Wednesday, August 23, 2006
A Cloudy Day in Metropolis
2: A Clear Night in Metropolis
3: A Foggy Morning in Metropolis
4: A Sunny Afternoon in Metropolis
Season 6 (based on spoilers)
Disclaimer: These characters belong to the WB and DC Comics, not to me
Well, I don't think I can handle this
A cloudy day in Metropolis
I think Ill talk to my analyst
I got it so bad for this little journalist...
I can't believe my dilemma is real
I'm competing with the Man of Steel
-Spin Doctors, "Jimmy Olsen's Blues"
Jimmy Olsen's Blues, Part 1
You never forget the first girl you made love to.
I wish I could say the night I lost my virginity to Chloe Sullivan was the most romantic evening of my life, but the truth is it was a big awkward mess. I liked her a lot-- she's pretty, and she loves journalism, so what's not to like?-- but I didn't know her all that well. I was nervous, and when I get nervous I get really clumsy.
So I was trying to make love to a girl for the first time while my hands shook-- while all of me shook, really. I was scared to death. And it obviously really hurt her, which made me feel terrible. Not that she screamed or anything, because Chloe's a trouper. But she had to bite her lip to keep herself from yelling, and her eyes welled up with tears, and... well. It was just not a shining moment in my romantic life.
I felt so bad about hurting her that I avoided her afterward, and didn't even call her, so she probably thought I was the biggest jerk ever. But honest to God, I just didn't know what to say. "Hi, it's Jimmy Olsen. Yeah, I know our first time together was excruciatingly painful for you, but I wondered if you'd like to do it again?"
Anyway, when I found out I'd gotten the internship at the Daily Planet, I was thrilled just to get the job-- because every journalism student at Met U would kill for this job-- but a little part of me was thinking about Chloe, too.
I hadn't seen her in years, hadn't even exchanged emails with her, and we didn't happen to have any classes together, but I'd heard through the grapevine that she'd gotten an actual job at the Planet. Working in the basement, but still, a real job, not an internship. And I'd recently seen her byline on the front page of the paper. The girl wasn't twenty yet, and she'd already been on the freaking front page. Chloe Sullivan is scary.
All of a sudden I discovered I couldn't wait to see her again.
But then the city went to pieces. You probably read about it in the papers, or dealt with it personally, if you live in any big city anywhere in the world. Some weird computer virus took everything down, and people got scared and rioted. I know it was stupid of me to leave my dorm and go out onto the streets, but I thought maybe if I could get some good pictures, I could really impress the Daily Planet even before my internship started.
Which is how I met Chloe Sullivan again.
Although "met" isn't really the right word. Apparently there had been this gang of guys, and they'd almost... well, she'd gotten away, but she was understandably jumpy. She had a gun, and she almost used it on me before she recognized me.
We spent the night together, holed up in a building. No, I don't mean "spent the night together" that way. I mean we talked in whispers and kept a wary eye on the looters and hoped like hell they wouldn't find us. I tried to take some pictures, but they all came out blurry, because when I'm nervous my hands shake really badly. But by next morning, things were getting better, and I walked Chloe back to her dorm.
I hadn't seen her since that night a couple of weeks ago, but this morning I was finally starting my internship. It was a cloudy day in Metropolis, and the golden Daily Planet globe glittered against a backdrop of dark, ominous stormclouds as I approached the building. I pushed the glass doors open, spoke to the receptionist, and headed down to the basement.
It was a big space, full of people, but my gaze was immediately drawn to a head of hair that was every bit as golden as the Daily Planet globe. I headed for her desk. "Hey, Chloe," I said.
She'd been immersed in typing some story, the way Chloe is always immersed in some story, but she looked up. "Oh, hi, Jimmy," she said. "Here for your internship?"
"Yeah," I said, grinning like a fool. And not just because I'd finally gotten to walk through the Daily Planet doors as an employee, either. She was so gorgeous. I'd forgotten how pretty she was. She wore her hair in loose waves around her face, and she was wearing a business suit that was so low cut that-- well, let's just say no one would confuse her for a guy. Wow.
"I think my desk is over there," I said, pointing to a far corner of the room. I'd heard a car had crashed into the basement, and that part of the building had caught on fire during the riots, but apparently the damage had all been repaired, so it couldn't have been all that extensive. I let my gaze roam across the room, seeing the arched stained glass windows and the Daily Planet logo on the back wall, and pride swelled in me until I thought I might burst. I was finally here.
And so was Chloe. Which was awfully cool.
"I guess I better get to work," I said at last.
She'd already started typing again. "Good luck," she said absently, not taking her eyes off the screen.
"Uh, listen, Chloe, would you like to do lunch with me today?"
Her fingers suddenly stopped, and she looked up at me. "Oh," she said with a little smile. "That's really nice of you, Jimmy, but I... I usually just work through lunch."
That was Chloe. She was very polite, but she never hesitated to brush people off if she wanted to. And I really didn't blame her, because it's not like our first night together was exactly the stuff romance novels were made of. But when I'd run into her again that night, I'd realized all over again how much I liked her. Anyway, I'm persistent. I never would have gotten my internship otherwise.
"Come on, Chloe," I wheedled. "I haven't seen you in years, if you don't count the night during the riots. Let's catch up a little."
"I really need to finish this story."
"You have plenty of time to get it finished this morning, before lunch. Please, Chloe, let's have lunch. For old times' sake."
She glanced up at me, then stared at the screen on her desk.
"Okay," she said at last.
So it was a great day. I was starting to work at the Daily Planet as a photography intern-- and I had my own desk, how cool was that?-- and I was going to have lunch with Chloe Sullivan. I spent the morning learning the ropes and thinking about Chloe. I couldn't help myself from glancing at her every so often, but I never saw her looking at me. She was always focused on her writing, which didn't surprise me. That was what Chloe always focused on.
At noon I thanked the guy who'd been showing me the ropes, and headed for Chloe's desk. "Hey there, Chloe."
She glanced up at me as if she'd completely forgotten my existence. "Jimmy. Hi."
"Lunch," I reminded her.
"Oh. Oh, yeah. I've been writing. I was a little lost in my work."
I could relate to that. I tended to get lost in taking photos, too. "Are you ready for lunch?"
"Sure." She clicked the "Save" icon, closed the file, and reached down and grabbed her purse. "What do you like to eat?"
All of a sudden a big, dark-haired guy came striding toward us. I don't mean big so much as in tall-- although he was a pretty good height, probably four or five inches taller than I am-- but big as in massive. He bore a strong resemblance to a brick wall. He had a broad, amiable face, but there was something in his stance that made me think I wouldn't want to tick this guy off.
He came to a halt in front of Chloe's desk. "Chloe," he said, breaking right into our conversation without any sort of greeting. He didn't even look in my direction. "We need to talk."
Chloe stood up and looked at him. There was a little flicker in her eyes that suggested she wasn't any too happy with this guy, whoever he was. "Actually, Clark, I'm on my way out to lunch."
"Fine," he said impatiently. "We'll talk over lunch."
Her mouth tightened slightly. "I already have a date for lunch, thank you."
His eyebrows shot up. "A date?"
I was almost as surprised as he was. I'd been upgraded to a date. Cool. Obviously it had more to do with this guy and her relationship with him than it did with me, but still. A date. I could live with that.
Chloe smiled and stepped nearer to me. "Clark, this is Jimmy. Jimmy Olsen, meet... Clark Kent."
Her voice dropped on the last two words, becoming sultry, sexy, suggestive. Considering Chloe's voice was ordinarily clipped and professional, I was a little shocked, and I wondered if she was even aware of the way her voice changed when she said his name. I doubted it.
The guy-- Clark-- looked surprised, too, and for the first time he actually glanced in my direction. I knew what he was seeing-- a skinny, geeky guy with sandy blond hair and a few freckles I couldn't get rid of, no matter how much I tried. Girls told me I was "cute," but compared to this guy I was a toad. He had green eyes and high cheekbones and a square jaw and broad shoulders-- all the things girls go for. I was willing to bet he'd never had a freckle in his life.
Although he did have this blemish on his right cheekbone. It was probably just a mole, but part of me hoped like hell it was a really big pimple. Because this guy was disgustingly good-looking, and guys like that deserve pimples. It evens the playing field a bit.
All of a sudden his face didn't look so amiable any more. He took a step forward, looming over me in a deliberate effort to intimidate me. "Hi," he said shortly, and stuck his hand out. I shook his hand, trying to crush it, in the age-old ritual of two guys competing for a woman. He squeezed my hand just a little harder, and I swear, I heard something crack. The guy had one hell of a grip.
I pulled my hand back, resisting the urge to rub it in order to make sure the bones were all intact. "Hey, CK," I said, intentionally trying to annoy him a bit. Well, can you blame me? He'd practically crushed my hand, and I'm a photographer. I need my hands. "I remember your name. Chloe mentioned you to me way back when we first met."
Clark looked more annoyed than ever. "You guys are old friends?"
"We interned together at the Planet, back in high school."
All of a sudden he went rigid, and I got the feeling he'd heard about me before. I was pretty sure he had an idea that we'd had a romantic history, and that he didn't like it one little bit. He shot me a look that said plainly he wished he'd crushed my hand when he had the chance, then turned his head slightly and glared at Chloe. Their eyes locked, and I swear I could see the air between them sizzle. Whether it was sizzling with anger or sexual tension I wasn't sure.
I tried to smooth over the awkward moment. "So you're from Smallville, right?"
"They sure grow 'em big in Smallville," I said.
He stared at me, like he wasn't sure whether to laugh or to just pound me into the floor, then turned his head again, dismissing me. "Look, Chloe, I really need to talk to you."
"Later," she said airily.
He was obviously accustomed to having Chloe all to himself, and the idea that someone else was going out to lunch with her was not sitting well with him at all. He leaned forward, bracing his hands on her desk, and stared at her through narrowed eyes. "It's important, Chloe."
"So's lunch," she said. "And we've already burned ten minutes of our lunch hour. Come on, Jimmy, let's go."
She turned her back on him in an intentionally insulting way, and as I came around the desk, she actually linked her arm through mine. I glanced back over my shoulder, seeing the big guy clenching his jaw like he was about to explode. I had the distinct feeling Chloe was deliberately taunting him.
But her arm felt really good in mine, so I didn't really care all that much.
We went to a sandwich place across the street that was apparently popular with the Daily Planet employees. I ordered a sub called a Masthead and a root beer. Chloe ordered a salad called a Typo, and a frappuccino. While we waited for our drinks, she fiddled with her fork, looking unhappy.
"So," I said. "That Clark guy. Kind of bossy, isn't he?"
She looked up, startled, as if she'd forgotten I was there. "Absolutely," she said, her eyes glittering with anger. "I'm really tired of him coming in to the Planet every time he needs something."
"So you and he are... an item?"
"No," she said, her tone icy. "We're just friends. And I'm not even sure about that anymore."
I was pretty sure there was a lot more to the story than that. I knew she and CK had been friends for a long time, because she'd talked about him constantly during the summer I'd known her. And I had a feeling that there was more between them than mere friendship, because a guy who considered her "just a friend" wouldn't have been glaring at me the way he had. Clark Kent had done everything short of beating his chest to warn me off.
And it was obvious Chloe liked him, too. Beneath the anger, there was a dreamy look in her eyes, like she hadn't seen Clark in a while and she'd been waiting for him to walk in. And I was willing to bet that annoyed her, because a woman like Chloe doesn't like sitting around and pining for guys.
"That's good," I said. The waitress brought our drinks, and I thanked her and took a long sip of my root beer for courage. Fate had brought me back into Chloe's life, and I wasn't going to let a big guy with bad attitude scare me off. "So," I said. "You want to go see a movie Friday night?"
She looked at me consideringly for a long moment. I could almost see the wheels turning. She obviously wasn't all that interested in me, but I bet she was tired of spending Friday nights alone, waiting for this Clark guy. And who knew? Maybe, just maybe, I could make her forget about old CK from Smallville.
I'd done it once before, after all. Maybe I could do it again.
"Sure," she said at last. "A movie sounds great."
I grinned. Part of me was really glad to get the chance to see her again. But a big part of me was worried I was setting myself up for a fall, because she was obviously using me to get under CK's skin, and I was pretty sure she had a serious crush on the guy. But I was aware she'd been friends with Clark for a long time, and if nothing had ever happened between them by now, then maybe nothing ever would.
The truth was, I knew I was deluding myself. I thought about the way she'd looked at him, and the way he'd looked at her, and I knew the odds were I was just going to get hurt. There was no way either of these two people were going to settle for being "just friends." I was pretty sure I was going to wind up in that category, because guys like me always do.
But it was worth a shot. Because you just never know how things are going to work out.
Anything can happen.
Read Part 2, "A Clear Night in Metropolis," here.
Or return to the home page here.
Posted by Meg at 7:08 AM