Open on a shot of Smallville High's metal shop class. As the camera pans over, we see various students hard at work on their class projects. Near the front of the classroom are Pete, Clark, and the shop teacher. The shop teacher is holding a large metal "S" (similar to the Superman "S") in his hand while Clark and Pete look on.
Mr. Frankel: An S. How exactly did you come up with this, Clark?
Clark: It's for Smallville High. I thought the school logo could use an update.
Mr. Frankel:(Handing the S back to Clark) Your form could use a little function.
The teacher walks off, leaving Clark holding the S with a disappointed look on his face. Clark moves to take his seat next to Pete.
Pete: I told you. Stick with the basics. (Holding up his own project) You can't mess with the candlestick holder.
Cut to a shot of Mr. Frankel examining another student's project. He taps it against a piece of equipment, testing it out.
Mr. Frankel: (Unimpressed) You call this a letter opener? Poorly cast, shoddy workmanship---I expected better from you, Ian.
Ian: (Disbelieving) Well, you're not going to grade me down for this, are you?
Mr. Frankel: I'm going to give you the grade you deserve.
Ian: (Disbelieving) But I did the work. I came to every class.
Mr. Frankel:(Unsympathetic) Attendance isn't everything. There's also attitude and effort.
He turns and walks away, leaving Ian with a look of angry disbelief on his face.
As Mr. Frankel heads back to the front of the class, the bell rings.
Mr Frankel: That's it. Good work, most of you. Grades will be posted Thursday.
Mr. Frankle begins gathering his papers as students begin to file from the room.
Pete: (Nodding toward the teacher's desk) Clark, how about a sneak preview?
Clark just chuckles and continues putting his books in his backpack.
Pete: (Pleadingly) Come on, man. I'm not going to tell your dad.
Clark glances between Pete and the desk in resignation. He turns toward the desk and focuses his X-Ray vision on the gradebook lying on the edge of the teacher's desk. He glances down the list and sees Pete has received a B+ on his project and Clark got a C+. Ian, whose name is directly above Pete's, has receieved a C.
Pete: So, come on man. Don't keep me in suspense. How'd I do?
Clark: (Grinning) You were smart to stick to the basics.
Pete chuckles happily as the two boys leave the classroom.
Cut to a shot of a hallway in Smallville High. Pete and Clark walk down the hall, making their way to their next class. Ian rushes down the hall and runs between the two of them, nearly knocking Pete and Clark down in the process.
Pete: What's bugging him?
Clark: Let's just say that Ian's legendary 4.0 took a hit. I saw his grade. His name's right above yours in Frankle's book.
Pete: It's too bad. The kid's an academic dynamo. But keep loading up on night classes and extra curriculars, and something's gotta give.
Cut to a shot of Mr. Frankel in the shop class. He's using some sort of sander on a piece of metal, and sparks are flying everywhere. As he finishes, he hears some metal clanking behind him and turns around in surprise. We pan over and see Ian standing there, a stony expression on his face.
Ian: (Coldly) I need an A in this class.
Mr. Frankel takes off his gloves and lifts the protective shield he was wearing over his face, but says nothing.
Ian: (Continuing) Mr. Frankel, we need to talk about my grade.
Mr. Frankel: (Taking off his hat) I told you, it'll be posted on Thursday.
Mr. Frankel starts to walks past Ian, but Ian grabs his arm and spins him around so they are again facing each other.
Ian: (Angrily) No, I need to know now.
Mr. Frankel: It's a C. And frankly, that was generous.
Mr. Frankel walks away from Ian, but once again Ian grabs him and stops him.
Ian: (Angry) Wait, that's not fair! I work twice as hard as anyone at this school, and I need a perfect 4.0 to lock down the Luthor Foundation scholarship.
Mr. Frankel: (Angrily removing Ian's hand from his arm) That grade is final, Ian. And this conversation is over.
Mr. Frankel turns and walks away from Ian. As he does so, someone flips off the lights in the room. Mr. Frankel glances around in surprise. Ian simply looks on with a cold, knowing smile.
As Mr. Frankel glances around the room, the doors swing shut and lock. Someone switches on a small stereo in the room, and rock music begins blaring.
Mr. Frankel: (Covering his ears) Ian, what the hell is this?!
Ian simply looks at him coldly, and holds up a blowtorch, the propane flame shooting from the end.
Mr. Frankel: I'm calling the police!
Mr. Frankel turns away from Ian and heads toward the door...only to stop in shock as he sees another Ian standing behind him. This Ian holds up the letter opener, and plunges it into Mr. Frankel's chest, directly into his heart. Mr. Frankel's face contorts with pain and he clutches his chest, collapsing to the ground.
Ian #2: (Dryly) I just can't accept a C.
Cut to a shot outside the Talon. The marquee on the Talon reads "Two For One Latte Specials". Panning down, we see Lex striding out of the Talon, with a coffee in hand and speaking quickly on his cellphone.
Lex: (Irritated) Yes, I'm aware I'm late. Look, make my apologies to the EPA rep and start the plant tour without me. (Pauses) Yes, I still plan on being in Metropolis for the charity auction.
As Lex approaches his car, he sees a male meter maid writing out a ticket. Lex takes the phone away from his ear and walks briskly toward the man
Lex: Oh, excuse me. Excuse me. I've been here less than five minutes.
Meter Maid: It's too late. I've already started writing the ticket.
Lex: (Slightly annoyed) Look, I'm in a hurry and I have a headache, and I don't have time for this.
The meter maid walks to the front of Lex's car, glancing at the golf clubs in the back seat of the convertible.
Meter Maid: (Sarcastically) Yeah, I wouldn't want you to miss your tee time.
Lex: (Indicating toward the clubs) These are for a, uh, charity auction.
Meter Maid: (Disbelieving) So you'll give away a $4,000 set of golf clubs, but you'll gripe over a $25 parking ticket?
Lex is taken aback by the man's attitude. He smiles tightly and takes a moment, trying to get his anger under control, but is still annoyed.
Lex: (Annoyed) I'm sorry. Have I done something to offend you?
Meter Maid: (Chuckling sarcastically) It's always the rich ones that put up a stink.
Lex's jaw clenches in anger as the meter maid rips off the ticket and sticks it on Lex's windshield.
Meter Maid: (Walking away) Some of us actually work for a living.
Lex just looks on in disbelief at the man's attitude.
Meter Maid: (Turning back to Lex) Watch where you park your car in the future, uh...
The meter maid glances down at Lex's license plate, which reads "LEX XIV"
Meter Maid: (Continuing)...*Lex*.
The meter maid turns and heads back for his own car. Lex's clenches his jaw with anger and bites down on his lip. He turns and angrily yanks one of the golf clubs out of his back seat and starts quickly toward the meter maid's car.
Lex approaches the front of the car, raising the golf club and swinging it down, smashing it into the windshield of the meter maid's car. The windshield cracks loudly.
Meter Maid: (Ducking on the other side of the car) Hey! Are you crazy?!
A crowd of onlookers gathers on the sidewalk as Lex brandishes the golf club toward the meter maid.
Lex: (Angrily) I employ 2500 people in this town...
As Lex speaks, he swings the club again, smashing a headlight on the car.
Lex: (Continuing) I pay taxes, which provide...
As he speaks, he again swings the golf club, shattering the other headlight.
Lex: (Continuing) ...your salary.
Lex pauses, and tosses the golf club to the meter maid.
Lex: (Dismissive) Get a real job.
Lex walks back to his car leaving the meter maid standing in shock.
Cut to a shot of a housing development sign, which reads "Pleasant Meadows: A LuthorCorp Development". As the camera pans around, we see the Kent's pickup truck parked in front of one of the houses. Clark is unloading boxes from the back of the truck.
Clark: (Handing a box to Chloe) There you go.
Chloe: Thank you very much.
Chloe heads inside with the box, while Clark grabs another. He hands the box over to Gabe Sullivan, who staggers a bit under the weight of the box.
Lana: (Appreciatively) Thanks again for letting me live with you guys, Mr. Sullivan. It really, really means a lot.
Gabe: (Chuckling) You're welcome. And in honor of the day, I'm gonna make dinner.
Lana: Oh, hey, don't put yourself out.
Gabe: (Jokingly) Mi casa, su casserole.
Lana laughs at Gabe's joke as he carries the box in the house. She turns back to Clark, who is pushing a box toward her. Clark stops, taking advantage of the alone time.
Clark: So, how are you feeling?
Lana: (Smiling as she picks up the box) Uh, excited and terrified at the same time, if that makes any sense.
Clark: Well, it is a big change.
Lana: (Setting the box on the sidewalk) Huge. And not just for me. Even though she agreed to it, Nell was kind of upset that I decided to stay in Smallville.
Clark: (Sympathetic) It's not easy when someone you love moves away.
Lana and Clark stare at each other for a moment, as Chloe comes bounding down the stairs. Chloe sees the look Clark and Lana are exchanging and pauses for a moment, her face falling just a fraction. Clark notices Chloe and goes back to the boxes as she approaches the truck.
Chloe: So, that looks like it's, uh, everything, if you need to get your truck back.
Clark: You know, I lucked out. My mom called and said she was gonna take off early. Help finish up the chores. So you want to celebrate?
Lana: (Shaking her head) I wish I could, but I've got to get changed and take a shift at the Talon.
Chloe: Yeah, and I only have like a second to grab a bite before I need to run over to the Torch. (Gives Clark a smile) Sorry.
Clark: (Grabbing one last bag from the truck) Oh. When you two are scheduled to take a breath, give me a call.
Chloe: (Taking the bag and smiling brightly) Will do.
Lana: (Smiling) Thanks Clark.
Chloe: (Picking up some of Lana's baskets) Bye.
The two girls head inside the house, laughing. Clark watches them as they climb up the stairs.
Chloe: (Excitedly, to Lana) This is going to be so great!
Cut to a shot of the Kent barnyard. Jonathan paces back and forth in the barn doorway. He finally enters, checking his watch as he does so. He kneels down next to the tractor, which is parked in the barn.
Jonathan: Well, it looks like it's just you and me, old girl.
Jonathan sits down on the ground, his legs going under the tractor, the front end of which is held up off the ground by a jack. Jonathan reaches into his toolbox, pulling out two wrenches and setting to work on loosening a pair of bolts. Jonathan pulls hard at the bolts, but they won't loosen.
Jonathan: (Grunting) Ah, come on. Come on, you.
He gives one more hard pull. As he does so, the tractor shifts on the jack, which causes the jack to bend and collapse. The corner of the tractor falls directly onto Jonathan's leg.
Jonathan: (In pain) Arghhh!
Jonathan drops the wrenches and groans in pain as he struggles to push the tractor off of him, but it's too heavy
Cut to a shot of the Kent kitchen. The door opens, and Clark enters the room.
Clark walks through the kitchen, looking around as he sets his backpack on the counter.
Clark: Dad? Anyone home?
From outside, Clark hears a faint voice calling his name.
Jonathan: (In pain) Clark! Clark!
Clark: (Concerned) Dad.
Clark superspeeds out of the kitchen and into the barn, skidding to a stop as he sees his father trapped under the tractor.
Clark: (Scared) Dad!
Clark rushes to the tractor and lifts it up off of Jonathan. Jonathan, still groaning with pain, manages to roll out from under the tractor. Clark sets the tractor down and kneels next to his father.
Jonathan: (Wincing with extreme pain) I can't move my leg.
Clark uses his X-Ray vision and examines his father's leg. He sees a rather nasty break in the bone.
Clark: It's broken. Hold on.
Clark moves behind his father and puts his arms under Jonathan's shoulders. As Jonathan groans in pain, Clark begins to drag his father out of the barn.
Cut to a shot of the Torch office. Chloe enters through the door, carrying a large stack of books and attempting to open an issue of the Torch at the same time. As we pan over, we see Chloe has a visitor.
Ian: Oh, sorry, the, uh, door was open. (Extending his hand to Chloe) I'm Ian....
Chloe: (Surprised as she shakes his hand) Uh, Randall. Yeah, I know. You practically own the library table near the math and science shelves.
Chloe crosses the office to set the books down on a nearby table. Ian follows her.
Ian: (Smiling) Yeah, and you've, uh, staked out carrel 17--current events. Guess we're both candidates for the overachievers anonymous club.
Chloe: (Laughing) Yeah. So, um, what brings you to my stressed out part of the world?
Ian: Well, uh, actually I had heard that most of the library's reference books had migrated over to this side of the building.
Chloe: (Embarrased) Uh, right. I've been meaning to return these...
Ian: (Smiling) But just couldn't find the time.
Chloe: (Smiling) Exactly. Days like this, I could really use two of me. (Notices the book Ian has picked up) Um, are you getting started early as well?
We pan down and see Ian holding a copy of "Student's Guide to Colleges and Universities."
Ian: Uh, no, actually, I'm planning on graduating at the end of this school year.
Chloe: (Curious) But you're only a sophomore.
Ian: Well, yeah, but I've been piling on night classes, extra credit work. If I can land the Luthor Scholarship, I'll be going Ivy League next year.
Chloe: (Impressed) Color me journalistically intrigued.
Ian just looks at Chloe, smiling slightly.
Chloe: (Hopefully) Um, how about an interview?
Ian considers Chloe's request for a moment.
Ian: Okay. All right.
Chloe smiles widely and Ian smiles back.
Ian: (Chuckling) But take it easy on me. Your reputation precedes you.
Chloe: (Reassuringly) I have a feeling I'll be able to leave my hard hitting reporter hat at home this time, so don't worry.
Chloe smiles widely at Ian and he smiles back, causing Chloe to giggle nervously.
Cut to shot of a medical tray. As we pan up, we see Jonathan lying on a hospital bed, a large blue cast on his leg. Clark and Jonathan watch as the doctor, Helen Bryce--a woman in her late 20's--makes some adjustments to the cast.
Clark: (Worried) Is he going to be all right, doctor?
Helen: (Reassuredly) I don't see him square dancing in the near term, but if he stays off the leg, it should heal fine.
The door opens and Martha quickly enters the room.
Martha: (Frantic) Oh, my God, Jonathan....
Martha walks to Jonathan's bedside and tries to hug and/or kiss him, but he flinches away.
Jonathan: Martha, I-I'm going to be fine.
Helen: (Amused) His doctor agrees. As soon as I can find you a pair of crutches, you're good to go.
Jonathan: Thank you.
Helen exits the room.
Clark: (Upset) Mom, where have you been? I left you a message an hour ago.
Martha: (Apologetic) I was in a closed door teleconference between Lionel and the LuthorCorp board. (To Jonathan) I wish you had waited for me.
Jonathan: (Annoyed) I did wait for you. I waited over an hour for you.
Martha: (Upset) Well, I'm sorry... I tried to call, but the machine was on.
Jonathan: Well, what's done is done. I would just really like to get out of here, now. Please.
Martha nods in agreement.
Clark: I'll pack up your stuff.
Clark moves to gather Jonathan's things, and Martha reaches out and takes Jonathan's hand.
Martha: (Softly) I'm really sorry.
Jonathan: I know.
Cut to a shot in the hospital hallway. Helen is filling out a chart. In the background we see Lex rounding the corner and walking down the hall quickly, approaching Helen.
Lex: I'm looking for a doctor Bryce.
Helen: (Not looking up from her chart) You found her.
Lex: Yes. I'm a friend of Jonathan Kent's.
Lex reaches into the inside pocket on his coat and pulls out a business card handing it to Helen.
Lex: (Continuing) I've placed a call to my father's personal orthopedist in Metropolis. If there are any complications he can be flown out here within the hour.
Helen: (Chuckling) A broken leg is nothing to sneeze at, but I don't see any reason to summon the calvary.
Lex: (Insistant) I just want to make sure he gets the best care.
Helen: So do I.
Lex smiles a bit embarrassed as he realizes what he has implied.
Lex: (Apologetic) I, uh...I've offended you.
Helen: I'm second-guessed for a living, Mr. Luthor. It comes with the territory.
Helen and Lex stare at each other for a moment. Lex looks intrigued by Helen's straightforward manner. Clark approaches the two of them.
Clark: Lex, what's going on?
Helen: Mr. Luthor and I were just discussing the state of small town medicine.
Helen gives Lex a slightly annoyed smile, before walking past the two men and down the hall. Lex turns and watches her go a slight bemused smile on his face. After a moment, he turns back to Clark. Clark glances from Lex to Helen's retreating form and back at Lex again, a knowing look on his face.
Lex: (Casually) How's your dad?
Clark: He's okay. It's my mom I'm worried about. She blames herself for the accident.
Lex: (Matter of factly) Well, your mom's taking on a lot, and she's trying to find a balance. Believe me, it's not always that easy.
Clark sighs and nods.
Clark: (With mock innocence) I guess I'm just lucky she didn't take a 9 iron to a meter maid's car.
Clark looks at Lex knowingly.
Lex: (Smiling) You heard about that.
Clark: (Chuckling) The town *is* called Smallville.
Lex: (Flippantly) I was having a bad day.
Clark just laughs and nods.
Clark turns and heads back for his father's room. Lex sighs and turns toward the window of Jonathan's room. Through the blinds we see Jonathan struggling to get out of bed as an orderly brings crutches.
Jonathan: I can do it, I can do it.
Martha: (To the orderly) Thank you.
Jonathan manages to get out of bed, and Martha hands him the crutches.
Martha: Just take it easy.
Cut to a shot inside the Talon. Ian sits at a table, and checks his watch as we see Chloe, carrying two coffee mugs, approaching from the counter.
Chloe: (Coming to sit at the table) So perfect attendance, straight A's, and a class load that would make Einstein crack. You know what--forget the interview. Let's just call Ripley's.
Ian: (Adding milk to his coffee) It's kind of intense, huh?
Chloe: (Smiling) That's like saying the sun is "kind of hot".
Ian: Yeah, I think it's an only child thing, you know? Part of me always wants to do twice as much, make up for the children my parents never had.
Chloe: As an only myself, I understand. Though, I'll never get this mad rush to graduate.
Ian: Well, I just know there's more to life than Smallville. And I can't wait to take it on.
Chloe: (Smiling) You and me both.
Ian glances at his watch, and taps the face.
Ian: You are on a deadline, right?
Chloe: (Suddenly realizing) Oh, yeah. One of the drawbacks of actually enjoying your self--time flies.
Ian: (Nodding) Well, you know, if you want, maybe I could tag along. We could do something when you're through.
Chloe: (Smiling) Great. Yeah, I would love that.
Clark enters the Talon and pauses as he sees Chloe and Ian. He heads toward their table.
Clark: Hey Chloe.
Chloe stands up quickly.
Chloe: (Speaking quickly, almost guiltily) Hi Clark! Um, uh...you remember Ian--the amazing Ian. We were just finishing up.
Ian: Uh, yeah. I'll grab the check.
Chloe: (Picking up her coat) Okay, I'll grab the car. Meet ya outside in five.
Ian heads for the counter while Chloe heads out the door. Clark follows Ian to the counter.
Clark: Ian...Frankel gave you a pretty hard time today, huh?
Ian: Yeah, well, his bark's worse than his bite. I caught him in the hall after class. He said I definitely nailed the A.
Clark: (Disbelieving) Really? That's good for you.
Ian nods, and Lana approaches.
Lana: (Relieved) Hey, Clark, thank God. I thought you'd forgotten about our math session.
Clark: Actually, that's why I'm here. With my dad out of commission, I have to make the feed store run.
Lana: Okay, yeah. I understand.
Ian: So, simultaneous equations giving you grief?
Lana: (Nodding) Higher math and I don't seem to get along very well.
Ian: Yeah, I suffered through algebra last term. You know, if you want, I can give you a few tips.
Clark glances back and forth between Ian and Lana, a slight look of jealousy on his face.
Lana: (Gratefully) Are you serious? Cause I am totally lost.
Ian: Yeah, yeah, definitely. When's a good time?
Lana: I'm off in ten minutes.
Clark glances at Ian in surprise, remembering that Ian and Chloe had plans.
Ian: I'll be right back.
Lana: (Smiling) Okay, thanks.
Ian heads out of the Talon. Clark watches Ian go. A look of confusion on his face.
Lana: You okay, Clark?
Clark: (Hesitating for a moment) Yep.
Lana looks at him with concern.
Clark: Um, I'd better go.
Lana: All right.
Clark leaves the Talon, as Lana watches him curiously.
Cut to a shot of an unused back room at the Talon. Ian enters, checking the door to make sure no one has followed him. He locks the door and crosses the room, taking off his backpack. He pulls his sweater over his head, and kicks off his shoes, before taking off his pants.
Ian gets a look of extreme concentration on his face, and he begins inhaling and exhaling deeply. Suddenly, his face contorts in pain.
We see Ian's shadow cast against the wall, as we hear something that sounds like bones cracking. As we cut to a shot of Ian's back, we see what looks like a human head begin to emerge from his back. Cutting back to a shot of the Ian's shadow, we see a separate body seem to grow from Ian's back.
We cut to a shot of Ian's feet and legs. An identical pair of feet and legs appear behind him, facing the opposite direction. We pan up and see an identical clone of Ian growing out of Ian's back. There is a sucking sound as the skin attaching the two breaks, freeing the clones from each other. The two Ians turn and stare at each other.
Cut to a shot of Chloe's car pulling up in front of the Talon. The horn honks, and as the camera pans up, we see Ian standing on the curb.
Chloe: (Inside car) Hey Ian! Hop in! Come on.
Ian: (Impressed) Oh, great car.
Ian climbs into the car.
Ian: Thanks for the ride.
Chloe: No problem
Chloe pulls away. As she does so, we see Ian #2 (dressed in the exact same outfit as Ian #1) and Lana exiting the Talon.
Lana: Thanks Ian. You're a lifesaver.
Ian: Trust me, there's no place I'd rather be.
Cut to a shot of the Kent Farm. In the kitchen, the timer on the toaster oven dings, and Clark removes the tray. As he does so, Jonathan, struggling with his crutches, enters the kitchen.
Clark: (Admonishingly) Dad. Aren't you supposed to be taking it easy?
Jonathan: I am taking it easy. I slept in till 6:00, didn't I? Besides, I've got to go out and feed and water the cattle.
Clark pours some honey into Jonathan's coffee, and hands him the mug.
Clark smiles in affirmation.
Jonathan: Well, did you clean out the....
Clark: (Interrupting) Chicken coop? Dad, I took care of it. Don't worry.
Jonathan smiles in thanks at Clark. Behind them, Martha comes down the stairs, dressed in casual clothes.
Martha: Good morning.
Clark: (Surprised) Mom, you're not dressed for work.
Martha: I thought maybe I would stay home today. (Off Jonathan's look) Just until things settle down.
Jonathan: (Sighing) Sweetheart, I don't want my accident to disrupt this whole family.
Jonathan sets down his paper and coffee and gets ready to go about his daily routine. Clark stops him with a look.
Clark: (Indicating the living room) Dad. The couch is over there.
Jonathan: (Frustrated) Clark, believe me, I can take it just as easy greasing the bearings on the tractor out in the barn as I can sitting on that couch.
Clark and Martha share a concerned look as Jonathan shuffles out the door, headed for the barn.
Clark comes over to stand next to Martha.
Clark: (Sympathetically) Mom, you can't blame yourself for Dad's accident.
Martha: (Guiltily) This farm is supposed to be a partnership. But ever since I've been working with Lionel, I-I haven't been able to do my share.
Clark: (Matter of factly) You took that job to help the farm. No one expects you to be in two places at once.
Martha: (Slightly upset) No, but I should try to be where I'm needed.
Martha heads out to the barn to help Jonathan. Clark watches her go with a look of concern.
Cut to a shot of a classroom door. A sign on the door says "Metal Shop Cancelled. All students report to study hall"
Clark and Pete walk down the hall after seeing the sign.
Clark: How's that for weird? Frankel's never even missed a class before.
Pete: Looks like the metal shop impaired caught a break today. I'm glad you scoped out my grade. (Indicates something in front of them) Hey, check out Lana's new study buddy.
Cut to a shot of Lana and Ian outside Lana's locker, talking.
Clark: (Uncomfortable) Yeah.
Pete: (Amused) Do I detect a hint of the "J" word?
Clark: No, Lana and I are just friends.
Pete: (Laughing) Right.
Pete heads on down the hall, while Clark continues to watch Lana and Ian.
Ian: (To Lana) Thanks. I really appreciate this, Lana. Your peer recommendation's going to carry a lot of weight with Lex Luthor.
Lana: (Amused) Anyone who can help me understand double angle functions deserves a scholarship.
Ian hesitates for a moment, then leans in and gives Lana a small kiss on the lips.
Clark looks stunned upon seeing Ian kiss Lana. Lana looks a little flustered at the kiss.
Ian: (Backing away from Lana) Well, I'll talk to you later? Page me.
Lana waves shyly at Ian as he walks down the hall. She watches him leave with a smile on her face. Clark approaches her once Ian is out of earshot.
Clark: Looks like the study date went well.
Lana: (Pulling books from her locker) Yeah, um, Ian showed me this great shortcut, and after that, the study part was over.
Clark just raises his eyebrows in surprise.
Lana: Ian's really intense, you know, in a good way. We're getting together again tonight.
Lana closes her locker, and she and Clark start up the school's staircase.
Clark: More studying?
Lana: Uh, actually we're going to see a movie.
Clark: What does Chloe think?
Lana: What do you mean?
Clark: You saw her and Ian at the Talon last night.
Lana: Yeah, they were doing an interview.
Clark: No, they were going to go on a date.
Clark stops walking and turns to Lana.
Clark: He bailed on her to help you with your algebra homework.
Lana: (Surprised) Chloe and I were unpacking for an hour last night and she didn't say a word.
Clark: (Shrugging) Lana, I swear, they were....
Lana: (Interrupting firmly) Listen, Clark, this move has been tough enough, and Chloe and her dad have been great. So, please, if you don't have any facts, stay out of it.
Lana walks away, leaving Clark with a concerned look on his face.
Cut to a shot of a chalkboard. Written in yellow chalk, in block letters, are the words "Anger Management". The bottom of the chalkboard is scattered with posters that read things such as "When signs of stress are taking a toll" and "Anger and Management". We pan over and see the door of the room opening, and Lex steps inside. He glances around at the other people in the room. Rolling his eyes slightly, he peels the backing off of his nametag sticker and slaps it on the lapel of his coat.
As Lex continues to look around the room, his eyes fall on Helen, who is on the other side of the room. Lex approaches her, a look of surprise on his face.
Lex: (Disbelieving) Dr. Bryce?
Helen looks up and smiles tightly.
Helen: Mr. Luthor.
Lex glances down at Helen's nametag. He smiles.
Lex: (Chuckling) I like your nametag.
The camera pans down, and we see Helen's nametag reads "Bored Silly"
Helen: (Dryly) It's my secret identity. (Whispers) Don't tell anyone.
Lex: I've got to admit, you are the *last* person I expected to see here today.
Helen just chuckles.
Lex: What are you here for?
Helen: (Slightly embarrassed) I drop kicked an orderly.
Lex gets a look of surprise on his face.
Helen: (Chuckling) I have a violent reaction to incompetence.
Lex: (Nodding) The drop kick must have caught him off guard.
Helen: (Smiling) So, uh, what did you do? Verbally demean your butler?
Lex: (Dryly) Cute. I took a 9 iron to a meter maid's car.
Helen: (Impressed) Wow, now I'm really jealous. I've always wanted to do that. How'd it feel?
Lex: (Flippantly) Great.
Helen: (Jokingly) Word of advice--keep that to yourself in here.
Lex smiles, looking around before turning back to Helen.
Lex: Want to get together after class, grab something to eat?
Helen: (Quickly) No.
She starts to walk away from Lex, but he follows.
Lex: You got a thing about dating classmates?
Helen: No, I've got a thing about dating *you*.
Helen turns and studies Lex for a moment.
Helen: (Unsurprised) You don't remember me, do you?
Lex studies Helen's face, trying to jog his memory. In the background, we hear the door open as the teacher enters.
Teacher: If everyone could please take their seats...
Helen walks over to her seat, leaving Lex with a look of confusion on his face.
Cut to a shot inside the Torch office. Chloe is leaning over her desk, examining some pages with a magnifying glass.
Clark: (Knocking on the door) Chloe?
Chloe: (Looking up) Yeah?
Clark: Hey, you got a second?
Chloe: (Going back to looking at the pages) Sure.
Clark walks over to the desk. As he does so, he glances at Chloe's computer screen and sees the story she's working on, titled "What's Ian Randall's Secret?"
Clark: (Reading from the computer screen) "Primed to graduate two years early, Ian Randall is a true academic superstar." Well, so much for journalistic detachment.
Chloe: (Walking past Clark to grab a file on another desk) Believe it or not, not every story has to be Wall of Weird material. (Pauses) Why am I defending myself?
Clark: (Curiously) Do you like him?
Chloe: I don't *not* like him. What is this about, Clark?
Clark: Nothing. I just want you to be careful.
Clark: (Concerned) Look, I probably shouldn't say anything, but I saw him and Lana in the hallway and they seem pretty... close.
Chloe: (With a look of realization) Oh, I get it. You just want to make sure that poor little Chloe doesn't get burned... Again.
Clark: No. Chloe...
Chloe: (Interrupting) You know what Clark? Not that it really matters, but Ian already told me that Lana was kind of into him, but he'd rather be with me. He-he asked me to keep it a secret because he doesn't want to hurt her feelings.
Clark: And you believe that?
Chloe: (Hurt) You *really* can't imagine that someone would choose me over Lana, can you Clark?
With that, Chloe turns and walks quickly past Clark and toward the door.
Clark: Chloe, wait...
Chloe doesn't stop, but just continues out of the office, leaving Clark with an upset look on his face.
Cut to a shot outside the school. Kids ride by on their bikes and walk down the sidewalk, heading home. Clark sees Ian leaving the building and hurries to catch up with him.
Clark: (Firmly) Ian. We need to talk.
Ian: (Dismissive) Later Clark. I'm busy.
Clark steps in front of Ian, blocking his path.
Clark: (Determined) Now. It's about Chloe and Lana. I know you're playing 'em off each other.
Ian: (Shrugging) I must've learned from the master.
Ian sidesteps Clark.
Clark: What does that mean?
Ian: (Turning back to Clark) Well, Chloe told me how you dumped her a day after spring formal.
Clark looks a bit stunned.
Ian: (Continuing) And Lana said you send off so many mixed signals you could scramble a radar.
Clark just looks angrily at Ian.
Ian: Maybe they'd rather be with a guy who's going someplace. You know, after I get my scholarship, I am out of this hick town.
With that, Ian turns and starts to walk away.
Clark: (Calling after him) So you don't care about them at all, do you? You're using them to get your scholarship. Chloe writes the big article and Lana gives you the fast-track to Lex.
Ian: (Turning back to Clark) I never said that. Why don't you just admit it, the two girls who used to like you now like me, and you're jealous.
Ian again starts to walk away, and again Clark calls after him.
Clark: It's going to be hard to keep your 4.0 when Frankel gave you a C.
Clark's words stop Ian in his tracks. He turns again to Clark.
Ian: (Just a hint of nervousness) I never saw any grades posted.
Clark: (Slightly accusing) It's pretty weird. Frankel takes a day off... Lucky break for you.
Ian: You tryin' to say something?
Clark just looks at Ian.
Ian: (Shrugging) The guy took a sick day. (Threateningly) Stay out of my life, Kent.
Clark just watches as Ian walks away. Clark has a determined look on his face, as he knows Ian is hiding something.
Cut to a shot of the darkened metal shop class.
Pete: (Offscreen) Clark, for the record, this is messed up.
As the camera pans past some equipment, we see Clark and Pete entering the room. Clark strides in determinedly, while Pete brings up the rear, a bit more hesitantly.
Pete: (Continuing) Mr. Frankel's sick.
Clark: (Determined) Actually, I checked with Principal Reynold's office. He didn't call in sick. In fact, he didn't call at all. Now, this is the last place anyone saw Frankel. I just want to have a look around.
Pete: (Frustrated) Fine. You want to have a look around, we'll have a look around. But I don't know what you think we're going to find.
Pete walks over and opens up a large cabinet.
Pete: (Irritated) I'm going to have a little look around. There.
Clark: Just take a look.
Pete: (Sticking his head inside the cabinet) I'm looking around. (Turning back to Clark) You happy? We looked around. There's nothing here.
As Pete speaks, Mr. Frankel's body slowly falls forward out of the cabinet and bumps into Pete. The body falls all the way out of the cabinet, falling onto Pete, knocking them both to the ground.
Pete groans as they hit the ground, and Clark rushes over, pulling Mr. Frankel off of Pete. Pete scrambles to his feet, moving as quickly as he can away from the body.
Cut to a shot of lit match being dropped into a trail of liquid on the ground. The liquid quickly ignites and spreads across the metal shop floor, heading toward where Pete and Clark are standing. Clark grabs Pete and throws him to the ground, shielding Pete's body with his own as a few nearby barrels explode as the flames ignite their contents. Clark looks toward the flames, and as he does so, he sees Ian on the other side of the fire, hurrying from the room. Clark squints against the smoke, and when he looks again, Ian is gone. Pete and Clark exchange fearful looks.
Cut to a shot of Clark entering Chloe's house. The house is dark, and Clark looks around to see if anyone is home. He walks down a hallway toward the living room. We see two dark figures, close to each other on the couch. Light floods the room as Clark flips on a light, and we see Chloe and Ian on the couch, engaged in a heavy makeout session. As the lights come on, the two jump apart.
Clark: (To Ian) What are you doing here?
Ian: (Indicating Chloe) What's it look like?
Clark: (Moving slowly into the room) Chloe. He just tried to kill me and Pete. And I think he murdered Frankel.
Chloe and Ian look confused and stunned, and get up off the couch.
Ian: (Annoyed) What is this a joke?
Chloe: (Angrily) Yeah, Clark, when did this deadly encounter occur?
Clark: (Taken aback by Chloe's anger) 20 minutes ago. I came right over.
Chloe: (Shaking her head) Okay, stop, that--that's impossible.
Ian: (Matter of factly) Because I've been here for the last three hours, Clark.
Chloe looks at Clark, her expression demanding an explanation. Clark just looks from Ian to Chloe, confused.
Cut to a shot of the Talon. Inside, Lana is sitting at a table, using a calculator to work on some figures. Clark walks in and approaches her table.
Clark: Lana, have you seen Chloe?
Lana: (Hostile as she gets up from the table) She's at the sheriff's station, giving her statement.
Clark: (Taken aback by Lana's tone) Well, I don't remember ordering a side of hostility.
Lana: (Angrily) I can't believe you accused Ian of murdering Mr. Frankel.
Clark: (Insistant) Lana you *have* to believe me. I don't know how he did it, but he's lying to everyone.
Lana: (Dryly) A boy with secrets. I'm surprised you guys aren't fast friends.
Clark: Don't try and turn this around on me.
Lana pauses, letting Clark explain himself.
Clark: (Continuing) He's seeing you and Chloe at the same time. He was at her house. She's his alibi.
Lana: (Exasperated) Clark, they were finishing up an interview!
Clark: Does Chloe always finish up her interviews by making out with her subjects?
Lana: (Shaking her head) Ian told me that Chloe had a little crush on him, but it wasn't serious.
Clark: (Knowingly) And he told you not to say anything to Chloe about it, didn't he?
Lana refuses to meet Clark's eyes, silently answering Clark's question.
Clark: Lana, he said the same thing to Chloe about you.
Lana pauses, then shakes her head in disbelief.
Lana: If this is all because I enjoy spending time with Ian, then you are way overreacting. If I didn't know you better, I'd say you were jealous.
Clark: (Reassuringly) No, Lana, I'm trying to be your friend. Look, you've got to ask yourself, what kind of person asks the two people he cares about to lie for him?
Lana considers Clark's words as he walks out of the Talon.
Cut to a shot of Helen, clad in her lab coat, standing at the nurse's station going over some charts. She picks them up and turns to walk away, gasping in surprise to see Lex standing right next to her, blocking her path. Lex just looks at her knowingly.
Lex: Metropolis General. I was drunk, puking my guts out in the ER. You were the first year med student assigned to sober me up.
Helen: It's a night I'll never forget, either.
Lex: (Slightly amused) Guess I owe you a belated thank you.
Helen: Actually, I should be thanking you. It's cases like yours that convinced me to leave Metropolis.
With that, Helen steps past Lex and starts walking down the hall. Lex follows her.
Lex: I'm flattered I turned you from a life of nose jobs and liposuctions to small town medicine.
Helen gives Lex a sideways glance.
Lex: (Continuing) Your father is Stanley Bryce, right--plastic surgeon to the Metropolis rich and famous?
Helen: (Impressed) Somebody's been doing his homework.
Lex: (Matter of factly) You intrigue me, Helen.
Helen: (Amused) What, suddenly we're on a first name basis...Lex?
Lex: Don't worry, I won't give up your secret identity.
Helen: (Stepping in front of Lex) For the record, I refused to join my father's practice and we stopped speaking.
Lex: (Knowingly) They hate when you do that.
Helen: (Smiling slightly) Sounds like you speak from experience.
Lex: You witnessed my, uh, self-destructive phase. Then I almost let my father die...now I'm just trying to beat him at his own game.
Helen: (Amused) How's that going?
Lex: (Dryly) I terrorize meter maids.
Helen: (Smiling) Yeah. I drop kick orderlies. It's funny, I was never an angry child.
Lex and Helen lock eyes for a moment, and Lex gives Helen a small smile.
Lex: I'll see you in class.
Lex turns and walks down the hallway. Helen watches him for a moment, then calls out to him.
Helen: I'm off in ten minutes....
Lex turns around and looks at Helen.
Helen: (Feigning disinterest) If you wanted to go do something.
Lex just gives Helen a slight smile, definitely interested.
Cut to a shot of Clark sitting in the Kent kitchen. The table is covered with papers. Clark studies a paper, then picks up another one and compares it to the first one. As he is doing this, Pete enters the kitchen.
Pete: Clark, I got your 911. I assume we're back on the Ian trail?
Clark: (Handing some papers to Pete) I got Ian's scholarship information from Lex. It turns out he was taking classes at Smallville Community College at the exact same time that he was taking classes at Smallville High.
Pete: (Studying the papers) Any idea how an only child can make like the Olsen twins?
Clark: How isn't important. I just want to make sure we're right before we start throwing around charges.
Pete: Yeah, well, I wouldn't look for much help in the Lana and Chloe department.
Clark: (With a look of realization) Maybe I can. Doesn't Ian carry a pager?
Cut to a shot of Ian climbing the steps at the Sullivan home. He knocks on the door, and Mr. Sullivan answers.
Mr. Sullivan: (Smiling) Hey, Ian.
Ian: (Smiling) Mr. Sullivan, hi. Is, uh, Chloe here?
Mr. Sullivan: No, I'm afraid she's not home.
Ian: (Confused) Well, I don't understand. She paged me to meet her here at 5:30.
Mr. Sullivan: Well, there must be some kind of mix-up. Last I heard, she was working late at the Torch.
Ian: (Nodding) Okay. Thanks.
Mr. Sullivan: All right.
Mr. Sullivan closes the door, and Ian heads back down the steps, checking his watch. As he climbs into his SUV, we pan over and see Clark, inside the Kent truck, parked nearby, watching Ian.
Cut to a shot outside the Talon. Ian comes out of the Talon, a confused look on his face. He sees Pete standing on the sidewalk holding a cup of coffee, and approaches him.
Ian: Hey Pete, have you seen Lana?
Pete: Um, not for a while. Why?
Ian: (Pulling his pager from his pocket) Well, she paged me, said she wanted to get together at 5:30
Pete: (Shrugging) What can I say? Something must have come up.
Pete starts walking away from Ian. Ian looks at his pager again, and begins walking away in the opposite direction. Pete glances over his shoulder to make sure Ian is out of earshot, then pulls a cellphone from his pocket and dials a number.
Pete: Clark, Mr. Punctual made his appearance at exactly 5:30...
Cut to a shot of Clark on his cell phone.
Pete: (Over Clark's phone) ...Which means we're definitely seeing double.
Clark: Thanks, Pete. I'll call Chloe.
Clark hangs up with Pete and dials Chloe's number.
Cut to a shot of Chloe's computer screen at the Torch. She's working on the layout for the next issue. Her cell phone, lying on the desk next to her, begins to ring. Chloe picks it up and checks the caller ID, but doesn't answer the phone.
Chloe: (Exasperated) God, Clark, give it a rest.
Chloe turns off her cellphone and returns to her work. Behind her, we hear the door to the office open.
Chloe: (Not looking away from the computer) Hey, Ian, um, I will be with you in just one second.
We hear the sound of someone clearing their throat. As Chloe looks up, her visitor comes into focus...Lana.
Chloe: (Surprised) Lana, hi. Um, where'd you--I thought that you were, uh, going home after your shift was over.
Lana: (Seriously) We need to talk.
Chloe: (Pulling on her coat) Okay, sure. About what?
Lana: About Ian.
Chloe: (Glancing at the door) He's um, actually he's stopping by to look over his article.
Lana: (Smiling slightly) Is that why you're wearing a new blouse?
Chloe: (Uncomfortable) Okay, this just got incredibly ackward.
Lana: Clark came by the Talon. I know about you and Ian.
Chloe: (Dryly) For a guy so concerned with privacy, he can't seem to keep his mouth shut.
Lana: (Shaking her head) This isn't about Clark. It's about us.
Chloe: (Sincerely) I hated keeping it from you, but I *really* like Ian, and I didn't want to hurt your feelings.
Lana: I don't want to hurt your feelings either. But I was out with Ian last night too.
Chloe looks hurt at this information, and quickly blinks back a couple of tears.
Chloe: (Flippantly) Making me 0 for 2 in the "They always go for Lana" sweepstakes.
Lana: Chloe, he's playing us both.
Chloe and Lana look at each other sympathetically.
Lana: (Continuing) And I should've been honest with you up-front.
Chloe: Me too.
Ian walks into the office, and stops as he sees both girls together. Chloe and Lana look over at him.
Lana: Ian. What are you doing here?
Ian: Well, I was looking for you. Both of you, actually.
Chloe: (Sarcastically) The two for one special? Ian, we know.
Ian: Well, can you blame me? I mean, I enjoyed being with the two smartest, prettiest girls in school. Together, you're almost my equal.
Lana: (Offended) I don't believe this. Clark tried to warn us about you.
Ian: (Annoyed) Kent. Is that why you paged me at the same time?
Chloe: (Confused) What are you talking about? I never paged you.
Chloe glances at Lana, who shakes her head as well.
Ian gets an angry look on his face and heads for the door.
Chloe: Ian, what are you doing?
Ian closes the office door and locks it.
Ian: (Coldly) Securing my future.
The girls just have confused looks on their faces, as Ian walks slowly toward them.
Ian: Your futures, on the other hand, don't look so bright.
Ian moves to grab the girls, but they move quickly and start running for the other door that leads out of the Torch office. Ian chases them around the desks. The girls stop in their tracks as they reach the other door and see Ian #2 blocking the doorway.
Ian #2: Hey girls. How about a double date?
The girls glance over their shoulders at Ian, who is still behind them, then back again at Ian #2. Both girls have a look of total shock and fear on their faces.
Cut to a shot of Clark and Pete running down the hall toward the Torch offices.
Clark: Chloe! Lana!
The two boys enter the office, which is now empty. They split up to search the office.
Pete stops, and calls over to Clark.
Pete: Clark, check this out!
Pete is at Chloe's desk, looking at her computer.
Pete: (Reading from the screen) "We've both been deceiving ourselves over Ian. Now the pain's too much. We've gone to the dam to end our suffering." Sounds like a suicide note.
Clark: (Coming over to stand next to Pete) Ian wanted me to see that. He's going to kill them to get to me.
Cut to a shot of a deep gorge, the site of Smallville Dam. Ian's SUV pulls up on the bridge going over the dam and the two Ians climb out. Ian #1 pulls Chloe from the SUV, while Ian #2 takes Lana. Both girls struggle to get free, but are unable to.
Lana: (Pleading) Ian, don't, please!
Ian #2: (Pushing Lana backwards toward the edge of the bridge) I'm not going to let you ruin my life.
Both girls are doing everything in their power to keep Ian from dragging them to the bridge. Ian #1 gets Chloe closer to the edge of the bridge.
Chloe: Ian, you need help!
Ian #1: That's what I'm doing--helping myself.
Ian #1 starts to push Chloe against the side of the bridge, but she swings her elbow and catches him in the chest. Ian #1 stumbles backward, releasing his grip on Chloe She dashes away, but Ian #1 tackles her. Chloe falls to the ground, her head slamming against the road, knocking her unconscious.
Lana: (Terrified) No! Chloe!
Ian #1 picks up the unconscious Chloe.
Lana struggles mightily, and manages to fling Ian #2 off of her. She runs back to the SUV, as Ian #2 chases her. He catches her, but Lana grabs on to the SUV's doorframe, and refuses to let go. Ian #2 tries to pull her away, but he can't.
Ian #2: (To Ian #1) Give me a hand here!
Ian #1: (Carrying Chloe) Be there in a sec!
Ian #1 carries Chloe to the edge of the bridge and prepares to throw her over. Lana lets go of the SUV doorframe and runs around toward the driver’s door, as Ian #2 chases her.
Ian #1 lifts Chloe over the edge of the bridge and drops her. As he does so, Clark superspeeds up the road and leaps over the edge of the bridge after her. As Ian #1 looks over the bridge, Clark and Chloe both fall. Clark manages to reach the ground first, and catches Chloe right before she hits the ground. Clark looks up at Ian #1, a look of extreme anger on his face. Ian #1 throws his hands up in disbelief.
Ian # 2, meanwhile, has gotten a hold of Lana.
Ian # 2: (Grunting) Come on.
Lana claws desperately at the SUV as Ian #2 attempts to drag her away from it and over to the bridge.
Clark superspeeds back up to the road with Chloe in his arms. He starts to lay her down, and Ian #1 looks over and sees him. He picks up a discarded piece of pipe next to the road, and starts toward Clark.
Ian #2 has managed to get Lana away from the SUV. He drags her over to the edge of the bridge and tries to throw her over. Lana screams, and grabs at the railing on the bridge. Ian #2 has to lean over to shove her off the bridge, and his forward momentum carries them both over. Lana screams again and clutches the ledge on the bridge, while Ian #2 hangs on to her legs.
Ian #1 reaches Clark, who is taking care to gently lay Chloe's head on the ground and doesn't notice Ian #1. Ian #1 swings the pipe over his head and smashes it against Clark's back. The pipe bends but has no effect on Clark. Clark stands up and grabs Ian #1.
Lana, meanwhile, manages to get one hand on the edge of the bars below the bridge's handrail. She pants in fear as she struggles to hang on. Ian #2's weight is making it difficult.
Clark throws Ian #1 cross the street. Ian #1 crashes into a cement section of the bridge and slumps to the ground, unconscious.
Clark looks over at the bridge and sees Lana's hand, clutching at the railing. Her grip begins to slip, and she screams for Clark.
Clark rushes over just as Lana's grip slips completely off the railing. He reaches over and grabs her wrist, preventing her from falling. Ian #2, however, loses his grip on Lana's legs, and falls down into the gorge below.
Ian #2: (Screaming as he falls) AHHHHHHHH!
Clark pulls Lana back over the edge of the bridge, and she falls to her knees on the side of the road.
Clark: (Kneeling next to her) You okay?
Lana nods, trying to catch her breath.
Cut to a shot of the Kent farm at night. Clark sits at the table, watching his mother go over some of the bills. Jonathan, still on his crutches, enters the kitchen.
Jonathan: Clark, any word on Lana and Chloe?
Clark: (Getting up from his seat) They're uh, shaken up, but okay.
Martha: (Worriedly) Are you sure they didn't see you use your abilities?
Clark helps Jonathan, taking his crutches as Jonathan moves to sit in the seat Clark just vacated.
Clark: (Reassuringly) I think they were a little preoccupied with the idea of two Ians.
Jonathan chuckles, then looks down at what Martha is working on as he takes a seat.
Jonathan: I thought we were done with the bills for this month?
Clark leaves the room, putting Jonathan's crutches away.
Martha: (Nodding) We were, but I thought I'd take another look, and see if we could get along without my extra paycheck.
Jonathan reaches over and places his hand on Martha's arm.
Martha: (Guiltily) I've been thinking that-that I've been trying to do too many things and I-I should really stay on the farm.
Clark takes a seat nearby, quietly listening to the conversation.
Jonathan: (Reassuringly) Look, I was not angry because you weren't here. I'm not going to lie to you. Ever since you took this job, things have been different between you and me. Now, I don't want you to quit, but you got to know that it seems to me like sometimes the Luthors take top priority and... I guess I've just got to work through that.
Martha: (Sighs) I really like what I'm doing, Jonathan, but you and Clark will always come first. You know that.
Jonathan: (Nods) Yeah.
Clark smiles slightly, happy that his parents are working things out.
Cut to a shot of Lana unpacking and sorting through some of her clothes. Chloe enters the room.
Chloe: Hey Lana.
Lana: (Smiling) Oh, hey.
Chloe: How you feeling?
Lana: Still a little freaked... (Laughs) kind of stupid.
Lana moves to put some clothes away and Chloe follow her.
Chloe: (Laughing) Ditto. What really gets me is I should have known better. Only Chloe Sullivan could fall for a guy who splits himself in two.
Chloe sits on the edge of Lana's bed.
Chloe: I dunno. What is it about me? Do I have a sign around my neck that says "Mutant Magnet"?
Lana: (Reassuringly) He fooled me too, Chloe.
Chloe: So much for our taste in guys.
Lana: It only went as far as it did because we weren't being honest with each other. So no more secrets… Okay?
Lana: (Happily) I'm going to finish the laundry, 'cause I'm cooking dinner tonight.
Chloe: Lana, you don't have to do that.
Lana: (Smiling) Oh, I don't mind.
Chloe: (Standing up) You're not a glorified houseguest. This is your house too, and we're not going to kick you out if there's evidence that you actually live here.
Lana: (Sighing) I guess after my parents and Nell, I have a few abandonment issues.
Chloe: (Understandingly) Ah, I went through the same thing when my mom walked out. I was so afraid my dad was gonna leave too. But he finally sat me down and said that I didn't have to earn the right to be a part of this family. Neither do you.
Lana: (Smiling and nodding) Thanks, Chloe.
Chloe: Sure. Now, let's go over the house rules.
Lana: And they are?
Chloe: (Jokingly) One, do not make your bed until after 5:00PM. Two, do not touch the dishes in the sink until it's overflowing, and three, contrary to my dad's protestations, your bedroom floor is definitely a closet.
Lana: (Laughing) Okay.
Lana smiles happily at Chloe.
Cut to a shot of the inside of the Talon. Clark walks through the door and heads for the counter where Chloe and Lana are sitting.
Clark: I got your message. Is everything all right?
Chloe: We've been up all night talking...
Lana: You were the number one topic of discussion.
Clark: This can't be good.
Chloe: Actually, we wanted to apologize to you for the way we've been treating you. Even though you did technically use us as bait.
Clark: I didn't count on it getting out of control.
Lana: The point is, you warned us about Ian, and we didn't listen.
Clark: (A little upset) Yeah, you thought I was jealous.
Chloe: There's a lot of water under the bridge between us, Clark.
Clark: I know that you each have your issues with me, but you have to understand that I would never let anyone hurt you.
Lana: We know that, Clark.
Clark: (Shrugging) I just find it interesting that you guys would give Ian all the latitude in the world, and I would just be immediately dismissed.
Chloe: After all the times you've been less than honest with us, can you really blame us for having some doubts?
Clark: You want honesty. The truth is that, I expected more from both of you.
Chloe looks a bit hurt at Clark's words, while Lana looks a bit offended.
Lana: And we expected more from you.
Clark just looks at Lana in confusion.
Lana: We made a mistake. But it was ours to make.
Clark and Lana just look at each other, Clark a bit taken aback by Lana's words.
Chloe: So, what do we do now?
Clark: (Firmly) Well, first we can stop treating me like the jealous boyfriend, since none of us have actually dated. You wanna be friends, lets be friends.
Lana: (Nodding) Is that what you really want?
Clark: (Confidently) Yeah. It is.
Lana and Chloe both nod slowly in agreement, but both of their faces have hints of sadness.
Clark: Good night.
With that, Clark turns and leaves the Talon. Chloe and Lana just watch him go, a bit stunned at his directness. Once outside, Clark stops and smiles slightly to himself, before continuing on down the sidewalk.
PART OF jttonline.jttarchive.net.