Looking around, she doesn't seem to spot Lena Luthor in the class. Maybe she's running a little late.
Kara takes a seat at the back row, keeping the stool next to her empty for her lab partner. Soon enough, Lena Luthor emerges into the classroom, igniting double-takes and some whispering to rise between the other students. Her eyes find Kara and the blonde is surprised to see a blanket of familiarity wash over Lena as her eyes seem to light up a little.
She takes her seat, a polite smile on her face.
"Hi," Kara smiles back.
"Shoelaces," Lena grins.
Kara laughs, blushing as she adjusts her glasses. A nervous habit she's failed to shake ever since getting them in 3rd grade.
"Not one of my brightest moments," Kara chuckles, before adding. "Not that I have very many."
"I don't have very many either," Lena humbly reassures her.
But Kara very much doubts that. Lena was a regular contestant at the local science fair competitions Alex used to compete at. The other kids used to say it was because the Luthors donated a ton of money towards the event but Alex had talked about how Lena was too smart to compete within her age division.
"We'll make a great team then," Kara jokes.
Lena smiles before the two turn their attention to Mr Edge who had begun his introductory speech.
"...I'll have you know this class is no cakewalk! You will work hard..."
"You're Alex Danvers' little sister, right?" Lena whispers, leaning a little towards Kara.
"Yeah," Kara nods, very much used to being identified by Alex. She was definitely a more prominent figure in Midvale High.
"I remember you from the science fairs," Lena says. "You used to just sit in the corner reading."
"...the final research project will take up the majority of the semester..."
"Oh," Kara says. Lena remembers her? "Yeah, science isn't really my thing."
Lena furrows her eyebrows. "But you're..."
"All the other classes were full," Kara shrugs. "It was this or-"
Lena and Kara jump as Edge's deep voice booms through the lab. The class turn their heads to look at them.
"Am I interrupting your conversation?"
"No, sir," the duo say in unison.
"Then shut it!" Edge bellows before turning around to write an equation on the whiteboard.
Kara bites her lip, shooting a wide-eyed "can you believe this guy?" look at Lena who giggles before finally peeling her gaze from the girl next to her and concentrating on today's lesson.
The bell rings to signal the end of class and the hustle and bustle of students packing their bags quickly begin.
"Remember to get in touch with your lab partners to begin planning your projects! Failing to plan is planning to fail!" Edge warns the class.
"Hey," Kara says. "I forgot to say thank you for earlier. So, thank you."
Lena chuckles. "It wasn't a big deal, really."
"Well, if you didn't help me, I'm sure people would've hounded me about it for the rest of the year," Kara explains.
They walk out of class side by side, much to people's surprise.
"It was just an accident," Lena smiles, bumping Kara's shoulder with hers.
"Yeah," Kara shies away from the friendly gesture, baffled that the most popular girl in school is acting so chummy with her. "Still, if Miss Popular hadn't helped out, I would've been a laughing stock."
"Oh my god! Miss Popular was there?!" Lena feigns shock and enthusiasm much to Kara's amusement.
As the two laugh, Kara sees James, Nia and Winn come into view. James' jaw dropping at the sight of Lena and Kara – for lack of better term – together.
"Give me your phone," Lena demands, holding her hand out.
Kara quickly obliges, watching as Lena enters her phone number into it. She dials it.
"Gotta start planning the project," Lena says. "Failing to plan..."
"Is planning to fail," Kara rolls her eyes. "My friends are here. I'll see you around, partner."
Kara makes her way to her friends, shooing them away from Lena's view as quickly as humanly possible. She doesn't need Lena thinking how weird her friends are, obviously excited at the prospect of someone like her interacting with someone like Kara.
Nia catches Kara's eyes, with a very telling look, which she ignores, willing the blush making its way onto the surface of her cheeks to settle down, because this doesn't mean anything.
So what if Nia was right about this? It didn't mean much. Not to Kara, anyway. Maybe to James, who is already babbling about Lena, firing questions at Kara.
As they settle down at a table in the cafeteria, Kara finally allows for questions to be asked.
"So you're her lab partner?"
"Poor Lena. Is this individually marked? She's kind of a genius, you know."
"Thank you, Winn."
"So did you mention me?"
"And how exactly would you come up in conversation, James?"
"Kara! That's the wingwoman's job!"
Kara shrugs. How was she supposed to know she'd really have to play wingwoman for James? It's not exactly something she's done before either. Nevermind for someone like Lena. This is completely new territory for her.
"Look, James," Kara says. "It's AP Chemistry. We're balancing equations, not braiding each other’s hair."
"Why not?" James whines. "Come on, Kara. Please do this for me."
Kara sighs. "I don't know, James. I mean... I really just want to pass this class."
"Okay, hear me out," James says. "You help me get to know Lena and ultimately ask her to prom-"
"To prom?!" Kara chokes out.
"To prom!" James holds a finger up to silence her. "And I will pull all the strings I can pull and get my big shot uncle in National City to talk to people who know people who know people in CatCo to get you an internship there."
Kara pauses, catching her breath a little.
She knows how near impossible it is to even get close to applying for an internship at a company like CatCo, at a place like National City. It was her dream to be a reporter. She isn't very clever or very good at a lot of things like her sister Alex is. But this? She isn't just good at it. She's made for it.
Which is why it sort of hurts that James would hold her dream career over her - all for a prom date.
Nia speaks up first. "James! Why wouldn't you just do that for Kara anyway?"
"I would!" James retorts. "And I will. But I could really use your help."
"You really like her?" Kara asks.
"Yeah," James responds without missing a beat.
Kara purses her lips.
The things she does for friends.
"Okay," Kara nods, determined. "I’ll get your girl."
Walking through the parking lot, Nia and Winn quietly chat as Kara loses herself in the thought of playing matchmaker for James and Lena.
"Kara," Nia pulls her away from her thoughts.
"What's up?" Kara says, still a little distracted.
Nia nods and directs her attention towards Lena and her friend, Sam, who were stood a few feet from Kara's truck. As coincidence would have it, Sam's convertible is parked beside her ugly truck.
How convenient. It's as if the universe had attached opposing magnets onto her and Lena.
Lena smiles at Kara.
"Hi, shoelaces," Lena jokes.
Kara quickly checks her shoelaces are done properly before shaking her head, a grin forming on her face. Nia and Winn raise a suspicious eyebrow at the... weirdness of it all.
"Is this yours?" Sam asks, pointing at the rundown truck.
"Uh, yeah," Kara says, embarrassed. She steels herself for whatever snarky remark she knows Sam is about to make about her truck. But instead, she nods, clearly quite impressed.
"You've fixed her up pretty well," Sam praises. "That's a classic. Definitely worth saving."
"...worth saving!" Kara says in sync with Sam. "That's exactly what I thought!"
Nia and Winn stand awkwardly, watching the whole exchange, unsure at what's happening.
"I'm Sam, by the way," Sam introduces herself. "I'm Lena's friend."
"I'm Kara," Kara smiles, glancing at Lena who is already looking at her. "Lena's lab partner. These are my friends, Nia and Winn."
"Hey," Nia and Winn say quickly, holding back their excitement.
Kara's phone buzzes. She checks the text and groans.
"James needs me to drop something off for his mom on the way," Kara tells her friends. "I swear I love the guy, but he's so forgetful."
This catches Lena’s full attention.
"Who's James?" Lena asks, smiling a little too hard her teeth grits a little.
Kara notes the vivid curiosity she hears in Lena's question. She's intrigued by him. That's a good start.
"New team receiver James?" Sam tilts her head, questioningly.
"Yeah," Kara nods, proudly. "He's another friend of ours."
"He took the position from my ex. Really pissed him off," Sam tells them. "So I already like him."
"Well, I bet he feels terrible for taking the position. He's a great guy," Kara laughs. "I think you'd like him too, Lena."
"I'm sure I will," Lena says, with just a hint of sarcasm, she swears.
"Well, I really have to get going now," Kara chuckles nervously. "I can't be late to work. Again. See you around."
Nia and Winn fight over the front seat, Nia eventually winning, while Kara starts the truck, which thankfully does so without a hitch.
Lena steps forward, much to everyone's surprise. "I'll call you."
Kara looks at Lena with a slightly puzzled look.
"For the project," Lena explains further, nodding.
"Oh, sure," Kara giggles. "Speak soon then, partner."
And with that, Kara drives away, her truck stopping and stalling before speeding off out of school grounds.
Lena watches what in her mind looks quite similar to a junkyard scrap on wheels drive away, the small smile on her lips threatening to grow into a fully-formed grin before Sam waves a hand over her starstrucked face.
"What?" Lena asks, dumbfounded.
Sam scoffs and shakes her head. "You really do have a type."
Lena knits her eyebrows in defiance. "What does that mean?"
"All the girls you've ever talked about have been the exact same," Sam explains. "The girl from the science fair, the girl working at the juice bar at the mall, and now your new lab partner. They're all tall, blonde, and honestly, they all sound quite awkward."
"She's not awkward," Lena argues. "It's endearing."
"Right. Sure. Whatever," Sam rolls her eyes. "Point is, you have a type."
Lena considers just dismissing it but she decides to hold her breath before finally speaking out. "Is it still a type if they're all the same person?"
Sam's mouth falls open. "What?"
"They're all… maybe, sort of… Kara," Lena mumbles quickly under her breath.
Sam opens and closes her mouth, unable to find the words to even begin to express her thoughts on her best friend's revelation.
She remains quiet for a few seconds before finally bursting out into a fit of laughter. Lena stands there, unamused, arms folded, face flushed.
"You're telling me, that all this time, the girls you've had these crushes on have all been Kara? The girl I just met?" Sam asks, still in utter disbelief that Lena has never mentioned it.
"And now she's been assigned as your lab partner?" Sam exhales, as she catches her breath.
"Oh..." Sam tuts, smirking. "You are so in trouble, Luthor."