Burnished Copper
by Victoria P.

The Kents' kitchen always smells like apple pie and soap.

Chloe sits at the table, eating cookies, and watches Mrs. Kent work. It's not as though she hasn't offered to help. She has. She does. But Mrs. Kent tells her not to worry, would she like some cookies, and how is it living with Lana? Did she always want a sister?

And Chloe thinks, no. She's always wanted a mother. A mother with glowing copper hair that shines like the bottoms of the burnished copper pots hanging from the ceiling in the Kents' kitchen.

A mother who would listen to her girl troubles and laugh over her boy troubles, kiss her skinned knees and cradle her when she cries.

Chloe loves her father. He's the best dad a girl could have, but lately he's been absent a lot. Working late, trying to make LexCorp a success, trying not to lose everything they have. And she understands that.

She and Lana are friends, but Lana doesn't have a mother either, and Chloe knows that even if she did, it wouldn't be the same. Because how could she compete with Lana for her mother's love?

Whereas Mrs. Kent -- everybody in town knows how much Martha Kent wanted children, how overjoyed she was to adopt Clark. So it's possible that Mrs. Kent is also secretly longing for a daughter.

A daughter with a wacky haircut and a curious streak a mile wide. A daughter with whom she could share secret Kent recipes for apple pie and chocolate chip cookies.

Chloe wonders how much of her infatuation with Clark is based on that secret desire for a mother, for someone who didn't leave when things got tough, who cared enough to worry, and tucked her in at night, even at the ripe old age of sixteen, when she should be beyond that.

Because Smallville is a scary place sometimes, with its meteor mutants and snobbish cheerleaders, its bald billionaires and unfathomable faarmboys, and sometimes a girl needs her mother.

Chloe feels safe in the Kents' kitchen, and not just because she believes Clark will save her from whatever monsters lurk in the woods.

She feels tears pricking behind her eyes, and she closes them, pretending for the moment that this is her home, and Mrs. Kent is her mother.


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