Gabe Sullivan cleared the dishes from the dinner table and abruptly sprung a conversation upon his daughter as he was apt to do, "So, Lana had to move out of her apartment because of the recent threats."
"I heard", Chloe said as she continued to put away the leftovers.
"And she's having a bit of trouble finding a someone to stay with for the rest of the school year, so I've asked her to move back in with us again."
She stopped what she was doing, "I thought she moved in with Lex? I wouldn't think she would want to live here again."
"Well she does…and more importantly, Lex Luthor wants her to live here. He's my boss again and the guy did manage to somehow keep his father and crooked FBI agents from killing us, so I'm willing to oblige him."
Chloe couldn't help but feel resentful to how things had worked out with Lana. First the girl she thought was becoming a good friend up and tells her she didn't trust or feel comfortable around Chloe and then skips town, off to bigger and pinker things. Chloe was suppose to be the one to make it out of Smallville, not Lana. Then, when Lana did come back, she moved directly in above the Talon and hadn't once contacted Chloe since she left for Paris. Unless prompted by school stuff, meteor mutants, Clark Kent, or Lois's meddling, they were doing a good job pretending they didn't know each other. However, it turned out that Chloe wouldn't be able to ignore Ms. Princess with her living in the same house again.
"Why does she have to live here?" Chloe asked the obvious question. "Why can't she stay at the castle or go live in Metropolis with her Aunt? She would obviously be better off with family around."
Gabe looked at his daughter apprehensively, "Now honey, I know you two had a bit of a falling out last year and you haven't been on the best of terms…"
Chloe snorted, "We haven't been on any terms. She apparently doesn't see me as good enough to speak to anymore."
Sighing, he continued, "…but she needs to finish up her schooling, she wants to do it at Smallville High, and Lex Luthor wants her to live here."
"What?! Why here? Is he paying you to take her or something?" Chloe argued.
"I don't know 'why here'. Maybe he wants her to be around familiar faces or he wants to make sure she's living in a safe home environment. I don't know." Gabe reasoned, "But yes, he's paying me. He is my boss."
"Lex's paying you to take Lana off his hands." she bit out disbelieving.
"In a matter of speaking. He rehired me on at the plant, refinanced the loan on the house at a very nice rate, and gave me a bonus to help out here since I'm supporting two teenagers. So yes…he's paying me." Gabe explained while looking pleadingly into his daughter's eyes.
Chloe couldn't help it, she burst out laughing. "A huge castle, tons of rooms, dozens of bedrooms, and Lex has to pay someone to get Lana out of his metaphorical hair." Chloe choked out in between sobs of laughter, "Oh this is just beautiful." Tears started to form at the corners of her eyes.
"Chloe," he looked sternly at his only child, "You can't tell anyone. Do you here me? Nobody, especially not Lana!"
"But…" Chloe started to plead.
"No one!" Gabe bit back.
"Alright, no one." Chloe conceded while sobering up.
"Um, also, iwantyoutwotogointothecityandhangoutthisweeked." Gabe mumbled while biting his lip.
"I want you two to go into the city and hang out this weekend." Gabe said in a slower an more comprehensible voice.
Chloe couldn't believe her ears, "Why?"
"Well," he started off a bit tentatively, "We're not the only ones who've noticed that your relationship seems to be a bit strained lately and I said you and Lana could do something together. You know, bonding and…girl stuff."
"One weekend's not going to fix things between us." Chloe said bitterly.
"I know," Gabe agreed, "But it's a start. Come on sweetheart, it could be fun and I've already asked your Lois if you can stay with her."
"She lives in a studio apartment." Chloe said grasping a straws, "It only has one room!"
Gabe countered her move, "Yes, but she said there'd be plenty of room…something about air mattresses."
"But daddy…" Chloe whined in a last bit effort to stop the inevitable.
"You'll have fun," Gabe said, closing the conversation, "Now, I've got to finish up some paperwork, but I don't want you to stay up too late. Lana's moving back in tomorrow."
"Great…just great." Chloe breathed out and then plopped down on the couch to watch TV.
Lana stepped into a large, bright space which managed to be hotter than the summer air despite the air conditioning streaming out of a myriad of vents strategically placed around the room. Chloe, who had managed to "dress-up" in a pair of off the wrack black pants and some shirt which must have come from a second hand store as Lana was pretty sure no one had made such a monstrosity since the early 80's, fidgeted relentlessly beside her.
"The Metropolis Art Museum, here we are." Chloe said in a voice clearly the opposite of enthusiastic.
"Let's get in line for tickets." Lana suggested.
Chloe looked around with an assessing posture, "It's a bit crowded in here."
"Uh-huh" Lana shrugged her off.
"Why are we here again?" Chloe asked with no real conviction.
Lana responded dryly, "Girl bonding over classic French impressionism"
"Right." Chloe muttered.
"We'll go hang out wherever your cousin's at afterwards." Lana tried to negotiate with her.
"Nanashi? But you hate nightclubs." Chloe said perking up a bit.
"Right." Lana responded, "Well I know you're not exactly fond of museums, so…equal suffering."
Chloe looked over Lana appraisingly, then slowly smiled and parroted back, "Right, equal suffering."
Lana had just managed to get a soda from one of the waiters when Chloe grabbed her arm and whispered rather loudly into her ear, "Ooooh, look!"
Lana looked towards where Chloe was staring intently. "It's Lex, let's go say hi," Lana brightened up a bit at the prospect of having someone else to talk to, even if it was the guy who just kicked her out of his house.
Chloe stopped her, "Don't you see who he's with?"
"Some guy?" Lana responded questioningly.
"Some guy?!" Chloe asked utterly disbelieving, "That's not just some guy! That's Bruce Wayne…Wayne Industries, Bruce Wayne!"
The back of the hairs on Lana's neck stood up when she spotted Chloe enter reporter mode. "So you want to stand here and discuss who they are instead of talking to them?" She bit out defensively.
"No!" Chloe exclaimed and then admitted, "I want to follow them around until I have enough info to write a story."
"We're not spying on Lex!" Lana cried out at Chloe's audacity.
"Shhhh! It's not spying, it's investigative journalism." Chloe debated.
Lana snorted, "You can go investigate, I'm going to talk to Lex."
"Lana, wait!" Chloe called after her.
Lana determinedly made her way over to the two men who had their backs to her and Chloe, but stopped short when she caught Lex sigh exasperatedly. "I just don't know what to do anymore. I can keep trying to find someone half-way sane, caring and interesting or I can harden myself to others just like my father always wanted me to do."
Lana felt guilty at listening to such an obviously private conversation, especially after having chewed Chloe out about spying, however after living with Lex Luthor for nearly a month and barely chipping the surface in finding out what makes the guy tick, she felt compelled. Lana couldn't help herself.
The tall man next to Lex responded in a strained, but caring voice, "While I'm leery of endorsing anything promoted by Lionel Luthor, the second option seems to be the only viable way of life for people with our wealth and in our social circle."
"Do you truly believe that Bruce? Can a person really live that way?" Lex asked tiredly.
Lana's heart went out to Lex, who was obviously suffering underneath his cool exterior.
"I hope so." Bruce replied.
Lana slowly backed away until she was accosted by Chloe, who pulled her behind a rather large fern.
"So?! What did you hear???" Chloe demanded in an excited voice.
Lana responded with a mixture of sadness and irritability, "Lex is all alone and has decided to give up on love altogether. Is that the article you want to write."
Chloe looked back at Lana with confusion and shame, "No, of course not."
"Let's just go, ok. I don't want to talk to him after overhearing that now." Lana said.
"Sure, whatever you want." Chloe answered on a more somber note.
Chloe clicked off her cell phone, "I tried Lois on her cell, but she didn't answer."
"So what do you want to do?" Lana asked
"We could see a movie." Chloe suggested.
"I guess. What do you want to see?" Lana replied apathetically.
"Umm…I don't know what's playing?" Chloe responded just as apathetically.
"Maybe we could just watch a movie on cable back at the apartment?" Lana put forth.
Chloe jumped at the chance to end the torturous night, "Sounds good."
Chloe read a note left by Lois on the counter out loud, "Staying out, cute guy, got a change of clothes and won't see you before you leave, yada, yada, yada, left provisions, order pizza, and I'll talk to you later. Love, Lois."
Lana opened the ice box to check it out, "Provisions seem to be beer and mustard."
"We can get some soda delivered with the pizza." Chloe offered.
Lana took out a bottle, "That's alright. Beer's fine with me tonight. Where's the bottle opener?"
Chloe looked at Lana incredulously, "Are you sure, because…"
"Chloe," Lana started exasperatedly, "I've been trying to be more direct with people lately. Tonight's been a bust. I'm torn between being a bit depressed about life in general and bored out of my mind, and my feet are killing me from really pretty, but painful shoes. Have some beer with me."
Chloe took the beer offered by Lana, "Ok."
Lana smiled, "But we can still order pizza."
In the middle of Monsoon Wedding, Lana blurted out "I can't stop thinking about Lex."
Chloe, who was quite use to random tangents from her father, asked, "In general, or about what you overheard tonight?"
"Both. I mean look at the people he's had around him, the one's who are suppose to love him, his father for instance." Lana expounded.
"Satan himself." Chloe replied.
"Helen" Lana listed
"Backstabbing psycho bitch." Chloe commented.
"Desiree" Lana said while making a distinctly unpleasant face.
"Meteor rock psycho bitch." Chloe observed.
"Victoria" Lana named off.
"Skanky psycho bitch." Chloe remarked.
"Dead mother, dead nanny, dead little brother, slimy absent little brother" Lana made an inventory of people in Lex's life.
"Not exactly the Brady bunch." Chloe scrutinized.
Lana screwed up her face and thought hard, "He said that he couldn't find someone 'sane, caring and interesting'."
Chloe, looking drunkenly contemplative, "That shouldn't be as difficult as it has been for him. But then again it's been pretty difficult for me to find someone like that."
A determined Lana replied, "I don't know, I found Whitney and then Clark."
"But then Whitney died and you broke up with Clark." Chloe pointed out.
"And you've had Pete and Clark." Lana continued on.
Chloe got the distinct feeling Lana wasn't listening to her, "…then Pete told me he was in love with me, avoided me and then had to leave town, and Clark keeps everyone at arms length."
Lana's face brightened, "I know! We'll set him up with Clark."
"Just how drunk are you?" Chloe questioned.
"It's perfect." Lana explained, "Lex gets Clark. Clark gets someone with some chance of getting through those walls around him. I be appreciated for my pure-hearted selflessness as the one who got them together."
Chloe looked dumbfounded, "Pure-hearted selflessness?"
Lana continued on drunkenly, but unfazed by the other girl, "Could I be any more perfect?"
Chloe stared at Lana, "Umm… you mean could it be any more perfect?"
Lana blinked and then waved her hand in an exasperated motion, "Yeah, that too."
Chloe laughed and then thought about what Lana was saying, "Ok, but they're already friends, granted they're a bit hostile to each other now."
"But they could be more with just a bit of a push" Lana tried to persuade.
"More," Chloe choked on her beer, "Clark and Lex as more than friends? What exactly did they teach you in Paris?"
Lana trudged on, "Chloe, just think about it. Lex has been into Clark for years now, none of his other relationships have withstood that kind of test of time. Lex has always kept tabs on everything Clark related. One could even say he's a bit obsessed with him. I'm pretty sure Clark's sane, if a bit secretive and weird. He's also caring and the weirdness just makes him that more interesting."
"One problem with that scenario" Chloe tried to reason with Lana.
"What?" Lana asked.
"Clark's not into guys?" Chloe said, firm in the belief that she had popped whatever demented pink balloon Lana was attempting to fill.
"Well, Clark's not really into women either?" Lana responded rather bitterly.
Chloe couldn't believe she just heard that statement from Lana's mouth, "But he's into you?? And he's kissed me a few times and we've made out… not that it meant anything."
Lana looked into Chloe's eyes, "Clark's into the idea of me. The girl next door that he can put upon a pedestal and who'll magically make his life seem more normal by her mere presence. I don't think he's really into me."
"But you two have been going out off and on for almost two years now and flirting for a good year before that. You must have done something in all that time," she reasoned.
"Nothing beyond kissing" Lana admitted.
"Nothing??" Chloe asked.
"And not because I didn't want to," Lana continued to confess.
Chloe was surprised to say the least, "You wanted to?"
Lana snorted, "Wanted to. Tried to. But No! He has to go on and on about respecting me, waiting until we're ready and being happy just to cuddle!" Lana said cuddle like it was some nasty word.
Chloe's eyebrows shot up as she slowly took in the picture Lana was painting, "Hold on, let me get this right. You tried to do risqué sexual things with Clark Kent and he only wanted to cuddle?"
Lana took a drink out of her nearly empty bottle, "Yep! And contrary to what guidance counselors tell you, extracurricular activities and work do nothing to relieve sexual frustration. They just make you really busy."
"That does explain how you manage to be involved in just about everything," Chloe stated.
Lana, muttered over her bottle neck while slightly mouthing the tip in a way Chloe associated with raunchy dares, soft porn and Lex Luthor, "Lots and lots of sexual frustration."
Chloe sat in silence, rather drunk and bowled over by what she had been hearing.
"I'll have to come up with a plan," Lana exclaimed.
Chloe attempted to reason some more, "Lana, I can buy that Lex is bisexual, I kind of figured that. I can buy that Clark's so far in the closet he's going to need a giant push just to figure which way's out, and you would be the expert in his case, but shouldn't we make sure we're right about Lex obsessing over Clark?"
"That's why I have you," Lana smiled in a slightly evil manner.
Chloe choked a bit on her drink, "Excuse me?"
"It's not spying Chloe, it's investigative journalism, without publishing the story of course." Lana threw Chloe's words back at her.
Chloe gave in, "Something tells me I probably shouldn't, but in a weird way it sounds like fun… and it's for a good cause."
Lana's smile widened, "It's for the best cause of all. L'amour."
Chloe snorted, "Following that amount of cheese, no more beer for you."