Title: The Legacy of Nicodemus
URL: http://www.geocities.com/peacefulempress/home.html or http://www.geocities.com/oddfiction.com Pairing: Chloe/Lex
Summary: What if Chloe hadn't gone running to Clark after Pete had left her at Hamilton's lab? Spoilers: Nicodemus. AU afterwards
Disclaimer: Not in a million years are any of the characters connected with Smallville mine. Author's Notes: 1) angst and a romance. Feedback: I'd love some.
It seemed like forever before she could move, fear still trembling through her body as she stared in the direction that she had seen Pete had go. The silence in the lab stretched out before her and the only sounds that Chloe could hear was her own ragged breathing that seemed absurdly loud. Taking a deep breath and attempting to steady the slight shaking of her body Chloe began to search around the ground, looking desperately for her car keys while trying to remember where she thought that she had seen them land when Pete had knocked them from her hand as a panicked feeling began to rise in her chest.
Pete was going after Lex. The thought came unbidden to her mind and she quickly attempted to push it away again.
Bobbing down to rest on her haunches she thought she saw the momentary gleam of light on metal and reached a hand beneath the lab bench, stretching as far as she could manage and praying that she would be able to reach them. Fingertips brushed cool metal and Chloe strained her already tired muscles further, finally able to grasp something. Drawing back she looked triumphantly at her car keys. Using her hands to push herself into a standing position Chloe turned and rushed towards the door, her escape from the nightmare the evening was becoming.
Pete had tried to kiss her and now he was going to kill Lex.
Another wave of panic washed over her as she climbing behind the wheel of her car and pushed the keys into the ignition. She should call the police and get them to warn Lex but the idea of having Pete apprehended in the state he was currently in was not appealing. Besides, she had the feeling that being caught was the last thing on her friend's mind and who knew what would happen if he were to start brandishing the gun at the police. Chloe tried to push that thought from her mind as well. Now was not the time to let her self get panicked.
There was always Clark of course. He always seemed to know what to do in situations like this. But, Chloe thought, he's at the hospital with his mom and dad and besides, by the time she reached the hospital and then by the time that Clark had managed to figure out what to do make it to Lex's then... it might be too late; yet another unappealing plan of action that Chloe found herself turning away from.
She was already driving in the direction of the Luthor mansion before she fully realised what she was doing; pushing her foot down hard on the accelerator. Pete had a good fifteen minutes or so head start on her and that was more than enough time for him to... to... No, don't think about that, Chloe silently commanded and concentrated on making sure she actually got to the mansion safely in the first place.
The drive to the mansion seemed to take forever even at the breakneck speed that Chloe drove at. As she turned into the driveway the tire screeched sending up a spray of gravel and for a moment there was no traction. Then she was off again, speeding up the long driveway and fighting the car for control. Chloe could barely remember pulling up to a halt and leaping out before she was running up the steps and bursting through the front door. Her heals clicked loudly on the hardwood floors as she hurried through the corridors trying to find where she thought she could remember Lex's study being from her last visit to the mansion.
Rounding a corner she saw a door she thought she recognised and dashed towards it, slamming into it at force and rushing into the room without a second thought. Quick eyes took in the scene. Lex was stood with his back to the fire place, hands held up in front of in a gesture of submission as Pete stood, several feet away with the gun pointed directly at the older man's head, an angry expression covering his features. Chloe barely had time to think. Instead she shouted, "Pete! Don't!" and launched herself towards Lex. She caught him low in the body, around his waist, even as there was the sound of gunfire filled the room and then a splintering pain shot through Chloe's side.
Everything went startlingly cold in the study and oddly quiet; almost like the eye of a storm. Chloe found herself slumping onto her back, a brief whimper escaping her lips as she found herself staring up at the pale ceiling over which light from the fire flickered, dancing almost. A long breath escaped her and slowly, ever so slowly her eyes rolled back in her head.
"You moron!" a voice roared.
"Shit, Chlo'. Oh God, Chloe!"
Pete, she thought at hearing the second voice. He'd actually shot her and Lex was angry with him and that could only mean... it could only mean that things weren't good. I'm hurt bad, she thought and yet the words seemed disjointed and as if they had no real meaning.
There was someone lifting her head and something was being shoved under it and then there was a voice, Lex she thought, shouting, "Pete! Damn-it get back here!" and a door slamming in the distance.
Something... something was in her mouth. Something metallic tasting and suddenly her body heaved in a spluttering cough. Hands held her down. Hands covered her heart seeking out a beat and then they held her as he said, "Oh God Chloe. Don't die. Please don't die." A whimpering noise followed. "I'm sorry."
Lips covering hers own softly; filling her with delicious warmth once again that her body was beginning to lack.
"Don't go; stay with me. I'm sorry."
Why was he apologising? The thought filled her mind and then flitted away again as quickly as it had appeared.
He sounded more desperate now. Her limbs were growing heavy and she had to remember to breathe evenly or the coughing would start again. Even that was an effort now. The world was disappearing from around her as Chloe struggled to keep her eyes open and then the only sensations she could feel were that of Lex's warm body surrounding hers and the sound of his breathing, somewhat ragged in the near perfect silence and the all too quick to fail beat of her own heart.
"Hold on a minute Miss; you've got a tube down your throat. Don't try to talk just yet."
A horrid noise, like something wet and slimy being dragged along gravel and then a crackling noise and a sudden rush of air.
"Where am I?" the words were broken and entirely too quite sounding.
"You're in an ambulance on your way to hospital. No, don't panic. Do you remember what happened to you?" She shook her head briefly and found it took entirely too much energy to do so. "You were shot Miss Sullivan."
Panic bubbling below the surface again and the sudden realisation of the reason why she hurt so much; why she was so cold. "Am I dying?"
Silence in the ambulance around her; so much so that she was about to open her mouth again when the sound of sirens filled the air around her.
"Lex?" she said quietly.
"Shh." A hand manifested on her head suddenly, stroking back tendrils hair from her face. It was wonderfully comforting.
Then silence as sleep rolled over her again.
"What do you mean there is nothing you can do?"
"Mr Luthor, it's just a matter of time now. She either will pull through or she won't."
"Your answer does not inspire confidence in me doctor."
"I'm sorry; it's all I can say."
A tired face greeted her when she woke. Dragging up energy from places she didn't even know existing Chloe turned her head first to one side and then to the other where she saw a man sleeping in a comfy chair by the window. There was a green woollen blanket hastily thrown around him, held tight up around his shoulders with clenched fists. It looked more than a little ridiculous from Chloe's point of view. Lex was not the sort of man you just threw a blanket around.
She struggled to sit up and look around the room, surprised to find it was the same one that she had occupied on her last stay in this particular hospital only a few weeks before. Not much had changed fro what she could tell. Well, apart from the fact that she felt like she had been hit by a freight train. Looking down at her side Chloe discovered that she had been wrong about where exactly the bullet had hit her. It was more around the front and a little higher up. Chloe gave a shuddering gasp as she realised just how close she must have come to dying and tried to repress tears of relief that had been welling in her eyes.
"You shouldn't poke at it," a voice said suddenly and spinning around as much as she could manage in the narrow bed Chloe saw that Lex was awake and staring at her, a strange look in his eyes.
"I wasn't going to," the blonde retorted quickly.
"Yes, you were."
Chloe pouted. "Hey, I got shot saving your ass."
"I remember the event vividly," Lex replied dryly.
"You should be a little lenient on me then."
"I hardly think that you rushing in and getting yourself hurt is an excuse for me to be any less angry with you."
Chloe's eyes widened. "You're angry with me?" she asked looking for clarification.
"Indeed." The answer was short, blunt even and somehow still managed to seem accusatory to Chloe's ears.
"And why would that be exactly?"
"Because you could have been killed Chloe."
Dryly she imitated his tone from earlier and replied, "Trust me when I say I realise that now."
"You should have been more careful," Lex said standing up and coming to stand over by the bed. Inadvertently Chloe found her eyes drawn to where he had unbuttoned the top few buttons of his shirt, obviously for comfort while he slept and then silently gave herself a mental kick when she looked up and saw he was giving her an amused look.
"Have you been here all the time?" she asked. For a second the young man's confident faade slipped and he looked uncomfortable. "It was only a question Lex," Chloe added softly. "The fate of the world isn't going to balance on it."
"The fate of my world might," he said though she wasn't entirely certain that he had intended for her to hear it.
"What is that supposed to mean?"
Lex met her eyes once again and shook his head slowly. "Nothing. I believe I should be making a move now. I'm glad you're feeling better Miss Sullivan."
He marched out of the door without another word and Chloe slumped back against her pillows. "What the hell was that?"
Three days later and she was out of hospital and walking gingerly through the front door of the Sullivan household, clutching her side slightly. Why she had ever been released from hospital was a mystery to her; everything still hurt like it was never going to stop and despite the fact she had been going a little stir crazy the last day or so Chloe had learned to appreciate what resting could do for her. The moment she walked in the door that feeling was amplified a thousand fold as family and friends rushed towards her, hugging her and wrapping arms around her that caused Chloe to wince due to her still sore side.
Holding her side ever so gently she looked around the people assembled, eyes searching in vain though for what she did not know. As pleased as she was that her friends were there Chloe still found herself wanting to retire quickly from the festivities to the sound of her father saying, "She's still so tired," and people nodding and agreeing with him. It all seemed entirely too convenient and planned and she found herself growing bored even before she had thought would be possible.
Eventually she found herself sitting outside on the porch along, swinging her feet a little and sipping at a cup of coffee she had successfully manage to sneak past her father's hawk like eyes. Caffeine apparently was apparently a big no-no for gunshot victims; either that or her father had decided to take advantage of a painkiller calmed Chloe for a few days and her coffee intake threatened that. Chloe closed her eyes and inhaled the deep scent appreciatively.
"How are you feeling?" a voice asked and Chloe looked up sharply to see a pair brilliant blue eyes focused on her. She breathed in deeply.
Chloe forced her shoulders to relax from the sudden tension that had rolled through her at his appearance. "I didn't see you inside."
There was a slight curl of his lips as he stepped up onto the porch and stood before her. "I wasn't inside," he said.
Her reply was dry. "I would never have guessed."
Gesturing towards the space on the seat next to her which Chloe said he could take with a shrug Lex sat beside her. "Oh?" he asked and Chloe quietly wondered whether she could have put her foot in her mouth any further.
Uncomfortably Chloe said, "You kind of fill the room."
"Fill the room?"
Chloe looked out of the corner of her eye at him. "You know what I mean."
"Did you just pay me a compliment Chloe Sullivan?"
"You could take it that way."
Silence stretched out in front of them for a few moments then as Chloe felt herself at a loss as to what to say. Lex however seemed comfortable, sat with his feet stretched out comfortably before him as Chloe noticed for the first time his relaxed dress. "What are you doing here?" she asked almost before she could stop himself.
He raised his eyebrows. "You don't want me here?"
She wondered whether she detected any hurt there for a second and then pushed the thought away as ridiculous. "I didn't say that. I was just... wondering."
"Am I allowed to say I stopped by to see the girl that saved my life?"
"That would work," Chloe replied.
Another pause and then Lex added, "You never answered my question."
"How you're feeling?"
"Oh, fine I guess. I still ache a little bit but it getting better." Lex snorted laughter and made her turn to look at him more fully. "What?"
"Sorry, it's just you're incredibly pigheaded. You're clearly in pain. You've winced seven or eight times since I sat down already and yet you refuse to admit it. It's incredible."
"Thanks," she replied dryly.
"You admit it then?"
"Okay, okay, my side hurts. Happy?"
Suspicion dawned on her. "Why?"
"Because its good to know you're not invulnerable and not so determined that you can't admit when something is wrong."
"And that's important to you?"
A small shrug of his shoulders then, "It is."
That night when Chloe eventually crawled into bed she found herself unable to get Lex's words out of her head. They played on her mind and the blonde girl found herself tossing and turning as sleep evaded her. Every time that she closed her eyes she would see Lex looking at her, his eyes ever so serious as he spoke and it caused a flush of frustration to race through her body as once again she found herself attempting to decipher exactly what it was that he had meant. The most obvious interpretation was that he had some feelings for her but Chloe found that she was uncomfortable with the idea. He had never actually come out and said as much and all she really had to go on were vague hints.
Rolling over once again Chloe pummelled a fist into her pillow and then collapsed back down on it.
It wasn't that she found the idea particularly unappealing either and Chloe couldn't help but wonder whether it wasn't some wishful thinking on her part. The idea of having an older, experienced and certainly very sexy man such as Lex Luthor interested in her was exciting in a way that had Chloe almost reaching underneath her covers. It caused a bubble of excitement to well in her chest and she had to fight to suppress somewhat irrational giggles until Chloe managed to get a hold of her thoughts again and control them. After all, it had to be wishful thinking hadn't it?
Finding her self caught in a web of wakefulness Chloe gave up on sleep and slowly climbed out of bed; wincing at the pain in her side. The sensation brought up another explanation for Lex's strange behaviour. Perhaps he was just grateful for her actions in helping him after Pete had been infected with the Nicodemus plant and perhaps it was that which she had seen in his eyes when they talked both in the hospital and earlier in the night when they had sat what seemed like hours on the porch outside just chatting about random things.
She struggled downstairs and into the kitchen where to her surprise she found that her dad was sat at the counter with a glass of milk in front of him.
"You're up late," Chloe said moving over to the coffee maker and switching it on.
"I couldn't sleep so I thought a little milk might help."
Settling herself across from him Chloe asked, "So what's keeping you up?"
Looking a little sheepish Gabe replied, "You actually."
Chloe arched an eyebrow wondering what had brought about the surreal nature of this topic. "Oh?"
"I was really worried Chloe," he confessed. "And I guess I'm still a little worried."
With a small little chuckle of laughter Chloe said, "I'm okay Dad."
He shifted uneasily on his seat. "I saw you sat outside with Lex tonight. You both looked very... comfortable."
It was Chloe's turn to look uncomfortable. "We were just talking," she said and it seemed to Chloe that her reply sounded more than a little defensive.
Gabe smiled at her and reached across the table to pat her hand. "I'm sure you were honey."
"We were!" Chloe exclaimed.
"I'm not doubting you Chloe."
"You can't honestly think Lex is up to something; honestly Dad we were just talking."
Leaning back in his chair her father let the frown that had been threatening on his features appear. "We both know that Lex is a man of the world... I just don't want you getting too involved with him."
"Dad..." Chloe drawled. "Its just Lex; really you've got nothing to worry about."
"Promise," Chloe agreed and only wished she was as sure as she sounded.
The next day Chloe all but hobbled into Talon in search of a caffeine fix. Spying Lana behind the counter she rushed forwards, muscling one fellow student out of the way in order to get to the coffee and shooting him an indignant look when he dared to object. Seeing the apparently irate blonde glaring at him the young man held up his hands in submission and indicated she should go first. When she turned around again there was already a cup sat before her and Lana smiling at her over it.
"You're a life saver," Chloe said reaching her purse.
"Don't bother," Lana said and when Chloe looked up at her for an explanation she said, "Lex told me that he would subsidise you free coffee for a month."
With a grin she said, "The man is a fool."
"I know," Lana replied with an answering smile of her own. "I told him you'd bankrupt him but he wouldn't listen."
When the grin didn't fade from Lana's features Chloe asked, "What's the what?"
"Nothing," the brunette waitress replied innocently.
"I just think its sweet."
Rolling her eyes a little Lana replied, "The way you two carry on."
Chloe snorted her reply. "I don't know what you mean."
A small laugh escaped the other girl. "He's in the back anyway; in the office."
"I thought that maybe you'd want to go and thank him about the coffee."
Narrowing her eyes Chloe said, "What do you know that I don't?"
Lana just grinned at her and waved her in the direction of the office. "Go see him."
Still feeling confusion painting her features Chloe picked up her mug and wandered around the counter and towards the small room which served as the office for the coffee house. For a second she paused, holding up a clenched fist to knock on it and then stopped herself and instead pushed open the door quietly to stare inside.
Lex was sat behind the desk, slumped slightly as he read over something in a file before him a tiny little frown appearing on his features as he did so. For moment she just watched him, taking in the way in which even in this apparently relaxed state his appearance seemed carefully considered. It suddenly seemed highly seductive to Chloe and she found herself stepping into the quietly and inclining her body in such a way that she was leaning against the wall, her head cocked slightly one side and a contented little feeling running through her veins. It only intensified as his tongue darted out teasingly over his lips in wet them as she watched.
A shiver of guilt suddenly ran through Chloe. Here she had been determined not to listen to her father and Lana when they warned her about Lex and here she was doing exactly the one thing she had promised that she wouldn't do. Lusting over Lex Luthor was something that could only lead to an unhappy, unfulfilled end. You sound like you're convincing yourself Chloe though with a small wrinkle of her brow.
Taking a deep breath and deciding to rid herself of unhappy thoughts Chloe said, "Anything interesting?"
Lex's eyes darted upwards, brilliant in their alertness as they focused on her and a smile slipped onto his features that Chloe couldn't help but return. "Nothing that can't be put off," he replied. "Especially that is, when the alternative is so much more attractive."
At his words Chloe felt a small blush drift onto her cheeks but she attempted to put it out of her mind as he invited her to sit. Gratefully she slumped into the chair at the other side of the desk and put her coffee down. "This feels familiar," she said.
"I feel like I should be getting my tape recorder out ready for an interview."
Lex laughed and the sound rumbled through Chloe as he did so. "Is everything an interview for you?"
With a little shrug of her shoulders Chloe said, "Most of the time."
"And just what would it take to change that?"
"I honestly don't know; I've never given it any thought."
He nodded as if contemplating something before speaking again. "That's something you should work on."
"How do you mean?"
"Interviews are great Chloe but they're not real life."
"I would never have guessed," was her dry reply. "So Mr Analyst, what would you suggest?"
Looking a little nervous Lex directed his gaze down towards the desk top and then peeked out at her. "I would suggest... a date."
Chloe felt her eyes widen a little and hoped to god she hadn't just mistaken the meaning of what he had just said. He was watching her so intensely though that Chloe couldn't help but be inclined to believe her first instinct and with a little smile she said, "I think I'd like that."
Chloe was rapidly discovering that saying you wanted to go on a date was an entirely different thing from actually managing to go on one. It had taken a good ten minutes for them both to discover a free spot in their schedules and then another twenty minutes of Chloe pestering Lex with a shy smile on her face while trying to get him to tell where they would be going. He hadn't relented and told her though and that led to her current dilemma. Sprawled across her room was nearly every outfit that Chloe owned with the exception of last year's Halloween getup she still had in the back of her closest and there was no way in hell she was going to wear that. On the one hand she could go casual, there was a great pair of jeans hiding somewhere in the room and they'd be lovely with her favourite red top. On the other had Chloe had never seen Lex is anything less casual than a sweater and a pair of finely tailored, ass fitting pants. And that left her with her other option: classy. The problem was that Chloe was distinctly aware of the fact that there were many levels of `classy' and she didn't want to end up being overdressed.
She finally settled on a deep green coloured dress, it had been a present from her aunt in Metropolis and while Chloe had never worn it before, stuck on the idea that Smallville wouldn't appreciate its finer features, she found herself digging it out of the wardrobe and deciding that it was just formal enough to be considered classy and yet still fairly relaxed. Pulling it on Chloe stood before her mirror and turned from side to side. The dress ended just below her knees, a small slit running up the back and had a low scooped neckline with thin shoestring straps. She settled on a pair of black low healed shoes that she dug out of the back of her wardrobe and a matching bag that had been lying around. She straightened her hair, letting it lie flat against her neck and applied a light layer of make-up - not wanting to look as if she had made too much effort, after all, it was Lex who had asked her out and if he had thought enough of her in the first place to want to go on a date then he certainly wasn't going to be impressed anymore by a heavily made up face.
At seven o'clock the door bell rang and Chloe practically ran down the stairs in her little heals to try and reach the door before her father could only to find the man was already stood there next to Lex with a stern expression on his features although he was clearly trying to force a smile for his boss' sake. "You're going out?" Gabe asked taking in his daughter's outfit.
"Yeah," Chloe answer, trying to cover the nervousness in her voice as she came to stand before the two men.
Gabe nodded, seeming to be trying to digest the information. Turning slightly to face Lex he said, "She's my daughter."
Lex nodded. "I understand."
"No, I don't think you do. She's my only daughter. My baby girl who used to take my old newspapers and cut them up to make her own when she was only five and who used to run around the house bare butt naked and try to crawl through the cat flap-"
"Dad!" Chloe exclaimed in horror as she blushed brightly and a slight smirk appeared on her date's lips.
"What I mean is that despite her faults I still love her and if you lay one inappropriate hand on her then I swear that I'll hunt you down and kill you whether you're my boss or not."
"Dad!" Chloe said again and gave him a little shove towards the kitchen. "Please don't threaten my date. Now just... shoo! I'll be fine."
Gabe cast one more hostile glance towards the younger man and then reluctantly walked away, disappearing into the kitchen.
"Should I be scared?" Lex asked once Gabe had disappeared and the small blonde before him turned back to face him.
Chloe smiled and gave him a little shove towards the door, unconsciously mirroring her previous action. "Come on; let's get out of here before he appears with a chastity belt or something."
Lex chuckled and took hold of her hand thought the action was intended to stop her from disappearing through the door more than anything else. "You look good," he complimented and Chloe found herself blushing again even as she let her eyes fly from his face to the rest of him in order to take in his own outfit - an expected exquisitely tailored black suit and a midnight blue shirt underneath that she noticed highlighted the colour of his eyes when her gaze eventually returned to his face.
"You don't look so bad yourself," she replied. She grinned at him suddenly and said, "So where are you taking me?"
They ended up at a small exclusive restaurant where Lex, unsurprisingly seemed well known by all the staff and more than a few of the patrons. "I'll admit," he said as he and Chloe were led through the restaurant to a table, "that I'm not always the most inventive guy in the world when it comes to planning dates."
"It's nice to know you have some faults," the blonde woman said with a smile. "But still," she added reaching out to clasp his hand. "I like this anyway."
"Not too predictable?" Lex asked as he stood for a moment while the waiter pulled out Chloe's chair and then took his own.
"No. Not at all. I wouldn't lie to you Lex, I honestly like this. It's different for me."
He cast a smile in her direction that seemed sincere enough then turned to the menu that had been placed before them. Chloe turned to her own copy and raised it to read. It only took her a few moments to decide what she wanted, easily picking out of the list her favourite dishes and then, somewhat daringly she thought, the girl took to peeking over the top of the hard-backed book at the man sat opposite her. In the low golden lights for the lamps around them and the rich dark dcor of the room he seemed almost absurdly comfortable. Beside them was one of the huge windows that surrounded the floor, separated from each other only by enormous stone pillars to offer some support to the roof. Though their table was raised Chloe could still see the other patrons in the room through the darkened glass as they occasionally glanced at each their and then leaned over to talk to each other.
"Try not to look at them; it only makes things worse," a voice piped up and Chloe glanced back quickly towards Lex who had yet to look up from his copy of the menu. As she looked at him though he closed it and placed it to one side on the surface of the table.
"Was I being that obvious?" Chloe asked.
"No, but someone would have noticed sooner or later." He paused for a moment as a waiter appeared as if from nowhere to take their order before disappearing again though not before setting down their drinks. "It would be better not to have them notice at all," Lex added when the man had gone.
With a grin Chloe said, "You really are good."
"How do you mean?"
"It's just that I've never seen anyone who is quite so brilliant at controlling and at noticing everything around them."
"Is that a compliment?" he asked, there was something about his voice that made Chloe think that it was actually an honest question. The idea that he couldn't read her quite as easily as he apparently could other people pleased the would-be reporter on some level.
"What sort of date would I be if I went around insulting you?"
Lex shook his head and chuckled out a burst of laughter. "That's what I like about you Chloe; I never know quite what you're going to say. Of course that also means that half of the time I find myself at a loss for words and more often than not I also end up confused as a result but that's refreshing."
With a small, shy almost, smile Chloe lifted the glass of water she had ordered to her lips and sipped at it. "Why did you ask me out?" she asked and immediately regretted the words as soon as they came out of her mouth and an entirely too serious expression washed over Lex's features. Here the automatic avoidance comments come, Chloe thought and sure enough she was meant moments later by a question being answered with a question.
"Why did you say yes?"
Chloe bit her lip before she answered, repressing her initial urge to answer with yet another question because she didn't want to sound childish or too inquisitive. "I like you," she replied with devastating honesty which unsettled them both. Realising that she had been staring at the table cloth before her Chloe added, "You better not be wincing when I look up."
"I'm not," Lex answered and a quick glance at his face confirmed the fact.
Forcing herself to remain looking at him Chloe said, "Not the answer you were hoping for?"
He shook his head, "On the contrary, just the answer I was hoping for... Its just I'm not used to women being quite so candid about it. Actually, I'm not used to women saying it much at all."
"They tend to jump straight to the `I love you' part?" Chloe guessed and earned herself a nod of agreement. "I've never been real good at saying things like that anyway so don't worry about an impromptu outbursts about undying love from me."
His lips curled up in a smirk. "And what makes you think I don't like them?"
"You're here with me instead of a `yes' girl?" Chloe suggested with a smirk of her own as she realised the teasing tone in his comment.
"Are you ever going to let me win a point easily?" he asked.
"Nope," Chloe answered, catching sight of a pair waiters approaching out of the corner of her eye each with a tray balanced on an outstretched hand. "But you're in luck - the foods here. I'll save my next round of questioning for later."
With a raised eyebrow Lex asked, "I thought this wasn't going to be an interview?"
"It isn't," Chloe replied. "These are just a few essential questions involved in getting to know you."
"Why doesn't that make me feel any safer?"
Chloe grinned at him. "Because, Mr Luthor, you admire my journalistic capabilities and the fact that if I want to know about something, then I'm going to find out about it sooner or later."
The curl of his lips into a knowing smirk was the only answer she received.
The meal was everything that Chloe had expected it to be and even more so as easy conversation flowed between them, or rather, the two exchanged their own personal form of verbal judo at astonishing rate. There was one down point during the meal when some woman, half drunk, stumbled over to the table and began to ask an inordinate number of questions until she was hustled away by a waiter and another irate looking man.
"Ex-girlfriend?" Chloe asked.
"Something like that," Lex mumbled taking his napkin and tossing it on the table. "I'm sorry about that."
Shaking his head her date said, "No, really it isn't. I didn't want something like this to come along and ruin the evening..."
"Lex, nothing is ruined."
He looked up, a thought passing over his face and then he said, "Shall we leave anyway?"
"What about dessert?" Chloe asked and then blushed at the eagerness of the question. Lex raised an eyebrow. "I like my chocolate okay?"
Lex chuckled a little and dipped his head. "It's okay by me. But how about we find something suitable elsewhere?"
Chloe was surprised when he drove them in the direction of one of Metropolis' central parks only to abandon his car and walk them in the direction of the lines of tourist orientated shops that lined one edge. The blonde girl found herself smiling as he led her into a petite looking sidewalk caf which proved to be filled to the brim with patrons even at that time of night. At the counter Chloe found herself faced with a quite simply amazing range of sweets that immediately caught her attention. She spent her time picking out what she wanted, eventually settling on a lump of chocolate goodness disguised as a cake and adorned with dark berries. Lex surprised her by picking out a light and fluffy looking mousse surrounded by fruit while both ordered a cup of coffee and then went over to a booth and slid in.
After she had been peering at Lex's order for a good five minutes he finally gave in to curiosity and asked, "What?"
"Nothing," Chloe said quickly and dipped her head in embarrassment.
"No, you were clearly thinking something so come out and say it."
"Well, don't take offence to this but I was just thinking... it isn't very manly."
Lex looked down at the offending piece of fruity sugary goodness and then said, "But I like it."
"That doesn't make it anymore manly Lex," Chloe said quickly with a grin as she saw him bristle at her words.
He learned forwards and in a quiet voice said, "Are you suggesting, Miss Sullivan, that I am anything less than a man?"
Taking in the suddenly rather heated expression in his eyes Chloe found herself at a loss for words for what may very well have been the very first time in her life. She really didn't know when to keep her mouth shut for her own good and now, now that she had shut up he was angry with her and it was probably too late to take the comment back. After all, how the hell do you persuade a guy that you think he's the pinnacle of all things manly after you had just insulted said manliness? The answer came to her in a flash and although it sent a shudder of embarrassment through her the blonde quickly covered up her reaction and slipped one shoe off. Bringing up her foot and infinitely thankful that she had thought to do a quick bit of maintenance on her toe nails before she had stepped out of the house the blonde girl rather tentatively used it to push apart his knees and then slide her foot up his inner thigh gently.
All the while she kept her eyes steady on Lex's face, defying herself to do so even as he stared back at her in shock. His eyes were wide, his lips parted slightly and he was half way through lifting a full looking fork of food to his mouth. A small gasp escaped him and he visibly twitched as she lightly pressed the ball of her foot against his crotch. Drawing a measure of confidence from his stunned expression Chloe took her foot back slightly and let her toes brush over him, testing the rapidly hardening flesh beneath the material. "I know you're a man Lex," she said, wondering a little at the slightly purr that had filtered into her own voice.
Lex's jaw clenched and he set down his fork before saying, "Christ Chloe, don't."
"You don't like?" Chloe asked, this time letting some innocent and a little hurt show.
"Its not that," he said and then suddenly made a sound low in his throat as she rolled her toes over the growing bulge, admittedly experimenting but pleased with the reaction she was eliciting from him. A hand suddenly gripped her ankle though with almost bruising force, stopping her from moving her foot anymore and Lex added, "Trust me when I say that the last thing I actually want to do at the moment is have you stop however, we're in a public place and if you - we - get caught then the consequences would not be pretty."
Chloe blushed suddenly and tugged her foot away from his grasp, setting it down on the floor and slipped on her shoe. She looked down at the table, not wanting to meet his gaze as she found herself wondering what he must be thinking of her right at that moment. It might not have been the case that she had misread the situation entirely but apparently her effect on him was not as dramatic as she might have imagined and it was a blow to her previously unusually inflated ego.
Idly she jabbed her fork into her chocolate cake and then quickly lifted a piece to her mouth, aware that she had also managed to kill off all the conversation between them because Lex was now looking at her with that concerned, almost pitying look in his eyes which normally came before the words `this was a mistake'. She hated it. She hated that in a couple of minutes and by doing something daring that she had foolishly had imagined would have pleased him she had managed to mess up yet another relationship before it had even had chance to get off the ground. Angrily she stabbed the fork into the cake again.
She concentrated on the sound of her fork scratching the plate.
"Chloe? Don't be like that."
A piece of cake fell off the edge of her fork as she attempted to lift it, splattering in the cream and making her want to cry. She was all too aware however that Lex had stood, coming to stand by her side and was now holding out a hand towards her which he clearly wanted her to take. Rolling her head to one side she looked up at him, taking in the determined look that had settled into his eyes.
"I haven't finished my cake," she said.
"Just take my hand."
The cake that she had been eating, well the cake from which she had been eating was now sat on the countertop in Lex's kitchen as the man moved around the cavernous room in his Metropolis apartment, hunting down bowls and spoons for them. With a clatter he placed them down on the counter before her as she perched on a high backed stool quietly beside the tempting dessert.
"Less than two weeks ago," Lex said as he used a knife to slice into the cake and set it down on a plate. "You were shot because of me and believe me when I say that scared the hell out of me. My actions, the actions of my family had not only endangered myself but someone who was entirely an innocent party. You came so close to dying Chloe that I actually found myself contemplating prayer which is something I haven't done in a long, long time." A second piece of cake landed on a second plate and Chloe found herself having to resist the urge to say something as she sensed that Lex had more to add. "So I found myself asking why I was so worried. A lot of people have been caught in the crossfire because of myself and my family and all the things connected to it but normally I somehow manage to find some way or forgetting about it or rather, just letting it slip to the back of my mind where I didn't have to think about it." He met her eyes. "You wouldn't let me do that."
She found herself just staring at him, quick mind rapidly working over his words and yet still unable to entirely comprehend exactly what it was he had just said. When the silence had drawn on for far longer than it should have she watched as Lex nervously scraped a hand back over his scalp and said, "I'm not good at expressing myself when it comes to... feelings. I always seem to come out sounding a little inane for some reason..."
"Lex, shut up," she said finding her voice without warning. "I don't think I've ever heard you ramble before so I figure that you must be more than a little off balance."
"You could say that," he admitted. There was something about the way in which he stood that told Chloe that he desired to take a step closer to her and yet he did not so Chloe did it for him. She reached out and took a hold of the collar of his shirt and pulled him slowly towards her.
"You know, it could just me some strange manifestation of guilt," Chloe said carefully.
"I don't feel guilt," he countered. "Not normally."
"You might this time."
He shifted slightly and Chloe's grip moved with him. A hand touched her thigh and slid over the top, slipping between her legs and parting them so that she could tug him towards her once again. "I don't think so," he said quietly.
"You sound rather convinced."
"That's because I am."
Chloe paused and dipped her head a little before she said, "Well I suppose that's a good thing right?"
"It can't be anything other than a good thing Chloe. Well, as long as you happen to reciprocate it is..."
"I know I like you," she said nervously. "Hell Lex, you even know that I like you."
"I need someone like you," he said softly.
"That's not that the best basis for starting a relationship," she answered.
"Perhaps not but it is something to start from and I'm sure, that if anyone could help to make things better, then that someone would be you." He stopped and when she didn't respond immediately he tucked a finger under her chin and lifted her face towards his. "Chloe, what do you think?"
"I think..." Chloe said after a moment, letting a smile fall onto her features. "That flattery will get you everywhere." She leaned forwards, placing her lips against his gently, tentatively, and then while pulling away said, "Lex?"
Eyes closed and with a contented little smile on his features the man muttered, "Hmm?"
"Could I get my cake now?"
The smile widened and she watched in amusement as he wriggled his eyebrows at her. "Sure, need any help with that?"
"Oh desperately," Chloe said with exaggerating her sincerity greatly. She reached out, swiping up a lump of chocolate cream and held it up before his lips.
Lex's tongue dipped out, stealing it from her fingertip and drawing back into his mouth. "I think I know just the man to help you."
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