DISCLAIMER: So not mine but if they were, chocolates every day for Chloe and Lana….oh yes.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

I Melt
By Kieli

The noise in the offices of the Torch was nigh deafening as the Smallville High newspaper staff scrambled to edit columns and reformat layouts in order to meet their five o'clock deadline with the printer. Late afternoon humidity wrapped about them like a damp woolen blanket, and the sharp tang of nervous perspiration hung heavily in the room. The school's air conditioning unit was nothing more than a glorified swamp cooler that didn't cool so much as move around the hot, moisture-laden air. Amidst all of the frantic labouring, Chloe Sullivan coolly gave instructions, deftly maneuvering her staff like a seasoned combat veteran. She had to admit, there was something to that "Absolute power, corrupts absolutely" quote…Chloe thoroughly enjoyed being in control. The Torch was like a child that needed the guidance and influence of its mother. She felt that no one else could do the job as well as she could and you'd be hard pressed to find anyone on the staff to dispute that assertion. But there were certain times when her control slipped just a little. When Chloe Sullivan, editor extraordinaire, became Chloe Sullivan the Hopeless Romantic; the lover of all things related to a certain popular girl who was, it seemed, the object of the affections of every male (and more than a few females) in school.

The blonde's eyes flicked to the corner of the newsroom where Lana sat, deep in concentration editing a stack of copy. She could only look for a second because if her eyes lingered any longer she might lose control completely. Oh no, that would never do. After allowing herself a relatively discreet, full-body shudder, Chloe's green eyes glittered with excitement as she tried to focus on the task at hand. She raised her voice in order to be heard above the din.

"Ok peoples, listen up. We're getting close but we still have a few bugs to work out and there are only a couple of hours left. I'll need a volunteer to help with the finishing touches. Anyone?"

Her eyes swept the room, taking in the group's uncomfortable silence and profusely sweating faces. "Aww now don't make me volunteer you," Chloe warned, noting the gazes that were suddenly intent on examining the details of the floor.

"I will," a small voice piped up from somewhere across the room.

All eyes moved as one to stare at the obviously insane person who had just committed an almost unpardonable sin: NEVER volunteer. Chloe almost started in surprise when she realized who spoke.

"Lang? You're volunteering, eh?" Lana nodded in assent. The editor shrugged noncommittally. "Alright, 's cool with me, I guess." Chloe rapped her knuckles on the nearest desk. "Okay folks, chop chop! Much to do, little time to get it done." The room was once again a-buzz with chatter as she plunked herself into the chair behind her desk.

"Oh Sullivan, what are you gonna do? Mind…concentration…and never the twain shall meet," the blonde mused. She rolled her eyes and groaned in despair.

"Problem, boss?" inquired a freshman who popped her head up from behind her laptop screen.

"Nothing a little sumpin' sumpin' wouldn't cure," Chloe thought wickedly. "No I'm all good, Kara. No biggie."

"Allll-righty then," The girl drawled, a dubious look on her plain features. She stared at Chloe for a moment, trying to decide if she should press the issue. However, it was always a bad thing to cross her hot and bothered commander-in-chief (in more ways than one) so she just shrugged and returned to her work.

Twilight came and went, sending a rush of cool breezes through the open windows in the Torch office. Chloe was slumped comfortably in her chair, content to watch the rise and fall of Lana's chest as she lay on the couch across from the editor's desk, snoring softly. She decided that if a picture was worth a thousand words, Lana Lang was a limited edition masterpiece. Lana was form and function, mood and beauty. The blonde breathed a sigh of resignation and ran her slim fingers through her unruly mane of hair. "How does one compete with that?" she contemplated, the depth of her obsession revealing a kind of emptiness within. "How does one challenge perfection?" They'd finally managed to get everything wrapped up and shipped off to the printer, pulling off the miracle to end all miracles. Lana had been a trooper through all of the madness, calmly picking up the tasks that some other staff member left unfinished, her quiet voice soothing frayed nerves and flaring tempers. The brunette had a way with Chloe, which was something the erstwhile editor was pained to admit. News flash! Editor of the Torch loses heart to former nemesis! See film at 11! Grimacing at her melodramatic musings, she leaned her head back and stared vacantly at the ceiling, trying to clear her mind of the day's frustrations.

Chloe hadn't realized that she'd nodded off until she felt something warm gently caressing her face. She awoke to a pair of hazel eyes smiling down at her.

"Well hello, sleepyface," Lana grinned, her hand still lightly stroking Chloe's face.

"Hello yourself," the blonde mumbled. She tilted her head back in the chair, quite sure that she was either dreaming or she'd died and gone to heaven. "What time is it?"

"Oh a little past 2 am."

Chloe stretched languidly, her body cracking and popping like Rice Krispies. "Ohhh man, remind me that a desk chair maketh not a comforting bed."

Lana chuckled, the music of her laughter filling the warm quiet of the room. "Yes, well, that's what happens when you're dedicated to something you love. Sacrifices have to be made and all that," she grinned, her eyes sparkling with mirth.

"Yeah yeah, I could do without the pep talk…I'm my body's own worst enemy. I know this."

The brunette giggled helplessly as Chloe tried to extract herself from her chair, grunting and groaning the whole way. A mysterious look crossed her face; like there was something she wanted to say but thought better of it. She shook her head and stood up.

Chloe caught the expression. "What's wrong?"

"It---it's nothing," Lana half-whispered as she gathered up her knapsack and keys.

Chloe reached out and gave Lana's shoulder a comforting squeeze. "Hey it's ok. If you've got something on your mind, you can tell me." Her free arm swept the room. "We're alone here so it's cool. By the way, thanks for your help today. I really did appreciate it."

One could've lit most of Metropolis with the smile Lana gave her. "Thanks, Chloe. That's quite high praise coming from the toughest editor in Torch history." She once again gave into the urge to touch Chloe's face, her hazel eyes searching the blonde's green ones. Chloe was pretty sure she'd stopped breathing. Lana stepped closer until their faces were almost touching.

"When you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and you Think of Things, you sometimes find that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it." A tiny smile danced at the edges of her lips when she spoke.

Chloe blinked in confusion. "Huh?"

"It's a Pooh thing. Not quite words of a literary genius but…they fit somehow. How I feel. How do you feel?" she breathed. Before Chloe could respond, Lana's expression grew mysterious once again. "I'd better go. See you at home?"

Chloe could only nod because her voice seemed to have failed her in her hour of direst need. Lana gave a little wave and disappeared into the muggy night.

"Oh. My. GOD!" Chloe shrieked. She collapsed into an incredulous heap on the now vacant couch and wondered what the hell that was all about.

Chloe managed to drag herself out of bed around 1pm after sleeping through most of the day (she thanked as many deities as she could think of that it was the weekend). Still feeling hideously groggy after almost nine hours of sleep, she made a mental note to try harder to keep her body clock on track. She found a nice surprise on her desk as she sat at the edge of her bed, rubbing the sleep from her eyes. Sometime during the morning, Lana had made Chloe breakfast and placed it on a tray along with a small vase filled with wildflowers and a note. "Wow," Chloe thought. "Talk about seduction. Kind of like waking up to a smile and a kiss. Which would've been preferable but, hey, a girl can't be choosy. "

After brief trip to the bathroom to splash some cold water on her face, Chloe tucked into the breakfast of hot coffee from the carafe on the tray, a covered bowl of fresh fruit and granola. She picked up the small envelope beside the vase and turned it over in her hand. It was pretty light, like it was written on rice paper. The word CHLOE was written on the outside in Lana's flowing, even script. Her curiosity piqued, Chloe opened the envelope to read the note inside while she worked on her second cup of java.

It was surprisingly brief: "Dinner. Tonight. 7pm. Here. Come as you are, preferably alone.—Lana" Her hands shook a little as she read the words over and over. Until now, the thought of getting closer to Lana had been idle fantasy at best. Now she was not so sure. The ex-cheerleader had been so damned cryptic last night, nearly driving Chloe to distraction. Surprisingly enough, with all the thoughts that had been running around in her head, she had managed to drift off into a dreamless sleep. However, the ever so enigmatic Lana Lang had reclaimed her mind, body and soul with the simple missive Chloe held in her hand. It's a good thing Daddy dear left a message on the machine yesterday saying he'd have to stay in Metropolis over the weekend.

The one thing you could always count on in Smallville was how beautiful the sunrises and sunsets were. Chloe leaned back with her elbows on the porch stairs, taking in the deep reds and blues as daytime faded into moody twilight. She hadn't seen Lana all day and might have been worried if the note Lana left this morning wasn't still fresh in her mind.

"What a picture you would make…Chloe Sullivan, Smallville Philosopher and Go-Getter thinking deep thoughts." The blonde jumped a little in surprise upon hearing the voice speaking behind her.

"Good lord, woman, don't you knock or something?" Chloe grumbled good-naturedly.

"I've been standing here for about ten minutes!" Lana protested. "I'd have known if you were near me."

Chloe turned to stare at the devilish grin on Lana's face. "Oh really?" she smirked.

"Yes really," Lana replied softly. "Now come on inside, girlfriend. Supper awaits." She gently took Chloe's hand in hers and led her into the house.

If anyone had been close to her, Chloe would've sworn they'd have heard a full percussion section knocking around in her chest. She tried doing the whole Zen thing but who in their right mind could be on another planet when a goddess was holding their hand? Apparently her mind was indeed wandering into places unknown because Chloe hadn't even known that she was sitting down until Lana caught her attention.

"Hey, what's going on in there?" Lana chuckled, tapping lightly on Chloe's forehead.

"Umm, you know, for the life of me, I really have no idea what the hell is going on in my head today," Chloe said wryly.

"Not to worry, I've got just the thing for all that ails you. You stay put. I'm going to finish up a few things and then we'll be all set." Lana gave Chloe a light kiss on the cheek and went into the kitchen.

She couldn't tell if it was the wonderful smell of food lingering in the air or the heady scent of honeysuckle wafting through the window. Chloe felt as drunk as a three-bottle rummy.

"Ok, you can come in now!" Lana called out.

Chloe took a deep steadying breath. "Ok, toots," she said to no one in particular. "Time to lay it all on the line." She got up and walked towards the dining room, her blood pumping furiously through her veins. Lana had only three candles burning on the small dining table but even in the low light, she seemed to glow all over. It was like having a deity step down from their heavenly perch to share a little space with you. There was a hearty meal of steak and potatoes with snap peas for a little greenery laid out, good china and all. All of the windows were open in the kitchen (there weren't very many) to allow the evening breeze cool the room so they wouldn't need fans.

Just when Chloe thought it couldn't get any better, Lana stepped from the shadows like a ghost, dressed in a white linen shift with a length of knotted cord to gather it at the waist; her bare feet caressed the kitchen tiles. She twirled around in front of the blonde, the thin fabric fanning out around her like gossamer wings.

"You like?" she asked with just a hint of naughtiness.

"Oh HELL, yeah!" exclaimed Chloe before she could stop herself. She clamped a hand over her mouth, totally shocked that the words in her head came flying out of her mouth. Lana giggled and moved to close the distance between them.

"It's good to see I can surprise you, Ms. Sullivan. Guess I'm not the predictable 'pom-pom', after all." She moved to a darkened corner of the room. Chloe heard the sound of something being opened and a button being pressed. A country ballad flowed languidly from hidden speakers adding a little mood to the moment. Ahh Sully you have NO idea what you're in for. Might as well put your brain on hold 'cause there ain't no stoppin' a determined woman. Chloe had to agree with that random thought from her demon libido. Lana beckoned to her with an outstretched hand. "Come dance with me."

Chloe took her hand silently, not really trusting herself to speak. She embraced Lana's impossibly tiny waist as the brunette ran her hands through Chloe's hair. An involuntary gasp escaped her lips as Lana's face touched hers. Lana was quietly singing along with the tune in Chloe's ear, her breath emphasizing every word.

When you light those candles
Up there on that mantle, setting the mood
Well, I just lie there staring
Silently preparing to love on you
Well, I can feel the heat from across the room
Ain't it wild what a little flame can make you wanna do

She pulled her head back to look into Chloe's eyes, her fingertips stroking the outline of her lips.

Don't know how you do it
I love the way I lose it, every time
What's even better
Is knowing that forever you're all mine
The closer you get, the more my body aches
One little stare from you is all it takes

Chloe could feel a sweet, aching burn in her chest. "If this is what love is really like," she thought. "I am so going to spontaneously combust." She tried to look away; too afraid of getting lost in Lana's expressive hazel eyes but Lana wasn't having any of that. She lifted Chloe's chin until they were again staring at each other intently. She placed her hands on either side of Chloe's face, all the while singing the chorus of the song.

I melt every time you look at me that way
it never fails, anytime, any place
this burn in me is the coolest thing I've ever felt
I melt

"I've wanted to say that for quite a long time," Lana whispered as the song's final notes faded into the gloom. "Every single word. You make it tough sometimes, Chloe."

"Me?" Chloe gasped. "Uh, hello? Little Miss Popular, surrounded by willing acolytes. It's not like you gave me any hint about…" she paused, totally flustered. "Well about this!"

Lana threw her head back and laughed out loud. "That was all part of the plan, dear! Planning the seduction would have been no fun if you actually knew how I felt. Besides," she said, her tone suddenly serious. "I wasn't entirely sure you felt the same way. Clark and Pete, they're easy to read. Guys are about as subtle as a box of hammers. You, on the other hand, are complex, mysterious, intriguing. Reading you is like trying to understand Shakespeare or Poe." She stroked Chloe's neck with her thumb, reveling in every square inch of soft flesh. "You know, I totally enjoyed you sneaking little peeks at me. It was rather sweet."

Chloe blushed furiously. "I thought I was being kind of unobtrusive."

"Hardly, O She of the Million Dollar Words. Anyone with half a brain could've caught you staring. That's ok, though. I enjoyed the attention. Speaking of which," Lana's words trailed off as she took to lightly kissing Chloe's bottom lip.

Chloe felt like she had molten lava for blood, she was so on fire. She could barely keep her need in check. Just when Lana's kisses were about to send her completely over the edge, she pulled back. "Um, shouldn't we have dinner?" Chloe breathed.

"Probably," Lana shrugged. "Are you hungry?"

Chloe gave her a wicked grin. "I was actually hoping to have dessert before the main course. Think the chef would mind?"

"I don't think so," Lana placed Chloe's hand on her chest. "Besides, I've only just begun to show you my heart."

The End

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