One thing that Lana never would have guessed about Chloe was that she was a peaceful sleeper.
Watching the seemingly endless bound of energy she exuded nearly all day long; she imagined fits of tossing and turning at night. Thought about stifled cries and moans trying to escape her body even in a time of rest. It's nearly pitch black in the blonde's room. The streetlight on the corner is too far away to blink an illuminating eye into the darkness. There is no moon in the sky to do the same. She turns her head toward the door and listens carefully for Mr. Sullivan. She hasn't fully remembered his nightly sleeping pattern yet, and doesn't want to risk her living situation by being caught.
She knows she can't bring herself to call him Gabe no matter how much he seems to want her to. There isn't a sound in the house besides Chloe's rhythmic breathing. She's glad Mr. Sullivan is a peaceful sleeper too, and that Chloe sleeps with her door closed. There would be no reasonable explanation for being in his daughter's room watching her sleep and nearly two o'clock in the morning.
It still feels strange not waking up to the familiar walls of her old room every morning. She hasn't even bothered trying to decorate her new one yet. Chloe and her dad have a nice house yes. A little more modern than Nell's, maybe even roomier in a way. But it isn't home. No matter how hard she tries to get her subconscious to settle in, everything still feels temporary. Like at any given moment Nell could just call her up saying she'd changed her mind, and Lana would be packing her bags and on a bus to Metropolis within an hour. Or that she and Chloe would have a falling out. Or even Mr. Sullivan deciding that two girls under his roof might just be a little too much for him to handle. A small part of her wants to think of this as home. But it's a hurdle she just can't bring herself to jump yet.
Chloe rolls onto her side, gripping slightly at the bed sheet and Lana feels her breath catch and hopes she doesn't wake. It feels like hours before the blonde's head settles gently back onto her pillow, and Lana's breath gives in a relieved silent sigh. Chloe looks so content with her eyes closed. Peaceful. Lana wishes she could feel a little peace for herself. Maybe they can even share it.
Lana can see the curve of Chloe's hip against the black. Her eyes follow the small fraction of skin exposed as the baby T she wore to bed was pulled up with her movement.
Another thing Lana never would have guessed about Chloe was that she wore simple cotton panties.
She expected that her friend's unique sense of fashion extended to all parts of her wardrobe. She thought of undergarments of silk, lace, and satin, bought from Victoria's Secret or Frederick's of Hollywood. She feels her cheeks grow warm that she had put so much thought into what material found itself between Chloe's legs.
The panties she wore now bore chains of yellow daises all around.
Lana has never wanted to be a flower more in her life.
She wonders if Chloe is dreaming about Clark. He is the underlying factor in their blossoming friendship. Casting an unspoken shadow over their feelings toward each other. They try to be honest when it comes to him. But it is just something that continually slips through their fingers. She let's her head wander to the window before she remembers that the Kent farm isn't just a glance across the field anymore. She admits to herself that the most likely scenario of a falling out with Chloe will have something to do with Clark. Whether he finally decided to admit his feelings to either one of them, or that they couldn't find a place to share in his life.
Lana knows she is a selfish girlfriend.
She needs someone to be there for her one hundred percent of the time.
Whitney used to be able to give that much of himself to her. The brief blissful beginnings of a relationship where no one or thing could ever seem to part them. But eventually football and other assorted guy things got into the mix. And then his father got sick, and then he had to run his father's store. And every other possible outside factor that life wanted to throw at them hit dead on and got in the way. She knows it's a horrible way to think about all that had happened. But it's honest. And to Lana Lang honesty is next to godliness.
Chloe's skin looks so soft she almost wishes she could just reach out and touch it.
Clark could never be there in a one hundred percent capacity. He was always so distant, always running off and never speaking about so many untold details and coincidences that followed him around. Even when it seemed like they were getting closer. When maybe, just maybe, they could have grown into something... more.
She was jealous when she them together at the dance. Whitney was still twenty-five percent there in a boyfriend in name only capacity, but his stock was dropping rapidly and he was leaving minutes afterward anyway.
It felt like Chloe always had something she didn't.
Clark the one time.
Direction all the time.
A clue? Most of the time.
Lana finds herself yearning for all these things and does not want to sit back and live them vicariously through someone else. But also has no idea how to garner these things for herself.
Her eye catches Chloe's belly button peaking out from her shirt as if to say hello. She wants to say it back but can't find the word.
Chloe, she knows, doesn't think she is pretty.
To Lana the idea is simply preposterous.
The world is full of people who don't see themselves that way. And just as full of people who make themselves ugly by knowing they aren't.
Chloe sleeps and she wishes Nell never met Dean and feels guilty for it. She's finally stopped wishing her parents hadn't died. The chance that her (possible) father is still alive, and the fact that she's old enough to know that death is something beyond anyone's control, keep the old dream at bay.
She wishes she were in her old room.
She wishes she could sleep.
But mostly she just wishes she could touch Chloe because she thinks it'll make the hurt stop.
At breakfast Chloe catches her staring at her exposed belly button from above the waist of slow hung pajama pants Lana hadn't seen before. Lana ducks her head and averts her eyes, cheeks flushing with shame of being caught looking. But when she looks up again Chloe gives her a small smile and asks if she should get it pierced. Lana wants to yell no. That it would desecrate such beauty. But she laughs it off and sprinkles some brown sugar on her oatmeal. Chloe only has some orange juice and a banana. Lana eyes her quizzically and asks how she runs all day and night with hardly any gas in the tank. Chloe sits down next to her and mumbles something through a bite and a sip about absorbing cosmic rays.
Mr. Sullivan has already gone off to work be left a note telling them both to have a nice day. Chloe sees the note and rolls her eyes.
"I think he's trying to impress you," she says. "Just make sure he doesn't try to do it with waffles."
She hops off the stool and strolls out of the kitchen before Lana can reply.
She doesn't take her eyes off her bowl of oatmeal.
But she knows her hand is on the other stool feeling the warmth left behind.
Out of the corner of her eye she watches as Chloe bops her head to some unknown song blaring from the radio. This drive to school is usually silent but sometimes Lana doesn't like it. She feels the need to fill the car with endless small talk just to see the look Chloe gets sometimes when she's really trying to express her feelings toward one subject or another. Lana can't put into words what exactly the face she makes could represent. All she knows is she likes the feeling in her stomach she gets from it.
Lana knows she'll have to wait until five or six o'clock for Chloe to get done with whatever Torch related work she might have, before they finally head home. The bus doesn't go near housing tract they live in. It's been there for nearly three years and the school district still hasn't re-routed the line. She's glad she doesn't have to work at the Talon today. Chloe turns onto Main street and asks is she wants to stop for coffee before they get to school. The oatmeal feels heavy in Lana's stomach and she politely declines. She looks out the window as the town rolls by and thinks it's going to be a very nice day.
Maybe she'll walk home after school. Maybe Clark will offer her a ride. Maybe she would actually have to courage to hold Chloe's hand as it sits palm up on the seat just inches from her leg.
The day seemed to be full of maybes.
Clicking noises tick and clatter throughout the room as she half watches Chloe as she simultaneously works the keyboard of her computer and a pen for footnotes; and half looks at a world atlas she found sitting on a desk. Clark had offered her a ride earlier but Chloe was standing right next to her and she declined. The look on Clark's face at the word `no,' she thought, greatly resembled that of someone who swallowed a bug. She also thought that a person topping out at 6'3 hunching his shoulders in defeat was too amusing to stifle a giggle. The effect immediately prompted Chloe to do the same, as well as give a nod akin to an unspoken "you go girl." Unspoken because of a) it is a greatly dated phrase and b) no white girl from Kansas could ever pull it off properly.
Lana knows Chloe is smart.
But as she remains half-watching her she sees just how much work is put into it. Lana gets good grades herself and she knows how hard it can be at times. But watching her friend do it day after day without pause goes above and beyond.
It made her seem so...
Lana feels the sudden urge just to stroll over to her and...
She quells the thought before it forms.
She knows that for someone as obsessed with honesty as she can be, she honestly wasn't ready to deal with the ramifications of letting the thought run its course.
She looks back to the atlas.
She didn't know Laos was right next to Cambodia.
There is a small part of her that wishes to be caught. Maybe then she'll have to explain why she keeps sneaking into Chloe's room to watch her sleep. She thinks that if she wills it hard enough, her friend's eyes will magically pop open and she'll ask "what are you doing?"
Lana doesn't think she'll have an answer but maybe the question will give her enough motivation to come up with one. She wants reasons for her actions. Explanations for desires that seem to come from somewhere she can't see. Being near Chloe, and wanting to watch and touch her, are nothing more than impulses she doesn't bother to fight.
Chloe has kicked away all the sheets tonight and Lana can see a small scar on the top of her left knee. She can see her friend at the tender age of eight, proving she can be just as tough as the boys can, and scraping her knee while climbing a fence after them. Or maybe she was running after a perpetrator of a purse snatching back in Metropolis. So many possibilities. All of them more exciting than anything ever done in her childhood.
Lana hopes this infatuation (she feels honest enough with herself to admit that infatuation is an accurate term for whatever this is) isn't just some off the wall way to not be boring. She's tried changing herself before only to have it result in failure. The only successful change she can think of was quitting cheerleading. Though, if she really thinks about it, that never was something she wanted to do in the first place. Nell signed her up for the Pee Wee Football cheerleader squad when she was nine and it took off from there. She wonders if Chloe ever made fun of her for being a cheerleader. Or that she thought Lana fell into the stereotype of a short skirt and a low IQ. It's scary how much she wants Chloe to like her.
Feeling bold she gets up from the desk chair and moves closer to the bed. She sees that daises have been traded for butterflies. There is a small trace of a smile on Chloe's relaxed lips and Lana wonders if her smile would taste like strawberries. Heat radiates off her body like a warm blanket Lana wants to snuggle herself in and never let go. She can't hear herself breath but she knows it's because her heart is pounding so loudly inside her chest. Chloe's sleeping form doesn't move as Lana kneels next to her. The moon is out tonight and casts a small glow throughout the room. She can see all the wondrous contours of her face. The sweet sloping angle of high cheekbones, and the curve of her nose. The sensitive line of her jaw reaching back to curl upward into her earlobe.
Chloe is on her side again and another small cotton t-shirt is riding high enough to show the protruding outline of her last rib. Lana thinks that her skin will be so soft under her lips. She reaches a shaking hand to the last rib and bites her lip to keep from gasping aloud.
Cashmere is the first thing that comes to mind.
Chloe's entire body must be made up of it.
Lana can feel the goose bumps forming along her arms and she knows she has to stop before she wakes Chloe up. In one last move she kisses her brow, eliciting a small moan from her friend. Lana flees the room as quickly and quietly as she can.
Chloe will know.
All she can think about as she sneaks back to her room is that Chloe will know.
She would wake up tomorrow and feel where Lana had kissed her and just...
The thought is too frightening and completely takes over her mind.
She doesn't even notice where her hand is moving.
She doesn't know what to say as Chloe ambles down the stairs and into the kitchen with a towel wrapped around her head. She knows where to look instead of watching the trickles of water still falling down the blonde's neck, but Mr. Sullivan's Big Boy cookie jar only holds so much appeal.
Lana wishes she were a forward person.
Maybe actions could speak louder than words because she still can't make reason out of feeling. Chloe repeats her morning breakfast of a banana and orange juice and somehow manages to keep the towel wrapped around her head. She smiles and says `good morning' and Lana politely responds. She tells Chloe that she'll being working at the Talon after school, so she won't be waiting around. Chloe says okay and pulls the towel from her head sending droplets of water flying around the kitchen. Lana feels her stomach drop at just how beautiful she looks with her hair wet.
Maybe she really wouldn't care if the whole world knew Lana Lang was in love with a girl.
Well that sure explained a lot.
The worst thing about self-realization is not knowing how to act because of it. She wants to ask Chloe if she's done with her coffee, because her cup is looking pretty low. But she doesn't want to slip and say something along the lines of "hey, would you like a refill and oh, by the way I think I'm in love with you."
Another thing about self-realization is the fear that someone will see right through you. It really doesn't help Lana that the person causing her such realization is not only in training to become and investigative reporter, but is also just naturally intuitive. Chloe seems suspicious that something isn't right. Lana can see it in the way her eyes keep prodding but not seeing. She knows something, Lana thinks, she just doesn't know what yet. Lana wants Chloe to keep looking at her. She wants to let her hand casually brush against her fingers as she goes to refill her cup. Chloe starts talking and it's hard to concentrate on her words because all she can think of is shutting her up with her mouth. The thought causes a fluttered spasm of her arm and instead refilling Chloe's cup, she sends it half way across the counter before it crashes to the floor. Lana jumps to clean the spilled coffee and Chloe picks the pieces of the cup up from the floor. She wipes at the counter a lot harder than she should be.
Stupid is all she can think.
Stupid, stupid, stupid.
She's pretty sure that's blood she tastes on the inside of her cheek.
Chloe's hand is suddenly on hers and her movement stops dead. Her eyes stay focused on the coffee stained rag and she thinks that there are too many people around to see.
"Lana," Chloe says in a hushed tone, her voice laden with worry. "You're wiping the finish off."
She mumbles a sorry and tries to move her hand away but Chloe tightens her grip.
"It was an accident," she says.
Lana wants to pull her hand away only out of self-preservation. Chloe's hand is soft. As soft as her side, as soft as her brow. Lana wonders how soft it would feel with her lips.
Clark and Pete walk through the door. Chloe's hand is still on hers, and the look in the blonde girl's eyes captivates Lana. It makes her wonder... Clark and Pete head straight for the counter and almost say `hi' in unison. Chloe finally moves her hand and Lana turns to get three fresh cups of French roast. She can still feel the ghost of Chloe's hand on hers. The form and outline of her fingers she wants to think were made only for her.
Pete, Clark, and Chloe strike up a conversation and Lana half pays attention to what they are saying. She watches Chloe's lips as they form words and elicits grins from their friends.
"I'm in love with a girl," she thinks. "I'm in love with a girl."
The walls in her room are too plain. Eggshell white bathed in stray moonlight isn't too pleasing on the eyes. Her bed is comfortable, as it's always been, and there is a glass of water on the nightstand as usual. Sleep hasn't been easy for weeks and with the thought of Chloe so close after this afternoon isn't helping to calm her mind.
She sleeps with her door open.
An old habit programmed into her mind from when her parents were still alive. She remembered that her mother hated closed doors in the house. Lana never really knew why. Maybe it had something to do with hiding things, which as it turned out; her mother was very good at. When she moved into Nell's house it was almost the same thing. The second a door was closed Nell was asking why. Perhaps it was just an off the wall family trait passed through the generations.
She wasn't going to let herself sneak back into Chloe's room. After last night's little fiasco she couldn't. She knows that not being able to control herself will only result in being caught. And yes, maybe she wants and needs to be. But that doesn't mean she's going to let herself be.
Newer houses it seemed never had to settle. Chloe's house is far too quiet to even crack every once in awhile.
She hears footsteps out in the hallway and thinks it's Mr. Sullivan on his way to recycle the three Dr. Peppers she saw him drink in succession when she got home, but the footsteps pass the bathroom and keep on going. She closes her eyes as they approach her door.
"Lana?" Chloe asks softly. "Are you asleep?"
Lana thinks that if she keeps her eyes closed and doesn't move or make a sound Chloe will get bored and give up and turn around. Instead she sits on the end of the bed. Lana can feel her skin tingle with the closeness and wishes she could see if Chloe chose to put on pajama pants or not. She shifts her legs slightly, hoping that she's mimicking sleep motion well enough, and feels the backside of Chloe's body. Cautiously she slides her foot back and forth. She wants to see Chloe's face as she touches her.
Is she smiling?
Does she have that patented confused look of hers?
Lana wants to kick the sheets from her feet and hope Chloe isn't wearing pants so she can feel the skin of her leg. Rolling to her side she lets out an exaggerated sigh and stills her foot. Minutes pass and Chloe still doesn't move. Lana wonders what she's doing just sitting there at the foot of her bed watching her sleep. Is this what it felt like for her? Did she know?
She thinks everything is about honesty.
Hidden feelings and secrets can only result in anger and pain. It's what she'd always thought with Whitney. It's what she tried so hard to get Clark to see. It feels different with Chloe. Too many things are at stake. Friendship, living quarters, or complete and utter revulsion. It feels like honesty will ruin everything. Telling her "I love you" wouldn't be so simple as to merely say it. Well, those three little words are rarely ever simple, but that doesn't make it any easier.
Chloe still sits and Lana thinks that no matter how much you may think you love someone, that doesn't mean they'll love you back.
You can't make someone love you.
She thinks that maybe she should try sleeping with her door closed.
There's a strange weight at the end of the bed when she wakes up.
She opens her eyes to see Chloe curled up like a cat at her feet, blonde hair strewn haphazardly across her leg. Lana takes a Polaroid of this moment in her mind so she can call on it whenever she wishes. Gently she untucks her legs from underneath the other girl's body and scoots up to the end of her bed. The clock on the nightstand reads five-thirty a.m. Her alarm will go off in the next half-hour and Chloe will wake up and wonder what she was doing in here or what she came for. It feels a little strange to have Chloe asleep on her bed. She thinks that she should get up and close the door in case Mr. Sullivan decides to get up early. She knows that this might be a little easier to explain than getting caught in Chloe's room watching her sleep, but not by much. Her foot barely hits the carpet before Chloe breathes in loudly and opens her eyes. She looks around the room and Lana can see she's a little confused at the surroundings but seems to pay them no mind. She sits up and stretches before turning her head to Lana.
"Morning," she yawns and Lana automatically replies.
She's surprised by how non-chalantly Chloe reacts to waking up in her room.
"I didn't snore did I?"
Lana says no and almost adds `you never do' but catches herself.
"You're probably wondering why I'm here. I mean, in your room. I mean..."
Chloe flushes and moves to sit Indian style so she can face Lana more clearly.
"Funny thing, the one night you don't sneak into my room is the one night I couldn't sleep."
Lana`s eyes grow wide. She knew. She knew the whole time.
"Something felt off. Like, I don't know, something was missing. Not just you in the physical sense. Does that make sense?"
Lana feels the hair on the back of her neck begin to rise and rubs her hand there before nodding.
"I came in here last night because I couldn't sleep and I wanted to ask you something. Have you ever felt pure compulsion? Because I do all the time. With almost everything. Action with think first, you know?"
Lana nods again.
"Something was different last night," she says unfolding her legs the slightest bit. Lana now wished Chloe had worn pants because the sight of her sitting on the bed in just panties and a t-shirt, bare skin and thin cotton, are proving a little hard to hold back from.
"You weren't there," Chloe says. "I couldn't sleep because you weren't there."
Lana feels her hands tighten on the blanket.
"Why are you there Lana? Can you tell me that? Do you even know? For the past few weeks I`ve felt you watching me, sitting in my desk chair."
Lana tries to look away but only locks her eyes into Chloe's.
"I know you want me," she goes on. "I know you look at me when you think I don't notice. I know how you look."
Lana tries her best not to let her jaw drop. She had always assumed she was being discrete. Or at the very least not so damned obvious. Chloe moves her foot back and forth, and with the way she's talking Lana is not afraid to touch it. Her fingers lightly trace across the arch and she tries not to let a smile escape as Chloe bites her lip.
"What happened to being honest with our feelings?" Chloe asks.
"Were you really serious about that? Or was it just an effective cover up?"
Lana says that this is different.
"Why? What makes it different?"
Lana says that this isn't about Clark and the both of them.
"I know that."
Lana can't come up with the words.
"Tell me what you're feeling," Chloe says.
Lana shivers a little and turns her head away.
"Why couldn't you be honest Lana?" Chloe asks.
Lana says that she was, that she is afraid. She let's out a frustrated sigh and let's go of Chloe's foot.
"You're such a hypocrite."
Lana nods. She knows this better than anyone.
Chloe leans forward and grips the top of the blanket in her hand and pulls it from Lana's hands exposing simple white pajamas. She tosses the blanket to the floor and crawls closer, straddling Lana's waist and placing her hands on both sides of her head. Lana gasps at the feeling of Chloe's bare legs wrapped around her. She's trying to pinpoint how this happened. When did Chloe start acting so smug and experienced? How did she know? How does she not care? How...
"This is what you want isn't it?" Chloe says.
She grinds herself harder and Lana feels her breath catch at the contact. "Or this?"
"Don't insult me by denial okay?" Chloe says firmly. "I've seen the way you look at me. It's how Clark looks at you."
Lana writhes under Chloe's weight and wishes once more that she could be so forward. Maybe all the watching and wanting and desire could have been realized much sooner. She doesn't understand how Chloe could have comes to terms with this so easily, but she grinds even harder and Lana doesn't care much for details anymore.
"Have you ever done this before?" Chloe asks.
Lana shakes her head no and asks that Chloe tell her she's not alone in this. That's she's not a freak.
"You're not a freak," she replies softly as she places a kiss on Lana's forehead.
"Tell me you want me," Chloe says, her voice barely a whisper, her eyes wide and fragile.
Lana understands why Chloe suddenly appears so willing. A person can only take so much heartache before they think of forgetting love in any form. Chloe has dated more guys than she, and in turn, has been hurt more than she. Clark seemed like the only obstacle between them in past, but he's pushed them both aside one too many times. Lana is sick of coming in second and Chloe is sick of coming in last. All anyone ever yearned for was to be wanted. Lana knows now that Chloe isn't bothered with the detail of gender so long as it's sincere. And she feels foolish for not being brave, or honest, or any of the things she really wants to be.
Chloe leans forward and they give one another the assurance that they crave, and Lana is amazed by how simple things can be
One thing Lana would have guessed about Chloe was the she was a good kisser.
There's a strange weight at the end of the bed when she wakes up.
She opens her eyes to see Chloe curled up like a cat at her feet, blonde hair strewn haphazardly across her leg. Lana takes a Polaroid of this moment in her mind so she can call on it whenever she wishes. Gently she untucks her legs from underneath the other girl's body and scoots up to the end of her bed. Lana fights a few tears and curses the dream of a happily ever after. She'd stopped being the fairy princess long ago. She wants to yell and scream and stop the world because she's tired of spinning.
The clock on the nightstand reads five-thirty a.m. Her alarm will go off in the next half-hour and Chloe will wake up and wonder what she was doing in here or what she came for. She will never had said those things. They won't kiss and they won't make love. Lana will never admit all her wants and needs out loud and Chloe won't reciprocate any of them.
Lana watches Chloe sleep and feels empty because she knows she'll never have the guts to admit anything.
Honesty is next to godliness and dishonesty causes anger and pain.
Lana has trouble seeing the line between two now and all she wants is for Chloe to wake up and kiss her.
Because all anyone ever yearns for is to be wanted.
But she knows the rest of the world isn't ready to know that Lana Lang is in love with a girl.
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