Title: Can’t Recapture What We’ve Lost
Author: Jinni (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Disclaimer: All things BtVS belong to Joss Whedon, et al. All things Smallville belong to DC, the WB, et al.
Distribution: The normal places.
Author’s Notes: 20 Minutes With Cordelia
Summary: There are moments in time that you can never recapture. And some that are best left as they are.
She had met him a few times before. Back when her parents were still living the life of the rich and not-so-famous. The children of the rich, those that lived in the lap of luxury. They were the bored ones at the back of the room, sipping their expensive bottled water when they couldn’t get their hands on anything stronger, mocking those less fortunate as they looked around the room. She was cruel, she could admit it now.
He was crueler.
Even then they hadn’t run in the same circles, outside of that inner one where all rich kids perched, waiting dutifully to move out of their parents’ shadows. He was a bad boy; and while she was an ice princess, she had never even traipsed those lines that he crossed so willingly.
They shared only one kiss. He was seventeen, and she was sixteen. It was the last time they saw each other, before he was shipped off to yet another boarding school and she found herself wrapped up more and more in the life that was Sunnyhell. One kiss, but it was filled with such fire that she doubted she’d ever know another like it. Fire. Passion. But not love.
He was not the one for her, and she knew it.
When they parted she didn’t miss him. There was no exchange of phone numbers. No promises to write or email. There was nothing between the two of them – and they both preferred it that way. When her parents went bankrupt because they were too stupid not to get caught in their shadiness, she hadn’t spared a thought for the boy that she’d met those handful of times. The one that had offered to show her the world from the backseat of his flashy car. A one night stand is what she would have been, had she given in.
And when her world fell apart she didn’t think of him in the least.
Imagine her surprise when he had strolled into the lobby only a few minutes before.
The brunette looked up, brushing a highlighted strand of hair back behind her ear. She offered an apologetic smile.
“Sorry – just. . .well, surprised to see you here.”
He smiled, blindingly white, completely amused. “I can imagine.”
“Can you?” she raised an eyebrow, shaking her head. “I doubt that Lex. Nothing ever surprises you.”
He shrugged, hands in the pockets of his dark blue Armani suit. Her eyes raked discreetly over the picture he presented. Ever cool and collected, just as he’d been back in the day. His eyes were the same grey-blue that she could remember falling into that night of their kiss. Pools of color that she had lost herself in for that one moment out of time.
“So, you need a private investigator?” she asked when the silence had spread out too far, becoming uncomfortable for her.
He laughed, and it sounded loud in the silence of the Hyperion’s empty lobby. For once she was glad that no one was around. Not Fred or Gunn or Wes or Angel. She didn’t want them to be here, to ask about Lex and why he would be visiting. She didn’t want to revisit that part of her life, back when she’d been so much less of a human being than she was now. Pure ice, no heart.
“No,” he smirked, leaning against the counter. “Saw your name in the paper the other day. A case you were working, I suppose.”
She nodded, remembering the article. “And you just dropped by to say ‘hi’.”
“Sure, why not?”
Cordelia rolled her eyes. “It’s not your style.”
He raised pale eyebrows, the smirk not leaving his lips. “And you know so much about me Miss Chase?”
“We used to hang, Mister Luthor,” she mocked. “You weren’t the type to just drop by then – I don’t think things have changed that much.”
The smirk didn’t leave his lips, but the laughter died in his eyes; and with his next words she felt guilty. “People change. Look at you – working for a living?”
Cordelia felt a blush spread over her chest, up her neck and to her face. “I know I was a bitch back then.”
“Back then? Seems like you’ve been nothing but bitchy since I stepped in the door, Cordy.” Now when he spoke her nickname it was with sarcasm, and she fought back a flinch.
“I was surprised,” she repeated patiently.
“Life’s full of surprises.”
“Tell me about it,” she muttered, tearing her eyes away from his. She could feel her stomach fluttering, just being this close to him, reminding her of that kiss so many years before. And she didn’t want to remember it.
“I’ll be in town for the rest of the week.”
A business card was slid onto the counter, Lex’s name in tasteful black print across the plain white paper, his company logo in the corner. She reached for it without thinking, looking at the cell phone number engraved there. Not his office number, as she had expected. A direct line to him. She glanced up, meeting his eyes.
”I’d like to take you to dinner if you have some free time. Talk about the old days.”
She dropped the card to the counter, eyes going cold. “I’m not that girl, Lex.”
He smiled, pushing the card back towards her. “And I’m not Lionel’s little hellraiser anymore, Cordy. Just because we remember those days doesn’t mean we have to relive them. Call me later and we’ll set up a time?”
She didn’t nod or say a word, but she knew that he knew what her answer would be, even as he was turning back to the door, disappearing out into the afternoon sunshine. Her fingers tapped on the card, and she slid it into her hand, pushing it into her pocket.
She’d call. And they’d go to dinner.
Maybe they’d talk about the past, maybe they wouldn’t.
And maybe she’d find out if the man he was now made up for the boy he’d been back then.