Lena let her head fall back to the leather headrest as the town car rumbled lightly over the gravel of the road. They’d left the highway more than half-an-hour ago, moving to progressively less paved streets and incrementally farther from civilization, until what amounted to a dirt driveway that, the raven-haired woman hoped, led to her destination. She had expected this, of course. The whole idea behind “getting away” was that you actually got away, or that was what Sam had said, anyways. But it was the sheer distance away the Luthor was getting, or being taken, that was starting to worry her. Sam had not given her much choice, after all. Nor had Jess. The CEO made a mental note, when she was back at the office, to curtail what she felt like calling “sabotage at the executive level”.
The woman ran a hand over her face. She shouldn’t be so mad. (She was still going to be, but she knew she shouldn’t.) They were right. She had been working herself to death. But Lex hadn’t given her much choice. Neither had Lillian. That seemed to have been the theme of Lena’s life for a good portion of the last year, right up to this moment, actually: Not really having the option to say “no.”
There she had been, cozy and comfortable, working in her little corner of the lab, almost anonymous, as far away from her surname and the company that went along with it as she could get. Then SEC hearings and full page, Daily Planet spreads and the financial world left reeling and an entire boardroom and a host of stockholders looking desperately for leadership and deciding the raven-haired genius fit the bill, mostly because she shared the same last name as the building.
In hindsight, it had been the best move for all involved. Lena had never once wanted a position of power in LuthorCorp, let alone the top seat. Yet it was that desire that had probably left enough room in her for the sort of morals and ethics that normally would have been occupied by the overblown ego that most Luthors would call a personality. She had spent months extricating the company from the rather sizable hole Lex had dug for it with a mixture of apathy and greed. She had ruffled quite a few feathers along the way, especially when she backed them away from all weapons research and other things of a morally questionable nature. Still, stocks were on the rise, and people were starting to say “Luthor” in a way that at least sounded like it might not be negative.
The downside of that was that the raven-haired, still fairly new CEO had not had a vacation, let alone a day off, in nearly a year. That, of course, had only partially been her fault. There was just so much to do, and it didn’t help that the moment when the you-know-what hit the fan, Lex jetted off to Monaco, where he was no doubt spending his trust fund on women, wine, and some gambling thing that also started with a W, and Lillian, so overwhelmed by the news of her son’s business and personal failings, which, really, should not have been news, also absconded straight to an exclusive spa on some island only super-rich people know about. The last thing Lena was about to do was take time off.
Still, it was starting to show. From angrily silencing an entire boardroom in what was probably a totally deserved response to implied sexism from a board member to just generally being short with people at all hours of the day, Lena knew she was slowly losing it. The final straw had come when she had snapped at her long-suffering, extremely talented, and completely loyal assistant, Jess, for some very minor mishap with her schedule. The raven-haired woman, upon immediately realizing what she had done, was so heart-broken that she nearly burst into tears when she had called the woman into her office to apologize profusely. Her saint of a PA had simply brought her a box of Kleenex and did the only thing that made sense, which was call Lena’s best friend, and company CFO, Sam. When the tall, brunette woman had stepped into her office, Lena did burst into tears and admitted to her equally long-suffering BFF that she didn’t know what she was going to do.
It had been a cathartic moment that, at the time, the younger Luthor sibling would have thought might just serve as release enough by itself, but which she was soon to find out was only taken by her companions as a signal flare that desperate measures were required. It was less than a day before Lena found all of her appointments suddenly vanish, and Sam showed up at her office with a suitcase she had packed for Lena and told her there was a car waiting for her downstairs.
It had been a bit of a whirlwind after that. Lena hardly remembered the elevator ride to the garage. She was nearly inside the town car before it finally hit her what was happening, and she yelled at Sam even as the woman slammed the door in her face and rapt her knuckles on the roof as a signal to the driver to speed away.
Just like that, Lena Luthor was on vacation.
The details, naturally, had been sketchy, no doubt to prevent the raven-haired woman from changing them or otherwise weaseling out of this. For all she knew, she was on her way to an insane asylum with padded walls and jackets that hugged you ever so tightly. She wished that didn’t actually sound pleasant right now. She called Sam no less than three times and her assistant twice. Neither woman answered, but Lena left some very explicit voice mails.
Finally, Sam texted her simply: “Trust me.”
Lena texted back: “Can I at least know where I’m going?”
And Sam replied only: “You’ll like it.”
That had been some hours ago. Lena managed a short nap in the back of the town car that, like most naps in the back of a car, did little to make her less tired and gave her a crick in her neck. City had long since given way to countryside, trees growing like giants on either side as they descended further and further into the state’s interior and closer and closer to what felt like a serial killer’s paradise. As bitter as she was, though, the woman had to admit the scenery was nice.
Just as she was starting to wonder if the dirt and gravel the entirely-too-nice-for-this-environment town car was currently making its way down was somehow going to give way to an even less-paved road, they rounded a bend in the driveway and the close trees opened up into a view that actually took Lena’s breath away.
She immediately noted two things about her destination. One was the lake house, which was most certainly a lake house based on its proximity to the second thing, which was the lake. A glorious expanse of crystal blue water stretched out in front of her, sparkling in the afternoon light. The car stopped, and her driver, Charles, stepped out, opening her door. The CEO slid out, her feet landing on gravel, eyes so fixed on the azure picture in front of her that she hardly noticed as Charles unloaded her suitcases. The clean, cool air hit her lungs and she nearly fainted. When she finally managed to tear her eyes away from the view, she noted the lake house. It was small, at least as Luthor vacation spots go, and had none of the architectural affectation you might expect from a billionaire CEO’s getaway. Rather than some modern attempt to copy a Frank Lloyd Wright, the house had a very cottage-like feel full of stone and wood that the Luthor didn’t realize until this moment that she really liked. It looked homey. She wondered if the interior would match and finally noticed Charles standing by the front door. She stepped towards it, and he handed her a set of keys before opening the door and ushering her in.
The interior not only matched but managed to one-up the exterior in homeliness. It was small, but cozy felt like a much better word. She scanned the living room, taking in the leather sofa and fireplace, unable to stop the thrill that lanced through her at the picture it drew in her head of quiet nights. She finally turned back to her driver, still standing by the entryway.
“Thank you, Charles,” she said, the first and only words she had uttered to the man since she had been forced into the car. “I’m sorry you had to drive out so far.”
He only smiled in reply. “My pleasure, Ms. Luthor.” He moved her luggage inside then stood by the door again. “Ms. Arias wanted me to make sure the kitchen was stocked, as she requested, in case I have to run into town for supplies.” The man motioned further into the house but didn’t move, somehow hesitant to step any more into her space. Lena realized he was her last connection to the outside world and wondered if Sam hadn’t been insistent about that.
The woman nodded. “I’ll check.” And she stepped to go deeper into the house before stopping, turning back to the man to ask, “How far are we from town?”
Charles replied, with a smile, “Ms. Arias told me to tell me you ‘too far to walk.’”
Lena nodded and ventured further in. A dining room with a wooden table and chairs jutted off from the living room further connecting to the kitchen, which was impressive in its modern fixtures but, most of all, its stone and wood that further worked the cottage theme, and, goddammit, how did Sam manage to find the one lake house that was the picture of Lena’s perfect vacation home when she herself hadn’t even realize it was until just now? She managed to move past that and opened the fridge to confirm it was stocked with food, and not just any food but what Sam would certainly call “real food” as opposed to the “rabbit feed” she had more than once accused the CEO of subsisting on.
“Everything looks good,” she said as she stepped back into the living room.
Charles nodded again. “Well, I’ll leave you to it.”
She followed the man out, pausing at the door as he stepped back to the town car. “Sorry again about the drive,” she said. She motioned to the whole scene and sighed, “And for everything else.”
“No need, Ms. Luthor,” her drive replied. “When you take a vacation, it means I get to take a vacation.”
Lena Luthor finally managed to laugh. “Well, I hope you enjoy it.”
“You as well,” Charles said as he got in. He leaned out the window with a wave. “See you in a week.”
She waved back. She was halfway to closing the door when it hit her. “Wait. A week?” She threw the door open. “CHARLES!” But the man was gone, the town car having peeled out and already disappearing around the bend in the trees.
And just like that, Lena Luthor was completely alone.
In protest, she stood for a full minute in the doorway, staring at the settling cloud of dust, listening for the distant sound of the car driving away. Finally, Lena admitted defeat, closed the door, and stepped back into the house.
She explored the rest of the interior. The house was, indeed, cozy, with just one bedroom, dominated by a very comfortable looking, queen sized bed, piled high with blankets and pillows such that the woman was quite sure she was going to feel like she was being devoured by cotton and not really all that reluctant to give into that. She couldn’t quite guess at the house’s age, but it had clearly gone through a redesign. The bones were there, but the owners had stocked it with a lot of modern appointments, obviously spending a good bit of money not only on the kitchen, which was a dream from the granite countertops to the restaurant quality appliances, but on the bathroom too, with the deep, whirlpool tub and the enclosed shower.
Soon enough, though, the woman discovered the real draw of this place and most certainly the reason Sam had secured it. The lake. The dining room opened onto a wooden deck a literal stone’s throw from the stillest, clearest water Lena had ever scene. To say it was picturesque was an understatement. Lena felt like she had stepped out of the world into a painting, into a dream. She stood for the longest time at the glass doors that led to the backyard just staring. Until finally she realized she was still dressed in the clothes she had put on this morning, right before her “kidnapping.” As much as she had resisted the whole idea, she could admit a desire to rid herself of the last vestiges of business life. Time to change.
She brought the luggage into the bedroom, surprised to find that Sam had packed her more than one bag and wondering what all exactly her best friend had thought she might need. She opened the first to find clothes, which probably constituted all of what Lena had left as regards casual attire. She thumbed through, checking that Sam had seemed to remember to pack all the essentials, including, at the very bottom, something Lena most certainly would have forgotten to put in. She had to pull out everything, packing it in the chest of drawers at one end of the room, before she turned to stare at the pair of items lying flat on the bottom of her luggage.
It was a bikini. A red bikini. A red, string bikini Lena had not worn in a long time but had been purchased back when she had decidedly less important things to worry about than someone taking a picture of her in a bikini that was scandalously red. Had she made the decision herself, she would no doubt have packed a more conservative one piece, which was probably one of the many reasons Sam had not left it up to her. Lena lifted up the top and found a note tucked in one of the cups.
Have Fun!, it read in Sam’s handwriting.
Lena shook her head then packed the item in a drawer, wondering if she’d be brave enough, even all alone up here. She moved onto the other bags, one of which contained a number of toiletries and other items Lena might find necessary. That left the last bag, which Lena had to wonder at, all the suitable bases seemed to have been filled.
When she unzipped this one, Lena immediately realized why she needed this trip because she had neglected an important aspect of vacations, which the last bag was meant to satisfy: fun. She thought, briefly, that Sam must have had some help filling this bag. A thought that was confirmed immediately by the hand drawn card sitting on top, signed by Ruby, ordering Lena to enjoy herself “or else.”
The raven-haired woman allowed herself a smile. For that little nugget, she would certainly try. Next to a pile of candies and chocolate and a couple of bath bombs, Lena pulled out a box with a two-thousand piece puzzle, the kind she had Ruby had spent many a holiday putting together, back when she had made the wise decision not only to take holidays but to forgo any Luthor reunions and accept Sam’s offer to spend them with her and Ruby. Lena set that aside to look further into the bag. Ironically, she had just been thinking she could go for some reading material, thinking of the fireplace and that comfy couch. Her wish was granted, sort of. The bottom half of the suitcase was packed with books, most of which fell into the trashy romance category. She was going to kill Sam. No doubt, the tall brunette and her daughter had thought that would be hilarious. The only saving grace seemed to be that the covers of these bodice-rippers communicated they were of the kind where other women were doing the ripping. There was that, at least. While the woman searched further, her hand brushed something else tucked in the bottom of the bag, underneath the library of sensible reading materials. She pulled out a carrying case with a small, cylindrical item inside that, either from stress or sheer shock, Lena was not able to recognize. Another note was tucked next to it, also in Sam’s handwriting.
While you’re “reading”, it said with a winking smiley face drawn on the side. Lena stared at the note and the item. It didn’t look like a reading light, but she did find a switch on the bottom. When she flipped it on, the item began to buzz in her hands, and Lena figured out to her immediate shame what it was. She shut it off with a curse and shoved it back into the suitcase.
“Dammit, Sam!” she said to the empty house.
Lena shut the suitcase, leaving it on the bed and venturing back into the house. It was still early in the afternoon, too early for dinner, but the woman could admit a hankering for a snack, though not quite in vacation mode enough to break into Ruby’s sweets. She stepped back into the kitchen and opened the fridge, observing the “real food” Sam had provided. In another life, Lena had actually been a rather dedicated cook, back when she didn’t work 12-hour days and forget to eat lunch half the time. She looked forward to getting into that again, already putting together a few recipes from the material provided. She satisfied her craving with a handful of cashews from a can she found in the equally stocked pantry and stepped towards the back of the house.
The cool air hit her again as she stepped out onto the deck, and the woman had to wonder how she’d ever go back to the city, to not only the smog but the noise. The lake was still, nearly silent but for the very welcome cry of some bird in the distant. Lena stood on the deck, eyes closed, and let it all settle over her, feeling herself lighten as she did.
Her pocket buzzed. Lena remembered her phone and fished it out quickly, shaken out of her still nascent vacation brain and overcome by the sudden desire to get back to her old life. She paused when she saw the caller ID. It was LuthorCorp. Not only that, she recognized the number of the office of the CEO. She answered the phone and put it to her ear.
“Traitor,” she said immediately.
“So, how are you settling in?” Sam replied cheerily.
“This is mutiny. You know that, right?” Lena soldiered on, reminded now that she was pissed. “I could have you fired.”
“You could,” her friend said back, a smile in her voice. “But you won’t.”
“Don’t tempt me, Arias! That’s a primo job I got for you. I turned down scores of ivy league MBA’s.”
“None of which would put up with your bullshit.”
Lena swallowed back her reply and her anger. God, she loved this woman, even when she infuriated her.
“A week, Sam?” she finally settled as valid means of objection.
“It would have been two,” the woman replied. “But you would have gone stir-crazy.”
“I might go stir-crazy, as it is,” Lena yelled, voice splitting the serene calm of the lake. “You’ve basically stranded me, you know.”
“A necessary precaution, and, before you ask, no, there isn’t wifi.”
Lena bit her lip. She hadn’t even thought of that. Not that Sam had packed her a tablet or anything. She sighed in defeat, still holding on to some bare shred of fury.
“I see you’re set up in my office already.”
“Well, someone has to keep the wheels of industry moving,” said the CFO, and apparent temporary CEO. “Don’t worry, I haven’t even adjusted your chair. It’ll all be waiting for you, when you get back.”
Lena grumbled. Then she smirked. “Do enjoy the office and my assistant.”
“Jess and get along like a house on fire,” Sam stated with confidence. “You know that.”
“I do, and I’m sure she’ll be happy to hear you say that. She’s listening on the other line, you know?”
The brunette paused on the other end. “She most certainly is not.”
“She’s my assistant, Sam. I know her.”
There was another pause. “Jess,” Sam asked. “Are you listening in?”
Lena was silent. Sam was silent. After a moment, a gentle whisper answered, “No.”
Lena laughed out loud.
“Ignoring business for the moment, and the next, full week,” Sam went on. “How are you liking the place?”
The question brought Lena’s gaze back to the view. She sighed and inhaled deeply.
“That good, huh?” Sam said.
“How did you know?”
“Lena Luthor and lakes?” her friend replied. “I’ve known what makes you tick for a long time. And do I know how to pick them or what?”
“I’ll admit,” Lena said with another deep breath. “It is incredible.”
“Lots of sun, water, and most especially quiet,” the woman on the other end of the line said. “The perfect combination for a full-on reset. Enjoy the food, too. I made sure all the essentials were there.”
“I saw,” Lena replied. “And Ruby seems to have covered all the nonessentials.”
“Ah!” her friend replied brightly. “I see you found the fun suitcase.”
“Yes, complete with all the accoutrement,” Lena intoned. She didn’t have to see her face, to know Sam Arias was sporting her trademark, shit-eating grin. “You are a sick woman, you know that?”
“In my defense, I packed that part without Ruby’s help.”
“What kind of person do you take me for, Sam?”
“The kind who seriously needs to let loose,” came the immediate reply. “Like I said, I know what makes Lena Luthor tick, and I definitely know when she needs to get off.” There was another pause before the woman added, to Lena’s chagrin, “How long’s it been?”
The Luthor crossed her arms. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Since Andrea, would be my guess,” Sam answered for her. “That makes nearly two years since someone showed Lena Luthor a good time. I know you’re not the do-it-yourself type, so, unless you have some fling I don’t know about-“
“She doesn’t,” came a third voice.
“Jess!” Lena shouted.
“That is far too long to go without a release,” Sam continued. “It’s not healthy. So do us all, but mostly yourself, a favor and take an actual vacation, in all the ways that entails.”
Lena grumbled again, not ready to admit Sam was right, by any means, not on that front, but at least able to admit her being out here was needed. She sighed.
“I’ll see what I can do,” she replied.
“That’s all I ask,” said Sam gently. “I love you. You know that, right?”
“I know,” Lena said with another sigh. “I love you, too.”
“And you need this,” the woman added, in a tone Lena knew Ruby was quite familiar with. “You know that, right?”
Lena took another deep breath of lake air. “I do.”
“Good,” said Sam. “Enjoy yourself, okay? I mean that. I mean it so much in fact that I am willing to sacrifice hearing my best friend’s voice for a whole week and not accept any calls from you from here on out.”
“Oh, what a selfless person you are,” Lena deadpanned as she turned back towards the house.
“Hey, you’re the one getting a week of R-and-R by a pristine lake,” the woman on the other end replied. “I’m the one stuck doing your job for you.”
“Yeah, yeah,” Lena replied as she opened the door and stepped inside the house again.
She was halfway to another sarcastic rejoinder when she immediately became aware of the woman standing in the kitchen. The woman standing in the kitchen in the lake house in the middle of her week of solitude that most certainly was not supposed to be there. The woman in the kitchen holding the knife.
Lena Luthor stared, a thousand thoughts filling her brain, but the only words that came out, awkward and stilted, were, “Sam, I have to go. I think I’m about to get murdered.”
The radio blasted as the car turned down the familiar, dirt driveway, the sound of the forest filled by pop music and the surprisingly well-harmonized voice of the blonde woman as she crooned along with the song, windows down to let the cool, outdoor air fill her lungs. She beamed like the sun shining down on her as she took in the view around her. Her radio chirped, the song quieting then stopping as her phone started ringing. She answered.
“Hey, Kara,” came the reply through the car speakers. “I wanted to call and check if you got there yet.”
“Almost,” the blonde replied. “God, Alex, it is gorgeous out here. You should have come with me.”
“I had my fill of sharing a bed with you when we were kids,” Alex replied. “Besides, I wouldn’t want to interrupt your solo vacay.”
Kara nodded at that.
“How’d the car do?” her sister asked.
The blonde glanced down at the dashboard. “I have just enough of a charge to get there.”
“Electric cars,” she heard the woman on the other end tsk.
“Hey, carbon footprint!” Kara replied. “I can plug in when I get there, and it’s not like I have anywhere to go this week.”
“I would have let you borrow my ride…”
“But your ride is a motorcycle,” the blonde completed the thought for her. “Mom hates you riding it. She’d kill me if I tried. Assuming I actually survived the experience.” She cringed at the thought as the road bent around at last opening onto the breathtaking view of the lake and the house. Kara gasped.
“That good, huh?” Alex asked.
“Alex, it’s amazing,” Kara replied. “It’s just like I remember it.”
“How’s the house look?”
“About the same, from the outside at least,” Kara said as the car rolled to a stop in front of the walkway leading up to the lake house.
“Well, the inside’s supposed to be decked out,” her sister added. “The bathroom, in particular, looks delectable.”
“Oh, I am quite sure I’ll be taking all my baths in that crystal blue water,” said Kara as she stepped out of the car, fitting in her earbuds as she grabbed her phone out of its cradle in the console.
“Yet another reason I’m glad not to be up there with you,” Alex laughed in her ears. “Let me know how it looks on the inside.”
“I will,” Kara replied. “Let me just get my stuff.” She trotted to the trunk and began pulling out her suitcase along with several bags of groceries she began throwing over her arm, grunting as she lifted the whole thing.
“You know, you can take multiple trips,” Alex chided.
“Where’s the fun in that?” The blonde trotted up the walk, bags stuffed in either hand and didn’t think much when was able to ease the door open without unlocking it. She cooed as she stepped into the cozy interior. “Alex, it’s amazing. Really. They did a great job with this place.”
“That’s good to hear. Check out the bathroom for me, while you’re at it.”
“I will. I will,” Kara replied as she huffed towards the kitchen, dropping her suitcase as she went. “I’m going to put the groceries away first.”
There was a pause as her sister waited, before adding, “You know, you actually have to put the groceries away, not just leave them on the counter, right?”
Kara paused and stared at the groceries she had left on the counter. “I will!” she replied defensively. She smiled and grabbed one bag, pulling out a large, green melon. “First, though, I’m going to cut and eat this whole, damn watermelon all by myself.”
“You’re going to make yourself sick,” her sister added.
“You can’t get sick off of watermelon. It’s fruit. It’s good for you.”
“It’s a butt load of sugar, is what it is.”
“You’re just jealous because you’re not here, which means I don’t have to share.” Kara smirked to herself as she laid the watermelon out on the counter and grabbed for the knife block, pulling out a large cleaver. She licked her lips in anticipation.
At that same moment, she heard the sliding back door open. It was then that two things occurred to the blonde. One, she had, as of yet, not stepped out behind the house to enjoy the full view of the lake. This regret was immediately overshadowed by the second realization, which was that she was not alone in this house, as a woman stepped into said house and stared at her.
Kara stared back.
“Uh, Alex…” she said, out of sorts. “Did the agency say anything about a really hot lady living here?”
Neither of their brains seemed to be working at the moment. There were any number of explanations for this. But, finally, reality seemed to set back in, at least for Lena, as her eyes focused on the very large, very sharp knife in the blonde’s hands.
“WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?” she screamed immediately.
The blonde blanched for a second, less startled and more confused. A gentle “What?” was all she could find in the way of responses.
“Who are you?” Lena repeated, still loud but just a hair less so.
“I’m Kara,” came the follow-up, no more cognizant than the first.
“What are you doing in my house?” Lena replied.
“I live here,” Kara said, now even more confused.
“No, you don’t, I do!” Lena said, still apoplectic, but logic was starting to catch up with her. So, she quickly, awkwardly corrected. “I mean I’m- renting.”
“There’s not supposed to be any renters until next week.”
“What?” Lena said.
“What?” Kara said.
“What?” Lena said.
“What?” Kara said.
“What the hell is going on?” A voice piped, far too loudly, in Kara’s ear, such that the blonde had to wince.
“Kara, what is going on?” her sister replied.
“There’s a lady here.”
“In the house.”
“There’s a lady in the house with you?”
“Yeah, she says she’s renting.”
“There aren’t supposed to be renters until next week.”
“That’s what I said.”
And while this completely cogent conversation was taking place, Lena managed to hear the desperate voice of her friend screaming from the phone, held just an inch away from her ear.
“Lena? Lena! Answer me. What the hell is happening?”
Logic, again, managed to catch up with the raven-haired CEO. She brought the phone back to her ear.
“Oh my god, Lena,” her friend replied, relief in her voice. “What the hell! I know you’re upset about the forced vacation thing, but you cannot pull this kind of crap on me. ‘You’re about to get murdered’? What is wrong with you?”
“Sam, there’s a woman here,” Lena finally managed to interject, halting her friend and CFO’s rant.
“There’s a woman in the kitchen,” Lena said, then remembered the important part. “She’s holding a knife.”
“She has a knife?!”
“I do not,” Kara replied, managing, like Lena, to only catch half of the other woman’s conversation.
In reply, the raven-haired woman pointed urgently. The blonde turned. She saw the knife.
“Oh,” Kara said.
“You have a knife?” Alex replied. “I am so proud of you!”
“No, Alex, I-“ and suddenly Kara was very confused, not just at the situation, well, mostly at the situation, but it was getting worse. She turned to the strange woman standing in her lake house. “I’m sorry, uh…” she started and stepped forward.
Lena jumped back. “Put the knife down!”
“Oh, right,” Kara said. She turned for a moment, looking for a suitable spot, but, rather than back in the knife block or just laid on the counter or even dropped in the sink, the only logical thing she could think to do was stab it directly into the watermelon. “Sorry,” she added, turning back to the stranger, who was quickly cycling through shades of pale in front of her.
Lena’s heart was beating a mile a minute. She had faced down entire board rooms, and, granted, the level of stress she normally experienced was by no means a healthy amount, but at least she was used to it. This, however, was quickly overwhelming her. Maybe it was the isolation, maybe she really had lost it, or maybe it was the strange, blonde woman who had just idly murdered a helpless melon and who was, now that she could get a good look at her, distractingly attractive, currently standing in the kitchen of the, right up until this moment, pleasantly peaceful lake house her friend had rented for her.
“Who the hell are you?” Lena repeated, deciding on outrage as a suitable coping mechanism.
“I’m Kara!” Kara yelled back, not really mad, just feeling the need to match volume in the moment. “Who are you?”
“I’m…” And there were many reasons Lena might have to conceal her identity, but her brain had suddenly vacated her, so none of those occurred to her, in the moment, but she also couldn’t remember her name under the circumstances. “I’m the renter,” she settled on. “I’m renting the…” She waved at her surroundings. “House! I’m renting it… Renting… I’m renting!” And the outrage continued but the woman was quickly losing any semblance of sane discourse.
“You’re renting the house?” the blonde asked.
“Yes!” Lena replied.
“Well, I own it!” Kara yelled back, against as yelling seemed appropriate for some reason.
“You own it?” the dark-haired woman asked.
“Yes!” Kara replied.
“Well, I’m renting it!”
“Well, I own it, and it’s not supposed to be open for renters yet.”
Somewhere, two neurons managed to finally make contact in Lena’s brain, and her cognitive mind was at the wheel again. “What?” she said.
Alex, managing to catch the exchange due to said volume, decided enough was enough. “Kara, this lady sounds unhinged. Put me on speakerphone.”
“What?” Kara replied, doubly to her sister and the strange, hot lady opposite her.
Simultaneously, Lena heard a similar voice in her ear say, “Put me on speakerphone. I’m settling this.”
Both women hesitated, then managed to both put their respective advocates on speakerphone, holding their cells towards one another, wherein both woman on the other line immediately launched into:
“Listen, lady, I don’t know who you think you are-!” “I don’t know what’s going, but if you threaten this woman again, I will-“
Both voices quickly halted in their respective, heated threats as words quickly became jumbled. Silence. Then finally, Sam spoke up.
“I’m sorry, who am I speaking with?” her voice chimed out of Lena’s phone.
“Alex Danvers, on speakerphone,” Kara’s phone replied. “This is my sister, Kara. She owns the house and she is armed.”
“I’m actually not, Alex,” Kara added.
“You’re not? What happened to the knife?”
“I put it in the watermelon.”
“Why did you do that?”
Sam cleared her voice on the line. “My name is Sam Arias, also on speakerphone. I purchased this house for a week’s stay for my friend through Argo Vacation Rentals. I have receipts and email correspondence to prove that.”
“The house is not open for renters,” Alex replied, through the phone.
“I made arrangements through the agency,” said Sam. “They were willing to make an accommodation for appropriate compensation.”
“Sam?” Lena added, like the blonde, feeling the need to provide input for this conversation carried out on her behalf.
“I leveraged money and power for a friend,” the CFO said back. “Would you do any different?” She cleared her throat again. “The rental agency was supposed to inform any owners of the change.”
“Kara?” Alex’s voice asked.
The blonde’s face went fishy for a moment and she thought. “I might have gotten an email.”
“Oh god,” Alex groaned.
“I was in vacation mode!” Kara shot back to her phone. “You said I’m not allowed to check email in vacation mode.”
“Obviously, there’s been some misunderstanding,” Sam continued, cool and collected. “But seeing as my friend here is the rightful renter and the transaction has been carried out, she does have primary occupancy, and we must ask that you leave.”
“Whoa, hey!” Alex objected immediately. “Kara owns this house. She doesn’t have to leave, if she doesn’t want to. The agency should have asked before renting it out early.”
“I understand your objections, however I think you’ll find we’re in a very actionable position.”
“Listen, lady-“ Alex continued.
“Alex,” Kara said at the same time Lena said, “Sam.”
Both women’s eyes met. The initial shock had worn off, and, while they were nowhere near normal, they could at least admit to cooler heads. For herself, the dark-haired woman knew that while she certainly could pull out the boss ass bitch persona, for some reason, she didn’t want to. Not here. It seemed antithetical to the peaceful surroundings.
“Sam,” she repeated. “I’m going to call you back.”
“Le-“ was cut off as Lena clicked the button. She looked to the blonde.
“Alex, we’re going to talk this out,” she replied before clicking her own phone, cutting off her sister’s reply.
“Kara, was it?” the raven-haired woman replied.
“Yeah,” said the blonde. She nodded towards the woman.
“Lena,” Lena replied. A last name seemed unnecessary, possibly unwise.
“Uh, sorry, about…” Kara went on, motioning to the watermelon currently auditioning for the title role in Julius Caesar. “You know.”
“It’s okay,” Lena said. “We obviously surprised each other.” In reminder, the woman could hear her own heartbeat in a staccato thrum. She pointed to the sliding door. “I’m just going to step out for a moment. If that’s okay?”
The blonde nodded. Lena let herself out, closing the door behind her quietly, before stepping out onto the porch. After a second’s consideration, she walked further on, following the wooden walkway to the dock. She stood for a long minute and let the calm wash over her like the gentle lapping of the water on the shore edge.
Well, this went tits up rather quickly, she nearly said out loud. You could almost laugh. She had to be forced on this little vacation, so why shouldn’t the universe conspire against her and turn the whole into a catastrophe not an hour into it? The logical course of action was, naturally, to call the whole thing off. She may be a Luthor, but she wasn’t about to put someone out of their own vacation house. Not for money, certainly. She should pack her things up, call Sam, and have her get Charles back her ASAP.
But that thought immediately struck a chord of regret in the woman’s chest. What was it Charles had said? When she takes a vacation that means he gets to. And the CEO suddenly realized that maybe this wasn’t just about her. She thought of Charles and Sam and Jess, of all the people she was responsible for, all those she interacted with. She had convinced herself that solid, self-sacrificial dedication was the bravest, most honorable thing she could do, but what if it was just a long-term sabotage? After all, if she couldn’t hold it together, what did that mean to all the people who had to, as Sam put it so eloquently, put up with her bullshit? Maybe this was why Lex and Lillian were so famous for their vices. It was just a slightly worse coping mechanism.
So, with another sigh, Lena turned and walked back towards the house. When she stepped inside, the blonde once again had the knife in her hands. This time, however, the dark-haired woman was able to note the remains of the watermelon in front of her and decided not to react.
“Hi,” Kara said. She looked at her hand. “Oh.” She put the knife down. She looked back up. “Would you like some?”
Lena shook her head, putting on a wan smile. “Listen, obviously, there’s been a miscommunication, and, while I would hate to rob you of yours, the simple fact is I really need this vacation.”
Kara looked her over, surprised but also a bit empathetic.
“And I’m sort of stranded,” Lena went on. “So, I know it’s a lot to ask, but as my friend has already paid what sounds like a substantial fee for this reservation, I would appreciate it if you would leave. Please.”
The blonde stared back at her, a piece of watermelon perched between her lips in a weird combination of weird and adorable. She chewed it thoughtfully.
“Well, I can understand that,” Kara replied. “But I kind of can’t.”
Lena sighed. “Don’t tell me a car dropped you off too.”
“No, I drove here. But my car’s electric.” She pointed through the front windows in the living room to a sporty-looking, sky blue hatchback parked in the driveway. “I used up most of the battery getting here. I’ll have to charge.”
Lena could certainly admire the ecological responsibility of that, if not the inconvenience, and, while she was familiar enough with the technology to guess, she still felt the need to ask, “How long do you think that would take?”
“12 hours,” Kara replied with a shrug. “That’s about the best you can do off a regular outlet.”
Lena sighed again in disappointment. Funny how this day had started with choice being forcefully removed from her and then, somehow, even more so. “Fine,” she said. “Can you leave in the morning then?”
Kara stared back, chewing another piece of watermelon. Her face turned in thought, then in disappointment. She looked down. “I guess so.”
“Thank you,” Lena said. She turned to the house then back to the blonde, suddenly reminded of the at once cozy, now crowded, space. “We can just try to stay out of each other’s way for the rest of the day.”
Kara shrugged again, resignedly. “Okay.”
Lena tried the smile again. “Good.” She looked down at the kitchen, now noticing the woman’s groceries crowding the counter. “I’ll leave you to kitchen, I guess, and just enjoy the beautiful view.” She stepped to the sliding glass and had not put her hand to the handle before they both heard a low rumble ripple out over the lake. “Oh, you have to be kidding me,” she said.
Both women watched as the rain rolled in in sheets, cascading across the lake in a way that would have been breath-taking if not, again, for the inconvenience. Lena sighed for the hundredth time.
“I should probably call Sam,” she said as the idea occurred to her. It further occurred to her that she had said that out loud. She glanced at the blonde, who looked back. “Let her know I haven’t been murdered,” she added with a dry chuckle.
Kara nodded. “I should probably call my sister.”
Lena grabbed her phone and, seeing as there was nowhere dry to go, made her way to the bedroom and closed the door.
“Lena?” a desperate voice replied with the line picked up.
“Oh, thank god!” the woman on the other end exclaimed. “I was this close to telling Charles to turn the hell around.” There was a pregnant pause. “Do I have to tell Charles to turn the hell around?”
“No,” Lena replied. “I’m staying.”
“Good, you deserve it,” Sam replied. “What’d you do about the house guest?”
“She’s going to leave in the morning?”
“She’s staying?!” Sam exclaimed.
“Just for the night. She has to charge her car,” Lena replied. “Plus,” and she cast an eye the bedroom window where thick sheets were still falling. It was pleasant a sound. She let herself drift back to the mountains of pillows and listened. “It’s raining. I’m not going to make her leave in that.”
“Okay,” Sam said, a line of doubt in her voice but resigned to her friend’s choice, at least in this. “Well, this really went sideways fast, huh?”
Lena managed another dry chuckle. “I’ll say, and here I thought I was past the weirdness with you basically kidnapping me.”
“It was for your own good,” her friend replied. “I’m glad you’re staying, even if your first night is going to be… awkward.”
“I think I can manage.”
“Still, she’s probably not the worse person you could be stuck with,” Sam commented. “Blonde, tall, kind of fit.”
“I guess not- Wait.” Lena sat up on the bed. “How the hell do you know that?”
“I looked her up.”
Lena bit her lip in frustration. “So help me god, Sam, if this was some elaborate set up-“
“I am nowhere near that devious,” came the immediate rejoinder. “Although you could do worse,” she laughed. Off her friend/boss’s very judgmental silence, “You said you were going to get murdered, I wanted to make sure this lady was legit.”
“And?” Lena felt like asking, all too aware she was trapped in a house with a stranger.
“Seems nice,” Sam said, a little more nonchalantly that Lena might have liked. “Small town star. Graduated with honors. Communications degree.”
“Liberal arts major,” Lena deadpanned. “We’ll have so much to talk about.”
“Also, she does actually own that house. I cleared that with the rental agency, who were very apologetic, by the way.”
“It was a simple miscommunication,” Lena stated. “I’m just sorry to kick her out so unceremoniously, but I am looking forward to having the place to myself.”
“Look at you,” Sam cooed. “Prioritizing your own needs. Who are you and what you have done with Lena Luthor?”
“Ha ha,” Lena deadpanned.
“Well, when you are alone, please have some fun,” Sam replied. “And I do mean fun.”
“I’m hanging up the phone now, Sam.”
“You know I’m right!” the woman yelled as Lena pulled the cell away from her ear, just catching, “Take no shit, love your cl-!“ before she disconnected.
“Oh, thank god!” came the immediate reply. “Don’t hang up on me in the middle of a crisis. I was this close to driving out there to go Liam Neeson on the situation.”
“I’m fine,” Kara replied. “We worked it out.”
“So, she’s gone?”
“Then what exactly?”
Kara sighed. “I’m going to leave in the morning.”
“She rented the place fair and square,” the blonde admitted, though obviously disappointed. “Plus, she got dropped off. It’d be hard to ask her to leave.”
“So why are you staying the night?”
“I have to wait for my car to charge.”
She heard Alex groan for a full minute.
“And it’s raining,” the blonde added. “You want me to drive in that?”
“No,” her sister replied. “But I’m not crazy about you being stuck in a house with a stranger.”
“She seems nice,” Kara said.
“And hot,” Alex added knowingly.
“I never said she was hot.”
“That was the first thing you said,” Alex replied. “And I quote, ‘Did the agency say anything about a really hot lady living here?’”
Kara was silent.
“Care to elaborate?”
“She’s… pretty,” the blonde replied. I mean, she is, Kara thought.
“Focus, you pansexual disaster.”
“Alex, calm down, nothing’s going to happen.”
“Are you sure?” came the reply.
Kara scoffed. “Who do you take me for?”
“I’m not trying to insult you, Kara, but it has been a while.” She heard Alex sigh sincerely, then add, less sincerely, “And you’re you.”
“I’m fine,” said Kara. “It’s not like I’m going to fall into bed with the first pretty lady I accidentally threaten with a kitchen knife.”
“You said ‘really hot.’”
It was Kara’s turn to groan.
“And you’re stuck, overnight. I’ve seen enough movies to know where this goes.”
“It’s not going to go anywhere,” Kara averred.
“Okay,” her sister replied, satisfied, for the moment. “I’m sorry you’re going to miss out on this week. I know you were really looking forward to it.”
Kara could only shrug and shove another piece of watermelon in her mouth. “It would just have been nice to put in some time, what with the new job, and all.”
“I know,” Her sister soothed.
“I can always come up here over the holidays,” Kara admitted. “Less sun, but I remember the lake being gorgeous in the winter.”
“Well, there’s that.” She heard Alex laugh. “So how much watermelon have you eaten?”
Kara looked down at the bowl in front of her. She gulped. “About half.”
“Seriously, you’re going to make yourself sick.”
“Hey,” Alex replied sympathetically. “Call me when you’re on your way, tomorrow. We’ll meet up.”
“And don’t eat the entire melon.”
“Try and stop me,” Kara added before disconnecting.
Kara finished the watermelon. She was just brushing off the last bits of it when Lena emerged some time later, the raven-haired woman having maxed out the amount of time she felt comfortable being alone in the bedroom and deciding to face the awkwardness of the situation. The rain was still falling intensely, and the dark-haired woman decided she could let herself watch it, pulling a chair out from the dining room table and parking herself in front of the glass backdoor. She was aware of Kara moving quietly in the kitchen.
“I’m just going to put these in the fridge, if that’s okay?” the blonde asked, holding up a grocery bag full of what looked to be perishable items. Lena nodded and turned back to the window. Finally, even the rain wasn’t enough of a distraction, and she found her gaze drawn to the kitchen.
“Sorry, again,” she said, grasping at dialogue. At the blonde’s look, she nodded to the grocery bags. “It looks like you were well-stocked.”
“Oh, yeah,” Kara laughed. “Of course, my sister said I’d probably finish this all off by the third day.”
“Well, you did just eat an entire watermelon,” Lena commented. “Alone.”
“Watermelon kicks ass,” came the reply.
And that was what passed for conversation between the two woman for the next hour or so. Kara poked around the kitchen a bit then settled on the couch to stare at her phone. Lena stayed by the back door, distracted enough by nature but still very much aware of the elephant in the room. Finally, out of desperation, or possibly genuine hunger, Kara stood up.
“I’m feeling hungry,” she said. “You up for dinner?”
Lena glanced at her watch. Despite the darkness that had descended thanks to the torrential shower outside, it was still a bit early, and the blonde had just eaten an entire watermelon.
“I’m fine, thanks,” Lena declined politely.
Kara looked a touch disappointed but strode off to the kitchen and prepared her “dinner”, the prep work of which involved opening a bag of chips, a jar of salsa, and then going back to the couch. The raven-haired woman decided to believe that the blonde opted for something simple since she had declined to eat with her, though she wasn’t sure she bought that excuse.
Finally, after the rain and listening to her ad hoc roommate consume and entire bag of chips proved to be insufficient amusement, Lena sighed and rose from her chair.
“I think I’m going to turn in,” she said. “If that’s all right?”
“Oh, yeah, sure,” Kara replied, licking the last bits of grease of her fingers. She rose quickly. “Speaking of which, I think we need to talk sleeping arrangements.”
Lena, before on a beeline to the bedroom, stopped and turned. She raised an eyebrow. “What sort of arrangements?”
“Well,” Kara stammered. “There’s, uh, two of us.”
Lena nodded. “And?”
“And, well, I can’t leave until the morning, so I’ll have to sleep here.”
“That seems to be the long and short of it,” Lena replied, staring at the blonde who seemed to be trying to hint at something without saying it out loud. Lena’s brain finally put it together. “Oh,” she said in realization. “Oh,” she repeated in resolution. “No.”
“What?” Kara asked.
“No,” Lena said again, and added for effect, “I will not be sharing a bed with you.”
“But…” the blonde stammered again. She pointed towards the bedroom. “There’s only one bed.”
“I’m aware,” Lena replied with a nod, then pointed at the sofa. “But this is also a couch.”
“You’re going to make me sleep on the couch? In my house?”
“No, I’m letting you sleep on the couch in the house I rented.”
“That seems a little unfair.”
The other eyebrow went up this time, transitioning the woman from curious to furious. “I’m not sharing my bed with a stranger.”
“Then why don’t you take the couch?”
“Because I rented the bed!”
“It’s just for one night.”
“I don’t care!”
The blonde’s mouth went fishy again. Finally, she pursed her lips, chin jutting, and then, in a totally mature move, she stomped past the raven-haired woman to stand in front of the bedroom door, ready to protest via direct action apparently.
“I think we should talk about this.”
“Kara, no,” Lena replied, quite confident in her own position, experienced negotiator that she was. “That’s not happening.”
“Well, I’m not moving until we come to an agreement,” the blonde said, crossing her arm and, again, looking totally mature. Lena had a thought that she may be looking at a face Alex was familiar with. “What do you have to say to that?”
Lena smiled a smile that many a businessman had come to rue as it inevitably meant they had already lost. “I don’t think I’ll be saying much of anything while I’m sleeping in my bed. If I wasn’t going to share it with you as you are.” She gestured to the blonde, t-shirt and jeans. “I’m certainly not going to when you’re drenched and muddy.”
Kara looked confused. “Why would I be drenched and muddy?”
Lena’s smile widened. “Did you remember to plug in your car?”
The blonde’s eyes flipped to the door, back to the woman, back to the door. “Shit,” she hissed and sprinted towards the front door. She was just yanking on her tennis shoes when she heard the telltale click of the bedroom door closing, followed by the louder clank of it locking.
The bed was exceedingly comfy, and Lena thought she might really have enjoyed it, the whole evening really, with the rain, and the all-consuming softness, except for the fact that her brain would not let her forget she was in the house with a stranger, albeit behind a locked door. As it was, though she had retired early, she slept fitfully and only moderately well. Still, the sun found her in the morning, slightly more relaxed than she had been the day before. She stretched blessedly in the morning light, peaceful, for a second, before her brain reminded her again that she might not be alone.
The raven-haired woman dressed quietly, then, when it seemed hiding out was not going to get her anywhere, she opened the door slowly and listened, wondering if the blonde had perhaps already left. What hit her ears was the sounds of grease popping. What hit her nose was the smell of breakfast. Lena crept slowly out, making her way through the living room where she caught sight of the pillow and blanket still draped on the couch. Finally, she rounded the corner to the kitchen, where she saw the blonde woman standing by the stove.
“Oh, you’re up,” Kara said brightly. “Good morning.”
“Good morning,” Lena replied quietly.
Kara held up the skillet in front of her. Lena spied eggs and sausage.
“I made breakfast,” the blonde said, adding, somewhat shyly, “If you’re hungry.”
Lena decided she was. More than that, she decided she could take the blonde up on the offer she had declined last night. It seemed only fair.
“Thank you,” Lena replied and took a seat at the table. Kara padded over a minute later with two plates. Set one down in front of the dark-haired woman. “You didn’t have to do this,” Lena felt like adding.
The blonde shrugged. “I think we got off on the wrong foot yesterday,” she said before taking her seat. She cleared her throat. “And I was hoping good food might help with the bad news.”
Lena raised an eyebrow. “Bad news?” she asked, staring at the blonde, and then it occurred to her. The blonde was still here. “Don’t tell me your car didn’t charge.”
“No, it did,” Kara said, forking a bit of her eggs in thought. “It’s just… It rained yesterday and all last night.”
Lena nodded then glanced out the backdoor. The sky was clear and sunny, the lake once again pristine and gorgeous. She looked back at the blonde. “And?”
Kara pointed to the front of the house. “The road’s washed out.”
Lena sighed, a little louder and more put-off than she meant, but the woman had said it was bad news.
“Electric cars are very economical,” Kara went on. “But I don’t have the torque or the ground clearance to go off-roading.”
Lena sighed again, more resigned. The situation was what it was. She couldn’t blame the weather on the blonde. She looked down at the breakfast the woman had generously cooked for her. A nice gesture, a bit unexpected considering last night. Lena sighed once more. “I don’t suppose you made coffee.”
The blonde snapped her fingers at the reminder and jogged to the kitchen. She returned with two steaming mugs. Lena took one gladly.
“You make a good cup of coffee,” she remarked after the initial sip. She wondered if the eggs would be as good. One bite told her no, but she ate anyway. It was the thought that counts. “How long do you think it’ll take the road to become passable?”
“A day, at least,” Kara remarked.
Lena only nodded in reply. It was what it was. “So we’re stuck with each other.”
Kara nodded as well. “Good news is we’re not stuck inside.”
Lena found she could be glad for that. That would make it easier to stay out of each other’s way, she thought, and as much as she longed for that, she couldn’t help the pang of disappointment in herself. She hardly knew the woman, who seemed nice enough, considering. Lena wasn’t sure she’d act the same if the situation had been reversed. She glanced at her breakfast. Kara was right; they had gotten off on the wrong foot. If they were going to be stuck together, maybe they could change that.
“You said you owned this house?” Lena commented. She watched the blonde’s head tilt up, almost in surprise. Then she smiled.
“Yeah,” she said, then seemed to pause. “It was my parents’. We use to spend the summers here.”
“That must have been fun,” Lena admitted. Honestly, she couldn’t help but be jealous. Luthors certainly had their share of picturesque locales to frequent, but, somehow, a cozy cabin by the lake seemed to outdo them all.
Kara nodded, a little more solemnly. “It was.”
And Lena could read the tone in that. She wondered if she should ask further, if she had a right to. Thankfully, the blonde seemed all the willing to open up.
“They died when I was young,” she said. Kara looked around the room, the house. “I haven’t been back here in years.”
“I’m so sorry,” Lena said. It seemed like the thing to say, but, in truth, she was finding herself rather speechless. She suddenly felt like the trespasser in this place.
Kara only shrugged though. “I wanted to. I wanted to get back some of the old memories, the old feelings, but I just could never pull the trigger, you know?”
Lena nodded. She did know. She found she understood completely.
“Anyways, Alex, my sister, finally convinced me that it wasn’t worth letting everything go to waste. I used some money my parents had set aside, hired a company to revamp this place as a rental.” She held her hands out to their surroundings.
“They did an excellent job,” Lena admitted.
“I think so, too,” Kara said with another sigh. “This was going to be the first time I got to revisit the place again. The first time I felt like I could. First and last, I guess. I’m starting a new job next week.”
And Lena’s heart sank. She really was the trespasser. “I’m so sorry,” she said because it was mostly certainly the thing to be said, and she meant it.
Kara waved her off. “It’s all right,” she replied. “I’ll have plenty of time with this place.”
They went back to their breakfast, but Lena had to confess her appetite was not what it had been a minute ago. She couldn’t help but feel for the blonde. She couldn’t help but note how remarkably similar they were.
“I grew up in a house like this,” Lena said, and the blonde’s eyes met her. Gosh, that was a shade of blue. “With my mother,” the raven-haired woman added and felt the weight of that. She stared into those blue eyes and decided she could meet the woman’s vulnerability with some of her own. “Cancer.”
“Car crash,” Kara replied.
Lena met the understanding gaze, then turned to the window, the pristine view. “I didn’t know how much I missed it until I saw this place.”
“Yeah,” Kara said. “It’ll do that to you.”
Lena sighed. Vulnerability notwithstanding, she was a little eager to change the subject. “So, you mentioned your sister. Older?”
Kara nodded. That seemed to make sense, from what Lena could glean from the brief, mostly shouted conversation yesterday.
“I’m surprised she didn’t come up here with you. She must have memories of this place.”
“She does, but…” Kara commented before her brow furrowed in confusion. She looked back at Lean, then chuckled. “Sorry, uh, the Danvers were my godparents. I moved in with them after my parents passed away. They adopted me a few years later. I mean, Alex and I grew up together. We were practically sisters, before.”
Lena nodded. Kara chuckled again.
“Sorry, family dynamics are just a blast.”
Lena added her own dry laugh. “Mine wouldn’t be any less convoluted,” she said. Kara nodded for her to go on. Lena took a deep breath. Might as well. “I moved in with my father. He and my mother were not married.”
“Oh,” was all Kara added as commentary. “Any other family?”
“A step-mother, who filled that role very nicely, and a half-brother, who isn’t worth further mention, trust me.”
Kara smirked. “Alex pisses me off sometimes, too.”
Lena shook her head. “From what I heard yesterday, she sounds miles better by far.” She forked at her eggs in thought. “It must be nice to have someone to come to bat for you.”
Kara smiled warmly. “It is, but it sounds like you have, uh, what’s her name, Sam?”
That, Lena could admit, was true. “Yeah,” she said. “She’s actually the one who convinced to come on this vacation. Well, I say ‘convinced’, but ‘kidnapped’ might be more accurate.”
“I take it you’re not the kind to take vacations too often?”
“This will be my first in more than a year,” Lena admitted and could further admit it felt a good to say out loud, even as the blonde looked at her in disbelief. Lena was nearly to reply when her mouth froze, stricken by the sudden desire to keep her last name, and all its assorted baggage, as far away from these peaceful surroundings as possible. “I work in business,” she replied. “CEO,” she added, as it seemed moderately safe.
“Wow,” Kara said.
“I’ve been putting in a lot of hours,” Lena said, then laughed, once, loudly. “That’s putting it mildly, and I’m not too proud to say it was starting to show. Yesterday, I came to my office and found Sam had not only booked this place, but packed my luggage for me. She practically threw me in the car, which proceeded to strand me out here.”
Kara looked sympathetic but also looked ready to laugh out loud. “I guess you really do need this vacation.”
Lena sighed, nodded, then stuffed the rest of the eggs in her mouth. They finished up the rest of the breakfast with less conversation, which wasn’t unpleasant. Finally, Kara put her dishes in the sink and turned back to Lena.
“Hey, since I’m going to be here another day at least, I was hoping to put in some lake time,” she said, pointing out the back of the house to the crystal blue water. “If that’s okay.”
“Of course,” Lena replied. “Feel free.”
Kara looked back at her with consideration. “You’re welcome to join me.”
As much as that sounded inviting for the lake alone, Lena was suddenly gripped by the image of the only swimsuit she had, which Sam had so graciously packed for her. She gulped. “Uh, no, thank you. I think I’ll be fine inside for today.” Fully clothed, her mind completed.
“Okay,” the blonde replied with a nod before plodding off to the bathroom.
Lena savored the last of her coffee, then set her own dishes in the sink and went to the bedroom. In all the confusion of yesterday, she didn’t have until just now to fully come to terms with the fact that she had absolutely no idea what to do with herself, all alone, on vacation. The lake she had put decidedly out of her list of options. She would have had a hard time putting on the bikini when she was all alone. She wasn’t about to subject herself to a stranger’s gaze in it. Instead, she looked into the fun bag, focusing intently on the child-appropriate portions of it and pulled out the puzzle.
She was getting set up to sorting pieces on the dining room table, beautiful view just out the sliding, back door, when she got a whistle.
“Wow,” Kara said. “That looks fun.”
Lena nodded before looking up. Her eyes went wide. Logically, she certainly should have expected that if Kara was going to spend some time in the lake it would likely be in a swimsuit of her own. She might even have expected it to be a two-piece. Why should the blonde have any of the hang-ups Lena did? What she did not, possibly could not, expect was how the woman would look in said swimsuit.
Lena had to bite her lip to keep her jaw from dropping. Sam had said ‘kind of fit.’ ‘Kind of’ hardly described it. Abs was the only word that occupied Lena’s head for too long a moment. In truth, the rest of the woman was quite the sight, but that’s where her eyes had first landed.
“Sure you don’t want to join me?” Kara asked, and Lena had to physically tear herself away from ogling to meet the woman’s gaze.
“Uh, no,” she practically choked, mouth suddenly very dry. She stared down at anything to look at and noticed the puzzle. “I’m good here,” she added in hopes that she would be believed.
“Okay,” Kara replied. “Have fun.” And she turned to the door. Lena thought she was free, risked a look up, and realized she was now looking at the woman’s back, equally toned and incredibly distracting, then snapped back to the puzzle. “If you change your mind, towels are in the linen closet.”
Lena waved her understanding but kept her eyes on her work until she heard the sliding door open then close. It was a count of 30 before she allowed herself to look up. She saw the blonde striding down the walkway to the pier. She tossed her towel over a post and stretched languidly in the light. She waved her arms, smile beaming on her face before arcing her body forward and diving into the crystal blue water.
Lena was ogling. She knew it. But could you blame her? Dear god, the woman was unreal, and, to think she had seen her consume an entire bag of chips in a single sitting right after a whole watermelon. It was unbelievable, and yet Lena could see it with her own two eyes. The same two eyes who had a very hard time concentrating on the puzzle, instead glancing out the window every few minutes as she watched the woman swim, occasionally climbing out, her tone and tanned frame stretching glorious, to dive into the water once more.
Lena managed some progress. The border was nearly complete and she had started on a couple of the main set pieces, but she gave up after a couple of hours. Partly out of boredom, partly because her mind really wasn’t on it. It seemed her housemate was quite content to stay outside most of the morning, and it was a glorious day. So what, Lena wondered, would be the harm in stepping outside and enjoying the day herself?
Grabbing a book from her luggage, Lena slid the backdoor open and stepped outside. It was indeed a glorious day. The lake air was tinted with petrichor from yesterday’s rain, and she was surrounded by the full, cool embrace of nature. The raven-haired woman turned and was disappointed to find there were no chairs on the deck. This put a damper on her plan to “totally read a book on the deck and not anything else.” She was starting to wonder how to rectify this when she heard, “Hey!”
She turned to see Kara had emerged from the water and was plodding up the walkway towards her, skin wet and actually glistening in the sun like some gorgeous, half-naked angel, muscles tensing in her legs and arms.
“You came out,” she added, pulling her golden locks to one side to squeeze out the excess water before tossing them back over her shoulder like a literal goddess.
Lena’s mouth was no longer dry, quite the opposite, but that wasn’t helping her right now. She stammered for a moment, caught by the sheer image in front of her. Finally, she managed to collect herself. “Uh, yeah, I was going to do some reading.” She motioned to the book in support of her alibi. She pointed to the deck. “Do you know if there are any deck chairs?”
“Yeah,” Kara said. “They should be in the shed.” And the blonde stepped onto the lawn towards a squat, little building Lena now noticed just behind the house. She followed. Kara fiddled with the door and swung it open, revealing a pile of various equipment, some new, some used, floaties and tubes and towards one side what looked to be some fold up chairs and cushions.
“I can get it,” Lena volunteered. “You don’t have to bother.”
“Oh, it’s no trouble.” And Kara started moving things aside to pull out the chairs. It occurred to Lena that she was now standing behind the woman, looking. This only felt mildly wrong until she watched the woman bend over and- Oh! Look at the sky! What a truly beautiful day!
Finally, Kara extricated the furniture and carried a chair back to the deck, where she unfolded it and set the cushions on a long, lounge chair. The blonde patted it demonstratively.
“There you go!”
“Thank you,” Lena said having most certainly not just watched the woman hoist the whole chair, effortlessly, with one hand.
She set herself down on the chair, lying back to feel the sun’s positively scrumptious heat, before pulling out her book, crossing her legs, and actually making a concerted effort to read. She was interrupted by a noise and turned to see Kara setting up another deck chair on the deck, just next to hers. She watched then, agape, as the woman spread out a towel and then proceeded to spread out herself, exposed skin once more glistening in the light.
“Uh,” Lena practically coughed. “You don’t have to… I mean…” She flailed then motioned back to the water. “You looked like you were enjoying yourself.”
“I was,” Kara grinned, eyes closed against the light. “I’m just warming up before going back in.” She cocked one eye open at the raven-haired woman. “I’m not bothering you, am I?”
“Uh, no,” Lena lied. Well, not in an unpleasant way, if in a very inconvenient way. “No, of course not.” And she turned what she knew were burning cheeks away and tried to concentrate on her book.
They sat like that for some time, Lena actually managing to avoid staring at several long intervals that were interrupted whenever the blonde would stretch, releasing the tiniest of pleased moans, before laying back to sun herself. Eventually, Kara sat up, stood, and strode back into the house, emerging a minute later with a bag of what appeared to be cheddar-dusted popcorn. Lena stared, fully distracted from her book, as the woman gazed at out at the water and shoved handfuls into her mouth, blissful look on her face. She caught Lena after a minute or two.
The blonde held out the bag. “Want some?” she offered.
Lena stared, her mind unable to not parse out all possible interpretations of that question, before she shook her head, noted the bag, and shook her head again. “No, thank you. I don’t want to ruin lunch.”
Kara stared at her, then the bag. “This is lunch,” she said.
Lena found herself distracted from the original distraction with the inanity of that assertion. “Are you serious?” came out of her mouth immediately.
“What?” the blonde replied.
Lena thought of a response but gave up. There didn’t seem to be a point.
“What?” Kara repeated.
“I guess I’m just amazed,” Lena replied. “At how you can keep that figure and eat like that.” And she could kick herself for bringing the woman’s figure up in conversation.
It only made it worse when Kara beamed in reply, “Thanks.” She added, “Good metabolism,” after another handful of popcorn.
Lena just shook her head, turning back to her book. “While I’m certainly jealous of that, I can’t say the same thing for your taste,” she said with a nod to the bag.
Kara laughed. “You have some nerve bringing up taste when you’re reading that.” And she pointed.
Lena followed her finger to the book, which she had admittedly not really been paying attention to, and was reminded that its contents involved regency era lesbians. She snapped it shut suddenly.
“I…” she stammered, face red. She saw the blonde giggling. “Sam packed my bags,” she said more solidly. “This was the only reading material she provided to me.” She tapped the cover. “Trust me, she thinks this is hilarious.”
“Okay,” the blonde provided, hands up in defense. She went back to her popcorn. “So is the joke the genre of the writing or the fact that’s about ladies-loving-ladies?” she asked.
Lena caught her eye. The question itself was leading, but the blonde seemed genuinely interested in the answer. The one habit she’d maintained well from Luthor upbringing was keeping her personal life personal, that included certain orientations. And maybe it was vacation mode, maybe it was the blonde, maybe it was some innate need to explain herself, to herself if no one else, but Lena found herself much more inclined to be open in the situation.
“The first part,” she said, eyes locked with Kara’s. “Lesbian,” she added, watching for any change in the woman’s face, finding none. “Is that a problem?” she added.
Kara smiled. “My sister likes to call me a pansexual disaster,” she said, adding with genuine feeling, “You’re safe.”
“Thank you,” Lena replied, equally as genuine.
Eventually, Kara made her way back to the water, and Lena made her way back inside. She managed a decent lunch, making a sandwich from the food Sam so graciously had supplied, and went back to the puzzle, making what progress she could for the remainder of the afternoon, while occasionally being distracted by the woman outside. She really did seem to be enjoying herself. Lena was almost jealous. Correction, she was jealous. Kara seemed to have a relaxed aura about her, so accepting, so ready to take in the world. Maybe it was her own version of vacation mode; her professional life could very well be as strict as Lena’s. Still, the raven-haired woman couldn’t help but be envious of her ability to enjoy herself. She wondered if she would be able to let loose that much once she was alone here.
And that thought brought another, a pang of guilt arcing through her gut. She looked out at the blonde frolicking in the water like a carefree child, and that feeling of trespassing returned. It was an accident, of course, the miscommunication and the double-booking. Certain members of her family would gladly have raised hell over it, but not Lena. No one could logically be blamed. Sam had only been trying to help her as a friend, and only because Lena seemed incapable of helping herself. And yet Lena couldn’t help but feel like she was robbing the blonde woman of something she deeply deserved. This was her house, after all. A place full of memories that things Lena could more than understand had kept her from enjoying until just now, when Lena was now the thing that was keeping her from enjoying it.
It was silly, of course. Lena hardly knew Kara, most of their interactions had been either humorously overblown or terribly awkward, and yet Lena couldn’t help but feel like she understood the woman, liked her even. That, she thought, was much more of who Kara seemed to be than who Lena did. The woman was just like that. Lena had to wonder if they had met under other circumstances, at an interview, or business meeting, or date, (which her brain couldn’t help but volunteer as scenario), would she not be terribly charmed by the blonde’s candor, her easy understanding and openness?
As the afternoon drifted down, the light dying over the lake in beautiful shades of gold and copper, Lena began to set herself to the task of dinner, and an idea began to cook up in her brain as well. Finally, when it was nearly too dark to see, her accidental roommate finally stepped back into the house, towel thrown over her shoulder and chiseled muscles, now sun kissed, on full display.
“It looks like you enjoyed yourself,” Lena offered conversationally.
Kara sighed happily in reply. “You have no idea,” she said, carding fingers through blonde locks still drying. “You should have come out.”
“I wouldn’t want to get in your way,” Lena replied. “Though I’m worried you might regret all that sun tomorrow.”
“Oh, I made sure to wear plenty of sunscreen.”
Lena nodded. She had seen the blonde reapply, looking away quickly before a very base part of her volunteered to help her with the hard-to-reach parts. She motioned to the stove.
“I was working on supper,” she said. “I was wondering if you’d like to join me.”
“Oh, you didn’t have to do that.”
“I didn’t mind,” Lena replied. “To be honest, I don’t think I could watch you destroy an entire bag of chips again.”
Kara clutched her chest like she’d been stung, Lena catching her eyes snapping to follow her hand before snapping back fast enough to cause whiplash. The blonde laughed. “Fine,” she said in mock defeat. “I’m going to grab a quick shower, then we’ll eat.”
Lena nodded and tried to school the blush she felt hot in her cheeks. Kara emerged a few minutes later, just as Lena was finishing up, looking comfy in a t-shirt and jeans, bare feet padding on the kitchen floor until she stood, suddenly, behind the dark-haired woman.
“Oh, that smells good,” the blonde said with a deep inhale, leaning over the dark-haired woman’s shoulder in a way that sent a quite inappropriate feeling up Lena’s spine. The woman cleared her throat, plated the food and spun to hand Kara her portion. The blonde took it gladly and practically pranced to the table. “You made some progress,” she noted, pointing to the puzzle, as Lena came to join her.
“I had some time,” Lena replied.
Kara sniffed again at the plate. “What is this?” she said. “It looks amazing.”
“Just some pasta and shallots and sausage.”
Kara shoveled a forkful in her mouth. “Mmmm,” she moaned. “That is fantastic.” She continued to devour the meal with gusto. “You cook a lot?”
“Not as much, lately, as I’d like,” Lena said, thankful for conversation, which seemed to come easily to the blonde.
Kara nodded at this.
“So, is it like you remember it?” Lena asked. It felt like a good segue, but the woman instantly wondered if that was too personal a question. The blonde, however, seemed un-offended.
She smiled. “Even better,” she said.
Lena nodded as well. “Listen, I’ve been thinking,” she added after a breath. It seemed like as good a time as any to bring it up. “I know this situation hasn’t been ideal, for either of us.” She chuckled. “If I had my way, of course, I probably wouldn’t be here at all, but…” She glanced at the blonde across the table, who looked back at her almost too intently. “This place is amazing, and I’d hate to think I was robbing you of it, so…” Lena breathed. It was a wild idea. It was exactly the sort of thing she would never have suggested in any other circumstances, but she was right: she wouldn’t have chosen to come at all, in any other circumstances. So maybe it was vacation mode. “I would be okay if you wanted to stay the rest of the week.”
She forked her food absentmindedly before glancing at the blonde across from her. “Are you serious?” Kara asked, eyes wide in surprise.
Lena breathed. Then she nodded. “I know it’s only been a day, but we managed not to drive each other crazy.”
“Give me time,” the blonde replied with a smirk. “Are you sure? I mean, I don’t want to intrude on your vacation, either.”
Lena nodded, more assuredly this time. “I appreciate that. I know it’s not ideal, but this way we both get the time off that we probably really need.”
Kara smiled broadly. “Thank you. That’s… I mean that’s really the nicest thing.”
And Kara continued to stare at her. Lena couldn’t help but smile back before she looked away with a blush. When she glanced back up, Kara was smiling, and that blush was spreading, down.
“Wait,” Kara said, her brow furrowing. “I’m still sleeping on the couch, aren’t I?”
And as much in playful admonition to the blonde as to the parts of herself failing at wrestling with temptation, Lena replied, “Oh, absolutely.”
Another night of pleasant sleep, save for that still nagging guilt of the blonde woman out on the couch. Still, Lena was enjoying her time here, even if she couldn’t quite believe she had actually invited Kara to stay. It was, in many ways, so unlike her, but maybe that was a good sign. Lena had always tried to be, for lack of a better term, better. It seemed a requirement given her family. If you weren’t actively resisting the Luthor-ness, you were probably a part of the problem. Still, she had rarely been “adventurous”, certainly not in any relational way. She liked people but also distrusted them. That was as much a byproduct of being a Luthor as a response against it. She’d met so few individuals she really liked, who liked her. That’s part of the reason she was so thankful for Sam, for Ruby. If people as nice and pleasant as them managed to put up with her, maybe she wasn’t so bad. But that had taken time, and, now that she thought of it, more than once had been from Sam’s, and Ruby’s, insistence on keeping Lena around. For her own good as much as their own.
And here she was, on a vacation the people she cared about had pretty much forced her to take. She reminded herself to thank them properly when this was all over.
Maybe that’s why she felt comfortable with Kara, despite knowing her so little a time. The woman was almost annoyingly easy-to-read and easy to like. And easy on the eyes, her brain replied to Lena’s blush. One thing she definitely didn’t need was to make this situation more awkward with… well, by acting on any kind of base fantasies she might have. Granted, it had been a while. (Sam was right about that, though Lena would die before admitting it to her.) But Lena was nothing if not self-controlled. She could school herself.
So, after several deep breathing exercises before she got up, the raven-haired woman made her way out of the bedroom to whatever the day held. She managed to finish up in the bathroom and dress, emerging to find her companion still passed out on the couch. The blonde was splayed haphazardly, one leg out from under the blanket, kicked up over the top cushion, arm tucked behind her head with her face further smushed between pillow and the back of the couch. It was messy but also incredibly adorable. Lena couldn’t help but smile while she padded softly by her towards the kitchen.
She worked quietly on breakfast. By the time the eggs were sizzling, she heard a groan from the living room, followed by the sound of a heavy weight hitting the floor. Lena winced, then tried not to laugh as she imagined the blonde flopping onto the floor. There were footsteps, then the sounds of water running from the bathroom.
Kara emerged from the bathroom just about the time Lena was plating breakfast. The blonde brushed out the remainder of bedhead with her fingers, though her golden hair was still in those easy curls.
“You made breakfast!” the woman exclaimed.
“It seemed appropriate,” Lena replied before handing the plate over to the beaming woman.
They settled themselves at the table. Lena watched the woman inhale the meal gladly while she poked at the puzzle between bites.
“So, what’d you have planned today?”
The question came to Lena as something of a shock. For once in her life, she didn’t really have an answer and couldn’t suppress the instant guilt at that from the part of her that had gotten used to being a CEO.
“Oh,” she replied. “I didn’t really know.”
In response, though, her companion only smiled. “That sounds great!”
Lena knew she must look perplexed.
“Vacation mode!” Kara exclaimed, throwing her arms in the air. “We don’t do plans. We live in the moment!”
And the raven-haired CEO had to laugh at her enthusiasm. “That’s not exactly my wheelhouse.”
Kara only smiled back. “Give it time,” she added.
“What about you?” Lena asked, though she could guess at the answer.
In reply, Kara pounded the table. “Nothing! Haven’t you been listening?” she said with a laugh. “Actually,” she added a moment later. “I was thinking about taking a walk.” She pointed out behind the house, towards the lake. “I remember an old hiking trail, and I thought I’d see if I could find it again.” She looked back at the woman across from her, head tilting to one side expectantly. “You’re welcome to join me.”
And, for all of a second, Lena’s heart leapt into her throat, quite unexpectedly. Something about the offer, the expectant look the woman had, the genuineness of it all, quite overrode her, but Lena just shook her head.
“Oh, no, thank you,” she replied. “I think I’ll just hang out here.” She looked back at the woman, who seemed to understand though looked just a bit disappointed. She couldn’t help but flail for excuse. “I don’t think Sam packed me the right shoes.”
“Okay,” Kara replied after a moment.
After breakfast, Kara slapped on her shoes and, with an actual goodbye to the raven-haired woman, made her way out to find the trail she had mentioned earlier. It took a full minute to occur to Lena that she was actually alone, for the first time, on this vacation. Considering she was supposed to have been alone this whole time, that should have come as a relief, yet suddenly the house seemed eerily quiet. Empty even.
She set herself to cleaning the dishes, but that quickly was done and she found herself, yet again, unsure of how to proceed. Her life was so regimented these days. She had seen that as a good thing, a necessity certainly, but the byproduct was that when she actually had a moment all to herself, like now, the woman was bereft any idea of how to fill it. She missed being in the lab. At least then she could set herself to some side project she had been itching to poke at. But that, she knew, was just as much an excuse for making productivity the sole defining factor of her existence.
And while not healthy, the downside was that, when she didn’t have to do anything, Lena Luthor just didn’t know what to do with herself.
The puzzle worked for an hour or two, but that soon lost her interest, the woman’s brain flitting to just about anything to try and fold out what was starting to feel like endless monotony. To think, Sam had wanted to stick her here alone for a week. Lena would have probably gone stir-crazy after the first day.
Then she remembered the fun bag.
It occurred to Lena that she was all alone, probably for a while, but the idea of being walked in on at any moment quickly put any ideas out of her head. So, instead, she settled for a handful of Hershey’s kisses and one of the novels Sam had packed. She set herself on the couch and tried to lose herself in what could, in some way, probably be considered literature. She had gotten a good chunk into the story, right in the middle of a rather heated dance between two, impassioned women who the rest of the world would likely think were very good friends when she nodded off entirely.
Lena awoke to find the light in the cabin dimmed, the sun lower in the sky, hours, it seemed, having passed. Her book was not in her hand but on the coffee table by the couch next to a pile of carefully folded chocolate wrappers. The woman realized she must have fallen asleep, but she also found that she was covered with a blanket she didn’t remember curling up with.
“Oh, you’re up,” Lena heard, looking up to see Kara sitting at the table, poised over the puzzle.
“Hi,” Lena offered in reply. She glanced down at the blanket again.
“You looked cold,” Kara replied with a shrug.
“Thank you,” Lena said back. “How long was I out?”
Kara shrugged. “I got back a couple of hours ago and you were snoozing.” She smiled. “You know, you’re pretty cute when you nap.”
Lena felt the blush hot on her cheeks, and in other places, and tried to clear her throat against it. “I must have slept the entire afternoon away.”
“You looked like you needed it,” Kara commented before rising from the table and padding to the kitchen.
The idea of food lanced through Lena’s stomach, leaving a thunder rumble that was nearly embarrassing in volume. She pushed the blanket down and made to get off the couch. She was caught as she did by a sudden, dull throbbing in her back. She groaned and stretched it out.
“Now you know how I feel,” she heard Kara remark.
“How was your walk?” Lena asked as she managed to get to her feet, rubbing her ribs as she did.
“Great!” the blonde exclaimed. “I forgot how gorgeous this place is.” She stepped back into the dining room, newly opened bag of tortilla chips in hand. “You really should check it out.”
“I’ll have to do that,” the raven-haired woman said before staring at the bag in the blonde’s hands. She glanced at the window, the fading sunlight on the lake. “It looks to be close to dinner time,” she added.
“Yeah,” Kara agreed before holding up the bag, answering the question Lena hadn’t asked.
Lena looked between the bag and the blonde for a long minute. When it seemed that the woman simply wasn’t going to get the message, she sighed. “No,” she said.
“What?” Kara replied.
“No, no,” Lena repeated and stepped towards the kitchen.
“What?” Kara said, more understanding but also more indignant at the implication.
“No,” Lena averred as she pulled out a frying pan. She stepped back towards the blonde and, to further make her point, ripped the bag out of her hands. “No.” She added off the blonde’s look of utter insult, “You can cut the onions and the peppers. I’ll brown the meat and grate the cheese.”
Before Kara could object further, a cutting board was thrust into her hands to replace the chips. The blonde reluctantly set about the task assigned to her, her housemate, renter, and now head chef handing over the vegetables in question. It wasn’t until Lena had preheated the oven and browned the meat that she began to put together what they were doing. When they had spread the chips and layered the meat, onions, peppers, and cheese over everything and slid it into the oven, the blonde was hopping and clapping her hands.
“Nachos!” she exclaimed, and, despite this starting as something of an admonition, Lena couldn’t help but be uplifted at the woman’s enthusiasm. The smile on her face was certainly infectious.
After dinner, Kara insisted on dessert, which Lena didn’t mind but was a little surprised when Kara further insisted they take it outside. The sun had fallen in the last few hours, the lake quiet and nearly pitch black in the darkness.
“It’s a beautiful night,” the blonde said. “You won’t believe how many stars you can see.”
Lena could agree to that, certainly. Kara produced ice cream from the fridge and Lena watched while the blonde scooped out two bowls full then proceeded to pile each one high with chocolate sauce and whipped cream. She was goggle-eyed when Kara shoved one in her hand and gleefully handed over a spoon. They stepped out onto the deck, Kara stepping quickly back in to shut off the lights in the house. Lena spooned her dessert hesitantly, quite certain this was far too much sugar than was recommended for anyone’s daily intake.
The night was indeed beautiful. The lake was still and quiet but for the occasional sound of bird and cricket. Lena made some headway into the ice cream before setting aside and leaning back on the deck chair. It was then she truly understood the beauty of the lake.
The rain of a day or so prior had given way to clear skies and, now, an unperturbed night vista. As her eyes further adjusted to the dark, the entire universe seemed on display for Lena. The raven-haired scientist could only gape in awe.
“Wow,” she finally whispered.
“What did I tell you?” she heard. Lena tilted her head to see her companion beside her, smile on display even in the dim light. “You don’t get skies like this anywhere else.”
Lena nodded. She could believe that. They sat for some time, just them and the stars, in silence but, for once, not awkward. The cold night settled further, forcing Lena to tuck her hands under her arms for warm, determined to take in as much of this glorious night as she could.
“Hands cold?” she heard Kara whisper beside her.
“Yeah,” Lena whispered back, the night seeming to call them both to reverent voices.
“Here,” Kara said. Lena reached out a hand towards her, half-expecting a blanket to be placed in it and not expecting at all that the blonde’s hand would take its place instead.
Kara held her hand, quite like it was the most normal thing to do for people who’d known each as many days as you could count on one hand. Lena gaped in the darkness, unsure how to respond, and yet not letting her hand drop or otherwise rip it from the blonde woman’s grasp. It was pretty warm and soft, and Lena could feel the blush in her cheeks but even that didn’t move her hand. So they sat under the glorious sky, hand-in-hand beneath the night, like it was the most normal thing in the world.
At last, Lena couldn’t stop the yawn that escaped her mouth. She heard its companion in chorus from the woman beside her.
“Guess we should be heading in,” Kara said. She squeezed Lena’s hand again before letting it go, and the raven-haired woman nearly let out a disappointed whimper at the loss of the soft warmth of the blonde’s grasp.
They made ready for bed, and Lena was finishing up in the bathroom and wrestling with an idea in her head. It was, like her previous suggestion to the blonde, nearly unthinkable for the woman. She wanted to blame the wine, but she hadn’t had any during dinner. In the end, it was more the idea of Kara sleeping on the couch again. Lena, having now experienced that for a few hours, couldn’t shake the feeling of guilt, now acute, at having the fluffy comfort of the bed all to herself.
It was unthinkable, totally out of character, and yet, as Lena emerged from the bathroom, she found herself turning to the blonde, already making up her bed on the couch.
“Hey,” Lena said. “I’ve been thinking.”
Kara turned back to look at her. For the first time, Lena actually noticed the woman’s pajamas, which were a full top and bottom combo of printed dinosaurs. It was nearly sickeningly cute. Lena cleared her throat again and wondered why that made her blush.
“I kind of feel guilty about making you sleep on that thing.” She pointed at the couch.
Kara only shrugged. “It’s not too bad.”
Lena’s back would object to that if it could. “Well, um… Listen…” and she watched the blonde’s head tilt in curiosity at her. It suddenly occurred to Lena to ask, what the heck she was doing? Somehow, that didn’t stop her from doing it. “If you want, I wouldn’t mind sharing.”
She watched Kara’s eyebrows raise in surprise. “Really?”
“Yeah,” Lena replied. “I mean, the bed’s plenty big, and I can’t think what the couch is doing to your back.”
Kara glanced down at the culprit and nodded in agreement. She looked back at Lena. “Are you sure?” she asked.
And Lena both was and wasn’t, but she soldiered on. “Yeah. I am.”
“Okay,” Kara replied, quickly smiling. “Thanks! I promise I don’t snore or anything, and I’m only a moderate blanket hog.”
Lena had to chuckle at the blonde’s undeniable adorableness. “Just stay on your side.”
And just like that, Lena Luthor found she was sharing a bed for the first time in too-long-to-mention. It wasn’t until she was actually in the room that it occurred to her the only sleepwear Sam had packed her were silk camisoles and shorts, which, while very comfortable, like the bikini were not clothing she was altogether comfortable wearing in front of another person. But it was really too late to be thinking about. She changed quickly and managed to slip under the sheets before Kara came in.
The blonde slid into the far side of the bed, which seemed simultaneously too far and too close to Lena. The raven-haired woman gulped and instinctively crossed her legs. Lena skooched up further on her side, nearly to the edge, to avoid any accidental touching, which felt like too much a temptation at this point, and wondered for what she was sure would not be the last time what she had been thinking. But what was done was done. She wasn’t about the kick the woman out now.
“Goodnight,” her new bed companion called cheerily.
“Goodnight,” Lena repeated back, pulling the blanket up around her ears and tried not to think of the very warm body within arm’s reach, tried not to wonder if the rest of her was as soft as her hands.
Somehow, Lena managed to get to sleep, despite her insistence on not moving at all to avoid bumping up against the blonde in the night.
When she awoke, Lena found herself surprisingly well-rested. The bed was as soft as ever but, somehow, even more a temptation to stay in. Her nights too often of late had been filled with thoughts of the next day, of the overwhelming responsibilities she carried; when she bothered to get to bed it was exhausted and world-weary. Now, though, she felt safe, safer than she had in a long time. Still caught in that fuzzy, comfortable limbo between sleep and waking, Lena let herself drink the feeling in. It radiated through her back, practically pressed against her whole body, hugging her curves, even seemingly to circle around her waist. The woman moaned softly and turned into it, hoping to soak it up straight from the source.
As her mind started to wake, several things began to occur to her. All at once, but it still took several minutes to fully order, several more before the implication finally sparked in her brain.
Lena opened her eyes to find her hands grasping dinosaur print pajamas. She tiled her head slowly back to look up and see blue eyes staring down at her.
“Good morning,” Kara said with a smile.
Lena stared up at the woman, then looked down at her hands, aware now that the blonde’s arm was wrapped around her waist. Lena blanched.
“Um…” she droned, bereft of words. Too embarrassed for speech. Instead, she pushed away from the blonde, not moving her hands from her chest but removing herself. “Uh, I’m sorry,” she stammered as she continued to distance herself from the blonde, who stared back, suddenly worried.
“I’m just gonna… I’m just gonna…” the raven-haired woman continued to stammer.
“Lena, you’re-“ Kara warned, too late as the stammering woman continued to push herself back. Until-
“Oomph,” Lena gasped out, as she pushed herself clean off the bed. She was up on feet a second later, smoothing down the silk of her pajamas, fully aware of the blonde staring at her. “I’m just… going to… the bathroom!” she managed before dashing off.
Lena practically slammed the bathroom door shut. She stood on the other side, just breathing. Breathing and berating herself. What the actual hell?, Her brain screamed. She splashed water on her face and stared into the mirror. She wasn’t sure she had ever been so embarrassed in her life. Her heart was pounding, but, now that she had a moment, she realized it was not just from the shock.
Lena wondered for a full minute if she could conceivably spend the rest of the week in the bathroom. She settled for a quick shower before poking her head out. The bedroom door was open. She padded quickly over, shut her eyes, prayed, then glanced inside to see the bed empty. She quickly changed clothes and yet again wondered if she could possibly not go out and have to face the other woman in what now felt like a much too small house.
Finally, she emerged, if not driven by courage, at least by necessity.
They managed to make it through breakfast without a word about what had happened in bed. From a certain perspective, Lena should probably have been grateful, however the sheer awkwardness of the situation was only further compounded by not talking about it, and she finally broke when they were putting away the dishes.
“Look, I feel like I should say I’m sorry,” she blurted out.
Kara gave a confused, curious look. “For what?”
Lena gaped. Lena groaned. Of course she was going to make her say it out loud. “For… you know… before?”
The blonde continued to stare.
“This morning. In bed. With…” And Lena gave up. “How we woke up?”
“Oh,” Kara replied, a little too unaffected for the dark haired woman’s liking. “You don’t have to apologize for that.”
It was a warm, genuine response that nearly floored Lena in its unexpectedness. Of the reactions she might have expected, that somehow had not entered into her mind. It suddenly occurred to her that the blonde woman might just be as kind and inviting as she appeared.
“Well,” Lena stammered for a moment and wrung her hands. “I feel like I should explain myself.”
Kara only shrugged. “You really don’t have to. I get snuggly when I’m sleepy, too.”
And that might have calmed the woman, to know she was not the only one to blame for the way they had found themselves. It wasn’t like there was anything necessarily wrong with it. But it was just that Lena had thoughts, unexpressed certainly, but vivid, and she couldn’t help but feel guilty for them in light of how she had found herself, of how comfortable and desirable a position it had felt.
She tried to breathe. “Well, I’m sorry, in either case,” she replied and prayed that would be the end of it because she just did not know where else to take it.
Her housemate-turned-bedmate only smiled and shrugged again. The matter seemed far past settled for her, and Lena let herself sigh in relief at that, adding, politely, “I just didn’t want you to feel uncomfortable.”
“Of course not,” Kara beamed. “You’re real soft,” she added before plodding off towards the bathroom.
And Lena felt the blush explode over her whole body. Further compounded when the blonde emerged a few minutes later, in her two-piece, ready, again it seemed, to enjoy the lake, soak up the sun, and torture Lena to death.
The dark-haired woman managed to avoid staring for most of the morning, focused on the puzzle, which was coming along nicely, but her resolve soon began to crack, her eyes drifting to the glass doors, enjoying the vista of the lake but mostly the half-naked figure stretching on the deck, wet skin glistening in the sunlight. After lunch, Lena wrapped herself in a blanket and confined herself to the couch in an effort to maintain some sense of self-control. She cursed Sam, for the hundredth time, for the fact that the only reading she had left her as refuge was erotica.
Some time later, Kara stepped back into the house, having dried herself tanning on the deck. Not that Lena had noticed, though she really had.
“You really have to get out there,” she commented to the woman on the couch. “The lake is gorgeous.”
“Oh, I’m good,” Lena lied, holding up her book and giving the woman the most cursory of glances, though her eyes did manage a rapid raking up and down her swimsuit-clad body.
“Suit yourself,” Kara said before stepping into the kitchen.
Lena buried her nose in the book and regretted instantly that the story had reached a particularly heated rendezvous. She was, thankfully, distracted by the banging of several cabinet doors. She listened to the chorus of opening and closing. The noise seemed to move to another area of the kitchen, where there was an answering call, before silence, and then the same cabinets were opened again.
“I think you’ll find,” she said aloud. “That if you open the same cabinets again, they will have the contents they had the first time you opened them.”
The cabinets shut. Kara stepped out into the living room with a pouty look. Lena was almost amused before her eyes were distracted by the woman’s hands on her hips. Dear god, those were abs. Like the dictionary definition of abs. Emphasis on “definition”.
“I’m out of snacks,” Kara announced, and that managed to shake Lena out of her baser thoughts.
“What?” she asked, incredulous. “You came in with bags full.”
“Yeah,” Kara replied before looking off with this almost childish, guilty look.
“Are you telling me you’ve eaten all of them?”
Kara shrugged. “Maybe,” she replied, again with that caught look. “Hey!” she shot back. “You made me bed down on that couch. Twice! I get snacky when I can’t sleep.”
And Lena had to laugh, at the ridiculousness, but also the adorableness. That someone could be, all at once, kind and hot and disarmingly cute was just too much. It was hard to believe she could even exist, let alone that Lena had accidentally ended up in the same vacation house with her.
Kara stomped her feet in frustration.
“I don’t suppose you know of a grocery store nearby?” Lena asked. All she knew about the surrounding area was that the nearest town was too far to walk, but she remembered the woman had a car.
“There’s one in town,” Kara replied after a moment’s thought. She checked the clock on the wall. “But it’s probably a little late to run out there. If I remember correctly most things aren’t open in the evening.”
“So there is a town nearby?” Lena asked.
“Oh yeah. Down on the other end of the lake,” Kara replied. She suddenly brightened. “Ooh! We can go tomorrow! I remember it’s this adorable little spot. You’ll love it!”
And Lena was doubly struck by the woman’s enthusiasm and the offer, not just made but assumed. The “we” had come out of her mouth without hesitation. It’s ironic how Lena had felt such the interloper, despite the legitimate rental, when, in fact, Kara had quickly moved past any regret or sense of slight at the situation. The woman really was unbelievable.
“That, uh, sounds nice,” Lena heard herself reply, her own sense of reluctance set aside almost without effort. She chuckled at a thought, staring at the woman now with a bit more than attraction. “Do you think you can last that long?”
And the reminder of the snack-less hours that lay before her somewhat deflated the blonde woman.
“Okay,” Lena said with another laugh. She motioned towards the bedroom. “I have a small bag I brought with me. Well, Sam packed it, but it’s supposed to be the ‘fun’ bag, and it happens to be full of candy.” She watched Kara’s eyes go wide with excitement. “You may help yourself.”
And the woman actually clapped her hands. “Thank you!” she practically screamed and skipped off towards the bedroom.
Lena smiled and went back to her book. She heard the noise of Kara rustling through the luggage and finally lifting a bag onto the bed and unzipping it.
“Aw!” came Kara’s voice. “Who’s Ruby?”
“Sam’s daughter,” Lena called back. “Cutest kid you’ve ever met.”
“I’ll bet,” came the reply followed by the rustling of plastic as Kara made herself familiar with the vast stores of chocolate Ruby had thought to provide. Lena was thankful. It was too much for her to advisably consume on her own. “Hmm,” she heard Kara hum. “Very Sapphic reading habits you got here.”
Lena rolled her eyes. “You can thank Sam for that. She thinks she’s hilarious.”
“You know, you keep blaming Sam for this stuff,” Kara pointed out. “Sounds kind of suspicious, if you know what I mean.”
And Lena could hear the smirk. She shook her head and went back to her book. Her head then shot up as she realized what else was in the ‘fun’ bag.
“Wait!” she yelled as she leapt from the couch, pounding down the hallway and rounding the corner, just in time to catch the blonde woman, the fun bag opened on the bed, with a small, cylindrical item in her hand. Lena froze.
“Wow,” Kara replied. She turned to Lena, who was certain she was white as a sheet right now. “I am really sorry,” the blonde added.
At that, the dark-haired woman managed to calm down, marginally. In truth, it wasn’t that she had any hang-ups, per se, but there were still some things you just didn’t want discussed without your express permission. Somehow, though, the woman apologizing softened some of the embarrassment.
“It’s all right, Kara. I should have warned you,” Lena replied.
In reply, the blonde stared back. “Oh, not that,” she said. “I meant I’m sorry you’re not alone here.”
Lena raised an eyebrow to this. Kara motioned to the item in her hand.
“Because clearly I’m keeping you from something you’d rather be doing,” Kara said with a smirk.
Lena blushed, embarrassed now for much less enjoyable reasons. Angrily she swiped the item in question out of the blonde’s grasp, snatched the carrying case for good measure, and shoved them both in a drawer in the bedside night stand before spinning back to the blonde, indignant but quickly draining what pride she had as shield.
“You know,” Kara said, still sporting a grin. “I can take a walk, if you’d like to be alone.”
Lena practically growled in embarrassment. “Sam,” she started, then grimaced when she remembered what Kara had said earlier. “Sam put that in.” And for want of excuse she finally landed on, “She thinks I need to get laid,” before stomping out of the room entirely.
“Do you?” reached her just as she was back at the couch.
Lena spun to see the blonde woman, a bag of chocolate-covered peanuts in her hand, standing in the hallway, nonchalantly snacking as if this was a totally normal situation.
“Do I what?” Lena asked.
“Need to get laid?”
Lena’s mouth dropped at the same time as her cheeks burned. Her thoughts were not helping her right now. “That’s a rather impertinent question,” she shot back.
Kara shrugged and chewed another peanut. “Well, we kind of woke up spooning this morning, so don’t you think we’re past pertinent and impertinent?” She smiled
Lena huffed, quite beside herself. She turned to the couch, only to realize the book she might bury herself into was decidedly the wrong genre, so she turned to the dining room.
Puzzles, the time-honored refuge for the repressed, hormonal, and abstinent. She heard Kara take the seat opposite her but, for once, managed to keep her eyes focused.
“I’m sorry,” Kara said gently. “But you really don’t need to be embarrassed.”
And pity somehow felt more mocking than mockery. Lena rolled her eyes and glared at the woman. “How long’s it been for you?” she asked, impertinently.
Kara got quiet. She set the bag of peanuts down. The blonde woman looked off for a second before catching Lena’s gaze again.
“I broke up with my boyfriend about a year ago,” she said, quietly, thoughtfully. “It was, uh…” She shook her head. “It wasn’t good. I stayed way too long.”
Lena felt her chest drop. “Kara,” she replied immediately, hand, heart, held out towards the woman. “You don’t have to.” She shook her own head. “I’m so sorry. I had no right to ask.”
“No,” Kara replied back. “It’s okay. I’ve been to a lot of therapy.” She looked off again before laughing. “That’s a weird thing to brag about, huh?”
Lena stared at the woman. Sweet and vulnerable, disarmingly so in both regards. Unbelievable, indeed. The dark haired woman chuckled as well. “Honestly, I think if more people bragged about that, we probably wouldn’t need as much therapy.”
Kara beamed, and it really was like the sun coming out for how it lit up Lena to see it, to be the cause.
“After Mike,” the woman went on. “I just wasn’t ready for anyone, you know? For a while, I didn’t think I was good enough, and then I knew I just needed time for myself.”
Lena nodded. She understood. And how.
“Of course, that didn’t stop a lot of people from coming out of the woodwork,” Kara added with a dry chuckle. “Including Siobhan.” Kara groaned. “High school girlfriend, product of a summer of a lot of experimentation and self-discovery, walking nightmare.” She laughed before turning to Lena. She held out the bag. Lena understood the cue. She grabbed a peanut.
“Andrea,” she said, and the word still felt heavy on her lips. “As luck would have it, we also went to high school together. Girls boarding school.”
Kara whistled at that.
“We were- well, are both in business,” Lena went on. She stared out the window as well, also caught in the remembrance. “We were sort of a power couple.”
“What happened?” Kara asked.
“She thought that’s all we were,” Lena sighed. “I didn’t.”
And Kara nodded, wordlessly, only offering the bag as quiet comfort. Lena accepted.
“How long ago was that?”
Lena sighed again. “Two years.”
“Two years?” Kara asked, eyes wide.
“Two years?” Kara repeated. “And no one else? Not even a fling?”
Lena shook her head. The blonde looked back at her stunned. She gave Lena a look up and down, before exclaiming, “But you’re hot!?!”
And Lena was caught between being offended and being embarrassed, not sure if she should be taken aback or flattered, and somehow going for both. “Uh, thank you?” she replied.
Kara’s brain seemed to finally catch up with her mouth. “I mean,” she replied, jaw working soundlessly for a second. “I mean you ARE, but I didn’t…” No other option available to dig herself out, she resorted to stuffing her mouth with chocolate-coated peanuts to make the words stop.
And somehow that worked. Lena could only laugh. “Thank you,” she replied honestly. Odd as it was, she had to admit, she felt lighter. It had been a long time since she had brought up Andrea, certainly not to a stranger, but it didn’t sting quite as much as it might once have. “Thank you,” she repeated, and felt her chest brighten when Kara smiled back at her.
“You’re welcome,” the blonde replied after swallowing the candies. “You know,” she added after a minute. She nodded towards the lake. “I can take a walk, if you wanted to, you know?” And she motioned back to the bedroom.
In reply, Lena fished out a handful of peanuts and threw one straight into the blonde’s face.
The rest of the afternoon managed to pass with an unexpected ease. Somehow, the situation had served as lightning rod for the awkwardness. The two women worked on the puzzle and traded stories from their youth. Lena surprised herself at her own openness, meeting Kara tale for tale as they fell into a game of one-up-man-ship about their own, wild journeys of sexual discovery. The more they talked, the more the dark-haired woman found herself at ease around the blonde. Kara really was like that, as open as inviting as you might doubt yourself believing she could be.
The hours wiled away, and soon they found themselves getting ready for bed. The awkwardness from before now rearing its head as they both realized what situation they had again put themselves in.
“If you want to be alone-“ Kara started before nearly losing herself in laughter at the implication.
Lena threw a pillow at her. She couldn’t deny the desire to go back to the way things had been, to avoid a repeat of her embarrassment, but she also remembered how uncomfortable that couch could be, and, of course, now the blonde had nothing to alleviate her midnight snacking habit.
“I’m fine,” Lena said, half-believing it. “Just, you know, stay on your side.”
“Can do,” Kara replied with a playful salute, and they got into bed.
Lena pulled the sheets around her, never more aware of the warm body within arm’s reach, but she breathed deeply and managed to drift off to a pleasant sleep.
When Lena awoke the next morning, her brain swimming in the blissful, intertidal zone of sleeping and waking, she squeezed her arms and felt warm, softness nestled between. Pulling herself towards the source, she pressed her face into cottony comfort, letting out a deep, deep sigh of contentment as she wondered why anyone would ever leave bed, too safe and warm in sheets with a body that just called her to mold herself against it, and-
Dear god, she was spooning Kara.
Consciousness hit Lena like a brick between the eyes.
And, as if to cement the fact that nothing could be blamed but her own, subconscious urges, Lena was the big spoon, practically jet-packed, shamelessly, against the woman’s body. Lena’s eyes fluttered open to confirm dinosaur print not an inch in front of her.
What is wrong with you, you horny, horny lesbian!
Lena wondered for a moment how to properly extricate herself from this, praying that the woman had not woken up. She began to pull her arm back from where it had been tightly wrapped around the woman’s waist, only for a hand to suddenly cover hers and hold it in place.
“Good morning,” she heard Kara whisper. “Comfortable?”
Lena swallowed. “Uh, yes,” she replied after a full of minute of silence. “Sorry,” she quickly added and tried to pull her hand away again. Again to be denied.
“You have nothing to apologize about,” the woman added softly, though Lena hardly believed it. Still, Kara squeezed her hand where it lay, nearly lewdly splayed over those abs.
And maybe Lena didn’t. It had been a while, and people had needs. Not just in that lewd, juvenile kind of way, but people needed people. People needed touch and warmth and, most of all, to know they weren’t alone, and of all the things Lena had felt these last two years, that she had felt all too often.
Still, Lena was Lena, which meant she couldn’t let herself feel this for too long. It felt, somehow, irresponsible. Kara, however, seemed perfectly comfortable, and perfectly unwilling to let Lena ago for several minutes. Finally, the blonde let the woman’s hand slip free. It lingered for a moment, warm skin under soft cotton just too inviting. Really, how could a woman that cut be so cuddly at the same damn time?
Finally, Lena slipped out to find a cold shower and thoughts more appropriate for their current situation. For goodness’ sake, she had known the woman less than a week, and granted she was the most open, honest, and kindest woman Lena had met in a long time, possibly ever, (and, yes, scorchingly hot), but still…
And Lena’s mind drifted in a river of thought, bereft of a paddle. What exactly was she trying to talk herself out of?, she wanted to ask, then followed that up with, Why? But she shook the whole thing out of her head as just too much trouble to think about.
When she emerged from the bathroom, Kara was already dressed and starting on breakfast. Lena let herself fall into the routine of it, chuckling to herself at how it had become routine. Whatever could be said of this vacation, she doubted she’d find that unpleasant. Whatever she had actually meant, Sam had been right about one thing: there were worse people she could have been stuck here with. Now that she thought about it, Lena had to wondered if she could have imagined someone better.
And that brought all those other thoughts back to the surface. She tried to shove them down.
After dishes, Kara clapped her hands and turned to her with a wide grin on her face. “Ready?” She asked.
It took Lena a second. Ah, right, their little excursion into town. She nodded. “Sure.”
She turned to the door, only to be surprised when Kara didn’t follow, instead stepping towards the back door. The blonde paused at the sliding glass, glancing back at Lena.
“Uh,” Lena said, mouthy fishy. She motioned to the front of the house. “I thought we were driving.” They did have a car, after all, and Sam probably hadn’t been lying when she said it was too far to walk.
In reply, Kara got a playful look on her face. She shook her head. “Oh, that’s not how we do things on the lake,” she added and crooked her finger for the woman to follow.
Lena did, stepping out into the back porch. She followed Kara to the shed, wondering what the woman was thinking. The blonde stepped around to the side, where Lena noticed a tarp draped over something tucked against the far side of the squat storage building. Kara yanked at the tarp with a flourish.
“Tada!” She shouted, presenting a small boat upside down on a stand. It didn’t look like much, clearly well-used, but it looked seaworthy, at least from what Lena could tell.
She helped Kara flip it over, somewhat clumsily, then drag/carry it down to the pier. Drag on Lena’s end; carry on Kara’s. The boat slipped into the water, and Kara hopped gracefully inside to start positioning the outboard.
Lena stared. It had been a while since she’d been in the water, even longer on something as small as this little skiff. She tried not to look nervous. Kara seemed to notice her failing. The blonde smiled warmly.
“If you’re worried about safety,” she said. “There’s some life vests in the shed.”
Lena nodded at that and went to find them. She came back, fiddling with the buckle on a bright orange vest that squeezed her neck in none-too-flattering a way. Kara only smiled and held out a hand to help her into the boat. That ended up being a bit of comedy. Lena was quite sure she had her sea legs, but she put one foot in the boat, felt the small craft dip in the water, and next thing she knew she was falling forward to be caught in the very cuddly, oh-so-strong arms of her companion.
Lena felt the blush explode over her whole body and really started to wonder if she couldn’t make a last minute excuse to stay back at the house. Kara said nothing, only gave a her a gentle squeeze and helped her take a seat on the front bench of the boat. Lena tried to collect herself, distracted by the roar of the outboard when the blonde got it going a second later. Soon they were off.
They puttered across the water, and it seemed like the little craft might not do better than a crawl as it wheezed and puttered. Kara gave it a swift tap of her knuckles, and that seemed to bring the machine to life. The water splashed and slid beneath them, and Lena felt quite content to take it all in, now fully in the middle of the lake.
This place was gorgeous. Trees lined practically the entire shore, within only a break here and there for what looked to be other houses, but only just. The CEO wondered what iron-hard county board must be responsible for keeping this place from being invaded. There seemed to be none of the gentrification she might have expected from people, well, just like her, in status if not personality. The place was a paradise, though, pristine, nearly untouched, and Lena found herself falling in love with it more and more. Sam had, for all intents and purposes, kidnapped her, and yet already Lena wondered when she could schedule the next getaway.
At the thought, her eyes drifted to the back of the boat. Golden hair whipped against the wind brilliantly. The blonde seemed as in-her-element as a person could be. It was strange how many sides people could have. It was even stranger how many of Kara’s Lena had seen in such a short time, and yet all of them felt endearing. The dark-haired woman couldn’t help but wonder if she could see more, couldn’t but want to.
Kara finally noticed her staring. She turned and beamed at the woman. She seemed to stare back. Lena looked away, back to the lake, to anything else to distract her mind from the thoughts that seemed inevitable now.
Soon, the lake bent around a corner and a break in the tree line finally emerged, showing a small but bustling town set right against the water. Kara turned them towards it and before long they were puttering towards a collection of docks where several other small watercraft were parked. Beyond that, Lena spied shops and signs, the makings of a quaint, classic-looking tourist town.
Kara tied them up at a spot on the pier and reached back to help Lena out of the boat. The dark-haired woman let herself be hauled, quite easily it felt, by the blonde, tripping a little, (possibly on purpose), as her feet landed on the wooden planks and crashing softly once more into the blonde’s arms.
Lena stared up into blue eyes, momentarily caught by the sheer blueness of them, until she felt something come undone. She glanced down to find Kara was unhooking her vest from her. Lena’s brain had a field day with that, imagining a further undressing before she shook her head, cleared her throat, and stepped bodily back from the blonde.
Kara said nothing, only tossed the vest back into the boat and clapped her hands. She smiled as she turned to the town, visibly excited to see the sights.
“Come on, let’s check it out,” she said and grabbed Lena’s hand. It was all the dark-haired woman could do but let herself be tugged along, desperate to keep up but in no way disturbed to have her hand once more wrapped up in the blonde’s.
The town was something out of a postcard. The humble collection of docks connected to a boardwalk and a wharf, where already families were milling about between the exceedingly quaint looking shops and several kiosks and stands selling all manner of trinkets and foodstuffs. True to form, Kara made a beeline to the first of these, practically hopping up and down at the prospect of what appeared to be caramel-coated apples. Lena was halfway to a protest that they had just had breakfast, when she was reminded of Kara’s normal eating habits. After their first stop, Lena let herself be led on by the eager and excited blonde from stand-to-stand, sight-to-sight. The place was, of course, gorgeous and very cute, but Lena couldn’t help but wonder hadn’t they come here for a grocery run? It seemed that was the farthest thing from Kara’s mind.
Still, it was hard to argue with the sights. The wharf was lined with just the sort of kitschy yet endearing kind of shops you’d expect from this sort of place. There was a craft mart and a bait shop and more than a few stands for souvenirs. As they were weaving among the crowds, Lena followed along, assuming Kara knew where she was going but just as much suspecting they were following random wanderlust. The blonde gasped suddenly and skidded to a stop. She pointed and Lena followed her gaze to a little nook of a shop stuffed between an ice cream parlor and a coffee shop. The sign confirmed but you could tell the store’s speciality by the stacks and stacks of books set out on two tables in front of the store.
“Why don’t we find you some more appropriate reading material?” Kara suggested. Lena laughed and nodded.
They perused the stacks of well-read and no doubt much-beloved books in the store. Tucked in the seemingly random placement, Lena found a few recognizable volumes and even a couple that surprised her. She finally landed on an old classic and was just done with her purchase when Kara drug her next door to the coffee shop, where they found a small, bistro table on the patio facing the lake. Over cappuccinos, they sat, Lena’s book open on her lap, and the sunny day passing peacefully over them. She looked up to see her companion people-watching. The town was moderately crowded but not uncomfortably so. It was, like so many other things this week, so unexpected and yet so welcome.
“Is it like you remember?” She felt like asking.
She watched Kara take a deep breath and sigh pleasantly. She nodded. “Yeah,” she said in a half whisper. “A little more crowded,” she added with a shrug but the smile remained.
Lena let her gaze float around the cute, little wharf. She had to admit vacations here would be a terrible temptation, especially as a child. “It’s a wonderful place,” she said. “Not just here, but the lake, everything.” And her eyes drifted to Kara, who smiled back at her.
“It is,” the blonde said with a nod. “I’m glad we came.”
And the dark-haired woman could admit she was too. Her mind flitted to the ‘we’ there. A few days ago, there hadn’t been a ‘we’, yet now it felt the most natural thing in the world. Funny how things work out.
“Me, too,” Lena agreed. She tilted her head up to the sun overhead, then back to the chalkboard menu above the cafe’s counter. “What do you think about lunch? I think they have sandwiches.”
“Lunch sounds great,” Kara replied. “But I had something else in mind.”
Lena turned back to her companion to see her eyes were not on the menu, at least not of the coffee shop’s; instead, Kara was gazing all the way over to the ice cream parlor.
“Really, Kara-“ Lena begun, but no argument was to be had. The blonde grabbed her hand again and swiftly dragged her towards sweets galore.
A cone in each hand they made their way through the rest of the wharf. The ice cream appetizer was supplemented by a main course of corn dogs, and a dessert of shaved ice. Lena nearly objected every time, but there was something about their surroundings, and those blue, puppy dog eyes, that told her it just wasn’t worth it.
Finally, late in the afternoon, they managed to find time for the task that actually brought them out here. A small market lay a street over from the wharf, and Kara was able to procure a sizable collection of snack foods. Bags in hand, they made their way back to the pier, where their little boat waited.
The sun was just touching the tops of the tree line while they were heading back over the lake. Lena was caught up in the serene beauty of it all that they were nearly there before she caught Kara staring. At her.
“What?” She finally asked when the blue eyes refused to move elsewhere, to the picturesque scenery around them.
Kara smiled. “You just look really nice,” she said. “Something about the wind in your hair.”
And Lena felt the blush again, less hot but somehow deeper. Another side of the blonde she hadn’t expected and yet felt thrilled to meet.
They docked, unloaded, and managed to slide the boat back in place just as dusk was starting to put on a show. A late dinner was made under the last, brilliant orange before the stars began to peak out.
“Oof,” Kara said a while later, stretching her arms over her head. “I don’t know about you, but I am beat.”
Lena nodded her agreement. It had been a full, pleasant day but just as draining. Sleep sounded lovely, right until her brain reminded her how she had found herself the last two mornings. How they had found themselves.
The dark-haired made ready and dressed for bed with minimal trepidation, but, when she stepped into the room and found her housemate already tucked into the sheets, she couldn’t help the anxious shiver. Anxious and yet somehow excited. Lena tucked herself into the side of the bed, once more clinging to the edge in some effort to fight whatever gravity drew her towards the other side.
“Good night,” Kara called from the far end.
“Good night,” Lena whispered back and closed her eyes.
It wasn’t an hour later when the dark-haired woman roused slightly to re-situate herself under the covers and discovered her hands tangled into dinosaur print pajamas.
Oh for crying out loud.
Seriously, what was her problem? Granted it had been a very nice day, with a very nice, blonde woman, but this was getting out of hand. The only thing that could make it worse would be-
Lena watched blue eyes openly sleepily to smile at her. “Comfy?” Kara asked.
Yes, Lena nearly blurted out. She was. She really, really was, and that, she decided, was the problem. The dark-haired woman extricated her hand where it was in its exploration to reach over and turn on the bedside lamp.
“I’m sorry,” she said. “I can’t do this.”
Kara rubbed sleep from her eyes and stared at her. “Can’t do what?”
“This,” Lena pointed between them. “All of this. I can’t.”
Kara’s head tilted in confusion, blonde waves cascading in a really distracting way. Lena climbed physically out of the bed in defense against it.
“Lena, what’s wrong?”
“This,” the dark-haired woman repeated, motioning between them and trying to encompass a lot of things that included the bed, the day they just had, and a lot of inappropriate thoughts in her head. “You and this beautiful lake and this beautiful house and pleasant company and that beautiful town with its picturesque views and the hot blonde in bed with me. I can’t take it!”
Kara stared back, chin slowly dropping as she ordered out the relevant facts in that statement. “Are you mad?” She asked, somewhat confused, somewhat scared, somewhat intrigued.
“No, I’m not mad,” Lena replied as she paced the bedroom floor, and she wasn’t. She wasn’t mad at any of it. Quite the contrary, and that was the real problem. Lena Luthor wasn’t mad. Lena Luthor was happy, content, overjoyed, and peaceful, probably for the first time in her life, and like so many other things in her life that was just infuriating in its unexpectedness. “I’m not mad. I’m freaking turned on, and it’s driving me crazy.” She spun back to the blonde, an accusatory finger suddenly leveled. “And you are not helping! With your sick abs and your startling blue eyes and your completely disarming demeanor. It is just so much. It’s like I want to hug you constantly and lick caramel apple off your lips. And you are too damn snuggly, woman!”
Kara continued to stare back, her jaw practically on the floor. Finally, the rant seeming to have found a pause, she swallowed. “Um,” she asked, still somewhat perplexed, somewhat intrigued, at all of this. “What do you want me to do about it?”
Lena breathed, just now noticing how her pulse was thrumming in her chest and other parts of her. And maybe it really was some kind of previously unlocked vacation mode, maybe it was just two years, but suddenly she just stopped fighting those thoughts. “You?” she replied. “Nothing. I’m about to do something about it.” And she grabbed the hem of her camisole and ripped it over her head. And just as suddenly as she had started, it occurred to Lena Luthor the situation she was in. She stared at the blonde in the bed, who was staring back at her, at parts of her anyway. Lena looked away. Embarrassment managed to edge out horniness. Lena wrapped her arms around her chest and began to wonder if one could die from mortification.
Just as the dark-haired woman was trying to think how she could extricate herself from this, she heard Kara say, “I would be okay, if you wanted to do something about it.”
Lena turned back to those blue eyes. The woman certainly looked surprised but not uncomfortable, quite the opposite.
“Really?” Lena squeaked back.
In reply, the blonde threw back the sheets and slid out of the bed. She walked slowly towards the dark-haired, half-naked woman. “Does that surprise you?” Kara asked.
Lena, somewhat cold but heat blooming slowly in her, looked up into those blue eyes. “A little.”
Kara reached out a hand to stroke lightly up her arm. “You don’t think I’ve felt it, too?” She asked.
Lena could only stare back as the woman’s other hand traced up her opposite arm.
“I mean I’ve called you ‘hot’ like twice already,” Kara said with a grin.
Lena bit her lip but could stop the smile, or the spark up her spine.
“I can’t stop looking at you, you know?” The blonde went on, her fingers spreading to cup Lena’s shoulders. “Like this afternoon, in the boat, you just… you looked amazing, Lena. You are amazing. I’ve never met anyone like you.”
Lena sighed under the contact and the words. “I’ve never met anyone like you,” she said and meant it.
“You’re so smart and funny,” the blonde went on as Lena shivered under her warm and gentle touch. “And I’ve never wanted to wake up with someone’s arms around me so badly.”
Lena’s eyes drifted down, caught now by the woman’s lips. The were bright and parted and so close. So close. So close, the distance seemed unimportant. So close, the distant seem inappropriate.
Their mouths crashed together hungrily, clumsily. Lips and teeth and breath and a kind of hunger that has no name, just yours. When they parted, breathless, Lena’s hands had left her chest and were once more entangled in the woman’s shirt. She stared up at Kara, all desire behind those blue eyes.
It was crazy, but Lena wasn’t thinking about that. Because in the moment, it didn’t feel crazy. It felt like the furthest thing from it. She was hot and so was Kara, and, god, did this sound good.
“Take off these damn, dinosaur pajamas,” she said, her voice dropping to a hoarse whisper.
And Kara did, her fingers fumbling against Lena’s as they were both desperate to be rid of the garment. With the cotton barrier gone, the Luthor’s fingers at last found their longed-for destination, palming the blonde’s abs greedily. Kara smiled and placed a hand over Lena’s, her other wrapping around the woman to bring her closer, chest against chest, heat against heat.
“You really like waking up with my arms around you?” Lena asked, breathless, lips an inch away from Kara’s. The blonde nodded vigorously. “Then tomorrow morning it can be on purpose.” And there were no more words as lips found lips and mouths found better things to do than talk.
They stumbled back against the bed, landing with Lena clasped in Kara’s arms and thankful to not be ashamed about that in the slightest. Hands fumbled further until dinosaur pajama bottoms joined silk shorts on the floor, and they were, at last, nothing but skin and warmth.
It had been two years, and for a moment Lena’s head was filled with the most unwelcome thoughts, wondering if she even knew how to anymore. They were sent away immediately when a finger found wet folds between her legs at the same time lips found a spot on her neck she had almost completely forgotten about.
The blonde really was unbelievable. Lena moaned and keened into the touch, desperate for more, desperate for just it. She slid her own hands up Kara’s stomach to her chest, palming the warm, firm skin there, then finally simply wrapped them around the woman’s back, pulling her closer, burying herself against Kara like it was the only thing she could possibly want in the world, like it was food and drink and warmth and safety, like being close to her was all the things she could never live without.
Kara wrapped an arm around her tightly, fingers twining in gorgeous, raven-colored locks. Her lips trailed firm, sucking kisses up Lena’s throat to nibble at her earlobe. “I’ve got you,” she whispered, and Lena felt herself melt even before a second finger joined Kara’s first.
The blonde dipped a knuckle into Lena, curling and stroking in all the right places, as her thumb rubbed up and down gently until it found a spot that made the woman jump. Lena could feel Kara’s mouth smile, pressed against her cheek. The blonde found the spot again and relished the moan that clawed its way up from the woman’s depths and out her lips.
Lena shivered in the woman’s grasp, unable to do much but hold on, squeezing the woman’s warm, firm skin and pressing her chest, her everything, against her. Touch had never felt so erotic, so filling. Lena wanted to drink the woman up, wanted to feel every inch of Kara against every inch of her like it was sunshine, like it was water.
Kara’s hands rubbed out a steady rhythm while the dark-haired woman squeaked and moaned her appreciation. Her voice reached another register when the blonde unexpectedly slipped in a third finger.
“Kara,” Lena whispered, half moan, half scream, desperate and longing with a thread of something like fear behind it. The woman clasped her tighter, cradling her head against her neck.
“I’ve got you,” Kara whispered in her ear. “Let yourself go. I won’t let you fall.”
And the raven-haired woman might have wondered how words could do so much more for her than fingers, but that would have to come later. In the moment, all the world was focused between her legs, all the world was the blonde holding her, all the world was them and connection.
Kara’s fingers picked up the pace, and Lena’s hips moved almost involuntarily to match. She kissed Kara’s shoulder, then bit gently into it, her body so full of the woman, so overcome, she wasn’t sure what to do, what to be, only to simply exist here and now. Kara’s other hand traced down her back to clasp her hip, pressing her more solidly against the blonde, forcing Lena’s clit against her thumb, and the woman found the edge rushing at her and herself plummeting just as quickly over it.
Lena came with a cry. Her body seized and sighed. She whimpered once, twice, then dropped. The world buzzed around her, light and bliss. She felt an arm encircle her waist and heard her heart beating staccato in her ears.
Lena breathed. She dug her arms further under Kara, pressing herself, hot and sweaty, against the blonde’s firm frame. She felt the hand caught between them squirm lightly then pull away. She whimpered at the loss but sighed as Kara traced warm circles into her back.
Sam was right. Two years was way too long to wait, but if you were waiting for this…If you were waiting for her…
After a few minutes, an eternity, Lena pressed herself up to hover just slightly over the woman. She found those blue eyes, staring back at her. She found those lips. They parted for her tongue as she drank the woman in. She kissed Kara deeply, softly, like she hand’t kissed anyone in a long time, maybe ever; her tongue licked a soft entrance between her teeth. It was gratitude and desire all rolled into one, mostly it was just good, it was connection.
Lena felt light and hot. She felt Kara’s fingertips caress her back in smooth circles, sending tiny sparks across her skin. Lena pressed her lips further, deeper, cradling the blonde’s chin, tracing her own fingertips behind her ear. She shifted her hip off of Kara’s, furthering that delicious contact, slipping her thigh between the woman’s sneakily. As her hand roamed down Kara’s neck to card through those blonde locks, she bore down ever so slightly. Her leg made contact with a slick wetness, and she felt Kara keen, her head tilting back to break the kiss with a moan.
The dark-haired woman sucked at the blonde’s chin, her jaw. She found the thrum of the woman’s pulse and sucked a deep, tender spot there, rewarded with another moan that hit a crescendo with she pressed her thigh against Kara again.
Kara’s hands moved down from Lena’s back to circle her waist. Another press of Lena’s thigh, and they practically leapt to her ass. Lena let out a chuckle before her lips found Kara’s neck. She dug her thigh in again.
“God, you’re soft,” moaned the woman beneath her with a tender squeeze to Lena’s rump.
Lena nipped at her earlobe in appreciation. She lifted her hips, firmly in Kara’s grasp, to rub hot friction between her legs. “Tell me what you need,” she whispered into her ear.
“You,” Kara moaned, and, god, Lena nearly lost it at just that, the way the woman made that single syllable sound so deep and lovely. “You,” she repeated. Lena shifted again. “And keep doing that,” the woman added, her voice an erotic quiver.
Lena obliged enthusiastically, moving her thigh against the woman’s wet heat in a slow but steady rhythm, lips pressed to the soft skin of her neck, sometimes sucking, but mostly just tasting her, just breathing her in. Lena threaded hands beneath Kara to pull her chest flush. Kara followed through with her hands on her ass, and they pressed, tight and hot, nearly one single body, moving, sliding against one another.
Lena felt Kara’s hips jump when her thigh hit a spot. The woman hit it easily again, and Kara moaned from her chest, from farther down than that. The dark-haired woman picked up the rhythm, driven by the low rumble the blonde’s voice had taken on, by the heat and the sweat of her body beneath her, by the hum of touch and connection that seemed a thing all in itself.
“I… I…” Kara stared to whimper.
Lena grasped her tighter, her thigh grinding deep and steady. “Your turn,” she whispered as she held the woman, as the woman held her. “I’ve got you.”
Kara’s back arched, and Lena caught it with a thrust of her hips, hitting that spot, and she felt the blonde tip right over the edge. Kara grasp tightened on her ass, sharp but without pain, and oh so wanted. The blonde froze for a heartbeat, two, not a sound or squeak. Then she collapsed. Her head dropped against the bed, her grip slackened.
Lena nuzzled into those blonde locks, finding that pulse spot, now purple from her ministrations. She placed a gentle kiss there. She let the blonde find her breath. At last, signs of life returned; Kara’s hands glided up to grip Lena’s back, fingers massaging her shoulder blades.
Lena lifted up once more to find those lips. They tasted each other, sweaty, sated. For the longest time, there was not a thought in Lena’s head, not even “again?”, just the blonde’s lips, just her body one, long, solid border against hers. It was glorious in a way she could hardly describe. Tender and real and simply there. An anchor and a blanket, security and safety and something else that felt so quick for so little a time they'd known each other but so right at the same time. She traced every line of Kara’s lips with her own.
When they parted, blue eyes met hers. Lena felt a hand slide up to card through her own raven locks.
“God, your eyes are green,” Kara commented. Lena couldn’t help but smile. She could describe the blonde’s with equal regard, but it didn’t seem a moment for words, so she just ate the compliment off the woman’s lips and settled her body warm and soft against Kara’s.
At last, sleep made its demands known. Without a word, Kara grabbed for the sheet and draped it over both of them. Lena rolled to the side to rest her head on the pillow but kept her arm around Kara, kept the contact between them as complete as she could. The blonde, too, didn’t seem eager to lose it, lifting Lena’s thigh to wrap against her hip, squeezing the soft skin there with a dreamy smile.
Lena tucked her face into Kara’s neck and with a last kiss there drifted quietly to slumber with the soft sound of their shared breathing.
The next morning, the dark-haired woman was, for once, not surprised to find herself wrapped up in the blonde’s arms, nor to find her own arms clasped firmly around her. She stared up into blue eyes staring down at her. They said nothing. They hardly moved. It didn’t seem necessary.
“Hey,” Kara finally spoke.
“Hey,” Lena answered.
“If you want to talk, we can talk,” and it wasn’t worry; it wasn’t even curiosity, though Lena might have expected either. It was simply said by the blonde, no more no less. An offer in its own right, completely without expectation.
In answer, Lena tucked her head into Kara’s neck again. There were a thousand thoughts in her head, but they all had the coloring of the real world, and here, in this house, by this lake, in this bed, that felt far away. Vacation mode, maybe, or just something about this place. For once, Lena Luthor didn’t want to think practically. She just wanted to stay here, forever pressed against this woman, forever thrilling at how comfortably they fit together.
She felt a kiss against her brow. Something told her Kara was no more eager to think long-term, to think at all. Just as content to let things exist as they were right now. Because right now was very good.
“We can stay like this,” Kara said after a while.
Lena hummed her agreement.
“Or,” the blonde added.
Lena glanced up at blue eyes, expectantly.
“I can’t help but notice someone hasn’t enjoyed all the amenities of this place.”
The dark-haired woman had to tilt her head questioningly. She looked down, then back up. Lena traced a finger between Kara’s breasts. She was certainly enjoying some of the amenities. Really, really enjoying them.
“You haven’t taken a swim in the lake,” Kara added.
“Oh,” Lena repeated. She hadn’t. She was reminded why. “Oh, I don’t know.”
“I mean we can stay here,” Kara said quickly, shivering as Lena’s finger made lazy circles over her chest. “But you can’t come out to the lake and not take a dip.”
Lena could see the logic in that.
“And we only have a couple of days left,” the blonde went on, and the reminder felt terribly unwelcome, no matter how true it was. The thought of how much, how little, time they had left, how best to spend it, was certainly something they couldn’t avoid. Though Lena tried to for a second, planting a kiss between Kara’s breasts.
“Did you not bring a suit?”
“No,” Lena replied. “Sam packed one for me.”
“So what’s the problem?”
Lena sighed. “It’s just the suit she packed for me is not… decent,” and she buried her face into the woman’s chest to hide from the imagined embarrassment of it all.
“Not decent how?” Kara asked, and Lena immediately noted the tone was far more than questioning. It was not a little excited, in fact. She glanced up to see the look of excitement the blonde was trying to keep hidden.
“It’s more revealing than I’m used to,” Lena answered.
The look was no longer being hidden by the woman. Kara tilted her head, now, no doubt imagining her in said suit.
“I mean,” the blonde offered after a moment. “I could pull out the ‘we’ve already had sex’ card, but I feel like ‘there’s no one else here’ might be more appropriate.”
“Thank you for that,” Lena deadpanned.
“Come on,” Kara encouraged. “I bet you look hot.”
“I look pale,” Lena shot back, pressing her face into Kara’s chest for safety. She glanced up again and caught the look Kara was now giving her, the one that said that didn’t matter to her one tick. The raven-haired woman was nearly ashamed to think how encouraging, how heart-warningly good it felt to be in the woman’s gaze.
She sighed and kissed the side of Kara’s breast. “Fine.”
“Yes,” the blonde cheered, then quickly cleared her throat like she hadn’t cared one way or another.
It took another half hour before they felt like actually moving, too content in bed as they were. When they did, Lena was treated to quite the show as Kara slipped out of bed, quite comfortable as nature had made her while she rummaged through her clothes for her two-piece. She glanced back at the woman staring at her. She grinned.
“See you out there?”
Lena sighed again. “Of course,” she said.
Kara waited. Kara stared. When it occurred to Lena why, she chucked a pillow at her. The blonde ducked it with a gleeful laugh and dashed towards the bathroom to change.
Alone for the moment, Lena let her head land against the mattress. Those thousand thoughts were still there, but she was surprised to find her resolve to not give them audience for the moment was still strong. Instead, she focused on the more simple matter of bathing attire.
Kara was right, of course. They’d already seen so much of each other, a string bikini hardly seemed worth worrying about. Still, Lena found herself tugging at the fabric as she slowly and shyly made her way out to the back door of the house.
When she stepped out onto the deck, she found Kara had already set a towel on the deck chair for her. She spied the blonde stretching down at the dock. When she approached, she saw the woman freeze.
“Wow,” Kara called at the sight of her. If Lena was pale before, she was quite sure the blush was showing now. All of it. She felt like crossing her arms around herself. Instead she found them intercepted by Kara who tugged her gently forward by her wrists to wrap her in a warm hug. “Told you you’d look hot.”
Lena let herself be pressed against the blonde. She turned to gaze out at the lake, sparkling like crystal beneath the sun. It was set to be another glorious day.
“Hey,” Kara said, pulling Lena’s gaze away from the water to stare up at those equally crystal blue eyes.
The dark-haired stared at the woman grinning back at her and wondered at the fluttering in her chest. She inched forward, ready to capture those lips again, only to feel a gentle push from Kara’s hands at her hips. Lena instinctively stepped back to catch herself, only to find there was nothing beneath her foot. The dock had ended, and Lena pitched back to land in the water with a scream.
When she popped above the water a moment later, throwing her hair out of her eyes, Lena glanced up at Kara, still sporting that grin, and her surprised turned to fury.
“You-!“ she started only to be stopped as the woman leapt over her with a whoop to cannon ball into the lake. Kara came up a second later with a laugh. Lena rewarded her with a splash to the face.
Kara had been right, of course. It would have been a crime to come all the way out here and not enjoy the lake, not bathe yourself in the crystal blue waters and soak in the sunshine like it was the only thing that mattered. Lena quickly forgot whatever bashfulness her current attire might have produced. There was just too much else to enjoy, like the bubbly blonde in the two piece that she now had every excuse to ogle to her heart’s content.
They spent all day out in the lake, splitting time between swimming and sunning themselves on the deck. They traded stories of their own childhood experiences, Kara here, Lena with her mother in a house by a lake just like this one. A whole day in the sun might have spelled disaster for the Luthor, who’s skin was much too used to artificial light. However, her companion was always ready to remind her to reapply sunscreen every few hours.
They helped each other with the hard to reach spots.
As evening drifted down, Kara pulled a small grill out of the storage shed, and they enjoyed dinner outside as the sun put on a show of rainbow colors overhead. When the stars began to twinkle out, Kara spread herself out on a deck chair to gaze at the sky. Lena spied her own chair, just alongside, and yet she found herself stretching down next to the blonde, much to the woman’s delight.
They watched the stars for some time. When the chill of the night began to set it, Lena shivered unconsciously and was rewarded by Kara’s arm encircling her tightly. She curled dreamily into the blonde’s warmth.
“You don’t get skies like this anywhere else,” she heard Kara coo next to her.
“No, you don’t,” Lena replied wistfully. She couldn’t help but think of her penthouse. It could be magical in the evening, lit by the city, but it couldn’t hold a candle to this. She felt Kara’s fingertips stroking her bare back, such a reminder of this morning, of last night. Lena pressed tighter into the woman.
“It’s funny,” Kara whispered.
“This trip,” the blonde sighed. “I was so ready to be by myself up here. I’d avoided it for so long, but I finally felt like I could stand it. I was even looking forward to having the place to myself a little. And then you, and then…”
The hard circled her back tighter. Lena traced a hand over Kara’s stomach. She gazed up at the woman gazing at the stars. She echoed the feeling in her own chest. Unexpected, yet perfect.
“And now, I can’t imagine being stuck here all by myself. Places like this have to be shared.”
“Moments too,” the raven-haired woman added immediately.
“Yeah,” said the blonde, who glanced at her. Even in the darkness, Lena could make those brilliant blue eyes gazing back at her. The woman was right. Lena couldn’t imagine being here alone either.
Her lips crashed against Kara, the momentum pulling her body over the blonde’s. Hands found their own paths to soft spots, to touch. They clawed and pulled, the brief fabric between them suddenly too much of a barrier.
Lena felt a tug on the strings of her top. The cold night air collided with her skin before warm hands cupped her breasts. She leaned into the touch, into the woman beneath her, pawing at Kara’s own top.
The kiss broke between them, breathless. Lena gasped as Kara’s thumbs found her peaks and circled. The blonde’s lips traced her jawline to that spot on her neck she’d discovered only the night before. Hands left her breasts but found her hips, tugging at the strings there, too.
“I’ve wanted to take this suit off you since you put it on,” Kara moaned into her ear.
Lena’s own hands finally found the hem of the blonde’s two piece. “Ditto,” the raven-haired woman replied as she leaned back to tug the top off, leaping forward to press their naked chests together, eager for that contact that they had played at all day.
Another tug and Lena felt the night air all over her, exposed but uncaring, especially when those warm hands covered her again. After some maneuvering, she was able to divest the blonde of her last scrap as well, and suddenly there was not a thing between them, not even the night air. They were just hands and lips. Just touch and sound.
Just skin and starlight.
Lena brought her thigh down between the woman’s legs, picking up the steady pace that had been so effective last night. Kara’s hands held her hips and guided her, digging into her skin in a way that made the woman moan. They moved together, finding soft, full, blissful friction.
Lena felt the woman beneath her twitch her hips to grind out pleasure against her leg, leaving slick up her thigh. The cool, night air smelled of sweat and ecstasy, the kind you’d want to drink up if you could. The dark-haired woman was sorely tempted, desirous to drop down and find out if the blonde tasted like sunshine and candy, but there was so much contact now that she couldn’t bear to break. All of Kara pressed against all of her, hips and hands, a whole orchestra of sounds and touch that sent a tingle down her spine to between her own legs, such that she couldn’t help but name the object of all this feeling, “Kara.”
The woman cradled her head in her hands, gently, tenderly, twining dark locks between her fingers as she pressed her forehead against Lena’s. “Tell me,” she whispered and the very sound made Lena want to fold into her. “Tell me what you need.”
“You,” Lena moaned and meant it, burying her face into the blonde’s neck. “Fingers,” she added hoarsely. Kara obliged, threading her hand deftly between their stomachs, finding that spot again that made Lena keen and press teeth into her shoulder. The blonde’s other hand found her ass, squeezed and pulled her closer, crushing her own hand between them.
“Soft.” Kara said, gripping Lena’s rump as she dug into the wet silk between her legs. “You are so soft. So soft,” she repeated like a mantra.
Lena flexed her leg in gratitude and felt the woman bend beneath her in equal longing. They drove each other higher and higher, moving, sliding, searching. Kara’s mouth found her neck and Lena had to bite into her shoulder at the almost unbearable sensation the rocked through her, seemingly from ever inch of her skin. She felt the familiar build, so long forgotten over two years, so quickly remembered from last night, and pressed her thigh harder, faster, desperate for the blonde to meet her at the peak they were both climbing towards.
They found steady rhythm, no words, just breathy moans, just the sound of skin and slick. Finally, unexpectedly, Lena found the edge, the crescendo, and was just as quickly flying over it. She bore down eagerly and was even more elated to feel the blonde’s breath stop and her body go rigid beneath her. They crested as one, fell, crashed. They held, for a heartbeat, two, then collapsed.
Lena shivered, cold from sweat and the night air. She dug against the woman’s heat, whining when Kara’s fingers wound away from between them, sighing when the blonde’s arms wrapped firmly, warmly around her.
They were nothing but breath in the dark for some time. At last, blind in the night, Lena’s mouth went searching for its match. She found soft lips and a sigh as tongue moved over teeth. She breathed in the woman; she drank her and found her sweet.
Somewhere, in the bliss of a kiss that didn’t seem to end, their heat subsided enough to feel the chill of the night.
“I guess we should go inside,” Lena said between breaths and lips, making no move to actually follow through on the statement.
“Yeah,” Kara replied, equally unmoving. “Can you find our suits?”
Trying to hold the woman’s mouth against hers, the dark-haired woman glanced around for a moment, until it was clear she was unlikely to accomplish anything that way. With a last peck, she lifted her head to gaze into the starry-lit darkness around them. She spied an article hastily thrown a foot away, another caught on the armrest of the deck chair. She counted, 2 tops, 2 bottoms, picking up each as she did.
“Can you hold them?” The blonde asked beneath her.
Lena nodded. “Sure. Why?”
In answer, Kara sat up, hands clutching at Lena’s ass so strongly the woman jumped into her grasp. “So I can hold you,” the woman whispered against her neck, and Lena practically came again when she felt herself lifted up in strong arms. She wrapped her legs eagerly around that fit torso, as Kara carried her inside.
How many mornings had they awoken like this? A handful and no more. Yet why did it feel so familiar, so comfortable? It hadn’t not long ago, but so much of that was simply the feeling that they couldn’t let themselves exult in something that felt so good yet was so new.
Lena was hardly feeling that way now.
Sunlight streamed through the blinds to paint her skin in golden colors. They matched the halo of hair spread out over her chest as Kara sucked lazily at the skin around her nipple. Lena carded fingers through her hair as they greeted the morning like there was absolutely nothing of import in the world but this.
“Looks to be another beautiful day,” she commented, glancing out the window, squinting against the sunlight.
Kara moaned a reluctant agreement. “Is it bad that I kind of wish it was raining?” She asked.
“Why?” Lena had to ask, tilting her head to gaze at the woman seeking out more of her skin to suck to purple.
Blue eyes gazed back up at her, a guilty look to them. “So that the road would wash out,” she answered. “And we didn’t have to leave tomorrow.”
The thought sent two opposing feelings rushing through Lena until they met in her brain. One thrilled at the thought. The other the familiar voice of reality, of inevitability.
“Kara,” she replied.
The woman shook her head quickly. “I didn’t mean to ruin the mood,” she said and wrapped her lips around Lena’s nipple.
The dark-haired woman ran both her hands through that glorious hair, tugging softly. She didn’t want to either, but reality was not to be ignored.
“Listen,” she said and nearly stopped for the puppy dog look the blonde instantly sported. “You know I’ve enjoyed my- our time here.”
“And I’d like nothing more than to never ever leave this bed,” Lena said with a smile.
“Me too,” Kara replied, reaching up to suck at the woman’s lower lip before settling back down. She crossed her arms over Lena’s chest and lay her chin against them, attentive for her to continue, even as her fingers idly stroked at the skin under her breast.
“But vacations are vacations because they’re short,” the dark-haired woman said.
Kara nodded. She placed the smallest kiss against her sternum. “It doesn’t have to be just the vacation, you know?”
And Lena did, but as much as she had become acquainted with vacation mode, she also knew the shape of the rest of her life. “Kara, I like you, a lot,” she said. “But…” And she flailed for an answer. It was there, in arm’s reach and fully accessible, but she didn’t want to grab it. It felt so mean, so hard, where everything about the woman felt soft and easy. It was a business suit, and Kara was casual wear. Kara was the warmest blanket, a safe space that you’d never want to leave, but the world was the world.
Lena’s world certainly was.
“There’s something you should know about me,” she finally settled on.
“This is one of the ‘How Stella Got Her Groove Back’ situations and I’m your Taye Diggs.”
“You’re not… What?!”
“Oh god, you’re republican!”
“No, can you imagine?” Finally, Lena, perplexed by the strange turn the conversation had taken, spied the grin growing on the blonde’s face. She slapped Kara’s ribs playfully. “Stop,” she chided. The hand remained at her side, sliding up and down the blonde’s torso. Lena sighed. “You remember how I didn’t even want to go on this vacation? Sam had to practically kidnap me.”
“Well, this adventurous, invite-a-stranger-into-bed person,” she went on, motioning to herself. “It’s not who I am most days. In reality, I’m this whole different person.”
“And?” The blonde replied matter-of-factly.
Lena’s brow furrowed. She stared back at the blonde. “What do you mean ‘and’?”
“So you’re a different person,” Kara answered with a shrug.
And Lena’s mouth moved soundlessly for a minute, unsure how to answer, unsure why she felt like she ought to. What exactly was she trying to convince Kara of? What was she trying to convince herself of.
Kara crawled up until she was hovering over her, blue eyes staring lovingly into green. “Different doesn’t mean worse,” she said and tucked an errant strand of hair behind Lena’s ear. “I’ve gotten to know a lot of you this week. I’ve certainly seen a lot these past couple of days.” She smirked as her thumb brushed Lena’s right nipple. “And I like what I’ve seen. I like you.” Her hand slid up to cradle her chin. Lena leaned unconsciously into that touch. “What makes you think I wouldn’t want to know that person too? What makes you think I wouldn’t like her too?”
And, dear god, did Lena want to believe that. Every inch of her did. Her skin sizzled in elation at the idea. But cold reality bloomed in her brain. She took Kara’s hand, parting it from her cheek to lace their fingers together.
“I like you, Kara,” she sighed. “So much, but my life is so full.” She shook her head. “I can barely take care of myself.”
“You wouldn’t have to take care of me,” the blonde replied, leaning in until her nose nuzzled against Lena’s. “Maybe I could take care of you.”
Lena resisted the urge to give in. Stalwart, stubborn, even in the face of literally everything she could ask for. “But you have your new job. You have your life, and I have mine, and there so many responsibilities wrapped up in that.”
“People meet each other all the time,” the woman insisted. “If we met out in the real world, you don’t think I’d be just as crazy about you.”
Lena’s closed her eyes against the vision above her, against her own heart. “I can’t bet on that.” And her hand covered Kara’s mouth before she could reply, before she could give her everything she’d need to plunge headlong. “Please,” she whispered. “I couldn’t bear to disappoint you.” She opened her eyes to see those deep, lake blue pools staring sadly back at her. “Please, let’s just have this. Let’s just let it be this.” She traced the woman’s chin, her cheek, finding her throat, stroking the baby hairs at the back of her neck lovingly. “I promise that it’s already the most amazing thing that has ever happened to me. I promise you are.”
Kara stared at her, sad but caring. Finally, she nodded. She nodded, then captured Lena’s lips. The raven-haired woman let herself be drawn up into her, wrapping her hands to pull that golden heat down into her, pressing, arching into every inch of Kara she could get. Her lips parted for her tongue, letting it dance with her own, letting it be the whole world. Reality satisfied for the moment.
She felt Kara settle a hand against her breast. She brought her own to cover it, to urge it into her, to squeeze firm and deep, reassuring her that she wouldn’t break, that she needed to be held as hard as the woman could hold her. She didn’t notice the blonde’s other hand had disappeared until it returned, snaking between them. Lena’s hips jumped immediately at the thought, only to feel something in Kara’s grasp. She wondered at it until Kara’s finger moved and the object started to buzz.
Lena broke their kiss with a gasp that exploded out of her. Her hips practically spasmed as the blonde pressed the vibrator home. Green eyes shot to blue, mischief and desire shining through them.
“Thought we should put this to good use,” Kara said. “Sam did go to the trouble of packing it.”
Lena shook her head with a laugh before sucking the smirk right off her face. She clawed at the woman’s backside, until finally she found purchase on that toned ass and pulled her in, crushing Kara’s hips against her own, hoping the vibrations might go through her as well, so she could feel what Lena felt, so she could feel how she made the woman feel.
They pushed towards that peak, bodies tied together by hands and skin. They found it with the other’s name bursting out of their lips.
They didn’t leave bed the entire day, nor the night, which was as long and blissful as before, but less restful, neither eager to go to sleep, only digging and driving and longing further for that contact that couldn’t stop blooming between them, that kept driving them wild and hungry for it the more and more they gave in.
Yet the morning found them still. There were no words about the inevitable, about time tables and when certain things might be expected. They would come anyway; there seemed little point in naming them. Instead, they simply set about their day as normal, with the addition of a long, shared shower, followed by breakfast, made together as they had so quickly become accustomed to.
They managed to finish off the puzzle just as they were putting the dishes away. Lena set the last piece in and stepped back to admire it.
“Looks good,” Kara said. “Almost disappointing to have to shove it back in the box.”
Lena only nodded in agreement. They both resisted the urge to point out the parallel.
“If it’s okay,” the dark-haired woman replied instead. “I think I might leave it here. For the next guest.” She caught blue eyes, shining.
“That sounds great,” Kara said. “Thank you.”
Lena nodded at that. They left the puzzle for a while on the table and moved about the house, biding their time with what little jobs seemed to need doing before the house was closed up for the next guest. Lena repacked her suitcases and set them by the door without a word of comment.
They used lunch to clean out what food remained in the fridge and pantries that seemed like it might not last until the next tenants. When that was done, they sat out on the porch, sharing a deck chair and enjoying the lake, which was as peaceful and breathtaking as it had been since day one. Lena cuddled up against Kara, laying her head on the woman’s shoulder, and the blonde wrapped an arm around her. It was pleasant, in a simple way. No words, no worries, just this, as it has always been. Whatever this week had given her, and it had been a lot, Lena thought she would be thankful for this, for finally being able to simply exist. She’d say that was the best thing about it, second only to the person simply existing next to her.
“You want to know something?” Kara whispered as her lips brushed dark locks.
“What?” Lena asked.
“If I ever met you out in the real world, I’d ask you out.”
And there was a part of Lena that wanted to comment on the probability of that, of them meeting at all, but she let that voice go quiet. Instead she leaned up to press a kiss to her woman’s neck. “And I’d say ‘yes’,” she replied.
At last, reality found them. It came in the form of a horn, honked once. Lena looked up at Kara, and they both knew. They unwrapped themselves, slowly, from one another. Lena padded softly through the house to the front door, opening it to see Charles standing by the town car with a smile. She waved back to him and set her bags on the front step.
“Could you take care of these, Charles?” She said. “I’ll just be another minute.”
“Of course, Ms. Luthor,” her driver replied and stooped to pick up her luggage and haul it back to the car.
Lena turned back to the house, stepping softly inside and shutting the door behind her. Kara was there, standing in the living room. They looked at each other, then they looked at anything else.
“When do you think you’ll head out?” The dark-haired woman asked.
“In a couple hours,” the blonde replied. “There’s a few things I need to do. Close up the house, you know?”
“Do you need help?” And green eyes found blue, briefly.
Kara shook her head. “No, I’m good. I need to say goodbye to the place, anyway.”
Lena nodded her understanding, and she nearly turned to the door. She caught herself, though, and turned quickly back, clearing the distance between them to wrap her arms around the blonde. She stared up into those blue eyes and wished she had something, anything else to say, wished she could burn down the rest of the world or at least shut it outside.
Instead, Kara cradled her cheek in her hand and, turning her head, pressed soft lips against Lena to drink her in. The dark-haired woman pressed up on her feet to deepen the kiss, all longing and desire, a last goodbye they could not have done better with words.
When at last they parted, perhaps long enough to worry the driver waiting outside, but all too short to either woman, Lena squeezed the blonde by the waist one last time before stepping back, letting Kara’s hands drift down her arms to grasp at her fingers before they at last parted fully. Lena turned to the door, pausing just before opening it. She stared back, but Kara simply nodded as if to say there was nothing to say. It had already been said.
Lena stepped out of the house, closing the door behind her against her own resolve. She managed to walk to the car, nod and Charles, and slide inside without a spot of emotion.
“Enjoy yourself, Ms. Luthor?” Her driver asked as they were winding their way back through the trees, towards smoother roads and civilization.
“Oh, yes,” the woman replied with little more feeling that a smile. “Very restful.”
“That’s good to hear.”
She nodded before turning to the window with a sigh. The house was long since gone behind the forest, the lake too. Lena reached up to press a button above her. She watched the divider rise between her and the front of the car. She wondered if Charles would worry or, perhaps, he would just think she wanted to nap on the way back. Either way, she waited until the black wall was fully up before she started to cry.
As with most time off, vacation mode and all its assorted feelings of ease and unworry quickly subsided, helped by the fact that Lena threw herself back into work with alarmingly little hesitation. Not that she needed to get her mind off anything, of course, but she’d held off the Luthor business side of herself long enough, and it was time to get back to reality. Thankfully, other than a few comments here and there, it seemed her absence had not caused any irreparable damage. It may have even been suggested by one or two employees that the time away had seemed to do the CEO good. Lena smiled politely at these before finding something else to do, unsure if anyone could see the emotion she was keeping tightly locked away.
All in all, things seemed to be more or less moving their way back to where they had been before the lake house entirely, which the Luthor was perfectly fine with, having spent more than a few nights since then mourning sadly at how empty and cold her bed felt. Still, it all seemed to go unnoticed, or so she thought. It wasn’t until one morning, a few weeks later, that whatever cracks Lena hadn’t noticed were starting to show finally did.
“Ms. Luthor,” Jess said, popping her head into the CEO’s office. “I just wanted to remind you about that interview with CatCo this afternoon.”
“Yes, I’m quite aware of that,” Lena answered back a little too curtly, which she noticed immediately. She held up a hand before her long-suffering assistance could slink away. “Thank you, Jess,” she said more kindly. “I didn’t mean to snap.”
“Of course, Ms. Luthor,” the woman replied before closing the door behind her.
An hour or two later, her CFO appeared in her office, a file tucked neatly under her arm. “Hello,” Sam intoned as she strode in. “I have those next quarter projections you wanted to look at.”
“Leave them on the desk, I’ll get to them as soon as I can,” Lena replied with a casual wave, engrossed in the work in front of her. A minute later, when she noticed her best friend and colleague still standing there, she finally looked up. “Was there something else?”
“Oh, wow,” Sam commented. “It’s worse than Jess described.”
Lena raised an eyebrow in confused. “What’s worse?”
“You,” the woman said, dropping the file on the desk and herself in the chair opposite.
“What about me?” Lena asked indignantly.
“You,” Sam repeated. “Here I go through all the trouble of kidnapping you and getting you whisked off to an idyllic getaway for the perfect vacation, and it’s like it hasn’t stuck at all.”
The raven-haired woman grumbled, caught between anger and regret, at Sam and Jess as much as at herself. She let her head fall into her hand. “Sam, no, the vacation was fine. I really needed it.”
“Then what’s the problem?” her friend asked, tilting her head to catch the woman’s eyes. “Because I was kind of hoping you’d come out of this a little, I don’t know, less snippy, or at least a little tan.”
“I’m Irish,” Lena answered. “I don’t tan.”
“Did something happen?” Her friend probed, striking quickly on a promising vein. “Was it, what’s her face, the blonde? Did she really throw a wrench in everything?”
Lena felt her chest tighten at the mention. She sighed and tried to breathe it away. “No,” she replied. “No, Kara was fine, really.”
“Kara?” Sam asked. Lena glanced up to catch the curious look on her face.
“Yes,” she said. “That’s her name.”
“Yeah, but you said it like… Kara,” Sam said, her own eyebrow rising.
“How is that peculiar?”
“Because you said it like you know her,” Sam answered. “Like she’s not a woman who appeared, rather unexpectedly, in the middle of your vacation alone, wielding a knife if I remember correctly.”
Lena sighed again, quickly losing the battle with the steady thrumming in her chest at the remembering. “We just got to know each other while she was there. You were right, she was very nice.”
“Well, you must have gotten to know her very fast.”
Lena’s head shot up, her mind doing things with the implication there that Sam couldn’t possibly have meant. “What is that supposed to mean?”
“I mean she was stuck there for, what, a day?”
Lena’s mouth went fishy. In all the years she had known Sam, she had learned long ago the woman had a preternatural talent for pulling truth out of people, especially when they didn’t want to talk about it. She and Ruby had more than once shared there distaste for this ability.
Sam’s head tilted to the side in a oh-so-familiar way. “Lena?” She intoned.
The dark-haired CEO gulped. “She may have been there for a longer for a day.”
“What do you mean?”
Lena searched for an out. “I mean… the road was washed out, and she was stuck there another night.” She thrilled, momentarily, at the convenient fact.
“And?” Sam added, bringing the full, mom-voice guns to bear.
“And…” Lena stammered, caught in the cone of honesty Ms. Arias seemed to project. “I may have asked her to stay after that.”
“I didn’t like kicking her out!” Lena burst, still flailing for a cover while word-vomiting the truth. “It was her parents’ cabin, and she hadn’t been there since they died, and I just just felt awful, so I asked her to stay.”
Sam stared back at her. She held that gaze that was her daughter’s bane for a second long before breathing. “Okay,” she said evenly. “I guess I can understand that. That was very nice of you.”
“Thank you,” Lena replied.
“It must have been awkward, not being alone.”
“At first,” the Luthor admitted, calming down. “But we struck up a good report. Like I said, we got to know each other.”
“Still, I mean you weren’t alone,” Sam went on. “No chance to use the fun bag, I take it?”
Lena tried very hard to stifle the blush that went from her cheeks all the way down to other sectors. She cleared her throat and hoped her friend read it as general embarrassment at the subject matter.
“And she was okay sleeping on the couch?” Sam asked. “Because I thought the cabin only had one bedroom.”
“Uh, yeah,” Lena answered.
“What was that?”
The Luthor’s head shot up. It was only until she saw the look on Sam’s face that she realized she had stumbled into the oldest parental trick there was: feigning like the interrogation was done to lure you into a false of security.
“She did sleep on the couch, didn’t see, Lena?” Sam asked, her other eyebrow rising at the name.
“Yes,” Lena replied and could hear the lie in her own voice she was sure the brunette could pick up on. “I mean, for the first couple of nights.”
Sam’s brow hit the ceiling. “And then where did she sleep?”
Lena cleared her throat and contemplated throwing herself fully out the window as any avenue to avoid this conversation. “Well… I… felt bad after her being stuck on the couch, so I may have agreed to share the bed… with her.”
“Well, there was only one bed, Sam.”
“And that was it?” The woman asked, obviously probing now.
“Yes,” Lena replied, schooling her features and trying to put on that strong, assertive front she reserved for the board room. It never seemed to work on Sam, so she dropped her eyes to her desk and tried to look like she was getting back to work.
She felt a hand under her chin and found her face tipped up into her friend’s, who was now standing over her desk, glaring at the woman. “What else happened?”
Lena swallowed. Now, really, she had let this get too far. She was a grown woman, and Sam’s boss, after all. “Nothing-“ she stared, looking away, only to be jerked back.
“Lena.” And the tone was unmistakeable. Ruby knew it well. The pre-teen had probably just felt a cold shiver down her spine while in school miles away.
Lena gulped. “Well, you were the one who wanted me to find a release.”
Sam looked absolutely shocked. That face was alone was almost worth the mortifying embarrassment.
“And did you?” She asked slowly.
Lena looked away. She sighed at last. “Yes.”
“Oh my god!” Sam exclaimed.
“Oh my god!” a voice joined her from the office phone.
Lena’s hand slammed reflexively down on the intercom. “JESS!” She screamed. She pounded the button again to make sure it was off then quickly started rifling through the papers on her desk, no reason, just as something to separate herself from the revelation.
Sam, meanwhile, slipped back to her seat, dumbfounded. Speechless, for all of a minute, which was a lot for Sam.
“So, are you going to see her again?”
Lena’s head snapped up in surprise. “What?” She asked, then finally seemed to translate the sentence. “Oh, no.”
“Why not?” Her friend asked in earnest.
“Because…” Lena started, flailing again for an answer. “It was just a thing, you know? A fling. Vacation mode.”
“No, it wasn’t.” And it came with such confidence that Lena had to seriously consider her friend and wonder if she hadn’t bugged the house.
“What makes you say that?” The Luthor answered, trying to act as if it was a silly thing to consider, as if she hadn’t been wrestling with that very thing this whole time.
“Because I know you, Lena,” Sam replied, leaning forward towards her best friend. “You don’t just fall into bed with people, and if it hadn’t meant something you’d be able to talk about it. You’d have told me.”
“I tell you lots of important things, Sam,” Lena replied, almost as defense for their friendship.
“Not about relationships,” the woman pointed out. “That’s always been a pain point for you. Especially since Andrea.” Her gaze caught Lena’s, and they both knew it was the truth. “Why wouldn’t you want to see this woman again?”
And Lena let her head fall into her hands again. There was no point in fighting it. “Because, "she replied. “Because I’m me, and because I have this life, and because I am so bad at this stuff. You know I am. For god’s sakes, the only way you could get me to take time off was by trickery and deceit!”
Sam smirked for all of a second. She looked caringly at her friend, reached across to take the woman’s hand in both of hers.
“You know, you can be better,” she said soothingly. “You don’t have to carry the world all the time, and you’re allowed to think about what you want. That’s the whole reason I shipped you out there, and, hey, it worked!” The woman laughed. “For a bit. Come on, the old you never would have invited a hot blonde to share a bed with you.” An idea seemed to suddenly occur to her. “Did you wear the bikini?”
Lena didn’t answer. The blush did.
“Oh my god!” Sam exclaimed. “Well, we’ve got to find this woman.”
“Come on, we have the resources,” the woman barreled on. “Heck, we have the rental agency. We can track her down.”
“Sam!” Lena held up a hand to stop the whirlwind that was Sam Arias. “No, it’s done. Okay?”
The woman’s face dropped. “Lena, you’re worth this, you know that.”
The Luthor CEO sighed. She shook her head. “It’s done. Trust me. We shared something really, really special, but I closed the door. I’d rather remember it as what it was. So, please, no detective work. Promise me.”
Her friend sat back, disappointed. She nodded. “Okay, if that’s what you want.”
“Thank you,” and the Luthor turned seriously back to her work. Sam watched her for a minute before rising from the chair to leave her friend alone with her thoughts.
The CFO stopped halfway to the door. “So,” she asked with a playful smirk. “Kara? Was she really as fit as she looked?”
Lena couldn’t help but smirk. “Abs for days.”
The door to the office opened and Jess stepped inside. “Ms. Luthor, your interview is here.”
“Thank you, Jess,” Lena replied, grateful for an excuse not to go further with Sam, for now. “Please show them in.” She began clearing the papers on her desk to the side. She looked up a second later to see the very last face she could possibly have expected to see. A very familiar blonde woman’s. The golden curls were tucked into a simple ponytail. The fit body hid well behind a cardigan and slacks.
Kara was standing in her office.
Lena stared. The blonde smiled.
“You must be the reporter from CatCo,” Sam said, stepping towards the woman casually, stopping when she caught her staring at Lena, and Lena staring back. Her head moved curiously back and forth between them.
Lena rose slowly from behind the desk. “Hi,” she said.
“Hi,” Kara replied.
They stared for a long moment. Finally, Lena seemed to remember the other person in the room. “Oh,” she said. “Um, this is Sam.” It occurred to her a second later to add, “Sam Arias, our CFO.”
“Pleasure to finally meet you, Sam,” the blonde said, holding a hand to the tall brunette. “Kara Danvers.”
“Nice to meet you, Kara-“ Sam replied, curiously. The name rolling off her tongue gave her pause. Her eyes went wide. Her head shot between the two women again, at superhuman speed. “Oh, you have got to be kidding me!”
“Sam, we’ll talk later,” Lena added quickly. She shot the woman a look and nodded towards the door. For a moment, her best friend seemed totally unwilling to exit the room, but then nodded, cleared her throat, and strode out without a word.
Alone, at last, Lena stepped out from behind the desk. She stared at the blonde. It seemed ages since she had seen her, and simultaneously like it was yesterday.
“Hi,” she repeated.
“Hi,” the blonde seconded.
Lena searched for what to say, but nothing needed to be said for now. She took another step forward, then stopped. Finally, she laughed, and Kara joined her.
“Well, this is unexpected,” the dark-haired woman said.
“Yeah,” the blonde agreed. “You didn’t tell me your last name was Luthor.”
“No,” the Luthor replied. She licked her lips. “I wanted to.”
“You didn’t tell me your new job was a CatCo reporter,” the raven-haired woman pointed out.
“No,” Kara laughed. She sighed, “I wanted to.”
Silence settled again between them. Finally, Lena motioned to the chair opposite her desk. “Will you sit?”
Kara nodded and took the seat. Lena settled behind the desk. They went back to staring. It was the furthest thing from an unpleasant experience, though.
“How have you been?” Lena finally asked, though it felt terribly dumb.
“Good,” Kara replied. “You?”
“Busy,” Lena said, motioning to the desk, to her office, to the building around them. “So, CatCo?”
“Yeah,” Kara said. “I’ve actually worked there awhile. PA, you know. The reporter thing’s new.”
Lena nodded. “It suits you.”
“Yeah,” the woman averred. “You’re good with people.”
The blonde blushed. “Well, it’s mostly been fluff pieces, so far, listicles and stuff. ‘What your cell phone says about your personality.’”
“‘How to destroy an entire bag of cheddar popcorn in a single sitting.’”
Kara burst into laughter. “Yeah. I was a little surprised when this assignment landed on my desk,” she said, eyes turning to Lena, still so very blue. “Of course, when I saw who it was, well, I rushed right over here.”
Lena nodded at that. Silence settled between them, different. So much now felt like it should be said.
Kara leaned forward. “Lena-“
The raven-haired woman held up a hand. The woman stopped, lips parted in a way that made Lena want to leap right across her desk. “Wait,” she told her, and herself. “I want to,” she clarified. “Just one second.” She turned and pressed the button on her intercom. “Jess, hold my calls. I’m disconnecting the phone.”
She managed to catch twin voices calling out urgently, “Wait. Wait, wait, wait!” Before she yanked the cord from the phone. She turned back to Kara. Now they were alone.
“I haven’t stopped thinking about you,” Lena said, finally, the weight in her chest that had been held there for weeks flying off her.
“I haven’t stopped thinking about you,” Kara replied. “I know, what you said, back at the lake.”
Lena looked away, almost ashamed at herself. It had felt like wisdom at the time, maybe it had been. And how could she have known?
“Do you remember what I said?” The blonde continued.
Green eyes met blue, and, for a second, they were both back there, by that crystal blue water. The sun and the wind and their arms around each other.
“I remember,” Lena replied, her voice a tearful whisper.
“Well,” Kara said, sliding to the edge of her seat, closer to the raven-haired woman. “Since I probably won’t be able to wait until afterwards, at the risk of making this interview really awkward.” She smirked. “Would you like to have dinner with me?”
Lena stared at the blonde. She wasn’t back at the lake. She wasn’t lost in memory. She was right here, in her office, safely ensconced in reality, yet somehow a part of her, who she had been back there, was here, too. It wasn’t vacation mode, either. It was Lena, the version of her that, for a moment, had finally let her walls down, finally let herself want what was so good for her. Somehow, blessedly, she had brought that back with her from that perfect place.
And thus there was not a doubt in her mind as to her answer.
“Yes,” she replied. “I would like that very much.”
One Year Later
“Alex, it’s gorgeous,” Kara said as she set the groceries on the counter. “I swear, this place gets nicer and nicer every time.”
“I’m glad to hear it,” her sister replied through the phone. “Drive up there okay?”
“Perfect,” said the blonde as she rolled the watermelon across the counter and began looking for a knife.
“You’re already starting on the watermelon, aren’t you?” Alex asked.
“You know it. Seriously, you’ve got to come up here.”
“And share a cabin with you two horn-dogs?” the woman on the other end scoffed. “Not a chance.”
Kara smirked as she gazed out the kitchen window. Crystal blue water shimmered under the afternoon sun. Another perfect day in paradise. Still, her eyes were only on the dark-haired woman standing out on the deck. She smiled even more.
“Any plans on your end?” The blonde asked.
“Not really,” Alex replied. “Just work and, you know, stuff.”
“Stuff meaning hanging out with your super tall, super hot girlfriend?”
“I have no idea what you are talking about,” Alex said.
Kara was distracted from a rich area for sibling ribbing by the woman slipping in through the sliding glass door, a phone pressed to her ear. Green eyes glanced up at her. Lena smiled.
“Is that Alex?” She asked. Kara nodded. “Tell her I said ‘hi’.”
“Lena says ‘hi’,” Kara said and held out the phone.
“Hi, Lena,” the voice called out.
Kara nodded towards the other phone. “Is that Sam?”
Lena nodded. “Just wrapping some things up at work.”
“Vacation mode,” the blonde chided.
“It’s already done,” Lena replied with a hand up in surrender. “I promise.” She stepped into the living room.
“Tell her I said ‘hi’.”
“Kara says ‘hi’,” Lena said with a laugh into the cell.
“You two are sickeningly cute,” the voice of her CFO called from the other end. “Has anyone ever told you that?”
“You. Many times,” Lena replied. “By the way, she’s talking to Alex. Do you want Kara to tell her to pick up anything on her way over?”
“I have no idea what you are talking about,” Sam replied immediately.
“Because you don’t have lunch scheduled with her today?” Lena probed. “In my office?”
The line was silent for a full minute. “No,” came the reply.
“Jess?” Lena asked.
A third voice chimed in. “12 to 2. Lunch with Ms. Danvers. I’ve already put in the order for delivery.”
“Traitor!” Sam yelled as Lena guffawed.
“You’re welcome by the way,” the dark-haired woman added. “Who’d have thought a woman you threatened with legal action on speakerphone a year ago would turn into such a serious relationship?”
“Is it any stranger than you jumping into bed with the hot blonde you got double-booked with?” Sam replied.
“I didn’t jump, Sam.”
“No, you fell,” the woman said. “Hard.”
Lena could only smile in reply as she settled on the couch and watched the very same blonde cut up an entire watermelon. To think what a year it had been. For all of them, it turned out. She certainly hadn’t expected Sam and Alex to hit it off. Irony of ironies, they had actually been introduced at a dinner both had insisted on as a way to vet the new relationship, each equally protective of their corresponding person, yet seeming to forget any responsibility when they became instantly enamored of each other.
Not that Lena was complaining, quite the opposite. Alex was every bit as charming as her own Danvers, a sweet side too, hidden under that bravado, and she hadn’t seen Sam this head-over-heels in a long time. Nothing could have made it better unless Ruby hadn’t also fallen in love with Alex, and the redhead with her. Funny how things happen. Funny all the good that can come from one, perfect vacation.
“Do me a favor,” Lena added. “Don’t have sex on my desk.”
“What sort of people do you take us for?” Sam scoffed. “We most certainly will not have sex on your desk. We’ll have sex on the couch.”
“Like you two haven’t gotten up to things in this place,” Sam added.
Lena laughed now. “Exactly,” she said.
There was silence on the other end, followed by what sounded like Sam rolling violently away from the desk. “Gross,” came the reply. “I still can’t believe you volunteered this time. Last year, you’ll recall, I had to kidnap you.”
“Everyone needs a vacation,” Lena said.
“But two weeks?” Sam asked. “That’s hardly Luthor of you. One must wonder what would motivate you to prioritize your own needs so uncharacteristically?”
Lena cast her gaze to the kitchen. She smiled. “Let’s just say, it’s been quite a year.”
“Don’t I know it,” and Lena could hear the smile in the woman’s voice.
“See you soon, Sam.”
“Have fun you two,” the woman replied before the line clicked.
Lena rose from the couch and padded into the kitchen. She stepped up behind the woman leaned over the counter and wrapped her arms around a firm, warm waist.
“How’s Sam?” Kara asked.
“Good,” Lena replied. “Her and your sister have a two-hour lunch scheduled in my office.”
“Ha!” Kara laughed. “I knew Alex was lying. She sounded way too happy.” She spun in the woman’s grasp to face Lena. “Not as happy as me, of course.”
“Of course,” Lena replied before leaning in to capture those lips. She tasted the watermelon and couldn’t help but laugh into the kiss. “Good thing we bought two,” she said when she broke the kiss a minute later, leaning around the blonde to see the fruit already half-consumed.
She turned back to Kara and gazed into those blue eyes. The dark-haired woman reached up a hand to tuck a golden lock behind her ear. Kara smiled. She smiled back. She had long since stopped wondering at the warmth in her chest that bloomed so often now whenever she was near the woman. It had become such a part of her life that she had nearly forgotten when it wasn’t. The woman had become such a part of her life that she had long since left behind any thoughts she once had of perfect self-reliance. Life was too big and beautiful a thing to go it alone. Things, places, moments like this were meant to be shared.
“So, two weeks,” Kara said with that beaming smile. “What did you want to do first?”
Lena glanced out the window. “You know, I think that crystal clear water is calling to me.”
Kara nodded. “Me too.” She pulled the woman close to peck her lips before stepping away and moving towards the bedroom. She stopped when she noticed Lena stepping towards the back door. “Aren’t you going to change into your suit?” She asked, motioning towards their bags, voice lilting ever so higher at the thought of her girlfriend in the suit she most certainly had made sure she packed.
Lena simply shook her head. “Wasn’t planning on it,” she replied as she slid open the door.
Kara watched her step out onto the deck. The raven-haired woman gazed at her over her shoulder, before grabbing the hem of her shirt and pulling it over her head in one motion. The blonde’s jaw hit the floor, stunned as she watched her girlfriend walk towards the lake, stripping clothing off piece-by-piece. Finally, the blonde was wrenched from her paralysis and darted out towards the deck, stumbling as she kicked off shoes and rucked her own shirt off.
Lena watched her with a laugh from the end of the pier, as she let the last piece of lace fall, naked for a moment in the sun before diving into the water. She burst through the surface, a shiver passing through her, to see a white streak fly overhead to cannonball into the water behind her. She splashed at the blonde head when it popped up a second later. Kara laughed and splashed her back before plunging into the water towards her and popping up again right in front of the woman. Hands found skin in the cold, blue water. Lips followed as they pulled each other close and spun slowly in the lake, under the sun.
“Happy anniversary,” Kara said when they parted, brushing wet hair away from her girlfriend’s face.
Lena smiled and wrapped her arms around the blonde’s neck. God, did she love this place. What a year indeed. “Happy anniversary,” she replied.