Can't you see, it's not up to me;
Take my hand and we'll go all the way.
---Audiocrush, Autumn Leaves
Come on, Lex. Please be awake.
Chloe Sullivan stands at Lex Luthor's penthouse door. Two years ago, when she started college in Metropolis, Lex put her on the security list and gave her his elevator access code, and right now she is truly grateful for that.
Please please please...
Electronic deadbolts thunk; the ornate doorknob turns.
"Lex," Chloe says, almost before he has the door open. "I need your help."
Lex grins. "I see they're teaching you the value of brevity in journalist school." He takes a step backwards. "Come in."
Chloe laughs nervously as she edges into the marble-and-chrome foyer. "Sorry. I know you enjoy the pleasantries but this is time-sensitive."
Lex sets the deadbolts, ushers Chloe into the front reception room, gestures for her to sit.
"What's the problem? What sort of help can I offer?" Lex remains standing, holding a glass of some pale wine in his left hand. Maybe he's hoping this will be a quick thing. Maybe she's being a nuisance. Problem is, Chloe really can't think of anyone else who would understand.
Chloe wrings her hands between her knees. She's beginning to shake a little, wonders if it's psychosomatic. She tries to stifle it.
C'mon, Sullivan. Pull it together.
Deep breath now. Doesn't help the queasies in her stomach. "When you were young--" she begins.
Lex frowns, feigning hurt.
"Younger," she corrects hastily. What is he now, twenty-seven? Twenty-eight? It's so hard to tell with Lex. "When you were younger, you experimented with drugs, right?"
Lex hesitates. This obviously isn't what he was expecting. He smiles wryly; the tiny creases beside his mouth come into prominence. "Is this on the record?"
"Trust me, Lex, it couldn't be any more off the record."
Lex sits down in an armchair opposite Chloe, sets his wine glass on the end table. "It wasn't so much that I experimented with drugs..."
"No? But I thought--"
"It would be more accurate to say that I spent the approximate cost of an Ivy League education trying to acquire the perfect high."
"Yes," he says, nodding slowly. "Everything you've heard is true."
"Have you ever taken Ecstasy?"
Lex looks thoughtful, stands back up and paces the room, a habit he's gotten from his father Lionel. Chloe wonders if Lex even realizes it. He is wearing a long-sleeved cotton knit shirt in slate blue-grey, roughly the color of his eyes, and a pair of black linen slacks, both perfectly tailored as always, flowing around him like a second skin as he walks barefoot.
"Ecstasy," Lex says. "That depends. You'd be surprised what they'll put into a pill press and sell as 'Ecstasy' these days. Dextromethorphan, ephedrine, even plain old caffeine... And that's just the relatively safe stuff."
Oh, fuck. Chloe's already-rapid heartbeat kicks up another gear.
Lex shrugs, a small motion of his straight shoulders. "I've taken pharmaceutical-grade MDMA, though. What Ecstasy is supposed to be."
Chloe is breathing fast and shallow now. Lex notices, sits down next to her.
"Chloe, I can't help if you don't tell me what's going on."
Chloe buries her face in her hands. "You're going to think I'm all kinds of stupid," she mumbles.
"I somehow doubt that."
She looks up at him. Time to bite the proverbial bullet. "I took a pill at a dorm party tonight. They said it was Ecstasy. Now I'm completely freaking out."
Lex blinks. "Why did you--"
"Come on, Lex. You know the drill." Chloe makes air-quotes. "I wanted to 'fit in'."
Lex's facial expression moves from curious concern to all-business. "How long ago?"
Chloe looks at her watch. "Twenty minutes?"
"Physical reactions so far?"
"I feel jittery," she says. "My stomach hurts a little. My heart is beating really fast."
"Did you try to throw up?"
Chloe shakes her head. "I'm one of those people who never throws up, even when I should. I tried sticking my finger down my throat. It didn't work."
"What did the pill look like?"
Chloe fumbles in her purse, brings out the tiny plastic baggie, hands it to Lex. "I snagged another one so I could maybe have it analyzed later..."
Lex laughs. "Got it. Always thinking like a reporter." The pill is small and blue, with a triangular symbol pressed into one side. "Ok," he says. "Sit tight. I'm going to make a call."
"Lex... Should I go to a hospital or something?"
"If it's the real thing, all that's going to happen is you're going to have a really nice four or five hours, and then you're going to feel kind of wiped out for a few days. That's all. It's the raver kids who drop four or five pills every weekend night who have serious problems."
"But how do I know it is the real thing?" Chloe is now careening towards full-fledged panic, and even Lex's unshakeable calm can't block that path.
Lex squeezes her shoulder. "That's what we're going to find out."
Ten minutes later the security desk calls up; Lex clears the visitor and they meet him at the door.
"Jacob," Lex says. "That was fast."
Jacob is blond, perhaps in his middle twenties. He has a thin, sharp look about him, like he's all angles. "I had another delivery around the block," he says. He carries an aluminum briefcase.
"Excellent," says Lex. "I've got a situation."
Lex herds Jacob and Chloe into the kitchen, and the three of them stand around the kitchen's island. Chloe, still edgy, taps her fingertips on the stainless steel countertop.
Lex hands the baggie to Jacob. "I need this tested, stat. Chloe was tricked into taking a pill just like it by some unethical classmates."
Well, that's not quite true but Chloe smiles at Lex gratefully.
Jacob peers into the bag. "This is from a pretty recent shipment in from Chino. I recognize the logo. I don't think anyone's gotten around to copying it yet. I can tell you right now it's the real thing, almost for sure."
"Please," Lex persists. "I'd like to put Chloe's mind at ease."
Jacob shrugs. "Got a saucer?"
Lex produces a small china saucer; Jacob opens his briefcase and takes out a packet of razor blades and several small bottles of what Chloe figures must be reagents of some kind.
He carefully scrapes the edge of the pill with a razor, creating a tiny pile of blue powder on the saucer. Then he bags the remains of the pill and begins adding reagent to the powder, a drop at a time. "All right," he says, pulling his sleeve back and looking at his watch, "If it turns dark purple, we got MDMA or a close relative. If it turns black or green, or starts smoking, it's something else or we maybe got nasty fillers. And that's 2, 1..." He looks back at the saucer. The reagent has turned dark plum. "There you go." He smirks at Chloe. "Have a nice evening."
Chloe is not having a nice evening. She is wired and dizzy. She's about to ask more questions, starting with What the hell is this going to do to me and why was I so stupid? but Lex takes Jacob by the shoulder and steers him out of the kitchen. "Jacob," he says. "My office for a moment..."
Leaving Chloe standing there. She feels the same way she did in her very first semester of college, when she tangled with Cuban coffee during a 19-hour cramming session. There was a reason Cuban coffee was served in those tiny little cups.
And if this was all Ecstasy did to you, well, Chloe is beginning to think its name is undeserved.
She wanders back into the sitting room and paces. She is far too restless to sit. She can't seem to get her breathing back to normal.
A few minutes later, Lex emerges from the back hallway, escorts Jacob to the front door. They shake hands and Jacob leaves.
"All right, Chloe," says Lex. "Why don't you go back into the den? I'll be there in a minute."
He puts a hand on her shoulder and smiles. "Trust me. Everything's going to be cool."
Things are much more comfortable in the den; the furniture is soft overstuffed cotton and suede instead of the awkward vintage deco pieces in the front sitting room. The pool table from the mansion has been shipped here, and one wall is devoted to a media system with the very latest bleeding-edge components. In one corner is a full bar with padded stools and a marble bar-top.
Chloe sometimes comes here to study when her roommates get out of control. Lex is always pretty indulgent about these little visits; he usually leaves her there with her PowerBook and works in his office, occasionally checking on her and offering advice or sardonic commentary on her curriculum.
In fact, she and Lex have gotten sort of close since she moved to Metropolis and started school. Lana is long gone, down to UCF in Florida for some stupid, unfathomable Lana reason, and Clark and Lex had some major falling-out they each refuse to discuss with Chloe. Clark rarely talks to anyone but Pete these days. Chloe has given up on trying to crack that particular nut, and she and Clark have drifted.
Which is why, when she pulls an idiotic freshman-worthy stunt like popping a random pill just because the cute TA from Planetary Astronomy was the one offering it to her, Lex is who she runs to for help.
Lex always knows what to do.
And there he is, smiling at her reassuringly as he enters the den bearing a tray. He sets the tray down on the stone coffee table. The tray holds a tall glass pitcher of icewater, two empty glasses and, curiously, an empty china plate with a spoon and a plastic straw laid across it.
"Everything's going to be fine, Chloe," he says, sitting on a sofa next to the coffee table and leaning over the tray. "Just try to relax and breathe." He pulls a packet from his pocket, drops a white pill in the center of the plate, and begins crushing the pill into powder using the back of the spoon.
Chloe's heart beats even faster, but a different feeling is beginning to creep up behind the speediness; a feeling she can't yet identify. She sits down next to Lex and watches his hands, not really understanding what he is doing. After the pill is crushed up, Lex takes a razorblade from the tray - Chloe hadn't noticed it before - and begins to chop the powder into neat, parallel lines.
Dazed as she is, it is not until Lex cuts the straw in half and leans over and snorts half a line into his right nostril that Chloe actually understands what she is seeing.
"Jesus, Lex, what are you doing?" She doesn't remember standing back up, but she's on her feet now. She's seen lots of things before, lots of really messed up shit, but hard drugs have stayed pretty distant from her world and watching her roommates smoke five joints in one night just doesn't have the same impact as this.
Lex snorts the other half into the other nostril, pinches the bridge of his nose. His eyes water. He looks at his wristwatch. "By my reckoning, it's been forty minutes since you dropped. I could swallow one of these pills I bought from Jacob, but I'd never catch up with you, we'd never be on the same wavelength. This'll get it into my blood much faster."
Chloe gestures at the plate. "That's Ecstasy? And you can snort it like that?"
"You'd be amazed at the things you can crush up and snort," Lex says. "Fortunately, that was a very short scene in my personal drug movie. Because, fucking ouch. I like my septum the way it is." He leans over and snorts part of another line, winces, continues. "But yes, I bought a few tablets from Jacob. I'm sure he can't remember the last time he made a mere forty-dollar sale."
"But why are you even doing this?" Chloe suddenly feels a light sweat break out all over her body, but at least the stomach ache is dwindling. She sits back down. Lex was right; breathing in and out is important. If she can keep doing that, she is convinced, she'll be all right.
"It's very simple. You're about to have a fairly profound drug experience - this is your first, right?"
"I've smoked weed." Breathe. "Didn't like it." Breathe. "Wouldn't call it profound." Chloe can't stop staring at Lex's eyes. They seem to be getting really dilated, just a thin line of grey-blue ringing black pupils. Is the drug affecting him already? The reporter in her wants to go check her own eyes in a mirror, but the couch is suddenly way too comfortable.
Lex leans back against the couch cushions. His voice, always pleasant, suddenly takes on a whole new sensuous timbre that Chloe's never noticed before.
He says, "Ecstasy's a pretty strong drug. You need to ride this out in a safe environment. I want you to stay here where I can keep an eye you. But it's going to make you talkative. You're going to want to tell me things that you might regret tomorrow. I don't want you to feel that way. So I'm leveling the playing field; we'll both be equally impaired, and you don't have to be alone. In any sense."
"Talkative, huh? So what else does Ecstasy do? I never really..." Chloe listens to the sound of her own voice trailing off.
"Hmmm?" Lex is smiling at her again, not his boardroom smile, but the real smile that includes his eyes. He has the eyes of a poet, thinks Chloe.
Um... Did I really just think that?
"Lex..." Chloe takes a huge lungful of air. Breathing has never, ever felt this good.
"I think it just kicked in."
It's like someone flipped a switch. All the jitters and nerves are gone. The stomach ache is gone. If her heart is still racing, she can't tell. Her whole body feels both warm and cold, and the contrast feels good. The fabric of the couch cushions turns into satin and velvet under her fingertips. And Lex...
"This is just the beginning," he says. Still the smile. Perfect white teeth.
"God, you have such an awesome smile," Chloe says. Then: "Oh jeez, you weren't kidding about the talking thing..." Somehow she has slid down on the couch, her head resting back against the cushions, both arms spread out, hands caressing the fabric. Lex sits on the opposite side of the couch, just out of reach.
"Thanks, Chloe," he says. "You happen to possess a killer smile yourself, you know. It lights up your whole face. Especially right now."
Chloe beams. She keeps rubbing her hands along the couch cushions. "God, this is incredible. I feel so... it's just indescribable." She feels as though the entire weight of the world has been lifted from her; a weight she didn't know she was carrying until it was magically gone. She could, possibly, float away.
"It's called Ecstasy for a reason. It wasn't just a clever marketing ploy." Lex sits up and begins to pour water into the glasses. He hands her one. "Here. Try to remember to drink every so often. It's important to stay hydrated but not overdo it." He takes his own glass and swallows another pill from the packet.
"You're taking more?"
Lex nods. "I built up a tolerance to phenethylamines during my little experimentation phase. It never really goes away. And I mass a lot more than you."
Chloe sits up, swallows a mouthful of water. Cool liquid magic going down her throat...
Lex is standing up now, fiddling with a remote. The entertainment console springs to life; delicate electronic music pours forth. It's like an aural representation of the cool water on her lips. She can almost see the music in three dimensions.
"This music, I can't believe how good this sounds," says Chloe. "But you're too far away..." Because, really, she'd like to touch him right now. But she's not ready to come out and admit that, yet. "And I'm cold, all of a sudden." She is. It isn't that the cold feeling is unpleasant, per se; it's just that it makes her think how nice it would be to feel warmth instead...
Lex sits back down on the couch, right next to Chloe; he slides a gentle arm around her shoulders. "Let's see what we can do about that..."
She leans over into him. It seems like the most natural thing in the world to do. She slides a tentative palm over his chest. Lex's thin knit shirt feels luxuriously soft and supple; the firm muscle underneath is solid and reassuring. But his arm around her shoulders is the best part. The warmth of his body makes her eyelids feel heavy.
"This feels really good," she says. "Is this - is this all right? You don't mind, do you?"
Lex laughs. "Chloe, how could I possibly mind? And you know what will feel even better?"
"I don't see how anything could."
He grins wolfishly. "You should know better than to challenge a Luthor." He disengages from her and stands up, then holds out a hand to pull her to her feet. Chloe stands up and before she can blink Lex moves in and wraps his long arms all the way around her, hugs her tightly...
Standing there, completely encircled by warm, safe, muscular, nice-smelling Lex... Her cheek against his chest, her hands automatically moving to hold on somewhere in the small of his back. Entranced by the feeling of his breathing and the sound of the music and the very idea of it all...
It is... It is...
"I'm never going to find the words for this," she says softly.
"You don't need to," says Lex, still holding her. "Not everything in life can be wrangled down into a ten-inch column."
Chloe pulls back, shaking her head in wonderment, but she doesn't completely let go because she's sort of swaying a little. They both are. Swaying together, almost slow-dancing, and... Chloe tries to focus. "I don't understand..." she begins.
Breathe. Sway. Lex's eyes are huge and his smile utterly beatific. "Understand what?"
"You're so wise," she says. "I understand..." Breathe. "...the intelligence part. Genes, environment..." Breathe. "Where does the wisdom come from?"
"Experience," says Lex. And it's a simple, obvious answer, but the glint in Lex's eye and his sensual, articulate voice add layers of unguessed meaning.
"You're also beautiful," she says, and she's pretty sure she's never actually seen Lex look that surprised before. "But," she continues, "I'm lightheaded. I think I need to lie down. Or at least... seems like it would feel really good..." She looks about helplessly; the floor is teak parquet, not exactly inviting even in her current state.
"No problem," Lex says, and Chloe notices he's breathing heavily now too. He gestures to the other sitting area, far side of the pool table.
"Futon," he says.
Chloe goes to find the restroom. The water is moving through her system rapidly. When she's done getting rid of that, she stares at herself in the mirror. Her eyes are, in fact, dilated, and she has a fairly manic grin on her face.
But she also discovers, to her astonishment, that she is pretty.
Chloe realizes in that instant that too many years around Lana Lang have completely distorted her self-image. She touches one cheek lightly with her fingertips, continues to examine this unfamiliar blond woman before her in the mirror: smooth, peachy skin, sultry eyes, and -- Lex is right -- she does have a killer smile.
"I'm pretty!" Chloe announces as she walks back into the den, arms spread wide.
Lex has gotten the futon folded down while she was gone, and now he drops an armful of pillows and a blanket onto it.
"Well, yes," he says, as though she has claimed that fire is hot.
Chloe walks to Lex for another embrace. She puts her whole body into it this time, runs her palms and fingertips up and down Lex's back, nuzzles her face into his chest, inhales his scent, his cologne. His cologne: something subtle and old-fashioned, not one of those new reeking Calvin Klein concoctions. Halston, maybe? No, that's too common for Lex, but it reminds her of that. And Lex's arms are around her again, his long wiry arms; she feels so tiny inside them, so completely protected and safe.
It's becoming less and less about thinking and more about feeling; and now, breathing heavily and suffused with sensation, Chloe realizes the drug has really kicked in.
"Mmmmmmm," says the small blond girl in Lex's arms, wriggling and purring like a friendly kitten. "This... feels... so... so..."
"I know, Chloe," says Lex softly. He's not quite rolling yet; his heartrate is still uncomfortably rapid and the acrid taste is still irritating his sinuses. But he is more than happy to stand here holding her.
He can sense the first big Ecstasy wave coming, just at the horizon. It won't be long. It's been eight or nine years since he did this last,and he's a little nervous because he can't remember exactly how it's going to feel. However, Lex Luthor is not in the habit of displaying nervousness about anything to anyone and he's not going to start now. So he just rubs Chloe's back, and is aware that the texture of her cheap t-shirt is growing more pleasing to his fingertips with every stroke. He is getting the hot and cold flashes. Breathing, while labored, is starting to feel really good.
He pulls back from her a little. "Are you still cold?" He nods at the futon.
Chloe squeezes his hands before letting them go, then prances over - a little unsteadily - and slides into the futon, wrestles with the blanket until she is underneath it. She stretches out, Mmmmmms some more, smiles at him. "Just when I keep thinking that nothing could possibly feel better," she breathes. "You're joining me, aren't you?"
"I wasn't sure if you'd want me to," says Lex. "I don't want you to feel pressured about anything here tonight."
"Please come here, Lex," says Chloe, huge eyes blinking solemnly.
So Lex does. He climbs onto the futon carefully, and Chloe lifts up one edge of the velvety chenille blanket to invite him underneath. He moves to her, and then, as natural as breathing, they entwine limbs and hug in the way you only can when you are lying down facing someone: forearms slide under necks and become pillows; arms snake around waists; knees and ankles and feet interact in a friendly way.
Faces become dangerously close. Lex doesn't really think of Chloe herself as dangerous, but he and intimacy have something of a chequered past. He can feel her breasts against his chest every time she inhales, and she's running her free hand up and down his left triceps. Even as he is being drawn fully into the MDMA rush, Lex wonders if this has been a mistake, if there is any way he can extricate himself from this situation without looking scared and weak.
But then Chloe smiles at him - she is practically glowing now - and says "Is it all right if I touch your head? Because, you know, I've always wanted to."
No one. No one has ever asked, ever 'always wanted to', ever touched his head unless it was inadvertently in the heat of passion or violence.
She's probably expecting him to acquiesce politely because Lex is, if nothing else, unfailingly polite.
Instead he grabs her wrist and places her palm firmly on the bare skin of his head. She actually gasps at the contact, and then, wide-eyed, slides her palm along the top, the back of his head. She glides her fingertips along the bare skin above his earlobe, and Lex shudders involuntarily, a whole-body affair. He cannot tell if it's because of the drug, because it's been so long since anyone touched him in an intimate way, or because his scalp has become especially sensitized.
Maybe all three.
Chloe's cool fingers trace more patterns as they stare into each other's eyes; Lex slips his free arm around her waist and pulls her closer. She runs her fingertips lightly down to his face, his cheek, his mouth; she runs two fingertips along his lower lip.
Oh yes, Lex is definitely rolling now; no one has ever been as beautiful as Chloe and nothing has ever felt as good as lying here in this futon with her. And he's aware it's possible that it all would have been true anyway, but that he never would have found out without the drug. He and Chloe both excel at building and maintaining their walls. Mothers gone far too early; he and Chloe have that in common and Lex understands how it makes you hate, just a little bit, everyone who tries to get close to you after that.
But now they've been looking into one another's eyes for what seems like many long minutes; and then they have a wordless conversation, only it's not really a conversation because they're both saying the same thing, and that thing is this:
We could talk about this first, but we have all night to talk. So just go ahead and kiss me.
They just sort of melt into it; there isn't a clearly delineated transition from not-kissing to kissing as there would be if they were not on the drug. No shock of contact, no swelling music. Embracing, touching, kissing, it all just flows together. And it doesn't spark intense lust in Lex, it just adds another layer of sensuality to their touching. Sensual, not overtly sexual; Lex had forgotten this aspect of Ecstasy. It's a relief because sex would make things more complicated than necessary.
Still, Chloe's lips are extremely pleasant against his own, and their sliding tongues feel like an extension of the contact between their bodies. Chloe's using her free hand to stroke his head again, and she's up against him bodily now; they're like one breathing, ecstatic being.
They continue that way for what seems like several minutes but is probably not that long, and then the kiss loses some of its enjoyment because their mouths are starting to feel dry.
Lex pulls away regretfully, and Chloe says: "We need water."
He smiles at her. "Coffee table." Full sentences are hard to come by right now. "I'll get it."
"No..." She clings to him by way of demonstration.
Lex considers, while his fingers idly trace the contours of Chloe's shoulderblades..
"You're right. You're gonna have to come with me."
Getting to the coffee table is an interesting affair. First, there is the standing up. That takes a few minutes to actually occur. Then there is more embracing and sliding against each other, as though they are the first human beings to have discovered friction. Then there is the kissing while standing up, because they haven't done that yet and, well, it just happens. As he holds Chloe's face between his fingertips and kisses her oh-so-slowly, Lex can feel the pill he swallowed hitting him in earnest now, the rush of the drug is becoming broader and even more intense. Chloe is all over him and neither are doing well with the words; Lex figures that will come later.
Meanwhile, the water is still on the coffee table on the far side of the den. It might as well be in New Zealand.
Lex had forgotten how MDMA played hell with your attention span.
But eventually they make their way over there, because Lex finally just picks Chloe up and carries her, bride-style. He knew all those bench-presses would come in handy someday, not that she seems to weigh much. He sets her down on the couch, sits on the edge, and Chloe flows up and wraps herself around him from behind: arms loosely around his neck, chin resting over his shoulder, legs around his waist so that her ankles cross in front of him. Now he is able to pour them more water while still maintaining at least 75% body contact with her.
"Mission accomplished," he says out loud.
"Go team," says Chloe, and she reaches to take the glass he hands back to her.
They drink a moment in silence, and then Chloe hands him back the empty glass and starts...
She's kissing the base of his neck, behind his ear, the back of his head; her mouth is pleasantly cold from the icewater. It's almost enough to give him an erection despite the essentially non-sexual quality of the drug. Lex moans out loud.
He never does that.
Even Chloe seems startled, stops what she's doing. "Sorry - is it too much?"
Lex has to catch his breath first. "Not too much, it's just... Ah... It's..." An involuntary shudder crawls up Lex's spine.
She hugs him from behind, using her arms and her legs. "Sorry," she whispers again.
"Don't apologize..." He can feel her breathing, against his back. "I want this..." He reaches up to hold on to her forearms. "Have wanted it..."
Dammit. He hadn't meant to admit that just yet. Perhaps not even to himself.
Especially not to himself.
"What makes you think I haven't?" asks Chloe. "But maybe we should talk about this back on the futon. So I can see your face."
Whole sentences from her now; Chloe must be emerging from the first out-of-control rush of the drug, headlong into the extended peak that will carry them through the next few hours. Lex isn't quite there yet, so he just says, "Hold on," and stands up and carries Chloe on his back, over to the futon. She laughs, a high, sweet sound.
They fall over together on the futon, and Chloe pushes Lex over onto his back, climbs astride him, leans over him and kisses him. His hands go automatically to her jean-clad hips, slide up her back. She smells spicy-sweet.
Lex breaks the kiss long enough to breathe, "God, Chloe, you're so beautiful."
She smiles down at him. "Do you really think so, or is it just the Ecstasy?"
Lex shakes his head. "Not just the drug... Lowers barriers, doesn't invent things that weren't already there..." He's not sure he's totally making sense but he feels like he shouldn't have to right now. So he pulls her down to him for another kiss.
This time she's the one to break the kiss. "So you meant what you said before... You've wanted this? Before now?"
Lex nods emphatically, runs his hands up and down her arms, touches her face, runs his fingers through her hair. Looks into her eyes with as much honesty as he can muster, willing her to see him. Answer enough, isn't it?
No, of course it's not. She touches his face before she speaks. "Why didn't you do something about it, then? You Luthors usually seem to just take whatever you want." Chloe smiles down at him, no malice in her voice or her face.
The words want to come out now, the touching and the closeness is still incredible and will be for hours, but the words are building up in his chest and he knows it will feel good to articulate them. The process of stringing together lucid sentences seems doable now.
Lex takes a deep breath. "Yeah. We do. And that's why I did nothing. Would you have really trusted me or would you have assumed ulterior motives? After what you went through with my father blackmailing you, and everything the two of us have been through with Clark... My reputation..."
She smiles and kisses him once. "Well you still could have tried..."
Hands on her hips again, Lex grins. "Why didn't you?"
Her smile half-fades. "Come on, Lex. With all the gorgeous women I see throwing themselves at you? I would have just seemed like another chick after your money and power, only I couldn't compete in the looks department..."
Lex laughs out loud. "Chloe, you think those women are gorgeous? They're plastic. Cosmetic surgery and botox and breast implants... They're horrble and mindless. The ones who aren't golddiggers are trust fund babies who have never had to work for anything in their lives, they have no real interests but shopping and social climbing, no passion except for their next gram of coke... You are gorgeous, you're gorgeous and intelligent and real and you're making your own way in the world, and you have no idea how sexy that is to me..."
She's on him again now, a longer, deeper kiss. Then: "I can't believe this is really happening."
"It's happening," says Lex. "Is it really so surprising? And did you really not understand how beautiful you are?"
Chloe smiles. "I guess Lana Lang can outshine anyone. And it's not as though I've gotten a lot of positive feedback from the males in my life."
"Which males are we talking about exactly?" asks Lex. "Clearly they are smoking crack. Especially any guy who would choose the virginal pink ice princess over you."
"Basically every guy I went to high school or college with."
"You've answered your own question, then. Guys that age... not known for their discriminating tastes."
"...Including Clark Kent."
Lex swallows. "Clark is of another order."
"I know..." says Chloe. "What ever happened with you two, anyway?"
"Nothing worth wasting tonight discussing," says Lex, and then another big wave of the drug hits him, and he pulls Chloe down on top of him to kiss her deeply. Then rolls them over so he's on top, kisses her some more; then they both just lie there and sort of breathe together, and Lex is aware that he's sweating a little now, he's at the warm end of the cycle.
"Are you getting warm?" he asks, holding himself up on his elbows and gazing down at her.
"A little," says Chloe. "Actually, this t-shirt is really bothering me. It's itchy. I wish I would have brought some different clothes..."
"I can try to find you something else to put on," says Lex.
Chloe runs her hand up and down Lex's arms, the sleeves of his shirt. "Do you have another one of these? This shirt is so soft, it should be illegal. I wish I had a shirt like this to sleep in every night."
Lex sits back on his knees and pulls off the soft cotton shirt. He hands it to Chloe. "It's yours."
But Chloe doesn't seem to be paying much attention to the shirt; she's staring at him open-mouthed. "God..." she says. "You..."
She's sitting up now, kneeling in front of him wide-eyed, and sort of launches herself into his arms, runs her hands all over his biceps and triceps and chest and back, kisses his neck, his collarbone. No way in hell is he complaining, but...
"You all right?" he murmurs into her hair.
"Your body, Lex. I had no idea you were so buff. Speaking of gorgeous..." She goes back to painting kisses along his chest.
Lex is oddly flattered. The type of women he's slept with most of his life don't bother with compliments.
She stops and says, "But I've got to get out of this t-shirt. It's too tight and it's driving me crazy."
"Go ahead," says Lex. "I won't look. I'll go get us some more water."
"No," says Chloe. "It's all right. You showed me yours..." And she doesn't hesitate; she strips off her t-shirt.
Lex is secretly pleased to see that tomboyish Chloe is wearing a girly, lacy blue bra; the current Victoria's Secret line, if he's not mistaken.
"Are you sure it's not all that lace that's making you itch?" He smiles.
"I think you're right." Chloe reaches behind her to unhook her bra, has it off before Lex has a chance to protest.
"Wait," he says. "That wasn't what I meant..."
No, he is not complaining; Chloe's smallish breasts are perfect, the skin pale and translucent, tiny nipples hardening in the airconditioned room. He drags her back down onto the futon with him, so that he can feel her skin all over his; the tactile aspect of the Ecstasy seems to hit them both again at the same time and then they are embracing, kissing, caressing again. Now Lex can feel Chloe's nipples against his bare chest, but it's still not really a sexual thing, any more than his palms flat against her smooth back.
Speaking of which...
"Chloe," Lex says. "Turn over. Lie on your stomach."
So she does, and Lex proceeds to give her the best back massage he can; he is rewarded with her moans and stretches of pleasure.
Then she says, "Your turn," and Lex lies on his stomach and lets her reciprocate. Chloe's small, feminine hands are like swaths of heaven moving across his back.
And then they lie there and just hold each other a while, kissing again, bare torsos running hot and cold against each other.
"You know," says Chloe suddenly, "I had a pretty bad crush on you when I was sixteen."
That's a surprise. "You never showed it."
"At one point it seemed like everyone in the entire town was infatuated with you. I was way too stubborn to show it."
Lex laughs softly.
"It's just..." Lex plays with Chloe's fingers. "When you used to come interview me for the high school paper, and you were always so determined... and frighteningly intelligent... and pushy... I used to fantasize about grabbing your reporter's notebook away and kissing you, because I wondered if you'd even react or if you'd just keep throwing questions at me. And when you got hurt by those thugs that broke into my mansion, I... I never told anyone this but at the time I swore to myself that I'd kill them all, everyone who was involved."
Chloe doesn't respond but her eyes are very big now.
Lex continues, "And I was so glad when you came to Metropolis for college, and when you stayed in contact with me. No one else really has, from those old Smallville days. You don't know how much it means. I've tried to look out for you, you know, without making a big deal out of it. I hired a security detail to watch your dorm house when that rapist was loose on campus last year, and..."
Lex trails off, suddenly wondering if he's said too much, done too much.
And there's a different look in Chloe's eyes now. But she just says, "Oh, my god... Are you serious?" and when Lex says "Yes, of course," she kisses him again.
So evidently that was the right answer.
Then she looks him in the eyes and says, "Lex, I know you have a lot of secrets. You tell me these things and it just reminds me of how much I still don't know about you. And I know I could probably ask you right now and get a lot of answers. And maybe that's not a good idea. But there's just one thing I really want to know... I won't ask anything else."
Lex tenses. Please don't let her ask me about Clark, because so help me, I think I just might tell her.
"...What really happened at Club Zero?"
She's tracing the scar on his shoulder.
Lex exhales. Only that.
So he tells her the whole story, the whole sad tale. How he tried to save Amanda, tried to cover for her in the shooting that was at least partially his fault; and how he'd lost her to suicide anyway. And as he speaks he realizes that he's not as numb about it as he thought he was. Even after everything else that's happened.
And Chloe sees it too. "You've been carrying this one around for a long time, haven't you?"
She's right. How did he not realize this before? He thought it was all dead and buried inside of him.
It was the first time he'd tried to save someone and failed, and he'd sworn it would be the last.
And he understands, in a dizzying burst of perspective, that the fallout from Club Zero informed all his future relationships. He's been determined since then not to let anyone down, not to fuck up, to somehow save everyone from themselves. And that's how he destroyed his friendship with Clark, he just couldn't leave well enough alone.
Clark, that horrible day in the barn: Dammit, Lex, just let it go already. I'd tell you the truth if I could. I have to deal with this on my own. That's the way it is.
I think you'd better stop coming around for a while.
He's been trying to save the whole world, trying desperately to prove he's not Lionel, and every time someone doesn't want his help--like the whole Kent family--it just kills him inside a little bit more.
"Maybe it's time to move on," suggests Chloe softly. "Maybe some things can change."
Lex grins. "Maybe you're right."
And then suddenly Chloe laughs, and she pulls herself upright, pushes Lex over onto his back and sits astride him again; her still-bare breasts brush against his chest as she leans down to him for another kiss. Then she sits back on her knees, points down at him.
"You," she says. "You wanted this all to happen. Admit it. You could have just gotten me some ipecac or something, but no, you were so damn excited when you found out I was going to be all whacked on Ecstasy that you could hardly wait to call up your drug dealer and chase him over here. 'Oh, Chloe, I'm just doing it for you...' You were totally into this."
Lex grins, shrugs. "Guilty. Your reporter's intuition is as sharp as always."
She oozes down against him again, making a cage on the sides of his head with her elbows, till they're almost nose-to-nose.
"Why did you risk it? You had no way of knowing for sure it would be like this. I could have spent the whole night talking about my lonely childhood or something."
Lex slides his hands from the small of her back to her shoulderblades. It still leaves tingles under his palms. He turns his head to glance at a clock. It's only been forty-five minutes. They have hours left of this.
So he touches her cheek gently with his fingertips. "Jim Morrison said that drugs are a bet with the mind. So I rolled the dice. And here we are."
"Here we are," murmurs Chloe. "I wonder where we're going."
Lex says, "An unbeatable combination like ours? All the way."
The two young women stand in line outside the Metropolis nightclub Dice, newly opened after a yearlong refurbishment of the old abandoned Club Zero building. They've been standing in line for thirty minutes, hoping for a shot at admittance.
When they've finally made it almost to the front door, a limousine pulls up at the edge of the red velvet ropes. Security guards clear a path for the limo's occupants.
"I wonder who that is," asks one of the women, trying to see around the crowd and the frantic paparazzi.
"I don't know," says her companion. "Must be someone famous. See? I told you this place was gonna be jumpin'."
Standing on tiptoe, they're able to catch glimpses of the tall bald man and his shorter blond female companion as they emerge from the limousine.
"Oh my god," exclaims the second woman. "It's Lex Luthor!"
"Lex Luthor comes to this club?"
"Didn't you know? He owns the place."
The man and the woman are all smiles, like mischievous little kids, holding hands as they walk the red carpet.
You do what you can to put the past behind you.
16:47, January 21st, 2004
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