Know Now Then

by chickenjodie

Written for speshope's birthday and for slodwick's ani difranco title challenge.

Title: Know Now Then
Author: chickenjodie
Rating: PG13

Chloe planned to sneak into LexCorp like she snuck into her house after missing curfew. She would walk in the front door. After all, this was Smallville, and her father did manage the plant Lex owned. She knew she could talk her way out of trouble if it came down to it.

But it wouldn't.

She just needed to see some of Lex's files. This time it wasn't for the * Torch* though. Lionel requested details on certain employees of Lex's. Why he couldn't dig that information up on his own, she didn't know. But the task seemed easy enough.

Finding out Lex's schedule had been as simple as sitting at her father's desk while he went to the men's room before their lunch date on Wednesday. A few keystrokes at the computer and she had Lex's schedule downloading to her PDA. Ever since the accident, Lex wanted to make sure Gabe knew all the details of his day.

A little paranoid, maybe, but Chloe wasn't about to complain. Not when it made her assignment that much easier.

So at three o'clock on a Thursday afternoon, Chloe strode in the front doors of LexCorp, and made small talk with Gus the security officer as she signed in. Nepotism paid off and her purse wasn't searched, allowing her to keep the tiny, top-of-the-line digital camera Lionel had purchased for her.

She made her way to the elevators, making sure to get off on her father's floor. A quick cut to the left instead of the right, and she took the stairs up to the fifth floor. She waited until the secretary went out for her afternoon smoke, and strode right into Lex's office. He felt the open door made him more accessible, and less like his father.

Chloe smirked at the thought. Lionel was accessible...if you knew which buttons to push.

She sat behind the desk, feeling small in the leather chair. It wasn't huge, but she could tell it was custom made for Lex's frame. She pulled open a few file drawers until she found the one with personnel files. She resisted the temptation to look at her father's...maybe if she had a moment when she was done.

Eric Stearn. R&D. Married. Boring.

Margaret Davidson. HR. Single. Also boring.

Gillian Brandon-Smith. R&D. Twice divorced. Three kids. Not quite as boring, but still dull.

Chloe couldn't figure out why Lionel needed information on these people. They didn't seem all that important...they didn't even hold high-level positions at LexCorp. Middle management, but with ridiculously high salaries. She knew Lex paid well, but she really had no idea how well.

She checked her watch and calculated that she had about three minutes before the secretary came back. Maybe a look in other drawers would yield some useful information for Lionel as well. Then she could get a nice...bonus...out of the deal.

Chloe pulled out the drawer on her right. A few personal items were contained within. A couple of dried tulips, a half-full bottle of Chanel No. 5, and a battered compass. Pulling the drawer out a little further, Chloe saw a few more files. They weren't labeled, so she flipped open the first one, but couldn't make heads or tails of the symbols she saw inside.

Idly, she opened the next one while looking out toward the waiting area. Still empty.

She gasped when she looked back down. The file was full of pictures. Of her. Of Lionel. Of her and Lionel.

Of Lionel and...Lionel and her mother.

God, how could she have been so stupid? She brushed the tears out of her eyes, without even realizing they were there. Damn it. And Lex knew. He knew. He knew she was whoring herself to his father. For a fucking column at The Daily Planet.

She shoved the file back in the drawer and ran out the office. Flying down the stairs, she narrowly avoided running into Lex. She stopped and stared at him, ignoring her tears. Seconds that felt like hours passed, before she nodded. A curt nod of his head, and Lex turned and continued up the stairs.

Chloe stood where she was, chest heaving, and she stared up the stairs. She pulled out the digital camera, deleted the pictures and turned away.

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