Genre: Smallville; Lana/Lex; Lana POV
Rating: PG-13
Summary: Lana moves into the Luthor guest house when Nell decides to move to Metropolis.
Spoilers: None
Notes: Canon through most of "Ryan", AU for anything after. This story assumes Lana is not living with Chloe.
Disclaimer: Alfred Gough and Miles Millar created Smallville; TRP and other corporate entities own the rights. No profit made.


I'm not really all that into football. Yeah, I used to be a cheerleader and my ex-boyfriend was a quarterback and X's and O's and touchdowns and all that, but...bleh. It was sort of my job to have an interest. Since I quit cheering and quit Whitney it's not like I've spent any time thinking about the sport.

Fall means football season. Again, bleh. Someone asked me if the Talon would look into getting a few televisions and broadcasting the games on Sundays. We're a coffee house, not a sports bar. I didn't even run the idea by Lex. I said I would, but I didn't.

So when Lex came by the Talon on Friday night, I had no inkling that he'd ask me to a football game. I'd left a message on his cell earlier in the day. It's stupid sounding now, but I was so excited when I got my Romans paper back and it had a big fat A on it, that I called him. Thank goodness he didn't pick up. In hindsight, I'd have buried myself in a hole if he'd answered in the middle of some big meeting and it's me going, 'I got an A on my paper, Lex!'

So I left a message. I think I said, 'I got an A on my paper, Lex!' He came by the Talon after work. He had on a tie. He must have had some big meetings. He hugged me.

He hugged me. My brain momentarily fell out of my head and I could swear Clark fell off of his stool.

"Congratulations, Lana," he says. "It was a really good paper."

I thank him and go back behind the counter where my legs can wobble and he won't see. He makes small talk with Clark while I get him a coffee and pretend to be busy with other customers. It's easier this way, because he hugged me and it made me squishy.

When I venture back into their zip code for like a second, Lex grabs me.

"Lana, I was wondering if you wanted to go to the Sharks game with me on Sunday in Metropolis."

Clark almost falls off his stool again, only this time he manages to grab the counter in time. It's awkward, because wouldn't it have made more sense to ask Clark? Clark, who is -- I'm pretty sure -- into football?

Lex has answers for everything and this is no exception. I don't even have to ask the question and he's already reading my mind and offering the explanation.

"I have four tickets for the skybox, I thought we'd invite your aunt and Dean to join us. I'm sure she'd love to see you."

Of course. It all makes perfect sense. It's totally innocent. Platonic. Only it doesn't feel innocent or platonic or is that just me? Do I want it to be not innocent or platonic? Am I losing my ever-loving mind? Lex is my temporary legal guardian, my silent business partner, my boss. Nowhere in those descriptions of our relationship does "boyfriend slash" fit in.

He hugged me. Oh my gosh, I am losing my mind.


Right. There's a question on the table. An invite. The answer is no. I'm not into football, Lex. Take Clark and Pete, and Pete's brother. Really, but thanks.

"Um, yeah, sure."

My mouth totally betrays me. Clark seems better but still a little thrown.

"That's great that you'll get to see your aunt," he says with false enthusiasm. If Lex notices Clark's discomfort, he ignores it.

I nod. Lex nods. "Great, I'll give Nell a call."

Great. It's settled. And in no way awkward.

When Lex leaves, Clark is all over me. Subtly, of course. Subtle, for Clark, means adding a 'so, um...' before the question, so it can sound like he's asking nonchalantly.

"So, and Lex seem closer." The little smile to show the inquiry is in no way threatening or intrusive. Which would be fine except that now I feel like I do have something to hide, although I'm not sure what.

"I guess I have spent more time with him since moving into the guest house. He helped me with my Roman Empire paper."

Good. Not evasive, not controversial.

"Cool," Clark says. He doesn't look cool at all, but I'm not in the mood to placate. Plus, I have no idea what to say. Is Clark worried that something more might be going on between myself and Lex, or is he simply jealous that someone else is becoming close friends with him? I don't know. I don't really care.

"I need to cash out my drawer," I tell Clark. Dismissed. He gets it. He leaves and I feel lighter and heavier at the same time.

15 Nov 2002
Continued in Close Quarters V: The Game.