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11 July 2009 @ 06:32 pm
"Rebuilding" (Sequel to "Crossing Paths"- Chlex Romance)-Pg-13/R: Chapters 1 & 2  

A/N: This fic is a sequel to my story ¨Crossing Paths¨ and, as such, it presupposes the reader knows about the events that brought Chloe and Lex to this point in their lives and relationship. Several things will, therefore, be taken for granted and will be understood only after having read the first one.

SUMMARY: A year after their paths crossed once again, Lex and Chloe are trying to rebuild their lives. As their friendship strengthens and Chloe´s attachment to his children grows, Lex realises they are playing a dangerous game which could end up with more than one heart broken were he unable to live up to his promise.

Author: Lexie

Homepage:
http://www.freewebs.com/lillianschild

Forums:
http://www.freepowerboards.com/lillianschild

Rating: PG-13/R


CHAPTER 1: Resolutions

Four months later
Chloe´s flat- Metropolis


It was eight o´clock in the morning when Chloe´s mobile shrilled. She had already downed her first mug of coffee and was pouring herself a second when the incoming call made her jump. She let the voice mail pick it up and grabbed the last Danish she had sworn she´d leave for tea in the afternoon. Lex had told her men preferred women who could fill a dress with natural curves, but she knew better. How could she trust someone who had always had a soft spot for slim long-legged brunettes?

Chloe stuffed the remaining portion of the pastry into her mouth with an unwelcome feeling of guilt. She knew she had put on a few pounds in the last couple of months. Being around Lex was wrecking havoc on her libido, and the stress she was under since her association with him came to light wasn´t helping her resolve to keep fit one bit. What´s more, her chocolate craving had come back with a vengeance, and her caffeine intake had broken new records.

¨Damn it, Sullivan! ¨she said through gritted teeth as she saw Lex´s devastatingly handsome persona in the morning news. ¨You´ve got to pull yourself together and quit binging before you turn yourself into a stout pig. He may not be looking at you the way you wish he did, but you´ll have no chance in hell unless you quit this self-destructive act. ¨

Chloe turned off the TV giving a last forlorn look at the billionaire on the screen. God, she was a lost cause! No matter how many times she´d told herself she was no longer a high school student, her hormones told her otherwise- her hormones and her biological clock, that is. Most of her former classmates were already mothers and three-quarters of her newspaper colleagues were in a serious relationship. Even her hell raiser of a cousin, Lois, had settled down with Clark and was now expecting a baby.

However, the blonde reporter couldn´t but thank God for letting her lavish part of the love she had to give on Lex´s children- whom she loved as if they were her own. Alex was such an adorable boy, and his personality reminded her so much of the hurt and tortured soul that inhabited his dad. Although the child was young, she prayed it wasn´t too late to undo or, at least, to compensate him for all the harm Lana had done to him in his short life.

It was true Chloe had a special place in her heart for the red-haired boy; still, it was sweet little Lillian who had her twisted around her little finger. The innocent baby, who had never let anyone touch her except her dad, had taken an instant liking to the snarky reporter and surprised her worshipping dad by squirming in his arms to be picked up by Chloe whenever the baby´s blue-grey eyes saw Lois´ cousin in the vicinity. Oh, yes! Chloe had not only fallen head-over-heels in love with the brooding billionaire again, she was falling hard for his children and didn´t know how long she could take the friends-only relationship that she had offered and he had gratefully seized with desperate hands.

¨It´s time to make some resolutions, Sullivan, ¨she murmured, fetching a big black garbage bag to collect all the biscuits, chocolate and sweet stuff she had stored in the kitchen cabinets and the fridge. ¨No more pity binging; you´re better than this. Hell, you know he found you attractive once, and you were a teenager then. Who says you can´t make him see you for the woman you are now? You may not be his usual type; your hips are a little too rounded, your stomach isn´t as flat as that bitch Victoria´s, but I guess it´s time to follow Lois´ advice and show off your natural endowments. Besides, you´ve got a huge plus, brains, and you know for certain he´s never been able to resist a battle of wits. ¨

She tied up the bulky bag and heard the ringtone announcing a new incoming call.

¨We´re a real pain in the butt this morning, aren´t we?¨ she sighed, checking the caller ID and flipping the mobile open with a frown. ¨Sullivan. ¨

¨Why the hell didn´t you pick up my previous call, Sullivan? Don´t tell me you were sleeping. A good reporter never sleeps when the biggest stories are out there waiting to be written, ¨barked the voice on the other side.

Chloe hadn´t heard that voice in a while and, as the ramblings of the grumpy editor continued to sound in her ear, she felt a sudden wave of anger overtake her. She knew where this was coming from and he was going to hear her out.

LEX´S OFFICE- LUTHORCORP PLAZA

Lex had arrived at the top floor of the glass and steel building which dominated the city centre of Metropolis fifteen minutes after nine. He had driven Alex to kindergarten and brought Lilly along for the appointment he had made a week before. Maybe it was too early- she had just turned nine months- but he would make sure she had the best medical care money could buy to help her not feel an outsider like he had when he was a child.

Dr Elizabeth Sutton came with the best recommendations and Lex had liked what he saw the minute they were introduced. She was a true professional and Lilly seemed to feel comfortable around her- a real feat when the girl only allowed a privileged few to touch her. Although the therapist hadn´t told him anything new, the programme she presented him with convinced him to put his precious child in her hands; needless to say he had run a complete background check on the middle-aged physician before making an appointment with her- his trust issues were as usual a permanent fixture in his life.

Lex had left Dr Sutton´s office before the clock struck nine and headed to the headquarters of his empire with Lilly strapped to her seat in the back of the car. Today he had decided to do without the services of Nanny Robertson and look after the girl himself- it would be a quiet day at the office seeing he had re-scheduled all appointments and conference calls for the following Monday. Even though he would have rather driven back to the penthouse, there were a couple of things he had to see to which he couldn´t take home.

¨You called him, didn´t you? ¨an irate voice disturbed the silence of his inner sanctum.

¨Good morning to you too, Chloe, ¨he knitted his eyebrows as he lowered the screen of his laptop and bored his eyes into the dynamo of energy he had let in his life again four months ago. ¨I´m afraid you´ll have to enlighten me as to the identity of the ´he´ I´ve allegedly called, ¨he added calmly, wondering whether he hadn´t overstepped the boundaries after all.

¨You know who I´m talking about, Lex, ¨she advanced further into the room. ¨You just can´t let things be, can you? ¨

¨Chloe... ¨ began Lex, only to be cut off by a hyperventilating Chloe.

¨I know what you´re trying to do, Lex, and I don´t want it! ¨she exclaimed flushed.

¨I´m not trying to manipulate you, Chloe, ¨he responded gravely.

¨Maybe not me. But what about Perry? I know blackmail when I see it. You should remember I´ve experienced your family´s special kind of persuasion in the flesh, ¨ she answered back, seeing his nostrils flare.

¨There was no need to resort to blackmail, Chloe. The old man knows he should have never let you go. He´d be a fool not to jump at the chance to have you back, ¨ he leant forward in his chair,

¨ He´s already got Lois and Clark, ¨she responded, crossing her arms in front of her.

¨As much as you love your cousin, and as much as I´ve grown to like her or tolerate her in the last four months, we both know she´ll never be half as good as you are. And Clark? ¨he snorted. ¨Come on, Chloe! Don´t you think I wouldn´t remember what kind of a reporter he was at The Torch? ¨

¨He´s come a long way since then, ¨ she defended him.

¨You mean the guy in the blue spandex, not the farm boy who uses his job at The Planet as a cover-up, ¨ he said mockingly.

¨Let´s leave him out of this conversation, shall we? ¨she said bitterly.

¨Chloe, I´m sorry, ¨he responded smoothly, leaving his swivel chair and walking around the desk to get closer to her. ¨You knew this was bound to happen when you decided to renew your acquaintance with me. Clark... ¨

¨This isn´t about him, Lex. This is about your stupid need to pay for having me back in your life. You don´t owe me anything, Lex. I´m here because I want to, ¨she said passionately. ¨I´m not going anywhere, ¨she said with a tremor in her voice. ¨And I don´t want you twisting anybody´s arm to let me have what you assume I want more than anything in this world, ¨she finished, averting her eyes lest they betrayed her innermost thoughts.

¨Working for The Planet has always been your dream, Chloe, ¨he stated as he pondered the words she had just uttered.

¨Well, not any more, ¨she said tightly. ¨I´m fine where I am, Lex. I like my job at The Herald. It´s not as if I were getting my salary from The Inquisitor, for God´s sake! ¨

¨You know I´d never ask you to give up your dreams because of me, Chloe, ¨he insisted, placing both hands on her shoulders.

¨I resigned my job at The Planet a long time ago, Lex. I can assure you it had nothing to do with you, ¨ she told him.

¨But don´t you want it back? ¨he egged on.

¨I told you I´m satisfied with what I have, ¨she responded, holding his gaze and feeling the hammering of her heart in her chest.

¨Are you? ¨he murmured cryptically, cupping her face in one hand and searching the answer in her eyes.

Chloe was trembling like a leaf now that the adrenaline which had driven to his office was wearing off. She wasn´t sure Lex´s question referred to her refusal to accept the job Perry White had offered her at the paper. Could it be he was hinting at something else? If only he talked straightforwardly, but Lex had always had a way with words and hidden meanings and his sudden proximity wasn´t helping Chloe´s ability to read him at all. His intoxicating masculine perfume invaded her nostrils and his powerful aura enveloped her, making her feel safe and, at the same time, provoking her to run away and hide. She´d never been a coward, but as much as she loved Lex, she was afraid of the rollercoaster of emotions entailed in an intimate relationship with a complex man such as him. Lex´s mercurial and passionate nature was unlike any man´s she´d known, and she couldn´t help but yearn and fear that all-consuming fire in equal measure.

He knew what she felt for him, he had to. He might have had doubts about the true nature of her present feelings but, after what she had told him or tried not to tell him in so many words today, there was very small room for doubt. Now the question remained... did he feel about her the way he had that summer or had his relationship with Lana made him too cynical to believe in a woman´s profession of love?

Lex looked into the hazel green eyes with which he had fallen in love when he was twenty-three and saw a myriad of emotions reflected in them. Four months ago both had opened unhealed wounds in the living room of his penthouse, a few of which had made him re-evaluate some of the decisions he had taken back in Smallville the summer his father was in jail, and now he couldn´t imagine his life without Chloe in it. She had become as indispensible as the air he breathed and, in his desperation to tie her to him, he had used all the means at his disposal to get her the one thing she had always dreamt of- a job at The Planet with a better salary and hierarchy than those of Clark or her obnoxious cousin Lois.

¨I´m mad at you, you know, ¨she murmured in a defeated voice.

¨I know. I´m sorry, Chloe. It was never my intention to make things more difficult for you. On the contrary... ¨he responded, walking towards the panoramic window in front of which she was standing with her back to him.

¨Well, at least, you didn´t go all the way and bought the damn newspaper again to give it to me with a bow, ¨she sighed, dumping her coat on an armchair and noticing the door of the adjacent room was ajar. ¨You´ve brought her to the office this morning. Where´s Mrs Robertson? ¨she added, walking into the playroom.

¨I gave her the weekend off. She wanted to visit her daughter and her newly-born grandson, ¨he explained.

¨Hello, sweetie, ¨cooed Chloe, picking Lilly up and feeling a tightening in her chest when the baby flashed her a smile and pulled at her now long hair with a small fist. ¨You look more beautiful each passing day. I can almost see your dad cleaning one of his best guns to keep your suitors at bay when you´re in junior high, ¨she laughed, shooting a glance at Lex, who was leaning casually against the doorframe.

¨That´s a long time away, ¨ he responded with the ghost of a smile.

¨Oh, I don´t know, Lex! Time flies away, doesn´t it? ¨she replied, tickling Lillian.

¨Chloe? ¨he uttered, swallowing the lump in his throat.

¨Yes? ¨she turned around to face him with the girl cradled in her arms.

¨I was wondering... Next Friday´s our first formal appointment with her speech therapist... Would you..., ¨he mumbled, hating being suddenly inarticulate.

¨I´d be honoured, Lex, ¨she croaked, feeling her eyes prickle with tears.

CHAPTER 2: Learning to Live Again

METROPOLIS CITY CENTRE- SATURDAY 10 a.m.

A month had gone by since the day Chloe had barged into Lex´s office at LuthorCorp Plaza, and their sometimes stormy relationship was back on track. She told herself the place they were in now was exactly what she wanted- he seemed to have accepted her plea for him not to interfere in the only thing she could claim hers, and his request that she share Lillian´s sessions with the therapist had been the perfect olive branch.

However, being part of the girl´s rehabilitation was hastening Chloe´s breaking point- something had to change and soon before she made a fool of herself in front of Lex. Running away now was out of the question; she would never do that to the children, and she knew that she was being a masochist, but she couldn´t give up Lex again. She´d rather have him as a friend than not have him in her life at all-anything was better than the years of resentment that had kept them apart for so long.

Chloe had always been a realist; she was aware that getting to the heart of someone who had been hurt so many times, wouldn´t be an easy feat; still, she had faith. There were times when she thought she was deluding herself, times when he closed up like a clam and erected that cold barrier she wanted to break with a hammer, but there were also occasions on which she saw a glimmer of something in his eyes when he thought she wasn´t looking - she was afraid to give it a name lest it vanish into thin air.

Today was Saturday morning and Chloe had got a call from Lois the night before, inviting her to go on a shopping spree and have a chat over coffee- decaf for the expecting mum. Chloe had almost turned her down with the excuse of having to finish an article, only to change her mind at the last minute.

¨Hey, cuz, how about that one? ¨ asked Lois, pursing her lips in front of the shop window of an excellent boutique.

¨Yeah, right, ¨ responded the blonde reporter, eying the black velvet dress on display. ¨Where would I find the money to buy that dress? ¨

¨What are credit cards for? Don´t worry about expenses, Chlo´. You´ll need it for one night, right? You just have to be careful not to pull off the tags, and you can return it on Monday alleging you´re not satisfied with the purchase,¨Lois cocked an eyebrow.

¨Lo´, that´d be dishonest! ¨exclaimed Chloe, taking her cousin by the arm and trying to drag her away from the window.

¨Look who´s talking- the girl who´s hanging around with the Prince of Subterfuge! ¨snorted the brunette.

¨That was low, Lois, ¨glared Chloe, releasing her arm.

¨OK, OK, ¨Lois raised her arms in defeat. ¨I agree he´s trying to change, and that he´s been on his best behaviour of late. But, do you honestly believe he would let something as small as a price tag stand in his way to get what he wants? ¨

¨He´s never had to worry about his budget, Lo´! He´s a freaking billionaire! ¨exclaimed Chloe, shooting a sidelong glance at the dress.

¨You love it, don´t you? ¨smirked the eldest young woman.

¨It´s not a question of loving it or not. It´s... ¨Chloe shook her head.

¨Come on, cuz! With your hips and your boo... OK, no need to frown! Your natural endowments... you´ll have him eating out of your hand, ¨she smiled conspiratorially.

¨You make it sound as if I were trying to jump him, ¨frowned the petite blonde.

¨And aren´t you? Be honest, cuz, I´ve seen the way you look at him when you think he isn´t watching, and you should see your face when you talk about him and those kids, ¨responded Lois gravely.

¨I´m not looking for a rumple on his sheets or to be anyone´s second best, ¨Chloe replied coldly.

¨You´ve taken my words the wrong way, Chlo´. I know he means more to you than that, and as to your being second-best... any man who could ever consider you second to any bimbo deserves to be hanged. Lex and I may not see eye to eye on most things, but he isn´t a fool. Don´t you think he knows you´re worth a thousand Lanas? After what that bitch did to him and their babies... I´m sure he knows he hit the jackpot when you walked back into his life, ¨said Lois passionately.

¨I never thought I´d see the day when Lois Lane would stand up for a Luthor, ¨murmured Chloe with a small smile.

¨Don´t tell him I said that. I´ll deny it to my dying day. Besides... my speech was an attempt to sing your praises not to boost his already inflated ego, ¨stated Clark Kent´s wife with a grimace.

¨That´s more like the Lois I know and love, ¨laughed the younger cousin, wrapping an arm around Lois´ waist and placing a hand on the already rounded womb. ¨Was that a kick? ¨she cocked an eyebrow.

¨No, that was just a flutter, ¨sighed the pregnant reporter. ¨I hope the boy´s sensible enough to wait until I´ve delivered him to show all his might, ¨she shuddered.

¨How´s daddy? ¨ asked Chloe with a tremor in her voice.

¨Chlo´, it kills me to see you two so distant. You know he´s pig-headed; I swear, if I didn´t know what I know, I´d bet my life the blood that flows through his veins is 100% unadulterated Kent. Still, you know that he loves you and only wants what´s best for you, ¨responded Lois, covering Chloe´s hand with hers.

¨He hurt me, Lo´. What he said shows he has no faith in me and my ability to see things as they really are. He treated me the same way he used to treat Lana, and I´m not like her- I don´t need to be sheltered like a stupid kid. I´m not an egotistic girl who can´t see or face the ugly truths of life. I knew what I was getting myself into when I decided to let Lex back into my life, but it was my choice to make, ¨said Chloe with tears in her eyes.

¨Give him some time. He´ll come around eventually, ¨Lois hugged her.

¨I´m not so sure. He hates Lex and still resents him for what he thinks Lex did to Lana, ¨said the blonde curtly.

¨I wouldn´t bet on that, ¨smirked Superman´s wife.

¨You mean he doesn´t hate Lex anymore? ¨frowned Chloe.

¨No, he hasn´t turned a Lex-lover overnight, but let´s just say Lana´s no longer on Clark Kent´s pedestal, ¨grinned Lois wolfishly.

¨Lo´, what have you done! ¨exclaimed Gabe´s only daughter with a mischievous smile.

¨Do you want Luthor or not, cuz? ´Cause I can tell you there´s a long queue of brunettes waiting to put their clutches on him, ¨Lois prodded her on. ¨Come on! ¨she nudged her in the ribs. ¨You get the dress, and I´ll take care of the rest. ¨

¨OK, you win, ¨responded Chloe resignedly.

¨Luthor won´t know what´s hit him, ¨whispered General Lane´s army brat, pushing the glass door open.

LEX´S PENTHOUSE- SATURDAY 5 p.m.

Chloe had arrived at Lex´s penthouse around four and found him in his private study amidst heaps of dossiers and scribbled notes; it seemed heavy artillery would be needed to drag him away from that damn LuthorCorp paperwork.

After preparing a carafe of freshly-made coffee and pouring him a cup, she left him to his world- domination plans to check on the kids. Lilly was taking her daily nap and Alex was with his nose in an old encyclopaedia- leave it to a son of Lex´s to prefer musty books to playing cops and robbers.

´Well, Lois. You´ve promised to help me, so you´d better have an idea other than me doing a striptease in the middle of Lex´s study to make him stop work for the weekend,´ she told herself as she fished in her bag for her mobile phone. ¨Hi, Lo´! Remember what we talked about this morning? Yeah... well, I´ve decided to go along with it... The problem is... I need a little help... I won´t do that! Who do you take me for? Besides, you seem to forget I´ve never... you know, ¨she blushed, shrugging her shoulders. ¨She´s there? Could you ask her if she´d do me that favour? I know it´s a lot to ask... OK... I´ll wait, ¨ she continued, biting her lower lip and counting the minutes. ¨Yes, I´m here. She said ´yes´? Oh, Lois, thanks! Tell her I´ll see they let her go up. And Lois? I´ll buy you lunch next time, ¨she smiled, flipping the mobile shut and taking a deep breath.

Lex was typing the reply to the last e-mail in his inbox when he heard Chloe quietly open the double doors of his inner sanctum.

¨It´s five o´clock on a Saturday afternoon, Lex. I know you´ve got plans to rule the world before you turn forty, but don´t you think it´s time to call it a day? ¨she chastised him as she lowered in the chair across his desk.

¨I´ve got to go over some papers for next week´s board meeting, ¨he responded calmly, stretching an arm to grab a blue folder only to be stopped by the hand of the relentless blonde who had turned his life upside down.

¨Lex, there won´t be a board meeting but a funeral next week if you don´t learnt to wind down, ¨ she snapped, snatching the dossier away from him.

¨Chloe... ¨he said coldly.

¨It´s been five months, Lex. When do you plan to start living again? ¨she interrupted him, holding his stormy blue-grey eyes.

¨The children need me, and a corporation like the one I run won´t survive unless there´s someone at the helm, ¨he responded tensely.

¨I´m not saying you should neglect your duties. I´m just saying there´s more to life than work. You don´t need to prove anything, Lex, ¨she continued as he walked to the wet bar to uncap a bottle of Tŷ Nant.

¨Don´t I?¨ he smiled ironically, taking a swing at the bottle.

¨Your father´s been dead... how long, Lex? You don´t have to prove anything to him anymore. And if you´re doing this for your children, let me tell you they know who you are; al least, Alex does. He knows you´ve always been there for him and Lilly. You shouldn´t be afraid of ever being mistaken for an unnatural father like yours, ¨she told Lex, coming closer to him.

¨Sometimes I think no matter what I do, it´ll never be enough to compensate them for what Lana did to them both, ¨he croaked, tightening the hold on the blue bottle.

¨They know they have a dad who loves them and, you´re right, they need you. That´s why you´ve got to learn when to stop. If I don´t remember incorrectly, you asked me to teach you how to do it a few months ago. Don´t tell me you´ve changed your mind, ¨she finished, seeing something flicker in his eyes before he took a last swing at the bottle of spring water.

¨What did you have in mind? ¨he smirked, seeing her flush. ¨I´m open to suggestions, ¨he said in a seductive tone.

¨Dinner. Maybe going to the theatre,¨ she shrugged her shoulders.

¨Really? ¨he cocked an eyebrow.

¨Lex, ¨she warned him.

¨It sounds nice, Chloe, but I´m afraid I´ll have to take a rain check. Mrs Robertson´s out of town and the only person I´d trust my children to would be otherwise occupied, ¨he answered, throwing the empty bottle in the wastepaper basket. ¨Still, we could... ¨

¨I´ve got that covered, ¨she cut him off.

¨You´ve got what covered? ¨he frowned, boring his eyes into her.

¨Saved by the bell! ¨she laughed, walking towards the double doors.

¨I´m not leaving my children with Lois, Chloe. God knows what vocabulary Alex might pick up from her, ¨he shouted at her receding back.

¨God, Lex! I´d never taken you for a prude, ¨she chuckled on her way to the penthouse´s front door.

¨Chloe, I´m not kidding. We´ll stay here. I´ll cook you dinner if you want, and let you pick a movie from my DVD collection. Just keep your cou... ¨he went on as he tagged along.

¨Hello, Martha! ¨exclaimed a beaming Chloe, swinging the door open and hugging the older woman tightly.

¨Hello, sweetie, ¨responded a motherly Martha, kissing her son´s best high school friend affectionately. ¨How are you, Lex? ¨she smiled over Chloe´s shoulder at the tall lean young man, who was standing a few feet away from them, with his hands deep in the pockets.

¨Mrs Kent, ¨he responded with a sincere smile.

Once again Chloe had beaten him. Clark´s mum. There was no one more suitable in the world to be entrusted the care of two of his most valuable treasures.

TBC

CHAPTER 3
 
 
Current Mood: hopefulhopeful
 
 
 
Jengreenlady2 on July 13th, 2009 05:05 am (UTC)
Great beginning to a sequel. I'm amused at how almost everyone but Clark is coming around about Lex. :-)))
lillianschild: naughtylillianschild on July 13th, 2009 08:33 pm (UTC)
Oh, yes, Clark´s the most pig-headed of them all! After all, he´s been raised by non other than Jonathan Kent. :)