small town girls




Visiting Hours
by HumbugGirl

It hadn't been difficult to sneak past the nurse on duty. The woman had been seated behind a desk, her nose firmly glued in some gossip magazine with plenty of glossy pictures in the gloom of the darkened hospital, probably hoping that she wouldn't be noticed by a passing doctor and she hadn't so much as twitched when Chloe had padded past in her stockings, having chosen to remove her shoes to prevent the telltale clicking noise they made when she walked. Unnoticed, she left small like puddles of water behind her as she went. The rain outside was still pounding down in sheets and it could be heard loudly against the windows as Chloe entered the small private room. She closed the door as quietly as she could manage by muffling the sound with her hand then moved quickly to pull down the blinds that covered the window facing the corridor so that she was plunged into darkness. Her skirts rustled as she leaned over the edge of the bed and switched on the small overhead light.

The room was suddenly filled with light and Chloe hesitated, fearful that it would be seen from outside the room, thus alerting someone to her intrusion and wondering whether she had made the wrong decision and should switch it off again. It only took her a short moment to decide against the idea as the figure that lay in the narrow hospital bed was illuminated clearly for first time and her breath caught in her throat. Turning briefly from the bed Chloe picked up the heavy chair that had been sat by the wall and carried it over to the side of the bed where she sat down and curled her legs up underneath of her, shifting several times before she found a comfortable position.

Lana Lang looked like an angel laid there with her dark hair fanned out around her head and slipping over her shoulders as smooth as silk and just as pliable. She was extraordinarily pale, almost lily white, with dark blemishes about her eyes and her cherry red lips bright in contrast. There was a brilliant, shocking bruise spread across the rise of her right cheekbone that reached from just below her eye and down until it was almost touching her jaw line. Chloe resisted the urge to reach across and trail her fingers down the mark to see whether she would be able to rub it away and remove it from the pretty girl's features.

Her eyes wandered from the other girl's peacefully sleeping face and down across her body noting the way her chest rose and fell easily beneath the layers of the simple hospital gown and sheets that reached up to her slight shoulders. There was a heavy looking pot on one arm that was as yet unsigned. Chloe knew that before the next day was out it would be covered in names as a steady stream of visitors made their way into this small room. She knew that she should steal these quiet moments as best she could before they were made impossible.

In her mind she drifted back to the events of earlier that evening. She could feel the music still spilling around her and the way that her heart had started to do little nervous tipple-over-tails as if it had already known what would happen. She could remember walking into the high school gym on the arm of the handsomest guy in the entire school, safe in the knowledge that he was her date and there didn't seem to be anything in the world that would change that. It hadn't mattered that she half wondered whether she had been the second choice. It didn't matter that in spite of everything else she felt a tiny nagging sensation in her heart that there might be something missing from this apparently so wonderful night. Then, of course, everything had turned sour and had proved her right. Sometimes Chloe really hated being right.

She didn't actually blame Clark. She wished she could because, after all, he had left her alone to face the embarrassment and the sympathetic, pitying looks from the other students. They had known as well as she had why he had run off without a second thought for her. But still Chloe couldn't blame him and her ultimatum rolled through her mind about never forgiving him and she absently wondered how she would be able to get out of it without seeming weak because she could forgive Clark for going off to save someone but she couldn't forgive him for being Clark. But the fact was that he was Clark and that if he hadn't deserted her than the girl lying so still in the bed before her would probably be dead.

For years now Chloe had harboured mixed feelings about Lana Lang that ran right to the core of her being. When she had first moved to Smallville and had still felt resentful at being dragged away from the bright lights of Metropolis to some small unknown town in the middle of nowhere the other girl had seemed like a demi-goddess to her, tragic and beautiful with the world at her fingertips and a startlingly wonderful character that had made her loved by all. She had seemed the opposite of everything Chloe had been at that time and at least for a while a shinning example of everything she wished she could be. On her first days at school in Smallville the raven haired beauty had made attempts to befriend her and Chloe knew that eventually it was only her feelings over Clark's crush that had prevented them from being good friends. In come respects Chloe had intensely disliked the girl but in others she couldn't help but admire Lana and she thought that maybe, now that they were a little older they would be able to be good friends like she had the sneaking suspicious that they should have been in the first place. She wished that one day they would be able to sit down together and just talk without the stigma of the men in their lives hanging over them always.

Lana suddenly drew a sharp breath and her face contorted slightly in pain before her eyes flickered open. They blurred for a moment then focused on the figure in pink beside her bed. "Chloe?"

She sounded a little surprised but the simple pleasure in hearing her voice and the way in which Lana didn't sound completely repelled by her presence made a smile filter onto the blonde's girl's lips. "Hi you, how are you feeling?"

"Like someone hit me with a bus." She tried to swallow and Chloe quickly reached for the glass of water that had been sitting on the bedside cabinet to hand to her. The brunette took it gratefully and sipped slowly before handing it back so Chloe could place it back in its previous position.

"Nah, it was only a tornado," Chloe said.

Those dark eyes widened as she remembered the events that had led to her being in hospital and there was pause during which both girls just looking at each other. "You look very pretty," Lana said and she stuttered slightly over the words then looked embarrassed that they had even come out of her mouth. "That colour really works on you."

Chloe's hand flew to her hair finding it in much the same state of disarray as it had been from the weather outside and wondering whether her make-up had run as well to add insult to injury. "I'll bet," she replied.

"You really do."

The distinct sincerity evident in Lana's voice prompted Chloe to lower her eyes a little and to say, "Thank you."

Lana sighed and stretched out her arms to her sides. "I'm so tired."

"Go back to sleep then," she replied kindly.

Lana bit her lip lightly in a nervous action and unconsciously glanced around the hospital room. "You'll be here when I wake up?"

Nodding Chloe said, "I'm not going anywhere."

A small smile quirked the brunette's lips and she said, "Good." Her eyes fluttered shut as she relaxed and drifted back into sleep without a second thought.

It seemed that she sat there forever watching the sleeping girl, unwilling to leave her alone for even a second in case she woke to the silence of an empty room and the associated loneliness. Chloe never knew when it was that she drifted off to sleep herself, only that she could vaguely recall the beginnings of early morning sunlight peeping around the edges of the curtains in Lana's room when her eyes grew too heavy to keep open and that there had been some faint bird song somewhere in the distance.

Neither girl ever knew of Clark entering the room as soon as visiting hours began the next day. They never saw the way his eyes widened in shock at seeing them both there together in the small safe haven of the hospital room. As he glanced back and forth between the two girls, conflicting emotions rushing through him, Clark felt confusion growing as he tried vainly to figure out why Chloe would have come here and clearly stayed the night considering how he suspected the petite blonde girl felt about Lana. He absently wondered what trickery she had employed to make the nurses let her stay and then felt shame ripple in his mind as he realised how judgemental and jealous he sounded even to himself.

Nervously he watched Chloe for any sign that she would wake and he would once again be faced with the full force of her anger for leaving her alone at the dance. Most of all though, he felt regret that it had been Chloe who had gone to such extremes to stay with Lana when even he had given in eventually and gone to get a good night's sleep at home. He thought he was in love with the injured girl. He believed he was. But if he was then why hadn't he done his very best to try and stay with her through the night? To his surprise he realised that, although he might have saved Lana it was Chloe who had been there for her during the long dark hours when she would have been all alone.

With a despondent heart the young man covered Chloe with a spare blanket he found in a cupboard then left the room in the vain hope that he would be able to return later when the blonde had left and he could spend some time with Lana with having to face the other girl as well.

On waking the next morning Chloe stretched only to find her movement restricted by a heavy hospital blanket covering her. She blushed as she realised that whichever nurse that had checked in one Lana during the night must have found her and covered her and wondered how much of a scolding she would be in for later. If she was lucky then maybe she would be able to sneak off the ward without anyone noticing her passage. Looking up she found Lana staring at her with a sweet little welcoming smile on her lips.

"You stayed," the brunette said quietly.

"I said I would."

"I know but I wasn't sure you would. I'm glad you did though."

Chloe felt her own lips tilt into a smile. "I am too."