Lois, Clark, Chloe, Jimmy
Disclaimer: These characters belong to the CW and DC Comics, not to me.
It was a chilly October evening, and the farm was dark and quiet when I pulled up, except for light spilling from the back of the house. I glanced at the barn, where Clark always used to hang out, but the loft was dark. I headed for the old house, and walked right into the kitchen, as I always did.
"Yaaaaaaahhhh!" Clark had been sitting at the table, engrossed in reading something, and he jumped to his feet, looking shocked and wide-eyed. Obviously I'd startled the hell out of him.
Which was weird, because usually the man had hearing better than a dog's. He was always cocking his head and saying, "Do you hear those sirens?" five minutes before anyone else at the Planet could hear them. But tonight he'd obviously been totally focused on whatever he was looking at.
He stood there, staring at me, looking as horrified as if I'd caught him... well, let's not go there. I closed the door behind me and walked over to the table.
He'd been flipping through an old yearbook from his senior year. And I wasn't surprised to see it was open to Chloe's picture. She sat at a mockup of the Torch's front page, smiling over her shoulder, and beneath the picture were the words, MOST LIKELY TO SUCCEED.
A little spasm of pain squeezed my heart. Poor Clark.
But I wasn't here to give him sympathy. Hell, no. I was here to talk some sense into him.
I slammed the book shut, then turned around and looked at him.
"Smallville," I said, "this is getting pathetic."
He lowered his eyes, looking abashed. "Yeah," he said, very softly. "It is, isn't it?"
"She's getting married, you big dweeb. She loves another man, okay? It's time to admit you've lost her and move on."
"But I can't..." He shuffled his feet. Away from the Planet and in the familiar environs of his farm, I noticed, he went back to wearing flannel shirts, jeans, and workboots. And the size of those workboots-- God. If he ever needed some additional cash, he could easily rent the things out as condos.
Anyway, there was a look in his eyes that totally tore at my heart. I knew how he felt. I really did. Like I said before, there was a guy I'd felt that way about, too. And maybe I still did, deep down. But I couldn't have him. I just couldn't.
"Chloe loves Jimmy," I said, shoving in the metaphorical knife as deep as I could.
He winced, like I'd hit an artery. "The problem is," he said, very slowly, "is that I'm not sure how much of that is Chloe."
I frowned. "Say what?"
"Uh..." He hesitated a long moment, then blurted it out. "She's kind of, well, sharing brain space right now."
"What?" I glared at him. "There's something wrong with my cousin... and you didn't tell me about it?"
"I couldn't." He held out his hands in supplication, as if begging me not to tear him limb from limb. "What's inside her, Lois... well, it's dangerous. Not just sort of dangerous, but destroy-the-planet dangerous. Anyone who knows about it is in really big danger."
I frowned at him as pieces suddenly fell together in my mind. "This has to do with whatever was wrong with Lana and Chloe in the spring, doesn't it?"
"Seriously, Lois, I can't tell you everything. I can't tell you much of anything. The less you know, the better."
"Forget about me!" I snapped. "My cousin is in danger. And she's not even in control of her own mind? Are you telling me you were going to let her go through with this wedding when it isn't even her at the wheel?"
"I wasn't sure what to do." He looked miserable. "I've been trying like crazy to figure it out. I didn't want to let Br-- the brain-snatching thing know I realized how badly she was infected. I don't know what to do, Lois."
"We can't let her go through with this wedding, Smallville."
He shook his head, looking helpless. "But if we let it know we're onto it... it might kill her."
I froze. When he put it that way, I understood his paralysis. I supposed it would be better to let Chloe go through with marrying a guy she didn't love than for her to be killed.
But either way, it was a horrible dilemma. No wonder he'd been thinking about her so much.
Well, that and the fact that he was madly in love with her.
"You love her," I said softly. "Don't you?"
"Yeah." He lowered his head even further, and swallowed. "And I'm sorry, Lois. I've gotten the impression lately that you kind of, uh, like me, but the thing is..."
"Please." I rolled my eyes. "I've just been trying to get you to quit following Chloe around as a favor to Jimmy."
He lifted his head suddenly and blinked. The guy had such long eyelashes, I swear they created a breeze. He really was a nice-looking guy... if you could look past the big honking mole, anyway.
I grinned. "Come on, Smallville, you didn't really think I'd fallen for you after all this time?"
"Uh... well, now that you mention it, it did kind of come out of nowhere..."
I waved a casual hand. "Yeah, I'm not much of an actress. I guess I overdid it a bit. But see, the thing is, I thought Chloe really loved Jimmy, and Jimmy has this crazy fear that you're going to abduct Chloe and run away with her, or something. So I figured maybe if I could, well, distract you..."
He nodded seriously, as if he understood completely. "If I weren't already in love," he assured me politely, "I'd find you very distracting."
"Yeah, right. You never even noticed me flirting with you."
"Please. I'm a guy. Of course I noticed. You've been throwing yourself at me for the past month. Sucking on pencils. Parading around in skimpy tops. Rubbing up against me in the copy room. All performed with your usual total lack of subtlety. How dense do you think I am?"
"Uh... pretty damn dense."
He chuckled, a soft, wry sound. "I may be dumb, but I'm not completely moronic. I noticed. And... I was flattered."
"Yeah, well, I was never really interested in you that way. It was all because of Jimmy..." I thought about that for a minute, then shrugged. "Well, a little of it might have been me. I mean... you're not bad looking, really."
"Thanks so much."
"I mean, you're kind of big. You could probably use to cut back on the Hershey's bars..."
"Thanks. Really, I mean it."
"And you'd be improved with a decent haircut..."
"You can stop any time now."
"And you know, a little Clearisil might help with that thing on your cheek..."
"Lois. Shut up."
I shut up, not out of tact (which got left out of my genetic makeup, probably because there was no room left after God bestowed all the hotness on me) but because I realized I was babbling due to the stress of discovering something was seriously wrong with Chloe. "So what are we going to do about my cuz, Smallville?"
He sighed, and the brief flicker of humor left his eyes, leaving them as serious as ever.
"I have absolutely no idea," he responded.
Read Chapter 5 here.