Started: July 24, 2002

Finished: August 5, 2002

Last Ep Seen Before Writing: Tempest

Disclaimer: These characters are not mine. If they were I would write myself in as Chloe's best friend and Pete's love interest. (And I might kill off Lana if I couldn't think of a greater torture.)

Not A Date

Author's Note: My good friend Sully Vann gave me the idea for the title of Chloe's article. I enlisted her help, and her being the genius she is delivered. So, I want to give her full credit! Everyone should check out her very awesome site called Intrepid:

Chapter 1

Lex entered the Talon, leaving the cool night air behind. As soon as he strode in an over-eager waitress practically ran to get his order. He looked slowly from group to group when a person sitting at a table alone caught his attention. When the waitress brought him his cappuccino he made his way to the solitary person.

"Miss Sullivan, what are you doing here alone on a Friday night?" Lex asked, producing a small smile for the girl.

Chloe looked up from her laptop. "Trying to get some work done on the Torch, but it obviously isn't working out for me."

Lex started to turn. "I'll leave you alone, then."

Chloe smiled. "Sit, I've got writers block anyway."

"If you're sure I won't be intruding," Lex replied.

"Not at all," Chloe said, gesturing to the seat in front of herself.

"May I ask what you were working on?" Lex asked, sipping his cappuccino.

"An article for the Torch. 'How today's students fuel the portrayal of the demoralization of teens,'" Chloe answered, snapping her laptop closed.

Lex smirked. "And you're having a hard time with that? That kind of article seems like it's right up your alley."

"It is, Lex. I've just had so many cups of coffee that my brain has started malfunctioning, making it harder to concentrate," Chloe said. She picked up the coffeepot that was sitting on the table and poured herself another cup.

"Usually when something isn't good for one's self, one stops doing it," Lex said with a small laugh.

"Well, I'm all about helping one's self," Chloe replied, setting her cup to the edge of the table. "What brings you here so late?"

"The mansion is not as homey as you would think," Lex answered.

"Did you get lonely? I didn't know Luthors got lonely," Chloe said, matching Lex's earlier smirk.

"You're exactly right. Luthors don't get lonely, it would be a sign of weakness," Lex said seriously.

"Weakness is never good. Show someone your weakness and they have power over you for eternity," Chloe said, looking Lex in the eye.

"That's very deep," Lex said, breaking into a smile. "Yet so true."

Chloe shrugged. "Some learn from overbearing fathers, some learn from experience."

Lex laughed. "And what would your weakness be? You've obviously had it revealed from what I deduce of your prior comment."

"Lex, hopefully you don't actually believe I would confess that to you," Chloe said with a short laugh. "You may be charming, but you have to give me more credit than that."

"I do, Chloe. You are wise beyond your years."

Chloe laughed. "You sound like my dad."

"Actually your father tells me that on a regular basis," Lex told her, smiling at her shocked reaction.

Chloe's mouth fell open, but she quickly shut it. "I'll have to talk to him about that. Doesn't he know it's not nice to brag to the boss?" Chloe asked, then muttered under her breath.

Lex grinned. "Where is Clark tonight?"

"Probably Lana-I mean-star gazing."

"Hmm, he does that a lot?" Lex asked, catching Chloe's meaning. She hadn't tried too hard to hide it.

"Oh you know, just when he wakes up, when he goes to bed, when he eats, when he drinks. You get the picture," Chloe said, waving her hand with each item.

Lex laughed outright. "I know what you mean, Chloe."

"I'm sure you do. You wouldn't happen to know who fuels this little obsession do you?" Chloe asked sarcastically.

"I have no idea. You wouldn't happen to know who is jealous of this 'obsession' as you call it, would you?"

Chloe squared her shoulders and looked Lex straight in the eye. "I have no clue."

Lex laughed. "I didn't mean to aggravate you Chloe."

"I don't have any idea what you're talking about, Lex," Chloe replied.

"Let me make it up to you. There is going to be a business party at the mansion next week. I would be honored if you would accompany me. There might even be an interview in it for you," Lex said, the corners of his mouth turned up in an almost-smile.

"Wouldn't you rather take one of your regular types of girls? The ones with the big boobs and bodies so done up with plastic surgery and implants that they don't know what they used to look like?" Chloe asked, her eyes full of defiance. "A walking Barbie, if you will."

"Why Chloe, are you calling me shallow?" Lex asked, amusement crossing his features.

"Just calling it like I see it," Chloe answered.

Lex laughed again. "Then the answer is no. I asked you, Chloe. If I wanted a 'walking Barbie' I would go buy one off the street corner."

"With your money you could afford the best," Chloe said, with fake enthusiasm.

"Well, what's your answer?"

"Yes," Chloe said simply. "I would never pass up the chance for an interview with the great Lex Luthor."

Lex smiled broadly, and stood. "I'll have the limo pick you up Friday at eight. It's a black-tie affair, so dress accordingly."

"I'll bring my notebook," Chloe shot at him.

Lex didn't falter. "As you wish. Good bye, Chloe."

"Bye, Lex," Chloe answered as Lex left the coffee shop.