Written for Chlark 24/7
PG: just off-center future AU.
Just an ordinary day and a not so ordinary promise.
He’s never been tender but he’s always overwhelmingly considerate. She’s understood the reasons but hadn’t been able to verbalize them. To her understanding, the greatest limit inside of him was his fear to harm anything he touched. A soft touch to him could mean pain to anyone else. A caress could become sandpaper. He was strong and when passion took anyone else they gripped, they held, they absorbed the one they loved with eager need but he had to be different. His passions were tempered by the same love that lit them. To keep someone close, he had to keep them at arms length.
For a boy who had to learn to hug watermelons before he could drape his arms over someone’s shoulder; for a boy who learned to caress eggs before he dare touch someone’s cheeks, she understood his fear. Crushed fruit and broken shells were his lessons and his warnings that the softest touch could take someone away from him.
All this she would learn later, years after they’d met. The stories of his self-imposed school-yard isolation only made sense then. The reasons behind his hesitant handshake and cautious handholding were made clear.
What he loved the best he feared the most to touch.
Two dozen yellow daisies.
Her smile was as bright as the flowers in his hands and she took them in one arm, the other quickly wrapping around his waist. To get his shoulders she’d have to stand on her chair and for just half a second she really considered it.
“What’s this for?” She asked, pulling away and scanning the desk for something to put them in.
He shrugged, a coral blush coloring his cheeks, “Tuesday,” he said.
With an arched look she repeated, “Tuesday?”
“I saw them, thought about you and bought them before I realized there wasn’t really anything special about today other than its Tuesday.”
Chloe nodded, “Tuesday’s a perfect reason.”
“Figured you’d think so,” Clark said, leaning against her desk.
Looking across to Lois’ desk, Chloe spotted a vase filled with wilting flowers. “Think she’ll mind?” She asked, not waiting for him to weigh in on the moral dilemma as she reached over and pulled out the dead red roses.
“Um,” he started, watching her chuck the dry flowers in the trash. “Hmm, no?”
Chloe mouthed, “They broke up,” giving a good reason for the desecration.
With a whisper Clark asked, “Again?”
A small conspiratorial shrug rolled off her shoulders and she confessed, “The off-again phase of their on/off pseudo relationship.”
Pushing his hands into his pockets Clark frowned. They both dared not to truly verbalize their qualms about Lois’s relationship with their new Editor-In-Chief, Lucas Luthor. With Lex declared dead, Lucas had come out of wherever he’d been hiding to claim his birthright. All of LuthorCorp had passed to him and Tess Mercer had been usurped by simple probate. When Chloe and Clark had stumbled upon Lois and Lucas together in his office they’d been sworn to secrecy on one side and threatened by termination on the other.
“Well, I think you saved the vase from a painful death,” Clark finally said looking to the refreshing display she’d assembled.
“The janitors are still trying to get the chocolate off the walls from their last break up,” she said. “So, what prompted this visit from on high, Mr. Kent?” Chloe asked, leaning next to him. The office was nearly emptied for the day and she’d been combing through some files when he surprised her with the flowers.
“On high? I don’t think the fifth floor counts as on high.”
“It’s a promotion to above sea-level so from the mermaids down here, how’s life in the sun?”
“Features are . . .” he scrunched his face and she helped him,
“Boring as hell?”
He smiled, “Pretty much.”
“Not so much ‘news’ as it is ‘the world, oh, how funny it all is’.”
He repeated, “Pretty much.”
“Well, there you go for being all special and investigative. You get bumped up from transcribing the AP feed to board of ed budget issues and mass transit woes.” She held her heart, “I’m not even kidding right now in saying how jealous I am.”
“Write another exposé and maybe you’ll get the park service beat,” he said, rolling his eyes.
She giggled, “Don’t tease me.” When agents of LuthorCorp began spreading the lie on the street that Isis was a front for Belle Reve, Chloe watched her counseling lists dry and not long after the foundation finally closed its doors. A long period of soul searching had led her back to her first passion. That passion led to working side by side with the man she’d married and had subsequently opened the world up to new conflicts and revelations. Looking down to her hands she saw the faint ghost of a ring now months gone. She quickly folded her hands into her lap and they sat in a calm silence for a while. It was a second into becoming something awkward when she poked his arm, “You’re gonna ruin Tuesdays by setting me up like this. I’m gonna expect two dozen yellow daisies every week from now on and I’ll be disappointed.”
He looked down to her, something serious and sincere in his look that drew her breath. Taking a flower from the vase and trimming it in a moment before slipping it behind her ear he said, “No, you won’t.”
A quirk in her brow she smiled, “And how exactly can you guarantee I won’t be disappointed when next Tuesday rolls around and my daisies’ll be deader than those roses?”
“Because there’ll be new ones here waiting for you.” He said it simply, too simply to be believed.
Suspiciously she asked, “Every week?”
“Until you stop liking daisies.”
Opening her mouth to counter again she stopped herself. She stopped and accepted what he was saying to her. There was a lot in that promise and in it more than he’d ever given any other person. There was permanence in the promise. There was a stability there that he’d always been afraid of expressing. Like a little girl she quietly asked, “Really?”
He took her hand, only half holding her, the way he’d always done, and nodded, enjoying the sudden silence his declaration had elicited in her. “Really.” And with a faint, glancing touch, Clark brushed his lips against her forehead, kissing her on the brow where the golden hair met the golden flower.
Her entire body went warm and felt light. Entwining her fingers in his, showing him that she trusted him, the way she’d always done, Chloe leaned against his shoulder. “I don’t think I’ll ever stop liking daisies.” Raising their palms, she laid a soft kiss on the back of his hand. “Or Tuesdays.”
Written for Chlark 24/7