(N2 - Second Helpings 23) Ice
by Janet F. Caires-Lesgold
Title: Ice (Nourishment: Second Helpings 23)
Author: Janet F. Caires-Lesgold
Feedback to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Archive: Mailing list archives only--others please ask permission! Category: Story, angst, Clark POV
Spoilers: None ever anymore
Rating: T (Teens and up due to references to sexual behavior) Pairing: Clark/Lex/Chloe established relationship Summary: A girl's best friend
DISCLAIMER: These characters do not belong to me. Smallville is the property of Alfred Gough, Miles Millar, Tollin-Robbins Productions, and Warner Bros. Television, and based upon characters originally created by Jerome Siegel and Joe Shuster. This story is just for the entertainment of my online friends and myself, not for any profit.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: All parts of "The Nourishment Series" and "Second Helpings", which precede this story, can be found elsewhere on this archive - Enjoy!
AUTHOR'S ADDENDUM: The show as we knew it no longer exists--we've gotta write it ourselves now.
DEDICATION: For Tiff again.
COPYRIGHT: (C) Janet F. Caires-Lesgold, June 30, 2006, email@example.com Please don't redistribute or alter this story in any way without the express permission of the author. Thank you very much.
Chloe and I sat down with him in his office a few days ago to tell him about her pregnancy, and that I had offered to help her out. His response stunned me.
"Nonsense. Life is precious." He walked over to his bar fridge, crouched down, and started rooting around in it almost as if we weren't there. "Don't worry. I'll take care of everything."
"What do you mean?" asked Chloe.
He stood and visibly counted things in his head. "You're due when--November? Plenty of time for you to finish school, then do things up right." Before I could say anything, he found three narrow glasses, stood them on the bar, and opened a bottle of champagne. The first two glasses, he filled to the same level; the third got merely a finger or two of bubbly liquid. He handed me a full glass, and Chloe the nearly-empty one. "For the expectant mother," he offered with a smile, taking the other glass for himself.
"But--" Chloe sputtered, her protest halted when Lex got down on one knee on the floor in front of her spot on the couch.
Holding her right hand in his left, hoisting his glass in his right, he said, simply and surely, "Marry me."
She and I exchanged a dumbfounded glance. "I... I don't..." she stammered.
Still smiling sweetly, he finished her sentence for her. "You don't love me. I know--that doesn't matter. I care about you, though, and want to give you and our child the best I can provide."
I had to correct his assumption. "Lex--we're pretty sure that it's mine..."
"Yeah," added Chloe. "Like we said, we had unprotected sex once, and I'm sure that's when it happened."
"Nothing is guaranteed. Sometimes condoms break," he explained from his position on the floor.
"But, Lex..." I tried to object.
"Condoms break," he said, with authority and finality in his tone. Turning back to Chloe, he went on. "Now, you do like me, don't you?"
"Of course," she answered with a demure grin.
"I thought so. And I enjoy your company immensely. I will take care of you and the baby, and you'll never want for anything. So, what do you say?"
Shooting me a desperate look, she replied to him, "That's a very generous offer, but I don't know if I am ready for any of this yet..."
Gallantly, he kissed her hand, then leaned up and kissed her cheek. "Why don't you think about it for awhile? Talk it over with your dad, and see what he says. I'd never want to pressure you into something you don't want, but I feel responsible for your situation and I'd like to help you in any way I can. Will you give it your serious consideration? Please?"
She blinked big, shocked eyes at him and at me. "Okay, Lex. Let me do some thinking, and discuss my options with Dad. I'll let you know." She stood, and he rose with her.
"Thank you, Chloe. I will not fail you." With that, he kissed her, and I looked away rather than watch. "To the future!" he toasted, clinking her glass, which she still held, then downed his entire portion at once.
Hesitantly, Chloe swallowed her own glassful, then thanked Lex and left the office. She may have tried to catch my eye on her way out, but I didn't see it.
Lex replaced the two glasses he held on the bar, then returned to the computer on his desk. I sat fascinated by the rise of bubbles up the sides of my flute, not caring if I looked like a pouty kid.
"What kind of metal does Chloe wear?" Lex asked me, surprising me that he even remembered I was there.
"Why?" I finally asked him.
"I need to find her the perfect engagement ring."
"She hasn't even said yes yet," I argued, swirling the liquid in my glass without drinking any.
"She will," he countered with complete assurance. "Maybe something gold..."
I chugged my entire glass at once, as Lex had done. The alcohol had no effect on me, and I don't care for the taste of champagne. The bubbles didn't even tickle my nose. Glumly, I got up and returned my empty glass to the corner where he had put his own. "She could have the blue diamond you gave me," I suggested, refusing to fidget with the matching platinum band on my pinky.
That made him look up at me. "No, Clark. That was Desiree's ring. I don't want to give it to someone else. You can do with it what you will. I'll get Chloe something new."
Wondering what worth my ring held for him anymore, I prayed that the champagne would stay down.
I didn't realize I'd been standing in Lex's office with my eyes closed until his voice came to me from a much closer proximity than I was expecting. "Clark," he said so softly, "you know I don't love her. I love you. Don't ever forget that."
Opening my eyes, I found him right in front of me, his eyes blue and sincere like they'd been for years. "You love me, and yet you keep marrying women and pretending that you're straight, leaving me for weekends and whenever you can fit me into your schedule."
He gripped my chin carefully in his fingers so I wouldn't look away. "Do you want to know why I want to marry Chloe? That baby she's carrying is a part of you. I can't let her destroy it. Do you understand that?"
It was a rationalization, like all of Lex's explanations, but it worked. My heart softened a little, and I accepted the embrace he offered. Held tight in his arms, I asked, "You'll treat her well? She means a lot to me."
"I'll treat her nearly as well as I treat you--I promise. And I'll definitely make plenty of time for you, not just on weekends, okay?" He kissed me, and it was almost all right again.
Mr. Sullivan wasn't thrilled that his daughter was with child, but Chloe laughingly described the dollar signs in his eyes when she mentioned Lex's proposal. She and my mom had at least one more heart-to-heart (while I monopolized my dad's attention with a new summer planting layout), after which she decided that marriage to Lex Luthor was not a bad choice, as long as she promised not to try to kill him on their wedding night.
Lex asked Chloe to marry him again at a private dinner for three in his penthouse in Luthorcorp Tower in the city. She accepted, her eyes glittering as brightly as the three spectacular white diamonds in her antique gold engagement ring. We all danced, and smiled, and drank a little too much champagne, then went to bed together.
I gave up on trying to sleep about an hour ago, and got up to look out the windows at the streets below. When I came back to bed, Lex and Chloe were lying all happily cuddled in each other's arms, looking like they belonged together. There was no place for me at all. I never noticed before how cold the penthouse gets at night...
Lex proposed to Chloe. I guess it was wishful thinking to hope he could have asked me...