Chapter Eleven: Making it Right
The blood slowly drained out of Gabe's face, his eyes locked on the fruit he held in his hand. His mind was reeling, trying desperately to find a steady grip, to absorb the implications of what he was looking at. Chloe . . . his Chloe . . . she was gone. Like her mother. She was lost to him now, and he would never see her again.
An old, familiar anger began to build in him. She would not have left him willingly. No, she would never have done that. Lex had forced her. He had forced her to eat, just as he had forced her to stay with him in the first place. He had ignored Gabe's warning, heedless of the fate of the town.
If that was his choice, then so be it.
Clark and Matthew watched as Gabe's face changed, from worry, to loss, to a fiery, red-hot anger, and finally to a bitterly cold determination. That look frightened Clark as nothing ever had; such icy resolve seemed horribly out of place on the usually sunny-faced Gabe.
"Mr. Sullivan . . ."
"Lex knew the cost of keeping my daughter from me," he told the younger man. "He's brought what's to come on himself."
With that he turned and got back into his car, starting it up and driving off without a backwards glance. Anxiety seized Clark's stomach so swiftly it brought with it an actual physical pain. He turned and regarded the manor once more, a heavy sense of guilt settling over him. If he had gotten here a little bit faster, maybe he could have stopped all of this; Chloe might have been convinced to come with him, and she would be back with her father even now.
He shook his head, clearing the thoughts from his mind. If there was one thing he had learned in the years since his powers had developed, it was that focusing on what he might have done would only succeed in making him crazy. He had to focus on what he could do now to repair the damage.
"What do you think he's going to do?" Anxiety was clear in Matthew's voice. Despite his better judgment, Clark couldn't help feeling a bit sorry for the younger man. He had tried to fix this situation he had created, only to watch it spiral out of control.
"I don't know," Clark admitted. "Right now, I'd say he's capable of anything. Can Chloe leave on her own, now that she's eaten?" Matthew nodded.
"Keeping her here physically is a moot point now. The two of them are bound together now, and there's absolutely no way to undo it." Clark sighed.
"Well then, let's go. We have to find Lex and Chloe and tell them what happened. Maybe there's still a way to fix this.
That thought foremost in his mind, Clark turned back to the house, breathed in deeply, and prepared his eyes for what they might not want to see.
"Lex, come on, they're going to be here any minute," Chloe protested as Lex began to nuzzle persistently at her neck. He raked his teeth over the spot he knew would drive her crazy, and she didn't disappoint him, moaning slightly and tilting her head to give him better access. "Lex," she breathed, her voice only half-heartedly protesting now. "We've been up here for hours, and we just finally got dressed."
In answer, Lex turned her around in his arms and brought her mouth to his. Her lips opened for his despite her earlier protests, their tongues tangling together almost immediately. Before she knew it Chloe had her arms latched around Lex's neck and was trying to crawl farther into his arms. They finally broke apart when air became a necessity and Lex pressed his forehead to Chloe's as they both panted for breath.
"This may be the last time we can be together for a while. I've gotten so used to having you here, in this house. I know you have to leave but . . . I don't want to let you go."
Chloe leaned up to kiss him softly. This time neither tried to deepen it, taking comfort from the gentle reassurance it offered. She leaned back to look him into his eyes, a confident smile gracing her lips.
"They're not going to keep us apart, Lex. They can't." Her smile grew wider. "Not now." She stepped out of his arms and took his hand. "Come on. I'd rather not have to explain to my dad why we're both coming out of your bedroom to meet him."
"I suppose it would be a good idea to avoid giving your father another reason to kill me," Lex smirked, allowing her to lead him into the hall.
They paused at the sound of voices not too far away. Shooting each other wary looks, they began to move slowly, cautiously down the hallway. The voices were closer now, and sounding more and more familiar. A few more steps and Chloe recognized them; sure enough, as they rounded the corner they found themselves face-to-face with Clark and Matthew. Matthew shot Clark a smug look.
"See? I told you we should go that way."
Clark's only response was an annoyed glare before his eyes caught on the sight of Chloe's and Lex's linked hands. Lex's fingers tightened around Chloe's when he caught the direction of Clark's gaze, and Chloe squeezed his hand reassuringly.
"Hey guys," she greeted them, and only the knowledge that her friends hadn't seen her actually emerge from Lex's room kept the blush from rising to her cheeks. She glanced behind them and her brow creased in confusion. "Didn't my dad come?"
Clark and Matthew glanced at each other, unsure of exactly how to proceed. It was Matthew that stepped up first.
"Why don't we head to the library?" he suggested, and without waiting for a response from anyone, started off down the hall.
Chloe's stomach was tying itself in knots as she, Lex and Clark followed Matthew to the library. Something was wrong; she had been expecting her father to be there along with Clark to drag her out of the house whether she wanted to go or not, but instead he wasn't even there. Clark and Matthew were acting strange, as well, and Chloe got the distinct feeling that they were getting ready to cushion her for some kind of blow. When they finally reached the library she took a stance in the middle of the room, arms folded over her chest. Lex put a hand on her back in unspoken support, and she flashed him a grateful look before turning to the two apprehensive-looking boys.
"Well? What is it you have to tell me that we had to come all the way here for?" Matthew and Clark shared another look, and Clark took a hesitant step forward.
"Maybe you should sit down, Chloe." She glared at him, and he wondered how someone a foot shorter, fifty pounds lighter, with several fewer superpowers than him could still manage to be intimidating.
"Stop stalling, Kent. Something's going on, and you're going to tell me what it is. Where's my dad? Why didn't he come?"
"What?" Chloe's brow creased again. "Where is he then?"
"He kind of . . . left," Matthew spoke up. Lex blinked, baffled.
"You're telling us he left without Chloe? I was under the distinct impression that he was willing to burn the manor down if he thought it would get her out."
"Yeah, well, that was before he found out Chloe had eaten something."
Lex and Chloe turned as one to look at Clark. Chloe's eyes narrowed suspiciously, and Clark unconsciously took a step in retreat.
"And how, Clark," she asked slowly, her words carefully even, "would he know that?" His spine straightened in self-defense.
"I found the pear on the floor in here."
"Let me get this straight, Clark," Lex broke in. "You came up here on your own, found a pear on the floor, jumped to conclusions, and without finding either of us to confirm your suspicions told Chloe's father that she had eaten something?"
"Well . . ." Oops. "Are you saying that Chloe hasn't eaten anything?"
"That's not the issue right now," Chloe said. "What matters is that I was planning on leaving with you today so that my dad would open the plant back up, and now my dad has run off." She turned to Matthew. "How well did you explain the consequences of me eating?"
"Well, I thought I had explained them fine," Matthew replied, running a harried hand through his hair. "But based on the way your dad reacted, I'm guessing he didn't understand as well as I'd thought."
"What exactly did he say?" Lex asked.
"He said that you knew the consequences of keeping Chloe from him," Clark answered, "and that you brought what's coming on yourself."
Chloe could feel the change in Lex and turned around in time to see the blood drain from his face.
"Shit," he said succinctly.
"What? Lex, what's he going to do?" Lex stared blankly at Chloe for a moment before rousing himself to answer her question.
"He's going to close the plant."
"But the plant's already closed," Matthew protested. Lex made an impatient gesture.
"No, the plant is under a temporary halt. Gabe said that the plant would remain closed until I got Chloe back to him. If he thinks that she's going to be here forever, then that's how long he'll make sure the plant is closed."
"But that plant employs half the town! He wouldn't let that many people lose their jobs just because he misses Chloe."
"This isn't really about Chloe anymore, Clark. It's about him being hurt and wanting someone else to hurt along with him. He's gone way past rational thought here, and I wouldn't put it past him to do exactly what he's threatened to do."
Lex felt Chloe stiffen before he saw it; glancing down, he imitated Clark and took an involuntary step backwards. This, he realized, was Chloe Sullivan at the height of fury, and he cursed himself for being undeniably aroused by it. Her eyes were crackling with heat, and her anger snapped in the air around her, an almost tangible thing. Her mouth tightened as she stalked over to Lex's desk, all three men making sure to stand well out of her way.
"Um . . . Chlo?" Clark ventured. "Whatcha doin'?"
Chloe's gaze flashed to Clark as she punched numbers into the phone.
"I'm doing what I should have done at the very beginning." The three of them watched, mystified, as Chloe stood there, fury still swirling around her like a cloak as she tapped her foot impatiently. Finally her stance straightened; evidently whoever was on the other end of the line had picked up.
"Dad. What the hell do you think you're doing?"
"No, Dad, I don't want to hear anything right now. Just come over here."
"No. Get over here. NOW." The sound of Gabe's protesting voice echoed faintly out of the phone before Chloe stabbed at a button and hung up. She took a deep breath and turned to the three men, all of them watching her as they might watch a ticking bomb. "He'll be over in just a few minutes."
Matthew had always thought that tension so thick you could cut it with a knife was just an expression. But when Gabe Sullivan was shown into the room, he wished he had a knife so that he could test that theory. With his next breath he retracted the wish, realizing that a bladed weapon in anywhere near the same vicinity as two very angry Sullivans was mayhem just waiting to be unleashed. He watched as Chloe stalked across the room to stand in front of her father. Gabe started to speak first, only to be cut off as Chloe raised her hand.
"Before you say anything, I just want to know one thing: is it true? Are you planning on closing the plant permanently?"
"Yes, I am."
"What the hell are you thinking?" Chloe shouted. Gabe stiffened.
"I told Lex that the plant would stay closed as long as he kept you here." He pulled the browning pear out of his jacket pocket. "And it doesn't look like you'll be leaving anytime soon." Gabe's face suddenly went deathly pale; as Chloe followed his eyes she saw that his gaze had fallen on the ring Lex had given her. "Is that . . ." Now it was Chloe's turn to straighten.
"An engagement ring?" She nodded. "It is. Lex and I are engaged." Gabe just shook his head in blind denial.
"No. No, you're only wearing that because he forced you to eat . . ."
Chloe sighed and moved to stand in front of him. She took his face in her hands, trying to force him to meet her eyes.
"Lex didn't force me to do anything, Dad. I ate because I wanted to." She sighed again when he still wouldn't look at her. "I was going to have to leave with you so that the plant would open again. I knew that you would want to keep Lex away from me as soon as I left the house, and I couldn't let that happen. I love him, Dad." He finally met her eyes, and she offered him a smile. "I really, honestly love him."
"I just . . . I couldn't stand the thought of someone taking you away . . . just like . . ." Chloe nodded in understanding.
"Just like Mom." She let go of his face and shook her head. "Dad, just because I'm involved with someone doesn't mean that I'm going to leave and never come back."
"But he was keeping you stuck here."
"Well, I'm not stuck here anymore." Gabe's face lit up with hope.
"So . . . you can leave?" Chloe nodded.
"I can leave," she confirmed. Gabe let out a sigh of relief, and Chloe continued. "But I'm not going to." All of the others looked at her as if she had gone insane. Chloe took a step back and narrowed her eyes. "I'm sick of being used as a pawn or a prize in this little game you're playing. Now I have the advantage. So here's the deal: you're going to go home and do whatever you have to do to make sure that the plant opens by tomorrow morning. Because I'm not setting one damn foot outside of this house until the plant is open again." They all looked at her, slightly surprised; all except for Lex who was doing his best to keep his expression of pride and satisfaction off of his face.
"Ok, Chloe." Gabe just nodded, looking vaguely shell-shocked. "I'll have the plant open again by morning. And you promise you'll come home then?"
"I'll go home then," Chloe agreed. "But you have to swear that you're not going to do anything else to try and keep Lex and me away from each other," she warned. Gabe chuckled softly.
"I swear." He wrapped her in a hug, and Chloe rested her head against his chest. "I love you, sweetheart."
"I love you too, Dad." She pulled back and shot him the grin that he had missed so much. "Now you'd better get going. The plant has to be open again in time for the first morning shift."
Gabe laughed and pressed a kiss to the top of her head before he let her go. He turned to face Lex and simply stood there for a while, staring at the younger man as if he were trying to resolve some kind of internal debate. Finally he gave a resigned sigh and stuck out his hand.
"Lex." Lex shook the hand that Gabe had offered and regarded him with a calm, serious expression.
"Mr. Sullivan, I know you don't trust me, but all I want is to make Chloe happy. I hope that in time I'll be able to convince you of that." Gabe sighed again.
"I believe you Lex. And I realize you've probably heard this already from Clark, but if you hurt her, I get first crack at you. He can take a shot at whatever's left over." The corners of Lex's mouth twitched at that, but he somehow managed to keep the smirk off of his face.
"Sounds reasonable." Gabe smiled and turned to leave, chuckling to himself as he walked out of the room. Chloe let out an audible breath, and they all turned to her.
"Well, now that the male posturing is over, Lex and I have some things we need to discuss. Matthew, Clark, I'll see you guys tomorrow." Before they knew what was happening, the boys found themselves being ushered out into the hallway, the door closing behind them.
Curious, Lex walked over to Chloe and wrapped his arms around her, pulling her in closer.
"Things to discuss?" Chloe just shot him a nervous smile and slipped out of his arms. He watched her walk away, saw her fidgeting with the ring on her finger, twisting it back and forth. She glanced back at him, then at the door.
"Um . . . maybe you should lock the door," she suggested.
Lex turned to do as she asked, his stomach tied in knots of apprehension. He didn't like the direction this was headed in. Things to discuss? She couldn't be having second thoughts. Not after everything she had just said. And if she was . . . he was just going to have to reassure her, because there was no way he was going to let her go. He locked the door and turned back around to see Chloe perched on the edge of the pool table, a wicked grin on her face.
"I don't want us to be interrupted this time," she said, toying with the lace that ran along the low neckline of her shirt. Lex narrowed his eyes and began stalking towards her, feeling a rush of satisfaction at the thrill and anticipation that leapt into her eyes.
"That was a dirty trick," he said in a low voice. He was close enough now that he caught her shiver at his tone even as her eyes blazed with challenge.
"Bet you can't make me say I'm sorry."
He moved so fast she didn't even know what happened, only that she was suddenly on her back on the table with Lex poised above her, his eyes boring into hers.
"That's a bet," he murmured before covering her mouth with his.
His mouth was scorching over hers, his passion so intense that the small, still functioning part of her brain wondered that her lips weren't blistering from the heat of it. He sucked her tongue into his mouth and coiled his own around it, drawing a deep moan from the back of her throat. As he released her mouth his teeth nipped roughly at her bottom lip before moving on to nibble along her jaw line. Chloe ran her hands over his shoulders as she shuddered at the feeling of his tongue tracing the ridges of her ear.
"You think this will make me say I'm sorry?" she teased, her voice breathless. She felt his smirk an instant before he reached up and pulled her hands from his shoulders, twining his fingers with hers as he brought them out to the side.
"We'll see," he whispered, and she sucked in a breath when his voice sent vibrations humming through her ear.
He turned his attention to her neck then, peppering it with kisses and fleeting bites before his lips moved over her pulse and sucked with a steady pressure that had her gasping. She tried to raise her arms, wanting to touch him, but his hands held hers down on the table as he continued to ravish her with his mouth. Small, pleading sounds poured from her throat when he moved lower, his lips closing over her breast through the material of her shirt. After a few moments he raised his head and blew over the spot before he moved to her other breast; when the stream of air hit the damp material her nipple tightened almost painfully. He brought her arms above her head and held them there with one hand as the other moved down to join his mouth in its torment. Taunting her, he brushed his fingers lightly over her hardened nipple before rolling it between him thumb and finger. As his hand moved to repeat his actions on her second breast he scraped his teeth over her, and the over-stimulation had her bucking beneath him.
Then his hand was on the move again, sliding over her stomach and down her leg until it reached the hem of her skirt, when it began to trace an agonizingly slow path up her inner thigh. His mouth returned to hers, and his tongue slipped into her mouth at the same instant he slipped his fingers inside of her. He stroked her in a steadily increasing rhythm and she felt her climax building, but just before she found release his fingers slowed again, bringing her down from the peak. Chloe drew in ragged breaths when he released her mouth to suck gently on her earlobe. When her breathing had almost returned to normal Lex sped his motions up again, once more bringing her right to the edge before he slowed his strokes.
If any part of Chloe's brain had still been functioning she would have wondered how Lex managed to remove their clothing while still keeping a firm grip on her hands. As it was, she didn't really care in light of the fact that Lex's naked skin was now hot against hers, rubbing over her in an exquisite friction as he plundered her mouth with another scorching kiss. His tongue swept over every corner of her mouth, wrapping around her tongue and moving back to lure it into dueling with his. She was vaguely aware of his hand running down her leg, and it wasn't until his hand closed around her ankle and lifted it to hitch over his shoulder that her eyes flew open to meet his as he smirked down at her. He simply switched hands and did the same with her other leg before he brought his mouth back to hers, drawing her hands out to the sides once again. Lex leaned up and met her gaze; Chloe's eyes widened when she felt him pressed against her entrance.
"Lex," she started uncertainly, but cut off as he pushed inside of her. He was filling her, deeper than he had before, and her back arched at the wave of pleasure that swept over her. He began to move, slow thrusts that stoked the flames inside her higher and higher. As her breathing grew harsher he sped up his movements; she was right on the brink of her orgasm when he purposefully slowed his thrusts again. Over and over, he repeated his fingers' earlier movements; he let the pressure build inside of her, only to take her down before she could gain release. Soon her breath was coming in whimpering pleas, her head thrown back as he once again denied her what she needed.
"Lex, please," she moaned, moving her hips in a desperate search for friction. Half blind, she looked up into his eyes, seeing his own struggle to hold himself back tempered by a steely determination. He leaned down and Chloe cried out at the deeper penetration.
"Say it," he rasped in her ear, and her body bucked again at the sound.
"All right, all right, I'm sorry. For the love of god, Lex, please."
Lex released an unsteady breath and began to thrust again, gradually quickening his movements. Chloe felt herself reach the verge once more, and for a split second was afraid that he would stop yet again. He didn't stop, however, but thrust forward with a force that slammed them together even as their orgasms ripped them both to shreds. Beyond screaming, Chloe arched off of the table, her head thrown back until the red felt pressed against her forehead. With a few last, short thrusts, Lex came down from his climax and they both collapsed together, completely drained.
Summoning up the will to move, Lex lifted his head to smirk down at Chloe.
"I win." Chloe cracked open one eye and regarded him with a smirk of her own.
"Good thing. If this was losing, I don't think I could live through winning."
Lex chuckled and rolled them to the side, Chloe's head resting on his shoulder as her fingers skimmed lazily along his arm.
"You know," she drawled, "I think we ought to write Matthew a really nice thank-you note."
"I'll send him something," Lex grinned. "Car, house, small off-shore island. Something like that."
"Of course. You wouldn't want to do anything too extravagant, after all." Lex pulled her closer against him.
"I get to spend the rest of my life knowing that you love me," he said. "No matter what, I'm getting the best end of the deal." Chloe turned her face to his, a soft smile gracing her lips.
"You can be awfully sweet when you want to be, you know that?"
Lex smiled at her and pressed his lips to hers. What started as a gentle brushing of lips soon became more intense, and their tongues wove together as he ran a hand down her side, his blood stirring again at the sound she made. In one smooth motion he rolled them over again, and as he settled between her legs Chloe looked up at him with wide-eyed skepticism.
"You can't possibly be ready again so soon." Lex just smirked and leaned down to kiss her.
Chloe nodded, then gasped as she felt the hard length of him sliding into her. She grinned.
Sometimes losing wasn't such a bad thing.
A/N: And so I bow to the wishes of my beta and finish the story with one last smut scene. Ok, that's the end! Hope you enjoyed it, everyone. ^_^