Title: Doll Parts
Disclaimer: All Smallville folk belong to their respected copyright holders. Rating: PG
Summary: Thoughts of the Past
Note: I don't know Chloe's mom's name. So I kind of took a liberty with it.
The false emerald green eyes stared their blank vacant stare into her own as she absently held the doll in her hands. Its smooth glass face smiling its fake porcelain smile to her own real flesh toned frown. She wonders again for the hundredth time why she hasn't thrown it away. She had no use for it anymore. It hadn't held the beautiful appeal it once had in some time. Still, everytime she stood over the fire, or the river, or even a simple garbage can; she couldn't force herself to let it go. Her hands always seemed to hold firm.
The fine blonde hair feels so soft as it cascades against the back of her hand. Its sun yellow brilliance corrupted only by a small blackened burned mark on the right side. She remembers how the burn happened. How most things happened to toys when one was so young. An accident. She remembers smiling so wide it felt like her face would split in two when her mother placed the cake in front of her. The eight red candles glowing with the promise of another year aged. She put her hands to her mouth to keep from squealing and down the doll went. Into the white frosting bed of the cake, a single candle's orange flame catching the hair briefly, enough to cause it to curl black and smoke.
She remembers her tears at being so careless with her prized possession. She remembers thinking that it was ruined. She remembers running from the room, away from her mother's calls, away from her father's shouts, away from her cousin's laughter. She ran to her room, covered wall to wall in dolls whose quality would never reach the same amount as the one she thought destroyed. She grabbed her only other source of solace. A small stuffed penguin she called "Scruffy."
She no longer had Scruffy in her possession.
One memento she'd had the will to rid herself of.
She remembers curling up on her bed and crying at the thought of ruining her own birthday party.
She remembers her mother's soothing voice calling to her from the doorway. She remembers the weight of her mother causing her bed to sink just the slightest bit. She remembers the guarantee that the party hadn't been ruined. That the doll was still intact. She remembers her mother handing her the doll. The soothing voice saying "See? It's fine. Just a little burn mark. Nothing major."
She remembers hugging her mother. Remembers apologizing for hurting the doll. She remembers the soothing voice telling her it was all right. Everything was going to be all right.
She closes her eyes to fight off the wave of memories now flooding through her mind, but snaps them open when she finds that they only intensify. Looking around her room she asks herself again why she doesn't just throw it away. It had no place here. No place among the computer and paper cluttered desk. The poster covered walls. No place among the shelves of books she buried herself in. No place among the possessions of a girl who thought she'd grown past it.
She remembers returning back into the kitchen to properly blow out her candles. She remembers leaving the doll in her room to avoid any further mishaps. She remembers her family's reassuring smiles. She remembers her cousin's cheering when the cake was finally cut. She remembers her mother's smile. Her knowing, loving smile.
She remembers the fact that it was the last party her mother would ever give her.
She tries her best to ignore the doll's voice. The one telling her that it was all right to relive the past at times. That it never really hurt anyone. She tries her best not to throw the doll across the room. What does it know? It only stood there when her life spiraled down into the cold black place she never wanted to visit again. It only smiled its simple smile while she cried and cried and cried.
Her mother was the most remarkable woman she'd ever known.
One "hot shot" reporter for the Daily Planet, her father always told her.
Her mother always accused him of exaggerating. But she had all those shiny awards in her office to prove her father right. It's no big surprise when a little girl wants to grow up to be exactly like her mother. Everyone always smiles and thinks it "adorable." Her grandmother especially.
No one ever knew how seriously she took it.
Oh sure, they know now. But then? Not a clue.
While the other girls her age were still watching Sesame Street and drawing on the sidewalk in chalk and riding their bikes. She was in her room with her mother's various articles spread out before her creating a new carpet of paper and newsprint. She studied her mother's style. Her use of words. She was always a well-read child. It ran in the family. She used the dictionary to help her with the really big words, but she got through everything like a child far beyond her years.
She remembers practicing word play and prose. She remembers interrogating her father with a barrage of questions.
"Practicing to be a real reporter like mom?" He'd always say.
And she would nod her head, and let him think it was cute. Little did he know about the tell-all expose she wrote about him after every questioning. How unaware he was of all the conversations she listened to. The bits and pieces of information overheard from a hiding spot, or eavesdropping on the phone. All the reporting she thought she was doing.
She remembers her mother's ambition.
That strong will to succeed no matter what it could cost her, or how much work it would take.
She remembers staying up for hours past her bedtime waiting for her to come home after being who knows where, talking to who knows who about who knows what. Just to get the latest scoop. She remembers her mother's greatest prize. Something called a "Pulitzer." A word her father had to show her in the dictionary. An award given to someone of the highest esteem in the world of journalism. The definition also said that it covered many other aspects of the written word, but none of them mattered to her. She only wanted to know that it meant her mother was the best. And from that day forth her obsession grew even more intensely.
She doesn't remember too much about the night when her mother had won it. She isn't sure if she'd purposely blocked it out or just naturally forgot. She remembers her grandmother babysitting and outlasting her in staying up and waiting for her parents to get home. From that point on is a complete blank. She thinks her mother wore a red dress. She thinks she was the most beautiful she'd ever seen her. She thinks her mother had let her hold the trophy. She doesn't know if these facts are sound. She's not entirely sure she wants to.
She feels a tear slip down her cheek before she has the chance to stop it. It slides down to her chin and she can feel every single centimeter as it leaves a small trail of moisture in its wake. It falls onto the doll's face. She lifts her arm again to throw it across the room and away from her, but once more feels like she can't. She puts her arm back down and looks at the doll, the tear still wet upon its crimson lips. It serves as a small reminder that the memories aren't going to stop like she wants them too.
She remembers her mother's approving smile at all her high marks in spelling and reading at school. She remembers her mother's laugh when she told her that she had finally beaten out Sandy Thomas as best speller in Mrs. Coleman's second grade class. She remembers telling her mother that she was going to be a world famous reporter.
She remembers her mother telling her she could be anything she wanted to be.
More tears begin to fall and this time she makes no effort to stop them. It would a futile battle. One she knows she doesn't have the energy for.
She remembers her mother's ambition falling into a multitude of clicks and beeping sounds from hospital machinery. Of tubes and needles that never seemed to make her get any better. She remembers losing her faith in doctors. Seeing first hand that not everything could be cured with a stethoscope and a lollipop. She remembers never wanting to get sick again. She remembers never being in a hospital since that day. At least until this year.
Cancer was not a picky disease.
It took whomever it wanted. For whatever reason.
Healthy or unhealthy.
Smoking or nonsmoking.
Deserving or undeserving.
She remembers thinking that it was all just some terrible mistake. That one of the doctors had dropped their own doll on their own birthday cake. She remembers when she realized that it wasn't a mistake. She remembers not sleeping for days after that.
She would always curse cancer for choosing her mother.
She always thought it was strange that her mother didn't.
She wishes she could throw this doll in the fire. She wishes she could watch, as the flames would devour its hair, finishing what the candle started so long ago. She's still only realizing that she can't.
She remembers finally having to say good bye to her mother.
She remembers promising her that she would be a world famous reporter.
She remembers her mother telling her to do what ever made her happy. And that she would be proud no matter what.
She remembers her father finally taking her out of the room despite her thunderous protest.
She doesn't remember anything after that.
She knew her family was afraid to tell her that she reminded them so much of her mother. She knew that they thought it would upset her. They all assumed that with her mother gone the reporter dream would finally fade away and she would start behaving like a normal girl her age.
She remembers learning the word naive and knowing her family was exactly that.
Her ambition would never fade. No matter how much someone else wished it for her sake.
There's a small tapping at the door and she immediately shoves the doll under her blanket and turns away from her vistior.
"Sweetie?" Irene's voice asks. "Is everything okay?"
"Fine," she rushes to say. "I'm just uh... finishing up some notes."
"Do want to go into town with me? I have a few errands to run but we could get some ice cream or something."
"No thanks," she says. "I have some more work to."
"Are you sure?"
The door closes without another word and she waits until she hears the sounds of footsteps moving down the stairs. She lets out the breath she hadn't realized she was holding and takes the doll out from under the blanket.
She remembers her father telling her he was getting married again. She remembers him telling her that they were moving. She remembers meeting Irene for the first time. She remembers calling her mom because it made her dad happy.
She remembers thinking that Smallville wasn't just a name when they finally arrived. It was so much smaller than Metropolis. In size, in population, in everything. She remembers being unhappy because her father could no longer live the old house with his new wife.
She remembers her father's talk. How he sat her down and told her that they weren't running from anything. That this was a new start. For him and her. He told her that it would be easier to make new friends if she would smile more, or at least be more outgoing. She remembers promising her father that she would try.
She remembers being shy before her mother died. Just barely.
She remembers creating a slightly hyperactive, somewhat perky, and completely outgoing personality. She remembers trying it out on her first day at Smallville Elementary and the positive results that came with it. She remembers letting it overtake her.
She remembers never looking back.
The doll still remains flawless in her hand. Years of being hidden in the bottoms of drawers and in the back of closets had done nothing to make its beauty fade. She wants it to burn, or drown, or rot. Because its only purpose is to remind her of a life that was taken away. One she could never go back to. One that only seemed to exist when she couldn't help it.
Her eyes sting now. The tears taking no mercy on her. She lets them come. She hopes they'll wash it all away.
She knows they won't.
She remembers meeting Clark. Remembers his kindness. She remembers thinking her mother would like him. She remembers that he was her first real friend. She thinks for second, only a second, that she could tell him about her mother. And then it fades away. Because she knows if she could ever find the courage to share it all with him, she probably couldn't think of a thing to say.
Suddenly her father yells from downstairs that Clark is here.
She curses something under her breath about timing, shoves the doll under her blanket again and runs for her bathroom. She turns on the water, ignoring her tear stained reflection and begins to wash away the memories. She hears Clark knock on her door and call her name.
"Just a minute," she yells.
"Pete and I were just heading to the Beanery;" he calls through the door. "We just stopped by to see if you wanted to come."
"Sure," he calls back, her voice showing no trace of the emotions only seconds before threatened to overcome her. She continues to cup her hands under the faucet, the water cleansing everything.
Clark moves to sit down on her bed absent-mindedly looking around the room. His eyes fall on the frayed ends of fake nylon hair peeking out from under the blanket. Curiosity wants him to pull back the cloth to see what it could be, but his manners prevent him from doing so.
"Hey Chloe," he says. "What's this under the blanket? A doll?"
"No," she says as she comes out of the bathroom. Her face now fresh and devoid of any sign of tears. "I don't play with dolls."