It’s her own fault, really.
They sent her the reminder emails and all her friends told her that she had to hurry but, for some reason, she thought she’d be okay.
But here she is, on the first day of semester, not entirely sure where the hell she’ll be living for the next year.
And maybe she should have checked her school emails or something, but she didn’t really want to do that between her odd jobs here and there and her summer of road trips and couch surfing. She’s still not entirely sure she’s even brought her laptop back with her, but that’s what her savings are for.
“Griffin!” A familiar voice calls and before she can turn around, she’s stumbling forward as Octavia climbs on her back over her huge backpack. She laughs in Clarke’s ear and Clarke somehow manages to shrug her off and turn around to hug her. “Where the fuck have you been? We woke up in New Orleans that morning and you’d gone!”
Clarke smirks and shrugs her shoulders coyly. The morning in question was over two months ago, during the long weekend they were supposed raising hell in the Big Easy. They’d met there about a week or so after last semester finished with plans to get incredibly drunk and have careless fun. There had been about a dozen of them but, on their last morning, Clarke had found alternative plans to heading home to California.
She’d spent the next few weeks working at a bar in Key West.
“You’re fucking unbelievable,” Octavia states but she’s grinning like she expects no less. Clarke smiles back innocently, knowing exactly what kind of shit her best friend thinks she got up to.
It’s probably not the scrubbing floors and sketching pictures of boats that Clarke actually spent her time doing. Octavia probably thinks that she was sleeping in the bed of some beautiful god or goddess when really she was sleeping in a cot in the mudroom of some old lady’s house. From Key West she’d followed an offer to work for a weeklong barbeque competition in Charleston. After that, she’d managed to wangle a couple of weeks work in Myrtle Beach. She’d bypassed all major cities and traversed the east coast, working here and sleeping there, to end her summer in Cape Cod before coming back to school.
“Which residence hall did you get matched to?” Octavia asks and Clarke groans, rolling her eyes and shrugging off her backpack.
She drops down onto a nearby wall. “I have no idea,” she admits. “I left it to the last minute so I’ve got to head over to the residency director’s office to find out.”
Octavia gives her a knowing, disappointed look. “Clarke, we told you—”
“I know, I know,” Clarke grumbles, picking up her bags again and hoisting them onto her back. “Don’t bother. I fucked up and I’ll figure it out.”
Octavia gives her a disbelieving look. Clarke kisses her cheek before wandering away.
“You got everything?”
Lexa looks around the room and finds the usual three duffle bags and backpack she takes everywhere. They’re sat beside her box of school books and stationery, and she gives Anya a look before the older girl snorts and rolls her eyes.
“Right, of course,” she says as she slips her hands into the back pockets of her jeans. She gives Lexa the same look she always does but doesn’t say anything. “Did you want me to help stay and unpack?”
Lexa shakes her head. “No, I’m good.” Anya gives her another knowing look but she quickly ignores it. “Thanks for letting me crash this summer.”
Anya laughs at that and pulls Lexa into an uncomfortable hug. “No problem, kid,” she says to Lexa’s frown. “Anytime. You know that.”
Lexa nods and she’s grateful. She’s grateful but she’d never say it out loud. That would be weird.
“I better hit the road,” Anya says when she pulls back. “You’ll call?”
Lexa nods. “I’ll call.”
Anya gives her another shorter hug. “You better.”
Lexa watches her leave, follows her all the way back to her car through the window, before she starts opening up her bags and dragging everything out. She decides on the smaller bed set-up in the corner, behind the door and closer to the window. She makes her bed and tries to ignore the hustle and screaming of friends reacquainting with each other in the hallway. It should probably worry her that she doesn’t have a roommate yet but she doesn’t care. She could probably live with anyone at this point.
She’s almost completely unpacked and organizing her books on her shelf when she hears a ruckus outside. She hears shrill excitement and a familiar voice. It sets her on edge because please, please, please, please…
She glares up at the ceiling when a familiar figure fills her doorway.
“This is me. I—” the voice laughs and then abruptly stops. “Oh… Lexa. Hi.”
Lexa looks up from her kneeled position on the floor and tries to be as polite as possible. “Hi, Clarke.”
Clarke looks around them to the empty side of the room and then to the number on the door before turning her attention back to Lexa. She has that same disappointed look that Lexa witnessed during their first ever conversation almost a year ago to the day. She looks like she wants to run in the other direction. Lexa tries not to let the ache of hurt fill her gut.
“Looks like we’re roomies,” Clarke comments as she finally steps over the threshold. She drops her huge backpack onto the bed and sighs before looking around the room. Lexa gives her a polite smile when her eyes land back on her. “Awesome.”
“Lexa Woods is your roommate?” Raven repeats before promptly lapsing into loud belly laughs. She rolls around on her bed as Clarke and Octavia sit on the bed opposite her.
Octavia pats her knee. “We did warn you…” she starts before Clarke gives her a look. Octavia winces sympathetically. “What did the residency people say?”
Clarke huffs and falls backwards onto her bed. She lets her hands cover her forehead and shakes her head. “That I was lucky enough to get a bed at all.”
Octavia’s brow raises at her words and Raven’s laughter just gets louder.
“Bummer,” Octavia mutters.
It doesn’t make Clarke feel any better and she’s glad when Octavia reaches for the emergency flask she keeps nearby at all times. It’s full of vodka and Clarke grimaces happily as she takes a long chug out of it.
“Please tell me there’s a party,” Clarke gripes as she feels the burn the whole way down.
Both of her best friends grin. They’re pretty buzzed by the time that they make it down to the school welcome bonfire later that night. Everyone is there and they all greet Clarke happily. She spends most of her time hugging everyone and asking them how their summers were and Octavia rolls her eyes when she finally takes a seat beside her on the wall.
They’re only here because it’s tradition. Everyone is here. Everyone always comes to the first bonfire of the semester because it’s pretty much a requirement. Even Lexa is here and Clarke is pretty sure it’s only because she has to be. It’s not like she’s talking to anyone. She’s sitting on a wall on the edge of the festivities, wrapped in a huge cardigan with a book in her lap.
Clarke wishes she could be surprised but Lexa’s pretty hardcore about this studying stuff. Everyone knows her mantra is that she’s only here to study. She’s always first to class. She’s never been to a real party. She’s never made her way over to one of the bigger, nearby colleges to go to the frat parties. A lot of the girls go because it’s the only way to hook up with guys when you go to an all girls’ college, but not Lexa. Clarke’s heard rumors that Lexa’s into girls but those sorts of rumors go around here about a lot of people.
Lexa has a reputation and Clarke isn’t sure if she’ll survive this year because of it.
“How long do we have to stay here?” Clarke grumbles as she grabs the flask from Raven.
Her best friends grin at her. “We’ve got to get to Lincoln’s by ten.”
“And what time is it now?”
Raven takes the flask from her and chuckles. “Seven.”
Clarke drains half the flask and grits her teeth.
“Fuck my life.”
When it gets to midnight and Clarke hasn’t come back to their room, Lexa begins to wonder if the sheer idea of living in the same room as her has forced Clarke to take to the streets. She knows it’s silly because Clarke’s things are still here and she saw her disappear through the woods with Octavia Blake and Raven Reyes after the bonfire.
She knows Clarke’s reputation. They call her Party Girl Griffin. She’s a keg stand champion. Rumors follow her wherever she goes. Lexa’s pretty sure that she knew everything there was to know about Clarke before that one and only time Clarke sat beside her in class.
That one time had been enough for both of them.
She doesn’t know why all of this is bothering her so much.
She hates not being able to sleep.
She should be used to this by now.
She watches the numbers on her alarm clock flash until it’s almost four in the morning and jumps a little when she hears a hustle behind her door.
“She’s got to be asleep by now,” a voice says and Lexa can just about tell that it’s Raven. Someone shushes her quietly and Raven just starts giggling until something muffles it.
Lexa rolls over to face the wall and closes her eyes to stave off the hurt. She tries to ignore how she can hear Octavia asking Clarke over and over again if she’s sure she doesn’t want to stay in their room with them.
“I’ll be okay,” Clarke promises. Her voice slurs and there are a few moments of hushed whispers before it goes quiet. Lexa hears the click of their door finally opening and clenches her eyes closed when Clarke clumsily stumbles through the door. “Shit,” she whispers when she steadies herself. The room instantly smells of cigarettes, alcohol and maybe of sex. “Fuck.”
The door closes and Lexa’s sure Clarke is trying to be quiet as she fails miserably. She stumbles around the room and Lexa hears the drop of her shoes by her desk, the slump of her jacket as it hits the floor. Clarke hums as she falls to sit on the end of her bed and Lexa listens to the sounds of drawers opening while Clarke tries to find something to sleep in.
The clothes on her body drop to the floor like her jacket and shoes. Lexa stays still as the shadows of Clarke’s body flutter against the walls. Lexa bites the inside of her cheek when Clarke stumbles over one of her still unpacked bags on the floor before she hears the zipper on it open a few moments later. Clarke rifles around inside it for something until the light from their Jack and Jill bathroom floods the room. Clarke hisses in shock and closes it quickly behind her.
Lexa rolls onto her back and lets her hand rest against her forehead for a second. She has every intention of rolling back over and pretending to be asleep but she never gets to because the door opens sooner than expected. Clarke freezes when she catches sight of her.
There’s a toothbrush hanging out of her mouth and some toothpaste in the corner of her lips. She looks guilty and uncomfortable and Lexa just blinks up at her because she doesn’t have the energy for this.
“I didn’t wake you up, did I?” Clarke whispers and her voice slurs just a little.
Lexa shakes her head and keeps staring up at her.
“You sure?” she checks.
This is probably the nicest conversation they’ve shared in their entire history.
Lexa nods and clears her throat softly. It’s still croaky when she speaks. “Can’t sleep.”
Clarke moves to sit at the end of her bed again and slips her toothbrush and paste back into a wash bag resting there. She places it on top of her empty bookshelf and looks around their room. Lexa watches her carefully.
“I, um, I have Octavia’s flask if you think booze will help,” Clarke says turning back to her suddenly, eyes bright and sincere. “Something to take the edge off?”
Lexa smiles sleepily and gratefully. “I don’t really drink alcohol.”
Clarke gives her a look but then nods slowly. “Of course,” she says and it’s not unkind. There’s maybe even a tiny hint of a blush on her cheeks. “That makes sense to why you never go to parties. They must be really boring without booze.”
Lexa doesn’t say anything. Clarke’s not wrong but she’s also not right either. Lexa just never got into that. People like her grew up knowing which things to be wary of.
Clarke points a thumb back to their door. “I could go make you some tea or something.”
The kindness catches Lexa completely off guard. It makes her feel weird.
The kindness makes Lexa feel weird. It catches her completely off guard. The fact that Clarke Griffin just offered to make her tea doesn’t feel right. She swallows carefully before responding. “I’m fine, thanks.”
Clarke nods her head like that makes sense too. She watches Lexa for a few moments with slowly blinking eyes.
“I’m gonna go to sleep,” she says eventually as she falls sideways onto her pillow. There’s a blanket folded at the end of her bed and she pulls it up under her chin. It doesn’t even really cover her body. “Night, Lexa.”
Lexa watches as her eyes close and her breathing instantly evens out. Her wavy blonde hair falls in her eyes and her cheeks are pale at the same time they’re flushed pink from the remnants of alcohol. The room now smells less like alcohol and more like soap and mint toothpaste. Clarke’s lips purse cutely in sleep and Lexa swallows, taking the sight of her in.
It takes her a long time to realize that she’s staring. When she does, she jumps and rolls back over to face the wall.
She doesn’t fall asleep until the sun comes up.
When Clarke wakes up, she’s surprised to find that she’s back in her dorm room. She startles away, wincing as the light through their small dorm window burns her retinas, and rolls onto her back. Her hands come up to rub at her eyes and she groans unhappily as she allows her senses to acknowledge all the aches and pains in her body.
The nausea hits her first, and then the stomachache. She presses a hand to her gut in an attempt to stifle it but it doesn’t work. Her head is pounding and there’s an ache in her hips and thighs that tells her she probably had a better time than she expected. Her mouth tastes like ass.
“Fuck my life,” she utters and doesn’t expect the low chuckle she hears from across the room.
She peels one eye open to find Lexa already up and dressed, sitting on her desk chair and organizing the pin board on the wall in front of her. She doesn’t look at Clarke, doesn’t even say anything, and as Clarke leans up to glance over at her, she’s not even sure that little laugh was for her benefit.
“What time is it?” she grumbles.
Lexa reaches for the jar of pins beside her then glances at the watch on her left wrist. “Eleven-fifteen.”
Clarke gives a low hum of disappointment and lies back down when sitting up makes her feel more nauseous. “I drank a lot,” she comments. Lexa doesn’t say anything. “How did I get back?”
Lexa’s movements still and when Clarke glances over at her, there’s a look on her face that she can’t read. She almost looks disappointed. It disappears the minute Clarke sees it and Lexa weighs the small pins in her hand before shrugging.
“I don’t really remember,” she says with a polite smile. “I was asleep.”
It surprises Clarke a little bit when she suddenly puts down the pins and gets up from the desk. There’s a pair of perfectly clean Chelsea boots at the end of her bed and she pulls them on silently, fixing the bottoms of her skintight black skinny jeans once they’re on her feet. She barely glances at Clarke as she pulls on her jacket and something about it feels strange. She pulls her leather satchel over her shoulder and arranges her collar as she gets to the door.
Something about it all feels… unfinished.
“I’m going to go get coffee,” she comments as she turns back softly. “Do you want anything?”
Clarke narrows her brow and tugs her blanket more comfortably over her cold legs.
She thinks that Lexa looks nervous.
Despite everything telling her not to, she smiles and answers.
“Coffee would be great.”
The campus coffee shop and bakery is empty and she gets herself a cup of coffee and drinks it at a little table in the corner before going back and getting two more. She picks up two blueberry muffins and two peach scones without thinking. She doesn’t realize that she’s got enough for Clarke until she’s making her way back up to their room and knocking on the door because her hands are full.
She wishes she hadn’t when Clarke opens the door in nothing but a fluffy white bathrobe. She’s glad that Clarke’s more preoccupied with the tray of coffee in her hands to notice the blush on her cheeks and slips past her to put everything on her desk. She slips off her jacket silently and tries to ignore how Clarke still hovers in the doorway.
“I didn’t know how you took it so I kind of got everything,” Lexa mumbles as she grabs her own cup and takes a sip. She pushes the other towards Clarke before settling down on her bed and reaching for her book. Clarke hums as she moves over to collect it.
She soon learns that Clarke takes her coffee ridiculously sweet and milky. She hums happily as she takes her first sip and then picks up the white bakery box. “What’d you get?” she asks curiously. “Did they make any peach scones today? Those things are worth getting dressed for.”
Lexa looks up from her book and swallows. “There’s two in there,” she says. “And two blueberry muffins. Help yourself.”
Clarke looks at her hesitantly. “You sure? You already got me coffee and you really didn’t need to do that.”
Lexa looks at her and wants to tell her that there’s no way she bought all those sweets for herself and no one else is here. She wants to tell her to stop making it weird. She wants to tell her to just shut up and take the damn pastry.
Instead she says, “It’s fine. Go ahead.”
Clarke opens the box and takes one of the scones. She eats it quietly on her bed and doesn’t say anything else. Lexa rolls onto her side once her coffee is finished and they don’t speak for the next couple of hours. Clarke moves around the room, getting ready and finishing her unpacking. She doesn’t say anything until the sun is sinking low in the sky and hovers at the end of Lexa’s bed until she turns to look at her.
“Are you coming for dinner?” she asks. “We missed lunch.”
Lexa swallows and shakes her head even though her stomach’s been rumbling for ninety minutes.
“In a while,” she mutters.
Clarke leaves when Octavia Blake appears at their door. It’s only then that Lexa eats the other scone.
Octavia and Raven are just as hungover as she is. Raven pretty much communicates in grunts and holds a cup of coffee to her forehead as she stares down at the plate of food in front of her. Octavia carefully sips from a bottle of ice-cold water and turns green when offered anything else.
“How did I get home last night?” Clarke finally asks them and they grimace at the way she ploughs her way through the plate of pasta in front of her.
It’s Octavia that answers. “We took you home about four,” she explains. “We waited until we were sure that the Robot would be asleep so that you didn’t have to interact with her.” At that, it’s like Octavia remembers something. “Where have you been today, anyway?”
Clarke’s stomach drops a little but she decides to tell the truth. “Uh, I had to finish unpacking.”
Octavia fixes her with a curious look while Raven’s moves the coffee cup away from her face to stare her down. “Was Lexa there?”
Clarke licks some sauce off her finger before shrugging at whatever thoughts her friends are currently having. She doesn’t look at them. She knows that they don’t really like Lexa—that they’ve pretty much teased Lexa since they knew of her existence—but Lexa is okay. She thinks that maybe people just don’t get Lexa. She thinks that maybe Lexa doesn’t want people to get her. But Clarke kind of needs to get Lexa. She needs to be able to understand certain things about her because they’re stuck together for the next year.
“Yeah, she was reading,” Clarke says like that’s the end of the conversation.
She doesn’t mention the fact that Lexa wasn’t stiff and standoffish like she normally is. She doesn’t tell them how Lexa didn’t do anything to prove how smart or better than them she is. She doesn’t tell them how Lexa brought her coffee and a peach scone.
She can’t really believe it herself, so why should they?
Clarke reaches forward to grab the bread roll next to her plate and begins to butter it.
“She’s okay,” she comments.
Raven and Octavia stare at her for the whole of dinner. They stay there until it’s time for closing and Clarke never spots Lexa arrive to get food.
Her friends drag her back to their room where they ply her with a shot of the brandy Raven stole from her grandpa’s kitchen. It’s gross and they give her a beer when she complains before forcing her to watch trashy TV. Clarke isn’t feeling it and instead she feels a discomfort she’s never experienced before. She doesn’t drink most of the beer and excuses herself early.
Instead of going back to her room, she finds her keys in her back pocket and heads to her car. She takes the ten minute journey all the way to the nearest grocery store and reminds herself that she probably shouldn’t be keeping a small fortune in her glove compartment when she grabs a hundred dollar bill from inside. She grabs a cart and zooms her way down the aisles, filling it with the things she might need.
She heads for the hot counter and thinks about Lexa. She wonders if she skipped dinner and picks up a plate of mac and cheese before asking for some chicken tenders too. It’s the ultimate kid dinner and she feels a little embarrassed about it as she heads to go get a fuckton of ramen and cookies. She gets candy and sodas of all different kinds and makes herself feel less guilty about the sheer amount of sugar by purchasing a tea sampler and a bag of apples.
She barely has enough to pay for all the crap she’s bought and she shoves it all in the trunk of her car before driving back to school. She doesn’t know how she manages to carry everything up to her room. She’s ready to groan when she gets inside but stops when she realizes that Lexa’s asleep with her face buried into her book. She doesn’t look like she’s moved since Clarke left.
Clarke steps over to her bed without really thinking about what she’s doing. She sits in the small space left behind Lexa’s knees and rests her hand on Lexa’s shoulder to shake her awake.
Lexa startles and looks terrified when her eyes open to dart around the room. She stops when she sees Clarke sitting beside her, taking a steadying breath before burying her face into her pillow.
“Did you eat?” Clarke asks.
Lexa frowns and looks at her curiously. Clarke glances over to where one and a half of the blueberry muffins still sit in the bakery box. She clicks her tongue and rolls her eyes before stepping over to the small sea of grocery bags by the door. She takes out the container of mac and cheese and chicken tenders before stepping back over to Lexa and thrusting it at her.
“Dinner,” she tells her. Lexa frowns and looks ready to refuse her but Clarke just drops the container on her desk and points to it. “You need to eat.”
Lexa still doesn’t say anything but she sits up and watches curiously as Clarke moves the grocery bags over to the deep window ledge and starts piling everything there. When Clarke turns around, Lexa’s sat at the desk, looking into the container. Clarke hands her a bottle of water and a plastic knife and fork. Lexa takes them and smiles gratefully.
“You didn’t have to—”
Clarke shuts her up with an eye roll and a half smirk.
“Eat, Lexa,” she instructs and Lexa’s sweet little half-smirk is more than enough thanks. Her happy little satisfied noises make Clarke smile and she laughs at her softly as Lexa does the cutest little wiggle in her chair. She begins to wonder if anyone has ever seen this version of Lexa and it’s almost too much at once. “We need to get my fridge out of storage,” she says, quickly changing the subject before she does or says something stupid. Lexa gives her a questioning hum at the comment and Clarke turns to her pointedly. “I can’t live without milk.”
Lexa smiles and covers her mouth.
“Do you need it for all those cookies?” she teases.
Clarke gives her a half-assed glare until Lexa’s pleased smirk makes her smile instead.
“Don’t hate,” Clarke says. “Or I won’t share.”
Lexa wakes up early for her first Politics and Sexuality class and groans as softly as she can. There’s still a small cluster of grocery bags covering their floor and she glances over at Clarke as she remembers the night before. One of Clarke’s arms is thrown off the side of her bed and one of her bare legs pokes out the bottom of her blankets.
Lexa smiles at her and gathers her things to get ready for the day. She knows that Clarke doesn’t have class until this afternoon. Clarke made her pin a copy of her schedule to the wall by the door so they both know when the room will be empty. Lexa’s sure it’s so she knows when she can bring people back, but she tries not to think about that and gathers the books she needs off her shelf instead.
She slips them into her bag and leaves silently.
She goes to class and listens as her professors tell her about what they’re going to be doing this semester. She tries to hold back on her questioning because she knows that it annoys some people. She knows what people say about her. She knows the nicknames they’ve given her. She writes notes instead and approaches the professor after class to ask her all the things she wants to know.
She goes to the dining hall and gets herself a sandwich to take back to her dorm.
Clarke isn’t there but the room has been tidied and moved around. There’s a fridge in the corner and the grocery bags have been put away. The room smells vaguely of smoke and air freshener. Clarke’s hung a dry erase board on the wall and on it is a note.
Got the fridge from storage. Feel free to use or take whatever. See you after class! - Clarke
Lexa opens the fridge to find it stocked full to the brim except for the empty bottom shelf. Lexa assumes it’s for her because there’s some cans of soda left in a box shoved on Clarke’s bookcase that easily could have fit there.
She doesn’t see Clarke after class. She doesn’t see her the whole evening and she goes for dinner and doesn’t see her there either. She hears some girls talking about there being another frat party at one of the neighboring colleges. She assumes that’s where Clarke is and goes to bed.
She’s woken up at 2am by something hitting her bedroom door. She’s ready to get up and open it when she hears muffled giggling. She rolls her eyes and waits for Raven and Octavia to start making a ruckus but instead she hears the low rumble of a male voice. It’s punctuated by the unmistakable sounds of kissing and Lexa lets her stomach pull uncomfortably as she rolls onto her side and buries her face in her pillow.
“Finn, I’m drunk,” Clarke slurs and Lexa squeezes her eyes closed to try and ignore it. “Finn… Finn… I’m drunk and you shouldn’t be here and I really, really shouldn’t have let…” Two giggles. “Well, you know…”
Lexa hears a thud against the door again and she winces a little when Clarke lets out a soft, airy moan.
“Fuck, I’m so drunk…” Clarke sighs and then, almost as if she’s just realized the truth in her words, a hand rattles the door handle. “No, get out of here,” Clarke instructs. “My roommate will be asleep. So nope.”
Lexa becomes breathless with relief. The guy laughs and there’s another of Clarke’s thick giggles before the door opens and a body slips inside. Clarke stops somewhere behind her and Lexa tries to keep her breathing steady as Clarke loiters by her bed.
“Lexa?” she whispers.
Lexa keeps her eyes closed and doesn’t say anything.
Clarke falls into bed twenty minutes later and her breathing evens out quickly.
Lexa barely sleeps.
Clarke wakes up most mornings to an empty dorm room and usually comes back to a sleeping roommate. She hasn’t actually spoken to Lexa in weeks other than passing random messages via the dry erase board when something comes up.
She feels like Lexa’s avoiding her but she also feels like Lexa is being the same person she knew last year. She’s driven and obsessed with schoolwork. She doesn’t care about much else and it makes Clarke feel strange that she’s living with a person like that. She doesn’t know what to think about her.
School is just as stressful and annoying as last year and Clarke hates that she’s falling back into old habits. She hates that she follows Octavia and Raven to parties at Lincoln’s frat house and always ends up sleeping with Finn. She promised herself she wouldn’t do that anymore but somehow she keeps getting stupidly drunk and doing it anyway. She hates that she keeps doing it sober too, especially when he looks at her like she’s more than what she is. She doesn’t want to be his girlfriend. Not after last year.
Letting him into her dorm room is probably a big mistake but that’s what she does one Thursday morning in late September. Lexa’s class doesn’t finish until three and she probably won’t come back anyway. Clarke doesn’t have class until one but when Finn calls her at ten and asks her to let him in, she does it without thinking.
“You have to go,” she tells him at 12:15. “I have class and my roommate will be back soon.”
He’s still naked in her bed and she shoves him out onto the cold floor ten minutes later when he doesn’t get up. He’s pulling on his clothes and Clarke’s still laid naked on her front with a blanket thrown over her bottom half when the door opens.
Lexa freezes when she sees Finn. Clarke just feels her entire body burn with embarrassment and panic. Her face falls and she buries it in her pillow as Finn finishes pulling on his sweater and finds his shoes. He squeezes her shoulder and utters a whispered goodbye before the door clicks open and closed. When Clarke looks up, Lexa’s still by the door.
It makes Clarke feel guiltier than she possibly should. “Sorry,” she whispers, picking at a loose thread of her pillow. “I didn’t think—”
Lexa jolts at the words and shakes her head, rushing to busy herself around the room.
“It’s fine,” she cuts through Clarke’s words. She throws her bag onto her bed and takes off her jacket. She throws books onto her bed and uselessly picks up others from the shelf but never actually does anything with them. “It’s my fault. My class was cancelled and I thought that you’d be at yours by now. You usually go for lunch first, so…”
She trails off and shakes her head and the whole thing makes Clarke feel weird.
She frowns when Lexa suddenly picks up her bag and jacket and heads towards the door. “I’ll go,” she mumbles. “I’ve gotta go…”
She leaves without another word and Clarke feels like her insides are squeezing and burning at the same time. She watches with red cheeks and a softened expression at the spot Lexa had occupied. She feels bad and she doesn’t understand why. She doesn’t understand the thick, churning sensation in her stomach. It’s guilt, she knows, but she can’t handle its strength and furiousness.
When she goes to the frat house later that evening, she pushes Finn away when he sidles up to her and tries to kiss her neck. He looks at her in confusion but she just shakes her head and tells him it’s not happening. He looks pissed and she’s pretty sure she sees him wander off to find another girl to pin against a wall. Instead of caring, Clarke drinks a ridiculous amount and then goes home by herself without telling anyone.
Lexa is asleep when she gets back and Clarke’s drunk and confused by that. Lexa’s wearing a soft white t-shirt with a stain on the shoulder as she lies cuddled on her front. Her fist is tucked under her chin and Clarke catches sight of the tattoo on her arm. It surprises her every time she sees it and the urge to trace her fingers over the pattern makes her feel dizzier than the alcohol.
She’s still staring at Lexa an hour later when Lexa stirs and turns over. Green eyes flutter open and then widen when they find Clarke sitting on the end of her bed staring into space.
“I’m really drunk,” Clarke whispers.
Lexa leans up on her elbows and frowns gently. She still doesn’t say anything.
Clarke swallows thickly. She thinks she might puke soon.
“I’m sorry about Finn,” she says because that’s all she’s wanted to say all day. “I didn’t mean to make you uncomfortable.”
Lexa shakes her head. “It’s fine.”
Clarke closes her eyes to stop the room from spinning. “It’s not, though,” she mumbles. “It’s not fine. I made you uncomfortable and this is your room, too. It’s not fair—It’s not fair… I don’t…”
When she opens her eyes, Lexa’s standing in front of her, looking worried. She wears blue plaid pajama pants and a pair of big, turtle shell glasses that make her eyes look bigger and more beautiful than usual. Clarke gets stuck for a second and doesn’t know what’s happening when Lexa stares at her.
“Clarke, you’re drunk,” she whispers. “You should go to sleep.”
Clarke purses her lip and swallows against her dry throat. “I probably won’t remember this conversation in the morning,” she tells her, ignoring her words. “I drank tequila. Tequila makes me forget.”
Lexa softens and nods. “That’s okay.”
Her sincerity is ruined when Clarke darts up and heads towards the bathroom. Lexa moves out the way and lets her by, watching her carefully as she opens the door and hovers by the sink.
“I’m gonna puke,” she mumbles and proves that seconds later when she darts over to the toilet bowl. She heaves the liquid contents of her stomach into it and shudders when she feels cold fingers tugging the hair from her face. Lexa piles all of her hair onto her head before snagging the tie from around Clarke’s wrist and fixing it in place. She continues to sweep wispy strands of it from Clarke’s cheeks and squeezes her shoulder as Clarke groans pathetically.
She disappears for a second and returns with a cold bottle of water. She presses it against the back of Clarke’s neck and Clarke hums in appreciation before gathering the energy to lean back and take a sip of it.
“Whole thing,” Lexa mumbles. Clarke looks at her and does as she’s told. “Better?”
She nods and drinks more, relishing the cold liquid as it quenches the thirst she hadn’t even realized. “Sorry.”
Lexa pushes more hair from her face. “It’s okay,” she whispers. “We should get you to bed, though.”
Clarke nods and stumbles back into their room. She starts undressing right there and Lexa just follows her as she strips out of her jeans and collapses onto her bed. She offers her the blankets and Clarke takes them happily.
“Wake me up if you feel sick again,” Lexa says as she sets the bottle of water at her bedside.
Clarke nods. “I’m okay,” she breathes and it’s the last thing she does before she falls asleep.
When she wakes up, there’s a fresh bottle of water on her nightstand and some painkillers beside it.
She doesn’t remember what happened but she doesn’t want to think about it.
She doesn’t know why she decides to go back to their dorm room in the middle of the day for the first time in weeks. She just does it automatically without thinking about it. Her feet move across campus and she lets them instead of forcing them to the library like normal.
She knows that Clarke’s going to be there because she doesn’t have classes on Friday afternoons. Lexa knows that Octavia and Raven do. She knows that Clarke usually catches up on reading and writing papers instead. Her side of the room is usually a mess of books and stuff when Lexa gets back from the library and Clarke’s already left for the night.
Today, however, Clarke is curled up in a ball facing the wall and Lexa winces a little when she accidentally closes the door too loudly and makes her jump.
“Sorry,” she mumbles when Clarke turns over to look at her. She looks surprised and frowns and Lexa ignores it like it’s nothing. “How are you feeling?”
Clarke groans and rolls over to bury her face in her covers. Despite the fact that Clarke looks pale and sickly, Lexa notices that she managed to change her sheets. The dirty ones tumble out over the top of her laundry hamper.
“Whatever I drunkenly did last night,” Clarke grumbles. “I can only apologize. I’m a dick when I’m drunk.”
Lexa laughs at that and kicks off her boots before setting them at the end of her bed. “They don’t call you Party Girl Griffin for nothing.”
“Ugh,” Clarke grunts and rolls over to give Lexa an unimpressed glance. “That’s a fucking stupid nickname. Especially when I’m the one who’s usually cutting everyone else off. Raven says I’m the ‘mom-friend’.”
Lexa smiles. “That’s cute.”
“It’s what happens when your mom is a doctor,” Clarke grumbles and rolls back into the pillows. “Also, if you were the person who left the water and painkillers for me… thank you but they’re not working.”
Lexa stands up and heads over to the fridge. “You need caffeine and grease.”
“I thought you didn’t drink,” Clarke gives her a smirk like she’s caught her and Lexa immediately rolls her eyes before throwing her a diet coke.
“You’re not the only mom-friend here, Griffin,” she teases. “But regardless of that fact, just because I don’t drink now doesn’t mean I haven’t had my fair share of hangovers in the past.”
Clarke looks at her dubiously. “Really?”
Lexa laughs. “No, not really. I’ve had like one and that was enough for me. Shall we order pizza?”
Clarke looks at her with such appreciation that it makes Lexa giggle nervously. She shrugs and Clarke forces herself onto her side to stare at her.
“If you carry on like this,” she tells her. “You might just end up the best roommate I’ve ever had.”
Lexa rolls her eyes and reaches for her laptop. She searches through pizza menus as Clarke yells out odd requests from across the room. She convinces her to take advantage of the buy four get one free offer and has never rolled her eyes so much as Clarke flails around searching for her phone to invite Octavia and Raven over.
They arrive after the pizza does and Raven looks at Lexa in confusion.
“I didn’t think you’d eat pizza,” she comments. “I had you down as more of a salad and soups kinda gal.”
Lexa fixes her with the same stern stare she reserves for everyone else. She’s about to speak when Clarke snorts and throws a pillow at the pair of them.
“Lexa is a junk food junkie,” she tells them happily. “Don’t be fooled.”
Raven looks impressed and Octavia looks confused. Lexa eats more than her fair share of pizza and is pretty much a spare part to the conversation going on around her. She catches Clarke’s gaze when Raven mentions how someone called Bellamy mentioned that Finn was sleeping with someone, that they both dodged a bullet by turning him down, but doesn’t say anything off of Clarke’s panicked look.
She grabs a book instead and observes the scene from afar. There are still two and a half pizzas stacked atop each other on their window ledge and Lexa isn’t surprised when Octavia asks Clarke if she wants to go to a party. Clarke nods and goes to the bathroom to change out of her pajamas while Octavia and Raven head out to go find another of their friends.
“I’ll be quiet,” Clarke says when she comes out of the bathroom. “When I come back.”
Lexa smiles at her. “It’s fine. It’s Friday night. I get it.”
Clarke pauses and smiles gratefully. She looks like she wants to say something but shakes her head instead and reaches for the leather jacket that hangs on her desk chair.
“Have a good night,” Clarke says as she reaches for the door handle.
Lexa nods and doesn’t plan to say anything but she still calls out Clarke’s name to stop her from leaving. Clarke looks back at her in quiet confusion.
Lexa shrugs. “Be safe.”
Clarke’s face softens as she nods but Lexa still ends up holding back her hair six hours later when she comes back alone and without her jacket. She stinks of rum and sex and Lexa tries not to think about that as Clarke rolls around on the bathroom floor trying to pull off her shoes.
“I’m such a mess,” she whispers when Lexa’s encouraging her to change out of her puke-stained blouse. She’s already shimmied out of her jeans and Lexa urges her hands to the buttons of her blouse when Clarke just lies there uselessly. “I’m such a fucking mess.”
Lexa’s brain runs through a thousand different scenarios and thoughts before she grits her jaw and shakes her head. Clarke looks up at her sleepily and Lexa gives a look before reaching for her buttons.
“You’re gonna make your sheets gross,” she says in explanation. “You only changed them today.”
Clarke nods and Lexa sighs in relief when she moves her hands aside to let Lexa remove the shirt from her body. There are bruises all over her skin and Lexa tries to ignore them and the perfect curves of her body as she finds her a long t-shirt and some warm socks.
She’s about to head back to bed when Clarke reaches for her hand and stops her.
“You’re so nice to me when you don’t have to be,” Clarke mumbles and her thumb strokes over Lexa’s pulse like she’s checking it before her eyes flutter closed.
Lexa pushes her wavy blonde hair from her face and sighs.
Her mother calls her one night in mid-October and Clarke breathes out unsteadily because it’s almost one in the morning.
But then, that’s her mother really… never taking anything other than her own thoughts and feelings into consideration when making a decision. It never used to be this way and Clarke hates how everything’s turned out. She hates that she never came home one day in June and her mother is only just calling her now in October.
“Mom. Time difference,” is the first thing she says when she answers the phone, turning to her side and talking quietly so she doesn’t wake Lexa.
Her mom chuckles softly and it drives Clarke crazy. “ER night shift,” she says like that’s perfect explanation. “How are you?”
“Clarke,” her mother warns.
Clarke scoffs. “I was asleep, Mom. What do you expect? I have class in the morning.”
The line muffles and Clarke guesses her mom is going somewhere more private where she can better effectively tear her down. It’s an old routine, one that’s been going on for years now.
“Clarke, I expect you to talk to me when I call you,” her mother says and it’s like she’s in her own little world, her own little bubble, where nothing other than her life and the hospital exists. “I’m your mom. I pay for your education. I expect to know how you’re doing. Even if I don’t understand why you want to do an Art History degree, I expect to know how you are.”
“But you can’t do that in the middle of the day?”
“Fine. Whatever,” Clarke breathes out. “What do you wanna know?”
Her mother hums in annoyance. “How are your classes?”
Clarke shakes her head. “They’re fine. Amazing. Professors are great. I’m getting good grades. Next?”
“Do you have a roommate this year or did they give you a single?”
Clarke shakes her head and rolls her eyes. It’s times like this when she wishes her mom was still a normal mother but she isn’t. If her mom were a normal mother, she’d be able to tell her that her roommate is great. She’s wonderful, but she’s not what Clarke expected. Her roommate blows hot and cold. She’s stern but she’s also soft. Her roommate can’t stand to be near her so much that she spends ninety percent of her time in the library. Her roommate looks at her sometimes and Clarke is never sure if they’re going to kill or kiss each other. Her roommate is the most confusing person she’s ever met but all Clarke wants to do is figure her out.
If her mom were still a normal, caring mom, she’d be able to talk to her about all these things she doesn’t understand. Her mom would be able to help her.
Except her mom can’t even help herself.
“There’s no singles available until we’re juniors,” she says instead. “I’m in a double. I have a roommate and her name is Lexa. She’s… she’s really nice. Smart.”
Her mother doesn’t say anything in response to that and Clarke breathes unsteadily down the phone, trying not to get angry or upset.
“Do you have enough money?” her mom asks after a while and Clarke shakes her head to force away the feelings she can’t ever seem to stop.
This is why they haven’t spoke since June.
“Yeah, mom,” she grits out. “I’ve got more than enough money.”
Her mother doesn’t notice the hurt or the anger in her voice, doesn’t notice the thick ache of tears that soak her words. Instead she makes a disinterested noise and leaves the line silent with all the things they never say anymore. The line is quiet for a long time until Clarke hears the sounds of the hospital intercom.
“Gotta go,” her mom says. “Bye, hon.”
The line clicks off before Clarke can respond. It forces the tears up her throat and she buries her head in her pillow to stave them off. Clarke wants to do something drastic like throw her phone across the room or punch a wall. She bites the fabric of her pillow before screaming loudly into it instead. It’s wet with tears when she pulls back, aching and gasping and she punches the spot before turning over to return her phone to her nightstand.
Green eyes stare quietly over at her from across the room, polite and understanding. Lexa’s fist is propped under her chin and she watches Clarke carefully before speaking.
“Are you okay?”
Clarke nods and angrily wipes the tears from her cheeks.
“I’m fine,” she whispers and turns away from her quickly.
She doesn’t need her pity.