AUTHOR: Kyalpn & Chlollie

DISCLAIMER: I don't own anything. The characters, belong to their rightful owners.

-PROLOGUE-

"Jeez, Chloe! What's your deal?"

"Jimmy! What are you doing he—oh no! Our date!" Leaning over her desk at the Daily Planet, Jimmy was angrier than Chloe and ever seen.

"Yeah. We had dinner reservations at Chez Monet an hour ago. The maitre de finally made me leave."

"And those reservations are usually so hard to get. I hope you didn't have to go to too much trouble."

Jimmy looked as if he wanted to be polite and say that it hadn't been any trouble at all, but he couldn't quite pull it off and Chloe was contrite.

"Oh, Jimmy. Thank you for doing that for me, but I really wish you hadn't gone to such trouble for a simple dinner date."

"It's Valentine's Day."

Chloe's mouth hung open for just a second as the truth of Jimmy's statement was recognized. "It is, isn't it? I'm so sorry, Jimmy. I just forgot…"she trailed off as a breath of exasperation escaped his throat and all his true emotions played across his face for the first time. If the night janitor had not walked past, Chloe was sure he would've blown up. As it was, it gave Jimmy enough time to regain control.

"OK. Chloe, I'm trying really hard to be patient here. I really am. But how much am I supposed to take?"

"What do you mean?" Chloe feigned innocence. Usually, games weren't her style. Neither was hiding away from the truth. But these days she didn't even know who she was.

Jimmy gave her a look. You know what I mean. But I'll spell it out anyway. You're working like a maniac, and when you're not canceling dates you're just plain forgetting them. You never answer your phone and lately don't return calls left on voice mail either. You're moody. Other than answering enough questions to not be considered rude, you pretty much ignore everyone. Oh, and let's not forget how you act when I bring up the meteor freaks."

"Meteor infected." Chloe corrected automatically. It seemed to make him even more upset.

"See? Right there! That's exactly what I'm talking about. You used to live for stories connected with anything that had to do with them. You kept the 'Wall of Weird'. You thought most of them belonged in Bel Reve. Now you've done a total one-eighty, and practically bite my head off whenever I mention them. I wanted this dinner to be a common ground, you know? A way to start over."

What could she say? She was different. "You're right. I have been all over the map and I'm sorry. None of this is your fault." Chloe walked around her desk and stood on tiptoe to kiss Jimmy on the cheek before she gave him a hug.

"I'm sorry too." He replied while he hugged her back. "But it's not that simple."

Chloe pulled away from their hug slowly and looked at him warily. "Why not?" she asked in a small voice.

"Because whatever you're going through,I'm obviously not a part of it. And that's fine. I guess you have to do what you have to do for you. But then I have to do what I have to do for me too." Jimmy paused, weighing his next words carefully.

"Chloe, I can't do this anymore. I'm not going to beg you; I'm not going to plead with you. I'm not trying to make you feel guilty; I'm not trying to force you into anything. I'm just saying that if this is how it's going to be, I need to bow out."

Fifteen seconds passed, then thirty, then a full minute. That minute turned into two, then three while Jimmy waited for her to say something. But she couldn't make her mouth work. Her thoughts were swirling around faster than she could grab them to form any coherent thought.

Except one.

Tell him! Tell him! Tell him!

As much as everything in her strained to let the truth out, Chloe sat mute and Jimmy had enough.

He kissed her softly on the lips, regret marking his entire being. "Goodbye, Chloe."

He turned and walked away.

Her mind screamed at her to stop him.

Yet still she sat as if turned to stone.