Chloe and Lex are not a couple that I had imagined would happen. He's older than her for starters. I mean, we just graduated high school, and she's dating the CEO of a multi-billion dollar company. Then again, I'm married, so I can't exactly be pointing fingers in the odd relationship department.
To tell the truth, I was a little uncomfortable with them dating at first. They're both good friends of mine, and I want them to be happy. But I know Lex's history with women. And I was really afraid that he'd end up hurting Chloe, and Chloe doesn't deserve to get hurt by yet another guy in her life.
But watching them right now, I'm not worried anymore. Lex keeps looking across the table at Chloe with this smile on his face. I've never seen him like that before. And lately Chloe has been happier then I've ever seen her.
Anyone in the restaurant who was watching our table would think that Chloe and Lex were the recently married couple. Willow and I seem more like an awkward pair on our first date. Things may be getting better between us, but now were in a romantic environment. It's pretty uncomfortable, and I think Willow feels that way too. As much as I appreciate Lex taking us out, I'm beginning to think that maybe it wasn't the best idea in the world.
It's weird. Willow fits in well with pretty much everybody in my life, except for me. And my dad, of course. But all of my friends seem to really like her. Especially Chloe. Watching them, you'd think that they had known each other for years rather than weeks. She gets along with Lex as well. I think they both like having someone else around who is also in a relationship with a teenager.
Not that relationship is really the right word for what's between Willow and me. But what is the right word? I mean, marriage, obviously. But what is there beyond that? "Big, complicated mess of a thing" is correct, I suppose. A bit of a mouthful though. I try to force myself to stop thinking about it. This is supposed to be a nice night out. I should at least make an effort to enjoy it.
"So, Chloe. Are you looking forward to college?" Willow asks soon after our food arrives.
Chloe shrugs, "I think so. I mean, there are some things about high school that I'm going to miss. But not much. Pete and Lana will both be there. And Clark will too, eventually. And I love Metropolis. I'm looking forward to living there again."
Lex interjects, "And I've got a Penthouse there. And I'm often in town for business. So, we'll still see a lot of each other."
Chloe smiles at Lex for a second before returning to the conversation. "It's going to be weird to not work on the Torch anymore. I pretty much ran the thing single-handedly."
"Hey!" I protest, "I use to help out a lot."
Chloe grinned and rolled her eyes. "Clark, you always ended up flaking out on at least half of the articles you agreed to write. Though, I will admit, the ones you did actually end up writing were usually pretty good."
"I was not sad to leave high school behind," Willow says with a shake of her head. "Not exactly the best time of my life. I did have some really close friends. And there were people that I missed later. But a lot of high school was pretty miserable. Especially my freshman year."
"Why's that?" I ask. I had heard tidbits of Willow's life, but she never really talked about it in detail. Mostly I just heard odds-and-ends about the whole demon-slaying thing.
Willow wrinkles her nose, and I catch myself thinking about how adorable she looks when she does that. Yet another thought I try to banish from my head.
"I was kind of a huge dork," Willow explains with a grimace. "I got made fun of a lot. It was pretty bad sometime."
I'm surprised by this, actually. Willow seems so together and so cool. And I've seen her when she gets angry; she can really stand up for herself. I find it hard to imagine people picking on her. But in a way, it almost makes me glad. Finally we have something in common."
"Yeah. School kind of sucked for me sometimes too."
Willow looks at me, surprised. "Really?" she asks, sounding like she doesn't quite believe me. "I didn't think guys who looked like you ever had problems being part of the in-crowd."
"Clark could be kind of...clumsy,” Chloe says with a sympathetic grin.
"I was always making a fool out of myself," I explain. "And since it was usually in front of Lana, the most popular girl in school, everybody noticed." I shrug, "Things got better. I mean, it wasn't terrible all four years. But once you get strung up like a scarecrow by the football team, it'd be hard for things to get any worse."
Willow nearly chokes on her wine. "What?" she sputters. "They did what?"
"Apparently it's a ritual of sorts at Smallville High." Lex shakes his head; "I couldn’t believe it when I first heard about it. Every year at homecoming the football team would grab somebody they didn't like and make him the 'scarecrow.' Hang him up out in cornfield."
"That's horrible!" Willow exclaims. "I guess Cordelia constantly making fun of my clothing doesn't seem quite so bad in comparison. Still, college was a lot better. I could focus on what I really wanted to academically, and I met some really great people."
Her expression grows dark for a moment, and I know that she must be thinking about Tara. I didn't know much about Willow's love life. But I knew that it was in college that she had met Tara, the love of her life who was later killed.
Times like this are when I get the most uncomfortable with Willow. I feel like I should be comforting her. But I'm not totally sure that it's my place. And I wouldn't even know what to say. I may have experienced heartbreak with Lana, but nothing like this. And I've never had a woman I loved die.
But in a flash the clouds are gone from Willow's face, as she forces a smile.
"What about you, Lex?" she asks. "Any school horror stories?"
Lex starts to answer, but I don't really hear him. I'm just studying my wife's face, making sure she's really okay. She laughs at something Lex says, and I see a sparkle in her eyes that couldn't be faked.
She's beautiful when she laughs. I never realized that before. Then again, how often have I actually seen her laugh? But it's amazing, really. Her head thrown back, her eyes dancing, her hair glinting in the light from the candles on the table.
Oh god. I think I'm getting a crush on my wife.