Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Chapter 37: Chances

Finally discarding the ropes that had tied Clark’s ankles, Lex carefully turned Clark over to begin on his wrists.

“Lex,” Clark’s rough, harsh voice surprised Lex as he worked.

“I’ll have you untied in a minute.” Lex said in the most soothing tone he could muster.

“How long was I out?”

Looking down at his watch, Lex guessed, “Probably close to twenty minutes, but don’t worry, you haven’t missed anything interesting.” Lex finished as he untied the last knot around Clark’s wrists and helped him sit up. “Welcome back by the way. Just curious though, what’s the last thing you remember?”

“Aside from losing my breakfast, lunch, and dinner?” Clark asked with the slightest hint of irony.

“Aside from that.” Lex nodded, hoping that his suspicions about the severity of the earlier blow to Clark’s temple were wrong.

“Well, not ducking fast enough for one thing. Lex have you ever considered buying rubber furniture?” Clark asked with a cajoling tone to soften the memory of his taking the blow in place of Lex.

Smirking at his friends response, Lex suppressed his relief over finding Clark’s mental faculties intact as he answered “I’ll think about it once we’re out of here, but we have other considerations do deal with first: like exactly how we are going to get out of here first.”

Clark shifted uncomfortably against the wall as he tried carefully to frame his response for the right effect. Ever-observant, particularly to manipulation attempts, Lex jumped on his discomfiture immediately, “What is it?”

“How well can you free climb?” Clark asked, certain that his ambitious, risk-taking friend would have tried mountain climbing at least once, and if he enjoyed it, would have quickly accelerated to the more dangerous forms of the sport.

“A bit rusty. Why?” Lex raised an inquiring eyebrow.

“Upstairs. On the fourth floor, there’s a window. When you open it, it looks out over a pretty long drop, but there’s a thin ledge that we can use to get around the corner to a fire escape. The building behind us is boarded up and abandoned, so no one should be able to see us climbing down.”

“Should I ask how you know this?” Lex asked, suppressing the urge to push for a full confession of what Lana and Chloe had already hinted at. He realized that they probably had very little time to get out but was still certain that Clark was trying to manipulate him in some way.

Clark’s response was blunt enough though to derail that suspicion momentarily, “I had an apartment here.”

“You have to give me the tour,” Lex held out his hand to help Clark up, “some other time, right now… Show me that window.”


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