The morning of his wedding, Lex woke before his alarm and rolled over automatically, reaching for the warm body next to his. Only his arm landed on cool cotton instead of silky warm skin and he blinked before remembering. "It's tradition, Lex," Chloe had said, kissing him the day before. "You can't see me until the ceremony."
Damn tradition. He didn't want to wake up alone. He wanted to wake up with his arms around one Chloe Sullivan. She was adorable in her sleep; she liked to curl up under the covers and if he stroked her back she made a noise remarkably similar to a purr and burrowed into him as close as she could get. And waking her up in the mornings was always fun; if he kissed the back of her neck she woke up and squeaked at him.
Well, at least this would be the last morning he'd wake up alone. At that realization, Lex was suddenly glad Chloe wasn't there to see the idiotic grin on his face.
As he showered and pretended to eat breakfast, he convinced himself he wasn't nervous. It worked well until his father joined him in the breakfast room, immaculately attired in his tux. "So, the big day's here," Lionel said, pouring himself some orange juice. "Looking forward to it?"
"I'm looking forward to it being over," Lex said.
"It's not too late to change your mind, Lex." Lionel sipped his juice.
"For the last time, Dad--Chloe and I are getting married. Think what you want, but this is our wedding day and I'd appreciate it if you didn't snipe at me."
To his surprise, his father nodded. "You're right. And for the record, I still think you're making a mistake, but--" he paused for a moment. "--perhaps no more so than I did with your mother."
Lex raised his eyebrows in surprise. "Thanks, Dad," he said casually. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go get dressed." He rose and went back to his room, putting on his tux with the ease of long practice. He was just fastening his cufflinks--emerald, to match Chloe's engagement ring and the earrings he'd given her--when Clark arrived to take him to the church.
"I'll see you there," Lionel said as they left.
Lex just nodded and got into the car. Both Chloe and Clark had insisted he wasn't allowed to drive himself; he'd argued at the time but was now rather glad they'd insisted.
"Nervous?" Clark asked once they were on their way.
"No. Why would I be nervous? I'm only getting married."
Clark just grinned. "Lana's off with Chloe--last I saw they were off to get Chloe's hair done at like seven or something."
"Oh, she must have loved that," Lex said wryly.
"I had to help drag her to the car," Clark admitted. "I think she was still asleep."
"Tickle the back of her neck, it wakes her up instantly," Lex said absently.
"I don't think she would have appreciated it from me," Clark pointed out.
"Neither would I, actually."
They reached the church and got out, going inside to find Gabe and Pete waiting for them. Gabe looked alternately about to cry and bursting with pride; Pete just looked uncomfortable. "The women aren't here yet," Pete said, adjusting his tie absently. "And the photographer wants to take as many pictures as he can before they get here and Lex has to hide."
"I hate this tradition," Lex grumbled.
"Just don't fall down when you see her," Clark advised.
Lex rubbed a hand over his head and glared at Clark. "I think I can manage that."
An hour later, he wasn't so sure. They'd been just about done with the pictures when the female half of the wedding had shown up and he'd had to make a retreat to the small anteroom off the sanctuary. He hadn't even gotten a glimpse of Chloe before the door shut. And now he was standing and not pacing, waiting for the ceremony to begin.
He hated tradition.
"Lex, if you adjust your tie any more you'll kill it," Clark pointed out, looking utterly too relaxed.
"It's a tie, Clark." But he dropped his hands.
"I still can't quite believe you and Chloe--well." Clark hesitated for a moment. "Look, Lex--I'm sorry about what I said. I just had a hard time seeing you two together at first. But it's obvious that she adores you, and you're completely in love with her. So--I want the two of you to be happy."
He froze at Clark's words. He'd never told Chloe he loved her--when she was awake. How could she possibly adore him?
As he was still worrying over that, the minister opened the door. "We're ready," he said calmly.
Lex honestly didn't notice the procession. It was a blur of satin and lace and flowers to him; he stood up front with his hands clasped behind his back and was irrationally glad for Clark's tall support at his back.
And then he heard the first chords of the wedding march. The audience stood and he saw Chloe for the first time, standing in the doorway on her father's arm.
It was a fair assessment to say the bottom dropped out of his stomach.
She was--radiant, Lex thought numbly. Her dress was sleeveless, with a simple scoop neck; the upper half of the bodice was sheer gauze, becoming satin over her breasts. It was tightly fitted through the waist before flowing into a full skirt and short train. Her hair was swept up and back, anchored in place with a circlet of pearls and white rosebuds, and her veil brushed her shoulders.
She was carrying a bouquet of lilies--for his mother, Lex realized--and roses. All of a sudden Clark's warning about not falling down made sense.
"Who brings this woman to be married to this man?" the minister asked when Chloe and Gabe had reached the front of the sanctuary.
"I do," Gabe said, his voice hoarse with suppressed tears. He took Chloe's hand and placed it in Lex's; Chloe turned impulsively and kissed her father on the cheek before stepping up next to Lex.
His, Lex thought, not really following the ceremony. He was too stunned by that realization to follow what the minister was saying. For the rest of her life, she was his. God, what had he done to become so lucky?
He was abruptly jolted back into reality when it was time to repeat his wedding vows. Turning to Chloe, he took her hands in his, determined not to let his voice shake. "I, Alexander..." He swore she grinned at that; she knew how he hated his full first name. "...take thee, Chloe, to be my lawfully wedded wife, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, as long as we both shall live."
Chloe's eyes shone as she repeated her own vows. "I, Chloe, take thee, Alexander--" There was that tiny grin again--"to be my lawfully wedded husband, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, as long as we both shall live."
As they didn't have a ringbearer, Clark took Chloe's ring out of his pocket, giving it to Lex. He lifted her left hand and slid the ring on it, carefully. "With this ring, I thee wed," he said at the minister's prompting.
Chloe took the other ring from Lana and slid it on Lex's finger; he noticed her hands were shaking. "With this ring, I thee wed," she said softly.
The minister smiled. "By the power vested in me by the state of Kansas, I now declare you man and wife. You may kiss the bride."
Lex bent down and kissed Chloe gently, afraid of mussing her before the pictures. She took his arm as they left the church, not letting go of his hand even as they said goodbye to the guests. Lex was inwardly amused by it, although he had to admit he wasn't sure which one of them wouldn't let go.
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity of people kissing the bride, flashbulbs, and so on, they were done at the church. "Shall we go to the reception?" Lex asked, turning to Chloe.
She smiled. "One thing left," she said lightly.
There were still people around--Clark, Lana, the minister, Gabe, and Lionel. Lex realized this belatedly as his bride smiled, slowly--the same smile he knew generally meant he was going to end up flat on his back under 112 pounds of wicked blonde seductress. He had just enough time to realize this before she drew him down into a kiss that he was pretty sure killed whatever brain cells he'd still had functioning.
Not that he really minded.
"There," she said, drawing back from him with a satisfied smile. "Now we can go."
"I think you shocked both our fathers," he said in her ear as they left and got in the limo.
Chloe laughed. "Mine will live, and yours--well, he'll live."
Lex leaned over and kissed her again. "I love you, Chloe," he said softly.
"Lex--" She looked at him, her eyes wide. "You don't have to say that."
"I mean it." He linked his fingers through hers. "I've been a fool, trying to pretend otherwise. Can you forgive me?"
"There's nothing to forgive," she said gently.
"I talked you into marrying me when you didn't even think I loved you."
"I wouldn't have married you if I didn't love you," Chloe said simply. "You didn't talk me into anything."
It took a moment for that to sink in. "I don't deserve you," he said, his voice hoarse.
"Maybe not." She grinned. "But you're stuck with me." She kissed him again, her mouth soft and warm under his.
"I think it's the other way around," he murmured against her lips. "I'm never letting you go."
She grinned. "I can live with that."
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