The first time she’d seen them Chloe hadn’t known what they were. No one had. They’d just been two gorgeous, mysterious teenaged goths spending time at the Talon, scoping people out. The female was beautiful with her pale hair and skin, looking like some sort of gothic fairy princess. The male, now he looked like a sinister sort of handsome, offset by enchanting eyes, one icy blue and the other electric green.
Chloe had felt drawn to them from that very moment, but she’d thought it was only the curious high school reporter in her.
She hadn’t suspected that it might be the weird-magnet she’d long ago accepted she was.
“I wonder who they are.” Pete whispered, leaning over the table, drinking hot cocoa and watching the newcomers, as everyone seemed to be doing.
Really, Chloe had to admire how the two strangers weren’t bulking under the amount of attention being placed on them. If it had been her she’d have been extremely uncomfortable and it would have showed.
Chad the Goth, as he was known, was the only goth in Smallville, and Chloe couldn’t help but hope the strangers were going to stay awhile. It’d be good for Chad to finally be able to hang around someone else like him.
It must be lonely for one solitary goth in the middle of peppy students and cornfields.
“I’ve never seen them here before.” Lana was taking a short break, sitting at their table, eyeing the goths as well. She turned to Clark. “Have you?”
Clark shook his head. “Nope. Would have noticed them if I had. They’re---very noticeable.”
Oh, they were totally noticeable.
Looking up as her name was called, Chloe smiled as Chad walked up towards her, dressed in black as usual and with a leather choker that she secretly liked. “Hey Chad.”
He smiled at her. She was probably the only person who really talked to him or that he didn’t answer with sarcastic insults. It’d all started because of work ethics, but they’d grown to like each other. Chad had a section in the Torch called Gothic Central, in which he could fill it with whatever he pleased.
It’d been an open, blank section usually used by the jocks to promote their parties or praise their achievements, but Chloe had thought it a waste of space and given it to a surprised Chad. Some days it had artwork, some days it had angsty poetry, but most days it had ironic and sardonic (but utterly amusing in its own dark way) comments about the students, teachers, events, and even the principal had been named once or twice.
Surprisingly enough, Chloe was getting good feedback about that section, so when the principal had come to complain she’d shown him the letters sent in by the readers, and how the families of the students were showing interest as well.
Principal Kwan had left her alone after that.
“Tomorrow’s edition?” Chloe asked, as Chad passed her the floppy disk with a sticker of a skull on it.
“Comments on the upcoming school parties and their unoriginality.” Chad nodded, hands in his pocket. “Maybe they’ll change things completely just to prove me wrong.” His smile was mischievous.
And not for the first time Chloe realized just how much Chad liked writing for the Torch, and it made her proud that she’d had a hand in it.
“Thanks.” Chloe pocketed the floppy disk. “Hows the artwork coming along for Friday’s edition?” He’d promised in his last art edition that he’d have pictures of Goth Kwan, Goth Whitney Fordman, and Goth Lana Lang…and considering that they were the three people least likely to ever become goths, the students were interested in seeing how they’d look.
He smirked. “Almost finished. Kwan’s giving me trouble---but when is that any different?”
Chloe returned the smirk.
Chad cleared his throat and motioned with his chin towards the table of the pale goths. “Who are the new guys?”
“We don’t know.” Clark spoke up. He’d been trying to make friends with the thinner boy but was still slightly weirded out by him, his clothes, and his dark sense of humor.
“We thought you might know.” Lana admitted, twirling a strand of her hair nervously. “You know, since their goths too.”
“So what? You think we goths all know each other or something?” Chad snorted, shaking his head at her before turning his gaze back to the table, not showing any reaction when he realized that the newcomers were now looking at them. “I have no idea who they are. But that girl, she’s something else. She’s like a Gothic Queen of the Damned or something.”
He missed the Lana shifted her gaze to the table, hurt flashing across her eyes.
What was that all about?
“Well, whoever they are, they’re leaving.” Pete finally spoke up, and sure enough the pale goths were standing and making their way towards the exit.
Lana sighed and stood up. “Well, break’s over. I have to go back to work.” And she walked away without looking back at them.
Chloe studied her peppy friend dressed all in pink, and then looked back at her gothic friend, nose ring catching in the light of the room and glittering slightly.
Now this could be interesting.
She forgot all about the two new goths and invited Chad to sit with them for a while. He did, which surprised and pleased her, and after a while the three males at her table were having a comfortable debate about the football team, Pete pro, Chad con, and Clark was the neutral voice of the discussion.
Chloe’d smiled, shaken her head at them, and pulled out her laptop. She was wired in to the network of the computers of the school, so she quickly added Chad’s information to his space. She’d have to go to the school before home to finish off some of the formatting before printing tomorrow’s edition, but that was something normal for her anyway.
Lost in her editorial work and the voices of her male friends in the background, Chloe forgot all about the new goths in town.
Locking up the school after her, Chloe twirled her set of the school keys and hummed to herself. Sure, it was late in the night, but she felt like only now she was fully awake. During the days she was sluggish and sleepy, which was why she consumed the amount of caffeine she did. But at night she was fully awake and alert.
Too bad she wasn’t a vampire.
Her whimsical smile disappeared as she heard the sound of crying. Who would be out here late at night other than her? People ran away from schools as fast as possible, only those going to a rave would come back during the night---who weren’t her of course.
Curiosity won against the many articles she’d read that began with kidnappers and murders/rapists luring their victims out to their doom with the sound of a child crying or something, and Chloe walked towards the sound. She didn’t make a sound, breath caught in her throat, and then there she was.
The Gothic Queen of the Damned---as Chad had referred to her.
She was sitting in the back of the school, on the bleachers, bathed in moonlight and seemed so ethereally beautiful that it made Chloe a little envious and yet deviously happy because there was finally someone better looking than Lana Lang in Smallville.
Still, the beauty in front of her was crying, hugging her knees to her chest and burying her face in them.
She seemed so alone and sad.
Chloe cleared her throat.
The girl froze and turned to look at her, wiping at the tears rapidly once she realized that she wasn’t alone. “How did you sneak up on me?”
“I’m quiet that way.” Chloe announced.
“But I have very good hearing.” The girl said, her voice deepened slightly with a strange accent. “You shouldn’t have been able to sneak up on me.”
The girl paused, before turning to look at Chloe oddly.
“It’s just that you’re a girl, alone in the middle of a school, crying.” Chloe took a couple of steps towards her and leaned her hip against the side of the bleachers, not looking up at the girl sitting way above her. “It’s not safe out here for a girl alone.”
There was a sarcastic little chuckle from the girl above. “It’s probably less safe for you than it is for me.”
“I doubt that.” Chloe replied. “Smallville isn’t exactly safe. You never know when your chem teacher is going to self-combust or try to try and suck all of the body heat out of you or something like that.”
There was a pause. “Are you…serious?”
“I’m a reporter.” Chloe finally tilted her head upwards to see the shocked look on that beautiful face. “We are unbiased and tell no lies.”
“What the heck, I’m not hungry anyway.” The girl suddenly smiled. “My name is Luna. Luna Maxwell.”
“Chloe Sullivan.” Chloe smiled right back up at her. “My friends and I actually saw you and your friend at the Talon this evening.”
“I know. Jagger and I noticed the only goth boy we’ve seen since coming here talking to you.” Luna replied. “Jagger’s my brother, my twin brother.” Her smile fell. “Not that he really cares about me or my happiness.”
“Siblings fight.” Chloe shrugged that. “I always wanted a brother. Or a sister. Or at least a dog. Being an only child is lonely.”
Luna smiled again, this time giggling. “You’re funny. I like you.”
“Thanks. I try.” Deciding to sit on the bottom of the bleachers, Chloe turned so that she was looking up at Luna, who looked inhuman as she sat with the large moon backlighting her. “So, what are you and your brother doing here in Smallville?”
Luna’s smile fell and she sighed, looking down at her combat boots. “It’s---kind of difficult to explain.” She bit her bottom lip, looked around her, and then got up and came down to a lower part of the bleacher so she could talk softer. “My brother and I live in Romania---we’ve lived there all our lives, and while we’re twins we were born—different.”
Somehow Chloe felt that different was important, more than Luna was letting on, but she didn’t press although her inner reporter was spouting questions out by the second.
“We didn’t grow up close like twins should, and we went to different schools---lived different lives.” Luna frowned, obviously this bothered her a lot. “I was always the outcast in my family, different, and envied my brother because he was just like them and I was so different. I only recently realized that as much as I’d envied him he’d envied me. Football is the big rage in Europe and his dream was to be a pro-footballer, but he would never be able to.”
“Because he’s different.” Chloe was a little confused.
“Yeah.” Luna nodded, pausing. “For X reason he won’t be able to ever play football, so, yeah.”
Chloe motioned for her to continue when she went silent.
“But I had a chance of becoming a full-fledged member of my family.” Luna continued happily. “I was, uh, engaged to the son of friends of the family, Alexander Sterling, and he was supposed to bring me into the fold so to say. But due to our different lifestyles we never met but I loved him. I mean, I knew about him, knew of what he did, and I knew that he’d make everyone accept me. They---no one accepted me and Alexander was going to be the reason they did. I loved him without ever seeing his face.”
Chloe could see in Luna herself talking about Clark when she’d still been in love with her oblivious best friend.
“So we get to the cov---marriage ceremony, and he leaves me at the alter telling me to find true love and he would as well!” Tears welled up in Luna’s eyes as she remembered this. “He didn’t want me! He humiliated me in front of my family and his! And then he just left.”
Chloe was shocked. Not only had someone left this girl at the alter---but apparently they got married really young in Romania.
“So Jagger left Romania and followed Alexander here to the states to get him to come back and do what his parents had promised he’d do when we were born---but Alexander had already found someone else. A girl named Raven Madison.” Luna sighed, resting her cheek against her fist and closing her eyes for a second. “And what’s worse?Jagger liked her as well!”
Chloe could understand the betrayal, hadn’t she felt the same when she’d found out that while she was in love with Clark he’d been in love with Lana?
Not that any of the feelings mentioned about worked out for anyone.
“By then I’d been able to get myself accepted into my family, and when Jagger called me to come to Dullsville I did. He said that there was someone who he wanted me to meet, to make a part of the family.” Luna frowned. “Turned out it was all a part of Jagger’s plan to make Alexander’s life miserable, and take Raven from him. It had nothing to do with my happiness.”
When Luna began to cry again Chloe froze for a minute, not exactly sure what to do. She didn’t exactly know the girl, but that softie inside of her told her to comfort her, so the blonde got up and went to where Luna was sitting and placed an awkward arm around her.
“And then---.” Luna sniffled, wiping under her eyes frantically. “And then we got run out of town like we wereanimals!”
“What?” Chloe gasped, horrified for the girl and her brother. “Why?”
“Because the guy Jagger had tried to get me together with was a brute and a bully whose father owned the whole town and when he turned on us everyone did.” Luna’s bottom lips trembled. “And I know now that Alexander is nevergoing to love me. And I’m so furious!”
“I’m sorry.” Chloe was sincere. “But I understand how you feel. The guy sitting next to me tonight? Black hair? Blue eyes? Baby-smile? I was in love with him for the longest time, but he will never see me as more than his best friend. He was too busy being in love with the beautiful dark haired girl sitting at our table as well.” She gave a little choked laugh. “It hurt like hell, but I had to accept it and get over my feelings.”
Luna sniffled again, turning to look at Chloe. “And you were able to remains friends with him?”
“Bestest.” Chloe laughed at the Lana-sounding term. “I never got with him and he never got with her, though I know he’s still holding out for her for whenever she gives him the time of day.”
“He’s stupid.” Luna pouted. “Alexander would have done the same thing for Raven if she hadn’t already been as obsessed with him as he was with her.”
“Well, you’ll find a guy who’s smart enough to like you and only you from the beginning.” Chloe offered with a smile. “I know I’m still waiting for mine.”
Luna observed Chloe in silence before she smiled.
Chloe returned it before looking away at the sound of wings in the night. She followed the sound blindly in the dark until she noticed a dark shape flying towards them, shooting under the bleachers.
“Was that a bat?” Chloe asked, pulling away and hurrying down off the bleachers, heading inside the darkness. “We haven’t had bats in Smallville in decades. It’s one of the reasons why mosquitoes are major nuisances in the summertime.”
Suddenly Luna was by her side. She moved fast---and silently. “You are not afraid of bats?”
Chloe continued walking towards the small creature hanging upside-down in the darkness, eyeing her as she eyed it. “Of course not, I find them fascinating. And maybe this one is the first one of a group to arrive. It’d be great if we could have our own colony of bats here in Smallville.”
Luna chuckled softly beneath her breath for some reason.
“Wow. He’s tame.” Chloe stood right in front of the hanging bat, head tilted upwards, looking at it. “And he’s a looker.”
“Please don’t inflate his ego any more than it already is!”
Sending Luna a look at that odd comment, Chloe smiled and shook her head, returning her gaze to the bat. “Hey, look, he has one green eye and one blue. Kinda like you brother.”
“And he’s a creepy little egotistic nuisance, just like my brother as well.”
Chloe could have been imagining it, it could have been the shadows and moonbeams playing tricks on her, but she was sure the bat narrowed its eyes blue and green at the girl behind her at that comment.
“You should never insult a bat.” Chloe turned her back on the creature and playfully scolded Luna. “You never know when it’ll turn out to be a vampire in disguise.”
For a moment Luna was frozen, and then she started laughing, hard, bending over and holding her stomach.
“It wasn’t that funny.” Chloe mumbled to herself as she shook her head and began leading the way out into the moonlight again. Her cell began to beep, and she winced.
That was her alarm saying that if she didn’t leave for home now her dad was going to throw a fit.
“I have to go.”
Luna stopped laughing. “I’m not making fun of you!”
Chloe wondered what that was all about. “I know. I have to go because my dad’s probably waiting up for me at this instant.” She pulled out her phone and waved it at Luna to show as evidence, the thing still beeping. “Do you need a ride anywhere?”
“No, I’m fine.” But Luna was pouting. “Do you really have to go now? I don’t want to be left alone with that loser.” She pointed behind her with her thumb to the darkness beneath the bleacher.
“The bat?” Chloe asked, smiling slightly when Luna nodded. “Stop tormenting the poor creature.” She giggled, shaking her head before pulling a strand of hair behind her ear. “Why don’t we meet up tomorrow after school?”
Luna’s face darkened. “That’s not the best time for me.”
“When is the best time?” Chloe asked, curious.
“After seven.” Cam the quick answer.
“But the sun’s already set by then.” Chloe complained. “I wanted to take you to Crater Lake. I think you’d like it.”
“You can take me.” Luna agreed. “After seven.”
“But it’ll be dark and spooky by then.”
Luna was silent for a moment. “I like dark and spooky.”
“You don’t like bats but you like dark and spooky?” Chloe suddenly grinned. “Okay then. We’ll go after seven.”
Luna’s smile returned. “Great! See you tomorrow!”
“After seven.” Chloe echoed as she started off, returning Luna’s energetic wave. The blonde walked towards her car, shaking off the feeling that there were two gazes on her back.