Study Break

by rebecca

Thanks to shelley for looking at this.
Feedback is of the good.

This whole thing started on a Thursday night--three nights ago, if you want to be accurate. And it wasn't even like I meant anything to start. I'd kind of given up hope on us ever being more than friends, you know? There are some certainties in life, and that was one of them. Clark Kent is an alien, Lana Lang will be voted Homecoming Queen for the rest of her life, and Chloe Sullivan and Pete Ross will never be more than friends.

Only maybe not. Because--well, let me backtrack, and go back to Thursday, and explain how this all happened. Maybe then it'll make some sense. Right now it doesn't, but that's just fine with me. Yeah--everything is just fine and dandy in Pete Ross's world, these days.

See, Thursday night Chloe and I were studying for our history exam on Friday. Clark and Lana were supposed to join us, but Lana had to work at the Talon and Clark came up with some excuse to help her out. Not that I cared, really--it gave me more time to spend alone with Chloe. And for all I knew, Clark could have photographic memory as one of his alien abilities. So I wasn't gonna worry about him missing the study session.

It was somewhere around 1828 when we decided to take a break. We'd been studying for about an hour and a half, give or take, and both of us were suffering from information overload. Or, in my case, hormone overload. Chloe was still in what she'd worn to school that day, and that red top kept drawing my attention somewhere south of her eyes, if you get my drift? Frankly, I was surprised I managed to concentrate on history at all.

Chloe stretched and slumped down in her chair, staring blankly at her books. "I think my neck is permanently crooked," she grumbled, rubbing it.

"Want a neck rub?" I offered, tossing my pen down. "I don't mean to brag, but--" I flexed my fingers. "--I have been known to give the best neck massage in Smallville."

"By who?" Chloe held up a hand. "Never mind. I don't want to know. Just--if you could get some of these knots out of my shoulders, I'll bear your children someday."

I got up and walked around the table to Chloe, resting my hands on her shoulders. Her skin was soft and smelled like oranges, and her hair tickled my fingers a little. "Relax," I said, shaking her gently so she'd loosen up. "You're in good hands."

"Just don't break anything," she said, grinning up at me. "I've seen enough of the Smallville Medical Center for the next ten years, thanks."

"And here I thought you were getting used to their scary pastel color scheme." I grinned back and dug my thumbs into her shoulder muscles, beginning to work the tension out. Chloe groaned in relief and dropped her head, looking kind of like a dandelion puffball. Personally, I thought it was cute, but I didn't think she'd appreciate it. Something about being compared to a weed would probably not strike her as amusing.

"I think I love you," Chloe mumbled.

"And here I thought you were hung up on tall farmboys," I said, teasing her.

"You know, another time I'd get mad at you for that, but right now I feel too good to snark."

"I'll have to remember this technique in future," I said thoughtfully.

Chloe laughed and straightened up. "Ready to get back to work?" she asked, tilting her head back to look at me.

"I guess." I sighed and dropped my hands. "Although why we're wasting all this time learning about dead white guys is beyond me."

"It could be worse," she told me. "We could be learning about dead white guys who are honored for being murderers and killing entire natio--oh wait. Never mind, then."

"Don't forget slaveowners," I added.

"Of course." Chloe grinned.

I think it was the grin that did it. I'm not really sure. Either way, I don't know why, or what got into me, but I leaned down and kissed her. It was just a quick kiss, nothing much, and it was probably a dumb idea.

Then again, dumb ideas aren't always that bad.

"Pete?" Chloe's eyes went wide and she sat up, turning in her chair. "Can we back up a second, because I think you just kissed me and I'm not sure I'm functioning on all levels as a result, because I'm not entirely sure why you'd do that?"

Did I mention Chloe babbles when she's nervous?

"Um--" Well, damn. "I just--I like you, Chloe."

"Yeah, but I thought you liked me as a friend! Not--I mean--" Chloe sighed. "Have you been around any meteorites lately?"

"What? No!" Where the hell had that come from?

"I'm oh for two in the guys liking me who turn out to be mutants and try to kill me department," Chloe said as if she'd read my mind. "And I'd really rather you didn't turn out to be number three."

"They do say third time's the charm," I pointed out.

Chloe smiled a little shyly and stood up, leaning back against the table. "How long have you liked me?" she asked.

"I don't know. A while, I guess. And before you say anything, you never gave me a hint you were interested in me, so I wasn't about to try it."

"I never thought about it." Chloe blushed a little. "You're one of my best friends, Pete."

"So's Clark," I said.

"Good point." Chloe tilted her head and looked at me inquiringly. "You're sure you're not about to turn into something that should be on my wall?"

"Cross my heart," I said, beginning to wonder if maybe I hadn't made the stupidest mistake of my life after all.

"I--I need to think about this," she said after a moment. "It's not that I'm not--I mean--I'm not not interested, but I never--"

I did the only thing I could think of to stop her from babbling her way into a corner. I kissed her. I just--took her face in my hands and kissed her, and the one brain cell that was still working noticed absently that she stiffened against me before she kissed me back.

Holy God. Chloe was kissing me back. Her arms were around my neck and my tongue was in her mouth and she felt warm and soft and it wasn't like I'd never kissed a girl before, but this was Chloe. And who really needed oxygen, anyway?

"I thought about it," she said, panting a little, when we finally broke for air.


"Yeah." That was all she said before kissing me again.

Hey, non-verbal communication works for me.

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