Part 9

When Chloe woke up the next morning, it was to find her boyfriend staring down at her. Her lips curved into an inviting smile before she remembered what prompted them to share his bed. Actually, she remembered where he was supposed to be. That was down on the hard floor. She pushed away from him and sat up.

"You're not supposed to be this close to me."

"I don't need to remind you that this is my bedroom."

She rolled her eyes at him. "Well if you're not so generous that you have an open house for your former girlfriends, you wouldn't be in this predicament."

Lex frowned when Chloe rolled out of the bed, still in her outdoor clothes from yesterday, and started hunting for her bag. "Where are you going?"


"Chloe, you don't need to leave."

"I'm certainly not staying here while Helen Bryce is in my room." She tried to remember where she placed her bag last. Yesterday, she arrived with it and gone to the room to discover the tongue duel between her boyfriend and his ex. And then she ran into Lex's bedroom and plopped down on the bed. 'Probably dropped it in shock. Lex and Helen kissing does that to a person.'

Ignoring the pleading look on Lex's face, Chloe left the room to knock on hers, previously Dr. Bryce's. She huffed when the door did not swing open. "Dr. Bryce!" she called. "Open this door. I'm not booting you out. I need my keys."

Chloe was about to rap on the door once more when Helen pulled it open. Chloe was almost guilty to find Helen still looking sleepy and rumpled. "Hey, Ms Sullivan, come on in."

The blonde slipped into the small opening to find Helen in a short black nightie. She arched an eyebrow in an effort to appear uncaring when really, she was hiding the fact that the doctor's appearance made her just a tad insecure. She had seen Victoria Hardwick last year, and even a modern girl like her would agree that she was very pretty. Although not as alluring, Helen Bryce seemed to have features of Victoria and even Lex's last, if not unfortunate, wife. How was a high school girl supposed to compare to these women? "I'm just gonna be a sec."

"Chloe," Helen sighed.

Chloe glanced at the doctor and found her sitting on her bed, staring at her. "I'm leaving, Dr. Bryce. You can talk to Lex about your misunderstanding as soon as you want."

"I don't think you understand the situation." Try as she would, Chloe couldn't find a trace of patronizing in the older woman's voice. "I came here thinking that Lex was still my boyfriend. I apologize for what you saw last night."

"It was pretty much Lex's fault for not breaking up with you."

"Lex and I haven't spoken with each other for a few months, Chloe. Don't you think it was my responsibility to check with him first whether or not I had a relationship to come back to rather than to arrive here, strip, and jump him?"

Chloe turned her head away. If it was that easy for Lex to forget Dr. Bryce, just because they hadn't communicated in awhile, how was she to expect Lex to be loyal to her? And then she was overcome with horror. If she left this house and stopped talking to Lex, how long would it be until Lex thinks it's okay to get back together with the doctor?

"I like Lex." Chloe's eyes jumped back to Dr. Bryce. "The problem is I don't think he likes me anymore."

"Well like you said, Lex is fickle. One minute you're the girlfriend and the next you're not."

Helen shook her head. She stood up and opened her bag to take out a couple of clothes that she could change into. "I don't think that's true this time. You cannot imagine how my heart broke when I saw his expression after you slammed out of here last night."

That almost made her smile. Really. How flattering was that. Instead, she pretended to still be pissed. "Well I'm sorry for the inconvenience to your plans, Dr Bryce."

"Hey Chloe, you stole my boyfriend so don't be snippy." The doctor was grinning now, and Chloe couldn't really hate her. The brunette had admitted her defeat. "Maybe you should call me Helen. After all, it's better to curse at each other on a first name basis."

Chloe picked up her key ring and nodded. "Okay Helen. I'll think about what you said." She headed to the door to find Lex.

"You think I can stay here one more night?" Helen asked. "I'm gonna need a while to pack all the stuff I left."

Chloe turned around and arched her eyebrow at the doctor. "You're determined to push it, aren't you?" When Helen just smiled, Chloe shook her head. "It's really up to Lex."

"You don't believe that, Chloe."

"You're right." Chloe looked around and mentally calculated the amount of time it would take for what was left of Helen's clothes to be packed. Probably another day. And then she has all those things left over from a few months ago. That was if Helen did the packing all by herself. "Well since I would personally opt that you're gone by lunchtime, I'm coming back to help you pack. We'll be done in no time at all."

Helen groaned and imagined how much work there would have to be done from now til twelve pm. She waved Chloe away.

In the study, Lex was dressed in his usual office clothes. He was going to head out to the office as soon as he talked Chloe out of leaving. Although he had no doubt she was capable of staying in the Sullivan house for the remainder of her father's confinement, he didn't want them to part ways like this. If they did, Lex was afraid he would never settle things between the two of the. 'Great, Lex. Allow a girl to put you ill at ease.'

The door swung open, and Lex immediately stood up, toppling over his chair in his haste. He bent down to right the chair.

"Looking nice, Lex. You're still working out."

He straightened slowly, trying to digest her words, which made it seem like she was not as pissed as when she left their bedroom earlier. 'Our bedroom. Nice. I'm being left and I still have issues.'

"I decided that I am not leaving this house. Especially not with Helen Bryce in the room next to yours."

It was debilitating to have all your breath flow out in one swift rush. That was one new thing he learned from this relationship. Lex took a calming breath to replace the air he lost. "Is there any reason for that?"

"I don't want you cuddling with her while I lock myself up in my house."

Lex nodded and walked over to her. Just a few feet away, he stopped. For her part, Chloe was prepared to lean against him and have him assure her that he would never do that. "That's a good decision. You never know with me."

"We seem to have trust issues," she finally said.

"We do. And with good reason." Chloe looked at her boyfriend in confusion. He continued, "I can't be trusted."

"You think I want to hear you admit that, Lex?"

"Chloe, you deserve someone better that I am."

"What?" she said in disbelief. "You made me a photo album worth twenty five grand just because you want our first date to be special!"

"Chloe, that was a really good save, but a save nonetheless."

"What do you mean?" she asked.

"Clark was right." She gasped. "I did agree to pay the newspaper twenty five thousand dollars to follow us around and take pictures because I wanted to show Clark how powerful I am, how I can manipulate anyone to-God, that makes me sound so evil."

Chloe nodded sagely. She added, "And petty."

Lex flinched. Her adjective was far more horrible than his. "But during that time with you in Metropolis, all that just didn't matter. I was having fun. I was falling in love. That was certainly not the image of me I wanted printed on the front page. But that's what happened."

Chloe's heart fell when she learned about the pictures. Clark was right. "You were using me."

"I planned to. Every time we're not together, I keep planning to use you. But whenever you're within reach, all the plans just go down the drain and I'm left having to deal with you by instinct." Lex watched her face. He was a nervous wreck now. She wanted to stay to keep him from going to Helen. But that was before she found out that whatever they had started because he wanted to anger Clark. "I understand if you don't want to see me anymore. I just. I love you, Chloe. And so what if this all began with Clark? So we started out differently than other couples. We're not normal. We never were."

Chloe sighed. "Are you done, Lex?"

His heart clenched at the question. Lex almost smelled breakup in the air. He searched his mind for more reasons to give Chloe, so that he could defend himself. Lex realized that there were just no more logical statements he could throw at her so that she would forgive him. He would have to rely on something abstract now, and that just completely was against his very character. He depended on concrete things. How was he to put faith on something he couldn't see?

But there were evidences he was trying not to look at, in case they were misleading. There were clues about her decision in her eyes and if he stepped closer, the touch of her hand.

"I suggest that you go to Clark's right now and apologize. He had basis for his stupidity after all. And then punch him in the gut," she grinned, "because right or not, he was acting like an ass."

"Where would you be?" he asked carefully.

"Cleaning up house."

'Could she say that in a manner less ambiguous then?' "Should I drive back here when I'm done with Clark?"

"Come back around twelve and we'll have lunch. I'll have the mansion cleaned up by then."

Lex released a shuddering breath of relief. He stepped closer to her and gingerly placed his hands on the small of her back. He pulled her to him and kissed her temple. Chloe closed her eyes. They would need to talk a lot about things later, but the most important things were settled now. They were in love. He was a lying asshole. She was a scary bitch when cornered. But they were mad in love and that was okay. He whispered into her ear, "When you say clean up house I hope that doesn't involve a body bag."

Chloe chuckled and turned her head so that the next time his head dipped, she could catch his mouth with hers. This kind of love was so irreverent and she couldn't imagine having something even remotely different. "Just bail me if the situation calls for it."