthing heart attack and everything we could.
Her father`s death was the lynch pin that brought her world to its knees. Her mother had stopped coming home, taking as many shift as she could manage at the hospital drowning herself in work. So she had turned to Finn for comfort, for family. But everything before that day had been the two of them together when both their lives were perfect. It`s like Finn had no idea what to do around this girl who cried often and seldom smiled, who stopped being fun and wanting to go to parties. And soon he too stopped coming over as much, and then he stopped coming at all.
So all she had left was soccer and this new life in front of her. And even that already wasn't going to plan. She was supposed to have arrived to training camp two months ago but with everything that had happened her new Coach had told her to take the summer to focus on herself. And she had. She had spent hours on the pitch that her dad had built her in their backyard running drills and taking shots. Kicking around that black and white ball made her feel closer to her father. She could almost hear him cheering her on. The thought of him in the stands made her smile as the train screeching and grounding to a halt pulled her attention back to the present.
She didn't have much with her when she stepped onto the platform, just a suitcase and her soccer bag. Most of her belongings had been sent to the dorm last week. She looked around to see a girl about her age, holding up a sign that said "Griffin" in bold black letters. She looked Hispanic, dark brown hair, brown eyes. She was toned and looked to be just slightly shorter than herself, maybe 5`5".
Clarke took a deep breath in and looked up to the sky as she said to herself "Alright, Dad, it's time to start new." She stepped forward to meet the girl and start her new life.
"So I'm really the only freshman that had been accepted to the team this year?" The girl that had picked Clarke up was her new roommate, Raven Reyes, who played defensive right back.
"That's right," the Raven said "our newest member to the Cru." Raven had picked up Clarke and had driven her straight to the sports facility to introduce her to the team that was currently practicing.
"The Cru?" Clare asked, "Isn't our mascot the Timbers?"
Raven laughed "We are, but when I joined here last year I was told that we've called ourselves the Cru for as long as women's soccer had been brought to this school. Something about fighting the man. I don't know. Here we are!"
Clarke could smell the grass, it reminded her very much of childhood. She then heard the voices yelling to each other in the distance. And as she stepped into the stands, walking towards the girls below she could feel her tension falling away. The soccer pitch would forever be her home.
They stopped at the end of the stands and watched the practice below. "The girl in the net is Joan Harper." Clarke watched the tall blonde bounce side to side, moving her head back and forth to stretch her neck as she pointed to the girl in the middle of the pitch who was holding the ball at her feet. This girl looked like she had a wildness to her, her legs looked like they were made for speed. "And that`s Octavia Blake on the ball."
Then a whistle sounded. Immediately a movement on the far side of the field caught her eye. There were two girls running towards the keeper. The one closest to Clarke had dark skin and very short hair "Indra" Raven said, but she was not the one that caught her eye, it was the girl running behind her with wavy locks pulled into a braid behind her head, hand held straight in the air.
Tattoos ran up and down her right arm which was clearly calling out for the ball. She could see the muscularity to her biceps, to her forearms. Her legs were long and thighs were thick and dancing up the field looking like they belonged on a field more than any other legs she had seen. Clarke wasn't even sure what that meant, she just felt it to be true.
And then the ball was soaring in the air. The brunette stopped hard fast, like a bullet hitting an immovable object. Then her left shoulder dropped down, swinging the girl so that her body was now between the ball and her defender. One step, two, she launched her body skyward, the ball hitting her chest and bouncing perfectly down to where her momentum was taking her, the ball landing at her feet where she ran full speed to the right of the field. Then she stopped, and it was too late for the defender to take notice as she barreled past the girl and the ball, leaving only the keeper in her way.
Clarke`s heart was racing. The shot was beautiful, a bullet into the corner or the net. Harper had launched her entire body at it, but without success. "And who the hell is she?"
But as she turned to Raven, she saw the girl beside her wince. She managed to get out "that pass wasn't far enough to the right" around the same time the brunette turned with rage in her voice as she yelled "What the hell Blake?" And was running back up the field to the girl who had passed the ball who clearly knew she had messed up, a look of anguish on her face.
"Were you just launching the ball up the field, sending it to me with a wish and a prayer?" She stopped a good five yards up the field from the girl and Clarke could no longer hear what was being said. The girl was motioning her hands pointing her arm more at an angle as opposed to straight at goal where Octavia had kicked it. The girl just nodded her head, looking intensely at the hands motioning into the air.
"Again!" the brunette yelled "Monroe, on me." And this time a girl with light brown hair and a smaller frame lined up into the defensive position. The whistle went off again.
"Did she really just chew out that girl for being a meter or two off target?" Clarke didn't mean to ask it out loud but it was as if she couldn't stop her mouth from speaking.
A sigh came from Raven. "We don't call her the Commander for nothing. That's Lexa Woods, she's our captain, though I recommend never calling her Captain unless you want your head chewed off." She could feel Raven looking at her, seeing the trepidation in her face "She seems harsh on the pitch, it's all business out there and that's the only way she'll have it. But there's a reason we are the defending champions. There's a reason we haven't lost a single game since she's been on this team. Just try not to take it personally." She offered an apologetic smile but it didn't settle Clarke`s uneasiness.
"And you must be Clarke Griffin." Clarke turned to see an older woman standing just below them. "I`m Coach Sydney. Why don't you two come join us down here on the pitch." And then she turned and yelled out "Woods!" and motioning the Commander over who didn't seem pleased to be pulled away while in the middle of now tearing into her newest defender.
They all arrived in front of the coach at the same time. Just feet from Lexa Woods, Clarke was able to get a much closer look at the woman. She was definitely toned, broad shoulders and tight arms. Her right seemed to display an intricate tribal tattoo with the numbers 110510 written on the inside of her forearm.
The sweat on her torso made her low v-neck shirt stick to her body, a flat toned stomach with the hint of abs and an average sized chest which pushed up in her sports bra. Her jaw was strong and tightly angled and her lips full. But what Clarke could not manage to look away from were the girl`s eyes. Clarke could feel her mouth go dry. They were a dark, piercing green, like a forest in the early morning sunlight. They reminded her of the woods behind her house that her and her father would explore on Sunday mornings when Jake Griffin wanted to get Clarke out of the house to let his wife sleep in.
The look in Lexa`s eyes went from surprise to curiosity and then annoyance. She shifted, standing straighter and folding her hands behind her back. Clarke was beginning to think that she took this Commander business a little too seriously. "So this is her then?" There was something rough about her voice that made something flutter deep in Clarke`s stomach.
"This is Clarke Griffin." Raven responded from beside her. She noticed that her roommate was a little more composed, more professional than she was before. Almost like a soldier preparing for orders.
Lexa tilted her head and looked Clarke up and down, the fluttering in her stomach intensified. "I play right midfield," she said with a smile on her face.
"I guess we'll see about that tomorrow," then she turned away from Clarke and looked at Raven. "Reyes, go ahead and bring her over tonight." And with that Lexa nodded at her coach and turned away before returning to the field and yelling "Again!" Leaving Clarke to wonder what the hell she had gotten herself into.