“The thing is,” Kara said, as she followed Maggie around the clothing store, “when I’m with her I feel like... nothing else matters, you know?”
“Mmhmm,” Maggie said, handing Kara a dress to add to the growing pile in her arms.
“But then,” Kara continued, adjusting the weight of the clothes so they wouldn’t fall, “when I’m not with her... when I’m walking home, or when I’m in bed, all the other stuff... the stuff that didn’t seem to matter before suddenly does matter. And then all I can think about is how my family is going to react. Or... or what this means in terms of me. I mean, I don’t want to go crazy over what to label myself. I don’t even want to label myself. I just know that I want her, you know?” She paused as she noticed a lady giving her a strange look. “I’m trying to question my sexuality over here, do you mind?” she snapped.
The woman looked both surprised and offended, but hurried away without a word. Kara took a deep breath and looked up to find Maggie smiling at her. “What?”
“Nothing,” she said, putting an arm around her. She began steering her toward the dressing rooms. “You’re going to be just fine.”
“Thanks, that helps me a whole lot.” Maggie guided her into the first available stall and slid the curtain closed behind her.
“So what’s the problem?” she asked a second later.
Kara glanced briefly at the white curtain between them as if it might contain the answer to the question. What’s the problem? “The problem,” she said, as she sorted through the clothes, “is that I don’t know what I want.”
“Kara, you’ve got a date with Adam tonight and all you’ve done is talk about this mystery girl of yours. It’s pretty obvious to me what you want. Is she going to be wherever it is you’re going?”
Kara bit her lip as she began to undress. “Yes,” she said.
“So you’re really meaning to look hot for her.”
“Yes.” There was no sense in denying it. She took a black nylon dress from the pile and slipped it over her head; the material hugged her body like a glove. “Does that make me an awful person?”
“No, but it makes you an awful date.”
Kara slid the curtain open so that Maggie could inspect her. “Well?”
She looked her up and down and smiled. “Perfect. Don’t try on anything else.” She grabbed her by the waist and turned her around so she was facing the mirror. “I love the fishtail hem. You have nice legs.”
“Are you hitting on me?”
Maggie giggled and rested her chin on Kara's shoulder. “Kara,” she said, “if you like her, then at least let her know. Don’t worry about all of the other stuff right now.”
“I can’t just tell her,” she said, horrified by the thought.
“Then at least let her know you’re not straight.” She paused. “Unless you’re still thinking you are straight...”
“No,” Kara said, thoughts of Lena flashing through her mind. “I mean, I don’t know for sure because my experience with women is entirely limited to the thoughts in my head, but those thoughts have definitely not been straight.”
“Well, then, I recommend telling her that much at the very least. And you really need to stop leading Adam on. ‘Cause even if you sleep with him and enjoy it, that’s not going to make you any less not-straight.”
“I’m always right,” Maggie said, stepping back. “Love the dress; shoes are next.”
“Wait,” Kara said, grabbing her arm. “Let’s get some coffee first. I want to talk to you about something.”
“Oh no, I’m not the mystery girl am I?”
Kara smiled. “No, but how would you like a chance to be Lena Luthor’s personal assistant?”
Catching Diana alone took longer than Lena anticipated. Light chatter and conversation rose up the moment the director dismissed them for the day, and Lena was forced to participate out of politeness. She liked her fellow cast members. She found their uninhibited enthusiasm contagious. Lucy, especially, was intriguing, for many reasons that did not all have to do with Kara. But there was still the barrier Lena erected around people; the persistent fear that they might see the truth. And so she remained friendly but guarded as they asked her questions, worried that her emotional distance would make her seem cold.
Diana passed by on her way out of the meeting room and Lena excused herself from the group to follow after the director. “Do you have a second?”
“For you, I have almost a second and a half.” Diana smiled and led them to her office. “Sorry for the mess,” she said, as she pushed open the door.
Lena walked in, taking in the piles of paper scattered across the desk and the myriad of neon Post-It notes hanging from the walls. “It’s like Office Depot exploded in here.”
Diana laughed and leaned against the edge of the desk. “What can I do for you?”
“Are you busy tonight?”
“Are you asking me out?”
Lena hesitated, the words sounding entirely too formal for her comfort. She withdrew the nightclub invitation from her back pocket and handed it to Diana. “Any chance you were thinking of being there tonight?”
Diana let out a surprised laugh. “A couple of my friends mentioned it to me over the weekend. I told them I’d pass. Were you thinking of being there?”
“I promised I would be.”
“Well, then I’m sure I could be persuaded to change my mind.”
Diana’s smile made Lena want to sigh. This right here was the sure thing; a beautiful woman who was clearly interested in her, who would undoubtedly respect her need for secrecy. So why couldn’t she stop thinking about Kara? Why couldn’t she stop wondering what their kiss might have been like, had it happened? The question had kept her up half the night. But Diana was there now, smiling at her in a way that made Lena want to toss aside her reservations and simply take a chance. She smiled back. “How might I persuade you?”
“Well, you might, for example, tell me what you’ll be wearing.”
“I’ve been saving my very sexy penguin outfit for a special occasion.”
Diana laughed and shook her head, looking down at the ground for a moment. “That does sound incredibly appealing.”
“You definitely don’t want to miss it.”
“Then I guess it’s a date.”
Yes, I guess it is, Lena thought, feeling a momentary pang of sadness that she quickly pushed aside.
“Just to be clear,” Maggie said, staring at the piece of paper Kara had given her, “If I call this number I’ll be magically transported into Lena Luthor’s presence?”
Kara sipped her coffee and shook her head. “No. You call that number, and you find out what you have to do next. I guarantee nothing!”
“I can’t help but think this is a prank of some sort,” Maggie said, but she clutched the paper like a lifeline. “How did you get this?”
“I have mafia connections,” Kara whispered. “My father is Italian, after all.”
Kara giggled and looked around the coffee stand before turning back to him. She’d thought long and hard about whether or not it was wise to give him Sam’s number. Did she really want Maggie to be Lena’s personal assistant? Not that the odds of that happening were necessarily high. Kara was sure Lena had plenty of candidates lined up and she had no way of knowing whether it was something Maggie would want to do. Still. Why not? “I told you that she’d liked my paintings and might hire me to make art for her apartment, remember?”
She looked at her blankly and then said, “You were serious about that?”
“I told you I was!”
“So what you’re saying is that you’ve been hanging around Lena Luthor all of this time and you didn’t tell me?”
“Yeah, but it’s not like we’re best friends or anything,” Kara said quickly, worried that Maggie would somehow piece everything together. “It’s not like we hang out.” And eat Chinese food together, and shop for couches and almost kiss... “There wasn’t much to say, really.”
“But you’ve met her?”
“Well, yeah.” Kara was beginning to panic. She hadn’t expected the questions. She should have expected them, of course, but she hadn’t, and now she was certain that she would accidentally say the wrong thing and the identity of her secret crush would come tumbling out. “Sort of. I mean, in passing.”
Maggie leaned closer and smiled. “What’s she like?”
“She’s uh...” Kara circled through all of the adjectives she could think of: gorgeous, funny, smart, warm, charming. But none of those seemed appropriate. What else? She likes to kill her coffee with milk and sugar and lives in a sauna and somehow thinks shopping for furniture online makes perfect sense. She bit her lip to keep from smiling. “She seemed nice. You know, nicer... than I thought she would be.”
“Nice?” Maggie looked disappointed. “That’s it?”
“Yeah,” Kara said, thinking ‘nice’ was a perfectly good and neutral way to describe the actress. “You can always call that number and see if you can’t find out for yourself what she’s like.”
Maggie looked at the number in question and took out her cell phone. “Then I shall.”
“Try not to mention me,” she said quickly.
“So I got this number... where? Out of thin air?” Maggie was already dialing.
“Pretend you’re psychic.”
“Shh, it’s ringing.”
Kara held her breath as she waited.
“Good afternoon,” Maggie said, her voice suddenly deep and professional, “My name is Maggie Sawyer and I’m calling about the personal assistant position....”
“Have I mentioned,” Jack said, hours later as they walked into the gallery, “how much I admire your ability to juggle two different women on the same night?”
Lena tried hard not to glare at him as they made their way through the clusters of people. “I’m not juggling anyone.”
“Stalking Kara at an art gallery at 7:30PM followed by a night of drinks and flirting with Diana; sounds like juggling to me.” He put his arm around her. “I missed this,” he whispered in her ear. “Don’t let me fall into a relationship again. Faking one with you is so much more fun.”
Lena ignored him and focused instead on scanning the crowd for signs of Kara. Being there was stupid, she knew this, and yet she couldn’t help herself. “This is really sad, isn’t it? When did I become the sort of person that follows straight girls on their dates?”
“Probably around the same time you fell in love with one.”
Lena didn’t bother arguing that point. She wouldn’t admit it, but she wouldn’t deny it.
They paused in front of a painting of a deer in the woods, and she said, “I wonder which of the paintings here she likes most.”
“So you can buy it for her?”
So I can share in her pleasure of it, she thought, but it seemed too pathetic a thing to share aloud. “This is stupid,” she said, shaking her head, “we should go.”
“And miss out on all the thinly veiled awkwardness? I don’t think so. Besides, she’s here, and leaving would be rude.”
“She’s here?” Lena felt rising panic combined with nervous anticipation. She didn’t want to see Kara on her date... but she wanted to see Kara. Being in the same room with her would be enough. They wouldn’t even have to speak. “Where?”
“I think she’s the one making out with the Brad Pitt-lookalike over there.”
“What?” Lena turned in the direction Jack motioned, but saw nothing remotely close to what he’d described. And then she heard him chuckle. “I really hate you.”
Jack was grinning. “I’m sorry, that wasn’t nice.”
“You go right ahead and be evil,” Lena said, accepting a glass of wine from a passing waiter. “When you fall in love, I mean really fall in love, I’m going to remember all of this.”
“I’m not going to fall in love,” he said smugly. “I am officially immune.”
“Yeah, I thought I was immune, too, and now look at me. One day, when you least expect it, the girl of your dreams is going to waltz into your life and I’m going to be right there to go, ‘I told you so.’”
“You keep thinking that. In the meantime, the girl of your dreams just walked in.”
Lena froze at the words, forcing herself not to turn around. It would be enough to be in the same room, she told herself. Knowing she was there was enough.
“Is that her boyfriend?”
“I don’t know; I’m trying not to look too obvious here.”
“Yeah, ‘cause you blend right into a crowd, Lena. Especially in that sexy red number you’re wearing. Anyway, I don’t see what you’re so worried about. You’re much hotter than he is. Your breasts are nicer, anyway.”
She smiled in spite of herself. “Did she see you?”
“I don’t think so, but she’s looking around. Let’s go mingle a little closer to them, shall we?”
“No!” Lena said quickly. “I don’t want to intrude on her date.”
“It’s not intruding. It’s called being friendly stalkers. Come on.” He took her hand and led her through the crowd.
She would say hello, Lena decided, a simple, casual hello. And then she would leave and that would be that. Kara would be free to enjoy the rest of her date and Lena would only have to feel minimally ashamed and embarrassed for being there. But her convictions trailed away the moment she spotted Kara. Lena’s breath caught at the sight of her. Her steps halted and Jack stopped to look at her.
It shouldn’t hurt this much to look at another person, Lena thought. “We should go,” she told Jack, but her gaze invariably drifted back and then it was too late. Kara was looking at her, smiling at her, even, which somehow made it worse. But Lena smiled back and started toward her, meanwhile searching for a way to push aside her attraction; to exchange yearning for disinterest. And still, her mind was filled only with the thought that Kara looked beautiful.
Adam, or at least the guy Lena took to be Adam, blinked at her in surprise. Lena looked at him quickly, trying to find an obvious, fatal flaw, but what she found was a normal-looking guy; an all-around normal guy that would likely provide Kara with a normal relationship and a normal life. And that was more than Lena could ever promise. She shook his hand when Kara introduced them, hoping her smile was friendly enough. She didn’t hate him, as much as a part of her wished to. She merely envied him the freedom to love without fear. “Nice to meet you,” she said.
There, Lena thought, she’d said hello. Now she’d politely excuse herself and drag Jack with her. “Jack and I were just—“
“About to get more wine,” Jack interrupted, holding up his empty glass. “And maybe discreetly hit the buffet. Can I bring anything back for anyone?”
“Oh, I’ll go with you,” Adam said, finally breaking out of whatever haze Lena’s presence had put him in. “I’ll get you a drink,” he said to Kara.
Lena watched Jack walk away with Adam firmly in tow, and she decided she’d kill him later. She turned back to Kara and searched her brain for an appropriate thought. “Having fun on your date?” she asked.
Kara glanced in the direction Adam had gone and seemed to relax. “Yeah, but I’m thinking this will be the last one.”
“Why?” Lena tried not to look as surprised as she felt. “Did something happen?” She didn’t know whether to feel hopeful or fearful. If he’d hurt Kara, Lena would kill him. Or at least hire someone to kill him.
But Kara was shaking her head. “No, I just don’t see it going anywhere. It doesn’t seem fair to keep dragging it out.” She looked around. “I probably shouldn’t even be here with him. It’s selfish.”
Yes, it was selfish for Lena to feel as happy as she did, but she couldn’t help it. “But you’re here,” she said, “and the art is beautiful.” You’re beautiful, is what she really meant.
Kara seemed to brighten at the mention of art and she turned toward the painting on the wall. “I love this one,” she said.
Lena regarded the painting and its bright, warm colors swirling around the canvas. “It’s cheerful,” she said, thinking it a shallow thing to say, but saying it anyway.
“I know, I think it’s like a jolt of happiness.” Kara smiled. “I can’t imagine looking at this and not feeling instantly happy. I’m definitely buying a print.”
But Lena could do better than that. She took note of the name and filed it away for later.
“What are you doing after this?”
“I have a date,” she said, trying to sound confident, though she felt mostly uncertain. “Sort of.”
“A ‘sort of’ date?”
“I’m afraid a ‘sort of’ date is all I can really manage at this stage in my life. We’re just meeting up at a club. I’m not quite sure how much of a date it’s really going to turn out to be.” She paused to look at Kara. “Why?”
“What are you doing after this?”
Kara looked over her shoulder to make sure Adam wasn’t anywhere near. “Ending things with Adam, and that’s about it.”
“I’m sorry, that doesn’t sound fun.”
“No, I suppose not as fun as a ‘sort of’ date.” Kara smiled at her and shrugged. “It’s my own fault. I thought I could grow to be more interested in him, but it’s sort of impossible when I’m already interested in someone else.”
“Someone else?” There was someone else? How had she not known about someone else?
“Yeah, but I don’t think she’s interested.”
She? Did she just say ‘she?’
“And we’re back,” said Jack, appearing suddenly at her side with a small plate of cheese in his hand.
Lena met his gaze and gave him a look that she hoped conveyed a forceful, “Not now!”
But Jack was oblivious. He held a small cube of cheese to her lips and said, “Try this one, you’ll love it.”
She glared at him, but accepted his offering. She did love it, or would have loved it had she not been so distracted. She looked at Kara, who was busy thanking Adam for the glass of wine he’d brought her. “You have the worst timing ever,” she whispered in Jack’s ear.
“Do I? Maybe I’ll add that to my resume.”
Lena sipped her wine and silently replayed her conversation with Kara. She’d heard Kara say ‘she’ but each time she thought back, the pronoun became increasingly muddled. Perhaps her desire was causing auditory hallucinations. Kara couldn’t have said ‘she.’
Kara tried to keep her breath steady as she smiled at Adam and took the drink he offered.
She’d give anything to know what Lena was thinking. It had been stupid to tell her now of all times and here of all places but it had come tumbling out all the same. Now the confession hung awkwardly between them, and Kara didn’t know when she’d get another chance to bring it up.
She risked a glance in Lena’s direction and felt a momentary sense of sadness at the sight of Lena and Jack together. They looked so perfect at each other’s side that it was hard to believe they weren’t a real couple. But more than that, Kara couldn’t imagine herself in Jack’s place. She’d never get to stand that close to Lena at an art gallery, or take her hand. Nothing real could ever come of these feelings.
And still, she couldn’t keep her gaze from traveling down the length of Lena’s body, over the silky dark-red fabric of the dress which clung to every curve with deliberate precision.
Looking at Lena made her ache. It made her stomach clench and her breath catch and it seemed impossible that all of these things weren’t plainly written across her face.
Adam was talking, Kara realized, as his voice cut through her jumble of inappropriate thoughts. She was relieved that it wasn’t her he was addressing. She caught the tail end of a sentence that finished with, “quarterback,” and decided she was safe from having to contribute. She caught Lena’s gaze and held it. What are you thinking?
“We should leave you two to your date,” Lena said suddenly, breaking eye contact. “It was really nice meeting you, Adam.”
“Pleasure was all mine, believe me.” Adam was all smiles and Kara tried to mimic his enthusiasm as they exchanged goodbyes. “Wow. I can’t believe I was just talking to Lena Luthor. She must be a big fan of art; she’s at like every gallery.”
The statement annoyed Kara and she tore her gaze away from Lena’s retreating back to look at her date. “Yeah.”
“She seems nice. I always sort of figured she’d be stuck up.”
Kara nodded and looked around the crowded gallery, trying to spot Lena, to keep track of where she’d wandered off to, but her search came up empty.
“God, I love this painting,” Adam said a moment later.She followed his gaze and smiled, instantly forgetting her annoyance. “Me too. I think I’m in love with it.”
“Lucky painting.” He grinned at her. “Too bad it costs more than my tuition.”
“Seriously. I still can’t believe we’re here. Have you seen Jennifer Myer Quinn yet?”
“I overheard some people saying that she wasn’t coming.”
Adam smiled. “I also heard she’s a bit of a snob.”
“Maybe she doesn’t like crowds,” Kara suggested. “Or... cheese.”
“Perhaps she’s afraid of cheese.”
Kara laughed, but her gaze strayed again, darting from one strange face to another until she spotted the one she was searching for. There were people blocking most of the view, but Kara could see well enough to note that Lena was on the phone, smiling and then laughing, and then suddenly looking directly at her. Embarrassed, she looked away and back at Adam. Looking at him felt safe. Looking at him didn’t make her miserable and frustrated.
He smiled at her. “You look beautiful tonight, in case I hadn’t mentioned it.”
He had, but she smiled back at him anyway, feeling a mixture of disappointment and regret.
Liking him would’ve been easier; so much easier. But no, she had to suddenly dig out her inner lesbian and put it in front of Lena Luthor. She couldn’t have started small. With that cute, short-haired girl in her Art & Contemporary Culture class, for example; she was probably gay. But that would’ve been too easy and Kara Danvers didn’t do easy. Kara Danvers liked to shoot for the moon; or the stars, in this case.
“Hmm?” Kara regarded Adam. “Sorry?”
“To walk around.”
“Yes, absolutely. Let’s walk around.” She risked one final look in Lena’s direction to find the actress gone. She stifled the urge to look for her, and followed her date to the next art display.
“What if she did say ‘she’?” Lena shouted the question near Jack’s ear in an attempt to be heard over the dance music.
“You’re obsessing,” he shouted back. He took her hand and led her through the throng of bodies gyrating to the music. Upstairs, they reached the sanctuary of the VIP area. “Jesus, it’s loud down there.”
“You’re getting old,” Lena teased and slid into the first available booth she saw. Through the glass windows beside her she looked down at the mobs of people set aglow by pulsating neon lights.
“I am pushing thirty.”
“But you don’t act a day over twelve.”
A waitress appeared and launched cheerfully into a well-rehearsed introduction. Lena waited patiently for the girl to be done before placing an order for her usual drink.
“I’ll have a dirty martini and maybe your number, if it’s available,” Jack said.
Lena sighed as the waitress cast nervous glances in her direction.
“We’re currently seeing other people,” Jack explained. “She doesn’t seem to think I’m man enough for her because I wrote her a love ballad, and because sometimes I cry after we make love.”
“Uhm, sorry, I have a boyfriend,” said the blonde. “But I’ll go get you those drinks.”
“Denied,” Lena said, laughing. “And stop this. It’s how rumors get started.”
Jack sat back. “Rumors are good for your career.”
“Yeah, they fill my life with joy. Besides, I thought you were sleeping with Sam.”
“Sleeping with Sam, yes; married to Sam, no.”
“So you’re just going to sleep around?”
“Yes and why shouldn’t I?”
“STDs, look it up.”
“Orgasm, try one.”
Lena crumpled a cocktail napkin into a ball and threw it at his head.
“Yeah, that’s mature.” He looked around. “So, when’s your date getting here?”
“I don’t know. Nothing was really set in stone.” Lena sighed. “If Kara said ‘she’—“
“Blah, blah, blah...”
“If she said she, then... that means... that means that maybe I have a chance.”
Jack cocked his head to the side and leaned forward. “Lena, if Kara is even remotely gay, I’d say you have more than just a chance.”
“I know no one has ever told you this, but you’re really hot. So if she likes girls, odds are that you’re at the top of her list.”
The thought was uplifting, but also depressing. “It’s just... I don’t want her to think that I’m hot. Well, I mean, yes, of course I do. But not just that, you know? I don’t want to just have sex with her.”
“Well, if you don’t want to, can I?”
She kicked him under the table. “That’s not even remotely funny.”
“Ow.” Jack frowned at her. “I was just kidding, no need to get violent. I would never go after Kara.” His gaze wandered to the door. “But her, maybe.”
“That’s Diana.” Lena waved her over.
“Of course it is. Please have sex with one of these women, Lena. Please.” He smiled widely as Diana approached. “Ignore me, I’m not really here.”
“Jack Spheer,” Diana said, smiling. “I’m a fan of your work.”
“No one’s a fan of my work, except my mother, and that’s because she thinks I made Titanic.”
Diana laughed and sat beside Lena, smiling at her as she did so. To Jack, she said, “I honestly thought Acorns from Jupiter was brilliant.”
Lena snickered and Jack smiled brightly. “That movie is how Lena and I met, actually.”
“Oh yeah?” Diana glanced briefly at Lena. “How did that happen?”
“Well,” Jack began, pausing to accept the drinks the waitress brought over. He waited until Diana had placed her own order to continue, “it was playing at a really small, obscure film festival in San Francisco, and I was probably the only person in the theater during its showing. And then she walked in and sat down. And I thought, ‘Wow, she’s hot.’ So, after a short while, I moved to sit next to her, and asked how she was enjoying the movie, and she was like, “It’s quite possibly the worst movie ever, I just figured it’d be a nice place to be alone.’”
Diana laughed. “Nice.”
“I was, of course, offended and told her it was my film and tried to explain the finer points of my brilliance. She was entirely unapologetic and made fun of the movie the whole way through. Naturally, I fell madly in love with her right then and there and we’ve been best friends ever since.”
“Well, for what it’s worth, I really enjoyed the movie,” Diana said.
Jack turned to Lena. “Marry her.” He grabbed his drink and stood up. “Now if you’ll excuse me, ladies, I’m going to go pretend I have things to do somewhere else.”
Diana laughed and moved to the other side of the table so she was sitting across from Lena. “So.”
“So,” Lena echoed, feeling awkward now that Jack wasn’t there to lighten the mood.
“I brought a couple of friends. They’re down there somewhere.” Diana motioned to the dance floor below. “You can meet them later. Unless of course you just wanna get out of here now and go back to your place?”
Lena swallowed nervously and Diana laughed at her.
“Relax, Lena.” She thanked the waitress and picked up her newly delivered drink. “I don’t even know what we’re doing here exactly.”
“We’re having drinks.” She smiled and willed herself to relax. Diana looked beautiful and that didn’t help at all. There was a part of her, however small, that was intrigued by the notion of going back to her apartment with Diana, of being, if only for one night, someone other than herself. It would be easy enough, she thought. It was, after all, what she did best.
“That we are.” Diana sipped her drink thoughtfully and said, “You know, I think I’ve figured it out.”
“You. Well, your reluctance, really.” Diana smiled and put down the glass. “I thought at first it was because of your career; that you were just trying to be careful. Then I thought it was simply that you were shy. And then... I met Kara.”
Lena froze at the words, feeling a rising wave of panic. “What about her?”
“I saw you guys talking at the party.” Diana was silent for a second, studying Lena’s face. “I think it’s the first time I have ever seen you look truly happy. And it occurred to me that maybe you simply had feelings for someone else.”
Jesus, did everyone know? She looked down at the table, captivated by the red liquid in her glass.
“So, I’m right?”
“Yeah.” Lena looked up and nodded.
“So this between us is ...?”
Lena sighed and looked back out at the dance floor, feeling guilty and depressed. “It’s me trying to get over it, I guess. I’m sorry.”
“Don’t be,” Diana said, and looked sincere as she smiled. “I’ve kind of enjoyed this strange back and forth thing between us. It’s been oddly refreshing.”
Lena didn’t know what to say next. Was that it? Her sort of date had ended before it had even begun, and she felt mostly relieved. Diana had figured it out. She was glad, and yet it worried her. Who else had seen her with Kara? Who else had put it all together?
“Do you want to dance?” Diana asked suddenly.
“Dance?” Lena had expected Diana to get up and leave. She wanted to stay?
“Yeah, you know... your body... my body... music?” Diana finished her drink. “You want me to distract you. I’m more than happy to comply.”
Lena glanced at the crowd of people below. She wasn’t sure there was room for two more bodies down there. But... “Sure,” she said. “Let’s dance.”
“So,” Adam said, as Kara’s building came up, “I had fun tonight.”
Kara counted the spots of dried chewing gum on the sidewalk and nodded. “I did too.” She looked up at him as they came to a stop at the steps below the door. She’d officially run out of time. It was now or never. “Adam, I—“
He stopped her with a kiss, a soft, tentative kiss that startled her and left her feeling like the world’s biggest jerk. She froze as she struggled to determine whether she wanted this or not. She could sink into him; she could let him be for her what Lena never would be. She felt his lips part against her mouth and she pulled away, somewhat harshly.
Adam’s eyes betrayed confusion and hurt. “I’m sorry,” he said, suddenly looking embarrassed. “I-“
“No,” Kara interrupted. “Don’t apologize. This is all me. You’re great. It’s just that I kind of have this... thing.”
She could almost see the unspoken options flashing across his eyes: herpes, a third nipple, a penis. She quickly added, “This crush...on someone.”
“Ah.”“On a girl,” she added, because if she was going to be honest, she might as well go all the way.
He blinked in surprise. “Oh.”
“And I’ve been trying to sort of work through that, and I ended up dragging you along with me, which is awful, I know. I’m sorry.”
He stared at her, looking mostly confused. “So you’re a lesbian?”
The word sounded harsh though his tone was mainly curious. “Um.” She didn’t have an answer to the question. She had mostly questions where an answer should’ve been. “I’ve mostly just gotten as far as admitting I’m not straight. Beyond that...”
Adam looked disappointed, as if he couldn’t see a distinction between the two things and would’ve been happier to hear she was gay. “Okay.” It sounded like more of a question.
They stood in awkward silence for several seconds, and Kara struggled to think of something to add. “I’m really sorry,” was all she could come up with, and it sounded incredibly lame and unoriginal.
But he shrugged his shoulders and tried for a smile that almost looked genuine. “It’s okay. I’m the one that pursued you. Besides, you didn’t seem too keen on the six children idea...”
Kara smiled, hesitantly, afraid that he’d snap at her for assuming things were okay. “I’m sure you’ll find someone who is.”
He nodded and looked up at the building. “Do you want me to walk you to your door?”
“I’ll be fine.”
“Okay.” He stood there, looking uncertain. “Well, um, I hope things work out with you and um... whoever.”
Kara didn’t know how to comment on that, so she simply nodded.
He started to walk away and then turned back. “Is it Lucy?”
Kara would’ve laughed if he hadn’t looked so serious. “Lucy? No. Definitely not Lucy.”
“Just checking.” He smiled and said, “See you around, Kara.”
“Thanks for tonight,” she said, feeling a desperate need to say something more. “I really did have fun.”
She watched him walk away, knowing she’d done the right thing. And with that came a newfound sense of determination. Tomorrow, she decided, as she stepped into her building.
Tomorrow she would tell Lena Luthor how she felt.