Title: One Stone Chapter 1: Not Another Interview?
Distribution: Archive permission granted to: Naughty-seduction, Girl Friday, Electric, all others please ask Disclaimer: I don't own any of these characters. Obviously. Although I wouldn't mind owning Lex ^_~
Summary: "So Ms. Sullivan the question on my mind is this; why do interviews with you tend to end in murder and mayhem?" Chlex
Feedback: Yes please! Send to: email@example.com
Spoilers: S1 and beginning of S2
Author's Notes: It's like the Chlex version of Mission Impossible! Only not.
Chapter 1: Not Another Interview?
The cold, still air rushed around the stalled car with amazing ferocity. Chloe Sullivan hunkered down further in the leather seat and tried to disappear in her fleece jacket. Meanwhile, the man next to her was throwing expletives at the car in some kind of macho hope that he could insult the thing enough to start up again.
"Son of a bitch!" Lex Luthor cursed, bringing his hand down hard on the steering column.
Chloe jumped a bit in her seat at the venom in Lex's voice, something she had never heard before. Lex was always so calm and controlled, every word perfectly weighed for it's exact meaning. She had never seen him angry enough to be beating the crap out of a dead car in the middle of the woods in what was probably the second worst storm in Smallville's history. Chloe couldn't help but let out a small chuckle about the whole situation.
Lex's icy blue stare alerted her that laughing at an angry man was probably not the best thing to do. 'I must be cracking up already' Chloe thought, shaking her head wearily.
"I'm sorry, did I interrupt your conversation with the car? Because that was really helpful" Chloe snapped, disliking the way Lex's gaze pinned her to the seat.
"Oh, and you're doing much better Ms. Sullivan?" Lex inquired hotly.
"I'm not talking to a car" Chloe pointed out reasonably.
A small smirk pulled at the corners of Lex's mouth, seemingly almost in spite of himself and the bald billionaire shook his head in defeat. He stared straight forward where the windshield of the car was being pounded with pouring rain. Chloe began rubbing her hands together to regain feeling in her fingers. 'Not the fingers' she thought numbly, 'I need those for typing.'
Lex turned slowly and faced the tiny blonde occupying the passenger seat. His tone was more conversational now when he spoke and he seemed to be making himself comfortable in his seat.
"So Ms. Sullivan the question on my mind is this; why do interviews with you tend to end in murder and mayhem?"
'If only I knew,' Chloe thought.
A Few Days Earlier
"Come on Clark, one interview can't hurt!" Chloe complained, stirring the whipped cream around in her coffee. She hadn't ordered whipped cream and she usually didn't let the sugary stuff get within five feet of her coffee. She felt it diluted the caffeine somehow, although when Clark called her on it she couldn't come up with a reasonable explanation as to how. It just seemed when it came to important matters, like coffee, you should keep things simple.
Of course when Lana Lang had walked over; hair out of sorts, apron messy from God knows what, and announced that this coffee was possibly the first she had gotten right all day Chloe just didn't have the heart to tell Lana she had screwed up yet again. Ever since spring break the Talon had been ridiculously understaffed, leading to it's patron taking on most of the waitressing duties herself. And Chloe, having witnessed the coffee cup massacre of '02, remembered full well how good Lana was at waitressing.
"Yes one interview CAN hurt. Don't you remember what happened the last time you tired to interview Lex Luthor?" Clark demanded, his eyes worried. Sometimes Clark reminded Chloe of a big, overprotective puppy dog.
"No, not really. But I'm sure that's mostly on account of the concussion," Chloe said, smirking as she dumped some of the whipped cream into Clark's cup. He didn't even notice, his mouth going agape as he stared at her.
"Chloe that's not funny! You could have died!"
"But I didn't and these are two totally different circumstances. You have no idea how important this interview is. Students from every school in the state are allowed to enter one article and out of all of those articles the Daily Planet board will award *one* shiny plaque for student journalistic achievement. Do you know what that would look like on a college resume, not to mention a real life one?" Chloe asked, leaning forward across the table and trying to drive her point home.
"Come on Chlo, can't you write about something else? It doesn't have to be Lex Luthor, how about some wall of weird stuff? That's always good for some investigative journalism" Clark suggested, sounding much too eager.
"As much as I hate to say this Clark, Principal Kwan was right when he said that the Wall of Weird was a far cry from credible journalism. No one will believe anything on that wall" Chloe said swiping a piece of Clark's muffin.
In the background Chloe heard the faint crash of glasses that had become no more noticeable than any of the other background noises. Out of the corner of her eye Chloe saw Lana pop up from behind a table and announce to the crowd in the Talon that she was fine and that their drinks were coming out soon. Much grumbling abounded in the coffee house and Chloe turned her attention back to Clark, who was still in the process of brainstorming for her.
"You could always cover local events around here, you know get to the heart of the less Wall of weird strange things that happen. Like Mr. Erich's haunted house or… OH! How about doing a piece on the guy with the pigeons?" Clark asked excitedly.
"That's Mr. Erich too, he owns the monopoly on small town weirdness."
"Everyone is going to be turning in puff pieces like that Clark. What I need is something to set me apart, something to break me away from the crowd. An interview with THE Lex Luthor? I'll be in a league all my own. So come on Clark, just ask him and see if he says yes" Chloe pleaded with Clark, forcing her eyes to do that round doe-eyed thing she had seen so many times in movies. Instead of looking pouty Chloe looked so surprised that Clark turned around briefly to see if someone was behind him. Chloe decided the look needed refinement.
"Fine, I'll ASK. If Lex says no the case is closed right?" Clark finally conceded, sinking back into his chair as if the small blonde had sucked all the life out of him. His blue eyes that bored into Chloe's were full of worry but she didn't take any heed of that at all. She was up out of her seat in a second and was squashing Clark in a giant hug.
"Thanks so much! You're the best friend a girl could want!" Chloe said happily.
"Or I'm the most gullible" Clark muttered miserably into Chloe's hair.
"But that's what makes you so great."
Behind the two hugging figures a loud crash followed by the hollow thunking of pots and pans resounded from behind the counter. Clark and Chloe broke out of their embrace and turned to see a disheveled Lana exit the back room covered in flour.
"That's it, the Talon is officially closed until further notice!" Lana said and with as much pride as was left in her, she took off her apron, threw it on the counter and exited the coffee house.
"So" Chloe said, turning back to Clark after Lana had stormed out. Clark's eyes were glued to the door that Lana had disappeared from. Of course.
"I don't pay you to second guess and if you keep evading the question Mr. Jones I won't be paying you at all anymore" Lex said, aggravation creeping into his otherwise calm tone. He sat at the wide oak desk in his spacious office; the stained glass panels above his head painting him in reds and blues. His left hand pressed the telephone a bit too tightly to his ear. In his right hand he was squeezing a bright red stress ball for all it was worth, watching the smiley face on the ball's surface twist and distort. It was oddly satisfying, Lex thought and was glad he hadn't thrown away Clark's present.
The voice on the other end was tinged with apprehension but trying to maintain a professional calm. He wasn't doing a particularly good job at it and as he replied to Lex his voice rose and fell unsteadily.
"I'm sorry Mr. Luthor, I just wanted to make sure that I was right. I've checked and rechecked the numbers and there's no mistake. We're down at least ten points and Spencen is making what I would imagine to be the first steps in a" here the voice faltered entirely. A second later it continued on but with far less assurance, like a little boy about to be scolded. "It looks like a take over sir."
Lex swore under his breath. A take over, of course it was. Harold Spencen had been much too inquiring lately; much too sickly sweet. The articles that were written about LexCorp lately couldn't be discounted either, Spencen apparently had a few Kansas newspapers in his payroll. Considering the recent rash of articles about foul play at the Smallville plant, bribery and embezzlement it was no surprise that consumer confidence was down. It was the perfect opportunity to make a move.
"Sir?" the lackey on the other end inquired in fear. The door to Lex's office edged open and Clark stood just within the doorway with a weary smile. Lex waved his friend in and then turned back to the phone.
"Just send out those papers I faxed you and keep an eye on the market for me" Lex replied and then hung up the phone without a farewell. He didn't have time for incompetent lemmings who had to have their hands held through everything.
"Something wrong?" Clark asked, leaning his hip against the desk and raising his brow at Lex.
"Just the wonderful world of business Clark" Lex commented wryly, then took in Clark's demeanor and added. "Or should I be the one wondering what's wrong? Something on your mind?"
"No" Clark said, picking up the stress ball and stretching the face out until it almost popped. "At least not my mind anyway. Chloe's mind, there's something on Chloe's mind."
"Not another dance?"
"No, nothing like that" Clark said and looked up at Lex through his dark bangs. Lex curbed the impulse to shake Clark until he spit it out and instead leaned back in his chair and stapled his fingers.
"She wants to interview you" Clark said, as if announcing that Chloe wanted to change her name to Barbie and try out for cheerleading.
"Doesn't she remember what happened the last time?" Lex asked.
"And she still wants an interview?"
"Without a doubt."
"Interesting," Lex allowed the smirk he had been reigning in to grace his face. "Of course I'll have to deny her that interview but tell her that I appreciate her commitment."
Clark looked a bit taken aback by this comment, as if it was the exact opposite of what he expected. Then he smiled and his entire posture relaxed.
"So no? Good. I mean not good, bad….very….bad" Clark try to backtrack lamely.
"Didn't want me corrupting your girl Friday there Clark?" Lex asked, amusement hiding the sting of that realization. So much for having at least one person to stick up for him in Smallville.
"It's not that! I just," Clark paused for a moment. "The last time Chloe almost died and I remember wondering 'My God, what would I do without Chloe'." Clark's voice was absolutely earnest, as was his explanation, and Lex felt the smile on his face go from fake to natural.
"Don't worry about the interview Clark, more bad press is the last thing I need right now" Lex answered, pushing himself out of his seat and crossing to a window. There was an idea there, floating just under the surface and trying to fight its way out. Bad press….bad press….
"Well I'll be sure to tell Chloe what you said. Good luck with the business thing," Clark said, practically skipping his way over to the door. Lex turned abruptly from the window and faced Clark with sparkling eyes.
"Clark! Wait! Tell Ms. Sullivan she has her interview."