Her assistant had been the one to suggest she go to this. Lena hadn’t done much beyond work and sleep since she’d moved to National City three weeks ago, and apparently it was starting to show.
Jess couldn't make it herself, but she'd shared the details with Lena. A masquerade night at a popular club downtown sounded perfect, especially after the day she’d had today: five different meetings, none of which produced anything remotely useful or actionable. At this point she was almost desperate for the anonymity afforded by a masque and a simple black dress. She’d have a drink or two, then find stress relief in the form of a willing partner without having to worry about any of the potential social media repercussions from being recognized.
Unfortunately, though, her evening wasn’t playing out as well as she’d hoped. A few people had caught her eye from her view at the bar, but no one had grabbed enough of her attention to spur her into action. In this respect, things were easier in Metropolis. Going out to a club there wasn’t her only option. She’d had a couple of semi-regular hookups whom she could reach out to when the need arose. But here, she was starting from scratch - like everything else going on in her life. Brand new city, brand new apartment, and brand new crop of employees and board members she had to win the confidence and/or fear of.
But she hadn’t come here to dwell on her problems. The exact opposite, in fact. Which meant she needed to focus a little less on her inner dialogue and a lot more on the people around her.
People that now included a newly arrived woman tending bar.
Lena was very good at getting a fast read on people, but there was some quality she couldn't easily identify about the gorgeous, blonde bartender. Maybe it was her subtle confidence amidst the club’s narcissistic atmosphere. Or maybe it was her sunny smile, so different from Lena’s usual hookups. Either way, it had her watching and eavesdropping as the bartender greeted her coworker.
“Hey, Eric, I’m so sorry I’m late, I got stuck at work and-”
“No, hey, you're the one bailing me out. Thanks for covering for me.”
The other bartender quickly finished up the drink he was working on, some kind of elaborate cocktail that looked like more effort than it was worth. He said something that Lena couldn’t quite make out, but apparently neither could the blonde.
“You look different,” he repeated a little louder. “Without the glasses.”
“Yea, they don't really work with this.” She gestured towards her masque, a domino style design similar to Lena’s, covering only the area surrounding her eyes and leaving the rest of her face bare.
He slid the cocktail down to a person on Lena’s right, then gave the blonde a quick hug and stepped away in a rush. “Thank you again!”
“Have fun!” she called out cheerily before turning her attention to Lena and smiling widely. “What can I get you?”
And okay, that smile was one thing when it was observed from a distance, quite another when it was directed at her. It lit Lena up with warmth and a pull of attraction, followed by the first sparks of arousal.
“Not sure,” Lena replied, allowing a small smirk to appear. “Are you one of those bartenders that hates when someone says, ’Surprise me?’”
“Well, since I'm not really a bartender I'm not sure if that applies to me. But to answer your question, no I actually like that.”
Lena nodded slowly, then let her voice drop a touch when she responded with, “Good. Then surprise me.”
Fortunately, her flirting didn’t go unnoticed, with the blonde giving her a lingering gaze before turning away. Lena could be more direct with her, but foreplay like this always made the chase more satisfying when it was successful.
If she wanted to, Lena probably could have figured out what drink she was making, but she was far more interested in the new view, appreciating the way the bartender’s jeans hugged her body, and the strong, toned arms on display when the blonde grabbed a bottle from a higher shelf.
A few moments later she presented Lena with a vibrant green drink.
“Midori sour?” Lena guessed after taking a sip. It wasn’t a drink she normally ordered, usually being too sweet for her tastes. But this one was well balanced and hit more pleasantly than expected.
The bartender’s face split into a grin as she nodded in affirmation.
“It looks a little darker than normal.”
“It is. I added some coloring to it.”
Lena tilted her head curiously. “Why?”
The blonde hesitated before answering.
“I was trying to match the color of your eyes,” she admitted softly. She opened her mouth to say something else, but was cut off by someone waving from the end of the bar to get her attention. Rolling her eyes at the interruption, she offered an apologetic smile before sidling down to get their order.
The small wait didn’t bother Lena, because now she knew for certain her interest wasn’t one-sided.
Sipping slowly at her drink, she used the time to stare freely at the bartender. Her hair was tied back in a ponytail, and Lena imagined pulling it free, carding her fingers through honey blonde locks before slipping hands underneath that black tank top to see if the rest of her body was as fit as what Lena could already see.
After finishing up with a nearby gaggle of collegiate girls, she wandered back to Lena’s side of the bar.
“So, not really a bartender?” Lena inquired.
It took a moment for the blonde to recall her earlier statement, brow furrowed before her eyes lit up in memory. “Oh, yeah!” Placing her elbows on the bar, she forward into Lena’s space. “So, I never really took any formal training or anything, I just bartended when I was in college at a place near campus. It was only part-time, and Eric worked there, too, before he moved here. When he found out I was in National City we got together and he mourned how great it was having me be able to cover shifts for him - I swear, he goes to more concerts in a month than I’ve gone to, like, ever - so then he half-jokingly asked if I'd fill in for him once in a while again, and he nearly fell out of his chair when I said yes.”
She laughed, then added, “It's on a much more limited basis now, though. My other job keeps me too busy to do this more than once a month or so.”
“Why do it at all then?” Lena asked, belatedly realizing it was probably for the money. But before thinking of a way to gracefully backtrack, she received an answer contradicting her assumption.
“Because I like it. This gives me a chance to talk and get to know people. Even if it is only in glimpses.”
She paired another one of those brilliant smiles with her response, and Lena shook her head, smiling to herself.
“Nothing. I’m just rather the opposite,” she admitted. “I prefer being by myself when given the option. Most people, once I get to know them, are disappointing.”
The bartender weighed that statement for a moment, looking at Lena more intently before shrugging gently. “Maybe your expectations are too high.”
It wasn’t said accusingly, more like words born from experience. But Lena shook her head again. She didn’t think it was too much to expect her mother to love her or for her brother to choose her over his vendetta. Or to have friends that were interested in more than just her last name and the wealth and status associated with it.
“No, I don't think so,” she responded, pursing her lips before slipping into a half grin. “But then again, I haven't meant many people like you.”
Lena was being flirtatious, but she was also serious. This woman had an optimism exuding from her that Lena didn't often come across. She was used to using adjectives like jaded, selfish, and privileged for people in her sphere. Not the unbridled and infectious warmth put forth by this woman with every smile and expression.
Lena wanted to comment on that smile in particular, but forced herself to bite back the first words that came to mind. They were too stale and overused to be believable. Her expression, though, must have betrayed her thoughts, because she received a quizzical look in response, followed by a curious, “What?”
“No,” Lena said emphatically. “It’s too cliche to say.” She may not have a degree in literature, but she could certainly come up with something less hackneyed given a little time. But her refusal only spurred the blonde’s interest.
“Oh, now I have to hear it. I promise I won’t laugh.” She looked so intrigued and eager, it was hard to want to refuse her - and after a short pause, Lena gave up trying.
“I was thinking that you have a really incredible smile,” Lena told her.
With anyone else, that line wouldn’t have worked. Shouldn’t have worked. But it was the truth, and despite the low lighting Lena was positive the blonde was blushing, which was surprising because at a job like this she should have been used to lines like that by now.
Lena waved her hand in apology. “I’m sorry. You must get hit on all the time. You deserve more imaginative compliments than that.”
Again they were interrupted by another impatient patron, but it gave the blonde some time to recover, and when she returned she was no longer flustered.
“I do get hit on a lot here,” she admitted. “And I’ve heard just about every line at this point. But cliche or not...I still liked hearing it coming from you.”
Externally Lena smiled, but internally she preened.
Their banter continued on over the course of the night, with frequent smiles and glances as well as the occasional touch of fingers whenever Lena ordered another drink. Her only complaint was that the bartender was working and it necessitated waiting until the end of her shift. Yes, there was something to be said for delayed gratification, but there was a limit to that and she was more than happy to hear the blonde’s next words.
“Well, I'm just about done for the night. Can I get you anything else?”
She licked her lips and let her gaze travel up and down the bartender. Based on what Lena had gleaned of this woman’s personality thus far, she was guessing that hookups weren't really typical for her. So when the blonde blushed at the unsubtle gesture but didn't look away, Lena took that as a good sign.
“Did you want to come over to my place for a drink?”
Lena watched as the bartender reached up towards her face, seemingly to push up glasses that weren’t there, before biting her lip in indecision. God, did she have to do that, Lena thought, staring at her mouth and trying not to focus on how much she wanted to leave indentations there as well.
Eventually a slow smile broke onto the bartender’s face, and a matching one emerged on Lena’s. Her heart rate sped up as the blonde opened her mouth to speak, with Lena already knowing the answer she was about to hear.
Kara followed the woman out of the club, still a little surprised at herself that she’d said yes to this. Not that she hadn't ever gone home with someone from a bar or club before, but it’d never been with so little information.
She didn't even know this woman’s name, for Rao’s sake. But her personality and demeanor had pulled Kara in, and what she could see of her face and her body in that tantalizing dress had been equal parts distracting and tempting.
Guessing they’d need transportation, Kara was about to pull out her phone when the other woman tugged her in the direction of a sleek-looking luxury vehicle parked a few cars away. Kara slid into the back seat after her, and as the divider between them and the driver rose, the woman laid her hand on Kara’s thigh, most likely anticipating nervousness on Kara’s part. The thoughtfulness was appreciated, well and truly, but now that she’d made her decision Kara was sure of what she wanted and how to act on it. Turning towards her companion, Kara cupped her cheek and captured her mouth in a slow but searing kiss, receiving a satisfied groan in response.
She kept to a languid pace, because sound carries and she didn’t want to traumatize the driver too much on the short drive over. But it didn’t mean she wasn’t distracted, so much so that it took several minutes before either of them realized they’d arrived at their destination.
As they made their way through the lobby, Kara regained enough of her senses to notice the expensiveness of her surroundings. The woman had a driver, so that was her first tip off, but this - a lavishly modern, high-rise apartment building in the most overpriced part of the city - this was something else entirely. She’d also taken note that when the doorman attempted to greet her companion, he’d only gotten so far as a “Good evening, Ms.-” before being cut off with a quick acknowledgement.
Apparently, she wasn't the only one who wanted her identity to remain hidden. It would explain why neither one of them had introduced themselves or asked for the other’s name yet.
That would certainly make things easier.
Kara had been fretting over how to avoid recognition. Pre-Supergirl, it hadn’t mattered, of course. But once she’d donned the crest, casual hookups suddenly became a lot trickier to navigate. She had to worry about glasses coming off or hair being pulled loose in the heat of the moment.
She’d never come up with an actual solution, hence her non-participation in one night stands for a while. Yet she’d said yes to one tonight, trading her glasses for a masque that needed to stay in place. But lucky for her it didn’t look like it would be an issue. Kara guessed if she made no attempt to pull her partner’s masque off, her own would be left untouched as well. And hopefully it would suffice as a disguise, even if her hair came free.
As soon as the elevator’s doors closed and it began moving upward, Kara stepped into the woman’s space, capturing her lips and walking her backwards. When her back hit the wall she tried to push forward, but Kara leaned in harder, gripping at her hips and holding her firmly in place. As if reading her mind from moments earlier, she responded by pulling Kara’s hair free of it’s ponytail, weaving her fingers in and tugging Kara forward to deepen the kiss until the elevator arrived at their floor.
Once inside the apartment, Kara found herself pivoted and pressed against the door. “Two can play at that game,” her companion whispered in her ear, teeth biting lightly on her earlobe.
Not to be outdone, Kara slid her hands to the woman’s hips and spun her around.
“But I play it better,” she murmured as she dropped her hands behind the woman’s thighs, lifting her off the ground and pushing her up against the door. Kara might lack confidence in some areas, but her strength wasn't one of them.
She heard a hum of agreement and “I guess you do” as the woman’s legs wrapped around Kara’s waist, while Kara sucked a trail along her neck.
Eventually Kara’s lips found their way back to her partner’s mouth, where she nipped at her bottom lip, then paused before continuing.
“Is this okay?” Kara asked against her lips.
“Is what okay?” She sounded confused by the question.
“This. What we’re doing.” Kara ducked her head down, suddenly a little self-conscious. “Sorry. I’m just checking in. I mean, it’s probably obvious you're still wanting to do this but I wanted to make sure you're comfortable and okay with what I’m doing. What we’re doing. Sometimes it can be unclear with people and it doesn’t hurt to double check and-”
Thankfully her rambling was stopped in the best way possible - with an opened mouthed kiss and a tongue seeking entrance. After a few moments of kissing intense enough that Kara started feeling dizzy with need, the woman pulled away, leaning her forehead against Kara’s.
“Yes, I'm very much okay with everything that's going on, both now and in the near future.” She cupped Kara’s cheeks, making eye contact through their masques as she said, “But thank you for asking.”
Kara leaned in a little closer, then paused when she caught a glimpse of something else in the green eyes looking back at her. Something besides desire. It almost looked like surprise.
“What are you thinking about?” she asked, giving in to her curiosity.
There was a pause, fingers lightly brushing against the back of Kara’s neck as the woman debated answering that. Kara thought maybe she wouldn’t, but after a few seconds she was given a wry smile and a simple but unexpected answer.
“Just that you seem like a nice person.”
“And?” Kara coaxed gently. Because it seemed like there was more to it than that.
“And-” her breath hitched when Kara’s restless fingers curled against the bare skin of her upper thighs, “And I’m not really used to that.”
Kara paused, eyes furrowed in confusion. “To people being nice to you?”
“Yes,” she replied matter-of-factly.
“That’s…” Kara shook her head slightly, at a loss for words. “You deserve better than that.”
“You don't know me,” she retorted, an eyebrow quirked up in challenge. “Maybe I’m not nice either.”
She punctuated that statement by leaning forward and pulling Kara’s bottom lip into her mouth before biting down on it. Not sharply enough to truly hurt, but enough for Kara to feel it, from her lips to her toes.
Kara replied with a soft kiss in return, wordlessly arguing against this woman’s self-assessment. She might have hard edges, but Kara wouldn’t have been attracted to her - wouldn’t have come home with her - if there wasn’t more to her than that.
The back-and-forth continued before settling somewhere in between, a heated mix of soft and sharp, with the same intensity and passion that preceded their impromptu conversation.
After that, Kara was more focused on kissing and removing clothing than talking. But she didn't forget the glimpse of vulnerability she’d seen and heard, the lack of kind treatment from the people in this woman’s life thus far. And Kara was determined to make up for it.
Even if it was through something as fleeting as casual sex.
Three orgasms and she hadn't returned the favor once yet. Lena wasn't keen at losing at anything in life, but she might be willing to make an exception in this case.
“Fuck,” Lena sighed, flopping against the pillows as she tried to catch her breath. “That was…wow.”
The blonde crawled up from between Lena’s legs, licking her way up her sternum before resting her elbows on either side of Lena’s face to grin down at her.
“Yeah,” Lena confirmed, reaching up to tuck a lock of hair behind the blonde’s ear. “I'm not entirely sure you're real. Like, you're going to mumble something about a pumpkin and leave your masque behind in lieu of a glass slipper.”
The woman above her chuckled before leaning down to kiss along her collarbone.
Lena never had cause before to describe herself as being fucked within an inch of her life, but tonight was getting close. And if she let her keep going and try for a fourth, that description would become accurate. Which, while tempting, would leave her useless. And that wasn’t fair to her partner.
Lena plucked at a strap of the woman’s tank top. “How is it that you’re still mostly clothed?”
The blonde glanced down at herself, then smiled.
“You got my jeans off.”
“But not you,” Lena retorted with an arched eyebrow, pushing at the blonde’s shoulder. “Lay down.”
She half expected an argument, but seeing the hooded look she got in response made Lena smile in anticipation. She could only imagine how built up the blonde must be at this point.
“Any requests?” she teased as she started inching the woman’s shirt up, kissing along her stomach.
“Just…don't hold back. You won't hurt me.”
“Are you saying you want it rough?” Lena was fine with that if she did, but she didn't want to be wrong either.
“No. I mean, I like that, too, just…not really rough right now, but,” she paused to lick her lips, looking up at the ceiling, “hard enough that I can feel you.”
“I can do that,” Lena replied, smiling as she gripped the blonde’s hip. And as she started kissing up her body, she couldn’t help thinking that one night with this woman wasn’t going to be enough.
* * *
Kara wasn't asleep, but she wasn't really awake either, drifting in a soft haze of blissfully dull senses. This was her favorite part of every morning - the part before the noise of the world took over. It wasn’t that it was silent - because it was never silent for her - but it was quiet.
Sometimes that was all she wished for. For the world to just stop being so loud and noisy and pretentious and full of itself.
Maybe she needed a break. To spend some time outside of the city, where the cacophony came from nature and felt a lot less intrusive and agitated. But that required additional consideration and planning, neither of which she felt like thinking about at the moment, so she let those thoughts float away, let herself fall back into the half asleep-ness she was enjoying a few seconds ago.
Because this was nice.
Something about right now was extra pleasant, but she wasn’t awake enough to put her finger on what it was exactly. She didn’t really care, though. Just wanted to linger in it forever as she snuggled up to the warmth in front of her.
Forever, unfortunately, lasted a grand total of about thirty seconds. That’s when the warmth turned over. That’s when a name was gasped out in surprise.
Memories of last night suddenly came flooding back. The club, the car ride over, the incredible sex with the woman she was currently sharing a bed with...
And that one moment. When she was tired yet still should have gotten up and left, but her post-coital endorphin-flooded brain convinced herself it would be fine.
Words of denial were on the tip of her tongue as she opened her eyes - ”I know, I get that a lot...” - but instead, the only words coming out of her mouth were ones full of just as much shock.
Because she knew the face staring at her.