Paring: Lex Luthor/Jessica (OC) / Clark / Oliver
Description: Jessica comes to Smallville, the small town in Kansas, full of bizarre and unexplained. She falls for the billionaire Lex Luthor and befriends Clark Kent.
IF YOU ARE NOT SATISFIED WITH WHAT WRITERS OF SMALLVILLE DID TO LEX, THIS IS A PLACE FOR YOU
The title JeXVille comes from the combination of Lex's and Jessica's names and half from the original title: smallVILLE.
The story is in Mature category, but you will have to wait a little for the smut
(this is an original chapter, it happens just before the finale of season 2 of SV)
Smallville – the meteor capitol of the world, I read the sign I just passed, finally arriving at the place of my destination.
I still had doubts whether it was a good idea to come here at all. Some said the past should stay in the past, but I could not seem to shake it off. I needed to get here. Something about this place was calling to me and I didn't want to stay in Metropolis anyway.
I might as well come here - to my home town. I'd lived here long before the famous meteors had fallen on it. Supposedly, I'd been the happiest in this place, if I believed my uncle. I didn't remember much from my childhood, but I felt that he was right. At least until my parents died in the meteor shower and my uncle took me with him to Metropolis.
I barely remembered that dreadful day as I'd been four back then. Sometimes, I saw some flashes in my head, bits of what had happened, but most of it was a blur. I'd been too traumatized to even register what had happened fully, the terror had taken most of those memories away and I was rather grateful for that. I didn't want to remember how my parents were killed. What I knew was enough.
I, apparently, had been the lucky one. The meteor had struck the front of the car we'd been traveling in, leaving the back intact. I only knew this because my uncle had told me. I'd been found a few hours later, crying my eyes out in the wreck of the vehicle. They'd called the only remaining member of the family and the next thing I'd known was that I'd been being transferred to Metropolis, having to adjust to a completely new life. I'd been constantly for after my parents, couldn't understand that they'd just been… gone. Now, when I focused, I could see a flash of light, the upcoming meteor in a reign of fire, the smiling faces of them and then the surprise as they saw what was coming. Then, there was nothing. Everything was blank. Repressed.
I felt now like I came a full circle. For the first time since I was little, I was coming back to this town, I was going to live in it, to go to school here. Metropolis, as strange as it sounded, was not for me. I was always the outsider, the strange girl with long red hair, freckles and pale complexion. I was not ugly, I never thought that way of myself, but I was never popular there in the big city either. I couldn't fit in or find a true friend. I was scarred as I lost my family so early in my life. Maybe another reason to why I'd been so lonely in Metropolis was that I'd been attending a very good school which unfortunately was filled with rich and spoiled brats.
I needed to change something, anything, just to be able to go on, to hold on long enough as not to break eventually. So what that I was almost eighteen? So what that I would start my senior years in a new school? I believed it would be all right because there was someone out there who understood me. She was just like me, her parents died in the same meteor shower, leaving her with her aunt and what more, the incident had broken us up. Lana Lang was my best childhood friend. I didn't remember much of that time as I'd been so little, but I had some flashes of her as well. We'd reestablished our contacts via the internet and then, one day she just blurted out that I should come to Smallville. It was a ridiculous idea at first, but then, when I actually thought of it some more, I discovered that I actually wanted it. I wanted to come back here, I wanted to finish high school when attending Smallville High. It was a radical change, but I was in a desperate need of one.
Lana was now a co-owner of the town most popular coffee shop, The Talon, and she was currently living in the small apartment above it. She had a spare room, a place for me there.
It would be like a new start, I hoped. Maybe I would finally find some happiness.
"Jessica! You've made it!" I heard Lana Lang's voice as soon as I stepped into the Talon. It wasn't hard to find it since there was a huge playbill upfront.
I turned to the source of Lana's voice and saw a slender girl with long raven hair, coming my way. "Hi!" She finally stood right next to me and gave me a hug which I happily reciprocated. I was kind of afraid of this meeting. It was one thing to talk over the internet and another to actually see someone in person, but my concerns were unfounded. Even though I vaguely remembered Lana, there was something familiar about her and something that told me I could trust her. Must be the friendship shaped in such an early age. Those were the strongest.
"Lana! It's so good to see you!" I said when we let go off each other.
I finally had the chance to look around and I noticed the décor of this place. "I really like it," I voiced my opinion honestly. "These Egyptian motifs and these curtains really create a cozy atmosphere."
Lana, clearly happy that I appreciated what she'd done with the place, suggested, "Maybe I could get you some coffee? They say it's the best in town."
"I would love to, but first I would like to see the apartment if you don't mind. I need to take my baggage there," I pointed the bags that I brought inside with me and which now were lying on the floor.
"Oh, sure! I'll help! I asked Clark to get here, so he could do that, but…" Lana sighed heavily as she bent over to pick one of them. "It's so typical of him to be late. I don't even know why I still bother with him."
"You obviously love him," I noticed.
Lana had mentioned Clark in her e-mails. He was her boyfriend, but from what I managed to find out, he was equally annoying as he was lovable. And Lana clearly was so in love with him that she managed to tolerate all his peculiarities.
"Sometimes I just wish he'd open up to me. I'm tired of waiting," Lana said, "but I won't be bothering you with my problems now… Up," she pointed the staircase on the right.
I heaved my part of the baggage and started climbing up the stairs to the small apartment there.
I wasn't expecting anything in particular, I just wanted a place to live and to start over, so I took the opportunity. The apartment really surprised me. I liked it and I would pick this place to live in if I had a choice. I voiced my opinion and merited another smile from Lana.
"Thanks," she just said.
"You have a really good taste for decorating," I paid her another compliment. "You somehow manage to pick things that seem not to fit together, but somehow they do."
Lana laughed at that.
"I got it all from a flea market and there wasn't really much of a choice."
"Still, it's nice."
"I must say… you've changed," Lana stated when looking at me closely.
"I hope so. I wouldn't like to be a little child," I joked.
"No… I mean… I saw your pictures on the Internet, but they must be outdated. What I see is a really beautiful woman with gorgeous hair! I don't see any freckles on your face either!"
"Well… they're kind of fading now and I couldn't be happier about that," I admitted. Actually, I really did like the way I looked now, too. My hair was no longer the color of a carrot. As I grew up, the color deepened and now it was a nice shade of red instead of this embarrassing Anne of Green Gables predicament. "You look great, too! After all, you're the most popular girl in town as I heard," I told Lana.
"Well," she shrugged, "I guess now I finally have some competition. Maybe they'll shift their attention to you since I already have a boyfriend."
"So," I spoke after a few short moments of silence during which I looked around, "this is the place where your parents met, right? It was originally a movie theater."
"Yes, it was. Still is," Lana corrected. "I occasionally organize movie nights. It belonged to Nell, my aunt, but she decided to sell it. I couldn't seem to let go off it. I know it's silly, but…"
"No, it's not, I understand. My parents died that day, too, and if I had something like this place, I would hold onto it as well," I told her.
"Your parents must've spent some time here as well. After all, they were friends with mine," Lana pointed out.
"So, how did you manage to convince your aunt to sign this place over to you?" I asked.
"I didn't. Instead, I convinced the buyer to let me transform it into a coffee shop. He wanted to take it all down for a parking lot."
"And he didn't?" I turned around to face her again, astonished.
"Yeah, I think it had something to do with the fact that he didn't want the people of Smallville to hate him more," Lana explained. "He just moved in. Lex Luthor, the famous billionaire from Metropolis? Lionel Luthor's son?"
"Yeah, that name rings a bell. I wasn't exactly following the news back in Metropolis, but I know about Lionel," I admitted.
"Smallvillians hate the Luthors, so I guess Lex just used my idea to try change their minds."
"Did it work?" I was curious to know.
"I'm not sure yet," Lana admitted. "But it didn't make things worse like the parking lot would and that's a plus."
"But wait… you just went to him for help? Just like that?" I asked, now really interested as the story seemed so improbable.
"Oh, no, he's a friend of Clark's," Lana explained. "You wouldn't believe the wacky stuff which are happening all the time in this town. Clark actually saved Lex's life."
"Really?" I raised my eyebrows in surprise.
"After his Porsche crashed into the water," Lana informed.
"Ok, that one actually doesn't surprise me. Billionaires are spoilt brats, after all," I said. I should know from experience in my previous school.
"Well, not Lex, apparently. He's kind of… lonely. He must be if he's friends with Clark. He's also… bald. He lost his hair in the meteor shower, can you believe it? He's been through some tough times at school."
"Maybe we do have something in common, after all," I decided, murmuring under my breath.
"Clark is reallllyyyy late," Lana sighed again as she looked at the clock hanging on the wall, her voice exasperated. "I'm really…"
"…sorry!" someone from the door finished after her.
We turned around and I saw a tall, dark-haired man. I needed to admit, he was really well-built, muscular and very handsome.
"Clark Kent, I guess," I spoke to him, reminding myself that he was my best friend's boyfriend and therefore off limits. Then I remembered the problems Lana actually had with him, so I'd rather not engage myself in admiring his looks.
"And you must be Jessica. Hi." He came over to me and reached his hand to me.
"Nice to meet you." I smiled to him.
"Safe it, Clark." Lana just wove her hand at him and left the room. "Coffee?" I heard from her when she was already on the staircase.
"So, did Lana tell you all there is to know about Smallville?" Clark asked when we followed the brunette.
"Well, she did mention some… wacky stuff, but I guess it's just…"
"It's not," Clark suddenly interrupted me.
"Hah?" I asked, not really getting his point.
"Everything she told you, no matter how crazy it sounded, it was all true. Are you sure you want to stay here? I mean…" He suddenly got embarrassed. "Sorry, I didn't mean it as I wanted you gone… I just…"
"It's ok," I laughed. How such a good looking guy could act so awkwardly? "But I'm just having a very hard time to believe it all."
"When you'll see it on your own eyes, you will."
"We'll see about that."
"I really need to introduce you to my friend, Chloe Sullivan, she'll be delighted to fill you in in every single crazy theory of hers. Crazy, but it doesn't mean that it's not true." Clark winked at me.
"Well, I guess I would have to take your word on that."
I had the opportunity to meet Chloe once she dropped by the Talon the very same day. Apparently, she was addicted to coffee.
Clark introduced us and I didn't really know what to think of her. I didn't take an instant liking to her like I did with Clark, but some people took a lot more to get used to or like once one met them. From what I'd already heard, Chloe was a great and a loyal friend to both Clark and Lana, so I was sure I would be able to look past her nosiness. I couldn't define her any other way, but I guessed it was only natural since she was a reporter dreaming of working for the Daily Planet. She asked me a lot of questions and at some point Clark must've noticed that I was getting uncomfortable because he said, "Chloe, let her breathe, she's just got here. I'm sure there'll be plenty of time for you to get to know each other."
I was really grateful for that and I sent Clark a grateful smile. I might not have established any friendship with Chloe that day, but I was sure Clark would be a great friend for me in the future. He had that kind of air around him. I felt like I could trust him and he would understand me. To Chloe I would yet have to get used to.
She finally stopped asking questions and I had the chance to find something out about the famous Wall of Weird Clark and Lana had told me about. Chloe lightened up and began chattering about it, but then she sighed heavily, "You just have to see it on your own eyes, Jess! The day the school starts, you need to come to the Torch, so I could show you!"
After a few days, I was sure that coming to Smallville was a good decision. I really needed a change in my life. Even though before I'd been hesitant, now I wasn't anymore. I was happy here. I finally felt… right, like I truly belonged somewhere. I didn't know whether it was because it was the town my parents had lived in or the town I was born in, but I did feel home here. I didn't regret leaving everything else behind - even though there wasn't really much to leave. My uncle might've raised me, but at that his role in my life seemed to end. He no longer had to feel guilty. He'd done his part honoring my father by taking care of me and now, he didn't really have any obligations towards me left. Maybe it seemed cruel or sad, but I was all right. My uncle and my father had never really gotten along well and I wasn't close to the first either. He was just a means to survive those traumatic years of my life. As I thought of it, I'd had better relations with my uncle's second wife than with him. I inherited enough money after my parents to fend for myself. I still needed a job though, so I wouldn't run out of that money too soon. Lana needed a waitress in the Talon anyway and I was happy to fill in that spot.
Life was pretty good right now, I guessed, except one thing that bothered me. Clark and Chloe kept talking about those people that they called meteor infected and I could just listen to all that stories in awe. I couldn't believe it. I thought that was some kind of a welcome joke, like every new person in Smallville needed to go through that faze in which their friends tried to pull a prank on them. But it went on and on and I really didn't know what to think of it anymore. I just couldn't believe it. Not entirely. Such things just weren't possible, were they? I could understand a baby with six fingers and some anomaly in the cattle's fetus, but people with actual powers? Sucking fat out of people? Absorbing heat? Transforming oneself into someone else? That seemed a little bit far-fetched for me.
At least until the day I witnessed one of such incidents…
"That was weird…" Lana said when taking the free chair by my table in the Talon. I was just having my break, so I was drinking coffee while reading the Daily Planet.
"What is?" I asked, my curiosity piqued. I really loved it here, but it was a small town and compared to Metropolis, there wasn't really much going on.
"I just saw Mary… she's my classmate," Lana added an explanation as I didn't know everyone yet. "I was actually surprise to see her. She stopped going to school a few months back and no one has seen her ever since. Until today, that is."
"Well, that should be good news, right?" I asked. "She's all right."
"That's the thing," Lana confessed when looking me in the eye, "I don't think she is."
"I could've sworn her skin was a little… well… greenish…"
"Greenish?" I repeated, my eyes opening wide. I didn't really know what to say or how to react to that. "Lana, are you sure you weren't just blinded by the s…"
"Jess, I know you don't want to believe it, but weird things happen in this town all the time. Right before I found you and contacted you after all those years, there was Emily."
"That girl you were telling me about," I remembered. "The one LuthorCorp experimented on."
"Yes, but… they wouldn't have succeeded in those experiments if it hadn't been for the meteor rocks."
"Lana, just because this… Mary… looked a little…"
"That's not all. She was holding her hand pressed against her chest like it was injured somehow, broken or…"
"Did you ask her about it?" I inquired, doing my best to be helpful, but it sounded more wacky to me with every second.
"She ran off before I did," Lana sighed. "I'll go call Chloe…"
She was just about to stand up when we heard a deep manly voice, "Ladies."
I looked up, curious to whom this voice belonged to. It was nice, masculine, but in the same time reserved and schooled.
I saw Clark, but right next to him there was a man I didn't know. Although, one look at him told me exactly who he was as he was completely bald.
I realized I was looking into the eyes of no one else but the famous - or should I say - infamous Lex Luthor.
I saw his pictures in the papers, but now I knew they didn't do him any justice. He was much more handsome in person. He was tall, his body slim, graceful and attractive. And his eyes… I thought I was mesmerized there for a moment, staring into them like some stupid fan girl - which, of course, I was not. Were they blue or gray? I couldn't really tell.
"Lex, this is Jessica. Jessica… Lex…" Clark finally introduced us.
I stood up, feeling stupid when I was the only one sitting. Lana gone by now.
"Mr. Luthor," I said, my voice a little shaky, but I managed to school it and I reached my hand to him. "Nice to meet you."
I couldn't believe I was actually shaking a little and could only pray they didn't notice that. This man seemed to electrify the air around him. There was something about him… something alluring and in the same time unattainable. His entire presence was intoxicating.
I sucked in my breath when his hand met mine and I could feel tiny sparks of electricity running between us. We definitely had chemistry. I never believed in love from the first sight, I wasn't naïve enough for that, but I did believe in the attraction. I was certainly attracted to this man and I wasn't sure if that was a good thing. There seemed to be a huge gap between us and the environments we were coming from. Still, there was a gap between him and Clark and also between him and Lana.
"Oh, please, call me Lex." He smiled to me and let go off my hand. "Clark and Lana's friends are my friends."
"Thanks, Lex," I said, smiling to him back and silently praying that he wouldn't notice my burning cheeks. I could feel my face like it was lit on fire.
"Clark told me all about you moving here and I was looking forward to meeting you," Lex continued when we all sat down. "He said great things about you," he added.
"Oh, really, Clark? Like what?" I turned to my friend because I could no longer look at Lex. I was scared that my eyes would soon start doing some acrobatics as I would try to figure out where to look. I couldn't look into his eyes for too long and…
"We would've probably met sooner, but I was out of town in business. I needed to conclude some deals before the wedding."
"W-wedding?" I asked before I managed to bite my tongue. Great, now I stammered over those words! I so didn't want to embarrass myself in front of this man. It wasn't enough that in his expensive suit and shoes and with that sleek irresistible bald head he looked completely out of place in… wait a sec, did I just call him irresistible? I hoped it was just a helpless crush that would disappear in a few days.
"Yeah," Lex nodded. Gladly, he didn't seem to notice my slip. "Didn't Clark tell you? I'm getting married."
"Must be a lucky girl," I managed to say with a smile. There you go, I said to myself, he was taken. Of course, he was! What else did I expect? Handsome billionaires didn't fall in love with high school girls, even if they were nearly eighteen. "Who is she?" I asked.
"Her name is Helen Bryce and she's a doctor," Lex said and I could tell that he was proud. Who wouldn't be? He was marrying a doctor while being an affluent businessman. Must be a match made in heaven. I could bet that Helen was beautiful.
"A doctor. Nice catch," I joked and he laughed at that. It didn't miss my attention that he had a really beautiful laugh. And he didn't seem like a man who did it often.
And he was so out of my league.
I needed to remind myself that I didn't come to Smallville to find a boyfriend. I came here because I wanted to change my life. It didn't matter that both Lex and Clark were unusually attractive. I didn't matter that I could feel the chemistry hanging in the air between me and Lex. They were both taken and I was sure my little crush would be over in a few days. Nothing that developed at first sight of a man could lead anywhere anyway.
Only the problem was that it didn't go away. An entire week had passed by and I still felt attracted to Lex. I didn't want to be. I didn't even want to think about him, but I couldn't help it. I even started wondering if maybe I picked up some meteor power when getting here, but that didn't make any sense. Besides, meteor powers didn't exist. At least it was what I kept telling myself.
I looked at the clock idly and then, when I was turning my head away, I looked right back at it. Something didn't add up here. Lana had called an hour ago to tell me that she was on her way home, but Clark's farm wasn't that far away and that was the place she'd been coming back from.
It didn't take a genius to figure out that she should've been home by now, so without hesitation, I picked up the phone and dialed her cell number.
I was starting to get worried, so I decided to call Clark.
"Clark, hi… It's Jessica… Listen, Lana's not home yet. I don't know what happened... She should've been back by now. Is she still at your place?" I asked with hope, but I could feel it was all futile. Maybe I still had troubles believing in the supernatural that was allegedly happening in Smallville, but my new friends were talking about strange accidents so often that I seemed to think like them now.
"She left over an hour ago. I'll be right there," Clark just answered and hung up.
Where would he be? I was wondering, stupefied as I put the phone receiver down. He couldn't possibly get to the Talon in…
He was just knocking on the door. The coffee shop was already closed, so I needed to go over there and let him in myself.
"How did you get here so fast?" I frowned at him when he stepped inside.
"I took a… shortcut…" he mumbled. "Now, about Lana… tell me everything."
"Last time I saw her she was heading your way," I said.
"I know that. I mean that you need to tell me everything that happened recently. Even if it seems insignificant to you. It may be important to me. Did something weird happen?" He was looking at me expectantly.
"Maybe she's at Chloe's?" I tried.
"Jess…" Clark said, his voice exasperated.
I sighed. I didn't want to say it out loud, but there was a thing that was out of the ordinary. Something Lana had told me herself.
"All right…" I sighed again. "I still don't think this has anything to…"
"Jess, just say it, please," Clark prompted, rather impatient.
I rolled my eyes at him. "Ok, Lana told me about some girl the other day… Mary…" I finally remembered her name. "She said that Mary looked strange like her hand was broken or injured and… that her skin looked a little… greenish. I told Lana that she must've been blinded by the sunlight."
Clark shook his head. "No, she was not. This is exactly the kind of a lead we need."
"Shouldn't we go to the police?" I suggested.
"And tell them what?" Clark asked the perfect question. "I can see them looking at me the very same way you are right now."
"Clark, I'm sorry!" I hissed. "But I just… You need to put yourself in my position. I have trouble believing in anything supernatural. I come from Metropolis. The only bad things happening out there are crimes."
"Chloe does come from the city, too."
"Yes, but she's been here for much longer."
"Jess, I don't have time for this right now. I'm not angry at you, ok?" Clark told me. "I'm just angry at whoever took Lana. Stay here. I need to go!"
"Go to where?!"
"Just… listen, please! Call me if Lana shows up!" He was gone. Just like that.
And I still had no idea what to do.
It was easy for him to tell me to wait. I was worried. Very worried. I couldn't call the police. I'd been growing up in Metropolis. The police would tell me to call Lana's possible classmates and would look for her in the streets, but they would file an official report once all other leads were checked. And that might be too late.
I was pacing impatiently in my and Lana's apartment when I heard footsteps a level below.
Then it came to me that I'd forgotten to lock the door again after Clark had left. Way to go! It could be a thief down there! Or… it could be Lana.
I was sick of waiting and hiding like some stupid damsel in distress, so I took a poker from the fireplace and made sure I had my cell phone in my pocket. I held the poker high and opened the door, then began descending the stairs.
"Lex?!" I was so surprised when I saw the back of his sleek bald head that I tripped. I squeaked and dropped the poker. I would've fallen down the third stair if Lex hadn't caught me on time.
It was a perfect landing, I needed to admit that. Suddenly, I found myself in his arms, his clean scent - cologne mixed with masculinity - invaded my nostrils. I could feel the hard planes of his chest on my side and his hands were holding me and… I looked up into his eyes and lost my breath.
There went my getting over him.
"What are you doing here so late?" I asked when he let me go, making sure I was standing on my feet.
"I was dropping some papers for Lana. Are you all right?" He was looking at me closely, checking for injuries.
"I'm fine, really," I told him quickly because he was making me feel self-conscious.
"You seem to look… shaken," he noticed.
"Well, I guess I am. It's Lana… She's gone, Lex. Clark went out to look for her."
"What do you mean gone? What happened?" Lex asked and grabbed his cell phone, dialing a number. "It's me. Find Lana Lang and make sure she's ok. She's clearly disappeared. Keep me updated." He hung up. "You were saying?" he asked me, looking at me again.
"Did you just…?" I started, pointing his cell. "Did you just call a PI or something?"
"I have people at my disposal at all times," he explained idly.
"Oh, yeah, I forgot… the powerful Lex Luthor," I teased him and I could've sworn I saw the corners of his mouth twitching slightly like he was stopping himself from smiling.
"Now, about Lana?" he prompted.
I led him to the counter to pour us some coffee and explained the situation in the meantime.
"You shouldn't be disallowing the meteor theory so fast," Lex told me when sipping his coffee and leaning on the counter. "In Smallville anything can happen. No one exaggerated when they told you about the possible danger."
"I heard that, but it's still hard to believe," I admitted, meeting his eyes. "I come from Metropolis. How am I supposed to believe in supernatural? I was born here, that's true, but I left shortly after the shower."
"I didn't believe it once either," Lex admitted. "And then I found myself looking for space ships and people with special powers."
"Space ships?" I got interested, so he told me about a man who'd claimed to see one in the meteor shower.
"I found an artifact made out of a material that is not from this Earth," Lex informed me.
"You see, that is interesting and has a scientific proof. Tell me more."
He did, but then I started fidgeting in my seat. No Lex Luthor could take my attention from my friend who was possibly in trouble.
"Shouldn't we call the police?" I suggested.
"Trust me, police won't help you."
"You're talking like Clark," I complained.
"What I mean is that the police won't help you. My people, for a change, will." Lex smirked.
"Oh, right… that thing," I nodded when finishing my coffee.
Talking to him and bantering seemed so easy. I really felt like we had a great potential to be friends because obviously, nothing else could happen between us. I would get what I could. I would really like him in my life as a friend. I had no one except Lana and Clark, after all, and Lex seemed like a very interesting addition.
As we talked a little bit more about our lives, struggles and family relations, I could see how much alike we actually were. Who would think? He was just as lonely as I was. Maybe that was why he was hanging out with Clark and Lana? Business was ruthless enough, especially when you were a billionaire, so I could only imagine that Lex couldn't afford any friends in that field unless he wanted to get stabbed in the back.
"I should make a call again," Lex said after a while and stood up when dialing a number.
He paced to the other side of the room when it happened.
I only managed to scream, "Lex, watch out!"
It was too late though. He looked at me, but then he was hit in the head from the back and he collapsed to the floor, his cell crashing right next to him.
"Lex!" I screamed and ran to him, but I was immediately stopped by… someone so hideous that I screamed again.
"Aren't you beautiful?" she just asked.
Then I was knocked out, too, and everything went black.
I woke up with a terrible headache and sore wrists. I felt bound, I couldn't move a muscle and when I tired, a moan escaped my lips.
"Jessica! Jess! Are you ok?!" I heard Lana's urgent voice.
I opened my eyes, but my vision was all blurry and it took me a while to adjust my sight. I met with another splitting headache, but I did my best to focus all my senses. I needed to be strong. I needed to get us out of here.
I gathered that I was tied up to a chair in some dark room. Right across from me was Lana in the very same predicament. I also noticed something in the corner, but I chose not to look at it too closely. Those seemed to be remnants of someone's body. The walls were made from brick and the cold moldy air made me think we were in some kind of a basement.
"What… What's happening?" I asked, doing my best not to panic. Still, it was all futile.
"Calm down, Jess… Just, please… calm down… We're gonna be fine," Lana kept saying, doing her best to make me feel better, but I had the impression that she didn't believe it herself.
"What happened?" I repeated.
"It was Mary. Just like I told you, there was something wrong with her. She's meteor infected," Lana explained.
"Jessica, I'm serious!" Lana yelled at me and then closed her eyes when seeing the startled look on my face. "I'm sorry," she said and shook her head. "Sorry… I just… Can't you see? It's all real!" She opened her eyes again and met mine. "I'm sorry, but it is. And I'm sorry if I got you into this mess… we can… we can die and…"
"Lana, stop!" I cut her silent. "We will not die! Clark and Lex's men are looking for us!" I chose not to think about Lex. Had Mary just left him there on the Talon's floor? Had she… killed him?
"Mary's decomposing," Lana informed me, temporarily causing me to forget about Lex.
"She… what?" I asked, frowning.
"She's decomposing. She needs a new skin to survive. A new… body. And that's the moment we come in."
"Are you seriously trying to tell me that…?" I stopped because I heard a loud squeak and the door in the end of the room, opened.
"Now… I have a dilemma," I heard a female voice and then the girl came into sight. Lana was apparently right. Everyone was right. It was real.
Mary's skin was more black than green now, wizened and peeling off. She was nearly bald as her hair was falling out and her teeth when she spoke… She only had a few of them left and they were yellow and decayed. It was hard to understand her, but I managed.
"I have a dilemma," she repeated. "Shall I take some parts from the both of you or shall I leave one of you for later? What do you think?"
At this point, I just started screaming for help.
Mary only laughed at me. "Do you really think someone can hear you down here? Dream on... You know what? I think I'll just take you," she pointed her finger at me. "I've already been a few brunettes in my life. Lana is a raven beauty, but you, my dear, are a fiery one and I've never before been a redhead."
I started shaking. My voice was lost. I couldn't scream anymore. I didn't even know where my tongue was or how to use it in order to utter sound. I was terrified to death. Was that how it would all end? One week I'd come to Smallville and another I would just be killed? Would someone even care? Would my uncle care? Had I managed to make friends in that week? Would anyone mourn me?
I could feel tears streaming down my face as I sobbed quietly.
Mary made a step towards me and Lana screamed, "No! Leave her alone!"
I shut my eyes and kept on shaking, waiting for death to come. Would it be painful? Would it be quick? I didn't know what to expect.
In that very moment, I heard… some other voices. Someone screaming. It was getting closer…
I couldn't believe it, but it was Clark! I was so happy on hearing his voice! We were saved! I would see another day! I would live! I would make more friends! My life wouldn't be lost and wasted!
The door burst open and two strangers stepped inside, directing themselves towards Mary. She was so surprised by the sudden appearance of the rescue team that she was an easy target.
Right after them, Clark got inside and then… Lex.
Clark got to Lana. Of course, he would. I couldn't blame him. She was his girlfriend and I was just a girl he was friends with. He'd known me barely for a week. That left Lex with me, so he go to me and cut the ties on my wrists and legs.
"You're safe now," he said in a warm voice.
I was still shaking, but once I was free, I jumped to my feet and threw my arms around him, clinging to his body.
"Are you all right?" he whispered into my ear, causing me to shiver, but he didn't notice as I was shaking anyway. He didn't push me away, quite the opposite, he held me in his embrace and his hands were stroking my back. "It's ok, you're safe," he kept repeating to soothe me.
I finally pulled away when it came to me that I might've been hugging him for too long. Longer than it was appropriate for sure. Especially when he wasn't mine to hold.
"I'm fine now," I said, answering his previous question. "I was so… so scared," I confessed. "And you were right. You were all right," I admitted. "It's all true."
"I'm sorry you had to find out the hard way," he sympathized.
"Is there any other way?" I asked. "Are you ok?" I reminded myself that he'd been knocked out as well.
"Nothing that I cannot recover from." He smiled to me. "Let's get you out of here."
"How are you holding up?" Lex asked, sitting down by my table.
We were staying up late, just sitting in the Talon and drinking coffee. None of us felt like going to sleep. Not after what happened.
"Better, thanks," I answered. "I can't… I still can't quite believe it yet," I admitted. "Everything Chloe said turned out to be… true. The girl who sucked fat out of people… The boy that did it with heat… The bee queen… It's all…."
"Yes. That's the power of the meteor rocks," Lex said.
"Can anyone get infected?" I asked. "Can… I get infected if I stay here?"
"If you stay here?" Lex repeated. "Are you leaving?"
"I… no… I… I don't know…" I hesitated. I had nothing to come back to, but the risk...
"To answer your question," Lex started, looking a little bit down, "my scientists did not prove any theory right. If you hang around meteor rocks a lot, you can get infected and you can carry that in yourself to develop some kind of a power later in a few years or… not at all."
"So if I stay away from meteor rocks, I'll be fine?" I made sure.
"Yes, you will."
"That's good to know." I breathed out with relief.
"Now…" he said and stopped. "Are you going back to Metropolis?" he finally asked.
I had the impression that if I said yes, he would be really disappointed, which was weird. He couldn't be interested in me. He was engaged, besides, he had all the power and money. I didn't really belong to his world. Then I reminded myself that he was lonely and just like me, he had only a few people that truly cared about him. He needed as many friends as he could get. And that I could be for him.
"No," I decided. "I'll stay. I was almost killed today, but on the other hand, I prefer living in this small adventurous town than have the boring life in Metropolis back."
"You actually call Metropolis boring?" Lex raised his eyebrow at that.
"Maybe not boring, but it's a fast city. Everyone's always rushing to somewhere and I attended a school full of snobs. I never really fit in. I didn't have parents or lots of money. I never was cool and popular."
"It's their lost," Lex told me. "You are special, Jessica, and incredibly brave. Remember that."
I smiled to him and then he stood up.
"I need to go. Long day at work tomorrow. I guess I should say… Welcome to Smallville, the town of bizarre and unexplained. See you around."
"Hey, are you ok?" I heard Clark's voice after a while.
I turned around and noticed that he and I were the only ones left.
"I was just going to get back to the farm when I noticed you're still here," he said and sat in a chair that had been previously occupied by Lex. "What's bothering you?" he asked. "You've been through a lot today, after all."
"Yes…" I admitted, my voice trailing off. What happened that day - or yesterday for that matter since it was nearly morning - seemed like a whole lifetime ago. But it wasn't what kept me sitting here and brooding. I bit my lip, thinking hard. Could I tell him? "I'm fine, Clark. Really. I've had a hell of an initiation, but I've learnt my lesson."
"Then, what is it?" he prompted. "You can trust me."
"Can you keep a secret?" I asked. There was something in his eyes that really made me believe I could tell him without risking him repeating it to Lana or worse, to Lex. He was a guy and guys didn't take pleasure in gossiping, did they?
"I'm pretty good at secrets, if not the best." He winked at me.
"But can you keep it even from Lana… and… from… Lex?" I hesitated, looking into his blue pupils.
"Lex?" he frowned. "Sure, but what is it?"
Telling somebody could make me feel much better. Maybe it would be the beginning of getting over him? Maybe I just needed to get it out.
"I kind of have… feelings… for… Lex…" I said carefully, watching for Clark's reaction.
"Really?" he asked, quite surprised.
"What's so strange about that?"
"Nothing, absolutely nothing. It's just… Sorry, I'm not being some pompous narcissistic ass here, but… I was pretty certain you were going to say something similar about me."
"Why? You're taken."
"True," I sighed.
"Sorry… it's just… Lana, Chloe… they're kind of… like me," Clark confessed. "God knows why because I don't deserve it, but they do like me."
"Chloe? Really?" I didn't know that one. But again, I hadn't spent enough time with Chloe to notice anything particular about her. Well, besides the nosiness.
"Don't tell her that I…"
"Don't worry, I won't. The secrets keeping thing, it goes both ways," I assured him.
"Seriously, why Lex? Don't you feel he's kind of… dark?" Clark asked.
"Dark?" I raised my eyebrows in surprise. "No, why would I? And I don't know why I like him, but it doesn't matter now. He's in love with Helen and they're getting married."
"Yeah… but maybe it's for the best. You don't know him like I do. Lex is… not easy to love. He's a Luthor, after all. He's trying his best not to become his father, but I can see him slipping sometimes and it worries me. I guess loving him must be a challenge. Even our friendship is very hard to keep."
"You know what, Clark? I would take that challenge. I think I could."