by zahra

She thinks if she has to try on one more damn dress with taffeta she's going to scream. No more chiffon or nasty satin or elbow-length gloves. Maybe less really is more and black isn't the way to go at all. Perhaps organza with sequins and gold trim is a bit too much; and maybe she needs something less Chloe and more Lana. More girlie.

More pink. Ick.

And to think, she actually likes shopping sometimes. But this is different. This isn't shopping, this is a mission; and Chloe refuses to miss her mark today. Today, she has plans. A plan, a specific goal, and she can tell by the looks her mother is giving her that it's showing. That she doesn't think Chloe is enjoying the process.

Well, screw the process.

This isn't about enjoyment - this is about the mission. This about going to the prom with Clark.

Not that Chloe doesn't believe in retail therapy but that's not the point today. Today is different. Chloe would think that her mother, of all people, would understand this. Understand the importance of the perfect dress. Especially considering how the ex-Mrs. Sullivan thinks shopping is the cure-all for everything that can possibly ail her teenage daughter. Chloe even has the wardrobe to prove it: Wiccan dresses and feather earrings, leather boots and Indian-print muumuus. Satin shirts, furry coats, hemp tees and sometimes Chloe isn't sure exactly who her mother is buying for: Chloe, or some commune daughter of the earth that she had in another life.

Not that Chloe is complaining. She can't think of anyone else with a wardrobe as expansive as hers - except for Lex Luthor - and it's just a matter of keeping the right clothing in the right place. Something about floral skirts and magenta tops in Smallville and New Balance sneakers and Diesel jeans in Metropolis.

Something about a necessary division of her life. Of her lives. Of who she is when she's in a certain place. Of who she is to certain people, and Chloe doesn't like pigeon-holing, but sometimes it's necessary.

Sometimes things just don't mesh together.

Just another reason for the split between her parents, and Chloe has to hand it to them because at least they tried; and she is certainly better adjusted that most kids she knows. Most kids who's parents do still live together, and Chloe will staunchly support the single-parent family until the day she croaks. But all the same, she thinks it sucks that her parents couldn't work it out. That Chloe's mother is still living in the 60's while her dad is firmly in the 50's. Father Knows Best meets Janis Joplin.

But she knows they were happy once upon a time; she's seen the photographs.

Not that Chloe is still angry, or mired in bitterness. But sometimes she thinks that it really blows how her dad used his promotion to Smallville as a way out. How they all know he did, no matter what they told her at the time. That the move would be temporary, that her mother would be coming in a few days, weeks, months.


Chloe's not stupid, not blind either, and she can see that when her mother takes her on these insane shopping expeditions that this retail therapy is trying to alleviate something her mother feels. Some enormous onus.

Guilt always seems to add an extra twenty pounds around the shoulders.

It always seems to add extra lines around her mother's eyes when Chloe comes to visit, and it makes it harder on Chloe. It makes her want to visit less, makes her want to U-turn on Route 90 and go right back to Smallville. Back to the one who won her, the one who loves her the most. Her father.

Not that she thinks her mother doesn't love her, but sometimes she questions whether she loves her enough. If that's what all the clothes are for. If they're indeed a way for her mother to try and buy her affection. An on-going apology for something. Something more crude in that her mother only thinks she's as good as the clothes she wears.

But those thoughts are fleeting and vague, and Chloe doesn't entertain them often. At least not anymore, not as much as she did in the beginning. And there's no place for them here and now. Not when she's been looking forward to this weekend so much. When there's so much riding on this selection.

This choice.

No place for her parents' guilt on her shoulders when she's trying to free herself. When it's hard enough to find the right one. When she's plotting out lines and strategies, and trying to figure out how to get Clark to take her to the prom.

How to get Clark's attention at all.

How to drag him away from Lana in mini-skirts and Lex Luthor in thousand-dollar suits. The sort of competition that makes Chloe think the answer lies in the clothes. In what she wears and how she wears it. It certainly seems to work for everyone else.


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