Chapter 6, after "Labyrinth"
Rating: Adult. If you're under eighteen, please go elsewhere now.
Disclaimer: These characters belong to the CW and DC Comics, not to me.
When Chloe woke up, early morning sunlight was creeping into the room. She blinked to focus her eyes, trying to figure out what had waked her up, and saw Clark sitting on the edge of the bed, yanking his clothes on.
She vaguely remembered taking the rest of his clothing off sometime during the night. She'd slept curled up next to him, basking in the radiant warmth of his big body. A girl really didn't need blankets when she had a naked Kryptonian around.
She blinked sleepily, watching the muscles in his back ripple as he moved. It was a good view. A view a girl could grow to appreciate. She pushed that thought away impatiently. This wasn't going to happen again, damn it.
"Hey," she said. She was still sleepy, and her voice sounded lower and more sultry than she'd intended. "Going so soon?"
He froze, then slowly turned his head to look at her over his shoulder. "I have a lot of chores that need doing," he said, his tone very carefully neutral.
She supposed that was true. Farmers got up early, and she knew Clark was usually up before sunrise. So he'd actually slept in today. She glanced at the reddish light sifting in through the blinds, and cringed at the thought. It was way, way too early for civilized people to be awake.
"I'm sorry." He turned away and continued yanking clothes on. "I didn't mean to wake you up. It's early. Go back to sleep."
"Clark..." She sighed. "Is this going to make things weird between us?"
"No." He sounded almost angry. "I told you up front, I'm in love with Lana."
"I know. And I'm dating Jimmy. He means a lot to me." She smiled a little wryly at her own words, reflecting that if Jimmy really meant all that much to her, she probably wouldn't be lying here watching Clark pull his clothes on.
But no, that wasn't true. She and Jimmy had been dating for months, and she was genuinely fond of him. He just didn't make her come so hard she screamed loud enough for all of downtown Smallville to hear her.
But great orgasms weren't a prerequisite for a relationship, not even a sexual one. And Jimmy was a terrific guy.
"I just..." He bowed his head and stared at his workboots. "I don't want you to think I don't love you, Chlo. Because I do. But it's not..."
"It's not the same thing." She spoke softly. "Yeah, I know. I get it, Clark. Don't worry."
She saw his fist clench. "I shouldn't have come over here last night. I just complicated things."
"No," she said gently. "Actually, I think things seem a little simpler this morning."
"I don't know about that." He spoke to the hardwood floor. "I love you, Chlo. I really do. But I still have these feelings for Lana..."
She remembered her thoughts from last night. Making love to Jimmy was warm and comfortable and sweet, but making love to Clark was totally overwhelming. And yet Jimmy was important to her, too. Her emotions were a confused snarl, and as she tugged on them, trying to unknot them, they just got more and more tangled, until her chest ached with the tension.
"I understand," she said softly. "I have feelings for Jimmy, too."
His shoulders stiffened, just a bit, and she wondered if she saw defensiveness in his posture. She added, "But I'm not sorry we did it, Clark."
He relaxed fractionally, and glanced at her over his shoulder, almost shyly. "Me neither." He paused for a moment. "I was really freaking out over what I went through, Chlo. The idea of losing you..."
She met his eyes. "I understand how you feel. I don't think I could face losing you, either. But you know, it was just a dream, Clark. I know it felt real to you... but it was just a dream."
He lowered his gaze back to his workboots. "The thing is, I kind of feel like I'm losing you already. In real life, I mean."
He was silent, and she reached out and put a hand on the strong muscles of his back. "We'll always be friends, Clark. But I think maybe we're starting to grow apart a little."
"I hate that," he said, his voice barely above a whisper.
"Me too. And I guess maybe that's what last night was about. We're trying to hang on to each other. But I'm honestly not sure we can."
His voice grew even quieter. "Last night was great."
"Yeah, it was. But sex isn't enough to build a relationship on. Even friendship isn't. There has to be something else there, and I'm not sure there is. And besides... we both already have feelings for other people."
"I've had feelings for you from the beginning," he said softly. "Since the day we met, I've had feelings for you. I've just tried to ignore them."
"Yeah, me too." She sighed, thinking of the years she'd spent pining for him, before she'd settled for Jimmy. "But we had plenty of time to develop our relationship, Clark. And we didn't. We could have, but we didn't. Maybe there was a reason for that."
"Still..." He looked over his shoulder, meeting her gaze again. "Things change. People change."
She opened her eyes wider and looked at him curiously. "What are you trying to say to me, Clark?"
"Uh..." He stared at her for a long moment. At last he stood up and turned around, still looking at her. "Never mind, Chlo. I have chores to get done."
"Clark..." She sat up. She was totally naked, and her breasts bounced with the movement. She heard his quick intake of breath, saw the sudden flash of heat in his eyes. "Look, Clark, you're the one who told me you were in love with Lana. That you weren't into me that way."
"Well..." The corners of his mouth tipped up in a wry smile. "The truth is, I was a little more into you last night than I expected to be."
She couldn't help the answering smile that curved her lips, but she spoke very seriously. "I meant for it to just be sex, Clark. I really did."
"Me too." His eyes were solemn. "But it wasn't. Was it?"
She remembered the sensation of their bodies locked together. She remembered his voice, deep and rough with emotion: You mean so much to me... don't ever leave me. And her whispered response: I don't ever want to leave you.
It hadn't been just sex, no matter how much they pretended it was.
She shook her head. "No," she admitted. "It wasn't."
"Chloe..." He closed his eyes, looking torn. "What are we going to do about this?"
"I don't know." She lowered her head, studying the floral pattern of the sheets. "I'm comfortable with Jimmy, Clark."
"And I guess in a weird way, I'm comfortable with being in love with Lana," he answered. "I've been in love with her for years, and being in love with her feels normal. But maybe... I don't know, Chlo. Maybe just being comfortable isn't quite enough."
His words struck a chord in her mind. She thought about Jimmy, imagining him smiling at her the way he always did, his eyes crinkled, all his teeth showing in a huge, warm grin. Comfortable was definitely the word that described her relationship with Jimmy. She'd enjoyed their relationship, but if she was going to be totally honest with herself, she wasn't sure warmth was all she was looking for. It had been pleasant enough for a short-term relationship, but she wasn't sure it was what she wanted for the rest of her life. She remembered making love to Clark, how damned hot it had been, and a shiver ran through her.
Jimmy was warmth and comfort and sweetness. Clark was fire and sparks and lightning.
She knew that if all she felt for Clark was physical, then that wouldn't be enough for her, either. But it wasn't just that he was sexy-- although yeah, he was damn sexy. She relied on Clark, turned to Clark whenever she had a problem, talked to him every day. In fact, she talked to him more often than she talked to Jimmy.
Damn it. Damn it. She'd been avoiding the truth for a long time, but as the morning light grew stronger, she couldn't avoid it any more. The confusing knot of emotions in her chest unraveled and fell apart, leaving her with a clear understanding of her feelings.
Jimmy just wasn't what she wanted, at least not forever. As nice as he was, as appreciative and supportive as he was, as warm as their relationship was... it just wasn't quite enough. And now she finally knew why. Because what she really wanted was Clark.
Looking up, she saw a reflection of the same understanding dawning in his eyes. Her mouth curved in a slow smile.
"Do you think the chores could wait for a little while?"
He blinked at the question, then an answering grin quirked his mouth. "I guess maybe the cows could wait ten minutes or so."
"Ten minutes?" She rolled her eyes. "You have got to be kidding me."
"Fifteen?" He sat down on the edge of the bed and gave her his big-eyed, hopeful gaze. She sighed, knowing she'd take whatever he offered and be happy about it. She was weak. Very weak.
But then again, so was he, apparently.
She tried to sound like she was driving a tough bargain. "Make it twenty, and we've got a deal."
"Okay." He smiled into her eyes, then bent forward and brushed a kiss over her throat. She turned her head and let her tongue slide over his earlobe, and he shuddered.
"Ahhhhh, Chlo. Don't do that. Not yet."
"Why not? Don't you like it?"
She did it again, and his whole body trembled. "I thought you wanted twenty minutes. You're going to get about twenty seconds if you do that."
She nibbled at the soft, vulnerable flesh of his earlobe, and he gasped, then turned his head and caught her lips with his. All of a sudden he was kissing her hard. She sighed and pulled him down on top of her, their bodies moving together. Because kissing him, hot though it was, wasn't quite enough.
His hips rolled against hers, hard, and she found herself stripping his clothes off again. She knew nothing was really settled between them, that he'd probably go back into mope mode later, and she'd find him holed up in his loft tonight, worrying about what they'd done, worrying about what was going to happen to their friendship. Maybe even worrying about Lana.
But right now, she just didn't care. Because she wanted him, badly. And not just physically, but with a soul-deep need she'd never felt for anyone else, no matter how much she'd tried. And Clark wanted her too, judging from the eager sounds he made as he pressed into her body.
It was too soon to worry about exactly what was going to happen between them, or where their relationship was going to go. And right now, she thought hazily, it didn't seem to matter all that much. Because Clark was making love to her again.
And for now, that was more than enough.