Disclaimer: Smallville and all related elements, characters and indicia © Tollin-Robbins Productions and Warner Bros. Television, 2002. All Rights Reserved. All characters and situationssave those created by the authors for use solely on this websiteare copyright Tollin-Robbins Productions and Warner Bros. Television. Superman created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster.
Author's note: We needed more Chloe in this episode! So I’m going to add some. Also, I’m starting to ship another couple (guess which one), so I’m adding a little of that in here too. Feedback, please, if you can be nice about it. Constructive criticism is good. That means give me a reason why it sucks! Hooray to my first Smallville fanfic with more than one word in the title.
“The second you start throwing people 30 feet, I’ll start writing nice things about you, too.”
As soon as the words left Chloe’s mouth, she regretted them. Oh, and her tone of voice made it so smug, too. “What’s wrong with you?” she asked herself, a little ticked with her facetiousness. She kept walking until she knew Pete and Clark couldn’t see her anymore, then she turned and peered around the corner. They were talking to Lana and Whitney. She hoped Clark didn’t dwell on it too much. She didn’t really mean it.
It was lunchtime, and she had to write her English paper, last hour of the day. Her article for the Ledger had taken a couple of hours last night, precious hours that she usually devoted to homework, and now her lunch hour was suffering. Such was the sacrifice of a high school journalist.
She sat down at her terminal in the Torch office and sighed. “Open mouth, insert foot, Sullivan,” she muttered. Clark had saved her life twice, and he didn’t merit a mention any of her articles for the Torch. Eric Summers saves her laptop, a mobile phone and a half-eaten bag of Gummi Worms, and he gets a front-page story in the Ledger. Clark had risked his life to save hers, as well as a coveted set of Radiohead tickets and a non-date with the love of his pubescent life, Lana Lang. Eric was seemingly invincible. He gave up nothing to save Chloe’s hunk of plastic and microchips.
Chloe tried to concentrate on her essay and wrote the required two pages, barely. It didn’t matter; she had an A in English. She laid out pages, mindless work now that she had done it so many times, then played a game of Solitaire to calm her overactive thoughts.
Right before lunch ended, the office door burst open. Clark and Pete flooded inside, loud, full of energy and smelling like the gymnasium. They perched themselves on each side of Chloe’s desk.
Chloe wrinkled her nose. “Someone needs to hit the showers,” she said, waving her hand in front of her face. “Or should I say two someones.”
“Whitney and Brent just beat us in hoops,” Clark said, a grin belying his statement.
“You played basketball?” Chloe was dumbfounded. “Since when do you play basketball?”
Clark continued to grin. “Since today.”
“And it showed,” Pete said, chuckling.
“Hey!” Clark playfully punched his friend in the shoulder and the two boys laughed. The bell rang.
“You guys going to study hall?” Chloe asked. She just realized that she hadn’t eaten anything. Her stomach growled in protest. She suddenly got the urge for a large sandwich.
“Yeah,” Pete said. “Allie Dawson needs help with her English essay, and I promised I’d be there,” he added with a twinkle in his eye.
“What did you have in mind?” Clark asked Chloe.
“I forgot to eat,” she said. “Want to go to the Beanery? We can be back in time for last period. I have a paper due in English. My treat.” She looked at Clark hopefully.
“OK,” Clark said brightly. “I could use a caffeine boost.”
“Oh man, you didn’t say you were treating,” Pete said, disappointed. “I better go. See you ditchers later!” He hopped off the desk and walked out.
“Sign our names on the attendance sheet!” Chloe called after him. Pete raised his hand to indicate that he heard.
The Beanery was nearly empty and they had their pick of booths.
“What brought on this burst of generosity?” Clark asked, sipping on his double cinnamon latte.
Chloe shrugged. “I was hungry,” she said plainly. “Can’t a friend treat a friend to a good lunch?”
Clark didn’t look convinced. “Out with it, Chloe.”
Chloe sighed and put down her mug. She placed her palms flat on the table nervously and avoided Clark’s eyes as she thought of a way to apologize without looking like a total clod. It was impossible. She had to swallow her pride for once.
“I’m sorry,” she said, looking up and into Clark’s face.
Clark raised his eyebrows, confused and surprised. “For what?”
“For making that crack about writing nice things about you if you throw people thirty feet, or something,” Chloe said.
“Oh, that? Don’t worry about it, Chloe. I knew you were joking.” Clark was genuinely brushing it off.
“You’re forgetting the fact that you saved my flame-licked butt at the Torch office, and not two weeks later saved my icicle-licked butt at the swimming pool. And I never even mentioned you.”
“I didn’t do it to be a headline,” Clark said modestly. “Besides, you thanked me profusely by treating me to coffee for the next month after that.”
“I know,” Chloe said. “Which just makes you more worthy of a headline in the first place than that Insta-Musclehead Eric. I just got … excited by getting a byline in the Ledger. And I promise to try not to take you for granted anymore. Forgive me?”
“Your apology is duly noted and accepted.”
“What’ll it be today, guys?” Zoe asked, approaching with her pen poised over her notepad.
“I’ll have a turkey sandwich on toasted sourdough, no tomato and extra pickles,” Chloe said, handing her menu to Zoe. “And a side of potato salad. Ooh, and a refill on my iced white mocha.”
“Whoa, you are hungry,” Clark said. “I’ll have the same, except I want the sandwich with everything on it.”
The two walked back to school slowly, saying very little. Chloe was full. The waistband on her skirt were not made for lunchtime feasts, and her boots were not made for long walks. They had different teachers for the last hour and promised to meet up at Clark’s locker so they could ride the bus home.
After an uneventful English class, Chloe dropped her heavy bookbag in front of Clark’s locker, careful not to be in the way of any of her passing classmates. Her classroom was closer to Clark's locker than his, which was on the second floor. She saw Pete approaching.
“Hey, you taking the bus home now?” Chloe asked.
“Yeah, I told my brother I would baby-sit my nephews,” Pete said. “Is Clark going home too?”
“He said to meet me here,” Chloe said. “And yet he’s late as ever. I should have run to the Beanery for another white mocha.”
Pete was about to make another "Clark is late" crack, but then Chloe picked up her bag as she saw the offender approaching. He was moving at a sluggish pace compared to the students who rushed past him.
“Didn’t that coffee from our little lunchtime excursion help?” Chloe asked, noting his pace.
“Come on, Clark, if you move any slower, we’ll miss the bus again,” Pete added.
Clark sighed in lieu of a response. He opened his locker, dropped some books inside and led the way down the hall, letting the crowds carry them toward the exit.
“Fight!” someone yelled, and the crowd suddenly ran faster and more furiously until Chloe, Clark and Pete were thrust into the daylight to see a truck fly across the parking lot.
Clark’s world was black. He felt something warm and wet on his forehead, which was throbbing hard, as if a small hammer were chipping away at his skull. No, the world wasn’t black. His eyes were closed. But he wasn’t sleepy. Not anymore. “Open your eyes,” he told himself. But they would not open. He breathed in and out, the faint smell of something familiar lingering in his nostrils. What was it? Baby powder? Yes. Baby powder and orange blossoms. Who wore that perfume? He was jostled a little, causing pain in his side. He was moving. Was he in a car? Oh, the car. The memory came back slowly. He fell on someone’s car. He had to remember to apologize to the gym teacher. It looked like his car.
He moaned. A voice shushed him. A tender, female voice. The smell of baby powder and orange blossoms overwhelmed him.
He found control of the muscles in his eyes and opened them. Hazel eyes belonging to Chloe Sullivan stared back down at him, worry and concern reflecting in her pupils, tears threatening to slide down her cheeks.
He tried to sit up and pain coursed through his abdomen. “Owww.”
“Son, just relax,” a male voice said. Clark blinked and looked around. He realized he was in an ambulance. The paramedic was sitting on Clark’s other side, taking his blood pressure. “Lay back. You’re strapped down.”
“What happened?” It hurt even to breathe.
“Eric Summers threw you thirty feet onto the gym teacher’s car,” Chloe whispered. “You were knocked out. I called 911 from my cell phone.”
"My parents …"
“I already called them,” Chloe said. She put her hand on his forehead gingerly, on the part that wasn’t bandaged. Clark realized he was perspiring. “They’ll meet us at the hospital.”
“What about Brent?”
“He’s OK,” Chloe answered. “Eric got scared when he saw you hurt and ran off.”
Clark looked closely at her. He had never seen her so cool, so serene. He could tell she was scared, but he could also see her determination not to show it. He found a new respect for his longtime friend.
The girl’s eyes darted to his, ready to take on any chore or task he wanted. “Yes?”
Her face broke into her trademark too-wide grin. “You’re welcome.”
Chloe was required to stay in the waiting room of the hospital. It was just as well because she wasn’t allowed to use her phone amid all the hospital equipment. She stepped outside when Clark was finally given an examination room. She dialed a number that Clark had dictated to her.
“Hello? This is Chloe, Chloe Sullivan. Um, I just wanted to tell you that … Clark is in the hospital. Some wacko kid threw him across the school parking lot and he landed on a car …” The person on the line had already hung up. Chloe repressed her tears. What was with her and the tears lately? She wiped her face on the sleeve of her jacket.
Her phone rang. “Hello?”
“Sweetie, it’s Dad! Are you almost home from school? I might be out early this evening. Isn’t that great?” Gabe Sullivan’s voice rang through cheerful and clear.
“Dad, I’m at the hospital!” she said, her worries finally breaking through her exterior in a panicked, trembling voice. But she still didn’t cry.
“What happened? Are you OK?” Gabe sounded distraught.
“Oh, no, I’m fine,” Chloe answered hastily. “It’s Clark. I already called his parents.” She quickly explained what happened.
“I’m coming to get you right now,” Gabe said. “Who knows what that kid is capable of? He might go there.”
“Dad, I want to stay here with Clark.”
“I’ll be there in ten minutes.” There was no use arguing with an overprotective father.
Five minutes later, the Kents’ blue pickup truck sped cautiously into the parking lot, closely followed by a slightly reckless black Porsche. The Kents greeted Chloe hastily in the lobby and ran toward the exam room. Lex Luthor walked slower, and stopped altogether when he saw Chloe.
“Thanks for calling me,” Lex said. “I owe you one.”
Chloe shrugged. “I figured you’d want to know.”
“Is he all right?” Chloe shrugged again. “Do you need a ride home?”
“My dad’s picking me up, but thanks.” As if on cue, Gabe Sullivan’s silver Volvo entered the parking lot.
“Tell Clark I said bye,” Chloe said, smiling a little.
“I will,” Lex said. He placed his arm around her briefly in a half-hug, and Chloe went out to meet her father.