Title: Just ChloePairing: Chloe/PriestlyFandoms: Smallville/Ten Inch HeroRating: TDisclaimer: Don't ownSummary: When she realizes that Lex can't keep her safe, Chloe fakes her own death and goes on the run from Lionel's assassins. This lands her penniless and dying for a good night's sleep three months later at Beach City Grill. She's scarred, always looking over her shoulder, and is pretending to be someone she's not, but somehow Priestly makes her feel like it'll be okay.
The room in the back of the store was very small and didn't have any windows, but to Chloe's eyes it seemed like a palace. She hadn't had a good night's sleep in far too long, and the thought of having a little cubby hole that she could lock up and sleep safely in made her want to cry from happiness. She did cry, actually, but only after the store had closed and she was alone in her room. She'd cried a lot, hugging her pillow to her chest, but those tears weren't sad ones. They were tears of relief. The girl knew that she wouldn't be able to stay here for long if she wanted to keep safe, but for now, for a little while at least, she had some safety and stability.
It was ridiculous how one took those things for granted until they were gone.
Taking off her wig and placing it on the chair she had propped under the handle of the locked door, she'd bathed, scrubbed her body and face. She'd barely managed to dry off and slip into a shirt and underwear before she collapsed on the bed. She only stayed awake long enough to reach into her bag and pull out her tazer, which had saved her life more than once, and slipped it under her pillow before she fell fast asleep.
The blonde woke up to the sound of someone singing a punkified version of Britney's "Toxic", the blonde having a moment of fear before recognizing Priestly's voice and remembering where she was. She'd rushed to bathe, had applied her thick kohl and dark makeup before pinning up her blonde locks and securing her black wig into place. She'd pulled on her short pleated catholic school girl skirt, a black shirt with a cutesy skull, and combat boots before finally pulling the chair from the door, unlocking the door, and venturing out past the storage room and into the sandwich shop itself.
Priestly looked up as she entered, smiling brightly. "Hey!"
"Your mohawk." Chloe's eyes widened. "It's purple." She blinked. "Wasn't it pink?"
"Yeah. Yesterday." Priestly shrugged, as if it should be obvious that the color would be different today. "Morning to you too by the way."
"Good morning." She looked around and realized that they were the only ones in the shop. "Where's everyone else?"
"Jen's got classes in the mornings so it'll be just you and me till around eleven." He motioned to the cash register. "Know how to use this baby or do you want a tutorial?"
"A tutorial would be appreciated," she replied humbly. "Thank you very much."
He grinned brightly. "You're so polite."
She eyed him curiously at that.
"Loosen up a bit." Priestly rolled his shoulders as if to show her exactly how to start loosening up. "You and I are going to be spending most of our time together so I don't want you all stiff as cardboard and polite with me. I'm Priestly. You're Just Chloe." He grinned cheekily at that, apparently having decided to call her that from now on. "So be Just Chloe. And I'll be Priestly. And if I ever hear a "yes sir" out of you I'll puke."
Chloe felt her lips twitch. "I wouldn't have ever said "yes sir" to you."
"It was on the tip of your tongue," Priestly countered, pointing a scarlet fingernail at her. "I could see it in your eyes."
"You could not." Chloe laughed.
"Ahuh!" Priestly crowed, victorious. "She does laugh!"
Chloe stopped immediately, embarrassed.
"Nope. Nope. You keep on laughing." He ordered as he motioned to his black shirt, which read: "Laugh, The World Will Want What You're Smoking". "Does the customers good. And us too." He eyed her curiously. "So how old are you anyway? I'm figuring nineteen."
The seventeen year old fought her instinctive response to that: raised eyebrows.
Maybe it was the weight she'd lost. Maybe since she'd gotten rid of her baby fat she looked more mature. Either way, she could go with that.
"It's a talent," he assured her as he around the counter to reveal he had tight leather pants and combat boots on today instead of a kilt.
Chloe found her gaze admiring his ass for a second before she cleared her throat and played innocent when he looked back at her. "So, Trucker never really explained what I'd be doing."
"You'll help man the cash register, take orders, and only when I'm sure you're up to par, you'll sometimes help me with the sandwiches if I'm swamped with orders," Priestly replied. "Now come on, let me show you how to use this thing before we start getting in customers."
That girl was definitely running from something. Or someone.
Trucker had finished restocking the storage room with the new supplies and emerged from the back to watch the new recruit and see how she was doing. It was a good first day because there weren't too many people around. She was a little flustered, ever reliant on Jen and Priestly's supervision, but she had a pretty smile and the customers seemed to like her.
Every time someone came through the door the girl's eyes went to it immediately, fear in her greens, and she eyed every costumer with veiled suspicion. She never gave her back to anyone, always had her body aimed towards the door, and whenever there was a loud, unexpected noise she jumped.
Yes. She was definitely scared and running.
It brought out the fatherly instincts in him.
Jen laughed at something Chloe muttered to her, the older girl had her face covered with her hands as her shoulders shook in amusement.
The girl with the long, straight black hair shook her head and grinned as she continued to mutter.
Jen laughed harder as she bent over and her whole body shook with her mirth.
Priestly, ever the curious cat, headed towards them and slung his arms over their shoulders, asking what he was being left out of.
Jen just continued laughing, used to Priestly's touchy-feelyness.
Chloe jumped a bit at the touch before she cleared her throat and forced that little smile again.
Trucker noticed that she always did that after she'd been frightened and was trying to play it off as nothing.
Priestly didn't notice, the young man pouted and warned the girls that he wasn't above sinister and underhanded methods should he feel excluded.
Jen pulled her hands from her face long enough to say (body shaking with laughter) whatever Chloe had said that had her in such stitches.
Priestly's darkly lined eyes widened and his lips parted as he just stared at Chloe in shock. He then burst out in loud laughter as his body shook and he hung his head low.
Jen laughed and shook her head, her face red from so much laughter.
Chloe's smile was more genuine now, even if it was mixed with embarrassment.
The door opened.
Chloe's smile vanished and she looked up immediately, unable to hide her momentary fear before it was pushed away at the sight of Lucille and Benton.
Trucker frowned and wondered, not for the first time, exactly what sort of trouble the girl was in.
Beach City Grill was busy and the patrons happy.
By the end of the day when the last customer finally left, she was drained as she closed up and helped Priestly tidy up.
Wearing an apron over his black leather pants, Priestly whistled some song as he wiped down the tables.
Chloe was surprised at how lulling she found the sound, yawning as she worked on cleaning the counter.
"So how do you think your first day went?" Priestly wanted to know, looking up, his lip piercing catching the light and glistening.
"I don't know, you're my supervisor, you tell me," she replied, not looking up from what she was doing.
"Fair enough," he decided. "You're obviously nervous, but after a couple of days you'll be great."
"Great." Her gaze slid to him and her lips twitched. "That's having a lot of faith in me."
He grinned at her.
Chloe eyed him. "Why didn't you go to Zo and Trucker's wedding?"
"Huh?" He made a face. "I was there."
"Then why aren't you in the mural?" She asked curiously, turning to look at it.
"I am." He went towards it and pointed towards a vague figure of a normally dressed guy with no mohawk who stood next to a statuesque brunette. "That's me."
She raised an eyebrow, looking from that to him and back. "I don't see the similarity."
He flushed and ran his hand over his face. "I was going through a phase at the time."
The girl tilted her head to the side, curious but not about to butt in and ask questions.
She didn't want him asking questions back.
"You know the girl who used to work here? Tish? Well, you wouldn't know her but you've heard about her, right?" When she nodded, Priestly cleared his throat. "Well, I used to have this thing for her, and so I made myself into someone she'd want to be with. All Banana Republic. I took out my hair color, my piercings, covered up my tattoos-." He shook his head. "I became someone else for her." He sighed. "Not surprising it didn't work out, huh?"
Chloe licked her lips, contemplating what to say.
"I guess I seem less cool now, huh?"
The girl couldn't stop her giggle as her gaze trained on him. "I wouldn't say that." She shrugged. "Maybe kinda sappy. But not less cool."
He gave her a little smile.
She smiled back.
"So, what are your plans for tonight?" Priestly asked, clearing his throat and running a hand over his mohawk.
"I'm not a 'plan' kinda girl." Not anymore at least.
"You wanna go and get a drink or two? Promise I won't try get into your pants." Priestly raised his hands in the air in innocence. "And I'll buy."
Chloe frowned slightly as she stared at him and then looked back at her room.
"Seriously no strings attached." Priestly assured her sheepishly. "I realize I sound like I'm trying to get you liqured up, but you're just nineteen so we could just get some fruit juice or coffee or slurpies or something and just talk somewhere out in the open and-."
The girl returned her gaze on him, amused by the fact that he had verbal diarrhea as well. "Okay."
"Okay?" He grinned. "Great!" He nodded, hands in his pockets. "To which part?"
Chloe burst out laughing, feeling like she'd laughed more today than she had in months. "I like coffee."
"I like it too." Priestly nodded, grinning brightly. "You want to go 'freshen up' or whatever you girls do or you want to go now?" He shook his head. "Not 'now' now because we're still cleaning up, but 'now' as in after that."
Chloe's lips were curled in a smile as she stared at him. "After we finish give me two seconds and I'll be ready."
"Perfect." He nodded, clearing his throat. "Great."
They continued working in near silence and when they were done Chloe slipped into her room, foregoing everything else and heading straight to her bed. She reached under the pillow and pulled out her tazer, slipping it into the inside pocket of her jacket before pulling on the jacket itself. She now went to the bathroom, running her fingers through her straight black hair and applying some more lipstick on before staring at her reflection. She looked nothing like the peppy blonde from Smallville Kansas, and that made her feel more confident as she turned and left to find Priestly sitting was he waited for her.
"That was… quick." He blinked in surprise, quickly standing up.
"I said I'd only be two seconds." She made a face.
"Yeah, but in my experience when a girl says that she takes half an hour," he replied.
"Well, I'm not an ordinary girl," she informed him, hands in her pockets.
"Cool." He motioned towards the door. "Let's go?"
Chloe followed, waiting for Priestly to lock up before walking by his side down the sidewalk, listening to him tell her the story of Piper's arrival to look for the daughter she'd had to give up for adoption when she'd been around fifteen. The girl was fascinated by the story, by the conclusion, and by the time they'd reached the coffee shop and she was sipping a flavor that wasn't her favorite (even in that she tried to be different from Chloe Sullivan), the girl had to admit that she really wanted to meet this Piper girl and was happy that she'd gotten something of a happy ending.
"So, what's your story?" Priestly finally asked the question she'd been waiting for, the one she'd been dreading.
For some reason, she found it distasteful to lie to these people, but for everyone's safety, herself included, it was a must.
"Nothing much to tell really." She took another sip to stall for a moment. "I grew up moving a lot because of my father, we never really fit in anywhere, and then circumstances happened and I ended up leaving." She hoped that since her father and her had been kept hidden in different locations he'd been left alone, safe. Since she was the sole witness, she hoped that Lionel had his men focusing solely on killing her and forgot all about her father. "I've moved around a bit. Seen a lot of the country."
"Just you?" Priestly frowned. "Isn't that dangerous?"
She smiled wryly. "I've learnt to take care of myself."
He didn't comment, yet as he sipped his coffee she could tell that he wasn't pleased.
"Black, no sugar or cream." A voice at the counter ordered.
That voice sounded too much like Lionel Luthor.
Chloe dropped her thankfully empty cup. Her wide eyed gaze and pale face turned towards the voice only to find that it was someone else completely who was out with his grandchildren. The blonde let out a deep breath and closed her eyes as she tried to calm her nerves, she scolded herself for believing for a second that it was Lionel Luthor. The man was not only in prison waiting for his trial, but even if he'd been set free he wouldn't have come personally to kill her. He'd let one of his endless supply of assassins take care of her.
"So what's his name?" Priestly asked oddly.
Chloe's darkly lined eyes opened as she stared at him in confusion. "Who?"
"The guy you're running from." Priestly eyed her. "When you heard that voice you thought he was your ex, and when you realized he wasn't you were relieved." His own lined eyes narrowed. "So what's his name?"
For a moment she'd been terrified that Priestly had figured her out, that she'd have to run again, but then she realized that while he'd figured out a version of the truth, she was still pretty safe. This was something she could use. It would give them a reason for the twitches and nervousness she knew they could pick up on.
Priestly righted her fallen cup.
Chloe cleared her throat, stalling, before parting her lips. "Alex." She felt bad for putting the blame on Lex, but she really didn't want to name Lionel in any form. Also? Alex was a very common name. "He's a really good guy though, I'm just, uh, overreacting."
"Like I haven't heard that one before," Priestly mumbled, lips a scowl. "Let me guess. 'He's a really great guy, I just keep on annoying him and making him lose his patience. It's all really my fault'."
Chloe opened her mouth to immediately deny that even if it would have helped her story.
"My mom would always say the same about my dad." Priestly stopped her, serious. "I know the signs of a woman who's scared of a man and yet won't admit it."
Guilt filled the girl immediately at her deception. "Priestly, it really isn't like that with me. Alex never hurt me. I-I'm just-."
"So the scars on your body aren't because of him?"
Chloe's eyes widened in horror as she gazed down at her covered body. "How-?"
"Today you pushed up your sleeves to help wash up. I saw those," Priestly replied softly. "Also, as you were bending down doing things, the back of your shirt rode up, and at another time I saw the scars the front of your shirt hid." He cleared his throat. "They're all in different stages of healing, they've been given to you at different times, and from the looks of them, they were inflicted by different objects."
Chloe felt like running far, far away. She was nauseas. She'd thought she'd hidden the scars of the multiple attacks she'd suffered so well! And yet, and yet-!
"I know it's none of my business," Priestly mumbled, eyes serious. "And let me be the first to admit that I am far from the Soldier Boy type who can kick ass… but you're safe with us. Plus. Trucker, despite his hippy attitude, used to be in the army and has kicked butt when he needed to." He gave her a reassuring smile. "We take care of our family and you're part of it, even if a really new part of it."
Chloe gulped back emotion.
Priestly cleared his throat, grinning at her. "Now that I've proven I'm way sappier than you previously thought-Trucker asked me to make some copies to my keys for the shop so you don't have to be locked up in there all the time and can come and go as you need."
Chloe's eyes widened. "He has a horrible problem when it comes to just trusting people. He doesn't know me well enough to let me stay there, much less give me the keys to that place!"
"You'll come to realize that Zo and Trucker have a way of sensing people out," Priestly assured her before looking at his watch. "Come on, I'll walk you back. No one will mess with you with a hooligan like me accompanying you."
Chloe just stared at the guy with the mohawk, facial piercings, manliner… and had to admit that while at first glance he looked like the punk you avoided at all costs… this guy had one of the sweetest personalities she'd ever met.
Everyone at City Beach Grill seemed to have a heart of gold.
As she stood, Chloe felt tempted, for the first time ever, into settling down… for a little while at least.