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29 May 2009 @ 12:40 am
"Crossing Paths" (Chlex Drama/General): Chapters 1 & 2  

Summary: Six years after leaving Smallville for good, Lex has expanded his empire and is now running for the Senate. Chloe is trying to balance her professional and her personal life as she investigates a LuthorCorp project which will touch many lives and have unsuspected ramifications. Their paths will cross again and make them question the choices made a lifetime ago.

Author: Lexie

Rating: PG-13/15

E-mail:
lillianschild@yahoo.co.uk

Homepage:
Lillian´s Child

Rating: PG-13/15

A/N: At the beginning of this fic Chloe and Lex will be paired with other people, but this is Chlex so you´ll just have to bear with me for a while. There´s a sequel to this fic, called ¨Rebuilding¨, which I´ll post soon afterwards.

This story was written at a time when my intolerance towards Lana and the way she and the Lexana storyline were written reached the highest peak so, if you´re a Lana fan, you might want to skip this one.

Disclaimer: all Superman and Smallville characters belong to DC Comics and Gough & Millar. No infringement's intended.

 

CROSSING PATHS

CHAPTER 1: Playing House

Metropolis 2014

It was March and springtime had officially begun in the northern hemisphere. The trees in the parks of Metropolis were showing their first new leaves and the flowerbeds in the suburban areas had started blooming. In the city centre, where skyscrapers dominated the landscape, things were pretty much the same- without the winter snowflakes which were cute when adorning a Christmas card but a real nuisance when one was chasing a story in the middle of a snowstorm.

Chloe put on the indicator and turned right into Mulberry Lane to drive the two blocks which remained to get to her cousin´s. The blonde couldn´t help but smile when she thought of Lois and her efforts to play house. Her older cousin´s wedding to Clark- or rather, to her own personal knight in shining armour, the now ubiquitous Superman- had taken place a little over a year before, and the army brat had moved with her new husband to the outskirts of Metropolis. Chloe knew how much Lois hated the quiet, but it was what Clark´s provincial upbringing craved for, and Lois had willingly given in.

The Kents´ looked a lot like Martha´s home- gingham curtains in the kitchen included; however, the similarities between the two Mrs Kent stopped there. Despite efforts to the contrary, Lois had never been the homely type, as Chloe could verify when she arrived at the Kents´ for dinner on a Saturday evening.

¨Wow!¨exclaimed the blonde reporter when the door opened and she saw Lois emerge out of a cloud of smoke wielding a carving fork in one hand. ¨Should I have brought the fire brigade? You know, I think I still have the phone number of that take-out pizza restaurant somewhere in my purse, ¨she laughed.

¨Get in, Chloe before I vent my ire in the front yard and give that peeping Tom of a neighbour a show, ¨hissed General Lane´s daughter, slamming the door shut.

¨What´s with the reduced visibility? ¨chuckled Chloe as she followed her cousin across the living-room, paying attention not to step on the laundry waiting to be ironed or the women magazines lying scattered on the floor. ´No, my cuz is definitely no Martha Stewart or our own Martha Kent, ´ mused Chloe while Lois opened the oven and took out a roasting tin with cinders.

¨Shoot! ¨ shouted the elder cousin, dropping the tine into the sink and sucking two fingers after getting burnt.

¨Well... ¨said Chloe, eying the black remains which she couldn´t indentify but guessed had meant to be the main course. ¨If there was any doubt in my mind... you´ve dispelled it. You aren´t cut out to be a cordon bleu chef... not even a Betty Crocker, ¨she smiled.

¨This is a complete disaster. Why can´t I ever get this thing right? It looks so easy when Clark´s mum does it. What could the mystery be? You put the meat in the tin, peel some potatoes, slice some carrots and onions and into the oven. ¨

¨Have you prepared any gravy? ¨asked the blonde reporter as Lois scraped the tin clean.

¨Gravy? ¨she echoed with a puzzled look.

¨Yes, gravy or sauce. You know, to baste the meat with. ¨

¨Baste it? ¨she frowned.

¨It´s all Greek to you, isn´t it? ¨smiled Chloe, taking off her jacket.

¨What am I going to do? Clark´s coming any minute now and this was supposed to be a surprise dinner to celebrate our second anniversary as a couple. ¨

¨Look, Lo´. Why don´t you go up and get dressed? I´ll take care of this, ¨ she calmed her down, undoing the cuff buttons and pulling up her sleeves.

¨But... what are you going to do? There´s nothing left in the fridge. I´ve used everything for this meal. ¨

¨Go, Lo´. I´ll call Pietro at L´ucello; he owes me one, ¨responded Chloe, opening the kitchen windows to let fresh air in.

¨Italian? That´d be great, Chlo´, ¨she sighed relieved as Chloe started cleaning the kitchen. ¨Oh, damn!¨ she shouted. ¨I´ve forgotten to unplug the curling iron! ¨

¨Climb up those stairs before we have to add blackout to Tower Inferno, ¨she quipped.

Three quarters of an hour later a key jingled in the front door lock and Clark stepped into an unusually tidy dining-room. The table was set with an embroidered tablecloth Martha had given them as a present on their first anniversary. He scanned the china and silverware with a keen eye and picked up a goblet to inspect it- crystal. Either Lois had a nest egg he wasn´t aware of or he had entered the wrong house.

¨Lois, ¨he called out, ¨I´m home. Have you burnt something? ¨he smiled, loosening his tie and taking off his glasses. He didn´t need them- he had perfect eyesight, but they were part of his disguise, and he only did without them when he was in the privacy of home.

¨How do I look? ¨asked a nervous Lois to her cousin as she finished applying some lipstick.

¨Like a thousand bucks, ¨beamed Chloe when she swirled around to show off the red tight-fitting dress which accentuated her curves.

¨I don´t know what I would have done without you, ¨she confessed, embracing Chloe tightly.

¨What are cousins for? ¨she laughed. ¨Now, get yourself going before he comes up looking for you. ¨

¨Are you sure you don´t want to stay, Chlo´? ¨asked Lois, taking both of her cousin´s hands in hers.

¨I´d a third wheel. Believe me I´ve had enough of that to last me a lifetime. It´s your celebration, Lo´, ¨responded the blonde reporter with a smile.

¨Yes, but if it hadn´t be for you, we´d have never met, ¨she replied emotionally.

¨I beg to differ. Some things are just written in the stars. ¨

¨Do you think Chance is the one for you? ¨asked Lois with a concerned look on her face.

¨Lois, are you upstairs? ¨Clark´s voice was heard again.

¨He´s getting impatient, ¨smirked Chloe.

¨I´m coming, Clark. Why don´t you open the bottle of win in the meantime? ¨ Lois told her husband.

¨OK. You know I was planning to take you out to dinner, ¨he said as he rummaged through the kitchen drawers to get a corkscrew.

¨I´ve beaten you this time, Smallville, ¨she shouted. ¨Chlo´, you haven´t answered my question. ¨

¨I´m content, Lois. With my lousy record when it comes to my relationships with the opposite sex, that´s a lot. ¨

¨You´ve never been a conformist, Chlo´. You deserve more than this lukewarm relationship. ¨

¨It´s not lukewarm!¨she complained. ¨He´s just respecting my wishes. He knows I don´t want to rush things. ¨

¨And is he really comfortable with your decision to wait? ¨

¨He´s not pressuring me, OK? ¨

¨There hasn´t been any incident like the one we talked about three months ago, then? ¨

¨I told you he´s been a gentleman, Lois. What´s wrong with you? Why can´t you be happy for me? ¨

¨I want you to be happy, Chloe. It´s just that there´s something about him... ¨

¨Hey, Lois! Is there someone up there with you?¨ shouted Clark from downstairs.

¨Don´t you dare come up, Smallville, until I´ve had time to get rid of my secret lover. And if you use that super-hearing of yours, there´ll be hell to pay, buster! ¨she shouted back. ¨Chlo´, ¨she whispered, grabbing her cousin gently by one arm and noticing the tears in her eyes, ¨I´d like you to have what I have. ¨

¨Pietro´s specialties will get cold, Lois. Everything´s set. Just remember to send him back the dishware and the cutlery, ¨she responded, taking her jacket and handbag from Lois´ king size bed.

¨Think this over, Chloe. If things are so good between you, how come this is your fifth Saturday in a row he´s left you alone? ¨

¨He´s busy with Lex´s senatorial campaign, ¨she answered grimly.

¨Does Lex know you two are an item? Do you think he´s keeping Chance busy to spite you? ¨

¨First of all, I´m not that important to Lex. Second, he doesn´t know a thing because Chance has made certain we´re never seen together. ¨

¨We both know that very few things escape Luthor´s radar, Chloe. Do you honestly believe he hasn´t had the whole staff on his campaign investigated? Does Chance know you´re researching Cadmus? If Lex had an inkling of what you´re up to, messing with your love life would be one of the many things he´d do to you. ¨

¨I´m going out with Chance, but he doesn´t own me. I´m not dropping Cadmus to prove my allegiance to him. ¨

¨So he´s asked you to stop digging, then, ¨Lois cocked an eyebrow.

¨Chloe, are you up there? ¨asked an impatient Clark.

¨Smallville, what did I tell you about eavesdropping? ¨yelled Lois.

¨He suggested I stop, but he didn´t order me. You´d have done the same if you´d been in my shoes, Lo´, and you know it. As far as he knows, I´ve listened to him and everything´s cool. ¨

¨And what´ll happen when he finds out? ¨

¨I´ll cross that bridge when I come to it. We´re grown-ups, Lois. We should be able to keep our professional and personal lives apart. ¨

¨If you say so, ¨said Lois resignedly. ¨I just hope he won´t break your heart, Chloe. ¨

¨I´m immune to heartbreak, ¨smiled Chloe in an attempt to lighten the mood.

¨Yeah, right, ¨Lois shook her head.

¨Go downstairs, Lo´, and take his breath away, ¨responded Chloe, standing on tiptoe and pressing a kiss on her cheek. ¨I´ll sneak out through the back door. ¨

¨Will you be OK? ¨asked Lois with a frown.

¨Chance said he might come around once the meeting´s over, ¨she answered, putting on her jacket. ¨And if he doesn´t, I have a pretty decent bottle of Chardonnay and a couple of Clive Owen DVDs I haven´t seen yet. ¨

¨Clive Owen, eh? I wish you had the same taste in men when it comes to real life. ¨

¨Lo´!¨Chloe said with reproach.

¨OK. OK. I´m going down. Love you, cuz, ¨finished the brunette reporter, making her way to the stairs.

¨Wow, Lois! Do you think dinner would be spoilt if we heated it up in the microwave? ¨asked Clark seductively when he saw his wife climbing down.

¨Mind off the gutter, Smallville. I need my sustenance first to keep up with you, ¨she answered with a lopsided grin.

Chloe gave one last wistful look at the couple and closed the back door firmly but silently behind her.


CHAPTER 2: Sins of the Father

It was nine o´clock in the evening when Lex killed the engine of his Mercedes sedan and picked up his briefcase from the passenger seat. It had been an exhausting day at work, despite its being a Saturday. His campaign was taking a substantial amount of his time and he had had to sacrifice part of the weekend to see to his LuthorCorp business; the Cadmus affair had proven to be more of a headache than he had expected and was too sensitive a matter to leave in other people´s hands.

He locked the car with the remote and strode to the private elevator that would take him to his penthouse. As he rode up to the ninetieth floor he could feel the tension build up. Although home was supposed to be a safe haven, a place where he could wind down and forget about his troubles, nothing could be further from the truth.

Any other man would have developed an ulcer with all the venom he carried inside. In fact, if it hadn´t been for the two little lights which illuminated his life, he would have ended his marriage a long time ago. It killed him to see how things had deteriorated. He had invested a lot in the relationship from the emotional point of view while his wife´s heart had never truly been there, as he had found out a couple of years after the wedding. Lana had told him so in the face and he had been forced to face the fact that she would never get over Clark and that his former friend would be a permanent ghost between them.

Lex had done the impossible to gain his wife´s affection. He had wooed her like the lovesick man he was- he almost cringed at the thought of the extents to which he had gone to have his love returned. His father, were he alive, would have lectured him about losing his self-respect for a woman Luthor Sr had always considered beneath his son.

A little over a year ago, Lionel´s first-born had thought his efforts would finally pay off when he came home one evening and found Lana wearing Victoria Secret lingerie. She had seduced him and he had been more than a willing participant in the night of frenzied passion which had ensued. Once again he had let his emotions overrule his intellect, and this time he couldn´t blame Desirée´s pheromones for having blinded his judgement. The change in Lana´s attitude had been too sudden and her behaviour in bed too unlike her former self to be believed. A week later, the real reason behind her behaviour was revealed. The official announcement of Clark Kent´s marriage to Lois Lane in The Planet had crushed Lex´s delusions of ever making his work. By that time, Lana was already carrying their second child and their marital life had come to an end.

The private lift chimed on the ninetieth floor and Lex stepped out into the penthouse foyer. He loosened his tie, undid the first couple of buttons of his white dress shirt and picked up the post Miriam had left on the console table. He shuffled through the envelopes carelessly and his eyes strayed to the silver ashtray where he usually left the car keys- the ones of the Porsche were missing.

¨Good evening, sir¨ Miriam greeted him.

¨Good evening. Is my wife in? ¨asked Lex coldly.

¨No, sir. Mrs Luthor left early this afternoon. She said she´d be home for dinner, ¨responded the servant reluctantly, fearing her master´s volatile reaction.

¨Why haven´t I been informed the children were alone? ¨he said through gritted teeth after checking the time on his watch.

¨I thought your secretary had given you the message, sir. Master Alexander´s already had dinner... ¨she explained.

Lex´s nostrils flared when he heard Miriam´s words. The woman was unmistakably a nervous-wreck and he couldn´t blame her; she had been placed one too many times in the uncomfortable position of having to break unsavoury news to her master. Lex could feel the rage building up as he visualised his five-year-old son sitting alone at the dinner table, a situation he himself had had to endure during his childhood after Lillian´s demise. His secretary could start packing and forget all about a letter of recommendation; he´d make sure she couldn´t get a position in Metropolis or even in Gotham.

¨He shared the table with Paul and me... ¨ she went on. ¨I hope that´s all right, sir. ¨

¨Thanks, Miriam, That was very thoughtful of you, ¨he responded with the ghost of a smile.

¨I know it´s time the child were in bed, but I didn´t have the heart to deny him his plea. He asked me to stay up a little longer so that you could tuck him in. He must be still playing with his trains, ¨she answered, noticeably relieved.

¨You did well, Miriam. I´ll see to the kids and then, I´ll grab something to eat. Anything cold will do, ¨he responded, thinking he´d have to compensate the woman somehow. It wasn´t amongst her duties to see to the children, but she had taken the initiative on many occasions and he was grateful for that.

¨All right, Mr Luthor. I´ll send you a tray to your study, then, ¨said the faithful servant before retracing her steps in the direction of the kitchen.

¨Warm up a bottle, too. Lillian´s feeding time is close, ¨he reminded her.

¨Certainly, sir. ¨

Miriam walked along the penthouse corridor which led to the servant quarters and cursed Lana Luthor for abandoning her defenceless offspring. Lex Luthor might be a shark in the world of business- his public persona was someone she had come to fear and respect- but in spite of his inadequacies in the realm of affections, he loved his children.

Lex opened Alex´s bedroom door and found the boy on the floor making an effort not to fall asleep as the train took a bend on the track and went past the station.

¨Hey, ¨said Lex warmly. ¨Time to go to bed, mister, ¨he added, picking up the boy, who wrapped his arms around his neck and his legs around Lex´s hips.

¨Mummy´s not home, ¨murmured Alex, laying his head on Lex´s shoulder.

¨Daddy´s home now, Alex. Let´s put you to bed, baby. ¨

¨Lilly´s been crying. I sang her that lullaby you used to sing to me. ¨

¨That was nice, ¨answered Lex, swallowing the lump in his throat as he tucked his son in.

¨Miriam said she´s got click, ¨he answered matter-of-factly.

¨Click? ¨frowned Lex.

¨Yes, click. You know, when your tummy hurts, ¨he said questioningly.

¨Oh! ¨smiled Lex. ¨You mean colic. ¨

¨Yes, that´s what I´ve said. There she is again, ¨sighed the boy when the girl´s crying was heard from across the corridor.

¨She´s hungry, ¨responded the billionaire, pressing a kiss on the child´s forehead. ¨Go to sleep, Alex. We´ll go to the Science Museum together tomorrow. What do you say? ¨he offered, combing the boy´s reddish brown hair with his fingers.

¨Cool! ¨beamed the five-year-old.

¨OK, That´s settled then. Sleep tight, Alex, ¨he smiled from the doorway, turning the lights off.

¨You too, dad, ¨answered his son as he turned on his side.

Lex let out a breath leaving the door ajar, relieved the boy hadn´t asked him where Lana was for he was tired of lying and making excuses. He´d never make the mistake of underestimating the powers of observation of a child. He had had his own experience as an infant to rely on; and no matter how hard he had tried to keep his arguments with Lana within the privacy of their own bedroom or, if possible, away from home, his wife´s behaviour and absences were too obvious to miss.

The thirty-five-year-old billionaire pushed the nursery door open and saw the baby moving restless in the crib. He heard her whimpering as he approached her side and felt a tug at his heart the minute she raised her little arms and fisted the front of his dress shirt when he leant forward to pick her up.

The cries started to subside the moment he cradled her in his arms to feed her and were replaced by the rhythmic sucking noises Lilly made as she latched on to the teat of the bottle. Lex looked down at his baby girl and felt the pricking of tears behind his eyelids. She was a beautiful child; Alex had been cute, but Lilly was seraphic; and Lex couldn´t help but think how ironic that was- an angelic creature conceived by two parents whose relationship was anything but idyllic.

He had always been ill-equipped to exteriorise his feelings- human touch being alien to him while growing up- but he was learning fast when it came to Lilly. She had been denied the warmth of a mother, and Lex tried to compensate her with his own overly-hungry need for affection. Lilly needed him, and in the privacy of the nursery he was the father he had always wanted Lionel to be.

The grandfather clock struck two when Lex heard Lana cross the front door of the penthouse and saw her take off her high-heels to make her entrance more inconspicuous. Although he had toyed with the idea of sleeping in a guest room that night and leaving the confrontation for the following morning, he finally resolved to wait her up, sitting alone in the dark of the living room.

¨Sneaking in like a thief, Lana? ¨he asked snidely, turning on the lamp on the end table.

¨Oh! ¨she blinked and placed a hand on her hammering chest. ¨I thought you were already in bed. ¨

¨No, I wasn´t in bed. I was seeing to our daughter. She´s got colic and woke up an hour ago. I think we´ll have to change her formula. But you wouldn´t know that, would you? ¨he cocked an eyebrow questioningly. ¨Where have you been? ¨he asked tersely.

¨We´ve had a last-minute meeting to make some final arrangements for the Metropolis Red Cross Annual Ball, ¨she responded coldly, taking off the earrings and unclasping the pearl choker round her neck.

¨A ten-hour meeting? Don´t lie to me, Lana, ¨ he hissed, setting down the tumbler and getting up from the armchair.

¨What do you want from me, Lex? I play the game of the perfect little wife in front of the cameras for you. I even accompany you to those hateful campaign fundraisers. Anything to let you have your dream of a seat in the Senate come true; ¨she responded disdainfully.

¨You knew this was my world when you accepted my marriage proposal, Lana. And you´ve enjoyed the prerogatives of your position to the full. As to what I want from you... I ceased to expect anything from you as my wife a long time ago, but you´re still the mother of my children, and I won´t condone this unnatural behaviour of yours any longer. God! You´ve let me down in more ways than I care to admit, but I´d never thought you´d abandon your own children- not when your own parents...¨

¨How dare you! ¨she spat at him. ¨My parents... ¨

¨Your parents died, but you´re very much alive and our children need you. Alex is but a five-year-old baby and Lilly´s four months, Lana, and you haven´t picked her up once, ¨he cut her off, feeling a tightening at the pit of his stomach as an unwelcome memory of a similar conversation between his own parents came to his mind.

¨They have you, ¨she responded.

¨I´m not their mother. ¨

¨They´re your children, ¨she insisted.

¨And there resides the problem, right? If they were Clark´s children, now... ¨

¨If they were anyone´s but yours... I´m tired of having this same argument all over again. If you had listened to Dr... ¨ she said venomously only to be cut off by a violent slap on her face.

¨Don´t even mention his name in this house! ¨exploded Lex.

¨What does it feel like, Lex? The guilt, I mean, ¨she replied bitterly, wiping the trail of blood from the corner of her mouth.

¨You´re a cruel bitch! What has she done to you? ¨he asked with misty eyes.

¨She killed the only opportunity I had to put an end to this sham of a marriage. ¨

Lex looked at her with daggers in his eyes and clenched his fists deep in the pockets of his trousers, curving the urge to pummel her face. If the children hadn´t been there, and if he hadn´t been in the middle of his campaign to the Senate, he would have given in to the crouching tiger he had always kept in check.

¨I won´t let you destroy our children, Lana. They won´t pay for the sins of the father like I did. You´ll keep playing the charade of the loving wife for the media for as long as it suits me and, once I´m in office, I´ll file for divorce. You´ll get nothing; I´ll make sure of that. You should thank God you´ve given me Alex and Lilly because, if they weren´t in my life, I´d drag your name through the mud. And if I ever catch you being indiscreet, rest assured I´ll pull the trigger myself- and you can be certain they´ll rule your death accidental, ¨he glared at a blanched Lana.

TBC

CHAPTERS 3 & 4

 


 
 
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Jengreenlady2 on June 7th, 2009 05:04 am (UTC)
Wow! Great start to the story. Sorry I didn't get the time to check it out until tonight. I've been so busy. But it was worth waiting for. Will read the next chapters now. :-)))
lillianschild: teh sexlillianschild on June 7th, 2009 06:36 am (UTC)
All is forgiven.LOL.I know what it it like to be really busy. In fact, if it weren´t for the fact I´ve got stories ready that I´ve posted elsewhere I wouldn´t be able to update this journal every week.
just a fake bitch who can't ship.peachmacaroons on January 8th, 2010 05:44 pm (UTC)
This is a great start, and I'm totally intrigued! Can't wait for an update!
lillianschild: surprisedlillianschild on January 8th, 2010 05:46 pm (UTC)
Glad you liked it. By the way, I think you've missed the link at the bottom of this post. The whole story´s already up.