Title: Artificial Flavor (Nourishment: Second Helpings 21)
Author: Janet F. Caires-Lesgold
Feedback to: jfc@freeshell.org
Archive: Mailing list archives only--others please ask permission!
Category: Vignette, angst, Clark POV
Spoilers: None ever anymore
Rating: T (Teens and up due to references to sexual behavior)
Pairing: Clark/Lex/Chloe established relationship
Summary: What is real

DISCLAIMER: These characters do not belong to me. Smallville is the property of Alfred Gough, Miles Millar, Tollin-Robbins Productions, and Warner Bros. Television, and based upon characters originally created by Jerome Siegel and Joe Shuster. This story is just for the entertainment of my online friends and myself, not for any profit.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: All parts of "The Nourishment Series" and "Second Helpings", which precede this story, can be found elsewhere on this archive - Enjoy!

AUTHOR'S ADDENDUM: The show as we knew it no longer exists--we've gotta write it ourselves now.

DEDICATION: For the hangers-on.

COPYRIGHT: (C) Janet F. Caires-Lesgold, June 21, 2006, jfc@freeshell.org

Please don't redistribute or alter this story in any way without the express permission of the author. Thank you very much.



Lex promised.

He knew that keeping his collection of computer programs and souvenirs of his study of me was unacceptable. I had told him in no uncertain terms that his creepy museum devoted to me made him look less like my true love and more like an obsessed stalker. Before his accident last summer, he had sworn to me that he would dismantle it and destroy all of his files.

However, Chloe has seen the room, even if it was several months ago. We may both have been basking in the afterglow of some mindblowing sex (that I still can't quite explain), but when she described the exhibit in the mansion, she had to have been talking about exactly the same place that I knew.

Maybe it's been long enough ago that Lex did follow my wishes and take the damned thing apart in the meantime. Then again, right after he agreed to do so, he was poisoned, then spent a few months recuperating on our farm. I hope he didn't forget.

No matter how hot our session in the cave was, Chloe is just our friend with benefits, whereas Lex is the man I love. How could he not understand that saving the evidence (that I'd rather he'd demolished) from his extensive research is invasive and potentially damaging? Is that what love means to him?

I admit that I have vacillated on whether I should tell Lex everything, almost since the beginning. Because I care about him so deeply, I really do want him to know everything about me. Just a few things hold me back from full disclosure, though. Lana's less-than-favorable reaction to my revelations may have been the last nail in that coffin, but the fact that Lex has always wanted to know more than I wanted to tell him didn't ever make it very easy for me.

Yes, I trust him with my life, but my parents have spent their lives instilling the fear of honesty in me. When I look into Lex's beautiful blue eyes, it's as if I can taste how much he craves every last piece of information I would give him, but I just can't do it. Maybe it's because I don't want his father getting any more of my story than he has already, or I worry that once Lex knows everything, he will think of me as just another artifact to be put on display in that awful room.

If I love Lex, I should give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that, in the months since he recovered and moved back home, he remembered to get rid of his collection. After all, he did promise that he would...



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