Title: She's His ManPairing: Chloe/Duke OrsinoFandom: Smallville/She's the ManRating: T+-MDisclaimer: Don't ownSummary: When Chloe is sent to Illyria as a boy for her own safety while Lex tries to find the traitor in his camp, she quickly makes friends with her roommate, Duke Orsino. Bored, she decides to become Illyria's official matchmaker, and has no idea that she's making Duke doubt his sexuality considering he thinks she's a boy and he's growing more and more attracted to her.
A/N: I want to thank each and every person who reviewed/PM'd due to the Author Note on the last chapter and gave me such amazingly wonderful encouragement. You made my day and made me feel so loved. It was ridiculous just how huge my grin was and quite a couple of times I got teary-eyed from how beautiful you guys are to me. I love you all. Thanks for being so terrific and making this all worth it. You all are the reason I write.
Chloe smirked at Duke's highly uncomfortable expression. He'd gotten so nervous since he'd found out she was a girl, and while it amused her most of the time it was times like these in which she wanted to slap him up the back of his head. She probably would have slapped him up the back up his head if he wasn't so damned tall.
"I'm terrible at this." Duke hung his head low as he stopped moving and let his hands fall to his sides.
"You're going to learn to slow dance, Duke Orsino!" Chloe glared at him as she grabbed his arms and encircled them around her as she flung her arms around his neck. "This is a really good opportunity to impress the ladies." She gave him a cheeky smile as she began to move once more to the "chick music" he'd winced at when she'd put it to play. Duke was forced to follow her lead, and that really wasn't what he was supposed to do. He was supposed to do the leading. But at least he was moving so she wouldn't complain, for now.
"I-I'm not good at this sort of thing," Duke despaired. "Give me a ball and I'll kick it. But this sort of stuff? It seriously stumps me."
She sent him a small smile as she pulled closer and rested her cheek against his rapidly beating heart. "Right now you're not doing so bad."
"Really?" Once again that was squeaked.
"Yep." She closed her eyes. "I actually feel very good right now." She smiled. "You have this large and imposing body that could be scary, but instead I feel very safe. You make me feel that way."
He was horribly silent.
She realized she had said something weird and went to pull away only to have him raise his hands and anchor them immediately on her hips, the grip on her tight as it secured her in place. She smiled softly and closed her eyes again as she once more rested her cheek against his still racing heart beat and let the music sway them. He was getting better, less mechanical and more natural.
"This is nice." Her voice was soft as she spoke. "This is what I like about slow dancing. When you're with someone you care about every nerve in your body could be tingling with awareness, but there's a soothing oneness that comes with being this close to them. To smell their scent and feel their heartbeat-this is almost primordial."
"Y-you make it sound like seduction."
"Isn't it?" She tilted her head up and finally opened her eyes as she reached for his hand and entwined their fingers as she lifted it for him to see. "Haven't you ever heard of the mating dance? Every species has their own way of finding compatibility, and this is one of ours." She stared up into his face as he stared down into hers. "When you're this close to someone else and you don't feel like they're violating your space, when you want to hold them closer, when you don't ever want to let them go... Doesn't that mean something, Duke?"
He gulped, loudly. "Does it?"
"Yes, it does." She smiled at his innocence. It was one of the things she adored about her adorkable roommate. "When you're dancing with the girl you like, take the time and notice how she fits into your embrace. How does it feel to have her so close and in your arms?" She rested her cheek against his heart once more. "What is it like to know that she can hear your heartbeat? That something so basic is giving away so much?" She tilted her head up to look at him. "When she looks at you, so close and so in reach, does your gaze lower to her lips? Do you want to taste her? Would she let you even if you tried?"
"How would I know?" Duke's voice was low, very low.
Then again, so was Chloe's.
She had a feeling it was the atmosphere. Their dancing had slowed and her body felt warm and safe and content as it basked in Duke's embrace. She could feel herself being lulled by the music and the low lights and the whispered conversation.
"She'll look you in your eyes, she might tighten her grip on you..." Chloe did just that as a demonstration. "And sometimes she'll lick her lips in a subconscious move to have your eyes fixated on her lips." The blonde pressed closer. "If she's bold enough she'll cup your jaw like this, gaze up at you like this, and while some girls might kiss you first, most want you to kissher first." Chloe's voice lowered. "Girls want to feel seduced while they are seducing, they want someone who will understand the subtle cues and act on them without hesitation."
"Without hesitation," Duke echoed as he stared down at her and his grip tightened.
"Exactly," she whispered as she got caught in his gaze. "None whatso-."
Suddenly his lips were on hers and her eyes flew open in shock before they closed instinctively and she gripped him tighter. Some part of her mind was trying to remind her desperately that she shouldn't be doing this, but for the life of her she couldn't remember why. As Duke's arms tightened around her and his lips pressed harder to hers, Chloe warmed at the clumsiness of the kiss and realized he actually might not have kissed anyone else before. It was so shocking to find out how innocent this hunk was, both in body, soul, and mind. It made her feel like the villain seducing the virgin but she reveled in the feeling as she pressed up on her tiptoes to take the kiss deeper and swallow his groan at the first flick of her tongue.
Innocence or not, instinct seemed to take over Duke as he lifted her, and she whimpered as she wrapped her legs around his waist. This new, higher position gave her a better access to his lips, gave her more control, and she took it as she deepened the kiss and slid her hands threw his hair before clasping fistfuls of the silk and holding him captive. A part of her was ridiculously thrilled that he could easily hold her up like this without resorting to resting them against the wall for some extra support. It made her feel small and fragile, something she'd never felt before, and she loved the feeling.
A knock sounded loudly on the door.
Chloe's eyes widened and she stared down into Duke's own wide eyes before she hurriedly unwrapped her legs from around him and the second she touched the ground she'd rushed to the door. The girl licked her lips and straightened her clothes and hair before she cleared her throat and unlocked the door to peer out at who was there. Her eyes widened. "Lex?"
He cleared his throat and looked ready to be killed. "I just found out that there was a mixup and that you're sharing a room with someone."
She looked around before yanking in the guy and closing the door behind him. "It's okay." She cleared her throat and turned to Duke, who was still standing where they'd been moments ago but was now turned towards them, eyes narrowed. "This is my roommate, Duke Orsino." She tried to remind Duke with her eyes that Lex couldn't know that Duke knew the truth or she'd be shipped out. "Duke, this is my... friend. Lex." She'd hesitated a second because she hadn't known whether to say friend, guardian, or to try and pass him off as a relative.
Duke's eyes narrowed as he came to Lex and held out his hand. "Nice to meet you."
"You too." Lex shook that hand, eyes narrowed as well. "Orsino is a very uncommon name." He raised an eyebrow. "Would you be related to Walter Orsino by any chance?"
The younger male nodded. "He's my father."
"I see." Lex turned to Chloe. "So, Cody, I have to apologize again for the mix-up. I've cleared things and you'll be getting your own room starting tomorrow."
Her eyes widened. "What?"
Lex eyed her thoughtfully. "I would have thought that you would be elated." He sidled Duke with a sidelong look before he turned his blues back on her and placed his hand on her shoulder. "I know that you'd had your heart set on being in a room by yourself."
She cleared her throat. "I did, but I've gotten used to this. It's fine." She motioned towards Duke. "Plus, he's good company."
"I'm sure he is." Lex gave Duke his "television" smile and pulled her aside to speak in a very hissed whisper as he leaned closer. "Why are you fighting this? You have to know that it's better for you to be in your own room. Plus, you're a girl, it's not right for you to be sharing a room with a guy."
"How suspicious does this look right now, Lex?" She leaned in closer as well, so their faces were uncomfortably close. "No guardian would mind a boy sharing with another boy, he wouldn't think twice about it. Especially if they get along."
He frowned. "But-."
"Lex." She stared up at him. "I'm fine here in this room until I leave with you."
The young billionaire sighed as he eyed her. "The only reason I'm letting this slide is because it's my fault to begin with and you're right, it would look suspicious." He sent Duke a smile before he turned his blues back on Chloe. "Do you know who his father is?"
Chloe shook her head.
"He's one of my lawyers." Lex cleared his throat. "One of the best from what I hear." He ran a hand over his bald head. "If he recognizes you-."
"Don't worry so much Lex," her lips twitched. "You'll go bald."
He stopped, turned to look at her in shock, and then burst out laughing.
She grinned brightly.
He reached out and messed with her hair. "Are you really going to be okay with this?"
He let out a sigh. "Fine." He looked at his watch. "I have to go now if I'm going to tell Principal Gold to cancel your change in rooms." He waved to Duke. "Nice meeting you." And with that he was out of the door.
Chloe peered out and watched him until he disappeared before she closed the door and leaned against it.
"That's Lex Luthor."
Chloe looked up at Duke in shock.
"That means that the guy you're hiding from is Lionel Luthor."
She blinked and then cleared her throat. "I, uh... So your dad talks about his cases with you, huh?"
"Jesus, Chloe! That man is vicious! From what I've heard-!"
"Duke, anything you would've heard, I know first hand."
A muscle jumped in his cheek as he clenched his fists. "You're in serious danger."
"No I'm not, I'm here and I'm fine." She gave him a little smile as she moved towards him. "And another stroke of good news is that you are becoming amazing at this whole Casanova thing." Lex's interruption hadn't made her forget about what had happened with Duke, but had instead given her time to get her hormones under control and form some sort of battle plan to keep Duke from getting self-conscious around her. He didn't need to worry that their slip up would ruin their friendship, or that she'd now fall in love with him and make things awkward or try and sabotage his plan to win Olivia. He needed to know that this kiss changed nothing, no matter how amazing it'd been. "Just wait and see, Duke." She forced the smile on her face and winked. "In no time at all you'll be slow dancing with Olivia." She patted his chest. "She'll be yours before she even knows it."
Despite her carefree attitude, saying those words left a bitter taste in Chloe's mouth.
Duke Orsino was all sorts of messed up inside.
He watched Chloe across the room laughing as she talked to some random guy he'd never even noticed went to his high school until now, hadn't noticed until he was talking to Chloe, until he was making Chloe laugh. Duke mightn't have ever noticed this other guy before, but he noticed him now, and he didn't like him. He didn't. He really didn't. He wanted the guy gone. Suspended even. Kicked out the school would be best. And he knew what this was, he wasn't so innocent in things of the heart that he didn't realize that he was jealous of this nameless, random dude. He knew it because he got this way quite a lot now and it was seriously messing with his brain.
He was jealous of Malcolm. Of Toby. Of Andrew. Of Olivia for crissakes! And that last part really screwed with his mind!
He knew that Chloe was straight, that there was no chance of anything happening between her and Olivia, but the long haired blonde was seriously becoming obvious with her desire to try and get something to happen there! And she was starting to annoy the hell out of Duke! She started popping up everywhere, just like Malcolm, and Duke had less and less time with Chloe. Less and less time alone with her. He didn't like it. At all.
The soccer player licked his lips and for a second could still taste his roommate on them. Just that alone made him semi-hard and he growled as he palmed his face.
What was wrong with him?
They were only friends!
She was trying to help him get with Olivia-who was getting on his friggin nerves!
That was the only reason Chloe had kissed him. To help him become Casanova. Nothing else. Nothing more. She'd made that plain and clear after Lex Luthor had left. And yet Duke was fighting the urge to use that against her. He'd always thought himself the nice guy. Had never thought himself capable of the types of deception he was contemplating. But he really wanted to kiss her again, to hold her in his arms again, to feel and taste her again. It was driving him insane. Especially when these random guys appeared out of the woodwork left right and center!
He took in a deep breath and tried to control his possessive, protective, jealous desires.
Chloe noticed his stare and her greens took on a curious look before she smiled and waved at him.
He gave a small wave back.
She turned back to Random Guy and laughed as she placed her hand on his shoulder.
Duke clenched his fists.
Something was up with Duke and it was probably related to the kiss.
Chloe was lying to herself big time by trying to pretend that that kiss hadn't rocked her world and then some, but she was good at keeping people at distances and creating boundaries. She'd done it with Clark ever since he'd left her at the dance to look for Lana. She'd done it even before then, actually, when her mother had left for the second time and never came back. Chloe was used to having friends yet keeping a part of her closed off so that they didn't have the chance to hurt her, truly hurt her. It was wrong. She knew that. But if she didn't protect herself who would?
But the thought of needing to protect herself from Duke seemed all sorts of wrong. He was about the nicest guy in existance (he and Clark could battle for Nice Guy of the Year for crying out loud!) and she knew without a doubt that he would never try to hurt her.
Still, that kiss had rattled her, and no matter how hard she tried to deny it, she was far more attracted to him than she felt comfortable with. It was why she played the whole kiss off as if nothing had happened. She couldn't be weird or Duke would be weirder.
He'd get uncomfortable, or god forbid, he'd feel sorry for her or guilty that he didn't feel the same way. There was no way she was going to go through that again. No way.
"So, the game with Cornwall is tomorrow." Duke wouldn't look at her, gaze on the sports magazine clutched firmly in his hands.
"Right, the Big Game." She looked up at him over the book Tess had ordered for her, which had just come in that day. "Nervous?"
"Not really." He was so lying.
She snapped her book shut and sat up in bed to face him. "Don't jocks have pre-game rituals or parties or something?"
He turned his gaze to her. "The team's having a party tonight by the lake like they always do."
She was surprised to hear that. "Why aren't you there with them?"
He eyed her and shrugged. "I didn't feel like going."
"But isn't this a big deal?" She wanted to know. "Won't the team be angry that you're not there?"
"I told Toby and Andrew to say I wasn't feeling so good so I was resting up to play tomorrow." Duke smirked. "They're not going to mind because of that."
"Sneaky, I like it." The girl eyed him thoughtfully, her lips curled in a semi-smile. "So, why don't you feel like going?"
"What are you? A reporter?"
Her grin grew wide. "I actually was the Editor of my high school's newspaper."
His eyes widened as he turned to her. "Really?"
"Yep." She nodded. "I want to be a journalist and work at the Daily Planet."
He frowned slightly. "You've never said anything about that before. I'm-I don't know you as well as I think I do, huh?"
There was something off with the way he was saying that but she tried to ignore it. "Please, don't be overdramatic. And, here's a friendly warning: even though I have no interest in writing the sports section, if there's any news that has to do with you I'll use my friendship with "Star Athlete, Duke Orsino" to get the scoop. I'll hound you until you give in." She leaned closer. "You'll regret the day you met me." She grinned brightly. "And don't think I won't use our friendship to force you to introduce me to any hot soccer friends of yours, either."
He didn't seem to even be listening to her. Instead his mind seemed to be going a mile a minute. He suddenly closed the magazine, threw it behind him on the floor, and cleared his throat. "That kiss we shared-."
Her eyes widened, shocked that he was brining it up. "Duke-."
"It made me realize that I really don't know how to kiss someone."
She paused, blinked, and then tilted her head. "What?"
He licked his head and looked down. "If we hadn't been interrupted I would've made a mess of that kiss."
"I doubt that." She raised an eyebrow. "You kiss really well."
He cleared his throat and kept his gaze on his toes. "What if I get your training downpat and then I kiss Olivia and I make a mess of it? They say that the first kiss is important. It lets both parties know if they're sexually compatible, right?"
She blinked and thought that one over. "...I suppose."
"What if, because I have basically no experience, I totally mess up and ruin my chance?" He licked his lips. "With Olivia?"
Chloe fought the desire to tell him that maybe Olivia didn't deserve him. But she stopped herself in time and was really relieved she had. What sort of person would she be if she'd done that? She'd just told Duke-and then she'd be-she had to prove to herself that she'd meant it. She could keep this professional. She could help the guy who was helping to keep her safe. She-she could do this. It really wasn't that much more than what she was doing already, right?
A part of her was screaming that it was a lot more than what she was already doing, but another part, an eager part, ignored it as she licked her lips. "Duke?"
"Y-yeah?" He still wouldn't look at her.
"Would you like to practice kissing with me, too?"
He looked up at her with the rapidness of a bullet, his eyes wide and his face flushed. He opened his mouth and tried to get something out but he faltered amidst stutters and lowered his head once more. His eyes closed tightly and he nodded twice.
She should say no. She should tell him there were boundaries that friends didn't cross.
But she'd liked kissing Duke, she really had, and for now at least, she convinced herself that this was all in the name of helping him and not because she really wanted to kiss him again.
"Then we'll practice."
His eyes opened and rose to look into her face, his own scarlet.
Chloe returned his gaze and felt her face heat up as well.
She realized then and there that she'd just invited all sorts of madness upon herself.