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The Ship of Dreams

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Lena DeWitt Luthor’s first night aboard the “Ship of Dreams” could not have been more horrible, nor more magical. She boarded The Titanic earlier that day with her mother, Lillian DeWitt Luthor, and her deplorable fiancé Mon El Hockley. Their first class suites on the B Deck were almost as grandiose as the Luthor manor back home in Metropolis. Obviously, the pompous arrangement thrilled both Lillian and Mon El, yet Lena found her status all too pretentious. While Lena, a wealthy heiress used to the finer effects of life, did enjoy many perks of her high class, she consciously mulled over the mundane cycles of her overly-exquisite existence. All the parties and cotillions, the yachts and polo matches, the mindless chatter with the same narrow people; none of it mattered. Lena felt empty, unnoticed, and quite alone.

 

So, that night as Lena sat in the ship’s main dining hall with Lillian, Mon El, and countless other bland socialites, she looked upwards at the crystal chandelier hanging from the ceiling. Thousands of mini versions of herself in clear crystal looked back down towards her, noticing every aspect of figure. The dazzling black and red dress, tightly fitting around her body; the smooth, white pearls around her neck; the long, raven hair draped over her right shoulder, falling in slight curls at the end; her blue-green eyes, emotionlessly staring into their own blank void.

 

Suddenly, Lena’s chest weighed heavily and breathing became a chore in the stifling room. Her senses grew overwhelmed: the smell of the gourmet roast quail, the stale taste of decades-old red wine, the cacophonous sounds from the aggregation of aristocratic voices, the sting of bright light bouncing off each silver utensil, and the feel of her coarse garment, scratching against unduly moisturized skin. Repulsed by the overpowering sensations, Lena abruptly stood up, shaking the table from her hasty movement.

 

“Lena?” Lillian asked in a tone that appeared concerned, but Lena knew better; she knew that the inflection used at the end of her name was not out of concern, but out of judgement. Proper women didn’t startle their dinner companions; proper women sat silently smiling, speaking only when spoken to. In her mother’s eyes, Lena DeWitt Luthor’s purpose in life was merely to look pretty and marry a man within her class. Lillian’s single word was a warning for Lena to sit down and do what she’s told.

 

Luckily, a slight jolt in the ship’s rocking gave Lena a perfect excuse, “Actually, I feel quite nauseous. I think I shall retire early to my room.”

 

Mon El placed his napkin on the table and rose, his large forehead shining evermore atrociously in the reflecting lights, “I can escort you if–”

 

“Alone,” Lena quickly cut him off, “I wish to retire alone.”

 

Rolling his eyes in disappointment, Mon El sat back down and returned the napkin to his lap, “While I cannot comprehend your need for autonomy, I suppose I’ll see you in the morning then?”

 

“I suppose,” Lena responded curtly. When Lillian cleared her throat in another warning, Lena forced a smile, “I jest, Mon. Of course you will.”

 

Without even attempting to take notice of whether her mother approved the verbal remedy or not, Lena turned on her heel and calmly exited the dining hall. As she walked through corridor after corridor, Lena’s pace became more uneasy with each step. A steward coming from the opposite direction amiably greeted her, yet she was only able to respond with another forced smile and a polite nod. Once the steward strutted out of sight, Lena quickened her pace to a near run, until she reached her room.

 

Slamming the cabin door shut behind her. Attempting to recompose herself, Lena wandered to the vanity next to her bed and gazed into the mirror. Her face looked paler than usual, or maybe her lips were rosier? Whatever the case, the sharp contrast in color started to make Lena's head spin. She needed it all to stop. The spinning; the colors; the artificial life.

 

With an anguished cry, Lena began clawing at her neck until the pearl necklace snapped, pearls flying in all directions. Then, in a frenzy, she began to rip at her outrageous dress and smudged her worn makeup across her face. The unbearable urge to wreck her artificial confines had taken complete control. Without bothering to look into the mirror to examine her destructive handiwork, Lena attacked the cabin. Tearing apart furniture and flinging priceless belongings across the room, Lena began to hyperventilate, until she once again laid eyes on her reflection in the vanity mirror. Picking up her golden-rimmed hand mirror resting on her nightstand, Lena hurled it straight into the vanity, shattering both glasses. Letting out one last devastated wail, she kicked off her heeled shoes and sprinted out of her cabin, not even bothering to lock the door behind her.

 

Unsure and uncaring of her destination, Lena flew across the B deck promenade. As she ran, her hair bounced disheveled against her now exposed shoulders. Hot angry tears mixed with mascara streaked down her cheeks. Lena shook with so many emotions that she couldn't even name; the only one she could pinpoint was anger. She was angry at her mother, angry at her life and forced marriage, and Lena was angry at herself. No. In this moment, Lena hated herself.

 

Finally Lena understood where her feet brought her: the stern deck, the most terminal point on the ship. Slamming into the flagpole on the stern deck, she clung to the cold metal and looked below at the menacing black waves beneath her. Her breath hitched. Lena was alone. She was alone and it's so, so quiet, with exception to the waves sloshing against the ship. The noise made the waves seem less menacing, and more inviting. As if magnetically drawn, Lena slowly strode to the railing at the edge of the ship. Hiking up her expensive, tattered gown, Lena stepped one foot at a time over to the other side.

 

After methodically turning her body, she rested her back against the railing and peered out into the ocean. Icy sea mist sprayed up at her legs, but she was already too mentally numb to feel it. Lena could see the Titanic's massive propellers churning the water 50, maybe 60, feet below. Mesmerized by the swirling vortex beneath her, Lena leaned forward and loosened her grip on the railing behind her. Lena’s dress and hair billowed in the wind, and in that moment, she was ready to fly away with them.

 

Until a voice broke Lena’s hypnosis.

 

“Don’t do it,” a calm, feminine voice commanded from the deck.

 

Lena’s previous notion that the deck was deserted was clearly incorrect. She whipped her head around to see a blonde-haired, blue-eyed woman step out from the shadows on the deck. As Lena’s eyes began to focus more, she could see that the woman was dressed in less than shabby clothes. Although her face was young and beautiful, her outfit was well-worn, full of holes and patches. The unfamiliar woman wore faded pants, workman’s boots, a threadbare shirt, and suspenders that seemed a tad too loose. The nicest article of clothing she wore, was probably the thick overcoat made of real wool, but that wasn’t saying much.

 

“Stay back! Don’t come any closer,” Lena yelled back at the mysterious woman. Realizing how obviously unsettled she must look, Lena quickly turned back towards the sea.

 

Yet, the stranger persisted, “Take my hand. I’ll pull you back in.”

 

“No! Stay where you are. I mean it. I'll let go.”

 

“No you won't.”

 

The amount of conviction in the strange woman’s voice perturbed Lena. She turned back to the stranger to shoot an annoyed look, “What do you mean no I won't? Don't presume to tell me what I will and will not do. You don't know me.”

 

The blonde woman sighed, “You would have done it already. Now come on, take my hand.”

 

Now Lena was more confused than agitated. With a shaking hand, she wiped away some tears and mascara streaks, almost losing her balance. “You're distracting me. Go away.”

 

“I can't. I'm involved now. If you let go, I have to jump in after you.”

 

Lena scrunched her face in disbelief, “Don't be absurd. You'll be killed.”

 

The woman shrugged and took off her jacket, “I'm a good swimmer.” Then she began unlacing her left shoe.

 

“The fall alone would kill you,” Lena retorted.

 

“Yeah, it would hurt. I'm not saying it wouldn't. To be honest I'm a lot more concerned about the water being so cold.”

 

Lena swallowed hard as she glanced back towards the water. The reality and concreteness of what the mystery woman interrupted her from doing, was beginning to sink in. “H-how cold?” she hoarsely asked.

 

The blonde woman simply continued to remove her left shoe, than began unlacing her right, “Freezing. Maybe a couple degrees over.” Then without hesitation asked, “Ever been to Midvale?”

 

“No,” Lena responded, tilting her head. What an odd question. Although Miss DeWitt Luthor was not quite certain what sort of conversation would be considered proper in a situation as unwarranted as her current predicament.

 

The other woman mirrored Lena’s head tilt, “Well they have some of the coldest winters around, and I grew up there. Once when I was a kid me and my sister were ice-fishing out on Swan Beach. Ice-fishing's where you chop a hole in the–”

 

“I know what ice fishing is,” Lena cut her off. She was rich, not uneducated. Of course she knew about ice fishing.

 

Clearly taken aback by Lena’s abrupt tone, the unusual woman responded, “Sorry. Just, you look like kind of an indoor girl. Anyway, I went through some thin ice and I'm tellin' ya, water that cold,” she pointed towards the water, “Like that right down there; it hits you like a thousand knives all over your body. You can't breath, you can't think; least not about anything but the pain.” Taking off her second shoe, she added, “Which is why I'm not looking forward to jumping in after you. But like I said, I don't see a choice. I guess I'm kinda hoping you'll come back over the rail and get me off the hook here.”

 

“You're crazy,” Lena huffed.

 

The woman gave a small, playful smile, “That's what everybody says. But with all due respect, I'm not the one hanging off the back of a ship.” She took one careful step closer to Lena. Holding out a hand, she offered, “Come on. You don't want to do this. Give me your hand.”

 

Lena motionlessly stared at this patient madwoman. Through unblurred, tear-free vision, Lena could really inspect her. Starting at the deck where thin, holed socks met pantline, all the way to where unironed shirt met slightly dirty neckline. Lena tried to ignore the soft-looking, nicely shaped lips. Yet, it was much too difficult to ignore the deep blue eyes peering back at her. Lena held her gaze on the entrancing pool of blues and hints of gray that suddenly seemed much more inviting than the cold ocean below. They sparkled, but were somehow more special than any constellation in the sky above. These eyes were warm and gentle; in that moment, Lena decided that she preferred these eyes to the icy water.

 

“Alright,” Lena agreed, slowly releasing one hand from the railing and reaching out towards her new friend.

 

“I'm Kara Dawson,” she smiled, taking Lena’s hand.

 

“Pleased to meet you, Miss Dawson,” Lena spoke with an unexpectedly nervous tone.

 

At first, Lena couldn’t tell why the wave of nervousness struck, originally attributing it to Kara’s charming demeanor. Then the reasoning became obvious when intense vertigo rapidly overwhelmed Lena; since she decided to climb back into the ship, the height became absolutely terrifying. Blood rushed to straight to her head, causing her vision to blur. Due to her newfound dizziness, Lena slipped off the edge of the deck floor, letting out a high pitched shriek. Luckily for the dazed brunette, Kara never let go of her hand and had quick enough reflexes to hold tight. Kara slammed against the inside part of the railing, gripping Lena’s hand, refusing to let her plummet.

 

Lena flailed with her other arm, just barely able to grab onto the lowest part of the railing, “Help! HELP!”

 

“I've got you. I won't let go,” Kara assured through clenched teeth. She was using all her strength, knuckles white, in her attempt to save the young heiress’s life.

 

After Lena finally found a small foothold on part of the hull, Kara started lifting her back upwards. Noticing the lack of footholds and realizing her life now depended solely on Kara, a complete stranger, Lena flailed and screamed again. Frantically, Kara awkwardly grasped at whatever body parts she could reach on the frazzled woman and pulled Lena over the railing with every ounce of energy she could muster.

 

Lena fell onto Kara, but the force of the fall caused their bodies to switch positions. They laid on the deck, panting, bodies tangled with Kara positioned in a precarious position atop Lena.

 

“Here, what's all this?!” a voice called from the stairwell leading up to the deck.

 

One of the ship’s Quartermasters ran to the distressed pair and yanked Kara off of Lena, revealing the tousled, sobbing heiress. Briefly examining how Lena’s dress was ripped, where the hem was pushed up above her knees and stockings torn, the Quartermaster furrowed his brow, unsure what to make of the peculiar situation. Lena could see the cogs in his head turn as he must have come the conclusion that the shaggy steerage girl clearly harassed the bawling first class lady in some way.

 

Moving to stand in between Lena and Kara, the Quartermaster glared daggers at Kara, “Here you, stand back. Don't move an inch.” Unfortunately for Kara, Lena remained too paralyzed from shock to correct the misunderstanding. So when two crew members rushed to join the Quartermaster, he commanded, “Fetch the Master at Arms.” Lena’s mind whirled with countless emotions, ranging from fear to plain confusion. However, when she glanced across the deck and locked eyes with Kara, the most intense emotion that rose to the surface became an inexplicable warm trust.

Chapter Text

When the Master at Arms arrived, he gruffly handcuffed Kara. One look at her ill-fitting, cheap attire informed him that it didn’t matter how apathetically he handled the poor woman. Kara flinched at first, then limply complied.

 

Finally finding her voice, Lena managed to choke out, “W-wait, you don’t understa–”

 

The Quartermaster placed a comforting hand on Lena’s shoulder, “It’s alright, my lady. No further harm will come to you now.”

 

Lena blinked a couple times, shaking her head. Judging by how hastily the Quartermaster dismissed her opinion, she realized any attempt to interject would be fruitless as long as both burly men remained in their presence. Lena waited in uncomfortable silence as the two men brought her and Kara back up to the main deck. There, they were led into a room where Lillian, Mon El, Rhea Lovejoy (Mon’s bodyguard), and Colonel Sam Lane IV awaited them. Apparently the two crewmembers not only alerted the Master at Arms, but Lena’s entire entourage as well and Colonel Lane, for whatever reason, tagged along. After a firm nod from the Master at Arms, the Quartermaster and two the crewmembers removed themselves from the crowded room. Colonel Lane swirled his brandy snifter, chewing on his cigar with intrigue. While Lillian simply seemed disinterested in the whole ordeal, Mon El’s face flushed a furious crimson.

 

Moving to stand only inches away from Kara’s face, Mon El spat, “What made you think you could put your hands on my fiancée?” Kara’s eyes guiltlessly shifted sideways, so Mon El imposed further, “Look at me, you filth! What did you think you were doing?”

 

Mon El’s vicious accusations broke Lena’s trance and she found the words to defend Kara, “Mon, stop! It was an accident.”

 

“An accident?” Mon El turned towards Lena with irate disbelief.

 

“It was,” Lena apprehensively cleared her throat, “Stupid really. I was leaning over and I slipped.” Searching Kara’s soothing azure eyes, Lena continued stammering her improvised explanation, “I was leaning way over, to see the, uhh, propellers. And I slipped and I would have gone overboard if Ms. Dawson hadn’t saved me. She almost went over herself.”

 

Mon El scoffed, “You wanted to see the propellers?” Naturally, Mon El focused on Lena’s supposed stupidity; not the fact that she came so close to death.

 

Colonel Lane released a puff from his cigar and grunted, “Women and machinery do not mix.”

 

Not particularly surprised by his misogynistic commentary, Lena rolled her eyes. Already well accustomed to Colonel Lane’s sexist views from her previous connection with his daughter, Lucy Lane, it seemed anticipated that Lucy refused to accompany her father on this venture. Lena’s mind envied Lucy’s freedom while her heart deeply longed for Lucy’s companionship on this naval prison. Although, their relationship existed as less emotional and more–

 

The Master at Arms’ resounding voice interrupted Lena’s fond memories, “Was that the way of it?” His question directed at Kara.

 

Recalling the urgency of her current predicament, Lena looked to Kara with pleading eyes, begging her not to disclose Lena’s almost-attempt to end her life.

 

Yet, without a single glance at Lena, Kara nodded, “Uh huh. That was pretty much it.”

 

Finally their gazes met. Kara’s confident and safe; Lena’s trusting and grateful. Now sharing a deep secret with a mere stranger, Lena would typically feel miffed. Still, something in Kara’s presence gave Lena a sense of understanding and, unexpectedly, The Titanic’s confines no longer parallelled a prison.

 

Colonel Lane cleared his throat, “Well, the girl’s a hero then! Good for you Miss, well done.” Swirling his mifter once more, he turned to Lillian, “So all's well and back to our brandy, eh?”

 

The Master at Arms casually uncuffed Kara and then exited the room. Lillian cocked her head, displeased. Without more than a hum, she promptly followed the Master at Arms out. However callous Lillian’s reaction may seem to a spectator, it was usual mother-daughter interplay between the DeWitt Luthor women. A curled lip instead of tender, relieved words.

 

Mon El reached out to feign affection by placing an arm around Lena, but quickly recoiled, “Christ you’re freezing. Better get inside.”

 

As Mon El turned to lead Lena back to the dinner party, Colonel Lane nudged his arm and whispered, “Perhaps a little something for the girl?”

 

Mon El shrugged, “Oh, right. Rhea, a twenty should do it.”

 

“Is that the going rate for saving the woman you love?” Lena glowered through clenched teeth.

 

“Lena is displeased,” Mon El sighed in annoyance, “Mmm, what to do?” Clicking his tongue, Mon El appraised Kara, examining every inch of her. Lena could see the cogs in his condescending head twist and turn, as he wordlessly ridiculed Kara’s scruffy clothing and messy hair. He snorted, “I know. Perhaps you could join us for dinner tomorrow, to regale our group with your heroic tale?”

 

“Sure, count me in,” Kara agreed, staring straight at Lena instead of the rude tycoon. Lena couldn’t help but notice how her stomach flipped at Kara’s boldness.

 

“Good. Settled then,” Mon El reached out for Lena once again, although this time he didn't even attempt to act caring. His actions were out of blatant possessiveness, and Mon El lacked subtlety. He smirked, “This should be amusing.”

 

As Mon El began discussing what entertainment he must have missed from being “dragged into such a frivolous errand” with Colonel Lane, Lena tuned out their babble and focused in on Kara’s brief interaction with Rhea.

 

“Can I bum a cigarette, Ms...?” Kara asked.

 

“Lovejoy,” Rhea answered and smoothly drew a silver cigarette case from her jacket and snapped it open.

 

Kara offered a jovial smile and took two cigarettes, putting one behind her right ear for later and one between her rosy lips. Rhea grunted, surprised by Kara’s gall, then lit her cigarette.

 

Then Rhea looked down at Kara’s ratty boots, “You'll want to tie those.” Contentiously jutting her chin out, Rhea added, “Interesting that the young lady slipped so suddenly, yet you still had time to take off your jacket and shoes.”

 

Kara cleverly kept a blank face and neither she nor Lena decided to comment further; any supplementary defenses would only raise suspicion.

 

Mon El tugged at Lena’s arm, pulling her from the room and walking her up towards the aristocratic cabin hall. Lena looked back to watch Colonel Lane and Rhea stroll back towards the dining hall and Kara return down to the steerage deck. With Kara gone and Mon El at Lena’s side, she was beginning to regret her decision to stay aboard the ship.

 

“It’s fine. I can get there myself,” Lena stated defiantly, yanking her arm from Mon El’s grasp.

 

“No, I don’t think so. I think you’ve had enough adventure for one night,” he responded, tightly grabbing her arm once again.

 

The path from the stern deck to her cabin seemed lengthier than Lena recalled. Or perhaps this time felt prolonged due to the uncomfortable silence between the detached couple. Lena lacked any desire to speak with Mon El, and thankfully he did not bother to strike up a conversation. So, to occupy her mind, Lena counted wooden floorboards, examined the wallpaper, and appreciated the light fixtures as she walked through the halls of the massive ship. The decor on their deck shone remarkably of true craftsmanship; the precise cut of each mahogany board, the fine detail of each painted purple and white geometric shape, the golden glint of yellow light reflecting off polished metal. A severe contrast to the dirty, bland existence of the steerage deck, or what little Lena viewed of it. Regardless of the class distinctions, the ship held an enormous amount of people and material things; mostly things , though. Yet, the affluent population of The Titanic cherished belongings more than other humans, anyway...

 

When the pair approached Lena’s cabin, Mon El stepped in front of her, blocking the door. “Before you withdraw, I have something for you.”

 

Lena protested, “I’m rather cold and exhausted, I–”

 

“Well you hardly look presentable. By all means, Lena, do change,” Mon El shifted aside in one exaggerated movement, as if he had any right to grant Lena permission into her own room. “I’ll be in shortly.” Clearly she could not escape her loathsome fiancé tonight.

 

Lena sighed and entered her cabin, shutting the door behind her. She scanned the chaos of her suite, quickly sorting and resetting the furniture. Lena created this mess during her dazed tantrum only an hour previous, but she’d be damned if Mon El had anything to say about it. Once the cabin looked decent, Lena began changing into her nightgown. Just as her malachite silk frock fell across her pale shoulders, Mon El strode into the room, unconcerned with the polite action of knocking first. Facing her shattered vanity, Lena watched Mon El’s reflection coolly lean against the doorframe, right arm holding something behind his back. He leered in a vile, predatory manner; Mon El possessed little regard for Lena. At least that feeling remained mutual.

 

“I know you've been melancholy, and I don't pretend to know why,” he sauntered over to Lena, revealing the large black velvet jewel case from behind his back. “I intended to save this till the engagement gals next week. But I thought tonight, perhaps a reminder of my feeling for you.”

 

Numbly accepting the box, Lena slowly opened it. Raising her eyebrows, awestruck, at the sparkling necklace arranged on the dark fabric. Attached to a silver chain, an enormous malevolent blue stone glittered with an infinity of scalpel-like inner reflections. A normal necklace that size would plainly seem gaudy, yet due to the caliber of its gemstone, the pendant emanated a unique elegance.

 

“My God...Mon, is it a–”

 

Mon El proudly smirked, “Diamond. Yes it is, 56 carats.”

 

Lena gawked at the massive jewel as Mon El lifted it from the case and placed it around her neck. The stone laid cold and heavy against Lena’s skin. Closing the gap between them, he leaned in and grazed the side of Lena’s neck with the back of his hand. She could smell the nauseating combined scent of licorice and brandy on his breath, “It was once worn by Louis the Sixteenth. They call it Le Coeur de la Mer, the–”

 

“The Heart of the Ocean. It's–it's overwhelming.”

 

Mon El inhaled deeply through his sizable nostrils, “It's for royalty. And we are royalty.” His fingers caressed Lena’s throat, sending unpleasant shudders down her body. The type of tremors that created chilled goosebumps and made the hair prick up along her arms. “There's nothing I couldn't give you. There's nothing I'd deny you if you would deny me. Open your heart to me, Lena.”

 

Undoubtedly, Mon El’s gift was only to reflect light back onto himself. To exhibit his prized fianceé and the trophy practically chained to her flesh. Another way to claim his property and illuminate the greatness that was Mon El Hockley. It was an obdurate stone; a heart of ice, much like his own soul… Quite different than what comprised Kara’s heart, from what Lena could gather during their brief moments spent together. Kara’s soul exuded a realness and generosity that prevailed unique in Lena’s current life. Even with Mon El’s empty gaze drifting over her, Lena surrendered her mind to the solacing thoughts of Kara Dawson.

Chapter Text

At precisely 10:00 AM, Lillian waltzed right into Lena’s cabin, rousing her from a most pleasant sleep.

 

“Wake up, Lena,” Lillian announced as she flicked on the lights, “We have brunch reservations with important company today.”

 

Lena groggily scratched her head, “Why, Mother? And who with?”

 

With whom,” Lillian corrected.

 

“Ugh whatever, I just woke up. If my grammar is slightly incorrect, do excuse it,” Lena mumbled into her feathered pillow. Lillian unceremoniously plucked the warm covers off Lena’s body, exposing her daughter to the chilly sea breeze drifting through the ship. Lena flinched as the sharp air hit her skin, “Who could be more important than a comfortable bed and a good night’s rest?”

 

Lillian scoffed, “It’s no longer nighttime. And, as a matter of fact, we will be dining with Catherine Grant, Maxwell J. Lord, and Snapper Andrews himself.”

 

Lena finally detached her face from the pillow to observe her mother’s mein. Postured overly straight, Lillian wore a royal purple gown paired with a feathered black and mauve hat. Glittering jewels encased by solid gold decked her body and she clutched a small black handbag in her well-manicured fingers.

 

“You hate Cat Grant,” Lena flatly stated.

 

“Yes, well the invitation didn’t come from that deplorable woman,” Lillian glowered as if her mouth suddenly filled with an appalling taste. Lena’s mother often referred to Catherine as someone of “new money.” Although the woman worked her way up into the aristocratic world, Cat’s blunt, feminist demeanor cause many traditional snobs to disregard her. Nevertheless, she dressed in the finest apparel and pushed her way through higher society. Lillian tilted her chin, “Mon El requested our attendance.”

“Of course he did.”

 

“He will arrive shortly to escort you to the dining hall. I expect you to be apt and willing,” Lillian concluded, making her way back towards the cabin door.

 

Lena groaned, “Wait, Mother–”

 

“Fifteen minutes,” Lillian interrupted, then exited the suite.

 

When the door clicked shut and the room returned to silence, Lena inhaled deeply and lazily rose from her bed. She roamed over to her wardrobe, gracefully stretching her neck. Sifting through her dresses, Lena thrummed, “Hmm. What to wear?” A moment later, she bit lip with a mischievous glow in her emerald eyes; she knew exactly which dress to wear.

 

As Lena finished applying mascara, Mon El noisily entered the cabin. “I trust you’re in better spirits this morning?” Mon El condescendingly asked.

 

Lena opened her mouth to respond, but Mon El impeded, “Why aren’t you wearing Le Coeur de la Mer?”

 

Rolling her eyes at the pretentiously phrased question, Lena responded, “Such a massive stone may seem too imposing for a brunch between friends.”

 

“I suppose,” he grumbled.

 

“And anyway, a giant blue diamond would look silly paired with a yellow dress.”

 

“Well you shouldn’t be wearing that dress. Yellow is an idiotic color.” Mon El’s distaste for any color lacking in regality, specifically yellow, was precisely why Lena had chosen this dress.

 

She pressed, “Mon, most people think it’s a color of happiness and light.”

 

“Yes the poor have such foolish ideas. It’s truly a revolting shade, completely undignified,” Mon El drawled.

 

Although it was only her second day on board, Lena had already grown sick of the dining hall. As the couple entered the brightly painted room, a gust of filtered air conditioning blew through Lena’s hair. Filled with blues, greens, oranges, and crystal glassware, she found the room’s attempt to imitate nature revolting. Lena wondered what was the point of being in the middle of the ocean, if no one actually ventured out to see it. Yet she refrained from bothering to ask Mon El why they couldn’t take a moment in the fresh air, already knowing his answer: “The outer decks are for the penniless.” The wealthy built the Ship of Dreams and its interior to flaunt their wealth, while the under-privileged passengers, who barely afforded tickets, inhabited quarters of lower quality than where the upper-class luggage was stowed. But, of course, Lena’s lunch companions only prattled on about how exceptionally grandiose the ship subsisted.

 

“Our deepest apologies for the tardiness,” Mon El said to the already filled table, “Lena spent quite some time putting on her face.”

 

Maxwell Lord adjusted his necktie, “No worries, Mr. Hockley.” Max wore the finest black suit money could buy, just like any other rich man on this dreaded ship. The only difference in attire was the the gold-trimmed, silk necktie with embroidered initials. He worked as the managing director of the White Star Ship Line and loved nothing more than to advertise his immense wealth. No wonder Max had yet to meet a woman willing to stick around long enough to marry. “We were just discussing The Titanic, itself. Our master shipbuilder, Mr. Andrews here, designed her from the keel plates up,” he gestured towards Snapper Andrews.

 

The balding man, head of Harland and Wolf Shipbuilders and known for remaining behind the scenes, attempted a bashful grin, “Well, I may have knocked her together, but the idea was Mr. Ismay's. He envisioned a steamer so grand in scale, and so luxurious in its appointments, that its supremacy would never be challenged. And here she is,” Snapper slapped the table, “Willed into solid reality.”

 

As Lena and Mon El took their seats beside Lillian, Cat joked, “Why are ships always called ‘she’? Is it because men think half the women around have big sterns and should be weighed in tonnage?” The group chuckled at the woman decked in teal and black’s joke. Cat tilted her head so her velvet sunhat no longered blocked her view of Lena, “Just another example of the men setting the rules their way.” Her second remark received a less favorable reaction, although Lena quite enjoyed the commentary.

 

Seeing the table finally filled, a waiter made his way over to them, “Thank for dining with us at Palm Court this afternoon. What can I get for you all?”

 

With everyone’s focus on the waiter, Lena pulls a cigarette from her purse and promptly lights it before Lillian could stop her.

 

“You know I don't like that, Lena,” Lillian scoffed.

 

Mon El sniffed, “She knows.” He snatched the cigarette from Lena’s hand and stubbed it out on her bread plate. Smirking up at the waiter he said, “We'll both have the lamb. Rare, with a little mint sauce.”

 

“Yes, sir,” the waiter nodded and left to place their order.

 

Mon El placed a napkin on his lap and absentmindedly asked, “You like lamb, don't you Sweetpea?”

 

Adjusting her jaw, Lena muttered, “I’m a vegetarian.”

 

Cat squinted her eyes, observing the interactions between Mon El and the DeWitt Luthors, “So, are you gonna cut her meat for her too, Mon?” When Mon El glowered in response, Cat turned to Mr. Lord, “Who came up with the name Titanic, anyway? You, Max?”

 

“Yes, actually. I wanted to convey sheer size. And size means stability, luxury,” Max waved his hand, “And safety–”

 

Lena interrupted, “Have you heard of Dr. Freud? His ideas about the male preoccupation with size might be of particular interest to you, Mr. Lord.”

 

Snapper choked on his bread roll, suppressing laughter. Lillian wasn’t as entertained, “My God, Lena, what's gotten into–”

 

“Excuse me,” Lena stood up.

 

Lillian’s cheeks flushed a flurry of mortified colors, “I do apologize.”

 

“She's a pistol, Mon. You sure you can handle her?” Cat laughed as Lena stomped away.

 

“Well, I may have to start minding what she reads from now on,” he responded calmly, but through clenched teeth.

 

Mon El’s disgustingly misogynistic words only implored her legs to move faster. She knew Lillian would make her pay for her snide comments later, but Lena didn’t care. Right now, all she wanted was to escape this idiotic charade… Yet, instead of fleeing towards the stern deck as she had last night, Lena ran down towards the steerage deck. Feeling the warm sun kiss her skin, she held her chin up high, uncaring of how the other aristocrats gawked at her, a woman of finery, strutting down into the inferior deck. Lena needed to see the one person who has made her truly smile since she entered godforsaken ship; she needed to see Kara.

Chapter Text

Lena unlatched the dull black gate that separated the third class from the aristocrats and waltzed through. She searched the walls for a deck map, yet was not fortunate enough to come across one. After a few minutes of wandering through a labyrinth of dim halls, Lena came across two people attempting to make conversation. The first was a man, who wore a brown felt hat and similar clothes to what Kara had been wearing the previous night, although this stranger’s looked a tad frayed. Only one of his suspenders seemed to be functional and his shoes had multiple hoes along the thread lines. Yet, he seemed quite handsome with his scruffy brown hair and earnest blue eyes. The other was a woman, and she, on the other hand, appeared more put together. She wore a simple orange dress and cheap flats. Unfortunately for the pair, the woman only spoke French and couldn’t understand a word the man said.

 

He wildly charaded, trying to act out what he spoke, “You’re very beautiful,” he gestured towards a door and then pointed to himself, “Would you like to join me in the main room?”

 

When the frenchwoman shot back another distressed and confused look, he sighed, clearly ready to give up.

 

“Having trouble with the ladies?” Lena chuckled as she approached the disappointed pair.

 

The man seemed flustered, taking in Lena’s refined presence. He smoothed out his shirt to the best of his ability and cleared his throat, “Erm, sorry ma'am are you lost down here?”

 

“Indeed I am. I'm looking for a Ms. Dawson. Have you seen her around?”

 

A goofy grin spread across the man’s face,“Dawson? As in my best friend, Kara Dawson?”

 

“Yes, her!” Lena exhaled in excitement.

 

“Yea she should be in the main room it's just through that door,” he responded, pointing once again to the plain wooden door at the end of the hall.

 

Lena smiled, “Thank you, Mr...?”

 

“Schott. Winslow Schott at your service ma'am,” he removed his hat and playfully bowed in an over dramatic manner, causing the frenchwoman to giggle.

 

Winslow winked at the woman, not in the sleazy way Mon might exhibit, but in a kind and whimsical fashion. Perhaps that’s why Lena decided to turn towards the woman, “L'homme pense que vous êtes joli, voulez-vous prendre un verre avec lui?” The man thinks you're pretty, would you like to get a drink with him?

 

The frenchwoman giggled once again, blushing and fervently nodding in response.

 

“Wait, what did you say to her?” Winslow eagerly asked.

 

“I told her you’d like to buy her a drink.”

 

Winslow’s eyes sheepishly darted to the floor, "Well you weren't wrong ma'am. I would love to buy her a drink if I had the means. Can you ask her if she'd come dancing with me instead?"

 

Of course. How could Lena act so insensitively? While she enjoyed witnessing a purely charming interaction, Lena had forgotten where she stood: an uninvited guest in the third class deck. And she thoughtlessly embarrassed the nice man who helped point her in the right direction.

 

Lena determinedly walked forward to shake Winslow’s hand, "No," she said, placing a hidden folded twenty into the man's hand as she shook it, "Go buy her that drink, please enjoy yourselves. Thank you again for the help."

 

Winslow blinked as he closed the money in his hand and watched Lena stride unfazed towards the wooden door. After the awe wore off, he shot Lena another goofy grin and held out his arm to the frenchwoman. As Lena slid through the door, she happily looked back to see Winslow escort his date to the other side of the deck.

 

Turning her attention to the room she entered, the stark contrast between steerage life and opulent first class became incredibly apparent. Where the aristocratic deck constantly remained pristine, this deck rumbled with boisterous energy. Mothers held gurgling babies, kids clambered around benches yelling in several languages and being scolded in several more, men played cards and seemed to be comfortable showing affection towards one another with familiar good-natured contact, and a lanky man in a cheap suit plunked around on a small piano in the far corner. Clearly Lena had walked straight into the center of steerage social life.

 

As Lena stepped forward and searched the room for Kara, Lena felt dozens of eyes fixating on her. She tried to stay focused on her search, yet it proved difficult with the array of dropped jaws filling the room. She felt a hot blush rise to her cheeks, eyes desperately darting around the room, wanting to stop her intrusion as soon as possible. Finally with a rush of relief, Lena spotted Kara.

 

Kara was playing with a little girl, who couldn’t be more than five years old, by drawing silly faces in a sketchbook and then recreating them with her own face. Kara wore basically the same outfit from last night, except now she wore her hair in a single side braid and a pair of simple glasses adorned her nose.

 

Lena bit her lower lip and steadily made her way to them. As she passed by a group of boys armed with shoes chasing a rat, they stopped mid-attack and gawked at her. In fact, at this point everyone in the room, except for Kara and the little girl, fixated on Lena. Finally, the girl looked up from Kara’s goofy drawing.

 

“Wow, sie ist wunderschön,” the little girl gasped in a thick German accent as Lena approached them.

 

Curious, Kara followed her gaze up to Lena. At first, Kara seems shocked, then her facial expression softened to a placid geniality.

 

“Hello Kara,” Lena greets as the room falls silent.

 

Kara closed her sketchbook, folder her glasses into her pocket, and slowly rose, “Hello again.”

 

Lena can’t help but feel slightly awkward with everyone’s attention on Kara and herself, “Could I speak to you in private?”

 

“Uh, yes. Of course,” Kara motioned back towards the exit, “After you.”

 

The room remained in such stunned silence, that each of Lena and Kara’s footsteps echoed clearly through the room. Lena fidgeted with the rings around her fingers, deciding it would be best to lead Kara back up to the main deck.

 

They walked side by side, Lena still too nervous to start and Kara too polite to question her. As Lena tentatively opened the simple black gate once again, she glanced at Kara to make sure it was alright. When Kara offered an approving shrug, Lena stepped through and held the door open for her.

 

“Thanks,” Kara cleared her throat, “So, you got a name by the way?”

 

“Uh, Lena. Lena DeWitt Luthor,” she responded as they passed by a group of investors that Lena recognized. The men were reading and talking in steamer chairs, but a few glanced curiously at the mismatched couple.

 

Kara puffed out her cheeks and exhaled, “That's quite a moniker. I may have to get you to write that down.”

 

An awkward pause ensued until Lena spoke up, “Ms. Dawson, I–”

 

“Kara.”

 

“Kara... I feel like such an idiot. I worked up the nerve to face you and now I don’t quite know what to say.”

 

Kara tilted her head, “Well, here you are.”

 

“Here I am,” Lena swallowed, “I–I want to thank you for what you did. Not just for–for pulling me back,” her eyes shifted to the deck, “But for your discretion.”

 

“You're welcome, Lena,” Kara softly responded.

 

Lena huffed, exasperated and picked up her walking pace, “Look, I know what you must be thinking. Poor little rich girl. What does she know about misery?

 

Kara lightly jogged after her, “Hey, that's not what I was thinking.” Lena faced Kara once again with a dumbfounded expression, so Kara explained, “What I was thinking was: what could have happened to hurt this girl so much she thought she had no way out.”

 

“I don't–” Lena exhaled, “It wasn't just one thing. It was everything. It was them, it was their whole world. And I was trapped in it, like an insect in amber.” Her own ramblings took over and Lena’s speech pattern hastened, “I just had to get away. Just run and run and run. And then I was at the back rail and there was no more ship; even the Titanic wasn't big enough. Not enough to get away from them. And before I'd really thought about it, I was over the rail. I was so furious. I'll show them! They'll be sorry!”

 

“Uh huh. They'll be sorry. 'Course you'll be dead,” Kara commented, seemingly unfazed by Lena’s dramaticism.

 

Lena pinched the bridge of her nose, “God, I am such an utter fool.”

 

“That penguin last night, is he one of them?”

 

“Penguin?” Lena questioned, somewhat relieved that Kara hadn’t agreed with her own self assessment, “Oh, Mon. He is them.”

 

“Is he your boyfriend?”

 

“Worse I'm afraid,” Lena responded, lifting her left hand to display the sizable diamond ensnaring her ring finger.

 

Kara’s eyes nearly popped out of their sockets, “Gawd look at that thing! You would have sunk straight to the bottom of the ocean last night.”

 

A goofy grin, similar to Winslow’s, broke across Kara’s face and the pair burst into laughter. Yet Kara’s laugh quickly faded as a passing steward scowled at her. The bony-cheeked, uptight man clearly had no patience for ill-dressed woman on the first class deck. Aggravated, Lena shot him a famous DeWitt Luthor death glare.

 

Returning to the topic at hand, Kara stated, “So you feel like you're stuck on a train you can't get off 'cause you're marrying this fella.”

 

“Yes, precisely!” Then Lena lowered her voice, “He’s not exactly my type .”

 

Kara gave a knowing smile, “Hmm I see. So don't marry him.”

 

“If only it were that simple. I feel I need to be whisked away from all this,” Lena flourished her hands in the air.

 

Yet, Kara shook her head, “It is that simple. Be your own hero.”

 

“Oh, Kara, please don't judge me until you've seen my world.”

 

“Well,” Kara shrugged, “I guess I will tonight.”

 

Wanting to avoid another awkward pause, Lena searched her mind for any new topic, “I saw you wearing glasses earlier?”

 

“Yeah,” Kara reached into her pocket and pulled out a pair of black glasses missing nose pads and tape wrapped around the right temple. She wiped away the lens smudges on her shirt and clarified, “I really only use them when I’m sketching.”

 

“So you draw real art in that sketchbook, not just all those great silly faces for children?” Lena playfully inquired.

 

Kara rubbed the back of her neck, “Ah, I don’t know if I’d really call my basic sketches ‘art.’”

 

“May I?” Lena asked rhetorically, already reaching for the book.

 

“By all means,” Kara released it, looking away with a wary expression.

 

Lena gracefully plopped down on a deck chair and opened the sketchbook. Immediately, the drawings took her aback. Each one had an expressive bit of humanity; a unique, authentic characteristic. She gingerly flipped through the pages of old woman’s hands, a sleeping man, a father and daughter at the rail. Their faces are luminous and alive. Kara’s sketchbook is clearly a celebration of the human condition.

 

“Kara, these are quite good! Really, they are.”

 

Kara sighed, “Well, they didn't think too much of them in sweet Paree.”

 

As Lena turned to the next page, some loose sketches fell out and the wind quickly picked them up. Kara scrambled after them, but she only recovered two, while the rest flew over the rail and into the Atlantic.

 

“Oh no! I'm so sorry. Truly!” Lena exclaimed.

 

“Pshh, as I said, they didn't think too much of them in Paree,” Kara responded, flourishing the two pictures she caught. “I just seem to spew them out. Besides, they're not worth a damn anyway.” And for extra emphasis, Kara threw away the two in her hand. They sail off.

 

Lena’s face twisted into confused amusement as she watched the admirable sketches drift off into the air. When Kara shot Lena a carefree smile, Lena couldn’t help but giggle, “You're absolutely nutty!”

 

Tongue in cheek, she agreed, “Perhaps.”

 

“Forget Paree. I think they’re worth something,” Lena casually said and turned to the next page, “Well, well…”

 

The next page begins a series of nudes so realistic that Lena was absolutely transfixed by the languid beauty Kara created. Her nudes were soulful, real, with expressive hands and eyes. They feel more like portraits than studies of the human form, almost uncomfortably intimate. As a few people strolled by, Lena blushed and raised the book to her chest.

 

Attempting to sound as mature as possible, she asked, “And these were drawn from life?”

 

“Yup,” Kara chuckled, “That's one of the great things about Paris. Lots of girls willing take their clothes off.”

 

Lena rolled her eyes at the sentiment, due to the obvious undertones that would typically sound obnoxious coming from a male. Yet, the words rolled off Kara’s tongue differently, and Lena knew Kara only meant it in a respectful, artistic way. Then Lena studied one alluring drawing in particular, where a stunning woman posed half in sunlight, half in shadow. Her hands lie at her chin, one elegantly furled and one open like a flower, languid and graceful. The sketch possessed as much raw talent and magnificence as an Alfred Steiglitz print of Georgia O'Keefe.

 

“You liked this woman. You drew her several times.”

 

Kara bashfully laced her thumbs into her suspenders, “She had beautiful hands.”

 

“I think you must have had a love affair with her,” Lena coyly raised an eyebrow.

 

“No, no! Just with her hands,” Kara laughed, tilting her head downwards, causing a shorter strand of hair to escape her braid, smoothly falling into place in front of her left temple.

 

“You have a gift, Kara,” Lena declared. Kara merely bowed her head humbly, so Lena insisted, “You do. You see people.”

 

Kara raised her eyes to meet Lena’s, “I see you.”

 

And there it was again; that piercing gaze. A sapphire shade deep as the ocean, yet without the frigid temperature. Kara’s warmth and compassion seemed to easily emanate from a single glance.

 

Lena gulped and barely managed to whisper aloud, “And?”

 

Kara took a step closer, maintaining acute eye contact, “And I am confident that you wouldn't have jumped.”

Chapter Text

Lena and Kara spent the entire afternoon strolling through the Titanic together. The unlikely pair spent so much time with one another, that when Lena looked up towards the sky, she realized the late-afternoon light was set to fade within the hour. The duo explored every deck, except the one that Lena purposely avoided. Although the Titanic was indeed a massive vessel, their adventures through each deck lasted even longer than one would expect. Kara and Lena made sure to drift around slowly and savor every second of their time together. Sometimes Lena would ask to sit to give her sore, heel-bound feet a break and to observe the genial nature of the lower levels. Sometimes Kara would pause to draw a scene laid before them, and Lena happily sat, mesmerized by the careful pencil strokes. Sometimes other passengers would stop to talk with Kara; she had such a sweet presence with men, women, and children alike. And sometimes, the two women would lean against a railing looking out into the calm sea, in comfortable silence. Finally, there was nowhere left to roam, besides the promenade deck.

 

“I ‘spose this is where I’ll leave ya,” Kara humbly said, shoving her hands into her pant pockets.

 

“Nonsense,” Lena shook her head, unready for this lovely day to end, “Come with me.”

 

“I’ll stick out like a sore thumb. Won’t all those fancy folk judge ya?”

 

Lena stared earnestly into Kara’s blue eyes, “I don’t mind if you don’t.”

 

“Well then, M’lady,” Kara said with a lopsided smile, “Who am I to turn down such an offer?”

 

Kara stepped forward and swung open the gate with such comical grandiosity, that Lena couldn’t help but bite her lower lip as a delighted grin spread across her face. The heiress led the scrappily-dressed woman up the staircase and through the rows of aristocrats lounging about on deck chairs. Stewards scurried around Lena and Kara, carrying trays of tea and hot cocoa to serve to the quiet, Paquin-clad occupants. Looking around her proper deck, Lena immediately noticed how dull it seemed compared to the lively atmosphere of Kara’s deck. Although, Kara had a different impression; she whistled in awe at the well-tailored suits, gold-lined furniture, and expensive chinaware.

 

The subtle noise drew the attention of the nearest steward, who promptly scoffed at Kara’s appearance.

 

“Come on,” Lena sighed, leading Kara to the open part of the promenade deck, “You know, my dream has always been to just chuck it all and become an artist. Living in a garret, poor but free.”

 

Kara laughed, “Ya wouldn't last two days. There's no hot water, and hardly ever any caviar.”

 

“Listen, I hate caviar!” Lena huffed, offended by Kara’s unintentionally hurtful remark. “And I'm tired of people dismissing my dreams with a chuckle and a pat on the head.”

 

Taken aback, Kara’s expression softened, “I'm sorry. Really, I am. I didn’t mean it like that.”

 

“Well, alright,” Lena tilted her chin, signaling that the apology was accepted. “There's something in me, Kara. I feel it.” She continued with an air of liberal confidence, “I don't know what it is, whether I should be an artist or a writer or, I don't know...a dancer? Like Lisa Snart, a wild pagan spirit!” Then Lena leapt forward, in an attempt at graceful dancing, yet her unpracticed movements looked similar to a fumbled Irish jig.

 

“Maybe not a dancer?” Kara gently replied, catching Lena as the gorgeous woman tripped over her own feet.

 

The women giggled together, until Lena recognized an old friend only a few meters away. Her face lit up even more and she grabbed Kara’s hand, pulling her along the deck, “How about a moving picture actress?!”

 

James O. Marvin, known for his purple cashmere shirts and standout success as a movie director, stood with his friend Samantha Arias. Sam, a strong-willed entrepreneur and producer, had taken Hollywood by storm. Very few women were allowed on the crew or in positions of power. However with her unmistakable presence and James’ support, she was able to create a name for herself as well. The two collaborated often and their purely platonic relationship fascinated the traditional media outlets. They were a sight to see; known for finding inspiration in anything or anyone.

 

Their wealth, unlike the Hockley or DeWitt Luthor family’s old money, came from the rise in Hollywood entertainment. Both James and Samantha held themselves with as much poise as any other tycoon aboard the Titanic, yet they were less conservative than typical first class occupants; hence, why Lena always took a liking to them.

 

James cranked his big wooden movie camera as Samantha posed stiffly against the ship’s railing. “You're sad,” James directed and began a faux film shot, “Sad, sad, sad. You've left your lover on the shore. You may never see her again. Try to be sadder, Sam.”

 

Throwing caution to the wind, Lena jumped into the shot and striked a theatrical pose at the rail next to Samantha, who proceeded to burst into laughter. Lena then pulled Kara into the picture and nudged her to also strike a pose.

 

James grinned and started yelling directions while continuing to crank the camera. First, James took solo pictures of Lena posing tragically at the shiprail, the back of her hand to her forehead. Then, at James’ request Kara dragged over a deck chair and laid on it, acting as a queen while Lena and Samantha pantomimed fanning her. When Samantha couldn’t stop giggling, she excused herself from the scene. Lena and Kara used the opportunity to strike even more dramatic poses, including one where Kara knelt down and pleaded with clasped hands while Lena stood with her head turned in bored disdain. Such an exaggerated pose led to Lena finally joining in with Samatha’s laughter, so she gestured for James to switch places with her. Now with Lena cranking the camera, Kara and James acted out a western shoot-out where Kara came out victorious. Then she humorously placed her blonde braid in between her upper lip and nose, pretending it was a mustache. Kara leered into the lens, twirling her “mustache” like a villainous sherif.

 

At the sight of Kara and her fake mustache, James was no longer able to contain his giggles. Within seconds, everyone erupted into hearty full body laughter. Although Lena stood with James and Samantha, her gaze never faltered from Kara’s cheery face.  

 

Time spent with Kara granted Lena a freeing sense of jocularity  that she’d never experienced before.

 

 

Orange light painted the darkening sky as Lena and Kara watched the sunset. The pair stood shoulder to shoulder against the railing while the world around them dimmed into a natural opaqueness.  In the brief moment, before the ship’s lights flickered on, Lena ached to reach out and hold Kara’s hand...or maybe even rest her head upon Kara’s broad shoulder. But the moment passed, so they continued their conversation about Kara’s past occupations and travels.

 

“So then what, Mrs. Wandering Dawson?”

 

Kara exhaled, “Well, then logging got to be too much like work, so I went down to Gotham to the pier in Amusement Mile. That's a swell place, they even have a rollercoaster. I sketched portraits there for ten cents a piece.”

 

“A whole ten cents?!” Lena playfully mocked.

 

Clearly not understanding Lena’s jest, Kara excitedly explained, “Yeah, it was great money! I could make a dollar a day, sometimes. But only in the summer. When it got cold, I decided to go to Paris and see what the real artists were doing.”

 

“Mmm,” Lena hummed, watching the waves rock against the ship. “Why can't I be like you Kara? Just head out for the horizon whenever I feel like it.” Turning towards Kara, she proclaimed, “Say we'll go there, sometime. To that pier. Even if we only ever just talk about it.”

 

Kara cautiously grazed her hand against Lena’s, “Alright, we're going. We'll drink cheap beer and go on the rollercoaster until we throw up and we'll ride horses on the beach–-right in the surf–-but you have to ride like a cowboy, none of that side-saddle stuff.”

 

“You mean one leg on each side?” Lena smirked, “Scandalous!  You’d have to show me how.”

 

“Sure, if you’d like,” Kara shrugged.

 

Lena smiled, linking her pinky finger over Kara’s, “I think I would.”

 

Suddenly reality came crashing back into Lena when the sound of Lillian’s throat clearing echoed behind the distracted duo. There stood Lillian DeWitt Luthor and Cat Grant, breaking whatever peaceful spell had captivated Lena for this magical day. Lena instantly composed herself, turning her full body towards the older women and straightened her posture.

 

“Mother, you remember Kara Dawson.”

 

“Charmed, I'm sure.” Lillian drawled, clearly annoyed by both Kara and Cat’s presence. Cat looked graciously and curiously at the woman who'd saved Lena DeWitt Luthor’s life. Yet Lillian looked at Kara like an insect. A dangerous insect which must be squashed quickly.

 

“Well, Kara, it sounds like you're a good gal to have around in a sticky spot–-” Cat began, but was cut off by the sound of a bugler playing the meal call. “Why do they insist on always announcing dinner like a damn cavalry charge?”

 

“Shall we go dress, mother?” Lena pleasantly asked before Lillian could answer Cat with a snide remark and led her mom away. “See you at dinner, Kara,” Lena said over her shoulder, then disappeared down the hall, leaving Kara and Cat alone on the promenade deck.

 

“Lena, look at you,” Lillian complained, “Out in the sun and with no hat?! You might catch a tan. Honestly, you’ve been acting abhorrently these past few days, what have you been thinking?”

 

But Lena couldn’t care less; her mind flowed with thoughts of Kara and anticipation for dinner.

Chapter Text

Kara Dawson smiled gently as she watched Lena and her less than pleasant mother disappear down the golden-lit hallway. Although the interaction was brief, Kara was an excellent judge of character and from what she observed, she understood why Lena remained so unhappy.

 

Forgetting she wasn’t alone, Cat surprised Kara by asking, “Keira, do you have the slightest comprehension of what you're doing?”

 

“Not really,” Kara jumped and then scratched the back of her head, “And it’s ‘Kara’ by the way.”

 

“Well, you're about to go into the snake pit. I hope you're ready,” Cat placed her hands on her hips, “What are you planning to wear?” Kara looked down her clothes and back up at Cat, shrugging. “I figured. Come on with me, dear.” Kara just gaped at the tiny, gaudy woman walking towards the hall where the DeWitt Luthor women disappeared into. When Cat realized Kara wasn’t beside her, she turned around, “Don’t just stand there gawking, I’ll fix you up in my stateroom.”

 

Not knowing what a “stateroom” was, Kara exhaled and followed after the unusual woman. Cat walked through the well-lit, adorned hallways with a purpose, as if she had something to prove, while Kara silently fumbled behind her, unsure what to expect.

 

Finally the pair arrived at a large oak door labeled “S4.” Cat promptly opened the door with her key and led Kara into the massive room. Immediately a soft, lavender aroma filled the air and Kara’s eyes wandered around the suite. There were two velvet couches, a small kitchen, three different rugs, and a small chandelier hanging from the centermost point of the ceiling.

 

“Do you sleep on the couch?” Kara asked in confusion.

 

“What? Nonsense, I sleep in the bedroom!”

 

Kara followed Cat’s gaze towards two doors: one led into decadent bedroom with a king sized bed and the other led into a marble bathroom with an enormous tub and a sterling sink. In Kara’s opinion, this single suite could comfortably fit at least three families.

 

“Now,” Cat began, “You’re a bit taller than me, and oh you have such sturdy looking shoulders. But perhaps we could find a dress that fits.”

 

“That’s awful nice of ya miss, but dresses aren’t really my thing,” Kara fidgeted with her suspender straps.

 

Cat waved her hand as she looked Kara up and down, “Of course, silly me. Maybe this is a bit nonconventional to ask, but perhaps you’d fancy a suit?”

 

“You wear suits?”

 

“I’d never be so bold, it’s already hard enough trying to fit in with these entitled folk,” Cat chuckled. “No, my son Adam moved to National City a few years back, so I figured I’d bring him some nice suites from Metropolis. Although, I always gotta buy everything in three sizes 'cause I never know how much he's been eating without me.” She walked into the bedroom and disappeared through another door that Kara could only assume was a walk-in closet. Cat returned with two armfuls of pristine white undershirts matched with jet black cashmere suites. “One of these should do the trick.”

 

Still somewhat amazed by her current situation, Kara blinked a few times as Cat dumped the garments into her arms and excitedly pushed her into the bathroom. After nearly twenty minutes of trying on suites (with most of the time dedicated to Kara figuring out how to actually put on the garments), Kara finally emerged from the bathroom carrying a blue untied bowtie.

 

“My, my, my. You shine up like a new penny,” Cat smiled.

 

“Thanks,” Kara nervously replied, holding out the bowtie. “I’m not sure how’dda–”

 

“Don't feel bad about it. Adam still can't tie one of these damn things after 26 years.” Cat said as she started tying the bow around Kara’s collar. “There you go. I’d say you’d get along well with Adam.”

 

“Oh, umm, I’m actually,” Kara began, about to explain that she isn’t focused on looking for anything romantic with men.

 

“Oh dear, I’m not trying to suggest anything to that sort,” Mrs. Grant laughed. Then she added with a wink, “And by the looks of it, you’ve already got your heart set on someone.” Kara felt every individual part of her neck and face heat up. First her collar, then the embarrassed flush rose to her cheeks and ears.

 

“Not to worry, I’m sure you’ll impress Miss DeWitt Luthor tonight. Blue really is your color, Keira.” Before Kara could correct the woman, Cat continued, “Anyway, let’s be on our way. Shall we?”

 

 

The dusk sky, purple shot with orange in the west, poured over Kara as Cat escorted her to The Titanic’s first class entrance. Any passenger that passed by took a second to stop and stare at Kara’s dashing appearance. Although she only borrowed the suit, Kara wore it well. Her hair pulled up and slicked back, pearl cufflinks, and a dapper blue silk bow tie granted Kara a new sense of confidence that allowed her to stride through the halls and truly feel as if she were a tycoon.

 

At the end of the hall, a steward bowed and smartly opened the elegant, gold trimmed door. “Good evening, ma’am.”

 

Kara responded smoothly by nodding with just the right degree of disdain, as she’d seen Lena’s mother previously illustrate. Although Kara acted cooly on her way to the first class entrance, nothing could prepare her for what laid beyond the door. An enormous glass dome towered overhead, with a crystal chandelier at its center and in front of Kara, the First Class Grand Staircase–the epitome of the opulent naval architecture–sweeped down to the main floor. And the people below were just as dazzling as their surroundings. The women wore floor length dresses, elaborate hairstyles, and abundant jewelry. A gentleman in noble evening dress, stood beside each woman with one hand at the small of the back, talking quietly.

 

As Kara descends to the A Deck, several men nod a perfunctory greeting and all she can do is nod back, keeping it simple. Not that she would speak to them if capable, but currently Kara found herself completely speechless; her breath taken away by the splendor spread out before her. Kara searched the crowd for Lena, feeling somewhat like a secret agent on a rescue mission. When Lena seemed nowhere to be found, Kara glanced back towards the grand entrance only to be met with the sight of Lena’s fiancé and mother.

 

Mon El Hockley easily strode down the stairs with Lillian DeWitt Luthor on his arm, nearly blinding Kara from the sparkling glare of the countless jewels fastened to her body. Both held their noses upwards as they walked right past Kara, neither one recognizing her and Mon El even nodding pretentiously. But Kara barely had time to feel amused because just behind Mon El and Lillian on the stairs is Lena. An absolute vision in red and black, her low-cut dress showed off her neck and shoulders, her forearms sheathed in white gloves that crawled up well above the elbow… And Kara was utterly hypnotized by her beauty.

 

As Lena approached her, Kara imitated the gentlemen's stance: hand behind her back and heels clicked together. Lena extended her right gloved hand and Kara more than willingly accepted it, kissing the back of her fingers. Internally celebratory at her own capability to keep calm, Kara offered a handsome smile. Yet, Lena remained unconcerned with her own reaction as she allowed herself to visibly flush. Kara timidly bit her lower lip and Lena beamed up at her; both women unable to take their eyes off each other. Kara’s chest thumped with anticipation of what was already the start to a magnificent night.