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Mystic Coffee

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“You have to stop staring.”

Lexa pulls the shot of espresso with practiced ease, her hands going through the motions without conscious thought. “I’m not staring.” She feels a blush rise to her cheeks regardless.

“You’re totally staring.”

Lexa doesn’t reply and tries to steer her gaze away from the large burgundy armchair in the back corner of the room or rather the girl lounging in it.

It wasn’t as if the girl in question was doing anything particularly interesting at that moment. All she’d done actually for the last couple hours was sip from the large mug precariously balanced on the arm of the chair and flip through the heavily dog-eared book in her lap.

She doesn’t need to look at Raven to know she’s rolling her eyes. Lexa turns her attention back to the drink in front of her and hands it over to the waiting customer who grabs it with thanks and hurries on his way. She takes a second to wipe her glasses on the end of her shirt before letting her gaze wander around the shop and the handful of customers settled inside of it, looking for any work that needs doing. She specifically avoids looking towards the back corner now that Raven has noted her fixation.

Lexa has been showing up to work at Mystic Coffee since her first year of college. Desperate for a way to pay for what her scholarship wouldn’t cover, she hadn’t put much thought into where she’d applied. Just seeing the “Hiring” sign in the window had been enough to have her pushing through the door.

The place is decorated with an odd collection of old mismatched furniture that looks like it’s spent some time on sidewalks and anything with a flat surface can be seen crammed between the chairs to be used as tables. Crooked framed portraits of people Lexa can’t name adorn the walls along with shelves whose contents are mostly comprised of the books that people have accidentally left behind on their visits.

The pay is nothing amazing and she’s had some miserable workdays over the years but the place had grown on Lexa in a way she hadn’t expected. What had once merely been a means to a paycheck is now one of the places she surprisingly feels most comfortable. She had even come to not mind Raven’s company after they had begun working most of their shifts together. You’d be surprised how quickly a truce can form between two people with contrasting temperaments when faced with a mob of people who haven’t yet had their caffeine fix.

But despite having dealt with customers of all sorts over the years, she is still wholly mystified by the one in the leather jacket and red chucks currently propped up on tea table in front of her.

“Have you noticed anything different about her?” The words are out of her mouth before she realizes what she’s asked.

Raven leans against the counter next to the espresso machine and throws her a quizzical look, Lexa wasn’t typically one to just start chatting. “Different how?”

Lexa shrugs, avoiding Raven’s eye, “I don’t know, just…different.”

Raven picks at some coffee grounds beneath her nails. “No I haven’t,” she says, looking over her shoulder as the chime above the door announces the entrance of a handful of people. “But I do know that if you start freaking out all the customers our tip jar is never going to fill up, so cut that shit out.”

Lexa knows she’s probably right, but that doesn’t stop her from looking toward the back of the room again. Her eyes follow the mug of coffee as the girl takes a sip and, without looking up from her reading, places it back down carefully.

Lexa had poured that cup herself nearly two hours ago.

It was still steaming.

 


 

“Hey, someone spilled their drink all over the front table, you wanna go deal with that while I hold down the fort?” Raven gestures over her shoulder with her thumb and gives Lexa a smile she assumes is supposed to be convincing. Lexa sighs but nods and goes to fetch the mop from the utility closet, earning a brighter smile and a “Thank you!” from Raven.

Her mind wanders as she mops at the mess, settling on the thing, or the person rather, that it hasn’t been able to not think about since she’d first stepped into the shop the day before. Lexa still doesn’t know what to make of the encounter and it keeps playing over in her mind.

 

(Yesterday morning)

She can count on one hand the number of customers they’ve had in the last hour, so when Raven asks if she can take an extra ten minutes on her break Lexa doesn’t even looked up from her book before waving her off.  The chances of a sudden flood of people pouring in were slim to none and she’s confident she can handle anything that comes through the door.

Sometimes she appreciates the slow days and the chance to catch her breath they give her, but today the monotony is dragging on.

The shop sits empty for a long time before the bell above the door chimes and interrupts the quiet. It calls her attention away from the paperback Dostoevsky in her hands and she quickly tosses it beneath the counter. She isn’t supposed to be reading during her shift but she needs to get at least part way through the text before Monday’s lecture and she’d only started last night.

She expects to see one of the regulars that swing in for a quick cup on their way to work or one of the many university students who often drag their textbooks in for a caffeine-fueled study session. She is not expecting to see a new face, nor one as striking as the one at the door.

Gold hair with pink ends that hold the morning sunlight slanting through the windows catches Lexa’s attention. She notices that, despite the fact that the weather had been warmer than usual, the girl is wearing a leather jacket, and Lexa spots part of an intricate tattoo peeking out from beneath one of the sleeves. She would think the girl was trying too hard for the whole badass look if it didn’t actually work so well for her.

Her gaze doesn’t wander over the shop to take in the bizarre and eclectic atmosphere like that of most newcomers, rather, she approaches the counter in a distracted manner, eyes distant in a way that has Lexa’s brow furrowing as she greets her.

“Welcome to Mystic Coffee. What can I get for you this morning?” Lexa recites, trying to keep any puzzlement out of her tone.

At the sound of her voice the girl looks up and meets her eyes. There is momentary confusion in them as her eyes flick to either side and she appears to finally notice where she is for the first time since walking in. When her eyes come back to Lexa’s, the intensity in them makes her fidget behind the counter and adjust the glasses sitting on the bridge of her nose. The girl’s lips twitch at the gesture and it seems to both put her at ease and decide something for her.

“Um, yeah, I’ll get a...latte. Skim. To go.”

Lexa nods and reaches to grab a travel cup from the stack, pulling the black sharpie from the front pocket of her apron at the same time. She clears her throat. “I’m going to need a name for that,” she says with her sharpie held at the ready.

An amused grin overtakes the girl’s face as she pointedly glances around the empty shop.

Lexa is sure that she’s blushing but continues to hold her ground nonetheless. When the girl realizes her seriousness she schools her face.

“Right. Of course. It’s Clarke. With an ‘e’.”

Lexa nods her thanks and marks the name down with precise strokes.

Lexa tries to ignore the fact that the girl, Clarke, continues to watch her with an amused but gentle smile as she digs into the pocket of her jacket and hands over a crumpled bill. This was why Lexa usually makes Raven manage the register. She doesn’t think she’s ever seen Raven flustered. Lexa rummages around in the cash drawer for the correct change and avoids eye contact as she goes about making the drink.

The attention she can still feel on her makes her take extra care in her movements. She pulls the shot of espresso slowly and studiously as she tries her best to ignore her audience. Memories of her first week on the job, when more coffee had ended up on her apron than in the cup, come back to her.

When the espresso shot is brewed and the milk is steamed to exactly 70 degrees she pours it all out and seals it off with a lid. Clearing her throat awkwardly she moves the cup to the top counter and finally makes eye contact again with Clarke.

There’s a pause and Clarke doesn’t make a move towards the drink.

“Aren’t you supposed to call the name out?”

Lexa narrows her eyes and thinks about how she doesn't get paid enough.

Fully aware that she is being laughed at, she stubbornly walks back to the cup and picks it up once more.

“Skim latte for Clarke.”

She gets a brilliant grin in response and Lexa wishes the sight didn’t make her stomach flutter.

“Thank you...,” her eyes drop to the nametag carefully pinned to the front of Lexa’s apron, “Lexa.”

As Clarke finally reaches forward for the drink Lexa’s eyes are once again drawn to the tattoos marking her skin. Besides the intricate pattern on her right forearm that she’d spotted before, Lexa can see a small bird occupying her inner left wrist. It’s beautiful, and she’s amazed at how lifelike it looks.

She’s about to look away, not wanting to get caught staring. She nearly drops the drink from her hand instead.

At first she thinks it’s a trick of the light and she blinks hard before looking again. Because tattoos don’t move. They just don’t.

When the bird’s wings beat softly again however, she isn’t so sure.

Her eyes snap up to Clarke’s and she finds a schooled expression looking back at her.

“Thanks for the coffee,” she says, taking it from Lexa’s outstretched hands.

Lexa wills her fingers to release their hold on the cup and takes a step back. The customary, “Thanks for stopping by!” that the employee manual instructs her to say never makes it past her lips. Instead she just watches silently as Clarke steps out the door and leaves. Just like that.

She’s still staring after her when the ‘Employees Only’ door swings open behind her and Raven comes in.

“Sorry, I know, that was fifteen minutes, not ten, my bad.” She re-ties her apron as she speaks. “Did I miss anything?”

Lexa opens her mouth and has no idea what’s about to come tumbling out. Raven interrupts her with a snort regardless, “Nevermind, this place is a fucking ghost town today. Feel free to take your own extended break, I’ll cover the counter if anyone shows up.”

She nods, still dazed, and her fingers work to untie the knot of her apron.

She spends her entire break, and the remainder of her day in a sort of confused stupor. She’s useless in her classes and hopes her professors don’t notice that she spends the entire lecture wondering if she’s losing her mind. The day continues with her grappling uselessly with what happened, looking for some sort of reasonable explanation. She always comes up short.

“What’s up with you?” Anya asks later, tossing a pencil at her face that she fails to dodge. “You’re being weird, even for you.” She rubs at the mark it leaves on her forehead and claims an upset stomach. She’s thankful when Anya lets it drop.

It’s not like she can just tell her the truth.

That today she met a girl with a tattoo that moved. That that’s impossible but that she definitely saw it.

She lays in bed that night staring at the pale ceiling of her room and figures that it probably doesn’t matter. That either way she’ll probably never get answers or confirmation or whatever it is she wants. She’s sure that those five-minutes of her life will be the only time she ever sees Clarke.

So, naturally, the next morning when she looks up to see who her next customer is in the busy line she chokes on air.

Raven pounds a hand against her back unhelpfully before Lexa can wave her off. Dragging air into her burning lungs, she makes as little eye contact with Clarke as possible as she takes her order, her hand mechanically reaching for a to-go cup and trying to do everything normally as her mind races.

“Actually I thought I’d make the order for here today” Clarke says, stopping Lexa’s movements and causing her to finally meet her eyes. “If that’s okay...”

There’s a pause and Clarke watches her carefully. Lexa thinks she almost looks nervous but by the time she notices the expression it’s gone again.

Until that moment she had written off the possibility of seeing Clarke ever again and of figuring more out about the mysterious girl in front of her. And it surprises her, suddenly, how much she does want to figure her out.

“Yeah,” Lexa says, “That’s okay.”

 

She’s just about finished mopping up the floor when she notices Clarke getting up from her table and gathering her stuff. Clarke pauses as she opens the door to leave and Lexa can feel her eyes on her. She pretends to still be cleaning.

For a moment she thinks Clarke is going to say something. Ask to talk. Ask her what she saw. Instead, the door chimes and Lexa knows she’s left.

When she goes home that afternoon, and later to class, she pretends that everything is normal and that work was ordinary and Anya doesn’t throw a pencil at her this time. She even invites her to a get together she and some of the people in her course are having later that evening. But Lexa shakes her head, as she usually does, and gestures to the pile of her homework in front of her.

Anya doesn’t push it and pulls the door closed behind her with a “‘later, kid.”

Lexa doesn’t work on her homework.

Instead she spends her evening sitting in the chair at her desk thinking about moving bird tattoos, coffee that never cools, and other impossible things.

She thinks about Clarke and what she might have said before she left.

She wonders if she’ll be back again tomorrow.

 


 

Clarke is hungover.

She knew those shots of Fireball at the end of the night were a bad idea but she’d taken them anyways. She reminds herself to kill Octavia later for letting her do them.

Bellamy hadn’t believed Octavia when she’d told him that Clarke could breathe fire for a couple minutes if she took a couple shots of the stuff. Some drunken shouts of “oh come on, Clarke, now you have to show us” and the next thing Clarke knows the shot glasses are empty and she’s hissing small flames from between her teeth to a smattering of applause and cheers. Drunk Clarke is an idiot and she wishes she wasn’t so easily talked into doing things that sober Clarke doesn’t do anymore.

Before she knows what she’s doing she’s opening the door to the small coffee shop wedged between the brownstone and the plant shop for the third time that week.

Clarke isn’t usually seen awake between the hours of five am and noon. Normally she’s rolling out of bed only when the afternoon light cuts through the gap in her curtains and she’s reminded that she has a job that she actually needs. Octavia always gives her shit for walking to work each day. “Whyyyy, Clarke? It’s so much effort.” She then usually proves her point by snapping her fingers and appearing in front of wherever Clarke happens to be standing. Clarke always shrugs but she knows why. Octavia does too because she never pesters her about it for long.

The last few days, however, she had been turning over a new leaf and was out of her apartment while the hour hand on her clock still pointed to a single digit.  

She breathes in the scent of fresh coffee grinds and thinks about how she shouldn’t be here. Not after what happened, what she stupidly allowed to happen. But she likes the place; it has character and is eclectic in a way that doesn’t feel cluttered and she realizes that there are worse places she could spend her mornings. It’s also blissfully quiet right now. Clarke resists putting a hand to her pounding head.

“Welcome to Mystic Coffee. What can I get for you this morning?”

And, of course, there’s the other reason that she likes it too.

Though her voice is steady, Lexa’s eyes widen as they look at each other from across the counter. It’s not just shock though, there’s clearly a curiosity eating away at her and, almost as if she can’t help it, Lexa’s eyes dart down to where Clarke’s tattoos would be visible if they weren’t covered by the sleeves of her jacket. Clarke resists the urge to pull them down farther.

“Got any recommendations for a killer hangover?” she chuckles, hoping to alleviate at least a smidge of the tension that hangs between them.

Lexa doesn’t seem to know what to say to that and Clarke is about to tell her that it’s fine, she’ll just have a plain coffee, when the response she gets surprises her.

“Well, Raven usually fixes herself a double or triple Americano and swipes a muffin when she thinks no one is looking.” Lexa looks over at the girl Clarke presumes to be Raven who’s clearing dishes off some of the tables and her lips twitch, “But she also does that when she’s not hungover.”

Raven seems to notice that she has a pair of eyes on her because she looks up and her brow furrows. Clarke turns back to find Lexa appraising her curiously and her mouth opens as if she’s about to say something. She seems to think better of it, however, and the moment passes.

“Sounds great,” Clarke says with a soft smile, unsure whether the feeling in her chest is relief or disappointment.

Lexa nods, all business again. “To go or…?” she trails off, hand hovering towards where Clarke presumes the travel cups are.

“For here.”

She doesn’t know why she keeps saying those two words. She doesn’t even know why she keeps coming back.

Lexa finishes ringing her up with precise movements, taking Clarke’s money when it’s handed over, and telling her that someone will bring everything to her table when it’s ready.

It’s Raven that eventually does and Clarke tries not to be disappointed.

 


 

 Lexa’s plan to solve the case of the mysterious girl with the moving tattoos does not progress very quickly. But every morning she works her shift and tries to figure something out about her.

One day she notices the edges of a flower tattooed beneath Clarke’s collarbone and spends nearly her entire shift trying to get a good look at it out of the corner of her eye. Raven ends up giving her a strange look when she goes back to clean the table adjacent to Clarke’s for the fifth time and she realizes that she might not be as subtle as she thinks.

One time she approaches where Clarke sits, fully intending to sit down and demand answers because it’s driving her crazy and she would really like to get back to focusing on her classes. When she gets to the table, however, the words end up dying in her throat, the flicker of worry beneath the bravado she sees in the blue eyes staring back changing her mind.

Instead she asks if she needs a refill on her cup, though it’s clearly still steaming, and Clarke shakes her head ‘no’.

 


 

It becomes a habit, or a routine; she’s not sure which. If the first then it’s something she should probably break. Either way she knows she’s being stupid.

Almost every day now Clarke wanders into Mystic Coffee at an ungodly hour just so that she can lounge in the wing-backed chair in the back of the room for a while before she has to go to work. Every morning she pretends not to notice Lexa looking at her with a poorly concealed glances and Clarke pretends like she doesn’t spend just as much time trying to figure the other girl out.

‘Why hasn’t she told anyone yet?’

The question has been plaguing Clarke for days.

She would know if her secret was out and frankly she expected it when she had shown up the second time. But everyone in the shop still continues to meet her eye and no one is whispering about her when they assume she can’t hear.

Ordinarily she would shrug and accept it as an abnormally lucky outcome and be on her way, because usually when she did something stupid like accidentally show someone magic, the results were less favorable. This time, however, something was keeping her from walking out the door like she should.

She doesn’t tell Octavia. She doesn’t want the judgment or the advice about how bad of an idea this is. She doesn’t need to hear the words she knows are true.

So she keeps coming back and keeps it to herself.

Sometimes she tells herself it’s to make sure Lexa won’t say anything. That once she’s got the girl figured out she’ll be on her way.  The more she stays, however, the less sure she is about that.

The girl intrigues her in unexpected ways. Clarke watches her sometimes over the top of her book and so far she’s noticed that Lexa is quiet, but not shy, she’s good at her job and kind to the customers even when they don’t deserve it, and she studies way too much. Clarke has seen her pull her notebook out more than once when there aren’t any new customers. Lexa thinks that her manager doesn’t notice when she stashes it beneath the counter again, but he does.

She also has a nervous habit of adjusting her glasses when she’s flustered; something she did a lot around Clarke at first but not as much anymore, a fact that makes Clarke feel pleased in an unforeseen way.

Clarke still catches her glancing towards the sleeves of her jacket each day though. She wonders what’s going through her head each time. She wonders whether that day is the one when she inevitably says something and Clarke won’t be able to come back.

  


 

It’s a week later and she’s settled into the spot she’s unofficially claimed as her own. Her feet are tossed up on the table in front of her as she doodles in her notebook. It’s a raccoon this time, she smiles as it fills the corner of her page.

A throat clearing startles her.

She closes the notebook quickly when the raccoon scurries across the page, mimicking her alarm, and looks up.

Lexa stands there holding a steaming mug in one hand and a plate with a muffin in the other and Clarke relaxes immediately. She clears her throat again and gives Clarke a pointed look. Noticing what she’s getting at, Clarke quickly and sheepishly removes her feet from the table and Lexa sets the things down.

“Thanks.”

Lexa nods and turns to go before stopping and turning back around.

“Are you a student at the university?”

Clarke almost misses the question altogether, not expecting it.

“Oh. Um, no. Not anymore.”

Lexa nods, almost to herself.

They fall back into silence and Clarke hates that it’s stilted and awkward. They look at each other and the unspoken words hang between them.

Clarke clears her throat. “Sometimes I pretend to be though so I can use the library on campus. They won’t issue me a card there so I’ve had to start smuggling some of the books out,” she says, holding up the one that sits with the notebook in her lap between anxious fingers.

Clarke doesn’t know why, of all things, she decided to tell her that.

‘Great, now she’s gonna think you’re book thief. She’s probably worried you’re going to start taking all the books from this place too.’

She expects a strange or concerned look and instead she gets a laugh that is equal parts impressed and amused. Clarke smiles at the sound.

“What are you reading?”

Clarke flips the cover over and shows her.

“The A to Z of Plants, Flowers, and Fungi,” Lexa reads aloud, leaning closer for a better look. “For fun or work?”

“Bit of both.”

She looks up and seems to realize how close they’ve gotten and leans back, clearing her throat, “You’re a botanist of some sort then?”

Clarke debates between a few responses before settling on, “Sometimes.”

Rather than get put off at her evasive answers they only seem to amuse Lexa and Clarke likes the smile that tugs at the corner of her mouth.

A large group of what Clarke would guess to be students stumble through the door loudly, drawing both their attention and breaking the moment.  Clarke feels the impulse to do something to make the group of people leave rise within her and clenches her fist when she feels her skin tingle.

“I gotta get back to work,” Lexa says, almost to herself. Clarke hopes she doesn’t imagine the disappointment she hears in her voice.

She stands there for another moment though and Clarke watches as she deliberates something. The words are nearly covered up by the extra sounds in the room but Clarke still catches them.

“Your secret is safe with me.” She turns to look at Clarke and her face only shows determination and maybe a soft understanding as she adjusts the glasses on her nose. “About the library books,” she tries to explain, but it’s clear that’s not what she’s talking about.

She doesn’t wait for a response before walking away and Clarke is left to sit and wonder when the light feeling in her chest grew so big.

 


 

Clarke turns her key in the lock that afternoon with a soft smile on her face.

She’s lost in her own thoughts and startles when she finds Octavia on her couch even though it’s hardly an unusual occurrence.

“Ugh, finally! Where the hell have you been? I tried calling you like six times. I was about to hire someone for a locator spell.”

Clarke makes a face at her, “Don’t be dramatic.”

“You wouldn’t recognize me if I wasn’t,” she says and removes her legs from where they’d been propped up on the back of Clarke’s couch. Clarke wonders if that’s where she picked up the habit. “But really, where were you? I thought you weren’t working today?”

“I’m not. I was just out for a walk,” she states, shrugging and slipping out of her jacket. She hangs it on the hook beside the door and feels Octavia’s stare on the back of her head.

Out for a walk ?”

Clarke shrugs and Octavia narrows her eyes.

She wants to tell her friend about where she’s been. She wants to tell her about the mismatched furniture and the apple scone she had yesterday that she’ll be dreaming about for the next week. She wants to tell her about the girl in the glasses with the bright green eyes that puzzles and intrigues Clarke at the same time. About how that same girl walks around appearing unaffected but will grin suddenly at something amusing and Clarke always desperately tries to figure out what it is that can make her smile like that. She wants to tell her all about how there’s not a drop of magic in the place and that makes it easier for her to breathe for a little while each morning.

“You’re seeing someone new, aren’t you?”

She sits up suddenly and stares Clarke down over the back of the couch. “And you don’t want to tell me because you just don’t think you’re ready for anything serious again after Finn and you think I’ll make a big deal about it.”

The name doesn’t make her cringe anymore but Clarke still feels sourness in her stomach that unsettles her.

“God, is it that guy from the club last week? Clarke, just because the he can pull roses out of his pocket doesn’t make him dating material. Guys without real magic do that at birthday parties and it’s not even impressive then.”

“No, I’m not seeing the guy from the club last week. I’m not seeing anyone.”

Octavia breathes a sigh of relief at the first piece of information and thankfully lets the topic drop.

They spend Clarke’s free afternoon making grilled cheese and watching Friends reruns and Clarke is glad when Octavia doesn’t comment when she makes the food completely by hand or when she chooses to get up from the couch to grab the blanket when she gets cold.

They’ve had enough conversations about it now for Octavia to know when to pick her battles. It doesn’t stop the incomprehension and worry in her friend’s eyes though and Clarke pretends not to see it there when she looks at her.

Later, before she’s almost out the door, Octavia stops, “Don’t forget Bellamy’s birthday is next month and you promised to help me organize that. Lincoln already said he’d find a way to get his hands on some of Jasper’s moonshine, the one with the stars and shit in it, so you know it’s going to be good.”

She’s completely out the door when she suddenly pokes her head back in and casually says, “Oh, and if you wanted to bring whoever you’ve been seeing that would be cool too, but, you know, whatever, you do you.”

The door is closed before she can hear anything Clarke shouts after her.

 


 

It becomes a routine.

Lexa opens the shop every morning, Raven stumbles in yawning sometime after her, together they tackle the morning rush of customers, and when the flow of people making their way through the door slows to trickle she makes herself busy and pretends like she isn’t waiting for Clarke. Raven gives her knowing looks when she’s quick to look at the door every time it chimes, but for the most part leaves her alone.

She realizes how much she looks forward to seeing Clarke every day when the thought that one day she might not show makes her frown.

But every morning, usually right after the morning rush but sometimes later, Clarke inevitably comes in. She places her order for whatever kind of coffee she’s in the mood for and pays for a pastry of some sort to go along with it. She has a habit of not specifying which kind and Lexa is left to approach her table with whatever she’s grabbed for her that day. Sometimes she shows up to her table with a blueberry scone but more often something with chocolate, having noticed Clarke’s affinity for it.

Sometimes, if it’s not busy in the shop, she lingers.

What had started as simply her wanting to get some answers had very quickly turned into her just wanting to know Clarke.

She notices that Clarke always sits with her feet propped up either on her table or her chair and how she doesn’t care that the other customers are constantly giving her dirty looks, but when Lexa comes over she’ll take them down without a thought.

She also notices how Clarke always seems to have a new book each day, and every day the titles are more random than the day before. Lexa also likes how she always seems to treat her books with the sticker for Polis University Library on the side with extra care.

She likes that Raven likes her and she’s not even sure at what point the other girl’s opinion started mattering to her. Raven hadn’t seemed too sure about Clarke at first, but then Clarke had reached into her pocket and dropped an astonishingly large tip into the jar and Raven decided that she wasn’t so bad after all.

She likes how sometimes when Lexa takes her order the ends of Clarke’s hair are pink but when she brings it to her later they’ve turned red.  She doesn’t really question it anymore, and while that should probably make her concerned it instead oddly makes her happy.

She likes that it doesn’t seem weird at all when Lexa gives her a book on water plants that she’d found wedged under a wobbly table in the back. Clarke carefully brushes dust from the cover and the soft thanks she receives makes Lexa feel her cheeks burn.

Clarke looks at her with an unreadable expression and she likes the way it makes her stomach flip.

 


 

It’s pouring outside the next day and Lexa watches with a frown as the rain splatters against the front windows. Her eyes follow the path of a particularly large drop and she tries not to think about the fact that she has to walk home after her shift. She hopes it’ll clear up, but it’s been pouring all week, so those hopes aren’t particularly high.

Anya had left for her morning class with a warning for her to pack her umbrella but Lexa hadn’t listened. She knew exactly what look the other girl was going to throw her when she arrived back sopping wet.

The place never fills up much on days like today so she’s surprised when she hears the door chime and even more so when she sees that it’s Clarke. She doesn’t usually come in until much later and Lexa opens her mouth to say just as much when she’s interrupted.

“Can I buy you a cup of coffee?”