I glanced at the clock. 4:30…I need to head out soon if I’m going to be ready for this fundraiser in time…I stood up and started to gather my stuff together. I was bending over to pick something off the ground when I heard a whistle.
I stood up rigidly and turned my head slowly in the direction of the noise. Grant stood there with a smirk on his face as he spoke.
“Going somewhere Vale?”
I glared at him as I pulled my bag over my shoulder.
“As a matter of fact I am. I have to go get ready for the charity gala tonight…the one you wanted to cover, but got shafted for…”
I gave him an innocent smile and the smirk left his face immediately.
“I guess they just figured I’d be able to get a better story out of it…oh well…”
I started to walk away and he called out to me.
“You think you’re hot shit Victoria, but the truth is sooner or later everyone here is going to get sick of your painting Batman and all the other ‘freaks’ in the world as heroes. You just wait…you’ve only been here for about a year…you’re dispensable.”
I grinned and spoke in a cheerful voice.
“Keep telling yourself that Grant…and maybe one day it might actually be true.”
I made my way into the elevator and waved to him as the doors slid shut. I went into the underground garage and threw my stuff in the back of my loaner car. One of the best parts about staying in Gotham City is having access to all of Oliver’s left over stuff.
It sounds horrible, but he lived here for a short time before moving to Star City and being the little investor he his, he kept all of his properties, which I suppose has come in handy.
It took Oliver and Clark a lot of finagling to get everything right, but they were able to transfer Oliver’s apartment, car, phone, and a few other things to my ‘new’ name so we couldn’t be linked to each other. I got in and started the car.
As I was pulling out onto the street my phone rang. I groaned, picked up, and put it on speaker phone.
“Sorry…I forgot to call you back Oliver.”
“It’s fine, I know you get busy, but that’s actually not why I was calling.”
“Oh, well what’s up then?”
I heard him paused before speaking.
“I need a favor…”
“You know I have that charity gala tonight…”
“I know…I’m supposed to be going.”
“Really? You should have told me…then I wouldn’t have had to go alone.”
I heard shuffling on the other end of the phone as he spoke.
“Chloe, you know something that public wouldn’t be a good idea. We’ve been able to keep you safe for almost two years now, but that’s only because you haven’t been putting yourself in the spotlight…which by the way I greatly thank you for…it would make our job so much harder if you didn’t.”
“Oh fine…ruin my fun…so what’s this favor?”
“We found some Intel on Lex and I want to send the team out, but we need our Watchtower…”
His voice was deeper and he trailed off and I shook my head.
“Why is your voice so deep? Are you suited up in your gear? I haven’t even had a chance to get a dress for tonight yet.”
I turned on the road my apartment is off of as he spoke.
“Yea…I’m about to head out. There was some kind of disturbance downtown. I sent A.C. and Bart ahead, but I just want to check and make sure everything is going okay. I’ll set you up from home Chloe and around 5:30 or so there should be a courier with everything you’ll need for tonight’s gala…consider it a gift for the inconvenience.”
“Okay…I just got home. Give me ten minutes and I’ll log on.”
I could hear the grin on his face.
“What would we do without you Chloe?”
“Shrivel up and die?”
He chuckled and the line went dead. I frowned. I swear superheroes or not, they are all helpless without me…I got out of the car and smiled at the parking attendant before making my way into the building. Looks like it’s time to get the computer up and running…
Two hours later I plopped down in my chair as I disconnected from the secured network. I sighed and my phone rang. I rolled my eyes and picked it up.
“Hey Chlo, I just wanted to let you know we all made it back to headquarters okay.”
“I figured as much. I don’t mean to cut you off, but I really need to get ready for the gala. I’m supposed to be there at 8 and I haven’t even started getting ready yet.”
I heard something hit the ground in the background as he spoke.
“Is it the same one Oliver is going to?”
I stood up and walked over to the large box that was delivered about an hour ago.
“Okay, well give me a call tomorrow or something let me know how it was.”
“I will Clark. Have a good night.”
I hung up the phone, leaned down, and opened the box. My eyes widened. Oh my god…
I straightened my suit slightly as I thanked the bartender for my drink. I turned and glanced around the room taking in the perimeter. Lately the Joker has been making an appearance at a lot of the big society events in the city and I’d be damned if I miss the chance to confront him.
I sighed and took a sip of my drink. I glanced up and felt my breath leave me. Coming up the stairs was Victoria Vale. I watched her black gown flow each time she took a step. When she reached the top, she lifted the bottom of the dress and the light caught her heel causing it to shimmer.
I watched as she made her way into the room, necklace glittering as she glided across the floor. Heads turned and I couldn’t blame them. She’s like…a dark goddess…I watched her work the room expertly and my lips quirked up at the corner. There is just something about her that draws me in…I can’t explain it…
I took another sip of my drink and pushed away from the bar. I think it’s about time I officially introduce myself to Miss Vale…I walked over to where she was and right as I was about to approach her I saw her face light up as she threw her arms around Oliver Queen’s neck.
I frowned. Really? He smiled, pushed her body away from him, and gave her a once over.
“You look great. I knew the dress would be perfect.”
“Thanks Ollie. So…introduce me to some people who will give me a good story.”
He chuckled and glanced toward me. I gave him a half smile, nodded, and lifted my drink to him. He nodded toward me and did the same. It was then that Victoria turned and glanced in my direction. She whispered something to Oliver and he sighed.
A couple of seconds later they were walking in my direction. Oliver extended his hand and I grasped it.
“Bruce, it’s good to see you. How are things?”
“I can’t complain. How is Queen Industries?”
“Doing quite well, thank you.”
He paused and then motioned toward Victoria.
“Bruce have you met Victoria?”
I smiled, took her hand and kissed it.
“Ah yes, Miss Vale. We’ve had several phone interviews, but I don’t believe we’ve had the pleasure of meeting in person.”
I saw an odd look cross her face as she grinned...
“Very true. It’s nice to meet you Mr. Wayne.”
I could see Oliver roll his eyes out of the corner of my eye and my smile widened. Her voice knocked me out of my thoughts.
“So Bruce, are you enjoying your evening so far?”
“Yes, this is one of my favorite events of the year. Wayne Enterprises donates a generous amount to the fundraiser annually.”
“That’s very nice of you.”
I shrugged. I was about to say something when Oliver tensed and Victoria’s face went pale. I frowned and grasped her arm.
“Are you alright Victoria?”
When she didn’t answer me I raised an eyebrow and glanced in the direction she was looking. What is he doing here?
“Lex, I didn’t realize you were attending this event.”
He stood staring at Victoria with dark eyes and a smirk on his face. Something isn’t right…
“Yes, well…I wasn’t sure I’d be able to attend, so I responded late.”
I watched as Oliver took a step in front of Victoria and glared in Lex’s direction. His voice was steel when he spoke.
“I don’t know how you figured it out, but you’re not welcome here. Leave Lex.”
He chuckled and circled around so he was standing in front of Oliver.
“You did a good job hiding her…it took me a while to figure it out…but you made one mistake.”
He paused and his eyes switched focus to Victoria. I watched her set her jaw and stare him down. I have no clue what’s going on here, but there’s obviously a problem…Victoria looks scared, which is odd. I don’t know her well…but ever since she started working for the Gazette I’ve been watching her…
She reminds me of Rachel…she has that same kind of goodness within her…and from all the time I’ve spent studying her…she isn’t the type of person to show fear…Lex’s voice brought me out of my thoughts.
“Clark…there is one person that he called every single day since she mysteriously disappeared…and that…is one Victoria Vale.”
He shook his head before continuing.
“You should have realized that I would go through the phone records. He gave it away…and lead me right to her.”
The grin on his face left a cold feeling inside of me and I wanted to hit him. Oliver took a step forward and I placed a hand on his arm.
“Now is not the time or place for this. I’m not sure what’s going on,”
I faced Lex before continuing.
“But it’s clear that your presence isn’t welcome here Lex. Maybe you should just go.”
He glanced between the three of us and shrugged.
“Whether I leave here or not, I know where you are now…”
I opened my mouth to say something, but was interrupted by a loud crash and people screaming. I whipped my head around and watched as thugs with knives, clubs, and guns made there way into the room surrounding all the exits.
I heard Oliver talking softly to Victoria behind me.
“Shit…we need to get Clark and the team here…”
I frowned. The team? It was then that I heard him.
“Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. We are tonight's entertainment! I only have one question. Where is Victoria Vale…”
He let out a crazy laugh and my jaw tensed…the Joker…