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.


Her name is Chrissy. Of course it is. She's an "old friend" from Princeton. Do they really let girls named Chrissy into Princeton? Lex says he sent her away (he actually used those words), but I don't know if I can believe him right now. What if he said, 'wait in my bedroom' or 'go watch a movie in the screening room' or 'want to use the gym? Use the one marked private'.

I mean, can I really trust a guy that says things like, 'I sent her away'? Just whose life would I be trying to live in? I'd be like Julia Roberts in "Pretty Woman" when she's at that fancy restaurant and everyone knows she doesn't belong. I don't know what I'm doing.

I expected to come home, scrub off all my makeup, get into my comfy pajamas and cry. Then eat ice cream. Then cry some more. But Lex is here, standing in my living room slash kitchen and once again looking big and out of place.

My second choice of activities for the night would be to call him a bastard and tell him how much he hurt me. I can't do that either. I can't find my voice and my tongue feels too thick for my mouth and rationally I know it's my fault for getting myself hurt. I spent all week thinking about kisses that obviously meant nothing and wondering if I'm falling in love with Lex Luthor. He spent all week cavorting the East Coast with old flames named Chrissy.

Just a big misunderstanding, Lana. These kinds of things happen when you mix two kinds of living and add one very naive teenage girl. God, embarrassed isn't even the word.

I want Lex to go. Now. Why did he follow me here? Why did he send her away? Is he just a perpetual asshole who likes to send mixed signals? GO AWAY!

It's been silent for two minutes. Does he think I'm getting myself together? Cause I'm not. I'm standing here waiting for him to say something. I said 'oh' last, so it's his turn.

"I'm really not sure where this drama is coming from, Lana," he says. His voice sounds oddly flat and I change my mind about him talking first.

I want to look up at him and smile. Tell him I just don't feel well and I kind of lost it for a minute. Tell him it's no big deal. I want to at least stop staring at the beautiful, impeccable Berber carpet and the scuffs on my boots that I never really noticed until now.

I manage to look up. His hands are in his pockets and his eyes are hard and cold like ice. I know I'm not going to be able to play this off. I feel my throat constrict when I try to swallow down the lump that's suddenly making it really hard to breathe.

The longer he looks at me like that, the angrier I get. Where exactly does he get off? I don't care if the kiss was just a caught-up-in-the-moment type of thing, he has no right to act like I have no right to be even a tiny bit upset.

Confused. Misled. Pick an adjective.

I still haven't responded to him. What do you say to that? But he's obviously not as comfortable in silence as he lets on.

"You told me to give you time, Lana."

I hate how he keeps using my name. He punctuates each statement with it, like an accusation. His eyes are beyond ice now, they're diamonds, flashing with annoyance, anger, possibly frustration.

"I don't like games," he finishes.

I laugh. It's abrupt and bitter. "You think I'm playing games?!"

Now I can look him in the eye. Now I can move, I can pace, and he doesn't look so big. I see him blink. His spine straightens, his shoulders arc backward. He did not expect a rebuttal.

There's a problem with fighting. People say things they can't take back. I had already reached the point of no return. Lex is quick to follow.

"The kissing in the limo should not have happened, Lana, and I apologize for it. But you said you needed time and that is what I gave you. I am not going to play these 'you should have known I didn't mean what I said' games."

"I'm not playing games, Lex." There's a calmness in my voice now that surprises even me. My tone is low and even, but I don't feel in control. Not even a little bit. "You did this," I tell him.

This is spiraling fast. Inside, there's a rational me. She's clawing at irrational-fuming-with-anger-and-humiliation me. She's pulling hair and biting. She wants to get out, she just can't.

"I did this," Lex says back to me. His voice is equally low, equally calm. But I get the feeling his insides match his outsides. "You were in that limo too, Lana. You made the choice to flip out."

The choice to flip out? Never once in my entire life have I chosen to flip out. Though I'm thinking now is a good time to adopt the 'first time for everything' philosophy.

"You took off the next day! There was no time to unflip! There was no you to talk to, there was nothing to do but sit around and wonder! You came back with a --"

I lose the word. Bimbo? Slut? Date? Hooker?

"Friend," Lex supplies.

He's back in control, he's even grinning slightly at my tirade. I hate him. Something in my brain snaps; I unflip, and I stop talking. My heart is pounding and my chest feels like it's going to explode but damn it, I'm calm.

Or getting there.

It's just...Lex is there.

"Are you ready to discuss this as adults now?" he asks.

Flip. Did I mention I hate him? I'm so far away from calm it's not even in my hemisphere.

"I AM NOT BEHAVING LIKE A CHILD!" I scream it. Very child-like. I very don't care. I want to pick up the orchid and hurl it at his stupid bald head. I seriously contemplate it. I would have, if it wasn't flourishing in it's little spot by the window. I love that plant.

Lex has turned. His hand is on the doorknob. I make a silent promise that if he goes, I'll pack my things and move out. I start preparing for Metropolis. At least there's good shopping there.

He looks back, like he wants to humiliate me further. I'm breathing so hard I'm practically hyperventilating. I feel tears streaming down both cheeks. I know my face is on fire. My hair has started to unravel from its clip.

My hair, my life, it's all the same: messy and tangled where it used to be perfect.

The longer he stands there looking at me, the more tempting the orchid looks as a blunt, heavy object. I can buy myself another one at Home Depot.

"Lana," he says. His voice is subdued, the kind of voice you'd use if you came across a bear or a rabid dog.

"Get out," I tell him. I sound the same.

He doesn't even hesitate another second. The knob turns and he's gone. When I hear the kitchen door close with a muted thud, I dare myself to move. My legs feel weighted, like I've just completed a marathon. My eyes are too tired to keep open. I fall onto my bed, sweater, jeans, boots and all, and roll my face into the pillow.

Moving out will have to wait until morning.

20 Nov 2002
Continued in Close Quarters VIII: The Confession.