Lena hates the phrase “one too many.” It’s simply inaccurate. Sure, she supposes that sometimes it is that one small thing that tips the scale. But is it ever one thing? Really, it’s a combination of things that make people make choices. And tonight, she’s made some bad choices. She’s had not just one too many – instead she had maybe five too many. Six? She can’t recall.
What she can recall is ordering top shelf scotch at her favorite bar downtown after a bad day at work. She’s basically bought the bottle at this point.
“Hmmm?” Lena’s eyes look up to see Brandon, her favorite bar tender. He always listened and knew when to shut up. Plus, she’s been embarrassingly drunk here before and no press has ever shown.
“Would you like me to call you a cab? Or maybe a friend could come pick you up?”
“Brandon,” Lena says, lifting her scotch in the air and taking a sip, “You might be the closest thing I’ve got to a friend in this city.”
He smiles softly, “Well I’m not off until an hour from now, Ms. Luthor.”
“You would really give me a ride?”
“Well…sure? I mean, I would be hesitant to send you in a cab at this time of night and at the state you’re in, you can’t walk…” he reasons. Lena reminds herself to write him a check for the remainder of his student loan debt next week. And because Brandon’s offer is so kind and all she needs is a little kindness right now, Lena waits. She finishes her scotch (plus another) and tries to calm herself down.
It’s been one hell of a week. Well, one hell of a month. One hell of a lifetime, really. She’s been in a legal battle with some of the stakeholders at L Corp. It’s a job in itself. Add that to the day-to-day company obligations and public appearances…Lena could barely think straight. Of course, this is all in her professional life.
Her personal life is another story.
Her lack of a personal life, really.
Lena never wanted to end up like a Luthor, but here she is. Drunk alone at a bar. About to be shuttled home by a 23-year-old college student like a child. But she has no one to call. Jess is in another state for a family reunion. Her driver has the night off and Lena doesn’t want to bother him. She fights off a thought that’s been peaking into her mind more and more lately.
Kara. You could call Kara.
Kara would come get her. That’s the kind of person Kara is; she’s like the sunlight that dances across a field of flowers on a spring day. She’s refreshing and wide-eyed and honest. She’s everything Lena can never be. Everything Lean never even had a chance of being.
That’s probably why Lena’s in love with her.
God damn it.
Lena takes another gulp, finishing her last glass. She tries to focus on the burn, but her mind is running with thoughts of Kara. Kara’s laugh. Kara’s smile. Kara’s eyes and her lips. Oh God, her lips.
Shaking her head, Lena laughs at herself. She’s so pathetic. Honestly, it’s embarrassing. Lena Luthor, millionaire CEO and powerful businesswoman is reduced to a lovestruck mess by a reporter.
“Ms. Luthor, are you ready to go?”
She follows Brandon out to his car. She should probably feel unsafe right now. She’s in a dark parking lot, alone (and highly intoxicated) with a boy she doesn’t know well at all. And yet, Lena slides into his passenger seat with ease. Sometimes Lena scares herself…she knows that the real reason she isn’t afraid is because she doesn’t care. She doesn’t care about herself.
“You can head East. I’ll give you directions when we get closer.”
The car ride is quiet. Brandon turns on the radio to play lightly and takes the turns slowly when he notices Lena’s facial expression at the sudden movement.
“You know I’m a lesbian, right?”
“I’m gay. I don’t want you getting the wrong idea of where this night is going to go…” Lena mumbles, her drunken state allowing the words to pass her mouth with ease.
“Oh…yeah I’m aware. Plus, I’m engaged.”
“Well good for you. What’s her name?”
Brandon smiles softly, “Um…Peter.”
Lena doesn’t try to hold back her laugh, and eventually they’re both laughing as Brandon parks his car on the curb a few blocks down from her house.
“I apologize for my heteronormativity. You’d think I would have known better than to assume.” Lena mumbles, grabbing her purse from Brandon’s backseat. She stumbles as she closes the door, falling to the ground and skinning her knee. She simply frowns at the sight of blood flowing down her leg.
“Okay. I’m going to walk you to the door. Which building is it?”
Kara tries her best not to assume things about people. Hell, she’s given her fair share of criminals a second chance when the opportunity presents itself. But when she’s walking downtown after a late-night dinner with Alex and Maggie, she spots something that takes her from leisurely walk to a full-on sprint.
She sees a man, guiding a very drunk Lena Luthor towards her apartment building. Lena’s stumbling over herself. The man’s arms are wrapped around Lena’s waist and Lena’s arms are hanging around his neck. Kara may or may not be jealous of the mystery boy, but either way, this wasn’t right.
“Hey!” she yells from a few yards down the road, “Lena! Wait!”
Soon enough she’s standing face-to-face with mystery boy, but all her attention is on Lena. Her dark blue dress is tugged up on her body slightly. One of the straps has fallen down her arm. Her makeup is smudged and there’s blood dripping down her leg. Kara is doing her best not to level the boy right now.
“Kara…” Lena mumbles, like she doesn’t believe Kara is really standing in front of her. She can smell the liquor on Lena’s breath.
“Lena. What are you doing? It’s late. And who the hell is this?” Kara asks in a rare moment of anger. Her fists are clinched and she’s ready to have to ask Alex to get her out of an assault charge.
“Oh! This is Brandon. Brandon is my friend. He’s very nice. He drove me home.”
“Drove you home, huh?” Kara asks, “And what exactly were you planning on doing when you got her upstairs, Brandon?”
“Uh…putting her in bed?” the boy answers. Before Brandon can stutter out a reason for his escapades with Lena, Kara is pulling her away. She places her hands on Lena’s hip, pulling her close so she doesn’t fall.
“I’ll tell you what, Brandon, I’ll take care of Lena from here.” She says, glaring at the boy who seems to look extremely confused. Looking at Lena for confirmation, Brandon just nods and walks back to his car.
“You’re so strong.” Lena mumbles against Kara’s neck as she helps her onto the elevator. Kara tries to ignore the goosebumps that cover her body at the proximity of Lena’s lips to her skin. Not quite touching, but almost.
Kara’s extremely concerned. In fact, she can’t stop thinking about what could’ve happened to Lena if she hadn’t been walking down the street at the same time. She can’t stop thinking about Lena’s arms around Brandon’s neck. His hand on her hip. So maybe she is jealous. Who cares? Lena doesn’t have to know that, and Kara would’ve stopped them even if she wasn’t.
But she is. Jealous. In fact, she’s extremely jealous.
Isn’t Lena gay? What was she doing with a guy anyway?
She’s been trying to smother her crush on the CEO for months now. But every time she Lena walks towards her in heals and a dress that costs more than a months rent she feels things that aren’t exactly platonic. Kara knows how royally screwed she is. Lena would never even look her direction. Why would a multimillionaire CEO want anything to do with a low level reporter who has a hard time making rent payments?
“Kara, darling, are we going to move..?”
Kara smiles softly, realizing that the elevator doors must have been open for a while now. She pulls Lena’s apartment key from her purse and lets them both in. Lena breaks away from Kara’s arms the second they step inside, grabbing a record and beginning to play it on her (surely) ridiculously expensive antique record player. Then she stumbles to the kitchen, losing both her shoes along the way. Kara is mortified when Lena reaches for a scotch bottle, not even bothering to get a glass, and takes a large gulp.
“Woah there. Let’s maybe slow it down on the alcohol, James Bond.”
Kara feels a wave of sadness strike her when she sees that Lena’s spilled some down her chin. Carefully, she wipes the brown haired girl with a paper towel. She’s never seen Lena like this. Sure, she’s seen her tipsy a few times. They always drink wine at their sleepovers and Lena doesn’t shy away from drinks when they go out to dinner. But Kara has never seen her look so…defeated.
“Don’t look at me like that.” Lena mumbles, swatting Kara’s hand away from her face.
“With pity. It’s how my father used to look at me when my mother made snide comments about every aspect of my life.”
There’s another wave of sadness.
“It’s not pity.” Kara says carefully, “I want you to be happy.”
Lena chuckles, “Happiness is something Luthor’s can never seem to obtain.” She snatches the scotch from Kara’s hands, “I’m an adult, Kara. I can take care of myself.”
“You should stop drinking. You’re going to regret it in the morning.”
“Thank you for your concern, but to be honest, I don’t give a fuck.”
Lena’s red lips smudge the bottles edges as she drinks again. Kara winces.
“Well I do. I give a fuck, so give me the damn bottle and let’s get you to bed.” Kara’s more forceful now, growing angry with Lena’s apathy towards her own wellbeing, “And frankly, what were you thinking earlier? Coming home with a guy?”
“Why do you care who I come home with?” Lena asks dryly, handing the bottle to Kara.
Because I want to be the only person you come home with.
“You’re my friend. I want you to be safe. And this,” Kara motions towards Lena, “Well, this is anything but safe. He…he could’ve hurt you.”
Lena doesn’t say anything for a minute; she just stares at Kara. Her eyes are blurry and her breath uneven.
“Maybe I don’t care.”
“Maybe I don’t care that he could’ve hurt me. Not that he would have anyway, Brandon is-“
“How can you say that?” Kara is pacing now, back and forth between Lena’s marble kitchen counter and her huge wine rack.
Lena just shrugs, taking her hair out of its bun and letting it fall lose around her shoulders. She drops her hair clip on the ground, walking past Kara and down the hallway.
Kara sighs, following her. The next thing that hits the floor is Lena’s dress that she less than gracefully shimmied out of in front of her bedroom. Kara steps over it and tries her very best not to look at Lena, who is in only underwear in front of her.
Eyes trained on the ceiling, Kara grabs a t-shirt from Lena’s “shitty clothes drawer” (that’s what Kara calls it, anyway) and tosses it towards her. She looks up just as the shorter girl is pulling it over her chest.
Dear God, what has Kara gotten herself into?
Lena is unceremoniously dropping into her bed, pulling the covers over herself. Kara makes a trip to her bathroom, grabbing a makeup removal wipe and sits next to Lena. She swears she hears Lena’s heartbeat rise when Kara’s hands come in contact with her skin.
It feels oddly intimate. Kara is wiping away all Lena’s walls. Her pale skin looks just as beautiful, with or without make up. She knows sober Lena would be mortified by this scenario, but it makes Kara smile. When she finishes, she gets up to throw the wipe away when a hand grabs her wrist.
“Lena…I really should be going. I have work in the morning and…”
And I really shouldn’t be sleeping with the girl I love while she’s drunk and not wearing any pants.
“Please. I…I don’t want to be alone.” Lena murmurs. Kara’s heart practically breaks in two at her facial expression. Her usually strong features look impossibly soft in the lighting of her bedroom. Her eyes are bloodshot, and her lips are chapped.
“Okay.” Kara slips into a pair of Lena’s athletic shorts and a hoodie with the MIT logo on it and crawls carefully into bed next to Lena. She’s careful to keep her distance. After all, Lena has a king-sized bed, she there’s plenty of room for the both of them. But to Kara’s surprise, it’s Lena who inches over and wraps an arm around Kara’s waist, placing her head lightly on Kara’s chest.
Oh no. No no no.
“Your heart is beating really fast.” Lena’s breath hits her neck and all Kara can think about is her. Lena.
“Um…lots of caffeine today. You know…a reporter’s life never slows down!”
“Mmmhmm.” Lena nuzzles further into Kara’s neck and brings one of her legs to rest atop of Kara’s, “If I didn’t know any better, I’d say that you have a little crush on me.”
And if Lena could hear Kara’s heart before, she probably couldn’t anymore. Because Kara’s heart literally stops pumping blood for a second when those words leave Lena’s mouth.
She’s going to ask you to leave. She’ll probably never want to see you again. Great, you couldn’t have just left her here to sleep it off. You had to play the heroine-
“Relax,” Lena’s hand gently rubs against Kara’s palm, “I kind of have a crush on you, too.”
And with that, Lena Luthor falls asleep in Kara’s arms, which must be nice because Kara doesn’t get a minute of sleep for the rest of the night.
When Lena wakes, there’s an awful throbbing in her head. She winces at the open window before checking the time.
Almost noon. Not as bad as she thought.
It’s not until she notices the state of her apartment that she becomes confused. She shakily gets out of bed, noticing her dress laying on the floor outside her bedroom. She finds her bra at the foot of the bed. There’s one heal in the kitchen and one near the sofa.
She remembers the bar. She remembers Brandon taking her home. She remembers scraping her knee on the concrete…
She’s reaching for a bottle of water when she sees the note.
Hope you’re feeling alright. I didn’t want to wake you when I left this morning. I had to be at the office by 8. Text when you wake up so I know you’re alright. And go easy on the Scotch next time, champ.
Oh God, what happened last night?