Categories > TV > Smallville > Despair's Edge3 Reviews
Chloe, Lana, and Pete go to see Clark. Lois Lane comes to town. An interview with a prospective employee goes horribly wrong for Lana.
Sitting at a table in a far corner with mugs of fresh cappuccino, the three friends were busy discussing the day ahead of them. Chloe had a collection of notes from the previous day, and was rattling them off, keeping her voice low to keep from being overheard.
"All right, so far for abilities we have superspeed, superstrength, heat vision, x-ray vision, and invulnerability. He's affected by both types of meteor rocks. The green are the more deadly, but the red are by far the more dangerous."
"Definitely," Lana said, nodding.
Ignoring her, Chloe continued. "He came down with the meteor shower of 1989 in a ship that landed in Riley's Field. The Kents found him and took him in. The adoption was made legal by none other than Lionel Luthor himself. And here we are, thirteen years later."
Lana turned to Pete. "And we don't have any idea where he's from, exactly?"
"Nah, I've told you guys everything he knows," he replied, shaking his head. "We don't know if there are any others like him around, or it he's the last one. We don't even know where his planet is."
"So, he could be from some distant galaxy far, far away, or the Martians could finally be invading." The others stared at Chloe, clearly not getting the joke. "Sorry. Overstepping my boundaries again."
Shaking her head in confusion, Lana decided it would be a good time to change the subject. "Okay, so, Chloe, when is your cousin supposed to show up?"
"Wait a minute! Your cousin is coming? The one from Metropolis?"
Chloe nodded. "Yeah, she called yesterday, asking about coming to pay a visit. Fortunately my dad wasn't at home. I convinced her to cover for me, on one condition. We have to introduce her to Clark."
"I believe her exact words were, 'Any guy who smokes and doesn't care what his parents might think about it is definitely worth a look.'" Chloe shrugged indifferently. "She's a little bit strange. Not Wall of Weird, mind you, but definitely on the odd side of normal. And she hates journalism."
Pete smiled. "I can see why you two don't talk much," he said. "So, when's she coming?"
"Well, she's supposed to be here in time for us to go see Clark, but she tends to run late."
The sound of Chloe's phone ringing made them all jump. Curious who could be calling her so early, she flipped it open and held it to her ear. "Hello?"
The voice on the other end was female, and she was yelling loud enough for everyone at the table to hear her. "Hey, Chlo, you did say the Talon, right?"
Chloe grimaced and momentarily pulled the phone away to protect her ringing eardrum. Putting it gingerly back up to her ear, she answered, "Yeah, the Talon. And you were supposed to be here ten minutes ago."
"Well, I just got here, and the place is still closed! How am I supposed to get in? The doors are locked."
"One minute. Lana?" But she was already getting up on her way to the front entrance. Chloe mouthed a grateful thank you and returned to the phone. "Just hang on, Lois. The manager's on her way over to unlock them for you."
"All right, I see her. Talk to you in a minute, cuz'."
The line went abruptly dead. Slowly, Chloe folded her phone and placed it back in her bag.
Pete looked amused. "Is she always that loud?"
Lana returned shortly with another girl in tow. Tall and well-built, Lois Lane looked like the kind of girl whose strength out proportions her skinny frame. Long, light brown hair was pulled back into a high ponytail, revealing a pretty face and a pair of deep-set, commanding green eyes. She was wearing a salmon-colored tank and a pair of well-worn old jeans cut off just below the knees.
"The apartment is right up there," Lana was saying, pointing to a flight of stairs that led to a second floor. "Here are the keys." She pulled out a set of keys and handed them to Lois, who slipped them into her jeans pocket without so much as a second glance.
Lois lost no time in getting straight to the point. "When do I get to meet this guy?" Deep and clipped, her voice was just a shade raspy.
"We were just on our way over there," Chloe replied just as curtly. Shuffling her notes into a folder and out of sight, she placed them in her bookbag and slung it over her shoulder. "Come on, we can use my car."
Once outside, the four of them piled into Chloe's red Volkswagen, Pete and Lana in the back, Lois up front, Chloe driving. As they pulled away from the curb, Lana remembered something. "Oh, Chloe, I hope you don't mind, but I have to be back by three. I have an interview with this guy named Adam Knight. He applied for a job at the Talon last night."
Chloe nodded. "Shouldn't be any trouble at all. I don't think Lois will want to stay long, anyway."
"Why, is this guy totally boring?"
"Well, I wouldn't say /boring/. Just... not all that exciting," Chloe replied cryptically.
Lana and Pete shared a glance in the back.
Gravel crunched under the tires of the Volkswagen as it rolled to a stop in the long driveway. The four teens stepped out and gathered in something vaguely resembling a circle near the barn door.
Lois glanced around curiously. Well, this sure is a long way from the military base," she muttered.
Chloe grinned in amusement. "He's usually up in the barn loft. I'll go get him."
A hand fell onto her arm. "Wait," Lana murmured, her gaze fixed on the nearby eastern field. A silhouetted truck sat several yards from the open gate. A long figure was busily unloading hay from the back. Chloe figured it must be Jonathan -
- Until Jonathan exited the barn and came up behind them. "Hey, kids." Turning to Lois with a curious yet critical eye, "Who's this?"
"Oh, this... this is my cousin, Lois Lane. Lois, this is Jonathan Kent." Lois shook the offered hand politely, but kept her mouth clamped shut, eying the farmer. "She's visiting from Metropolis for a while, so I figured she might like to meet Clark while she was here."
"Out in the field, doing chores." He pointed a gloved hand in the direction on the figure and the truck.
"Thanks, Mr. Kent." Chloe led Lana and her cousin away toward the gate with a smile. This should get interesting.
Jonathan noticed Pete hanging back a little awkwardly. "Not going with them?" he asked.
"Nah, I'll let the girls have him right now." A pause followed in which the two men watched the girls chit-chat amongst themselves as they made their way to the field. "How's he doing?" he asked at last, breaking the peaceful silence that had fallen.
"Better." Pulling off his work gloves, Jonathan ran a hand through his short, sandy-blonde hair. "Much better. Whatever you said to him yesterday, it set him straight, more or less. He actually came into the house last night. Stayed and had breakfast with us this morning. Went and started his farm chores instead of heading straight for the loft afterwards. We appreciate everything you've done for him, Pete, we really do."
The young man just shrugged it off. "I'm just glad I could help fix this whole mess. Besides, I felt like this was my fault in the first place."
"Everyone feels that way about it, Pete. But the fact of the matter is that... Well, it was just one of those things that happens. No one person was to blame for it. Every one of us is to fault, and yet, at the same time, nobody is. All we can do now is just stick together and plow through this until it's all over."
Clark paused in his work and watched the girls approaching. He was glad to see Lana and Chloe. In fact, he'd been hoping they'd show up since he had finally resolved to tell them the complete and honest truth, start to finish, regardless of what they might think.
But this other girl, she might make things difficult. Sure, she looked pretty enough from where he was standing, but she also looked like trouble. Already he was pretty sure he wouldn't like her very much.
Not to mention that Chloe must have told her about him, and that's why she was on her way over. Well, that puts a damper on things, he thought, pulling a lighter and a pack of cigarettes from his shirt pocket and taking a seat on the open tailgate. Guess it's time to put the act on. But this is the last time.
As soon as she was within earshot, Chloe spoke up. "Hey, Clark! My cousin came from Metropolis for a visit. I thought you might like to meet her."
He shrugged indifferently, slipping easily back into his listless disinterest.
At first she was a bit confused by this. Her impression had been that he had moved past this phase already. But when she caught sight of the stolen glances between Lana and the farmboy, she got the hint and decided it would be best to get the introductions over with as soon as possible and leave the two alone. "OK, then," she began, feeling the awkward silence weighing heavily in the air. "Lois, this is Clark Kent. Clark, this is my cousin, Lois Lane."
Clark nodded politely, but he never took his eyes off of Lana. He watched her carefully, like a wild animal ready to bolt at the slightest sign of danger. The looks she was giving him were undecipherable. A million questions ran through his head. Does she know? Did Chloe remember? Did Pete tell them? Why does she keep looking at me like that?
He was snapped out of his thoughts by the sound of Lois' voice. "So, you're a smoker?" she asked, indicating the lit cigarette in his hand.
Slightly annoyed that she was still there, he finally glanced in her direction. "Not for long." Her bright green eyes demanded attention, but he denied it, returning his gaze to Lana's hazel orbs.
Lois didn't give up. "Yeah, that's what I said three years ago."
Chloe decided now was as good a time as any to split. Tugging at Lois' elbow, she motioned in the direction of the little yellow farmhouse. "Come on, I'll introduce you to Mrs. Kent."
Lois followed reluctantly, but as they turned away, she leaned over and hissed, "What's his deal, Chlo?"
She sighed. "Clark's been in love with Lana since he was, like, three. Things are just starting to work out between them. I think it's best to let them have some time alone right now."
"Wow. Don't think I've ever heard anything so half-hearted from you. You OK, cuz'?"
A shrug was Chloe's natural response to the question she'd been asking herself for some time. "I thought I had feelings for him. He asked me to the Spring Formal last year. But it turns out we were just meant to be friends. He'll never look at me the way he looks at Lana."
"Oh. I'm sorry, I had no idea."
Another shrug. "It's no big deal. But I held up my end of the bargain, Lo, so don't say anything."
"Ok, all right, I won't breathe a word. But you were right. He isn't very exciting at all."
Clark dropped the act when the girls were halfway to the gate. Putting out the cigarette in the palm of one hand, he tossed it to the ground and turned to Lana. That was it. He was ready to stop now. Stop smoking and stop lying to her. It was time for the truth. All of it.
But first, there was a burning question he just had to ask her. "Why are you looking at me like that?"
Head shaking, she just kept staring at him. There was no way to gauge what she was thinking. At last, struggling for words, she spoke. "I... just... It's like... there's this whole side of you I've never seen before. Almost like you're a whole different person underneath the mask you put on for everybody else."
He hung his head. This was exactly what he'd been afraid of. "I take it Chloe told you."
"She said something along the lines of 'The Martians are finally invading.'"
The smile on her face put him at ease. He slid over as she hoisted herself up onto the tailgate next to him, sliding her arm around behind his back. "And you don't mind?" he asked, slipping his arm around her shoulders.
"No, not at all." Leaning her head against his chest, she closed her eyes and breathed in deeply, pulling his other arm around her. She felt safe here, wrapped in his strong arms. Nothing in the world could reach her here. Nothing at all. And she knew he would never let anything happen to her.
She snuggled in closer, and he laid his head gently on hers. Both could feel the love and pleasure of each other's company pulsing between them. The rhythm and life it took on was invigorating. The feelings, of course, had always been there, kept in check by the obstacles of distrust and lies. But now they were unhindered, flowing with a passion and vibrance that did not require words to express.
At last they were truly happy.
Back at the Talon, Lana glanced over the paperwork one last time. She had thoroughly enjoyed her morning at the Kents', but the feeling of ecstasy her conversation with Clark had put her in had made it near impossible to focus on anything else for the rest of the day. This interview, however, was extremely important, so she forced herself to keep her scatter-brained thoughts as much in line as she could.
Glancing up at the young man on the other side of the counter, she smiled. He had short, ruddy-brown hair and dark bushy eyebrows that nearly hid his small blue-green eyes. Those eyes stared at her now, cold and calculating, as if gauging her for something. The warm smile that graced his hard face seemed out of place, yet nothing appeared as if it ought to be out-of-the-ordinary. Was he here looking for information?
She shrugged it off and mentally scolded herself for being so paranoid. But since she'd found out about Clark, it had been so easy to worry about accidentally slipping up. "Well, Adam, everything seems to be in order," she said pleasantly, successfully hiding her nervousness. "But the work history on your rsum was a little unclear. Have you had any past experience in the coffee business?"
"So, we're turning this into a full-blown interview, then?"
His reply caught her off-guard. "Well, yeah. Do you have a problem with that? After all, I like to know a little about my employees before I hire them."
"And I like to know a little about my employer before I take the job," he shot back, not unkindly.
Is he trying to flirt with me?
"All right, then. No, I don't have any past experience in the coffee business. How about you?"
Lana smiled a little. "Well, I've been running this place for about a year. Isn't it obvious?"
In what was clearly an attempt to keep her at ease, Adam casually leaned against the back of his seat. "Do you have a boyfriend?"
"Yes." The answer was out of her mouth before she even thought about it. Had she meant to say that? She must have, because she said it. With all the care she was taking about what came out of her mouth, it must have been what she was going to say. There you go, being paranoid again.
"What's his name?"
Is that any of your business?
"Clark Kent." That hadn't been what she'd meant to say. She wiped the look of surprise quickly off her face, but it was too late. A smug smile crept onto his face to replace the warm, kind, fake one.
"Is he normal like everyone else, or is he one of the town's meteor weirdoes?"
Oh, he's perfectly normal. There's nothing strange about him.
"Neither." She clamped a hand over her mouth. She'd said too much, and she didn't even know why.
"Oh, really? Where's he from?"
Desperately, she shook her head. I don't know. I don't know! "I don't kn-know," she sobbed, startled when the words came out of her mouth. Finally, she had control over her own voice again! But she was dismayed to find that the words kept coming. "I just know that he... he came down with the meteor shower."
The questions kept coming, faster and faster. And each time her answer was more revealing and harder to resist.
"The meteor shower? Did he come from off-planet, then?"
No! No, stop it!
"Yes, he did."
"That would make him an alien, then, wouldn't it?"
No! Leave him alone!
"Yes. Yes, he's an alien."
"Does he have superhuman abilities, too?"
Please! Please, just stop...
"Is there anything in particular that can stop him or kill him?"
"Only the... the..." She was sobbing uncontrollably now, tears streaming down her face, head shaking in denial of the question she'd been asked. This was one thing she could never tell him, if anything. But it was useless. The truth was being dragged out of her, piece by piece. "The... the..."
"The what? Only the what?"
"The... the me... meteor... the meteor rocks."
Adam smiled once more and turned to leave. "Thanks, Lana. But I don't think I'll be needing that job anymore." Hesitating, he turned back to her and grabbed her forcefully by the arm, pushing her toward the back door. "Oh, and one more thing," he said quietly. "You're coming with me."
She hadn't screamed or struggled. She'd been too shocked, and too crushed. To the few afternoon Talon customers, it had looked more like a personal argument than a kidnapping. Now she wished she had at least shouted out loud. But by the time she had recovered her wits, they'd duct taped her mouth shut and shoved her into the back of a large black van.
After about forty-five minutes of driving, with frequent stops, her back started to cramp. The cold, uncomfortable metal floor of the van dug into her spine and sent sharp pains up her already aching arms. The feeling had already gone from her hands five minutes after they'd been taped together at the wrists.
Tears streamed down her face. She couldn't stop crying. She didn't want to stop. It wasn't the cuts and bruises along her arms and legs. At each stop, handfuls of stones and tocks had been thrown in to join her, bouncing carelessly off her body and leaving their ruthless marks.
But she didn't care. She'd betrayed him. Would he ever forgive her?
Finally, she wrestled the tape from her mouth. Blood from the cuts on her face mixed with her tears and dripped down onto the rocks next to her head. "Clark," she whispered. "Clark, I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to."
The van rolled to a halt once more. As the engine died, she heard the front doors open and close, and then voices.
"Ah, man, this headache's getting worse," she heard Adam say.
"Shut up, Chad," another man barked. He sounded much older. "You think we got enough of those space rocks?"
"Plenty. I just hope he don't die before we get him where we're going. But here's what I don't get. Luthor was on the right track the whole time. Why'd he need me?"
"He needed to make sure before he made his move." There was a pause, and then the man shouted, "I told you to shut up! No more talkin' from you 'til that truth serum wears off, hear?" Another pause, and then much quieter, he said, "And don't you be questioning Lionel Luthor, either."
"Sure, whatever. Agh, but my head really hurts! How long we got to wait for this kid?"
"No idea. But space-boy can't stay hidden forever. And when he shows himself, we'll come up behind him, all quiet-like, and give him a good knock to the head with one of these here rocks. Then we let the girl go, stick him in the back, and take him to Luthor."
"But why do we have to wait out here? Why can't we wait in the van?"
"Because you won't shut your big mouth! That girl might hear."
The sun was beginning to set when Clark finally left the barn and headed for the house. It was getting late, and his parents would start to worry again if he didn't come in soon. He walked slowly, enjoying the cool evening breeze and reveling in the pure joy he'd been feeling since Lana had left. Never once did he notice the dark van parked at the far end of the driveway, nor the two men advancing toward him.
What he did notice was the wave of nausea that hit him all of a sudden. He stopped dead in his tracks and doubled over in pain. Meteor rocks. But I thought Mom and Dad got rid of them all.
A dull thump resounded in the back of his head, and the next thing he knew, he was being lifted roughly from the ground. His consciousness flickered in and out.
There were two men, but he couldn't get a good look at their faces through the mental haze. He remembered stumbling at least once, and being shoved harshly back to his feet. Now they were pushing him into the back of a vehicle. Someone was screaming his name.
Lana was screaming. The radiation was increasing, and he could hardly breathe. But somehow he managed to speak, though it only came out in a low, hoarse whisper. "Lana... Lana, run... run!"
And she did. The moment Adam removed the tape from her wrists she was off, tearing down the driveway toward the farmhouse. For a moment, it seemed as if all time stood still for her. Not even the sound of her footfalls broke the dead-air silence that surrounded her.
And then she glanced back over her shoulder, and the world was moving again. She was about halfway to the house. Adam was still standing exactly where and how he had been, the long strip of duct tape still in his hands.
Jogging to a stop outside the barn, she stood rooted to the spot, staring at nothing as the van drove away. What just happened to me?