Playing Hooky

by Olivia-Marie Carr

"We can't fight gravity on a planet that insists that love is like falling, and falling is like this." - Ani Difranco

If he stood at the edge of the lake, shading his eyes with a stiff hand, he could see the glint of Chloe's hair, and the sharp line of her shoulders as she cut through the water. The sunlight hissed past his fingers, blinding him. Pete blinked and lost sight of her long limbs as she swam further across the lake. Edgily, he stepped back from the water that nipped at his bare toes.

Chloe had cried again this morning, while he held onto her, hating the way she kept herself stiff even as wild sobs shook her. Everything about Chloe was stiff, wild and bright, so much that sometimes it hurt just looking at her. He could call her beautiful and it would be true, but it wouldn't say anything about her at all. She was flesh, her skin was always warm, and sometimes when she walked, she'd trip over her own feet. Somehow she was always confident.

And dammit, he hated when she cried. Sometimes she'd cry so hard he worried she'd break her own heart. He didn't have any words to comfort her that he hadn't already used, and they felt dry and flaky on his tongue because he was tired of saying them. But there were some he wanted to say that could slip out so easily, and he had to maintain control over them or end up hurting her.

So angry sometimes, he ached to throw them in her face.

"Stop being stupid!"

"Clark wants Lana, and when there isn't a Lana, there's gonna be somebody else and that somebody ain't you!"

"Look at me. Look. At. Me."

Nah, he'd never say them.

Catching sight of her again, Pete took a seat in the hot sand, enjoying the way it pressed warmly against his bare calves. Calves. Hers. The thought of them wrapped around his waist, doing things with her hands that he's only dreamed about.

Swallowing with difficulty, Pete ducked his head. He tore his gaze away from her returning form, swamped with autumn light. She was too damn pretty and it made it that much harder not to look at her, not to get hard and start demanding to touch her --- or maybe just touching her without saying anything at all.

Pete remained sitting when Chloe swam toward the shallow end of the lake, getting to her feet. As she walked from the water, his throat tightened like he'd swallowed a grapefruit. He quickly pulled the towel from his side and onto his lap, covering himself in case the sight of water sliding from her body sent him into overdrive. Damn, she was good at torturing him and it was worse because she didn't know.

"You just gonna stay on the beach all day?" Chloe asked, breathing hard from exertion. She dropped down beside him, bringing her knees up to her stomach and resting her cheek against them. "The water's wonderful right now."

Pete shrugged, keeping his gaze off of all that wet skin. Why couldn't she have worn a one piece? Not that it'd be any easier, because she was Chloe, and everything about her was hard to resist.

"Did I put you in a bad mood?" Chloe murmured. From the corner of his eye, he saw her lift her head from her knees, staring at him intently. It was making his throat drier than hell. And there it was, that swelling inside his stomach that happened whenever he was even NEAR her.

"Nah, you crying makes me giggly," Pete replied dryly, focusing on the heat burning down on him instead of her skin just a finger's length away. If he glanced up, looked directly at the sun, he could probably make himself blind, and he'd be better off for it. "What do you think?"

Chloe placed her hand on his forearm. His shoulders jerked in reaction. Her fingers, nervous with tension, jumped away from him and his gaze followed, breaking against hers.

"Skipping school was your idea, ya know," Chloe said haughtily, tossing her chin as if she'd once had long hair and she was trying to flick it back. "If you're going to be a grouch, maybe we should get back before anyone misses us."

"No," Pete said, when she would have stood. Chloe got the deer in the headlights look when he held her in place with a hand on her thigh. She had good reason, if she caught the expression on his face before he ducked his chin down to hide it. Soft. That's all he could think of, because the rest was pure physical stimulation. And damn, he just wanted to move that INCH and be there where it was softer.

"Let's just sit for a while," he continued, moving his hand to the sand that had somehow gotten between their seated bodies. One of them had moved. It wasn't him. "I didn't think coming here meant I had to be part of a swim marathon. Relax, girl. OK?"

He looked at her face, soft lines and softer lips.

"Sure," she said, lips spreading in one of THOSE smiles and he was already hurting inside enough to wish she meant the things she said with that grin. "We'll just veg all day. But if I turn into broccoli, you're the one that's gonna pay for it."

Pete couldn't help it, he found himself grinning. "Deal. But I like broccoli."

Chloe rolled her eyes. "You would."

He didn't count the minutes they sat there in silence, listening to the water moving and the trees brushing together. As far as he was concerned, it didn't really matter. Her breathing had slowed, her skin had dried, and there was nothing better than having her beside him when there were other things they should have been doing. School didn't matter right now; a missed class was better than a missed opportunity, and Pete knew all about those.

"Water hisses," Chloe murmured. Pete nodded, because there was nothing to say when she got like this. Not sad, but quiet and still, like she was meant for something bigger, and everything around her knew it. It scared the shit out of him.

One day he was going to have to let her go, but that day wasn't today. All too aware of how soon it might be, he sighed and curled his body around his knees, dragging his fingers through the steaming sand. He knew she was doing the same by the way her heat shifted and moved closer. Temptingly closer.

Friends. That's what they were. The best of. But sometimes he had thoughts that were a little mean, like maybe she was just toying with him. Maybe she was only using him and would drop him like a hot potato if Clark ever gave her half a chance. But these thoughts just made him tense up, because he knew that they weren't REALLY true, at least not completely. Chloe couldn't help the way she felt. It wasn't fair at all, to want someone so much, and then be forced to play the role of the comedic best friend.

Chloe would do anything for him. Anything. Except truly look at him. Ever.

She was saying something, voice soft and whispery. Pete cocked his head to the side, listening. "I'm thinking I don't care anymore." A shrug of her shoulders, nearly touching her ears. Pete brought his gaze back to her. Gave in. "I HATE crying, and that's all he makes me do anymore. I mean, it's not like we're friends anymore anyway, and I just come off as this bitter ex-girlfriend and I want to be FUN to hang around, like now. So. Yeah, I'll do that."

Pete blinked. Because... "What?" he asked. "You just broke the speed barrier."

Chloe laughed at herself, closing her eyes and shaking out her hair. Pete pushed out a few not-friendly urges, and waited for her to make sense.

"I'm tired of waiting," she said, speaking purposely slow. "And I'm tired of spending my teenage years as a clich."

So Chloe. Pete cocked up his lips. "So who are you going to be today?"

Chloe's lips pulled to the side, her eyes narrowing in contemplation. Then the planes of her face flattened into an expression of inexplicable pleasure. She tossed herself back onto the ground, spreading her arms out and blinking up at him, flecks of sand twinkling from her skin.

"Someone wild and crazy."

'Oh, breathe man, breathe!' He urged himself.

Chloe laughed at his horrified expression. "You should see your face," she teased. "It's like your best guy friend just copped a feel." She turned her gaze up to the sun, taking a deep breath of the air. "And that's an image I SO don't need."

"So," Pete licked his lips, looking uneasily at her legs lying limply across the sand. "You're over Clark or did I hear you wrong?"

Chloe shrugged. "I don't know. But I'm starting to wonder if I only want him because I can't have him. I mean, think about it. All this time, and he's never looked my way. That's what all that crying was about this morning. The possibility that I've been lying to myself because it's EASIER this way." She frowned in disgust, closing her eyes and wrapping an arm over her face. "Sorry about that by the way."

Her breasts were pushing up against her bathing suit and she was saying SORRY? Pete shook his head, trying to clear it, but there was so much flesh to look at and she couldn't catch him in the act with her eyes covered like that. He let himself stare at those smooth thighs, parted slightly. At the way her stomach shifted as she breathed. Her nipples were pebbles against the stretchy cloth.

Guilty as sin, but how could he NOT look? He was only a man, or getting there anyway.

"God," he grunted beneath his breath, and tore his gaze away. What the hell was he thinking, looking at her like that? He was getting damn good at masochism, just like Chloe. The irony of their love triangle was enough to make him bust a gut on bitter laughter. The pressure of wanting had his breath stuck somewhere down near his crotch, fisting inside his stomach and beating the shit out of him internally.

"Maybe it's better this way," she was saying. "Getting back to all of us being friends. I feel like I've been horrible to you, Pete." Chloe uncovered her eyes and blinked blearily up at him. He struggled to look as normal as possible, but his face felt strained.

"Not so bad," Pete replied, keeping his voice even.

Chloe sat up, abdominal muscles bunching. "Yeah," she said softly. "I have. But all that changes now!"

Pete raised his eyebrow at her exuberant statement, leaning back when she abruptly jumped up and ran toward their backpacks near the bushes. Running. Bathing suit. Not a good combination. Too good. Especially on a day when he was having a hard time controlling his libido.

Frustrated, he gritted his teeth and bunched the towel up around his pelvis, hiding his obvious reaction. Damn, that girl acted like she didn't even KNOW she was a girl half the time, or maybe it was worse than that. Maybe she just didn't know he was a guy.

Chloe came back with her pack in hand, throwing herself down beside him like a loose-limbed colt as she was unzipped it.

"You're acting like you got an alien in that bag," Pete muttered. He winced after he said it, thinking of Clark and the 'big secret.' Lying to Chloe was never a good idea, but there was still that part of him that remembered when there had been a 'Clark and Pete' long before there had been a 'Clark, Chloe, and Pete.' Long before he had ever wished there was just a 'Pete and Chloe.'

Pete shook his head. He was a fool for thinking about it. And he was a fool for keeping Clark's secret, when eventually Chloe would know. She was smart, cunning, with the sharp teeth of a reporter, so eventually she would figure out that Pete had known. She would be angry that he hadn't told her. Maybe that will be when she disappear from his life, because Chloe was nice like that, always having to have a good reason for doing something. Or maybe he was just lovesick and tired of being that way.

"Next best thing to little green men," Chloe said as she pulled a candy bar out of the bag. "Chocolate. I figured today was going to be a bad day, so I loaded myself down with comfort food." She grinned and pulled out a few more bars, handing him a couple. "But thanks to you, today is the best day I've had in a while."

It's still morning, he could have said, but his mouth was sealed closed. When she said things that sincerely, not knowing what it meant to him, it actually hurt. A real type of pain that he's seen in movies and thought damn, those guys are stupid, why don't they just woo her into bed and get the point across already?

He hated that he understood it all a lot better now. He understood just why in Casablanca, the man had to leave. Because otherwise, there just might have been a happy ending, and they couldn't have that realistically. Who actually got a happy ending in this world?

"You keep looking sad," Chloe pointed out when he only stared down at the candy in his hand. "Have I completely ruined your day?"

"Nah," Pete replied. "The day is just getting started." Then he tore open the wrapper of candy bar, taking a healthy bite. Comfort food? Maybe. It was something to keep his mouth busy at least. It was one of those days, where he could say something that would mess up the status quo and not in a good way. "Thanks for the chocolate."

"No problem," Chloe said, shifting beside him, getting comfortable. "You know, it's going to take weeks to get this sand out of everything."

"But I bet it'll be fun trying to," Pete commented, leering at her. She slapped his shoulder lightly. He felt her fingers linger for just a second before she pulled away, laughing lightly.

"Yeah, for you maybe. Me, I've got crevices I don't want this stuff getting into." She curled up her nose at her own crude joke. "I guess you do too, huh?"

"You're such a pig, sometimes," Pete said, smiling at her. "Brat."

"Oh shut up, you love it."

And yeah, he probably did.

Chloe sucked chocolate off her fingers which was just hot but he didn't say anything, better off staring at his toes digging into the sand.

"Let's go swimming," Chloe ordered out of the blue, latching onto his hand and dragging him into a standing position with her. Pete frowned, looking down at their fingers laced together. She forced the chocolate bar away from him. "C'mon, it'll be fun. And I swear I won't even try to drown you like I did last year."

"And that's so comforting," Pete muttered, rolling his eyes. "Chloe," he whined when she began dragging him toward the water. "We just ate."

"Don't be such a baby!" Chloe said. "What's wrong with you today? You don't wanna do anything."

"I feel like being lazy," he explained, but she was already forcing him into the water. He began to breathe a little harder, a hitch of lust in his chest. Her ass was just ahead of him, right there and ready to be grabbed. 'That's a guy move,' he warned himself. 'Those are guy thoughts. Pete Ross, with her you are NOT a guy.'

In the end, he decided he was better off throwing himself into the water and cooling off a bit. It had been stupid to suggest coming here after a night dreaming about the things her fast-moving tongue could do if she figured out how long he'd been waiting. He'd woken this morning with the useless knowledge of how it could be between them if she just gave him half a chance.

Pete ducked his head beneath the water, swimming toward the bottom, where it was dark and cold. He stayed there in inertia, where he could stare up at Chloe through the current. Her body was lined with gold, weightless and unaware of him below her. Air bubbles burst from his nose as he slipped up toward her, wrapping chain-like fingers around her ankle.

Chloe kicked out, breaking from his grip and nearly knocking him in the nose as she swam away. Pete gave chase, following her through the water. She was laughing. He could hear it muffled above the surface, a bright sound that ebbed like the tide, dancing to his ears.

He caught her easily, fingers gripping her smooth thigh and tugging. Chloe came down beneath the surface, eyes wide, fingers over his as she tried to escape. Pete grinned in victory, gave her thigh a parting squeeze, and released her. They both kicked toward the surface, a breaking of noise in his ears as water became air and Chloe sputtered at him, hands waving in a circle around her to keep afloat.

"You're so competitive," she bit at him without rancor. Her hair was in her eyes, blinding her. Pete's smile vanished even as hers widened, and he reached out to gently slick her hair behind her ears.

When she could see again, her smile faded as well, slowly crawling from her face. Her eyes flitted over his face, lips jerking nervously as Pete stared at her intently. They kicked their feet to keep above the surface, and his thigh brushing hers made him realize how close they were.

Chloe watched him seriously, with a little apprehension. Her lips were parted, just a hint of teeth showing. Pete wanted to lean in, taking that bottom lip into his mouth until she kissed him back as if she WANTED to.

She said she was tired of waiting for Clark. But did that mean she was over him? No.

Abruptly, Pete pulled back from her, away from all that soft skin. His stomach ached, cramping up, but it wasn't from the candy bar he'd eaten. He slid through the water, swimming toward the shore, and he heard her splashing behind him. He could practically feel the confusion radiating from her. God, just fucking God!

Why'd it always have to hurt so bad? Maybe tonight he'd pick a girl up or something, get the tension off. Pete climbed out of the water and stood dripping on the sand with his hands on his hips, and his head hanging low.

Footsteps, a whisper of breath. A hand touched his shoulder. Pete jerked away from her, striding toward his backpack where he'd left his clothes.

"Maybe we should get going," he said harshly, wiping water from his face. Distracted, he didn't notice Chloe at his side until he suddenly found himself face first in the sand.

Did Chloe just trip him?

"What the fuck?!" Pete rolled onto his back, and glared up at her, spitting sand out of his mouth.

"I want to know what's going on with you," Chloe stated, stomping her foot for emphasis, which did just a little too much for her sex appeal. Pete closed his eyes and dropped his head down onto the sand, groaning loudly. "Right now, Pete. I mean it. You're hiding something. I don't like it, and were you going to kiss me back there?"

Frozen. That's what he was. His limbs were stretched taut, and he couldn't seem to make them loosen up.

"Of course I wasn't gonna kiss you," he scoffed, but continued to lie there. If he got up, he might do something stupid. Like touch her places she didn't want his hands.

Pete winced when Chloe got that look in her eye. The look that said she was pissed off and if he didn't watch out, he was going to lose his chance at ever having children.

"Don't you lie to me," Chloe hissed and stood over him, a foot on either side of his chest so that he couldn't get away. Pete stared up at her, breath lost yet again. "You were going to kiss me. I KNOW when someone wants to kiss me and YOU had that look on your face."

"What look?" Pete wheezed, unsure where he was supposed to put his hands. He thought about grabbing her ankles, but that wouldn't do anything except make it harder to let go when this moment passed. And they always did.

"You KNOW what look," Chloe said, tossing her head to the side and peering down at him. "You got all serious and stared at my mouth like it was Pamela Anderson's breasts."

Pamela Anderson had nothing on Chloe.

"So?" Pete shrugged as well as he could lying down. "That doesn't mean anything."

Chloe glared harder. "I happen to think it does. But if you're going to be a coward about it, then maybe I'm glad you didn't kiss me after all."

Pete snapped, grabbing onto her ankles when she would have stepped away from him, pulling them out from under her. Chloe's eyes went as wide as saucers when she began to fall. She put her hands out to stop herself, but Pete caught her by the shoulders, making sure they didn't bump heads, although he did get a little winded from her knee in his gut.

"You CRAZY--" Chloe began, but Pete shoved her off of him, rolling her onto her back. Her voice cut off like a knife had severed it in two. He followed her, trapping her with his body. Caging her with his forearms, he pushed his face close to hers.

Couldn't help but think that her thighs were slender, white, and they felt good against his. Like he'd always thought they would.

"Do you WANT me to kiss you, Chloe?" Pete demanded, glaring at her, acutely aware of everywhere their bodies touched. "Because I can do that. I want to do that. But for some reason, I happen to have concerns that not only are you far from over Clark, but about messing with a friendship that means a lot to me. Yours. Pardon the FUCK out of me for giving a shit."

Chloe's mouth opened, and then closed, like a Guppy fish searching for air.

Chloe's mouth.

Who could blame him for breaking when her mouth was just inches away from where he wanted it? Giving in, Pete bent and placed his lips over hers, kissing her in a way that let her know that she'd gotten herself into more than she'd bargained for. She tasted like chocolate, like water. He found himself diving in further, opening her mouth and flattening his tongue against hers.

Chloe was kissing him back, and it was so crazy that it didn't seem real. Pete lowered himself until their bellies were pressed together so he could feel more of that skin, could cradle her hips with his thighs and kiss her harder.

When he pulled back, Chloe's cheeks were red but her lips were redder. Pete groaned like a dying man and had to kiss her again. Had to pull her closer and press INTO her. She didn't seem to mind. Her palms fluttered over his back unsurely, as if she didn't quite believe this was happening either, but then they were pressing down firmly and they were kissing madly.

Surreal. Like a painting done without paint. Pete was tipsy with it.

"Damn, Chloe, we gotta stop." He pulled back desperately, tearing his mouth away from hers. She blinked up at him, nails digging into his bare back, and then she arched against him firmly. Pete hissed, bucking into her, feeling it in all the right spots. "Shit. Stop it!"

"What?" Chloe growled in a deep voice that he'd never heard from her before. "I thought you wanted to kiss me."

"I did. I do." Pete shook his head. "It's not that simple. We're friends. Hello, Chloe! Any of this getting through?"

She looked at him blankly for a moment, and then her face cleared. "Oh, it's getting through. I understand completely." She pushed him off of her. Pete landed on his towel and got to his knees as she stood up, not looking at him. Face set in hard lines, Chloe stalked away, grabbing her backpack off the ground as she went. Pete scrambled to his feet, trailing after her warily. "Grab your bag too," Chloe barked as she headed toward the car. He stood at the edge of the beach, feeling like he'd just had what he'd always wanted and had somehow managed to screw it up.

She was almost at the car when he could finally speak.

"Chloe," he said, voice cracking shamefully. Chloe paused, shoulders tensing. Pete cleared his throat, trying to act cool, but a knot of dread bunched in his gut. When she turned, the knot only tightened. "What do you think you understand, Chloe?"

She shrugged, looking miserable. "That life goes on but doesn't change. Chloe Sullivan figures out what she does and doesn't want, but as usual, she doesn't get the guy."

Pete wanted to say something, but his throat had closed up like it did that one time back in grade school when he'd eaten Scallops. So he just watched her get into the passenger's side of the car, looking anywhere but in his direction. Sighing, he followed, wondering how someone could feel so elated and destroyed at the same time.

A car ride had never been more uncomfortable. They hadn't changed out of their wet clothes, so the seats were now ruined. More than anything, he wanted to reach over and run his hand over the length of her bare thigh.

They stayed silent, and Pete kept his eyes focused on the road in front of him, not allowing them to wonder even once as they drove out of the boonies and toward the small town. Truthfully, he didn't need to look when he could smell, hear, and all but TASTE her beside him.

He thought of turning on the music, but didn't want to chance letting his fingers that close to her knees. He had kissed her now. KISSED HER. He knew what he was missing.

Pete took the back way to her house, because he didn't want to chance being seen in town when they hadn't showed up for school. The car rumbled over potholes and pebbles as they sped down the road, faster than he probably should have been driving, but he was eager to get the ride over with.

When they finally pulled into her driveway, they both let out a collective sigh of relief. Pete was glad to see that Gabe's truck wasn't there, even though he hadn't expected it to be there in the first place. Coming to a stop, Pete turned the engine off, but left his hand on the keys, staring straight ahead.

"Can I come in?" he asked nervously.

Chloe jolted next to him, as if she was coming out of a dream. "No!" Said like of course he couldn't, what was he thinking? A lump of embarrassment formed in his throat when she struggled with her seat belt. He'd never had to ask before, and he'd never been turned down.

Pete turned to look at her, hurting and trying to keep it out of his voice. "Please?"

Chloe froze. She turned her eyes up, studying him through her lashes, and then as if she saw something on his face, she gave in with a sigh. "Fine. Whatever." Pete watched her climb out, heading toward her house. Only when she looked over her shoulder wearing an irritated expression did he take the keys out of the ignition, and peel himself off the leather.

Being inside Chloe's house was always like being somewhere he WANTED to belong. She always put flowers in the vases, but kept them there too long, and they became dead flowers more often than not.

She dropped her things onto the kitchen table, tossing him a look, and heading toward the stairs. "I'm going to change," she said needlessly, giving him all sorts of naked Chloe thoughts. He nodded like an idiot and watched her go.

Pete stood at the bottom of the stairs uneasily, wonder what he was supposed to do. He loved this place, loved the way the sun was always shining on the unwashed windows and the dishes were piled in the sink. This was where Chloe LIVED.

And he was falling in love with her. Had been, inch by inch, for years.

He could say to her now, meaning it, "I love you. Fuck, I hate it, but I love you."

Pete glanced up when he heard her feet pounding down the stairs carelessly. She was wearing faded jeans and a soft-looking cotton shirt, and a hesitant look on her face, like she was worried about him being in her house. Never before, and never again, he told himself.

"I think we need to talk," Chloe said, when she'd reached the bottom of the steps. She looked down at him anxiously. Pete nodded. "We could," she gestured toward the living room. "Sit down or something."

"Yeah, we could do that." He moved away from her, trying to be cool and unflappable as he walked barefooted toward the couch, uncomfortably aware that he was only wearing damp shorts. Pete shifted from foot to foot in front of the couch, until he felt her gently press a towel into his hands, and tilted his head toward her. Chloe's face was closer than he'd thought. Close enough to kiss again. He might have if she hadn't pulled back from him, frowning.

"You got that look on your face again," she murmured.

"I know. Can't help it."

Chloe sat carefully on the couch, the jeans tightening over her thighs. Pete couldn't help looking. Couldn't help but do a lot of things when it came to her.

"What are we going to do?" Chloe asked, whisper soft, so much like how she talked when it came to Clark that Pete's gut hopped dangerously. "We screwed everything up, didn't we?"

"Maybe we just got it right," Pete suggested, placing the towel onto the cushion and taking a seat beside her. She flicked a glance at him, and then looked away again, at some far off point.

"You're definitely singing a different song," Chloe observed.

Pete sighed, leaning against the cushions. He laid his head back and stared at the ceiling. "Same song, different music."

"You're also talking in riddles which is really not you, and another reason why I'm sorry." Chloe closed her eyes tight when he turned his head toward her. "God, I'm sorry. I was on you like butter on a biscuit. Well, slutty butter."

Pete snorted. "Chloe, I kissed YOU."

She shifted, opening her eyes to glare at him. Letting him know that she was right and there was no way around it. "I made you kiss me."

"You didn't--" he tried to argue.

"Yes-huh. Now shut up," Chloe ordered, and Pete's mouth snapped closed. "I pushed you into admitting that you had one of those vague 'I'm a guy!' urges. Then I pissed you off. So you kissed me. Okay? We're clear. We're good. Nothing's wrong."

'Who's trying to convince who?' Pete wondered. "You're kidding yourself, you know that right? We're clear? Nah. We ain't clear at all. I've WANTED you. You just never opened your eyes up to it."

She stared at him, blinking fast as if she couldn't see clearly. "What?"

Pete smiled shakily, reaching out to touch her chin. "Let's just say that while you've been talking about Clark all these years, I've been figuring out what he hasn't." He trailed his finger down her throat, a practiced move that he had often considered when she was bent over the computer, searching for the truth. "You're the best there is."

Chloe shivered, mesmerized by him. "Then why did you stop?"

"I didn't want to take advantage of you," Pete replied, shifting closer to her, forgetting about the upholstery.

Chloe's eyes widened, dipping toward his mouth. "I wanted you to take advantage of me."

Sexiest. Words. Ever.

Pete took a shuddering breath, pressing his palm flat against her neck and curving his fingers around the nape. Gave it a little tug. Chloe leaned into him willingly, mouth wet and open on his as they kissed again. How was he supposed to resist this? He couldn't, not even for the good of their friendship. If she hated him... God, it just might be worth it.

Just once.

Her skin was hot. Pete slid his fingers down inside the back of her t-shirt to feel the bump of her spine, stroking her shivers away. Chloe had the jitters regularly, from coffee-highs and too many late nights sniffing out the latest stories instead of doing her homework. This was a different type of shaking, and it made him light headed just to think about it. Made him slide his fingers through her feathery hair and kiss her wildly, like he'd never kissed anybody.

This wasn't just some girl he was getting lucky with after a game, or the movies. This was his friend, this was Chloe, and she was practically eating his mouth.

Moving closer, he pressed his torso to hers, and Chloe leaned back against the arm of the couch, holding onto his shoulders to bring him with her. Pete found himself half on top of her, sending his tongue deep into her mouth and sliding his bare thigh over her knee, slipping it between her legs.

It was going too fast. Knew it. Didn't want to stop. Had to.

Groaning, Pete pulled his mouth away from hers and pressed his forehead against the crook of her neck, trying to control his breathing. Chloe was trembling beneath him, fingertips resting on his shoulder blades. When had some modicum of self control he sighed, setting his chin on her collarbone and looking up at her.

"I can't believe... Just yesterday..." Pete started to say, but closed his mouth on the words. Couldn't finish. "This is going really fast, isn't it?"

Chloe nodded, tongue darting out across her bottom lip. "I don't mind."

"You should," Pete said, but couldn't put a lot of will behind it. "But I'm glad that you don't. Chloe..." He cleared his throat. "Chloe, do you think -- no, never mind." When he began to pull away from her, she squeezed her legs around his thigh and dug her nails into his back. "Ow." Chloe glared at him. "It's too soon. I'm just being a horny teenage boy."

"Ask. I'll be the judge of that," she stated, eyebrow rising pointedly. When he said nothing, Chloe sighed dramatically and threw her hands over the arm of the couch, giving Pete a spectacular view of cleavage. "Based on the evidence I've gathered-" Another raised eyebrow, as if daring him to say something. "The erection pressing into my hip, your shifty eyes, the fact that you ARE a horny teenager, and what we've been doing today, I'd say you want to have sex with me but are too much of a coward to ask."

Pete swallowed, tried to speak, and then swallowed again to get some moisture into his throat. "That... uh, yeah, that about sums it up." He could have said 'in a nut shell' but he was in pain as it was.

"I'm not going to have sex with you," Chloe replied bluntly, and Pete's ego deflated like a helium balloon. Other parts stayed hard and upright, despite the bad news. "But..." Hopes perked up again, and Pete's eyes widened at the saucy grin on her face. "There are other things."

Pete stared down at her face, flushed and sprinkled with sweat, deciding that yes, he was VERY happy Clark Kent was apparently so blind.

Chloe's bedroom was sunlit and disorganized, looking like the other side of a hurricane with stacks of books and clothes littering the floor. A pile of dull pencils were at the end of the bed, spilled out in a circle as if Chloe had been searching for that ONE sharpened pencil to write with. She blushed when she opened the door and let him inside, as if he hadn't been there a million and three times before.

It WAS different now, Pete thought, liking the idea. Liking the way scarlet color swept across her cheeks because of him this time.

Pete shut the door behind them as Chloe turned to him, fingers knotted together in front of her, a nervous smile twitching on her mouth. He took one large step forward, moving close enough that he could see the bite marks on her lips. His or hers, he couldn't be sure.

"This is a little weird," she whispered, eyes glittering at him. "You've been up here before. You've lived with my smelly socks and everything, but I feel like I've never even seen you before."

Pete shook his head ruefully, placing his hands on her jaw. "Chloe?"

"Hmm?" She hummed, distracted as he ran his thumbs along the tender skin beneath her chin.

"Be quiet."

Chloe pulled back from him to argue, but he kept a firm hold on her face, dragging her lips onto his and bringing her body close. Just kissed her, like they had all the time in the world, when in reality, they had only a few hours until school was out and Clark made a house call, worried when neither of them showed up for class.

Pete pushed the time from his mind, stroking her shoulders over the warm cotton, pressing his fingers under the sleeves and touching the warmer skin.

"Quiet's good," she whispered when he pressed his lips to her throat, tilting her head to the side. "I can do quiet."

He didn't say anything, too busy pressing his tongue into the hollow of her throat and pushing her toward the bed. Chloe got the idea. Panting slightly, she walked backwards until she could climb onto the mattress, kneeling as he crawled in after her.

Chloe dodged his mouth, laughing when he let out a frustrated groan, running her fingers over his face as she turned his head to the side, taking his earlobe between her teeth. Pete arched into her, until they were thigh-to-thigh, arms wrapped around each other.

Her fingers were continuously on the move, like now that they'd gotten things straight she couldn't wait anymore. She pushed his shirt up, getting it trapped beneath his arms and nearly choking him in the process. Pete chuckled at her urgency, even though it matched his own, smoothing his palms down her back and then tugging the shirt over his head.

"Sorry," she muttered vaguely and lightly touched his chest, dragging her nails down his torso. A shiver wracked his spine. "I'm kinda new to the hot and heavy."

"That's okay," Pete replied, catching one of her hands and bringing it to his lips. She blinked at him when he kissed the inside of her wrist. "We all start somewhere."

"Oh, because you're the epitome of sexual experience," Chloe muttered sarcastically, frowning when he only shrugged. "Have you done this before?"

A few hours in, and already this was difficult. Pete simply nodded, working his fingers under the hem of her shirt, and staring at the V of her breasts. "Pete!" Chloe slapped his shoulder, and he wiggled his eyebrows, dragging the shirt up and off her. Her hair stood up wildly, static making it weightless. She narrowed her eyes, flattening her hands over the chaotic strands.

"Chloe, I'm not a virgin, if that's what you're asking me," Pete admitted finally, realizing she wasn't going to let this go. Her eyebrows shot up her forehead, a surprised grimace working over her face.

"Oh," was her reply, but she looked far from happy.

"Did you not get the 'horny teenage boy' part?" Pete asked, trying to lighten the mood. Chloe swallowed, moving from her knees to a sitting position on the bed. "What's wrong?"

"Maybe this wasn't such a good idea," she said slowly. Pete stared at her for a minute before dropping onto his back hard enough that the bed nearly bounced her off. He caught Chloe before she could take a header, dragging her over his body until she was straddling him.

"Having feelings for you was hard enough," he said quietly, even though she wouldn't look at him. He held her firmly by the hips. "Listening to you talk about Clark all the time was harder. I think I'm allowed a little 'guy' stuff."

"I know that," Chloe pouted, squirming so that she was sitting on his thighs instead of his more than obvious erection. "At least my head does, but just realizing I'm attracted to you... things are a little weird in my heart right now, okay?"

Pete sighed. "I don't want to stop yet." He dragged her hips over him again, rocking his pelvis against her. She gave a hiccup-gasp, clutching his forearms with sharp fingernails. He grinned. "And I don't think you want to either. So we might as well have a little fun while you're figuring that stuff out."

"I suppose that would work," Chloe gasped, rubbing her crotch against him, a dazed expression flashing over her features. "Sorry, I kinda freaked."

"I like freaking," Pete teased, and then moaned when she bent down to lick his nipple experimentally. "God, I like freaking."

She hummed in reply, wrapping her lips around the shard of flesh, tugging until it pulled into a tight bead. Then she kissed the center of his chest, glancing up at him through her eyelashes.

"You know what I've always wanted to do?" Chloe asked in a suggestive voice, trailing her finger pads down his belly. Pete arched into the touch, shocked when he felt her fumbling with the zipper of his jean shorts, tugging it down. He nearly jumped up off the bed, and would have if she hadn't been straddling him. "Give someone head."

He was probably dead, Pete decided. Because there was no way this was really happening. Chloe wouldn't say that. She wouldn't. But apparently she had because when he began trembling, she smiled mischievously like the devil's mistress and placed another kiss on his chest, lower this time.

"Oh my," he hissed when Chloe nipped at his belly button, watching her through glazed eyes. "Oh my," he said again. Couldn't get past the words. "Oh my motherfucking-"

"Shh," she whispered, slicking her tongue just above the shorts. "I want to try this new car out, if you don't mind, and I have to concentrate."

So evil, he thought as his head fell back against the bed. Pete stared at the ceiling in disbelief as she pulled his shorts down and wrapped her fingers around his erection. His hips hopped into her hand, unashamed.

"Who are you and what have you done with my Chloe?"

Pete liked the sound of those words. His Chloe.

"Wild and crazy, remember?" Said with her breath fanning over his thigh and it was going to KILL him if he wasn't already dead.

Her tongue right there, circling him like she was testing out a Popsicle to see how it would taste and he had to dig his fingers into the bed covers. Twisted them in his hands. Those sheets that smelled like her sleeping, reading, and doing OTHER things. He couldn't look at the ceiling anymore, had to see her even though he knew it would overwhelm him.

Pete jerked his gaze down to her, and she was so pretty, with a furrow on her brow, those lips wrapping around him as she got used to this new act.

"Careful," he hissed, when she started smiling, aware of how those beautiful teeth could cut. She covered them with her lips, eyes twinkling as she understood his fear, giving him a little suction.

Damn, he LOVED being test subject number one. If he had it his way, he'd be test subject number only. It could be a new number, Pete thought giddily as Chloe circled the base of his cock with two fingers, pulling her mouth off him for a breath, and then returning before he could cry out at the loss. Heat had pooled dangerously in his belly, was threatening to send him reeling before he was ready.

Should he tell her?

All he could get out was a mumble of words. "Hot, so hot, you're new at this? Oh man." This was better than porn. This was better than chocolate AND porn on a snow day. In fact, Pete couldn't think of anything better than watching her head bob up and down on him, except maybe being inside her, but that didn't matter right then, because he was so close, so CLOSE. "Chl-Chloe, I'm gonna-" He squeezed his eyes shut, body tensing up into a hard mass of muscles, arching from the bed and shaking like he'd never had an orgasm before.

It probably wasn't because she was good, though she was. It was just Chloe. Just because it was her. And yeah, he was giddy. Giddy like a rabid dog humping a fire hydrant.

Pete came, blindly reaching out to touch her somewhere. ANYWHERE. He found her fingers locking through his, holding him to the bed as she sucked him dry, concentration heavy on her face.

Chloe Sullivan - damn.

His breath was broken and heavy when he came back to earth, back to the room with her, back to the bed. She was sitting on his thighs again, a tiny scowl on her face.

"Wha-" Pete managed, lifting his head from the mattress.

"I always heard it tasted bad," Chloe said, shrugging. "It's not so bad." And then she let out a squeal when with a burst of energy, Pete flipped her onto her back, crawling on top of her and pressing his palm hard against the juncture of her thighs.

"Yeah, well, I'm guessing you're gonna taste real good," he whispered, daring her to make something of his actions. She just stared at him, lips pouting in arousal, remaining quiet. That was something in itself. "I'd bet my life on it."

Pete unbuttoned her jeans, looking directly into her eyes, and went about the business of proving himself right. Succeeding.

"No one's ever seen me naked before," Chloe murmured hours later, when the sun had shifted in the sky, twisting over them. Pete sighed into her shoulder, placing a gentle kiss on the sweaty flesh, and caressing her left breast lazily.

"You'll get used to it," he promised.

"Oh, I'm already used it," Chloe responded, craning her neck around, looking him in the eye. "I'm just realizing that I was a slut all along and didn't know it."

He frowned. "You're not a slut. This doesn't make you anything but someone who happens to know what she wants."

"Hmph." Chloe turned toward him, the blanket falling down to her hip. "Then why am I already trying to figure out how many days we should wait before having sex?"

Pete paused in stroking her skin, and then scooted closer to her. "I'm ready when you are," he said dramatically, leering at her. Chloe giggled and shoved him away. He laughed as well, hugging her close again. She placed her chin on his chest, closing her eyes, and he glanced at the clock, sighing when he realized that school would be out soon.

"Not much time left," he pointed out. Chloe nodded in response, rubbing her jaw against his skin. Pete squeezed her shoulders, and she opened her eyes. "Wanna be wild and crazy one more time?"

In reply, she reared up and dragged the cover over both their heads.

Pete decided it was pretty damn good to love her, even if she probably didn't love him back.

All day at school, people kept asking him what he was grinning about. Pete only smiled harder and shook his head. No way was he telling. It was too new to risk tossing it to the beast of gossip. Besides, even though he had kissed and told in the past, Chloe was a whole new ball game.

He was still grinning when he slammed his locker closed. Picturing her with her legs over his shoulder, head tossed back, eyes squeezed shut because this had never happened to her before. Pete was so caught up in his fantasy that he nearly jumped out of his skin when he turned and found Chloe right beside him. She was wearing a matching smile, so wide Pete wondered how anyone could NOT know what they'd been doing.

"I like to make an impression," she explained, while Pete pressed a hand over his racing heart, staring at her ruefully.

"You always do," he replied, glancing around them. The hallway was stuffed with bodies, moving toward and away from classes. He grimaced slightly when he saw Clark in the distance, talking to a teacher. He happened to glance Pete's way, and smiled, waving a hand in greeting. Pete waved back, licking the side of his mouth uncertainly and turning to Chloe. "Did you tell him?"

Chloe frowned in bemusement. "Who?"

Pete was strangely pleased that she didn't know who he was talking about. "Clark. I know he can be hard to lie to. Did you cave?"

"Nope," she said proudly, bouncing a little on her heels. "I made up excuses and he bought them. Hook. Line. Sinker."

"I think I'm a bad influence on you," Pete murmured, wishing he could lean in and kiss her. But they'd both agreed they wanted to keep this to themselves for a while. Everyone had secrets. It was about time they had one of their own.

"I like bad influences," Chloe whispered suggestively, cocking her head to the side. "They make me go a little crazy."

Pete leaned against his locker, leering. "I noticed."

Recklessly, he reached out and tucked her wild hair behind her ears. She blushed slightly as his fingers lingered on her throat, and then fell away.

"So," Chloe began, smiling again in that compelling way of hers. "Wanna play hooky again?"

If you enjoyed this story, please send feedback to Olivia-Marie Carr

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