Finding Truth in The Lie
I glanced in the direction of the kitchen as Bart, Clark, Victor, A.C. and I sat in the multipurpose room of Headquarters. We decided now would be as good a time as any to put all the problems out on the table and start coming up with some solutions. Chloe offered to make dinner for everyone since for once we were all in the same room and Dinah offered to help her.
That was fifteen minutes ago. They’ve been alone in the kitchen for fifteen whole minutes and I haven’t heard a peep from either of them. That worried me. Why did that worry me? Well…Dinah isn’t exactly Chloe’s biggest fan. They worked together and she wasn’t outwardly mean, but Dinah resented how close I was with Chloe.
A few months before Jimmy was killed and Clark left, Dinah and I sort of had a thing…and I use the term lightly. We weren’t exclusive and it wasn’t serious, but the closer I got to Chloe the less I saw her and that upset her.
My name being called startled me out of my thoughts. I turned my head and looked toward everyone. I raised an eyebrow and nodded.
Bart chuckled and spoke up.
“What has you so deep in thought over there Oliver?”
I grinned and shrugged as I moved my focus back to the people in front of me.
“No clue, are we done with the reminiscing? Maybe it’s time we got back to the issues at hand.”
Victor glanced in the direction I was just looking before speaking.
“What about Dinah and Chloe. I’m sure they want to hear what’s going on.”
“We’ll fill them in when they come in here.”
He nodded and we got down to business.
“Chloe explained what happened while we were gone…is it true? Did you see him Victor?”
He shook his head.
“No, Dinah saw him and Chloe saw Tess. What we’ve gathered from the data that we were able to get our hands, is they were keeping him in that facility. Experimenting on him to restore him to full capacity.”
He paused and met my eyes.
“The man you thought was Lex…was a decoy. Tess has been lying to you and everyone else since she got to town. All her talk about destroying Lex and how he’s evil was bull. She was using powers from the meteor infected people to try to develop a serum that would make Lex…Lex again.”
Wow…I needed a minute to let that sink in…I leaned back in the chair and placed my hands over and behind my head. It’s not really surprising that Tess played me…and knowing I didn’t kill Lex makes me feel lighter than I have in months. Maybe I wasn’t beyond redemption after all.
I heard A.C. start talking so I focused on him.
“So Lex is back? How back are we talking? Like the dude is up, moving, talking and destroying people or like he’s alive in some kind of vegetable state?”
I shrugged as everyone looked toward me.
“That’s something we’ll have to ask Dinah about. She’s the only one who saw him. I think that’s our most pressing issue at the moment. I know there is at least one other thing, but since it involves Chloe we’ll talk about it when she’s here.”
They nodded and at that moment Clark caught my eye. He cleared his throat to get everyone’s attention before speaking.
“Actually I have something to add.”
I motioned for him to continue. He scooter closer to the edge of his seat, dug into his pocket and pulled out a piece of paper. I frowned as he handed it to me and spoke.
“That drawing is of a ring from a kid name Rokk. He’s part of what is known as the Legion in the 31st century. Three months ago was the second time he visited me from the future. He gave me that ring so I could send Davis to the future so his team could destroy him.”
I raised an eyebrow and looked at him with amusement clearly on my face.
“You want me to believe someone time traveled, gave you a magic ring and what…went back to his own time?”
I chuckled, gave him back the drawing and leaned back in my chair.
“Come on Clark, that’s a little far fetched…even for us.”
He frowned and continued anyway.
“I didn’t want someone else to get stuck cleaning up my mess so I took the ring and put it in a safe place at the Daily Planet.”
“That’s really interesting Clark, but does this story have a point?”
He sent me a glare and his voice were irritated when he spoke.
“If you’d shut up, I’d get to it.”
I smirked and held up my hands in a ‘go on’ gesture.
“The last time I saw Lois she was at the Planet. I went back there the night I left Metropolis to take the ring with me to the fortress and it was gone.”
I sat up straight, Lois’ name having caught my attention. He couldn’t be saying what I thought he was saying. Bart glanced at Victor and then A.C. looked at me. I opened my mouth, shut it, creased my brows together and then spoke slowly in a voice that held disbelief.
“Are you telling me…you think Lois found this ring and what…ended up in the future?”
He shrugged, but sat back with a satisfied look on his face.
“I think with the way she snoops, it’s entirely possible. I’m not a hundred percent sure how the ring works. She could have done no more than pick it up, hold it, and it could have transported her to their time. If I’m right…I’m not sure how that will alter the future.”
I was about to say something when Victor spoke. He had a look of confusion on his face.
“Yeah, but if that happened wouldn’t they just bring her back here? I mean they can obviously travel back and forth freely…why wouldn’t they have brought her back by now?”
Good question…I looked at Clark and he smiled before answering.
“Because she wouldn’t know to go to them. Lois doesn’t know my secret, so she’d never think to look for people who don’t exist in this time. It’s been three months, if there time runs the same as ours it’s been three months there too. So, by now she should know she’s in the future…but probably has no clue how she got there. Knowing Lois she’ll think it’s something ‘Smallville’ related.”
He did have a point…if Lois was sent to the future that would certainly explain why we couldn’t find her anywhere…this is good news…I looked at Clark and have him a genuine smile. The first since his return.
“This is good news. If your theory is right…that means she’s fine?”
He nodded his head with a grin. Chloe would be relieved.
“Knowing Lois she’s found a productive way to pass her time there.”
We all chuckled and Chloe took that moment to walk into the room. She made her way over to my chair with a smile on her face. She glanced around at all of us, never fully making eye contact with Clark before she rubbed my shoulder lightly and spoke.
“What’s so funny boys?”
I tilted my head back and grinned at her before speaking.
“Clark thinks he knows where Lois is.”
I watched her face light up and my heart melted a little. I haven’t seen a look like that on her face in a while.
“She took a little trip to the future apparently.”
When I saw the confusion on her face I shook my head.
“I’ll explain later.”
Her voice was hesitant when she spoke.
“She’s okay though?”
“According to Clark she should be incredibly confused, but perfectly fine.”
I watched as another smile lit up her face. I couldn’t help but return it. Chloe really was beautiful. There are very few people who know me as well as she does…I’m glad I decided to let her in…
I watched as Oliver returned Chloe’s smile…a smile that had at one point be reserved only for me. I sighed and turned away from them. It took me three months to focus my energy and come to terms with leaving everyone behind…and precisely three minutes after seeing Chloe’s face to question all the decisions I’ve made since then.
Dinah’s voice knocked me out of my thoughts.
“I need some help in here!”
I heard Chloe give a low chuckle as she rolled her eyes playfully at Oliver.
“I shouldn’t have left her alone…”
She glanced over at Bart and he smirked at her.
“Hey Bart, want to do me a favor?”
“Anything for you Chloelicious.”
Oliver shook his head as Victor and A.C. chuckled. They all had such easy going friendships…I can’t remember every having that…except maybe with Chloe…before things got complicated.
“Come grab some plates and set the table out here. Dinner will be ready in a couple of minutes.”
I watched as Bart sped to the kitchen and back before Chloe even had time to stand up straight from her bent position behind Oliver. Bart winked at her as he started doling out plates, utensils and cups. She shook her head and started to leave the room when Oliver caught her arm.
I watched her raise an eyebrow and he motioned for her to come closer to him. She did and I watched as he captured her lips with his. She seemed startled for a minute before she kissed him back. My jaw tensed and I looked away from them. Just breath…
I saw raised brows around the room and as soon as Chloe was no longer in sight there were a barrage of questions thrown at Oliver.
“Whoa…when did you and Chloelicious start kissing?”
“Dude…you’re macking on Watchtower?”
“Oh boy…I knew it…I knew something was going on with the two of you.”
Oliver chuckled at them and I just sat in silence. He glanced toward the kitchen and then got a serious look on his face. He lowered his voice before he spoke.
“Guys, relax would you. This is a recent development and I don’t want you giving her a hard time about it got it?”
They nodded and he looked directly at Bart when he spoke.
“I’m serious Bart. It’s taken me a while to get her to agree to this and I don’t need anyone making her feel weird about it.”
Victor was the first to speak.
“We got it man no worries.”
“Dude you better treat her right.”
I watched as Victor and Bart nodded in agreement. Bart lowered his voice an octave as he gave Oliver what was supposed to be a look of intimidation.
“Or we’ll come after you…”
He laughed, but nodded. It was at that moment that they looked over at me and the laughter died down. Victor cleared his throat and glanced at Oliver before looking back at me.
“You okay stretch?”
I turned my head in his direction and spoke in an emotionless voice. Keep the emotions in check…
“Why wouldn’t I be?”
He didn’t say anything. Everyone in the room was looking at me and I could feel my emotions start to bubble up to the surface. I stood quickly.
“Excuse me. Where is the bathroom?”
It took a second before anyone answered me.
“Down the hall to the right.”
I walked out of the room without looking back. I made it to the bathroom and shut the door behind me. I glanced at myself in the mirror and I could see the mask slip. God this wasn’t what I wanted…when I left Chloe standing there that night…it was one of the hardest things I had to do.
I spent all of last year ignoring how I felt…pretending it wasn’t there. Ever since Chloe came back from Black Creek…I knew my feelings for her were different…more than friendship…When I found out about her impending nuptials with Jimmy…it torn my heart in two.
So from that point on I pretended that all I felt for her was friendship. I played the doting best friend…I befriended Jimmy…and did my best to pursue other options. First I held on to Lana…because she was my past and it was easy to fall back into that routine.
Then I latched on to the concept of having feelings for Lois…and I made myself believe that I could care about her in that way…that I could love her…the truth is though I never could. Not ‘in love’ anyway. I loved what she did…the arguments we had…the slight flirting…the writing and covering stories together…I loved in her all the aspects that had made me love Chloe.
I wanted to pretend she could be what I needed, and as great as Lois is and as much as I care about her…she’s not Chloe. I sighed and looked a way from the mirror. This is going to be harder then I thought. I turned on the water, cupped my hands under the faucet, and lifted some water up to my face.
It took a few minutes to push all the emotions I was feeling back down. I heard a knock on the door. It was Oliver.
“Everyone is sitting down for dinner. You okay in there Clark? You didn’t fall in did you?”
I could hear amusement in his voice and I took a deep breath and opened the door.
“Sorry about that.”
He patted me on the back lightly.
“Let’s go eat.”
I walked with him into the other room. Eating was the last thing on my mind…
I leaned over and started to collect the dishes as I watched as Bart, Victor, and A.C. say their goodbyes. They all had rooms here, but they didn’t stay in the command center 24/7. A.C and Bart shared an apartment not far away from headquarters, but far enough that they could get some space if they needed it.
Victor also had a place not far from here where he spent most nights. I think Dinah was the only one who didn’t have a permanent residence outside of headquarters. Which come to think of it, is kind of odd…
Oliver spends most of his time in Metropolis running Luthor Corp and Queen Industries, so his main place of residence is out there.
The guys called out their goodbyes to me, I smiled and waved before bringing everything into the kitchen where Dinah was washing dishes. I gave her a smile and spoke in a light voice.
“You don’t have to do this. I can take care of the rest.”
She stopped what she was doing and wiped her hands.
I moved into the spot she had just vacated and turned the water on again. I could feel her standing behind even before she spoke.
“Chloe…listen. I know I’ve been a little testy with you lately. I apologize for that. I just…I wanted to say thank you for what you did the other day. You saved my life…”
Her voice trailed off and I turned to face her. I gave her a small smile before reaching out and pulling her to me for a hug. I must have startled her because it took a couple of seconds before she hugged me back. When we released each other I spoke.
“No need to thank me. We’re all on the same team here Dinah and I like to think that you and I are friends.”
She gave me a tight smile before making her way out of the kitchen. I turned back around and started washing the remaining dishes. A few minutes later I heard footsteps behind me and then felt two arms wrap around me from behind. I grinned as Oliver moved his face and kissed the side of my neck.
“Do you need any help?”
“Nope, I’m almost done.”
He nodded against my shoulder and sighed.
“Would you like me to take you home?”
I paused before speaking.
I felt him nod again.
“Would you mind if I stayed?”
“I’d love it if you stayed.”
I smiled and he unwrapped his arms and took a few steps back. I shut the water as I placed the last dish in the drying board and faced him. The first few buttons of his shirt were undone and his tie was loosened. He gave me a warm look and spoke.
“Meet me upstairs when you’re done? I’ll leave the door unlocked.”
“I’ll be up in a minute.”
He placed a chaste kiss on my lips and made his way to the elevator. I sighed and started drying the dishes. I was walking to the other side of the kitchen with a dish in my hand when I turned and saw Clark leaning against the door frame.
His presence startled me. I dropped the dish and he caught it before it hit the ground. He stood back up and held the dish out to me. I nodded as I took the dish, turned around and put it away.
I heard him make his way into the room and I took a deep breath. I was not prepared for this…not right now. It was quiet and I continued putting the dishes away.
“How have you been?”
I heard him sigh and then clear his throat.
“So you’re working with Oliver’s team now…”
I can’t believe after everything that’s happened he’s trying to make small talk with me. I don’t hear a word from him for three months…he leaves, says goodbye and now what…he wants me to just pretending nothings happened.
I put the last plate away and spun on my heel to face him. I crossed my arms across my chest and met his eyes. I was emotionally spent and my voice held the edge of tiredness when I spoke.
“What do you want Clark?”
“I was just attempting to see how you were.”
My voice came out more harsh then I intended when I spoke.
“Well don’t bother. You lost the right to do that when you walked out on this friendship.”
He pressed his lips together in a tight line. His voice held no emotion when he spoke and it made me wince.
“I can respect that…”
He paused, placed his hands inside his pockets and then continued.
“So…you and Oliver…”
My body tensed.
“Another thing that’s none of your business.”
He nodded and put his hands up in ‘I give up’ gesture. He stumbled over his words as he spoke.
“I just…I wanted to say that I’m okay with it. If Oliver makes you happy…and you seem it…happy I mean…then I’m happy for you.”
I’m pretty sure in that moment I felt my heart break all over again. Not only did he have the audacity to give me permission to date Oliver…but he basically just said in not so many words, he doesn’t care and he’s happy I moved on. I masked the hurt and glared at him.
“As a matter of fact I am happy Clark, and I really don’t appreciate you thinking that after three months you can just come back here and attempt to pretend everything is okay. I don’t need your permission to see Oliver.”
His body tensed and he spoke.
“I didn’t mean to imply you needed it.”
It was silent for a few minutes before I spoke in a quiet voice.
“I think it’s time for you to leave.”
We stood there staring at each other before he nodded and turned to go. I watched him walk to the door, open it and walk out without looking back. My heart heaved in my chest and I had to keep myself from crying. Watching him walk away again…it hurt…more than I thought possible…He’s finally back and yet I’ve never felt further away from him…