Author's Comment: Well, according to popular demand, I'm giving a shot at a slightly longer Chlollie piece. I'm not sure how this will go. Bear with me, too, because this is definitely not coinciding with Smallville. In this world, Chloe has never met Oliver Queen, and she is completely uninvolved with the JL.
I hope this is well-received.
Chloe Sullivan could count on one hand the things about her life she was satisfied with. Her cousin was her best friend. Her cousin was finally dating her best friend Clark, and they were pretty much soul mates. She liked her apartment fairly well. Her most recent hair cut really suited her.
...That was about it. And sadly enough, the first two items had more to do with Lois's life than hers.
The list of things she wanted to change? That one went on for miles. She'd quit her job at the Daily Planet, and she had a feeling that if she ever ran into her sixteen year old self, the younger version of her would be forced to kick her butt. Instead she was house-sitting the Isis Foundation for her mysteriously MIA friend from high school, Lana. It was good work, and she liked it, but at the same time, she just felt like it wasn't her place in the world. She'd been so devoted to becoming a journalist for as long as she could remember and somehow she'd just walked away from it forever, something that still shocked her.
And of course the Lois and Clark thing: as happy as she was for her cousin and friend...it still stung in its own way. Clark had been her first love, and while those feelings were totally gone, she wondered how in the world it was poetically just for him to find the one he was meant to be with while the only men keeping her company through the night was a pint of Ben & Jerry's.
Had she mentioned her best friend was Superman? Most people would think she was crazy to be dissatisfied with having the Man of Steel for a best friend, but Chloe could only think having her own personal superhero didn't really come with many benefits. She frequently found herself wondering why it was that she was doomed to be second to every other woman in his life. Besides that, being Superman's best friend tended to be a thankless task. Not that she would dream of doing it differently. She didn't regret being there for him and helping him whenever she could, but really, once in a while she thought it would be nice to have someone around to actually appreciate her. Clark was a great guy, but she tended to get lost in the shuffle of his life when he didn't need her.
Those were just a few of the major things. She knew she should be grateful. Overall, she had a pretty good life. At least Lois never blew her off for anything, she thought to herself on her way up to her apartment. No, Lois never took her for granted. She smiled to herself as she unlocked her door. At least she had family.
She spotted the light on her phone blinking. Walking over she pressed play and then went to rummage through the fridge.
"Three New Messages" said the electronic voice. Chloe glanced up surprised.
"First Message: Hey, Chlo," she heard Lois's voice. "Don't hate me, okay. I know I promised you tonight was going to be our girl's night, but--"
"Don't say it, Lo," Chloe said to her answering machine, looking at it pleadingly.
"--Clark got tickets to a truck rally and you know how much I love monster trucks. Please don't hate me, cuz. We'll reschedule I promise!"
Chloe slumped to the floor in front of her fridge, holding a tupperware of leftover spaghetti in her hands. She groaned. What had she been thinking about family always being there? she thought bitterly to herself.
The next message came on. "Chloe? It's me again." Chloe rolled her eyes, standing up. "I need a major favor. You're actually going to love me for this one--"
"Oh am I?" Chloe arched a brow.
"--Since I'm going out with Clark tonight, I was hoping you could cover an event for me tonight."
"Oh jeez," Chloe whined.
"Don't groan. It's the mayor's ball, and we both know you're secretly dying to go just like every other Cinderella out there. Please, please, pleeeeaaaase?"
"Fine," she muttered. "Just shut up."
"Thanks, cuz!" Lois's voice said, as though she had heard Chloe's response. "You're the absolute best. I'll make sure your name goes on the article!"
She poured the spaghetti into a bowl and stuck it in the microwave and started reheating it.
"Third Message: Hey me again! Last time I promise!"
"Seriously, Lo?" Chloe looked at her machine as though she didn't believe it.
"I just wanted to let you know you can definitely go for a raid in my closet if you need to borrow anything to wear tonight. Help yourself. Press pass is there, too. You know where the key is!"
The machine beeped to let her know the last of the messages was over. Chloe sighed. So much for staying in and wearing sweatpants and watching movies and eating junk food. Now she had to shower and fix her hair and makeup and figure out what she was going to wear, just so she could go to a stuffy gala and make a list of which "Who's Who"s were there.
She thought seriously about blowing it off. After all, Lois had bailed on her. Why should she do her any favors?
And yet, she knew she wouldn't. Maybe she was too nice for her own good, or maybe she was just being reasonable. Or maybe Lois was right and her inner Cinderella really did want to go to the ball.
She checked the clock. Yeah, she had time to make herself look reasonably decent. Fine, she would go.
She finished her impromptu dinner and headed for the shower, undressing herself slowly. Piece by piece she removed the clothing from her body, feeling like she was removing the baggage of her day. The broken heel on her favorite shoes. The coffee stain on her blouse from when someone had bumped into her before she'd even taken a sip of her coffee of the day. The stack of bills that had been waiting for her at Isis. The twenty taxis that had blown her off before she'd given up to walk home. Right down to the burnt out refrigerator bulb she'd just discovered.
She stepped in the shower and let the scalding hot water crash down on her, trying to rinse her troubles away. She closed her eyes and tilted her head back, contemplating never getting out of the shower. It was nice and safe in here and she didn't have to think about anything. She didn't have to think about how lonely she as, or how tired. She just let each and every muscle in her body relax individually until she felt like jell-o.
She searched through her closet and pulled out the dress she'd once worn to a similar event back when she worked for the paper. Who really cared if it was a fashion faux pas to repeat an outfit? It wasn't like anyone would remember her. And she like the long blue silk dress. It fit her just right (something none of Lois's dresses would do) and she felt...classy in it. The low back made her feel sexy, but the neckline was fairly modest, not showing too much cleavage. It wasn't trendy. It was one of those dresses that would be timeless.
And then there was makeup, and hair curlers, and a spritz of her favorite perfume. And then she had no excuse left to put off leaving any longer.
Not surprisingly, she managed to hail a taxi now that she was in a dress, and even persuaded the driver to stay long enough for her to run up to her cousin's apartment for the press pass.
As she arrived she wondered vaguely whether or not Lois had expected her to cover photos as well, but as soon as she walked into the hotel grand ballroom she spotted an old friend from the paper, Jimmy Olsen, clumsily trying to request people pause for photos. She smiled, considering going over to say hi, but decided not to for the moment. She had all night, and she just didn't feel social at the moment. She wanted a drink, she decided, heading for the bar.
With a bloody mary in her hand she turned and leaned against the bar and scanned the crowd, making her mental list of who was there. She didn't need to write it down. She'd remember it.
When the mayor got up and made his speech she pulled her old tape recorder out and got the whole thing for Lois to quote later.
When it was over and she'd already been through her third drink, she looked around her again. She was seriously considering leaving then, even though it was only 9:30. Maybe she could still watch a movie from the comfort of her own pajamas if she was lucky.
Someone bumped into her as she paid the tab on her drink, and she looked up.
"Sorry," said the man, barely glancing at her.
She frowned at him. Really? She didn't get more than an off-handed apology? This was a lousy night. Then she recognized him. Ah, playboy billionaire Oliver Queen. Right, well, she certainly didn't expect to get a second glance from a man who spent his nights with supermodels and second-rate actresses.
She rolled her eyes and headed out.
Oliver turned, about to offer the girl a drink and blinked. She was gone. Well that was a first. He glanced over his shoulder and saw her on her way out the door.
Well now he was just curious. Who left the mayor's gala before it was even ten o'clock? He was bored as hell and she was providing a source of curiosity if nothing else. Smirking, he headed after her.
When he reached the cool night air, she was nowhere to be found.
Then he heard a scream.