Authors note: thank you for everyone who has given me feedback so far, I really, really appreciate it! Please let me know what you think of this chapter!
That night he hadn't been able to sleep. For hours he lay in bed tossing and turning, cursing to himself as he heard the clock ticking slowly. Every time he shut his eyes he was there again…he was in her arms…she was holding him, telling him everything was going to be okay. Frustrated he got out of bed and began pacing his room. This was wrong, he told himself. He had to stop thinking about her. He was wrong for her. She was wrong for him. He was a Luthor – he wasn't supposed to fall for sweet sixteen year olds, he wasn't supposed to fall for anybody. Besides, what would Lana want with somebody like him? She wasn't a socialite, or a shrewd businesswoman; she didn't care about money, and for all his outside arrogance and confidence, inside Lex didn't believe that anybody could ever want him for anything but that. If they weren't interested in his money, then they wouldn't be interested in him; there wasn't anything else that he had to offer, was there?
Despite his feelings that Lana was never going to want him in the way that he wanted her, after that night, Lex couldn't help himself from being drawn to the Talon. No matter how busy his day was, or how much work he had to do, he always made time to pop in. He would mostly sit and listen to Lana talking as she closed up, watching how her face lit up as she got excited, watching how her eyes sparkled as she laughed, and noticing how they clouded over when she thought of her parents. He recognised that look she would get in her eyes, a kind of pain and longing. It was the same feeling he got in his stomach every time his Mom was mentioned, and seeing that same look in Lana's eyes was the biggest test to his constraint he ever faced. He recognised that pain in her eyes, and it was all he could do at times to stop himself from sweeping her into his arms and letting her know that she didn't need to be upset, that he was going to look after her.
He found himself opening up to Lana in a way that he never had with anyone before. When he was near her he could relax, he no longer had to put up a front, and for the first time he felt like he was able to be the real him. He smiled to himself sometimes at the thought of what his Father would have said if he had seen them together. He didn't think his Father had ever seen Lex laughing, he would have been shocked, appalled to the core that his son could have such human emotions.
As time went on, he found himself thinking about Lana constantly, at first he tried to stop himself, telling himself that he should concentrate on the fact that they were friends and to stop hoping there could ever be anything else, but then he would see her, and he realised that it was impossible for him to ever only want her as a friend. He would ask himself sometimes why he was still holding back. Why didn't he just tell Lana how he felt? Or as was more often the Luthor way, why didn't he just show her how he felt. Yet there was something inside of him that was still holding him back. It was a feeling that he got in his stomach every time he thought of telling her, something he had felt only once in his life before, right when he found out his Mother was going to die. Fear. It was no longer simply the fear that he would taint Lana; that she deserved better than him, but he was terrified of how she might react. He had built up one of the first real friendships that he had ever had with Lana, and the thought of losing this scared him more than anything. It was kind of ironic, he thought to himself. How he could be so cocky and sure of himself when it came to business, or to women like Victoria, yet the thought of telling a sixteen year old girl hat he had fallen for her, scared the life out of him.
All he needed was a sign, he told himself. A sign that Lana felt the same way about him. One night he thought that maybe he had it. It was November 17th (he had a funny way of remembering all the little details where Lana was concerned), and work had been chaotic. He was furious by the time that he finally managed to leave the plant, it was half an hour past the Talon's closing time, someone's stupid blunder was probably gonna cost him the chance of seeing Lana that night. There was no way she would still be there at that time.
Still, despite his feelings that he had probably missed her, he found himself pressing furiously down on the accelerator and speeding towards the Talon. As he pulled up outside he felt his heart sink as he looked up at it, the lights were out, the place was dark, he'd missed her. "Damnit!" he had shouted out loud, before putting his foot down hard on the pedal and speeding off again.
He had barely gone a hundred yards, when he spotted her. Her dark hair was blowing furiously about her in the wind, and she was looking down, dragging her feet along the floor as she walked. He'd slowed to a stop beside her, winding down the window nearest to her. "Need a lift?" he'd asked as she turned to face him, getting no answer from Lana in reply, just a look of shock on her face as she stared at him open mouthed. "Lana… are you okay?" he'd asked her "you look like you've seen a ghost" Lana had simply nodded her head, and got into the car, that shocked look still on her face. They drove home in silence, Lana seemed to be in a world of her own and Lex didn't know what to say to her. As they pulled up outside her house he'd asked her again if she was okay, the shocked look was gone from her face now, and she'd looked up at him gazing intently into his eyes. "I guess I just realised something Lex, that's all, something I hadn't realised before" She continued gazing into his eyes as she said this, as though she was searching for something in them, and Lex suddenly felt his heart jolt. Was she trying to tell him something? Was this the sign he had been waiting for?
Slowly he'd started to lean his head towards hers, when suddenly she broke their eye contact. Looking down at her hands, and blushing furiously she practically leapt out of the car "Thanks for the ride" she'd said as she turned away, rushing into her house without so much of a backward glance behind her.
Lex remained motionless, confused. What had just happened? He could have sworn there had been something in Lana's eyes just that hadn't been there before. He could have sworn that it was the sign he'd been waiting for. But then why had she practically ran off from him, it wasn't exactly the type of behaviour normally associated with girls when there were near someone they liked. He sighed inwardly to himself as he drove off. Face it Lex, you were wrong, Lana doesn't like you like that, she never will like you like that, the sign you've been waiting for, it's not going to come….is it?