Returning to Metropolis...
Well, this wasn't how Chloe had pictured. The circumstances were certainly distressing and she couldn't believe that her cousin had managed to dig herself into the whole she found herself thrown into.
And somehow it was all up to Chloe to solve the problems in Lois' life - or maybe help her pretend that they didn't exist. But Chloe was a long way away from helping people pretend; she told the truth - or at least a version of the truth. Helping people keep blinders on was the last thing she wanted to do.
Superman was back, and Lois Lane was smitten. God help the world.
It wouldn't have been so bad if she'd managed to see Clark; if he'd managed to see her, for that matter. As always, Lois had come first, and as much as Chloe loved her old friend, and her cousin, they always seemed to forget that there was a world outside their own, and that sometimes they needed to pay attention to it.
Reaching her cousin's house - a nice house, in a nice neighbourhood, with a view - she rapped on the door, long and loud. There was no mistaking her presence.
The door swung open and Richard stood before her. Chloe had known Richard a long time now, before Lois (and God, wasn't that becoming a recurring theme with the men Lois chose), and the man who stood before her was a mere memory of Richard.
"Chloe?" It was half-question, half-greeting. He looked like he hadn't slept in days.
She offered her best imitation of a smile. "Hi, Richard. Where is she?" She wasn't about preamble, and she wasn't about long, drawn out welcomes and explanations, because she wasn't happy about being here. She wasn't happy about any of that.
And then his expression broke her heart and her own abrupt manner ceased as if someone had switched it off with a remote control.
"I don't know. She left a little while ago. Something about a story."
I'll be, she thought to herself, stepping inside when Richard moved to let her in. Without thinking, she pulled Richard into a tight hug, kissed his cheek. He hadn't shaved and he smelled like cologne and alcohol, and Chloe wondered where Jason was. Richard rarely drank any alcohol when Jason was at home - a glass of wine, maybe, but not much more.
She slipped an arm around his waist, as he sighed heavily, guiding him into the living room. As they sat on the couch, she discarded her overcoat and bag and turned to face him.
"Talk to me."
And he did.