As far as Lena is concerned, today has been the longest day since records began. It started at 4am when a call from a heartbroken Andrea woke her up two hours before her alarm to cry about her most recent break-up, and now it’s almost 8pm as Lena finally leaves L-Corp for the evening.
All she wants to do is grab some food for the refrigerator, stock up on expensive booze, and become one with her sofa for the rest of the night before repeating it all again tomorrow.
Well, hopefully not the 4am phone call part.
The grocery store is just down the block from L-Corp and she has her driver idle by the curb as she runs inside, promising to only be a few moments. It should be quiet enough at this time for her to be in and out, and home within the next 15 minutes or so and then Lena can mope to her heart's content in her favorite cozy pajamas.
Lena heads straight to the liquor aisle first and places a bottle of her favorite red wine into her basket, talking herself out of buying a second bottle on a weeknight.
It’s not until she reaches the second aisle that Lena realizes she has company, a small blonde child that lingers just a little too close for comfort. Lena offers an uncomfortable, thin lipped smile when their eyes accidentally meet, vaguely amused by the wide grin that is shot back at her. Another smile, followed by an awkward nod, and Lena turns away from her again, her basket held close to her hip as she makes her way ‘round the grocery store.
The kid seems to follow her wherever she goes, acting as Lena’s shadow whenever she steps into a different aisle. It’d be cute if it wasn’t slowly becoming annoying, the last thing Lena needs after a long day filled with meetings with old men more stubborn than they have the right to be.
Lena doesn’t glance backwards again, instead walking straight to the fruit and vegetable section and praying that the child will grow bored and return to whichever adult brought them here. She’s not a kid friendly person, never really has been, perhaps due to the fact that Lena wasn’t allowed to spend much time with many of them even when she was one herself.
It’s not that Lena doesn’t like them—it’s not, after all, their fault that they are tiny humans who haven’t quite discovered their internal filter yet—but Lena doesn’t really know what to do with them. Sticky hands and wide eyes that are prone to filling with tears over the slightest inconvenience, children are just a little too much for Lena to deal with.
She sighs as she turns the corner, listening as little sneakers slap against the floor in their haste to follow her once more. Lena wrinkles her nose and pauses, realizing that there’s a good chance this kid is lost, and only an asshole would ignore a lost kid requiring help.
So, despite wishing she could just keep walking, pay for her things and leave, Lena turns around just in time to catch the kid ducking behind a display of toilet rolls.
Lena purses her lips and waits, arching a brow when the kid peeks out from their hiding place. The girl lets out a squeak and ducks behind the display again, leaving Lena with little choice but to go over there and question the child herself. Any irritation she may have felt, though, melts away when wide blue eyes gaze up at her in earnest, the girl blushing crimson at being caught.
“Are you alright?” Lena asks, ensuring her tone is comforting— gentle. “Are you lost?” The girl merely wrinkles her nose, wide eyes darting around the store. Lena softly sighs, making a special effort to keep the impatience from her voice as she asks for the girl’s name.
“Aelia,” the girl smiles, “it means sun.”
“That’s a very pretty name,” Lena murmurs, carefully kneeling down on her haunches, precariously teetering on the stilettos that she is desperate to kick off until tomorrow morning.
“You’re Lena Luthor,” the girl, Aelia, states matter-of-factly.
“I am.” Lena smiles, bemused. “How do you know who I am?”
“ Everyone knows who you are,” Aelia grins, rolling her eyes, “and I did my school project on you last month. I know all about you,” she continues. “You’re rich, you’re smart, you run two companies,” she ticks them off on her fingers, “and my mom says you have very pretty eyes.”
“She did, huh?” A more genuine smile seeps across Lena’s features, a faint blush dusting her cheekbones against Lena’s wishes.
“Uh huh,” Aelia nods, “and I think you should date her.”
Lena freezes, struck speechless for the first time since Andrea decided to drop her jeans in the middle of their dorm room to show off her new piercing. She awkwardly clears her throat and slowly rises to her feet, emerald eyes somewhat wild as they check for possible eavesdroppers around them.
“You want me to date your mom because I’m rich?” she clarifies, mortified by the way her voice cracks.
“It means you’re financially dependable and won’t always be calling to borrow money like Mike did,” Aelia rolls her eyes. “You would be able to help me with my homework if my mom was busy, and running two companies means you’re good at knowing how to split your time,” she nods. “And if my mom finds your eyes pretty, well, statistically speaking, you’re the one.”
“I see,” Lena nods slowly, baffled by the sudden turn of events and a little worried that her driver will get a ticket if she’s here for much longer. “Those are definitely good reasons to believe I’m a good suitor for your mom,” Lena smiles, “but I think it’s always better for people to choose their own dates, don’t you?”
“My mom has terrible taste,” Aelia scoffs. “Mike was a loser, William talked too much, and Lucy was never around when my mom needed her. Uncle James was the best one, but they decided they were better off as friends. ” She rolls her eyes and grimaces to ensure Lena has a good understanding of how much she didn’t approve of that decision.
“How old are you?” Lena cocks her head, utterly bemused by this tiny child who seems to have more sense than any of the old men in her boardroom put together. She’s certainly more likable.
“I’m eight, but Aunt Kelly says I’m precocious,” Aelia grins proudly. “Aunt Alex says that means I’m a pain in the a—”
“Precocious is better,” Lena cuts her off with a chuckle. She shakes her head in amusement, “are you here with your mom? She might be a little worried about you, you know. Following strangers around stores isn’t usually an activity that parents would encourage. I could be dangerous and you would never know until it was too late.”
“Your brother said in an interview from 2019 that you were a danger to his company and assets, and my mom said that anyone who is an enemy of Lex Luthor can only be our friend.”
This kid, it seems, has done her research and has an answer for everything, similar to Lena’s pain in the ass best friend who is two decades older than the girl. Precocious was also a word often used to describe Lena as a child, although with perhaps more disdain than Aelia’s family would use for her. She sighs and holds out her hand to the girl with a wry grin.
“Let’s go find your mom before she calls security, hmm?”
“She’ll be at the pizza counter,” Aelia says, slipping her tiny hand into Lena’s. “Tonight is pizza and potsticker night.”
“Pizza counter it is,” Lena nods, allowing Aelia to lead the way and all but drag her to the back of the store where the fresh pizzas are made. There’s only one person waiting by the counter, a young woman who happens to be one of the reporters at Catco, the media conglomerate that Lena only purchased a few weeks before. Lena doesn’t know her well, Kara always unable to make eye contact with her, but she’s heard the rumors of the reporter’s likelihood of winning a Pulitzer one day.
“Mom! Look who I found!” Aelia yells out, startling Kara out of her daydream. She spins on her heel, her blue eyes wide as they flick between her daughter and Lena.
“Miss Luthor!” Kara flushes pink as she stares down at her daughter, the one who had slipped off without her noticing. “I’m so sorry, Aelia and I have had many talks about her habit of wandering off.” She reaches down and gently pulls Aelia to her side with a tsk and a look that clearly states they’ll be discussing it further later. “I hope she wasn’t bothering you, Miss Luthor.”
“No, it’s ok—”
“You and Lena are gonna go on a date,” Aelia cuts Lena off, causing thick brows to furrow. Lena may not have said no to dating the girl’s mom, but she sure as hell didn’t say yes.
“Wait, what? No, that’s not—” Lena tries again, only to be cut off by the older blonde this time.
“Not again!” Kara sighs, “Aelia, we’ve talked about this. You can’t just go and ask people to go out with me. It’s not how that works, and I— Actually, no. Why don’t you go and find the sodas your Uncle Brainy likes while I talk to Miss Luthor.” Kara firmly points towards the correct aisle and waits until Aelia is out of earshot before she turns to Lena with a wince.
“I’m so sorry, I really don’t know where she finds the confidence,” Kara murmurs, face burning rouge with her embarrassment. “She talks to everyone. It’s… terrifying, actually.”
“Don’t worry about it,” Lena chuckles, her earlier annoyance well and truly disintegrated. “She’s a very smart girl.”
“Too smart for her own good,” Kara sighs. “She’s got this… thing about finding someone for me. It’s… we’re working on it.” Kara pushes her hair back, “this is probably her most embarrassing attempt, though. Aelia knows that you’re my boss, she even did a whole project on you at school and she kinda convinced herself that… well, I guess you know what I’m about to say.”
“I do,” Lena grins. “It’s alright, Miss Danvers, it’s actually pretty flattering. She seems like a very difficult girl to say no to.”
“You have no idea,” Kara says, “and, please, call me Kara. I think my daughter trying to set us up has taken away the need for formalities.”
“My mom likes coffee!” a little voice exclaims from somewhere out of sight, and Lena watches as Kara’s blush impressively deepens.
“I like coffee, too,” Lena shrugs, a sly smirk tilting one corner of her mouth upwards. “Can’t start my day without it. Oddly enough, the best place for coffee near Catco is this tiny little burger joint. Noonan’s, I think?” Truth be told, Lena usually sends her assistant to go get her coffee for her and has never actually set foot inside the little restaurant, but everyone in the office swears by it.
“Noonan’s is the best,” Kara agrees. “I go there every morning before work and, well, every spare moment I get, if I’m being honest,” she grins.
“You usually come into the office around nine, right?” Lena smiles impishly.
“Yeah, right after I drop Little Miss Trouble off at school,” Kara nods. “Sometimes a little earlier if all goes to plan and we leave at the correct time,” she chuckles before wrinkling her nose. “So, yeah, it’s rare that it’s earlier than nine.”
“Well then, Kara , perhaps I’ll see you there in the morning,” Lena says, quirking her brow. She spins on her heel and heads back to the aisle she came from, not at all missing the thumbs up that appear from behind a display of soda cans.