Clark sat on the battered old couch in his "Fortress of Solitude", his head in his hands.
Pete and his folks may have forgiven him, and understood that he hasn't been in control, but he was seriously dreading school tomorrow. Heck, he wasn't sure he could even show his face outside the house right now. He still couldn't believe some of the things he'd said, some of the things he'd done. How was he going to explain himself to Lana? Lex? Chloe?
Oh God, Chloe...
He could feel a flush creep up his neck, his ears flaming as he relived their encounter in the Torch. It was as if he was watching a movie inside his headas if it had all happened to somebody else. As if he hadn't been the one to kiss her until she'd gasped for breath. As if someone else had thrown her up against a wall, and sucked on her fingers like something out of a late-night cable movie.
Clark Kent didn't throw caution to the wind. He certainly didn't admit his deepest, darkest fantasies to his best friend while molesting her in the middle of a school day. With a shudder, he remembered how confused she looked, and how she'd scrambled to get away from him. He felt utterly ashamed. He'd used how she felt about himused her.
If Pete hadn't shown up when he had, Clark wasn't sure what might have happened. And that terrified him. If he'd hurt Chloe, he'd never be able to forgive himself. He looked up at the sound of footsteps on the stairs, and Chloe's blonde head appeared, as if he'd summoned her.
She was wearing jeans and a tank top, her ever-present computer bag slung over her shoulder. She marched over to the couch, closing the distance in four or five strides, dropped her bag next to the couch. It landed with a soft 'thunk', the strap slipping down her arm to pool on the floor. She stood in front of the steamer trunk that served as a coffee table and stared down at him, as if she was trying to puzzle him out. As if he were a rare and dangerous animal. He opened his mouth to say somethingapologise, claim insanity, beg her for forgiveness. But he never got the words out, because all of a sudden he had a lapful of sexy best friend.
It was just like in the Torch, except the tables were turned. He was too shocked to move at first, eyes wide open as she straddled his hips, one knee on either side of him. Five minutes ago, he was petty sure she was never going to speak to him again. Technically she still wasn't, but in terms of body language, he was getting a pretty clear idea of what she was trying to tell him.
His hands slid up her thighs to rest on her waist, and his every intention was to pull away. But he couldn't seem to get his limbs to obey, as his brain started to seriously overload from the sheer mass of sensations resulting from where she was sitting, how she was sitting, and how she was moving.
Where the heck had Chloe learned to move like that?
He closed his eyes, drawing in a shaky breath as she lightly grazed his shoulders with her nails. He was light-headed as she sucked on his bottom lip, her tongue tracing his teeth. He groaned as she shifted her weight, hips rocking slightly, and suddenly his jeans were way too tight, and in the way. His arms tightened around her seemingly of their own volition, and his mouth opened under hers, their tongues duelling as her hands gripped his shoulders, her mouth moving slowly and sensually against his.
You can't do this, the rational part of his brain kept ordering him as Chloe threaded her fingers in his hair, pulling his mouth against hers with a sweet kind of urgency that threatened to drive coherent thought from his mind. This is your best friend. You mauled her under the influence of that stupid rock, and now you're leading her on...
She was still wearing strawberry lip gloss.
For a second, he wished he still had the ring. Twelve hours ago, he would have given as good as he was getting, consequences be damned. But his friendship with Chloe was too important. Whatever future relationship they might have was too damned important to risk over hormones and meteor rocks.
As if rousing from a dream, Clark lifted Chloe gently off his lap and set her down on top of the steamer trunk, taking his hands from her waist and catching her wrists.
"Chloe, wait. There's something..." he said, pulling her hands from his hair, his mouth still dangerously close to hers. "There's something I have to tell you."
"I know it's crazy," she said, panting slightly, her face lit with a mischievous grin. "But I decided to collect my raincheck."
She looked so happysomething inside him just twisted. "Chloe, you were right. I wasn't myself."
Her smile faded, and he could feel his cheeks burning as he continued.
"What I didwhat we didit wasn't me. It wasn't us. I am so sorry"
"Oh, God," her hand went to her mouth, and she blushed furiously. "Oh God, I'm an idiot. Oh my God." She covered her mouth with her hands, unable to look at him.
"I gotta go," she said as she lurched off the trunk, snagging the strap of her bag and ran pell-mell down the wooden stairs.
"Stupid, stupid, stupid," Chloe muttered to herself, tears pricking her eyes as she crossed the barn. Clark caught up with her before she could yank the barn door open.
"Chloewait." He held the door shut with one hand, the other hand catching her by the arm. "Chloe, I'm so sorry."
"I justyou have no idea. I spent the last day working up the courage toI mean, I sat in my car for ten minutes out here, trying to figure out if I was just insane..."
"It was my fault," Clark said firmly, swallowing hard. "I wish I could explain. I just... Went a little crazy."
"Yeah, 'cause nobody would kiss me if they were sane," Chloe said with a bitter little laugh.
"No!" Clark looked shocked, and she bit her lip as he tilted her chin so she'd meet his eyes. "Chloe, don't ever think that."
He leaned down, and lightly brushed her lips with his. It may not have been the stuff of Barbara Cartland novelsor Cinemax after 11pmbut as kisses went, she didn't think she could find any room to complain. It was so gentleso very much the Clark she remembered, before this whole crazy thing began.
When they parted, they were both still blushing to beat the band, but her crippling embarrassment had faded, and she no longer wished the earth would open up and swallow her whole.
"Can I just... get a raincheck on my raincheck?" he asked, leaning his forehead against hers.
"I suppose," she sighed dramatically, and he grinned.
"So you won't be filing any sexual harassment suits any time soon?" he asked as they trooped back up the stairs.
"I won't if you won't," she promised and collapsed on the couch.
Clark flopped down beside her. "I won't be doing much of anything, any time soon, except chores, and serving detention until I'm 30," he sighed. "Just in time for your sexual peak," he added with a grin, and she whapped him on the shoulder.
"Give you something to look forward to," she giggled.
"Chloe?" he asked after a minute, and he was wearing his serious face again.
"I'm sorry if I scared you," he said quietly.
She took his hand, and gave his fingers a squeeze. "Ditto."
He laughed. "Okay, but I wasn't actually scared of you."
"You so were! I am more woman than you can handle."
"Are too! Clark, no tickling! Stop it! I'm so filing a sexual harassment suit, now!"