There are a few things I would like you to read before diving into this fiction.

A/N: In my stories, I believe that Clark & Chloe met at the end of seventh grade. This gives Chlark an entire summer to get to know one other. I acknowledge that this is slightly different than what Clark tells Lana in "Obscura".

A/N: Beta reading was done by poster sdcheesehead.

A/N: This is meant to be read as a one-shot. It is a very, very sweet story. You may need to visit a dentist when you're done reading it.

A/N: "Snow Day" and the characters of this movie are not mine. I am borrowing them for this story as this movie fits what I need and has nice parallels to Smallville exposition. I am not making money from this and I do not own the chacters.

A/N: "Thunder in the Field" was borrowed with permission from marikology's House Arrest. I strongly recommend this story for any Chlarker that loves Chlark and want to seem them fall in love. I am happy to send you a link if you want to PM me.

Independence Day

"It's getting down right strange." Martha Kent said as she wiped off soothing cold cream from her face. She leaned over the sink's basin as she viewed herself in the bathroom mirror. Every summer she neglected sunscreen until it was too late. Her nose, forehead and checks were red, almost redder than her mid-length auburn hair.

"Sweetie" Jonathan said as he poked his head into their bathroom. "He's growing. We shouldn't be surprised that their might be more to his powers."

"He doesn't tan anymore." Martha said. "We're farmers. He's outside most of the day. He needs to tan."

Martha turned on the faucet and rinsed out her washcloth. She then wiped down the bathroom counter and sprayed a bit of disinfectant on the surface. Jonathan entered and sat on the bathtub's edge and compelled his wife to shut the door. Martha closed the room off and she took a seat on the closed toilet at her husband's side. Jonathan was better at developing a strategy to control and contain Clark's ever increasing strength, speed and invulnerability.

"We can't change what he is." Jonathan said. "Give Clark some of my old long sleeve shirts and don't let him wear shorts. We can buy him several jackets."

"Has he told you how he feels about this latest update to his list of abilities?"

Jonathan shook his head, indicating no.

"We can't let this stuff keep bottling up inside of him and allow it to slowly eat away at him."

Martha looked at Jonathan's weathered skin. His wrinkles were pronounced, but he managed to look younger than what he was with a smile and cheerfulness.

"Clark's hiding stuff again." Martha said. "I found that old remote in his bureau—you know the one that sticks. It was smashed. Next to it was your grandfather's wedding compass, dented." Martha bowed her head, unhappy that Clark had decided to hide his increasing strength instead of talking to her or Jonathan.

Jonathan nodded. Lately, he had noticed Clark readjusting his grip on whatever he grabbed. Slowing down to watch his hands work uncertainly. "He just turned thirteen Martha." Jonathan said. "He's becoming a man and with it I suppose comes a man's strength and more invulnerability."

"I bet he's faster too."

Jonathan agreed. He and Martha couldn't tell if he was or not, it just looked like a blur to them when he ran to his power's potential.

"You know he hates them." Martha said. "You know he does."

Jonathan put his hands over Martha's to stop her from ringing them. "I'll talk with him tomorrow."

Jonathan stood and helped Martha to her feet. Martha smelled like cold cream, but Jonathan kissed her anyway. They shut off the lights of the bathroom and the bedroom and crawled under the bedcovers. Martha sort of whimpered her unrest for Clark. Jonathan whispered in her ear, as he spooned against his wife.

"You know, I recall the days when we prayed for a child." Jonathan said. "And even though our situation is rather unique, Clark really is a good kid." His hands tightened around Martha's waist. Jonathan started their nightly prayer.

"Father God… Thank you for giving us Clark and answering our prayers."

"Umm" Martha voiced, remembering the days she was desperate to conceive a baby. She was so thankful for Clark. "Help me mother him."

Jonathan stopped. He brushed Martha's hair away from her ear. "You're a great mother Martha. Never doubt that."

"And you're a wonderful father."

Continuing their prayer, Martha voiced "Father, help us make good decisions, even if we don't have all the information we need."

"Help us know when it's okay to tell him what he is." Jonathan said. Martha wanted to show Clark the spaceship in the root cellar. Jonathan thought it would be too much. It was their argument. Telling Clark he was an alien would weigh him down worse. Jonathan said he'd take the responsibility of telling him when the time came.

Jonathan's hand was in Martha's. She raised their hands and she pressed her lips to his gritty, worn knuckles. "We have a special calling don't we Jonathan, raising him."

"Yeah" Jonathan said. "That's why we've got to be strong, together. We can harness him."

"Help us be stronger, for Clark." Martha footnoted.

"Amen"

"Amen"


Clark Kent woke up at 4:30 in the summer to start his chores. He put on yesterday's dirty clothes and headed off to the barn. His dad had hired six hands this summer, more than usual to help with the fields. Clark had been assigned to take care of the cattle, horses and his mother's vegetable and flower gardens. The change had really surprised him. He liked being in the sun and now it seemed that he was being exiled from it.

His mind always felt better in the brightness of day. Now, because of the many hands that might wander in and out of the barn, he had to do most of his work before sun-up. He tried not to let it bother him too much. He started by cleaning the horse stalls, then stacking the hay. He loaded the cattle feed into the truck and drove it to the pickets where the herd grazed. He was a good animal husband. He had a good idea when the cows were ready for artificial insemination. Once he helped deliver a calf. He knew every job on the farm backward and forward except the books. Mom handled the business aspect. And sometimes she used Clark as a calculator, so he sort had an appreciation for her contribution to their income.

Clark hated the fact that he had these stupid powers. Everyday it felt harder to control things. Fearing he was late the other night he ran home so fast he overshot his destination and ended up a half mile off. Turning around he tried again and overshot the house a quarter mile. He jogged the rest of the way and took the grounding, not wanting to explain why he was a minute late.

The speed was easier to control. He didn't have to zip everywhere. It was the strength that troubled him. Clark grimaced. He broke that tractor the other day when in frustration, he kicked the tire. The steel axle bent and the tire was pushed under the tractor's belly oddly. So far, his dad hadn't noticed.

Everything was so light and fragile to him. He was still trying to figure out how to adjust. Every time he thought he had it, he'd grow another inch or two and he'd be back at square one.

Clark finished feeding the cattle and did the worse of the chores, loading the truck with manure for the LuthorCorp delivery. Once that was done, he watered his mom's gardens and apply new mulch. After that, he'd go and watch the sunrise.

He stayed in the barn's loft as his Mom served breakfast to the farm hands. He knew he stunk to high heaven. He wasn't to eat with the farm hands because they were employees, not guests or family. His mom was extra careful not to mix family discussions with work discussions. It was probably a good idea. Family conversations lately were about whether Clark should be pulled from school because if his increasing abilities. If he couldn't control his powers, they would. End of discussion. Clark couldn't have that.

In the solitude of the loft, sometimes he'd experiment with his abilities. Once, he tried to cut himself with a box cutter, but it only folded under the pressure of his thumbs. His skin was impermeable. Nothing could injure him. He appreciated the differences at times.

The other day, he took Chloe out for a ride on his horse, Lester. He let Chloe sit in front; giving her the reins but secretly he controlled the horse with his legs. Lester might be a big and powerful stallion but he was stupid too. He didn't like Chloe. Chloe did something to cause Clark to over squeeze his legs on Lester, causing the horse to rear as they fell off. Clark saw the large rock beneath them during the tumble. Somehow, he crushed it before Chloe's head hit it. He was able to use all his powers at once to help her. He liked that.

Clark watched as the farm hands exited the house. He went upstairs and took a good, thorough shower. His mom left clean towels and clothing for him so he wouldn't track dirt all around. Normally, he'd let his hair air dry. But today he was going to Crater Lake to hear Chloe sing the "Star Spangled-Banner" at the Luthorcorp sponsored Fourth of July picnic. So, he dried his hair instead and then joined her for breakfast.

"Hey Clark, did you forget today's the Fourth?"

"No" Clark said. He sat gingerly at the table, putting finger foods on his plate. Cut up melons and strawberries, biscuits, anything that could be eaten without picking up utensils that he might accidently smash beyond repair. Martha noticed what Clark was doing but didn't say anything as he ate. She washed the dishes as Clark enjoyed his meal.

Jonathan came in through the back door and found his enamel mug with the three cows on it. He poured a small cup of coffee and squirted a lot of honey in after it. He kissed his wife and drilled out the day's events.

"Son, this morning I'm going to take the tractor and mow the bonfire circle and a path down to it for the fireworks."

Clark looked up in alarm and then shrugged. Well, he could call Chloe and let her know he wanted to be there when she sang. "You can't Dad. I bent the axle on it last week." Clark confessed.

"Oh Clark." Martha said.

"I didn't mean to." Clark turned his face away from his parents. They didn't understand how hard it was to always have to think about his body in relationship with other objects. They would never know the difficulty.

"Clark, that's a 250 part!" Jonathan said. "If we remove it, do you think you can straighten it?"

"I'd probably break it or make it worse." Clark said frustrated and ashamed. He was really looking forward to being in the sun at Crater Lake, enjoying complimentary hot dogs.

Martha came over and rubbed his shoulder. "It's okay Clark. Just tell us what's going on."

"Everything is lighter than before." Clark said. "I don't know my own strength anymore."

"Son, you've grown two inches in the last three weeks. I'm not surprised. This sounds normal for you."

He was some sort of freak. He could be the strong man at a circus, wearing show tights and a cape. Sometimes it was cool to be able to impress his parents with his physical abilities, but mostly, it was one huge chore. Staying in control of his abilities was hard, but not being able to talk about them with his friends really hurt.

"Does this mean I'm grounded?" Clark asked as he sullenly played with his biscuit.

Martha and Jonathan turned to each other. His parents left the room to conference the question.

"Martha – he should have told us he broke the tractor."

"But he's been looking forward to the picnic for a while. He needs a holiday too, just like we give the farm hands."

"What's the deal with the picnic? He's never expressed interest before."

Martha smiled. "Chloe is singing and she asked him to come and watch."

Chloe Sullivan was the daughter of the new LuthorCorp plant manager. Jonathan had spoken to Gabe Sullivan, Chloe's father, once already when he first moved to Smallville. To his surprised, Gabe seemed to be very laid back. Most of the LuthorCorp people seemed to be tight wads and shifty.

"Okay" Jonathan said smiling. "He can go still. Chloe seems good for him."

Martha and Jonathan returned to the kitchen, where Clark sat, smiling.

"You heard everything we said?" Martha asked.

"No… Just Dad"

The three of them looked at each other. Jonathan continued. "I'll ask Ben Hubbard about mowing out the bonfire circle –can you stack the logs and move the firewood sometime before the Ross' show up?"

"I think I can spare 45 seconds."

"After the picnic, what are you doing?"

Clark shrugged. He didn't know.

"Clark. There's something I want you to do for me." Clark face turned to his Dad's. "You need to start wearing long sleeves and jeans."

"Dad, today's the Forth of July." Clark said.

"It doesn't change the fact that your skin is not tanning. We're farmers. People are going to ask why you don't have a farmer's tan."

"Is that why you pulled me from the fields?" Clark asked.

"Yes." Jonathan said. "We have to keep up appearances, so from now on, long sleeves or jackets, unless it's so hot that it's going to work against you. But absolutely, no more shorts."

Clark looked down at his yellow t-shirt and jams. It occurred to him that his parents really couldn't make him do anything. He was too quick and strong, but he didn't want to hurt his father's feelings so he went upstairs to change into some jeans.


"Clark-man" Pete jovially said as they walked towards Crater Lake. "You would not believe what happened to me."

Pete Ross was ahead, speaking as though he were on a stage. His arms and hands gestured with every move. Clark looked up. Pete was exceptionally happy about something.

"You're channeling someone- what's up?"

"I… am… in… love." Pete announced. He stopped Clark and looked at him. "I met the most beautiful girl at the library."

"You were in a library?" Clark said. "That's hard to believe." Pete was always hazing Clark for liking Lana Lang, the girl across the street. So, he returned the favor. "What happened to your Alicia obsession?"

"Oh, that chick is too into herself." Pete waved the thought away. For no reason, he reached down and picked up some loose rocks. He tossed them ahead, trying to hit targets such as trees and birds. Clark thought if he did that, the bird would die with a hole in its body. Clark kept his hands by his side and engaged Pete.

"Does this girl have name?"

"I assume so, but I don't know it." Pete answered. "I was so taken back with her attributes, that I forgot my inner conversational wit."

Clark smiled. Pete had a new love each week he was always trying to charm.

"So, what does this girl look like?"

"Well, that's just it." Pete said. "She's not a girl. She's a woman. She's so-blessed." Pete turned around and demonstrated with his hands how 'blessed' this girl was. Clark couldn't hide his interest. The girls they knew from kindergarten were developing, and the guys in his class all took notice. Clark tried not to encourage Pete, but so far this girl sounded pretty neat.

"Other than that—what does she look like?" Clark needed a new detail.

"She's got blonde hair that somehow, flips." Pete froze. "But the best part is her ass. She's got this butt that you just want to squeeze."

Clark blushed before stopping Pete. "I get it." Between Pete and Clark, they knew everyone in Smallville and Granville. Clark wondered if he had met Chloe by chance. Chloe had curves and was tall.

"Sounds like a girl I met at the end of school." Clark said. "But she's got long hair, like to her waist. Are you sure it wasn't pulled back?"

"Pos–A–Tive" Pete replied. "So, you've met a girl that wasn't Lana Lang? Pray tell, what's her name?"

"Chloe Sullivan," Clark answered. He felt shy for a moment.

"Sullivan? The new LuthorCorp big shot?" Pete scowled.

"I think that's her dad." Clark said. "She's singing the anthem and asked me to come."

"Clark-man. Is this why we're going to Crater Lake? To crash the LuthorCorp picnic?" Pete asked. "You know I can't be seen at no LuthorCorp picnic. My dad would flip his sh!t."

Clark didn't respond. Pete Ross's family sold their cream-corn factory to LuthorCorp Industries. What once was their business was just another cog in their corporate umbrella. The Ross's had come to regret this. Something Pete would talk endlessly about if he encouraged it.

"It won't be for long." Clark argued. "I'll introduce you, she'll sing, we'll grab some food, and then we'll go. I don't want to disappoint her… She's, really nice."

Pete looked at his friend wryly. "Ah dude, you've got a thing for her." Clark stared back a little too intensely, as if he were warning Pete to back off. Pete just waited until Clark cracked a smile.

"It's not what you think."

"Do my eyes deceive me?" Pete said theatrically. "Or is Clark Kent blushing."

"No." Clark said. "Chloe's great. She's from Metropolis."

Arriving at Crater Lake, Pete pulled off his shirt and took off his shoes. He sat down at the shore's edge. Clark remained standing, his eyes searching the crowd for Chloe. He checked his watch. It was a few minutes before eleven. Chloe should be around somewhere. Clark noticed Whitney Fordham near a table of food, twirling a football. Rumor was he was going to be the starting quarterback for the Crows next fall. Behind Fordham, he saw Chloe. Sure enough, she did have her hair in some sort of weird flip and it was definitely not to her waist. She was wearing a halter top bikini and jeans.

She lifted her head and returned his gaze. She smiled. "Yup" Clark thought. "That was Chloe." She had the best smile. He could look at her smile the rest of his life.

Chloe tapped her hand on Gabe's arm, indicating that she wanted to leave for a minute. Gabe looked at Clark and squinted. His head bobbed up and down, approving her departure from the LuthorCorp smorgasbord. Chloe practically skipped over. Her energetic movement attracted the attention of a few high school boys.

"Hey." Chloe said. She touched Clark's arm.

Clark just looked at her. "You got your hair cut." Clark said, knowingly.

"I sure did. I love it!"

Clark wondered if he should say "good job".

"Clark – aren't you going to introduce us?"

"Hey, it's you." Chloe said to Pete. She also rubbed his arm, casually flirting.

"Chloe – this is my best friend, Pete Ross."

"Ah, right, library girl." Pete was trying to keep it down and low, cool. "Clark says you're gonna sing."

"Just the anthem."

"That's a hard piece." Clark said. He couldn't take his eyes off her hair. The short bob did make her look a lot older and womanly. His fingers reached to touch the ends. "Is this colored too?"

"Just highlights." She grabbed Clark's wrist, causing his heart to happily leap. "Come on – you too Pete." She pulled them through the crowd back to the stage.

Pete reluctantly allowed this. "Chloe, I can't do this. I can't be seen at…" But pretty soon, he was in front of the LuthorCorp front man himself, Gabe Sullivan.

"Dad, you know Clark already."

"Clark." Gabe handed him a hot dog, which Clark took a bite of before getting some condiments.

"This is Pete" Chloe turned to Pete. "I'm sorry I didn't get your last name?"

"Ross."

Gabe stuck out his hand. Pete took it knowing his older brothers were going to beat him to death on this. Over half of the Crow's varsity football team was here.

"Ross you say? Any relation to Bill Ross?"

"He's my father, my grandfather Bill Ross Sr. built the plant you run." Pete said. "The Ross's are easy to spot. We're almost the only blacks here." Gabe nodded and tried to give Pete a hot dog too. Pete took it, but handed it to Clark. Pete saw Sean Calvin. Then he knew he was in for it. Sean was on his cell phone, probably talking with Pete's older brother, Bill Ross III, captain of the team. There Pete stood, a Ross shaking hands and talking with the Luthorcorp Guy. He was so grounded.

Meanwhile, Chloe and Clark slipped a few feet away. She had her hand in the crook of his elbow and they walked as if they have known each other forever, not just for two months.

"Thanks for coming."

"Well, I'm curious." Clark said. "I want to hear you sing."

"Well, I'm not saying I'm fantastic, but I hold my own." She let go of him and turn around to face him. They were almost at eye level.

They stared at each other for a minute. Finally Clark said something that surprised himself. "I know someone that has a crush on you."

Chloe turned beet red but she smiled and lifted her eyes to Clark's.

"Pete right?"

Clark laughed, relieved. "Well, I probably shouldn't say, but you do seem to be good at reading people."

"I should get back to my Dad, Clark. I know he wants to start at any minute."

"Okay." She walked away and Clark allowed his eyes to follow her for a fraction of a second. He was happy. Clark realized he had spent ten whole precious minutes without thinking about his powers. Ten whole minutes of freedom. He sighed in relief and appreciation for those minutes, turning to find Sean Calvin in front of him.

"Hey Clark." Sean said.

"Calvin, what are you doin' here?" Pete said returning from talking with Gabe.

"I'm cool." Sean replied. "I just wanted to know who Clark's girlfriend is."

"Chloe?" Clark thought. "Why would a high school sophomore be interested in an eighth grader?"

"Chloe's not Clark's girlfriend." Pete said.

"Oh, good news for me. That Chloe chick has nice tits."

"Don't say that about her." Clark warned. He felt his muscles tense up in anger.

"Or what?" Sean said. He towered over Clark and Pete.

Clark didn't know. Right now he wanted to hit him for ogling Chloe. He stepped closer to Sean and lifted his chin definitely to the taller sophomore.

O! say can you see, by the dawn's early light.

Clark heard Chloe's voice amplified overhead. Both Sean and Clark turned away from their anger and obligatorily faced the flag. Clark automatically placed his right hand over his heart as the lyrics continued to be sung.

What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming.

Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight

O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming.

And then Clark was surprised as Chloe's voice successfully climbed into a higher octave.

And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air

Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.

Chloe's voice was incredibly rich on the lower notes, resonating undertones.

Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave.

O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?"

The crowd clapped graciously for Chloe and she handed the microphone back to her Dad. Gabe welcomed the LuthorCorp employees and their families to their holiday picnic.

Clark and Pete jogged up to the front where Chloe was bubbling with glee at her performance. Clark noticed Ms Whitaker talking with Gabe.

"Hey, Chloe, that was really good." Pete said.

"Thanks Pete." Chloe smiled for Pete. "That means a lot."

"So, are you taking music next fall?" Ms Whitaker, the middle school vocal teacher, joined them, along with Chloe's father, who had his hand on Ms Whitaker's shoulder.

Chloe frowned. "I dunno. I'm sorry… I don't know you."

"Honey" Gabe said, "This is Katie Whitaker. Ms Whitaker teaches vocal music at the middle and high schools."

The group of people paused for a beat, considering the chemistry between the adults. Clark could tell Chloe was pretty horrified at her Dad's flirting.

"Clark Kent, I think we might have found a match for your baritone." Ms Whitaker said. "You sure you won't do swing choir."

"Umm, I signed up for regular choir again."

"Here." Ms Whitaker took Chloe and Clark aside. They were well matched she thought. Clark was about three inches taller than Chloe. His dark hair was a good contrast against Chloe's blonde strands.

"Honestly, I'm not good at dancing." Clark said.

"Well, it's more choir than swing." Ms Whitaker said. "You're a great singer. What do you think?"

Clark thought it was terrible idea. He'd have to possibly lift Chloe or take her hand. What if she landed in the ceiling or he crushed her bones? And he was terrified he'd hurt anyone else they tried to partner him with. What would happen if he stepped on another person's foot or bumped a little too hard into someone while executing choreography.

He looked at Chloe, unable to say what he was really thinking. He could read in her face she liked the idea of being his partner. He felt a little flattered, but he just couldn't explain his objections. "I'll think about it."

Joy swam in Chloe's eyes.

Pete looked away. He loved dancing but knew he'd never make the cut. His voice was as soothing as nails on a chalkboard.

"Hey guys. I better go." Pete said. "Not that this wasn't fun, but small town gossip can be vicious. See ya 'round." Pete looked at Chloe and then Clark.

"It was nice meeting you Pete." Gabe said.

Pete bypassed the food tables, thinking, if Chloe Sullivan can get Clark Kent to do swing choir, then Lana Lang had some serious competition.


Clark left the picnic with Chloe, but not before she managed to collect her holiday allowance. She had two twenties in her hand and a desire to spend. Clark walked with her back to her home, a full three miles. Chloe distracted herself by fussing over how to spend her forty dollars. Clark had never been given that much money at one time in his life. Forty dollars would help him buy that Sony Playstation that he's always wanted. Not that he could play it. He'd ruin the controls for sure with his freakishly strong hands and fingers.

"Let's go to a movie." Chloe decided. "Does Smallville have a movie theater?"

"The one we had went out of business a while ago." Clark said, hoping that would settle the question. He didn't want to go to a movie with Chloe, unless he could pay his way.

"Oh, but there's one in Granville, isn't there. All we need is a ride. 'Snow Day' is playing." Chloe added.

"I don't have any money." Clark finally said.

"But I do." Chloe replied. "You're not one of those macho guys… Are you? With Neanderthal tendencies? 'Cuz you're gonna miss out on a lot of stuff if you don't take advantage of the hospitality of others just because she might be a girl."

Clark continued to look down. He snapped one eye shut, blocking the glare of the sun. "It's just… I dunno, Chlo', it's weird for me."

"Well, I'm an expert in weird." Chloe said. "Come on Clark. Don't make me go alone… There's nothing for me to do here."

The way she said it tugged at Clark's heart and he felt his guilt-o-meter go off. "My parents might say no. We had a sort of issue this morning."

They were only half way to Chloe's house when Clark spotted his mother's red sedan in the distance. "Looks like I'm needed at home."

Clark and Chloe stopped walking and Martha pulled up along side the thirteen-year-olds. Clark slowly and carefully opened the passenger door for Chloe and then he sat in the back.

"Hi Chloe!" Martha said. "It's nice to see you again."

"Mrs. Kent, you have to let me borrow Clark for the rest of the day." Chloe said.

Clark froze. Sometimes he couldn't believe at how bold Chloe was. Martha found Clark's eyes in the review mirror. Clark spoke up.

"Mom, could you drive Chloe and me to Granville to see a movie?" Clark asked.

"Oh, I suppose." Martha answered. "What movie are you seeing?"

"Snow Day." Chloe answered.

Martha made a mental note to look it up online. "Clark, you still need to do that thing that Dad asked you to do." The car stopped in the driveway of the house the Sullivan's rented.

"I know." Clark said. He followed Chloe out of the car. She turned to him as she fished out her keys from her beach bag.

"I'll call you in an hour."

"Okay." Clark sat down next to his mother. Chloe went to shut the car door for Clark. "In?"

"In"

She shut the door hard and Clark faked screamed, pretending she got him caught in the jam of the door. Chloe laughed at Clark's joke, after a moment of intense worry. When she saw Clark laughing, she had to too.

They watched Chloe use her key to unlock her front door.

"So – a movie huh?" Martha said to her son as she looked over her shoulder for any traffic.

"Chloe's bored" Clark answered.

"You should ask her and her dad over tonight. She can meet Pete!"

"She already met Pete." Clark said. "But I think she'd like coming anyway."

Martha was quiet. This girl… Chloe. She had a way with Clark.


Clark and Chloe sat in the velvet covered chairs at the Granville Movie House. Jonathan agreed that Clark could go provided that they go chaperoned. Clark bought Chloe some Whoppers at the concession counter. Chloe tried to take Clark up to the back row, but then Martha said they had to sit in front of her. Except for a family with seven-year-old twins, they had the movie theater to themselves.

Clark ushered Chloe into a middle row. He looked behind him for his mother. She was taking a seat five rows directly behind them. He was sort-of glad she was so nearby. He liked Chloe, but, he wasn't ready for anything intense. He was still too young for that, and Chloe, she was a lot braver with her emotions than he was. Clark wished he could afford to take risks, but, he couldn't. He had to stay on a straight and narrow path, or someone could be more than hurt. If he lost his temper, like he almost did with Sean, they could die.

The lights dimmed and Chloe tore open the Whoppers and pour a few in her hand, offering them to Clark. Clark picked up a Whopper with his fingers and accidentally smashed it to dust in front of her.

"Wow" Chloe said. "That one must have been set on self destruct."

Clark gasped in shock. He had lost control of his abilities right in front of Chloe Sullivan. She shoved her palm to him again. "There's more you know."

This time, his touch was too light. His Whopper fell and rolled audibly down the incline of the floor. Chloe continued to encourage him to take one. "I can't have one until you do."

So, again, Clark tried to pick up another Whopper, and it smashed in the pressure between his thumb and index finger. It was really frustrating. His hands were so strong. And Chloe's curiosity should be prompting her if he didn't regain some control. Would he be able to give her an explanation? He let his mind wonder down the road where she could know about his secret and wouldn't have to lie to her. He wasn't ready for that yet, looking at her, neither was she, but she didn't look horrified or anything. She appeared to be amused.

"I guess I'm squeezing too hard." Clark said apologetically.

"Open your mouth." Chloe tossed a Whopper into his mouth successfully. Clark smiled as he bit into the candy. He reflected on the irony of being fed a Whopper. The only whoppers Clark wanted to hand over to Chloe were definitely the Hershey kind, they were much sweeter than lies.

"Shh…" The show started as the previews rolled. Clark turned his attention to the screen and watched.

He definitely wanted to see the 'X-Men' movie coming out in two weeks. Maybe he could return the favor and take Chloe. He hadn't heard of this movie 'Snow Day' before. He liked what he read about 'Snow Day' online. He could tell by the reviews that it wasn't a heavy romance or chick flick. It was a kid's movie. And that was okay because he would be embarrassed to sit next to Chloe watching a sex scene.

The main story was about this teenage kid named Hal and his obsession with a girl named Claire. Hal's so gone on Claire, that he can't see what a great girl his best friend Lane is. Hal winds-up with Claire's bracelet, and uses that opportunity (and the miracle of a snow day) to talk with Claire. Internally, Clark could see Hal's stupidity, that his own obsession with Lana was equally dumb. Especially when his own version of 'Lane' sat next to him. The blonde hair miracle named Chloe Sullivan.

The other story was Hal's little sister saving the universe by stopping Snow Plow Guy from doing his job, thus creating a second day off. It was in the B-plot moments, when Chloe caught Clark looking at her shyly.

At one point, Chloe put her right hand over Clark's left. Clark let her do that. He enjoyed the slow heat on top of his golden skin. Then, realizing that he needed to return the gesture, he placed his right hand over hers. Her hand was caught in between.

Then somehow, Chloe's palm was pressed against his left palm. Her fingers rested on the back of his hand and she gently squeezed. Clark swallowed as he wanted to squeeze her hand back. He was scared to. He didn't want to mangle her or anything.

Chloe leaned in and whispered to him. "Don't worry. If you hold my hand too tightly, I'll let you know. I'm not a Whopper."

Clark acknowledged Chloe's words with a thankful smile. Did she know? Would she guess? Her green eyes still didn't show it. He grasped her hand gently as possible. His smiled grew. He was able to hold her hand for a long while.

Clark didn't realize how much could be communicated by holding hands. He could tell, by the subtle changes in Chloe's grasp, what she thought of the movie. When her hand tightened, it meant she was surprised. When it was loose, she was calm and accepting. Clark responded by involuntarily moving his fingers, asking her to tighten her grip. He could barely believe that he could hold someone's hand without breaking their bones. Now, he had two reasons to smile in the darkness.

The character Lane had made a good point early on in the movie to Hal, Clark thought. "Love isn't about fate or magic bracelets and destiny. It's about finding someone you can be around for ten minutes at a time." Hal was so stupid to continue to pursue Claire after Lane kissed him. It was only after Hal and Claire kissed, that Hal saw that he liked Lane more.

Chloe used her peripheral vision to watch Clark. When Hal returned to Lane at the very end of the movie to ask, "…you've got ten minutes?" Chloe thought she saw Clark look down at their hands. Was she Clark's 'Lane'? Clark was her Hal. The parallels weren't lost on either of them. Clark looked at her, as Hal kissed Lane, and then faltered, because he wasn't bold. Not with his mom five rows behind him. Holding Chloe's hand was an accomplishment in itself.

The credits started to roll and the lights were raised a little bit. "So Clark, what did you think of the movie?"

He let go of Chloe's hand. "I liked the company."

"Yeah, that was the best part for me too."


Once again in the privacy of the Kent bathroom, Martha and Jonathan sat next to each other to discuss Clark. Jonathan had just returned from the Hubbard's. Their neighbor agreed to mow down the prairie grasses, creating a bonfire circle and path, in the Kent's back 40 acres.

"Martha, do you think Clark wants to be a farmer?" Jonathan asked.

Martha took a cleansing breath. "No. But he's not opposed to it either."

"Ben was asking about the back forty again. I was going to give it to Clark, when he graduates from college. Try to encourage him to stay in Smallville with us."

"Even if he doesn't farm, I think he'd liked owing the land." Martha said.

"So, how was the movie?"

Martha pursued her lips together. "I think we need to tell Clark about how we found him."

"Sweetie—we have this conversation all the time. You know how I feel about that."

"Clark likes Chloe." Martha explained. "She's a nice girl and she seems to have a way with Clark."

"Well, from what Clark's told me, it sounds like things are a little one sided. Doesn't he still like Lana?"

"They held hands for forty-five minutes." Martha said.

"Really—Well, I'll be." Standing, Jonathan tucked his shirt into his pants. He was sort of proud of his son and his face showed it.

"Jonathan, Clark's having trouble with his strength, we know this. He explained this morning. Chloe got him to hold her hand, when I think he might have had a few good reasons not to."

Jonathan furrowed his brow. Clark's never knowingly taken risks with his powers. He knows that he's lost control over the finer points of super-strength. Why would he do that with Chloe? Unless, Martha's right, that Chloe has an effect on him or his judgment.

"Chloe helped Clark gain control again…And you know Clark. He's not going to take that lightly."

"You're right, Martha." Jonathan said. "But telling him that he's an alien isn't going to help him with this."

Nodding, Martha agreed. "He needs a reason beyond his powers to keep his abilities hidden. I watched them together. Chloe's going to find out about him. I just feel it in my bones…I dunno, call it a woman's intuition."

Jonathan shrugged. "Maybe a good old bird and bees talk instead."

"Well, she'll be here tonight. You watch. See if you see the same thing I do."

"Martha, I'm sure it's not worth fussing about. When I was Clark's age, just about every girl I saw turned my head. It's normal."

Martha looked out of the window towards the Potter's house across the street. "You know how long Clark has liked Lana Lang, right? He has yet to even say hello to her. He's only known Chloe for two months, less than that, and they are already very close."

"You think Chloe can break Clark's Lana obsession?" Jonathan said in disbelief.

"Clark likes having a real relationship with this girl… And he's gonna to need a better reason to hide from her."


Chloe sat at the kitchen table and quietly snipped out an article from a past issue of the Smallville Ledger. Her record was becoming quite large. She couldn't believe what strange things happened around this place. Two headed calves and polydactyl babies were almost normal.

Clark had told her about the meteor-shower in October 1989, and Chloe spent a few days in the county library looking up periodicals about the event. Of course, there was the classic Time magazine cover of a girl in a pick princess dress crying. She thought it was a good piece of journalism. The little girl gave the story a face for the reader to grasp onto.

That's what she wanted to do with her scrapbook. She wanted to show her friends in Metropolis and outside of Smallville just how strange this town was. She wasn't nuts because she believed in things that couldn't be explained in conventional terms. Making this scrapbook was productive work. It would further her ambitions as a journalist, and give her a history of the town; thus, making her feel less like an outsider. Maybe one day she'd show it to Clark, for now, she wanted it to be a secret.

Chloe pasted glue on the back of the article and pressed it into the album as her Dad joined her at the table.

"Chlo' Chlo'" Gabe said, peeking over her shoulder. "What is that?"

"This is a folio of the bizarre things that have happened in this town since the meteor-shower." Chloe said, presenting her work.

Gabe took a pop out of the refrigerator and poured half of it in a glass for his girl.

"Most people think that those bizarre things happened because of the fertilizer plant… You know Mr. Luthor bought the plant the same day as the shower."

Chloe's eyes bugged-out. "Really..? I dunno. LuthorCorp has other plants right? Do those towns suffer from 'A Monster in Crater Lake'"? Chloe held up her archive. "Or, whatever lake they have there…" Chloe amended.

Gabe sat down next to Chloe and took her album. He leafed through it. "You always did like odd things." Gabe said. "Between you and me, I believe that these things happened… Ew—Is that a two headed calf? Your theory makes my job as plant manager a lot easier. If anyone thinks the two-headed calf is because of LuthorCorp, I'll just point out the meteor-shower."

"So, you like this? What I'm doing?"

"Yes"

Chloe took back her document, very pleased with herself and her work. "This is just the beginning, you know. When I come back from computer camp, I'll really be able to track this stuff—log it, and make it my own."

Gabe agreed with Chloe. "I'm glad you have other interests in your life… I need to spend a good deal of time away from home. LuthorCorp has a really bad name in this town, and I need to figure out why. That means doing things like joining the bowling league and the Lions Club, maybe even apply for a membership in the Chamber of Commerce."

Chloe anticipated where this was going. Her father wasn't going to be as available for her—he's a corporate tycoon, so she wasn't surprised. She was thirteen-and-a-half, and she was really too big to crave his attention. Still, she couldn't help but feel slightly displaced. It would be different if Gabe never took the promotion out to this hick town. She could hang out with the other kids in the apartment complex—just like always. Here, she had to search for ways to entertain herself.

"Tonight Katie and I are going to a ballgame and then we're going to watch fireworks from the Mayer's field. Someone needs to set a positive example for LuthorCorp and in Smallville, that's me. I don't want Mr. Lex Luthor to be faced with the same animosity I've experienced when he comes here next year."

"Dad, I've already told Clark that we'd come to his house for fireworks." Chloe argued.

"You can still go." Gabe put on his parent hat. "Chloe—about you and Clark—just how much time… do you spend with him? You guys seem really… um… affectionate."

"Clark?" Chloe asked. "I guess I see him about every other day. Although, with Lois visiting, I guess it was more like five days."

"Well, try to take things slow, okay?" Gabe said. "You're too young to date."

"Daddy" Chloe hushed. "I'm not even sure if he likes me."

Gabe laughed at Chloe's ignorance.

"Just work on the friendship part—okay?" Gabe said.

"You don't like Clark much, do you?"

"No, I like him. He's polite and respectful. You're the firecracker here." He kissed his daughter's forehead. "You're so grown up now."

"Geez Dad" Chloe tried to push him away as he hugged her tighter.

"You okay with me skipping out on you tonight?"

"Yeah, I suppose." Chloe said disappointedly


Jonathan and Martha were in the kitchen preparing a picnic dinner for themselves, their farm hands, the Ross's and now, the Sullivan's. Luckily, Martha learned to buy and cook in bulk a long time ago. They had freshly butchered pork for meat and she already made a double batch of baked beans with the pork salt. Martha made more coleslaw and biscuits too. Jonathan was preparing a large salad as Martha rolled out the crust for another pie.

The phone rang. Martha and Jonathan's hands were full and so they looked at Clark. Suddenly, Clark was gone as the phone rung a second time.

"Figures" Jonathan said. "He's had all day to move the firewood and stack the logs and he does it now."

Martha smiled. "You're going to get that. I'm in the middle of this pie."

Jonathan set down his paring knife and took the receiver. "Hello."

Initially, Martha, thought it was Chloe calling. Quietly she listened, wondering what the girl wanted to know. It wasn't Chloe, but Bill Ross, Jr.

"Bill…" Jonathan said. "What's going on? Are you bringing all your boys over?"

Jonathan's suddenly seemed surprised. "Not coming…? Why on Earth not?"

Martha set aside the sugary cherry filling and stood next to her husband. She could barely hear Bill Ross's arguments.

"My family can't have a meal with a LuthorCorp executive. LuthorCorp stole from us."

"That was so long ago."

"It feels like yesterday. I'm surprised you invited them."

Martha grabbed the phone away and started to explain.

"Gabe Sullivan has a daughter that's Pete's and Clark's age. They're new and Chloe hasn't really met anyone else… Don't blame Jonathan… It was my idea. Is Karin there..? Hi, Karin… I understand why Bill doesn't want to come, I thought maybe Pete would still… oh, he's grounded?"

Martha gave the phone back to Jonathan and returned to her pie. Jonathan said good-bye for the both of them and walked back into the kitchen.

"I guess there's a bright side." Martha said. "At least we know we have enough food."

"Yeah… The four Ross boys, and their sister, Zaye, sure know how to feast. I miss talking to Karin."

Clark returned back to the kitchen, he had a fair amount of woodchips on his jeans. His parents looked at him glumly, and he felt guilty for no good reason.

"What did I do?"

"Nothing honey" Martha said. "The Ross's won't be here tonight for our picnic."

"What? They come every year." Clark said. "We have the best view of the display from town."

"I know… It's because the Sullivan's are coming." Jonathan said. "Bill doesn't want to eat with the company that allegedly cheated him out of a fortune in canned cream corn."

"I'm sorry." Clark said. "I guess this is my fault, I'm the one that's friends with Chloe."

"No Clark." Jonathan said. "It's not your fault. There's more going on here than you know."

"I forgot how strong their grudge is against LuthorCorp." Martha said. "If anyone's at fault, it's me for encouraging you to invite Chloe, and her Dad… I just wanted to meet him."

"Hmm"

Clark left the kitchen and went up to his room. Chloe should be there in a little while. From outside, he heard the farm hands and his dad move the picnic table to the front yard. Clark couldn't remember a Fourth of July when the Ross's weren't there. Pete was like a brother to him. Heck, all of the Ross boys were like brothers to him. Without them horsing around, things were going to be dull.

Clark looked out his window as he heard a car pull up into their driveway. He saw Chloe sitting in the front of the car with her father. Gabe reached over and pecked her on the check and she shrugged, but did so in a cute way. He felt a smile grow across his face. On a whim, Clark decided to put on clean clothes. He put on clean jeans and a new white polo. Chloe was already in the house, talking with his mother, as he left his room and dropped his dirty clothes in the bathroom's laundry hamper.

"Thank you for the newspapers, Mrs. Kent." Chloe said. "I had no idea how strange Smallville was."

"Well" Martha didn't think life in Smallville was that strange, and then she stifled a laugh, because when did it become a norm to raise a super-powered alien being? "I'm sorry that you're father couldn't make it."

"Well, he did supply us with some fireworks." Chloe handed the box to Jonathan and he disappeared into the kitchen with it.

Clark bounced down the steps.

"Hey Chlo'" He said. "Mom… Are we eating first or are the hands?"

"The hands…" Martha replied. "Why don't you show Chloe around the farm— just stay out of the cellar."

Clark shrugged. "Okay"

Jonathan came into the living room and found Clark escorting Chloe outside. "Did he put on clean clothes without being asked?"

"Maybe" Martha said "Why don't you help me take the food out. I need to bake this pie."


Chloe followed Clark into the barn. He stopped briefly to give Lester and Cuppie carrots. Chloe hung back a ways, not really wanting to get much closer to the animals.

"You know, when you fall off a horse, you have to get up immediately and try again." Clark said. "Or you're gonna develop an unwarranted fear."

"I'm not afraid of horses." Chloe said.

"Which is why you've backed off from me about ten feet?" Clark said teased. "Okay, I'll tell you what. You feed Lester and Buttercup a carrot and then I'll take you to my Fortress of Solitude."

"What's a Fortress of Solitude?"

Clark smiled. "That's for me to know, and for you to find out, Sullivan."

"Alright Kent." Chloe said. She walked over to Clark and he took a step back when handed her the carrots. She sighed, trying to muster up the courage. She turned her head slightly, and was reassured that Clark was still standing nearby. His dimples were deep in his cheeks.

Clark watched Chloe try to figure out how to approach Buttercup. It was like she was trying to avoid her head. And Cuppie – well, Cup liked carrots a lot. The young mare was reaching with her head, practically leaning out of the stall, wanting that tantalizing root.

Chloe closed her eyes and held the end of the carrot in front of her and Cup bit the end and toss back her head to chomp it down. Chloe opened an eye and looked further at the horse as it ate the carrot with a loud crunch.

"There Clark" Chloe said. She put her hands on her hips, completely satisfied with herself.

"You didn't even touch the horse." Clark said. "Now you've got to give Lester his carrot."

Lester walked up to the front of his stall and waited for Chloe. This time, she kept her eyes open, as she dangled Lester's carrot in front of him. He reached with his neck to the carrot Chloe offered. She took one brave step forward and Lester used his tongue to take it from Chloe's hand, leaving a messy kiss behind.

"Yuck" Chloe said. She rubbed her hand down the length of her jeans, smearing off the wetness onto her leg. "You knew that was gonna happen, didn't you."

Clark chuckled. "Lester's always been a sloppy eater. There's a sink over there." Clark pointed.

Chloe walked over to the west wall of the barn and turned on the sink. She ran her hand underneath the water and found some soap. She shook her hands dry and found Clark at the foot of the stairs to an upper floor.

"Com' on" He said. He let her go first and he followed, close behind.

Chloe expected to see more farm equipment, but what she found instead was a sort of clubhouse. There was a chair and a sofa, a desk. Chloe turned around impressed.

"Wow… This was unexpected." She found the open window, she leaned forward, looking to see how far down it was. "And so high up too."

Clark came over to her and looked down also. "Yeah, I get woozy still when I look down. I don't like heights."

"So, what do you do here?"

"I hang out. I read. Talk with friends—Pete usually. Sometimes Greg Arkin comes by too."

Clark turned to face Chloe. "You're the first girl I've brought up here."

Clark turned his face back to the view, his hands resting on the edge of the window. Chloe walked over to Clark and rested her right hand over his left. When he turned again to face her, she kissed him.

Clark felt dizzy, feeling her soft lips float over his. His own lips puckered and then instinctively, pulled back, as he pressed his mouth against hers. He found strength in his chin. It could overpower hers, wanting to be used, to part her lips. For now, the soft pressing was glorious enough. His hands rested on the flare of her hips, and hers were on his shoulders. Their noses bumped together, as their heads pulled out and then back into another exchange.

Clark felt his fingertips drag up the ridges of her spine, and she ran her hand slowly down his arm, until it reached his wrist. That's when she stopped him, and she pulled her lips back.

They stood for a minute, continuing their close embrace. Clark realized that their relationship wasn't as one-sided as he'd thought. He would remember his first kiss forever.

"Wow" Chloe said. "I thought you didn't like me."

"Was she kiddin'" Clark thought. At this moment, he was nuts about her. Slowly, he said. "I like you, Chloe. I like you a lot."

They were still so close and in each other's arms. She felt Clark's lips gingerly peck her own dimple.

"Look what you started. Why did you do that?" He whispered happily.

Chloe remembered what her father had told her. She realized that he was right. She and Clark shared a deep affection for each other. She tugged at his ear, pulling his mouth back on to hers, this time, letting him experiment. He discovered how to part her lips. She pulled away as he tried to deepen the moment more. And he had her almost completely pressed against his body.

"You've been thinking about that all day." Chloe said as she fanned herself off from the heat they had created. "I need to know if we can be friends, Clark. I thought, with that out of the way, we could just be friends."

Clark shook his head, not wanting to hear what Chloe was telling him. "We can't ever be just friends… Chloe, I like you way too much for that."

Chloe understood what he meant. "Clark, I mean, we're always going to have this between us right? Let's not worry about it. Let's work on getting to know one another better. Like, I don't even know your middle name.'

"Jerome"

Clark popped an eyebrow, asking her the same question.

"Anne

"So Jerome—Don't you think that their might be a small part of you that thinks I'm right?"

"Probably Chloe-Anne" Clark finally let her go and stepped back from her, a little embarrassed. "That was my first kiss."

"You're kidding?"

"Nope"

"You have super-kissing powers or something." Chloe said. "It's not going to be easy for me either, Clark. But, I think it's for the best."

Clark concurred. He watched the farm hands and their families depart from the picnic tables. "It's just as well we stopped." Clark said. "It looks like it's time for us to eat."


Clark and Chloe ate silently in front of Jonathan and Martha. Jonathan noticed how Clark followed a lot of Chloe's mannerisms. When she would turn her plate, or stir her ice tea, Clark would do the exact same thing a minute or so later. He even saw Clark slyly smile at her, as a faint pink of blush creep across her face. Clark really, really, liked this Chloe Sullivan. Now that he had a moment to watch them together, he had to agree with Martha, he'd want to share his abilities with this girl, because Clark had a hard time lying to those he cared about.

Chloe looked over at Clark. "I thought you said Pete was coming?" Clark took a bite of his coleslaw, and remembered not to talk with his mouth full.

Martha answered for her son. "Something came up with them." She passed Chloe a biscuit and Chloe took it, although, she didn't eat it. She just set it aside.

"Martha" Jonathan said, dragging out the vowels in her name. "Chloe, I think you should know what's going on."

Clark started to shift uncomfortably next to Chloe on the bench. "Oh, Dad. Let's not talk about it."

"The Ross's are a proud family. They've been in Smallville as long as Smallville existed. That factory your father runs was once their business. Ever since LuthorCorp bought them out, they've insisted LuthorCorp undercut them in the deal. They see your dad as the face of LuthorCorp, so…"

"I get the picture." Chloe said. "They didn't want to have dinner with us, because, my father works for LuthorCorp."

"Dad" Clark interrupted. "Chloe doesn't need to know about this, does she?"

"It's okay Clark" Chloe assured him by touching his forearm. "Sounds like I'm getting a crash course in small-town politics."

"Pete's not the jerk here." Clark said, defending his best friend. "Just remember that the next time we hang out."

Jonathan watched as Chloe's face mirrored Clark's, they spoke with their eyes.

"Jonathan" Martha said. "Will you help me serve desert? Chloe, I've got rhubarb and cherry pie, which do you want?"

Chloe answered brightly. "Just give me whatever Clark likes."

"Cherry" he said.

Jonathan and Martha got up from the table, taking the dirty dishes and left over food with them. Inside, Martha started to pack away the meat and the salads.

"So Dad" Martha said sarcastically, "Do you see what I mean."

"Well, they're definitely sweet on each other." Jonathan said. "I just can't get over how quickly things change. If you would have told me this was coming six months ago, I would have laughed."

"Hmm" Martha, said as she pushed back the curtain. Martha felt sort of weepy and happy too. Chloe and Clark had their bodies turned to one another, mirroring each other's body positions. They were talking, probably about nothing important, but they were attentive. Clark sat up so straight, it was strange. He must have said something, because Chloe tilted her head back and laughed. They were flirting with each other in the absence of their parents.

"Look at this!" Martha waved her husband over to her side.

Jonathan peeped outside. The teens sat with their backs to them, facing the flat expanse of land. He watched his son put his hand around Chloe's shoulders and she was slipping her hand around his waist. They squeezed one another in a half hug and then let go.

"Okay… I feel bad enough already." Jonathan pulled his wife away from the window. "Clark's got to figure out those sorts of things on his own. I don't think a running commentary from his mother is what he needs."

Martha returned to dishing out pie slices onto tiny plates. She was so happy and giddy over this nice turn of events, she had a hard time suppressing a smile. She carried the deserts back outside, where Clark and Chloe were talking about her family.

"No, it's just Dad and me." Chloe said. "I visit mom periodically, someday she'll come visit me. It's just hard for her."

Martha set the deserts in front of her family and guest. She sat down next to Jonathan. She wanted to here about Chloe's mother, but Clark didn't ask Chloe any follow-up questions.

"What does your mother do, Chloe?" Martha asked.

Chloe bit her lip and quickly replied. "She was a historian from the Kawatche Indian Tribe before she met and married Dad. She was born in Granville, you know… on the Indian Reservation."

"You're part Indian?" Clark asked, incredulously.

"Yeah – I don't look it, do I?" Chloe said. "I'm like, an eighth Native American, but, I don't really know anything about the Kawatche people. I dunno. You'd think stuff like that would be important to me, but it isn't. I much rather be known as a Chloe Sullivan – ace reporter and good citizen. My ancestry doesn't rule my life."

"That's great attitude to have." Jonathan chimed in. Clark looked at him and Jonathan indicated it was fine to tell Chloe that he was adopted in front of them.

"All of Smallville knows this, so you might was well too." Clark said. "I'm adopted."

"Really?" She leaned forward and looked at Clark's parents.

"Yes" Martha said. "It's true, everyone in Smallville knows we adopted Clark."

Jonathan laughed, as he squirted a bit more honey into his coffee mug.

"Do you remember them?" Chloe asked.

"No" Clark said. "It's probably just as well. I think, I'm guessing, but I think that they must have been really, really sick – and they couldn't take care of me."

Chloe let the thought roll over in her head. "That's an odd conclusion."

Clark felt a new pressure inside him. How could he tell her about his—birth defects? Why couldn't she just accept what he thought and leave it? He got quiet and then in a hurt voice, he said the only other thing he could think to say, "It's better than thinking that your parents didn't want you around."

Chloe's face fell and Clark thought he saw her eyes get watery. He felt like a jerk. He didn't mean to hurt her feelings. How could he explain? He turned his head to his parents, begging to let him tell her. Jonathan shook head, indicating "No".

"Chloe, I'm sorry… I usually don't talk about these things so openly."

"I'm sorry too." Chloe whispered. "I just can't imagine no one wanting you, Clark."

Clark and Chloe stared at each other intently, each reflecting regret towards their minor misunderstanding.

"Okay kids." Jonathan interrupted. "Why don't Clark and I go start that bonfire and ah… Chloe, I'm sure Martha can find something for you to do."

"Sure, we can get the s'more fixin's together."

Chloe touched Clark's arm as he got up from the table. He looked at her, as she mouthed the words, "I'm sorry."

He smiled back as he followed his Dad up the path to the bonfire. He was sorry too.


"So, what exactly are s'mores?" Chloe asked.

"You've never had a s'more?" Martha was astonished. She left the transistor radio at the back door and went to the kitchen. From the cupboard above the coffee maker, she pulled out a large bag of giant marshmallows, then, Martha disappeared into a small side room. She came back with a box of graham crackers and a huge bar of chocolate.

"Oh" Chloe said. "I didn't know it was a marshmallow concoction." She looked unhappy. "Mrs. Kent—would you think it's weird if I told you I don't like marshmallows?"

Chloe helped bag the items in a paper sack. Martha handed her some steel roasting rods and Chloe packaged those as well.

"Yeah, it is strange, but I know someone else that doesn't like marshmallows?"

Chloe perked up a tad. "Who? 'Cuz I'm the only person I know that hates the things."

"You'll see" Martha said. "He thinks they're unnatural."

"Well… It's not so much the taste. I don't like their consistency." Chloe said. "I hate meringue too."

Martha held the door open for Chloe. It was an easy walk to the bonfire. It already had a pretty large flame. Jonathan and Clark were still setting up folding chairs and Mrs. Kent had a few red blankets with her, along with the radio. The sun was kissing the horizon and the sky was a field of purple, orange and pink. From the south, a burst of white sparks exploded from above. The "Thunder in the Field" professional fireworks display was underway.

Jonathan took the radio from Martha and tuned it into a local public access station—its transmitter would normally broadcast weather and tornado updates. Right now the station played a John Phillips Sousa march. Clark missed the Ross's contribution to the fireworks. Mr. Ross would read the Declaration of Independence.

Clark didn't see any reason for skipping this detail, so, instead of sitting next to Chloe—he got up and started to recite the famous document, word for word.

Chloe sat and stared at Clark as he carefully and masterfully spoke. The sun set to his right and from behind and high up, the fireworks only enhanced the elocution. Chloe reported on Thomas Jefferson last year in her American history class. Clark gave off no hint of hesitation as he went from introduction to the conclusion. It was a short piece, but, how strange that Clark had it memorized, Chloe thought.

When he was done, she clapped for him.

Clark took a step forward, and his father's face came out of the shadow. It was white and sort of angry. He looked at Chloe clapping and smiled reluctantly. Clark swallowed. He forgot that most kids his age don't have photographic memories. He just showed off one of his powers in front of her. He never even read the document, but could repeat Mr. Ross's annual performance to the letter.

"Clark" Chloe said. "That was awesome! Did you study the Declaration of Independence?"

"Something like that, Chlo'" He didn't look into her eyes as he sat down next to her. How could he have been so stupid?

Chloe instantly picked up that vibe from Clark. He didn't want to talk about it. She hugged her legs as she watched the fireworks display going off from Mayer's field. The bonfire in front of her got warmer as it grew larger. She let sweat bead up on her face, but eventually, she needed to scoot back. She found herself next to Clark, her hip touching his. She wasn't sure where to rest her hand.

Clark held out his. Chloe took it. She prayed that his parents couldn't see what they were doing. From the oohs and aahs coming from his mom, they might be distracted by the pyrotechnics.

Clark couldn't stop thinking about that kiss in the loft. He felt so manly—once he got over his shock of her kissing him, it was, very easy. All he could think about was kissing her again, despite what she said about friendship first, he just wanted to have another go. His memory allowed him to relive the moment, over and over. It wasn't right that she got to make the first move. He should have done it. Why didn't he? He eyed her as she sat next to him. He hoped she was thinking the same things.

They sat like that for the next few minutes, until the last burst of color dissipated from the sky. The "Thunder in the Field" for 2000 was over.

Chloe and Clark let go of each other's hands. Jonathan had left for the house during the show, probably to fetch the fireworks Chloe had brought. In the meanwhile, Martha prepared the graham cracker and chocolate sandwiches.

"Com' on Chlo'" Clark stood. He found the paper sack Chloe brought with her from the house. He pulled out the marshmallows and stuck one on a steel prong for Chloe, he then prepared his own.

They stood with the wind behind them, so the smoke wouldn't blow in their faces. Clark roasted his marshmallow and Chloe roasted hers, with a mischievous smile on her face. She wanted to see his reaction when she told him she had something in common with his dad.

When Clark's was golden brown from the heat, he placed it in over the chocolate and slapped a graham cracker on top. He pressed. The desert became one large brown and white mess. Chloe wasn't interested in eating a s'more, but she did like burning the white candy to ash.

"Don't you want one?" Clark asked, with is mouth full.

"I don't like marshmallows."

Clark choked. "You're like Dad. How can you not like marshmallows?"

Clark turned around and saw that his mother was walking away from them. He went over and found a chocolate square and some crackers. He made a sandwich for Chloe.

"I'm weird I guess." Chloe said. "I wonder if I can get the chocolate melted by standing closer?"

She tried to hold her sandwich in front of the fire, but the heat was too much, and she ended up dropping it. It wasn't worth frying her hand over.

Clark decided to make a new sandwich for her. He also made the decision to show her how he did it too. "Don't try this at home."

He held his hand in the flame for thirty seconds or so, enough for the chocolate to melt and ooze over the graham cracker. He brought his hand back and smooshed the sandwich together. The brown liquid squirted at him, staining his white polo.

"Now my shirt's ruined." Clark said. He tried to make light of what he had done.

"Clark?" Chloe was staring at his hand, in absolute wonder. "How did you do that?"

"Can't you guess?" He wanted her to guess so badly. It would be so great to have one friend that knew something about him.

"You're… fireproof?" Chloe stated.

He was looking for the word invulnerable, because, this was just the tip of the iceberg, but, Chloe had guessed correctly—he was indeed 'fireproof'. "Yeah… I am." Clark said.

Chloe took her sandwich from Clark and touched the hot edges. She bit into it, and the warmth of the chocolate curbed her curiosity. She didn't say anything, but, she seemed really happy and amazed to Clark.

"Chloe… This is just between us, okay?"

"Of course" Chloe said. "It's just so incredible. You could be the world's best firefighter, ever." Chloe said, playfully bumping her shoulder into his. She realized that he needed some levity. "If I'm ever caught in a burning building, I'm calling for you."

"Good." Clark said. He found himself touching once again the ends of her hair. He pursed his lips. "I know you said that we should get to know each other better, but, um… I just told you something that I didn't think I'd ever have the guts to tell anyone."

"I'm glad you told me" Chloe said. "You can do a lot of good in this world, with a gift like that."

"Chloe" Clark wanted so badly to tell Chloe everything. He felt so safe with her. He could do anything, he almost totally forgot he had super-powers. "You need to know something about me."

"What?"

"I'm not ready to be just friends, yet."

Clark brought her to his body, and about collapsed from joy. Their mouths joined. He felt his chin against hers, pulling her jaw down. Her hands moved against his back. He wanted to lift her, but he made a conscious effort not to. He let her pulled him down as he tasted the chocolate in her mouth. She pulled back from him, after that amazing feeling saturated them both.

"Clark" Chloe said. "I really like you too, way more than just a friend."

"But" Clark wiped his mouth.

"Let's go a bit slower, okay?"

"I'm perfectly fine with being friends Chloe. Just as long as we agree, one day, we'll return to this."

"I promise." Chloe said. "I never break my word."


Jonathan and Martha were heading back to the bonfire when they saw a car approaching in the distance. Jonathan tried to pry his eyes away from Clark and Chloe who were sitting by the fire holding hands. Those two teenagers were making him feel old. Knowing the "Thunder in the Field" show was over; it was little surprise that Chloe's visit would soon end too.

Martha met Gabe Sullivan half way towards the house.

"Hi, Mr. Sullivan" Martha said. The glint of light from the bonfire cast weird shadows around. Gabe wasn't used to the darkness of the country, nor the brightness to the stars and the moon. She was holding out her hand and Gabe kissed her hand.

"It's my pleasure to meet the lady of the house." Gabe said.

"Well, now we know where Chloe gets her charm."

"Well, um… I suppose Chloe's got some of her spark from me." Gabe said. "Her mother has been sick for a while. We're all we have."

Jonathan and Martha looked at each other, not sure what to say.

"Chloe didn't tell us that."

"I'm not surprised. She really doesn't know what's wrong or why we separated."

"Oh"

"Well Sullivan… We still have some of your fireworks to shoot off. Why don't you join us for some s'mores and more patriotic celebrating?"

"I'd like that." Gabe said.

The three adults walked slowly up the hill. The campfire silhouetted Clark and Chloe's slight frames. Clark was helping Chloe.

"Well, if Mrs. Sullivan ever visits Chloe, please bring her by." Martha said.

"I doubt Moira's going to be able to leave her hospital, ever." Gabe said, sadly.

The men stopped dead in their tracks. Clark and Chloe were kissing. Martha bumped against Jonathan, not understanding why they suddenly stopped. She poked her head around to see Chloe and Clark start another kiss.

"Oh geez" Gabe said. "I think we'll be having a talk about this later."

"No… um, I'll talk to Clark." Jonathan said.

Martha just stared ahead, her eyes fixed on her son and his girlfriend. There ahead of her the fireworks were still sparking between those two, even though the "Thunder in the Field" was long over. "Well, I hope she can come to the wedding."


The End