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Give It Some Space to Breathe

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It had stung, when Kara told her that she didn’t know what it was like to connect with someone as her whole self. And when she followed it up with a comment about never having had a friend quiet like Lena, who pushed her more, it was rubbing salt in the wound. But Lena was nothing if not highly skilled at masking her emotional pain. So she smiled, chin quivering, as she told Kara that she’d made her a better person. It wasn’t untrue, but it was a half truth. And then she’d gone back to the party, for an appropriate amount of time, waited to see people starting to disperse, and then slipped away without saying goodbyes. 

She goes home to her empty, cold apartment. It was half-packed already; she had decided after the fight with Lex and Nyxly, and after Lillian died leaving her the entire Luthor estate, that she wanted something less Luthor-esque for this next stage. Silently, secretly, she had hoped that maybe Kara had felt something more for her, the way Lena did for Kara, and that maybe, with a little honesty and time, she might have somewhere to live that was homey and inviting like Kara’s loft. Exactly like Kara’s loft. 

But the obvious lack of reciprocation that Kara so clearly voiced tonight was enough to tell her to stop dragging her feet. It is time to pick a new apartment, or house, and it would need to be a reasonable size for one person, just one. But she is Esme’s godmother now, so she should probably find someplace that had room for Esme to come visit and stay over. She looks around her apartment, boxes stacked around the outsides of the rooms, and realizes she didn’t care if she ever saw the insides of this place again. 

She trudges through the living space to the bedroom, and into the en suite, stripping out of her wedding clothes, and removing the jewerly. She doesn’t bother with make up wipes, just grabs an extra stack of wash clothes and stepped into the shower, turning the heat up as high as she could stand it, scrubbing away the day, the disappointment, and mentally berating herself for how much hope she had held for Kara to return her affection. 

She wasn’t going to blame it on being a Luthor. The weeks of intensive therapy she’d been investing in had at least helped her acknowledge that she wasn’t unlovable, but that she believed she was from years of experiences. But right now, she just wants to scrub all that off of her skin, and figure out what her life free of Luthors, and knowing she won’t be building a shared life with Kara will be. 

By the time she finishes in the shower her skin is pink from the hot water and the scrubbing, and she spends the appropriate amount of time moisturizing while trying to decide what she needs to do feel like she’s in control. It’s barely 7 pm at this point, still early in the evening for her, Alex and Kelly had opted for a brunch-hour wedding, to not keep Esme up too late.

Lena redresses in leggings and a sweatshirt. She is careful not to grab the NCU one that was two items down in the drawer, instead digging further to get her own MIT one. She knows it makes no difference, one way or the other, if she wears Kara’s stolen sweatshirt, but right now, she feels like she can’t. She trudges back out to her kitchen, pouring herself a glass of water, and opening her emails to finally look at the links her new real estate agent had sent a few days ago. 

She sets a kettle to boil and after getting her tea, she spends the next hour looking through listings, eliminating ones for size, location, terrible kitchen layouts, ones that would be hard ot host game night, and any other reason that pops up. In the end she has three that she considers viable, and one that just feels right. 

It’s a brownstone, its closer to Alex and Kelly than it is to Kara, which, considering Kara’s clear statements, she feels is a reasonable and responsible priority to chose. It’s not driven out of hurt, but practicality, at least that’s what she tells herself. And it has three modest bedrooms, one for her on the top floor, one for her office and one for Esme’s room on the middle floor, and a nice open floor plan kitchen and living area on the main floor. The kitchen opens into a small, fully fenced backyard that was strung with lights, and filled with a wild garden that calls to her. And more important than all of that, there isn’t a single white wall in the place. Lena was so sick of the pristine, clean, sterile life she’d had. She wanted color. And joy. And freedom from expectations of her name and position. 

So, Lena does something she was getting more used to doing, trusting her instinct and makes a decision. She emailed her real estate agent, Sheryl, who happened to respond immediately, confirming that Sheryl had seen that place in person already, and that she felt that the asking price was fair. So Lena bought it. She did the paperwork that night, asking for cash transaction, and by 10 pm, she was under contract, with a closing less than a week out. 

She was proud of herself. She’d certainly bought much higher priced property before, like CatCo. But this, it was actually for her. Done to make her happy, not to try to impress or woo someone. She was being Lena, not Lena Luthor. And for the first time in her entire life, she was going to have her own garden. 

She wanted to share that joy with someone, but she was still very hurt by Kara’s words, and she wasn’t going to text Kelly, and Nia was likely enjoying a very romantic evening with her boyfriend who shirked his responsibilities in the future to be with her. J’onn wasn’t the texting type, and Sam was three hours ahead of her in Metropolis. So she text Andrea. 

I bought a house tonight. Just for me. I don’t want to live like a Luthor anymore.

It only took Andrea a minute before the three bubbles appeared.

That’s great, cariño. Do you have a link? Let me see your new, Lena-only house. 

She exhaled at Andrea’s response. They may still be working on recovering trust, but Andrea certainly knew her insecurities and knew how to be supportive when needed. Lena sent her the link, and they texted for a short while, discussing furniture and decor. Andrea letting her fully escape the sting of rejection that she’d been ignoring for the last few hours, until she asked,

Wasn’t the wedding tonight? Why are you buying property and not wrapped around your far too optimistic blond crush?

Lena started typing and then deleted three different snarky rebuttals before being startled by her phone ringing, an incoming facetime call from Andrea. She lets out a sign, and answered. 

“Andi, I don’t want to talk about it.”

“Cariño, I shouldn’t have said that. I realize it was insensitive,” she looks genuinely contrite, “and I also know Kara is an absolutely oblivious idiot, and that you are gun shy, so I shouldn’t have said anything.”

Lena’s face relaxes slightly, deciding if she should confide in Andrea, if their resurrected friendship is ready for this conversation. 

“I’m not gun shy. She just, told me in no uncertain terms how important my friendship is to her,” Andrea starts to interrupt but Lena presses on “And that she doesn’t know what its like to connect with anyone as her whole self.” 

Andrea lets that one sit for a minute, brow furrowed while she turns it over, looking for a silver lining or way to give her friend hope. 

“Okay, so you got friend-zoned by Supergirl.”

“Andi, you know I hate that term. It’s so entitled.”

“I know, I know. I was going to tell you, join the club.” 

Lena’s mouth drops open as she realizes what Andrea just said. 

“What?!” Lena is incredulous at the thought of Andrea hitting on Kara. “You made a pass at Kara?”

“God no! I couldn’t stand Kara. I did however try my damndest to flirt with Supergirl. Who had absolutely none of it.”

Lena is still frowning at her screen. Angry and relieved and irritated. Of course Andrea made a pass at Kara. But at least Kara rejected her too. 

“Kara is Supergirl. You know that.”

“Yes, but I didn’t know that when Supergirl was assigned to be my personal body guard.” 

“Ugh, Andi, you are the worst.” Lena lets her head fall back and collects a few breaths. She knew people flirted with Kara all the time, she was one of them, but realizing just how widespread that experience was made her feel even more hurt at the rejection since she wasn't a random woman, or Kara's loathed boss. She was her best friend. Shouldn't it have made a difference.

“Seriously Lena, I want to tell you that you misinterpreted Kara’s words, but I wasn’t there. So what I will tell you, is that you are a wonderful, kind, caring person with a killer figure, and a few mildly embarrassing tattoos, and that she would be a fool not to see that.”

“Thank you, I needed to hear that.”

“Good, now, let’s talk about couches for your new place. I’m shopping right now and found the most luxurious chesterfield that would look amazing by that fireplace.”