It started with Kara dropping a preserved fruit onto her table right in front of her, wringing her hands behind her back and vibrating with nervous energy. Lena studied its large oval shape, its wrinkly exterior, its burgundy skin that segued into a light chestnut brown under the harsh sunlight spilling out from behind her. She looked back up at Kara, unsure what to make of this gesture.
Kara’s gaze swung wildly across the room, fixating on everything that wasn’t her before, finally, she met Lena’s gaze.
“Would you… go on a date with me?” Kara asked — all awkward smiles and flushed cheeks.
Lena ought to say no on account of that stupid pun — she’d like to think that she had more dignity than that. But it was Kara and because it was Kara, Lena found herself letting out a breathy "Yes."
Kara did an exaggerated fist pump, which on anyone else would have been childish and not at all endearing. "Where do you wanna go? For our first date, I mean. That new Italian place? The amusement park?" Kara gasped, "The dog park!"
"Actually, there's this charity gala I got invited to this Friday. I was going to ask you to be my plus one but now that you've asked me out, I suppose you could come as my date if you want?” Lena paused to consider. “And then maybe we could excuse ourselves early, hit up a diner and buy out their pancakes?"
“Of course I’d love to!” Kara smiled a genuine smile — one that spoke a thousand words, whispered a hundred reassurances and conveyed one simple message: that she’d love to be anywhere as long as Lena was there. Perhaps Lena was emboldened by that unspoken affirmation because she found herself speaking again.
“And maybe we could do the dog park on Saturday?” Lena froze. Shit, was that too soon? Did she seem too desperate? Lena could hear the ghost of Lillian’s voice at the back of her mind. “Luthors don’t falter,” she’d say. It had stung once but now, in her late twenties, Lena supposed it was because Lillian never had any love to fight for.
Kara threw herself across her (thankfully empty) desk to engulf Lena in a hug, her office chair skidding backwards from the momentum and coming to an unceremonious stop against her floor to ceiling windows. A hand cushioned the collision between her head and the reinforced glass.
“Sorry,” Kara winced, or at least half her face did — the other half was still caught in a goofy grin. From the tug on her facial muscles, Lena knew she must've been smiling back too.
"I'll pick you up at 7?"
"Yeah, sounds good." Kara said, the whites of her teeth sparkling a little in the afternoon sun.
They sat in silence for a while — Lena on her chair and Kara on Lena's lap. She stared up at Kara, considering her words and wondered if the same was going through her mind.
"I know it's a little presumptuous but —" Lena began.
"Can I kiss you?" Kara blurted out at the exact same moment. Silence befell them again and Kara's smile waned. That wouldn't do, she thought. Not when Lena wanted the exact same thing. She leaned forward in her seat — a woman on a mission to reclaim her favourite smile and her eyelids fluttered close as she pressed a chaste kiss to Kara's lips.
Lena drew back slowly, mind otherwise occupied on savouring the memory of the softness of her lips while Kara let out a breathless exhale.
"I should probably get back to work." Kara climbed off her precarious position on top of Lena, pausing to deliver another kiss to Lena's waiting lips. A giggle tore itself out of her throat and Kara visibly 'Awww'ed at her, her face holding so much affection that she could feel the warmth from it being transduced through the air and blossoming throughout her body. Lena was vaguely aware that her exposed ears were probably visibly red by now, but quite frankly, she couldn't bring herself to care.
Kara slowly backed away towards the door, refusing to take her eyes off Lena for even a second. She waved and mouthed a "Bye!" before disappearing out of her office — only to peek back in again to repeat the process.
"Kara, you're never going to leave at this rate!" Lena laughed.
Kara pouted and said her final goodbyes for the day.
Lena heard a crash outside and a voice that sounded distinctly like Alex Danvers' yelling, "Finally! I thought you'd never leave!"
Alex walked briskly into her office with files in hand.
"Just here to drop these off," she explained. "But now that I'm here, I'd like to do everyone a favour and inform you that you two are being absolutely disgusting."
"Oh, that’s funny. Don't think I don't know about all the pet names you and Kelly have for each other, hunny bunny."
Alex squinted at her before sighing in defeat. "Runs in the family then."
Lena stared despondently at her walk-in wardrobe and in her hand, Sam stared back at her through the camera lens.
"Remember: cool colours bring out your eyes." Sam's voice echoed out from the speaker. Lena flipped the camera and let Sam survey her collection of formalwear.
"Right, that's pretty much your whole wardrobe." She sighed. "Oh, go for something with more...exposed cleavage. She acts like you've sprouted eyes on your chest whenever they're visible."
"No, she does not!" Lena protested.
"You'd notice if you didn't spend the whole time staring back." Sam said pointedly. Lena could almost feel the smugness radiating from her voice.
A full half an hour later, Lena was down to 2 options. She propped her phone up and held them both up for Sam's inspection.
"Scandalously low-cut dress or scandalously unbuttoned suit?"
"Wait, is that the dress with the thigh slit?”
“Dress.” Sam concluded, nodding sagely.
Lena stopped at the hallway leading up to Kara’s apartment and checked her phone. If anything came up she’d rather deal with it now — she could afford exactly zero distractions with Kara later. She read all 5 notifications:
[Alex Danvers] 6.10 PM Lock the door if you two go back to Kara’s place. I don’t want to see anything I can’t unsee
[Alex Danvers] 6.11 PM Also, use protection !!!
[Winn Schott] 6.22 PM Can you believe Kara made me give her literal pocket dimensions?
[Winn Schott] 6.22 PM And in three days! Does she think I’m a miracle-worker?
[Winn Schott] 6.22 PM I mean, what does she even want to store in there? An entire fridge?
[Jess Huang] 6.24 PM I’ve cleared your schedule for tomorrow. Enjoy your date, Miss Luthor :)
She tapped out a quick reply to each of them before setting her phone on silent and dumping it unceremoniously into her clutch. Taking a deep breath, she knocked on Kara’s door — at least she thought she did. She felt soft fabric and soft...something else under her knuckles before they landed on something hard and solid. Like a door. Only it was Kara and this was conventionally too many dates too early for Lena to have her hand on her chest. She could only manage to mutter out an apology but thankfully, Kara didn’t look like she minded too much. Oh, but Lena minded Kara a lot. Like that navy blue three-piece suit that accentuated all her best features (note: all of them) by curving and tightening at just the right places? Illegal. That baby pink shirt that made her look adorably deadly? Criminal. And that royal blue tie with that ridiculous chicken nugget design that really should not be making Lena’s heart clench? Downright unconstitutional.
“Hey, Lena! You’re early. Anyway, I have something for you. Well, two things!” Kara had her hands behind her back.
“One, plumerias.” Kara revealed a bouquet of flowers from behind her back and Lena felt her face heat up. “And two!” A bunch of kale. In Kara’s hand. Being presented to her. “Because you look kaler tonight.” Kara was oddly proficient at winking — that or Lena simply had low Kara-Danvers-Winking tolerance. She leaned slightly against the door frame to obscure how off-kilter she was just from flowers and some vegetables.
“Thank you, Kara. You’re so sweet.”
Kara's smile became impossibly brighter at that.
“Actually, there’s a reason why I’m early.” Lena confessed. Kara merely tilted her head at her admission. Lena glanced down at her silver timepiece and as if she had summoned them herself, the muffled sound of wheels on the carpeted floor reached their ears. And then they came into view — 3 trolleys full of flowers of all colours, of all shapes and sizes. One of the deliverymen handed Lena a large stuffed bear she struggled to even get her hands around.
“For you,” Lena held out the bear for Kara. “I saw him in the shop and he looked too cute to just leave him there.”
Kara squealed and reached out for a hug — Lena and the bear both, only pulling apart when the same delivery man awkwardly interjected and asked her to sign off on it. Soon, they were alone again and busied themselves with arranging the veritable mountain of flowers in Kara’s living room.
“I must say Miss Luthor, first my office and now my apartment. What’re you going to fill with flowers next?” Kara teased, poking Lena on the nose in the process.
“I don’t know yet, Miss Danvers but I do hope it’s your heart.”
It was Kara’s turn to blush.
They stepped out of Lena’s limousine into a sea of flashes. Lena linked their arms together and they glided through with ease, much like a boat slicing through calm waters — with practiced ease and precision. The fanfare was always Lena’s least favourite part but with Kara by her side as her anchor, Lena faced it with unprecedented serenity. Together, they finally pulled through to the end of the red carpet and stepped into the ballroom.
The National City Annual Winter Charity Gala was an opulent affair where the city’s high society mingled and it looked the part — it rained diamonds from the chandeliers, the majestic pillars were lined with gold, even the marble flooring sounded expensive beneath her heels. She watched Kara gape in awe from the corner of her eye, eyes widening comically to take it all in. Lena glanced at her watch — two hours before they could politely excuse themselves, a hundred and twenty minutes before she could let her guard down again. Seven thousand, one hundred and ninety-nine, seven thousand, one hundred and ninety-eight, seven thousand, one hundred and ninety-seven, Lena felt her internal countdown begin, ticking away at the back of her mind.
Lena grabbed a flute of champagne from a passing waiter, her other arm still preoccupied with Kara’s. Seven thousand and sixty-one.
From afar, she spotted a member of her board approaching her.
“Ah, Mr Conner! How nice to see you here!” Shake hands, smile, pull back. Seven thousand and thirty-five.
“You too, Miss Luthor. And Miss —” He gestured at Kara.
“Danvers, Kara Danvers.” Kara reached out to shake his hand.
“Nice to meet you, Miss Danvers.” He laughed, looking her up and down. “I must say Lena, you sure know how to pick them. A shame they’re never men, I always thought you’d look ravishing on the arms of one.” Ah, there it was. Seven thousand and twenty-two.
“Oh, Mr Conner, I don’t think I’d need to accessorise to look ‘ravishing’, as you put it.” Lena’s smile grew heavier. She squeezed Kara’s arm, silently beseeching her not to laser vision him.
“Ah, that is true. What about Miss Danvers here then. Is she a model? I think I’ll have to give her agency a call.” And someone needs to inform him that winking doesn’t suddenly make all his comments okay.
“Well, then I suppose you’d have to give CatCo a call and ask them about their senior reporter.” Kara finally broke her silence, squeezing Lena’s arm in return. Six thousand, nine hundred and eighty-four.
“I see. Well, pleasantries aside Miss Luthor, I was hoping to discuss L-Corp’s newest project if you don’t mind?”
It was five thousand, eight hundred and eighty before Mr Conner excused himself.
“I don’t like him.” Kara stated simply.
“I don’t either, but he does hold a special place in my heart as my least conniving board member.” Lena slid her hand into Kara’s, savouring her warmth before they were interrupted again. Another man approached her at five thousand, six hundred and fifty-one and Lena plastered her smile back on.
At least Kara was enjoying the canapés, Lena mused as she smiled politely at her current interlocutor. Four thousand, nine hundred and sixty.
“Lena!” Kara pulled gently on her arm. “They have little smoked salmon bruschetta with cream cheese! You absolutely have to come try them.”
“Of course,” Lena turned to the man she was listening to. “If you’d excuse me, Mr Griffiths?” Lena allowed herself to be led away by Kara, eventually stumbling away together giggling and drawing various disapproving looks from their fellow attendees.
“Thank you for that, I was going to fall asleep with my eyes open.” Lena chortled, leaning over and supporting herself on the bulge of Kara’s biceps. She felt the muscles under her hand stiffen for a brief moment before they relaxed again. Glancing down, she realised why and internally thanked Sam for her guidance.
“Well, I had to come rescue you. You’re just too appealing!” That alone would’ve been a good enough compliment, fantastic even given its source but the uptick in Kara’s voice at ‘appealing’ heightened Lena’s suspicions.
She anticipated a “Get it?” or even uncontrolled laughter. She did not expect to watch Kara reach into her pants pocket and pull out a banana the size of a brick phone. Lena stared blankly as Kara handed it over to her.
The night continued and so did the puns — “If this room were a salad, you’d be a cutecumber.” Another phallic object found its way into Lena’s hands, this time from her other pocket. Four thousand, one hundred and twelve. “Lena, I have to say, I olive you.” Kara reached into her suit jacket and winked, handing her a jar of olives.” Three thousand, four hundred and one. And Lena’s favourite: “I don’t know, that comedy routine was a little cheesy, but still grate.” Two thousand, eight hundred and twenty-nine. Lena didn’t even notice the extra weight in her arms when Kara deposited a mini cheese grater and a wrapped slice of brie in them — her mind still fixated on those words, on how Kara had succinctly encapsulated this entire night with two objectively bad puns.
Three, two, one.
“What do you say we get out of here now?” Lena asked as coyly as one could with the contents of an entire supermarket aisle packed into her clutch purse rather ineffectually — the leafy top of a carrot was poking out conspicuously from the side. It worked anyway. Lena signed off on her generous donation before Kara eagerly led them out, helping Lena with her bag to speed up their journey as they carved their way through the throngs of National City’s elite. Laughter bubbled in Lena’s chest at how ridiculous the scene must’ve looked — Lena Luthor being pulled along by the human equivalent of a golden retriever, looking like they had just robbed a farmer’s market. Here they were, Bonnie and Clyde making their swift escape (luckily, at least one of them was bulletproof) and from the most exclusive gala in National City too. The ring of Kara’s laughter quickly echoed hers.
They didn’t stop until they stumbled into Lena’s limousine, the door slamming shut behind them and Lena couldn’t help but feel smug about successfully absconding with the only good thing to have graced their ballroom this evening.
“Drive us to the nearest diner, please.” Lena told her driver, still struggling to catch her breath. The partition slid shut with a smooth, mechanical whirr and Lena dropped her head onto Kara’s shoulder with a content sigh.
Lena tilted her head at just the right angle to watch the lights dance along Kara's profile, her eyes slowly glazing over at the mesmerising light show. She had always been terrified of the harsh glare of the city lights — an inexplicable fear that the photons from the bright LEDs and the neon tubes could infiltrate her very being, to excavate her longing and insecurities for the world to see. All her life she was beholden to lights — spotlights, both figurative and literal and camera flashes in anticipation of her next slip-up. That is, until this very moment, inside the insulated bubble of her limousine. It felt oddly romantic, peaceful even, witnessing this scene beside Kara — how the lights played on her features and how they all blended into one continuous blur in the background while Kara still remained sharp, visible in full HD. Funny how company changed things.
Perhaps she liked the idea, wanted Kara to see more of her, to look deeper but not with her own X-ray vision. No, Lena didn’t just want those purposeful looks. She wanted the unsuspecting glances, the gratification from knowing that when the light exposed the raised ridges of her scars and caught Kara’s eye, she’d accept them without a second thought. That was the type of love she irrationally craved, that clawed at her insides with every implicit rejection. Kara shifted to look at her, the sides of her face illuminated by the rest of the world flashing by in an ethereal glow. Her lips curved upwards in a fond smile and in that moment, Lena was eternally satisfied.
Kara chewed on her bottom lip. Lena knew something was on her mind and willed her thoughts not to spiral.
"A penny for your thoughts?" Lena whispered into the punctuated darkness — their own secret confessional.
"I was just thinking," Kara stopped, swallowed and looked inclined to not finish her sentence.
"You can tell me." Lena gave her hand an encouraging squeeze.
"I just really wanted to go on this date and impress you, you know? I mean, of course you do. I asked you out in the first place." It was Kara's turn to rest her head on Lena’s shoulder. "When you saw the date, you looked...so enamoured with me. And I wanted to replicate that and Alex told me this was a bad idea but I went ahead with it anyway and I think I got a little carried away with —" she gestured at her bulging purse "— that. I'm sorry, Lena. I'm messing this up, aren’t I?"
"No! Absolutely not. It was actually a lot of fun, I promise. Well, minus the carrying it all around part. But you know, you could just hold onto it for me for the rest of the night?"
"Of course," Kara nodded, looking slightly relieved. They sank back into a comfortable silence, until Lena felt the irresistible urge to break it with her own confession.
"I'm actually really happy now."
Kara gave her a quizzical look and silently prompted her to continue.
"I'm really happy you want this to work as much as I do."
"Of course I do!" Kara gasped, leaning over Lena to rifle through her purse until she finally found it. Lena laid eyes on the olive jar for the second time that night. "I told you I olive you."
Lena pinched the bridge of her nose in faux exasperation, her lips were regrettably not in on the ruse and quirked up into a small smile at Kara's antics.
"But Kara, I just want you to know that you don't need to go out of your way to impress me. I don't think there's a single moment I haven't been. Impressed by you, that is."
Kara gazed up at her in rapt attention as she leaned down to whisper against her lips. "Because Kara Danvers, you are my —"
"Miss Luthor, Miss Danvers, we've arrived."
Lena pulled away, despite the protests from every fibre of her being — to just lean down a little and connect them once more. Instead, she pushed the door open.
"Come on, you have a battle with a whole army of pancakes ahead and we need to see who's batter." With that, Lena sauntered off nonchalantly, leaving Kara gaping behind her and struggling to keep up.
"Did-did you just make a pun?"
Another pancake disappeared, sucked into the black hole that was Kara Danvers' mouth. Lena smiled up from her milkshake and watched Kara clean off another plate. The other patrons had given them questioning looks — their attire more suited to upscale restaurants than a dingy diner off the side of a highway — but they were openly staring now, gawking at how much her Kryptonian girlfriend could consume.
Lena shot them withering looks one by one and heads slowly swivelled back to focus their attention on their own food instead.
"C'mon Lena, just one slice?" Kara offered her pancakes to her, pout already beginning to form. The problem was: Kara’s definition of 'one slice' was a three-layered behemoth so tall that Lena might just dislocate her jaw while trying to fit it all into her mouth.
Kara pushed it towards her insistently. Dislocated jaw it was then. At the petrified look on her face, Kara took mercy on her and bit off the lowest layer first.
"Good?" Kara mumbled through her pancakes.
"Surprisingly so. What with all that on it." Lena wrinkled her nose in disgust, gesturing to the soggy stack and the accompanying mountain of whipped cream in front of Kara.
"But that's the best part!" Kara protested, huffing indignantly. "I think this might be a deal breaker right here. I don't think I could love someone who doesn't love extra whipped cream and syrup."
"Oh please, your olives are still in my car."
"Alright, you caught me. And can you blame me? I can't eggsplain how much you mean to me with just words." Kara said, lifting a sunny side up egg up between her knife and fork to illustrate her point. Lena's face lit up with hers, like two bulbs in series inextricably linked to each other.
The hours blurred into each other; the conversation continued flowing easily between them, with Kara ordering more to the waitress' horror and Lena periodically sipping through her paper straw. The tall milkshake glass was replaced by another after much convincing by Kara — she had acquiesced, settling for a different flavour this time. The patrons slowly trickled out, leaving just the two of them oblivious to the loud ticking of the old wall clock counting down the seconds since they'd arrived. It was at ten thousand, nine hundred and twenty-five — Lena calculated it at the cashier waiting for her receipt while Kara busied herself with her last plate. They finally walked out the door as the clock struck 1. The back-and-forth continued in the car — it must've the world's longest game of verbal tennis as far as Lena knew — only pausing when they had arrived at Kara's apartment to drop her off, which became walking her to her doorstep, which then evolved to Lena dismissing her driver for the night so she could stay instead.
"Actually, there's one more thing." Kara said hesitantly, beginning to fiddle with her belt buckle as she turned her back to Lena. "I know this is technically our first date and it might be a little too soon and I just want to say that the placement may be a little unfortunate but Winn couldn't figure out how to make the pocket dimensions big enough and it wouldn't fit in any of my pockets so I had to improvise."
Lena swallowed as she heard the pull of Kara's zipper down, down, down, almost felt it too — deep in her bones and maybe her core.
"Should I bend over the counter now?"
"Wh-what? Yes-I mean no! Nope nope no — maybe? If you want to? I don't know!" Kara had turned around by then, her pants were (unfortunately) done up. In her hands — long, bulky and milky white with short tufts of green on one end.
"Can I radish you?" There was a slight tremble to Kara's voice. Lena didn't know if she should attribute it to anticipation or trepidation but she did know how to rectify that.
"Forget the counter. I think I like the bedroom more."