Claire and Hael were two of the best ballerinas in all of New York state. After living and breathing this life their whole lives, they really deserved that title. They met while traveling across the country to dance, and ended up staying in New York. The city, of course, because Hael loves the city. Since then, Hael is really the only one who dances too much anymore. She has her own studio and teaches young girls. But in a much kinder way than she was ever taught. Claire spends her days working her two jobs, helping Hael at the studio, or walking around the streets for hours, posing for photos for the people who recognize her. Which rarely ever happens. When it does, though, and people ask what happened to her, Claire gives the same response as Hael gives the young girls at her studio:
“I met someone who made me want to keep my feet flat on the earth with them, even if just for a little while.”
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Claire sits at the edge of the canyon, feet dangling over the edge. She thinks that it might be famous. She can’t say one way or another though, because she sure as hell doesn’t remember coming here, and she has no idea where she even is.
“Is this what you dream about?”
Claire looks up, shields the sun with her hand. Hael hovers above her. Light pools behind her like a sunburst. Claire swears she can see the faintest trace of wings etched in it. “I’m dreaming?” she asks.
Hael sits next to Claire. “Yes. But perhaps my presence has shaped things a little.” She waves a hand. “I built this place, a very long time ago.”
Claire raises an eyebrow. “That must have been some can of play dough,” she comments dryly.
“I did not bake the canyon,” says Hael. Her brow furrows in that way it always does when Claire drops references outside of her wheelhouse.
"No, Hael, it’s a–“ Claire cuts herself off and shakes her head. "Never mind. What’s up? You know I need at least four solid hours of sleep to stay pretty.” She lies back, arms folded under her head, and closes her eyes. The sun feels warm on her face, dream or not.
“You always look pretty, Claire,” Hael murmurs.
Claire cracks her eyes open, a smile playing over her lips. “Flattery will get you everywhere,” she remarks. Hael looks confused again, or maybe even flustered, so Claire barrels on. “What’s up?” she asks again.
Hael’s hands are folded neatly in her lap. Her hair is carefully smooth. Claire struggles onto her elbows, and wonders if she ever needs to brush it, or if angels imbue their vessels with natural salon readiness. “We have work for you,” says Hael.
Claire groans and shuts her eyes again. “Sing me a new one. I’m retired.”
“You can’t retire,” Hael says crisply. “You are the righteous woman. As long as there is a fight, as long as there is hope, you will be in the fray. You are a part of this, Claire. Just like me. Just like us all.”
And Claire makes a face. “Alright. I get it. You can cool it with the speeches. What do you need from me this time?”
After their senior year, best friends Krissy, Claire, and Hael all pile into Krissy’s old beater to take a cross country road trip. They start in Maine, to see Krissy’s lighthouse and then they start heading west. Claire wants to stop in Yellowstone and there was no way Hael would let them bypass the Grand Canyon. Alone for long stretches of road, the girls come out to each other and make plans to stick together once fall arrives.
On her day off, Claire sees a girl’s face out in the middle of the ocean, and her first thought is that someone is drowning. Jumping out onto her surfboard, she rushes out to where she saw the girl. When she arrives, the girl is gone. A trained swimmer and part time lifeguard, Claire ducks under the water to find the missing girl. The first thing her eyes manage to make out are two bright eyes staring at her through the water. Then something is pushing her back up to the surface and back to her surfboard. Holding onto the edge, Claire sees the girl again- but then she sees a pale fin and she knows she’s not just any girl.
What happens next changes two lives; beach born human Claire and ocean born mermaid Krissy, and the love that they form together.
( all pictures belong to their respective owners )
Claire and Hael had been together ever since they met in college. It was the classic, friends-first-turning-into-something-more cliche, but neither of them cared. When they graduated from college; Claire with a degree in sociology and Hael with a degree in anthropology.
Finding jobs for their dream careers isn’t easy, but they find them and once they’re stable in their internship, they finally move in together, like they talked about so often.
It’s on their six month anniversary of living together, do they go out and rescue a cute little Labrador Retriever puppy, who they decide to call Zeke.
They tell themselves that he’s the only addition - the only “child” - they’re going to have, but soon, they find themselves with another little Labrador in their care, this one they decide to call Andriel.
Their family grows from four to eight over the years, but their house is big enough to support it, their jobs are flexibly enough to take care of it and they have more than enough love to share it.
Everything has been leading up to this. The final exam is tomorrow. Claire hasn’t had a minute of sleep in weeks and even the ten cups of coffee a day can’t keep her going now. She’s made hundreds of notes, read everything until she knows it by heart but she knows she will not be able to do it.
And then she sees the girl next to her with black hair, sketching an angel on her notepad. She smiles at her as she takes a sip of tea and Claire can’t help smiling back.
i keep getting caught up in the idea of hael + summer
hael swimming in the lake in the middle of july and having a picnic with her friends on the sand
hael laying on the grass and just soaking up the rays and listening to the sounds of nature around her
hael making her garden look pretty, hands and legs covered in dirt but feeling satisfied with herself when she’s finished for the day
hael sitting at the edge of the grand canyon for hours and just feeling so awed at the majestic view
hael picking strawberries with her brother cas in august
going to a pool party and rocking her bikini and meeting claire novak and not being able to keep her eyes off the other young woman once she notices her
claire coming up to her and asking her out for ice cream, so the next day hael meets claire and benny’s ice cream parlor where they order ice creams and take them outside to sit on the car stops, and their ice cream melts faster than they can eat it bcs they’re talking too much with each other and getting distracted by the way the sun shines on the other and their smile
and then claire gives hael her address so she can stop by sometime during the week. hael goes the very next day and claire is in short shorts and a tank top with her hair pulled back like she did yesterday, but today she’s washing her car and she’s all wet and hael feels much warmer than the sun
the very last night before the school year starts hael and claire share a kiss on hael’s front porch, and hael doesn’t even mind that summer’s come to an end bcs being with claire is so much better