Thursday, April 06, 2006

Sunset, Chapter 5

Season 5, expansion/sequel to "Hypnotic"
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: These characters belong to the WB and DC comics, not to me

Chloe stared up at me, her eyes huge. She looked stunned.

“I… I…” she said, then stopped. I knew I’d really thrown her a curve, because she rarely stammers. She backed away until she was pressed up against a railing and tried again. “Look, Clark, I think… I think you’ve been through a lot in the last couple of days. Maybe this isn’t the best time to discuss… stuff.”

That was Chloe, all right. The voice of reason. At least, she’s reasonable, cool, and logical when she’s talking about relationships. Show her a juicy news story and she does a Jekyll and Hyde, taking wild, reckless chances in order to get the story. But as far as relationships go, she’s totally logical. She’d given me tons of good advice over the past year—almost all of which I’d completely ignored.

Which probably went a long ways toward explaining why my love life was so totally screwed up right now.

I didn’t heed the voice of reason, because I didn’t feel much like being reasonable. Maybe it was the lateness of the hour, or maybe I’d exhausted my stock of calm logic earlier in the evening when I’d decided to dump Lana, but reasonable just wasn’t on my agenda right now. I took two steps forward and put a hand on the railing on either side of her, pinning her.

“You have some sort of problem with being hugged?” I asked softly.

She looked up at me, her eyes wider than ever. “Clark?” she said in a tentative voice. “Are you on red K or something?”

“Are you trying to suggest that the only way I could possibly be interested in you is if I was on a mind-altering substance?”

She blew out a breath, a sound of mingled frustration and sorrow. “It kind of looks that way to me, yeah.”

I suddenly felt like she’d kicked me in the stomach, only it hurt a lot worse than it had when she actually had. All of a sudden I realized what a number I’d done on Chloe’s self-esteem over the years. I’d hardly looked at her, and when I had happened to glance in her direction and noticed what a pretty girl she was, I’d kept my thoughts to myself.

After years of being ignored by me, the guy she obviously had a thing for, she’d truly started to believe she wasn’t attractive. No wonder she hardly ever dated… she had a serious inferiority complex going. Not that any self-esteem problems she had were totally my fault, no. But I’d sure as hell contributed to them.

Not for the first time that evening, I considered the very real possibility that I was a jerk of the first magnitude.

“Chlo,” I said softly, lifting my hand to her cheek. “Don’t be dumb. You’re beautiful. Beautiful… and sexy. I know you think I’m a big stupid jerk, but I’m not blind, and I have noticed how sexy you are.”

“Yeah, right,” she scoffed. “Name one time you’ve noticed me at all.”

That was our cynical Daily Planet reporter for you. She wanted proof.

“Remember that time in the elevator?”

Her lashes immediately dropped to veil her eyes, and I assumed that meant she did in fact remember. I’d actually kissed her in an elevator once, about a year ago. It had been a pretty shy, tentative kiss, but that didn’t mean it hadn’t been as sexy as hell.

"And," I continued, "what about the time you kissed me in the file room at Smallville Medical?"

It had been a couple of years, but I still remembered the incident clearly. A doctor had walked in and caught us snooping, and Chloe had grabbed me, slammed me against a file cabinet, and planted her lips against mine. I'd found my arms around her, found myself kissing her back with a good deal of enthusiasm, before I had a clue what was happening.

Chloe had spun the doctor a tale about how we were candystripers "taking a break." Once the doctor had lectured us about the impropriety of make-out sessions in the file room and stalked from the room, Chloe had smiled at me and said, "A good reporter always thinks on her feet."

I don't think she realized she'd pretty much knocked me off mine.

She lifted her gaze, looking up at me cautiously. "We were just pretending, Clark."

"Maybe you were just pretending," I answered, stroking my thumb across her cheek. "I wasn't. And then there was that time in my loft."

“You mean when I was on the pompom juice?” Around the time I joined the Smallville High football team, the cheerleaders had dosed the team with a love potion, and Chloe accidentally took a sip. “Doesn’t count. I wasn’t in my right mind.”

“I was,” I said. “I may be stupid, Chlo, but I’m not so dumb I didn’t notice you weren’t wearing anything but my football jersey.”

She shut her eyes, looking terminally embarrassed. “I’d really rather not think about that.”

“That’s kind of my point. I’ve tried really hard not to think about it, because you’re my friend, but it still pops into my mind on a regular basis. It’s been over a year, and I still can’t forget how you felt when you, uh...”

I trailed off, suddenly discovering that I was the one with a terminal case of embarrassment now. Just thinking about a lapful of mostly naked Chloe made my eyes itch with a compelling desire to activate my heat vision and set a fire—the Kryptonian male’s normal response to sexy women, apparently. Although I have to admit I haven't had that reaction in quite a while. But the thought of Chloe dressed in a shirt, and absolutely nothing else, made my eyes burn fiercely.

I blinked hard, trying to get my heat vision under control, and Chloe smiled wryly. “I didn’t realize you were so interested in that kind of girl, Clark.”

“I’m not. You think if one of the cheerleaders had come up to my loft and done that, I’d still be thinking about it a year later? It wasn’t because of the way you were acting, Chloe. It was because it was you.”

She stared up at me, speechless, her eyes still wide with surprise. Or maybe it was shock.

It occurred to me I could list examples all night, and she probably wouldn't believe me. I could only think of one really good way to convince her I thought she was seriously sexy. I let my hand slide around the back of her neck, buried my fingers in her hair, and bent toward her. She stiffened.

“Clark,” she said hastily. “I really think this is a bad idea.”

Somewhere deep down I knew she was right. I'd just broken up with Lana, and it was wrong to make a play for another girl, particularly my best friend, right now. But my eyes were burning, driving me so crazy I could hardly remember my name, let alone all the good and sensible reasons I should stay away from her.

“You think too much,” I answered, and kissed her.

Read Chapter 6 here.

1 comment:

blackheart_me said...

aww Poor Chloe. Clark can see how insecure she got and all bcuz of him :(. AHh the memories of the kisses!! the one in the hospital made me laugh because he said she knocked him off his feet :D. awesome ;]. I think i'm a puddle now with ur chapter ending. WOW!!