This takes place at around Season 2 or 3 of Smallville (I forget which, since I’m watching all the seasons right now), right after Chloe accepts Lionel Luthor’s offer to get her a column at the Daily Planet. The new character is one I introduced, aimed at being a foil for Lex and an ally for Clark. I won’t go into the full background now, but to set this up he’s basically a business rival (kinda like Oliver in later Smallville seasons) except that Lex and he only associated after the horrors of Lex’s boarding school days and he and Lex actually like each other … kinda. I’m not sure if I’ll ever write anything more with this alternate history of an alternate history, so I won’t mention the superhero angle, but a hint … snikt.
Chloe Sullivan was sitting at her desk in the classroom that hosted the “Torch”, her pride and joy school newspaper, poring over stories and information on her laptop, when the phone rang.
“Hello?” she answered.
“Ah, Ms. Sullivan, this is Christopher Worthington, ” a clipped, precise, British accent replied. “I’ve heard about your recent good fortune and associations and wondered if you’d mind discussing it over lunch.”
“Well, Mr. Worthington, I’m not sure what business my associations are of yours, ” Chloe replied bluntly.
Worthington replied, “Well, let’s just say that I might have some advice that could help you steer your way through waters that I dare say seem quite shark invested.”
“And if I’m not interested in your advice?”
“Then you’ll get a free and quite exceptional lunch. Say, the “Gilded Truffle”, noonish?” Worthington replied.
Chloe agreed, mostly because she was curious why he was getting involved in her life. Did it have something to do with Clark? And what was it that all these young, rich guys were so interested in the life of a Smallville high school farm boy, anyway?
At noon, she entered “The Gilded Truffle”, which was the fanciest restaurant in Smallville. Considering the small town atmosphere of Smallville, that shouldn’t have been saying much … but with LuthorCorp having a big stake in the area, as well as Worthington Industries getting involved, something upscale had to be built to deal with important clients. “The Gilded Truffle” was actually not a LuthorCorp investment, but one that had been funded by Worthington himself. Why he’d started it, no one could say, but the prevailing rumour was that he started it up to provide himself with the sort of high class food service that he missed from when he lived in England, or the larger cities in the U.S. before coming here.
Worthington was waiting for her when she arrived, but didn’t mention anything about her relationship with Lionel Luthor, which surprised her. Instead, they ordered and had eaten their main courses without him mentioning it at all, and limiting his comments to basic small talk. When the dessert menus arrived, Chloe’s curiousity finally got the better of her and she said, “So, you wanted to talk to me about my ‘associations’. Any reason why we’ve spent this entire lunch so far saying nothing about them?”
Worthington smiled, “One should never ruin an excellent meal by bringing up such serious matters too early.”
“More of the wonderful advice you’re supposed to be giving me?” Chloe replied bluntly.
Worthington’s smile didn’t fade for an instant. “Something like that.”
But then the smile faded completely from his face. “I’ve heard that you now have a column at the Daily Planet, thanks to the influence of one Lionel Luthor.”
“That’s right, ” Chloe replied.
“Considering that Lionel Luthor doesn’t do anything that doesn’t benefit him, I’m presuming that he’s asked for a ‘favour’ in return?”
Chloe didn’t say anything, but her silence spoke volumes.
“I’m also going to guess, ” Worthington continued, “that the favour he’s asking is something underhanded, sneaky, and chances are something that you’d rather not do. And that it, at least in part, involves the esteemed Mr. Clark Kent.”
“I don’t know where you’d get that idea, ” Chloe replied.
“Lionel’s interest in Clark is not exactly a secret, and unlike mine or Lex’s interest there isn’t even the possibility of a friendly interest. Lionel clearly wants something, something that will give him power, influence or control … just as he now has influence over you.”
Chloe started at him angrily.
Worthington shrugged. “Are you sure you know what you’re getting into? If you find out something about Clark — or anyone — and you don’t want to share it with Lionel getting out from under his thumb won’t be easy.”
“With all due respect, Mr. Worthington, I can take care of myself.”
“Ms. Sullivan, Lex Luthor is a cold, calculating, manipulative bastard. He’s the Luthor who’s on my Christmas card list. Lionel is the Luthor that I actually completely distrust and wouldn’t deal with even if I had no choice. Lex is probably far too much to handle for you, and Lionel can run rings around him when he wants to. You are, quite frankly, out of your league.”
“While I appreciate the advice, Mr. Worthington, this is too much of an opportunity for me to just turn it down because you don’t trust Lionel Luthor … or me.”
Worthington retorted, “Some opportunities aren’t worth the cost.”
Chloe didn’t reply.
Worthington sighed, and said, “So, let me offer this piece of advice: when this goes wrong and you get in over your head, remember that you can call on me. I do like you, Ms. Sullivan, and I’d hate to see you get hurt.”
“I’ll remember that, ” Chloe replied, slightly sarcastically. “Any more words of advice?”
Worthington stood and headed for the door, and said, “Just one”.
Then he leaned in close to her ear and said in a tone just slightly above a whisper, “You will regret it for the rest of your life … if you don’t try the caramel cheesecake. It’s superb.”
Straightening, he said, “Goodbye, Ms. Sullivan” and walked out of the restaurant.
And yes, that last line pretty much is the only reason I wrote this up. And that’s it for Fanfic Thursday this week. Short, but at least I did something this week [grin].