small town girls




Patchwork Of Memory
by Michelle K.

She's spent a couple of years secretly, desperately in love with Clark Kent. She used to think it was just something that happened in the course of friendship. Now, she's wondering if it wasn't a device her mind used to keep her safe.

If she was in love with Clark, then she was normal. If she was in love with Clark, then she couldn't want anything else. She couldn't be that way, she couldn't...

But now, she's with Clark. She's with Clark, the man she supposedly loves. She's with Clark, and she compares the taste of his mouth to Lana's. She compares, and Lana always wins.


Chloe remembers. She remembers Lana's mouth on hers.

Lana's fingers on her skin.

Lana's tongue running down her neck.

Lana's whisper declaring mischievously, "You know, Chloe, you're really my deepest desire."

Lana's nails digging into her hips.

Lana's hips arching, voice transformed into a cry of, "Chloe."

She remembers everything she did to Lana. Everything Lana did to her. The surprise that came with realizing she wasn't ashamed of the feelings coursing through her body.

She remembers Lana becoming all id, taking the school by storm. Taking Chloe to the edge, over it, and back again.

She remembers realizing that Lana would recall none of it. That it was just a momentary, psychedelic thing.

That it would never happen again.


She's walking down the hall with Clark, his hand in hers. Typical boyfriend and girlfriend -- except she's wondering where Lana is. Maybe he's wondering the same thing.

But she thinks he's probably more interested in Lex. She wonders if he's honest with himself. She wonders if they could ever be honest with each other.

She sees Lana first. At least, she's the first to react. "Lana!" Chloe says brightly, quickly disentangling her hand from Clark's. He probably thinks she's doing this out of courtesy, so as not to upset the girl whom didn't get picked.

That is far from the entire reason.

"Hey, Chloe. Hey, Clark," Lana replies, greeting them with the same even tone. "How was your summer?" she inquires.

"Great," Chloe says. "Metropolis was great."

"I visited her a lot," Clark interjects. "She really seemed to be in her element."

"City girl at heart," Lana says.

"Yeah, I guess," Chloe says, although her comment didn't sound like a question. "I have nothing against a small town, though. The locals are nice." She looks at Lana for a fraction too long, then switches her gaze to Clark.

"Well, we try," Clark smiles.

"I'm running late," Lana says. "So, I'll see you two around."

"Sure," Clark answers.

Clark takes Chloe's hand in his once again, and Chloe looks at Lana. Her expression is pained in that very slight, Lang-ish way. Chloe supposes it's because of Clark, but she wants to pretend that it's because some part of Lana's brain remembers how their skin felt pressed together.


It occurs to her that Lana is nothing to her, at least in practical terms. They were never really friends, due to the Clark cloud that hung over them both. They were never really lovers, since only one of them actually remembers what happened.

Lana Lang is nothing to her, and she has to remind herself of that several times a day. Lana is just a girl at her school. Clark is the man that she loves.

Lana is an acquaintance. Clark is an intimate.

Lana's lips made her feel like a goddess. Clark's lips make her feel like a good friend.


She's at the Talon waiting for Clark. It's near closing time, so the place is empty. Lana would've hustled her out too, if it weren't for the fact that they're friends. Acquaintances. Friends of a common person. Whatever.

"So, you have any idea where Clark is?" Lana questions.

"No," Chloe says. "He was supposed to be here an hour ago."

"What do you think he's doing?"

"You know how Clark is. He's probably off saving the world," she replies with a shrug.

Lana smiles, nods. "Sounds like Clark."

Chloe notices that Lana is standing up -- more importantly, that she's standing too far away. "Sit down," she says. "Just because Clark doesn't have a watch doesn't mean you should stay on your feet."

Lana complies, sits across from Chloe. "Maybe we should call Clark. Or you should, I mean. It's really none of my business."

"He'll be here soon enough, I'd assume. And then, I'll be out of your hair."

Lana shakes her head. "It's no problem. I like staying here after closing anyway. Look over at what I've created..." Her hand waves vaguely. "I mean, it's not technically mine, since Lex is the investor, the one with the money and the power to close it down. But it feels like it's mine...and I like it." She pauses as a small, embarrassed smile curls her lips. "It's stupid, isn't it? I know it's stupid."

"It's not stupid. I know exactly what you mean," Chloe says. It's the way she feels when she's in the Torch office late at night, alone with a computer and her words. This is something they share, she thinks, something that they can both be aware of. More tangible than unremembered kisses, at least.

"I guess you would," Lana says, her smile widening.

She's dazzling in this moment, and Chloe's stricken by the desire to kiss her. She can't do that, but she can ask her a question that's been weighing on her brain.

"Do you..." Chloe begins. She wants to ask about the Nicodemus, wants to know if any snatches of memory have returned to her conscious. But the possibilities scare her, so she says, "Do you ever just want to go somewhere far away? Like New York or California, or Canada, maybe..." She's starting to ramble, and she doesn't like it.

"I guess," Lana says carefully. "Why?"

"No reason," Chloe replies. "I just...I don't know. Sometimes, I love living here and sometimes, I don't think I could get far enough away."

"I feel the same way," she replies, more assuredly. "I mean, everyone here thinks they know who I am. But, people miles away wouldn't know me from anyone else." She leans forward, excited to be sharing these thoughts with someone else. "I could be anyone; I don't have to be the nice girl, or the perfect girl, or someone's girlfriend."

Chloe nods.

Lana responds with an embarrassed shake of her head. "I was just getting a little carried away there, wasn't I? I'm sorry."

"Don't be." Chloe places her hand over Lana's. "It's perfectly okay to get carried away. I do it at least twice a day." She's suddenly aware of her thumb rubbing Lana's hand in a circular motion. Lana's looking at her, a hint of confusion in her eyes. Chloe doesn't want this odd behavior to be a big deal, so she wordlessly slides her hand away from Lana's.

Lana is silent in response, although her eyes start to flicker with some recognition of what the touch means. Chloe wants to ask her how it makes her feel.

Instead, she returns to her original source of interest, says, "Do you remember anything that happened after you inhaled the Nicodemus? I mean, I know you're not supposed to... Have you had any little flashes of memory?"

Lana shakes her head. The mix of confusion and recognition disappear, leaving way for a classic Lana smile. "I don't remember anything. Apparently, though, I did some crazy things because of that plant. Why?"

Chloe's first instinct is to explain it with plain curiosity, make some comment about looking for a story for the latest issue of the Torch. But she decides to just tell her the truth. "That night, after we got back to your place--"

"Hey," Clark says as he enters. "Did I miss anything?

"No. Just girl talk," Lana replies.

Chloe notices that the smile is weaker than before. Maybe she does have some clue about what words would come out next. "Where were you anyway?" Chloe asks, turning her attention to her boyfriend as he slides into the seat next to her.

"With Lex," he answers with a shrug. "Lost track of time."

Chloe thinks of the possible implications. But, really, she's more concerned with what's going to happen between her and Lana.

"So, I guess we should get going," Clark says.

"Yeah, we should," she agrees reluctantly.

"Bye, Lana."

"See you later," Chloe says, looking over at Lana. For the first time, she can't read her eyes at all.

"See you later," Lana returns without enthusiasm.

She spends the rest of her night with Clark trying to ignore her inner monologue's obsession with Lana. Because this will all fade, she thinks. Lana will forget that Chloe might've been on the way to saying something meaningful, just like she forgot their night together. One's willful and one isn't, but it feels the same to Chloe.

She just decides to get used to it.


For the next few days, Lana seems to avoid her. Their greetings are limited to little waves of the hand; conversation is nonexistent. Chloe wishes that she never brought it up in the first place, that she had just buried the memories and got on with her life.

It's Thursday when she hears Lana's voice again, and it's a surprise. She's in the Torch office, eyes locked on her computer screen when she hears, "We have to talk, Chloe."

She turns around. "Lana. Hey," she says matter-of-factly. "What about?" Lana doesn't answer, so Chloe says, "Why don't you sit down?"

Lana sits down in a chair across the room. "We really have to talk," she reiterates.

"You were the one avoiding me," she shoots back. "I would've been more than willing to talk to you."

Hurt etches its way across Lana's features. "I'm sorry. I just didn't know what to say." She sighs. "I was going crazy after that...those words just hanging in the air."

"I didn't want to leave it that way. Honestly, I was rethinking saying--"

"What happened between us? What happened that I don't remember?"

Chloe stutters. Usually, she wouldn't mind being upfront and honest, but there's a fear in Lana's eyes that she can't quite confront. "We...we...we slept together," she mutters.

Lana's body tenses; Chloe doesn't know if it's because her worst fear's been realized or because her deepest desire has been uncovered.

She wonders if she really is Lana's deepest desire, or if the plant just made her completely insane. She wonders, but she doesn't want to ask. Lana balls her hands into fists. "We...we had...are you serious?" Chloe nods. "That's impossible."

Chloe clears her throat. "You were probably out of your mind. I mean, you were undressing in front of Lex. And Clark. And much of the school," she rambles, trying to act like everyone has inhaled the scent of a strange plant and had gay sex. It's no big deal, so let's not question why your partner didn't need any psychotropic substances to participate. "I mean, that plant is know, crazy. So, you know. It's know." She stops talking, thoroughly sick of the words 'you' and 'know.'

Lana shakes her head. "I'd remember it."

Chloe hesitates. "Do you mean you'd remember it because it's so disturbing or because it's so not?"

Lana blinks. "'s not disturbing," she mutters. "I'm sorry. I'm sorry that I acted like that."

She sucks in her breath. "You don't have to be. Really."

"What are you saying?" Lana asks.

"I'm saying...I've been thinking about it since it happened. And...and you don't have to apologize." She stares at her defiantly, although her voice is little more than a whisper.

"Oh," Lana says. "This is a lot to digest."

"Well, you don't have to take it all in now," she replies. "You can just think about it. Or forget about it. Really, I'm sorry I brought it--"

"Don't be," she says strongly. "I'm glad I know what happened. Not knowing was...just unnerving." Lana moves closer, slides into a seat next to hers. "What happened, Chloe -- it happened for a reason."

"That's what I thought," Chloe utters, although it's more like what she hoped.

Lana leans toward her tentatively -- it's certainly not like the first time, but it's just as seductive. "I'm going to kiss you," she whispers.

"Okay," Chloe replies.

Lana closes the rest of the distance, presses her lips against Chloe's. Chloe relaxes into the kiss, opens her mouth. Lana holds back for a moment, resists -- because she hasn't really been here before -- but soon it's like that night, that brief moment in time when they gave into each other.

Chloe wonders if Lana will forget this too, file away a purposeful loss of memory with the one that wasn't in her control. But, for the moment, Chloe doesn't care. And she knows she'll remember this -- them -- even if it's just a couple of nights in her life.

And that's more than nothing.