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Bizarre Love Triangle

Chapter Text

I paint inside the lines
Takes me too much time
You're a mess and that's all I want to be
Loosen up a bit
Flex and take the hit
If I make you better then let's come together now

“Come Together Now” - Matt and Kim

 

 

Andrea hasn’t stopped laughing for the past four minutes.

She’s chortling so riotously, she’s fallen over onto her side; she’s lying on the sofa in Lena’s office, clutching Lena’s cellphone in her hand. Face red, tears coming to her eyes, her body shakes uncontrollably with maniacal mirth. On the other end of the couch sits Sam, who’s chuckling along, but nowhere near the hysterical hyena stage that Andrea is in. The remnants of their lunches sit on the coffee table, forgotten.

Lena leans forward from her seat in the adjacent armchair and snatches her cellphone back. “Okay, it’s not that funny.”

“Yesss,” Andrea wheezes amidst peals of laughter. “Yes, it is. Those costumes! Ducks! Acapella! Fall Out Boy! This is the best thing I’ve ever seen. It’s so bad.”

Protectively (belatedly), Lena tucks her cellphone away into the pocket of her suit jacket, muttering, “I really shouldn’t have shown you two the video.”

Andrea quiets herself and with one last, long chuckle, pulls herself up back into a seated position. “No, no, thank you. That made my week.”

With clear disbelief, Sam asks, “And you said that… Kara liked it?”

Lena nods, grimacing as she does. “She loved it.”

Andrea snickers. “She must be really hot if you’re putting up with this kind of nonsense.”

Lena purses her lips, displeased. “You’re missing the context to it. These are all things that she shares with Mike. It’s sweet.”

“And terrible!” Andrea exclaims. “My god! And how seriously those guys took themselves. It’s so corny.”

“They were having fun,” Lena says, somewhat snappishly. “Not everything has to be wrapped in seven layers of cynicism.”

“Says the queen of cynicism,” Andrea returns. “Admit it, Lena. If Kara wasn’t into it, you’d be making fun of it too. I mean, what does that even say about you two?”

“I kind of agree with Andrea,” Sam says. “I mean, I didn’t think the video was that bad, but I sit through grade school musicals on a regular basis. The fact that you don’t think it’s the worst thing ever is alarming. You find NPR sophomoric.”

Lena defends herself with an indignant, “Sometimes Ira Glass sacrifices rationality for mawkishness!”

Andrea pats Lena’s leg, face full of mock sympathy. “There, there. Let’s not get you all worked up about public radio programming again. It’s okay if you decide that acapella covers of emo songs are suddenly cool because Kara’s into it. It’s also okay to admit that you’re whipped.”

Scowling, Lena plucks up Andrea’s hand, flinging it back to her. “I’m not whipped. Kara and I aren’t in a relationship. We have a mutually beneficial arrangement.”

“Yeah, I totally meet my fuck buddy’s friends and family and spend Valentine’s Day with them,” Andrea says. Sarcastically. Obviously.

Still with that same scowl on her face, Lena picks up the remnants of her salad and drags her fork through it. “We didn’t spend it together. I left after Mike called.”

“Yeah, can we go back to that for a sec?” Sam asks. “What was that like? What’s he like?”

“It was… fine.” Lena shovels through the leafy greens until she unearths an olive and stabs her fork through it. “He seemed nice. We didn’t really get to chatting.”

“But he knew who you were?” Sam presses. “Like he knows about you and Kara?”

Lena pushes down harder with her fork, making sure that olive is good and dead. “Yes. He knew who I was. Kara’s said she’s told him that she ‘made a new friend.’ Whatever that means, but it seemed like he knew. I don’t know, it’s not like we compared notes.”

“Was that awkward?”

“I don’t know, Sam. Is it supposed to be awkward to meet the boyfriend of the woman you’re sleeping with?” Lena eats her olive, biting down with way more aggression than anyone needs for an olive.

“Yep,” Andrea nods. “This is exactly how I would react if I had a totally casual, absolutely no-strings-attached, no feelings at all arrangement with a fuck buddy.”

Lena practically throws her salad back on the table. “Okay, fine, it was weird. It doesn’t mean that I have feelings for Kara, I’ve never been with someone who has a partner already. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do with that, how I’m supposed to act. So, yes, Sam, it was awkward. No, Andrea, it doesn’t go any deeper than that. You really want to know what I think of Kara’s boyfriend? I’m grateful. She has him, which means she’s not going to try and make this thing more than what it is: two lonely people fucking to distract themselves until things get better.”

Her friends sit silent, absorbing her words; they share a brief look with one another, arriving at the same conclusion: they must torture Lena more.

“Better be some good fucking then,” Sam says teasingly.

Andrea follows up with. “I can’t believe you traveled to Queens for sex. Queens!”

Lena scoffs derisively. “You used to date some guy who lives in Paris.”

“Yeah, but that’s Paris.”

Lena rolls her eyes. She starts reaching out for her salad again, but is momentarily distracted by the buzzing of the phone intercom on her desk.

“Miss Luthor,” comes her assistant’s voice over the line. “There’s a Kara Danvers here with a delivery for you. Should I just have her leave it?”

“She drops by for lunch?” Andrea exclaims, her voice shrill on the last word in disbelief. “Seriously?”

Befuddled, Lena gazes toward the phone. “No, she’s never done that before. I don’t know what this is. But I can have her leave whatever it is, I’ll text her later.”

She looks back at her friends, just in time to see them exchange a knowing, conspiratorial glance. Lena meets their eyes and immediately sees right through them. She jumps up to rush for the intercom, but she’s too slow. Sam tackles her, pinning her back into her seat as Andrea rushes for the phone.

Andrea half-collides into Lena’s desk, scrambling for the intercom button. “Hey, Jess,” she says smoothly. “No, don’t have her leave it. Lena says to send Kara in right away.”

“No! What are you doing?!” Lena hisses.

Giggling, Sam lets her up. “You’ve met her friends. Why can’t we meet her?”

“Because!” Annoyed and petulant, Lena actually stomps her foot. “Kara and I haven’t talked about it! We can’t just ambush-”

The door to the office is pushed open, and Lena quickly shuts up. Kara Danvers, all sunshine and happiness, bounces in, practically skipping.

“Lena- ope!” Kara halts in her steps as she spots Andrea and Sam. “I’m sorry, were you in a meeting?”

“No, no, just lunch with my friends.” Reflexively, Lena’s taking a step forward to kiss the blonde on the cheek, until she remembers her friends’ presence. She settles for a quick hug instead. “Kara, these are my friends. Andrea. Sam.”

“Hi,” Andrea and Sam chorus.

Kara beams, as if she’s been bestowed with a great honor by meeting Lena’s friends. “Hi! I’m Kara. Oh, well, I guess Lena said that. Um, it’s nice to meet you. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt your lunch.”

Beating Lena to the punch, Andrea says, “Not at all. We were just talking about you, actually. Lena was showing us the video of the acapella ducks.”

Kara’s grin grows wider at the mention. “Yeah? Did you like it?”

“Oh, I definitely enjoyed it,” Andrea answers, quite honestly. Just maybe not in the way Kara thinks.

Sensing danger, Lena looks for a way to end the interaction. “Andrea and Sam were just leaving.”

“Were we?” Andrea asks cheekily.

Turning her back to Kara to face her friends, Lena shoots them her best death glare. Which, truthfully, is terrifying. “Yes, Andrea. You have a two o’clock with the J&J reps and I’d like you to go over the data with Brainy beforehand.”

Even as Andrea scoffs incredulously, there’s a victorious smirk on her face. “Are you actually bossing me around right now?”

“Well, you do work for me.”

“Details,” Andrea dismisses with a wave of her hand. She looks like she has more to say, but she’s silenced by Sam taking her by the crook of her elbow.

“Come on, we should go.”

They collect their things and head towards the door, Sam first, followed by Andrea, who’s lingering and looking Kara over at every opportunity. She makes her way to the exit by squeezing in between Lena and Kara. She pauses, takes a good look at Kara, then turns to Lena.

“Well, I do see why you put up with the nonsense.” She flounces out, leaving Lena silently glowering.

Kara waits for Andrea and Sam to leave, closing the door behind them, before she turns to Lena. “They didn’t really like the ducks, did they?”

Lena hesitates momentarily, then goes with, “It’s not really their taste.”

“And you hate it too,” Kara says, more in curious observation than reproach.

Lena steps towards the sofa to sit, taking the opportunity to think over her response. “Hate is a strong word. I don’t hate many things. Planes. Salmon. Tequila. Singing ducks don’t make the list.”

Kara follows Lena to the couch, choosing to sit right next to her instead of at the other end. “Okay, I know it’s a little cheesy. But what’s not to like about people making music with their mouths? It’s fun!”

Chuckling with fondness, Lena scoops up Kara’s hand in her own. “Don’t take it personally. We’re bitter New Yorkers. We tend not to like anything emotive. The only thing that’s important is that it made you happy. I’m glad that you were able to enjoy your Valentine’s Day.”

At that, Kara dips her head, looking suddenly abashed. “Yeah, um, about that…” she pulls back from Lena to reach into her tote, retrieving a thermos. “Um, you left so suddenly. I, I didn’t know what to say. I was hoping that we’d… well, anyway, I promised you hot chocolate, so.”

Wordlessly, Lena accepts the thermos. When Kara looks at her expectantly, it prompts her into action, unscrewing the lid and taking a slow, ginger sip.

“You’re right. It’s good.”

“I just, I just felt bad that I didn’t get to make you any,” Kara murmurs, looking down and fiddling with the straps of her tote. “I, um. I was… I was looking forward to spending the day with you.”

In the midst of taking another sip, Lena tips the thermos too far; her mouth is overwhelmed by sweet, just-too-hot liquid. She pulls the container away, pressing her lips together and running her sore tongue against the roof of her mouth.

“Me too,” she says gently. “But it’s better that you got to spend it with Mike, isn’t it?”

Kara nods, looks up, and flashes a smile that’s almost genuine. “Definitely. Yeah. Anyway, I just came by to give you that.”

“Thank you. I’m very happy you did.”

Kara’s smile stretches wider, more authentic in appearance. “So, um… when is your lunch hour over?”

With a mix of amusement and puzzlement, Lena quirks an eyebrow. “Well, I don’t exactly have a lunch hour. I kind of own the company.”

“Right, right.” Kara adjusts her glasses and glances at Lena out of the corner of her eyes, shyly. “Um. Well, I have another fifteen minutes before I have to head out. So. I don’t know.” She looks at Lena intently, who gives her nothing. “Do… you…” Lena smiles coyly, her eyes darkening in anticipation, but still silent. “Want to… maybe…” Kara shrugs, looking embarrassed but determined. “Make out?”

“Yes,” Lena replies swiftly.

Kara blossoms into a relieved grin. “Yeah?”

“Absolutely.”

Then Kara’s leaning over, invading Lena’s space, slotting their mouths together with no preamble. They dive right into frenetic embrace, greedy hands on the prowl as their tongues lap and lick. Lena feels the low arm of the sofa digging into the small of her back as Kara presses forth, and finds herself not caring one iota at the discomfort. They lose themselves in intoxicating pleasure, the time slipping away as easily as their self-restraint.

Kara’s phone chirps, breaking the spell. She withdraws and, with glasses still askew, fumbles with pulling out her phone to turn off the alarm. Lena sits back, leaning heavily against the side of the couch, chest heaving as she watches the blonde.

“I should go,” Kara says mournfully.

Lena hums in response, moving closer to give Kara a goodbye kiss. Which turns into two and three and so forth.

With agonizing reluctance, Kara draws back, just inches away. In a low whisper, she asks, “Can I come over tonight?”

Promptly, Lena answers, “Yes.” Then, with sincere regret, “Wait, I have a late night tonight. I need to be on a call at seven with a supplier in California.”

With zero hesitation, Kara offers, “I’ll wait.”

“I don’t know how long it’ll be. It might be an hour, maybe more.”

“I don’t care.”

Lena bites at her bottom lip, feeling guilty at the thought of inconveniencing the other woman, but then she sees the deadly serious look in Kara’s eyes and reaches a conclusion: they’re both stupidly horny enough for this that she shouldn’t feel bad. After all, she knows that she would do the exact same if the situation is reversed.

She stands up and strides to her desk, taking her purse and rummaging through until she finds what she’s looking for. She makes her way back to Kara, who’s watching her in patient but perplexed silence. Lena sits back downstairs and hands Kara what she’s come up with: her keys.

“You can go to my place after work. I’ll tell the doorman you’re coming. Make yourself comfortable and I’ll be there as soon as I can.”

Kara takes the keys, a goofy and delighted grin on her face. “I’ll be counting the minutes.”

As it turns out, Kara doesn’t have to wait that long. Lena gets on the phone with the manufacturer at 7:00 PM, and they conclude their business by 7:20. (Weeks later, Andrea will discover that Lena agreed to pay a somewhat inflated price on the contract they signed and scold her for not negotiating harder. To which Lena will explain that it’s a perk for owning the company. Andrea won’t understand, but it won’t matter.)

When Lena gets home, she finds Kara curled up on the couch with her laptop open. As soon as Lena’s through the door, Kara’s rising to greet her with a kiss on the lips. They order delivery from a local fast casual chain which specializes in Shaanxi cuisine, a region in Northwest China. Today’s menu features liang pi, cold, bouncy noodles doused in vinegar and chili oil, laced with crunchy vegetables and spongy seitan; spicy cumin lamb with hand-ripped noodles, al-dente, greasy, and hearty; and of course, dumplings, in this case, juicy lamb dumplings that are sour and spicy.

Kara pinches a long strand of noodle with her chopsticks. “Noodles in the street-” she stops, frowning in concentration.

After a long moment waiting for Kara to say something, Lena says, “Did you start talking before you knew how it was going to end?”

“I really thought that it would just come to me.” Kara stares at her noodle accusingly, as if it had somehow betrayed her. “Oodles? Poodles? Toodles? Strudel?”

“Canoodle?”

“Doesn’t have the same oomph.”

“Brutal. Kit and caboodle. No scruples.”

“Those are all terrible.”

Lena shrugs, digging back into her meal. “I’m not the one who insists on playing this ridiculous game.”

In mock horror, Kara drops her jaw, then pouts. “I thought you liked my game.”

“I do like your game. It’s adorable because it’s usually very bad.”

Kara huffs with over-the-top indignation. “Excuse you, they’re brilliant.”

“Brilliantly bad. And I did say adorable, didn’t I? You have no shame about how bad they are and lucky for you, I’m into that.”

Kara hums in acknowledgement. “Okay, if you want brilliantly bad, then: noodles in the street, oodles of canoodles between the sheets.”

“Adorable,” Lena says as she nibbles on a cucumber. “And after dinner, I’ll show you just how into it I am.”

Lena does make good on that later. Repeatedly.

Then it’s late and time again for Kara to go. When Lena asks if she wants to stay, Kara sputters something about having work the next day and not having anything to wear. Lena doesn’t argue. She just quietly puts on her robe, walks Kara to the door, and kisses her goodnight.

There’s something not quite right there, she knows. Some reason why Kara won’t stay, even though everything else she’s done so far suggests that she likes spending time with Lena, doesn’t mind the closeness of their burgeoning friendship, and there should be no reason for this behavior. And yet here they are.

Lena pushes the thought out of her mind as she climbs into bed. Maybe one day she’ll get to the bottom of it, but certainly not today.

***

It turns out that her chance comes just a few days later. On Friday afternoon, she gets a text from Kara. She’s meeting James and Winn for a drink after work at a bar nearby Lena’s office, and would Lena like to join them?

Lena quickly taps out a message agreeing.

She meets them at a loud, trendy bar full of suit-and-tie young working professionals. It’s a fun, easy evening. Neither James nor Winn seem too interested in delving into her relationship- no, arrangement- with Kara. But Winn does ask many, many questions on L-Corp’s bioinformatic tools, and she does catch James staring at her a few times, and she doesn’t know what to make of it.

But she has fun. She argues with Winn on the merits and drawbacks of Python and R, and why SAS is still a thing. She discusses and compares with James the works of Nan Goldin and Robert Mapplethorpe. All the while, she sits next to Kara, palming her thigh underneath the table. Uninhibited, uncaring, Kara leans heavily into her, arm circled around her waist, occasionally resting her head against the brunette’s shoulder. If Winn and James are bemused by this display, they hide it well.

At the end of the night, they all say goodnight, and nobody even questions that Kara’s following Lena home.

***

Naked and spent, they lie quietly side-by-side in bed, only just touching with the back of their hands. Lena’s heart rate has slowed and skin has cooled, and this would normally be the point where she falls asleep if it isn’t for what she knows is going to happen next.

Right on time, Kara stirs. “I should go.”

“You can stay,” Lena offers quietly. “If you’d like.”

Apprehension instantly overtakes Kara. “I, I don’t think I can.”

“Why not? Tomorrow’s Saturday. You don’t have brunch with Alex and that’s when we usually see each other anyway.”

Kara’s mouth flaps uselessly. Lena sighs and rolls onto her back, staring up at the ceiling.

“I, I just,” Kara stammers. “I, um, I think I left my dishes in the sink this morning. Um, I should go take care of that. Indigo’s going to lose her mind if I leave it overnight.”

Lena doesn’t move. Doesn’t look over. “Okay.” But when Kara starts shifting out from under the covers, the impulse breaks. “Why do you never stay?”

Kara halts. Lena, still lying on her back, staring up at the ceiling, can feel Kara’s eyes upon her, radiating panic and uncertainty.

“Um. I, I don’t, um, I, just, uh, well, I-”

Cutting through the incoherent stammering, Lena says, “You never stay over. Even though, at the beginning, you said you’d be fine with it.” She now turns her head to look at the blonde, who looks downright alarmed. “But you let me stay at your place the other night. You asked me to. So which is it? Are overnights okay or not?”

Kara rolls onto her side, facing Lena, curling herself up into a ball beneath the covers. “I, um, I don’t, it’s- well, in the beginning, I meant what I said at the time, uh, it didn’t seem like it’d be a big deal. But, um, I, uh, there was just some stuff that didn’t occur to me at the time.”

Copying Kara, Lena rolls onto her side, curling herself up and facing her bedmate. “Darling, I’m just trying to get some clarity. I want to know what your boundaries are. If you’re not comfortable staying here, please tell me. Or if it’s something that I’ve done-”

“It’s nothing like that,” Kara interrupts. “You have done nothing. It’s really, really not you and I want to stay, but, um...”

“Kara.” Lena reaches out and gently strokes Kara’s cheek. “You don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to. But I do wish you would. If there’s something that’s bothering you, whatever it is, I’d like to know.”

“Okay.” Kara fidgets and inhales deeply as she gathers her courage. “Um, so, the reason why I haven’t stayed over…” she trails off in a groan as she feels her embarrassment overwhelm her. She pulls the covers up, halfway across her face so that only her eyes, which are definitely not meeting Lena’s, remain uncovered. Her voice dropping to a low murmur, she continues, “So the thing is that…”

“It’s all right,” Lena says kindly.

Kara inhales sharply again. And lets it out. “Idomybusinessinthemorning.”

Lena blinks, unsure of what she heard and what it means. “You do… what?”

Burrowing her head under the covers, Kara moans, “Oh, god, this is so embarrassing.”

“I don’t understand.”

“My business,” comes Kara’s muffled voice from under the covers. “In the morning. That’s, when, you know, I… go.”

“Go… where?”

Kara huffs beneath the covers. “You know. Go. Like… in the bathroom. The… big one.”

As she starts to understand the reference, Lena finds herself even more confused. She grabs the edge of the covers and pulls back to reveal Kara’s head, who moans pathetically at the unveiling. “Are you talking about defecation?”

The groan Kara emits is deeply pained. “Why do you have to say it like that? That is like the worst possible word you could use.”

“Sorry. Uh. I don’t understand. What’s the issue?”

“I don’t, um, I feel weird about… um, you know, doing that here.”

“That’s why you won’t stay over?” Lena’s dawning realization is soon followed by disbelief and amusement. “That’s why you won’t stay over?! Because you don’t want to use my bathroom?”

“Just for that! I don’t, I don’t have a problem with other stuff. When we first talked about overnights, I didn’t think about the fact that I’d, um, well that I’d have to… use your bathroom in the morning… for- stop laughing!”

Lena, now quaking with laughter, places a placating hand on Kara’s waist. “Oh, Kara, darling. That is ridiculous! Do you think that I think you don’t have bowel movements? You’re not an alien. I’d be alarmed if you didn’t.”

“There’s a difference between knowing and… experiencing.” Kara turns bright red, and Lena cackles at the pure awkwardness of it all. “No, I just, just the thought of me being in there, and you in the next room, knowing what I’m doing- and like, the odor and- ugh, god, what if it clogs. It, it’s just, it’s mortifying!” As Lena positively howls with mirth, Kara continues, “You don’t understand! It’s a big deal for me! I have a sense of propriety about these things. I’ve known Mike all my life and it still took me like, seven months of dating after he moved to New York for me to do it at his place.”

Lena, gasping for breath, tries to restrain herself. “Here I am, expecting something so much more serious. Like a childhood trauma or fear of crossing boundaries or a promise to Mike or something - but you just don’t want me to know that you have normal bodily functions?”

“Ugh, Lena, look at you. You’re so gorgeous and put-together and just so you. And for whatever reason, you find me attractive too and I- I just want you to think of me as sexy and that is definitely not sexy.”

“But you let me stay over at your place,” Lena points out. “How is that any different?”

“Uhhhhhh,” Kara sounds, delaying explaining because she’s aware of how this is going to sound. “So, um, remember when I went to get you breakfast? Um, well, Alex lives two blocks away, so…”

Kara trails off as this new information sets Lena off into another round of hysterical laughter.

“You snuck out of your own apartment to use your sister’s bathroom!”

Groaning again, Kara draws the blanket over her head once more. “I told you that it was embarrassing!”

Lena stifles her laugher, and pokes at the shoulder-shaped mound on the blanket. “Kara.”

“Yeah?”

“Guess what?”

Kara pokes her head out. “What?”

“I poop too.”

Those words, coming out of Lena freaking Luthor’s mouth, highlighting the absurdity of it all, sends Kara into a giggling fit. She rolls into Lena; huddled close, the two of them chuckle with unrestrained hilarity, bodies vibrating against the other’s.

When they finally settle, Lena presses a kiss against the blonde’s bare shoulders. “Darling, I promise, I find you sexy and it won’t put me off to know that you have healthy bodily functions. I’d love to have you spend the night here. If you’re really not comfortable, that’s okay. But if you’re amenable, I’d like to try and make you comfortable with it. For example, what if you ran the shower? We’ll just pretend you’re taking a long shower. Would that make it less embarrassing?”

Kara emits a low, soft, curious grunt. “That’s wasting water.”

“A candle, then. They have bubble bath scented candles. You can use the bathroom attached to the guest room. It’s in a decentralized location, far away from where I’ll be in my room or the living room. And maybe you just ‘take a bubble bath’ in the mornings.”

“Okay, um, well, maybe,” Kara says grudgingly. “I mean, not tonight though. I wasn’t kidding about the dishes. Indigo gets really mad if they’re left in the sink overnight.”

“No rush,” Lena assures her. “If and when you’re ready.”

So that night, Kara returns to her own place, feeling simultaneously discomfited and elated at having shared something deeply mortifying for her. (And yes, she does the dishes, thereby avoiding a strained encounter with her roommate.)

Then it’s Saturday, their day. In the afternoon, Kara gets back on the subway headed for Lena’s apartment, optimistically (nervously) carrying a small overnight bag with her - just in case.

When she gets to Lena’s, she finds a giant bubble bath scented candle on prominent display in the living room. Alongside a hardcover children’s picture book titled Everyone Poops. Lena insists on reading it out loud, holding up the pages as she chases Kara through the apartment until the pair, shrieking with laughter, collapse into a pile on Lena’s bed, where they quickly forget about puerile play in exchange for prurient passion.

And that night, Kara finally stays over.

And maybe takes a bubble bath in the morning.

***

Kara hurriedly slides into the booth, twenty-five minutes late to meeting her sister for brunch. Alex is scowling, which only deepens when Kara tells her why she’s late.

“You. Stayed. Over.” Alex repeats in disbelief. “At Lena’s.”

“Yup.” Kara’s perusing the menu, as if she doesn’t know every single item by heart.

“You don’t do that.”

“I do now.” The amends, “Or with Lena I do.”

“It took you like seven months before you stayed overnight at Mike’s,” says Alex, utterly incredulous. “And you crashed my Valentine’s Day morning with Kelly to use my bathroom because Lena was in your apartment.”

Kara shrugs. “I guess I’m growing.”

“Growing or falling?”

“Not in love with Lena.” Kara wrinkles her brows as she studies the menu. “Do I want waffles or an omelette?”

“No, you’re not in love with her. You’re just comfortable enough with her to do things that you’ve never done with anybody else.”

“Yeah, exactly,” Kara agrees, entirely missing the sarcasm, maybe deliberately, maybe not. “She’s becoming a good friend.” She taps a finger against the plastic diner menu. “They make really good waffles, but I’m also craving an omelette right now.”

“A good friend. Who you sleep with. And spend a lot of time with. What does that sound like to you?”

“A really good friend,” Kara answers nonchalantly. Their server comes by, and Kara passes the menu over. “May I please have the waffles and the veggie omelette?” She finishes ordering and turns her attention back to Alex. “Who says I can’t have both?”

Alex squints at her in confusion. “Okay, I know you’re like trying to do a thing here, but you’re just going to end up proving my point when you make yourself sick trying to finish everything and failing. Also? Mike and Lena aren’t breakfast foods.”

“No, they’re total snacks.”

Alex gapes at her sister until finally, she lets out a long, long, tired sigh, like a slowly deflating balloon. “Let’s just talk about… I don’t know. Literally anything else.”

“Um. Okay. Can you believe the MTA’s raising the fare again?”

They don’t talk about Lena again for the rest of brunch. Their food comes. Valiantly, Kara tries to finish everything, but of course fails because these diner portions are outlandish. So when Alex gets up to use the restroom, she waves the server over and pays a twenty dollar bribe to have the food boxed up, kept behind the counter, and the dirty plates brought back to the table. When Alex returns to the table, she looks deeply skeptical of the suddenly empty plates, which had been at least half-full five minutes ago. Kara flashs an innocent grin. They leave the diner together, and Kara doubles back later to pick up her leftovers.

Kara goes ahead and counts this as a victory. The fact that she suspects Alex isn’t at all fooled doesn’t deter her in the least.