Clark, Lois, Chloe, Jimmy
Season 8, "Bride"
Disclaimer: These characters belong to the CW and DC Comics, not to me.
Screencaps from Dynamic Duo and KEakaCK.
Their dance was over.
Clark Kent stood aside and let Jimmy Olsen claim Chloe, let him take her into his arms and start dancing. He stood there, all alone despite the crowd, and tried to look like he was happy to watch the happy couple dance.
He should be happy. After all, Chloe was happy, and that was all that should matter to him. Over and over again, he'd assured himself that her happiness was all that mattered.
But it just wasn't that easy to put his own feelings away.
He remembered dancing with Chloe, long, long ago, at their freshman spring formal. He remembered the way she'd smiled at him, happy and bright and carefree. She'd obviously had a crush on him, but that was okay, because he'd had a crush on her too.
Things had been simpler then. They'd danced to "Perfect Memory," and she'd leaned her head against his shoulder, and he'd pressed his cheek against her hair. And then they'd looked into each other's eyes, and he'd bent to kiss her.
They'd been interrupted before his lips could brush hers. He'd wound up getting involved with Lana Lang rather than Chloe, but over the years, he'd wondered what would have happened if his lips had actually touched Chloe's, wondered what might have changed. He'd wondered if they'd have become a couple.
If he'd kissed her that night, it might be the two of them together now, dancing together as newlyweds.
But he couldn't think that way. It was too late to be thinking of Chloe like that. She was married to another guy, and she looked just as happy and carefree as she had back in their freshman year.
And that was entirely his doing, because he'd stripped her memories of his secret away. She'd told him on the dance floor that she felt like a weight had been lifted off her shoulders, although she didn't know why.
He knew why. And he still wasn't sure it had been the right thing to do. But she was happy. And that was what he'd wanted for her. That was all he'd ever wanted, for Chloe to be happy.
He just wished he didn't feel like someone had dropped a kryptonite boulder on his heart.
It dawned on him that he was staring at Jimmy and Chloe dancing, and that he wasn't smiling as he watched. He had a feeling he looked like exactly what he was, a guy who was in love with a woman he couldn't have. He didn't want anyone to realize he was carrying an Olympic-sized torch for Chloe Sullivan.
Embarrassed, he turned his head to the side, and found Lois Lane watching him.
Lois was Chloe's cousin and his coworker. He liked her okay, although she had a big mouth and she frequently annoyed him, but lately he'd gotten the impression that she kind of, well, liked him. The way she looked at him, some of the things she said, were a little too overt for even him to miss. He might be dumb when it came to women, but Lois was totally lacking in subtlety, and always had been.
He gazed back at her with a flicker of interest, because she was a very pretty woman. She wore an orange satin bridesmaid dress that clung to all her curves, and her dark hair fell in waves down her back.
And besides, she was looking back at him in a way that said she was definitely interested.
Chloe didn't look at him that way. Not anymore. Of course she didn't. She'd been dating Jimmy for two years, after all. From her point of view, Clark was old news. He was her friend, nothing more.
And yet he couldn't help remembering the way she'd looked at him on the dance floor, all those years ago. There had been a time when they'd been more than friends.
He'd always thought that one day, they might be more than friends again.
Lois broke eye contact and looked down, as if she'd suddenly realized she was staring, and felt awkward about it. "I guess I can give these well-heeled puppies a rest," she said, a little too brightly, and headed past him.
It occurred to him that he was standing here alone, looking pathetic and lonely, a guy who couldn't even get a date to a wedding. A guy who was clearly carrying a torch for the bride and who kept staring at her, despite his best efforts.
He badly needed something to distract himself from Chloe.
He reached out and caught Lois' wrist as she walked past. She turned her head and blinked at him, surprised. Not bothering to say anything-- because conversations between him and Lois tended to end in unpleasantness-- he drew her into his arms, keeping a respectful distance between them, and started dancing.
Lois was tall, and felt a little awkward in his arms. With a pang, he remembered dancing with Chloe a few minutes ago. She fit into his arms perfectly. She always had.
He wished it had been the two of them, dancing at their own wedding. He wished they'd begun dating at the spring formal, all those years ago, and never stopped.
He remembered Chloe pinning a little white rose onto his lapel that afternoon. Today he'd carefully removed it from his yearbook, where it had been pressed between the pages all these years, and given it to her to place into her bouquet.
One little piece of their history together had walked down the aisle with her to her new life with another guy. He'd walked down the aisle with her too, and given her away.
God, why had he done that? Why had he let her go?
He glanced to the side, seeing Jimmy and Chloe dancing together, smiling into each other's eyes, and loneliness and sorrow washed over him in a flood.
He was all alone. His girlfriend Lana had dumped him six months ago and left town. And now Chloe was married.
He didn't have anyone.
But there was a woman in his arms, and she was looking up at him like she wouldn't mind helping him forget his loneliness for a while.
And yet, as pretty as Lois was, he couldn't stop himself from glancing at Chloe again.
Just then, someone bumped into Lois, and she fell against his chest. He looked down at her, momentarily distracted from his unhappiness. Lois felt nice and soft and warm. She felt... female.
He hesitated, and she looked up at him, then put her hand on his chest in an unmistakable invitation.
He didn't have to be all alone tonight, he thought.
The fact that he didn't feel much for Lois beyond a vague sort of friendship didn't really matter all that much. She was a girl, and he was a guy, and other guys did that sort of thing all the time. Why shouldn't he take what was so clearly being offered?
She tilted her head up, waiting for him to kiss her.
His mind flashed back over the years, to the night when he'd bent to kiss Chloe. She'd looked up at him with something approaching adoration, and he knew his own eyes had been filled with a similar expression. Chloe had always meant so much to him. Even back then, when they'd only known each other a little over a year, she'd been one of the most important people in his life.
Whether he thought of her as a friend, or as something more, there had never been the slightest doubt in his mind that he loved her.
Lois wasn't that important to him. But she did fill out the orange gown very nicely.
Pig, he thought in self-reproach, mildly disgusted with the direction of his own thoughts. Lois might not be a close friend, but she didn't deserve to be used that way, especially not when her expression made it clear that she was looking for more than a one-night stand. She didn't deserve a guy who macked on her while thinking about another woman.
But if he didn't kiss Lois, he was going to stand here staring at Chloe and being pathetic.
Kissing a pretty girl in a tight dress would make him feel better. And right now, that was all he wanted-- to feel better. To forget Chloe, if only for a moment. To forget that she'd chosen another man, that she was married to Jimmy Olsen, and that as long as he lived, he'd never have her. To forget that she no longer even really remembered everything they'd meant to each other.
To forget the memory of her in his arms on a balloon-covered dance floor, smiling up at him as if he was the most important person in her life.
He thought bitterly that he should have had Jor-El remove his memories of Chloe, so he didn't have to think about her constantly. Right now he'd give anything to forget, to erase the memory of Chloe smiling up at him as "Perfect Memory" played, to forget all the times she'd kissed him, all the times they'd almost kissed. Right now he would have given just about anything for a quick dip in the River Lethe.
But he couldn't forget. The best he could do was push his memories aside for a little while, and focus on another woman.
He tightened his grip on Lois, and bent to kiss her.