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Day Two (Jealousy)

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It was the annual L-Corp New Year’s Eve ball. Lena invited Kara, of course, and insisted that Alex was also invited and was welcome to bring Maggie.

“Then there’s my plus-one.”

Kara choked on the brownie she was stuffing into her mouth. She adjusted the phone against her ear and grabbed another square. “What?”

“I’m bringing a special guest.”

“Who?”

“It's a surprise,” Lena chuckled, “but I'm very excited.”

“Oh. Great.” Kara crushed the brownie in her fist. “That’s great.”

*****

“Lena is bringing someone to the New Year’s party.”

“I heard you the first four times you said it,” Alex sighed. She set her plate of pizza on the table and turned to face her sister. “Why does that bother you?”

“What? Psh, it doesn't bother me,” she scoffed. “No way.”

Alex expressed her disbelief in the form of an impressive snort.

“It doesn't! I just, she usually tells me things like this,” she explained, hands gesturing wildly as she spoke, “and she's keeping it very much a secret, and I don't know why. She hasn’t even told Jess.”

“Tell me you didn’t seriously pester her assistant for details on who Lena is bringing to her own party.”

“Okay.”

Alex rolled her eyes.

“I need to know, Alex,” Kara whined.

“I guess you'll have to find out next weekend.”

*****

Kara arrived promptly at seven-thirty, the banquet hall already filled with dozens of party-goers, mostly employees from L-Corp and their families, though a few prominent National City VIPs had bought a place on the guest list.

Alex texted to say she and Maggie were running a little late and would be there by nine. Kara sighed. That probably meant they'd slip in around eleven. Her sister had been so punctual before Maggie, but then again, it meant Maggie was giving her reasons to be late and while Kara didn't want to spend a lot of time thinking about the particulars of that, she did like seeing Alex happy.

Kara scanned the crowd for anyone she knew… which basically meant Jess or Lena.

She found both of them a few moments later. Jess, Lena, and a man Kara didn't recognize were standing in a small group, conversing. Lena put her hand on the man’s shoulder and laughed, leaning into him.

Kara realized she was clenching her fists. At least her hands were brownie-free at the moment.

She focused her hearing.

“Richard has been the acting CEO for Maxstar now for, what, two years?”

Richard nodded. “Just about, yeah. I don't know how you do it, Lena.”

Jess spoke up. “A lot of long hours.”

Lena and Richard chuckled in agreement.

Kara frowned. She needed food. Something to preoccupy her before she did something crazy.

*****

Alex leaned over to whisper, “Why do you look like you're going to fire up your heat vision?”

Kara yelped. “When did you get here?” She looked at her watch, surprised to find it was nine-thirty.

“Ten minutes ago. Long enough to see you glaring your way through a half-dozen potstickers. Who are you staring at?”

“I think that's Lena’s date,” she growled.

“Did you talk to them?” When Kara just blinked at her, Alex nudged her shoulder. “Don't tell me you've been avoiding them for two hours.”

“Okay.”

“Oh my god, Kara. Look, just go say hi.” Alex shoved her gently toward Lena’s direction. “See what's going on. I'm sure Lena wants to know you're here, anyway.”

Kara pouted. “No.”

“Hey, Lena!” Alex called.

Kara scrambled to hide behind her sister, hissing about how she was a terrible human being.

Lena turned and, seeing the Danvers women, smiled broadly. She said a few words to Jess and Richard and then disengaged from the conversation, making her way to Kara.

“Alex, I'm so glad you could make it. Is Maggie here?”

“Yeah, she went to grab us some drinks. I'll go check on her.” Alex pried Kara’s hands from her forearm and slipped away.

“Kara, thank you for coming! Have you been here long?”

“Oh, a little while, I guess.” Kara dug the toe of her shoe into the floor.

“You should have found me sooner, I've been wanting to introduce you to someone.”

“Oh. It's, I'm not really, I mean, you know, I don't think I want to.”

Lena’s brow wrinkled. “What?” She shook her head. “Come on.” Taking Kara by the hand, she led her over to Jess and Richard, saying, “Excuse me for interrupting. Richard, this is Kara Danvers. Kara, this is Richard Patterson.”

“Ah, one of National City’s most talented reporters. I've heard so much about you.” He offered his hand and she shook it politely, barely refraining from squeezing it a little too firmly, settling for wiping her palm discreetly against her dress.

He was about an inch taller than Kara, with short dark hair, a well-trimmed beard, and an easy smile, all of which Kara decided was stupid.

“Nice to meet you,” she replied evenly.

“Well, we’ll let you two chat. Have a good evening.” Lena pulled Kara across the room. “Well? What do you think?”

Kara glowered at the man, but brightened when Lena glanced her way. “He seems nice. How did you meet?”

“Oh, I've known Richard for almost three years. He’s the acting CEO for Maxstar based out of Metropolis, so it's a treat that he agreed to come to the party.”

“Sure, yeah. I bet.” She plastered a wide smile on her face.

Lena shifted closer to Kara. “Is everything okay?”

“Great. Yep. Fantastic.” Kara adjusted her glasses and hoped the crinkle wasn’t giving her away.

“You just seem… upset.”

Kara huffed a sigh and tried to relax. Clearly Lena was happy, she wanted to be happy for her. “Just a long day, I guess.”

Lena seemed unconvinced, but turned to gaze at Richard. “He’s got a sharp sense of humor.”

“I'm sure.” A regular comedian. Bet he can’t make her laugh over kale. Bet he wouldn’t even have a kale joke prepared. I had three. Plus, I even ate kale… Rao, that was gross.

“He surfs, too.”

He surfs, too, Kara mouthed with a sneer. Well, I fly, so there.

“There aren’t too many areas for that in Metropolis, so maybe he’ll be coming to the coast more often.”

“Maybe.” Kara gnawed on her lip. Maybe I’ll ask Alex if I can create a beach in Metropolis. For tourism. Or something.

Jess nodded to something Richard said and then he took her arm gently and they walked toward the dance floor.

Kara glanced at Lena to see how she was taking it.

“Oh, good!” Lena gripped Kara’s arm with both hands. “I think they're hitting it off.”

“What… what?”

“Jess and Richard.”

“Jess, but, you…” Kara pointed toward Jess and then at Lena. “Wait. He's not your date?”

Lena raised an eyebrow. “Hardly. Richard is a friend and I thought he and Jess might get along. She’s had a few blind dates planned before but always cancels them in order to work late for me or pitch in on a project, so I figured if I brought him to the party, they could at least get to know each other.”

Kara felt all the breath leave her lungs. “Oh.”

It took a moment for Lena to work through the evening. “Kara… were you... jealous?” she asked, fighting a smile.

“No!” Kara ducked her head. “Yeah, okay. Maybe a little.”

“Because you thought Richard and I were together?”

“Yeah.” She hunched her shoulders and shuffled a few steps away embarrassed. “I should go, maybe.”

Lena took her hand. “Or you can stay. Would you like to dance?”

She glanced up, finally looking at Lena, blue eyes hopeful. “Really?”

Lena bit her lip. “If you'd like.”

“Absolutely.”

Alex raised an eyebrow when Lena and Kara stepped onto the dance floor and smirked when Kara looked her way.

Kara stuck her tongue out at her sister.

“Am I going to have to separate you two?” Maggie asked. Her back was to Kara but she knew that smug look on Alex’s face was reserved for needling her sister.

Alex chuckled. “Just saying I told you so.”

Kara rolled her eyes but her attention was immediately captured by Lena’s arms encircling her neck. She hesitantly placed her hands on Lena’s waist and then shifted her shoulders, feeling braver at Lena’s warm smile.

“You know, you have nothing to be jealous about.”

“I just thought… I mean, you didn’t say anything about who you were bringing, and usually, we kind of talk about this stuff, so I thought… maybe it meant something different. More.”

“Jess was standing right next to me while we were speaking and I wanted his arrival to be a surprise.” She chuckled softly at Kara’s blush. “I would have told you the next day had I known it was bothering you.”

Kara shrugged. “I didn’t think I wanted to know.”

“It’s a little late at this point, but… would you be my date for this evening?”

“Yes,” was the immediate response.

“And, perhaps, my kiss at midnight?”

Kara grinned broadly. “Definitely, yes.”