Chloe stopped herself in the main lobby of The Daily Planet and shook her head. Still clutching the flower petal, Chloe took out her phone and dialed Clark's number. It rang until the voicemail picked up, and Chloe hung up without leaving a message. The whole thing was crazy, after all, Chloe thought, what were the chances that Clark's daisy had ended with "loves me"? And that he was glad about it? She turned around and walked back to the stairs to the basement. Standing at the top of the stairs, Chloe could not bring herself to go down them.
"Chloe?" She heard Jimmy's voice and she looked down at him. He was standing on the landing between the basement and the first floor, and Chloe felt her heart melt a little. "You okay?" Jimmy walked up the rest of the steps, and put his hands on her shoulders. His hands were so slender, long fingered and nimble. Chloe remembered teasing him during their summer internship about having piano hands and Jimmy had obliged her by playing "Heart and Soul" badly on the electric keyboard he'd brought from home. Even then, Jimmy had a knack for making her laugh. She raised her eyes to his and smiled weakly. Hurting him would not be an easy thing to do, and Chloe wasn't even sure it would be the right thing to do. The solution was simple. She wouldn't hurt him now.
"I think so." Chloe said, and Jimmy nodded, sliding his hands down her shoulders to her hands. "I guess I'm just tired."
"Yeah. It's not an easy commute back and forth from Smallville." Jimmy squeezed her hands and let them go. "You sure that's all it is?"
"Why?" Chloe asked, and Jimmy sighed.
"Well, there are ten shredded daisies in your garbage can and one on your desk. If I had to give that picture a title, I'd call it "Daisy Murder" or "Loves Me, Loves Me Not.", but that's just me." Jimmy smiled a little, and Chloe realized that she had already managed to hurt him.
"Jimmy, I…"Chloe began to protest, and he shook his head, lifting her hand up in his own. The last petal of Clark's daisy was still there in her hand.
"You didn't come looking for me in the darkroom, Brighteyes." Jimmy said sadly. "I'm no rocket scientist, but it's pretty clear to me that that last petal wasn't about me."
"It's not." Chloe admitted. "It wasn't even my daisy, I mean, it was, but I didn't pull it apart." Jimmy frowned, trying to understand and Chloe sighed. "I think Clark did it after you and I left for City Hall."
"I didn't peg CK for the sentimental type." Jimmy mused. "So, let me understand. You think he did this, as a message?"
"I don't know. I mean, I think so. I'm so pathetic all of a sudden. Jimmy, I'm so, so sorry. I didn't want to hurt you at all." Chloe told Jimmy and he nodded.
"I didn't think that at all. I know that you'd never hurt me on purpose." His voice was low. "And I know that you do have some kind of feelings for me. It's not just friendship, either." Chloe looked up at Jimmy in surprise, and he smiled. "I don't take my concerns out on daisies. I have a silver dollar that my Uncle Lars gave me. I flip it." Jimmy took the silver dollar out of his pocket and placed it in Chloe's palm. "Go ahead. Heads, you go for pizza with me. Tails, you find CK and talk to him about the daisy. Either way, you win."
"Serious?" Chloe smiled, and Jimmy nodded.
"You think I'm crazy? I'd rather keep you as my friend than have you break up with me after a few more weeks or months because I'm not CK. Go ahead. Uncle Lars' dollar is never wrong." Jimmy's eyes widened. "What are you waiting for?"
Chloe clasped the silver dollar in her hand and pulled in her bottom lip. She tossed the coin in the air and it went up, up and then came down fast, back in her palm with a slap. She gripped it in her fist and looked up at Jimmy. He was holding his breath, and Chloe slowly opened her hand. Everything was black. She heard Jimmy breathe in deeply and then laugh.
"You can't see your answer with your eyes closed, Chloe." He said, still laughing. "Open your eyes."
The coin was on Tails.
"Oh my God." Chloe looked up at him in a mild panic. "What do I do?"
"I say you get in your car and drive to Smallville." Jimmy replied gently. "Straighten it all out with CK and then…" He smiled a little and gave her shoulder a squeeze. "If he doesn't feel the way you think he might, I'm here."
"I can't leave you waiting." Chloe decided. "It's wrong and it hurts. Thank you, Jimmy. You've been a good friend and you deserve better than that." She handed him back his silver dollar. "I've got to go."
"Drive safely." Jimmy said as Chloe hurried away. He watched her go, and flipped his coin. Heads, she'd come back, Tails…well, tails was a whole other thing. Jimmy caught the coin, but didn't look at it. He slid the dollar piece into his pocket. He didn't need Uncle Lars' lucky dollar to tell him what was going to happen. Chloe's face had already done that. Jimmy Olsen shrugged a little and made his way back down the stairs to the photography lab.
Chloe took a deep breath once she got through the Daily Planet's revolving door and looked up. It was only four o'clock. If she got gas first, she'd make it to Smallville by seven….then her phone rang. Heart racing, Chloe looked down at the display and grinned. Lois.
"Okay, I called your desk at The Planet and you weren't there. Big story?" Lois asked, and Chloe laughed.
"That totally depends on your definition of a 'big story'. If it's that I just broke up with Jimmy, then yes, huge story." Chloe bit her lip, refraining from telling Lois the rest, that she was planning to go see Clark. That part of the story would have to wait until after Chloe spoke to him.
"You dumped the photographer?" Lois asked, surprised. "Why? You two were so cute together. Well, whatever the reason, it's perfect."
"Why?" Chloe had walked to her car, and her hand was on the door handle. Get in the car, Sullivan. Once she tells you her plan, you will not make Smallville tonight unless you are behind the wheel.
"We're going dancing. There's this great new place I just heard about. Come on, girl's night out, Chlo'. It's been forever." Lois wailed tauntingly, and Chloe sighed. "I promise, whatever you were going to do now, you can do tomorrow."
"I was going out to Smallville. I wanted to talk to Clark about…."Chloe began, as Lois' groaned on the other end of the line.
"Chloe, he's only going to break your heart – he always does. Come out with me tonight. Forget him, forget the freckled photog. One night of fun before you plunge back into Clark Kent shadow mode." Lois insisted. "It'll be like old times. We never have fun together anymore. Tomorrow morning, if you still haven't come to your senses about Smallville, I'll drive you out there myself."
Chloe smiled. A night out with Lois sounded like a lot of fun, and taking a little time to clear her head before she spoke to Clark would be a better idea than running out to the farm now. Besides, Clark wasn't answering his cell. Chloe nodded. "Okay, Lois. I'll stay in town tonight. I'm all yours."
"You won't regret it." Lois said sagely. "Oooh, wait 'til you see the dresses I'm bringing with me. I found this sassy leather dress in Topeka of all places. You'll have to help me decide which I'm wearing. You do have something to wear, right?"
"I think I can manage." Chloe grinned. "Meet you at the dorms."
"I'm hailing a cab now." Chloe could hear Lois checking her watch. "The Met U dorms it is. This is going to be so much fun!!"
"Yeah." Chloe smiled, dismissing her mental picture of she and Clark on the farm at sunset reluctantly. Lois was right. It wasn't time to get hurt again.
"Loves Me, Loves Me Not, Loves Me…."
Clark looked down at the wild daisy he had picked from the field on his way back from bringing the cows in. It was squattier and less symmetrical than the florist variety Chloe'd had on her desk earlier today. There were fewer petals, and Clark remembered when they were young, Lana had made chains of them and wore the garland in her dark hair. How long ago was that? He smiled, looking down at the flower. Daisies were never Lana's flower. Daisies were Chloe's, happy and open and honest. It seemed a terrible tragedy to even pull away one of the white petals, but Clark did anyway. It was like the one he'd left on Chloe's desk. He hadn't meant to pull even a single petal free, but one had fallen away when he'd run his fingers around the center. And in his mind, he heard the words, "Loves Me" as if dropped to the green blotter on Chloe's desk. When he'd pulled the last petal away, and the words "Loves Me Not…" echoed there, and Clark realized he'd been a fool for even thinking it could be possible Chloe still cared about him in the way he'd finally realized he cared for her. She didn't call him 'Big Dumb Alien' for nothing, Clark thought, walking back to the house with the daisy in his hand. He'd put it in water and it would make his mother happy when she got home from Topeka tonight. Clark whistled for Shelby, who bounded out of the empty cornfield and toward the house. Clark looked down at the wild daisy in his hand and counted the petals that were left. Sighing, he made his way into the house and put the little flower in a water filled glass. Clark laughed at himself. He wasn't a fool. He was a prize idiot.
Clark looked at the daisy again. No, this time, now that Jimmy was in the picture, Clark would have to let things happen on their own. The most important thing was that Chloe was happy. If Jimmy was the one that made her happy, then Clark would live with that. His mother's car pulled into the driveway, and Martha Kent appeared in the doorway, kicking off shoes and sifting through the stack of mail in the basket near the door. Clark and Shelby came to greet her and Martha smiled
"There you are!" Marha sighed, with relief. "I was trying to call you on your cell all afternoon!"
"Did you?" Clark fished it out of his pocket. "Battery's dead." He grinned sheepishly and allowed his mother to kiss him on the cheek and rumple his already unruly dark hair. "I'll put it on it's charger later."
"I'm just glad you're alright." Martha smiled. "So, you off someplace tonight?"
"No." Clark replied thoughtfully, shaking off the temptation to go see Chloe in Metropolis. "I'm home."
Martha nodded and smiled up at her son. "Feel like hanging around with your old mother tonight? I'm exhausted, but I feel like I never see you."
"That sounds like a great idea, Mom." Clark smiled. A quiet night at home was exactly what he needed. They had walked together into the kitchen and Clark's eye fell on the wild daisy in the jelly glass. The petals called out to him, but he counted them and recited the rhyme in his head again. The answer didn't matter anymore.
"Loves me, Loves me not, Loves me, Loves me not, Loves me…."