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The Box

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Lana's shift was just ending as Lex came into the Talon. As always, the first thing he did was glance around the coffee store. It could have been just him looking to see what was up... but his eyes lingered over an empty booth on the back wall before he turned towards the counter.

With a welcoming grin, Lana handed him his usual coffee. She'd made it as soon as she saw the red car drive by. If he ever ordered anything different, the world would end. But then, if he ever wanted anything different, he probably just wouldn't say anything about getting the wrong one. Lex could be sweet like that sometimes. After a few polite words to each other, they went upstairs to the office. Chloe was already up there, looking over the records.

She looked up as they came in. "I just don't know how you two do it... this just isn't interesting at all!"

Lex chuckled as he sat down. "Think of it as forensic records, where you can find out what is happening just by going through the books. All the research you do for your articles... this is a different branch of it."

"Huh." Lana pulled up a chair next to Chloe. "I hadn't thought about it like that, but he's right. Just by knowing the records, we know a lot about the clients and patterns."

"If you say so," Chloe sounded dubious, but she looked determined to learn. She leaned a bit further over and knocked a box to the ground.

Lex leaned over to pick it up.

"Oh, that's for you, by the way," Chloe said as he reached for it.

It was a normal looking cardboard box, tied with some string all around it. "For me?" Lex asked curiously, tugging at the string.

"From Clark."

Lex stopped tugging at the string and looked up at the two of them. Lana grinned and she knew Chloe had much the same look. The pair of them, Lex and Clark, were so cute, and they didn't even know it. Or at least they thought nobody else knew it.

"Clark was in earlier," Lana said, "Sitting in the usual spot, holding that box."

"Then he got that look on his face," Chloe took up the tale, "You know the one... where he screws up his face and acts like he's horribly conflicted. Then he ran out. Then he ran back in a second later, shoved the box in my hands and told me it was for you, then ran out again."

"I don't think the string was on it originally," Lana said thoughtfully, just to rub it in. Before she gave into impulse anymore, she shrugged as if it was nothing and turned to the records.

Lana started to explain parts of the accounting to Chloe, while Lex listened. As he listened, he reached for the scissors on her desk and took care of the string problem that way.

He opened the box... then slammed it down again. Within seconds, his whole face turned beet red, and the color even went down his neck and across his head.

"I... uh...." Lex glanced at them, then down at the box, then apparently gave up on any attempts at an explanation. "I've got to go find Clark. Sorry." And then he left. Almost as quickly as Clark could.

Lana and Chloe looked at each other.

"Did you see something red in that box?"

"As red as his face was," Chloe agreed. "It looked like fabric. And there was something else..."

It was too bad Lana didn't use security cameras inside her office area. "Part of a glimpse is worse than none at all."

END (evil, I know... but hey, imagination is worth a thousand words... ;D)