Timeline: Post-Exodus (from there follows the events of the Summer Friends series)
It was a warm Saturday. Not too hot, just warm enough that you could throw on your summer clothes and be comfortable outside. The heat wasn't making the clothes stick to your skin, and a nice dip at the pool would have been a good thing, but you didn't require a sprits of water every five seconds to keep from feeling dehydrated. Lana had met Pete at his house and after some interactions with the family, they headed down the road.
"So has David called?" Lana asked.
"Not that I know of, but it's only been a few days. Can't expect him to get over all these years in a couple days."
"Right," Lana said. "So where are we going?"
"My cousin Chris' house."
"Why?" Lana said.
"We keep the bikes over there," Pete told her. "You might have seen Chris, use to play basketball for Smallville High, graduated in 2001."
"I don't remember a Chris Ross," Lana replied.
"Here we are?" Pete said stopping in front of a gated house. Pete opened the gate and they stepped onto the lawn.
"Hey Pete," and older man said waving from the porch.
"My uncle Tate. Don't say the word Luthor around him," Pete whispered to Lana. "Hey Uncle Tate," he said coming up on the porch.
"Who's the pretty young lady?" Tate asked.
"This is my friend Lana," Pete said.
"Lana... Lana..." Tate said to himself. "Lang? Nell's Lana?"
"Yes," Lana replied.
"Should have recognized you right away."
"We're here to see Chris," Pete said.
"Out back with that Monica," Tate said a little bitterly.
"Thanks," Pete said as they stepped off the porch.
"Monica? Is that another cousin."
"Chris' girlfriend," he replied.
They walked into the back yard where loud music was playing. A girl stood in the middle of the yard lost in the music, gyrating seductively to no one, but calling for the attention of a figure hidden behind a bike. The hidden person was stooping in back of the bike fixing something and hidden from the view of Pete and Lana. Lana assumed this hidden figure was cousin Chris.
"Hi Pete," the dancer said noticing him.
The figure behind the bike stood up. Lana was surprised to see the figure in the baggy jumpsuit was a tall girl with braids.
"Lana meet my cousin Chris," Pete said indicating the girl with braids.
They shook hands and shared hellos.
"Pete told me you wanted to borrow some wheels," Chris said. "Said you wanted to kick up some dust. But you don't look like the type of girl that's in to that. You're the pretty princess from what I hear."
"Hear from who?" she asked turning a questioning gaze to Pete.
"Chloe," Chris answered.
"Chris is just kidding around," Pete told Lana "But she and Chloe do hang out."
"A little too much if you ask me," Monica said coming over.
"Stop being silly girl," Chris replied.
She grabbing her girlfriend's chin and pulled her close for a quick kiss. Lana looked away.
"Go ahead," Chris told them.
Pete moved toward the garage. Lana followed him inside.
"Why didn't you tell me Chris was a girl?" Lana asked in a hushed voice as Pete went over to his bike.
"I didn't mention it?" Pete asked.
"No," Lana said.
"Oh, is it a big deal? Does the whole gay thing bother you?"
"I don't have a problem with it, it's just, I wasn't prepared."
"Why would you have to be prepared?"
"What do I... oh Tina," Pete replied. "Tina had mental issues, you know?"
"Yeah, but... I... sort of... kissed her," Lana said a little disgusted.
"I didn't know it was her. She looked like Clark at the time and I know it was only a kiss, but I just felt... violated. And you may not know she nearly, in my room, I don't know what she was doing in my bedroom as Chloe. And as Whitney... god I don't even want to think about it. It wasn't so much she was a... she, if it had been Greg taking advantage of me that way it still would have been... weird. But it was Tina and I guess it just left me with issues."
"Chris' not going to push up on you or anything," Pete told her. "If you have to worry about anyone, it's Monica," Pete added with a laugh. Lana looked a little shook. "I'm kidding, they're not recruiting Lana."
"I know that," Lana said feeling more foolish by the second. "I know it's silly, I don't even know Chris, I just--."
"I know how scary Tina is, if you remember Tina through me against a locker and nearly busted my head open as you. I knew it was Tina, but I was looking at you throwing me across a hall."
"I can't imagine me--"
"Cause it wasn't you, just someone who looks like you. I know that. And not every lesbian is a confused psycho killer, Chris certainly isn't."
"I know that, I'm sorry I brought it up."
"Don't be... if it bothers you, it bothers you."
"Hey Lana," Chris said entering the garage. "Have you ridden any kind of bike before?"
"You know a regular one," Lana said. She looked around for Monica, who must have left or disappeared inside the house.
"Maybe you'd be more comfortable on a four wheeler. I got one you can ride if you'd feel more comfortable with that."
"Sure," Lana said.
"Come with me."
Lana followed Chris to the four wheeler. Pete watched as she told her to get on and instructed her on how to work it. Lana seemed a little jumpy whenever Chris got to close.
"Lana, I'm not trying to hit on you," Chris told her. "Just trying to make sure you know what you're doing."
"I know," Lana replied shyly.
"No offense, but you're not even my type," Chris said. "Now if your girl Chloe ever decides to play for the other team--" Chris smiled at Lana, her playful smile actually reminded Lana of Pete, this relaxed her a bit.
After a couple more seconds of pointing out the basics, Chris went to the other side of the garage. She got a helmet and handed to Lana.
"Put it on and take a little test ride."
Lana put on the helmet and put pressure on the gas, but immediately backed off the gas. She had moved about an inch and she kept going like this for a couple minutes. She was obviously uncomfortable, starting and stopping as soon as she felt speed. Pete and Chris watched and both noticed she seemed to be afraid of the vehicle.
"Don't be scared of it," Chris shouted.
"Hold up Lana," Pete said.
Pete walked over. He climbed on to the 4-wheeler behind her, then guided her gently into controlling the vehicle at a snails pace. It was one of those things Lana would never admit out loud, but it was kind of erotic with Pete behind her and this powerful machine vibrating underneath them. Not to mention him softly speaking in her ear. But she dismissed it as a passing thought of the moment, riding with Clark had the same effect. She realized, however, she had most of the control, Pete was just guiding, the power was completely hers and she liked that feeling.
Pete dismounted when he thought she had reasonable control of the vehicle. After a few test runs around the yard, they were ready to go off for a ride. Chris disappeared in the house as they headed off the property. Pete, on his dirt-bike, dared Lana to keep up if she could. She knew he was just toying with her, because he didn't speed off the way he probably could have. As they gained distance from the house, he sporadically dared her to pick up the pace and keep up with him and she slowly met his challenge.
Lana wondered if Clark could have ever seen her on a four-wheeler. He treated her with such delicate hands and part of her appreciated it. Another part hated it, the part that was enjoying a ride alongside Pete. She knew Clark could see her as his girl on the back of his motorcycle, with him in control, but actually riding one alone, daring her to keep up with him. He never would have thought of it. As she became more comfortable with the vehicle, she felt more daring, actually trying to catch up with and surpass Pete (though she never quite succeeded in passing him and she thought he was only allowing her the pleasure when she caught up with him).
They took a break down in Chandler's field, near the windmill where Clark once saved her from herself. One of those mysterious rescues of his where luckily she was too foggy on the details to question him thoroughly. She wished Clark would just explain whatever meteor accident had left him able to do whatever things he could do.
"I was 8 the first time I tried to climb it," Pete said looking up at the windmill. "My brother Mike, he's away for the summer, double dared me. I snagged my jeans and fell. Broke my leg. Mom nearly killed Mike for letting me do it. As soon as my leg healed, I came back alone and finished the climb. Never told anyone I did it, I just wanted to do it."
"That was dangerous."
"Well, I know that now. You don't see those kinds of things when you're a kid. David and Sam climbed it together. Clark wouldn't go up, no matter who dared him. Chris climbed it. Chris was the most fearless kid I ever knew. She would do anything. But she's smart too, she runs her own company you know? Sells bike equipment pads, helmets. Not just motocross equipment, kids stuff, little baskets for bikes and glow-in-the dark stickers for skateboards and things, she has a partner in Metropolis who handles a lot of the manufacturing and another partner in Kansas City. She has to go up there a few times a month, but handles the business end for the company from home, runs the company website, designs a few things, stuff like that."
"Yeah, uncle Tate was real proud of his daughter, until he caught her in her bedroom... with Misty."
"Yeah, there was Misty, Kris II, that's what we called her, Jamie, Lizzie, Millie, Raya, and now Monica. What can I say? I get my player skills from the best."
"How does she know Chloe?"
"She wanted to put a small ad in the Torch, they talked, they hit it off, Chris is like that with people."
"Interesting," Lana said. "I never heard Chloe say a word about her. But Chloe knows all kinds of people. I guess a reporter needs her sources, right?"
"Yeah, I think if she turned out to be anything but a reporter we all would die of shock."
Lana laughed. "Thanks for this, no one else would do this," Lana said.
"What? Get you dirty?" Pete asked whipping a bit of dirt from her cheek.
"Yeah," Lana replied with a grin. "I need to get dirty more often."
Pete looked at her. He didn't know if it was her intention, but those words had a naughty undertone to them. He didn't want to think about it any longer, because it could only go to bad places.
"I'll race you back," he said putting on his helmet.
They both their vehicles and started off toward Chris' house. Pete had a head start, but Lana saw him slow to give her a chance to catch up, but that was the only break Pete gave her as he whisked ahead of her. Lana arrived at Chris' house about ten minutes behind him. They put the vehicles back in Chris' garage. Chris must have heard them, because just then she came out of the house. She had cleaned up, she was no longer in a greasy jumper looking very gender neutral. She now looked like a casual girl in hip hugger jeans and a form-fitting. She was actually rather pretty. Lana hadn't noticed before, but she had the statuesque build of a model.
"You're back!" she said. "Come on in."
They went in the house. Pete and Lana settled down in the living room while Chris headed into the kitchen to get them some sodas. Lana immediately noticed a trophy case in the living room, which was full of trophies.
"What are those for?" Lana asked.
"All kinds of stuff," Pete replied.
"My baby's multi-talented," Monica said entering the living room. Lana wondered where she had come from.
Monica flipped on the TV and some porn appeared on the screen. Lana and Pete were too shocked to comment as two women soaped each other up on television.
"Oops," Monica said with a giggle.
Chris entered the room with the sodas and, shocked herself, ran over to the TV.
"Didn't I tell you to keep that shit in the bedroom," Chris said ejecting the tape. "My dad has enough issues with you staying overnight."
"Why you have to yell at me like I'm a child?" Monica asked.
"Cause you act like one," Chris yelled back throwing her video tape at her.
Monica stormed off.
"I swear she acts like a two year old sometimes. I think I'm going have to let this go soon."
"How did you even end up with Monica?" Pete asked. "She's not exactly like Kris and Jamie, they were cool."
"She's fun sometimes, you know, but... I don't think it's working out."
"You're worse than me when it comes to girlfriends."
"At least I give it a shot past a day. You're the one date wonder. If you make it to a second date it's time for a party."
"Lana, you've been hanging around this knucklehead, have you ever seen him with the same girl twice?"
"I don't know," Lana replied.
"Be honest," Chris said.
"Lana doesn't pay attention to my dates," Pete replied.
"Well if any of the others are like Natalie Hunt, you're probably better off," Lana added.
Chris laughed. "One day Pete, some girl is going to come along and have you whipped so fast you won't know what happened."
"In your dreams," Pete replied. "Ain't no girl controlling this."
"Yeah, that's what you're saying now. I still figure it might be Chloe, but hell it might be Lana."
Lana and Pete looked at each other and laughed.
"Yeah, look at that look you two got, I think it's going to be Lana," Chris said.
"We're just friends," Lana said.
"Today, but today is just today, you can't predict tomorrow."
"Stop dreaming Chris," Pete replied.
"Whatever," Chris said.
"Where's Uncle Tate?" Pete asked.
"Sleep," Chris said. "Thank goodness, I wouldn't have wanted to explain away that tape in the VCR."
They all heard some slamming in a nearby room seconds later. Chris excused herself and went to investigate the source of the noise, probably Monica.
Lana smiled. "Chris does seem nice. I see why Chloe likes her."
"Awe, Lana's getting a crush."
"Shut up," Lana said hitting him with a throw pillow on the couch.
"Who you hitting?" he said retaliating and hitting her with a couch pillow.
She hit him again, he hit her back. Hitting each other back and forth with the pillows progressed to playful tussling. Then it graduated to Lana giggling as Pete trapped her beneath him on the couch. She was trapped beneath him as she was attacked with tickles.
"Okay, okay, I give," she finally said.
"I don't," he said continuing the tickle attack.
"Please," she cried.
"Alright, alright," he said stopping.
When the tickling stopped they realized they were left in an awkward position. She was laying beneath him, looking up into those soft brown eyes. And the only move she wanted to make was toward him.
"Yeah, just friends," Chris' voice said shocking them to attention.
Pete and Lana jumped up and moved apart.
"We better go," Pete said as they moved away from each other and started for the door leaving at least a 3 feet of space between them.
"Oh stopped being embarrassed," Chris said following. "Attraction is natural."
"He's not--" Lana began.
"She's not--" Pete said almost at the same time.
"Attracted to me," they finished together.
"Whatever," Chris said. "Nice to meet you Lana, hope you come by and hang out again."
She said good-bye to them both and they started back toward Pete's house. For a long time they walked in silence.
"Lana, about earlier, I'm sorry we nearly..." Pete began.
"Nearly, what?" Lana asked, hoping he would say it so she didn't have too.
But Pete didn't finish. They walked in silence a little longer.
"Look, just so we know the deal," Pete began. "I should tell you, you were wrong."
"How could I not be attracted to you?" Pete asked. "I'm mean I'm not plotting to be your boyfriend tomorrow, but you know you're beautiful."
"Well, you assumed I wasn't attracted to you," Lana told him.
"Lana, I've seen the guys you date. Whitney, Clark, Byron, and what's his name, Ian. Not to mention you flirting with Lex."
"I don't flirt with Lex."
"Yeah, yeah, yeah, we can have that argument again another time, but I know I'm not your type."
"Let's see, amongst the Ross' I am the runt. Put me beside Whitney or Clark, I'm still a runt. I'm on the football team sure, but when's the last time my uniform actually got dirty... from playing in a game. I've never played the role of your hero. I'm certainly not making you shiver with my poetic verses and well --- I've never seen you with a black guy."
"You've dated white girls, right?"
"Is that because of a preference or because there happens to be more of them in Smallvile?"
"Let me also point out that most of those guys, well they kind of chose me and started the whole courtship process," Lana told him. "I didn't like Whitney because he was on the football team or Clark for playing hero. Nor do I have a preference for guys of their height. I loved Byron's poetry, but that was his special gift. I respected Ian's intelligence... until, you know, he turned out to be what he was, but I liked him because I thought he was a good person, a good listener. And the qualities I was attracted to in those guys, you have. And for the record, I think you're cute."
"You don't have to say that," Pete told her.
They had reached her porch steps and sat down side by side.
"Is it so hard to believe that I could be attracted to you?"
"I know the deal, how this whole high school thing works. You're you and I'm me, those two lines don't meet."
"According to who?" Lana said meeting his gaze.
Pete couldn't remember her ever meeting his gaze so intensely. He didn't think about his next move and in reflection he called it a moment of madness. But it was a mad moment he wouldn't have traded for anything. He leaned forward and touched her lips gently with his own. He had put the instinct in check one too many times and couldn't resist it any longer. The touch of his lips was gentle giving her a chance to refuse, but she met his kiss. He didn't chance it too far, but the kiss lingered longer than he planned. They both were a little flustered when they parted.
For awhile they both sat silent looking at each other. When they spoke, they spoke up together. Then they were silent again.
"So what does this mean?" Pete finally asked.
"I don't know," Lana replied.
"I better go home," Pete said. Pete got up off the steps and started away from the house.
"Pete," Lana said.
Pete turned back.
"Don't leave," she said walking up to him.
"What?" he questioned.
Lana closed the space in-between them.
"Don't leave. I don't want you to leave," she said.
She cautiously leaned in and kissed him, but this kiss was only gentle for a moment. They weren't holding back anymore and when their lips connected the kiss was more intimate than before, deeper. Neither of them stopped to think about what they were doing, because they knew it would only make them stop and all they wanted to feel right now was the simple pleasure of connecting. A feeling they had been fighting for weeks.
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