DISCLAIMER - Not mine, I couldn't afford the motor and household insurance bills. I promise I'll scrub them down and give them back to DC comics, the WB and anyone else who does own a slice of them when I'm done with them. Story, such as it is, copyright Karen Colohan, September 2002.

Author's notes - Thank you to Barbara for beta duties. Spoilers for Leech.

"He loves me, he loves me not. He loves me, he loves me not. He loves me..."

I can't quite believe I'm doing this. I'm sitting here on the soft grass under a wide, blue cloudless sky, tearing the petals off of innocent daisies. And it's all because I'm trying to decide if I'm an idiot for thinking that Lex could ever see me as anything more than a friend.

To make matters worse, Chloe - who is sitting on the grass beside me, watching what I'm doing with great interest - seems to find the whole situation totally amusing. Well, she was the one who suggested sacrificing the daisy population of Smallville when I told her I really didn't know what to do about Lex.

She's known for a while that I ... like Lex. She was the only one I could bring myself to confide in. When I finally blurted it out, she laughed and told me that a blind man would be able to tell the way I looked at him. And I always thought I was being subtle. I only ever check Lex out when I'm sure he won't notice me looking. Which kind of defeats the object of doing it, I guess. Anyway, Chloe just laughed when I said that too.

Then again, she seems to think that Lex looks at me in the same way. I told her she was nuts. Chloe just gave me a funny look and said I'd raised obliviousness to an art form. I don't really know what she meant by that.

"...he loves me not."

I find myself staring despondently at another mutilated daisy stem, same result as the first. Call me paranoid, but I'm starting to detect a pattern here.

"Chlo," I whine, thrusting the evidence under her nose. "You're wrong, see. Lex doesn't love me, why would he? I'm just an unsophisticated kid off a farm." Self pity isn't an attractive quality, but I'm feeling put upon. Even the daisies are conspiring against me.

"If you can pronounce unsophisticated you've got a head start," she teases. "And if you can spell it too, you're practically his intellectual equal!"

I give Chloe the evil eye before adding, "But look at his recent track record - look at Victoria." Much as it pains me to think of her, she was beautiful, wealthy... exactly what Lex would want in a lover.

"Personally, I'd rather not." Chloe pulls a face. "I never liked her."

"Lex must have," I sigh. Though I still remember what he said - how relationships aren't always about love. All the same, I know he was sleeping with her, so he must have found her attractive. "She was smart, elegant, female - in short, everything I'm not," I conclude unhappily.

Chloe frowns for a moment, drawing her knees up to her chest and resting her chin on them. "I think you're missing one small point here, Clark."

"What?" I can't think of anything.

"Victoria isn't in Lex's life any more, you are," Chloe points out reasonably. "Also, he ruined Victoria and her father, while he's gone out of his way to try and help you and your parents. Don't you see?"

I find myself shaking my head. The reason for Lex's benevolence towards the Kent family is easy to work out. "That's just because Lex still feels he owes me something for saving his life."

"Clark, you're an idiot!" Chloe declares affectionately. "It has nothing to do with that. Lex spends time with you and wants to help your family because he likes you. He acts totally different when you're around. You have to have noticed that."

I shake my head again in automatic denial. I really haven't noticed, have I? Though Lex does seem to be more - relaxed when we hang out together. He smiles and laughs a whole lot more and... Is it really just because he's with me? I turn to Chloe, asking the question with my eyes.

She simply smiles.

Then she reaches down and plucks another daisy from the grass. She hands it to me saying, "Third time's the charm, Clark."

I take the delicate flower from her, turning it between my fingers slowly.

"Go on," she urges.

"Okay." I take a deep breath and begin to pluck the tiny petals from the bloom carefully. "He loves me..."

There seem to be far more petals than before and I lick my lips nervously as I count them down. Chloe is leaning over, watching avidly as I pull the flower apart.

"...he loves me not. He loves me, he loves me not."

My heart is beating faster and I can't believe my palms are getting sweaty. This is crazy! I look up at Chloe imploringly, but she just points down at the daisy in silence. I follow the direction given by her finger and swallow loudly. The stem is decorated with one last petal. My fingers are actually shaking as I tear it from the flower, letting it flutter to the grass like a lone piece of confetti.

"He loves me..." I say slowly, glancing up to see Chloe grinning at me in delight. "You really think so, Chlo?"

She nods, still smiling. "Go talk to him, Clark. Be happy."

"Thanks, Chloe." I give her a quick, grateful hug. Then I'm scrambling to my feet and running across the field as fast as I dare.

I know exactly where I'm going and I don't look back.

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