Disclaimer: The Smallville characters don't belong to me, yada yada. Rating: PG-13
Feedback: Yes, please!
Summary: Based on Luxorien's grocery store challenge. Chloe Sullivan would never buy marshmallows again...
Chloe Sullivan always loved springtime in the city. The skyscrapers, brownstones, and apartment buildings proudly stood, starkly contrasting the rich blue color of the sky and the fluffy white clouds, making her happy to live in the big city. The ice cream trucks played their hypnotic tune, luring children and desperate teenagers to spend dollars saved on the scrumptious treats. Sidewalk cafs and restaurants bustled with business. And then there just simply was that wonderful springtime-school-is-almost-done smell that fills the air on the walk home from school.
She missed it.
True, Smallville also had that springtime smell and the couple of restaurants on Main Street that would occupy the otherwise wide streets when the weather was nice enough, but it just wasn't the same. How could it compare to the precious sights and noises of a Metropolis spring day or night? No wandering around Metropolis Park, watching the grandmothers feed the ducks in the ponds, relaxing on the Great Lawn with her friends, watching as kites flew and dreams soared. No walking home late at night, seeing the wondrous lights on The Daily Planet building light up midtown Metropolis. Instead, springtime meant new traditions. Swimming with Pete and Clark at the creek a half a mile away from the Kent farm. Chilled mocha java smoothies at the Talon. Although different, they quickly found a place in her heart.
But that didn't mean that all customs had to change.
Even with the new addition in the Sullivan household, her father still wanted to have their annual barbecue. It was a family event, this massive barbecue. It would occupy the entire afternoon on the first Sunday of the year in which temperatures spiked above fifty. She couldn't remember a single year where she missed one, even after her mother left or their move to small town, USA. Back in Metropolis, Gabe always failed miserably at trying to get the grill in the middle of Metropolis Park to work (things ran much smoother now that they had their own). They would vainly try to pretend they weren't in the middle of a great city, but in a backyard of a small suburban home. Her cousins would come, and for that brief day, she'd feel like she was a part of a real family, the stereotypical type from 1960s sitcoms. Chloe loved that day. She loved the sounds, sights, and smells that would accompany. Now they had that home to hold the barbecue at: their own grill, patio furniture, and the lovely lawn in which she and her teenaged cousins would lounge and catch up on after gorging themselves with more food than could fit.
But the spring tradition always equaled a trip to the grocery store the day before. Always.
Which was why Chloe now stood in the middle of Aisle Five with a list a mile long in one hand and her other on the handle of a blazing red shopping cart, completely and utterly lost. She stuffed the half-torn piece of loose-leaf in her jeans jacket pocket. She then ran a hand through her short blond hair, brushing a couple of stray strands out of her frustrated, tired green eyes. She sighed, sick of searching. And for all things: marshmallows! One would think a town like Smallville - with its Fourth of July fireworks and summer camping trips - would stock them in spades.
Quite carefully, she scrutinized the copper shelves on the left side of Aisle Five. Chocolate syrups - all the various brands, sugars, toppings, candies, strawberry syrup, gummies, fruit snacks, even some hard coffee flavored candy. But no damn freakin' elusive marshmallows. She felt like screaming. Like throwing her hands up in the air and pouting like a little kid. Or like running to The Torch office and writing an expos on the apparent misplacement of marshmallows of all types - big, small, colored - at the local ValuMart, thus forcing every loyal customer to search for hours just to complete their shopping.
Of course, it didn't help that she refused to go home without every single item on her father's list. Her damn stubbornness would see to that. Hot dogs, buns, rolls, sausages, cheeses, lemonade mix, nuts, chocolate, sodas... You name it, it was probably on the list of ingredients for the Sullivan barbecue. Marshmallows included. Especially marshmallows. In her family, a barbecue wasn't a barbecue without the s'more snacks in between meals. And marshmallows were a necessary must in the s'more making process. She should know; Chloe did write a second grade essay on the precise way to make perfect s'mores.
Chloe pushed the shopping cart five feet to the end of the row, deciding not to spend another second more in the aisle. The taunting cans and bottles glared at her as she left, laughing because she couldn't find the gooey, fluffy white morsels she so desired. She was starting to freak herself out.
Too bad Clark had chores he needed to do today. She had called in the morning to see if her boyfriend wanted to accompany her, but he said he'd meet her later, when he finished all the remaining farm work Jonathon Kent needed done. It was later now, and no Clark to be found. At this point, Chloe felt that if he did show up - and honestly, Chloe wouldn't be surprised, the boy did have a habit of running late - she'd stick him with the marshmallow task. There would be little he could do to escape. Cause if he did, the only thing he would be kissing anytime soon would be all the free food (after all, Gabe always cooked more than just the two of them - now three of them - could eat) - goodbye.
She strolled absentmindedly along the freezer section in the back of the medium sized store, ignoring the shelves of iced meats and cheeses, the slide-open doors with juice cans, ice cream, and pre-made meals, not quite paying attention to where she walked. What had started out as wistful thinking of having the farm boy find the marshmallow stash that she was sure some pimply, red-haired, nerdy store clerk had hidden to keep all for himself had quickly turned in to racy images of Clark in a skimpy Speedo, covered in marshmallow goo. Pure yumminess, if she did say so herself. Chloe smiled for the first time in the half-hour since beginning the marshmallow escapade. Now Clark was dancing for her, very, very seductively, moving closer and closer to where she stood with every motion. He stopped centimeters away from Chloe, his alluring smile welcoming her to him. She could almost taste the sweet mixture of Clark and marshmallow as Chloe slowly began to lick the sticky white sugar substance off him...
The male voice startled her from her daydreams. Her mind raced back to her depressing reality in the bleak ValuMart that she resolved which never to return. She felt her face flush and bowed her head to hide it. Seconds later, Chloe looked up from her groceries in search of the owner of the voice. And unless it belonged to an invisible meteor freak, she was sure she could find at least this. A bashful grin settled in her view, two rows of impeccable pearly whites smiling broadly. Bluish green eyes happy to see her and a thick mop of curly black hair came into focus. But...no marshmallows. Instead, she was lost in a sea of flannel. Speak of the devil. Chloe smiled wickedly.
"Hi Clark," she said as she moved from behind the cart to where Clark stood next to the frozen chicken nuggets. "Nice to see you could finally make it."
Clark shrugged. "I'm sorry I took so long. Dad wouldn't let me go until mostly everything was finished. I hope..." He paused and looked around thoughtfully. "I hope this doesn't mean that you won't give me any extras from the Sullivan Barbecue Marathon tomorrow."
Chloe slid up next to him. She looked up into his face and smiled. "You know Clark, there is one thing you can do to earn it," she whispered suggestively. Her hand snaked up his chest to his neck.
"Hmmm?" he replied, staring straight into eyes. She noticed that his eyes were a bit foggy and distracted, and Chloe was positive she knew where his thoughts were heading.
Chloe chuckled and stepped back a step. Clark tried to hide the slight disappointment in his face. "You see, Dad and I always] have s'mores included in the feast. But you know that you can't make s'mores without certain ingredients." She couldn't help but laugh as it quickly dimmed on Clark that he wasn't going to get to make up running late through kisses. "And I've been searching all over for that one certain ingredient." Triumphantly, she finished her thought; "You find the marshmallows. I'll tackle the remainder of the list."
Clark gave her a suspicious glance that Chloe read as his paranoia due to the simplicity of the task, but nodded. He turned and walked in the opposite direction from which Chloe came from without another thought. That made her ponder. Maybe she was right. Only, it wasn't a pimply, red-haired, high school aged clerk hiding the marshmallow hoard but Clark. He seemed confidant in leaving to fulfill his task.
Minutes later, Chloe had nearly crossed off every item on the list. All that remained were ice cream, and those evasive marshmallows. She smiled, pleased that the hard day's work was almost over. Then she could go home and relax writing, reading, or possibly just daydreaming about a certain farm boy. Very pleasing choices indeed.
She strolled down Aisle Three (Chloe swore she'd never return to Aisle Five again), studying all the different coffee brands and flavors available. Maybe she'd try something new. Her father had given her plenty of money for the groceries after all. She stopped in front of the selections, trying to make a decision when, from the corner, a very red faced Clark resurfaced holding five giant bags of large marshmallows. She raised one eyebrow and stared.
Clark rushed towards her, briefly glancing behind him fearfully as if the devil himself were chasing him. When he turned around again, his face still glowing a brilliant shade of crimson. Upon reaching the shopping cart, he dumped the contents in his arms on top of the other groceries and faced Chloe, a mix of embarrassment and anger in his eyes.
"Don't. Ever. Make. Me. Look. For. Marshmallows. Again." Clark spoke each word clearly and slowly, accentuating the words into individual sentences. Something had happened, and Clark clearly didn't enjoy it.
She laughed a full-bodied laugh that echoed from her head to her toes. Clark glared and she clutched her sides as fits of giggles consumed her. When she had finally recomposed herself, Chloe asked, "What happened?"
Clark's eyes shifted to the floor. Whatever it was, he was still bothered by it. The cat-like curiosity in her was peaked. Chloe had to know. Especially if it involved those marshmallows. Those damn f*cking marshmallows.
"Well Clark?" she prodded when Clark refused to speak.
Clark's eyes met hers. She assumed he probably realized that he'd have no choice but to relinquish the information as he opened his mouth. He then closed it and smiled, much to her dismay. Clark's eyes twinkled and Chloe's narrowed.
"Clark," she whined, cocking her head.
"Let's just say there was a reason you couldn't find the marshmallows."
"And?" Chloe wanted to know, needed to know. Maybe there was a conspiracy of Mulder proportions in the Smallville ValuMart. And if that were the case, she had to beat The Smallville Ledger in exposing it. However, all reporter desires aside, Chloe just wanted to know what made her best friend turn bright red and pink like a cherry. Hmm, Clark with a cherry on top. That was another tantalizing idea.
"Well, uh," Clark stammered. Chloe smiled. Did he know how cute he looked when he was all flustered. "They were being blocked."
"Peval..." Clark mumbled, completely and totally inaudible and indiscernible. He turned a brilliant shade of scarlet once more.
"I couldn't really understand you, Clark. Can we try this again?"
All of the sudden, Clark grabbed Chloe's arm and pulled her away from the precious cart of commodities for the barbecue, past aisles four, five, and six, to lonely Aisle Seven, which was NOT supposed to contain marshmallows. Obviously, someone had hidden them. When they came to a quick halt, the abruptness of the stop causing Chloe to smack right into Clark, she noticed two people who weren't there when last Chloe came down the aisle in search of breadcrumbs. The couple looked very busy, well, busy doing something that Chloe didn't quite believe belonged in a place where impressionable youths shopped with their parents. She turned as pink as Clark did, but dared to look again.
"Pete! Lana," Chloe shouted loudly, extremely shocked. Her hands covered her mouth and she then buried her head in Clark's chest in embarrassment. He wrapped his arms around her and Chloe shuddered.
She was never going to buy marshmallows again.
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