Disclaimer: Not mine. M&G should be relieved. Thanks: My betas, Cat A and Signe, who offered characterization suggestions, constructive criticism and were nice to me. Hecubus who revved my muse. Feedback: My anti-drug, much like good friends and gay porn. (And especially requested since this is my very first fanfic!) Summary: Lana has a panic attack.
"Errghufff-ug!" Clark grunts towards his release.
Lana sighs underneath him. Her legs are spread, and her hips are cramping. She's being jostled around by Clark's uneven thrusts, and his sweat is dripping on her face. She turns her head to look at her clock, but her view is blocked by Clark's thick forearm planted into her pillow.
"Ulf--!" Clark exhales as he thumps down next to her. He smiles at her, eyes shining. "How was it?"
"Oh, um... it was okay." Lana pulls her lips into what she hopes is a smile. She stretches her legs out in front of her. Her hips pop back into place.
"Did you...?" He runs a finger lightly down her stomach.
"Yeah, I-- it was great." Lana wipes his sweat from her face and stretches an arm behind her head. Her fingers catch a very large, fuzzy bump in her hair. Ugh, she thinks. *This must be what Felice meant by "sex knot*."
Clark pulls her closer to him. "You're warm." He yawns.
"And beautiful," he mumbles as he burrows his face into her neck.
"Thanks." The smell of sex is strong on his skin: halitosis, feet, his musk like rancid sweat. She turns her head away and tries not to breathe through her nose.
Once Clark is sleeping, Lana peels his arms from her sticky skin and heads for her bathroom wrinkling her nose. She smells like Clark and their sex. Turning on the shower, she steps into the water and lathers herself with plumeria bodywash letting the foam and warm water take the stink down the drain.
Lana dries herself off and sprays detangler on her hair. She is picking apart the knot with her comb as she walks back into her room.
She puts the comb down and grabs some underwear and socks from her dresser. Then she selects jeans from her closet. Rifling through her shirts, she chooses a mint green sweater she'd bought one day shopping with Chloe.
Clark awakens from the hangers' clacking. He stretches and rolls over to greet her as Lana pulls on her sweater. "Hey, you," he smiles sleepily and props his head on his hand. "What are you doing all the way over there?"
She turns to her mirror and returns to stabbing at the knot with her comb. "Clark, I actually need to get to the Talon."
"Oh." He shifts to get up. "Okay, I'll--"
"I'll see you later, okay? Or I'll call you?"
"Yeah, okay. But--" Clark is hopping around on one foot trying to pull his pants on.
Lana throws her comb at her dresser, grabs her purse and tugs on the door as she spins out of the room, the door slamming behind her.
"Lana?" Clark calls.
As she parks her truck at the Talon, Lana rests her head on her hands on the steering wheel and thinks of Clark left in her room. She sighs and yanks her hair back. Grimacing at the remains of the knot, she twists her hair into a bun and secures it with a rubber band. She leaves the truck, pushes open the Talon door and marches inside.
She whips her head around. Chloe is waving from the middle of the caf. "Chloe." She clears her throat. "What are you doing here? I um... thought you had Torch stuff to do?"
"Yeah, I finished early. What are you doing here? I thought it was your day off." Chloe smiles and flips her hair. It is very shiny.
"It is, but..." Lana shrugs and blinks at the floor. She trails her fingers along the side of Chloe's table. "I remembered I had all this paperwork and stuff and I thought I should work on it." She studies the paint on the walls. "You know, keep on top of things and such... and, um... financial reports for Lex... that stuff." The Talon's columns suddenly seem fascinating. "I should get started." Lana looks at her and then heads towards the office. Chloe's hair is shiny.
"Lana?" Chloe asks.
"I'll talk to you later, okay?" She closes the office door behind her. Sighing, she leans back against the door and sinks down to the floor. *What's wrong with me*?
Moments later, Clark enters the Talon looking decidedly perplexed. Chloe catches his eye and waves him over.
"Hey, Clark, what's going on? You look confused," Chloe says as Clark ambles towards her.
"Have you seen Lana?" Clark squints. His eyes dart the room.
Chloe rolls her eyes. "I'm fine, Clark. Thanks for asking."
"Lana's in the office. She was acting--"
"Thanks, Chloe." Clark absently pats her on the shoulder as he walks in that direction.
"Guess I should be glad you remembered my name, Clark," she says after him. Chloe gathers up her books and leaves.
Clark knocks once on the office door before opening it. "What's going on?" he demands.
Lana looks up startled from the paper she has been doodling on. She notices at some point she stopped writing her name and started writing "What the hell."
"You left me in your room, without an explanation. You needed to come here, fine, but why did you leave like that?" Clark's eyes redden as he swipes his hair from his eyes. "Especially after we... I mean, didn't you like it? I thought..." He approaches her almost pleadingly, his arms wide open.
Lana sighs. "It wasn't that, Clark. I just... I needed to do some work. I'd forgotten about it. I'm sorry. I shouldn't have left you like that. I was distracted. It was fine." She lets Clark's arms cautiously enfold her.
"Lana, something's not okay. You can tell me what's bothering you. I want you to." He runs his thumb along her jaw. "What's going on?"
Bile starts rising in Lana's throat. "Clark, it's nothing. Really. I'll call you later, okay?" She tests a smile at him while fighting to keep her stomach contents down.
He smiles back. "I just want you to be happy. You know that, right?" He moves to peck her on the mouth.
Lana pulls back. She is losing the battle with her stomach, and her throat is beginning to burn. "I know, Clark." The desire to vomit is nearly strangling her. "I'll talk to you later."
"Okay. Bye, Lana." He turns and leaves the office.
She throws up in the garbage pail.
"Chloe, I'm sleeping with Clark."
The steering wheel doesn't appear to care. In fact, it hasn't cared the whole ride home from the Talon.
"Chloe, I'm sleeping with Clark."
She pulls up in front of her house. Three months and calling it home still feels foreign.
"Chloe, I'm sleeping with Clark."
Sometime between counting cracks in the paint on the wall and tossing pencils at the office ceiling to see if they'd stick, it had gotten dark out. Lana hasn't gotten a lick of work done, but she knows not to buy that brand of paint again. She also knows she's still sleeping with Clark. She sighs.
"Chloe, I'm-- GOD!!! What am I-- AUGH!!!" Lana throws her hands over her face and shakes her head viciously. She breathes hard as she rubs her hands roughly up her face and through her hair. "Chloe, I'm sleeping with Clark. Chloe, I don't care that your hair is so shiny. I'm sleeping with Clark. I don't care that your shampoo smells so nice I use it sometimes. I don't care that sex with Clark smells so bad, that it's boring, that I'm thinking of you when he's--" Lana wrenches the truck door open and vomits on the grass.
"Lana! Are you okay?" Chloe comes running out of the house to her. "I saw you park, but you didn't get out. What's going on? Are you sick? Do you need anything?"
Lana stumbles from the truck and holds a hand out to ward her off. She throws up again. "I'll be-- I'll be fine in a second. One second." She gasps for air then draws three deep breaths and stands. "Okay." Deep breath. "Okay."
Chloe wraps an arm around her and ushers her towards the door. "Come inside."
Lana is seated on the sofa. Chloe brings her a glass of water. "Sip this slowly," she says.
Lana takes the glass from her, takes a weak sip and sets in on the end table next to her. Chloe has an arm around Lana's shoulders. It's warm, and Lana leans into it. Chloe's hair smells like strawberries. Her skin smells like baby powder. Lana breathes it in.
A few moments pass in silence. Lana snuggles in closer.
"What's going on with you? Chloe finally asks softly. "Why did you go to the Talon if you're sick?" She starts stroking Lana's hair. "Especially on your day off?"
"I just had work to do," Lana mumbles. She shrugs.
"Did Lex really need it so immediately? You were throwing up. I'm sure he would've understood."
Lana abruptly sits up. "I'm tired. I'm going to go to bed." She stands slowly. Her legs don't feel like supporting her, but for the moment they're cooperating. Lana squeezes the banister and climbs the stairs to her room.
"Um, good night," Chloe says after her.
"I have your books," Clark says proudly from the doorway. He holds them up as proof. "Are you feeling any better?"
Lana has one hand on the doorframe as she braces the door open with her body. "A little bit," she replies. "I've eaten dry toast today, and I drank some flat ginger ale." Lana smiles. "Dr. Chloe's orders."
"My parents don't need me for chores for a little while yet if you'd like some company." Clark beams at her.
Lana's chest tightens and her stomach gurgles a warning. She grimaces. "I'm not up for any company right now." The tightness eases a bit. Her stomach is momentarily satisfied.
Clark's face falls. "Oh. Okay." He shifts from one foot to the other and back.
Lana reaches an arm towards him. "I'm just not feeling all that well, that's all, Clark. Thanks for my books, though." She takes them from him.
"The history book has the homework. I wrote it all on a slip of paper and put it in there." He smiles slightly and points.
"Thanks, Clark." Lana steps back to close the door.
Clark opens his arms for a hug. Lana gives him a brief one. Her stomach burbles another warning.
"I might be contagious," she says. "I wouldn't want you to get sick." Acid is rising to her throat.
"Thanks again." She closes the door and takes a deep breath. Her throat feels singed, but the nausea passes.
Clark remains on the step a moment, his arms still lifted from the hug. His eyes are wide, and his jaw is slack. He shakes his head roughly and then turns back to his truck.
"I'm sorry, Clark," Lana whispers.
"Did Clark bring your homework?" Chloe asks from Lana's doorway.
"Yeah, he did," Lana says. She looks up from her desk. Chloe is leaning on the doorframe. Her hair looks less surprised today than it normally does. She's wearing a bright green shirt. It's snug. Deep V-neck. Lacy. It looks great.
Lana rips her eyes up from Chloe's chest. Chloe has an eyebrow raised. Lana realizes her lips had pulled into a smile while she'd been staring. Chloe crosses her arms over her chest.
Lana's eyes had drifted again. She looks up at Chloe. "Huh?"
"Is there something on my shirt?" Chloe starts picking at the fabric.
"No, no. There's not. I- I'm sorry. I'm just a little out of it." She shakes her head and returns to her homework.
"Are you hungry?" Chloe asks. Lana looks up. "Say yes, because I made lime Jell-o."
Lana smiles then twists it into a smirk. "'I could go for something Jell-o.'"
"Ha ha," Chloe smirks back. "You watched too much TV today. Come on. Let's have Jell-o."
Chloe talks about Pete chasing (and getting shot down by) Jessica Henry today, Clark getting a question wrong in history ("And hasn't Lex given him dissertations on Ancient Greece?"), and how her new sports writer hasn't written a single word even though his article was due two days ago, and he insists it's coming but doesn't seem to understand the meaning of the word "deadline."
Lana nods and notices that Chloe's eyebrows nearly rise off her head when she's frustrated and that her smile is shaped like a perfect triangle. She surprises herself by suddenly hanging her spoon off the end of her nose.
Chloe stops talking and her eyes widen. "I've never been able to do that, and after two-and-a-half years of hanging out predominantly with Pete and Clark, you'd think I could." She picks up her spoon and tries to stick it to her nose, but it falls back to the table with a clatter. "Doing silly boy-tricks doesn't strike me as very 'Lana.'" She tries again.
Lana lowers head and peers through her eyelashes. "I will always surprise you, Chloe."
Sure enough, Chloe's jaw drops. "Re-really."
Lana stretches her expression into a smirk.
Chloe clears her throat and blinks. Suddenly, she laughs.
Lana removes the spoon from her nose hurt. "What?" she asks.
"You just tried to seduce me with a spoon hanging off the end of your nose, and I almost fell for it!" Chloe doubles over and nearly falls off her chair.
"So what if I tried it without the spoon?" Lana asks, her voice low and soft.
"Lana, you're much braver than me." Chloe shakes her head laughingly. "This isn't a side of myself I want to explore."
Lana's eyes open wide. But Chloe brought her water last night after she threw up. Chloe soothed her with soft words and fingers through her hair. She made Jell-o and a list of what Lana could eat today. Chloe was almost seduced.
But Chloe didn't follow Lana into the Talon office yesterday to check on her. She didn't bring Lana her homework. She covered her chest when she caught Lana staring. Chloe _wasn't_ seduced. Chloe wasn't seduced. Oh no.
Lana shakes her head fast and tears from the room, running out of the house and into her truck. She slams the door and drives away.
Five minutes later Lana finds herself pulling into the driveway at the Kent Farm. She runs up the stairs of the loft. Her vision is blurry, and she's constantly swiping tears off her face with the back of her hand.
"Clark," she chokes out. "Clark." *My fail-safe*, she thinks. *You've always loved me*. *You'll always love me*.
And suddenly Clark is standing beside her. "Lana?" His arm is around her, at first tentatively, then stronger. His fingers stroke her hair. "Hush, hush," he soothes. "Hush, breathe. It's okay. I'll never let anything happen to you."
Lana is hiccuping into his chest. "Clark."
"Shhhhh." He leads her over to the couch to sit then kneels in front of her still stroking her face and hair.
"I'm here, Lana. It's okay."
"Oh, Clark," she sobs. She throws her arms around his broad shoulders and cries into his hair. "Clark, I'm so sorry for everything, for how I've been acting the last few days especially and I know I've been inattentive and distracted and I'm so sorry and--" she chokes sharply with another sob followed by stuttered breathing.
"Lana, you've been sick, it's okay. Just relax. I'm here for you." He maneuvers her around until he's sitting in the corner of the couch with one leg stretched out down the length and the other bent to the floor with Lana lying along his outstretched leg. Her head rests on his thigh.
Lana lets herself feel his warmth and breathes through her mouth and not her nose. Her breathing calms, her heart softens, she closes her eyes. Chloe's fingers stroke her hair. "I love you," she whispers. 1
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