Title: Looking Up
Author's Email: Camerada2006@yahoo.com
Pairing: Chloe/Lex, vague Clark/Lois
Summary: Sequel to "She Didn't" and "The Mid-Morning After." I guess that makes this a trilogy. Please read the first two if you haven't already. You can find them on ff.net when you click on the hyperlink for my name, or on Malu's website: http://planeta.terra.com.br/lazer/malufanfics/cam.htm. Feedback is greatly appreciated!
Spoilers: This series is six years after the gang graduates from high school. That makes Chloe and Clark 24 years old, Lois about 28, and Lex 30. This third story is set three months after "The Mid-Morning After."
Disclaimer: I don't own any of these characters. Hence, no profit.
A/N: This fic is dedicated to everyone at TBT, who've been absolutely great about welcoming my work.
It was Pete who had called him to say that something was up with Chloe and Lex. And Clark laughed it off.
A week later, he had received a cursory email from Lex, asking to meet him for dinner. And a week after that, Clark was choking on his chicken parmagiana. Lex had told Clark that he was in love with Chloe, and although he didn't need Clark's permission, he'd like to have his blessing.
Clark was nonplussed, and his reaction at the time made him flush now, to think of it. He'd walked out of the obscenely expensive restaurant, leaving Lex to sit there with his fizzy lemon water and hand towels and of course, the check.
A month later, no one bothered to tell him about the engagement ring, which had set Lex back about 400,000 dollars.
Well, actually someone did tell him about it. Lois; his partner, Chloe's cousin. Lois, so alike to Chloe that he was already half-in-love with her. Lois, so much more stubborn than Chloe had ever been. She was an amplification of the best and the worst of Chloe.
Lois also gave him the article he had read at least three times a day for the past week. It wasn't even an article, really. But the scrap of newsprint contained a blurb that probably meant more to him than anything he had ever read.
"Now we know all of you ladies out there were hoping to land yourself the most eligible bachelor of them all, but it looks like Sexy Lexy is taken. The bald billionaire announced yesterday that he was engaged to wed his new love, a very pretty and very blonde Chloe Sullivan.
"The bride-to-be recently left her job as a reporter at the Washington Post for an even more lucrative position as assistant news editor of the Metropolis Daily Planet. Not that she'll need the money, since sources report Lex Luthor asked for no prenup. The young lovers are expected to attend the MetFund Ball next week, where we all hope to hear the wedding date. And yes, her hair color is real!"
"Smallville," Lois had said. "Perry's sending us to the MetFund Ball this Saturday. You own a tux, don't you?"
"Um . . ." Clark was a bit distracted at the time, trying to locate the number of good place to order dinner from. Lois wanted Chinese, but he was more in the mood for pizza.
"Kent!" Lois sounded even more irritated than usual. "Look."
He followed one long finger to a piece of paper on his desk. "We have to talk to Lex Luthor and Chloe."
At the words, Clark started, glancing down at the photo which accompanied the clip. Despite the graininess, Clark could see that Chloe was beaming, and Lex actually looked happy.
Lois said something.
"What?" Clark glanced up at her.
"Come on, Smallville, get it together-" Lois began, then grimaced, holding out her hand. "Hi, I'm tactless. Nice to meet you."
Clark smiled a little, taking her hand in his briefly. "It's ok, Lois. Chloe and I were years ago."
"But she said -" Lois stopped herself.
Clark looked at her sharply. "What did she say?"
"Nothing." Lois looked down at the phonebook. "So, what's the verdict on dinner?"
Part of Clark was glad to let the issue drop. Part of him wanted to know what it was Chloe had shared with Lois. He sighed, "Chinese it is."
The Metropolis elite gathered in Il Hotel Cipro's main ballroom. Colors swirled around Clark - he had never seen anything so grand - not even at one of Lex's parties. Fabulous colors that would have reminded him of a kid's birthday party, had they not been so elegant.
Lois looked elegant, too. She was wearing blue, hugging and sweeping over every curve. She was taller than usual in stilettos. Mouthy as ever, though.
"Damn, these shoes are already killing me," Lois muttered.
"I told you to check them at the door, Lois," Clark said, flashing a smile.
Lois returned a frown, then did an inspection of him. "You know what, Kent? You look half decent."
"Thank you," Clark said, reddening slightly. He looked across the dance floor, where Chloe and Lex stood.
They ignored everyone around them. Chloe was smoothing her hands over Lex's lapels. He grabbed her hands, leaning forward to press his lips to hers. She smiled and ducked her head, leaning into him. Lex tightened his arms around her. Supporting her.
"Tell me again why you couldn't just call Chloe?" Clark looked at his partner, who patted his shoulder sympathetically.
"Because Meagan - you know, the society editor - was sick, and Perry needed someone to cover the Ball."
Clark could hear the capital B in her voice, and sighed. "When's Jimmy coming?"
"He's already here." Lois pointed at the photographer, who waved quickly and continued to circle the room.
Clark murmured something in response, while looking at Lex and Chloe. Lex excused himself from Chloe's presence. Chloe was immediately swallowed up by a flock of reporters. And Clark didn't feel sorry for her at all.
"I guess I'd better rescue her," Lois laughed. "Try not to get into any trouble, `k, Smallville?" She picked up her skirt and headed off. Clark found himself watching her tall, graceful form pick its way across the floor.
"She's a lovely woman, Ms. Lane," Lex was by his side, and Clark was pissed off that he hadn't even heard him, hadn't seen him approach.
Clark grunted in response.
"Clark, look at me," Lex commanded, and Clark turned to face his former best friend.
"She's happy," Lex said. "Can you hate me for making her happy?"
"No," Clark said softly, looking back at Chloe, who seemed to be deftly answering all of the questions while simultaneously making a retreat with Lois. "I guess not."
Chloe was giggling over something Lois was saying.
"I'd like you to be my best man. The wedding's this summer - we're getting married in Smallville. Chloe thought it would be appropriate, since that's where we met."
Clark stared. "You want me to be-"
"I don't have a lot of friends, Clark - I actually prefer it this way. The ones I do have, I trust," Lex smirked then said, "I'd ask Bruce, but he's been sulky lately. Besides, Pete and Lana have agreed to be part of the ceremony."
Clark was silent. He wanted to say he would - but couldn't seem to find the word.
"Blink three times if it's `yes,'" Lex said solemnly.
"Thanks," Lex said. "Talking is highly overrated."
"I've always thought so," Clark replied.
They stood quietly. Clark not thinking about anything in particular, except perhaps when dinner was going to start.
Across the room, Lois was looking at him. She raised an eyebrow and he nodded in reply. Chloe looked over at Clark, and then at Lex, who gave a quick thumbs up. Chloe flashed a bright smile at her fianc and laughingly blew a kiss to Clark. He chuckled at her enthusiasm.
Chloe leaned forward, whispering something into Lois' ear. Clark tuned to their conversation.
"You like him, Lo?" Chloe sounded giddy, and Clark wondered whom they were discussing.
"Chloe Sullivan!" Lois said, faking astonishment. "He's Smallville."
"He's also beautiful, kind, and considerate," Chloe insisted.
"Maybe a little . . ." Lois trailed off, trying to sneak another glance at Clark. When she caught him staring at her, Lois waited a beat before turning back to her cousin.
Clark didn't need to hear anymore, and as a waiter passed by with a tray of champagne, he took a flute for himself and one for Lex.
He smiled at his friend, who accepted the drink. Things were looking up already.
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