Kara clutches the rose to her chest—red for love, for passion—though there’d only been one. She’d only been given one, one in the plethora of other flowers Lena had filled her office with. Kara’s heart hangs heavy now as she leans against her apartment door. It thumps uncomfortably in her throat. She feels Mon El’s lips still fresh on her mouth. What lingers there feels cold and tastes bitter, and the only thing keeping her anchored there is the scent of the rose, which reminds her fondly of the way Lena’s hair had smelled as she’d hugged her only hours ago.
Kara can’t shake the sensation of Lena’s chest against hers, the skin of her shoulders warm and pliant beneath her fingers. She heard her pulse, felt it, even, rapid and rhythmic, every beat vibrating in the pit of her stomach.
Kara sighs. Lena Luthor is a good hugger is all. She gives really nice, quality hugs.
She slips her phone out of her pocket and stares blankly at her screen. There’s an unread text from Mon El, and a text from Lena she’s pored over a thousand times. All it reads is, “Goodnight, and thank you again” the words punctuated, jokingly, by a bunch of flowers. And a red rose.
Clearly, she’s teasing her now.
She shoots Lena a reply. “Anything for you,” she types. She deletes the words and starts again. “Are you still at work?”
“Do you know me?” Lena replies.
She can practically read Lena’s smile through the screen, and Kara beams. “Right. Stupid question. Can I come by?”
“Kara,” is all the text says.
Kara is laughing now in the quiet of the apartment, and it makes her feel silly but in an almost giddy way. “Sorry. Another stupid question. Be there in a jiffy.”
Kara finds Lena sitting at her desk, typing away at her laptop, when she breezes through the front doors of her office. Jess has gone home, though a doorman still minds the front door. Lena glances up from her work, eyes green and striking, painted lips spreading into a wide smile, all teeth. “Two visits in one night? You spoil me.”
Kara’s neck feels hot, and she wants suddenly to turn right back around. What is she doing here? She adjusts her glasses and glances at her feet with an anxious huff of air. She pulls the red rose from behind her back and holds it out stiffly toward Lena. “What does it mean?” she asks, and dares to look up and meet her eyes.
Lena blinks slowly at her, eyebrow quirking. She does that nervous little laugh she does sometimes. “Well, it’s a red rose, Kara. Everyone knows what a red rose mea—”
“No,” Kara interrupts, shaking her head, “what does it mean to you?”
Lena stands up and walks around her desk to lean against the front of it. She crosses her arms. “What is this about?”
Kara fidgets where she stands and adjusts her glasses once more. “Sorry, maybe it was a mistake coming here. I shouldn’t have—it’s late, I mean, and…”
Lena stands from her lean against her desk and juts a hand out toward her. “Wait, don’t go. You can talk to me.”
Kara shrugs and waves around the rose, frustrated. “I don’t know what to say.”
Lena’s eyes track the arc of movement, her brow furrowed. “Why don’t we sit?” She moves to the couch, taking her usual spot on the right side, and invites Kara to sit with a pat on the seat beside her and a slow smile that seemed to ease all of Kara’s doubts. Kara sits, a little closer than she’s accustomed to, but she feels it would be rude and awkward to scoot away, and she doesn’t particularly mind the proximity, but she worries that Lena might. Before she can even consider moving back, Lena’s hand is there, warm against the bare skin of her knee, holding her steady.
“So, tell me, what’s bothering you?”
Kara inhales deeply. “There’s this boy…”
Lena’s brows lift. “A boy,” she deadpans.
Kara plays with the hem of her skirt and glances down at her lap. “You know him actually—Mike?”
Lena leans back into her seat and crosses one leg over the other, sliding her arm across the backrest of the couch. “Ah, yes, Mike—of the interns.”
Lena says his name with a dramatic flair, and it makes Kara laugh. “Yeah, that’s the one.”
Lena angles her body more towards her, hand still on Kara’s knee, and pillows her cheek upon her fist. “Tell me about him.”
“Oh, well, he’s…kind. Though a little bit selfish, maybe. He’s good-looking…I guess? He’s good in, um—”
“Bed?” Lena offers, drawing her grinning lip into her mouth.
“Wha—no!” Kara sputters. “A fight! He’s good in a fight.” She feels positively red now, she’s sure she is, and she can’t stop staring at Lena’s hand on her knee.
Lena straightens up a bit and draws her hand back. “Sorry, I’m only teasing.”
Kara tucks her hair behind her ear. “You can, um, keep your hand there…if you want,” she mumbles.
Lena flashes Kara a coy look. “Here?” She replaces her hand, higher up than before, and it’s more on Kara’s thigh now than her knee, fingertips skirting her plaid hem.
Kara swallows thickly. “Yeah,” she manages to say. She clears her throat. “Where was I?”
“Mike,” Lena volunteers with a wave of her other hand, “he’s good in a fight.”
Kara can’t think beyond the warm pressure of Lena’s hand. “Yes, he’s um…kind.”
Lena laughs. “You’ve said that already.”
Kara breathes in hard again. “Sorry, yeah.” She watches Lena watch her. Lena could pay for any company, any view in the world, and she’s sitting here staring at Kara, and she feels so present. "And he's sweet...and generous.” She glances down at the Catco magazine on the coffee table, Lena’s picture on the front cover of the issue. “And smart, the smartest person I've ever met."
“Is he now?” Lena asks softly.
Kara glances up at her and meets her piercing gaze. "And she's good," she murmurs, "and so beautiful, more beautiful than anything I've ever seen, and I've seen," she says with a half laugh, “a lot of beautiful things.”
“We're not still talking about Mike, are we?" Lena answers with a slow smile that says she already knows the answer.
“I'm confused, Lena,” Kara whispers.
Lena chuckles, and her voice is low and husky. “Do I confuse you, Kara Danvers?"
Kara adjusts her glasses once more. "Yeah," she admits, "a little."
Lena stares at where her hand meets Kara’s thigh, and she gives another little nervous laugh. “Well, you confuse me, too." She meets Kara’s eyes, brows lifting in a mock-serious way. “Allow me to clarify," she murmurs, and she leans in. "May I?"
Kara nods, and Lena draws in closer. Kara expects to feel the heavy, dreadful weight settle in her stomach again, the way it had before Mon El kissed her, but it doesn’t. Instead it’s thrill, anticipation, the rush she gets right before she takes off into flight.
Lena rears back again. “Kara, if you’re nervous—"
“No, I’m not, I’m excited, actually,” Kara gets out quickly, surprised by her own words, and she realizes how stupid she must sound, how eager, and how unattractive this all must be to Lena.
But no, Lena smiles anyway. “Well, try to hold still?”
Kara laughs, realizing how much she must be fidgeting. “Right, yes, sorry.” She shifts in her seat and folds her hands in her lap, waiting, eyes shut.
She hears Lena’s low, throaty chuckle, and not long after, she feels her lips against hers, soft, but insistent, slow, but confident, but the sound of a racing heart betrays her. Her fingers press deep into Kara’s thigh, her other hand cupping her face. Kara sighs against her mouth, all the tension soothed from her body.
When Lena eases back, she’s smiling. “Confused still?”
“No, um.” Kara grins. “I think you made yourself pretty clear.” She stands with giddy energy. There’s no way she can sit after that. “I should head home, huh?”
“It’s late,” Lena agrees, standing, and she seems happy, too, although a bit more reserved about it. “Before you go, you have a little…” She gestures to her own mouth.
Kara blushes. “Oh.”
Lena steps towards her. She swipes the lipstick from Kara’s mouth with her thumb. “There.”
Kara stares at her lips as she forms the word. “Can we do something tomorrow? Lunch maybe? Snapper gives me a 30 minute break.”
Lena’s gaze drifts up from her mouth to her eyes. “I’d like that.”
Kara lets go of breath she didn’t realize she’s been holding. “Great!” She takes a step back. “Goodnight, Lena.”
“Goodnight,” Lena murmurs, a dreamy look about her.
Kara all but skips out of the office, when Lena calls after her, “Oh, and Kara?”
She answers, turning around, “Yes?”
“Tell Mike I said ‘checkmate.’”
Kara grins. “Will do.”