Started: December 25, 2002

Finished: December 25, 2002

Last Episode Seen Before Writing: Skinwalker

Pairing: Chloe/Pete

Rating: PG

Category: Romance

Spoilers: slight X-ray

Summary: Pete got Chloe a gift he knows will tell her how he really feels. Does he have the guts to give it to her, or will he back out?

Disclaimer: None of these are mine, except for the plot ideas!

Author's Note: Chapter 3 is the picture I got the idea from. (You'll know what I'm talking about when you read!)

It's About Time

Chapter 1- Gift Exchange

Pete fingered his gift for Chloe, turning it over and over in his hands. He bit his lip, wondering at the last moment if maybe it wasn't the right choice. He had put a lot of thought into it, but would Chloe see its meaning? Or would she be too blinded by Clark?

Pete sighed. He had been thinking for weeks about the perfect gift. Now it was Christmas day, or as he called it, judgment day. He looked from his seat in his car to Chloe's front door. It wasn't too late to back out. He could stuff the gift under the seat, drive off and Chloe would be none the wiser.

Chloe would be none the wiser, but Pete would know. Pete would know that he was too chicken, too afraid to let Chloe know how he really felt. If you wanted to get right down to it he needed to take a lesson from himself. God forbid he end up like Clark, pining away for someone who never knew his true feelings.

Pete traced the outlines of the gold paper. He picked this paper, because it reminded him of Chloe's beautiful blond hair. It reminded him of the way her hair shone when the sun hit it just right. She was so beautiful, though she didn't know it.

Chloe compared herself to Lana Lang. Lana, the tragic high school beauty. Chloe had so much more than tragic beauty. Chloe's soul shone in her eyes when she was writing a story. Her presence in a room demanded attention. No one dare stand up to her, or suffer her wrath. She might be small, but she packed a mean punch. A punch Pete knew all too well.

Pete smiled to himself, remembering all the times he had proudly stood at Chloe's side as she defended herself or another person. The jocks had regretted the day they had picked on Chloe Sullivan.

Pete took a deep breath, his eyes once again going to the front door, then falling to the lawn. His grin grew as he saw the snow angels that he, Chloe, Lana, and Clark had made the night before. One small, pretty, perfect angel. One tall, awkward, almost strange angel. One medium sized, deep angel. The last angel was the most peculiar of the bunch. In place of a skirt, this angel had pants.

Pete laughed as he remembered Chloe's rant about women and stereotypes. Even angels weren't above women's stereotypes, she had said. So, her angel had on pants. If you looked close enough you could see Chloe's attempt at a full business suit.

With a final deep breath Pete climbed from the car, taking his gift with him. He walked to the door, stopping for a moment to look at the snow angels. He looked up when the front door swung open.

"I thought you'd never get out of your car," Chloe said with a smirk.

Pete smiled at her. "Well, I was contemplating if you'd had time to have your morning coffee yet."

"And what would that matter?" Chloe asked as Pete walked up the front steps.

"Not even I would dare mess with you if you aren't highly caffeinated," he answered, dodging Chloe's hand as she tried to swat his arm. "I see you haven't."

Chloe rolled her eyes, stepping back to let Pete in the house. "Did you come over for a reason, or just to pick on me?"

Pete laughed, following Chloe into the living room. "I wanted to give you your present before we went to Clark's for the Christmas party," he explained, holding up the package. "And to offer you and Lana a ride."

"Lana's playing 'the good friend' and went over to Clark's earlier to help her cook for the party," Chloe said, tugging on the hem of her beige shirt to straighten out the wrinkles.

"And you found it hard to make nice?" Pete teased.

"I'd laugh if it wasn't so close to the truth," she said, walking down the hall as Pete followed. She opened the door to her bedroom, allowing Pete to enter the pristine room. Chloe opened the door to her closet. She reached onto the top shelf and pulled out a neatly wrapped gift. "Here you go."

Pete took the gift Chloe handed him, exchanging it for hers. "Thanks. You go first."

Chloe smiled at her best friend. "Alright," she agreed, sitting on the end of her bed.

Pete turned her desk chair around, and sat down. He watched Chloe open his gift, not noticing he was holding his breath.

Chloe ripped into the gold paper, trying to find the treasure underneath. "Pete," she said softly, looking at the picture in the picture frame.

"It's from the Homecoming dance last year," Pete pointed out.

In the picture Pete had just twirled Chloe in. Chloe was looking back over her shoulder smiling at Pete as Pete grinned at her. They looked utterly happy. Chloe looked up at Pete. "How did you get this picture? I've never seen it before."

"I slipped Ron my camera and told him to take a few pictures," Pete admitted.

"I love it. Thank you, Pete," Chloe said, standing to give Pete a hug. Without a thought she kissed his cheek before sitting back down. "I can't believe you kept it."

Pete shrugged. "It was a great night. I was with you, wasn't I?" he asked, trying to get his point across.

Chloe's eyes lowered flirtily. "Yeah, you were."

Pete hooked a finger under her chin to bring his eyes to his. "Every minute I spend with you is special," he said sincerely.

Chloe blushed slightly. "Open yours. I think we had sort of the same idea."

Pete carefully removed the tissue paper from the bag by his side. With an evil grin he wadded it up and threw it at Chloe.

"Hey," she complained, her smile betraying the tone of her voice.

"Hmmm," Pete said, feeling the weight of the bag. "What could it be?"

Chloe threw the tissue paper back at Pete. It bounced off of his shoulder harmlessly. "Just open it would you?"

Pete reached into the bag, pulling out what was inside. "It's…" he said, trailing off. He held up the shiny, metal tool.

"My staple gun," Chloe supplied, looking questioningly at Pete.

Pete's eyes came up to meet Chloe's. "What does…" he trailed off again, not able to think of an easy way to ask her what it meant.

"I don't think I'll be needing it anymore," Chloe said, looking into Pete's eyes.

Pete's smile grew. His days of throwing rubber spiders were definitely behind him. Chloe would no longer need her staple gun to threaten him with. "Does this mean what I think it means?"

Chloe held up her gift. "Does this mean what I think it means?" she questioned.

"Yes," Pete and Chloe answered at the same time.

Pete stood, pulling Chloe to her feet and next to him. Without hesitation he planted his lips on hers.

Chloe pulled back with a sigh. "I hate to say it," she started.

"Then don't," Pete told her with a mischievous smile.

Chloe laughed, trying to get out of Pete's arms. "We still have to go to Clark's party."

Pete pouted. "Fine," he said, picking up the staple gun. "But I'm taking the staple gun with me."

Chloe picked up her picture. She walked from the room, making sure Pete was following. She placed it in a bag of gifts by the front door. "That's fine with me. I'm taking the picture," she told him, opening the door. "Now let's go."