It was starry outside as the people in the Kent living room laughed and enjoyed themselves, all except Clark Kent, who looked torn and confused, lost without an answer to the millions of questions racing through his head. He watched as Chloe and Lex sat next to each other, Lex sipping wine and Chloe a glass of water, both bright-eyed and smiling adoringly at each other, and the Kryptonian closed his eyes in pain, unable to admit to himself that Chloe truly loved Lex Luthor.
“I have something I’ve been meaning to ask Lois again for a long time now, and I can’t think of a better time to do so.” Lex’s voice was mysterious and suddenly there was the sound of the chair sliding against the floor and people gasping.
Clark opened his eyes to see Lex Luthor kneeling in front of a wide-eyed, open-mouthed, Chloe Sullivan, and the billionaire was holding a white gold ring with a large diamond in the middle of it sparkling in the light.
“Lois Lane,” Lex held her gaze with his, his face a mixture of longing and anxiety. “Will you marry me?”
FOUR HOURS EARLIER
It was just after three in the evening if the clock could be trusted, and Dinah looked up when Lex came into his study after taking a sleeping Chloe from his jaguar the moment they’d returned from Crater Lake, and took her upstairs to their room so she could sleep.
“How is she?” Dinah asked, a little worried about her cousin. Chloe had been doing this more and more lately--falling asleep during the middle of the day, which was so odd for her energetic cousin.
“She’s sleeping.” Lex went to pour himself a brandy and did the same for her, passing her the goblet. “She didn’t even wake up when I took her upstairs and changed her clothes.” He shook his head, a fond smile on his face as he took a sip of the liquor. “That woman is going to work herself into a coma.”
Dinah smiled as the saw the expression on Lex’s face, and knew for certain that she’d chosen the right ‘side’. The guy worshipped her cousin--as he should--and Dinah took a sip of the drink before taking in a deep breath. “Lex, you know that Chloe absolutely adores you, right?”
He looked up at her from over the top of his goblet in interest. “Of course, and I love her just as much.”
“Well, then, what I’m trying to say is that we both know that there’s an attraction between her and the farm boy.” Dinah winced when she saw the hurt expression cross his baby blues, and hurried on. “But I’m sure that you know that Chloe would never act on that attraction, and, to be truthful, I’d be worried for her if she wasn’t attracted to him.”
“And why is that?”
“He’s one fine specimen, Lex.” Dinah suddenly grinned cheekily. “He’s not my type, I don’t go for the seven-feet-tall-wall-of-muscles look, but even I had to admire how he looked in those swimming trunks.”
Lex raised an eyebrow at her.
She grinned brighter, and then it dimmed. “And where I’m going with this is that despite the fact that Muscle-Man obviously returns the attraction ten-fold, Chloe would never betray you.” Dinah took another sip of the burning liquid. “Believe me, I’m her best friend and she’s mine, she’s told me all her deepest darkest secrets, and while I’m not about to spill what she’s told me in confidence, I know that you’re the most important person in her life.”
A flash of reassurance chased away the worry in his eyes and he smiled softly, looking down at the brandy in his goblet. “As you know she is in mine.”
“I know. You adore her, Lex, just as much as she adores you. You two were destined to be together.” Of that Dinah was sure. “You know that it was hard for me to like you at first, for some reason I distrusted, resented and just couldn’t stand you, and I’m sorry because you’d never given me any reason to do so, but despite the fact that I was acting like a first-class brat with you, you still helped me when I needed you most, and, and, you became my family, Lex.”
She’d never told him this before, so the surprise on his features was understandable.
Dinah took in a deep breath. “I like you in my family, you’re like the big brother that I’d always wanted to be able to tease and torment--.”
“And while I know that my say in everything doesn’t matter, I really want you to be my cousin-in-law.” She looked down at her goblet, a little uncomfortable with baring her soul to Lex. The young woman wasn’t known for these heart-to-hearts unless it was with Chloe, and she knew that Lex knew that and would see this for what it was.
She was officially making it known whose side she was on, how she felt, and that she was going to be on his side throughout the whole ordeal. She was completely accepting him as a part of her family.
“Thank you, Dinah.”
Hearing the choked sound in his voice, Dinah looked up and blinked in surprise to realize that he was fighting to remain stoic, but there was deep emotion in those blue eyes.
He smiled shakily at her. “You don’t know how much those words mean to me—I always wanted a little sister.”
She grinned at him, fighting the prickling sensation behind her eyes by trying to be annoying. “Just so you know—I’ve been nice to you all along—but now that you’ve accepted the fact that you’ll be my big brother of sorts from now on? You’re life is going to be a living hell.”
He grinned right back at her. “Will be looking forwards to it.”
Downing the drink in one gulp, and wincing at the burn in her throat, Dinah placed the goblet on Lex’s desk next to a folder that said 33.1, but she ignored it. “And just so you know, if we meet up with Clark Kent again before returning to Metropolis, I’ll run interference and keep him as far from Chloe as possible.”
Lex was silent for a minute. “I trust your cousin.”
Dinah grinned brighter. Great answer! “I know, but I wanna bug him a bit anyway.”
Dinah was about to speak when the phone on Lex’s desk rang, and she picked it up, placing it to her ear. “Luthor Residence.”
“Hello, I’m calling from the Smallville Clinic.” The nasal female said. “This is in reference to the personal check up Ms. Lane had? Doctor Weinstein would like to see her in his office to go over the results, this evening if possible?”
“Okay, sure, is everything alright?” Dinah asked, a little worried.
“Everything is perfectly fine, shall I tell Dr. Weinstein that Ms. Lane will be here this evening?”
“Sure, what time should we come?” Dinah ignored the curious look Lex gave her.
“Dr. Weinstein has an opening at four.”
“We’ll be there.” Dinah hung up and looked at Lex. “That was the Smallville clinic; the receptionist said that the doctor wanted to talk to Chloe about her results.”
Worry clouded his features. “Is something wrong?”
“No, she said everything was fine.” Dinah waved that off. “It’s just standard procedure.” Her gaze rested on the folders covering his desk. “Why don’t I take her? You lost enough time with us out by the picnic anyway.”
Lex opened his mouth to protest, but then his gaze rested on the folders and he sighed, running his hands through his auburn hair. “Thanks, that would help a lot.”
“No problem,” she smiled and she walked passed him, giving him a playful punch to the arm. “That’s what family does, right?” And with that she walked out of the room to wake up Chloe and get her ready for her doctor’s appointment.
Martha Kent’s hand went to her mouth and her eyes went from Lex Luthor proposing to Chloe right in their living room to her son. The night was painful enough for her boy as it was, and yet she knew that this was the best resolution for the situation. If Clark couldn’t have Chloe then it should be final like this, maybe, maybe if he realized that she belonged to Lex then he could back away and try to reassemble his life.
Tears skidded down her cheeks as she saw the horror, pain and impotence in her son’s eyes as he looked upon the two, who only had eyes for each other.
Why does he have to suffer more? Hasn’t he suffered enough?!
Her mother’s heart broke as she watched the hurt and sadness on his every feature.
A hand covered hers and squeezed, and Martha turned to look at Jonathan, who gave her a small smile that not only conveyed that he understood and felt sorry that this pained them, but this was the right thing for Lex to have done.
Martha gulped back a sob and looked at those around the table, noticing that Lana and Pete were looking at Clark in slight concern while Dinah was grinning brightly, nearly bouncing on her seat as her gaze, solely on Chloe and Lex, spoke volumes about how happy she was.
Martha closed her eyes and brought her napkin to her face.
TWO HOURS EARLIER
Lex Luthor looked up Chloe and Dinah, eyes wide, wondering if he’d been so tired that he’d fallen asleep on his desk and was having a dream. His gaze went from a nervous Chloe to a grinning Dinah, who looked like she was enjoying his perplexity immensely.
“You’ve left a Luthor speechless, Cuz.” She grinned at Chloe. “Do you realize how rare an accomplishment that is?”
Chloe sent a small grin to her cousin before it turned more nervous as she returned her gaze on him. “L-Lex?” Her voice shook. “Say something. Please.”
“He might be catatonic.” Dinah announced. “I’ll slap him up for you if you want.”
Lex stood up rapidly, because he knew Dinah was capable of doing just that. His gaze rested solely on Chloe though, as he let what she’s said sink in, his heart beating so fast it pained. “You’re pregnant?”
She nodded mutely.
“I’m going to be a daddy?” His voice softened to a whisper, in complete awe at the situation.
Chloe smiled softly at the expression on his face, bit down on her bottom lip, and nodded once more.
Dinah, seeing that Chloe was now just as speechless as Lex, rolled her eyes and offered up some information. “The doctor was angry that she hadn’t told him she was four months pregnant during the check-up, if he hadn’t done the blood-test he wouldn’t have known, and said that he wanted to run some more tests to make sure that the fetus hadn’t been hurt during the scuffle she had with those hicks by the caves.”
Lex looked up in horror as he circled out from behind the desk and grabbed one of Chloe’s hands, his other one resting on her still flat stomach. “Is it--? Is it hurt?”
“No.” Chloe finally spoke, her smile breathtaking as she lowered her free hand on the one he hand on her stomach. “We had an ultrasound. The doctor said that he was strong, healthy, and he even did a little kicking while we were looking.”
“Showoff,” and yet Dinah was beaming. “He gets that from his Auntie Dinah.”
“Him?” Lex knew his voice was as choked as his eyes watery. “It’s a boy?”
Chloe nodded, leaning into his touch when he let go of her hand and caressed her cheek in near reverence. “I was thinking that the best name to call him was Julian.”
And he was crying.
While he uttered not a sound, Lex felt the hot drops of water skidding down his cheeks as he suddenly enveloped her in his arms and pulled her to him, burying his face in her hair and shaking as his tears fell freely. “God I love you!” His voice was hoarse and muffled by her hair, but when she squeezed him tightly and returned the words, he knew that she’d understood, if not the words, the feeling behind them.
The sound of a door closing was the only evidence of Dinah leaving the room, and Lex held Chloe tighter before pulling away, looking down at her stomach in worry. What if he’d squeezed her too tightly?
“How can you be four months pregnant already?” he whispered to himself. “You don’t look pregnant at all, and you haven’t been feeling sick--have you?”
“No, I haven’t.” Chloe shook her head, looking radiant. “The doctor said that it’s a rare occurrence, but some women go through the whole of pregnancy without morning sickness and all of that--so I’m one of the lucky ones. Plus, my period has never been regular, you know that, it’ll go for a couple of months and then come down twice a month for the nest couple of months after that.”
Lex nodded. Chloe had always complained about her irregular periods.
“And, well, I’ve been on that tuna and lettuce diet for months, and I’ve still kept up my routine practice with Dinah in the mornings, so I really haven’t gained any weight.” Chloe placed her hands on her stomach. “But Dr. Weinstein said I have to start gaining ‘baby weight’, so the moment Dinah and I got out of the hospital we went to go and pig out.”
He grinned down at her.
She was going to have his baby…
“We should go back home right away and tell your parents.”
She winced. “Can’t it wait till tomorrow?” She looked down at her hands. “While Dinah and I were getting ice cream we ran into Mr. Kent—who was delivering some of their produce to the store next to the Ice Cream Parlor and the whole story kinda came out. He was so happy for us and told us to come back to his house tonight and that we’d celebrate the good news.”
Not even the thought of being near Clark Kent could dampen his happiness. “We’ll leave tomorrow then.”
She smiled up at him. “So you’re happy with this?”
“Of course!” He was surprised that she had to ask. This was his dream come true! “I’ve never been happier in my life!”
“I love you.” Chloe whispered, standing on her tiptoes and pressing a kiss to his lips before rushing out, obviously to see wherever it was that Dinah had gone off to.
Lex grinned like an idiot before going back around his desk and collapsing in his chair.
He was going to be a daddy!
The phone rang and he picked it up. “Luthor.”
“Congratulations son!” Lionel Luthor’s voice announced. “I heard the wonderful news and had to call you immediately to congratulate you on the soon arrival of the newest Luthor!”
“Father, there are rules against stalking.” Lex announced smoothly, not truly bothered because he hadn’t been surprised at Lionel’s knowing about anything that happened in his life.
“Luthors are above rules, my son.”
Lex felt a stab to his heart; that was the first time Lionel had ever called him his son, and with pride.
“So, I believe this is the best time to discuss the confidential matters I brought up to your attention during your little stay at Smallville.”
Lex looked down at the folders pertaining to 33.1. “How is this relevant with my fatherhood?”
“Lex, really.” Lionel sighed in disappointment. “Do you want your son to grow up in a world with these creatures? The Luthor Heir should be protected, Lex, he deserves to grow up in a world safe from such dangers, as does the future Mrs. Luthor.”
“The Meteor Infected aren’t creatures, father, they are human beings who don’t have a choice in what they’ve become.”
“But they have had a choice in how they’ve used those powers, Lex!” Lionel announced. “And one day they’ll band together and destroy us if we don’t at least know how to contain them!”
Lex was silent, the same fear he’d been having now spoken by his father.
“Now that you will be a father, I want you to see this with a father’s eyes.” Lionel sighed. “I made this world a somewhat safer place for you and Chloe by keeping those dangerous murders in check and somewhere where not only will they not be able to hurt anyone, but we can discover a way to neutralize their powers or at least control them so that one day they may be reintegrated into society.”
The offer sounded so tempting…
“So, son, are you with me in the noble endeavor to make the world a better, safer place for those we love?”
“Yes!” Lois Lane threw her arms around Lex’s throat as she threw herself at him, tears streaming down her face. “I’ll marry you.”
“Thank God.” Lex whispered, arms around her as well, eyes closed and hugging her to him.
Lana sighed as she clapped half-heartedly along with everyone else, and turned to look where Clark had been seconds ago—only to find his seat empty.
Closing her eyes, Lana tried to make herself feel happy for Lois and Lex, but for some reason, something deep inside her told her that this was wrong.
She’d gone to the barn to see Clark on the pretext of asking him how things at Lex’s wedding had gone. Chloe knew that she was losing the little ground she’d won with Clark, and she wanted to finally talk things over with him and know once and for all what his feelings were for her. If he felt for her what she did for him, then they’d move on together, and if he didn’t--well--she’d cross that bridge when the time came.
“You have so many secrets in your life.” Lana’s voice was brought to Chloe and she frowned, creeping up on the couple standing suspiciously close to each other on the loft, backlit by the starry sky.
“I know.” Clark sighed, moving closer and shyly putting his arms around Lana, bringing her closer as he looked deep within her eyes. “I just don’t want my feelings for you to be one of them.”
And he pierced Chloe’s heart with that sincere sentence.
“Neither do I.” Lana whispered, eyelashes fluttering closed as Clark lowered his mouth to hers and they kissed.
Chloe’s already broken heart shattered as she watched the boy she loved kissing and giving his heart to Lana Lang--her supposed friend.
Turning, biting on her bottom lip to keep the sobs silent, Chloe rushed out of the barn, tears flowing down her cheeks at the betrayal and heartache.
She didn’t see where she was going until she collided with a wall of steel and looked up into a now adult Clark Kent’s haunted eyes as he looked down at her, and then up at the images of his younger self kissing Lana.
A flash of surprise caused those blue eyes to lighten before he looked down at her in shock. “You’re remembering.”
Waking up with a jolt, Chloe gasped, wiping at the tears that stained her cheeks. She hated having these dreams! They were so intense she woke up feeling so horrible and yet couldn’t remember what she’d dreamt about…
…although…as strange as it seemed…she was almost sure she’d seen Clark in this particular dream.
Shaking her head, realizing that that made no sense, Chloe laid back down and hugged Lex from behind, drifting to sleep, the wind crying outside their window.
She dreamed of Lex and her life together with their son, and how wonderful things would be from now on…
…if only she knew.