Word Count: 2,341
Pairing/Focus: Lee, Kara
Lee and Kara sat at the kitchen table in the Adama's house, studying for their mid-term exams. This was their final year at secondary school and both were anxious to do well. They would both be applying for entry into the Caprian Officers' Academy within the next few months and they wanted their grades to be excellent. As they sat working, the kitchen door opened and Lee's mother Ilya entered the house. She was returning from the nearby Colonial Fleet base hospital, where she worked part-time as a nurse. Greeting the two teens, Ilya began puttering around the kitchen, preparing the evening meal.
"Where's your brother?" she asked Lee.
"He's at football practice. He should be home soon."
"Oh, wow, it's late," Kara said, glancing at the kitchen clock. "I better get going. Wouldn't want Herod to come home and not find his dinner ready," she said, referring to her frequently abusive father.
"Do you need a lift, Honey?" Ilya asked.
"Oh, no thank you, Mrs. Adama, I can take the sub-train." The sub-train was the subterranean railway system which interconnected almost all of Caprica City.
As the girl stood and began gathering up her books and papers, she glance down at Lee, who was still hard at work. "Have you seen the posters for the spring formal dance? It's next week," she asked casually.
"Yeah, I've seen them. What a joke. Everybody spends all this money on expensive clothes, stands around listening to bad music and pretends to be having a good time."
"Yeah, but it might be kind of fun. I've never been to a formal dance. I've never been to a formal anything..."
"No, thank you, I'll pass on that," Lee said, not even looking up from his books. If he had, he might have seen the disappointed look that flashed across Kara's face.
"Yeah, you're probably right. I'll see you in school tomorrow," she said, turning to leave.
"Yeah, see you tomorrow."
After the girl had left the house, Ilya rounded on her eldest son, her hands on her hips. "Lee Adama, I am very disappointed in you," she said.
"What?" the boy asked, looking up. "What did I do?"
"You just completely and callously broke that girl's heart. She was hinting for you to ask her to the dance."
"Yes, she was," Ilya said, with an exasperated sigh.
"Oh, for the Lords' sake, Lee, Kara's been hinting for weeks now that she likes you."
"Yes. Is that such a difficult concept to grasp?"
"Well... yeah..." Lee said softly. Kara likes me? he thought in wonder. How did I miss that? It was not really something that he had ever thought about, but now the he was, he found that he rather liked the idea. He felt a sort of warm sensation spreading slowly through his body and he suddenly found that he couldn't stop smiling. Kara likes me.
"So, you think I should ask her to the dance?" he asked his mother.
"Yes," she said firmly. "First thing, when you get to school tomorrow."
"Okay," he said, still smiling.
Kara tossed her backpack into her locker and began shoving things around, looking for her Colonial History textbook. She was still in a bad mood. She tried telling herself that Lee hadn't rejected her. He had rejected the idea of the dance. Perhaps if she were to suggest a different activity, he would be more receptive. Of course, that didn't change the fact that she really did want to go to the dance. And she really didn't know if he would be more receptive to something else. She had certainly dropped enough hints to him that she liked him, but he never seemed to even notice. Was he really that clueless, or was he deliberately ignoring those hints because he didn't feel the same way? She didn't know and she didn't know how to find out. She could flat out ask him, but what if he said that he didn't like her? Was she prepared to deal with that possibility? She didn't think so. Lee and Zac Adama were the only real friends she had. She couldn't risk losing either of them.
Oh, well, she thought, at least she wouldn't have to face Lee for another hour. They had Advanced Physics class together for second period. She still had time to figure out what to say to him. A voice calling her name interrupted her thoughts and she turned to see Zac Adama approaching her.
"Hey Kara!" he called to her. "You look pissed, what's up?"
"It's you're brother..."
"What'd he do now?"
"Oh, nothing, I just hinted to him that I wanted to go to the formal dance next week and he completely missed the hint. He said it would be stupid and he's probably right. I'll probably hate it, but well, I've never gone to a formal dance. I've never gotten to get dressed up in a pretty dress and prance around like a fool... I'll probably never get to again... I just want to go. I know it's silly, but..."
"No, it's not silly. Lee's an idiot for not asking you," Zac said. He knew how Kara felt about his brother and it irritated him that Lee couldn't see it. "You deserve better, Kara. If I had a girl like you dropping hints like that around me, I'd jump at the chance to take her to a dance, even one I didn't want to go to, just to make her happy."
"Yeah," he said emphatically.
She thought about that for a moment and came to a quick decision. "Okay, let's see you live up to that... Will you take me to the dance next week, Zac?"
"I would love to."
"Cool!" Kara said, with a grin. "Oh wait, now I've got to get a dress..."
"Don't worry about that. My mom would probably love to take you dress shopping. She's always whining that she never gets to do the girlie stuff, `cause Lee and I are boys. She'd love to have someone to go shopping with. I'll ask her tonight."
Kara was in a much better mood when she walked into her Advanced Physics class and slid into the chair next to Lee at their usual lab table. He was already there and after she had settled her books and things on the table, he turned to her, looking unusually nervous.
"Um, listen, Kara, about that dance... If you still want to go..."
"Oh, don't worry about it. I talked to Zac this morning and he's going to take me, so you're off the hook."
"Oh... Okay, that's good. I was just going to go, to make you happy..."
"Right, but Zac wanted to go, so this way, everyone's happy."
"Yeah, everyone's happy," Lee repeated, his words belying the fact that he suddenly felt as if his stomach had just dropped down to the vicinity of his feet.
Both William and Ilya Adama were at home when the boys returned from school that afternoon. Being in command of the Battlecruiser Camelot, which docked at the spaceport on the Fleet base, meant that William was able to spend a great deal more time at home with his family. He and his wife were seated at the kitchen table, drinking coffee, while he perused some of the endless paperwork that filled the life of a commander. He and Ilya looked up as their sons entered the house.
"How was school?" Ilya asked, addressing both boys, although her eyes lingered on Lee.
"It was great," Zac answered, dumping his backpack on the floor just inside the door. "I'm going to the formal next week with Kara. Can you take her dress shopping? I told her you probably wouldn't mind."
"You're taking Kara?" Ilya asked in surprise. She glanced at Lee for confirmation and noticed that he was studiously avoiding eye contact, instead rummaging around in his own backpack. "Um, of course, I'd love to take her shopping."
"That's great, Zac!" William said, beaming at his son. "I'll take you to get a tux this weekend. And tell Kara that we insist on paying for her dress. Then she won't have to worry about sneaking the money from her father."
At one point Kara had admitted to the family that she often had to steal money from her father in order to buy groceries and other necessities. She had insisted that it was no big deal, that she would simply wait for him to come home and pass out on the couch after one of his frequent drinking binges then would rifle through his wallet. "Most of the time, he can't remember how much he spent at the bar, so as long as I don't take too much at a time, he doesn't even notice. And he probably thinks that the food in the cupboards just magically materializes," she had said.
"I'm glad that you asked Kara to the dance," William said. "She deserves to be treated to something special. But why didn't you ask her, Lee?"
The elder boy threw his father a withering look and left the room. William turned to look at his wife. "What did I say wrong this time?" he asked.
"Nothing, dear, just read your reports. Zac, can I have a word with you?"
With a sigh, the boy dutifully followed his mother out of the kitchen and into the dining room. He had a feeling what this conversation was going to be about. As soon as they were out of earshot of William, Ilya turned on her youngest son.
"You knew perfectly well that Lee was planning on asking Kara to that dance."
"No, actually, I didn't," Zac said defensively. "And I didn't ask her. She asked me. I said yes. Just because I have more sense than Lee, doesn't make me a bad person. I'm not going to apologize to him. If he wanted to go to the dance with her, he should have asked her when she hinted at it in the first place."
Without another word, he walked to the stairs and headed up to his bedroom.
Two days later, Kara and Ilya spent an entire day, shopping for dresses, shoes and makeup. It had been an exhausting day and Kara certainly wouldn't want to do it very often, but she had to admit that she'd had a blast. Her own mother had taken off when she was seven, so she had never gotten a chance to do these kind of mother-daughter bonding things. She had also been grateful for Ilya's presence simply because she had no idea what to look for in a formal dress. But Ilya had seemed to instinctively know what to look for and where to find it.
They had chosen a very traditional dress with a fitted bodice and full skirt. The bodice had tiny, spaghetti straps that showed off Kara's athletic figure quite nicely. The dress had come in a variety of colors and that had proved to be the only sticking point. Ilya had wanted Kara to get the dress in pink, but she had flatly refused, saying that she hated the color pink. Kara had wanted to get it in black, but Ilya had insisted that that color was inappropriate for such a young girl. Eventually they had reached a compromise and had gotten it in a deep burgundy. Even Ilya had had to admit that the dark color had highlighted Kara's porcelain pale skin to perfection.
The day of the dance, Kara had packed up her dress and all of her new things and had taken them to the Adama's house. She would change into her dress there so that Ilya could do her hair and makeup for her. After nearly two hours of primping, she had emerged from William and Ilya's bedroom feeling uncomfortable and nervous. Lee, who's bedroom was across the hall from his parents, had left his room at the same time that she had emerged. They both stopped and stood looking awkwardly at each other for a long moment.
Seeing his silent, open-mouthed stare, she began to feel self-conscious. "Too much?" she asked. "I do feel kind of silly."
"No, no... you look..." he said hesitantly. "You look fantastic."
Hearing the slightly awed tone in his voice, she smiled, feeling sudddenly shy. "Thanks," she whispered.
"Kara, you'd better hurry or you'll be late!" they both heard Lee's mother call up the stairs.
"Well, I'd better get going... Zac's waiting..."
"Yeah... um, Kara?"
"Have a good time."
She did have a good time. Zac had looked every inch the properly handsome, young gentleman in his black tuxedo. Ilya and William had fussed over the couple and had taken several pictures. Zac had danced without complaint and he had made her laugh often throughout the night. It had been a perfect date and when they had returned to the Adama's house at the end of the evening, he had stopped her just outside the door.
Taking both of her hands in his, he leaned close and pressed his lips to hers. The moment their lips touched, Kara felt like something inside of her was melting and puddling warmly down around her toes. She felt as if her feet had suddenly grown roots. She knew that she wouldn't have been able to move from that spot even if the house had suddenly burst into flames. Hell, she doubted she would even have noticed it. It was the first time that she had ever been kissed, truly kissed, and she liked it. She wanted it to go on forever.
Inside the house, Lee happened to be passing by the front window and he saw the two figures standing on the front porch. He watched them kissing for a moment then went upstairs to his room. He really didn't want to be present when they came in.