In Kara’s defense, it’s not like she goes looking to get stuck in these totally ridiculous situations. Forget what Alex says: there’s absolutely a logical explanation for how she almost ends up being a macadamia plantation owner in Hawaii. Talking to pretty girls is really hard, okay?
So, Winn has been working on a portable solar battery recharger that’s the size of a thumb drive for the better part of their entire college experience, and he’s finally figured it out--she’s been testing it for him for three weeks now, and severely overcast days aside, it’s absolutely fantastic. And he doesn’t want to lose the IP to some huge, ethically corrupt tech giant, so that means bringing it to market himself via a Kickstarter or something. Which he can definitely do.
Except, just putting the thing online isn’t enough to get noticed on Kickstarter anymore, and over dinner one night, James points out that he should probably just shell out the money it’ll take to get a copywriter involved. “It’s a great product, man, but you’ve got to make it sing, so that people just browsing the website actually stop.”
“Yeah, and, let’s be real--it looks like a thumb drive. Unless you make it like, rainbow-colored--” Alex starts saying, nodding along.
“Ooh,” Kara goes, shooting Winn a thumbs up and a mouthed do it, that’s amazing!
“--but even then--it needs some sort of text to draw people in.”
Nia is swallowing the last of her plate of pasta and raises her hand for a second, before lowering it again. “Oh, oh. I think I know someone. Brainy, what was the name of that lady who helped out at Obsidian when your boss wanted to rebrand the company?”
“Lena something,” Brainy says, with a small frown. “I don’t know that I ever knew her last name. She was just Lena. And she was excellent; she made Ms Rojas sound… kind of sweet, actually.”
“Wow,” Alex says, dryly. “That’s not excellence. That’s wizardry.”
James pulls out his phone and runs a few searches and, after a moment, slides his phone across the table to Brainy. “This her?”
“Yeah,” Brainy nods, reading from the screen. “Lena Luthor, BA, MBA. Freelance copywriter and non-fiction editor. That’s her.”
The phone gets passed to Winn, which is when Kara sees her face, and--
“Wow,” she breathes.
It’s an overly formal professional portrait of some kind, and Lena Luthor looks like she’s never been happy a minute in her life, but those eyes are some unnatural shade of green, and her hair looks like it curls when it’s wet, and--
Winn elbows her. “Stop drooling over my copywriter, Kara.”
“‘M not drooling,” she says, because she’s pretty sure that she’s not. And she blinks twice, and it’s okay, she’s back. “But--she looks like she’s a great writer.”
Alex snorts across the table and kicks her, hard. “Yeah, I’m sure she does.”
“Kara’s latest case of dysfunctional yearning aside, she actually is a great writer,” Brainy points out, and shrugs when Kara makes a face at him. “I’m sure that if you meet with her and explain the product, she will do it justice.”
Winn looks at the phone for another second, seemingly absorbing the name and contact details, and slides it back to James. “Okay. Cool. … Jenga?”
And, really, that’s where it should end.
But it doesn’t.
“Kara, please ,” Winn says, in that wheedling tone of voice he gets when he’s ready to actually start super-begging, and she can already feel herself start to give in to him, whatever his latest ridiculous request is.
“You want me to accompany you to a meeting with your copywriter.”
“Yes. Because--what if she just doesn’t get it? And I know you do, and I’d totally do the same for you, and honestly, I’m a little intimidated by her? She was really professional on the phone, and she sounds like money.”
“She sounds like--” Kara starts repeating, before pinching the bridge of her nose. “That’s not a thing, and even if it was, that doesn’t mean she’s… scary.”
“Look, okay, if you come with me, I’ll--I’ll cook dinner for the rest of the month, and I’ll buy you a trip to the zoo with one of those zookeeper experiences, and when I’m a millionaire I’ll mention you in all my speeches until Snapper has no choice but to give you better assignments--”
She can’t help but laugh. “Okay, okay. Fine. Where am I going, and when?”
“You’re the best , Kar,” Winn exclaims, before rattling off an address where they’ll be meeting Lena Luthor, BA, MBA, tomorrow and hanging up on her.
Really, she should be used to how she lands in these situations by now, because her friends have basically not changed at all in their ridiculousness since college, but all the same, she can already see Alex’s eyebrows slowly climb to the ceiling as she explains that she somehow ended up wingmanning Winn to a business meeting.
And, maybe this isn’t totally normal preparation for the wingman who is just there to kick Winn if he starts acting like a lunatic, but she sort of… looks up Lena Luthor beforehand?
And she doesn’t just dwell on the pictures. That would be a bit… gross. The pictures are there, and, yep, she can confirm again that this is probably the most beautiful woman she’s ever seen (even if she doesn’t ever seem to smile), but they’re not the point. The point is that… it turns out that Winn apparently can actually smell money, and Lena Luthor had a lot of it until… three months ago, when her family disowned her in a huge blow-out scandal where she turned state’s evidence on her stepmother, who apparently defrauded an entire retirement community in Florida somewhere and used their money to buy herself a private spa retreat.
PUTTING THE BLACK INTO BLACK SHEEP runs one headline, showing Lena in these huge oversized sunglasses and this fake-fur black coat and a black skirt with her black hair and black heels and black bag…
Kara is pretty sure she could write a better headline than that herself. Not that Snapper will ever let her try, but, whatever.
The point is: Lena Luthor was really rich, and now she’s not, and she likes wearing black and this really red lipstick, and the hourly fees she’s charging for copywriting suddenly make a lot more sense, because… Lena Luthor needs the money.
It levels the playing field a little; sure, she’s still ridiculously stunning and also apparently very clever--she used to head the marketing department at her family’s pharmaceutical company--but she needs the money that comes with writing up some way to sell Winn’s little device. Which he keeps calling the Sundrive, but that’s a terrible name, and Lena Luthor will come up with something better.
She only spends a whole 22 minutes thinking about what to wear to a meeting with Lena Luthor, BA, MBA, and that is about as much time as she also spent deciding on what to wear to her interview at CatCo, so… this is all going fine, still.
It’s not going fine.
Lena Luthor in person is…
(She’s a reporter. She can do words!! She knows at least five!)
“Hi. I didn’t realize that Winnslow would be bringing anyone,” she says, in this butter-soft whisky rich voice that makes Kara feel like her spine is just a suggestion. “Who are you exactly?”
“I’m--his wingwoman,” she says.
The corners of Lena’s mouth quirk up. “His… wingwoman.”
“She’s here for moral support, and not whatever--I’m not trying to date you, Miss Luthor, geez, Kara , be normal,” Winn sort of says, or rather, hisses.
She’s still holding Lena Luthor’s (incredibly soft and wow, those fingers are long) hand and staring at her. She mentally slaps herself out of it and manages a smile. A pretty deranged one. But it’s very sincere.
“Yeah, sorry, I just--um. Has anyone ever told you that you have two different colored eyes?”
Lena Luthor laughs shortly. “It’s--been raised, yes.”
“They’re both--” extremely pretty, she almost says, but Winn digs his heel into her toes and it ends in something like a yelped, “It’s nice to meet you.”
“Kara has known me for years, and if there’s anything I forget about the Sundrive, she’ll be able to tell you about it.”
And Lena walks back around to behind her small, ramshackle little desk-- she’s destitute! Kara’s mind screams at her, and she almost reaches for her back pocket to start digging some cash out of her wallet--and sits down with so much poise and elegance that Kara abruptly feels like a hippopotamus peeing in a muddy puddle.
“The Sundrive. Are you wedded to that name?”
“Well, it’s--” Winn starts saying, as Kara shakes her head and says, “No. Whatever you think is best.”
They stare at each other for a moment and both shrug. Lena looks between them and her eyes widen in a flash just for a second, before she shakes her head. “Okay then. Can you… give me an elevator pitch for the product? Say I worked for Obsidian, or Lord Technology, or Edge Industries--”
“Gross,” Winn says, and Lena actually winks at him before laughing.
Kara is going to die during this meeting.
“Humor me, Mr Schott.”
“Okay, well, it’s basically a plug and play battery that’s the size of a thumb drive, and can hold up to 12 hours of charge and recharges in the sun, so if you’re traveling anywhere--”
She tunes out and watches as Lena nods and takes a few notes, and twirls a pencil in her hand, which is pretty hypnotic. Her hair is up in twin braids that are wrapped around her head, and her lipstick is a shade that makes Kara think of fresh strawberries, or maybe firemen… probably firemen, actually. It’s good, because fresh strawberries make her think of food--and oh, now she’s hungry, and staring at Lena Luthor like she’s a sandwich… like a really good one with all the fillings…
“I like it a lot. This--harkens back to a past life, but Andrea Rojas is an old friend of mine, and I know Obsidian would love to bring a product like this to market,” Lena is saying, and she can pay attention to that. To her mouth, making words… wrapping around them with those fireman-red… no, they are more like… like those delicious red apples. Red apple lips. That’s what they are.
“Right, but I don’t want to work with them, because, y’know. Evil.”
Her sister is going to laugh at her for hours once Winn reports back on this meeting, and it’s not fair, and she rejects the idea that she’s just the horniest person alive, okay? It’s more that, sometimes people are just so beautiful that all she wants to do is just be near them. Like they’re fine art that she can cuddle. It’s not prurient. She doesn’t let it get prurient, thank you.
At least, not until Lena actually laughs in a way that feels honest, at which point Kara wonders if puddles can speak. A hypothesis she’s likely to be testing herself, soon.
“Okay. Well. I can definitely write up something good for what is a very impressive product, but I’m going to side with… sorry, what was your name?”
Lena Luthor is looking at her, and that’s fine, because she can look back. Right? That’s normal? When someone asks a quest--
“Oh. Oh, sorry, I’m um, Kara Danvers.” She sticks her hand out again automatically, and pulls it back when Lena Luthor just raises an eyebrow at her across the desk, and, right. They’d already done that part.
“I agree with Miss Danvers here that the product needs a better name. So, doing some quick math on your needs--how does four days of work sound?”
“It sounds awesome,” Winn says, and Kara nods, because Lena Luthor is awesome. That’s the law of the universe, now.
Her smile is surprisingly sweet; like she’s sort of… buried the shark part of her and now there’s just a little tiny cute cuddly baby dragon that just wants some scratches under its chin. “Great doing business with you.”
They shake hands again, and Kara doesn’t make the same mistake twice, so doesn’t stick hers out this time; nope. She absolutely does not, and if she then ends up saluting Lena Luthor, BA, MBA…
It’s fine. They’ll never see each other again. She’s met the most beautiful woman on Earth and Winn will have a better-named product for it, and Alex will only laugh at her about this for the better part of a year.
She survived, and it’s fine.
Except… it’s not fine.
Because she can’t stop thinking about Lena Luthor.
It’s been two weeks since Winn’s pitch, and she’s produced the copy by now and the product is now named RAO--which stands for Recharge Anything Outside--and the way Winn says it, with kind of a cat-like purring sound, makes Kara think of Lena making that noise, and…
She cannot, cannot, cannot stop thinking about Lena.
Alex rolls her eyes. One day they’re going to roll right out of her head, but until that day, Kara is just kind of stuck with this relationship. She’s an idiot, and Alex will remind her of it. It’s sisterhood, and it’s the best, even if Alex could maybe be a little more supportive of her being an idiot like, a whole five percent of the time.
“She’s just a girl , Kara. You have her number. Call her and ask her out.”
The idea is ludicrous. Who just calls Athena? Definitely not Kara “I saluted her like a giant idiot when I left” Danvers, who doesn’t really have a chance with a woman like that to begin with, but also set whatever baseline opportunity she had on fire by being completely dysfunctional the one time they’d met.
And she’s explained all of this to Alex already, who will just roll her eyes again.
Except Alex doesn’t. Alex looks at her, assessingly, and says, “Well, what else can you do? If you can’t ask her out, and you can’t forget about her, what are you going to do? Is this going to be the only conversation we’re going to have for the rest of our lives? Because, pass .”
It’s a little mean, but that’s Alex, and Kara pulls her knees up to her chest and glares at the TV about it. “No. I’ll obviously… come up with something. To make it go away, or whatever.”
“I’ll drink to that,” Alex says, and Kara manages to not think about Lena for a whole ten minutes, which is definitely a recent record.
Nia, of course, makes it all worse by coming up with a third alternative.
They’re having lunch together and she’s ignoring emails from Snapper telling her that someone fluent in English could maybe use some of that fluency every once in a while, and Nia is thinking hard about the love of Kara’s life, as she’s started calling Lena, and finally just says, “Sucks that you don’t have any copywriting needs, huh.”
Kara slowly freezes, a fry halfway to her mouth, and feels her head turn even more slowly in Nia’s direction.
If this were a movie, or if she were a cartoon character, some sort of loud ‘ding’ noise would be sounding throughout the CatCo cafeteria. As it is, one of the overhead lights flickers, and Kara will take that as the sign that she needs.
Of course, she doesn’t actually have a product.
And that doesn’t occur to her until she’s already emailed Lena Luthor to ask for a meeting to help her with her product launch, and has already scheduled that meeting, and in fact, is on the bus right now, on the way to said meeting, with an empty notebook on her lap.
“Oh, shoot ,” she says, to the nearly-empty bus.
It doesn’t speak back to her, and as she stumbles out at the stop only half a block away from Lena’s office, she feels the panic mount to a level that might actually have her passing out right outside of Lena’s office. Which would probably result in an ambulance coming by, and then Lena would notice all that noise, and so her second meeting with the perfect woman is bound to end up with her sitting on a stretcher like an idiot while Alex calls her an idiot over the phone, because she scheduled a meeting to talk about a product that she doesn’t have.
Someone bumps into her, and she stumbles into a nearby trash can, and at the very top of this overflowing trash can is an empty carton of oat milk, and it’s obviously-- obviously!!! --another sign from the universe that she deserves to have another meeting with Lena Luthor, BA, MBA.
She straightens the trash can, sucks in a deep breath, and thinks to herself, almost out loud, “It’s just--so I can get a meeting. And then I’ll confess that I just wanted to see her again, and--that’ll be that. Then she’ll say no thank you, probably, because I saluted her the last time I saw her and didn’t really manage any complete sentences, but I’ll have shot my shot, and that’s that.”
A nearby commuter, waiting for the bus, shoots her a baffled look.
“I wasn’t--telling the trash can--” she starts to say, but he’s already turning away again.
It’s for the best that she gets most of the super weird out of the way before she actually sees Lena and will lose about 98% of her brain capacity all over again, anyway.
“It’s nice to see you again,” Lena says, with a polite smile, which is great; she’s obviously an extremely accomplished liar.
“I’m sorry about--the last time,” Kara manages, which is a much better start. “I’d had too much coffee and not enough food, and I was just a little too excited for Winn, you know, who’s been working on the RAO for so long--and that’s a great name, by the way. Fantastic.”
Those were complete sentences! She mentally high-fives herself; or, at least, is well underway in that high-five, until Lena moves back around her desk--and oh, wow, that skirt looks great on her, and no, that isn't what Kara is looking at, she is examining the ceiling, which is… white--and sits back down. “Thank you. Can I ask how long you’ve been working on your product? And… what it is?”
The high-five shatters apart, and Kara takes a step forward to sit down in front of the desk, clutching her empty notebook. “Yes, those are both very good questions.”
Lena looks at her, and she looks back, pushing her glasses up her nose.
“Excellent questions, even.”
Why does Lena have to do that thing where she almost smiles ? It's both unfair and incredibly distracting. Mortals just can't… cope with that face, doing that thing.
“Yes, I know they are,” Lena agrees, sounding amused. “Are you going to answer them?”
“Oh!” Kara says, sitting more upright, wiggling a little until she feels like her posture is on point, and squaring her shoulders, because: here it goes. Her big pitch for… her non-existent product.
She can totally do this.
“So, um, it’s a pretty new idea. But I’ve been thinking that I really would like to break into the nut milk market.”
Lena blinks at her in mild surprise. “The nut milk market.”
“Yes. Like. Cashew milk and… almond milk. And… has anyone done macadamia milk yet? Can macadamias make milk?” Her legs are jiggling so hard that she probably looks like she's vibrating--but on the bright side, this pitch is going fine so far.
“I’m--not honestly sure,” Lena Luthor says, a little cautiously. “Have you not… already chosen a nut?”
She can… totally wing this. What would Alex do? She can be her older, much more put together, way cooler sister. Who would answer that entirely reasonable question with something like…
“I mean, I have some ideas, but I think that it probably will work better if we come up with a really good name for the milk first and I worry about the production process after that.”
It would occur to her later that the fact that Lena just stares at her for a moment before saying, “Okay, then. So you want help coming up with a good milk name”, probably just meant that her financial situation was way more precarious than anyone knew; at the time, however, it just feels incredibly supportive. Like Lena just gets her.
“Yeah! That’s basically what… um. Yes. That’s the first step.”
Lena nods a few more times and says, “Okay, Miss Danvers. Two days, to see if we can come up with a product identity of some kind? And then we can see if you want any other copy after that?”
Winn totally owes her and can totally spot her some of this money. It's for true love, not an imaginary milk product. He’ll understand.
“That sounds great. And I can’t wait to see what you come up with.”
Lena Luthor laughs softly, but not in a mean way. “Yeah, neither can I.”
“You did what?”
“Oh my God, Kara.”
“I mean, it’s not like--I’m not paying her? It’s not… fraud, or anything? I’m giving her money to help me come up with a name for a nut milk.”
“An imaginary nut milk.”
“Well, once it has a name, is it really still totally imaginary?”
Alex hangs up on her, which is a shame, because that was actually a really good, Schrödinger-style question.
The next few days sees a whole bunch of suggestions and questions in her inbox, and she and Nia pore over them to look for the winner.
Nia, thankfully, understands that it doesn’t matter if this milk is real or not; what is real is that Lena’s putting in a lot of effort here, doing all sorts of research on types of nuts, and that’s making Kara feel very validated. Like her ideas matter.
Lena is a way better boss than Snapper could ever be.
“Do you think she does puns?” she asks Nia, as they look at an email setting out the etymology of the macadamia nut. “Or do you think she’s one of those smart people who think they’re the basest form of humor?”
Nia looks at her and gives her a small half-hug. “Nah. The perfect woman wouldn’t scoff at puns, would she?”
Nia just really gets it, and is the best friend Kara could ever hope to have in this particular situation, which still feels pretty normal to her.
“It’s perfect,” Kara squeals, sort of, in a nearly empty office.
Of course it’s perfect, but, still.
Alex looks at the word, looks at Kara, and looks at the sky. “Oh, Jesus Christ.”
“It’s perfect, ” Kara says, because it absolutely bears repeating. Is anyone telling Lena regularly how great she is at her job? Maybe that can become Kara’s job: Lena can help her market Maca-Dreamia, and she can tell Lena that she’s amazing. It feels like a mostly fair trade, that.
“It’s--a stupid name, which I’m sure you actually asked for, because I know what you’re like,” Alex says, before flicking Kara under her chin, “But, more importantly, it’s a name for a product that doesn’t exist because you’re meant to just be using this imaginary product to ask this woman out on a date with you.”
“Yeah, well, I’ve--she’s seen me at, you know, my normal self now, so, I’m totally going to do that when we next meet, to discuss what kind of message Maca-Dreamia wants to send to the world.”
Alex cuffs her upside the head. “Here’s a message from the world to you, you nut.”
She has to give her sister credit, even as she rubs at her ear and glares, for at least keeping the mocking and despair totally on brand.
“Well, it’s obviously a milk for… dreamers,” Kara says.
Lena Luthor, BA, MBA, on this most glorious of random wet Wednesday mornings in National City, is wearing a red dress that drops into a low V on her chest and has curled her hair slightly and has on soft, easy make-up and… She’s kicked off her shoes and is barefooted behind her crappy desk, curling up in her chair like some sort of world’s most attractive cat winner.
“That’s the target market? People who… experience dreams?”
If it sounds a little like Lena is making fun of her, she’ll take it. She loves making her laugh, and it’s like she’s getting better at it. But, that isn’t actually what she means, and she shakes her head with a small chuckle.
“No, no. It’s for… people who want to be doing something better for the world than, y’know. Anyone participating in the livestock farming industry. But also for people who don’t want to strip developing nations of their entire nut supply. Did you know that Hawaii grows macadamia nuts?”
Lena Luthor, super hot gorgeous adorable cat creature, smiles at her, and she feels her breath catch in her throat. “I’m fairly sure I’m the one who told you that.”
“Well, it was a great fact, because--it’s all really coming together now, in my head. I want a sustainable nut milk that people can drink and think of how they want the world to be a better place. The dreamers of the world.”
Somehow, this little pitch has Lena softening a little, and she nods silently. It makes Kara want to fidget, which she’s already doing, but the way Lena’s studying her just makes her feel a little warm, and that’s kind of… nice, actually.
“You know, when you first came along with this idea I thought you’d been sent to me on a dare,” Lena says, mouth curving into a smile.
It’s weirdly close to the truth, but also miles away from it, and Kara scoffs her way into some awkward laughter. “What? Why would anyone--”
“Well, that was my question,” Lena says, wryly amused. “But believe it or not, unidentified nut milk is not even close to the weirdest thing I’ve been asked to write copy for. And now it’s clear that you do actually have a worthwhile idea.”
Oh, and with that comes a first tendril of an emotion that isn’t just I want to pour this woman her coffee for the rest of her life. No, this one is a little more like guilt, and Kara stiffens unwillingly.
“I mean--” she starts, because, oh, no . This is where she has to come clean, isn't it.
“Do you have any VC set up yet? Because I have a few contacts that I’d be happy to put in touch with you.” Another one of those slightly shy, real smiles, and Lena adds, “I guess I might be the target market for your product. Dreaming of a better world, and all.”
“I--” Kara starts to say, but Lena is looking at her expectantly before picking up her phone and starting to flick through her contacts, and--
“Sorry if I’m overstepping--”
“No, no. You’re… you’re perfect,” Kara says, which is maybe the sixtieth time she’s said that about Lena so far, but never to her, and it produces this slight blush, and this is a whole new side of Lena that she doesn’t want to frighten away.
She’s just going to have to…
“Hmm?” He looks up from the latest issue of CatCo Magazine. “Oh, hey, Kara. What can I do for you?”
She shifts awkwardly. She does a lot, but this is a little more awkward, and her hands are wringing together and she knows she’s cringing. “So I have kind of a favor to ask of you?”
“Sure,” he says, easily, because he’s probably expecting her to need a photographer to come to some super dodgy location for a stake-out or something else that, you know, would be slightly normal for her, given what she does for a living and what James does for a living.
He’s not so lucky, though, and she blurts the rest of it out in almost a single word.
“Can you come with me to meet some venture capitalists who are interested in helping me launch a macadamia milk called Maca-Dreamia next Thursday?”
The magazine lowers to the table very, very slowly, almost like James has forgotten he’s holding it, which is…
Well. At least he’s not yelling at her that she’s insane, yet, so it’s a step up from Alex.
“I have to tell her,” she says, and Alex makes a soft ‘mmhmm’ noise. “I have to tell her, before she accidentally turns me into a macadamia milk… magnate, which…”
“Do macadamia nuts even turn into milk?”
“That is an excellent question that a macadamia milk magnate would probably know the answer to,” Kara says, miserably.
Somewhere behind them, Winn says, “Did you know they can kill dogs? Macadamias? And also that there was something called nutgate in 2014 where the vice-president of Korean Air forced a plane to turn around at JFK because she didn’t like how the cabin crew was serving macadamias on a Korean Air flight?”
They both turn to stare at him.
“What? If we’re going into the macadamia business--”
“We’re not ,” Alex says, or snaps, or… whatever that exasperated thing she does is. It’s not even really angry. It’s just completely confounded, like, how does my sister get into these situations?
Honestly, this time, Kara isn’t entirely sure she can explain anymore herself.
“I have to tell her,” she repeats, and buries her face in her hands. “But then she’s going to think I lied to her about everything--”
“Which you did,” Alex says, supremely unhelpfully.
“--and she’ll never talk to me again.” She takes a deep breath. “Would it really be that big a problem to just… try to create this milk, so I can--”
“Oh my God, Kara,” Alex says, and actually stomps out of her apartment.
It is silent for about three minutes and fifteen seconds.
“Hyacinth macaws will eat them, but they really do seem to kill just about all other animals,” Winn observes, somewhere behind her.
This is the last time she’ll ever see Lena Luthor, BA, MBA.
And she’s going to be honest.
She’s going to thank her profusely for the excellent marketing material and the great connections to obscenely rich people who have weird hobbies like producing vaginal-scented candles to sell at Target, and she’s going to actually give back all of the material, just in case Lena herself wants to become Ms Macadamia Milk, and…
Yeah. They’ll never see each other again, which makes Kara want to start crying for… oh, the rest of her life, but it will be a relief to Lena Luthor, probably. And maybe, one day, Kara will be able to get a little bit of relief or joy or something out of the fact that at least in the end, she did something right by Lena Luthor.
She knocks on the door, and Lena opens it, offering her a smile. She’s wearing jeans and a t-shirt and again, no shoes, and she’s comfortable-looking and nice and she smells like a rainforest at midnight and Kara is basically going to have to cut off her own head in the next five minutes. For Lena’s sake. Because she’s a big liar, and this all got completely out of hand.
“Hi,” she says, her hands shoved in her pockets and her eyes trained on the floor. She doesn’t ever want to stop looking, but it doesn’t feel like it’s something she deserves anymore.
“Hi, Kara,” Lena says, out loud for the first time. They switched to first names over email last week, but it doesn’t compare, of course. “You okay?”
“I’m--yeah. I’m okay,” she says, taking a deep breath and glancing up. She’s never going to forget those eyes. They’ll haunt her forever. She’s going to be haunted by the prettiest eyes she’s ever seen, and it’s all her own fault. “Can we--I just, before um. I just want to talk to you, about something?”
Lena gives her that look she gets a lot, the one that says, okay, weirdo, but in the softest and sweetest way. “Of course. I mean, it’s why we’re here, isn’t it?”
And yes, ostensibly they’re here so that Kara can learn a little more about dealing with venture capitalists, and it all leaves a sour taste in her mouth. Something really nasty. Probably as nasty as it will turn out that macadamia milk is. Those nuts will kill basically anything . It’s like writing on the wall.
She follows Lena to Lena’s crappy overflowing little desk and sits down, and to her surprise, Lena sits down next to her, and looks at her patiently. Like--she knows something strange is coming, but has also lived through the last few weeks, so, yeah. She’s obviously expecting something strange.
“I have… a confession to make,” Kara says, through what feels like a broken throat. Do throats break? Hers is just like a landmine went off in it. The words struggle, like they’re trying to save what chance she has left of being in a room with Lena Luthor. But she can’t lie any longer.
“Okay,” Lena says, already a little cautiously, and even that stings a bit.
“I’m--a complete idiot,” Kara starts, which isn’t untrue but also not really the point. “I--my sister likes to make fun of me for how I just completely reboot whenever I see an attractive woman, and, I mean, she’s not wrong. That’s what happens. It’s like a full-on Windows blue screen of death, you know?”
It doesn’t get a reaction, and when she sneaks a glance at Lena, Lena’s face is entirely unreadable.
“So--when I meet the prettiest woman I’ve ever met, because my friend needs a copywriter… forget about the blue screen. It’s something worse than that. Hard drive failure, is that a thing? I don’t really--” She stops herself and sucks in a breath. “It doesn’t matter. What matters is that--I just… I liked you, and I wanted to see you again, and my friends give me the worst advice, and--next thing I know I'm here, talking about nut milk, and, Lena, there--there isn't--”
“Maca-Dreamia is a terrible name, Kara,” Lena says, somewhere to her right, and it’s like the world shrinks all over again.
“What?” she says. It’s very quiet in the office, just the sound of a wall clock ticking away. That steady beat is enough to make her glance over again, to where Lena is… sort of smiling at her?
“It’s… an awful name. And macadamia milk already exists, but I didn’t have the heart to tell you that you were pitching a complete non-starter, because your emails made me laugh and you’re a little odd but also really handsome and... you're adorable, and I would have totally supported a doomed effort to launch a macadamia milk if it meant that I could have another few meetings with you.”
Helpfully, Kara says the first thing that comes to her mind, which is: “... it’s not a terrible name.”
“It’s the worst,” Lena says, gently, but clearly biting back on some laughter. “Like, it’s so bad. Nobody would put money in it willingly. I have a friend who owes me a favor, who was going to fund the development process to pay me back for a time when I helped him with this ex-girlfriend who was stalking him.”
Kara blinks at her like a robot. “You--you made up a fake venture capitalist for me.”
Lena blushes, faintly, but raises both of her eyebrows. “You made up a fake nut milk just to see me.”
They’re silent for a moment. Lena’s eyes are as green as they’ve ever been, but also still a little blue, and she’s biting her lip a little bit and she’s a little shy and a little nervous and also still just the hottest woman alive , even in jeans and a t-shirt, and Kara wipes her hands on her own pants and swallows thickly, right through the gravel.
“So it already exists? The milk that was going to make me a millionaire?”
And Lena’s eyes sort of sparkle with laughter. “I’m afraid so, darling.”
“And you’re not--really upset about…”
“I think it will make for a great story one day,” Lena says, easily enough; and then there’s a lethal wink and Kara feels red hot to the very tip of her ears. “I mean, it’s not every day that a woman literally invents a fake product to spend some time with me. That’s only happened twice before.”
And it’s enough to make Kara laugh, or breathe; maybe some sort of hideous combination of both that makes her sound a bit like a snorting horse, but who cares? Lena is still looking at her like she’s not the worst. Lena is just… looking at her.
And, for once, what would Alex do? actually gives her a clear answer that also feels like the right one, here.
“Would you--do you maybe want to go and… find some macadamia milk somewhere, and see how well it goes with, um, some coffee? Instead of continuing with our fake meeting to prepare for the fake investment in my fake product?”
Her heart’s beating out of her chest, might actually explode all over Lena’s office, but that’ll totally be worth it for the way that Lena’s smile softens all over again. “I walnut say no to that, Kara Danvers.”
Kara has told Lena Luthor, BA, MBA, at least once already that she’s perfect--but she’ll happily do it some more, as often as she possibly can.