The pile of shopping bags on the bed was overwhelming. It hadn't seemed that much while Chloe was buying it, but suddenly the trunk of the car was full. "Have fun," her dad said as he handed her the credit card, insisting that his raise was a good enough excuse for her to splurge a bit.
A "Girls' Day" in Metropolis had been just what she needed. A day in the big city with her older cousin to herd her to all the best spots to eat and shop, never mind that Lois was the one person who could bully her into doing things that she really didn't want to do. Though most of the time it was only things she didn't know that she wanted to do. Chloe smiled at herself in the full length mirror. The new haircut was very flattering. She knew that she wouldn't have the patience to put in the work the stylist had, but right now Chloe felt rather sexy. The thought brought her attention back to the pile of clothes.
Chloe's passion for second hand stores and thrift shops seemed to pique Lois, who really was taking the image of polished professional to new heights, but she seemed to get in the spirit after they entered one shop. Chloe winced as she remembered the blatant dare appearing in Lois' eyes. She should have run at that point. There was something about Smallville that seemed to have short circuited her survival instinct.
It was easy to pick out the bag from that store. It stood out from the rest, its mass alone giving it the kind of presence that an inanimate object shouldn't have. No cotton-poly blends in that bag. No Lycra. No denim. But leather. And silk. Chloe still couldn't believe that the coat had been priced at $30. Even used, it must be worth at least 50 times that. She dove into the bag to retrieve the treasure. The sight of what was under it made her screw her eyes shut. After a few breaths, she managed to peer at the contents with one eye. Red. Laces. Black. Spike heels. She was going to get even with Lois -- some day, some how.
The deep red leather was very soft. That had surprised her when she snatched it off the hanger after reaching her limit of snark from Lois. Now she let it slide through her fingers and wondered what it would be like to put it on. The boning snug against her ribs, the laces pulling the leather tight over her skin, supporting her.... She glanced down and felt herself start to blush. Which made her mad. What the hell did she have to be ashamed of! Off went the t-shirt, off went the bra, and after what seemed like a hundred small hooks, she snuggled her breasts into the cups of the bustier. It fit like a second skin. She tightened the laces starting at the top, the first pull almost had her pouring out again. A little looser would be good there, but the rest she pulled as tight as she would have her ice skates. It was a strange sensation -- restricting and freeing at the same time. She felt herself standing taller, not being forced to think about posture or sucking it in. It certainly accented her chest. And her hips. She cringed a little at that. But the jeans were not her most flattering.
With the denim in a pile on the floor, Chloe just felt silly. The forget-me-not patterned cotton wasn't helping matters. There had to be something.... Her gaze was drawn back to the bag. Those boots. She couldn't wear just the boots, but to continue the line.... Black was slimming. Black leggings and thin socks went on before she took out the boots. Lois thumped them down on the counter as Chloe was paying for the other two items. At that point, she had not been in the mood to argue the issue. The glare Lois received, however, might have prompted the treat of a better than average lunch, but Chloe doubted it. It was more likely that Lois was feeling superior after succeeding in getting the last word. Chloe smiled with a breath of a chuckle at the memory -- it had been a very good day.
These boots. Chloe would never admit it -- being a firm supporter of the movement to free women from the torturous dictates of fashion -- but she liked these boots. The heels were too narrow, too high, 4 inches easily. The toes were too pointed. The laces... That was it -- more laces. Could she have a bondage fetish? Taking another look at herself in the mirror, she laughed out loud. With clothes like this, she better have at least that. However, there did seem to be a problem with getting the boots on. Note to self: next time start at the bottom. A foot on a chair allowed her to finally solve the issue and again she snugged the laces all the way to the top, just below her knee.
Her legs did look longer, though a slight turn to the side made her wince. She really wasn't built for leggings. Sturdy was the word that would most likely be used. If she could only find a way to camouflage the back. Chloe's gaze fell on the only other item she had unpacked. Perfect! She hadn't been completely comfortable with the bare shoulders anyway. The silk coat fit her like a dream. She thought that she would have to leave it undone, but with the bustier on she could do up the three buttons that closed it from mid-chest to navel. The hem of the coat reached the back of her knee, the top of her boots. The red from the bustier was evident in the open collar as was the support it provided. What Chloe liked was the little hint of red that she could see at her waist as she moved. Likely no one else would notice. Not that anyone else would ever see this. But for the moment... She wondered if Lana had a riding crop. Might as well complete the picture, she thought with a wicked grin as she opened her bedroom door to go look.
What was on the other side stopped her cold. Or hot, given that she was sure that she was going to spontaneously combust from the instant blush. Lex Luthor had obviously been about to knock on the door just as she had opened it. His congenial smile faded as his eyes travelled down the length of her body, but it returned as his gaze worked its way up. The grin took on a distinctly lupine edge during the brief pause on her chest but she didn't have a chance to work up enough indignation to react before she was trapped by the intense stare.
"Very nice, Miss Sullivan," Lex said softly. "Or should I call you 'Mistress Chloe'?"
"Oh my God!" Chloe groaned as she turned away taking a few steps back into her room and crossing her arms over her chest. Until she got a look in the mirror at what that did to her cleavage and to Lex's smirk. She dropped her arms quickly and then violently squashed her next instinct which was to pull her coat in close around her neck. She was in her own bedroom; she didn't have to justify her actions or choice of wardrobe to anyone. What the hell was Lex doing here anyway?! She straightened her spine and turned back to look him square in the eye, which she found she could do in these heels. "What were you doing outside my bedroom door?"
Lex's smile changed again. A warmth crept in, something that she had seen a few times before, usually when she knew she was being a pain so she had assumed that he was being patronizing. Now she started to suspect that it was something else and she could feel the blush starting again. Fortunately, Lex released her gaze and turned his attention to an envelope he was pulling out of his coat. "I thought that you might want this sooner rather than later. Your father suggested that I bring it up." He handed it to her.
The Daily Planet letterhead was a big clue, but Chloe didn't dare let herself speculate. She managed to get the envelope open without her hands shaking too much, but she couldn't complete suppress the squeal that escaped as the word on the page sunk into her brain.
"Good news, I hope?" Lex said, the smile in his voice slowly appearing on his face as she looked up from the letter. "However, I suggest you change your clothes before sharing it with your dad."
Bastard! She had managed to forget her embarrassment for a total of 89 seconds. "Thanks," she said, letting the sarcasm say everything she was too much of a lady to put into words. Then she remembered the piece of paper in her hands. "Really, Lex, thank you for bring this over. And thank your father, too. I know there must have been some string pulling to get me into the program two years in a row."
"You underestimate your talents, Chloe," Lex said and moved toward the door. At the threshold, he paused with his hand on the doorknob to look back into the room. "You do look beautiful. There's this club in Edge City.... I'll have to remind you of this," his eyes skimmed the length of her body again, "when you're old enough."
He pulled the door closed, and Chloe got another glimpse of the wolf grin just before it shut. She was grateful that he hadn't voiced the thought that put it there; it would provide quite a few night's entertainment speculating on what it might have been. She turned again to the mirror and struck a hip shot pose. And really, who was to say what constituted old enough?