The last time Cat Grant stood in front of a crowd wearing all white, it ended in divorce.
She vowed it would never happen again, yet here she stood. She tried not to think about that analogy now as she spun her tennis racquet in one hand, crouched low at the net shifting her weight back and forth rhythmically from one side to the other. The white lights of the stadium were glaring overhead as the sunset gave way to dusk in Flushing, New York. She tapped her racquet restlessly against the net, waiting for their opponents to shuffle back into place.
Behind her, she could hear her partner confidently dribbling the ball, alternating between bouncing it on the ground and popping it up with her racquet as she waited.
Where Cat was usually calm and collected, in this she was anxious and fidgety; where Kara would normally be bumbling and nervous, tonight she was almost cocky in her skill. Cat glanced back over her shoulder and Kara caught her eye. The girl tucked an extra tennis ball into her bloomers, smoothed down her skirt, and gave Cat a little nod and a wink.
Cat was uncomfortable as hell with a cocky Kara Danvers, but she had a feeling that was the very thing that would win them this match. Cat shook her head at a now-grinning Kara and turned her attention back across the net.
Finally, that high-maintenance bitch Lois Lane had positioned herself back behind the baseline, her partner at the net diagonal to Cat. Cat eyed Adrienne warily. She had more energy left than Lane, she’d give her that.
“Energy up, up, up! Here we go, Cat,” Kara called the encouragement to her partner from the baseline. Cat crouched low; she heard Kara bounce the ball once, twice, and then there was a thundering pop as Kara launched her deadly serve across the court.
2 months prior
One of the most common misconceptions about Cat Grant was that she took out all of her stress and frustration on her employees. It wasn’t true, but she knew her defense on this point didn’t help her overall case for being a decent human. Unbeknownst to most of the world, Cat took out the majority of her anger, sadness, hunger, and turmoil on the instructors and other casual players at the Laguna Gloria Country Club tennis courts.
It was perfect, really. Laguna Gloria was a gilded, trust-fund-addled National City institution with a storied history of providing leisure and sociability to the city’s elite. If Cat screamed at a few ball boys or hit her tennis instructor in the face with a particularly well-placed volley, she could just write an extra big check next month. Those expensive courts bore the brunt of her frustration with old-money grace. If only her staff knew what she would be like if she didn’t manage to fit in three training sessions weekly, they might be more grateful for her restraint.
Cat’s driver pulled up to the club and she stepped out, the warm National City breeze fluttering the pleats of her tennis skirt. She wore a sleeveless athletic top with an expensive thermal track jacket to keep her arms warm before her session. This week had been particularly trying at CatCo, and she couldn’t wait to set foot on the court.
Today’s session was no less therapeutic than usual. At her command, a courtside assistant hauled out the automatic ball machine and let her at it. As the relentless machine oscillated, it flung shot after shot over the net and she dove all over the court chasing them down; she must have hit 300 balls this afternoon alone. By the time Cat was done with her workout, she was dripping with sweat and she felt absolutely wonderful.
She was sitting in a director’s style chair courtside drinking water and gathering up her things to hit the showers when she heard her phone start to play Chopin’s Funeral March. On the next court, a group of snooty elderly women lazily lobbing balls all turned in her direction. Cell phone use was strictly prohibited on the courts at Laguna Gloria. Cat shot them a razor-sharp glare and snatched up the phone—she already knew exactly who it was from. She tapped her messages and gritted her teeth as she read the text from Lois Lane:
Bitchmonster: Hey kitty kitty, hope you’re keeping it tight. Gonna kick your ass at the CI this year.
Attached underneath the text was a picture of Lois bench pressing what looked like about 100 pounds. God, who even took that picture? Clark? What a tool , Cat thought. She blew out a breath as she flung her towel around her neck and angrily tapped out a reply.
Cat: Wow, butch looks terrible on you. Just like everything else.
Cat knew she should stop there. Lois loved nothing more than to drag a rise out of her and it was juvenile to allow the effort to succeed. She took another pull from her water bottle and glanced up at the scandalized group of grandmas she’d pissed off a minute ago. She rolled her eyes and stared at the little message below her text indicating Lois had read her insult. She should stop now, ignore the dig about the Charity Invitational, and move on with her day.
Cat Grant didn’t enjoy leaving things to chance. In fact, not leaving things to chance might be considered one of her trademarks, alongside her three Ls and coining the fashion term “business aggressive.” Despite all that, she lifted her phone again and tapped out another message.
Cat: And re: the CI, I’ve got a new partner this year. Get ready for the type of humiliation you’re used to—intense and public.
She hit send. Before she could change her mind, she opened another thread, this time to Kara.
Cat: Remember that huge secret I’m keeping for you?
Cat: I need a favor.
“Listen, I know that this is an… out-of-the-ordinary request,” Cat was saying, and Kara was struggling to keep up as she plead her case. “But Lois is insufferable, and the Daily Planet has beaten the Tribune in the Charity Invitational every year that we’ve entered. Now that I have something remarkable in my back pocket,” Cat paused, turning to her, “I think it’s time we up the stakes.”
Cat was pacing the floor like a caged animal, her heels tapping out a rhythm on the expensive carpet. Kara was sitting on the couch, turning her head from left to right watching her move back and forth. She let out a little snort when it occurred to her that it felt like she was watching Cat play a tennis match right here in this office.
Cat stopped at the interruption. “Is this funny?” She frowned and gripped the back of the couch with her perfectly manicured nails. Kara stared at those slim fingers as they sunk further into the cushion.
Kara glanced up and willed her expression back to a more serious look. “Um, no Miss Grant, sorry. I don’t mind trying. But I won’t use my powers to cheat, even if it is for charity.”
“Kara, darling, I’m not asking you to cheat in the actual match,” Cat said in a slow, calculated voice. Kara tangled her fingers together in her lap and wrung them around each other, fidgeting.
“I’m just not sure I’m going to be any good at tennis,” Kara said with a shrug.
“I would be surprised if there was any physical skill on the planet that you couldn’t master, given the right motivation.” She raised an eyebrow and smiled her I’ve-got-you-now smile.
Kara didn’t intend to warm so drastically or become so pliant under Cat’s praise, but that smile worked on her every damn time.
“Well, um, okay then Miss Grant, let’s do this,” Kara said, and she couldn’t help but match Cat’s grin. “Let’s beat Lois Lane.”