Lana looks over Clark's shoulder sometimes, when he joins her at
her table. Tunes out what he's saying, smiles vaguely, looking
abstracted but present. Looks at the table he's just left.
She thinks about joining him sometimes, when she walks through the
door. Clark's crush on her is common knowledge. It would be a
kindness, one more generous gesture from the sweetest girl in
Smallville, taking pity on a poor, lovesick boy. No one would ever
Chloe is bent over her notepad, tapping her pen in frustration. She
hasn't written anything in a long time, but she doesn't look
up. Lana watches Pete lean forward eagerly, soaking up the scraps of
attention Chloe tosses way. She doesn't notice him and Lana's
glad of that, secretly pleased that Chloe isn't looking for a sign,
waiting for a word, the way she used to with Clark. Lana tells
herself that she should feel guilty about that, because she has no
intention of offering herself as an alternative to Pete. None.
She does feel guilty about ignoring Clark. He asks so little and
offers so much that she thinks the least he deserves is her
attention. She believes that would be enough to satisfy him, though
she's not quite sure why. She tries to keep her eyes on his but
her gaze always drifts, imagination captured by a laugh, the scrape
of a shifting chair.
Lana served Chloe once, when she was working as a waitress. Lingered
taking the order, listening to her voice. Chloe rarely speaks
directly to her. They smile at each other in the hallways. Sometimes
she thinks Chloe is aware of her, looks back, but mostly she thinks
Chloe sees right through her. Sees Whitney and Clark, and dresses and
The cup had lipstick marks all over one side. Overlapping each other,
blurring into one another, no one clear imprint of Chloe's lips.
The hardened gloss was rough against her finger, and she told herself
that it would feel like that on Chloe's mouth. It wouldn't be
soft and wet and sticky, smearing over Lana's skin like hers does
on Whitney's. She knew it wasn't true as she thought it, but she
didn't care. The colour was darkened and dull, nothing like it
was on Chloe. It was such a bright pink, brighter than anything Lana
She can't remember now how it started. One day she was wrapped in
Whitney's letter jacket, searching out the scent of his
aftershave, the next she was tracing the line of Chloe's neck in
class, thinking up excuses to swing by the Torch offices after
school. She's never used any of them.
She thinks it must have begun the day Chloe found her mother's
speech. Knowing, somehow, how much it meant to her. No pitying
smiles, sympathetic glances, just understanding, helping, and leaving
her alone. That was the first time Lana ever really noticed Chloe.
Now she can't stop looking, sliding her eyes around the room,
only focusing on that blonde head. Nobody knows, but everyone
wonders. Clark works to hold her attention, and she tries, she does.
Whitney thinks she's angry with him, and Nell--
Is all she's ever known, really, despite how hard she tries to
persuade herself otherwise. She should think of Nell as her mother,
she supposes. As much as Clark thinks of Martha Kent as his. She
wishes she could, and that makes it worse that she's lying to
Nell along with everyone else. Clark, Whitney, Chloe. Chloe most of
all. She wishes she could curl up in Nell's lap, hide herself
inside Nell's arms, have that comfort, protection. Nell would
offer it, or would want to. Lana wants to tell, but she won't. She
lies, and people wonder.
Clark hasn't been joining her as often lately. Lana sits alone.