Title: One Stone
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 Rating: PG-13
Feedback: Yes please! Send to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Spoilers: S1 and beginning of S2
Author's Notes: It's like the Chlex version of Mission Impossible! Only not.
Chapter 5: Endings and Beginnings
"So there are Clark and his dad standing at the window" Chloe finished with a flourish of her hands. She scooped her coffee cup from the table and walked behind the counter to make herself another one.
Lana and Pete sat at stools in front of the counter, listening to her story with rapt attention. Chloe had been telling what had transpired the night before as if it was a story about someone else. She hadn't embellished but she had left a few things out, like the highly charged atmosphere that the Kents had ruined. Pete flashed her a grin as he slid his coffee cup to her for a refill.
"That's quite a story Chloe. I can't believe that you had to spend an entire night trapped in a car with Lex Luthor though, now that had to be killer" Pete said.
"It wasn't so bad Pete, Lex is a really nice guy" Chloe said knowing that no matter what she said Pete's opinion of Lex was already set in stone. She found herself wishing that Pete didn't dislike Lex so much but that was silly. It didn't matter if her friends liked Lex or not.
"A really nice guy who's really nice dad stole my family's-" Pete began.
"Corn factory thing" Lana finished for him, flipping her shiny, shiny hair behind her shoulder. She turned to Chloe and leaned further across the counter. "That was a great story Chloe but it was missing something that all great stories should have" Lana stated this last part with a coy little smile. 'How is it that I just know I'm not going to like the next thing that's about to come out of her mouth?' Chloe wondered.
"What's that? Death? Because did I mention the fact that those thugs shot at us? Real bullets? And ran us off the road?" Chloe asked sliding Pete's coffee cup down the counter where he caught it and gave her an appreciative thumbs up.
"No, romance. Every good story has romance," Lana said, her eyes lighting up mischievously. "Are you sure there's nothing you're leaving out?" Lana asked.
Chloe stared at Lana for a long moment in surprise. Was it possible that Lana was psychic? Pete answered the question for her.
"Of course nothing else happened. Come on this is Chloe we're talking about. Lex Luthor tries turning the charm on my girl and she'd knee him in the balls" Pete said proudly. Lana thought a second and then nodded her assent.
"Guess you're right about that."
Chloe exited from behind the Talon counter just as another customer was coming around to get his drink. Chloe slipped around him as he put some money in a box and continued to make himself a latte. Chloe slipped in her vacated seat next to Lana and stared around the Talon. There was less of a crowd than usual but still a fairly steady stream of people were entering and exiting the coffee house.
"I can't believe you made it 'Make your own coffee' week" Chloe said in amused admiration. "What's more, I can't believe people bought it."
"Yea well I cut about 50% off the prices so all the people need to know is how to use a coffee machine. I'm really losing out on the deal but if it means that I don't have to serve coffee than I'm on board" Lana said, shrugging her shoulders and calling out for someone to have a nice day.
"What if the person doesn't know how to use one of the machines?" Chloe asked curiously.
"Didn't someone get burned in here the other day?" Pete asked, suddenly remembering.
"Ok, it's a slightly flawed plan" Lana said, flashing them a smile.
The three friends laughed as they drank their coffee and munched on a few of Mrs. Kent's homemade brownies. Finally Chloe realized that she had yet to let her friends listen to the tape of Spencen and pulled the tape recorder out of her bag. She flashed them a triumphant grin as she displayed the player.
"The whole ordeal was worth it for this, my little story of the century. Shiny Journalism plaque here I come" Chloe said, smiling widely as she hit the play button. And nothing happened.
Chloe stared down at the tape recorder for a moment. She pushed the button back to stop and then tried play again. Nothing. Then she noticed what the problem was. Through the small window where a tape should be visible she saw nothing. She popped the recorder open to confirm her suspicions and then cursed generously.
"Chloe what's wrong?" Lana asked, her brow furrowing in concern.
"Lex! Damnit! I should have known he was getting too friendly with the snuggling!" Chloe yelled angrily. Pete gave her a disbelieving look.
"There was snuggling?!"
"I knew it!" Lana proclaimed.
Sunlight streamed through the stained glass windows of the Luthor mansion as Lex Luthor typed an email to his father rapidly. He had planned to write his father to tell him that he need not be worried about the future of LexCorp the night before but had been strangely exhausted. Lex had woken around noon with a start and the guilty feeling of wasting precious hours. He hadn't slept past noon since his years of partying in Metropolis but the extra sleep had acted to invigorate him. He had finished nearly all of the business needed to secure the safe future of his company.
The doors to the study flew open without warning and a figure stomped into Lex's office. Lex raised his eyes from the screen to see an angry and flustered Howard Spencen glaring at him with obvious venom.
"I need to hire new security" Lex said, more to himself than to Spencen. He pulled himself out of his chair and crossed over in front of his desk, giving Spencen a viper-like smile as he waved him in.
"Lex! What the hell were you doing in my offices last night?" Spencen asked, rage making his voice a pitch higher than usual. He didn't sound like a calm, mature businessman but more like a spoiled toddler.
"Just checking up on an associate" Lex said affably, then indicated the bar with a tilt of his head. "Drink?"
"No" Spencen said icily. "No thank you."
Lex smiled and walked over to the bar, pouring himself something over the rocks. He turned back to Spencen leisurely and leaned against the bar taking a sip of his drink. His cool demeanor was infuriating to Spencen, who had anticipated something other than this dangerous kindness.
"Of course I couldn't help it if I happened to overhear some distressing conversation on this visit. I'd hate for someone else to have to overhear it too" Lex said casually, producing a tape from his pocket. Spencen's eyes narrowed on the tape in Lex's hand.
"I take it you've made copies of that" Spencen said, having difficulty reigning in his rage.
"Just for safe keeping of course" Lex replied, slipping the tape back into his pocket. "I'd hate for anyone else to get their hands on this, it could be very scandalous for your company. Howard." Spencen growled at the disrespect in Lex's voice but Lex didn't even seem as if he noticed.
"You can't use that tape you know. You procured that evidence while breaking and entering and I have proof of that" Spencen said proudly, hoping to catch Lex in his own web.
"Oh you mean your security tapes? I have a feeling you may not find all that much on those" Lex replied smugly, throwing back more alcohol.
"How did you-?" Spencen began in shock.
"The how is not important. I think we should focus on where we should go from here. For instance I don't want you to come anywhere near this town, or any of its inhabitants, ever again" Lex said, his tone icy and dangerous. Spencen was at a total loss for words.
"As for LexCorp, I do believe that your propaganda caused the corporation to lose quite an amount of money. I hope you don't mind that I borrowed some from one of your overseas bank accounts?" Lex asked casually. Spencen snapped back now, angry again.
"What?! How dare you? That's robbery! I'll-" Spencen started in rage.
"Do what Mr. Spencen? Admit that you've been piffling money out of the corporation's funds. What would the board think of that?" Lex asked, allowing his trademark smirk to grace his face. Spencen deflated like a popped balloon.
"I have important business to attend to now, if you don't mind. I assume you can see yourself out" Lex said, not even turning around as he crossed over to his desk. He heard the door close quietly behind Spencen on his way out.
A wide smile pulled at the corners of Lex's mouth as he relived his victory in his head. It might have been an unconventional way to go about it but LexCorp was safe again.
As he sat down to finish typing he felt something hard dig into his side. He reached down into his pocket and pulled out the tape. He gave a brilliant smile as he turned the tape over in his hand.
The screen of the laptop threw flickering lights over Chloe's face. She was sprawled out on her bed, with half a sheath of paper lying around her in various states of crumpled. No more than a few paragraphs were scrawled on each before they had been deemed unworthy and shot towards the garbage can. After the first hour Chloe had stopped bothering to aim and now the papers covered not only her garbage and floor, but also her bed.
'I'm thinking about this too much' Chloe thought to herself. 'Just write.'
She cracked her knuckles and took a long gulp of the coffee she had fixed for herself. She placed the coffee on the night stand and stared at the tape recorder as if in inspiration. It seemed as if not long ago Lex was taking that recorder and telling her that she wouldn't have her interview. What she had gotten was even better. Lana was right; it was all about the story.
Her fingers flexed on the keypad and her face was flushed with the eerie eternal light of the computer screen. A moment passed, and then Chloe began to write her story.
So I'm trapped in a sports car with Lex Luthor…