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15 October 2010 @ 06:54 pm
"Wallflower" (Chlex one-shot: Entry for the NS Fanfic Challenge #12) AU/General-PG  

TITLE: WALLFLOWER

AUTHOR: lillianschild  aka Lexie

PAIR: Chlex

CHALLENGE: Naughty-Seduction's Fanfic Challenge #12-September 2010- “AU”

SUMMARY:
Living on the sidelines. Will someone ever see them?

RATING: PG

 

 

Her dad used to call her his flower; vibrant as a sunflower, prickly as a thistle, fragile as a poppy, beaming to the world and secretly waiting to be picked. She used to bloom towards the sun, the young man she dreamt one day would look at her and finally see her. And now she’s just turned one-and-twenty and another spring has gone by. Another year standing on the sidelines , wondering if being a wallflower is all she’s ever meant to be, begrudging the opposite sex the freedom her gender has been denied. She wishes she could erase pity with outrage if only to feel alive.

He enters the crowded ballroom escorting his mother, resigned to spending yet another boring soirée accosted by debutantes and their ambitious mammas eager to marry their daughters off and secure a seat in the Luthor box for the following theatre season. He hates feeling like a thoroughbred being auctioned at Tattersalls and looks at the parade in front of him with a cynical and bored eye. If he didn’t love his mother the way he does, he wouldn’t have stepped into his father’s shoes for the night. She’s the only reason Lex’s stayed in Metropolis when he could be roaming the world, living his own life- one chosen by him, away from his Dad.

Their arrival is accompanied by the ubiquitous hushed whispers provoked by the obsequious reverence for money and power- privileges he enjoys and resents in equal measure since they put a veil in front of everyone’s eyes. He wishes someone could actually see him and not the wrappings he’s been born into. He fears that day might never arrive, that his body’s destined to be in the spotlight while his soul, his real self, stands on the sidelines forever ignored or misunderstood. He wishes he could break society’s constraints and be who he’s allowed to be in the privacy of his mother’s parlour when his father’s not around to judge him.

From her far-off corner of the room Chloe observes the small commotion near the entrance to the hall. She recognises the beautiful patrician lady as the very same who paid her daddy her last respects one winter rainy morning almost three years ago, and she knows by the excited prattling and giggling around her that it isn’t Lionel Luthor who’s escorting the lady this evening. Chloe has never crossed paths with Lillian’s only son- they simply don’t move in the same circles- but she’s heard a lot about him and knows the brooding young man who’s considered the greatest catch in Metropolis and the most elusive one prefers now the solitude of his study to the social scene he used to favour.

The band begins to play a waltz and Chloe’s attention is once again drawn to the dance floor as some new couples are formed and others come together for a repeat performance. Her cousin smiles at her ready to twirl in the arms of the Queen heir, who’s made it possible for Chloe to attend the ball by graciously extending an invitation which she assumes was exacted by Lois. She loves her eldest cousin for trying to see her happy but giving up a fascinating read and a cup of hot coffee to come today only to see Clark romancing the daughter of prominent Henry Small makes her wish she could have some magical power to vanish into thin air.

One of Lillian’s oldest friends, an attractive and motherly red-haired lady who’s introduced to Lex as Mrs Kent, joins mother and son and engages in a warm chat which quickly puts a little colour back on ailing Lillian’s cheeks. This is Mrs Luthor’s first outing in months after a mild heart attack and seeing her smiling and relaxed manages to subdue the negative mood Lex was in when crossing the threshold; he can actually feel the tense muscles start to uncoil. The evening would be worth it if he could at least help her forget the strains of the mansion and her marriage to Lionel Luthor for a few hours. He tries to cover up his relief when, seeing his attention otherwise engaged, the young women hovering around move towards the floor and start to dance.

Chloe’s eyes roam the room discreetly looking for a story to write. She’s got piles of finished manuscripts she keeps locked away in a lovely oak trunk she inherited from her mum, dreams of the day she’ll open the postbox and find a letter with an enclosed cheque for her first published story. She loves observing people, looking beyond their masks, seeing who they’re inside.  Martha enters her field of vision, and Chloe has her first look at the Luthor heir. Lillian smiles and laughs mirthfully at something Jonathan Kent’s widow says, and  the young woman   gets momentarily mesmerised when Lionel’s first-born lets his mask slip for a brief moment. She wonders if her cheeks are blushing as she returns her gaze to the dance floor.

A few minutes into the chat Lex excuses himself and approaches the punch to have two glasses poured for the ladies. He hangs out there a little longer than expected to escape the stifling heat and the asphyxiating assortment of imported perfumes. He makes idle conversation with a former Excelsior classmate he hasn’t seen in a while and, as he turns around with the drinks in his hands, he spots a patch of deep emerald fabric at a distance and overhears a couple of dandies’ scornful remarks punctuated by some ear-grating giggling. A wallflower.

The waltz comes to an end and she applauds the band, pretending she likes to be standing on the fringes, living through others, always ready to lend an understanding ear and find the right comforting words. Lives go on around her and for once she wishes she could be at the centre, the sun around which the others revolve instead of a reliable satellite. She wonders what it’d feel like to be that someone if only for just a moment. And she smiles bravely at her cousin and her beau, anxiously awaiting the next piece to start so that she can slip away to the balcony, alone with her thoughts, away from the room which is determined to clip her wings and has already hung a label around her neck because of her sex.

The first chords of a new waltz sound and Lillian’s blue-grey eyes watch her son’s profile over the rim of her punch glass. She knows how much he’s sacrificing to be with her tonight, how much he loathes to be labelled because of who his father is, how much he yearns to be loved and accepted for who he really is. Lillian shivers at the fleeting thought of leaving him alone with his father, fears what it could do to his sensitive soul, hopes that when the time arrives for her to die he’ll have someone who can see and treasure the real man behind the mask. She follows his gaze across the floor and feels a small flutter in her chest when she reads his intention, wonders how the room will react and smiles.

The milling crowd on the dance floor parts and the surprised murmurs rise when the slighted parties realise Young Mr Luthor won’t break his dancing fast for any of the young debutantes. Leaving both disappointed mammas and insipid schoolgirls behind, he walks purposefully towards the balcony, clearly preferring the flavour of an aromatic cheroot to the romance of an Austrian folk song.  Suddenly the voices in the background are silenced when the real purpose of his stride is revealed the minute he veers slightly to the right and, with a graceful bow, stretches out a hand and invites the young woman who’s sat out every dance.

Her eyes are the deepest green he’s ever come across in his twenty-seven years and they look at him as if they could see right into his soul. He can read disbelief in their depths as if she couldn’t believe she’s been singled out and then acceptance when she realises it isn’t pity that has drawn him to her but something deeper, an instinctual identification with what lies underneath- the desire to leave the sidelines and be actually seen. And she lets him take her hand and guide her into the dance and as they waltz and reverse round the hall lost in the moment, all eyes watching them, they’re no longer satellites at last.

 

THE END

 

 
 
Current Mood: exhaustedexhausted
 
 
 
phoenixnzphoenixnz on October 15th, 2010 11:50 pm (UTC)
Wow, this is amazing hon. I could so identify with both of them in this. Well done.
lillianschild: happy couplelillianschild on October 17th, 2010 04:19 pm (UTC)
Thanks for reading and reviewing, Leanne. :)
Jengreenlady2 on October 16th, 2010 08:20 am (UTC)
Lovely! And I love that Lex's mother is still alive, and a nice person. That's comforting. :-)))
lillianschild: face to facelillianschild on October 17th, 2010 04:22 pm (UTC)
Glad you liked it. I've always had a soft spot for Lillian; that's why I objected several lines they fed her in Fracture.

I wanted her to be in Lex's world here to counter-balance all those vultures and hacks in the room. :)
karahalliwell: Sv ; Chloekarahalliwell on October 17th, 2010 01:16 pm (UTC)
This is so AMAZING! I loved the comparisons and contrasts you make between Lex and Chloe.

<333
lillianschild: kiss aproachlillianschild on October 17th, 2010 04:24 pm (UTC)
They're similar in so many ways that I believe there's no one better than them to understand what the other is going through.
eternal_moonieeternal_moonie on October 18th, 2010 11:35 am (UTC)
I totally love this new oneshot of yours!