small town girls




In The Dark
by DangerMouse

The dress hung from a hook behind her bedroom door, mocking her.

Chloe knew it was mocking her. Mocking her, in spite all of its pink satiny-goodness, waving slightly in the breeze coming from the air conditioner. Subdued and tiny rhinestones glittered around the neck of the garment, looking oddly dull as they reflected back to her in the weak light of the small lamp on her desk.

She sat on her bed, looking at the offending article, wondering what the hell inspired her to buy it, how the hell that kid knew about it, and how he knew about Clark.


Chloe sighed and leaned back on her bed, staring at the ceiling. Clark had been a good choice. She was certain of that much. He was amazingly unattached. Pete already had a date, some girl he'd convinced to go with him during their World Geography class. No, Clark was the best choice - they could go as friends and he wouldn't assume too much, wouldn't be seeking any sort of ulterior motive on her part. His eyes only pinned for Lana and he had no chance with that girl.

Lana. Perfect Lana, spending her days wrapped up in a too-big letterman's jacket, arms wrapped around a too-big football player. Perfect Lana, the perfect girl for this backward little hellhole of a town. Perfect Lana, with her big warm eyes, dazzling smile, cute little outfits, and perfect hair.

Perfect Lana.

Chloe felt like crying, but instead rolled out of bed and stomped over to the dress, yanking it off its hanger. She wanted to tear it up, throw it out the window, run it over with her father's car. Instead, she held it close, closing her eyes and swaying to music she heard only in her mind. She imagined the Prom, delicate arms wrapped around her neck, perfume floating around her nose, long brown hair brushing her arms. Imagined warm laughter and gentle touches, being able to walk hand in hand in the sunshine without worrying about strange looks or hatred. Imagined...

The sound of her father's loud footsteps on the stairs startled Chloe out of her reverie and she dropped the dress to her side, awaiting the inevitable door knock.

"Come in," she called after the fact, and the door opened, light pouring into the dark bedroom as her father entered.

"Hi pumpkin," he said, smiling that goofy smile of his. Chloe found herself smiling back. "Sorry I'm late. A meeting at the Plant ran late." Her father's eyes drifted down to the dress that now hung limply in her arms. "Is that your Prom dress?" he asked, reaching over and flipping on her bedroom light. Chloe blinked at the sudden brightness, then held up the dress for her father's inspection.

"Sure is," she told him. He took it from her and looked at it up and down, nodding in approval.

"It's very nice," he said cheerfully. "I'm sure whatever young man is taking you to the dance will be very pleased."

Chloe felt her smile become stiff and forced, but she held on to it anyway. "I'm sure," she replied, trying to keep the snippiness out of her voice. Her father smiled again, then passed the dress back to her.

"Well, I'm going to go heat up some dinner," he said, moving out into the hallway. "Have you eaten yet?"

"I'm not very hungry," Chloe said truthfully. Her father graced her with a mildly concerned look.

"I'll be attacking the pizza if you change your mind," he said gently. "Want me to turn this back off?" he asked gesturing to the light. Chloe nodded and the room fell back into darkness once again.

"Thanks Dad."

"Just don't spend too much time in the dark," he told her, then disappeared down the hallway. Chloe walked over and quietly closed the door to her bedroom, feeling a bit of badly-timed laughter trying to escape her throat.

"Like you're one to talk about being in the dark," she muttered to herself, then picked the hanger up from the floor and re-hung the dress, returning it to its place on the hook. Sitting back down on her bed, she leaned against her headboard, staring at the dress again.

Yes, Clark had been a good choice. The only choice she could make in Small-minded-ville. Sinking down into her bed and slipping underneath the covers, Chloe reached out and turned off her desk lamp, giving a sigh of relief as the room fell into complete darkness, then closed her eyes and went to sleep.