Actions

Work Header

The Brightest Porcelain Smile

Chapter Text

“We’ve arrived,” Her driver says after the thirty minutes they’ve sat in complete silence. She’d know she had counted every second. “Thank you,” she replies before slipping out of the car. She shoves her black-framed glasses over her face and begins walking toward the park gate. She pushes open the gate and makes her way toward her accustomed park bench.

It's Lena's lunch break, every day at 12:06 she leaves Luthor-Corp to get some fresh air at the park to avoid her work even just for about half an hour. She adjusts the scarf around her neck and reaches for her bag to take out the book she was reading just the day before.

Once situated, she opens her book back to the page she left off. Lena is well aware of the screaming and running kids around her but pays no mind as her original goal is to stay concealed and enjoy the fresh air around her.

"Hi!" If anyone had been paying her any attention, they would have thought Lena broke her neck from the speed at which she looked up. She frowned at only seeing the tip of the intruder's head and tilted her head down. Lena is now faced with a pair of large sapphire eyes staring back at her.

Lena then looks around attempting to see if anyone is looking for their child but of course, no one is. Lena's sight returns to the young blonde child in front of her. "Hi..?" She responds with uncertainty.

"Is this seat taken?" The child asks, ignoring the cautious tone of Lena's greeting and points to the spot next to Lena. To Lena's displeasure, she waves at the spot indicating it is indeed free.

The child sends her a bright smile and drops down onto the seat next to Lena. Now curious about the child and well aware no one is exactly worried she's sitting alone with a stranger she looks at the young girl.

She has the front of her blonde hair pinned back with the rest hung out. She is wearing green overalls with a light brown shirt under them and black boots. If anyone other than Lena had been looking at the child they would think she looks like a regular child, which she does, but every piece of her clothing is a name brand piece.

The child’s attention returns to Lena. “You’re Lena Luthor correct?” Lena freezes. She returns the young blonde's stare with a glare “How’d you recognize me?” The child chuckles and responds “ You’re only wearing a scarf and sunglasses!” The young girl seems to laugh even more as if she told a joke only she understood.

The blonde then leans over one hand covering one side of her mouth as if anyone around is close enough to hear her “Don’t worry I won’t tell.” she replies with a wink. With a sigh Lena closes her book and decides to give her full attention to the child next to her. “Are your parents aware you’re making conversation with strangers?” Lena asks genuinely curious. “My mom’s at work, and isn't that how you make friends?” She asks with a tilt of her head.

“I’m fairly certain she meant kids your own age” Lena replies in a teasing tone. The young girl just shrugs. “What's the difference? I think you’re cool, so why can’t we be friends?” She asks with wonder in her eyes. Lena lets out an exasperated sigh. “Well since you know my name shouldn’t I know yours?” she asks with a lift of her eyebrow. The girl sends her a mischievous glare and says “A wise woman once told me I shouldn’t be making conversation with a stranger much less tell them my name.” she finishes in a teasing tone.

She was teasing her. This young child was teasing Lena Luthor, and she knows exactly who she is! “I don’t think it counts if you know the stranger's name,” she remarks. “Well if we’re being honest all anyone needs is one search and they could find your address, correct?.” The blonde says with a smug smile. *Beep* *Beep* Both ladies looked at their watches which went off at 12:48. They looked at each other with wide eyes then burst into a fit of laughter. Everyone else probably thought they were crazy.

“Can I assume this is where we part ways?” Lena asks after calming herself down. The blonde seems to think for a second before lighting up. “Will you be back tomorrow?” Lena really shouldn't. She already just skipped half a day's work to sit around with this weirdly unique child, yet she couldn’t seem to say no. “I suppose so” Lena finds herself saying. The blonde gave her a hearty smile. “Ellinae” Lena halts for a moment and looks back at the child. “My name's Ellinae” she remarks again more confidently.

Lena smiles, “Well, it was a pleasure meeting you Ellinae.” The girl now known as Ellinae sends Lena a mischievous smile “Mhm! The pleasure is all yours.” she remarks. Lena shakes her head and resumes packing her purse. Ellinae jumps up from her spot on the bench and completely turns toward Lena.

“You have to pinky swear you’ll be back tomorrow” she declares. Lena stares at the girl's little fingers in disbelief. She ends up shaking her head and crossing her pinky with the smaller girl’s. The girl grabs her backpack she had abandoned on the ground next to the bench, and begins leaving. Before making it to the gate Ellinae turns around “By the way, I’m bringing a special guest tomorrow!” she yells before rushing through the gate.

Lena now alone thinks about the last hour of her life. She had made friends with a possible 9 year old, and pinky promised to return tomorrow with little concern for the work she hadn’t started. Before Lena can completely digest what just happened her phone begins buzzing, she opens it to a text from her driver letting her know he has arrived.

With a sigh Lena stands with her bag and begins making her way toward the gate herself. She slips into the back of the car and the driver began driving back to Luthor-Corp. “Guess I’m working overtime tonight” she murmurs to herself, before removing the sunglasses and scarf.

Chapter Text

If someone asked Lena what she was doing for the first time in her life, she wouldn’t be able to answer that. She had left the park in a rush yesterday to return to work to finish the majority of the work she had set aside, being the reason she retired a little after twelve but not from a few vex glares from Jess.

Why is she sitting here waiting for an 8-year-old and her mystery friend to return? She isn't exactly sure, but here she is, sitting in the same place as yesterday, waiting for a pair of familiar eyes to turn up. She's most definitely aware that "pinky promises" are silly, trivial things children like to do. Lena has been visiting this park for about three weeks and has never seen the young blonde once.

Still deep in thought, she was caught off guard as a stroller was pushed into the spot next to her. Shooting her head up, she comes face to face with the cause of her troubling thoughts.

Ellinae pushed a few strands of loose hair from her face and sent Lena a lazy smile. Now frowning, Lena sets her sight on the stroller bigger than the person pushing it.

"Ha... Well," The blonde gestures towards the stroller. "This is the special guest I was talking about," Ellinae says with a weak smile.

Still, a little shaken up from the sudden interruption, she looks down at the covered baby carrier and looks back up at Ellinae.

"Well, hello," she remarks with a tilt of her eyebrow, ignoring the child's awkward tone.

"Oh! I'm sorry, good afternoon!'' The blonde stumbles out. Lena smiles and shakes her head at the child's new lack of confidence.

"Well, would you like to introduce me to this "mystery guest?" she waves toward the stroller. Ellinae quickly runs around to the front of the stroller to lift the cover. Once the hood is up, Lena is met with another pair of wide, crystal clear eyes.

"This is Kori," Ellinae responds a lot more confidently. The baby has blonde hair, blue eyes like his sister, rosy cheeks, wide eyes, and adorable plump lips. He's covered in a big light blue blanket and is wearing brown overalls with a gray long sleeve shirt under it.

Lena's sight returns to the blonde standing up tall in front of her. "How is it you were so quick to introduce him, but it took a bunch of naughty remarks for me to get your name?"

Ellinae chuckles at that response. "Well, you're brilliant and would easily realize Kori isn't responding to his false name, silly!"

Lena sighs and shakes her head. It seems clear that Ellinae's confidence has fully returned. "Right, of course."

The blonde then decides she's tired of standing and plops down in the spot next to Lena. Again, Lena focuses on Ellinae; today, she's in a light brown dress, white tights, and low brown boots.

Ellinae bends over and unstraps the baby from the carrier, and lifts him into her lap. Lena watches in fascination at how easy the child seems to care for the baby. Then, suddenly becoming aware, Lena looks around; not surprisingly, no one is paying them any attention. Finally, Lena fixes her eyes on the children sitting next to her.

"I'm sorry, but where are your parents?" Ellinae stops fidgeting with the baby's shirt and looks at Lena.

"She's at work?" She replies and tilts her head like she has told Lena this already.

"Well, I know that but who brings you both here?" Lena was deeply confused on why no parents had come over and accused her of being a creep or something along those lines.

Ellinae shifts in her spot and starts looking around the park. Then, finally, her eyes return to Lenas. "I'm homeschooled, so I'm allowed to head to the park for fresh air during my lunch breaks, normally my mom would bring us, but she's still... getting settled at work, I guess."

"Ahh.. so the typical workaholic parent?" Lena asks.

The blonde giggles. "No, my mom always makes time for us, but we just moved here, and we're still getting settled into everything."

Lena's mind focuses on the end of that sentence. "Oh, so you did just move?" "I was wondering. I've never seen you around here before."

Abruptly the baby in the young girls' arms begins to whimper as if he were about to cry.

"Oh!" Ellinae exclaims, "Can you hold him for a minute?" she asks with expectant eyes. Lena sighs and instantly reaches for the younger blonde.

While Ellinae reaches for the baby's personals, Lena lifts the child into her lap. The baby seems to soothe for a second, almost analyzing the unfamiliar face holding him. Then, the child seems to welcome his new spot and begins reaching for Lena's hair. He breaks into a large toothy grin as he plays with the front of Lena's hair.

"Seems like he doesn't need this anymore," The other blonde replies in a taunting tilt. Lena turns to see Ellinae holding up a stuffed dinosaur, well, a green T-rex, to be exact.

The young boy then decides to stand up in Lena's lap to look around the park with pure awe in his eyes.

"I take it you guys don't get out much?" Lena directs her question toward Ellinae.

"Not really, we mostly used to hang out at home, but we moved a lot closer to my aunt and my mom's friends, so we started spending more time with them." She ends with a shrug.

"It looks like you have experience with kids?" Ellinae asks, studying Lena, trying to extract her necklace from the young boy's mouth.

"I'd say so; I have a goddaughter. She's older now, but I changed a few diapers and spit-up shirts in my days," she ends with a wink. It gets a giggle from the young blonde.

As fast as it started, it ended. Both girls' watches went off once again, indicating their time was up. Lena sighed and shifted the little boy in her arms while Ellinae packed his little belongings back in the carrier. As Lena bent over to place the young boy back in his stroller, he clutched onto her shirt and began to whine.

"Will you be back tomorrow?" The young blonde inquires. Lena turned to the young blonde. She thought for a few seconds before nodding, "I believe I will."

Lena carefully removed the young boy's hands from her shirt and cautiously sat him down in the car seat. She tucked him back under the blue blanket and placed his stuffed toy in between his arm.

"Hey, how do you feel about ice cream tomorrow?" Lena asks, returning her attention to the older blonde.

Ellinae instantly lit up. "I'm always up for ice cream!" she said, standing up from retying her boot laces.

"Great," Lena replied with a smile at the ridiculous child before her before putting the cover back down on the stroller.

"Are you sure you don't need help bringing him home?" Lena questions.

"Yup!" Our nanny's around here somewhere," She said with a playful smile. "Thanks for helping with him. He gets kind of fussy being in new places." The blonde says.

"It was my pleasure; little Kori here makes wonderful company.." "I'm not so sure about his big sister, though," Lena replies with a smirk.

"Hey! I'll have you know I'm great company," Ellinae replies with a playful eye roll.

"Oh yeah?" "I'll believe it when I see it"

"You don't need to see it; you've been in my presence for about two days now. Surely you're at least a little smitten by me."

Lena lets out a dramatic sigh. "I suppose so."

Both girls' watches go off again, reading they're five minutes off target.

"Well, I guess that's my cue. You know a business to run amongst other things," Lena replies.

"Yeah, amongst other things," Ellinae snickers.

"I do have other things to do," Lena mentions with an exasperated sigh.

"Yeah, well, when I met you were reading a book in your free time. I don't think you have much going on." The young blonde ends with a playful eye roll.

"If you keep rolling your eyes like that, they'll get stuck, and I should know I'm a scientist." Lena justifies.

"My mom tells me that too, but that wouldn't happen. My eyes are too pretty to be hidden from the world like that," She remarks, placing the baby bag on the stroller handle.

"Yeah, wanna bet?" Lena asks with a tilt of her eyebrow.

It was now Ellinae's turn to let out an exasperated sigh.

"I'll see you tomorrow?" Ellinae asks, looking at Lena like she had the answer to make her the happiest kid ever or ruin her life forever.

"Yes, I'll be right here waiting."

"Great!" "Bye, Lena!" The young blonde says before pushing the stroller back over to the way they came in.

Lena stands and waits until Ellinae and Kori are out of sight to make sure they safely made it back. She then grabs her purse and makes her way over towards her driver, who has been waiting more than 5 minutes. Lena slips into the back seat and texts her assistant that she'll be taking the rest of the day off. She shuts off her phone and tells her driver to take her back home instead.

She thinks for a moment before pulling her phone back out to search for gourmet ice cream parlors.

Chapter Text

She walks into her apartment complex, delivering a polite smile to Darren, who works at the front desk.

"Ms. Luthor! You're home rather early?" He inquires with his accustomed lively smile.

"Yeah, well, I've been told I'm working too hard." 

"Very accurate, ma'am." He ends with a nod.

"Yeah, well, don't tell her that her ego is already big enough," she concludes with a playful eye roll.

"Wouldn't dream of it, miss."

Lena shakes her head and continues her walk toward the elevator. She clicks the button for her penthouse.  

"Dammit." She murmurs to herself. She finally remembered what was bugging her. Sam and Jack were supposed to visit today. She lets out a sigh and walks toward her house. Lena opens her door, hangs up her bag, and begins removing her shoes. A loud greeting is made from somewhere in the complex, and she makes her way toward the sitting room. Inside the room is Sam sitting on the couch with ruby lying next to her while her head rests on her mother's lap. Across from them is Jack invested in something on his phone.

"When I told you guys to make yourselves at home, I was only being polite," Lena explains with an eyebrow lift at the crowd of people who seem to have taken up camp in her house.

"Obviously, but when do we listen to you?" Jack responds without looking up.

Lena barely restrains herself from rolling her eyes. She walks past Jack, however not without smacking his head, and finds herself a seat on one of the many couches around. 

"So what's with the surprise visit?" She directs toward Sam ignoring Jack's mumbling.

"It's not a surprise we told you yesterday?" Sam says, playing with Ruby's hair.

"Well, I assumed you'd be spending your day off with your girlfriend... Alex?" Lena remarks before popping a handful of skittles in her mouth that she took from the small glass container on the coffee table.

"We were going too, but I remembered her sister just moved here, so she's helping her and her family get settled," Sam says, finally looking at Lena.

Ruby seems to jump at the change in conversation. "Speaking of which, Alex invited mom and me to their party."

"A house party already? They just moved, didn't they?" Lena asks.

"Well yeah, but her sister was apparently setting up the house while she was still where ever she lived." 

"Does this sister have a name?" Jack decides to join the conversation.

"I think it starts with a.. k? I'm not sure she didn't go into detail about them." Sam replies.

"So this sister and her spouse were setting up the house while not even in the states?" Lena asks, now interested.

''Technically, they moved around a lot, but they were staying down South these past few months.. and it's only Alex's sister and her kids," Sam says, a little sad. 

"Yikes," everyone turns to Jack. 

"What? Single mother respect," he shrugs.

Everyone rolls their eyes.

"Did he well.. pass? You sounded quite upset." Lena guides her attention back to Sam.

"What? Oh no, they just aren't together anymore, I suppose." Sam answers while reaching for a glass that seems to be filled with wine.

"Oh. So like co-parenting?" Lena inquires, reaching for more skittles.

 "I guess Alex said he lives here, but her sister just moved, so her kids will probably be spending more time with their dad." Sam ends with a shrug.

"Yeah, that's enough gossip for me. I'm going to go change." She says, standing up. While leaving the room and making her way toward the stairs to reach her room, she hears Sam begin to talk about some party she's attending soon.

Once Lena has made it to her closet, she begins to change out of her clothes. While browsing through her set of sweatpants, a memory sparks in her head. She grabs a pair of gray sweats and a black t-shirt before running back downstairs. She walks back into the sitting room.

"Wait, by Alex's sister, you mean that little blonde girl from high school?" Lena asks Sam.

Sam stops to think for a minute. 

"Oh shit, you're right. I think it's her.'' She looks back at Ruby

"Don't listen to me," Sam says, pointing her finger at Ruby, which earns an eye roll from the 12-year-old who's deeply invested in her phone.

"I never liked her," Lena states dropping back into the spot she was occupying a few minutes ago.

"Why not? She seemed... interesting?" Sam remarks with a tilt of her head.

"I'm not sure she just reminded me of someone." She ends with a shrug.

"Like?" Sam encourages.

"Remember that girl from 8th grade? The brunette who wore long fancy dresses and never talked to anyone?" Lena inquires.

"Yeah"

Both girls turn to Jack.

"What? I was there too" he rolls his eyes.

Sam laughs, and Lena just shakes her head.

"Well, that's who she reminded me of. She disappeared the year before Alex's sister arrived." Lena suggests.

"Well yeah, Lena, her parents died; no one was expecting her to come back," Jack remarks.

"Yeah, she some rich family probably took her in" Sam shrugs.

"Or Alex's family took her in. I never believed that girl was a true brunette anyway," Lena replies.

"Highly doubt it," Jack interjects.

"Yeah, and Alex's sister was only at our school for a month before some family member came for her, remember?" Sam adds.

"Whatever, the blonde was weird too. It was like she was going to school for the first time." Lena states.

Sam and Jack burst into laughter.

"Wasn't she the one who broke the water fountain?" Jack questions.

"Mhm," Lena replies, reaching over to steal Sam's wine. 

"It was the talk of the school for two months," Sam adds, wiping away a loose tear from her eye.

"They titled it Star breaks school water fountain a week into school." Jack states.

"Star?" Lena inquires.

"Yeah, some blonde alien girl from some cartoon, apparently she was new to earth, and people started comparing the new girl to her for weeks." Sam finishes.

"Well, that was mean." Lena tries to sound earnest, but she smiles, and it breaks through her facade.

"Yeah, right," Sam says, throwing a pillow at Lena. 

"Speaking of plans, where'd you go?" Sam asks. 

Lena removes the pillow from her face and looks up.

"During your lunch breaks, when we try and reach you, Jess says that you're out," Jack adds.

"Oh. I was at the park." Lena says hesitantly. 

"A park? With kids and noise?" Jack challenges unconvinced.

"Yeah, like I said, a park." Lena remarks with a roll of her eyes.

"Why, though?" Sam asks.

Lena looks at her two friends closely. 

"I met someone." she shrugs.

"Really!?" Sam lets out a delighted squeal.

"Not like that" Lena rolls her eyes.

"I knew there was a catch," Jack says with a sigh.

"Anyway, I met a girl and her little brother." Lena comments.

"And her parents are okay with their children making friends with strangers?" Jack comments, a lot more uninterested now.

"I hope not. I haven't even seen their parents or, rather, mother. The kids come to the park with their nanny apparently, but I've never met her either." Lena replies.

"Well, that's weird? What parent leaves their kids alone at a park?" Jack comments.

"No idea, but they've made a habit of visiting me these past two days," Lena ends with a shrug.

"They know who you are?" Sam asks, surprised.

"Apparently, she knew before she even introduced herself, and I've tried talking to her about approaching strangers, but she has a mouth on her." Lena lets out an exasperated sigh.

"Yeah, I'd know," Sam indicates to the young girl still laying on her lap with her eyes.

"Maybe they're the kids of some crazy fans who told them to go talk to you," Jack says, now reaching for his wine glass.

"I thought that for a second, but the girl seemed genuine, oh! They also wear expensive clothes.. not huge name brands but expensive enough for me to look twice." Lena concludes.

"Maybe they're children of people trying to rub elbows with you," Sam remarks.

"Not sure. I'm supposed to bring them to get ice cream tomorrow." Lena says, shifting in her spot.

"Well, if they show up, bring them to the new ice cream place, Jenna's ice cream. It's only a block away from the park. I brought Ruby and her friends there last week. Right, Ruby?"

The young girl mumbles something through her headphones.

Everyone rolls their eyes at the young girl.

 A few more drinks later and different conversations, Lena's guests decide it's time to go. After a few hugs and kisses, Lena finds herself alone in her penthouse. She walks over to her bag and retrieves her phone that she abandoned when she got home. Then, Lena makes her way upstairs toward her room and plops down on her bed. She saves the ice cream shop into her phone and turns off her bedside lamp. Her mind redirects to her conversations from earlier, and she falls asleep trying to remember the brunette from eighth grade.




Like before, Lena is standing in her now usual spot, waiting for the pair of children to show up. But, she decided yesterday that she'd at least try and get some information on Ellinae's home life. So, she is now looking around the park like a madman trying to spot Ellinae arriving hopefully with a guardian. But of course, it doesn't go Lena's way.

"Good afternoon!" 

Lena almost jumps at the sudden interruption and turns around. Behind her is a grinning Ellinae pushing a different and smaller stroller than yesterday.

"Hello, which way did you come in?" Lena asks after calming her heart.

The young blonde tilts her head and points in the direction behind her. 

"That way"

Behind Ellinae is a long path that leads to the other end of the park.

"Why do you walk all that distance instead of coming through the main gate?" Lena asks suspiciously.

The young girl just shrugs and lifts the cover of the stroller.

"We came to enjoy the fresh air, so we just walk over here." The blonde replies, unfazed.

Lena looks pointedly at Ellinae and notices she's wearing an entire expensive set today.

"That's an adorable dress." Lena states with a smile.

The blonde looks down at her dress and looks back up with a big grin.

"Thank you! My teacher said the same thing!" Ellinae squeals.

"Your nanny didn't comment on it?" Lena continues.

"Nope." She remarks without hesitation.

If it were someone other than Lena, Lena would have believed her.

"Are you ready to go? I found a shop not far." Lena questions.

"For ice cream? Always." The blonde continues pushing the stroller until she is beside Lena.

"Would you like me to push the stroller? It seems rather big for you." Lena ends with a chuckle.

Ellinae just stares at her for a few seconds.

"Sure," she shrugs and abandons the stroller to stand to the other side of Lena.

Lena makes her way over to the stroller, and they begin the short walk to the ice cream parlor. Lena looks down to see another pair of bright blue eyes staring up at her. Today Kori is also wearing an expensive blue set. But, as Lena decided before, she wouldn't have even noticed how expensive the children's clothes were if she were anyone else.

"Is your caretaker aware of where you guys are going?" Lena looks at the child next to her.

"Yup, I told her I was getting ice cream with a friend." She ends with a genuine grin.

Lena barely refrains from letting out the world's most exasperated sigh.

"Well, is she aware this friend is a grown adult?" Lena inquires.

"Yes, Lena." The child drags out her words.

"I wouldn't be following a stranger around town if I didn't trust them, plus you're rather famous, so I doubt you'd kidnap us or do something horrid," she finishes with a shrug.

"What an insightful conclusion," Lena responds with a flat tone.

"Mhm, I'm rather intelligent," Ellinae remarks with a cheeky smile.

"Oh really? Haven't noticed." Lena shakes her head.

"I don't know; you should get yourself checked out if you haven't realized my gifts by now." She replies.

Before reaching the end of the sidewalk that leads to a crossing street, a hand is being pushed into Lena's. Lena looks down to see Ellinae looking both ways across the street. Lena is mature enough to say she is insanely impressed with Ellinae's mother's teaching methods. Well, excluding the stranger danger one.

They quickly make their way across the street and continue their walk without Ellinae letting go of Lena's sleeve as she needs both hands to push the stroller.

They make it to a relatively big building with Jenna's Ice cream on the front. Ellinae rushes to open the door, and Lena pushes the stroller inside. 

"I suppose this is the place" Lena sends a smile toward the young blonde who seems to be rocking on her heels.

"I haven't had real ice cream in like forever! Well, I have from the store, but it's not the same as ice cream shops. My last neighborhood only had a popular frozen yogurt spot." The blonde rambles.

"Speaking of which, where did you move from?" Lena asks, directing her attention back to the blonde.

"Houston." She responds with ease.

"That explains all the overalls and boots," Lena concludes.

"I'll have you know my mother loves them... and they're quite comfy."

The gears inside Lena's head seem to start moving, but she isn't exactly sure why.

"Ah, so no accent?" Lena asks teasingly, ignoring the weird emotion she's feeling and fixes the blanket on the other young blonde in front of her.

"Nope! We weren't there for long, but they did have exhilarating parties," Ellinae adds, now looking at the menu.

"Know what you want?" Lena looks back at Ellinae.

"Yeah, cookies N' cream" She sends Lena a dashing smile.

Lena heads to the counter and orders Ellinaes order and a small vanilla ice cream for Kori.

"You don't eat ice cream?" Ellinae asks, almost offended. 

Lena couldn't help the snicker that escaped her mouth at the young girl's reaction.

"I don't eat sugar very much," Lena replies.

"Who doesn't eat sugar? What do you eat salads?" Ellinae asks, still looking, dejected.

"Well, I ate so much through high school and college to last me at least three lifetimes, and yes, I do enjoy kale salads."  Lena remarks. 

Before Ellinae can open her mouth to most likely state how wrong Lena's lifestyle is, a worker is calling for Batman. Lena makes her way over to the counter to collect the ice cream.

"Batman?" Ellinae questions with an adorable head tilt.

"Well, I can't go around exposing my identity, now can I?" Lena answers.

"Guess not," The girl chuckles while they make their way toward an empty seat.

"Thank you!" The blonde exclaims once Lena hands her the ice cream.

"Your very welcome" Lena ends with a shake of the head at the child's enthusiasm.

Lena reaches down to free the squirming baby from the stroller and cautiously sets him down in the highchair placed at the side of the table. 

"Here." Lena looks back at Ellinae holding a baby apron.

"Well prepared, huh?" Lena asks with an eyebrow lift taking the bib from Ellinae.

"Yep, our mom never forgets anything." She remarks before digging back into her ice cream.

While spoon-feeding the infant his ice cream, she remembers her goal for their outing.

"Speaking of which, what does your mother do?" Lena directs her attention toward Ellinae.

"She... works in business." Ellinae quickly attempts to cover up her hesitation.

"Business? Like what?" Lena encourages.

"Science. She's a scientist." She vaguely answers, attempting to drop the subject.

Lena decides to let it go. For now.

"Well, no wonder you're so intelligent.. or so I've heard." Lena remarks wiping ice cream off Kori's mouth. 

"Mhm! She taught me everything I know," Ellinae states with a proud smile.

"It's Friday any big plans for the weekend?" Lena inquires.

"Not really. Kori and I just have to spend a few hours at our dad's place tomorrow." She mutters.

"You don't sound very excited?" Lena comments.

"Not really. My dad doesn't acknowledge us, and his other kids don't like us... His wife is nice, though." she shrugs. 

"Your mother knows?" Lena asks.

"Yeah, she's trying to end the co-parenting thing. I'm 97 percent sure Kori doesn't even know that's his dad." She murmurs more to herself than Lena.

"At least it's only a few hours, right?" Lena says with an encouraging smile. It seems to work because Ellinae lights straight back up.

"Yeah, it's only a few hours.. We'll be alright," Ellinae remarks with a confident smile.

"Good," Lena adds with a smile while pushing the spoon into the excited baby's mouth.

They end up talking about somewhat random topics like their favorite colors, animals, and movies throughout their time together. You can probably guess who asked these questions, until their watches go off.

Ellinae collects the cups and napkins to throw away while Lena cleans up Kori. Finally, Lena extracts the baby from his high chair and places him back in the stroller under the blanket.

"All done?" Lena stands up from her chair and turns to Ellinae.
 
"Yup!" Ellinae says, hands held behind her back.

"We can wait here for your nanny." Lena decides.

Ellinae freezes.

"We don't have to." Ellinae states.

"No, but I'm not leaving until they come," Lena declares with an eyebrow lift.

Ellinae glares and Lena, only for a second if Lena had blinked, she would've missed it. Lena almost gasps in disbelief.

"Okay." she shrugs.

The young blonde directs her attention toward her smartwatch and begins texting someone.

"You don't have a phone?" Lena asked, confused about how a child as responsible and wealthy as Ellinae didn't have a phone.

"I do, but I only need to send texts when I'm outside, so I don't really need to bring it out with me." The blonde responds with a shrug, still typing away at her watch.

"You know I've never met your nanny, right?" Lena adds.

"Yeah.. I prefer for them to stay a distance away so Kori and I can have a little sense of freedom." Ellinae replies.

"And your mother approved this?" Lena inquires, pulling down the stroller cover to cover the now fast asleep infant.

"Yup, apparently she knows how suffocating it feels being watched all the time," Ellinae responds with ease.

"Hmm," Lena hums in acknowledgment.

They wait a few more minutes murmuring about random things trying to avoid waking the baby. They remain a little more until a black SUV pulls up in front of the ice cream shop, looking incredibly intimidating surrounded by pastel colors.

"That's me," Ellinae exclaims, basically hopping out of her seat.

"Hey, hey, hey, wait. I'll be walking you guys out." Lena declares, standing up herself.

"But why" The young blonde drags her words.

"Because I haven't met any guardian for you two," Lena answers, pushing the stroller out the exit and back onto the sidewalk. At the same time, Ellinae follows behind, dragging her feet. Finally, Lena makes it to the car and knocks politely on the window. The driver's door is being flung open immediately, and a tall figure is making their way across the vehicle toward Lena and the kids. Out of instinct, Lena is standing in front of Ellinae and the stroller. The man looks at Lena and turns his attention toward the children. Then, without speaking, he opens the back passenger door, indicating the children to get in.

"Hello?" Lena looks the man up and down with her signature glare, scary enough to make a grown man piss himself.

The figure shifts uncomfortably in his spot and looks at Lena. 

"Hello, ma'am." He replies.

"Are you their nanny?" Lena questions.

"Yes, ma'am." He responds just as fast.

"Well, you're doing a shi-" She looks at Ellinae and back at the nanny.

"A poor job." She corrects herself, remembering she's in the presence of children. She could hear Ellinae let out a snicker behind her.

"I'm sorry you feel that way, ma'am." The man remarks.

She looks him up and down again before rolling her eyes and reaching for the stroller to sit in the back seat. Once she gets the sleeping infant situated in the vehicle, she returns her attention to Ellinae.

"Am I going to meet your mother anytime soon?" Lena asks with a quirk of her eyebrow.

Ellinae sends her a shit-eating grin.

"I don't think she'll want to travel the distance." She declares.

"What do you mean?" Lena asks, dropping the playfulness in her voice.

The nanny decides to join the conversation.

"Young miss lives two hours away, ma'am."

"WHAT?" Lena flips her head back to the young blonde, but she's already missing. Lena turns around to see the nanny entering the driver seat and Ellinae rolling down the back window. 

"Bye, Lena! See you Monday, Oh and thank you again for the ice cream!" The cheeky blonde exclaims before the car begins driving off.

Lena stands in the same place for about two minutes until she finally regains awareness. 

"What the fuc-"

Chapter Text

Before Ellinae can open her mouth to add to her goodbye to Lena, the car is already speeding off, leaving a star-struck Lena. Ellinae is pushed back into her seat from the car's sudden departure. She huffs in annoyance and pushes a few loose hairs strands away from her face. 


"Put on your seatbelt," The driver comments.


"I know, James. If you hadn't driven off so fast, it would be on already". She snaps back and rolls back up her window. She ignores his lousy attempt on how no one likes a child with bad manners and continues with her thoughts. Ellinae isn't a liar, and if she thinks hard about it, she has only lied twice in her life.

 

Once when she broke her mother's new table piece and blamed it on a ghost so her mother wouldn't be disappointed in her, and her mom assured her it was an accident and was glad Ellinae didn't get hurt from the glass shards. The second being when she lied to her class, saying she was close with her dad because she felt left out during one father's day. So she feels guilty about lying to Lena. Well, technically, it was her loud-mouthed escort, but she still feels ashamed. 


"Why did you lie to her?" she asks James.


He looks up at her from the front view mirror and returns his sight to the road. "about what?" he questions.


"About where I live. James, I only live forty minutes away," she huffs out. 


"That's still not close by," he remarks.


"Obviously, James, but I can't hang out too close to the house." She says.


He sighs and looks back up at her in the mirror. "You know why, El," he says.


"Stop calling me that. You aren't my dad," she snaps in frustration at him.


"I know that," he says, trying to refrain from raising his voice.


"Then stop acting like it." She declares and looks back at the window, showing she's done with the conversation. 


Ellinae doesn't even let her dad call her El, so of course, she wouldn't let James call her that. She knows she's being difficult, but James has a schoolboy crush on her mother, painfully clear to everyone but her oblivious mother. And it annoys her when he tries to be extra nice to her and Kori so he can look good around her mother. Truth be told, James is cocky, loud, and self-conceited. He somehow diluted himself into thinking her mother also shares his affections, news flash. She doesn't. 


"Are we almost there yet?" Ellinae asks, bored. She's still relatively new to the city and doesn't wholly remember her usual routes yet.


"Almost." James answers. 


Ellinae rolls down the window once again and stares as trees pass her. She puts her head in her right hand and leans against the door. It's August now, and fall is slowly approaching. It's not cold yet, but the days are getting less warmer. She stays like that until houses start passing her instead of trees. Finally, she moves back and rolls back up her window, uninterested in the buildings. About 12 minutes later, the car comes to a halt, and James nearly jumps out of the car to open the door for Ellinae.


Ellinae steps past him and looks up at her new house while he extracts the fast asleep baby from the car. She takes in the dark walls and expansive white windows. The house is two stories but looks larger. She begins walking around the car out of the garage driveway to look at the front. She walks through the grass to make her way to the stone walkway leading to the front door. Before she can take another step, the front door is flying open, and a young brunette is making her way out.


"Nia?" Ellinae questions tilting her head. "Where are you going?" she asks her nanny.


The girl almost jumps at seeing her. She puts a hand over her chest before replying. 


"Jeez, you scared me! she exclaims. I'm leaving; your mother came home early. She's in the study when you're ready. Oh! And Mrs. Day left the work for you to finish until she returns on Monday." She rambles. 


"Oh." Is all Ellinae can get out.


"I know you're spending some time with your father tomorrow.. but don't worry, I'll be here waiting when you get back." Nia sends her a small encouraging, empathetic smile.


Ellinae had forgotten all about her plans for tomorrow and even considered pretending to be sick to stay home.


"Okay.. but I expect you to be waiting right here." Ellinae remarks and teasingly points her finger at her nanny.


"Aye aye, captain." Nia declares, saluting Ellinae.


"You shouldn't point. It's rude." A third party chimes in, Ellinae couldn't hold back her eye roll. 


"Relax, James, we're just playing." Nia defends.


"It'll become a habit," he says, pushing the stroller closer to the girls.


"Once again, you are not my father," Ellinae repeats in a flat tone.


Ellinae looks back at Nia and opens her arms. Nia shakes her head playfully and hugs Ellinae back.


"I'll be back tomorrow, El, I promise." Nia declares. 


"Pinky?" Ellinae challenges.


"Pinky," Nia adds, wrapping her pinky around the young blondes.


"Bye!" Ellinae calls out as Nia begins driving her car out the driveway. 


Ellinae ignores James and walks into the house. Her house. She removes her boots and walks over to the closet under the stairs. She pushes open the door and walks over to one of the many shoe slots, and places her boots in. She exits and closes the door behind her. Around her, the walls are white, and the hall is still spacious, not fully renovated. She makes her way to the stairs and places her hand on the railing.

She strolls up the stairs leaving James to deal with things downstairs. She then makes a right toward her room, her second favorite room in the house. Ellinae walks in and examines her room. The floor is a light brown creamish color covered with white rugs. The walls are lavender with white star stickers all around them. To the left, she has a small white vanity table she sits at when her mother does her hair.

In the middle is a rope ladder leading up to her bed. Her bed is light gray, with stuffed animals taking up most of the space. There are fairy lights under her bed with two soft pink bean bags with two decorative pillows on each and a curtain hanging up on the pillars holding up her bed.

To her right is her white dresser which only holds her undergarments, socks, and stockings. She makes her way over to the small bookshelf set in between the bean bags and runs her hand along the comic books she collected while traveling so often. 


She walks over to the door in the left corner of the room and opens her closet door. Once inside, she changes into a white sweatshirt with a unicorn on it and pink shorts. She placed the attire she wore earlier into her hamper and strolled out of her room. Ellinae settles herself on the railing before sliding down it.

She jumps off before reaching the end and walks through one of the hallways to the study. In the study, Ellinae is faced with the back of a woman with her blonde hair up in a messy bun, wearing a black tank top and grey sweatpants. She tiptoes past the couches and coffee table to reach the woman. 


Without turning her back or looking up, the woman speaks. "El? I know that's you, sweetie," she says with amusement. Ellinae lets out a groan.


"How do you do that? Do you have superhearing or eyes in the back of your head?" Ellinae questions throwing her arms around her mother. Her mother lets out a loud laugh, and Ellinae begins chuckling along with her contagious laughter.


"No, my love, my mother's sense must've been tingling." Her mother says, turning to look at Ellinae. Ellinae sends her a wide grin and drops down onto the couch a few feet away from her mother's chair.


"Where's Kori?" Her mother asks. Ellinae looks at the door and back to her mother.


"James took him to the nursery. He fell asleep." she shrugs.


"Oh, James is still here?" she asks, confused as to why her daughter's caretaker is still hanging around.


"Mhm." Ellinae nods.
 

"So, what are you doing?" Ellinae glanced at the papers her mother was writing up, changing the subject from James before she could ask more questions. Her mother looks down at her documents and places her pen down.


"Just writing up stuff for the business." Her mother waves her hand.


"Hmm." Ellinae hums.


"I got an idea," Ellinae adds.


"About?" Her mother challenges.


"Tomorrow," Ellinae responds with no hesitation. Her mother stands and drops down in the spot next to Ellinae. Ellinae instantly shifts so she can lay her head on her mother's lap while her legs dangle off the hand of the couch. 


"You already have plans tomorrow, munchkin." Her mother replies, pulling out the messy ponytail Ellinae was still wearing to rub her fingers through it.


"Yeah, but I don't want to go.." She stops to think for a second. "If you loved me, you'd let me stay here," Ellinae says dramatically, throwing her arm over her head.


"Guess I don't love you as much as I thought I did. What a dilemma." Her mother shoots back. Ellinae huffs at her mother's response. 


"I know you don't want to go, and his kids aren't exactly fond of you and K, but he's still your dad." Her mother softly adds. Ellinae turns her head to face the rest of the room.


"Okay, how about this. If you go tomorrow and absolutely still hate it, I'll stop sending you there.'" Her mother concludes. Ellinae snaps her head back to her mom.


"Really!?" Ellinae basically shouts. It echos throughout the room.


Her mother chuckles. "Yes, my love, I'm not going to force you." Her mother finishes with a kiss on Ellinae's forehead.


"How about you come help with dinner?" Her mother suggests finishing up the twin braids she was designing into Ellinae's hair.


"What's for dinner tonight, chef?" Ellinae asks her slipping her hand in her mother's while her mom guides them to the kitchen. Her mother seems to think for a moment before responding, "demandez-moi en français."


Ellinae couldn't hold back her eye roll. Her mother likes to change languages during regular conversations to ensure Ellinae doesn't forget to speak them.


"J'ai dit, qu'est-ce qu'on prépare pour le dîner ce soir." Ellinae repeats with ease. Ellinae couldn't help herself from smiling at her mother's proud grin. Finally, they arrive outside the kitchen, and her mom pushes open the kitchen doors, and Ellinae makes her way to the island. She lifts her arms up without speaking, and her mom lifts her up on the counter behind her. 


"So?" Her mother asks, standing in front of Ellinae with both her arms beside each side of Ellinae. Ellinae dramatically taps her chin and pretends to think for a few seconds.


"Pasta?" She asks with a beaming smile. Her mother groans in exasperation and backs up to walk over to the pantry. 


"Ask me how I knew you were going to say that." Her mom says, shaking her head, walking over with the pasta, and heading to the fridge for the shrimp. Ellinae shrugs and swings her legs. After about an hour, her mother adds the cheese and mayo to the pasta and shrimp in one pot. At this point, Ellinae had shifted her position and is now laying back flat on the counter. 


"When I invited you to help, I meant actually to contribute," Her mother huffs out in faux annoyance. Ellinae just lets out a dramatic sigh and sits up. 


"Since you helped oh so much." Her mother says in a flat tone. "How about you go set the table?" she adds, turning around to face her daughter.


"Gotcha." She replies, jumping off the counter and making her way toward the dining room. She walks through a door to the kitchen's right and walks over to the middle glass cabinet. She piles up two plates and places two forks on top of them. Next, she walks over to the table and lays the plates beside each other on table cloths.

 

Then, she makes her way over to a smaller cabinet and takes out a light blue infant dish, and she heads over to the highchair sets the plate down. While placing down the last cup, the door is pushed open, and her mother is walking in with a large bowl and a smaller one. She sets them down on the table, taking off her mittens. 


"Would you like to wake k?" She asks Ellinae.


"Sure," Ellinae answers without hesitation and makes her way to the stairs. Again, she climbs the stairs and takes a left, this time toward her brother's room. Inside the nursery, the walls are light blue, with clouds painted around them. There's a changing table and a white dresser to the right. She walks in and heads to the crib placed in the center of the room. Above the crib is a light blue canopy similar to Ellinaes, and hanging right under it is a baby mobile with colored airplanes moving slowly.

 

She walks closer and sees a tiny messy-haired infant standing up and holding onto the railing. She smiles and looks down at her baby brother. He begins rubbing the sleep away from his eyes, and before he can irritate them, Ellinae is scooping him up. Kori relaxes in her arms and lays his head on her shoulder, letting loose a wide yawn. 


"Hey, good morning, mi amore." Ellinae chuckles. She tightens her hold on him and begins her walk to the dining room. He walks down the stairs and back into the dining room, where her mother is pouring lemonade into their glasses.
 

"Hey, sleepyhead!" Her mother sends a beaming to Kori and reaches to hold him before he can fling himself from his sister's grasp. Ellinae hurries back into the kitchen and grabs the small tray carrying the buttered bread, and brings it back to the table. Kori is now sitting in his high chair, shoving pasta into his mouth, while her mother pours apple juice into a sippy cup. She sets the tray down next to the pasta and takes a seat between her mother and Kori.


"James left?" Her mother questions.


"I think so," Ellinae replies dropping pasta onto her plate. She passes the bowl to her mother and reaches for the salad bowl. At some point, her mother is telling Alexa to shuffle Taylor Swift, and dinner is filled with fits of laughter and off-key singing. Once dinner is finished, her mom washes up the plates and returns to her children. Ellinae and her mother end up doing a dance routine for an active baby, and the house is filled with laughter. 


"Okay, go wash up for bed. I'll be there in a few." Her mother says, picking up the infant from the highchair to bathe him.


"Okay!" Ellinae jumps up from her seat to wash up. When she's done, she puts on a light pink nightgown. She sits at her vanity until the door is opening and her mother is walking in, already changed in her nightwear. Her mother sends her a smile and walks over to her. She pulls out Ellinae's braids so she can brush out her hair.


"You know you have to get up early, right?" Her mother says, reminding her softly. Ellinae lets out a sigh.


"I know," she mumbles. Her father doesn't live nearby, and her mother ensured that when she was choosing neighborhoods. So Ellinae and Kori would have to leave early to reach his house during the morning. Her mother puts down the brush and begins giving Ellinae french braids. When she's done, her mother opens the drawer and places the hairbrush back in it.


"Okay, how about we have a sleepover in my room tonight?" her mother suggests trying to improve her daughter's mood. Ellinae turns to face her mother.


"Definitely." Ellinae doesn't let her mom respond before climbing the ladder to her bed. She grabs one of her stuffed toys and runs out of her room toward her mother's room, waiting for her mom to collect Kori. After a few minutes, her mother returns to the room with a wide-awake baby shoving a teething toy in his mouth, on her hip. "Looks like everyone's here." Her mother comments, setting Kori in the bassinet beside the bed. Her mother climbs into bed, and Ellinae dramatically rolls over to her.


"Get some sleep, Love you have to be up early." Her mother says softly as Ellinae curls up in her arm. 


"mhm..." Ellinae lets out before falling asleep.



It's six-forty am, and everyone's awake. It's pouring outside, they're twenty minutes off schedule, and everyone is in a foul mood. Ellinae and her mother were woken up to the screeching sobs of a distraught baby, so they were woken up thirty minutes before they had to be up. Her mother is running around trying to pack the sobbing baby's bag and calm him down. Ellinae is waiting at the window, trying to spot her driver's car through the rain. The doorbell rings and Ellinae flings the door open. Finally, her mother makes her way over with Kori in the car seat and his bag on her shoulder.


"You're late." Her mother bites in frustration at James. Ellinae's mother barely gets mad, but when she does, it's a scary sight. Well, not for Ellinae; it's never directed at her. 


Ellinae takes the baby bag from her mother and throws hers and Kori's at James for him to put in the car. He struggles to catch them both and looks back at the tired fuming mother.


"I apologize, but the main roads were blocked off because of traffic." He says, trying to escape his boss's wrath. Her mother huffs and rubs her neck before turning toward her children.


"If it becomes too much, just call, and I'll come to get you, I promise." Ellinae's mother says severely. She bends down and kisses her daughter's head before pushing a strand of hair away from Ellinae's face.


"I love you, pumpkin." Her mother adds. Ellinae throws her arms over her mom's neck. It's not that her dad is a corrupt person. He did do a terrible thing, but he hasn't purposely tried to make Ellinae or Kori left out. He's just typically obtuse. Ellinae lets go of her mother and reaches for her brother. Before stepping out into the rain, she turns back to her mother, who is nervously crossing her arms. 


"Bye, mom, I love you too," she says with a smile and walks out into the dark early light. 




A two-hour drive later, they arrive at her dad's house. The house is a typical white-fenced American home, so Ellinae has no interest in looking around. She grabs both bags and makes her way toward the door while James follows behind with Kori. She rings the doorbell, and a child around Ellinae's age immediately opens it. The young girl has a broad smile on her face until she realizes who it is, and it drops. "Why are you here?" The brunette questions. Ellinae sighs at the idiotic question before replying.


"To kidnap you back to my planet while I stay here and steal your life," Ellinae replies crossing her arms and looking around. Before the girl can respond, her mother is at the door. "Ellinae!"


"Hey, Imra." She sends back a polite smile.


"Come in, come in; it's still drizzling," Imra says, opening the door wider, indicating for them to come inside. Ellinae takes a step inside and removes her boots. Behind her, James is placing Kori inside. "I hope Myra was polite," Imra comments, sending a look toward her eldest daughter. Ellinae shrugs and begins removing her coat and scarf. Imra takes them from her and hangs them up on the stand next to the door.


"It's great to see you. You were so small last time you visited," Imra states with a smile. Ellinae shrugs self-consciously. "Yep." Everyone's attention turns to the prominent figure coming down the stairs. It's her dad, their dad. He looks at Ellinae, Kori, then back to his wife, confused. 


"It's Saturday, Mike, remember?" Imra says, slightly annoyed.


"Ah." He walks down the rest of the steps and gives his wife a kiss and Myra a kiss on the cheek. He then walks over to Ellinae and Kori. 


"You got so big, Ellie." He says with a proud smile.


"Ellinae," she states. She can see Myra roll her eyes from the corner of her eyes.


"I know that." He shrugs. If Ellinae didn't know what a piece of work he was, she might've believed him. He reaches for Kori, who is still in the car seat James is holding. 


"Hey, my little man." He says, lifting Kori in the air.


Terrible idea, really. Kori was fussy all morning, and an unfamiliar man holding him so high was not the appropriate thing, apparently. Kori let out a sob, and Ellinae couldn't contain her groan. Her dad just stares at the crying baby with wide eyes, obviously surprised about his sudden outburst. Ellinae takes Kori from her dad and pats his back. Kori doesn't remember him, unsurprisingly. He calms down, and Imra is the first to break the award tension.


"Since Kori is obviously not a morning bird." She tries to joke. "How about Myra and Robyn show you their new rooms while I get started on breakfast." She suggests. By this time, James has already left. Myra sends her mother an incredulous look, but her mother sends her glare. Myra sighs. "Come on." She says, walking up the stairs, not waiting for a response. 


"Thank you." Ellinae directs to Imra and receives a smile. Then, careful not to stir the baby in her arms, she picks up their bags and walks upstairs to her half-sister's rooms. Inside the room is another girl but younger than Ellinae and Myra. Robyn sends Ellinae a side glance before returning her attention back to her tablet. Ellinae doesn't even bother greeting them and just takes a seat on one of the chairs.


"I thought you moved." Myra questions after a few minutes of silence. 


"I was always moving," Ellinae states, keeping her sight on her book. 


Myra huffs. "So why did you move here?"


"We're done moving around," Ellinae answers.


"Why?"


"Doesn't concern you," Ellinae replies, keeping her voice emotionless.


Myra groans and drops backward on her bed, and holds her comic book above her head. Myra is eight, one year younger than Ellinae. Robyn is seven, two years younger than Ellinae. Anyone can tell something isn't right with their age differences and figure out someone cheated. Fyi, it wasn't her mom.

All three girls keep to themselves until Imra is yelling breakfast is ready from downstairs. Robyn and Myra are jumping up and running out of the room. Ellinae stands and shifts Kori in her arms. He's a lot less fussy and has been watching videos on her phone to keep him occupied. In the dining room, Her dad and Imra sat at the head of the table with their daughters sitting beside them; even their dog is eating not far from them.


"Picture perfect freaking family," she mutters before taking a seat herself. 


"Thank you." Ellinae comments on the breakfast.


"You're welcome." Imra smiles. 


The family has breakfast in comfortable conversations, with Ellinae only speaking up when a question is directed toward her. Once breakfast is finished, Ellinae watches as the family efficiently works around each other to clean up the kitchen and table. She was told she was their guest and, therefore, now allowed to help with chores. Feeling uneasy, she walks back upstairs to her things. She continues with her book until there's a knock on the door. She looks up to see her dad standing at the doorway.


"Hey, Ellinae." He says, almost questioning himself. She smiles. "Hey, dad." The words feel foreign and wrong on her tongue. "We're going out to the backyard. You coming?" he asks. "Yeah, sure.'" Ellinae stands up and follows her dad downstairs with Kori on her hip. They head to the relatively large backyard.

 

Imra is playing tag with Myra, and Robyn is blowing bubbles at the dog. Her dad walks past her and Kori to join his family. It's obvious he only invited her to be polite. During the next few hours, Ellinae kept to herself and played small games with Kori. At twelve, the doorbell is ringing. By the time her father answers the door Ellinae is already dressed and ready to leave. 


"I'm here to pick up Kori and Ellinae," James says.


Her dad furrows his brows. "Who are you?" 


"Their caretaker," James replies.


"Shouldn't you be.. you know a woman?" Her dad seems to think over his words carefully, but they come out as offensive and stupid as always.


"That's James. He's our bodyguard if you will." Ellinae defends. Her dad finally notices her presence. "Oh." 


Ellinae steps past him and hands Kori over to James, and turns back to her dad. "We're running late. Tell everyone else we had to run." She tells her dad. "Ah, will do. Love you," he says. Ellinae pauses for a moment before nodding and walking to the car. Ellinae couldn't say it back, she reflects, putting on her seatbelt. He's her dad but not her father. And like she said before, she doesn't like to lie.
 

Chapter Text

Lena slams the door. She kicks off her heels and throws her bag and coat on the stand, hoping it actually made it. Lena speed walks to her stairs before stopping her foot on the first step and her hand hovering on the railing. She turns around and walks toward the room she had just run past, the living room.

Inside her living room is her two closest friends and her mother, who was supposed to be in Europe at the moment. "I know I've been out of sorts lately, but I'm positive we didn't plan this." Lena declares, looking at her family skeptically. 

Usually, her mother would roll her eyes at her or smack her on the top of her head, but she just took a deep breath. Not good. "What's going on?" Lena questions with sudden urgency in her voice. "You haven't heard the news? Come sit." Her mother pats the seat next to her. Lena walks over and takes a look sending her friends a perplexed look. They just shake their heads, and her mother unmutes the tv.

The reporter shuffles their papers on their desk and looks up at the camera. "After the graphic murder of El-Corp's founders eleven years ago, the abandoned company has been sighted moving unidentified goods. So does this mean Co-founder Astra In-Ze is back? Or has the heiress of the Zor-El family finally decided to make an appearance?" The screen is then turned to another well-known reporter, William Dey.

"Majority of National city citizens remember the dreadful disaster from twelve years ago and know the people responsible were ex loved scientists Alura Zor-El and her spouse Zor-El. The Zor-El residence was set on fire in 2009, on February 3rd, resulting in their deaths while their child had escaped through her bedroom window.

While LAPD were investigating the assassination of the Zor-Els, they stumbled across the project they were working on in a secluded room in their cellar on February 25th. The El-Corp founders were reported to have been making a bomb for the upcoming gala. They were plotting on getting stuck in traffic while the bomb went off and killed thousands of famous scientists and doctors, but before that, the Zor-Els were burned alive in their home."

"Police reports say the youngest Zor-El had pressed them not to open the door in the basement. The police dismissed her and opened it anyway. After the door was torn open, three bombs around National city went off. Even though the Zor-Els were murdered, they still found a way to ruin thousands of lives. Now, are the remaining family members returning to finish what Alura and Zor-El started? Thank you for your time. Coming up next is..."

Lena's mother mutes the tv and turns to Lena. Everyone went quiet. The entire country knows what happened on February 15th, and the majority was affected by it. Sam is the one who breaks the silence.

"So... Is El-Corp back in business?" she asks, voice full of anxiety.

Her mother shoots up from her spot next to Lena. "Absolutely not." Her mother starts typing in a number and leaves the room. Lena turns to her friends. "Well, this was certainly not planned." It earns a chuckle from Jack.

"Doesn't that mean they'll be at the board meeting?" Jack and Lena turn to Sam. "Sam, we aren't even sure if this is real news. First off, it's William Dey reporting it, and all they saw were El-Corp trucks. Lena shrugs and releases her hair from her suffocating bun. 

"Come on, Lena, we haven't heard anything from El-Corp in over ten years," Jack adds. 

"Well, I guess we'll find out at the board meeting in two days," Lena concludes, standing up. "Yeah, sure.. Oh! What happened with those kids? Did you meet their mom?" Sam questions, and Jack looks at Lena, also awaiting a report. Lena sighed and sat back down. "No, I did not meet their mother. I did, however, meet their caretaker?" Lena replies.

"Caretaker?" Jack comments.

"Yeah, some man he came to pick them up at the ice-cream parlor, a funny story really they live two hours away," Lena says nonchalantly.

Sam's eyes look like they're ready to bulge out of their sockets. "Two hours!?" She exclaims.

"I believe the driver only said that to throw me off. It doesn't make sense." Lena shrugs.

Jack's eyebrows furrow. "Yeah, but why?"

Lena runs her hand through her hair. "Not sure. I came home for answers." She recalls her original mission. 

"Cool, we'll help." Jack scrolls out of the room to fetch Lena's laptop.

"Enough about me, how's Alex?" Lena turns to attention to Sam.

"Oh, she's great, I thought she was avoiding me, but Esme was just spending more time with Alex's sister and her kids."

"Oh, how are they?" Lena asks out of politeness. 

Sam shrugs and lifts her feet under her on the couch. "They're fine, I guess? Her sister's starting work soon. We have a date night planned for Friday."

"You mean you haven't met her yet?" Lena requires.

"Not officially, no? Lena, what if she's embarrassed by me?" Sam asks hesitantly.

"Are you kidding? Sam, Alex looks at you like you gifted her the moon" Lena rolls her eyes. "And Esme absolutely loves you. There's no way in hell Alex would be embarrassed by you." Lena thinks for a moment.

"Remember when she basically fought your ex after she commented on your outfit, and you were barely dating at the time. So yeah, that's love, Sam" Lena smiles. Sam is looking at her with teary eyes. "You're right. I'm just overreacting. I know her sister is a private person."

Lena stares at her for a moment. "Yeah, what if she's an ex-porn star or something." Lena jokes until she's being pushed. "Hey ladies, why wasn't I invited?" Jack asks, standing at the doorway. Lena shifts from Sam and throws a pillow toward Jack, bullseye. "Relax, I was just joking." He says, picking up the pillow and shaking his head. 

Lena and Sam sit back up, and Lena rolls her eyes. "Where's my laptop?". "Here" He walks over, handing her the device. "Thanks," She murmurs, turning it on. "So, what are we doing?" Sam questions looking over Lena's shoulder at her laptop screen. "Well, I was coming home to search for Ellinae and her brother," eyes not leaving her screen.

"There," Jack points at a name on the laptop screen. Lena taps on the name, and Ellinae's picture pops up along with her old information. "She just moved from Houston," Lena says . "Houston all the way to Cali? Why?" Lena continues scrolling, "not sure." "Found it."

Apparently, Ellinae lived in a small town in Houston and went to Parker's Elementary. "Mother, Linda Lee?" Jack questions looking at Lena and Sam. "There's no way that's a real name," Sam concludes. Lena waves at her friends to keep quiet and tap on Linda Lee. Linda Star Lee, born on June first, mother of two, female, everything else blank.

Name: Linda-Star-Lee
Sex: Female
Race: White
Birth Date: June 1st, 1994
Parents: N/A
Spouse: N/A
Children: Ellinae, Kori
Family: N/A
Occupation: N/A
Address: N/A

 "Because, of course, it's blank." Lena throws her arms up in defeat. "This shit is weird," Jack comments staring at the blank information. "Is her father there?" Sam questions. Oh duh, their father! Lena taps back to Ellinae's profile and taps on the father.

Name: N/A
Sex: Male
Race: White
Birth Date: N/A, 1990
Parents: N/A
Spouse: Imra 
Children: Ellinae, Myra, Robyn, N/A
Family: N/A
Occupation: N/A
Address: N/A

Before anyone can complain, Lillian is walking back into the room. Everyone's attention falls on her, and she clears her throat. "I'll be attending the board meeting with you." Her mother States. Lena's mother only attends board meetings if she's bored or it's something serious. Lillian is definitely not bored. "They're coming?" Lena asks her mom, shooting up from her seat. Her mother sighs and looks down. "Yes, they didn't say who, but El-Corp will be a regular at the board meetings starting Monday." "How could they accept that?" Sam asks this time. Lena begins to rub her forehead, first Ellinae and her enigmatic family and now this. 

"I'm going to take a shower." Lena declares, leaving the living room for the stairs. She takes off her clothes and leaves them somewhere on the floor while she hops in the shower. She's halfway through washing her hair when her bedroom door is being flung open. "Lena! We never checked his wife!"

Right, his wife. Lena washes out the leftover soap in her hair and turns off the shower. She wraps herself in a towel and runs out into her bedroom. Lena grabs her laptop from a standing Jack and sits on her bed, with Sam and Jack following quickly behind. She opens her computer for it to already be on the last tab while her friends take a seat next to her. She taps on the name Imra.

Name: Woodson, Imra
Sex: Female
Race: White
Birth Date: February 21st, 1992
Parents: Jen Wilkins, Mark Wilkins 
Spouse: Mike, Woodson
Children: Myra, Robyn 
Family: None
Occupation: Jeweler
Address: Richardson Rd

"Bingo," Jacks hums. "Mike, Mike Woodson.." Lena tries the name on her tongue and taps the name.

Name: Woodson, Mike
Sex: Male
Race: White
Birth Date: March, 27th 1990
Parents: Rhea Woodson, Lar Woodson 
Spouse: Imra, Woodson
Children: Myra, Robyn, N/A
Family: None
Occupation: Lawyer
Address: Richardson Rd

"At least we have one parent down." Jack comments, "What about Linda?" Sam questions. "No way that's a real name," Lena replies, closing her laptop. Jack sighs and stretches himself on the bed. "Oh yes, please make yourself comfortable." Lena comments with an eye roll. Sam shifts herself on the bed. "Great." Sam smiles. Lena sighs and moves to actually clothe herself. "What do you think the Zor-El heir looks like now?" Sam says, emphasizing the 6-7th word. Lena walks out of the closet now, wearing a black t-shirt and grey shorts. "I still remember her." Lena states. "What?" Jack's eyebrows furrow.

"At the galas.. They were always there. I never actually talked to her, though. I think she avoided me, actually." Sam shoots up from the pillow. "Well? How'd she look?" Sam almost squeals. "Uhm." Lena tries to conjure up a clear picture. "The brunette from eighth grade. Grayish eyes and.." She drags the d. "Pretty tall. Still don't believe she was a natural brunette." She shrugs while picking up the clothes she abandoned before her shower. 

"I feel like we're in a Scooby-Doo episode," Jack interjects. It earns a laugh from the two girls. "It's getting late. I can only assume you guys are staying." "You know it, Ruby's having a sleepover at Becca's house," Sam replies, heading towards Lena's closet to change. "What an interesting meet-up today, ladies, but I'm afraid I have a date tonight," Jack says, standing up. "Oh no, what will we ever survive without you," Lena replies in a flat tone, now sitting on her bed. "Eh, we'll see, have fun." He says before closing the door behind him.

"So, what are we watching tonight?" Sam asks, walking out of the closet in Lena's tank top and sweatpants. Lena lets Sam settle under the covers before replying, "You." Lena says. Sam's eyebrows furrow before the realization dawns on her, and she punches Lena's arm. "You're hilarious.' Sam rolls her eyes as the show begins to play from where they left off.

 



 

Lena pushes her sunglasses down over her eyes and as she steps out of the car. She shifts her bag on her shoulder and strides into her family-owned country club. Lena nods her head at the workers while she makes her way toward the outside sitting area. At their usual spot are Sam, Eve, Jess, and Lucy. Lena heads straight for her regular seat. "We knew you were a vampire," Lucy speaks up. Lena rolls her eyes and takes a seat under the shade. "Yeah, watch your necks." Lena remarks with a wink. 


Sam waves over one of the waiters walking around and requests the group's usual order before turning to Lena. "Guess what?". Lena raises an eyebrow and looks around at the group. "What did I miss?" The second the words fall from her mouth, Sam is replying. "El-Corp recruited the Danvers." Sam basically squeals.

"And.. that's a good thing? Right?" Lena asks, looking at the others for reassurance. "Apparently, that means Alex will also be attending the board meetings," Jess responds, picking up her drink the waiter just dropped off. "And they accepted?" Eve pipes up.

"Yeah, the Danvers have been rejecting sponsors for years?" Lena adds before taking a sip of her margarita. Sam shrugs. "Alex didn't say much other than her family will be working with them." There's a loud interruption, and the table turns their attention to the player who just fell off his horse. "Dangit, he was cute." Eve comments. "Aren't you dating my brother?" Lena asks with an eyebrow lift. "Well, Lex is obviously cuter." Eve rolls her eyes. 

"Anyone keeping up with the news?" Eve looks around at the group, everyone nods. "Dey's a shit reporter." Jess declares. "He's been talking about the past for days. Like hello? We're talking about what's going on today." Sam rolls her eyes in annoyance. William Dey is a shit reporter. He steals the work from his pupils and submits it as his own. But of course, no one talks about it.

"Can't we like get him canceled.. or whatever they call it?" Jess asks. Lena continues sipping her drink. "No one cares what happens behind the scenes." "Speaking of behind the scenes, Lillian must be losing her shit." Lucy comments. Lena rubs her forehead at the thought of her mother. "Losing? She's already lost it." Lena replies. The group bursts into fits of laughter. Lena and her friends end up nursing drinks and admiring the view of the polo match for the rest of the afternoon.

 



 

Lena ends up leaving with Sam. "I'm home!" Sam yells once they set foot inside the house. There's silence for a few seconds before a door in opening upstairs. "Hey, mom- Oh! Hey Lena!" Ruby shouts, looking down from the long railing upstairs. "Be careful!" Sam sends her daughter a pointed look which earns an eye-roll from the 12-year old. Sam and Lena walk to the living room. They take their seats before Sam speaks up.

"Found anything else on Ms. Lee?" She asks teasingly. Lena sighs in annoyance. "Nothing. Though Ellinae was supposed to visit her father today," She looks at the clock. "I suppose she should be home now," Lena says, relaxing on the couch. "Anyway, when are you meeting Alex's sister?" Sam lets out a huff.

"The party? I don't know yet." Lena recalls Ruby saying something about being invited. "When is the party?" Sam pauses for a moment. "Soon, it's a birthday party." Lena nods. They continue talking about random things and end up listening about Ruby's class drama before Lena decides it's time to leave.

 



 

Lena arrives home and immediately passes out after a long phone call with her mother. Sunday passes in a blur, and Lena ends up having to finish all the paperwork she abandoned during the week for the time at the park.

It's now Sunday night, and Lena is chewing her nails, standing over at least three different pairs of outfits for the meeting. Normally everyone wears hoodies and sweatpants, but there's a newcomer. And not any newcomer people who have relations with El-Corp. Lena had a group call thirty minutes ago with Sam, Lucy, Jess, and Eve to decide what to wear.

It was already late, and Lena agreed on the white silk dress top, a black pencil skirt, and her new red Louboutins. She hung up the outfit before collapsing on her bed. She had spent most of her weekend out with Sam and Jack and finished up all her work two hours ago. Lena let out a groan as her phone began to buzz. It was Sam. 

"Hello." She tried to hide the annoyance in her voice.  "You won't believe what happened," Ruby exclaimed. Lena let the young girl ramble on about some childish drama, even though her eyes were drooping. "Okay, Ruby, that's enough Lena has to get up early tomorrow." Sam took the phone back. "God, Lena, why didn't you just hang up." Lena lets out a tired chuckle at that. "Because I love my God-daughter?" Like it should've been obvious. "Yeah, yeah, I know. Get some sleep." 

"Night" 

Goodnight, Lena." 

The call disconnected.

 



 

Lena is walking through the hall, making her way toward the meeting room with Lillian. She's trying to read documents she received earlier on the subject for today's board meeting while Lillian strides in silence. Something Lillian never does. She makes a left and walks straight into someone. "Oh! Oh my God, are you alright?" Lena looks up and is met with a very familiar face. "Alura?" Is what comes out before she can stop it.

Of course, it isn't Alura Lena. Alura is dead. Why would she say that? The woman just smiles politely and shakes her head. "I'm so sorry. Of course, you aren't Alura." Lena almost began to ramble, but her mother cleared her throat, interrupting her. "Astra." Lillian almost bites with a fake smile. "Lillian." Astra nods, still smiling.

"If I remember correctly, co-founders aren't allowed the company if there is an heir?" Lillian challenges with a head tilt. "Ah, observant as ever, Mrs. Luthor. I'm actually here with my niece.." She replies, unaffected. They enter an awkward silence, and Lena is itching for an escape. "How about we show you to the board room?" Lena suggests disregarding her mother's glare. "That'd be lovely," Astra lights up.

The three women continue their walk towards the board room in silence, though Lena isn't paying much attention as she is still trying to get up to date with the documents she got earlier. When they make it to the board room, everyone's standing outside. "Hey, we were waiting for you.." Lucy's words drag, and her eyes turn to Astra.

Astra nods as if bowing, "Good morning." She greets. 

Everyone stares at her for a few seconds before a flow of mornings is being said. Before anyone can react, Hank Henshaw is making his way toward them. "Why's everyone out here? Meetings inside, let's go ladies.. and Jack." He says with a smile. He pushes open the door, and Cat Grant is already sitting at the head. "I heard you all talking outside. Why didn't anyone come in?" She asks without looking up from the documents in her hands.

Everyone takes their regular seat while Astra is led to a stray one by Hank. "Just looking out for the newcomers." Sam answers. "Ms. Danvers, you mean?" Cat suggests. Sam just sends her a smile. "You're niece seems to be running off schedule." Lillian looks at Astra. Astra looks at her watch. "No, I said 10:30. It's 10:28." She states calmly. 

Not a second later, the door is opening, and a blonde is walking in, balancing a Noonan's coffee carrier in one hand with the Danvers family on her tail. She stops and looks around before glaring at the redhead next to her. "You said casual." The blonde accuses.

Behind them, Eliza Danvers gives both girls a nudge. Alex rolls her eyes before they land on Sam. Sam sends a beaming smile, and Alex sends one right back. Cat Grant rises from her chair and looks at the group standing at the door. "How wonderful for you all to join us. Please have a seat so we can get the introductions over with." She says, waving at the empty chairs next to Astra. 
 
The group makes their way over to the empty chairs surrounding Astra. The blonde takes a seat next to her aunt, and Alex takes the open seat next to her. Astra's niece hands her a coffee from the tray. "One black coffee.. with three sugar cubes because that's gross." Astra shakes her head, but it has little effect because she's wearing a wide smile.

"Now that everyone's situated let's continue with the introductions. She looks at Lucy. "That's Lucy Lane; her company is responsible for transporting military and HI-Tech weapons." Cat looks at Jess. "And Jess is her partner." Both girls wave when their name is called.

Next, Cat turns her attention to Jack. "That young gentleman is Jack Spheer and his partner Eve Teschmacher."

Finally, Cat's attention directs to Lena and Sam. "You most likely already know Lena Luthor and Sam Arias. CEOs of Luthor-Corp. Along with Lillian Luthor, one of Luthor-Corp's founders." Cat finishes.

Alex is the first to reply. "It's a pleasure to meet you all and be here today." However, she was mostly looking at Sam, which earns an eye roll from the blonde. Alex leans over to whisper something to the blonde.

"Oh! My apologies." The blonde removed the black mask that was covering the majority of her face. "The press were surrounding the building.. and someone told me the dress code was casual." The blonde looks around the now silent board room. "...What?"

Hank clears his throat. "It's been a while since people saw your face. You look different," He says with a proud smile. The blonde tilts her head, "Thank you..?". Lena's breath caught in her throat. The girl definitely looked different. For one, her hair is now blonde. She's a lot taller. And she doesn't act like everyone else is an inconvenience to her. "You said she was a brunette." Jess shoves Lena. Lena just continues to stare at the blonde. "She was.." 

Cat stands up. "Anyway, would you guys care to introduce yourselves?" The Danvers is the first to stand up. "Good morning, I'm Eliza Danvers." She waves toward the man next to her. "And my husband, Jeremiah." He sends a smile. "I'm Alex Danvers pleased to meet you all." Then the Zor-Els stand. "Astra In-Ze Co-Found of El-Corp." She's wearing a kind smile—finally, the heir.

"Kara D-" She clears her throat. "Kara Zor-El, it's an honor to be here." She sounds like a robot, Lena concludes. "Any questions?" Cat asks the room. Jack is the one who speaks up. "Why now?" he asks Kara. Kara and her aunt share a look. "Well, I'm now an adult and have the proper knowledge and experience to run such an advanced company." Kara answers.

"How can we even trust you?" Sam questions. Kara looks at her before replying. "You can't," she shrugs. "I haven't done anything to deserve it yet, but I hope my actions will be the main factor in what you all think of me." She says, looking at everyone. But Lena. Hank leans over and whispers something to the blonde and her aunt.

"Oh! Yes, and El-Corp is now officially sponsoring the Danvers. They are extraordinary scientists, and their daughter is an excellent doctor." The blonde replies like she practiced it a thousand times. 

"Now that the introductions are out of the way, you all have a 20-minute break to memorize the reports you all were handed when you walked in", he's saying it to everyone, but he's looking at Lena, who sends him a shrug. Cat and Hank leave, and the room is in awkward silence before the door opens.

"Hey, Kara, sorry to interrupt, they said to just head inside-" The brunette blinks at the table. "Nia?" The table speaks in unison. Kara looks at the table then back to Nia. "You.. know them?" Kara asks. "We work with her boyfriend, brainy." Lucy answers. "Seems like everyone works for El-Corp these days." Jack jokes. "Sorry to disappoint, but I work for Kara, not El-Corp," Nia replies walking over to Kara.

"Why aren't you at home.. you know... doing your job?" Kara asks vaguely. "Because James is there," she replies, waving off Kara. "I thought you were a babysitter?" Jess questions. Nia shifts to one leg. "I am.. but I also work with Kara." she shrugs, handing Kara the papers she was holding. "Where's brainy?" Nia asks the group. "Oh, he stayed back," Lena replies.

"You guys seem close" Jack turns to Alex, who has an arm flung over Kara's chair. Yep. She'd be lost without me." she grins proudly. "Sure, she'd be, honey," Eliza comments with an eye roll. "It's great to see you, Sam." Eliza looks at Lena and Sam. Kara shoots her head up to look at Sam, then Alex. "Of course, that's why you were so giddy." She says, pushing Alex's arm away. Alex just winks at an already blushing Sam. 

Nia leans down to whisper something to Kara. "Yeah, whatever, go home and tell James to leave." She says smiling, handing the papers back to Nia. "Duty calls, bye guys!" she says to the group before shutting the door behind her. Just then Cat and Hank walk back into the room. "Okay, everyone, hope you didn't pay the documents too much attention because I changed my mind." The table sends a wave of whats and annoyed remarks.

"Keira." The blonde looks up at her. "You'll be hosting a party at your home." Kara blinks before her eyebrows furrow in confusion. "To deal with the press. I'll be in charge of inviting the guests. You may invite anyone you seem fit also."

Kara stands and looks at her aunt. "You are all invited to my party, invite a friend or bring your children. I'm not opposed to messes," she says, grinning at Alex. Alex shoves her in response.

"Great, you'll be attending with.." Cat pauses and looks around the table. "Ms. Luthor," She declares. Lena is brought back to reality and freezes. Kara turns her head to look at Lena for the first time since she arrived. The warmth that was sparkling in Kara's grey eyes is gone, and she all but glares at Lena.

A glare of which reminds Lena of someone else but she stores that for later. She tries to search her brain for any reason as to why the blonde is looking at her like she ruined the homework she spent hours on.

Silver meets Emerald.

Lena isn't easily intimidated, but damn.

"Shit," Lena whispers.

Chapter Text

January 6th, 2008

 

I look down at the report card in my hands and back at the large doors in front of me. Then, pulling confidence from my ass, I reach for the doorknob if only to still my trembling hands. There's a loud creaking noise as I step inside the dining room with my head held high and shoulders straight as taught. "Good afternoon. Mother. Father." I look between my parents, sitting at the obnoxiously large table. 

 

"Kara." My mother is quick to break the silence. She looks down at my hands. "I assume that's your report card?" she says, looking at me with her usual glare. I glance down at the report in my hand even though I know for a fact that it's there because I'm gripping it like it's my lifeline, and look back at her, "Yes, mother." I hand her my grade. Then, without looking at me, she gives it to my father after scanning over it. 

 

"What did that Luthor girl get for history?". I prevent myself from reaching for the glasses that aren't on my face before replying. "An A." It comes out as more of a whisper than a statement. "What?" She snaps. "An A mother," I reply louder. It's silent for a few seconds. "Why didn't you get an A, Kara?" My father comments. 

 

Why didn't  I get an A? I studied the material for hours. Maybe it's just because I don't feel the need to remember every single piece of information I'm given like my parents. Or, perhaps it's because I'm not Lena Luthor. But as usual, I provide them with the answer they embedded in me.

 

 "I didn't get an A because I didn't try hard enough," I reply like a robot. "That's right." My mother agrees. "Go to your room. The tutor will be back tomorrow at four." My father commands. "Yes, father. Enjoy your supper." I nod my head and turn to leave before the guard stops me at the door. He looks at my parents. "Yes, let her go." My mother waves, poorly hiding her annoyance. The guard steps aside, and I take my leave. 

 

I refuse to cry. In front of others, at least. It makes me look weak, and an El should never show their weaknesses. I walk through the spacious unwelcoming corridor. I feel their eyes, but I refuse to waver. I quicken my pace to my room before any unwanted tears can escape. I shut the door as quietly as I could before throwing the report down in frustration. 

 

I run my hands through my hair and pace around my room. Breathe in and out. I repeat the action for what feels like a million times. My aunt taught it to me when I had my first panic attack at six. She's now currently in Russia, and we have no way to reach her, well I don't. Making me officially alone.

 

I walk over to my bed but stop in front of the mirror. I couldn't even recognize myself. Staring back in the mirror is the girl my parents wish I were. My hair was dyed from blonde to brunette on account of the blonde being too slutish. My eyes look more grey than blue because of my blurry contacts, the one thing I loved most. I don't care for resembling my parents, but my eyes matched my aunts'. 

 

My lips tremble, and I can't stop the silent wave of tears from breaking free. I try to wipe the tears away with my sleeve, but it just increases the flow. I just want to cry or scream both works. But I know they'd send me to that room in an instant, so the only noise that escapes my throat is a small whimper. I look into the mirror with teary vision before throwing the blanket that was folded on the stool over it. 

 

I make my way to the bathroom to conceal the evidence of my meltdown. I splash my face with water and keep my head in the sink filled with cold water to soothe my irritated eyes. Finally, I turn off the faucet and make my way to the closet. I change into a long uncomfortable nightdress and shut the door behind me.

 

 It's rather ridiculous how my favorite colors are pastels, but my room looks like a magazine catalog. The walls are grey, and everything else is either black or white. It's depressing, and I hate it. But then again, it doesn't matter what I think.

 

I walk over to my bed and drop down on the floor once I reach it. I pull the covers from the ground and crawl under my bed. I crawl until I reach the small box and flashlight I left the previous times. I turn on the flashlight and open the box. A blonde ballerina slowly twirls up until it's just twirling in place., and a classic song I forgot the name of begins to play.

 

My aunt gave it to me for my eighth birthday. It's the only thing my parents aren't aware I own. When my parents would leave for their business trips, my aunt would curl up in bed with me, and the ballerina would twirl in place until I fell asleep. She said it reminded her of me. But that's not true. 

 

The ballerina is blonde. I'm not. Well, not at the moment. Her form is perfect. I wouldn't even compare though I've been dancing since five. She's basically perfect, what everyone wants me to be. Before I can drown even further in my despair, I close the box and turn off the flashlight. I crawl back from under my bed to be met with the dark, sinister room.

 

I roll my neck and climb into bed. I lay on my back with my hands over my stomach as taught. Apparently, it prevents wrinkles and keeps my posture straight. I close my eyes when they begin to imagine things moving in the dark. "Nothing's there," I whisper before sleep overcomes me. 

 

                                                                                         ***

 

I stare passively through the car's window. I'd say it's a beautiful day, but I'd be lying. The sun is hidden by the dark clouds floating around while rain pours down. I sigh and turn my attention to the door as the car comes to a stop. My escort opens the door holding out the umbrella. I take his hand and step outside under the umbrella.

 

I fix the bag on my back before beginning my walk to the entrance. I come to a quick halt as a group of students run past me, laughing and playing in the rain. Lena Luthor, I note. I resist the urge to roll my eyes in case there are some hidden workers my mother hired to watch me. "Of course," I mutter, resuming my walk. I wave my escort away before I enter the school.

 

I stand up straighter and raise my head as I stride through the halls. I'm very much aware I look arrogant, but then again, these aren't my rules. I feel my skin bumping up at the imaginary stares I'm feeling. Then again, I know they're real because  someone  is reporting back to my mother. I make my way past the groups of students walking toward me. I don't mean to ignore other students.

 

My brain just blurs everything around me when I already have something to do. For example, me walking to class. I can't hear the students around me, nor can I read their blurred faces. It's better this way. Others keep their distance, and too much noise overwhelms me, but no one really pays much attention to that but my aunt anyway.

 

I open the class door to be met with a startled teacher. "Oh! Kara, it's you." My teacher exclaimed with a hand over her chest. I nod. "Good morning." My teacher looks behind me and tilts her head. "Isn't it a little early for class?" She questions. 

 

I shrug and make my way over to her desk, taking a seat on a stool. "I was hoping to retake the history test." I reach for my glasses. Realizing they aren't there, I push a strand of my hair behind my ear. My teacher frowns. "But.. you got the second-highest marks?" she says, choosing her words cautiously. 

 

I let out a small sigh. "But I could've done better," I say, reciting my mother's words. My teacher sighs. "I can't stop you." She quiets for a few seconds staring at me. "Friday. Can you stay after school?" She asks. I nod. "Yes, I can."

 

The school bell then rings. I stand up from the stool and turn away from the sympathetic stare my teacher is sending me. I walk up the small steps and take a seat in the back, waiting for my classmates to pile in. I begin counting down seconds before a loud sound interrupts.

 

I look for the reason for the disturbance and see Lena Luthor and the guy she's always with standing next to a fallen board. Lena stares with wide eyes before rushing to right the board. "Sorry!" she apologizes. The class just laughs and makes teasing remarks. Even the teacher shakes her head fondly.

 

I don't  hate  Lena Luthor. How could I? I don't even know her. Well, I do, but not personally. I dig my fingernails in my forearm and turn to stare out the window. I'm not jealous of her, just envious. She's intelligent, popular, has tons of friends and unfortunately rather lovely. If she had a flaw, I'd have a reason to dislike her, but she doesn't. So, therefore, I don't dislike her. I repeat the thought, trying to convince myself it's true.

 

I write down pointless notes throughout the class just to keep myself busy and seem  studious . I get lost in my thoughts before my name is being called. "Kara." I looked up slowly to seem like I was writing notes and not totally zoning out.

 

"You'll be working with Lena. Miss Arias is out, so there is an equal amount of students." She says, still looking at the list in her hands. I'll probably regret it later, but my eyes move toward the direction of Lena. Grey meets green. She's already looking at me with her eyebrows furrowed as if trying to figure me out. I keep my expression blank as I return my attention to the teacher. 

 

"Okay, students, that's all for today. You all have a month to complete it, have a great day." She ends with a smile. I stand fixing my bag on my shoulder before I'm being called. "Kara?" I look up. "Please wait a second." I wait until all the students are gone to make my way to my teacher. "I know you prefer to work alone, but you need the communication grade and.." Her words drag off. 

 

"And no one wants to work with me." I finish with a pointed stare. "I'm not dense; I know they avoid me," I reply, crossing my arms. She just sighs. "Why, Lena?" I don't mean for it to sound like an accusation, but her head shoots up. 

 

"Because Kara, her partner, is out." She repeats in exasperation. "And?" I challenge. "Kara, your grades are perfect... but you make tiny sloppy mistakes, so-" I interrupt. I know it's bad manners, but I'm tired of being treated as if I'm a glass doll that could break at any second. "So you thought I'd learn something from her." Okay, okay.  Now  I'm accusing her.

 

"Kara, don't-" I shake my head. "I have to go. I'm going to be late." I step back from the desk and make my way to the exit. I make a quick turn before almost colliding with someone else. "Oh! I'm so sorry!" I right myself before identifying the person. Lena. "Sorry, didn't mean to sneak up on you." She apologizes. "Sam is.. well out, and I was wondering when you're free. To begin the project, of course." She explains, smiling.

 

I blink a few times before my brain catches up. "Oh. I'm not sure." Lena tilts her head. "How about Saturday?" Recital. 9:30 am, my mother's voice repeats in my head. "I'm sorry. I have a recital." Lena nods in acknowledgment. "Okay... Sunday?" I rack my brain for any events but come up blank. Plus, my mother would kill me if she knew I rejected a Luthor. "Yeah, I'm free," I answer. Lena's smile grows bigger. "Great. Here." I watch her in fascination as she takes my unoccupied hand and writes a phone number on it with a pen. 

 

"Just text me when you're available." She says politely. "Oh. Yeah, I'll do.. that." I reply, tearing my eyes away from my hand to the girl in front of me. I watch in shock as she nods and hurries over to a group of her friends. I take a second to recompose myself and turn around to head to my next class.

 

                                                                                        ***

 

It's Sunday morning, and I'm sitting in front of the mirror I despise so much, with my mother brushing out my hair. Fortunately, the recital went great. I find it easier to focus when my parents aren't there, pointing out every flaw as if I can't see them. If you asked anyone, they would say my parents showed up. Not my parents, just precise look-alikes. But of course, no one else knows that. "You'll be polite and graceful." I'm forced out of my thoughts.

 

"Yes, mother," I reply out of habit. "I'll be sending.. Adam to pick up your test grade." I resist the urge to roll my eyes. "Aster?" I question. "Sure, if that's his name." My mother replies, finishing up the bun she was creating in my hair. How could you hire a stranger to be responsible for your child and not even remember their name?

 

I stand and walk to retrieve my bag. I had texted Lena yesterday, and she told me I could drop by at 11. I turn around and nearly jump out of my skin as my mother is now glaring in front of me. "You will not  embarrass us." She snaps, raising her eyebrow. I swallow the lump in my throat before responding.

 

"I won't, mother."

 

                                                                                        ***

 

I step out of the car, ignoring Aster's hand. I look up at the large house in front of me and tilt my head. Now that I'm actually here, I believe I'm the only person in school who's never been here. I fix my bag strap on my shoulder and walk up to the front door. I knock three times, and a few seconds later, the door is being opened. A tall woman is looking down at me. "Hello," I reply, shifting self-consciously in my spot.

 

"Hello, you're Lena's history partner, correct?" The woman asks with a smile. I nod. "Kara Zor-El." I raise my hand, and she looks at it in surprise. She lets out a chuckle before shaking my hand. "Aren't you sweet? Please come in." She moves aside, and I make my way inside. "Lena's upstairs, third door on the left, sweetie." She comments before disappearing behind a door. She's probably used to Lena's friends coming over. I remind myself climbing the stairs. Finally, I reach the door and knock until a voice is calling out. "Come in!"

 

I push open the door to Lena standing in front of a large board. She turns around and smiles. "Hey!" My sight turns from her to the board behind her. Lena turns to the board and then back at Kara. "Oh! I hope you don't mind, but I kind of already set most of it up." She rubs her neck.

 

"It's fine." The lie comes naturally. I place my bag on a nearby chair and walk over to Lena. It isn't okay, though. I don't have a clue on what Lena's thinking about for the assignment, and I hate being confused. "I usually do it this way with Sam, but she's obviously not available." The disappointment is evident in her voice, and Kara tries to shake it off.

 

Before Lena could explain the idea, she came up with her phone rings. "Sorry, one second," she answers the phone. She uses many slang words Kara isn't familiar with, but it's clear she's talking about a party she's hosting. Kara wasn't invited. She never is, actually, but it never really bothers her. "Sorry, it was a friend." She replies, setting her phone back down.

 

Kara doesn't exactly know why, but it bothers her. "Yeah, who needs good grades when there are parties." The sentence falls out of her mouth before she can process it. Lena's eyebrows furrow, and she stares at Kara pointedly. "What's that supposed to mean?" Lena challenges. Already irritated and cranky, Kara responds.

 

"You party all the time, yet somehow still always get perfect grades." Lena crosses her arms at Kara's observation before replying. "Well, maybe it's because you don't try hard enough." Lena bites back. Kara's head snapped up to stare at Lena. If Kara didn't know any better, she would've thought her mother had possessed Lena. 

 

Lena's eyes widen, and Kara can tell she didn't mean to say that out loud. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean that-" Kara shakes her head. "You wouldn't have said it if you didn't mean it." Kara stands and grabs her bag. Kara knows she's going to regret this later, but she continues. "I don't think this is going to work." Kara can see the guilt in Lena's eyes, but she's too stubborn to disagree. "Probably won't," Lena agrees, looking everywhere else but Kara. "Bye," Kara adds before taking her leave. 

 

She texts Aster to pick her up before making her way downstairs. "Leaving so soon?" Kara almost physically jumps at the interruption. It's Lena's mother. "Yes, thank you for your hospitality Mrs. Luthor," Kara replies before leaving. She hides her surprise at Aster already being outside. He had probably waited this whole time. Kara quickens her paste and hops into the car. She suddenly regains rationality and freezes. 

 

"Crap," She mutters as the car takes off.

 

                                                                                          ***

 

When Kara enters the house, her mother freezes in the middle of the hallway to stare at her. "Why in heavens name are you home so early?" She questions. Kara somehow resists the urge to play with her fingers. "We agreed to do the project separately." Kara answers. Her mother just glares. "Who proposed this idea?" Her mother challenges. Kara swallows before replying.

 

"I did, mother." Her mother blinks for a few seconds and walks over to grab Kara's arm. Kara's nearly sure she will be sent to the basement, but her mother drags her toward the stairs. On their way to what seems to be Kara's room, her mother signals for a house worker to follow. Her mother slams open the door. "Get the box." She orders the maid. 

 

The young maid quickly makes her way to Kara's bed and kneels. Kara's eyes widen in realization. "No.." she whispers. The maid stands with Kara's most prized possession in her hands. Her mother releases her arm in exchange for the music box. "Did you really believe I wasn't aware you owned this?" Her mother asks, examining the box. "Please.." Kara pleads. 

 

"I was going to take it away after telling you that you still didn't receive high marks on the makeup test." Her mother finally looks at her. Before Kara can respond, the music box is quickly plummeting toward the ground. Kara couldn't do anything but stare in defeat as the top of the music box snapped off and the small mirror shattered. The music is now disoriented and skipping verses. Kara's breath hitched at the sight of the head of the ballerina rolling to her feet. 

 

"Kara." she turns her head to stare at her mother, eyes still wide. "You know everything I do is for you, right?" Her mother leans down to caress the side of Kara's face. Her mother frowns. "It was a distraction that you don't need." She looked just like my aunt.

 

"It's okay. I forgive you, mother." I answer after gaining slight awareness. It was the only thing I willingly owned, and now it's gone. I place my hand on my cheek over my mother's hand. She sends me a tight smile before straightening back up and ordering the maid to clean the mess. I tighten my hold on my dress, if only to keep me from breaking down.

 

"You know I do this because I love you, right?" Her mother asks. She looks up and meets cold blue eyes.

 

"Yes, of course, mother."

 

                                                                                           ***

The ball slips from my hands and rolls across the hall. "Dangit." I was awoken by a maid telling me my parents had gone to a meeting and I'd be here alone. Not that I objected. My father had forgotten to leave a schedule for me, meaning I had the day to myself. I roll the lolipop around in my mouth before heading after my ball. By the time I catch up with it, it moves into the basement down the stairs. I stand at the top and watch it disappear from view.

 

I huff and make my way down the stairs. I walk past the empty rooms and the room I'm usually condemned to when I upset my parents. The ball rolls into a room I'm unfamiliar with. The door is cracked open, and the lights are on. I don't even recall there being a door there.

 

I look toward my right and see the shelf filled with useless things that is usually where the door is pushed to the side. "Hhm," I huff in suspicion. Before I reach the door, I'm being pulled back. 

 

"What are you doing down here." My father roars in a hushed whisper. I freeze, and my wide eyes scan his face. My lollipop falls from my mouth. "My ball.. It rolled in there." I indicate to the open door with my head, too afraid to leave his grasp. His eyes flicker to the door and back at me. "You shouldn't be down here." He turns around, running his hand in his hair before turning back to me. "Listen to me, Kara." I nod and swallow. 

 

"Never, Ever go through that door." He commands his hands on my shoulders. "Something bad might just happen." Out of my parents, I preferred my father. As cold as he was, he was more laid back and calmer than my mother. But right now, his hair and clothes are disheveled, and he has a frightening glint in his eye.

 

I'm not exactly sure if it's because of me or whatever is behind that door. "I'm sorry." It comes out as more of a murmur. "Promise me you'll never come down here again." I search his face for something I'm not quite sure of. "I promise, father. 

 

"Stay here." He stands straighter and walks through the door. A few unsettling seconds later, he comes back holding my ball. "Here, go play." He tosses the ball to me. I clutch it to my chest before nodding and running back upstairs. I shut the basement door behind me and threw the ball. I hold my chest and take deep breaths to control my racing heart.

 

My parents weren't supposed to be home, much less in a hidden room down in the basement. I push myself off the door and take a walk around the silent halls to calm myself. I pass and scoff at the expensive repulsive drawings that my parents consider art. In the end, I just decided to study and mourn my discarded candy.

 

                                                                                            ***

 

"You know we only have one child." I look up from my book to my wife staring at me from her vanity. "I'm well aware." I furrow my eyebrows at her. "Don't you think it'll be good if we have another?" Her intentions finally hit me. "So what. So you can treat them like Kara?" She stands up and glares at me. "What's that supposed to mean?" Is she playing dumb? Because it's not a good look.

 

"The way you treat Kara, like shit." I challenge. "Excuse me?" she all but screeches at the accusation. "I do not treat our daughter like shit." She declares. "Do you even know her name? It's Kara. You should use it sometime." She tilts her head at me, examining my very being. 

 

"You mean the name I gave her? Zor-El, you didn't even want her. I spent the first five months of my pregnancy alone because of your cowardice! So why are you now acting so high and mighty?" I cringe at her statement. "Not at the time Alura, we were still young." I stand from the bed. "But she's here now, and she's ours. The perfect mix of me and you.. but not anymore."

 

She lets out an annoyed sigh as if she has the right. "Why isn't she anymore?" she challenges. "Because you changed her!" I all but shout as if it should have been obvious. "Her hair, her eyes, the way she laughs and smiles. You made her change all of that." I glower at her. 

 

She lets out a laugh. "Really, Zor-El? Because you didn't have any objections. No, if I remember correctly, you just stood there doing nothing as always." she spits out. "Everything I do Zor-El is for Kara. What we're planning it's going to make it easier for our daughter when it's time for her to inherit the company." I scoff at her ignorance. "Did Kara say she wanted her mother making life easier for her? The only thing she'd have accomplished is being born a Zor-El." I snap back. Alura looks at me in disbelief. 

 

"Is that what you think? All the competitions she's winning and all her good grades, are those not accomplishments to you?" I look my wife in her eyes. "Are they to you?" She scoffs, "Of course they are!" I run my hand through my hair. "Then why don't you tell her that? Why don't you ever say you're proud of her or hey, great job Kara?" I dispute.

 

"Because Zor-El she'll get lazy. She'll think she doesn't need to work as hard because she's already doing great." She waves her hands to get across her backward point.

 

"So telling her, she isn't working hard or good enough is better?" I glower at her. "Yes." she declares. I grab my book from the bed and make my way toward the door. 

 

"Well, if you truly wish to have another child... It won't be with me." He slams the door. 

Chapter Text

Kara turns back to Cat. "But.. why?" She asks, genuinely confused. Cat takes a seat in her chair before replying. "Because Keira, Luthor-Corp, and El-Corp are ex rivals." She looks back at Kara, who's frowning at the mispronunciation. "It'd be good for people to know both companies are on good terms." The blonde just nods in faux understanding. 

 

"Is this really such a good idea?" Lillian speaks up. Cat frowns, "What do you mean?" Lillian glances at Kara and Astra. "The press doesn't trust El-Corp. What if they think Luthor-Corp is in cahoots with them?" Now that Lena's snapped out of her mind she realizes that's a good point. The table looks at Cat.

 

"Because I personally have been keeping up with El-Corps records. Keira here has been setting the company up from her former home and gave me full access to the company's records beforehand. She assured me there indeed aren't any hidden projects being profited or executed." She defends. 

 

"We'll begin the invitations today. The party will take place in two weeks." Cat declares, seemingly happy with her decision. Kara shifts uncomfortably in her seat before speaking up. "Uhm. I'm aware I have money, but my home isn't large enough to host such a large party." Cat blinks at Kara in confusion. "I didn't think I'd need such a large house. It's only.." She hesitates for a fleet moment before continuing. "Me." 

 

Cat just nods as if she's already making adjustments to her plan. "Though I do have another one... It's only for appearance's though." Kara comments. "Great. We'll use that one." Cat declares. 

 

An assistant that was standing to the side hands Cat a folder of papers before taking her leave. "I already have a list of people who are to be invited. We'll go over them together." The table erupts in noises of annoyance before being scolded by Cat's glare. Lena rests her head in her hand and looks around. Sam and Alex are smiling like lovesick puppies, much to the displeasure of Kara. Everyone else is in hushed conversations. She turns to Jack, who makes a display of slicing his neck of boredom. Lena covers her mouth as if yawning to hide her smile. She and Jack make faces back and forth when Cat looks away from them until a familiar name is called.

 

"Mike Woodson." Sam, Jack, and Lena turn their attention to Cat. Sam takes the bait and calls out. "Who's he?" Cat looks up at them suspiciously. "He's a very well-known lawyer." Lena speaks up this time, "Will the guests be bringing their family?" Cat looks at Sam and then Lena. "Of course, it'll be the talk of the year." Lena nods. Something catches Lena's attention, and she looks forward. In front of her, Kara's jaw is clenched, reason unsure. She glances down as Kara plays with her fingers, but her sweatshirt sleeve rolls up, revealing two small tattoos. Lena tries squinting to see what it is before Cat interrupts. Again.

 

"Now, all that's left is a public announcement." She turns to Lena and Lillian. "From Luthor-Corp, of course." Lillian shakes her head as Lena slides her phone down the table toward Cat. It stops midway, though. Kara seems to finally break from her lazy daze and notice a stop in movement. She glances toward Lena, then Lena's phone sitting in front of her, and at Cat. Cat raises an eyebrow at the delay. At last, Kara sits up and slides the phone down the table the rest of the way.

 

Everyone watches in silence as Cat types away on Lena's phone. How'd she get the new password? No one knows. As soon as she stops typing, Kara's own phone dings from most likely her pocket. Kara, though, seems oblivious and looks at Alex as if asking if her phone has dinged. Alex glares at Kara before reaching down to Kara's front hoodie pocket and pulling out her phone. Kara blinks at her for a few seconds before a shade of pink begins spreading across her face.

 

"Oh.. thanks." She opens up her phone and turns it around for the table to see what Cat had tagged her in. Cat stands with her hands on the table and a wide smirk on her face. 

 

"Excellent. May the return of the Zor-els begin."

 

                                                                                               ***

 

It's been six weeks since we announced and began promoting the party. The group has gotten a lot more comfortable with the newcomers, and everyone is back to wearing sweats. (Not without a scolding from Cat, though.) Everyone has already decided that Kara is rather strange. For someone who is consistently being bashed throughout America for just existing, she never stops beaming. She walks into every meeting with a smile and a cup of coffee for everyone. Lena has concluded that she had probably imagined the glare she received during their first meeting. 

 

Fully aware of Kara's unusual personality, everyone has prepared for the worst. As kind as Kara is, she is clumsy and easily fazed. But, on the other hand, she's satisfied remarkably easily. She seems eternally grateful whether someone does their job and hands her papers or when Jack helps catch her up. Lena just can't seem to figure her out. And yet, for some reason, it bothers her profusely. 

 

But nothing could've prepared them for today. Kara walks in, as usual, removing her mask the second she steps in. But what has everyone in absolute hysteria fits is the tiny Yellow hats following behind the blonde. Kara abruptly stops and looks around, confused at the chortling room. Until a young girl bumps straight into the back of Kara's leg, she was giggling. Kara lifts the coffee holder in her hands higher and turns around just as fast. 

 

"What are you guys doing?" The blonde all but screeches in horror. The children just look up at her and blink until one speaks up.

 

"We wanted to see where you work?" A young boy with the nametag Luke pinned on his white shirt speaks up. His classmates seem to agree as they all make approving hums. Kara rushes toward the end of the large board table and places the coffee down before putting her mask back on. Despite the children's groans, she sends the table an uneven smile at everyone before directing them back to their respective rooms.

 

Everyone turns to each other and blinks before bursting into another fit of laughter. Even Lillian couldn't hide her amusement as she shook her head in faux annoyance. Kara rushes back in not even five minutes later. Her face is a tiny bit flushed, and her hair is barely hanging in the scrunchie she has on, and she looks as if she's been running to return in time. (which she did) She falls into her seat in between Alex and her aunt. She removes her hair from the disfigured ponytail to redo do it. Lena tears her eyes away from how the blondes sleeves roll up, and a clear view of the few small tattoos on her arms is revealed. 

 

If anyone saw the blush on her face, they didn't mention it.

 

"Sorry! I didn't know they were following me." Kara speaks up a little self-consciously. Everyone attempts to school their expressions as Cat walks in and takes her seat. She takes one look at everyone before asking. "What's the matter?" Everyone just waves her off and shakes their head. She rolls her eyes before sliding a small stack of papers around the table. "Why can't we have the party at a venue again?" Eve asks, taking her paper. 

 

"Because Ms. Teschmacher, it has to seem personal. A Zor-el is inviting a bunch of strangers into her home. She's trying to regain the trust of others." Cat answers without looking up as if expecting the question. "You are all free to bring your children. Meaning Eve, Sam, and Alex." 

 

When Cat finally looks up, she looks between Lena and Kara. "As usual, Lena will wear her company's color blue, and Kara will wear her company's red." She pauses for a second before continuing. "It's a rather lovely combination... The car will pick Lena up at seven." She sends them a weird stare. "Now everyone, get out and be ready by seven-thirty." 

 

                                                                                                 ***

 

"Ow." Sam rolls her eyes. "Lena, I barely even moved your head." though she seems to take the advice and runs the brush through Lena's hair slower. "You guys look great. Can we go now?" A third party chimes in. "In a bit, Ruby, it's only six-twenty." The young girl plops down on the bed behind them. "We can get there early. I'm bored." 

 

"Did you know Alex and Esme will be there?" Ruby jumps up at that. "Really?" she all but screeches. "Looks like you have competition, Sam." For a response, a brush is hitting Lena on the top of her head. "OW." "Oops." Sam shrugs in faux concern. Sam puts the brush back down and walks away. Lena assumes that means she's finished and walks to the mirror.

 

She's wearing a long sleeveless dark blue dress, covered in sparkles. It has a low V-neck and an extended rip at the side. Her hair is in a bun, and she's wearing dark eyeshadow. She doesn't notice Sam walk up behind her. She lays her chin on Lena's shoulder and looks at her in the mirror. "You look stunning." Lena turns her head and kisses Sam's cheek, and walks over to her bag. "Now, can we go?" Ruby asks in exasperation. 

 

Lena and Sam laugh at the young girl's impatience. "Yes, we can go now." Lena rolls her eyes, wrapping her arm around Ruby. Like promised, the car is already parked outside the mansion. A man walks out and opens the door. "Thank you," They say, entering the vehicle. "Here we go." Sam exhales. "Yup," Lena mutters.

 

                                                                                                 ***

 

 

When they arrive, the press is already surrounding the estate. Their driver opens the door for them and escorts them to the door. Lena keeps her head up, hell-bent on ignoring the reporters. When they reach inside, their friends are already waiting. "Hey, you guys finally made it!" Lucy says, bringing them in for a hug. "Well, duh." Lena rolls her eyes though it doesn't have much effect because she's smiling. Her eyes roam, and she spots a man standing next to Eve. 

 

"Lex! You made it!" She walks over and wraps him in a hug. "How could I miss the biggest party of the year." He rolls his eyes, mocking Cat. Lena couldn't bring herself to care though she's just happy he made it. She turns her attention to Eve. "Who's this handsome little man?" She coos at the baby Eve's holding. "Handsome sure smelly so much more." She says, handing the baby over to Lena. "Hey, little junior." She tickles his tiny nose. "Is this really safe?" Lex speaks up after a silent moment. 

 

Lena furrows her brows. "What do you mean?" He looks around as if something is going to jump out at him. "I mean being in a Zor-El mansion." He explains. "Well, they're gone, and it's only Kara. So why wouldn't it be safe?" Lex looks at me as if I've gone mad. "Because she's still a Zor-El, this could be like a trap to successfully pull off her parent's plan." Lena stares at him in disbelief. "Because she's a Zor-El? Lex, really? She was a child." He shrugs. "So? I still don't trust them." Lena rolls her eyes at his paranoia. "Whatever"

 

No one has to wait long before a man walks in and escorts them into the large ballroom. The first person, anyone, sees is Astra. She greets everyone walking in with a smile and an introduction. But, obviously, no one is pleased. 

 

Most of the people here only accepted the invite because they couldn't be seen as someone who judges Kara for no reason. It severely disturbs Lena, and she's not sure why. She doesn't even know Kara. She's not sure she can call her a friend, more so a colleague. 

 

She ends up smiling when Astra makes her way over to her. "Lena! You look stunning." She compliments. Lena has to still herself from blushing. "Thank you, Ms. In-Ze. You look wonderful as well." Astra just waves her off. "Please. Call me Astra." Lena nods. "Is Kara here?" She asks before she can process the question. Astra looks a little taken back at the question before answering. "Yeah, she was here a few minutes ago. There was a small issue she had to tend to. She should be back any minute now." Lena just nods.

 

"Who's this little man?" She coos at the baby in Lena's arms. "Lexe, Eve's son, my nephew," Lena states proudly. "He's adorable." Astra declares with a fond smile. Before they can say anything else, Lex is coming up beside Lena. "Ms. In-Ze." He says coldly. She hesitates before replying. "Lex Luthor, I've heard so much about you. It's wonderful to put a face to the words." He looks her up and down quickly. "Yes. Although, I can't say the same." Lena stares at her brother in disbelief. Astra nods. "It's quite alright, I understand. I should greet the other guests." She sends Lena a polite sad smile before walking off.

 

"WHAT is wrong with you." She hush yells at her brother. "Me?" He questions. "Why are you talking her up? You know who she is." I hand Lexe back over to him. "Yes. A woman who is trying to help her niece make a name for herself." She bites back before stomping away. She looks up to see Jack gesturing for her to come over. She makes her way over to him and glances in the direction he's indicating to.

 

Mike Woodson.

 

When she makes it to Jack, Sam is standing next to him. "Are you going over?" Sam asks the second Lena reaches them. "What? Why?" I blink at her, confused. "I don't know-go. Introduce yourself." Jack pushes her in their direction. Before Lena can back out, Mike and his wife are already looking at her. She makes her way over to them with a smile. "Mike Woodson, right?" He seems taken back. "You know who I am?" He asks in pure wonder. 

 

"Doesn't everyone?" Lena asks, laughing self-consciously. "Well, this is my wife, Imra, and our daughters, Myra and Robyn." Lena smiles at them all. "Nice to meet you all." Myra instantly holds out her hand. "Oh!" Lena gasps, a little surprised, shaking the young girl's hand. "Would you guys mind if I stole your dad away for a few seconds?" She asks Myra and Robyn. They just shake their head before their mother leads them over to another group of guests.

 

"That's them all?" She asks Mike the second his family is out of sight. "Huh?" He furrows his eyebrows. "Kids, I mean." She corrects herself. He nods in understanding. "Yup. My wife and I were thinking of trying for a boy, though." He states as if Lena was genuinely interested in his sex life. 

 

She just nods politely. "I'm sorry, I just imagined you'd have more. Not sure why." She challenges. His smile widens before replying. "Nope, just my two beautiful girls." He says proudly. Lena really wants to hit him.

 

"I should go. I have more guests to greet." She says politely. "I'm sure they can wait a few more minutes." He replies. "No, they really can't. Goodbye." She says coldly and walks back over to Sam and Jack. "Nothing." She says when they open their mouths to interrogate her. "What do you mean nothing?" Sam asks. "He said he only has two kids." She shrugs, grabbing a martini from one of the waiters walking around.

 

"So he's lying." Sam declares. "Or maybe the system was wrong." Jack shrugs before taking a sip of his own drink. Sam and Lena glared at him. "Yeah, sorry, dumb thought, I apologize." Lena ignores him. "Did Alex arrive yet?" She turns her attention to Sam. "Uh, not yet. Esme's here though she came with Astra." 

 

"Speaking of her. Lex is being a total Dick." Sam and Jack look taken back from her language. "What?" Jack asks. "He's being completely paranoid! He insists that Kara's trying to complete her parent's plan and kill us tonight. And was extremely improper to Astra." She says, taking a sip of her drink. "Maybe he's just worried, Lena. His wife, son, and you are here. This will be his first time meeting Kara." She tries to reassure Lena.

 

"You're right. Lex will see how sweet Kara is and regret his behavior." She huffs. Lena misses the way Sam and Jack exchange a look. Lena nearly drops her glass when she sees a man walking across the floor. "Him!" Lena says. Sam and Jack look around, confused. "Him, who?" Jack asks. Lena downs her glass and hands it to Jack. "Ellinae's caretaker. I'll be right back." She walks through crowds of people until she reaches the door she came in through. She watches him go upstairs. She looks around the empty corridor before following him. 

 

She ignores the voice in her head telling her she shouldn't be up here and continues until she loses him. She looks around and concludes that she's lost. She huffs before walking through a random hallway. She nearly jumps when she hears laughter through the door next to her. She stands still, trying to come up with an excuse for her being upstairs before knocking hesitantly on the door. To be fair, only Kara lives here, and no one should be in here anyway. 

 

"James, is that you? Come in!" She hears Kara's voice come through the door. She freezes on the spot. She takes a deep breath and pushes the door open. She was not expecting what was behind the door. "Lena?" two voices answer at once. Both blondes look at each other in confusion. "You know Lena?" They both ask in sync once again. They both turn back around, and Lena regains awareness. "Ellinae?"

 

The young blonde's face lights up before falling and turning to Kara. The Kara who's still staring at Lena. Kara also seems to regain awareness and looks between Ellinae and Lena. "What in the world!?" Kara says, jumping up from her spot on the couch. Lena turns confusedly to Ellinae, who sends her a guilty smile.

 

                                                                                                ***

 

Lena and Ellinae are now sitting side by side stiffly on the couch. In front of them, Kara is pacing, biting her nail mumbling something incoherent. Lena takes this opportunity to look around. It's thankfully not a bedroom but a sitting room. It's not as big as the rest of the rooms and is a cool shade of light blue. On the walls, there are large stickers of animals though it looks as if they hadn't finished putting them up. Lena is shaken from her thoughts when Kara slides a chair in front of them and takes a seat. "So, how do you two know each other?"

 

Lena and Ellinae share a guilty look before Ellinae speaks up. "The park. When I first started going, I said I made a friend," she says, playing with her fingers a habit she seems to have gotten from her mother. "Well, I didn't know it was the Lena Luthor." She states. Ellinae just shrugs carelessly. "I told her I wouldn't tell anyone when we first met." Kara stares at her daughter before rubbing her temple. "In my defense, I didn't know she was your daughter." Lena attempts to defend herself. 

 

"Yeah, well, no one did." Kara huffs out. "Lena." Lena is caught off guard by the voice calling her name. The voice has an accent of some sort, but Lena can't figure it out. "I know we aren't close, much less friends. But can you please do me this one favor?" Lena looks between the pair of blue eyes staring at her and nods unconsciously. "Could you please keep this a secret?" Lena's head shoots back to Kara. "What?" Kara stands and runs her hand through her hair. "Ellinae is just a child. And America still hates my guts. I refuse for her to go through what I did."

 

"Not many people know I have children. And I planned to keep it that way." She says, glaring at Ellinae, who seems to now find the strings on the couch pillow fascinating. "I know what my family did, and I take responsibility for it, so could you just please keep this quiet?" she pleads. 

 

Lena's heart nearly breaks at the look in Kara's eyes. She stands from the couch and holds Kara's arms still. "Why?" Kara stares at her, confused. "Why do you take responsibility for what they did?" Kara seems to find her shoes rather interesting at the moment. "If I had stopped the police from opening the door." She glances over at Ellinae. "I could've prevented it." Lena couldn't believe the absurdity. "Kara. You were a child." 

 

Kara just removes herself from Lena. "Can you please keep this a secret?" She asks again, ignoring Lena's inquiry. Lena turns to Ellinae. She met the petite blonde only a few weeks ago, though she looks smaller now in her unicorn pajamas and her hair in two braids. "Of course, Kara. I don't care if you're a Zor-El. Neither of you deserves this." Lena declares. Kara stares at Lena as if she was expecting her to run downstairs and scream that the Last Zor-El isn't actually the last Zor-El. 

 

"Thank you..." "

 

You raised a wonderful child." Lena compliments to break the silence. Kara looks at her confused before turning away. 

 

Lena covers her smirk with one hand. The blush on Kara's ears is still evident. "Thank you," Kara mutters self-consciously. Lena turns to Ellinae, who is staring at her in pure admiration. Lena has little time to prepare before Ellinae throws her arms over Lena's shoulders. "Thank you!" It doesn't take long for Lena to return the hug. Over Ellinae's shoulder, her eyes meet Kara's, and they both freeze. 

 

Emerald meets sapphire.

 

                                                                                                 ***

 

 

When Kara was escorting a silent Lena back to the party, they were ambushed by Cat. "This is great. Kara will escort you inside! No, hold her hand."  This is how Lena ended up with her arm looped through Kara's walking back to the party. Unfortunately for Lena, Kara leans in to whisper something in her ear. "Thank you again.. I owe you one" Kara sends her a smile. Lena's knees nearly buckle beneath her. "Like I said. No problem, you aren't in my debt Ms. Zor-El." The name escapes her mouth before she can stop it.

 

When she looks over at Kara, she's just laughing. "Whatever you say, Ms. Luthor." Lena takes this time to actually look at Kara. Like promised, she's wearing a red blazer and red dress pants to match. Her shirt is black, and her hair is naturally wavy. Although a little unruly from running her hand through it earlier. "You can take a picture, Ms. Luthor. I won't bite, promise." Kara puts her free hand over her heart to prove her dedication. Lena rolls her eyes and shoves into Kara a little. Though no one points out how Lena didn't back out again.

 

"Your collar," Lena points out. Kara stares at her confused and uses her free hand to reach for her collar. "No- Just let me." Lena removes her arm from Kara's and instantly mourns the loss of heat. She settles closer and reaches to fix Kara's collar from her shirt. Instead of backing away, Lena just leaves her palms on Kara's shoulder. "You know I could've sworn you were glaring at me the first day you arrived.. and that your eyes were grey." She points out, staring into the blonde's eyes.

 

A laugh bubbles out of Kara. "I'm sorry, I promise I wasn't glaring. I do that sometimes when I can't see sharply. I was wearing contacts.. They make my eyes look dull." She shrugs. "Well, I do know of better ones." Lena declares, raising an eyebrow. Kara's smile gets impossibly wider, "If you don't mind." Lena lets her eyes roam around. "Well, I might have to charge you. I'm a very busy woman." Kara looks away and bites her lip to keep from laughing out loud. "Well, I'm a very wealthy woman. I think we'll be fine." 

 

Once again, Lena's legs feel weak, and her head feels fuzzy. Before she can back away, the doors are opening, and cameras are flashing. *CLICK Lena and Kara instantly back away from each other. Before Kara is pulled away by her aunt, she throws Lena a wink and puts up a finger to her lips. Lena's mouth immediately feels dry, and she walks past the reporters to find her friends. When she finds them, Alex is there with Ruby and Sam holding Esme. She smiles at the sight. "Lena!" 

 

Lena turns to see Nia walking up to her, holding drinks. "Hey!" She hands Lena one of the glasses. "Ah. This makes sense now." She declares, taking a sip of her cocktail. Nia is a nanny, and Kara has children. Duh. Nia tilts her head, but Lena waves her off. "Nothing" She looks around the now crowded room before asking, "Where's Brainy?" Nia swallows her drink. "He's around somewhere you just missed him." Nia answers. Lena nods. 

 

"I should go find him, later Lena!" Nia says before walking away. Lena waves to her before heading over to her group of friends. They begin whistling, and Lena flips them off when Esme turns away. Lucy throws her arm over Lena's shoulder and pulls her closer to them. "When did you and Kara get so cozy?" Lucy asks. Lena rolls her eyes. "We aren't. Cat saw us in the hallway and told her to escort me back. That's it." Jess makes a face at Lena. 

 

"You sure? Your hands were all over her. We thought you we-" Lena elbows her. "Shut up" Lena rolls her eyes as Jess swats her away. "Why'd you run away earlier anyway?" Sam asks. Well, Lena can't just say she saw Ellinae's caretaker followed him, got lost, and found out she's actually Kara's daughter. "Thought I recognized someone turned out it wasn't them. And bumped into Kara on my way back." She shrugged, taking a long sip of her drink. 

 

"Hey, Luthor." Everyone turns their attention to Alex walking over with Ruby. "Hey Alex, glad you could make it." Alex just waves her off. "And miss free drink? Never." She says, bumping shoulders with Ruby. Lena got a lot closer with Alex considering she and Sam are basically inseparable. After Alex told Sam she'd introduce her to her sister at her nephew's birthday party, Sam's worries disappeared. Though Lena was being dragged to the party as well with Sam, she didn't mind because Sam looked happier than ever.

 

Like now, Sam and Alex are beaming at each other, and Esme is giggling at whatever Ruby's saying to her. Picture perfect family Lena rolls her eyes. "Guys, relax. You both might just combust. We wouldn't want the room covered in rainbows." She says, eyeing Sam and Alex. Who in sync flips her off the second the kids turn away. Then, before anyone could say anything else, someone began speaking. 

 

"Good evening, everyone. My aunt and I are delighted you all could make it." Kara says, grinning at everyone. "I am fully aware of my parent's past. But I, Kara Zor-El, am not my parents. I am my own person with my own morals and beliefs. I don't forgive or condone my parent's actions, nor can I go back in time and prevent what happened on February 15th. But I can say El-Corp will only be used for good." 

 

She takes a deep breath and looks around. "I understand most of you cannot bring yourselves to trust a word I say." She puts both hands up. "Which I understand entirely. I am terribly sorry for what and who you all have lost. I did not expect to come back and be treated with trust and respect. I know it is something that needs to be earned. And I, Kara Zor-el, am not going anywhere until I have rebuilt my company from the ground and back up with absolute dedication." She stares at everyone before a smile crosses her face. However, her eyes fall on Lena.

 

"With that said. Enjoy the party."

 

                                                                                               ***

 

 

The party is coming to an end, and people are slowly taking their leave. Lena might be a little drunk, but who's to say? "Hey guys, I think I saw a garden outback. I'm going to get some air, and then we can leave." She's already walking away before her friends can drag her to the car. When she reaches outside, she takes a deep breath. She looks around until she sees a large opening in the gardening. 

 

"Cool.." She says unconsciously, making her way toward the entrance. She spends at least two minutes walking around the garden maze before bumping into someone. Then, On-demand, both parties scream. "Wait! Wait, it's me!" The other person seems to calm herself faster than Lena. "Who?" Lena can't even see it's pitch black outside. "Are you drunk?" The other person asks, amusement evident in their voice. "Who are you?" Lena snaps, annoyed that she still can't figure out the familiar voice.

 

The woman just leans back on the grass wall and turns toward Lena. "Relax. It's Kara," she says effortlessly. "Kara? What are you doing out here? The party isn't finished." She just shrugs, and Lena can only imagine that she's wearing that annoying smile. "Stop laughing at me." Lena huffs out. "You're pouting.. It's cute. It's dark. How do you know I'm even smiling?" Lena doesn't think she was meant to hear the first part of Kara's words, but it doesn't stop the color from spreading on her face. 

 

"You're right. It is extremely dark. You should get lights or something." Lena waves her hands, arms indicating around the garden. Kara lets out a laugh and lets her head fall on the wall. "Maybe you're right. But that didn't answer my question." She says, turning her head to the side to stare at Lena. "I know you're smiling because your voice gets extremely annoying." Lena rolls her eyes and decides to lean on the wall beside Kara as well. "Ouch. You wound me Luthor." The blonde says, gripping her heart dramatically. 

 

They spend the next few minutes just staring at the sky. "You're staring," Lena says without opening her eyes. "How do you even know! Your eyes are closed!." Kara defends at being caught. Lena just shrugs and turns her head until she's also facing Kara. "What are you thinking about so loudly?" Kara turns her head back to the moon, and Lena almost thinks she isn't going to answer. "You're good with her. Ellinae, I mean." Lena hums.

 

"I wasn't lying. She's great.. and Kori." She turns to look at Kara before saying the last part. Kara flings an arm over her face. "Of course you know about, Kori!" She says. Lena laughs at the dramatics. "You know I was worried about them." Kara removes her hand to stare at her. "They showed up all the time, yet no one was ever-present with them." She states quietly. "But Ellinae always talked about how amazing you were, so I ruled her being in danger out." She confesses with a small smile.

 

"You're amazing." Lena flinches at the compliment. "You were worried about two random children that had nothing to do with you. Thanks." Lena blinks in confusion. "For what?" Kara sighs as if she shouldn't have to explain herself. "For being amazing, Luthor. Not a lot of amazing people out there anymore." She shrugs. "Well, thanks for thinking I'm amazing," Lena counters. "I don't think that. It's a fact." 

 

"I'm really not."

 

"You really are."

 

Lena sighs in exasperation. "Would you like to say good-night?" Lena turns to Kara. "Is this your way of luring me into your room, Zor-El?" Kara laughs again, and it sounds musical. "If you were any more unlucky, the room you stumbled upon earlier could've been my room." She states. And well, she's right. "Sure." Kara lifts herself from the wall and holds out a hand for Lena. She shakes her head and takes it anyway. "Shouldn't you be walking your guests out?" Lena asks as Kara leads them out of the maze. "Well, I'm escorting one in,  so the rest just have to wait." Kara leads her into an empty hallway and leads her up the staircase. They stop when they reach a door with stickers on it. 

 

Kara opens the door, and they are met with a wide-awake Ellinae. She's sitting in a rather large single-person bed reading a book. She looks up and immediately brightens. "Lena!" Lena couldn't help the smile that spread across her face. "Hey Ellinae," Kara leads them to the bed, and Lena stares at their joined hands. "I thought I wouldn't be able to see you again!" She says the second Lena sits beside her on the bed. "Why not?" She sends a look at Kara. "Because you shouldn't know about me." She says, playing with the pages of her book.

 

"Ellinae." Lena waits until the young girl looks up at her to continue. "I'm not going to say anything to anyone. You nor your mother deserve what people are saying. And spreading your secret would make me a part of that problem." she says, caressing the side of Ellinae's face. She sends Lena a watery smile. "Are you both tucking me in?" She asks as Kara puts the book she was reading back onto the shelf. "If.. If you want me to?" Lena questions. "Of course!" She falls back into the bed and pulls the covers up.

 

Lena smiles and shakes her head. "Here." Ellinae points at her forehead. Lena raises an eyebrow, and Ellinae does the same. Lena caves anyway, gets up to smooth the covers over Ellinae and kisses her forehead. "Night, El." Ellinae hesitates for a second but smiles impossibly wider. "Goodnight, Lena" Lena gets up and walks a few feet away so Kara can also tuck Ellinae in. Lena looks away to give them privacy when Kara starts whispering something to her. Kara kisses Ellinae on the head before getting up herself. "Bonne nuit, El." Ellinae rubs her mother's hand before releasing it. "bonne nuit, maman." 

 

Kara stands, and Lena follows after her. As soon as Kara closes the door, she turns to Lena. "You're really good with her. She has never gone to bed so willingly before." Kara stares at her in wonder, and Lena has to fight back her blush. "She's perfect. It's no big deal." For probably the millionth time tonight, Kara looks at Lena with something in her eyes. Something Lena doesn't know what. "This way," Kara says, making an abrupt turn. "Where?" Lena asks when she catches up to her. 

 

"Kori's room." She says, slowing down. "Isn't he asleep?" Kara huffs in annoyance. "No, James probably has him." Lena furrows her eyebrows. "Do you not fancy James?" Kara glances at Lena before looking back straight ahead. "Of course I do. He's a wonderful worker and a great friend." Lena glances at the crinkle between Kara's eyebrows. "But?" Kara sighs and stops in front of a door. "He can be too much sometimes." She opens the door, and true to her word, James is standing with Kori in his arms.

 

"Thanks, James, you can go," Kara says, rushing over to take back Kori. "Are you sure I don't have anything else to do tonight? I can tuck them in." James asks the second he lets go of Kori. "It's fine, James. I'm their mother. I think I can put my children to sleep." She snaps. "Ena!" Lena turns to the tiny blonde in Kara's arms. "Hi!" Lena walks closer and coos at the young boy. "What's she doing here?" James turns to Kara in annoyance.

 

"To tuck my son in," Kara answers defensively. Lena stands up taller as James sends her a look. "How does she know about El and Kori?" He asks. "James, you're dismissed. We'll talk about why I didn't know about their relationship with Luthor sooner." She says calmly, smoothing out Kori's blankets without sparing James a glance. James obviously wants to say something else but just glares at Lena and leaves the room. 

 

"Weirdoo," Lena calls out the second he leaves without thinking. Then, to her surprise, Kara bursts into laughter. "He's not normally like this, probably because he's in trouble." Then, something green catches Lena's eye, and she walks over to the familiar green dinosaur and picks it up. She walks back over to the crib where Kara is and waves the toy dinosaur in front of her. "How'd you know?" Kara questions looking between the toy and Lena. Lena shrugs. "He had it the first time I met him." Lena is caught off guard when Kara hands Kori over to her so suddenly. 

 

Lena doesn't hesitate to take the toddler. Kori immediately lays his head on her shoulder and plays with her earring. "What?" Lena looks at the smug blonde. "Nothing, it's just hard to imagine a multi-dollar billionaire tucking in a baby." Lena glares at her. "Well, you aren't imagining it. It's happening in front of you." She retorts, swaying in an attempt for Kori to fall asleep. "I would let you sit, but you also look as if you're about to fall asleep," Kara says, and Lena wants to slap the smirk off her face.

 

"How thoughtful." Lena remarks in nonchalance. Kara just sends her a lazy smile, and God does Lena love it. No. No, she doesn't love it. She's just admiring the beauty of a fellow woman. Yes. That is why she feels this way. The woman's beauty in front of her is so breathtaking she feels, although she might just drop dead right here.

 

"I think he's asleep," Kara whispers after a few extra minutes of rocking. Lena nods as softly as she can and carefully extracts the sleeping toddler from her arms. Kara rushes to hold up the covers and fluff the pillows before Lena sets him down. When he's lying in his own bed, all comfy, Lena and Kara let out a breath of relief. They share a look and cover their laughs with their hands. Kara indicates to the door with her head, and Lena nods. 

 

They carefully tiptoe away from the crib and exit the room. "I think I should get you back to your friends." Lena turns to Kara, who's holding her phone up open to the board group chat of everyone asking for Lena. "I suppose," Lena says, following Kara to the stairs. 

 

Lena jumps when they get downstairs, and a jacket is being placed over her shoulders. "It's cold." Kara just shrugs it off and continues walking. Lena rolls her eyes but removes the jacket from her shoulders and puts it on. When they reach the main door, Jack is standing there.

 

When he sees Lena and Kara, his eyes glance at Lena's jacket, and she has to bite back a groan. "Nice for you both to finally join us." He says the second they reach the door. "Yeah, we had some business upstairs," Kara says easily. 

 

Lena stares at her in absolute terror, and Kara doesn't even seem to notice what she said. "Glad that's settled then." He said, staring directly at a drunk and shocked Lena. "She's all yours- Well, obviously not like that. I meant you could escort her home," Kara rambles.

 

She corrects herself after saying that but not before? Lena can feel the incoming hangover already forming. "Thanks for taking care of her. I know how much of a handful she can be." Kara glances at Lena before replying, "Perfectly fine, and I've already been compensated. She waves him off. 

 

Lena can only imagine she's saying that because Lena has tucked in Ellinae and Kori, but Jack's eyes nearly shoot out their sockets. "Great, I'm here. Let's go, Jack." Lena rushes past Kara to drag Jack to the car before Kara can say anything else incriminating. When Lena's in the car and a safe distance away from Kara, she looks through the window at Kara still standing by the door. When the driver enters the car, Kara smiles, and waves.

 

Lena faintly remembers Jack telling everyone something probably about her and Kara, but she doesn't pay much mind as her phone chimes. She opens her messages and opens the unknown number's message, confused. 

 

Unknown: "Still thinking of me?" 11:43pm

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

December 30th, 2008

 

Her hand freezes in front of the bedroom door. Some nights when she couldn't block out her nightmares at all, she would knock on her parent's door and ask to sleep with them. Though she was only successful some days when her mother was in a tolerant mood, those were her favorite nights. 

 

"You mean the name I gave her? Zor-el, you didn't even want her. I spent the first five months of my pregnancy alone because of your cowardice! So why are you now acting so high and mighty?"

 

Her mother's words play like a broken record in her head. She turned around, and the workers on duty immediately shifted their gaze. She lifts her head higher and makes her way back to her depressing room.

 

When she reaches inside, she closes the door as quietly as possible. When Kara usually heard her parents arguing over her, she would disappear silently and curl up under her covers to cry. But for some reason, tonight, she has no desire for it.

 

Kara's fully aware if people knew how much she cried, she would be considered a "cry baby," but tonight, she just feels numb. She's accepted her mother's tough love, but finding out her father doesn't want her is another type of pain.

 

She thinks back to all the moments her father would ignore her or dismiss her with a wave of his hand. A few minutes ago, Kara would've said it's because he's just unaffectionate and showed his love in his own way. It turns out he just never wanted a child. He never wanted Kara.

 

And that just hurts way more than him ignoring her. 

 

She walks over to her bed, ignoring the urge to listen to the music box she knows isn't there anymore. Instead, she lifts the covers over her head and brings her legs up to her chest. She cringes at the sound of her parent's door slamming. She'd know she hears it all the time.

 

Finally, she falls asleep, deciding that whatever spirit is in her room should just take her already.

 



 

The next few days pass in a blur. Kara actively ignores her parents. She listens to all the insulting advice her mother gives and busies herself with studying and practicing for her recitals. She doesn't even ask her dad random questions to see if he'd actually look at her anymore. 

 

But today, she can't ignore them. Her parents are dragging her to a fundraiser to show off how "perfect" their family is. If only they understood her parent's definition of perfect.

 

She is sitting in the car waiting for her parents to join her. She's startled out of her thoughts when a stern voice begins talking.

 

"Sit up straight." Her mother scolds.

 

Kara blinks at her before removing her head from her hand and sits up straighter. 

 

"Sorry, mother." Kara apologizes. Her parents take their place in the large van before telling the driver to drive. The car ride is quiet, and Kara doesn't even cast her parents a look. 

 

She's hell-bent on ignoring her parents until her mother positions her arm behind Kara's seat, and like on auto-pilot, Kara leans into her mother's side. She lets her eyes close as her mothers caresses her cheek. "You understand you need to be on your best behavior, correct?" Her mother says after a moment of silence. But, of course, there was a purpose for her mother being so gentle.

 

"Yes, mother.." She looks up at her mother, who's smiling down at her. "I love you, Kara." Her mother whispers in her hair. Kara can't stop the warm feeling in her stomach from growing and the smile on her face from spreading. "I love you too." She says, closing her eyes.

 



 

January 3rd, 2009

 

Kara stands awkwardly with her parents while they laugh at something the people in front of them have said. Kara isn't sure what they said, but she's positive it isn't that funny as she fakes a tight smile. She begins giggling at the man's words when her mother pinches her hand. 

 

She almost drops her act when a familiar person makes their way over. William Dey. Technically he shouldn't even be here, but his father had recently won a Pulitzer, and it would've been impolite for the hosts not to invite them. He sends Kara a smug smile before turning to her parents. 

 

"Good evening Mrs. and Mr. Zor-el. You guys wouldn't happen to mind if I had this dance with your daughter?" He asks as innocently as possible. Her mother beams at the seemingly polite young man. "Why, of course, William."

 

Kara has no choice as she accepts his hand. She can feel her mother's glare blaring into her head as she walks away with him. She looks around and catches the eye of someone familiar. Alex Danvers. Kara's also somewhat envious of her. Well, a lot, actually. Her parents are amazing, and Alex can basically do anything she wants. She came out this year, and no one bated an eye.

 

But if Kara had done it, the gates of hell would've opened. Not that she's gay or thinking of coming out or anything. She just finds women a lot more appealing than men. Perfectly normal. Right?

 

She's dragged from her thoughts when arms make their way around her waist. She awkwardly lays her hands on his shoulder. "You can hold my neck, you know." He huffs. I roll my eyes and keep my hands where they are. "I'm aware." For the first time all night, I look at the boy in front of me.

 

"What are you doing?" He just looks at me with that annoying smug smile and dark eyes. "Stop it, William. I mean it." I shoot him my deepest glare and hope it's effective. It isn't.

 

Once again, he ignores me until his hands are fully groping my ass. "Let. Go." All civility gone from my voice. "How about we have our own fun?" He suggests.

 

"I said stop!" I push him away and cringe at the sound of my voice echoing through the room. "Excuse me." I push past him and ignore the stares burning in the back of my head. The second I step out the large doors into the empty hallway, my arm is pulled back. 

 

"What the hell are you doing?" My mother hisses at me. "He groped me! What was I supposed to do?" I hiss back. "Do Not use that tone with me. You could've used your words. You know, like a big girl?" I stare at her in disbelief. "I did! That piece of shit wouldn't take no for an answer!" The second the words leave my mouth, my mother's hand is lifting, and my cheek stings. 

 

I slowly turn back to her lifting my free hand up to my burning cheek. She looks me up and down in disgust. "Go wash yourself up, and come apologize." She spits before dropping my now bruised arm and walking back into the ballroom. 

 

I spin on my heel and run down the hall. Through teary eyes, I keep running until I finally run out of breath. I stopped to catch my breath and push open the door I stopped in front of. It's a music room. It's filled with beautiful instruments that don't even look like they've ever been played.

 

I stroll along the piano and let my hand slide across it, ignoring the tears streaming down my face. I end up sitting behind the piano in front of a large window. I bring my legs up to my chest and rock back and forth. "Deep breath in, deep breath out," I repeat the words until someone sits down next to me.

 

Alex Danvers. I don't even speak; I just turn to look in front of me. She doesn't seem to mind, though, because she starts talking herself soon after. "I saw what happened... With William and your mom.." I let out a sigh, still ignoring her. After a short break of silence, Alex speaks up again.

 

"It's not your fault, you know. You did the right thing, hell if I saw what happened earlier, I would've punched him myself." I respond with a shake of my head and a few sniffles. I turn to look at her when she holds out a handkerchief. "My mom told me to always have one on me... It turns out I needed it after all." She shrugs, nodding at the cloth. 

 

I take it and dry my eyes with it. "Thank you." Alex looks shocked by the sound for a second before smiling. "I'm sorry." My head spins to watch her. "Pardon?" Alex huffs before answering, "I'm sorry. The whole school had made assumptions about you... But they're obviously not true." She lowers her head in shame. 

 

"Oh. Well, no one's ever apologized to me before. Thank you." Alex laughs and turns to me. "You aren't supposed to thank me for  apologizing  I was in the wrong." Kara nods at the new information. "Well, then I forgive you?" Alex shakes her head in amusement. "Great." 

 

"Have you ever had potstickers?" Alex asks out of the blue. "A what?" Alex stares at me all bug-eyed. "You've never had potstickers? Nope let's go." She stands up and holds her hand out for me. I stare at and up at her, confused before taking it. "Where are we going?" I ask after a few more turns. 

 

"To the kitchen, I saw some when I arrived." She answers without hesitation. "Are we allowed to be in there?" Alex shrugs and smiles, "Probably not." We finally make it to the kitchen, and she holds her finger up to her mouth. I do it back, confused at the gesture. She shakes her head smiling, and tightens her hold on my hand before pushing the door open.

 

The kitchen is filled with cooks and servers scattering around the hot kitchen. Alex and Kara make their way to a small table, and no one even glances in their direction. Alex grabs an entire plate of what looks like a dumpling and hands it to Kara. She takes it out of reflex before Alex reaches for a bottle of cider.

 

Alex tilts her head behind Kara. She nods and turns around, and walks back to the door. Right before they're out, someone spots them. "Hey!" Alex looks at Kara, eyes whole with a large grin. "Run!" And Kara actually does. They make it all the way back to the music room without getting caught. 

 

When they step inside, they break into a fit of laughter. "I've never done something like that before! It was so..." My words trail of looking for a perfect word. "Exhilarating? Fun? Exciting? Rash?" Alex finished for her. "Those are a lot of adjectives." Kara chuckles. They walk toward the window still and place their loot down. "I'm about to change your life," Alex says, holding up the weird-looking dumpling with chopsticks.

 

Kara eyes it suspiciously before shrugging at taking a bite of it. "Oh. My. God. Those are amazing, Alex!" Alex beams with pride. "I told you!" Kara reaches for the other pair of chopsticks and grabs another one. Alex takes a swing of the cider and holds it out for Kara. She eyes it for a second before taking it and taking a swing herself. 

 

"This is the most fun I've had in..." The usual way to continue this sentence is with a while. But it hasn't been a while for Kara. Her childhood ended at five when her mother signed her up for her first ballet lesson, and with her childhood went her fun. 

 

She ignores Alex's look of pity and takes another potsticker. "Hey." I stop chewing to stare at Alex. "How about I ask my parents to talk to yours and see if we can hang out. Ya, know outside from sneaking into kitchens and stealing food." she jokes, and it works it gets a snort out of Kara. 

 

Kara continues chewing and thinks about it. Eliza and Jeremiah Danvers are rather famous people, and her mother would most likely accept their request. "Sure. My parents like your parents." Kara shrugs. "Why?" Alex swallows the cider in her mouth, tilting her head. "What do you mean?"

 

"I mean, why do you want to see me again? Not to sound rude, but I'm not a very cool person." Alex shrugs and shakes her head. "Stop listening to the other kids. Their definition of cool anyway is stupid. You might've skipped a grade, but everyone's still older than you.. and Luthor, I guess. So they think it's 'cool' picking on the younger kids even if those kids are smarter than them."

 

Kara stares at her in pure bewilderment. She doesn't even notice the second wave of tears making their way down her face. "Oh! I didn't mean to make you cry! Please don't cry. Did I say something wrong?" Alex rambles out. Kara wipes her eyes and lets out a watery chuckle. "This is probably the first time in years I'm crying and not upset." 

 

Without warning, Kara is being pulled into a hug. "I'm going to get my parents to ask yours to stay over. When you come over, we're going to eat a bunch of food, play games, and watch a bunch of movies you've never heard of. But I promise you'll never be treated like that again when you're with us." Kara loses it. She clutches onto the back of Alex's jacket and cries in her shoulder. 

 

"Promise?" Kara leans back and lifts her pinky.

 

"Promise." Alex declares with an eye-roll before caving and wrapping her finger around Kara's.

 



 

January 17th, 2009

 

"Jesus Kara, how are you still so bad at this?" Alex all but shouts. Kara winces as another zombie sneaks up and claws at her character. "There's just so much blood, Alex!" Alex lets out a loud laugh killing the zombie to rescue Kara's player. "Alright, fine, I'll show some mercy," Alex says, switching the screen to Mario Cart. 

 

Kara has been hanging out with the Danvers a lot more frequently. Her parent's like them, and Kara's not home to annoy them with her existence. It's a win-win. Kara does avoid her at school, though, mainly because she doesn't want Alex getting crap for acknowledging her being. 

 

They're dragged from their bubble when the bedroom flies open. "I thought I told you, girls, to head to bed?" Though they disregarded her, Eliza couldn't ignore the amusement in the scene before her. Kara is sitting in her pink bean bag chair, wearing headphones that are way too big for her head and a Twizzler hanging from her mouth. The mastermind sitting next to Kara has her headphones on the ground in front of her and is curled up on the chair. 

 

"Alex, I know you aren't sleeping." There's a few silent seconds until Alex huffs and gets up. "Yeah, yeah, we're going now." She says, turning off the tv. "Sorry, Eliza," Kara mumbles, heading to the bathroom. "Bed, now." She turns to Alex. "You are aware I'm turning 15, right?" Alex huffs, listening anyway. "And teenagers need even more sleep if they want to grow." She tells her daughter. 

 

"Low blow, mom." Alex groans into her pillow. Kara exits the bathroom, immediately hops into the bed, and grabs some of the covers from the redhead. "All settled?" Eliza looks between both girls and walks closer when they nod. "Night, Alex." She lays a kiss on her daughter's cheek and ignores the grumbling.

 

She walks to the other side of the bed and sits down beside Kara. She pushes a few strands from the brunette's hair and kisses the top of her nose. "Goodnight, Sunshine." The young girl beams at the familiar nickname. "Goodnight, Eliza." She gets up and walks to the door glancing back at the girls. In the short walk she took to the door, Alex is laying flat on her stomach with her left arm circling Kara. Who is also on her stomach with hair covering her face. Eliza smiles and leaves the room.

 



 

January 23rd, 2009

 

Kara stands nervously alongside the other contestants waiting for the results. For the first time in forever, she's actually excited for the results. She glances around the crowd before her eyes land on the Danvers. They all send her thumbs up and giant smiles. Kara straightens with a smile and turns to the announcer.

 

"Thank you all for coming to watch and support all these incredible performers. I am now pleased to announce the results. The winner of the Youth American Grand Prix  2009 is..." The room is deadly silent, and all eyes are on the speaker.  "Kara Zor-El!"  Today I'm genuinely delighted. I don't even listen to the other contestant's rude remarks as I run past them to receive my trophy.  

 

As usual, the room claps, but I'm only paying attention to the Danvers family making their way over. I run off the stage and run straight into Alex's arms. "You did amazing, Kara!" I give up trying to keep my cheeks from changing color at the praise. "Let's get ice cream. You deserve it." Eliza says proudly. I tilt my head confused. "Why?" Alex looks at me the same way. "Because you.. won?" 

 

Alex just waves me off and takes my hand to lead me to the car outside. Jeremiah ends up holding the trophy and the other bags as I hold onto both Alex and Eliza's hands. "Cookies N' cream, right?" Alex asks as we reach the car. "Always, Alex." Alex rolls her eyes and puts on her seatbelt. "I hope your future kids have the same weird taste as you." Alex taunts, poking me. "If they're actually mine, that'll be their first choice." I stick my tongue out. A habit I've seem to have received from her.

 



 

January 30th, 2009

 

"Alex Danvers and Kara Zor-El?" The counselor shouts. "We're here!" Alex speaks for them. It's Kara's first time on a go-away field trip. She never had anyone to go with until now. She looks around at the children saying their goodbyes to their parents and siblings. "Girls!" They turn back to Eliza and Jeremiah. "Sunscreen, remember?" Jeremiah reminds as Eliza stuffs it in their backpack. "But it's winter!" Alex retorts. 

 

"And you have very sensitive skin now you both go and have fun, alright?" They both nod and take their turns hugging both adults. It always reminds Kara of the family she doesn't have. "Come on." Alex takes her hand, and she follows Alex mindlessly through the crowd of kids. She ignores the stares of the other students as she steps into one of the many buses with Alex.

 

She takes a seat, and her leg immediately starts bouncing. Then, like on auto-pilot, Alex hands Kara a Twizzler from God knows where and she calms down. "You know you're my favorite, right?" Kara asks, bumping shoulders with Alex. "Obviously, who else can keep up with your repulsive eating habits?" Their laughter is drowned out by the incoming wave of students. 

 



 

February 3rd, 2009

 

"Yes, Alex, I remembered to practice the game on my phone," Kara repeats, unpacking her duffle bag.

 

"Are you sure? Because I'd actually jump for joy if you can actually beat me."

 

Kara snorts and is prepared to counter Alex's remark before the house's alarm goes off.

 

"Kara? What's that? Are you okay?" 

 

I drop the phone on the bed and run toward my door. I immediately retract my burning hand from the blazing doorknob. Then the lights go out. The already dull room is only seen through the alarm system's red lights. "Fire," I murmur to myself before running back to my phone. No connection. "What the heck?" I scream out in frustration. 

 

"Hello? Aster!" I yell, attempting to get anyone's attention. Then suddenly, there's an explosion somewhere in the mansion from the way the room shakes. I watch in horror as the glass shelf filled with trophies crashes loudly to the floor. "Is anyone out there? Please!" I yell again. I glance at the smoke coming in through the crack in the door and run to my bed to grab covers. "Come on, come on, come on," I repeat, trying to keep from an anxiety attack placing sheets in front of the door's crack. 

 

I run over the glass shards on the floor to get away from the smoke coming in faster. "Is anyone up there?"  A man's voice echoes from outside Kara's window. She immediately rushes toward her window and pulls it open. "Yes! Someone's here! Please help!" She watches as the firefighter gestures for others to come over. 

 

Not too long later, there's a bunch of people below her window holding a trampoline blanket thing. "We're going to need you to jump! There isn't much time!". And he's right, the second he says that another explosion goes off much larger than the last. She turns around and looks around her room, flashing red. She has nothing she'd actually want to save but runs to her bedside dresser anyway.

 

She grabs the large orange envelope inside and the walkie-talkie with no batteries and rushes back to the window. "There isn't much time!" The man yells through the noise of the other firefighters and journalists at the front gate. Kara clutches the items to her chest before leaping out the window. Her foot ends up in an irregular position, and she screams out in pain.

 

The firefighters rushed to pick her up and bring her to one of the many ambulances. They lay her on the outer part and call for a doctor. She looks around the chaos and at her childhood home. Flames of smoke surround every section, and it seems to be getting bigger by the minute. Kara's still running on adrenaline when she yells out. "My parents! Did anyone find them?" A few officers send her a few sympathetic looks before one walks over.

 

"I promise we're doing everything we can." Kara glares at him. "So was that a yes? Or no." She asks cross. He shakes his head in pity, or shame Kara isn't really sure. She watches as another explosion goes off and the side of her home collapses. Kara can feel her anxiety attack creeping up on her as she just stares and feels as if she's underwater. She can't hear anyone or pay attention to anything but her flaming home. 

 

As the doctor lifts her broken leg, she suddenly regains awareness, which gets another shriek out of Kara. "I know it hurts. I'm sorry, but we need to ice it." The doctor says, ordering for a worker to get ice. The adrenaline begins to wear off, and another doctor seems to take notice and sets Kara up on an oxygen machine. 

 

Like a miracle, it starts to rain. It starts off as a drizzle but turns into an entire storm as the rain comes down ten times harder. The workers begin to cheer as the hose from the trucks and shower suspend the fires. Kara doesn't understand why exactly they're cheering. Her parents are still inside, and no one knows where they are.  

 

She wants to shout at the press for being nosey. She wants to shout at the workers for being too slow, but she mostly wants to scream at herself for not being as upset about her parents locked in a burning house as she should be. Before she can think herself to death, she passes out in the ambulance. 

 



 

 

When she wakes up, it's in a; familiar hospital room. She's at her family's hospital. She goes to sit up but winces at the pain in her foot. She takes a deep breath and slowly pushes the top of her body up. She looks for the help button and presses it. Not a second later, a nurse is rushing in. "You're awake!" She is smiling, but there's something else written over her face.  Pity.  The one thing Kara dislikes more than her parents. 

 

"Where are my parents?" I ask. The nurse looks at me silently before sighing. "I'm so sorry, Kara.. But your parents didn't make it." Kara feels sick to her stomach. The tears immediately make their way to her eyes. She's an orphan now. Her aunt is in Russia, and no one has any way to reach her, meaning Kara will be sent off with the first family to volunteer.

 

But more importantly, she's upset because she cares more about being an orphan than her parent's being gone.  

 

"So what happens now?" Kara asks quietly, looking down at her hands. She knows the nurse is looking at her, studying her, but she can't bring herself to care. "There's a social worker outside... We've had no luck reaching your aunt.. But I really think you should try and eat something." Kara snaps her head up to the nurse. "How long have I been asleep?" The nurse rubs her neck, "Almost a full day now." 

 

Kara nods slowly. "I don't feel like eating." 

 

"But-"

 

"Leave... Now please." 

 

The nurse chews her lip before nodding and taking her leave. 

 

Kara lets her head fall into her hands and lets out a heart-wrenching sob. She allows herself to make as much noise as she can. Well, because she can. No one's going to walk in and yell at her to shut up or stop it. No one's going to step in and insult everything about her. And no one's going to walk in and be her parents. 

 

She cries because she's now alone. She cries because she's now in charge. She cries because she doesn't care that her parents aren't with her. She never wanted them to die but isn't as sad as a daughter should be, and she feels terrible for it. 

 

There's a knock at her door, and she looks up. 

 

"Come in," she says flatly, wiping her face with her arms. Kara's caught off guard. When Alex runs in with her parents, not far behind, Kara opens her arms on command, and Alex is on the bed next to her wrapping her up in a hug. "Oh my God, you're okay." Alex cries out in Kara's hair. When Kara removes her eyes from a crying Alex, she sees Eliza crying in her husband's arms. 

 

"Why's everyone crying?" Kara asks, alarmed. Eliza turns her head and smiles sadly. "We're just so grateful you're okay, sweetheart." When Eliza takes one look at Kara, she starts crying again, and Jeremiah decides to continue for her. "Alex came and told us some alarm when off and the phone call was disconnected. Then all of a sudden, everyone was talking about how your house was on fire." Alex leans back to stare at Kara with puffy eyes and a frown. 

 

"We could've lost you, Kara!" She says unsteadily. Kara looks around the room at the family, genuinely concerned for her safety, and feels the tears pricking her eyes. "The second you're discharged, you're coming back with us." Kara's head shoots up to Eliza. "There are too many disgusting rich people waiting for your status to be announced so they can swoop in and pretend to be the hero. I refuse for them to take advantage of you." 

 

For what feels like the millionth time, Kara starts crying again. Here she is surrounded in a room with a family that isn't exactly hers but included her in theirs. She reaches for Eliza and Jeremiah, who walks over to her bed. Eliza takes a seat on the other side of her and wraps her arm around Kara's shoulder. All eyes turn to Alex, who is now fast asleep, clinging to Kara. 

 

They all chuckle as quietly as possible before Kara settles back in the pillows behind her. "She hasn't had much sleep with you being gone," Jeremiah says. Kara sighs. 

 

"Thank you.. For everything." She whispers, half-awake, looking at a teary-eyed Eliza and a relieved Jeremiah. "You never have to thank us, Sunshine. You're family." Kara ends up falling asleep with a smile on her face for the first time in years. No pity, just genuine emotions. 

 



 

February 13th, 2009

 

Kara stands beside Alex in front of the matching brown coffins. "Alex?" Kara whispers as quietly as possible. She probably wouldn't have minded if Alex didn't hear her. But she did. "Hm?" Alex turns to her. "Is there something wrong with me?" Alex furrows her face and looks down at Kara's crutches. "No, not physically. I mean mentally.. I think." 

 

Alex stares at Kara blankly before responding, "What do you mean?" Kara runs her free hand through her hair, eyes glued on the coffins. "Shouldn't.. Shouldn't I be kicking and crying or something? Or like.. feel upset?" Alex replies without hesitation. "Kara, everyone mourns differently. I know about your relationship with your parents. It's okay." Kara shakes her head.

 

"No, Alex, I don't feel a thing. I don't feel like crying or mourning. They were so.. horrible, Alex. They made me feel like I wasn't worth anything to them. So why do I feel like I still owe them something?" Alex nods in understanding and looks at the coffins. "You don't have to mourn Kara. You don't have anything to mourn. They were terrible people you." Alex shrugs. They're interrupted as a police officer walks toward the small family.

 

"Mrs. Danvers, Mr. Danvers we need to speak to Kara Zor-El." Alex steps in front of her, and Eliza stares at him, confused. "Why? What's the matter?" He rubs his neck before saying, "It wasn't a casualty the Zor-Els were murdered."

 



 

February 25th, 2009

 

That is how Kara found herself basically limping through what was left of her childhood home with a group of officers. "We found something in the basement!" Someone yells from downstairs. Kara follows them down the stairs to the door she stumbled upon last time. "No! Don't!" All eyes turn to her. "You can't open it!" The chief looks at me unamused. "And why not?" He asks, irritation bleeding from his tone.

 

"Because they were experimenting in there. Something bad is going to happen if you open it like that." She indicates to the man standing with a crowbar. "How about you go back upstairs, and we'll come get you when we're done. Huh?" I'm about to argue, but I'm already being led back upstairs by an officer. I huff and lean of the hood of the cop car. The entire estate is blocked off now that it's labeled a crime scene. 

 

It doesn't make sense. Who would want to kill my parents? And well  me?   I return to the present when a large explosion goes off somewhere nearby. I cover my ears and watch as the officers rush from out of the mansion. "What's going on?" They shout. The other officers just shake their heads and race to their cars not long after another explosion goes off but farther away. 

 

"Beck, stay with the kid!" The chief shouts before racing off in his car. "What the fuck is going on?" The guy that's apparently Beck says in his walkie-talkie. Another large explosion goes off, and the entire ground shakes.

 

Kara's caught off guard and drops her crutches. She's prepared for the impact, but it doesn't come. She opens her eyes, and the officer is holding her upright. He stares into the direction of the explosion before picking her up in his arms and running toward the car. "Home now, please." She says the second her lays her in the vehicle not even realizing she called the Danvers house her home. 

 



 

The second I step out of the car, Eliza runs out of the house and wraps me in a hug. "What's going on?" I ask when she pulls away, examining my face and body. "Three bombs went off throughout the city. Thank God you're okay." She says, wrapping me in another hug. "Thank you for bringing her home, officer," Eliza says before he nods and drives off toward the action. 

 

Eliza helps me inside into the living room where Alex and Jeremiah are burning holes through the tv with their eyes. "She doesn't have to see this," Jeremiah says, standing up when he notices Kara's presence. She looks between Alex, who's playing with her fingers, and the troubled man in front of her.

 

"So why does Alex get to watch? What's going on?" Kara demands. "It's your parents." Everyone turns to Alex. "They set off the bombs." Kara shakes her head. "Uh, no, they're dead, remember Alex?" Alex points at the tv. "That door in the basement, it set off three bombs around National City." Kara extracts herself from Eliza and limps over to the couch. 

 

She lets herself fall on it and reaches for the remote to turn the tv up. 

 

"Police reports claim that all bombs were initialed Zor-El. It turns out the hidden door that LAPD found in the basement of the Zor-El mansion was the trigger for the bombs. An assistant rookie says that the youngest Zor-El had attempted to stop them from opening the door, but Chief Molder waved her off."

 

"The LAPD and Fire department are running around the city trying to save as many victims as they can. One specific bomb was placed beside an elementary school and hospital. Unfortunately, there were only seven survivors out of 934 people. Please stay tuned for incoming updates." 

 

"They- They did all of that?" Kara croaks out, eyes glued on the destruction of the city. The seat next to her dips, and arms are wrapping around her. Everyone's silent. What can you say to a child whose dead parent's just killed and injured thousands of people? 

 

Kara isn't sure when the tv turns off or when she's being lifted upstairs. She isn't sure when the sun went down or how she ended up in bed wearing her PJs. She's pulled from her underwater bubble when Eliza sits down to tuck her in. "Can I just- Can we please stay with tonight? Just for a night?" Eliza seems surprised by the sudden outburst but softens just as fast. 

 

She looks over Kara's head where Alex is lying next to her and back to Kara. "Come on, sunshine." She places her hands under Kara's legs and lower back and lifts her. Kara lays her head on Eliza's shoulder and hugs her neck. When Jeremiah looks up from his spot on the large bed, he just nods at Eliza and silently scoots over to make room. 

 

Alex jumps on the bed beside her dad, and Eliza places Kara down in the middle. Kara turns sideways to face Alex, who's already on her back, ready for bed. Jeremiah turns off the bedside light when Eliza climbs in behind Kara. Eliza wraps her arm securely around Kara's torso and circles reassuring circles on her stomach. 

 

Alex, already fast asleep, unconsciously reaches for Kara's hand and holds it on her stomach. Kara's in a bed with her new adoptive family, and it's the most loved and safe she ever felt. 

 

She had no nightmares that night. 

Chapter Text

The morning after the party

 

Lena unreluctantly opened her eyes to the obnoxious bright light shining through her window. She let out a groan and turned around, pulling a pillow over her head. She drank way too much last night and wouldn't mind if she didn't remember the probably embarrassing things she's done.

 

She genuinely almost screams when her doorbell rings. She kicks her covers off, wincing at the pain throbbing in her head to answer the door. She walks downstairs and flings the door open to reveal an irritated James. "Kara said to bring this." He says immediately. And way louder than needed. 

 

She glares at him before looking down at his hands. He's holding a large paper bag. She looks back up, dazed, before grabbing it. "Thanks." She closes the door and walks over to the kitchen. She takes some Advil and drowns it in water before opening the bag.

 

It's chicken noodle soup. Lena opens the note on top and bites her cheek to stop the smile willingly to spread. 

 

"Good morning! You drank a lot yesterday, and I figured this would help. I would've brought it myself, but I was called into work (even though I'm technically the boss). Not sure if you like chicken soup or any soup, but I searched it up, and this seems to help with hangovers. Have a great day!" 

 

Lena caves and puts a hand over her mouth to hide her smile. From who? Herself obviously. She lays the note aside and opens the thankfully still-hot soup. She sits down on one of the stools and uses the plastic spoon to sip the soup. 

 

It's delicious.

 

 



 

 

A week after the party

(October 19th)

 

"Is that her?" Jack asks, pointing at the black van pulling up in front of them. "Better be. She's late." Eve bites shifting a restless baby in her arms. The door opens, and they all start shuffling in. 

 

"Good morning!" A way too chipper for the morning child squeaks. "Morning, little man," Jess replies, punching him playfully. Carter is 13 and a wonderful kid. Unlike his mother, he's sweet and friendly.

 

"Wonderful, everyone's here," Cat says flatly, indicating for the driver to start up the car again. "Didn't know you'd actually show up, Cat," Sam says, looking through her bag for something. "Carter saw the invitation and claimed he absolutely had to go."

 

The invitation did indeed look... interesting. There were dinosaurs all over it. (the inspiration for Lena's gift) Alex had handed them out after Kara's party at the weekly meeting. After Kara officially came out to the public, she's been getting tons of press. That is why she hasn't been able to attend any of the meetings this week. Astra has stood in her absence, though, but it isn't the same. 

 

"Why is it so quiet?" Cat asks the second she walks in. She looks directly at Kara's empty chair before nodding. "Of course, Keira isn't here."

 

Everyone starts their own conversations, and Lena opens her dinging phone. It's Kara. 

 

She opens the message, 

 

"Did you know Scotland's national animal is a unicorn? Anyway, if you didn't know, now you do. Are you guys on your way?" 

 

She smiles and shakes her head. Ever since the party, they've been exchanging messages. Usually, it's Kara sending random facts or funny animal videos. It's not unusual for Kara to ask if they're coming. She and Alex are close. Obviously, she invited Kara to her sister's kid's party. Her inviting everyone else, though, wasn't expected. 

 

"Whatcha smilin at?" Jess asks, popping Lena's bubble. She turns her phone off and sets it down in her lap. "Nothing. Kara just asked if we're on our way." She shoots Lucy a glare when she snorts. "Of course, it's Kara," Lucy says, poking Lena's side. 

 

"Who's Kara?" Carter speaks up.

 

"Lena's new crush." Jess sings songs and laughs when Lena discreetly flips her off.

 

"Wonder what she'll think when she sees your bathing suit." Jack teases. The party is indeed a pool party, much to Lena's annoyance. It's not that she doesn't like to swim or wear revealing clothing. She doesn't enjoy getting wet. It was a traumatizing event from high school, really. 

 

"I'm wearing a cover-up." Lena states, tugging at her black cover-up. "Whatever," Eve says, shrugging. "Your curves are still evident." Lena ignores her and responds to Kara's text, letting her know they're almost there. 

 

Everyone prepares to exit the car when the driver turns into a neighborhood. Lena watches, confused as the neighbors eye their car weirdly. "Maybe it's a small community. Her sister  is  new." Lucy points out also looking at the people. The car drives past all the houses to everyone's confusion. The car drives up a hill at the end of the neighborhood, and a large house is visible down the road. 

 

"Look!" Carter yelps pointing at the house. "Are... Are those bubbles?" Eve says, squinting at the floating circles, flying up from the backyard. "Yeah, they are!" Carter responds, vibrating in his seat. Finally, the driver stops in the driveway filled with other cars. Carter is the first to exit the vehicle, his enthusiasm an annoyance to his mother. 

 

Lena steps out and pulls her cover-up down self-consciously. "Relax, you look great," Jack says, removing the gifts from the trunk. "I know," Lena says, pulling her sunglasses down. "It's a children's party. How scary can it be?" Sam asks, taking the invite out of her bag. Lena ignores her and walks around the pristine grass until she reaches the stone pathway that leads to the front door. 

 

She waits until everyone's behind her before ringing the doorbell. It immediately flies open to the surprise of Everyone. "Hi!" A cheery Burnette says, smiling at everyone. "Come on in!" She steps aside. They all look at each other, confused, before walking inside. "I'm Jess. It's so nice to meet you all." Jack snorts at that. The girl tilts her head, confused at him.

 

"No, sorry, it's just our friend is also named Jess." He throws an arm over a sulking Jess. "Oh! No biggie, you can call me Jessica then." She consoles. "It's great to finally meet you," Sam says nervously, shaking Jessica's hand. She looks confused, but her smile doesn't falter. "It's great to meet you too... Sam?" 

 

Sam nods, confused. "Ruby's here, right?" Jessica lights up again. "Oh yes, she is! She's very bright. You did a wonderful job" Sam nods and blushes at the compliment. Cat cleared her throat to get their attention. "Are the Danvers sisters here?" They look at her confused, then back at Jessica. "Yes, Alex is right through here." She walks over into another room.

 

"Was that not her sister?" Eve shout, whispers at them all. "Nope," Cat says before walking past them into the room Jessica disappeared into. They follow after and look around the room at the familiar faces: Alex, Nia, Brainy, and other unfamiliar people. "You made it!" Alex says, jumping up from her spot on the couch to kiss a smiling Sam. 

 

"Yeah, so did we," Lucy speaks up. Alex rolls her eyes and hugs her too. "I'm Cece. Great to meet you all." The unfamiliar face speaks. They all nod and shake her hand. "So, where's little Danvers, Danvers?" Lucy asks. Alex huffs and looks behind them. "Should be arriving any minute now. If the birthday boy calmed down." Everyone sitting stands. 

 

"Let's go to the patio. You can drop your things off in there." Nia says, looking at all the presents Jack is holding. They all nod and follow her to the large enclosed glass patio. Outside are children already playing. Jack puts the gifts down with the others, and everyone puts their bags on empty tables. The sliding door behind them flies open, and they turn around. 

 

"I'm not late, am I?" Kara asks, holding a toddler on her hip. 

 

They all stare at her in shock and put two and two together. Lena shuffles closer to Sam and whispers. "So  not  an ex-porn star then..."

 

 



 

 

"You guy's didn't know?" Alex looks at them incredulously. "I didn't know you meant Kara!" Sam retorts. Behind them is an undisturbed Kara whispering to a giggling Kori. 

 

"I didn't even know she had a child," Lucy says with Jess nodding looking between Kara and Alex. "Technically, only Lena knew," Kara speaks up with a shrug. "Lena knew?" Alex switches her attention from Sam to her sister. Lena sends a weak smile to her friends, who are all glaring at her.

 

"It wasn't my place to say anything!" Lena defends, holding her hands up. She looks at Kara, who mouths thank you. Lena turns to Cat, who is putting sunscreen over a groaning Carter. "You knew?" Eve asks Cat. Cat looks at them unimpressed. "Yes, it was on their sheet. If anyone had bothered to read it, you would've known." She scolds, finally looking at them.

 

On Lena's part, she feels pretty silly for not catching it earlier anyway. So much for being a genius.

 

"Nice to meet you! I'm Carter." He holds up his hand to a smiling Kara, ignoring the tension in the room. "Nice to meet you, Carter. I'm Kara." She whispers something to Kori, and he looks at Kara. "I'm Kori!" He says, laughing. "How old are you?" Kori holds up his hand. "Three."

 

Kara silently puts two of his fingers down. She puts Kori down to stand, and he waves at everyone before his eyes land on Lena. He's wearing a green T-rex costume a little too big for him, and his bright golden curls hang from under the hood.

 

 He runs over, and Lena grabs him when he trips from reflex and lifts him up. "Lena!"

 

She's taken back from the tone of affection. "Hey, Kori." She says when he takes off her black shades to put on his face. "Come play with us?" He asks, looking at Carter and then through the glass outside. "Sure, let me put my bags down, alright?" He nods, and she puts him down. He runs over to Carter and grabs his hand to lead him to the party. 

 

She puts her hands on her hips and looks back at the room. Everyone's looking at her in shock. "He's never gotten close to a stranger that fast before." a new voice pops up. Everyone jumps and turns to where Astra is placing party hats around the larger table. "So that means you're his-" Jack hesitates. 

 

"Grandmother." Kara corrects, walking over to help her aunt with the decorations. Kara's wearing a white blouse with colorful dinosaurs over it. The front of the shirt is tucked in her jeans, with the rest hanging out. The sleeves are rolled up from her watch, and the front of her hair is pinned back by the glasses sitting on top of her head. 

 

Kara turns to look at everyone and waves toward the backyard. "It's alright. You all can go play." She teases. They roll their eyes and mumble, but they do all shuffle outside. Lena waits until all her friends are gone, and she's alone with Kara before speaking. "I really had no idea you and Alex were sisters." She says, taking a seat on one of the nearby chairs. 

 

Kara turns back around, smiling. "She did tell Sam. She assumed she told you all." She shrugs, dragging a chair to sit in front of Lena. "You know that was the first time I've heard Kori speak." Kara waves her off, "I'm surprised he talked at all. He isn't comfortable around unfamiliar faces." 

 

She thinks for a second, "Other than children." She corrects, looking at Carter holding Kori to help him pop the bubbles flying around easier. "It's a surprisingly nice day for October." Lena points out, staring at her friends playing in the pool. Kara leans back in her chair. "There's a pool heater in there. Kori insisted that there be a pool." 

 

Lena watches the emotions running through the blonde's eyes as she stares at her son. She turns the conversation before she's caught staring. "So, where's El?" Kara falls out of her trance and turns back to Lena. "Upstairs.. actually, if you want, you can go on up. She was asking for you." Lena tries to hide her shock, but it apparently doesn't work.

 

"Upstairs on second door on the right. You okay finding it?" Lena stands, rolls her eyes, and flicks Kara's forehead playfully. "I think I can find a nine-year-old's bedroom all by myself." Kara pouts and rubs her forehead. "Lenaaa, I was just being nice!" She shouts when Lena reaches the stairs.

 

She shakes her head and makes her way upstairs. The house is very.. homey. The walls are white, and the upstairs is filled with pictures of Kara and her family. She makes a right and slows her pace examining the photos. She stops at one, though. There is a blonde little girl, most likely Ellinae sitting in a highchair with a small cake in front of her with the number one on it. 

 

Her hair is curly and wild, and she's forgone a shirt. There's a colorful wooden necklace on her neck, and there's cake all over her face. Her bright blue eyes are full of glee, and she's smiling at her mother. Her mother is kneeling to the highchairs height and letting her daughter rub cake on her nose. Her long golden waves mainly cover her face, but she's obviously smiling back at Ellinae. 

 

Lena can only think about how it's only them in the picture. She thinks about how Kara had to live as Kara Danvers to protect herself and her children for just existing, and it breaks her heart a little. Maybe even more.

 

She takes a deep breath and continues to the second door with unicorn stickers on it. She knocks. "Helloo? Ellinae?" There's no response. She knocks one more time. Nada. She opens the door cautiously to an empty room. The room is adorable and fits Ellinae's personality perfectly. She chuckles at that a little. 

 

She walks over to the small bookshelf under the loft bed filled with comics. Superman, she chuckles to herself before pulling one out. No, not Superman, Supergirl? Confused, she opens the comic and skips through the pages. "Since when were there Supergirl comics?" Lena mutters to herself. 

 

"Since 2009." Lena jumps at the interruption. "Oh! Sorry!" Ellinae steps back. "Didn't mean to scare you. I was in grandma's room." She says nervously, pointing behind her at the door she came in through. Lena laughs at the ridiculous girl in front of her. "Ellinae, it's okay. I just got caught off guard." She waves her off. 

 

"Oh, okay." Ellinae points to the comic in Lena's hands. "My mom made them when she was fourteen." She states, walking over to her vanity. "Can you help me?" Ellinae turns to Lena with a brush in her hand. Lena walks over and places the comic on the table before taking the brush. "Ponytail?" Ellinae nods. "Yes, please."

 

"Soo about the comic?" Lena hints, brushing out the blonde's hair. She can feel her tense under her hand. "Oh. My mom's good at drawing." She shrugs before continuing, "So she made these comics to make her feel better. They're kinda sad, but Supergirl always wins, and then it's all happy." She says with a satisfied huff. 

 

"They're really good." Lena says, eyeing the novel on the table in front of her." That seems to get Ellinae working. "Yeah, they are, huh? My mom makes a few each year. It's even updated now. Supergirl has a family now! A daughter named Ellie and a son Korian." Lena listens as the little girl rambles on about the fictional stories her mother concocted. 

 

"All done," Lena says after placing a bunch of pink and yellow butterfly clips in Ellinae's hair. "Thank you!" She sits still for a moment before speaking, "Don't tell my mom, but you're way better at ponytails." Lena shakes her head but can't stop her smile from emerging. "Secret is safe with me" Lena puts two fingers over her heart.

 

Lena can't help but think of the first day Kara arrived with the Danvers. She was wearing the same ponytail but more unruly than Ellinae's. Ellinae looks just like her, and it's adorable.

 

Ellinae smiles, but then it fades away. "Do you wonder why I talked to you that day?" She asks quietly. Lena almost missed it. "If I remember, correctly you wanted friends.. and I'm cool." Ellinae chuckles at her response.

 

"Yeah, but the actual reason?" She says, facing the mirror. Lena frowns and shakes her head. "I found a photo of my mom.. In middle school. You were laughing with your friends downstairs in the picture, and she was glancing at you both." She takes a deep breath. "She just looked  so  sad. She never talks about her past, and everyone refuses to tell me." She hesitates for a moment.

 

"When we moved here, I saw her crying in front of her mirror... The worst part was that she just wiped her tears and started smiling before coming to tuck Kori and me in. It's like she doesn't know it's  okay  to be upset.. So I thought maybe you'd know what she was like." She rambles, playing with her fingers.

 

The little girl in front of Lena looks so small and fragile, and Lena isn't used to it. "I was going to attempt to reach you somehow.. You being at the park that day was a wonderful coincidence on my part." Ellinae shrugs, still looking away.

 

"Ellinae, sweetie?" The young girl turns to face Lena. "You're mother has been through a lot." Lena hesitates before taking a seat next to Ellinae on the bench. "I can't lie. We weren't exactly close. But she was such a dork. A cute dork." Lena corrects to the giggling child.

 

"Whenever she zoned out in class, she would slowly look up as if she was writing notes. She would talk to stray animals behind the school. I think I even saw her feed them once. And she  loved  Twizzlers." Lena snorts at the memory. "But most importantly, she was kind." She turns to Ellinae.

 

"I was a little turd in high school. I always listened to my friends who were terrible influences, by the way. Specifically, this girl named Veronica God, did she hate your mom." Ellie nods for her to continue. "I tried to invite your mother to parties or events, but she always turned them down. Eventually, the whole school thought she was stuck up."

 

"Why didn't she ever go?" Ellinae asks. Lena sighs and smiles sadly. "Probably because of her parents. It's not my place to say anything else, but your mother just wanted to make her parents proud." Ellinae nods slowly. "Thank you." Lena's wrapped in a hug, and for the second time in the past hour, she's taken back by the affection from these children. 

 

 



 

 

A thought pops into Lena's head when she and Ellinae walk toward the stairs. "El?" She turns her head. "Hm?" Lena hesitates for a second. "Where were you born? I saw a picture on the wall, and your necklace looked foreign." Lena gestures toward the picture they're about to pass. 

 

They both stop to look at the picture. "Oh. My first birthday? I was born in a village in South America, Themyscira! It's a secluded village where only women live." Lena raises her eyebrow. "Really?" Ellinae nods. "Mhm. My mom stumbled upon it when she was traveling. They found out she was pregnant and basically adopted her." Ellinae shrugs, and they continue walking.

 

"Was Kori also born there?" Lena asks when they reach the stairs. "Yeah, they helped my mom give birth to me, and she refused to have Kori anywhere else. Kori's the only exception to the rules since he was basically raised by only women." Lena nods and watches Ellinae hop on the railing. 

 

"Come on" Ellinae holds out her hand for Lena to sit beside her. "What are you doing?" she looks at the blonde in front of her, unamused. "It's safe, I promise. Plus, it's so much fun!" Ellinae pleads. Lena bites her lip and looks around the empty corridor and caves. 

 

She takes Ellinaes hand and sits beside her. "Ready? one, GO!" Ellinae drags Lena down the railing with her, and she can't contain her shriek at being caught off guard.

 

They both hop off at the same time. "You little menace!" Lena stares at the young girl doubled over in laughter. "Sorry, sorry! But I had to!" She says, still laughing hysterically. "Ahem." Both girls freeze and slowly turn around to the new party. Standing in the doorway down the hall is Eliza. 

 

"Lovey!" Ellinae runs straight into the older woman's arms. "I saw you last night, Sunny." Eliza furrows her eyebrows with a smile. She just shrugs and smiles. "I was coming to scold you for sliding down the railing, but it seems you have an accomplice." Eliza's eyes roam to Lena's. "In my defense, her pout is very effective," Lena says, crossing her arms. 

 

Eliza shakes her head. "Come one. Everyone's here." Eliza waves Lena forward. Lena nods and follows the girls into the backyard, where everyone else is. 

 

Cat is on a lounge chair under an umbrella, talking to Astra in the lounge chair next to her. Jessica is sitting with Cece on the edge of the pool. Lucy, Jack, Sam, and Alex are playing volleyball on one side of the pool, and the children are playing in the other half. Lena spots two familiar children. "Robyn and Myra," Ellinae says, looking in the direction Lena is. 

 

"I met them at the party.. Your sisters, right?" Ellinae shrugs. "I guess, yeah." Before they can say anything, music starts playing. They turn to the side of the backyard where Kara's standing with a large black speaker. The shirt she was wearing earlier is now unbuttoned and hanging around her waist, revealing a black undershirt. Her hair is in a chaotic ponytail, and she's now wearing her glasses.

 

"Excuse me. But I really won't be able to relax if Kara somehow breaks another speaker." And with that, the blonde is running away toward her daughter. Lena and Ellinae shoot each other a look and burst out laughing. "She broke two." Lena sakes her head in shock. "Two!?" She asks.

 

Ellinae laughs and nods. "Yeah, two!" 

 

"Hey, guys!" They turn to where Ruby is swimming up to the edge of the pool. They walk over to her. "Hey Rubes, having fun?" The pre-teen lights up. "I am! Are you guys coming in?" Lena looks behind Ruby to where the other children are. Carter is playing with Esme while Myra and Robyn are trying to play with an unamused Kori. 

 

"Come on, Lena, pleasee?" Lena rolls her eyes and lets her arms fall to her side. "Alright, let's change." Ellinae grabs her hand, and they walk over to an empty lounge chair and table. Ellinae raises her arms, and Lena lifts her shirt over her head, so the clips don't immediately fall out. She's wearing an adorable light yellow one-piece with pale pink stripes. 

 

"Come on, Lena!" Ellinae grabs her hand and drags her toward the pool. Lena sighs. She unties the strings and lets her cover fall. There's a loud static noise, and everyone turns to where Kara is standing. Face red and blue eyes burning holes into the instructions she's holding. Eliza is looking at a confused, bared Lena, amused.

 

Eliza turns to her youngest daughter and flips the paper Kara's holding the right way. Kara blinks at her before looking back at the paper and plugging in a wire. Then, like before the music starts playing. Everyone who saw the exchange is in fits of laughter, much to the confusion of Lena. 

 

"Come on, Lena!" Ellinae yells from inside the pool. Lena nods and sits on the edge of the pool before sliding in. Lena waves to the adults hanging out on the pool's other side and follow Ellinae to the others. When she reaches the other children, Kori looks as if he's on the verge of tears. 

 

"Stop!" He slaps his sister's hand off his arm floaties. "Come on, guys, cut it out. He doesn't like being surrounded." Ellinae says, pulling the young boy closer to her by his trunks. "We were only trying to play with him.." Robyn says, looking down guiltily. 

 

Lena notices the four siblings' tension and decides to help de-escalate the mood. "Hey, it's alright Kori just gets overwhelmed easily." She thinks back to the first time she met Kori. The two sisters nod slowly. "How about we go play on the trampoline?" Carter asks, swimming over to the two sisters. They both nod and follow him out of the pool.

 

Lena stares at the children departing until someone splashes her with water. Then, she turns her head to a toothy, smiling toddler and his laughing sister. He splashes his arms again and again. All three are laughing by the time Ellinae and Lena are holding their hands up in a poor attempt to block the water. 

 

"Hey, Luthor!" Kori stops his attack to blow raspberries when Lena turns to the person calling for her. "Children's a good look on you!" Jess yells from where she's standing beside an occupied and disoriented Kara. Before the blush can fully make its way to Lena's ears, Kori is flinging himself into her arms. 

 

"See? She even has those mother instincts!" Sam shouts, laughing, throwing an arm around her daughter. Lena rolls her eyes, but she and Ellinae swim over to them anyway. "Up for another round?" Alex challenges, crossing her arms. "Would never miss a good fight, Danvers." Lena spits back. Lena throws her free arm around Ellinae. 

 

"My partner and I will wipe the pool with you guys." She says, staring them down. Ellinae turns her head to stare at Lena and beams. "I'll take him before you all go off to war." A brunette who introduced herself as Jessica says, walking toward them laughing. Lena swims closer to the ledge and hands-off Kori. "You're going to cheer for me, right, Kori?" 

 

The little boy nods. "Go, Lena!" He yells with two thumbs up. Alex stares at him in shock. "You traitor!" She calls at him. "Alright, Luthor, you stole my niece, nephew and working your way up to my sister. This means war." Lena chooses to ignore the last section of her comment. 

 

"On Your Mark.. Get set... GO!"

 

 



 

 

"Okay, everyone! It's time for clay!" The music was turned down for the announcement, and Eliza stood holding craft boxes. "Clay!" Kori yells from where he was blowing bubbles around the pool. The children make their way toward the table covered in craft boxes. "That means you guys too," Astra says, crossing her arms. Alex mumbles something incoherent and gestures for everyone to follow. 

 

Lena looks at her friends, and they just shrug, climbing out of the pool. Then, she walked back over the table she occupied and wrapped her cover-up around her. "Lena, I saved you a seat!" Ellinae smiles the second Lena makes it to the table. 

 

"Why, thank you." Lena holds the shirt she took up toward the young girl. "Here, put this back on. You'll get sick." Lena says to Ellinae, still wearing her damp bathing suit. She grabs it from Lena and throws it over her head, leaving a bunch of wild curls in its wake. 

 

"Okay!" The table turns to Eliza. "Your  all  going to be participating. In front of you, there is a box filled with different clay colors. In the middle of the table is a bowl. You'll pick a name from that bowl and attempt to make that person out of your clay." She says with little room for arguments. 

 

The adults laugh and shake their heads but nevertheless pass the bowl around the table. Kori obviously pays them no mind as he immediately takes out the green clay and seems to be molding.. a dinosaur. I think.

 

Lena is seated between Ellinae and Jack. To the left of Ellinae is Kori in a highchair. "Who'd you get?" Jack leans over to whisper in her ear. She side-eyes him and smiles. "You'll figure it out. You're a smart boy." He leans back over with a playful eye-roll. "Whatever, nerd." 

 

She glances at Jack, talking to Sam and Lucy, and opens her note.  KARA.  Because, of course, it is. Another reason to be ridiculed. She feels Ellinae leaning to look at her paper, so she turns it to give the girl better access. Ellinae looked up and laughed.

 

"You got the easy one." She says through fits of giggles. Lena quirks an eyebrow and turns to face the young girl. "Why so?" Ellinae places her note down in front of her dramatically. "Because Lena. My mom's equivalent to a Disney princess. Mold some yellow clay as her hair and blue dots for her eyes." And like before, she starts giggling. 

 

The conversation seems to have caught everyone else's attention as they join in on the laughter. Lucy halts for a moment before staring at Kori then Ellinae. "Oh, crap, Kara has two!" Kori glances at her for a second before resuming his artwork, unbothered by the outburst. 

 

"You look just like her. Why didn't I see it when you came outside?" Jack says, looking between Ellinae and her mother. Ellinae pulls damp loose curls from her face and laughs at the shock on everyone's faces. She shrugs and resumes molding her own clay, snorting slightly. 

 



 

 

"Look, it even has her crinkle!" Sam gasps through her laughter, pointing at Lena's clay model. Lena groans and drops her head in her hands. "I think it's creative." Eliza compliments attempting to hide her smirk with her hand. 

 

Lena turns her head from where it's lying on the table toward the children. Kori's having the time of his life making tiny people to crush with his dinosaur. Carter and Ruby are laughing at their exchanged molds, and Esme is playing dolls with a little girl Lena learned is Ruth. Her eyes roam to where Ellinae is.

 

She's talking with Myra and like actually laughing and getting along with her. Lena sits up and stares at the rare sight in front of her. Ellinae is sitting, legs crossed, and Myra mirrors the position in front of her. Lena smiles at the sisters before someone jerks her attention away with a slap 

on her shoulder. "That's their father, right?" 

 

Lena turns toward the door through which they entered the backyard to look at the man striding out. Lena can't hear him, but he seems smug about something. She sees he's still wearing his suit and realizes that's probably why he's so late. He missed his son's birthday for work.

 

Lena thinks back to the picture she saw of only Ellinae and Kara at her party, and she bites her cheek. Robyn immediately runs to hug him, and Myra follows soon after. He twirls them around and kisses their heads. Lena turns back to Ellinae, where she's silently packing the clay model Myra made for her in a tiny box, and her heart clenches. 

 

Kara walks over to him, abandoning the conversation she was having with Jess. She doesn't smile, but his daughters nod, and Kara leads him back inside. Beside Lena, Lucy whistles. "Someone's in trouble." She says before sipping her lemonade. "Better be the son of a bitch." Alex mumbles under her breath.

 

"Not a fan then?" Jack asks her. Alex shakes her head and leans back in her chair. "Nope." She says, popping the p. "He's a bastard to hell with him. Not sure why he even showed up." She shrugs. Lena watches as Alex glances sadly at Kori and Ellinae. "Poor kid doesn't even know that's his dad." She says, ending the conversation by standing and walking toward the siblings. 

 

Astra stands from where she was lounging in a chair, talking to Cat, and walks inside. Eliza watches and follows her. "The father then?" They all jump and turn to where Cat's standing behind them. "Christ. You'll kill a woman like that!" Jess says dramatically, slapping a hand over her chest.

 

Cat rolls her eyes and takes a seat in Alex's abandoned chair. "But yes, Mike Woodson is the father," Sam replies. Cat hums in acknowledgment, her eyes roaming the messy backyard.

 

There are popped balloons and small toys lying around in the grass. There are deserted balls and floaties in the pool. It turns out the backyard is enormous, but the forest behind it makes it look small. Behind the gate are large trees that seem to go on forever. "They love nature." Lena turns to where Cece is holding her daughter Ruth.

 

"Bunch of hippies, all of them, I swear." Lena chuckles at the information. Lena and Cece turn around at the loud shriek. In front of them is Mike rocking Kori, and Kori is trying to wiggle out of his grasp. She and Kori lock eyes, and he immediately yells. "Lena!" His face is turning pink from frustration, and tears are already forming in his eyes.

 

Sam nods at her encouragingly, and Lena walks as fast as possible without looking suspicious. The second she's in reach, Kori throws himself into her arms. Lena holds him close to her chest and lets him play with her ear. "Ms. Luthor?" Mike asks, dumbfounded.

 

Lena glares at him and stares him up and down. "He said to let him go." She says, ignoring his idiotic expression. Mike narrows his eyes at her. "He's  my  son." Lena bites her tongue. "Really? If I can recall, you only have two daughters."

 

Lena can see the exact moment realization dawns on his face. He turns a bright pink and clears his throat. "There might've been a misunderstanding." He says, rubbing his neck. He freezes and stares back at her. "I don't have to explain myself to you. Kori and Ellinae are  my  children." 

 

Lena's jaw twitches, and she glances to where Alex is distracting the young girl with bubbles. "Yet.. Kori has no idea who you are." She tilts her head as innocently as possible. His face somehow turns an even darker shade of red, but before he can argue, someone interrupts them.

 

"Okay, okay, everyone! It's time to sing happy birthday!" Kara shouts from her spot by the door. She sends an apologetic look towards Lena, and Lena sends back a smile she hopes is reassuring. Mike stares at her for a few more seconds before turning on his heel. 

 

"Son of a bleep is right," Jack says, walking up next to Lena, aware of the toddler in her arms. Lena rolls her eyes and walks with her friends back onto the patio. The tables are fully decorated inside the room, surrounded by glass walls. To the side, their belongings are on the tables they left them on, and the largest table is in the middle. 

 

At the end of the table is a large cake. The first layer is decorated in trees, while the second layer has a large three. And the final layer has a large dinosaur on top. "Look, Kori," Lena says softly in his ear, pointing at the cake. He leans back from her chest and turns to the direction Lena is indicating at.

 

"Woah!" He says excitedly. Ellinae rushes past them to her mom, almost tripping in the process. Kara smiles and pins her daughter's hair up from her face. "We can eat it now?" Kori asks into Lena's ear. "If you let us sing to you first." He chews his lip before nodding.

 

Everyone takes their seat except for Lena. She stands awkwardly to the side as Kori refuses to have his family hold him again. Kara lights the candles and waves for Lena to come over. 

 

Lena nods and walks over. "I'm sorry, I don't want to intrude." She says nervously, making her way to hand Kori to his mother. Kara just waves her off and puts her hands in her pockets. "You're basically family now." She says before moving Ellinae to stand beside her. 

 

Lena stares at the woman beside her before looking down at the cake. She knows Kara meant that everyone here is family since they know about Ellinae and Kori, but it doesn't stop the blush from forming on her cheeks.

 

"Alright, everyone on the count of three," Astra yells. "One, two, three!" Everyone begins singing to a delighted Kori. Lena watches as Kara sings and claps while looking at her son with so much adoration. Beside her, Ellinae is making faces at Kori. Lena chuckles at the family's upbeat dynamic.

 

Once the song stops, Lena leans down slightly, and Kori blows out his candles, clapping excitedly. He looks back at Lena and plops a kiss on her cheek. Lena, stunned, just blinks at the toddler before a wave of awes interrupts her. She rolls her eyes and looks at the other two girls. 

 

Ellinae is talking with Astra, and Kara's looking at her with that same smile from the party. Lena smiles back, ignoring the daggers Mike is sending her. Kara breaks eye contact first. "So who's ready for cake!" 

 



 

 

"Where have you been all day?" Lena asks, sitting down next to Eve. "In the kitchen with Nia and Jessica. Fascinating people." Lena furrows her eyebrows. "As in you helped with the food?" The food was amazing. Eve knows how to cook, but it doesn't mean it's actually  good.  

 

"I said I've been in the kitchen, not helped." She rolls her eyes and places Lexe on Lena's lap before she can argue. "From what I've heard, you're great with kids." She teases. Lena rolls her eyes and roams the crowd for Jack and Sam.

 

"If Jack told you that, ignore him. He's a pathological liar." Eve laughs at that. Lexe giggles, too, but I don't think he actually knows why. Everyone's talking and laughing with each other. When they all ate, they went into the bathrooms to shower and change into dry clothes. Then everyone's phones go off at once. 

 

"There's a storm!" Lucy yells out first. Ruby stands from her spot on the floor and rushes to the window. She pulls back the curtains, and indeed it's dark and pouring rain. "The roads are already flooding. I don't think anyone can drive like this." Alex says, crossing her arms. 

 

"We're not going home, mommy?" Esme asks her mother. Alex scoops her up and holds her close. Then, like clockwork, Kara enters the room with Kori on her hip. She changed into black sweats and a white hoodie, Ellinae changed into pink shorts and a matching pink shirt, while Kori's wearing a blue set with a sweater and blue sweats. 

 

 "Uh. Well, it's flooding, and the roads are closed off, so you all can stay here." Cece eyes the blonde woman unamused "Kara, do you have space for everyone?" Kara chuckles nervously and shifts to one leg. "Yes, Cece, I have space." Cece shrugs and Picks up a wide-eyed Ruth. She takes her wife's hand and walks toward the door. 

 

"So we'll stay in our regular room. Ruth can't stand storms. We'll calm her down." She and Jessica wave and say goodnight to everyone before taking their leave.

 

"Kay, everyone, follow us!" Ellinae says, grabbing her mother's hand. Everyone stands and follows the excited blondes down a hallway to a large door. "My fourth favorite room, everyone." Ellinae does a dramatic bow and opens the door. On the floor is a massive pile of bright blankets and pillows. 

 

There's a large projector in front of the mess and small coffee tables covered with bowls of candy. Beside the last table are three mini-fridges packed with beverages. All the children cheer and run to jump into the pile of colors. Lexe wiggles, and Lena places him down on a blanket. "Movies, duh!" Ellinae says, smiling proudly with her hands folded behind her back.

 

Lena looks at Kara, who just shrugs with a sparkling smile. Lena watches as everyone shrugs and takes a seat beside the children. Carter seems to have even convinced his mom to join him as Cat shakes her head and sits as well. They all reach for candy, and Ruby gets up to hand out the beverages from the fridge. 

 

Lena's kind of grateful Mike and his family left. Everyone seems to be in higher spirits, and Ellinae is back to her everyday chipper mood. And Kori doesn't even seem to notice his absence so it's a win-win for everyone.

 

Kara follows and places Kori down in Alex's lap. Lena chuckles as Elline bickers with Astra about how to set up the projector and turns pink when Astra gets it to work. Astra laughs and kisses her head before leading her to have a seat. Ellinae turns and waves for Lena to walk over. Lena nods and kneels down next to the girl.

 

For the second time since meeting her, Ellinae covers one side of her mouth and whispers. "Between you and me, I prefer skittles," She says, nodding to where Kara and Kori are fighting over the Twizzlers. Lena laughs and whispers back, "Me too." She winks and the giggling girl before standing.

 

"Not interested?" Kara asks, sliding up beside Lena. Lena smiles and shakes her head. "Not really." She shrugs. Kara nods, still facing everyone before leaning into Lena. "Follow me," Kara says when the light dims, and the movie starts. Lena raises an eyebrow, but the blonde just shrugs. She puts a finger up to her mouth and opens the door slowly.

 

Lena glances at the distracted crowd before following Kara. Kara closes the door silently behind them, biting her lip in focus. "I renovated the attic." She says, walking past Lena to another hallway. "Are you going kill me and hide my body Ms. Zor-el?" Lena asks, following her anyway.

 

Kara lets out a laugh and puts on her glasses. "I wouldn't do it here, too suspicious on my part." She winks at Lena. Lena rolls her eyes and shoves her slightly. They make it to an empty hallway, and Kara presses a button on the wall. A section in the ceiling opens, and a ladder is folding down. Lena shoots her an unamused look, and Kara shrugs.

 

"Ladies first," Kara says, waving toward the ladder. "Oh, screw off." Lena remarks climbing up first, ignoring Kara's smug grin. Lena stops when she reaches the top. It doesn't seem like an attic but a cabin room. The flood is wood, and the walls are brown. There's a couch to the left and a coffee table in front of it. On the right, there are bookshelves filled with books and shelves with small boxes on them.

 

The best part is the large slider door leading to a balcony.

 

"Cool, right?" Kara says startling Lena. Lena turns her head to look at her "Meh." She teases and walks over to the couch. "I know you're playing with me, so I'm not going to that to heart." Kara bends down and takes two bottles out of a mini-fridge. "Drinks?" Lena shakes her head because, of course, Kara Zor-el has cold alcohol in her attic.

 

"Duh." She holds out her arm. Kara opens the bottles and almost trips over her feet to get the bottle in Lena's hand. Instead of sitting beside Lena on the couch, she drops down onto the floor next to Lena. "Cheers." Lena clinks their bottles together. "Cheers." 

 

"This is amazing." Lena moves the bottle out to see the brand. Kara rubs her neck and takes another sip. "What is it?" Lena says after unsuccessfully finding a tag. Kara swallows before laying her head on the couch to stare at Lena upside down. "It's mine. I made it." Lena looks at the blonde then back at the bottle. 

 

"You made this?" She asks, surprised. Kara chuckles and nods. "I was taught when I was younger." Lena thinks back to her conversation with Ellinae, "In South America?" Kara laughs. "She told you everything, huh?" 

 

"Oh, I'm sorry if I'm not supposed to know-" Kara cuts her off. "Lena, it's okay just didn't know you knew. But yes, I was taught how to make drinks in South America." She says, shrugging taking another swing. Lena watches her in astonishment.

 

"What was it like?" She lifts her legs under her and waits for a response. "Amazing," Kara says wistfully. "It was always hot, so I had an excuse to swim all the time. And Ellinae loved it. She loved everything about it. Plus, I love nature, so it was great teaching my kids all those cool traditions." She finishes with a smile.

 

Lena nods and takes a swing of the divine fruity liquid. A thought pops into her head, and she voices it before she can process it. She recalls only seeing Jess with Kara, "When did you and Jess get so friendly?" Kara studies her for a moment before responding, "No need to be jealous, Luthor. She was just telling me all your deepest darkest secrets." Lena rolls her eyes and shoves her.

 

She laughs, and God, does Lena love the sound. She thinks she can get drunk off Kara's laughter alone. "No, seriously, I was talking about you." She shrugs. Lena swallows her mouthful tilting her head confused. "Why?"

 

"To see if you're single, duhh." She says, slurring her words. And wow, she's tipsy. Lena bites her lip to stop her smile. "And? What did you learn?" Kara lifts her head from the couch and turns to Lena. "That you're indeed single... And thought I was a porn star." She lets out a belly laugh when Lena kicks her. 

 

"She told you that?" Lena asks, covering her head with her hands. She can hear Kara moving, and then her hands are being pushed apart. She opens her eyes, and Kara is sitting in front of her holding her hands apart.

 

"It's okay. It just tells me you have a very inventive imagination." She giggles at her own joke. Lena groans and takes a significant swing from her bottle. "You.." She points at the tipsy Kara. "Were not supposed to know about that." Kara laughs and moved back to her previous spot. 

 

"Obviously." She says. "Hey, how are you so good with kids?" Kara asks, laying her head back on the couch. Lena hums, "I don't think I am... But El and Kori are easy children, so I don't think I deserve the credit." Kara barks out a laugh. 

 

"Easy? Oh, please. Wait until you're woken up in the middle of the night to read Kori a story or when El doesn't feel like wearing a shirt because she's not in the two shirts mood. Even though I've told her an undershirt doesn't count as an actual shirt."

 

Lena's heart fastens at Kara's words. She said 'wait' as if Lena is now a constant in their lives. She busies herself by taking a long swing of the near-empty bottle. "That cannot be good for your neck. Come here." Kara opens her only to roll them and move closer to Lena. Lena puts her legs back down and guides Kara's head onto her lap.

 

"Better?" Kara mumbles as a response. Her eyes shoot back open, and she stares at Lena with determination. "Hey. Can I ask you something?" Lena eyes her suspiciously and nods. "Would you like to go out to dinner with me?" She's looking at Lena with so much hope, and how could Lena say no. 

 

"Sure, Kara, why not." She smiles at the blonde, humming with her eyes closed. She pulls the rubber band from the blonde's hair and runs her hand through it. She isn't sure why but she's going to blame it on the alcohol either way. 

 

Kara opens her eyes, and a dopey smile crosses her face. "Wanna go outside?" Kara says after a few silent minutes. Lena's hand stops in the soft blonde curls, and she turns to look at the door. "Sure." Kara seems to have gotten her energy back as she hops to her feet and holds a hand out for Lena. She shakes her head but takes Kara's hand nevertheless. 

 

Kara leads them outside on the veranda, and Lena's hit with a cool breeze. It's still pouring, but the roof's blocking it. She takes a deep breath as the cool rain flies on her. Then, she tilts her head up and opens her eyes to the rain flying past the stars. She turns to find Kara mirroring her position with her eyes closed.

 

She opens them, and they lock eyes. Kara smiles lazily, studying Lena. She stands up straighter and lifts her hoodie over her head. Lena clears her throat and turns her attention away. She runs a hand through her hair, "Here." Kara's now standing in her black t-shirt and holding the white hoodie in her hand. "Kara, you're going to get sick," Lena says, unamused.

 

"Lee, my body naturally runs hot the cold is good for me." She states, holding the hoodie out further. Blushing at the nickname and knowing how annoying Kara can be, she sighs and pulls the oversized hoodie over her head. "Thank you." Kara beams at her.

 

They stay there together for what seems like hours until they decide to go back inside. "That was refreshing," Lena says, closing the door. When she turns around, Kara's laying down a blanket. She sits, and pats the spot next to her. Lena shrugs, taking a seat beside her. Kara lays down with her hands behind her head. "What's the capital of Ohio?" Lena stares at her, dumbfounded. 

 

"Columbus." The blonde closes her eyes and shakes her head. "No, Lena, it's O." Lena watches as she laughs at her own joke before it hits her. "Oh wow, you're hilarious." Kara nods. "Right? I thought about joining the circus when I was younger." Lena hums and lays down herself. "You match the description pretty accurately." 

 

Kara snorts and turns her head slightly. "So you do have jokes Luthor, you could be my partner." Lena nods, closing her eyes. "Two have always been better than one." 

 

"I think I have an idea for our second date. I'm going to introduce you to Glee because I still can't believe you didn't get my joke." Lena eyes her perplexed. "Second? Have we gone on our first, and I forgot?" Kara opens her eyes, and a dopey smile forms on her face. "No. But I already have an idea for our first one.. So Glee will just have to wait." She admits. 

 

Lena gulps and turns back to face the ceiling. She slightly sobered up from the fresh air, but the weariness was finally setting in. 

 

"Night, Luthor."

 

"Night Zor-El," and she finally lets the darkness consume her. 

 

If she fell asleep smiling, who would know?

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

I press the button again. "Hello? Anyone there?" I ask for probably the millionth time that week. I huff and turn the walkie-talkie back off. There was still no response from my aunt yet. No one's been able to reach her. It makes me wonder if she even knows she only has one living relative left. 

 

I get up from the desk and head to the stairs. I've been staying with the Danvers for a month now. Though I wonder if they know, I know what they're doing. A few days ago, when I turned on the tv to see the city's damage, all the news channels were removed. 

 

The radio suddenly stopped working, and I never see Jeremiah with a newspaper anymore. They're trying to keep me from seeing the destruction my parent's caused. Not that I mind. It's probably the only thing that is keeping me sane.

 

Alex resumed school with much dispute. Eliza and Jeremiah said it'll keep people from being suspicious. No one knows I'm staying with the Danvers. As a matter of fact, they aren't focused on me yet. They're still trying to find more adjectives that describe my parents as monsters.  

 

I walk to the living and sit down on the large couch. I look around the room I've scanned over a hundred times as I absentmindedly scratch my fingers with my nails. I turn to the door that just opened, and Eliza walks in. 

 

She takes a seat beside me, not looking up from the papers in her hand. I'm grateful she doesn't try to make small talk when I'm agitated. Instead, she places her hand over my mine, stopping the abuse on my fingers. She wraps her arm around my shoulder and settles my head down in her lap. 

 

I chew my lip to stop the loud sob from coming out. I curl my legs up to my chest as she caresses my head. She lets me cling onto her shirt and cry in her lap. The only noise in the room is the small sniffles that escape me. 

 

Soon enough, Jeremiah walks in. He looks at the sight before him and walks to sit beside his wife. He runs reassuring circles on Eliza's thigh and continues his book. They don't look at me with pity or bagger me to talk about my feelings which is probably why I feel so safe with them. 

 

The tears eventually stop, and not a second later; I can hear the front door opening. Whoever it is kicks off their shoes and drops their bag at the entrance. I look at the clock in front of me on the tv stand and read three-twenty four. Alex pushes open the living room door and halts.

 

She walks into the room and turns on the tv to some teen action movie. She plops down on the floor in front of me and takes my hand in hers, and gives it a soft squeeze. And without a single word, this became a routine.

 



 

Somewhere in Russia

 

"Ms. In-Ze, come quickly. He doesn't have much time!" The doctors are running around like mice to treat all the injured people. I raise my head and follow her to the tent. Inside is Non laying on one of the sleeping bags, pale and coughing. The doctor leaves, and I rush over to his side.

 

"Astra, please, I don't have much time." He croaks out. I take his hand and let the tears fall. "I'm so sorry I didn't tell you." He admits. I shake my head confused. "What?" 

 

He starts coughing once more. "Astra, they're gone." He explains at the confusion on my face. "You're family.. they're dead."

 

"What?" I repeat. "Alura and Zor-el.. They've been dead for some time now." A million things run through my head at this, but I state the most important one. I drop his hand and stand. 

 

"Why didn't you tell me!" I yell. "What happened to Kara!?" I run my hand through my hair and pace the room ignoring his coughs. 

 

"I'm so sorry, Astra.. I knew you'd take her in, but I wasn't ready for children." He says. Kara. My niece. The little girl who I raised and loved as my own. I glare at the man I loved. True, we were married, but he started changing, and it seems he finally won the stone-cold bastard title. 

 

"So all that static that came from the walkie-talkie it was Kara?" I shout at him, and he looks away in shame. I let out a laugh and let my hand fall from my hair. "You know what, Non. Go to hell." 

 

I speed out the tent and look around, "You!" The young man jumps and stares at me wide-eyed. "Get me a helicopter for National City." He rubs his neck and looks around nervously. 

 

"Um, Ma'am, I don't think-" I cut him off. "Now!" I bark at him. He nods and runs off toward the helipads to talk to a pilot. I rush past everyone until I reach my tent and search through my dressers for the walkie-talkie. I hastily wipe the tears streaming down my face until I find the small device. 

 

It's broken. Non broke it. I fling it in a random direction and slam my hands on the dresser. I run back and forth, shoving my belongings in my bags, and push through the crowd until I reach the helipads. "Let's go." The pilot nods and opens the door for me. I climb in and bite my cheek, preventing any more tears from escaping.

 



 

"You have to eat something, Kara. You need to take your medication." Alex sighs out. I huff and push out from the table. "I already ate Alex." The older girl rolls her eyes and pushes Kara's chair closer to the table. "At like six am, Kara, it's seven pm." I roll my eyes at that and open my mouth to respond, but Alex starts first.

 

"Yeah, yeah, you aren't hungry, I know. But this isn't healthy, and your foot's almost fully healed." She does have a point. My foot is basically healed from the occasional stinging. I sigh and pick up my fork, shoving a spoon full of food in my mouth. My parents are probably rolling in their graves. "Happy?" I ask after swallowing. 

 

She nods and sits on the chair beside my raising an eyebrow. "Kara, I'm not leaving until you start eating. However long it takes." She says, taking out her phone. I drop my head on the table dramatically. "How about this. If you finish, I'll sneak you some candy." I perk up at that.

 

"Really!? Twizzlers?" Alex laughs and ruffles my hair. "Of course, you dork." I start eating and half-heartedly try and shove Alex away when she pampers my head with kisses. "Love you, you little dork."

 

 I snort at that before sipping my lemonade. "Love you too.. Alexandra." Long story short, Alex got grounded that night. 

 



 

 

"Can I pleaseee go outside?" I beg Eliza, who's shaking her head while washing the dishes. "Sunshine, you know why you can't." I huff and cross my arms. I glance past Eliza, where Jeremiah's waving me over. I look back at Eliza, who's distracted and still listing reasons on why I shouldn't leave.

 

I tiptoe away until I make it to Jeremiah. He holds up a finger to his mouth, and this time I'm not confused about what it means. I follow him to his study, and he goes through his drawer. "How about this. If you wear these at all times, you can go outside." I rush over to him and look at his hands.

 

He's holding a baggy shirt and jean shorts: a baseball cap, sneakers, and contacts. I look up at him, baffled. "You can't take these off outside." He repeats. I chew my lip and nod. He holds out his hand, and I shake it. "Pleasure doing business with you." He says teasingly.

 

"Ah yes, a Danvers doing business with a Zor-El, what would the world think?" I joke, taking the clothes from him. He sends me a wink and smile and as I leave the room. I tiptoe past the kitchen and run upstairs. I ran into Alex's room and shut the door behind me. I have my own room, but I spend most of my time with Alex anyway.

 

I quickly change into the clothes and wrap my hair up in a ponytail that's hanging out the back of the cap. I hesitantly walk over to the mirror. I look at myself through my teary eyes. I look like a regular kid, a good plan because why would the Zor-El heir be outside wearing this with blonde hair? 

 

My hair is still mostly brunette since I dyed it before the fire, but it's slowly turning back blonde. There are large blonde streaks, and I let out a watery chuckle. 

 

I hear a knock at the door and turn around. Jeremiah opens the door and smiles at me. "You look.." I smile and continue for him, "Kara." He chuckles and shakes his head. "Yes. You look like Kara, not the Zor-El heir.. just Kara." He glances behind him and waves me over.

 

Together we quietly make our way downstairs to the front door. "There's money in your pocket.. just please be safe." I wipe the loose tears from my eyes and nod. "I will, I promise." He smiles and wraps me in a hug. I hug him back, and he steps back when we break apart. I send him one last smile before I open the door and leave. 

 

When I step outside, I'm greeted by the spring air. I smile and pull my cap down when a family walks past. I sprint and jump down the stairs. I look back at Jeremiah, giving me two thumbs up before closing the door. I chew my lip and run down the sidewalk. I made my way to the park we passed every time I had a doctor's appointment. 

 

I push the gate open and look around. This is the first time I've been to the park since I was about four. When I turned five, my mother signed me up for ballet and just kept signing me up for other activities, so I had no time ever to go back to the park. "Excuse me?" I freeze and turn to look at the person next to me.

 

"Could you push me on the swings?" The redhead points behind her to where the swings are. I tilt my head but nod anyway. "Thanks, I'm Ellie." I nod and open to state my name but hesitate. "No problem, I'm Linda." The name comes out before I can process it. Ellie stares at me funny but just laughs it off.

 

She sits on the swing, and I place my hands on the chains. "Ready?" She nods and pushes back. I push her forward and repeat the motions until we're both tired out. She comes off swaying but laughing. "Hey! Wanna go play over there?" I look in her direction and see the slide she's pointing at.

 

I give her an unamused look, and she shrugs, still smiling. "Sure, why not?" She grabs my hands, and we climb up to the top of the slide. "Come sit behind me." She invites, sitting down at the top of the slide, waiting for me to follow. I shrug and sit behind her. "One, two, three!" She shouts, positioning my hands around her stomach.

 

We slide down laughing, and to others, we probably look insane. "Are you new here?" She asks when we calm ourselves down. I blink before responding, "Yeah, I am." She nods and bites her lip in thought. "Then you've got to try Tony's." I've heard Alex bring that place up, but I couldn't join her since I was basically on house arrest. 

 

I tilt my head, and she explains, "A pizza place that sells desert. Come on. It's not far." She holds her hand out, and I take it. On our way there, I've learned a lot about Ellie. She seemed to like physical affection from the hand-holding. She loves snakes but can't stand mice and was raised by her father and older sister. 

 

"Here we are." She leans her bike on the wall and leads us inside a rather large restaurant, and when we enter, we're greeted by a tall man with a long black beard. "El, you're back! Don't you get tired of me?" He greets until he glances at Kara. "Oh! You've brought a friend?" He asks Ellie. "Yep, this is Linda. She's new here."

 

"Nice to meet you, Linda. I hope to see you here more." He says. I nod stiffly, "Yes, um, likewise." They seem to brush off my awkwardness, and he leads us to an empty table. We take our seats, and Tony hands us a menu. "The regular," Ellie says, not even bothering to look at the menu.

 

He nods and looks at me. "And for you?" I chew my lip in thought. Sure we've ordered pizza and Chinese food to the Danvers' home, but I haven't eaten fast food in.. well, years. So I chose the most common. "Um, fries and a strawberry milkshake?" He nods and writes it down. "Great, I'll be right back." He smiles and walks into the kitchen.

 

"That's it?" I turn to Ellie, confused. "It's pretty late. That's all your ordering to eat?" I shrug and adjust my sleeves self consciously. "I don't have a large appetite." Which is a lie because, before the fire, I normally ate most of the food at my sleepovers with Alex. But I still can't bring myself to eat a full meal.

 

She nods and taps her fingers on the table. "Can I ask you something?" I nod and lay my arms on the table. "What's your favorite color?" I blink at her a few times before laughing. I don't know what I was expecting, but it wasn't that. Instead, she joins in on the laughter and gestures for me to answer.

 

"Um." My bedroom and wardrobe had the Adam's family aesthetic palette, and I couldn't wear what I wanted. Much less wear bright colors. But since living with the Danvers, I've been able to wear anything in any color, even if I looked ridiculous.

 

I bite my cheek before answering, "Yellow. Eliza calls me Sunshine and insists it makes sense." Ellie looks at me confused before laughing.

 

"Who's Eliza?" I hesitate, "My friend from my old school." The lie comes quick. She nods, and then our food is being placed down in front of us. "Thanks, Tony!" She reaches into her pocket and pulls out two gum pieces. "Keep the change." She says, shoving it in the pocket of his apron. 

 

He smacks her with a menu and shakes his head smiling before walking away. I laugh and reach for my milkshake. Ellie can probably see the awe on my face when I take a sip which is why she asks, "You've never had a milkshake?" I shrug and continue sipping. "Not since I was five." She sends a small smile and takes a bite of her chicken pizza. 

 

I take up a fry and chew on it, looking around. The restaurant is spacious but not packed, considering everyone's still at school. "Don't you have school?" I asked, turning back to her. She sips her soda with a twinkle in her eye. "Yeah. But my school's big, so I went this morning for the attendance and left." She shrugs.

 

"Cool," I mumble in shock. Ellie laughs shakes her head. "Can I ask you a question?" I nod and take up a few more fries. "Are you Kara Zor-El?" I freeze, and the food in my mouth tastes bitter. I continued chewing and put my hands on my lap to keep them from shaking.

 

"It's just that I competed against you at those dance competitions." She says, simply taking another sip of her soda. I blink at her, confused, "So you know.. Aren't you going to run.. or something?" She mirrors my confusion and opens her mouth to answer.

 

"Why would I? I invited you here that would be considerably rude." She shrugs. "No, because of what my family did.." I say nervously. She tilts her head perplexed, "What your family did. Last time I heard, you tried to stop them from opening the door." She says simply.

 

"So.. You don't care?" She shrugs, "About who you are? Nope." She says, popping the 'p.' I nod, smiling, and push my fries back in exchange for my milkshake. "I really think you should eat something." 

 

"You sound like Alex." I roll my eyes playfully. "My adoptive sister," I explain at the confusion on her face. "She sounds smart." She winks and bites her pizza. "You both would get along fine," I say, dropping my head on the table.

 

We both laugh and talk about random topics until high schoolers start to pour in. "I think I should go," I mutter, zipping my sweater up. "Already?" Ellie wines. I chuckle and raise my eyebrows, "It's been hours." She furrows her brows and turns to the clock. "Oh shoot, you're right." She waves over a waiter.

 

"Here." She says, handing him the cash for their meal. "I could've paid." She shrugs and smiles, "Alright, next time then." My chest flutters at 'next time,' but I don't pay it any mind. "Okay then." I agree, following her out of the booth. "Since it's Friday, can you come back tomorrow?" Ellie asks nervously, adjusting her hair. 

 

"I'll try, I promise." She smiles and holds her hands behind her back, "And I promise I won't tell anyone." She says, crossing her fingers over her heart. We both laugh, and she wraps me in a hug. "Alright, I'll see you around, 'Linda.'" She says teasingly, picking up her bike and hopping on it. I wave to her as she rides off down the street, her red hair glistening in the sunlight. 

 

I stand there with my hand in the air like an idiot until she rides out of view. I pull my hat down over my face and walk in the other direction home. 

 



 

"Santana or Finn?" Ellie asks, nudging me with her foot. I sigh and turn to look at the girl lying to me. "Santana," I answer. She hums, satisfied, "Good answer." After I came home that day, I told Jeremiah about Ellie, he was obviously displeased about me getting caught so quickly, but they've come to like her as I do.

 

Now here we both are in my room watching a show called Glee. She holds her Twizzler out before her, and I take a bite. "Kara!" I ignore her, staring at the tv. I can hear her huff and take an aggressive bite from the red string. "Your hair's almost fully blonde." She states, twisting some of it around her finger.

 

I shrug and turn to her, "Yeah, I don't have to dye it anymore." She sits up and pauses the tv. "How about we dye our hair? And get streaks together?" She suggests. I think for a moment. My hair is now back to its original color, but it looks bland. 

 

"Can I dye it pink?" She laughs and shakes her head, "Of course. Come on." She holds out her hand, and I take it. She walks over to her bag and throws her hoodie over her head, and I walk to my dresser to put on a sweater. "Ready?" She asks.

 

I nod, and we quietly tiptoe downstairs. Alex is staying at her friend Vicky's house, and Eliza and Jeremiah sleep dead anyway. I open the door and zip up my sweater. "This way." She says, taking my hand in hers impulsively. We walk side by side in the cool air until we reach the twenty-four-hour corner store. 

 

"Hey, girls." The cashier greets us. We nod and wave, walking over to the hair section. "Do you even know how to dye hair?" I ask Ellie, who's crouching down and picking up colored dyes. She stands and rolls her eyes, handing me the boxes. "Yes, Kara, I'm not a loser." I nod until her words process.

 

"So I'm a loser?" I ask. She winks and laughs before turning into another aisle. I roll my eyes and walk to the counter. "Does your parents know what you're doing?" He asks when Ellie arrives with a pack of pretzels and M&Ms. "When it comes to dye Jacob, they never do." She says, handing him the cash. 

 

He shrugs and hands her back the change. "Whatever." The teenager says, "And my name is Jake." Ellie shakes her head, "Whatever you say, Jakey." He rolls his eyes and turns to me, "How are you both friends." He questions, looking between us. 

 

Ellie takes the bag and throws her free arm around me, "Because she loves me, don't be rude, Jimmy." He glares at her, "Alright, now get out before I call your parents." She shrugs, and we walk to the door. "Bye, Jake!" I yell before stepping outside.

 

"Why won't you ever let me pay for things?" I groan. She chuckles and leans on the wall. I quickly grab the bag from her when she looks around. "I'll at least carry it back, plus I have long arms," I say, holding my arms out and laughing when she shoves me. "Whatever you say, Hercules." She says, pushing off the wall and walking away.

 

"Wait up!" I shout whisper, and rush to catch up. The second I do, she links our arms. "You're going to look like Barbie in that mermaid movie, and I can't wait." I open my mouth to speak, but she continues, "Yes, I know you most likely haven't watched it.. I'll put it on when we get back."

 

"And-" She interrupts again, "Yes, we can re watch Dennis the Menace." I roll my eyes and nudge her slightly, "You know me so well it's scary." She laughs and turns to look at me, her amber eyes shining in the moonlight. "I know you so well it's sickening." 

 

I laugh and throw my head back, "Sure you are." I say sarcastically. "You love me," I say, mocking her words from earlier. She quietly faces back forward and mutters, "Just a little."

 



 

"It looks great!" I say, running my hand through my blonde-pink hair, ignoring Ellie's snickers. "You look like Barbie!" She says through her laughter. I huff and turn to look at her. She dyed her hair black and then added purple streaks. "Yeah, and you look like the vampire queen from monster high!" I remark.

 

She walks closer to me and holds my face. She blinks at me a few times before pushing my hair behind my ears. 

 

She shrugs and sits down on the bathtub edge. "We look great.. Alex won't let you live this down, though." I shiver at the thought of Alex seeing my hair. "Well, your sister isn't any better." Ellie laughs and stands to leave the bathroom. I wrap my hair in a ponytail and follow her out. We hear the door down the hall creak and immediately turn to each other. 

 

I pack up the empty snack bags and throw them in the bin while Ellie turns off the tv. She hops in bed, and I race to turn off the lights. Once it's off, I run back to the bed and pull the covers over us. A few silent seconds later, the door is opening. 

 

It closes back, and we let out sighs of relief. We turn to each other in the dark and start giggling. "That was close." Ellie sighs out, turning on her back. "We're so dead in the morning," I say, mirroring her position. 

 

She sighs and turns her head to me. "If you could be anywhere in the world right now.. Where would you be?" I turn to her, and without hesitation, I respond, "Anywhere with you."

 

She reaches for my hand, and I hold it closer to her for easier access. She takes it and squeezes it. "Night, Kara." I take a deep breath to even out my breathing, "Night, El."

 



 

"Mom, Dad, Linda, and El. This is my girlfriend, Vicky." She says, holding up their entangled hands. I glance at Ellie, and she's already wiggling her eyebrows. We watch as Eliza and Jeremiah greet the nervous teenager. I wrap my arm around Alex's shoulders when she stands next to me, watching her girlfriend talk to her parents. 

 

I leaned over slightly and murmured, "I knew it." She shakes her head and throws my arm off. "Shut up, Roberts." She hisses. I roll my eyes and cross my arms. Ever since I dyed my hair, she's been calling me Barbie. "Whatever, Alexandr-" She smacks my arm. "Kara, God help you if you finish that sentence."

 

I roll my eyes and hop off the counter I was sitting on and walk over to Ellie. I drop down in the seat next to her and sigh. She continues reading her book. I sigh once more, and she closes her book. "What's the issue?" She asks.

 

"Alex keeps calling me Barbie," I say quickly. "Oh, you poor thing." She throws an arm over my shoulders, and I immediately lay down on her lap. I throw my legs up and let them dangle off the hand of the couch. "Are you going to get a piercing right there?" I ask, booping her nose.

 

"How'd you know?" She asks Lamely. I shrug, "You talk in your sleep." She scowls at me and flicks my forehead. "No, I do not!" I roll my eyes and hop up from the couch. "You really do." She mumbles something that I choose to ignore. 

 

"Are you coming to help volunteer at the shelter?" I think for a moment and nod. "Yeah, but we're supposed to have brunch with Vicky and her family, so I'll be a little late." She nods and stands too. "That's fine, now come on." I follow after the shorter girl until we get outside. 

 

She picks up Alex's old bike and waves me over. I hop on and speak up when I see her walking towards hers. "Just hop on." She chews her lip before standing up on the back of the bike. "Alright, but I swear if you crash." I roll my eyes and start peddling, "I won't."

 

I peddle down the road until we reach the hill, "Are you ready?" Before she can answer, I push us forward. I laugh, and Ellie all but screams. Eventually, she stops, and we're both laughing, dashing through the breeze.

 

It was a great last day.

 



 

 

"Bye, guys!" I shout after running out of the car. I push my cap down and sprint down the sidewalk to the shelter. I stop when I see cops and an ambulance surrounding the building.  Ellie .

 

I run across the street and see people being evacuated. "What's going on?" I yell at the crowd. An officer walks over and crouches to my height. "There was an accident. There was too much damage to the building, and the ceiling caved in." I can feel my heart drop. "Where's Ellie? Ellie Smith? She was volunteering!" I ask, trying to calm my breathing.

 

His face falls, and he glances back at the building. "The damage from the explosives was too much. They didn't know the ceiling was unstable. I'm so sorry.  But Ellie Smith didn't make it."  It was as if all the nerves in my body had stopped working.

 

 "You're lying!" I push past him and rush to the front of the building. I watch in horror as they come out with a short body in a bag on a stretcher. 

 

I take a deep breath and run back in the direction I came from. I run past people and cars. I run until I'm back home. I slam the door and just stand there. The first one to greet me is a confused Alex. She sees the look on my face, and her expression falls. I turn to where she's glancing at and see my aunt sitting on the couch.

 

I lose it. The adrenaline seems to wear off, and I fall to my knees. I clutch my chest and let out the heart-wrenching sobs that were waiting to come out. I cry because my aunt's finally home. I cry because it was my parents that bombed that area. I'm crying because even from the grave, my parents are destroying my life.

 

I'm crying because I just lost my favorite person. 

 



 

When I wake up, I'm in my room lying on my aunt's side, like what I used to do before she left. "I heard about Ellie." She mumbles into my hair. My throat feels dry, and my eyes are irritated. "My parents killed her.. If I got there earlier-" My aunt stops me by patting my head. "Absolutely not, little one."

 

"Your parents are indeed responsible, but if you had gotten there earlier, you both would've been hit." I sniffle, and she holds me closer. "The people who gave the green light are also responsible. They should've made sure it was safe." 

 

"Where were you?" I ask. "Non. He broke the walkie-talkie. I'm so sorry I wasn't there for you. I promise I'm never leaving you again." I chew my lip before asking the question that's been bugging me for years. "Was.. Did my mother send you away?"

 

She doesn't respond, and she just continues playing in my hair. I didn't think she was going to answer, but she started speaking, "Before you were born, I was dating Zor-El." My head shoots up, and I stare at her, confused. "We were in arranged marriages.. Unfortunately, Alura was arranged for Zor-El and me Non."

 

"That.. makes a lot of sense, actually," I say, laying my head back down. "Mhm. So she married Zor-El, and I married Non. But it so happens that you were closer to me than your mother.. she got jealous and stationed me to Russia to handle the shipments."

 

I stiffly nod and embrace the familiar warmth. "I missed you. So much." I murmur. She kisses my head, "Me too, little one." Before I can fall back asleep, I sit up a little. "I hope you know you were more of a mother to me than she ever was." and like before; I fall asleep.

 



 

I stand beside Jamie and her father in front of the church. There isn't anyone else here, considering it was only Ellie's sister and father in her life. "Here." I nearly jump out of my skin when Jamie starts talking. I turn, and there she is, holding a small box. "She would've wanted you to have this."

 

I carefully take the box and open the top. It's Ellie's camera. Inside the box are a bracelet I made her, petals from the flowers we found entering a restricted property, colorful rocks we found at the pond, our leftover dye, and a small bell she was preparing to give me as a gift for learning how to ride a bike.

 

"Thank you, Kara." I look up at Ellie's father and tilt my head. "No, no sir, I didn't do anything-" He held up a hand and shook his head, "You made her happy. Genuinely happy. So thank you."

 

I start crying for the sixth time that morning, but Jamie wraps her arm around me this time. I can see she's crying, and her father has his head in his hands.  

 

It was a terrible day.

 



 

I stare at the camera and finally press the button to turn it on. It lights up, and the gallery pops up. I take a deep breath before scrolling through the photos. The first photo is the one she took the second time we hung out together. The others are photos of us at the lake, park, Tony's, and even the amusement park Jamie took us to.

 

I let out a watery chuckle and placed the camera back in the box. I run my hand through my hair and crawl back into my bed and unpaused Monster High.

 

It doesn't feel the same.

 



 

"You can stay for a few more months, but then we'll have to move." I stop picking at the spaghetti on my plate and glance at my aunt. "What?" She sighs, "People are now trying to figure out where you are. I don't want them finding you, so when they get too close, we'll leave." 

 

It's Alex who speaks up this time, "What? You're taking her away?" She asks. My aunt shakes her head helplessly. "We don't want you all to get in trouble with everyone for taking Kara in. It's safer if they don't know." Which makes sense. I don't want the Danvers getting hurt or hated because of me.

 

"Okay," I say. Alex stares at me in shock. "You're leaving?" I huff and let my fork drop on my plate. "I don't want you guys getting hurt because of me. Plus, I can fly back here any time it's like a six-hour flight." Alex stops to think for a moment. "You're going to New York?" I nod, unable to hide my disappointment.

 

"I promise I'll be back all the time." Alex nods and holds my hand. "Kara can go to school with you for a few weeks before she leaves. What about that?" Alex chews her lip, "Alright, fine." I smile, and she rolls her eyes, nudging my shoulder.

 



 

"You cannot wear that." I look down at my outfit and stare back at Alex, confused. "Why not?" She clicks her teeth and crosses her arms. "You look like a toddler learning how to dress for the first time." It's now my turn to cross my arms. 

 

"Well, I'm wearing it." In defeat, she throws her hands up and walks out, "Whatever." She's been a little stingy since she and Vicky broke up over the summer. She didn't tell me why but she's obviously still upset about it, so I just shrugged and followed her to the car. 

 

Last year my parents found out Lena was skipping a grade and had me take the test to skip too, which is how I'm able to be in the same grade as Alex. "Hey." I poke her shoulder. She continues staring at the road, but she glances over at me. 

 

"Did Sam have her baby?" I asked, tilting my head. Alex's face softens, and she nods, "Yeah. Vicky said she had a girl, Ruby." I nod and hum, satisfied. I didn't know Sam or really Vicky, but they made Alex happy, which was enough for me.

 

Alex parks in front of the school, turns off the car, and turns to me. "What are the rules?" I huff and remove my seatbelt. "My name is Linda. Ignore the stares, and be myself." Alex nods contently and removes her seatbelt. "Great, let's go."

 

I hop out of the car, and Alex walks around to hand me my bag. I nod, and she takes my hand, leading us inside. I ignore the stares we're getting and look straight ahead. "Alright, I have to get to class.. You'll be okay right?" I roll my eyes and wave her away, "Yes, Alex, I'll be fine." She sends me a warning look. 

 

"I promise, Alex." She smiles and holds my face to kiss my forehead.

 

"Okay, I'm just a text away." She says, walking backward, holding her phone up. She watches me for a few more seconds before turning around, and I lose her in the crowd. I sigh, look down at my watch, and see I still have time before my class starts.

 

I do the second best thing and roam the hallways until I reach History class. I open the door, and my old teacher looks up, confused. She pushes her glass on her face and squints at me. 

 

I know I probably look totally different from the last time she saw me. My hair is in two long blonde braids, and I exchanged my contacts for my glasses. I'm wearing a yellow dress, a short pink jacket, and my low brown boots.  

 

"I'm sorry, are you new?" She looks at the clock and back to me, "Class doesn't start for another twenty minutes." I shake my head and take a seat in front of her desk on the stool I usually sit at. She looks me up and down until realization dawns on her. "Kara?" 

 

I take a deep breath and nod. "Its- Its really you?" She asks, scrutinizing my face. I clear my throat before answering, "Yeah.. It is. 

 

She smiles and leans back in her chair. "I hear you're a sophomore now?" She says, crossing her arms. "I am! But can you.. Not tell anyone?" Her eyebrows furrow, and I hurry to explain, "I'm supposed to be Linda now." I mumble.

 

She nods in understanding. "I won't ask who you're staying with.. But are you safe?" I nod, and she continues, "Are you happy?" I freeze at the question and look up at her. I chuckle and rest my elbows on the desk, "Yes. I'm very happy." She smiles back and reaches in her drawer. 

 

I eye the paper in her hand curiously, and she flips it over, sliding it in front of me. I look down. It's the History test I retook. 

 

A+

 

I let out a watery chuckle and looked back at the woman in front of me. She stands and walks around her desk to me. She holds up her arms, and I wrap my arms around her.

 

"I'm extremely proud of you."

 



 

I raise my hand, and the teacher eyes me, annoyed. "Ms. Danvers?" I let my hand fall, "May I use the restroom?" I ask, not wavering to his glare. "Can it wait?" He asks. I sigh and shake my head, "It really can't, sir." I lie with a slight pout. He rolls his eyes and nod.

 

I grab my bag and walk to the front of the class, trying to ignore the whispers and stares. I walk out and let out a deep breath. I didn't need to go to the bathroom; I just needed an escape. I lift my bag over my arm and mindlessly roam the halls. It feels weird not being surveillanced 24/7.

 

Then I spot it. The water fountain. I eye it weirdly and walk up to it. I was never allowed to use it when my parents were alive, something about it not being proper. Considering how prestigious this school is, I wouldn't expect the water fountains to be less.

 

I squint at the all the buttons and press one. Nothing happens. I press another one, nada. In frustration, I start clicking them all. Then it starts spewing water up. "Uh oh." I back away and watch in horror, and it starts leaking as well.

 

Soon enough, teachers and students are peaking out of their classrooms, and I wave awkwardly. I can hear the laughter and chew my cheek, looking back at the broken fountain. "What did you do?" A familiar voice asks. I turn around, and Alex is rushing over to me.

 

"I was uh- thirsty?" She gives me an unamused face and presses some random buttons on the confusing machine, and the water stops—a little. "How did you even break it?" I roll my eyes at her trying to contain her smile. "I don't know," I say simply with a shrug.

"Danvers!" She both visibly cringe at the shout. We both turn to the dean walking toward us with a worker behind him. Alex leans over and whispers in my ear, "Great going, Linda."  She hisses. I shove her, and we both smile at the dean.

 

"Nice to meet you, sir," I say, holding out my hand. He crosses his arms and looks between Alex and me. "Oops?" I speak at his glare, shrugging.

 



 

I hand my bags off to the worker and turn back to my family. Alex flings herself around me, and I immediately hug back. "Don't be a stranger, dork." I chuckle, and she backs away, "Never, Alex." I turn to Jeremiah, and he lifts me up in a hug. "Remember, Kara is way better than Linda. Don't let go of her." I nod, and he puts me down.

 

I then turned to Eliza, who was already crying. "Goodbye, Sunshine." She says in my hair. "Eliza, if you cry, I'm going cry," I say, wiping my eyes. She pushes the loose strand of hair in my face behind my ears and kisses my head. "I love you." I chew my bottom lip and wipe my eyes, "I love you too. All of you." I say, turning to Jeremiah and Alex.

 

"It's time, little one." I turn to my aunt and nod. I squeeze Eliza's hand and walk over to my aunt, who hugs me and kisses my head. "I'll keep you safe. I promise." She says, leading me over to our gate. I look back at my adoptive family and smile. Jeremiah wraps his arm around Eliza, and Eliza does the same to Alex.

 

I climb to stairs to the private plane and take a seat. I huff and reach for my bag. I took out the box Jamie gave me and turned on the camera. I held it up and snapped a picture. I waited until the image came out and shook it. Then, I took out the pen to label it. 

 

I look up to where my aunt is sitting in the row beside me. She smiles, and I smile back. Then, I look back down at the picture and start writing.

 

Moving to New York. If you were still here, I would've brought you. I know it was on your list of places to visit. I wish you were here.

 

I miss you, always, Ellie. <3 

Chapter Text

I pick at the cold lunch on my tray and force a laugh at Jasmine's joke. I'm not sure why it's funny. I don't think it is, or maybe I just don't understand it. 

 

"Hey Kara, you bought the tickets, right?" I look up and nod, "Yeah, all eight." I respond, smiling weakly. One of our classmate's older brothers is throwing a party and is selling tickets for entrance. They said it's my turn to pay, but I can't remember the last time one of them paid.

 

"Do we really have to go? We can just watch movies at my house or something." I suggest. Julie turns to me, and the annoyance on her face is obvious, "Kara, relax. You never want to do anything fun. We'll be able to meet older guys and can make those guys jealous." She says, gesturing to the four boys at the other table.

 

"Are you coming or not?" Emma says, not even bothering to spare me a glance while fixing her lipgloss. "Yeah. I'll come." I say, pushing my tray away. I lost my appetite.

 

"Great. I'll pick everyone up at eight." Jasmine says, basically vibrating in her seat. The other girls cheer, and I just smile.

 



 

New York sucks. I decided that after three weeks of living here. I drop down on my bed and bend over to strap up my heels. I don't understand why  it's so important for us to date older men, but it seems normal here, so I just follow along. 

 

"Kara! Hurry up!"  They honk the horn, and I roll my eyes. I stand, grab my purse and rush downstairs. 

 

"Another one?" My aunt asked from where she was sitting on the kitchen island. I shrug and cross my arms, "I guess." She nods and looks at my outfit. "Remember a jacket." She says, simply turning back to her book and tea. "Kay, love you!" I shout, grabbing a black jacket from the rack and running outside. 

 

I walk as fast as I can in these heels and hop inside the van. "Took you long enough." Jasmine huffs in annoyance. "Sorry," I mumble, biting my lip to stop me from playing with my fingers. I sit quietly as they make up a plan to make the boys jealous. 

 

I still don't understand what it has to do with me. There are four boys and two likes Julie. But, then again, since I moved here, I haven't understood many things.

 

 When the cab pulls into the neighborhood, we can tell exactly which house the party is. It's a large house with moving lights around it, and the music is so loud we can hear it three buildings away. "You have the tickets, right?" Instead of rolling my eyes, I reach into my purse and hand out a ticket to everyone.

 

"Great, let's go, ladies!" Emma squeals. We climb out of the cab one at a time and hand the guy outside our ticket and fake ids. When we reach inside, my friends are looking around in pure amazement. "Guys, this doesn't seem safe.." I say, looking around at the red cups and white lines on the tables.

 

"Relax," is the only Jasmine says to me before grabbing Julie and Emma's hand. I watch them glance at the boys and make a beeline for a group of older guys. "Kara, hey!" I turn to the familiar voice and smile as he walks up beside me. 

 

"I thought you girls weren't coming tonight?" He says, staring at Julie, who's visibly flirting with one of the older students. I shrug and glance at my group of friends, "We changed our minds." I say. He nods and turns back to me. 

 

"You shouldn't be alone. Come hang out over here." Darren suggests smiling. I nod and follow him to the other boys, who seem to all have the same idea as they stare at my friends. Darren was always the nicer of the four, which is probably why we got along so well. Or maybe I'm just a way to get closer to Julie.

 

"Come on, Darren," Adam says, stomping over to my friends with the others not far behind without sparing me a second glance. Darren sends me an apologetic smile and jogs over to friends. I huff and lean on the table behind me. I'm not a stranger to being left alone at parties. It happens at every party.

 

"Hey." I furrow my eyebrows and glance at the guy walking over to me waving. "How come you're alone? I could've sworn I saw you walk in with some other girls." He says, looking around. I sigh and gesture to my friends, "They're busy." I mutter.

 

He looks back at me and holds out his hand, "Hey, I'm Mike." He greets with a smile. I raise an eyebrow and shake his hand, "Short for Michael?" He shakes his head and mirrors my position. "Nah, just Mike." I nod and watch as he fills up two cups. "Drink?" I shake my head.

 

"You don't take drinks from strangers, smart." He says, drowning a cup and then the other. "You don't wanna be here." He says rather than asking. "That obvious?" I ask. He laughs and points at my forehead. "There's a cute little crinkle.. right there."

 

I sigh and rub my forehead, "I don't have a crinkle." He laughs, and shakes his head, "Whatever you say." He goes silent for a few seconds before lighting up, "How about this. If I beat you at pool, you have to admit you have a crinkle."

 

I let out an exasperated laugh and crossed my arms, "And if I win?" He shrugs, still looking at the game table, "It's up to you." Then, he looks back at me, his eyes shining with amusement. "Whatever. I'll think of something." I push myself off the table and walk over to the table.

 

I grab two cues from the wall and then throw one at Mike. "Ladies first," I tease, crossing my arms. He rolls his eyes, "I'm only going first so you can have an advantage." I nod and gesture toward the table.

 

He lost.

 

"How'd you do that!" He asks, eyeing the empty table. "I'm a genius," I say simply and take a sip of the burning liquid. "God, this is gross." I grimace and place it back down. "Yeah, it hasn't changed since the last three times you said it." He says, drowning my drink.

 

"So you won. What do you want?" He says, leaning on the pool table. I chew my lip and eye the room for my friends, "Uhm. There's this dance coming up.. Would you be my date? It's fine if you don't want to or if you have a girlfriend or something but-" He laughs, interrupting my word vomit.

 

"A sixteen-year-old dance?" He teases. I roll my eyes, "I'm turning seventeen in June, and how old are you anyway?" I remark. He shrugs, twirling the cue between his fingers, "Twenty-one." I blink at him and look him up and down. "No offense but you-" He nods and waves toward himself. 

 

"I look younger, I know. I'm going to be a lawyer and weighing if the court will take me seriously." I eye him weirdly, "A lawyer?" He nods and licks his lips. "Yeah."

 

"I'll go." I look back at him, and he explains, "I'll be your date to the dance. But you have to do something as well." I nod nervously, and he holds up his hands, "Woah, nothing weird, I promise. In return, you just have to give me your number."

 

I blink a few moments and look back at my friends dancing with the other guys. It's normal, I tell myself. "Sure." I take his phone and type it in. "Great." He says with a smile. "Thanks," I say, taking a deep breath. He eyes me curiously, "For what?" I play with the ring on my finger, "For agreeing to be my date.. and for hanging out with me."

 

He looks puzzled and quickly responds, "Technically, you won the bet, and you're pretty cool." He says, poking me with the stick. "Yeah, cool." I snort. 

 

"Wanna go boogie?" I let out a loud laugh at that, "Boogie? Who even says that anymore?" I ask through my laughter. He holds up a hand, and I let him lead me to the floor. "I do." He says, joining in on my laughter.

 

He never did say if he had a girlfriend or not.

 



 

We talked for a few weeks. And then Mike finally asked me to be his girlfriend.

 

"Close your eyes," Mike says, leading me by my hand. "Mike, I'm wearing a blindfold." I just know he's rubbing his neck from the way he goes quiet, "Right, I knew that." I sigh and lift my arm when something wet drops on it. "Holy shit, is it raining?" Mike squeaks. I laugh, and he stops us.

 

Then it starts to pour. "Dammit!" He yells. He quickly unfolds the cloth over my eyes, and I gasp at the sight before me. A large blanket was laid on the grass with a basket to one side. There's a thin vase with a few roses in the middle and a candle beside it. "It's beautiful!" I squeal, clasping my hands together.

 

"Well, it's raining now." He mutters, waving at the now wet setup. I laugh and plant a kiss on his cheek. "It's perfect," I say, pushing wet strands of hair behind my ear. "Will you be my girlfriend?" He blurts out, and his eyes go wide as if he hadn't been expecting to say it.

 

Instead of answering, I laugh and pull him closer by his jacket. I kiss him and, he's fast to wrap his arms around my waist. Once we pull apart, he's smiling at me with so much adoration I lower my head to hide the blush that's most likely forming. "So that's a yes then?" He asks. I look back up at him and let my eyes roam around the park.

 

"I'll think about it." He laughs and nods. He takes my hand, and we both run back to the car laughing the whole time. He opens my door, and I jump in while he runs around to the driver's seat. "How about a movie?" He asks, pushing his wet hair back. "A movie's great." I smile back, and he holds my hand the whole ride back.

 



 

And for a while, I was happy. I liked that Mike treated me like everyone else and never brought up my last name. I liked how he held the doors for me anytime we went anywhere. 

 

But then, naturally, everything started changing.

 

"Come on, babe, it was just a kiss!" I look him up and down in disbelief. "Yeah, Mike. You kiss your  girlfriend ." He rolls his eyes and crosses his arms. "Babe, they kiss all the time where she's from, and you wouldn't get it. You're too young." I scoff and cross my arms.

 

"What does my age have to do with it?" I snap. "Kara, older people do it all the time." I chew my lip and look at the clock. "Don't you trust me?" I sigh and rub my temple, "Of course I trust you." My voice cracks, and he lowers his arms. 

 

"Babe.. I'm sorry. If it really makes you upset, I won't do it again." He walks closer to me and wraps his arms around my waist. I let my head drop on his shoulder. "I love you." My head shoots up, and he's staring back at me with the same determination from the first time we met.

 

Sure I liked him and enjoyed his company. I liked how I got butterflies when he called me nicknames. I loved when he canceled plans to hang out with me. But do I  love  him? The only other person I said that to other than my family was Ellie. And I can't even remember if I meant it like that.

 

I think about my friends and their boyfriends. I think about how they would always ask if Mike and I were dating yet. "I love you too," I say though the words feel bitter in my mouth. He lights up and twirls me in a kiss. "So you forgive me?" He looks like a child on Christmas morning, and I laugh, "Yes, I forgive you."

 

"Great, now let's go before we're late." He says dramatically, bowing and holding his hand out for me. I take it, and we leave for his friend's dinner party.

 

I'm fine.

 



 

"Hey, love?" I turn around from where I'm rummaging through a box and stop to smile at my aunt. "Hey, auntie." She smiles back nervously and walks to sit on the couch before me. "I hadn't meant to eavesdrop, but you both were quite loud." I furrow my brows and stand dusting off my hands.

 

"Honey, New York isn't that different from California." She says. That's a lie. Well, on my part anyway. For me, New York was like another planet. Most of them here were rude, obnoxious, and mean, and I learned rather quickly most of them were just always like that. However, I chose to indulge her and nodded my head.

 

"Do you love him?" She asks, narrowing her eyes as if trying to find something about me through my expression. "I do," I say a little too fast for my liking. She sighs and pats the spot next to her. I slowly walked over and dropped beside her.

 

"Are you sure?" I can feel the irritation burning up already, probably a habit I gained from hanging around my friends so much. "Yes, I'm sure." She smiles weakly and turns away before turning back to me. "Kara, I hope you know you aren't obligated to say it back. Love is a strong word, and you've only been dating a small while." 

 

I cross my arms and lean back. "I think I know how I'm feeling." I snap. She rolls her eyes and nods, "Yes, yes, of course. But I'm only saying this because I love you." I shake my head and stand, "I love you too." I say before leaving.

 

I'm fine.

 



 

I snort and shove Darren backward until he bumps into someone else and starts apologizing. I'm broken from the view when someone grabs my arm. "Can we talk?" I furrow my brows but nod nevertheless. Mike leads us to an empty hallway before turning to me.

 

"Can't you stop hanging out with him?" He asks the second I stop walking. "Excuse me? Who? Darren?" He nods and rolls his eyes as if it should've been obvious. "You're both too close, and I see the way he looks at you."

 

I raised an eyebrow unamused and blinked at him, "Mike, I've been friends with Darren for a while now. First, he always looks at me like that, and second, he has a thing for Julie. Everyone knows that." I say, softly tugging my arm.

 

"Kara, he's bad news." He says matter of factly. "Mike, you don't even know him! You never want to hang out with my friends." He tightens his grip as if he was unaware he was still holding me and huffs. "Because they're all young and act immature." He says. 

 

"Mike, what the hell are you saying? I'm literally the same age as them." I say as if talking to a toddler. "You're different. You're mature and sweet and so pretty." He says, pushing me back into the wall. I tug my arm back and look around the corridor, "Mike, no, not here." He rolls his arms and pulls back.

 

"Why because of Darren?" He accuses. "Me and Darren are just friends! So seriously,  what  is your issue?" He shakes his head, "Nah, it's Darren. Did he say something to you?" He accuses again, completely ignoring what I had said.

 

Before I can remark, he's stomping off through the halls. "Oh no," I mumble, running after him. When I finally find him after pushing my way through the crowd, he's gripping Darren by his collar. "What the hell do you want from my girlfriend?" Mike screams in his face.

 

Darren just looks at him, confused, "What the hell are you talking about? Kara? We're just friends." He explains, trying to remove Mike's hand. "I know exactly what boys like you want. I used to think the same thing." Darren's face switches from confusion to anger.

 

"Dude, I don't want your fucking girlfriend." He says through gritted teeth. "Stay away from her," Mike yells. By now, the party has stopped to watch, and I feel suffocated. "Or what." Darren bites back. Before I can blink, Mike's fist clashes with Darren's face. "You piece of shit!" Darren shouts, holding his nose.

 

"Mike!" I yell. They both ignore me as Darren launches himself at Mike. "Guys, cut it out!" I scream at the two figures clashing on the ground. Soon enough, one of Mike's friends is pulling him back, and one of Darren's is doing the same for him.

 

I glance around the room, and my friends are looking at me smugly while Julie straight up glares at me. I take a deep breath and turn around, shoving my way past the group of people. I wait until I'm outside to call my aunt.

 

"Hello?"  A sleepy voice answers.

 

"Hey, can you come pick me up.. please?" I ask, my voice cracking. Then, I hear shuffling, and the response comes quickly.

 

"I'm on my way."

 

The car ride home was expectantly quiet. "Can I ask what happened?" My aunt asks after a few minutes of silence. I bite my lip and avoid looking at her. "Was it Mike?" She asks, and I hate how well she knows me. She looks at me and nods as if that's the only answer she needs.

 

"He.. He just got  so  mad, and I don't know why. He started accusing me of cheating with Darren and started a fight right there." I explain, wiping my tears. I missed the pained look on my aunt's face.

 

I'm fine.

 



 

I couldn't even sleep that night. I told my aunt I'd be fine and we could talk in the morning, but now I'm exhausted and can't fall asleep, just like when I was younger. I shake my head before my brain can bring up any memories with my biological family and sigh. 

 

I peek over at my beeping phone and turn away from it. Mike's been trying to reach me since I left, but I obviously don't feel any need to talk to him. He was an being an asshole. He insists that my friends are immature, but he started a fight tonight based on theories he pulled from his ass. 

 

But I love him, and he loves me. I tell myself. 

 

I'm fine.

 



 

When I walk into the kitchen, my aunt's silently making pancakes. I probably would've jumped for joy if I didn't feel like shit. Instead, I hesitantly sit at the kitchen island and wait until she turns around. "So, are you going to tell me what happened last night?" She asks without turning around.

 

I sigh and run my hand through my hair. "It's fine." She turns off the stove and drops the spatula. "Kara, it is  not  fine. I love you and trust you but you calling me so late at night because your boyfriend started a fight is  not  okay." 

 

She's right, and I know it. "I love him." I croak out my voice raspy from crying. My aunt takes a deep breath and deflates. "Kara. You and Mike need to talk. I reluctantly agreed to the four-year age gap because he was respectful and seemed smart, but now?" She rubs her temples and stares at me.

 

"Your relationship is toxic, Kara." I roll my eyes at that. Sure we have our issues, but I wouldn't call us toxic. "No, we aren't. We fight like every other couple." She clicks her teeth and narrows her eyes at me.

 

"Kara, normal couples argue about normal things! Like you were late, or you forgot something! They don't pick fights or accuse the other person of things!" She snaps. 

 

"I'm fine. It's fine. We're both fine!" I snap back. I stand from the counter, "I'm not hungry." And went back to my room.

 

I'm  fine.

 



 

I look up from my phone when the doorbell rings. My aunt had left earlier to go to the store, so it was only me. I groaned and stretched from where I was sitting on the couch. I stood up and walked to the door. My eyes widened at the view before me.

 

Mike was standing on the porch with balloons, flowers, a teddy bear, and a bag. "Kara, I'm  so  sorry." I crossed my arms and narrowed my eyes at him.

 

"You were right. I should've just listened to you and trusted you. I do trust you; I was just jealous." I felt my walls breaking when he started pouting. "I love you  so  much, and I won't do that ever again." He promised. 

 

I let my arms fall and stepped back into the house, opening the door wider. His smile grew, and he was quick to run inside. "Thank you." He said, kissing my cheek and handing me the items. I glance at the bag in his hand, and he raises it up.

 

"Ice cream." He reaches inside it and pulls out a carton, "Cookie's N' Cream, your favorite." He says, beaming. I smile and plant a kiss on his cheek. "I love you." The words come out lighter. He smiles and nods, "I love you more."

 

"Now, let's go watch a movie." He says, taking my hand.

 

We're fine.

 



 

"Alex!" I shout, staring at the family coming down the escalator. The redhead drops her bags and sprints over to me. We wrap each other in a crushing hug when she gets close enough. "God, I missed your hugs." Alex breathes into my neck.

 

I laugh, and we pull away. "So.. Where's Maggie?" I ask, glancing behind her. Alex turns a bright pink and turns around, "Might've been too fast." I laugh and nudge her shoulder. I beam when Eliza and Jeremiah finally come into view. 

 

"Sunshine!" Eliza says, with the same warm expression she's had since I met her. I let her wrap me in a hug and kiss my head. "You're getting so tall." She says, looking up at me. "It might be all the tea my aunt's making me drink." 

 

She laughs and swats my shoulder. Beside her, Jeremiah, as always, stands with the luggage. "Hey, angel, I'd give you a hug, but.." He gestures to the bags.

 

I laugh and wave it off, "It's fine. Where's Maggie?" Beside me, Alex crosses her arms, "I swear she's more excited to see Maggie than us." She mumbles.

 

Soon enough, a short woman with long black hair is walking over. "That's little Danvers?" She asks, surprised, looking between my family and me. "She's not very little." She points out.

 

"No, I'm not. Alex probably described me as six, right? Anyway, I'm Kara!" I smile, opening my arms. She looks confused for a second but hugs me back. "I forget you're a family of huggers." I laugh and pull back.

 

I rush over to Jeremiah and grab some bags, "Car's out front." I tilt my head at Alex's confused stare, "Do you work out?" She asks, eyeing the bag in my hand. I shake my head, "No, I do play soccer, though?" I shrug, leading them to the van.

 

"Are you driving?" Eliza asks. She's smiling, but I can see the anxiety on her face. I huff and roll my eyes, "No, Eliza. There's a driver." I can practically see everyone deflate, and I pout climbing inside the car.

 

"Speaking of dating." I glance at Alex and raise an eyebrow, "No one was talking about dating." She shrugs, "Well, since we are now, when are we going to meet Mike?" 

 

I shift nervously in my seat and shrug. "He said he's free tomorrow." So it turns out I might've left out a few details. Not that age gap they know about that, but about the fights, we're constantly having. I play with my fingers at the thought of Astra telling them. 

 

"You okay?" Eliza asks, glancing at my fidgeting hands. I still them and send her a reassuring smile, "Just happy you're all here. You too, Maggie." I say, turning to the shorter woman. She laughs, and Alex groans.

 



 

"Go fish!" Jeremiah exclaims, and everyone groans. Everything is going well so far, and I don't think Astra said anything. I glance to where Mike is sitting beside Eliza and telling jokes. "Hey, do you like this?" Alex asks Mike showing him a picture of something.

 

He freezes and turns to me, "Kara, I literally have no idea who that is." I make a face at him and look at the picture Alex is showing. It's of a girl with a pretty black bob. "Mike, she's talking about the hair," I roll my eyes. "Oh. Yeah, it's cute." He says, leaning back nervously. 

 

I miss the way Alex glances between Mike and me while taking a sip of my lemonade. "So Mike, how's school?" Jeremiah asks to lighten the tension. "Oh, it's great. I've been selected for an education trip to Europe." He says proudly.

 

I chew my cheek and reshuffle the cards. "That's great! Why didn't you tell us, Kara? We would've brought a gift." Eliza asks, smiling warmly as always. "I would've brought a gift too if I knew," I say, smiling sweetly at Eliza and glaring at Mike.

 

"Come on, babe, I did tell you. Remember?" I cross my arms and shake my head, "No. You told me that your teacher hated you and would fail you out of spite. And even then, that was weeks ago." I say calmly. He rolls his arms and crosses his arms as well.

 

"Yeah, and right after that, I told you about the trip." I place the cards down with a little bit more force than necessary, "Mike. How earth would I have forgotten that my boyfriend had been chosen for a trip and would be going to Europe?"

 

He huffs and clicks his teeth, "I don't know, but I did." He says, taking out his phone ending the argument. I ignore the concerned stares I'm getting from my family and flip the cards. "Round four," I say, handing out the cards, refusing to look up. 

 

I'm fine.

 



 

"Hey, Kara?" I turn around to where Maggie's standing nervously at my door. "No little Danvers? It must be important come on in." I say, my eyebrows creasing. She walks in and drops down on the small white chair a few feet from my bed. 

 

"So.. Mike?" I nod for her to continue, unsure of where the conversation is going. "Everyone's too afraid to talk to you about this, but I'm technically not family. Astra said, you both fight like that all the time. Is it true?" 

 

Of course, Astra told them. "Mike and I have disagreements just like every other couple. I already told my aunt that it's not a big deal." I say, brushing her off. "Uh, little Danvers. Your boyfriend shouldn't have to explain himself when he sees a picture of another woman or forget to tell you he's traveling to another  continent ."

 

I let out a sigh and run a hand through my hair, "Maggie, it's fine. I probably forgot." Maggie lets out a laugh, and I flinch at the sudden outburst, "Kara, you don't forget. Like anything." She explains, "When was the first day we met. Well, face-timed?" 

 

"Two months ago, it was a Wednesday, and you were so shy I couldn't stop teasing you," I say without missing a beat. She raises an eyebrow at me, and I know she's right. "Maggie, I love him. It's fine, he forgot, and that's okay people forget." I shrug and lay my book on my nightstand.

 

"Not to be rude, but I have school in the morning," I say, hoping she'll take the hint. Fortunately, she does. She nods and walks over to the door. "Night, kid." She gives me a weak smile and leaves.

 

I reached over to turn off the light and laid flat on my back. I stare at the ceiling reflecting on everyone's advice. Mike and I weren't toxic. If I think it enough, I might believe it. My friends say I'm lucky and should be grateful to have a boyfriend like Mike.

 

He's handsome, sweet, and has a bright future. What more do I need in a man? Man. What about a woman? Wait, no, I'm straight. I smacked myself on my head and turned around.

 

Mike loves me, and I love him. 

 

We're fine.

 



 

"Kara!" I look up from my computer and stand to make my way over to the barista. I take the coffee and sip it before beaming at the server. "Amazing as always, Kye!" She ducks her head and laughs. "Kara, it's literally ninety percent sugar." She says, wiping the counter.

 

I shrug and take another sip. "So, what are you doing on this fine morning?" It's not really a fine morning. It's raining outside, and there are probably about four people here in total. I glance back at my computer and take a seat on the stool. "Some short story project. Any ideas?" 

 

She looks around as if thinking hard and chews her lip, "What about dogs? People love dogs." I laugh and nod, "Yes! I love dogs! They're just so cute and lovable!" Kye chuckles and shakes her head. "Do you have one?" She asks, leaning her head.

 

I shrug and hold my cup with both hands, soaking up the warmth. "Nah, my boyfriend is allergic." She makes a face as if she missed something, "I thought you lived with your aunt?" I nod, "Yeah, but I wouldn't want to risk it." I shrug and smile.

 

A beat later, and the bell chimes. I glance at the door and back at Kye before my brain catches up. I do a double-take, and there is Mike standing looking between Kye and me. "Hey babe, thought you would want a ride. It's still raining pretty hard."

 

I smile at my boyfriend's thoughtfulness, and get up to pack up my things. Before I can reach him, Kye's calling me over. "Here! On the house." I blink at her and stare at the pastry in her hand, "I couldn't-" She waves me off with a smile. 

 

"Kara, your in here every single day. Think of it as a reward or something." She shrugs, and I laugh, taking the cookie. "Thanks, Kye!" I shout over my shoulder, leaving the building. I look over at a silent Mike, clenching his teeth and avoiding my eyes.

 

He opens the door for me, and I step inside the car. Confused, I watch him walk around and slam the driver's door. I raise my cookie toward him, and he slightly slaps it away. "What's your problem?" I ask. He rolls his eyes and starts the car.

 

"You know Kye's gay, right?" I shake my head slowly, "She's bi." He shrugs and makes a face, "What's the difference? She still likes women." He says matter of factly.

 

"The difference is she likes men and women, Mike." I bite back. He glances at me, then back to the road. "Jeez, Why are you getting so defensive?" I raise my eyebrows and cross my arms, "Maybe it's because my sister is a part of the LGBTQ? Or maybe it's because that's rude." 

 

He clicks his teeth and speeds up. "She probably has a crush on you or something." I scoff at his ignorance and turn toward the window. "She doesn't. She has a girlfriend, and you know this. Why am I even explaining?" I ask, facing him. 

 

"Is this going to be a remake of what happened with Darren? Because he still isn't even talking to me." I glance down at his foot which is pressing even harder down on the gas. "Slow down." He clearly ignores me and continues staring straight ahead. 

 

"Slow down!" I shout, watching in horror at how close we're reaching to the car in front of us. He slams the brakes, and I push my body back to prevent me from flying forward. "What the fuck!?" He still doesn't acknowledge me as he turns on the radio and bops his head.

 

I stare at the car that we just passed and see the family of five inside. He could've crashed into those people. He could've  killed  those people. I take a deep breath and hopes he doesn't notice my hands gripping the armrests.

 

I'm fine.

 



 

"Have you guys done it yet?" I glance up from my phone at Emma. "Done what?" She rolls her eyes and leans forward. "Ya know? Sex?" I roll my eyes and place my phone down. "If I were dating him, I would've done it the first week," Jasmine says, sighing dreamily. 

 

"No. We haven't done 'it,'" I say simply. Julie stares at me and bobs her head, "Isn't your birthday coming up or something? That could be your night." She says as if we aren't talking about something serious. 

 

I shrug and pick at the salad on my plate. "Come on, Kara. He can't wait forever." I dropped my fork and glared at her, "What about me?" I say a little louder than necessary. Emma narrows her eyes and studies my face. Her eyes widen at her self-realization, and she's quick to voice it, "Oh! You're a virgin." She says quieter.

 

The other girls stare at me, shocked. "I'm still young. Do I need to?" I ask them, unimpressed. They just shrug and continue eating. "You all have!?" I ask, looking between my friends. "Well yeah." Julie answers.

 

 I shift in my seat, and what seems to be my new routine, push my plate away.

 

I'm fine.

 



 

I bite my lip and stare at the unfinished report on my lap. Something is playing on the tv, but I'm not paying attention to anything but this paper. I sigh and flinch when a hand is roaming up my leg. I glance sideways, and Mike is staring at me with a dopey smile. 

 

"How about you take a break?" He breathes into my ear. I cringe and shake my head. I softly push his hand off my leg, "I'm not ready.." I say quietly. He rolls his eyes and sits back, taking out his phone. 

 

I chew my cheek and urge myself not to cry. A few minutes later, he's putting his phone away and standing up. "I'm gonna go out with my friends." He says, leaving no room for argument. "You remember what's coming up, right?" He glances at me before leaving. "Of course," he sighs before disappearing behind my door. 

 

I'm fine.

 



 

June 1st

10:48pm

 

"Hey, are you on your way?" 9:21 pm

 

"Did you forget what tonight is?" 10:09 pm

 

"Hello, Mike???" 10:34 pm

 

I look up at the clock for the millionth time since sitting down. I told my aunt I'd like to spend today with Mike, and she actually agreed. We spent the whole day together yesterday, and since she's busy in another town, we'll go out tomorrow. But now it's almost eleven, and I haven't even heard from Mike.

 

I expected not to hear from friends. They'd only remember if I had actually thrown a party. My phone chimes, and I'm quick to pick it up.

 

PrincessJazzy just posted a photo .

 

I roll my eyes and click on it. As usual, my friends are out drinking and whatnot. A familiar shirt is what catches my eye. I look at the guy wearing it and, of course. It's Mike. 

 

I slam my phone down and stand from the dining table. I pick up my cake and walk into the kitchen. I step on the garbage pedal and drop the colorful pastry in.

 

I turn off the kitchen light and make up my way up to my room. I take a seat at my vanity and remove my earrings and makeup. I get up and grab a pink sweat suit. I let my dress fall to the ground and put on the soft set. I walk over to the box on the shelf and pull out the large purple camera. 

 

I turn it facing me and snap a picture, hoping I don't look too upset. I wait for it to come out and shake it and, as usual, scribble on the back of it,

 

"Miss you; I just turned seventeen. Of course, you'd still be two months older than me, but I'd be able to tease you about being shorter than me. Love you, always, El." 

 

I put the camera and photo back in the box and walk over to my bed and pull the covers over my head.

 

Was it so hard to show up for your girlfriend's birthday? Was it so hard to remember your girlfriend's birthday? Was it so much to ask?

 

I ignore the urge to get my phone and call Alex. Instead, I take a shuddering breath and bring my legs up to my chest. On particular hard nights, I think of my parents. My biological ones.

 

This is a particularly hard night. Even though my birthdays with my parents were merely staged, I got to spend time with them. I can even recall my mother smiling at me on my ninth birthday. The memory itself is enough for me to start crying. 

 

I always tell myself I hate crying. But it always makes me feel better, like when you're doing something stressful, and you cry. But after you're done crying, the thing that made you upset seems insignificant. Like how I used to cry before starting my papers, and after I stopped, I would finish the report in about thirty minutes.

 

I wipe my eyes and pull a pillow over my head.

 

I'm perfectly fine.

 



 

June 3rd

 

I spent yesterday with my aunt, but it didn't cheer me up. When she came home, it was as if she already knew he wouldn't show, and I'm not sure if I should be irritated at that or concerned. 

 

I ignored him all day yesterday and even blocked his number. I haven't heard from my friends either, but that's not much of a surprise. I'm broken from my thoughts when someone knocks on my door. "Come in?" 

 

The door creaks open, and in walks Mike. His eyes are red, which I chalked up from crying, and his hair is a mess. "Kara, I'm  so  sorry. I swear I remember I had a gift and everything." He says, walking toward me with a gift bag. I eye the bag and glance back at him, keeping my expression neutral. 

 

"Just open it.. please." I take pity on him and take the bag with an eye roll. "You ditched me on my  birthday  to do what you always do. Party." He rubs his neck and avoids eye contact. I shake my head and open the bag. Inside is a small box.

 

My eyes widen, and I look back up at him. He nods, and I take out the box to open it. "Mike, it's beautiful!" I squeal at the diamond bracelet. "I love you so much. I'm sorry." I frown and stand up to kiss his cheek. "Thank you. I love it." I say, holding the bracelet to my chest.

 

"Here, let me." He carefully takes the jewelry and clasps it around my wrist. "Fits like a gem," I say, twisting it. "How about I make it up to you?" He speaks gently, pushing me back on my bed. 

 

I think about what everyone says. That Mike's a great guy, that he's perfect for me, that he's older and won't be able to wait any longer. I wonder if he'll leave me if I refuse yet again. I don't think I'll be okay if he leaves too. So I force myself to nod. He lights up and is quick to start undressing me.

 

I'm fine.

 



 

I feel disgusting. I tenderly extract myself from Mike's naked body and rush to my bathroom. I shut and locked the door behind me before sighing. I immediately hop in the shower and turn on the water.

 

I hold my arms up to my chest and wait until I feel better. I don't. I must've soaped myself up and rinsed off a thousand times, but I still feel dirty. The entire situation was uncomfortable. For me, at least. Mike seemed to enjoy himself, but I just wanted to tell him to leave. I couldn't even think straight, my thoughts were all over the place. 

 

I know I can't blame him. I didn't voice my thoughts. How would he have known? I slide down to sit and let the water bounce off me. The only thing I can think of is Alex. She'd know what to do. She'd know how to help me. But she isn't here.

 

I stand and turn off the pipe and exit the shower that's done nothing to improve my mood. I wrap myself in a towel and unlock the door to leave. Unable to calm my nerves, I rush over to the bed, shaking Mike awake. "What's wrong? Are you okay?" He asks, voice husky from sleep.

 

"You need to go." He blinks at me a few times before sitting up. "Why? We're dating." I nod and roll my eyes, "Yes, obviously, Mike, but I would feel a lot better if you left.. Like right now." He huffs and stands, dragging on his pants. He throws his shirt on and walks over to me. 

 

I lean back from his kiss, and he stares at me, hurt. "What's going on with you?" I shake my head and wave him off with a weak smile. "Nothing, just tired. Bye." He rolls his eyes and shrugs, leaving the room. I look at my bed, and it's now just a reminder of what I've just done. 

 

I take three deep breaths, and the bracelet on my wrist feels a hundred weights heavier. I attempt to take it off, but it won't budge. I don't even think I'm doing it right, but it's making me frustrated, and I rip the suffocating piece of jewelry off my hand. I stare at it in my hand before shoving it in my bedside drawer. 

 

I run over to my closet and throw aside pieces of clothing until I find the one I'm looking for. I grab the oversized yellow hoodie with a duck and throw it over my head alongside some underwear. I pace my room, biting my fingernail.

 

I just had sex. I just  lost  my virginity. He's years older. What if he leaves now? I hate that I think that. I hate how I'm not positive he won't leave me now. I won't tell anyone, I decide, running a hand through my hair. If he does leave, I'll look like a naive little girl who just gave away her most prized possession. Or so people say. 

 

I stare at my bed and rush to grab my computer. I quickly put in an order for a new bed and shut my laptop. I open my dresser to throw on large black sweatpants.

 

I walk over to my small couch and drop down on it. I pull my legs up to my chest and bury my head in them.

 

I'll be fine.

 



 

"So, Kara, don't get upset." I stare at Julie from my place on her bed. "That depends. What did you do?" She chuckles nervously and raises the white pharmacy bag. "We know you and Mike slept together." I groan and rub my temple. "How?" I ask simply.

 

"He kinda told his friends who told our friends.. and yeah. Anyways you've been.. moodier." She says as if trying to find the right words. Emma takes a deep breath and cuts in, "We know you missed your period for the past two months. We think you should take a pregnancy test." I let out a loud laugh.

 

"You think I'm pregnant?" I ask, staring at them. My smile drops when they avoid my gaze. "Please?" Emma pleads. I blink at her then the bag. "Whatever." I stand and grab the bag from her. "What do I do with it?" Jasmine's quick to answer, "You pee on it." I laugh again and walk towards the bathroom.

 



 

Two lines.

 

There are two fucking lines. I stare at the test in my hand, looking fuzzy from my shaking hands and teary eyes. I shove it back in the bag and wash my hands. I throw the door open and grab my bag from the chair. I ignore my friends as I bolt out of the house. 

 

I ran all the way back home. Ignoring the buzzing in my head, my uneven breaths, and the pain in my feet. I fumble with my keys and run inside. I rush to the living room, where my aunt turns to me with concern written all over her face. Too high off adrenaline to be annoyed, I hurry into her arms. 

 

She doesn't ask what's wrong. She doesn't question me at all as she caresses my head and lets me cry. "I did something terrible." I croak out between my tears. My aunt's hands don't slow as she takes in my words. "What happened, little one." She asks softly.

 

Instead of responding, I reach into my bag and pull out the small box. I take out the positive test as carefully as possible with my shaky hands. She stares at it for a few seconds before she begins crying as well.

 

She wraps me in her arms, and we both cry in each other's arms. "I promised you. I promised I'd protect you." She confesses. "Who would've thought I needed protection from myself," I say as a weak joke. She stares at me, bewildered.

 

"I never understood how you stayed so positive in uneasy situations.." My aunt admits pushing my hair behind my ears. I shrug and wipe my eyes with my sleeve, "I have to live up to my name somehow." We both laugh at the nickname Eliza gave me the second she met me. 

 

"We'll get through this. I promise." She leans her forehead on mine and holds my hands.

 

I'll be fine. 

 



 

"You're  pregnant?"  Mike asks again. I cross my arms self consciously and shake my head, "Yes, Mike. When two people have sex without protec-" He holds up his hand and cuts me off, "Yes, I'm aware of how babies are made."

 

I shrug. "Kara, I'm  leaving ." I stand there processing his words before laughing, "You're joking.. right?" He sends me a guilty look and shakes his head, "That Europe trip? It's permanent. I have family there, so I'm transferring schools."

 

I let my arms drop, "When were you going to tell me!?" I yell. "Soon! I swear!" I laugh, and he rubs his temple. "Can't you abort it or something? You're seventeen! I'm still in college!" I scoff at his vulgar terms and clench my teeth.

 

"And if I don't want to?" I challenge, glaring at him. "Well, you're gonna have to figure it out because I'm leaving." I scoff, "I'm  sick  and  tired  of your bullshit! You know what? Leave Mike! Take your shit and fucking leave!"

 

He looks caught off guard by my outburst and holds out his hand, "The bracelet then?" I shove him with my shoulder making my way over to the drawer I left it in. I grab it and slam it closed. "Here." I shove it in his chest and cross my arms. He looks at the broken bracelet and back at me. 

 

"Bye, Kara." He says before disappearing behind my door.

 

For good this time.

 

I drop to the floor and cry, like loud, obnoxious crying. Soon enough, my aunt's running in and wrapping me in her embrace on the floor beside me. 

 

Everyone was right

 

I'm  not  fine.

Chapter Text

When I open my eyes, I'm met with warm light peeking through the curtains. I quickly realize this isn't my room. One, I'm lying on a couch. Two, I never remember to close the curtains after drinking unless I crash with Sam.

 

I sit up and stretch my arms. I squint at the blurry table in front of me, and when my eyes focus, I realize it's Advil and a water bottle next to it. I wince when I push off the blanket and stand.

 

I blink a few times before realizing my head isn't pounding like a drum as it should be. I basically finished the entire bottle last night. I recall while I drown the Advil in water. 

 

I pull the sleeves of the borrowed hoodie down over my hands and wrap my arms around myself. Sober or not, the room is still as gorgeous as I thought it was the night before. 

 

My roaming eyes stray to the shelves I admired the first time I entered the room. I slowly walk over to it and skim the labels. I stop at one, though.  Mes amours.  I carefully take out the box and lean it on my hip.

 

The first thing I take out is a small photograph. In the picture, there's Ellinae starting her first day of Kindergarten. Again, I learned from the description on the back. She's standing as tall as possible for a five-year-old and is wearing what seems to be the family's signature dorky smile. 

 

Lena chuckles at the brown hat the toddler is wearing and the two braids over her shoulders. She's wearing a brown dress, with white socks up to her knees. Lena decided she must've been a girl scout from the green sack hanging across her. 

 

She turns it around for one last time,

 

05* 8th* 2017 First day of Kindergarten

She insisted on bringing her ladybug bag. So who am I to stop her?

 

Lena turns the picture back around, and indeed there's a ladybug bag in Ellinae's hand. Lena shakes her head at the tiny girl and places the image back in the box. Then, feeling as if she invaded their privacy enough, she puts the box back. 

 

She gives the homey room one last glance before climbing down the ladder. She hops down at the last step and turns around to be met with a tired-looking Sam. She's standing there, Esme half asleep in her arms and squinting at Lena. 

 

Lena shifts from one foot to another as Sam's eyes zone in on the hoodie she's wearing. Her eyes slowly raise until she meets Lena's. Instead of commenting, a smug smile forms on Sam's face. And to Lena, that's way more irritating than commenting.

 

"There's the bathroom. Alex said she'll bring you a change of clothes." She nods to the door behind her. I nod, and she looks me up and down once more before laughing and walking downstairs. I enter the bathroom, and indeed, there is an unopened toothbrush.

 

I spend the next few minutes brushing my teeth before Alex knocks on the door. I turn around and eye the clothes she's holding out. "Here. We still have to wake up everyone else." I raise a brow and take the clothes off her.

 

"They all fell asleep downstairs." Alex shrugs before walking away. "Thank you!" I call out to the woman's departing form. She waves a hand and heads downstairs. I quickly strip out of my clothes and walk into the shower.

 

The smell of fruity wine fades under the scent of coconut shampoo. I wash off the leftover soap and turn off the faucet. I push the glass door open and lift the shirt I left on the counter. I shrug and change into the spare clothes. 

 

I wrap my damp hair in a bun and make my way toward the stairs. "Morning!" I spin around to be met with a tall brunette with a warm smile. "Oh. Uh, good morning.." I smile back and hope it's as reassuring as Astra. 

 

"No need to be so nervous, dear," Astra says softly, walking over and looping our arms together. I nod stiffly and let her lead me downstairs. "Kara's quite fond of you." She hums in thought.

 

Kara. My brain flashes and the memories from last night come back one by one. 

 

She asked me out. 

 

She asked me out.

 

And I said yes.

 

I SAID YES!

 

I duck my head, attempting to hide the smile on my face from Astra. However, she seems to know already. "She's amazing." The words fly out of my mouth before I can stop them. I turn to Astra, who's just smiling at me.

 

"Can I trust you?" She asks after a beat. I feel my eyebrows furrow as I glance at her. "Of course." I say without hesitation. This is one of the most important people in Kara's life. No use making a wrong impression now.

 

She hums satisfied and stops us in front of a large push door. "You can go on in. I'll go help Alex wake everyone else." She says, unlooping our arms and gesturing down the hall to the room Lena and Kara ditched last night. There's an edge in her words, but I just smile and nod.

 

I watch her leave before walking into the room in front of me. I'm immediately attacked by the smell of pancakes and syrup. "Lena!" The other two blondes turn toward the door. "Good morning!" Ellinae greets beaming. 

 

Lena can't stop herself from laughing as she walks toward the young pair. "We missed you last night. Kiss per child to be forgiven." Ellinae claims as she taps her head. I glance at Kori, who seems to agree as he nods. It seems kisses are normal for them.

 

I lean down to place a kiss on Ellinae's head and turn to Kori in his highchair to do the same. Ellinae smiles, satisfied. Today she has her hair in two curly pigtails and is wearing a green t-shirt with the sleeves rolled up and brown pants. Kori's wearing a black tank top and white sweatpants. 

 

"You both look adorable," Lena says, twirling Kori's short curly ponytail with her finger. "Mommy says I need a haircut." Kori turns to the stove, where his mother stares at them with amusement. "Do I still need one? Lena says I'm adorable."

 

Kara laughs and shakes her head. Kori continues drinking orange juice from his sippy cup, and Ellinae picks at the grapes on her plate. I look up, and Kara waves me over. I raise an eyebrow but walk over nevertheless.

 

"Usually, when I'm in a good mood, I dream things. Good things! Obviously, um. And I really hope me asking you out last night wasn't a dream." The blonde rambles out the second I'm within hearing distance.

 

"That depends." I watch, and I barely contain my laughter at the color draining from Kara's face. "What was my answer?" Kara's eyes roam the room, and she clears her throat before they land back on me. 

 

"You said yes." She says, biting her bottom lip, awaiting my response. "Oh. Kara.." I start. Kara's face turns bright pink, and she holds up her hands, "Oh! I'm sorry, please ignore what I just said- Well, I  do  want to ask you out.. And I technically just told you I do?" 

 

I finally break my act and cover my mouth with my hand to try and muffle my laughs. Kara stares at me, bewildered, scanning my face before realization dawns on her. "It wasn't a dream!" She shouts as if she won something. I see Kori and Ellinae eye their mother weirdly from the corner of my eye.

 

Kara stands up straighter and clears her throat. "I'm sorry, but I had to!" I defend at the now mumbling woman in front of me. She's trying awfully hard to glare at me, but a smile sprouts on her face. She picks up the spatula and turns back to the stove.

 

"You really didn't.. I'm still mad, by the way." She states, flipping a pancake. I throw my head back dramatically, "Oh, however, could I make it up to you?" I asked, prepared for her to shoo me away so she could continue cooking.

 

Instead, she turns her head to stare at me. Unprepared for the scrutiny, I cross my arms. "You aren't allowed to ask questions about our date." The blonde huffs, satisfied with her request. I narrow my eyebrows and drop my arms. 

 

"What do you mean I can't ask questions? It's  our  date." I ask the unperturbed woman. "Well, then you'll just have to trust me." She shrugs and gives me another one of her dopey smiles. It's too early for this.

 

"I didn't know you could cook," I point out, changing the subject, hoping she'll forget her wish. "One of my many talents." She hums. I roll my eyes, "Ah, and I suppose being humble isn't one?" Kara throws her head back in laughter, turning back to me with that sparkle in her eyes.

 

"Ignore her. She just learned how to make pancakes without burning at least one side a few months ago." Ellinae speaks up, taking a sip of her juice. Kara turns around to face her youngest daughter. Pointing the spatula at Ellinae, "That's a big lie, and you know it. You love my banana pancakes."

 

Ellinae rolls her eyes and makes a face. "Because Grandma was always supervising you." Kara waves her off and transfers the frying pancakes onto a plate. I nearly drop the dish when it's suddenly being pushed into my hands.

 

"I know you're a vegetarian, and breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so I made you a fruit bowl too; hold on." She turns around and rushes to grab a bowl from the fridge. She walks back to me and holds it up, smiling. "Oh." The word falls unconsciously past my lips.

 

"You didn't have to." The words come out slowly as I glance at the bacon sitting in the half-open fridge and back to Kara. Did she not cook it because of me? Then, like usual, she waves me off and leads me to the table. 

 

Ellinae turns her attention away from her younger brother to me. "I saved you a seat!" The young girl twists in her chair to pull out the chair beside her. Kara laughs and places the bowl in the vacant area beside the young girl. 

 

I smiled at Kara, who pulled out my chair far enough for me to sit. "Alright, now breakfast is ready." She says, smiling back at me before leaving the room. I stare at the fluffy pancakes with the strawberries forming a smile. Without talking, Ellinae set the syrup down beside my plate.

 

Before I can thank her, the door is opening, and everyone's pouring in. "When did you get up?" Jack asks, taking a seat a few chairs down. Lucy glances down in front of me and stifles a laugh. "How come she got served first?" Alex asks, sitting beside me.

 

I duck my head and busy myself by taking a bite of the granola fruit bowl. "First come, first serve." Ellinae defends, making a face at her aunt. Alex sticks out her tongue, and Ellinae's quick to follow.

 

Then without warning, Ellinae gets flicked on her head by Eliza and Alex by Astra. Kori laughs at them as if this is an everyday occurrence. Soon enough, everyone's seated and passing around plates with food on them. 

 

"Why are you so cheerful? You fell asleep after me." Ruby asks, glaring and rubbing her eyes at a buzzing Ellinae. The young girl just shrugs, chewing her mouthful of pancakes and eggs. "She gets it from her mother," Astra says, sipping her tea. 

 

Everyone seems to go into thought before nodding, "Makes sense." Jack says. The door opens, and Kara strides toward the coffee maker. "Who wants coffee?" Everyone accepts at once, and Kara laughs, shaking her head. "This is great, Kar," Jessica says, looking at Kara weirdly.

 

"We helped," Eliza says, nudging Astra's shoulder, and Alex nods. "That explains it." She says, cutting up Esme and Ruth's pancakes. I can hear Kara huff from where she is and laugh at the family's antics. "Ew, stop it." I turn toward Ellinae. 

 

She's shoving away an undisturbed Kori's foot. He glances at her and kicks his foot again, causing Ellinae to shove his foot again. "Quit it." Kori rolls his eyes and uses his fork to pluck a banana slice out of Ellinae's plate. He takes it off the fork and shoves it in his mouth.

 

"You're so annoying." Ellinae mumbles using her foot to slide his chair farther away. "Guys, behave." Kara scolds without even turning around. Both kids glance at each other and back at their mother. "Sorry." They both reluctantly say.

 

Alex shakes her head smiling, and everyone else laughs. "I didn't know you two fought," I say, pushing a loose strand of Ellinae's hair behind her ear. "He's a worm," Ellinae says without hesitation. My eyes widen at the confession, and I cover my mouth to hush my laugh.

 

I watch as Kara hands a mug to Sam and takes a seat in front of me. She places down a white cup on the table and slides it toward me. "Delivery." She says with a wink and turns to talk with Eliza. I'm glad she looked away because I'm nearly one hundred percent sure my face is as pink as her lips.

 

I busy myself by taking a sip of the coffee and somehow find myself in a disagreement with Jack about something that seems futile as I glance at the empty spot in front of Kara.

 

"Aren't you going to eat?" I turn away from Jack, ignoring his "why he's right speech," and stare into the baby blue eyes locked onto mine. Kara's eyebrows furrow as she looks down. "Oh. I already ate this morning." She says after a beat.

 

"This morning? Kara, it's not even nine am." She shrugs, and I miss the way Kori glances between us. "She went out this morning." He says, blinking at me. I turn back to Kara, who's glaring at her son, who's sticking his tongue out. "You went out? In this storm?" What reason could have made her leave so early in the rain? 

 

"You didn't go for a run, did you?" Eliza asks, narrowing her eyes at the blonde. For the first time today, I take in Kara's appearance. She's wearing a green baggy t-shirt and black jeans. More importantly, her hair is damp. Not that she doesn't look good for some ungodly reason, Kara always does.

 

Kara groans dramatically and narrows her eyes at Kori, "That was supposed to be our secret." He shrugs and wiggles his fingers, "Now it's everyone's secret." He says, tilting his head innocently. "That's not how- never mind." She turns back to her mother. "I did go for a run, and it was refreshing." She declares. 

 

"You exercise often?" Lucy asks. Kara nods slowly. "That makes sense. You like you can lift m-" Unexpectedly, Eliza stands and claps her hands together. "Now that everyone's done, how about we open gifts?" She asks, glancing at Lucy then Kori. Much to Kara's confusion, everyone laughs, and Lena hasn't realized she is glaring at Lucy until Nia nudges her.

 

"Relax, Lena. She's crazy about you." And that's the only warning Lena gets when everyone stands, and Kara is extracting Kori from his chair. "Come on, guys!" Kori shouts over his mother's shoulder, leaving the room. Lena lets herself be dragged by Ellinae and Ruby into the living room.

 

"This looks way bigger on the inside than outside." Jess gasps, looking around the large room. Ellinae leads them to one side of the grey couch, and they both take a seat. The young girl leans into her, and without thinking, Lena wraps her arm around her shoulders. 

 

"Alright, who's going first?" Kara asks, clapping her hands looking at her buzzing son. Ignoring Kara, Kori rushes over to the table covered in presents and picks up the first one he can get his hands on. "This one!" He shouts, holding the box above his head.

 

Everyone just shakes their heads and laugh. I miss the way Alex eyes me from the corner of her eye.

 



 

 

"From... Lena!" The young boy reads out his crinkle, going away after succeeding, beaming at Lena. Then, instead of shaking the box like he's done the previous times, he gently sets it down to rip the paper off. He blinks owlishly at it before glancing at Lena.

 

"There's a dinosaur on it!" He screams in delight, scanning every inch of the baseball mitt. Then, he runs over to me, and I barely catch him before he's climbing to sit on my lap. Once sitting, he throws his arms around my neck. "Thank you, Lena." He murmurs.

 

Truth be told, I bought it because the invitation was covered in the animals, so I bought something related to it. Initially, I was going to change my mind and buy a truck. But I'm grateful I didn't, I think, hugging the little boy with one arm the other still around Ellinae. But then, he abruptly leans out and stares at his mother.

 

"Mommy! You can teach me how to play like Ellinae now!" He squeals, waving his hand with the mitt on it. "You play baseball?" Ruby asks Ellinae. Much like her mother, the young blonde ducks her head, "Kind of. It's just something I picked up. Houston was boring." She shrugs.

 

"And you taught her?" Sam asks now at Kara. Kara taps her foot and nods, "Yeah. I played in high school for a while." She dismisses it with a wave of her hand. "Why'd you stop?" Alex asks, eyes narrowed at Kara. "Because I felt like it," Kara remarks defensively.

 

"How about we watch a movie?" Astra ever the buffer suggests. Everyone agrees, mindful of the tension hanging in the air. "Encanto!" All the children exclaim at the same time. They turn to each other with wide eyes before laughing.

 

"I could've sworn we watched that last night?" Jess says, rubbing her neck. "You guys wouldn't know. You all fell asleep." Esme remarks innocently. "The party tired us out," Jack says defensively. The kids roll their eyes, and Eliza laughs, setting up the movie. 

 

The classic Disney intro starts, and the lights dim. Not a second later, Kara is taking a seat right beside Ellinae. The young blonde glances between Kara and me and slowly crawls into her mother's lap. Kori seemingly ignores them and leans back further into me, his eyes glued to the big screen.

 

I wrap my arms around the toddler and watch the movie from over his shoulder. I feel Kara move into the spot Ellinae recently occupied. Once close enough, Ellinae lays her head on my shoulder, subconsciously toying with a Rubix cube she found on the coffee table. 

 

I glance at Kara to find her already staring at me. We share a small smile that is quickly disrupted when the movie's first song begins. 

 

We both miss the flash of a camera.

 



 

I nearly drop the glass in my hand and turn to glare at the person who just shoved me. "Check it out," Sam whispers, nodding toward the other side of the room. Resisting the urge to shove her back, I begrudgingly glance in the direction she pointed out.

 

Sitting at the gray table is Carter and Cat. Cat seems to be in her own bubble as she speaks to Astra, who's sitting beside her. Carter is sitting in front of his mother, has his head in his hands and a dreamy look on his face. 

 

I furrow my eyebrows, glancing at Sam, and she nudges her head at Carter again. I spare another look at Carter and glance in the direction he's looking.

 

Of course, it's Kara. She apparently started a hair train with the children. Kara sits at the top, then Ruby, Nia, Ellinae, Esme, and unsurprisingly Kori. "Who's he staring at?" I ask, leaning toward Sam without looking away from the tallest blonde.

 

"Kara, duh." Breaking out of a trance, I turn to blink at the brunette. "No way." She nods and laughs, "Yes, way." I stare between the young boy and Kara and laugh. "Too bad you called dibs first, right?" Like on cue, Kara glances in our direction and smiles.

 

My breath halts in my throat, and I smile back, hoping it doesn't look strained. "I did not  call dibs  on her.. She just asked me out already." I shrug and take a long sip of the iced tea Ellinae insisted on serving, considering she made it herself. 

 

"She asked you out!? When? Last night, right? I knew it. You both were gone for so long! Give me the details, right now." Sam says, voice low to not gain attention. I roll my eyes but decide to entertain my long-time friend anyway.

 

"Last night when we left to-" Sam interrupts, "Ditched." I ignore her and continue, "She brought me to the attic and made me try her handmade alcohol." Sam's eyes nearly fall out of their sockets. "She can make alcohol? She was literally made for you." The brunette laughs at her own joke, and I push her half-heartedly.

 

"Anyways! We talked about everything and nothing spent some time on the balcony, and fell asleep." I shrug, twirling my glass around. Sam huffs, "But how did she ask you out?" Then, like the traitor my body is, I start to smile. "She was tipsy off of like three sips, by the way, and asked me out to dinner while I was playing with her hair."

 

"Why were you playing with her hair?" Sam asks skeptically. "Because Sam. She was sitting on the floor with her head on the couch which did not look remotely comfortable, so I told her she could lay in my lap." Sam stares at me with a straight face.

 

"When did you get moves? She even gave you her sweater." She flicks the sleeve of the hoodie I'm wearing. It's Kara's, of course, and it's not even cold. As a matter of fact, it's pretty warm now. But it smells like her, and the fact it is hers makes me feel giddy.

 

I push her hand away, "I didn't do anything, she asked me all by herself. I don't know what's so special about me, but she was so determined for my response. How could I say no to that?" Sam holds up her hand, and the humor on her face is gone.

 

"Lena, you are  so  special. And everyone knows that. Kara is just one of the many who you acknowledged. And we all know if she didn't see that, I would've beat her up by now for not appreciating you." She emphasizes her statement by throwing fake punches.

 

How could I not laugh? "Sam, she could easily take you," I say, rolling my eyes. Sam just shrugs, "probably, but boy wouldn't I try." I stop fidgeting with the glass to stare at her, "Thank you." Sam leans closer and throws an arm around me, "Anytime."

 



 

I stand to the side awkwardly, my bag loose on my shoulder as I watch everyone say their goodbyes. I watch as Eliza and Astra make their way over to me, their usual warm smile engraved on their faces. Before I can get out a word, they're both wrapping me in a hug. 

 

"It was wonderful having you, Lena," Eliza says, pulling back. By now, the storm is over, and the sun is starting to peek from behind the clouds. "Thank you for letting us crash." I gesture to my friends, saying bye to Jessica and Cece. 

 

"Anytime it's nice having a full house again," Astra says, leaning down to zip up Esme's jacket. I felt the need to ask her to elaborate, but then the family of three is rushing down the hall. Ellinae stops at the door holding up a fist full of colorful bags. "Party bags, guys!"

 

Because, of course, there would be party bags at a party Kara Zor-El hosted. I watch as Ellinae hands out the bags with Kori close behind, and I glance over to where Kara is leaning on the wall, arms crossed. 

 

We lock eyes, and she glances at the crowd before waving me over. I spare a quick glance at the occupied group and walk over to the blonde. She opens her arms, and I quirk a brow. "So my mom and aunt get a hug, but I don't?" She asks, tilting her head.

 

"Wanna tell me about our date?" I challenge, crossing my arms. The blonde mirrors my stance and leans back on the wall. "No, Lee. It's what you get for scaring my shirtless earlier." The nickname makes my heart swirl. But, my eyes go wide in amusement.

 

"Shirtless?" Kara stares at me, confused before the realization hits her. She chuckles and rubs her neck. "When you have children, you sorta have to get creative when using profanity." She shrugs it off. 

 

"Okay, well, can I at least get a hint?" Kara's eyes roam as if she's thinking deeply, and she looks back at me. "There will be light." Lena's taken back by the statement and frowns, "Is that supposed to be a Bible reference?" 

 

Kara's eyebrows furrow, "What? No-" She clears her throat, "I meant that it'll be.. bright." Lena racks her brain for any conversation she's had with Kara that'll help her understand this. She comes up blank and rolls her eyes. 

 

"Lena! Our rides here!" I glance at the door where everyone's finishing their goodbyes and leaving. Jess and Lucy stand still, watching Kara and me. "Trust me?" Kara asks, tilting her head adorably. I cave and step into her space, where she easily wraps her arms around me.

 

"Make sure they drive safely." She murmurs in my neck, and I can feel my body heat up at the way her arms tighten around me for a second. Then, she pulls away, and I just keep staring at her, dumbstruck, until Kori crashes into my leg.

 

"We'll see you again.. right?" He asks, looking up at me with his big blue eyes. I glance at Kara and see the unreadable expression she's wearing. "Of course, you'll see me again, silly!" I reach to pick him up, and he's quick to nuzzle in my neck.

 

"Promise?" He leans back, one arm still behind my neck and the other holding up his pinky. I shift my arm so I can hold him while holding my other one up to cross his pinky with mine. "Promise." He smiles, satisfied, and places a kiss on my cheek. "Kay, bye-bye Lena."

 

I reluctantly put him down, and Ellinae walks over, carrying a large bottle. "Iced tea for the road." She says nervously, holding it out. I stare at the bottle covered in tiny yellow stars and chuckle, taking it from her.

 

"It's delicious, El, thank you." The little girl beams at the comment and throws herself into my arms. "Bye, Lena." She leans back and rushes after her brother. "Kori, put that down!" She shouts, running down the hall.

 

"I'll text you?" I turn back to Kara, who's wearing her signature cheesy smile. "Please do." I give her another hug, and before she can react, I'm walking over to a smug Lucy and Jess. I glance behind me and give Kara a small wave before I'm dragged outside.

 

That was... fun.

 



 

 

"Come on. Sam, be serious!" It's Friday night, as in my first date with Kara night. Ruby's staying with Alex and Esme while Sam and Jack are supposed to be helping me get ready. 

 

"Lena, I said you looked great a million times!" Sam falls back on my bed dramatically. I squint at myself in the mirror before taking off my necklace and searching for another in my jewelry box. "How about the new one?" Jack suggests.

 

I make a face contemplating before sliding my other jewelry box toward me. I carefully open it, and the diamond necklace I received as a birthday present is shining brightly on the small stand. I wall back over to my mirror and clip it around my neck. 

 

I stare at myself, twirling ever so slightly. My hair is flat ironed straight. I have on a deep sleeveless emerald green dress, the sleeves short and hanging off my shoulder. There's a long rip on the right of the dress, and the black-colored heels I'm wearing compliments it all.

 

I bite my bottom lip and turn around to face my friends. Sam sits back up, looking me up and down. "You look gorgeous, Lena. I'm proud of you." She stands and makes her way to hug me. "What for?" I ask, making a face at Jack over her shoulder.

 

"For dating again. You know, after Veronica and everything." I stiffen at her words but smile anyway. "Screw Her!" Jack calls out from his spot by the bed. We all laugh and shake our heads. My nerves begin speeding up again when my phone rings. 

 

Jack hops off the bed toward my bedside table, where my phone is. He swipes a few times before clearing his throat. 

 

"No hints!"  Jack reads out the message. He looks up at Lena, raising an eyebrow. "What's she talking about?" I roll my eyes half-heartedly. "The morning after she asked me out, I pretended she was dreaming, and as absolution, I'm not allowed to ask questions about our date."

 

Sam and Jack stare at me with wide eyes before laughing. "Why on earth would you do that to her?" Jack asks through his laughter. I shrug and smile along with them, "Just wanted to see her squirm." Sam makes a face, and I realize how wrong that sounds. 

 

"I meant tha-" Before I can correct myself, the doorbell rings. Jack and Sam whip their heads to share a look before they take off out of the room. I curse under my breath and grab the black shoulder bag off the bed before following after them. 

 

"You better have her back by 1-am the latest," Jack says, crossing his arms. He's obviously trying to look intimidating, and he's failing horribly. 

 

But of course, wonderfully sweet, caring Kara falls for the act and bobs her head up and down as if she's listening to her date's father's instructions. I laugh and shake my head at the scene in front of me. The gesture does make my chest warm for my friends. 

 

I grab the black coat hanging up and put it on, deciding to leave it open. 

 

I walk over to the door and elbow Jack out of the way. Considering our height difference, it probably doesn't do much, but he slides away, groaning dramatically anyway. I shake my head at finally look forward. 

 

They lock eyes, and Lena feels all the air in her lungs vanish. Kara looks amazing. Actually, there might not even be a word to explain how good Kara looks right now.

 

Kara's wearing black slacks with a deep blue dress shirt tucked inside the pants. The first three buttons are unbuttoned, and the black blazer she's wearing does so much justice to her broad shoulders. The front of her hair is clipped back, and she looks like a certified Californian model.

 

When I break out of my thoughts, I chew my cheek to prevent myself from smiling. Kara's still staring at me, awestruck, her pink lips slightly parted. I let myself smirk, and I watch as Kara slowly comes back to the present.

 

She clears her throat. "You look stunning." She smiles and holds out the flowers she was holding, "For you." I blink at them for a beat before taking the beautiful orchids. "Thank you," I say earnestly. Sam walks over to me, and I hand out the flowers. 

 

"I'll put them in water." Sam glances at Kara before backing up before mouthing 'wow.' I roll my eyes, and Kara's chuckling fondly. "You clean up nicely, Zor-El." I tease as she holds out her hand, and I easily slip mine in. We enter the elevator and make our way toward the exit.

 

She walks me over to her matte Audi and opens the passenger door for me. "I try." She winks and closes the door behind me. I settle the small bag on my lap and wait for Kara to buckle her seatbelt and start up the car. 

 

"So.." I let the words hang. Kara sees right through me and shakes her head, "No, Lee, I'm not telling you where we're going." I huff and cross my arms. "Come on, I apologized?" Kara smiles and shakes her head. "And you not asking questions is how I'm forgiving you."

 

Lena opens her mouth to remark, but Kara quickly turns on the radio. Then suddenly, the car is being filled with an old pop song. I groan and shake my head. "Don't you listen to anything new?" I ask.

 

"Sometimes. But all the best things were made in the past, Lee! Come on, how can you not like Taylor Swift?" Her eyes flicker to the radio, and she presses a button, and Lover starts playing. "I swear I didn't plan that." Kara blurts out. After a few seconds of Kara singing along, I cave and join in on her antics.

 

Throughout the rest of the drive, the car is filled with the sound of laughter as well as Lena's horrible singing. Lena decided Kara sounded amazing and found herself wondering what the blonde wasn't good at.

 

It takes me a few minutes to realize I know this route. I rack my brain, but it's not coming back to me. "So I've been here before?" I ask, glancing at the humming blonde. "Most definitely." I nod slowly and stare out the window as we pull up into a lot.

 

"Uhm, Kara, this is your house," I state, simply staring at the blonde as she turns off the car. She looks at me smiling and nods, "I know." Then before I can blink, she's running out of the car, and my door is opening. I roll my eyes half-heartedly at the woman's enthusiasm and take her hand nevertheless.

 

Kara links our arms, and I curiously look around the beautiful house until she leads me out the back door. When we step into the backyard, we're attacked with the cool fall air. "The garden?" I ask skeptically as we stop in front of the entrance. Kara smiles at me and reaches into her pocket for some type of remote.

 

Kara presses a button, and I gasp in awe at the scene in front of me. String lights surround the once dark and dull garden. "I remember!" Kara laughs at my outburst, and I shake my head. "I told you it was too dark, and the garden needed lights." I wave around, gesturing at what she did. 

 

Kara shrugs, and we continue walking through the maze. "You were right. I don't come here often, but it is quite a sight." I turn to the blonde, smiling to find her staring at me. I nudge her slightly, and she lets us sway to the right ever so slightly. 

 

"You're oh so smooth, Zor-El." Kara looks straight ahead again, laughing. "Only for you." She says without hesitation. I chew my bottom lip when we reach the last turn. "Wow." is all I can muster at the beautiful set up in front of us.

 

Inside a tall white Gazebo covered in fairy lights is a white-clothed table for two. Scattered on the table are plumeria petals in pristine shape. And in front of both chairs is a cloche plate platter hiding whatever dish is inside from view.

 

"You did all of this yourself?" I ask in awe as she leads me up the few steps toward the table. The blonde shifts eye contact and chuckles. "Well, maybe I had a little assistance on the food." I lift an eyebrow as she pulls my chair out for me. 

 

"Okay, okay, maybe a lot of assistance," she says, rolling her eyes half-heartedly. "Yeah, I've been told you aren't the best.. cook." Kara gasps dramatically at the insinuation.

 

 "If you happened to hear that from El, it's not true. You remember how Kori ratted me out they're not to be trusted." She says, not breaking eye contact as she opens the unlabeled wine bottle that was on the table.

 

"Kori was trying to be nice and include everyone in on your 'secret.' Seems trustworthy to me," I say, shrugging, laughing at the affronted face Kara makes. "You're supposed to be on my side; you know Lee?" She says, pouring the pinkish drink into my glass. 

 

"Technically, I met your kids before you. If I took your side, I wouldn't be very trustworthy myself. By the way, what's this?" I ask, swishing the liquid around. Kara huffs, "Whatever you say. Taste it, and then I'll tell you."

 

I eye her weirdly and glance back at my glass, "Is this another one of your concoctions?" Kara crosses her arms, squinting at me, "If you wanted more, you could've asked. It's clear you're still thinking about it." I roll my eyes at the blonde's smugness and sip the wine.

 

"This is most definitely yours," I state, taking another sip before placing it down. It has the familiar taste as the one I downed the first time. I hate to admit this, but I'm lying. It just tastes fruity and reminds me of Kara. 

 

"Would you bet on it?" Kara asks, letting her arms rest on the table and leaning in. "I would," I remark stubbornly, refusing to back down from her stare. Then, after a beat, Kara's laughing and leaning back in her chair, "Yeah, it's mine. How'd you guess?"

 

Alright, you can make up some fake bullshit, Lena. You did it all the time in high school. I quickly glance at the bottle and back to the blonde, "There's no label, it tastes fruity, and I doubt it's strong enough to get me drunk." I rattle out, taking another sip, hoping she takes the excuse.

 

Kara nods thoughtfully and sighs, "Am I really that obvious?" She asks, tilting her head like a dejected puppy. I roll my eyes but can't help to smile at her, "Most definitely. You are as radiant at the sun physically andd personality-wise. It's rather confusing." 

 

"What's confusing?" She asks, the sad look being replaced with a confused one. "You're basically the most hated person in America all for existing, and every time I see you, you're absolutely beaming." Kara nods her head as if she's thinking.

 

"First of all, I'm going to take the beaming part as a compliment, and I've learned it's better just to stay positive." She shrugs, and I keep quiet, urging her to go on. She stares at me as if she's contemplating something and sighs.

 

"I've been to therapy.. A lot, and it taught me that behind anger is hidden sadness, and both strong emotions wear people out. So I decided to stay positive, which apparently for me isn't very hard." She sends me a wink, and I have to break eye contact before I do something stupid and compulsive like lean across the table and grab her toward me by her colla-

 

I clear my throat, trying my best to glare at the laughing blonde but God don't I love her laugh. "Alright, alright, I get it. I'm predictable." She says it with a smile, but her crinkle comes out of hiding. "What did you do?" I ask her doubtfully. She shakes her head, but her eyes quickly glance at the hidden platter in front of me. 

 

"It's the food, right? What is it?" I ask, looking down at it. Kara groans and leans back in her chair, "how'd you know?" She exasperates, almost sulking. I laugh at her antics and reach to reveal the dish. Kara watches me silently and carefully, and I pull up the cloche as slowly as possible.

 

"Aren't you going to tell me to hurry up?" I ask, quirking a brow at the diligent woman. She shakes her head and makes a face, "Why would I do that? If you want, take your time Lee." She says as if the fact that her rushing me is preposterous. "Oh." I lift the cover, and I'm attacked with the smell of pasta. I look up at the smirking blonde in wonder. 

 

"How'd you know?" The only time I've eaten this was in Ireland, and I obviously don't eat it often, considering I have a company to run. Kara shifts in her seat and rubs her neck. "I maybe just a little bit had to bribe your friends." She smiles guilty, but I can't help but stare at the selfless woman in front of me.

 

Rationality rushes back into my head, "Bribe?" I ask. Kara nods, crossing her arms, "I gave them a one-time visitor pass to El-Corp." She winces at her words, and I can't help but laugh. "Thank you." Kara sits straighter and ducks her head. Before she can wave me off, I continue, "You didn't have to do all of this for me. I would've been fine with anything because I was with you. So thank you."  

 

I gesture around at me the beautiful setup she created. "Well, it's the first date, you know.. So I wanted to make a good impression. Plus, I'm pretty good with my hands." She wiggles her finger to emphasize her point. I choke mid-chew and take a sip of my glass to wash it down. 

 

"I've already met your family and won over your children with my charm. I think that was meant for at least six months of dating." Kara nods, eyes crinkling from her laughter. "Speaking of family, El and Kori made you this." She reaches into her pocket and pulls out a wooden bracelet.

 

She places it on the table and slides it toward me. I eye it curiously as I pick it up, holding it closer. The bracelet is made up of dark brown beads, and I shift the tiny light brown circle toward me. Engraved on it is Lee with a small heart under it.

 

I can feel the blonde's expectant gaze, and I look up, "They made this.. for me?" She chuckles and nods, "Like you said. You won them over with your charm." She winks and takes another bite of her pasta. "By the way, this is really good." She adds, taking a sip of her water.

 

I gently slip my silver bracelet off and put it away inside my bag. "You don't have to put it on right now-" I smile, cutting her off, "I want to. I'll be sure to thank them." I say, sliding it over my wrist and awing over the way it looks.

 

"Can I ask something?" My eyes shoot back up, and I nod stiffly, "What's your favorite movie?" I blink at her, my brain trying to process the question. "What?" I ask, laughing. "No, seriously like your top movie." She explains, laughing herself.

 

I rack my brain for any movies I have a particular interest in, "Drop Dead Gorgeous." I mutter. She furrows her eyebrows without dropping her smile, "What? Didn't catch that." I roll my eyes, "Drop Dead Gorgeous."

 

"No way!" She replies, laughing, "I've never met anyone who's seen that movie too!" She adds. I shrug, shaking my head, "Come on, it's a good movie!" Kara nods in agreement downing her water. I watch silently as she leans her head back and watch her throat bobble with every swallow.

 

She places the empty glass back on the table, and I blurt out the first thing on my mind, "No wine tonight?" She eyes me strangely and shakes her head, "Nope. I'm the designated driver remember? Plus, everyone knows I can't hold my alcohol." She explains, smiling.

 

Kara is a lot of things, and I swear every time I'm with her, I learn something new. She's sweet, thoughtful, selfless, caring, and responsible. Her unhuman godly looks are just an appreciated bonus. 

 

We talked and laughed the entire date about absolutely nothing and everything. When it reached the time that I usually became bored and uninterested on a date, I just couldn't help but just listen to the blonde in front of me, fully enraptured in every word that left her lips.

 

She was alluring. People follow and listen to her as if they're moths and Kara's the sun. Well, the people who actually take the time to know her. It reaches a few minutes past twelve, and we unreluctantly decide to leave. 

 

"I didn't even realize it was so late." Kara sighs, leading us back through the maze. "Time flies when you're having fun," I say, shrugging. She glances down at me and stops walking. "So you did enjoy it?" She implies smiling. I blink at her, confused.

 

How could I not enjoy it? She was the best partner I could ask for on a date. And where others would shamelessly stare at my breasts the whole time and talk about themselves, Kara didn't. Instead, she actually listened to me, not that I doubted she wouldn't, and refused to break eye contact.

 

"Eh, it was alright." I tease, crossing my arms. Kara slaps her heart dramatically, "You're killing me, Luthor." She exasperates. Her hand slowly falls from her chest without breaking eye contact. The only sound is the soft wind. She takes a step forward, and I take one backward, my back colliding with the garden walls.

 

"Have I told you how gorgeous you are?" I chew my lip, "A few times." I breathe out. Her eyes flicker to my lips, and she stares at me as if she's contemplating something. "Would it be bold of me to ask if I can kiss you?" 

 

The words leave her mouth, and I'm pulling her collar colliding our lips together. It's fast and messy but enchanting. My hands cradle her face, and her hands wrap respectively around my waist, pinning me to the wall. We pull apart to breathe, smiling like dumbstruck teenagers. 

 

"Okay. A little more than alright." Kara throws her head back, laughing. I wrap my arms around her neck, laughing into her chest. "Well, I promised Jack I'd get you home before one." She sighs, annoyed. I ignore the striking urge to kill him, bury his body in his backyard, and pull apart from Kara. 

 

She clasps our hands together and smiles at me, chuckling like she said a joke I missed. "Alright, Luthor, I still have more songs for you to hear." I groan, and our laughs are lost into the late-night air. 

 



 

 

"This is me." I sigh out, turning from my door back to Kara. "This is you." She repeats, hands in her pockets, rocking on her feet expectantly. I roll my eyes fondly and reach for her. For the second time in an hour, our lips are conjoining.

 

This time it's slow and gentle, but nevertheless, I get butterflies the same. Finally, we pull apart with our foreheads leaned together. "Text me?" I say, drowning in her ocean eyes. "Definitely." She smiles, and we unwillingly unwrap from each other. 

 

"See you around Zor-El," I say murmur.

 

"See you around, Luthor." The blonde replies with a slight wave. 

 

And she disappears behind my door.

 

My phone chimes in my pocket, and I pull it out.

 

Kara: "Sleep tight.❤️"  12:59am

Chapter Text

"James, I understand that you love Ellinae and Kori as if they were your own... So you can understand why I'm confused about your lack of regard for their safety." James nods solemnly and interlaces his fingers on his lap. "So, can you tell me why they were left alone to converse with a stranger?"

 

He stares down at his lap in guilt, his eyebrows furrowing. "James, what if it wasn't Lena? What if it were a-a kidnapper? Or a pedophile? James, these are my children! And I trusted you to watch them and keep them safe!"

 

I stand up from my spot on the couch and pace around the room, chewing on my nail. "What if someone figured out they were my children? There is nothing on this earth I care more about than them!" He rubs his head tiredly, "I know that, Kara! I would do anything for them!"

 

I stop pacing to glare at him crossing my arms, "Then you know that if it were up to me, I'd be with them all the time, raising them from home like I used to. But I can't!" I get out through gritted teeth. "Kara, come on.. You know I wouldn't let anything happen to them." He claims.

 

"Then why weren't you there, James!?" I yell out, exhausted. He clenches his jaw and avoids eye contact. "You're dismissed." He opens his mouth probably to reason, but I raise a hand. He stands and leaves the room silently.

 

"Ellinae, baby? Can you come in here, please?" I call out, dropping back into the couch. A second later, I hear the study door being slowly opened. Ellinae avoids eye contact much like she does when in trouble and sinks onto the sofa in front of me.

 

"I know you're fully aware of stranger danger and outside safety, so I'm going to skip those lectures for the moment. Can you please tell me what happened between you and James?" My daughter chews her lip and toys with the strings of a decorative pillow guiltily. 

 

"I would feel a lot better if you did. I know James wouldn't just leave you and Kori like that." That seems to reach her, and she shoves the pillow aside with a huff. "I didn't want anyone to get in trouble. James was still there! Just.. like watching.. from a distance."

 

I sigh and keep quiet, giving the young girl time to explain at her own pace. "You know how a few months ago I was having bad dreams because Ruby made me watch The Conjuring? Well, one night, I woke up ready to run into your room like usual when I heard James outside my door." She rambles, taking a deep breath before continuing.

 

"He was on the phone and said something like 'Yeah, Kara's like bi or something, but one night with me, and she'll never think about another woman again.' This was during your crush on Vera Farmiga, by the way." She intentionally lowers her voice, attempting to match James. 

 

"I don't know exactly what he meant, but I know it was offensive and mean." She admits, finally making eye contact. "Okay.." I say, slowly trying to process her explanation. "What does that have to do with you talking to strangers?" 

 

She takes frantically pushes loose strands of her hair back, "I didn't want to tell you because I couldn't stand to see you lose someone else. So I told him to relax on us a bit, and I wouldn't say anything." She shrugs, toying with her fingers.

 

"Then I saw your class picture. And you were staring at Lena and her friends so miserable, and I thought if you wouldn't tell me about your past, maybe she could. It was stupid and reckless, and I'm sorry, please don't fire James. It wasn't his fault.. Well, half of it."

 

I wave her over, and she nearly jumps across the coffee table to reach me. She throws herself around me, and I hug her back, rubbing circles on her back. "Don't ever do that again!" I feel my sleeve becoming damp and shift the young girl in my lap.

 

"You and Kori are the most important things in my life. I appreciate you looking out for me, but you and your brother are the ones I care about most. I'd lose a thousand friends if it meant you'd be safe and healthy." By now, she's crying and rocking in my arms.

 

"Don't worry, I'll talk to James.. I'm not firing him, love. I know you don't always see eye to eye, but he cares." She scoffs, rubbing her eyes, "Plus his crippling crush on you." I roll my eyes fondly, "Yes, I'll talk to him about that too. I promise." I kiss her forehead and wipe her tears away.

 

"You're still in trouble. It was just postponed for Kori's birthday." Ellinae smiles wearily, "Wasn't expecting anything else." She concedes. "And I'm telling Jess to add stranger danger and public safety lessons to your studies." She groans loudly, kicking her feet.

 

"Come onnn.. I know them!" I shake my head, "If you did, we wouldn't be having this conversation. Now go get ready for lunch." She pushes herself up, turning toward me. "I really am sorry. I didn't mean to scare you or get James fired. I won't do it again."

 

She places two fingers over her heart to support her oath. "PB and J?" She asks. "Nope. For the moment, Granola bowls" She groans again and makes her way toward the door. I wait until she's out of earshot to call James back in.

 

He walks in, rubbing his neck and staring at me expectantly, "She told me." I say simply. He looks down, ashamed or regretful; I'm not exactly sure. "I'm not firing you, James." He whips his head up, confused. 

 

"I don't appreciate talking about me like that. Especially around my kids.. I know you work for me, but you're my friend first. And I know you care for us.. So I'm going to forgive you just this once."

 

"Kara, thank you." He says, taking the seat in front of me. "It was late, and I wasn't thinking straight. I respect you and the kids so much, and I understand that you don't share my affections." He says, nodding and rubbing his arms. 

 

"You're a great guy, James. Anyone would be lucky to have you as their partner." I explain softly. "And please refrain from degrading my sexuality, thanks." I finish sitting back down at my cluttered desk. "Thanks, Kara.. I know they mean the world to you. It won't ever happen again." I hear shuffling and then the door closing.

 

I take a deep breath dropping my head into my hands, and miss the sound of the door opening once again. "Can I have a PB and J mommy?" A tiny voice asks. I turn around, and indeed there's standing Kori still in his pajamas from this morning. " I'm  not the one in trouble.." I shake my head exasperated, "Sure, Kori, you can have a PB and J." I say, smiling.

 

He blinks at me as if he wasn't expecting that answer. "How about mac and cheese?" I tilt my head, giving him a look, causing him to groan. "It was worth a shot." He says, walking back out. Then a muffled scream fills the downstairs floor, "HEY ELLINAE, I GET TO HAVE A PB AND J!" and the sound of feet running disappeared down the hall Ellinae went.

 

I chuckle audibly to myself, picking up my pen to finish my work. 

 

God, I love my kids.

 



 

"Well, how'd it go?" Sam squeals following me to the kitchen. "Jesus Christ, Sam. Let me at least get something in my system." She holds up her hands and waits for me to take a sip of the already made coffee sitting on the counter. "So?" I roll my eyes and glance from the mug back to Sam.

 

"You planned that." I deadpan. She nods, "Obviously, I've known you forever, now hurry up." I resist the urge to shove her and instead place my cup on the counter. "She took me to the house she had her party." Sam's brows wrinkle in confusion, and I'm quick to continue before she bombards me with questions.

 

"I guess during the party when I was drunk and wandered into the garden-" Sam chimes in, "Ran away." I ignore her, continuing, "I bumped into her and complained it was too dark. So she renovated the garden with lights and flowers. It was so beautiful you should've seen it!"

 

"She was so charming, respectful, and responsible. She didn't drink a drop of alcohol because she was driving that night! She listened to me and didn't look at my breasts once! Not that I would've minded, but she paid attention to me." Sam stares at me, smiling as if she's ready to cry.

 

"That good, huh?" Sam inquires. I shake my head smiling, "Sam. That was by far the best date I've ever been on." I sigh wistfully. She pulls me in a hug, and I stumble a second before returning it confused. "I'm happy for you. And I trust Kara, so she better not screw it up." I chuckle at the confession.

 

"The Danvers sisters, huh?" I groan at the tease and reach for my mug. "I heard she dropped you off right before one. Jack was livid. He planned a whole lecture for her." I throw my head back, laughing, "Well, she promised, didn't she?" I say, winking and sipping my drink.

 

"Wow.. A Zor-El and a Luthor. Who would've thought?" Sam calls out before leaving the kitchen. The coffee stills in my mouth. My family. The Luthors. The notorious enemies of the Zor-Els. I'm (dating?) a Zor-El. Kara Zor-El Danvers. The one person my family dislikes more than that shitty reporter William Dey.

 

The coffee tastes bitter as I swallow. I walk toward the sink and dump the dark liquid. "Well, dammit," I mutter, rubbing my forehead, already feeling the headache bound to arrive.

 



 

"Aunt Lee, you got a message!" Ruby yells, bored from the next room. "Who is it?" I call back from the kitchen where I'm washing the dishes I should've washed hours ago. "Uhhm... I don't know it's cut off, but there's a heart emoji!" She yells back. 

 

I stop mid-action and think about anyone I have with a heart emoji on my phone. Blues eyes flash through my head, and I'm turning off the sink and speeding toward the living room.

 

I rush over to Ruby and leap onto the couch, the top of my body settling over Ruby's lap as I grab my phone from the side table. "Jeez, who is it? I think that's the first time I've ever seen you run." The twelve-year-old says with new interest supporting her head with her hands, elbows digging into my lower back. 

 

Ms. Roberts ❤️: "I know we had lunch scheduled today, but how would you feel about a quick shopping trip? The store messed up Kori's new bed order. If not, we can reschedule!" 10:42 am

 

"Who's Ms. Roberts? I thought you liked Kara." Ruby points out, staring blatantly at my phone. I roll my eyes and push myself up until I'm seated beside her instead. "It is Kara." She eyes me weirdly and quickly loses interest when her phone rings. 

 

Since our first date, we've seen each other regularly, whether it's hanging back after the board meetings or bringing each other lunch on our breaks. So I feel ten times better that I can finally kiss her without restraint. There shouldn't be any problems, but I forgot an essential factor. 

 

My family despises Kara. They have no idea I've been seeing her, and that itself is a welcomed surprise because everyone knows Lucy has a big mouth and Jack has a limited filter. Lex cautions me to stay away, and my mother dishes out unfair insults about Kara and her aunt whenever the topic arises.

 

It's aggravating, but then again, I don't need to inform them about my love life even when they ask when I'm going to start dating again or if I have my eye on someone. And everyone who knows seems to understand that, considering that Lex and my mother haven't found out yet. Them being in the dark about Kori and Ellinae is just a plus.

 

Sure I feel bad about keeping it from them, but I really doubt they could overlook their bigotry to give Kara a chance.

 

"Are you going to answer her?" Ruby asks without looking up from her phone, interrupting my thoughts. My head whips down to my fingers hovering over the keyboard. 

 

Me: "Sounds great. I could use sharper knives anyway." 10:44 am

 

Ms. Roberts❤️: "Planning a murder Luthor?? 👀👀 " 10:44 am 

 

Ms. Roberts❤️: "Actually, don't tell me. I don't want to be an accessory to murder." 10:45 am

 

Me: "You wouldn't turn me in? 🤨 " 10:45 am

 

Ms. Roberts❤️: "You're smart. You probably had a reasonable reason. 🤷🏼♀️ " 10:45 am

 

Me: "Well, sorry to burst your bubble, but I don't need to hide a body." 10:45 am

 

Ms. Roberts❤️: "Because you already disposed of it?" 10:46 am

 

Me: "Because there is no dead body, love." 10:46 am

 

Ms. Roberts❤️: "Boring.." 10:46 am

 

Me: "Would you rather there actually be a body?" 10:46 am

 

Ms. Roberts❤️: "Not really, you'd go to jail then I'd be lonely." 10:47 am

 

Me: "That's the only reason?" 10:47 am

 

Ms. Roberts❤️: "No, but I don't have a lot of time to name them all." 10:47 am

 

Me: "What a shame. I've been needing a good ego boost." 10:47 am

 

Ms. Roberts❤️: "Come on, Lee. Your ego couldn't fit in the elevator with us." 10:48 am

 

Me: "You're probably right." 10:48 am

 

Me: "That took ten points away from my ego, by the way." 10:48 am

 

Ms. Roberts❤️: "Oh no. However, will you go on?" 10:48 am

 

Me: "I'll figure it out. I'm a genius after all." 10:49 am

 

Ms. Roberts❤️: "How many points did you just gain?" 10:50 am

 

Me: "..Twenty. At least" 10:50 am

 

Ms. Roberts❤️: "And she lives! 🙌 " 10:50 am

 

Ms. Roberts❤️: "If it helps, I think you'd rock an orange jumpsuit." 10:50 am

 

Me: "Whatever. What time should I be ready?" 10:51 am

 

Ms. Roberts❤️: "Before one." 10:51 am

 

Me: "How precise.👏" 10:51 am

 

Ms. Roberts❤️: "By 12:34 pm🙄" 10:51 am

 

Me: "Great. I'll see you then?" 10:52 am

 

Ms. Roberts❤️: "Not a minute after💞" 10:52 am

 

"Are you done?" The young girl beside me asks. My body flinches, and I turn back to her as if I forgot she was there. "You were unusually quiet," I mumble. She laughs and glances at my phone, "Didn't wanna disrupt you and Ms. Roberts."  She mocks, giggling at her own tease. 

 

"You're just like your mother, you know," I mutter, pushing her playfully. All emotion falls from herself, and she stares at me sharply. "You don't mean that do you? That is so mean, Aunt Lena. How could you say that!" She grabs her headphones beside her and shoves them over her head, blocking me out.

 

What did I say? To be fair, I stopped attempting to keep up with Ruby's mood swings months ago. So I get up, making my way to the kitchen to finish my previous task. 

 

"She's even got you skipping!" Ruby yells out once I've exited the room. I find the first thing in view and peak back into the room. I throw a decorative pine cone at her before quickly rushing toward the kitchen. "Aunt Lena!" She yells in annoyance. 

 

Nevertheless, I love her, even if she did only throw up as a baby when I happened to be the one on babysitting duty. 

 



 

"Good Afternoon, Ms. Luthor! You look like you're in a good mood today." Darren points out, giving me his everyday hearty smile. "I am Darren. The birds are chirping! The sun is shining ever so brightly! And if you listen closely, you can hear my nerves." I deadpan.

 

He laughs and leans back in his chair. "She has jokes!" He exclaims. I roll my arms half-heartedly and rest my elbows on the desk. "Do you have any more of those lollipops you keep.." I let my eyes roam until I locate the drawer, "In there." I nudge my head in the direction of it, and his eyebrows raise. 

 

"And she wants lollipops? The world must be caving in." He says dramatically while pulling out five lollipops. "Do I really seem so moody to you?" I ask, taking the lollipops with a thank you. "Only when you work overtime.. Which you haven't done in a while now I think about it." He says, wiggling his eyebrows.

 

"Oh, bugger off," I say in my best English accent. He laughs at that, his eyes sparkling, "Your best attempt yet!" He praises, caressing his long grey beard. 

 

I look down at my watch and push myself off the surface. "Well, I've got to get going," I say, turning around and waving at him in the empty lobby. "Tell her I said hi!" He whispers shouts. I chuckle and push open the door fixing the glasses over my face.

 

And like promised, a black car is parked right in front of the building. Again, I glance at my watch, 12:32. I roll my eyes, walking up to it and opening the door. "Ever so punctual." She shrugs, and we both lean in for a kiss. 

 

"yuck!" A tiny voice blurts.

 

"Awww!" Another voice coos.

 

I laugh into the kiss, and we pull apart. I turn around in my seat, and there's Kori in his car seat and Ellinae smiling, holding her face with her hands. "Nice to see you both too," I say, reaching to tickle the young boy. He laughs, squirming in his seat.

 

"Hey! You're wearing it." Ellinae says, staring at Lena's wrist. "I rarely take it off," I say, holding my hand up in a display. She blinks at it owlishly and nods, satisfied. "Thank you. I love it." I thank her, flicking her chin softly. "You're welcome. I'd make more, but I'm on house arrest." She says matter of factly.

 

I hear Kara huff beside me, "Stop telling people that. She's grounded." She clarifies. I look between the blondes and sit back in my chair, buckling the seatbelt. "Why?" I ask as the car starts. "She blackmailed James." My head whips back to Ellinae, holding her hands up.

 

"In my defense, I didn't know that was even a thing!" She blurts out guilty. 

 

"Anyway! She most definitely shouldn't be talking to strangers. No offense Lee." I shake my head, "None taken." The young huffs and crosses her arms, "Well, it got you a girlfriend, didn't it?" She remarks, tilting her head innocently. 

 

All restraint leaves my body, and a hearty laugh leaves my lips. Everyone joins in except Kara, who half-heartedly glares at me in her peripheral vision. "Ha! Hilarious." Kara says sarcastically, turning on the radio. An old but familiar pop song begins playing, and the family of three is quick to join the singer. 

 

"Of course, you all listen to Meghan Trainor. You too, Kori?" I ask, looking at him in the rearview mirror. He shrugs, smiling. "Did you know the Queen of England has two birthdays? And that it's illegal to stand next to her without wearing socks?" He says loud enough to be heard over the music and singing. 

 

"No, I did not," I say, shaking my head in interest. "Where'd you learn that?" He looks beside him, lifts the blanket sitting in the middle, and pulls out a book. "Mommy bought me a book on facts." He says proudly, holding it up for me to see. "That's so cool." He glances at it and back to me.

 

"Can you tell me one?" He asks, holding out the book. I glance at the other distracted passengers and take the book. I open it up and flip to a random page, "Alright, Uhm. Did you know it only takes an hour to drive to space?" I ask, squinting my eyes at the page.

 

His eyes nearly bulge out of their sockets, "Really!?" He asks, practically vibrating in his seat. "Yeah. But don't get any ideas." I say, pointing my finger at him. He chews his lip and shrugs, "I don't know. I get lots of ideas." He emphasizes his point by opening his arms wide. 

 

"Like, have you ever thought about trashes feelings? Like how we fill up the trash can and they make friends with the garbage? Then at the end of the week, we throw out that garbage all for the cycle to start again? So we're basically taking away their friends." He says it so effortlessly with a shrug and begins toying with the window. 

 

I blink a few times before turning back forward and staring straight with furrowed eyebrows. "He gets to you, doesn't he?" Kara asks, laughing at my dismay. "He watches a bunch of Elmo. I'm certain that's not good for him." Ellinae chimes in. Kori sticks his tongue out at her.

 

Ellinae seems ready to respond but glances at her mother before thinking better and crossing her arms. Kori smiles, satisfied about the dispute he appeared to have won. The car comes to a stop, and Ellinae's the first to unbuckle herself and jump out. 

 

"Come on, guys!" She shouts before shutting the car door. I glance back at Kara, who's fixing a black cap over her head, glasses similar to mine, and brown contacts. "If you want to cover your face, I have an extra scarf?" She points uncertainty toward the back seat. Why is she so nervous?

 

"I'm fine, Kara. Come on." I respond, pushing open my door into the cold autumn air. I watch as the young girl helps her brother jump from his place in the car. "Let's go, guys! Or girls if you prefer." Kori says, holding out his hand for his mother. While his other one clutches his sister's.

 

Kara adjusts the young boy's grey cap over his golden curls before taking his hand in hers. I shove my hands in my pockets, basking in the warmth of my coat. "Let's go, Lena!" Ellinae all but squeals, holding out her hand toward me. I hesitantly take hold of hers and start being led through the parking lot toward the mall.

 

My hand is colder than it would've been in my pocket, but I find myself not caring as I push the young girl's white beanie down over her ears. "Sorry if we're too much. It's our first time going out together since being back in National City." Ellinae apologizes, staring at her feet. 

 

I glance at Kara, who's scolding Kori for trying to throw rocks, and back to Ellinae. "Hey, look, it's fine. I'm glad I get to be a part of the experience then." I reassure, giving her hand a light squeeze. She looks up at me as if expecting another reaction and smiles back. We step into the mall, and we're immediately bombarded with jolly holiday tunes.

 

"It's not even December yet," I mutter, scanning the crowds of people. "But it's almost December, Lena. Look at all the decorations." Kara coos looking around and pointing out the particularly shiny ones to Ellinae and Kori. 

 

"Yeah, Carol should be arriving any day now," Ellinae states swinging our linked hands. "Who's Carol?" I asked, tilting my head. "She's kinda like an elf, but instead, she's our guardian angel. She watches over us during the Christmas season." Kori sighs loudly, "But she still reports back to Santa like an elf." He remarks bitterly.

 

I look up the same time Kara does, and we both laugh at the ridiculousness of it. "Maybe if you behaved, you wouldn't be so worried." Kori makes a face at his mother, "Of course, I behave. I'm not the one on house arrest." Kara facepalms, and Ellinae shoves him.

 

"We're here." Kara sighs out, almost relieved in front of the furniture store. "Why?" Kori groans out in annoyance. "Because your bed is here." Ellinae answers without missing a beat. His eyes roam for a second before nodding, "My car bed?" Kara nods, holding the door for us. "Yep."

 

"Lena, did you know I'm getting a car bed?" I shake my head fondly at the toddler, "No, I did not. What color is it?" I humor him. "Blue. So it matches my room. Plus, everyone says blue brings out my eyes." I glance over at his mother, "It sure does." 

 

"Hey, mom, can we look over there?" Ellinae points toward the other side of the store where Christmas decor resides. Kara makes a face, "Come on, please? It's almost Christmas." She pleads. Kara sighs, placing her hands on her hips, looking more like a mom than I've ever seen. 

 

"Lee, do you mind?" She asks, glancing behind us. "Of course not." I wave her off, "Might as well start decorating early, right?" Kara nods fondly at us, "Right." Kori lets go of his mother's hand and takes my free one in his. "Let's go, Lena! See ya, mommy!" He yells, waving and leading us toward the filled shelves.

 

"A snow globe!" Ellinae lets go of my hand to grab the one closest to her. "Look, Lena! There's a dog!" She squeals, shaking it repeatedly. "I wanna see!" Kori whines. I glance at him and hand him the one he's reaching for. "Wow..." He breathes out with wide eyes.

 

"Snow globes are the best." Ellinae declares happily. I glance around the area and stride over to grab a small shopping cart. "Can I sit there?" Kori asks, pointing at the toddler seat. Ellinae pays us no attention as she plays with a singing snowman. I shrug, lifting the toddler into the cart. 

 

"Hey, look!" Ellinae comes back over, displaying the dancing reindeer to her brother. I watch in awe as both siblings watch them dance in total fixation, eyes glistening. Something sparks in my head, and I reach into my coat pocket. "Speaking of Christmas spirit.. I brought this for you both." I pull out the lollipops, holding them out.

 

Kori's quick to grab the yellow one, and his sister follows close behind, taking the blue one. "Thank you!" They thank in unison. Kori holds it back toward me, and I remove the wrapper and hand it back. "What about this?" I turn to Ellinae, holding a Santa sweater with a large red nose.

 

"I think it's hideous." I deadpan. She laughs, and the resemblance between her mother and her is uncanny. "It's tradition to wear an ugly sweater during Christmas." She explains, staring at it for another moment and tossing it in the cart. 

 

"What about that one?" I suggest nudging my head at a sweater with a green monster on it. "The Grinch? Great idea!" She picks it up placing it in the cart. "That's our favorite holiday movie," Kori admits as we stroll down the aisle. "Really? No, seriously, keep sprouting facts. It'll give me an idea of what to get you guys for Christmas."

 

Kori shrugs, "Something good. We did technically get you a girlfriend." He says, repeating Ellinaes comment from earlier. "Got it. So.. tickles?" I say before assaulting his stomach. "No, no, silly!" He speaks through his fit of laughter. "How about.." Both children speak up, "Don't tell us!"

 

I glance between them, baffled at the outburst. "It's supposed to be a surprise, Lena!" Ellinae states as if it should be obvious. I make an act of slapping my head, "Well, duh. How'd I forget that?" Kori's face lights up, and he's quick to voice his thought, "Because you have to keep up with her," He says, pointing his thumb at his sister beside him.

 

"Not funny." His sister remarks, flicking his forehead. He looks around and groans, "Is she done yet?" He complains, slouching in his seat. "How about we go see?" I suggest turning the cart around in the direction we walked from. I push the cart over to customer service, "Mommy!" Kori calls out, waving.

 

Kara turns around, seemingly annoyed, but her face softens when her eyes land on us. "Hey! Find anything?" She asks, eyeing the half-empty cart. Oh yeah. I was supposed to be actually shopping. "Yeah, mom, look!" Kori twists in his seat and grabs the green sweater. "Lena found a grinch sweater!" 

 

I watch as her eyes leave the sweater to lock onto mine. "Huh. And to think it isn't even December yet." She says, leaning back on the counter. "Oh, hush up." I say, aware of the young sponges beside me, "What did they say?" I nudge my head behind her toward the worker.

 

"Oh. It'll be here in the next two hours.. How would you all feel about going to one more store? And then that new restaurant upstairs?" Ellinae shrugs, leaning into the cart while shaking the snow globe around, and Kori deflates. "Alright." He agrees reluctantly. 

 

"Great." She claps her hands together a spins around to inform the person preoccupied behind the counter. I double-check to make sure she's distracted before heading over to the cashier. I rest my arms on the cart handle, watching as the siblings scan their items. "Your children are adorable." The young cashier awes at the children.

 

Ellinae pushes Kori's hand away from the candy rack and explains softly why they shouldn't have anymore. I shake my head, "Oh no, they aren't mine. My children, that is." She blinks, eyes wide, "Oh, I'm sorry!" I wave her off, swiping my card, "No, no, it's okay.. They are adorable." I reply, glancing back at them.

 

"Are we done yet?" Ellinae asks, trying her best not to whine; she doesn't do a very good job. I laugh to myself, nodding, "Yeah, let's go wait for your mother." Ellinae immediately steps away from the cart gesturing for me to push instead. "There you guys are. Oh." She glances at the bags sitting in the cart.

 

"You didn't have to pay for them, Lee." She says, placing a kiss on El's head. "It's fine, really. It's all part of my plan to make them spill their list items for Christmas." That gets the blonde going; she covers her mouth, laughing at her children. "Alright, alright, we can go." She says, rolling her eyes and wrapping an arm around Ellinae.

 

We make it to the exit, and I lift Kori from the cart as Kara grabs the bags. He wraps his legs around my waist and rests his head in my collar. Kara opens the door for us and takes Ellinae's hand in her free one. "It's over there," Ellinae says, pointing at another store.

 

 "Aunt Alex bought our housewarming kitchen utensils from there." She says to me, most likely since I used that as an excuse to say yes to Kara's invitation though I probably didn't need one. "They come in all sorts of colors!" Kori adds on. "Is that so?" I ask softly, aware of how close he is already.

 

Kara once again opens the door and waits patiently as the shoppers leaving thank her. I slip in, the other two close on my tail as I read the hanging signs. "Over there," Kara says, pointing at the sign that says, 'Kitchen.' Kara swiftly slips her hand in mine as I shift Kori in my arms to hold him with one.

 

I turn my head to her smiling, only to be met with the blue eyes I love so much hidden behind a guise. It's still Kara; I remind myself looking at Ellinae's back in front of me. Even though her eyes are different, and her soft accent is now gone. Even though her name is currently Linda, and her beautiful blonde wavy hair is hidden underneath a cap. 

 

"What color is your kitchen?" Kori asks as we walk down the aisle, his eyes roaming the different knives. "Black and grey, I think," I answer, glancing at the one he grabbed. "This one?" He suggests holding it up for me to see. "This one's good." I decide, smiling back at the smiling toddler.

 

I hear Ellinae sigh heavily behind us and laugh. "Kori loves when things match, and El loves colors," Kara states as if reading my mind. I pay for the pack of black and grey knives and step back into the crowd of people when Kara opens the door for us. 

 

"They have great food. And the restaurant has a nonmeat menu for you, Lee." Kara says thoughtfully, swinging our linked hands. "Do they have meatballs?" Kori asks, jaded. Before she can respond, Ellinae speaks up, "Oh! Do they have tacos? " I voice my thought too, "Pasta?" Kara goes silent for a moment, "Yes, yes, and yes." finally, she says after a moment. 

 

We step onto the escalator, shying away from onlookers. Ellinae races up before us and scans the restaurants. "Which one is it?" She asks after we step off. "It's called Cream Dream." Ellinae makes a face but shrugs, scanning the restaurants once again. 

 

"Oh. That one?" I question, looking straight ahead. They glance in my direction toward the large, seemingly packed restaurant. "It's literally the best! I used to go all the time back in New York!" I listen as she raves on about her favorite fast-food place as I tighten my hold on Kori striding through the entrance. 

 

"Hello! Welcome to Cream Dream! Are you dining in on this fine day, or have you placed an order?" The energetic woman greets confidently. Ellinae turns to her mother, and Kara nods. Ellinae turns back to the woman, beaming, "Hi! We're dining in today. Do you have a private table available for four?"             

 

The server, which I learned is Sarah from her nametag, nods, and motions for us to follow her. She directs us toward the back of the restaurant to a four-seated table. "I'm sorry all the booths are taken. Would you like a highchair?" She offers, glancing at Kori.    

 

"That would be great," Kara answers, placing the bags on the extra chair and pulling the other two out for Ellinae and me. The server comes back quickly, putting down the chair at the head of the table. I lower the toddler down into it and remove his hat before taking my seat.  

 

"Feel free to take as much time as you need looking over the menu." She says, gesturing toward the small stack of menus in the middle of the table. "If you need any help, my name is Sarah. I'll be back to take your orders." She says, clapping her hands and walking away with a smile.

 

"She was nice." Ellinae decides reaching for a menu. "You're gonna order shrimp pasta. Why look at the menu?" Kori asks harshly. Kara shakes her head unperturbed, "He's just cranky because he hasn't eaten yet. Give him some time." Ellinae nods, agreeing, unfazed by the taunting from her younger brother.

 

I nod, slowly taking the green menu from Kara. I skim the different types of meals and tap on one. "Have you tried the garlic noodles?" I ask, looking up from the menu at Kara. "The ramen ones? Yeah, they're amazing." She praises. "She says everything is amazing, but vegetables she isn't very reliable." Ellinae comments.

 

Kara sighs at the blow and shakes her head chuckling. "They know me so well." She says half-heartedly, glaring at her daughter and removing her cap to run her hand through her long blonde waves. I clear my throat and turn the menu around to the drinks selection. "Are you thirsty?" I whirl my head beside me, where Ellinaes stares at my menu and glances back at me.

 

Oh yeah, she's nine. And she's talking about the drinks in front of me and not how I was ogling her mother. "Oh! Uhm, yes, do you have any suggestions?" I ask, leaning the menu toward her. She skims it and points at a smoothie, "Mango smoothies are delicious. But they don't compare to the ones I had back in Themyscria, where they were completely organic!"

 

I rest my arms on the table, cradling my head and listening to the young blonde ramble on about the amazing things from her hometown. "Are you all ready to order?" We all answer at once.

 

"Lasanga and pink lemonade."

 

"Meatballs!"

 

"Shrimp tacos and orange Fanta."

 

"The ramen garlic noodles with a mango smoothie?" 

 

The waitress looks between all four of us, her smile slightly faltering and eyes bewildered.

 

"Would you like a drink with the meatballs?"

 



 

He opens his mouth, granting the fork wrapped in noodles access. He chews thoughtfully. All three girls stare at him expectantly. Then, finally, he smiles and holds up two thumbs up in return. The table erupts in a soft cheer. "He likes it!" Ellinae cried out laughing. I learned that Kori's a very picky eater about twenty minutes before this. 

 

He reluctantly rejected my offer of trying my meal. So everyone gave him their own little encouraging words, which clearly worked. "It's good?" Kara asks, ruffling his hair as he nods, grinning at the praises. "Are we all done here?" Sarah asks, smiling at the scene displayed. "Oh! Yeah, we are." I answer quickly.

 

"Alrighty, I'll have someone come clean up the table. Thank you for dining at Cream Dream!" She says, leaving, gesturing for the cleaners to retrieve our empty dishes. I glance back to Kara to see her wiping a squirming Kori's face. When she successfully cleans off the tomato sauce, she picks him up, and he burrows into her chest.

 

She rocks him softly and sits back down in her seat. "He's just tired." She mouths, smiling fondly. Once all the plates are gone, Kara stands, grabbing the bags she set down earlier with her free hand. Ellinae and I follow the motion. "Aren't we going to pay?" I ask, crossing my arms.

 

"I already did." She replies, easily winking before hiding her hair away under the black cap once again. I take hold of Ellinae's hand; we follow behind Kara, who easily avoids crashing into the flock of people.

 

"When did she even get up," I mutter under my breath. Ellinae perks up, "When we came in. She pays extra for the food. She always does that." She answers, shrugging. We reach the front, and the worker stands to walk us out. "What a beautiful family. Thank you for stopping by. Please come again!" He farewells behind us.

 

I turn around to correct him, but the door has already closed. I glance back at the family, utterly unperturbed by the mix-up. "They sent me a text the bed was just delivered to the car," Kara says, placing her phone into her back pocket. "Can Lena help us assemble it?" Ellinae pleads. I glance out of the corner of my eye to see Kara awaiting my answer.

 

"Why not." I shrug, pinching her cheek lightly. I listen obliviously to the young girl holding my hand as we walk toward the car. The worker immediately pushes himself off the car and walks over to the abandoned platform truck. "I apologize on the store's behalf for the wait." Ellinae disregards him and walks around the car to her seat.

 

"It's fine." Kara waves him off. "Can you set him in his car seat?" She turns to me, handing over the fast asleep toddler. "Of course." I take him from his mother, and she opens the backdoor. I half lean into the car, settling him down in his seat and reaching for the buckles as Kara opens the trunk. Ellinae hands me the last hook, and I smile at her as thanks. 

 

I close the door and enter through the passenger door. I hear the trunk close, and soon enough, Kara climbs in through the driver's side. She glances in the rearview mirror at her fast asleep son and wide awake nine-year-old. 

 

"Thanks for coming." She tells me starting up the car. "Thank  you  for inviting me. The children were wonderful company." I tease airily. She slaps her chest in mock offense, "Really, Luthor? Where do I fit in this equation?" I tap my chin thoughtfully, "You don't. But they do have this amazing mother. She's a blonde with the bluest eyes I've ever seen. Totally my type, by the way."

 

Kara throws her head back, laughing, and it's the most she's looked like herself all day. "Please, tell me more." She urges, "She has this cute little scar next to her left eyebrow. Oh! And she also gets the cutest crinkle when she's upset, even if she denies it." I hear her huff beside me and mutter something similar to 'I don't have a crinkle.'

 

"Did you give those lollipops to El and Kori earlier?" She asks, tilting her head. I reach into my pocket and unwrap a yellow one. "Here, no need to get jealous." She rolls her eyes and reaches for it, and pouts when I pull it out of reach.

 

"Uh uh." I tsk, shaking my head, "A kiss first for the lollipop." I say, popping the p. I watch as she glances at the empty road and leans over. Our lips meet, and it's sweet and innocent. We pull apart, smiling, and she looks at me expectantly. I roll my eyes, handing the candy out to her.

 

She takes it with her mouth and takes it back out to kiss my cheek. "You're amazing." She compliments before putting it back in her mouth. I shake my head, glancing behind me. Kori's still fast asleep, and his sister seemed to have followed foot; she's sleeping with her head leaned on his car seat. 

 

"Yeah, they look so innocent now. Wait until we get home." Kara exasperates. I glance between her and her children and giggle to myself. 

 



 

"We're missing one, I swear." Kara declares, spinning around in circles looking for the extra plank. "Or maybe you placed them too close together," I say for the second time. "I told you," I add. She huffs and rests her hands on her sides. Her contacts are now gone displaying the bright eyes I love so much. 

 

I normally applaud myself for my self-control, but right now, all she's wearing is a black tank top and her jeans, and I'm using every inch of self-restraint to stop myself from looking down at the abs peeking through her shirt. 

 

Everyone's changed into warmer clothes, well, except Kara, who's still insisting there's a missing piece. I roll the sleeves of my borrowed grey sweater up and cross my legs. It's long after dinner hours, and we're finishing up the toddlers' bed.

 

"That one?" Ellinae asks, pointing to her brother, who's using the missing plank as a track for his cars. Kara blinks at him before turning to me, "See! There was a missing plank." She sings songs reaching for an actual toy racecar track. "Hey, baby, mommy needs that." She points at the plank.

 

"How about you use this one instead?" She suggests holding out the swirly red track. He shrugs and takes it from her. I stand with a strained huff and walk over to the unfinished bed. She hands me the plank and walks over to Ellinae. "Screwdriver?" She glances from her doll to her mother and sighs deeply.

 

She picks up the tool beside her and hands it to her mother. "You said you wanted to help, and I ask you to hand me a screwdriver, and it's the end of the world?" She comments to Ellinae, walking over to me. I hold it in place as she screws it into the frame. Ellinae jumps up to grab the thin mattress and drags it over to us.

 

"Got it." She says as we stand to let her lay it over the planks. "And for the finishing touch." Kara grabs the larger and softer mattress, easily placing it over the thin one. "We did it!" Ellinae exclaims, clapping. The seems to obtain Kori's attention, and he races over from his spot on the floor and jumps onto the bed. "It works!" He shouts.

 

Kara and I share a look before laughing. Ellinae claps excitedly, proud of our work. Kara grabs Kori out of mid-air and leans down with him in her arms, pampering him with kisses. Then, she sets him back down to bounce on the bed. "It's getting late," Kara states, looking at her watch.

 

 "If you want, I can drop you off back home." She says softly even though her eyes don't seem to agree. "What? No!" Ellinae and Kori whined, stepping away from the bed. "Can't you stay? How about we watch a movie? Just one." She pleads, holding onto my hand. 

 

I glance at Kara, who's busying herself by, for some reason reading the instructions on to assemble the bed she didn't even read the first time. I chuckle to myself, nodding, "Well, I have nothing else planned." I say, smiling at the little cheer the children make. "Alright, you and Kori, go set up the movie, Lee and I will get the snacks," Kara tells them.

 

Ellinae rushes out of the room, and Kori jumps off his bed to catch up, "Wait for me!" He yells, racing down the hall toward the stairs. "Come on." Kara encourages, holding her hand out, chuckling to herself. I uncross my arms and walk over, taking her hand. 

 

I can find my way to the kitchen, and Kara knows this, but she swings our arms leading me there nevertheless. "Over here. I filled up on snacks a few weeks ago." She says, opening the pantry. I lean against the counter, watching patiently as she loads her arms with different boxes, sweet enough to give diabetes. 

 

She places them down on the surface beside me and wraps her hands around my waist. "We had a great time today. Thanks." My arms roam up her arms until they wrap around her neck, "For?" Her eyes roam the room thoughtfully, "For being you."

 

"For charming my kids into behaving for a whole day. For distracting me from nagging the store all day. All by being yourself.. impressive." I laugh into her neck, "Really? It must be something in the air." I remark, one hand making wild gestures.

 

Suddenly I'm being lifted onto the counter and shrieking. Kara places a hand on each side of me without breaking eye contact. "I think God spent more time on you." I try not to flush under the attention and chew my lip, "You think?" I ask quietly. She nods, smiling, "I wouldn't lie to you." She swears earnestly.

 

The room goes completely still as our eyes flicker down to our lips and back up again. I finally give in to the temptation and pull her head closer, crashing our lips together. It's passionate and eager, and everything I used to think kissing should've felt like. She bites down on my bottom lip, and I part my lips to grant her tongue access.

 

Our tongues battled for dominance as Kara's hands roamed lower. We're quickly interrupted, "Mom! Lena! We're ready!" Ellinae shouts from the other room. I'm not sure who groans, but the vibration makes us both shiver. We both smile into the kiss and break apart begrudgingly.

 

"Not bad, Luthor." She says, out of breath. I laugh, lightly slapping her cheek, "You wish." I remark before hopping off the counter grabbing the box of Twinkies. "Skittles?" She asks on my way out. "It's fine. I only eat the red ones," I reply, already making my way down the hall with her hot on my tail, arms filled with snacks.

 

I push the door open, and both children look up from their place on the couch. "Alvin and the Chipmunks?" Kori asks, staring at us with wide sparkling eyes. Kara and I share a look, clearing my throat, "Sounds good." We both walk around the couch, settling the snacks on the coffee table in front of us. 

 

Both kids split up, making space for Kara and me. Ellinae rushes to turn off the lights and jumps back on the couch. Her head on my lap and legs dangling off the handle, reaching for a chocolate bar. Kara sits beside me, Kori leaning into her side and wrapping an arm around my shoulder.

 

The beginning credits begin to play, and any worrisome thoughts from an earlier slip from my mind. Instead, I absentmindedly use my fingers to comb through the young girl's hair, and everything just feels so natural.

 

Being with them feels natural.

 

Chapter Text

 I barely stopped the lamp; I just lashed from falling, scared out of my mind by the loud slam downstairs. "Lena!" I hear a frantic voice scream out. "Sam?" I call back at the approaching figure. She flings my office dorm open and strides in on a mission. She approaches my desk, basically slamming her hands on my papers. 

 

"You spent the whole day with Kara yesterday?" She asks, glancing behind her, "I could've sworn I told you this already." I ask, glancing in her direction. I've known Sam for years, and I'm fairly used to her weird antics, but this is just unsettling.

 

"Well, Lillian's on her way here no-" And with that, there's another loud slam downstairs. "Lena Kieran Luthor!" My mother screams out in rage. Huh. I swear I'm getting deja vu. Oh yeah! This literally just happened. "Is today some time of holiday? If so, I don't feel as if I'll be participating this year." I mutter as the loud steps storm closer.

 

Sam backs away and drops down onto the chair to the side of the room, sending me a pitying look. "What were you thinking!?" My mother yells in lieu of an actual greeting, Lex hot on her track, not fairing much better.

 

"Yes, salutations and good morning to you too, mother. How may I help you on this fine Sunday?" I remarked, leaning back in my chair, accepting my already intended fate. My mother never calls me by my full name unless I've actually committed a severely punishable act. 

 

She also hasn't looked at me with this much rage since I was in college, and she caught me making out with her old-time friend's daughter Tiffany Johnson in my bedroom, only to ghost her a week later. The conversation that was rudely cut short a few seconds ago replays in my mind, and I start to form an idea of what this brief and sudden family reunion's about.

 

My mother slammed the large orange envelope that she clutched down in front of me. "You've lost it. Absolutely lost it!" My mother repeats, pacing back and forth, leaving traces on the wine-colored carpet. I turn to Lex, who has an unreadable expression on his face, and he looks away. I sigh, defeated, and tear open the envelope only to uncover a collage of pictures.

 

The scene in front of me blurs, and I suddenly feel as if I'm submerged underwater. I can feel the steady beats of my heart speed up with every picture I take out. Photos showing proof of my relationship with Kara. Images with clear shots of our faces. Pictures unfairly exposing the existence of Ellinae and Kori.

 

Pictures consisting of me feeding Kori my noodles, with Kara and Ellinae cheering. Kori's curls thankfully covered the majority of his face. Ellinae's hair is down, looking ever so much like her mother. Then there's well her mother with her cap down right before running her hand through it. Although her eyes are brown, there's still that same adorable crinkle around her eyes and long dashing blonde hair.

 

I continue scanning through them, stopping at one. A clear shot of Kara and me kissing in the car, and one beside it, one where she's taking the lollipop from me with her mouth and me smiling like an idiot. I scrutinize it closely, and there's Kori asleep in his car seat and Ellinae leaning her head on his.

 

"Where did get these?" I ask, my voice cracking against my will, glancing up. My mother stops pacing, and Sam looks at me with sympathy painted all over her face. "Where did I get them?" My mother repeats, chuckling in disbelief, "I had to stop them from being printed!" She answers bitterly. 

 

"Come on, Lena, what were you think? And whose kids are those!?" Lex yells, finally acknowledging me. "I was thinking that I'm a grown woman who doesn't need to report back to her family about her love life! These!" I yell back, pointing at the two children in the photo, "Are Kara's children! And these photos shouldn't have been taken!" 

 

"I think I'll step out.." Sam speaks up quietly; I send her my deepest glare, "Don't. I need a witness in case I'm murdered." My mother scoffs deeply, "Oh please." I resist the urge to roll my eyes and decide on sighing instead. 

 

Lex scoffs, crossing his arms, and my mother yanks her arms from Sam's hold and takes a seat in front of me. "Do you know how bad this looks? A Luthor dating a Zor-El Lena, really!?" Lex asks, turning a shade of pink. I slam my desk on my way to stand up, "We are not children! She had nothing to do with what her parents did, and neither did I!"

 

I chuckle to myself erratically, as if this is all one big joke. "You're all just prejudiced! That's why I couldn't no didn't tell you!" I announce, glancing between my silent seething mother and expressionless brother. "Yes, I am dating Kara! The Zor-El heir! She's kind and selfless an- and-" My mother raises a steady hand, putting a stop to my rambling. 

 

It's something she's always done. It's something that would've had me tearing my eyebrows off in middle school, but growing older, it became our thing. And right now, I seriously hope it's good. She eyes me carefully, and I cross my arms, refusing to waver. "You like her.." She says thoughtfully, "You haven't fancied anyone since that Sinclair girl." She makes a face and waves a hand demolishing the thought.

 

"Yes," I respond firmly. My mother eyes me from top to bottom, "And those are her children." She says, but it sounds more like a question than anything else. I glance at the envelope on my desk, "Yes. Amazing ones at that." She sighs heavily and leans back in the tall chair, "And she shares these affections?" I skim through all my memories with her and her children, "I really hope so."

 

Then, my phone gets a notification at the worst possible moment ever, and I look at the clock with a sigh. Because, of course, it's Kara. She texts me at the same time every day without fail. And if it isn't her, then I'd be worried. I can feel the moment when everyone looks at my phone screen facing up on the table.

 

Ms. Roberts❤️: "Did you know Montpelier, Vermont, is the only U.S. capital without a McDonald's? Like what do they even eat when they crave fast food? Anyway, I know you liked the noodles from yesterday (A very rare occurrence btw), So I ordered take-out. I'll swing by with it by lunch since you always forget to eat when working! ❤️(who works on Sundays anyway?)." 

 

My first thought is to update my settings as Sam snickers and Lex scoffs, crossing his arms. I turn toward my mother, who's eyeing the message thoughtfully, "Since when do you eat noodles?" She asks flatly, picking up my phone for a better view. I furrow my eyebrows at the sudden change of tone and glance at Sam, who just shrugs just as thrown off as me. 

 

"Since yesterday.." They all make an unamused face, and I let out an involuntarily sigh, "What? They were good!" I say, trying to defend myself. My mother goes through at least four various emotions before staring at me, "This isn't good." She says gravely, earning an eye roll from me. 

 

"I know because she's a Zor-El well mother, I frankly don't care-" She stands up, cutting me off, "No."  She punctuates with an eye roll herself. "I meant that I don't think that's all of the pictures." She says, gesturing at the photos clutched in my hands. "What do you mean?" I ask slowly, waiting for my brain to comprehend. 

 

"I mean that I only stopped the pictures from being printed at the Daily planet. I wouldn't know if someone else were to have them printed elsewhere." It's my turn to scoff, "Really? Lillian Luthor couldn't catch a no-good reporter?" Any emotion from her face immediately drops, "I would never."

 

"I most certainly despise the Zor-Els, but purposely sabotaging them is not something I'd ever do. Kara is young, kind, and intelligent, but so were her parents Lena. You nor your friends might remember, but I do. I remember how sweet and selfless they were. Who would've thought they were raging sociopaths?" She runs a hand through her combed-down hair.

 

"I was going to bring you and Lex, Lena! I could've lost my family! All on some twisted whim." She confesses without looking away. My stance slowly falters. She's right. I've probably met Kara's parents once or twice. I can't recall what we talked about, but they were definitely two of the kindest people I've met. 

 

I certainly wouldn't believe you if you told me they were planning on annihilating everyone they thought were threats to their daughter's future. 

 

"She wouldn't," I say quietly, wincing at how small I sound. "How would you, Lena? You've known her what? A few months. How do you know she isn't capable of following in her parent's footsteps?" My mother remarks warily. I bring myself to full height, "Because I know what a manipulative person is. Who would have more experience than me?" I retorted, crossing my arms. 

 

Her face falls, and she looks away, jaw clenched. "Kara's parents treated her like shit. After they reported the maid's uncovered journal, everyone knew. Hell, they even locked her in a goddamn room when she messed up a note on the piano! So why on earth would she follow in their footsteps?" 

 

I can see the exact moment my mother admits defeat. Her eyes glance down at my hands, and she sighs, "What are their names?" She asks, exasperated. I chew my lip, scanning her face for anything peculiar. I sigh, dropping my head, "Kori and Ellinae." She nods thoughtfully, "How old are they?" 

 

"Why?" She doesn't answer, and I roll my eyes, "Ellinae's nine.. Kori just turned three." She stares at the picture only to lean back in her chair. "A young mother then?" Having not even thought about it, I make a face, "Yes, is that a problem?" She raises a hand and shakes her head, "Of course not." I eye her warily, "I'm sensing a but somewhere in there." 

 

"We can't let those pictures get out. Not because you're both dating, but because those are children. Children whose lives will be immensely changed if they do."

 

"You might be a little too late." Everyone turns to Lex, who's leaning on the wall, holding his phone up. Then right there on a trashy gossip site is a picture of us crossing the street, hand in hand. The reactions are immediate. My mother quickly stands dialing a number, Sam's eyes go wide, and her hands fly over her mouth.

 

Despite how Lex feels about them, I can see the pity in his eyes. I fall back into my chair. Then like clockwork, my phone starts buzzing, notifications from every social media app I'm signed up for popping up at once. I shift my head to look at Sam, and she gets the same idea. We both nod, and Sam grabs her phone, most likely dialing Alex.

 

I reach for mine, avoid clicking on bothersome pop-ups, and dial Kara's number. 

 

"Hey! Are you done with wor-"  I cut her off mid-sentence.

 

"Kara, I need you to get Ellinae and Kori somewhere safe."

 

"Lena? What's going on?" She asked frantically.

 

"Someone was following us around yesterday. The pictures are already printed; I'm so sorry." I grab ahold of the edge of my desk to keep myself steady. I hear shuffling before she responds.

 

"Alex isn't answering!" She says out of breath.

 

"Kara, take a deep breath, please." I plead, standing up from my chair to peek out the window behind me.

 

"How fast can you get them here? Journalists can't be within a hundred feet of the premises." There's no response but a loud thump in the background.

 

"Kara?" I glance at Lex, who made his way over toward me during the phone call. He glances between the phone and me, just as worried. 

 

"Thirty minutes max. I don't trust my neighbors not to rat me out." She says after a beat.

 

I breathe out a sigh of relief, "Alright, I'll let downstairs know to send you guys up immediately."

 

"Lena, I'm not staying." She says, and there's a zip somewhere in there.

 

"What do you mean you aren't staying?" I ask, holding my phone closer to my ear, blocking out my mother's yells. 

 

"They can get to me, but they are not getting anywhere close to my children." she declares with every bit of conviction. 

 

"Then where will you stay?" I ask, chewing my nails nervously, awaiting an answer.

 

"I'll be at home. I'll be fine."  My mouth doesn't form a word before she continues.

 

"I swear I'll be okay."

 

I turn to Lex, who shrugs, unsure, "Okay." I say, though. I'm sure she knows I don't mean it.

 

"We'll be there soon. Thank you, Lena."  The line goes dead, and I can only stare at it, stunned. "Is this really happening?" I mutter to myself softly. "I'm sorry." I turn to Lex, who looks genuinely upset, a far cry from how he came in twenty minutes ago. 

 

Sam rushed back in, "Alex wasn't receiving Kara's calls. She's already getting bombarded by press. I'm about to rush over. Stay safe! Please!" I sigh, removing the pin from my hair and letting it fall over my shoulders as the door closes behind Sam. "I'm sorry." It's so quiet I barely pick it up.

 

"I'm sorry you couldn't come to me." I nudge him slightly, "You were an ass." He nods, "Yeah, I was." I eye him discretely. "You can go call Eve and Lexe. I'll go phone the lobby." He nods and sends me a small smile; he steps away but not before kissing my cheek. 

 

"We're calling it in." My mother announces, striding back into the room. I ignore her, making my way toward the stairs, but she follows nevertheless. I try to keep up with her rambling, but it's hard for me to focus on anything she says. I tap the door buzzer and wait for a response. 

 

"Ms. Luthor?" A familiar voice answers. Considering how I never phone him, the edge in his voice is justified. 

 

"Kara Zor-El is coming with two children. Can you please just ring them up when they arrive?" 

 

"Of course," Darren says, no questions asked.

 

"Thank you, Darren." I remove my finger from the button. "Do you even know how to babysit children?" Is the one thing my mother says that brings me back to reality. I cross my arms, "pftt, of course, I know how to babysit. I have a goddaughter remember?" I reply, waving her off. 

 

"Jack was always there, though." She points out, following me to the living room. I pause from picking up the glass decorations before continuing. "Kori and Ellinae are good kids," I remark, carrying the armful of hazardous decorations toward the closet. "Not to sound coarse, but aren't you leaving?"

 

She shakes her head, "Who me? Why would I?" She replies, leaving me in the hallway and stepping into the kitchen. I follow after her, "Are you staying to help or be nosy?" She shrugs, grabbing a teabag and turning on the kettle. "Not sure yet." She decides, reaching for a mug. I roll my eyes turning back around into the hallway. 

 

There's a knock on the door. I slam the closet door, running to the door before my mother can get there. I throw it open, and there they are. 

 

Ellinae's standing with a panic look, clutching the bag in her arms. Then there's Kara with a cap on, holding a sleeping toddler, and bags in her free hand. "Come in." I invite, holding the door wider and glancing down the corridor after them.

 

"What's going on?" Ellinae blurts the second the door closes behind them. She waits until her mother places the bags down carefully to not to wake Kori. "What's wrong?" Ellinae repeats dropping her bag on top of the others and grabbing her mother's hand, forcing her to look at her. "Why do you think something's wrong?" 

 

"Because!" Ellinae exasperates, "You'd never wake us up so early on the weekend, much less drag us out of the house without telling us we're going first!" Her mother sighs, whether it is exhaustion or from her daughter's perception, I'm not quite sure which. "Nothing I can't handle, okay?" She jokes, poking at her daughter's side. It pulls a laugh out of her, and her eyes land on me.

 

Her worries from just a few seconds ago seem to fade because she's stepping over the pile of bags and wrapping her arms around my waist. "Hi." She says with a cheeky smile, looking up at me. "Why, Good morning. I reply, caressing her head. She smiles, her eyes closed. "I like your shirt." I frown, looking down, the three child-like figures staring back.

 

"I'm afraid it's a gift." She makes a face," You don't know who they are?" She asks as if it's absolutely absurd. I shake my head, laughing fondly, "Is that a problem?" She nods, pulling back. "Are we staying?" She asks her mother, glancing at their bags. "If that's what you want." She replies, shifting her arms. Ellinae turns back to me, "Then we have to watch it!" She all but squeals.

 

I laugh along with her, though I'm not sure what's so amusing. I glance up at her mother, who's staring at us with a fond smile. "I can bring them to the living room if you two would like to talk." I turn my head around, aware of the child holding my waist. I see Kara's hold on Kori tighten ever so slightly, and Ellinae lets me go. 

 

"Are you Lena's mother?" She asks with a head tilt; my mother doesn't seem bothered as she nods with a soft smile. "Yes, I am. Would you like to wait in the living room while your mother talks to Lena?" She asks politely. Ellinae goes quiet, chewing her lip in thought, "Okay." She agrees with a shrug turning around for her brother. 

 

Her mother hesitates, glancing at me. I send her a reassuring smile, hoping it's as effective as I think it is. Then, finally, she sighs, reluctantly letting go of her youngest child. Ellinae takes him slowly, wincing when he makes a face. "I'll come get you to say bye, alright?" Ellinae nods, eyeing her mother weirdly, turning around and following my mother toward the living room. 

 

"You're amazing. Do you know that?" She breaks the silence stepping closer to me. "So I've heard," I reply, my hands clasping behind her neck, her hands settled on my waist. "What are you going to do?" I ask faintly, playing with her ponytail. "Go back home, and avoid press?" She says, tilting her head. 

 

"And if you can't?" I inquire, dreading her answer from the faint smile on her lips. She shrugs carelessly, "Take the interviews and attempt at sorting this all out." She uses a hand to wave around wildly. "Not much of a plan." I point out, fully aware of how sensible she is. "The best plans are made in a state of panic." She remarks, surely.

 

"Yet, I find it hard to believe you." I tease, removing her cap twirling it in my hand. "Have I steered you wrong yet?" She asks, pouting. I can't help but wonder how anyone could possibly think she'd be capable of destruction like her parents. Her blue eyes shine ever so brightly as if she hasn't a worry in the world. 

 

"Thank you." She says solemnly; I shake my head, cupping her head. "No, don't do that. Apologize, I mean." She makes a face, her eyebrows furrowed. "When I agreed on being your girlfriend, I agreed to Kori and Ellinae as well. I care for them as much as I do you, and I'll be damned before I let something happen to them." I declare, my eyes never leaving hers. 

 

She takes my hand in hers, placing a light kiss on it. "How'd I get so lucky?" The blonde says softly, holding my hand to her cheek. I smile up at her, my thumb caressing her cheek. "If I remember correctly, it's because Ellinae blackmailed James into letting her meet me." She rolls her eyes fondly.

 

"You're right." She groans; I laugh, throwing my head back. "When am I ever wrong, darling?" She perks up at the slipped term of endearment and nuzzles her head into my throat. I take a deep breath at the feeling of something wet. She lifts her head, and I frown at her puffy eyes.

 

"Hey, look, you'll be okay. We'll be okay. We'll get through this together." I say, using my thumbs to wipe her tears away. She nods into the touch, "I believe you. Just.. thank you." I open my mouth, but she's quick to add, "Thank you for being you." She says before kissing me affectionately. I lean back into her arms, her lips following mine.

 

"Lena, are you coming?" A voice calls out.

 

We break apart, smiling for what feels like the millionth time. My arms tighten around her neck, laughing into her chest. "She has the worst timing. I'm sure of it." Kara groans, hugging me closer. We pull apart, and she grabs the bags on the floor with ease. I tell myself it's because they're filled with children's clothes to calm my thoughts.

 

We fall into step beside each other, walking to the living room. Kara places the bags down at the doorway, kneeling and opening her arms for the wobbling toddler. "You're leaving?" He asks, although he most likely already knows the answer. Kara waves over her daughter, and I give her a faint smile walking over to mother to give them privacy. 

 

I sink down in the seat beside her, toying with the bottom of my shirt. "She's clever." My mother speaks up after a beat. I let out a laugh, "Clever? She's damn near brilliant." I praise, glancing at the small family. Kara bends down to place a tender kiss on both of her children's heads. 

 

"Do you really think she has it in her to follow after her parents?" I ask softly, not bothering to turn to her. She sighs, "No. I never did. I just think I wasn't ready to accept that." She confesses. I turn this time, "Really?" She nods, "Kara was always such a lovely soul. I just always hoped her parents didn't affect her too much when she went off-grid with the Danvers and her aunt." 

 

I nod slowly at the new information. "So you being so on edge about them was.." I trail off, waiting for her to finish. "It was me being scared to trust them." She admits watching Kara pinch her son's nose, throwing him into a fit of laughter, abolishing the sleep from his face. She stands straight, eyes landing on me with a smile, and then on my mother. 

 

"Mrs. Luthor." She greets respectfully. My mother sighs, standing from her spot. "Please call me Lillian." She replies, holding out her hand. Kara hesitates, eyeing it as if it's a bomb. She takes it nevertheless, "Lillian it is." She says, letting go of my mother's hand. "Are we going to watch the show now?" Kori speaks up, pulling a toy car from one of the many bags.

 

Ellinae rolls her eyes, "Oh, Lena, before I forget!" Kara rushes down the hall, and her kids continue what they're doing unperturbed by their mother's antics. My mother glances at me, a brow raised, and I just shrug. Kara comes back into view a second later, holding a yellow bag. "Food." She says, slapping her head as if it should've been obvious. 

 

I laugh, because of course she brought me food. "You didn't have to," I say softly as my mother leads Kori and Ellinae over to the couch. "I know." She says, shrugging, "I have to go." She sighs out. I nod, smiling half-heartedly, "Don't worry, I got them." I say, and she nods, knowing what I'm referring to. "I don't doubt that. Cute slippers, by the way." She teases, kissing my cheek for the final time and quickly slipping her hat out of my grasp. 

 

I look down at my feet, frowning, cringing at the fluffy white slippers with pandas on them. "Come on, Lena! Ms. Luthor set it up!" I turned around to find them seated beside my mother; the tv paused, staring at me expectantly. "Let me go put this up. I'll be right back." I hold up the bag, and they nod. 

 

I walk back into the hallway, bumping into Lex. "Did I just bump into Kara Zor-El?" I laugh, walking around him into the kitchen. "No, seriously? That was her, right?" I place the food into the fridge, grabbing two bottled orange juices. "Who are those for? You don't even drink orange juice?" I roll my eyes, making it back to the living room.

 

I walk around the couch, taking a seat beside Kori. His sister beside him and my mother beside her. "Juice!" I hand them to Kori, and he passes one to his sister. "Thank you!" Kori gives his back to me, and Ellinae gives hers to my mother. "Can you please open this, aunt Lillian?" I nod in understanding, taking it from Kori and popping it open. 

 

I hand it back to him, staring at my mother, "Aunt Lillian?" Lex says, walking in confused. He stops in his tracks at the scene before him. My mother handing a young blonde opened orange juice, and Kori staring at him over the bottle in his hands. "Hi!" Ellinae looks between him and our mother, "Are you Lena's brother?" She asks, tilting her head. 

 

He lets out a high-pitched laugh, "Uh yeah. I'm guessing you didn't figure it out based on our hair." He jokes, us staring at his bald head. "I didn't." She deadpans, sipping her juice. "Would you like to watch.." I glance at the tv, "The Powerpuff Girls? With us?" He sighs, sinking down beside me. "Sure." He says uncertainly. 

 

"Great!" Ellinae claps as my mother unpauses the show. I watch as Lex stares at them as if they're the biggest enigma known to existence. I shove him, "Cut it out." He leans back, "Come on! This is so weird; who knew she had kids?" I sigh, "Everyone but you and mother, now shut up and watch the show." I whisper back. 

 

"You don't even like cartoons.. you're so freaking whipped." He laughs much to the confusion of those not present in the conversation. Kori laughs as well, but I think it's just because my brother is bald and has an ugly laugh.

 

 



 

 

"See, I told you were they good." I sing songs to my mother and Lex, watching the siblings in the room from the doorway. Kori sliding his toy cars on the table, and his sister sitting at the other end with a coloring book, undisturbed by the tv and the toddler. "They seem.. robotic even; what's her secret?" I shake my head at him, "Whose?"

 

He rolls his eyes, "Your girlfriends. Lexe's entering his biting everything within reach phase." I cover up my laugh with a shoddy cough. "No idea, you'll have to ask her yourself. If!" I turn, pointing at him, "If you don't act like a bigoted asshole." I say lowly, glancing at the two blondes in my living room.

 

He holds his arms up in defeat, "I promise. I shouldn't have assumed from the start." He says guiltily, rubbing his neck. I nod contently, turning to my mother. "You as well.. Aunt Lillian." I tease. She rolls her eyes, walking into the room. "Who wants to play the clapping game?" My mother asks with the enthusiasm she only has for children.

 

Ellinae puts down her crayon, looking up confused. "What's that?" My mother quickly takes place on the couch, fully prepared with an answer, "This was Lena's favorite game as a kid." I groan, holding my face. "One person wears a blindfold and waits thirty seconds for the other players to hide. When times up, they'll say clap and have to figure out where you are by the sound."

 

Ellinae nods, slowly processing the rules. Then, she jumps up excitedly, "I saw this in a movie! Can I be a hider?" She asks, eyes full of wonder. My mother nods, standing as well. "Why, of course! I'll be the seeker. How does that sound, Kori?" He shrugs, abandoning his toys and taking his sister's hand. "Come on, Lena!" My mother encourages with a lively smile.

 

If only the world could see her now. It's not unusual for people close to us to see my mother so lively when around children. She's always been that way, with Ruby, Lexe, and now Kori and Ellinae. Who would've thought Lillian Luthor, the notorious founder of L-Corp, with the biggest resting bitch face ever, had such a big soft spot for children? 

 

I sigh in defeat, "Alright. But not to brag, I'm the best at this game." I joke, crossing my arms. Ellinae's brows furrow as she puffs out her chest. "Oh yeah? I bet I'm better." My eyebrows raise in surprise at the child's confidence, the same one who's never even played the game before. I copy her stance, "Alright, I bet you both pizza if you win." I challenge, despite the fact I was already planning on buying them pizza for dinner. 

 

The two blondes turn to each other questioningly and turn back to me, nodding, "You're on." My mother glances between us, "Alright, it's a challenge then." She announces. "I might have one in that drawer right there," I tell her. She walks over to it, pulling out a blindfold. "Would I like to know why you have a blindfold in here?" 

 

I shrug, not breaking eye contact, "Depends. Are you asking?" She shakes her head, turning her back on me. "You all have exactly thirty seconds to hide. If I find you, you can help find the others." She rattles out the rules, wrapping the cloth around her eyes. The remaining two and I stare at each other challengingly. 

 

"Alright, now. One!" I spin on my heels, quickly closing the door behind me, slowing them down. I race upstairs, catching a last glance at the two blondes rushing out of the room. I continue down the hall to my room, heading straight for the walk-in closet. I leave the lights off, hiding between a rack of clothing. I stay hidden for a few more seconds until my mother shouts from downstairs.

 

"Clap!" I hear a faint clap and a few beats later another. I chuckle to myself at their cleverness. One child claps, and then the other distracts my mother from the first one. I sigh, clapping. It goes silent again, "Clap!" Kori and Ellinae follow the routine they somehow made up during the little time they had to hide. I clap and hear light footsteps coming upstairs. 

 

I mutter under my breath as she opens a door down the hall, "Clap!" I roll my eyes, clapping. Then, I hear her abandon the previous room and walk into mine. I breathe in softly, "Clap!" I clap and slowly but surely change positions behind another rack. I watch her reach out to the spot I was previously in and touch nothing. I stand straight, bracing myself for making a run for it behind her. 

 

I wait until she turns around, waiting for time to pass so she can repeat clap. Then, I run around the rack, heading for the door. I nearly make it until my mother's pinching me. I yelp, jerking back. "How'd you know?" I ask, rubbing my backside. She crosses her arms, and I don't need to see her eyes to know there's that annoying knowing glint in them. 

 

"Because you're a cheat." And that's all she says before slipping past me heading back downstairs. "Me? If anything, Kori and Ellinae are the cheaters." I say dejectedly, following her, my ego bruised. "Well, those cheaters won, and if they're anything like their mother, you've better get your wallet ready from now." I let out a laugh, though it's mostly out of disbelief.

 

"And you'd know about Kara's eating habits, how exactly?" I ask, my hands sliding along the railing. My mother doesn't spare me a glance as she looks at the row of doors. "I was ignorant, not deaf, Lena. She also brought quite the meal at our gatherings." She says distractedly. I roll my eyes. "Because they lasted forever." I shrug, defending the older blonde despite it being one of her most endearing qualities. 

 

"Clap!" My mother yells. The first one comes from the kitchen and the one following it the living room. My mother and I share a look before taking off in different directions. I fling the living room door open, racing behind the couch to the young girl with wide eyes, holding a hand over her mouth. She spins around in a poor attempt at escaping, but I'm quicker; I grab her arm leading her into my arms.

 

She shrieks at the sudden motion and screams in half horror and half delight when I attack her with tickles. "No fair!" She yelps, falling back into the couch. I laugh, running a hand through my hair, pushing it out of my face. We both turn when my mother enters, holding the other young child upside down. "We won?" He asks with a wide smile. 

 

"Yeah, but it turns out Lena's actually a sore loser!" She shouts, getting up to remove herself from my reach. "You both cheated!" My mother rolls her eyes at me and places Kori on the couch, letting him jump up by himself. "No, we didn't." Ellinae remarks, hands on her hips.

 

"I clapped, and then Kori clapped after because he's a copycat. How were we supposed to come up with a plan when we were with you both the whole time." I huff, a hand on my head, "My mother's old! Of course, that'd confuse her!" A course of laughter spreads through the room when I'm hit in the head by a pillow. 

 

"Who's old, you wrinkling brat?" I scoff, glaring at her, "I do not have wrinkles." She tilts her head knowingly and mouths something to Ellinae, "I'm literally standing right here." I point out my arms, flapping uselessly. "She said that you're just upset that you lost so quickly." Kori blurts before taking a sip of his now lukewarm orange juice. 

 

I walk over to him, picking him up and swaying him in my arms. "You're my best friend, you know that?" I tease, tickling him. I hear Ellinae scoff a few feet away, "Pftt, because he snitched? It's fine. I don't need you guys, I have aunt Lillian." She says proudly, wrapping herself around my mom. The change was so quick, and she stared at the young girl, shocked, mouth agape, and I couldn't contain my laughter. 

 

Ellinae just tilts her head up, smiling at my mother, who seems to regain awareness because she smiles back, brushing the girl's hair back. "Another round?" Kori speaks up, hanging from under my arm, seemingly unbothered. We all share a look before nodding. 

 

"Seeker!" We all shout simultaneously. 

 

Kori stares at us, baffled, "Can I still hide?"

 

 



 

 

"Pizza's here!" Ellinae grabs off the blindfold; she's colored in rainbow. She rushes over, sliding along the floor. "Where are you going without money!" I call out, running after her. I reach for the doorknob, and Ellinae gets pushed behind it. "Hey!" Once she's out of view, I turn to the delivery man or well woman.

 

"Hi." I greet, digging through my purse for change. "Oh, Uhm, hi!" The young girl's voice is high pitched and strained, at I raise an eyebrow, "You're- Uhm, you're Lena Luthor? Right?" I nod, pulling out cash. "The one and only," I reply, finally looking at her dumbfounded expression. 

 

I frown, looking down, and remembering myself. The ridiculous slippers I'm wearing, the now wrinkled shirt with who I now know as The Powerpuff Girls, and my hair out of the suffocating bun it's well known for. "Just one of those days," I say quickly, hoping it was loud enough to cover up Kori's shriek. If she hears anything, she doesn't voice it as she removes the boxes from the bag in her hand. 

 

"One cheese and one chicken.. right?" She asks hesitantly, relief rushing through her when I nod. "eighteen ninety-four." She says, frowning at the fifty-dollar bill, "Oh no, Ma'am, this is too much-" I wave her off, "Please, it's fine. And call me Lena, ma'am makes me sound old." Her face turns red, and she nods stiffy, "Of course- Yeah, sure.. Mhm, got it. Um, bye, thank you!" She stutters, leaving with an awkward attempt at finger guns. 

 

I close the door, only to be met with an unamused look from Ellinae. "Were you flirting with her?" She asks simply, eyes glued to the door. My eyebrows furrow in confusion, "Absolutely not. Did it sound like that?" She shrugs, falling into step beside me. "Not really, she just seemed really flustered. Are you a celebrity like Justin Bieber?" I skillfully avoid the question by handing her the pizza boxes once we reach inside the kitchen.

 

"What do children even drink?" I mumble to myself, skimming the fridge. "Any non-alcoholic beverage Lena." I roll my eyes, closing the door to glare at my mother. It's now seven-thirty, and we're way off schedule. The kids should be in bed by nine, but the delivery app was down, and they spent at least twenty minutes arguing over toppings before I decided just to buy both. 

 

Kori already decided he doesn't need a bath, and Ellinae claims she can't shower unless she's eaten. "Don't fret so much; I added juice to the order." My mother says, taking a sip of her coffee. "Since when did Dominoes h juice?" I mutter to myself, a hand in my hair. I shake myself out of it, grabbing plates from the cupboards placing them in front of Ellinae on the island. "I'll get Kori," I say when she opens the first box and nods in response. 

 

I step into the hallway, "Kori? The pizza's here!" I walk faster at the lack of response and spin into the living room to find him standing in the middle, watching the ceiling fan spin motionlessly, toy in hand. "Kori? Dear?" He doesn't react, his head drooping every other second and his eyes daring to close. I chuckle to myself, walking over to him and taking his free hand. 

 

"How about you go eat, and we'll get ready for bed." He knows it contains a bath somewhere in there, but he seems too tired to retaliate and nods, dropping the toy on the floor and rubbing his eyes, letting me lead him to the kitchen. "Chicken or cheese, Lena?" Ellinae asks empty plate in hand. I shake my head, "It's alright, I don't eat pizza." She makes a face before sighing deeply. "Yeah, I'm remembering that terrible conversation about you not eating sugar or greasy food since college." She shudders at the thought. 

 

I roll my eyes, nudging her shoulder, "Does your mom let you eat all this junk food at home?" Ellinae nods too quickly for my liking, but Kori beats her to it. "No." He blurts, reaching for a slice of cheese pizza when I sit him on the island. Ellinae groans, shoving her brother, causing him to screech. "Your mouth is so big!" She complains, sighing. I laugh, winking at her, "I won't tell if you don't." I hold up a finger to my lips, and she giggles, doing the same. 

 

"Unless this one beats you both to it." My mother jokes, and Kori stares at her wide-eyed, mouth full of pizza. I take a seat beside Ellinae, with Kori sitting on the counter in between us. The siblings argue over some trivial topic I lost track of, their energy seemingly restored, any sign of fatigue gone. "Here." I turn away from the adorable scene in front of me to answer my mother.

 

"I heated up the noodles, Ms. Zo-" She clears her throat glancing at the distracted blondes, "The noodles that Kara brought for you earlier. I know you're going to forget to eat." She says, correcting herself. I smile at her attempt to change her ways and slide the dish toward me. "Thank you," I say, leaning into her touch when she plants a kiss on my head. "Anytime."

 

Then Ellinae says something, and Kori's roping us into their quarrel. We eat our respective meals, laughing and joking. At some point, Ellinae scolds her brother for being untidy but wipes his face nevertheless. He squirms away, but his sister keeps a steady hold on him, seemingly used to his behavior. I can't help but think, not for the first time, how natural this all feels. Kori glances at me from the corner of his eye, his wide eyes signaling for help.

 

I throw my head back, laughing, adding to the noise my kitchen's full of. I turn in my seat, ready to relay the joke, and pause. I stare at the empty seat beside me with a frown. Oh right. She isn't here. I slowly turn back, my heart not as into the conversation as it was before the sudden realization. 

 

I imagine what I'd be like if she were here. Would the kids be in bed by now? Would my brother like her, or would she become a nervous and rambling mess around my mother? Or would she keep to herself stubbornly? I chuckle at the thought.

 

God, I wish she were here. 

 

 



 

 

"Come on, big guy." I pick a freshly bathed Kori up, setting him on the black marble countertop. It took a good while of convincing him why he should take a bath, the large grease spot on his shirt from dropping his pizza being a big help to my argument. I would say I successfully convinced him to change his mind, but he sighed loudly and agreed reluctantly, and everyone decided he was just too tired to differ anymore. 

 

I take his toothbrush, squirting a good amount of his toothpaste on it, as he rubs his eyes, his adrenaline rush from earlier gone. He spins around, turning to the mirror on his knees. "Here," I hand him the brush, and he shoves it into his mouth, trying to keep his head up.

 

"Lena?" I glance at the doorway to Ellinae standing in a nightgown, holding a hairbrush, her blonde hair flowing over her shoulders. "Can you braid my hair? It's fine if you can't. It's just my mom normally does it, and well, she isn't here right now, so I was just wondering-" I laugh, cutting her off. "Of course, come here." I wave her over, and she skips over, hopping up onto the counter handing me the brush. 

 

"Alright, turn?" She crosses her legs, turning to face the mirror, giving me easier access to her back. In a quick movement, I use the hair tie on my wrist to wrap my hair in a bun. "Any specific braid?" I ask, beginning to brush. She hums thoughtfully, rocking side to side, "No, not really." I nod, separating her hair into two parts. "Aren't you tired? What time do you normally go to bed?" Ellinae asks, staring at me through the mirror. 

 

I shrug, "Pretty late. I usually stay up, answering emails." She nods, "I'm sorry, did we take up all your time?" She asks softly, scanning my face for a genuine answer. I finish a braid, resting my hands on the counter, staring at the young girl through the mirror. "To be honest, it was nice having something more important to do than reply to grumpy old witless men. Isn't that right, Kori?" He makes a noise, something between a grunt and agreement. 

 

I hum contently, taking it as a victory anyway. Then, I stand back up, continuing my task. Ellinae closes her eyes, relaxing, and Kori finishes up his task in comfortable silence. "All done!" I lean back, looking over my creations for faults. Her eyes open, "Thank you." She says softly, spinning around and dropping off the counter. I turn to Kori, picking up an abandoned hair tie, and collect his hair into one. I fix it into a quick short ponytail, removing it from his face.

 

"Alright, alright. We can go to bed now." He grabs hold of my neck the second he's within my grasp, finding the energy to kick his feet out at his sister when I pass her on the way to the extra room. I walk into the unused room, Ellinae pulling down the covers of the bed and climbing in. I place Kori down beside her, chuckling to myself when she unreluctantly wraps the blankets around him as well. 

 

"Should we call now?" Both children nod, sitting up in preparation. I reach into my pockets, pulling out my phone, grimacing at the number of notifications. I clear them, searching until I get to Kara's number. She had called an hour earlier, but by then, I was struggling to successfully give Kori a bath without leaving completely soaked. The clothes I wore earlier that are now damp in my hamper speak for itself.

 

Before I can press call, my phone rings, and her contact name lights up. The familiar green and red circles hover below it. Without much of a thought, I click the answer button, turning the phone to the wide-eyed blondes. "Mom!" Kori and Ellinae cry out, beaming at the woman on the phone. "Hi, my angels!" and I can hear the solace in her voice. "We missed you." Kori continues. 

 

"Really? How much?" He laughs, opening his arms wide and fast, hitting his sister in the nose. "Jeez! I thought you were tired." She points out, pushing him away. He ignores her, "We got to play hide and seek with a blindfold! And we watched cartoons all day!" He exclaims, eyes never leaving the screen, despite having to squint at the brightness.

 

"I'm glad you had fun, my love. Can I assume you had just as much fun, El?" She turns her attention from her fingers to my phone, shoving Kori and taking the device. "Yes, I did. And you should thank me for teaching your girlfriend about the art of cartoons. She was a lost cause before me." Kara laughs. Like actually laughs, her laugh sending warm vibrations through my body, enough to make me forget Ellina's taunt.

 

I smile at the feeling, tucking in Kori while his sister continues to ramble on. "I would love to continue our conversation, but I'm afraid it's past my bedtime." Ellinae glances at the clock on the side table that reads nine forty-three. "You are absolutely right. How could I forget?" She says jokingly to her oldest daughter. "I don't know. You're the one that gave us one." Ellinae deadpans, "Here, Kori, let's say goodnight to mom." 

 

She falls back into the bed, shuffling closer to her brother, holding the phone above them both. "Night, ma!" Kori says, smiling tiredly, looking exactly how his mom did the night of his birthday. "I love you," Ellinae says softly, her energy finally fading. "Me too!" Kori blurts, making his sister roll her eyes. "I love you both too. So much." Kori tilts his head, "To the moon and back?" I hear Kara make an indignant, "No way."

 

My eyes widen, but the two children chuckle to themselves, "To Pluto and back." Kara says, correcting them. I roll my eyes at the woman's corny remark, despite the laughter coming from the supposed to be asleep blondes. "Oh! Before I forget. Here Lena." Ellinae shoots back up, holding out the phone. She covers the speaker with a hand and whispers, "She wants to talk to you."

 

My eyebrows raise without much thought, "She told you that?" I ask, walking over. "No, but she's fidgeting, so she's obviously waiting to ask." The young blonde jokes, the phone still held away from her mouth. "I can still hear you." Kara's voice sounds through the microphone. Ellinae's eyes go wide, and she mouths an oops, though her eyes sparkle, not looking the least bit sorry. 

 

I wait patiently for them to say goodnight to their mother, promising to call tomorrow, and when Ellinae hands me the phone, Kori's about three seconds from passing out. I walk over to Ellinae, bringing the covers up to her chin, making her giggle despite being drained. "Night, El." She beams at the nickname and relaxes into the pillow when I plant a kiss on her head. 

 

I tiptoe over to the door, turning off the lights and looking back once. I watch the faint, steady figures shift until they're comfortable before chuckling and closing the door quietly. "Aren't you sweet," I roll my eyes, chastising myself for forgetting I wasn't muted. "The sweetest." I remark unamused, turn off the lights, and make my way toward my room. 

 

"So?" I ask, climbing into my bed. "So what?" Kara hums, feigning ignorance. I resist the urge to roll my eyes, aware of my face showing on the screen, "Was it terrible?" I tease, and the blonde chuckles, shaking her head, "The worst." She looks around thoughtfully, "But I just got to talk with these really cool kids and a stunning girl, so everything's fine." 

 

I raise an eyebrow, willing myself not to fall for her cheesy comments yet, "A girl? Have I been replaced so quickly? It's only been a day, Ms. Zor-El." She laughs, and warmth spreads through my chest at being the one to provoke such a reaction from her. "We're back to last name basics Ms. Luthor?" I shrugged noncommittally, "Depends who was this girl?" 

 

I watch as she rocks from side to side, debating, "I think her name was Lana, Laina? No, definitely Lana." I let out an involuntary laugh, watching as she smiles, "She was gorgeous, and it turns out she babysat those kids I told you about. Huh, I guess cool people do keep great company. Plus, she wore these ridiculously cute slippers, and I still haven't gotten over it." 

 

My laugh gets caught in my throat, and a blush replaces it instead as I remember what she's talking about. "Why'd you stop? I'm having an awful amount of fun listening to you." Kara huffs, "No way. I just remembered how huge your ego is." I raise an eyebrow, turning over on my stomach. "I'm sorry, was it me you were talking about?" 

 

She blinks once and shakes her head, "No. I was talking about my girlfriend. Speaking of which, her ego is just as big as yours. You two would get along nicely." She hums, contently, happy with her hunch. She continues rattling on praises, but I can't seem to focus. 

 

Girlfriend.

 

I'm Kara's girlfriend. I mean, I have been for a while now, but hearing it is different. Not a bad different, just different. For most people, they'd say it is a neutral connotation, and I wonder if it makes me weird if I believe it's a positive one. Well, how could I not? This adorable blonde is rambling on about how amazing I, her girlfriend, am—my brain flashes from earlier. 

 

 Her eyes crinkle, and I wonder if she's smiling because she's genuinely happy or it's to keep herself from crying.

 

"When we moved here, I saw her crying in front of her mirror... The worst part was that she just wiped her tears and started smiling before coming to tuck Kori and me in. It's like she doesn't know it's okay to be upset.. 

 

As a past child prodigy and renowned scientist, I decide it's the latter. 

 

"Hey.. Kara?" She pauses, glancing at the screen as if not knowing I zoned out. "Hm?" I scan her face, taking her in before asking my question, "Are you okay?" Her stance falters, and the world-famous Kara crinkle makes an appearance. "What do you mean?" She tilts her head adorably, and I clear my throat before I get distracted.

 

"How do you feel.. about everything. The pictures, El, Kori.. us?" I ask hesitantly, awaiting a response of some sort. She becomes so still I wonder for a brief second if she lost connection. Finally, she sits back up, her smile now gone. "Well, it sucks, obviously-" I cut her off, "No, Kara. How do you really feel? I know this shouldn't be an over-the-phone conversation, but I don't know the next time I'm going to see you." 

 

She stares at me as if deciding something. Finally, she sighs, running a hand through her curls, and my eyes never stray from the dark circles under her eyes. "I'm.. upset. I know I'm not exactly a regular person, but my children are, and those photos should have never been brought to light. For Ellinae and Kori, I'm okay because I know they're in good hands and are safe, and that's all the consolation I need right now." 

 

 I glance at my opened door, staring at the door Ellinae and Kori are behind, and I wonder for a quick second if they've fallen into deep slumber yet. Kara continues, catching my attention once more, "I hate when things aren't planned. I get anxious because I can't predict a reasonable outcome. But when it comes to us, Lena, you're a constant."

 

I don't need a mirror to see the blush sprouting on my face, "Sure, I don't always know what you're thinking, but it's not confusing with you. It feels like a journey rather than bothersome—a journey of learning what goes on in your head." She emphasizes her point by knocking her head. I chuckle to myself, ducking my head from view. 

 

"Really? It feels as if you're reading my mind all the time already." I remark, laughing at her widened eyes, "So I've made it what? half-way?" She asks, glancing around for no other reason than to seem in thought. "What happens when you make it.. all the way?" I ask softly, playing with the cuff of my long sleeve. 

 

"That's for me to know and for you to find out, Ms. Luthor." She teases, pointing a finger at me. I roll my eyes, "I forgave you. You can drop the honorifics." I comment, much to her feigned shock. "Don't you think that's kind of our thing by now?" She asks, tossing a mini marshmallow into her mouth. Again, I roll my eyes, not the least surprised she has something edible within reach.

 

"I haven't been on social media all day; what are they saying?" She hums, swallowing her marshmallow, "Someone said that they've been expecting us to be dating since my coming out party when everyone took pictures of you fixing my collar." I snort, remembering the reason it even happened. "I guess we can blame Cat for that then." She jerks up, shaking her head, "Wait, no way!" 

 

I furrow my browns, frowning at the screen, "What?" She throws her head back, laughing, "Did you just snort?" My face immediately gets hot, and I bury my head in my hands, groaning, "Wait, no! That was literally the cutest thing I've ever heard, excluding El and Kori's first words, because 'fuck' and 'dammit' are not cute coming from a baby's mouth. 

 

A laugh bubbles out of my chest, "What? No way, how did they even learn those words? We've been dating for months, and you have yet to say a grown-up swear." She rubs her neck, wincing, "Alex and my aunt didn't exactly have the cleanest mouth back then." I gasp, "Astra?" She nods, dropping her head, "I think she used them so much, she eventually got sick of hearing them." 

 

My first reaction is to laugh and continue asking questions, but those thoughts are quickly interrupted, "How is it every time we talk, we get way off topic?" Kara shrugs, "Beats me. What were we talking about again?" Her voice gets high, and I raise an eyebrow unamused. "What are you planning on doing? I know for a fact that you're getting harassed way more than me, without even having to check."

 

She slumps back into her chair, pouting, "Cat scheduled me for an interview." I grimace at the thought, "Yikes." The words fall from my mouth before I can catch them. She nods, defeated, "Hey, cheer up. We'll be watching from right here. Supporting you from afar." I hold up two thumbs, and it pulls a laugh out of her. My head falls into my mattress. 

 

"God, I love your laugh," My words are muffled, but the graceful laugh stops. I lift my head back up, blinking away the sleep. I glance at the screen and nearly screech at the scene before me. Kara's face is all but red, and she stares back at me wide-eyed. "Oh. Well- Uhm, thank you. I love yours too- as well." She stutters out, clearing her throat, and I can't help but laugh. 

 

"And she blushes!" I cheer, fist-pumping, much to her annoyance. "I am not blushing." She remarks, crossing her arms, "My sweet angel baby Kara, your ears are pink." She turns an even darker shade of pink, either from the loose terms of endearments that flew out of my lips from lack of sleep or because it's true. "You! You're tired. Get off my phone." I laugh unrestrained, covering my mouth.

 

"A tired man's word is just as true as a drunk man's," I state, attempting to catch my breath. "And who told you that? Where's the end call button?" I sit up, "Wait, wait, I'm teasing! But not really because I was telling the truth." She rolls her eyes, mumbling to herself. "You have to get rest. You're going to have to get up soon anyway." My laughter stops, "What do you mean?"

 

She seemingly ignores the question, popping a handful of marshmallows into her mouth. "Kara?" She shakes her head, "I need rest as well; I have an interview remember?" My eyes twitch, itching to be rolled. "What do you mean I have to get up soon? It's only ten-thirty?" I watch, bewildered as she picks up the phone. "Huh? Oh, look at the time, I really have to go."

 

"Kara," I interject sternly. Her sparkling blue eyes roam the room she's in, "Goodnight, Lena!" 

 

"Kara!" 

 

"Oh, look, Alex's calling gotta go, goodnight, Iloveyoubye!" 

 

The call ends. 

 

I love you bye

 

I love you bye

 

I love you bye

 

I love you bye

 

She loves me? No, she does love me. She literally just said that. I stare at my phone in disbelief. Did she really say she loves me for the first time over the phone? Right now? Unimportant. I flip over on my back, gripping my phone on my stomach, staring at the white ceiling. Do I love her too? We haven't been dating long compared to how long you should wait before dropping the L-bomb. 

 

Did she say love you bye? No, she most definitely said, I love you. I sigh, grabbing a pillow beside me and hugging it close. I think back to our first date,

 

Her eyes flicker to my lips, and she stares at me as if she's contemplating something. "Would it be bold of me to ask if I can kiss you?" 

 

I roll over on my side, biting my lip at the memory, carelessly lifting my hands to touch my lips, eyebrows furrowed. 

 

"Come on." Kara encourages, holding her hand out, chuckling to herself. I uncross my arms and walk over, taking her hand. I can find my way to the kitchen, and Kara knows this, but she swings our arms leading me there nevertheless. 

 

I lay like that for the next thirteen minutes, which gradually turns into hours. Finally, it's only some time at two that I fall asleep. Only to be woken up two hours later. My eyes flicker open to a small figure standing beside my bed in the dark, and frankly, the only reason I haven't jumped up in horror is because I'm paralyzed in terror. "Lena? Are you up?" Kori asks, poking me. 

 

I sit up slowly, recoiling when he turns on the side lamp. "kori?" He strolls over to me, leaning on the bed and holding up a book. "Can you read this to me?" I glance at the clock and back to him, sighing. Kara's words replay in my head like a record.  "Oh, please. Wait until you're woken up in the middle of the night to read Kori a story."

 

That's what she meant. I nod, and I help him climb into the bed. He crawls until he's situated beside me and hands me the book. "This one, please." He rubs his eyes. The ponytail I did earlier, resembling the hair of those cartoon characters, shocked by lightning. I clear my throat, open the book, and forget about my earlier worries. We make it two pages in when the doors open wider.

 

Ellinae stands in the doorway, eyes squinted. I blink at her before waving her over, "Come on, story time." I try and joke, lifting the book. She shrugs, walks over to us, climbs in the bed, and sits between Kori and me. I wait until she's comfortable before continuing. Throughout the story, I mess up six times, choosing to replace the phrases with another from my vocabulary. When I finish, I close the book turning to the siblings.

 

Kori's snuggled into his sister's side, and his sister lays beside me on her back. I smile, place the book on the side table, and turn off the lamp. I fall back into my pillow, embracing the softness. "Hey, Ellinae?" I don't feel her move or react, so I sigh, assuming she's asleep. "Hm?" She mumbles softly. I turn on my side, leaning my head up with my arm. "How do you feel.. about me?" She turns her head to face me, and although I can't exactly see her properly, I know she's studying me.

 

"You.. You're cool. Cooler than Alex even.. don't tell her I said that." She warns, giggling at herself. I chuckle as well, but I think it's the lack of sleep that's making me so giddy, and certainly not her reply, I remind myself. "Alright, now it's actually time for bed." I push a strand of hair behind her hair, and she hums in agreement, "Night, Lena." She uses her hand to drag mine away from her hair, conjoining them. 

 

I turn on my back a few minutes later, sure that the kids are asleep. I throw my free arm over my head, laughing to myself quietly, turning to my right to be met with an empty space. A space that my girlfriend could've easily occupied if life weren't so cruel. Yeah, life.

 

If she weren't a Zor-El, and I wasn't a Luthor, this wouldn't be so hard. She wouldn't be halfway across town staying in an empty house meant for appearances, all alone. She would be lying beside me, and it'd probably be ten pm; she's always been more organized than me. Kori and Ellinae wouldn't have to say goodnight to their mother over a screen. She'd be here tucking them in. 

 

Our first I love you wouldn't have been over a fucking phone call. 

 

Yes, our. After hours of replaying her words in my head, I came to a reasonable conclusion. 

 

It physically hurts to be here without her, and with much thought, even though I was on the verge of just passing out four times from exhaustion, I've decided that I feel guilty for lying to my mother earlier. I don't like Kara.

 

I love her.