Rating: Adult. If you're under eighteen, please go elsewhere now.
Disclaimer: These characters belong to the CW and DC Comics, not to me.
Clark spun around, Chloe still in his arms, and headed out the door at his top speed, so fast that papers flew in his wake. Seconds later he came to a halt.
Chloe blinked and looked around, with the confusion humans always seemed to feel when they were transported somewhere at superspeed. “Why exactly are we in your barn?”
He had a dorm room at Met U, but he still spent most of his free time hanging out in his loft on his mother’s farm. He kept the dorm room mostly for appearances, because it was a long drive from Metropolis to Smallville. Most people couldn’t traverse the distance in three seconds, the way he could. But he still spent a lot of his time here, mostly by himself nowadays. There had been a time when Chloe spent a lot of time hanging out with him in his loft, but she hadn't been here in months. The thought gave him a wistful pang.
“I told you,” he answered. “I’m going to change your mind about Jimmy.”
She glared up at him. “So you’re kidnapping me?”
“Kidnapping is an ugly word, Chloe. Let’s just call it a shift to a quieter venue.”
“It’s kidnapping, damn it. What the hell is wrong with you? You haven’t kidnapped anyone since—oh, my God.”
He was heading for the loft at a fast walk-- fast in human terms, anyway-- but at the note of horror in her voice he paused and looked down at her. “What?”
She was glaring at her ring with as much anger and disgust as if it had suddenly turned into a rattlesnake. “James Olsen,” she growled, her voice etched with acid, “is a big fat liar.”
He wasn’t sure exactly what Jimmy had to do with anything. Except for the fact that he’d gone and proposed to Chloe, which still made Clark’s lips curl back in a snarl every time he thought about it. He didn’t want to think about Jimmy. “Don’t worry about him,” he suggested. “That’s why we’re here. I’m going to make you forget about him.”
She didn’t seem to hear his words. “He’s such a liar. He told me he got this ring at Tiffany’s, but I bet he got it at Smallville Jewelers.”
“So what? Either way, it’s not the right ring for you. Red isn’t your color. Besides, you ought to have a diamond.”
“It’s red kryptonite,” she said angrily, wrenching the engagement ring off her finger. “That’s why you’re acting this way, Clark. Because it’s red K.”
She yanked the little gold circle off, but he captured her hand, grabbed the ring before she could throw it away, and dropped it into his shirt pocket. He knew from unpleasant experience that red K made him lose his judgment, and caused his behavior to become aggressive, almost violent. But he also knew it wasn’t red K making him act this way. He was just flat-out pissed because Chloe had gone and gotten herself engaged.
But just in case she was right, he figured he’d keep the ring in his pocket, because the absolute last thing he wanted was to go quietly away and let Chloe marry Jimmy.
He had to change her mind. If it was really red K making him act this way, then he sure as hell wasn’t letting go of the ring.
“Clark.” She tried to snag it back out of his pocket, but he captured her hand with no difficulty and held her wrist in an unbreakable grip. Her voice changed, and she spoke more sweetly, in an obvious attempt to cajole him into cooperating. “Come on, Clark, let me have that ring back.”
“Forget about the stupid ring.” He carried her up the stairs into his loft and let her feet drop to the floor, his arm locked firmly around her waist. He thought of pulling her down onto his old, tattered red sofa, and his brain rapidly filled with explicit images. He lowered his head and spoke softly into her hair. “Forget about Jimmy. Just think about me, okay?”
“You are so impossible when you’re on this stuff.” She shoved at his chest, but he was so much stronger than she was that she might as well have been pushing at a brick wall. “Look, Clark, I’m in love with Jimmy.”
“No, you’re not. You’re in love with me.”
“Yeah, right. That’s why I agreed to marry Jimmy, because of my undying love for you.” She reached for his pocket again, and he moved quickly, grabbed the ring, and stuck it in his front jeans pocket instead. He figured he wouldn’t mind Chloe trying to stick her hand in that pocket. But somewhat to his disappointment, she didn’t try, just scowled up at him.
“You just think you’re in love with Jimmy,” he told her. “But I’m the one you really want.”
“Yeah, it’s red K, all right,” she said, sighing. “It gives you an ego the size of Metropolis. Look, Clark, you and I have been drifting apart lately. I know it, and I’m sorry about it. Really. But you can’t expect me to hang out with you all the time. I have a life, and a relationship that means a lot to me. A guy that means a lot to me.”
He lowered his head a little further and blew into her ear. He felt a slight shiver run through her, and he knew she wasn’t as indifferent to him as she pretended. “I’m going to show you who really means a lot to you.”
She stiffened in his arms, shoving ineffectually at his chest. “What are you going to do, Clark? Rape me?”
The word brought him back to his senses, and all of a sudden he wondered if her shiver had been arousal, or fear. The idea that she might be afraid of him didn’t make him happy. He lifted his head and looked down into her eyes. “Of course not, Chlo. I’d never do that.”
“Then let me go.”
“I can’t do that, either. You’ll go back to Jimmy. I have to change your mind.”
She sighed. “You’re just like a two-year-old on red K, Clark. An overgrown, aggressive, single-minded child.”
The thoughts that were running through his mind were anything but childish, but he decided not to say so, because he didn’t want to scare her, or freak her out any worse than he already had. He wrapped his arms around her and held her a little closer, enjoying the warmth of her body against his, the way her contours fit against his body. “So tell me what I can do to change your mind.”
She looked up at him, tilting her head, and he could see devious thoughts reflected in her clear gaze. He’d known her too long to not know when she was up to something. “Let’s go on a date,” she said, a little too brightly. “We could do something fun together in Metropolis. I’d like to see the zoo, or the art museum.”
Somewhere she could yell for help, he deduced grimly. “I’ll take you out on a date,” he said. “But not where other people are. I just want it to be us, Chlo. The way it used to be.”
Her eyes narrowed in irritation. “We never dated, Clark.”
“We never called it dating. But we hung around together all the time. Maybe we never kissed good night, or held hands, or made love, but we might as well have been dating. You know it as well as I do.”
She looked up at him, and he saw a faint wistfulness in her eyes that echoed his own. “It was nice,” she admitted. “It was always nice hanging out with you, Clark. But the problem was, we never went any farther than just friendship. Nothing else ever developed between us.”
“That was a mistake on my part.” He lowered his head and bumped his nose against hers, very gently. “I want to fix my mistake.”
She frowned disapprovingly. “You just want to get up under my skirt.”
That too, he almost agreed, but managed to choke the words back. Women didn’t usually like it when guys were that honest, for some reason. “I just want you to choose me instead of Jimmy.”
“Clark…” She looked at him squarely, and he thought he saw sympathy and sorrow shimmering in the hazel depths of her eyes. “It’s too late, Clark. I’ve already made my choice.”
He refused to accept that, because he simply couldn’t imagine his world without Chloe in it. As she’d grown closer to Jimmy over the past couple of years, they’d begun slowly drifting apart, and that had really been bugging him for a while. But not enough for him to stand up and try to get her back.
But when he'd heard through the grapevine that she was engaged, he'd suddenly realized he'd lost her to Jimmy, and it scared the hell out of him. She hadn't even called him to tell him about it. There had been a time when she'd called him to talk about everything, but now they hardly talked at all. He hadn't wanted to believe it was true, but the sight of that red engagement ring glittering on her finger had forced him to realize he was losing her for good.
“Come on,” he said, and tugged her toward the big window, which was wide open to the summer sunshine. She resisted, but there really wasn’t much she could do to avoid going where he wanted her to go. “Let’s go on a date.”
A wide slice of Kent farmland was visible through the window, vivid emerald fields of corn and grass pasture stretching out beneath a cerulean summer sky. The soothing sounds of the country drifted to his ears, softer and gentler than the harsh, strident noises of the city. He could hear the songs of a hundred different kinds of birds, could hear the humming of insects and the snorting of horses, and if he listened a little harder, he could hear the sound of worms blindly working the soil, the sound of ants building anthills, and the brush of butterflies’ wings against leaves as they fluttered around the garden.
And above it all, he heard Chloe’s heartbeat. He could hear her heart pounding, and he knew she was nervous or aroused, or maybe both.
He took another step toward the window, and she resisted, digging in her heels.
“Hey,” she protested. “You might be able to jump down from here, but I can’t. I’ll break an ankle or something. Let’s take the stairs, okay?”
He swung her up in his arms again, as easily as if she weighed nothing at all.
“Let’s not,” he said, and jumped right out the window.
They went up instead of down. She was clearly startled, because she clutched at him and shrieked. Loudly. He grinned, amused by her shock, as they shot straight up, toward the high vault of the sapphire sky.
“Reason number one you should choose me instead of Jimmy Olsen,” he told her. “Jimmy Olsen can’t fly.”
Read Chapter 3 here.