Lena felt no need to defend herself.
Not when she was only doing it on a whim. Not when she was just entertaining one of the few throwaway comments that her assistant had dropped so haphazardly at her feet that week. Not when she was home on a Saturday night with only a glass of wine for company.
Admittedly, downloading Tinder was probably one of the more inane suggestions she could have gone with, but who could begrudge Lena when she was just acknowledging a passing impulse?
It was surprisingly easy, even for a patent social media novice like Lena. All she had to do was sign in with her Facebook profile—a relic leftover from another comment from her assistant around two years prior—and there it was.
Thinking of an apt self-description was considerably more difficult. She toyed with the possibility of just copying and pasting the Wikipedia summary of her life, citations and all, but eventually deemed it unsuitable. It was probably too long for the average Tinder user’s attention span anyway.
In the end, Lena decided to go with something short and simple and perhaps even a little sweet.
TRYING SOMETHING NEW.
Now she was ready.
Lena approached Tinder the same way she approached most endeavors in her life: far more seriously than necessary. She carefully assessed each combination of profile photo and description before pinpointing a specific reason as to why she had to swipe left.
Some people had too wordy of a description—how do you have so much to say without even a Wikipedia entry to draw from?—and others had too little—okay, well, “send noodz” is barely even English—and others still were just not very… aesthetically pleasing.
Overall, it was a very disappointing experience. But still Lena trudged on.
She swiped left a few more times on men who were clearly lying about their age. Then on a couple looking for a willing third party to complete their threesome. Then on someone whose photos depicted a defined set of abs but not much else. Just one disappointment after another until finally, Lena came across her.
A very pretty blonde who described herself as a Would-be reporter & ice cream enthusiast. True to her word, the woman’s default photo showed her grinning wide at the camera, blue eyes almost squinty with pleasure behind dark-rimmed glasses, and in her hand was an ice cream cone with three impressive scoops of chocolate and rainbow sprinkles.
At first, Lena almost swiped left out of habit. Then, out of nerves. Because there was no way in hell that she was in the same league as this personification of sunshine filtering through an otherwise cloudy day. Sexy glasses, perfect teeth, and an approachable smile? An impossible combination.
Lena sifted through her other photos anyway and quickly learned that Kara’s favorite hobby must have been eating. There were numerous photos of all kinds of food, ranging from potstickers to pizza to even more ice cream, which was impressive as much as it was endearing. And apparently somewhere along the way, Kara still found the time to exercise and maintain a six-pack that Lena tried and couldn’t find off-putting.
All right, it would appear that this Kara (26) girl had a bottomless stomach. And well, Lena had near bottomless pockets, so maybe this could work out after all.
Lena took a deep breath and swiped right.
It’s a match!
Lena nearly dropped her phone.
“Now what? Now what?” Lena all but shouted to the empty room, fisting her free hand into a nearby cushion.
Give her a conference room full of self-entitled men and sexist barbs, or a mountain of expense reports with an imminent deadline, or hell, why not yet another quarterly assassination attempt for good measure? Any of the above and Lena would emerge barely scathed, with a cool head and polished smile, all in time for an evening splash of scotch.
But a pretty girl who probably expected her to string together a coherent sentence, possibly even in person and in public? No. This was clearly a mistake. A terrible, terrible mistake. One that needed to be corrected right away.
Lena frantically looked through the app, hoping to find the option to delete her account clearly labeled and ready for use. But Kara's first message came through before she ever got the chance.
Kara [9:21 PM]: Hey!!!
A bit excessive on the punctuation, but beautiful women had been known to get away with far more. At least she seemed harmless enough. Lena chewed on her lip and pressed ahead.
Lena [9:24 PM]: Hello.
Kara [9:25 PM]: I know who you are!!!!!
Lena froze, thumbs poised mid-air. What on Earth could possibly possess a complete stranger to say something like that to her?
And then it hit her.
A realization the size of the controversy section from her Wikipedia page. The number one reason why Tinder would be such a terrible place for someone with a last name as recognizable and notorious as Luthor.
Now embarrassed and determined more than ever to delete the app, Lena still couldn’t help but send off one last snippy message to her newfound harasser.
Lena [9:29 PM]: I can’t say I know how you feel about me or my admittedly less-than-stellar reputation, and frankly, I don’t care. But I’m just a woman trying to make a name for herself outside of her family. Can’t you respect that?
Her left thumb hovered over the Delete Account button as she anxiously awaited the reply. But when it came, it was as bewildering as it was unsatisfying.
Kara [9:31 PM]: Whaaaaaatttt????????
Lena felt the last of her resolve crumple and her thumbs were already bypassing the deactivate feature in favor of tapping out a new message.
Lena [9:32 PM]: You know, for a “would-be reporter” you’re decidedly very inarticulate.
Kara [9:32 PM]: What??? Ugh! You’re SO mean!!!
Kara [9:32 PM]: I just meant that I didn’t know what you were talking about!!!
Lena [9:33 PM]: Oh, so not only are you inarticulate, you’re woefully uninformed too? Fine qualities for a reporter indeed.
Kara [9:33 PM]: OMG! SO. MEAN. I was just saying that I KNOW WHAT YOU ARE!!!
Oh, so now Lena was a what? It took all of ten minutes for her to be downgraded from a who to a what? By this stranger?
Considering the source of the comment, Lena tried not to take the dehumanization too personally. But she had half a mind to break into Tinder’s database to determine the whereabouts of a certain blonde would-be reporter, though that wouldn’t do anything to help her reputation. But she could always just buy the information from Tinder. Or better yet, maybe she could just buy out the entire company itself and—
Kara [9:35 PM]: You’re a CATFISH!!!
… A what?
Lena [9:37 PM]: … A what?
Kara [9:38 PM]: A catfish!! Google it!! It’s what you are, you catfish!!
Lena did google it, and it only confused her even more. She decided to share the UrbanDictionary definition with her accuser just in case she’d been mistaken.
Kara [9:41 PM]: I know what it is!
Kara [9:42 PM]: I’m just surprised that UD didn’t include a photo of your tinder profile along with their definition.
Lena [9:43 PM]: I’m not sure if the platform supports images like that. But I don’t understand… Am I meant to be catfishing as myself?
Kara [9:44 PM]: If by “yourself” you mean “Lena Luthor,” then YES!!!
Lena [9:45 PM]: All right, but why on earth would anyone catfish as me?
Kara [9:47 PM]: Pfft, that much is obvious. Lena Luthor is a celebrity!
Well, that’s certainly a new one.
Lena thought she'd heard it all before. Cutthroat CEO. Anti-alien terrorist. Ungrateful daughter. Bitch. But never put quite so frivolously as celebrity, as if Luthor were somehow on par with Kardashian.
Lena [9:48 PM]: Fine. But I’m actually Lena Luthor.
Kara [9:48 PM]: Ha HAH! Don’t make me laugh, catfish.
Lena [9:49 PM]: How can you be so sure I’m not?
Kara [9:49 PM]: Oh please. Someone that rich and attractive?
Kara [9:49 PM]: On what frickin’ planet would Lena Luthor ever need to get a tinder?
That was also... new.
Lena considered herself for the moment.
Dark hair still indented with the tell-tale signs of a loosened bun. High heels long since abandoned by the front door. An old MIT sweatshirt carelessly thrown on. A half-empty bottle of chardonnay. No make-up. Leggings. Slippers.
The unwarranted blush from an unwarranted compliment notwithstanding, was this an appropriate portraiture of a woman so desperate for any intimacy that she would try Tinder for the very first time?
Lena [9:52 PM]: You’d be surprised.
Kara [9:54 PM]: LOL. Whatever, Catfish! I have nothing more to say to the likes of you!
But funnily enough, the stranger never did get around to un-matching herself with Lena on the app. And neither did Lena. She decided to keep Tinder for now.
Two nights later, Lena was wading through some project proposals at her desk when her phone went off. A new message from Tinder.
It was unexpected, considering how Lena had all but forgotten about the app since her first match had failed so miserably. Which of course could only mean one thing.
Kara [6:15 PM]: Hey, so I told all my friends about you and they all 100% agree that you’re a catfish.
Lena let out a bark of laughter, the undignified sound breaking out of her mouth without consent. Within seconds, her assistant was at her door.
“Yes, Miss Luthor?”
Already composed again, Lena just shook her head. “Nothing, Jess. Could you please shut the door on your way out?”
“Of course, Miss Luthor,” Jess said. Then with a nod and a click of a door, she left Lena to her own devices once more.
Lena [6:20 PM]: Seriously? All your friends? Now, why would you go and do something like that?
Kara [6:22 PM]: Because I’m so onto you, Catfish!
Kara [6:22 PM]: And also I wanted to ask my lawyer friend if we could do anything about your very blatant identity theft. But according to her, it’s not actually identity theft… So looks like you’re safe for the time being.
Lena [6:24 PM]: I could have told you that much.
Kara [6:26 PM]: Oh, are you a lawyer?
Lena [6:27 PM]: No, a CEO.
Ever the wordsmith, Kara just replied with a series of angry emojis.
Lena chuckled to herself, taking a moment to lean back in her chair and toe off her heels. She relaxed, sighed, and considered her next words.
Lena [6:31 PM]: So. You still think I’m a catfish then?
Kara [6:31 PM]: Duh!
Lena [6:32 PM]: Why?
Kara [6:34 PM]: You mean, besides the fact that a celebrity who’s a 12/10 in the looks department would NEVER be on tinder?
Lena couldn’t help but roll her eyes at the irony.
Lena [6:35 PM]: I beg to differ. But yes.
Kara [6:35 PM]: Your lack of social media skills.
Lena [6:35 PM]: … How do you mean?
Kara [6:38 PM]: Well, for one thing, you’re using the same exact stock photo from Lena Luthor’s wiki page (more proof that you’re just a catfish, btw) and it’s the ONLY photo you have. I mean, sure, it’s a nice photo and all, but it’s also very intimidating and professional.
Lena [6:39 PM]: And what’s wrong with that? That’s sort of my brand.
Kara [6:40 PM]: That’s LENA LUTHOR’S brand. But also, way too formal for a dating app. This is tinder! Not a resume!!
Lena [6:42 PM]: So, what do you propose then? An ice cream selfie?
Kara [6:43 PM]: You poke fun, but it got you to swipe right, didn’t it?
The persistent stranger had a point. Though, of course, it didn’t hurt that Kara also happened to be drop-dead gorgeous, and only someone without a pulse could ever swipe left on her. But Lena didn’t have to go into that detail.
Lena [6:45 PM]: I can say the same for you.
Kara [6:46 PM]: Ugh, no! This doesn’t count! I swiped right just to call you out about this catfishy business!!!
Lena [6:46 PM]: Duly noted. Anything else?
Kara [6:48 PM]: Yes! Your choice in description was another dead giveaway.
Lena [6:48 PM]: What? What could possibly be wrong with that? I was being honest!
Kara [6:49 PM]: Um, “TRYING SOMETHING NEW” ??
Kara [6:49 PM]: What kind of a weirdo writes in all caps like that? And you ended it with a period too! Doubly weird.
Lena [6:50 PM]: I was trying to convey enthusiasm!
Kara [6:52 PM]: Yeah, no. All you did was broadcast your serial killer-esque tendencies.
Kara [6:53 PM]: Except you’re not actually a serial killer, right? Because if you are, you have to tell me right away. It’s the law.
Lena [6:55 PM]: Nothing you just said is accurate.
Kara [6:56 PM]: I thought you said you weren’t a lawyer!!
Exhaling a quiet laugh, Lena turned back to her work and even read through a few more project proposals before a tiny blip! drew her attention away once more.
Kara [7:12 PM]: Okay, so I asked Lucy and apparently you’re right. Whatever.
Kara [7:12 PM]: Still! This isn’t over!
It was certainly starting to appear that way.
After a particularly long day at work where Lena was forced to break a longstanding business alliance over creative differences, the CEO found herself drinking alone at her apartment. The decision was going to cost L-Corp a small fortune and a few friends, but ultimately Lena had no qualms or second thoughts to speak of. Anything to uproot the final vestiges of Lex’s influence over the company.
The three fingers of Irish whiskey burning down her throat was just a nice added bonus.
Lena glanced down at her phone. She had disabled the e-mail notifications for the moment, but Tinder was still up and available though it hadn’t been used in some time. Not even a single peep from any plucky blondes on catfishing expedition. But they were still matched. Lena had checked a few times over the last week and half.
Placing her phone back on the table, Lena took a sip of whiskey and thought about it.
Three more sips of whiskey and Lena was looking through Kara’s photos. She set her phone down once more.
Two more sips of whiskey and Lena was picking up her phone again, but this time she opened the Google search bar.
Her initial search of Kara, 26 of course yielded nothing. But then, Lena typed in “Kara, would-be reporter ice cream enthusiast” and felt a surge of triumph when the first result was a Twitter page using that same exact description.
“Found you, @TheRealKaraDanvers,” Lena murmured to herself, as she scrolled down the tweets. They were mostly links to articles that Kara had written or pictures of food. “And your Twitter picture is the same one from your Tinder, so there…”
Drunk on whiskey and a sense of accomplishment, Lena couldn’t help but send a message to her accuser. She wasn’t expecting a response this late in the night, but Kara continued to surprise her.
Lena [1:03 AM]: I found you on the twitter.
Kara [1:05 AM]: Just say twitter by itself like a normal person. And what? You did??
Kara [1:05 AM]: STALKER STALKER STALKER
Lena [1:06 AM]: It’s hardly stalking when it’s a public profile. So, you're a columnist at CatCo?
Lena [1:06 AM]: Now, there’s a publication not really known for its hard-hitting journalism.
Lena [1:07 AM]: More like, high-waisted jeans. Yes or no?
Kara [1:08 AM]: And we said Yes, and now half of National City can no longer show off their navels. What’s your point?
Lena [1:09 AM]: No point. No nothing.
Kara [1:10 AM]: Okay… Why are you up so late anyway?
Kara [1:10 AM]: Work stuff?
Lena snorted to herself, pouring another two fingers of whiskey into her tumbler.
Lena [1:12 AM]: I suppose you can say it’s work-related. What about you? Working on a hard-hitting exposé on the dangers of tinder and catfishing?
Kara [1:13 AM]: Haha, nothing so serious, I assure you. But you should head to bed, Not-Lena.
Lena [1:13 AM]: In a minute.
Kara [1:15 AM]: You better!
Lena [1:15 AM]: Hey
Kara [1:16 AM]: Yeah?
Lena [1:17 AM]: If I download the twitter app on my phone, can I add you as a friend?
Kara [1:18 AM]: Hahaha! Um, sure. As long as you go to bed right now!! So sleep!!!
Lena [1:19 AM]: Ok
“Um, why do you have a Tinder?”
Lena snapped her head up and watched in horror as her best friend’s face slowly transitioned from perplexed to oh so amused. She tried to grab her phone, but Sam was too quick.
“No, you said you were just making one phone call to check on your babysitter, not delve into my private life,” Lena protested, making another grab across the dinner table.
“Then I hung up and went snooping, sue me,” Sam said with pure, un-adulterated glee.
“Don’t tempt me,” Lena grumbled. She continued to glare at Sam as their $200 steaks were promptly abandoned in favor of a wine glass and Lena’s phone respectively.
“Ooh… Who’s Kara?”
This time, Sam held the phone out to showcase Kara’s now familiar broad grin and Lena was able to recover the device successfully.
“Stop it. She’s… no one,” Lena said, slipping the phone into her pocket, safe from prying eyes and teasing friends. “Just a match. Or something.”
Sam smiled, pointedly pushing away her plate of food. “I see… So, have you met up with this ‘match or something’ yet?”
Lena gave an exasperated sigh. “No. She… She thinks I’m a catfish.”
The peals of unrestrained laughter from Sam’s end had half the restaurant glancing over their table and Lena shooting daggers out of her eyes.
“Sam, what's gotten into you? Honestly.”
“She thinks—She thinks you’re a catfish,” Sam managed to wheeze out in between giggles. “And how could she not? Have you seen your profile?”
Lena tried not to pout. “What’s wrong with it?”
Sam just held out her hand expectantly until Lena groaned and passed back her phone.
“First of all, you only have two pictures here and they’re both… not good,” Sam said, looking through Lena’s profile. “That first one looks like a business headshot and this one is a press photo from a tech conference.”
“So… why don’t you try something a bit more casual? The goal is to look approachable, not secure a job interview.” Sam pulled out her own phone for Lena’s perusal. “See?”
“You have a Tinder?” Lena said incredulously as she accepted the phone. “Also, you have your phone? Why did you ask to use mine then?”
“I wanted to snoop,” Sam said simply. “And I’m a single mom with a full-time job. How else am I going to find a date?”
Sam, 25. Single mother who hates long walks on the beach. Looking for casual dates, open to something more.
Sam’s first photo was of her lounging by the pool with a fruity cocktail in hand. Then there were a few with her daughter, Ruby. The last photo was just a simple selfie clearly taken mid-hike.
“But I don’t like hiking…” Lena said, returning the phone.
Sam rolled her eyes. “That’s not the point, Lena. The point is you want to show what kind of person you are while showing off your best features. Which is why I set a bikini photo as my default.”
“I also don’t wear bikinis.”
“I know, and what a waste considering your chest size.” Sam ignored Lena’s affronted noise as she thought. “Oh, hey, you could always go silly.”
“Yeah, you know, make it seem like you don’t actually care how you look. Done right, it can give off an air of confidence and candor. Those things sound like you, right?”
Lena nodded, the smile growing on her face genuine. “Silly. Okay. I can do that.”
Hours later, Lena was tucked into bed, skin practically vibrating with excitement as she evaluated her shiny new weapon one last time. With Sam’s sure approval and her own, Lena was ready to give her new profile a test drive.
Lena [9:11 PM]: Do you like my new picture?
She didn’t have to wait long for a reply.
Kara [9:15 PM]: ???????????????????
Kara [9:15 PM]: HOW???????
Lena couldn’t help the delighted giggle at the response. “Let’s see you explain this one, ace reporter…”
Back at the restaurant, Lena had scoured her phone gallery for a suitable photo, and one by one, they were all vetoed by Sam. The frustrating process almost had Lena taking a new picture of herself right then and there, but Sam reasoned that the restaurant's dim lighting was a surefire selfie killer. Eventually, Lena found a photo that she didn't even recall taking.
Taken five months ago at an L-Corp-sponsored blood drive, the photo depicted Lena in a soft sweatshirt with a Yorkshire terrier in her arms, both of their mouths open comically wide in matching roars. Jess had brought her dog, Mindy, to the event and Lena just couldn’t resist, and the rare moment of delighted unprofessionalism was captured on camera.
Lena almost didn’t recognize herself and if it weren’t for the black L-Corp logo clearly visible on her hoodie, she might have even passed for someone who didn't have a sordid family history.
Kara [9:22 PM]: I just spent the last 5 minutes google imaging “Lena Luthor and dogs” and not a single thing popped up, so you better explain.
Kara [9:23 PM]: Like, are you kidding me?
Kara [9:23 PM]: She’s rich and pretty and smart and also likes DOGS???
Kara [9:24 PM]: Does she even have a dog??
Lena [9:25 PM]: Well, I know for a fact that Lena Luthor doesn’t actually own any dogs. But she does in fact love them.
Kara [9:27 PM]: Hmmm. Talking about ourselves in the third person, are we?
Lena [9:28 PM]: You know, you can be very irritating sometimes. I just wanted to show you just how much I’ve learned from your impromptu tinder lessons.
Kara [9:29 PM]: Hahaha, that’s fair! I don’t know how you found it, but I approve of your new photo. You’re obviously a quick learner.
Lena [9:30 PM]: Well, I’ll have you know that 1 out of 1 reporter has said that I’m “rich and pretty and smart,” so it was to be expected.
Kara [9:31 PM]: That was about Lena, not you.
Kara [9:32 PM]: Btw, I got like 20 new followers on twitter since we last spoke. Any of those you?
Lena [9:35 PM]: I’m afraid not.
Kara [9:35 PM]: Why not?
Lena pursed her lips as she thought back to the night in question. The same one where she hadn’t gone straight to sleep as per Kara’s request, but rather had indulged in far too much whiskey, half of which she regurgitated the very next day. And having been unable to hold up her end of the bargain, Lena hadn't thought it fair to take advantage of Kara’s virtual hospitality.
But how did you even begin to explain that to a perfect stranger, who seemed to be literally perfect?
Lena [9:38 PM]: I don’t have time for the twitter.
Kara [9:38 PM]: Don’t lie. You couldn’t figure out how to download it, right?
Lena [9:38 PM]: You got me.
Kara [9:39 PM]: Ha! I got you!
Lena [9:39 PM]: I just said that.
Kara [9:40 PM]: I mean, now it’s even more obvious that you’re not Lena Luthor. Not that I needed any more proof.
Lena [9:41 PM]: And how’s that?
Kara [9:43 PM]: How could a 24 year old tech savvy genius trip over something as small as twitter? Yeah right!
Well, Lena didn’t really have anything to say to that.
Kara [5:27 PM]: Do you have any sisters?
As common of an occurrence it was starting to become, the message still caught Lena off guard. She hit pause on her documentary and settled deeper into her couch before replying.
Lena [5:28 PM]: No, just an older brother.
Kara [5:28 PM]: Ugh, I should have known you’d keep it up. Never mind.
Lena [5:29 PM]: No, what is it? What did you want to talk about?
It took so long for the reply to actually come that Lena almost gave up on the thread of conversation, disappointment irradiating her stomach. Then…
Kara [5:42 PM]: Is it normal… for people to start dating and like forget about everyone else in their life?
Lena [5:42 PM]: Can you elaborate?
Kara [5:44 PM]: My sister just got a girlfriend, and it’s cool because they’re great together and Maggie really seems to make her happy. But now they only do things together. Or go to things together. Or stay in together, without me.
Kara [5:45 PM]: And I don’t know… I just miss my sister, I guess.
Lena [5:45 PM]: Oh Kara.
Kara [5:46 PM]: I know… Pathetic, right?
Lena [5:46 PM]: Absolutely not. It’s perfectly normal.
Lena [5:49 PM]: When my brother met his first real girlfriend, I went through something very similar. The whole thing can be a very isolating experience, especially when your sibling is your best friend and you’re not dating anyone yourself.
Lena [5:51 PM]: How long have they been dating?
Kara [5:51 PM]: Like… three weeks?
Lena [5:52 PM]: Well, there you go! It’s just their honeymoon phase! They will transition out of it soon enough. Trust me.
Kara [5:54 PM]: Are you sure? They’re like *really* touchy and stuff. It’s honestly so gross.
Lena [5:56 PM]: Positive. Just wait until their very first fight. Who else is your sister going to vent to?
Kara [5:56 PM]: Oh, true…
Lena [5:57 PM]: If your sister is anything like you, I’m sure she has a heart big enough to accommodate the both of you and then some. And if not, well, girlfriends come and go. Sisterhood’s more of a forever kind of deal, no?
Kara [5:59 PM]: You’re darn right, it is! Wow. That actually kinda makes me feel better.
Kara [6:00 PM]: Thanks, Ms Catfish.
Lena [6:02 PM]: And… we’re back to square one. I must ask, isn’t it tiresome for you to keep engaging with someone you believe to be a catfish? Why not just block me and get on with it?
Kara [6:04 PM]: And leave countless tinder users to fend for themselves against a newly formidable Lena Luthor impersonator? Never!
Lena [6:06 PM]: This is why you’re single.
Kara [6:06 PM]: Hey!!! That’s so mean!!!!
It was after nine on a pleasant Saturday evening and Lena was surrounded by glasses of champagne, finger sandwiches, and casual conversations led by casual acquaintances, when all she really wanted to do was curl up on her couch with a glass of red wine and a good book. But Jack had wanted to throw a fancy cocktail party and Sam didn’t have a date. And so here she was, sipping on Armand de Brignac and listening to yet another boring story about a boring person's boring vacation.
Thankfully, Sam pulled her away before long.
“Honestly, why does everyone in the top tax bracket visit the Alps this time of year?” Lena hissed under her breath. “It’s already cold. Why not Cabo?”
“Oh, right, because that’s so much less cliché,” Sam retorted, rolling her eyes.
“At least it’ll be warm. And there’s fruity drinks. What’s not to like?”
Sam just inclined her head in agreement and went right back to her drink. “So… score any hot dates lately? Or are you still just catfishing blonde airheads?”
“Kara’s not an airhead,” Lena protested automatically. “I’ve actually read some of her articles. They’re really quite good.”
“You read her articles.”
“That’s what I just said, yes.”
Sam tilted her head, a hint of a small smile twitching at the corners of her lips.
“What?” Lena demanded, but Sam just kept smiling. “It’s not stalking when the information is already out there. They’re articles for goodness’ sake. They’re meant to be read.”
“I didn’t say anything about stalking. I just think you like her.”
Lena turned away to take another sip from her flute. For the rest of the night, she pointedly ignored any conversation topic that involved nonexistent love lives, dating apps, blonde would-be reporters, or anything else that had Sam raising her eyebrows a little too suggestively. But later in the night, when Jack was topping off her glass for the umpteenth time, Lena decided that it didn’t even matter if she “liked” Kara—as silly as that sounded—because it’s not like their correspondences would even lead anywhere.
So, what’s the harm?
Lena’s phone lit up during a very important meeting, the screen revealing a new notification from Tinder. Thankfully, she had had the foresight to mute the ringer beforehand and nobody else in the conference room seemed to have noticed. But it was no less distracting. As soon as the meeting was over, Lena walked back to her office at a brisk pace and told Jess to hold all her calls for the time being.
Kara [3:44 PM]: So, why are you on tinder?
Lena [4:01 PM]: I’m single and frankly don’t have time to date.
Kara [4:02 PM]: Are you answering as yourself or Lena Luthor?
Lena [4:02 PM]: There’s a difference now?
Kara [4:04 PM]: Ugh… Don’t be like this. I actually want a real answer! Can’t you just talk to me as yourself? Just this once?
Lena [4:05 PM]: Talk as myself?
Kara [4:05 PM]: Yeah!
Lena [4:05 PM]: Instead of Lena Luthor?
Kara [4:06 PM]: Yeah!
Lena [4:07 PM]: All right, I’ll try.
A series of thumbs up emojis relayed Kara’s approval and Lena drummed her fingers on the smooth surface of her desk. She typed out a message. Deleted it. Typed out another. Deleted that too.
But what was there to hide from this almost stranger from the internet who didn’t even believe she was the real Lena Luthor in the first place? So, when Lena composed her next message, she hit send before she could lose her nerve.
Lena [4:12 PM]: I’m lonely.
Lena [4:12 PM]: And part of me thinks that it will always be this way.
Kara [4:13 PM]: Oh kiddo…
Lena [4:13 PM]: Excuse me? Kiddo? Seriously?
Kara [4:14 PM]: I don’t know your real name, so cut me some slack here!
Kara [4:16 PM]: Anyways, I think I get where you’re coming from. You probably feel like you always have to hide who you really are. Because you’re afraid that when people meet the real you, they wouldn’t like you anymore.
Lena [4:17 PM]: That’s not entirely inaccurate, I suppose.
Kara [4:18 PM]: It’s why you’re catfishing as Lena Luthor.
Lena [4:19 PM]: Honestly, you really can be so irritating sometimes.
Kara [4:20 PM]: Yeah, yeah, whatever you say, catfish. But virtual identity theft aside, I’m sure you’re great when you’re not actively pretending to be a really hot celebrity.
Lena [4:22 PM]: Is that so?
Kara [4:22 PM]: Yeah! I mean, I like ya!
Lena [4:23 PM]: Really?
Kara [4:25 PM]: Yeah, why not? You’re nice-ish, witty, and seem like a good person.
Kara [4:26 PM]: Heck, if you looked anything like the real Lena, we’d be set!
The exasperated groan that came from Lena’s office brought Jess to her door only to be dismissed again. Lena dropped her phone onto her desk facedown and went back to work.
But it seemed like Kara wasn’t done for the night as Lena discovered several hours later in her living room. One look at the message and Lena left to get a glass of wine. She would most definitely need alcohol for this conversation.
Kara [9:31 PM]: Do you think Lena Luthor is single?
Lena [9:37 PM]: You know I am.
Kara [9:37 PM]: Yeah, I know that you—Catfish extraordinaire—are single, but is the real actual bona fide Lena Luthor single?
Sighing heavily, Lena downed the rest of her wine and poured herself another glass.
Lena [9:42 PM]: This is all very exasperating for me.
Kara [9:44 PM]: Hear me out! I know she must be a very busy woman being a full-time CEO and all, but there is no way someone that hot can stay unattached for so long.
Lena [9:46 PM]: I can assure you that it’s actually very possible.
Kara [9:47 PM]: She always shows up to fundraisers and galas alone or with an assistant. But there has to be *someone* she’s seeing on the side, right? Maybe multiple someones!
Kara [9:48 PM]: She does strike me as a supermodel in every port kinda gal.
Kara [9:49 PM]: Idk, what do you think?
Lena [9:52 PM]: I think… the way you talk about “Lena Luthor” is very strange.
Kara [9:52 PM]: Why put her name in quotations like that?
Lena [9:54 PM]: Because with the way you talk about her, it’s like she isn’t even a real person anymore. She’s just this unattainable figure who’s apparently somehow worthy of all this idle gossip about her love life.
Kara [9:55 PM]: You mean, like a celebrity?
Lena [9:57 PM]: Yes! I mean, of all the people someone could be catfishing as, why in the world would they go with Lena Luthor?
Lena [9:58 PM]: Why not an actual idol like Supergirl?
Lena [10:06 PM]: Kara? No answer?
Kara [10:06 PM]: You just said something so ridiculous and weird I can’t even believe I’m reading it right now. That’s just so very stupid and weird.
Kara [10:07 PM]: I actually have to go now because of how weird it was. Because it really was so weird and stupid I can’t even believe it.
Kara [10:07 PM]: Okay, bye now!
Left dumbfounded and blinking, Lena tried and failed to make sense of what was now their strangest interaction to date. What a peculiar exit. Even for Kara.
For the next three days, Lena obsessively checked Kara’s tweets, hoping to maybe glean even the slightest hint of herself within each set of 140 characters. But as per usual, there wasn’t much more than the occasional link to a CatCo article and food-related selfies.
According to Jess, there was such a thing as a “professional twitter page,” with which everyone from celebrated astrophysicists to Taylor Swift could communicate with the general public. Apparently, Lena already had one through L-Corp. Her social media team mostly used it to announce her scheduled press conferences and new product lines, and despite Lena’s best efforts, they had decided that it wouldn’t be on brand to follow some no-name reporter from a fashion magazine.
So, instead, Lena just scrolled through Kara’s twitter page alone in her office on her own terms, probably way more often than she should. In fact, she was doing just that when a new message popped up in her notifications.
Kara [3:17 PM]: Hey…
A flurry of possible responses ran through Lena’s head.
I was just thinking about you.
You know, you should tweet more content about yourself.
Did you know that your article from two days ago has a typo in the fourth paragraph and it still hasn’t been corrected?
I think I might have actually missed you…
Ultimately, Lena went with something a little more simple.
Lena [3:20 PM]: Hey.
Kara [3:22 PM]: So I have this techie friend who’s really good at this nerd cyber stuff and he offered to hack your tinder so we could figure out who you really are. But I turned him down.
Lena [3:24 PM]: As much as I appreciate that, I’ve always been pretty open about who I am.
Kara [3:25 PM]: Sure. I was just telling you because I wanted you to know that I respect your privacy.
Kara [3:25 PM]: Like, really really respect it.
Kara [3:26 PM]: So much in fact that I would never ever dig any deeper and try to uncover whatever secret identities you might have.
Lena [3:28 PM]: This is getting strangely specific.
Kara [3:29 PM]: Nope! No strangeness over here! Just wanted to discuss the importance of not invading other people’s privacies. That’s it!
A white-hot flash of panic fluttered down Lena’s extremities. Kara knew! She must have found out somehow. Maybe Twitter had a feature where users could track their viewers or her technologically astute friend had somehow figured it out. In any case, Lena had to apologize, avoid any potentially embarrassing headlines—Local CEO Cyber-Stalks Woman Relentlessly!—and perhaps even attempt to salvage whatever this thing was between them.
Lena [3:32 PM]: Kara, I am so sorry. That was extremely inappropriate of me.
Kara [3:33 PM]: Huh? What? What about? What’s happening?
Lena [3:33 PM]: I just thought that maybe you were angry with me and that I’d be able to piece together why from your tweets, but I swear that I didn’t learn anything.
Lena [3:34 PM]: I’ll try to engage with your twitter and writing at a more appropriate capacity from now on.
Kara [3:35 PM]: What? No! Don’t do that!! Promo 4 promo!
Kara [3:36 PM]: You don’t have to stop looking at my tweets! Or reading my articles! In fact, forward them both to 10 friends each time! I could always use the clicks.
Lena [3:38 PM]: So… This wasn’t about the twitter?
Kara [3:38 PM]: No, it wasn’t about “the twitter” LOL
Kara [3:38 PM]: Let’s just agree to respect each other’s spaces and keep private things private.
Lena [3:39 PM]: I can still look at your twitter?
Kara [3:39 PM]: Yes, lol. Are you following me yet?
Lena [3:40 PM]: No. My social media team wouldn’t let me.
Kara [3:42 PM]: Hahaha, noooo! That went a little too far. You really have to work on being a more believable catfish, Catfish.
Lena [3:43 PM]: Apparently.
At 8:30 sharp, Lena strolled into the main L-Corp tower and was promptly escorted back out as soon as her red-bottomed heel touched the floor.
“Excuse me,” Lena said to the two enormous men who were gently but firmly pulling her away from the doors. “I work here!” Which was silly because she in fact owned the entire building, but at the moment her main concern was the work and how she was being barred from doing said work.
“We understand, Miss Luthor,” said one of the men. “But there’s been a bomb threat and you can’t go in right now.”
And that was a splash of cold hard reality if ever there was one. Neatly slipping her arms out of the men’s grips, Lena gave a cursory nod and walked a good distance away on stiff legs. Immediately, her assistant was at her side.
“Miss Luthor, I already canceled all your morning meetings and pushed back your afternoon appointments,” Jess said in a rush, her tablet held out for Lena’s benefit. “I also secured a temporary work space for you just in case… well…”
“Just in case my building is leveled?” Lena ran a hand through her hair with an extended sigh of frustration. “Thank you, Jess."
The assistant scurried away, phone still attached to her ear, no doubt mitigating more bureaucratic mishaps, and Lena pulled out her own phone to get a head start on answering some of the more pressing e-mails.
Three hours later, the threat was determined to be a false alarm—a fancy lunchbox left out by an unsuspecting intern who apologized profusely—and Lena was finally in her office, three hours behind on paperwork.
She took the time to let Sam and Jack know that she was okay, both of whom had sent unflattering screenshots of her face from the ongoing coverage of the bomb scare along with their worry. But there was also some concern from a more unconventional source among her notifications.
Kara [11:41 AM]: Hey! Did you hear about the bomb scare at L-Corp?
Lena [11:42 AM]: As matter of fact, I did. But everything’s fine now.
Kara [11:42 AM]: Yeah, I heard it was a false alarm! Thank goodness!
Lena felt herself smiling despite herself, overcome with fondness for this not-so-stranger who actually cared about her well-being, virtual degrees of separation be damned.
Kara [11:44 AM]: Guess what!
Lena [11:44 AM]: Do I really have to guess?
Kara [11:45 AM]: Nope! I’ll just tell ya!
Kara [11:45 AM]: Today’s the day we finally put this catfishy business to rest!
Lena blinked. Then blinked again.
Lena [11:46 AM]: How?
Kara [11:46 AM]: Well, I’m going to use this bomb threat thing to check in on the real Lena Luthor and use my investigative reporting skills to verify that *she* is in fact not *you*. Brilliant, huh?
Lena [11:47 AM]: How on earth is that within the scope of your coverage? You’re a fashion magazine!
Kara [11:47 AM]: We have a current events section!
Lena [11:48 AM]: My assistant will never let you through without an appointment.
Kara [11:50 AM]: Oh, I’m very fast.
Anxiety settled deep in Lena’s stomach as she read then reread Kara’s messages. She was coming? Here? Kara Danvers— whom Lena absolutely did not have an inane little schoolgirl crush on—was coming to her office?
Lena shot a wild look around her office, but of course it was already immaculate as always. She quickly checked her reflection in the window. Rubbed nonexistent lipstick off her teeth. Fixed her hair. Turned back to her phone and saw two more messages waiting for her.
Kara [11:55 AM]: Heading to L-Corp now! I’ll check back in with you later.
Kara [11:55 AM]: Or you can just check my twitter! Maybe I’ll get a selfie, lol.
Her sudden impulse to self-groom now validated, Lena tried to sit back in her chair to appear as unaffected and relaxed as possible. Then she tried standing by her desk. Then standing by the door. She considered informing Jess that there would be a visitor dropping by, but then realized she wouldn't know how to address any follow-up questions.
In the end, Lena settled for sitting back at her desk and pretending to do work.
She didn’t know what to expect, so she steeled herself for everything. Kara Danvers bursting into her office without warning. Jess coming in to announce that a certain blonde would-be reporter was here to see her. A call from security saying they had to kick out a suspicious young woman with a freakishly pretty face, an alarming appetite for all sorts of junk food, and a killer six-pack. Or maybe even nothing at all.
But none of the above scenarios could even begin to compare to what actually happened.
A flapping of wind and heavy fabric from Lena’s balcony and Supergirl was strolling into her office, casual as ever.
“Miss Luthor!” the superhero greeted, her fists resting at her hips in that classic pose Lena had seen on many a magazine cover. “In light of recent events, I figured it was high time to introduce myself. It’s nice to finally meet you.”
Lena’s eyes flicked between Supergirl’s outstretched hand and the door to her office, still closed for the moment.
“Is everything all right, Miss Luthor?” Supergirl asked, sheepishly dropping her hand. “Are you still shaken over the bomb scare? I heard it was a false alarm, but the shock can…”
Supergirl’s voice droned on in the background as Lena continued to stare at her door, which Kara Danvers was supposed to be walking through at any moment now. Although Lena was starting to realize that maybe Kara wouldn’t be doing so after all. Because maybe, just maybe, Kara was already here.
“… Kara?” Lena said hesitantly.
“Actually, it’s Kaw-ra,” Supergirl automatically corrected her with an air of practiced politeness. “Just like Cara Delevingne, but spelled diff—oh…”
“Okay. Kara then,” Lena said, making sure to pronounce the name correctly this time.
She sounded calm and self-assured, as if it were routine for her to stumble upon a superhero’s secret civilian identity. But inside, Lena was reeling. For the past several months, she had been flirting on and off with National City’s resident sweetheart and caped vigilante. And somewhere deep in the dark recesses of her mind, Lena recognized that this would mean that Supergirl honestly considered her to be attractive.
Which was very strange and very, very interesting.
“What’s a Kara?” Supergirl asked in a strained voice and several beats too late. “I don’t even—Hm. I’m not sure what you—well, hm!"
“Oh my god, how has no one figured it out yet?” Lena demanded, as Supergirl—Kara—tried to shush her. “All this time, I’ve been talking to Supergirl on Tinder and you had the audacity to call me a catfish?”
A few flashes of emotion passed over Kara’s face as Lena’s words registered. Surprise. Bafflement. Then finally... sweet, sweet recognition. Kara's eyes grew comically wide and she gasped.
“You do have a Tinder!”
The resulting laughter bubbling up Lena’s throat felt impossibly satisfying.