In The Bedroom
So tell me one more time
How you're sorry about the way
This all went down
You needed to find your space
You needed to still be friends
You needed me to
Call you if I ever couldn't keep it all together
You'd comfort me
Tell me but forever
And the promises I never should have believed in
Here's what I'm thinking
It won't be the first heart that you break
It won't be the last - Beautiful girl
The one that you wrecked won't take you back
If you were the last beautiful girl in the world
Chloe Sullivan liked simple.
Perhaps that was what had endeared her to reporting - simple facts,
laid out like brickwork. Who, what, when, where, and most
importantly, why. There was always always a why, in her stories, to
define something. The WHY was what made everything click. It was the
payoff, the few moments of bliss that would settle the knots in her
stomach, and make the entire uncertainty of the strangeness that was
Smallville just a little bit more manageable.
Her crush on Clark, while unquestionably painful, was always simple.
It was always pathetically straightforward. She was the girl with the
unrequited crush, the blonde with the short cropped hair, and the wry
cynicism, wistfully waiting while the beautiful, starry eyed boy
adored the unreachable girl next door. At times she resented her
teeny bopper pratfall - stuck in the recycled character when she
liked to believe, HAD to believe, that she was different.
Perhaps that was why, despite her instinctive urge to cling to
eighties big hair movie clichŽs, she began to enjoy the tentative
friendship with the girl she should have hated. It wasn't simple. Not
by a long shot. Chloe understood and knew her role in all of this.
She was Clark's stand up girl - always there no matter what, until
the day he would turn around and realize she had been there all
along. Of course, that hadn't really happened, and the Lana colored
glasses were never really removed, and Chloe had just gotten hurt,
but it was simple, really. She should have known better than to
complicate the clichŽ. But she did, and she did it again when she
became Lana's stand up girl.
It was nothing short of a revelation, when she sat on her stool,
palms wrapped around the coffee Lana had made just the way she liked
it, and watched Clark walk out on her. A simple apology had turned
into an argument, and Chloe, for no real reason, had sided with Lana.
It changed things - Chloe was no longer the girl with the unrequited
love. Chloe wasn't the best friend. Sitting alongside Lana in the
Talon, her shoulder brushing against soft cotton, dark strands of
hair tickling her bare forearm, Chloe didn't know WHAT she was
What was slightly scarier, she had no idea WHY this had happened.
"You look more in deep thought than usual."
Eyes opening, Chloe discovered the hesitant form of Lana Lang
lounging in the doorway, hands pressed into the pockets of her jeans,
eyeing her splayed out form.
Chloe shrugged, tired smile working its way onto her face as she
pushed herself up into a sitting position, nodding as Lana took that
as unspoken permission to enter her room.
"I'm pondering," she said, cross legged as the bed dipped with Lana's
weight, "how an attempt at an apology became a full scale argument
against Clark Kent."
Lana's face froze, eyes drifting way for a second, breath blowing
out. "I don't know," she responded, pushing strands of hair behind
her shoulder. "I really didn't expect it to go the way it did." Lana
glanced at her. "You think he's okay?"
Chloe's eyebrow cocked in morose amusement. "I think he'll will be
just fine, Lana. It's not every day Clark Kent gets to tell off not
one, but TWO women he's just saved."
Lana's smile returned with a snort. "Yeah, I'm really starting to
hate when he does that."
"Forget saving our lives, I want to know what God given grace makes
Clark Kent RIGHT all the time!" Chloe laughed slightly, shaking her
head, skimming fingers through bangs as she fell back on the bed,
feeling Lana bob beside her. "You know?" she said in the silence that
followed. "One of these days I'm going to have to stop hoping Clark's
jealous and maybe really believe him when he says the guy I'm dating
in a meteor freak."
The somber sentence made Lana shift next to her. Studying the scene,
Chloe could feel Lana's stare burning into the side of her cheek.
"I think he was jealous, Chloe."
Always the diplomat, that was Lana. "Lana, you're sweet, but don't be
patronizing. He was jealous of you."
"Clark cares about you, Chloe." There was a soft touch against her
palm, hesitant, before Lana moved her fingers away.
Chloe didn't move, eyes glued to the ceiling, as if Clark Kent
himself was staring smugly down at her.
"You know what the worst part is?" she said suddenly.
"What?" Lana asked, now lying back beside her. Casting a sidelong
glance, Chloe saw Lana also seemed to notice the imaginary Clark
above them. Her eyes were darkened, and she was studying the ceiling
"It's not simple. I hate that. Before all of this, we could define
ourselves by what we were, what our roles are - there's no teenage
angst movie that can be used for referral. We're playing our own
"Chloe, please don't tell me you're using the likes of Molly Ringwald
and Patrick Swayze to define your teenage adolescence," Lana said,
half serious, chuckle falling from her lips.
"No!" Chloe laughed herself. "But... you know what I mean."
The look tossed sidelong to Lana proved she did, indeed, know what
Chloe meant. The smile froze, and a resigned sigh fell from Lana's
lips, eyes once again moving toward the ceiling.
"I know what you mean," she responded quietly.
Chloe nodded, eyes closing. Lana didn't move beside her. Chloe didn't
mind. The night before had been spent in chatter, she and Lana
spilling secrets and apologizing, and now, there was nothing really
left to be said. It was comfortable, partners in their own
heartbroken obsession with Clark.
"I got one."
"Got one what?"
"Girls just want to have fun."
Chloe blinked, eyes opening. Propping herself up on one elbow, she
couldn't help the swell of amusement that rose inside of her at
Lana's laughing green eyes. "Great- and which one am I?"
"Please don't make me Helen Hunt. I'll die before I'm Helen Hunt."
Lana laughed, a beautiful, crystal clear sound that made Chloe
smile. "Better than frizzy haired Sarah Jessica Parker!"
Chloe thwapped her with a pillow.
"Oww!" Lana convulsed into chuckles, snatching the pillow and holding
it to her stomach.
Chloe lips pulled into an impromptu frown. "When the simple things
get complicated, that's when they fall apart."
Lana sighed, holding her pillow against her chest, hugging it as she
stared up at Chloe. Lana was beautiful. Chloe admitted it freely, and
she knew why Clark was so in love - first with the idea, then with
Lana was a beautiful, beautiful person. Who could blame Clark? Not
even the quintessential Mary Stuart Masterson-esque sidekick could
hate Lana Lang. She'd even asked the girl to LIVE with her.
Lana's palm closed over her own, smile creasing across her lips. "Our
friendship," she said resolutely, gripping her hand firmly. "That's
simple. And it's not going to change."
The statement was so final, sweet, and na•ve, and so like Lana Lang.
Chloe had to smile, she had no choice. Lana Lang, orphan fantasy with
abandonment issues, believed in that statement so firmly, and with
Lana's firm grip, hand in hand, Chloe could almost believe it too.
"Sure," she quipped. "Eighties teen movies be damned."
Lana smiled, beautiful and perfect, and sweet.
Chloe took in a shuddering sigh and smiled, squeezing back, cementing
Yeah. She couldn't blame Clark at all. Not for choosing Lana, for not
It was pretty darned simple.
Who could compete with Lana Lang?
Lana Lang remembered that Chloe Sullivan hated complications.
It was all pretty basic to Chloe, and she envied her for that.
Chloe's nose for reporting hazed her view of things. It wasn't that
Chloe saw things as black or white, not at all. It was more...
Chloe's interpretations were formed at lightning fast levels. Lana
had seen the reporter in action, admired how Chloe's colored eyes
would take one glance at any situation, and immediately simplify it
to its more basic elements: who, what, when, where, and most
It didn't keep Chloe from anymore heartbreak, she had had her fair
share of it, but unlike Lana, Chloe, despite her uncontrolled
feelings, understood them.
Lana's world was a vicious whirlwind of champions, flickering
companions, and dead parents. She never understood why she did the
things she did, why her feelings for Clark grew the moment he decided
to move on, why she tried so hard to tell Chloe he didn't matter when
they both knew he did.
Lana wondered if Chloe was relieved, now that Whitney was back, and
Chloe was unconsciously thrust out of their secret, not so unspoken
love triangle. Chloe, sitting on her bed, didn't have to worry about
Clark's jealous rage or Whitney's memories of a war Lana would never
know about. All Chloe worried about was folding her clothes, littered
about on her bed.
Chloe chose to worry about her, Lana and her wavering, unsteady
opinion about anyone. There was nothing constant about Lana Lang, and
the return of Whitney, his tale of Clark's bizarre behavior, only
"I like simple," Lana admitted, small and meek, with one of those
shrugs that made her seem apologetic even when there was nothing to
apologize for. The dark-haired girl with the cat eyes continued to
fold her shirts into squares. Chloe had been a bit surprised to
realize that Lana Lang was just a little bit messy, but she later
told her that it was a relief to stumble over a shirt hanging on the
banister, to find a half opened bottle of shampoo leaving a wet ring
on the counter top. When Lana folded, there were no perfect lines, no
wrinkle free creases.
She wasn't perfect, and it made her human, Chloe had said.
Lana wondered what hadn't made her human before, her dead parents, or
her continual mauling by mutant freaks, but Chloe's laughing eyes,
and reassuring glances were more than enough to keep her quiet. Being
human to Chloe meant being her friend, and Lana appreciated that too
much to feel hurt anymore. She knew better, counted on Chloe much
more than she suspected Chloe counted on her.
"You like simple," Chloe repeated flatly, cross legged as she reached
for a sock, rifling through the pile to match its ever so dainty
pair. "You mean like, Simple Simon?"
"No," Lana responded, giving her a narrowed glance, and amused
smirk. "I don't like things complicated. I like things
"Ah..." Chloe expression was slightly bewildered, but she seemed
quite willing to go along with Lana's ramblings. "And from whence has
this appreciation for truth come from?"
Lana's shorts dropped on the bed. It was a bad fold, even Lana would
admit that, and Chloe gave the clothes an exasperated look, grabbing
it and expertly folding it herself.
"I don't know, I just... Whitney comes back, and all of a sudden
Clark becomes a Neanderthal from hell."
Chloe frowned, emotion in her glance that Lana hadn't quite yet
learned to read. "Clark tearing up the Talon bathroom?" Chloe shook
her head, doubt clouding her features. "Lana, are you sure?"
"I didn't want to believe it," Lana breathed out. "But I saw it,
Chloe. You saw it. It's a complete mess. The door, and the water and-"
"Whitney saw him?"
"That's what he says."
Chloe's mouth twitched, giving up the folding in favor of settling
back on Lana's bed, hand supporting her head. "Not that I'm doubting
Whitney, Lana, but... Clark just never seemed the 'fly into the
jealous rage' type..." Bubbles of frustration worked their way up
Lana's throat. "And... the last time we accused him of jealousy? We
were both dating the crazy double mutant guy with an ego the size of
Mount Whitney... and I totally wish I had used another example."
A sheepish smile floated on Chloe's face, embarrassment evident.
"No, it's okay..." Lana's chuckle came out kind of hollow, swallowing
as she blew out her breath. "I just... how can I not to believe
Whitney? After all he's been through, it just seems... wrong not to
Chloe still had her doubts, Lana could see it in her expression.
Hesitancy skimmed across her features, red lips pursing as Chloe
fingered one of her shirts.
It was slightly surreal, a battle of wills and other things that made
Lana aware that Chloe didn't believe Whitney, couldn't believe
Whitney, when it came to Clark. Chloe saw things the way she did for
a reason, and there was a reason why Chloe wouldn't want to believe
that Clark would destroy a bathroom in a jealous rage over Lana and
Lana wasn't so sure she envied Chloe after all.
"Maybe you should ask Clark about it tomorrow?" Chloe suggest,
pushing off the bed, and gathering her clothes together.
The silence broken, Lana found Clark and Whitney were now the
farthest things from her mind, as Chloe moved toward the door, eyes
downcast, and voice curiously toneless, masked.
"Sure," Lana said softly. "I'll ask him tomorrow."
"Good." Chloe's smile was brief, a flash of brightness across of her
features that didn't seem to match her eyes. "I'm gonna go to bed.
The party kinda pooped me out, and I'm sure you want to get some
rest. I mean, with all the Talon stuff..."
Lana took the hint. "Yeah. Yeah, you're right. I'll just finish this
stuff up and... you know... "
"Yeah." Chloe bobbed her head, clutching at her clothes, pausing only
a moment and then moving backwards. "Night, Lana."
"Chloe-" the word burst from Lana before she had a chance to stop it.
Chloe paused, eyes downcast when a sock spilled from her arms.
Feeling suddenly foolish, Lana stepped forward, kneeling down and
gathering the trickling items. "Do you need some help?"
"Oh, no thanks." Chloe grinned, shrugging as well as she could. "I'm
only a door away."
"Yeah, Lana?" Chloe asked, now a trifle impatient, trying to use her
toe to pluck at another fallen sock from the floor. Lana sighed, once
again grabbing the sock and placing it on top of the pile.
"What I meant to say, before, was that... even with all this Whitney
and Clark stuff... you and me... we're ... simple."
Chloe's smile was bemused, as if she wasn't quite sure how to take
"Simple," she repeated.
"I meant that in a good way."
"I got it." Chloe shook her head, dropping another sock. "Crap."
"I'll get it."
"Thanks." Lana grinned, placing the sock back on top. "And I better
go before I start a sock avalanche."
"Night. And Lana?"
Lana turned from her dresser, her own socks stuck in her head. "Hmm?"
"For the record. Me too."
Chloe's smile was absolutely breathtaking. Her best friend (and that
was odd. Lana had never had a best friend before, and Chloe, she was
her best friend) took another step back, and hobbled under her pile
of clothes to her room.
It was weird, Lana thought, turning back to her clothes, and her
rumpled bed. For the first time since she had heard Whitney had gone
missing, there was a small moment of respite, a brief assurance of
simplicity in the form of Chloe Sullivan.
It was her constant, even with her head swimming with angry Clark and
amnesia Whitney and her heart that just never seemed to agree with
her mind, the knowledge that no matter what, Chloe Sullivan was
always in the next bedroom.
Lana Lang spent the entire day locked up in her room after she heard
Chloe had been the one to give it to her. She had taken the phone
call, heard the tears, saw Lana's look over the table, wide eyes
questioning, mouth open in anticipation.
Chloe's eyes betrayed her answer before anything else did. The words,
when they came out in one simple statement, straightforward truth,
made Lana nearly catatonic. She was quiet, unmoving, for a few
seconds, staring at Chloe as if expecting her to shrug and smile and
tell her it was all a joke.
Chloe only stood, throat blocked by something swollen, stinging orbs
making her blink at the thought of Whitney, golden god Whitney, lying
mangled in an unknown country. Lana bore into her, staring her down,
and slowly, lips began to tremble, eyes began to water, and the dam
Chloe was certain she had seen Lana cry before. She was sure of it.
Lana's emotions were always so naked and open, out there for people
to see, much like Clark. They were brunette blank canvases, and Chloe
KNEW she had to have seen Lana cry sometime, somewhere. But she never
remembered it being like this. An aching flared in Chloe's chest, it
physically hurt to see Lana's hands shaking, covering her face before
she burst from the kitchen, shutting the door to the pink excess that
was her room.
Clark had called soon after, and ever the diplomat, Chloe, despite
her own shaken nerves, firmly told him Lana wasn't ready to see
In truth, Chloe waited the entire day, wondering when it would be
okay to go in, steeling herself for the moment when Lana would open
her door, and she would see Lana's sparkling orbs misted with tears.
Chloe prepared herself, brace for the forthcoming night where there
were be no sleep. She searched a couple grief and mourning self help
websites, trying to find anything that would help her deal, aid her
in being the one who was the shoulder to cry on.
Lana snuck out of her room sometime past eight o'clock. Chloe's
hesitancy in approaching the doorway seemed almost stupid, when she
finally got the nerve to turn the knob, and found no one there.
It was times like these that Chloe wished Lana Lang would join the
rest of humanity and get a cell phone. Sitting alone in her room,
fingers tapping idly at her mouse, Chloe kept her door open, the
music as low as possible.
There were certain deductions Chloe could have made. One: the
melodrama finally got to Lana Lang and she went suicidal on her. That
was not an option Chloe wanted to even consider. Two: Lana resorted
to habit and went to see Clark. That option, despite the twinge in
her heart that Chloe had come to regard as normal, was a much more
viable answer. A nervous call to Martha Kent confirmed her
suspicions, and Chloe, after the moment of relief as she slumped
against the doorway, thanked Mrs. Kent, clicked off the phone, and
felt the lump in her throat grow larger.
Okay, so Lana Lang had snuck out of her house and went to see Clark
in her hour of need. Chloe wondered blithely why this was even a
surprise. Chloe knew it was stupid of her, idiotic the way she still
kept her door open, that she made sure the porch light was on, and
she drank an extra black coffee to keep her awake.
Midnight, and Lana still hadn't come home. Chloe, now in bed, kept
her eyes on Imaginary Clark on the ceiling. What was peculiar was
that Clark was joined by Lana, holding her frail form, kissing her
forehead, and murmuring that things would be okay, that he loved her.
Chloe watched, barely able to breathe as Clark kissed Lana, and when
she couldn't stand it anymore, her eyes shut tight, liquid squeezed
out from the stinging.
Chloe blew out her breath, and questioned her own stupidity. Of
COURSE Lana would run to Clark. Of COURSE Clark loved Lana more than
he loved her.
Why on earth did she keep thinking the way she did?
Eyes closed, deep breaths were taken, and a shaken Chloe turned off
her light, shifting in her sheets, suddenly tired. With her eyes shut
tight, Imaginary Clark and Imaginary Lana were far away, just out of
reach, leaving Chloe to her exhaustion.
It was going to be a long day, and of course, something would come
up, and they would need her to search out information no one else
could, look up eight years of articles, find out who pooped in
Chandler's Field, or something equally moronic. That was good old
It was tiring, being Chloe Sullivan.
Haziness filled her senses, and Chloe blinked, trying to bring the
blurry form in the doorway into focus. For some reason, her mind
stubbornly insisted on not being woken up, and as a result, she could
only stare from beneath half closed eyelids.
"Chloe," she said again.
Chloe's body was a dead weight, but Lana was indeed in her doorway,
hidden in darkness.
"Lana?" she whispered hoarsely. Pushing up with a groan, Chloe's hand
fumbled for the lamp, hitting her alarm clock instead, flopping it
over the table. Lana's dark form came forward, plucking at it. Chloe
sat up, sheets pooling at her waist as she rubbed at her eyes,
managing to find the switch.
Lana's form became clear at the flick of a wrist. The brightness was
harsh, it nearly made her wince, forcing her to shut her eyes against
the stabbing light.
"Hi." Lana's voice was odd, off somehow. "I didn't mean to wake you."
"Sure you did," Chloe muttered absently, shifting over.
"I'm sorry... I can leave-"
"Lana." Chloe's tone was firm now, almost angry, patting the empty
space next to her, taking in a deep breath as she tried to gather the
courage to open her eyes again. "Sit down."
Lana still hesitated. Chloe waited a moment, opening her eyes again,
and finding Lana much easier to see now that her eyes decided to
The view made the sleepy haze fly away.
Lana, shrunken form sitting on the corner of her bed, was trembling.
Her eyes were red and swollen, cheeks damp and flushed, hair a wild,
"I... um... I went out."
"That was pretty obvious," Chloe remarked slowly, pushing at the
mattress with her palms. "Lana..."
"I went to see Clark."
Chloe had to fight the bitter grim smile that ached on her lips. For
a moment, that stab in her heart seemed almost easier than seeing
Lana this way.
"That was pretty obvious, too."
Lana gave a short chortle, small and painful. She had a piece of
tissue clutched in her hand that was shredded into rags, damp and
kind of gross. Chloe reached behind her, grabbed her box, and settled
it into her lap. Lana held it gently, blinking her eyes open and
glancing at her. Swallowing, she managed a tear streaked grin. It was
too painful, apparently, to hold it for much more than a second,
because it disappeared into a frown.
"I'm sorry, I just... I was sitting in my room, thinking about
Whitney, and Clark..."
"Hey, Lana?" Lana didn't look at her. Chloe licked her lips, gentle
as she laid a hesitant hand on Lana's back. It was warm, very
warm. "You don't have anything to apologize for. I'm just glad you're
"I'm not all right." The sentence was clear, short. Lana's trembling
stopped, hands wrapped around Chloe's Kleenex box tightly. "I'm not
all right." She didn't move, palms only tightened around her Kleenex
box, features hidden by her long, wild strands of hair. "Chloe," she
finally said minutely. "I know... I'm not that great of a friend..."
Chloe's eyes closed, unwelcome emotions surging forth
"No. Listen, Chloe, because... I need you to listen, okay?" Lana took
an audible gulp, eyes never leaving that damned box of tissues Chloe
suddenly wished she had never given her. "I know that... things are
complicated with Clark, and now with Whitney... "
"I don't want to lose you, too, Chloe." Suddenly Lana turned, eyes
full of intensity glittered straight at her like beacons, and Chloe
felt suddenly caught, frozen as Lana pleaded now, hands covering
hers, squeezing as hard as Chloe had seen her squeeze the tissue
box. "I need you, Chloe. I need something constant in my life, and
Clark and you are the only two people in the world-"
"Oh, God, Lana..." The trembling had returned, full force. Chloe's
eyes shut, and her palms slid through Lana's silky, sweaty hair,
wrapped around her neck to bring her forward. Lana crumpled like
paper, falling against her chest, clutching to her with such strength
Chloe's t-shirt was now uncomfortably wet with tears, but she didn't
let go. She let Lana hold her, rubbed at Lana's hair gently, eyes
open now, heart beating wildly. Lana Lang was sobbing so completely,
She was scared.
"Promise me we'll stay friends," Lana whispered, lips fluttering
against her shoulder, shuddering in her embrace. "No matter what
happens, Chloe, with Clark or whoever, promise me we'll find a way to
work around it, and we'll still be friends."
It was asking so much, too much. Chloe's Imaginary Clark gazed at her
with soulful eyes, dark and dangerous, and Chloe, for once, finally
just shut her eyes against him, ignoring him in favor of the girl in
"I promise," she whispered, and then, once again, her eyes opened,
and Clark himself was told, "I promise."
It took ten minutes before the trembling stopped. In her bed, in her
bedroom, Chloe counted, eyes on the clock, hands soothing against
A simple promise, she noted, one she had given, one that she meant.
Despite the complications, she would remain Lana's friend.
It was that simple.
One of the perks of the guest room was the fabulous bathroom that
came attached to it.
Lana Lang didn't realize how much she appreciated it until a week
ago, when she had woken up in Chloe's room, slumped across her best
friend, fully dressed, sweaty, and puffy-eyed. It had been weird, at
first. Lana had never really woken up with anyone, not even Whitney.
To find her cheek cushioned by a breast, arm slung over the waist of
her best friend, Chloe's face pressed into the pillow above her, was
a little disconcerting.
Chloe never mentioned it. The promise, or the fact that Lana seemed
to flush ten shades redder at her presence wasn't spoken of at all.
Chloe was the same old Chloe, all smiles and grins, and snark.
Back to normal.
Lana appreciated that. It made things easier, to look at Chloe, to
know she wouldn't get soulful, pity filled eyes, but the eyes of a
friend, full of jokes and comments.
Lana stepped into her bedroom, hands rubbing at her hair, towel
draped around her body, feet sinking into the plush carpet.
Chloe was there, startling her slightly as the blonde turned, bright
smile on her face.
"Sorry," she said quickly. "I was in the mood for something to read,
and I'm currently not really digging anything on my shelf. I hoped
you wouldn't mind."
Lana stood, hand clutching at her towel, sudden dŽjˆ vu making her a
"No," she said, forced cheerfulness in her tone as she moved quickly
to her closet, pulling her towel closer around her. "Of course I
"Great." Lana's hands ran over sweaters and blouses, ignoring the
shudder that now crawled up her spine, as Chloe's voice bobbed to
her. "So, any suggestions?"
"Depends on what you're in the mood for," she answered automatically.
Get out, Chloe. An indrawn hiss made her calm down slightly. Tina was
here. In her room. And Lana had been naked. Tina had been here, and
she had looked like Chloe and rubbed up against her as Chloe, and
then she became Clark, and Lana had kissed her...
Lana had kissed Tina. Lana's sweater dropped to the ground. She had
kissed a girl.
"Count of Monte Cristo," Lana said softly.
She had kissed a girl.
"I don't see it."
Lana was naked. She was naked, and Chloe was there, and Tina had
looked like Chloe, and Lana had kissed a girl-
Turning, she numbly moved to the bookshelf, pushing aside her copy of
Watership Down and pulling out the soft bound copy of the Dumas
"Here," she whispered.
Chloe took it, eyes growing wide as she flipped through the
book. "Uh... a thousand pages. I don't know if I should thank you or
kill you." Chloe's smile was genuine, until she got a look at Lana's
face. "Hey. You okay?"
Lana blinked, suddenly very aware of Chloe's hand on her bare
"I'm... I'm fine!" Bright smile was flashed, and Lana stepped back,
moving quickly to the closet.
"Are you sure? You look like you saw another meteor mutant." The tone
was teasing, but Lana blanched at it. Chloe swallowed. "Oh, God,
Lana, I'm sorry... I totally didn't think. Sometimes I just think I
should have my head lobotomized or something-"
This was stupid...
"It's... it's okay." Lana grinned, blowing out her breath shakily and
settling on the bed. "It's just... I didn't tell you this before,
Chloe settled down next to her, weighted down by her copy of 'the
Count of Monte Cristo'. Her expression was intense. "What?"
"Tina was here."
Chloe blinked. "In the house?"
Lana nodded, licking her lips, wet hair now dripping down her back,
making her slightly uncomfortable.
"She was in my room, and she was... you."
"She was me?" Chloe looked seriously unsettled. "Crazy psycho freak
girl was in my house posing as me?"
"How do you know it wasn't me?"
"Because you've never tried to feel me up when I was naked," Lana
remarked, smile forming on her lips when Chloe gaped her like a fish.
"Wow." Chloe blinked, slumping back. "Gosh... I mean, I knew she was
all in love with you, but can you imagine how freaky it would have
been if you had actually-" Chloe turned, eyes suddenly wide. "Did you
"As you?" Lana blurted.
"No! God!" Chloe suddenly laughed, shaking her head. "I meant as
Yeah... that was kind of stupid. Lana chuckled slowly, tension easing
as Chloe shifted on her bed, bouncing up and down.
Lana almost nodded. She could understand the joke, and it WAS funny,
but even as her mouth opened, she remembered who it was she thought
she was kissing, and her throat suddenly went dry.
She would have to tell Chloe that she was kissing Clark, or thought
she was kissing Clark.
Chloe looked so beautiful, with her wide smile, and sparkling eyes.
She bounced on Lana's bed, all comfort and closeness. If Lana told
her about that, the expression would leave, and a new one would take
For some reason, she didn't want to see that look on Chloe Sullivan's
face. Not that one.
"No," she said finally, grinning quickly, almost politely. "I mean,
almost, but we never really..."
Chloe's brown furrowed. "So... I tried to feel you up?"
"She did," Lana corrected gently. "Yeah. It was... pretty awkward. I
was kinda nak..." Lana trailed off, glancing down at her dripping
body still draped in the towel. She blinked. "Pretty much as naked as
I am now," she said with a forced chuckle, pushing off the bed and
moving toward the closet.
Chloe was silent. Lana could feel her staring, burning into her back.
"You were naked and I tried to feel you up?"
Lana glanced back. Chloe looked as if a truck hit her. The dumbstruck
expression on her face was amusing. She grinned, suddenly
teasing. "Sure. Freaked me out, I was like, 'What is Chloe on?'"
"You didn't know it wasn't me?"
"I just figured you were acting weird."
When Lana looked back, Chloe was no longer smiling. Her arms were
crossed, brows furrowed, disturbed features staring her down.
"What?" Lana asked.
Chloe's head bobbed up and down, before she clucked her tongue and
shrugged. "It's just... I'm wondering when hitting on my best friend
is considered just 'weird' and not suddenly 'gay' and as a result
something you should have been worried about, maybe even questioned?"
The tone was angry.
Chloe was insulted. A pit settled in Lana's stomach. Staring at
Chloe, Lana's smile was hesitant.
"Chloe, I didn't know Tina was back, what was I supposed to think?"
"Something? I mean, GOD, Lana, no WONDER you were acting weird-"
"I know you're not gay, Chloe."
"It's not about that-" Chloe just shook her head. "It's just...
nothing. I better go... let you get dressed."
Lana feet sank into the carpet, her hair sopped drops of water all
around her, and she never managed to change into her actual clothes.
Somehow, in the course of her trying to get dressed, she had offended
"Okay," she whispered. "Chloe will never hit on Lana. I'll file it
away." Moving toward the dresser, Lana's eye caught a dark shape on
the edge of the bed.
The Count of Monte Cristo.
Lana closed her eyes. Crap.
"Lana Lang," she muttered. "Sometimes you just can't keep your mouth
Even in her bedroom, Chloe could not escape the drama that was Lana
Chloe chose her room when she had moved in, because of the window.
Granted, there wasn't much of one, but there was something about
being able to lean out of it, breathe in the cool, crisp air.
It was the one thing she couldn't have in Metropolis, the smell of
lilacs and grass, the sound of birds, even in the sterile community
housing program provided by Luthorcorp.
She probably would never admit it to anyone, but she enjoyed this
about Smallville, enough to know she would miss it when she was gone.
Leaving was always inevitable. No one could ever picture Chloe
actually STAYING in Smallville. It was absurd, really. Chloe Sullivan
was a reporter, who would one day fight for truth, freedom, justice
at the Daily Planet.
It was a frightening truth, that she, on her weak days, would think
about what would happen if she actually had a reason to stay.
Lana had a late shift at the Talon, that wasn't new. Clark dropping
her off, that wasn't new either.
It was so not new that it was exhausting.
Chloe had never seen it like this before, leaning from her window,
trapped in the view of Clark and Lana saying their goodbyes. Lana's
face upturned, ethereally beautiful in the moonlight. Clark own
almost there grin, hand gently caressing face.
Both trying to suspend the moment for as long as possible, so much
tension, so much want...
Chloe watched, deadened thumps in her heart, and even she wanted to
scream for them to just jump each other already.
Chloe sighed, rubbing at her temples, closing her eyes, pushing away
from the window. It was a farce, a stupid game, and Chloe wasn't even
God, from the looks of things, she wasn't even a contender.
Lana was quiet, she always was. Chloe's figure never moved, finger
twirling around the tip of a ballpoint pen when Lana pushed open her
door, Clark's truck rumbling in the distance.
"Hey," Lana smiled. "Your light was on."
Chloe nodded, polite grin on her face. "Tough shift?"
Lana groaned. "The worst," she said. "It was a good thing Clark was
"Lana." Chloe's interruption took the other girl by surprise. Lana
paused at the crisp snap of the word. "Are you in love with Clark?"
Chloe's eyes remained on the pen, forming her thoughts carefully.
What was really bothering her, aside from Clark? The resentment
bubbling up inside of her... that wasn't just... jealousy, was it?
"I want you to be straight with me," she said finally, looking up
from her pen, and into Lana's gorgeous doe eyes. "I need to know how
you feel about him."
It wasn't a question Lana seemed comfortable with answering. She
shuffled, ran her hands through her hair, stepped back, looked at
everything in the room but Chloe, and finally mumbled, "Why do you-"
"Lana, please. I just need to the truth."
Lana swallowed, hard. Now she was staring at Chloe, gaze boring into
hers, asking for something from her, but what, Chloe wasn't sure.
"Chloe, you know that Clark and I are just-"
"God, Lana." Chloe breathed hard, pushing out of the chair, turning
her back to her friend as she stared out of her window. Clark was
driving away from all this, leaving them behind to deal with their
own personal melodrama.
For some reason, she didn't like Clark very much then.
"Please," she said finally. "Don't start spouting the 'Clark and I
are just friends' chant again. I'm smarter than that. And so are you."
There was absolute quiet behind her, and Chloe couldn't help but
smile grimly. Whatever Lana was expecting when she came in here, it
probably wasn't this.
"I just... I want you to be honest, because I can take that, Lana."
Gripping the window frame, Chloe turned, eyes upon her friend, small
smile pleading with her. She let out a nervous, harassed chuckle. "I
want to keep my promise, Lana. I want to keep things simple, but
every day it's getting harder and harder, and more complicated
because I don't know my lines. I don't know what to do, what to
say..." She closed her eyes, stumbling over her words. Her heart was
slamming in her chest now, painful, body tight as she wrapped arms
around herself. One second to breathe, two. In that, Lana didn't say
"One more time." She began again, opening her eyes. "Lana, are you in
love with Clark?"
Lana looked away. "Chloe, it's complicated."
"I don't accept that," Chloe clipped firmly. "Yes, or no, Lana."
"I didn't come in here for this."
"I'm asking you, as a friend, Lana, please. I need this."
"Why?" Lana burst. "WHY?"
"Because you owe me that much. You owe us all a notice on where you
"Don't you feel it, Lana?" she whispered, coming closer, eyes blazing
with unshed emotion, now rippling over the seams, pushing their way
through. "It's building, in all of us, and someone needs to say
something because if not it's going to explode, and then WHO gets to
put the cap back on the bottle, Lana?"
Her best friend, beautiful, untouchable, Lana Lang, had tears in her
eyes, shining, and brilliant. Her eyes never wavered from hers. Chloe
knew, the next morning, she would feel like the world's biggest bitch-
For now, she only needed her why. The simplest nuance of
comprehension. The why.
"Are you in love with Clark?" she whispered. "Yes, or no."
Lana gave a small moan, shifting away before a tear slid down her
cheek. "I... it just... I don't want to see that look-"
Lana's eyes connected with hers with a jolt. It shut Chloe up, the
fiery resolve, and Chloe expected the answer, knew it, steeled
herself for it, and all it's consequences.
She could almost see Lana forming the words on her lips, the 'y'
Chloe waited impatiently for her world to fall apart.
"No," Lana said slowly. "No."
Chloe swallowed hard, certain she had misheard. "Lana-"
"I'm going to my room now," Lana said evenly. "Good night."
With a flick of her hair, Lana turned away, leaving Chloe in
astounded silence, world precariously intact.
A simple answer. A simple no.
Chloe closed her eyes, and couldn't move from her window. She had
pissed off Lana tonight. Seriously pissed her off, and she had gotten
her answer. Chloe thought a straight answer would have helped, that
hearing it from Lana's lips would sort things into place, define them.
But it just got more complicated.
Because Lana Lang said no.
The entire house was still. There wasn't a sound, no clanks from the
kitchen thanks to Mr. Sullivan, no loud music coming from Chloe, who
always insisted on having her computer blaring her MP3's so loud Lana
had to ask her to turn it down.
For now, the house was silent, too silent.
Lana sat at her desk, thumbing through her copy of 'The Count of
Monte Cristo'. Mind swimming, dangling precariously from the rush of
her emotions, trying desperately not to drown, Lana wiped the tears
from her face, kept the book open, attempting to read.
She had picked the wrong book. Recommending it to Chloe had been a
mistake, a big mistake. This book, it wasn't about friendship. It was
about betrayal, about vengeance, about a friend who had everything
and a friend who had nothing, and how one deserved it, and the other
Lana knew that there had been times when she had kissed Clark, or
thought she had kissed Clark, without thinking at all about Chloe,
about how it would affect her. There had always been this
understanding about Clark, and Lana swore to herself, time and time
again, that if Clark ever picked Chloe, she would be happy for her.
Chloe cared for Clark, she had cared for him longer than Lana had,
even if Clark had always loved Lana. Chloe deserved him.
Seeing, and believing, were two entirely different things. Nothing in
the world was going to shake the ache in her heart, the pure splinter
of her chest, that exploded within her the moment she saw Clark wrap
large palms around Chloe, and embrace her in a kiss that was pure
lust, pure passion.
Worms. Damn worms in Clark's cave. They infected Pete, infected
Chloe, and it had landed them both in the hospital, AGAIN. Lana was
left feeling like one of those parasites had infected her brain.
Worms explained Chloe's actions, like the Nicodemus flower did the
same to her. Clark Kent, once again with his secrets, couldn't
explain his behavior. There were no worms in Clark. He had no
But Lana couldn't wipe the memory of Chloe in Clark's arms, Chloe's
triumphant smile when she glanced at Lana's dropped tray, the glint
in those dark hazel eyes.
She had come to expect, almost anticipate it, from Clark.
>From Chloe... to see it from Chloe...
Lana had said no, three weeks ago, when Chloe asked. Why? She had no
idea, but the thought of seeing that face on Chloe, the one that
signified her heart would break, the one that Clark had caused so
many times... she couldn't do it.
Chloe, infected by worms, could.
Soft raps at the door made Lana suddenly aware she had dripped tears
on the pages of her book, smudging the print.
"Who is it?" she asked hastily, wiping at her eyes, slamming the book
The door creaked open. In the crack, was Chloe, blonde hair oddly
tame, wearing an old t-shirt, eyes tinted with sleep.
The bottom dropped out of Lana's world, and she scrambled, trying to
catch herself before everything fell apart.
"Can I come in?"
No, Lana wanted to say. No, no, no, no-
"Sure," she smiled quickly, turning away, wiping hastily at her
tears. "It's your house."
"It's your room," Chloe corrected quietly, coming inside, closing the
door behind her. Lana turned, frozen against her desk. Chloe, with
her old shirt hanging off her shoulder, short shorts, and messy hair,
was different than Lana. She had never really believed it until the
night before, at the Talon. Chloe, for all her protests that she
wasn't as beautiful as Lana, had the sensuality that Lana had always
craved, the utter sexiness that Lana was never sure she could possess.
It had taken a flower to bring that out of her, and sometimes, as she
fingered the clothes she hadn't worn since, Lana wanted to bring it
back. Looking at Chloe, she now knew why.
"Listen..." Chloe's voice was raspy, dark. Awkward, Chloe stood in
the center of her room, staring at Lana, hesitant and unsure. "I
don't know how..."
Panic bubbled up now, close to spilling over, and Lana once again
fumbled, pushing away from the desk. "Hey, don't worry about it. I
mean, it's none of my business-"
"Yes it is." Chloe spoke softly, but in the silence around her, the
words cut through Lana like a knife. "Lana, I'm sorry, you have to
believe that I would never betray you to Clark-"
Lana's eyes closed, hands began to tremble, glancing up, and suddenly
there they were, projected on the wall, a haunting vision of Clark
and Chloe in the Talon, wrapped up in each other's arms.
"Chloe," she breathed heavily, trying to shake the image. "It doesn't
"It matters to me."
"Are you still in love with Clark?" Lana asked crisply. Dark eyes met
hers with a jolt, and Lana's anger began to froth, simmer, a calmer
Lana Lang, no longer hysterical, staring at the sensual Chloe
Sullivan, who for once in her lifetime, was speechless. "Because it
either was you, or it wasn't."
Chloe continued to stare, out of her element, hands now twisting the
bottom of her t-shirt into wrinkled knots. "Lana, you know it's not
that simple. You know about the worms-"
"Why didn't you ever tell you were still in love with Clark?" Lana
snapped, turning around at her.
Chloe's eyes bore into hers, wide and glistening. Intensity came from
them, and Lana wasn't sure how she could want to hate a girl so much
when she loved her.
"Well," she said easily. "I figured if one of us could lie, so could
Lana's breath became unsteady. It was too much to look at Chloe right
now, with her righteous anger, her soft, even voice.
"I was trying to keep things simple, Lana." Chloe was insistent,
coming closer, even with Lana's back to her. "Lana, if I had told
you, it would have made things complicated, and CHRIST, Lana! The
last thing I ever wanted to see on you was that LOOK that I'm seeing
The tears betrayed her, slipping down her face, even with the rage,
and turmoil in her head, Lana still felt the tears on her hot skin.
Chloe's voice cracked, splintered, and it was suddenly too much.
"Chloe," she began thickly. "Please leave."
She expected Chloe to fight that. Stay right where she was and demand
she be heard, they make this right and simple the way they promised.
Instead, the door shut, and Lana was alone.
Perhaps it was for the better that Lana Lang stormed into her room
and interrupted Chloe while she was attempting to finish her
application for the Daily Planet Internship Program.
Chloe had been far too distracted to give it the proper amount of
The door banged open, and hell and fury personified strode to the
desk, manicured palms grabbed at Chloe's hand, stilling the mouse.
Eyes blazing, Lana Lang looked capable of murder.
"WHY," she hissed. "Why did you tell Clark I was in love with him?"
This was... interesting. Chloe was expecting so many things from her
virgin sacrifice, but a pissed off Lana wasn't even in the top ten.
Lana Lang, unpredictable as hell. Chloe never would have figured that
Blowing out her breath in attempt to get some for of stability, Chloe
looked up, leaning back in her seat and crossing her legs, watching
"Frankly, Lana, I'm tired of the farce."
The words did their work. Lana went from furiously angry to
considerably befuddled. Blinking, the girl took a step back, still
panting in her emotions, now unsure what to do with them.
"What?" she asked.
Chloe closed her eyes, a sudden headache looming. She didn't want to
do this now. There was so much to think about, so many broken
promises, and all Chloe wanted to do was keep one. ONE damned promise
that twisted her world into a pretzel.
"Things are too complicated, Lana," Chloe said finally, staring up to
catch the dew eyes. "I want some sort of closure. I can't stand the
tension." Swallowing hard, eyes closed against Lana's beautiful, hurt
face. "At least before," she mumbled, "even with the bizarre love
triangle, I knew where things stood."
"So you decided to play matchmaker?" Lana looked taller, towering
over her while Chloe was still seated, but it didn't even matter
now. "Chloe, I don't need that. I need a friend."
She snorted. "What kind of friends are we if we keep tossing Clark to
each other like a volleyball, Lana? Someone had to make a decision,
and I made it."
Lana gave a muffled moan, turning around, staring out the window.
"Chloe," she managed in a broken whisper. "I know you love Clark."
That came out so gentle. It washed over her, making her shudder in
reaction. "I know you love Clark," she answered simply.
"What makes you think this is about Clark?" Lana asked, back still to
her, expression unreadable.
"Because it is," Chloe reminded her.
"Why can't it be just about you? Just this once?" Lana's emerald eyes
were tinted with moisture, voice tainted with tears. "About me? About
"It's too hard," Chloe said sharply, pushing against her chair,
"Too hard?" Lana repeated. "TOO HARD? So you're giving up? Just like
"I'm not giving up-"
"There's a few major things that we need, Chloe, and it's really
quite simple." Her words were rapid fire, almost running into each
other in their emotion. "And even at the end of the day, even with
the if, and when, and what with Clark, I knew I could always come
home, and find you there in your room. That was my why, Chloe. It
didn't matter what happened out there, because in HERE, I always
understood WHY we tried, and if I ever go out with Clark, I'm going
to come home one day and you're not going to be in here-"
"MY GOD, Lana!" Chloe incredulousness was evident. "You say this is
about me, but you think it's about you? What Lana needs, what Lana
wants, LANA's abandonment issues- all I wanted was to stop CHOOSING,
to have someone choose for once-"
"Fine." Lana's arms were crossed, her expression was dark, her words
stiff. "Right here, right now, you want me to choose?"
She lost her strength. Sinking into the chair, Chloe shuddered,
wiping at her sweaty face, trying to calm her heart as it ricocheted
off the walls of her chest.
"Look, I'm sorry," she finally managed. "I'm sorry. I just need to
calm down, take a breather..."
"Lana, I just need to be alone. Do you mind leaving?"
"Yes, I do." Chloe's looked up, Lana was now two feet away, staring
at her with her beautiful face, and earnest sincerity. "I don't want
to leave things like this."
Chloe's smile was small, but genuine. "We'll stay friends," she
whispered, hand over Lana's squeezing gently. "Not matter what. We're
friends, even after Clark. It's that simple."
Patting her hand, Chloe released her, tired, moving from Lana and to
She never expected her hand to be snatched, her body to be pulled,
and Lana's lips to be suddenly on hers, kissing passionately,
It was too quick, Chloe didn't have time to think, but utterly drunk
on the embrace, she closed her eyes, and moved faster, lips moving
Until her mind caught up with her, and she pushed away, completely
numb with shock. Blinking, she stared at the girl in her arms.
Lana looked as if she had been struck by a meteor.
"Okay," she managed. "Not simple."
Lana managed a hollow laugh. "Umm... this is... wow. I ..." she
stepped back, suddenly stumbled. "Definitely not what I came in here
for..." Chloe blinked, rubbing at her head, trying to resist the urge
to panic. She caught Chloe's glance, and fumbled with her hair, a
ridiculously huge smile on her face. "I... this is a little too much
to process right now..." she thumbed toward the door. "I'm... I'm
going to go to my room, and try not to freak out."
Large lump in her throat, Chloe bobbed her head mechanically. "Go
right ahead. I'll be freaking out right here."
Lana took another step back, and apparently, the mind relapsed again,
because Chloe felt the tug, and in a second she was back in Lana's
arms (LANA'S ARMS), and there was definite tongue this time-
Lana was a damned good kisser.
They let go just as quickly.
Okay, this wasn't awkward and weird.
Lana gave another nervous grin, and backed toward the door.
"Things just got complicated, didn't they?" Chloe breathed.
"I'd say so," Lana nodded.
There was a slight pause, and complications could be damned against
the betraying yearnings of Chloe to try to steal another kiss-
GOD, don't think about that...
Lana fumbled with the doorknob, slammed the door behind her.
Yeah. Chloe wrapped arms around her body, glanced up at the ceiling,
and saw Imaginary Clark looking down at her with that look of blank
shock on his face.
She couldn't help but smile.
Definitely not simple.