Season 3, sequel to "Whisper"
Disclaimer: These characters belong to the WB and DC comics, not to me
“Tell me what’s wrong,” Chlo said softly. Her fingers kept stroking my hair, and I reached up and wrapped my fingers around hers, hanging onto her like a lifeline. Somehow, no matter what problems we have between us, I always wind up relying on Chloe.
“Headache,” I muttered.
It was true. The wall of sound seemed to be bypassing my eardrums now and boring directly into my skull. It hurt like crazy.
“Do me a favor,” I said. I was hardly able to hear my own voice over the roaring in my ears, but for some reason hers was coming through a little more clearly. “Keep talking to me.”
I heard a faint, sad chuckle. “I can do that. I have lots to say to you. We’ve hardly talked in weeks.”
“Sorry.” Talking made my head hurt and my stomach writhe, but I managed to force the words out somehow. “I’ve… missed you.”
“Yeah.” She sighed. “I’ve missed you too, Clark. Even when you’re a flaming jerk, I still miss you.”
“A flaming… jerk? Me?”
“I was actually thinking of another epithet, but I’m trying to keep the conversation polite. On account of you being sick and everything.”
“Thoughtful of you,” I managed to say. A motorcycle pulled up next to us, its engine roaring, and I grabbed at my head with both hands, moaning. She slid her arm around my shoulders in a sympathetic gesture. “Poor thing. I didn’t know you got migraines.”
“Yeah. Me neither.” I realized I was managing to focus on her voice to some extent despite the horrible sound coming from the motorcycle, and that gave me a little shred of hope that maybe I’d figure this thing out. The only problem was, I had to learn to focus my hearing without letting Chloe know what I was doing. Not an easy task.
The guy revved his engine, and I groaned, dropping my head onto her shoulder. She patted my hair softly. “Hang in there, Clark. I’m sure he’ll be gone soon.”
The noise was excruciating, but not a lot worse than the roar of the city. It was just the combination of things that made my head feel like it was going to fall off, or explode. Or maybe both.
Not that there was any way of explaining all that to her. I figured “migraine” was as safe an explanation as any.
“Would food help?” she asked.
I squinted through the windshield and saw we’d pulled into the parking lot of a HastyMart. I suddenly noticed the odor of overcooked hot dogs, stale nachos, and bad burritos wafting through the air. This time my stomach didn’t just roll over-- it suddenly started bouncing up and down in an apparent effort to jump right out of my mouth. I swallowed hard, barely managing to stop myself from puking all over her.
“No. No food.”
The motorcycle’s engine stopped, and I practically went limp with relief. The rumble of the city-noise suddenly didn’t seem quite so bad. I lifted my head, wincing.
“Keep talking, Chlo.”
“I, uh…” She trailed off, looking at me, and I suddenly realized she was about two inches away, which made me feel a little uncomfortable. I don’t have any kind of crush on Chloe—we’re just friends, really-- but I’m pretty sure she’s still kind of got a thing for me. She looked really startled to find herself so close to me, and her lips parted in what I guess was surprise. All of a sudden I noticed she was wearing really glossy, hot pink stuff on her lips.
Not that I was looking at her lips or anything. I just kind of noticed it. Honest.
Suddenly there was a lot of yelling from outside the car. I couldn’t make out what it was about, because the roar was still making it hard for me to focus on anything. Except, you know, Chloe’s lips. But I wasn’t really looking at them, like I said. I did make that perfectly clear, right?
Anyway, Chloe’s head jerked up, and she looked toward the convenience store. “Ohmigod,” she said. “The HastyMart’s being robbed!”
Great. Just peachy. Ordinarily I would have been out of the car and trying to thwart the criminals before she’d finished the sentence. But right now I had a headache from the ninth circle of hell, and all I could do was wish the freaking robbers would just take the damn day off.
Yeah, I know, I’m a hero for the ages. So sue me.
“We’re barely inside the city limits,” I grumbled. “Doesn’t anyone do anything in Metropolis besides commit crimes?”
“It’s a big city,” Chloe answered, grabbing her digital camera. Her eyes were alight with excitement, and suddenly I realized she actually intended to get out of the car and take a picture of the robbery in progress. The thieves were probably holding up the place at gunpoint, but she intended to get an exclusive. I was sure the criminals were just going to love that. I swear, sometimes it seems like every bit of Chloe’s considerable intelligence and common sense flies right out the window when she smells a story.
“Chlo,” I said, trying to sound commanding, which is surprisingly difficult to do when you’re curled up in fetal position. “Stay here.”
She rolled her eyes at me, flung the door open, and headed straight for the convenience store.
Groaning, I uncurled my legs and fumbled at the door handle, finally managing to get it open. I staggered after her, my ears still ringing, my head still aching and muddled. Chloe was headed right for the HastyMart, and I had the unpleasant certainty that she was about to get herself killed, all for the sake of a story.
Which, now that I think about it, really shouldn’t have come as the slightest surprise to me.
Read Chapter 3 here.