Chapter 1: Lucky Shoes
"Guys, I can't believe this is the first day of senior year," Winn exhales.
"Might be our last too the way this truck's going," Nia mumbles under her breath.
"Hey!" Kara scolds, glancing at her rear view mirror. "You're all being overdramatic. Krypton's fine."
"Yeah, come on. Kara's worked so hard to bring this... thing," James clears his throat, dodging Kara's glare. "...back to life and we should be grateful Winn's mom isn't driving us to school anymore!"
"This thing is called Krypton," Kara corrects proudly.
"What? Like the little guy from Spongebob?" James snorts, earning a laugh from the two friends at the back, already in stitches.
Kara swats his arm hard enough to get him and the two at the back to finally shut up. She's a lot stronger than she looks.
"Ow, Danvers..." James feigns pain. "If I hadn't been working on these guns..." James flexes his bicep, much to everyone's disgust.
"...over the summer, you would've caused some real bruising."
Kara jabs at his rib, causing him to flinch in reflex. "Alright. You can put those sticks away, your stop's coming up."
Winn and Nia yell out appropriate "Boo!"s as the truck stalls to a halt by the school gates.
Kara understands. Really, she does. She understands that James, having unofficially made first string for the school's football team after spending his entire summer training with them, is determined to keep his “unofficial” spot by staying in their good books.
And staying in their good books means hanging out with the cool kids (the football team) before morning practice instead of... the lesser cool kids (...the ones left sitting in the rusty pickup truck).
"I'll see you guys later, okay?" James points at Winn and Nia.
He takes a few steps before turning around and adding, "And thank you for the ride, Kara. You did a great job on Krypton."
Kara beams. "Get outta here, Jimmy."
They watch him walk away, watch him receive high fives thrown at him by his new friends. And Kara swears it only stings like a tiny little bit. But she knows how much being on the starting team means to him (even more so his dad, who still holds the school record for most touchdowns scored in a season) so she brushes it off. Winn on the other hand...
"I hate those righteous dicks."
...clearly has a problem brushing it off as easily.
Once Kara finally gets the engine to start which takes a lot of willpower and sheer concentration to block out the panicked voices in her backseat, they begin to make their way into the school parking lot.
And all of a sudden, she's wishing they'd set off earlier because the growing crowds are suddenly making her feel self-conscious of the rundown vehicle she's driving.
"Ta-da," Kara half-heartedly exclaims after pulling into park as Nia reaches out to ruffle the top of her head in proud congratulations.
"You coming?" Winn swings the truck door open.
"Give me a second," Kara says, bringing her knees to her chest as she ties her tattered sneakers' shoelaces.
They're Alex's hand-me-downs which Kara inherited after the older Danvers left for college. Granted, they're worn down and half a size too big for Kara but they're lucky shoes. And honestly, Kara could use all the luck she can get this year.
Alex was visiting from college for a weekend and the two sisters had decided that they'd spend the afternoon riding their bikes to the lake.
"How exactly are they lucky?"
"Have you ever seen me lose a race in these?"
"When I won top prize at the science fair. What pair of shoes did I have on?"
"And when I got accepted into NCU-"
"Okay, I get it!"
"Well, they're yours now."
"Alex, you were just bragging about how they're magic and blah, blah, blah-"
"I don't think I need them anymore," Alex had said, uncharacteristically shy and to Kara's shock, she's blushing. "I met someone. Think I've lucked out with this one."
That was the first time Alex had ever told Kara about Maggie.
Kara scramble out of the truck, books and bags in tow, heading into the main building. She shoves her truck keys into the deep pockets of her oversized denim jacket as she struggles to keep her books tucked between her arms.
She's trailing slightly behind Nia and Winn who have already began to make their way to their lockers when a clumsy misstep on the very shoelace she's JUST tied sends her books flying from of her arms all over the floor.
Oh god. Oh no.
This is not happening. This is cannot happening.
She begins to hear the bubbling of laughter spreading down the hall and in lightning speed she's on her knees, desperately collecting her books one by one, when she realises another set of hands are helping her.
"Are you alright?"
Her eyes look up to meet soft green ones. She's stunned for a split second, like a line of electricity ran from her chest to the pit of her stomach.
Quickly shaking herself back into consciousness, she stands up, the girl in front of her - none other than the most popular girl in Midvale High, Lena Luthor herself, who seems just as flustered - following suit.
"Are you okay?" Lena asks.
"Yeah," Kara huffs. "Yeah, I'm fine."
Lena lets out a visible a sigh of relief which Kara would've noticed had she not been busy making sure none of her textbooks were damaged. They cost Eliza a lot of money.
"Organic Chemistry Edition 3," Lena reads out, a little breathless. "You're in Mr. Edge's AP class too?"
"Uh, yeah," Kara replies, grinning awkwardly.
"Me too. Here," Lena hands over the textbook.
"Thank you," Kara says, meeting the green eyes that haven't seem to have looked away from her yet.
As if reading her mind, Lena glances down at Kara's old sneakers and the blonde is filled with pure embarrassment that - Lena Luthor who is wearing black, runway-ready, leather boots - is looking at her please-throw-them-away-already-Kara sneakers.
"Your shoelaces are undone," Lena points out, smiling, before quickly returning her eyes to Kara's face.
"I think I gathered that with the whole tripping in front of the school and all," Kara giggles, quite uncomfortably now because why is Lena still staring at her?
Lena laughs before turning her head as she hears her name called.
"I... have to get going now," Lena says. "See you around."
"See you," Kara nods, still a little starstrucked.
And with that, Lena walks away, her lingering perfume the only proof the whole exchange even happened.
"You expect me to believe that Lena Luthor actually spoke to you? Like, Lena Luthor, Lena Luthor?"
"I'm not repeating myself again, James," Kara sighs.
"It was straight out of a movie is what it was," Nia snorts. "They were in the middle of the hallway just… gawking at each other for like five minutes."
"No, that's exactly what happened," Winn confirms.
Kara and her friends are sat at the back of their homeroom class, James on Kara's right while Nia and Winn sat on the row behind them, explaining what Nia had described as a "meet-cute" to James.
"Guys, it wasn't a big deal!"
"Why are your cheeks all red then?"
"Nia! I just tripped and fell in front of everyone on my first day of school!" Kara hisses.
"Right..." Nia squints suspiciously. "Or..."
"No. I fell, dropped my books, she helped me, she walked away. The end," Kara states. "And would you look at that, you made me repeat myself again."
"Kara," James begins excitedly. "You know who I've had the biggest thing for since freshman year, right?"
"Really?" Kara scoffs. "You're still into Lena?"
"Seriously?" James retorts. "Dude, it's Lena Luthor!"
Nia and Winn nod in agreement.
Kara thinks back to Lena's green eyes and how pretty she really was up close. Sure, her reputation precedes her but honestly she really thought Lena was just that girl all the guys were after but never really got. The elusive girl next door.
"You've never even spoken to her," Kara notes.
"No," James shrugs. "But you have. And you're going to be in her class too. Man, Alex was so right about those shoes!"
"Look," Kara says. "Just because I'm in the same AP class as Lena Luthor doesn't mean that I'm ever going to get to talk to her again, okay?"
"I don't know," Nia says, unconvinced. "That was a pretty solid meet-cute."
"Please stop calling it that," Kara blushes. "It was a really embarrassing moment for me."
"She does have really nice eyes, right?" James smiles. "I remember I passed by her a few times in between classes."
"I didn't really notice," Kara lies, glancing at Nia who raises a suspicious eyebrow.
Before Nia can make a smart-aleck comment, Kara quickly gathers her things to leave. "Well, I have to get to class. I'll catch you guys later."
"Put in a good word for me," James says. And Kara thinks he's being serious too.
"I'll have to do that telepathically because as I said," Kara shrugs comically. "It was a one-time encounter."
Nia blows a raspberry, dismissing the idea. "I'm calling it, she's gonna be her new lab partner or something."
Kara actually laughs genuinely at the thought of it. "Don't worry, James, if I end up being Lena's new lab partner, I'll be the best wingwoman ever."
They laugh at what seemed to Kara as such an outlandish idea before she makes her way to her first Chemistry class of senior year.
This had to be joke, Kara thinks to herself.
It had to be a joke. Because as she's staring up the pinned up sheet on the wall by the class door (titled: Lab Partner Allocation), she's wondering why her name was next to Lena Luthor's.
She reads the sheet.
Below, you will find your allocated lab partner for this year and the date of the final research deadline.
She reads it again.
Damn it, Nia.
Chapter 2: Partner
Kara and Lena are lab partners. James strikes up a deal with Kara. Lena comes clean to Sam.
I don't have a schedule for updates, sorry. But I will try and update as frequently as possible. Here's the second chapter! :) X
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
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."
We're just getting started. This one's going to be quite a rollercoaster, guys. Comments are always very much appreciated! X
Chapter 3: Brighter Hope
Kara begins to play wingwoman. Lena just can't refuse.
Here's the latest chapter – hope you guys are enjoying it so far X
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
"Do you get it now?" Lena asks, looking up at Kara as she places her pen down.
Lena has spent the past five minutes of their Chemistry class, explaining entropic energies to Kara, in the middle of their experiment.
"Yeah!" Kara chirps. She adjusts her lab goggles, smiling at Lena. The guilt sat comfortably on Kara's chest because Lena shouldn't have to be spending any time explaining these things to her.
"Really?" Lena raises her eyebrows.
"No," Kara admits, making Lena laugh, to her surprise.
"It's alright. This is meant to be the most confusing concept to grasp in Chemistry," Lena places a reassuring hand on Kara's forearm before quickly retrieving it, the sudden flush of butterflies in her stomach, taking Lena by surprise.
"Really?" If the blonde notices it, she doesn't let it show.
"No," Lena scrunches her nose endearingly at Kara who does the same.
Lena continues to conduct the experiment, taking a glass beaker and slowly lifting it to eye level. After nodding in satisfaction, she passes it on to Kara to examine the solvent.
"I'm sorry. You must think I'm an idiot," Kara scoffs, preparing to add another solution into the solvent. "I bet you're wishing you got someone like..."
She places the beaker down, looking around at the other groups, conducting the same experiments. Kara spots one group, very clearly close to the end of theirs.
"...Andrea as your partner."
Lena chuckles in slight disbelief that Kara really has no idea.
"I don't think you're an idiot and I definitely don't wish someone else was my lab partner."
No idea that Lena has been thanking every star and every god, that she gets to actually speak to Kara now. That she gets to spend time with her and even make her laugh sometimes.
"I've just never been so good at this stuff like the rest of my family is," Kara blushes, embarrassed to admit this. "I think I'm more of a creative."
"Nothing wrong with that," Lena shrugs. "I enjoy your articles for the school paper."
"What?" Kara snorts. "You read the school paper?"
Because who the hell reads the school paper? Sure, her mom did. She was very proud and she'd kept every single copy that Kara was featured in. And Alex, sometimes. Maybe her friends too. But no one else seems to care about it.
"Doesn't everyone?" Lena asks.
Okay, she'll admit it. Lena only really began reading the school paper last week after she spotted Kara Danvers' name printed on the byline on a copy that Sam was shredding to remove gum from the back of her shoe.
"Go get another copy," Lena insists.
"What?" Sam scoffs.
"I want to read this," Lena snatches the copy from a startled Sam.
"You never read the school paper," Sam points out.
"Yes, I do."
"No, you don't? Let me see that," Sam snatches the paper back, her eyes scanning it before realisation washes over her. She taps the author's printed name and shakes her head. "You're unbelievable."
"No. Honestly, I thought only my friends read them," Kara says.
"The ones who came before may wash their hands of blame for the current state of our society, but we hold on, with firmer grasps, and brighter hope for tomorrow."
Lena has read Kara's piece many times, but those particular words had been her favourite by far. She blushes as she watches Kara trip over her words, struggling to comprehend that Lena had really just quoted her article to her.
"Wow... I mean..." Kara lets out a nervous chuckle.
"I've embarrassed you," Lena says apologetically. "But you shouldn't be. You're very talented, Kara."
Kara smiles so brightly, her eyes crinkle in the corners. "Thank you. That really means a lot."
Before Lena can spend a second more admiring how Kara had seemed to light up like a ray of sunshine, Edge's bellowing voice warning them of how much time remains in the lesson, pulls her out of her trance.
They continue the experiment, completing it successfully and recording their findings. As they begin to pack up, Kara spots James, Winn and Nia passing by their classroom.
Kara's eyes widen as they all begin to wildly gesture at her. Thankfully, Lena sits opposite Kara today, her back turned to the door.
James acts out his question. Lena. Going. Football game?
Kara shrugs. She had completely forgotten that James had pressed her to get Lena to come to his very first game as a starting receiver.
The group begins to gesture for Kara to ask Lena. 'Now!' James motions.
Before Kara and her friends can continue their stupid game of charades, Edge marches up to the door and slams it shut without a single word.
"So...," Kara begins, clearing her throat. "First game of the season tomorrow night."
"Ah, yes. So I've heard," Lena tries her best not to roll her eyes. "Although I can't say I'm that all excited for it. I never understood the fuss."
Kara cringes. James was more than the sports he plays, sure, but it's a big part of him. Lena not being interested in football is just gonna make things a little bit tricky.
"Me neither," Kara laughs. "But my best friend James... is um, he's just made first string so I kinda have to go for support."
"Yes, you mentioned," Lena sighs, Kara's best friend James is really quickly becoming Lena's least favourite topic. "Good for him."
"Yeah, he's worked so hard," Kara says, her words dripping with admiration, it sort of makes Lena's stomach turn. "We barely saw him over summer. But that's really just the kind of guy he is, you know? Really gives it his all. That's one of the best things about him."
Lena nods, keeping her gaze focused on the equations she's noting down. Is she pressing down with her pen a little too hard? Lena gives it her all too. She worked hard over the summer too, actually. James isn't special.
"You should come along."
"Only if you want to," Kara quickly adds. "I get it, you're not really into all of that. And you probably have better things to do than-"
"I'll come and watch."
"You will?" Kara blinks.
"Yeah. I mean, just because I don't care so much about the sport, doesn't mean I can't show my support for my school team, right?" Lena smiles. "Go, Unicorns."
"White stallions," Kara shakes her head. "But very close!"
"So she's really coming?" James asks for the millionth time.
"Well, she said yes," Kara replies for the millionth time.
"Not surprising," Nia chimes, more to herself, in sing-song.
"No, actually it really was," Kara insists. "She doesn't really care much for it."
"So she's coming because..." Winn wonders as he takes out books from his locker.
Kara shrugs, a little cocky now. "I don't know. Maybe I'm just that good."
"Yes!" James hugs Kara, lifting her up from the floor. "Kara, you are amazing. I'm gonna have to be on top of my game. Will you introduce me while I'm in my kit? Chicks dig that, right?"
"Firstly, Lena isn't some chick, James, okay?" Kara throws a light punch on James' arm as he puts her down. "And she's not easily impressed by jocks either, so you need to find another angle."
"Okay, so what's her type? What is she into?"
Kara sees Nia and Winn throw each other a knowing look. She was very much used to the duo seeming to have their own secret language, so she quickly dismisses the fleeting thought that they actually might know anything about what Lena Luthor is into.
"Honestly, it's hard to tell. I don't know. I mean, we talked about literature for a bit?"
"Literature? Like books?" James asks, eyes squinting in slight disgust. "Man, I don't know anything about that stuff."
"Chill out, alright? I've got a ton of classics at home," Kara says. "I can talk you through a few of them. We got this."
"Since when does Lena Luthor attend high school football games? You said they were pointless."
Lena and Sam had decided to hang out at the Luthor manor after school. Sam, as always, has no trouble making herself at home and helps herself to the fridge's content.
She grabs a bottle of water and a cereal bar before taking a seat across Lena in the kitchen island.
"Well, it's our last year of high school," Lena says nonchalantly. "I figured it might be nice to experience some of it."
"Sure," Sam nods. "Are we really gonna do that thing?"
"The thing where I keep pretending I believe you or are you actually gonna tell me why we're going to a football game tomorrow?"
Lena drops her shoulders. She really can't keep anything from Sam. "Alright. Kara invited me."
"There we go."
"Couldn't say no," Lena continues, helpless.
"I don't get you, Lena. Just ask her out."
"No," Lena says adamantly.
"Why not?" Sam asks in genuine frustration. "Come on, you're Lena Luthor. There's absolutely no way she'd say no."
"She's into someone else," Lena exhales.
"How do you know?" Sam takes a healthy bite of her cereal bar.
"She invited me to her best friend James' football game," Lena huffs, using air quotes around the words 'best friend'. She hates that she had to talk about this. "I don't know. If you'd just heard the way she talks about him... I don't stand a chance."
"But if she knew that you-"
"No, Sam. Look," Lena scoffs, hoping that her smile would mask the soft sting she now feels in her chest. "I'm a big girl, okay? I can deal with a little crush. I'm fine."
"Little. Right," Sam rolls her eyes, talking with her mouth full. "Lena, who are we kidding here?"
"I don't know what you want from me, Sam."
Sam takes a drink of water, before speaking again. "Listen. All I'm saying is that you deserve to be happy. And you seem happy with her," Sam says. "So... it's a simple equation, Lena."
"It's not that easy."
"But it is that easy," Sam counters. "And I think that freaks you out."
Alright, Lena has had enough of Sam probing into her brain.
"I didn't ask for you to play my shrink, Sam," Lena pinches the bridge of her nose, Sam's words echoing in her head. "I'm just asking you to come to this damn football game with me so it's not awkward. Please."
Sam sees that Lena is frankly more upset that she's letting on so she drops it. "Right. Yes," Sam throws her hands up in surrender. "I'd be happy to go."
But not before one last jab. "Guess I'll chaperone your date."
"Sam, shut up."
Thank you for reading and for leaving comments, guys! See you at the next chapter X
Chapter 4: Hallway Glances
Friday isn't everyone's favourite day. Lena and James officially meet.
Responses have been amazing – as a thank you, I'm uploading this new chapter a little earlier than planned :)
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Lena hates Fridays. Loathes it.
There. She admits it.
Her parents travel to Metropolis every Thursday night for business so she wakes up to an empty house every Friday morning. Not that she sees a great deal of her parents anyway, but it was nice to know they were home. Even if the most they can usually give Lena is a few sentences in between business phone calls over breakfast and a kiss on the cheek before she leaves for school.
That... and the fact that Lena doesn't have Chemistry with Kara on Fridays.
Which leaves her to settle for quick glances and polite smiles in the hallway. It beat never seeing the blonde at all, of course. And she will take what she can get. But once Lena had gotten used to being in such close proximity to the warm, homely sunlight that is Kara Danvers, it has become near impossible to not want to be in her orbit all the time.
So, yes. Fridays sucked.
Getting their books ready for the day, Sam talks animatedly about her upcoming family skiing trip, while Lena throws glances at Kara who – a knife into Lena's heart – is looking so... effortlessly beautiful laughing with her friends.
It's moments like these that Lena wishes that she had met Kara sooner. Wishes that they had grown up together so she'd feel just as comfortable and carefree in Lena's company as she seems to be with her friends right now. As much as Lena enjoys the little time they get together in class, she finds herself wondering what it might be like to spend time with Kara just because she wanted to and not because some pinned sheet told her that she had been assigned as Lena Luthor's lab partner.
Granted, she did invite her to the football game tonight.
But even that felt more like a formality. Which Lena supposes is better than the other possibility: that Kara is so damn proud of James that she was bursting to shout it from the rooftops. Does James even have a clue how lucky he is?
If she hadn't move in during freshman year as her family established their new winery and vineyard in town, would Kara have wanted to be her friend? Could she have been the one making Kara laugh like this? Would she stand a better chance with her?
"Hey, Lena," Sam raises her voice in slight concern. "You okay? Where did you go just then?"
"Yeah, I'm fine," Lena reassures her with a tight-lipped smile.
Sam follows her gaze and gets her answer. "Go talk to her."
"What?" Because Sam may as well have just asked Lena to throw herself into shark-infested waters.
"Come on! Are you scared or something?" Sam widens her eyes encouragingly.
"Yes!" Lena states the obvious. "What am I supposed to say?!"
"I don't know," Sam says. "You'll think of something."
Before she even realises what is happening, Sam links her arm around Lena's and is marching the both of them towards Kara.
"Winn, what the hell are you wearing?"
"What? You've never seen a pair of suspenders before?" Winn scoffs, spinning around to show off his interesting choice of wardrobe.
"You know what? I have," Nia taps a knowing finger against her temple. "We went to visit my grandad at his retirement home a couple of weeks ago."
Kara chortles, bringing a hand up to her mouth in an attempt to hide her laughter.
"That's funny," Winn deadpans. "I didn't see anyone complaining when Leo was rocking it in Titanic."
"Yeah, but he died," Nia laughs.
As Kara lets out another laugh, James joins the group, sporting his brand-new varsity jacket. Still a very strange thing to see for them to see. But evidently, still not as strange as Winn's fashion homage to young Leonardo DiCaprio.
"Hey guys-," James stops in his tracks. "Woah. Those are some very high-waisted pants."
"Terrifyingly high-waisted," Kara adds, still giggling.
"Dangerously high-waisted," Nia layers on.
"Guys, come on!" Winn places his hands on his hips in annoyance. "It's making a come-back. Trust me!"
"Well, I think it's dope," James examines the elastic bands of the suspenders.
He pulls before quickly releasing them, making a sharp snapping noise against Winn's back.
"Ow! Quit it!" Winn swats James' hand away, while Kara and Nia double in halves, laughing.
He does it again, Winn trying his best to squirm away, his own laughter now betraying him. "Seriously, stop it!"
Not a lot changes when you've been friends since diapers, Kara notes. The squabbling included, apparently.
"Alright, alright. I'm sorry," James finally says, catching his breath from the fit of laughter and throwing a friendly arm around Winn's shoulders.
"Psst, guys," Nia suddenly hisses. "2 o'clock, incoming."
"What?" Kara panics.
She takes a quick look and sees Lena and Sam making their way over to them.
"Oh, shit. Is she coming this way?" James freezes before looking at Kara like a deer under headlights. "She is. How do I look?"
"You look fine!" Kara says through gritted teeth. "Will you stop flexing your muscles. You look like you just ruptured your spleen."
"Hey, Kara!" Sam chimes.
"Hi, Sam," Kara greets cheerfully. "Hey, Lena."
"I... just wanted to have a look at the files we worked on yesterday?" Lena says in one breath.
"Oh yeah, sure!" Kara turns her back to search her embarrassingly messy locker for the Chemistry folder. "I have them here... somewhere."
"Hi, I'm James," James stumbles his way past Winn to introduce himself.
"Ah," Lena says in an icey tone. "I've heard a lot about you."
"All good things I hope?" James raises an eyebrow. That boyish grin he reserves for girls still plastered on his face, Kara is sure of it.
Kara continues to search through the many loose sheets and books. She swears she's trying not eavesdropping, but it's hard not to when she's literally standing between them.
"Really good things," Lena replies. "Big game tonight. Are you nervous?"
"Well, first game of the season. Will you be there?"
"I'll be cheering from the sidelines."
"Good, good," James nods. "It should keep the nerves at bay, then."
Before James can embarrass himself by putting "the moves" on Lena too early in the operation, Kara decides to be a good wingwoman and end their interaction. She's witnessed "the moves" and they definitely will not be working on someone like Lena.
"Found it!" Kara exclaims, holding up the folder and moving to become the divider between James and Lena. "Here you go."
"Thank you," Lena says, green eyes warming Kara's blue ones. "I'll see you guys tonight then. Bye, Kara."
"See you later," Kara smiles.
"Yeah. See you tonight," Sam echoes, an amused look on her face as she and Lena make their way to their own lockers.
"Wow," James says, breathless. "She's incredible. Kara, you're incredible. She was flirting with me, right? Did anyone else sense some tension?"
"You said about five words to each other. Let's not go crazy, okay?" Kara laughs, hesitantly. "Head in the game, Jimmy. You got a game to win tonight!"
"You're right," James nods, a huge smile on his face. "I'll catch you guys later. White Stallions! Woo!"
And with that, he leaves them, running into another friend from the team, sporting a matching varsity jacket.
"Okay," Nia begins as soon as she's confident that James is totally out of earshot. "Was it just me or was Lena definitely not flirting with him?"
"Hey! I'm working on it, okay?" Kara says, defending her wingwoman abilities. Are they forgetting she got Lena to agree to watch James play football tonight? "You guys will see. Before Christmas break, Lena will be head over heels in love."
"With who though?"
But Kara had been too distracted to hear Nia's remark. "What was that?"
"Nothing," Winn chuckles. "She said with... out doubt... bro."
Kara continues to dig through her locker, preparing her things for the day. She picks up her Chemistry workbook, feeling a small pang of disappointment that she doesn't have class with Lena today.
Of course, Kara was the last person to see this coming. That she'd actually end up becoming somewhat friends with the most popular girl in school.
As Nia and Winn talk amongst themselves about the new show they're watching, she looks behind her locker door to get a full view of Lena Luthor standing with Sam. She watches as other students walk by them. Those who aren't already staring, taking a double-look at Lena. It must be a common occurrence because neither Sam or Lena, herself, pay attention to it.
Kara thinks she understands it now. Why James (and probably half of the student body) would give an arm and a leg for a shot at being with Lena. She wonders what it must be like to be that pretty without even having to try. To be so intimidatingly beautiful and smart that you stand out in the best way possible.
And the madness of it is that on top of all those things, she's kind too.
Kara, personally, has never really felt that way about herself. If anything, she sometimes feels so invisible, she may as well be fading wallpaper.
For a split second, Kara allows herself to want that kind of gravity for herself, to imagine having it. Even if only one person – just one person – ever gets to see her in that kind of light.
See you at the big game, guys :) Coming in the next chapter – as always, your thoughts and comments are much appreciated! X
Chapter 5: Game On (Part 1)
Lena is overdressed and a little lovesick. Kara is oblivious.
I've had to split this chapter into two so the next chapter will be uploaded very soon after this one :)
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Lena and Sam arrive at the football game, a good ten minutes before it's due to start.
"Remind me again why you're wearing that? You look like you've stepped out off Chanel's Autumn-wear collection," Sam scolds Lena. "It's a school football game. I specifically said to dress warm."
But having never been to a single football game at school, Lena had no idea what someone's supposed to wear to it. So, she decided to dress like she was going on a date.
Not that she was assuming this was a date or anything. That would be absurd. If she was taking Kara out on a date, she'd take her somewhere a lot nicer than the school football field.
"This trench coat is warm," Lena fires back. "And new. And for your information, the reason it looks like it's come right out of Chanel's Autumn-wear is because it did."
Lena smirks, ignoring Sam's judging gaze. Always better to be over-dressed than under. A golden Luthor household rule.
"I can't believe how many people are actually here," Lena knits her eyebrows. She's taken aback by how popular this event actually is. "All for football? It's a little... lame."
"I can't believe you're only here for a girl," Sam remarks. "And she isn't even a cheerleader. Now that's lame."
"Will you drop it? I know you only agreed to come with me because you're hoping to bump into Ben."
"Well, that's expected from me," Sam shrugs. "For you, on the other hand, it's quite funny. Who knew there was this romantic side of you?"
Lena rolls her eyes. Why does she ever tell Sam anything?
"Less talking, more looking, please. Do you see her yet?"
"Yup. Right over there by the team benches."
As they walk towards them, Lena feels her heart skip a beat at the sight of Kara looking adorably snug in a big puffer jacket, a pale-blue knitted scarf around her neck, and a beanie that Lena knows anyone else would look ridiculous in.
Her hair is braided in two low pigtails, Lena noting how the escaped strands of hair frame her Fall-flushed face so delicately.
Lena feels the now familiar flutter in her chest and this time she welcomes it. No use struggling against it anymore. Her heart won't stop doing that that any time soon, she figures.
"Lena! Sam!" Kara exclaims, a huge grin on her face. One that Lena automatically reflects.
Lena had been so distracted by how different – more beautiful, something Lena didn't know was possible – Kara looked under the football field's headlights instead of the harsh white light of their Chemistry lab.
"Hi," Lena breathes. She takes in the two army-style face paint streaks across Kara's cheeks, giving her an amused chuckle. "You look... great."
"Thank you," Kara giggles. "So do you but you're missing something. Wait here."
Lena throws a worried glance at Sam who only smiles and bumps her shoulder with hers, reassuringly.
"Alright, stay... still," Kara returns, face paint in tow.
She steps into Lena's space, close enough that she can smell Kara's sweet perfume as she tries to keep her cool.
"Oh," Lena blushes. Kara goes ahead and applies matching face paint on Lena's cheeks. "Okay."
Lena feels her face flush as Kara's fingers touch her skin.
Keep it together, Luthor. What the hell's the matter with you?
Once satisfied with her work, Kara then begins to move towards Sam who is very quick to decline. "Oh, no. I don't think so. This foundation is very expensive."
Kara laughs, her eyes growing in excitement when James comes into view, fully kitted and ready for the big game.
"Look at you, Olsen!" Kara gasps. "You're really a Stallion now."
James shakes his head, throwing an affectionate arm around Kara who leans into him like they had done this countless of times. "Don't you mean a Unicorn?"
James raises an eyebrow at Lena, playfully before receiving an elbow to his side from Kara.
"You told them?" Lena squints her eyes at Kara, feigning hurt.
"It was funny!" Kara laughs. "I'm sorry, Lena."
Lena joins in Kara's laughter and shakes her head, embarrassed. She should feel a little stupid but all she can think about is that Kara has actually talked about her to her friends. The thought that she exists in one of Kara's stories brings Lena an inexplicable sense of happiness.
As pathetic as that may seem to anyone else, Lena is edging closer and closer past the point of no longer caring.
"Wait, you thought the school mascot was a unicorn?" Sam knits her eyebrows, looking at Lena in disbelief.
"We're gonna go find Nia and Winn," Kara tells James. She jumps, throwing her arms up to embrace him. "Good luck out there!"
"Yeah..." Lena coughs as James then stares at her expectantly. Lena was not about to give him a hug. "Break a leg?"
"That's for the theatre, you dumbass," Sam mumbles, rolling her eyes.
"No, she's right!" Kara who is now very clearly pumped up, yells. "Go break some legs!"
"There won't be any leg breakings, thank you," the team coach interrupts as he walks past the group.
"Sorry, coach," Kara apologises. "It was a figure of speech."
Waiting til the coach has turned his back, Kara very quickly shakes her head at James, comically. "It wasn't a figure of speech!"
"Get outta here," James laughs.
Lena's eyes are on Kara as she and James begin what looks like a fairly elaborate secret handshake. She keeps her gaze on her before she feels James looking at her.
He smiles gently at Lena.
But he lets his gaze linger a second too long for comfort, and Lena suddenly feels paranoia creep in along her spine.
She knows it's very unlikely but has James discovered the secret crush she has been harboring on his best friend?
"Good luck out there," Lena wishes him, playing it cool.
Before James can respond and before she can spiral into her own head, Lena pushes through the attacking thoughts and follow Kara and Sam up the steps of the bleachers.
"What took you guys so long?" Winn asks, taking little steps on spot to try and keep warm.
"We were wishing James good luck," Kara says.
"Ooh, did he get his good luck kiss?" Winn cooes.
Kara glares at him, eye quickly darting towards Lena to remind him that she is literally standing right there. To Kara's relief, Lena doesn't seem to have heard Winn's joke. If she does, her stone-cold expression, eyes fixed directly on the other side of the football field, gives away nothing.
The crowd erupts into loud cheers as the game announcer's voice booms through the speakers.
"Let's go Stallions!" Nia cheers, as each team run into the football field to take their position.
"Oh my god," Sam gasps dramatically. "Is that Ben?"
The group turns their head to see a tall guy walking up the bleachers, a smug look on his face.
"Hey, girls," he says, not even acknowledging those with Lena and Sam. "Didn't think this was your scene."
Sam clenches her jaw. "Didn't think your scene was off the team either. Yet here we are."
"Sam," Lena elbows her in warning.
"Please. I'll be back on by the next game," Ben scoffs. "Ain't over til it's over, right?"
He winks at Sam who obviously believes that the most appropriate response is a sarcasting smile and raising a middle finger.
Ben chuckles, shaking his head. "Enjoy the game."
He walks on, leaving Sam still very visibly frustrated at the exchange.
"Ugh," Sam groans. "I hate that he got hotter over summer break."
"Sam, are you hearing yourself?" Lena rolls her eyes.
She is sick and tired of being dragged along in the endless cycle of on-again, off-again that is Sam and Ben's relationship.
"You dated Ben?" Kara asks curiously.
"Yeah, don't tell me you did too," Sam says. "Don't worry I won't be surprised. That man-whore has dated half the girls in this town."
"No, I didn't," Kara responds.
"Oh, thank God," Sam scoffs.
"His older brother on the other hand..." Winn mumbles.
"Winn!" Kara hisses.
"You dated William Dey? Shut up," Sam's jaw drops.
"Nice one, Winn," Kara huffs. She shakes her head. "Uh... it was barely a thing, to be honest. It was just a couple of months so... doesn't really count."
Kara meets Lena's eyes and she can't tell if she's disappointed or just genuinely surprised. But can she blame her? No one ever suspects someone like Kara ever going out with someone like William. Even Alex couldn't believe it.
"Are we here for the game or are we here to bitch about our exes?" Nia complains, Kara grateful to drop the subject.
"You're right," Kara brushes off the previous topic. "We're here to enjoy the game."
Winn claps and whistles as the first play commences. "Come on, Jimmy. Let's go!"
Kara glances at Lena again, but the Luthor's eyes are now fixed on the game in motion.
See y'all at part 2!
Chapter 6: Game On (Part 2)
Lena learns more about Kara's past. Kara wingwomans but seeds of doubt are beginning to germinate.
Here's part 2! Thank you for the responses, guys! You're the best :))
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
"I thought halftime was never coming. I am starving."
Kara jumps to her feet as the whistle signalling halftime blows.
"You're going? Perfect," Winn rubs his palms together. "Could you grab me a hotdog?"
"Ooh! Me too!" Nia chimes in.
"Sure. Let me just grow another set of arms," Kara deadpans.
"Lena will go with you," Nia says, willing Lena to nod along with her. "Right, Lena?"
"Right," Lena nods along. "I can go with you. I can look for Sam too. I don't know where she's wandered off to."
Before Kara can further object, Winn hurries them away. "Go, quick! We'll keep your seats warm for you."
Kara can't believe how comfortable her friends have become around Lena. And how quickly too. But it's nice (if maybe a little strange at times) to see how well Lena fits in.
They walk side by side to the food truck. Kara completely unaware of how close their hands swing alongside each other. That is until they accidentally touch, making Lena flinch a little. Kara notices and decides to place her hands into her pockets instead.
The last thing she wants is for Lena to feel awkward or uncomfortable around her. And though she is used to catching people's eyes, Kara feels that she may not be used to having someone so close to her.
They reach the food truck and place their orders. As Kara moves to pull cash out of her inside pocket, Lena reaches for her hand, holding it tightly to stop her.
"It's on me," Lena says.
"No. Please," Kara feels Lena's cold skin warm up against her own. "You're doing me a favor being here."
"I am?" Lena furrows her eyebrows, surprisingly amused.
"Well, you know," Kara doesn't know when Lena will retrieve her hand from hers. But she knows that this position may look a little strange so she decides to retrieve her own instead. "It's more fun that you came tonight."
Lena seem to deflate at the sudden loss of contact but Kara interprets this as relief. She opens her purse and – to Kara's horror – pays with a 50 dollar bill.
"I'm having more fun that I thought I would too," Lena grins at Kara. "Which is why these are on me. Thank you, keep the change."
Kara gives up the fight and helps Lena with the hotdogs. They make their way back to the bleachers, Kara buzzing with excitement to finally get some food into her system.
"Where did Sam go by the way?" Kara asks.
"She said she needed to get something from her car but that was 20 minutes ago..."
Kara nods. In her peripheral vision, she can see Lena glancing at her uneasily. She's beginning to notice that she does this quite often.
The thrown glances. Like she's trying to read Kara's mind, like she's an equation on the Luthor's workbook.
The reason for it though is something Kara still has yet to figure out. Kara's guess is that maybe she's just not used to being friends with someone closer to the bottom of the high school food chain.
"So you and William, huh?" Lena begins, in a tell-me-more gossip magazine tone.
Kara laughs. "Oh, no!"
Lena laughs along before asking, "Why did you split up?"
Kara chuckles but her eyes remain a little distant.
"I'm sorry," Lena retracts. "I crossed a line. You don't have to answer that."
"No, it's okay," Kara insists. "He, uh, moved away. For college, so yeah. He ended things."
"He ended things?" Lena exclaims. "Seriously?"
"Seriously," Kara confirms.
"He's an idiot."
"Oh, of course," Kara rolls her eyes, jokingly. "Because I'm such a catch."
Kara looks at Lena whose expression holds no sign that she's joking.
Kara opens her mouth to speak but her eyes catch something that stops her in her tracks. "Is that..."
"I think I've found Sam," Kara announces half-heartedly.
Lena turns to follow her gaze and her shoulders drop.
"Lena?" Kara attempts to stop Lena as she marches towards Sam. "Wait!"
Kara has to jog just to keep up with Lena, who she notes is extremely fast when angry.
Sam is with Ben. Underneath the bleachers, tangled up in each other's arms. And... ugh, making out.
"Really, Sam?" Lena yells.
"Ah! Lena!" Sam jumps, pushing herself off of Ben, her wide-eyed expression bearing much inkling to a deer caught in headlights. "Hi, guys. Uh... you know Ben."
"Hi," Ben smiles hazily.
"What the hell are you doing?" Lena grits her teeth.
"We were just..." Sam scratches her head, thinking of a good-enough response. "Catching up."
Ben shrugs at Lena who Kara is afraid may just punch him on the nose if she doesn't get them out of here as quickly as possible.
Kara passes the hotdog she had been carrying onto her left hand.
"Well...," Kara very tentatively takes Lena's arm with her now free hand. Lena's eyes fall where Kara touches her and then up to her blue eyes.
Kara smiles lightly, she motions for them to leave. "We're gonna be back at our seats. Watching the game. Halftime's about to end so..."
Lena sighs. "We'll talk later."
Kara and Lena walk back to their seats, the blonde doesn't let her go until they're close to their seats. Winn and Nia cheering as they see them come into view.
"What took you guys so long?" Nia questions, taking the hotdogs from Lena and passing one to Winn.
"Nevermind that! What's the score?" Kara changes the subject.
"Well, the scoreboard's glitching," Winn says. "But we're winning by A LOT. Thanks to James."
"Guys! Look, James has the ball," Kara screams. "He's running. Is he going all the way?"
The commentator's voice crackles through the speakers. "...here we see Olsen. Yes, you heard that right, folks. Another Olsen on the field after 24 years..."
"Come on, James!"
The four of them are now on their feet, yelling and screaming for James to keep running.
"Let's go, James!"
"Following in his father's rapid, rapid steps, as he bolts it all the way to score a TOUCHDOWN!"
The crowd goes wild! Without a second thought, Kara pulls Lena into a tight embrace, much to the other girl's surprise. Kara freezes realising what she's just done. But before she can pull away, she feels Lena's arms tighten around her as she hugs her back.
As they finally let go, Kara is met with Nia's amused face. But before she can ask why she's looking at her like that, Winn pulls Kara in for a lung-squeezing bear hug in celebration.
Post-game celebrations are taking place in the local diner. Sam, who had meant to be Lena's ride home, has bailed to catch a movie with Ben.
"Tell me you're joking, Sam."
"I already said sorry, okay?" Sam insists.
"Aren't you both tired of this...," Lena gestures between Sam and Ben. "Back and forth thing?"
"Well, I think it's more of a..." Ben chuckles. "Will-they, won't-they, type of situation?"
"You owe me big time," Lena pulls Sam closer and hisses under her breath.
"Actually I think you owe me big time," Sam smirked before calling out. "Hey, Kara! I'm heading off now. Do you mind giving Lena a lift to the diner and dropping her off home later?"
Lena blushes furiously.
Kara nods, making her way towards them. "Sure, no problem."
"Are you sure, Kara?" Lena asks.
"Yeah," Kara shrugs then knits her eyebrows. "If you don't mind my truck being a little old and... well, old."
"Of course she doesn't mind it," Sam answers for Lena. "Now you kids don't have too much fun, alright? Catch you guys later!"
Lena is surprised at how easy it feels for her to be around Kara's friends. She listens intently to their stories. James talking them through the gameplays they executed, Winn and Nia telling childhood stories and explaining the inside jokes to Lena who soaks it all in.
But she pays special attention to Kara. The stories she contributes, the jokes she laughs at, the way she would now and again ask Lena if she's doing alright.
It just feels... right.
As Winn is telling the group another story, Kara excuses herself to answer a phone call.
When she comes back, she quickly puts her jacket and scarf back on, shoving her hat into her pocket.
"I have to get going, guys," Kara announces.
A chorus of "No"s arise and Lena moves to begin to get ready to go too.
"Oh, you can stay a little longer," Kara pats Lena's shoulder. "I have to go pick up my mom from the lab."
"Oh," Lena says. "That's okay. I don't mind the detour."
"James will drop you off," Kara blurts out. "Right, James?"
"Sure!" James agrees enthusiastically. "I borrowed my parents' car when I dropped them off after the game."
"That's nice," Lena grins, quickly turning to Kara again. "But should you be driving alone this late, Kara?"
"I'll be okay," Kara reassures her. "Plus, the Luthor manor is pretty much on the way to James' place."
"Right," Lena surrenders.
"I'll see you in school," Kara says. "Get them home safe, James."
"Yes, sir," James salutes as Kara says her final goodbyes and makes her way to the door.
As the diner door swings close, Lena feels her heart drop to the floor. She watches through the windows as Kara gets into her truck.
"Is she really gonna be okay?" Lena blurts out. "Maybe I should go after-"
"Kara will be fine. Don't worry," Nia looks at Lena like she was a puppy out in the rain. "She'd hate for you to worry."
Lena nods, smiling lightly at Nia who pushes a basket of loaded fries towards her.
"Kara said you were quite upset about Sam and Ben earlier," Nia says. "So... she ordered this for you earlier."
Lena's mouth falls open a little, surprised at the little gesture. Nia shrugs, smiling.
Lena won't deny she hasn't exactly done a great job at preventing her little crush from developing any further but this isn't exactly helping her get over it either.
Loaded fries. Lena laughs to herself because it is just so typical Kara to use food to cheer up a friend.
Then, Lena's heart sinks a little. She's falling. She knows it. Feels it.
The question of if she'll land safely or if she's met with a bone-crushing end is still up for debate. The only thing she knows for certain right now is that it's too late to turn back.
The drive towards Lena's house is... quiet.
James had dropped Nia and Winn off on the way, so now Lena sits in the front seat of the car, quite unsure where to look - never mind what to say.
"So Kara tells me football isn't really your thing," James breaks the silence.
"No. Not really," Lena admits truthfully. "I surprisingly enjoyed it though."
"You did?" James chuckles.
"Yeah," Lena says. "You're very good. Have you had many scouts approach you yet?"
The radio crackles as it finds and loses signal and Lena fights the urge to just switch the goddamn thing off entirely. But in all honesty, she's not quite sure if it's the radio or the mere fact that she's sitting inches from the person who might actually hold Kara's affections, sending her on the verge of snapping.
"Not really. But my dad really wants me to play for his alma mater at NYU just like he did."
"I see," Lena replies.
What does Kara see in him? If she likes him, then Lena is determined to find out what exactly it is about him that she likes.
"My dad has the connections, I have the grades and the football abilities. So NYU is pretty much guaranteed."
Well, it definitely isn't his teeming humility.
"Which I don't mind," James continues. "Kara wants to go to NCU so it'll be nice to be close to her."
"National City?" The mention of Kara garners Lena's full attention.
"Yeah. She's got big dreams. But that's Kara," James chuckles. "If anyone's gonna make their plans happen, it's her."
"Yeah," Lena agrees. The thought of how excited Kara becomes when talking about things she really liked, making her smile. "She really is something else."
James nods. "Through all the years when we were growing up, she'd talk about just getting out of this town. And I always told her she can do whatever she wants to do. I'll always be two steps behind her."
He really does care for Kara, Lena admits. And she appreciates that about him. Even feels a little grateful that Kara has someone like him in her corner.
"She's so much better than this small town," Lena says, more to herself than anything.
"She always has been," James smiles.
They finally arrive, much to Lena's relief. James parks by the gates of the manor.
"Here we are," he announces. Lena sees him hesitate before asking. "Can I ask you a question?"
Lena feels her heart hammering in her chest. The anxiety of James possibly knowing about how she really feels about Kara now returning.
She nods. "Of course."
James chuckles, shaking his head. "I know that you really care about Kara..."
Here it comes.
"...and I just wanted to say thank you."
"What?" Lena asks.
"She was never really good at making new friends," James explains. "I'm happy that she has."
Lena is so... confused. And relieved. Is that it?
She looks at him, trying to figure out if he's being serious or not. And she comes to the conclusion: he has no idea.
She chuckles, opening the car door to let herself out. "I'm the lucky one."
"Thank you for the lift home," she says, bending down to thank James through his car window.
"No problem," James winks. "Good night, Lena."
Lena heads straight into her room and begins her nightly routine.
As she tucks herself into bed, she quickly sends Kara a text.
Hi. I had a great time. Home safe now. Hope you are too.
P.S. Thank you for the fries. Would've been better if it was shared with you.
Her phone buzzes.
Glad to hear that! Sorry I had to rush off :( Hotdogs are on me next time! :P
Lena smiles at the thought of there being a next time.
Deal :) Good night, Kara.
Kara replies a string of sleep-related emojis, bringing up a smile on Lena's face which doesn't leave her face until she finally falls asleep.
Kara smiles, rereading the messages Lena had sent her. But before she can put her phone away to resume her drive home, it begins to ring. It's James.
"Hey, James," Kara answers.
"Hey!" James says. "I just got home. I can't believe you really got me to drive Lena Luthor home. The guys on the team are gonna go insane when they hear about it!"
Kara rolls her eyes. "Well we pulled the plan off. Did you guys get to talk?"
"Yeah," James says. "About you for most of it, funnily enough."
Kara laughs. Besides her, she can't really think of anything else the two might have in common.
"So you just went straight home?" James asks.
"Uh," Kara hesitates. "Yeah."
"Okay," James says. "Well, I'll see on Monday, right?"
"Yeah. I'll see you Monday," Kara repeats. "Congrats today again! Sleep well."
"Oh, I will," James laughs. "Bye, Kara."
As the phone call ends, Kara tosses her phone in the backseat and sighs.
See the thing is, Kara very obviously is not home.
After the little act they pulled at the diner (all Kara's idea, by the way) to get James to drive Lena home after the celebration, Kara decided to just drive around town for a while. Because no, she didn't really need to pick her mom up from the lab. In fact, her mom doesn't even work Fridays.
She doesn't know why she ended up outside the Luthor manor. After leaving the diner, she had been nursing this gnawing feeling that sort of ate at her insides a little.
She doesn't know exactly what to call this feeling. Concern? Maybe that's it.
But she does know that the reassurance that Lena is home safe and sound has settled it down. After all, she did invite her tonight, it only felt right that she made sure she got home okay too. That's all.
Kara takes a deep breath and exhales.
That's all there is to it.
She thinks of Lena and... her heart, like it had a mind of its own, seems to flutter a little.
She thinks of how easy it feels to be around her, of how Lena makes her feel like she can take on anything. She likes the person she is when she's with Lena.
And then she thinks of her friend, James.
Her friend, James, who has been bending over backwards to get his uncle to pass on Kara's portfolio around his network in National City.
The gnawing feeling threatens to return as she starts her truck to leave. But she wills herself to press it down, to push it away.
It's just a passing feeling. That's all there is to it.
Kara repeats this in her head again and again until she's convinced of it.
Because there absolutely cannot be more to this.
Hope you guys have been enjoying the semi-slowburn pace but things will be moving a little quicker here onwards! :))
Your comments and responses are always appreciated X
Chapter 7: Champagne Problems
Kara puts her foot in her mouth. Lena spirals. Sam plays wingwoman like a pro.
Here's another update guys! :) Thank you so much for all the responses. I love reading them and they motivate me to get these chapters done and out for you guys as quickly as I can!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
The end of October comes swiftly and with it, the biting cold only a small town like Midvale allows.
Metropolis had never been this cold before Winter, Lena reminds herself bitterly as she and Sam walked through the parking lot and into school.
As Lena welcomes the warmth that the indoors offered, she feels another warm sensation spread quick like spilled ink inside her chest.
Kara is standing across the hall by her locker, backpack slung lazily around one shoulder and shoelaces once again (much to Lena's amusement), untied.
"Did you hear what I just said?" Sam pulls her from her thoughts.
"Yes?" Lena lies.
Even if she had been a little distracted, Lena can bet a lot of money she knows exactly what Sam had been talking about.
"So are we dressing up as Britney and J.T. for my Halloween party?" Sam asks.
"I'm not dressing up as Justin Timberlake," Lena cringes. "Why don't you get Ben to do it?"
Sam rolls her eyes. "He's insisting on being a banana. His friends are.."
Sam takes a deep breath in and out to collect herself before completing her sentence.
"...all going as a bowl of fruit."
Lena bites her lip to refrain herself from laughing.
"It's not funny," Sam warns her. "It's so dumb."
"It's a little funny," Lena admits, chuckling.
They walk to their lockers, passing Kara who smiles at them as they make eye-contact. And...
Cue the butterflies in Lena's stomach, very much loyal to their stimulus (ahem, Kara), and very much to Lena's irritation.
"Alright, you don't have to dress up as Justin Timberlake," Sam says. "But you know, you should invite your girlfriend."
Lena glares at Sam. She can't wrap her head around how she can talk about Kara with such non-chalance and in a joking way at that.
"I'm just messing," Sam scoffs. "Seriously though, you should invite her."
Lena glances at Kara who is now talking with Nia.
"You don't think it would be weird?" Lena asks, a little self-conscious.
"She asked you to come to the game last week, right?"
"That's different," Lena sighs. "It was a school event."
"And my party isn't? Half the school will be there," Sam argues.
She's got a point. Word about Sam's Halloween costume party has sort of been the talk of the school body. If anything, Kara has probably received an invitation to it already.
Lena looks over at Kara again who catches her eye. They smile at each other softly before Kara returns her attention to her own conversation. She's quickly taken aback, however, when Nia turns around and smirks at Lena.
She quickly averts her gaze to her locker, busying herself with fiddling with the combination code.
"So you'll invite her?" Sam asks again.
"Yes. Alright," Lena gives in. "I have Chemistry with her later."
"You have chemistry with her all the time," Sam raises her eyebrows.
"That was the worst one yet," Lena shakes her head.
"But you do!"
"Let it go, Sam."
"So the copper sulphate solution..." Kara bites her lip in deep concentration as they conduct a clas experiment.
"Needs to be added to..." Lena guides Kara. "There we go!"
Their working rhythm looks more like a choreographed dance as they've become more and more comfortable and in sync with each other during the past two months of being lab partners.
Kara never thought she'd ever actually find herself doing well in this class, never mind enjoying it but being paired with the genius that is Lena, definitely hasn't hurt.
"Look at us," Kara smiles brightly at Lena. "We make a pretty damn good team."
"Yes, unfortunately you're also graded on individual work," Edge interrupts.
He slams down Kara's recently graded Chemistry paper in front of her with a little too much gusto for Kara's liking. A harsh, red 'C' printed on the corner. She lets out a disappointed sigh as she turns the paper over. Out of sight, out of mind for now.
This is going to bring her GPA down if she carries on like this. Damn it.
"Hey, it's okay," Lena says, placing a hand on Kara's shoulder. "You have plenty of time to get this grade up. Besides, it's just the one paper."
Edge continues to place Lena's paper in front of her - 'A+'.
"Typical," Kara teases lightly. "Being the prettiest just wasn't enough for you, was it? You had to go and be the smartest too."
Lena blushes furiously at Kara's remark.
She suddenly becomes very aware of the flirty undertone in what she's just said. Did Kara really just say that? Out loud?
"I don't know about being the prettiest," Lena laughs. "But being the smartest? I'm a Luthor, darling. What can I say?"
"Well," Kara begins. "You can say you'll help me?"
Lena blinks, taken aback a little.
"Please?" Kara adds.
"Like tutor you?" Lena asks.
"Sort of?" Kara smiles sheepishly. "Just an extra hour after our research meetings maybe? Or not. You're a very busy person. Of course. Forget I-"
"I'll do it."
Now Kara is taken aback. "Really?"
"Yeah, of course," Lena nods enthusiastically. "Anything for you."
Lena stammers and stumbles over her words before finally stringing a coherent sentence together. "I mean, anything to help you. Get a better grade. What are friends for?"
"Thank you so much," Kara stresses. "If we weren't in lab coats and wearing hazard gloves, I'd give you a hug!"
Lena smiles tightly. "That's alright."
As the pair continue to collect results of the experiment, Lena turns to Kara.
"So... are you coming to Sam's Halloween party this weekend?"
Kara smiles. "Ah. Sam Arias' Halloween Bash. I hear it's meant to be the event of the year."
"They'll be saying that about the next party next week too," Lena rolls her eyes. "But Sam really does throw the best parties in Midvale. I can vouch for them."
Kara laughs heartily at Lena crossing her heart.
"I'd love to," Kara says. "But I'm working."
"It doesn't start til quite late," Lena says.
"And I don't finish til quite late," Kara shrugs. "My demon manager's making me stay to audit stock. I work at the juice bar at the mall. You know the one with the little tiki stall?"
"Yeah. I think I know it," Lena nods.
"So auditing stock is... counting fruit. Pretty much."
"That sounds terrible," Lena concludes. "You really can't get out of it?"
"I... really need the money for college," Kara sighs.
Kara takes in Lena's perplexed reaction to this. Of course, Lena Luthor would find the concept of working to afford college strange.
"Yeah," Kara chuckles. "Unfortunately not everyone gets the luxury of having a fat trust fund to burn through at college and then some."
Lena freezes. And Kara immediately wishes she could take her words back. She didn't intend for them to come across that way.
"Right," Lena scoffs.
"I'm sorry," Kara apologises quickly.
"No," Lena clenches her jaw. "Um. Yeah, you're right."
"I didn't mean it like that," Kara tries to explain desperately.
She's hurt, Kara notes. She'll deny it and she'll brush it off but she sees how her shoulders have stiffened and how she refuses to meet Kara's eyes.
"I'm really sorry," Kara tries again, reaching out to place a hand on top of Lena's.
Lena looks at her hand and then up at Kara's face. She smiles.
"It's fine," Lena reassures her and Kara believes that she really does mean it. "Seriously, if you don't get rid of this..."
Lena lifts her thumb up to smoothen the wrinkle between Kara's eyebrows, making them both giggle.
"...then I'll have to donate some of my Luthor fortune to get you a botox injection in the near future."
Kara laughs, genuinely relieved that Lena hasn't taken her little dig personally.
"There we go," Lena smiles at her as Kara's face softens. "Much better."
Quite convince that Kara's little slip up really has been brushed off and forgotten about, she gets back to her own work, happy that Lena was very quick to forgive.
But it doesn't slip her mind that they work in more or less silence until the bell rings and that Lena doesn't throw another glance towards her until the end of class when she says a quick goodbye, rushing out the door before Kara can say goodbye back.
Lena knows just how fortunate she is. She really does.
In the lottery of life, she had won big time. She's very much aware of the comfortable lifestyle her family could afford and of course, she's very grateful for it.
She was raised in luxurious trips abroad and lavish homes, all filled with expensive furniture, and a number of maids waiting on them hand and foot. If she's being completely honest, it wasn't until she started middle school that she realised that they may just be a little more wealthy than the average American family.
And again, she's not complaining. But the way that Kara had thrown those words at her in Chemistry...
Lena will admit, they stung.
And now, sitting in the canteen across Sam, she finds herself daydreaming of a simpler life where her family didn't own a number of businesses across the globe and a life where Lena didn't have to learn conversation etiquettes for fancy dinner parties and galas with important people.
A life where maybe she'd even have to get a part-time job to pay for college. The kind of life Kara might find more relatable.
It's an awful thing to be upset about, Lena knows this. But the reminder that she comes from a different world than Kara (and that reminder coming from Kara herself), has really affected her.
Not to say that she wishes she wasn't rich. She just wishes that Kara could see past all of that and just see Lena as... Lena.
"Hey," Sam pulls her out of her thoughts. "You okay?"
"Yeah," Lena nods, picking up a fork to prod through the salad in front of her.
"What's the matter?" Sam pushes. "Did you ask Kara to come to the party?"
"Yeah," Lena replies monotonous. "She can't make it. She's working."
Sam sits back, observing Lena for a few seconds, a worried look on her face. But Lena only continues to mindlessly poke around the shredded lettuce and tomatoes. This really isn't like her.
"Lena, what's wrong?" Sam asks.
"Nothing," Lena sighs, impatiently. "Honestly, I'm fine."
Lena knows Sam well enough to know that she doesn't believe her.
But Sam also knows her well enough to know when to push her and when not to. And this was not the time.
"Right. Okay, well," Sam backs off. "Why don't we go shopping after school?"
Lena looks at Sam endearingly. This is her attempt at cheering her up and Lena's so grateful Sam knows that this would do the trick.
Sam reads the relief in Lena's face and smiles.
"Have I ever told you that you're the best?" Lena tells Sam.
"You have," Sam nods. "But honestly, nowhere near enough."
Sam and Lena walk through the mall, shopping bags in tow and Lena is feeling miles better than before already.
Tagging along with Sam as she tries on about a hundred outfits has taken her mind off the slight internal breakdown she had earlier about the chasm that is her and Kara's social statuses.
She had ended up explaining to Sam what had happened in Chemistry.
"To be honest, Lena," Sam says. "Sometimes you do seem a little out of touch with... common people."
"What does that even mean?"
"You turned up to a school football game in Chanel," Sam rolls her eyes. "You tell me."
"What does my wardrobe choices have to do with this?" Lena argues.
"You and Kara come from two different worlds," Sam explains. "It's just a fact. I don't think she means anything bad by what she said. If anything..."
"If anything what?" Lena asks.
"If anything she probably thinks you're way out of her league," Sam shrugs.
Lena out of Kara's league – Lena finds this idea hilarious because the sheer thought of Kara ever finding out about how she really feels about her is enough to make Lena's knees weak.
"Well, well, well," Sam chuckles in disbelief. "What are the odds?"
Lena follows her gaze and sees Kara, clearing up a table by the juice bar. She's wearing her hair up in a ponytail, her pretty face glazed over with concentration.
Sam turns to Lena. "I'm thirsty."
Lena's eyes widen.
"Sam, no," she warns.
But before she can even stop her, Sam is already marching towards the juice bar, Lena frantically following behind her.
Kara sees them approaching and her face breaks out into a wide grin.
"Hey," Lena chuckles, a little breathless.
"Hey," Sam returns the smile just as brightly. "I had no idea you worked here."
"Oh, yeah," Kara shrugs. "It sucks. But it pays. Can I get anything for you?"
"Whatever you recommend," Lena says. "Do you have anything with kale?"
Kara scrunches her nose in disgust. "Sadly, yes."
"She'll have something with kale," Sam rolls her eyes. "I'll have a strawberry milkshake."
"Got it," Kara nods. "Just take a seat. I'll bring the drinks over in a second."
Sam and Lena choose a table, dumping their shopping bags underneath.
"What are we doing here?" Lena hisses.
"We're getting a drink," Sam replies. "So you really used to just come here and stalk her last summer?"
"No!" Lena protests, fighting the blush she can feel forming in her cheeks. "I'd see her now and again from the coffee shop across."
Sam scoffs. "Right. Of course. Not creepy at all."
"Shh," Lena hushes.
"Will you relax?" Sam laughs at how awkward the usual cool-girl Lena Luthor acts whenever she's around Kara.
"I hate you," Lena deadpans.
"Maybe," Sam shrugs. "But you really like-"
"Okay! Here are your drinks," Kara announces, making Sam jump a little at how she practically appeared out of thin air.
Kara places the drinks down on the table and smiles at Lena. She reaches to pay but Kara waves for her to put it away.
"It's on the house," Kara tells them.
"I don't think so," Lena argues.
Kara laughs, shaking her head. "No, it really is."
"If the pretty waitress says it's on the house, Lena, it's on the house!" Sam jokes.
"Please," Kara insists. "I still feel awful about that stupid little comment I made earlier in class."
"Kara, it's fine," Lena shakes her head, a little amused now. "You don't have to apologise with free drinks."
"Sam, a little help here?" Kara says, turning to Sam.
"Don't worry, Kara. I'm definitely not paying," Sam grins. "You're coming to my Halloween party, right? It's a costume party."
"I'm working, actually," Kara smiles apologetically, glancing at Lena.
"The party doesn't end until way past whatever time you finish working," Sam says. "Please tell me you'll swing by after work. Your friends are all already coming."
"Are they now?"
"Yup," Sam says, ignoring Lena's dumbfounded look. "Invited them all today. They said they're coming and that you would stop by after work. So..."
Lena watches Kara's face light up, which in turn makes her smile too.
"Well, if my friends have spoken for me, I guess I'd have to make an appearance," Kara gives in. "Lena, your friend is very persuasive."
"She really is," Lena is colored impressed. She could give Sam a hug right here, right now.
"Oh, some customers," Kara says, spotting a couple walk towards the bar. "I have to go. Enjoy your drinks. I'll see you guys later."
As Kara walks away, Lena shakes her head at Sam.
"You're welcome," Sam says before Lena can even utter a word.
"You're the best," Lena manages to say, despite how lost for words she is at the impressive charms Sam can pull out at any given moment.
"You gotta make your own move though, Lee," Sam shrugs, sipping on her strawberry milkshake. "Can lead a horse to water..."
Lena gazes at Kara, busy conversing with the new customers. Maybe Sam is right. She can only pine after a girl so long before she snaps. And by the way she spiralled earlier, Lena feels that it's pretty close to happening.
"And what about James?"
"What about him?" Sam asks, before realising what Lena means. "Oh! Right, no. She's not into James."
"Sam, if you just see how-"
"But I did!" Sam interrupts. "At the game? They're just friends."
Lena knits her eyebrows. "You think so?"
"I know so," Sam nods. "Trust me. In fact, I'm willing to bet 20 bucks she's not into him like that."
"20 bucks?" Lena takes a sip of her green juice before nodding. "Okay. Fine, you're on. 20 bucks says she is into him and I stand no chance with her like I keep telling you."
...that and Lena's heart is inevitably crushed because as she feared, this harmless crush on a cute blonde girl with the pretty smile has very quickly snowballed out of her control and into something more substantial and something that will definitely leave a scar.
"Fine," Sam scoffs, voice dripping with confidence. "I could really use that 20 bucks anyway. I'm going back for that cute scarf we saw earlier."
Next chapter is the Halloween party and... ugh I just can't wait to share the chapter I've planned!
As usual – your comments are welcome and appreciated! See you in the next chapter :P
Chapter 8: Halloween
Kara is in trouble. Lena comes to the rescue.
Hi guys! Here's the new chapter – the following 2 chapters are in progress and will be posted soon! Thank you for keeping up with the story and for all the reviews. Ugh. You're all amazing.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
"No, no, no. You can't seriously be watching the door all night, Lena," Sam groans as she grabs another bottle of beer, offering Lena one. "It's a party for god's sake!"
In her defence, Lena had spent a good portion of the night engaging in small talk with Sam's more sober guests. But she can't help but glance at the door every ten minutes waiting for a certain someone to make an appearance.
"No, thank you," Lena refuses the drink. She really isn't in the mood to be drinking right now.
Sam, true to her word, had dressed up as Britney Spears and to her excitement had managed to convince Ben to don a matching double denim outfit to be the 90s Timberlake to her 90s Spears.
"You look hot. Everyone here thinks you look hot," Sam says. "Just go talk to some poor guy and make him nervous. You usually enjoy that."
"No, you enjoy that," Lena reminds Sam who shrugs. "She said she'd be here."
Lena had decided to go as her favorite comic superhero this year for Halloween: Supergirl. From the red mini skirt and red knee high boots to the red cape. She has decided to pull all stops this year and put the extra effort into her costume.
"It's..." Sam glances at the clock on the wall. "9 o'clock. She said she was gonna be late. Just have fun, okay?"
As Sam is pulled away by a group of people for photos, Lena spots James by the kitchen island pouring himself what appears to be a very strong drink. Lena cringes a little as she sees that he is topless under a black cloak. The classic viking helmet is the only give-away what his costume is even supposed to be.
"James," Lena approaches him. "Aren't you driving?"
"Lena!" He exclaims happily. "You look great!"
"Thank you," Lena smiles, glancing down at his red solo cup. "How much have you drank?"
James appears to count in his head before bursting into a giggling fit. "Way too much."
"Yeah," Lena agrees. "Where are Nia and Winn?"
James lazily points towards the backyard. Lena follows his direction and sees them in matching black suits, complete with matching shades.
Lena laughs realising they're the Men in Black. Incredible.
"Lena, you have such pretty eyes," James sighs. "I always thought they were blue but they're... green?"
Lena smiles politely. Drunk guys are the worst.
Speaking of pretty eyes though...
"Do you know what time Kara gets off work?" Lena yells over the music.
James shakes his head and points towards the direction of Nia and Winn again. He busies himself with fixing a drink once again as Lena leaves him, deeming the conversation to be completely useless.
She makes her way towards Nia and Winn instead.
"Hey, guys! Are you having fun?" Lena smiles at them.
"This is the best night of my life," Winn exhales. "I'm playing beerpong with the popular kids."
"And we're kicking their asses," Nia hiccups. "You guys suck at this! You'd think you'd have had more practice."
Lena furrows her eyebrows. "Do either of you know what time Kara will be here?"
Nia and Winn look at each other with a peculiar expression.
"She's coming?" Nia hiccups again.
"Yeah," Lena insists. She's coming. Right? "Yeah. She said so!"
Winn's eyes widen at the sight of James stumbling out of the patio doors towards a couple of his football friends. "She better be. I think our designated driver's been compromised."
Before Lena can ask about Kara's whereabouts again, Winn's phone begins to ring.
Lena remains standing close by as Winn talks to Kara on the phone.
"Wait, wait," Winn says. "Slow down. What's the matter?"
Lena's eyes fill with worry as she tries to piece the conversation together. Is Kara in trouble?
"He's a little..." Winn cringes at the sight of James, now very far from sober. "...busy right now."
"Is everything okay?" Lena asks Winn, not being able to wait until the end of his conversation.
"I'll see what I can do," Winn nods. "Okay. Bye."
"Is she alright?" Lena asks again. She thinks she heard Kara crying. "What's the matter?"
Winn shakes his head. "It's her truck. She's broken down in the middle of the highway from work and the local repairs team aren't responding. Typical. And she called to ask James to get her but..."
James has now joined the drunken chorus of the football team singing a classic rock song.
"Where is she?" Lena asks, a little heated. She feels anger build up inside her as she refrains herself from storming up to James and knocking him sober.
"Uh... She's still by the side of the highway just off the mall," Winn tells her.
Lena nods. "Okay. Tell her that I'm on my way."
And without further ado, Lena rushes out of the party, her car keys in tow and calling her mother's personal assistant, Jess.
"Hi, Jess," Lena says, climbing into her car and starting the engine. "I'm sorry it's so late but I need you to get Midvale's emergency auto repairs on the line as soon as possible, please. No, I'm fine. Tell them to come to the highway junction by the mall. And tell them to be there within the next 10 minutes or they'll be hearing from my father's lawyers. Thank you, Jess."
Wasting no time, Lena slams her foot down on the gas pedal, driving as fast as she can to where Kara is. The thought of her alone in the cold - and most likely so upset about her truck (Lena knows how much she loves it) - only making Lena wish she really could fly to the other side of town in a split second like Supergirl.
Kara will not cry over a truck. She will not cry over a truck.
She's crying over a truck.
"We will get someone to you as soon as we can," the man at the emergency repairs service says over the phone.
"Okay..." Kara releases a shaky breath. "Well, can I at least get an estimated time?"
"I don't know," the man replies, boredom seeming to leak from his tone of voice. "About an hour?"
"An hour?" Kara yells. "It's dark and late and I'm here by myself. What am I supposed to do?"
"Don't you have anyone you can call?"
"Funnily enough, sir, I thought you might be of some help since you're the emergency repairs team."
And with that Kara had hung up.
She rings James first and then tries again another fifteen times - each one going straight to voicemail - before finally calling Winn in tears.
She sits inside the dead truck, her little sobs filling the silence. That is until her phone rings, startling her a little.
"Hello?" She answers in a small voice.
"Kara," Winn's voice crackles a little on the other side of the line. "Hello?"
"Winn?" Kara sobs. "Can you hear me?"
"Oh! Yes," Winn sighs in relief. "Don't go anywhere. Lena's on her way to you."
Kara isn't sure if she heard Winn right. Because it sounded like he'd just told her that Lena is on her way to Kara.
"What?" She asks.
"James can't drive," Winn explains. "Lena's coming to get you. She left like 5 minutes ago."
Before Kara can ask any more questions, she hears the rumble of a vehicle stopping nearby.
It's the Midvale Automotive Repairs team.
Kara had already prepared herself to sit inside the cold truck for an hour waiting for them - that's if they even decided to come - but here they are now.
She jumps out of her truck to greet them.
"Oh, thank God!" Kara says.
"We are so terribly sorry for the delay, Miss Luthor."
"What? I'm not..." Kara begins, shaking her head. "I'm Kara Danvers but I called about my truck earlier. I... literally just spoke to you 2 minutes ago!"
"You're not Lena Luthor?" The brawny man questions, a little confused.
"Lena? No. Why would-"
Kara's sentence is interrupted by the roaring engine of a car speeding on the horizon towards them and coming to a halting screech by the hard shoulder.
Kara's mouth gapes slightly open at the sight of Lena Luthor (in full Supergirl get-up too, much to Kara's amazement) stepping out of the sleek black Porsche, a stone-cold look on her face.
She looks terrifying. But like in the kind of way that keeps Kara's eyes glued on her. In the kind of way that makes her heart beat a little faster.
She looks incredible.
"Good evening, sir," Lena greets him coldly. "I'm Lena Luthor."
"My apologies, miss," the man stutters. "We came as soon as we could."
Lena raised an eyebrow. "Or you came as soon as I threatened that your jobs were on the line."
Kara's eyes widen as the man arrives to the wise decision of staying silent. Lena threatened them?
"Please take a look at this truck and see what you can do about fixing it," Lena commands him.
As the man proceeds to examine Kara's truck, Kara is left gobsmacked and unsure as to what's happening.
Lena marches towards her, eyes suddenly softening and her expression returning back to one which Kara is much more familiar with.
"Are you alright?" Lena asks, placing a firm hold on Kara's shoulders.
Kara sees the worry etched on Lena's face and all she can think about is how to make her feel okay.
"I'm alright," Kara reassures her, smiling to show that everything is fine now. "You didn't need to come here. The Halloween party. And you look... so good, Supergirl."
Lena blushes a little. "You needed my help so I came as soon as I could. I'm sorry I couldn't come any sooner."
"I really haven't been here that long," Kara attempts to lighten the mood but Lena doesn't smile or laugh.
"You sounded so upset. I was worried about you," Lena says, quite seriously. "When you were on the phone to Winn... I had to make sure you were safe."
Kara leaps and pulls Lena into a tight embrace, tears (this time, happy ones) welling up in her eyes at the thought that someone like Lena would go well out of their way to help her.
"Thank you," she buries her face into Lena's hair, whispering.
When she finally releases Lena from the hug, the Luthor had a very dazed and distant look in her eyes. Mouth opening and closing as if she's about to say something and Kara waits for her to.
The voice of the mechanic grounds them both and Kara snaps out of whatever daydream plane she had been on with Lena.
"Is everything okay?" Kara asks.
The man scoffs. "In all manner of speaking... this is a piece of junk."
"Excuse me?" Lena raises her voice. Kara holds her arm to calm her down.
"Where did you buy this truck?" The man asks Kara.
"I... didn't," Kara flushes red, a little embarrassed to admit this in front of Lena. "I found it in the scrapyard and the guy in charge let me take it for free. Fixed it up over the summer."
"Well," the man shakes his head. "It was in the scrapyard for a reason, that's for sure."
Kara sees Lena in quiet rage beside her and it's such an amusing sight to see, she's tempted to just let Lena's obvious wrath fall on this poor man but she knows better.
"So what do you mean?" Kara asks carefully. She knows she won't be liking the answer.
"There's no way to save it," he sighs. "But you did one hell of a job even getting it to run for that long. I'm actually impressed."
"Are you sure there's nothing you can do? There has to be something," Lena insists, desperately. "Just name a price."
"I'm afraid there's nothing we can do," he shrugs. "Miss Danvers here should be very thankful she didn't get hurt in this. You got real lucky."
Kara clenches her jaw. She feels so embarrassed that Lena had to hear all of this.
Lena inhales sharply, stepping closer Kara's side as if the idea that she might have gotten hurt actually scared her. Kara feels the guilt settle in her stomach like a heavy stone.
"So you're taking it away," Kara concludes dejectedly.
"The tow team will be here soon," the mechanic nods. "We'll have another look once we have it in the shop but I have to tell you now, it's not looking great."
"Okay," Kara just about manages to say in challenged whisper.
The mechanic walks away, mumbling about completing paperwork and following up on the tow team, leaving Kara and Lena with a newfound baggage of disappointment.
She feels Lena very slowly reach for her hand and she welcomes the lacing of fingers between hers. Kara stares at the truck she had made her passion project over the summer and the merciless sting of helplessness begins to fill her chest.
But with Lena's hand in hers, Kara feels the sting subside slightly. She focuses on how Lena's hand fits quite nicely in hers- how far from foreign it feels to be holding her hand.
And the split-second glance she takes suggests that Lena might be thinking the same thing too.
Loyal to his word and much to Kara's sadness, the tow team really does come quite quickly.
They let Kara say a short goodbye and if they found it a little strange, they don't say a word. Then again, Lena had just threatened to take their jobs away from them. Granted, it was an empty threat at most, but the Luthor name had been enough to give them quite a scare.
"This is your car?" Kara asks, bewildered as they walk towards Lena's car.
"Yeah," Lena answers meekly. The probing thought that this was all much too flashy for Kara's liking makes Lena feel a little self-conscious.
She would be proud to show it off had it been anyone else, but this is Kara Danvers.
She rushes to open the passenger door for Kara, motioning for her to get in, shutting the door after her, before quickly jogging to the other side of the car and into the driver's seat.
As the car rumbles to life, Lena watches Kara and she can't help but notice how tense the blonde appears next to her.
"Is everything okay?" Lena asks. What she would give to be able to read Kara's mind right now.
"Yeah!" Kara chirps.
Lena raises an eyebrow. "What's wrong?"
"Nothing!" Kara giggles nervously. "This car is just... really nice. I get why you wouldn't drive this into school."
"It's more of a hand-me-down," Lena chuckles, hoping the statement tones down the glitz and glam of the vehicle. "From Lex."
"My big brother," Lena elaborates, gently setting her foot on the gas pedal as they make their way back to the party.
"Huh," Kara turns her head quizzically. "I didn't know you had an older brother. I always thought you were an only child."
"He skipped a few grades," Lena says. "Got into college at 16. The Luthor prodigy as far as my parents are concerned."
Lena shakes her head, thinking about how many dinners she had had to endure with her mother constantly nagging why Lena couldn't be more like Lex.
"These days it isn't enough to be doing better," her mother would say. "You have to be the best."
"Anyway, he got a brand new car as an early graduation present," Lena says. "And I got this."
Kara scoffs. "The best hand-me-down I ever got from Alex were these ratty shoes."
Lena smiles, quickly glancing at Kara.
"But she claims they're magic," Kara adds.
"She thinks they bring good luck," Kara rolls her eyes.
Lena looks over at Kara before reminding herself to keep her eyes on the road. But it's proving to be a little difficult when she is sitting inches away from her. Close enough for Lena to just... take one hand off the steering wheel and hold hers. Just like earlier.
"And have they brought you good luck?" Lena smirks.
Kara remains quiet for a few seconds as though she's deeply considering Lena's question.
"What is it?" Lena asks once again, stealing another glance towards her passenger.
"Well," Kara sighs, chuckling lightly. "They brought me to you."
Lena blinks, tightening her grip on the steering wheel as she feels her heart hammering in her chest like it might actually rip through it.
"I..." Lena begins to say, a little lost for words.
"And you know," Kara interrupts, clearing her throat. "What would I do without you?"
Lena looks over at Kara who is already looking at her. She looks pretty under these highway lights, Lena thinks.
Kara tries to clarify. "I mean, you rescued me today. Just like a real-life Supergirl or something!"
Lena laughs, suddenly aware of how silly she looks now and how strange she must've looked to the mechanic she had been threatening earlier.
"Supergirl probably would never have threatened to have people fired from their jobs," Lena admits sheepishly.
"No, probably not. That's why Lena Luthor's my hero," Kara says as-a-matter-of-factly. "That and you let me copy your Chemistry notes."
"Well, you're very persuasive."
"I don't know if I'd survive being in Professor Edge's class without you!" Kara laughs.
Lena laughs along. "Me too. I think I would've been miserable."
"A miserable genius," Kara corrects her.
Lena sees Kara adjust her position slightly so she's now facing Lena a little more.
"So what are you going to do with all that smarts?" Kara asks curiously.
"All that smarts?" Lena smiles, scrunching her nose a little.
"Yeah," Kara smiles back. "What do you want to do after high school?"
"College, MIT," Lena answers, listing out her life plans just as she's done before. "Then I may have a few years of getting to do real, cutting-edge scientific research before I eventually have to park myself behind a desk and work for the family business."
"We have several vineyards in different towns, yes," Lena explains. "But I believe my parents would rather have me working for their tech corporation in Metropolis. So I suppose that's where all the smarts will go."
"And that's what you want to do?" Kara asks.
Lena pauses for a moment. There hasn't really been anything else she's considered doing. "Yes, I think so."
"I see it already," Kara smiles. "You as some big shot CEO living in Metropolis. I'd have to book an appointment with your assistant just to see you!"
"Of course not," Lena disagrees. "You would have free access to see me at all times! Only fitting for the best reporter in the city."
"Well then there's only one issue," Kara points out.
"And what's that?"
"We wouldn't be in the same city," Kara says and Lena's heart sinks to her stomach.
To be honest, she hadn't really thought about that part of the future. The part where Kara would potentially be further away from Lena than ever before. The part where they both leave Midvale, without the possibility that Lena might run into her in the hallway or in the parking lot after school anymore.
In her mind, Kara is always... there.
Lena decides to push this thought back for now because she's afraid she might do something stupid in front of Kara like cry.
"Yes, I suppose that would be a problem," Lena chokes, biting her lip. "James mentioned you're going to National City."
Kara nods. "Yeah. And James will be going to NYU so... we'll be pretty close to each other."
"That's good," Lena tries to say with as much gusto as she can muster but her expression must give her away.
Because Kara watches her tentatively like she can actually read Lena's mind, much to her horror.
"Are you okay?" Kara squints her eyes.
"Yeah," Lena says quickly. And before she can stop herself, the question just comes flying out of her mouth because she can't take it anymore and she really has to know...
"So... you and James?"
And now would be the best time for the ground to swallow Lena up whole, please.
"Me and James?" Kara repeats, confusion etched on her face before realisation waves over her.
Lena's heart is racing in her chest and the urge to hit the breaks and just... run away or throw up, or both, is beginning to become a plausible option now.
She doesn't want to know the answer. Except she does, she really does.
But Kara bursts into fits of laughter. Ridiculous, doubled-in-half laughter that throws Lena off slightly.
"What?" Lena asks, Kara's laugh is contagious and she finds herself laughing a little too.
"Me and James?" Kara repeats as her laughter subsided. "No. Just... no. That's the craziest thing I've ever heard!"
"It is?" Lena chuckles nervously. How has she gotten this so wrong?
"Yes," Kara nods, completely amused and perplexed. "Oh god. Imagine!"
Lena feels a weight lift off her chest and the relief it brings washes over her like fresh air. She smiles brightly at Kara who looks to be on the verge of another laughing fit.
"I really thought you and James were a thing," Lena laughs, gazing at Kara. "I feel like such an idiot!"
Kara reads the relief on Lena's face and breaks out into a smile. Her eyes seem to speak to Lena's as if reassuring her that of course she isn't into James. That Lena has nothing to worry about.
Lena mirrors Kara's gigantic grin. This is what winning the lottery must feel like, she thinks to herself.
"No, James and I are just friends," Kara says, staring at Lena with a knowing look. "Honestly, he's more like a brother to me."
"I see," Lena nods.
"But he's great!" Kara stresses. "He might come across as a bit of a douchebag but he means well, really."
Now that Lena knows the real score between Kara and James, she contemplates his character beyond the perspective of competition and she begins to see the qualities that Kara admires about him.
"I'm sorry for assuming," Lena apologises, still smiling as brightly.
"You don't look very sorry," Kara teases.
Lena could get definitely get used to this light flirting with Kara in her passenger seat.
"If it made you laugh that much," Lena shakes her head. "I'm definitely not."
They arrive at the party just in time to catch James in the middle of doing a keg stand surrounded by a small crowd of people chanting his name.
"He's busy alright," Kara cringes.
"He's just having fun," Lena nudges Kara's shoulder lightly with hers. "Look at him go!"
The truth is she now finds that it's easier to see James in a more positive light knowing that he doesn't stand a chance with Kara.
"Kara!" Nia yells, stumbling over towards them with Winn following behind.
"She's very fast when she's drunk," Winn catches his breath.
"I should probably get her to sober up a little," Kara says, before turning to Lena. "I'll see you later."
Lena watches them leave for the bathroom, Kara slinging Nia's arm around her shoulders.
"Where the hell did you go?"
Lena jumps as Sam - who seemed to have appeared out of thin air - now stands beside her.
"Sam!" Lena yells.
"Kara's here now," Sam says, her words slurring a little. She's had a bit too much to drink. "I saw her with her friends. I don't know what her costume is supposed to be though."
"She's not in costume," Lena shakes her head. "That's her work uniform."
"Oh. Ugh," Sam cooes. "Poor thing."
She knits her eyebrows together in slight confusion as she watches Lena's face light up with a huge smile. She might be a little intoxicated but she isn't blind. And it looks like Lena might summon the sun to shine hours too early with how happy she looks.
"Are you on something?" Sam asks.
"What? No," Lena scoffs.
Sam folds her arms impatiently. Lena rolls her eyes and reaches for her bag. She takes out a 20 dollar note and hands it to Sam.
"What... oh," Sam's jaw drops. "Oh!"
She snatches the money from Lena's hand and tucks it into her pocket, a smug look on her face.
"I told you, didn't I?" Sam gloats. "I knew it. I knew it!"
"You did," Lena shrugs, laughing in acceptance of her defeat. "You win."
For someone who hates losing anything, Lena doesn't feel that ugly bitterness that came with the rare times she has ever lost anything.
Nor did Lena ever think that a day would actually come where she is thrilled to have gotten it all wrong. It's strange. It all feels like everything is upside down.
Because she may have lost some silly little bet, but Lena can't help but feel like she's about to win something much, much more valuable.
The next 2 chapters will be posted soon. And it's all about to snowball from here on out :)
As always, your comments and reviews are the prime reason why I try to update as quick as I can! So of course, they're very much appreciated! X
Chapter 9: Fact or Fiction
Kara and her friends recall the events from Halloween. Sam suggests coffee. Kara and Lena get detention.
Hi guys, thank you for keeping up with the story so far and for the amazing response! Here is the latest chapter – enjoy!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
With Halloween behind them, the end of semester now looms even closer and that can only mean one thing much to everyone's true horror: end of semester exams.
Kara and her friends have decided to spend some time in the library after school to prepare.
Some getting more work done than others.
James has apologised to them a million times about his recklessness at Sam's Halloween party. He was supposed to be their designated driver but instead, Kara had had to lug his unconscious body (with the help of Nia and Winn, thankfully) into the back of his own car, and drive them home herself instead.
"I can't believe how much I drank," James groans. "I'm so sorry."
"Yes," Winn huffs, flicking through a textbook. "We know."
James had been forgiven. But all this whining is beginning to irritate Winn and Nia all over again.
"I was just so nervous to see Lena there," James continues. "I didn't even get to talk to her. I think I blew it."
Kara sighs. "You haven't blown it."
James sits up, waiting for Kara to elaborate.
"She asked me if..." Kara rolls her eyes. "You and I were a thing."
The rest of the group stare at her dumbfounded. Then they glance at each other, Nia being the first one to break out laughing, followed by James and Winn.
"You and James?" Nia snorts.
"I thought Lena was meant to be a genius?" Winn adds, a hand over his mouth to stop his giggles.
Kara eyes the librarian in a panic. "Could you be any louder?!"
"Sorry," they whisper in unison.
"And then what happened?" James whispers, leaning closer to Kara.
"I told her no! Obviously," Kara says. "And I don't know, she looked..."
"She looked what?" Winn asks.
Kara shrugs. "Relieved, I guess?"
"Relieved?" Nia scoffs.
Kara nods. She replays the night in her head. She remembers the conversation. The way Lena had carefully asked her; the way she looked as if a ton of bricks had been lifted off her chest.
There was no denying it. Lena was definitely happy to hear that James and Kara are definitely not an item.
"Oh my god," James scoffs. "She looked relieved?"
"Yes," Kara confirms. "And why else would she be relieved to know that there's nothing going on between us?"
Nia opens her mouth to speak up but Winn nudges to stop her.
"Because..." James drawls.
"Because she's into you!" Kara concludes.
"Oh, wow," James breathes, before chuckling in slight disbelief. "I... to be honest, I didn't think she was interested in me at all!"
"Makes two of us," Nia mumbles, making Winn giggle.
"Well, you know... she's a very guarded person," Kara shrugs.
She isn't not telling the truth. Not really. Lena really is a guarded person. Kara supposes she might be a little more open and relaxed and like she's comfortable whenever she's talking to Kara but that's probably just because they've spent a lot of time together in Chemistry and the odd extra sessions to complete research.
"How about we play a game of fact or fiction?" Kara proposes.
Fact or fiction is a game Kara and her friends liked to play when one is unsure or spiralling into their own heads.
It had began with Winn freaking out about his away spelling bee finals competition in Smallville.
"You've practiced as hard as you can." Kara says.
"Fact," Winn answers.
"You've beaten every other contestants leading up to this round."
"You can see into the future and know for sure how this competition ends."
"Attaboy!" Kara pats him on the back. "Now go and show 'em what a big, fat brain you have!"
James agrees. "Okay."
"You like Lena," Kara says.
"She came to support you in your first real football game."
"She asked if you're into someone else and was relieved when the answer was no."
"She's turned you down and told you that you have absolutely no chance in hell with ever going out with her."
"Fiction," James sighs. "Okay, wow. I really do feel better now."
"See! But baby steps, okay?" Kara reminds him.
"Okay," James nods. "So you think it's too early to ask her out?"
"Fact," Nia answers quickly.
Kara agrees. "She's right. I'll ask her more about the conversation when I see her tomorrow and then we'll see."
James punches the air in excitement. His face splitting into a wide grin that Kara mirrors.
A few hours later, as they pack up to go home, Kara pulls James aside for a quick chat.
"So I've actually written some new stuff that I think maybe your uncle's friends at CatCo would be interested in reading?" Kara says shyly.
"Of course, I'll pass them on," James smiles. "But I wouldn't worry so much. They all really liked the piece you did on urban poverty."
Kara freezes. They've really read her stuff?
"Wait," Kara blinks. "They've read my stuff? They specifically mentioned that piece? They said they liked it?"
James shrugs. "Yeah. I mean, that is... what you wanted me to do, right?"
"Yeah! But I thought... I thought they might go straight into the trash!" Kara freaks out a little, throwing herself at James to hug him. "Thank you, James."
This is what Kara needs. A foot on the door. Just a chance to prove that she's capable of achieving her dreams. That she's got what it takes to one day become a legitimate reporter. It may sound like such a minor thing for her work to be read by someone working at a fashion magazine like CatCo. But everybody begins somewhere, right?
James hugs her back, laughing a little.
"Just holding up my end of the deal," James jokes. "You seem to be holding up yours!"
At the mention of Lena, Kara feels her heart sink a little. She can't help but feel a little guilty. As if she's lying to Lena.
Not that she is. She's getting to know her as a friend and helping James get to know her too. And besides, Kara now knows that she's at least a little bit interested in James so it's all working out.
So why does she feel like she's getting something so wrong?
"So now you know she's not into him," Sam says, stabbing her fork into the salad bowl. "Are you finally going to put us all out of our misery and ask her out? Or am I cursed to watch you pining after a girl for the rest of my life?"
The two had decided to grab some dinner in the city after school. Lena too preoccupied with thoughts of what happened in Halloween, is too hungry to eat but orders a coffee instead.
Lena deflates a little. Maybe it was too good for her to believe that Sam is taking this conversation seriously.
"I'll give you a hint. There is a correct answer," Sam jokes, Lena staring at her unimpressed. "It's the first one."
"I think it might be too soon," Lena sighs. "Can you throw another party?"
"Are you gonna help me clean up this time?" Sam retorts.
"I'll pay for someone else to do it."
"That's what I thought."
Lena buries her face in her hands in frustration thinking back to the exchange in the car on the way to the party. She recalls how the words had left her mouth and how Kara had been so quick to dismiss the very idea of her and James being an item.
"You should've seen how she reacted when I asked," Lena says. "She looked at me like..."
"Like what?" Sam digs.
"I don't know," Lena laughs. "Like I had nothing to worry about."
Sam takes another stab into her salad. "That's exactly what I've been telling you!"
"Yeah," Lena agrees confidently. "Why did I ever worry she'd pick someone like James over me?"
"Exactly!" Sam mumbles through a mouthful of lettuce.
"So you think I should just," Lena inhales. "Just go for it?"
"What do you mean?" Sam squints her eyes. "If you mean ask her out for coffee or something, yes. 100%. If you're planning some elaborate display of feelings, maybe hold off a little."
"I wasn't planning to," Lena says.
She mentally scraps the idea of driving Kara to the marina where the family yacht is.
Sam's right. Coffee is probably a little more reasonable.
Kara rests her face on her palm, trying her hardest to stay awake in lesson.
It's a theory session in Chemistry today and Professor Edge's low voice is beginning to resemble the low hum of a white noise machine.
Lena sits next to her, looking a lot more awake and alert. She sits up, eyes fixed on the board, unblinking. If Kara didn't know any better she'd say she looked a little nervous.
Kara pulls out her notebook and rips a piece of paper. She quickly scribbles a note ("You ok?") and slides it over to Lena.
Professor Edge continues to explain the theories behind something something reaction mechanism something something and free electrons. At least that's what Kara had gathered.
Lena smiles before writing a new note and sliding it over to Kara.
Yes :) You?
Kara responds with a mini drawing of what is supposed to be herself, fast asleep on a cloud.
That makes Lena giggle a little and she adds a small drawing on the same note.
Kara squints at what Lena's drawn, a little unsure as to what it's even supposed to be. She looks at Lena questioningly.
Lena pulls the note back and labels it.
Oh, right! Kara nods before adding aliens to what is beginning to look like a masterpiece, if she may so herself.
Lena writes "We have a question for you!" inside a drawing of a speech bubble above the aliens.
Kara looks up at Lena expectantly who suddenly looks like she might throw up a little.
"Miss Danvers, Miss Luthor!"
They jump in their seats as Professor Edge's voice cut through the silence.
"A little preoccupied, are we?" He jeers.
He walks towards where they sit, eyes fixed on the piece of paper Kara couldn't put away in time.
"Too clever for my class now, Miss Luthor?" He snaps.
"No, sir," Lena gulps.
"And Miss Danvers," he turns to Kara. "Am I boring you?"
Uhuh, Kara thinks.
"No, sir," she replies.
"Nothing like your sister," he scoffs. "What a shame."
Kara feels her cheeks flush, as she feels the entire class stare at her.
"Too busy..." Edge snatches the piece of note from their table, barely giving it a second glance before crumpling it up into a ball. "Passing love notes in MY class!"
Kara remains quiet. Her best bet would be to just take the hits now. Lena shifts uneasily beside her and Kara feels so apologetic that she's being dragged into this.
"For someone who's barely passing this class, you certainly have the nerve to not pay attention," he continues, grimly. "Well... I suppose every family has the runt of the litter."
"Don't talk to her like that," Lena snaps.
Collective gasps fill the classroom. Kara sits stunned into silence.
What is going on?
"You'd find it best to keep your mouth shut, Miss Luthor," Edge threatens Lena.
"I think you'd find it best to treat students with the same respect you expect them to give you," Lena spits back.
"Lena," Kara hisses. "Stop it."
Edge, now red in the face, looks as though he might actually explode with rage.
"Get out of my class!" He bellows, shaking with anger.
"Gladly!" Lena quickly packs up her things and storms towards the door.
As she watches Lena go, Kara gets up from her seat, packs her things and follows her out.
After a few minutes of wandering around the school, in silence as Lena ponders upon her outburst in class, they eventually come face to face with Edge again who gives them both an earful and after-school detentions.
So this is where Kara and Lena find themselves. Sitting alone in an empty classroom with a teacher neither of them have met before. The teacher - bless her heart - is an old woman, hunched over a pile of test papers she is grading.
Lena sits with her head resting on her arms, sprawled out on the desk. She hates that she's in detention. She hates that she's dragged Kara into her recklessness and she hates that they're here instead of a coffee shop, like Lena had planned.
The old teacher slowly stands up and excuses herself. She walks very slowly towards the door, her papers tucked into her arm.
As she disappears from view and the door slams shut with a bang, Kara lets out a short snigger.
"What's so funny?" Lena mumbles, not lifting her head up but turning towards Kara to look at her, a little confused.
"Nothing," Kara shakes her head, smiling.
"What is it?" Lena presses.
"I've never had a detention before," Kara chuckles.
Kara has some sort of school work out. She had been busying herself on a notebook, a ballpoint pen on hand, the pen-to-paper scribbling now sounding much louder in this empty classroom.
"Me neither," Lena smiles at Kara.
"I'm sorry," the blonde looks away, fixing her eyes onto her hands in front of her instead.
"I'm not," Lena sits up. She's not sorry for standing up for Kara earlier, her detention-free streak be damned.
Kara offers a tight-lipped smile before a thought comes to her all of a sudden. "You said you had a question for me."
It had left Lena's mind that she never actually ended up asking Kara on a date. With the sudden rush of nerves coming in and the fact that it's just the two of them alone in this classroom, Lena feels... scared.
"Well the aliens did," Kara raises a playful eyebrow. "Apparently."
"Forget it," Lena laughs nervously.
She's chickening out.
She's really chickening out. Sam's going to have a field day when she finds out but the way Kara's wide blue eyes are staring at her and the way her hair cascades down one side... Lena can feel her stomach doing flips and she's afraid if she forms the words to ask her out, she very well might just throw up.
"No, go on."
As she glances down at Kara's notebook, Lena notices that she is in fact not doing school work. She's drawing.
Oh my god. She's drawing Lena's face.
"Are you sketching me?"
"Nope," Kara snaps.
Lena turns her head, a little amused.
"Okay, yes," Kara rolls her eyes. "There's nothing else to do!"
"Can I see?"
Kara flips her notebook to show Lena the current progress of her work.
And an involuntary smile fills Lena's face. It's actually looking really, really good. While she tries to get her head around how insanely talented Kara is, she becomes quite aware of how she's just staring, smiling like an idiot at Kara.
She nods and clears her throat to speak. "You better get my eyes right."
"Look at me," Kara instructs as she resumes her drawing.
"Since when could you draw?" Lena asks, relieved that she has a good enough excuse right now to be gazing at Kara.
"Since I was little, I guess," Kara says. "My dad used to take me to the beach and we'd choose a shell and we'd draw it for each other."
Lena feels her heart warm at the thought of an adorable, little Kara carrying a great big sketchbook along with her to the beach.
"I don't think you've ever mentioned your dad before," Lena notes.
"Uh... well," Kara pauses for a second, not looking up from her sketchbook. "He was in the army before he went missing in action."
"I'm so sorry to hear that," Lena furrows her eyebrows. "I hope he gets to come home soon."
"That was about 10 years ago."
"Yeah, so..." Kara trails, exhaling heavily.
"I'm sorry," Lena feels her heart break for Kara. "You must miss him a lot."
"I do," Kara nods, a soft smile now on her face.
"I haven't seen my dad in a long time," Lena says before mentally hitting herself at how obnoxious she must sound. "Not that that's even close to the caliber of your situation-"
"It's okay," Kara reassures. "Do you miss him?"
"I suppose," Lena says hesitantly. "But he works for the good of our family. So he says. It's hardly right to get mad at that. But if I'm being honest, I wish he'd spend more time with me instead."
"I'm sure he would if you asked him to," Kara looks up at Lena, seemingly memorising her face before returning to her sketch.
"Yes, because Luthors are experts at talking through emotions and addressing any hard feelings," Lena scoffs bitterly, once again regretting her tone. "I'm sorry."
Kara places her notebook down to look at Lena, a very serious expression on her face.
"Don't be..." Kara shakes her head furiously. "No one should have to keep their feelings trapped inside. I can't imagine that's good for you."
"No, I suppose not."
"And life is so unpredictable," Kara explains in all earnestness. "You never know when your last chance is until it's too late."
Lena watches her pick up her book to begin drawing again. Life is unpredictable, Lena reminds herself. Kara is right.
And then Lena thinks about how lucky she really is. To now be here with Kara. Kara, who she has spent the past few years throwing glances from a distance towards. Kara who is funny and kind and so much more than just the pretty face Lena had admired from afar. Kara who - against all odds - has ended up as her lab partner and friend. Kara who is sitting here across from her, drawing her.
No one should have to keep their feelings trapped inside.
"Ta-da!" Kara holds up her now finished artwork, proudly.
"Oh wow..." Lena's jaw drops in genuine awe. "Kara... this is amazing."
"I mean, your face looking... the way it is," Kara stumbles a little. "Definitely helped."
Lena chuckles, blushing.
"Will you sign it?" Lena asks. "Could be worth a fortune in the future. It is a Kara Danvers original."
Much to Lena's amusement, Kara clears her throat as she sits up straight, assuming a comical character of a fancy artist.
"To whom shall I address it to?" Kara asks, putting on her best aristocratic impression.
"To Lena Luthor please, ma'am," Lena plays along, bowing a little.
"To Lena Luthor..." Kara reads her inscription aloud.
Lena watches her, holding back giggles at how silly it all feels. They're acting like a pair of kids.
Kara looks up at Lena with a new kind of tenderness Lena has never seen in her eyes before. And Lena feels her heart thumping to break out of her chest once again.
"My hero," Kara completes her writing, quickly signing the page, and ripping out the piece of paper from her notebook.
"Thank you," Lena accepts the artwork.
"Now, when that inevitably gets caught in a nail-biting bidding war in a future auction-" Kara begins, jokingly.
"No," Lena shakes her head. "There won't be any auctions."
"Are you sure?" Kara raises her eyebrows, smirking. "Because I'm well aware the Luthor fortune may run dry how ever many years from now. And you'll be needing some extra cash."
"I don't care," Lena smiles at Kara before admiring her sketch. "This... is priceless."
That night, Kara lies wide awake in bed. The events of the past few weeks playing in her head like a broken film reel stuck on loop.
"Your shoelaces are undone..."
"...you're very talented, Kara."
"...look at us, we make a pretty damn good team!"
That is if the film reel was made up of exclusively of all the times she had spent with Lena.
"And have they brought you good luck?"
"...they brought me to you."
"...this is priceless."
She's definitely overthinking this. It's very typical of Kara to ignore facts and fiction. But it's getting quite ridiculous at this point. Even she realises this. But so what if she feels happy around Lena? She's a friend and friends are happy to see each other. Right?
She really... doesn't know.
So while she's wide awake and before she spirals wildly into her own thoughts, she decides to play a quick game to try and ground herself.
I am Lena's lab partner.
I am helping James get closer to Lena because he's my friend and he likes her.
I am trying my absolute best to help James to get with Lena...
Kara sighs as the truth of the matter falls on her like a bucket of ice-cold water.
Because I'm friends with them and don't think they're good for each other...
Kara shuts her eyes tightly before opening them again. The reality of it all and how she feels just too bright and too illuminated now for her to turn a blind eye to it.
Because I have feelings for Lena...
She exhales slowly, eyes watering slightly, feeling her heart now beating wildly in her chest.
See you guys in the next chapter!
P.S. Always so grateful to receive and read all your thoughts. Please keep 'em comin' – thank you once again for reading this lil story! Much love x
Chapter 10: Avalanche
The 10th chapter. Shan't say more.
A huge thank you to everyone who has been keeping up with this little story – this chapter is being released a little earlier than planned as a thank you to all of you! Hope you enjoy!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
The past week has been... strange, to say the least.
Kara isn't avoiding Lena.
Except she is.
Ever since the realisation hit her like a ton of bricks, it seems that the said bricks have settled onto her frame, weighing her down to the ground because it's all that she can think about.
And the guilt that she's dragging like a ball and chain isn't doing her any favors either.
James is her friend. Her best friend. And besides that, James (although often times quite stupid and far too credulous) is a good person. And good people don't deserve friends who fall for the same girl they've asked for help with.
The more she thinks about it, the worse she feels about herself.
Kara is grateful that Nia seems to have a lot to talk about as they walk through the school doors. She doesn't particularly feel like talking so much herself today. With her head filled to the brim with questions she's worried that if she opens her mouth she'll have no control over what she says.
"I mean, can you believe that?" Nia scoffs. "I know I couldn't. Anyways, I decide to leave it but I really feel like-"
Kara's feet freeze as she spots Lena turn from a corner to head up the hallway towards them. She grabs a startled Nia tightly by her arm before dragging her to speed-walk towards the opposite direction.
"Ow! Kara, what the hell?!"
"Let's go... uh," Kara huffs, eyes shifting in panic as she shuffles herself and Nia as quick as she can away from Lena. "This way!"
"But our lockers are that way?" Nia argues, helplessly. Kara is a lot stronger than she looks.
They turn a sharp left and Kara leans back against the wall, Nia following suit, still a little confused at their predicament.
Kara turns her head to see if Lena had spotted them, taking a sigh of relief as soon as she sees that she's now busy collecting things from her locker.
"Who are we hiding from?" Nia whispers, struggling to peek past Kara.
"No one," Kara shakes her head, a little out of breath.
"You've been acting so strange all week," Nia says. "What's going on with you?"
Kara pauses, debating whether to keep it in or to give into some relief and tell Nia about her recent personal revelation.
"Okay," Kara clenches her jaw. "I'm going to tell you something. But I really need you to not tell anyone."
"Kara..." Nia places a sure hand on Kara's shoulders. "What's going on?"
"Nia, you have to promise," Kara insists. "No one. Not even Winn."
"Okay..." Nia nods. "What is it?"
"Do you promise? You have to promise. Please."
"Okay! Yes, I promise!" Nia laughs nervously, bringing a finger up to her chest and marking out a cross over where her heart is. "What is it? You're starting to freak me out."
"I don't think I can help James take Lena to prom anymore."
Kara takes a deep breath in... and then out.
"I think I may have feelings..." she says, not meeting Nia's eyes. "For Lena."
When she does look up to meet Nia's eyes. She notices that she's wearing an indistinguishable expression on her face. One that's sort of in between shock and... awe?
Which baffles Kara. How is Nia lost for words now out of all moments?
"Nia, you have to know that I didn't mean to ever feel this way," Kara explains desperately. "And I definitely don't plan on doing anything about it because it would... it would crush James and that's not the kind of friend I am! Or person for that matter and you know how much-"
"Woah, okay! Slow down," Nia stops her mid-sentence. "Okay. You like Lena? Yes. We know. What else?"
"What?" Kara breathes. "You know?"
"It's not exactly... your best kept secret," Nia cringes. "Or hers, for that matter."
"What?" Kara repeats, louder now.
"You're really confusing me here a little bit now," Nia chuckles, shaking her head. "So, you..."
Nia motions towards Kara.
"Have now become..." Nia continues.
She pauses, inhales, eyes wandering into some far distant as she looks for the perfect word to describe Kara's newfound situation.
Nia pats her shoulder lightly, a huge, proud smile on her face. Kara remains looking at her in slight horror.
"But you don't realise she's been into you all this time too? Do you really need someone to walk you through the entire thing?"
"This isn't the time for one of your crazy theories," Kara shakes her head, the idea of Lena actually seeing her as more than a friend a little too left-field, crazy to her. "I'm being serious here."
"Well, what are you gonna do about it?"
"What am I gonna do about it?" Kara repeats her completely ludicrous question. "Nothing. I told you. I can't do anything about it."
"I mean," Nia shrugs. "You can."
"How can you say that?" Kara asks her, getting a little impatient. "You're James' friend too."
"Yes, I am," Nia nods. "And honestly, I didn't think it would go on this far but he's going to get hurt either way."
Kara exhales puffing her cheeks. She really doesn't know what to do.
"Why did you really tell me, Kara?" Nia asks softly. "Can it be because deep down you know you should do something about it?"
Kara sighs, tired of talking about this already. "Nia, I didn't tell you because I'm planning to do anything about it. I just... I felt like I had to tell someone. And I tell James everything. Everything. But obviously..."
Kara frowns. She wishes she could find James and tell him everything. But she knows that just isn't a possibility right now.
Of course, she has Nia and Winn. But James has been her best friend for as long as the two of them can remember. Having to hide this from him... something so monumental and important.
It's just an awfully lonely feeling: not being able to be completely honest with someone you care about so much.
About something you care about so much.
"But she likes you too," Nia states like it's the world's most obvious fact.
"No, she doesn't," Kara insists.
Nia opens her mouth to argue but Kara quickly hushes her as she spots James come into view. He waves and smiles at them, making an immediate beeline to where they're stood.
"You have to tell him," Nia mumbles under her breath.
"Shut up, he's coming," Kara grits through her smile.
"If you don't tell him, you're only hurting them both," Nia whispers, raising both eyebrows.
"Hey, guys..." James' smile fades. He looks at Kara and then Nia, and then Kara again. Both looking a little uneasy.
"Uh oh. Am I interrupting something?" He chuckles.
"No, I was actually just leaving," Nia announces. "I told Winn I'd meet him in the music room."
Nia gives her a knowing look. "I'll see you two later, okay?"
And with that, she leaves them.
"Kara, listen," James begins. "I have something to ask you."
"I actually have something to ask you too," Kara says, steeling herself.
James looks at her expectantly.
Kara blinks, trying to will herself to just spit the words out.
"Why Lena? Why do you like her?"
James turns his head slightly at Kara's bluntness, clearly isn't sure if he heard her right. "Why do I like Lena?"
Kara nods. Because she has to know.
"Is this a trick question?" James squints his eyes.
"No," Kara sighs. "I'm just... curious."
She has to know that James understands that Lena is so much more than the reputation she's established at school. She's more than her family money and hell, she's more than her brain.
If Kara can be sure that he does, if she can be sure that his feelings for her aren't so superficial then... maybe it will hurt less to let her go.
James knits his eyebrows. "I guess... because..."
Kara clenches her jaw as she waits for his response.
She's nice? Really?
"Nice? James..." Kara scolds him.
James appears to think harder about it. Before it comes to him.
"There was um... a few times? In freshman year when I saw her in the cafeteria," he smiles as he tells the story. "And she would have two of everything. Sandwiches, apples. Those things, you know?"
Kara listens intently, her heart sinking a little more each time as she watches how James' eyes light up talking about Lena.
"Anyways, I used to find that a little odd," James continues. "Used to think it was because she could afford it. And then one day, I saw her giving her spares to one of those quiet, band kids. And I just remember thinking... wow. She's nice."
Kara feels as though she might be sick all over her lucky shoes. How is she supposed to let James down after a wholesome speech like that?
"Obviously it helps that she got even hotter last summer," James scoffs.
Kara groans. "You had to ruin it."
"I'm kidding. But hey, everything I said was true!" James shrugs, giggling a little. "Why do you ask anyway?"
This is it. Kara, just... say the words.
So she does.
"James..." she says lowly.
She can feel her heart pounding like a drum in her chest. "I can't help you with Lena anymore."
"I just can't do this anymore," Kara exhales, her chest heaving. "I feel like... I feel I'm lying to her. And... and it feels wrong now. I'm sorry, I won't do it anymore."
"Lying to her?" James shakes his head. "What? I don't... understand?"
Kara opens her mouth to explain but James is quick to hold a finger up to stop her. "Before you say anything else, here..."
He fishes a black envelope from his backpack and hands it to her.
"Cat Grant is hosting a Christmas charity exhibition in National City next month," James explains. "It's huge. And she's invited a lot of important people. My uncle included."
Kara's eyes widen as her shaking fingers open the envelop to reveal an invitation to a gala.
"And like I told you, his friends enjoyed some articles of yours," James stresses. "He managed to get us invites. He wants to introduce Kara Danvers, the author, to them."
"Oh my god..."
Kara has to remind herself to breath because if she's never fainted in her life, this may it.
"So what do you say?" James grins.
Kara feels tears beginning to form in her eyes. "James, this is incredible..."
"No, come on," James quickly wraps his arms around her. "Don't cry."
"You're the best friend ever," Kara mumbles in his shirt.
James holds her shoulders and looks her directly in the eyes.
"This is your work, Kara!" He tells her, his voice dripping with sincerity. "I didn't write those articles. You did!"
"But they might never have amounted to anything without you," Kara sobs.
She feels a few tears escape from her eyes which James endearingly wipes away with the sleeves of his varsity jacket.
"Hey... if you don't want to wingwoman for me anymore, that's totally okay!" He laughs, shrugging nonchalantly. "I really wish you'd said something if it's bothered you so much. Since when do we keep things from each other?"
Kara nods, feeling a little embarrassed that she's in the middle of a hallway, crying.
"I have to put in the work now, you know? Talk to Lena myself, ask her out myself," James declares. "I gotta write my own articles."
Kara feels her heart crack at the thought of James asking Lena out. It's only a matter of time. She has to get used to this.
"You're gonna write articles?" Kara asks, jokingly.
"No. I didn't mean it literally. That was clearly my poor attempt at a metaphor," James rolls his eyes, pulling Kara in for another hug. "Hey, you're the writer here, not me!"
Lena had been feeling irritable and on-edge for the past week. So much so that even Sam has gone out of her way to point it out.
"What are you so stressed about?"
"What do you mean?" Lena snaps.
"Because it's definitely not exams. So what is it?"
"Has Kara said something?"
"More the opposite," Lena sighs. "I haven't seen her all week, Sam. She hasn't been coming into class. And she hasn't replied to any of my texts."
"Bingo," Sam chimes, shutting her locker.
"You're all grumpy because you miss her," Sam pouts, mockingly. "That's actually quite adorable."
"Look out. She's coming this way."
"Where?" Lena quickly turns her head, suddenly self-conscious.
"I hate you."
This Chemistry lesson is the first time Lena is seeing Kara ever since their detention and she has barely said more than two sentences to Lena - nevermind noticed the fancy way she's braided her hair today. Lena thought Kara might like it. But she stays mum.
Something is wrong. She can sense it from a mile away. They conduct the set experiment quietly and carefully.
"Hey, are you alright?" Lena asks above the light chatter of the classroom.
"Yeah," Kara smiles weakly. "Just a little tired."
"I haven't seen you around all week," Lena says, hoping that her tone doesn't give away how much she's missed her. "Have you been ill or something?"
Kara remains quiet.
So Lena decides to push. "Are you sure everything's fine?"
"Yes," Kara huffs, quite impatiently.
But Lena can't let it go. If something is bothering her, she needs to know how she can help make it go away. Seeing Kara so aloof and... not herself, is making Lena feel a little anxious and paranoid.
Has she said something wrong, maybe? Lena quickly scans her mind for anything she's said or done that might've offended her. But she comes up with nothing.
"Are we okay?" Lena asks in a small voice.
Kara turns to face Lena at this. A concerned look is painted on her face and for a second, it looks as if she's going to reach to hold Lena's hand.
"Yes, of course..."
Lena isn't convinced. "Because if I've done anything wrong..."
Being raised in a Luthor home, Lena has become well-adapted to knowing when something isn't right. When someone is pulling away. But figuring out why – is something she never learned to do. So, she's had to live with people coming and going into her and her family's lives, without becoming too attached.
But despite that, Kara has become the only exception. Not that Lena had much choice in the matter, falling for her was like turning the page of a book. It was the only plausible way forward. No question about it.
So Kara feeling so distant from her all of a sudden without warning, feels like the ground beneath Lena is about to give in.
"No, Lena, of course you haven't done anything wrong," Kara shakes her head profusely. "I'm sorry I'm making you think that way. I really am just tired."
Lena furrows her eyebrows. "You know you can talk to me, right?"
"Yeah," Kara nods. "I know."
The gnawing feeling doesn't leave Lena alone but she decides to drop the subject for now. She hasn't seen Kara in a week and she's here now. This will have to be enough for the time being.
But even so, she's not really here, here.
As the lesson ends, Professor Edge reminds them of the group projects' deadline.
"Your current reports are due in this Thursday," his voice booms. "No excuses!"
Kara and Lena look at each other in slight panic. The deadline has crept up on them and while they've almost completed it, they still needed to complete one final experiment before they hand their report in.
"We have one experiment left to complete," Lena states. "If you're too tired, I can do it myself... it's really not a problem."
"No, of course not," Kara shakes her head. "Maybe not tonight..."
"How about tomorrow evening?"
"Okay," Kara agrees flatly.
And although Lena wants to grab Kara by the shoulders and just... shake the truth out of her, she refrains from prying anymore than she already has.
But she doesn't think of anything else but Kara for the rest of the day.
The cycle home isn't too bad, Kara tells herself. But that chirpy optimism flies out the window the minute snow begins to fall, the first flakes landing on her lashes.
"No, you've got to be kidding," Kara whines.
So she pedals as fast as she possibly could, turning what would have been the final 10 minute journey into an impressive 5 minutes. Getting home in time before the snow can even begin to settle like sheer veil over their sleepy town.
As she turns into her cul de sac, the first thing she sees is the Midvale Auto Repairs van parked outside her house. She hops off her bike, carrying it up the front porch to perch it by the front door before heading inside.
"Mom! I'm home!" Kara calls out, slipping out of her winter coat.
"I'm in the kitchen, dear!" Eliza responds, excitedly. "There's someone here to see you!"
Kara makes her way into the kitchen to find her mom sitting at the dining table, a familiar brawly man sitting opposite her. The mechanic from Halloween.
He has a softer, happier look this time. A mug of hot tea nestled between his palms. Practically a different man to the one who whisked her truck away without much remorse.
"Hi?" Kara gives Eliza a quick peck on the cheek and glances suspiciously at the man.
"How was school? Oh!" Eliza exclaims. "This is Joe. He's here about your truck."
Kara blinks, taken aback. "My truck? It was scrapped last month."
"No, it wasn't," Joe replies, bleakly. "Uh... our team managed to import the specific parts needed to fix it."
"Fix it?" Kara's smile fossilises on her face.
"Well, fixed," the mechanic stresses. "We've actually fixed it. It's done. Finished."
"I'm sorry, I'm a little lost," Kara chuckles. "Those parts aren't manufactured anymore. My truck was taken away to be scrapped. That's what I was told."
Kara continues ranting. "You told me that there was no way to fix it? You made me say goodbye to it?"
"Kara..." Eliza widens her eyes at Kara, reminding her of her manners.
"Sorry," Kara quips.
"You're right. The parts aren't manufactured anymore," he shakes his head. "In the country, at least. Lucky for you, we were able to get our hands on some exclusive parts."
"The important thing is that we managed to save your truck," Joe assures them. "It was a tough case. But it's done and we also gave it a good clean."
Kara chuckles a little in disbelief. This is a little too good to be true.
"I'm so sorry, sir. There has to be some kind a mistake," Kara throws a worried glance towards her mom. "Whatever you've done to fix the truck, we don't have the kind of money to pay for it."
"Oh, there are no outstanding charges," Joe waves a dismissive hand. "On the account of the poor service we delivered in the past."
"You were going to make me wait for an hour after I called for emergency repair..." Kara recalls.
"An hour?" Eliza's jaw drops.
"But we didn't," Joe defends, laughing lightly.
"For emergency repair?" Eliza continues, raising her voice a little.
"The truck is outside," he holds up the keys for Kara to take.
Kara doesn't remember seeing it outside?
"We gave it a paint job," Joe the mechanic answers the questioning expression on Kara's face.
Kara takes the keys from him, making a beeline towards the front door, not even bothering to put her jacket on.
And sure enough, there's her truck, Krypton. Looking exactly the same except his colour is now a deep shade of blue. Kara loves it.
While Kara makes her way down the porch steps towards the truck, still in complete disbelief, Eliza and the mechanic stand by watching her. Quite amused at how poorly Kara keeps her excitement at an appropriate level.
"Mom! Look!" Kara calls out like a proud little kid. "They even fixed the dent on the left headlight!"
"Very nice, dear!" Eliza smiles, folding her arms tightly.
"We were given instructions not to tell her," Joe says.
"I still don't understand why it has to be kept a secret?" Eliza shakes her head, watching Kara cheer as she brings the engine roaring to life. "Kara will want to thank them."
"Honestly, ma'am, I don't think the Luthors even know their daughter bought the truck," he shrugs. "Or paid for all the parts to be flown in from all over the world."
"That's... Lena Luthor, right? Their daughter?" Eliza asks. She remembers her vividly from Alex's science fairs and more recently, it seems Kara has talked about very little besides Lena this and Lena that.
"I believe so," Joe nods. "Threatened to get us all fired if we didn't get to your daughter before she did, that Halloween night. Feisty one."
"Did she now?" Eliza feels a smile creeping onto her face.
She's really starting to like the sound of this Lena Luthor. She makes a mental note to tell Kara to invite her over for dinner one day so she can meet her properly.
"Mom! Mom!" Kara yells excitedly, rolling the windows down. "I'm gonna go surprise my friends! I'll be back for dinner!"
"Okay!" Eliza waves, laughing at how excited her daughter is to be reunited with her truck.
"Be safe!" Eliza calls out as Kara drives away.
"Will you thank Lena?" Eliza says as Joe makes his way to his own car. "From me, anyway. Tell her that I'm happy Kara has someone like her now, someone who really deserves her and someone good for her."
Joe stares at her with a blank expression for a few seconds. "So that was... thank you from you and then..."
He blinks. "What was the rest again?"
"I'm happy Kara has-"
"Happy Kara has..." Joe mumbles after.
"Someone like her,"
"Someone like... her. You mean Lena?"
"Yes," Eliza purses her lips. "You know what, Joe? Just tell her thank you from me."
"Okay, I can do that," Joe nods firmly.
And with that he drives off.
Eliza returns into the house, happily humming a Christmas melody to herself.
Lena is relieved to see that Kara seems to be in better spirits today than yesterday. But then again, she isn't sure if she's really fine or if she's faking it for Lena's benefit. To keep her from asking too many questions like last Chemistry lesson.
Oh god, she really hopes not. She hopes Kara feels comfortable enough around her now to be able to just be herself. Even if that isn't her usual upbeat self. Specially then.
The duo have an entire science lab to themselves to complete their research. And while Lena is glad to almost have this piece of work out the way, she also realises that finishing it early ultimately means less time to spend with Kara.
"Look," Kara gulps.
Lena snaps to attention, a little surprised at Kara who seems to be venturing beyond the cheap small-talk Lena has been settling for in the past 20 minutes.
"I owe you an apology for how I was acting before," Kara says, tentatively.
"Kara, you don't need to apologise," Lena says sincerely. "Everybody has bad days."
"Yeah," Kara chuckles, her cheeks turning pink.
It's an odd thing to watch, Lena thinks to herself. Kara blushing and coming off a little shy all of a sudden.
"Are you feeling better?" Lena asks.
Kara beams brightly at Lena. "Shall we get this draft report finished then?"
Lena's heart skips a beat. She's missed that smile.
"There isn't much work left to be done, to be honest," Lena points out, trying not to let disappointment become too evident in her voice.
"That's all thanks to your genius," Kara raises an eyebrow.
"You really should start giving yourself credit," Lena shakes her head. "I hate it when you sell yourself short."
"In that case then," Kara shrugs. "I guess this all thanks to my genius."
Lena laughs. The warm, glowing feeling in her chest growing as Kara smiles at her once again.
She's gotta find an antidote for this, Lena thinks to herself. It's really not ideal for her heart to be skipping a beat or an army of butterflies to be filling her stomach every damn time Kara smiles or laughs or does so much as bite her lip when she's concentrating really hard.
It would help if Lena could stop staring at her in the first place. But at this point, she doesn't know if she has the willpower to anymore.
They fall into the familiar working rhythm they've become accustomed to in class and soon enough, they're almost finished.
"Are you excited for Christmas?" Kara asks, practically buzzing at the thought of it.
"Sure," Lena grins. "Are you?"
"Of course!" Kara says like it's the most obvious thing in the world. "Alex comes home next week so it'll be really nice to see her again. Is Lex coming home for Christmas?"
Lena scoffs. "Lex hasn't come home since he left for college."
Lex. Home for Christmas. Ha. When pigs fly.
He's far too busy with work and even if he wasn't, Lena knows he thinks he's far too much of a hotshot for a place like Midvale now.
"He's in Seoul on business at the moment," Lena shrugs.
"Wow," Kara gasps.
"Yeah," Lena says. "So it'll probably be just me and my mother unless my father drives home-"
"Oh!" Kara exclaims as if a lightbulb flashes above her head, Kara suddenly perks up. "I forgot to tell you, I got my truck back!"
"Really?" Lena feigns shock. "How?"
"Well, they just fixed it!"
"That's amazing," Lena shakes her head, trying to fight the urge to smile at how excited Kara is. "Are you happy with it?"
God. She's a terrible actress.
"Seems like Santa came early," Kara nods happily much to Lena's amusement. "What have you asked for?"
"We don't usually do gifts. But I assume you do."
Lena stopped received Christmas gifts at around the age of 13.
"If you want something, just ask," her mother had said. "Why wait until the end of the year for something you want when you can get right now?"
Lena can't argue with that logic.
"You assume correctly," Kara nods, the corners of her eyes crinkling as she smiles. "I actually... have something for you. Just this really small thing."
She takes her backpack, reaching in to retrieve a small present, wrapped neatly with a little bow on it and everything too.
Lena could cry.
"Kara..." Lena blinks. "You really shouldn't have."
Kara hands it over to her quickly. Lena takes it, gazing at it for a second before beginning to unwrap it, taking her time because has it really been that long since anyone has given her anything she hadn't asked for beforehand?
Lena gasps. It's a book. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. First edition.
"I'm sorry if it's a little worn, but..." Kara says, her voice small and shy. "It's a first edition copy. And we talked about classic literature a lot before, if you remember so..."
Lena feels her eyes beginning to well up as she feels the tattered cover of the book. This is the most beautiful thing she has ever received from anyone.
She knows that saying thank you simply wouldn't be sufficient. Wouldn't be enough to let Kara know how she feels at this very moment as she's sitting across from the most beautiful girl in the universe. 'Thank you' just doesn't cut it.
"Are you okay? If you don't like it that's fine really! I won't be offended or hurt or anything!" Kara must begin to panic a little as her words fly out of her mouth at the speed of one bullet right after another. "I just came across it in our attic and I loved it as a kid and I thought of you and I thought you'd like it too so I-"
So Lena decides on telling her the truth.
"Kara, I'm in love with you."
And Lena swears that for the longest split second of her life, the world stops turning.
"What?" Kara's question comes out in a struggled breath, breaking the silence.
But Lena is past the point of return. There's no turning back now.
"I'm in love with you," Lena repeats, firmly, with more assurance. "I have been since the first day. I'm sure of it."
She stands up, moving closer to Kara who is frozen in her seat. Lena can almost see the thoughts flying in and out of her head a million miles a second as she tries to make sense of what is happening.
But Lena has to carry on. The floodgates are open now. Kara has to know how she feels.
"And I'm sorry if I'm telling you this in the middle of a science lab. I always told myself that when I told you how I feel, if I ever told you how I feel, it would be somewhere special. But the truth is anywhere that I'm with you is special."
Lena takes a nervous breath in, Kara's eyes burning into hers intently as if trying to guess her next words.
"I'm in love with you right here in this science lab and I'll still be in love with you anywhere else. And that's that. That's all there is to it," Lena shrugs, tears beginning to fill her eyes. "Kara, I'm in love with you."
And Kara's gravity is suddenly too much for Lena. She finds herself leaning in, their eyes beginning to close as Lena inches her lips closer and closer to Kara's until...
"Lena..." Kara pulls away sharply. "What are you doing?"
"I'm sorry. Have I..." Lena stands back, heart still pounding from the adrenaline rush coursing through her.
And just like that, Kara is up on her feet, collecting her things in a mad flurry.
"I have to go."
This isn't how Lena had envisioned this moment. But Kara isn't listening. Lena watches her frantically make her way to the door.
"I can't do this to James," Kara exhales.
"James?" Lena asks, dumbfounded.
What the hell does James have to do with this? Kara had told her that there is nothing going on between them, that they're just friends-
Kara sighs, pinching the bridge of her nose, as if in pain before finally spelling it out to her. "Lena, he likes you."
"What?" Lena feels as though a rug has just been yanked from under her feet.
"I was helping him, being his... wingwoman or something!" Kara's voice shakes. "To get closer to you because he likes you."
And Lena begins to understand. Every moment, every interaction with Kara and her friends replaying through her mind now under a very different light.
And she feels... like the biggest fool in the world.
"So all that time..." Lena's voice trails off, cracking at the final syllable. This time, she no longer tries to mask her hurt.
"He's my friend," Kara shakes her head, refusing to meet Lena's eyes. "I'm sorry, Lena."
"Kara, please. Just wait–"
But Kara's response comes in the form of the heavy slamming of door. Leaving Lena with the painful aftermath of this emotional avalanche... feeling more hurt and more humiliated than she ever thought possible.
Alas, there it is – I always look forward to reading your thoughts and messages but I am even more excited after this chapter XD
See you guys next time!
Chapter 11: Chicken
It's Christmas :)
A huge thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone who has taken the time to read this story and to share their thoughts, theories and kind messages – this is my first fic, so this welcome has been nothing short of wonderful.
I will be taking a break from writing this story to spend time with my family and friends over the holiday season but of course before I do that, I'm releasing this chapter as an early Christmas present - from me to you :)
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
It's the final week before Christmas break and the final Chemistry class of the year.
And instead of using the time to fine-tune their research before submitting it at the end of class or at the very least talking excitably about their Christmas break plans, Kara finds herself in some twisted game of Chicken with Lena.
Where whoever speaks up first... loses.
Kara deserves this silent treatment, she'll take that. Not being able to be in the same room as Lena after hearing her mind-shattering confession, Kara made the mistake of taking off without explanation.
One minute she's getting into her truck and the next, her radio clock displays 2:00AM and she realises she had been driving around town in circles for hours and hours.
With just about enough petrol to get home, Kara continued to operate on auto-pilot, sending herself to bed waiting for sleep that never came until it was time to get up and get ready for school.
But in her defence... if Lena Luthor had just caught you off-guard to tell you that she has been in love with you for some time, Kara supposes that warrants at least a sleepless night or two.
She glances at Lena hesitantly, frowning. She has that calm and cold expression other people find deathly intimidating about Lena but Kara knows her better now to assume that she's anything less than hurt.
This is just... the worst.
This is the worst, this is the worst, this is the worst.
Kara becomes conscious of her mumbling as she feels Lena turn her head to look at her through her peripheral vision. In an attempt to catch her gaze, she looks up quickly.
But Lena is even quicker, retracting her gaze and returning her focus on the chemical solution she's preparing.
What are they doing? This is so... stupid and childish and so... unbearable.
Kara sighs loudly, scanning the room to see the others in their class looking bright and cheerful - full of the holiday spirit - as one would expect them to be for the last week of school. Meanwhile, it feels a lot like a singular dark, grey cloud hangs over Kara and Lena.
And Kara just can't take it anymore. She breaks.
"Lena..." Kara begins, placing down the test tubes into the wooden rack and turning her whole body to face her lab partner.
Who refuses to give in, remaining focused on the task at hand.
"Are we really doing this?" Kara groans under her breath, shoulders deflating. "Right. Fine."
Kara heatedly returns to her task.
"Can you please pass me that beaker?" Kara asks.
Lena's eyes follow the direction where Kara is pointing before quickly returning to her work.
Kara stares at her incredulously. "Okay? I guess I'll just go get it my-"
But Lena grabs the glass beaker, huffing and sets it down in front of Kara before she can make another move.
Kara slowly takes the beaker and carries on with the experiment. She tries to hide the smile that's threatening to form, pursing her lip slightly instead. There's no way Lena can keep this up for very long.
Kara knows she, personally, couldn't if the roles were reversed.
"I'm sorry, Lena," Kara says quietly. "I shouldn't have left you. I just... freaked out about everything you said and then you were-"
Lena places the test tubes into the centrifuge machine, the whirring noise interrupting Kara's apology.
"Come on, Lena," Kara whines.
From the corner of Kara's eye, she sees Professor Edge standing close by, seemingly interested in eavesdropping into their conversation. Not that there's much to hear when it's Kara doing all the talking.
"Lena, I hate that we're not speaking," Kara's voice trembles, which catches Lena's attention. "Please can we just try and sort things out?"
Lena clenches her jaw and finally faces Kara. It's the first time that Kara notices how tired Lena really looks. She has dark circles under her eyes to match Kara's - neither of them got any sleep, it appears.
"I have nothing left to say to you, Kara," Lena says, all business-like and cold. "And I can't imagine you have much to say to me either."
The bell rings and Kara huffs in annoyance at the disruption. She just needs more time.
"All research submissions on my desk, please!"
Kara ignores Professor Edge's voice, desperate to explain herself.
She looks at Lena with sad eyes. "Lena, please can we just..."
As they pack up, most people have already left the classroom to make their way to lunch break. Kara, in a hurry, takes their research folder and carelessly throws it onto Professor Edge's desk.
"Can we just what? Forget what happened? Be friends again?" Lena scoffs bitterly, shaking her head. "You're unbelievable."
"I said I was sorry!" Kara ignores him as she quickly follows Lena towards the door, blocking her way out.
Kara looks into Lena's eyes, searching for any hint of forgiveness, any hint that their friendship could still be salvaged.
"Lena, I'm really sorry," Kara repeats with as much earnestness as she can possibly muster.
"I'm sorry too," Lena doesn't break eye contact before delivering the final blow.
"I wish I never met you," Lena says slowly, letting the venom of every word linger. "Get the hell out of my way."
Kara feels her heart drop to her stomach as Lena shoves past her and disappears into the crowded hallway, leaving Kara too stunned at Lena's final words to even try and follow after her.
Lena thunders through the hallway, a hand flying up to stifle the sob that suddenly escapes her mouth.
She passes Sam who quickly realises that something is wrong, horrified to see Lena crying.
"Lena? Lena!" Sam calls out. "Where are you going? Lena! Wait!"
Sam follows her into the restrooms, catching a quick sight of a completely distraught Lena as she slams herself into an empty cubicle. The freshman girls who are fixing their hair in front of the mirror rush to leave as soon as they hear sobs coming from Lena's cubicle. Sam ushers them out quickly.
Then, it's just silence – except from the soft sounds of Lena crying into her hands.
"Lena?" Sam knocks on the door.
"Not now, Sam."
"What happened?" Sam asks.
"I said not now, Sam!"
"Please. Just leave," Lena begs.
"Yeah, no. I'm not doing that," Sam chuckles. "Obviously."
Lena continues to cry, the feeling of helplessness swallowing her like a black hole.
"You're gonna have to come out at some point," Sam coaxes, her heart hurting at the thought of Lena, who is usually so resilient, locked up inside a cubicle in tears. "Is it Kara? Did something happen?"
The sobbing continues to echo in the room.
Sam sighs. It's Kara.
"I told her everything, Sam," Lena sniffs. "I told her how I felt but she... she doesn't feel the same. I made a complete fool out of myself. I wish you'd stopped me. I wish you'd just... told me to stay away."
Lena buries her face into her hands again, the mascara stains now stings her eyes a little and she knows she'll have to come out and face Sam soon.
"I'm really sorry," Sam shakes her head, feeling a little guilty that she had pushed Lena to confess.
"That's exactly what she said," Lena laughs dryly before her face distorts as she begins to cry again.
"Look, I know you can be an ugly crier," Sam jokes to lighten the mood. "So why don't you come out and we'll fix your make-up and talk about what happened?"
Lena sniffs, laughing a little at Sam's dig. She isn't wrong, she really has cried the make-up off her face.
When she unlocks the cubicle and steps out, Sam is waiting to give her a hug. Lena falls into it and the waterworks are triggered again.
"Hey, it's gonna be okay," Sam soothes.
But it's not gonna be okay, Lena knows this. At least not for a long time. But if Sam says it is... then Lena tries her best to believe it.
"Kara, we need to talk."
"Sam?" Kara furrows her eyebrows at the sight of Sam walking with much purpose towards her.
Before she can even utter a word, Sam grabs her arm sternly, leading her into an empty classroom and shutting the door behind them.
"You couldn't at least let her down gently?"
Kara's face drops.
"Sam, you don't know the full story," Kara begins to explain.
"She put herself out there, something she's never done before! For you! She tells you how she feels, and she's honest," But Sam is shooting dagger after dagger at Kara who has no other choice but to take the punches. "And that's the way you treat her? I was so wrong about you."
"My best friend likes her. I couldn't do that to him," Kara shakes her head, quite defiantly. "He's been working so hard helping me get this internship and meet all these people-"
Sam scoffs in disbelief. Kara stops in her tracks.
"An internship? Are you kidding? That's how much Lena is worth to you? A fucking internship?"
That definitely isn't what Kara means. "No! Of course not!"
"Then what the hell is wrong with you? I thought you cared about her–"
"I do!" Kara yells.
"You care about her?" Sam rolls her eyes. "Right. That's why she's spent the entire lunch break crying in a cubicle-"
Kara's mouth falls open. Lena had looked her in the eyes and very openly stated how much she hated her.
"She said..." Kara's eyes begin to water, thinking about how much she's hurt Lena already. "She said she wishes she never met me."
Sam looks at her, a little confused before realisation sets in.
"Oh my god," Sam says.
Kara paces backwards until her legs hit a desk, carefully taking a seat on it.
Sam stares at Kara who now resembles a kicked puppy. "You like Lena too."
Kara says nothing, still lost the heart-wrenching thought of Lena crying over someone like her, out of all things.
"Do you have any idea how difficult it is to be in this situation?" Kara chokes. "I care about them both. I don't want either of them to get hurt."
Kara quickly brushes tears from her face with her sleeves, hanging her head low.
Sam makes her way towards Kara, taking a seat on the desk directly in front of her.
"Kara, you might think you're taking the high road by washing your hands off of this," Sam says. "But if you actually open your eyes for long enough, you'll see that the only thing you're doing is hurting two people you say you care about."
Kara finally looks up to meet Sam's eyes, who seems a little taken aback at Kara's now reddened eyes.
The door swings open, startling them both.
It's Winn, wearing a big smile on his face that quickly evaporates as the tension in the room becomes apparent to him.
"Oh, hi Sam. I didn't know you'd be... here as well."
Sam stands up, Kara following suit, neither one acknowledging Winn's presence yet.
"Don't be a coward, Kara," Sam cautions.
Kara clenches her jaw, standing her ground.
"I'm not a coward."
With that, Sam turns to leave the room.
Winn smiles. "Have a great Chr-"
But Sam doesn't stop to hear the rest of Winn's cheerful greeting, shoving past him quite harshly.
"Alright," Winn chuckles awkwardly. "Guess we're... back to that."
It's no secret that the Danvers love Christmas. Like really love Christmas.
But this year, Eliza has outdone herself, the excitement of having Alex back in their home for the holidays leading to their living room looking like Christmas has thrown up all over it.
The only thing that seems out of place is Kara perched on the sofa looking downcast and defeated, watching their Christmas tree lights flicker on and off and on again.
The past few days have been so draining, even the smell of her mom's freshly baked cookies—or the fact that it's Christmas Eve—isn't enough to lift her spirits.
"What a shame Maggie couldn't be here," Eliza says to Alex.
"Yeah," Alex nods. "She's been looking forward to meeting you too. But she's just so busy with work."
"Kara, you should invite that lovely Luthor girl, your lab partner, over for dinner sometime," Eliza yells from the kitchen. "I've been dying to meet her. God knows I've heard enough about her from you."
"Probably not a good idea, Mom," Kara scoffs. How did she not realise her feelings for Lena sooner? "Best I can offer is Winn."
Eliza clears her throat. "Well, do let me know when he's coming over in advance so I can stock the fridge up."
"Why can't Lena come over?" Alex asks curiously as she saunters into the living room, crashing herself onto the couch next to Kara.
"Things are a bit..." Kara sighs. "Weird. Right now."
"Oh dear," Eliza huffs, placing a plate of cookies in front of them. "What have you done this time, Kara?"
Kara furrows her eyebrows. "Why do you automatically think it's my fault?"
She leans forward to grab a cookie but Alex quickly swats her hand away, grabbing one for herself instead.
"Because most of the time it is," Alex shrugs, speaking with her mouth full.
"The novelty of having you back home is really starting to wear off, did I mention?"
Making sure that their mom is now out of earshot, Alex leans in and elbows Kara whose eyes shoot daggers at her.
"So what's really going on?" Alex crosses her legs, making herself comfortable.
"It's a long story, Alex," Kara exhales. "And I don't really feel like getting into it."
"Actually, it sounds like you need to get it off your chest," Alex argues.
Alex notes that it really isn't like her sister to look so glum. Specially not during Christmas time. This is Kara's favorite season.
"Hey," Alex says softly. "You know you can talk to me, right?"
Kara sighs. Of course she knows this.
"You know how James and I are going to that charity gala in National City this weekend?" She begins.
"In return, I've been helping him get to know Lena so he can take her to prom but..." Kara pauses, chewing at her bottom lip. "But things have just become... messy."
"Well, for one it turns out that Lena actually likes me."
Kara cringes. Alex is looking at her like she's waiting for a punchline to come but her face falls when she realises that her sister is being dead serious.
"You're joking," Alex brings a hand to cover her gaping mouth. "You?"
"Alex!" Kara pushes her sister in annoyance.
"I'm sorry! It's just..." Alex tries to hold her laughter in because... "It's Lena Luthor. I mean... isn't she really popular?"
"And what exactly are you trying to say, Alex?" Kara folds her arms, staring at Alex in anticipation.
She knows Alex thinks Lena is way out of her league. Hell, Kara knows it too.
"Well, do you feel the same way?" Alex asks, now quite giddy.
Kara lets out a groan before replying, "It's not that simple."
"Oh no. Don't do this, Kara." Alex shakes her head.
"What?" Kara whines.
"You always overthink and complicate things when the answer is right in front of you!"
"I'm trying to do the right thing here, Alex," Kara complains.
"And that's very... noble of you, okay?" Alex says, placing a hand on Kara's shoulder. "But sometimes there just isn't a right or wrong."
"So what is there then?" Kara looks at her big sister expectantly.
"There's the truth," Alex smiles, nodding.
Kara continues to listen intently, her stomach twisting at the mention of truth.
"The truth of how you feel," Alex explains, pointing a finger at Kara's heart. "And the truth of how Lena feels."
Kara's eyes begin to water once again, her mouth forming a soft frown.
"But it would crush James," Kara reasons, her words escaping in a strained, small voice.
"Yeah, maybe," Alex admits honestly.
"But aren't you his friend too?" Alex continues. "He would want you to be happy. And if he really cared about Lena, he would want her to be happy too."
Kara gulps, nodding. She brings a hand up to wipe the silent tears from her cheeks.
"You can't put others before yourself all the time, Kara," Alex says softly. "You're going to end up with a lot of regrets."
And as she sits there with her big sister, mulling over her advice, Kara finds herself thinking, as she has done so many, many times before: Alex is right.
"Ugh," Kara feigns disgust at Alex. "What has college done to you?"
They laugh as Alex brings her in for a tight embrace.
Later on that day, Eliza instructs Alex to deliver Christmas cards to family friends around town. Leaving Kara by herself once more, her thoughts inevitably finding their way to Lena.
She wonders how she's spending Christmas Eve. Is she listening to Christmas songs? Maybe she's curled up by the fire, reading a book.
Is she thinking about Kara at all? Did she mean it when she said that she wishes they'd never met?
Kara is on the verge of spiralling when she notices that Alex has forgotten to bring a pile of cards along with her on her route.
She picks them up, sorting through them as she makes her way downstairs to let her mom know when she spots one card addressed to a familiar name.
"The Luthors?" Kara wonders aloud.
Since when did her mother have any contact with the Luthors?
Curiosity getting the better of Kara, she opens the envelope (thankfully, unsealed) and reads it.
Thank you for fixing Kara's truck. I wish you would've seen the look on her face.
Thank you for making my daughter so happy.
Kara's heart drops as the cogs in her mind begin to turn.
"Lena..." Kara gasps.
Christmas at the Luthors is no different than any other ordinary day, in all honesty.
Except maybe when Jess, personal assistant to the Luthors, sometimes plays Christmas songs out loud in the living room when neither of Lena's parents are home.
This Christmas Eve, while Lena's mother remains absorbed in her work in the office, Jess had decided to stay a little longer than usual. She played a couple of rounds of chess with Lena who beats her without much effort.
But with Jess actually having a fiancé she eventually had to go home to this Christmas, Lena finds herself alone in her bedroom, sitting by the window. She examines the book on her lap, the copy which Kara had given her before she had cruelly crushed Lena's heart into pieces.
In her anger, Lena had initially trashed it after the events of that night, only to turn around and retrieve it. It was still a first edition copy, after all.
By Lena's vanity mirror, she stares at the sketch Kara had done of her during their detention. She had pinned it on the mirror's frame as soon as she got home afterwards. A small smile finds its way onto Lena's face, before she remembers the torture that was the last few days of school.
She's well aware that Kara, choosing her friendship with James, has brought on a kind of heartbreak which has left Lena feeling winded. But she would be lying if she said that she didn't miss her.
Lena must be missing her so much that her mind has now turned against her, playing tricks to make it seem like Kara is standing outside her house...
Lena knits her eyebrows in confusion.
Kara is standing outside her house.
She really is here. Standing outside her house.
Lena opens her window, grabbing Kara's attention.
"Kara?" Lena calls out. "What are you doing here?"
"Hi..." Kara awkwardly waves before her hand ends up on the back of her neck. "Can we talk?"
Lena sighs, moving to shut her window.
"Wait!" Kara yells.
"Lena, please," Kara begs. She pulls out a card from her pocket and holds it up for Lena to see. "This is from my mom?"
"Give me a moment," Lena gives in, quickly grabbing a coat as she makes her way downstairs and onto the front lawn.
"Kara, are you insane? It's freezing!" Lena shivers, seeing her breath as she hugs herself for warmth.
"Why did you do it?" Kara demands an answer.
"What?" Lena asks, confused.
Kara hands her the Christmas card. As Lena reads it, she realises what Kara is talking about. She feels heat rise to her cheeks and she doesn't know how to exactly answer Kara's question without stating the obvious.
And she's already stated the obvious.
"You know why I did it," Lena answers plainly.
"Kara... I'm tired, okay?" Lena continues to say in exasperation.
"Of this..." Lena motions at the distance between them. "Being in love with someone who doesn't feel the same way..."
Lena shakes her head, feeling her eyes well up with tears again. "Not as fun as you might think, believe it or not."
But she's already cried a river for Kara to the point of exhaustion. She doesn't think she has it in her anymore.
"If you're here to thank me about your truck, you're welcome," Lena bites her lip. "Now please leave."
"I'm here because I had to see you, Lena," Kara says, her voice shaking.
Lena pauses, the uneasy expression on Kara's face bringing up the urge to comfort her. But she stays still, waiting for Kara to speak.
"I've been up nights wishing I could just pick up the phone and tell you," Kara inhales deeply. "I just couldn't take the thought of you thinking I don't feel the same way because I do, Lena. Of course, I do."
Lena feels time stand still as Kara's words echo in her head. Is this a dream?
But before Lena can move to pinch herself or to reach out and touch Kara to determine if this is really happening - if Kara is really here, in front of Lena saying these things, Kara continues, letting the momentum of the moment carry her through.
"And I know I don't deserve you. I never have. And I'm not saying that as part of an apology. It's just a fact," Kara nods. "I know I messed up. I know I hurt you and I'm not here to ask you for your forgiveness."
"But I just really needed you to know that I..." Kara exhales a breath she seems to have been holding.
"I love you, Lena."
Silence fills the cold Christmas Eve air. And Lena is stuck, feet glued to the ground as her mind tries to make sense of the situation.
Kara loves her.
"That's all I really wanted to say so I'm just gonna go..." Kara nods, eyes red with tears. "Merry Christmas, Lena."
She turns around to leave, only getting a few steps forward before Lena calls out her name.
Lena marches forward, eyes burning into Kara's as she reaches out both hands to cup her face.
And without hesitation, without waiting a second longer, she closes the distance between her lips and Kara's.
Kara's hands eventually find their way around Lena's waist, pulling her closer to her as she deepens the kiss.
As they finally pull apart, Kara's eyes remain shut, only slowly fluttering open to watch Lena's amused smile grow into a heartwarming laughter. Kara begins to laugh along with her, the high of their first kiss feeling like electricity between them.
They stand there in the cold for what feels like an eternity. Lena's thumb softly caresses Kara's cheeks. Kara leaning into Lena's touch.
"Merry Christmas to you too, Kara."
Thank you so much for reading!
I will try my best to respond to every comment (I've always expressed how much I love hearing from you all) but due to increased busyness, I may reply a little late!
That said, I hope that you guys have enjoyed the story so far and I'm really excited to carry this on again with you all very soon!
Happy Holidays! X
Chapter 12: All the Time in the World (Part 1)
Aaaaaand we are back!
Hope everyone enjoyed the holidays — thank you so much for all the messages from the last chapter, I'm so excited to continue to share this story with you!
Just a reminder, I do apologise for the random updates. I will try to post new chapters as soon as I can but I don't have a set update schedule!
And one more thing... we reached over 1000 KUDOS?! YOU GUYS ARE THE BEST!!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
The week after goes as follows:
Kara catches a mild cold that really isn't so bad to render her bed-ridden but bad enough that her mom insists she declines James' gala invitation.
"Mom, I'm fine!" Kara sniffles, her stuffy nose betraying her.
Kara begins to sit up from her bed. But Eliza is quick to pull the blankets over her again.
"I've spoken to the Olsens already. Back to bed," Eliza shakes her head. "This is why I always tell you to wear a jacket and a hat out. Where were you out so late anyway?"
Alex, who knows exactly where Kara was, stands by the door, a smug smile on her face.
"Yeah. where were you, Kara?" Alex repeats.
"I told you. I just went to say bye to Nia before she left for her grandma's," Kara glares at Alex menacingly.
"You poor thing," Eliza coaxes. "Get some rest, honey. I'll bring you up some tea."
Alex hangs around a little longer after their mom leaves, diving onto Kara's bed and demanding for the details of what happened.
And Kara (despite the stuffy nose) is too elated not to indulge her giddy big sister.
The Olsens leave for their annual ski trip but not without James dropping by for a quick, surprise visit to fill Kara in on what she missed at the gala.
Kara on the other hand can't bring herself to fill James in on what she's been up to. The guilt that had been pulling on her since that day now clawing at her skin.
In fact, she barely has it in her to feel sorry that she missed the gala. Maybe it was karma for betraying her best friend's trust.
"Are you feeling any better?" James asks.
"Yeah," Kara croaks.
"Hm," James narrows his eyes. "You still sound a bit..."
"I'm actually a lot better just... the lingering cold now," Kara swallows, nodding her head quickly. "I'm gonna be okay."
"I know you are," he smiles. "Hey, I really should get going."
James gets up from Kara's bed to leave, giving her a tight hug before making his way out of her room.
He turns around, squinting his eyes suspiciously. "Aren't you forgetting to tell me something?"
Kara freezes. "What?"
"You know..." James says. "Those chocolates you always nag me to bring back."
Kara laughs, relief like no other leaving her chest. "Right! Don't worry. I..."
I have snatched the girl you like away from you. I am the last person deserving of alpine milk chocolate.
"Come on," James laughs. "You know my mom would never let me come home without something for you. I'll call you soon, okay? Don't do anything I wouldn't do!"
And with that James leaves. His heavy footsteps thundering down the stairs.
"Wouldn't dream of it!" Kara chuckles awkwardly, the irony of it not going unnoticed.
Technically, confessing her feelings for Lena and kissing her is something James would do. Because her best friend likes her too.
And now Kara just feels terrible again.
Her head crashes back against the pillow and she lets out a frustrated groan.
Gentle shuffling rises from under Kara's bed and a soft voice whimpers.
"Is he gone?"
Kara shakes her head at the ludicrous situation she's found herself in. She moves to peer under her bed, coming face to face with a wide-eyed, very nervous Lena Luthor.
Yup. That's right. Lena Luthor is hiding under Kara Danvers' bed.
"He's gone," Kara confirms, a guilty smile splashed across her face.
Lena crawls out from her hiding, Kara taking her hand to help her up onto her bed. They stare at each other, a little disorientated from what's just occurred.
One minute, Lena appears comfortable, completely engrossed in her book; her head resting on Kara's lap who plays lazily with her hair. And the next, Kara's mom is yelling that James is on his way up to say hello before heading to the airport.
"Shit," Kara jumps up, Lena quickly scrambling to her feet.
"What do we do?" Lena hisses.
Kara looks around the room before making a decision. "Get under the bed."
"What?" Lena scoffs.
"Please get under the bed!"
"Kara, I'm not-"
"No!" Lena protests, folding her arms. "Let him find me here."
Kara's panic grows. "Lena, please!"
"Yo, Kara!" James' voice booms from the hall.
"I hate you!"
It's Kara who breaks the silence, bursting out laughing at Lena's now messy hair, resembling a bird's nest.
"Are you finding this amusing?" Lena shakes her head, fighting off the growing smile.
"No," Kara laughs, her stomach now starting to ache. "I'm sorry. You just... you're so cute."
Kara moves closer, fixing Lena's hair gently. "I'm sorry. James would've freaked out if he saw you in here and that's a conversation I'm just not ready for..."
Kara's eyes meet Lena's who appears a little drunk. She understands the feeling. Ever since their first kiss, the two have been sneaking around to see each other in secret. Kara can't seem to get enough of her.
Losing her train of thought, Kara begins to lean in to press her lips against Lena's who welcomes them heartily.
"We have to tell people soon," Lena says in between kisses.
"Hmm," Kara agrees, indifferently. It's a little hard to think when she's making out with Lena right now.
"We can't keep..." Lena says, persistently. "...sneaking around like this."
"Okay," Kara smiles into the kiss, her fingers slowly caressing the exposed skin below Lena's shirt.
Lena grabs Kara's hand and stares intently into her eyes.
"I'm serious," Lena whispers, breathless.
Kara retreats back to sit at the edge of the bed, guilt churning in her stomach. Lena's right, of course. It's not ideal that they're sneaking into each other's bedrooms through the window just to see each other.
But Kara would be lying if she said the little bubble she found herself in with Lena doesn't feel like their own slice paradise.
It's nice, it's peaceful.
"You're right," Kara sighs, running both hands through her hair in slight frustration. "I'm sorry. I think I'm just... getting carried away with having you all to myself."
Lena takes her hand and places a quick kiss on it. "Me too. I... haven't told Sam yet either."
Kara lets out a shuddered breath, the thought of her last interaction with Sam coming to mind. Yikes.
"Okay, so we're gonna our friends," Kara says, decisively.
"We're gonna tell our friends," Lena nods along.
"As soon as possible," Kara furrows her eyebrows.
Lena winces a little. Kara mirrors her expression.
"What if..." Lena says, carefully. "We wait until we go back to school?"
"My friends are away for Christmas break," Kara shrugs.
"And Sam's been so busy with her winter internship," Lena adds. "I don't think it would make much difference if we..."
Kara laces her fingers between Lena's, taking a deep breath in... then out.
"...stay in our bubble just a little bit longer?" Kara finishes Lena's sentence, looking up at her hopeful that she'll understand where she's coming from.
Lena reaches her free hand to tuck a loose strand of hair behind Kara's ear.
"Yes. Exactly," Lena smiles before leaning in to catch Kara's lips again. "Our bubble."
"And I want to take you on a date," Kara bites her lip, a little nervous. "Like a real date."
Kara knows that Lena deserves so much more than secret meetings in each other's houses and empty parking lots.
Even if Lena seems all too content (excited, even) with Kara telling stupid stories about the books and the photographs and the other random trinkets scattered in her room, Kara needs Lena to know that she loves her beyond the walls of their bedrooms.
"That sounds nice," Lena teases, scrunching her nose endearingly. "What did you have in mind?"
Lena will go out on a limb and assume that this is not really the date Kara had in mind.
"This is... nice," Lena struggles to find a suitable word as she attempts to catch Kara's eyes.
Whose expression remains... disappointed and embarrassed, to say the least.
They find themselves sitting in a coffee shop. Lena nurses her cappuccino while Kara looks far too glum to be sipping on a large mug of hot chocolate, whipped cream, marshmallows and all included.
"Hey," Lena coaxes, setting her cappuccino aside to hold Kara's hand.
"It's not okay," Kara huffs, before lowering her voice into a whisper as she leans forward. "I promise, this is not what I had planned for us."
"Well, I'm having a good time," Lena says.
"Me too!" The chirpy young voice of the child sitting between them echoes Lena's sentiment with about double the excitement.
With Alex making a last minute trip to see Maggie and Eliza logging in the extra hours at work, Kara had been left with the responsibility of babysitting her 6 year old cousin, Clark, during the day.
"We can reschedule," Lena suggests.
"No," Kara says very quickly. "School starts next week and... I want to see you."
Lena can't argue with that.
Christmas break really is coming to a quick close and soon, they will be thrusted back into reality — the one where they actually have to tell their friends about them and worry about what others will say and think about them.
So, with an adorable, chatty 6 year old in tow, Kara and Lena stop by a coffee shop after a quick stroll around the park — which they spend mostly watching Clark attempt to build a "snow robot" and making sure he doesn't eat snow.
"Clark, no! That's not food!" Kara screeches.
"But it's delicious, Kara! Here!"
...or making Kara eat snow.
Lena can't help but laugh watching Kara play with her cousin. Of course, she's a natural with kids. Lena, on the other hand, can't remember the last time she had even interacted with a child. She's forgotten how small and loud they can be.
"Can I try your drink, Lena?" Clark asks.
Lena is about to agree when Kara interjects.
"Clark, that's not for kids," Kara scolds. "Why don't you try mine instead?"
Are children not allowed to drink coffee?
"That's for kids? Aren't you... old?" Clark raises both eyebrows, the judgey tone very much apparent in his voice.
Lena has to bite her lip, to hide her giggle. She brings up her coffee to take a sip.
"Well, no. It's for all ages," Kara explains, defensively. "And I'm not old."
"Alex says you're childish," Clark shrugs his little shoulders in nonchalance. "Childish means you act like a child but you're old. I asked her."
"Really?" Kara scoffs, sarcastically. "Well, Alex is an old, grumpy hag herself, isn't she?"
"Kara," Lena almost chokes on her coffee. "She doesn't mean any of that. Alex is wonderful."
Lena glares at Kara who has clearly taken the comment to heart and is perhaps still annoyed at the whole arrangement.
Lena can barely blame her.
It's not very often that your date is crashed by a child. But Lena also has to note that it's not very often that said date is quickly becoming one of the best dates she's certain she will ever go on.
"So are you," Clark beams at Lena. "And you're very pretty."
"A sip won't hurt him, right?" Lena turns to Kara.
Kara raises a questioning eyebrow. Flattery will get you everywhere, Lena has been taught.
"You look like the pirate princess from my coloring book!" Clark presses.
"Alright. Reel it in, buddy," Kara rolls her eyes, tousling Clark's hair.
"You know, Alex said she was going to take me iceskating," Clark states, looking up at Kara, suddenly a little shy.
"And Alex also said she was going to babysit you for the rest of the day but here we are," Kara mutters under her breath.
"You want to go iceskating?" Lena asks.
She quickly wipes the corner of her mouth with a napkin.
"Yeah," Clark nods, smiling brightly. "I brought my new skates."
"Really?" Lena gasps, exaggerating her surprise.
"Uhuh! They're blue!"
Lena catches Kara's gaze watching her in a bit of a trance, smiling quickly before returning her attention towards Clark.
"My first ones were blue too," Lena smiles warmly, remembering one of the few treasured memories she has from her childhood.
"Wait, what?" Kara is taken aback. "You skate?"
"Yes, I skate," Lena narrows her eyes playfully. "I used to get figure skating lessons."
"Of course you did," Kara chuckling a little.
"Could you teach me, Lena?" Clark asks, wide-eyed and expectant.
"Well..." Lena looks at Kara, hesitantly.
The plan had been to drop Clark off at the lab with Eliza so that Kara and Lena can at least spend the rest of the day together, uninterrupted.
And Lena makes the mistake of meeting Clark's wide, glistening puppy eyes.
"Kara..." Lena sighs, motioning towards him.
How could she possibly say no to that?
She's a Luthor but she's not exactly a monster.
"Lena..." Kara responds, eyes warning her not to fall for it.
But she glances at Clark who looks as though he might burst into tears any second. And then at Lena who now wears a very similar expression.
She groans in defeat.
"I got it, I got it," Clark yells, excitedly. "I don't got it!"
Kara, Lena and little Clark have moved their party to the frozen lake - deserted today so they have the entire area to themselves.
They picked up Lena's skates on the way, Kara borrowing a pair of her old ones. The blonde still quite wrap her head around how Lena is constantly surprising her.
"What did you think all those trophies and medals displayed were for?" Lena smirks.
"I don't know," Kara shrugs. "Chess championships? Science competitions?"
"Hm," Lena cocks her head thoughtfully. "Not all of them though. Remind me to show you the rest another time."
"You're doing so well!" Lena cheers, catching Clark before he can stumble back. "Wanna try again?"
"Okay!" Clark nods, enthusiastically.
"Okay, let's go!"
Clark holds onto Lena's hands as they slowly glide across the ice, Kara noting the extra care Lena takes as they do.
A warm glow fills her chest as Kara watches from a few feet away, taking in this Lena as she's never seen her before.
And while Kara is very well acquainted with the softer side of the Luthor, she's never really seen her in this way with someone other than Kara herself.
"Kara, look at me!" Clark chortles. "Look! You're not looking at me, Kara!"
"You're doing great, buddy!" Kara throws two thumbs up.
Lena looks up at Kara with an excitable grin. Kara shrugging her shoulders in that sweet "Look at you go!" fashion.
Unbeknownst to them, Clark, ever the eagle-eyed third wheel, has been watching his babysitters closely. And he has come to his very own conclusion.
"Are you Kara's new girlfriend?"
"Uh..." Lena freezes to a halt, blood rushing up her cheeks.
"Clark!" Kara squeaks.
"What?" Clark furrows his eyebrows. "I'm just asking because you stare at each other a lot!"
"Oh my god," Kara inhales, feeling very much humiliated.
And it seems he's not done as he continues, "Like you're about to say I love you or something."
Kara catches Lena's gaze in a split second before looking away a little embarrassed. They're not that transparent, are they? That a frickin' 6 year old is calling them out on their...
"Okay!" Kara chuckles, clapping her hands together.
"I'm only asking," Clark says.
"I'm gonna go and..." Kara clears her throat, slowly skating towards the edge of the lake. "get our snacks from the truck."
She turns around, lingering a little to eavesdrop as much as she can on Clark and Lena's conversation. As she makes her way towards the truck, she hears Clark's small voice.
"I hope you're Kara's girlfriend."
Her little cousin may just be the cutest thing on the planet but damn it - he doesn't shut up.
"She was a little sad after Will left, but she's not sad anymore," Clark says. "I think it's because of you."
Kara feels her stomach drop a little at the reminder of how she spent a couple of weeks at her aunt and uncle's farm after that break up. Clark, too clever for his own good, must've noticed how quiet Kara was during her stay.
She kinda hates that that's what he remembers from her stay there.
When she returns, a pack of cookies in hand, Kara takes in the small smile Lena has on her face.
"Cookies anyone?" Kara cheers, avoiding Lena's gaze.
Clark all but tackles Kara for the cookies and Lena has to lunge forward to catch them both in her arms, but the momentum carries her forward sending Kara tumbling backwards, Lena landing on top of her.
Kara groans before laughing as Lena fusses over her.
"I'm fine! I'm fine!" Kara reassures her.
Satisfied that Kara isn't hurt, Lena gets up, helping the blonde back on her feet.
Kara shakes her head disapprovingly at her little cousin who after the commotion has somehow remained on his feet.
"Nice going, Clark!" Kara scolds, more in a teasing manner really.
"I'm sorry!" Clark mumbles, his mouth now full with cookies.
Lena stands laughing at the now timid way Kara shuffles to take a cookie from Clark.
"Hey, this isn't funny," Kara jabs at Lena's side, a small smirk playing on her lips. "Your girlfriend could've gotten seriously hurt."
And as Kara intended, that stops Lena from laughing quite abruptly. Kara shoves a cookie into her mouth and watches (fairly satisfied) Lena practically short-circuit beside her.
In the evening, Lena could swear that the night sky had been cracked open, displaying more stars than she had ever seen in her life - and shining brighter than they ever had too.
Although she suspects that her present company, laying down on the blanket next to her and talking quite animatedly about their day, has a lot to do with that.
Lena turns her head to look at Kara, smiling peacefully.
If only she could stop time right now. Or take this very moment and place it on an infinite loop. Just her and Kara and the stars and more of Kara.
"Are you okay?" Kara pulls her away from her daydream.
"Mhm," Lena nods, turning to look up at the stars once more. "Just... thinking."
"About me again, I bet." Kara elbows her teasingly.
"Yes, actually," Lena raises an eyebrow, playing along.
"Really?" Kara chimes.
"Yeah," Lena says. "And how I wasn't sure if I was babysitting Clark with you or if it was the other way around."
Kara punches her lightly. "Hey."
"Ow!" Lena chuckles. "I was kidding!"
Kara's laugh is music to Lena's ears.
"It did feel a little bit like," Kara giggles. "He was some... mini chaperone at times, right?"
Lena laughs, remembering how well-spoken Clark was for his age. And how witty too.
"He kind of was," Lena agrees. "Chatty."
"I think he gets it from Alex," Kara shakes her head. "Sorry if he was a little obnoxious."
"Are you kidding? I love that kid."
"Yeah? I think he really liked you too." Kara exhales before diving in and addressing the elephant between them. "About what he said..."
Oh, Lena thinks. So they're talking about it.
"Oh, about me being your girlfriend?" Lena coughs, trying her best to come across as relaxed as possible. "Kids say funny things all the time. It's fine."
"Yeah, they do..." Kara chuckles. "They're brutally honest too."
"Oh yeah," Kara scoffs. "I mean, Clark is anyway... I don't know about other... other kids. So yeah..."
Lena doesn't have to turn her head to look at Kara to know that she's blushing and playing nervously with her fingers right now.
"Look, we don't have to rush to put a label on... this if you don't want to," Lena decides to take the wheel of the conversation.
"I want to," Kara blurts out.
"Oh," Lena is stunned.
Kara stumbles on her words before she can string a coherent sentence. "I mean, if you want to then I want to... too."
Lena can't help but laugh because how is Kara not understanding that if she asked for the world, Lena would hand it to her wrapped up with a bow. No hesitation.
And by the way that Kara is looking at her, with so much... Lena can honestly only describe as love... she feels as if she's already done just that and so much more.
"Okay," Lena feels her smile stretch from ear to ear.
"Okay," Kara repeats, finally reaching out her hand to hold Lena's.
They stay this way for a stretch of time, comfortable silence now settling upon them like they no longer have to rush towards anything anymore.
Like they have all the time in the world.
Lena thinks about how different things are now. A nice different.
She thinks about how the calm and stillness of this moment feels more familiar than the bustle of the big city she was raised in.
"The skies are so clear from here," Lena sighs, blissfully.
Kara begins to softly caress Lena's thumb with her own. "The singular perk of living in a small town?"
"Oh, I can think of at least one more."
Kara scoffs, rolling her eyes at how cheesy Lena can be sometimes. (Lena isn't sorry).
"And obviously I'm talking about the monthly farmers market," Lena sticks her tongue out.
Kara jabs at Lena's side, provoking another round of ringing laughter from the both of them.
"It's a great view," Lena says more to herself this time.
The vastness of the infinite universe, the miraculous happenstance that she exists—and that she exists with someone like Kara—humbles her.
Lena blinks. "Really something."
Kara watches her in close fascination. Studying the way Lena studies the skies above them.
"Yeah," Kara's eyes remain on Lena. "Beautiful."
Kara must admit, it feels like one giant, cosmic fluke that they're here. Lena Luthor is her miracle, she concludes.
Lena shuffles herself closer, Kara wrapping an arm around her as she nestles her head on Kara's chest, arm settling across her waist.
Kara places a kiss on top of Lena's head and she feels her tighten around her ever so slightly, before relaxing.
They sigh in content. And very, very much, in love.
I can't say thank you enough to everyone!
Hope you've enjoyed a glimpse into our duo's bubble...
...but the trouble with bubbles? They burst.
Chapter 13: All the Time in the World (Part 2)
Out of the bubble, back to school.
Hey, guys! Sorry I haven't updated in a while, but here it is! The next chapter (and part 3 of 'All the Time in the World' segment) should be up much sooner than later.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Things begin to go wrong as winter break thaws.
"It's over," James says, voice monotonous. "All that hard work just down the drain."
Kara clenches her jaw and considers the dull weight that settles on her chest. She sits besides James on her front porch steps, who stares idly into nothing - back from his skiing trip with a broken arm.
"James," Kara breathes, unsteadily. "You know that things could've been so much worse. You could've..."
"Died?" James scoffs.
Kara hates the way he throws that word so casually, so weightlessly. The panic she had spiralled into after hearing the news of his accident was one of the worst she could remember as her mind catapulted her into the worst case scenario at break-neck speed.
All of a sudden she's younger and sitting next to Alex at the kitchen table, her mom barely able to tell them the news about her dad.
As if realising this, James shuts his eyes tightly as the guilt settles. "Damn it. I'm sorry, Kara. I didn't mean to..."
"Broken bones heal," Kara reminds him, she isn't here to talk about herself. "And didn't the doctors say you'd have your cast off in a couple of weeks?"
"I'm still out for the season and..." James shakes his head. "They said that, I..."
James winces, trying not cry and Kara places a comforting hand on his shoulder.
"They said that I might never get to play again," James chuckles dryly.
But the dam breaks and he cries, Kara pulling him to an embrace.
She rubs his back soothingly, repeating words of encouragement as he buries his head onto her shoulder.
Her heart aches as she thinks back to what could've been the last time she saw James.
He was worried about her being sick. Excitedly talking about his trip and how he's going to bring photos back for her. All the while, she was hiding Lena under her bed.
The last time she could've ever spoken to her best friend would've been Kara lying to his face.
"I'm so sorry, James," Kara reassures him, the double-meaning in her words like blades through her mouth.
I'm sorry this happened to you. I'm sorry I didn't have the guts to tell you the truth.
"It's gonna be okay. I promise, it's gonna be okay."
Kara doesn't know if she has the guts now.
"How's James?" Nia asks, catching Kara by the lockers on the first day back at school. "He still isn't picking up my phone calls or Winn's. Is he coming to boardgame night reunion?"
"Well he's devastated," Kara says weakly. "Obviously."
She shuts her locker, leaning against it.
"His football career's practically over," Kara frowns. "What are you supposed to say to someone after their dreams are just..."
Kara splutters gibberish, motioning an explosion with her hands.
"It could've been worse," Nia sighs. "What about you? Are you okay?"
"Yeah," Nia nods. "You know with the whole..."
Nia lowers her voice before continuing.
"...Lena thing before Christmas?"
"Oh," Kara almost drops the books she's removing from her locker. "That's..."
"I know you're worrying about James even more so now but..." Nia shrugs. "Someone should worry about you too."
"I'm fine," Kara dismisses quickly. "The whole thing with Lena, that was..."
As if summoned, Kara spots Lena herself making her way down the hall, looking as beautiful as ever. Their eyes meet and Lena gives a shy smile.
Kara breaks eye-contact and clears her throat, reverting her attention back to Nia as Lena brushes past them.
"That was what?" Nia urges her to finish her sentence.
"A blip," Kara clears her throat. "It's... impossible."
"Okay, what's the matter with you?" Nia calls her bluff. "You said..."
Kara grows impatient of the conversation. It's hard enough knowing what she ultimately has to do.
"I know what I said," Kara snaps, taking Nia aback slightly. "But it's done."
"So that's it? Just like that?" Nia is far from convinced and Kara knows it.
"Yes. Just like that," Kara insists. "Can we just drop it?"
"So you haven't been seeing her over Christmas?"
Kara's mouth gapes open slightly. How did she...
Her eyes quickly check their surroundings before she leans in and lowers her voice. "How did you know?"
But to Kara's surprise Nia now seems taken aback herself.
"I..." Nia blinks, the words spluttering out her mouth. "I didn't. I was just... I was going to make a joke but..."
Kara clenches her jaw. Great.
"Oh my god," Nia laughs, shaking her head. "You and Lena? For real?"
"Yes," Kara sighs in defeat.
Nia squeals loudly, Kara's hand flying up to cover her mouth but people have already thrown them strange glances.
Including Lena who, from across the hall, looks over to them a little concerned.
Kara giggles awkwardly before hushing Nia.
"We're keeping it quiet for now," Kara whispers. "Nia, please. You can't tell anyone."
Nia bites her lip, nodding. "Because of James?"
"Exactly," Kara furrows her eyebrows. James. How the hell is she supposed to tell James now when he's already going through his own issues?
"You know you have to tell him soon, right?"
"I know. I swear I was going to but..." Kara shrugs. "He's already so upset about his arm and now this..."
"Kara," Nia says, firmly. "Not telling him isn't going to magically fix his arm, okay?"
Nia shrugs. "The least you can do is be honest with him."
"So now I gotta break his heart too? Great."
"Give him some credit," Nia smiles encouragingly. "He might not be the sharpest tool in the shed at times but... you know... He's a good guy."
Kara smiles tightly. James is a good guy. Which is why she knows there are only two possible outcomes in this situation: Kara tells James and breaks his heart.
Or Kara doesn't.
And breaks Lena's instead.
Kara ruminates the thought over and over right up the moment she's locking her front door to make her way to Lena's place to complete some Chemistry homework.
She knows Lena will be waiting with questions about when they can finally tell people, when they can finally stop keeping their relationship a secret.
And perhaps ripping the bandaid off would be their best call but Kara's afraid it might be a little too late for that now.
She is so deep in her thoughts that she doesn't notice the figure leaning against her truck until she's preparing to unlock the driver's door.
Kara jumps as the familiar voice greets her. She looks up to see William's smile beaming at her.
"William?" Kara cocks her head.
William approaches Kara, pulling her into a hug before Kara knows what's happening. She quickly squirms away, confusion etched on her face.
"What are you doing here?" Kara asks, folding her arms.
William shrugs. "We're neighbors, are we not? I'm just saying hello."
"No," Kara shakes her head. "I mean here. Back in Midvale."
"I'm visiting," William runs a hand through his hair. "Just a short break."
Kara looks at him, a little unimpressed.
"Okay. Fine, you got me," William scoffs. "I was... suspended."
"What?" Kara all but yells.
The golden boy William Dey got kicked out of college? Oh, this is rich.
"Yes, I know. Totally unfair. My appeal's being processed but while that's happening," William waves his hand nonchalantly. "I thought I'd come home for a bit. Self-reflection, self-improvement, all that yada yada bullshit."
Kara is a little lost for words. But she notes how the only feelings which has surfaced at her ex's surprise return is excitement.
Excitement to tell her friends that the smug, "I don't really want a relationship holding me back from reaching my full potential", douchebag has been kicked out of college.
"We clearly have some catching up to do," William scoffs. "Are you free right now?"
"I'm... actually on my way out," Kara cringes.
"Right. Yeah," William rubs the back of his neck. He's never been used to taking rejection. "No stress. Next time?"
Kara gets into her truck, rolling her eyes internally. "Uhuh. Sure. See ya."
She speeds away, leaving William standing there looking a little dumbfounded. Kara figures he's probably in shock to be met with indifference instead of Kara jumping for pure joy.
But she has more important things to worry over now.
Lena lays on her side, facing Kara who mirrors her position. Homework sprawled between them on the bed as they work in silence.
"Is everything okay?" Lena asks.
"You just seem a little... checked out."
Lena searches Kara's face for any clue as to what is bothering her. It didn't go unnoticed that she has some things on her mind. Lena just wishes she'd come out and say them out loud already so she can stop freaking out that Kara will—out of nowhere—decide that being with Lena isn't what she wanted after all.
"Oh," Kara shakes her head slightly. "Sorry. No, I'm fine."
But she's clearly not fine. So Lena presses on.
"It's James, isn't it?"
She may as well cut to the bone.
"Yes," Kara's shoulders slump.
"I heard he's out for the season? Poor guy," Lena says.
"He's tough," Kara inhales. "But... he's taking it as well as anyone in his situation would be."
"There isn't a lot we can do right now," Lena assures Kara, taking her hand into hers.
Lena feels Kara finally relax a little.
"You could take him to prom?" Kara says sheepishly.
Lena raises an eyebrow. She's kidding. Right?
"I'm joking!" Kara laughs nervously. "Not really. Joking again. Well..."
Lena shifts to bring herself closer to Kara.
"I don't know," Lena sighs. "I'm already sort crushing on that clumsy, blonde chick he hangs around with sometimes."
She moves closer still. Her eyes flickering up from Kara's eyes to her lips as she watches her quickly run her tongue between them.
"The dorky one with the glasses?" Kara scrunches her nose, playing along.
"That's the one..."
But before Lena can close the distance between them, they're startled by a voice calling out from downstairs.
"Lena! I'm coming up!"
"Sam," Lena panics.
"What?" Kara's eyes widen as the fear settles in.
"She can't know you're here," Lena hisses. "Get in the closet."
Lena jumps to her feet and swings her closet door open. She motions for Kara to get up and get inside it, panic now taking over and calling the shots.
"Now, Kara! Hurry up!" Lena stomps her feet.
Kara stumbles forward and launches her entire body into the closet before Lena slams it shut.
Lena paces around her room, not really quite sure where to place herself. "Sam! Just give me a second!"
When Sam barges through her door, Lena almost jumps out of her skin.
"Why aren't you answering your phone?" Sam asks, quickly making herself comfortable by Lena's reading chair.
"My phone?" Lena gulps. "Oh. I must've put it on silent. What are you doing here?"
Lena eyes the closet door and slowly moves away from it. The less attention she can draw around that area of the room, the better.
Keeping things from Sam, Lena finds, is an extreme sport in itself.
And Lena sure as hell isn't winning gold at it anytime soon.
"Well I was worried about you," Sam shrugs. "But also because I've got hot gossip for you."
"Really?" Lena feigns excitement. She needs Sam to leave as soon as possible.
"Oh yeah," Sam gears up to spill. "So you know remember that tall cheerleader who used to tell everyone her cousin was some famous actor? Hannah?"
Lena shakes her head. Is it just her or is the room suddenly so hot? "Doesn't ring a bell..."
"Well, word is one of her cheerleader friends saw you at the game back before Christmas break and has totally had a thing for you since!"
"Me?" Lena chokes.
"And I know that half the school has had a thing for you," Sam rolls her eyes. "But with the whole Kara situation... I figured you could use a rebound."
"A rebound?" Lena scoffs.
"Yeah," Sam says. "No strings attached distraction, you know?"
"Just think about it, okay?" Sam nods. "For what it's worth, she's cute and she's a cheerleader AND she's super into you."
"I don't know, Sam..."
"Hey, I know I haven't been able to see you so much Christmas," Sam smiles apologetically. "But I know you well enough to know you probably spent it all hung up and low because of some girl who dresses like she's the basket case from The Breakfast Club."
Lena and Sam whip their heads towards the direction of the loud sound.
"What the hell was that?" Sam asks.
"Nothing," Lena quickly answers. "It was probably a bird. Outside."
"It kinda sounded like it came from your closet," Sam knits her eyebrows.
Lena's heart drops to her stomach.
"Anyways," Sam turns back around. "I got her number and I think you should call her-"
Sam stops in her tracks as her something behind Lena catches her eye. Lena turns around to follow her gaze, still unsure what she's looking at.
"Lena, what the hell..." Sam stands up and crosses the room.
She peels an over-sized, worn denim jacket from Lena's window sill and examines it.
"This isn't yours," Sam holds up the jacket to show Lena.
"It is," Lena lies.
But Sam only scoffs. Lena can't lie to her very well. They both know that much.
"Oh yeah?" Sam teases. "What Fall collection is this from?"
"It smells a little bit like..." Sam sniffs at the jacket before coming to her conclusion. "...car oil."
Lena only sports a worried look on her face while Sam's distort from confusion to bewildered disbelief.
"Lena! Is this Kara's?" Sam gasps. "Why... how do you have this?!"
"I..." Lena struggles to find the answer.
It's a lost cause and she knows it.
"Lena..." Sam says as her gaze drifts to the pair of worn-out sneakers on the floor by Lena's bed.
"Sam..." Lena echoes.
Sam takes a moment before glancing at the closet.
"Tell me she isn't behind this closet door," Sam says slowly.
"She isn't behind that closet door," Lena obliges.
Without much enthusiasm, Sam swings the closet doors open to reveal Kara, sitting with her knees tucked underneath her chin, sporting a very awkward smile.
Sam stands with her hands on hips, an unimpressed and faraway with just a hint of exasperated look glossing her face.
She looks at Kara, then at Lena, then at Kara again.
"Hey," Kara chuckles.
Thank you so much for reading. Like always, your thoughts, theories, comments are appreciated. I always love hearing from you guys!
See you in the next chapter!
P.S. I have decided to extend this story to 20 chapters and will hopefully complete this reaaaal soon :P
Chapter 14: All the Time in the World (Part 3)
Pressure continues to build. Lena is getting impatient.
Sorry in advanced for the coming angst...
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
"Okay. Someone better start talking," Sam grits her teeth. "Now."
Lena watches her carefully, afraid Sam really might grab the nearest object and hurl it towards whoever speaks up first.
It's Kara who does so as she scrambles out of the closet and onto her feet.
"Not you," Sam holds a finger up to silence her.
"Sam, I was going to tell you about this," Lena exhales. "But the timing was always off."
"And what exactly is this?" Sam asks.
"Kara and I are..." Lena meets Kara's nervous expression and she can't help but smile at how cute she looks right now. "We're giving this thing a go."
"Right..." Sam exhales, cocking her head to the side. "This is... an interesting turn of events because you... and you... before Christmas break..."
Kara takes a very brave step forward towards Sam. The same way a zookeeper would approach a loose lion, Lena imagines.
"Sam, listen. I am so sorry about how we left things before Christmas but I promise you that I am not here to hurt Lena," Kara explains in the most sincere way possible. "I love her."
Lena lights up. The novelty of hearing her say those words really hasn't worn off yet.
Sam knits her eyebrows, searching Kara's eyes for any sign that she might be lying.
"Lena?" Sam turns to Lena.
"I... I want this," Lena nods, taking Kara's hand in hers.
"We're... working on that," Kara nods.
She smiles at Lena before pulling her closer and tucking a loose strand of hair behind her ear.
"Ugh, Danvers," Sam groans. "Have some respect, I'm still in the room. Damn. I don't wanna see you guys pick up from wherever you left off before I walked in."
"I- we were just... doing homework, I swear!" Kara blushes.
"Sure," Sam shakes her head. "Right, I'm getting out of here."
"You're not staying?" Lena asks.
"And third wheel? Hard pass," Sam snorts.
As she makes for the door, she halts.
"I'm stealing food from your fridge as compensation," Sam declares, taking in the sight of Kara next to Lena for a few seconds. "This is so weird."
The door slams, leaving them both alone once again. Lena watches Kara's face distort into disgust with much amusement. Sure, she may have more sympathy if she wasn't so happy that her best friend finally knows about her and Kara.
Kara, who adorably throws herself back onto Lena's bed, still reeling with sheer embarrassment.
"Did that really just happen?" Kara cries out.
But Lena can't help but laugh, laying down next to Kara. "I guess that's one way to tell her."
It seems like Kara's luck doesn't get much better the next day with her truck refusing to start just as she's leaving for school.
"Come on," she mutters, attempting to start the engine once more.
"Uh oh. That doesn't sound good."
Kara turns to see William standing by her truck, worry etched a little too vividly on his face for Kara's liking. It's almost like he's making fun of her.
"Need a hand, KD?"
"I'm fine," Kara refuses, jumping out of the truck to pop open the hood again. "I just need to take a closer look."
William stands close by as Kara moves to the front of the truck.
"That doesn't look good," William says.
"I know," Kara refrains herself from snapping at him.
"How about a lift to school then? I'm heading that way to drop something off for Ben," William offers. "We can have a look at that later."
Kara checks the time on her watch and sees that if she doesn't get her truck to start right about now (which she very, highly doubts), she's gonna be written up for tardiness. Again.
So, with much reluctance, she agrees.
"Fine," Kara gives in. "You're not still driving that dinosaur are you?"
"You loved that dinosaur," William retorts back. "We had some fun with it, didn't we?"
But Kara really isn't in the mood for taking a trip down memory lane - much less so with William.
"Is it cool if I just look over my notes on the way? I have this big test coming up," Kara says.
"Sure, what subject-"
"Sorry. I think I work better in silence?"
"Oh," William chuckles. "Sure. Yeah, me too. My bad. Silence it is."
On the rare occasions when the sun would shine on Midvale (specially so early in the year), most students liked to hang around outside before lessons began, leaving the hallway more or less deserted.
Giving Lena the opportunity to sneak up behind Kara - seemingly focused and brooding over some flashcards by her locker - and plant a quick kiss on her cheek.
Kara all but stumbles back, dropping her flashcards onto the floor while Lena giggled mischievously.
"Lena!" Kara scolds. "Someone could've seen!"
"Don't worry," Lena lowers herself to help Kara pick up her notes. "There's no one around."
Kara looks up to meet Lena's eyes and fights the smile that creeps onto her face.
"What?" Lena smiles back.
"Just... experiencing some de ja vu," Kara chuckles.
Lena realises she's referring to the first time they ever spoke.
"Where are your lucky shoes?" Lena asks, noticing she isn't wearing them.
Kara shrugs, as they stand up. "I don't think I need them anymore. Figured I lucked out with you."
Lena leans in for a kiss but is stopped by Kara who had began to lean in before pulling away.
"We can't risk them catching us like this," Kara shakes her head.
Lena's disappointed expression must speak for her because Kara quickly intertwines her fingers between hers, bringing it up to press a light kiss on them.
"I just wanna do this right, okay?" Kara says softly.
"I know," Lena nods. "I'm getting impatient. But Kara, I mean... can you blame me?"
"As soon as James know, I promise-"
Kara drops Lena's hand at lightning bolt speed. It happens so quickly it sends Lena's head spinning a little. The sudden loss of touch making her heart ache a little.
Lena turns around to see Nia and Winn making their way towards them. She forces a smile to greet them.
"Hi, Lena," Winn chimes.
"Hey," Lena responds.
Lena feels Nia's eyes on her but as soon as she looks over at her, Nia immediately averts her gaze away.
Winn turns to Kara. "So it's true then?"
"What is?" Kara stammers.
Winn looks over at Nia with a perplexed look. Then back at Kara who still looks a little confused.
"William's back," Winn finally reveals.
"He's back?" Lena blurts out before she can stop herself.
"Someone from my Geology class apparently saw him dropping you off this morning," Winn explains to Kara. "That's not back on, is it? He was so... bleh."
Lena feels an unfamiliar, bitter taste begin to fill her mouth. She cocks her head slightly, waiting for Kara to explain herself.
Why didn't she mention William was back? Why did William drop her off? Why does it suddenly feel like the sunlight flooding the through the windows is burning Lena's skin?
"No, of course not!" Kara insists.
"I should get going," Lena says. "I'll see you in class."
"Wait, Lena," Kara gently grabs her elbow to stop her from leaving.
Winn and Nia stand back and watch the exchange. Winn's eyebrows raise a little, not used to seeing them this... comfortable with each other.
The main doors swing open as the bell rings and people begin to fill the hallway once again. Lena looks up at Kara who's hand is still holding her arm.
She watches Kara glance at the crowds entering the school building before finally deciding to let her go.
"Yeah. I'll see you in class," Kara sighs.
Disappointment washes over Lena once again. She knows that Kara wants to do this right. She knows that Kara loves her. She knows she loves Kara too.
At least she wants to keep believing those things.
But for the very first time, Lena begins to question whether or not those things are even enough for her.
Lena can barely concentrate on anything and sitting beside the very reason for that isn't helping at all.
"Check it out, Edge is totally hungover," Kara nudges Lena to get her attention.
"Look at him!" Kara stifles a giggle.
"He looks fine to me," Lena mutters, not really in the mood to joke.
"Okay, you really gotta look-"
"Can we just get on with this?" Lena hisses, motioning towards the work they had been set to do in silence.
"Okay..." Kara backs away a little.
Lena clenches her jaw, gripping her pen a little tighter than before as she continues answering the questions.
"Is everything okay?"
Lena scoffs. Is everything okay? Has Lena hallucinated the past month or so? Or is Kara really that oblivious?
"Did I do something wrong?" Kara asks.
Lena remains quiet.
"Right..." Kara says, defeated.
"So I guess William's back," Lena snaps. "You never mentioned."
"Oh, I just hitched a ride because my truck wasn't starting and I didn't want to be late," Kara says. "That's all. Didn't think it was a big deal."
"You didn't seem to have a problem being seen with him," Lena shrugs, feigning nonchalance.
"Let me guess," Lena interrupts. "Different with me?"
The bell rings and Edge dismisses the class. The room hurry to pack and leave, but nowhere near as quick as Lena. She needed to get out of here.
"Well, yes," Kara responds.
Lena rolls her eyes and makes her way to out of the door, Kara following closely behind.
"Lena! Wait!" Kara calls out, helplessly.
"I just need some time," Kara begs. "Please."
"Kara, do you want to be with me?" Lena stares at Kara blankly.
"Yes," Kara answers. "Yes! Of course, I do. I just need some time..."
"I don't... I won't be your secret, Kara," Lena says. "I love you but that doesn't give you a free pass to drop and pick me up as you please."
Lena is surprised at how calm and collected she is as the words leave her mouth.
"I'm gonna tell them," Kara nods. "I'm gonna tell my friends. Tonight."
Lena remains quiet. She is desperate to believe her. She truly is.
But Lena is growing tired.
"I love you, Lena," Kara says, desperate for Lena to believe her too. "I want this. I do."
"Floor? Ground? No? Dirt? Dirt! Dirty! Dirty Dancing! Yes!"
Kara groans in defeat. As usual, Nia and Winn are kicking their butts at games night. Not so usual... James sits back, arm still in a sling, polite enough to laugh at jokes and cheer when required to but he's never been one to bottle his emotions.
And the rest of them can sense his foul mood from the moment he walked through the front door.
Kara's nerves—deeply conscious of the weight of the secret she has to reveal tonight—does nothing to elevate the mood either. But she has to tell them. It has to be tonight. She's given Lena her word.
"James, Kara! It's like you two aren't even trying," Winn laughs tauntingly, throwing his arm up to high five Nia.
"Shut up," Kara scoffs. "You guys so cheat."
"Hey! Take that back!" Nia yells as her jaw drops over-dramatically. "Just admit you and James... kinda suck."
"Oh, whatever!" Kara laughs, stealing the bowl of popcorn from Winn's lap before he even has a chance to grab a handful.
She offers some to James, who shakes his head. "No, thanks."
"You sure?" Kara asks.
"Yeah," James says.
There is a window of stillness which Kara takes before she can talk herself out of it. Now or never.
Kara clears her throat to speak. "Guys, I have something-"
"Actually, I think I'm gonna head off soon."
Kara scowls. "Head off? It's 8pm, James."
"I broke my arm but I can still read a clock," James rolls his eyes.
"Why are you leaving so early?" Winn glances at Kara and Nia. "This is the first time we're all together since before Christmas."
"Yeah, you're right," James shrugs, chuckling. "But still, all you can seem to talk about is how many colleges are tripping over themselves sucking up to you."
"James!" Kara and Nia shout in unison.
And just like that, something in the air seems to shift.
"What?" James scoffs.
"Are you joking?" Winn blinks back, smile fossilising on his face.
"No," James snaps back.
"What the hell is wrong with you?" Kara spits.
Before James can blurt out another word, Winn leaves the room in a hurry. Nia's eyes shoot daggers at James before following Winn out.
"I get that you're upset about your injury," Kara says lowly. "But you don't get to treat people - hell, your friends! - like they're garbage."
"I can't play football anymore, Kara," James yells. "NYU was the sure thing but now that I'm injured and I've never exactly been a straight-A student..."
Kara doesn't say a word. The silence hangs uncomfortably between them.
"I worked hard, I had a plan," James continues. "And now... I have a broken arm. My dad can't even look at me anymore. I've let so many people down and it wasn't even my call."
"I'm angry," James sobs. "I am so angry and I'm taking it out on people I care about and... this isn't who I am! I'm so sorry."
James lets out a shakey breath, avoiding Kara's eyes as he seats himself back down onto the couch.
"We're your friends," Kara reminds him, her eyes glossing with tears as he begins to cry. "So let us be your friends."
At the sound of James' quiet sobs, Nia and Winn emerge back into the living room cautiously. Kara looks up to see that they're both watching him with sad faces.
Winn is the first to step forward. He takes a seat next to James whose head is buried into his uninjured hand. He opens his mouth to say words but no sound comes out. Instead, Winn finds his hand gently on James' back as he comforts his friend.
"It's okay," Winn says. "You're okay, James."
James mutters apologies under his breath while Kara and Nia embrace the two friends to envelop their group into a hug.
Kara knows that her friends need her right now. But all she can think about is Lena.
Who she senses is getting tired of the secrets and the hiding. Who has been nothing but in love with her and forgiving and... Kara has practically nothing to show for how much she loves her too.
So she hopes and prays that Lena can hang on and wait just a tiny bit longer. Just another night.
But Kara isn't so sure. God knows Lena can do so much better.
Kara has a sinking feeling that she's pushed her luck far enough to even salvage this.
It's not until 2am when Lena's phone finally rings with Kara's caller ID illuminating her bedroom. She answers the call.
"Hey," Lena croaks.
"Hey," Kara says. "Did I wake you?"
"No, I couldn't get to sleep," Lena chuckles, humorlessly. "Are you okay?"
She isn't exactly lying. She really couldn't get to sleep. Thinking about how Kara had told her that she would finally tell her friends everything. And that they wouldn't need to hide anymore.
Lena would be able to hold her hand down the hallway and kiss her cheek and she wouldn't need to stop herself from staring at Kara anymore because everyone would already know just how crazy Lena is about her.
"I'm fine," Kara says.
Lena's heart races, trying to keep herself from asking about how her friends, how James, had reacted to the news.
"How was games night?" Lena asks after a moment of silence.
"It was..." Kara trails off.
And Lena feels her chest tighten as her heart sinks to her bedroom floor like dead weight. Her smile fades as she listens to Kara's slight sharp inhale through the phone.
"...fine," Kara says.
And just like that, Lena knows. She knows.
For a moment, she had really led herself to believe that Kara had finally chosen her. Fully chosen her. But maybe deep down, Lena already knew this is what would happen.
Because Kara didn't tell her friends.
"It was... nice," Kara's voice strains to speak. "It was nice to see everyone together again. But obviously James is still very shaken up about..."
"Yeah," Lena exhales.
"His injuries so..." Kara clears her throat.
The silence that follows seem to stretch on for eternity. At least for Lena, who stares up at her ceiling, fighting the tears that threaten to form. She bites her bottom lip, impatiently waiting for Kara to prove her wrong.
But they both know each other too well by now.
Lena, finding this limbo too painful, is the first to break.
"You didn't tell them," she says flatly.
Kara's breath is uneven, she's crying, Lena observes.
It's the same old story again and again. And in all truthfulness, Lena is... exhausted.
"Lena, please hear me out. I really was going to but..." Kara explains. "It just wasn't the right time. But after-"
"Kara?" Lena whispers.
"Maybe we should..."
"Maybe we should take a break," Lena's voice breaks slightly. "From this."
"What do you mean?"
"I think it's best if we..." Lena shuts her eyes, willing herself to say the next words. "Press pause on this for now."
"No!" Kara raises her voice. "No, Lena. Please. I just need-"
"More time," Lena laughs dryly. "More... time. Yeah, I know. Well, now you have all the time in the world."
"Lena..." Kara pleads.
And it takes Lena everything she has not to just take back everything she's said.
"It's pretty late, Kara," Lena sniffs. "And I'm really tired so..."
Lena brings a hand up to her mouth in a poor attempt to stop herself from crying out loud. The tears escape her eyes and roll down onto her pillow.
"Good night, Kara."
And before she can say something stupid like how much she loves her and how much she wishes she loved her back enough to not even be in this situation in the first place...
She ends the call.
6 chapters left!
Thank you so much for reading this little story – updates will hopefully come in more frequently now. I always look forward to hearing your thoughts and reading your comments!
I will apologize again for the angst but...
It's a happy ending :)
Chapter 15: Day 1
Angst, angst and more angst.
Sorry for the wait but here's the latest chapter!
And sorry for the angst fest - but if you've made it 15 chapters into this story, all I have are warm, fluffy feelings for you! Thank you!
(So sappy, yuck!)
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
To Kara, the next few weeks are hell on earth.
Lena doesn't avoid her, no. Kara thinks she might actually prefer that over Lena simply refusing to acknowledge her existence.
And whenever she really has to, Lena brings out this gross faux, distant politeness that Kara feels is even worse than Lena not talking to her. Because now there's a 50-foot thick glass wall between them and Lena doesn't seem to care.
So Kara turns to an old trick she and Alex had come up with when they were younger.
"It's Day 2," Alex huffs. "That's it. I'm driving to see her."
"You're acting like it's Day 200 or something," Kara scoffs. "Maggie's probably busy. She'll call you. Besides, isn't there a 5-day rule when it comes to calling after a date?"
"Three days," Alex corrects her. "You're probably right. I'm overreacting."
Maggie calls that evening.
Kara counts the days that pass.
Because counting the days make it feel like there's an end to this torture she's found herself in.
Counting the days reminds Kara that if she just gets through the next 24 hours... she'll be 24 hours closer to... whatever is on the other side of this excruciating heartache.
"Lena, it's Kara again," Kara pleads. "I don't know what else to do. Please talk to me."
This mailbox is full and cannot accept any messages at this time.
Kara dials again.
"Please pass me that flask?" Lena asks.
Kara looks up at her, passing her the flask. "Lena, I was thinking we should-"
"I think we need to add the solvent in smaller droplets for higher precision?" Lena interrupts.
"If you don't mind, can you start with setting up the equipment while I review the equations?" Lena doesn't even look at her.
Of course, she doesn't blame her. It wasn't fair for Kara to hope that Lena would happily pour out an everlasting well of patience. It just feels... wrong that this is how things have turned out between them. There is no bad blood, no more bloodshed. Not a single trace that not very long ago, they had been so close to having everything.
After a slight complication with James' arm, it finally comes off the sling a week later than expected.
Kara had told herself she'd tell him after his arm is off the sling. Then she had told herself she'd tell him after he's settled in with the therapist his parents have been taking him to see in the city. Then James was away so often and everyone so busy with everything finals and everything college.
Then the days just kept rolling in and Kara feels her insides decay, like life itself had been ripped out of her and replaced with a dark vacuum.
And why the hell does telling him matter now anyway? It's over. There's no need for another relationship in Kara's life to come to an end.
Sam, on the other hand at least, has been a little more... expressive.
About 2 weeks into her new hell, desperation had led Kara to approach Sam at the car park at the end of one school day.
Sam is about to get into her car when Kara finds her.
"Hey, Sam," Kara fiddles with the ends of her sweatshirt sleeves as she approaches her.
Sam looks up to see Kara and begins to hurriedly get into her car.
"Sam, please wait!" Kara rushes. "I don't know if Lena told you-"
"She told me," Sam deadpans.
"Okay," Kara's breath shudders. "So I was just going to-"
"And you told me that you weren't going to hurt Lena," Sam states.
"Or did you not?" Sam narrows her eyes in a condescending manner. "Did you not jump out of her closet, look me in the eye and tell me that? Because either I hit my head and hallucinated the whole thing or all of those things happened. So did you?"
"I did," Kara nods.
"And did you stand by your word?"
Kara can't do much but cower in silence, shaking her head meekly.
"So what the hell are you doing coming to me?" Sam scoffs, bitterly. "If this is your way of fixing things, don't even bother. The best thing you can do now is give her time and space to get over you properly. And for good."
Kara stares at her worn-out sneakers, taking in the way she had tied them tightly and securely. She doesn't realise she's crying until stray tears fall on them.
"It's over, Kara," Sam says, quietly. "You had your chance. You messed up. You lost her. It's over."
"Sam, please. I just wanna talk to her." Kara chokes, her eyes sore and welling up with more unshed tears. "Or maybe you can pass a message on for me-"
"I don't believe you have anything to say that she wants or needs to hear," Sam shakes her head. "I have to go."
Kara exhales slowly, tears now streaming down her cheeks.
"For what it's worth," Sam sighs, sadly. "She was the happiest I'd ever seen her when she was with you. Give her the chance to be that happy again. Let her go. Please."
Kara nods and for a split second, she thinks she sees a glint of sympathy in Sam's eyes before she finally drives away.
On Day 19, Sam (very delicately) throws her middle finger up at Kara after catching her gazing their way in the cafeteria.
And then everyday is almost the same.
Kara gets up before her alarm. She goes to school. She goes to work at the fruit juice bar. She goes home. She sleeps. And she does it all over again.
Then one morning (Day 24), things are a little different. She sees that her mom has laid out breakfast on the table - all of Kara's favorites.
"Morning, honey," Eliza chirps.
"Morning, Mom," Kara smiles. "What's... the occasion?"
"I just wanted to spend some time with you," she says. "You've been quite... busy."
"Yeah," Kara says. "It's just been... stressful. College. School stuff."
"Kara," Eliza studies her daughter with a sad smile. "What's going on?"
Kara feels the back of her eyes burning as she holds back tears. "It's nothing, Mom."
"Okay," Eliza exhales. "Well, come sit. I made your favorite chocolate chip pancakes. And you can tell me all about..."
Eliza shrugs with a nonchalant smile. "Nothing."
So Kara sits and she eats. Stray tears roll down her cheeks but her mom wraps her tightly into her in a side embrace.
"I'm sorry, Mom," Kara sniffles. "These pancakes are great. I'm not crying about them."
"Oh, I know, dear," Eliza cooes. "We don't have to talk about whatever it is right now. You come to me when you're ready, alright? But for now, you just eat. You're skin and bone these days, look at you!"
Kara nods, letting Eliza fuss over her, piling her plate one pancake after another.
Kara's phone buzzes. It's a text from James.
Back in Midvale next week. Feeling good these days :)
Kara begins typing out a response until...
TAP TAP TAP
"Nice job fixing the truck, KD."
Kara almost drops her phone in shock.
She groans internally. Surely William has better things to do than seemingly appear out of nowhere and annoy Kara.
"My name is Kara."
"Sorry," William chuckles. "Old habits die hard."
"William, what are you still doing here?" Kara jumps out of the driver's seat.
"I told you," William shrugs, hands in his pocket. "I got kicked out of college."
Kara smirks slightly. "Is it mean that hearing you say it again makes me feel a little empowered?"
William scoffs, his cheeks turning a little red from embarrassment.
"Alright. Maybe I deserve that," William laughs awkwardly. "I wasn't exactly the world's best boyfriend, was I?"
Kara hums in agreement, feeling slightly uncomfortable now.
"We really don't have to do this, you know?" Kara shakes her head. "There's no hard feelings or any feelings at all, really. You don't have to try and redeem yourself. Water under the bridge. Forgiven and forgotten. Etcetera, etcetera."
"You've changed," William flashes a boyish smile. "It's kinda nice."
It takes everything she has not to roll her eyes. What did she ever see in him?
"And you haven't changed at all," Kara gathers her things to leave.
"Two questions," William clears his throat. "One, do you feel like skipping class and hanging out with me? And two..."
William motions subtly behind Kara.
"Why is Lena Luthor staring like she's trying to make my head explode telepathically?"
Kara turns back, catching Lena quickly averting her gaze from them. If anything, Lena was probably trying to make Kara's head explode telepathically. She considers that might not be the worst thing in the world - at least then she'd have to communicate with Kara, right?
"I have no idea," Kara's heart sinks to her stomach at the sight of Lena, hating that this is the new normal now.
"What about the first question?" William calls out as Kara walks away.
"Oh," Kara sighs. "No, thanks."
She begins to walk away again before turning around once more. "You should probably stop hanging around school grounds. People are gonna start thinking you're the new town crazy."
William laughs. "Then maybe you should stop avoiding me and we can hang out!"
Kara feels embarrassment course through her cheeks as William more or less yells his words, catching a few people's attentions.
Choosing to ignore him, Kara continues to walk away, passing Lena whose deathly stare is now fixed laser-sharp on an unaware William.
Kara finds herself quietly wishing Lena had the ability to make people's head explode telepathically. Something tells her William would be located quite high up her hit list.
Or at the very least enough telepathic powers to read Kara's mind so she can know how much all of this is killing her.
Another empty week passes.
Kara slumps over her lunch, staring blankly at the uneaten sandwich slices in front of her. Today, she doesn't even have the energy to pretend that she's just tired. And it seems Nia and Winn have picked up on it.
Not that Kara cares so much at this point.
"Hey," Winn says softly. "Kara, listen... we've been worried. You look-"
"Yeah. I know," Kara grumbles.
"No, I don't think you do," Winn cringes. "You look like the before photo in those makeover transformation challenge. Ow!"
Winn doubles over as - Kara suspects - Nia kicks his shin under the table.
"What's going on?" Nia asks.
Kara tucks loose strands of hair behind her ear, shaking her head. "I think it's really over, Nia."
"What is?" Nia urges for explanation.
"I should've just told James at games night about us but..." Kara says, her voice already quite hoarse. "I should've just told James then. Hell, I should've told James from the very beginning."
"Wait what?" Winn interrupts, looking very perplexed.
Nia quickly motions for him to shut up.
"So that's it? You're giving up just like that?" Nia challenges.
"She doesn't want to see me, Nia," Kara whines. "Let alone talk to me."
"Well, have you thought maybe it's because you're all talk?"
"Kara, Lena has been bending over backwards for you for months," Nia rolls her eyes. "She's waited and waited and you keep making promises..."
"I know but I really was going to do something about it this time!"
"Lena?" Winn cocks his head. "Wait. You and Lena?"
Kara slumps back onto her seat. Nia says everything with the incredulous expression she stares at Winn with.
"Winn! Yes!" Nia all but yells at Winn. "Kara and Lena have feelings for each other but James has feelings for Lena and Kara was going to tell James-"
"But James broke his arm and was at the worst place..." Winn finishes Nia's sentence, wagging a finger at her. "Oh my god! Kara!"
Winn exhales in exasperation. He sits back, folding his arms to his chest, a disbelieving look splashed across his face.
The trio are silent for a moment until Winn can't help but break into a smile.
Winn snorts, trying his best to keep his laughter at bay.
"Seriously, Winn?" Nia's eyes shoot daggers at him.
"I'm sorry," Winn clears his throat. "I thought that was like a running joke..."
"What was a running joke?" Nia questions.
"I don't know," Winn shrugs, innocently. "The Kara and Lena thing. I mean, it's Kara..."
Nia smacks the back of Winn's head light enough that it doesn't hurt but hard enough to shut him up.
Watching her friends mess around like this would usually be enough to keep at bay whatever sadness Kara might be feeling at that moment but these days, that sadness just seems to cling onto her like black, stubborn tar.
"What am I supposed to do?" Kara says flatly.
"Guys..." Winn mutters more to himself.
Nia leans forward and Kara prepares herself.
"Tell James the truth, tell Lena you still love her," Nia says slowly. "In that order, Kara. Okay? Specifically in THAT order! My god, is it really so difficult to be happy?"
"James is taking life by the horns," Winn continues to mutter. "He said he won't let some setback define him. Something about what his therapist said..."
"See?" Nia says. "He's right, Kara. Are you still planning to-"
"Nia, I think it really might be too late. I messed up," Kara frowns, shaking her head. "I don't want to do anything else that might make things worse."
"Besides, I think she hates me," Kara clenches her jaw. "I mean, who can blame her? Sam hates me. James is going to hate me when he finds out. I hate me."
"Guys, we have a problem," Winn shakes his head.
"Yes. I see that, Einstein! Kara, she doesn't hate you," Nia hushes Winn before turning back to Kara once more. "You hurt her. You can't hurt someone who hates you."
"Guys-" Winn tries once more to interrupt.
"Exactly. I hurt her," Kara throws Nia's words back at her. "And not just once either. Every day that I chose to do what was easiest for me, every day that I chose to keep it a secret, I was hurting her."
"Sam was right," Kara feels her voice trembling. "The best thing - the only thing - to do now is to leave her alone."
"Guys!" Winn huffs.
Nia groans. "What is it, Winn?"
"James told me he's going to start taking life by the horns," Winn repeats, getting visibly heated.
"Okay and?" Nia asks.
"He said he's gonna start by asking Lena out," Winn reveals.
Kara meets Nia's eyes. Fear settling onto them.
"Where is he?" Kara feels her heart fall to the soles her feet.
"Coming out of Algebra?" Winn stutters as he checks his watch for the time.
"We have to stop him," Nia clambers up to her feet.
Kara and Winn follow suit.
The trio scrambles out of the cafeteria, running through doors like a group of maniacs on the run.
As they take a sharp turn around a corner, they spot James shutting his locker.
Making his way towards Lena who absentmindedly fixes her hair while waiting for Sam to put books away into her locker.
"James!" Kara yells, freezing in her tracks.
"Just a second, Kara," James waves. "Hey, Lena! Wait up!"
"James?" Lena stops in her tracks, eyes meeting Kara who power walks towards them.
"I'm so sorry if this comes across a little forward but I was just wondering if... you were free tonight?" James blurts out. "I'd love to take you out for dinner."
Kara is a few steps away from them, a few breaths from caving and telling James everything when Lena locks eyes with Kara.
"Okay," Lena blurts out.
And Kara feels as though the ground might split the earth open right from beneath her feet.
Sam grabs Lena's arm to get her attention. "Lena, what-"
But she pulls herself away from her friend, stepping closer towards James whose smile stretches from ear to ear.
Kara only feels sick to her stomach.
"Great!" James squeaks, coughing to clear his throat. "Could I get your number for..."
Kara doesn't hear the rest of the conversation as she staggers away from the scene. Reminding herself to breathe in and out before the dizzying sensation of what she's just witnessed brings her down to her knees or lead to what little lunch she had making a reappearance all over the hallway floors.
Not now, Kara thinks. Please. Not now.
Kara allows muscle memory to take control while her brain fails to make sense of anything. She breaks into a run, barrelling through the doors and outside, her legs taking her to where her truck is parked, heavy rain greeting her.
Before she even realises, the key is in the ignition, her foot is on the gas pedal, and she is speeding home as quickly as she can.
Kara knows she probably isn't in the best state to be driving at all right now but she swears that another second in Lena's proximity...
Lena who has agreed to go on a date with James.
That would have been more torture than Kara could bear.
Her shaking hands fumble with the dials of the stereo system, desperate for any kind of distraction.
But the crackling of poor signal only irritates her further. Damn storm.
She's fine. She's going to be okay. It's just Day...
Shit. What Day is it?
Kara pulls over along the side of the road. She steadies her breathing before finally giving in and allowing herself to feel the dull ache that she's been working so hard to keep at arm's length.
Rain rattles a young Kara's bedroom window as she clutches her stuffed bear closer to her. When this does little to ease her fear, she decides to head downstairs in hopes of stealing some cookies from the jar.
But instead, Kara sees that someone must've had the same idea.
"Alex?" Kara mumbles as she makes her way into the kitchen.
"Hey," Alex places her glass of milk down. "What are you doing still up?"
"I couldn't sleep," Kara sighs. "The storm's too loud."
She hesitates before adding, "...And I miss Dad."
"Yeah. I miss him too," Alex smiles softly. "It's... Day 100."
Kara sighs. "It feels like Day 1 tonight."
"It might feel like Day 1 sometimes," Alex says. "But we're gonna be okay. I promise."
Alex narrows her eyes playfully. "Hey, do you want a cookie? But you cannot tell Mom!"
Kara wipes her tears with the sleeves of her sweatshirt as she sits back helplessly, feeling the heavy rain pound against her windows.
She sits wallowing in this pain... this persistent wound that hurts as if the cut was made seconds ago.
And so, it's Day 1 for Kara all over again.
5 chapters left! Thank you for reading, see you in the next chapter!
(Once again sorry for the angst! :( But stick with us, I promised a happy ending for these two idiots!)
Chapter 16: Pouring Salt
Lena doesn't wanna talk about Kara. Eliza is right (as usual).
You guys asked for the next update asap so here it is!
Thank you for the responses last chapter - it really fuelled me to get this latest chapter out to you guys as fast as I could. Enjoy!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Lena feels Sam's eyes on her from her vanity mirror as she applies her make up. She ignores her, already certain of the burning questions in her mind.
"What are you up to, Lena?" Sam finally breaks the silence.
"Getting ready," Lena replies nonchalantly.
"No..." Sam shakes her head.
She sits up on the edge of Lena's bed, leaning forward.
"What are you up to?" Sam repeats, stressing each syllable.
Lena pauses briefly, raising an eyebrow. "I don't know what you mean."
Sam rolls her eyes, mumbling something inaudible under her breath. Lena swivels to face her friend, the mask now slipping.
"Sam. It's over, okay?" Lena grits, surprising herself at how harsh her tone sounds. "I ended things. I don't want to be with someone who wants to keep me a secret."
"So you're going on a date with their best friend instead?" Sam furrows her eyebrows, sarcasm dripping in her voice. "Yeah. Because THAT makes a lot of sense."
Lena turns around again to resume applying make up. "This isn't about Kara."
"What is this? Payback?" Sam asks. "She hurt you so now you get to hurt her?"
"This has nothing to do with Kara."
"I think it has everything to do with Kara."
Lena tightens her grip on her powder brush. "I don't want to talk about her."
"Sam! It's just dinner, okay?" Lena groans. "Speaking of which, aren't you going to be late for yours with Ben's family?"
"I don't have to go," Sam chuckles at Lena's attempt to change the subject. "And neither do you."
"You're not getting to use me as a scapegoat because you're scared of meeting his parents," Lena calls her bluff.
"I've met his parents."
"Saying hello to them after they catch Ben sneaking you out doesn't count," Lena chides.
"Fine. I am scared," Sam throws herself onto Lena's bed.
"They're gonna love you, you know that, right?" Lena reassures her, glancing at her through the mirror.
"I think that's why I'm scared," Sam admits, staring up at the ceiling. "You think I'm really suited for this whole relationship thing?"
"Of course I do," Lena stresses. "Odd choice in who with, I'll admit, but still."
"Oh! Because you're suddenly the expert in picking them out?" Sam snorts.
"Okay. I walked into that one," Lena laughs dryly.
Sam sits up suddenly - as if an imaginary light bulb now glows above her head.
"I can pour salt over William's plate for you if you want?"
"Tempting," Lena answers, the tiniest part of her wanting to see the scene play out. "No one's pouring salt over anyone's plate."
"Would probably be useless," Sam scrunches her nose. "Your common ground is Kara which means apparently neither of you have a sense of taste anyway."
The joke loses its novelty as soon as Sam includes Lena in the punchline.
"Joking," Sam giggles. "Mostly. But she really is an idiot, Lena. Come on now."
Lena places her make up brush down, inhaling deeply before letting her emotions have their turn at speaking for her.
"Okay. Yes. She's an idiot and so oblivious and painfully naive and stupid. And when she freaks out, it's like... she only sees through this tunnel vision and she needs me to ground her."
Lena clenches her jaw, memories with Kara playing in her mind like a supercut reel.
She feels a sharp pang in her chest. With Kara, when it was good, it was so good. When it was bad, on the other hand...
"She's dealt with the whole thing in the worst possible way. I know that. I know you hate her for that," Lena's hands gesture wildly as she rants. "And I let her! I let her because I was just so happy to have her."
"And I think she's scared of being completely happy because to her, being so happy means being a little selfish but damn it! I wish she would just let herself be happy..."
Why couldn't she just let herself be completely happy with me?
Lena feels the back of her eyes stinging, tears threatening to ruin her make up. But she refuses to let that happen. She bites her lip, her gaze catching the sketch Kara had done of her that time they got detention.
"And maybe one day, she'll figure that out. I hope she figures it out. And whoever she decides to be selfish for..." Lena inhales deeply. "Is going to be the luckiest person in the world."
Silence fills Lena's bedroom. The idea of Kara stepping up for somebody else leaves a bitter taste in Lena's mouth.
Even Sam sits a little dumbfounded - Lena's honesty striking her with much force.
Sam clears her throat, shifting a little awkwardly. How did a stupid joke lead them to this?
"I... thought you didn't want to talk about her?"
Lena huffs breathlessly as if snapping out of a trance.
"Lena," Sam warns.
"Don't do this," Sam pleads. "You and I both know you're doing this to spite her. You're hurt. I get it. But this-"
"Spite her?" Lena scoffs bitterly. "Sam, she was his wingwoman, remember? This is exactly what she wanted."
Lena has to hand it to James. He's picked a lovely restaurant by the marina for their date. And, Lena notices, he's even gone out of his way to wear a nice buttoned shirt.
The first hour goes by and to Lena's surprise, it's not the worst date in the world.
It's not exactly the best either.
Their conversations are filled with polite small talk about each other and the weather and school. An awkward silence here and there but Lena's just thankful James doesn't push to fill every moment of silence between them with obnoxious chatter.
"You look nice," James points out.
"Thank you," Lena smiles. "How's your steak?"
"It could use some salt actually," James says.
"Oh. Here," Lena passes him the pepper shaker.
"I'm sorry about your injury by the way. Kara..." Lena pauses, saying her name out loud catches her off-guard and she has to take a sip of water.
"She mentioned your accident," Lena continues.
"Oh, it's fine," James lifts his arm to show that it's now healed. "Anyways, life's bigger than football."
"Sure," Lena nods.
"I'm actually thinking of taking some time out before going to college. Get to see a little bit of the world."
"That sounds nice."
"And I never considered it until..." James trails his sentence off, the memory of being told he would no longer be playing football still brought about some remnants of heartache.
He smiles finally. "So maybe this was a blessing in disguise."
Lena nods, appreciating his optimism.
"It was Kara's idea actually," James mentions. "She used to have this big plan to do some travelling in the summer before she moves to National City."
"Hm," Lena busies herself with slicing the chicken in front of her. Hearing her name mentioned out loud again makes her stomach twist a little.
"But now that William's back," James shrugs. "I'm not so sure."
Lena freezes. "William? Why?"
James appears confused at Lena's sudden reaction as he watches her grip tighten around her cutlery.
"She was pretty cut up about him leaving," James explains. "I haven't been around much lately but I think he's hoping for another chance."
Lena laughs at this. He really hasn't been around that much. But Lena knows Kara better than this. Her chest tightens slightly at this realisation.
What does knowing her so well matter now that they're no longer talking?
"No. Kara would never," Lena shakes her head.
"Winn mentioned that Kara had bought two tickets to prom so my guess is they're going together."
And Lena feels her heart stop for a second. The shock causes her to drop her knife and fork, the loud clanging impact of it making them both jump.
"You good?" James asks.
"Yes, sorry," Lena chuckles, her cheeks turning a little pink. "So they're going to the dance together? And you're okay with that?"
"People deserve second chances, don't they?"
"Not when they throw away the first like it's trash."
"I take it you're not his biggest fan," James smirks.
"Of how he could cast Kara aside like he did before leaving for college? No," Lena says. "Him as a person? I don't think I could care less."
"You seem quite protective of Kara," James points out. "I'm glad she has you."
Lena only smiles tightly, returning to her food.
The evening comes to a close and James kindly offers to drive Lena home as any gentleman would after a date.
"This is me," Lena says, as they pull over the manor. "Thank you for dinner."
"I had a nice time," James smiles.
Lena smiles back, feeling so guilty that she had only agreed to this as a reflex reaction to seeing Kara and she had let anger taken control. But the evening had been a nice change from Lena's usual plans to sit in, read, and pine over her date's best friend.
James is just a nice guy caught in the crossfire. That's all.
"James, listen..." Lena sighs. "I had a nice time too but I feel like I should tell you that I'm just not interested in you in that way."
"Yeah..." James chuckles. "I sort of sensed that by the end of the entrées."
Lena bites her lip. "But you are a great guy."
"Please don't worry about it. To be honest... I'd be lying if I said I was feeling anything there either," James confesses. "I mean, it's funny I was crushing on you so hard I actually asked Kara for help but I feel like I realized today that she's the only thing we really have in common."
Lena stays silent but she has to agree. This date has only confirmed what she's known for a while. And she's glad that James knows this too.
"Listen, I was going to ask you this over desserts but the sparks just weren't there and having this written in chocolate sauce just didn't feel... right," James digs into his jacket pocket.
And pulls out two tickets to the Senior Spring Fling Dance.
"As friends!" James quickly adds with a big smile. "Listen, I know my 15 year old self with a crush would be stoked if I got to take Lena Luthor to prom."
"I don't think he'd be as excited to know that Lena Luthor doesn't dance," Lena raises an eyebrow.
"You don't dance?"
"Not if I can help it."
"Okay," James appears deep in thought before putting a new case forward. "We can hang out by the punch bowl and make fun of people on the dance floor instead then. You up for it?"
Lena considers his offer. The truth is that the moment she heard that Kara might be going with William (something which she can still hardly believe, but then again, why else would she buy two tickets for prom? They weren't talking at all) she had decided that she'd skip it altogether.
But she thinks about how much of senior year she's spent fixated on Kara. And how she'd regret missing her final school dance all because she didn't exactly want to see Kara dancing with someone else.
Besides, once they leave high school, Lena could have the endless space that is the rest of the world outside Midvale to put between herself and Kara.
"Alright, fine," Lena plucks one ticket from James' hand. "Good night, James."
The thought that senior year is coming to an end soon clings onto Lena as she gets ready for bed.
She thinks of how she's going to drive as fast as she can, as far away as she can from this place.
Away from Kara.
The thought swims in her head and Lena hates that she still hates the idea of being completely free of Kara.
Lena shuts her eyes tightly, catching her breath as she tries to keep herself calm.
But the very idea of putting miles and miles between them continues to feel too much like salt being poured over a deep and open wound.
"James?" Kara answers her phone.
"Hey! Sorry I couldn't stop to talk earlier," he says.
"It's cool," Kara notes the time. It's just before midnight. She guesses their date has just ended.
It's not like she's been sitting in the living room, telling herself not to watch the clock playing guessing games with herself as to how their date must be going.
"You just vanished," James recalls. "You okay?"
"Yeah, are you?" Kara asks.
Should she ask about the date? She should ask about the date.
She doesn't want to hear about the date. Except she really wants to hear about the date.
"Really good actually," Kara can practically hear James' grin through the phone. "I'm taking Lena to prom. Can you believe it?"
Kara winces. She pinches the bridge of her nose as she tries her best to keep up this performance to the end of the call.
"That's... great, James," Kara manages to choke out. "Listen, I'm really not feeling well. So I gotta go."
"Are you sure you're okay?" James asks again.
"Yeah, I'm fine... probably just a bug or something," Kara dismisses, desperate to just hang up. "Congrats on tonight. I'm... happy for you."
Kara tosses the phone onto the other side of her bed as soon as she ends the call. As she stands up, her foot brushes against something sticking out from under her bed.
It's a cardboard sign.
She picks it up, remember how Nia had helped her with it just a few weeks ago.
"I'm just gonna say it, Kara," Nia cringes. "This is a little lame. Even for you. No offense."
"James texted me earlier. He's back in Midvale next week," Kara ignores Nia's remarks. "And as soon as James knows..."
"He's going to understand," Nia completes her sentence for her.
"He's going to understand," Kara repeats after her.
"He's going to understand," Nia picks up the cardboard sign and hands it over for Kara to hold. "I, on the other hand, don't understand why you have to do a big, public promposal."
"How do I look?"
Kara stands in a white lab coat (thank you very much, Eliza) and an over-the-top mad scientist Halloween wig in gray.
She holds the cardboard sign with the following written on it:
We've had Chemistry together for a while now...
Me + You —> Prom?
Nia sits cross-legged on the floor, blinking. She's not really sure if there are words nice enough to string together to answer Kara's question.
"You look like an idiot."
Kara rolls her eyes, dropping the cardboard sign onto the floor and peeling the wig off her head.
"I shouldn't have kept her a secret," Kara slumps on her bed. "I need Lena to know, everyone to know, that I'm in love with her. Plus, this might be the only way to get her to talk to me."
As terrified as she is of how James might react, the idea of losing Lena for good is a far cry scarier. And the more days pass, the latter happening becomes more and more likely. Kara knows hope is running out. She can feel it.
She stands up, motioning for Nia to follow suit. "Okay, can we practice again?"
"Okay, wait. Am I being James or Lena?"
Kara grips the sign tighter before finally storming out of her bedroom, stomping down the stairs and out of the front door.
Breathing heavily and with unshed tears burning her eyes, she makes her way to where their trash can is. She looks over the sign before throwing it away, slamming the trash can shut with a loud clang.
She stands in silence for a moment, clumsily wiping the tears from her eyes.
"Kara?" Eliza squints.
Kara turns to see her mom, sleep still in her eyes and she feels guilty for having woken her. But at the same time, relief washes over her too. She's exactly who she needed to see right now.
She walks towards her, shoulders low and falls into her embrace.
"I messed up, Mom," Kara sobs into Eliza's shoulder.
"Hey, take it easy," Eliza says softly, rubbing comforting circles on Kara's back.
"I kept... I kept telling myself that I was doing... that I was doing the right thing," Kara continues between sobs. "But I think I was just... scared."
"I'm sorry I turned out to be a coward, Mom," Kara cries harder. "I know that you raised us to be better but... I'm just a coward."
Eliza pulls back to wipe Kara's face, tucking her hair behind her ears. She cradles her daughter's face between her palms, heartbroken to see her in this state.
"Honey, where is this coming from?" Eliza asks, deeply concerned now. "What happened?"
"Lena's going to prom with James," Kara reveals. "I was going to do this big, cheesy romantic gesture in front of everyone to ask her but I'm too late. I'm always too late."
Eliza raises both eyebrows, a little surprised. She suspected that something may have been going on between them, pretending she didn't hear Lena's visits over Christmas. But she had no idea that it was this complicated.
Eliza invites Kara to sit on the porch step with her.
"Now why would James do that?" Eliza asks.
"I was playing his wingwoman but I ended up developing feelings for Lena," Kara explains, her voice now quite hoarse from the crying. "And I couldn't bring myself to tell James and now..."
"Kara, sweetie," her mother soothes, stroking her hair softly. "How... have you all had the time for school work? You're all seniors, aren't you?"
"Mom..." Kara buries her head into her hands.
"Oh, honey..." Eliza sighs. Maybe you have been a coward. At least today. For now. But you get to choose who you get to be everyday."
"You make it sound so easy, Mom," Kara scoffs.
"I know. I'm sorry, sweetie," she smiles sadly. "But that's my job as your mom. It's up to you to do the heavy lifting on this one, hon."
Eliza watches Kara nervously play with the sleeves of her sweatshirt. She had never seen her daughter like this. Sure, Kara had always been more shy than Alex but she had also always been the more upbeat one. Seeing her this downcast is so alien.
"You can still make things right," Eliza encourages. "I didn't raise you to be a coward. I didn't raise you to be perfect either. But I hope that I raised you to be good."
Kara, who has now stopped crying, looks up at her mom. Her eyes are now red and puffy but Eliza notices that she's still in there - the optimistic girl she's more used to.
"Whatever the outcome is, they both deserve to know the truth," Eliza continues. "They deserve to hear it from you. I take it this is what... nothing has been all about?"
Kara nods, chuckling a little at the memory of that breakfast.
"A lot of people have been hurt," Kara tells her mom. "Is it really worth to pour salt on wounds?"
"Applying some salt on wounds might be painful," Eliza says. "But if done correctly and done lovingly... it can help to heal wounds."
"Life goes on beyond high school, dear," Eliza smiles.
Kara exhales, nodding.
"So does true love," Eliza takes her hand and squeezes it. "And true friendship for that matter."
"But you have to fight for it. Contrary to popular belief, there aren't plenty of fish in the sea," Eliza says. "I can assure you that there aren't an abundance of Lenas running around the world for you."
"No, there isn't," Kara laughs.
"So if you decide to let her go," Eliza says softly. "You have to be okay with the fact that you will never meet anyone like her again. Can you be okay with that? Would you be able to happily go on with your life knowing that?"
"Maybe she's better off without me," Kara sighs.
"You don't get to speak for her, dear," Eliza scolds quickly. "Lena has to decide that for herself. Let her make her own decision. Just like you have to make your own. This decision has to be you, Kara. Do you think you're better off without her?"
Kara bites her lip. The answer is obvious.
Of course she isn't. Of course Lena is one of the best things to ever happen to her.
Kara knows what she has to do. She knows that it should have been done sooner but this newfound determination fills her with courage.
A little salt will help heal wounds. And God knows that some of the wounds are deep enough. But it has to be done. Enough is enough.
Eliza leaves to go back inside, but not before giving Kara a final embrace, reminding her to "Be good!" and not to stay up so late. And then Kara is left on her own again.
Or so she thought.
The rustling in nearby bushes startles her and she jumps to her feet, ready to run indoors.
"Who's there?" She calls out.
Before she can assume it's a wild raccoon, a figure clambers out of the bushes and...
What the hell?
"Hi," Sam says.
Another person emerges after her.
"We didn't hear anything!" Ben exclaims. Sam elbows his side. "Ow! What? You said not to-"
"I said don't say anything," Sam hisses.
She turns to Kara. "I... just had dinner at Ben's and he was just walking me out to my car. I swear we weren't eavesdropping."
Kara is still stunned in silence.
"...On purpose, anyway. Okay!" Sam clasps her hands together. "We're gonna go so-"
"I'm going to make things right, Sam," Kara finally says. "I know that I've said that too many times but this time I mean it. And I... I'm sorry."
"Kara, Lena doesn't need any more of your apologies-"
"I'm apologizing to you. I... I owe you an apology too," Kara interrupts. "I'm sorry for everything, Sam. Your friend deserves so much more. But I'm going to make things right. You'll see. Enough is enough."
Sam meets her eyes, challengingly.
"Show. Don't tell," Sam says.
And with that, Sam leaves with a very confused Ben in tow.
Well, enough is enough. Some major truth-telling coming right up!
Thank you all so much for the really nice comments (I'm pretty sure this is the quickest chapter I've finished so far!)
See you at the Senior Spring Fling Dance! :)
Chapter 17: Mess Pretty Much Sums It Up
The Senior Spring Fling Dance (Part 1)
The song near the end is 'A Beautiful Mess' by Jason Mraz :)
An important note from me so if possible, please take the time to read it:
I don't tend to check comments until I am uploading a new chapter so I apologise that I couldn't defuse the situation earlier. As much as I love reading your thoughts and responses, it's come to my attention that there were some hostility between readers in the last chapter's comment section.
I will always promote free speech. I truly appreciate that everyone is entitled to their own opinions and their right to share them — particularly within a public space.
In fact, particularly within a creative space like this, I encourage it (even if someone may disagree with your opinion, it's what makes for interesting conversations if you choose to be open to one!). However, I want to remind everyone that this story and the characters in them are FICTION; the people you engage with in the comments section (whether positively or negatively, the choice is always yours), on the other hand, are very much real! Please be kind to each other!
All that said, the story will come to an end in a few chapters so I wanna say thank you to everyone who has supported this in any way (and my first fic too!).
It really does mean so much.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Kara just about manages a few hours of sleep last night, waking up way before her alarm clock rings.
She lays there, eyes fixed on her ceiling, going over the words she knows she finally has to say today. Words that she realises should've been said a long time ago. Words that will probably hurt the same either way.
She wants to compare it to the ripping off of a band-aid but it somehow feels a little too late for that. The truth is that ever since she had decided to keep this secret, it has evolved to feel more like death by a thousand cuts.
Deciding to skip breakfast, she makes her way to James' house. The suspicious calmness she feels on the drive there makes her feel uneasy, but as she brings the truck to a slow halt outside his front lawn, the nerves return with a vengeful force of an unforgiving tsunami.
She's doing the right thing.
She's a few steps from the Olsens' front door when it swings open and she's face to face with the very person she has come here to see.
"Kara?" James draws his eyebrows together. "What are you doing here?"
"James," Kara squeaks.
She clears her throat before she speaks again.
"I need to talk to you about something," Kara does her best to still her shaking voice.
"I'm actually on my way to pick up my tux from the dry cleaners. For the dance? Can this wait?" James asks, locking his front door.
"Not really, no," Kara shakes her head. "James..."
James meets Kara's eyes, trying his best to read them but he comes up empty.
"Okay..." James' smile falters a little now as worry begins to etch on his face. "I'm all ears."
Kara opens her mouth to speak, only to close them again. She buries her hands deeper into her jacket pockets but it does very little to stop them from shaking.
"Kara, you're scaring me," he laughs, uncomfortably. "What's going on?"
"I haven't been honest with you," Kara's voice breaks.
You can do this, Kara thinks. Just say the words.
But James is losing his patience, appearing a little frustrated at what Kara isn't telling him. "What are you talking about?"
Kara inhales deeply, eyes fixed on James'.
And as she exhales, she finally speaks. Knots in her stomach and the stubborn quaking in her voice be damned.
It's now or never.
"The reason I've been acting so weird and the reason that I told you I didn't want to help you with Lena anymore... I should have said something sooner and I know I have been the worst friend. Maybe the worst person. But you deserve the truth, James..."
He says nothing, looking at her expectantly.
"I'm..." Kara gulps.
Her mouth dries and trembles as she urges herself to continue.
Now or never.
It's now or never.
"James... I'm in love with Lena."
As the words leave her mouth, the world freezes for a split second.
And when it resumes, Kara feels as if everything in it has changed.
Because now... it's there. The truth. Hanging between her and James like cold, dead air.
He remains still. Saying nothing. Eyes fixed on Kara like he's waiting for the punchline.
"What?" James exhales.
"I... James, I-"
Kara feels the dam break and she finds herself crying uncontrollable, hot tears. "I'm so sorry, James."
James stays frozen on his spot, unmoving. His eyes give nothing away but they stay fixed on Kara.
Kara continues, powering through tears. "I should've told you as soon as I realised and I thought that I was doing the right thing. Protecting your feelings."
James exhales deeply, blinking furiously and shaking his head. He withdraws himself, barely even able to look at Kara right now.
"But all I was doing was lying to you," Kara sobs. "I'm sorry."
James remains silent. His pacing finally comes to a stop as his hands settle onto the front porch fence, gripping it tightly, his gaze a million miles away.
He doesn't say a word or make a single noise. But Kara takes in his heavy breathing.
"James," Kara calls out to him, desperately. "James, please say something-"
"I'm thinking, Kara!" James yells, making Kara jump a little.
He takes a deep breath in and out. Kara watches his every move intently, fighting the urge to close the distance between them and place a comforting hand on his shoulder.
"I... I don't understand," James finally says. "Why are you only telling me this now? Why didn't you say anything sooner? I... I thought we told each other everything?"
"I wish that I'd told you sooner! But I was so scared," Kara whines.
"Scared? Kara, you're not... you're not making any sense. So all that time you were what?" James says, breathlessly. "Being my wingwoman because you felt sorry for me?"
Kara shakes her head profusely. "No!"
James scoffs, rolling his eyes. "Oh, don't bullshit me, Kara."
"It wasn't supposed to happen this way," Kara shakes her head wildly, arms flailing. "Please let me explain how-"
"Explain?" James laughs bitterly. "Kara, you are unbelievable. Really."
"I didn't mean to feel this way, James," Kara insists. "Do you really think I wanted to fall for Lena? Do you think it was easy for me to keep this from you for so long?"
"Well, you tell me!" James barks back. "Please, tell me. Because you seem to have done a great job at both of those things."
Kara feels her heart crack at the sight of James this way. Even now - as angry as he might be - Kara knows that he's still pulling his punches. He's still trying his best to mince his words.
"I'm supposed to take her to the dance tonight," James says, almost more to himself.
Kara chooses to say nothing. She needs to grant him the silence to think out loud for now, she knows this much.
"Fuck!" James hisses under his breath.
He slams his hands down the porch fence in frustration. "Goddamn it, Kara! How could you keep something like this from me? I thought I was your best friend?"
"You are my best friend, James!" Kara retaliates. "I was wrong to keep it from you in the first place, never mind for this long. I know that now. I was a coward and selfish. But I swear that I never meant to hurt you, James."
A moment of silence stretches between them and Kara holds her breath for the next round of sparring she knows is sure to come.
But only another string of silence follows after.
"Does she know?" James finally asks.
"Lena," James says, his voice exhausted. "Does Lena know about how you feel?"
Kara feels her heart drop to her stomach as the bones in her body begin to feel less like solid and more like viscous gel.
James stares at her expectantly. The sadness in his eyes continue to betray the calm demeanour he now tries to put on. And Kara knows that they've once again become transparent enough to each other - something they had momentarily lost in the secrets and the struggles of the past few months.
Now, Kara sees it and she knows that James sees it too. But he remains waiting in silence. Waiting for her to confirm what he already knows.
"Yes," Kara chokes out. "Over Christmas when... when everyone was away we were..."
"Okay," James interrupts her. He's heard more than enough. "I think you should go, Kara."
"James," Kara shakes her head.
"I just... can't imagine anyone would keep someone they say they care about in the dark for this long," James refuses to meet her eyes. "And Lena..."
Kara steps closer to James, willing their eyes to meet. As much as hurts to finally surrender to the consequences of her mistake, Kara refuses to let Lena catch fire with her.
This is her mess.
"She was against keeping it a secret," Kara says. "This is between us, James. Please don't hold this against her."
James smiles tightly, eyes beginning to become glossy with tears. He shakes his head.
"I'm not holding this against her at all. She didn't owe me the truth. I don't expect any loyalty from her," James says. "Because Lena isn't my best friend but Kara, you are."
James sighs before turning his back to Kara.
"You need to go," he grumbles, still refusing to face her. "Please."
"James, if you're mad at me then be mad at me. I'll take it," Kara pleads once more. "But please don't shut me out."
"You know what, Kara? I'm not even mad. I mean yes, of course I am," James huffs. "I just..."
He doesn't finish his sentence - instead choosing to steel himself before Kara. She watches as he does so, eyes begging him to quit it. To keep fighting with her. To keep fighting for this.
He's taking the easy way out. And Kara knows she would be a hypocrite to call him out on it right now. God knows she's taken the easy way out more often than anyone should.
"I'm in a rush and you need to leave," James says, the sudden coldness in his tone is a dagger into Kara's heart.
"James, I'm so sorry," she says because... what else is there left to say now?
"Yeah. So am I," James shrugs.
Kara watches the sad smile on his face as he tries his best not to cry.
"I could never have done what you did. To anyone," James' voice breaks as he takes a deep breath in and out. "Much more to you, Kara. I have to go..."
And he makes his exit before he finishes the final sentence. Before Kara can stop him. Before Kara can see the stray tears that begin to roll down his face.
There's no better way to describe what Lena is seeing than... a fever dream.
"So is it as bad as you thought it was going to be?" James asks Lena just a tiny bit condescendingly.
Lena had walked into the high school gymnasium with very little expectations. And in the Prom Committee's defence... those expectations were graciously met.
Sure, it was no Luthor gala but surely they could've booked a better DJ than a middle-aged Calculus professor Lena has a hard time believing knows any music beyond the 80s.
(When Love Shack by The B-52's begins to play after Kim Wilde's Kids in America, Lena's theory is only solidified).
"Honestly, no," Lena smirks.
It's definitely just as bad as she thought it was going to be.
"Good," James nods.
Then, he grows quiet and serious for a second before speaking up again.
"Lena, there's something I have to ask you-"
But a loud, piercing whistle stops James from even finishing his sentence.
"Olsen! Get over here now for a photo!" The football coach's voice bellows. "That's an order!"
James appears disgruntled before sighing and rolling his eyes.
"I have to go," he motions towards the team. "I'll be back, okay?"
Lena nods as James stomps over to where the entire football team has gathered rather unenthusiastically.
Certain that James is now fully occupied, Lena scans the room as she's routinely done so since arriving.
She sees Sam and Ben on the dance floor, jumping to the beat of the song and singing the words to each other like they're the only ones the other can see despite the crowd.
It should be that easy, shouldn't it? Lena thinks to herself. Sam and Ben aren't exactly saints but they sure do look at each other like maybe they're each other's saving grace these days.
Lena feels her heart sink at where thoughts lead her next.
She misses Kara. It's as simple as that.
She isn't too proud that she doesn't recognize when all the love she has left for her remains restless inside her chest like a toddler being told to sit still right after being fed a whole bar of chocolate.
But the reality of their situation is a little more complicated than that.
Lena, as big of a fan as she is of the most complex scientific theories, is beginning to think that maybe complicated is overrated.
She begins to lose herself in her thought when a voice pulls her back onto earth.
Lena turns her head to see Nia, taking a plastic cup and helping herself to a serving of punch.
"Hi," Lena smiles weakly.
"Your dress is really pretty," Nia says.
"Thank you," Lena's smile grows more earnest. "I really like yours too."
Lena's dress is a deep shade of wine, the satin fabric hangs onto her frame comfortably and falls a little past her knees. She fiddles with the thin strap on her shoulder, remembering why she had even chosen to wear this in the first place.
"So what color do you think I should wear to the senior dance?" Lena asks while she settles further into Kara's arms.
They're sitting on Kara's living room couch. Some trashy reality TV show on in the background while they both read their own books. Kara's fingers draw lazy shapes on Lena's shoulder while the other holds open a tattered copy of Wuthering Heights.
"Red," Kara answers absentmindedly.
Lena turns to look at Kara, an eyebrow raised, amused. "That was quick."
"What? You look really good in red, okay?" Kara blushes. "Well any color, to be honest."
Lena smiles, returning to her book. "You should wear blue."
"You don't want to match with me?" Kara asks.
"Blue brings out your eyes," Lena says, smiling up at Kara.
Kara places a quick kiss onto Lena's head. "Well, I suppose if we both wore the same color we might look like bridesmaids."
Lena smiles remembering how laughter had echoed in the room. How easily they fell into comfortable domesticity inside their Christmas bubble.
Then the warm glow she feels is quickly replaced with a bitter dose of reality. Just as it always is.
Lena's eyes begin to wander a little, checking to see if there have been any recent arrivals.
Because if Nia's here then maybe...
"Are you looking for someone?" Nia asks abruptly.
Lena is about to protest when Nia motions towards the gymnasium doors.
And there she was.
Kara Danvers looking... Lena struggles to find a word good enough to describe the way the room seems to fade away when Lena's eyes finds her.
Her heart breaks at how beautiful she looks in a pale blue dress, long hair falling down her back in soft curls.
And with all her previous persistent refusal to wear make up (and Lena's reassurance that she doesn't need it anyway), Kara Danvers is really wearing some tonight.
Lena feels her heart skip a beat and she has to tear her gaze away before anyone can catch her staring.
She meets Nia's eyes briefly before clearing her throat.
"She's not with William?" Lena means for it to sound cool and nonchalant but she fears that it may have just come across as... relieved.
"Uh, no? Why would she be?" Nia snorts like the very idea of it is completely ludicrous.
"Oh. I thought..." Lena knits her eyebrows. "James mentioned that she bought two tickets to the dance so I thought maybe..."
"Yeah, she planned on asking someone," Nia chuckles, raising an eyebrow. "Guess someone beat her to it."
Lena stares at Nia dumbfounded. Surely she can't mean...
"I see," Lena exhales, realization now settling in.
She turns to find Kara standing awkwardly with Winn and his friends, forcing laughter when one of them appears to make a joke Lena knows she doesn't find funny but is too polite to even insinuate so.
"Kara... told me everything," Nia coughs. "And for the record, I knew way before. Winn will claim he knew first but no. It was me. I knew all along."
Lena laughs, feeling blood rush up to her cheeks. "From the football game?"
"Oh, way before that," Nia shakes her head.
Nia pauses before interrupting the silence that has settled between them.
"Lena, did I make a mistake?"
"What do you mean?"
"Did I make a mistake?" Nia repeats. "Not interfering and just... spelling things out for you both."
Lena chuckles, a blush creeping up her cheeks. She shakes her head.
"Nia," she says. "It wasn't your mess to fix."
"Mess pretty much sums it up," Nia laughs a little awkwardly.
"You know she'll probably make more of those," she continues, meeting Lena's eyes a little more intensely now. "Mess, I mean. But at the end of the day, she really does mean well. And I know she hurt you a lot and I know that you have every right to be mad at her..."
Lena's eyes find Kara once more. She's now excused herself from Winn and his friends, settling to just sit by herself at an empty table.
"And I know you're Lena Luthor," Nia says. "And I'm just me. But I have to tell you that you going out with James just to hurt Kara on purpose? That... it wasn't cool, Lena."
Lena's heart races a little faster now as she begins to realize that Nia is actually here to reprimand her.
"No," Lena agrees, now a little embarrassed. "No, it wasn't."
Nia nods firmly. "And I'm obviously very nervous right now. I've never done this before. And I'm definitely walking away after this but if you ever intentionally hurt Kara again..."
Lena clenches her jaw.
"I won't hesitate to interfere this time. And I'm sure neither would Alex."
"You're right," Lena sighs. "I'm sorry, Nia."
"Okay. Glad we're on the same page," Nia exhales. "I was so nervous."
"You did well," Lena reassures her.
"Thanks," Nia says, now shying away from the compliment. "I'll... I'll see you around, Lena."
Kara slouches back on her seat, glad to have somehow escaped from Winn's Mathlete friends and their numbers jokes.
She understood none of the punchlines and even if she did... something tells Kara they still wouldn't be funny.
No joke should have any business starting with "Why would the Fibonacci sequence not do well under pressure?"
Kara huffs, folding her arms close to her chest as she checks the time on her watch. Why was she here in the first place? Besides the non-refundable tickets and the chance of seeing Lena in a pretty dress, Kara couldn't really think of anything else.
She's so lost in thought that she doesn't realise the figure that approaches her.
Kara recognizes the voice instantly and her neck quickly swivels to the source to see a very beautiful Lena standing there.
Kara is too stunned to speak for a second. Her words are caught in her throat and she is left gawking at Lena like the idiot she is.
"Lena," Kara finally manages to say. "Hi. You look... beautiful."
Lena smiles coyly. "So do you."
Kara pulls out the chair next to her, offering it to Lena who takes a seat.
"Are you having fun?" Kara asks.
"Oh yeah," Lena nods. "So much fun."
Kara scrunches her nose playfully. "It kinda sucks."
"Oh, big time."
The two of them laugh, still a little shy before silence falls between them. Kara thanks the heavens for the music playing to fill it, even if their DJ's playlist isn't exactly the best one curated.
"Where's your date?" Lena leans over to ask.
"I'm here solo," Kara shrugs. "Where's yours?"
Kara hasn't spoken to James since this morning when... well when the ticking time bomb blew up in both of their faces.
"Somewhere, I think?" Lena says. "Besides, we're just here as friends. No sparks."
"Sorry to hear that," Kara smiles.
"You don't look sorry," Lena raises an eyebrow mischievously.
Kara chuckles, shaking her head.
As happy as she is to see Lena, a part of her keeps pulling her back to the events of this morning by James' front door.
"I could have never done what you did. To anyone... much more to you, Kara."
Kara's gaze falls on her lap as she fiddles with her hands nervously.
"Kara, what happened?" Lena asks, her voice now suddenly drips with concern.
Kara clenches her jaw before clearing her throat. She looks up at Lena and smiles weakly.
"I told James," Kara reveals. "The truth. So... yeah."
"That's..." Lena blinks, pausing for a moment before nodding. "Well, congratulations."
Kara looks at Lena quizzically.
"Would you like a gold star on your sticker chart?" Lena smirks, attempting to lighten the mood.
Kudos to her because this actually makes Kara laugh. "I know you're being sarcastic right now and I probably deserve it but..."
An upbeat song that they both immediately recognize comes on and they look at each other, bursting into laughter.
"I think we should dance," Lena tells Kara.
"Oh no," Kara shakes her head defiantly. "I'm really not feeling it."
"But you love this song!" Lena grabs her hands anyway, pulling her up to her feet. "Come on, it's our final school dance."
"Lena," Kara groans.
"Okay. Well, I'm gonna go and make a fool out of myself by myself," Lena starts moving towards the dance floor. "Unless..."
Lena pouts a little, bopping her shoulders to the beat a little awkwardly. Kara bites her lip to stop herself from laughing at how ridiculous she looks right now. Lena's good at a lot of things... Kara's almost grateful to know her fatal flaw may be that she can't dance very well.
Looking quickly over her shoulders, Kara sighs before begrudgingly moving towards Lena.
The bright smile that she's greeted with makes the embarrassment Kara is feeling well worth it. She doesn't remember the last time she'd seen her smile that way, never mind at her.
And they dance together, jumping up and down along with the rest of the people on the dance floor, singing along to the lyrics like they had done before a hundred times in Kara's truck a few months ago.
Meanwhile, James returns to the gymnasium after being held up by the guys from the football team.
"Hey, have you seen Lena?" He asks around.
"Dude, she's on the dance floor," someone points her out for him.
He squints, unsure if he's really seeing Lena dancing... with Kara.
He furrows his eyebrows in confusion. "What?"
"James, there you are!" Winn appears, wrapping an arm around his shoulders a little roughly. "We've been looking everywhere for you."
But he seems unfazed, eyes still fixed on Lena and Kara.
"Look at them..." James says. "I can't believe I didn't see it before."
Nia and Winn glance at each other nervously.
"Why would they ever want to keep something like that a secret?" James shakes his head.
Nia places a hand on his arm. "Hey, are you okay?"
James inhales and then nods.
"Yeah," he moves to wrap an arm around each friend. "I actually am."
The song ends and Lena and Kara find themselves out of breath with big smiles across their faces. Their eyes don't leave each other's until the DJ's voice booms through the speakers, breaking whatever trance they had been under.
"Alright Midvale seniors, we're gonna slow it down a little for you now!" The DJ announces. "So go ahead and ask that special someone for a slow dance!"
A new song begins to play, soft and slow.
Kara shuffles awkwardly in her spot, watching as other people pair up and begin to slow dance.
You've got the best of both worlds
You're the kind of girl who can take down a man and lift him back up again
"Everyone's dancing," Lena coughs. "Should we..."
"I... I don't know, I..." Kara stutters.
Their eyes meet and Kara's breath catches, her heart now pounding heavily against her chest. She steps a little closer, cautious and careful. She wants nothing more than just to take Lena in her arms and hold her close but she knows that the ball is very much on Lena's court.
Lena smiles and gives a subtle nod.
Taking this as a signal, Kara slowly takes Lena's hands and places them on her shoulders before her hands finally... carefully... find themselves holding Lena's waist.
Your style is quite selective, though your mind is rather reckless
Well I guess it just suggests that this is just what happiness is
"Is this okay?" Kara asks.
Lena nods, eyes sparkling as the lights of the disco ball dances across her face. She moves closer once more, her fingers intertwining behind Kara's neck. And Kara is swept with the sudden, overwhelming amazement at how beautiful Lena is.
They sway to the beat, growing closer and closer until their foreheads are mere inches from touching.
And what a beautiful mess this is
It's like we're picking up trash in dresses
Well it kind of hurts when the kind of words you write,
Kind of turn themselves into knives
"I missed you," Kara confesses, quickly shaking her head at her slight word vomit. "Sorry."
"Did he take it well?" Lena asks softly.
"About as well as I thought he would..." Kara sighs. "He isn't talking to me which I deserve. Obviously."
The kind and courteous is a life I've heard
But it's nice to say that we played in the dirt
"Lena..." Kara begins. "I'm really sorry. For everything. I don't know where you want to go from here but-"
"Kara," Lena interrupts. "Is it okay if we... don't think about anything outside of right now? Just for a little while. At least until the end of this song."
Kara searches Lena's eyes. Her heart swelling with both love and guilt.
"I'm really tired and I know you are too. So, right now, I think I just really want to be a teenager slow dancing with a pretty girl at prom," Lena continues. "Just... for a moment. Please?"
But despite everything that has happened, Kara realizes that with Lena here in her arms... everything else seems so irrelevant now.
Because Lena is here and at least for now, in the middle of this gymnasium, under the dimmed lights and the spinning disco ball... Lena is hers.
"Okay. I want that too," she whispers, pulling Lena, who rests her head on Kara's chest, closer.
And Kara comes to the sure conclusion that when this all inevitably ends and fades away, she will always be Lena's, anyway.
She always has been.
They continue to sway to the music - eyes closed, hearts completely open.
Here we are, here we are,
Here we are, we're still here...
Thank you for reading - see you at the next chapter :)
Chapter 18: The Punchline
senior spring fling dance (part 2)
Here's the PUNCHLINE for my Math joke from last chapter:
Why would the Fibonacci sequence not do well under pressure?
They'd spiral :)
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
"You ready to be crowned prom queen?" Kara asks as people begin to gather around waiting for the much anticipated announcement.
"Are you kidding?" Lena rolls her eyes. "That's definitely Sam's. She's been campaigning since sophomore year."
Kara looks over at Sam on the other side of the room. She feels slight relief that she seems to have been too busy with Ben to realise that Kara had been in Lena's proximity.
Sam stands waiting eagerly by the side of the stage, Ben massaging her shoulders like a boxing coach about to send their fighter into the ring.
"Well..." Kara smiles sheepishly. "I voted for you."
"You did?" Lena stumbles over her words slightly.
"Of course," Kara scoffs, surprised that Lena would even think otherwise. "I did have to fork out a little cash for the extra 20 times though."
She avoids Lena's incredulous gaze, keeping her eyes instead on their principal making his way up the stage as people cheered.
"But if I'd known there was a sure favorite to win," Kara stifles a giggle. "Maybe I wouldn't have gone through all the trouble."
Lena digs her elbows into Kara's rib lightly, momentarily forgetting where they are and how the past few weeks had been spent mulling over their dilemma.
She hates how easy it is to fall into that comfortable dynamic with Kara. Even after everything. Being with her feels like putting on a pair of well worn-in shoes. She hates how much she just wants to give in and fall back into the familiar warmth that is this idiotic, blonde, ball of sunshine standing next to her.
Kara smiles at Lena who now, appearing more conscious of their surroundings, shies away from the moment.
Kara laughs to break the tension. "I'm kidding!"
Lena rolls her eyes. "Wow, you tell someone the truth one time and now you've got some... anti-Pinocchio thing going on."
"Anti-Pinocchio thing? Really?" Kara's eyes crinkle at the sides as her smile grows. "That's the punchline you're going with?"
"And our prom king..." The principal's voice screeches through the microphone. "Benjamin Dey!"
A chorus of cheers and hollering fill the room as Ben is practically carried onto the stage by embrace after embrace and high-five after high-five.
He attempts to take the microphone from the principal in an awkward dance.
"You don't have to... no, you don't have to make a speech, Ben. Just take the... Let go... Okay! Fine!"
Kara and Lena glance at each other, wondering if the other is thinking about how ridiculous the scene before them is.
Lena laughs first, followed by Kara who leans in slightly as they try not to draw attention to themselves.
"I have a few people to thank," Ben says as their principal watches from the side of the stage. "First and most importantly, my beautiful girlfriend over there. Sam. Baby, I love you."
Everyone lets out a loud "Awww!" in unison while Sam sports a proud, face-splitting grin, blushing a little.
"And of course... to other love of my life," Ben continues.
The room grows silent. Everyone in Midvale High knew about Ben and Sam's rocky relationship. But no one thinks he'd mention another girl's name at his prom speech?
Ben nods firmly, his face distorting slightly as if he's about to cry.
Kara glances over to where Sam is to see that she now looks just as confused as she is.
"If he shows Sam up," Lena whispers over to Kara. "I swear I'm getting up on that stage and making him eat that crown."
Kara snorts. The image of Lena making a scene is so cartoonish knowing that as easy as it might be to annoy her, Lena acting on it will never happen.
Maybe except that one time when she almost unleashed legal hell on Midvale Automotive repairs team... because of Kara.
And that one time she stood up to Edge in front of their entire class when he had... ridiculed Kara.
Kara looks over at Lena with a soft expression on her face.
Ben's voice suddenly booms through the speakers. "Midvale Stallions! You are my brothers. For life. And... I wouldn't be prom king if... if it weren't for you."
And the room once again erupts with loud cheers.
"We love you, Ben!"
"Okay. Time's up, Mr Dey," the principal approaches him but Ben shows no indication of giving up the mic anytime soon.
Kara feels a soft tap on her shoulder. She turns to see that it was a guy whose name she's forgotten from Winn's mathlete team.
"Uh..." he gawks nervously at Lena before turning to Kara. "William Dey is asking for you outside? Said he has something important to talk to you about?"
Kara furrows her eyebrows, her gaze finding William hovering by the fire exit doors.
Lena clenches her jaw. "What is he doing here?"
"I'm gonna go find out," Kara reassures Lena with a smile. "I'll be right back, okay?"
Kara makes her way outside to the parking lot where William stands waiting.
"William, what are you doing here?"
He shakes his head, chuckling to himself. "Kara, I think you know why I'm here."
He smiles at her, eyebrow raised seemingly waiting for her to say something. But what exactly does he want her to say?
Kara laughs awkwardly. "No, I don't?"
She looks into the gymnasium, eager to get back inside just in case Sam isn't crowned prom queen and the title goes to Lena.
"William..." Kara counters.
She really needs him to hurry up and just say whatever it is he needs to say because if she isn't in there cheering for Lena, she might end up losing her patience and taking it out on William.
"Kara, there is very obviously an unspoken, unfinished thing between the two of us."
"And maybe that's partly the reason why I'm back in town," William explains.
He's serious, Kara observes. He actually believes what he's saying. What the hell is happening?
"William, you got kicked out of college," Kara says slowly. "I have had no part in that. There is no unfinished anything between us. You need to leave."
"Kara, stop fighting this!" William hisses.
"You're telling me you don't feel anything for me at all anymore?" He says, marching up to Kara and grabbing her firmly by the shoulders. "I'm sorry but I'm just finding that a little hard to believe. Kara! This is our second chance!"
"William, let me go!" Kara struggles but he's too strong. And as she catches the subtle scent of beer from his breath, she feels her stomach turn a little. "Please let me go."
William's grip grows tighter around each arm. "Tell me you still love me, Kara."
"William, you're hurting me!" Kara yelps.
Kara continues to squirm and struggle to free herself from his hold when a cold voice cuts through the chilly air.
"Let her go!"
They both turn to see Lena standing there, eyes burning with silent rage.
"Lena..." Kara says slowly in an attempt to calm her down.
The last thing she wants is for Lena to get in the middle of this while both her and William are very clearly not in the right state to have a reasonable conversation.
"We're just talking," William says but he throws his hands up, letting Kara free.
"Kara, get back inside," Lena's voice trembles with bubbling anger. "Now."
"No. She's not going anywhere," William scoffs. "We're talking. Why don't you mind your own fuckin' business."
"What happens to her is my business," Lena spits back.
Kara feels her heart hammering in her chest.
William feigns surprise. He knits his eyebrows and folds his arms, mocking Lena and the furious expression on her face.
"Lena, let's just go back inside..." Kara's voice shakes.
The pain from where William had grabbed her still ached but she doesn't care. She knows that William won't quit as long as they're still here. She needs to get Lena away from William now.
"It's your business, huh?" William laughs grimly. "Listen, Lena. Don't think you have me fooled, okay? Anyone with eyes can see that you're into Kara. And I gotta admit... it's pretty hot."
"Lena, come on..." Kara approaches Lena to take her back inside but she doesn't move a single muscle. "William. You need to leave."
But neither Lena or William seem to even acknowledge Kara's presence. Too engrossed in what has now become an intense showdown.
Word must have spread quite quickly as people begin to peer into the commotion happening. Kara hears the low chatter of those watching from the sideline but she couldn't care less about them. Not when Lena looks as though she might combust into flames any second now.
"But you need to get it through your head," William says, menacing and slow. He moves closer to Lena, towering over her but she refuses to back down. "That she is never going to want to be with you."
"William," Kara warns. "Stop it!"
"Do you hear me?" William taunts, stepping closer into Lena's space. "She will never really love you, Lena. She can't!"
"Do you wanna know why?" William smirks.
"Lena, this isn't worth it," Kara begs. "He isn't worth it."
"Kara," Lena breathes, knuckles whitening as she clenches her hands into fists. "Go. Inside."
"No, not without you," Kara tries take Lena's arm once more but she yanks it away from her grasp.
As the chatter begins to grow, Kara spots Nia, Winn, and James pushing their way into the front of the crowd. She meets James' eyes, begging him for help.
"You're just not..." William narrows his eyes as he laughs bitterly. "...man enough, sweetheart."
Gasps can be heard from their small audience but it's quickly hushed as Lena's fist flies up to land square on William's nose.
William staggers to the floor crying out in pain as Lena tries to find her bearings, bringing her now limp hand up to her chest.
"Lena!" Kara and James both make their way to Lena who doubles over in pain and shell-shocked at what she's just done.
"I'm bleeding! You crazy bitch!" William yells as he rises up to his feet, preparing to lunge at Lena.
"William, no! You get the hell away from her!" Kara blocks his way, pushing his body back with as much force as her strength would allow her. "James, get Lena out of here now!"
James nods. "On it."
He drags her away quickly past the few students who had just witnessed the fight. They look at Kara in shock while Nia and Winn fuss over her.
"Hey!" Nia addresses the nosy students lingering to see what's going on. "Show's over, okay? Now go away!"
"You heard her!" Winn yells. "Get the hell outta here!"
The car ride with James is quick and silent. Lena thanks the heavens they seem to have breezed through the quiet streets of Midvale, not hitting a single red light.
They sit still for a moment after James has put the car on park. Lena doesn't move to undo her seatbelt just yet and James makes no move to suggest that he's willing to just sweep things under the rug.
That's quite fair, Lena thinks. Nothing good has come from sweeping anything under any rug so far. And at this point, Lena is exhausted of secrets.
"How's your hand?" James breaks the silence.
Lena lifts her swollen hand, smiling weakly. "Fine..."
"Yeah. You're gonna need to ice that as soon as you get in," James shakes his head, wincing at the current state of it. "How does it feel to have done what many have only had the guts to do in their heads?"
Lena chuckles, nodding thinking about how all things considered, hitting William on the nose can't be all that bad. Maybe she had done the public a service.
"Feels like bruised knuckles and regrets tomorrow morning," she says, as-a-matter-of-factly.
The laughter that rings out between them is relieving to Lena in a funny way. But even that soon comes to an end as silence fills the car again.
"I saw you and Kara earlier," James smiles. "On the dance floor. Lena I-don't-dance Luthor has some moves."
James shuffles in his seat, attempting an impression of Lena dancing which practically just involves arms being thrown around like wet spaghetti.
Lena feels blood rush to her cheeks, laughing a little at how ridiculous James looks and how ridiculous she must've looked on that dance floor. How has tonight taken such a turn for the worse?
Had she ever imagined punching William's smug face? Absolutely. Did she ever think it would actually happen? Of course not.
But she can't help but feel satisfied. The way he towered over her and the poison dripping from his words.
"She will never really love you. She can't!"
The smug son of a bitch should've seen it coming.
"And then again with William outside? That was a mean right hook, by the way!"
James shakes his head and looks over at Lena, a soft knowing smile on his face. Lena doesn't hold his gaze for very long, averting them back to her lap. But she sees the well of sadness in them. And the guilt begins to chew on her insides because... James doesn't deserve this, not really.
He was just caught in the crossfire.
And then silence fills the car once more.
"It's always been Kara, hasn't it?"
His question lingers between them for a moment. The answer so plain and so simple that neither of them are sure whether it even warrants a verbal answer from Lena.
"Yeah," Lena whispers, her shoulders dropping. "I'm sorry-"
"No, no. That actually... makes a lot of sense," James chuckles. "Wow... well, what a way to end the night, huh?"
Lena's hand throbs but this pain must be minuscule compared to the one James is nursing now that his friendship with Kara is on the rocks.
"We never should've kept it a secret," Lena continues anyway. "I'm sorry, James. I understand if you're angry at Kara but she was trying to protect your feelings too."
"Yeah. I know," James sighs.
"I'm not defending her actions, I'm really not. But..." Lena pauses. "I really hope you don't let this be the end your friendship."
Lena knows how much they mean to each other, how much James means to Kara. Hell, isn't that why they're in this mess in the first place?
"It's Kara. We'll end up... figuring things out somehow. We always have," James exhales. He shakes his head slightly. "I've been in a relationship with Kara for a lot longer so... I know this is probably not the end of it."
The relief that washes over Lena is soothing and for a minute she forgets how painful her right hand has become. There's still hope for James and Kara. She couldn't bear imagining losing Sam had they been in their situation.
"I'm kidding. What I mean we've been friends for a very long time," James elaborates, a little flustered. "Not that Kara and I have been in a relationship. I mean, you thought that before but no... You get what I mean."
Lena laughs, the memory of how she truly believed that Kara and James may have had feelings for each other seems so silly and outlandish now that she's gotten to know him a little more. So much has happened since then.
"I get what you mean."
"Bad decisions and all the ugly mess included... and I'm talking about me too... Kara is always going to be my best friend, Lena," James shrugs. "So can I trust that you'll take care of her?"
James looks at her, concern drawn all over his face. "That's if you're still up for putting up with her. She can be a killer headache at times."
"Exhibit A and B," James motions to Lena and then himself.
Lena laughs because everything James has said is true. But the answer comes to her in a heartbeat: of course Kara is worth the headache and heartache.
And glancing down at her throbbing hand, yes – she's worth... this ache too. She really needs to get an icepack on this.
"I don't even know where we're at so..." Lena is beginning to feel the dull ache in her chest once more. "I think there's a lot to sort through. Like a lot."
"You know what? I think you'll figure it out," James says, confidently. "I know what I saw back there."
Lena wishes she had that confidence in their future. Sure, she knows that she'll always love Kara in some shape or form no matter what becomes of them after everything that has happened.
But life, Lena is beginning to learn, can be so unpredictable at times.
"Not a lot of people get as lucky as you two. And so early in life too, you know?" James tells her. "And you guys have... it. It would be waste to give that up now."
Lena smiles, eyes now beginning to fill with tears. "Thank you, James. For the ride and for... this."
"It's cool," James grins. "Don't forget to ice those knuckles!"
Lena exits the car. "Good night, James."
"Good night, million dollar baby," James chides before finally rolling up his window and driving away.
The final chapters will be coming soon!
The biggest thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read this story x
Chapter 19: World's Worst Wingwoman
Aftermath of prom night. The beginning of the resolution.
Hey guys! Here is the latest chapter. Sorry for being MIA for so long, I decided to make the most of this summer and have been so busy. Hope that you all had a fun summer too!
Thank you for being so patient!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
"Just turn a little this way for me," the photographer says, the tone of his voice suggesting that his patience is now beginning to run a little thin.
"Left. No. Left. My left."
He lets out an exasperated sigh.
Lena watches as Ben shuffles awkwardly in front of the camera, sporting the prom king crown and the 10-dollar royal cape the prom community must've splurged on at the costume store.
On any other given day, Lena would've teased Sam endlessly at how ridiculous her boyfriend looks but today is the official photoshoot day for the new Prom King and Queen.
And Lena is standing dressed just as ridiculously as Ben is; the prom queen crown digging into her scalp.
"I can't believe they still let you be prom queen after that stunt you pulled," Sam huffs, arms folded tightly against her chest. She stands next to Lena, eyes on Ben who has now taken the liberty to throw wild poses in front of the camera. "I am so proud of you. And... mad at you! And also very impressed. You might be my new hero. I don't know, Lena. It's a lot to process!"
Lena reaches up to adjust her crown, wincing a little.
"You probably would've won if Kara hadn't bought those extra votes," Lena admits.
"Excuse me? Ben bought extra votes too," Sam quickly interjects, defensively. "Fifteen."
Lena shakes her head. "Twenty."
Sam's jaw drops before she lets out a disbelieving laugh. In all honesty, Lena still couldn't believe it either.
"Twenty?!" Sam scoffs. "Shit."
Kara had out-bought Ben by 5 votes...
Lena smiles a little smugly.
Damn right, she did.
She swears it's only a case of the competitive Luthor streak flaring up but the idea that Kara had out-bought Ben by 5 votes makes her heart swell with pride.
Before being bitterly reminded that they aren't exactly out of the woods yet. Prom was almost a picture-perfect, scenic road to their reconciliation. Almost.
Lena clenches her jaw as the memories of how that night had ended replays in her head.
The hot flash of anger that overcame her. The embarrassing confrontation after embarrassing confrontation she had endured after everyone—including her disappointed parents—had found out.
"What on earth were you thinking, Lena?" Her mother had hissed. "I don't have time to be dealing with your foolishness! Much less over your lack of self-control."
Lena remains silent, eyes glued to the floor as her mother paces across the room.
"If for some reason you now believe that settling things with your fists is how a Luthor behaves," her mother shakes her head. "Then perhaps you have no business carrying the good Luthor name any longer."
The words are daggers into Lena's heart.
"Well, is that the case?" Lillian presses.
Lena shakes her head. "No, ma'am."
Jess had knocked softly at her bedroom door later that afternoon.
"Please tell me you aren't here to tell me you're disappointed too," Lena's eyes water. "I don't think I have it in me to hear that from you."
"We all do stupid things for love," Jess smiles sympathetically. "Being a Luthor doesn't exempt you from that, unfortunately."
All of those things aside, the only one that she truly cares about is Kara.
Kara who has tried and tried to reach out to her. But Lena is too afraid that finally facing her might only snowball into the end of their... whatever it is they have – she isn't exactly sure at this point.
"Have you spoken to her?" Sam asks carefully watching Lena's reaction.
"No. I haven't reached out or returned her calls," she admits.
"Plus my parents have been on my back since the school told them," Lena rolls her eyes. "And besides I don't really know what to say. I mean, I punched her ex-boyfriend."
"I can't believe you really punched William," Sam furrows her eyebrows.
"Without me there!" Sam all but yells the rest of her statement, the tone of her voice dripping with the same frustration Lena had only heard her use as a passenger in her car. "You couldn't have given me that at least? Damn it, Lena!"
Lena laughs, taking in the way Sam is sulking like a spoilt toddler who had been denied of candy.
"Well, everyone knows now, right?" Sam begins to say, keeping her eyes on Ben who, once again, seems to be testing the photographer's simmering temper.
"Don't get me wrong, I still don't think she's good enough for you by a country mile. I never did," Sam says.
Lena turns her head to look at Sam who refuses to meet her eyes. It's at this moment that Lena realises that Sam is being deadly serious. With the amount snark and unrelenting sarcasm that Lena had gotten used to from her, she can tell when her best friend is trying to tell her something she feels is important.
"But you are my best friend, Lena," Sam clears her throat. "I don't think anyone on this planet is ever going to be good enough for you. Ever. I just want you to be happy, you know? Without secrets or compromise."
Lena feels her heart melt inside her chest.
"And I know that I could stand here and lecture you all day about moving on but if you really think she's worth the second chance," Sam shrugs. "Well, I think I'd be a hypocrite to lecture anyone on giving second chances, right?"
Lena follows her gaze to see Ben smiling apologetically at the photographer who has now resorted to scolding him. Lena watches as Ben's eyes catches Sam's and his expression grows softer, the smile on his face becoming more relaxed. As if the sheer sight of Sam has put him at ease.
Lena places an arm around Sam's shoulders. "All I want is for you to be happy too."
"I know," Sam beams brightly. "I am. I'm really happy."
"Can we get the king and queen photos now, please?" The photographer exhales, relieved that this session is almost over.
"Well, that's your cue," Sam pushes Lena towards Ben.
Lena awkwardly stumbles towards the front of the camera, suddenly very unsure of what to do with herself.
"Hey," Ben smiles.
"Hi," she responds.
The photographer moves to direct them into a pose: Ben standing behind Lena with his arms around her in that classic, dream prom photo they're sure will look great in the yearbook.
"Is... your... hand okay?" Ben asks, as he brushes Lena's fists.
"We're just here to get our photos taken," Lena chuckles awkwardly. "We don't have to... engage in small talk."
"I always wanted to do that. Punch him, I mean," Ben continues anyway. "Don't worry. He was more pissed because he had a meeting with some modelling agency the next day."
"I'm sorry, Ben," Lena sighs.
The camera flashes a little aggressively.
"What are you apologizing for? I heard what happened. He deserved it."
"Maybe. But he is still your brother."
"Sure..." Ben says. "But if I was in your position and it had been Sam?"
He scoffs bitterly. "I probably would've done the same thing too."
"Over here, guys! Just a few more!" the photographer calls out to them. "Say cheese!"
The sun is setting behind the Olsens' patio when Kara pulls up to a stop in front of it. James sits on the porch swing, offering Kara a small wave as she makes her over to him.
"My mom made some lasagna last night if you want some leftovers?" he says.
"I'm good," Kara smiles tightly. "My mom's cooking dinner tonight so..."
James motions for her to take a seat next to him.
They sit in silence for a minute. The low creak of the swing filling the air as they fall into a comfortable rhythm.
"How is she?" James finally asks.
"My mom?" Kara raises her eyebrows. "She's doing good. I think she misses having you around."
"Yeah? My mom was on the phone to her this morning actually. I'm glad she's okay..." James smiles weakly. "But I was actually talking about Lena."
Kara feels her breath hitch at the mention of her name.
"Oh..." she coughs. "I don't know. She's... she's still not picking up my calls."
Kara turns to look at James. "Thank you for... taking her home that night."
They sit basking in an awkward stretch of silence. Neither one daring to barely breathe.
But it's James who breaks the stillness with a deep sigh.
"What are you doing here, Kara?" He scoffs.
Kara snaps her head to look at him, taken aback.
"What do you mean?" Kara chuckles nervously. "You invited me here."
"No..." He shakes his head. "I mean what are you doing here..."
"...not going insane that you haven't sorted things out with Lena?"
Kara hold his gaze. The smile fossilizing on her face.
When she finally looks away from James, she has to fight the tears that begin to burn her eyes. Her chest tightens as the facade begins to slip off.
She bites her lip.
"She's going to MIT, did you know?" Kara tells him. "She's..."
Her voice breaks slightly and she can't hold back the anguished tears any longer.
"She's set to do all of these amazing things," Kara resumes. "And she's probably going to change the world and..."
"And it feels like all I've done since the day we met is cause her grief."
Kara shakes her head. "She doesn't need anymore of that."
"I couldn't even get this right," she continues. "Why should she believe that I won't mess up again?"
"Oh, you are going to mess up again," James shrugs. "You just are."
"And so will Lena," he adds.
"Probably a little less than you," he makes sure to point out. "But you're both going to mess up."
Kara lets a slow breath out. She understands where James is coming from. But it's difficult to even comprehend the idea of asking for yet another chance when the easiest – and perhaps most logical thing – for Lena to do is to cut her off completely as they both leave for college.
"You know... I was so mad that you didn't tell me," James says. "And then I was so mad at myself that I made you feel like you couldn't tell me."
"I guess I just wanted to apologize for that. I know I haven't been the most... selfless friend and you have always been so selfless. Looking back at us growing up, I realize that now. I'm sorry that... I'm sorry that I couldn't be there for you."
"I was just so scared and I let that control me," Kara shakes her head. "I could never apologize for falling for Lena but James... I am so sorry I didn't tell you sooner. I really am."
Another round of silence fills the air. But this one feels less awkward – less polluted now that it seems the air has begun to be cleared between the two.
And to say that it's a great load off Kara's chest is a complete understatement, of course.
But sitting next to James with no more secrets to hide doesn't help much to completely eradicate the bitter ache she feels when she thinks about Lena.
It's going to take time, Kara tells herself. It's just going to take some-
"You can't give Lena up, Kara," James interrupts her thoughts as if reading them.
Kara looks up at him a little dumbfounded, struck by his sudden abruptness. And judging by James' reaction, he's taken aback too.
Nevertheless, he pushes on.
"You are going to regret it for the rest of your life if you do. I know it. You know it."
Kara wipes clumsily at her eyes with her sleeves. "God, that sounds so weird to hear coming from you."
And with all the heavy baggages finally laid out before them... they actually begin to laugh.
"You're the best friend I've ever had, Kara," James shakes his head. "But man, you have got to be the world's worst wingwoman."
Kara blushes furiously, a colorful mixture of emotions still swirling like a bucket of thick paint inside her chest.
Because after everything that has happened, he's her best friend. And he still considers her his best friend. They're going to be okay.
They laugh, reading each other's faces as they realize the ludicrous situation they've found themselves in.
"I actually do have something for you..." James clears his throat. "I was going to give it to you before prom but you sort of... dropped a bomb on me."
He hands her a folded up envelope.
"What is this?"
"And then I thought I'd let you wait a little..."
Kara rips it the seal open, reading its contents. Is this...
"James, what's this?" Kara repeats, although she already knows exactly what she's holding in her hand...
"It's Cat Grant's assistant's contact details," James watches her carefully, a smile on his face. "It's the exclusive one, okay? My uncle said to get in touch. Introduce yourself and tell them that Patrick Olsen said they might be able to give you a short internship before you start at NCU this Fall."
...it's James' end of the bargain.
"James..." Kara blinks.
"My uncle told me to tell you that they'll be paying you peanuts but..."
Not letting him finish his sentence anymore, Kara leaps to throw both arms around James. "Thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you!"
"Hey... I'm always going to have your back from now on," James hugs her back. "...Fact."
"Uh oh. Are we interrupting something?"
Kara peels herself off James to see Nia and Winn smiling suspiciously at them.
"I think they're having a moment," Nia squeezes herself in between James and Kara. "Well, moments over, guys! And to celebrate this historic day that you guys are friends again..."
Nia throws an arm around Kara and James and... can Kara smell alcohol in her breath?
"We brought some drinks to celebrate!"
Winn dramatically reveals a pack of beer from his bag hearing Nia's introductory cue.
"Courtesy of Winn's dad's wine cooler," Nia chimes, giddy.
But James clearly isn't impressed. "Are you guys crazy?! My mom's home!"
Nia and Winn glance at each other before bursting into fits of giggles.
"Should we save her some?" Winn asks sincerely. James cocks his head. "What? Your mom's pretty cool."
While her friends begin a rally of petty argument with James becoming more paranoid of getting caught with alcoholic drinks, Kara stands up and clears her throat to get their attention.
"I actually have to go, guys," she announces. "I promised my mom I'd be home for dinner."
Which of course is met with a chorus of childish dispute.
When she shows no sign of being persuaded, Nia and Winn settle for her word that she'll give them a ride into the city next weekend.
"Will you tell Eliza we said hi?" Nia calls out as Kara turns to get into her truck.
"She misses all of you," Kara says. "Say hi yourselves soon!"
It's strange. The house is eerily quiet when Kara walks in through the door.
"Mom! I'm home!"
"Hi, honey! Kitchen!"
Kara smiles, following the sound of her voice.
Only for her to come face to face with the last person she had expected to be sitting across her mom at the dining table...
"...have a guest."
...photo albums sprawled between them. The unexpected guest has a cup of coffee—soy milk, will refuse to take sugar but will change her mind 2 minutes later and ask for a teaspoon of it—nursed between her palms (of course, Kara remembers).
Lena's voice is velvet and smooth and one syllable from her is enough to make Kara's heart flutter like she may burst into tears or laughter.
And Kara wants to say hello back but she's frozen on spot and her brain is short-circuiting. She really should say something, anything, just stop gawking at her like a–
"What are you doing?" Kara turns to her mom, the words flying out of her mouth like a whip.
"Oh," Eliza jumps a little, surprised to even be involved in the conversation. "I was just telling Lena the story about that first car you helped fix up with your dad when you were 5..."
"No, I mean..." Kara glances at Lena and yup. She's real. She's there, alright. "What is she... how is... what is happening here?"
"We've just been getting to know each other," Eliza smiles at Lena. "And then I just got carried away showing her baby photographs! I'm sorry!"
"Mom, are you serious right now?" Kara's face turns crimson. "I am so sorry about this, Lena!"
"It's fine, Kara," Lena chuckles. "You were quite adorable."
"Oh! She really was!" Eliza nods. Then another bright idea seems to illuminate her face. "I have to show you the other albums! Will you stay for dinner, Lena?"
Lena chuckles politely.
"Lena, please. You really don't have to," Kara interjects, saving Lena from any more awkwardness. "I don't know why my mom brought you here but-"
"She didn't," Lena stops Kara in her tracks. "I actually came to see you."
What? Kara blinks.
Lena opens her mouth to speak but no words come out.
Eliza watches them carefully, afraid that making a single move may jeopardize the importance of this moment. Because anytime now...
"I wanted to see you," Lena corrects herself, voice firm and sure.
Kara exhales, relieved.
"Yeah," Lena nods, smiling shyly.
Kara smiles back, eyes glossy with unshed tears.
"Well..." Eliza clasps her hands together, looking from Kara to Lena then to Kara again. "Dinner isn't ready yet so why don't you two go for a..."
And they're still staring at each other.
Eliza clears her throat. "Nice walk or something? It seems like you have some talking to do."
Thank you so much for reading, guys! And again – for your patience! The final chapter will be released soon :)
Just out of curiosity, would you guys want to read an extra chapter/epilogue just to tie this story off with a nice lil bow?
Chapter 20: The Goddamn Girl
A fluffy finale :)
Here is the final chapter of our story, guys!
With this story being my first work here, I want to say a huge thank you to everyone for the warmest welcome. And ofc another BIG thank you for sticking around for the finale!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
"It's nice here."
Lena takes in the way Midvale looks from where they've decided to sit. She had no idea that this place even existed. They seem to be so far away from it all right now.
"Alex found this spot," Kara says, sitting cross-legged, mindlessly pulling blades of grass. "Best view of Midvale. I wanted to take you here when all the snow and the ice had thawed."
Lena looks at Kara who continues to avoid her gaze.
"Well..." Lena clears her throat. "Here we are."
"Sorry if my mom talked your ear off earlier," Kara says. "She gets overly enthusiastic about stuff. And she's been dying to meet you."
"Uh, your mom is amazing," Lena corrects her.
Kara smiles. "Can't argue with you there."
"I'm sorry my mom called the cops on you," Lena scrunches her nose.
The memory turns Kara's face crimson as she laughs awkwardly.
"No, I probably shouldn't have been setting up camp outside your house when you refused to see me," Kara shrugs.
"Lena," Jess rushes into Lena's bedroom, a little out of breath. "Kara has been outside for 5 hours now. She says she's not leaving until she sees you. Why don't you just..."
Lena tightens her grip onto her book. "I can't, Jess."
"Your mother is going to freak out if she sees her-"
The familiar sound of Lillian's car arriving lets them know that it's too late.
"Jess," Lena pleads.
"Fine! I'll deal with it!" she huffs, slamming Lena's door a little harshly.
Lena looks over at her incredulously. "You think?"
"I was trying to be romantic!" Kara groans.
A blanket of silence falls between them. Kara looks over at Lena whose gaze is now fixed on the horizon. The heaviness of Lena's heart doesn't go unnoticed by Kara. She feels it too.
They stay this way for another moment before the stillness is broken simultaneously by both of their hesitant voices.
Lena laughs, motioning for Kara to speak first.
"I am so sorry about what happened at prom night," Kara's eyes search Lena's.
Her words hang between them for a moment. And they stay there suspended as Lena recalls how painful William's words had been. How he had grabbed Kara so forcefully. The thought of it makes Lena's blood boil with anger once more.
"None of what he said was true, Lena. None of it," Kara pulls her back down to earth as if seemingly reading her mind. "I really need you to understand that."
"I'm sorry about the way I handled things," Lena shakes her head. "But he really had it coming."
"He did," Kara chuckles. "How's your hand?"
"It's..." Lena slowly lifts her injured hand.
She doesn't flinch when Kara gently takes it into her own, her face contorting into what Lena would describe as a puppy about to burst into tears.
"It's getting better," Lena attempts to ease some of her worry. "It doesn't even hurt anymore- ow..."
It's Kara who flinches before slowly caressing Lena's bruised thumb.
"This was my fault," Kara decides glumly.
"No. It wasn't," Lena argues. "He was out of line. I would do it again in a heartbeat."
"You shouldn't have had to do it in the first place," Kara grumbles. "Maybe I should've taken a second swing at him."
The image of sweet, sweet Kara taking a spite-fuelled punch at William makes Lena laugh.
"What?" Kara furrows her eyebrows. "Oh my god, you don't think I could? I would've knocked him out cold!"
Lena laughs harder. "Oh I believe it!"
Lena uses her good hand to reach out to Kara and lovingly tuck strands of loose hair behind her ear.
"Lena..." Kara's voice wavers as she says her name. "I really messed up every step of the way with us, didn't I?"
Lena chuckles because what a fucking shitshow this all really has been. She had no idea how much of a mess falling in love would bring. If she could do it all again, would it all really be worth it?
She finds her answer in watching Kara. How the sunset glow settles on the side of her face in the most heart-wrenchingly beautiful way.
The only person in the world with the power to break her heart.
"But here we are anyway, right?" Lena says.
"Here we are," Kara echoes.
The only person in the world she would ever allow to.
"And everyone knows everything?"
"Word travels fast in a small town."
Lena doesn't doubt it does.
When she meets Kara's eyes once more, Lena notices something in them she realizes has always been there but perhaps she's never paid much attention to...
"What do we do, Lena?"
There's fear. True fear.
She's afraid that this... is the end, Lena begins to understand.
And all of a sudden, Lena is afraid too.
"What do you mean?"
Kara shoots her a knowing look. Lena sighs deeply.
"Well... you're going to National City," Lena begins to list out, careful that her voice doesn't shake. "And I'm going to MIT and..."
She looks away for a moment, her glossy eyes threatening to give her away.
"We'll just have to see," Lena chokes. "Besides, we still have all the summer, right?"
Kara's silence sends Lena's heart plummeting down to the pit of her stomach.
"James' uncle managed to get me this short internship before starting the semester at NCU..." Kara's small voice trails off.
Lena beams at Kara and she swears that her heart might just burst out with pride. Before the dark cloud of realization crawls over them – that they have even less time than they thought.
"Kara, I'm really happy for you," Lena's words taste bitter leaving her lips.
She wants to so badly mean them but it's a useless struggle when this is taking Kara far away from her sooner than expected.
"I know how much you've wanted this and for so long too," Lena soldiers on. "This will be good for you."
"Will it be good for us?" Kara's voice is barely above a whisper.
Lena keeps her eyes focused on the horizon, afraid that if she looks over at Kara now, the little composure she has left will be obliterated.
"That barely matters now," Lena says, still refusing to look over at her.
"Of course it does."
"Because I think we should be together," Kara answers quickly.
"Because your friends now say so?" Lena jokes, attempting to lighten the mood.
"Because I love you," Kara responds, her voice dripping with seriousness.
Lena's head turns to finally look at Kara, mouth slightly open at her sudden abrasive tone.
"And I know that I have made mistakes. This entire thing has been a mess but..." Kara continues, eyes scoring into Lena's intensely. "I... love you."
Kara pauses to breathe before resuming, now at a more reasonable pace.
"I have been trying to convince myself that I was ready to say goodbye and..." Kara shrugs, eyes beginning to well up again. "...and to let you go. And if that's what you want, I... I will. I think that I could figure out how to. But Lena, I'm pretty sure that you are the love of my life."
"And I'm aware that this is probably the worst timing to ask if you want to try again and to be my girlfriend," Kara rambles on. "We're going to be in different cities, busy with starting college and settling in and-"
Lena blinks. "You want me to be your girlfriend?"
Kara stares back at Lena in slight disbelief.
"Well... yeah," Kara laughs because of course she wants more than anything for this Luthor to be her girlfriend.
She shrugs. "Lena, you are it for me."
Lena has to remind herself to breathe.
"I will understand. Completely. If you... if you say no," Kara begins to spiral once more. "But I just had to let you know. That I'm here. And that I'm sorry. And that I love you, Lena. I love you."
"I'm going to love you regardless of what happens next," Kara sighs. "I can't help it."
The sun is now taking its final curtain call as it descends behind the horizon, the deep orange shade it once painted the sky now being washed away by night time's indigo hue.
But Kara and Lena are no longer interested in the performance the sunset has to offer. Not when they're facing what feels a lot like an important milestone. The very moment they'll look back on years from now. The turning point.
"Do you mean it?" Lena asks timidly.
This is where they finally love on the same page.
And it feels like a second meet-cute. A do-over.
"Lena..." Kara sighs. "Yes."
"No more take-backs?" Lena challenges.
"No more hiding me under the bed?"
"Or hiding me in closets," Kara points her finger accusingly at Lena.
"No secretly trying to set me up with a friend?"
"Okay. Fine," Kara bites her lip to stop a smirk from forming. "No more punching ex-boyfriends."
Lena rolls her eyes at the mention of William. "Okay, now that I can't guarantee."
Kara playfully swats her arms.
"I'm kidding! Fine," Lena giggles.
"So?" Kara smiles.
"MIT isn't ridiculously far from NCU. I checked," Lena admits, blushing a little.
"You checked?" Kara teases.
"You didn't?" Lena rallies back.
"Of course, I did," Kara scoffs. "So, are we..."
Lena sighs, feigning annoyance. "You understand I can't seem to say no to you?"
Kara's face lights up in a face-splitting grin. "I'd really like to kiss you now if that's okay?"
Lena rolls her eyes. "What did I just say?"
And Kara takes her cue to lean in and press a giddy kiss on Lena's lips.
Kara doesn't let go of Lena's hand on their way back to her house. Not even for a single second.
Not even when she fishes out her house keys from her back pocket – struggling a little because they're on their current designated hand-holding side.
And not even as they walk through the front door.
"Oh, you two are back!" Eliza chirps, barely noticing how close they seem to be now. "We seem to have... more guests."
And not even when they're greeted by Kara's friends who have apparently made themselves at home in Kara's dining room.
"What are you guys doing here? I thought you were..." Kara's eyes flicks over to her mom. "Celebrating."
"We thought we'd bring the party here," Winn shrugs, helping himself to the plate of cookies Eliza has placed on the counter. "Maybe start a little later round a fire pit, you know? What's up, Lena?"
"You mentioned Eliza was cooking," Nia slides the plate closer to her. "Winn wanted some grub. Nice to see you here, Lena!"
"Hey! You make it sound like I'm only ever here for food," Winn yells. "We're friends too, right, Mrs D?"
"If a human food vacuum is capable of friendships then I suppose so," Eliza sighs, jokingly.
"Little harsh, Mrs D," Winn clutches at his chest. "Is that cream chicken pasta with the secret homemade sauce? It smells amazing."
"Winn, stop picking at that! It isn't ready!" Eliza slaps his hand lightly. "James, honey, didn't I teach you how to toss salad properly?"
"Sorry, chef!" James nods.
"Alright, you just got yourself demoted," Eliza taps James' shoulder. "Will you go run to the garage and grab some drinks from the big fridge?"
"What is happening?" Lena mumbles to Kara.
"Don't worry about it," Kara brushes off. "These guys turn up unannounced all the time."
Lena lets go of Kara's hand—much to her displeasure—to take a closer look at the dinner Eliza is preparing.
"Can I help?" Lena offers.
"Oh no, thank you, Lena!" Eliza reassures profusely. "We're doing fine here. I'm sure you and Kara have a lot of... catching up to do."
"Mom!" Kara blushes. "We've... talked things out and we're fine. Right, Lena?"
"Yeah," Lena nods. "We're fine now."
Everybody in the room freezes to stare at Kara and Lena. James walks in with drinks in tow, quickly catching on what's happening.
"You're fine?" Nia asks.
"What does that even mean?" James places the drinks down.
"Kara and Lena are fine," Nia elbows James. "Apparently."
"Ooh, look! We're fine!" Winn imitates Kara (a little too well, actually).
"I don't sound like that," Kara blushes. "And yes, we've fixed things out now. Everything's fine."
"Are you sure? You're both looking a little flushed," Nia presses.
"I mean if Kara says they're fine then-"
"Okay! We're more than fine! We're together!" Kara yells, grabbing Lena's hand and holding it up for all to see. "For real and for good this time, okay? Everyone happy?"
Lena goes along with Kara's outburst, motioning towards their intertwined hands in a very "Well, would you look at that!" fashion.
Nia slams the table in her excitement. "Aha! I knew it!"
"Alright!" James throws Kara a high-five.
"We are SO celebrating tonight!" Winn shakes his head in disbelief.
"I'm happy to hear that, Kara," Eliza looks as though she may burst into tears. "Nia, dear... did I just hear beer bottles in your bag?"
"Huh?" Nia swiftly kicks her backpack aside.
Before Eliza can further question her, the doorbell rings.
"I'll get that!" Eliza announces, taking purposeful strides towards the front door.
"Oh. Hello, Ben."
Kara peeks to see Ben standing at her front door... holding what appears to be a freshly-baked pie.
"Hi, Mrs Danvers," he smiles sweetly. "My mom sent me to drop off this pie to apologize for my brother's..."
"Stupidity?" Eliza suggests.
"Stupidity," Ben agrees.
"He isn't here?"
"No. He left town last night?" Ben explains. "His college is giving him a second chance with a long list of conditions."
Ben spots Kara lingering and offers a meek wave. "Hey, Kara..."
"Are you hungry, Ben?" Eliza asks.
"Sam's actually waiting in the car. We're on our way to grab some dinner," Ben says.
"Well, I seem to be hosting a party tonight so would you two like to grab dinner here instead?"
"Oh no. We wouldn't want to intrude," Ben chuckles.
Kara steps forward. "You wouldn't be. Besides, Lena's here too and I think she'd appreciate Sam being here. My family can be... a lot."
As if on cue, they hear what is beginning to sound like an interrogation in the kitchen...
"Yes, my brother was on the cover of Forbes. No, I don't have him on speed-dial."
"But you have his number?"
"Call him! Call him! Call him!"
...and Ben gives Kara a sympathetic look before hurrying to get Sam from the car.
The first thing Lena had noticed was how different the dinner was to any dinner she had ever been to before.
Sitting between Kara and Sam, and with Eliza directly across from her, it was the first time she had truly felt a part of a... family. They were eager to ask her questions and they had told jokes and laughed at the ones she made.
And it was weird and different.
A good weird. The best kind of different.
After dinner and after Eliza had said good night to them—warning them not to make too much of a ruckus—they found themselves sitting around a small firepit in Kara's backyard.
Lena sits on a large wooden lawn chair she shares with Kara who has her legs resting on Lena's lap comfortably.
"So I grab Lena and I march her towards Kara before she even knows what's going on," Sam is retelling a story, already a little drunk. "Meanwhile, she looks like she's about to pass out! You're telling me you had no idea?"
"Oh, I could totally tell," Nia brags before motioning to Kara with the beer bottle in her hand. "But in Kara's defence, she is... an idiot."
"Right! I kept asking 'Really, Lena? This is the one you want?'" Sam rolls her eyes.
"Guys, I am right here," Kara laughs nervously.
"Hey," Lena lightly pats her legs. "You're my idiot."
"Aaand that's the beer talking, I think," Kara giggles, taking away Lena's 3rd... no, 4th...(?) beer from her grasp and placing it away from them.
"No, just your idiot talking," Lena smiles widely. "Right. Maybe I am feeling it a little."
The rest of the group watches them intently.
"The weirdest part is how not weird this actually is?" Winn says.
"It's a little weird," Ben shrugs. "A good weird. I'm so happy you guys worked things out."
"Me too," Kara smiles, keeping her eyes on Lena.
"I wanna propose a toast," James clears his throat.
The group follows suit, raising their drinks. Kara had handed Lena a bottle of water instead.
"To one hell of a senior year I couldn't be happier to see finally coming to an end," James chuckles. "But damn it, to one that brought us..."
James smiles at Kara and Lena. "...and these two together, at least."
"I'll drink to that," Sam nods.
"And to Kara's lucky, lucky shoes," Winn adds. "We wouldn't be here if not for them."
"What are you talking about? Lena's had a crush on Kara since way before that!" Sam snorts.
A resounding "WHAT?" from the group turns Lena's face bright red.
"Sam!" Lena groans.
"Sorry!" Sam squeezes her eyes shut. "It's the booze! Ben, take this away from me!"
Lena looks over to see Kara's mouth open in shock, eyes twinkling mischievously as she waits for an explanation.
Followed by a chaotic blend of voices demanding for Lena to elaborate.
Which she absolutely plans on doing so right after everyone settles down.
Maybe it's the adequate amount of alcohol now in her bloodstream or the knowledge that the story has a happy ending...
It somehow feels easier to tell now.
"Okay. So..." Lena sighs, dramatically rolling her eyes as the group erupts in a loud cheer.
Or maybe it's just in her Luthor-nature to enjoy bragging once in a while.
Because after all, Lena got the girl.
She got the goddamn girl.
And we are done! Thank you so much for reading this little story (an epilogue is on its way!) – I hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
AGAIN, THANK YOU SO SO MUCH! <3
Chapter 21: Epilogue
Here is the epilogue as promised! :)
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
The first half of their long distant romance goes by without a hitch. It's strange. Both had said their goodbyes and had entered this new chapter with strong determination that they would make it work.
But neither were prepared for how streamlined and simple it would be.
Kara would visit every weekend. Lena would call every night.
Kara would send text messages peppered throughout the day, including photos and videos of interesting things she'd come across throughout each day.
Lena—being far too busy and focused through most days—lives for the little pockets of sunshine Kara's text messages would bring.
And Kara, nursing the odd homesickness appreciates Lena's soothing voice as she recalls her day just before they go to sleep.
A few of their weekends together consisted of Kara teaching Lena how to drive stick – which she picked up in no time (unsurprising to Kara who enjoyed getting to put her feet up on the dashboard and memorizing the shape of Lena's jaw).
They would drive out of the city to explore small towns nearby. Kara is terrible at telling Lena when to take the next turn which would lead them into harmless squabbling.
Kara would never admit she sometimes does this on purpose because it means they get to spend more time together. (Lena would never admit she knows this because she enjoys pushing Kara's buttons in their childish fights).
Other weekends saw them never leaving Lena's private studio. Choosing each other's company over whatever else was happening outside that day.
Kara shares a room with a lovely girl who gets along with all her friends.
James was back in the country for a few weeks after doing a spot of solo travelling in South America when he decided to visit Kara in National City.
From the moment Kara had introduced the two, she claims that anyone within the vicinity could see the fireworks setting off between them.
"This is James," Kara says. "He's one of my best friends from back home."
James appears stunned for a brief moment before holding his hand out. "Hi."
"Heard so much about you," Kara's roommate smiles, a little uncharacteristically shy. "I'm Lucy."
Kara's eyes dart suspiciously between her best friend and her roommate. She opens her mouth to comment on what she observes to be an unnaturally long handshake but decides against it.
Maybe she wouldn't be the world's worst wingwoman after all.
Lena would never have guessed that she would be excited to come home to Midvale for Thanksgiving.
But here she is: smiling from ear to ear, a spring in every step as she makes her way to Kara's truck.
Kara's practically glowing, the same big smile on her face as she greets Lena with a soft kiss and helps her load her bags in the truck.
"I missed you," Kara tells Lena as they get ready to go.
"Good," Lena giggles as she leans in to pull Kara for another kiss.
Eliza hosts the biggest Thanksgiving dinner she ever has.
While the past Thanksgiving dinners saw her preparing for 3, she's suddenly faced with the challenge of feeding 10!
A challenge she happily takes on, of course.
Lena is visibly nervous when Kara announces that Alex and Maggie has arrived. It was one thing to meet Eliza who is every bit of the sunshine Kara is.
Meeting Alex as Kara's girlfriend...
Well, that is a different ordeal.
Lena lingers behind Kara as they greet Alex and Maggie, trying to see if she can read her first.
"Alex, you know Lena," Kara smiles.
"Sure," Alex nods.
"Hey," Lena offers a small wave. "It's good to see you."
"Is it?" Alex narrows her eyes.
Lena's face drops, caught completely off-guard by Alex's upfront coldness.
"Alex!" Maggie scolds. "Lena, I'm Maggie. Don't mind Alex, she's messing with you."
Lena looks over at Alex who thankfully drops the act and lunges to give Lena a hug.
"It was funnier in my head, sorry!" Alex pats her back. Her voice drops to a whisper. "But you see the gap between those 2 trophies on the shelf? That was your fault, Luthor."
"What?" Lena chokes.
Alex releases her from the embrace and smiles widely. "So great to see you!"
Lena smiles back, fear still making its way out of her system.
"Ignore her. She's still bitter you beat her at the Science Fair that one year," Kara rolls her eyes, placing a quick kiss on her cheek.
Nia, Winn, and James arrive shortly after Ben and Sam do.
The Danvers' household livens up by tenfold, a lot of it thanks to the volume of Nia, Winn, and Kara's excitable voices.
Sam and Ben make a beeline for Lena, Ben holding both palms up like he's a boxing trainer.
"Still quick on your feet, Rocky?"
(He does this every time he sees Lena.)
"It's good to see you too, Ben," Lena shakes her head as she swats his hands away and reaches up to hug him.
"I told him it stopped being funny like last month," Sam says.
"It's still funny, babe," Ben chuckles.
"I thought you weren't coming back until next week?" Lena asks.
As much as Kara and Lena stay in touch and visit each other, Sam and Lena do so more frequently.
With Sam attending Harvard Med School, they practically see each other everyday.
"I kinda missed this," Sam shrugs. "Also, Nia and Winn convinced me I had to be here for Eliza's party so..."
Lena smiles. Watching her best friend become friends with Kara's isn't getting old anytime soon.
And when she catches Kara's eye from across the room, she knows that the exact thought is crossing her mind as Ben, Winn, James chat animatedly within the little group they've formed.
"Dinner's ready, kids!" Eliza finally calls, as everyone makes their way to the table. "Heaven knows when this house became a youth centre."
When Kara drops Lena off home later that night, they're both surprised to see Lena's mom.
"Mom," Lena calls. "Kara was just walking me to the door."
"Good evening, Mrs Luthor," Kara smiles lightly.
"Hello," Lillian nods. "I had just collecting something I'd forgotten on the front porch. Have you both eaten?"
"Yes. Eliza made dinner," Lena says. "For Thanksgiving."
"Oh. Right. Of course," Lillian says. "Well... there's food in the kitchen. I thought you might be hungry after driving to Midvale..."
Kara notices the hint of nervousness in Lillian's manners. So different from the woman who had once yelled at her for refusing to leave their property when Lena had refused to see her.
And Kara thinks she understands.
She's missed Lena.
"I could eat dessert," Kara quips.
"You're still hungry?" Lena scoffs.
"Hey," Kara furrows her eyebrows.
"I... I baked a pie actually," Lillian adds, perking up a little. "Well, I didn't. Our chef did. But there's a pie. It's apple."
"Yum! I love apple pie!" Kara smiles.
"Let's head inside," Lillian smiles back. She ushers them through the front doors. "How is NCU, Kara?"
Kara ends up staying until very close to midnight. It's the first time she's ever had a normal conversation with Lena's mom.
And something tells her that this is the first time in quite a long time that Lena has too.
She sees it in the awkward pauses and glances. The slight tension in the air. Lillian so obviously trying to reach out and connect. Lena understandably apprehensive to accept.
"You really didn't have to stay," Lena tells Kara as she walks her to the front door. "I think she's on this new, apology train tour but she doesn't quite know how or where to start."
"She's trying," Kara notes. "That's a start, right?"
"I had a lovely time," Kara adds.
"So did I," Lena agrees, reaching to peck Kara's lips. "Let me know when you get home, okay?"
The day after Thanksgiving marked an important one. Lena had become well-acquainted with everyone in Kara's family — all except one.
"Hey, Dad," Kara says, laying down fresh flowers by her father's tombstone and picking up wilted ones.
Lena helps by lighting the two candles they brought with them.
"So I've brought someone really special with me today," Kara continues, smiling at Lena. "This is my girlfriend. Lena."
Lena smiles gently, taking Kara's hand in hers and giving it a light squeeze.
"I think you'd be happy to know that she's way out of my league," Kara chuckles. "You know I'm not usually the over-achiever."
Lena rolls her eyes, blushing.
"Mom and Alex love her, of course," she continues.
Kara pauses, taking a deep breath in and out before speaking again.
"But I really wish you could've met her," Kara sighs, her eyes now becoming glossy with tears. "I miss you, Dad."
Lena feels her heart crack as Kara quickly wipes the stray tears that roll down her face.
"You'd be proud of your daughters," Lena says, taking Kara by surprise a little.
"Specially this one," Lena gazes over at Kara with a smirk. "But I think I'm being biased."
"She can be stubborn and painfully oblivious," Lena lists, receiving a light elbow to the side from Kara.
"Hey," Kara frowns.
Lena only beams at her. "But she is also everything that is good in the world... packed into one person."
"I really wish we could've met," Lena says, unshed tears now in her eyes. "But I promise I'm gonna take good care of your daughter."
"Lena..." Kara whispers softly.
She smiles as she lifts up Kara's hand to place a soft kiss on her knuckles.
"I really love you," Kara says sweetly.
And it's still music to Lena's ears. Just like every time.
"I really love you too," Lena smiles.
Kara intertwines her fingers with Lena's because it's the most natural thing in the world now.
They walk back to where Kara had parked. Hand in hand. Swinging slightly. Both thankful that things are so much easier now.
Things are much easier in love.
One last thank you for reading!! See you in the next story!!