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Behind Blue Doors

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When Kara Danvers sees Lena for the first time, she’s incognito and isn’t entirely sure whether the bookshop owner recognizes her. Her cover is for sure blown when someone asks for her signature, but nothing in Lena’s demeanor changes. She’s still affable and self-deprecating in her rumpled button down, and there’s something that curls in Kara’s belly each time the woman reaches up to tuck long black hair behind her ear.

“So, you travel then?”

The question pops out of Kara without thought. She keeps her voice low, but it’s only the two of them in the shop now, so there’s no way Lena didn’t hear.

“Oh, no,” comes the quick reply. Lena shoots Kara a broad grin that sends sparks all the way to the tips of Kara’s toes. “I just sell the books of those that do.”

“But why?”

Something changes in Lena’s expression then. Something a little sad, something wistful, that deepens her gaze to something fathomless.

“Because I’d never come back.” Lena smiles. “And I love it here.”

Before Kara can even begin to make sense of it, Lena continues. “Besides, that’s how you can tell a good travel book from a bad one.”

“How so?”

“The good ones will make you feel like you’ve been there all along, despite never having been there at all.”

Kara stares at Lena, utterly bewitched save for the anxious ticking of seconds as they pass, each one a risk that another customer to come in and recognize her.

“I’ll take the Istanbul book too,” Kara says, nodding towards the book that had started their conversation in the first place, a recommendation from Lena when she’d seen Kara browsing through a book of reportedly lesser quality.

She shouldn’t be lingering, Kara knows that. The longer she’s in one place, the greater the chance she’ll be caught in a media frenzy or mob of fans. But she watches as long, deft fingers wraps the book in paper and slips it into the bag as well, wishing she could think of something better to say.

“Have a wonderful day,” Lena says cheerfully. “And feel free to come back if you decide you want to go anywhere else.”

When Kara leaves, she ducks her head to hide her face and the flush that spreads up her neck when Lena gives her a playful wink.