A Gotham Affair

[January 2003]

Fandom: Smallville
Title: A Gotham Affair
PenName: EV
Character(s):
Paring(s): Lana/Chloe, Lana/Pete
Rating: R
Summary: Lana comes to Gotham with her son to visit Chloe. However things take an unexpected turn when they want to make up for past regrets.
Notes:Future Fic. Lana is married to Pete and their son, Clark Peter Ross is 18 months old. Chloe is a Gotham City Reporter. You may or may not know the marriage of Pete and Lana and there son Clark Peter is not my own invention. This possible future for Lana and Pete is borrowed from post-crisis comic book canon. It’s just casually mentioned, but my own little addition to the story is Lana, Pete, and Chloe all know Clark is Superman at this point in the future.
Warning(s):
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters featured in the WB teen drama series Smallville. No copyright infringement intended.


Chloe and Lana had lived a secret life before, but it was never planned, it just happened. And the affair wasn’t planned, the trip was suppose to be innocent. It all began with a phone call. They checked in with each other at least once a month, sometimes more. They sent cards to each other on holidays and birthdays the way they did with all there friends. If they were inspired to do so sometimes they sent gifts. But there lives were separate now. They hadn’t seen each other in awhile. Lana had a welcoming party for her son Clark soon after she brought her him home. Chloe had attended that along with many of Pete and Lana’s other family and friends. It was the first time Chloe had seen Lana since she’d gotten married, but they were never alone together and hadn’t been alone together for a couple years. So they only saw there “group” face, two friends hanging out together. But a few weeks ago something different had been arranged. They had been casually talking about life during one of there monthly phone calls and then Lana mentioned Pete how frustrating life was getting. She said she wished she could take a break from life and she sounded kind of tired. So out of nowhere Chloe said “why don’t you come stay with me for awhile?”

Lana agreed. They had missed each other. For a long time they’d live together so such a visit was like going back home. The thing was Lana was a married woman and mother now. It didn’t hit Chloe until she saw her stepping out of the terminal with a sleeping tot in her arms and luggage for a couple weeks.

“Hey,” Chloe said taking the bags out her hands. “Let me help you with that stuff.”

She saw the relief on Lana’s face at the lightened load.

“Thanks Chloe,” Lana said with a big grin.

“This is Clark?” Chloe questioned

Lana nodded.

“He’s getting big,” Chloe said. She smiled at the sleeping youngster.

“I know,” Lana said. “He’s killing my arms.”

“Well come on lets get in the car.”

She helped Lana gather her luggage. She had a car seat waiting for the little boy. Lana strapped him in and and the boy slept for the entire drive to Chloe’s condo. As soon as they got there Chloe showed Lana her guest bedroom and told her where she could lay the little boy. Lana pulled off his coat and laid him in Chloe’s guest bed. Then she and Chloe gathered her bags. This was Clark’s first big trip and Lana couldn’t believe he had slept for most of his arrival. Chloe left Lana to get settled once all the bags were in the room. Lana also had to call Pete and let him know she had arrived okay. Lana joined Chloe once she was done. Clark was still sleeping and she knew he was out for the night. She found her friend sitting cross leg on a couch reviewing a stack of papers. Lana smiled to herself. She was still the same workaholic she always was.

“Hey,” Chloe said looking up. “Clark all tucked in?”

Lana nodded.

“Why did I just feel so weird saying that?” Chloe stated.

Lana’s response was a small smile.

“Does Pete ever find it weird you named his son after Clark?”

“Clark is his friend too.”

“Yeah but I can’t imagine you calling your kid in the house. Pete can’t be comfortable with hearing you call his baby your first love’s name.”

“Clark wasn’t my first love. Clark was the ideal knight in shinning armor, the storybook prince charming. The thing is the fairy tales always end once you have the guy. Its because you find out he’s just… a guy.”

“But you and Clark have that whole history. And I just couldn’t imagine…”

“We all have history Chloe,” Lana said. “Doesn’t change the fact that Clark’s a good man. Why wouldn’t I want to name my son after a good man?” Lana asked. “Two good men,” Lana said looking down at her beautiful wedding ring. “You forget his name is Clark Peter.”

Chloe looked at the ring. “Lana Lang Ross,” Chloe said. “I still can’t believe–”

“Not again,” Lana interrupted. “I know Pete and I would have been voted least likely to get married years ago. But things change, people change. Middle School, freshman year of high school we probably would have been voted least likely to ever be friends. Now look at us.”

“True. But it’s like there’s this little baby now that’s part you and part him. And even when I heard you were getting married I never could actually imagine you two, you know, together.”

Lana laughed. “Believe me, Pete didn’t wait very long to get together. I mean we waited for the wedding and all, but the reception was too long for him,” Lana said with a smile.

“Eww,” Chloe said.

“What?” Lana asked with a grin.

“I don’t know, I put you and Pete together in my head and it’s just weird.”

Lana laughed. “He still kind of loves you?” Lana said.

“Really?” Chloe replied. Her eyebrow questioned this statement.

“Oh yeah and I can’t say that I blame him,” Lana said seriously.

Chloe looked up at her. She met a very sincere gaze that accompanied that compliment. Then they both laughed to break the tension.

“You know having a baby hasn’t helped. I gained a little weight I can’t seem to get rid of,” Lana said rubbing one of her thighs.

“Oh please Lana. You know you are eternally gorgeous. If anything, you’re just fuller in places and I doubt Pete is complaining about that.”

“Yeah, Pete says he doesn’t know what I’m talking about,” Lana said. “I don’t regret my son being in my life, but having a baby just changes you. Not that how I look or don’t look has anything to do with Pete’s special little place for you in his heart.”

“God I’m not like the other woman, am I?”

“No,” Lana replied. “Thanks for inviting me down here to visit by the way. With Pete away and just me and the baby I would have gone crazy. I love my boy to death, but sometimes I need adult company.”

“No problem,” Chloe said. “I hardly ever get to see anyone from home these days.”

“What you working on?”

“The myth of the Batman,” she said handing a sketch to Lana.

“Anything like our friend the flying man in Metropolis?”

They shared smiles. “No, nothing like that. I don’t even think he’s what they call meta-human.”

“So what’s with the bat thing?”

“I don’t know what made him chose this particular animal as a symbol, . The question of the day, Is he out for vengeance or justice?” Chloe said. “I have reason to believe Clark may know a little more about him then he says, but you know how mysterious Clark can be. And if Lois knows anything she’s not talking either. Though she pointed me in the right direction for some interesting tidbits.”

“Are you sure you and Lois are cousins?”

“Why do you ask?”

“You act more like twins separated at birth.”

Chloe laughed. “I guess this stuff is boring you.”

“Are you kidding? It’s like the old days all over again? Except you know your dad’s not here.”

Suddenly a loud cry erupted from the other room followed by “Mommy, mommy.”

“And I’m a mom,” Lana added. “Clark has such perfect timing.”

Lana exited the room. Chloe watched her leave. Lana had always been a pretty attentive listener. Pete and Clark almost always seemed to be partially somewhere else when she talked to them. Lana just sat and looked at her and listened like a little kid hearing the most fascinating story ever told. It was good to have someone to talk to. She tried to pretend her life was full and the loneliness didn’t get to her, but it did. She hadn’t really connected with anyone in years. And it was easy to find warmth with Lana. They had always had issues running between them, but when it was just the two of them caught in a quiet moment all the problems seemed to fade away and all that mattered was being together.

Chloe put away her notes for the night and walked to the guest room. She found Lana resting beside her son. He was 18 months old now. He had Lana’s eyes and Pete’s little round face. His complexion was a mix of his heritage, you might call it tan, but it was a little bit darker. An extremely soft brown. He was one handsome little boy and very photogenic. Every time Lana got pictures taken of him she sent them out to everyone she knew, friends, family. Chloe already owned a box full of Clark Peter Ross photos. Lana was curled around little Clark in the bed like a protective mama bird. When she came out the terminal carrying this little boy Chloe hardly recognized her. She didn’t seem as fragile as she had as a teenager. She still had that delicate fairy princess beauty, but it had been given a maturity somewhere along the way.

She didn’t know what had prompted her invite or what made Lana agree to it, but she was glad she was here. It seems all her friends from days past had gone on with there lives and those old friends saw each other far more often than she saw them. It was as if Lois had taken her place in Clark’s life and when they were around each other everything was good, but different. Pete had fallen in love with Lana. That surprised everyone, but you could see in his eyes now Lana came first. And the boy Lana hardly noticed so many years ago had won her hand in marriage. Lex was still Lex, but instead of Clark, Pete was his right hand man. That was weird, but no need to focus on that. Right now there was no Pete, no Clark (at least not the big one), and no Lex. There was just Lana and herself… and Pete’s son. Pete and Lana’s son. It was still hard to believe they made a baby. Chloe smiled at the woman and little boy then turned and went to her room.



******

It was a weird morning. She woke up working around Lana. There was an active little tot making all kinds of noises as he played. Lana kept him out of the way knowing Chloe needed to get up and do what she had to do to go to work. Lana went in the bathroom to wash her son while Chloe was getting dressed. When Chloe was finished she came in the bathroom to check on them. She kneeled beside the tub.

“Good morning little Clark,” Chloe said. “Nice to see you awake.”

“Are you sure you and Lois are cousins?”

“Why do you ask?”

“You act more like twins separated at birth.”

Chloe laughed. “I guess this stuff is boring you.”

“Are you kidding? It’s like the old days all over again? Except you know your dad’s not here.”

Suddenly a loud cry erupted from the other room followed by “Mommy, mommy.”

“And I’m a mom,” Lana added. “Clark has such perfect timing.”

Lana exited the room. Chloe watched her leave. Lana had always been a pretty attentive listener. Pete and Clark almost always seemed to be partially somewhere else when she talked to them. Lana just sat and looked at her and listened like a little kid hearing the most fascinating story ever told. It was good to have someone to talk to. She tried to pretend her life was full and the loneliness didn’t get to her, but it did. She hadn’t really connected with anyone in years. And it was easy to find warmth with Lana. They had always had issues running between them, but when it was just the two of them caught in a quiet moment all the problems seemed to fade away and all that mattered was being together.

Chloe put away her notes for the night and walked to the guest room. She found Lana resting beside her son. He was 18 months old now. He had Lana’s eyes and Pete’s little round face. His complexion was a mix of his heritage, you might call it tan, but it was a little bit darker. An extremely soft brown. He was one handsome little boy and very photogenic. Every time Lana got pictures taken of him she sent them out to everyone she knew, friends, family. Chloe already owned a box full of Clark Peter Ross photos. Lana was curled around little Clark in the bed like a protective mama bird. When she came out the terminal carrying this little boy Chloe hardly recognized her. She didn’t seem as fragile as she had as a teenager. She still had that delicate fairy princess beauty, but it had been given a maturity somewhere along the way.

She didn’t know what had prompted her invite or what made Lana agree to it, but she was glad she was here. It seems all her friends from days past had gone on with there lives and those old friends saw each other far more often than she saw them. It was as if Lois had taken her place in Clark’s life and when they were around each other everything was good, but different. Pete had fallen in love with Lana. That surprised everyone, but you could see in his eyes now Lana came first. And the boy Lana hardly noticed so many years ago had won her hand in marriage. Lex was still Lex, but instead of Clark, Pete was his right hand man. That was weird, but no need to focus on that. Right now there was no Pete, no Clark (at least not the big one), and no Lex. There was just Lana and herself… and Pete’s son. Pete and Lana’s son. It was still hard to believe they made a baby. Chloe smiled at the woman and little boy then turned and went to her room.



******

It was a weird morning. She woke up working around Lana. There was an active little tot making all kinds of noises as he played. Lana kept him out of the way knowing Chloe needed to get up and do what she had to do to go to work. Lana went in the bathroom to wash her son while Chloe was getting dressed. When Chloe was finished she came in the bathroom to check on them. She kneeled beside the tub.

“Good morning little Clark,” Chloe said. “Nice to see you awake.”

“Hi,” Clark said.

“This is my friend Chloe,” his mother told him. “You remember her?”

“Cuwee,” he repeated splashing water.

Chloe leaned back to avoid the splatter.

“Never wear anything you can’t afford to mess up at bath time or meal time with him,” Lana said.

“I like bue,” Clark said.

Chloe stared at Lana perplexed.

“Sometimes he just says things.”

“Bue say Bues Cues, Bues Cues,” little Clark said singing to himself.

The little boy kept singing.

“Just wanted to check in with you,” Chloe began. “The refrigerators stocked. There’s a store three blocks down if you need any baby stuff and there’s a park around the corner if you want to take him to play.”

“Thanks Chloe,” Lana said smiling.

“I wish I didn’t have to run out this morning, but you know, got to pay the bills.”

“I understand,” Lana said.

“Alright, bye little Clark.”

“Say bye,” Lana told the little boy.

He waved his hands. “Bye Cuwee.”


****

After she left the house Chloe’s morning was pretty normal. Normal for her anyway. She grabbed her usual bad excuse for breakfast on her way out the door to work (a pop tart) and bought Coffee on the way to work. She had an article to finish and worked on that until noon. About that time Eric, one of Chloe’s co-workers, knocked on her open door. She was finishing up some fact checking when he arrived. She figured he was here to ask her out to lunch.

“Hey Sullivan,” Eric said just as Chloe was finishing a paragraph.

“Hey Sullivan,” she replied.

They had made a joke out of the fact they had the same last name. He called her sis, she called him bro, and people would say your brother wants you or your sister wants you whenever they were looking for each other. They played into it to the extreme.

“So you ready for lunch?” Chloe asked.

“Actually I’m here to tell you there’s an extremely beautiful woman here to see you,” Eric told her. “I see she has a kid, but I kinda like kids.”

“She’s married to one of my best friends,” Chloe said opening her desk drawer. She had a few pictures there she hadn’t framed yet. One of them was the Lana/Pete wedding photo. She showed the picture to Eric. “Married to the vice president in fact.”

“Cute couple. I knew I recognized her,” he said. “Are they serious?”

“You’re shameless Eric.”

Chloe got up from her desk and followed Eric to where Lana was waiting. She was holding little Clark who seemed to be fascinated with a rather tall plant at the time. The baby boy turned and saw her first.

“Cuwee,” he yelled.

Eric parted company with Chloe as she joined Lana. Clark put his hands out to be picked up and Chloe accepted him from his mother.

“He’s so friendly,” she said as the little boy rested his head on her shoulder.

“I know that’s what bothers me. Everyone is his friend. Makes him very easy to kidnap.”

“He has too many people looking for him for that to happen. Right little Clark?” Chloe asked. The boy grinned.

“I wasn’t expecting to see you here,” Chloe said.

“I just thought maybe you wanted to do something for lunch. I mean eat with us if you don’t mind being out with a baby that is.”

“Sure, I was about to go get some lunch anyway,” Chloe replied.



An hour later Chloe found herself rushing in her front door looking for a new outfit. Lana was right there with her holding a messy baby boy. Lana apologized over and over again as she followed Chloe into her room.

“Shoot, I have to get back to work,” she said looking for another outfit.

“I’m so sorry.”

“I Sorry Cuwee,” Clark echoed as his mother cleaned him off.

“I knew better,” Lana said. “I know how Clark is with food.”

“It’s not your fault,” Chloe replied.

Lana put down her little boy on the floor. He ran into the next room where his toys were.

“He did this to Pete once before a big meeting. At least let me pay for the dry cleaning.”

“I’m okay,” she said throwing clothes around. She finally found the outfit she wanted and seemed to struggle with the buttons on the top she wished to remove.

“Let me help,” Lana said coming over. She came up to her and began to unbutton the other woman’s top.

“You know, I’m usually pretty good at dressing myself,” Chloe said.

“Well this is my fault so I’ll handle it.”

Lana’s hand touched the buttons and slowly began to free each from there button hole. It felt weird enough to have Lana here in the room, but standing here staring into her eyes as she undressed her was too much. A million years ago, or so it seemed, when she and Lana were just college roommates, they had briefly played with, fooled around with, toyed with, the idea of being more than friends. They never committed to the idea though and then they moved on. Chloe wondered if Lana ever regretted it. Chloe shook the thoughts from her head as Lana helped her out of her blouse. Lana was married and that was the end of that. Chloe grabbed the clean blouse and slipped out of her stained skirt.

Lana sat on the bed and watched her dress. She couldn’t be angry at her husband for still loving Chloe, she still loved her. She wanted to tell her she loved her in College, but she was afraid and somehow they’d found there way back to just friends before she ever got the words out. Life went on and there was Clark and then much later Pete. She had been satisfied with Pete for a long time, especially after little Clark was born. The birth of her son seemed to redefine everything in her life. But there was always Chloe and one of her biggest regrets was never telling Chloe how much she meant to her.

“I’ll see you tonight,” Chloe said grabbing her briefcase.

As Lana watched her leave she wondered if this time with Chloe was her chance to say I love you. What would that mean now that they were adults and she was married with a child. Did it matter? In the long run did she want herself or Chloe to die without ever knowing? She had to bring it up, she had to say the words somehow. Lana looked at her ring.

“I’m sorry Pete. I have to.”

In her heart she wasn’t planning on betraying her husband, but she wanted Chloe to know. No, she needed Chloe to know.




********************

The lights were off when Chloe returned that night. If she didn’t know better she’d think the house was empty. Maybe it was. Maybe Lana had left. She saw Clark’s little jacket laying on the couch and knew immediately that wasn’t true. She attempted to make as little noise as possible as she found her room. She was careful as she passed the guest room so she wouldn’t disturb Lana and a possibly sleeping Clark. She slipped into her room and out of her clothes into her nightgown. Then she fell into bed and was surprised to hear a soft murmur.

“Ummm, Chloe,” Lana said softly.

Chloe turned around in her bed and saw Lana sleeping there with her little boy resting beside her.

“Lana?” Chloe questioned.

Lana’s eyes slowly came open. “Chloe, I’m sorry. We fell asleep watching your TV. I’ll get out your bed.”

“It’s okay,” Chloe replied. “I don’t mind the company. I mean it’s not like we’ve never been in the same bed before.”

They laid together for awhile enjoying the silence and the soft sounds of the sleeping baby. Each of them drifted off with time. However, Clark woke them up with his crying some time later. Lana got up with him and walked for awhile holding him. Chloe was only half awake and drifting back off into a deep sleep when Lana crawled back into her bed, alone this time.

“Clark’s out for the night,” Lana said softly.

“‘kay,” Chloe said sleepily. “See you in the morning.”

“Chloe?”

“What?” she replied caught between waking and sleeping.

“Do you remember when we were together?” Lana asked. “I mean I know we never said we were together, but–”

The question shocked Chloe. She sat up in bed now fully awake. “What exactly are you talking about?”

“Me and you in college. I know we always played it off as just fooling around. Did you ever think, maybe, it was little more than that?”

“Why are you asking?”

“No reason,” Lana replied. She looked at her wedding ring as she sat up beside her.

“Are you planning on leaving Pete?” Chloe asked worried.

“No, I mean, he’s great. It’s not even about Pete,” Lana sighed. “I wonder if it was ever about a guy. I mean we made it about a guy over and over again. That first time we were mad at Clark, still in High School, confused so we said it was just because we were mad at boys and then we were friends again. And College we were both working, going to classes, rooming together, and how that led to more I don’t know. But again we blamed all those circumstances and we backed out of it eventually. But maybe it was bullshit. When you started dating what’s his name, that older reporter guy, I let it go but I didn’t want to. The truth is I didn’t want to let you go. I was afraid if I told you that you would still walk away. I wouldn’t only lose a friend, but the person I–” Lana stopped and looked at her ring again.

“The person you… what?” Chloe asked blocking out the ring with her hand.

“I’m committed to my husband, my family. I don’t doubt that for a second. But I need you to know I was in love with you, but I was young. Saying I love you didn’t just mean I love you. It meant I loved a girl and I didn’t know how to deal with that then especially after that whole weird Tina thing. I’m sorry for putting all this on you right now, but I just needed to say it.”

“It’s okay,” Chloe told her. Chloe slipped her fingers through Lana’s. “I did the same thing.”

This simple contact reminded her of how much she missed being with her in the intimate quiet, just holding each other.

“I was afraid too,” Chloe admitted. “That’s why I ran to Brady. I was afraid everything felt to right with you. I was afraid of all the things it meant. Mostly I was just afraid of being in love with Lana Lang. I saw the broken trail of guys behind you…. and… Tina.” They both laughed. “I really didn’t want to be the next Tina. As long as it was just fooling around, friends who happen to be bed buddies, it was safe. But I knew it wasn’t safe anymore even if it was a secret. I was falling for you.”

“I wish you had told me before?” Lana replied.

Chloe’s hand found Lana’s cheek and gently traveled the corners of her lips with her thumb.

“What made you let go of all of this now?” Chloe asked.

“It needed to be said before I lost my nerve,” Lana said. She wanted to kiss Chloe right then and there, but she was afraid. “Would you stop me if I kissed you now?”

“If you kissed me now, do you think we could stop there?”

“No,” Lana replied.

Knowing this didn’t stop her. She leaned forward to meet Chloe’s lips. Lana’s heart was beating a thousand times faster than normal as she did this. This had not been her goal, she was done and she was suppose to walk away now, but she couldn’t. But when Chloe said she loved her logic melted away. The two hungry mouths had been begging for contact since Lana stepped though the door. The memory of there undefined relationship so many years ago was still fresh in there mind and at this moment it was like nothing had changed. They were trapped in a long much needed kiss and the two of them were lost for a moment.

“Stop,” Chloe finally said pushing her away.

“What is it?”

“We can’t do this. You’re Pete’s wife,” Chloe told her. “You’re Clark’s mother. God that sounds weird.” That last comment was more to herself than Lana.

“Then I won’t be Mrs. Ross tonight,” Lana said taking off her ring.

“Pete’s my friend.”

“He’s my friend too, but I need this, I need you,” Lana said.

Lana leaned forward and began kissing the other woman’s neck. Slowly working her hands down and freeing Chloe from the nightshirt she was wearing. Lana’s hands began to toy with the soft full breast she missed for so long. She hadn’t planned this moment, but now that it was happening she wouldn’t turn away. She’d done that to many times in her life.

“I need you,” she whispered in her ear.

Chloe knew from experience once Lana reached this point it was hard to resist her. Fighting her was almost pointless, because she turned into a tiger. Lana straddled her lap and pulled off her own nightgown.

“Sorry, I’m not what I use to be,” Lana told her.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about. You’re still the most beautiful girl in the world.”

“Only next to you,” Lana replied. “Only with you.”

Lana smiled and then trapped Chloe in her kiss and the rest faded into the night.


************

Morning crept in through the shades and found Chloe and Lana wrapped in each other’s arms. Chloe’s life was pretty good, but something had been missing, something she couldn’t quite put her fingers on. Now she complete again, that unknown emptiness had been filled, the problem was the space was filled by a married woman.

“Morning,” Lana said softly in her ear.

“Morning,” Chloe replied.

They kissed tenderly.

“Mommy, Mommy,” a little voice called next door, breaking there contact.

“Duty calls,” Lana said. She kissed Chloe once more and then made her way into the next room.

Chloe turned over in bed and caught site of Lana’s ring. She wondered if things would be different now if she and Lana had been brave enough to say ‘I love you.’ But then little Clark probably wouldn’t exist and despite her ruined clothing from the day before, she loved the little guy. Just then the phone rang and Chloe picked it up.

“Hello,” she said sleepily.

“Chloe, how are you?” the voice said. “Sounds like you had a rough night.”

It was Pete. Chloe’s mind stopped functioning for a moment.

“Chloe, you there? Are you taking care of my family?”

“Pete,” Chloe finally said. “Your family is great.”

“I miss my little peanut. It’s just not the same waking up in the morning and not seeing his little face,” he said. “Can I talk to them?”

“Sure,” Chloe said getting up. She grabbed Lana’s ring as she took the phone into the next room where Lana was helping Clark get dressed.

“Pete’s on the phone,” Chloe said.

Lana could hear the guilt in Chloe’s voice.

“Daddy,” Clark yelled in response to his father’s name.

Chloe gave the toddler the phone and supported it as he spoke. She handed the ring to Lana and she put it back on.

“Daddy, I mess up Cuwee. I say sorwee,” Clark told him. “Yeah… Yeah… bye-bye daddy.”

Lana took the phone from her son. “Hey honey, how are things going?”

“Hey Clark,” Chloe whispered. “Why don’t you come with me while mommy talks to daddy?”

He went over to Chloe. Chloe picked him up and carried him into her room.

“Daddy get bike,” Clark told her.

“Really what color?” Chloe asked.

“Color is orange,” the boy replied.

“So he’s going to get you an orange bike?”

“No color orange,” the boy told her.

Then he laughed and she laughed with him. He was so cute it was hard not to fall in love with him.

“You really love your daddy? Don’t you?” Chloe asked.

“I wuv daddy, I wuv Mommy, I wuv big Clark, I wuv Cuwee.”

“I love you too,” Chloe said.

“I kiss cuwee,” he said kissing her cheek.

“He really likes you,” Lana said coming into the room.

“You off the phone?”

“Yeah,” Lana said. “Pete says he’s sorry he couldn’t talk to you some more, but — you know — he’s busy.”

“Are things between you two good?”

“Fine. Chloe last night had nothing to do with Pete,” Lana said. “It was about us.”

Chloe looked at the boy as if he could actually understand what that meant. Of course he didn’t. Lana looked at her son. “I still can’t believe this beautiful kid belongs to Pete and I. He’s such a great father. You’ve never seen them together it’s beautiful.”

For a moment it seemed like Lana’s lit up. It seemed just then her love for Pete ran deeper than she admitted to herself or to Chloe. And Chloe didn’t know how to feel about that. Lana kissed Little Clark and then he slid onto the floor. They watched him run off to play. Lana reached for Chloe’s hand and she pulled away.

“How can you look at that little boy and talk about Pete and then…” Chloe stopped crossing her arms in front of her.

“I never said I didn’t love my husband Chloe, but I love him in my own way. It’s just different.”

“I don’t understand that,” Chloe told her. “I mean you either love him or you don’t. And if you do this is wrong.”

“Pete happened at the right time in my life. Just like Clark happened at the right time. They gave me something I needed when I needed it. And my son, I love my son. He happened just when I was wondering if I made the right decisions for my life. I know Pete is an incredible father and a good husband, but…”

“But…”

“Something’s always been missing. See it was never the right time for us to happen, but it always felt right for us to happen and now it’s like screw timing, right here, right now, we’re together.”

“This isn’t like we’re in College or High School or even out of school and still single people.” Chloe got up and walked across the room. “You’re married Lana. You have a husband and a son. And your husband, your son’s father, happens to be my best friend. We both betrayed him last night.”

“I told you last night I wasn’t Lana Lang-Ross.”

“But you are, you’re Lana Ross, mother of Clark Ross, wife of Peter Ross. Taking off a ring doesn’t change that. You could eternally lose your ring and you would still be these things.” Chloe sighed. “Maybe you should go home.”

Lana walked up to her. “Don’t say that.”

“Why?”

“Because that means you regret it.”

“I don’t okay. I mean maybe I do, but it’s because he’s one of my best life-long friends Lana.”

“You keep saying that. What about me?”

“What about you?”

“He’s one of your best friends. What am I? I lived in your house. We got an apartment together in College. We shared a bed on and off for almost six years, sometimes to be close, sometimes for…other reasons. What was I to you? A sister, a friend, a lover, a fling. What was I?”

“You were… Lana.”

“And was Lana a friend?”

“She didn’t start out that way.” Chloe sighed. “But she became a friend and then something else.”

“And what was that?” Lana said coming closer.

Chloe couldn’t resist Lana. When Lana got too close it was like her mind was clouded by some drug and she had to have her. She grabbed the other woman and trapped her in a kiss. The loud ringing and dinging of a toddler toy broke the kiss.

“Shit,” Chloe cursed to herself.

“It’s okay,” Lana said. “He’s still in the other room.” Lana traced a finger along Chloe face.

“Stop,” Chloe said grabbing her hand. “What if he had walked in here. Your son can’t see Mommy kissing Aunt Chloe.”

“You’re right,” Lana said backing away. “I’m sorry. I’m really putting you in an awkward position. I’ll leave if you want me to.”

“Don’t say it like that. Of course I don’t want you to leave,” Chloe said. “I want… but you’re Pete’s wife.”

“Can’t you just forget that for a little while? Just while I’m here.” Lana asked. Suddenly she realize what she was saying and backed away. “I’m sorry. I must seem like a selfish bitch to you right now.”

“Mommy,” Clark said running into the room. “I want eat.”

Lana picked up the little boy and walked toward the kitchen.

“Lana,” Chloe said. She stopped and turned back. “Don’t leave before we talk some more.”

“Okay”

Chloe went to shower and get her mind off things before she had to face the day.



Chloe was distracted for the rest of the day. Her mind was on the night before and she couldn’t focus. Memories of touching Lana were soft and sweet, but laced with the bitterness of knowing she was Pete’s wife. In a way she understood what Lana was saying about just going with it and appreciating the time together. There was something they had with each other — some place inside that was fulfilled with each other that Pete or Clark could never touch. When she tried to go back in her mind and find the girl who despised everything Lana stood for she could never find her. Because that girl she hated turned out to be different from the girl she now knew. That wasn’t to say Lana was perfect, that they never disagreed, or that life with Lana was always paradise. They had there fights, moments they hated each other, and of course the boy conflict came up over the years. The boy conflict had been the most insignificant one. They never seemed to care enough about the boy for that argument to last. And the biggest issue with the boys was Lana seem to always win there affections on her looks alone. For awhile it bothered her that they always went for Lana, but then she was reminded Lana always put her above these hormone driven teenagers. The girl they wanted always wanted her. And Lana had a way of making Chloe feel like a boy had to be crazy not to love her and then she fell in love with Lana all over again. Boys and other conflicts of the past didn’t even matter now. She was a teenager then and teenagers had there insecurities, they felt awkward. It didn’t bother her twenty-four hours a day then and now she was over it. And those arguments they had in the past were the silly little problems people have in life, the things you look back on and then laugh. Laugh at yourself for letting something so small get in the way.

But it wasn’t small things that stood between them. Marriage wasn’t a small thing. A child wasn’t a small thing. Even her friendship with Pete wasn’t a small thing. Lana did seem to love Pete or at least she seemed to love the man Pete had become. As a father, Lana seemed proud of Pete. But there a certain amount of passion missing when it came to her husband minus the fact he was a great father and a good man. But was it fair to little Clark for them to find that satisfaction, that passion, with each other.

“Sullivan! Sullivan! Chloe!”

“Huh,” Chloe said looking up at Eric Sullivan.

“Sorry,” Chloe said. “Thinking.”

“You alright sis?”

“I don’t know,” Chloe said getting up from the desk.

“Want to talk about it?”

“Yeah, but I don’t think I can talk about it.”

“Will coffee help?”

“I’ll give it a shot,” Chloe said grabbing her purse.

She and Eric walked to the shop on the corner and got themselves some coffee. They sat in silence for awhile. Though there little name game began as a joke, Eric was really like a brother. Locally, he was her best friend. Jenna, one of the photographers, joked the two of them would probably get married and Chloe wouldn’t even have to change her last name. But it wasn’t like that between them. They were strictly friends and she liked it that way.

“Sullivan something is really bothering you and you need to get it off your chest.”

“If I tell you will you promise to keep it secret.”

“Sure,” he said casually.

“I’m serious,” Chloe said.

“It’s not like it’s headline news anyway.” He met her eyes. “Is it?”

“I don’t know. It involves the vice-president’s wife.”

“Your friend?” Eric said. “What she do? Drink the milk out of the carton and then put it back in the refrigerator?”

“Actually I was the one famous for doing that,” Chloe said with a small smile.

“What do you mean?”

“Well, we lived together in High School and College. In High School her aunt moved away and she moved in with me and my dad. College, we did the dorm room thing for a year, hated it, got an apartment together.”

“You two were close? I thought she was married to one of your best friends. It sounds to me like she was your best friend.”

“Well, it was always… complicated between us,” Chloe said.

“What do you mean? Did you fight over Mr. Ross in college or maybe high school?”

Chloe laughed. “Lana and I fight over Pete. Never happen. God, I’ve never thought of Pete that way and I don’t think anyone in high school would have predicted Lana and Pete would have ended up together in any reality or alternate reality. It just wasn’t there back then. Clark, that was our problem.”

“The reporter guy, Clark Kent? You two…over that guy…I thought he was gay.”

“Have you forgotten about my cousin Lois?”

“I thought that was just for show.”

“I’m not talking to you anymore.”

“It isn’t my fault the guy is gay.”

“He’s not gay.”

“I thought you weren’t talking to me.”

“I hate you.”

“No you don’t. Now lets go back to you and Lana mud wrestling for Clark Kent.”

Chloe smiled. She knew that was Eric’s goal, to make her laugh, to lighten her up.

“Okay lets be serious,” Chloe said. “If you ever tell anyone this I’ll deny it. The thing is on and off for about six or seven years Lana and I were lovers.”

Eric’s mouth fell open. He wasn’t expecting that.

“Eric? You okay?”

“Wow,” Eric finally said. “I wasn’t expecting that. I could see the headlines now. Gotham City reporter lesbian lover of vice presidents wife.”

Chloe rolled her eyes at him. “That would be a big shocker for the guys. I mean Clark and Pete were clueless about it all, but Lois knows. I told her once. Still as far as I know she’s never told Clark.”

“So what’s the problem? Are these feelings back?”

“More than that. It’s weird because having her in my house is like being a couple again. I mean for a long time in college it wasn’t just… sex. We were very domesticated. It was kind of safe to think we just fooled around sometimes, but it was much more than that. When we lived together, we really ‘lived’ together. We even went out on Fridays. Sometimes she’d cook for me. We’d surprise each other with little gifts. I guess it all got too comfortable and we were young. It was scary to think ‘we’re a couple, we’re together’. Clark, Pete, Lana, and I were a pretty tight team back then. I honestly don’t know how Clark and Pete didn’t know, but boys can be clueless when they want to be.” Eric pretended to be offended. “Well you know you can be. Anyway, I met this guy Brady and I used him as an out on the whole thing since we never actually said we were together. But even after Brady, even after Lana started dating again, there were nights where we slept together. And I mean sleep. There were many nights we didn’t do anything more than lay together and hold each other. Even after Brady and even after Lana moved on.”

“And now you want to… be with her again?” Eric questioned.

“Last night she said she loved me Eric. A real ‘I love you’. The kind of I love you she should be saying to her husband.”

“What did you say?”

“The truth.”

“Which is?”

“I love her too. It’s a mess Eric. I don’t know what to do.”

“Because of Vice President Ross?”

“That’s the thing. To you and the world he’s the vice president. To me he’s Pete, my friend Pete. And it’s not just Lana, his little boy is staying with me. I don’t want little Clark Ross to hate me because I got in-between his mother and father.”

“So you’re saying Mrs. Ross is planning on leaving the vice president for you.”

“No, she’s committed to her family. She just wants to be with me while she’s here.”

“Well then what’s the problem?” Eric asked.

“I told you. Pete, he’s my friend. And Pete’s son…”

“He’s not in the bedroom with you and neither is Pete. Maybe it’s just me, but hey you only live once. And if she loves you and you love her, why not go for it?”

“Because it can never just be sex. I love her. I love her smiling at me in the morning. I love curling up beside her at night. I love watching her sleep. I love the way she looks at me wide eyed when I talk to her. I love how she makes me feel. I love the way she touches me when…” Chloe stopped herself. “Wow, I went off for a second there.”

“You know there are other women out there that you could date if that’s what you want to do.”

“Eric, it’s not about a woman or a man. It’s about her,” Chloe said. Chloe shrugged. “I can’t believe it happened to me too. I guess when it comes to Lana the feelings have always been different, but I accepted that she was married and it was over until last night. I don’t want to pretend that she’s mine for a little while then have to remind myself she’s not.” Chloe put her head in her hands. “How fucked up is my life?”

“Alright sis, the fact is she’s married and she’s planning on staying married from what you’re telling me. You don’t want to hurt Pete and if you go for it keeping this secret means living with some guilt. But right now she’s here and she wants to be with you. An opportunity like this may never happen again. If you let it pass, you might regret it. So what are you willing to live with — guilt or regret?”




*****
The house was quiet again when she got home. She heard water running in the bathroom. Was little Clark getting a bath? She made her way upstairs. The bathroom door was cracked, but she couldn’t see in. She pushed it open and saw Lana soaping one of her legs. She stood silently admiring the beauty of that single leg. How could Lana think that body was anything but beautiful.

“Baby boy is that you?”

“No,” Chloe replied.

Lana looked up from her bubble bath and smiled. “If you’re coming in close the door. Clark is sleep and I don’t want to wake him.”

Chloe closed the door behind her and came closer to the tub. She dropped to her knees beside the tub

“Are we okay?” Lana asked.

Chloe didn’t say anything. She just leaned over and kissed her. As she pulled away she met Lana’s eyes and her hands traveled down the woman’s leg and back up across her thigh and stomach. Lana reached for her hand and took one of Chloe’s finger’s into her mouth and sucked it softly. Chloe breath caught in her throat as she watched Lana seductively lick and suck her fingers. Suddenly out of nowhere she caught the gleam of Lana’s wedding ring and pulled away.

“We have to talk,” Chloe said turning her back to Lana. She sat with her back against the tub.

“About this morning,” Lana said reaching out and massaging Chloe’s cheek.

Chloe fought the urge to fall into that hand and be taken away.

“About us,” Chloe said. “Is this an affair?”

For a moment Lana paused and said nothing.

“I guess that’s what you’d call it,” Lana said continuing her caress.

“We’re not young girls anymore Lana. Fooling around could hurt people.”

“Not if they don’t know,” Lana replied.

“That was an okay excuse when we were sixteen, eighteen, twenty-one. Now it’s not.”

“When I was younger,” Lana replied. “I had to be the good girl and I was afraid to act on my feelings a lot of the time. Sometimes I was even afraid to feel anything beyond the expected emotions. I don’t want to do that anymore.”

“But you don’t want to leave Pete either.”

“Is that what you want?” Lana asked. “You want me to leave Pete.”

“You know I don’t want to hurt Pete, but you know I want this too.”

“You have this,” Lana said. “Right now its yours.”

“I have what? About two weeks. Lana I don’t want two weeks.”

She heard movement as Lana stepped out of the tub. Then she was standing in front of her soaking wet. Chloe looked up at the woman in front of her. She slipped to the floor straddling her lap.

“I am yours,” Lana said. She took Chloe’s hand and put it over her heart. “This feeling I have now no one else does this to me. This only belongs to you.”

Lana kissed her softly and pushed her to the floor. She dripped all over her good clothes, but Chloe didn’t care.

“I love you,” Lana whispered softly.

“So what are we going to do?”

“Right now?” Lana asked. “How about we go to the bedroom?”

“How about we get in the shower?”

“I like that idea too.”



****
Chloe felt bad about not feeling bad enough. It was easy to make love to Lana until she forgot all the reasons it was wrong. And for a little while she did forget. She only concentrated on Lana’s touch, on her kiss, until she was so tired she wanted nothing but sleep. But as they awoke in each other’s arms it was all she could think about.

“Why do you stay married to Pete?” Chloe asked as they lay awake in bed the next morning.

“Why is this coming back up?”

“I need to know. Is it just because you have a son now?”

Lana was silent for a moment.

“I want Clark to have what I didn’t a real family. And I have feelings for Pete, I do. I think he’s one of the best guys in the world.”

“How can you say that and then tell me you love me?”

“Well, it’s not the same. You complete me in a way I can’t explain. Pete he does things that make me love him. Remember I said Pete happened at the right time in my life. Well it’s horrible to say, but I don’t even know if I loved Pete when I married him. I liked him a lot, he’s Pete, he’s a sweetie and he wanted to give me the world. Pete was really good at making me smile at the worse times and he was there when my aunt died. She was all I had ever really known of a mother. Pete had a strength I didn’t know he had and I admired that. But admiration isn’t love and back then I probably would have backed out of it. I didn’t because I knew Pete was a great guy and he wanted to make me happy. It wasn’t until I married him and little Clark came into our lives that I finally thought ‘I love him’. I can’t explain it, but when he held our son for the first time and I saw in him everything I felt seeing that little boy for the first time. Once when Clark was just a little tiny infant I walked in the nursery and Pete had him in his arms. Clark was so small and fragile when he was born and Pete held him as if he thought he would break. And he sang to him and told him how much he loved him. I mean you should see him with that little boy… it’s magic.”

“Do you think it would kill him to know about us? Pete I mean.”

“I couldn’t say. Pete is always surprising me.” Lana smiled. “He might ask to join us. My husband and I happen to have the same taste in women.”

Chloe laughed and pulled Lana close. The pitter patter of little feet caused them to jump apart. Clark toddled into the room. Lana climbed out of bed and got a robe to throw over her nightgown. She grabbed up her son and took him down the hall. Chloe shook her head. She didn’t know why she was doing what she was doing, but she couldn’t stop herself. It was like she couldn’t fight her desire for Lana with all the good intentions in the world.


Chloe finally came downstairs. Clark was eating dry cereal from a bowl as he watched Saturday morning cartoons. Lana was cooking breakfast. Chloe had to admit she kind of wished this wouldn’t go away. Didn’t everyone want this? Someone to love, maybe a child. But Pete had said it when he called, this was his family.

“We’re going to the pool today Chloe. You want to go?”

“I don’t know.”

“I swim,” Clark said.

“You can’t swim,” Chloe replied.

“Swim like dis,” Clark said and made a fish face and began moving his arms.

Chloe laughed at him.

“How Cuwee swim?”

“Cuwee isn’t a big swimmer,” Chloe told him.

“No swim?” he asked.

“Come on Chloe, it’ll be fun. Will you come?”

Chloe half smiled. “Depends. What’s your bathing suit look like?”

Lana shot her a teasing grin. “Come to the pool and you’ll find out.”




It was a Saturday. Still she usually spent her Saturdays working on something, either independently or work related. She hadn’t spent a Saturday just fooling around in a long time. She did take up Lana on the trip to the pool. Lana’s bathing suit was actually a red one piece with this skirt thing attached. It wasn’t a joke, Chloe discovered Lana had become very self conscious about her body since the birth of her son. Chloe told her she was crazy. Her breast were a little fuller, her thighs a little thicker, but it only made her more beautiful. They forgot about worrying about body image as they took Clark to the indoor pool. Lana stood at the bottom of the slide at the kiddie pool as Chloe settled Clark at the top. He slid down into his mother’s arms and she scooped him up. They played around the wadding pool for awhile. After running after Clark for awhile and repeated “again, again”, she was tired. She didn’t know how Lana kept up with the youngster. Chloe sat near the part of the pool where Lana was supervising Clark swimming. Clark called her to look at him every few seconds as he played at swimming with his mother nearby. She didn’t know when she drifted off, but a small wet bundle crawling in Chloe’s lap had her sitting up awake.

“See me Cuwee, see me?” Clark asked.

“I saw you,” Chloe replied as Lana dried him off.

Clark yawned and rubbed his eyes.

“I think someone is tired,” Lana said.

“No mommy. Swim.”

“That’s enough for today Clark.”

“Swim,” he yelled.

“Clark!” Lana said sharply.

Chloe was taken aback. She wasn’t use to this tone.

“Sorrwee mommy,” Clark said.

“Wow, you’re a real mom alright,” Chloe said.

“Sorry about that,” Lana replied looking through the baby bag for Clark’s outfit.

“Don’t apologize,” Chloe said. “I’m impressed.”

They smiled at each other. Clark yawned again.

“Someone’s getting very very sleepy,” Chloe said.

“No,” Clark said through another big yawn.



They headed straight back. It amazed her that the sleepy baby boy was able to fight sleep all the way home. His head would fall and then he’d force it back up. Once they got through the door Lana picked him up and walked him in the living room singing softly to him. Chloe was fascinated watching her care for the boy and she found herself wondering if Pete ever watched her like this. When little Clark’s arms were limp she asked Chloe to get his blanket and lay it out on the floor. Lana laid the napping youngster down and then rested on a loveseat in the living room.

“He’s getting so heavy,” Lana said. “But I still love holding him. I’ll hate it when he stops me from hugging him and kissing him because he thinks he’s too old.”

Chloe sat beside her. “I’ll miss him when he’s gone.”

“Maybe it’s time for you to have one.”

“A baby? Me?”

“You do okay with little Clark.”

“Yeah, but I’ve had like five minutes alone with him at the most. I don’t know if I see myself as someone’s mother.”

“I didn’t either until I had him. Maybe with the right person raising a kid would feel right to you,” Lana said. Lana reached out and touched Chloe’s cheek. “I wish it could be me.”

“Me too,” Chloe took her hand and kissed her palm. “But it won’t be.”

Chloe looked up and her eyes met Lana’s.

“Right, I’m with Pete,” Lana replied.

Lana pulled Chloe close and they met each other’s lips. As quickly as they came together they pushed away.

“We shouldn’t be doing this,” Chloe said. “Clark.”

“Right,” Lana replied.

Chloe clicked on the TV as a distraction. Just then the phone rang. Chloe picked it up.

“Hello,” Chloe said.

“Miss Sullivan how are you? This is the vice president speaking.”

“Hey Pete,” Chloe said.

“How’s my boy?”

“Sleeping away. He’s had a full morning.”

“And Lana?” Pete asked.

Chloe looked toward Lana. Lana shook her head signaling she didn’t want to talk.

“She was kind of wiped out too. Needed a nap.”

“Okay, tell her I called and tell her I love her.”

“Okay, bye,” Chloe said preparing to hang up.

“Wait, how are you Chloe?” Pete asked.

“I’m great.”

“I thought you’d be sick of my little chatter box by now.”

Chloe grinned on her end of the phone. “I like to hear him talk.”

“I do too. I love him so much.”

“And Clark loves his daddy.”

“I can’t wait to see my little Peanut again. Lana too. I miss her. She needed a break I think. So thank you for letting them visit.”

“I should thank you for letting them come,” Chloe replied. “How are you?”

“I’m okay. A bit tired, but at least I know my family is in good hands.”

Silence hung in the air for a moment.

“Ask Lana to call me and give my boy a kiss for me,” Pete said. “Lana too.”

“Alright, bye.”

Chloe hung up.

“He loves you and he wants you to call him,” Chloe told her. “He also wants me to give you a kiss from him.”

Silence hung in the air a moment.

“Why didn’t you want to talk to him?”

Lana didn’t say anything. She got up and walked in the kitchen. Chloe followed.

“What’s wrong?” Chloe asked.

“I try to tell myself I can go home and be the same wife I always was. Then the reality hits and I don’t know if that’s true.”

“What are you saying?”

“I thought I could get you out of my system if I just let go, but that won’t happen will it?”

“It’s okay,” Chloe said.

“What am I doing to him?”

“You aren’t doing anything to him. He doesn’t know.”

“But what if he found out. Seriously, what would happen.”

“I don’t know”

Chloe pulled her close and gave her a kiss for comfort.

*******************

Chloe could have spent months preparing for it and still would have been unable to fight the settled feeling that grew between them. She began to look forward to Clark’s smile in the morning as much as she looked forward to Lana’s touch at night. She looked forward to coming home to them and she forgot what it was like to come home to emptiness. But then the day of Lana’s departure approached. It was there last day. Since Lana would leave early the next morning Chloe took the day off and they took Clark to the park after lunch. For a long time they sat in silence holding hands as they watched the little boy play in the sand. They knew they had done it again, made a little make pretend world where it was okay to love each other. They were still hiding.

“Do you really love him?” Chloe asked. “Pete, I mean.”

“He’s my son’s father Chloe.”

“That isn’t what I asked. I know you think he’s a great father, I know you love that about him. You’ve said it a million times. I’m asking do you really love him?”

Before Lana could speak Clark interrupted them with a prize. A coin he’d found on the ground. Lana took it from him and he ran off to play again.

“He’s a great kid,” Chloe said.

“I know,” Lana replied.

“I don’t want to hurt him anymore than you do.”

“I love Pete. I’m just not sure if I love him the way I should. I just — don’t know. Some days I know I’m exactly where I should be. Pete makes me smile, it’s one of the things that attracted me too him. And he… Can we let it go for now?”

“Sure,” Chloe said.

“Clark,” Lana called across the playground. “Time to go home.”

Lana walked over to the sandbox and brushed the sand from his clothes. They walked down the street and around the corner, each holding one of the boys hands. Clark was always very alert so it was he who saw there visitor first as they approached Chloe’s building.

“Daddy,” Clark yelled breaking away from there hands.

Both looked up and saw Pete stepping off her steps. He was dressed in sweats. He greeted his son with a big hug.

“How’s my little Peanut?”

“Cuwee nice.”

“I know she is, but I missed you peanut.”

Clark grabbed his neck and hugged him tightly. Lana was right. There was something warm about the two of them together. Chloe couldn’t help but smile at them. Lana met her smile and they all went inside. There moment of joy at the sight of father and son was still laced with guilt. Pete had a shopping bag with him and as Lana guessed it was a toy for Clark. A toddler safe remote control race car. He had even bought the batteries. Clark begged to take it out. Pete sat on the floor with little Clark unscrewing the battery case of the toy. Pete had the little boy count the batteries as he put them in the toy. His father then handed him the remote.

“Alright, push this button,” Pete said.

The little boy did and the car went. Clark jumped up and down.

“Car go Mommy,” he said excited.

“What do we say?”

“Thankee daddy,” he said. Then he kissed his father on the cheek.

“You’re spoiling him,” Lana said as he stood up.

“He’s my boy.”

“I thought we were meeting at home.”

“I wanted to surprise you,” Pete replied. “Clark isn’t the only one I have a gift for.”

He pulled a slim black case from his pocket and gave it to Lana.

“It was special order and it finally came in.”

She opened it. It was a diamond necklace. Lana heard Chloe’s shocked intake of breath. It matched her own.

“Pete this is beautiful.”

He smiled and put the necklace on. The she turned toward him and he pulled her close and they kissed. Clark said eww and laughed. Chloe found it difficult to watch and turned away a bit.

“Daddy nasty,” Clark said as the quick kiss broke.

“Daddy’s nasty huh?” Pete asked. “How about I kiss you?”

“No,” he yelled playfully.

He grabbed the boy up and he giggled as Pete kissed his cheek. He pretended to fight him off. He was still giggling as Pete carried him out the room. Lana turned to Chloe with some saddness in her eyes and then joined Pete.

********

Chloe gave them space and went to clear her head in her room. When she left them, Lana and Pete were sitting in the kitchen drinking coffee and talking. She heard Clark giggling as he ran around with his new toy. She sat on the edge of the bed alone cursing herself for allowing this to happen. Under normal circumstances she would have been talking Pete into an interview, but this surprise visit threw her off. She didn’t know what to say to Pete and being in a room with him too long only increased her guilt.

Lana suddenly appeared in the doorway. Chloe looked up as she entered the room.

“So you leaving?” Chloe asked.

“Tomorrow still,” Lana said sitting beside her on the bed. “But I bet Pete could make arrangement for tonight if you want.”

“Are you kidding?”

“Of course not. You didn’t expect Pete to come and–”

“We had to wake up sometime,” Chloe interrupted.

“Are you sorry we let ourselves… you know.”

“No,” Chloe replied. “But don’t worry about me. I have work. I’ll get back to my Bat Men and I’ll be fine.”

Lana smiled. She reached for Chloe’s hands and took them in her own. “I’m going to miss you.”

“I’m not going anywhere. You can visit anytime you want. If you ever need to get away again…”

Lana silenced her with a quick soft kiss.

“Pete’s here,” Chloe said.

“I know. I’m sorry,” Lana said pulling away. “I had to do that one more time. I better get back to them. Are you sure we can stay this last night?”

“I can deal Lana,” Chloe told her.

“Okay,” Lana said starting out the door.

“Lana,” Chloe said. Lana stopped. “I love you.”

“I love you too,” Lana replied.



Chloe put her best face on and offered to take the happy family out to eat. They found a kid friendly fast food place and shared a nice dinner. The family of three shared her guestroom for the night and then in the morning she said good-bye to Lana. It was hard returning to her empty home. It was difficult to face the silence, but she had her work. Slowly days returned to normal and she found the old Chloe. But it was never the same, because at night something was still missing. Then one day she received a letter. It was from Lana (who loved the old art of letter writing verses the quicker transfer known as email). The letter was all about a cruise she had arranged for Chloe’s birthday. She said if Chloe agreed the two of them could escape for a moment together. Lana also said Pete thought she was happier since her little trip away and he didn’t see how this little birthday cruise could be a bad thing. Pete was still clueless. Chloe knew if she accepted she’d be accepting an offer to have an affair, she knew it was wrong to betray her friend, but she couldn’t say no, not to Lana, not ever. And so another secret life began between them.

END

Jan. 17.2003

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