Season 6 (based on spoilers)
Disclaimer: These characters belong to the WB and DC Comics, not to me
Jimmy Olsen's Blues, Part 2
You don't see many stars in Metropolis. It's a big city, and the smog and lights tend to obscure any view of the night sky. So when I stepped out into the darkness of Friday evening with Chloe Sullivan on my arm, and I could see the stars twinkling across the sky, I took that as a good omen.
It was our first date. Well, okay, not really our first date, because we'd had a one-night stand a couple summers ago. And clearly we'd been dating then, sort of. But I hadn't seen Chloe in years, and we'd just reconnected a couple of weeks ago. And then I'd run into her again this week.
We'd gone out for lunch the day I started interning at the Daily Planet, and on a whim I'd asked her out to a movie. She'd said yes, although I'm not sure how much her decision had to do with me, and how much had to do with this guy Clark Kent. Chloe and CK obviously had some sort of love-hate thing going, because we'd been headed out to lunch, he'd walked in and asked her to talk, and she'd practically spat in his face. Then she'd promptly agreed to go out with me.
I wanted to think it was my manly good looks sweeping her off her feet again, but I had the unpleasant certainty her decision had more to do with CK than with me.
But I was willing to take a date with Chloe any way I could get it. Chloe is smart and beautiful, and she likes journalism, which makes her pretty much a perfect woman in my book.
So now it was Friday, and Chloe and I had just seen a movie. A movie about big dumb aliens. Chloe had burst into giggles when I approached her desk and suggested it this morning, but when I asked her to explain the joke, she'd just shrugged it off. I had to admit it was kind of a funny movie, though, and Chloe was a lot of fun. We had popcorn and laughed at the movie and whispered during the previews, and even during the movie, until people glared at us and we had to shut up.
I really liked Chloe.
After the movie, we got up and headed out onto the street. The movie theater was in an arty area of downtown, where you don't expect to be mugged. But as we walked down the street, we saw an altercation of some sort on the opposite sidewalk. Guns were being waved. Really big, scary-looking guns.
I grabbed Chloe's arm and tried to pull her back behind the corner of a building, but she yanked away impatiently. "Come on, Jimmy," she said, her eyes glowing. "Let's go see what's going on."
Chloe's a journalist, and a reckless one. I mean, I'm planning on being a photographer, but I don't think that means I have to get my nuts shot off. The more walls there are between me and guns, the better I like it. I would have stayed right behind the building, but Chloe was already heading across the street, so I trailed reluctantly along behind her, pulling out my little digital camera. It's like an American Express card-- I never leave home without it.
And then the gunfire started.
Crap, I thought. So much for good omens. I'd asked a girl out on a date, and now she was about to get killed. See, this is why I don't date much. My dates always turn out badly.
Although seeing my date get killed right in front of me was seriously bad even for me.
I'm not exactly the bravest guy in the world, but I ran toward Chloe, with the idea of knocking her to the ground or something. Suddenly something slammed into me. I fell to the pavement hard, and at the same time I saw Chloe fall. We've been shot, I thought grimly, but I didn't really hurt, except where my shoulder had thudded into the asphalt. You'd think getting shot would hurt worse than that.
But getting shot wasn't my biggest problem. Even worse, I'd dropped my camera. Damn it. I love that little camera.
Gradually I became aware that I wasn't bleeding my life out on the streets of Metropolis, and that nothing was wrong with me besides a bruise or two. I blinked, trying to clear my vision, and I saw something big and hulking covering Chloe, protecting her. It looked familiar, and I had an idea I knew what it was. Or rather, who it was.
Red and blue lights flashed as three patrol cars converged on the scene, and sure enough, their light bars lit up the disgustingly handsome face of Chloe's friend, Clark Kent.
CK was leaning over Chloe, protecting her body with his. Actually he was pressing her right into the ground, and he looked kind of like any guy might if he had a gorgeous blonde underneath him... kind of befuddled and turned on all at the same time. I wanted to go over there and drag him the hell off her-- she was my date, after all-- but two things stopped me.
One, CK is huge, and I didn't want to get my arms ripped off. It's really hard to be a photographer without your arms.
And two, I was pretty sure he'd just saved her life, and probably mine too.
The cops were handcuffing people and confiscating guns, and CK sat up, pulling Chloe up with him. "Are you okay?" he demanded, cupping her face in his hands and leaning toward her. I swear he looked like he was going to kiss her. His nose was about an inch away from hers, and his face-- his disgustingly handsome face, marred only by a big zit on the right cheek-- was seriously intense.
Chloe looked like she might kiss him right back. Her lips were parted and her eyes were huge.
"I'm fine," I said dryly, dragging myself up to a sitting position. I found my little camera a few feet away-- thank God-- and stuffed it back into my pocket. "Thanks so much for asking."
Both of them jumped, looking like they'd totally forgotten I was there. Hell, they looked like they'd forgotten they were in the middle of the street, surrounded by cops and blinking lights and a rapidly forming crowd. CK turned and glared at me through narrowed eyes, looking like he was sorry he hadn't just left me to get shot.
"Good move, by the way," I said, getting to my feet and rubbing my shoulder. "How'd you manage to knock both of us down at once?"
CK looked up at me for a moment longer, then came to his feet in a deliberate, I'm-a-tall-guy-and-you're-a-shrimp kind of way. He pulled Chloe up with him, standing very close to her-- a lot closer to her than a friend had any right to be standing. "I used to play a little football," he said.
"Of course you did." Naturally, a guy who looked like this had probably been a football star in high school. God, I was starting to loathe this guy.
Except he'd saved my life, and Chloe's life, which really made him kind of hard to loathe.
Chloe was starting to look less shell-shocked. "Why are you here, Clark?" she demanded bluntly.
CK looked back down at her. He lifted his hand and brushed a long strand of blonde hair out of her face, but she jerked her head away, looking like she might bite his fingers off. CK had enough sense to move his hand away from her before he lost a finger.
"I was just happened to be in the area," he answered. "I was taking a walk."
"I thought you lived in Smallville," I said helpfully. He shot me a look that said clearly he was thinking about smashing me into the asphalt again. I gave him my best dumb, friendly smile, but I could tell he didn't buy it. "Hell of a long walk."
Chloe's eyes were growing dark with suspicion. "Were you following me, Clark?"
"Of course not." He looked offended. "I told you, I just happened to--"
"Crap," Chloe said. That was Chloe for you. She never hesitated to tell people what she was thinking. "You were following me. You big jerk."
CK flinched like she'd slapped him, and all of a sudden I felt sorry for the big guy. I didn't know what was going on between these two, but whatever friendship they'd once had was obviously very much on the rocks. Chloe was not at all happy with him.
"Chloe," I said, a little reproachfully. "Cut the guy some slack. He just saved your life."
I don't think she heard my words. I honestly think she'd forgotten my existence again. She glared up at CK, then took both hands and smacked him in the chest, hard. He stepped backward, looking terrified.
It was funny, really, like watching a rabbit beat up on a wolf. Chloe barely came up to the guy's shoulder, but he was cringing in the face of her rage. If CK had been a wolf, his tail would have been tucked between his legs and he would have been cowering on the ground. He looked that scared of her.
"Don't... ever... follow... me...again," she said, enunciating each word like she was spitting out expletives.
"Chloe." He looked genuinely pitiful, like a whipped puppy. "I swear, I wasn't following you."
"You're a big liar." She glared up at him. "Next time I catch you hanging around, Clark, you'll regret it. I mean it."
Yeah, like there was a lot she could do to this guy. He looked like he was chiseled out of stone. Probably his brain was, too, although I hadn't really talked to him enough to know for sure. But I wanted to think he was dumb. A guy shouldn't be that good-looking and intelligent too.
But he looked absolutely crushed at the venom in her tone, and I suddenly felt really sorry for the guy. Good-looking or not, he was obviously struggling to get into her good graces, and failing miserably. Chloe turned her back on him, just like she had at the Daily Planet the other day, and walked over to me, linking her arm through mine.
"Come on, Jimmy. Let's go see if we can get a scoop."
We walked toward the cops, and I pulled my camera out and started taking pictures. I looked over my shoulder, thinking that if CK had the slightest bit of sense, he would be heading for Smallville right now.
But CK was still standing there, watching us. And I've never seen anyone look so sad.
Chloe started to interview bystanders, while I kept on taking pictures. And when I looked back again, CK had disappeared into the crowd. Chloe pretended not to notice, but I saw her glancing around more than once, looking for him.
But CK was gone.
Read Part 3, A Foggy Morning in Metropolis, here.