Title: Obstacles Of The Soul
Sequel to: Secrets of the Soul
Characters: Chloe Sullivan/Jeremy Gilbert, Elena Gilbert, Tyler Lockwood
Fandoms: Smallville/The Vampire Diaries
Disclaimer: Don't own
Summary: Thanks to the fact that Chloe Sullivan and Jeremy Gilbert are the reincarnations of two doomed lovers she'd somehow ended up stuck with the bag of hormones and problems, but there are obstacles between them, namely themselves.
Chloe had nearly cancelled out on Tyler, but figured he'd see it as some sign she was nervous and into him, so she bathed, changed, and arrived at the Mystic Grill a couple of minutes late. This was going to be awkward considering Vicki worked there as a waitress, but Chloe figured that she wasn't doing anything wrong, the only reason she was with Tyler was because of their teacher, and if Vicki couldn't handle infidelity in relationships then she shouldn't be sleeping with other guys...namely Jeremy. As soon as Chloe remembered who Vicki had been doing the night before, a little angry viciousness entered her, but she pushed it away and told Thaddeus to suck it up. Jeremy could screw whatever whore he wanted to. He wasn't Evelyn, she wasn't Thaddeus, and there was no claim on either of them.
"Hey." Tyler stood, eyes wide as he gazed at her. "You look, wow."
The blonde rolled her eyes as she slid into her seat. "So, about the assignment..."
"Right to business, huh?" He sat down, leaning back against the seat.
"It's why we're here." She reached for the menu. "And the potato wedges. They're addictive."
"I favor the nachos myself." He replied easily, grabbing a menu as well.
"With chili and cheese..." Chloe hummed her agreement, smiling, before gazing up at him over her menu. "So, does Vicki know why I'm eating here with you? Because she's giving me the stink eye."
"Stink eye?" Tyler chuckled, amused. "Who says that?"
"Me." She replied easily. "So, does she?"
"Why should I tell Vicki Donovan why I take out pretty girls to dinner?" Tyler hedged.
"Probably because while you're trying to keep her your dirty little secret, it's obvious to people who actually pay attention, like me." Chloe responded, cutting through the bullshit with one blow. "And I know the type of friends she has, I don't want her to sic them on me because she thinks I'm poaching on her territory."
Tyler flinched, and he was silent a moment, a muscle jumping in his cheek before he leaned forwards. "You know that Jeremy Gilbert is one of those 'friends' of hers, right?"
He had her there.
"I try not to hold her friendship against him." She growled.
Tyler snarled. "Don't talk about Vicki like that."
They were both leaning over the table towards each other, growling.
It was quite ridiculous now that she thought about it.
Chloe didn't know what it was about Tyler that made her heckles raise. He acted a lot like a puppy, or a new dog, who was testing his boundaries in the family and seeing how far he could push before getting scolded or slapped on the butt. It was like that whole alpha thing, and Chloe had read books about dogs despite her father never letting her have one. And all of those books said that you couldn't back down or the alphadom would be established and there was no going back from that.
Tyler wasn't a dog, but Chloe viewed everyone as a canine or an animal of sorts, and figured that the rules of the animal kingdom applied to them as well.
"Oh goddamit!" Someone hissed some tables away, and Chloe looked away, eyeing the source of the frustration.
"Isn't that your dad?"
Tyler's gaze went to his father, who was sitting a couple of tables away by himself, slamming his fist into his laptop's keyboard. "That thing's been giving him so much trouble lately."
Flinching when Mayor Lockwood slapped the side of the laptop once more, Chloe couldn't stop herself from sliding out of the booth and leaving the son to head to the father, smiling down at him. "You having some technical problems, Mayor?"
He looked up at her, obviously at a loss as to who she was. "Yes, it keeps freezing up and performing actions I never told it to." He sighed. "I'm going to have to dump this."
"How about I take a look? I'm really good with computers."
He raised an eyebrow, sliding further into the booth and motioning for her to take his vacated seat. "You can give it a whirl, but my IT guys haven't been able to do anything about it."
Chloe didn't answer him, just slid into his seat and began typing away, attention on the majestic state of the art laptop that would be a total sin to throw away. She narrowed her eyes as something popped up, and then got really into it, fingers flying rapidly over the keyboard, typing in command codes and checking her suspicions, vaguely realizing that (A) Mayor Lockwood was gazing curiously at what she was doing, and (B) at his table Tyler was being told off by a pissed off Vicki Donovan. The blonde blocked out everything around her, eyeing the information in the many different windows and keying in codes and then, when she was finished, she pressed enter.
A progression bar appeared on screen, filling in quickly, and then disappearing.
A new window popped up on screen, detailing the many malignant files and viruses and such that had been found on the computer.
"There you go Mister Mayor." She smiled, handing it back to the astonished man. "Your computer was filled with viruses most of them worms and trojans, but I was able to delete most of them, put the ones I couldn't into quarantine so they couldn't harm your system, and I upgraded your virus and internet protection while also enhancing your firewall." She grabbed one of his pens, a napkin, and began writing on it. "I'd recommend for you to change to this security provider instead, as yours was lax. There were also evidences that someone has been hacking into your computer, and might have also hacked into any network this computer is connected to...so if you have some connection to your work network I would have your IT people check to make sure that information hasn't been compromised." She gave him a smile as she slid out from the booth. "I had the information saved so that your IT people can better know what they're looking for, and left some suggestions so that something like this doesn't happen again."
Mayor Lockwood gazed up at her in shock, before shaking his head and smiling at her. "I'm sorry, I didn't seem to catch your name."
"Chloe." The blonde reached out and shook the hand he offered her. "Chloe Alexander."
"Alexander." Mayor Lockwood thought for a second. "Any relations to Cornelius Alexander?"
"No sir, I doubt it. I'm from out of town, and I'm staying with a distinct relative of mine, Zachary Salvatore."
"Ah Zach! Right! I remember him mentioning once that a niece had moved in with him." He grinned. "He failed to mention that you are a genius with computers. My best IT guys told me that I should just get a new laptop."
"Then your best IT guys need better training, Sir." Chloe responded.
He chuckled. "I'm beginning to think so."
Someone cleared his throat, and Chloe turned, raising an eyebrow when she saw Tyler behind her. "I was coming back."
Mayor Lockwood gazed between them before smiling. "I didn't realize you were a friend of my son's. You should come over to the house one day, I am sure my wife would love to meet you."
Chloe refrained from telling the Mayor she was in no way a friend of his son's, instead just giving him a smile and not committing to anything.
"Dad, we have a school assignment to discuss, so we're going to leave you." Tyler's hand went to the small of her back as he led her away from the table. His voice lowered as he leaned in towards her, speaking so only she could hear. "You do realize you basically engaged yourself to me, right?"
"I didn't realize Mystic Falls had such obscure, intriguing costumes such as the fixing of the father's computer being a requisite to asking the hand of his son." Chloe snarked, letting herself be led away only because Mayor Lockwood was watching them intently.
"My father loves that damned computer and he'd be more than willing to marry me to you so he can have free, constant IT support of your caliber." Tyler mocked, waiting for her to sit before doing so himself. "How exactly do you know how to do all of that?"
She shrugged. "I'm just good with computers."
"Kinda explains why you suck with people." Tyler declared.
Chloe smirked because he might have a point there. "Did I hear Vicki tearing your entrails out back there?"
He narrowed his eyes at her. "Oh yeah? What about Gilbert? He hasn't stopped giving me the death glare since I entered this joint." Tyler leaned over the table. "He used to only do that when he saw me with Vicki, the crush he had on her was so pathetic...but I have to admit, his crush on you is even worse."
Her eyes narrowed slightly.
Jeremy was here?
Her green gaze scanned the booths, not finding him.
"The corner over there, by the bar." Tyler helped.
And that was when she saw him, leaning in the darkest corner, hoodie over his head, hands shucked in his jeans pocket, glaring at them.
"That little brat." She whispered before turning to Tyler. "Clearly you have something you need to do in a bit and I need to take care of something now, so how about we arrange a meeting at your house tomorrow in which you promise to not mention your room and I promise not to hurt you?"
Tyler just looked at her before snorting. "You know, I kinda feel sorry for Gilbert."
Rolling her eyes at him, Chloe stood from the table and walked passed an irate Vicki, heading towards where Jeremy was scowling at her. "You came to spy on me."
"The Mystic Grill is a public place anyone can come to and I happen to actually like it here." Jeremy spat at her.
"Right. That's why you're here, standing in the corner, sulking." She countered, hands on her hips.
"I'm not sulking!" He snapped.
"What do you call this then, huh?" She flicked at his hoodie. "The pout, the arms folded over your chest, the accusing glares. You're doing the Evelyn thing again."
He flushed in anger and embarrassment. "I am not acting like a Civil War Era socialite."
"You're acting like a spoiled brat, you did back then, and you're doing it right now." She leaned in towards him, palm flat against the wall behind him as she kept eye-contact with him. "It didn't impress me then and it's not impressing me now."
"Well maybe I'm not trying to impress you." Jeremy glared.
"You're doing a great job of it, then." Chloe shook her head, pushing away from the wall. "Potato wedges."
Jeremy blinked. "Huh?"
"You owe me potato wedges." She turned to him once more, eyebrow raised, arms folding over her chest. "I came here for dinner and since you're the reason I'm not having it with Tyler, you're just going to have to treat me."
Jeremy eyed her suspiciously, almost as if waiting for a catch, before he suddenly grinned brightly and he ducked his head, clearing his throat. "I think I can afford potato wedges."
"Oh, there are more than potato wedges on the menu tonight." She warned him as they made they way toward a table. "I'm not a salad kinda girl."
"I'd be disappointed if you were." Jeremy replied with a small smile as he began to lead her towards an empty table, his hand at the small of her back.
She raised an eyebrow at him since he'd never done that before, wondering if he had because he'd seen Tyler doing it moments before. The blonde didn't comment on it though, sitting down and smiling up at the waitress who appeared to take their order. The orders were given without a look to the menu, and the moment the waitress left Chloe turned her gaze on Jeremy. "Breaking into my house while I'm sleeping because you want to see me, following me around like some deranged stalker...you have the whole Edward Cullen thing down pat don't you?"
Jeremy made a face. "Who?"
"Never mind." She shook her head, just eyeing him in contemplative silence. It really bugged her that she had the proof that vampires existed...and yet the Jeremy issue was what dominated her mind. "I told you something last night, Jeremy. Do you remember it?"
He shook his head with a wince. "I don't remember even getting to your house."
She lowered her head, shaking it. "Elena told you off good when you got into the car?"
Jeremy's lips pulled into a sneer as his gaze slid to the side. "Wouldn't stop screeching. Said I was lucky Mister Salvatore didn't catch me or that you didn't press charges."
"It was a felony." Chloe reprimanded softly.
Jeremy made a face. "I wasn't there to steal anything."
"Doesn't matter. It's not your house. It's not my house. I'm only there because Zach is doing my guardian a favor." She looked up when the waitress arrived with the drinks, and smiled a thanks at her, waiting until the blonde left, before returning her attention to Jeremy. "Jeremy, you need help, and until you get it, I don't think I can see you."
"What?" He hissed in surprise.
"It would be different if I was still living by myself, but I'm not." She leaned her elbows on the table and threaded her fingers through each other, resting her chin on them as she gazed at him with as much seriousness as she could muster. "I can't expect Zach to tolerate it if he's awake the next time you're high and decide to break in."
"I think you're taking things too seriously." Jeremy replied.
"I don't think you're taking things seriously enough." Chloe countered, and would have continued, but the waitress returned with the food. She waited once more for the girl to leave before finishing her sentence. "I've tried talking to you, Elena has tried talking to you, everyone has tried talking to you. You don't want to listen to us, don't want to change your ways. Fine. If this is who you really want to be then I won't try stop you. And this might sound bitchy of me...but I have too many problems of my own to deal with yours." Millionaires trying to kill her, guilt over her father's murder, trying to deal with remembering bits and pieces of a past life...and vampires. "I like you Jere, you know I do, you're the only person in this whole place I haven't been able to just shrug off and somehow you've gotten under my skin despite how hard I've tried to keep you out...but I can't deal with this. Not now."
There was silence at the table.
Chloe nibbled on her potato wedges, knowing he needed some time to go over what she'd said.
If she knew Jeremy well enough, and considering she'd known him in two different lifetimes she figured she knew him well enough, she could almost guess what his reaction would be once he got over the shock of her words.
"So you're just over with me? You can't be bothered by me or my problems and that's it?"
"You don't want help, Jeremy." Chloe announced after swallowing. "No matter how many times any of us talk to you, plead with you, fight with you, shout at you, threaten you...nothing. You don't want help, and I don't want to continue wasting my time."
"So I'm a waste of your precious time." He growled.
"If you were I wouldn't have tried before Jere." She sighed, raising her gaze from her plate. "I just think we're in two different places right now, mentally, emotionally, and I need to take care of myself right now. You have your sister and aunt who love you and will never stop pestering you until you're better, I don't have that support. I don't have anyone but myself, and I'm sorry, but right now especially I need to be strong and just concentrate on taking care of myself."
For a moment he just looked at her, and then concern entered his eyes as he leaned forwards. "Are you okay?"
She was shocked at the genuine worry in his voice, features. It took her a moment to clear her throat and brave a smile. "Yeah, I'm fine."
He didn't look too convinced, tilting his head to the side, reaching out to softly tuck a strand of golden hair out of her face.
The blonde hated herself for the blush she felt climbing up her neck as she cleared her throat and pulled away, gaze falling back to her plate.
"You got me, you know." Jeremy pulled his hand away, head lowering. "I know I might be more trouble than I'm worth...but you do still have me. You're not alone."
"Jeremy..." Chloe whispered, looking up at him, reaching out to squeeze his hand. "I don't 'have' you if I can't rely on you."
He flinched and looked away, shifting their hands so that his was griping hers tightly, yet not enough to hurt.
Sensing movement towards them, Chloe looked up and blinked in surprise to see Tyler's dad. "Mayor Lockwood."
"Jeremy." Mayor Lockwood sent the boy a raised eyebrow, before glancing around the Mystic Grill. "Where's Tyler?"
"We had an abrupt change of plans." Chloe could feel Jeremy's hand tighten around hers. "We'll work on the project tomorrow at your house sir."
"Ah." He smiled once more. "Plan to stay for dinner. I'd like to ask you to take a look at my home computer if it isn't too much to ask."
One didn't say no to the Mayor, no matter how odd a request he made. "Sure."
"Goodnight then." The Mayor smiled at them before leaving.
"Goodnight!" She called after him before turning to Jeremy. "You need to learn manners."
"Why? He didn't come over to talk to me." Jeremy snorted. "He came over to see why you weren't with his precious son."
"I'm getting annoyed at everyone assuming the Mayor wants to line me up with his son." She declared.
Jeremy's eyes narrowed. "Who else?"
Jeremy's eyes flashed darkly before he sneered. "Better be careful Chloe, Lockwoods are known to get what they want, by hook or crook."
"Well, Tyler has a girlfriend, and believe me, I don't want to compete with her." She raised an eyebrow at Jeremy before her gaze searched the room unsuccessfully for Vicki. "But if she keeps sleeping with you..."
Jeremy flinched, backing up, bringing his free hand to his forehead. "I don't remember sleeping with her." He shook his head. "And I can't believe I just came out and told you."
"What can I say?" Chloe felt a little stab of viciousness as she remembered the confession. "People make a lot of stupid choices when high."
He flinched, gaze going to their still joined hands.
Chloe sighed, slowly slipping her hand from his, returning her gaze to her plate.
They ate in silence, Jeremy picking up the bill, and considering he'd caught a ride with a friend Chloe drove the younger male to his house. She parked outside the large Gilbert Residence, not exactly sure what to say. She knew she'd done the best...but that didn't mean that she didn't regret having to do it. Jeremy might have been a constant pain in the ass, but he'd been her only friend, and to have to say goodbye had been harder than she'd let on.
Taking in a deep breath, Chloe turned towards Jeremy.
He raised his hand, silencing her, before reaching into his hoodie's pocket and taking something out. He reached for her hand and pressed the thing to her palm, closing her fingers around it. "See you tomorrow in school." And with that he got out of her car and walked the short distance to his house.
Only when the house door was closed behind him did Chloe tear her gaze from him and glanced down at her clenched fist.
Eyebrows meeting in a confused expression, she unfurled her fingers, and her eyes widened.
A small smile tilted her lips and she bit her bottom one, a small chuckle escaping as she gazed at the house once more in time for the light to turn on in Jeremy's room.
There, in her hand, was the small bag with Jeremy's stash.
Chuckling once more, the blonde dropped the bag onto the passenger's seat to flush down her toilet once she got to the Salvatore Boarding House, and reversed out into the street.
Though it was a small step, it was one taken in the right direction, and she couldn't help but thank anyone listening that her bluff had paid off.