Chloe had discovered a few interesting facts while doing research on
the new Mrs. Luthor. It hadn't taken too long to figure out that she
was hiding something, because people didn't go around changing their
name without a reason, and that reason was usually an incriminating
one. Perhaps this identity change held the secret to Lex's sudden
nuptials. Or maybe she was just making hasty conclusions, and the
identity change had nothing to do with the wedding. It was possible
that Lex was more vulnerable to his passions than he let on.
She understood that well.
After all, she had nearly made a fool of herself on their first day
back to school. She'd thought she would be strong enough to confront
Clark without resentments, that she would be able to play it cool in
front of him. But she was wrong. Pretending that everything was fine
wasn't that easy. Even a simple smile in front of Clark required some
Somehow, she would have to learn how to control her emotions and
avoid letting them get the best of her.
Like right now, when Lana was sitting in front of her, asking for
help to make a tape for Whitney.
"I just want him to see familiar faces. I want him to know that we're
all thinking of him," Lana said.
"No problem!" Chloe managed a half smile. She ran her fingers through
her hair, combing it a little, and then looked up at Lana. "Whenever
"You look fine." Lana's lips curved up a bit. She picked up the
camera and focused on Chloe as she pressed the record button.
"Hi Whitney! I hope you're having a great time out there, learning
lots of new and useful things. We're all here, doing the same old
things... so when you come back, you will have to give me an
exclusive on your exciting life as a Marine. I think that's it. See
"That was good," Lana said. She lowered the camera and handed it to
"Sure." Chloe nodded. She placed the camera on her lap and idly
fidgeted with the battery.
A few moments of uncomfortable silence followed, and Chloe tried to
avoid looking at Lana. She didn't know what to do, or what to say. It
was not that she didn't like her, but Lana was the only obstacle
between her and Clark. That was unfair, of course, but she couldn't
help feeling that way.
"So, that must have been fun, spending an entire summer in
Metropolis," Lana spoke first, and Chloe was grateful.
"Yeah, it was really nice to get away. Sometimes a little distance
can just give you a new perspective on things you've done, you know,
mistakes you've made."
"Going to the spring formal with Clark was not a mistake," Lana said
Chloe laughed, a little bitterly. "Yeah it was. I let myself indulge
in my feelings for him and I ended up getting hurt."
Lana shook her head and stood up. She crossed over to Chloe and
looked at her for a moment. "At least you were brave enough to take
the risk," she said softly.
"Oh, yeah!" Chloe smirked. "That's me, cupid's cannon fodder!" She
looked up and laughed, and Lana laughed with her.
Chloe looked at Lana for a moment, studying the delicate features of
her face and the reddish highlights on her dark hair. She wondered if
this is what Clark saw when he looked at Lana, the light emanating
from her face. She was so pretty, almost fragile, the complete
opposite of her.
Chloe knew she could never look like that. She was not Lana.
"Three months," Chloe rolled her eyes and sighed. "I thought I'd be
over it by now...but when I saw him in the hall, all those feelings
came back," she said confidentially. "I even made up some lame story
about meeting a guy in Metropolis to try to get a rise out of him."
Lana placed her hand on Chloe's shoulder, "Clark still really cares
"I know," Chloe nodded. "But he cares more about you."
It was strange, to find herself so close to the one she would
consider a rival, feeling her warmth, the soft weight of her hand on
"Chloe, I don't want Clark to come between us," Lana cleared her
throat, "between our friendship."
Chloe thought about it for a moment. Lana was right. Friendship,
their friendship, was more important than a high school crush, or the
jealousy she felt when she thought about Clark, and the bitterness
the spring formal had left in her mouth.
Lana made her feel comfortable. Lana was someone she could talk to,
someone who could understand her, someone who cared. And Chloe cared
too. She cared too much to lose her.
"Me neither," Chloe said, determination in her voice. "What are we
going to do about that?"
"We will define ourselves by what we do, not who we date," Lana
paused and gave Chloe a warm smile, "...or don't date."
"Cool," Chloe said. They both laughed.
And Lana sat back down, her head pushed back against the couch, and
her laughter was low and smooth, and... beautiful. She was so
Chloe surprised herself with that last thought. She couldn't
understand why, or how, but studying Lana so closely made her
understand why Clark felt the way he did. It was so easy to fall for
She was warm and tender. She was simple. Chloe could be herself
around Lana, and not be afraid to open up, to show her true feelings.
Lana emanated calm. Not everyone had that luxury.
"Lana," Chloe said, as she sat down, her hand resting lightly on
Lana's knee. "I need to be honest... I was angry. Not at you exactly,
and not at Clark either, but I did feel that he walked out on me at
the formal to be with you--"
"Shhh." Chloe placed a finger over Lana's lips. "Let me finish."
Lana simply nodded, a little concerned frown formed on her face, and
her eyes were completely fixed on Chloe.
"I understood that it was an emergency, that it was important for
Clark to find you during the storm; I understood that he was
concerned, that he didn't want anything to happen to you. God, I
wouldn't want anything to happen to you," Chloe paused for a
moment. "But you know, I was still angry. But now..."
"What now?" Lana asked.
"Now...I'm not," Chloe said quietly. "I can't be. Because I know it
isn't fair... and because you've helped me to understand that I
shouldn't be afraid to take chances. After what happened with Clark,
I wanted to be more in control. I guess I wanted to restrain my
emotions. But it's not so easy... and now you're here talking to me,
and you're not afraid to open up, to tell me how you feel. You're not
afraid to tell me what you really think. You're not afraid to put
Clark aside, and to make our friendship work."
Lana let out a soft sigh. "I'm trying, Chloe. I'm trying not to be
afraid. I guess I'm trying to follow Lex's example. He was not afraid
to act on his impulses, on his emotions, without worrying about
making a mistake or any consequences. Without being afraid of getting
hurt..." she trailed off.
"I want to do that too," Chloe nearly whispered, as she reached out
and traced Lana's face with the tips of her fingers.
And Lana was sitting there, so close to her. Her face felt so warm, a
jolt of electricity traveled through her fingers at the contact. She
"Chloe," Lana said, not backing away, not moving, her lips half-
parted and moist, and Chloe wanted to...
No, she couldn't. It wouldn't be right. She didn't know what Lana
would think, or how she would react. It was a risk, a risk that Clark
would not take. Clark Kent was different, and not even Mrs. Luthor
had been able to seduce him, no matter what her charms. Clark Kent
was too strong to let his emotions control him.
Was that really being strong, or being weak?
She knew she wasn't Clark. And she didn't want to be like him. It was
better to be more like Lex, take some risks. Lana would approve.
Chloe leaned over and brushed her lips over Lana's. It was only a
matter of seconds, but she felt her, and she was soft, her lips
smooth...and the heat. This terrible heat wave.
She felt Lana flinching, suddenly backing away. "What... what are you
doing, Chloe?" Wide-eyed and surprised, Lana was shaking.
Chloe realized what she'd done, but maybe it was too late. She had
not been able to help it. She wanted to know what it would be like,
what Clark felt when he looked at Lana, what it would feel like to...
"I'm so sorry, Lana! I'm sorry!" She apologized repeatedly. "I didn't
mean... It's not what you think!"
Lana was already up, gathering her belongings and getting ready to
leave. "I have to go," she said.
"Lana, please," Chloe pleaded. "It's really not what you think, I
But she couldn't finish the phrase, 'I don't like girls', because
someone else was in the room.
"Lana," he said. "We need to talk."
It was Lex. Where had he come from? She hadn't even noticed the door
was not locked, in fact, it was wide open. Anyone could have walked
Lana turned over to Lex, and by the look on her face, Chloe knew she
had not yet recovered from her first shock. And now this.
"I have to go." Chloe stood up abruptly. "I have to... get some work
done. At the Torch," she said nervously.
"Right," Lana said curtly. "See you."
Chloe glanced over at Lex for a moment and then back to Lana. "I'll
talk to you... later."
Lana nodded. And Chloe left the room, her heart beating a mile per
second, her breath caught in her throat. She walked briskly down the
hall, feeling confused by the zillion emotions she was experiencing.
She was still not completely in control of herself. She would have to
work harder on that.
But maybe, just maybe, taking chances was not so bad afterall, she
thought, and her hand wandered over to her lips, where she could
still feel Lana's kiss.