DISCLAIMER: The characters herein are used without permission. No infringement intended.
SPOILERS: No major ones to speak of, a bit of Season 1 in general.
CHALLENGE: Written for the first International Day of Femslash.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

The Prettiest Girl In School
By Mbard



'The prettiest girl in school. That's what everyone is saying about her. Jeez, can anyone come up with something more original than that old chestnut? Come on guys we're coming up for graduation, and at least half of you aren't going to college based purely on the distance you can kick a football. See even the Chem Lab nerds have lost their inhibitions and written something along the lines of what you'd find inside a Hallmark card on Valentines. Ugh, I could scream. Lana Lang has the prettiest eyes. Lana Lang is just so lovely to be around. Lang Lang makes the best mochas this side of Metropolis (hum, half decent I guess) Lana Lang is possibly the sweetest person in all of Smallville High (Yeh, not when she's ran out of Oreos mid-cycle she isn't!) Lana Lang is the prettiest girl in school. (Arghhhh!!!)

How the hell did I, future Pulitzer Prize winning journalist get stuck with putting together the graduating class yearbook? And furthermore why am I stuck on Lana Lang's entry when I have half the goddamn alphabet of Seniors to go yet? Like I need reminding how perfect Lana is when Clark is still waving the Lana Lang Fan Club Banner each time he comes in here. Hell it's not like I need convincing of the fact that Lana is a good person, I've lived with her for the past two years and we've braided each other's hair and everything. Though if Pete and Clark ever found out about that, I would be forced to move to a different State and start going by the name of Brittany. So I guess I won't be putting that into the yearbook about Lana then.

Oh man this sucks!!'

Chloe Sullivan threw the stack of notes she'd been sifting through on to her already dishevelled desk, only to have them overbalance the precariously placed tower of entries A to K of Seniors she'd collated earlier. All she could so was hopelessly watch as gravity did its job and pulled the lot haphazardly to the floor of the Torch office.

The blonde didn't even make a move at first to clear up. Watching the last page of crisp white paper float to the floor in a graceful arc, mumbling to herself what a perfect way to end such a butt awful day. Butt awful day. She hadn't used that before, it made her smile. Then the smile curled up too far on a face that was beginning to show signs of the beauty Chloe the woman would be in a few years time, and she started to giggle to herself. Butt awful, her keen acerbic wit was showing signs of fatigue when she thought up that remark. Which just made her laugh even more. She got down on her hands and knees, not trying to hold the laughter inside her now, and started picking up the once alphabetised papers. Ordinarily it would have rankled her to have to sort through them again, but the laughing made her day seem a little better than moments before, and she just as haphazardly placed them back on her desk.

Standing up with the last few papers in her hand, she pulled in a deep breath as her giggles subsided, wiping salty tears from her eyes, trying not to think again of her butt awful day. The smile, that according to one particular person in Smallville High was the prettiest smile they'd ever seen, only lasted as long it took for Chloe to glance down at the paper in her hand, and read in Clark's unmistakeable handwriting.

Lana Lang is the prettiest girl in school.

'Yeh, and don't I know it?' Chloe fell back in her chair. Her despondency and frustration of before settling over her as she stared at the computer screen. A mock-up of Lana Lang's page for the yearbook stared back at her. Blank if not for her smiling photograph, which captured everything the other Seniors had been writing about her.

Lana Lang is the prettiest girl in school, thought the budding writer. She is attractive, charming, sensitive, sweet. Adjectives started tumbling from Chloe's fingertips, she didn't even notice as her hands started typing away on her keyboard, making lines appear under Lana's smiling face where only white had been a moment ago. She is smart, and kind, and her chestnut brown hair smells of fresh flowers after a summer's rain when she steps out of the shower in a morning. And there is this other scent about her, soft and kind of musky. Hides the smell of rich French roast after she's been at work all night, but sometimes I can still smell it on her skin, when she comes in exhausted and sits down next to me on the couch. Close so our legs touch sometimes. And when she is close I want her to be even closer, because I think Lana Lang is the prettiest girl in scho…

…..a loud beeping sound brought Chloe quickly from the thoughts she'd been lost in typing. Her cell had an incoming call, and whilst she chatted away to her father who had wondered where his daughter had been hiding out all week, she looked over the text that had mysteriously appeared under the picture of Lana on her computer screen. Past the second line of text and no longer did Chloe hear a word of what her father was saying to her. And when she got to the end where her typing had broken off because of the call she now managed to forget about, she almost dropped the phone at her ear when she read the words because I think Lana Lang is the prettiest girl in scho-o-l. The blonde couldn't help herself correct that last line and finish it properly, call it her latent journalism.

'And that ain't the only thing latent around here it seems.' Her mental voice overrode her thoughts again and she just about managed to say a proper goodbye to her father. Promising she'd be home from the Torch before midnight this time. The blonde hung up and stared dumbstruck at her computer screen. Trying to figure this whole thing out.

Chloe's investigative mind didn't know where to start, and it kept pulling back to the curser now flashing on her screen, reading the line just before the full stop over and over again. It was as if Chloe had been writing in a trance, a state of hypnosis brought on by too much caffeine and not enough food that had chemically unbalanced her brain, or something. She tried to rationalise it, but despite already being on her way to the cynicism that was a journalist's stock in trade, Chloe just couldn't deny the words up on her screen, no matter how unconscious she had been of writing them in the first place, were of her own doing, came out of her own feelings. Her hand hovered above the backspace key, ready to delete the words that spoke volumes to her even if it were only a dozen lines or so, but she just couldn't bring herself to wipe out the truth as easily as the rational side of her brain wanted her to.

'Well this is new.'

Chloe closed her eyes so she would stop staring at the computer screen and only then did she realise how tired she felt. Her neck and shoulders were aching that ache they get, when she's spent way too long sat at her desk in the Torch office. When all the other high school kids were long gone and even the janitor wasn't around anymore mopping the floors. Chloe raked tired hands through her short blonde locks, wincing a little as her shoulder blades cracked in unison. She'd definitely spent too long here tonight. And she didn't even have the satisfaction of having put a new edition of the Torch together ready for printing in the morning, which was her usual excuse for being there so late at night. Hell she hadn't even re-sorted those papers that had fallen off her desk earlier on.

Chloe's eyes wearily opened, as if she would see some dark horrible monster left over from childhood peering at her from the shadowed corners of the room, but of course it was still just her and the computer screen alone in the office together. To the right of her screen, which she avoided looking at, sat those damn papers that if they hadn't fallen none of what followed afterwards would have happened, Chloe's rational mind was insisting upon but she knew that wasn't true. Wanting a distraction from what was flashing at her from her screen, Chloe thought about putting the papers in order before she headed home for the night. But realised she was so tired, and suddenly very confused about a lot of things about herself and her life, that she would no doubt only do it wrong and make more work for herself in the morning. So that distraction was nixed.

She could feel her gaze wander back to the computer screen and her confession that shone out like a neon light on Broadway, and was determined to not allow her tired mind try and figure this one out right then and there. She forced her gaze to the other side of the computer, the less messy side she noted. Somewhat relieved she could find some evidence of her usual fastidious self, and found the photographs she'd used to scan for the yearbook. Unfortunately for her Fate seemed to be in a playful mood that night, top of the pile of smiling examples of Smallville's youngest and finest was Lana Lang. Beaming at her with what Chloe now thought of as a heart stopping smile, and eyes that the young journalist now realised, made a hot burning feeling begin in her stomach and work its way South.

'Oh boy is this new.'

There weren't many things Chloe Sullivan wasn't prepared to face in life. In a town so knee deep in mystery and weirdness as Smallville, she'd faced her fair share of bad guys and psycho chicks and never once flinched at the task. Poisonous flowers, guys who split in two, cops who like to bury you alive, hell she'd even tried to date the man of steel himself, the terminally inept around women Clark Kent, and emerged virtually unscathed by the incident. But suddenly realising she felt something for Lana Lang, the prettiest girl in school and someone she'd probably consider a best friend, Chloe didn't think she was prepared to face that right away. Certainly not at quarter past midnight in the Torch offices when any sane person would be at home in bed.

Resolved to perhaps deal with this in the morning, or perhaps not, Chloe started to close down the various programs on her computer. She was careful to save the 'Lana Lang Bio' as she named it on her hard drive, even making a back up copy on a disk, which she then placed carefully in her bag. Something in the back of her mind, perhaps her rational side speaking up again, told her it was dangerous keeping any evidence of her revelation (as she now thought of it) around, especially on something as accessible as a computer. But she quickly dismissed this as journalistic paranoia, which she was far too young to start developing quite yet, and besides her Mac was password encrypted, and it was too late to start setting up firewalls and codes.

The last thing she did before she switched the lights off and headed home for the night was take the photograph of Lana from the top of the pile and place it in a drawer, underneath a mountain of clutter Chloe thought many times she should sort out. What she didn't want when she arrived at the Torch in the morning was a reminder of something she wasn't yet prepared to face.

Chloe didn't realise that there was a flaw in her logic of avoiding Lana till it was too late, and she was very tiredly pulling up the drive to her home. Lana Lang, the prettiest girl in school, happened to live in the same house as her. And by the look of the light that was still on in the kitchen she'd stayed up to chat with Chloe, just like she did on other occasions the young blonde woman came home late at night.

'This is going to be a long night.' The would-be journalist decided as she opened the kitchen door.



Something wasn't quite right she thought, as yet again a figure that closely resembled Chloe Sullivan rushed past her, not stopping for a mid morning gossip in between classes as she usually did. Just as she hadn't waited for Lana that morning at breakfast, dashing out of the house, a piece of toast protruding from her mouth, mumbling something about Torch deadlines. Though when Lana asked Clark about a big deadline at the Torch it was the first he'd heard of it, and Lana didn't think Chloe would miss an opportunity to make Clark work overtime for her if she could help it. Something was definitely wrong, the brunette decided, as she mulled over her housemate's strange behaviour since she got in last night.

Not that it was an agreed ritual between the two girls or anything, but it had come to be habit for each of them to stay up till the other was home from a late shift at work. Whether it be Lana closing up the Talon and emptying out the regulars, who always stayed till the bitter end, just in case Lana would actually change her mind and decide that this would be the night she acquiesced to being escorted home. Or the more frequent perpetrator of over-working themselves, the would-be-reporter Chloe, sneaking in after midnight with aches in her shoulders and VDU screen eyes – everything above a candle was too bright for her and she only managed to focus on things no more than three feet from her face. Lana had even begun to look forward to catching up with her friend in this manner, both of them so tired their only option was to be relaxed around each other. No talk of Clark getting in the way of the burgeoning friendship both girls had admitted, to at least themselves, was probably the best thing that had happened to them at Smallville High.

For Lana it was just so freeing to spend time with the straight-talking, no nonsense Chloe. Who would just come right out and say if something was bothering her, not caring that it was Lana Lang she was talking to, the prettiest girl in school. Of course Lana knew what everyone said about her, and after the initial flattery she couldn't help but think 'is that all they see me as? Just a pretty face.' With Chloe she'd never got the impression the young blonde woman was befriending her because of the way she looked. Or who she knew in the malevolent hierarchy of High School society. Which much to Lana's secret relief she could no longer lay claim of sovereignty over, ever since she broke things off with Whitney and dumped the cheerleading thing. There was at least one person at Smallville High who never cared if Lana Lang could cheer the loudest, or could dress the trendiest, or even be the prettiest, and it was for that reason the brunette treasured Chloe's friendship as much as she did. Even Clark couldn't claim he truly didn't care how Lana looked or acted or dressed, when he'd tried and failed on so many occasions to take her out. No, the one person Lana knew she could rely on to just allow her to be herself was Chloe. Especially when it was late at night and she'd be waiting for the Torch editor to come home. Pretending the butterflies in her stomach was actually indigestion from the late meal she ate at the Talon. Telling herself she'd bathed and put clean pjs on because she'd worked late herself and reeked of cappuccinos. All the time knowing that Chloe didn't care how she looked, or noticed the aroma of coffee that clung to her clothes, even if secretly Lana wished that Chloe would notice her a little. But one thing she was grateful to the blonde for, was the way she expected nothing from her other than for Lana to be herself. Which Lana always found easiest to be sat in the Sullivan kitchen, drinking coffee and chatting with her friend.

When Chloe came home late from the Torch offices and didn't much feel like chatting over one of Lana's speciality caffeine free latte's, even though it's what the two of them did practically every night, the brunette thought it a bit strange. She thought it was odd the way Chloe couldn't seem to look at her directly, hiding pale blue eyes Lana had long assumed didn't hide things from her anymore. She couldn't help wonder about the flush of colour that rushed to the blonde's face after Lana had accidentally brushed past her, when one girl was going into the bathroom and the other was coming out. Lana herself felt a little flushed at that too, but probably for different reasons than Chloe she thought, as she reluctantly got into bed and switched off her light trying not to admit to herself she missed Chloe's company that evening. Her suspicions were confirmed that morning at breakfast with the faster-than-a-speeding bullet way Chloe left the house, lying it turns out, about Torch deadlines. Then just now in the corridor, not even a hello. Lana wasn't so inclined to paranoia as her journalist friend was, but on this occasion she thought the facts spoke for themselves, to borrow a phrase she'd heard the lady in question use many times. Despite how strange the thought seemed to her, Lana couldn't ignore the fact that Chloe was avoiding her.

And nor could she ignore how that made her feel a little lost and empty inside. A little hurt. More than a little actually, but aware of thinking too far down that road would lead to a place Lana Lang wasn't quite ready to face up to yet, the brunette did her best to ignore how much Chloe's uncharacteristic behaviour affected her, and made her way to her next class.

She was sure that what ever was bothering the young journalist, she'd find out about it sooner or later, Chloe not known for being able to keep her feelings under wraps for long. Lana only hoped it was sooner rather than later. Now that she'd found such a good friend in Chloe, probably the only true friend she'd ever had, Lana didn't want to lose her.



'I'm a bad person. Bad bad person. Bad Chloe. Bad.'

It didn't matter how many times she said it, her affirmations weren't changing the fact that she'd been treating Lana, her supposed best friend, like a leper from her cheerleading days ever since she got in from the Torch last night. And that kind of behaviour only drew suspicion around the halls of Smallville High, emphasis on the small. For someone who didn't want to have to deal with the revelation that she might like Lana Lang more than a little platonically, Chloe wasn't doing the avoiding thing as well as she thought she would. Take her other best friends for instance. Two people you'd have thought Chloe would do her best to avoid any incongruent behaviour when around. But instead seemed to only make matters ten times worse, when the two of them swung by the Torch office at the end of the day.

Both Pete and Clark had picked up on a weird vibe between Lana and Chloe that day, which wasn't anything so unusual given their chequered history together, but coming now after so long a time of being close, both young men started thinking all was not well there.

It always struck Clark as nothing short of a miracle that Lana and Chloe had managed to even say hello to each other at school, let alone become housemates, and over more recent months the close friends that on any day other than today, the two girls normally were. And because he is the type of guy who hates to see his friends hurting, in his mind he was headed to the Torch out of concern for Chloe and Lana. No matter what strains had been added to his own tenuous friendship with Lana ever since she and Chloe grew closer, he didn't want to see the two young women go back to the strained relationship they had had before. When Chloe liked Clark, and Clark liked Lana, and Lana couldn't make her mind up who she liked. For Pete though, he had less altruistic reasons to be headed to the Torch office.

Pete had never really gotten used to Lana Lang as being one of their crowd, not least because of the way she messed with Clark's head so much, and now he couldn't help but find the whole scenario with her and Chloe a little amusing. And yes, there was an element of jealousy on his part. Ever since Chloe had gotten herself a female friend to hang with she had less time for him, and not just that, but this particular female friend was Lana Lang – Chloe's arch rival and nemesis. Well Lana had been nicknamed that way back in 9th grade, clearly things had changed between the girls since then. But still, Pete couldn't get his head around why those two were so tight, when in the past it would be just him, Chloe and Clark sharing all the fun. And because he could get his head even less around what had happened between Lana and Chloe to make them go all ice-queen on each other, his usual joking rhetoric got himself into trouble with the blonde girl. He walked into the Torch office, Clark not far behind him trying to give him a warning glance to not crack whatever bad joke he'd thought of, and asked Chloe if she and Lana had had a lovers tiff.

Chloe was less than amused.

Under normal circumstances the young blonde wouldn't pay much attention to Pete and his childish but endearing little jokes he cracked all of the time, on this occasion though she couldn't see the funny side. Throwing back at Pete a venomous reply he didn't really deserve, something about footballers with no brains, and no-one under five foot two had a chance of being voted Class President. And which she knew she would have to apologise for later. Which meant explaining something she was trying to avoid. Which would only further complicate matters. Which reminded her of Clark, and all the complications he'd already caused in her and Lana's life, and now she thought about it did Clark have anything so say on the subject? Chloe threw him her most caustic glare, daring Clark to attempt to ask her what was wrong. For someone that clears 6 foot 3 and is built like he should be a quarterback for the 49rs, Clark cowered the minute he saw the seriousness on Chloe's face, realising only trouble lay ahead for him and his friend if they should venture down this particular path.

Being his sometime tactful and considerate self he dragged a pretty miffed Pete out of the Torch office, and away from Chloe's burning gaze, that looked more dangerous than his own was right then. At the doorway he turned back to see Chloe fall heavily into her desk chair. A confused hurt expression passing quickly over her hazel/green/blue eyes, he never had been able to tell what colour they were.

She looks tired he thought to himself, remembering his concern and the reason he'd wanted to come by the Torch in the first place. A frown appeared above his baby blues that were once an object of fascination and desire for the girl opposite him, but hadn't inspired either for a long time.

"Hey Chloe?"

The blonde looked up pointedly, a hard stare fixed on her face for more of the Pete and Clark comedy hour. But as soon as she saw the expression in Clark's eyes she relaxed a little. Now she thought she could feel tears well up inside her, which was not much better than the anger of moments before.

"Whatever it is, I hope you feel better soon." He smiled that smile Chloe always thought of as the Kent Special – the same compassionate expression she'd seen on both Jonathan and Martha's faces, who had obviously passed it on to their adoptive son. To use in moments like this, when a friend was feeling down.

Sometimes when she sees Clark being all sensitive and smiley towards her, Chloe remembers how it felt to want him so much. And how it felt to always lose out to Lana.

Fate could sure be ironic sometimes.

Despite a voice thick with emotion Chloe managed to thank Clark for his concern. She wanted to say more, explain herself for it was what she would have done had this been any other issue, any other problem she was having. She'd share it with her two best friends, and not act like a Super Bitch with a bad case of PMS. But this wasn't another weird happening in Smallville she was covering for the school paper. It didn't concern meteor rocks or mind altering parasites. Wasn't another story that would lead the intrepid reporter on a trip that ended up at the hospital again. And it certainly wasn't something she could share with the boy she'd had a crush on since 8th Grade, but who now occupied a place in her heart she no longer ached after.

Clark hovered by the door a few moments more. He could see that there were tears trapped in the blonde's eyes, and he hated to see her cry, but if that was what she intended on doing, Clark wanted to be the one that would dry his friend's tears and offer comfort to her. He wouldn't get the chance to act the hero on this occasion. Pulling herself together with the determination that got her out of bed every day after her mom had left her and her dad without even leaving a note to say goodbye, Chloe switched off her emotions as best she could. Ignored Clark still standing in the doorway and went back to whatever was flashing at her from her computer screen. As her fingers flew over the keyboard, her concentration focused solely on her computer screen, Clark knew that if Chloe had wanted to tell him something, she wasn't going to now and he reluctantly tore himself away from the door.

Chloe looked up as soon as she heard Clark finally leave, her hands stopping over the keyboard she'd been typing nonsense on for the past minute.

'I'm a bad person. Bad bad person. Bad Chloe. Bad.'

She reiterated over and over in her head, hoping that somewhere there'd be a voice of reason crop up and tell her otherwise. But none did and Chloe slipped in to her self-loathing mode, a part of herself she didn't visit often as she never liked what she found there when she did. A pathetic, lonely teenage girl, pining after a boy who never looked twice at her and dreaming about the day her mom would drive back into town, apologising for leaving and promising never to go away again. That was the demon Chloe always brought out when she got into moods like this in the past. Her 'Poor Me' phase, which was much easier to sink into when it was accompanied with her 'Let's Hate Lana' night, she would host with just herself for company, years ago now it seemed. Years before she and Lana became friends. Became housemates. Became soul mates.

Whoa there. Where did that thought just spring from?

Chloe looked around the empty Torch office, expecting to find some weird Smallville type prankster close by, inserting random thoughts into her head that didn't make any sense. Yet again she was alone, staring at a bright computer screen just like the previous night. And just like last night, her thoughts were about two States ahead of where her mind and body could actually catch up with them, and comprehend what she was trying to say.

How had all this happened anyway? Chloe absently thought as she clicked on the icon she'd set up on her desktop for the folder containing the yearbook. As was the way with the Mac program she was using, the last document she'd been editing sprang up before her eyes, as if by magic. And there she was, the girl with a thousand watt smile. The girl with the deep brown eyes many an admirer at Smallville High had drowned in. The girl that up till yesterday was just Lana Lang, Chloe's housemate and one time love rival.

And today was something more, but what exactly?

Chloe leaned back in her chair, and looked over the text she'd unconsciously written last night under the photograph of Lana that she bet, if you blew it up to billboard size and put it out by the highway facing the oncoming cars, it would stop traffic just as effectively as any European model in a skimpy bra.

The blonde still couldn't quite comprehend how the words up on screen had come from her. Surely if this was how she felt towards someone she'd grown so close to recently that she would have noticed it before now? It wasn't like she never saw her crush on Clark coming like a million miles away first. How come this was so different? Because Lana's a girl? Nah that was too easy, and a bit of a copout for a city girl like Chloe, who had on more than one occasion voiced her approval of certain girls that walked by. Not that she'd label herself gay, or even bisexual. And if she were into labels, which she categorically isn't, she certainly wouldn't start wearing the gay pride one in small town Smallville. Where you might be able to get a decent cappuccino thanks to the Talon, but alongside that you still get a side helping of small-town mentality. Gay was still a by-word for happy out in the sticks.

Chloe smirked to herself. Her thoughts were drifting off their original point, and she knew for now she just had to concentrate on one thing.

So if it's not because Lana is a girl that she didn't see it coming, then why was it exactly that last night felt like a bolt from heaven when she read the line she now found again on her computer screen - I think Lana Lang is the prettiest girl in school?

She was missing something, she just knew it. She didn't just wake up one morning and think, gee I think I'll fall in love with Lana Lang today.

Whoa there mister! Love? Where the hell did that thought come from?

Chloe frowned to herself, giving the theory that someone was putting thoughts into her head more kudos than it deserved. This was getting a little out of hand, and she still couldn't convince herself that it had come out of the blue the way it had. She just didn't believe in surprises and kismet and all that movie-of-the-week love-at-first-sight dogma. A journalist is pragmatic, level-headed, objective and above all, strives for the truth whenever she can. She is not someone who listens to talk of destiny and fate, and we-met-in-the-library-it-was-love-at-first-sight type scenarios. If this was how things were going to be for her from now on, and by that she thought she meant that she was going to have to endure another bout of unrequited love, she at least wanted to be able to pinpoint the moment it actually happened, and she fell in love with Lana Lang.

'Maybe it started with that cassette I found her. She was really grateful. And she looked so sweet when I gave it to her, me acting like it was nothing. And it wasn't really. Didn't take that long going through the school archives. Like I had anything better to do that day? But wait, why did I do that for her in the first place? It wasn't like we were fast friends back then. I was still jonesing for Clark, she was still jonesing or so I thought, for Whitney. So why do something so out of character and nice for Miss Perfect?'

And so Chloe began recalling instances over the past few years where she could determine that was the point it happened. That was the time when she started thinking of Lana in a new light. She sat fixated on her computer screen and the words displayed before her for a good hour going over her past like it was a scrapbook she could flip the pages of. Coming across memories that she'd forgotten and some memories she'd wished had stayed that way.

There was the time with the Nicodemus flower of course. Everyone in school that day, male or female, couldn't help but feel a twinge of something for Lana Lang then, acting so sultry and sexual. But that only lasted a day, and it wasn't the kind of thing Chloe had written about as to why she found Lana so suddenly alluring, so that theory was out and the blonde sighed as she tried out another memory.

How about when Clark took her to the Spring Formal? Oh icky memory let's not go there Chloe thought. Besides, although Lana acted quite pragmatically about Clark asking Chloe out back then, the young reporter never did get over her feeling that Lana had been a little jealous too. But jealous of whom? Her or Clark?

'Okay, they're just too many thoughts in here right now to start thinking about whether Lana reciprocates any of this, so quit going off on a tangent on me brain.'

It was no use. Now Chloe had given herself the thought that Lana might like her in the same way she likes Lana, there were even more threads for Chloe's usually keen brain to follow. This just wasn't going to work, she decided.

"Oh I give up."

"On what?"

The voice at the doorway was very familiar. Warm and soft, with a promise of a sweet kiss behind it, if you were lucky enough. But Chloe felt anything but lucky right then. She hadn't been aware of speaking out loud, but that happened sometimes when she was working so hard on something alone in her office. She also hadn't been aware of someone standing in the Torch doorway, leaning slightly on the frame and that happened sometimes to. That was the unlucky part. Stood no more than ten feet away from her was the cause of all Chloe's problems, and quite possibly the cure of them as well.

Lana took a tentative step into the room, a small smile curving up at the edges of soft pink lips, and a curious look in her eyes.

"What are you giving up on?"

For once Chloe was lost for words. It had never happened to her before. She didn't actually think it happened to people in real life, and was just something you read in cheap crappy romance novels. But there it was happening to her. She couldn't speak, and Lana was heading further into the room. She gulped hard, her mouth suddenly dry as a Kansas hay field in mid-summer. Watching Lana walk towards her, all the ace reporter and future Pulitzer Prize winning journalist could think of to do, was panic and ask herself a question she had no answer for.

'What do I do now? What do I do now?'



There was silence. Big, step right into the middle and fall fifty feet deep kind of silence, as Chloe, a girl never lost for words in her life before, tried to figure out a response to Lana, a girl who was not ordinarily one of life's talkers. But who was now stood only a few feet away from the blonde, smiling a strange coy smile, exotic eyes a little suspicious.

'Think brain think!' Chloe ordered herself, only to be met with a response more suited to the testosterone led football team as her brain responded with a very dumb sounding.


'No that's not a word you idiot!'

It seemed as though she had no problem conversing with herself the blonde frowned. Feeling tension build up in her muscles, heat rising just under the surface of her skin.

'Okay, who took the real Chloe and where have you hidden her?'

Lana's dark brows raised in a puzzled arc, knowing as well as Chloe did that this wasn't usual Chloe Sullivan behaviour. Which fitted in with the strange behaviour coming from the blonde girl in the past 24 hours, but still wrong footed Lana slightly to be witness to it. Of all the people she knew in her life, she cherished Chloe so much because she could trust her, she was reliable. The Chloe before her now unsettled the dark haired girl with her nervousness. Causing small doubts to start forming in her mind that perhaps it wasn't always best to follow your gut instincts, or listen to the advice of your business partner for that matter. Who offered his thoughts unwarranted that afternoon when he came by the Talon, and saw Lana looking as miserable as the day she was threatened with closure by the State health officials. And like then Lex gave her what she had originally thought of as very good advice – confront whatever inner struggle she was going through, face whatever problem she was having head on and most of all, be honest with the person who had caused such a sad look in her eyes.

She'd blinked at the tall bald guy when he made that observation, but just received one of Lex's patented knowing smiles in return, his eyes saying 'You know I'm right' even if he didn't need to verbalise it. So here she was, grabbing the bull by it's horns as it were. Only this particular bull had pale blue eyes and a smile that had started to stir things up in Lana that she hadn't thought about since Junior High. And right now the brunette was wondering what the hell she thought she was thinking coming over to the Torch, grabbing things by the horns and listening to her stomach in the first place.

'What am I doing here?' Lana asked herself as she tried to make herself invisible by shear thought alone.

"Coffee!" Lana exclaimed.

"Coffee?" The blonde replied, regaining control over her vocal chords, if not her brain at least.

"I brought you some. Coffee. I brought you some coffee because I was at the Talon and I was making some and I know you like coffee and so I brought you some."

Lana couldn't understand why noise was still coming from her mouth when she'd told herself to shut up already. Her voice trailed off quietly and she suddenly realised how hot the Torch office was, heat burning her face and making her mouth very dry. She was going to open a window until she realised the window was already open, and a breeze was rustling the blinds pulled down in front of it, cooling the office temperature quite a bit. Bang goes that theory then. Lana tried to control the heat rising up in her, probably caused by the girl sat down only a few feet away looking a little hot herself. That's weird, Lana thought, only to have her wistful thoughts of whether she was making Chloe Sullivan hot interrupted by the girl herself.

"So where is it?" Chloe asked, thinking Lana's arrival here wasn't the strangest thing to have occurred at Smallville High, but given the events of the past 24 hours, it ranked inclusion with some of the things on her Wall of Weird.

"What?" Lana was so relieved that Chloe wasn't kicking her out, or doing the ignoring thing again, that she didn't actually hear anything when soft cherry red lips moved.

Now things were getting a little stranger, the young journalist thought.

"The coffee?" Despite herself, Chloe was warming to Lana's presence. She allowed what she hoped was her mischievous smile take over her face. Only hoping it did its job in hiding whatever emotions were bubbling up just below her surface she was not yet prepared to face.

Lana laughed what Chloe thought of as her nervous laugh. The one she used to use around Clark a lot, masking what was really going on inside. The blonde woman didn't ever think Lana would have cause to be nervous around her though, and it piqued a thought in Chloe's head that she probably should be silencing right now. A thought that the dark haired girl had come to the Torch with more than coffee on her mind. She watched Lana pull out an extra large coffee cup from a paper bag she hadn't noticed the brunette carrying before, but then she'd not been focusing on anything from the neck down since Lana appeared in her office.

"Extra strong, just the way you like it."

Lana tried to act normal around her friend, finding it hard to remember a time now when she wasn't nervous and breathless in Chloe's presence. Determined not to let her mind wander down that path, she handed the blonde the cup, and what happened next had both girls thinking in the weeks that followed that there was something in this fate mumbo-jumbo after all.

Chloe got up out of her chair to take the proffered cup just as Lana was leaning across to hand it to her. Call it destiny. Call it fate. Call it an accident, which both girls immediately did, but the end result remained the same. As Chloe stood up she connected with Lana's outstretched hand, and the blonde girl found herself covered, well it was actually just her top, in Lana's extra strong cappuccino.

Lana was devastated. None of what was happening was how she'd thought it would be. She cursed herself for being so clumsy. She cursed Lex for giving her advice in the first place. She cursed the makers of such flimsy cups for being easily droppable. She even cursed the damn coffee industry for inventing itself, and making people like Chloe addicted to their product.

She only finished cursing when she heard the unmistakable laughter of the blonde girl, and looked to find her not angry or annoyed at all, but more like the Chloe she'd grown to know and care about. Not the Chloe that had been avoiding her the past 24 hours that was for sure. Both girls smiled and exchanged a look that lasted a little longer than looks should last between friends.

"God Chloe I'm so sorry." Lana said, managing a few giggles herself at the absurdity of the situation. She started helping Chloe wipe herself down, but then thought better of it as she saw how much her hands were shaking being so near to the blonde girl.

"It's okay Lana, honest." She responded, her own laughter dying down now. Moving a little away from her friend, lest she be too close to tell how hard and fast Chloe's heart was suddenly beating.

"But did it burn you? God I hope it didn't burn you, are you okay?" Any time you want to stop acting like your Aunt Nell would be fine now, Lana chastised herself.

Chloe took a second to assess the damage, and apart from a big cappuccino coloured stain spreading itself over a not inconsiderately priced top, she thought she was fine. At least her outer appearance was fine. The inside where her emotions lay was definitely not doing so good.

"I'm fine, really. It didn't burn and apart from making me a working exhibit for the Metropolis Museum of Modern Art, there's no harm done."

"But your top, it's ruined."

"Hey this top is now an art exhibit, thank you very much."

"Now you're making fun of me."

Lana pouted a little, wondering how things had gone from relatively lame to worse, in less than a minute. The gesture made her look adoringly cute to Chloe, and the way her bow lips looked very much in need of a kiss was almost the ace reporter's undoing. She suddenly found a very interesting coffee spill on the floor to focus all her attention on.

"No I'm not," she began, her voice coming out calm and even, despite feeling the opposite of both things inside. "I'm trying to get you to stop beating yourself up over what was just a silly accident, or else you'll feel guilty about it for days. I know you Lana Lang, I know what you're capable of."

If Chloe had dared to look up, she would have seen a wistful smile take over from the pout as Lana thought that Chloe didn't really know her at all. If she did she might be able to explain to her why Lana felt so anxious yet so content in the reporter's presence all the time.

"So no guilt trips 'kay?" Chloe's voice was sincere. She offered the same sincerity in her eyes when she finally felt able to look at Lana again.

"Okay, no guilt trips I promise." Lana smiled her thousand watt smile and Chloe was back to staring at that interesting coffee spill on the floor.

'Space, I need some space right now.' The reporter told herself. 'I also need to get out of this top, I stink of coffee. Which on Lana smells a lot more arousing than me. Arousing? Oh yeh, I definitely need some space.'

"Chloe I think we should…."

"I need to get changed…"

Both girls giggled as they spoke at the same time. They followed it with both girls insisting the other should go first, until Lana finally won out with her pleading, puppy dog eyes, insisting she wanted to hear what Chloe had to say. The brunette soon realised what she had to say was definitely on a different to track to what Chloe had in mind.

"I was only going to say I need to get changed, I'll be back in a minute, but what was it you wanted to say?" She could see a question in Lana's deep brown eyes when she first glanced in them then watched as her face changed. As if putting whatever it was she wanted to say to the back of her mind, with a little shake of her head and closing her eyes for a second.

"It can wait, you should get changed."

Sometimes there was no arguing with Lana, even when Chloe wanted to. There was this look she got to her eyes, a determined thoughtful look that always meant she was putting someone else first above her own feelings. She was giving Chloe that same look now, and the young editor knew best not to argue the point with her.

She grabbed her locker key from it's usual place in the pen rack on her desk, grateful now that she always kept some clean clothes at school, so on the rare occasions she pulled an all-nighter at the Torch, she didn't look like she'd slept in her clothes. When she got to the door she turned back to catch Lana quickly averting her gaze from watching her, and it piqued that thought she'd been having earlier on. That thought that perhaps whatever Chloe felt for Lana, the dark haired girl understood and more than that, felt the same way.

"You'll be here when I get back?" It wasn't so much a question as an assertion that Chloe posed tentatively. Not wanting anything to undress the delicate balance that was now laying silently in the air between the two young women.

Lana nodded, trying to hide the huge smile Chloe had unwittingly caused her.

"I'm not going anywhere."

Lana didn't trust herself to say more, not quite believing she'd managed to say anything in response to Chloe's hesitant request in the first place.

The blonde girl smiled back at Lana, glad that the tension between them both was dissipating, then made her way to her locker, leaving Lana alone in the Torch office. And because her feet ached from spending a busy afternoon at the Talon, Lana sat down in the nearest seat to her, glad to take the weight off for a while. The nearest seat to her was the chair at Chloe's desk. The desk with the Mac on it. The Mac with the yearbook program running. The yearbook program that had a mock-up page of Lana Lang's biography on screen. In the confusion and general merriment that was the cappuccino disaster, Chloe had forgotten to close the program down or even minimise it.

Lana settled herself in Chloe's chair. Swung around on it like she'd seen the ace reporter do on many occasions when she was in editorial mode. Smiling to herself that she probably looked nothing like the cool calm and collected reporter. Then she stopped dead in her tracks, her tired feet hitting the floor with a loud thud. Gazing back at her from Chloe's Mac screen was a smiling picture of herself.



She wasn't going to read it. She had the utmost respect for Chloe and her work, and wasn't going to betray that by reading something she knew wasn't intended for her eyes. She wasn't going to read it because she told herself she didn't really care what Chloe had written about her for some stupid yearbook, that nobody ever looked at again once they left high school. She wasn't going to read it because she was scared of what it might say. She and Chloe hadn't always been such close friends, Lana sometimes had doubts and fears that to Chloe's mind they still weren't.

She could think of dozens of reasons why she shouldn't read it, and not one reason why she should.

But sometimes there really isn't a reason for why we do things, it just happens that way. Lana couldn't help herself. It was as simple as that. She happened across Chloe's words, just as accidentally as she'd spilled coffee over Chloe's clothes. Neither actions could be prevented once they were set in motion. And Lana couldn't tear her eyes away from the computer screen, even if the room around her had been igniting into flames.

…I can still smell it on her skin, when she comes in exhausted and sits down next to me on the couch. Close so our legs touch sometimes. And when she is close I want her to be even closer, because I think Lana Lang is the prettiest girl in school.

Oh. My. God. That was Lana's first thought. And pretty much her second and third thoughts about what she had just read. Her next thought was maybe it had been written by Clark, using Chloe's Mac again because his was so old. But re-reading those last lines told Lana that there could only be one possible author of such words, and besides Clark had never been this eloquent on the few psuedo-dates the two had shared. So she was back to thinking oh my god again. And before long Chloe would walk back in and want to know what Lana was doing sitting at her desk, so before that happened the brunette really needed to get both her thoughts and her ass in a more forward gear.

She jumped up from the chair as if it suddenly gave out an electric shock, which by the way her heart was thumping double time, probably wasn't so far off the mark. At least she was away from the desk, and the words she would never in a million years have thought Chloe could be capable of. Oh. My. God. There she went again, her thoughts repeating that mantra as if she had suddenly found religion on Chloe's Mac. When in actual fact what she found was much more of a revelation.

'Okay think Lana, think. She'll be back any minute and you can either go with the impression of a complete dork you've managed so far this evening, or go with…go with?'

Go with what exactly Lana wasn't sure. She remembered Lex's advice, about being honest, and could see how that might work to her advantage now she'd found out how Chloe felt, but what if it wasn't how Chloe felt? What if it was like a writing exercise or something? Or she'd been helping Clark figure out his feelings for Lana and somehow the files had got mixed up? Or Chloe had been planning some sick joke on Lana for the end of high school, when the yearbook came out, to make up for all those times Clark had picked Lana over her?

The brunette let out a frustrated groan at herself, knowing that nothing of what she had just thought made any kind of sense at all. If anything the only thing that was clear to her about this thing she feels for Chloe, was that it had nothing to do with the boy wonder Clark Kent, and everything to do with how Chloe made her feel inside each time she saw her.

A feeling of belonging. Of coming home to a place that will always want you no matter what mistakes you make. Chloe made her feel all the things that had been missing from her relationship with Whitney, and all the things that she knows she could never feel with Clark. She felt special when she was around the blonde girl. She felt unique and cherished for being unique. Not pitied for being the poor orphan girl on the cover of Time magazine, which was how she felt around a lot of her so called friends, even around Whitney and Clark. Whatever Chloe had seen in Lana had helped Lana see it in herself as well. She was grateful to her friend for allowing her time and space to grow into the young woman she was today. Instead of insisting like her Aunt Nell, or her old cheerleading friends, that she had be 'this way' or 'that way', whatever 'way' they thought was best for her. Lana had found her way all right. Found herself all the way to Chloe and her affections by the look of things. But did Lana have the confidence in herself to let Chloe know how she really feels about her? Was she prepared to put those doubts she had over Chloe's words aside, and confront the blonde girl when she came back in with a revelation of her own?

Being honest with ones feelings is always easy advice to give out, she realised, when it wasn't your own feelings you had to be honest about.

'And I really don't have much choice in the matter now anyway. Because how can I pretend around Chloe now after this?'

She had a point, Lana admitted to herself and for the second time that day found herself ready to grab that bull by its horns again, hoping that this time she could do it more eloquently.



"Did you mean it?"

Chloe had just reappeared in the Torch office, sporting a very fetching pale blue blouse that clung to curves Lana was trying not to notice, and for the time being was blissfully unaware of why her friend looked so worried, why her voice sounded so unsure.

"Did I mean what?"

Things were back to weird again the blonde thought, only this time she hadn't been here to witness why. She walked further into the room, coming to a stop just opposite where Lana stood, the brunette's hands fidgeting in her belt buckle. She wondered what had changed in the few minutes she'd been gone, to bring out the nervous Lana. Starting to feel a little anxious herself when she'd just gotten used to being relaxed around her friend again.

Lana took a deep breath - be honest she repeated to herself.

"Did you mean it when you wrote you think I am the prettiest girl in school?"

She let out the breath she'd been holding and dared to look straight at Chloe.

What she found in beautiful pale blue eyes was a mixture of anger and embarrassment, that Lana had to quickly put right.

'Damn it! So much for eloquence' she thought, bracing herself for the wrath of Chloe Sullivan. Desperately thinking of a way to put things right, quickly.

"You read my stuff. You read my files. How dare you? Who do you think you are? Coming in here and invading my space, and going through my computer."

Lana cringed at the harshness of Chloe's voice. The way her body had begun to shake with anger or was it some other powerful emotion? Lana didn't have the time to contemplate now. She needed to stop Chloe from saying something that she'd later regret. So for once she dared to try and interrupt the volatile reporter, and managed to raise her voice higher so she would be heard.

"I only asked if you wrote that because I think it's kinda ironic that you think I am the prettiest girl in school when it's what I've been thinking about you for months now."

Lana Lang wasn't usually one for talking fast. She had never really been known for talking much anyway, and what she did say was always well measured and thought out and considered from every angle beforehand. That's what happens when the world expects you to be a certain way, and you spend your whole life trying not to disappoint anyone. She certainly wasn't the kind of person who gambled on what they were saying. Being completely off-the-cuff with her words, not pausing for a breath or even to insert a comma. Generally talking so fast that the only response from the person listening was another well thought out, intelligent reply.

"What?" though in Chloe's case it came out sounding more like 'W…wha…what?' as she discovered a stutter she never knew she had.

The young brunette didn't think she could say it again. Didn't think she could even remember what it was she'd said in the first place, having not planned beforehand, as was usually her custom. Her heart was pumping fast with adrenaline, gushing blood around her veins causing a slight throbbing to start at her temples, and heat to rise to the surface of her skin. There was a tight knot in her stomach that had started off small when she first glimpsed her picture on Chloe's Mac screen, but now made her feel like that guy in the Alien movies right before he exploded. Above all Lana didn't know if she had enough courage to tell Chloe the truth again. She didn't know if she could be honest about her feelings one more time. What if the reaction the blonde girl just had was the best-case scenario?

Panic started to set in so the anxious knot in her stomach was joined with a nauseous feeling Lana last remembered having just after she'd mailed her video letter to Whitney. The one where she dumped him. The panic eventually passed, as panic will do once you realise you have done the right thing, and dumping Whitney had definitely been the right thing. But for now Lana couldn't escape her doubts. And her doubts were telling her she'd just done the opposite of the right thing.

Chloe wasn't making any attempt to diffuse the sudden weighty tension in the air, the kind that gets neatly sliced up with a metaphor or two, and is usually just the type of tension that the young journalist loves to come in and break up. Lana could feel herself be pulled in the direction her doubts and panic wanted to take her, and that direction was headed straight for the door. To be accompanied by some lame denial to Chloe about not feeling quite herself, lack of sugar and oxygen to the brain you know, forget I said anything, okay? Or something along those lines, Lana thought, feeling tears begin to sting her eyes.

She was about to turn tale and run, honesty being much overrated she decided, when she caught a glimpse of that morbid Wall of Weird, Chloe kept adding her strange stories too. The story and picture that captured her gaze just so happened to be the one about Clark saving Lex when his car ploughed over the bridge. That 'against-the-odds-how-the-hell-did-that-happen' story had captured a lot of people's attention at the time, and Lana could understand why it ranked inclusion on the Wall of Weird. Seeing the picture of Clark made Lana think of all the times he had never said what was really on his mind and in his heart, with regards to how he feels towards Lana, and how he really feels towards the girl stood opposite her in the darkening Torch office, a pensive confused look to otherwise beautiful pale blue eyes. All the times Clark had shied away from being honest and exploring moments when a gaze between him and Lana lingered, like the gazes between her and Chloe had been doing lately. Or missing obvious signs like reading on a pc screen that the girl you think you are in love with, feels something for you in return.

Lana Lang decided she wasn't about to make the same mistakes Clark Kent had been making since Junior High. She silenced her doubts. Muted the panic in her stomach so only a fluttering of excitement remained. And calmed her breathing down so she wouldn't do the speed-talking thing again.

She was ready to face that bull. She was ready to be honest. She was ready to tell Chloe the truth.



Chloe felt like she'd just climbed into her Wall of Weird, as if it were something tangible and real, something that you could easily step into, like Alice through her looking glass. Everything suddenly felt a little off. Chloe was having her 'that doesn't normally happen' sensation she only usually gets when some meteor freak crawls out of the woodwork. She was also trying to figure out when the Earth had decided to spin the other way, as she considered again what Lana had just told her.

Definitely Wall of Weird territory she decided.

There was Lana Lang, the prettiest girl in school, looking at her with a look to her dark exotic eyes, that Chloe only remembered seeing on her when she was looking at 6 foot 3 inches of manly farm boy hunk. And the young reporter was sure she'd heard Lana come on to her. But that couldn't be right. She couldn't really have heard the prettiest girl in school tell her that she thought Chloe was the prettiest girl in school, because that would just be too perfect in her little fantasy world she'd been imagining on her way to the locker room. The one where Smallville becomes the gay capital of the United States, and everyone starts declaring their same sex love for one another and no-one bats an eyelid when she and Lana are crowned Homecoming Queens, riding off in to the sunset together on Lana's horse.

That can't be what this was all about, she thought again. The dark haired girl opposite her, breathing heavily, about to say something else to Chloe that no doubt she'd mishear or misinterpret. Chloe Sullivan just wasn't that lucky. She was the quirky sidekick rather than the female lead. She was the witty best friend rather than the femme fatale the hero falls for. She was the serious girl at the back of the class, rather than the cheerleader with all the boys after her. She was plain old Chloe, everyone's second choice.

She was wrong.

"Chloe," Lana takes a step towards Chloe, close enough to be skirting on the edge of invading the reporter's personal space, but the reporter isn't moving in protest.

"Chloe I think you heard what I said didn't you?"

Why does Lana's voice suddenly sound so deep, so assured? Chloe asks herself. And why can't I speak? Hello brain, some help please.

"And if you didn't hear what I said, let me tell you again."

Now there really was no more personal space Lana could step in to. She was face to face with Chloe, the blonde girl slightly smaller so Lana had to adjust her sightline a little bit. This close the brunette could see the pink flush to Chloe's pale cheeks, and her soft blue eyes dilate with anticipation. It gave Lana the final push to say and do something she thought the blonde girl would like her to say and do.

"I think you are the prettiest girl in school Chloe Sullivan, and for months now I've wanted to tell you," she paused, in case there was the remotest chance Chloe was outraged by her. When the flush to pink cheeks deepened, and she saw Chloe's breathing start to heave in and out, the tight clingy blue top straining against full breasts, Lana knew that Chloe was definitely not going to be outraged. A little surprised maybe, but not outraged if she was reading the signals coming off the blonde right. And Lana sure hoped she was reading them right.

"There's something else I've wanted to do for months now as well." Lana moistened dry lips, a playful smirk and a raised eyebrow indicating what she might mean.

"What might that be?"

'YES!!! Thank you brain! If this is Lana Lang coming on to me, I want some say in my own fantasy.'

The young reporter felt her thoughts return as the foreclosure sign someone had put on her brain was removed. Chloe found that she too could wear a playful smirk, introduce a seductive arch of her fair brows. Though she felt at a clear disadvantage to Lana, who had apparently had months to fantasise about this moment, whilst Chloe had only been given 24-hour notice.

Lana's voice was soft and quiet when she spoke next. A little hesitant and not so assured, sounding more like the Lana Lang Chloe knew. The Lana that she'd fallen for.

"I think you know what that is too." The girl said, blushing a little as Chloe smiled at her, nodding her agreement.

There wasn't anything left to say, at least Lana couldn't think of more and it seemed as though Chloe was still suffering from the verbal equivalent of writers block. There was a silence in the office only interrupted by the low humming of Chloe's Mac, and the odd sound from outside. Dusk had appeared outside the window, lengthening shadows in the room. Casting the dying rays of sunshine across a blonde girl's face making her pale skin look almost translucent. Lana couldn't help herself from reaching out a slightly shaky hand, and stroking Chloe's cheek, hot from the sun. When she did the young blonde drew in a breath, so surprised by the surge of desire that ran from her head down her entire body, settling in to a tight hot spot between her thighs. Just from Lana Lang touching her face. Chloe's heart notched up a gear as she tried to prepare herself for how it would feel to have more of Lana touching her. Lana's lips for example.

Kiss me already, Chloe thought. And that was about the last coherent thought the young reporter was able to manage for a good few minutes.

The dark girl closed the last of the distance between them. Only shafts of sunlight could come between them now. Chloe knew Lana must be able to hear how hard her heart was beating, it sounded so loud in her own ears. And she couldn't get rid of the short hard breaths she was taking in, which at least mirrored the girl in front of her, who was moving the hand that had been on her cheek to the back of Chloe's head, a nervous yet unwavering look to exotic eyes.

Lana cupped Chloe's head gently in one small hand. A tingling sensation like before went through Chloe's body, this time she could see in the dark eyes before her something similar had happened to Lana.

The dark girl, cradling blonde hair that felt warm and soft in her hand, brought Chloe to her as she moved closer, both girls closing their eyes at the same moment as their lips met for the first time.

It was soft, like first kisses should be. Nervous and slow, both girls not doing more than just brushing their lips together, Lana being slightly bolder and exerting a little more pressure because she'd been dreaming about this moment for a long time.

Endless nights spent dreaming about the blonde girl sleeping a few metres down the hall from her hadn't prepared Lana for how it would actually feel to kiss her in real life.

Kissing Chloe Sullivan, Lana quickly decided, was better than her dreams had imagined, and felt more natural than any of the kisses she'd shared with Whitney or Clark. She had that feeling again of coming home and belonging somewhere. In the touch of Chloe's lips, and the hands she could feel reach up to her face as the reporter grew more bold. As the kiss began to deepen the way first kisses sometimes do Lana felt whole for the first time in her life.

She felt wanted and protected and vulnerable and peaceful and desired and happy and there just weren't the words anymore in her head to keep up with what her heart was telling her. Nor could her breathing control itself any longer, and she tore herself away from Chloe's soft, luscious, strawberry lip-gloss tasting lips, to fill her lungs with much needed oxygen.

"What's wrong?" Chloe immediately said, thinking the worst. She made to pull away, her hands dropping to her sides even though they felt so right touching Lana. Which is exactly where Lana thought they should still be, reaching for the pale hands and holding them tight in her much darker ones.

"Nothing's wrong." She drew up the hands to her face, kissing the knuckles, then the fingertips, never once taking her eyes off the blonde girl in front of her. "I just needed to breathe for a moment."

Lana smiled a smile Chloe had never seen before, one that hadn't been used for Whitney or for Clark. It curled up at the edges a little, and had a hint of the thousand-wattage grin she'd seen Lana give people but this one was a little more muted, like it was reserved for something or someone special. Like if it could speak it would say 'this is just for you, and only you' and despite her reporter instincts telling her to still expect the worst, Lana's smile allayed Chloe's anxiety and she managed a pretty special smile in return.

"Wow." Lana finally said.

"Wow?" Chloe responded, liking the feel of her hands in the other girl's.

"I never knew kissing Chloe Sullivan would take my breath away." Lana joked, smirking a little.

"Can I quote you on that?" Sharp as a tack, Chloe responded.

"Why don't we put it in your yearbook entry? Considering they're going to be so informal this year." Lana teased.

"You know I can explain that…" the reporter began.

"Really?" Lana's voice dropped an octave again, as she leaned in to steal a kiss from Chloe.

"Ahuh." Her reply was half lost in the dark lips now covering her own, and Chloe really couldn't remember what it was she was going to say anyway.

"Let me guess," Lana said in between brushing her lips across Chloe's. "You were sat one night with writer's block…." Another kiss. "…and you just couldn't think what to say about me…." Kiss again.

"It's funny you should men-…" Lana's lips swallowed the rest of Chloe's sentence. "…tion that." The blonde girl eventually finished.

"So it got you thinking what is it you do think about Lana Lang…" She let go of Chloe's hands, who just kept them hovering between the two of them, dangerously close to Lana's breasts, whilst Lana placed her own hands back to where they felt so comfortable nestled in Chloe's luscious locks. "…and then you realised…" This time it wasn't a kiss that interrupted Lana's speech, it was the girl she was giving it to.

"…that Lana Lang is the prettiest girl in school."

Chloe leaned in to kiss the dark haired girl, finding a place for her hands resting on Lana's shoulders. She had a momentary thought of 'how the hell had all this happened?' before she decided a person could become too curious for their own good, so went back to thinking nothing at all. Apart from echoing the thought that had been on her mind for the last 24 hours.

Lana Lang is the prettiest girl in school.

In the end, there was no escaping that simple truth. And as Lana slipped her hands so they fit tight around Chloe's waist as they kissed, the young reporter had another thought occur to her before she truly began to lose herself to the dark haired girl's soft, kissable lips.

The prettiest girl in school is kissing me, plain old Chloe Sullivan. Clark is going to go nuts.

The End

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