Rating: Adult. If you're under eighteen, please go elsewhere now.
Disclaimer: These characters belong to the WB and DC Comics, not to me.
Clark had no idea how long he sat there, staring into the darkness, his chest actually aching with the need and jealousy and anger boiling inside him. He was lonely, but not entirely alone, because this was a pretty popular makeout place. Every so often he could hear couples walking past him, laughing and talking softly.
Envy bubbled up inside him, adding to the complex mix of emotions seething within him, until he thought he might just explode from the pressure.
He heard footsteps walking toward him, but he didn't bother to turn around until a voice spoke. "Hey."
His head jerked around. "Chloe?"
"I wasn't sure you'd still be here," she said, sitting down next to him. She was still wearing the crimson dress, and it rode up her thighs, exposing a long stretch of pale skin. He tried very hard not to notice, but failed miserably. "I tried the dorm first, but Steve and his girlfriend were still... occupied."
Yeah, he just bet they were. Lucky Steve.
"I thought you had a date," he said sullenly.
"Well, I did." She sighed. "You pretty much messed it up for me, though."
Chastened, he dropped his head back onto his knees. "I guess Ollie was mad because you were so late."
"No," she answered. "He didn't get mad till I broke up with him."
All of a sudden he jerked bolt upright. "Huh?"
"Clark," she said, rolling her eyes. "You were right. I mean, Kal was right. There's no way I could go from what we did on the dance floor to another guy. It's not fair to him, or me. Or you."
Relief washed over him, followed instantly by tension. She'd broken up with another guy for him, and she might be thinking he'd make a play for her. But he couldn't.
"Chloe," he said, hesitantly. "I don't... I mean, I'm not..."
"Oh, shut up, Clark," she said. "You know what your problem is? You think too much."
"I do not."
"Yeah. You do. That's why you wanted to be Kal tonight. Because he just does things without worrying about the consequences."
That was more true than she probably realized. Because he couldn't help but worry about the consequences of touching her. Her hand dropped onto his arm, and he immediately felt his heart start to pound from a combination of nerves and arousal.
"Where were we earlier?" she said.
The image of her kneeling at his feet flashed into his mind, and he felt himself grow hard in an instant. Fear twisted in his chest, squeezing his lungs so he couldn't breathe, and he pulled away from her.
"Clark?" She looked at him, frowning a bit. "What's wrong?"
"I think..." He couldn't seem to force the words out past the constriction in his throat. "I think. Maybe. You've gotten the... the wrong idea."
"Uh, yeah, because the words take me into your mouth were so ambiguous."
His cheeks flushed. "That was Kal. Not me."
"Moron." She spoke gently, reaching out and running a palm up his forearm. Goosebumps trailed across his flesh in the wake of her hand. "You are Kal, and Kal is you. Maybe you don't let him run things too often, but he's in there. I think you really do want me, at least a little."
He wanted her significantly more than a little. But his heart was pounding so heavily it hurt, and he couldn't seem to breathe. He needed to get the hell away from her, before real panic set in. But he couldn't seem to move away from her touch for some reason.
All at once she paused and looked at him. Maybe she felt the tension in his muscles, or maybe the rasping sound of his labored breathing gave him away. "Clark? Are you all right?"
"Fine," he said in a whisper. "I just... ought to... get going."
"No," she said, studying his face, her eyebrows drawn down in a frown. "Something is seriously wrong."
"I just..." Her fingers brushed over the sensitive skin at the crook of his elbow, and he jolted nervously. Panic flooded him, and he jumped to his feet.
He'd intended to go to superspeed and get far, far away from her, but she prevented that by standing up, stepping toward him, and wrapping her arms around his waist. All of a sudden her warm body was pressed against his, all the way down, and he couldn't prevent a little moan from escaping his mouth.
"You smell good," she whispered, pressing her face into his chest.
Oh, God. She smelled good too, a mixture of vanilla and feminine sweat and the spicy scent he had no trouble identifying as arousal. His chest tightened even more than before, and he wasn't sure if it was from panic or desire. Maybe both.
"Chloe," he said awkwardly, trying very hard not to melt against her the way he so badly wanted to. Every instinct was clamoring for him to put his arms around her and yank her against him even harder, but he somehow managed to keep his arms loosely at his sides. "I'm sorry, but this really isn't what I want."
"No?" She tilted her pelvis forward, so that she was pressed right up against his erection, which was too obvious to miss. "It feels like it's what you want to me."
He could barely resist the urge to rub himself against her. "Chloe," he said, slowly and painfully. "I don't feel that way about you. I'm sorry."
She narrowed her eyes. "You do this to me every time, Clark. Why?"
The desperate desire to wrap his arms around her filled his mind, but the image of him hurting her horribly immediately followed. He swallowed hard against the tightness in his throat, struggling to breathe despite the panic. "I told you, Chlo. You're my friend. That's all... I feel for you."
"Do you always get this hard for your friends?"
"You know, Kal would just admit he wanted me. Why can't you?"
"I don't want you."
She moved her hips against him, and he groaned again.
"You're lying," she said softly.
The feel of Chloe's body against his made Clark's heart pound violently. Half of him wanted to make love to her, and the other half of him wanted to give in to panic and run away.
If she'd touched him aggressively, the panic would have overwhelmed him. But with Chloe's typical sensitivity to his emotions, she seemed to somehow realize that. She didn't try to kiss him, didn't run her hands over him, just pressed against him, lightly moving her hips against his.
The gentle, sensual rhythm of her body was the most seductive sensation he could imagine. He felt as though she were drawing him into a dance, and he wanted to dance with her very badly.
He fought his instincts and remained perfectly still, while she pressed against him over and over again. Heat built in him, making him shiver uncontrollably. He felt a low groan of pleasure welling up in his chest, and barely managed to suppress it.
"Clark," she whispered against his chest. Her arms were still locked around his waist in a warm embrace. "Why are you fighting this so hard?"
His throat was dry, so dry that he had to struggle to get words to come out of his mouth. "I told you, Chlo. I'm not interested in you that way."
"Bull," she answered tersely. "If you weren't interested, you'd just walk away. But you're still here."
She had him there. He knew he ought to walk away. Hell, he ought to superspeed away. But he just couldn't. Despite all his superstrength, he didn't have the strength to walk away from her.
"Your heart is pounding," she whispered, turning her head slightly and pressing her ear to his chest. "You're not indifferent to me, even if you want to be."
He was very far from indifferent to her, and he knew it. Every brush of her abdomen against his erection sent a blaze of fire through his body and a rush of vivid images through his mind. He wanted to strip off all their clothes, pick her up in his arms, and slide into her warm, slick body. He wanted to push her to her knees and beg her to take him into her mouth. He wanted to feel her hands touching him everywhere. He wanted to come, long and hard, deep inside her.
And yet the explicit thoughts dancing through his head were almost enough to make him run away in a panic.
She continued to move against him, very gently, and he felt the sexual tension in his body build to painful levels, right along with the fear. "Chlo," he said at last, his voice so low and hoarse he hardly recognized it. "I really should get going."
She chuckled against his chest. "I figured you'd be coming, not going."
If he hadn't been so scared, he probably would have cracked a smile. Defusing uncomfortable situations with humor had always been Chloe's style, and she could frequently bring him out of a mopey mood with one of her comments. But right now he didn't smile. He couldn't.
He wanted to put his arms around her so desperately he had to clench his fists to stop himself, and the feel of his fingernails digging into his palms reminded him of how easily he could hurt her. He was so strong he could compress coal in his hand, transforming it into a diamond. The thought of what his hands could do to Chloe's fragile body in an unguarded moment made him shudder.
He tried to pull away. "Chloe," he said, a little more desperately. "Stop."
She didn't let him go. She stopped the movement of her hips but kept her arms locked tightly around him. Lifting her head, she looked into his eyes, and whatever she saw there made her forehead wrinkle. "Clark," she said in a gentle voice. "Tell me what the problem is."
"I..." He looked down into her sympathetic eyes, and embarrassment flooded him. He was very likely the strongest man in the world, yet the touch of a woman's hand sent him into a blind panic. "It's stupid."
"No doubt," she said dryly. "But whatever it is, it's obviously bothering you. Out with it."
"I just..." He closed his eyes and blurted it out. "I'm scared."
"Scared?" She thought about that for a moment. "You mean scared of hurting me?"
"I remember," she said softly. "Way back when you were dating Lana, you were afraid of hurting her. I guess I should have realized you'd never gotten over it."
"It's gotten worse, Chlo." He opened his eyes and met her gaze, trying to convey how bad the problem was. "I mean, I can't even think about touching you without freaking out."
"Freaking out how, exactly?"
"My chest gets tight. My heart pounds. I can't breathe, and I feel like I have to run away."
She looked at him for a moment, her eyes thoughtful. "Sounds like a panic attack."
"I'm Kryptonian, not human."
"So? You're as neurotic as any of the rest of us. Maybe more so. It sounds like your fears have built up into a superneurosis."
He scowled, annoyed by her quip. "Cut me some slack, Chlo. I can't help it."
"No, you can't. I realize that." She looked at him. "So all those times you pushed me away... you were scared of hurting me? I just figured you didn't want me that way."
"Oh, believe me, I want you that way," he answered softly. Even the admission made his heart pound with nerves. "I want you so badly it's killing me, Chlo. Last night I couldn't take it any more, and I came over to your apartment to talk to you about it, and I saw you and Ollie..."
"Kissing on the front porch. Ah. So that's what the red K thing was about."
"I figured I'd lost you," he said, his voice low. "And I was afraid I'd never get past the whole sex thing if I didn't just..."
"Find an easy lay. Yeah. I'm following your thought processes now, warped though they are." She smacked his forehead, hard enough that it would have hurt a human. "You big dope, why didn't you come talk to me about everything today, instead of going off to find a... a loose woman?"
The old-fashioned phrase almost made him smile. "I figured you belonged to Ollie now."
"I don't belong to anyone, thank you very much. But I like to make important decisions based on complete information. You know, I thought you didn't want me, so I was trying to move on."
The annoyance on her face made him avert his eyes, feeling suddenly ashamed of himself. Chloe was his best friend, and the woman he wanted more than anything, and yet he hadn't been able to bring himself to talk to her about this because of some stupid macho fear of looking like a wimp. "I'm sorry," he said, sighing. "I have a real talent for screwing things up."
"It could have been worse," she said. "If I hadn't talked to Steve and followed you over to Atlantis, you'd probably have slept with ten women by now."
"Yeah," he answered, his mouth twitching despite himself. "I'm sure that would have been hell on earth."
"Jerk." She smacked him again. "Don't you think you're in big enough trouble already?"
"Sorry," he said meekly, trying to suppress his smile.
"So," she said, moving her hips against him again. He stiffened, and a startled gasp escaped him. "Where do we go from here?"
"I can't... Chloe, I can't."
"You sure about that? Because it feels like part of you definitely can."
"Yeah, but I..." He trailed off as her hand stroked across his back, tugging up his black t-shirt and sliding up underneath. The feel of her fingers brushing over his bare skin sent a spike of sheer panic through him. He broke away and stood staring at her, breathing hard.
"Okay," she said. "I see. You're right. We can't make love if I can't touch you at all, can we?"
Her casual reference to making love sent a wild cascade of emotions through him, fear and exultation and desperate longing all tangled up together. He wanted her so badly he hurt, but he was so afraid that his chest was tight, so tight that he could hardly draw a breath.
"I don't know what the answer is," he said at last, softly.
"Sure you do. You figured it out earlier." She leaned down to the ground and retrieved her little beaded purse, which she'd dropped there when she sat down next to him. She groped in it for a second, then held out the ring, its crimson stone black in the darkness.
"I think it's time we find Kal again," she said.
Read Chapter 7 here.