Disclaimer: None of the characters are mine. I'm not making a profit. I'm just enjoying myself. Please don't sue!

Also, I have neglected to mention that this story was inspired by a wonderful fanfic I read on the Prologue website called Progression. It's written by Seersha, and it's definitely worth checking out if you haven't done so.

January

"Honestly, Chloe. I don't know why you haven't moved past thing you have for Smallville. Do you feel your life is missing a crucial element of brooding and moping? Is it the plaid? You've gone just a little bit batty after having to look at it day in and day out for years, haven't you? I really think someone should look into the traumatic effect this can have on a person's psyche." Lois gave her cousin a look of deep concern as they sprawled out on Mr. Sullivan's sofa, sharing a much-needed quiet evening together.

Chloe grinned and brushed her spiky blonde hair out of her laughing green eyes. "Cute, Lois. And it was never about the plaid."

Throwing her cousin a skeptical look, the older woman said, "Right. It was his charming personality and devil-may-care attitude that attracted you."

"You know, Clark really can be sweet and fun to be around!" Chloe protested in defense of her friend, then amended her comment, "When he's not around you."

"What can I say? I bring out the best in him!" Lois grinned and tossed her long brown ponytail over her shoulder in a defiant gesture. "Anyway, to get back to the point, I don't see what you see in that guy! Exactly which one of his most irritating qualities gets your heart doing summersaults? Because, I have to tell you, I've watched him pretty closely since I met him, and I just don't see the attraction." Okay, that wasn't quite true. At her first meeting with Clark, she saw a lot that could cause a girl's head to turn – even when keeping her eyes north of the border. However, she'd learned enough from the conversations she'd shared with her cousin in the years before Lois had come to Smallville to know that, in Clark's case, looks weren't everything. He and Chloe had danced around each other long enough, in Lois's estimation, and it was always Chloe who got hurt in the end. That Clark had failed to impress the feisty brunette in any of their subsequent meetings only made her more determined to protect her best friend's heart from taking any more damage, and she promised she would do so if she had to tie the other girl down and force feed pictures of Keanu Reeves to her until she caved.

To Lois's increasing irritation, however, she saw Chloe smile softly to herself and, if she wasn't mistaken, get a dangerously dreamy look in her eye. "Oh, there's plenty attractive about Clark Kent, Lois. You just have to look." Lois had to forcibly restrain an urge to gag.

Lois scoffed. "Maybe those baby blues have taken away your sanity, but mine is still intact. Clark Kent is nothing more than a farmboy from Podunk, Nowheresville with a savior complex and nothing much more going for him. He'll grow up, marry his high school sweetheart, and settle down to have a pack of rugrats as insufferable as he is. If tomorrow I uncovered an unhealthy attraction he has towards the local livestock (and, mind you, I'm not ruling that out yet), it would be the only passably interesting thing to discover about the guy. With him, what you see is what you get, and, frankly, I wouldn't find that appealing if he were the last guy on earth. But that's just me."