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love like on a silver screen

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Oh, but in my heart
You're all I need
You for me and me for you (my love, my love)
Oh, it's growin' every day, oh (my love, my love)
You've got the best of my love

“Best of My Love” by The Emotions

 

 

 

One Year Later

In a tiny, dark office the size of a closet which just barely fit a desk, Kara sat across from Jack, glowering at him. The office’s dim fluorescent lighting cast a dark pall over his face.

“Okay, Jack,” Kara said. “Tell me what it’s going to take.”

“You know what I want, Danvers,” Jack replied evenly.

“I can’t give you that.”

He shrugged. “Not my problem.”

Kara slammed her open palm against the top of the desk between them. “Damn it, Jack. Is this a game to you?!”

“Au contraire, my love. I am deadly serious.”

“This isn’t a joke. This is Lena we’re talking about. This is important.”

“I know how important this is to you. That’s why you’ll give me what I want.”

“I can’t do that. But there must be something else you want. Money? I can pay you.”

Jack chuckled lowly. “No, I don’t want your money. There’s only one thing that I want.”

Kara slouched back in her seat, huffing in annoyance. “Jack, come on, be reasonable. I can’t promise to name my firstborn after you.”

“Well, then I guess you won’t find out what Lena got you for Christmas.”

Kara glared at her stubborn friend, wishing that she could throw something at him. “Jack, please? I just wanna know what I’m up against this year! I mean, I got her something really amazing. I don’t think she’ll top it, but I just… wanna be sure.”

Lena was the only person Kara had ever met who could out-gift her, thanks to her considerable means and thoughtfulness. For Kara’s birthday, she secretly managed to book a week off work for Kara and whisked her off to Paris, where she chartered a hot air balloon ride and topped it off with a private concert by a former boy band singer Kara liked. (“You don’t produce the Bachelor without learning a few tricks,” Lena said.) For the first time in her life, Kara found herself thoroughly beaten on every occasion. Although Kara considered herself an excellent gift-giver, she now found her presents for Lena underwhelming by comparison, even though Lena vocally insisted otherwise. (Alex has been entirely unsympathetic. Gleeful, even. “Good,” she had said. “Now you know what Christmas and birthdays feel like for the rest of us.”)

“Then promise to name your child after me! Jack is a terrific name! Works for girls too, but I don’t mind Jackie if you want to buy into the gendered names thing.”

“I can’t just promise something like that! First, it’s like way off in the future. And second, I’m not the only person involved here. When the time comes, Lena’s going to have a say. I mean, I can promise not to veto it.”

“No dice, Danvers. You already promised your veto to me, remember? In exchange for my vote for charades at game night?”

“Oh, yeah.” Kara wrinkled her nose at the thought. “That was a bad call.”

“Seriously.”

“Ugh, fine, whatever. I have to go. Alex’s waiting.” Kara stood up to leave, backing her chair into the wall as she scooted back. “And why are you in here? Don’t you share Lena’s old office with Sam now that you’re both supervising producers?”

“She kicked me out,” Jack answered indignantly. “Apparently there’s a ‘human limit’ to how many times one can listen to All I Want For Christmas is You on repeat. I am exiled until I get it all out of my system.”

“You could use headphones?”

“Nonsense. Mariah doesn’t deserve to be sonically restrained like that.”

“Uh. Okay. You’re coming to the watch party later?”

“Wouldn’t miss it for the world,” he replied. “Well, okay, I would, but I’ve got nothing else going on tonight.”

Kara made it back to her apartment only minutes before Alex arrived. Which was a good thing, considering that Alex was already annoyed.

“I don’t see why I have to help you set up,” Alex complained as soon as she walked through the door. “It’s a watch party for Lena’s show at her apartment.”

“Yeah, but she’s not here right now, so you have to help. Besides.” Kara gestured at the stack of cardboard boxes in the corner, stuffed with Lena’s belongings, which had sat there since Lena moved in three months ago. “Lena’s amazing but she has zero idea of what it means to organize physical space. Anyway, you’re the one always complaining about how Lena moving in ‘encroached on sister time.’ Now we get some quality time together.”

“Okay, you of all people should know that ‘sister time’ means me barging in here at midnight with my key and raiding your freezer for ice cream. I didn’t mean cleaning your apartment and making cookies for your party.” Even as Alex complained, she moved through the kitchen, pulling out the equipment she needed for baking.

“You can still do that!” Kara responded with exasperation. “It’s just, um, in your best interest to call first. So we can avoid what happened on Lena’s birthday.”

“Hey,” Alex hissed heatedly. “We don’t talk about that night! Some things cannot be unseen.”

Since Kara really needed her sister’s help, she held her hands up in surrender, and left Alex to the baking while she tidied the apartment. Typically, the baking would be left to Lena, but she had been called away on a business trip a couple of days ago. Now that Lena ran L-Media (rebranded from LuthorMedia under her direction), she oversaw all of the company’s productions and not just the Bachelor franchise. This meant that she was often required to take short trips away for a day or two, but the upside was that she didn’t have to travel for weeks on end while the show filmed all over the world. Not that that stopped Kara from moaning about how she was in a ‘long-distance relationship’ everytime Lena had to be away for more than 24 hours.

The afternoon passed with the Danvers sisters chatting, cleaning, cooking, baking, setting up everything they would need for their watch party for The Bachelor season premiere. Their first guest arrived in the early evening. Kelly greeted Alex with a kiss at the door, then moved on to her assigned duty while Lena was away: feeding the fish, which were kept in an oversized aquarium by the entrance. Evidently the Danvers sisters could not be trusted to keep the fish alive.

Brainy and Nia showed up next.

“You made it!” Kara greeted the pair happily.

“Please, I practically had to drag him out of the house,” Nia said, rolling her eyes.

“I simply do not understand the point of this gathering,” Brainy answered, slightly huffing in petulance. “Why do we need to gather to watch the show? I directed the season! I know everything that happens.”

“Well, I don’t know what happens,” Nia said. “For once. Let me enjoy the suspense!”

“I could tell you,” Brainy offered offhandedly.

There was a loud, deliberately over-the-top throat clearing. The couple turned and found themselves face to face with Andrea, standing in the doorway with a bottle of wine.

“That was a joke,” Brainy said hurriedly.

“Stop ruining my show.” Now that she was showrunner, Andrea didn’t seem to tire of reminding everyone that she was in charge. Since Lena had to devote her time to running all of L-Media (and perhaps, on some level, Lena worried about the optics of her closely interacting with the cast given her family’s history), Andrea was now in charge of the show’s operations, and Brainy had taken over her former directing duties. “Especially to the spy. Hey, Nia.”

“Hi, Andrea,” Nia greeted with a smile, unfazed by the teasing.

Andrea thrust the bottle of wine at Brainy and looped her arm with Nia’s, leading her toward the snack table. “Well, come on, tell me how Legendary’s treating you.”

Sam and Jack turned up next. After a round of greetings, they naturally broke off into separate groups. While Nia helped Kara in the kitchen, Brainy followed Alex around the apartment, pestering her with questions about firearms for a short film he was trying to make in his spare time. Sam and Kelly sat on the living couch, catching up on how James was doing in New York; who had recently moved out there for a woman he’d been dating. Jack sidled up to Andrea, who was awkwardly standing around.

“Aren’t you going to sit?” he asked, gesturing at the couch behind her.

She eyed the furniture in question, an ugly, blocky, lime-green velvet couch.

“Certainly not there.” Off Jack’s puzzled look, she added, “You know where that thing comes from, right? That used to be in the green room at the studio.”

“Oh, yeah,” Jack chuckled heartily. “Good times, that.”

“For some people,” muttered Andrea, still a little traumatized from the memory. “I don’t want to sit on something they’ve defiled.”

“Well, all right,” Jack said cheerily before he went off in search of cheese, “Good luck finding a place to sit in this apartment then.”

Shortly before the show’s airtime, Lena finally made her way through the door, towing a small rolling bag, looking tired from her trip but elated to be home. Although Kara had been standing on the other side of the room, she managed to become the first person to greet Lena at the door by madly dashing across the apartment, nearly knocking over Brainy in the process.

“LENA!” Kara launched herself into her girlfriend’s arms. Before Lena could even say hello, she found herself pressed up against the wall, Kara’s mouth against hers.

Their guests turned away and tried to busy themselves with food and conversation. The gross display was nothing new.

Finally, Sam hollered at them, “Get a room!”

Alex grumbled lowly, “Why do these two idiots insist on having people over when they live in a studio?”

Separating at last, Lena and Kara tossed out half-hearted apologies. Taking Lena by the hand, Kara dragged her behind the curtains of their bedroom alcove.

“So? How was your trip?” Kara asked as she hoisted Lena’s suitcase onto the loveseat at the foot of the bed, opening up the case and pulling out shirts to be hung up right away. Lena took a seat on the bed, watching her. “Did the pitch go well?”

“It did. They’re going to go for a ten-episode series order. Our first scripted drama’s heading to HBO.” Under Lena’s leadership, L-Media was expanding its catalogue of programming beyond reality television. The Bachelor franchise wasn’t going to last forever. Cancellation was inevitable, as it was for all shows. So it was upon Lena to diversify, expand, and grow the company while they had the capital to do so.

“That’s amazing! I knew you could do it.”

“Don’t get excited. Just because they gave a series order doesn’t mean they’ll actually air all of it, let alone renew.”

“Have faith. And you know what, if this one doesn’t work out, the next one will. Because you’re brilliant.”

For a moment, Lena stared fondly at her girlfriend. Then, hoarsely, she managed, “C’mere.” Kara dropped a gray shirt back into the suitcase to comply with the request, resting her arms upon Lena’s shoulders. Lena looked up at her with complete adoration. “What would I do without you?”

“Oh, I don’t know. You’d probably be living in a huge luxury apartment with your supermodel girlfriend.”

Locking her arms around Kara’s waist, Lena pulled her close until the blonde was practically on top. “I thought supermodel was your secret identity. You’re certainly beautiful enough.”

“Flattery will get you everywhere.” Kara climbed on top, straddling her girlfriend’s lap, her knees planted against the mattress, head dipping down, lips tantalizingly close.

Lena’s hand dipped under the edge of Kara’s shirt, caressing the smooth, bare skin of her lower back. “How about into your pants?”

“YOU LIVE IN A FUCKING STUDIO!” came Alex’s pained, irritated cry from the other side of the curtain. “WE. CAN. HEAR. YOU.”

“Oops.” With an unabashed giggle, Kara slid off Lena’s lap, dashing to pull back the curtains and rejoin her guests. “Heeeeey. Sorry about that.”

From the kitchen, Alex, with folded arms and a tightly clenched jaw, glared at her little sister. Kara hurried to her side, busying herself with frosting holiday cookies.

Still glaring at her sister, Alex demanded, “Why do you two even live here? Lena’s rich. You don’t have to live in a studio. Why does she want to live here?”

“Because I like my apartment. It’s where all my stuff is,” Kara replied as she slathered green icing in a tree-shaped sugar cookie, “Lena knows how much I love my place and she was still in that corporate apartment because she never got around to finding an apartment. It just made sense. Besides, it’s only temporary. Once I, you know-” she cast a furtive glance towards Lena’s direction, then lowered her voice, “-do the thing, we’ll find a new place together.”

“She can’t hear you from over there. You can say ‘propose’.”

“Okay, yes, propose,” Kara said, a little louder. But only slightly. “After Christmas Eve, we’ll be engaged and we can apartment-hunt together.”

Teasingly, Alex said, “I see what the plan is. Whisk her out of town to Eliza’s house in the middle of nowhere, then ask her to marry you. She definitely can’t say no to you there.”

“Oh, stop.” With her elbow, Kara gave Alex’s side a light jab. “We all know she’s going to say yes.”

“As long as you have a plan to get out of this place,” Alex grumbled. “I still can’t believe Lena Luthor agreed to live in a studio. Guess she really loves you.”

“Don’t worry about Lena. She wanted to move in. Besides, I made her a very good deal.”

Alex scrunched up her nose in revulsion. “Eww.”

“The fish, Alex.” Kara gestured at the large fish tank in exasperation. “She gets to have her fish.”

“Oh. Right. That’s… what I thought you were referring to.”

Meanwhile, in the living room, Lena found a spot next to Jack and Andrea by the Christmas tree.

To Jack, Lena asked, “Did Kara ambush you again while I was gone?”

“Yup. At work this time. Don’t worry, I gave her nothing.”

“Is that because she won’t promise to name our future firstborn after you?”

“Let’s just focus on the part where I kept your secret.” Jack gave his friend a nudge with his shoulder. “You’ve got the ring?”

“Picking it up tomorrow.”

“Christmas Eve?”

“The night before that. We’re going to go up with Alex to see Eliza on Christmas Eve, so I thought I’d do it here. I’m making her the first meal I ever cooked for her and then I’m… just going to pop the question.”

“Right, you’re doing it here so you can have hot fiancee sex aftewards in private. I gotcha.” Jack winked, rather awkwardly.

Lena raised her wine glass to her lips to hide the expression on her face, mumbling into her glass, “It’s just more convenient.”

With a look of slight concern, Andrea asked, “You’re proposing? Isn’t it a bit soon? You just moved in together.”

Lena furrowed her brow incredulously. “We literally make a show where the entire premise is getting engaged after ten weeks.”

Andrea shrugged. “Sure, but they almost never last, do they?”

“Hey, what are you doing?” Jack hissed at Andrea through gritted teeth. “They’re ready. They’ve been dating for a year and that’s like five years in lesbian relationships. Right, Lena?”

Lena shook her head, refusing to dignify that with a response. “I would marry Kara tomorrow if she wanted. Waiting won’t make a difference. I know what I want.”

Andrea nodded. “Okay. Sorry, didn’t mean to offend. So long as you’re sure.”

“I am,” Lena answered with almost a hundred percent confidence. Ninety-eight. Okay, maybe ninety-five.

Jack now tugged at Lena’s sleeve. “And where’s my role in all this?”

“I’m telling you the plan right now. You know before anybody else.”

“Yeah, but she hasn’t said yes yet.”

“I wouldn’t be asking if I wasn’t sure what the answer’s going to be. Obviously, we’ve talked about it.”

“But it’s not official,” Jack continued petulantly. “I wanna be included when it’s official.”

“Fine,” Lena yielded, humoring him as one would with a small child. “We’ll FaceTime you from Eliza’s.”

“And I’m your best man?”

“Of course.” As if she would be able to stop him.

“Okay, and when you propose to me to be your best man, you’re going to do it with a Yoda watch?”

“Uh. Sure, I can do that.”

“And I’m going to be the godfather to your kids, right?”

“Oh my god, Jack.” Rolling her eyes, Lena stomped away from him before he could escalate his demands further.

“You guys! It’s starting!” Kara called, gesturing wildly for everyone to gather.

On screen, this season’s host appeared on screen, pacing toward the camera. “Welcome back to The Bachelor!” Clark said, launching into a little spiel about his history on the show to find love.

Clark had agreed to host the show for a season as a trial run. With a rebranded L-Media, a new showrunner, and a new host, it was anyone’s guess how the season would fare. Clark would at least try to use his popularity to boost the show. He could also keep an eye on the crew and ferret out any of Lex’s remaining unknown cohorts, if any remained. Lena trusted Andrea to produce a good show, but not necessarily always make the hard moral choices.

Lena plopped down on one of the couches, cuddled up close to Kara, who placed her arm around Lena’s shoulders. Jack and Sam squeezed in on the other end of the couch, the people least perturbed by Kara and Lena’s shameless PDA.

Now it’s time to meet our Bachelor,” Clark said as the limo pulled up in front of the Mansion. Clark stood waiting for the limousine’s door to open. Instead, the sunroof opened, and out popped the newest member of Bachelor nation.

This is soooooooooo dope!” Jason proclaimed happily, scoping out his surroundings through the top of the sunroof, resembling a meerkat poking out of his hole. Jason started climbing out of the limo through the sunroof as Clark helplessly looked on.

Jason, there’s a door- okay, well.” Clark gave up as Jason shimmed atop the roof of the car, then gracelessly rolled off onto the ground, landing on all fours. In the past seasons, this certainly would not have been allowed to air. Now they were trying a different approach, making an effort to portray things accurately as possible.

Jason clumsily staggered to his feet, trying to look suave and winking at Clark. “Sup, man? Is our date starting now?

Jason, I’m not a contestant,” Clark explained patiently. “I’m hosting the show.

“Our first Asian Bachelor,” Jack said mournfully. “And it’s this hot dummy.”

Sam answered, “To be fair, you kind of have to be a hot dummy to agree to be our first POC lead. At least Jason’s impervious to insults, mostly because he doesn’t really realize when he’s being insulted. And he’s nice to look at.”

“We’ll see if America agrees,” Andrea said grimly. She had been wary with Jason’s casting, convinced that their target audience would be unlikely to tune in for a lead who wasn’t a cookie cutter carbon copy of all the other Bachelors they’ve had. But she ultimately acquiesced, under the theory that they had likely already burned their core audience with Kara’s extremely unconventional season. The only hope now was to try for a new market.

“Ooh ooh ooh,” proclaimed Jack excitedly as Clark finally got Jason to understand that the limousines were about to pull up with his contestants. “Clark’s about to say the catchphrase. Let’s all say it together!”

Alex groaned. “Oh, Jack, why? It’s so cheesy.”

“Because! That’s what makes it a catchphrase!” He looked around for allies, gaze landing on Sam.

“Nope,” she said swiftly. Jack pouted and looked to Andrea.

“Not a chance,” Andrea answered.

“Oh, come on,” Jack cajoled. “Guys, this might be the last time we get to do something like this. Who knows if we’re even going to get another season? We should enjoy the moment while we can.” Silence settled over the room as they considered his point.

Lena patted Jack on his knee. “Kara and I will do it with you.”

Andrea muttered, “Love’s made you so soft, Luthor.”

“We will too,” Nia said, speaking on behalf of Brainy, who shrugged in acquiescence.

On screens Clark was wrapping up his introduction. Jack gesticulated wildly as he watched, cueing up the room. Clark clapped his hands together, and ended the intro the same way they’ve always ended it, with the utterance of a hokey catchphrase.

Let the journey begin!”

The room chorused in unison, Jack’s voice the loudest.

Jack grinned, looking around the room, at their friends, gathered together on this peaceful, mundane evening that would not be deeply appreciated until the moment was gone, at Kara and Lena next to one another, holding hands, radiating contentment.

“Nice.”