TITLE: Something to Say
AUTHOR: Giselle Mossant
E-MAIL ADDRESS: gisellemossant@hotmail.com
WEBSITE: http://www.purebluesun.com/thetalon/
SPOILERS: Not sure about specifics, but you're definitely
safe after "Skinwalkers."
DISTRIBUTION: Please do not archive -- the full text of this
story will be archived solely by the author at
her site (mostly for version control issues). If
you'd like to link to the story from your Web
site, I'd be honored -- but drop me a line first,
please. (Hazardous is an automatic go.)
DISCLAIMER: If they were mine, we'd be getting a lot more L/L
on screen; I can tell you that.
FEEDBACK: I'd love to hear what you think.
AUTHOR'S NOTES: Second story in the "Reach" series. The campus
of Metropolis University strongly resembles UCLA
in my mind. Hey, I can only write what I know.
As always, all my thanks to Crude. *mwah*

SUMMARY: Wherein old friends meet up in new circumstances.

Something to Say
by Giselle Mossant

If she were sticking pens into her eyes, it couldn't be much more
painful, Lana reflected, staring balefully at her economics
professor. She wasn't the only one shooting him bored looks, but
the man was clearly immune. After 20 plus years of teaching,
he'd obviously built up powerful antibodies to combat the rancor
of his students.

To her immediate left, Monica was doodling in her notebook. Lana
could see the words "Monica Hudson" in flowery cursive
interspersed with "Monica Ray" ("Ray" being Monica's boyfriend's
last name) and the occasional "Monica and Wesley" (Wesley being
said boyfriend's first name). Lana was concerned. Professor
McGraw had regressed her roommate to junior high school behavior.

The truth was, Lana wanted to pay attention. Economics itself
wasn't a boring subject; it was the backbone of business, and
that was a subject she had enormous interest in. She'd learned a
lot about economic theory through some rocky periods at The
Talon, and Lex had been an enlightening teacher. He had a way of
imparting knowledge that made those around him pay attention and
want to learn more. Maybe it was the assured way he spoke. Or
the way you got the impression that he didn't really give a damn
whether you were actually listening or not. (Your loss.) Or the
way he ran a huge corporate empire -- essentially on his own --
and was frighteningly successful at it. Whatever it was, Lex was
an astute businessman and Lana was glad to have had the benefit
of his tutelage.

She was actually contemplating pursuing a business, or possibly
economics, major. But that would be out of the question if all
econ professors were like McGraw, who continued to drone on in a
monotone a hypnotist would have envied.

Lana could feel her eyelids drooping and tried to distract
herself by finding something, anything, to concentrate on. She
gave a cursive glance around the lecture hall; being that this
was a GE course, it boasted well over 200 students. Still, other
than Monica, she didn't recognize a soul. Such a thing was both
refreshing and strange to Lana, who was accustomed to finding
familiar faces everywhere she turned.

Not that she didn't find them once in a while. Chloe was in her
dorm though on a different floor, and she'd seen Clark and Pete
around campus, though they were all usually rushing off to
another class, without time for more than cursory greeting.
She'd made a lot of new friends, but none of them felt quite
right yet -- another month, perhaps, and she might start to feel
the easy camaraderie that was the mark of true friendship. The
person she currently felt closest to was Monica, but though they
got along well as roommates and had a class together, they were
fairly different people and had different social agendas. Not
the least of which was due to the fact that Lana didn't have a
boyfriend while Monica was very much caught up in Wesley.

Lana actually enjoyed being a single gal, being able to do
whatever she wanted whenever she wanted without having to consult
with someone else; to be able to be spontaneous; to look at all
the boys she wanted without feeling guilty. But sometimes, when
Monica was off with Wesley and no one else was around, she missed
having someone who was there just for her.

"Ohmygod, I thought that would NEVER END," Monica groaned,
snapping her notebook shut and stuffing her books into her
backpack. Monica was the sort of girl who spoke in capital
letters; Lana could often see them in her head.

They headed out of Norton Hall and squinted when the bright rays
of the sun sizzled their eyeballs, causing their pupils to

"Jesus," Monica muttered, putting on a pair of trendy sunglasses.
"It was FREEZING this morning and NOW THIS?" She, like Lana, had
dressed in warm clothing before leaving their room that morning.
"You don't have anymore classes until the afternoon, right? Want
to grab lunch at Farber?" Farber Hall had the most edible dorm
food on campus.

"Sure," Lana said. "Let's change first, though." She was
already starting to sweat.

"I'm with you, sister."

By the time they trekked back to their room located on the 5th
floor of Adams Hall (a 20-minute trip), Monica had tied her dark
blonde hair up into a bun using a rubber band she'd found in her
backpack, and her sweatshirt was tied around her waist. Her face
was a little red but otherwise she looked fairly normal. Lana,
not having a rubber band and wearing a light -- but still too
heavy -- sweater, did not fare as well. She could feel
perspiration trickling down her neck, tendrils of hair plastered
to her face. The sticky coolness she felt when she took off her
backpack made her groan in disgust.

Lana quickly stripped off her sweater and her jeans, putting on
shorts and a tank top to overcompensate for the heat she was
feeling. She'd probably be cold later, but right now, that
sounded like a wonderful prospect. She twisted her hair up and
turned to find that Monica was ready and waiting.

"I'm starved," the other girl announced, and they made their way
over to Farber Hall.

As was typical, it wasn't nearly as packed during the lunchtime
hour as it was during dinner, and the girls quickly grabbed trays
and perused their choices. It had taken Lana, who was used to
farm-fresh vegetables and meat, awhile to get used to the less-
than-appetizing food options served in the dorms. Half the time,
she wasn't sure that what she was eating was something that could
be found in nature. She typically stuck to the salad bar. The
produce quality was far lower than what she was used to, but at
least her choices there were recognizable.

"Don't tell me you're having salad AGAIN," said Monica, who asked
for two cheese enchiladas. "You're already such a skinny Minnie,
you really don't need to worry about the freshman fifteen."

Lana's diet was not about keeping her weight down, it was about
food snobbery, but she decided not to share her views on the
subject. It would only serve to make her look like a snob and
draw attention to the fact that she grew up in a farming
community. While she wasn't exactly ashamed of this fact,
Metropolis was another world, its inhabitants were urbane and
worldly, and they couldn't begin to understand where she was
coming from. Most of the time, it was easier not to say anything
at all.

"I'm having soup, too," Lana said.

"Soup," Monica scoffed. "Whatever."

Lana hid a smile. She was used to Monica's forthright manner by
now, and she knew there was no ill intent behind the words. She
had yet to learn to respond in kind, however. It just wasn't in
her nature.

"Maybe I'll also have a bagel," Lana mused out loud. Her stomach
growled, suggesting that it considered the bagel idea a go.

"Oh, don't go all wild and crazy on me, Lana."

Armed with their trays, they sat down at one end of one of the
longer tables (the booths were all taken) and dug in. Lana had
just taken a bite of her cinnamon raisin bagel when a tray
plopped down next to her and she heard someone say, "Hey, guys."
She turned to see Wendy and Cassandra Mitchell -- Wendy was a
freshman who lived on the same floor as Lana and Monica, while
Cassandra was a sophomore who lived off-campus, but occasionally
joined her sister at mealtimes.

"Hey," said Lana, while Monica waved, still chewing a mouthful of

"Where's Wes?" Wendy asked.

While Monica made motions that she would answer the question
after she swallowed, they were joined by Rick Abernathy, Allison
Boone, and Grant Holmes, Cassie's boyfriend.

"Bio," said Monica.

"Forty?" Rick asked. Biology 40 was the most popular science
elective -- the course focused on AIDS, but that wasn't why
students swarmed to it; its popularity was due to the fact that
Professor Hammond, the only professor who taught the course, was
rumored to be a pushover. The midterms and finals were fairly
easy, and as long as you did the 20 hours of suggested community
service, you were guaranteed an A.

Monica shook her head. "Thirty," she replied. Biology 30 was
the less-popular course on cancer.

"I'm considering taking that next quarter," Grant said.

"Well, don't take it with Matthews," Monica advised. "Wes says
she's a nightmare."

Grant nodded. "Yeah, I've heard that before. I'll try to get it
with Rosenthal if I can."

"Hey, didn't you have a Spanish quiz today, Rick?" Lana said.
"How'd that go?"

Rick looked pleased that Lana had remembered. "Aced it,
actually. Thanks for helping me study."

Monica studiously looked down at her food, but Lana could see a
small smile twitching at the corners of her friend's mouth.
Cassie surreptitiously hit Lana's knee with the back of her hand
under the table. The two had been saying for weeks that Rick was
interested in her. Lana wasn't so sure he was, but in any case,
she wasn't interested back. Rick was good-looking and friendly,
but he didn't do anything for her. She hadn't yet met anyone who
made her feel as if all the air had been sucked from her lungs,
and until she did, she had no intention of getting into a

"Um ... don't mention it," Lana said, uncomfortable now. "I had
to study, too." She smiled to take the potential sting out of
her words. They were both taking Spanish 3 with the same
professor, but her classes were in the afternoon while his were
in the morning.

"He so obviously likes you, Lana," Cassie hissed. "You should
totally go for it."

Monica, overhearing, chimed in with her opinion on the subject.
"Yeah. He's hot."

"Does Wes know you think so?" Lana asked with a grin, trying to
derail the conversation.

"Of course," Monica said. "I have to keep him on his toes, don't

"Oh, I almost forgot!" exclaimed Allison from down at the other
end of the table. "You'll never guess who I saw today. At
least, I think it was him."

"Who cares?" Wendy muttered. The other girls didn't like Allison
much, and while Lana tried to keep an open mind, it was
difficult. Allison tended to use a lot of hyperbole in her
conversation and quickly grew bored with anything that wasn't
about her. But Lana didn't see Allison all that often, so
putting up with her in a group situation was usually tolerable.

"Who?" Rick asked finally, when no one else seemed inclined to.

Allison put a hand on his arm, as if to emphasize the shocking
nature of the news she was going to impart. "Tell her to get her
hand off your man!" Cassie hissed at Lana, who smiled despite

"Lex Luthor."

Though the group had been prepared themselves to be underwhelmed
by the identity of whoever Allison had seen, an appreciative hum
ensued. Local young billionaires tended to rouse interest.

"How do you know it was him? Did you actually see him?" Wendy

"Probably wasn't him at all," Monica scoffed. She had been
burned once too often by Allison's tendency to exaggerate.

"I said I wasn't positive," Allison said, irritated. "But I'm
pretty sure it was him. I saw this gorgeous silver Porsche as I
was walking up from Kinsey, and just had to peep inside to see
who would be driving such a killer car." So far, there was
nothing suspicious about this recounting of events. "The windows
were a bit tinted -- which, that's the first clue, right? Not
only would Lex Luthor want tinted windows, he'd get away with
having them even though they're supposed to be illegal on driver-
side windows. From what I could see, the guy was bald, but
looked young. How many young bald guys driving Porsches can
there be?"

"You just SAID the window was tinted," Monica pointed out. "And
now you're saying you could make out a 'young bald guy' as the

"I said 'slightly' tinted," Allison defended herself. "Well, I'm
sure it was him. You don't have to believe me."

Lana, who had stayed silent through Allison's tale (though her
heart had seized up in a funny way when Lex's name had been
mentioned), thought that while it did sound as though Allison had
actually seen Lex, there were other questions to contend with,
such as: What would Lex be doing at Metropolis University? And
if he were really here, surely he planned to see some of his
friends? Clark, at least. Maybe they'd all get together for
coffee or something. The unexpected idea of seeing Lex again
made Lana's heart start to pound. She hadn't seen him in months,
and it was understandable that she should be a little nervous
about the prospect. At least, that's what she told herself.

"Did you see his license plate?" Lana asked quietly.

All heads swiveled in her direction.

"I just ... I mean, the license plates on his cars all have some
variation of his name," Lana explained, faltering a bit. She
wished she'd kept her mouth shut.

Allison's brow furrowed. "How would you--"

"Oh!" Monica exclaimed. "I always forget you're from Smallville,
Lana. You must have seen him all the time."

Lana didn't want to suggest that she was closer to Lex than she
actually was. "Well, I worked for him," she said hastily. "He
owned one of the coffeehouses in town, and I was a manager
there." It felt wrong to generalize The Talon as just another
coffeehouse, but she didn't want to get into it here.

This made sense to the others, and Allison grudgingly admitted
that she hadn't taken note of the Porsche's license plate.

"Why didn't you just knock on the window?" Grant asked dryly.
"Ask the guy if he's Lex Luthor?"

"As if I would do that," Allison said. "What do you take me

"A skanky ho," Monica said in undertone to Wendy, who clapped a
hand over her mouth to stop from laughing out loud.

"Though I'd love to meet him," Allison continued, oblivious. "I
mean ... he's really not that bad-looking, for a guy without any

Lana thought that if Allison had ever actually seen Lex in
person, she wouldn't be so faint with her praise. Personally,
Lana thought Lex was one of the most handsome men she had ever
seen, and beyond that, he had an undeniable charisma that
attracted women in droves. Not that she was one of those women;
her opinion about his physical appearance was purely objective,
much like discussing the merits of Brad Pitt's goatee.

"And I suppose the fact that he's loaded has nothing to do with
it," Wendy said.

"Well, of course that has something to do with it," Allison said,
grinning. "He has the means to keep me in the style to which I
want to become accustomed."

They all had to grin at this, though Grant shook his head.

Conversation quickly turned to other topics, such as the party
Adrian Beckett was having that night at the apartment he shared
with three other guys. Rick pointedly asked Lana if she was
going. Embarrassed by the attention (particularly as Monica,
Cassie, and Wendy were all kicking each other under the table and
occasionally got Lana in the shin), she mumbled something about
how she hadn't decided yet. Allison looked put out that Rick
hadn't specifically asked her if she was going.

"Hate to be the one to break this up, but I've got chem in
fifteen," said Grant. He turned to Cassie. "You planning to
stay here, or head back to campus?"

"I'll go with you," she responded. "I need to get some Milton

Everyone began to gather up their things. They put their trays
on the convenient conveyor belts that brought their plates and
silverware to the washing station in the back, and those who
arrived with backpacks quickly donned them again.

They trickled out of Farber, chatting about the upcoming football
game and how if they were given one more flyer to support one
more cause, there would be a riot.

Lana stayed close to Monica, though Rick kept trying to engage
her in conversation. She didn't want to be rude, but she also
didn't want to lead him on, which is what she knew would happen
if she encouraged him in any way. If Monica knew she was being
used as a deterrent for Rick's advances to Lana, she might have
tried to put a stop to it; thankfully, Monica seemed unaware of
her role as a human shield. Being in a happy relationship, one
of her priorities was to get everyone she knew into relationships
as well. And Monica had made it clear on more than one occasion
that she thought Lana and Rick would make a great couple.

Monica, Rick, and Lana were the last to exit the building, or
Lana might have spotted it before Allison did. But as it was,
Lana saw the gleaming silver Porsche just as Allison exclaimed,
"Check it out!"

It seemed to Lana that everything started to move in slow motion.
The Porsche was parked in the circular driveway that served as a
portal to five of the seven dorms. At the start and end of
school, as well as on holidays, it was packed with cars arriving
and departing to pick up sons, daughters, sisters, brothers,
boyfriends, girlfriends, cousins, friends, carpoolers. Today,
however, it was empty but for the Porsche, as if Lex had paid for
exclusive rights to the area.

And it was Lex; Lana could clearly see the license plate that
read "LEX 1," and there was no mistaking the lean figure that
exited the car. As always, Lex looked polished and elegant, a
cut above the regular denizens of the planet they all lived in.

"I told you," Allison said smugly. No one else said anything,
too interested in having a celebrity in their midst.

Lana was surprised, to say the least. 'Jolted' might have been a
more apt description. Though she had been discussing Lex not
half an hour ago, she hadn't truly expected to see him this soon,
in this environment. She had often thought about seeing him
again, of course, even before today. In her head, the event
always took place under controlled circumstances. She always had
time to prepare, both mentally and physically. At the very
least, she'd be looking her best. Her hair wouldn't be up in a
careless bun with random strands glued to her head. She wouldn't
feel vaguely sticky from the sweat that had dried on her skin as
a result of a long trek from campus to the dorms. She wouldn't
be wearing clothes that accentuated exactly how young and gauche
she was compared to his put-together, immaculate self.

And always, in these scenarios, Lex was aware she existed.

All of these assumptions went out the window as reality intruded.
Although for a wild moment Lana had thought that Lex was there to
see her, this foolish notion was soon dashed as he went around to
the passenger side of the car and opened the door. A well-
dressed girl who had to be around Lana's age stepped out, taking
Lex's proffered hand, but she didn't look like she belonged on a
college campus. She looked as though she ought to be overseeing
a cocktail party for the rich and famous. She was tall and
beautiful, and Lana couldn't look away. The girl was dressed in
a white sundress that molded itself to her generous figure, and
her feet were encased in stylish platforms that would have made
Lana feel like a little girl in dress-up clothes, but suited
Lex's mystery girl perfectly. Lana envied the girl's salon-
styled waves of chestnut hair, and most of all, she envied the
fact that the girl looked perfectly cool and composed, as if she
didn't suffer from heat like the rest of the mortals on the
planet, as if it were an everyday occurrence that Lex Luthor
should help her out of his Porsche. For all Lana knew, it =was=
an everyday occurrence. Maybe she was Lex's girlfriend.

While this idea hurt more than it should have, what hurt more was
the idea that if Lex had a girlfriend who went to MU, it meant
that he was probably on campus quite often, yet had never once
called Lana or sought to see her, just to see how she was doing.
It hurt, and Lana recognized on one level that it was irrational.
Who was she to demand special attention by Lex Luthor? After
all, she had only ever been his employee; was it his fault that
she had placed more importance on their friendship than he had?

Lana became acutely aware of the fact that she and her friends
were gawking at the couple -- not that they were the only ones.
Lex and the girl had caught the attention of everyone who had
been milling about in front of the dorms, having conversations,
making appointments to meet up later. Seeing Lex with the highly
polished girl really drove home for Lana the fact that she and
Lex moved in utterly different circles.

In the last few moments, it had become imperative to Lana that
Lex not see her, as it would simply be too humiliating. She
wouldn't be able to take it if he offered her a polite,
impersonal smile -- because of course, he would do no less. She
tried to urge her friends forward, but they were moving slowly,
not wanting to give up the celebrity sighting. After all, this
was something they would tell their friends about later, and
details were essential.

"That's Deirdre Morganstern," Wendy said. "I've heard rumors
that she went to school here, but I've never seen her."

"Yeah, she's at Palm Court," Allison said, naming the only dorm
on campus that boasted individual rooms and bathrooms. Needless
to say, only students with wealthier parents were able to afford
room and board for that particular dorm. "I've seen her when
I've gone to visit my friend Angela. She's a stuck-up bitch."
This was clearly not in reference to Allison's friend. "Makes
sense that she would know Lex Luthor."

Lana wanted to defend Lex, but she couldn't -- not only would it
make her look like an idiot, it was true that Lex tended to date
beautiful, wealthy girls from prominent families. Lana would
have bet her college education that this described Deirdre
Morganstern to a T.

Knowing Lex was so near, that he might spot her at any moment,
made Lana antsy. She wanted the comfort of her room. She wanted
to lie on her bed and digest everything she had learned today.
She wanted to talk to Clark and ask him if Lex had a girlfriend
who went to MU.

"I'm going to head back, okay guys?" Lana said, backing away.
She tried to say this casually so as not to bring undue attention
to herself. "See you."

"Wait -- Lana, I'll walk back with you," said Rick, turning away
from the group.

Lana didn't really want this, but she couldn't think of a polite
reason to refuse as Rick was in Adams, too. Arguing also meant
delaying, and right now she just wanted to leave as quickly as
possible. "Okay," she said. "Later, guys."

They all made noises of farewell, but did not turn away from Lex
and Deirdre as they began to make their way to the Palm Court
dorms. Adams was luckily in another direction, and there was
very little chance that Lex would see Lana, much less recognize
her from behind.

"You okay?" Rick asked, as they were on their way. "You look
kind of funny."

"I'm fine," Lana said. "I think maybe the heat's getting to me."

"Do you have any classes later this afternoon?" Rick asked,
looking concerned. "Maybe you should skip them."

"Yeah," Lana replied vaguely, dimly aware that she thought she
heard her name being called.

There was no mistaking it when moments later, a loud chorus of
voices shouted, "LANA!"

Rick and Lana, startled, both turned to see their friends waving
frantically with goofy grins on their faces. Only Allison wasn't

"Wha--" Lana began, then saw that Lex and Deirdre had paused in
their walk and was looking in her direction. Lana realized that
he must have called her name, and when she hadn't heard, her
friends had supplied the necessary volume.

Lex had his hands in his pockets, and when he saw that it was
really her, he left Deirdre's side and started forward, walking
toward her with easy, casual grace. Lana's legs began moving of
their own volition, and part of her understood that now that Lex
had seen her, she couldn't avoid him without it looking extremely
rude and suspicious.

Why couldn't I have at least worn socks with my tennis shoes? was
the only thought she was capable of.

As she and Lex closed the distance between them, she saw that he
was smiling. The sunglasses he wore made him seem very imposing;
it made her nervous that she couldn't see his eyes. She
plastered a smile to her face and told herself to calm down.

"Lana," he said, stopping right in front of her. He lifted his
sunglasses to his head, and suddenly he was the Lex that Lana
knew; the Lex that she had missed.

This time, her smile was genuine, if a bit shy. "Hi, Lex." She
thought frantically for something clever to say. "It's good to
see you." So she wouldn't win any awards for witty repartee, but
it was an honest response, at least.

"It's good to see you," he countered, reaching out to touch a
tendril of hair that had escaped from her messy bun. "I like
your hair."

Certain he was making fun of her, Lana felt heat blossom into her
cheeks. "Hey, I don't work for you anymore; you have no say in
how I wear my hair."

Lex smiled wryly. "I don't think I ever did, Lana. You pretty
much did whatever you wanted." There was affection, not censure,
in his voice, and Lana responded to it, feeling more comfortable
with every passing second -- and very, very silly. In her mind,
she had built the months of silence into a chasm that could not
be surmounted; in reality, it was as if those months had never

"How are things going? At The Talon, I mean."

Lex raised an eyebrow. "You mean you haven't checked in?"

Lana averted her gaze, feeling a bit shamed. "No ... I keep
meaning to, but ... it's still a little too weird."

"I understand. Rita's working out well, but she's no Lana Lang."
He smiled.

Lana returned the smile, grateful for the kind words. They had
both interviewed replacement candidates to take over for Lana
when she left, and Rita Mahoney had been the most impressive
applicant. She was probably running things far more efficiently
than Lana ever had.

"So what brings you here?" Lana asked, looking pointedly over
Lex's shoulder at Deirdre, who seemed bored at having to stand by

Lex's eyebrows drew together and he gave Lana a very serious
look. "Is she still there?"

Lana was very aware of the people who were staring at them, her
friends in particular, who tittered off to the side, but Lex
seemed unaware of their spectators. He was probably so used to
having an audience for everything he did that it was second
nature to tune them out.

"Yes," Lana answered, surprised by his question.

Lex sighed. "I was kind of hoping she'd get the hint and walk
herself to her own door."

"Who is she?" Lana asked, then immediately regretted it. She
hadn't meant to sound like a suspicious fishwife, but
unfortunately she feared that was exactly how it came out.

Lex was silent for a moment, looking at her in that considering
way he had that never failed to fluster her. He looked amused,
but she never knew what he was really thinking behind those
enigmatic looks of his. You're an adult now, Lana reminded
herself, and forced herself to meet his gaze without fidgeting.
"Deirdre Morganstern," he said finally. "The daughter of a man
whose company I plan to buy." A smile spread slowly across Lex's
face, and Lana found herself entranced. "He asked me to drop his
daughter off at school since I was headed this way."

This brought her back to reality. "You were headed this way?"

"Not really," Lex said easily. "Though I might have given
Morganstern the impression that I was."

He didn't look as if he was going to elaborate, so Lana pressed
further. "Why?"

Another unsettling silence ensued, and Lana didn't think he was
going to answer her question. This time it succeeded in
unnerving her, and she stared at his bare throat. His skin
looked smooth and brown, and Lana found herself wondering if he
was cool to the touch. Luckily, he replied before she got it
into her head to find out. "I wanted an excuse," he said.

She didn't ask the follow-up question, but his words startled
her, causing her to lift her gaze to meet his without flinching.
Lana had forgotten how beautiful his features were, how piercing
his eyes. She licked her suddenly dry lips. "Have you seen
Clark? He'll be really glad to know you're here."

"I didn't come to see Clark." Only Lex could be so
unapologetically direct.

Suddenly Lana found it difficult to breathe. There was a strange
buzzing in her head. The way Lex was looking at her ... the
things he was saying ... she wasn't imagining it all, was she?
"Lex ..." she began, without even knowing what she was going to
say. "Would you like to go to a party tonight?"

Something flared briefly in his eyes before it was extinguished,
and he was once again the composed Lex she knew so well. He
began to back away slowly, toward Deirdre. "I'd love to," he
said nonchalantly, as if he agreed to hang out with immature
college kids all the time. Lana wasn't sure why she had felt
compelled to issue the invitation, or why Lex had so readily
accepted, but there was no doubting the slightly triumphant twist
to his lips that he couldn't quite hide. "I'll come find you in
your room later."

"Okay," answered Lana, faintly. She didn't ask him whether he
knew where her room was or whether he needed directions. She had
no doubt whatsoever that Lex would be able to find this
information with ease, if he didn't have it already.

Lana wanted miraculously to be back in her room already so that
she could recover from the encounter and await Lex's promised
visit, but as soon as his back was turned and he was strolling
unhurriedly back toward Deirdre, Lana found herself besieged by
her astounded friends.

"Lana Lang," Monica began sternly, "you have some SERIOUS
explaining to do."



AUTHOR'S NOTES: This took me forever to get out, I realize. I
have no excuse except the usual: real life commitments, working
on The Talon, other online fandoms, writer's block. Hopefully it
won't take me quite this long to get the next part out.

**Feedback is the brightest part of any day:

Thanks for reading!!